EuroTribe

your guide to Europe off the beaten path

Category: Cities & Culture

7 Cool Museums in the Balkans

Museums are almost always an integral part of everyone’s itinerary when visiting a new destination. Yet, they are not among top associations when you think of the Balkans – it…

Museums are almost always an integral part of everyone’s itinerary when visiting a new destination. Yet, they are not among top associations when you think of the Balkans – it is nightlife, food, lovely beaches and nature. However, Balkan cities have some real hidden gems and fantastic niche museums that are well worth the visit.

From broken relationships to aviation, nuclear bunkers and science or the communist retro past, these 7 cool museums in the Balkans are waiting for you to discover them! Next time you’re in the Balkans look beyond the main attractions and go visit one of these museums.

Museum of Broken Relationships – Zagreb

Museum of Broken Relationships Zagreb

What started as a traveling exhibition ended up being one of Europe’s most innovative museums. The exhibition consists of objects sent by contributors from around the world which are accompanied with a personal story. These objects can be anything from a fluffy toy or music CD to something more extreme such an axe. Stories, on the other hand, hide much more powerful message – they are packed with satire, hatred and hurt.

This is a museum you’ll remember for a lifetime which is not so surprising as it is such an emotional roller coaster. What you may find interesting though is that this museum was founded by two people whose relationship has ended.

If you’ve just suffered from a breakup and want to do something more creative than punching a pillow, sharing your story to the world might be just what you need.

Museum of Aviation – Belgrade

Kamov Ka-25PL at Belgrade Aviation Museum

Photo: Belgrade Aviation Museum by G B_NZ 

If you happen to fly into Nikola Tesla Airport, the main airport serving Serbia’s capital, don’t miss the chance to visit the Museum of Aviation which is right next to it.

You’ll easily recognize its geodesic glass building which houses more than 200 aircraft previously operated by the Yugoslav and Serbian Air Forces. The most important displays include the USAF F-117 Nighthawk and F-16 Fighting Falcon which were shot down during the NATO bombing of Yugoslavia in 1999.

There is also an outdoor exhibition with more than 10 large airplanes.

You can also go to the museum by catching the bus #72 from Zeleni Venac station.

Noesis – Science Centre and Technology Museum – Thessaloniki

cool museums in the balkans

Planetarium (Photo: Noesis Museum)

If you’re a science freak you don’t want to miss Noesis – Science Centre and Technology Museum in Greece’s second largest city. Go watch an astronomy show at the Planetarium, a 3D movie in the Cosmotheater or do a ride show at the Motion Simulator.

After the Science Centre go to the Museum which consists of three main exhibitions. One is dedicated to classic cars, the other to technological innovations and works of Ancient Greeks and the last one is Technopark – an interactive area where you can learn more about the world of physics.

It’s a fantastic experience for people of all ages!

Tito’s Atomic Shelter – Konjic

cool museums in the balkans

Photo: Almin Zrno (www.bijenale.ba)

Also known as the Ark, this former nuclear bunker was built to protect President Tito and his close inner circle in case an atomic conflict happened. The bunker is located near the town of Konjic in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the public only heard about it after the breakup of Yugoslavia in the 1990s.

It was one of the largest underground complexes in the former Yugoslavia. To get an idea of how big it is, it had Tito’s residence which consists of 5 rooms, over 100 rooms in general, two conference centers, two kitchens and even a fully operational hospital.

You are allowed to sit in Tito’s chair and take photos by his portraits. The bunker also has an art installation from various European artists.

Retro Museum – Varna

If you’re a fan of history you’re gonna love Retro Museum in Varna which opened its doors in 2015. This relatively new museum will take you back in the period between 1944-1989 during which socialism flourished in Bulgaria and other countries. The highlight of the museum is the rich collection of 50 cars which includes some legendary names such as Trabant, Volga, Wartburg, and Moskvich.

Walking along the red carpet you’ll pass by figures of Lenin, Stalin, Karl Marx and other leaders of the socialist movement. The museum also has a nice collection of household items, cigarettes, food, cosmetics and other brand products people used under the Communist regime.

