Hacks & Tips 4 MINS READ

The Smart Guide to Sustainable Travel and Ecotourism

The Smart Guide to Sustainable Travel and Ecotourism

Hacks & Tips 4 MINS READ

Do you consider ecotourism and sustainable travel when making your travel plans? While we do not encourage hoping in a plane or train to explore right now, we can take advantage of learning more about the importance of traveling sustainably and how to reduce our carbon footprint on our next adventure. We at CuddlyNest believe in eco-friendly travel and want to share our smart guide on ways to make your next getaway your greatest yet, for both you and Mother Nature.  Educate yourself on the best ecotourism practices with us.

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Choose ecotourism and a destination that is off the beaten path.

When choosing your next destination, consider visiting a place that is already putting forth measures to increase sustainable travel. Off the beaten path, getaways allow you to connect with the great outdoors and decrease the opportunity for additional waste. Consider visiting a national park, secluded beach, or desert oasis. 

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Book an Eco-Hostel or Green-Minded Vacation Rental.

These days it is more common for boutique hotels and hostels, as well as vacation rentals, to have sustainable methods in place for their guests. From off-grid penthouses to luxurious eco-friendly pop-up tents in the middle of a desert, you can find a stay that offers your desired comfort but also respects the environment.

Before booking a stay, make sure the eco-hostel or community-led accommodation utilizes green practices, such as limiting the use of harmful cleaning chemicals, bleaches, or other anti-environmental substances. This will ensure your holiday is both safe and enjoyable for you and the environment. 

Consider your means of transportation.

While many of us love to jet-set across the globe, unfortunately, air travel is one of the biggest factors in pollution every year. On your next trip, embrace slow sustainable travel and see the world around you. Consider adding travel by bus and train to your itinerary. Countries all over the globe are putting forth larger efforts to improve their ground transportation to make it more comfortable and eco-friendly to use. One of those ways is by adding wifi to buses and trains, which makes travel for business even more convenient and sustainable. Night buses and trains are even providing affordable options to make your trip budget-friendly as well…

If you are looking to explore a destination however it requires short air or train travel to get there, consider parking your car near the airport, to avoid long travel and leaving a larger carbon footprint. Websites like Park Fellows will allow you to find the best-priced parking, which will help you save for more future sustainable travel and ecotourism.

ecotourism train travel

Skip motors, get the bike rolling!

While motorbikes and scooters are fun means of transportation, on your next trip rent a bicycle or an electric scooter to get from place to place. Cycling is not only great for the environment since you are reducing your carbon footprint, but it is also great for your health. It’s the perfect solution to seeing a place and promoting ecotourism.

You won’t need to worry about missing the gym while biking around each city. Many major cities now offer bike rentals that you can pick up, go, and park. You may unlock a bike via a mobile app, take a stroll and drop it off on the nearest bike station. Take your time to get from place to place  – either on a bike or using your inner motor and walking! 

sustainable bike travel


Reduce your waste and use of plastic!

When traveling it may be hard to resist grabbing something to go so you can see as much as possible. To boost sustainable travel, we recommend you take your time, enjoy the sites, and eat at local restaurants. Contributing to the local economy is not only good for the restaurant but the community as a whole. Reduce your waste and use of plastic. This will ensure you leave the city even better than how you found it. 


Instead of souvenirs, collect postcards.

Last, but not least – be mindful of your consumption of gifts and souvenirs. While it is always fun to have trinkets from your travels, consider collecting postcards or making a photo album. 


These are just some small changes that you can implement to make tourism a little bit more sustainable. As travelers, it is our responsibility to keep the planet safe so we can all continue exploring. 

Do you have any other suggestions on how to practice sustainable travel and ecotourism? Don’t hesitate to comment, we would love to share all the knowledge to make a better world!

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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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Croatia 7 MINS READ

The Top 10 Foods To Try In Croatia

The Top 10 Foods To Try In Croatia

Croatia 7 MINS READ

If you’re a real foodie, then your favorite travel moments in Europe happened while you were eating. From the delicate Italian pizza and the hearty German cuisine to the soulful Spanish tapas, the Old Continent offers delicious treats that appeal to the most demanding food connoisseurs.

Aside from the most obvious gourmet destinations, such as Italy, France, Portugal, and Spain, there are also remarkable offbeat hotspots for foodies in Europe. In Croatia, for instance, food is taken with pride, and family recipes are a legacy passed through generations and generations.

Rich and varied, Croatian food is one of the must-try cuisines for those who are planning a trip to the Balkans and during your trip, you’ll find yourself filling your itinerary with famed eateries where you’ll be able to sample the most delicious flavors of the country. But, before your trip, read our comprehensive guide to learn all about this flavorful cuisine and learn what are the top 10 foods to try in Croatia.

An Overview of Croatian Cuisine

Croatian Food: Rich and Varied

A plate with blitva and grilled squid, a traditional Croatian dish.

Croatia might not be the first destination foodies consider when planning a trip to Europe. But, surprisingly enough, the country is filled with traditional eateries, offering world-class options that are sure to please the most demanding palates.

One of the first things you’ll notice about the local food when visiting Croatia is that the country’s cuisine is extremely heterogeneous, and it varies both in preparation and ingredients according to the regions. This means that every region of Croatia has its own staple culinary traditions, which are highly influenced by the location. Croatia is located on the Adriatic Sea, and the coastal region of the country is characterized by the use of olive oil, sage, lemon, orange rind, and super fresh seafood. Also, thanks to it’s proximity to Italy (Croatia shares a maritime border with Italy), Croatia was highly influenced by Roman and especially Venetian cuisine, and many Croatian dishes are Italian fusions.

Dalmatia, which is a region of Croatia that encompasses a central coast strip along the Adriatic Sea, is known for using a lot of fresh vegetables and seafood in its dishes, aside from Mediterranean ingredients such as olive oil and garlic. One of their most famous dishes is the black risotto, which is made with squid’s ink.

Another amazing spot for coastal food in Croatia is Istria, which is the largest peninsula in the Adriatic Sea. Just like Dalmatia, Istria’s food was also influenced by the Mediterranean flavors, but the difference is that Istrian cuisine is a blend between continental and Mediterranean food. In Istria, a lot of fresh seafood is eaten, aside from homemade pasta.

While the coastal regions of Croatia take influence from the Mediterranean the mainland region of the country incorporates Slavic tradition and ingredients in its food, including stuffed bell peppers, poppy seed strudel, and other ingredients that can be found in neighboring countries, such as Hungary and Turkey.

Fun Facts About Croatian Food

A man holding a basket filled wih black truffles.

Fact 1. Croatia has 7 Michelin Star restaurants: LD Terrace, Korčula; Boškinac, Novalja, Pag; Noel, Zagreb; Draga di Lovrana, Lovran; Monte, Rovinj; Pelegrini, Šibenik, and 360, Dubrovnik.

Fact 2. Istria is known for its white and black truffles, and is regarded as “Croatia’s Truffle capital”. In fact, one of the largest truffles in the world weighing 1.31 kg was found in Istria.

Fact 3. Legend says that Julius Caesar bought his olive oil from Istria, as the region is a premium olive oil producer, and named the best in the world by Flos Oleil (the world’s most prestigious olive oil guide).

Fact 4. Croatia produces some of the finest sea salts in the world, which can be found in Nin, in Northern Dalmatia.

Fact 5. About 25 food festivals are held annually in Croatia.

Must-Try Foods in Croatia

1. A Vegan Delight: Poppy Seed and Almond Strudel

strudel desert foods of croatia

If you think Strudel is for Austrians, think again. Croatian poppy seed-filled strudels fill the air with the sweetest smell you’ll ever experience. The slightly crunchy top, sprinkled with snow-white sugar, and the rich taste of poppy seeds make the strudel a perfect start to the day. Paired with a soy cappuccino from freshly ground coffee beans, nothing can beat this duo for breakfast. Our favorite place in Zagreb for the best pastries in town is Dubravica pekarnica – just make sure to be early enough to get some right out of the oven!

2. For Dairy Lovers: Pag Cheese

Croatian Pag cheeses on the shelves.

If you are a fan of natural, free-range food, Croatian Pag cheese is a must. Made from sheep on Pag island, this treat is hard, salty, and gets more flavorful with age. For cheese lovers, it may remind you of Italian pecorino. One of the peculiarities in this cheese is the strong and distinct taste resulting from the sheep freely grazing the natural herbs, like rosemary. Paški sir, as it is referred to in Croatian, can also be tasted in a variety of food tours, so do not forget to consider checking some out before going to Croatia.

3. A Croatian Elixir: Korčula White Wine

croatian wine

Croatian weather and climate are especially good for winemaking. Traditional wineries offer one of the best white wine varieties in the region. In Croatia, Korčula Island is well known for its winemaking tradition. The island is proud of its white sand beaches that offer wine drinking paired with unforgettable views. Make sure to look for the distinctive dry taste, which is produced exclusively in Croatia. Croatia’s Korčula’s forests hide two well-known wine villages, Čara and Smokvica, where the famous pošip grapes are grown. Both wines go well together with seafood, lamb, and even traditional Peka stews. You can also taste the prošek, a sweet dessert wine, to accompany dessert fruits.

4. A Croatian Speciality: Octopus Salad

croatia octopus salad with olive oil

Croatian food is said to be similar to Venetian traditional cuisine, due to the abundance and variety of seafood it features. When traveling through the coastal regions of Croatia, you must order seafood. While the best Croatian restaurants offer a wide variety of lobsters, mussels, octopus, even black ink fish foods, and others, one of the best and most distinct traditional Croatian specialties is the octopus salad. Grilled and served with fresh leafy greens, it is the perfect lunch on a hot summer day. Some restaurants even add potatoes and capers, whilst others go for cherry tomatoes. You may want to order a glass of Korčula wine to go along with your meal. This is the best way to experience some of the best food in Croatia during your journey.

5. The Iconic Dalmatian Dish: Peka

croatian food with olive oil

In the winter, fish stew and hearty vegetable and meat dishes take over Croatian cuisine. One of the specialties and must-tries in case you visit Croatia in the chillier months of the year is Peka. Traditionally sauteed in a metal pot, this stew can include any kind of meat together with root vegetables. Its rich taste and full flavors come from hours of spices, vegetables, and meat simmering over an outdoor open flame. One enjoyable meal, and you’ll be energized to experience everything Croatia has to offer. Be sure to include Peka on your dinner or lunch menu the next time you’re in Dalmatia.

6. Pašticada: A Hearty Comfort Dish

Pasticada with gnocchi.

Pašticada is the ultimate Croatian comfort dish. It consists of slow-cooked meat, which is previously stuffed with garlic, cloves, carrot, and some bacon for extra flavor. The meat is salted and marinated in vinegar overnight, and it’s then roasted and cooked in a rich red sauce for 4 to 6 hours. The traditional Dalmatian pašticada is served with gnocchi or homemade pasta.

7. Crni Rižot: The Black Risotto

A squid risotto topped with three grilled shrimps.

Known as Crni Rižot, this risotto has an intense flavor, which is perfect for seafood lovers. The black risotto is made with cuttlefish or squid, aside from garlic, onion, rice, and squid ink. Crni Rižo is particularly famous in the coastal areas of Croatia.

8. Brodet: An Italian-Style Croatian Dish

Croatian style brodet with shrimp.

Brodet is a Dalmatian fish stew that is made using a variety of fishes such as dent fish, sea bass, tuna, and eel just to name a few. Famous in the coastal cities of Croatia, this fish-heavy soup can be served with polenta or bread to suck up all the flavorful sauce.

9. Fritule: A Sugary Christmas Treat

A copper bowl filled with Croatian fritules with powdered sugar on top.

Fritules are a popular sweet treat in Croatia, especially during Christmas time and Lent, which is the period before Easter. These fried dough balls are made with eggs, milk, flour, and usually contain citrus zest and rum. After they’re fried, the Fritules can be powdered with sugar and cinnamon for extra sweetness.

