Hacks & Tips 7 MINS READ

The 20 Best Travel Podcasts To Listen In 2021

The 20 Best Travel Podcasts To Listen In 2021

Hacks & Tips 7 MINS READ

If you, just like us, were born with a severe case of Wanderlust, tuning in to travel podcasts could be a delightful way to keep your sense of adventure alive between trips. All you need is your smartphone, a good wifi connection, and a dash of curiosity.

Ready? So buckle up, because in a matter of seconds you’ll be learning about the hottest packing hacks, getting updates about the latest travel trends, and embarking on captivating journeys around the world. Just close your eyes and let yourself wander through impeccably preserved historic cities, sky-high mountains, glinting glaciers, spectral rainforests, and idyllic beaches.

From fastidious foodies and beach hoppers to culture buffs and packing freaks, we’ve got the scoop of the best travel podcasts in 2021 for each and every type of traveler. Have a look below!

The Best Travel Podcasts To Listen In 2021

couple traveling

The TravelPulse Podcast

Now solely hosted by Executive Editor Eric Bowman, TravelPulse Podcast brings you insightful information on the latest trending topics about the travel industry. While listening to this highly informative podcast, you’ll learn everything and more about subjects like the future of guided tours, the do’s and don’ts of animal tourism, and the best tips for online booking, just to name a few.

REI’s Wild Ideas Worth Living

In Wild Ideas Worth Living, host and journalist Shelby Stanger chats with people who “took the path less traveled and brought their wildest ideas to life”. From backcountry skiers to writers and filmmakers, Shelby interviews a robust lineup of adventurers who’ll tell you about how they took a leap of faith to make their craziest dreams come true.

Wander Woman

Brought to you by award-winning travel writer, photographer, and presenter Phoebe Smith, Wander Woman is the first travel podcast to take on a magazine-style — rather than the format of an interview. In each episode, Phoebe will take you on a thrilling behind-the-scenes journey to a different destination with vivid and detailed descriptions to make listeners feel like they’re traveling as well. Bonus? The podcast features a section called “Travel Hack of the Month”, with tips that the efficient travelers will certainly love!

Women Who Travel

“A women’s place is wherever she chooses”. These are the words that sum up Woman Who Travel, a podcast by Condé Nast. Featuring over 100 stories by real female adventurers, Woman Who Travel is hosted by editors Lale Arikoglu and Meredith Carey, who dissect the realities of traveling as a woman today. From how travel can teach one to love their body, to prioritize traveling solo, WWT covers a broad array of interesting topics, which women all across the globe will relate to.

Eye On Travel With Peter Greenberg

Peter Greenberg, a multiple Emmy-winning reporter and praised front-line travel news journalist, is the host of Eye On Travel, a travel news podcast originating from a different location every week. For Greenberg, the show is all about providing his audience with the information they can’t find anywhere else. “There are three things people want to know about: health, finance, and travel”, says Peter.

Amateur Traveler

Hosted by Chris Christensen, Amateur Traveler is a podcast that focuses on travel destinations. With more than 700 episodes for you to choose from, the show will help you decide where to go next. Tune in every week to listen to an insightful interview with either a destination expert or a traveler who has been to an exciting destination recently. Of one thing we’re sure: after you listen to Amateur Traveler, you’ll have a bucket-list of thrilling places you’re dying to go next!

The Travel Diaries

Ever wanted to know what travel experiences shaped other people’s lives? If so, the Travel Diaries is the right podcast for you. Hosted by the charismatic Holly Rubinstein, the show features weekly interviews that will take you on a raucous tour around the world. “Listening to this podcast is a great opportunity for people to be transported to far-off lands from the comfort of their homes. It’s wanderlust guaranteed!” says Holly.

RV Miles Podcast

“We like to think of ourselves as the ‘Today Show’ for RVers and other road travelers,” says podcast host Abigail Trabue. Covering interviews, useful tips and tricks, and campground reviews, this podcast has something for anyone who’s itching to hit the open road. Abigail and her family are full-time RV travelers, calling everywhere they explore “home”.

The World Nomads

The World Nomads is the go-to podcast for travelers who love listening to real-life stories and testimonials about the most amazing destinations around the world. During the pandemic, The World Nomads has suspended their regular destination episodes, and will instead be sharing the thoughts of travelers who are shaping the future of the industry post-COVID 19

Indie Travel Podcast

Full-time travelers Craig and Linda Martin created the Indie Travel Podcast in 2006 to share the things they’ve learned on the road, interesting stories from inquisitive adventurers, and practical advice from every continent around the globe. While listening to Indie Travel Podcast, expect to learn about how to pack light, the best tips to create a killer day-before-you-travel-checklist, and how to eat healthy on the road, just to name a few.

JUMP with Traveling Jackie

What if you could explore the world without breaking the bank? Well, now you can! Jackie Nourse gives incredible tips for budget-friendly adventures on her podcast JUMP With Traveling Jackie, formerly known as The Budget-Minded Traveler. Not to mention that Jackie is positive and upbeat, so if you’re looking to feel empowered before your next adventure, JUMP with Traveling Jackie is the best travel podcast for you.

Armchair Explorer

“No long-winded interviews, just straight to the heart of the action”. This is how the host and award-winning travel writer, and journalist describes Armchair Explorer. Carefully made in a documentary-style format, this podcast features stories of otherworldly trips told by the most adventurous travelers. Set to music and cinematic effects to create an immersive storytelling experience, the podcast will take you to the most unimaginable places, from a 53,000-mile bike journey around the globe to a wild expedition in South America.

The Dish

Mixing three of our favorite things —food, fun, and travel—, this podcast perfectly satisfies our thirst for new experiences. “The Dish” is hosted by Tommo & Megsy, two food and travel bloggers who have visited 95 countries seeking the best “Food Worth Traveling For”. Get ready to take your tastebuds on a global tour while learning about the host’s favorite dishes from around the world and the insane adventures they had to go through to find these delicacies.

Extra Pack of Peanuts

Extra Pack of Peanuts is a fun-filled podcast hosted by Travis and Heather, a couple who has been obsessed with traveling the world since 2010. Aside from teaching you everything you need to know about budget travel, Travis and Heather also interview some of the world’s most renowned travelers and give practical advice on how to use frequent flyer miles, find cheap hotels, and travel on a budget. A brand new episode of this travel podcast is released every Tuesday.

The Thoughtful Travel Podcast

“A show for travel lovers”. This is the best way to describe the Thoughtful Travel Podcast by Amanda Kendle. In each episode, Amanda shares travel stories from fellow travel addicts on a range of interesting topics, which will take you on a journey around the world. From traveling with grandchildren to the best writing retreats around the world, these will surely feed your Wanderlust spirit and put you in the mood for some travel adventures!

Travel With Rick Steves

Rick Steves is the United State’s leading authority when it comes to European travel. He’s a travel writer who encourages people to explore less-touristy destinations and to fully become immersed in the local way of life. Since 2005, he has been running his own travel show Travel with Rick Steves, which also has a podcast version where Rick brings you a weekly interesting conversation about travel, cultures, and people from around the globe.

How I Got Here

How I Got Here is a weekly podcast presented by PhocusWire and Mozio. Each episode features an interview with startup founders and innovators, to give you an inside scoop of the stories behind the travel and transportation sectors. Season Two of How I Got Here is now complete and available!

Flight Or Fancy

In Flight Or Fancy, host Ben Groundwater talks of all things travel for those with a “thirst for seeing the world”. In weekly one-hour conversations with guest experts, Groundwater covers a robust array of travel-related subjects, from the ultimate guide to surviving airports, to the secrets of a great road trip.

Zero To Travel

Hosted by Jason Moore, the Zero To Travel podcast provides listeners with inspiring and life-changing perspectives. In each episode, Moore and his interviewers dig deep into big questions surrounding travel, offering actionable advice for every kind of adventurer.

Travel Tales Podcast

In this lighthearted podcast, comedian Mike Siegel highlights the best and worst experiences that travel has to offer. Every episode, Siegel chats with a different guest to hear their true travel tales — some pretty, some not —from around the world.

We hope you enjoyed tuning in with us! We can’t wait to hear what travel podcasts you listen to. Don’t forget to let us know.

Browse. Book. Stay.

 provides all accommodations to all travelers at an unbeatable price. This blog post is the eighth post in a series by the CuddlyNest team, on the Coronavirus Outbreak. To see more information about our policies please visit our response page.

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Destination Deep-Dive 16 MINS READ

A Complete Guide To The UNESCO World Heritage Sites In Portugal

A Complete Guide To The UNESCO World Heritage Sites In Portugal

Destination Deep-Dive 16 MINS READ

Believe it or not, Portugal is more than a welcoming retreat for foodies and wine lovers. With a rich history that started around 400,000 years ago, the country is adorned with monuments and landmarks, and it’s home to 17 alluring UNESCO World Heritage Sites, from North to South.

Between one pastel de nata and another, why not take some time to visit the wide collection of landmarks that immortalize the history of the country? Portugal happens to be one of the top destinations in Europe for a culture-filled trip, so you’ll have plenty to see during your vacation.

We probably left you itching to uncover Portugal’s scenic — and utterly Instagrammable — landmarks. So, say no more. To help you plan, here’s the complete list of the 17 UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Portugal. All of them are worth visiting and guaranteed to take you on a journey throughout the centuries. Spoiler alert: the Alto Douro Wine Region is included!

Note: Make sure to double-check COVID 19 precautions, protocols, and operating hours before you visit any of these sites.

The UNESCO World Heritage Sites In Portugal

Aerial view of the Douro wine region, in Portugal

The UNESCO World Heritage currently lists 1,092 sites in 167 countries around the world. In Portugal, there are 17 World Heritage Sites in total and, of those 16 are cultural sites, and 1 is a natural site (the Alto Douro Wine Region).

