Florida Festivals CuddlyNest

Florida Vintage and Historical Festivals to Attend August 2019

Florida with its festivals is the new California, they say. Indeed, there is plenty to do in the Sunshine State, no matter the season. From mussel food festivals to vintage car parades, Florida is a hotspot for family holidays. 

Today, we look at Florida festivals that will bring you at least 20 years back in time.

August 2019 Historical Florida Festivals 

80s IN THE PARK

Save the date! August 27 2019

Where? Melbourne Auditorium, Melbourne

Fringed t-shirts, long hair and simple metal music will bring you back to the olden days in the festival in Melbourne FL. Food courts, music video wall, photo booth and after-parties included!

Festivals in Florida in Autumn 2019

1890s FESTIVAL

Save the date! October 26 2019

Where? McIntosh

Travel in time to Victorian time McIntosh! Vendors will demonstrate candle making, glass blowing, and basket weaving. Antique vendors and live music will entertain adults and children’s corner will allow for parents to rest.   

Florida History Themed Festivals 2020

THE DRAGON FESTIVAL

Save the date! Thursday, June 25 2020

Where? Wickham Pavilion, Melbourne

Dragon Festival in Central Florida is all about boats. It celebrates the ancient Chinese culture and originated from the story of Chinese patriot Qu Yuan who jumped into the river as a silent protest. Legends holds that local fishermen raced the boats to save him, but arrived too late.

The festival as it is today   offers plenty of opportunities for all ages and interests.

ART DECO WEEKEND – The Cream of Florida Festivals

Save the date! January 18 to 20 2019

Where? Ocean Drive in Miami Beach

It is the longest running free community cultural festival in Miami Beach, and for a good reason. The Art Deco festival offers more than 85 free events during the 3 festival days aiming to preserve the history of 20t century Miami.


You may also like 10 Short Daytrips from Naples in Florida


ZEPHYRHILLS AUTO EVENTS SWAP MEET 

Save the date! February 14 to 17 2020

Where? Zephyrhills Festival Park, Zephyrhills

The swap meet, car corral, auto auction and vintage car race – the festival is the perfect weekend getaway for those seeking immersion into vintage world of cars and motor parts.

FLORIDA RENAISSANCE FESTIVAL

Save the date! February – March 2020 (dates to be announced)

Where? Quiet Waters Park, Deerfield Beach

The Bay Area Renaissance Festival is walk around the Tampa Bay Area with  a taste of 16th century. From village life to magic, glassblowing and archery, there will be something for every family member to enjoy. 

CIVIL WARS DAYS HERITAGE FESTIVAL

Save the date! February 22 2020

Where? Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park in Key West

Cannon fire will be roaring, and Yankees along Rebel soldiers in uniforms will be all around. Learn the Key West’s pasts while attending Civil War reenactments at the festival. 

BAY AREA RENAISSANCE FESTIVAL

Save the date! March 2020 (dates to be announced)

Where? Museum of Science and Industry (MOSI), Tampa

Archery, live armored jousting, dancing, human chess matches and artisans – these are all perfect reasons why to attend the Bay Area Renaissance Festival by themselves! Remember to take out cash, as the vendor will offer old-time refreshments.

SCHOOL OF THE 16TH CENTURY FESTIVAL 

Save the date! February 2020 (dates to be announced)

Where? Ponce de Leon Archaeological Park, St. Augustine

Can you fire a crossbow? And wat about cannon? Learn how to do a swordfight and other usual 16th century life skills in this festival.

STONE AGE & PRIMITIVE ARTS FESTIVAL

Save the date! February (dates to be announced)

Where? Ochlockonee River State Park, Sopchoppy

You think sword fights are a lifetime ago? Well, you can travel even further back in time now. Learn basket weaving, early pottery craft and spear throwing, and antler carving. There will be primitive arts auction as well!

ANNUAL FLORIDA FOLK FESTIVAL 

Save the date! February 2020 (dates to be announced)

Where? Stephen Foster State Park in White Springs.

Folk musician, craftsmen and artists are gathering annually for more than 60 years to share the heritage via jam sessions and workshops, telling stories and encouraging to learn more. Discover the rich cultural traditions of Florida.

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Sinj Croatia

What to Do Around Sinj, Croatia

Cuddlynest vacation rentals travel blog tips and tricks when to go to croatia what to do what to see in croatiaCrowds come to look at the great rally taking place for the 304th time in the Sinj town in Croatia. The annual race gathers men from all Sinj Croatia counties. They rally their horses through the main city street. The goal of the tournament is to target the iron ring (alka) hanging on the rope.

Sinjska alka is a traditional knight tournament, oldest of its kind. It was inscribed on the UNESCO List of Intangible Heritage in 2010. There is no question whether you should go – it is a definite yes. The beautiful horses galloping the city streets, the spectacular traditional dresses and procession held after the race is a truly unique experience in Croatia.

The real question, though, is how to get to Sinj, what to see around and where to go next after you have seen the spectacular racecourse.

Cuddlynest vacation rentals travel blog tips and tricks when to go to croatia what to do what to see in croatiaSinj Croatia, Signo or Zein: A Small Town with Long History

As you may guess by name (or, several of them), the history of Sinj carries through many time periods, and the city landscape provides tourists with diverse cultural experiences.

Since the Stone Age, the place was inhibited. The valley of Cetina river, cast between the mountains and favoured with a mix of continental and sub-Medditarean climates allowed for peoples to settle and flourish. Illyrian tribe, the first discovered inhabitants of Sinj, has left a large footprint in the Croatian culture. For example, the famous peka food preparation style, it is, cooking under the bell jar, is as ancient as 2250-1600 BC. Romans In the 1st century AD founded the first cities. To see the remains of their culture, visit  Archaeological Collection of the Sinj Franciscan Monastery, where the Goddess Diana Lucifera and head of Heracles are exhibited for visitors.

