EuroTribe

your guide to Europe off the beaten path

Category: Explore Europe

37+ Free Ways To Spend Time In Istanbul

Istanbul is definitely no longer the bargain tourist destination it once was, with some of its tourist attractions even topping the prices of those in Scandinavia! Accommodation offers good value…

Istanbul is definitely no longer the bargain tourist destination it once was, with some of its tourist attractions even topping the prices of those in Scandinavia! Accommodation offers good value for money and the inner city transportation is efficient and not too expensive, but some of its attractions are quite pricey and the fact that Istanbul has too many of them can really add up to costs. And clubbing in Istanbul (depending on the area) can really blow your budget!

This list will be primarily focused at attractions and events;

FESTIVALS/EVENTS

Children’s Day

A public holiday dedicated to children of Turkey and the world is celebrated annually every April 23rd. Besides performances at stadiums, Turkey is also the host of the “TRT International April 23 Children’s Festival” which gathers children from all over the world who are invited to stay at Turkish families’ homes. They get the opportunity to interact with Turkish kids and learn about each other’s countries and cultures.

Orthodox Easter

Celebrated by the Greek Orthodox community in Fener.

Akbank Short Film Festival

Besides the screenings of films from all over the world, the festival also includes workshops and conferences.

Anniversary of Atatürk’s death

On the 10th November at 9.05, a minute’s silence is held to commemorate the death of the founder of Turkish republic.

ATTRACTIONS

(by area)

Sultanahmet Area

– All mosques; Blue Mosque, Küçük Ayasofya Camii (Little Hagia Sophia), Sokollu Mehmed Paşa Camii

– Hippodrome

– Çemberlitaş

– or you can stroll along Arasta Bazaar

Blue Mosque

Blue Mosque

The area around Topkapi Palace

In this area you can:

– Sit on a bench and watch the passers-by at the Gülhane Parkı

– Wander through Soğukçeşme Sokak (Street of the Cold Fountain)

– Visit Caferağa Medresesi

– Visit Sirkeci Railway Station which once was the last stop of Orient Express

– Go inside the Yeni Camii (New Mosque)

– Walk across the Galata Bridge

Sirkeci Railway Station Istanbul

Sirkeci Railway Station

Baazar District

– All mosques; Nuruosmaniye Mosque, Beyazit Camii, Süleymaniye Camii, Şehzade Mehmet Camii, Zeyrek Camii, Rüstem Pasha Camii

– Get lost at the Grand Bazaar and the Spice Bazaar

– See Beyazit Square and Istanbul University

– See one of the most famous landmarks of the city- Aqueduct of Valens

– Stroll through Sahaflar Çarşısı (Book Bazaar)  (for the literature lovers)

Grand Bazaar Istanbul

Grand Bazaar

Western Districts

– All mosques; Fatih Camii, Mihrimah Sultan Camii, Fethiye Camii, Sultan Selim Camii, Eyüp Sultan Camii

– See Tekfur Sarayi

– Visit the Church of St. Mary of the Mongols and the Church of St. Stephen of the Bulgars

– Visit the Ahrida Synagogue

– Visit the Ecumenical Orthodox Patriarchate

Galata and Tophane Area

– All mosques; Azarkapi Sokollu Mehmet Pasha Camii and Arap Camii

– Walk up the Kamondo Stairs

– Visit the Church of St. Peter & Paul

– Visit Neve Shalom Synagogue

İstiklal

– Visit Christ Church and Çiçek Pasajı (Flower Passage)

or even better;

– Get inside the Pera Palas Hotel whose guests were Agatha Christie and Greta Garbo

– Wander around Taksim Square- the heart of modern Istanbul

Stroll along the İstiklal street

Istiklal avenue

Istiklal avenue

Beşiktaş

– Visit Ortaköy Camii

– Walk through Yildiz Parki

Üsküdar

– All mosques; Atik Valide Camii, Çinili Camii, Yeni Valide Camii, Şemsi Paşa Camii

