EuroTribe

your guide to Europe off the beaten path

Category: Travel Tips

Roost Stand Review – Fantastic Laptop Stand For Everyday Life

If you are hunching over your laptop like Quasimodo, you are gonna appreciate this post. Laptops are small in size and we spend hours working on them. The result of…

If you are hunching over your laptop like Quasimodo, you are gonna appreciate this post. Laptops are small in size and we spend hours working on them. The result of this is neck and back pain, headaches, bad mood, and frustration. Working like this over a prolonged course of time can seriously damage your health and spine, and can cause nerve damage.

Laptops were made for portability and they made our lives so much easier, but unfortunately, it is our physical health that suffers.

I use MacBook Air with the 13-inch screen and the hunching over is worse than working on a 15-inch laptop. If you have the same problem I wholeheartedly recommend getting a laptop stand.

In this post, I will review the Roost laptop Stand which raised more than 1 million on Kickstarter.

Main Features

  • very easy to carry

  • adjustable height (6 to 11 inches above the table)

  • fits almost all laptops

  • lightweight (only 170 grams)

  • durability

Setting Up and Usage

Your Roost comes in a nice little protective bag, so you can pack it while you are on the go.

You can set up Roost in less than a minute. Yes, it is that easy. You will get a manual with your Roost and you can also take a look at the instructions below.

The stand is very stable, you can move it around and it will still hold your laptop perfectly. It might not look like that from the photos, but the stand is constructed from glass-fiber reinforced Nylon, a structural metal-replacement polymer and Delrin high- performance resin. This means it can probably last a lifetime!

The Roost Stand is ideal for anyone who spends a lot of time on their laptop, like writers, freelancers, and students. However, it can be used by anyone – whether you use your laptop for professional reasons or for watching Netflix. Its light weight makes it extremely suitable for travelers and digital nomads.

Will your laptop fit?

When it comes to weight, no laptop is too heavy for Roost. It can hold over 20 kg, but when it comes to laptop size, the front page of your laptop must be less than 1.9 cm thick.

Price

74.95$

I know what you are thinking. At first, it may look like this is too much for a laptop stand. You will also need to get a keyboard, a mouse and perhaps a USB hub. Unfortunately, these will be extras that you will need to get unless you already own them. However, considering that Roost Stand is made of really durable material and that it can last for a really long time, it is really a small price you can pay for your health. Chiropractors cost way more!

Conclusion

roost stand review

Roost is a laptop stand that will improve your health and productivity. It can be used by anyone – whether you are using your laptop for a professional reason or just for fun. So far it is one of the best pieces of kit that I have and I totally recommend it to anyone. The price could be off putting to some, as you can definitely get a much cheaper stand, but considering the durability and the fact that you can take it anywhere with you, makes Roost a worthy investment.

If you like Roost you can order it from the official website or Amazon. And here are some tips on how to protect your back and neck from laptop usage. You can also take a look at my favorite gear.

 

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Best Fitness Apps for Travel and Everyday Life

There are hundreds of fitness apps available on the market. They cover a wide range of categories – from running, hiking, general fitness to meditation and practicing mindfulness. This makes…

There are hundreds of fitness apps available on the market. They cover a wide range of categories – from running, hiking, general fitness to meditation and practicing mindfulness. This makes it a lot harder to choose the best one.

Here I have compiled the best fitness apps for travel and everyday life. All of them are free, but some also offer premium features for which you need to pay.

Nike+ Training Club

This free and fantastic fitness app made by Nike offers more than 150 free workouts and personalized training plans you can do just about anywhere. Each workout is explained in the video by experts from this field. You can add your workouts manually and the app will personalize the best plan for you. The app has yoga, strength, endurance and mobility workouts and you can choose between beginner, intermediate and advanced levels. Undoubtedly, this is one of the most complete and best fitness apps for travel.

Water Drink Reminder

One of my bad habits is that I constantly forget to drink more water. This app is really handy during summer when staying hydrated is of utmost importance. It will send you daily reminders to drink water and it even makes a cool graph of your drink report.

