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Category: Cities & Culture

5 Great Destinations In Spain For Travelers and Expats

Spain is truly one of the most fascinating countries in the world because of the diverse cultures that exist there. When visiting Spain, it is imperative that you go to…

Spain is truly one of the most fascinating countries in the world because of the diverse cultures that exist there. When visiting Spain, it is imperative that you go to the different diverse regions that the country has to offer. Here is a list of five great destinations in Spain for travelers and expats;


Granada is truly one of the most incredible cities in Spain. Granada has an impressive cultural mixture of the Spanish and Moorish culture that have influenced the city for centuries. As far as tourism, the Alhambra is one of the most sensational preserved Moorish palaces that the traveler can explore for both a day and night tour.

Additionally, Granada is the city that created the delicious Spanish Gazpacho soup, which is ideal with a glass of Cava in the summer time. Spain’s white wine Sangria and Cava also originate from cities in Andalusia, which makes this region excellent for both dining and wine tasting. Granada is a great place for an expatriate to invest in who is looking for that wonderful old world Spanish style type of life.


Santiago de Compostella

Santiago de Compostella is one of Spain’s gems. In fact, it is the ending site of the long Camino de Santiago that begins in Arles, France. Within the city, there is an impressive cathedral that the Saint Santiago is said to be buried in. What makes Santiago de Compostella so special is that is located within a part of Spain called Galicia.

In Galicia, the locals speak Gallego, which is a language that has Celtic roots and when you listen to the traditional music, you will see the locals playing bagpipes and using shells for castanets. The shells are used as castanets due to the respects from the Saint Santiago whose symbol is said to be the shell. Pertaining to cuisine, Galicia has some of the most incredible beaches in Spain and is home to one of Spain’s best tapas called Pulpo.

In Santiago de Compostella, travelers can enjoy some of the most exquisite Pulpo while sipping on the region’s local beer called Estrella de Galicia. Santiago de Compostella truly represents how diverse Spain is because it has preserved its own dialect along with speaking Spanish for centuries.

Fachada Este de la Catedral de Santiago

San Sebastian

A close neighbor to Galicia is San Sebastian, which is located in the Basque Country. San Sebastian is your ideal tranquil beach city that has exceptional food. If you want to relax for a month in the Spanish sunshine and eat well, San Sebastian is your locale of choice. What makes San Sebastian so special is that the locals still speak Euskai, which is a language that is thousands of years old that no scholar can tell where it originated.

The Basque culture is quite distinct to the Spanish culture, which is particularly reflected in their cuisine. For the ultimate night out in San Sebastian, it is recommended to go Pincho-hopping. Pinchos are the Basque version of Spanish tapas. San Sebastian has several standing Pincho bars where you can order incredible wine and go from place to place. This is particularly sensational when there is a Spanish football game happening. The fans are yelling while eating cuisine that is served in Michelin restaurants. San Sebastian has several Michelin restaurants and many of the chefs also prepare Pinchos at these tapa bars in the downtown of San Sebastian.

All in all, San Sebastian provides the traveler or expat with a culinary enclave that has excellent beaches and a view of a culture that has been preserved for thousands of years first hand.

San Sebastian, Spain


Cordoba makes this list because it is truly one of the most underrated cities in Spain. In fact, many travelers pass it while taking the AVE train to Seville. Historically speaking, Cordoba is exceptional because it is one of the only places in the world in which the Jews, Christians, and Muslims coexisted together peacefully for centuries.

This cultural interaction is seen in the architecture in Cordoba. The best example of this is seen in the Mesquita. Within the Mesquita, you can see a mosque, synagogue, and Catholic church combined in architecture. The Mesquita served the various religions over the ages and is a wonderful architectural sight to witness first hand. Another aspect of Cordoba that is incredible is the old Jewish quarter.

Here you can see some of Spain’s oldest synagogues. And after viewing the synagogues, you can stop by one of the Arab style tea houses where you can enjoy hookah, Arab tea or coffee, and their traditional pastries. In the evening, there is nothing like a local Flamenco show in Cordoba where you can sip on a complimentary Sangria as you listen to Spanish guitar and watch Flamenco dancing.

Cordoba, is one of the most culturally rich cities in Spain and is a wonderful place for travelers and expats to explore while they are visiting Spain.

Cordoba, Spain


Salamanca is a two-hour train ride from Madrid and is one of the best examples of small town Spanish life. Salamanca is also home to one of the oldest universities in Europe.