– See Mimar Sinan Çarşisi

– Enjoy the view from the highest point of the city- Camlica Hill

– Visit the Florence Nightingale Museum

Uskudar, Istanbul

Uskudar neighborhood

Kadıköy

– Walk along the glamorous Bağdat Caddesi

Bagdat avenue Istanbul

Bagdat avenue

ARTS

Free Art galleries

– Galeri Nev

– Galerist

– SALT

– Proje4L/Elgiz Museum of Contemporary Art

Other interesting reads;

Mosques of Istanbul

All I ever wanted to know about Ottoman Architecture

Istanbul in photos

 

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Postcards from Delphi, ‘the center of the world’

Delphi is a modern town in Greece and also an archaeological site which is a part of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The modern town of Delphi is a popular…

Delphi is a modern town in Greece and also an archaeological site which is a part of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

The modern town of Delphi is a popular tourist destination nowadays, with lots of hotels and guesthouses, souvenir shops and tavernas. In October there are less crowds than usual, and I’ve only had the chance to discover Delphi at night, while the town sleeps. Narrow streets, shut blinds on windows of the houses, beautiful balconies with colorful flowers and a few retro cars are some of the things that you can see in the town at night. What are the advantages of discovering the town at night? It’s interesting, adventurous and calm!

 A lot of people come here to discover the Archaeological site which represents the most famous oracle of the ancient Greece. It is also known as “the center of the world”.

 Besides its cultural and religious importance, one of the “wow factors” of this site is that it is set within a breathtaking landscape.

Archaeological site of Delphi landscape

At the foot of Mount Parnassus, this place was the main cultural and religious center for the Hellenic world.

Archaeological site of Delphi

Archaeological site of Delphi

Treasury of the Boeotians and treasury of the Sicyonians are just some out of many monuments located in Delphi.

Archaeological site of Delphi

Archaeological site of Delphi

Archaeological site of Delphi

The second most important games in Greece where held here every four years- Pythian games.

 

How did you like these postcards from Delphi? Let us know in the comments!

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Meet the Romans in Serbia

‘Meet the Romans in Serbia’ is a guest post from Tara Goldsmith of ReadyClickAndGo. We recommend you check their Twitter and Facebook profiles as well.   I was sat right…

‘Meet the Romans in Serbia’ is a guest post from Tara Goldsmith of ReadyClickAndGo. We recommend you check their Twitter and Facebook profiles as well.

 

I was sat right at the top, in the Royal Opera House it would have been seat Y51 – very high up with a restricted view. Looking down and behind the half naked archaeologist who was unmoved by the burning sun I could almost see Russell Crowe fighting ferociously for his freedom. Behind me was a flat green field with occasional glimpses of the Danube river, on whose bed was preserved this rich archaeological site.

We are standing at the top of the amphitheatre with a capacity of 12,000 seats” the voice of the enthusiastic guide woke me up.

 The itinerarium Romanum Serbiae

We are at Viminacium, one of many Roman towns and fortress in Serbia, not far from the capital city Belgrade. It covers a huge area and some of it is still undiscovered due to the presence of the nearby power plant which produces 20% of Serbia’s energy. The government is trying to buy land still owned by the local people to stop the theft of artefacts that are uncovered after heavy rain.

Large numbers of lamps, bricks, paving tiles, rings and coins have been uncovered and exhibited either at the Museum in Pozarevac or the Museum in Belgrade. The Viminacium complex is building their own museum too at the moment.

The Viminacium Amphitheater, Serbia

 The site has beautiful tombs decorated with frescoes whose colour was still bright and with mixed pagan and Christian symbolism. Tomb G5517 has a Christogram in a double floral garland and this is known as a Constantine Cross, after the first Roman Emperor to convert to Christianity. Tomb G2624 has animals and flowers and is clearly pagan, thus proving that Christians and Pagans were sometimes buried in the same cemetery.

Viminacium, Serbia

Serbia has the largest number of Roman emperors born outside of Italy – 17 altogether, among them Constantine I and Justinian I. The tourist board has put together a project to combine visits to all the major Roman excavations on Serbian soil, called Itinerarium Romanum Serbiae. It will incorporate Sirmium, today known as Sremska Mitrovica, Singindunum which is Belgrade, Viminacium or Stari Kostolac, combined with visits to the forts of Nis, Kostol and Karats. The itinerary also includes visits to the imperial residences at Gamzigrad and the UNESCO site, Šarkamen, Mediana and Iustiniana Prima.

