EuroTribe

your guide to Europe off the beaten path

Category: Cities & Culture

8 Less-Known and Alternative Things To Do in Amsterdam

Amsterdam is an alternative city compared to many other European capitals. But what if you want to see the more alternative side of an already alternative city? If you’ve checked…

Amsterdam is an alternative city compared to many other European capitals. But what if you want to see the more alternative side of an already alternative city? If you’ve checked off all of your travel guide’s recommendations and are at a loss what-to-do-next, follow this list for more less-known and alternative things to do in Amsterdam.

Amsterdam Magic Show

The Amsterdam Magic Show is the only theater act performed in English that showcases magic and comedy. It’s set in a 20’s styled cabaret theater (think wood paneling and lush, red velvet curtains). The show is unique and stays current as the act changes every month. Every month world-class mentalists, illusionists and magicians from all over the world come together to awaken our childhood beliefs.

It takes place on the first or second Tuesday each month. There are only two shows a night (the early and late show), so make sure to book in advance as tickets sell out quickly!

Small Museums

Cat Cabinet

Katten Kabinet

Internet was founded so it’d connect the global community over a shared adoration for felines. Well not really. But, we can say for sure that some of the most viewed content on the web is in fact, of our furry masters. Anyone who has a cat knows that you do not own one, but it owns you. 🙂

Kattenkabinet is set in a fully restored, beautiful house from the 17th century. Besides being a historical landmark on its own, it hosts an incredible collection dedicated solely to cats in art, culture and history. Even if you’re not an avid cat enthusiast, it’s a welcomed break from the norm.

Electric Ladyland

Phosphorescent sculpture

Commonly known as ‘The world’s first museum of fluorescent art’, the Electric Ladyland is a museum set in a basement. The museum displays a collection of fluorescent minerals, “thermal expansion” paintings (a painting technique discovered by the owner) and mineral artwork. You too, are an active part of the art, in the segment called “participatory art”.

The only thing that overshadows the museum is its owner, Nick Padallino. His vast knowledge on the subject and charismatic personality makes you want to listen to him for hours. If you want to bypass the magic truffles but still experience an Amsterdam trip – this museum is a perfect pick.

Other unusual museums are the Pipe museum, Vrolik Museum, Venustempel Sex Museum, Museum of Bags and Purses, Ripley’s Believe it or Not! and Red Lights Secrets – Prostitution museum.

Amsterdam Light Festival

Amsterdam Light Festival  2

Another attraction that puts Amsterdam on the map as the capital of magical entertainment. There aren’t any illusionists/magicians involved into organizing this festival as international architects, artists and (light) designers bring the real magic. Festival is held every winter, and it brings together new talent with a unified goal, to make Amsterdam vibrate warmth and pulsate with color during the coldest, darkest nights.

There are a lot of interesting tours on offer. Bike tours or culinary boat tours, just to name a few. Enjoying dutch delicacies and craft beer is a perfect addition to a light spectacle that’s displayed right in front of your eyes.

Neighborhood: NDSM

ndsm-amsterdam-noord-21

Probably one of the coolest neighborhoods in Europe, NDSM is a former shipyard now transformed into a creative hub. Kunststad (Art City) is located in the NDSM hangar where artists are continuously keeping busy creating. Alongside the riverbank there are a lot of restaurants, pubs and clubs. Visit IJ-kantine,Greenhouse Café Noorderlicht or try bungee jumping from a crane.

Restaurants

Restaurant de Kas

De Kas interior

Majority of the time we completely desensitize from the food on our plate. How much effort and time it takes for that one potato to be on our plate. Restaurant de Kas puts you in a setting where you’re surrounded by the produce that’s going to end up on your plate. They differ from other restaurants, as their menu is created daily and only consists of things in season and harvested from their garden.

The restaurant is inside of a greenhouse that used to belong to Amsterdam’s Municipal Nursery. They describe their cooking style similar to the cuisines of the rural Mediterranean. The vegetable dishes are served in combination with meat or fish from local suppliers, but there are vegetarian options available.

Ctaste

ctaste

The “dark dining” concept originated in Switzerland in 1999., with Blinde Kuh. Since then it has spread all over the world, from New York to Beijing.

