CuddlyNest blog Rome

When Ancient Romans Got it Wrong: What to See in Rome (Temple of Ridicule and More)

Rome CuddlyNest Travel Guide

What you see in City of Rome tourist guides is nowhere near what it should have been. Read about the anecdotal (and ridiculous) temple-large errors made by Ancient Romans.

From cats laying on every corner of the ancient lapis Tiburtinus, ruins to no-frill Pizza Ebraica in the Jewish Quarter in one of the 200-year-old bakeries, the ancient Romans (and their further generations) have left a lot to explore for those visiting Italy. Read this if visiting the Ancient City of Rome on Christmas or celebrating the New Year 2020.

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Torre Argentina – Cat City in Rome

While Torre Argentina is just one of the many historical squares in the very centre of Rome dating back to the Republica times, the cat sanctuary is surely worth a visit. Just near the portico of Pompey where the famous betrayal of Julius Caesar happened in 44 BCE, volunteers take care of around 130 cats. The Torre Argentina square itself is built on remains of Pompei Theatre and is the ancient Campus Martinus. Named after Strasbourg, the square homes 4 temples. The assembly of temples was once encircled by a circus, Roman Baths of Agrippa, Circus Flaminius, and  Porticus Minucia Frumentaria, enclosing the ancient square.

You may come across cats in Rome almost anywhere you go, due to Italy’s no-kill cat law. The famous cat sanctuary, however, was upstarted by gattare, or cat ladies, who upon the excavation of the site, started to take care of the sick and wounded ones. Today, when visiting the Torre Argentina Temple D, you can watch cats sunbathing on ancient steps either from street level, or head down the steps to the underground office, where you can adopt or give a donation to the sanctuary.

Rome CuddlyNest Pinterest Pin - Best Roem Holiday Roman Holiday Archeological Sites to Visit

Pasticceria il Boccione  – Get Pizza Ebraica

While watching cats taking sunbaths on the steps is probably one of the most relaxing activities you can enjoy whilst in Rome apart from laying in your Rome hotel bed, nothing can make it better than having an Italian pizza slice (almost as good as the Portuguese pastel de nata) in hand. 

Italian politics and past malefatte set aside, one can make be sure that the Jewish Quarter homes one of the city’ tastiest must-visit spots. Getting to the two-century-old family-owned Pasticceria il Boccione poses itself as a challenge, though. Although the unsigned corner shop is hard to spot, it is surely a good idea to get a no-frill burnished cake, tart or the famous Pizza Ebraica. Recipes brought down from generation to generation boast in the fresh ricotta cheese flavours, and cakes are full of fruit and sultanas.

While the origins of the Jewish Pizza is still a myth, arguments were put forward that Jews fleeing the Spanish Inquisition in the 15th century brought the dish to Rome from Sicily. While back then pizza had no other meaning than pie, today, one is sure to get a savoury and fresh tomato-flavoured dish,

Going back to Ancient City times, CuddlyNest further brings you to the very first days of the Empire.

Rome CuddlyNest Pinterest Pin - Best Roem Holiday Roman Holiday Archeological Sites to Visit

Ostia Antica – Wander through Millenia

Ostia Antica is probably one of the best examples of how Ancient Rome looked at the very beginning. Then undeveloped Ostia was probably the first Colonia of Rome. As the legend of by Ancus Marcius goes, the inscription of the old castrum with the oldest archaeological remains date back to 4th century BC. While you should definitely not miss taking a break and visiting Capitolium (temple for Roman Juno – the Greek equivalent of Hera -, as well as Jupiter and Minerva) staying idle is not the best strategy whilst visiting Ostia.

What one should be attentive towards, is the realization that archaeological sites as Ostia are bringing out many layers of history. From the very first archaeological remains to the largest and most considerable part of the buildings dating back to 3rd century AD, there is a lot to see in Ostica. Even now hardly spottable, the wall of opus quadratum is a good example of the considerate ancient building technique.

Rome CuddlyNest Travel Guide

Castel Sant’Angelo 

The round keep of Castel Sant’Angelo protected the castle for centuries – and it still does protect the Roman heritage.

Instantly recognizable, one can hardly mistake the building for any other – first built for emperor Hadrian, it was then converted into a fortress in the 6th century. Today, when visiting the castle, you would be amazed by both its dramatic history and the collection of paintings, military protectionist memorabilia and sculpture from collections of Museo Nazionale di Castel Sant’Angelo.

As Rome was in times of perceived or real danger,  popes could escape to Vatican by Passetto di Borgo, a secret passageway built in the 13th century. If you ever took the European History class, then better know that it was here where Pope Clemente VI, famously holed up in the castle in 1527. 

Visiting Sala Paolina, and watching the frescoes depicting the life of Alexander the Great is a must, too. While not exactly ancient, hearing Vissi d’Arte from Puccini’s Tosca is a good place to start to relive the story of Floria Tosca and Mario Cavaradossi on the terrace two storeys up, while sipping a caffè.

Temple of Ridicule – a Mystique or Evidence

Lastly, even Ancient Romans used to make mistakes. Ridiculous or confusing, Ancient Rome never had an Aedicula Ridiculi, although many thought it to be the case, drawing from the little evidence we have today. 

Almost three centuries ago, in 1698 book a Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities,  French scholar wrote about the Little Temple of Ridicule, locating it along the Appian Way, at the second milestone outside the Porta Capena. While now known for the ridiculous mistake, the guide would not reveal the necessary information.

The temple’ s location also carries a significant meaning – it was thought to be on the spot where bad weather forced Carthaginian general Hannibal to give up on besieging the capital in 216 BC. Also, the second-century Hannibal grammarian adds to the story, confirming that Hannibal turned back at that spot, being alarmed at certain portentous visions. Romans, then, as told by Danet, “therefore built a little oratory under the name of the God of Joy and Laughter.” 

The temple, however, never existed. While the oratory with its significant Roman architecture still stands strong on the site, it is now commonly argued that it was a tomb of a woman who died nearly 400 years after Hannibal’s invasion. 

However, some references to the temple on the ancient texts were misleading. Pliny the Elder has mentioned the temple in his Natural History, while writing on birds. The story of a shoemaker who once buried his beloved pet raven, apparently, was far from the truth.
The Aedicula Ridiculi was still brought up in magazines centuries later, is a fun fact, as in Dolman’s Magazine “the ancient Romans went so far as to erect a ridiculi aedicula, or chapel of laughter.” 

 

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Barcelona legendary places to visitt CuddlyNest blog travel advice

7 Wonders of Barcelona: The Legendary Barcelona Spots

Barcelona legendary places to visitt CuddlyNest blog travel advice

A journey through centuries on Barcelona’s legendary city streets.

While Catalonia travel destination is as hot in Europe as the Spanish sun, one cannot but agree that Catalonia, with Barcelona shining bright, holds a special vibe. 

We already wrote about the legendary places in Barcelona you must visit – the Bar Marsella, Biblioteca de Catalunya and The Carretera de Les Aigües are all must-visits. But what is the story behind the history of Sagrada Familia and Bunker del Carmel?

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Sagrada Familia

While Sagrada Familia is not necessarily the oldest, it is surely one of the most famous and legendary spots where the world-famous architect Antonio Gaudi intervenes with the centuries-old Spanish art, still in progress after more than 135 years. 

The beginnings of the Temple of the Sagrada Familia date back to 1866, when Josep Maria Bocabella i Verdaguer, a founder of religious association, started to campaign for a temple to the Holy Family. In 1881, the association purchased land, and just a year later, the first cornerstone was laid, kicking off the construction with neo-Gothic design. The first project, however, was designed by  Francisco de Paula del Villar y Lozano, and only after a while, the project was given to Antonio Gaudi.

So, what is so special about the temple? First, Gaudi dedicated his all final years for. Not only he worked exclusively for the Expiatory Temple day and night from 1914, he also lived very next to his workshop in his final months. 9 years later, he came up with the final design for the naves and roofs, and in 1925, the first bell tower was constructed – the only one Gaudo would see in his lifetime. You can still see it on Nativity facade. Dedicated to Siant Barnabas. After getting hit by a tram, he was buried right in the Sagrada Familia, in the chapel of Our Lady of Carmel.

But why the Temple is still a work under progress? Legendary architect’ s death is not the only reason. In fact, Sagrada Familia falls somewhere in between other major European churches – after all, Notre Dame in Paris took 182 years, the old Saint Paul’s in London took 200 years, Reims went through different stages spanning 264 years and Cologne took 600 years… that said, it is fairly decent progress with Sagrada Familia, taken into account the donations.
That leads to the factor of the grinding poverty in the country after WWII and well into the 60s, which seriously impacted donations, no matter how pious Franco’s regime claimed to be.

As for the original maquette destruction in the Spanish Civil War from 1936 to 1939, when anarchists went on an anti-church rampage, it may surely add to the reasons why their work is still under construction. 

Bunker del Carmel

As for Bunker del Carmel, El Turó de la Rovira, or simply The Bunker, there is a history to the legendary place here as well.

When climbing the spot, the terracotta rooftops stretching out from right to left, BCN city is seemingly infinite, just to end with the coastline. From here, you can see the Sagrada Familia, the Palace of Montjuic and numerous surrounding mountains. 

Then what makes the legend?

The place has been occupied throughout centuries, but only recently by tourists. During the 30s Civil War, the Bunker was used to defend the city from aerial attacks, and thereafter was adapted for slam housing, which was only disbanded in the 1990s with the arrival of the Olympics. 

Today, you can see much less of the old-age stone walls than the recent concrete military build, but still, the place has one of the most magnificent views to the city.

Before you take off to the Bunker del Caramel by the Yellow Line 4 till Alfons X, make sure to pack a couple of bottles of cava or a few Estrellas and a bunch of snacks, but mind that there are no absolutely any facilities. No visitor centre, no shop, no toilet. And as a bonus – ad consequence – no crowds wit families as in Sagrada Familia.

Maze of Parc del Laberint d’Horta

The park is one of the most different from any other attraction you may face in Barcelona. 

