train Bangkok to Chiang Mai

The Most Incredible Train Journeys to Take in South East Asia

Asia Travel Advice Trains to take

Train from Bangkok to Chiang Mai scenery, or getting to Ella in Sri Lanka eating crispy dahl balls, train in South East Asia is a full-blown experience. What you see through a train window is incomparable to what you catch in the first and last 2 minutes of your flight or ferry, not talking about the sustainability of train travel. Here are the best train journeys you can take whilst in Asia.

When it comes to trains, there is little we can say to choose another transport mode. Trains are the most sustainable way to travel in a region, and you can get an authentic travel experience by travelling together with locals – after all, conversations only get interesting after a while.

Bangkok to Chiang Mai, Thailand

One of the most popular routes in Thailand is a train from Bangkok to Chiang Mai. Taking the night train is a special experience on its own in Asia, as sleeper trains and buses are one of the most popular for both locals and tourists. 

Both cities have some 680 kilometres (422 miles) away from each other, but travelling between the two isn’t as difficult as you may think. The sleeper train takes around 13 hours and is comfortable for both first-class as well as second-class sleepers. 

Our tip? The night train Bangkok to Chiang Mai will not allow for much scenery to see in the evening, so make sure you sleep early and wake up in the early morning to catch the sunrise as you arrive into the hilly countryside of Northern Thailand.

Train Bangkok to Chiang Mai Tickets

If you are more into sleeping in a hotel in Bangkok and then taking a full-pledge scenic train ride for the day, then trains from Bangkok’s Hua Lamphong Station run every day, also in the daytime. Third-class tickets are the cheapest, though the wooden benches can quickly become very uncomfortable and the carriages can be stuffy and crowded. Seats aren’t allocated either. But what else you would want from an authentic solo travel experience, when you see locals all around, can strike some simple gesture-conversation or take amazing travel portraits during 15 hours or scenic ride.

Second-class seats (that can recline) are the next cheapest option. Tickets typically cost around 500 THB (approximately 15 USD) in a carriage with fans; air-conditioned carriages are a little more expensive, but to make the best value for your buck, you may just take a sleeper train and skip the hotel booking in Bangkok.

If you book a bunk in a train Bangkok to Chiang Mai as sleeper carriage, second-class bunks (in a fan carriage) cost around 800–1,000 THB (approximately 25–30 USD), but you have to pay a little more to get an air-conditioned carriage. The lower bunks are slightly more expensive, but at the same time have more space. At the first-class rooms, however, sleep four and these are lockable.

If you are a solo female traveller or take a gap year trip to Thailand, then there are carriages available solely for females and their young children. For those looking for accessibility, there are very few and selected trains which are wheelchair accessible. 

To buy train Bangkok to Chiang Mai tickets, you can go to any of the major train stations, through agents, and online. To make sure you get to one point to another, and does not lose you hotel booking in Chiang Mai, you should book a trip at least a day in advance of travel by train Bangkok to Chiang Mai to ensure you get the tickets you want.

Asia Travel Advice Trains to take

Kandy to Ella, Sri Lanka

If you wish to experience the beautiful views of Sri Lankan Hill Country with all its tea plantations, you should definitely opt for a  train over a plane. Getting from Kandy to Ella, it will take around seven hours, but worry not about getting hungry on the train. There are many sellers offering fruit and snacks on the way.

Both cities have some 140 kilometres in between, and taking a train for around 7 to 8 hours is just enough to enjoy the scenic train ride without the hustle of booking a hotel in Sri Lanka.

The train was initially conceived by the British Colonial government in 1864 to transport tea and coffee. However, the mysterious fungus wiped out entire crops in Sri Lanka, so the coffee plantations were ruled out, and therefore, you only know Sri Lanka for its tea now.

For years, crates of tea were the primary passengers on this route, until people started to travel in the 1960s. Today, taking a train in Sri Lanka is one of the cheapest ways to travel around, and is vital for locals. 

