Tag Archives: Europe

All Blogs, Destination Travel Guides, Travel Videos, and other content related to Europe.

A Solo Trip to Turkey: A Transcontinental Journey

“I want to visit Turkey is the line I often hear when I speak to other travel loving folks, but not all could turn their wish into reality. There are many reasons why people couldn’t make it and one common reason which people give is “Turkey is beautiful but very expensive”.

Turkey: A Transcontinental Country

I must say this is the biggest myth, Turkey is expensive if you don’t plan your trip well and if you don’t know what is there to see in Turkey. I was fortunate to turn my wish into reality.

It was a wonderful solo trip for 11 days where I had one of my best travel experiences traveling across Turkey at a very reasonable cost. I thought of sharing my Turkish experience with everyone, and if this blog could motivate at least one person to travel, I would consider this blog as successful one.

Why Visit Turkey?

Turkey has such lucrative landscape and culture which attract millions of visitors from across the globe and I wanted to be in that one in the million for sure, but the distance from India to Turkey so far that I really had to make up my mind that I will visit it no matter what.

Also, after visiting quite a good number of countries in South East and East Asia, I was sure my next destination is going to be different from my past travel and Turkey fitted in very well in my requirement.

The mix of Europe and Asia in the beautiful city of Istanbul, fairy chimneys in Cappadocia, and Ephesus’ historical sites looked so exciting in the photos, videos, and the blogs I read that I couldn’t stop myself from visiting the same and experiencing it all on my own.

 

www.artoftravel.store/

 

The decision to visit Turkey is something which makes me feel satisfied as a traveler.

A Sample Itinerary & Travel Routes

I must say, to decide for a Turkey solo trip was a difficult choice but to decide what to see inside Turkey was even harder as there are so many things to see in Turkey that my 11 days vacation looked way too shorter. 

So based on the number of days I had and the season, I picked up the below itinerary for my trip.

Bangalore, India to Istanbul, Turkey

  • Leg 1: Kuwait Airways > Landed in Istanbul > Turkish Air (to Cappadocia)
  • Leg 2: Cappadocia > Pamukkale/Denzli (by Bus) > Selcuk (by Train)
  • Leg 3: Selcuk > Izmir (by Train) > Istanbul (by Flight)

Things to See in Turkey

Let me detail out things which I covered in each of my stopovers.

After landing in Istanbul at around 3:00 PM in afternoon, I had a same day connecting flight at 6:00 PM for Navshahar and a shuttle booked in Navshahar airport to take me to my hostel booked in Gorame, Cappadocia.

Cappadocia

Cappadocia is a wonder world and certainly a heart of Turkey that no one should miss. You can explore the city on your own or take a group tour based on time which you have in Cappadocia.

So I decided to combine both. On the first day, I took a green tour in a group covering the fairy chimney, underground city, monastery, etc. And the next two days, I spent exploring the city on my own by foot and by local transportation available.

Apart from the Fairy chimneys, Cappadocia is also a popular destination for people who love Hot Air Balloons. Since I had already done the hot air balloon in the past, I wasn’t interested to take it again but I did make sure to get up early in the morning to see hundreds of balloons taking off at one shot.

The view is just amazing and can’t be missed out.

www.artoftravel.store/

Pamukkale

After spending three days in Cappadocia, I took an overnight bus to Pamukkale. Bus tickets were easily available for comfortable overnight journey which dropped me in Pamukkale by 5:00 AM in the morning.

Since the main attraction of Pamukkale (Cotton Castle) opens only by 8 AM, so I had some time in hand and I sipped a cup of Turkish coffee and waited for the gate to open.

I must say I was the first one to enter that morning from that specific entrance. It made me happy.

I spent half a day in Pamukkale admiring the beauty of mineral-rich thermal waters flowing down white travertine terraces, Hierapolis ancient theater, and other attractions in the vicinity.

Once I was done with it, I took a mini bus to Denzli from where I took about four hour train ride to Selcuk.

Selcuk

Selcuk is the town which people generally use it for stop over when they are visiting the UNESCO Heritage Site of Ephesus.

But I must say Selcuk is much more than just a stopover. This beautiful town is popular for its cafe culture and it’s wonderful to just walk around and enjoy the chilled vibe of Selcuk.

In my two days in Selcuk, I visited the famous ruins of Ephesus to experience the ancient Roman culture and architectures. Afterwards, I went to visit the Saint John’s Basilica, a beautiful historical place just in the city center and worth visiting any day.

During the evenings, I spent my time sipping famous Turkish tea with Seesha (also known as Hookah). The next day, I took a minibus to go to Sirince Wine Village about an hour drive from city.

This village is embraced in such a way that once reach here sure you don’t want to leave at all. I took my slow walk going around the village for the good part of that day.

www.artoftravel.store/

 

Izmir

Next early morning, I took a train from Selcuk to Izmir which took about an hour. Izmir is a laid back city in the west coast of Turkey. It is one of the biggest port city in the region and walking around the seafront (Kordon) is defiantly one of the best experience in Izmir.

Apart from waterfront and the clock tower in city center, the local market was a wonderful experience to visit. Overall, my days spent in Izmir was pretty tiring as I had just a day to explore the city but it was worth every moment.

Istanbul

After spending a day in Izmir, I took early morning flight to Istanbul to spend the rest of my three and half days remaining before returning back to India.

Istanbul took my heart even before the airplane landed. The view from the small plane window was so tempting that I couldn’t wait any longer to explore the city.

Istanbul have two side of it, a European side with much of the night life and an Asian side with all the historical sites. I took a shuttle bus to Kadikoy Ferry Terminal. I took the Ferry and Metro from there to go to Sultanahmet where my stay for the next two nights were booked.

Soon I realized that three days is not at all going to be sufficient to see Istanbul, so I need to pick what I really want to see in these three days.

So the plan I made was, one day I will spend in Prince Island, second day I will spend exploring the historical side of Istanbul, and on the final day I will spend exploring the modern side of Istanbul around the Taksim Square area.

Clock Tower in Izmir

Prince Island

Prince Island is the group of 9 small islands about two hours ferry ride from the mainland of Istanbul. Out of the 9 islands, only 4 islands are inhabitable and the rest remain unexplored.

Büyükada is one of biggest island and considered the most beautiful among all 9 islands. So I took an early morning ferry for this island and spent the rest of that day mesmerizing over this totally mystical and unique side of Turkey.

Sultanahmet

Sultanahmet is the area where major historical attraction of Istanbul is centered. The beautiful and well known blue mosque, Hagia Sophia, Topkapi Palace, and the Grand Bazar are all here.

All these historical places are so beautiful that you can spend entire day just visiting one of them, since I had just a day time to explore I made sure that I could manage my time in such a way that I don’t miss any of these famous attractions.

Taksim Square

For the last two nights I had booked my hostel near the Taksim Square which is the ultra-modern side of Istanbul where all-night parties are common. My morning started with walking around the famous İstiklal Caddesi and visiting the Galata Tower and enjoying the Turkish delight and my evenings ended with a couple of beers in a local pub.

On the last day, I woke up with a sad face thinking my wonderful time is about to end now. I had my breakfast, took a walk of İstiklal Caddesi for the last time, and got into the metro for the airport to catch my flight back home.

www.artoftravel.store/

 

 

Cost of Travel

The myth about travelling is “it is an expensive thing” needs to be broken. In my view, traveling at times is cheaper than staying home. The longer you travel the cheaper it is.

In my Turkey trip I wanted to make sure that I spend on things which is needed and not things which good to have.

For any kind of travel, the major expenses can be categorized in three categories: Food, Accommodation, and Transportation. Let me put this little bit more in detail from Turkey travel perspective.

 

Turkish Cuisine

Turkish food is indeed a delight whether you are a vegetarian or non-vegetarian or continental or authentic country food lover. It has variety of options available and suitable for everyone.

An average meal in a decent mid-range restaurant cost anywhere between 12-20 TL ($5 USD). So in less than $20 USD, I was able to survive for a day in Turkey eating three meals which is way less than what normally people think. Not to be missed is their famous “Turkish delight” desserts, which is mouthwatering.

Accommodation in Turkey

In my entire trip to Turkey, I stayed in hostels where average cost was no more than $15 USD per night and in many cases it even included free breakfast. And trust me, it was without compromising the cleanliness and location in any manner.

Izmir View

Transportation in Turkey

Your international flight tickets consumes the major part of travel expense and it really differ from which city/country you are taking your flight. So I will not be able to give a correct estimation on that but what I can share is an average travel expense once you land in Turkey.

I took two domestic flights in turkey and one overnight bus and a train. Both of my flight tickets were less than $50 USD each, and the overnight bus ticket was about $25 USD and the four hour long train journies were not more then $10 USD each.

So transportation of any mode is relatively very cheap compare to anywhere else in Europe. Specifically in Istanbul you can take the prepaid Istanbul card which acts as a ticket for all city transport system including ferry in very basic cost.

Additional Information on Expenses

  1. Museum pass is available that covers all major historical sites in Istanbul at the cost of 125 TL which will cover around 6 attractions in the city and if you buy ticket individually it will cost you about 40 TL each.
  2. Istanbul card is like a prepaid card which you can load it with cash at once and use it for all public transport in city in lesser price than paying in cash. So highly recommended to take this card.
  3. Apart from the places which I visited there are few other very good places which you can visit in Turkey based on time available. Few of my recommendation few are Konya, Antalya, Fethiye, etc.
  4. In my entire trip I had not used private Taxi anywhere, so if you are someone who would prefer exclusive taxi service then expense will go higher.

Finally all I can say is, Turkey is defiantly one of the best country I have visited so far and I would recommend all travelers to plan for it.

 

www.artoftravel.store/

 

Author Bio

Hi, I am Chandan Sharma. Working as a full-time job for a financial firm but still making a time to travel across different countries is my passion. This passion had taken me through 21 countries so far, mainly in Asia, Europe and just a glimpse of east Africa. The goal is to make it at least 50 countries before I turn 50.

Feel free to visit my Instagram page ‘Travel Freak Mr Sharma’ to a walkthrough of my travel journey. Do not hesitate to drop me a message in case if you need any further information on Turkey or any of the country which I visited.

Top 40 Travel and Tourism Niches: Which One Are You?

Not too long ago, travel and adventure meant going out of your small town (be it even to the nearby woods). You left the comfort and safety behind and took significant risks, especially if you traveled solo.

Today, numerous travel niches have become popular, each with its own tourism appeal and unique perspective that it offers.

In this post, I will list the major types of travels that I consider to be broad enough to deserve a mention as a travel niche. These tourism niches have big enough market demand to sustain as an independent category on their own.

