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OK, so obviously you wouldn’t be pondering what to do in Ljubljana if you weren’t either there or planning to go. Lucky you!  A truly great destination, Ljubljana is one of the most exciting places you can possibly visit. The Slovenian capital is filled with over 10,000 cultural events each year. It has some of the finest museums, galleries, and entertainment centers in Eastern Europe. Also, the Old Town is definitely worth checking out, as it hides some of the real gems of historic European architecture.

Where should you stay?

Before you start looking at what to do in Ljubljana your going to have to find a place to stay. If you’re in Ljubljana to visit the city’s famous historic center or the beautiful Ljubljana Castle, there’s no better place to stay at than the Hotel Cubo. Here you can even see the Castle from virtually every room. It has a very comfortable feel with contemporary interior design and décor. It also has all the hi-tech amenities including Wi-Fi and a number of ultra-modern features. You will definitely enjoy your experience here.

Anyone wanting a completely new experience while visiting Slovenia simply has to check into the Hotel Nox. In this highly unique, ultramodern and well-situated hotel, every room offers a different luxury experience. The staff is also very helpful and friendly providing you with everything you need.

Finally, Radisson Blu Plaza Hotel Ljubljana is the most practical choice if you’re visiting Slovenia for business. The modern interior, the lounge area, and the service are all top notch. You definitely won’t have any trouble sleeping in the comfortable beds and well-kept, modernly designed rooms.

Where to eat in Ljubljana?  A few unique places to eat in Ljubljana

Now that you found a place to check in, it may be high time to get some lunch or perhaps dinner, depending on when you arrive. Fortunately, Ljubljana has no shortage of excellent food places:

One of the most affordable, pleasant and unique eateries in the city is the Druga Violina. This place is close to the Academy of Music and is also a social enterprise for people with disabilities. You can enjoy many delicious local dishes such as obara, a delicious stew made from chicken and vegetables.

What’s better than seafood when you’re out exploring the Old Town? If it’s seafood you crave thanTaverna Tatjana is the place to go to. Truly delight your taste buds with some Croatian fish stew or cuttlefish black risotto.

Finally, it’s definitely worth checking out Gelateria Romantika for some of the most delicious ice cream you’ve ever tasted. Sure, you can get all the classics but I bet you’re the adventurous type. If not than muster some courage and try out some unexpected flavors such as cucumber or pumpkin seed oil.

What to do in Ljubljana? Old Town, Triple Bridge, Ljubljana Cathedral and more.

With a place to stay and a full stomach lets look at what to do in Ljubljana. As a first-time visitor in Ljubljana, you’ll definitely want to check out the Old Town. Here the streets are pedestrianized so that the roads are filled with tables, umbrellas, terraces, stands and, of course, plenty of tourists. The Old Town also hides many true wonders of Slovenian architecture, such as the Town Hall, the Triple Bridge, and the majestic Ljubljana Cathedral.

Art enthusiasts will quickly fall in love with Metelkova Mesto. This special area of the city is a unique art district that was originally a squat area. The place truly livens up at night and proves itself to be one of the largest, most original and most modern center of underground art and music in the entire region.

Finally, if you don’t really like the faster pace of the big city – although, among large European cities, Ljubljana is certainly one of the more peaceful ones – you can take a relaxing retreat visiting the fabulous Tivoli park. This place offers a stunning view of the natural landscape, comfy benches, a cozy cafe and even the chance to spot a red squirrel on occasion.

More to Do in Ljubljana? Explore the unexplored

OK, if you’re not finding fun interesting things to do in Ljubljana yet then you’re definitely doing something wrong.  Still, let’s dig a little deeper.  Are you a food lover? I know, we already went over some of the best eats in Ljubljana but this is different. There’s a lesser known place called the Vodnik Square.

This is a comprehensive, open-air market that features anything from fresh fruit to gourmet ingredients you can scarcely find anywhere else. It’s not only a great place to walk through and find friendly crowds, but it’s also situated strategically close to some of the city’s finest cafes and bakeries.

What to do in Ljubljana in one day? A day off the beaten path

The great thing about visiting the Slovenian capital is that, as soon as you get to the city center (or in case you’re already there, provided that your hotel is nearby), virtually every important scene or venue is within walking distance. This makes finding fun and unique things to do in Ljubljana really super easy.

You can start the day with breakfast at Le Petit cafe.  Grab a seat outside and enjoy the peaceful quiet setting.  It can become busy at times so arrive early. If it’s Sunday, you might choose to simply have a quick meal at the hotel. With breakfast out of the way head down to the Sunday market. It’s open from 8 AM to 2 PM, and it will allow you to find anything from old vintage postcards and memorabilia, to various knickknacks that you really can’t find anywhere else.

Since the market is close to the river, you can choose to get a boat ride. There are many companies offering outstanding service and picturesque boat rides you can enjoy in full, without spending too much money.

Even on the off chance that there aren’t any important cultural events that might interest you on the day of your visit, you can still visit one of Ljubljana’s outstanding museums and art galleries. The City Museum offers the most beautiful contemporary art exhibitions, and you can also head down to the Museum of Modern Art, where regular exhibitions are organized at the Modern Galerija.

For a more comprehensive and informational look at the city, you can also consider one of the numerous sightseeing and walking tours. Among the latter are the Ljubljana Free Tour and the Ljubljana Food Tour. These are probably the most recommended for first-time visitors. You should also check out the unique and exciting Ljubljana Urban Adventure tours. These tours can give you a truly expansive view of the city’s historical heritage.  What I like about it is that it’s far more informal and spontaneous than most other tours you can enjoy.

As the day draws to a close, you simply have to take a few evening and night shots of the Franciscan Church. You did bring your camera right? It’s one of the city’s most imposing and beautiful buildings.

Ljubljana is certainly worth taking a closer look at, whether you’re on a quick city getaway, a business trip, or a lengthier holiday vacation. While the Slovenian capital is quickly gaining in popularity, it still qualifies as one of Europe’s genuine “hidden gems.”

What did you do in Ljubljana?

You won’t be the last person wondering what to do in Ljubljana so please make sure you come back and tell us what you did!  If you’ve already been there please leave some ideas in the comments below to help a fellow traveler out.