The newest additions to the UNESCO sites in Portugal are The Royal Convent, in Mafra, the Sanctuary of Bom Jesus, in Braga, and the Machado de Castro National Museum, in Coimbra, which became World Heritage Sites in 2019. This was considered a reason for “great joy for all Portuguese”, said Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, president of Portugal, as reported by Portugal News.

UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Portugal: The Complete List

Central Zone of the Town of Angra do Heroísmo, Azores Archipelago (1983)

Angra do Heroismo is a city located on Terceira Island — one of the 9 Azores islands— and, thanks to its significant maritime function, it was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983. Occupying a strategic positioning in the Atlantic Ocean, Angra was an obligatory port of call from the 15th century until the 19th century, aside from being the most important city in the archipelago. The city also happened to be the capital of Portugal during the Liberal Wars (1828 to 1834), and the seat of the Bishop of the Azores.

The historic center of Angra is definitely one of the most fascinating parts of the city, as it was able to maintain its authentic Renaissance urban design, and its 15th and 16th-century road network, even after the 1980 earthquake. Angra also boasts a showcase of Baroque-style religious buildings, including the cathedral of Santíssimo Salvador da Sé, the churches of the Misericórdia and Espírito Santo, and the convents of the Franciscans and the Jesuits.

Other must-see constructions in the historic center of Angra do Heroísmo are the 400-year-old San Sebastião and San João Baptista fortifications, which are unique examples of military architecture.

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Convent of Christ, Tomar (1983)

Aerial drone view of Convent of Christ in Tomar at sunrise, Portugal

Located in the city of Tomar, in Portugal’s central region, the Convent of Christ is part of one of the largest Portuguese monument complexes, whose buildings and rural domains spread within roughly 45 acres. The convent is encompassed by the Castle of Tomar, which was founded by the Templar Knights in 1160, alongside with the Tomar village, on a site that was formerly used for Roman worship.

We recommend visiting the convent at length in order to uncover its unique details. Built over the span of five centuries, and sitting at the top of a hill, the Convent of Christ displays a range of architectural styles, from Byzantine-Romanic and Italian Renaissance, to Gothic and Manueline. The centerpiece — and one of the most fascinating sections of the convent— is the 12th-century Charola (Rotunda), which was the Knight´s private oratorium within the fortress. During your visit, also make sure to explore the Chapter House, whose ornamented windows are one of the finest samples of the Manueline style.

While the Convent of Christ is the main feature of Tomar, also take some time to wander around this quaint little city. Placed on the banks of Nabão River, Tomar is home to a medieval urban area with cobblestoned streets, aside from well-preserved constructions that immortalize Portugal’s history.

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Monastery of Batalha, Batalha (1983)

The monastery of Batalha with gothic towers, in Portugal

Welcome to one of the finest samples of Gothic architecture in Europe. Monastery of Santa Maria da Vitória, or Monastery of Batalha, was built in fulfillment of a vow by King João to celebrate the victory of the Portuguese over the Castilians at the battle of Aljubarrota, in 1385.

Located in the city of Batalha, in central Portugal, the Monastery of Batalha is a sight to be seen by architecture and art lovers. This Dominican monastery designed by the English architect Master Huguet boasts a profusion of sculptures, which represent the 12 apostles, numerous Saints, prophets, angels, and biblical figures.

The monastery was built between 1388 and 1433 and finally completed during the reign of King Duarte I. Its interior, which is 80 meters long and 32.5 meters high, is dotted with rose stained-glass windows, and it’s home to a Royal Cloister. This, by the way, happens to be one of the most important features of the monument, as it harbors the medieval tomb of Dom João I and his wife, Queen Philippa of Lancaster.

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Monastery of the Hieronymites and Tower of Belém, Lisbon (1983)

Aerial photo of the Belém Tower, in Lisbon, at sunset.

The Jerónimos Monastery (Monastery of the Hieronymites) and the Tower of Belém are two historical gems placed in the very city of Lisbon. Commissioned by King D. Manuel I and gifted to the monks of Saint Hieronymus so they would pray for the king, the monastery is linked to the Age of Discoveries, as it was also built to perpetuate the memory of Prince Henry the Navigator. The monastery preserves a breathtaking and ornamented structure, typical of Manueline art, and it’s home to a two-story cloister built in the 16th-century.

Within a walking distance from the monastery and overlooking the Tagus River sits the Tower of Belém, one of the most prominent examples of Portuguese power during the Age of Discoveries. Erected between 1514 and 1520, this Manueline-style tower was designed by architect and sculptor Francisco de Arruda, and was strategically positioned to defend the city against attackers.

A quick tip: the perfect way to end your tour is by going to Pasteis de Belém, a traditional bakery cafe that has been making the famous Belém custard tarts since 1837.

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Historic Center of Évora (1986)

The Roman Temple of Évora, also referred to as the Templo de Diana.

In the heart of the south-central Alentejo lies Évora. The city boasts a rich history that dates back to the Roman domination when it was an important town praised for its abundance of wheat and silver. In fact, until the present day, there are remnants of the Roman occupation in Évora, including the Temple of Diana, which is believed to have been built around the first century A.D.

Over the centuries, Évora was also ruled by the Moors, the Visigoths, and played an important position in the Portuguese reign during the Middle Ages, serving as the home of King João III.

The city center is compact and easy to explore on foot. You can start on Praça do Giraldo, an ancient market during the Moorish period and now the city’s main square, and head to the Roman Temple of Diana. Then, visit the Évora Museum, and the Sé de Évora, which is the biggest cathedral in Portugal. If you have time, go to the Chaple of Bones, located next to the entrance of the Church of St.Francis. The chapel, which is one of the best-known monuments in Évora, was built by Franciscan monks in the late 16th century, and it’s entirely conveyed by bones and skulls.

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Monastery of Alcobaça (1989)

Aerial view of Alcobaça Monastery, in Portugal

The Monastery of Alcobaça was founded in the 12th-century by King Afonso I as a gift to a Cistercian monk, Bernard of Clairvaux (Saint Bernard), after Portugal’s conquest of Santarém from the Moors, in 1152. Set in a rich and fertile land, the monastery was actually built only 25 years later, in 1178, and its layout was designed to evoke the abbey of Claraval, the Cisternian’s Order’s mother church in France.

Within the monastery, sits a stunning church that is considered the largest Gothic religious structure in Portugal. Its interior, which is more than 20 meters high, is crossed by an imponent central nave, and it features a transept that houses the twin tombs of King Pedro and Inês de Castro. The Monastery of Alcobaça also plays host to 13th and 14th centuries Chapter House, a Refectory, Monk’s Rooms and Dormitory, and the Cloister of Silence, commissioned by King Dinis in 1382, and the largest medieval cloister in Portugal.

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Cultural Landscape of Sintra (1995)

National Palace of Pena in Sintra,  Portugal.

Sintra might be a famous day-trip destination for those who visit Lisbon, but this quaint little village has enough sights to keep travelers busy for an entire week.

With immense natural beauty, this picturesque village is covered in both Mediterranean and northern European flora and encompasses the Sintra-Cascais Nature Park and the 10-kilometers long Sintra Mountains, which has been linked to prehistoric astral cults. This lush vegetation perfectly frames Sintra’s cultural sites, including the National Palace of Pena, the city’s most prominent feature. Placed at the top of a hill, in the Sintra Mountains, this colorful palace is believed to have been built on the site of the Moorish alcazar of Sintra, and it displays the largest collection of Hispanic-Moorish tiles in Europe.

In the 15th-century, Sintra became a famed summer retreat for the affluent people in Portugal, and later on, during the 19th-century, Sintra became the first center of European Romantic architecture. Dating from this period are the Pena Palace, the Monserrate Palace, and Quinta da Regaleira, among others.

When exploring this picturesque cultural landscape of Sintra, don’t forget to stop by Casa Piriquita. Founded more than 150 years ago, the bake is particularly famous for protruding the famous “travesseiros de Sintra” (en: Sintra’s Pillows), a dessert made of puff pastry with a filling of almond cream.

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Historic Centre of Oporto, Luiz I Bridge and Monastery of Serra do Pilar (1996)

Aerial view of the Luís I Bridge, the Douro River, and the centre of Oporto.

Overlooking the Douro River, the Historic Centre of Oporto is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, along with the postcard-worthy Luiz I Bridge and the Monastery of Serra do Pilar. Porto is certainly one of the most charming destinations in Portugal, and its city center is one of the oldest in Europe, with a 2,000-year history.

The city features a slew of well preserved architectural gems, which you can perfectly uncover while exploring the city on foot. During your errands, you’ll certainly come across stunning buildings erected over the past centuries. Make sure to visit the Romanesque-style Porto Cathedral —the city’s oldest surviving structure —, the Monument Church Of St Francis, the most important Gothic monument in Porto, and the Baroque-style Clérigos Tower.

Aside from historic religious buildings, the city also features three bridges, the most prominent being the Luiz I Bridge that spans the Douro River and connects Porto and Vila Nova de Gaia. When it was completed, in 18886, the bridge had the longest span of any metal bridge in the world.

To experience the best Porto has to offer, cross the Luiz I Bridge —just make sure to quickly stop on the bridge and check out the best view of the city — and go to Vila Nova de Gaia. Filled with world-class wine cellars, the city is also home to the Monastery of Serra do Pilar, the architectural landmark of Gaia. The former monastery was built between 1538 and 1670 and includes a church featuring carved gold leaf altars with Solomonic columns. Bonus? The monastery also has a viewpoint that offers one of the best panoramic views of the Douro and the center of Porto.

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Prehistoric Rock Art Sites in the Côa Valley and Siega Verde (1998,2010)

The Côa River at Vila Nova de Foz Côa, Portugal.

Located in northeastern Portugal, near the border with Spain, the Côa Valley Archaeological Park (PAVC) comprises, along with the Siega Verde Archaeological Park, in Spain, hundreds of prehistorical panels. Both the Côa Valley Park and the Siega Verde are placed on the banks of the rivers Agueda and Côa, which are tributaries of the Douro River, and display rock engravings that date from the Upper Paleolithic to the final Magdalenian/ Epipalaeolithic (22.000 – 8.000 BCE).