7 Minute Workout

If you want to introduce the habit of exercising into your routine, this might be a nice app for that. It is a simple app which offers 7 min workouts – ranging from the classic, abs, legs and butt workouts. The best feature is its 30-day challenge where you start with the Beginner I plan and if you are consistent enough you might reach the Advanced level of the app. This tracking feature will motivate you to exercise, even if it is just a few minutes a day.

Sworkit

Sworkit is one of the best fitness apps for travel that I’ve used and I’ve tried many. You can choose a pre-made guided plan (leaner, fitter or stronger) or opt out for individual workouts. The great thing about the app is that you can set custom intervals for each workout – from 5 to 60 minutes. You can choose between strength, cardio, yoga and stretching workouts. Having no time will never be an issue again.

All Trails

If you love hiking then you must have this app on your phone. It has more than 50,000 trail maps, reviews, and photos made by hikers, mountain bikers and trail runners. The app turns your phone into a GPS and records your route, distance and time. You can save your favorite trails and see your progress over time. Next time you are longing for a nice outdoor adventure check out this app for inspiration.

Runtastic

Runtastic is another fantastic app I have used for a long time. It tracks your running or walking and shows distance, time, elevation and calories burned. Those are just the two basic features. It also acts as a jogging, cardio and cycling tracker. Their website offers a good graph of your fitness history- you can see when and how much you practiced and see the progress over time. You can manually add over 20 kind of sports activities which makes this app more advanced than the others on the market.

Calm

A great app for mindfulness, meditation, and breathing. It is ideal for beginners who can start with guided meditations which are available in lengths of 3,5,10,15,20 and 25 minutes. You can choose between many available programs: managing stress, focusing, reducing anxiety, improving sleep etc. Breathing exercises are accompanied by relaxing sounds and scenes. It has a great rating and it is one of the best fitness apps for travel and everyday life.

Freeletics

EuroTribe has already covered this app in detail here. Freeletics is a great app for bodyweight exercises, that you can do anywhere on the go and without equipment. If you want a full body transformation in a short time, be sure this app will help you achieve that (well, if you survive the first few days of the training) ūüėÄ The best feature of the app is its Coach version, which in a way is like your personal trainer – 3 months subscription is¬†34.99‚ā¨.

Worthy Mentions 

Pinterest Health Categories

Many of us are short on phone memory so installing new apps is out of question sometimes. What to do in that case? Pinterest is full of great fitness tips and exercise programs. Just go to health and fitness category and find the most suitable workout for you. You can also save your favorite workouts, recipes and other tips to your own board.

What are the best fitness apps for travel and everyday life in your opinion? Let us know in the comments below.

Photo: Unsplash
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4 Interesting Wine Festivals in the Balkans

The Balkans are not the first place that comes to mind when you think of wine. It’s not even among the top regions where wine is produced. But did you…

The Balkans are not the first place that comes to mind when you think of wine. It’s not even among the top regions where wine is produced. But did you know that three Balkan countries are among top 20 wine-producing countries? That’s right. They are Romania, Greece and Serbia.

Wine was never the most popular alcoholic drink in the Balkans. Rakija and beer have always been a favourite choice of the locals and what makes the situation even worse is that low purchasing power of the market dictates higher consumption of cheaper products.

Yet, three Balkan countries – Romania, Greece and Serbia – are among the top 20 wine-producing countries. Through international fairs, mapping of wine routes and festivals, this region is slowly piquing an interest of wine lovers around the world.

Here are some of the most popular wine festivals in the Balkans;

The Balkans International Wine Competition – Sofia, Bulgaria

This festival which is already in its sixth year was the first of its kind. It showcases regional wines while drawing attention to this interesting region. It hosts world famous wine connoisseurs, who judge wines of different Balkan producers and welcomes wine merchants, journalists and bloggers from some of the strongest markets РUSA, UK, Japan, Russia, Germany and the Scandinavian countries.