Although a little tricky to get to, the park is one of the best non-touristic things to do in Barcelona. You can wander the greenery of the formerly private park. Since 1971 when the park was opened to the public, the park has been carefully restored and protected. With both neoclassical and romantic part of the garden, you can follow the history of garden architecture in Europe whilst visiting the park.

What clearly distinguishes the park from all others is the numerous sculptures with motives of Greek mythology and folklore, as well as fountains, springs, and pools. The pavilions of the intermediate terrace were chosen by poet Joan Maragall to represent classic plays, and in 1898 the tragedy Iphigenia in Tauris by Goethe, translated by Maragall and directed by Adrià Gual, was first played here.

The name of the park comes from the lower terrace with the hedge maze that gives the park its name, made up of 750 metres of trimmed cypress trees. At the entrance of the labyrinth, there is a marble bas-relief depicting Ariadne and Theseus. 

Having a capacity of 750 people at a time, you will not feel like in a crowded tourist place while here. 

The Cat of Raval

The legendary Cat of Raval will bring you luck, as you brush the chubby cat. And who doesn’t want good luck?

El Gato de Ravel isn’t the only artwork sculpture in Barcelona, and you can see Terminal 2 of Barcelona El Prat airport to see Botero’s oddly shaped horse.

Old Street Art of La Carbonería

The street has a special aura not only because of the artistic drawings on what previously was a coal factory.

During 2008 – 2014, the building was a significant part of the Barcelona Okupa Movement. Over the years, anti-capitalists have occupied many empty buildings to protest to their rights, but the squatters were eventually made to leave La Cabonería by the police in 2014.

While the building was once thought to be brought down to make space for new buildings, the city council protected it as a site of historic and artistic interest instead.

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Hospital Torax de Terrassa

If there is any place you would like to explore only by day, it is Hospital Thorax. Set in the suburban Barcelona, it was once a hospital opened next to a pine forest in the 1950s and housed patients with respiratory diseases, at least officially.

The rumours are not as bright, though. During its operation, it had the highest suicide rate of any institution in Spain. The story goes, patients were driven mad by struggling to breathe and the isolation they felt near the forest. The garden is now nicknamed ‘The Jungle’, as it was a common combination to jump off the balcony into the garden. Want it to get greeny – darkish? Listen well and you may hear the sounds of screaming and loud thuds to that of primal jungle noises.

While “The Jungle” sounds more like a rumour than truth, what may very well be true are the inhumane experiments. Claimed true after a patient obtaining a foetus in a jar from the 5th floor of the Hospital de Torax, the place was eventually abandoned by 1997 and has received a lot of attention from ghost hunters ever since.

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Barcelona travel tips legendary places

7 Wonders of Barcelona: Legendary Places to Visit in Catalan Style

A journey through centuries on Barcelona legendary city streets.

While Catalonia associated with uniqueness is a hot topic in Europe, just as the Spanish sun is, it indeed holds a special vibe.

Barcelona or BCN is probably the most famous for the centuries-old “work in progress” church Sagrada da Familia and football. However, the capital of Catalonia has so much more of the legendary vibe that you could expect. From cafes frequented by Picasso and Dali to bunkers and best-view spots of the city from far-away (and slightly secret) places, you can dive into Barcelona magic when visiting these 7 wonders of Barcelona.

CuddlyNest Vicky Christie Bar Places to Visit Barcelona travel advice

Vicky Christie Barcelona (2008) – film still

The Bar Marsella

Want to have a glass of absinthe in a historical atmosphere, with tiles worn out by centuries of Catalonians stepping in and out, sitting and drinking absynthe while enjoying bohemia of Barcelona nightlife? Opened in 1820 in El Raval, and famous for its drinks, the Marsella Bar is now a cult spot for tourists. However, the legendary spirit of Picasso and more recent visits by Hemingway are the bets tell-teller signs that there is something about the place, not just a tourist-booklet blown-out cult place.

If you are not visiting Barcelona just yet, you can get the vibe from Woody Allen’s movie “Vicky, Christie, Barcelona” where the two (and some handsome Spanish men) are dining just before going to listen to Spanish guitar troubadour in the park. The Bar Marsella is one of the best places to go after midnight, and while you cannot spot any prostitutes and thieves right outside as in 19th century, the sleaziness of Barcelona’s nightlife has not changed much since then. As for that, you should take out cash – there is no-credit-card policy there. 

Also, keep in mind that no singing or dancing is tolerated. If that’s a bar, it’s for drinking, talking and enjoying food. There is a cult status, and you shall be in line with it.

CuddlyNest Barcelona travel advice

Biblioteca de Catalunya in Barcelona

Barcelona is the centre for culture and arts, but also for knowledge. The  Library of Catalonia is housed in a historical building of Antic Hospital de la Santa Creu de Barcelona. 

BCN Library of Catalunya Building Architecture

While the hospital has been around for long, built between the 15th and 17th centuries, the library itself found its place here only in 1939. Once being the largest hospital of Catalonia, it is also one of the most important gothic ensembles you can find in the city. The first stone was laid in 1401, but it took 13 years for the hospital to resemble the one you can see nowadays. Later, after a century of functioning, the hospital was optimized, and the building was upgraded.

The Legend of the Don Quixote, Roomed

What to see in the library? There is a lot of legendary pieces to be found – from Don Quixote to the oldest texts in Catalonian, the place is full of legends.

The Ingenious Gentleman Don Quixote of La Mancha, or El ingenioso hidalgo Don Quijote de la Mancha is probably the most interesting for those who used to read Don Quixote and his loyal servant’s Sancho adventures in their childhood days. 

With one of the widest public collections worldwide specialized on Miguel de Cervantes’ work, one can easily find the manuscripts of the century-old writings of over 8.000 volumes, including originals of all first editions, except for La Galatea, and the 6 first editions of the Quixote from 1605, bibliophile copies and also publications of the Cervantine work in more than 20 languages.

What’s probably even more interesting, is the serial of manuscripts songbooks. Leather-bound on wood and with metallic corners, these are huge books, bounded in 16th to 19th centuries, and sized from 80 to 50 cm in width. Successfully resued during the Spanish civil war, these are must-sees, carrying history and culture throughout the centuries.

The Oldest Writing in Catalonian

The Homilies d’ Organya, the oldest Catalan language text is the oldest literary evidence dating 800 years back. The legend holds that the Homilies were written for being preached by canons of the collegiate of Santa Maria d’Organya during Lent by an anonymous clergyman, who was worried at communicating the word of God in a comprehensible manner. The manuscript, written on parchment and bound on a booklet of eight leaves still sits in the Biblioteca de Catalunya today.

Work in Barcelona Library for Freelancers

Today, the building houses 3 million documents, and you can also visit the library to catch up with your work during travels. The library is open from Monday to Saturday, and you can check the opening hours of Biblioteca de Catalunya before going.

Want to get into the mood? You should know that during the first years of the Franco regime, as told by the librarians, all library cards issued from July 1936 to February 1939 were retired, as indicated at the book of records as unusable, hence needed to be destroyed  “Los números señalados al margen con una línea de lápiz encarnado que son desde 26.423-26.667 han sido inutilizados por ser de época roja y las tarjetas retiradas y destruidas”. You will easily find these and other historical curiosities of the Spanish Civil War all around Barcelona.

The Carretera de Les Aigües

While there is a lot to do in the city, Barcelona also has one of the best parks and nature spots to enjoy the views of the city. From afar, you can enjoy the city views at the Collserola ridge.

The name of the place originates in the water pipes that once ran along this path, retaining the horizontal layout. The 10 kilometres long trail stands 450 metres above the sea level at its highest point and is with a reason one of the most popular spots for cyclists and runners to enjoy the fresh air.

From Sant Pere Màrtir to the Carretera de la Rabassada, you can see Barcelona views as nowhere else. Go by the route of locals and get to see the sweeping, matchless views of the city, paved by water pipes. In the backdrop, if you want to get more of nature, is the Collserola Natural Park – a definite must-visit in case you are looking for a day in the woods.

The article will be continued – to read about other legendary places in Barcelona, click on the 7 Wonders of Barcelona: Why is Sagrada Familia still a Work in Progress?

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CuddlyNest blog Balkan budget ski resorts

Best Dirt-Cheap Balkan Ski Resorts for Family Christmas Holidays You Can Ski below $20 a Day

CuddlyNest blog Balkan ski resorts

Balkan ski resorts In Southern Eastern Europe packs the best value per buck, if you ask us. While there are many opportunities for Christmas holidays spent together with family or friends, Balkans can offer you one of the most fun and unforgettable ways on skis. You can choose from resorts totalling in 883 kilometres of slopes, served by 521 ski lifts. That said, skiing opportunities in Southern East Europe Balkan countries are virtually endless.

While skiing is for everyone, skiing in Alps in France or Switzerland can get expensive. To have more fun while spending less, we suggest skiing in Europe in Slovakian Tatry, or go to Balkans instead.
Not only it is much more enjoyable stay away from tourist-crowded ski destinations; you will also save quite a bit of money by going to the budget Balkan ski resorts. Offering world-class skiing opportunities for just a fraction you would spend in the US, Western Europe or even Scandinavian glaciers, CuddlyNest made a list featuring the best Balkan ski resorts that are also family-friendly.

After all, Christmas is all about being together with your loved ones, isn’t it?

CuddlyNest blog Balkan ski resorts

Vitosha, Sofia – Bulgaria

Budget-friendly Resort for All, € 18

We already wrote about 15 good reasons to visit Balkans this holiday. But here comes another one. Sofia, the capital of Bulgaria, hosts one of the least expensive, but well-rated ski resorts in Balkans. With more than 20 km of ski slopes available and 15 lifts in disposal of skiers, there is plenty of space to practice, learn and simply enjoy skiing for all technique levels.

 

The winter sports area is situated between 1340 and 2290 m, and while most of slopes are for those aiming at blue trails (easy level), approximately 30% of ski slopes is for intermediate skiers. If you are sure about your ski and want to go for extreme adrenaline trails, there is not that much to see in Vitosha. Only 2 km of total ski slope area is surviving advanced skiers.