The most populous and well-known metropolis in British Columbia, Vancouver is one Canadian city you should never pass up visiting. Known as a busy port city and ethnically diverse place it’s also one the best arts and music cities in Western Canada. It’s also a well-known filming location.  Sound good?  Great, because Vancouver is all that and were just getting started!

The Best Luxury Hotels on the West Coast

When you first visit Vancouver, it may be a good idea to find a well-known and respected hotel. Fortunately, there are a whole lot of those here. The Loden Hotel is just an example, albeit quite an excellent one. Close to the sea, it offers a beautiful view, as well as an intimate setting, unique design and perfect layouts for the rooms.

A truly remarkable historic hotel, the St. Regis is another great option. It features clean, comfortable and discreet rooms, fitted with all the modern necessities and even luxuries that you might want. The hotel is also close to a main shopping center and the harbor, so you will have no issues getting around.

A great third pick is the Fairmont Pacific Rim. The service is as professional as you might find in the most well-known and respected hotels in the world.  You will enjoy unique benefits such as courtesy bikes, state-of-the-art controls for lighting and electronics, and one of the best spas in the city.  Who doesn’t want to get refreshed and enjoy a soothing massage after a long trip?

Excellent Food Places to Choose from

Nothing makes you more hungry than exploring the streets of an interesting city.  In Vancouver, they have virtually every types of restaurants and food venues you might be interested in.

For some delicious oriental treats, the most happening place to visit is The Orchid Restaurant. This place serves the best Thai food, and the service is equally impressive. You’ll basically enjoy every step of the experience, from cocktails to entrees, and you never have to wait too long to be served.

If you want some cheaper, yet equally delicious food, go to The Pie Shoppe. Here, you can enjoy the most delightful freshly baked pies, and coffee aficionados will be glad to know they serve only the most refined organic, single-origin coffee.

Finally, a French cafe and lunch spot you simply have to check out is Thierry. From delicious salted caramel macaroons, to sumptuous cakes, gourmet baguettes and quality coffee, there aren’t many truly great dishes you can’t enjoy here.  The prices are not to bad either.

What to Do in Vancouver

Vancouver is definitely a big place, so there’s plenty to see and lots to do. The first thing to look forward to is a glimpse at island life. Go to Granville Island, and explore the various boutiques, picnic spots or small restaurants and galleries. You could also take a stroll through the lively local market for some unique finds.

Another outstanding natural place to visit is Stanley Park. You can rent bikes and ride around the park to see it in its complete, majestic beauty, or just take a relaxing stroll. The wonderful greenery and long trails will make exploring the park totally worthwhile.  You can also get a ride on horse driven carriage if you prefer to see Stanley Park in style.

The Vancouver Aquarium is always a great place to visit. This is truly a huge place, and you might find it confusing at first, but you certainly get a great show to enjoy.  Wildlife enthusiasts will feel right at home here. The Aquarium is one of the first places in the world where naturalist experts will be present to interpret animal behavior for the visitors. There are plenty of penguins, fish, jellies, sea mammals and snakes to see – a total of more than 30,000 species.

Explorer’s Tips for Visiting Vancouver

Did you know about Vancouver’s “shady” past? For adults only, the Vancouver Police Museum organizes the Sins of the City Walking Tour each year to show you a glimpse into Vancouver as it was during the vice-filled times of opium dens, brothels and bootlegging.

From the well-known Blood Alley to a look at Vancouver’s first jail and the sight of Glassy Jack’s first saloon, there’s a whole lot of ground to cover.  Anyone even remotely interested in Canada’s rich and often intriguing history should definitely check this out.

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A Unique Day Spent in Vancouver

When organizing a unique day of activities and exploring in Vancouver, there almost an endless number of things you can consider.

First of all, in the morning you can get a quick and fulfilling workout, while enjoying a stunning view climbing the Grouse Grind at Grouse Mountain. After you’re done, the best place to relax is Pan Pacific Vancouver’s Spa Utopia.  There you can get a genuine stone massage at LaStone Therapy.

For the adventurers out there, the Indian Arm Luncheon Cruise is the perfect way to see Vancouver from a totally unique perspective – out at sea. You can experience the stunning view of the coastal mountain fjords without even needing much time for it.

There are also plenty of walking tours to enjoy here. Vancouver’s oldest and most historically interesting city, Gastown, can be explored as part of one of these tours. You can check out the renowned steam clock here, and have a quiet cafe at one of the cozy coffee shops nearby.

On Saturday nights, you can get a real thrill at the Pan Pacific.  Enjoy the Italian Opera Buffet, or visit the Richmond Night Market for finding some of the most interesting “treasures” and souvenirs. If you like to get even more of a thrill from Vancouver nights, you can also go skiing at Grouse Mountain. It’s open as late as 10 PM, all year round.

Although Vancouver is a clean, pleasant and overall “well-behaved” city, you’ll find the nightlife to be just as fulfilling as the relaxing beautiful parks and strange museums you visit during the day.  The city’s natural locations and activities can open up immense opportunities for those looking for less mainstream things to do.   You’ll definitely enjoy your stay here in full.

Lima is not only the capital of Peru, it is also an extraordinary place where you can get to know Peruvian culture at its liveliest.  Your going to love sampling the local food and seeking out historic monuments all while enjoying the beauty and richness of the Pacific Ocean.

Where to Stay?

Lima has thousands of hotels and other types of rentals, so whatever your budget, you will surely find the most suitable place. The city has 43 districts, but only a few of them are recommended for tourists. One of these districts is of course the historic center of the city.  This area is where most historic sites are located. The other area is called Miraflores.  It’s an upscale district with plenty of restaurants, bars and hotels of every kind.  You will find budget facilities such as Flying Dog Hostels to fancy places such Sol de Oro or Crowne Plaza.

You may want to look for accommodation in San Isidoro as well.  This neighborhood offers plenty of suitable rooms for backpackers and for those looking for more leisure as well.

Where to Eat?

Whether you are looking for fine dining opportunities, street stalls that provide the best local dishes or anything between the two, Lima will surely astonish.  You will find rich flavors, exotic ingredients and special cooking procedures at many of the local establishments.

One of the dishes you must try is cheviche, a dish made from raw fish marinated in citrus juices. There are places, such as Avenida La Mar called cevicherias that specialize in this dish.  Please try it as no exploration of Lima can be complete without it.