Travel Niches & Trends

  • Adventure Travel – Adventure tourism is the fastest growing and biggest travel niche today
  • Nature and Wildlife Tourism (aka Ecotourism) – another trend which will continue to grow
  • Cultural Tourism – traveling for the purpose of exploring various culture, and cultural & world heritage sites 
  • Medical, Dental, & Fertility Tourism – traveling for medical purposes
  • Wellness Tourism – traveling to seek tranquility, healing, meditation, and nature retreats
  • Music (and Music Festivals) Tourism – popular with young adults
  • Culinary Tourism – traveling for food, to eat well is to live well
  • Wine, Cheese, & Beer Tourism – traveling to taste different wines from different regions
  • Nightlife and Party Tourism – traveling to various party destinations 
  • Roadtripping – traveling by car with a group of friends 
  • Extreme Sports Tourism – traveling to mountains
  • Highpointing – Hiking, climbing, or driving to the highest elevation point of a state, country or continent
  • Sports Tourism (Golf, etc.) – either to play or watch
  • Shopping Tourism – traveling exclusively for shopping purposes
  • Religious Pilgrimages – walking, biking, or traveling to religious & spiritual sites

  • Off-the-Grid Travel – traveling to and living off the grid in a minimalistic way
  • Scenic Train Travel – touristy scenic train rides with focus on dining & wining
  • Space Tourism – exploring the outer atmosphere, earth from above, and outer space
  • Bookstores & Literary Tourism – visiting cool bookstores and fictional or real sites related to books and authors
  • Tolkien Tourism – exploration of Tolkien’s middle earth and LOTR related sites
  • Volunteer Travel – traveling & volunteering to work on non-profit charity projects
  • Film & TV Tourism – traveling to various film and TV series filming sites (eg. Game of Thrones)
  • Archaeology & History Tourism – traveling to ancient ruins, archeological sites, and historical places
  • Ghost, UFO, & Haunted Tourism – traveling to haunted places and UFO siting sites
  • Genealogy Tourism – tracing or returning to your roots
  • Jungle Tourism – traveling and camping in the deep and remote jungles 
  • Underwater Tourism – exploring the marine life and ocean through Scuba, Snuba, Snorkeling
  • Shark Tourism – seeking underwater thrills & shark encounters across the globe
  • Rural and Village Tourism – countryside relaxation 
  • Astronomy Tourism – visiting sites that provides excellent views of the stars and night sky
  • Inner city Tourism – exploring your own town or city in great details 
  • Weekend Tourism – traveling every weekend (mostly nearby attractions)
  • Ghetto Tourism – traveling & exploring the living conditions in slums and ghetto

Deviant & Sad Trends

A beautiful ruin 

I was debating at first whether to lost the following sad trends or not? Listing them will give them more exposure, so at first, I thought I will leave them out. But then I thought, these trends are actually growing (financially speaking) so closing my eyes to these problems will not help solve these issues.

The best thing I can do is to use this platform and bring public awareness about these. Some of these may sound harmless or even exciting (drugs and sex for example), but please understand that both drugs and sex causes overall more damage, deaths, and harm to innocent lives (including children).

The best way you can help is first by not participating in them and therefore cutting off the financial incentive. Second, you can be aware that these problems exist and thus help to spread the word. (Fact: Even in Prague or Amsterdam, most of the girls working in the red light district are there against their will via deception, bribery, and manipulation.)

  • Drug Tourism – mostly illegal and unsafe, please use common sense
  • Sex Tourism (Male, Female, Trans) – again, please use common sense. Do not do anything that hurts other humans
  • Dark Voyegeristic Tourism (Underground shady fights, deaths, & stuff) – please do not support or fund this industry by partaking in it. Anyone can be the next innocent victim of it
  • War & Disaster Tourism – visiting sites with tragic past for pleasure (War, disaster, & genocidal sites, Nazi camps, etc.)
  • Suicide Tourism (Important: if you are feeling suicidal, know that you’re not alone and confidential help is available for free. Please seek help. US Helpline | HelpGuide | Resource Center)
  • Hunting Tourism (The Big 5 Games) – traveling to mainly Africa (South Africa, Tanzania, Kenya,
    Zimbabwe, Botswana, etc.) to hunt rare and endangered species such as Elephants, Lions, Rhinos among others. *Hunting* is very common in North America and Europe.

*Hunting is a personal choice. It’s a complex issue and would need an entire blog to discuss the various impacts and issues surrounding it. If you are not a hunter, please do not partake and support this industry.

As a starting point, please follow the first rule of life, do not kill life unless it is for your own or your family’s survival and safety. Also, the above category is about hunting the big animals (man of them endangered and at the point of extinction).

Road Trips: 5 Do’s and Don’ts

Road trips are a great way to have fun, adventure, and enhanced experiences of a life. Just to think that you are going on a road trip gives sensational feelings inside your head because you know you will be exploring amazing cultures, people, and new regions. Road trips can be amazing and at the same time, these trips can be dangerous as well.

Therefore road trips require you to pay attention to those who have experienced them before. There are things you must be doing on a road trip and also there are things which should not be doing at all. These considerations will make sure you are having a safe and enjoyable road trip.

Planning for a Road Trip

You should be planning on going on a road trip. First, decide where you want to go and what things you would like to do there. Additionally, make it sure that you have all the information about that particular area. Gather information on all the roads which are going towards that area. Have information also like terrain of the area, touring points in that area and hotels of the area.

Read: 9 Tips to Prepare for a Long Motorcycle Roadtrip

Don’t make strict plans

The problem of too much planning is that you would miss many great sights which that area offers unexpectedly. Therefore when you are planning a road trip then create a space for these unexpected great things. Additionally, unexpected traffic problems can also lead you to delays.

Stay hydrated

You must keep enough water bottles with you. Dehydration is a serious thing and you don’t want to ruin your trip due to dehydration issues along the way. Fill your bottles or water cooler whenever you get a chance. You can need extra water when planning for hiking is some area.

Image Credit

Don’t drink tap water

Try to drink mineral water as much as possible. Don’t store tap water or water from unhygienic sources. This can cause serious stomach and liver problems which you never want to face on a road trip.

 

www.artoftravel.store

 

Pack homemade snacks

Packing of home-baked items will keep you filled in unexpected delays etc. These items are also expensive in touring places. If you are traveling with kids then you must have these food items with you.

Don’t eat too much

Touring places often offer delicious foods and if you are a foodie, you can’t resist them straight away. Remember, you don’t want to visit hospital due to excessive eating. Try to have some salads and sauce with your meal. These will help your digestion system. Grilled food items are more preferred during road trips.

Carry physical maps

There can be a signal problem in some touring areas, therefore, buy physical maps of the area. Purchase those maps which are clearly showing the roads and terrain of the area. These maps will also help you navigate more efficiently between the places.

Image Credit

Don’t drive much at night times

Try to avoid driving during night time. You should be resting much at night time as this will also help you come fresh during next morning when you are going to restart journey. Moreover, you can use light bars for extra light. You can read here for further information.

Book hotels in advance

Touring places are found occupied with visitors; therefore, book your favorite hotels in advance to avoid any kind of staying problems. Book those hotels which have good reviews and reputation. TripAdvisor can help you in finding the perfect hotel.

Don’t forget to pack extra clothes

Pack extra clothes because you will need them anyway. For a kid, pack his extra clothes (you know their extra needs as). For hiking or other walk related activities, you must be packing loose trousers and loose shirts. Anyway, you are not going to a business meeting. Loose clothes will not cause pain in your muscles and will keep you active.

Author Bio:

Jeff lives in New York with his wife and 2 kids. He is obsessed with LED light bars ever since they came out and over the last couple of years he has been testing and reviewing LED light bars. He regularly blogs at Cabulous.com

 

 

www.artoftravel.store

An Artistic Weekend Getaway To Brussels

Brussels abounds many paradoxes. Bureaucratic yet artistically rich, multicultural yet strongly attached to its Belgium roots, modern yet nostalgic, Brussels is a multi-identity city. Often forgotten on travelers’ list, Brussels remains nonetheless an important city to visit if you are interested in cinema, art, theatre or any form of artistic activity.

Because Brussels is so culturally rich, this weekend getaway guide will give just a glimpse of the city’s artistic identity. I hope you enjoy!

Friday night: Explore the Beer Culture of Brussels

With only three days in Brussels, you will want to dig directly into the Belgian culture after your arrival. Arguably the capital of beer, Brussels harbors hundreds of cafés and bars where beers are put on a pedestal. Here is are my top 3 café/bars of Brussels.

A La Mort Subite

Located in the old town, near the Grande-Place, A La Mort Subite is a very retro brasserie. When discovering the place, you will be submerged in nostalgia, because of its 1920s decoration and style.

La Porteuse d’Eau

Stunning stained-glass dome and windows, wooden floor that is creaky, beer-based cuisine, La Porteuse D’eau is a gorgeous brasserie that one must head to. The extensive Belgian beer selection, as well as the Art Nouveau decoration, will make you travel into the 1920s Belgium.

Poechenellekelder

With more than 150 beers on the menu from local artisanal specialties to more well-known beers, this brasserie is for the avid connoisseurs of beers. Its atmosphere is quite a special one too, with puppets, old objects and posters invading the walls and ceilings of the building, the Poechenellekelder will give you an out-of-reality feeling.

 

www.artoftravel.store/

 

Saturday: Visit the varied selection of Museums in Brussels

Before being a bureaucratic city, Brussels is first and foremost an artistic city. It has welcomed actors, comedians, singers, painters and cartoonists for centuries, and this is reflected in the cityscape in every way. This day should vary according to your tastes but here are four of my favorite museums in Brussels.

Discover Magritte with a Surrealist Trail in Brussels

René Magritte is one of the most famous artists in Belgium if not the most famous artist. He was known for his surrealist and thought-provoking paintings such as The Son of Man, which depicts a man with a green apple painted in front of his face or the famous This is not a Pipe Painting. He is a symbol in Brussels and this is reflected in the city’s many museums dedicated to the man.

L’Atomium would probably be my first choice if you would like to discover an interactive exhibition on Surrealism and Magritte. In addition, the building offers a great view of the city. The building is open from 10 am to 6 pm every day.

Atomium meets Surrealism from 21.09.17-10.09-18

The Magritte Musée (do not mix up with the Renée Magritte Museum outside of the city center) has also an extended collection of Magritte’s artworks. It is a must for all Surrealist lovers. It is open from 11 am to 6 pm on weekends.

Cartoon Museum

Tintin, The Smurfs, Lucky Luke, many of the greatest comic books have been created by Belgian artists. If you are a comic book fan, head to the Musée de la BD in the city center of Brussels. Art Nouveau structure mixed with comic book-style decoration, this museum is quite something to visit.

It is closed on Sundays but remains open Saturdays from 10 am to 6 pm.

 

www.artoftravel.store/

 

Belgian Chocolate Museum

To give you a little idea of what you can expect from this delicious museum, here’s a quote you can find on its website: “Nine people out of ten love chocolate. The tenth person lies.” J.G Tullius

In this museum, you will discover the history of chocolate, how it is made as well as taste some of the chocolates of course. Find this museum open from 10 am to 6 pm on weekends.

Saturday Evening: Music, Cinema, Theatre in Brussels

Saturday evening is the perfect occasion to head for a movie night. Brussels has amongst its cinemas the oldest projection rooms in Europe. With three projection rooms, Actor Studio Cinema invites you in their cozy and old-fashioned seats. The films are carefully selected so you can be sure to enjoy them.

Alternatively, if you would prefer a more jazzy night, you can have a look at the Archiduc, one of the best Jazz Clubs in Brussels. They usually have nights on Friday and Saturday evenings.

