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A Seasonal Guide To Visiting Greece

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Europe A Seasonal Guide To Visiting Greece written by admin January 3, 2018

Known by many as the “cradle of Western civilisation”, Greece is one of Europe’s most enthralling countries. Not only is there plenty of history and culture to soak up, there are also lots of stunning beaches to spend time relaxing on, islands to explore and deep blue seas in which to swim.

Foodies can enjoy delicious local specialities such as feta cheese, while history buffs can visit the many age-old ruins dotted around the country. And with average temperatures regularly reaching over 35°C in the height of summer, this south-eastern European nation really does have it all. As an all-year-round destination, there’s something to keep you occupied here no matter when you visit. In this article, we’ll take a look at the best places to visit in Greece depending on the season.

Spring

Athens is a city of many charms and delights, ranging from historic sites such as the hill top Acropolis to more grungy, modern neighbourhoods offering cool bars and hip music joints.

If you head over to Athens in spring, you’ll be able to catch one of the leading local football clubs in action as the Greek football season gets into full swing. Owned by shipping magnate Evangelos Marinakis, Olympiacos F.C. play just down the road in Piraeus and frequently host clubs from all across the country for sporting battles.

Spring is also the ideal time to visit for other reasons, too. With temperatures reaching around 19°C in the month of April, it’s pleasant without being too hot.

Summer

Anyone who has seen hit Greece-based films such as Mamma Mia! will know full well that there are plenty of beautiful holiday spots in Greece.

Greece truly is a nation of islands and, in many ways, it’s difficult to choose between the many options. No matter which island you choose, you’ll be able to experience the classic staples of Greek living – such as good food and magical atmospheres.

Whatever island you go for, summer is without a doubt a great time to experience it. Famous islands such as Santorini are known for their popular, gorgeous beaches and the warm blue waters of the Aegean Sea are

just right for swimming, so if you’re a beach lover the islands are perfect for you.

If you’re looking for somewhere more relaxing and a little less busy, why not opt for a smaller and less well-known island such as Hydra? Cars are not allowed on this island, so one of the only ways to get around is by exploring the cute little cobbled back streets in the early evening sun. And with good ferry connections to nearby Athens, you won’t need to worry about travelling too far.

Autumn

It’s a good idea to save the top Greek tourist traps for autumn, because they’re much easier to enjoy when they’re less packed with people. For many people, top of the list will be some of the beautiful islands dotted around the Aegean and Ionian seas which surround the country.

The largest island in the country, Crete, is one of its most popular – and with its beautiful beaches, highly swimmable inlets and museums in the capital city of Heraklion, it’s not difficult to see why.

Climbing the famous Mount Ida is better in lower temperatures, and you’ll be able to enjoy its sites – which are famous in mythology – much more easily.

Winter

Unlike some other European countries that shut down in winter as they battle snow, ice and rain, Greece is ideal if you’re searching for a quick winter getaway.

Why not opt for a city break to Thessaloniki, Greece’s second city? With public squares boasting cool cafes and popular history museums among the attractions, there’s lots to do.

If you fancy tourist attractions that are slightly different to the usual experiences, you can also visit the Hagia Sophia orthodox church. With gorgeous, unusual artworks all over the walls, you’ll be sure to leave with your sense of wonder truly satisfied.

Although you’re not going to experience tropical levels of heat here, you’ll be able to escape the colder temperatures found in parts of Northern Europe.

No matter what you like to do, there’s something in Greece for you and your family to enjoy. And as an all year-round destination, there’ll be a place to go no matter when you’re free to go on holiday.

Europe

Rome Travel Guide

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Europe Rome Travel Guide written by admin December 7, 2017

What can be said about Rome that has not been said a thousand times before? The ‘Eternal City’; a glorious land, the home of democracy as we know it. Rome is one of the most visited cities in the world, and there’s no doubt it always lives up to its billing.

Italy’s capital is one of the classic “city breaks”, though you may find that a weekend is simply not enough. So if you wish to enjoy a Roman holiday all of your own, what should you be looking to do?

Things To Do In Rome During The Day

Rome is history; the city is steeped in it, and you can have your pick of the ancient sites available. Perhaps a tour of the Colosseum would be your first choice; the site of gladiatorial battles from yesteryear? Or would you prefer the peaceful serenity of Vatican City? Or perhaps you want to be among the bustle at the Piazza Navona and Pantheon?

You can explore these ancient wonders in detail; guided tours are usually available, or you can wander and contemplate the sites for yourself. Rome is seemingly always busy, but you’ll hopefully be so captivated by the sites around you that you barely even notice. However, if you do want to head out of the city, then one of the world’s most stunning archaeological sites is within a day’s reach…

Rome is perfectly located for a day trip to Pompeii, the ancient city that was destroyed by a volcanic eruption. The beautiful, eerie remnants of Pompeii have been captivating tourists for over 100 years; and you’ll appreciate the relative peace and quiet of the location. You can also visit the nearby Herculaneum, which too was decimated by Vesuvius, and has sites of archaeological intrigue of its own. The trip is around two-and-a-half hours from Rome itself, but the route is well-travelled so you should have no trouble finding a tour provider.