The question you might be posing to yourself is, why would anyone desire to not see what they’re eating? Well, eliminating sense of sight, your other senses of taste and smell are heightened. At the Ctaste, the visually impaired staff will lead you to your table in a dark room. Before you enter you’ll choose a prefixed menu from a selection of cuisines, but the dishes they’ll be serving you are a surprise.

The Butcher

A burger joint located near Albert Cuypstraat in de Pijp. If the name of the restaurant is not self explanatory enough there’s a cow hanging upside down in the window display. So yes, beef burgers all around. What separates the Butcher from other burger joints is the secret bar located in the back. The same concept that made the cocktail bar Please Don’t Tell in New York City thrive among its competition. In order to be granted an entrance to the secret bar – you need to know the daily changed password.

Markets

Thanks to globalization, whatever country you’re in, you’ll find an H&M or a Forever21 anywhere. So why buy something at H&M in Amsterdam, when that same collection is probably displayed back at your home country? If you enjoy the hunt of something unique and want to purchase something characteristic of the country you’re visiting – you can never go wrong with street markets.

Antique market Amsterdam

Flea Market - Antiques

Serious collectors fly to Amsterdam just to navigate through its 1750 square feet of lost artifacts. Don’t bring too much money as you won’t be able to resist.

Noordermarkt

Noordermarkt

Here you can get anything from jewelry, clothes to books or art pieces. If you’re in need of some organic ingredients for your dinner – you’re in luck as here you can find a vast array of different organic foods.

Albert Cuypmarkt

If street markets are your scene then you’ve probably heard of the Albert Cuypmarkt, Amsterdam’s busiest market. Whatever you’re in need of, the chances are you’ll find it here. I’d say that to make the most out of it spend at least half a day exploring. If you get hungry there are snack vendors, eateries and cafes all over the surrounding area. Haggling in Netherlands’ largest antique market is an experience of its own.

Other markets worth a visit include Waterlooplein Flea Market and of course Bloemenmarkt.

De Hallen

Amsterdam DE Hallen

De Hallen is an early 20th century industrial building, now a center of the arts, fashion and most importantly, food. In this complex you can find a cinema (largest independent cinema), a boutique hotel, stores and Food Hallen – indoor food market with around 20 street vendors and a bar.

Alternative Housing

As mentioned, Amsterdam and its forward thinking inhabitants are great at putting old, unused spaces to new purposes. These are some of the noteworthy mentions that you should check out or even better stay at, for a different experience.

Faralda Crane Hotel is set in a 50 metres high harbour crane in NDSM shipyard.

Amstel Botel is a floating hotel in NDSM shipyard.

Amstel Botel

Hotel de Windketel is a private tower and once part of the municipal waterworks.

‘Hotel de Windketel’ Watertorenplein Amsterdam

The Lloyd, world’s first 1-5 star Hotel. Its role throughout the years has been changed often, serving first as a refugee center, detention center, juvenile detention center and artist studios.

Lloyd Hotel

Amsterdam is on the pricier side and unfortunately not all of us can afford to stay at Hotel de Windketel. However there’s always a demand for cheap short stay Amsterdam accommodation, so you’ll surely find something suitable for your budget.

Photo Credits: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15

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Living In a Cave – Europe’s Unusual Homes You Can Still Visit

If you thought that the era of living in caves is in the past, you’re in for a surprise. The truth is that, nowadays, many people choose caves as their…

If you thought that the era of living in caves is in the past, you’re in for a surprise. The truth is that, nowadays, many people choose caves as their living space and customize them according to their needs.

When you ask the inhabitants what drew them to this way of living, you will usually get similar responses. They will tell you this is the perfect way to connect with nature, but still be a part of the civilized world. Also, when you think about it, there’s something special about actually living in the Earth, instead of on top of it.

Even if you wouldn’t consider becoming a cave dweller yourself, you’re probably curious about this lifestyle choice. You might want to see the interior design and the layout of these unique houses.

We’ve prepared a list of certain cave homes in Europe that you can actually visit and experience in person!

Living In a Cave – Europe’s Unusual Homes

Matera, Italy

living in a cave

This 9,000-year-old city is a truly remarkable spot. The UNESCO World Heritage site was once swallowed by poverty and disease, but it managed to rise from the ashes. Today, it is a growingly popular tourist destination and is even set to be the European Capital of Culture in 2019!

From afar, the town almost looks haunting. But when you get closer, you’ll be able to see the spectacular caves transformed into private homes, hotels, restaurants or even art museums.