In the late Medieval period, Sinj outgrew the ancient fortress. In the 17th century still, during the times of Ottoman Empire, the city grew around the monastery and the church of the Miraculous Lady of Sinj (Gospa Sinjska), which you can still visit today on the main square. Resisting wars and earthquakes, it is indeed a miracle the church has withstood the time and preserved its original appearance.

By the end of the century, the town was taken over by Venetians. Sinjska alka celebrates the victory over the Turkish army in 1715 when it defended the city from 60,000 troops invading the town. Precisely 100 years after, the town was included in Austria, where it remained for another century. Visiting the In the 20th century, Sinj was under the rule of Yugoslavia, until the independence in the late 20th century. You can visit the monument of Sinjska alka in bronze from this period of the town history which celebrates the 1715 victory.

Sinj: How to Get there

Located just 40 min ride away from Split (bus: €2), this Dalmatian town is a place of contrasting quiet, especially after you come from Split or Dubrovnik, cities full of tourists.
To get to Sinj, you can use the public bus. In Croatia, also UberX works, as well as Bolt, in case you come from Split. There are no trains, but taxi will cost you around €60.

Cuddlynest vacation rentals travel blog tips and tricks when to go to croatia what to do what to see in croatiaBest Daytrips from Sinj, Croatia

Best for Active Adventure Travelers: Orlova Staza

Are you ready to bring a bit of action to your vacation? Orlova Staza or the Eagle’ s trail near Sinj is one of the best Dalmatian countryside cycling routes you can possibly find. The 44 km route is not quite flat, with an elevation of 969 metres. It is not boring, though – the mix of cross trail and road cycling will keep you awake. Starting with asphalt, continuing with picturesque gravel roads and ending with oak forest, the route is demanding but with excellent views. You can also cycle to the spring of the river Cetina.

Best for Families

If you are not certain of your kids enjoying long hours on their bikes, you can go for the Game of Thrones filming location instead. Not all of the GOT was shot in Dubrovnik (read: Game of Thrones Dubrovnik Guide). The Klis Fortress in between Split and Sinj. You can get here from Sinj by taking a taxi (24 km) or by private car. Alternatively, if you come from Split, get a 30 min ride in bus No.22 from the National Theatre (buy the ticket in the kiosk). Beware the 1.5-hour break in the bus timetable around lunch, though.

Best for Seniors – travel from Sinj Croatia

If you are looking for SPA and wellness retreat, the best bet is to go back to Split and enjoy some lazy afternoon at fish SPA or enjoying the pre-historic peka foods in this famous Peka restaurant. Are you ready for Sinj?

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Cuddlynest vacation rentals travel blog tips and tricks when to go to croatia what to do what to see in croatia

Europe UNESCO Destinations has 3 New UNESCO Heritage Sites

UNESCO New 2019 Destinations: What to Visit in Portugal

Looking for Europe UNESCO Destinations to visit on your holiday? Portugal, the Western-most country of Southern Europe is home to many cultures and peoples who lived here throughout centuries. Therefore, it also boasts 17 UNESCO World Heritage sites.

Portugal UNESCO site CuddlyNest travel blogThe History of Peoples in Portugal

Already 35,000 years ago Portugal saw its first inhabitants. Homo sapiens arrived in Portugal first. Then, Pre-Celtic tribes inhabited Portugal. They left a remarkable cultural footprint around the Algarve and Lower Alentejo regions from the 6th century BC. Further, Portugal saw the Roman invasion in the 3rd century BC. It still manifests today, with Portuguese heritage sites including works of engineering, baths, temples, bridges, theatres, layman’s homes, sarcophagi, and ceramics. Also later, in 711, an invasion by the Islamic Umayyad Caliphate started, leaving a significant Moorish footprint.

Portugal UNESCO siteUNESCO World Heritage Sites in Portugal

The UNESCO World Heritage currently lists 1,092 sites in 167 countries around the world. In Portugal, there are 16 cultural and 1 natural site (Alt Duoro River Region). Also, there are many in Northern and Central Portugal dating back to medieval times: Braga, Porto, Coimbra, and Alcobaça are some good places to visit. But if you go to the South of Portugal, also do not miss Azores, Madeira, and Lisbon sites.

Portugal Adds 3 New UNESCO World Heritage Sites

On Sunday, July 12, UNESCO announced 3 new listed sites. The Royal Convent in Mafra, the Sanctuary of Bom Jesus in Braga and the Machado de Castro National Museum in Coimbra have all are now UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

President, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, considered the news a reason for “great joy for all Portuguese”, reported Portugal News. So what is it that you should visit in 2019 when coming to Portugal, Europe?

Portugal UNESCO siteEurope UNESCO Destinations: The Royal Convent in Mafra

The Palace of Mafra is one of the Seven Wonders of Portugal, and with a good reason. It is a monumental Baroque palace-monastery near Lisbon. In 7 July 2019, the Royal Building of Mafra – Palace, Basilica, Convent, Cerco Garden and Hunting Park was added to the UNESCO list.

Portugal UNESCO site CuddlyNest travel blogThe Sanctuary of Bom Jesus in Braga

Translating in English as Good Jesus of the Mount, the sanctuary sits in Tenões, just outside the city of Braga in northern Portugal. It is one of the main pilgrimage sites. Besides, you can climb the monumental, Baroque stairway 116 meter high.

Portugal UNESCO site CuddlyNest travel blogThe Machado de Castro National Museum in Coimbra

Named after Portuguese sculptor Joaquim Machado de Castro and located in the Portuguese university town Coimbra, the museum was first opened in 1913. Besides, the building dates back to Medieval times when it housed the Roman Forum of the city and later served as a Bishop’s Palace. If you visit Coimbra, do not forget to listen to fado (in Northern Portugal, only men are allowed to sing it!), and go to the Library of the University of Coimbra Biblioteca Joanina. And, you can still spot bats here!

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Vatican Smallest City States Ministates Microstates in Europe

European City-States: The Tiniest Europe Countries to Visit

Ever wondered if Andora, Monaco and San Marino are states or cities? You have all rights to be confused. Europe is a home for 51 independent states. While some of them historically lead the world economy like Germany and the UK, some are well known for law, like France and Sweden, and some like Norway is blessed with natural resources.