If none of these two appeals to you, maybe La Maison du Spectacle La Bellone could be luckier. It’s an artistic center from the 1980s that welcomes theatre spectacles, ballets, dance in a Renaissance styled- building.

Sunday: Architecture Tour

It can come to a surprise to find that the activities you wanted to do on Sundays are closed. Opening times differ greatly from country to country in Europe, and Brussels, together with Berlin and Paris, is one of the rare cities where all shops remain closed on Sundays.

So your shopping spree will have to be on a Saturday if that was something you wanted to do. However, I found that Brussels houses many architectural gems that are amongst the most amazing in Europe. Sundays would be a great occasion to visit these.

UNESCO World Heritage, Art Nouveau, Modernist, Neo-Classical, Belgian buildings will satisfy any preference. Here are my favorite places to head for this architecture tour.

The Major Town Houses by Victor Horta’s

Victor Horta (the architect that famously invented the Art Deco Metro Signs of Paris) built many different houses in Brussels, but as we only have three days in Brussels, the four UNESCO World Heritage houses will do a great first introduction. They are the Hôtel Tassel, Hôtel Solvay, Hôtel van Eetvelde and the Maison and Atelier Horta.

The Maison Saint-Cyr by Gustave Strauven

Head to Victor Horta’s protégé Gustave Strauven’s flamboyant building: the Maison Saint-Cyr. Built in 1903, this house distances itself from the neighboring houses with its extravagant iron decorations. While you’re in the neighborhood, you can stroll around the Ambiorix square, with its nice park.

The City Hall

Gothic façade, grandiose towers from which you can view the whole of Brussels, as well as extended rows of statues, the Grand Place will sweep you off your feet.

I hope this weekend getaway guide has helped you discover Brussels in an artistic light! If you have recently traveled to Brussels, please share your experience with us in the comments below.

 

www.artoftravel.store/

 

Author bio:

 

 

 

 

Morgane Travers is an Art and travel lover. She is always avid to discover new places. Follow her adventures on https://www.instagram.com/morganetrvs/

 

 

10 Things To Know About Greece Before You Travel

Greece is the love at first sight. I’ve been there twice and definitely want to go again. There is so much to see and do! However, Greece is the country with its own features and habits, which you should keep in mind if you want to have a good trip. Here are ten of them:

Sea is Everywhere in Greece

The first thing I smelled, when I left the plane, was the smell of the sea. In Greece, the sea is literarily everywhere! You can choose a destination to your taste and budget. If you want to have a relaxed and quiet rest, don’t go to Santorini, the most popular destination in the country. Instead, choose one of the many small and quiet islands, which are numerous.

Greek Alphabet is Unique

The Greek alphabet is unique. It’s neither Cyrillic, nor Latin, and it is quite hard to read. Unless you are in a tourist area, you won’t find many English signs. Fortunately, Greece is a fast developing tourist hub, so it is almost entirely the tourist area.

I have never had any problems with people understanding English, but only those, who work in the tourist industry. Young people in Greece now speak English freely, which I can’t say about elderly, however. So, if you need to ask for directions or need some other help, look for youngsters.

Driving Habits are Indescribable

Although a rental car is still the best way to get around Greece, driving here is not easy. Most roads are mountainous and windy, with sharp turns, and not of the best quality. Nevertheless, Greek drivers tend to drive very fast and not very carefully. If you are about to ride in a car with a real Greek driver, you definitely need to remember a couple of prayers to use on the way. 🙂

You Can’t Avoid Trying Seafood

Greece is all about seafood. You can’t really feel the country if you don’t try freshly fished octopus, shrimps, fish, calamari, and mussels. Seafood in Greece is, in fact, so good, that I could even eat things, which at home I am allergic to.

Special sauces, served with these dishes, are just excellent. The seafood is eaten best with local white wine and freshly made bread. Also, mountain herbal tea and chestnut honey, with original deserts, would be great for the end of a dinner. By the way, in most Greek restaurants, the desert is free and is brought with a check. That’s very pleasant, isn’t it?

Read: FREE Online Greece Travel Guide, Things to Do, Places to Visit

Public Transportation Is Not Easy

Getting around Greece by public transport is not easy, especially on the islands. You will need to spend some time on the Internet, studying the timetables and planning the routes. Trains only ride on the continental part of the country. Airplanes are rather expensive. And ferries highly depend on the weather. Also, on islands, buses, which connect different towns with each other, often ride just several times a day.

www.artoftravel.store/

Hitchhiking in Greece is not the best idea, especially for women. Feedbacks on the Internet state that the Greeks do not really wish to pick up hitchhikers. Also, passionate Greek men may be rather intrusive, so beware.

Definitely, the best time to get around is by renting a car. However, don’t forget about the roads and driving habits, and be careful.

Hotel Service Varies Greatly

A four-star hotel in Thessaloniki and the same rate hotel in Uranopolis will vary greatly in both the general look and the services provided. In fact, tourist resorts are not known for the best hotel service. Yes, it is adequate. Yes, all the requirements for the 4-star rating are met. But it can still be much better. On the other hand, the small no-star family hotel in Kalambaka can be even more cozy and pleasant, with great big breakfast and the nicest owner! What do I recommend? Do a good search and read the feedbacks carefully, before booking accommodation, and you’ll be fine.

Prepare to Pay

Greece is not a very rich country, particularly due to the crisis, which has hit it in the recent decades. The country’s economy highly depends on the tourist industry. It means the Greek try to earn as much as possible from every visitor. Free compliments, discounts, or low-cost transport are not common here. Although people are very nice and hospitable, the fact remains.

However, it still depends on the place. For example, in the hotel in Uranopolis, when asking about additional services, such as Wi-Fi, room safe, or gym, all I heard was “it costs extra”. Also, the buffet was quite poor. While in Kalambaka, the breakfast was huge and tasty, the owner was nice, and he even gave us a teapot, to use in our room, for free. And many restaurants also provide their guests with free deserts at the end of the dinner. So, it’s not at all as bad, as it may sound.

You Have to Love Olives

If the Greek knew that I hate olives, they would’ve probably deported me 🙂 Here, you can buy so many different kinds of olives, your eyes will just run wide. I don’t even mention many kinds of olive oil (in souvenir packs as well), wooden items (made of olive trees), and all kinds of cosmetics with olive oil, bones, etc.

Stay Safe

Wasps are common in Greece. They don’t attack without reason. But still, you need to be cautious and take some anti-allergic medicine with you on a trip. Also, swimming in the sea may be dangerous, due to the presence of sea urchins. They don’t even seem dangerous until you step on one. But the results can be catastrophic and spoil the rest of your vacation completely. So, keep in mind to wear flip-flops, not to hurt your feet.

Come at the End of the Tourist Season

Greece is one of the Europe’s most popular tourist destinations nowadays. So, during the high season, tourist areas and resorts are really crowded. If you want to have a peaceful and relaxed vacation, come at the end of September or at the beginning of October. At this time, the weather is still good, the sea is quite warm, but tourist sites and hotels are not crowded already.

The only problem will be if you want to go on a group excursion somewhere. During the low season, tour agencies often don’t have enough people for a group. But that’s not a problem if you just want to relax, breathe some fresh air and have a great vacation in Greece!

www.artoftravel.store/

 

 

10 Unusual Things To Do In Paris

Paris is not just about the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame Cathedral, and Louvre Museum. It has much more to offer. You will have a great time visiting places, which are not crowded with tourists, and doing things, which you won’t get to do anywhere in the world.

Here are top 10 ideas you can use on your next trip to this lovely French city.

Go Dancing

From the beginning of June till the end of August, every evening, dance-lovers gather along the river bank near the Institut du Monde Arabe, in Jardin Tino Rossi, and give in to the passion of dance, such as salsa, tango, waltz, and swing.

Visit Museums

You think going to a museum in Paris is corny? Yes, it is. If you just go to Louvre. However, the capital of Paris offers lots of museums for every taste. For example, in Jardin des Plantes, you will find a botanical garden, a zoo and an array of natural history museums.

Anatomy and Paleontology provides an amazing look at the world of the 19th-century science, with rows of animal skeletons and lines of old wood and glass cabinets.

Other popular, but not as crowded as Louvre, places include the Musee de Quai Branly, Musee du Moyen Age, Musee Marmottan Monet, and Musee des Arts et Metiers. If you are into impressionism, don’t miss famous Musee d’Orsay. Although, it is rather popular and you might have to wait in line for a couple of hours.

Look for Roman Ruins

Paris is still dotted with numerous tracks of ancient Roman past: a coliseum, baths, and various remains of walls, pillars, and carved stones, which just wait to be discovered by curious tourists.
The Archeological Crypt near Notre Dame reveals the center of the old Roman city of Lutetia, while the Roman Baths at Cluny are probably the most impressive architectural remnant from the Roman era.

Enjoy Street Art

If you are really into graffiti art, head towards the Canal St. Martin in the 10th arrondissement, one of the most exciting and up-and-coming areas in the city.

Full of fascinating restaurants, artistic shops, and great street art, the area is a great place for leisurely strolling.

Explore the Covered Passages

The famous 19th-century covered passages of Paris are the remnants of the post-revolution rise of the middle-class in France. There are around 30 which still exist.

Some of the most impressive lie strung in a line, stretching from Passage Vivienne, behind the Palais Royal, and ending at rue Cadet, a charming little street. This type of activity is great for a rainy day in Paris.

www.artoftravel.store/

 

 

Picnic at the Canal St. Martin

Share a bottle of wine, some fruit, and baguette with a friend at the edge of the Canal St. Martin on a warm summer evening. It is a popular place among Parisians in-the-know, artists, and the Boho-Chic crowd. But still not so much among tourists.

Stroll along the Promenade Plantee

Some time ago, it was an elevated railway track. Now, it is a long narrow stretch of trees and flowers. Also known as La Coulee Verte, it stretches from Bastille, through the area around Gare de Lyon and Bercy, and all the way to the west entrance of the Bois de Vincennes.

After enjoying the gardens and the view of Paris from the height, go down to the street level and wander along the Viaduc des Arts, where you will find ateliers, workshops, cafes, and numerous galleries.

Go to the Flea Markets

Head towards Belleville area, filled with flea markets and produce stands, bustling shoppers, colorful products, and heckling merchants. Or get lost in the picturesque streets of Caulaincourt – a perfect destination for authentic French atmosphere seekers.

If you are into food, visit the charming Rue des Martyrs in the 9th arrondissement, one of the best food markets in Paris, where you will find bakeries, cheese sellers, gourmet shops, cafes, and hot new restaurants.

Don’t Miss Culture Events

Image Credit

When in Paris, you just can’t miss some typically Parisian events. For example, Nuit Blanche, held every autumn, is the only night in a year, when galleries, museums, and other cultural institutions are open and free of charge.

In June, the Fête de la Musique takes place, and the streets of the city get filled with dancers. Journées du Patrimoine, the celebration of heritage days, usually takes place in late summer and is a great opportunity to visit all government buildings in France, including the Elysée Palace, the French Mint, and the National Assembly building.

Learn Something New

If your trip to Paris is about to be long-term, sign up for some classes and obtain new skills. Whether it’s cooking, photography, calligraphy, writing, or language, it’s the best way to take something back home with you.

