EuroTribe

your guide to Europe off the beaten path

Category: Travel Tips

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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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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5 reasons to visit Poland

As one of the biggest European countries, Poland has a lot to offer to tourists. Check out these 5 reasons to visit Poland; History Wherever you are in Poland you…

As one of the biggest European countries, Poland has a lot to offer to tourists. Check out these 5 reasons to visit Poland;

History

Warsaw Poland

Wherever you are in Poland you won’t be able to escape its turbulent history especially from the Second World War. Being located in a very central position in Europe, between two powerful neighbors, Poland was forced to protect its sovereignty numerous times and its history is therefore very eventful. Some of the elements that represent Poland is its rich historical monuments and respect to other traditions.

Under The Jagiellonian dynasty, Poland was the largest European state extending from the Baltic to the Black Sea, but then was slowly destroyed as a country during the two World Wars with the population being devastated. Today Poland is an EU and NATO member and its rich and proud history is being showcased in museums and other cultural institutions which definitely deserve attention from tourists, especially the Warsaw Uprising Museum.

Unspoiled nature

Traveling through Poland by train is simply beautiful, as you can admire its landscapes and forests’. Besides that Poland is famous for its Baltic sea beaches, lakes and rivers that offer rest, relaxation and adventure for travelers. The beaches of the Baltic Sea are famous for amber which is called as Polish gold due to its beauty and health qualities.

Masuria is another amazing nature spot in Poland being known as the land of a Thousand lakes which are mostly small and medium in size and are hidden in forests that offer rest and more adventurous experiences of life. Another untouched pearl in Poland is Białowieża Forest – an ancient woodland famous for being home to European bison. Although most of the country is flat, with the average attitude of only 173 meters, Poland can also be proud of its mountains, with the Tatra mountains, within the fascinating town of Zakopane, attracting many mountain trekkers and skiers.

Another must is the Słowiński National Park, famous for its sand dunes and the tourist trails extending about 140 km. In total Poland has twenty three national parks and among them eight are part of the UNESCO list.

Culture

Frederyk Chopin Museum

Warsaw and other Polish cities are attractive destinations for those wanting to learn more about history and culture. Despite being heavily destroyed during WW2, nineteen UNESCO World Heritage sites are located in Poland. 90% of the Polish capital was almost flattened during the WW2, but due to amazing reconstruction, Warsaw’s Old Town secured its place on the list of UNESCO World Heritage sites as well. Warsaw also has a big selection of museums with one of the most popular ones being the “Warsaw Uprising Museum”, the National Museum and several others.

The capital has also a lot to offer to music lovers with the most popular events including; the Mozzart Festival, International Chopin Competition (which takes place every five years), International Warsaw Summer Jazz Days and others. Krakow, the historical capital of Poland, is another attractive spot for culture and art lovers, with numerous museums and two UNESCO World Heritage sites around the city. Wroclaw, Gdańsk, Poznań and Łódź are other major Polish cities that have a lot to offer in terms of cultural and religious tourism.

Polish Hospitality and Cuisine

“A guest in the house, God in the house” – Polish proverb

That probably best represents the reason number four why you need to visit Poland. Polish cuisine is influenced from French, Italian along with Jewish, Hungarian and Lithuanian cuisines. Żurek is a sour rye soup that along with pierogi best represents Polish national dishes. Kiełbasa is Polish sausage and is available in dozens of varieties, while Gołąbki is another Polish traditional dish in the form of cabbage rolls which are made of lightly cooked cabbage filled with pork or beef.

Other traditional Polish dishes include bigos, roast, tomato soup and others. Besides that Polish people are some of the most hospitable people you’ll meet and are always there ready to help you and assist you in anything you need.

Budget

Visiting Poland will definitely not break your bank, as it offers great value for money. Warsaw has some of the cheapest overnight accommodation prices among all European capital cities. You can search for accommodation on Booking and HotelsCombined.  If you are flying to Poland, check out Momondo as it will compare the best prices from different airlines.

The price of food and products bought in shops are still relatively inexpensive comparing to capitals of countries in Western Europe. Beer in Poland costs between (0,25 – 2,5 €) and dinning in one of the better restaurants from 12 to 25 €.

A meal in an inexpensive restaurant is around 4 €. Also note that the bus transportation throughout the country is cheaper than using the train but the travel time in most cases increases. For example if you book in advance with the Polish bus coach Polskibus.com, you can get bus tickets from just 1 PLN (0.23 €). Trains are also inexpensive, plus faster, and you will probably enjoy the natural landscape much more.