2013 will see the 1,700 anniversary of the Edict of Milan by which Emperor Constantine legalised Christianity throughout the Roman Empire, and celebrations will take place in the city of his birth, Nis.

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European Tourism Branding – Who does it better?

As tourism is one of the most profitable industries in the world, a lot of effort is required in the fields of marketing and branding by respective National Tourism Organisations….

As tourism is one of the most profitable industries in the world, a lot of effort is required in the fields of marketing and branding by respective National Tourism Organisations. And as such, every country tries to position themselves in the market by being more original via their unique tourism branding.

This post comes after the National Tourism Organisation of the Czech Republic, decided to re-brand their country as Czech RepubLIKE, as ‘like’ couldn’t get any more overrated already. You don’t need to change your country’s name to ‘LIKE’ to make it more social friendly, therefore we ‘like’ the video accompanying their campaign much better than the logo.

Below we have a list of logos representing the tourism industry in specific countries all over Europe. Each logo should differentiate the country to another one and make it more unique; but, are they really that original when it comes to visual identity?

Let’s take a look.

ALBANIA

albania tourism logo

 ANDORRA

andorra tourism logo

 AUSTRIA

Austria tourism logo

 BELGIUM

belgian tourist office logo

 BULGARIA

bulgaria tourism logo

CROATIA

croatia tourism logo

CYPRUS

cyprus tourism logo

CZECH REPUBLIC

DENMARK

 ESTONIA

estonia tourism logo

FINLAND

finland tourism logo

FRANCE

france tourism logo

 GEORGIA

georgia tourism logo

GERMANY

germany tourism logo

GREECE

greece tourism logo

HUNGARY

hungary tourism logo

ICELAND

iceland tourism logo

IRELAND

ireland tourism logo

ITALY

Italy tourism logo

LATVIA

latvia tourism logo

Of course, logos do not represent the branding of a country and its tourism organisation as a whole. That’s why for example, the Croatian tourist board won the award for the best tourism film in Warsaw this year called “Ode to Joy”. The Austrian logo is quite simple with the saying “Holidays in Austria”. The Cypriot logo is one of the best in my opinion because it represents the sun and sea – two elements that Cyprus is the most famous for. The Finnish and Danish logos are quite simple, whilst the Italian logo is very poor for a country with one of the richest histories on the continent.

If I had to pick a country I would visit next, but based only on the LOGO, then it would be: Albania and Cyprus.

Let’s continue.

LITHUANIA

lithuania tourism logo

LUXEMBOURG

luxembourg tourism logo

MALTA

malta tourism logo

MONTENEGRO

montenegro tourism logo

THE NETHERLANDS

netherlands tourism logo

POLAND

poland tourism logo

PORTUGAL

portugal tourism logo

ROMANIA

Romania tourism logo

 SERBIA

serbia tourism logo

SLOVAKIA

slovakia tourism logo

SLOVENIA

slovenia tourism logo

SPAIN

spain tourism logo

SWEDEN

sweden tourism info

SWITZERLAND

switzerland tourism logo

TURKEY

turkey tourism logo

GREAT BRITAIN

great britain tourism logo

 

The logo of Luxembourg is very simple but with a very modern and colourful typography and if such a logo was intended to be simple, they should look like this one. The Dutch logo represents one of the national symbols with very nice typography and in orange colour, which is the main colour associated with the country.

The Polish logo is a great example of how tourism logos should look, and it’s one of the better ones if not the best on the list. It represents forests, seas and mountains and therefore promotes the country as nature friendly.

Serbia’s logo is colorful whilst the Romanian one also has a feel for nature.

Sweden has a simple logo with nice and modern typography, but on the other hand Sweden along with Norway is doing amazing job on promoting their countries on social media services.

The Swiss logo is another example of a nice but simple logo, with great typography and most importantly a strong message.

If I had to pick the countries that I would visit next, only based on their logo, they would be: the Netherlands, Poland, Romania and Switzerland.

And what about you? Which logo did you like the most? Or which one do you like the least? Let us know in the comments below!

All images belong to their respective National Tourism Organisations.