Kandy to Ella Train Tickets

As for the types of tickets and where to book a ticket, you should rather opt for what’s your aim on the seven-hour train ride. If you want to talk and experience the rough train ride with locals with chickens in cages, cats and dogs, and children playing around, go for the 3rd class! But if you desperately need some comfort on the ride, here are the other options.

The first-class tickets are reserved, but you should book them in advance to guarantee a seat. You will get a conditioned room, but these rooms have no open doors or windows to hang out and see the magnificent views, other than getting out of the room, hang out the window and try to strike a pose with other tourists around.

As for the second class, you may want to opt for this arrangement. There are options for unreserved and reserved seats, and for the first option, you have to get a train ticket on the day of the ride. You are also, therefore, not guaranteed to get a seat, but you may probably get a seat along the way.

If you do get a train ticket with a reserved seat, however, then the number of seats are constrained, and you would pay double the price of the unreserved one. Because there are only a limited number of seats, during the holiday season you can book a train ticket in advance. 

The third class is quite an experience. You will see everything you can imagine all around, from cats to dogs, to vegetables and chickens, but beware the smell. 3rd class tickets from Colombo – Kandy cost 10 LKR. That is not even worth the conversion…

Kandy to Ella Train Tips and Buying Advice

Some tips before you take the train is to not to take an overnight train, as you will miss the scenery, and sit on the right side of the train from Kandy to Ella, and the opposite on the opposite direction, from Nuwara Eliya to Ella. Also, make sure to charge your camera and bring a toilet or sanitizer, and, although taste some of the snacks offered. from fruits to ‘wade wade,’ a deliciously crispy fried balls of dhal, watering it down with a sweet cup of warm chai. 

Are there any more train journeys you absolutely must consider when in South East Asia?

Make sure you get on the train from Hue to Da Nang in Vietnam, and Alishan Forest Railway in Taiwan, as well as Goa to Londa in India – and read about it on our next article.

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Asia Travel Advice Trains to take

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.

CuddlyNest blog Balkan ski resorts

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!

Have you skied in Balkans? Let us know and share this with your Facebook friends, Instagram fellows and Pinterest audience!

CuddlyNest blog Balkan ski resorts

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!

 

Have you visited Albania and Greece yet? Share with others on Pinterest, and follow our updates on Instagram and Facebook for more trip ideas!Balkan Albania Greece Travel Itinerary Plan Holiday Travel Advice Blog for November 2019

Travel Europe after Brexit travel after brexit

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.

Travel Europe after Brexit by train Interrail

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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Switch the Crowded Tourist Spots to These Europe Travel Destinations

Are you planning to go to Europe travel on a fall vacation or romantic trip? While some cruise ship offers, flashy ads and cheap airline connections may lure you into visiting the most overcrowded tourist mills Europe, there is an alternative to experience Europe in full while avoiding tourist crowds with selfie sticks all over the place. There are always alternatives – you just have to know where to look!

Europe Travel CuddlynestInstead of Santorini, Izmir or Antalya

The sunset of Santorini is among Europe’s most Instagrammable spots, but while you may be busy catching the last sunrays of shining over the azure horizon breaking the pink clouds and tinting the white clay houses brightly orange, you may lose the vibe among the other 1500 tourists who disembark to the northern tip of the Greek island and wander Oia streets to watch the sunset just like you.

A more authentic southern travel option close to Greece is Izmir, Turkey. Along Antalya, Izmir is a Western-friendly travel spot on the Turkey’s Aegean coast. While founded by Greeks, today’s Izmir boasts more of a Roman architecture, with Roman Agora, now an open-air museum, bringing you back to the ancient times. From the Clock Tower and Kemeraltı Çarşısı, the traditional Turkish market bazaar, to Asansör with sweeping ocean views in İzmir’s Karataş quarter, the city has just as many Instagrammable spots and – to be frank – a much more laid-back atmosphere. Are you on the adventurous side? The nearby town Alaçatı is one of the budget hotspots for windsurfers. Want to taste the Greek wine? No problem at all, Turkey has its own Urla Wine Route, and the country’s renewed wine industry is striving again after a decline in the early 1900s.