And these were only 5 reasons to visit Poland but be sure there’s way more! So go, explore and find out by yourself! 🙂

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How to spend 24 hours in Łódź

Łódź is the third largest city in Poland and it’s easily accessed by train, with the journey lasting about one hour and forty minutes from Warsaw. Another option is bus…

Łódź is the third largest city in Poland and it’s easily accessed by train, with the journey lasting about one hour and forty minutes from Warsaw. Another option is bus which comes at a cheaper price, but extends your travel time to two hours and forty-five minutes. Łódź was famous all over Europe for its cotton cloth yields and even called the “Promised Land”, after it became one of the largest textile production centers in Europe. That is the reason why even today the city is referred to as the Polish “Manchester”. The 20th century saw a very hard period for the city with Lodz’s population almost decimated after WW2. The industry and infrastructure were heavily destroyed as well.

Łódź itself contains a mysterious aura that can be very intriguing and fascinating, whether it’s that melancholic feeling of experiencing some of its rich old prosperous times mixed with its rapid present development, but the city itself deserves more attention from tourists and prospective travelers. In recent years the city is often overlooked by many tourists for more popular destinations in the country, and due to a lack of investment even major parts of the city suffer from poor infrastructure which can lead some to the impression; “is this really the third-largest Polish city?” Nevertheless, thanks to its beautiful palaces, rich cultural heritage, its Polish Film School, and its kind people who are always ready to help, makes you leave this city with a warm heart.

How to spend 24 hours in Łódź?

Piotrkowska Street

Piotrkowska street

First, why not start with something that Łódź is most famous for! Its PIOTRKOWSKA STREET. The ideal place for starting your sightseeing would be at the Plac Wolności, or Liberty Square, where the beginning of the street starts and continues its long length of about 4.2 kilometers, making it known as one of Europe’s largest commercial streets.

The street is home to wonderful architecture, housing and monuments – with probably the most popular feature being the Arthur Rubinstein monument, who was born in Łódź and grew up in this street. Another popular feature is the monument of the “Three Manufacturers”. It is also known as the Łódź Walk of Fame for its star-plaques which includes the names of the most important stars in Polish cinematography.

In addition to its shops, during the night the street comes alive with entertainment, having more than one hundred pubs, restaurants and clubs along its way. If you have a tight time-frame to discover all the street offers, do not worry as there are many rickshaws or trambuses along the street which is probably a good idea to invest your money in if you are in a hurry.

Manufaktura

Manufaktura Lodz

One of the things that should not be missed include MANUFAKTURA – which is a place mixed with traditional and modern elements. Traditional due to the fact this place used to be home to 19th century industrial buildings of the former Izrael Poznański’s factory and modern after its revitalisation, which made it become a popular center of entertainment, shopping and culture known all over Poland. Besides the mall, Manufaktura also has two museums, numerous restaurants and discos, a cinema and even a little tram taking you from one part of the complex to another.

What I loved about this place is how they managed to preserve the original spirit of its past in its beautiful red color facades which at the same time look very modern. This place is huge, so don’t expect to see everything if you are visiting city for only 24 hours. To make the most of your day, it’s best to visit Manufaktura during the evening, otherwise, you won’t regret a visit to this symbolic series of buildings in Łódź.

Arhitecture

If you arrive at the Łódź Kaliska station, the tram ride to the city center will take about 15-20 minutes which is already enough to gather a basic impression of the city, and its cultural heritage, which is mixed with the Jewish, German and Russian architecture styles most notable besides the local Polish style.

The city is famous for its post-industrial buildings and palaces built by the most powerful industrialists in the city and the ones who definitely deserve your attention include the Izrael Poznański’s factory and the White Factory. Poznański’s factory is the most famous Jewish landmark in the city and it is also a home to the Museum of the City of Łódź. Here you can learn more about the industrial past of the city during the 19th century. On the other hand, within the White Factory there is an Open-Air Museum of the city’s past wooden architecture.

Museum of Cinematography

Museum of Cinematography Lodz

It is very hard to see more than a handful of things in only 24 hours, but if you get the chance try to pay a visit to the Museum of Cinematography and learn more about Polish cinema and art, as Łódź offers the best cinematography in Poland.

Eating and drinking

When it comes to eating and drinking you won’t have to look far, as Piotrkowska street and Manufaktura offers you numerous pubs, cafes and restaurants with Polish and international cuisines to choose from, along with the usual fast food outlets. You can also shop for some traditional Polish souvenirs whilst in the city.

Where To Stay in Lodz

You can search for hotels in Lodz on Booking and compare cheap rates on HotelsCombined.



Booking.com

Have you ever been to Łódź or are you planning to visit? Tell us about your experience in the city, in the comments below!

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Spare time in Belgrade? Go to Avala mountain

Avala mountain is located 16 km from the capital city of Serbia, Belgrade, and it has a reputation of being a popular day or even weekend getaway from busy city…

Avala mountain is located 16 km from the capital city of Serbia, Belgrade, and it has a reputation of being a popular day or even weekend getaway from busy city life. Avala is inviting especially for its walks which allow people to relax in nature.