Taking a class in Paris will really be a unique experience, which not many visitors can boast of, so don’t miss your chance!

www.artoftravel.store/

Related Posts

World’s 10 Most Beautiful Train Rides

Train rides are exciting. Enjoying the beautiful scenery never gets old because it is never monotonous. Below are few pictures of the world’s 10 most beautiful train rides from around the globe that will make you want to hop on a train right now.

The Ghan

Want a change of scenery? The red ravines of Australia await you. The Ghan rides through the heart of the dreary landscape, making it look like something out of an alien world movie.

Image Credit

Belmond Grand Hibernian Train

Ride from Dublin to Cork. Get comfy in the happy booths of the Belmond Grand Hibernian which gives you a tour of the Irish countryside.

Image Credit

The Canadian

With the super awesome dome cars that give you an unfiltered view of the rugged scenery of Canadian countryside, you will love a train ride of The Canadian.

Image Credit

Orient Express aka Belmond

It is not always about the gorgeous scenery, sometimes it is about a classy black tie extravagance in the heart of Europe. The Orient Express might be one of the oldest luxury trains but it is also the classiest of all.

The route of this luxury train has changed several times, so if you want to check this off of your bucket list, do a quick search on their website.

As of today, the train operates from London to Istanbul or Paris to Budapest with several other major European cities in between.

Image Credit

Glacier Express

We all know that Switzerland has the best of everything in some sense. For example, who doesn’t enjoy gaping at the snowy peaks?

The Glacier Express takes you on one of the most exhilarating train rides, which connects two mountain resorts St. Moritz and Zermatt in the Swiss Alps.

 

www.artoftravel.store/

Shongololo Express

Are you up for an adventure in the African mainland? Then you may want to experience the rich and exotic natural beauty of Africa.

And, what better way than hopping on one of the affordable trains rides in Africa, and indulge in viewing the diverse wildlife of Zimbabwe, South Africa, and Namibia.

Image Credit

Trans Siberian Railway

As the Shongololo takes you across the Victoria Falls, the Trans Siberian Railways takes you through the Lake Baikal in Russia. It offers a 14 days train ride from Vladivostok and Moscow.

Image Credit

Maharaja Express

You’ll feel like a royal the moment you step into the traditionally decorated cabins of The Maharaja Express. It gives you a taste of the elegant Rajasthani Royalty, while you wind through the golden sand dunes of the Thar Desert in India.

Image Credit

Train to the Clouds

It is aptly named the Train to the Clouds as it is one of the highest trains in the world. It makes it way through the mountainous landscape of Andes.

Let your heart skip a beat by taking one of the dangerous train rides in the world.

Image Credit

California Zephyr

A kaleidoscope of scenery is what you see when you board California Zephyr. It provides you the diverse natural beauty of Western Coastal America.

The train route takes you through the Rockies, Sierra Nevada range, and the Pacific Coast.

Image Credit

 

 

www.artoftravel.store/

10 Things You Must Do In Italy: Tips From A Local

Let us directly get to the point and see what all we must not miss in Italy. Both locals and tourists agree that Italy is great for both shopping and sightseeing. There are some great gems here that you should definitely check out.

For a complete list of things to do, read our Italy Travel Guide.

Santa Maria del Fiore and Duomo

Visit the Santa Maria del Fiore and the magnificent Duomo cathedral, which looks like it has been carved from marble. But if you want to see the famous Da Vinci fresco “The Last Supper”, you need to book your visit in advance. Lines are huge, and visitors can only get inside strictly by appointment.

Florence, on the other hand, is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the country. It has everything you need for a great trip: fascinating sights, cozy hotels, nice architecture, and great tourist infrastructure.

If you just have several hours in the city, I don’t recommend wasting your time in numerous museums. You will spend half of a day waiting in lines. The best route for you in this situation would be: Santa Maria Novella – Santa Maria del Fiore – Piazza de Republica – Piazzale Michelangelo (the viewing point) – Ponte Vecchio.

However, if you have a full weekend in Florence, you should definitely visit its famous art gallery. In there, you will find many world famous masterpieces, including the famous David statue by Michelangelo.

A couple of tips, what you must never do in Florence, especially if you are on a budget trip:

  • Go to the viewing point on top of Santa Maria del Fiore. Piazzale Michelangelo, just 15 minutes away by foot from the Cathedral, is also a great viewing point. It is free of charge, and, what is more important, you can actually see the cathedral from this spot.
  • Visit cafes and restaurants in tourist areas. Florence is a popular tourist city, so, of course, food facilities in crowded tourist areas are very overpriced. What you should do, is just turn into one of the side streets, where you most definitely will find a small supermarket, where the locals shop. Get a sandwich, a piece of pizza, a yogurt or some fruit, and just eat your lunch in Piazzale Michelangelo, while you enjoy the great view of the city.
  • Buy souvenirs on Ponte Vecchio. The reason is the same. Being one of the city’s most popular tourist spots, the place offers tons of souvenirs, but the prices are very high!

Take a Picture of a Carabinier

Those are special police forces, which provide security in big cities, and all the officers are very cute 🙂

Plus, depending on the city, they have different kinds of hats. Unfortunately, they are forbidden to take photos with tourists. But you can take a picture of them or carefully take a selfie with them 🙂

Taste Real Italian Pizza & Pasta

When in Italy, you must try pasta carbonara in Rome, lasagna-a-la-bolognese in Bologna, and pizza anywhere. In Italy, you can get pizza anywhere, from luxury restaurants to cheap fast-food places.

And there are so many toppings in menus that your eyes will just run wide. You can have pizza for dinner or just have a snack during the day (separate pieces are sold in supermarkets, fast-food restaurants, bistros, cafes, in other words – everywhere!).

 

www.artoftravel.store

 

 

Ride the Bus Around Rome

In Rome, there is a single ticket for all means of transport. Its price depends on the number of trips. You can get a ticket for a single 100-minute trip, for a day, three days, or a month. To buy a ticket, use automatic machines at the bus stops and subway stations or visit a Tabacceria shop. Locals say that you would never spot an inspector in a bus or a tram.

However, if I were you, I wouldn’t take the risk, because the fine is rather big. Keep in mind, if they catch without a ticket, you have two months to pay the fine. If you don’t, you can have troubles next time, when crossing the border of Italy or getting a visa.

You can also get a Roma Card, which not only allows you to use public transport without limits for three days but also gives you discounts in tourist places, shops, restaurants, etc. With a Roma Card, you will be able to use the separate entrance to Colosseum too, which will save you a lot of time and nerve, particularly during the high season.

Walk Under the Porticoes of Bologna

Porticoes are great for a rainy weather walk around the city. Don’t avoid walking 5 km and 658 arcs to St. Luca Cathedral, where the icon of Virgin Mary, painted by Apostle Luca, is located. Also, it is a great viewing and photogenic spot

Saint Nicolas in Bari

The body of the Saint rests in a cathedral on an Adriatic coast of Italy. This place has been attracting tourists and pilgrims for centuries. Also, the town of Bari is very cute itself, with ancient narrow streets of the Old Town and vast blue sea.

If you rent a car, you can also travel around Apulia, one of the world’s most beautiful regions. Don’t miss Alberobello with its unique houses, called Trulli, and Matera, the ancient town carved in rocks, where many Hollywood movies were filmed.

The best way to get to smaller towns, such as Bari, is a train. Trains in Italy are fast, comfortable, and not as expensive as airplanes. Keep in mind, the price increases closer to the date. The best time to get you train tickets is 6-8 weeks before the trip. The price in the 3rd class usually starts from 9 euro per ride, not depending on the distance.

Visit Sistine Chapel

It is located inside the Vatican Museums, and the entrance is paid. You can get in for free on last Sunday of each month. However, you will have to wait in long line to do that, so it is better to come early in the morning.

Paintings on the walls and ceilings of the Sistine Chapel are true masterpieces of the Renaissance period. They look so real, that sometimes you might think a piece of clothes or a book will just fall off the ceiling and land right in from of you.

Unfortunately, you can’t take pictures or film videos inside the Sistine Chapel. But you can always get a nice souvenir postcard!

Go to the Sea

Sea is plentiful in Italy and offers a wide choice of destinations. The warm Adriatic coast in Apulia, the magnificent Mediterranean shore in just an hour train ride from Rome, or the “heel” of the peninsula – the most popular beach destination among Italians.

The Smallest Country in World

The Vatican City is situated almost in the center of Rome. However, to get inside and see the famous Saint Peter’s square, you will need to go through a security check (similar to an airport).

During the high season and on weekends, it is best to come early in the morning, to see the square, the cathedral, and the museums, because waiting in line can take hours.

Travel Between Cities for Just 1 Euro

If you plan your trip in advance, you can actually find bus tickets for 1 euro per ride and get around Italy almost for free with famous European low-cost bus lines, such as Megabus or Flixbus.

It is best to look for tickets as soon as the bus line opens new dates. However, even closer to the trip, you can still get lucky, if it is a low season or a less popular route. And don’t miss sales and special discounts!

 

In general, Italy is not the cheapest country in Europe. However, in our case, it cost 300 euro per person for a 10-day trip.

So, if you plan your trip and your budget properly, remember about Couchsurfing and follow the travel tips from our bloggers, you will also be able to travel cheaply and with comfort every time!

 

Story of an American Peace Corps Volunteer in Ukraine

Sara Arielle Sherman, a 25-year-old U.S. citizen has decided to change her life and became a Peace Corps volunteer in Ukraine for two years. Did she have any doubts? Fears? Sure, yes. So, what made her make this important decision?

Read her story as she shares her experience from her peace corps volunteering time in Ukraine.

“Despite how difficult it may be, all volunteers succeed in their service.” – Sara A. Sherman 

Why did you decide to become a Peace Corps volunteer?

I wanted to give an international impression of what an American stands for, and provide my help and services to any other community, neighborhood, organization, or individual person in need.

What is your favorite thing about volunteering?

I mainly work with children here in Ukraine, so my personal favorite part about volunteering is making children smile.

Was it difficult for you to decide to change your country of residence and all your lifestyle for over two years?

As it is for most volunteers, yes. However, if you have the heart and giving mentality, a change of place in order to make a difference doesn’t seem that long.

How did your friends and relatives take the news?

Most of my relatives were extremely supportive, and some of them worried about my safety. Keeping in touch with them regularly helps smooth those tensions!

Why did you choose Ukraine as your destination?

Back in America, I kept up with Ukraine and their current situation in the news. To see the pride and love that the people have for their country is inspiring. I wanted to be a part of the change that Ukraine is undergoing now.

What do you like the most about Ukraine?

The locals here have welcomed me with open arms. So willing to care, support and love me – I have felt as if I was home the whole time.

What is different from what you expected?

I can’t clearly pinpoint what I expected to see here in Ukraine because I wanted to come in with an open mind and heart. However, the overwhelming pride and dedication to volunteer or serve their country even if it is from their own homes.

Is there something that surprised or even shocked you?

I was aware of the history of Ukraine and it being that war has affected almost every family in Ukraine. I understood what they went through in history and how it affected the lives of their children and their children’s children.

However, seeing it in person on the rainy Victory Day this year – the extensive line of men, women, and children all holding flowers to lay on the war memorial stone in the center, most of them crying, most of them elderly, was such an impact to see the effects of the war-torn country.