The Grand Trophy for 2017 was taken by Bulgaria’s Rumelia Wine Cellar¬†and their¬†Mavrud Reserva 2013 red wine. Its indigenous region is Thrace in Bulgaria and its multilevel aroma with nuances of dry leaves, seasoning and resin won the hearts of the jury. The White Wine Trophy also went to Bulgarian winery Edoardo Miroglio¬†and their¬†Elenovo Chardonnay 2015.¬†

The festival mostly showcases Bulgarian wines with appearances of few wineries from other countries, but it is still among top wine festivals in the Balkans.

Also, don’t forget to check out my Sofia travel guide with all the tips and suggestions. If you need accommodation check out Booking.

Tikveski Grozdober, Macedonia

Kavadarci, a small town 100 km away from Skopje, has been a heart of the Macedonian wines for a long time. This region is better known as Tikves and the largest winery in the Southeastern Europe is located here.

The wine tradition that goes all the way back to the ancient times continued with an annual festival that lasts for several days. Beside the wine events, the festival hosts art exhibitions, sport events, music programs and more. The winery has its restaurant, souvenir shops and offers guided tours to visitors.

The wines of Tikves Winery have won numerous awards at international festivals including the Concours Mondial in Brussels, Decanter World Wine Awards, International Wine Challenge, Chardonnay du Monde and others. Some of them are: Vranec Special Selection 2015, Cabernet Franc Special Selection 2016, Alexandria Red 2015, Chardonnay Special Selection 2015.

The less known wineries from the city are Popov and Chokorovi. 

> Accommodation in Kavadarci 

Smederevo Autumn, Serbia

Smederevo Autumn has been one of the most important tourism events in the city of Smederevo and one of the oldest in Serbia. It originates from the 1888 and the tradition has been preserved till modern days. Smederevka is¬†one of the leading autochthonous types of grapes from Smederevo‚Äôs vineyard. It’s famous for its soft aromas of lime and lemon with mild herbal characteristics.

As one of the biggest wine regions in the country, it is home to five wineries. Smederevka from Janko Cellar Winery is a good representative.

> Accommodation in Smederevo

RO-Wine, Romania

According to legend, Dionysus – the Thracian god of wine – was born in what is now Romania, and Plato declared its vineyards to be the best in the world. Romanians have been making and drinking wine for over 6000 years.

The Wine Festival of Romania, brings together crème de la crème of Romanian wines accompanied by international varieties. In the span of two days, more than 2.500 wine connoisseurs gather along with wine specialists, wine cellar owners, to enjoy the rich selection of wines specially made for them.

You’ll get the opportunity to taste the best of Murfatlar, Jidvei, Cotnari, Vincon, Tohani and best of small production wineries.

If you think you’ll be bored with the surplus amount of Romanian wines – you’d be wrong. The RO-Wine¬†presents over 300 wines¬†from France, Italy, Republic of Moldova, Argentina, Spain or Chile. This easily makes it one of the best wine festivals in the Balkans.

 Cheers!

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How To Have Fun While Traveling Without Blowing Your Budget

Saving money for travel is one of the most shared travel advice on the Internet. But what about having fun while traveling without blowing your budget? Most people avoid travel…

Saving money for travel is one of the most shared travel advice on the Internet. But what about having fun while traveling without blowing your budget?

Most people avoid travel for this sole reason- they worry that they’ll be bored to death if they travel alone and that having fun equals blowing their budget.

I’ve traveled to more than 20 countries and undertook many solo trips and I’ve never been bored or left with no things to do. Here’s how you can travel for cheap and have a lot of fun at the same time!¬†

Use Couchsurfing

Vagabund bar Berlin -traveling without blowing your budget

Most people relate Couchsurfing to staying at someone’s home for free, but it’s much more than that. Sure, you can find people who would be willing to host you but if you’re in a new place and want to hang out with the locals Couchsurfing is a perfect fit.