 

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The Hidden Europe (Book Review)

“The Hidden Europe: What Eastern Europeans Can Teach Us” is written by Francis Tapon, one of the most famous world backpackers. This book is based on Francis’ trips to Eastern…

The Hidden Europe: What Eastern Europeans Can Teach Us” is written by Francis Tapon, one of the most famous world backpackers.

This book is based on Francis’ trips to Eastern Europe, where he spent nearly three years traveling and exploring 25 countries. Those 25 countries include: Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Belarus, Poland, Eastern Germany, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Slovenia, Croatia, Serbia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Montenegro, Albania, Kosovo, Macedonia, Greece, Turkey, Bulgaria, Romania, Moldova, Ukraine and Russia.

25 countries – 25 chapters and each one consisting of Francis’ personal adventures, the country’s history, food, language, sites, stereotypes, interaction with the locals plus lets not forget humor. There’s just a lot of humor in this book.

According to Francis by reading this book you will learn;

  • Why Baltic people are human squirrels

  • When and why Poland disappeared from Europe

  • Why Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia broke up

  • Why Hungarians are really Martians

  • Why the Balkans is so screwed up

  • Why there’s much more to Romania than Dracula.

  • What the future holds for Belarus, Ukraine, Russia.

    plus much more!

The adventure begins above the Arctic Circle where Francis gets locked in an outhouse (which is very interesting btw!), then moves onto the Baltics, Belarus, Poland, all the way to the Balkans and finishes with Moldova, Ukraine and Russia.

And as each chapter ends, Francis explains to the readers what we can learn from each country he has visited through his unique experiences. Whilst writing this review, I became inspired to do the same so here are some key things that this book and Francis can teach us;

How to write
Tapon proves that history doesn’t really have to be boring, and that is in fact very interesting. The book is very entertaining,  and most of all very insightful, which I think is a very important characteristic every travel blogger and writer should have. Through vigorous reading and practice, we can all improve our writing style and this is one book I would recommend to everyone. The Hidden Europe is also is full of humor and jokes that will definitely crack you up. This book goes to my “favorite” list and it will definitely be utilized as some kind of alternative travel guide when visiting some of these Eastern European countries.

To be objective

We all love our countries but sometimes we end up being subjective about it like a vision coming through blurred glasses. It’s time to take those glasses off and see what is in front of us, to search for objective facts and look to the future rather than the past, which Francis explains very well in the Hungary chapter. Many of us fall for that trap but nobody lives from the past and the glorious history. And not just that we are often subjective about our own country, but we are also subjective about other countries as well. As soon as we start traveling more, we see our country, our city in a different way than before. And here’s one nice quote:

“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness.” – Mark Twain

Camp

When was the last time you spent some time in the nature? When was the last time you’ve camped, or maybe you never have? Leave your excuses at the door, literally, and do something different. How did Francis manage to visit almost over 80 countries? He camped.

Get off the path

Paris, London and Amsterdam are awesome and surely deserve to be visited. But the world is huge and does not consist of what you only see advertised by your local tourist agency. Why not ski on the Tatra’s rather than the Alps? Or visit the Black Sea Coast rather than the Ligurian Coast? Surely some places are more famous due to its qualities but it’s not what makes your travel experience better. It’s the people you meet, the challenges you succeed in, the risks you take and the things you learn. Travel is a much better way to learn than any school. Don’t just see it through your eyes – but through your heart too.

Be social

How many times have you traveled somewhere with your friends, ate in a restaurant and never really cared about the things or people around you. How many times have you socialized with someone in a foreign country, besides just asking them to show you how to get to some point on a map or explain to you what bus to take to get somewhere. That’s just wrong. Go talk to someone, ask them about their country, their point of view, learn history from the locals, make friends and have valuable experiences. Friends make our world richer.

I won’t reveal more. There were things with which I disagreed with as well, but that is just normal and we’re not supposed to think the same – that’s what makes our experiences truly unique. In conclusion I think everyone who loves travel, history and is interested in learning new and interesting facts should read this book.

You can order the book if you visit his official website by clicking here or via Amazon.