But what is it about the smaller states? 

The Micro Monarchies in Europe

There are 6 ministates or microstates in Europe. Andorra, Liechtenstein, Malta, Monaco, San Marino, and Vatican City are all small countries, but not necessarily states as we know it. In fact, Malta is a traditional example of a sovereign entity under international law other than a state. 

But before you try locating these countries on the map, read further and see what the tiniest countries in Europe have to offer! Andorra and Liechtenstein sit in the mountains in the heart of Europe, while Monaco and Malta enjoy the Medditarean beaches. 

Europe Smallest Countries Destinations Monaco Liechtenstein Malta Andorra Where to Go What to Visit for free and when Vatican City

Vatican City State is the smallest of all states in Europe. Sitting in the middle of Europe, it has an area of just 0.17 sq mi. Ruled directly by the Pope of Catholic Church, it is the of the papal states that once constituted Italy. After unification in the 19th century, it is formally a part of Kingdom of Italy, while politically ruled by the Pope. Enclosed entirely by Rome, there are 600 to 700 people living in the Vatican. 

When to go to Vatican City? It is one of the top destinations all year round, but to beat the crowds, try going to the Vatican from Tuesday to Friday from 12:00 to 18:00. Make sure to allocate around 4 hours for your visit.

What to do in Vatican City for free? Visit St. Peter’s Basilica and walk around St. Peter’s Square for free. Vatican Museums, Sistine Chapel and St. Peter’s Dome are paid-entrance only.

Europe Smallest Countries Destinations Monaco Liechtenstein Malta Andorra Where to Go What to Visit for free and whenMonaco

Principality of Monaco with a territory of 0.78 sq mi comes the second smallest in the whole of Europe. Nevertheless, it boasts one of the world’s chicest beaches – a slice of the Côte d’Azur between Nice and the Italian border. Monaco-Ville is its capital, and you can learn more about it watching the famous 2014 Hollywood production. Grace of Monaco is directed by Olivier Dahan and starring Nicole Kidman as Grace Kelly.

When to go to Monaco? April and October are the best months; the room rates are reduced and the weather is just spot-on.

What to do in Monaco for free? Visit the legendary Monte Carlo casino and walk in the Saint-Martin gardens.

Europe Smallest Countries Destinations Monaco Liechtenstein Malta Andorra Where to Go What to Visit for free and whenSan Marino

The Republic of San Marino comes the third by the area. What’ s more, it is is the oldest surviving sovereign state and constitutional republic in the world. It was founded in 301 A.D. and is the last survivor of self-governing Italian communes from the Middle Ages. Located in the Valley of the Apennines, it has a  population of 30,000 people. 

When to go to San Marino? Go to San Marino in September to get to the Feast of San Marino (September 3 2019) and walk the mountain terrains, spotting wild rabbits and hedgehogs and other animals.

What to do in San Marino for free? Hiking is for free – and we definitely recommend it!

Europe Smallest Countries Destinations Monaco Liechtenstein Malta Andorra Where to Go What to Visit for free and whenLiechtenstein

Principality of Liechtenstein houses over 35,000 people. Located between Switzerland and Austria, it is a popular travel destination for winter sports and summer walks in the Alpine resort of Malbun.

When to go to Liechtenstein? It is that simple: you should go in the winter for skiing, and in summer for hiking in the Alps.

What to do in Liechtenstein for free? Walk around the quiet capital Vaduz and visit Liechtenstein Museums for free.

Europe Smallest Countries Destinations Monaco Liechtenstein Malta Andorra Where to Go What to Visit for free and whenAndorra

The Principality of Andorra boasts an area of just 181 sq mi. It has some of the finest skiing and hiking in the Pyrenees, plus a wealth of duty-free shopping. 

When to go to Andorra? Unless you want to go skiing (the ski season in December and ends in April), the best time to visit Andorra is from May to September.

What to do in Andorra for free? You can go hiking! It is a unique experience with breathtaking views to the Pyrenees.

Europe Smallest Countries Destinations Monaco Liechtenstein Malta Andorra Where to Go What to Visit for free and whenMalta

Sovereign Military Order of Malta is an archipelago of 7 islands. No wonder it has much larger population than other ministates (446,000) – it sits in the very middle of the Mediterranean Sea where the sun shines most of the year and people are happy.Europe Smallest Countries Destinations Monaco Liechtenstein Malta Andorra Where to Go What to Visit for free and when

When to go to Malta? Go to Malta in October to avoid the crowds.

What to do in Malta for free? Lay on the beach in Fomm ir-Riħ and walk the Valetta coastline from a group of boathouses to the city walls and bastions of Fort St. Elmo. Europe Smallest Countries Destinations Monaco Liechtenstein Malta Andorra Where to Go What to Visit for free and when

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Europe Smallest Countries Destinations Monaco Liechtenstein Malta Andorra Where to Go What to Visit for free and when

Europe Art Noveau Travel: Riga City Local Guide

Culture travel is on the rise. And a large part of what we can see at the travel destination is the architecture. Chinese influenced Vietnamese pagodas or Spanish Colonial style castles in St. Augustine, Florida are landmarks telling the history throughout centuries. Art Noveau Riga shapes in her own way, though.

European cities offer a large variety of architectural styles to art enthusiasts. You can choose to visit Ancient Roman ruins (read: Southern France Alps Summer Tour Guide). Or, you can go the modern way and visit modern Gaudi architecture in Barcelona Europe seems to have it all. 

Today, let’s have a look at Art Noveau –a late 19th-century architecture style– and share a city guide to Riga, the Art Noveau Mecca. After all, Riga boasts the highest concentration of Art Noveau buildings found anywhere in the whole world.