What once was known as the “shame of Italy” is a stunning location that attracts movie directors alongside the curious visitors.

If you’ve ever seen Pier Paolo Pasolini’s The Gospel According to St. Matthew or The Passion of the Christ directed by Mel Gibson, this is where they were filmed!

living in a cave

Almost everyone agrees that the best way to get to know Matera is to simply allow yourself to get lost in it. Wander through its little alleys and discover all the hidden gems it has to offer. If you’ll feel more comfortable with a guide, you can sign up for one of the walking or cycling tours.

To really get in touch with the town’s cave culture, pay a visit to some of its churches. Our recommendations are the Chiesa di Madonna delle Virtù and Chiesa di San Nicola dei Greci churches. Also, don’t miss the Cripta del Peccato Originale (Crypt of Original Sin), often referred to as the Sistine Chapel of cave churches.

If you’d like to enjoy the well-known spirit of southern Italy with a twist, Matera is the place to be. The charming town leaves no one indifferent!

Guadix, Spain

living in a cave

Even though this might look like many other Spanish towns at first, wait until you visit the Barrio de las Cuevas neighborhood. Today, with around 2,000 inhabited caves, this is the largest cave complex in Europe.

The people who live in these caves are very friendly and will often let you into their homes. They understand that the visitors are curious and sometimes they’ll invite you in even if you didn’t ask. It’s fascinating to see how they actually live and function on a daily basis.

Don’t be surprised if some of the homes look quite luxurious compared to their outside appearance. It’s not uncommon for them to have marble floors, microwaves or a stable internet connection. The people have turned the caves into modern, 21st-century houses, although it might not seem like it at first.

You can choose to stay in a “normal” hotel inside the city, or you can rent a cave and experience the interesting lifestyle firsthand. Whatever you choose, you’ll definitely feel like a local, even if it’s only for a couple of hours.

Loire Valley, France

The picturesque countryside is the epicenter of the troglodyte lifestyle in France, with around 45,000 cave homes in total. What’s interesting is how it all even came to be.

The local stone, known as tufa, was used to build the chateaus and churches across the Loire Valley in the 11th century. So, the people decided to use the full potential of the circumstances. They would sell the stone and create homes in what remained after the mining.

Many caves were completely abandoned by the 20th century but then revamped in the recent years. Other than serving as private homes, caves are now being turned into hotels, wineries and even underground mushroom farms.

One of the most visited cave homes of the region is the Chez Hélène-Amboise Troglodyte. Believe it or not, the cave near the town of Amboise was bought by a young couple for only 1€!

After a long process of renovating, the house is now completely modernized, but it still has a rustic vibe. You can rent a room and the couple, who also lives there, will make sure your experience is unforgettable.

The entire Loire Valley is lined with B&B’s and cave homes available for rent. The traditional French charm may even persuade you to stay here for good!

Santorini, Greece

living in a cave

One of the most prestigious summer destinations is the Greek island of Santorini. Its white, blue-domed houses and churches are recognizable everywhere around the world. However, it is less known that Santorini offers an abundance of cave houses, known as yposkafa or iposkafa.

Even though they aren’t considered to be naturally-made caves, they are carved into cliffs, which makes them essentially the same. Just like in the Loire Valley, they were built by poorer residents.

The yposkafa all have similar characteristics: narrow façades, great depth, and no side windows. What makes them less claustrophobic is the fact that the walls are usually white, which visually enlarges the space.

Something you’ll notice as soon as you step in is that the temperature inside the house is always pleasant, even if it’s hot outside. So, sleeping in an yposkafa on a scorching summer day is an unmissable experience.

Today, most of these houses are available for rent, since Santorini’s main income comes from tourism. You will mainly find them in Oia, Vothonas, Karterados, and Pyrgos.

If you’re willing to spend a bit more, treat yourself by renting out an yposkafa with a jacuzzi and enjoy!

 

 

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14 Coolest Bars in Budapest

Budapest is one of the most popular party cities in Europe and for good reason. It became famous for its ruin bars, spa parties and it also hosts Sziget –…

Budapest is one of the most popular party cities in Europe and for good reason. It became famous for its ruin bars, spa parties and it also hosts Sziget – one of the largest music festivals in the world.

Narrowing down this list was somewhat difficult but here you’ll find our selection of the coolest bars in Budapest.