While on Europe travel and visiting Izmir, also do not forget to taste the 200 year old dish from Crete ağla badem arapsaçı bakla (green beans with unripe almond and wild fennel), topped with yoghurt, fresh garlic and a sprinkling of red-pepper flakes, and mastiha, a piny tree resin, before going out and listening to minstrels, Turkish performers, accompanying themselves on the saz.

Instead of Amsterdam, Alkmaar

While Amsterdam with its canals and bike-friendly city infrastructure may be a hard one to let go, Alkmaar, a town in Netherland’s Holland region is just as exciting. The town is well known for its traditional cheese market but is one of the most beloved by culture tourists. Northern Holland makes the destination much more enjoyable than the capital, as you can see the tower of the Grote of Sint-Laurenskerk without tourist crowds that overpower Amsterdam’s streets. While Amsterdam is banning the Red-Light District in concerns for its inhabitants, the lesser-known Alkmaar can be easily travelled to via a direct train from Amsterdam, Utrecht, Nijmegen, Eindhoven, Maastricht and Haarlem.

When vacationing in Alkmaar, you must visit Waagplein cheese market open every Friday morning from 10.00 to 12.30 starting the first Friday in April until the end of the season on the first Friday in September, and buy some cheese, with traders and carriers weighing it of the hand clap. Edam and Gouda cheeses are the most well known, and a must when you are doing the Europe travel.

Want a more cultural experience? Visit Beatles Museum, as the John Lennon’s first guitar was made in Alkmaar, or national Beer Museum “De Boom”.

Europe Travel CuddlynestInstead of Barcelona, Lisbon

Instead of trying to catch a glimpse on Spain’s world-famous Gaudi designed La Sagrada Familia or Park Güell, or even revisit the shooting scenes of “Vicky Christy Barcelona,” enjoy the Catalan art Noveau for a trip to Valencia or go to Northern Riga in Latvia.

Instead of Barcelona, crowded with the French, Spanish and Italian tourists among others trying to get a taste of paella restaurants now serve in a chrome yellow shade, undergoing parquetematización, the city becoming a theme park, visit Lisbon, a less known destination of Southern Europe. With Spanish and French under your belt, you will be able to come across as more or less local, and the country has 17 spectacular Portugal UNESCO sights to visit when on Europe travel.

Instead of Dubrovnik, Tirana

Instead of staying in Dubrovnik for the whole vacation, let yourself visit Game of Thrones new museum opened in May 2019 and walk through the filming locations in the city before heading to a much more authentic Balkan city Tirana in Albania.

Opposed to the overcrowded Dubrovnik streets with tourist guides wearing medieval Seven Kingdom-inspired outfits, Tirana has a much calmer, yet just as the tourist-friendly atmosphere. To see the true face of Balkan warmth, go to Skanderbeg Square, the main plaza in the centre of Tirana. What more to see? Go to Et’hem Bey Mosque, and make sure to taste burek during your time in Tirana, the national pastry pie filled with feta cheese and spinach.

Europe Travel CuddlynestInstead of Prague, Kosice and Lviv

Are you amazed by Prague, the capital city of the Czech Republic? Nicknamed “the City of a Hundred Spires” the city has just about the perfect combination of nightlife and picture-perfect architecture. From wandering the Old Town looking at the sites like St. Vitus Cathedral and Charles Bridge shoulder to shoulder with the crowds from all over Europe, to visiting Olomouc, Czech Republic has certainly a lot to offer.
What you may have lost in translation is another two gems in the Central and Eastern Europe. Before booking a  flight to Václav Havel Airport Prague named after the last President of Czechoslovakia, consider going to Kosice in Slovakia or Lviv in Ukraine. Both being much more of a budget (you may say bootstrap budget) destinations, they also offer a great connectivity by train, in case you consider Eurotrail travel card. Kosice in Slovakia is surely a great option if you are looking for nature and authentic medieval spirit. Make sure to visit St. Elisabeth’s Cathedral, a massive church with Gothic architecture, or Spiš castle, an expansive 12th century castle ruins. To catch a breath from the hot weather outside, find an escape in a St Michael Chapel built in the Gothic style in 14th century, before going to the Singing Fountain and tasting bryndzové halušky.