What is Art Noveau 

Art Noveau, just like many other artistic styles, finds its way through different mediums. You can picture Gustav Klimt’s paintings or Gaudi’s architecture. While Art Noveau differed throughout regions as well. In Spain, Gaudi’s Sagrada Família in Catalan Modernism is also a part of Art Noveau. Nordic countries have their own take on it. In Stockholm, Sweden, Art Noveau is known as the National Romantic style, and you can see it manifest in Stockholms tingsrätt (Stokholm’ s Court House).
As you can now see, many in Europe and favoured the romantic long, sinuous and organic lines. Its mayday was between 1890 and 1910, but you can still travel to Europe and see the beautifully decorated buildings in the European city centres.

cuddlynest riga travel vacation rentals baltics eastern europe budget travel destinationsArt Noveau Europe Cities – Culture Travel Destinations

To see the classic Art Noveau Riga, the best Eastern European travel destinations we suggest going with Budapest, Riga, and Prague. If you travel to Southern Europe, then make sure to visit Aveiro in Portugal and Turin in Northern Italy.

Why are those cities in the spotlight? Some cities, like Barcelona in Spain, Vienna in Austria, Munich in Germany and Subotica in Serbia have spectacular Art Noveau architecture, too. However, buildings are spread far and between. In Riga, Prague, and Aveiro, the Art Noveau style predominates others, making it a large part of cultural heritage.

Riga, Latvia – Center of the Baltic States 

Riga lies in the centre of three Baltic States (Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania) and is the capital of Latvia. Apart from Art Noveau Riga architecture, the city is famous for its wooden buildings and medieval pedestrian-only Old Town.
The city is the most lively in the summer months when the weather is warm – bubbling with open-air concerts, free music festivals and outdoor cinema on the weekday nights and weekends. However, Latvia offers much more than city entertainment. The country is surrounded by Estonia, Russia, Belorussia, and Lithuania, and sports 500 km of coastline. To enjoy the wild abandoned beaches, you can hop on the train to Jurmala (literally: seaside) or visit Kemeri National Park for its bog lakes, mineral waters and therapeutic mud SPAs nearby. Visiting bordering countries is an option, too (check St. Petersburg, Vilnius and Tallinn)!

cuddlynest riga travel vacation rentals baltics eastern europe budget travel destinationsArt Noveau Riga History

To understand why Art Noveau gained the hype in Riga back in the day, we will drop some facts here. At the time, Riga experienced rapid economic development. It grew by 88% between 1897 and 1913 and on the eve of WWII was the third largest city in the Baltic region. Just in the three years between 1910 and 1913, every year almost 500 new buildings were built. Most of them were in Art Noveau constructed outside of the Old Town of Riga. Architects ranged from Baltic Germans to Jewish, to newly taught ethnic Latvians. While the style finds its roots outside Latvia, mostly in Germany, a large part of architects were locals.

Today, Art Nouveau Riga buildings account for one-third of all the buildings in the center of Riga. Riga, Latvia can, therefore, be awarded as the Art Noveau Mecca with the highest concentration of such buildings in the world.

What to See in Riga Latvia – Art Noveau Route 

As noted before, Riga has the highest concentration of Art Noveau buildings in the world. While you are safe wandering the streets on the outskirts of the Old Town, there are some spots you don’t want to miss. From staircases curving into infinity to beautifully decorated cutlery pieces in a living-room museum, to free dedicated tours – Art Noveau Riga offers a lot to its artistically inclined visitors. 

cuddlynest riga travel vacation rentals baltics eastern europe budget travel destinations

Image source: Latvia Travel

Alberta Street

If there is one street you absolutely have to visit, it is Alberta Street. Named after Bishop Albert who founded Riga more than 800 years ago, the street is a trademark for Eclectic Art Nouveau. Most are living buildings designed by Mikhail Eisenstein, while a large part is by Konstantīns Pēkšēns and Eižens Laube, a teacher, and his pupil.

What not to miss?

While all buildings are prominently Art Noveau, one of the most well-known is a building by Mikhail Eisenstein on Alberta Street 8 built in 1903. You can tell it apart by the sea blue facade quite easily.

cuddlynest riga travel vacation rentals baltics eastern europe budget travel destinations

Image source: Latvia Travel

Art Noveau Museum 

Art Noveau Riga Museum is located on Alberta Street in the family building of one of the most famous Latvian Art Noveau architects Konstantīns Pēkšēns. You walk through the exhibition of the 20th-century city family apartment with all its rooms, servant rooms and feel yourself back in time. 

cuddlynest riga travel vacation rentals baltics eastern europe budget travel destinations

Image source: Latvia Travel

What not to miss?

Look up the staircase ceiling when entering the building! It is free and one of the best examples of Art Noveau. Also, here you can take an Instagram-worthy shot for free (opposing the 2 euro payment in the museum apartment). 

When to go?

The museum is open every day (except for Mondays) from 10 am to 6 pm. The entrance fee is 9 euros for the full exposition. 

cuddlynest riga travel vacation rentals baltics eastern europe budget travel destinations

Image source: Latvia Travel

Art Noveau Riga: Route in the Riga City Center

Are you excited after Alberta street? You can surely go beyond and with a little effort to discover all four legs of Art Noveau: Eclectic Art Nouveau, and Perpendicular Art Nouveau, National Romantic Art Nouveau, and Neo-Classical Art Nouveau. 

While the first is represented by Alberta street (which is a must-visit), you can see the perpendicular variety, referred to as s “department store style” or Warenhausstil (in German) on Krišjāņa Valdemāra iela (Krišjānis Valdemārs Street) number 37. 

National Romantic style, or the Nordic Art Noveau, is something you would notice when visiting Helsinki in Finland, or Stockholm in Sweden. But have a look at Alberta 11 building before! A good Neo-classical variety example sits in the very center of the Old Riga, right opposite the Doms Cathedral. It is the former Commercial Bank of Riga.

cuddlynest riga travel vacation rentals baltics eastern europe budget travel destinationsGo on Riga Free Art Noveau Tour

Want to stick to a budget? Then apply for a free Riga Art Noveau guided tour. Tours will take you through Alberta Street and Elizabetes Street, as well as to some less popular Art Noveau buildings during its 2 hours. Tours start daily at 3 pm (until the end of September) at the stairs of the National Opera House of Latvia. 

