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Top Tourist Attractions for a City Break in London

By Lorena Boanda

The concept of city break continues to gain more and more followers, as the advantages greatly outweigh the disadvantages. London, Britain’s capital city, is one of the world’s best travel destinations; not surprising, especially considering the sheer number of tourist attractions it boasts.

Be that as it may, don’t rule out London as one of the best destinations for a quick city break just yet, as the city has enough to offer even for its short-stay visitors. If you’re one of them, then be sure to check out our list of top tourist attractions you shouldn’t miss on your city break in London.

The Westminster street is probably the best place where you can start your city break. It’s considered to be the political hub of London, and it connects some of London’s other great landmarks, the famous Big Ben, the Parliament, and the Westminster Abbey. The Buckingham Palace should be next on your list since it’s one of Britain’s most iconic buildings. Don’t just go there to see the building itself, but also make sure to enjoy the serene gardens and possibly even catch the Changing of the Guard which happens daily at 11:30 A.M.

If it’s your first time in London, then consider visiting the London Eye, one of London’s prominent landmarks and Europe’s biggest observation wheel. A trip in the wheel lasts 30 minutes, giving you enough time to soak in the architectural beauty of London from 443 feet up above the Thames.

Built to commemorate Lord Horatio Nelson’s victory over the French and Spanish at Trafalgar in 1805, the square with the same name is one of London’s most visited tourist spots. You might also want to visit the Piccadilly Circus, a very interesting place at the intersection of various high-traffic streets, Piccadilly, Regent, Haymarket, and Shaftesbury Avenue.

Since we’re on the subject of streets, we definitely recommend you take the time to stroll about some of London’s most celebrated streets such as Oxford Street, Europe’s busiest shopping street, Electric Avenue, the first street in London to be lit by electricity, and Baker Street, the home of Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes.

If you’re a Harry Potter fan, then you can’t go to London without visiting Platform 9 ¾, the place from where Harry and his friends used to journey to Hogwarts. Chinatown might seem like an awkward pick for a city break, but it’s definitely worth it, especially if you’re passionate about Asian cuisine.

It would be a shame to come to London and not visit at least one of its magnificent parks. One of London’s biggest parks is Hyde Park, and it’s also the most renowned due to its historical significance. Another beautiful park is Hampstead Heath, a place where you can experience the unspoiled tranquility of nature in the northern part of London.

We’ll end our list with some of London’s best museums. We recommend the Science Museum if you’re into hands-on investigative activities, the Natural History Museum if you like ancient fossils and stuffed animals, V&A museum if you want to see an impressive collection of decorative art, design, and fashion, and the London Transport Museum.

We hope that our list of top tourist attractions will be of use to you in your next London city break.

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Things you should Do and see in Roma, Italy

By Lorena Boanda

Rome, Italy’s capital city, is one of the most famous travel destinations. What you will want to do when in Rome, especially if it’s your first time, is to check off the list some of the city’s most popular landmarks and points of interest.

Rome’s most famous ruins

Start off by visiting the mighty Colosseum, probably Rome’s most relevant symbol. Inaugurated somewhere around 80 A.D. and said to have been able to hold up to 80.000 spectators, the structure used to be the center of epic gladiatorial combats and animal fights. Besides its grandeur, the most astonishing fact is that is has remained relatively intact despite centuries of neglect and despite the fact that it has been used as a quarry.

Strolling through the ruins of the Roman Forum is yet another must-do activity in Rome. You don’t have to be passionate about history or architecture to be able to appreciate one of the oldest places from Ancient Rome. Hiring a guide might be extremely beneficial, especially if you want to hear the very interesting stories behind the place.

Enjoy the magnificence of the Spanish Steps and The Pantheon

A visit to Rome without also climbing the Spanish Steps is said to be incomplete and for a good reason. Climb the steps leading to Trinita dei Monti church for an inspiring view of the Piazza di Spagna from atop, one of Rome’s fanciest and most crowded places. It is said that throwing a coin in the Trevi Fountain will ensure that you will someday return to Rome. Whether that is true or not, you should still visit Rome’s most legendary fountain.

Located in the Piazza Della Rotonda in central Rome, The Pantheon is one of Rome’s best preserved Roman buildings. It’s also said to be the only architecturally perfect building in the world. Make sure to walk inside and be amazed at the stunning views offered by its incredible dome.