When you’re back in Rome itself, you can cast aside the old world and embrace the new– shopping in Rome is truly spectacular, with designer names and an annual fashion show that any fashionista will adore. All the big designer names have stores in Rome, so be prepared to give your credit card a thorough workout!

What To Do In Rome At Night

There is a thriving nightlife in Rome, with plenty of exclusive bars and clubs to enjoy. Numerous venues have rooftop bars; the Grand Hotel de la Minerve overlooks the Pantheon, while Casina Valadier provides spectacular views of the nighttime St. Peter’s Basilica.

UNESCO World Heritage Sites

As one might expect, a city with the history of Rome is home to many designated UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Add these to your tour itinerary and you won’t be disappointed.

  • The Etruscan Necropolises of Cerveteri and Tarquinii date back to the 1st century and are surrounded by ancient frescoes, offering a glimpse into Roman life from long ago.
  • The centre of Rome. Yes, the entire centre of the city — including the Vatican — has been designated a world heritage site. Explore this area on foot to make the most of it, winding through the ancient streets and enjoying some of the most famous buildings in the world for yourself.
  • Villa Adriana is a complex of classical buildings constructed by Emperor Hadrian nearly two thousand years ago. Pleasantly quiet and not as crowded as the city centre, Villa Adriana is well worth a visit if you need some quiet time.
  • Villa d’Este is home to some of the most renowned gardens in Italy, which are well worth exploring along with the nearby 16th century palace.

Tourist Tips

If you think Rome is the perfect destination for your next vacation, then you’ll need a little more information about making the most of your visit…

Tipping Custom

As with many European countries, tipping is not necessary. At restaurants, the gratuity will be included with the bill– though you can add more if you so wish. You can also tip service staff if you wish to, but this is not expected, and you will not be thought ill of should you decline to do so. In Rome, tipping is a choice, so reserve it for when you are particularly happy with what you have experienced.

Airport Link

Sadly, Rome airport transfers can be a little tricky, as the main airports are some distance from the city centre. There are two airports to consider: Leonardo Da Vinci Airport, which is around 35 kilometres from Rome; and Ciampino–G. B. Pastine International Airport, which is closer (12 kilometres) but less commonly-used. You will most likely fly to Leonardo Da Vinci Airport, which has good connections with the city; taxi is the best, quickest route, but there are also public transport options to consider.

Navigating The City

Rome is a wonderful city, but it’s also an old city– and navigating it can be something of a nightmare. This is particularly true if you are accustomed to a grid system; Rome is a sprawl, developed over centuries, rather than designed to a unique plan. The rail and bus systems are fairly self-explanatory but somewhat unpredictable. Hiring a car is a possibility, but Roman road etiquette can take some getting used to, so only attempt it if you’re a confident driver.

If possible, Rome should be walked. It gives you more chance to explore the area and absorb the vibe, and it keeps you free from the somewhat chaotic transport system, too. Many of the most famous attractions are relatively close to one another, so walking is definitely an option you will want to consider.

In Conclusion

Rome is a complicated city; the old and the new world, the thriving metropolis situated within ancient ruins. There’s so much to see and do in this enthralling city that a “city break” weekend would never be enough. With glorious day trips within reach and a range of options for things to see and do, Rome, the eternal city, will find an eternal place in your heart should you choose to visit.

Europe

Paris Travel Guide

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Europe Paris Travel Guide written by admin December 7, 2017

Paris is one of the most famous cities in the world. It has been the setting for thousands of novels and movies about love and romance; beautiful arrondissements sitting in the shadow of the famous Eiffel Tower. It is the kind of city that everyone should visit at least once.

In a city the size of Paris, with such an incredible reputation, deciding what you should see and do during your time there can feel like an impossible task. While it is impossible to absorb everything the city has to offer during a single vacation, if you choose to indulge in the choices below, you can be confident you have sampled the very best of the French capital.

Things To Do In Paris During The Day

First and foremost, let’s discuss the tower in the corner of the room; the Eiffel Tower. It is the symbol of Paris — and, in fact, of the entirety of France — that we can all recognize, and a visit is a must for any Parisian tourist. You can enjoy the restaurants located around the tower itself, then take the lift to the top for the perfect bird’s eye view of the entire city. The Eiffel Tower is an expected part of any Paris trip, and if you skip it, there will be a part of you that will always feel that you didn’t quite do Paris right.

With your tower visit ticked off, you can begin to explore the rest of what Paris has to offer. Your next stop should be the Louvre, one of the most famous art galleries in the world, and home to some of the most celebrated paintings. The Mona Lisa is a must-see, as well as the Venus De Milo and the Virgin on the Rocks— works so well-known, so recognizable, you don’t even have to name their artist. They are just a part of popular consciousness, and you should take the time to see the originals for themselves.

Outside of the art and the tower, Paris still has plenty to offer even the most seasoned tourist. The Cathedral of Notre Dame is a worthwhile visit, though Hugo’s hunchback won’t be in residence when you visit. You can also take a boat ride along the River Seine; or shop up a storm in the famous Avenue Montaigne and the Champs-Elysées area.