Have a Coffee in Art Noveau Style

Tired after seeing too many curvy lines and floral decorations? Have a cup of coffee and slice of cake at this boutique Art Noveau cafe Sienna just across Alberta Street. 

 

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Art Noveau travel guide to riga Alberta Street Elizabetees Street Riga Latvia Baltics Best Art Noveau cities in Europe

Travel Guide: Travel Tour de France Route July 2019

Tour de France Cuddlynest Travel Tips Guides French Alps July 2019Travel Tour de France official 2019 route – read this article to learn about the best cultural sights along the famous competition route. 

Since the first race in 1903, the competition grew and gradually race extended around the world. Undoubtedly becoming the world’s biggest annual sporting event, today it unites road cycling fans, UCI professional sportsmen travelers to France alike. Cycling and competing in sports lies so deep in French culture and being that the race was only stopped for the war years. Here is where organizers are bringing fans, sports teams and enthusiasts in 2019. Added bonus? Read and discover French cultural heritage – the architecture, local sights and traditions.

Nimes France Travel Guide What to See Tour de France Cuddlynest Travel Tips Guides French Alps July 2019Visit Nîmes Occitanie in Stage 16 Tour de France

Nîmes, often referred to as the French Rome, is a capital of the Occitanie region. The region is well known for its Southern beauty. Nimes city is enclosed with Medditarean from one side and the Cévennes mountains on the other, so you can have a swim in between race stages. 
What to do in Nimes?

From wandering around Jardin de la Fountaine 17th century parks with botanical gardens, romantic ponds, historic sculptures and Roman ruins, to visiting Arena of Nîmes, an amphitheatre built in 100 A.D., shortly after Colosseum in Rome, there is plenty to do in Nîmes. Even more if you fan about ancient architecture as much as speed, road and pedals.

Pont du Gard France Travel Guide What to See TTour de France Cuddlynest Travel Tips Guides French Alps July 2019Visit Pont du Gard

Pont du Gard is the highest Roman aqueduct bridge, and one of the best-preserved. Why is it so important?  Apart from its ancient origin (built in the first century AD, it carried water over 50 kilometres. You can access it from Nimes, as it crosses Gardon River near the town of Vers-Pont-du-Gard. Even before the global travel, it was a must-visit for European nobles going on Grand Tour around Europe. In fact, it is so popular even to this very day – you can find Pont du Gard on 5 euro banknote.

Tour de France Cuddlynest Travel Tips Guides French Alps July 2019Visit Tour de France Stage 17 Gap, France

Visit Gap, France in July 2019! Gap is a French town on the intersection between Provence and Alps. Eclosed by mountains, its wildly beautiful with forests, wildflowers and wild animals will amaze you.

What to see in Gap, France in summer?

Visit chateau Domaine de Charance, which also serves as an information centre for Ecrins National Park.  It is located 1000 metres high and a 220 hectares large English style garden surrounds the main building. Here you can find a unique collection of old roses.
Enter the main building of  Domaine de Charance which houses Alpine Botanical Conservatory! Here you can learn about plants and rare flowers in the mountains. If lucky, you will even be able to take part in a guided tour to discover the national park flora!

Tour de France Cuddlynest Travel Tips Guides French Alps July 2019Visit Embrun

Embrun, or formerly known as Ebrodunum, is a city that inspired the name of Canadian town in Ontario in 1856. What’s more, the town has one of the largest artificial lakes in Europe. The Lac de Serre-Ponçon is a must-see. Located 780 m high, the lake stretches 20 km in length and has a surface area of 28 km². You can also fish here. Fishermen come here for Tench, Arctic char, Common roach, Brook trout, and Grayling.

Tour de France Cuddlynest Travel Tips Guides French Alps July 2019Visit Valloire on Tour de France Route 

Valloire in France is famous for its ski resorts. As we already wrote before French Alps are one of the best winter destinations, but even in summer months, you can hike the high mountains. If you crave adventure, though, the ski resorts Valloire-Galibier is next to the ski resort of Valmeinier, France. When calculating fr both ski resorts together,  70% of the Valloire/Valmeinier area is above 2,000 m. 

What to do in Valloire in summer? 

In July, you can take a cablecar to the top, and access the ski ring. You can also wander around the hike peeks and meet travellers. There are many, considering that La route des Grandes Alpes, the most famous European mountain route, is passing through Valloire.

Tour de France Cuddlynest Travel Tips Guides French Alps July 2019Visit Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne

The city lies in the valley Maurienne, the valley of the River Arc. The city used to oversee Savoy back in the day, a fact that left many beautiful architectural sights around the city. Well-know for the ski resorts and winter attractions and activities for families and solo adventure travelers, the tow is much more quiet in the summertime. 

What to see in Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne?

Go and climb Lacets de Montvernier, and see some art in between. You can also rent a bike here and get to the top faster. The region is rich in natural wonders, one of which Col du Chaussy. It is a sharp mountain edge with vistas – if you are around, do not miss it! It is a true challenge to cycle, but if you are brave, you can rent a bike and cycle the road dating back to 1934.

Tour de France Cuddlynest Travel Tips Guides French Alps July 2019Visit Tour de France Route Tignes

Opposite to the previously mentioned towns, Tignes is a group of villages. Located near the Italian border, Tignes is a part of the Espace Killy ski area. In winter, villages are lively, with many skiers going out to pubs and shopping in charming little souvenir shops. In summer, you can walk trails, play golf and a access bike park. If you still want to ski, you can! Just go to Grande Motte glacier, France.

Tour de France Cuddlynest Travel Tips Guides French Alps July 2019Visit Albertville 1992

Albertville gained world exposure when it hosted the Winter Olympics 1992. Since then, Arly river is famous for trail running infrastructure. If you wish to visit cultural sights and savour traditional high-quality French cheese, go for Tamié Abbey. It is a  Cistercian monastery operating since 1132. Today, it is a Trappist community of 30 monks and is world-famous for its cheese, Abbaye de Tamié.