10. Ham: The Pride of Istria

Thin slices of ham.

You already know that Istria is famous for it’s black and white truffle and premium olive oil. But the region is also a renowned producer of ham. Cut into delicate thin slices, the Istrian ham is made from high-quality meat, which is enriched with sea salt from the Adriatic coast. Unique in flavor and texture, this ham has no adipose tissue, and the meat does not contain additives or nitrates. Another element that ensures the flavor and aroma of the Istrian ham is the fact that the meat is curated without smell, only with the help of clean air. Plus, the Istrian ham is legally protected, and it must be produced only in the hinterland of Istria.

Taste Croatia Your Own Way

Grilled squid with espargus and potatoes.

After reading our guide there is only one thing left to do: to go and experience the Croatian cuisine yourself. Aside from soaking up the sun in the best beaches of Croatia, take some time to eat your way out through the country and taste some of the best dishes it has to offer. Go to a new restaurant, be spontaneous, and keep in mind that every experience counts.

We hope you enjoyed our Croatian Food Guide. Make sure to try these incredible dishes during your next visit!

Browse. Book. Stay.

CuddlyNest provides all accommodations to all travelers at the best price. Find unlimited travel inspiration on our blog and social media channels

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Americas 6 MINS READ

The 10 Oldest National Parks In The United States

The 10 Oldest National Parks In The United States

Americas 6 MINS READ

In 1872 the establishment of the first National Park in the U.S. was created by Ulysses S. Grant, the United States President at the time. Can you guess which park it was? If you answered the Yellowstone National Park – you’re correct! This nearly 3,500-sq.-mile sanctuary located in the western United States is the first national park of the country, and it’s worldwide known for its rich biodiversity. The Park is home to canyons, alpine rivers, forests, hot springs, and hundreds of animal species, such as bears, wolves, and antelopes.

Today, the National Park System features 422 national park sites in the United States, and these parks span across more than 84 million acres in each state. Not by chance, the U.S. became a true paradise for adrenaline seekers and adventurous travelers who want to escape to the great outdoors and spend some time in the wilderness. 

National Parks are real symbols of pride and are celebrated annually in  April during National Park Week, which honors the history and culture surrounding these stunning outdoor locations.

The National Park Service (NPS) recorded that in 2019 over 327 million people visited the USA’s national parks. While some parks are still temporarily closed, you can still gather some ideas to plan your next outdoor vacation in the U.S. A great place to start? With a list of the 10 oldest national parks in the United States. Check them out below:

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

The Oldest U.S. National Parks:

1. Yellowstone National Park| March 1, 1872

yellowstone national park

Located between three states —Wyoming, Idaho, and Montana— the Yellowstone National Park is the first national park in the U.S. Thanks to its diverse fauna and flora, Yellowstone welcomes about 4.2 million visitors a park. The park is home to over 1,700 species of trees, and almost 60 species of mammals, including the Rocky Mountain wolf, coyote, the Canadian lynx, and black and grizzly bears.

Placed at the northeastern end of the Snake River Plain, a geological feature located in Idaho, the park has a stunning volcanic landscape, and it harbors the famous Yellowstone Caldera, which is the largest volcanic system in North America, and in the world.

Other attractions in the park are the geysers, such as the “Old Faithful”, located in Upper Geyser Basin, and the Steamboar Geyser, which is the largest active geyser in the world.

2. Sequoia National Park| September 25, 1890

sequoia national park

Known for being home to the General Sherman Tree, the largest tree in the world by volume, the Sequoia National Park is the second oldest national park in the U.S. The park is located in the southern Sierra Nevada east of Visalia, California, and it’s south of and contiguous with Kings Canyon Park.

Aside from gigantic Sequoia trees, which can grow between 250 to 275 feet tall, the Sequoia National Park is covered by four different types of vegetation zones: foothill woodlands, montane forests, subalpine forests, and alpine forests. The park is also inhabited by coyotes, black bears, sheep, eleven species of woodpecker, various species of turtle, three species of owl, and more animals.

Both the Sequoia Park and Kings Canyon are filled with outdoor activities all year round. Visitors can hit the hiking trails, backpack in the parks, wildlife watch, go picnicking and even ski during the winter.

yosemite national park

3. Yosemite National Park | October 1, 1890

Yellowstone is the official first national park in the U.S., but the idea to create the park originally came from President Abraham Lincoln when he signed the Yosemite Land Grant, back in 1864.

Located in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, in central California, Yosemite covers an area of 748,436 acres that spans over four counties: Tuolumne, Mariposa, Mono, and Madera County. Designated a World Heritage Site in 1984, Yosemite is home to grand meadows, ancient giant sequoias, sparkling lakes, mountains, and granite cliffs, among other marvels of nature. The park also features one of the biggest waterfalls on Earth, the 188 meters high Bridalveil Fall, aside from harboring over 400 species of animals, including the super-rare red fox.

4.  Mount Rainier National Park | March 2, 1899

mount rainier national park

Located in a Washington state reserve, southeast of Seattle, the Mount Rainier National Park is home to the Mount Rainier, a 14,411-foot stratovolcano. A true gem of the Washington State, the park is home to valleys, waterfalls, meadows, and forests, aside from having more than 25 glaciers.

A popular hiking spot in the U.S., the Mount Rainier National Park is inhabited by several animal species, such as beavers, black bears, raccoons, porcupines, marmots, and mountain goats, aside from plenty of birds, including owls and eagles.

5. Crater Lake National Park | May 22, 1902

crater lake national park

Crater Lake National Park is located in the Cascade Mountains of southern Oregon. Famous for its crystal blue water lakes, the park hugs the caldera of the 1,949 feet Crater Lake, a remnant o Mount Mazama and the deepest lake in the United States. The park features old-growth forests covering around 50,000 acres, the Pacific Crest Trail, which is a long-distance hiking trail that stretches from the Mexican to Canadian borders, an extinct volcano, and several species of mammals.

Some of the best things to do in the Crater Lake National Park include hiking and exploring the local forests and lakes, and driving the historic 33-mile Rim Drive, which circles Crater Lake and offers stunning views of the surrounding areas.

6. Wind Cave National Park | January 9, 1903

wind cave national park

Wind Cave is the first cave system in the U.S. to be designated as a national park, thanks to its massive concentration of rare boxwork formations. The park also encompasses 33,970 acres of forest and prairie that plays host to a remarkable variety of wildlife.

Located 10 miles (16 km) north of the town of Hot Springs in western South Dakota, the Wind Cave National Park was established in 1903 by President Theodore Roosevelt. The cave is regarded as the densest cave system in the world, and also as one of the longest caves on Earth, with 149.01 miles of explored cave passageways.

Aside from this majestic cave, the park also features 30 miles of hiking trails through prairies and ponderosa pine forests.

7. Mesa Verde National Park | June 29, 1906

mesa verde national park

Placed in Montezuma County, in southwest Colorado, Mesa Verde National Park is the largest archeological preserve with over 600 cliff dwellings. The Mesa Verde National Park was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, as it protects some of the best-preserved Ancestral Puebloan archaeological sites in the country. The parks’ name translates into “green table”, and it’s a reflection of the vast greenery that covers thousands of acres.

8. Glacier National Park | May 11, 1910

glacier national park

Featuring over 700 miles of trails, the Glacier National Park is a real North American gem for those who love some outdoor hiking. Located in the northwest corner of Montana, the Glacier National Park spans over one million acres.

In total, the park has 75 named mountains, 762 lakes, 25 named glaciers, and close to 750 miles of hiking trails alone. The Glacier National Park also features a breathtaking panorama of pristine forests, alpine meadows, rugged mountains, and spectacular lakes.

But the Glacier National Park is much more than a hiking paradise. The park also offers the perfect conditions for other fun outdoor activities, such as boating, fishing, biking, backcountry camping, and even count-country skiing.

9. Rocky Mountain National Park | January 26, 1915

rocky mountain national park

The ninth oldest U.S. national park is the iconic Rocky Mountain, which happens to be one of the most visited national parks in the country. While the park was founded in 1915, the mountain range where it’s located is actually over 76 million years old. The high peaks and rugged landscape make the perfect backdrop for the city of Denver, which is just a short drive away.

With more than 100 peaks rising above 11,000 feet in altitude, the park is located in north-central Colorado, between the towns of Estes Park and Grand Lake. This family-friendly destination features a jaw-dropping nature setting, as it’s filled with mountains, waterfall hikes, alpine lakes, and a wide variety of wildlife everywhere you look.

10. Haleakala National Park |August 1, 1916

haleakala national park

Haleakala National Park is located on the Hawaiian Island, Maui. While the park itself is over 33,000 acres, the park’s main feature is its massive 7-mile wide volcanic crater, the dormant Haleakalā Volcano, which last erupted between 1480 and 1600 AD. Visitors usually go to the Haleakala National Park to go to the summit of the volcano and watch the sunset or sunrise from up high.

You can also enjoy these national parks from afar by taking virtual tours and experiences at home.

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CuddlyNest provides all accommodations to all travelers at an unbeatable price. This blog post is the sixth 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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Cuisine Crawl 6 MINS READ

The Difference Between Mexican Food vs.Tex-Mex

The Difference Between Mexican Food vs.Tex-Mex

Cuisine Crawl 6 MINS READ

FoodAmericasHolidays and Festivals Around the WorldNutritionTips

We recently watched Taco Chronicles on Netflix, which made us think, “What is the real difference between Tex-Mex vs Mexican food?”. They’re surely both delicious, comforting, and flavorful, but there are actually a few differences between them.

So if you’ve been pondering this question just like we have, read on as we delve deeper into this common query and learn about the main differences between Mexican Food vs.Tex-Mex.

An Introduction to Mexican Cuisine

Mexican Food: A Quick Background

A plate of Tinga Sopes, a traditional Mexican dish.

Mexican food has a worldwide reputation for being spicy. But we can guarantee you that this rich cuisine has much more to offer than just a burning sensation on your tongue.

The roots of Mexican cuisine actually lie in a combination of Mesoamerican and Spanish cuisine, and after the Spanish conquered the Aztec empire and Mesoamerica, a number of ingredients were introduced to the local native foods. Those were dairy products, meats from domesticated animals (pork, chicken, goat), rice, sugar, olive oil, and fruits and vegetables. Before that, Mexican cuisine brought together a slew of local native foods, such as corn, beans, squash, avocados, tomatillos, agave, and chili pepper, just to name a few. Aside from the Spanish flavors, Mexican cuisine was also influenced by Asian and African ingredients.

Thanks to its diversity of flavors and ingredients, Mexican food became an important part of Mexico’s culture, and in 2010 it was inscribed in the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO.

The Main Ingredients of Mexican Food

The traditional Mexican food is mainly made with ingredients that are native to Mexico, such as corn (maze), chili peppers, tomatoes, squashes, cocoa, vanilla, beans, and avocados.

Fun Facts About Mexican Food

A pile of Mexican tamales.
  1. Tomatoes Originated in Mexico. While this ingredient is often associated with Italian food, it actually originated in western South America and Central America. In fact, Italians actually ate their pasta without tomato sauce, and the edible berry was brought from Mexico to Europe in 1519 by Cortez, a Spanish explorer.
  2. There are three different colors of corn tortillas. The famous corn tortillas come in three different colors: white maize, yellow maize, and blue maize.
  3. Chocolate was invented in Mexico. You might be surprised, but the history of chocolate didn’t begin in Switzerland or Belgium. It actually began in Mesoamerica, and anthropologists have found evidence that chocolate was made by pre-Olmec cultures, which lived in what today is known as Mexico.
  4. Tamales are more than 8,000 years old. Made of masa or dough, these delicious wrapped goodies originated in n Mesoamerica as early as 8000 to 5000 BC. They were also considered sacred by the Aztec and Maya civilizations, as it is the food of the gods.
  5. Mexican food is sometimes prepared with unusual ingredients. Aside from delicious fresh tomatoes and avocados, Mexican food is also prepared with more exotic ingredients, such as escamoles (ant egg sac), and cow eyeballs (for the eyeball tacos).