Coolest Bars in Budapest

skål

Located just across the Synagogue in Dohany street, this bar with the Scandinavian vibe is an awesome place for a daily coffee or an evening drink. They have a cool selection of craft beers. There’s outdoor seating in the summer.

Dohány utca, +36 70 571 0069

Szimpla Kert

Szimpla Kert is the city’s most famous ruin bar, located in Kazinczy street which is the number one nightlife spot in Budapest. This huge complex consists of several venues that host different music and cultural programs.

There are live music concerts, movie projections but also some other things such as the farmer’s market.

The bar has many quirky rooms and cool interior, making you want to explore it all.

The downside of Szimpla Kert however, is that it’s overcrowded. Most people just come in to explore the place and take a few photos, before exploring what else Budapest has to offer.

Kazinczy utca, +36 20 261 8669

Fogahaz

Another huge ruin bar with lots of different rooms and music genres. It occupies the place of a former dental hospital and is a great place for dancing. Many locals visit Fogahaz. There’s an outdoor seating area too.

Akácfa utca, +36 1 783 8820

Jonas Craft Beer House at Balna

If you happen to pass by Balna – a cultural and entertainment center located by the river – make a stop at Jonas Craft Beer House.

They have some interesting specialty beers such as Golden Jonas or Cunning Beaver. If you get hungry you can try one of their burgers.

Sit outside and enjoy the wonderful view of the Danube and the city!

Fővám tér 11, +36 70 930 1392

Liebling

This hidden rooftop bar is actually part of Fogahaz complex. In the summer there’s a small outdoor terrace on the top, which makes Liebling an interesting place for a drink or two, under the open sky. There’s also a live music with the DJ booth. Liebling is quite small so if you want to grab a spot don’t come too late.

Akácfa utca, +36 1 783 8820

Bobek Kert

Bobek Kert is an awesome bar in the popular Kazinczy street. It’s not that pretentious or popular as some other places in this area, which makes it even cooler. The staff is friendly and the bar offers nice and laidback atmosphere.

Kazinczy utca, +36 1 322 0729

Doblo

This wine bar is located in the Jewish quarter and it’s one of the best places to try Hungarian wine or palinka. They offer a wide array of wine tastings and host live jazz nights. The wine menu is abundant and if you get hungry, they’ve got great cheese and an interesting mix of platters.

Dob Utca 20, +36 20 398 8863

Csendes Tars Winebar & Garden

This was one of my favourite finds in Budapest. This bar is located just next to the Karoly park which is a small oasis. In my opinion it’s also one of the most beautiful parks in the city. Sitting outside is very relaxing (especially on a sunny day) but the interior is pretty interesting too. Their wine list is extensive.

Magyar utca 18, +36 30 727 2100

Puder Bar

Nice place to eat and drink in the evening hours. There’s a large selection of beers and the food is delicious. You can sample some traditional Hungarian dishes or their tasty burgers. The interior resembles the typical “ruin bar” look and they also organise literary nights.

Ráday utca 8,  +36 1 210 7168

For Sale Pub

For Sale Pub managed to appear on Atlas Obscura, which speaks enough about the uniqueness of this place. The visitors are allowed to leave their mark on the walls, ceiling, and floor. However, the decor is not the only cool thing about this place. For Sale Pub also offers huge and tasty portions of Hungarian food. A must!

Vámház krt. 2, +36 70 232 3756

A38

A38 is the Ukrainian stone-carrier ship, now serving a totally different purpose. It was turned into a cultural center that’s housing an exhibition space, five bars and a restaurant.

You’ll find plenty of events here, mostly live music and concerts.

Petőfi híd, budai hídfő, +36 1 464 3940

Eleszto Craft Beer Bar

If you love craft beers accompanied with great food don’t skip Eleszto. You can choose between 15 to 20 types of beer, and the selection is changing very often. This is cash-only place.

Tűzoltó utca 22, +36 70 336 1279

Ellato Kert

Ellato Kert is a quirky ruin bar with Mexican decor. They serve nice cocktails here but you’ll also find some food options. There’s an open-air garden which makes this place really cool in the summer. The bar organizes art events and live music.

Kazinczy utca 48, +36 20 527 3018

Fröccsterasz

Nice choice for summer evenings and a cocktail or two. Their wine list is abundant and they also serve food, so there’s something for everyone.

Erzsébet tér 11, +36 30 419 5040

Budapest has a lot of cool bars and its nightlife is constantly changing.