Managing a total area of 2 hundred square kilometers, the Côa Valley Park is an immense open air art gallery adorned not only with engravings from the Neolithic and the Chalcolithic but also from the Iron Age, as well as from the 17th, 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries.

There are three centers that can be visited in the Côa Park: Canada do Inferno, close to Vila Nova de Foz Côa, which are the first group of engravings to be discovered; Ribeira de Piscos, at Muxagata, and Penascosa, close to the village of Castelo Melhor.

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Laurissilva of Madeira (1999)

View of the island of Madeira Island's eternal spring, laurel forests and levades.

The Laurisilva of Madeira is a green sanctuary located within the Madeira Natural Park. Covering 20% of the Island of Madeira, this is the largest surviving laurel forest in the world, and it houses a unique ensemble of native plants and animals, including endemic species that are only found within the forest.

Found in areas with high humidity and relatively stable, mild temperatures, the laurel forest is a type of subtropical forest that covered much of Southern Europe 15-40 million years ago. Due to the different glaciations in Europe, the “laurissilva” disappeared in a great part of Europe and, now, this lush forest is confined to the Azores, Canary Islands, and Madeira Island.

The Laurisilva of Madeira can be explored throughout a few trekking accessible areas and is a place of importance in Portugal thanks to its biological diversity. Aside from maintaining the hydrological balance on the island, and producing abundant sources of water used by the local people, the forest is home to about 760 plants. Of those, 149, including the Madeira Orchid, are edemic, which means that they grow only on the island.

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Historic Centre of Guimarães (2001)

Our Lady of Consolcation Chruch, Guimarães, Portugal

Placed in the district of Braga, Guimarães is a great day trip from Porto and the perfect pit-stop for those who are taking a road trip from the North to the South of Portugal. Founded in the 4th-century, Guimarães is often referred to as the”birthplace of Portugal” or “the cradle city”, as it was the feudal territory of the Portuguese Dukes who declared the independence of Portugal in the 12th century. The city was also the first capital of Portugal, and the Battle of São Mamede, which was the most important event for the foundation of Portugal, was fought near Guimarães.

Guimarães was elected European Capital of Culture in 2012, as it plays host to a sizzling cultural scene, with a profusion of buildings dating from the 10th, 13th, 14th,15th, and 19th centuries. Its compact historic center can be explored in one day, and worth-visiting monuments include the hilltop Guimarães Castle, which is believed to be the birthplace of Afonso Henriques, Portugal’s first king, and the Baroque-style Our Lady of Consolation Church.

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Alto Douro Wine Region (2001)

Portugal has many things to be proud of. It has 1,794 km of coastline dotted with idyllic beaches, amazing weather all year round, photogenic houses covered in ornamented tiles, and heartwarming food, just to name a few. But one of the country’s most praised staples is definitely the Port Wine. In fact, Portugal is home to the oldest viticultural legal region in the world, the Alto Douro Wine Region, which has been designated a World Heritage site in 2001.

Placed in the North of Portugal, the Alto Douro Wine Region has an ancient tradition of viticulture, and wine has been produced in the region for some 2,000 years. Since the 18th-century, the main product of the Douro Valley is the world-famous Port Wine, a fortified, rich, and smooth-on-the-palate wine that retains the natural sweetness of the grape.

The highly valuable cultural landscape of Alto Douro comprises terraced vineyards, wine-producing farm complexes, villages, slopes covered in schist walls, and deep valleys carved by the Douro River, which flows from central Spain to the city of Porto, in Portugal.

One of the best ways of exploring the great scenic beauty of the Alto Douro Wine Region is by taking the Port Wine Route. If you have time, opt for tracking the hillsides of Douro River’s course by car. Along the way, just make sure you stop at the local vineyards and wine cellars, where you’ll be able to learn about centuries-old wine tradition while sipping on some of the best wines in the world.

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The Landscape Of The Pico Island Vineyard Culture, Azores (2004)

Pico Island Vineyard, in Azores.

The Douro might be the most famous wine-growing area in Portugal, but the country harbors several other premium viniculture regions. The Pico Island Vineyard Culture, in the Azores archipelago, is one of them. There’s just one difference: in Pico Island, the vineyards are planted in black lava grounds.

Pico Island is the second-largest island of the Azores, and home to Mount Pico, a stratovolcano that is the highest mountain of Portugal, at 7,713 ft above sea level. Not by chance, the island is covered by extensive lava fields, which form the Landscape of the Pico Island Vineyard Culture, listed as a World Heritage by UNESCO in 2004. Spanning within 987 hectares of Pico Island, the picturesque Vineyard Culture is divided into small plots (called “Currais”), which are surrounded by stone walls, and separated from the other farms by larger walls, the “jeiros”.

Currently, in Pico Island, three noble indigenous varieties are grown: Arinto dos Açores, Verdelho, and Terrantez do Pico. These are white grape varieties are known for resulting in full-bodied and well-structured wines, with a complex aroma of spices.

One of the best places to go for a wine tasting on the Island is at the Cooperativa Vitivinícola da Ilha do Pico (CVIP), which offers a tour where you’ll have the opportunity not only to learn the history of the vineyards but also taste 6 nectars produced on the island Mountain.

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Garrison Border Town of Elvas and its Fortifications (2012)

Built from the 17th to the 19th century, the Garrison Border Town of Elvas and its Fortifications is the largest bulwarked dry-ditch system in the world. This a World Heritage Site located in the region of Alentejo, near the Portuguese-Spanish border, and has seven components: the Historic Centre of Elvas, the Amoreira Aqueduct, the Fort of Santa Luzia, the Fort of Graça, and the Fortlets of São Mamede, São Pedro, and São Domingos. One of the most fascinating is definitely the Fort of Graça, which sits on the top of a rugged hill and it’s surrounded by a star-shaped defense system.

The fortifications, carefully designed by the Dutch Jesuit Cosmanded and adapted to the irregular topography of Elvas, are the second World Heritage Site in Alentejo. A great idea is to go on a road trip in the region and explore the fascinating cities in south-central and southern Portugal. After Elvas, head over to Évora and then to Reguengos de Monsaraz, which was elected European wine capital in 2015.

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University of Coimbra – Alta and Sofia (2013)

The courtyard of the University of Coimbra, Portugal

The riverfront city of Coimbra also deserves a place on top of the bucket list for those who are going to Portugal. Built on the banks of the Mondego River, Coimbra is the country’s former capital, and it’s particularly famous for housing the historic the University of Coimbra, the oldest in Portugal, listed as a UNESCO Heritage Site in 2013.

Founded in Lisbon by Dom Dinis, in 1290, the University of Coimbra was permanently transferred to Coimbra in 1537. The university was established in the Royal Palace of Alcáçova, on the hill above the town (Alta), overlooking the Mondego River. Over the centuries, it developed into a series of colleges, but it managed to preserve its stunning features, including the Baroque-style Joanina Library, which houses more than 53 thousand books from the 16th to the 18th centuries.

Fun fact: some say that the black cloak worn by the students of the Coimbra University inspired J.K. Rowling when creating the iconic dress code of Hogwarts.

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Royal Building of Mafra – Palace, Basilica, Convent, Cerco Garden and Hunting Park (2019)

After a full immersion in Lisbon, we recommend a day trip to Mafra, which is located only 40 minutes from the capital. The city is mostly known for the Royal Building of Mafra, which encompasses a Palace, a Basilica, a Convent, a Garden, and a Hunting Park (Tapada Nacional de Mafra). Designed by the German architect Johann Friedrich Ludwig, the Royal Building of Mafra was ordered by King John V in 1711, and it became not only a Baroque masterpiece but also a symbol of the king’s power.

One of the most notable features of the complex is the National Palace of Mafra, which was the summer residence of the royal family, and built thanks to the Brazilian gild that poured into the country. Covering an area of almost four hectares, the palace is the most important Baroque building in Portugal, and it’s home to 1.200 rooms, more than 4.700 doors and windows, 156 stairways, and 29 inner yards and courtyards. The largest and most prestigious room and the building is the National Library of Mafra, with wooden Rococo bookshelves that hold some 36,000 books dating from the 14th to the 19th centuries.

To gild the lily, pay a visit to the Basilica, which houses a set of six organs, altarpieces by the Italian artist Alessandro Giusti, and the most significant collection of baroque sculpture outside Italy.

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Sanctuary of Bom Jesus do Monte, Braga (2019)

Bom Jesus do Monte Sanctuary located in Braga, Portugal

A sculptured stairway with 573 steps leads to the top of a hill, where the Bom Jesus do Monte Church sits. Developed over more than 600 years, the staircase and the church form the Sanctuary of Bom Jesus do Monte, in Braga, which is surrounded by a densely wooded verdant area.

The stairway is adorned with symbolic fountains, statues, and Borque-style decorative elements, which represent the Stations of the Cross, the Five Senses, the Virtues, Moses receiving the Commandments and, at the top, the biblical figures that contributed to the Condemnation of Jesus.

Whether you choose to take the stairs or reach the top by funicular, make sure you take in the view from the bottom of the Stairway, where you’ll have a jaw-dropping view of the granite fountains placed on the various landings. Once you get to the top, you’ll be rewarded with another breathtaking view: the scenic landscape of the city of Braga, in the north of Portugal.

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Croatia 7 MINS READ

The Best Things To Do In Sinj, Croatia

The Best Things To Do In Sinj, Croatia

Croatia 7 MINS READ

Family-friendly beaches on the Adriatic Coast and medieval cities dotted with Game of Thrones filming locations might be the first options for those who visit Croatia. But the country also has a showcase of offbeat places that appeal to the most inquisitive travelers. Sinj, for instance, is a small Croatian town with a rich cultural heritage. The city might not be the first option when it comes to a trip to Croatia, but it’s surely a worth visiting destination.