There is another dish that is delicious, but considered to be weird by many: the roasted guinea pig called Cuy. Conquer your reluctance and pop in to Las Tejas in Miraflores for a cuy garnished with yucca – you won’t regret it. If you think your cuy was too heavy, you can try traditional Peruvian drink, the pisco sour, a grape brandy.

What to Do?

The history of Lima dates back to the pre-Columbian era, but most of the old Inca buildings were destroyed by the Spanish who conquered the area in 1532. If you are interested in even older history, Miraflores cradles Huaca Pucllana, a pyramid built between 300-700 AD.  Also, don’t miss the Larco Museum, which features a huge collection of pre-Columbian artifacts, metal and textile objects.

There are two features that make the museum really special.  First, visitors are allowed to take a look at the store rooms to see objects that are not displayed.  Second, there is a room dedicated to only to erotic artifacts which can be, well, interesting to say the least.

Wow! Do I feel inadequate!!

The dominant architectural style of modern day Lima is a combination of renaissance elegance and traditional local building design.  You can see this in the historical center as well as the many buildings and architectural complexes scattered through out the city.  For example, in Main Square you will find the Plaza de Armas, The Plaza de la Vera Cruz or the huge convent of San Francisco.  The later is famous not only for its religious role, but also for its catacombs and huge cemeteries built under the churches. You can explore the Old City either on foot or by bike, there are many bicycle rental shops in the city.

Lima is certainly a city of contrasts and paradoxes. It is located in one of the driest areas on Earth, but it has been very aptly nicknames the Garden City and the home of one of the largest fountain parks in the world. The Magic Water Circuit in the Park of Reserve is among the major attractions of the city.  Thirteen fountains are turned on at 3pm and work until 10:30. To see the show, you will have to pay a less than 2 dollars fee.

City Explorers Tip

There is a place in Lima that the locals know as cat park. The park is officially called Parque Kennedy and it is a place decorated with the most beautiful plants.  It received its unofficial name because it is populated by hundreds of happily purring and stretching cats.  If you love cats or you just want to see this beautiful park, it is in the center of Miraflores.

A Day off the Beaten Path

Lima is a very relaxed and friendly place.  If you think your sightseeing schedule was too tight and you are looking for a more relaxing day, here is an alternative itinerary.  This itinerary will allow you to sample not only beautiful and tasty Lima, but bohemian Lima as well.

Start your day at Pasteleria San Antonio in Avenue Angamos Oeste and have breakfast. Grab a sandwich, a tasty mango juice and a coffee, then head for Gamarra, the city’s garment district in La Victoria. Even if you don’t want to buy anything, the colors, the business of the market will certainly energize and amaze you.  Who knows, maybe you fall in love with an alpaca sweater or shoal – they are beautiful and inexpensive.

After the busy marketplace, it is time to relax a bit. Follow the coastline from Miraflores towards the south and you will soon get to Barranco, the city’s bohemian district. It is a place where poets and artists can show their art to the world.  It’s also a district with lots of great eateries, stylish restaurants and cafes. The area has some beautiful old buildings and a special wooden bridge called El Puente de Los Suspiros (The Bridge of Sighs).  Cross the bridge, then continue to the beach where you can enjoy even more tranquility. If you are hungry, try one of the eateries or restaurants at the beach.  You will find Peruvian, traditional South American and fusion kitchen just as much as European dishes.

As an alternative option for the more daring visitor, you can take in the city’s panorama paragliding as well.  It is an amazing view, indeed, a combination of old and new like nowhere else.

In the evening, you can choose a cozy place in Miraflores or Barranco such as La Noche (most bars usually open at around 9 or 10pm).  Just relax, and reminisce at the days events as you wait for the night to start.  Nights are always exciting in Lima!

Known as Byzantium or Constantinople, Istanbul is the city that has been the link between Europe and Asia for more than 1,500 years. It connects the two continents from an economic, cultural and political aspect. With a long past and rich varied tradition, it is no surprise that Istanbul is among the most popular tourist destinations, with a lot to offer to anyone.

Where to Stay?

With an urban area spread over more than 1,500 sq km and a population of over 14 million, Istanbul has many districts that provide accommodation. You should easily find a place that suits your taste and your budget.

The two main hotel areas are Old Istanbul and Beyoglu.  You can find accommodation on the Asian side and to the North of the Bosphorus River as well. The tourist attractions are concentrated in Old Istanbul, therefore accommodations are the most expensive there. Even so, among the five-star hotels you can still find mid-priced inns and hostels alike.

Hotel Sultania is one of the coziest boutique-style hotels in the Sultanahmet district, the heart of historic Old Istanbul. Every room features a different decoration and a complete spa center. Perhaps more importantly, it’s only a 10-minute walk from the Hagia Sophia which I know you will want to see.

Beyoglu, on the other hand, is the most modern part of the city, featuring elegant upscale hotels such as the Marmara Taksim. If you prefer a hostel you should look into the World House Hostel. It’s a small and very friendly place just off the district center.

Where to Eat?

Istanbul is diverse and renowned not only for its monuments, but for its cuisine. As a melting pot of so many cultures, the city gives the visitor the widest possible choice when it comes to food. Enter any eatery in the city and you will see an amazing array of fresh dishes prepared from the best ingredients.

One of the things you should try is menemen, a kind of omelet enriched with herbs, pepper, and onions. If you are in Beyoglu, Sutis is perhaps the best place to try it.

Meze is also something that you should not miss. These cold starters are similar to the Spanish tapas, bite-size appetizers such as artichoke hearts, beans, eggplant served on a large plate. One of the best places to try it is Cumhuriyet Meyhanesi, another great place in Beyoglu.

Kebaps are also a local specialty served everywhere. They are available in many different varieties such as Iskender kebaps made from beaten meat pieces, herbs and vegetables. You should also try Adana kebaps which are prepared with very special procedures and offered only by strictly controlled and certified facilities such as Adanalı Yusuf Usta.

What to Do?

Istanbul is an extraordinary place for sightseeing. The Hagia Sophia, the Topkapi Palace, the Blue Mosque, and the Suleymaiye Mosque are all among the world’s most impressive buildings.  I am certain they will astonish you with their beauty.

If you are interested not only in buildings above the ground, you should not miss the Basilica Cistern in Sultanahmet Square. The ceiling of the immense underground cistern is supported by 336 pillars.  With its dim lights and soft classic music, it offers a unique experience that some call romantic, others a bit spooky.