You can leave a public message and leave it to people to contact you, or you can check out the website to see all events that are happening in your area. These events are almost always free. You can join weekly meetups, free walking tours, live music, picnics etc. 

Couchsurfing also has diverse groups so you can find people with similar interests.

No wonder why the sharing economy websites became so popular!

Go on a Free Tour

You’ll find free tours in almost every major city of the world. Instead of paying for pricey private tours that cost from 100 to 200$, you can go¬†on a free tour and have fun! The offer is rich- there are free walking tours, free cycling tours, free cultural tours, pub crawls and more.

If you’re going to Berlin for example just google ‘Berlin free tours’. You’ll be swamped with the possibilities. Free tours are not totally free as you are expected to tip your guide at the end of the tour. However, it’s still a good value for money and you’ll most likely meet other people.

Visit Museums on a Specific Time

Nikola Tesla Museum - Belgrade travel guide

Did you know that you can visit some of the world’s most famous museums for free if you’re there at the specific time?

You can visit Vatican Museum and the Sistine Chapel for free every last Sunday of the month. If you’re in Paris, you can go to Louvre for free every first Sunday of the month. Check the website of museum you want to visit for more detailed information.

Also, never buy tickets from unauthorized sellers or from people just outside the building. You’ll most likely be a subject of scam and pay¬†4-5 times higher of the original cost. If you book your ticket online in many cases you’ll also be able to skip the line and you’ll avoid possible scams.

Free Cultural Events

There’s always a wide array of entertainment choices or a cool art exhibit going on with no entrance fee! Finding cool local spots and events is hard when you’re a tourist. Do some online research, check out the tourism board website of your destination, and locals’ blogs for insider tips.

Check out Meetup

Meetup is another good social networking site. The site can help you find and join groups that share your similar interests whether that’s politics, books, health, IT, outdoors, LGBT culture etc.

Walk and Explore

Heroes Square Budapest

Your two feet can take you far!¬†Instead of going on those sightseeing buses or expensive private tours why not grab a map and explore the city by walking? Not only you’ll be more physically active but you’ll be able to have a better glimpse of the way of life by local people and¬†save more money for other fun activities.

Check out Facebook events

One of my favorite FB features is their events tool. When you’re in a new place you can check out the events page and see all the cool happenings in your area. Most of the time these events are totally free or require a small entrance fee. Parties, free film screenings, language exchanges, group hiking, exhibitions- you’ll find it all on FB events. This is one of the quickest and easiest ways to find new things to do.

Attend Free Festivals

Admit it, some festivals can be a serious blow to your budget. Luckily, there are many free and affordable festivals without big price tag, where you can still have a lot of fun. Check out the¬†official¬†tourism board website of the destination you’re visiting for the¬†list of festivals and events happening in the area.

Stay in Hostels

Tirana Backpacker Hostel

Garden of the hostel

Sometimes just being surrounded by people makes everything better. Hostels are social environments with people from all over the world. They’re a great way to save money on accommodation and in many instances hostels organize free tours for their guests, prepare BBQs and other types of social mixers. No wonder why many travelers opt for hostels when they embark on a solo trip to Europe. Here’s a good resource on how to find cheap accommodation in Europe.

If you have camera, create art

You don’t need expensive or professional camera to take great photos. Your cellphone is enough too.¬†Your time abroad is bound to be filled with new experiences and interesting people. It is something we like to memorialize and treasure – because life is made of experiences. Taking photos can be great stress therapy too!¬†You can find out more about mobile photography in one of my previous posts here.

Spend time in the nature

Mother Earth gave us fantastic nature so why not enjoy it? You can have a light picnic in the park or go hiking. I love visiting botanical gardens as they’re so beautiful and peaceful. Some of them are free but most require a fee. Nevertheless, it will be more than worthwhile!