If you happen to visit the Bulgarian coast for holidays and stay in Sunny Beach or Golden Coast, considering stopping in Varna and visit this interesting museum.

Museum of Yugoslav History and House of Flowers, Belgrade

cool museums in the balkans

No visit to Belgrade could be complete without visiting the Museum of Yugoslav History and the House of Flowers – the resting place of Josip Broz Tito and his ex-wife Jovanka Broz. Every year on May 25th Yugonostalgics from Serbia and the former states flock here to commemorate his birthday.

The museum has more than 200,000 artifacts showing the history of Yugoslavia and its nations. Museums are mainly centered around Tito, the gifts he received from youth, workers and foreign politicians. The Museum 25th May is also part of this large complex and is included in your ticket. At the moment it is hosting a fantastic exhibition dedicated to Yugoslav workers in Germany and Austria on temporary work.

Plan at least half a day for a visit to this complex. You won’t be disappointed.

BUNK’ART,  Tirana

Bunk Art 2

Photo: Bunk Art

Albania is one of the countries that suffered the most from the Communist regime. It is home to thousands and thousands of bunkers that you’ll spot pretty much everywhere – on mountains, beaches, cities. In fact, just after leaving the Warsaw Pact the country built 700,000 of them.

Since they were extremely hard to destroy locals found the way to make them a bit more aesthetically pleasing by being artistic and decorating them in different colors.

BUNK’ART is a place where you can learn more about Albanian history during the Communist regime and the lives of its citizens. There’s also another bunker called BUNK’ART 2 which reveals the secrets of Enver Hoxha’s secret police.

Did you like this list? Which cool museums in the Balkans do you recommend?

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11 Fantastic Activities You Can Do In Edinburgh

Edinburgh is one of Europe’s most fascinating cities offering a plenty of activities to do on a regular basis. The Old and New Town of Edinburgh are listed on the…

Edinburgh is one of Europe’s most fascinating cities offering a plenty of activities to do on a regular basis. The Old and New Town of Edinburgh are listed on the UNESCO’s list of World Heritage Sites and the city also has excellent entertainment options.

Here are 11 fantastic activities you can do in Edinburgh;

Visit the Queen’s official Scottish residence, the Palace of Holyroodhouse

The Palace of Holyrood House is famous for being the 16th-century home of Mary, Queen of Scots and also where the Queen spends her ‘Holyrood Week’ at the end of June/beginning of July each year. Regardless of your opinions of the Royal’s, it’s still a splendid piece of history to experience.

Holyroodhouse and the Abbey ruins, Edinburgh, Scotland

Go for some retail therapy at the one and only Princes Street

With huge flagship stores and a beautiful view of Edinburgh Castle, Princes Street is definitely one of the most fabulous shopping spots in the whole world. It also has a great choice of bars and restaurants.

Princes Street, Edinburgh

Take a climb up Arthur’s Seat

The highest point of Edinburgh’s Holyrood Park is Arthur’s Seat, an ancient, now extinct volcano which sits at precisely 251m above sea level. On a good day, you can get amazing views across Edinburgh and beyond. It’s also much recommended to watch the sunrise from here as it’s absolutely breathtaking.

Grab a beer at the infamous Hanging Bat

With an ever-changing range of beers brought to Edinburgh from the world’s finest and sought-after breweries worldwide, a trip to The Hanging Bat is not to be missed out. You could even have the chance to brew your own beer!

Take a spin around Knockhill Racecourse

More of a thrill-seeker? Then Knockhill Racecource is one of the best driving experience days Scotland has to offer! A must visit for all motor sports fans with events running from February until December.

Appreciate Edinburgh’s spectacular skyline for free

You can head up to the National Museum of Scotland‘s rooftop to take in the panoramic, scenic views of Edinburgh’s skyline. Bonus if it’s a clear day because you can see for miles.

National Museum of Scotland

Visit the fascinating Camera Obscura

Are optical illusions appealing or just plain annoying? Regardless of whether they’re your thing or not, there’s something for everyone at Camera Obscura. The attraction is one of the oldest experience days Scotland has to encounter and also has amazing rooftop views with free telescopes.