I was moved by the amount of love and care the people had for each other.

What would you say to people, who are thinking about becoming volunteers?

Peace Corps has always put an emphasis on resilience. The key is, no matter the struggle or hardships you experience, the reward will always turn around to be greater.

The act of resilience – despite how difficult it may be, will allow any volunteer to succeed in their service, and end up making a difference in someone’s life. I would not have chosen another way to live my life at this moment.

If this example encouraged some of our readers to also make the important decision to become a volunteer and see the world while making a difference, check out our Travel Resources page for opportunities to volunteer abroad.

 

www.artoftravel.store

Related Posts

Be Bold For Solo Travel: International Women’s Day

Be Bold For Change (#beboldforchange) was the motto of the 106th International Women’s Day 2017. Even after a century of celebrating this day of women empowerment, gender equality is a still a far-off thing in today’s society.

Instead of waiting for the change to happen on its own, let all the women change for themselves. Come out of your shells and comfort zones, and break the stereotype. There is no better way for a woman to realize her power than traveling solo.

This Women’s Day – be bold enough to travel on your own; go traveling solo! To all those adventurous ladies who have already traveled solo, kudos to you!

Be Bold For Solo Travel

There are a lot of hardships that come your way when you decide to travel alone; maybe it is the concerns of your loved ones or the fear of the unknown. As a woman, we have to deal with a lot of issues (and internal chatter) before embarking on a solo trip.

Here are the top 8 concerns woman face and how to overcome the resistance.

Concerns From Loved Ones


When you want to spread your wings, sometimes they get tied down by the concerns of your parents. Their concern (even though annoying) is explainable and mostly reasonable. With the increase in violence towards women in all spheres, it is only fair that parents get concerned for their daughters traveling alone.

But once you make the decision to travel solo, take your time and explain to your parents. They will surely understand, once you put your plans before them and promise to contact them regularly.

Male Oglers

There is no shutter to the eyes of a male, and even if there were one, they would still stare. When you travel to a new country, it is common for women to get male glances.

That is why before traveling to your destination, do extensive research. Read about the culture and traditions so you can dress in an appropriate way. It is okay to wear shorts and a tank top, wandering around the Parisian Lanes.

But in some places (for example in India or a Muslim country) it is not a good idea to attract unwanted attention to yourself. Even if you see some locals wearing modern western clothing, it is not a bad idea to keep a low profile.

Wherever you travel, always make sure to check first what the local custom and cultures regarding clothing are and pack accordingly. You don’t have to be boring. You can still travel in style as well as comfort without attracting unwanted male attention. Here is a hint: try ethnic clothes. 

Get Over the Pitying


In many places around the world, people think traveling alone is pitiful. They label you as a “sad old soul” who needs a partner to settle down. But women who travel alone know well that the road can be the best partner, and new experiences keep you in good company.

It is not impossible to have a family and travel; you can do both if you have enough patience to balance both. Do not feel sorry for yourself or lonely, and when you feel so, think about why you traveled in the first place. It is easy to use just a patient smile and calm voice to let the people know that you don’t care what they think, but you care about what you want.

Periods When Traveling


Traveling is fun, but the change of weather can mess with your menstrual cycle. You cannot enjoy a beach day with cramps annoying you. And if you are enjoying an African Jungle Safari, then God save you! (Please pack some painkillers, just in case.)

Read: How to Travel like a Pro during Periods

In many countries, there are less than safe and unhygienic conditions. Sometimes you have only a bucket of cold water to deal with your problem. In those troublesome times too, we women do not give up. Though it is better that you plan your trips on dates when you are likely period-free, so you can have fun to the fullest.

 

www.artoftravel.store/

Kickass In A New Territory


Solo women travelers are easy targets for desperate men. In countries where men have a chauvinistic mindset, they do not think before pouncing. If you are a beginner, it is better if you avoid dangerous countries like Yemen. In many of the developing countries too, you come across many instances where solo female travelers get abused. Research well, plan and prepare.

Do your research on your destination and rate it on a scale of safety. And if it is above 6/10 then it is okay to take the risk. Once at your destination, put your game face on (reserve a smile for the friendly ones).

A self-defense program comes in handy in case you need to kick ass when the situation arises. Carry weapons for safety with you, like pepper sprays and a penknife just to take your opponent by surprise. And above all look confident even though you are shaking in your boots!

Pack To Look Pretty


After reading this, you must surely want to explore the wild and badass side of your personality. But the biggest superpower of a female traveler is the ability to pack less and travel more. Girls, we know you love to look beautiful. But sometimes blending comfort and beauty is an excellent thing.

A couple of t-shirts, jeans or shorts, jackets, boots and a dress or two is more than enough for your travel wardrobe. Make sure all the combinations work together, so you do not repeat an outfit in your pictures.

Remember there is always that one lovely dress and accessories you buy on your trip to take back home. So, leave some room for them in your luggage as well. Also, do not forget your essential toiletries. You need not carry your makeup kit with you: a Gloss and Kajal will do the trick.

Get Wild and Have Fun


Are you bold enough for a transformative change? If yes, then make your decision and get wild. Traveling alone can get lonely at times and if you meet someone who sets the sparks going, why jinx it by not being prepared?

Please only engage in safe sex. Make sure you put the rubber on and do not forget to take your pills. These small steps give you relief from bigger troubles like STDs and unwanted pregnancy. If you are brave enough to embark on a solo trip, you are brave and matured enough to say “No” if you are not interested. Do the right thing.

Make New Friends


Whether you believe it or not, there are plenty of places around the world where a traveler gets treated like a celebrity. In many places, it is actually easy to make friends; be it an Airbnb or a hostel or a resort. On your way, you meet fellow female travelers. The bond you share becomes stronger when you share your journey and experiences.

This International Women’s Day, add your story to the collection of stories about brave women making bold decisions. Do something and share your stories that will inspire other girls to explore the world on their own.

International Women’s Day

Below are some of the events in March:

1) International Women’s Day Fun Run, Brisbane on March 5th
2) SHEfights – An all-female Muay Thai event in Toronto on March 11th
3) Water for People (a free event in Washington D.C.) on March 8th
4) International Women’s Day Walk in Zurich on March 8th
5) WOW (Women of the World) Festival in London on March 7th

All events focus on the motto of this year’s International Women’s Day: Be Bold For Change! And, one of the best ways to initiate a transformative change is “by traveling”.

 

www.artoftravel.store/

Related Posts

17 Best Gift Ideas For Travelers

The holiday season is already getting close. Actually every couple of months, there is a holiday season. New Year, Valentine’s Day, Mardi Gras, St. Patrick’s Day, Holi, Mother’s Day, Independence Day, Diwali, Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas.

Or, be it ours or someone’s birthdays or a special occasion, we all love to receive as well as give gifts. A gift becomes meaningful when it makes the receiver happy. A lot of your traveler friends and hardcore adventurers-backpackers-campers will appreciate a thoughtful gift. Isn’t so?

Gift Ideas for Travelers

What better way to gift your friends, than a gift that they need the most! Below is our pick for top fifteen or twenty travel gift ideas that will win the heart of any traveler and wanderluster.

Choosing gifts for our loved ones is pleasant, yet sometimes tough. Are you looking for best and unique gift ideas for travelers? Seeing someone happy with our gift is priceless! However, it is often so hard to guess the perfect present. You want something useful and cute!

And it can be even more difficult to choose a gift for a person who travels a lot and always brings home entertaining, unusual things.

Gifts for Travel Lovers

Travelers are, typically, creative individuals with a unique outlook. Thus, you should really surprise them with a gift, or get something very practical that they can take on the next trip with them. Fortunately, the digital era of Internet shopping allows you to shop for presents without even leaving your home.

For example, you can check out our Travel Store which has travel accessories, clothing, and essentials. And here are some gifts ideas intended for the true adventurer:

Backpack or Rucksack

The first and most important step of the journey is having the luggage. A backpack is a thing every tourist needs. Nothing comes in handy as a backpack or rucksack. You do not need to pull it around like trolleys nor do you have to bother with the locks like suitcases. These monster bags are easy to carry and can easily hold 7-14 days of luggage.

Buy a backpack/rucksack with a laptop compartment. Make sure there are plenty of tiny pockets where you can keep your toiletries, hygiene and electronic thingies.

For many travelers, packing baggage becomes a real nightmare. The bag is either too small, and you can’t take everything you need, or it is too big and doesn’t fit into the hand luggage regulations. In this situation, a medium-sized backpack is a perfect solution. Depending on the purpose, they come is different sizes, colors, and fabrics.

The main compartment is huge and can hold your dresses, towels, shoes, and blanket. For a beginner, a 40-45L rucksack can be a perfect gift, and while he/she gets used to the weight on the back, a pro traveler can take on 75L backpack. Check the waterproof quality of the backpack before you order it for your friend.

Luggage Tag / Bag Tag

If you want (and you should consider), you can also add a unique luggage tag, which will help you or the luggage owner (in case of a gift) to quickly locate their baggage on a luggage belt. Plus, in case of missed flight or lost or misplaced luggage, you have your name, address, and/or email at the back for the Airline or Airport to contact you.

Passport Holder

Passport cover cases and document holders are must-haves for every tourist. Without a cover, the passport quickly wears out. Also, without a document holder, documents, tickets, and insurances can easily be lost during transit. However, with a stylish document holder, all your documents will be in order and easy to find. In our shop, you can purchase an original 3D passport cover in 22 different designs. While you are in the store, check out our variety of passport and document holders.

Scratch Map

Every travel enthusiast must have his or her own travel map! The scratch map is a unique and interesting gift for a traveler who aims to visit every country in the world. You visit the country – you scratch off the cover layer. Step by step, the map becomes colorful. It’s a great way to show off the places you’ve visited and set visual goals for future trips. Just make sure, before giving the scratch map as a present, that a person doesn’t already have one. 

Travel Kit Organizer

A travel kit organizer is another irreplaceable item for every nomad. If you travel often, surely you need a way to pack all your necessities into limited luggage space. And that is when the travel kit organizer comes to the rescue. A waterproof travel kit bag is an excellent choice if there is a frequent traveler on your shopping list. In the online store, you can purchase our multi-functional hanging toiletry travel bag organizer

Travel Neck Pillow

Image Credit

If you travel often, you must be familiar with the soreness that accompanies sitting in one position for a long time. If you have friends who frequently travel, then a neck pillow with a unique design would be a great gift for them.

Sleep is dear to all of us. And when traveling, you need your share of sleep, so that your crankiness does not spoil your trip. If you have a similar friend, who loves to sleep, then a travel pillow will be a savior.

Buy a travel pillow and eye shade set that is a full package which ensures good sleep. For a sleepaholic travel enthusiast, this is by far the best gift.

Travel Bottle Set

Why take all your cosmetics with you, when going on a trip? It is unreasonable, isn’t it? Do you have a frequent traveler among your friends? A smart travel bottle set is a perfect gift for a traveler. The smaller sized bottles will help you pack all your cosmetic products compactly in baggage. Plus, a plastic bag will protect them from bursting and leaking.