Don’t forget to check out these 25 interesting things to see and do in Budapest as well.

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10 Alternative Places in London And What They Offer

Why visit alternative places in London when you can be strolling through some of London’s best museums? Don’t get me wrong, when I visit a new place  I always do…

Why visit alternative places in London when you can be strolling through some of London’s best museums?

Don’t get me wrong, when I visit a new place  I always do all the touristy things. But to really get a feel for the place, you need to find places where the locals love to frequent. Sometimes we all need a bit of quietness and don’t want to be surrounded by big crowds with selfie sticks.

When you start frequenting the more alternative places in London (or in any other city that you visit) is when the real fun begins. This is the reason why I compiled my list of the more alternative places in London!

Freud’s Museum

Freud Museum

Photo: Freud Museum by Matt Brown on Flickr (under CC 2.0)

You can tell a lot about a person by their apartment. When you step into the Freud Museum,  you step into his home. Therefore you get a chance to peek into the private space of world’s most famous psychoanalyst.

After fleeing from the Nazis, Sigmund Freud and his family made Hempstead their new home. In this house, he has produced some of the most noteworthy works in the field of psychology. Everything in his Hempstead home remained the way he left it. The interior was decorated due to the help of Anna Freud, Sigmund Freud’s daughter.

You can see the waiting room, his study, and the famous couch! The museum offers an all-around insight into his cultural environment much as the trajectory of the development of psychoanalysis.

2. Barbican Conservatory

Photo: Barbican Conservatory by Sascha Pohflepp on Flickr (under CC 2.0)

Barbican Conservatory is the second biggest conservatory in London. The building is also one of the finest examples of brutalist architecture, therefore, an interesting choice for a conservatory. One of the things that makes it special, is that this little green oasis is hidden in the midst of London. It houses over 2,000 species of tropical plants, trees and various exotic fish. If you want to be surrounded by tranquillity and escape the crowds of London – this is the perfect hideout.

It has amazing exhibitions and workshops throughout the year, so keep an eye out for interesting events.  The only downside of this place is that it’s only open on Sundays!

3. the Indian YMCA

Lamb curry

Photo: Lamb curry by pelican on Flickr (under CC 2.0)

By all accounts, the Indian YMCA is an institution. They’ve existed around 60 years and during all those years they’ve created an impeccable reputation and they uphold it to present day.  So what do you get at the Indian YMCA? The best and most affordable Indian food in all of London.

Notoriously known for their curries (they offer vegetarian and non-vegetarian options). Everything is cooked home-style and spiced accordingly. A number of different dishes, all with rich aromas and low prices. Consequently, you will definitely find yourself coming back during your stay in London.

4. Trinity Buoy Wharf

Trinity Buoy Wharf

Photo: Trinity Buoy Wharf by k_tjaaa on Flickr (under CC)

First of all, Trinity Buoy Wharf was just another engineering establishment (iron buoys). Since the late ’90s, it transformed into another center for the arts and creative hubs. What makes Trinity Buoy Wharf a fascinating place?

It is the origin of Container city and home to London’s only lighthouse!

Container City is a new model of eco-friendly building design! Recycled shipping containers are used as living and working quarters. The Container City now counts over 70 containers. In addition to being good for the environment seems like it’s even more beneficial for your wallet!

London’s only lighthouse is interesting due to its unusual purpose. Jem Finer developed a musical composition that has been played since the 31st of December 1999. The composition will continue with no repeat until the year of 2999. You might think that listening to a 20 minute and 20 seconds piece would get tiring (and you’d be right!) but this piece is using an algorithm. The algorithm gives a large number of variations therefore making the composition to go in improvised directions.

If you want to find out more about the Trinity Buoy Wharf click here.

5. Jack The Ripper Tour

East end alley

Photo: East end alley by Jennifer Woodard Maderazo on Flickr (under CC 2.0)

This tour is not for the faint-hearted. It is taking you on the route of the notorious Jack the Ripper, a murderer that terrorized the streets of East End London. The 125-year-old murder mystery to this day baffles world-class crime investigators and historians. This tour transports you onto the streets of 19th century East End.

Explore the gruesome details of East End’s dark cobbled streets and dimly lit passageways. The whole route is constructed as an investigation, as a result, making you feel as if you fell into a Victorian detective novel.

