EuroTribe

your guide to Europe off the beaten path

Category: Cities & Culture

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.

When looking for hotels in Dublin I recommend you check out HotelsCombined. It’s awarded as world’s best hotel price comparison site. With its simple design and many hot deals, your Dublin adventure is just a few clicks away.

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

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Berlin Travel Guide 2017 Edition

This fascinating city has it all. History, architecture, art scene, green areas, awesome bars and cafes, food and many other things to keep you around the clock. It’s not the…

This fascinating city has it all. History, architecture, art scene, green areas, awesome bars and cafes, food and many other things to keep you around the clock. It’s not the prettiest but it’s energetic and that’s what makes it so special and interesting. Therefore, if you’re planning a visit to German capital be sure to bookmark this Berlin Travel Guide 2017 edition.

Transport

Berlin WelcomeCard – Berlin is huge and spread out city so public transportation will be a necessity. With the Berlin WelcomeCard you’ll also get a city map, a guide and 200 discount deals. On offer are 48h and 72 hours but also 4,5 and 6 days passes. You can also read my review of the pass.

Attractions

Holocaust Memorial

Alexander Platz and the TV tower – Berlin’s most famous square is a crossing point in the city. You can visit the TV tower and enjoy the panoramic views of the city.

Nikolai Quarter – the oldest historic area of Berlin with medieval lanes and many restaurants and cafes.

Hackesche Höfe – Berlin’s courtyards designed in Art Nouveau style. Lots of nice bars and restaurants in this area.

Berlin Cathedral – The largest church in the city. And also one of the most photographed places.

Unter den Linden – A very long boulevard in the Mitte district with many attractions along the way. Leads all the way to Brandenburger Tor.

Brandenburg Gate – The symbol of the city.

Reichstag – You can visit the German Bundestag and its dome which offers a great panorama of Berlin. However, you need to register your visit and the best way to do it is online by clicking here. Make sure to also snap a photo or two at the Platz der Republic – the huge lawn in front of the Reichstag.

Holocaust Memorial – This monument that consists of 2,711 concrete slabs is dedicated to the Jewish victims of Holocaust.

Potsdamer Platz – Urban architecture.

Potsdamer Platz Berlin

Berlin Wall Memorial – Visit this central memorial site of German division which is located in Bernauer Strasse. There’s an outdoor exhibition and the Documentation Center with rich material and an observation tower. The entrance is free of charge and the listening stations are spread along the former border.

East Side Gallery – The longest section of the Berlin Wall with 105 paintings from the artists around the world.

Checkpoint Charlie – The most famous border crossing point between East and West Berlin.

Museum Island – An island on the Spree river which is a home to five world class museums.

Charlottenburg Palace – The largest palace in Berlin.

Kurfürstendamm – the Champs-Élysées of Berlin. Filled with shops, houses, restaurants and hotels. Especially nice and atmospheric in the evening.

Friedrichstrasse – Another legendary street of Berlin. Home to exclusive offices, coffee shops, restaurants, shops and Dussmann 😀

Friedrichshain – Berlin’s artsy hub and a very popular place for nightlife.

Museums

Berlin museums

Museum Pass – For 24 EUR you get a free entrance to 50 museums for 3 consecutive days. I recommend this pass if you’re making a second visit to Berlin or if you’re staying for more than a week. Otherwise, it’s better buying a separate ticket.

Pergamon Museum – Berlin’s most famous museum and a new home to the Ishtar Gate and other Babylonian treasures. Pergamon is under renovations until 2019 and the waiting hours are long so you may want to get a time slot ticket.

Neues Museum – My favorite museum. Very rich exhibition of Egyptian culture and the Early History. Museum’s most famous treasure is the Nefertiti Bust. Besides exhibitions, the building itself is a beautiful piece of art.

Bode Museum – This beautiful museum at the Museum Island offers rich Sculpture and Numismatic collection.