Go to Free Film Screenings

If you’re traveling during the Summer you’re in luck! Almost every city has outdoor film screenings! Imagine lounging in a park and watching Dazed and Confused or some other great summer flick. It’s also a great place to meet people. The atmosphere is always resembling to watching a movie with your best friends rather than being in a cinema. There is chatter all around as people yell out funny commentary much to everyone’s pleasure, and did I mention the street vendors bring out their best snacks?

Use your student card

If you’re a student you’ll most likely own a student card which entitles you to many discounts and free perks even. These cards offer discounts on accommodation, transportation, museums and other attractions. ISIC is the most famous card of this kind.

Get city tourist cards

budapest card worth buying

Almost every major city and their tourism office offer tourist cards. They range from 1-day, 3-day to 7-day passes and offer free transportation, a guidebook and more than hundreds of discounts. Besides the ordinary tourist passes there are also museum passes which can be a great deal and money-saver if you’re interested in art.

Language exchanges

Another fun thing to do is to go to a language exchange meetings. The entrance is free, you can meet a lot of locals and learn a bit of the local language or perhaps, you can help someone with your own! Also expect a lot of laughter ūüôā

Drink in the park or utilize Happy Hour

Drinking in some cities can be really expensive so you may as well utilize those happy hour offers. If its summer, even better, you can buy drinks and enjoy them in parks and outside areas. That’s what people do in Berlin. Just make sure to read local laws, not everywhere is allowed to drink outside.

Check out local newspapers and websites

You can also hunt for fun things to do in local newspapers or websites. For example many cities have free magazines that you can find in tourism offices, your hotel etc. They have news on latest happenings and most of them have a listing with events happening in the area.

Also there are many blogs dedicated to a specific destination. You can research those too before traveling.

Use FourSquare

FourSquare app has been a life saver in so many instances. It is probably the best app if you’re looking for recommendations on restaurants, bars, activities, shopping etc. You can filter the results by distance, ratings and find the best match.

Check out coupon websites

Coupon websites sometimes have great deals on activities, shopping and day trips. You can subscribe to these sites and get all the great deals delivered directly to your inbox.

Food Kiosks

the Central Market Hall Budapest

Food markets and street food stalls are budget-friendly eatery places with a great atmosphere. You can try many different foods and enjoy the unique setting.

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How to Get a German Freelance Visa as an American

This is a guest post by a Berlin-based freelance journalist Rachel Stern. You can check out her official website or follow her on Twitter.¬† Whether you’re seeking new career opportunities…

This is a guest post by a Berlin-based freelance journalist Rachel Stern. You can check out her official website or follow her on Twitter. 


Whether you’re seeking new career opportunities or political refuge from the U.S., Germany is a vibrant country for Americans to live and work in. It is expected to add up to 760,000 new jobs by the year‚Äôs end, many in marketing or research where native English speakers or people with an international background are in high demand.

Nationals of certain countries are allowed to apply for German freelance visa after they have arrived in Germany, however for most countries they require that you apply for one at their local embassy or consulate before coming to Germany.

But if you first come to the country as a freelancer, acquiring a visa can be more burdensome — though manageable if you cover all of your bases. Here are my tips of successfully acquiring a German freelance visa, taken from first-hand experience in Berlin at the Ausl√§nderbeh√∂rde (or in less intimidating language: foreigner‚Äôs office).

Where to Start

First, you will need to head to the Foreigner‚Äôs Office Website to book an appointment. You can select ‚ÄúResidence Permit for the Purpose of Freelance or Self-Employment — initial Issuance‚ÄĚ. This simply means it‚Äôs your first time applying for German freelance visa. The freelance status applies to independent contractors, whether a journalist like myself or engineer.

As an American, you can come to Germany on a three-month tourist visa, and book an appointment during this time. However, if an appointment does not free up until after this period, you have until the date of your appointment to remain in the country.

What You’ll Need

1. Two or three letters from potential freelance employees

These need to be in German, and demonstrate specifically how much you will earn per project/assignment or hour you work. But these letters have to demonstrate that you are contributing to the local economy and possess a skill that Germans don’t.