The university’s architecture is a joy to wander through and to see the libraries where some of the most intelligent scholars in Europe have studied over the ages. Salamanca has one of the best Plaza Mayor’s in Spain where one can sip on a coffee and observe the Spanish families taking their paseo (nightly stroll) in the evenings.

When sitting in Salamanca, one can truly relax while admiring fine Spanish architecture and consuming great food. Salamanca is also home to exquisite cathedrals and monasteries that the traveler or expat can explore. Salamanca is a charming smaller Spanish city to explore and to truly witness the Spanish slow paced old world way of life that is something precious that is still preserved in Spain today. Thus, if you are looking for a beautiful locale that still allows you to take a two-hour siesta during the day, Salamanca is your ideal choice!

#Salamanca, Spain

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Six Destinations In Europe I Wanna Visit Next

I’ve never liked bucket lists, to-do lists and other similar things but lately I’ve been thinking about places I’d love to visit in the future. Here are six destinations in…

I’ve never liked bucket lists, to-do lists and other similar things but lately I’ve been thinking about places I’d love to visit in the future. Here are six destinations in Europe that really sparked my interest.

Motorcycle trip around Iceland

I’ve been dreaming about motorcycle trip for a while and Iceland seems like a great place for doing that! Ring Road is a popular road trip that circles the whole country and offers many fantastic attractions. It’s a nice way to mix culture and nature because the road allows you to see the city of Reykjavik, hot springs, national parks, volcanoes but also museums and places of history and heritage. In general, tourism in Iceland offers so many opportunities especially if you are into nature and hiking. Other really great road trips in Iceland include a ‘Golden Circle’ which is famous day trip for travelers.

IJsland / Iceland


I’ve visited Slovenia in 2014 and I’d love to revisit again but this time for the mountains. The last time I was exploring the capital Ljubljana and Skocjan caves. Triglav is the highest mountain in Slovenia and it has always attracted hikers and nature lovers. It’s a national symbol for Slovenians and it even appears on their national flag. The nearby area of this national park also includes Bled, Kranjska Gora and Bohinj which means there’s a lot to see.

triglav 18r 161

El Transcantábrico Gran Lujo: San Sebastian – Santiago de Compostela

This is one of the most famous train journeys in Europe. It travels between San Sebastian and Santiago de Compostela and stops in a famous Picos de Europa national park. Traveling and dining at the same time, while passing by beautiful landscapes of “Green Spain” should be a trip of a lifetime. 😉

El Transcantabrico crosses the bridge over the River Ebro at Arija, Burgos: Luxury Train Club

Appian Way

This is a path that in the past connected Rome to Brindisi – a port on the Adriatic sea. Romans called it the queen of all roads. Some major catacombs are located here and they are open for exploration. It’s a great place for escaping the busy city center of Rome as you can walk or bike this green area. However, the real adventure is completing the full walk from Rome to Brindisi which is 540 km in total.

Appian Way


Probably overrated for someone, and it will probably be overrated for me after visiting but I’d love to give a chance to the world’s biggest beer festival. It lasts for 16 days and it has a really long tradition in Bavaria as it started in 1810. A mixture of other attractions such as amusement rides, games and a rich selection of food and beer make it a fun place to visit.



Okay, I have been dreaming of visiting Corsica for a couple of years already. GR20 which is the toughest long distance trail in Europe has sparked my interest for quite some time. Maybe I’m a masochist. 🙂  And it’s not just hiking that I would love to do, but also diving as this island is famous across Europe for its beautiful beaches and scenery. I also really like the fact that it’s still unknown and that tourism hasn’t done any damage so far.



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Safety Travel Tips for Istanbul

Istanbul is huge and just like in every large city you should take precautions regarding your valuables and safety. Here are some safety travel tips for Istanbul that are worth…

Istanbul is huge and just like in every large city you should take precautions regarding your valuables and safety.

Here are some safety travel tips for Istanbul that are worth knowing;


Quite common, not just in Istanbul but in every other city. Be cautious especially if you’re using a backpack. For example, if you’re in a cafe keep it close to you and not on an opposing chair. It’s very easy to snatch bags like this. Also I advise against carrying a backpack on your back as you’ll likely be unaware that somebody is trailing behind you. This is how my wallet got stolen from me – in my own city nonetheless. Don’t forget to check your bag from time to time to ensure it’s safely closed. Of course the consequences are higher when you’re traveling.