Take a stroll around Princes Street Gardens

Princes Street Gardens divides Edinburgh’s old town from its new town giving it historical significance as well as cultural significance. As well as being a relaxing spot, the gardens also host a big wheel, a carousel bar and a Christmas market seasons pending.

Explore art, comedy and culture at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival

The multi-cultural festival showcases 50,266 performances of 3,269 shows across 294 venues! The Edinburgh Fringe Festival is the largest arts festival in the world and runs from the 4th until the 28th of August showcasing the best of theatre, arts, comedy and more.

edinburgh festival

Visit the Archivists’ Garden

Visit this beautiful place and see 57 different types of plants, all connected to Scotland’s collective memory. Often missed by tourists this place is just a few minutes away from the busy Princes Street. The admission to the garden is free. If you want to spend a quiet day, away from the bustle of the city life you can also visit the Royal Botanic Garden.

Go to Summerhall

Summerhall is the cultural heart of Edinburgh. Here you’ll find a plenty of things to see and do – art exhibitions, gigs, films, workshops, concerts etc. The Summerhall shop has many interesting items created by the artists in residence.

Flights

You can find a cheap flight to Edinburgh on Momondo.

Accommodation



Booking.com

 

Photos: 2, 3, 4, 5
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10 Things To See And Do In Tirana, Albania

Tirana, the capital of Albania, is a colorful and chaotic place. Although it’s not the first choice for tourists who either go to the seaside or the Accursed mountains, Tirana…

Tirana, the capital of Albania, is a colorful and chaotic place. Although it’s not the first choice for tourists who either go to the seaside or the Accursed mountains, Tirana is a true find off the beaten path.

And here are top things to see and do in Tirana;

See Skanderbeg Square

This is Tirana’s central square famous for its statue of Skanderbeg – Albanian national hero. The square is also home to other famous landmarks such as the National History Museum and the National Theatre. Dëshmorët e Kombit is a major boulevard which starts from the Skanderbeg Square and hosts many buildings in Italian architectural style. It’s nice for a stroll and it will lead you to another famous landmark – Mother Teresa square.

Skanderberg Square - things to see and do in Tirana

Climb the Clock Tower and Visit Et’hem Bey Mosque

One of the oldest landmarks in Albanian capital. You can climb the tower for nice views of the city center. Mosque is built in 1821 and is famous for its interesting interior.

BUNK’ART

BUNK’ART is Tirana’s new museum and one of the most popular attractions. It consists of two parts. BUNK’ART 1 showcases the daily lives of Albanians during the communist regime, while the BUNK’ART 2 reveals the secrets of Enver Hoxha’s police. There are also other historical exhibitions.

National Historic Museum and the National Art Gallery

National Historic Museum is the prime spot for learning about Albanian history. Museum exhibits items from the ancient times to the Hoxha’s regime. On the other side National Art Gallery exhibits mostly modern art from Albania and abroad, but also the country’s socialist realism.

Pyramid

Tirana’s pyramid is a famous tourist attraction. It used to be a museum dedicated to Enver Hoxha built in 1987. Now it’s a derelict building filled with graffiti on which kids and tourists like to climb and take photos of. In the past it also hosted a disco club called The Mummy.

Pyramid - Things to see and do in Tirana

Love Freedom.

Blokku (The Block)

This neighborhood is widely known for its cafes, restaurants, boutiques etc. and is mostly visited by young Albanians. The former residence of Enver Hoxha can be found here.

Bunkers

Albania is the land of bunkers. You’ll find them at many places in the city as well. After leaving the Warsaw Pact, Albania constructed nearly 700,000 bunkers across the whole country. As they’re difficult to be destroyed many locals decided to get creative and paint them in different colors. Postblokku which is located just across the Parliament offices features an original bunker and a fragment of the Berlin Wall.

