EuroTribe

your guide to Europe off the beaten path

23 Essential Do’s in Istanbul

“Istanbul, a universal beauty where poet and archeologist, diplomat and merchant, princess and sailor, northerner and westerner screams with the same admiration. The whole world thinks that this city is…

“Istanbul, a universal beauty where poet and archeologist, diplomat and merchant, princess and sailor, northerner and westerner screams with the same admiration. The whole world thinks that this city is the most beautiful place on earth.” – Edmondo De Amicis

Here’s the pick of 23 essential do’s in Istanbul;

1. Befriend Turkish people and see for yourself why they are famous for their hospitality

Turkish people

Photo: quinn.anya on Flickr under CC

 2. Cross the Bosphorus Bridge

Bosphorus Bridge

Photo: http://www.bariskaradeniz.com/ on Flickr under CC

3. Try Turkish specialties

Iskender kebab

İskender kebab

4. And beer

Turkish beer Efes

Photo: erenemre on Flickr under CC

5. Don’t miss the Asian side, especially the Bağdat Avenue

Bagdat avenue Istanbul

Bağdat Avenue

6. Attend a sport match of one of “The Big Three” teams

Galatasary basketball team

The Big Three teams are Galatasaray, Fenerbahçe and Beşiktaş. And all are based in Istanbul.

7. Ride in dolmuş!

Dolmus Istanbul

Because doing it local style is the way to go!

8. Hang out at Taksim square – the heart of modern Istanbul

Taksim square Istanbul

Taksim means ‘division’ and originally it was the point where the main water lines from the Belgrade Forest were collected and laid to this point. Nowadays, Taksim is a favorite meeting point for locals and a location for organizing public events and social gatherings.

9. Combine Simit and Ayran

simit and ayran

Simit is a popular street food, sold everywhere by street vendors.

 10. Stroll along İstiklal Avenue

Istiklal avenue

Beautiful. Vibrant. Cosmopolitan. Sleepless. Visited by nearly 3 million people in a single day.

11. Get on top of Galata tower for spectacular views

view from Galata tower, istanbul

A place to see all Istanbul.

12. Climb the Kamondo stairs

Kamondo stairs

Photo: ahunziker on Flickr under CC

13. Feed the cats. They rule the city.

Istanbul is a city of cats.

14. Feel the history in Hagia Sophia

Hagia Sophia interior

Istanbul’s most famous monument.
Oh, and if you want to be cured from all your ailments, don’t forget to stick your finger in a hole of the weeping column.

15. Visit the stunning Blue Mosque and listen to the call to prayer in the cortyard

Blue Mosque

Remove your shoes, put on a headscarf and enjoy the beauty around you.

16. Take a ferry trip to the Asian side.

ferry trip to the asian side

Enjoy the great view!

17. Search for the Medusa heads in the Basilica Cistern

Basilica Cistern Istanbul

The cistern was used as a location for the 1963 James Bond film “From Russia with Love”

18. Try your art of bargaining at the Grand Bazaar

Grand Bazaar Istanbul

Explore, drink lots of tea but don’t get carried away. Note that the Grand Bazaar is a typical tourist trap and everything is overpriced here.

19. Have a cup of Türk kahvesi (Turkish coffee) or çay (tea)

Türk kahvesi - Turkish coffee

Check out the tea gardens (çay bahçesis) or coffee houses (kahvehanes).

20. Explore Üsküdar – One of the city’s more conservative suburbs

Uskudar, Istanbul

One of the streets

21. Istanbul is huge, so don’t forget to have a rest

Uskudar. Istanbul

🙂

22. Try tulumba

turkish tulumba

Besides Turkey, this is a popular dessert throughout the Balkans.

23. And if you have some spare time, escape to the Princes’ Islands

Büyükada

Beautiful white homes of Büyükada

All photos are © Eurotribe except where noted. All rights reserved.

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7 Great European Tourism Videos

Videos represent a great tool for promoting the tourism of a country and increasing its attractiveness. It can enhance the destination’s image and result in significant increase of tourism number….

Videos represent a great tool for promoting the tourism of a country and increasing its attractiveness. It can enhance the destination’s image and result in significant increase of tourism number. Here are seven great examples of European tourism videos;

AUSTRIA – Moments of Bliss

The “Austria-Moments of Bliss”  campaign focuses on the individual traveler and the authentic travel experiences.

 

In short: Arrive and Revive

CROATIA – The New Tourism Star of the European Union

This video is an extension of ‘Ode to joy‘, which won a prestigious award at the International Tourism Film Festival at ITB Berlin. This video highlights very well the cultural, historical and natural heritage of Croatia.

FINLAND – The Northern Lights

Magical.

LUXEMBOURG – Is It True What They Say?

The main idea is to counter widespread stereotypes about Luxembourg and present the country the way many inhabitants and visitors experience it today.

 

Cool music too!

HOLLAND – The Original Cool

This video screams “We’re so awesome and we’re much better than the rest of the world!”, but it’s very creative and enticing.  Oh, and definitely check the parody of this.

SERBIA – Soulfood

Yes, Belgrade is “Europe’s new capital of cool”, “Eastern Europe’s Berlin”, “The party capital” etc., but it’s so refreshing to see that Tourist Organization of Serbia opted for focusing on something different like gastronomy. The result was pretty good, wasn’t it? The winner of the 2012 FilmAT – Film, Art and Tourism Festival in Warsaw and various other festivals.

SWEDEN

Gotta love Sweden! Gotta love Swedish humor!

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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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