DDR Museum – An interactive museum which showcases life in East Germany. Great for history buffs!

The Natural History Museum – The world’s largest dinosaur skeleton, found in Tanzania in 1909 is exhibited here.

Berlinische Galerie – Museum of modern art, photography and architecture. Must see!

Honorable mentions

  • Deutsche Kinemathek

  • Deutsches Historiches Museum

  • The Jewish Museum

  • Topographie des Terrors

  • Stasi Museum

Where To Stay

I use Booking.com to search for accommodation across Europe. Through their website you can find hotels, apartments, hostels etc.



Booking.com

Hotel Mani – I absolutely love this place! Hotel Mani has an awesome decor and it’s one of the better boutique hotels in Berlin.

Eating

Veganz Berlin

Berlin’s cuisine is rich and has an incredible international offer as people from all over the world made this city their home. For more detailed info check out this post on where to eat in Berlin on a budget.

Curry 36 – A place to try currywurst.

Matreshka – Russian/Ukrainian cuisine.

Mustafa’s Kebab – Be ready for a long long wait!

Dada Falafel – Middle Eastern restaurant in Mitte district.

Veganz – Vegan store with a small bakery and a cafe.

Marheineke Markthalle – Located in Kreuzbeurg neighborhood this market offers meat, cheese, fish, fruits, vegetables etc.

Burgermeister – The iconic burger joint.

Babel – One of the best Lebanese restaurants. Big portions, tasty food and a great value for money.

Drinking & Nightlife

kaschk berlin bar - berlin travel guide

KASCHK – This is my favorite place at the moment. Great for coffee during the day. Awesome selection of craft beers. Cool vibe at night. Shuffleboard. Love love love!

GROSZ – If you want to have a drink or two in an elegant and historic setting come here.

Eschenbräu – A popular beer garden in Wedding famous for producing its own beer. There are 21 types of seasonal beer. Try Rauchbier or Black Mamba.

Vagabund bar – Small and artsy bar with great selection of beers.

Weinerei – An interesting place to hang out. Good place for wine but they also serve coffee, tea and a vegetarian lunch menu.

Mein Haus Am See – Popular among hipsters and freelancers who come here to listen to good music and socialize.

House of Weekend – Techno club with a rooftop terrace that offers an amazing view of Alexanderplatz.

Kantine am Berghain – Everyone has heard about Berghain, Berlin’s legendary club. Kantine am Berghain is a smaller club which hosts many cool musical events. You can check their FB page for a list of events.

Cassiopeia – An alternative club with a big garden in the summer. There are parties for everyone’s taste – from hip/hop, reggae to pop, indie to rock.

Culture

Berlin bookstores - Berlin travel guide

Berlin PhilharmonieOne of the best orchestras in the world. And not only is this a musical venue but also an architectural highlight. You can even go on a guided tour of the place.

KulturForum – A collection of cultural buildings including the Berlin State Library and the New National Gallery.

The State OperaAnother famous cultural institution on the Unter den Linden boulevard. Guided tours are on offer as well.

Intimes Cinema – One of the best art-house cinemas in Berlin. Program also includes new releases and foreign language films.

Zukunft am Ostkreuz – An open-air indie cinema.

Bookshops – Berlin has many fantastic second hand bookshops selling English and French titles.

Parks & Recreation

Tempelhof Feld Berlin travel guide

Tiergarten Park – One of Berlin’s biggest parks/forests. Very popular among tourists, joggers and cyclists.

Schlahtensee – Berlin has many lakes and this one is especially visited at Summer.

Tempelhofer Feld – A public park at the old Tempelhof airport. Tempelhof Airport is one of the largest buildings in the world and there’s a 6 km long trail ideal for walking and cycling. Locals love to hang out here and there’s even BBQ space.

Grunewald and Teufelsberg – This forest in the southwest Berlin is great for hiking.

The Botanical Garden – With more than 22,000 types of plants, Berlin’s botanical garden is one of the most important in the world.

