EuroTribe

your guide to Europe off the beaten path

10 Things To See And Do In Tirana, Albania

Tirana, the capital of Albania, is a colorful and chaotic place. Although it’s not the first choice for tourists who either go to the seaside or the Accursed mountains, Tirana…

Tirana, the capital of Albania, is a colorful and chaotic place. Although it’s not the first choice for tourists who either go to the seaside or the Accursed mountains, Tirana is a true find off the beaten path.

And here are top things to see and do in Tirana;

See Skanderbeg Square

This is Tirana’s central square famous for its statue of Skanderbeg – Albanian national hero. The square is also home to other famous landmarks such as the National History Museum and the National Theatre. Dëshmorët e Kombit is a major boulevard which starts from the Skanderbeg Square and hosts many buildings in Italian architectural style. It’s nice for a stroll and it will lead you to another famous landmark – Mother Teresa square.

Skanderberg Square - things to see and do in Tirana

Climb the Clock Tower and Visit Et’hem Bey Mosque

One of the oldest landmarks in Albanian capital. You can climb the tower for nice views of the city center. Mosque is built in 1821 and is famous for its interesting interior.

BUNK’ART

BUNK’ART is Tirana’s new museum and one of the most popular attractions. It consists of two parts. BUNK’ART 1 showcases the daily lives of Albanians during the communist regime, while the BUNK’ART 2 reveals the secrets of Enver Hoxha’s police. There are also other historical exhibitions.

National Historic Museum and the National Art Gallery

National Historic Museum is the prime spot for learning about Albanian history. Museum exhibits items from the ancient times to the Hoxha’s regime. On the other side National Art Gallery exhibits mostly modern art from Albania and abroad, but also the country’s socialist realism.

Pyramid

Tirana’s pyramid is a famous tourist attraction. It used to be a museum dedicated to Enver Hoxha built in 1987. Now it’s a derelict building filled with graffiti on which kids and tourists like to climb and take photos of. In the past it also hosted a disco club called The Mummy.

Pyramid - Things to see and do in Tirana

Love Freedom.

Blokku (The Block)

This neighborhood is widely known for its cafes, restaurants, boutiques etc. and is mostly visited by young Albanians. The former residence of Enver Hoxha can be found here.

Bunkers

Albania is the land of bunkers. You’ll find them at many places in the city as well. After leaving the Warsaw Pact, Albania constructed nearly 700,000 bunkers across the whole country. As they’re difficult to be destroyed many locals decided to get creative and paint them in different colors. Postblokku which is located just across the Parliament offices features an original bunker and a fragment of the Berlin Wall.

Bunkers - Things to see and do in Tirana

Mount Dajti

Mount Dajti is a nice escape from the city during the hot summer months. There’s a cable car which will take you to a plateau with great views of the surroundings and Tirana. There are also a couple of trails if you love hiking, ideal spots for a picnic and restaurants.

Mother Teresa Square

The second largest square in the city which is home to the University of Tirana and the Archaeological museum.

Tirana Art Lab

Tirana Art Lab was founded with an idea to showcase emerging artists from Albania and Europe. It hosts exhibitions, lectures and workshops. Artists can also apply for their residency program.

Where To Stay

You can compare the cheapest rates on accommodation in Tirana by visiting HotelsCombined or Booking.

Getting There

The best and easiest way to get to Tirana is by flying. Check out Momondo for a cheap flight to the Albanian capital.

Do you have any suggestions on things to see and do in Tirana? Feel free to comment below.

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Belgrade Travel Guide – Best Tips for Serbia’s Capital

As a local I’ve written many posts on Belgrade and its cool and free attractions. This time I decided to write a Belgrade travel guide but in a different format….

As a local I’ve written many posts on Belgrade and its cool and free attractions. This time I decided to write a Belgrade travel guide but in a different format. It’s ideal if you want to save some places to your Foursquare app or just bookmark it for later use.

Transport

BusPlus Card – The best way for tourists to move around Belgrade is with non personalized BusPlus card. It costs 250 RSD and you can top it with as many rides as you want. The single fare is 89 RSD and is valid for 90 minutes. With this card you can also buy a 1-day pass (250 RSD), 3-day pass (700 RSD) or 5-day pass (1000 RSD). You can top the card at any kiosk in the city and you validate it when inside the bus.

Walk – Yeah, Belgrade is not that big and many attractions can be seen on foot. Chances are, you might not even need the public transportation.