Tour de France Cuddlynest Travel Tips Guides French Alps July 2019Visit Val Thorens on Tour de France Route

In summer, Val Thorens offers trail running, swimming, nature hiking and minigolf. You can also cycle or enjoy family attractions on Speedmountain.

In winter, the town attracts mostly skiers. Three Valleys, Val Thorens have one of the largest skiing area in the world! What’s more, it is the highest ski resort in Europe, at an altitude of 2300 m.

Tour de France Cuddlynest Travel Tips Guides French Alps July 2019Visit Rambouillet

If you go to Rambouillet, you definitely have to visit Château de Rambouillet. The 14th-century castle architecture took us aback, and it will you, too! After the palace, go and visit Haute Vallée de Chevreuse Regional Natural Park, a nature park with deers, and many other historical figures. In 1985, the park was specially designed for Parisians to spend some time in nature – its historical value has not changed since. Still craving nature? Swim at Étangs de Hollande and see the 18th-century Château de Saint-Hubert built by Louis XV in Perray-in-Yvelines. It was as a hunting residence back in 1758 and ever since.

Tour de France Cuddlynest Travel Tips Guides French Alps July 2019Finish Tour de France in Paris Champs-Élysées

As Tour de France finishes, the last stage ends at The Avenue des Champs-Élysées. 1.9 kilometres long and 70 metres wide, the avenue connects the Place de la Concorde and the Place Charles de Gaulle. What to do in Paris? Well, that is a question hard to answer – let us share our Paris travel guide with you another time!

While you are still deciding what stage to join Tour de France, here are 3 fun facts.

3 Fun Facts About Tour de France:

  1. It was first held to increase the sales of a magazine.
  2. The youngest winner won right after the first race, in 1904
  3. More than 42000 water bottles will be used by 22 teams in this year’s race.

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Travel France Tour de France 2019 Travel Guide Cuddlynest Online Vacation Rentals

 

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Best Eastern Europe Festivals in August 2019

You already attended at least some Europe festivals in the first months of summer? There is still August left to enjoy! Here we list the best music festivals in Eastern Europe in August 2019. While Eastern European events are generally more friendly to pocket, you can expect the line-ups being as diverse and interesting as their British isle and Western Europe counterparts. Let’s dive in!

Image source: Sziget

Sziget | Hungary

When? 7-13 August 2019

Music genres? Electronic dance music (EDM), indie, rock, pop, rap

Where? Budapest

 

Born out of the collapse of the Soviet Union and located on the island in the heart of Budapest, this festival features the best world-class musicians. Find your place to stay here or take a hammock with you to sleep between the concerts of your favourite artists!

Image source: Untold
UNTOLD Festival | Romania

When? 1-4 August 2019

Music genres? Various pop, rock and EDM

Where?  Cluj-Napoca

 

Romania is famous for its wine, warmhearted welcomeness to guests and rose plantations. But what’s more, Romania is expanding with every year in its music scene, and Untold festival is no different. Hosted in the central park of Cluj Napoca, this festival sees 300,000 visitors yearly, and hosts one of the best dance music DJ’s in the world.

Image source: Defected Croatia
Defected | Croatia 

When?  8-13 August 2019

Music genres? House

Where?  Tisno

 

Defected is a boutique festival which has found its venue on the shores of Adriatic. Get yourself a tent, or grab a hammock to go to the house music festival!

Image source: Sea Dance
Sea Dance | Montenegro

When? 30 August – 1 September 2019

Music genres? Electronic dance music (EDM), electronic, house techno

Where? Budva

 

Montenegro is famous for its yet undiscovered nature with mountains and beautiful coastal area. Dance and house will shake you up, and Buljarica Beach will treat you well.

Image source: Awake FestivalAwake | Romania

When? 15 – 18 August 2019

Music genres?  Drum’n’bass, hip-hop, indie, soul and punk

Where? Teleki

 

Awake is a boutique festival in Romania. The rural baroque castle Teleki Estate homes dancers and music lovers from all over Europe, and with a good reason. Not only the festival offers music, but also enhances the experience with interactive theatre and cinema, a forest library, talks from the “feed your mind” and wellness activities.

 

Image source: Uprising Festival | Europe Music Festivals 2019Uprising | Slovakia

When? 23-24 August 2019

Music genres? Reggae, dancehall, ska, latino, hip-hop, jungle and drum’n’bass

Extras: half-pipe, yoga, capoeira (Afro-Brazilian martial art), dance workshops, street art, Jamaican food

Where? Bratislava

 

Slovak festivals marking the anniversary of the second world war resistance movement, the Slovak National Uprising of 1944 is held in a laid-back atmosphere by the natural park with a lake. Take it slow and breathe in – the dance workshops, yoga and other activities will sum up your summer in a relaxing way.

 

Still not decided where to go? Take a look at what accommodation we have to offer and share this by pinning on Pinterest!

gelato ice cream month 2019 cuddlynest

Ice Cream Month July 2019: Where to Go for Best Ice Around the World

To celebrate the smooth, creamy, refreshing treat of the summer, the National Today announced July as the month of ice cream. Could not get better, you think? On the 3rd Sunday of July, the whole world will celebrate – and we are taking you by the hand to taste all possible varieties of ice cream.

To many of us, ice cream is something we crave for in hot summer day. Even more, it is essential when you consider a beach family vacation in Croatia or a stroll around Sevilla in Spain in search of the best Instagram spot for Game of Thrones shooting location. But how the sweet treat tastes all around the world?

How Ice Cream Came to Be

The Origin of Ice Cream

The First Ice Cream, just like paper and porcelain, comes from China.

In 618-97AD the King Tang of Shang had a good take on ice-cream. There were 94 ice men working to make buffalo milk, flour and camphor into a tasty treat. Later, in 200 BC Chinese mixed milk and rice. Then, they packed the mixture in the snow to freeze, thus resembling the ice cream we know today.