The Vatican and the surroundings

St. Peter’s Square is another unique tourist attraction. Located at the front of the Vatican state (Rome holds a small country within a country), the place is sure to leave any unsuspecting wonderer or tourist in complete awe. Slowly take-in the enormity of the square, its central obelisk, and the incredible architecture of the St. Peter’s Basilica. While in the area, also consider visiting the Sistine Chapel, famous for its impressively detailed decorations.

Enjoy a bit of tranquility in Rome

While in Rome, you should also ponder about exploring Trastevere, a very bohemian and romantic place in Rome. It’s home to some very extravagant jewelry, perfume, and handicrafts boutiques, and also to charming cobblestone streets and beautifully ornate buildings.

If you want to get a feel for the typical daily lives of the people who live in the city, then visiting the Market at Campo de’ Fiori is a must. Immerse yourself in the local culture by watching people go about their day or by buying some fresh produce for a picnic. If you’re more of a panorama type of person, then consider climbing the Gianicolo Hill for a stunning view of the city and all of its amazing landmarks.

Last but not least, remember that you are in Rome, so make sure to indulge yourself in the local Italian dishes as much as you can. Also, don’t forget to try some of Italy’s lovely wines, and, of course, don’t forget about the mandatory, daily espresso shot.

Finally, probably the best advice of them all: “When in Rome, do as the Romans do.”

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One week in Paris

By Lorena Boanda

Is Paris, The City of Lights, on your travel wishlist and you’ve finally decided to spend a week there? If the answer is yes, check out our 1-week itinerary with the must-see attractions for the world’s most touristy city.

Day 1 – Montmartre and the surroundings

Located on the top of the highest hill in Paris, Montmartre is probably the perfect place to start your visit. Our best advice would be to just lose yourself in the crowded and sometimes romantic streets.

Stay away from typical gift shops and overpriced cafes and instead maybe opt to do some cheap Parisian-style shopping on various in-the-street shops from the area. The Basilica Sacre-Coeur, Moulin Rouge, and the Elysees Montmartre Theatre are other noteworthy points of interest in the area.

Day 2 – The Eiffel Tower and a scenic boat cruise

If it’s your first time in Paris, the Eiffel Tower is a must-see. It’s hard to describe the feeling of viewing the tower in all its glory from the bottom of one of its four platforms. You can climb up to the second floor for a decent view of the city, or you can opt to visit the third floor which is done only by elevator. If you’re not on a budget, then enjoying a meal at the 58 Tour Eiffel Restaurant is definitely worth it.

End the day with a relaxing boat cruise, preferably within an hour of the sunset, so that you can get the best of both “worlds.” Just sit back and enjoy a relaxing dinner cruise while you smoothly pass near the most important landmarks of Paris.

Day 3 – Spend a day at Versailles

The palace of Versailles is the personification of grandeur and lavishness. Visiting its exquisitely glamorous and artful rooms will undoubtedly inspire a sense of “they don’t make them like they used to.” Located at a short train, bus, taxi drive away from Paris, the chateau is a true reflection of King Louis XIV’s power. Make sure to check out the Hall of Mirrors, the Chapel, the auditorium, Marie Antoinette’s apartment, and the Grand Apartment.

Once you’re done with the royal residence, take a stroll in the impressively grand estate and get lost in the unique gardens, have a relaxing picnic, and visit the Grand Trianon located nearby.

Day 4 – Spend a day watching art at Le Louvre

Regarded as the world’s most important museum, The Louvre Museum is well worth your time. More of a monument than an actual museum, it boasts some of the most important pieces of artwork from all of the major civilizations. Make sure to visit the famous Mona Lisa, yet we won’t judge if you won’t be impressed.

Day 5 – Visit some of Paris’ most important landmarks

You should really spend some time just strolling the streets of Paris and checking out some of the famous landmarks. Rent a scooter or a bicycle and go to see the Place de La Concorde where you can see the 23-meter, 3000-year old Egyptian obelisk. For a bit of glamour and high-end shopping, make sure to visit the Champs-Elysees boulevard. While you’re in the area, also visit the Arc de Triomphe, one of Paris’ most iconic symbols.

Day 6 – Notre Dame and the surroundings

Visit the most renowned gothic cathedral of all time, home of numerous legends and multiple fascinating stories. Visiting the Notre Dame cathedral is probably the closest you’ll ever get to feeling how it was to live in the 13th century. While in the area, also consider visiting the St. Chapelle.