Bunkers - Things to see and do in Tirana

Mount Dajti

Mount Dajti is a nice escape from the city during the hot summer months. There’s a cable car which will take you to a plateau with great views of the surroundings and Tirana. There are also a couple of trails if you love hiking, ideal spots for a picnic and restaurants.

Mother Teresa Square

The second largest square in the city which is home to the University of Tirana and the Archaeological museum.

Tirana Art Lab

Tirana Art Lab was founded with an idea to showcase emerging artists from Albania and Europe. It hosts exhibitions, lectures and workshops. Artists can also apply for their residency program.

Where To Stay

You can compare the cheapest rates on accommodation in Tirana by visiting HotelsCombined or Booking.

Getting There

The best and easiest way to get to Tirana is by flying. Check out Momondo for a cheap flight to the Albanian capital.

Do you have any suggestions on things to see and do in Tirana? Feel free to comment below.

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Belgrade Travel Guide – Best Tips for Serbia’s Capital

As a local I’ve written many posts on Belgrade and its cool and free attractions. This time I decided to write a Belgrade travel guide but in a different format….

As a local I’ve written many posts on Belgrade and its cool and free attractions. This time I decided to write a Belgrade travel guide but in a different format. It’s ideal if you want to save some places to your Foursquare app or just bookmark it for later use.

Transport

BusPlus Card – The best way for tourists to move around Belgrade is with non personalized BusPlus card. It costs 250 RSD and you can top it with as many rides as you want. The single fare is 89 RSD and is valid for 90 minutes. With this card you can also buy a 1-day pass (250 RSD), 3-day pass (700 RSD) or 5-day pass (1000 RSD). You can top the card at any kiosk in the city and you validate it when inside the bus.

Walk – Yeah, Belgrade is not that big and many attractions can be seen on foot. Chances are, you might not even need the public transportation.

Here are more details on how to get around in Belgrade.

Attractions

Knez Mihailova - Belgrade travel guide

Belgrade Fortress – This is Belgrade’s number one tourist attraction. It offers a fantastic view of the confluence of the Sava and Danube rivers and is home to many cultural and historical attractions. Must sees are: Ružica church and Sveta Petka Church, Nebojša Tower, the Victor monument, Roman Well, Kalemegdan Park, the Military Museum and the Monument of Gratitude to France.

Republic Square and Knez Mihailova Street – Republic Square with its statue of Prince Mihailo is a famous meeting point for Belgraders. The square is also home to the National Museum and the National Theatre. Knez Mihailova is the main pedestrian zone in Belgrade with many notable landmarks on the way, restaurants and shops.

Terazije Square – Another famous central square in Serbian capital. Home to famous Hotel Moscow, Palace Albania and Terazije Terrace.

Savamala – Belgrade’s cultural hub and one of the best neighborhoods in Europe according to Business Insider. Here you’ll find cultural centers, bars, designer stores etc. Very popular among young people and hipsters.

Skadarlija – Now a totally different kind of neighborhood… this is a Serbian version of Montmartre. It’s an old bohemian quarter with cobbled lanes, taverns and restaurants. They mostly serve traditional Serbian food. It’s a very touristy place but if you want to have that experience don’t miss it.

Zemun – Many tourists skip this part of the city but if you’re staying longer, don’t miss the chance to walk across Zemun Quay and see Gardos Tower.

Ada Ciganlija – Ada is a river island on Sava River and a popular oasis for locals especially in summer. It offers many sport activities and entertainment. You can rent a bike, go water skiing, jogging or play beach volleyball.

Kosančićev Venac – This neighborhood is very central, yet so many people don’t get a chance to see it. It’s an old part of the city with cobbled streets and beautiful houses. I recommend a walk around the neighborhood and along the way you’ll also see the Cathedral Church and Princess Ljubica’s Residence. If you’re a history buff, you can also see the ruins of the National Library which was destroyed during the German bombing of Belgrade in 1941.

Slavija Square – One of the largest, busiest and ugliest squares in Belgrade. Currently it’s under renovation so maybe the last thing will change 🙂 Anyway, you won’t miss it if you happen to go to Nikola Tesla museum or St. Sava Church.