Finally, you can tour the city to see the remnants of the Bastille; the infamous French prison that was stormed on July 14th 1789, triggering the French Revolution. The prison itself is no longer standing, but you can follow guided tours to see what remains of this important French historical landmark.

Things To Do In Paris At Night

After a busy day of sightseeing, don’t hurry to bed too soon– Paris still has plenty to be experienced when the sun has gone down.

Take a trip to the Moulin Rouge; the famous cabaret that inspired a movie, though the real experience is vastly superior to the fare offered by Nicole Kidman and Ewan McGregor. See the can-can performed in its natural setting, then enjoy the surrounding bars and clubs for a night that you will never forget.

Alternatively, if you’re feeling the need to burn some calories after sampling so much delicious French food, then head for a nighttime swim at the Piscine Pontoise. Located on the 5th arrondissement in the historic Latin Quarter, the Piscine Pontoise promises a luxurious spa and swimming experience that you will welcome after a busy day sightseeing.

UNESCO World Heritage Sites

Paris itself is home to a single World Heritage Site…

  • The Banks of the River Seine were designated a world heritage site in 1991, so go for a stroll, admire the view, and sample the bars and patisseries that line the water’s edge.

However, within the same region — and within easy day trip distance — you can also find:

  • The Palace of Versailles. This stunning palace, created by the “Sun King” Louis XIV in the 17th century, remains one of the most glorious architectural achievements in the history of humankind. Stroll the gardens, delight in the Hall of Mirrors, and walk in the footsteps of kings. Versailles is within an hour’s traveling time of Paris, and it’s a journey you’re never going to regret making.
  • The Palace of Fontainebleau is another excellent choice. You can explore this Medieval chateaux and discover the boudoir of the ill-fated Marie Antoinette; the Throne Room of Napoleon, and many other historically significant chambers.

Tourist Tips

If you have been persuaded and are certain that Paris is the next great destination for you, then the advice below will come in handy.

Tipping Custom

Service gratuity is always included in the bill when you dine in Parisian restaurants, so you do not need to worry about calculating a percentage and leaving a tip. If you do wish to tip, then do so in cash, discreetly. Most tips of this kind will be placed into a common fund and divided equally. Furthermore, for other service staff such as hotel porters or cab drivers, you can tip if you choose, but it is not expected.

Airport Link

Charles De Gaulle Airport it’s the mail airport serving Paris. It is located around 25 kilometres from the city centre, so a taxi to Paris may be your best bet. You can use the public transport options, including the metro, which function adequately if not perfectly.

Navigating The City

Paris can be somewhat confusing to navigate. It is inadvisable to try and drive; the roads are small and tough to adapt to. However, the metro system is a fine way to travel; it’s not the best in the world, but it’s more than serviceable. Buses are more hit and miss, but if you plan your route beforehand, you should be able to manage.

In Conclusion

Paris has always been, and remains, one of the greatest cities on earth. If you decide to visit, you’ll soon see for yourself what this Gallic wonder has to offer. Whether your visit be in the springtime, the summer, or the fall, Paris will never disappoint.

Europe

Athens Travel Guide

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Europe Athens Travel Guide written by admin November 16, 2017

Is there a city draped with more history than Athens? This place is the home of Greek mythology and offers so much for tourists to take in. From the ancient Greek ruins to the phenomenally delicious feta cheese and souvlaki; there’s something for every traveller to love.

If you’re planning a trip to Athens, then we’ve got you covered. Think of us as your personal tour guide, showing you all the best places to go, and all the tips you need to know before you travel. Read on if you want to learn more about travelling to this great Greek city.

Top Tourist Information Tips About Athens

We think it’s important to arm yourself with as much tourist information as possible before your trip. Our tips will help you understand the city, learn how to stay safe, and guarantee you don’t waste half your time trying to figure simple things out.

Get A Greek SIM Card

Most mobile phone networks allow you to use your internet outside of your home country without extra charges. While this is great, the service you get is normally the issue. Bearing that in mind, there are loads of little SIM card stalls set up around Athens. You’ll find them outside the main transport stations, and you can bag yourself a very cheap card with bags of data on it. Now, use it to load up Google Maps or order your train tickets online – simple!

Learn A Bit Of Greek

When you live in Athens, you become very proud of your Greek heritage. As such, the locals take pride in all things Greek, including the language. While you shouldn’t struggle with a language barrier – most people speak some English because of all the tourism – knowing a little Greek can go a long way. You’ll gain the respect of the locals, even if you only say ‘Hello’ or order a coffee in Greek. They’ll love that you made an effort, and you could get rewarded with an even better service.

Sample Greek Cuisine

If you’ve never eaten Greek food before, now is the time to start. Athens is host to loads of different restaurants, ranging from fine-dining feasts to little independent cafes. Try a whole host of Greek delights such as souvlaki, gyros, moussaka, feta cheese, and classic Greek yoghurt. You might think you’ve tried Greek yoghurt before, if you’ve eaten it at home, but it’s on a whole other level here in Athens, trust me!

Watch Out For Protests

As amazing as Athens is, it’s the capital city of a country undergoing some political and economic unrest at the moment. The issues with the Greek economy are well documented, and this means protests, strikes, and demonstrations are fairly common. If you see a crowd of people all chanting or marching in a main area of town, keep your distance! You don’t want to end up in the middle of a protest, particularly as you don’t live here and have nothing to protest about.