With a height of 511 meters, Avala fits within the ‘Mountain range’, no pun intended. In the middle ages it was famous for the Avala Town, which was later conquered by the Ottoman Turks. Today the areas surrounding Avala are not heavily populated, although the mountain’s location is very close to Belgrade’s city boundaries.

Avala mountain Belgrade

Avala is one of the protected green areas of Belgrade and it has more than 600 plant species living on the mountain. Many species are  protected by law due to their natural rarities, with 21 of the 67 bird species considered rare in Serbia.

Avala tower

Besides being famous as a traditional weekend and picnic resort, other attractions on the mountain include the newly built Avala Tower which is the tallest tower in Serbia and the Balkans region. Originally it was a telecommunication tower destroyed by the NATO bombing in 1999, with the new tower officially opened in 2010. The tower has a viewing platform on top with the beautiful view overlooking Belgrade, Vojvodina and Šumadija.

View from Avala tower

View from the tower!

One of the most famous monuments located on Avala is the “Monument to the Unknown Hero” which is a protected monument by the country.

Monument to the Unknown Hero

Monument to the Unknown Hero

For those who love sport activities besides walking, can indulge in activities including orienteering, climbing, mountain biking and running.

And if your hunger gets the best of you, on the top of the Mountain there’s a hotel with the restaurant “Avala”, dedicated to serving delicious meals.

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Is the Stockholm Card worth buying?

Stockholm is the capital of Sweden and it’s also known as the capital of Scandinavia. Stockholm is considered quite an expensive city at times but it is always worth visiting!…

Stockholm is the capital of Sweden and it’s also known as the capital of Scandinavia. Stockholm is considered quite an expensive city at times but it is always worth visiting! In this article I will review the Stockholm card and we’ll see if the Stockholm Card is worth buying.

So first of all; What is the Stockholm card exactly?

The Stockholm card is the official card issued by the Stockholm Tourist Board, which when purchased gives you access to 80 museums and attractions, public transport and many other bonus offers for the duration of the card.

The Stockholm Card’s price is based on its length of validity, which ranges from 1, 2, 3 or 5 days from the first time it is activated. The card is valid once per museum/attraction and it is valid for an unlimited amount of trips on SL transit vehicles for its duration of validity.

So let’s take a look at the prices.

Adult one day (450 SEK/51 EUR)
Adult two days (625 SEK/70 EUR)
Adult three days (750 SEK/85 EUR)
Adult five days (950 SEK/107 EUR

Now let’s check the prices of some museums and attractions;

Nobel Museum (Adults: 80 SEK)
Vasa Museum (Adults: 110 SEK)
The Royal Palace (Adults: 100 SEK)
SkyView (Adults: 130 SEK)
Fotografiska (Adults: 110 SEK)
Skansen Open-Air Museum (Adults: 70-120 SEK)
Moderna Museet (Adults: 100 SEK)

Let’s say you wish to visit all of these museums – that would cost you a total of 700 SEK, which is only a bit less than Stockholm card valid for a period of three days (750 SEK).

However, that is just the first part, let’s take a look at the cost of public transport now;

Tickets for one and two zones are valid for 75 minutes from the time of purchase and activation. Each ticket costs a total of 36 SEK, or 4 EUR for first zone and 54 SEK, or 6 EUR, for the second zone.

For a ticket with 24 hour validity, it costs a total of 115 SEK or 13 EUR, whilst a 72h ticket costs 230 SEK or 26EUR. For a 7 days ticket, the cost is 300 SEK or 34 EUR.

As you can see, public transportation is much more expensive than in other European capitals.

So if you wish to spend three days in Stockholm, plus you purchase a 72h ticket, the total price would cost you 230 SEK more due to the price of attractions costing 700 SEK plus the transport cost. In total, without the Stockholm Card, it would cost you 930 SEK or 105 EUR for 3 days. If you remember, the Stockholm three day card was only 750 SEK or 85 euros, so basically you would save at least 20 euros.

Of course it all depends on your travel tastes and what you love to do, but if you are really into culture and museums, plus you plan to stay 3 or more days in Stockholm, I think this card is very handy and helpful and also saves you the hassle of waiting in the queues and buying tickets. From my experience it was very helpful especially when it comes to using the public transport which is very expensive in Stockholm.

Also note that the prices included here were based on the price of an adult and that some museums are free of charge if you are under the age of 19, plus there are discounts for students, so the best would be to check the website of each museum you want to visit or the website of the Stockholm Tourist Board.

So Is the Stockholm Card worth buying?

Yes definitely, especially if you are staying for 3 or more days. If you are not such a culture freak and you prefer nature and exploring the city by bike, there are some other ways to save rather than using this card.

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