6. Speakeasy Bars

Aviation

Photo: Aviation by Adrian Scottow on Flickr (under CC 2.0)

I am obsessed with speakeasy bars. The better hidden, the better. If they have a password which is hard to come by I am particularly amused. The charm of speakeasy bars stems from a multitude of reasons. First of all, all that playing around with hidden locations, entrances cleverly disguised as phone booths brings out our inner child. Secondly, it feels as if you’re a part of some secret club as if you’re in on a secret. It makes every night out that much special.

When coming to a new city – I always try to find out what’s their take on a speakeasy bar. London doesn’t disappoint!

The Mayor of Scaredy Cat Town is hidden under the Breakfast Club on Artillery Lane. The Breakfast Club looks like a typical New York breakfast place. If you’re in for more than a breakfast ask the waitress to see the Mayor. You will be led to the entrance. The entrance is hidden in a fridge! The underground bar serves brunch and delicious cocktails.

Other very popular speakeasies are Evans & Peel Detective Agency, the Experimental Cocktail Club & the Nightjar.

7. Magic Circle Museum at the Centre for Magic Arts

17/365: i could be your magician

Photo by Jin on Flickr (under CC 2.0)

A secretive group of illusionists who made London a centre of magic (yes, way before the-Boy-Who-Lived) swore to keep their magic a secret. While we aren’t privy to their illusion tricks we are allowed to take a peek. As a result, the Magic Circle Museum is opened! The impressive collection has a number of interesting illusionist’s tools. Some of them are the same guns used in bullet illusions or pieces from Houdini’s act. Make sure to see some of their magic acts!

8. Chislehurst Caves

A church service in Chislehurst Caves during World War 2, recreated with wax figures

Photo: A church service in Chislehurst Caves by Ben Sutherland on Flickr (under CC 2.0)

Chislehurst Caves are chalk caves that were mined by hand for over 8000 years. They were mined for flint and lime, and later on served as an ammunition depot during First World War. The 8000 years old history is divided into Druid, Roman and Saxon times. But nowadays they opened up new passageways which guide you through time to present day! It is especially interesting to visit during Halloween due to their special events!

If you want to find out more about Chislehurst Caves click here.

9. British Library’s Treasures Gallery

DIG13762-027

The Sir John Ritblat Treasures aka the British Library’s Treasures Gallery is one of the most popular museums among the Londoners. It covers 2000 years of history! What makes it so interesting is the rather eclectic collection. You can find anything from Da Vinci’s or Jane Austen’s notebooks, Magna Carta to the Beatles’ lyrics.

Time Out magazine described the British Library’s Treasures Gallery as “The Holy grail for history buffs.”

10.  The Wellcome Collection

Wellcome Collection

And I saved best for last! The permanent exhibition of Henry Wellcome’s amazing objects features the history of science and medicine in a rather interesting and fun way. In addition to the permanent collection, there are a lot of great temporary exhibitions as well. They cover a vast array of universal topics, such as sex, sleep and death.

The Wellcome’s collection of weird objects won’t let your excitement fade away. Therefore you will find random objects such as Napoleon’s toothbrush, a DNA sequencing robot, an ancient mummy, Darwin’s walking stick and much more.

If you want to find out more info about the Wellcome Collection click here.

Now that you know where to go and mingle with the locals, book your ticket with British Airways for your next adventure! Also, don’t forget to check out these 5 places to visit in UK besides London.

What is your favourite quirky spot in London? Share in the comments!

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5 Places To Visit In UK Besides London

This is a guest post by Craig of My Gay Globe. You can also follow his adventures on Twitter. Those heading to the United Kingdom often head to the cosmopolitan…

This is a guest post by Craig of My Gay Globe. You can also follow his adventures on Twitter.


Those heading to the United Kingdom often head to the cosmopolitan capital. London is a magnificent city but there are numerous fantastic destinations to explore beyond Europe’s largest urban area. Here are five incredible places to visit in UK besides London;

Manchester

Manchester Canal Scene at Night

Photo: Manchester Canal Scene at Night by Smabs Sputzer on Flickr (under CC 2.0 licence)

This northern powerhouse is often cited as the UK’s second city. Famed for its rich industrial heritage, today Manchester is thriving with world-class music venues, an array of bars and restaurants and a burgeoning tourist scene in its own right. Culture is high on the agenda here.