Thermos or Thermo Cup

If you travel in winter, you need something to keep your coffee or tea hot. On the other hand, in summer you would like your drinks to stay cold as long as possible. In this situation, a thermos or a thermo cup would be the best solution! Also, this present will accompany your friend on every trip, warming not just the body with hot coffee, but also the heart with warm memories about your friendship!

Choose travel gifts for your special ones in our online store and let us help make your holiday wonderful. And remember, it is the heart behind the gift that matters most! Happy holidays!

Power Banks

Also known as the External Battery Charger, A Powerbank is a useful device for ones who love to travel. During traveling charge in your mobile phones is necessary, you are basically handicapped without it. How can you post your pics on Instagram? How can you share the video on Facebook?

A good power bank of 13500 mAh keeps you going. If you gift a power bank to your friends, their phone never goes out of charge. A 13500 mAh Powerbank is a giant powerhouse; it can charge a mobile phone to full charge for four times.

Image credit

Phone Lenses Set

When a camera takes up much of your backpack, you can do a very smart move. Add the phone lenses set to your luggage and drop the chunky camera at home. Your friend who loves to click pictures on phone camera will love this gift.

It brings out the inner photographer in you. They can post some great travel photos on Instagram with this phone lens set. They will be thanking you all the time they click a pic. A set comes with tripod and lenses, isn’t that exciting?

Image Credit

Travel Journal

There are different kinds of people, some who love to be active on social media and the quiet travelers. How is your friend like? If they are social butterflies, then a phone lens is perfect for them, but if they are introvert travelers, they might want something personal. A travel journal is the kind of gift which speaks to loners.

They can jot down their experiences on paper and make it immemorable. Or if he/ she loves reading then why not a Kindle? Make sure it has a backlight. I am sure they would appreciate a Kindle on their long flights.

Image credit

Digital Luggage Scale

When packing a bag, we are in a dilemma, as to whether the bag will be overweight or not. To avoid this problem use a digital luggage scale. It tells you precisely how much weight your luggage has.

If your friend loves shopping, then he/ she needs to clear up some space before bringing something home from travel. In such cases a digital luggage scale will help in checking the weight of the luggage, it makes you prepared. And your shopaholic friend will love this handy gift.

Image credit

World Travel Adapter Kit

A friend who plans to travel most countries in the world needs a worthy charger that fits every socket around the world. To prepare your friend for his/ her long journey, you can gift him/her a World travel adapter kit.

A world travel adapter kits work in all 150 countries on a supply of 100 V- 240 V of power. The plug configurations have different types which match the sockets of all 15o countries. I am sure, your friend will be over the moon, once he/ she unwraps the gift.

Image credit

Fire Starter

When talking about adventure and outdoorsy types- A fire starter is a fantastic option. Adventurers love to hike, trek and camp. The weather is unpredictable. In such a case, a fire starter comes in handy.

The little spark your friend starts keeps him/ her warm amidst the cold forest. Isn’t that a warm way(literally), to remind your friend of you? And if you think Firestarter is a small thing to gift, then load your friend with an Adventure multi-tool kit. It helps with hiking, fishing, and camping.

Ear Plugs

You can pull shades over your eyes when you sleep, but when you think the same about your ear you need earplugs. To drown out the excess noise, an earplug is necessary. A friend who hits the road very often needs an earplug.

Whether you are in plane, motorcycle or near a pub, an earplug makes sure you enjoy a good quality sound. Your friend will thank you for a hundred times when they see an earplug in the gift box.

Image credit

Coffee Grinder

Raise your hands, if caffeine is a must for your survival! Yes, a caffeine goodie always brings everyone into a good mood. Those who travel often cannot fulfill their coffee desires at times. For a friend who can’t work without caffeine in his/her system, a coffee grinder is a godsend.

A manual coffee grinder makes fine or coarse coffee powder from beans. And you can use that to make your cup of joe. Campers and outdoorsy types friends will love a hand press gift. They will secretly love you, trust me. 😉

www.artoftravel.store/

10 Destination Ideas for a Christmas Vacation in Europe

Europe is a popular travel destination and has a lot to offer.

However, if you are already fed up with the crowds in big European tourist centers, such as Paris, Berlin, Rome, Venice or Amsterdam, try going there in winter for a change, during the low season. Or just choose less popular, but still magnificent cities of

Or just choose less popular, but still magnificent cities of Central, Eastern and Northern Europe. In fact, Christmas is a great time to try something new, don’t you think? Here are ten less famous European destinations, which become just magical during the Christmas time.

Prague, Czech Republic

If you are not afraid of Prague’s chilly winters, you have a great chance to enjoy its famous Christmas markets, concerts, castles and underground restaurants. Even the most jaded travelers won’t be able to resist the charms of the city.

Prague is famous for its magnificent gothic architecture and unique folkloric traditions. You’ll also be glad to know that the prices in the capital of Czech Republic are very reasonable. So if you are a traveler on a budget, you shouldn’t be afraid to spend too much in this medieval city.

Innsbruck, Austria

While Innsbruck is undeservedly avoided by travelers during the summer season, in winter, this town on the Inn River becomes crowded with skiers and other winter sports lovers. Innsbruck is crowned with the Austrian Alps, offers numerous ski resorts, winter attractions and all-inclusive packages for the best Christmas vacation in the Old World.

Vienna, Austria

In Vienna, you’ll have a delightful old-fashioned Christmas, with the smell of mulled wine and hot chocolate. There will be magnificent holiday decorations on imperial architecture, ice skating rinks, and outdoor Christmas markets.

Don’t miss the Vienna Boy’s Choir performance. Or visit one the world’s most famous Viennese Christmas Balls. The capital of Austria really gives you an opportunity to make yourself feel like a 19th-century aristocrat, waltzing to the famous works of Johan Straus in a real imperial ballroom.

Budapest, Hungary

Couples skating hand-in-hand, families having fun, clouds of breath in the frosty air, you won’t find a more picture-perfect Christmas holiday anywhere other thanBudapest. The capital of Hungary boasts an enormous outdoor skating rink in the picturesque park Városligeti Műjégpálya.

And if you get cold, the numerous thermal baths of Budapest are at your service!

The city is also number one in the best affordable destinations in Europe list. This is another compelling reason to visit this beautiful city.

 

www.artoftravel.store/

Valkenburg, Netherlands

Christmas Shop in Amsterdam near the Flower Market By Tobias Niepel CC BY 2.0

Amsterdam, the capital of the Netherlands, is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Europe.

However, if you are looking for new impressions and one-of-a-kind Christmas gifts, Valkenburg is a place for you.

The city is home to the oldest and the largest subterranean Christmas market in Europe. It is located in a labyrinth of underground caves. Underneath the town, you will find sculptures, an 18th-century chapel, mural drawings of Roman times and even Santa himself. The market works from mid-November until just before Christmas. During these weeks, the whole town transforms into a glittering winter wonderland.

Riga, Latvia

Image Credit

The popular Riga Christmas market in the Town Hall Square offers not just souvenirs, Christmas gifts, and locally crafted items, but also numerous interesting events for both children and adults.

In the heart of Latvia’s capital, you will find a carousel of wooden figures, riding ponies, and horse-drawn carriages. Children will also enjoy the animal corner, with live sheep and rabbits, and the cat house with habitats of local animal shelter. Of course, you shouldn’t miss an organ concert in the famous Riga Cathedral (Rīgas Doms), as it is a truly fabulous performance!

Tallinn, Estonia

The capital of Estonia is known for its Christmas spirit and the medieval Old Town, whuch is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

The world’s first Christmas tree was set up in Tallinn in 1441. Nowadays, on Town Hall Square, you will find not only the famous tree but also numerous little huts selling their goods, handcrafters at work, snow sculptures, national foods and drinks and a mini-zoo.

Copenhagen, Denmark

For a fairytale European Christmas, you can’t choose a destination more magical than the hometown of Hans Christian Andersen.

Of course, you can visit the famous and always crowded monument of the Little Mermaid.

But forget about it for the rest of Christmas vacation and just enjoy your time in the capital of Denmark. Enjoy the fairy streets and houses of old Copenhagen. Enjoy the warm, cozy cafes with big windows and flurrying snow outside. 

And in the heart of the city, there is a Tivoli amusement park, which transforms into a really magical place around Christmas, with illuminations warming the heart and hot mulled wine warming the body.

Lapland, Finland

What is a Christmas without Santa? And where to look for Santa, if not at his house? You will probably be surprised to find that there is a place in the world where Santa Claus lives.

It is a small town of Rovaniemi in Finland, the official hometown of Santa. It is a wonderful place, and not only for children. For the new experience, you can choose to sleep in an igloo hotel or try fly fishing. If your budget is not limited, you can even go on a husky safari. A 2-hour ride will cost you around 150 euro, but it is definitely worth it. At the same time, your children can make cookies with Mrs. Claus or enroll in Elf School. Rovaniemi is a perfect destination for family Christmas vacation!

Reykjavik, Iceland

Although Reykjavik may be too cold and dark in winter, it is still worth visiting during Christmas time. The capital of Iceland offers its winter visitors not just the Yule Town Christmas market, filled with holiday decorations, treats, and gifts, but also unique holiday traditions, such as the 13 Yuletide Lads. And, of course, it’s your chance to see the northern lights, a marvelous natural phenomenon which you will not soon forget.

 

www.artoftravel.store/

Top 10 Free Things to Do in Paris City

Paris is considered to be one of the most expensive tourist cities in the world. However, even when you are in Paris on a budget, there are a lot of free things to do and places you can visit.

Walk Along the Banks of the Seine

The Seine is like the soul of Paris. It was immortalized in a variety of poems, novels, and paintings.

Even now, if the weather is nice, you can meet plenty of artists on Pont des Arts Bridge, near the Louvre, who come there to capture the beautiful scenery of the river.

Take a slow walk and admire the view of many architectural and historical sites, situated along the banks of Seine.

Visit Montmartre

Montmartre is like a whole different world inside Paris. It is a favorite of artistic people. You can have your portrait painted, buy a retro postcard with the view of Paris, enjoy the beauty of Sacré Coeur Basilica or enjoy the view of Paris from the bird’s eye.

If you stroll in one of the side streets, you might be lucky enough to find a unique monument, sign or place, which Montmartre is famous for.

Go On A Free Tour

In many famous tourist cities, there are local enthusiasts, ready to show their city to visitors for free. Paris is no exception and, if you are a tourist on a budget, you should not miss this opportunity.

Note: Tours meet at the fountain on Place St. Michel at 11 am and 1 pm daily.

Explore the Parks

Jardin de Luxembourg, Paris by David McSpadden CC BY 2.0

Paris is famous for its parks and gardens, and not only Versailles. Jardin de Luxembourg is probably the most famous garden in Paris, and it also hosts the beautiful Palais du Luxembourg, one of the most beautiful buildings in the city.

Just in front of the Louvre, you will find Jardin du Tuileries. Right underneath the famous Eiffel Tower, you can walk along the Parc du Champ de Mars.

Also, don’t forget about the Promenade Plantee, a truly unique elevated park, which used to be a railway line many years ago. Now it is a beautiful garden, which also gives you a fabulous view of the neighborhoods, thanks to its height.

Visit the Marvelous Notre Dame de Paris

If you are a budget tourist, you will be very pleased to know that a famous Notre Dame Cathedral is free to enter. Immortalized by Victor Hugo, it is known as one of the most beautiful cathedrals in the world.