New Palace and Old Palace – The New Palace is the seat of the president of Serbia and the Old one houses the City Assembly.

Royal Palace – The official residence of the Karadjordjevic Royal Family. The palace is open for visitors but you must previously register with the Tourist Organization of Belgrade. For more info click here.

St. Sava Church – The largest Orthodox church in the world.

Museums

Nikola Tesla Museum - Belgrade travel guide

Nikola Tesla Museum

Museum of Contemporary ArtCurrently closed due to reconstruction.

National MuseumCentral building and its exhibition space is also closed due to reconstruction.

Museum of Nikola Tesla – One of Belgrade’s most notable museums exhibiting the life and work of Nikola Tesla. Coming here without a tour is pretty much useless but luckily museum offers free guided tours every hour in Serbian and English. You just need to pay the entrance fee.

Museum of Yugoslav History – This museum exhibits the cultural heritage of Yugoslavia. There are many interesting installations and photographs and a big part is dedicated to Yugoslavia’s leader Tito. Do not miss the House of Flowers which is located behind the museum as Tito’s grave is located there.

Historical Museum of Serbia – This museum is among my top 3 at the moment in Belgrade. Lately they’ve had some surprisingly innovative exhibitions.

Military Museum – Ironically this one holds more history than the Historical Museum and is much bigger. It’s set in Belgrade fortress and there’s an outer exhibition with tanks and other armory.

Honorable mentions

  • The Camp at Banjica

  • Museum of the Yugoslav Film Archive

  • Museum of African Art

  • Nebojsa Tower

Parks and Recreation

Kosutnjak Forest - Belgrade travel guide

Kosutnjak Forest

Kalemegdan Park – City’s largest park and a well-known tourist attraction.

Student’s Park – Surrounded by many faculties and cultural institutions this park mostly attracts younger crowds. It’s especially popular during summer nights where people gather for chit chat and some drinks.

Tasmajdan Park – Another beautiful park which was recently renovated. St. Marko’s church is located here and the park borders one of city’s largest streets – Bulevar Kralja Aleksandra.

Kosutnjak – A park-forest ideal for escaping city’s busy life.

Sport Center Milan Gale Muskatirovic – Good for swimming.

Where to Stay

HotelsCombined is a great hotel price comparison site. Check out hotels in Belgrade.

Another great site is Booking.com. I usually finalize all my bookings there.



Booking.com

 

Eating

Serbian food - Belgrade travel guide

City Markets – Serbs favor organic foods and markets are the best place to stock up on vegetables, fruits, cheese and other products from various parts of the country. The most famous ones are: Kalenic, Zeleni Venac and Bajloni.

Tri Sesira – Traditional Serbian restaurant in a famous bohemian quarter of the city – Skadarlija.

Moon Sushi – Great service and even better sushi.

InterGalactic Diner – Food is average, but the atmosphere is better. It’s an American style diner with a jukebox next to each table. Cool for hanging out with a group.

Via Del Gusto – Nice Italian restaurant in Knez Mihailova street.

Garden Food – Salads, soups and sandwiches. Ideal for a light lunch.

Radost – Vegetarian and vegan restaurant. Great food and a nice atmosphere. Book upfront or you risk not getting a table.

Prolece – Another traditional Serbian restaurant. Good food and budget friendly.

Sakura – Fantastic Japanese restaurant. To get the most out of the place, have a late lunch, grab a table on the terrace and enjoy the sunset view of the river and the city. And your food! 🙂

Tel Aviv Hummus House – Israeli fast food joint with great falafel sandwiches and other vegan options.

Dijagonala 2.0 – Stylish fine-dining spot with an interesting menu.

Burger House – Probably the best burger in town.

Burrito Madre – Mexican fast food joint. Nice burritos.

Zapata – Cozy and budget-friendly Mexican restaurant.

Luda kuca – Chinese fast food and my guilty pleasure. 🙂

Drinking & Nightlife

Nightlife - Belgrade travel guide

Cetinjska Street – The most popular nightlife district in Belgrade at the moment. My favorite bars are: Zaokret, Dvoristance, Kenozoik.