The impressive Whitworth Gallery set amidst verdant gardens and The People’s History Museum, charting the history and important figures of Manchester, are just two of the many to visit. The Northern Quarter is the city’s premier entertainment region with excellent pubs and restaurants to match.

Cornwall

Causeway at low tide.

Photo: Causeway at low tide by Simon Harrod on Flickr (under CC 2.0 licence)

Nestled in the rugged south western corner of England is the stunning region of Cornwall.  The mystical home of King Arthur is rather isolated from the rest of the UK and thus remains delightfully unspoiled. There are countless coves and beaches and areas of natural beauty to be explored. A few of Cornwall’s must-see localities include Porthcurno, Wheal Coates and Penzance.

Travel to the very edge of the country at Land’s End or head to Bodmin Moor to make the most of the enigmatic expanse of this impressive area of natural beauty. Cornwall is also ideally suited to those who enjoy outdoor pursuits. Rock climbing and surfing opportunities are ubiquitous and there are plenty of hiking trails for those who want to remain on terra firma.

Brighton

Brighton P310 170717 -045

Photo: Brighton by Peter Rowley on Flickr (under CC 2.0 licence)

Located just 50 miles south of London is the charming but lively seaside town of Brighton. Known for its lefty politics and LGBT community, Brighton is home to one of the country’s most vibrant bar and restaurants scenes. The North and South Laine are a cavernous collection of shops and cafes located in a range of small streets and alleys which give Brighton its kitsch and cool vibe.

The beach, of course, attacks big crowds in the summer. However, the ample beach space means a 15-minute walk from the central area near the iconic pier and you’ll be able to find your own spot of serenity.

Cambridge

The Cam river

Photo: The Cam River by Francisco Anzola on Flickr (under CC 2.0 licence)

This stunning university town is famed for its classical architecture, historic market square and quaint cafes, shops and bars. Cambridge is best explored by bike and the city boasts an extensive cycle network – if you prefer, the city centre is very walkable, though you might need to use the excellent transport networks to reach some of the peripheries of the city.

The university is the principal attraction here and is actually a collection of independent colleges. Some of the more interesting and opulent are Queens’ College, King’s College and Trinity College.

Museum and cultural attractions are not in short supply here and The Fitzwilliam Museum and The Sedgwick Museum of Earth Sciences are two of the best.

The River Cam is the lifeblood of Cambridge and a hub of activity in the summer months. Either take to the water for a spot of punting and rowing or enjoy the grassy banks with some prosecco and sandwiches and enjoy the delights of this sleepy but seductive university city.

Edinburgh

Old Royal High

Photo: Old Royal High by Magnus Hagdorn on Flickr (under CC 2.0)

Scotland’s traditionally Celtic capital is one of the UK’s finest cities and has plenty to offer those who choose to visit north of the border. Most of the activity is based around Edinburgh’s historic centre. The city’s Medieval heartland is famed for the magnificent Edinburgh Castle, the Palace of Holyrood and the home of the Scottish Parliament.

Many of the best sites are located on the famous Royal Mile around which much of the ancient city was constructed. Adjacent to the Old Town is the New Town – where you’ll be privy to the city’s newest and hippest bars and restaurants as well as plenty of shops selling everything from clothes to books.

Once you’ve had your fill of the pubs and museums, Edinburgh is ideally situated for exploring further afield and seeing more of Scotland. You can reach Glasgow in under an hour and there are plenty of smaller, authentic Scottish towns which make for the perfect half-day trip.

Convinced? Check out Momondo for cheap flights to the UK and EuroTribe’s guide on finding cheap accommodation.

Featured photo: by Joe Reed on Unsplash

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7 Fantastic Day Trips From Rome

Why would anyone want to take day trips from Rome? Rome is a beautiful city with many hidden layers. But no matter how exciting Rome is, one can’t deny that…

Why would anyone want to take day trips from Rome? Rome is a beautiful city with many hidden layers.

But no matter how exciting Rome is, one can’t deny that its charming chaos, can also get very tiring.

Italy is more than Rome, and in order not to miss out, I compiled a list of day trips from Rome.

So book your train ticket and treat yourself with a fancy retreat or perhaps with a stay in luxury homes of Italy.

Here are 7 day trips from Rome;

1. Naples

Naples stands for phenomenal food, architectural gems and is home to some of the most stunning art!