Nowadays usually just being a native English speaker won‚Äôt cut it, but showing a more specific requirement — such as specifically American English or doing market research for a North American audience — will. In the end, they will want to see that you will have at least 800 euros coming in a month, but this will vary based on the city you‚Äôre living.

Still, these letters don’t have to turn into paid work. They just have to say that the companies or contractors would be willing to work with you.

2. Documents showing your professional background

You’ll need to bring along a CV/resume. Since this is Germany, it can be very long (up to four pages) and also should include a photo, date of birth and place of birth. If possible, bring along your actual degrees, such as a bachelor’s, but if you don’t have these, a copy (as I used) is usually fine, especially if translated to German. They will also want documents they can easily scan: I brought along a few copies of articles I had written, but graphic artists can also scan their designs for example.

3. Health Insurance

It’s illegal to live in Germany without it so you’ll need to bring proof of it along. However, this presents a Catch-22 if you’re applying for a visa for the first time. Most health insurance requires a work permit to receive it, yet you need a work permit for health insurance. How do you get around this? You can first acquire short term health insurance through Care Coverage or Mar Vista. Women also need to have insurance that includes pregnancy coverage, whether or not that is part of their future plans.

4. Revenue Forecast

You will find Financing Plan and Capital Budget Plan forms on the website you apply for your appointment. Usually you can leave big chunks of the form blank, such as staff expenses. But you can include day-to-day expenses, include health insurance if you have private coverage.

5. Anmeldung

This registration document just shows that you have registered your address. You can make an appointment here or simply show up at the office of the district you are living along with your housing contract. Another Catch-22 is that you will usually need an Anmeldung before becoming a Hauptmieter, or the main person on a housing contract. But you can often sublet a place or join a shared flat (WG) without one.

6. Get a Bank Account

Usually you have to register for an account in person with your Anmeldung on hand. But you can also sign up for one from afar at Deutsche Kredit Bank. It helps to show you have a sizeable amount of savings in here (I‚Äôve heard the ‚Äėmagic number‚Äô is 4,000 euros but this varies) and/or that you have steady income. I personally printed out bank statements from the past year in order to demonstrate this.

7. Two Biometric Passport Photos

Note, though, that your facial expression in these has to be neutral. My first application was turned away because of my smile. I did not look so happy in the next ones I submitted.

Photo: German flag (CC BY 2.0) by fdecomite

 

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15 Natural Attractions in Europe You Must See

The travel industry caters to everyone’s needs. Some of us¬†seek out cultural monuments. Some wish to try out different cuisines while others need a change of scenery. If you’re same…

The travel industry caters to everyone’s needs. Some of us¬†seek out cultural monuments. Some wish to try out different cuisines while others need a change of scenery. If you’re same as me, then sometimes you need the opposite from the bustling city life. Almost nothing restores my well being as nature and quietness. These are some of the natural attractions in Europe you must see.

Preikestolen, Norway

Preikestolen

Photo: Preikestolen (CC BY 2.0) by TimOve

Pulpit Rock is one of the most famous cliffs in the world. It’s located near the city of Stavanger- a rather popular day trip for locals and tourists. If you love hiking with rewarding views, it will be hard to top Preikestolen.¬†It was formed 10,000 years ago by the expansion of ice. The main hiking season is from April to October. You can either admire the cliff from a boat cruise or maybe even combine it with a hike. If you want something more off the beaten path, then also try hiking at the neighboring Kjerag mountain.

Accommodation – Stavanger

Plitvice Lakes, Croatia

Plitvice

Photo: Plitvice (CC BY 2.0) by zolakoma

This UNESCO World Heritage Site is one of the most magical places in Europe. The complex consists of much as 16 cascade lakes that are all interconnected. Surrounding forests have hiking paths which offer fantastic views of these turquoise-colored lakes. In the winter, the lakes are no less amazing as they get frozen, hence creating a dream like scenery.