Day 7 – Other interesting places

Your last day in Paris should be the day that completes the whole experience. Some noteworthy suggestions include visiting the Catacombs of Paris with their spooky winding tunnels that are home to thousands of human bones, the Pantheon, Pont Neuf, the oldest bridge in Paris, Centre Pompidou, and the relaxing and gorgeous Jardin du Luxembourg.

Have a wonderful time in your week-long vacation in Paris. We hope this guide was useful!

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Summer is Coming: What Are the Best Beaches in Greece?

By Lorena Boanda

With its cultural and historical background, amazing islands, gorgeous cities, vibrant nightlife, and simple yet delicious food, it’s no wonder that Greece is one of the world’s most fascinating travel destinations.

However, Greece is also famous for its great number of astonishingly beautiful beaches with golden sands and crystal-clear or turquoise waters. That is why we have put together a comprehensive list of some of the most beautiful beaches in Greece.

1: Shipwreck Beach, Zakynthos

We’ll start our list with Greece’s most famous beach and definitely one of the most photographed places in the country, Shipwreck Beach or Navagio Beach. Located on the northwest coast of Zakynthos in an awe-inspiring area with towering white cliffs and exquisite blue waters called Shipwreck Cove or Smugglers Cove, this is a must-see for any beach enthusiast.

The beach is only accessible by boat, so you either have to book a tour or you can hire a boat for the day and go there yourself. The story goes that the boat was suspected of carrying contraband cigarettes. It shipwrecked back in the 1980s because of the bad weather while being pursued by the Greek Navy. Be sure to bring a sun umbrella, especially if you’re planning on staying there between 10 AM and 2 PM when there’s absolutely no shade.

2: Myrtos Beach, Kefalonia

Myrtos Beach on the Kefalonia island is another one of Greece’s gems. Located at around 19 miles of the main town Argostoli, the beach can be accessed by sea and road alike. Some of the best things about this particular beach are the tall cliffs behind it. Cinephiles might find this place familiar and that is thanks to its appearance in the film adaptation of Captain Corelli’s Mandolin.

3: Sarakiniko Beach, Milos

Located in the Cyclades island group, this is yet another one of Greece’s islands that is only accessible by plane or ferry. This is not your typical beach, though. The beach is formed from a series of caves carved out in the volcanic rock by both wind and water over the course of time. Here, you’ll be able to experience one of the most otherworldly and intimate feelings of taking a swim in a quiet little cove.

4: Elafonisi Beach, Crete

Located off the southwest part of the Island of Crete, you’ll find one of Greece’s most beautiful beaches. Famous for its rose gold sands and warm waters, this is one of the most unspoiled and clean beaches you will ever find.

5: Grias to Pidima, Andros

If solitude and escapism are what you’re looking for, then Grias to Pidima, in Andros might be worth a shot. Even though it’s one of Greece’s most beautiful beaches, the access is not for the faint-hearted. Bring some trekking shoes and lots of liquids with you, and mentally prepare yourself for a somewhat difficult hike.

6: Egremni Beach, Lefkada

Next on our list is Egremni Beach. Located on an Ionian island, Egremni is arguably one of the best beaches in the area. It greets tourists with an impressively tall white cliff as well as with long, sandy, and uncrowded beaches. This is yet another beach that requires a bit of effort in order to get to, as tourists have to deal with 355 steps in order access it.

7: Porto Katsiki Beach, Lefkada

We will end our list with Porto Katsiki Beach, one of the best beaches in Greece and Europe alike. The beach is located a little further south of Porto Katsiki, yet it only requires you to deal with 100 steps in order to access it. The beach can also be reached by sea if you want to avoid the steps.

We hope you will have a relaxing time in Greece and we hope our list has played a part towards achieving that end. 

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5 Reasons Why You Will Fall in Love with Barcelona

By Lorena Boanda

Since it perfectly combines the very best of what Mediterranean cities have to offer, the reasons why Spain’s Barcelona is one of the top travel destinations are numerous. Here is our list of top five reasons why you will fall in love with this wonderful Spanish city.

1: Architectural wonders

Of course, there’s no getting around Barcelona’s magnificent architecture, and that is why it’s at the top of our list. Going to Barcelona once usually means forever comparing all other buildings with the ones created by Antoni Gaudi. Barcelona is full of Gaudi’s exquisite and modern architecture, with tons of colorful and uniquely designed buildings.

Be sure to visit the most famous of them all, the Sagrada Familia which has been under construction since 1892. Words are somewhat limited when it comes to describing this wonder of architecture. Other important buildings of Gaudi include the Casa Vicens, La Pedrera, Palau Guell, Colonia Guell (as well as Parc Guell), Casa Batllo, and Casa Calvet.