Here are more details on how to get around in Belgrade.

Attractions

Knez Mihailova - Belgrade travel guide

Belgrade Fortress – This is Belgrade’s number one tourist attraction. It offers a fantastic view of the confluence of the Sava and Danube rivers and is home to many cultural and historical attractions. Must sees are: Ružica church and Sveta Petka Church, Nebojša Tower, the Victor monument, Roman Well, Kalemegdan Park, the Military Museum and the Monument of Gratitude to France.

Republic Square and Knez Mihailova Street – Republic Square with its statue of Prince Mihailo is a famous meeting point for Belgraders. The square is also home to the National Museum and the National Theatre. Knez Mihailova is the main pedestrian zone in Belgrade with many notable landmarks on the way, restaurants and shops.

Terazije Square – Another famous central square in Serbian capital. Home to famous Hotel Moscow, Palace Albania and Terazije Terrace.

Savamala – Belgrade’s cultural hub and one of the best neighborhoods in Europe according to Business Insider. Here you’ll find cultural centers, bars, designer stores etc. Very popular among young people and hipsters.

Skadarlija – Now a totally different kind of neighborhood… this is a Serbian version of Montmartre. It’s an old bohemian quarter with cobbled lanes, taverns and restaurants. They mostly serve traditional Serbian food. It’s a very touristy place but if you want to have that experience don’t miss it.

Zemun – Many tourists skip this part of the city but if you’re staying longer, don’t miss the chance to walk across Zemun Quay and see Gardos Tower.

Ada Ciganlija – Ada is a river island on Sava River and a popular oasis for locals especially in summer. It offers many sport activities and entertainment. You can rent a bike, go water skiing, jogging or play beach volleyball.

Kosančićev Venac – This neighborhood is very central, yet so many people don’t get a chance to see it. It’s an old part of the city with cobbled streets and beautiful houses. I recommend a walk around the neighborhood and along the way you’ll also see the Cathedral Church and Princess Ljubica’s Residence. If you’re a history buff, you can also see the ruins of the National Library which was destroyed during the German bombing of Belgrade in 1941.

Slavija Square – One of the largest, busiest and ugliest squares in Belgrade. Currently it’s under renovation so maybe the last thing will change 🙂 Anyway, you won’t miss it if you happen to go to Nikola Tesla museum or St. Sava Church.

New Palace and Old Palace – The New Palace is the seat of the president of Serbia and the Old one houses the City Assembly.

Royal Palace – The official residence of the Karadjordjevic Royal Family. The palace is open for visitors but you must previously register with the Tourist Organization of Belgrade. For more info click here.

St. Sava Church – The largest Orthodox church in the world.

Museums

Nikola Tesla Museum - Belgrade travel guide

Nikola Tesla Museum

Museum of Contemporary ArtCurrently closed due to reconstruction.

National MuseumCentral building and its exhibition space is also closed due to reconstruction.

Museum of Nikola Tesla – One of Belgrade’s most notable museums exhibiting the life and work of Nikola Tesla. Coming here without a tour is pretty much useless but luckily museum offers free guided tours every hour in Serbian and English. You just need to pay the entrance fee.

Museum of Yugoslav History – This museum exhibits the cultural heritage of Yugoslavia. There are many interesting installations and photographs and a big part is dedicated to Yugoslavia’s leader Tito. Do not miss the House of Flowers which is located behind the museum as Tito’s grave is located there.

Historical Museum of Serbia – This museum is among my top 3 at the moment in Belgrade. Lately they’ve had some surprisingly innovative exhibitions.

Military Museum – Ironically this one holds more history than the Historical Museum and is much bigger. It’s set in Belgrade fortress and there’s an outer exhibition with tanks and other armory.

Honorable mentions

  • The Camp at Banjica

  • Museum of the Yugoslav Film Archive

  • Museum of African Art

  • Nebojsa Tower

Parks and Recreation

Kosutnjak Forest - Belgrade travel guide

Kosutnjak Forest

Kalemegdan Park – City’s largest park and a well-known tourist attraction.

Student’s Park – Surrounded by many faculties and cultural institutions this park mostly attracts younger crowds. It’s especially popular during summer nights where people gather for chit chat and some drinks.

Tasmajdan Park – Another beautiful park which was recently renovated. St. Marko’s church is located here and the park borders one of city’s largest streets – Bulevar Kralja Aleksandra.