Mexican Food and Tex-Mex

The Differences Between Traditional Mexican and Tex-Mex

So, by now you must have realized how rich and diverse Mexican food is. But, before you head over to Mexico for a true foodie’s experience, it might be a good idea to learn the difference between Mexican food and Tex-Mex.

In short, Tex-Mex is a fusion between the American (Texan) and Mexican Cuisine. It originated with the Tejano people of Texas, and it became a sub-type of the Southwestern cuisine.

The most notable difference between the two cuisines is the ingredients. In almost all Tex-Mex dishes, cumin is the main ingredient, however, most traditional Mexican dishes don’t include it at all. Mexican people often use ingredients such as chile peppers, oregano, cacao, cilantro, and more to season their dishes.

Also, Tex-Mex taco shells are typically hard tortilla shells, while Mexican taco recipes call for soft corn tortillas.

If you find cheddar on your Mexican food, then it is a Tex-Mex dish, as Mexicans always use white or yellow cheese. Many typical Mexican dishes including enchiladas, tacos, and more belong to both Mexican and Tex-Mex cuisines. However, Tex-Mex prepares them with their own flavors and style.

The Most Iconic Tex-Mex Dishes

A bowl of Chili Con Carne toped with cilantro.

Here we’ve listed a few iconic tex-mex dishes to give you some ideas about what to eat during your next Cinco de Mayo celebration!

  • Chili con Carne: Chili con Carne is a classic Tex-Mex dish made of chili, which is chilis, chicken broth, and your own (or others) secret ingredients, and Carne, either chicken, beef, or pork. If you haven’t tried traditional Chili con Carne before, then what are you waiting for?
  • Steak Fajitas: Fajitas are grilled meats usually served on a taco and doused with delicious spices and toppings. A definite must-have during your next traditional Tex-Mex celebration.
  • Queso: Queso has been described as one of the pillars of Tex-Mex cuisine, and is even sometimes referred to as the “national party dip of Texas”. Essentially gooey, melted yellow cheese with green chiles, you’ll be able to find this dish almost anywhere Tex-Mex food is served.
  • Puffy Tacos: Tacos are a hugely popular Mexican food all over the world, and for good reason. At its most basic, tacos are small tortillas filled with cheeses, sauce, and fillings such as meat, beans, or vegetables. Traditionally, a Mexican taco is very basic, and rarely contains more than just meat and some sauce and few toppings. But the Puffy Taco is a specialty from San Antonio, and are stuffed with a number of meats, along with lettuce, cheese, and salsa.
  • Cheese Enchiladas: Enchiladas were made for cheese lovers! A large tortilla stuffed with veggies, beans, and meat, then covered in cheese and baked, this mouthwatering dish is classic and one you won’t want to miss. The Tex-Mex version of the enchiladas is cheesier, and the sauce is prepared differently.

The Most Iconic Mexican Dishes

A typical Mexican plate filled with tacos al pastor.

Mexican cuisine is a diverse and massive array of cultures and ingredients, so it’s hard to list just a few dishes. However, we’ve listed a few traditional Mexican foods here just to give you an idea of what Mexican cuisine offers.

  • Mole: Mole is actually a sauce, which is usually served over meat. It became a staple of Mexican food, and it’s made with around 20 ingredients such as chili peppers, tomatoes, tomatillos, black peppers, garlic, and other ingredients.
  • Chilaquiles: This is a popular traditional breakfast dish in Mexico, and it’s made with corn tortillas cut in quarters and lightly fried. The tortillas are then topped with green or red salsa and are eaten with either fried eggs or pulled chicken, as well as cheese.
  • Pozole: Comforting and heartwarming, the pozole is a traditional soup or stew, that is made from hominy, pork, and red chile. Some of the toppings that add even more flavor to this delicious dish are shredded cabbage, radishes, cilantro, lime, and avocado.
  • Chiles en Nogada: This Mexican dish consists of poblano chiles (a mild-flavor chili pepper originating in Puebla, Mexico) stuffed with ground turkey picadillo and covered in a creamy walnut-based sauce called nogada. The dish is then topped with pomegranate seeds and parsley.
  • Tacos Al Pastor: Also known as Al Pastor, these tacos are made with sliced marinated pork shoulder, and are usually served with sliced onion, pineapple, and cilantro.

We hope you learned a thing or two, about Cinco de Mayo! Enjoy your feast, and don’t forget to let us know what you make at home.

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The 10 Best Destinations To Celebrate New Year’s Eve

The 10 Best Destinations To Celebrate New Year’s Eve

Destination Deep-Dive 10 MINS READ

Christmas is a date with great importance for the whole family and the loved ones. But New Year’s Eve is also a precious day, as families and friends reunite to celebrate an exciting new beginning. And there’s no better way to welcome a new year than by traveling to an exciting and new destination. A holiday trip, either with family or friends, can be a great opportunity to breathe new air, recharge, and enjoy the happy atmosphere that takes place all over the world.

Across the globe, there are several different events that celebrate New Year so, in case you’re still deciding on where to go, there is a showcase of destinations to choose from. For a cosmopolitan holiday surrounded by skyscrapers, museums, and hype restaurants, go to New York and watch the ball drop in Times Square on New Year’s eve. For some relaxed time around nature, ring in the new year by spending a few days in Thailand, where you stay at a wellness boutique hotel in front of the ocean. The options are endless.

With the cancellation of most New Year’s Eve parties across the world, a good idea is to opt for a staycation in a nearby city, or travel internationally (if you can) and rent a cozy vacation home in your destination of choice. That way you can host a dinner party with a few close people, open a bottle of champagne, and watch the fireworks display online. You can also use the ideas from this list to plan a New Year trip for the upcoming years!

For you to experience the most memorable New Year’s Eve in 2020 or in a near future, we’ve gathered the top travel destinations where you can see spectacular fireworks, light shows, and a great deal of fun to ring in the year with a bang.

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

Best New Year Destinations Around the World

Berlin, Germany

Fireworks over Berliner Cathedral in Berlin, Germany.

Take advantage of the holidays and go to Berlin for a trip filled with culture, art, and good beer. The city is known for hosting an annual New Year’s Eve Party Between the Brandenburg Gate and the Victory Column. This superb and huge open-air party brings together live music, DJs, and an amazing fireworks display at midnight, and attracts hundreds of people. However, due to the current situation, this year the celebration will happen with no audience and it will be broadcasted online. Other famous parties in Berlin will also take place this year with a Corona-compliant concept. The Spreespeicher party, for instance, will take place in the waterfront open-air Spree Terrace but, contrary to previous years, it will be a more intimate and cozy celebration. Guests will be placed in three separate rooms, and groups can stay together as long as they hold the same ticket category.

After a night of celebration, which can happen either at a party or at dinner at your vacation rental in Berlin, a great idea is to take a tour around the city and cure the hangover by trying some of the most delicious German must-eats.

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Koh Phangan, Thailand

Full Moon Party in Koh Panghan, Thailand.

New Year’s Eve Celebrations in Thailand became famous because of the iconic Full Moon Party. This iconic celebration is an all-night beach party that originated in 1985, taking place every year on the night, before, or after every full moon. Well, if your idea is to spend the last night of the year surrounded by madness in the company of your friends, this is your place. As soon as the sun sets the party starts at Sunrise Beach and it does not end until … until one wants to. You can even start the first dawn of the year with a good dip on the beach while watching the sunrise. It sounds good, right? This iconic celebration is an all-night beach party that originated in 1985, taking place every year on the night, before, or after every full moon. Due to the pandemic, the party has been canceled, but you can still put this celebration on top of your bucket list for your next Southeast Asia trip.

This year, why not go for something more chill, and maybe try going on a yoga retreat in Thailand? Surrounded by natural features, such as forested hills and pristine beaches, the country is an authentic health and wellness retreat. So, a great idea for the New Year 2020 is to replace crowded spaces and celebrations with more secluded destinations, where you can indulge in some outdoor activities, be around nature, and recharge. That way you can still celebrate the New Year, but respecting the social distancing and keeping yourself safe.

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New York City, United States

New Year's Eve celebration at the Times Square, in New York City.

Aside from being one of the most amazing cities for a Christmas holiday, New York also happens to be one of the best places to celebrate New Year’s Eve. During the winter, New York gets even more dazzling, and the city sparkles with a slew of holiday lights, which create the perfect environment for some celebration time.

A typical New Year celebration in New York usually involves heading over to the famous Times Square for the countdown and fireworks. This iconic celebration brings together thousands of people from all around the world, but this year New York will ring 2021 in a different way. To ensure everyone’s safety, the popular Times Square New Year’s Eve celebration will go online. The famous New Year’s Ball Drop in Times Square will still happen at the exact same time as the previous year, but people will have to watch it online.

So, in case you’re planning to go to New York City to celebrate New Year, no need to be upset. You can still enjoy the city’s skyscrapers and amazing holiday attractions, such as the ice rink at Rockefeller Center. You can spend New Year by having dinner with loved ones at your vacation rental in New York. Just grab a bottle of Champagne and tun in to watch the Times Square countdown and you’re good to go!

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Sydney, Australia

Aside from the party in Times Square, the fireworks show in Sydney, Australia, is probably the most famous New Years Eve celebration in the world. This huge event happens Is held every year on the Sydney Harbour Bridge, and it features two amazing fireworks displays: the 9 pm Family Fireworks and the Midnight Fireworks. Both of them are televised nationally, and Midnight Fireworks is televised globally. Each year, a new theme for the event is chosen and is usually viewed by more than one million people surrounding the area of the harbor and one billion worldwide for the Midnight Fireworks. A great idea is to celebrate New Year in Sydney by taking a boat tour while you enjoy the fireworks with the famous Opera House as a backdrop.

This year, the 9 pm Family Fireworks Show has been canceled, but there will still be a small fireworks display from the Sydney Harbour Bridge at midnight. The celebration will be televised live on the ABC channel, and you can tune in to watch it while celebrating the New Year with close friends and family.

After you celebrate the New Year in Sydney, why not take a road trip to explore the most charming small towns in Australia? This will surely kick off your 2021 the right way!

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Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

New Years Eve fireworks at Copacabana beach, in Rio de Janeiro.

Get ready for a very tropical New Year, because Rio de Janeiro will provide you with the ultimate summer holiday. At the end of each year, this vibrant and bustling city gets even more festive thanks to it’s traditional New Year’s Eve Celebration in Copacabana Beach. The event, which is the biggest New Years Eve party in the world, actually started in the ’80s as a religious celebration, which gathered only the people who lived nearby in the area. But the party became extremely popular, and now it brings together around 3 million people from all around the world. Aside from a spectacular and colorful fireworks display that takes about 18 minutes, the party at Copacabana also features live music.

During the New Year in Brazil, it’s common for people to wear white, in order to bring good luck. And one of the most famous traditions all across the country is for people to “jump the 7 waves”. On midnight, they go to the ocean and literally jump 7 waves in order to bring good luck for the next year.

This year, Rio de Janeiro canceled the New Years Eve festivities, and a virtual celebration is being planned. But, if you decide to spend New Year in Rio de Janeiro, you can still enjoy the local beaches, and have a private dinner with close people to ring in the New Year. Boasting warm tropical weather at any time of year, the city is one of the most Instagrammable places in the world to visit during the summer.