Located in the heart of the Dalmatian hinterland, within a 40-minute driving distance north from Split, Sinj is an agricultural center that lies between four scenic mountains: Svilaja, Dinara, Kamešnica, and Visoka. Sinj has been inhabited since prehistoric times, and aside from boasting a range of monuments, and historic buildings, Sinj plays host to the iconic Sinjska Alka, a traditional knight tournament that happens during the summer, and was inscribed on the UNESCO List of Intangible Heritage, in 2010.

There is no doubt whether travelers should visit Sinj or not — it’s a definite yes. The city is especially great for a day trip to Croatia, and there are a lot of tourist attractions and amazing activities in Sinj for a culture-filled trip. And if you get the chance to be in Sinj during the Sinjska Alka tournament, make sure to marvel at the majestic horses galloping the city street while passionate riders dressed in traditional costumes aim their lances at a hanging metal ring.

But, before you go, have a look at our travel guide to find out what are the top tourist attractions in Sinj, one of the most fascinating cities in Croatia!

Note: Make sure to double-check COVID 19 precautions, protocols, and operating hours before you visit any of these sites.

Planning A Trip To Sinj, Croatia

Sinj: A Small Town With A Rich History

The chapel above the town of Sinj, in Croatia

As you may guess by name (or, several of them), the history of Sinj spans over many time periods, and the city landscape provides tourists with diverse cultural experiences that reflect the rich heritage of the Sinj.

Sinj has been inhabited since the Stone Age, as the valley of Cetina river, cast between the mountains, and favored the region with a mix of continental and sub-Medditarean climates, which allowed for the locals to settle and flourish.

The Illyrian tribe, the first inhabitants of Sinj, had left a large footprint in the Croatian culture. For example, the famous peka food preparation style, cooking under the bell jar, it’s a heritage as ancient as 2250-1600 BC.

In the late Medieval period, Sinj outgrew the ancient fortress, which surrounded the city. In the 17th century, during the times of the Ottoman Empire, Sinj grew around the monastery and the church of the Miraculous Lady of Sinj (Gospa Sinjska), which you can still visit today on the main square.

By the end of the century, Sinj was taken over by Venetians, and 100 years after Sinj town was annexed to Austria, where it remained for another century. In the 20th century, Sinj was under the rule of Yugoslavia, until independence, in the late 20th century.

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The Best Time To Visit Sinj, Croatia

Aerial view of Sinj surounded by the Dalmatian hinterland, in Croatia.

Sinj has a sub-Mediterranean climate, with hot and dry summer days, and very cold winters. So, for the ideal climate, visit the city between March and July. This is when the weather is warm and pleasant, which allows travelers to indulge in a range of outdoor activities and uncover the top attractions in Sinj. August is the hottest month, which can be overwhelming for some travelers. But bear in mind that the Sinjska Alka tournament happens during this month, so if you want to watch it, you’ll have to endure the warmer weather.

How To Get To Sinj, Croatia

Aerial view of Sinj in Dalmatia hinterland southern Croatia


Getting to Sink depends on the location you’re at. Arriving there from Split is quite quick and easy, and you can either take the bus, taxi or even go on a road trip and drive to the final destination. If you’re in Dubrovnik, which located by the Adriatic Sea, you can go by bus (the trip takes a bit more than 6 hours), or take the ferry to Split and then go to Sinj,

Top Activities in Sinj, Croatia

Watching The Sinjska Alka, in Sinj

Alkar on his decorated horse galloping, hitting the metal ring  with his spear during Sinjska Alka, tournament, in Sinj

This is, undoubtedly, one of the top activities in Sinj. The Sinjska Alka is an equestrian competition held in Sinj every first Sunday in August, since 1715. The tournament was established to celebrate the Croatian-Venetian victory over 60,000 Ottoman soldiers on August 1715.

Witnessed every year by thousands of spectators, the Alka gathers between 11 to 17 Alkar (the knights) that ride their horses at full speed towards the Alka, a ring that consists of two concentric iron circles joined by three bars. The goal? To target the inside circle of the ring with a 3-meter long pointy spare while riding the horse. The knights are awarded points according to which sector of the ring they are able to pierce: the central circle, which is the smallest one, is worth three points, the upper field two points, and the two lower fields one point each.

Sinjska Alka is spread over three days, and the grand celebration is held on Sunday, which is the last day of the event. The day starts with a beautiful traditional procession, which passes through thousands of spectators, including travelers, and the proud families of the knights.

Curious fact: only men born in Sink or one of the surrounding villages can compete in the tournament. They wear elaborate ornamented costumes that are identical to the ones worn by the knights in the 18th-century.

Exploring The Old Town of Sinj

Aerial view of small picturesque town of Sinj in Croatia.

Most of the top attractions in Sinj are located in the Old Town. So, if you dedicate some time to truly wander the streets and explore the historic city center, you’ll be able to uncover most of Sinj’s landmarks. With remnants of the old fortress that protected the city, “The Town”, as locals say, used to harbor people and the soldiers during the Turkish invasions.

While strolling around the center of Sinj, you’ll be able to spot the church of the Miraculous Lady of Sinj, which sits in the city’s main square. Considered one of the top tourist attractions in Sink, the church was built from 1699 to 1712, and it endured wars and earthquakes over the years, preserving its original appearance.

In the city center of Sinj, make sure to also go to the piazza fountain, which is locally known as “funtana” and was erected in 1852 by mayor Antonio Buglian.

Also in the very town center of Sinj, opposite the Church of the Miraculous Madonna of Sinj, there’s the Kamičak Fort, a star-shaped fort built in 1712 on top of a hill of the same name. The fort displays a layout that dates back to 1890 when the walls were built and the pine trees planted on the site.

After discovering the top attractions in Sinj, a great idea is to plan a day trip to a nearby destination. Check below what are the top cities that are located within a driving distance from Sinj for the perfect Croatian getaway.

Best Daytrips From Sinj

Orlova Staza, For Adventure Travelers

Are you ready to experience a bit of action during your vacation? After enjoying the top activities in Sinj, head over to Orlova Staza for the Eagle’ s trail near Sinj. The 44 km route is not quite flat, with an elevation of 969 meters. It is not boring, though – the mix of cross trail and road cycling will keep you awake. Starting with asphalt, continuing with picturesque gravel roads, and ending with oak forest, the route is demanding but provides travelers with excellent views of places such as Lake Peruča. You can also cycle until you reach the spring of the river Cetina.

The Klis Fortress, For Game of Thrones Fans

The Klis Fortress, located near Split, in Croatia.

Traveling with your kids and not sure if they’ll enjoy long hours on a bike? Then you can take them to a Game of Thrones filming location instead. And, surprisingly enough, we’re not talking about Dubrovnik, but actually the Klis Fortress. Located between Split and Sinj, this medieval fortress was built at an altitude of 360 meters to ensure the control of invasions. This magnificent fortress is featured in Game of Thrones season 4 when Daenerys Targaryen and her army go to Meereen to free the slaves.

You can get there from Sinj by taking a taxi (24 km) or renting a car. Alternatively, if you come from Split, take the bus No.22 from the National Theatre (buy the ticket in the kiosk). The trip is totally worth it, as it’s one of the best family-friendly tourist attractions around Sinj.

Krka National Park, For Nature Lovers

The Krka National Park, in Croatia

The best way of ending a tour around the top attractions in Sinj is by having an authentic travel experience in nature. So, if being immersed in natural beauty sounds appealing to you, make sure to include a visit to the Krka National Park in your itinerary. Located within one hour drive from Sinj, in southern Croatia, the park covers an area of over 142 square km and includes two-thirds of the Krka River. The main highlight of this pristine paradise is the Skradinski Buk, an area 400 m in length and 100 m in width which encompasses 17 waterfalls that range in height by over 45 meters. The National Park also harbors rich wildlife, with over 800 species of plants, over 200 bird species, and some 18 different species of bats.

Note: Make sure to double-check COVID 19 precautions, protocols, and operating hours before you visit any of these sites.

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11 Best Road Trips You Need to Take During The Summer

11 Best Road Trips You Need to Take During The Summer

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There has never been a more perfect time to go on a road trip. For many around the world, the best way to ensure a safe, and hassle-free vacation is to either opt for a staycation within nearby areas or go on a long trip to rediscover the beauty in their own countries.

So, whenever you’re craving a city break, going on a road trip and heading somewhere new is a great idea, especially during the summer when the weather is warm and pleasant. Aside from skipping the heavy costs that come with traveling internationally, road trips can also be fit into your weekend and short breaks. Plus, road trips are pet-friendly and allow you to spend more quality time with your loved ones.

Ready to turn your next 4-wheel ride into an adventure? Then have a look at the 11 best road trips you need to take during the summer. You’ll find yourself escape to natural environments and enjoying the great outdoors like never before.

Note: Make sure to double-check COVID 19 precautions, protocols, and operating hours before you visit any of these sites.

The Best Road Trips For The Summertime:

We have created the perfect guide to the best road trips you need to take this summer. That way when you settle in for an epic excursion, you’ll know exactly where to head. And the options are endless. For the ultimate North-American road trip, you can pick Route 66 or the Pacific Highway. For a vacation surrounded by gorgeous forested mountains, choose Nha Trang to Quy Nhon, in Vietnam. Looking for a postcard-worthy scenario to enjoy your summer vacation? Then the scenic Amalfi Coast, in Italy, is the right bet for you.

Take a look at the list and pick your favorite summer road trip destination.

Route 66 – United States

The route 66 during an orange sunset.

If you have ever taken a drive in the United States, you most likely heard of the U.S. Highway, Route 66. This highway first gained popularity in the mid-1920s as the country’s first all-weather highway linking Chicago to Los Angeles. In total, Route 66 spans over 2,400 miles and offers so much to explore along the way. This route became very famous as it goes straight through the heart of America crossing over eight states and three time zones. These states include Illinois, Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and finally California.