Taxis are a universal travel scam. Drivers barely speak English (or pretend they don’t) and even if you give them a card with your address the ride can take longer than the usual. Foreigners are their favorite target group to exploit. Make sure to have enough change, they’ll probably claim they don’t have any in an attempt to get a generous tip. Be wary you don’t get charged with a night rate only because you’re a foreigner. Actually if possible try to avoid taxis altogether. If you’re still keen to test your luck with taxi drivers, make sure to take a taxi from a taxi station rather than hauling one on a street.

Bagdat avenue Istanbul


Women travelers

I’ve been to Istanbul three times and I’ve never experienced anything bad, but sometimes Turkish men can interpret friendliness as flirtation, an invitation for much more. If you are traveling solo you should be cautious of the possible signals you might be sending or if you notice someone following you. Ask for help from the nearest person.

Bring a friend with you (if possible a male) – this will discourage men resulting in them approaching you less. There have been stories of women who got raped or molested in small shops, even in the Grand Bazaar.

Mobile phones

Beside bags, mobile phones are another popular item for thief’s shopping cart so take caution.


Traffic in Istanbul is crazy. You need to be alert and careful at all time. Regulations are often not even respected, so green light doesn’t necessarily mean you should cross the street.

Dolmus Istanbul


Be especially careful in public transport. Don’t have any valuables on you and just carry things you need for the day. You can always leave money or credit cards in your hotel safe.

Shoe polishers

This is another really famous scam in Istanbul. They drop the brush ‘accidentally’, people let them know and as gratitude they want to shine your shoes free of charge. Most of the times they’ll keep insisting and eventually you’ll give up. What happens next you’ll want to reward them with some coin money but they keep pushing for more. There are many shoe polishers in Istanbul so if you spot one who just dropped his brush, walk away.

simple man

Bar Scams

This is occurring more among guys. “Friendly” stranger will approach you and will try to recommend you a good bar where you can see a Turkish dance. You will order a drink and then a group of good looking girls will join you and order drinks. In the end your bill could be even more than 1000 USD and you won’t be able to leave the place because it’s surrounded by thugs.


There are many bad stories surrounding Taksim square but I never had a problem there. You should definitely avoid protests though. Political rallies and demonstrations usually take place in Taksim and they are also a prime target for terrorist attacks.

Taksim square Istanbul


The threat from terrorism in Turkey is high at the moment. Kurdish groups, Islamic State and some other far left organizations will continue to target the state. Tourists are in high risk of an attack. In January 2016, 10 people died in a suicide bombing in Sultanahmet area. If possible tourists should avoid public transport and major touristic sights. This of course won’t be possible if you’re visiting Istanbul for the first time but you could apply some precaution measures (f.e when visiting major tourist sights, make sure to visit very early in the morning when there is a smaller crowd). Terrorists will target large groups as they want to cause pandemonium and spread panic to echo across the world.

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The Street Art of Lisbon

This is a guest post by Justin, a blogger behind True Nomads. His blog is dedicated to his adventurous travels (and I mean falsely-accused-and-detained-in-prison-in-Egypt adventurous) and scuba diving of course!…

This is a guest post by Justin, a blogger behind True Nomads. His blog is dedicated to his adventurous travels (and I mean falsely-accused-and-detained-in-prison-in-Egypt adventurous) and scuba diving of course! If you’re interested in discovering how life under the sea looks like around the world (he is on a mission to scuba dive the top 100 sites in the world!), you definitively want to check Justin’s blog. You can also follow him on Facebok and Twitter.


The street art of Lisbon is one of the best that I’ve seen. I take a lot of guided graffiti tours, from Brazil to Palestine to Perth to Germany, and the one I took in Lisbon was one of the best I’ve been on.

There was so much of it in the 1+ hour car tour of the city, that we only got to see a small percent of it! But what I did get to see was some amazing art work.

My guide in Lisbon knew exactly where to take me for the greatest pieces, including a city wall, a health clinic wall, giant murals covering whole buildings, and many other hidden treasures.

Here are the highlights of one of the best graffiti/street art tours in Europe. Check out my guide for more information on things to do in Lisbon.



These buildings were completely covered with HUGE pieces. I had to cross the street to get the whole thing in the photo. Apparently the city figured it was cheaper to hire famous graffiti artists from Brazil to cover these old ugly buildings, then it would be to tear them down and build something nicer. So they did, making them less of an eye sore. Now that’s something you don’t hear governments doing very often… paying graffiti artists to do their work on their city.