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Cape Town, South Africa

Cape Town hosts a myriad of fun events to celebrate New Year. The most famous one is the New Years Eve 2021 at the V&A Waterfront Cape Town, which also happens to be the biggest New Year’s Eve party in South Africa. Located in South Africa’s oldest working Harbor, on the Atlantic shore, the Victoria & Alfred (V&A) Waterfront is a 123 hectares complex developed for mixed-used, harboring both residential and commercial buildings. The event features several outdoor entertainment areas, aside from carnival-themed shows, and light installations, from 6 pm to midnight.

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New Orleans, United States

Fireworks in New Orleans, Louisiana.

In case you’re planning to travel with a group of friends, New Orleans, Louisiana, is definitely one of the best places to spend the New Year, as it’s filled with street parties, live music, and plenty of fun activities for you to have a good time.

One of the most famous New Years Eve celebrations in New Orleans, Louisiana, is the Bourbon Street Party. Located in the heart of the French Quarter of New Orleans, Bourbon Street is a historic area and well-known for having a showcase of bars and strip clubs. On New Years Eve, this iconic street gets filled with excitement, featuring nonstop parties at the local bars, fireworks, and a midnight champagne toast.

Another well-known party in New Orleans is the Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve, at Jackson Square. This huge, free party is open to all and features fireworks, live music performances, and the iconic “fleur-de-lis-drop”, which is the New Orleans version of the Times Square Ball Drop. Definitely a more family-friendly option than the Bourbon Street Party.

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Queenstown, New Zealand

Firworks over the Lake Wakapitu, in Queenstown, New Zealand.

New Zealand is not only one of the best destinations for outdoor lovers and adrenaline seekers. The country is also one of the best places to spend the new year. So, in case you chose New Zealand as your destination, you might wanna consider bringing in the new year in Queenstown. The city is located on the shores of the South Island’s Lake Wakatipu, and it’s a famed spot for adventure sports such as bungee jumping and jet-boating.

Offering some of the best views of Lake Wakapitu and the surrounding snowy mountains, this resort city hosts a handful of pub crawls during New Years eve.

For a more family friendly experience, you can head over to the Marine Parade and watch the fireworks over Queenstown Bay, or to Earnslaw Park, which hosts an annual party with live music, food trucks and fireworks.

Find Hotels Near Queenstown, New Zealand

Paris, France

The Sacre Coeur church with fireworks, during the New Year in Paris, France

Paris is always a good idea. A perfect destination at any time of year, the City of Lights also happens to be one of the best places to ring in the new year. During the holiday season, Paris is even more beautiful, as it gets filled with themed decorations and even more dazzling lights. A true winter wonderland, the city usually hosts a series of parties, dinner cruises, cabaret shows, and many other fun events on New Year’s eve.

Starting at around 900 pm on New Years Eve, people usually head over to the Champs Elysée for the famous countdown and a gorgeous light show Along the way to Champs Elysée, you’ll be able to marvel at the Eiffel Tower, which is a true sight to be seen.

After ringing in the new year, make sure the party continues by popping some authentic French Champagne with a stunning view of the Eiffel tower.

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Las Vegas, United States

Fireworks at the Sunset Strip, in Las Vegas.

The New Year’s Eve fireworks display at Sunset Strip is one of the most iconic New Years celebrations in Las Vegas. Lasting up to eight minutes, the fireworks spectacle has been a staple event in Sin City for years and, in January 2020, more than 80,000 colorful fireworks illuminated the Strip during the New Years Eve celebration in Las Vegas.

A true bucket-list New Year destination, Las Vegas attracts visitors from all over the world during the holiday season thanks to it’s lively atmosphere all year round. Unfortunately, this year Las Vegas won’t be ringin in the New Year with it’s traditional fireworks spectacle due the pandemic. But the city, which is definitely one of the best places to celebrate this special occasion, is still expected to host minor events and parties, especially in the casinos and hotels.

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Of course, there are thousands of destinations to spend New Years Eve. Luckily for you, we can offer you the best accommodation in each place, so wherever you are, you’ll always feel at home.

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Activities & Adventure 6 MINS READ

The Top 7 Budget European Surfing Destinations

The Top 7 Budget European Surfing Destinations

Activities & Adventure 6 MINS READ

Europe is primarily applauded for being an exceptional cultural travel destination. But, what many don’t know, is that the Old Continent is also an amazing spot for the adrenaline-seekers, especially for surfers. In fact, Europe harbors some of the best beach breaks in the world, especially in countries such as Portugal, Spain, and France.

The best part is that, aside from gorgeous shorelines, Europe has beaches of all shapes and sizes, which are guaranteed to please a wide range of surfers. There are beginner-friendly waves for the first-timers, and huge breaks and high river mouth tubes for the most experienced. Not to mention that it’s totally possible to plan a surfing trip to Europe without breaking the bank, as the continent has a myriad of great surfing hostels, surf camps, and affordable car rental options.

Sounds like a plan? Then read the full post to learn about what are the top budget European surfing destinations. To which one will you go first?

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

What’s The Best Time For Surfing in Europe?

The best time of year for surfing in Europe is in fall, which is when the North Atlantic swell season starts. But, of course, it all depends on the location. Home to some of the finest surfing destinations in Europe, Portugal is a great destination for surf all year round, and it’s one of the most consistent countries when it comes to waves. Close to Peniche, for instance, you can surf every day of the year. During the summer, Central Portugal is a great place to be for catching waves, and during the winter the west coastline of the country is one of the best surfing spots.

But if you decide to go on a surfing trip in France, for instance, you might wanna go in May, June, July, August, or September, especially if Hossegor is the chosen surf spot.

In Spain, swells are bigger during spring and fall, and the beaches are less crowded. But intermediate surfers might wanna go during September and April when the swells are not that huge.

Best Surfing Destinations in Europe

Nazaré, Portugal

View of a giant Nazaré Wave and the lighthouse at Praia do Norte.

When it comes to surf spots in Europe, Nazaré l is definitely one of the best-known. Placed in the Leiria district, in the west of Portugal, Nazaré is famous thanks to the Nazaré Canyon, which is the largest submarine canyon in Europe, with a depth of 5,000 meters. This geomorphological phenomenon allows the formation of massive 100-foot (30.4 meters) waves.

Surfing the huge Nazaré waves sure looks exciting, but it’s one of the most dangerous and extreme places to surf, giving a hard time even for professional surfers. In fact, some of the world’s surfing records happened in Nazaré. In 2017, for instance, Rodrigo Koxa surfed an 80-foot wave, breaking the world record for the largest wave ever surfed.

But, in case you’re on the safer side, you can rent a car and go on a road trip from Lisbon to Nazaré between October and March just to see the giant waves crashing in Praia do Norte.

Just like the rest of Portugal, Nazaré is a budget-friendly surfing destination in Europe. You can book accommodation in Leiria, which is the nearest main town, or take a day trip from Lisbon or Porto, which should take an average of 2 hours by car.

Find Hotels in Nazaré, Portugal

Biarritz, France

People surfing in Biarritz, France.

Another great European surfing destination is Biarritz. This seaside town is located on the Atlantic coast, in southwestern France. Placed within 35 kilometers from the border with Spain, Biarritz became one of the most popular surfing spots in Europe thanks to its long sandy beaches lined with surf schools.

With year-round swell, Biarritz harbors surfing spots for all levels. Beginners can head over to beaches such as Côtes des Basques and Grande Plage de Biarritz. Experienced and professional surfers will prefer beaches like Parlementia and Les Alcyons, in Guethary, and La Gravièr, in the famous Hossegor, a seaside resort located 20 km north of Biarritz.

And in case you’re wondering what’s the best time of year to go surfing in Biarritz, it depends. There are waves all-year-round, but beginners might wanna plan their trip to July or August when the waves are smaller and better for learning. Experienced surfers can go from April until late October, or even during the winter, which is when the big waves kick-in. Another advantage of going to Biarritz during autumn and winter is the fact that it’s off-season, so accommodation will certainly be more affordable.

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Cornwall, United Kingdom

View of a beach in Cornwall, UK.

Who would have thought that it’s possible to surf in the UK? Yes. In fact, South West England is home to Cornwall, one of the best surf spots in Europe. Bordered to the north and west by the Celtic Sea, and to the south by the English Channel, Cornwall has been dubbed the “UK Capital of Surf” thanks to its rather mild climate, and consistent waves.

With nearly 200 beaches around the coast, Cornwall offers a wide range of surfing spots. Some of the most famous are Fistral Beach, the most surfing beach in the UK with quality waves and big swells; Polzeath, which is great for beginners; and Porthtowan, with fast, sucky waves. Just beware that some of these beaches can get really crowded, so make sure to check in advance.

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Algarve, Portugal

Aerial view of a beach in Faro, Algarve.

We cannot help it, Portugal is a prime surfing spot in Europe. And if you’re looking for a less extreme surfing experience, ditch the Nazaré waves and make your move to Algarve. Located in the south of the country, within a two-hour drive from Lisbon, this region is well-known for its world-class Atlantic beaches with turquoise water.

Located right on the corner of the Iberian Peninsula, the Algarve has the widest swell window in the country, with the majority of consistent beaches being placed along the Vicentina Coast. You’ll find some of the best waves in Arrifana Beach (perfect for all skill levels), Sagres and Sines, on the West Coast, and Castelejo.

As for the best time for surfing in Algarve, autumn through spring is the peak season, as waves are smaller in summer.

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San Sebastian, Spain

View of the ocean surrounded by buildings and mountains in San Sebastian, Spain.

San Sebastian is a city located in the Basque Country, on the coast of the Bay of Biscay, 20 km from the French border. This destination is known for its fine beaches, and for having the best waves in Northern Spain. 

San Sebastian is home to three postcard-perfect beaches, La Concha, Ondarreta, and La Zurriola Beach, and all of them are surfable. The best waves, though, are in La Zurriola, an 800 meters beach with golden sand. Because it’s more exposed to the Cantabrian sea than the other beaches, La Zurriola offers consistent beach breaks that can have good peaks. The only thing is that this beach is located in the very center of San Sebastian, so it often gets crowded. 

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Ericeira Beach, Portugal

Aerial view of the ocean surrounded by a cliff in Ericeira beach, Portugal.

It’s almost impossible to talk about surfing in Portugal without mentioning the famous Ericeira beach. Located on the western coast of the country, Ericeira is often regarded as the “surf capital of Portugal”, as it holds a variety of great surf spots. 

Ericeira boasts exceptional coastline conditions for all skill levels, from beginners to advanced surfers, aside from being a consistent year-round surf destination. Some of the finest surfing spots in Ericeira are Foz do Lizandro, which offers the perfect beach break for beginners, and Praia do Sul. This beach break can be divided into two waves: a right point/reef break, suitable for advanced surfers, and a mixed break that is perfect for beginners.

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The Bubble, Canary Islands

The turquoise-blue ocean in the Canary Islands, Spain.

If you’re planning to surf in Europe, consider including the Canary Islands on your itinerary. Also known as the Canaries, this Spanish archipelago is located off the coast of northwestern Africa, and it became famous for having numerous surf camps, reef breaks, and over 100 amazing waves. These top-notch surfing conditions happen mainly because the archipelago is located a few degrees north of the Tropic of Cancer, which makes the islands exposed to swells generated by the North Atlantic. 

The main surfing season in the Canaries lasts from September through April, which is when the swells are more consistent, and the weather warm and pleasant. Experienced surfers can go between November and February, which is when the biggest and best waves hits. 

Find Hotels in the Canary Islands, Spain  Find Homes in the Canary Islands, Spain

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Destination Deep-Dive 13 MINS READ

The Top 13 Spanish Cities to Visit in 2021

The Top 13 Spanish Cities to Visit in 2021

Destination Deep-Dive 13 MINS READ

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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CuddlyNest provides all accommodations to all travelers at an unbeatable price. Find unlimited travel inspiration on our blog and social media channels

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Hacks & Tips 9 MINS READ

12 Ways to Internationally Travel from Home

12 Ways to Internationally Travel from Home

Hacks & Tips 9 MINS READ

As time goes by, the possibility of traveling again seems to be getting closer and closer. But, with border closures and restrictions still being a reality around the world, many travelers are looking for creative and fun ways to feed their wanderlust. If this is something you can relate to, good news: there are several ways you can travel without leaving home. You can re-visit some of your past trips through photos and videos, discover new places while binge-watching movies and tv shows, and also plan future getaways with bucket lists and Pinterest boards. The options are endless and, to help you satisfy your deepest cravings, we created a comprehensive guide with the best ways to travel from home.