Bring Footwear With Good Grip

The cool thing about Athens is that the streets are like no other. While most places deal with boring old concrete floor and steps, Athens is covered in marble. This creates a stunning look, but it’s also somewhat dangerous. Marble can be slippery, so ensure you bring footwear with a good grip to stop yourself from sliding all over the place.

Top Things To See & Do In Athens

Athens is one of those places where you’re encouraged to stay as long as possible because there are too many things to see and do. Even if you’re there for a week, you’ll struggle to see everything. In this section, we’ve listed the best of the best things to experience in Greece’s capital city.

Acropolis of Athens

You’ll notice a lot of the things on this list revolve around Ancient Greece. There are simply so many amazing sights here that showcase the classical architecture of the Greek empire. The Acropolis needs to be the first stop on your trip, it’s a monument that sits pretty on a hilltop, surveying all of Athens. You’ll have no trouble finding is as you can see it from almost anywhere in the city. Go on a short hike up there, and you’ll see some unbelievable ruins that make you feel as though you’re in a movie about Greek mythology.

Parthenon

The Parthenon is a beautiful piece of architecture that will leave your mouth hanging wide open. It’s a huge temple built entirely out of white marble. Marvel at its grandeur, and take a look inside at the different statues living there. Again, the perfect way to immerse yourself in Ancient Greece.

Temple of Hephaestus

It’s almost worrying how well this temple has held up over the years. There’s a certain mystical feeling around it; it defies belief. As far as temples go, this one is impeccably preserved close to its original form. Well worth seeing, if only to add another picture to a growing Instagram collection.

Museums In Athens

As well as historical sites, there are plenty of great museums to enjoy in Athens too. One of the main ones is the Benaki Museum which mainly shows off Greek art through the ages. It’s a beautiful place, and the artwork is simply stunning too. As well as this there’s the Acropolis Museum, which is all about archaeology. Honestly, who knew rocks could be so interesting?! A fascinating visit for any Athens travellers.

Temple of Olympian Zeus

Imagine visiting the home of Greek mythology and not seeing the Temple of Olympian Zeus. Perhaps the most iconic Greek God of all, his temple is the largest in the entire country. Seriously, it’s huge. It’s also right in the middle of the city, which makes the size seem all the more impressive. Again, just a beautiful sight to behold.

Plaka District

Amongst all the museums and historical ruins, there’s still some simple beauty in this great city. The Plaka District is a cute neighbourhood full of history. You’ll find it on your way to the Acropolis; it’s hard to miss. The streets are so narrow, and colourful flowers juxtapose the old floor tiles. You won’t find any cars here, so you’re free to walk around and admire all the little shops and buildings you see. It’s the oldest area of the city, and we strongly advise you spend a good few hours wandering these tiny streets.

Transportation In Athens

A lot of people don’t realise how big Athens is as a city. As such, many arrive here and have trouble getting around as they assumed they could walk everywhere. Don’t worry, we’ve got some public transport tips to help your visit run smoothly.

Firstly, there’s a decent metro system in place that’s been around since the 2004 summer Olympics. We suggest that you download and look at the metro map before your visit. It’s easy enough to understand; there are three lines in three different colours. On this map you’ll also see a fourth line that’s a lot thinner, this is the tram network.

When it comes to airport transportation, you can take the metro directly to and from Athens Airport, and there’s also a suburban rail link from Central Station too. There are plenty of bus services running to and from the city as well, and Athens taxi booking is available for quick and more private airport transfers.

There you have it, you’re now ready for an exciting trip to Athens! Bookmark this guide and refer back to it, so you have a good plan for your visit. Make the most of your stay as this is a city you really need to appreciate.

Europe

Why Visit Barcelona for Your Next Holiday?

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Europe Why Visit Barcelona for Your Next Holiday? written by admin November 16, 2017

Barcelona is one of the most popular destinations to visit in Europe. Many people think of it as the ultimate party destination thanks to its nightlife and beaches, but it’s also a place to explore history, art and to also give your taste buds a good workout.