Europe Takes Over

When Roman Emperors discovered the refreshing dessert, they sent slaves high into the mountains to bring the ice back. Then Romans flavoured the ice and served to the high blood families in Rome, Ephesus, Carthage, Alexandria and elsewhere.

Marco Polo Bring the Recipe to Medieval Europe in the Golden Age

Only at the end of the 13th century, Marco Polo brought the recipe back from his trips to China. In the far-away land,  ice-cream was a popular dish. He introduced ice cream to Italy. It spread over the high castes of Europe fairly soon, later being brought to the Americas.

Types of Ice Cream Around the World

Ice Cream Month July 2019: Where to Go

gelato ice cream month 2019 cuddlynest

Gelato – Italy

When you visit Verona where Romeo and Juliet are told to write letters, or Sicily, where the famous glass crafts are blown, there is no excuse but to try Italian gelato.

Made from custard base just as the regular as ice cream, it is higher in milk and lower in cream and eggs, sometimes having no eggs added at all.

gelato ice cream month 2019 cuddlynest

Ice Cream, the Real – Germany

In Germany, the UK, Netherlands and US, and other countries, the regular ice cream is in wide assort. To be called ice cream, the frozen dessert must be at least 10% in milk fat, and the base must not increase in volume by over 100% in the churning process.

In Germany walking the streets in Munich or the pathway by Lake Garda, you will find the ice cream commonly topped with whipped cream, jam or strawberry sauce – Germans prefer it this way.

gelato ice cream month 2019 cuddlynestCream Anmitsu – Japan

A dessert bowl of mochi, fresh fruit, anko, cubes of agar and chestnuts is a traditional Japanese treat. When topped with a scoop of ice cream, you can find it in the streets of Tokyo as Cream Anmitsu.

gelato ice cream month 2019 cuddlynestDondurma – Turkey

Battered Ice Cream, also known as Maraş ice cream, is a type of mistic ice cream distinctive to the Middle East region. Close to Syrian booza dessert, it is made out of cream, whipped cream, salep, mastic, and sugar.

gelato ice cream month 2019 cuddlynestFaloodeh – Iran

When tasting faloodeh (or paloodeh) for the first time, you will find it similar to a sorbet. It consists of thin starch noodles in a semi-frozen syrup containing sugar and rose water. When served, faloodeh is spritzed over with lime juice and sprinkled with ground pistachios.

gelato ice cream month 2019 cuddlynestI Tim Pad- Thailand

The thin rolled ice cream, also stir-fried ice cream, originates in South East Asia and is made on streets of Chiang Mai, Bangkok and Phuket. The ingredient list consists of liquid base, usually cow’s or soy milk and comes in generic flavours, such as vanilla, chocolate, coffee, and strawberry.

gelato ice cream month 2019 cuddlynestSorbetes – Philipines

Distinct from sorbet, the Philippino frozen dessert is made from coconut or ordinary milk, peddled by street hawkers. You will be served it in a small wafer or a bread bun.

gelato ice cream month 2019 cuddlynestAis Kacang – Malaysia

Traditionally made from only shaved ice and red beans, the frozen dessert now comes with different ingredients, like attap chee (palm seed), red beans, sweet corn, grass jelly, roasted peanuts and cubes of agar agar.

 

Now when you are ready to taste all the different flavours and types of ice creams around the world, make sure you book your trip and share the sweet treat to inspire your Pinterest friends!gelato ice cream month 2019 cuddlynest

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10 Short Daytrips from Naples in Florida

Naples Florida Vaction Homes CuddlyNest Beach Houses Holidays Rentals CondosBest Day trips from Naples Florida

Naples Florida travel guide cannot be included in a single blog post. But you can go on a short day trip from Naples in just any direction. No matter your interests, the surrounding area is rich in history. Diverse leisure activities cater to both adventure junkies, foodies as well as art enthusiasts.

Day trips for Shopping near Naples Florida

If you want to bring back of visiting a real store having a chit chat with sales assistant while looking for the perfect scarf instead of chatting with a bot on Amazon or eBay, shopping can be a cure for the soul. There are several small shops located in  Naples you can visit for a heart-warming second-hand shopping experience, like Audrey’s, or True Fashionistas, but if you are looking for all-in-one shopping mall, your best bet is to go to Bonita Springs, or straight to the outlet in outskirts of the Naples city to Estero.

Bonita Springs

Gulf Coast beaches and parks, Little Hickory Island Beach Park and Bonita Beach Park, with its sand dunes, and the Northern Lovers Key State Park mare popular visitor hotspots in Bonita Springs, and rightly so. But this is not all; Bonita Springs, located 15 minutes ride away from Naples, also features one of the best shopping malls in the area.

Where to go? Springs Plaza has it all;  Promenade Store is for a unique shopping experience.

Estero

If you seek sales and want to get a new shirt in some of the best Naples outlets, Estero is a place to visit. From Coconut Shopping Mall Naples to Miromar Outlets with more than 140 designer and brand name outlet stores under roof, to smaller shopping malls, like Corkscrew Village Naples FL, Estero has it all.

Florida Naples Best Beaches for Family with Kinds Shelling Snorkelling Travel FL Naples Everglade Marco ISland Budget Luxury Vacation Homes CondosBeach Family Day Trips from Naples Florida

Naples Florida is famous for its The Naples Pier, stretching 1,000 feet into the Gulf of Mexico. While you shall not miss watching sunset there, also try to spot a dolphin in the morning! Visit the infamous Naples beaches with calm waters and fine white sand. In Clam Pass Park and Delnor-Wiggins Pass State Park, there are several Naples getaways for family day trips near Naples FL.

Fort Myers

30 minute ride away, Fort Mayers is a fairly large town. It offers beautiful beaches and family leisure activities. Make sure to go to Fort Myers Beach which has both educational centres, The Ostego Bay Marine Science Center, showcasing local marine life, as well as leisure activities for both adults and kids, like parasailing in Estero Island and hiking in wildlife in Bowditch Point Park.