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Sofia, Balkan Ski Resort Prices

As for pricing, you will save quite a bit when skiing in Sofia. Day ticket for adults cost approximately €18 (BGN 35), while youth and children day passes come at approximately €14 and €11, respectively.

Night Skiing in Sofia, Bulgaria

The resort is opened from 9 am to 4 pm, but you can also ski at night. Night skiing is operating from 6.30 pm until 10pm, daily, so you can enjoy starry sky while going back to top on the escalator chair.

The resort is one of the best established in the whole region. Although there are no recently opened slopes, the very first slope with the 2-person fixed-grip Dragalezvi-Saslona chairlift was opened back in 1956. After that, the resort undergone 2 large upgrades, with each adding 5 slopes. The current slopes is the result of 1984 upgrade. However, there have not been any Olympic games hosted in Vitosha, so while you get a great value for the buck, do not expect the world-class training slopes, especially if looking for moguls.

CuddlyNest blog Balkan ski resorts

Skiing Babin Do – Bjelašnica – Bosnia and Herzegovina

Want to ski on Olympic Games slopes? The winter Bjelašnica Olympic Mountain Ski Centre facilities are located on the eastern slope of Bjelašnica. Close to Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, there is plenty to do both in winter and summertime. While it is one of the most marvellous places to go for a hike in summer (or winter, if you are into ski shoeing), do not get carried away with hiking trails.

Olympic Ski Resort in Balkans

Indeed, Bjelašnica is one of the top ski resorts, having more than 12.5 of slopes available. Good for both skiing and snowboarding, the resort lies around 27 km away from the capital city of Bosnia, making it an attractive destination for those who want to spend some time in the city where the World War I started. The capital boasts beautiful architecture, and affordable restaurant scene – you may want to check it now, and book Sarajevo hotel in advance.

CuddlyNest blog Balkan ski resorts

Balkan Skiing Red Trails

Contrasting with other Balkan ski resorts, there is more to do for intermediates than those who are beginners. Located between elevations 1,270 and 2,067m over the sea level, skiing near the capital is also one of the most affordable, considered great Bjelašnica summit slopes. With day pass costing adults €18 (BGN 35), and €13 (BGN 25) for children, you can enjoy the slopes where Winter Olympics of 1984 were hosted. It is an experience of a lifetime to ski the same slope where Bill Johnson (US) won the alpine skiing downhill, and twins Phil and Steve Mahre (US) slalom.

CuddlyNest blog Balkan ski resorts

Stara Planina – Babin Zub for Beginners – Serbia

Located in Southern and Eastern Serbia, Stara Planina offers one of the least costly options for beginners. The perks of choosing Stara Planina as your Balkan winter ski destination also include the fresh countryside air. The slopes practically end at the village Jabučko Ravnište, and you can go straight to your home after a long day on skis.

Serbia Ski Resorts

As for the offering, the Babin Zub is perfect for those families looking for a place to practice skiing safely. Out of 13 km of the resort’s slopes, more than half is for those trying to learn. When surpassed the blue slope skill level, you can either go for red or black slopes, both of which are equally abundant, compromising 3 km each.

CuddlyNest blog Balkan ski resorts

Stara Planina Ticket Prices

Day tickets for adults and children are little bit more expensive but considering 5 lifts for just 13 km of ski slopes, you can be sure you will not freeze at the line waiting to go to top. Gondolas will take you to the top, and you can be sure the chairlifts are up to the latest standards, being constructed just back in 2006. Daily ticket for adults cost €19 (RSD 2250) and €15 (RSD 1760) for children.

CuddlyNest blog Balkan ski resorts

Sljeme (Medvednica) – Zagreb – Croatia

While Croatia beaches and historical sites are appealing to those families seeking sun and summer in the midst of winter, there is a lot to do in Croatia for those willing to take up skiing, too.

Best Croatia Small-Scale Ski Resort

Sljeme ski resort near Zagreb, the capital of Croatia, is small enough to feel cosy and always be sure about where your family members are. One of the best ski resorts for those with young children, Sljeme ski area is totalling in 4 km. Mostly serving those who go after blue and red tracks, the ski area is equipped with a 3-person chairlift to bring you 1030 m high into the mountainous area, and 2 J-bar lifts to bring you to the top of the slope again.

Croatia Ski Resort Near Zagreb

The day ticket is one of the least expensive, costing €13 (HRK 100) for adults and €7 (HRK 50) for children. Operating from 9 am to 4 pm, Medvednica is a good option for those looking for a wintertime activity close to Zagreb, Croatia. After visiting Zagreb SPAs, you can relax in tranquillity on skis!

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Spain Cities Travel CuddlyNest Travel Blog Accommodation

Top Cities in Spain to Travel to this Holiday – Here is How to Choose

We have been there, too. Christmas is coming, winter holidays are approaching, and airline companies are offering you everything, from the best deals to travel to European top travel destinations, to calm and relaxing holidays in European countries you have never heard of. After all, travelling across Spain cities is one of the best ways to discover the Iberian culture.

Spain Cities Travel CuddlyNest Travel Blog AccommodationBarcelona

Vicky, Christy, Barcelona? If you want a quick weekend trip to Spain cities, full of flavour and smell of paella, this is your best bet. Barcelona is well connected, and the tourist-friendly districts of the centre of the city will take care of anything you may want to do. To balance out the modernist, contemporary vibes of Barcelona art scene with the gothic architecture and narrow, cobbled streets around the city centre, get out of the famous tourist path. While wandering around the Gothic Quarter, do not forget to step out and experience the real city. Discover the great live music scene, and contemporary street art (or, alternatively, go to MACBA), and remember to learn a little bit of Spanish before your trip. Keep in mind that calling Catalan a dialect of Spanish, you may have unfriendly glimpses – so better not to!

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Granada

If you are all about architecture, flowers and romantic, serene patios and flower-powered blue blood vibes, this is a place to go. Sweet-smelling bushes blooming in Generalife gardens, and Nasrid dynasty pools reflecting the clear blue sky is a scene that must be accompanied with the Granada region wine, D.O. Granada, produced in the local Andalusian region at the foothills of the Sierra Nevada. So, if you are looking for some Moorish-style weekend getaway further from the tourist crowds, Granada may be just the perfect place to go.

Spain Cities Travel CuddlyNest Travel Blog AccommodationCordoba

While Cordoba, of the most beautiful Spain cities, or Cordova, may not sound like the most popular tourist destination, the mix of Roman and Islamic architecture spanning from the early 1st century BC, together with the La Mezquita mosque and the perfect shot for Instagram in Calleja das Flores may just be on pint for those seeking a warm and sunny getaway. From Roman bridge to Palacio de Viana, the architecture of the city is definitely worth a visit, and if you enjoy wandering romantic cobblestone streets, then Cordoba should be added to your bucket list.
Are you a Game of Thrones fan? Visit the Cordoba GOT Spain filming location – see the full road trip plan here.

Spain Cities Travel CuddlyNest Travel Blog AccommodationMadrid

Whilst Barcelona is usually referred to as the best tourist destination in Spain, Madrid is not far from topping the list, either. In fact, if you have more time in Spain than just a couple of days, we recommend you to go to Madrid, instead. While the charm of Roman Stairs and Gaudi architecture may be left for Barcelona, Madrid will give you a more contemporary vibe and will be easier on the budget for a longer trip. From much better food for the same price to affordable hotels and rentals in Madrid, Madrid is definitely topping off family trip destination. While walking the beautiful boulevards, make sure to visit Madrid’s   Puerta del Sol, where Spanish celebrate New Year and gather on December 31. After all, that’s the place for new beginnings – it is in Puerta del Sol, where Spain’s six major roads start.

Spain Cities Travel CuddlyNest Travel Blog AccommodationSeville

Seville is famous for its artistic heritage, bit not only! Hot and dry during the summer, it is one of the best places to travel to during your winter holiday. If you are fond of flamenco, hot Spanish rhythms and floral scents, then Seville might be the place to go to. Orange blossom perfumes are sold on every corner, and being a fan of GOT Game of Thrones, you may re-discover the KIng’s Palace when visiting Dorne, the Reales Alcazares. Do not forget to walk around the Maestranza bullfighting ring – after all, it used to be the traditional Spanish sport for more couple of centuries. If you are already planning your Easter holiday, make sure to check out Seville – the Easter processions are one of the most beautiful in the whole of Spain.

Valencia

Craving some oranges? Well, Valencia, located in southern Spain, is famous not only for its football team (just in case you have to talk your partner into visiting Spain!), its horchata almond drink (read more about European drinks you must try), and paella. Whilst you may want to visit in June when Fallas festival in March 15th is celebrating the commemoration of San Joseph, there is plenty to do any other day as well. Visit the City of Arts and Sciences, stroll through the Turia Gardens, and do not forget to enjoy a day at the beach.

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San Sebastian: One of the Best Spain Cities to Travel in 2020

Enjoy laying on the beach all day? San Sebastian might be just your best bet. Located on the Bay of Biscay, the town is famous for its resort hotels and vacation offers. Northern Spain coastal line is green all year long, and while rain season in winter here is much more pronounced, you will definitely enjoy a visit to San Sebastian if upscale shopping, gourmet restaurants and more conventional and less alternative destinations is in your taste. Strolling the picturesque bayfront promenade, and booking one of the world-renowned San Sebastian restaurants for a surprise dinner with your travel partner, you will get the best modern and resort-style Spanish holiday to San Sebastian, less the crowds (compared to Barcelona).

Spain Cities Travel CuddlyNest Travel Blog AccommodationToledo

While Toledo is usually lacking from toplists when picking up the Spain travel guide booklets in airport, the city is just the right place to go if you want to enjoy a relaxing and peaceful Spain holiday with family. Set in the central Spain on a hill above the plains of Castilla-la Mancha, it is well known for the old city architecture and mannerism. Take up a glass of Spain wine and wander the streets to recognize the sets fr El Greco mannerist art. From Moorish Bisagra Gate to Mudejar Sol Gate, the city has enough to offer to keep you out of boredom, at the same time not dragging in crowds of tourists from all over the world. While it means you will get food of the same quality/price ratio as locals, you may be better off booking a vacation rental in Toledo, instead of trying to understand the hotel offerings.