This road trip route will take you through historic and natural landmarks in the southern half of the country including the Grand Canyon, the Ozarks, Mojave Desert, The Painted Desert, and more. You can even pop in and visit the Route 66 Hall of Fame, to learn more about the history of this national treasure. One thing is for sure, if you are embarking on a USA road trip this summer, you better take a drive down Route 66. You’ll be mesmerized by scenic landscapes filled with mountains, mind-blowing National Parks, forests, and other natural wonders in the United States.

Mongol Rally – Mongolia

The green hills of Mongolia at dusk.

Buckle in, bring a good book, and get set because the Mongol Rally road trip extends over 10,00 miles. That’s right! This epic adventure takes you all the way from the UK to Mongolia. While there is no official route, the goal of this road trip is to make it from any European destination to Mongolia in one piece and sometime between mid-August to mid-September. It can also take anywhere from a few weeks to a couple of months depending on your route and can cross over 18 countries. So if you are looking for a wild ride through the world’s most intense terrains, and the opportunity to see Europe and Asia unlike ever before, then this is the perfect road trip for you. One adventurer, Bassam Tarazi, put it best when he said “When you travel across half the world, you learn some things.”

Amalfi Coast – Italy

The Amalfi Coast dotted with pink-hued houses at dusk.

A UNESCO Heritage site, due to its scenic beauty and rare natural landscape, one must visit the Amalfi Coast in Italy at least once in their lifetime. The actual town of Amalfi and its neighbors are located in the southern province of Salerno. While the towns are typically only accessible by bus and ferry, this is the perfect destination for summer road trips from cities like Naples, Rome, Florence, and Milan.

Often compared to a painting, the Amalfi Coast cities welcome thousands and thousands of visitors every spring and summer to back on its beaches and take in the panoramic views from the top of the hills. If you’re looking to fall in love with a destination this summer, then you definitely will with the Amalfi Coast.

A great idea for an Amalfi Coast summer road trip is to plan a 7-day itinerary and drive along the southern tip of Italy’s Sorrentine Peninsula. During your trip, you can make pit stops in cities such as Salerno, a port city southeast of Naples; Ravello, and the jaw-dropping Positano, a cliffside village dotted with pastel-hued houses.

Costa Verde – Brazil

The blue-green ocean surrounded by rocks and a forested hill on Trindade Beach, Brasil.

The journey from Rio de Janeiro to São Paulo is one for the books. While you have to pass through some busy traffic in the city first, the drive along the Costa Verde is absolutely breathtaking. The full route is 350 miles (560 kilometers), and there are multiple stops you will want to make along the way. One of the best stops in the historic city of Paraty, which was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Framed by mountains and filled with 17th- and 18th-century buildings, Paraty is the perfect destination for a weekend on the beach.

During your summer road trip in Costa Verde, you can also plan to take a boat tour to one of the 365 islands off the coast and hiking the Serra do Mar, a 1,500 km mountain range. We also recommend taking a surf lesson, go paddleboarding, and enjoy the sunshine off the Atlantic Coast. This is one of the best ways to see the best Brazil has to offer.

Great Ocean Road – Australia

The turquoise ocean surrounded by cliffs on the Great Ocean Road, in Australia.

If Australia is in your travel plans this year or you’re an Aussie and want to explore your own country, then take a drive down Great Ocean Road. The expansive stretch of coast will take you along some of Australia’s most beautiful landscapes. Including the 12 Apostles, Great Otway National Park, London Arch, and more. The entire drive is about 250 miles (400 kilometers), about a 90-minute drive from Melbourne’s city center. It extends all the way to the southernmost point of the continent. Extend your getaway and stay at one of southern Australia’s vacation rentals or hotels to indulge in a one-of-a-kind outdoor getaway.

Panorama Route – South Africa

A small lagoon surrounded by rocks at the Panorama Route, in South Africa.

South Africa’s scenic road trip, Panorama Route, is not just a beautiful drive but a historic adventure through the world’s third-largest canyon, Blyde River Canyon. The entire route takes you through the Mpumalanga province and takes about two to three days to complete. Visitors will love adventuring through waterfalls, forests, and South Africa’s many natural landmarks including Echo Caves and God’s Window. You can also visit national parks and reserves including Kruger National Park and Mount Sheba Nature Reserve. Take a safari drive through the game reserve. You may even spot some of the big five along the way. This will be a trip unlike ever before.

Ring Road – Iceland

The Ring Road leading to a range of snowy mountains, in Iceland.

Iceland’s Ring Road will take you around the entire island. If you ever dreamt about exploring Iceland’s breathtaking waterfalls and geysers, then this is the best way to see it all. The full drive will take about 12 to 13 hours. However, due to the conditions and roads usually takes about a week to complete. There are a few routes you can take, and route one is about 800 miles long. Your trip will most likely start in Reykjavík, the capital of Iceland. Start off day 1 of your adventure by indulging in a day of luxury at the Blue Lagoon. Your excursions will also take you whale-watching, glacier walking, hiking, and so much more. Discover it all on your once in a lifetime road trip around Iceland.

Cabot Trail – Nova Scotia

The Cabot Trail Road surrounded by green forests, at Nova Scotia.

While this list of road trip includes many that last anywhere from a few days to over a month, Cabot Trail in Nova Scotia is one of the shorter road trips on this list. However, that does not mean it does not have just as much to offer road trippers. The drive takes up to five hours and is 185 miles (298 kilometers). The route will take you around Cape Breton Island allowing you to enjoy the gorgeous views. The trail is named after John Cabot, an explorer who found his way to the islands in 1497. The rugged coastline will present you with a relaxing journey of views right over the highlands. Canada has many road trips you will want to embark on, and this one makes the top of the list.

Patagonia – Chile

While this time of year is actually the winter in Chile, June-September is still an excellent time to take a road trip to Patagonia. One of the most jaw-dropping sights in the world is a view of the Torres del Paine national park. Seeing the glaciers and frozen lakes up close offers such a remarkable feeling. You have to see it for yourself. There are also many advantages to road tripping in Patagonia this time of year. Including ice-skating on the lake, watching for arctic wildlife, and hiking. While many people choose to take this drive on their own, it is always a good idea to consult with a tour company or guided road trip. Extra planning comes in handy to make sure conditions are optimal before embarking on your journey. Find incredible accommodations on the way.

Nha Trang to Quy Nhon – Vietnam

The blue ocean framed by cliffs in Nha Trang to Quy Nhon, Vietnam.

This road trip is filled with sweeping views of the Vietnamese countryside, which is dotted with fishing villages, and incredible lush verdant landscapes. If you are a fan of motorbikes and bicycles, you’ll enjoy taking this road trip. On your route, you’ll also have a great time if visiting sites such as the Ba Ho Falls and Da Dia Reef. The journey up highway one takes a total of four hours and is 131 miles (212 kilometers). Not only is Vietnam very peaceful and beautiful, but it is also an incredibly budget-friendly destination for your vacation. Extend your trip by staying at one of the charming hotels along the South China Sea.

Pacific Coast Highway – United States

The Big Sur, on the Pacific Coast Highway, in California.

This is definitely one of the most epic road trips of all time. The Pacific Coast Highway is one of the most famous highways in the United States, and it’s part of the State Route 1, that runs along most of the Pacific coastline of California. Many travelers begin their road trip in Los Angeles, but a great idea for a summer trip is to start driving from Seattle. You can then drive along the coast, and explore cities such as Portland, in Oregon, until you reach Eureka, which is the first stop in California. In Eureka, make sure you go to the Sequoia Park Forest & Garden before making your move to San Francisco. You can then head south and stop in Santa Barbara for a romantic weekend in California, and finally in San Diego.

This authentic North-American road trip will take you to uncover gorgeous ocean views — especially in San Diego — gorgeous Instagrammable places in Los Angeles and San Francisco, and plenty of amazing wineries in Santa Barbara.


Are you ready to embark on one of these incredible road trips? Let us know which you plan to take this summer, and we will help you find the perfect accommodation. Check out our blog for more summer adventures.

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The Top 13 Spanish Cities to Visit in 2021

The Top 13 Spanish Cities to Visit in 2021

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Wondering what the best cities to visit in Spain for 2021 are? With the new year quickly approaching, there is one thing we have on our wish list that lives there all year round: A trip to Spain. With incredible summer deals, fall escapes, winter getaways, and spring festivals to explore, Spain is a country you can visit any time of the year. Whether you’re in the market for an amazing dining experience full of tapas or want to explore cultural activities like flamenco dancing, you can never go wrong with visiting Spain. Looking for the best place to start planning your vacation to the Iberian Peninsula?

Start with this list of the top Spanish Cities to visit in 2021. This guide takes you on the getaway of your dreams from north to south. From hidden gems like Bilbao and Cadiz to world-famous cities like Barcelona and Madrid, we’ve got you covered on the best places to visit, and some of the best-known things to do there. Whatever type of vacation you’re looking for, from romantic city escapes, amazing outdoor excursions, or relaxing beachside vacations, Spain will have something for you.

Note: Make sure to double-check COVID 19 precautions, protocols, and operating hours before you visit any of these sites.

Why Visit Spain

View of Madri's buildings.

Spain is a soulful and diverse country. And is exactly the reason why it’s a top destination for many travelers in Europe. Most cities in Spain, such as Barcelona, Madri, and Seville, have pleasant sunny weather all year round, aside from housing a showcase of cultural attractions, amazing tapas restaurants, and Instagrammable spots.

Many don’t know about this, but Spain is one of the countries with the most Unesco World Heritage Sites in the world – a total of 48 sites. The beautiful Old City of Salamanca, for instance, was granted UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Another advantage is that Spain is home to destinations that appeal to all types of travellers. Culture and architecture enthusiasts can go to Barcelona or Bilbao, for instance. If you love the beach, try planning a trip to places like the Balearic Islands, which is filled with beautiful beaches. In case you want to visit a cosmopolitan dynamic place, head over to Madrid, which is Spain’s largest city and one of the liveliest cities in the country. Fancy the cold weather? Make your move to the Sierra Nevada or to the beautiful Basque Country, which are the best places to visit for some crisp windy climate.