  • Exciting bike tours. One of the best ways to get around Barcelona is via bike, and there are plenty of tour guides that offer guided bike tours to give you a rundown on the main attractions and landmarks in Barcelona.
  • A city oozing with art. Many of the monuments in Barcelona are designed by Antoni Gaudi, a popular artist that was born in Reus in Spain. Gaudi was an architect that played a huge part in the growth of Barcelona. The Casa Vicens, Parc Guell and Palau Guell were all designed by Gaudi. If you’ve got a keen eye for art, then you will quickly be able to identify more Gaudi buildings by simply walking around.
  • Bustling nightlife. Barcelona is a hotspot for partygoers. If you can’t resist jumping into a club late at night and partying till the early morning, then Barcelona is a place you do not want to miss. Although it may lack some diversity compared to London or Berlin, it still packs a lot of excitement that has to be experienced.
  • Fantastic weather. Of course, we can’t forget about the weather in Barcelona. The summers are scorching hot, making it perfect to take a swim or relax on the beach.
  • Golden beaches. As a city on the edge of the sea, there’s no shortage of coastline that touches the crystal blue waters. With warm sands, a shining sun and gentle waves, could you ask for more for a beach holiday?
  • Soccer hotspot. Love soccer? Then you don’t want to miss out on watching the games here. Barcelona’s home team is incredibly popular and successful, currently sitting at the top of the La Liga standings. You’ll get to watch plenty of games during your stay (as long as it’s during the season) and you’ll be hard-pressed to find someone a local doesn’t enjoy a good game of soccer.
  • Delicious food. The Mediterranean diet is one that includes a lot of vegetables, seafood and olive oil. Whether it’s fresh seafood plucked straight from the waters or fresh vegetables that were grown on the soil you’re walking on, Barcelona has a thriving foodie community that is becoming a huge hit with tourists.
  • Popular fashion destination. If you’ve got an interest in fashion, then you’ll be glad to hear that Barcelona is still a popular fashion destination.
  • A shopper’s paradise. Thanks to the bustling fashion scene in Barcelona, there are plenty of big-name brands that operate in Barcelona. Whether it’s clothes, electronics or even art that you want to purchase, you’ll find it in Barcelona’s markets and malls.
  • Activities no matter where you go. Barcelona is a city that is filled with countless activities. No matter where you go, no matter what time it is, there’s always something to do and enjoy in Barcelona.
  • Varied entertainment. One moment you could be on the beach enjoying a drink and soaking in the sun, and the next you’ll be touring a local museum to learn about the history of Barcelona. There’s varied entertainment in Barcelona, and you’ll find it difficult to choose where to go.
  • Contemporary art. Barcelona has a thriving contemporary art scene thanks to artists like Salvador Dali that have boosted the city’s reputation as an artistic one. The contemporary art scene is solid here and there are many reputable museums and galleries for you to visit. But in addition to the luxurious museums, there’s also a thriving street art scene that has attracted people all over the world.

Survival Tips to Help You Enjoy Barcelona

Arriving in Barcelona

In most cases, you’ll arrive at El Prat Airport which is one of the main airports for Barcelona. You may want to consider Barcelona airport transfers to the city when you arrive. There will be customer service desks where you can hire a taxi to travel to your chosen accommodation, but you could also take the bus from the airport terminal. If you’re using a budget airline, then you will likely end up in Girona-Costa Brava airport or Reus airport.

Transport Options

Once you’ve arrived at your hotel or accommodation of choice, you’ll be greeted with many different options for getting around Barcelona. To start, the metro is perhaps the most convenient option that runs until midnight. You can purchase passes that have a certain amount of uses, and it’s fairly cheap to use the metro in conjunction with walking to get around. If you prefer a more scenic route, then there are buses that will be handy for people that want to explore the sights and sounds of Barcelona. If you prefer a private transport option, then consider riding a taxi to your destination. Bicycle hire is always common and there are plenty of bike lanes around the city that make it safe. You can even take your bike onto a train to mix the two together. Alternatively, you could always walk around on foot.

Free WiFi

Barcelona contains over 400 free WiFi access spots, making it simple for you to stay connected and get free internet access to look for new places to visit or to help you find your way around town. Simply look for the big blue W sign and, assuming you’re within range, connect to the WiFi hotspot and you’ll have internet access. Keep in mind that the public WiFi spots usually close after 10:00 pm.

Petty Crime

Although violent crimes aren’t common in Barcelona, petty crimes like stolen goods and pickpocketing are common thanks to Barcelona’s reputation as a popular tourist destination. Keep your belongings safe and don’t take any risks when lugging your bags around to find your hotel.

Things to Do in Barcelona

Las Ramblas

Las Ramblas is the name given to a street in Barcelona. It’s directly in the centre of the city, meaning it gets plenty of attention both tourists and locals. The draw to Las Ramblas is that it has a reputation of housing some of the most amazing stores and attractions that you can find in the whole of Barcelona. To make exploring Las Ramblas a little easier, here are some of the most popular attractions.

  • La Boqueria – La Boqueria is a huge market with plenty of stalls that sell some of the freshest fruits, vegetables, seafood and snacks that you’ll find in Barcelona. It’s a popular destination for the locals to get their ingredients from, but there are also some food stalls and tasting opportunities to bed had if you’re feeling adventurous. This is a fantastic place to start your journey in Barcelona.
  • The Miro Mural – This beautiful mural was designed and made by Joan Miro directly onto the street. It’s a beautiful piece of art that many of the locals simply walk past because they’re so used to seeing it. However, for a tourist, it’s a beautiful sight that demands your attention.
  • Bike Rental – Las Ramblas can be explored on both foot and bike. If you want to cover more ground, then consider renting a bike to make it a little more relaxing and to save your feet. Just be careful that you don’t bump into anyone.
  • Human Statues – Some may find them eerie, others will call them fascinating. Whatever your opinion on them, there’s no denying that street performers add a touristy touch to Las Ramblas and make it feel much more lively. If you’re impressed, then feel free to throw some coins into their boxes as a token of appreciation or a sign of respect for their craft. There are other stress performers, but human statues are the most common.
  • Theater Shows – Liceu Theater is located in Las Ramblas and offers plenty of live performances. Like any theatre, the choice on offer will change often so it’s a good idea to book your tickets in advance.