Kosutnjak – A park-forest ideal for escaping city’s busy life.

Sport Center Milan Gale Muskatirovic – Good for swimming.

Where to Stay

HotelsCombined is a great hotel price comparison site. Check out hotels in Belgrade.

Another great site is Booking.com. I usually finalize all my bookings there.



Booking.com

 

Eating

Serbian food - Belgrade travel guide

City Markets – Serbs favor organic foods and markets are the best place to stock up on vegetables, fruits, cheese and other products from various parts of the country. The most famous ones are: Kalenic, Zeleni Venac and Bajloni.

Tri Sesira – Traditional Serbian restaurant in a famous bohemian quarter of the city – Skadarlija.

Moon Sushi – Great service and even better sushi.

InterGalactic Diner – Food is average, but the atmosphere is better. It’s an American style diner with a jukebox next to each table. Cool for hanging out with a group.

Via Del Gusto – Nice Italian restaurant in Knez Mihailova street.

Garden Food – Salads, soups and sandwiches. Ideal for a light lunch.

Radost – Vegetarian and vegan restaurant. Great food and a nice atmosphere. Book upfront or you risk not getting a table.

Prolece – Another traditional Serbian restaurant. Good food and budget friendly.

Sakura – Fantastic Japanese restaurant. To get the most out of the place, have a late lunch, grab a table on the terrace and enjoy the sunset view of the river and the city. And your food! 🙂

Tel Aviv Hummus House – Israeli fast food joint with great falafel sandwiches and other vegan options.

Dijagonala 2.0 – Stylish fine-dining spot with an interesting menu.

Burger House – Probably the best burger in town.

Burrito Madre – Mexican fast food joint. Nice burritos.

Zapata – Cozy and budget-friendly Mexican restaurant.

Luda kuca – Chinese fast food and my guilty pleasure. 🙂

Drinking & Nightlife

Nightlife - Belgrade travel guide

Cetinjska Street – The most popular nightlife district in Belgrade at the moment. My favorite bars are: Zaokret, Dvoristance, Kenozoik.

Supermarket Concept Store – Great for a drink in the evening (go to one in Toplicin Venac, as there are a few). During daytime hours  you’ll find clothes from Serbian designers and other cool, unique stuff.

Meduza – Awesome bar, music and people. The atmosphere is at its best at night but it’s also cool during the day when you can do some work from your laptop or just enjoy a cup of coffee.

Bar Central – The best place for cocktails.

Wine Art Podrum – Nice wine bar and food.

KC Grad – An art gallery and a night club with great events. Exhibitions, discussions, concerts – you’ll find everything here.

Samo Pivo – Rich selection of craft beers from Serbia and abroad.

Rakia Bar – If you want to try the national drink of Serbia come here.

Club 20/44 – Great club on the Sava river.

The Globe Trotters Club – One of Belgrade’s secret bars with an interesting decor.

Muha – Jazz bar in Kralja Petra street. Nice for an evening drink.

Ljubicica – Bar located inside an apartment. Limited menu but cool atmosphere. Address is Prizrenska 11/6.

Mikser House – Mikser organizes many cool events and is a great place for an evening drink (especially in summer).

Drugstore – One of the most popular Serbian and European underground clubs.

Coffee

Koffein – Nice place for having a cup of coffee or tea. They have few locations, the one in Cara Lazara street is the best.

Boutique – Always crowded but it’s a good spot for tourists for a coffee break.

Kafeterija – Hipster coffee place.

Amelie – Cozy and cute French cafe.

Barista Coffee Shop – Delicious takeaway coffee.

Apropo – Nice little bookstore where you can sit and enjoy a cup of tea.

Elixir Bar – Smoothies and milkshakes.

Shopping

Usce Shopping Center – Belgrade’s biggest and busiest shopping mall.

Delta City Shopping Center – Another big shopping mall but less crowded than Usce.

Belgrade Design District – Fashion, arts and crafts. You’ll find many things from young and creative designers. Address: Čumićevo sokače.

Supermarket Concept Store – Another cool clothing store and a bar/restaurant.

Mikser House – This venue organizes many thematic festivals where you can buy different things from designer clothes to photography equipment etc.

Knez Mihailova Street – The main pedestrian street is also one of Belgrade’s most popular shopping destinations.