Bilbao

If San Sebastian is the resort town of Spain, Bilbao, although located as well on the Northern Coast of Spain, is one of the best places to visit if you are into modern vibes. While de facto capital of Basque county, Bilbao is being much less of a historical spot to visit. Instead of historical medieval architecture, the Bilbao city centre is filled with skyscrapers and reflection of industrial history and city vibes makes it more of a modernistic travel destination. Nevertheless, you can get a glimpse of Spain while taking a morning coffee in one of the minimalistic cafes and heading to Guggenheim Museum Bilbao to adore modern art.

Spain Cities Travel CuddlyNest Travel Blog AccommodationSalamanca: Capital of Spain Cities for Students

Last but not least – Salamanca should be definitely included in the top list of Spain as the living city of students. Worth a visit by anyone, but a must for those living an active life, Salamanca may bring you closer to your student days with buckets of beer bottles selling at 5 euros, and students strolling around the city during the night. No wonder, it is also, therefore, one of the safest cities in Spain. More into historical than party vibes? Visiting Casa Lis, Salamanca’s Art Nouveau and Art Deco Museum (read: the Art Noveau Capital of Europe), or house of Shells, will make a leap forward not only your intellectual, but also an artistic experience. After all, Salamanca was the centre of great minds in Spain (some centuries ago, though).

Still not decided? 

Check out our Game of Thrones Spain travel guide, and the best travel destinations to celebrate New Year 2020!

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Spain senior travel best tips and tricks for museums cuddlynest

Spain Culture Travel Tips for Seniors

Spain senior travel best tips and tricks for museums cuddlynest
What to know before visiting Spain for the winter holidays? Spain culture travel is one of the most well-known reasons for culture travel, and also one of the most beloved destinations in Europe, and while Spanish people are good at welcoming tourists all year round, and there is always something to see across the country, it is better to be equipped with some handful advice on where to go, what to pack for Spain and how to act and behave in Spain while on holiday as an American tourist.

The land of siestas, tapas, wine and tranquillity, Spanish daily life is – quite opposite its music – quite slow and runs late. But living is for enjoyment, and tourists love every day being lived, and not survived. What’ s more, Spain is inexpensive, and you can enjoy good wine and tasty dishes for almost nothing, compared to other European destinations, like Stockholm, München, or Copenhagen.

Things to See and Do in Spain Culture Travel: Tips and Tricks

What to see in Spain?

Architecture

First things first, the tourist magnet of Spain sits just in Barcelona. Barcelona is famous for its Gaudi Modernism architecture which was an offshoot of European Art Nouveau. Opposite to its Northern Art Noveau architecture capitals, like Riga and Helsinki, Barcelona exhibits a more modernistic style of what today is known as Catalan Modernism or Catalan Art Noveau.

Music

Spanish music and dance are traditionally associated with flamenco and classical guitar. Flamenco is practiced as a social dance on streets, and while you will see many senior couples going for a walk after dinner, many also use the opportunity to take part in weekly social dance evenings.

As for classical guitar, even if you do not book a  Vicente Amigo concert tickets, you can enjoy amazing classical guitar music concerts all over Spain. From small bands playing live in restaurants during the night to buskers on streets, the Spanish classical guitar is something you must see and experience whilst in Spain.

Modern Art

Paintings, sculptures and modern ceramics, as well as amazing cinema,  is something that truly captures the Spanish modernist spirit. Spanish artists are well known, and the people of Spain take good care of it. From galleries with many works of Pablo Picasso and Salvador Dali, like Madrid’s museum of contemporary art Reina Sofia, to specially dedicated Dali Theatre-Museum in Figueres and Picasso Museum in Barcelona,  modern artist works are well conserved and featuring their major works, like Science and Charity(1897), The First Communion (1896), and others.

Apart from metropolises, Madrid and Barcelona, Bilbao is well known for its contemporary art Guggenheim Museum which is housed in a one-of-a-kind modern architecture building. Designed by Frank Gehry, the building became an icon in 1997 when it first opened to visitors. The glass and titanium boat-shaped structure represents the industrial and seafaring heritage of Bilbao, and home sculptures, like Puppy by Jeff Koons and Richard Serra’s installation The Matter of Time.

Spain senior travel best tips and tricks for museums cuddlynestWhen to Visit Spain

Like all tourist destinations, Spain is largely overcrowded in times when the bets vacation time strikes. Not only it is impossible to enjoy the Spanish culture, architecture, foods, and museums seldom, not hearing all other Americans (or any other nation) going crazy for their churros with chocolate just as you are, but it is essentially impossible to get the most out of attending the museum.

And as you want to capture the most out of your Spain European trip, we hereby suggest the best time to visit Spain, according to your destination.

Northern Spain

Regarding Northern Spain, it is best to visit Santiago de Compostela, Oviedo or Santander, along San Sebastian and even Bardenas de Reales (read: Spain Game of Thrones Road trip). It is best to visit Northern Spain in July and August when rainfalls are the least likely to happen. While the best weather may be attractive to many, we can assure you that in the case of going to Northern Spain, hence Costa Verde, Costa Rica or Costa Nova, you can make it without disappointment, as these areas are generally less touristic and much less overcrowded.

Southern Spain

Southern Spain, while much less concerned with the best weather, as it rarely rains, and is usually hot and sunny all year round, is much less concerned with the best time to visit regarding weather conditions. What you may look for, though, is the period when hotels are the cheapest, and when the tourists are not coming in crowds, hence either the peak season shoulder months. Going to Southern Spain in spring months of April, May, June, and in fall, hence September, October and November, is the best decision you can make in case you wish to enjoy culture, see architecture and visit museums.

Spain Islands: the Canary Islands and more

When to Visit Canary Islands

As for Canary islands, we already looked at the best time to visit Canary Islands, but returning to climate talk once again, it has the “best climate in the world”, sporting the hot desert climate which is well balanced with the cool Canary current.  Hence, the best time to visit the Canaries is not in the hottest summer months. Instead, it may be a great winter destination, or in fall and spring months.

When to go to Balearics

Balearics in the Mediterranean – Menorca, Mallorca, Ibiza, and Formentera – are the best to visit in spring, as summer, although providing great weather conditions, can get too busy. As for autumn months, it is probably the best to go in October, but not too late, as the later you go, the colder and more rainfall is there. Moreover, swimming, walking and cycling is more enjoyable we the weather is mild and not yet too cold.

Festivals and Holidays in Spain

Depending on what time you want to plan your holiday, it is great to know when the holidays fall into, so you do not miss another important part of Spanish culture.

Falles, or Las Fallas

If you are planning to visit Spain in March, then try planning going to Spain from March 15 to March 19. The celebration is held annually on the same dates, and Valencia is definitely worth a visit!

Easter

Easter in Spain is celebrated mainly on Easter Sunday. From all the days on the Holy Week, or Semana Santa in Spanish, Easter Sunday, or Valladolid, is one of the best experiences you get in Spain in April. Spanish have a strong tradition of Christian holidays, and so observing the religious processions, and seeing the floats, and smelling the wax from candles will set you in the right mood to try out the garlic soup – sopa de ajo – which is baked with an egg in the middle. Top it with torrijas (no Eastern eggs here!), or crème brûlée, and you can have the most Spanish meal you can imagine.

If you are planning to visit Spain in Autumn, check out Sevilla Fair in Andalucía region, Hero wine festival, a summer festival, in the La Rioja region in Northern Spain, and San Fermin in the start of July on Navarra, Spain.

Spain senior travel best tips and tricks for museums cuddlynest

Typical Museum and Culture Costs in Spain

While some museums may prove to be costly, with tickets ranging from $27.00 in Gaudi’s Casa Batllo or $37.00 in Barcelona Museum, the private tours in Bilbao are much less expensive, with only $34.00. However, if you planning to stay in Barcelona or Madrid for longer, we suggest you trying out city passes, with the Barcelona City Pass costing you $110.00, including 20 attractions. Useless to say, there is a lot to see in Barcelona, and you can surely take advantage of staying in the city for longer.

Best Places to Book Accommodation, Free Art Tours and Transportation Tickets

To book a free art tour when on your Spain culture travel, we suggest you to always visit the city tourism portals. Some of the most touristic Spanish cities, like Barcelona, Madrid, Sevilla, Bilbao, Valencia and others have dedicated pages for free art tours, or city tours. Usually delivered in Spanish and English, you can also go on a tour in French, Chinese or Italian, depending on the supplier.

What are your best tips for enjoying culture in Spain?

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Croatia – Greece Wellness Eco-Tourism and Health Itinerary

Balkan Albania Greece Travel Itinerary Plan Holiday Travel Advice Blog for November 2019

Balkan nature holiday 2019 is a popular bucket list item, and rightly so.
In the previous post, we looked at the senior nature travel starting in Croatia continuing to Montenegro. From Balkan Croatian beaches and Split 19th-century
 SPAs to Croatia islands with legendary sights from Roman times in Brac islands, to the best European beach 2019 in Croatia Pasjaca beach. 

  1. Split, Croatia
  2. Brac Island, Croatia
  3. Pasjača Beach, Croatia
  4. Vranjina, Montenegro
  5. Locven and Skadar Lake National Parks, Montenegro

In this article, we are continuing the travel through Balkans – you can visit Albanian and Greek nature parks, cities with Hellenistic and Roman heritage sites, with Adriatic Sea waters taking care of your health and Corfu and Patras in Northern Peloponnese being just in few hours reach to Athens. However, this guide is all about avoiding tourist crowds and getting the most out of Albania and Greece SPAs and nature parks with less populated yet still tourist-friendly infrastructure. The Balkan nature holiday 2019 road trip is starting from:

  1. Durrës, Albania
  2. Sarandë, Albania
  3. Corfu, Greece
  4. Patras, Greece

Balkan Albania Greece Travel Itinerary Plan Holiday Travel Advice Blog for November 2019

Albania and Greece Wellness and Health Itinerary

Albania is usually well known for its green nature, woods and blue pristine sea. But the health and wellness travel can go much further, as the country has lots to offer when it comes to pampering you, giving massages and world-class SPA experiences for a fraction you would spend elsewhere in Europe. As for Greece, the best way to take care of your mind and body to come back from vacation healthy and productive is to simply get enough vitamin D laying on the Greek island beaches, and diving in the pristine blue Ionian Sea.