If you, however, are trying to get through with the smallest budget, a good place to visit is Ukrainian town Lviv. Close to the border of Poland, the city has a Polish and Austro-Hungarian heritage, which blends the Central and Eastern Europe styles and may remind you of those seen in Germany or Italy. Make sure to visit Lviv National Academic Opera, as the tickets are on the cheaper side as well as have a walk in the Lychakiv Cemetery and around the gardens of St. George’s cathedral.

Instead of Florence, Bari

Before booking a trip to Florence, the unnamed capital of Italy’s culture and arts since the Renaissance ages, you cannot beat the destination in arts and culture density. Homing Michelangelo’s “David,” the Uffizi galleries, and Brunelleschi’s dome, the capital of Tuscany region of Italy is, however, swarmed with tourists, with around 380,00 tourists visiting the destination in 2018. Florence is continuously popular despite the city’s efforts to redirect the art lovers with social media campaigns like #EnjoyRespectFirenze, but you can do a favour to yourself and go and visit Southern Italy instead.

If looking for beaches and warmth, go to Bari. If, however, you want to dive into the Southern culture, consider going to Palermo in Sicily, the Southern island of Italy. While Bari amazes tourists with its pristine blue Adriatic Sea, and mazelike old town Barivecchia, the narrow streets will guide you through the history of Italy, from the 11-th century Basilica di San Nicola, where the remains of St. Nicholas are told to be held, to 19th-century architecture and a promenade by the sea.

Instead of Copenhagen, Tallinn

Copenhagen is surely a good spot for those seeking a less-than-40-degree per Celsius summer destinations, and especially perfect in the late August or early September when the rain season is not yet on. While you may be amazed by Tivoli Gardens and Nyhavn, or go crazy in the Christianshavn small boutique stores, there is much more to the city. However, the Danish capital may be a bit too much of crowd for some not enjoying the densely populated areas, and thus Tallinn, the capital of Estonia, may be much of a better choice for Europe travel.

Tallinn, the capital of Estonia, the Northern of the three Baltic States, has a similar climate to Copenhagen’s while having much less of a tourist crowd in the centre. To visit Estonia and see it in the full beauty, go for Christmas market in December, and taste glogg, eat some gingerbreads and see where the tradition of Christmas tree comes from!

Are you ready to go for a holiday to do a Europe travel? Make sure to not run into the tourist crowds and visit some of the best undiscovered off-beat destinations! For more updates, follow us on Instagram and share this on Pinterest:

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10 Things to Do in Hanoi, Vietnam on Budget

If one goes for budget accommodations, yet wants to get the most value out of the money, enjoying all the perks of traveling and exploring new places, exotic locations, an abundance of fresh fruits, then South East Asia is the place to go. Even high-class places and luxury hotels here in Vietnam are priced very moderately. From hotels to cafes to even haircuts and foods are extremely budget-friendly. Here we list 10 experiences you should have when visiting Hanoi, Vietnam.

Why Vietnam?

Vietnam is one of the countries of South-East Asia that in the West is mostly known for its clothing and apparel industry, tea, coffee, and war. However, the history of Vietnam makes it much more alluring. If you for a Vietnam 10 day itinerary, you will definitely see it. From the early days of inhabitation, the rule of Chinese and European arrival and colonization, Vietnam has survived and blossomed throughout centuries and preserves the diversity of cultures, customs, and traditions. French architecture, Chinese temples, Vietnamese coffee, and traditional religion has been well preserved and not yet destroyed by globalization, tourism and catering to travelers.