This whole underground station was covered almost completely. It was cool to see how local and famous artists coordinate on where they would do their art, and never cover, ruin or touch any one else’s.

My guide explained how artists will get together and decide on where each person got to do their work, and if a section or a piece was really old or really bad, and artist unknown, they would decide if it was okay to cover. Anyways, all these places were done legally, and apparently it’s allowed because the city of Lisbon agrees with me that these graffiti murals make the city’s dull places look awesome!



If you look closely you’ll see that the head of this one is done with a chipping technique where they chipped away the paint and plaster to make the face. I saw this unique and awesome technique all over the city and loved it. In this one above, the story goes that the artist was chipping away secretly on this piece when the owner arrived. A fight ensued as the owner of the building was rightly angry about the defacing of the building. The artist had the guy step back and look at the piece, and the guy was so shocked and impressed that he let him finish and paid him to do more of his buildings!




This blue wall above circles is a big mental hospital. Artists got together and gave each other sections of the wall to do projects on, and the hospital painted it all blue to be based on. I have no idea how long it took, but each and every section is unique and a masterpiece. Some are very intriguing and detailed with the help of many a stencil, others masters of free hand and minute detail. It took me a long time to get through all these, and it gave me a really good feeling about Lisbon for sponsoring such big and wonderful projects like these!

So if you wonder what to do in Lisbon, find the nearest graffiti tour and make sure your camera has plenty of battery!

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Seven Hidden Gems of Rome

Rome has many fantastic sites that are often overlooked by visitors. Especially by those who come here for a city break. If you don’t wanna be just an average visitor…

Rome has many fantastic sites that are often overlooked by visitors. Especially by those who come here for a city break. If you don’t wanna be just an average visitor to the Italian capital consider exploring these seven hidden gems of Rome.

Jewish Ghetto

Rome’s Jewish community is one of the oldest in Europe. The Jewish Ghetto has some wonderful dining options as this area is famous for Roman-Jewish cooking and its deep fried food. Local specialty are artichokes. They are flattened out to form a kind of flower shape and then are salted and deep fried. The best time to eat these are from February to May as that’s their season. You could also visit the Jewish Museum of Rome which is located in the city’s synagogue. Jewish ghetto is also home to Teatro Marcello (The Theatre of Marcellus) which is an ancient open-air theatre in Rome.

Jewish Museum of Rome - hidden gems of Rome

Appian Way

Appian Way is a famous ancient road that used to connect Rome to Brindisi (540 km) – a port on the Adriatic sea. Romans used to call it the regina viarum (the queen of roads). It’s located outside the city so many travelers skip this lovely green area. This long cobbled road is a great place for a walk or cycle. It’s also home to the city’s most exclusive private villas. But, there’s another side of the story, not a very positive one. This is also a place where Christians buried their dead in the catacombs. Three major catacombs: San Callisto, San Sebastiano and Santa Domitilla are located here and are open for guided exploration. The bikes can be hired at the Appia Antica Regional Park Information Point.

Appian Way

Park of the Aqueducts

Another great place in Rome which is far away from the crowds. You will be able to see the aqueducts – one of the Ancient Romans best invention. The most famous one is Pont du Gard in France but even this one will make your jaw drop. You can walk along the aqueducts or sit and relax in a beautiful park. Whatever you decided to do – jog, cycle, have a picnic, it’s a relaxing place to be. It’s a pity but many tourists never get to see this amazing historical sight.

Park of the Aqueducts Rome - hidden gems of Rome

Giannicolo Hill

Giannicolo offers some of the best (and free) views of the city. This green area with embassies and fine architecture can easily be reached from Trastevere. One of its best secrets are the Botanical Gardens.

View from the Gianicollo hill

The baths of Caracalla

These are the 3rd century baths that included an Olympic-sized swimming pool and were able to accommodate 6000 people. Another fantastic sight to visit that’s not too crowded. Unfortunately it’s another sight in Rome that’s not well labeled and that provides little info so you may want to join a group tour or at least buy a guide.

The baths of Caracalla

Circus Maximus

One of the attractions that takes you back in time. Circus Maximus used to be a place where chariot races were held. It was also the largest stadium in Ancient Rome that could host 250,000 people. There’s a very little of it left so you’ll need to use your imagination. Nowadays it’s also a popular place for joggers.

Circus Maximus park view


Yes, Rome has its own pyramid too. It was built for Gaius Cestius, a 1st century BC magistrate and it stands in the Aurelian wall. There’s also a Protestant cemetery next door where famous poets like John Keats and Shelley were buried. Worth a stop if you are in the area. The metro station is also called the Pyramid.