Best Massage, Day SPAs and Wellness Centres in Albania for Balkan Nature Holiday 2019

As for the best wellness and day SPA centres in Albania, there are many to choose from. While quite many are located in the capital city of Albania, Tirana, there are several great relaxation possibilities in other cities surrounded by Adriatic Sea. 

If you are about to have a massage or enjoy a beauty routine by professional cosmetologist, we suggest staying a little longer in Albanian Saranda, or Sarandë, and book a day or two at French Beauty & Massage or Kaonia Wellness & Massage

As for other retreat options, there are many if you look beyond the Albanian cities and go for nature reserves and parks instead. Senior-friendly and accessible tourist wellness and spiritual meditation retreats are growing, but still hard to find. However, have a look at what the Italian and English-speaking Beachfront yoga retreat in Durres has to offer. Organic meals and yoga meditation practice daily can seriously up your tranquillity and make you ready to return home. Are you on the budget side? You can also go and volunteer in Albania to enjoy the luxurious nature without spending anything on accommodation.

Best Yoga and Spiritual Retreats in Greece

As for Greece retreats and wellness travel, travelling to the centuries-old health and wellness tourism spot may turn out to cost a little over what you would pay in Albania, but as long as you search well, there are many more offerings to English speaking people. Before booking your tickets for Greece, we therefore suggest checking out Corfu retreats with international yogini ashrams hosted every summer with travellers and yogis coming to achieve spiritual awakening from all over the world.

Balkan and Greek Unique Health and Wellness Travel Experiences 

Although therapeutical bathing and wellness retreats date back to prehistoric times with Babylonians and Egyptians practicing bathing rituals already long ago, the earliest descriptions of Western bathing practice come from Greece. Public baths, showers were meant for relaxation and personal hygiene, but the natural springs and tidal pools had a sacred power of healing, as told in Greek mythology.

Therefore, one of the must-to-do things when visiting Albania and Greece is to enjoy the natural springs and tidal pools, and if possible, also dive into the millennia-old Greek balneum bathhouse practices.

Travel to Durres.

Balkan Albania Greece Travel Itinerary Plan Holiday Travel Advice Blog for November 2019

Durrës, Albania: Balkan Nature Holiday 2019 Hotspot

To continue the last Balkan nature wellness road trip ending in Virpazar, Montenegro, the next destination is Durres in Albania. However, there is a lot to see in between – you should visit Buna River – Velipoja protected landscape and then have some quiet time for meditation into Kunë-Vain-Tale.

Buna River-Velipoja Protected Landscape in Albania, Velipojë

The Buna River, or Bojana, of the South Western Balkans is an important river containing the most important wetlands in Eastern Medittarean. To get the best views, we recommend hiking on the coastal wetlands. Not only you will see the relaxing waters of the river, but also the estuary of Drin, and the lagoon of Viluni. The gulf of Viluni running across the city of Velipojë alongside the Adriatic Sea is one of the most beautiful ones you will see.

How to get from Skadar (Shkodër) to Buna River Protected Landscape – Balkan Nature Holiday Destination 2019

To get from Skadar to Velipojë in Albania, it will take 40 minutes by car. There is no public transport, as the area is far from the main cities, but renting car in Albania will allow you to experience one of the best views and peaceful road trips in vacation.

Kunë-Vain-Tale Nature Park: Balkan Nature Holiday 2019 Destination

Balkan Albania Greece Travel Itinerary Plan Holiday Travel Advice Blog for November 2019The nature reserve Rezervati Kunë-Vain-Tale is something you do not want to miss on your way to Greece either. From the beautiful Illyrian deciduous forests to Mediterranean woodlands, the nature reserve is  one of the most biologically diverse areas in Albania. With more than 277 species of plants, 23 species of mammals, 196 species of birds, and many more insects and fish, there is always something new to see and learn. Take your yoga mat, hiking boots, a warm sweater and a hammock, and go explore the beautiful nature with lakes, walking paths and hardly any people in sight. After all, upon returning to work, you ust relax your mind. As Spanish proverb claims, How beautiful it is to do nothing, and then to rest afterward. Except for… afterwards you go to the beautiful Durres city in Albania!

Durrës, Albania

Durres in Albania is surely one of the most beautiful and historically rich cities you should visit in Albania. Being the second largest city, and the summertime resort paradise, it also has the largest port in the Adriatic Sea, and connects well with Italy and Greece. No matter your destination, when coming to Durrës, you should visit the ancient remains. Although there are not many left from the Ancient Roman times, the Durrës Amphitheatre built in the 2nd century AD is definitely worth a visit, but you will find all types of architecture in Durres. Starting from Illyrian to Greek, Roman and even Italian architecture, Durres is definitely worth a stay for a day or two. Make sure to go to Royal Villa of Durrës, among other museums.
Durres SPA scene is offering many different possibilities, from Palace Hotel & Spa, Durazzo Resort and other luxurious options, to more laid-back, natural atmosphere of Durres beach and nearby city guest houses where you can relax and take a bath in the Adriatic Sea,

Balkan Albania Greece Travel Itinerary Plan Holiday Travel Advice Blog for November 2019

Vjosë-Nartë – Balkan Nature Holiday 2019 Destination

To go further from Durres and arrive at Vjose Narte, you will ride through the beautiful Divjaka-Karavasta National Park. The nature park has the largest lagoon in Albania, and one of the largest ones in the Mediterranean Sea. The Karavasta Lagoon, in Albanian: Laguna e Karavastasë is the must-see for birdwatchers in Autumn, and definitely a good place to camp and enjoy nature in October.
Once in Vjose Narte, though, you will find the Narta Lagoon, and the famous “Land of Eagles and Castles” at its brightest. Ecotourism is huge in Albania, and Balkans overall, but it is even more important for the Bjose Narte and other coastal regions. Still unspoiled by tourism wave, the region is the best place to go for eco-tourism enthusiasts and slow travel supporters.

Vlorë

Without Vlora or Vlorë , the Albania travel destination guide would not be complete. Lying on the foothills of the Ceraunian Mountains at the Strait of Otranto, the city was founded long ago as an Ancient Greek colony and was the birthplace of Albania in 1912. While you are welcome to visit and see museums, and lie in the beach to catch some sun, the Gijpe Canyon, Zvërnec Island and House if Ismail Bej Vlora will add to your experience of Vlora. The bay of Vlora is also considered the frontier between Adriatic and Ionian Seas. The island of Sazan so close, it may be a good idea to go there for a couple of hours. Vlora weather is one of the best in Albania, and you cannot really go wrong when there are 300 sunny days per year.

Travel to Sarande Albania for Balkan nature holiday 2019.

Sarandë Albania Travel 

To get to Sarande, we first recommend you pass the Mount Cika close to Vlora city. Hiking Llogara National Park to the peaks if Cika Mountain Maja e Çikës, at 2,044  will give you great views to the surrounding area and Albanian Riviera.

Arriving at Sarande, however, you should start with some historical sights. From the medieval 

Lëkurësi Castle to Monastery of 40 Saints, there are many things to do in Sarande apart from taking a stroll around the beach or booking a yacht to see the city from far away in the sea.

Balkan Albania Greece Travel Itinerary Plan Holiday Travel Advice Blog for November 2019

Travel to Corfu Greece.

From Sarandë to Corfu Greece

Getting from Sarandë to Corfu island in Greece is more than affordable when you go from Albania. The service is run every day and takes no more than 30 minutes costing you EUR 24. You can book your ticket via Ionian Seaways before going. 

Corfu in Greece will present much different way of relaxation, and you can expect to be one of the many tourists here, but enjoying slightly different health and wellness retreat in Corfu will make take your wellbeing trip to the next level. Massages, day spas and wellness centres in Corfu Greece are widespread, and you can get one of the best saunas, massages and SPA services in Europe for a good price on the idyllic coastal SPAs. From naturopathy to yoga and massage, the healthcare in Corfu is as diverse as its past.

Travel to Patras, Greece for your Balkan nature holiday 2019.

From Sarandë to Patras Greece

If you struggle with seasickness, but visiting Greece in October 2019 is on your bucket list, then there are both buses available. You can get to Patras from Sarande in 4-hour drive. The fuel cost 45€ – 65€ will surely cover and beat the cost of tickets to Corfu island, especially if you are going on vacation with your family. However, Patras city is quite large, and while you may relax visiting museums and remains, the beachside and nearby area are metropolitan. However, you can go to  Roman Odeon and visit Voundeni Mycenaean Cemetry. By the way, the three skeletons have lain there for at least 3,500 years!

 

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Lobos island ferry hotels and travel permit Travel tips

Sojourn to Lobos Island, Spain: Why is it the New Mallorca for Nature Holidays in Spain

Lobos island ferry hotels and travel permit Travel tipsLobos island ferry hotels and travel permit Travel tips Cuddlynest blog

Lobos Island, or Isla de Lobos, is a small island you probably have not heard much about, apart from the fact that it is a part of the Canary island archipelago just about 100 km west of Morocco. But more interesting about the warm climate, the famous Playa de la Concha beach with its clear waters and hornitos is the nature preserve with one of the most diverse flora and fauna found in Europe. The uninhabited island, therefore, makes just about the perfect sojourn destination for those seeking to swim the pristine blue waters together with dolphins and wander around the Martiño lighthouse for sunset. Read on to understand what makes the island the perfect destination for couple weekend getaway and Spain island holidays.