When you are tired of visiting all these extraordinary architectural creations, the Grand Bazaar is waiting for you. They sell everything but come prepared to set your own price, bargaining to get a lower price is an absolute must if you are in Turkey. Food enthusiasts should visit the Spice Bazaar at the southern end of the Galata Bridge. The huge marketplace offers not only spices, but also special cosmetic products such as lotions and creams as well.

If you are tired of sightseeing and shopping and you are looking for a relaxing afternoon in nature and a free dive into the life of the locals, you can go to Yildiz Park. Have a picnic, explore the scenic paths and small hills covered in trees and ponds. The park is an excellent place to recharge for further explorations.

City Explorers Tip

Istanbul provides the unique opportunity to see Whirling Dervishes doing their traditional dance. There are various locations in the city where you can watch them perform. Most tourist go to see them in the Galata Mevlevi Museum on Sundays at 5pm. There is another show as well, on Thursday evenings in the Fatih district.

A Day off the Beaten Path

If you think you have seen it all and you are looking for a day spent off the main tourist attractions, here is an alternative itinerary for you.

Start the day with a copious Turkish breakfast and a cup of special Turkish tea at the Sutis Emrigan on the Bosphorus bank. Even if you are a coffee enthusiasts I demand you try it, too.

When you feel ready, head for Zeyrek, a part of the Fatih district not very much visited by tourists. It offers you the opportunity to see what the life of the locals is really like. If you are looking for more sights to see, you can take a walk on the Theodosian walls, the walls that protected the city for a thousand years and still link the Golden Horn and the shore of the Sea of Marmara.

If you are looking for more relaxation in a peaceful environment, take the ferry to the Prince Islands. The journey lasts about an hour and a half each direction, so you will have the chance to see the cityscape from the water. There is no road traffic on the island, so once there, you can either walk around or hire a horse carriage.

Later on, after you have lunch at a local eatery, you can go back to Beyoglu to take a ride on the world’s third oldest subway. Be prepared for a very short ride, only 573 meters, but you will see a unique construction and enjoy org music during the ride.

Another destination that will certainly delight those interested in how different cultures can cohabit is the city’s Asian part. Just cross the Bosporus and you will experience a different world. Try the Cinaralti teahouse on the waterfront and take in the view – it is like nothing else in the world!

Florence is the capital of the Italian region of Tuscany and attracts millions of visitors each year. It is one of the most beautiful cities in Europe and a center of art and culture since medieval times. Best of all, Florence has many attractions to suit just about anyone.

florence italy photo

Where to Stay

Whether it is a bed and breakfast place, an apartment you rent from an individual owner or a hotel room that you are looking for, Florence has it all. There are three areas where you can find accommodation.  The historic center, the larger metropolitan area outside the old center and the outskirts and hills surrounding the city. Each area offers a very large variety of different types of facilities.

The most popular choice and therefore the most expensive as well is the historic center.  It’s a relatively small area, a district of breathtakingly beautiful old buildings surrounded by a large boulevard built in the place of the old city walls.

Outside the old city, accommodation is cheaper, but not less cozy and well equipped. It is the best choice if you come by car and you need a safe place to park your vehicle.  It will also let  you sample what residential life for the locals is really like.
Finding a place in the hills surrounding Florence is best for visitors who want to combine sightseeing in the city with the exploration of Tuscany. Accommodations here will allow you to do both.

Where to Eat?

Florence gives you restaurants with international kitchen as well as the very best of Tuscan cuisine. You can find simple, delicious and very hearty authentic dishes in any trattoria.  Hit the square behind the Mercato Centrale, the central market and you will find lots of great and friendly places.  One place is the Trattoria da Mario that offer the best food and the most extraordinary wine selections for very reasonable prices.

If you like beef, you should also try the world-famous Florentine steak.  It’s a huge chunk served in modest restaurants and prepared by world-class chefs such as in Osteria del Cinghiale Bianco.

If you prefer modern places, you can check the Piazza Santa Croce and hit Oibo.  This place offers cocktails, an eat-all-you-can buffet and a sleek, modern environment for very reasonable places.

What to Do?

Florence is as varied in terms of the activities available, as it is when it comes to food and accommodation. Start by going on a hop-on hop-off sightseeing tour and see the most beautiful buildings created by Renaissance masters. Then go around the place on foot and create your own itinerary. It must include the Ponte Vecchio, the bridge linking the two sides of the Arno. You will find small and extraordinary jewel shops, museums such as the Uffizi Gallery, the Gallery of Modern Art or the Galleria dell’Accademia that gives home to Michelangelo’s David. Still not done, do not forget to check off palaces such as Palazzo Vecchio and cathedrals such as Santa Maria del Fiore or Santa Trinita.

If you love the arts and not only the visual arts and architecture, but music, too, you can attend one of the numerous opera performances in the historical center.  Many of them are free. From June to September, you can enjoy free jazz concerts all over the historic center as well.

If you feel you would like to relax after visiting the busy city, the hills of Fiesole offers a completely different kind of entertainment. You can go for walks, hike, visit villas or just find a spot and take in the view.

City Explorers Tip

If you want to explore a place that looks like nothing else in Florence and is also a quiet place not very frequented by tourists, go to the Oltrano, just across the river Arno. The small district is more bohemian and even more relaxed than the rest of the city.  It offers not only a wide choice of restaurants and cafes, but also an excellent opportunity to buy some souvenirs.

A Day off the Beaten Path

If you are looking for some unusual things to do during your stay in Florence, you can plan your own itinerary and make your holiday truly unique.

Start the morning by grabbing breakfast at one of the extraordinary brunch places downtown such as the Moyo, right next to Santa Croce. Then, go on to explore some unusual sights such as the Vasaro Corridor, a secret passageway that links the Palazzo Vecchio and the palazzo Pitti.  The corridor starts under the Uffizi and runs for about a kilometer, with walls lined with renaissance art. When you come out at the other end of the passage, you can go straight to the Giardino Bardini.  This garden is full of tiny grottos and colorful blooming flowers.  Afterwards, enjoy a cup of real, Italian coffee at the peak, in the Kaffeehaus.