2: The weather and the awesome beaches

With almost the same number of sunny days as there are in a year, Barcelona is a place where winters are practically inexistent and where autumns and springs are as pleasant as summers are in other places. Since Barcelona is located in the northwestern coast of Spain, Barcelona also boasts multiple beaches. They’re not as luxurious as you might be used to find in Greece or various other exotic destinations such as the Caribbean, but at least they’re found in large numbers, they’re clean, and they’re easily accessible from the city’s center.

3: Impressive cultural appeal

Barcelona is one of those places where life seems to be at its fullest. Everyone is relaxed, the sun is always shining and there’s no shortage of cultural events or activities to keep you entertained. The city is also home to some of the most interesting museums, not counting the fact that the whole town is basically a big open-space gallery. The Barcelona City History Museum is a very worthwhile place since it allows you to explore the Spanish and the Catalonian cultures. The Picasso Museum is yet another one of the city’s fascinating museums.

4: Food, drink, and the nightlife

It might be surprising for some, but Spain is one of the top-notch travel destination for foodies, and Barcelona is no exception. From basic, on-a-budget cuisine to Michelin Star-rated restaurants, Barcelona has it all. No visit to Barcelona would be complete without a quick taste of Tapas and Pintxos. Other notable mentions include Paella, Bombas, Colcots and Romesco sauce, Esqueixada, Pa Amb Tomaquet, Escalivada, Crema Catalana, and Mato.

Barcelona is also home to an astonishing amount of bars and drinking places. The beer, wine, and cocktail cultures are all very well established. Combine this with Barcelona’s clubbing culture, and you’ve got a perfect recipe for a booming nightlife. Keep in mind that most clubs don’t open until after 12 A.M., so taking some preventive power naps during the day is highly recommended.

5: The people

Barcelona is not all about Gaudi, Picasso, beaches, and good food, but it’s also about the people that live there. The locals are some of the most open-minded and easygoing you will ever find. Everyone seems to be happy, and life seems to only get better when you look at them. Art seems to be engraved in the local culture; hence, you’re bound to find people performing everywhere.

Have fun visiting one of the most fascinating cities in Spain and Europe.

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5 Reasons Why Iceland Should Be on Your Bucket List

By Andra Picincu

With its breathtaking natural wonders and fabulous landscapes, Iceland is one of those places everyone should visit at least once in life. In 2016, this magic place welcomed over 1.8 million tourists. From volcanoes to waterfalls and dramatic sights, there are plenty of things to do and see once you get here.

Whether you’re traveling alone or with friends, Iceland won’t disappoint you. Here are five reasons why this destination should be on your bucket list:

 

Feast Your Eyes with the Northern Lights

Head over to Iceland between September and April to experience the magic of the Northern Lights. The bright colors dancing in the sky above you will stay on your mind for years to come. This is an experience not to be missed!

 

Explore the Blue Lagoon

Iceland is home to several hot pools that use geothermal power. The most remarkable on is the Blue Lagoon, which features a high sulfur content, healing waters, and astonishing lava rocks.

The warm water is rich in minerals that will nourish your skin and lift your spirit. In fact, the National Geographic called it one of the top 25 Wonders of the World.

 

Go Inside Glaciers

Visit Langjökull for a once-in-a-lifetime experience! Here you can actually venture inside glaciers and explore the ice tunnels.

Being surrounded by blue ice and wandering around with all that snow weighing above your head is simply out-of-this-world.

 

Discover Stunning Landscapes

Iceland boasts dramatic landscapes that you won’t find anywhere else. The waterfall in the Hvítá river canyon, the volcanic craters, and the gigantic geysers are a delight to the eyes. Imagine yourself surrounded by sparkling icebergs, black sand beaches, lava fields, and stunning waterfalls – all in one place.

Don’t miss Jökulsárlón, one of the best places to explore lagoons and giant lakes. Head over to Vik for superb scenery and authentic folklore. Visit Kirkjufell to see iconic waterfalls and breathing fjords.

 

Visit the Elf School

Reykjavik, Iceland’s capital, is home to the Elf School, a magic place featuring tiny elf houses and gardens. Actually, a staggering 37 percent of locals believe that elves exist. That’s why they’ve built a miniature village for these mythical creatures.

There are countless reasons to visit Iceland. This destination will wow even the most skeptic travelers. Don’t miss this unique experience!