Treptower Park – One of the biggest parks in the city and also a home to the Soviet War Memorial.

Strandbad Wannsee – The largest inland lido in Europe with many recreational activities on offer.

Mauer Park – Famous for its flea market and outdoors karaoke.

Badeschiff – Swimming pool on a river Spree.

LGBT

CSD Berlin 2014

Memorial to Homosexuals Persecuted Under Nazism – You’ll find this monument at the entrance of Tiergarten park.

Schwules Museum – A museum exhibiting LGBT life in Berlin.

Christopher Street Day – Germany’s largest gay festival.

SchwuZ – Great partying place with 3 different dancefloors.

Queer Couchsurfing Berlin Meetups – Well, the name says it all.

The Club – A gay bar in Neukolln.

Silver Future –  Kings and Queens and Criminal Queers 😀

Travels of Adam Berlin Guide – Adam is a travel writer based in Berlin. I totally recommend his website if you’re into alternative culture and if you want to find out more about LGBT travel tips in Europe.

Shopping

Mall of Berlin

KaDeWe – A well known department store. It mostly caters to luxury shoppers and it has a nice gourmet area.

Mauer Park – Hosts weekly flea market.

Mall of Berlin – A shopping mall with 270 stores.

Berlin Story – A souvenir shop on Unter den Linden.

Dussman – A heaven for book lovers and geeks. You’ll also find movies, CD’s and games. My favorite store in Berlin. I know, I’m a geek 😀

Galeria Kaufhof – Another regular department store.

Festivals

Berlinale – One of the world’s leading film festivals.

Pop-Kultur – An international cultural festival.

Christopher Street Day – Berlin Pride festival.

Festival of Lights – The city and its landmarks get transformed during this annual festival.

ITB – The world’s largest and most respected tourism convention.

Free Tours

Day Trips

Potsdam – If you have some days to spare go to Potsdam and see amazing palace of Sanssouci and its stunning gardens.

 

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Sofia Travel Guide – Tips and Tricks for Bulgaria’s Capital

Sofia is a regular stop for many travelers discovering the Balkans. It offers many cultural activities, has a big mountain in its vicinity ideal for hiking and on top of…

Sofia is a regular stop for many travelers discovering the Balkans. It offers many cultural activities, has a big mountain in its vicinity ideal for hiking and on top of it all – it’s a budget friendly destination.

In this Sofia travel guide you’ll find a list of top things to do in the city including the sights, tours, eating and drinking section etc.

Sofia Travel Guide

Sofia has many sacral objects and they are some of city’s most notable attractions. So don’t be surprised with the list below. It also has a mix of European and Communist style architecture which makes it a regular stop on many Balkan tours.

Sacral Objects

alexander nevsky cathedral - sofia travel guide

Alexander Nevsky Cathedral – Sofia’s most impressive church
Boyana Church – One of Bulgaria’s most beloved medieval churches. Listed on UNESCO’s World Heritage List
St. Sofia Church – The second oldest church in the city. Very close to the Alexander Nevsky Cathedral
Banya Bashi Mosque – The only working mosque in the city
Sv. Nedelya Church – Beautiful church at the beginning of Vitosha street. In 1925 the church was blown up by the communists in an attempt to assassinate Tsar Boris III.
Sofia Synagogue – The third largest synagogue in Europe
Sveti Nikolai Russian Church – Beautiful architecture!