Sanibel Island and Captiva Island

Located a bit further, 45-minute drive away, the islands is a great place to go if your kids are of school age, as the sand is shell-strawn, and it takes a bridge to cross.

To get to Sanibel Island, you must go by Sanibel Causeway, which is a 3-mile long wooden bridge (toll: $6 for motor vehicles ($3 per additional axle), free for bicycles). When on the island, go and explore the wildlife and see the Sanibel Lighthouse.

As for Captiva Island, shelling is one of the most popular leisure activities for families. To relax, apart from collecting shells while watching the picturesque sunsets you can also go on a cruise to watch dolphins on the South Seas Resort, or learn to sail on Offshore Sailing School.

Florida Naples Best Beaches for Family with Kinds Travel FL Naples Everglade Marco ISland Budget Luxury Vacation Homes CondosWhat Historical UNESCO Places to Visit near Naples Florida

Immokalee

Meaning “my home” in the Seminole language, spoken by the ancient Calusa tribe who were the early occupants of the area, Immokalee Florida is a small town, filled with migrant workers from all over Latin America, and as such, a great place to visit to learn and explore the history of Florida. Fun and with great flair, the city offers authentic Mexican food, traditional farmer’s market and you can visit the Immokalee Pioneer Museum to learn about the history of Florida.
Want to go wild? Visit Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary to walk marshlands, birdwatch and see alligators in the swamp.

Florida Naples: Culture and Art Scene

Matlacha and Pine Island

An hour ride from Naples lies Matlacha and Pine Island. Just imagine a hippie dream of painted camper life, art all around and sun and beach to swim less than a few feet away. Sounds like a plan? Then go and visit Leoma Lovegrove Gallery & Gardens,  and Wild Child Art Gallery. Matlacha has its own nature reserve, and nature and art still rule the lifestyle here, Visit while you can!

Everglades City and the Florida Everglades

No wonder the city is enlisted as a UNESCO World Heritage site; the

Located 45 minutes to an hour south outside of Naples, The Florida Everglades is one of the great natural treasures of not only the United States but of the world, with its listing as a UNESCO World Heritage site. Founded in 1920s as the Collier County seat, Everglades City offers you kayaking, canoeing, experimenting with paddle boarding, or go fishing, but that is not all.

Florida Naples Fine Dining REstauurants Where to Eats Daytrips FL Naples Everglade Marco ISland Budget Luxury Vacation Homes CondosGourmet Travel Guide and Fine Dining in Naples Area Florida

Naples is one of the wealthiest cities in the US. It sports the second place just after New York in millionaires per capita. And naturally, where money flows, good food follows. Fine dining near Naples is not a problem, but there are some must-visits. Especially, if you are going on a gourmet journey!

Marco Island

Located 30-minute ride away, Marco Island can be a life-changing experience. Watching the sun collide with the waves and the blood orange sky. Nevertheless, after spending a day in Tiger Tail Beach or walking the Lagoon, you will enjoy the taste of good wine. Coupled with wine, freshly cooked vegetable dishes are the speciality in Sale e Pepe or Marek’s Restaurant.   

Cape Coral

Located about 31 miles north of Naples, Cape Coral offers it all. From Northern Italian restaurant Ariani Ristorante serving pasta (and steaks for its American audience) to Roadhouse Cafe offering private dining rooms and great service, to fondue place The Melting Pot,  you can allow yourself to go on a journey of taste.

Naples Florida: How to Get Around

To get around Naples, a car is a necessity. This is the only way to get to natural attractions, like  Everglades National Park’s Gulf Coast entrance in Everglades City. Drive the Interstate I-75 north-south known as Alligator Alley going between Naples Florida and Fort Lauderdale. U.S. 41, known as the Tamiami Trail, links Naples and Miami. REcommended for ones seeking a beautiful scenery is the Tamiami Trail, especially when driving through Everglades.

If you do not Have a Car, we recommend renting a car. You can also get around Naples taking the tourist two-hour tour trolley to get a feel of the city. Running daily from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., it will not, however, be a budget option, with tickets priced at $27 for adults and $13 for kids.

Where to Stay in Naples

Stay in vacation condo just like Bret Baier’s from FOX News Channel in Naples! Look up the best deals HERE.

 

And now, count again, Was it 10, or 9 places to visit?
Comment below and pin this on Pinterest!

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15 Reasons to Visit Balkans this Summer

What are Balkan Countries

The Balkan region is countries located in southeastern Europe. Culturally diverse, yet historically connected, the region consists of a bunch of small countries. It includes Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Kosovo, Montenegro. Also North Macedonia, Romania, Serbia, Greece, and Slovenia.

 1. Your tastebuds will be forever grateful for trying Croatian Pag Cheese

2. You will learn that good wine does not have to be expensive

man diving in the water

3. You will learn how to swim (in case you cannot, yet)

4. You will discover that eggplant can be tasty when on bread – taste Ajvar

5. You will learn to dance crazy by Balkan music rhythms

Woman Standing Near Group of People

6. And you will never forget the parties at Belgrade floating party boats

7. Summer music festivals are cheap and good

8. You will get to Eat Burek when visit Balkans summer 2019

clear glass cup on brown wooden surface

9. Drinks here are good and cheap and turn white when mixed with water – try Rakia

10. You will learn where democracy was born when visit Balkans summer 2019

11. You will discover the generosity of people

12. And, you will discover the cultural differences between East and West

shallow focus photography of clear glass jar

13.You will be in a region where you can’t guess the word and will learn to adapt when visit Balkans summer

14. Fresh foods will make you want to change your diet for good

15. Turquoise see will make you wonder leaving your daytime job for a life in paradise to visit Balkans summer 2019

Still wondering when and where in Balkans to go this summer?
Check out our other posts on Croatia travel: foods, movie travel and check out the options for your holiday stay.
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