Lobos Island – What to Expect

While Spain islands are well known for their playas, blue waters and crowded tourist attractions, and especially so are the Canaries, Lobos island differs in the offering quite a lot for those seeking natural beauty. From pristine blue beaches with white sand to rocky cliffs for those who seek for more adventure, to loads of fish and yellow-legged gulls, you can observe around 130 plant species in less than 5 km2 area. If you fancy some fairy-tale beauty, be ready to spot the Shearwater Cinderella, and climb mountainous trails. The natural beauty, interesting geology, and huge biodiversity make the island a great tourist destination.

Lobos Island History

Lobos Island was named after a large number of sea wolves, or monk seals, that once lived there. The island has preserved its natural beauty throughout the centuries, only recently attracting inhabitants, mostly nature lovers, and geologists from all over the world.

Located just around 100 km from Morocco, it was once a temporary part of the Roman Empire. However, Romans were here only seasonally, establishing a seasonal settlement to obtain the purple dye. In the 15th century, the island served as a base for the French explorer Jean de Béthencourt in his conquest of the near Canary Island Fuerteventura. However, the only inhabitants of the island in modern times up until 1968 were the lighthouse keeper and his family, who were operating Faro de Lobos lighthouse at the Northern tip of the island. In 1982, the island was the first of the Canaries which has a special park designed as a nature area.

When Spanish discovered the island, these were the only inhabitants. A lot has changed since, but nature is still dominating. The best part of being a visitor to Lobos Island is the fact that nature is not commercialized yet, and you can hike the trails and watch sunsets right from the cliff without hordes of tourists behind you. So – catch it while you can! 

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The Canaries, in Isla de Lobos style

Las Palmas de Gran Canaria municipality, under which the Isla de Lobos lies, is scientifically enjoying the “best climate in the world”, sporting the hot desert climate which is well balanced with the cool Canary current.  Lobos Island, however, with its mix between the white sand and volcanic origin is one of the most amazing destinations for sojourning couples for a weekend.

What makes it different from other surrounding islands, like Fuerteventura, Lanzarote, La Palma, or La Gomera, is the fact that the islet of Lobos is one of the flattest ones, with the highest peak on Caldera de Lobos raising only 126 meters above the sea level. Compared to Teide in Tenerife, or Roque de Los Muchachos in La Palma, it is much easier for visitors to climb.

As for hotels, hostels and tourist infrastructure, you can stop worrying about crowds. Not entirely abandoned, the island is also not overcrowded, lying in the middle of the perfect balance of tourist-friendly infrastructure and transport connections, tours and fun activities to do, and the wanderlust abandoned vibe.

What to Do on the Isla de Lobos, Fuerteventura

Keeping one entertained on Lobos Island is no harder than taking a walk to the mountaintop. However, there is much more to Lobos to do. From tours of dolphin watching to local music concerts, to even day trips to surrounding islands, Lobos deserves more than just a mere 1-day visit.

Best Hiking Trail: What to See in Lobos

The island is a good option for those seeking an easy-to-hike route with the relatively new (2 million) volcano being the highest point at 127 meters. We would still suggest you bringing some extra water bottles in your bag, as the sun and desert climate is especially tiring if you are not from the South. You can explore the island form an easy and largely flat path with stairs going around the island, and reaching the peak of Montana de Caldera, you will get to know the whole island. Remember that for the efforts of its biodiversity maintenance, it is forbidden to step off the walking path, so keep on the road!

The path will guide you through the whole island. From the Greek-looking El Puerterito houses with white-washed walls and romantic, narrow streets. The trail takes you further to 8-meter high agave plants. If you wish to lay down and just enjoy the views, catch some sun, stop at the Faro de Martino beach with white sand and hornitos, small pointy hills that were once crater pipes. It is located at the Northern tip on the island, but when returning to the main path, you can reach the sand dunes at the Playa de la Concha beach, with its sandy dunes and blue waters. Before returning to

Some practical information:

  •         Free toilets are available at the Centro de Visitantes (tourist information center)
  •         It is forbidden to step off the walking pathway
  •         You can learn more about history at the visitor center
  •         If you are on wheelchair or with a stroller, the Montana de Caldera is not accessible

Best Mountain Biking Activities to Do in Lobos Island

To get around the small island faster, you can also rent a bike (or take one with you on your ferry when you come to the island) and cycle around and explore the island with less effort.

Easy Riders offer 5 types of bikes, from heavy-duty, mountain X-trail to road bikes, so you can choose one yourself for €10 per day. You can cycle the same China Cove Trail on  Lobos Island to save time getting around and choose the place you want to spend the day at. Cycling around te island is the perfect option if you are just visiting the island for a day.

Best Culture Events and Festivals

As the isle of Lobos is hardly inhibited and specializes in nature preservation, the only concerts and music festivals nearby are held on the 2 kilometer-close Fuerteventura island. If you happen to visit in June or July, make sure not to miss the Canarian fiestas and festivals, such as Fiesta de San Juan (read: Hogueras de San Juan in Spain) on the last week of June to celebrate the Midsummer solstice or the Fiesta de Nuestra Señora del Carmen, held on seaside towns on the week of July 16th. If you are coming to Fuerteventura on other seasons, make sure not to miss out by visiting the visitor website of the island.

Best Paid Tours to Lobos Island

Best tours in Lobos island include a day tour from Lanzarote to on Tuesdays and Thursdays, picking up travelers in Costa Teguise, Arrecife, Playa Honda, Puerto del Carmen, Puerto Calero, and Playa Blanca. 5 hours of wonders of the Canary Islands will cost you around €55.00 for adults and €38.00 for children up to 11 years.

Likewise, you can take a catamaran trip from Fuerteventura, or watch dolphins on a Lobos half-day dolphin watching trip. The dolphin route includes the shuttle to the port, a boat tour on the super-fast Biosfera Jet, picnic-lunch and drinks while looking for dolphins. The tour starts at Lanzarote where the shuttle bus picks you up in the center of the city, traveling to the Marina Puerto del Carmen. The 1.5-hour boat ride will take you to Lobos, to explore the small village and its natural pool, serving you drinks and picnic, and taking you back to the Marina Rubica in Playa Blanca where a shuttle takes you back to the hotel.

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Lobos Island Hotels and Places to Stay

Staying in Lobos island is impossible, but the closest stays in Lanzarote will make it easy to go and visit Lobos island taking a shuttle bus and hopping on a tour ride. There are several sustainable nature and eco-conscious sustainable hotels near Lobos island to choose from, among more generic ones.

Where to stay – Nature Sustainable Hotels

Finding a sustainable stay on the nearby Lanzarote or Fuerteventura islands is not much of a hard task. You can book camping and spend a warm night under the blue sky, or booking an apartment in Canary Islands just for yourselves.  To travel more sustainably while at the hotel, we suggest going by the simple tips for sustainable travel.

What to Eat in Isla de Lobos

On the Isla de Lobos, there are no restaurants, but we suggest going all natural and picking your own fruits in the morning before you go on a day trip to Lobos island. Some Canary-specific fruits are bananas, or papaya. We also suggest that you eat gofio for breakfast to keep the hunger at bay until your daytime snacks.

We also suggest you try out all almond-based desserts – make sure not to miss Principe Alberto!

What to Drink in the Canary Islands?

What to order when you are visiting the Canary Islands? Go for the local wine, or get a Barraquito,  condense milk with liquor. Sometimes, it is served as a coffee with liquor, but to try the real thing, go for the sweet Canarian tooth.

Also, when you finish your meal, do not skip the Ron con Miel. Most places will serve you this rum with honey after a meal. Made from liquor or cane molasses, it is a typical drink from the Canary Islands. What makes Ron con Miel to be served as a dessert after meals is its sweetness – the drink has at least 2% of the honey in it! 

Best Romantic Restaurants for Lunch in Fuerteventura

Are you starving but want to make the right choice for lunching out? Fuerteventura offers some good restaurants for those looking for a light, inexpensive but nevertheless great meal. To make the most of the natural Canary vibe, we suggest you visit Casa de la Naturaleza for lunch.  Operating from 10 am to 5 pm, this restaurant is housed at a fantastic old farmhouse, serving everything from beer to Canary island wine, to almond cakes and Canarian – not Spanish tapas. Overlooking the valley, you will surely have a good rest and meal here during a day.

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How to Get to Lobos Island, Spain

As for practical matters, the most sustainable (and surely most romantic way) to get from the mainland to Lobos island is by taking a ferry. If you are used to kayaking in the sea, you can get from Fuerteventura to Lobos with no problem.

To get to Fuerteventura, you have several options. We suggest taking a  train or driving a car to Huelva, and then taking a ferry to Arrecerife (ferries go once a week) and then to Fuerteventura Puerto del Rosario. However, if you are very tight on budget, direct flights may turn out to be a better choice, saving you over €100 one way.

Visiting Lanzarote is slightly cheaper if you go by train and ferry via Cordoba, but flights from Sevilla and Malaga cost around the same as to Fuerteventura. In the low season, you can get to Lanzarote for as little as €75, but the best time to travel for the cheapest tickets in October.

How to Get a Permit to Visit Lobos Island

To visit Lobos island, you will have to get a permit through an online system to save the island from crowds. The capacity of the island is limited to 200 simultaneous visitors. Therefore, before planning to go to Lobos, go to Cabildo and Fuerteventura online page and obtain a permit to visit Los Lobos.

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Travel Europe After Brexit: What to Keep in Mind to Stop Losing Money Abroad & Travel Sustainably

Travel and Visit Europe After Brexit on 31 October

What else will change after October 31? With no-deal Brexit, visiting Europe after Brexit may become a bit more of a struggle. Read further to know what to expect and how to prepare in advance.

Visas to Europe

There will be no visas. The European Parliament has granted Britons right to travel to the European Union without a visa after Brexit, staying in Europe visa-free for up to 90 days in any 180-day period. It is, however, only granted if the UK implements similar measure for EU citizens.

Travel Europe after Brexit Eurail Interrail

Travel with Pets to Europe after Brexit

After October 31, there will be slight changes in pet travel to Europe. To prepare for travel with your pet, there are some simple steps you should follow.