The Gothic look of the Cathedral gives you a stunning view from the outside. And while inside, don’t forget to check out a collection of sculptures and the magnificent stained windows.

The Sparkling Eiffel Tower

The most recognized sight of Paris attracts millions of tourists every year. You can get a fabulous look at the city from the upper levels of the tower. However, you will have to wait in a 3-4 hour line and pay a minimum of 15 euros.

So, we suggest to save your time and money and look at the tower from the ground. 324 meters high, it looks impressive enough even during the daytime.

While at night, when it sparkles with millions of lights, it is simply breathtaking and looks like a big openwork piece of jewelry. You can also enjoy a magnificent light show, which lasts for five minutes and starts every hour, until 1 pm.

Make the Most of the FREE First Sundays

If you are a traveler on a budget, but you still want to get into famous museums, such as the Louvre or Musee d’Orsee, try coming to Paris during the first Sunday of the month.

This day, the most popular museums in the city are free to enter. However, you may want to come early in the morning, if you want to get in before evening. These free days attract even more visitors than the regular days, and you can wait in line for several hours.

Listen to the Organ in St. Eustache Church

If you are into music, visit a free organ concert at Saint-Eustache Church. It starts every Sunday at 5.30 pm.

Note: As a bonus, the organ in this church is one of the biggest in the world; it has eight thousand pipes.

Visit a Fashion Show at Galeries Lafayette

Galeries Lafayette, the most famous shopping center of Paris and probably one of the most famous in the world, can be beyond your means if you are on a small budget.

However, it doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy a fashion show, which is held in-store every Friday afternoon. Isn’t this a great way to get a taste of la mode in the world’s fashion capital?

Related Posts

5 Things to Know Before Going to Venice

Venice is a classic tourist destination. This small Italian city is actually made up of several islands. The astounding beauty of historical places and romantic setting of the city attracts travelers.

For a complete list of things to do, read Venice Travel Guide.

Exploring the romantic city is something you should do at least once in your life. But while doing that, you need to keep a few things in mind. Follow these tips, and you will be fine.

OUTER ISLANDS ARE A MUST VISIT

Venice has many historical places you should go. But there are also natural beauties you must not miss. Islands Murano and Burano are one of them.

Vaporetti Venice Lagoon By Peter K Burian  CC BY-SA 4.0

LEARN ABOUT A TRUE GELATO

A yummy scoop of gelato can make your day in Venice. Even if you have not got a sweet tooth, you will be tempted to taste one. But do not be tempted to take an artificial one as a true one. As real gelaterias take the time to be made, they are pricey. Real fruit is used to make the sorbet.

So you must have a critique’s eye to distinguish between a real and a fake one. If you see a too bright green Pistachio Gelato, avoid it. Also, don’t take bright yellow and purple colored ones. Artificial colors are used to make them look appealing.

TRANSPORTATION (WATER BUS)

Venice is a city of canals and bridges. For you to get around you can use your feet or public transport. The widely used transport is a water bus. It can be packed during rush hours. But if you are early, you can get a seat in the bow you will enjoy the scenery. Water bus is safe than a gondola.

Hotel Ca’ Sagredo – Grand Canal – Rialto – Venice Italy Venezia by gnuckx CC BY 3.0

It provides you with life jackets. While it can be romantic to have a gondola ride, it is expensive and less safe. If you want a pseudo- gondola you can ride on traghetto. It will take you through the canals. But keep in mind you have to stand.

PACK NECESSITIES

When you are in Venice, you ought to be attentive to bring a few essentials with you. A city of canals may sound exciting. But did you know that only seventy percent of the city’s sewage is treated? It is the reason for summer and fall mosquitos can increase in number. Pack a mosquito repellent.

Have an Umbrella with you. Whatever may be the weather in Venice it will help you. A beautiful city has beautiful people. So, pack some nice selection of dresses with you. Earplugs are a must when you travel to cities. They will block out the noise.

HOTEL NEAR WATER TAXI SHOP

We say pack light when you travel. In Venice where you have to bring good clothes with you, your luggage might be heavy. You do not want to drag that huge luggage throughout the city. That is why it is comfortable to books a hotel near water taxi shop. You can move around quickly.

Hotel Ca Sagredo – Grand Canal – Rialto – Venice Italy Venezia by gnuckx CC BY 2.0

Hotel Palazzo Vitturi is a good option. It is near top attractions as well as near Rialto and San Marco.

 

www.artoftravel.store/

5 Unusual Places in the Netherlands

Netherlands is not only about windmills. There is so much more to it. You will find many quirky spots here. There are many places in Netherlands which are not popular. But they are worth a visit. Enjoy the Dutch landscape.

BOURTANGE

It lies next to Castle Muiden. Age-old moats surround this village. The grass grows over making a protective layer. The structure of moats was built to safeguard the village from the Germans.

Luchtfoto bourtange by Gebruiker  CC BY-SA 3.0

Now, Bourtange has classy shops, warm cafes, museums. Don’t be surprised if you hear a lot of “I dos” here. It is a popular spot for weddings.

Summer is the best time to visit Bourtange. As a bonus, there are always some sort of costume shows going on at that time of the year.

THE HUNEBEDDEN

It is an ancient natural structure. Geography buffs, here is a place you must visit. It can be called the Stonehenge of the Holland”. They were created by peasants many years ago. The rocks here date back to 5000 years.

They are from the megalithic age. One of the oldest existing rock structure. Hunebedden was used as the grave chamber. You may be afraid to encounter a corpse. But don’t worry are removed from here. Enjoy the frozen history of Drenthe province.

BOEKHANDEL DOMINICANEN

The history that surrounds this gothic castle is pretty impressive. Built in 1294, St. Dominic founded it. No religious activity is conducted here since the Napoleon army seized the church.

It is considered one of the beautiful bookstores in the world. Yes, this place was converted into a bookhouse. The vaulted ceilings and 13th century architecture are a contrast to the metal stacks of books. Book lovers must travel to Maastricht in Netherland.

KEUKENHOF GARDENS

Be ready to be engulfed in flowery scent. Keukenhof is the largest flower garden in Netherlands as well as the world. Springtime is the best time to visit this garden. All the buds bloom in their full glory.

You can take a bicycle ride around this garden. Seven million flower buds are planted here every year. The variety of flowers will overwhelm you. There are plantations of tulips, orchids, roses, hyacinths, and many other flowers.

HOGE VELUWE NATIONAL PARK

You will think that it might be a normal national park. What is the big deal with it? But trust us this park is unlike any other you will ever go. The bike lovers will love it here. There are 1700 white bikes for you to ride around the park. And they are free!

It is the largest natural reserve in Netherlands. You can visit the Kroller Muller museum and learn a bit of Dutch history. The biggest private Van Gogh collection is present here. Have a look at the sculpture garden. Try to evoke your muse with the art.

Related Posts

6 Things to Know Before Going to Sweden

Sweden is a friendly country to visit and Swedish warm-hearted people. You can have a peaceful time in Sweden. Sweden is a beautiful place to visit during winter. The frozen landscape is a bit gloomy. But you can visit it in other months if you are not a winter lover.

Every nation has got something we can learn from them. Sweden has a lot to teach. Before you go to Sweden, here are few things to know (& also learn from the Swedish people).

YOU CAN SPEAK ENGLISH ANYWHERE

We know English is a global language. But if you are traveling to Sweden and are worried about Swedish, don’t be. Sweden is the second country speaking English, next to united kingdom. You can get around anywhere by talking English.

Image Link

OPEN YOUR SHOES

It is a belief in Sweden that you should not enter a house wearing shoes. Because the dirt from outside should not enter the house. It is a show of respect to the family. While going to any private residence it is customary to take off your footwear. So ,when you make a friend in Sweden make sure you don’t enter with shoes on. Avoid wearing lacy shoes.

Image Link

LAGOM

It means “in moderation.” Swedish are not overwhelmed by anything. They believe in controlling their emotions. Public display of emotion is not encouraged in Sweden. So before you scream out in excitement, Remember Lagom! Your behavior in society should not be questioned on. Swedish like to be in control. Stay calm and composed. You will blend in just fine.

TUBE FOODS

While in Sweden don’t be surprised by food in tubes. You will have to squeeze out almost everything out of a tube. May it be caviar or mustard. You will have to use these tubes to eat. When you go a grocery store, you will find frozen foods. That is where you will find an array of toothpaste shaped tubes. Eat and squeeze.

Image Link

RECYCLE

Sweden is a clean country. They try every possible method to recycle waste. When you go for shopping, you will have to pay extra for a plastic bag. Don’t throw it elsewhere. Mainly every store will try to lower the plastic bags. Sweden believes in a clean and green city.

SHOPPING TIME

Sweden is a very punctual country. Everyone completes their work at around five. That is why you will find a rush in this hours. During weekends most of the stores will close early. People here are well learned. They follow a queue for getting to everything.

Image Link

That means if you have to shop too. You need to be on time in the shops, or you will be in a hurry while the shops close. Nothing here is open at around ten except the emergency services.

 

www.artoftravel.store

6 Most Beautiful Roads in Europe

Road route will take you on a journey to savor. People around the world are taking their time of the weekend to hit the road. It is thrilling to discover the landscape from your car window. Road trips give you a sense of freedom. You drive into the wildness of nature. Some of the impressive road routes of Europe are listed below.

GROSSGLOCKNER, AUSTRIA

It starts from Oberes Nasfeld ending in Franz Joefs hohe. There is nothing you will miss while on this road trip. You will go from dark tunnels to sunny meadows.The winding road will take you through the mighty mountainside. You will finally reach and see a winter landscape.

ATLANTERHAVSVEIEN, NORWAY

This road route connects Eide and Averoy. The route is eight kilometers long. It connects all small islands in this area. The Atlantic road is toll-free. The main thing that attracts roadies is the highest bridge. Storseisundet is one of the eight bridges. When the wind is wild, you will love driving on this highest bridge. The turn in the bridge is beautiful to watch. The stunning view of mountains sticking out of sea will leave you in awe.

LA ROUTE DES GRANDES ALPS, FRANCE

One of the earliest roads built by the road enthusiasts. It was built when the car was starting to gain importance. The Touring Club decided to make a route. The route would connect all the Alpine passes. You will find sixteen passes while you drive along this road. You can stop and visit the national parks-Ecrins, Queyras, Mercantour, Vanoise. The scenic beauty of Geneva Lake will lead to the blue Mediterranean sea. You can also feed your hunger with delicious food found while on the road.

Col d´Iseran Val d´Isère F by Philipendula CC BY 2.5

TRANSFAGARASAN, ROMANIA

The Dracula’s country attracts many tourists. The mystery and myths surrounding Romania make it more prone to road trips. Finding out the legends of Romania will be exciting. The road tears its way through Fagaras mountain. It is the highest mountain in the country.The trip will lead you to Poienari fortress. The intimidating fortress is the reason behind so many myths. It is the breeding ground of vampire legends. The Carpathian scenery is a raw beauty. Adventure lovers can take a ride on mountain bikes. The frozen hillside in August is impressive.