Continue your day like locals do.  Only tourists finish their day early on, so take your time, stroll around a bit more, then get an aperitivo in a bar. The day is far from over, if you are not exhausted, go to Eby’s Bar in the Via dell’Oriundo.  There you can enjoy the fruit plate Eby himself prepares for you and the orders he shouts out to you about how to eat your plate.

Florence is a city that shows an entirely different face during the night than it does during the day. The center is very crowded during the day, but at night everything becomes more relaxed, the building are all beautifully illuminated.

If you would like to try authentic local cuisine and a traditional Italian dish that may not be to the liking of many, but it is a must-try, you should check out one of the places that sell tripe sandwiches.

Sold from tripe carts in most squares in the city, these large sandwiches are available with or without salt.  When Italians say salty, they mean really, really salty! Beware, hot or cold, with or without a salsa sauce, whichever version you choose, it will surely be among the most memorable dishes you have ever tried.

What about you?  Share your Travel Tips and Recommendations for Florence in the comments below.  Thanks!

Are you looking to tour the Royal Opera House?  Maybe you want to check out the works of Charles Dickens or Shakespeare at the British Library.  No, OK how about enjoy authentic cuisine from Turkey, France, Japan, or any other place you can think of in the entire world.  London has it all and is one of the most exciting, beautiful and tireless places you can visit.  There is always something new, exciting and unique to look forward to.

Where Should You Stay in London?

One of the very best places to stay in London, if you’re also looking for a cheaper hostel, is Safestay. This new hostel is in John Smith House, close to the Elephant & Castle tube station – a house that used to be the headquarters of the Labor party. A stylish common room with pool tables, a bar and comfy upholstered armchairs, as well as some of the best duvets in your bedroom and excellent guest privacy benefits ensure that the Safestay Hostel will undoubtedly be a memorable place to stay, as you explore the city.

Palmers Lodge runs two beautiful hotels in London, both of which are quite unique, cozy and promoting a pleasant social atmosphere. Swiss Cottage is a more laid back and relaxing place, where you can browse through your tablet or laptop in the common room, or enjoy an outstanding onsite bar, where you can meet plenty of interesting people, or just have an inexpensive drink.

The other hotel is known as Hillspring Lodge and is a more modern, stunningly furbished place to stay. Here you can enjoy peaceful neighborhood, a chilled out atmosphere and plenty of unique items to check out – such as deer rugs hanging from the ceiling, or a remarkably unconventional garden.

If you want easy access to central London, and you still don’t want necessarily to spend a lot of money on a West End hotel room, you can check out Bloomsbury. Quite close to Leicester Square and Covent Garden, this is a beautiful luxury hotel district and one of the most attractive places to stay in London. It is also an excellent place, if you want to stay in an area that would allow you to explore some of the best places in the city on foot.

The Best Places to Eat

London has plenty of restaurants and food places – in fact, there are literally hundreds of them. Here, you can enjoy just about anything you can imagine from the delights of world cuisine, and in some of the places it won’t even cost you too much:

• Koba has been around since 2005, and remains one of the top Korean restaurants in London. Here you can enjoy consistent, quality meals every day, including spicy stews, barbecued meats and virtually anything that has to do with fish.
• If you enjoy Italian and French dishes with a British touch, Primeur is the perfect minimalist place to visit. Primeur provides excellent service, great specials, comfy chairs, and the best lamb leg with olives and flat beans.
• With a terrace that comes with a stunning view of Granary Square and a huge interior dining room with concrete floors, Caravan King’s Cross. A truly creative place to enjoy culinary art from around the world, this restaurant mixes international flavors in the most unlikely and inventive of ways.  Seriously, each new meal is a real adventure.

Things You Simply Have to Do When Visiting London

The 900 year-old Tower of London is definitely the first location you should consider visiting. The stunning Crown Jewels are just one of the magnificent sites you’ll have to see, and there is also a whole lot of entertainment and historical attractions to enjoy.

Art lovers will definitely enjoy the Tate Boat. Tate Modern and Tate Britain are two of the most exciting art museums in the world.  You can visit them both in style, while enjoying a pleasant journey on the Thames aboard the Tate Boat – a boat that travels between the two museum every 40 minutes.

Since 2014, Foyles, the largest independent bookstore in London has moved to its brand new home on 107 Charing Cross Road, and anyone who hasn’t seen it yet should definitely have this place on their bucket list. Either levels of bookshelves, an art gallery, a hi-tech interactive search tool to find your favorite rare titles, and a stylish cafe make Foyles Charing Cross Road one of the best places to visit in London.

Insider Tips for Visitors

Did you know you can go back in time in London? We’re not necessarily talking Doctor Who or H.G. Wells, but Dennis Severs’ House is practically the next best thing. It features genuine rooms “lost in time” with items restored from the Huguenot period in East London, and it’s open for tours all year round.

Each room in the house shows a real still life image of 18th century silk weavers’ households that you can admire without ever meeting anyone. Basically, walking into Dennis Severs’ House is like walking into a classical painting from one of the Old Masters, except every item and object you see is completely genuine.

Spending a Unique Day in London – Off the Beaten Path

Spending a day in London can always be a true adventure. You can start by experiencing the diversity of the city, visiting Brixton market in the early morning, and head down to Kaff to enjoy their famous jambalaya pancakes for a truly delicious breakfast.

You can have your pick of museums in London, each stunning art museum you see more unique and different than the next. Visit one or both of the Tate museums, or if you’re more of a fan of recent 20th century designs, check out the Geffrye Museum for an unforgettable experience in their 1960s room.

For a truly unique way to view the city, head towards Regent Canal to enjoy kayaking and stopping at various cafes and pubs down the canal for an extra treat and a bite to eat.

In the evening, you can visit Notting Hill and check out the stunning Electric Cinema, enjoy free rush-hour concerts at a number of historic venues throughout the city, or have a completely unique experience checking out Broadway transfers in London’s West End.

You’d need years to check out all the amazing things to do in London, but that doesn’t mean you can’t try to see as much as you can even during a short vacation. One thing is certain: this is truly a city that will never disappoint you!

Berlin is the capital of Germany as well as the central city of one of Germany’s 16 states.  It is a cosmopolitan city with more than 3.5 million inhabitants and definitely a place that has a lot to offer. This metropolis has a long history that combines the new and old.  Best of all, Berlin is home to numerous museums and historic monuments not to mention it’s extraordinary culture and nightlife.

berlin photo

Photo by Artis Pupins

Where to Stay?