Accommodation – Plitvice Lakes

Cliffs of Moher, Ireland

Cliffs of Moher

Photo: Cliffs of Moher (CC BY 2.0) by lennox_mcdough

The cliffs of Moher are one of the most recognizable natural attractions in the world. Consequently, one of the best scenes in the legendary ‘The Princess Bride’ movie (admit it, we’ve all watched it!) took place here. Also look beyond the Cliffs of Moher. There is a 20 km coastal walking trail. Take in the quietness and enjoy the breathtaking views of the Irish landscape. In addition, you can also hit the beach and try kayaking or diving. If you’re not that adventurous take a relaxing boat cruise and admire the surrounding beauty.

Accommodation – Clare county

Matterhorn, Switzerland & Italy

Matterhorn 2

Photo: Matterhorn 2 (CC BY 2.0) by Jan-Christof Telford

Alps always awaken the imagination of adventurers and climbers. Most noteworthy¬†mountain is the Matterhorn. The first ascent was a deadly one and even today this peak is considered as one of the deadliest in the world. Yet its rather unusual shape, of a steep pyramid, flocks people from all over the world. As a result, it’s the most photographed mountain ever. Zermatt, the famous winter sports center is located at the base of Matterhorn.

Accommodation – Zermatt

Dunes of Pilat, France

France-001797

Photo: France-001797 (CC BY 2.0) by archer10 (Dennis) 97M Views

You don’t have¬†to leave Europe to get a taste of Africa! Just head to France and visit the tallest sand dune in Europe. From here you’ll get a fantastic view of dense forests. If that won’t be enough, you can also opt for a scenic helicopter tour. A small seaside resort Pyla-ser-Mer seems as¬†a good home base for exploring the area.

Accommodation > Pyla-ser-Mer

Blue Grotto, Italy

Inside the Blue Grotto

Photo: Inside the Blue Grotto (CC BY 2.0) by brad.coy

Blue Grotto is a natural sea cave located near the island of Capri in Italy. The light comes from another two sources to this sea cave. The water colored by the light, is incredibly blue. Tourists can enter the cave on a tiny rowboat as the cave’s mouth is roughly two meters wide and one meter high.

Accommodation > Capri

Devil’s Town, Serbia

Devil’s Town is located on the Radan mountain, Serbia. Home to 202 unusual rock formations also¬†known as earth pyramids. This complex was a nominee for the New Seven Wonders of Nature campaign. The nearby springs, Wheat Spring and Devil’s water, are known for its healing properties. When here, visit the surrounding famous spas. Prolom, Lukovska and Kursumlijska spas are known for its water’s therapeutic properties.

Accommodation > Kursumlija

Glacier Ice Caves, Iceland

Ice caving under the Vatnajökull Glacier (Iceland)

Photo: Ice caving under the Vatnajökull Glacier (Iceland) (CC BY 2.0) by _davidphan

What better place to visit mesmerizing ice caves than Iceland? The country offers numerous tours where you get to experience an almost whole different world. When deep inside the famous glaciers you feel as you entered another realm. Another thing you can do is hiking on top of glaciers. But if you desire an adrenaline rush- snowmobiling tours are the right choice.

Skocjan Caves, Slovenia

Skocjan caves Slovenia

Listed on UNESCO’s world heritage list right alongside the Grand Canyon and the Great Barrier Reef. When you’re done ogling at its remarkableness, closely observe its unique ecosystem. It is definitely recommended to book a tour. There is so much more to this cave than it meets the eye. During your exploration, it’s very likely you’ll encounter several species of bats, endangered bird species and rare cave fauna.

Accommodation > Skocjan

Durmitor National Park, Montenegro

Durmitor

Photo: Durmitor (CC BY 2.0) by Aleksandr Zykov

Not many are familiar with Montenegro. As a result,¬†only real nature lovers have heard of the Durmitor National Park. In addition that it was formed by glaciers, it’s also¬†traversed by rivers and underground streams. So in conclusion, if you’re not already enamored with its dark pine forests and diverse flora, it’s good to know that Durmitor has yet¬†more¬†to offer. Durmitor is rather popular among adrenaline junkies. So choose your past time activity:¬†hiking, climbing, mountaineering or canoeing?