Pyramid of Cestius

It’s difficult to visit all of these sites by yourself if you are short on time so going on a tour could be a good idea. Walks of Italy offers fantastic “Rome as a local tour” which covers all of the mentioned sights. It’s lead by a local expert and the tour also includes luxury vehicle for moving around.

What are your hidden gems of Rome? Let us know in the comments below.

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Travel Guide to Trastevere, Rome’s Trendiest District

Trastevere is one of Rome’s liveliest neighborhoods. Locals and travelers love to stroll through its narrow and cobbled streets with gelato on the go. At night it becomes a prime…

Trastevere is one of Rome’s liveliest neighborhoods. Locals and travelers love to stroll through its narrow and cobbled streets with gelato on the go. At night it becomes a prime spot for entertainment and nightlife. The neighborhood also has great restaurants making it an ideal spot for foodies. And of course, some lovely attractions are based here making Trastevere one of the best stationary options while in Rome.

Travel Guide to Trastevere


Trastevere is famous for its churches and artwork. But the most memorable experience will be exploring this neighborhood by walk as the atmosphere is amazing.

Santa Maria de Trastevere Church

This is the oldest church in Rome dedicated to the Virgin Mary. The legend says that it’s constructed on a place where a fountain of oil sprang from the ground. The church is most famous for its 12th century golden mosaics. It’s located in the Piazza Santa Maria in Trastevere, the main square of  the neighborhood. It’s always full of locals, students and travelers at both day and night.

Piazza di Santa Maria in Trastevere

Gianicollo Hill

One of the best viewpoints in the city. And the best of all – it’s free of charge. Gianicollo is also a  green area with embassies and fine architecture that deserves to be explored. One of its best secrets are the Botanical Gardens.

View from the Gianicollo hill - travel guide to Trastevere

Villa Farnesina

This classic Renaissance villa was built in the 16th century. It’s famous for Raphael’s and Sebastiano del Piombo’s frescoes. If you are an art lover it’s worth paying a visit. The entrance fee is 5 EUR.

Villa Farnesina

Botanical Gardens

This was one of my favorites places in Rome! Don’t skip it. It’s oasis of peace and beauty and there are hardly any tourists here! The gardens are located on the slopes of Gianicollo and contain about 8000 species including Japanese gardens and bamboo. Also a hardly known fact is that the gardens offer beautiful views of Rome. With no tourists around. The entrance is 8 EUR but it’s so worth it!

Botanical Gardens Rome


Passeggiata is also known as the early evening stroll and it’s an important part of Roman life. The streets get busy in the night, especially in Trastevere, and the locals like to opt for an ice cream on the go. Besides the atmosphere this is also a way of showing off. People like to get dressed nicely and check each other out.

Fire show 6

Where to stay

I’ve stayed in a nice studio which was booked through the Flat in Rome. It’s a famous rental accommodation site in Rome that offers apartments with no commission. Of course, they also offer apartments in other city districts but if you plan to station yourself in Trastevere this might be a good choice. The apartment can host 4 people and is ideal for group of friends.

The studio has kitchen with oven, microwave, fridge and a bathroom with washing machine. Air condition and WiFi are also free of charge.

The apartment is located just opposite the Isola Tiberina (the island on the Tiber river) and it’s close to major attractions such as Vatican and the Colosseum. If you love spending your evenings outside, exploring bars and restaurants this is a great area.

Flat in Rome was also picked as one of the best rental accommodation sites by the Lonely Planet guidebooks.

Check out their offical website or their profile for more info.

Eating & Drinking

Trastevere is foodie heaven. The neighborhood has so many restaurants, trattorias and cafes. Many restaurants offer promotions so it’s ideal for those on a budget. For example, for just 10 EUR you could get a starter, main course, second course, dessert and a drink. Trastevere is city’s most popular area to drink and party so it might not be for everyone’s taste. It can also get bit loud during the night, depending on the area where you stay. But, if you are a foodie type and you love discovering bars it’s a great stationary area while in Rome.


Tram 3 – Viale di Trastevere – Colosseum

Bus H – Viale di Trastevere – Termini

Don’t forget to check the travel guide to the Vatican City and the travel guide to the Ancient Rome neighborhood too.

What is your favorite neighborhood in Rome? Do you have any specific tips to share about Trastevere? Feel free to comment below.

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