Eat Out and Good

If you are a foodie, then Vietnam will be a paradise for you. We promise this. From healthy vegetarian Pho soups with tofu to crunchy spring rolls to green clean-eating vegan Morning Glory dishes, Vietnamese cuisine is simple, yet super delicious and good for your belly. And the best thing is, you can eat like a queen for just a couple of dollars a day. Even at the fanciest restaurants, your meals are unlikely to cost you more than 5 dollars. Make sure you try street food as well, like spice mango slices everyone gets crazy about!

Taste the Egg Coffee and Vietnamese Coffee

Food is food, but what desserts are a whole different level. What could be better than a freshly picked mango, dragon fruit or guava fruit for breakfast? These exotic fruits are deliciously sweet, ripe and well preserved. Look for the best prices at night markets, on the streets of Hanoi in the daytime or grab a snack of mango and spices on the street at night. The best market we recommend for you to visit is Cho Hom Market. Get some cash before though, as looking for an ATM that accepts your Western card in Hanoi can be a bit of a hassle.

If you are more into nuts, seeds, and other salty and savoury snacks, here is great news for you! Vietnam is the largest exporter in the world of blood cashew nuts. As an exporter country, Vietnam also offers the best prices for cashew nuts. So do not wait and dive straight in!

 

Shop for Silk Clothing for Cheap

Along with cotton fabrics and sports clothing manufactured for Nike, H&M, Zara and other consumer labels around the world, silk is one of the top export fabrics of Vietnam. If you happen to look for a new dress, shirt or some other clothing, then go and visit Hang Da Market in the Old Quarter which is open every day from 5 AM to 5 PM. You will find deals you would never imagine.

Go to Body Massage

 

If you wish to relax a bit, you should definitely go and try Vietnamese massage. You will find posters advertising cheap foot massages or full-body massages on every single street for one of the best prices in the world available, but in case you want to visit a trusted review, go and have a massage at  TRE Massage.

Ride a Bike

Are you more into action? Hanoi (and the whole Vietnam) is best enjoyed and discovered while riding a motorbike. If you live in the outskirts of the city, make sure you rent a bike. In case you are staying here for longer, it is even better to buy one and sell it further when you leave. Many go on a full-fledged adventure from South to North or the other way around, discovering Vietnam on a whole different level.

 

All in all, you can enjoy just about any experience in Vietnam on a budget. Be it a fancy restaurant, a street food market, tailoring services or even hairdressers, you can have it all, not wasting money and having the best travel experience and quality time. Not sure you want to go to Vietnam? Here is our guide on how to choose between Vietnam vs Thailand trip.

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Best Eastern Europe Festivals to Attend

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

Image source: Sziget

Sziget | Hungary

When? 7-13 August 2019

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

Where? Budapest

 

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

Image source: Untold
UNTOLD Festival | Romania

When? 1-4 August 2019

Music genres? Various pop, rock and EDM

Where?  Cluj-Napoca

 

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

Image source: Defected Croatia
Defected | Croatia 

When?  8-13 August 2019

Music genres? House

Where?  Tisno

 

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

Image source: Sea Dance
Sea Dance | Montenegro

When? 30 August – 1 September 2019

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

Where? Budva

 

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

Image source: Awake FestivalAwake | Romania

When? 15 – 18 August 2019

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

Where? Teleki

 

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

 

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

When? 23-24 August 2019

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

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

Where? Bratislava

 

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

 

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Spain Travel Best Apps 2019

Spain Travel Apps are most probably the least exciting part of planning your trip to Barcelona or Sevilla in July 2019. Still, to ease your travel planning, here is a list of apps you must download. Most of them are also available for  Android and iOS devices.