Supermarket Concept Store – Great for a drink in the evening (go to one in Toplicin Venac, as there are a few). During daytime hours  you’ll find clothes from Serbian designers and other cool, unique stuff.

Meduza – Awesome bar, music and people. The atmosphere is at its best at night but it’s also cool during the day when you can do some work from your laptop or just enjoy a cup of coffee.

Bar Central – The best place for cocktails.

Wine Art Podrum – Nice wine bar and food.

KC Grad – An art gallery and a night club with great events. Exhibitions, discussions, concerts – you’ll find everything here.

Samo Pivo – Rich selection of craft beers from Serbia and abroad.

Rakia Bar – If you want to try the national drink of Serbia come here.

Club 20/44 – Great club on the Sava river.

The Globe Trotters Club – One of Belgrade’s secret bars with an interesting decor.

Muha – Jazz bar in Kralja Petra street. Nice for an evening drink.

Ljubicica – Bar located inside an apartment. Limited menu but cool atmosphere. Address is Prizrenska 11/6.

Mikser House – Mikser organizes many cool events and is a great place for an evening drink (especially in summer).

Drugstore – One of the most popular Serbian and European underground clubs.

Coffee

Koffein – Nice place for having a cup of coffee or tea. They have few locations, the one in Cara Lazara street is the best.

Boutique – Always crowded but it’s a good spot for tourists for a coffee break.

Kafeterija – Hipster coffee place.

Amelie – Cozy and cute French cafe.

Barista Coffee Shop – Delicious takeaway coffee.

Apropo – Nice little bookstore where you can sit and enjoy a cup of tea.

Elixir Bar – Smoothies and milkshakes.

Shopping

Usce Shopping Center – Belgrade’s biggest and busiest shopping mall.

Delta City Shopping Center – Another big shopping mall but less crowded than Usce.

Belgrade Design District – Fashion, arts and crafts. You’ll find many things from young and creative designers. Address: Čumićevo sokače.

Supermarket Concept Store – Another cool clothing store and a bar/restaurant.

Mikser House – This venue organizes many thematic festivals where you can buy different things from designer clothes to photography equipment etc.

Knez Mihailova Street – The main pedestrian street is also one of Belgrade’s most popular shopping destinations.

Festivals and Events

Belgrade Beer Fest - Belgrade travel guide

  • Belgrade Dance Festival

  • Belgrade International Film Festival FEST

  • International Science Festival

  • Free Zone Film Festival

  • Belgrade Beer Festival

  • Belgrade Marathon

  • Mikser Festival

  • Museum Night

  • Belgrade Summer Festival

  • Belgrade Jazz Festival

  • Film Street

Tours

Royal Palace Tour

Kayak Tour – For adventurers and those who love action.

Free Tram Tour – Tourist organization of Belgrade organizes a free tram tour of the city. You need to register at the tourist info point.

Day Trips

Avala – This mountain is a popular day or weekend getaway for Belgraders. It’s great for walking and light hiking. You can also see the Avala Tower and the Monument to the Unknown Hero.

Novi Sad and Sremski Karlovci – Serbia’s second biggest city is just a 2 hours away train ride.

How to Get to Belgrade

AirSerbia and WizzAir have flights from major European cities. You can search and compare the cheapest rate on Momondo.

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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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10 Interesting Dublin’s Attractions

Dublin, the capital of Ireland is a small city with an energy rivaling one of a titan. It’s a perfect getaway for literary buffs and beer devotees. Dublin has a…

Dublin, the capital of Ireland is a small city with an energy rivaling one of a titan. It’s a perfect getaway for literary buffs and beer devotees. Dublin has a lot to offer from medieval history, endless serene landscapes to one-of-a kind pub scene.

If it’s your first time in Dublin and you don’t have a lot of time to explore, it’s difficult to know what to dedicate your time to. As UNESCO’s city of literature you get a first hand glimpse at the lives of some of the greatest writers that ever lived, James Joyce and Oscar Wilde just to name a few.