The Best Ways to Travel From Home

Many don’t know about this, but going on vacation has many benefits for your health. Some of the top advantages of going on a holiday are increasing sleep quality, reducing stress levels, and even decreasing blood pressure. And while wandering around the world may seem like a distant possibility for many, there are several creative ways to maintain the healthy habit of traveling. The first one is going for a staycation, which consists of traveling to places nearby, sometimes even within your own city. Aside from the safety of avoiding long hours inside an airplane, there are other benefits of going on a staycation, such as boosting sustainable travel and avoiding jet lag.

But, in case your country’s regulations don’t allow any form of travel, you can always take a tour around the world without leaving the comfort of your home. This will keep your mind busy, help you stay inspired, and even excited about your next trip.

1. Make A Photo Album of Your Favorite Trips

A set of four analogic travel pictures.

It’s almost impossible to go on vacation without taking a million photos. However, it’s common that those amazing pictures usually live only on your phone or on your social media channels. So, since you’re home, you might wanna take advantage of the situation and relive your best international travel by making a photo album or scrapbook. Not only does this activity creates a great relaxing memento for you, but it is something you can share with generations and generations to come. You can even gather your entire family for some DIY scrapbook time, which is a great activity for bonding. Another amazing idea is to create themed photo albums or scrapbooks, such as “Summer Trips” or “Holiday Vacations”, for instance. You can also use digital tools, such as Canva or Shutterfly, to design the album.

2. Listen to an Audiobook or Read a Book About Travel

When it comes to travel books, the options are endless. Written by amazing authors all over the world, these books can simply whisk you away on an unforgettable adventure just using words. From Ernest Hemingway’s fictional escapades to Jedidiah Jenkin’s brave accomplishment of biking from Oregon to Patagonia, be inspired by reading or listening to international travel books. In case you want to travel from Italy to Bali, read the iconic Eat, Pray, Love, by Elizabeth Gilbert. Feel like uncovering the wilderness of Alaska? Then Into the Wild, by Jon Krakauer, should be on the top of your list. If taking a road trip across the United States is on top of your bucket list, then get some inspiration by reading the famous On the Road, by Jack Kerouac.

And there are also amazing books that are not necessarily about travel but can make explore amazing destinations around the world. Craving a trip to Barcelona? Then read the best-seller The Shadow of The Wind, by Carlos Ruíz Zafón, and visit some of Barcelona’s most picturesque spots, from the Gothic quarter to Montjuïc.

Just find one —or more— books that you can’t get enough of and be sure to pack it with for your own future trip.

3. Have a Movie Marathon with Films from Around the World

movie night - travel from home

Was there a movie that immediately made you think “wow I want to go to this place now”? Then this is the perfect opportunity to rewatch it. You can even start by watching the film adaptations of the travel books you read, such as Eat, Pray, Love; Into the Wild and On The Road. But there are more amazing films to include in your list. Midnight in Paris, by Woody Allen, will take you straight to Paris in the 1920s, and Walter Mitty will keep you daydreaming about Iceland.

There are hundreds of films that can take you far away and watching travel-themed movies is definitely one of the best ways to travel without leaving home. Pro tip: turn your backyard into a “home theater” by setting up pillows, Christmas lights, and a projector. Your movie experience will be so elevated, that you’ll even forget you are at home.

4. Take a Virtual Tour

Girl traveling in India.

The international community banded together to create innovative ways to offer global travelers the opportunity to travel without leaving home. Currently, one of the best experiences to explore the world from home is taking virtual tours, which are basically simulations of an existing location. Virtual tours are created from sequences of panoramic images that are stitched together and have become more popular than ever.

Thanks to virtual tours, you can visit museums, world monuments, national parks, and more. Whether you are interested in learning more about the intriguing artwork of Van Gogh or are curious about the history of the U.S. National Parks, virtual tours and experiences can be your unofficial tour guides right from home.

Art enthusiasts might wanna visit some of the world’s leading museums by using the Google Arts and Culture app. They can also take virtual tours on the website of renowned museums, such as the Salvador Dalí Museum, in Barcelona, the Guggenheim, in New York City, and the Louvre, in Paris.

Adventure-seekers will love exploring national parks and natural reserves. Currently, there are virtual tours in sites such as the Cliffs of Moher, in Ireland, and the Yosemite National Park, in California, USA.

Is seeing the cherry blossom trees on top of your travel bucket list? Well, with Google Earth you can check some of the most beautiful sakura spots around the world. Google Earth is a computer program that renders a 3D representation of the planet based on satellite imagery. You can take

Discover endless opportunities to explore without moving from your sofa, by embarking on a journey through virtual reality.

5. Set Up a Fort in Your House

Three kids, a boy and two girls, playing at night inside a bedroom tent.

Especially with little ones in the house, making a fort is an excellent way to show them a brand new place. Whether you build a castle out of couch cushions and pillows and call it Buckingham Palace or layout all your towels, umbrellas, and boogie boards in the backyard to create the beaches of California, your kids will love going on an adventure you plan for them. It may just be their best yet!

6. Plan a Themed Dinner

themed dinner - travel from home

During the pandemic, cooking soon became the preferred hobby for many who were homebound. From experienced cooks to newbies, several people started playing Master Chef at home by baking sourdough bread and trying new recipes. And if you’re one of those people, you can take advantage of your new hobby and travel to a new destination at the same time by cooking typical dishes from other countries.

Hosting a themed dinner can make things even more fun, as you can also include your friends and throw a virtual party. You can celebrate Cinco de Mayo by trying delicious Mexican recipes, learn how to make homemade pasta, and even try some unique coffee recipes. Ask your pals to bring their favorite dish so you can celebrate together, eat yummy food, and enjoy your at-home restaurant.

7. Listen to a Travel Podcast

Woman listening to a travel podcast in front of the ocean.

Last week we created a list of the best travel podcasts to listen to in 2020. Not only these podcasts will give you helpful information for planning your future stay, but they will also provide you with great ideas on where to go, and what to do and see there. Podcasts are also a great alternative for books and movies, and you can listen to them anytime: while cleaning out your closet, working out, or before bed. Check out our list to find your new favorite show.

8. Re-Purpose Your Old Postcards

postcards - travel from home

Do you have dozens of postcards sitting in a shoebox under your bed? If so, there are a few different ways to re-purpose them! Do a DIY (do it yourself) project. All you need is a couple of pieces of string and some clothespins to turn your wall into a global paradise.

You can also make photocopies and mail them to friends and family. Your loved ones will be so thrilled to receive mail from you during this time, and it’s a great way to share your past experiences with them too.

9. Make a “Bucket List” Pinterest Board

A Pinterest board on a smartphone's screen.

We have given you dozens of ideas for bucket list adventures, and now it’s your turn to make them a reality. A good place to start is by creating mood boards on Pinterest to organize your “Travel Around the World Bucket List”. You can create specific themed boards for each travel type, like surfing destinations, mountain getaways, romantic vacations, best cities for foodies, and more.

The advantage of doing this, aside from being fun and almost therapeutic, is that when you start planning your trips in the future, these trusty boards will help you organize and plan based on your interests. You can check out our CuddlyNest Pinterest page for inspiration.

10.Learn a New Language

Young woman writing on a paper while studying in front of her laptop.

Believe it or not, learning a new language is one of the best ways to travel the world without leaving home. This basically happens because, when you learn a new language, you usually start gaining interest in a new culture, which most of the time makes you want to travel. So, to make the most out of staying in, save some time during the week to learn a new language you’ve always wanted to. You can either take online classes with a native speaker or download language-learning mobile apps, such as Duolingo.

11. Watch a Travel-Inspired TV Show

Woman smiling while watching a movie at nigh on her laptop.

Now that you already watched travel movies, read travel books, and listened to travel podcasts, you might wanna watch some travel-inspired tv shows. One of the best is, undoubtedly, Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations. This award-winning show follows the chef and best-selling author Anthony Bourdain as he eats his way out in the world. Bourdain travels to all five corners of the globe and explores the local culture and cuisine while visiting each destination. You can see him eating the most unusual things, such as goose intestines cooked in black beans sauce, pig soup, and balut, which is a fetal duck egg that is normally eaten in the Philippines.

And there are other great travel-themed shows to binge-watch from home. Available on Netflix, the Kindness Diaries is a documentary show that follows the journey of Leon Logothetis, a former London broker that travels around the world on his vintage Chang Jian motorbike. While exploring places like Alaska, Ecuador, Costa Rica, Logothetis relies only on the kindness of strangers for receiving food, gas, shelter, and everything else except for money.

12. Create a CuddlyNest Wishlist

international travel wish list

Travel is nothing without finding the perfect place to stay, and we are here to provide you with incredible accommodations at the best price. Use our CuddlyNest “Save to Wishlist” tool to plan your future getaway now, and stay later. To save to the wishlist, all you need to do is log in to your CuddlyNest profile, press the save button on the right-hand side of the listing, and it will appear in your wishlist under your profile, waiting for you to book and visit. It’s that easy. Your domestic or international travel plans can be done in seconds.

We would love to join your international travel from home. Let us know what journeys you embark on. Check out our blog for more inspiration to fill your wanderlust.

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CuddlyNest provides all accommodations to all travelers at the best price. Find unlimited travel inspiration on our blog and social media channels

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Benefits of a Staycation
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Destination Deep-Dive 13 MINS READ

The 30 Most Instagrammable Places to Visit During the Summer

The 30 Most Instagrammable Places to Visit During the Summer

Destination Deep-Dive 13 MINS READ

Do you travel around the world looking for the best spot to take the perfect photo? If this is something up your alley, then you will love checking out this list of the 30 most Instagrammable places to visit during the summer. From London’s Tower Bridge to Malaysia’s steps to Batu Caves to the Duomo di Milano, there are so many places to fall head over heels for. Many of these monuments, cities, islands, and landmarks are also UNESCO Heritage Sites. Pack your camera, tripod, and video gear because these Instagram-worthy destinations cannot be beaten. Scroll down the list to plan your trip to the world’s most jaw-dropping photo spots. You will want to add each one to your bucket list after seeing them all.