Midsummer Day in Europe

Midsummer Night is traditionally celebrated by the pagan countries in the Northern Hemisphere of Europe. But the shortest night and the longest day is, in fact, also popular in Spain. In Christian tradition called after San Juan, it resembles what Northern Europeans know as St John’s Day (British), Jāņu diena (Latvians), Jaanipaev (Estonians) or Midsommardag (Swedish). But instead of decorating the house with wildflowers, and singing around bonfires all night long, Spanish celebrate Midsummer differently.

Hogueras de San Juan Midsummer Celebration History

The name of the festival “Hogueras de San Juan” translating into “Bonfires of St John” finds the roots in pre-Christian era. As far, it is just like its Northern varieties. On June 24t, when it is the longest day and the shortest night of the year people gathered to celebrate. In ancient times, they lit bonfires on the Midsummer night. Collecting herbal plants of various species like fern, rue and rosemary, and dipping them into water collected from seven different springs to give them the most power on the Midsummer Eve. Then, at night, the bonfires were lit to scare off the evil spirits flying around once the sun turns towards the south. Later on, in medieval times, the bonfire lighting was attributed to scaring away witches.

What to Do on San Juan 2019

Today, you can see people drinking and dancing on the streets of Valencia, where Los Barueccos is celebrated, or burning large monumental figures in Valencia, where the traditional Fallas was coupled with the San Juan in 1928. More than everything else, the San Juan celebrations now feature wild parties on the beach on the Spanish coast. From Malaga to Barcelona and Estepona, you can take part in dancing around bonfires all night long almost anywhere.

Where to Go on San Juan 2019

Some of the largest celebrations in 2019 will take place in Granada towns, like Almuñécar, Andalucia region on June 23rd night. You will see bonfires burning continuously, and around midnight, muñecos or dolls are burnt. Once representing Judas Iscariot, the religious aspect of tradition is much less relevant now.

We also advise you to visit Gran Canaria (read on which island suits you the best!) or Alicante for San Juan. However, the largest celebrations take place in Barcelona, Madrid and Valencia, where this year you will see the fire burned is specially brought from the sacred mountain in the Pyrenees, from the peak of Canigou.

Spain Travel Best Apps for Midsummer Trip

Best Offline Navigation and Maps App for Spain CityMaps2Go

Bests offline Spain map and navigation app is hands down CityMaps2Go. With this free app, you can plan your trip easily,   your destinations, bucket lists and city guides into trip selections. Added bonus? Apart from organizing your wishlists, you can access it all offline.

Runner-by: Guides by Lonely Planet.

Spain Travel Best Transportation App 2019 BlaBlaCar

Best Spain transportation App for getting around is BlaBlaCar. While we understand your appeal to GoEurope for finding the fastest, cheapest or most convenient transportation mode, or Skyscanner for getting on the cheapest flight, the sustainable ridesharing platform BlaBlaCar works wonders both in and urban areas and countryside. Want to get from Barcelona to Madrid? Or go on a day trip to Sevilla? There is no need to stick to bus schedules anymore. Popular routes work the best.

Spain Travel Best Weather App for Spain ElTiempo

What works best in Spain is ElTiempo. Try it and you will see. When it says it rains, it does. No tricking here.

Spain Travel Best Museums, Culture, Event App

With Prado, the Reina Sofía and the Thyssen-Bornemisza, three of the world’s leading museums, is located on the same boulevard of Madrid, you cannot say otherwise: best museum guide is also the most useful one; visiting the three world’s leading museums will be no problem. Download the app Passeo del Arte.

Spain Travel Best App for Restaurants in Spain The Fork

Best travel food app in Spain goes to The Fork. The app lets you book restaurants and finds special offers even when you are blind-guessing the restaurant prices on your trip to Barcelona, Madrid or Huelva.

Runners-by: Spontaan, EatWith, ForSquare

Spain Travel Best App(s) for Safety 2019

Food Allergy Cards will let everyone know what works for you and what does not, in any language you need. But whilst on the beach, find out where jellyfish are hiding! Use app Infomedusa and never run into problems with jellyfish bites (again).

Want to learn more which tech gadgets and apps to use on your next backpacking trip?