If the United Kingdom becomes the third country once it leaves the EU, and automatically an unlisted country. However, it can apply to the European Commission to be listed (Part 1 listed or Part 2 listed), in which case pet travel becomes easier. If leaving with no-deal Brexit, then with conditions of the unlisted country, you should follow the following procedure to travel to Europe with your pet.

  1. You have to microchip and get your dog/cat/ferret vaccinated before you travel, and take a blood sample within 30 days of the last rabies vaccination.
  2. Your vet will send the blood sample to the EU-approved testing laboratory and wait for the blood test results.  When 3 months from the successful blood test sample have passed, you can now go to Europe to travel.
  3. Your vet will give you a copy of test results and enter the date of a sample taken into your pet’s health certificate.

If you are a frequent traveller to Eu, your pet will not need a repeat blood test if the previous one was successful and rabies vaccination history is up-to-date. However, you will need to get a new health certificate for each trip within 10 days before your trip.

Returning to the UK, you will need your EU pet passport, animal health certificate and UK pet health certificate. To learn more about pets travelling with UK nationals living in the EU or scenarios in which the UK becomes a listed third country, read more on UK government Animal and Plant Health Agency guide here.

Holidays to Europe after Brexit: How Not to Lose Money?

With the British pound tumbling long-term low ( lowest since 2012), it is a serious matter to manage your pounds before going on holiday to Spain, Italy or Croatia this autumn. To plan ahead and not to exchange pounds in Europe is a must; to be exact, it is much more of a better deal if you take cash with you – this way you will not lose 15% of your money on airport booths. Want to save even more? Buy your holiday currency now.

Spain Listeria Outbreak: Keep Safe from Bug

The food poison and listeria outbreak in Spain have been on news recently, with 200 Britons suffering. To keep safe, you should stay away from meat products and rather go for vegetarian and vegan Spain meals. To learn how to ask for a no-meat meal at a restaurant, read our advice  here.

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Sustainable Travel and Responsible Transportation in Europe

If you think that sustainable travel is all about booking a green hotel, visiting countryside tulip farms, then you may as well be tricked into buying a refillable water bottle while waiting for a carbon-fuelled cheap airline flight from one city to another.

While crossing out the overcrowded destinations and cutting out plastic is indeed important, even more so is your transportation mode and dietary habits. While we already wrote about how to eat sustainably in Spain, what to pack for zero-waste travel and where to switch from overcrowded Europe destinations, the transport is oftentimes overlooked as neutral to sustainable travel when in fact, it is not. 

Train Travel in Europe after Brexit

There is only as far you can get walking, running or pedalling on your bike. While we strongly encourage you to go on a cycling tour in France, or all across Europe, it is almost inevitable to use a transport mode powered by other than man energy, unless you are up for riding a horse or sailing across Atlantic to attend a business meeting like Greta Thunberg.

There are a few simple ways to switch from unsustainable low-fare, high-emission short flights to green vehicles, like electric trains and electric buses to get to your holiday destination. For visiting Europe, one of the most convenient, no-fuss and also the most sustainable way to get around the continent is to get a Eurorail pass. Partnering with national train lines, routes include thousands of European towns and cities in 31 countries for Eurorail global pass. Alternatively, you can slash your expenses and choose one country pass. Easily accessible, customizable train passes may not be the cheapest, but definitely the most convenient way of getting around, allowing for days, weeks and even months of travel.

Buses

Unless you are going on family Europe holidays and your rental car is fully loaded, public buses come second best choice to tackle transport carbon emissions. European public inter-city and international bus lines are quite well developed, especially in less populated and developed regions, like Balkans and the Baltic States, or in between smaller towns. If you are up for a long-haul bus ride, though, be prepared to check reviews first, to avoid smelly toilets. Most buses in Europe these days come from with reclining seats, free WiFi, and silence, instead of the latest Eurovision song on repeat.

Hitchhiking

Not being an option if strive for convenience or try to juggle across Europe with a family or dog, but.. As long as you are (young?), wild and free, hitchhiking around Europe is the easiest way to travel with zero regrets about environmental track left behind you, as you are simply making the trip of somebody else to be more resource-effective. As for the budget, it is also a more budget-friendly option, while for safety you should always check Hitchwiki site for tips, tricks, best spots and even gatherings and hitch-races.  

Carpooling

An alternative to blind hitchhiking is other sharing transportation services, like carpooling. Hopping into Oskar in Hungary, BlaBlaCar in Southwestern Europe, or Carpool.be in Belgium and Netherlands, you can give a boost to shared services. These will work the best in mainstream hours following people who do daily or weekly commuting to work, university or countryside house.    

Eco-friendly Travel Transportation Apps

To choose between the modes of transport, we suggest always go for road transportation and if possible then sharing services, but if you are still puzzled what’ s the best for planet, here are some apps to guide you through travel ecology and help to plan you travel consciously.

Green Travel Choice

Green Travel Choice app allows you to track your CO2 emissions, no matter if you are driving a rental car, taking a  bus or riding a motorbike. The app logs your trips, travel distances, and your emissions over time, and you can travel and learn at the same time. Partnering with TIES, The International Tourism Society, developers have worked hard to provide accurate data in collaboration with one of the most influential ecotourism organizations.

To download the app, you will need to have $1.99 on your card and iPhone, iPod or iPad running at least iOS 3.0 

BlaBlaCar Travel After Brexit

BlaBlaCar is an app dedicated for people to share rides. You can look up rides several weeks In advance or create search reminders for either carpooling or bus taking you to the destination. You can decide between the cars based on who has booked a ride already – red their profile feedback before sharing a long-haul ride. The app is for free, available for both iOS and Android devices.

FlixBus

Need a last-minute bus from one city to another? There is no better (and almost no greener) way to get around Europe – just open the app, book your ride and hop on the bus to get to your desired destination.  according to the reviews, however, the FlixBus app does not always update the time schedules for buses, so beware the fact that there is a slight chance of you staying on the road.

Eurail vs Interrail – Carbon Neutral Travel Transport Options

Eurail and Interrail passes are probably the best option to anyone coming to Europe for sustainable holiday and visiting several cities at once. 

Eurail or Interrail – What’s the Difference and Which One Should You Get?

Both are referring to international or intercity train network passes for the European 31 country network. The difference here lies In the fact that all-in-all, while InterRail passes are for Europeans, Eurail passes are for non-Europeans, it can get a bit more tricky with residence area. You cannot buy a Eurail pass if you reside in Europe, as well as you cannot buy an InterRail pass if you don’t.

As a UK citizen, you are in luck, as InterRail is much cheaper (under 25 years of age one-month pass goes for €422 for InterRail and €568 for Eurail). While Eurail pass offers many more options for travellers to choose from: one-country pass, two-country and regional passes.

Just in case you wonder, there is a difference in train types included in each type of pass. InterRail Global Pass also covers Ecostar high-speed train connecting London, the United Kingdom with France and Belgium. You can reserve the train up to 3 months in advance. However, for many other high-speed trains like French TGV, night trains and scenic trains, reservation with an additional fee is required. 

InterRail – Is it Worth it? Budgeting for Sustainable Travel

Is Interrail worth it? To say the least, Interrail pass is quite a splurge. While flexibility and city-hopping may be worth it, we advise you to always check the trains available on your approximate travel route. More often than not, with good planning and booking bus and train tickets well in advance, single-ticket rides are much more budget-friendly, allowing you to save some money.

However, if you are with your backpack, open to spontaneity and rather horrified of catching free WiFi’s across the road trying to look up train schedules and understand the timetables in a foreign language, Interrail may be for you.

However, you should still remember to make reservations in advance – you can do it via Rail Planner app.

Travel for Free with UK youth pass to Europe after Brexit

If you are a student coming from the United Kingdom and wishing to travel for free, go for it! Even after Brexit, British teenagers will be able to apply for free EU rail passes awarded by European Union on its 20,000 free train passes within “DiscoverEU” project. No matter if UK exits EU on 31 October, British teens will be continued to be awarded EU train passes, to be “ambassadors” of Europe and share their travels on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. If you missed the deadline on 16 May, there is still a chance to apply for tickets in the second round in Autumn 2019. 

Once the UK leaves the EU, the British will not be able to take part in European programmes, like the Erasmus student exchange, so InterRail pass may be one of the last chances to milk Europe.

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What to Pack for Sustainable Europe Holiday in 2019

Updated September 9  2019

Holiday in Europe in 2019 is no more about seeing the most touristic cities. You can experience the charm of ancient ruins by visiting less touristic and overcrowded European destinations, choosing a green transportation mode and enjoying sustainable European delicatessens. But before getting to Europe travel destinations that are not only trending but also has something special to offer – what should you pack for a holiday in the Old World? Read on to discover what’s goes in and what stays out of your bag for zero waste, plastic-free green travel – read on to learn more!

What is Sustainable and Eco-Conscious Travel

Sustainable travel means travelling with a long-term perspective, and in a way that is harming neither local people nor culture or environment neither economically nor ecologically.

The Sustainable Travel Formula

As you may have heard, sustainable travel is hardly about getting a bamboo toothbrush and booking an eco-hotel anymore. With the diverse opportunities for travel, there is a lot you can improve to make your travel more sustainable, and improve the lives of others, have a less impact on the environment and act in an economically sound way.

Choose Your Destination Wisely

Travel destinations in Europe most of the times so popular that the cities are turning against the tourism industry. Chances are, your bucket list of Europe cities, places to visit and things to do, sounds much like from travel advertisements and movies, from eating gelato on the Spanish Steps to swimming in the Trevi fountain at the midnight.  But with popular travel destinations trying to fight mass tourism, there are new offerings springing up for luxurious offbeat travel experiences, like those of Salvador Ferragamo.

That said, choosing the destination wisely does not only mean that you (and locals) are better off if you are only avoiding high-season in popular travel destinations, although it is a pre-condition to have a wonderful holiday in any of Mediterranean countries, Germany or France.