Museu Picasso

Pablo Picasso is one of the most famous names that you’ll ever hear when it comes to art. This young genius created thousands of works that have been immortalized in this iconic art gallery. With over 4,200 works in this museum alone, there’s no shortage of wonders to discover and there are plenty of learning opportunities for you to discover more about Picasso’s relationship with Barcelona.

Palau de la Musica Catalana

If it’s music and concerts you love, then don’t miss out on the Palau de la Musica Catalana. The schedule is constantly changing, so make sure you check the website for information on who is performing and when to help you plan a fantastic trip to this heritage site.

Camp Nou Stadium

As mentioned before, Barcelona is one of the most popular destinations for soccer fans thanks to the country’s deep involvement in the sport. It’s one of the largest soccer stadiums in the world and can seat close to 100,000 fans. If you visit during the football season, then you’re guaranteed to be able to catch a few games during your stay.

Barcelona Cathedral

The Barcelona Cathedral, also known in full as The Cathedral of the Holy Cross and Saint Eulalia, is a gothic masterpiece located in the heart of Barcelona. The stained windows date back over 500 years, and the architecture shows that this was once a bustling church that served many devout followers. Nowadays, it’s a popular tourist attraction that simply can’t be missed if you love historical sites.

Park Guell

Park Guell is considered one of the masterpieces of Antoni Gaudi. Considered a UNESCO World Heritage Site, it’s a beautiful urban park that features plenty of greenery in addition to mosaics and sculptures that were designed by Antoni Gaudi himself. It doesn’t cost much to enter but it can be rather packed during busy holiday seasons.

Palau Guell

Another project that was designed by Antoni Gaudi, this beautiful palace was once home to Eusebi Guell. If you love Gaudi’s work, then you’ll be excited to explore one of his earliest architectural designs. There are tours available which will help to enhance the experience with descriptions and additional information, and they are recommended over wandering in by yourself.

Barri Gotic

Barri Gotic is a unique gothic location that features interesting restaurants, bars and clubs that come together in a medieval style. Many of the buildings in this location are still standing from when the Romans inhabited Barcelona which gives it a different look to the rest of the city. It gives you a unique glimpse into what life would’ve been like many years ago. Nowadays, it has been repurposed into a fun and exciting medieval destination that offers plenty of food, souvenirs and hidden alleys to explore.

Santa Maria del Mar

This spectacular gothic-styled church is the last surviving one to be built in this pure Catalan style. It took roughly 55 years to build in the 1300s, and it has a tall and imposing design that can make anyone feel small and insignificant. The architectural style is a marvel and the proportions make it seem almost otherworldly had it not been built by human hands. Tours are common and the Santa Maria del Mar is typically packed with tourists and locals during the holiday season. There are also rooftop tours that will give you a unique perspective of this gothic masterpiece.

La Sagrada Familia

This large unfinished Roman Catholic church is yet another design by Antoni Gaudi. It was sustained by donations when the project started in 1882, and although construction moved along at a steady pace, it was interrupted by the Spanish Civil war. It’s expected that the church will finish construction in 2026—100 years after Gaudi’s death. It’s a must-visit location for anyone in Barcelona, but be sure to prebook to avoid huge queues. Tickets are usually sold out weeks in advance, so make sure you book it around the time you plan your flight to avoid disappointment.

Europe

Amsterdam Travel Guide

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Europe Amsterdam Travel Guide written by admin November 16, 2017

Amsterdam; one of Europe’s most beautiful cities and a fantastic place to visit. It’s the type of place you can go to for a short weekend break or a long two-week holiday. There is so much to enjoy in this fair city, so allow us to guide you through it all.

We’ve got tips, sightseeing advice, and even some help with getting around. Feast your eyes on all of this, right here:

Top Amsterdam Tourist Tips

Before we start detailing all the cool and fun things to do and see, it’s important you learn a few vital tourist tips before your trip. They’ll help keep you safe, as well as allowing you to get the most out of your stay in this beautiful city.

Watch out for pickpockets in Centraal station

Amsterdam’s Centraal Station is one of the main public transport hubs in the city. No doubt you’ll spend a lot of time here, but you must keep your wits about you. Pickpockets often roam the station, so ensure you always have hold of your possessions and never let your guard down.

Be aware of bike lanes

If you’ve ever done any research into Amsterdam, you’ll know it’s a city famous for a few things. There’s the red light district, Dutch pancakes, waffles, and bikes! Yes, Amsterdam has a high concentration of cyclists and plenty of bike lanes to help them get around. Now, imagine everything that makes someone a bad cyclist, and you’ve pretty much summed up all the bike riders here! They rarely pay attention to the rules and will cycle down the wrong bike lanes without a care in the world. Loads of tourists get hurt in bike accidents, so be aware of any bike lanes and check both ways even if the lane states it’s one-way.

Bring mosquito repellent

Amsterdam is not somewhere you tend to go when you’re looking for some sun and beaches. As such, you don’t expect there to be mosquitos flying about in a relatively mild climate. However, there are loads of the little blighters, particularly during summer time. Our advice is to bring mosquito repellent, so you’re not eaten alive.