Of one thing we’re sure: Spain has some of the best cities in the world, and there’s plenty to see in do in the country. You just have to do some research and find outr what are the best cities in Spain for you.

The Top cities to visit in Spain

Bilbao

bilbao spanish cities

The beautiful city of Bilbao is not one to miss next time when you visit Spain! Located in the North of Spain in the Basque Country, Bilbao offers a unique insight into Spain’s more modern sides. Bilbao offers a rich, historical, medieval atmosphere combined with modern skyscrapers and a reflection of the country’s industrial history. One of the greatest cities in Spain for architecture and art enthusiasts, Bilbao houses one of Europe’s most famous art institutions, The Guggenheim Museum. Make sure you take a stroll along the Nervion River after a delicious breakfast of churros and cafe. Definitely one of the hidden gems, we consider Bilbao one of the top places to visit in Spain in 2021.

And in case you’re looking even a less touristic city to visit in Spain, you can stretch your trip to Bilbao and go to other cities in the Basque Country. This beautiful mountainous is an autonomous community located in northern Spain, along the Atlantic coast. An amazing city to visit in the region is Getaria, a green paradise, filled with verdant slopes and hills covered in verdant forests. From the region, you can even take the Northern Camino de Santiago.

San Sebastián

spanish city san sebastian

If you enjoy lying on sandy beaches with beautiful views, then San Sebastián is the perfect Spanish city holiday. The beautiful city is tucked right into the Bay of Biscay and it is very well known for its lavish resort hotels and vacation offerings. The northern coast of the city is green all year long with a rainy winter season and a warm, sunny summer. Visitors will love indulging in the upscale shopping, gourmet restaurants offering “pinchos”, and exploring up to Monte Igueldo to get the panoramic views of the whole city and La Concha Beach. If a more laid back vacation is what you are searching for, yet something that offers all of the whimsy of the city meets beach life, San Sebastián is definitely one of the great places for you to visit in Spain.

Barcelona

Hands-down the number one of the best places to visit when traveling in Spain is Barcelona. The Catalonian city is famous for its nightlife, sandy beaches, city, and incredible views. You can’t go wrong packing a picnic and hiking up to The Carmel Bunkers to enjoy manchego cheese and vino with an unforgettable view of the coast of Spain. But before you go exploring, you will want to plan a bit as there is so much to do, see, and eat in this cultural hub. A great thing about Barcelona? How well-connected and easy to get around it is.

Visitors will adore strolling through the Gothic Quarter over the cobbled streets. Elaborate plazas filled with restaurants offer everything from tortilla española (omelets) to paella (Spanish rice with seafood) to tinto de verano (wine with lemon soda). Discover the great live music scene and contemporary street art. You can even plan ahead by taking a virtual tour of several cities in Spain before your visit. 

Before travelling to Barcelona, Spain, make a list of the best places to visit in the city. Make sure to include to the list visits to places like the La Sagrada Familia, Parc Güell, the Gothic Cathedral of Barcelona, and Playa de La Barceloneta beach. Barcelona is definitely one of the places to visit in all of Spain in 2021, and we highly recommend it to anyone planning a trip to the country.

Valencia

The historic city center of Valencia, Spain.

Spain third-largest city and most famous destination for eating paella, the iconic seafood dish, is the coastal city of Valencia. Located south of Barcelona on the Mediterranean Sea, this beach town is a summer hot spot to visit in Spain. After spending a day at the beach and eating freshly-made paella, you can try Valencia’s horchata almond drink. However, one of Valencia’s biggest events happens every March leading up to Easter Weekend. It is called Las Fallas. Parades of large hand-built structures and people dressed up in costumes fill the streets, culminating in the burning of many of these magnificent creations. This event commemorates Saint Joseph. When looking for cultural events to attend during your trip, be sure to plan to see this one. You also cannot miss visiting the City of Arts and Sciences, strolling through the Turia Gardens, and checking out the Cathedral. For a cultural experience, the city is definitely among the best places to visit in Spain.

Salamanca

The city of Salamanca, Spain.

Salamanca is one of Spain’s best cities, especially for student travelers. Popular for how close it is to Madrid and for its gorgeous Spanish outdoors, Salamanca wows everyone who visits. Especially those who are fans of cheap beer and fun nightlife. It also happens to be one of Spain’s safest cities which is another reason it boasts visits by the youth. From visiting Casa Lis, Salamanca’s Art Nouveau and Art Deco Museum, or house of Shells, tourists love the art experiences offered in this city. After all, Salamanca was the center of great minds in historic Spain. This city is definitely on the list of the best places to visit in Spain, especially for younger travelers.

Madrid

Puerta del Sol square filled with people.

The capital city of Spain is Madrid. Although there is a big debate about whether to visit Barcelona or Madrid, both are quite different, so it is very hard to choose. That’s why the only choice is to visit both and the other Spanish cities on this list! Madrid will give you a more contemporary vibe and will be easier on the budget for a longer trip.

Aside from being the capital city, Madrid is the largest city in Spain and it will allow you to explore Spanish history and life in the city. It is also the best city for connecting you to the rest of Spain as it is in the middle of the country. There is a magnificent selection of affordable hotels and rentals in Madrid that will make you never want to leave. From visiting the lively Puerta del Sol, uncovering the history of Plaza Mayor, and taking long walks through Retiro Park, to going to the Royal Palace, Madrid has so much lust and charm you will fall madly in love with. We know we do! 

Toledo

spanish cities toledo

Madrid’s neighbor, Toledo is one of the best cities in Spain, a truly off the beaten path city that you must visit during your trip. Located just a short ride by bus or train south from the capital, Toledo offers nature and town life for those looking for an escape. Set in central Spain on a hill above the plains of Castilla-la Mancha, it is well known for the old city architecture and mannerism.

A UNESCO World Heritage site since 1986, Toledo is known as the “City of the Three Cultures”, because it showcases a mixture of the three main cultures that have passed through Spain: Jewish, Muslim and Catholic. So in case you’re seeking some well-deserved culture-fix, you can take an architecture tour of the city. Visit the 13th-century Primate Cathedral of Saint Mary of Toledo, also known as Toledo Cathedral, go to the Mosque of Christ of the Light, built in the 10th-century and visit the surroundings of the Alcázar.

Also, don’t forget to enjoy a glass of wine and wander through the winding streets on the hilltop. You’ll love looking at everything from the Moorish Bisagra Gate to Mudejar Sol Gate. The city has so much to offer especially no crowds. If you are looking to experience classic Spain for a better price and in a quieter setting, then Toledo is for you. We know we can’t wait to visit again soon.

Granada

From Moorish architecture and serene patios to tapas and drinks that will fill you up with joy, Granada is a must-visit in Spain. Some of our favorite things to do when visiting this historic mountain town include: Hiking up to St. Nicholas Church to enjoy a glass of wine or chilled beer while watching the sunset over the spectacular Alhambra.

While walking around through Granada, make sure to pay enough atention to your surroundings, because the city carries a lot of history. That way, you’ll easily spot buildings dating back to the Moors and Romans. For some history class, take a free walking tour on Albaicin, which is the historical Moorish quarter of the city and the oldest neighborhood of Granada. Home to narrow Moorish streets and medieval constructions, this area was declared a World Heritage Site in 1984, along with the Alhambra.

And in the wintertime, people come from far and wide to enjoy the mountain fun to be had in the nearby Sierra Nevada Mountains. In the spring, visitors will see the trees and bushes bloom with vibrant color that goes hand in hand with the magical feel this city gives off. Pro tip: when you order a drink at any restaurant in Granada, they also come with a small tapa so be sure to find the best bars in town. 

Cordoba

spanish cities cordoba

Tucked in Andalusia only about 30 minutes by train from Spain’s southern capital, is Cordoba. This beautiful town is famous for its mix of Roman and Islamic architecture spanning from the early 1st century BC. La Mezquita Mosque is one of the town’s main attractions and welcomes millions of visitors a year. Especially during spring when people gather in the city to see the famous patios filled with colorful flowers of all shapes, sizes, and colors. From Roman bridge to Palacio de Viana, the architecture of the city is definitely worth a visit, and if you enjoy wandering through Spanish cities and their romantic narrow streets, then Cordoba should be added to your bucket list.

Once the largest cities in the world with a population three times its current, Córdoba was the capital of the Caliphate of Córdoba, which for several hundred years controlled most of the Iberian peninsula. This was mainly because, after Córdoba was captured and destroyed by the Muslims, ʿAbd al-Raḥmān I a member of the Umayyad family took the leadership of the Spanish Muslims and made Córdoba his capital in 756. Córdoba grew enormously and became the most cultured city in Europe. The Umayyad family filled the city with palaces and mosques, which can still be seen to te present days.

Curious fact: did you know that Cordoba’s old town is a Unesco World Heritage Site? Yes. And a very beautiful one. So when visiting the city, wander around its central neighbourhoods, such as the Judería quarter, which are filled with history.

Are you a Game of Thrones fan? You can visit Cordoba’s GOT Spain filming locations during a road trip through Spain.

Seville

The city center of Seville viewed from the top of the Metropol Parasol.

Seville is the heart of Southern Spain, both physically and emotionally. If you are fond of flamenco, olives, and oranges, and floral scents, and incredible views from its many rooftops and buildings, Seville is the perfect place for you. Orange blossom perfumes are sold on every corner, along with painted tiles and traditional feria dresses.