Buildings/Architecture

NDK Sofia travel guide

National Theatre Ivan Vazov – One of the nicest architectural gems
Narodno Sabranie – The National Assembly designed in Neo-Renaissance style
Monument to the Soviet Army – Popular place where many young people gather
NDK (National Palace of Culture) – Major venue for concerts and other events, famous for its unique architectural style
Sofia Monument – A monumental sculpture in the city centre. Stands in the place where Lenin’s statue once used to be.
The Mineral Baths Building – An interesting building in Bulgarian and Byzantine architectural styles
Royal Palace – Now home to the National Art Gallery and the Etnographic Museum
Presidency – Don’t miss the changing of the guard ceremony

Parks

sofia parks

Sofia has a plenty green areas and here are some of its best parks;

Yuzhen Park  – Possibly the most photogenic park
Borisova Gradina – Home of the Monument to the Soviet Army and great place for strolling and having a picnic. Also home to Vasil Levski stadium and CSKA stadium
Sofia City Garden – Beautiful park with several cafes around
Sofia University Botanic Garden – For the more extreme nature fans 🙂
Doctor’s Garden – Small park with historical significance

Museums

sofia-culture

Archeological Museum – One of the best museums in the city
National Art Gallery – Must see for culture buffs!
National Gallery for Foreign Art – This gallery hosts European, Asian (mostly Buddhist and Japanese art) and African art.
National Museum of Military History – It has one of the best presented exhibitions in the city. You can follow Bulgarian history from the Thracian period until the WW2 and Communist times.

Street Life

plac-slaveikov sofia travel guide

Vitosha Street – main pedestrian street with lots of shops, restaurants and cafes. Always alive!
Plac Slaveikov – I love this square as there’s an open-air book market. Most books are Bulgarian novels but there are English language books too and some in French.

Eating & Drinking

vegan-food-sofia

Manastirska Magernitsa – Authentic Bulgarian restaurant with rich selection of foods from all over the country
Dream House – An awesome vegetarian and vegan restaurant. There’s also an ‘all you can eat buffet’ on Sundays.
Cafe Theatre – A very nice cafe in a great setting just next to the Ivan Vazov Theatre
Loving Hut – Another vegan budget friendly place
Central Hali Shopping Center – This is a big market complex with a food court on the top
Fantastico Supermarket – Great place to stock up on groceries
Supa Star – Delicious soups! Good offer of sandwiches and salads too. Nice atmosphere. A must visit when in town.
Skaptobara – Burgers and beers! Great place for a chit chat with friends
There are also many fast food stalls where you can buy food such as banitsa (cheese pastry), pancakes and burgers.

Nightlife

Drinks

J.J. Murphy’s Sofia – A famous Irish pub
E.W. Studio – One of the better clubs in the city
Culture Beat – This bar/club has a nice terrace with the view of Sofia. Hosts DJ sessions at night.
One More Bar – Hip, nice garden to sit outside, ideal for summers drinks
Dada Cultural Bar – Chilling and cozy place, ideal for drinking wine
Vitamin B – Great selection of beers. Yes, beers!

Culture

red cinema sits

Cinema City – Modern, multi screen cinema in the Mall of Sofia
Arena Cinema Sofia – Another good cinema located in the Business Park district
Sofia Opera – Hosts artists from around the world. You can see the full calendar here
National Palace of Culture – One of the largest cultural centers in the country. Hosts all kinds of events.
Bulgaria Hall – If you want to hear the Sofia Philharmonic Orchestra come here

Shopping

Boulevard Vitosha – Main pedestrian and shopping street with international boutiques, souvenir shops and restaurants
Mall of Sofia – Biggest shopping centre in the city

Accommodation

Sofia has a wide range of accommodation options. However, after visiting the city for the third time I have to say that finding a budget and good quality hotel at the same time is a bit difficult. Apartments or private rooms could be a good option.


Booking.com

Day Trips

boyana-waterfall

Boyana – This is Sofia’s peaceful and elite suburb, located 8 km from the city centre. It’s home to the National Museum of History and Boyana Church which is on the UNESCO’s World Heritage List. The easiest way to come here is by taxi which is affordable.
Vitosha Mountain – The oldest natural park in the Balkans is located in the vicinity of Sofia. This gives the city a big advantage compared to other European capitals. The best hiking trails are: Aleko Hut – Cherni Vrah peak; Boyana Church – Boyana Waterfall and Vladaya – Golden Bridges.
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