Until 1989, the city was divided into two parts.  West Berlin, the capital of the Federal Republic of Germany and East Berlin, the capital of the German Democratic Republic. The Wall was taken down between 1990 and 1992 and Berlin was reunited.  Only fragments of the wall are left behind to be visited by tourists.  Still, the division bought about a unique structure, with no single city center.

So where are you going to stay?  The city is spread out on large territory.  There are certainly a lot of options when it comes to accommodation.  Your probably looking for a location that allows you to explore the most exciting places, sit back and relax and join the party when you feel like it.  Some of these places can be very heavy on the budget but here are the best neighborhoods:

  • Kreuzberg – a formal part of west Berlin, the neighborhood comes with lots of Oriental, especially Turkish and Lebanese influences and lots of beautiful old streets.
  • Mitte – an artsy neighborhood that combines elegance with creativity and gives home to some really great cafes and eateries, too.
  • Friedrichshain – the best place if you want a room somewhere central as well as the opportunity to explore Berlin’s famous nightlife.

Where to Eat?

If you are in Berlin, you must definitely try the currywurst with French fries called Pommes and the doner. The wurst is a special German sausage that usually comes with mild curry sauce. You can try in it many excellent places, Curry 36 being among the most famous on the Western side.  Konnopke’s Imbiss is another one of the most appreciated places and can be found in the Eastern part.

Who has the best doner?  What’s a Doner you say?  A Doner is a Turkish sandwich-like meal that comes with roast meat, vegetables and various sauces, usually served in bread or pita.  One excellent place to try this is Mustafa in Kreuzberg.  Be prepared though, you will have to stand in a long line to get your kebap. It is that good and that popular, indeed.

Wiener Schnitzel and Kasespatzle are two other specialties you should try in Berlin.  Wiener Schnitzel is a thin, but usually very large slice of veal that gets breaded and fried.  Kasespatzle, a kind of pasta covered in various types of local cheese is also yummy. One of the best places to try them is Lebensmittel Mitte.  This restaurant serves classic German dishes that come with a modern and innovative twist in taste and garnishing.

When it comes to drinks, beer is certainly something you should try. Every restaurant and brasserie has a different beer on tap and socializing is much easier with a large glass of frosty beer in front of you.

What to Do?

Berlin has lots of attractions in store for any visitor. If you are interested in sightseeing and visiting historic buildings, you can either book a one-day or longer sightseeing tour with a local tour operator.  You can also decide to design your own itinerary and follow it either by combining walking and public transport which is perfect in Berlin.  You can also rent a bike.

Alexanderplatz, is the central square in Mitte and one of the city’s major attractions.  It was enlarged and renovated several times when it belonged to the German Democratic Republic and it now combines beautiful historic buildings with modern architecture. The Berlin Wall and the Brandenburg Gate as well as the most well-known crossing point between the East and the West, the Checkpoint Charlie are also historic monuments that are worth seeing.

If you are more interested in the arts, Museum Island is certainly something that you should not miss.  Situated in Berlin’s heart, this unique ensemble gives home to the Old Museum, the New Museum, the Old National Gallery, the Bode Museum as well as to the German State Opera.

If you would like to get away from the city, the Berlin Zoo is great fun and an excellent destination for families, individuals and couples as well.

City Explorers Tip

If you are looking for a relaxing afternoon off the beaten tracks, there is an extraordinary café called the Buchkantine just one street away from the river Spree. The café has great coffee and it also offers the visitor the opportunity to thumb through the books on display while they listen to soft jazz. On Sundays, from 8pm, you can watch detective movies in the cafe, too.

buchkantine

A Day Off the Beaten Path

You need to be well-fed to be able to make the most of your day in Berlin, so start by having a delicious breakfast or fruhstuck, as they say in German. German patisserie shops make the most amazing bread and pastries and most of them serve various cured meats and cheeses to go with your roll or bun.

When you feel ready to move and visit a location that is usually not included into the mainstream tourist guides, Templehof, the formal airport, holds lots of surprises for you. It is a huge ensemble of buildings, including the airport building itself which was built by the Nazis and is one of the buildings from that era that was preserved. A lot of people come here to rollerblade or to fly kites and it is an excellent place for relaxation.

If you are looking for a more natural environment, you can visit the city’s huge animal park called Tierpark. Everyone has heard about the world-famous Berlin zoo, but not everyone knows that Berlin has an alternative, too, a park with enclosures so large that they don’t feel like enclosures at all. The trip there starts from Alexanderplatz. Take the line 5 of the U-Bahn, one of the city’s underground railway lines and go east through Friedrichsfelde – the train will take you not only to an amazing park, but also back in time.

Share your City Explorers Tip or a Day Off the Beaten Path in the Comments below :)

Barcelona is one of the world’s major cities, a busy metropolis and a commercial, economic and cultural center as well as a center for modern and classic arts.  It has a history dating back to the 3rd century BC and offers cozy streets and the opportunity to explore fantastic Spanish cuisine all while becoming familiar with the extraordinary lifestyle of the locals.  You can choose to discover the city on foot or you can take a tourist bus or the metro – whichever you choose, you will be in for the holiday of a lifetime.

Photo by Moyan_Brenn

Photo by Moyan_Brenn

Where to Stay?

If you are a first time visitor to Barcelona, the best way to make the most of you stay is by choosing accommodation right in the middle of all the attraction.  Central locations have excellent connections to means of public transport and allow you to explore the heart of the city on foot as well and they also offer you the comfort and the price you are looking for.

One of the best places to stay in Barcelona is Placa Catalunya, the city’s central square, an extraordinary meeting place of the old and the modern.  You can find 5-star hotels in the square just as much as budget-priced, 2-star facilities and it is also one of the central hubs of public transport in the city.

Choosing a hotel in Las Ramblas is another excellent choice – the beautiful, busy district is located in the center of Barcelona as well and it makes the perfect choice for those who are looking for a way to explore not only tourist attractions, but also a way to tap into the energy of the city and sample its nightlife.

If you are looking for a quiet place to stay and you prefer to relax and enjoy the unique atmosphere of old buildings, choose the Gothic Quarter. Full of winding, narrow streets, the Gothic Quarter is best explored on foot, but public transport is excellent in the city, so you can easily get anywhere from this neighborhoods as well.