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

halong bay vietnam

Halong Bay, Vietnam

If you have ever wanted to visit Southeast Asia you most likely came across pictures and stories about Halong Bay. There are over 1,600 islands in the bay scattered through the emerald waters. The islands are actually limestone karst landforms, which were worn down by 500 million years of tropical downpours and look like arches and pillars shooting out of the water. The bay is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and one of the best Instagrammable spots in Vietnam. For some Insta worthy pictures, a great tip is to take a junk boat tour to explore the bay’s islands, caves, and floating villages.

the duomo in milan

Duomo di Milano, Italy

The Duomo di Milano is a national treasure in Italy, and one of the most beautiful buildings in the world. Aside from being a highly Instagrammable spot, the Duomo is Milan’s main cathedral and welcomes millions of worshipers and tourists annually. The cathedral, which has over 90 gargoyles and about 3,400 statues, took almost six centuries to be built. It is also the largest cathedral in Italy, the second-largest in Europe, and fourth-largest in the world.

golden gate bridge in san francisco

Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco, California, USA

If you go to San Francisco, you must take a drive across the Golden Gate Bridge. Connecting San Francisco City to Marin County, the Golden Gate it’s one of the longest and tallest suspension bridges in the world and is one of California’s most well-known attractions. The American Society of Engineers considers the bridge to be one of the Modern Wonders of the World. Tip for taking the best photo of the Golden Gate bridge: head over to Baker Beach, during sunset. Also, make sure to check the weather forecast to avoid cloudy or foggy days. Mornings are better when shooting the bridge from the east.

view of oia in santorini

Oia City, Santorini, Greece

The beautiful city of Oia on Santorini Island is one of the most jaw-dropping Instagrammable places in the world. People travel far and wide to get a picture of the white-washed houses and bright blue rooves, which are definitely Instagram worthy. During your trip to Santorini, don’t forget to take a boat ride around the island and soak up the sunshine and friendliness of the Greeks. This ride will not only provide you with amazing photo spots, but also a great relaxation time under the Greek sun.

rainbow mountain peru

Rainbow Mountain, Peru

Rainbow Mountain is not only one of the 30 most Instagrammable places in the world, but also one of Peru’s most picturesque natural landmarks. While it may seem that the mountain was painted by hands, the colors are actually a result of minerals in the ground. The Rainbow Mountain, which is over 5,000 meters above sea level, is enjoyed by thousands of visitors daily and it’s becoming the main attraction to see after or before Machu Picchu. Listed as one of the“Top 100 Places To Visit Before You Die” by National Geographic, the mountain is made of 14 different minerals, which have a wide range of colors, such as turquoise, lavender, and gold. The Rainbow Mountain is also known as Vinicunca in the local Peruvian Quechua language, which translates to “colored mountain”.

tower bridge in london

Tower Bridge, London, England

Often mistaken as London Bridge, this famous monument in England’s capital is the Tower Bridge. The bridge is located between the Tower of London, Borough Market, and Westminister Abbey, a is a must-visit place for the perfect London photo shot. Also, going to Tower Bridge will put you in the middle of London’s most famous photo-spots, like the City Hall, the Tower of London and The Shard. Cross over to get an incredible view of the Thames River.

salt lake in bolivia

Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia

Located in the middle of the Bolivian Andes, in southwest Bolivia, Salar de Uyuni is every photographer’s paradise. The Salar is the world’s largest salt flat and its bright-white salt surface spans over 3,900 square miles (10,000 square kilometers). Its unique formation is a result of transformations between several prehistoric lakes. On the surface, there are few meters of salt creating its flatness. The rainy season, which is from December to April, is the best time to visit the salary to witness the mirror effect and, of course, take amazing photos. This mirroring phenomenon happens because the nearby lakes overflow and a thin layer of water transform the flats into a reflection of the sky. Thanks to its endless horizon, Salar de Uyuni’s allows travelers to take creative pictures by playing with depths and perspective, and it soon became one of the most Instagrammable places in the world. Curious fact: in 2017 it was one of the film locations for Star Wars: The Last Jedi.

havana cuba view

Havana, Cuba

People fly to Cuba from the farthest parts of the globe to see the colorful streets of Old Havana. Havana was founded by the Spanish in the 16th century and was a very important location for the Spaniards during the conquest. Over one million international tourists visit Havana a year to not only experience the city’s lively culture but also to see its eclectic charm. Havana harbors richly-decorated mansions, colorful houses with Moorish-style roofs, and Art Deco constructions, such as the Fausto Theatre on Paseo del Prado. And, like many of the Instagrammable places on this list, Havana was also the location for many films, such as Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights, and Buena Vista Social Club: Adios. Travelers can rent one of the colorful vintage cars and take a ride while snapping pics of the old town.

palm island view in dubai

Palm Islands, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Have you ever seen anything like this? Consisting of three artificial islands, the Palm Islands is a very popular tourist attraction to see in Dubai, especially up from the sky. The creation of the artificial islands began in 2001, and it required 5.5 million cubic meters of rock brought from 16 different quarries in Dubai, 700 tons of limestone, and 94 million cubic meters of sand from deep sea beds placed 6 miles from the coast of Dubai. Often regarded as the ‘eighth wonder of the world’ the Palm Islands are the largest human-made islands in the world and created to drive more attention to Dubai. Also known as Palm Jumeirah, the islands are home to thousands of waterfront apartments, residential villas, some 60 luxury hotels, spas, and dive sites. If you go to Dubai, we recommend taking your bravery up to new heights and going skydiving above the islands.

the rainbow stairs in batu caves

Batu Caves, Malaysia

Who wouldn’t want to get a picture in front of the rainbow steps leading up to Batu Cave? Located in Kuala Lumpur the 272 steps lead to the caves which also serve as a temple. The golden statue is the Hindu deity Lord Murugan, who stands to protect the temple and stairway. It is truly a bucket list spot to visit.

the blue lagoon in malta

Blue Lagoon, Malta

Known for its crystal blue waters and incredible views, the Blue Lagoon is Malta’s most famous and popular attraction. Visitors can rent a boat for the day or take a ferry to spend hours exploring the bay and Comino Island, which lies between Malta and Gozo Islands. If you like to swim, there is no better place to do explore the coves and caves of the island.

Sintra portugal view

Sintra, Portugal

Sintra’s castle lives above the clouds. Located in the region of Lisbon, Sintra is very famous for its many UNESCO World Heritage sites and its castles and palaces. This cultural landscape is a hot spot not just in Portugal, but all of Europe. Everyone who visits calls this romantic village a fairytale, and once you go you’ll see why.

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Bamboo Forest, Kyoto, Japan

Have you ever been to Kyoto’s incredible Bamboo Forest? Get lost in a sea of greenery and bamboo stalks that extend hundreds of feet into the sky. While the whole walk can be done in one hour, visitors often spend hours in the forest admiring the natural park. Be sure to add it to your Japanese bucket list. You also have to try the delicious teas in the nearby tea houses.

cappadocia turkey hot air balloons

Cappadocia, Turkey

If you have ever dreamt of taking a hot air balloon ride, there is no better place to experience it than in Cappadocia, Turkey. People folk there to get beautiful colorful photos on top of the “fairy chimney” mounds and beautiful balloon backdrop. Turkey has so many unique places to explore so be sure to add Cappadocia to the list.

bondi beach view

Bondi Beach, Sydney, Australia

Bondi Beach is easily one of the most instagrammable places to visit in Australia. Visitors can surf, whale watch, and enjoy views of the gorgeous blue waters from the pool that appears as if it is in the ocean. Explore and discover Sydney’s other picture-perfect locations when visiting the pristine Bondi Beach.

the pyramids in egypt

Egyptian Pyramids, Giza, Egypt

The Egyptian Pyramids in Giza are the last remaining original wonder of the world. The first mention of the pyramids dates as far back as the Early Dynastic Period. History says the actual pyramids are from the 3rd dynasty. They are truly a world wonder demonstrating the sheer strength and capability of humans from such an early point in time. The pyramids were originally built as tombs for the pharaohs and are now visiting by millions of tourists a year.

blue city in morocco

Blue City, Chefchaouen, Morocco

One of Morocco’s most visited locations is the gorgeous blue city of Chefchaouen. It is located in the northwest part of Morocco and is near Tangier, one of Morocco’s more connected cities to Europe. When the Jewish people were trying to escape the Spaniards in 1492, they flocked to Chefchaouen. It was then that they began painting the walls blue and it remains a tradition ever since. Tourists love exploring the blue town in search of the perfect nook to snap their shot with no one around.

northern lights in iceland

Northern Lights, Iceland

Millions of people visit Iceland, Norway, Canada, Sweden, and more every year to have the opportunity to see the Northern Lights. But Iceland offers something truly spectacular and from winter to spring you can stay up all night to take in the spectacular green, blue, purple, and yellow colors. It is truly a once in a lifetime experience.

Skyline Queenstown, New Zealand

Enjoy a panoramic view of Queenstown from the Skyline Complex. Visitors can take a short gondola ride up to the structure to dine with a view of the city, mountains, and  Lake Wakatipu. While you can choose to hike or take the gondola up, to go down you have to try the luge. A visit to this incredibly Instagrammable location pairs well with adventure.

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Horseshoe Bend, Arizona

Located in Page, Arizona, horseshoe bend is one of the most famous parts of the Colorado River and Grand Canyon. Sit above the clips to get the best photo of the river as it winds around the bend. You can arrive to have the photo opt by climbing a 1.5-mile hike. The view is breathtaking, especially at sunset.

parc guell in barcelona

Parc Güell, Barcelona, Spain

Visitors come to Barcelona every year to admire the incredible colorful artwork by Antoní Gaudi. Parc Güell is one of Spain’s most favorite parks and tourist attractions. The park has been open since 1926 and is also a UNESCO World Heritage site. Located on Carmel Hill, there is no better place to get a breathtaking view of the entire city stretching out to the beach. One could simply spend hours exploring the park and all of its architectural designs.

gates of heaven in bali

Gates of Heaven, Bali, Indonesia

Although the entire island of Bali is filled with instagrammable places, the Gates of Heaven is a must-visit for that once in a lifetime photo. The “gates” are part of the Pura Penataran Agung Lempuyang in Karangasem. While many people often criticize influencers and tourists for visiting this spot for the photo, one can’t help but admire its beauty and incredible natural backdrop. Our tip? Be extremely respectful and learn a thing or two about how to contribute to the preservation of Bali’s holiest locations.

the blue mosque in istanbul

Istanbul, Turkey

From the opposing and breathtaking mosques to the culture and colorful streets, Istanbul is a place unlike any other. It serves as both a cultural and historic center for Turkey. Originally named Byzantium and Constantinople, it is the largest city in Europe and the seventh-largest city in the world. If you are looking to learn about the ancient Europan history and its connection to Asia, while getting your picture-perfect moment, then Istanbul is the perfect place for you.

singapore tree garden

Supertree Grove, Singapore

You cannot visit Singapore without taking a picture of the Supertree Grove. This man-made forest is unique for its tree-like towers and verdant greenery. The trees are between 80 to 160 ft tall and belong to the Gardens by the Bay nature park. The park welcomes over 50 million guests a year and serves as a symbol for enriching the quality of life in Singapore. If you are looking for one of the most instagrammable places to visit, this is definitely a fantastic option.

amsterdam canals

Amsterdam Canals, Amsterdam, the Netherlands

Take a walk down the charming streets of Amsterdam on your next trip to the Netherlands. The entire city is a collection of Instagrammable places, such as channels, canals, and small elongated houses. Many of the houses have the appearance that they are leaning. This was done on purpose to avoid a collision. Bike culture is very popular in Amsterdam. So hop on a bicycle and snap a few epic photos of the colorful city along the way.

New York, New York

View of the New York City skyline from the Hudson River.

In New York City, at almost every corner you’ll find an Insta worthy place. And, especially during the summer, New York boasts an irresistible and lively atmosphere, which makes travelers want to capture every single moment. The warm weather provides New York with special sunlight, which makes it even easier to appreciate the beauty of the city. In case you’re looking for the most Instagrammable places to take amazing pictures in New York City, a great tip is to start with the basics. You can head over to the verdant Central Park, or photograph the city’s iconic skyline, which is dotted with high-rise constructions, such as the Empire State Building.

But, if you’re looking for off the beaten track Instagrammable places in New York City, make your move to cool photo spots such as Williamsburg, a hype neighbouhood filled with industrial buildings, vintage shops, hippie-chic cafes and elegant speakeasies.

Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro

Aerial view of the Baia de Guanabara, in Rio de Janeiro, during the sunset.

When it comes to Instagrammable places to visit during summer, Rio de Janeiro is undoubtedly one of the best. This beautiful Brazilian city is a quaint paradise, dotted with forested mountains, beaches, and rich architectural heritage. Some of the most Instagrammable spots in Rio de Janeiro include the Arpoador Rock, the colorful Escadaria Selaron, the Plage Cafe located in Parque Lage, and the Sugarloaf Mountain, which rises 396 meters above the Gulf of Guanabara. When in Rio, also make sure to visit the picture-worthy Christ Redeemer, a giant statue listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Cartagena, Colombia

A street lined with colorful houses in Cartagena, Colombia.