Don’t leave without trying local food (kroketten)

If there’s one tourist tip I value above all else, it’s this one. Food is always a fun thing to try when you go abroad, and Amsterdam is home to some amazing Dutch dishes. We suggest you try kroketten, which is Dutch for croquettes – they’re unlike anything you’ve ever tasted. Also, make sure you double check the ingredients when buying any baked goods from a shop here!

Avoid taking photos in the red light district

The red light district has become an iconic part of Amsterdam. It’s somewhere everyone wants to go, just to have a look around. One tip here is to avoid taking photos in this area of the city. You can take some of the main street areas, but don’t try taking any of shop windows, etc. It’s a surefire way to attract attention from some burly security guards.

Top Things To Do And See In Amsterdam

Here, we have everyone’s favourite travel guide section; what are the best things to see and do? We’ve got plenty of suggestions, take your pick, or try and tick each one off your travel itinerary!

Anne Frank’s House

It’s a travesty if you come to Amsterdam and don’t take the time to visit Anne Frank’s house. This is probably the most iconic thing in a city full of iconic things. Everyone knows the story of Anne Frank, and it’s incredibly poignant going to the place where everything actually happened. There’s a museum there now, detailing different information about World War 2 and the struggles the family went through. Even if you’re not a history buff, you have to go here.

Museumplein

Museumplein is a large public space located in one of Amsterdams most arty districts. As the name suggests, it’s home to plenty of museums. The whole area has undergone major developments to make it a place of cultural wonder. There’s the legendary Rijksmuseum which is home to loads of great exhibits and a plethora of art. Close by you will find the Van Gogh Museum that showcases some iconic work from Amsterdam’s most famous artist of all time. You’ll find a few other museums dotted nearby too, as well as a large open space to walk around and enjoy. Come here during the winter, and you’ll even be treated to an ice rink!

Amsterdam’s Canals

Some say you cannot leave Amsterdam without taking a tour around the many canals throughout the city. There are boats offering tours all over the place; it’s a really good way of seeing more of the city at a nice slow pace. If you want, you can even rent a pedal boat and steer your own way around these delightful waterways.

Red Light District

We mentioned it earlier, and the Red Light District has to feature on this list of things to do and see in Amsterdam. It’s gained a fairly bad reputation – for quite obvious reasons – but it’s nowhere near as bad as you think. It’s become a place tourists go to just look around and laugh at how extraordinary it is. To be honest, you can’t not go here, even if it’s just for ten seconds to see one of the most historic places in all of Western Europe.

Jordaan

Towards the centre of Amsterdam, you’ll find a quaint little neighbourhood known as Jordaan. From humble beginnings this area has worked, it’s way to the top of every tourist’s ‘must-see’ list. It’s packed full of artsy culture, with loads of independent hipster shops and coffee houses for you to enjoy. Not to mention the fact all the houses look cute, and the architecture is phenomenal. It’s somewhere you can go to just get lost in the city and really get a feel for the roots of Amsterdam.

Transport Options In Amsterdam

One of the main transport options in Amsterdam is a bike. You can rent one and use it to get around the city without having to pay for any public transport. We recommend this, but be wary of other cyclists and pedestrians!

As far as public transport goes, there’s a complete network of trams, buses, trains, and a metro system. Everything can be paid for using an OV-chipkaart, which is their card system for loading up credit. You can also purchase a range of different tickets lasting from one day to one week.

What transport options are there to get from Amsterdam airport to city centre, and vice versa? You’ll be pleased to know there’s a train that runs directly from Centraal Station to Schiphol International airport. This is by far your easiest and fastest option, the train is available every 15 minutes or so, and you can get it from 6 am to 1 am.

There are also airport taxi services as well as Airport Shuttles that can take you to one of the many hotels throughout the city. The shuttles run every ten minutes or so, and are easily signposted in the airport. Regardless of your choice of transport, we recommend booking in advance to avoid the rush.

You won’t regret your decision to choose Amsterdam as your next travel location. There’s almost too much to see and do here; it will definitely require a follow-up trip! Use this guide to help plan your trip, so you’re more organised, safe, and get to experience all the great things this city has to offer.

Europe

Budapest Travel Guide

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Europe Budapest Travel Guide written by admin November 16, 2017

The Hungarian capital of Budapest is a fascinating city. It welcomes millions of primarily European visitors each year. The main tourist season runs from April to October. However, the city’s hot selling points continue to attract a growing number of guests outside of these times too. Aside from being Hungary’s most popular destination by far, it is also among the most visited spots in the EU too.

Budapest is a brilliant destination for families, backpackers, and couples. Meanwhile, its position of power in business and stock exchange markets make it a commonplace for commercial visits. So, if you’re planning to take a trip, here’s what you need to know about staying in the famous city.

The Basics Of Budapest

Budapest is located towards the northern central region of Hungary. The city accounts for roughly one-third of the country’s entire population. It is a fascinating capital, and its name derives from the fact it connects the hills of Buda with the flat terrains of Pest. The Chain Bridge, which was built in the 19th century, is what links the two areas to create the capital city.