Where to Eat?

barcelona tapas bar photo

Barcelona Tapas Bar Photo by sanfamedia.com

Barcelona is famous not only as a center for the culture and the arts, but also for its cuisine.  Whether it is fish and seafood, Mediterranean cuisine, tapas or fine dining that you are looking for, Barcelona has it all.

If you want to know what traditional Spanish food is really like, you should not miss a visit to La Boqueria, Barcelona’s best and most famous marketplace – you will be first of all astonished to see the richness of the produce offered by merchants and you will be in for an extraordinary, authentic meal as well.

Placa Reial in the Gothic Quarter is another great place to eat – full of restaurants, cafes and bars, including, of course, tapas bars. Fine dining is more at home in the Eixample, a district with special architecture located between Ciutat Vella, the old city and the districts that used to be smaller towns and villages surrounding the city center, but have been attached to the city.

Whichever you choose, don’t forget that most places serve lunch between 2pm and 4pm and dinner is available between 9pm and 11pm.  Many restaurants are closed on Sunday evenings.

What to Do?

Whether you can afford to spend on getting around or you are a budget, Barcelona has a lot to offer. Simply walking around costs you no money, but gives you an idea of how extraordinary life in Spain is.  You can also go on a hop-on hop-off tour of the city – there are plenty of tourist buses to choose from.

Visitors interested in arts and architecture will not be disappointment either – you can visit the extraordinary Sagrada Familia Cathedral, you can visit other masterpieces by Gaudi, Joan Miro and Picasso.

Barcelona is surrounded by natural splendors waiting for you – you can go for a swim in the crystal water by visiting one of the city’s beaches or you can go on a cable car tour to explore the city panorama from above.

Sagrada Familia Cathedral

Sagrada Familia Cathedral

City Explorers Tip

The Barceloneta beach is famous not only for its soft, golden sand and clear blue waters – it is also a place where you can see bands play and listen to live music, so if you like Catalan music, the Barceloneta is the best place to catch a concert for free.

barcelona beach photo

Barcelona Beach Photo by Luis Hernandez – D2k6.es

A Day Off the Beaten Path

Photo by olofw

Lots of love at the beach party bar Photo by olofw

Barcelona offers so much to see and do that you can create a different itinerary for each day during your stay and never go to the same place twice, so here is just one sample of a possible plan.

To be able to do a lot and see a lot, you first of all need a copious breakfast.  Pop into the Brunch & Cake in the Eixample and have some eggs or a salad to fill up with energy.  When you finished your breakfast and your coffee, it is time to buckle up. Get yourself a T10 ticket and take bus nr. 24 from Passeig de Garcia to Parc Guell, a large park where you can see Antonio Gaudi’s most amazing work.

If you are in the heart of the Old City, you can continue to La Boqueria market and grab a pound of the world’s most extraordinary ham or pick an exquisite bottle of wine.  As you go straight on, you will have the chance to see some of the most popular attractions of the city – Placa de Catalunya and La Rambla will lay out all their beauties for you and at the end of the road you can explore the beauties of Gaudi’s greatest creation, the Sagrada Familia Cathedral.

If you are tired after all this walking and you are ready for another culinary adventure, look around for a tapas bar around you.  Restaurante Tossa is famous for its varied and delicious croquettes and tapas that suit Spanish and international tastes as well.

After your meal, it is time for a siesta.  When you feel sufficiently rested, you can head to the beach.  Go on foot if you think you can do with a little bit of exercise or choose public transport – be prepared for a longish walk or catch the yellow line metro and get to the beach in half an hour.  All beach areas are full of restaurants and bars, so you can choose to chill out on a sun bed, watching the waves, then you can have dinner, maybe even grab a cerveza (beer).

If you stay in the city center, the city will show you a completely different face as you are approaching your hotel or hostel – Barcelona is well-known for its nightlife, so if you want to end your day dancing, you will have plenty of opportunities.

Bangkok is the Capital of Thailand and one of the true shining stars of the orient. Known for its vibrant nightlife, ornate shrines, outstanding luxury restaurants and beautiful Royal Grand Palace, the city will astound and impress you in more ways than one. It provides a unique and luxurious experience to all of its visitors, and promises a truly unforgettable pastime.

bangkok photo

Photo by digitalpimp.

Check Out Where to Check in

Swimming pools, palm trees and a great place to take a load off and feel like you’re on a real tropical getaway – these are just some of the great advantages of staying at Anantara Siam Bangkok Hotel.  Also, the friendly staff and the uniquely comfortable, well-designed rooms will definitely delight you.
For a more modern and quite romantic feel, you can enjoy one of the rooms at the luxurious Grand Hyatt Erawan Bangkok.  This award-winning hotel features a spa, outdoor tennis court and even a salt water swimming pool. Guests can check in fast, and enjoy a stunning nighttime view of the city, as well as the most comfortable, modern rooms.
For a truly fabulous view of Bangkok from above, and a stunning rooftop restaurant the likes of which you’ve probably never even seen in movies, it’s definitely worth staying at the Lebua At State Tower – a 5-star luxury hotel that offers rooms with family-friendly facilities, diverse and high end amenities, private balconies and even sightseeing tours the hotel can organize at the front desk.

Food Places Galore

There are truly numerous food places and luxury restaurants to be found in Bangkok, and you don’t really have to go too far in order to spot them.  The eccentric and uniquely delicious dishes of this oriental marvel have long been considered some of the best reasons to visit Bangkok in the first place.

First on the list is what some critics have named the best Thai food restaurant in the world.  Nahm was born from the inspiration of renowned chef-author David Thompson, and uses ancient Thai secret recipes for the preparation of unique dishes such as chicken livers and smoked fish curry with prawns.

Likhit Kai Yang is found just behind Ratchadamnoen Stadium, and is considered one of the best older restaurants in Thailand.  Here you can enjoy delicious meals such as charcoal roasted chicken, without spending too much, and the friendly English-speaking owner and staff will guide you toward getting everything to your liking.

Finally, for anyone interested in learning more about, and even trying out some of the dishes that the Thai Royal Family enjoy, you can book a reservation at Krua Apsorn.  This homely dining place offers the best and most genuine dishes coming from central and southern Thailand.