The city boasts of having one of the best archaeological museums in the world. The majority of the sculptures, mosaics and frescoes from the ancient Pompeii and Herculaneum are safely regarded at this museum. The city itself is an archaeological find – or what lies underneath that is.

Naples is built on a soft, volcanic stone. From the ancient times, residents have dug chambers and passages beneath the city. You can find remnants of every era, from the aqueducts of the ancient Greeks to pagan burial chambers.

Before you leave your one day trip adventure, stop by the Capodimonte museum. I am a big fan of Caravaggio, Michelangelo, Botticelli and Titian.

Feeling hungry? Remember you’re in Naples, opting out for anything other than pizza to eat is equal to blasphemy. Pizza was invented in Napoli.

2. Pompeii

Pompeii

Photo: Pompeii (CC 2.0) by Paul Kelley

So you decided to continue your route from Naples instead of heading back to Rome? Finally an adventurer! Pompeii is only half an hour away from Naples!

Pompeii was a lively city that was destroyed by an eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in the AD 79. As a result of the tragic incident, the whole city was kept within a natural capsule made out of ash and sediment. While many other Roman cities fell into ruin – Pompeii to this day is the most preserved and one of world’s greatest records of ancient Roman history.

Pompeii has a lot to offer and I wouldn’t suggest just breezing through the city. If you’re short on time and want to do Naples and another city in one day – then instead of focusing on Pompeii – I’d suggest you focus on Herculaneum.

3. Pisa

When you get to Pisa, like everyone else you’re going to visit the La Torre Pendente, the tower of Pisa. They laid the foundation of the leaning tower as early as the 12th century. It is one of the most photographed buildings in the world.

Nice thing about Pisa is that you can see the main tourist sites within an hour. Which leaves you to enjoy the beautiful town, breathe in the Tuscan air and do some light shopping.

Also don’t forget to check out the Cathedral and the Baptistery.

4. Tivoli

Doors in Tivoli, Italy

Photo: Doors in Tivoli by Klaus Berdiin Jensen

The town of Tivoli is located 30 kilometers from Rome. The nobles during the Roman era preferred Tivoli as their favorite resort.

Hadrian’s Villa at Tivoli is one of the Italian UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Emperor Hadrian wanted to reproduce some of the places and buildings he had seen on some his many travels. The influence of Greece and Egypt is especially strong. He was a big admirer of Greek sculptures. Thankfully for us, he accomplished in having them reproduced, as many of the Greek originals have disappeared over time.

UNESCO described the Hadrian’s Villa as combining “the best elements of the architectural heritage of Egypt, Greece, and Rome in the form of an ‘ideal city’.”

Landscape architects turn to Villa d’Este for guidance. The Italianate gardens of Villa d’Estate have been a source of inspiration for gardens round the world. As I mentioned, the estate is quite sizeable and it will take a while to go through. If you enjoy nature like I do, then you’ll enjoy your time there. There is so much to see, the water play, grottos, terraces with fantastic panoramas and beautiful series of gardens.

5. Ostia Antica

Ostia Antica is the closest location to Rome, only half an hour away. It’s a beautiful, ancient town with forum, charming bars and restaurants.

6. Florence

Florence, Italy

Photo: Florence (CC 2.o) by Alejandro

You’re in the epicenter of art. Many artists from all over the world flock to Florence, to gaze upon the works of their idols in Galleria degli Uffizi. One of the richest and most famous art galleries is housed in what was originally built as the Medici Whitehall. They have an impressive collection (and rumor has it even more impressive works stay hidden in their vaults) but some of my favorites are Botticelli’s Primavera and Birth of Venus.

Also make sure to visit Duomo and Battistero. The cathedral is known for the amazing frescoes inside and also, it’s the biggest masonry dome in the world.

7. Sorrento

You can’t miss out on Sorrento! Even though it does not have the most famous attractions, the city itself is well worth the visit. The beaches, sea breeze and a slow pace of living – will be everything you need to rest from the bustle of Rome.

When you look at the architecture of the town you may notice discontinuity and a mixture of various influences. The variety is largely owed to the fact that during its arduous history Sorrento has been ruled by many. There were Greeks, Romans, French, Spanish, Byzantines and Turks!

Italy is one of those countries where even the tiniest villages are packed with history and beauty. If you’re lucky enough to be already well acquainted with Rome – then take as many day trips from Rome  and go explore! Italy awaits you!

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