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25 Most Instragrammable Europe Places to Visit this Summer

AlsoEurope travel in 2019? One thing for sure, the Instagram stakes are now high. Believe it or not, we also crave that perfect vacation Instagram shot!

Here is what to plan and do for Europe visit. Look up our travel Instagram Destination Guide! It will help you to decide on your next Europe destination with ease. From Portugal to Turkey, from Italy to Estonia in the North. We prepared you the most Instagrammable spots in Europe in 2019: best photo spots in Rome, photo guide London and Cinque Terre Italy Instagram-friendly travel route. Scroll down to see the most amazing places to plan your trip around!

Europe: Visit The Tower Bridge, London

Or Just About any Place in Paris, France

https://www.instagram.com/p/Bv1SkYcD_nr/?utm_source=ig

Also Europe: Visit The Plaza Espana in Sevilla, Spain

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And Nothing Hill in London.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BwPDPwVj7Uc/?utm_source=ig_web_options_share_sheet

Still Europe: Visit Capela das Almas in Porto, Portugal.

Or Fischmarkt in Köln, Germany

 

Also a European Visit: The Colosseum in Rome, Italy

https://www.instagram.com/p/BqcSsEygYGd/?utm_source=ig_web_options_share_sheet

As well as Casa Batlló – Gaudí in Barcelona, Spain

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And Glamorous Galeries Lafayette in Paris, France

Of course, Fisherman’s Bastion in Budapest, Hungary

View this post on Instagram

Soaring over the city // Случалось ли у вас такое, когда непонятно, чего от вас хочет другой человек? Когда можно раскидывать своим серым веществом сколько угодно, но при этом так и не приблизиться к разгадке? И как потом больно/неудобно/язвительно смешно понять, что ошибался? Идеальный мир для меня – где люди искренне рассказывают то, чего они хотят друг от друга. Где обсуждают все с самого начала. Знакомишься с новым человеком, и он, как только определяет это для себя, делится с тобой своими намерениями и пожеланиями. Объясняет правила игры. И дальше уже тебе решать – принимать эти условия или отойти в сторону. Никаких липовых предложений, недомолвок, непонимания и расхождений в показаниях. Кристальная ясность. Деловое сотрудничество или дружба? Извлечение выгоды или реальное желание помочь? Свидание на одну ночь или серьезные отношения? Ради денег или по любви? Полное подчинение или разделение сфер обязанностей? И никаких «я хотел(а) другого» постфактум. Решаете на месте и баста. Быть может, большинство бы показало свою алчность, жестокость, бессердечие. Любая утопия антиутопична по своей сути: рано или поздно миражи рассеиваются и обнажаются реалии. Возможно, этот мир был бы ужасным. Зато таким простым! P.S. Жалею лишь об одном. Скорее всего, мы бы лишились «Великого Гэтсби». #ЧехЗадание_на_мышление #pochekh_венгрия

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And Drachenburg Castle near Bonn, Germany

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Afterwards Go to Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, Netherlands

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King’s Landing in Dubrovnik, Croatia

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Before, Go to St. Mary’s Basilica, Krakow in Poland

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Also visit Míkonos, Greece, Europe

And Wander Manarola in Cinque Terre, Italy

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But Remember to Visit and Explore Warsaw University of Technology in Poland, Europe

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And Quinta da Regaleira in Sintra, Portugal while Europe Travel

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Also, Visit Stari Most, in Bulgaria, while Europe Travel

https://www.instagram.com/p/BV2iSm1Hx04/?utm_source=ig_web_options_share_sheet

Europe Travel 2019

And, when deciding on your next vacation spot, also ensure to not to miss out on great deals. Keep track of budget vacation homes in Spain. Or, select your favourite beach villas in Croatia as well as modern rental apartments in London, and Paris or Rome for your stay in Europe.

Also, please remember that sharing is caring. Thus, please make sure to spread the Instagram-worthy vibe on Pinterest!