Accommodation > Zabljak

Black Forest, Germany

beautiful creek in the Black Forest

Photo: beautiful creek in the Black Forest (CC BY 2.0) by Rafa Win

Schwarzwald (Black Forest) got its name from dense concentration of evergreens. Forest seems magical and out of this era. So it comes as no surprise that it inspired many fairy tales of Brothers Grimm. Most noteworthy being Hansel and Gretel, Rapunzel and Sleeping Beauty.

To make the most out of it, I’d suggest staying in this region for seven to ten days. Due to very well developed cycling paths anyone will convert to a cyclist. Take refuge in one of many luxury¬†spas and indulge yourself with the delicacies of the traditional German cuisine. At the end of the day, open up the wine bottle from one of many local vineyards and enjoy the panoramic views.

The Northern Lights

northern lights, norway

Photo: northern lights, norway (CC BY 2.0) by Claudia Regina CC

The Northern Lights or Aurora Borealis, are especially relevant to me. It is something I personally am fascinated by. Basically, the Northern Lights are maybe the most beautiful thing you’ll ever encounter during your lifetime. Well unless you get to see Earth from outer space. The contrast between the night sky and the bright dancing lights is something you won’t forget. The most common colors being pale green and pink. The tricky thing is that it’s not a common phenomenon. ¬†Therefore if you decide to visit a country because you’d like to see the lights, do some research beforehand. It depends on the season when you’re visiting, sky clarity etc.

Corsica, France

Corsica 2011

Photo: Corsica 2011 (CC BY 2.0) by Josef Grunig 

First of all, Corsica is blessed with amazing weather, therefore it has 300 days of sunshine a year. Due to¬†the climate and the sole geography of the island (a mountainous region), as a result allows its inhabitants to enjoy a wide spectrum of activities. That includes¬†not only sandy beaches¬†but mountain climbing, mountain biking , deep sea diving and¬†sailing. One of its benefits is that it’s the closest faraway island, easily accessible from major European capitals.

Bialowieza National Park, Poland

BiaŇāowieŇľa National Park, Poland

Photo:¬†BiaŇāowieŇľa National Park, Poland (CC BY 2.0) by¬†Frank.Vassen

The National Park is situated in Poland, covering the central part of BiaŇāowieŇľa Forest. It’s the only Polish natural property designated by UNESCO. Bialowieza is one of the primeval forest which once covered most of Europe. It still fosters several species of fauna which were once native throughout Europe. The main characteristic of the park¬†is its biological diversity. ¬†The park is the only place in Europe where you can still encounter an European bison! While¬†doing a tour might be on a pricier side – I think it’s def worth the money. You’ll not only wander through this mesmerizing forest but also learn about its long history and see¬†fauna like no where¬†else in the world.

Svalbard

Svalbard mountain tops in the clouds seen from the sky

Photo: Svalbard mountain tops in the clouds seen from the sky (CC BY 2.0) by Kitty Terwolbeck

The archipelago was first discovered by Norse explorers in the 12th century.¬†¬†Svalbard, meaning¬†“cold coasts”, is one of the few places that look in real life as they appear in photographs. It is truly an awe inspiring moment to stare out at snow covered peaks of¬†glaciers and icebergs. To gaze at what seems as a never ending vastness of the Arctic ocean.

This is more of a polar bear’s turf than human’s due to polar bears being the majority. The main settlement is Longyearbyen with¬†a population of merely 2,000 people. The possibilities to explore its rich wildlife are endless. Take¬†a boat trip, embark on¬†glacier hiking or maybe you’d rather be led by a team of huskies. Here are 10 ways to successfully plan a trip to Svalbard.

Accommodation > Longyearbyen

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