Literature adventures aside, Dublin’s pub culture with live music, dare-to-try oyster stouts and mutton stew, make a compelling argument that Dublin is indeed a hedonist’s heaven.

This list is a quick rundown of 10 interesting Dublin’s attractions.

Dublin Castle

DUBLIN CASTLE AUGUST 2014 Ref-4011

It was built on a site previously settled by the Vikings, under the first Lord of Ireland, King John (1204). The castle carried out multiple functions over the centuries, a military fortress, a prison, treasury and more. It upheld its historical significance to this day, as now it’s used for State receptions and Presidential Inaugurations. It’s a perfect beginning of your Dublin adventure as it foretells the origin of the city.

Chester Beatty Library

The library is on the grounds of the Dublin castle and it was founded by the “King of Copper”, Sir Alfred Chester Beatty, the mining magnate. The library hosts an extraordinary collection of some of the rarest Islamic and Far Eastern artifacts. It is so highly regarded that it even won the European Museum of the Year award.

Kilmainham Gaol

gaol

This was the final resting place for some of the most noted figures in Irish history, Charles Stewart Parnell, Robert Emmet and leaders of the rebellions. It’s a somber reminder of the dreadful conditions convicts were subjected to during their incarceration. Access is available by guided tour only.

National Leprechaun Museum

What a Surprise - There Is Actually a National Leprechaun Museum

As the name is pretty much self explanatory, the museum in question is devoted to cherishing the myth of a leprechaun. The museum is a fun experience with its tunnel full of optical illusions and rooms carefully designed to deliver a story. If you’re having trouble finding the museum just follow the end of the rainbow.

National Botanic Gardens

Botanic Gardens - Glasnevin

Dublin’s national botanic gardens grew to hold more than 20,000 plants and over a million of dry specimens. Take a day to spend relaxing in the sun, reading and having a picnic. There is no entry fee but the downside is that it’s a little bit outside of the city – but I promise that it’s worth the trip. It’s a Dubliner’s favorite escape from the everyday bustle.

Guinness Storehouse

Guinness Storehouse

Opened since 2000 and already attracted over four million visitors. Seven floors devoted to exploring the story of Guinness. What more can you ask expect than a Gravity Bar offering you a stunning view of Dublin and of course a pint of the Guinness.

Temple Bar

Temple Bar at Night

This is Dublin’s neighborhood famous for its artistic vibe. It’s the home to many cultural institutions, such as the The Gallery of Photography. The Gallery of Photography is located in Meeting House Square. It’s a beautiful place for a walk, as wherever you take a step you’ll be followed by lively music protruding from pubs and nightclubs.

Dublin Writers Museum

In 1991, the long awaited Dublin Writers Museum was opened to celebrate the heritage of their brightest minds. The Museum has an impressive collection. It hosts first editions of Bram Stoker’s “Dracula”, also his friend Oscar Wilde’s “The Importance of Being Earnest” and Samuel Beckett’s “Waiting for Godot” among other famous works.

James Joyce Center

Many people travel to Dublin just to experience in person the spirit of the city that shaped their favorite author. The most famous Dubliner in many opinions is, James Joyce. The most famous exhibit is the door of No.7 Eccles Street, the fictional address of Joyce’s Ulysses protagonist Leopold Bloom. For the Joyce’s stans, you’re also able to follow the steps of Leopold Bloom through Dublin with walking tours on offer.

Tivoli Car Park

DUBLIN STREET ART - Tivoli Car Park

Every year there is an event organized by All City Jam, gathering graffiti artists from all over the world to use their walls as they please. It’s sort of a “graffiti mandala”, as the art remains intact for only a year. The Tivoli Theatre is on Francis Street, just off Thomas Street.

If this is your first trip to Dublin you’ll be surprised how intimate the city will already feel to you. Its cobbled streets and its unique character will have you enamored and as a witness to that, you’ll find yourself subconsciously already planning your return.

If you liked this list check out the more comprehensive one made by The Crazy Tourist.

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