Aside from being a beautiful city, Seville boasts a rich cultural heritage. Capital of southern Spain’s Andalusia region, the city used to be the capital of Muslim Spain and, thanks to the ʿAbbādid and the subsequent Almoravid and Almohad dynasties, it became an important cultural and commercial centre in Europe. In the 12th-century, Seville flourished, and one of the most sumptuous constructions from these golden days is the Alcázar Palace. Historically known as al-Qasr al-Muriq, the Royal Alcázars of Seville became even more famous with Game of Thrones, as it was the setting for the city of Dorne.

During your trip to Seville, do not forget to walk around the Maestranza bullfighting ring and take long walks along the Guadalquivir River. You can also go to a Flamenco concert, as the city is commonly linked to this dramatic, soulful and beautfil Spanish art.

Also, if you are already planning your Easter holiday, then we highly recommend you add Seville to your itinerary. The Easter processions are one of the most beautiful in the whole Spain and they attract millions of tourists. In fact, it’s believed that the Seville celebration has existed since at least the 16th Century, and from From Palm Sunday to Easter Sunday, the streets of Seville host these processions.

Seville is definitely among some of the best places to visit in Spain for its classic Spanish culture and atmosphere that you won’t soon forget.

Cadiz

View of the historic white and orange buildings by the blue ocean in Cadiz, Spain.

Spain’s southernmost city, Cadiz is truly paradise. Lovers of seafood and beach vibes will be very fond of everything Cadiz and its beach towns have to offer. It is also one of many European’s favorite vacation destinations, and usually brings in thousands of visitors every year. The Costa del Sol offers painted white towns running along the shore. This allows visitors to experience many of Spain’s beautiful spots all summer long. We suggest starting with Cadiz capital and taking a road trip along the coast. On a clear summer day, you can even see Morocco from the hilltops. Of all the other Spanish cities to visit, Cadiz is an absolute must.

Palma de Mallorca

Palma de Mallorca is the capital of the Balearic Islands, and one of the most amazing vacation cities in Spain. Located in the western Mediterranean, the city is well known for its gothic buildings and paradisiac beaches. If it’s your first time in Palma de Mallorca, take some proper time to uncover the city center, which is home to the cobbled medieval streets, old townhouses, art and, of course, the famous Cathedral de Santa Maria of Palma, also known as the La Seu Cathedral. After visiting the old town, which is walkable and compact, go to the 19th century Mayor Plaza, which is still in the city center. During the summer, soak up the sun in the Palma City Beach and stroll by the blue ocean on the Paseo Marítimo, a seafront promenade in Palma.

Malaga

Located on southern Spain’s Costa del Sol, Malaga is a summer paradise occupied by resorts and welcoming sandy beaches. To get started, visit Malaga’s old town, which carries a rich cultural heritage since the city has a fascinating history marked by Romans, Visigoths, and Moors. And speaking of culture, also include visits to the city’s hilltop citadels, which are the Alcazaba and the ruined Gibralfaro, with remnants of the Moorish rule. You can also go to the oldest monument in Malaga, the Roman amphitheatre, dating back to the first century. If you’re in the mood for some art, a visit to the home where Picasso was born, in Plaza de la Merced, is highly recommended. And, of course, take a tour on some of Malaga’s finest beaches, such as Playa de La Malagueta and Playa de La Caleta, which are close to the heart of the city.

Which Spanish Cities are you adding to your travel itinerary? For more Spain inspiration check out our Game of Thrones Spain travel guide, and the best travel destinations to celebrate New Year!

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Activities & Adventure 6 MINS READ

A Guide to The Art Nouveau Architecture In Riga

A Guide to The Art Nouveau Architecture In Riga

Activities & Adventure 6 MINS READ

Being culturally aware during a trip is an eye-opening experience and, fortunately, Europe offers a wide range of culture-filled destinations for travelers to experience. Birthplace of some of the most brilliant artists and architects of all time, the Old Continent is home to more than 40 stunning castles, and it harbors 18 of the 25 most beautiful buildings in the world.

A must-go destination for art-enthusiasts, Europe was also the birthplace of a visually intriguing art-movement called Art Nouveau. Known for its sinuous lines and curves, this nature-inspired movement spread all over Europe during the 19th-century

While touristy European cities, including Prague, Budapest, and Barcelona display a showcase of preserved Art Nouveau Style buildings, the top destination for a true Art Nouveau immersion is Riga, the capital of Latvia. Shaped by a rich architectural heritage, the city has over 700 Art Nouveau buildings, more than any other city in the world.

Today, we’re taking you to discover the most intriguing samples of Art Nouveau architecture in Riga. From art museums to picturesque streets, this guide will help you experience architecture like never before. Have a look!

Note: Make sure to double-check COVID 19 precautions, protocols and operating hours before you visit any of these sites.

What is the Art Nouveau Style

Light pink façade of an ornamented Art Nouveau Building.

Art Nouveau is an artistic style characterized by the use of distinct sinuous lines, nature-shaped motifs, and organic forms and patterns. The movement flourished throughout Europe and the United States between the late 19th-century and the early 20th-century, being employed mostly in architecture, art, jewelry, illustration, and glass design.

Regarded as a universal art style, Art Nouveau was explored by many renowned artists in Europe, such as Gustav Klimt and Antoni Gaudí. Because of that, this style has different names depending on the country. In Germany, it’s known as Jugendstil; in Italy, Stile Liberty in Italian, in Catalunya, Modernisme Català, and in Sweden it’s regarded as National Romantic style.

Art Nouveau Architecture in Europe

There are several destinations where you can experience Art Nouveau architecture at its finest in Europe. In case you’re planning to visit Eastern Europe, two great spots for some Art Nouveau immersion are Prague and Budapest. But if going to Southern Europe is on the top of your bucket list, you can find some stunning Art Nouveau architecture samples in Turin, Italy; Barcelona, Spain, and Aveiro, Portugal.

Now, if going to an offbeat European destination is the ultimate travel experience you’re seeking, Riga, in Latvia, is the place to be.

Traveling To Riga, Latvia

Historical buildings in Riva's Old Town during the sunset.

Riga lies in the center of three Baltic States (Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania) and is the capital of Latvia. Apart from Art Noveau Riga architecture, the city is famous for its wooden buildings and medieval pedestrian-only Old Town, which happens to be a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Riga is the most lively in the summer months when the weather is warm, and the city is bustling with open-air concerts, free music festivals, and outdoor cinemas.

However, Latvia offers much more than typical city entertainment. The country is surrounded by Estonia, Russia, Belorussia, and Lithuania, and sports 500 km of coastline. To enjoy the wild abandoned beaches of the country, you can hop on the train to Jurmala or visit the Kemeri National Park for its bog lakes, mineral waters, and therapeutic mud SPAs nearby.

When in Latvia, visiting the bordering countries is also a great option, and you can add trips to St. Petersburg and Tallinn to your itinerary.

The History of Art Nouveau in Riga

Detail of a blue and white Art Nouveau buildin located at Elizabetes Street, in Riva.

To understand why Art Noveau gained the hype in Riga back in the day, we will drop some facts. During the late 19th-century, Riga experienced rapid economic development. It grew by 88% between 1897 and 1913 and, during WWII, Riva was the third-largest city in the Baltic region. Between 1910 and 1913, almost 500 new buildings were built in Riga annually. Most of them were in Art Noveau style and were placed outside of the Old Town of Riga. The architects in charge of designing the Art Nouveau buildings in Riga ranged from Baltic Germans, Jewish, and newly taught ethnic Latvians.

Today, the Art Nouveau Riga buildings represent one-third of all the buildings in the center of the city. This is exactly why Riga, Latvia, is often regarded as the Art Noveau Mecca, as it has the highest concentration of this architecture-style in the world.

Art Nouveau Tour In Riga, Latvia

While wandering around the streets of Riga looking for stunning Art Nouveau buildings, there are some places you don’t wanna miss. A good tip is to start off your trip by strolling through the Old Town, just to get acquainted with the city. Then, you can make your move to some of the places listed below. We guarantee you won’t regret it.

Alberta Street

If there is one street you absolutely have to visit in Riga, is Alberta Street. Named after Bishop Albert who founded Riga more than 800 years ago, the street is a trademark thanks to its Eclectic Art Nouveau buildings. Most of them where designed by Mikhail Eisenstein, and some by Konstantīns Pēkšēns and Eižens Laube, a teacher, and his pupil. The buildings are decorated with sculptures, ornamented balconies, columns, and other Art Nouveau elements.

Riga Art Nouveau Centre

Located on Alberta Street, the Riga Art Nouveau Centre is the only museum in the Baltics that entirely showcases the history of the Art Nouveau movement. The Riga Art Nouveau Centre is placed within a building that belonged Konstantīns Pēkšēns, one of the most famous Latvian Art Nouveau architects.

Walking through the 20th-century building will take you on a journey back in time. During your tour, you’ll not only learn about Art Nouveau but also about how the former owners hosted their guests, how people behaved, and more.

Make sure you look up to the ceiling when entering the building, You’ll see an ornamented spiral staircase, which is a fine example of the Art Nouveau style.

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

Art Noveau Route in the Riga City Center

If you got excited after discovering the examples of Art Nouveau in Alberta Street, you can surely go beyond and uncover more architectural gems in Riga. The Alberta Street harbors some of the finest samples of the Eclectic Art Nouveau Style in Riga, but there are three other styles you can uncover in the city: the Perpendicular Art Nouveau, National Romantic Art Nouveau, and the Neo-Classical Art Nouveau. 

For exploring the Perpendicular Art Nouveau category, which is commonly referred to to as “department store style” or Warenhausstil (in German) , head over to Krišjāņa Valdemāra iela (Krišjānis Valdemārs Street) number 37, which is home to a multi-storey building designed by Eižens Laube.

A good Neo-Classical example is the former Commercial Bank of Riga, which sits in the very center of the Old Riga, right opposite the Doms Cathedral.

To discover the National Romantic style, or the Nordic Art Noveau, in Riga, stay in the Alberta Street and head over the building number 11, also designed by Eižens Laube.