Sightseeing in Bangkok

If you’re in Bangkok, you simply must visit the Reclining Buddha in Wat Pho.

Reclining Buddha in Wat Pho photo

Reclining Buddha in Wat Pho Photo by DavideGorla

This huge statue stands 15 meters tall, and the feet alone measure about five meters.  Wat Pho is a beautiful Buddhist temple complex that holds many more worthy sights, and is located on Rattanakosin Island, a little farther south from the Grand Palace.

The Grand Palace itself is one of the most beautiful places in the city, and definitely worth checking out.  It is more than 130 years old, and by far the most ornate and stunning building in Bangkok.  You can find numerous tour guides at a cheap rate, who can give you a sightseeing tour, and also provide you with a detailed and fascinating recounting of the Palace’s history.

When you’re tired of temples, shrines and the vibrant street life of Bangkok, you can also consider relaxing in the Rama IX Park.  This is the largest green space in the city, featuring a beautiful, large lake and a stunning botanical garden with exotic plants from around the world.  Despite being quite amazing as a venue, the park is surprisingly little-known among tourists.

Explorer’s Tips

Want to know how people in Bangkok used to live?  The best way to get a real taste of the city’s past is to head down to the klongs (the Bangkok canals) with a long-tail boat.

Here is where you can find the simpler, more natural life of Bangkok, as it was before the skyscrapers and tourists arrived. In some areas, you’ll even see traders and local inhabitants who actually live in these regions, and enjoy the peaceful atmosphere around renovated traditional teak houses.

Bangkok canals photo

Photo by adactio

How to Truly Enjoy Your Day in Bangkok – A Day Off the Beaten Path

While a typical day visiting Bangkok as a tourist might start with a sightseeing tour and a few quick visits at museums, temples or the Royal Palace, you might be interested in something a little more unique – especially if you’ve already done all that.

Where else can you start your day strolling down the street and spotting a 30-meter tall three-headed elephant in the middle of a big city?  Bangkok’s Erawan Museum is the home of this gargantuan statue, and a fitting place to start your day off the beaten path visiting Thailand’s capital.

The next place to visit would be the Papaya Vintage Shop.  Not too well-known among tourists, this shop is unlike anything you’ve ever seen before, and it’s definitely worth a look.  You can find some truly bizarre vintage items here, some of them only put on display because they are truly out-of-this-world weird – and not because they might be for sale.  It’s worth going up to the top floor to also see professional photographs and models actually organizing unusual photo shoots inside the shop.

For adventurous visitors looking for the more bizarre side of Bangkok, there’s also the Bangkok Forensic Museum.  This museum features some of the most sinister and morbid exhibitions you’ll ever find – such as rooms dedicated to various parasites, and how they affect the human body, glass and wood cabinets featuring real skeletons, or plastic snakes, spiders and other creepy things.

In the evening, a great place to visit is Bangkok’s huge open-air bazaar, the Rot Fai Market.  Here, you can find anything from hippie knickknacks and old furniture, to vintage collectibles and memorabilia.  You can also spot vintage cars and traders selling modern apparel typical of Bangkok’s night markets.

rod-fai-market

Rot Fai Market

Bangkok is, without a doubt, one of the most vibrant and highly original cities in the world, blending traditional culture and modern technology in a striking contrast that has delighted and pleasantly surprised its numerous visitors for decades.

If Barcelona is too overrated, or you have already finished all the tours and activities in Madrid, and you still want to stay somewhere in Spain that is not too crowded  – try the charming city of Alicante.

There are a lot of cheap flights to Alicante and you might want to enjoy the long stretch of sandy beaches paired with cool azure waters in this humble Spanish city. You’ll definitely enjoy a stress-free vacation away from the hustle bustle of the big cities.

Although Alicante may not be as popular as the more famous Spanish cities, holidays spent here promise to be full of fun-filled activities. And to help you go about this new destination let me give you my top five fun and interesting things to do in the city.

5. Go down History Lane

Santa Barbara Castle sits gloriously on top of Benacantil Hill. This site has been a witness to the dark and medieval past of Alicante. Complete with a lookout tower, palace, moat, dungeons and cannons, the castle is a remembrance of the Moorish reign. The best time to visit the castle is during the afternoon so when you take the lift (yes, an elevator is available) to the top you’ll get a breathtaking sunset view of the city, as well as, the Mediterranean Sea.

Santa Barbara Castle by Andrew C Parnell

Santa Barbara Castle by Andrew C Parnell

4. Adventure for the Adventurers

A masterpiece of nature, the Cave of Canelobre holds the title of the deepest and the largest cave in Spain. If you want some real adventure you can drive 24km to the small town of Busot to personally see the incredible 70-meter high interior-shaped like a cathedral. You can also see the infamous candelabra formation inside from which the cave got its name.

3. Sail, Sail, Sail Away

The magical island of Tabarca, once a hidey-hole for pirates, is now a famous tourist destination of Alicante. Aside from the alluring beach and turquoise waters, the charm of the island lies mostly on their teeming and vibrant marine life. After enjoying the busy underwater life of sea creatures, you can then relax and dine on one of the island’s seafood restaurants to taste Spanish specialties.

Tabarca Island by Villa Altea

Tabarca Island by Villa Altea

2. Ready, Set, Fire!

Dreaming of being on a battlefield? Try the popular (and the biggest in Spain) paintball arena just outside the city center of Alicante. Most paintballing enthusiast book flights to Alicante just to play and fight limitless battles in the wide selection of paintball fields. The combat field is large enough so, rest assured, you’ll not get crowded when the game starts.

Paintball Arena by Paintball Arena Alicante

Paintball Arena by Paintball Arena Alicante

1. Feel the Breeze

To top the list is the quirky but amazingly fun way to enjoy the city and that is to ride on a two-wheeled self-balancing battery-powered electric vehicle known as the Segway. Alicante boasts a relaxing Mediterranean climate, so almost every day you get to experience sunshine and welcoming breeze; and what better way to experience all these while riding the Segway and convoying with your friends, stopping at one city attraction to another.

Of course, a short list of five is an understatement for this beautiful city really, so book your flights to Alicante and experience the charms and magic of this Spanish city firsthand. :)

Segway Tour in Alicante by Destino Guadalest

Segway Tour in Alicante by Destino Guadalest