Cartagena is a true profusion of colors. Placed on Colombia’s Caribbean coast, this historic city founded in the 16th-century displays a showcase of scenic historic buildings, cobblestone streets, colorful colonial houses, and bougainvillea-laced balconies. Not by chance, Cartagena is one of the most Instagrammable places in the world, so you might wanna take advantage of the summer season, which is when the city is the most beautiful. Some worthy places for taking Instagram photos are the walled Old Town of Cartagena, filled with cultural sights, and the lively Getsemani Neighbourhood, known for its colorful houses and street art murals.

Los Angeles, California

Orange sunset at Venice Beach, in Los Angeles.

Los Angeles may not be the first destination that comes to mind when you think of the most Instagrammable places in the world. But, interestingly, it is. In fact, Los Angeles is home to some of the most Instagram worthy spots in California. In case you want to photograph iconic places in Los Angeles, make sure to include the Hollywood Sign, the Beverly Hills Hotel, and the Hollywood Walk of Fame in your itinerary. Los Angeles also plays host to cool artsy Instagrammable places, like The Broad, a contemporary art museum in Downtown Los Angeles, and the Urban Light, a large-scale artwork placed outside of LACMA.

When traveling around Los Angeles during the summer, you can also head over to other amazing photo spots, like the Santa Monica Pier, which is framed by the Pacific Ocean, and the quirky Venice Beach.

Prague, Czech Republic

View of the Vltava River, in Prague, crossed by 4 bridges and surrounded by orange and yellow trees.

Prague is one of the most Instagrammable places in the world at any time of the year. During the late fall and winter, the city boasts a glittering Christmas decoration, with magical open-air markets being held in some of the city’s most iconic areas, such as the Old Town Square and the Wenceslas Square. During spring, Prague gets dotted with cherry blossoms, and in the summertime, the sun illuminates Prague’s ancient buildings, which become even more beautiful and picture-perfect.

So, if traveling to Prague in summer is on the books for you, you might wanna know where to go to take the most amazing photos of the city. The number one photo spot is the Prague Castle, a UNESCO World Heritage site founded in around 880, and the largest ancient castle complex in the world. Europe, by the way, is home to thousands of magnificent castles, and you might want to include some of them on your list of the most Instagrammable places to visit.

In Prague, make sure you also make your move to other photo spots, such as the Charles Bridge, spanning the River Vltava, and the quirky Dancing House placed right on the Vltava riverfront.


Now that you know the most Instragrammable places to visit, start planning a trip to capture them all. CuddlyNest has everything from hotels to homes, and everything in between to provide you with the perfect place to stay.

Browse. Book. Stay.

CuddlyNest provides all accommodations to all travelers at the best price. Find unlimited travel inspiration on our blog and social media channels

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Athens 9 MINS READ

Interesting Facts About Greece: 50 Things You May Not Know

Interesting Facts About Greece: 50 Things You May Not Know

Athens 9 MINS READ

Before booking your next getaway, learn 50 interesting facts about Greece that will make you want to pack your bags and head to the Mediterranean country. This summer, there has been one European destination on everyone’s mind. Greece. Known for its beaches, isles, culture, and ancient history, Greece offers so much to its visitors. But how well do you really know Greece?

Sure you may know many common fun facts about Greece including that is is one of the oldest countries or a thing or two about Greek mythology, but we are diving in to share the most interesting facts about Greece you need to know before your visit.

What is Greece known for?

greek island santorini view of the sea

From the population to ancient history, for centuries Greece has been one of the most popular and interesting countries in the world. The Greek culture and lifestyle are craved by international visitors who after experiencing just days in the coastal paradise, never want to leave. Learning these interesting facts about Greece and its history, food, culture, and more will make you want to visit the country, travel like a local, island hop from the mainland to Santorini to Milos and beyond, and give Greece a top spot on this year’s bucket list.

Quick Greece Facts

AnthemAthens
Official LanguageGreek
Country Code30
CurrencyEuro (EUR)
Time ZoneGMT+2
FlagThe “blue and white” (Galanólefki)
Population10.72 million (2019)
LocationSoutheastern Europe
Area131,957 km²
Neighbouring countriesAlbania, North Macedonia, Bulgaria, and Turkey
Anthem“Hymn to Liberty” or “Hymn to Freedom”

Ancient Greek History

view of the acropolis in athens greece

Fun Fact 1: Ancient Greece refers to 700-480 B.C. It’s no surprise that Greece has one of the oldest and longest histories, but one of the biggest misconceptions is that the period most famous for architecture, art, and philosophy is the Archaic or Ancient Greek period. However, it was in fact the Classical Age (480-323 B.C.). Ancient Greece is responsible for advances in art, technology, and poetry. One of the most interesting facts about Greece’s Ancient Greek period is that it was during this time in which the city-state was invented.

Fun Fact 2: Athens, the capital of Greece, is Europe’s oldest capital. Athen’s origins date back as far as 3,400 years ago making it one of the oldest cities in the entire world.

Fun Fact 3: The first known democracy began in Athens around 500 B.C. This democracy allowed citizens to directly vote on laws.

Fun Fact 4: The first Olympic games were held in 776 B.C. in Olympia. The tradition of the games lasted until 393 A.D. and did not return until the first Olympic Games in Athens, Greece, in 1896.

Fun Fact 5: Women were forbidden to watch or participate in the ancient Olympic Games;

Fun Fact 6: The two major Greek poems, the Odyssey and the Iliad by Homer were written during the ancient Greece period.

Fun Fact 7: Greece’s official name is the Hellenic Republic, also known as Hellas.

Fun Fact 8: In ancient Greece, there were over 1,000 city-states (Greek Polis). The main were Athína (Athens), Spárti (Sparta), Kórinthos (Corinth), Thíva (Thebes), Siracusa (Syracuse), Égina (Aegina), Ródos (Rhodes), Árgos, Erétria, and Elis.

Greek Geography and Cities

The Oia Santorini Village at dusk.

Fun Fact 9: Mount Olympus is the highest mountain in Greece and one of the highest peaks in Europe. Located on the border between Thessaly and Macedonia, the mountain rises up to 2,917 meters above sea level.

Fun Fact 10: Greece is one of the most mountainous countries in Europe, and 80% of the country is mountainous. Aside from Mount Olympus, the country is home to other well-known mountains, such as the Parnassus, Taygetos and Pelion;

Fun Fact 11: Greece has the longest coastline in Southern Europe – over 60 km of it surrounds Athens!

Fun Fact 12: Greece is smaller in size than the state of Alabama, in the USA;

Fun Fact 13: About one-third of the Greek population lives in the capital Athens.

Fun Fact 14: Thessaloniki is the second-largest city in Greece;

Greek Mythology & Architecture

The ruins of the Poseidon Temple, in Cape Sounion, Greece.

Fun Fact 15: Greece has more archaeological museums than any country in the world. Some of these archaeological museums include the most famous, Acropolis in Athens, The Archeological Museum of Rhodes, National Archeological Museum, and many more.

Fun Fact 16: Greece is home to 18 UNESCO World Heritage sites including the Acropolis, Mount Athos, Old Town of Corfu, and Medieval City of Rhodes. According to the official list, there are 14 locations that are currently pending consideration for becoming a Greek UNESCO World Heritage site.

Fun Fact 17: Aside from being one of the most prominent World Heritage Sites in Greece, the Acropolis is considered to be the symbol of Athens and Western Civilization. It’s also the most popular tourist attraction in the country.

Fun Fact 18: Greek mythology is still relevant in Greece today. There were twelve Olympic gods celebrated in Ancient Greece, including Zeus, leader of the Olympians, Hera, Zeus’s wife and sister, and Athena, goddess of wisdom, defense, and war. The famous Hercules, a son of Zeus, was not actually a Greek god but is still known as the greatest hero in Greek mythology.

Fun Fact 19: Athena defeated Poseidon to become the guardian of Athens. They each gave the city a gift, Athena an olive tree and Poseidon water in the form of a spring. The people of Athens thought the olive tree was much more useful as it could provide food, oil, and wood.

Fun Fact 20: Columns are very symbolic of Greek architecture. There are three main types of columns used to build Greek temples and structures. They are Doric, Ionic, and Corinthian.

Fun Fact 21: The famous saying “taking the bull by its horns” comes from the Greek myth of Hercules saving Crete from a raging bull by seizing its horns.

Greek Isles

greek beach and island

Fun Fact 22: Greece has over 5,000 islands. These islands are spread throughout the Aegean Sea and are some of the most popular destinations to visit in the world. Only 200 of these islands are populated.

Fun Fact 23: Crete is the largest Greek Island. The entire island is 3218.548 square miles (8836 square kilometers) and has a population of over 630,000 people. In comparison, Halki is the smallest inhabited Greek island and is only 11 square miles (28 square kilometers).

Fun Fact 24: Greece is one of the sunniest places in the world, with 85% of sunshine a year. This means that country has 300 days of sunshine per year.

Fun Fact 25: Santorini Island is an active volcano. The last eruption recorded was in 1950. Santorini is also commonly known as the most popular Greek Island to visit.

Fun Fact 26: Many houses in the Greek isles are white-washed with blue doors and roofs. That color is believed to keep evil spirits away.

Fun Fact 27: One of the Greek Islands, Mykonos, has an official mascot, which is a pelican named Petros.

Bonus Fun Fact: Amid the Coronavirus pandemic, Corfu and Preveza, Greece, were named two of the European Best Destination‘s safest cities to visit in summer 2020.

Greek Culture & Lifestyle

view of greek theater

Fun Fact 28: Athens has the most theatrical stages in the world. More than New York’s Broadway or London’s West End. There are a total of 148 theatrical stages in Athens.

Fun Fact 29: 98% of Greece’s population are ethnic Greeks. 40% of the entire population resides in the capital city, Athens.

Fun Fact 30: Ikaria is one of the five blue zones in the world. Blue zones were founded by Dan Buettner. The concept of a blue zone is based on people living longer and happier lives based on the average lifespan of the population in the area is one of the longest in the world.

Fun Fact 31: There are over 4,000 official traditional dances throughout Greece.

Fun Fact 32: Greek grandparents usually live with their children’s family until they pass away. There are very few retirement homes in Greece, so grandparents will live with the family of their children for the rest of their lives.

Fun Fact 33: The word “alphabet” refers to the first two letters of the Greek alphabet, alpha (α) and beta (β);

Fun Fact 34: The Ancient Greek alphabet is the oldest written language to still be used to the present days;

Fun Fact 35: You speak Greek and you don’t know it! The Greek language has contributed to the English vocabulary, and 150.000 of English words derive from Greek. Examples: economy, academy, paradise, school, poem, and decade, just to name a few.

Fun Fact 36: The evil eye, or mati, is a common Greek superstition. It’s believed to be a negative energy, such as jealousy or hostility, and it can cause several bad things, such as headaches, weakness and bad luck. To protect against the harmful energies of the evil eye, Greeks wear a mati pendant, a blue and white eye charm which dates back to the 6th century BC.

Fun Fact 37: 90% of the population of Greece is Christian Orthodox, and the Orthodox Church is the third largest branch of Christianity, after the Roman Catholics and the Protestants. There are also Muslims, Jewish and Catholics in Greece.

Fun Fact 38: In Greece, it’s common to celebrate name days instead of birthdays. They have a holy name calendar, and each day of the year is dedicated to a Christian saint or martyr. According to the Greek Orthodox tradition, when someone is named after one of these holy figures, that saint’s day becomes their “name day”.

Fun Fact 39: “ Eleftheria i Thanatos” is the motto of the Hellenic Republic and it means Liberty or Death.