RING OF KERRY, IRELAND

This 200-kilometer long route has all you could ever ask for. It will take you on a ride along the Iveragh Peninsula. You will witness the deep valleys and high mountains. The slopes will give in to cliff coastlines. The white sand beaches are places you can stop and relax.

Killarney National Park — Ring of Kerry, Ireland by Tony Webster CC BY 2.0

There is a small village Sneem on the route. It has cute renovated Thatch-roofed houses. There are many attractive spots in this road route. The Blue Pool Nature Reserve, Rossbeigh beach, Torc waterfall are natural beauties you cannot miss. The Ross Castle and the Stone circles are architectural wonders to behold.

ROMANTIC ROAD, GERMANY

The Romantic Road is named so after the landscape it provides. It was built around 1950. If you are with your partner, you should prefer this road route. The ride will take you through the medieval villages. The magnificent castles will give a fairy-tale feel. The road will lead you to Schwerin Castle. You will love what you see here.

Image Credit

The Romantic Road will surely bring out the romantic in you. The rustic landscape and baroque castles make an incredible view.

 

www.artoftravel.store/

5 Things You Should Know Before Visiting The U.K.

The United Kingdom is one classiest of destinations to go. The traditional view of tourists towards U.K. is that it is a country where London is the fun capital and natives are very polite, who only drink tea. Duh! That is exactly what a typical U.K. tour should not be about.

We are always determined to help you to look beneath the surface. A few myths about U.K. will be proved wrong here. You can find these points helpful when you travel to the United Kingdom. Here we go.

U.K. IS NOT ALL ABOUT LONDON

Photo: The Art of Travel Partners

Travelers put London on the top of their bucket list when they travel to U.K. It’s okay when you want to see the Thames or visit Buckingham Palace. But there are many places out of London which are more appealing and less crowded.

You can even shop outside London at affordable prices. There are alluring Cornish beaches outside of London which are good for surfing. You can even party hard in British channel islands. Break your notion before you go to U.K. Enjoy everything which is and is not London.

Ironbridge 6 by Roantrum CC BY 2.0

GROW A SENSE OF HUMOUR

If you are going to visit U.K. soon we recommend you learn to read between the lines. English people have a sense of humor which is not easy to match. They may be sarcastic to the extreme. If you are bent on making some English friends do develop dark humour. It might just help your stay in U.K.

They may not outright insult you but if you get offended by a statement; beware the joke will be on you. So stay calm and assured of yourself while in Britain.

U.K. DOES EXTREME SPORTS VERY WELL

Don’t think U.K. is only about tea-drinking uptight people. It is home to a lot of extreme sports you couldn’t even think. You can do deep sea diving, mountaineering, ice climbing, fell-running, skiing, abseiling.

You can go on a twelve weeks voyage of U.K. A hike to fifteen peaks of Welsh will totally boost up your adrenaline. Scapa flows is the best place to go scuba diving. It’s a country which offers incredible options for adventure sports lovers who can challenge themselves with paragliding, kite surfing and many other aspects.

Image Credit

AVOID PUBLIC TRANSPORT

With a large geographical area to cover a tourist needs to take affordable and efficient transport services. This is where U.K. lags behind. If you have planned out your trip way ahead of time that is booked your tickets twelve weeks earlier then you will not be annoyed with the public transport.

But the last moment rides are going to cost you an exorbitant amount. Skip the megabus because its not safe for a tourist. Any other forms of public transport will be too expensive and late. So we advice you rent a vehicle and go on an amazing road trip.

VISIT BRISTOL

Tourists overrate London and forget the most amazing city Bristol. Located on outskirts of Wales. It’s a cute and artsy city. The lanes are lined with boutiques of amateur designers. You will be surprised to find your dream dresses in too good to be true prices.

Bristol is also home to many galleries featuring upcoming artists.you can have a sneak peek into them. Music of Bristol shouldn’t be missed.as everything else here music is also in awesome process of making. Bristol is a microcosm of British culture.

A perfectly blended country and city vibe can be experienced here. Hope our tips help you before taking off to most intelligent, busy, yet serene, country of the United Kingdom.

 

www.artoftravel.store/

Top 5 Festivals in Spain You Would Love to Attend

Festivals in Spain are so fun that it may make you book a straight flight to Spain, right now. Some of you may have seen the tomato fight scene in a popular Bollywood movie “Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara (You Only Get One Life)” where all the actors enjoy this festival. Yes, it’s a real thing and people love it.

But what if I told you this is not the only fun festival in Spain. There are in fact a lot of festivals celebrated in Spain that are worth being a part of.

SEMANA SANTA

It is the week before Easter not including the Sunday. The Good Friday and Maundy Thursday come under this week. Semana Santa is, most popular in Malaga. Here Tronos or thrones are carried during processions. It weighs to around five thousand kilograms. Tronos have sculptures and pictures depicting the passion of Christ before his death.

People who partake in this processions wear Nazareno. It is a type of cloak wore in medieval days coupled with a conical hood. The hood hides the face of the wearer. Semana Santa is a festival during the good Friday so it’s full of penance. People wear chains and walk through the procession. In Sataero, a flamenco-based music is played in a sad tune to suit the atmosphere. You can witness the vibrant culture and devoted faith of Spain during Semana Santa.

SAN FERMIN

Festival of San Fermin originated around the thirteenth century. It used to be a low-key affair. But eventually it became commercialized, and people started visiting it internationally in the nineteenth century. Initially, December was the month for this fiesta, but it shifted to Seventh July because of the conducive weather. It starts at eight am when the Mayor announces that the race has officially begun; with the firing of a rocket.

Pamplona bull run festival has many attractions like the bullfights, dancing, processions, fireworks. The run includes several spots; starting with Corral to Plaza del Castillo. There are many places from which you can watch the run. You can come early and take a spot behind the fence or ask a local to lend their balcony to you. You can feel the adrenaline rush when you see people running with the bulls. But a fair warning, don’t try it when drunk.

LA TOMATINA

Nobody knows how this festival came to existence. Maybe it was because of a local food fight. But rumors are that during 1950s people of Bunol were dissatisfied with the administration and attacked them with tomatoes. From then on it is celebrated every August. Bunol is in Valencia province which is not a hard place to reach. But only twenty thousand people are allowed in this festival because of Bunol being a small town.

There are some rules you need to follow while playing in La Tomatina are you should smash the tomato before throwing it, you are not allowed to tear anybody’s clothes, you need not bring hard objects as it may hurt others. La Tomatina is one such festival of France, which you ought to participate in at least once in your lifetime. Because that one hour of abandon will bring you immense fun. So wear closed shoes and old dirty clothes before you join tomato fiesta at Bunol.

La Tomatina by flydime CC BY-SA 2.0

SEMANA GRANDE

Take a deep breath because the next thing you will go on is a rollercoaster ride of greatest festival in northern Spain. It is to respect of Virgin of Begoña. You will find all the people taking a week off during August to participate in colorful Semana Grande. Let us start with the free music concerts which take place in Bilbao. Quarry Amphitheater and Plaza Nueva are the best of places to go.

If you are not able to make it the streets will offer you entertaining music too. Next is the boulder lifting competition for men. You will be in awe of the strength of Spaniards. Spain is popular for its bull fighting then how can Bilbao lag behind. So in Plaza de Toros le vista you can watch the beasts going head to head. The charm of Semana Grande is the fireworks which line the sky of Bilbao. You can go up the Artxanda Hill for the stunning view of starry night sky. Be a part of one week of crazy partying in Bilbao. Celebrate one of the best festivals of Spain with fun.

Image Credit

CARNIVAL OF FRANCE

And here is the mother of all festivals in Spain. The extravagant fiesta of all. The word carnival is said to come from carnal which means desires of the flesh. So carnival means farewell to flesh.It is celebrated before the period of Lent in February. It is also said to be originated from Saturnalia a Roman festival which included drinking and dancing.Carnival in Santa Cruz is one of the biggest in Europe.It includes numerous beauty pageants. The festival includes the crowning of a beauty queen.Beads, satin, and feathers are used to make costumes.

Image Credit

If you are not allowed to enter one of these pageants, indulge yourself in Mogollones, which are open air parties of locals.Carnival in Cadiz is partial to music.You can find open air carts and plazas filled with local bands. You can hear humorous songs that will amuse you. Carnival in Sitges is a much-preferred option for gay visitors.

Many beauty pageants portray bold and flamboyant costumes.Rue de la Disbauxa is the best place to watch out for a themed parade. Anywhere you go in Spain during the carnival you will find the partying continue from dusk to dawn. You want to loosen up a little and enjoy yourself then book your tickets for Spain soon.We are sure you will have the best fun of your life in this outrageous festivals.

Many beauty pageants portray bold and flamboyant costumes. Rue de la Disbauxa is the best place to watch out for a themed parade. Anywhere you go in Spain during the carnival you will find the partying continue from dusk to dawn. You want to loosen up a little and enjoy yourself then book your tickets for Spain soon.We are sure you will have the best fun of your life in this outrageous festivals.

www.artoftravel.store/

Game of Thrones Maps of Westeros & Seven Kingdoms

Beautiful maps of Westeros and the rest of the known world as shown in Game of Thrones. Below you have Game of Thrones Westeros map of all the Houses: Stark, Lannister, Tyrell, Martell, Baratheon, Arryn, Mormons, Tully, Targaryen, and Greyjoy.

Map by guydouglasdesign from Tumblr

Photo by twipzdeeauxilia CC BY SA 2.0

Game of Thrones Maps

The world of Game of Thrones is divided into four major landmasses divided into seven kingdoms.

Dubrovnik, Croatia / Photo by Hans Permana CC BY-NC 2.0

Credit: https://fuckyeahfictionalmaps.tumblr.com (Tumblr)

The Seven Kingdoms

The story’s main focus is on Westeros and King’s Landing (pictured above). Everybody and every kingdom and city-states are fighting everyone else to gain control of the entire Westeros and the seven kingdoms.

Everyone wants to either sit on the Iron Throne or be in a good relationship with the person sitting on the Iron Throne.

At the very bottom of Westeros, you have Dorne. It is separated from the rest of Westeros by Red Hills. To the west, you have The Reach. It is the most fertile region in the continent.

Above Dorne, you have the Stormlands. This one is a rocky and marshy land and also contains many forests. Above it is Crownlands (Waters), the seat of the Iron Throne. The capital city of Westeros, King’s Landing, is in the Waters region.

To the west, you have the Westerland, a mountainous region with gold and silver mines. They are the richest household. The region in the center of the continent is called Riverlands, a medley of plains, hills, forests, and numerous rivers.

The islands to the west are called the Iron Islands. The seas around the islands are very stormy and destructive and have also destroyed and eroded most of the Pyke castle.

To the islands’ diametric right, we have The Vale, a high mountainous region.  Lastly, the North is the largest of the seven kingdoms, and it is called Winterfell. 

Another continent, Essos is further south and the weather is hotter and it is a region made up of several free city-states.

Credit: The Huffington Post

Photo by TaylorHerring CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Bonus: A spectacular dragon skull the size of a double-decker bus appeared to have been washed up on Charmouth beach on Dorset’s Jurassic coast in the United Kingdom.

Hope you enjoyed this collection of Game of Thrones maps! Many thanks!