Despite being in the EU, Hungary still uses the Hungarian forint as its currency. While talks to adopt the Euro started nearly 15 years ago, there is no date for that change to happen. As the country’s main city, though, finding places to exchange Euros, US dollars, and British pounds isn’t tough. Alternatively, ATMs are pretty commonplace.

Budapest falls into the Central European Time Zone while Hungarian is its only official language. But with nearly one in five Hungarians speaking English (that rate is even higher in Budapest) you should be able to get around with relative ease. Alternatively, if you can speak German than this should come in useful too.

Getting To Budapest

While non-commercial airports exist, Budapest’s international tourism is served by one airport. Budapest Ferenc Liszt International Airport primarily handles European flights. But it does fly to/from parts of Africa and North America too.

BUD is located 10 miles from the city centre, towards the southeast. The most comfortable way to travel from Budapest airport to city centre is via taxi. Bus shuttles are another option but will take a lot more time while train services are probably more hassle than they are worth. Private care hires are an alternative idea. However, given the city’s quality internal transport facilities, it would be a waste.

Aviation isn’t the only option. Many mainland Europeans actually arrive in Budapest via car while train links to Austria and Slovakia are also pretty good. So, if you are taking in Budapest as part of a tour, it’s worth taking this factor into account.

City Travel

As a city comprised of two parts in Buda and Pest, you would be forgiven for thinking that getting around would be difficult. However, the public transport facilities are among the most advanced in Europe.

A network of trams, buses, and underground metro lines all operate under the Centre for Budapest Transport. This offers quick access to all corners of the capital. The company also provides day tickets that can be used across multiple transport types. Meanwhile, taxis and bicycle hiring offer alternative options at ground level.

The river Danube isn’t traditionally used for transport within the city. However, passenger boat rides and cruises do offer a fantastic activity for seeing both sides of the city like never before. Alternatively, private helicopter rides offer a panoramic view of a truly incredible city too.

What To Do

Good travel links are only worthwhile when there’s something worth seeing at the end of the journey. Budapest boasts a varied and vibrant nightlife. Whether you wish to catch a show at the Erkel Theatre (or one of the others) or hit the town’s clubs is up to you. Either way, you will not get bored with those offerings. The city also boasts three fantastic casinos and Kincse racetrack.

Budapest boasts a rich history in the realms of sport, music, and fashion too. Given that those aspects of life are constantly changing, you’ll have to conduct further research closer to your trip. Still, these environments are sure to provide plenty of entertainment.

The Hungarian capital also boasts a lot of historical significance, not least due to its role in the Austro-Hungarian Empire. However, it’s Celtic and Roman influences are also visible. This manifest itself most evidently through an array of wonderful architecture. The parliament buildings are sure to impress any visitor while Matthias Church and other important buildings are a joy to behold.

Budapest also pays homage to pivotal moments in history. From Heroes’ Square to the Holocaust Memorial, there’s a fantastic chance to learn and reflect while enjoying the delights of the capital. Meanwhile, an afternoon at Fisherman’s Bastion is a must for anyone that loves history, architecture, or stunning sceneries.

It’s not all about historical landmarks, though. The chocolate museum is just one example of Budapest’s fun side. A plethora of aquariums, national parks, and activities are sure to keep everyone from children to grandparents happy. Equally great family adventures await at Aquaworld waterpark and Vidam’s theme park.

For those simply seeking a little relaxation during their stay, the city’s spa tours at Gellert and Szechenyi Baths are ideal solutions. Budapest is a city blessed with wonderful culture, history, and entertainment. Regardless of what you want from a short stay or the duration of it, there should be no problem filling your time in a productive fashion.

Where To Stay

The first major dilemma is whether to stay in the hilly Buda or the flat Pest. The flat side is probably better for those wanting to enjoy the busy nightlife. Conversely, those wanting picturesque views will prefer the hills. Moreover, you’ll want to consider practical features such as physical limitations. Either way, it’s important to remember that the attractions are split across the two sides of the river.

There is a range of great places to stay on either side. Whether it’s five-star luxury or a cheap and cheerful B&B is up to you. Meanwhile, private apartments are another option to consider. When doing your research, it’s worth looking at hiring homes through the appropriate agents. Either way, booking solo is often advised over using a travel agent.

Those who wish to play it safe will stick to chains like Ibis. However, there’s no doubt that Budapest is a city decorated with quaint and unique accommodation also. Frankly, only you know what type of place you’ll prefer. As long as you consider all elements, you should have very little hassle.

Where To Eat

As a major city, it’s hardly surprising to learn about Budapest’s array of franchised restaurants and fast food joints. While they can serve a purpose when you are on the go, it would be a shame to miss out on the delicacies of Hungary.

Goulash is the national dish. Even if you’ve tried it in other parts of eastern Europe, a stay in Budapest isn’t complete without trying this dish at a local restaurant. Fine dining can include caviar in simply stunning surroundings fit for an important business district. However, there are wonderful options for people of all budgets and taste preferences. Szimpla Kert is one that’s always worth a visit.

As far as treats are concerned, Langos should be top of the agenda. However, Budapest is also known for Dobos torta sponge cake too. If you have a sweet tooth, you’ll be in Hungarian heaven.