Take a Free Art Noveau Tour in Riga

If you want to travel on a budget, then a good idea is going on free Riga Art Noveau guided tour. Tours will take you through Alberta Street and Elizabetes Street, as well as to explore some less popular Art Noveau examples. Tours take around 2 hours, and start daily at 3 pm (until the end of September) at the stairs of the National Opera House of Latvia. 

Drink a Coffee Surrounded by the Art Noveau Style in Riga

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

Are you ready for your cultural travel?

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Culture and Experience Travel 2 MINS READ

CuddlyNest Staff Picks: Favorite Books to Read While Traveling

CuddlyNest Staff Picks: Favorite Books to Read While Traveling

Culture and Experience Travel 2 MINS READ

Do you have a favorite book? A story that took you on an adventure? A collection of essays that inspired you to experience life to the fullest? The CuddlyNest team is sharing our go-to books that we could not get enough of this year. As our team is based all over the world, we love to stay connected and let each other know what we are up to, reading, listening to, where we are planning to visit one day, and more. And, we want to share that with you, as well, starting with our favorite books.

favorite travel books

CuddlyNest’s Favorite Books

Although our travels are on hold, we can start putting a list together of books we want to take on our next getaway. So check out this incredible list of books. By the end of this list, you will want to read every single one. Let us know what you add to your list.

Manuela – Italy

Book: Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage

Author: Haruki Murakami

Genre: Fiction, Surrealism, and Magical Realism

Adi – India

Book: 48 Days to the Work You Love: Preparing for the New Normal

Author: Dan Miller

Genre: Business and Non-Fiction

Sali – Albania

Book: Shuni

Author: Naomi Fontaine

Genre: Nonfiction

Igor – Brazil

Book: Cien Sonetos de Amor

Author: Pablo Neruda

Genre: Poetry

girl reading while camping

Andrei – Croatia

Book: Old Man and the Sea

Author: Ernest Hemingway

Genre: Novel and Nautical Fiction

Ritesh – India

Book: The 5 am Club

Author: Robin Sharma

Genre: Parable and Self-Help

Jessica – The United States

Book: To Shake the Sleeping Self: A Journey from Oregon to Patagonia, and a Quest for a Life with No Regret

Author: Jedidiah Jenkins

Genre: Travel, Autobiography, and Nonfiction

Rahul – India

Book: The Immortals of Meluha (Shiva Trilogy)

Author: Amish Tripathi

Genre: Fiction and Fantasy

Kristina – Croatia

Book: Led by Faith: Rising from the Ashes of the Rwandan Genocide

Author: Immaculée Ilibagiza, Steve Erwin, Rick Warren

Genre: Nonfiction and Autobiography

Dmitry – Russia

Book: Alchemy: The Dark Art and Curious Science of Creating Magic in Brands, Business, and Life

Author: Rory Sutherland

Genre: Business and Psychology

man reading on the beach

Hassan – Pakistan

Book: The Alchemist

Author: Paulo Coehlo

Genre: Fiction, Fantasy, and Classic

Rachel – The Phillippines

Book: The Kite Runner

Author: Khaled Hosseini

Genre: Fiction, Historical, and Contemporary

Hana – Morocco

Book: En tenue d’Eve: Féminin, Pudeur et Judaïsme

Author: Delphine Horvilleur

Genre: Jewish Literature

Nitin – India

Book: Mastering In-House SEO

Author: Simon Schnieders

Genre: Business and Encyclopedia

Sufyan – Pakistan

Book: The Forty Rules of Love

Author: Elif Shafak

Genre: Novel and Literary Fiction

We can’t wait to hear what you are reading. Would you be interested in a CuddlyNest book club? If you are, let us know your favorite books in the comments below!

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Activities & Adventure 3 MINS READ

Walk around Berlin through the big screen

Walk around Berlin through the big screen

Activities & Adventure 3 MINS READ

There are thousands of films shot in Berlin and in all of them the city is not just any scenario, it is just another character. One of the characters that have marked some of the most important historical events of humanity. To walk through Berlin is to walk through human memory, through disaster and overcoming, through the urban movements that run around its streets and its walls that remind us that war only leads to destruction and separation.

Today we are going to propose 5 movies for you if you are thinking of visiting the German capital or simply because you are lovers of good movies.

The lives of others 

East Berlin, 1984. The Stasi follows closely a couple of intellectuals and things do not end very well. The scenes of the prison of the lives of others were filmed in a royal prison, the former Central Prison of State Security (Stasi) of the German Democratic Republic, today converted into the memorial site of Berlin-Hohenschönhausen. It is possible to visit their facilities upon registration. Former prisoners often offer guided tours where they narrate their personal experience with the system of political persecution of the GDR. The true life of others.

Goodbye, Lenin!

The West-East Berlin division is still aesthetically evident today: the immense and homogeneous Karl Marx Allee has little to do with the Ku’damm. However, if the convinced socialist and mother of Alexander (Daniel Brühl) in Goodbye, Lenin! lived to take a tour of Alexanderplatz today, would throw his hands to his head to see how he has become an exemplary icon of capitalism, yes, far less luxurious than that advocated by Western galleries KaDeWe. There would be no hoax that Alex would concoct to disguise it.

Run Lola Run

Lola has a mission: to bring 100,000 marks to her boyfriend Manni in twenty minutes so they do not kill him. The starting point is her apartment, located near the Friedrichstraße station. Manni is in Charlottenburg, near the Deutsche Oper. Before, she has to stop at the bank where his father works, on the Museum Island, practically next to her home. However, on its way, it passes through Schlesischer Tor, Oberbaumbrücke in Kreuzberg or the beautiful square of Gendarmenmarkt in Mitte among many other streets and more or fewer tourist areas that do not catch you at all. In short, its route does not make any geographical sense, but how good and beautiful is Berlin from beginning to end from home and in less than an hour and a half?

Berlín, Symphony of a great city

Approximately 80% of Germany’s monumental heritage was destroyed during World War II. That’s why Berlin, Symphony of a great city has an incalculable historical value: this silent film of Soviet inspiration immerses us in any day in the center of Berlin in 1927, a Berlin that we neither knew nor will know as it would be reduced to rubble a few more years late. Probably only the river Spree has remained immutable since then. The Berlin Cathedral, like so many other buildings and monuments portrayed by Walter Ruttmann’s camera, we only know of its recent reconstruction. And others, like the Royal Palace in Berlin, cannot be visited again until 2019 (next year). Work in progress.

Germany, Year Zero

Roberto Rossellini stood in what was left of Berlin in 1947, made a casting between non-professional actors and filmed the third chapter of the quintessence of the Italian neorealist: the trilogy of Rome, Appointment aperta, Paisà and this Germania, anno zero. The result is devastating. Edmund Kohler is thirteen years old and wanders through the center of Berlin with the sole purpose of surviving and helping his family survive. The backdrop is a Reichstag that is already only a rubble and the barren esplanade of the Tiergarten, whose wood served to warm German homes during World War II. The penury was such on and off the screen that many actors escaped when it came time for repatriation after recording the interiors of the film in Rome.

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Barcelona 3 MINS READ

Sant Jordi: Love and Culture around Barcelona

Sant Jordi: Love and Culture around Barcelona

Barcelona 3 MINS READ

On April 23, the Sant Jordi Day is celebrated throughout Catalonia. It is a very special day for the Catalans since it is a day to reclaim their own culture. Tradition says that boys should give a rose to their beloved, while girls should give them a book.

The legend

A long time ago there was a terrifying dragon located in the village of Montblanc, south-west of Barcelona. The dragon was always hungry, so the people gave him one animal a day to keep it from attacking the village. However, one day the dragon ate the last of the animals, and then it started eating the people of the town too. In order to satisfy the hunger of the dragon, the village decided to randomly choose a person every day to be sacrificed to the beast.

One day the princess’ name came up, and although that made the King very sad, he sent her to the dragon. But just when the beast was about to eat the princess, a brave and handsome knight, known as Sant Jordi, rode into town and killed the dragon with his spear, saving her life.

From the blood of the dragon, there grew a rose bush, and Sant Jordi took a red rose and gave it to the princess as a sign of his love. Everybody in the village was very happy because the dragon was dead and they lived peacefully ever after.

The real history

Sant Jordi was a knight who served Emperor Diocletian, and who refused to follow his orders to persecute the Christians, so he was beheaded on April 23rd of 303. From that moment on he was started venerate and then fantastic stories about his person emerged.

In the fifteenth century, a fair of roses was held every year in commemoration of Sant Jordi attended by many engaged couples and young matrons. It is thought that this is the origin of the tradition of giving a rose to loved ones. 

On the other hand, on November 15th, 1995, the General Conference of Unesco decreed April 23rd as the International Book and Copyright Day. So, during that day the readers take the opportunity to exchange reading impressions in the streets with their favorite writers. In recent years, this ritual has had a great media reception so that success has spread well beyond the Catalan territory.

Sant Jordi today

Since then the popularity of this day has been growing in such a way that it is almost impossible to walk through the streets of Barcelona on that date. In each corner of the city, you can find stops with roses and books. In addition, there are many acts in which free love is claimed, as well as musical performances with the Catalan culture as the main character.

 

April 23rd is not a day to stay at home. In the streets of Barcelona you can find writers signing their books at the stands, talks with authors, commemorative parties and also a blood donation campaign, because being altruistic is a great gesture of love.

In addition, the entire city is decorated. If you walk along Paseo de Gracia you have to go to Casa Batlló, the most commemorative building on this day. Gaudí was inspired by the Legend of Sant Jordi to create this architectural masterpiece (the roof imitates the scales of a dragon). So in the day, the house dresses its facade with roses giving it an even more impressive look.

Start planning your Spring love getaway for next year in one of the most fashionable cities in the world. Stroll along the Ramblas of Barcelona feeling the smell of roses, enjoy the Catalan culture at its peak and delight. We know April 2019 is not just around the corner but, it’s never too early. 

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