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10 things to do in Serbia

Serbia is open for tourism all year round and although tourists enjoy spending their time in Belgrade, the country offers a variety of cultural and historical monuments, spas, mountains, fishing…

Serbia is open for tourism all year round and although tourists enjoy spending their time in Belgrade, the country offers a variety of cultural and historical monuments, spas, mountains, fishing grounds and much more.

Some of the great 10 things to do in Serbia include;

Cycling down the Danube EuroVelo 6 Route 

EuroVelo 6 route is one of the 14 routes created by the European Cyclists’ Federation in 1994. The aim of the project is  to discover amazing landscapes when cycling alongside the European rivers. EuroVelo 6 route starts from Nantes and ends at Constanta (from Atlantic to the Black Sea) and it’s 4,448km long.

Ski at Kopaonik

Kopaonik is a major ski resort in Serbia with 25 ski lifts in total and a national park established back in 1981. The mountain is mainly famous for skiing, snowboarding and trekking, but also for its rich historical heritage. It’s highest peak is Pančić, which peaks at 2,017 meters. Every March the mountain is a host to the annual Big Snow Festival.

Rafting on the Drina river

The Drina River is 346 km long, while its course through Serbia is 220 km long. It flows through Montenegro, the Republic of Srpska and Serbia. The river is famous for its old bridge in Visegrad, which was described in the famous novel “The Bridge on the Drina” written by the Nobel Prize for Literature winner in 1961, Ivo Andric. In summer the most popular activity on the river is rafting, with the most famous event being the “Drina Regatta“.

Explore Fruska Gora and its surroundings

Another jewel of Serbia is the National Park Fruška Gora which covers the territory of Vojvodina. It is famous for being the home to the historic city of Sremski Karlovci, plus is characterized by its forests and vineyards. Sixteen Orthodox monasteries are located nearby, which are famous for their architecture and treasures. Wine tasting is very popular in the region and other activities include biking, hiking, hunting and fishing. Being located just one hour from the capital and thirty minutes from Novi Sad makes the area very popular for tourists.

Get spiritual at Serbian Mount Athos

Ovčar-Kablar gorge is referred to this way as it contains more than thirteen medieval monasteries, which are known for their beauty and spectacular location. Ovčar spa is also located in the gorge, which has hot sulfuric water that is used as a treatment for healing various health problems.

Take photos of the canyon of Uvac river

The Uvac River is part of the Uvac Nature Reserve and it’s located in Western Serbia. Probably the greatest attraction of the canyon is its meanders, with some of the river bends angled at 270 degrees, and caves that form the longest cave system in Serbia. The biggest impression is the view overlooking the canyon.

Visit the Devil’s Town

There’s no devil there, but you will find around 202 exotic rock formations that are very similiar to those found in Cappadoccia, Turkey. The mystery of these formations caused the locals to give it such a name. The area is also famous for its spa which contains two springs: the Devil’s Water and the Red Well. Devil’s Town was one of the nominees in the new ‘New Seven Wonders of Nature’ campaign.

Visit Felix Romuliana

Felix Romuliana is an archeological site, spa and UNESCO World Heritage Site located near the city of Zaječar. The location of the ancient Roman complex of palaces and temples was built by the Emperor Galerius. The complex is one of the most popular stops on the Roman Emperor’s trail through the Serbian territory.

Felix Romuliana, Serbia

Learn about the Serbian history at the Military museum in Belgrade

Founded in 1878, the museum has more than 3,000 ancient and modern items. The exhibits progresses from ancient findings to medieval and modern history, while outside the museum features a display of numerous tanks and armoured cars, mostly from WW2. The museum is located inside the Belgrade Fortress which makes it a popular stop from visiting tourists.

Military museum in Belgrade

Party at Exit Festival

The Exit Festival is an annual summer festival held in the Petrovaradin Fortress of Novi Sad. In 2007 the festival was awarded as the “Best European Festival” by the UK Festival Awards. Some of the artists that have performed at the festival in the past include the Pet Shop Boys, Massive Attack, Snoop Dogg, Lily Allen, Placebo and others.

Where to stay

If you are looking for a place to stay check out Booking or HotelsCombined.

Getting there

You can search for a cheap flight to Serbia on Momondo.

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