Choosing your destination is also tightly related to the distance between your home town and the destination, which affects your mode of transport to get there. Getting there fast and cheap usually comes at a cost plied on future generations all over the planet. Flying should be off the table as long as you can do make it to the destination by ferry and ground transport. Flygskam, a recent flight-shaming movement is transforming a way people see travel destinations. If there is absolutely no other way to get to the other side of the world, make sure to get a direct non-stop flight, as these are easier on aeroplanes’ fuel usage. For example, going from Washington to Philadelphia, more than a half (51%) of fuel is burned only for the taxi, take off, climb, and for landing, whereas getting from Washington to St. Lis on one direct flight, there is only 16.6% burned for the operations. So, with a whopping 23% of fuel going toward take-off and landing, you may want to reconsider your flight stop-overs if that’s an option.

As for other modes of on-the-ground transportation, read our comparison here – but you should always keep in mind that sharing a ride in a car, train or a public bus is not only more eco-friendly and carbon-economically. To calculate your carbon footprint, go to the free carbon calculator and see how environmentally friendly are your travels by plane, car, or motorbike!

Go to One Place

Going to one place instead or trying to cram in as many destinations as you can in a record-short time is the best way to keep our planet green and happy.

Remember that what the Europe journey is called now emerged from a long, 1-2 yearlong trip when young adults used to travel around Europe and stay at the same place for more than 1 month to live and learn from local bright minds. Not only it is the best way to get acquainted with the local culture when you go to one region per vacation, but it also helps the planet! City 24-hour visits and 48-hour travel guides to some of the European regions may help you to understand what’s the best in town, but to truly experience the region, it is better to stick to one place at a time.

The emerging backyard travel is possibly one of the best ways to enjoy your surrounding area not only on cheap(-er), but also on an eco-friendlier note. Going around your state, visiting you family at a far-away family house, or even just taking a train and going somewhere exotic for a weekend may play out to be the most wonderful trip. You can easily access the local culture and not harm the locals by disturbing their daily routines and ways of living by bringing in something too exotic.

In case you are with a family, always consider day trips – going on a day trip with a car away from the city for the weekend can prove to be as refreshing as taking a vacation far away in Vietnam or Thailand, less the time lag and inner clock adjustment.

Accommodation Matters

What if this time you would sort the comfort and assign stars, not by the number of towels you get? Instead, try to look at the sustainability policies of the hotel. While environmental care and standards are important, try not to fall for greenwashing. Before booking, check for the stars – do you really need the extra star? Check for the hotel waste management policy instead, and the energy-saving rates.

While staying at the hotel, hostel or shared accommodation, do not extend your showers for longer than you usually do, escaping your own bills. Studies have found the average tourist consuming more that 350 litres of water per night, and this is, although not totally, largely up the choice as a guest. You can take shorter showers, ask to not have the daily room cleaning, and go for the same towel for beach and room.

As for other tricks to make your stay in accommodation more sustainable, shared spaces are always preferred over personal stays, as these make a better use of the resources – think how CuddlyNest shared apartments are housing both host and guest at the same time, so your energy usage to keep the light of the common area and clean are slashed, making it  a better choice for the environment.

Act Like a Local

Acting like a local is a no-brainer for anyone who wants to fit in and experience more authentic travel. As sustainable travel goes for cultural and social sustainability as much as for environment and economy, acting like a local can reduce your footprint substantially.

Eating like a local – going to places where locals are sipping their traditional drinks, going for tapas or weekly groceries, or taking their morning coffee wit croissant – is much more rewarding. Beware the fake-local, though! Many of the farmers’ markets or shop-local markets in the old city town centres are made exclusively for tourists, and you will see no locals there.

Eating out in local restaurants also mean that you eat what they serve, not requesting too many exceptions. You will both receive better service (waiters hate exceptions!) and get to taste the real thing, not adapted to tourist taste.

Choose Souvenirs Well

We already wrote about choosing souvenirs and bringing back the travel memories in a sustainable way – but to make it clear once more, there is nothing more unsustainable that buying third country origin, handmade-label souvenirs your loved ones will never use, just to have something to bring back home. Instead, opt for consumables, like spices, or cosmetics, like artesian soaps, or essential oils, or if you are sure to invest in the gift, then something truly traditional, like an embroidered shirt, earrings or another jewellery piece. If you want to give something personal, though, it is always a good idea to send a postcard back home.

Get Involved with the Local Community

Travelling sustainably does not only mean going for green hotels and shopping in local markets. You can skip the tourist route and ways of travelling for good, and join a volunteering program instead. Choose to volunteer and connect with the local community, contributing to their social, economic development, as well as environmental protection. You can travel and volunteer for student organizations, as an international association member, or volunteer for international development or organic farming organizations.

This way, most of the time you live at a shared housing, and your work is directed towards sustainable development. Good for you – good for the planet!

Watch Out for Greenwashing

Last but not least, you should always watch out for greenwashing when booking a hotel, buying local-made or free-trade souvenirs, or purchasing vegan, vegetarian or eco-friendly products (which appear to be safely packaged in 3 plastic wraps!). Greenwashing is a thing, and only truly understanding the way how sustainability can be achieved on your travels, will make you a better consumer, both ecologically, socially and economically.

Packing List for Sustainable Holiday

Now, when you are more or less acquainted what it means to travel sustainably, you have chosen your destination and probably booked your train tickets, it is time to pack your bags. To do so with the most considered approach, always try to pack less – and more important than packing less is to pack smarter. Instead of 5 shirts, get 2 shirts, 1 sports underwear that can survive multiple wears, and a bar of soap to wash your shorts in the hotel sink when there us a need. But let’s go step by step – read further and learn what to pack (and what to leave)!

Pack Only Things You Need

What is a no-brainer for some, is hard to twist their head around for others. Packing for a week may be the same as packing for a month (or few), given that you pack only the things you cannot live without.

It will differ from travel to travel, but the rule of one pair of shoes holds pretty well if you are on a casual, no-work trip. Packing in flats for work meetings and leaving heels at home will make getting ready and getting around much easier in Europe, as most cities are walkable. As for hiking and leisure, leave flip flops at home, and always opt for proper shoes instead of sandals.

Shoes are nowhere close to the only unnecessary items we usually pack in. Always consider how many electronic devices you will actually need, and which ones you can safely leave at home. Travelling with a laptop may be inescapable for some, but in case you are going on a vacation with your family, consider to take the least amount of electronics with you, to dedicate more quality time to your family members instead.

Pack Reusable Items

Packing reusables is a must, especially if you are on a leisure trip and plan to walk the city most of the time. Getting a water bottle, reusable stainless-steel utensils, a short pocket knife (4.5 cm long, so you can take it with you on a plane) and reusable produce bag set, as well as a tote to skip the plastic shopping bags.

Skipping some cosmetics items, like liquid shampoo and wet napkins, and switching over to bar soaps and DIY busy mists to refreshen yourself while walking for hours in the hot streets of Sevilla or Dubrovnik, will do wonders to your skin, take the stress off for cabin baggage allowances, and make the planet happy.

Invest in Quality

Quality over quantity may be something you hear every single day and for a good reason. Why buy tens of sweaters when you can get one that sticks with you for years and serves perfectly well for many occasions?

Learn Some Water Hacks

In some cities, you may find your water bottle to sit around your hotel room, never to be taken with you on your hikes or day trips further from the city. But learning some water hacks is essential to make the use for reusable items even in places where water quality is not the highest, and it is not safe to drink the water from a tap.

When travelling to Vietnam cities, for example, you should always ask for a jug of water in your hotel room. This way, you can refill the water bottle without calling a room service every time you are thirsty, and always refill the bottle with fresh and safe drinking water before you leave.

More than that, asking for free bottle refills at restaurants is ultimately the best choice when you are out of town. In European countries, free tap water is not commonly offered, but if you ask for it, you get it. Otherwise, you will likely end up with several plastic bottles sitting on your lunch table.

If asking favours is out of your comfort zone, then going for a travel water purifier may prove to be worth it, especially if you travel frequently and most times are out in the city or on the run. These small reverse osmosis RO or ultraviolet light UV devices do not take much space in your bag but come at a price (around $100) to kill bacteria and viruses.

Water purifying tablets are much cheaper, costing around $10.00 per pack – and serving you around 2500 litres of water per pack.

Sustainable Travel Packing List

Get your bamboo toothbrush and razor with interchangeable parts. Use a natural sponge and lava for scrubbing – and you are good to go!

sustainable travel packing list camera

Sustainable Travel Packing List: Cosmetics

  • Bamboo Toothbrush
  • Wooden hairbrush
  • Steel razor
  • Stainless steel nail clippers
  • Stainless steel tweezers
  • Biodegradable shampoo soap
  • Natural sponge
  • Soda and mud

Sustainable Travel Packing List: Clothing

The best way to be more sustainable is to pack less and go with the basics. Mix and match your pieces in a different climate with less luggage taken on board. Added bonus? There is no way you will go shopping aimlessly if you have no luggage space!

sustainable travel packing list cameraSustainable Travel Essentials: Electronics

You only need the basics if any. Remember that unplugging is the most important to relax from your city stress! So, unless you need to catch up on work, better leave your PC and tablets at home.
Pro tip? Take your analogue film camera and discover the new way of taking pictures. If you prefer a more authentic way of capturing the moments, try out sketching city scenes or scrapbooking.

Essentials to Bring

  • Phone
  • Camera

Sustainable Travel Tips: Eating and Cooking

Being zero waste does not always mean that you have to stay with restaurant meals. Quite the opposite, if take your own utensils and use no plastic while eating on the street.

What to Pack:

  • Travel Knife
  • Travel utensil set
  • Water bottle
  • Water purifier tablets
  • Fruit and vegetable mesh bags for shopping

Even if you do not consider yourself to be a green thinker, then packing more lightly and more considerate will always come with its perks. Smaller luggage sizes, also less stress with finding the right conditioner in the Vietnamese grocery store, and fewer problems with getting a plastic-free street food on the streets of Istanbul.

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