Fun Fact 40: The Greek flag, also known as the Γαλανόλευκη (galanolefki) or Κυανόλευκη (kyanolefki), consists of a cross in the upper left corner, and nine horizontal lines of sky blue and white alternated. It’s said that the nine stripes represent the nine syllables of the phrase “’Eleftheria I Thanatos”, but some say they symbolize the nine letters of the Greek word “freedom” (eleftheria).

Fun Fact 41: At traditional Greek weddings, the best man will shave the groom on the day of the ceremony. This gesture symbolizes trust.

Greek Cuisine

greek food

Fun Fact 42: A typical meal in ancient Greece always included bread, olives, and wine.

Fun Fact 43: Lunch is called “mesimeriano” and it is the most important meal of the day in Greece.

Fun Fact 44: The famous term, the “Mediterranean Diet” is based on food patterns that originated in Crete, Greece. It’s impossible not to eat well when visiting this island in Greece. And the country as a whole. The Mediterranean Diet includes vegetables, olive oil, nuts fish, grains, and a low intake of red meat.  

Fun Fact 45: Winemaking in Greece has been a tradition for 4,000 years. There are over 600 wineries in Greece.

Fun Fact 46: Olive oil is a staple thanks to the thousands of olive trees that have been in the country since ancient times. Greece is also known to be the country in the world with the most olive oil consumption per capita. In fact, many greek women rubbed olive oil into their skin to make it soft.

Fun Fact 47: Greece is the third-largest producer of olives in the world, and it produces more than 430,000 tons of olive oil annually.

Fun Fact 48: According to Greek mythology, goddess Athena gave the first olive tree to Athens before it spread to the rest of Greece.

Fun Fact 49: Aside from being a leading producer of olives, Greece is also known for its Feta Cheese, which is one of the country’s most important exports. In fact, the cheese was affectionately nicknamed “white gold”.

Fun Fact 50: The ancient Greeks believed that milk was a sacred food and, according to Greek mythology, the gods sent the son of Apollo to teach the Greeks the secrets of cheese making.


Bonus Fun Fact: Greece officially reopened for tourism on June 15 and began allowing international travelers on July 1st.

What new things did you learn about Greece? Now that you know the most interesting facts about Greece, it’s time to pack your bags and explore the beautiful Mediterranean destination. Start by booking one of Greece’s most affordable hotels and vacation rentals on CuddlyNest.

Browse. Book. Stay.

CuddlyNest provides all accommodations to all travelers at the best price. Find unlimited travel inspiration on our blog and social media channels

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California 8 MINS READ

Top 9 Affordable Romantic Getaways in California

Top 9 Affordable Romantic Getaways in California

California 8 MINS READ

California offers some of the most romantic getaways, as well as affordable accommodations to stay at. In almost every city you’ll find a great hotel room, a cozy inn for a more intimate experience, or a resort with a spa. Between the sandy beaches, gorgeous views of all types of landscapes, and relaxing ambiance, it’s no wonder why California is one of the most popular places to visit.

While the golden state often garners the reputation for its overpriced cities, we recommend going off the beaten path to experience its hidden gems. There is so much to discover beyond the big cities. If wine-tasting, dolphin and whale watching, and hiking in national parks are on your bucket list, then California is the place for you. Find your romantic getaway and the most affordable home or hotel to keep you comfortable your whole trip.

Explore Northern California

romantic getaway in san francisco

Take a drive across the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, experience the rolling hills of Napa Valley, watch the stars from Yosemite or relax at a spa on Catalina Island. Northern California simply offers some of the most unique experiences for couples to enjoy? If you and your partner are looking for romantic getaways to take during your road trip or honeymoon, then NorCal is the place to go. Here are three of the must-visit Northern California locations and the affordable accommodations that will offer you endless romance.

Napa Valley

view of couple in napa valley

When it comes to romantic California getaways, Napa Valley wins every time. Couples will love spending the day at any of the 400 wineries in the valley and indulging in the spectacular views. Book a room for the weekend at one of the incredible vineyard hotels to enjoy a private hot tub, spa services, and seclusion. The city is just a short 50-mile drive (80 kilometers) out of San Francisco. While Napa’s peak season is typically August to October, there really is no bad time to explore this area. If you and your partner are up for a little adventure, you can even bike around the vineyards through the calm streets connecting them together. All couples will simply fall in love with each other, the valley, and the amazing places to stay in the California Wine Country.

Find Hotels in Napa Valley, California

Yosemite

View of the Yosemite Park mountains covered in fog during the sunset.

Couples looking to take their love to new heights will be enchanted by Yosemite National Park. Most famous for its giant Sequoia trees and natural landmarks including Half Dome, Yosemite is placed in the western Sierra Nevada of Central California. Adventurous duos can explore the park by day, and relax at a nearby vacation rental at night. Hikers and visitors can wander through 110 trails in the park. From days by the lake and nights star-gazing from the Jacuzzi at a boutique hotel, if an outdoor getaway is what you are in need of, this is one of the best places to visit. You may even be lucky enough to see some California wildlife along your adventure.

Find Hotels in Yosemite, California | Find Homes in Yosemite, California

Big Sur

Aerial view of the Big Sur, in California.

Adventurous couples who are looking for romantic getaways in California will have a great time in Big Sur. Featuring a dramatic scenery filled with cliffs and forests, this area is not a city or town, but a 90-mile rugged and mountainous section located in Central California within a 2h30 hour drive from San Francisco.

Since the Big Sur is home to a multitude of state parks, natural preserves, beaches, and hiking trails, some of the finest activities for the adrenaline-seekers are the ones that happen outdoors. For an easy walk with a stunning view at the end, opt for the McWay Waterfall Trail. For a moderate roundtrip with ocean vistas, the Ewoldsen Trail is a good bet.

And because you’ll get away from the hustle and bustle of other cities in California, ditch the award-winning restaurant and take your romantic dinner outside by organizing a picnic on a stretch of beach. Top the Big Sur travel experience by booking a stay at a cozy rustic hotel. The Fernwood Resort, for instance, offers its guests different types of private accommodations, like forest cabins, motel rooms, and adventure tents.

Find Hotels in Big Sur, California

Marin County

los angeles view

Cross the Golden Gate Bridge to visit San Francisco’s neighbor Marin County. Boasting beautiful views of the city, and charming neighborhoods to explore, Marin offers the perfect romantic escape out of the big city. Spend the day biking around the harbors in Sausalito and indulge in shopping at Mill Valley’s boutiques. If you’re really looking to surprise your partner during your trip, plan a picnic at the top of Mount Tamalpais and book a room in a cozy inn, such as the Mill Valley Inn, for a more intimate feel. Enjoy the unobstructed views as you both watch the sunset over the Pacific Ocean. There is something so special about this destination, that you’ll have to visit for yourself.

Find Hotels near Marin County, California

Discover Southern California

View of the Santa Monica Pier from a beach during the sunset.

The best part about California is you can experience it all. You can spend a day in the mountains and arrive at the beach in the afternoon. It truly offers a once in a lifetime opportunity for couples you cannot get anywhere else. While Northern California is known for its coastal and mountainous regions, SoCal boasts chaparral, deserts, and beaches. As you make your way down the coast, Southern California has some of the most incredible romantic weekend getaways for couples to visit. Indulge in a beach outing, island escape, and desert exploration. Let’s discover California’s most romantic getaways for couples to enjoy.

Catalina Island

view from catalina island

Right off the coast of Orange County and southern LA, is the enchanting Catalina Island. Just a short ferry boat away, couples will love exploring Catalina’s port town. You and your partner can enjoy a day of hiking to the top of the cliffs while enjoying a view of the coast. You also cannot be snorkeling in the bay to search for California’s state fish, the Garibaldi.

For maximum relaxation time, go to the Island Spa Catalina. Placed inside the El Encanto building, the spa has nine treatment rooms, a Jacuzzi, a dry sauna, a soaking pool, and a eucalyptus steam room that are guaranteed to rejuvenate mind and body.

If a romantic getaway in Southern California is what you are in search of, then there is no better place than Catalina. You can even combine a trip to Catalina Island for the day with a stay in a near city like Laguna Beach. It’s the best of both worlds. 

Find Hotels near Catalina Island, California

San Luis Obispo

View of the blue ocean dotted with boats in San Luis Obispo, California.

Located on the Central Coast, almost equally between Los Angeles and San Francisco, SLO for short is one of the most charming counties in Southern California. With its Spanish design and architecture, San Luis Obispo will give you the feeling that you’re in a completely different country, even though you are right in the heart of California. You can be at the beach, in the wine country, or in the mountains within 10 minutes. Embrace the small-town charm with incredible restaurants, boutiques, and of course, romantic getaways. This town is ideal if you are looking to embrace quality time with your significant other in a serene location.

San Luis Obispo is also home to Paso Robles, a city well-known for having more than 200 wineries and 40,000 vineyard acres. Also known as “Pass of the Oaks”, Paso Robles it’s a great pitstop in case you want to book a private tour and try some of California’s finest wines.

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La Jolla

The La Jolla Beach during a yellow sunset, in California.

Just 15 miles north of San Diego is the oceanfront community, La Jolla. Known for its upscale vibe and beach town ambiance, La Jolla is the perfect escape for couples looking for a relaxing coastal getaway. Indulge in the gourmet restaurants and take a walk through the Old Town. Couples will love taking a drive down to Cove Beach to walk through the crystal blue waters at sunset. It really is a one-of-a-kind spot for a romantic weekend with your partner. You can even add adventure to your trip by taking a surf or paddleboard lesson. Check out the amazing hotels and vacation rentals in the area.

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Santa Barbara

View of the Santa Barbara coastline with mountains and palm trees during sunset.

Framed by the dramatic Santa Ynez Mountains and the Pacific Ocean, Santa Barbara is one of the most romantic getaways in Southern California. This coastal city is often referred to as the “American Riviera” thanks to Mediterranean-style buildings, stunning ocean views, and excellent shop and dining options. With 300+ days of sunshine a year, Santa Barbara is a great destination for couples all year round. In the summer, get ready to explore the city’s finest sandy beaches, like the perfectly sheltered Leadbetter Beach and the Miramar beach, right in front of the world-class Rosewood Miramar Beach resort. 

During the harvest season, in fall, book a private wine tour at some of the city’s best vineyards. Santa Barbara is a premium wine-growing region in California, and for a truly romantic weekend, head over to wineries such as The Valley Project and Presqu’ile.

Foodies can also benefit from a weekend in the city, which is home to more than 450 restaurants that are sure to please the most demanding travelers. If you feel like having a fine dining experience, head over to the Loquita Santa Barbara, at Lower State Street. The restaurant is famous for its tapas menu filled with Spanish-style appetizers such as croquetas, pan con tomate (bread with tomato), goat milk cheese, tortillas, and more.

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Laguna Beach

Aerial view of the ocean in Laguna Beach.

Laguna Beach is the right destination for couples who want to enjoy a warm summer in Southern California. Located along the Pacific Coast Highway, within an hour’s drive from Los Angeles, the city is home to secluded beaches, rocky coves, and coastal parks, which make an unforgettable scenery. 

The best way of taking advantage of a romantic weekend in Laguna is by booking a room in a local hotel or inn, and then visiting some of it’s most beautiful beaches, like the 1,000 Steps Beach and the ones located inside the Crystal Cove State Park. 

And not only paradisiac beaches make Laguna one of the most romantic California destinations. There’s more. The city is also known for its vibrant art scene, being home to 100 art galleries and a renowned art museum, the Laguna Art Museum. With sweeping views of the Pacific Ocean, the institution exclusively features works created by Californian artists and it’s a must-go for couples who want to get their culture fix together.

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Fall in love with endless romantic getaways in California. Incredible hotels and vacation rentals await couples looking for a one-of-a-kind getaway with their special someone. Already planning your trip? Check out CuddlyNest for accommodations in the area you wish to visit. We can’t wait to explore California with you, soon.

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