Festivals and Events

Belgrade Beer Fest - Belgrade travel guide

  • Belgrade Dance Festival

  • Belgrade International Film Festival FEST

  • International Science Festival

  • Free Zone Film Festival

  • Belgrade Beer Festival

  • Belgrade Marathon

  • Mikser Festival

  • Museum Night

  • Belgrade Summer Festival

  • Belgrade Jazz Festival

  • Film Street

Tours

Royal Palace Tour

Kayak Tour – For adventurers and those who love action.

Free Tram Tour – Tourist organization of Belgrade organizes a free tram tour of the city. You need to register at the tourist info point.

Day Trips

Avala – This mountain is a popular day or weekend getaway for Belgraders. It’s great for walking and light hiking. You can also see the Avala Tower and the Monument to the Unknown Hero.

Novi Sad and Sremski Karlovci – Serbia’s second biggest city is just a 2 hours away train ride.

How to Get to Belgrade

AirSerbia and WizzAir have flights from major European cities. You can search and compare the cheapest rate on Momondo.

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16 Tips for Traveling Europe

This list of 16 tips for traveling Europe provides info on flights, accommodation, entertainment and other useful info that could make your trip far better. Read on! Passport and Visas…

This list of 16 tips for traveling Europe provides info on flights, accommodation, entertainment and other useful info that could make your trip far better. Read on!

Passport and Visas

Don’t be one of those people whose trip was ruined for having an expired passport. Or for not checking visa requirements. If you have an US passport you need to have validity of at least another three months. This is the rule for most European countries. For some countries it’s six months. Make sure to read the requirements on your country’s MFA website.

Flights

The best time to book flights within Europe is a month before your trip. Many airlines offer promo prices at this time trying to sell more tickets, especially in off season. For example, Turkish Airlines regularly lists special offers from its Istanbul hub to other destinations and vice versa. You can book cheaper flights to Amsterdam, Belgrade, London etc. Europe also has a plenty of low-cost airlines allowing you to travel for cheap. Momondo is a great flight search engine. For additional info on how to score a cheaper flight check out this post.

Accommodation

Accommodation is the biggest expense when we travel. Especially in Europe where your flight or bus ride could be 2 or even 3 times less expensive than the accommodation. However, with little research and websites such as HotelsCombined – a search engine that compares the rates, you can find a much cheaper deal. You can spend that extra money on fun activities. I usually search for cheaper deals on HotelsCombined first and then finalize my reservation on Booking. They probably have the best listing of properties worldwide.

The hotel room

Travel In Off Season

Expensive flights, high prices of accommodations and restaurants, endless lines in front of popular tourist attractions and museums, unbearable heat etc. are what characterize Europe during the season. Want to visit Berlin, Madrid, Istanbul, Rome? Consider Winter. There will be much less tourists, prices are lower and you won’t have difficulty finding accommodation. If you decide to travel in season, then make early reservation for accommodation, restaurants and entertainment. Note that it’s better to visit some places in the season to be able to get as better experience as possible. Such destinations are Scandinavia and Iceland.

Get travel insurance

This one is really important and make sure to always have one with you. If you are a non-EU citizen traveling to an EU country, border officials will almost always ask you for travel insurance. Having travel insurance is not mandatory but EU officials of any country can always ask you for supporting documents. Here are all the documents you need for travel in Europe.

Have Copies of Your Documents

You should make copies of important documents such as: passport, visas, accommodation etc. Put them on a Google Drive, OneDrive, Dropbox or whatever else you use, as that’s the quickest and easiest way to access them from anywhere.

Student Card

As a student you are entitled to many discounts and in some places even free deals. Most popular student identification card is ISIC. For a price of 23 EUR per year, you’ll be able to score discounts on transportation, hotels, restaurants, museums and other attractions.

Take The Train

Train travel in Europe is a wonderful experience. Just sit back, relax and enjoy beautiful European scenery without stressing about bathroom stops, getting to and from the airport or driving.

tips for traveling europe Belgrade Bar train

 

Use Public Transportation

The best way to get around European cities is by using public transportation which is efficient and fast. You won’t need to look for parking space and it will keep you stress free. Sometimes subways can be a wonderful examples of art which is the case with Swedish capital Stockholm. Don’t believe me? Take a look.

Get a Guidebook/Map

I love using Lonely Planet’s Guides. Nowadays many of us try to use as much space in our carry-ons as possible, so a physical copy is probably not the best solution. You can download an eBook directly to your phone, tablet or laptop. Lonely Planet’s free mobile app is another option. If you prefer something that’s free check out WikiTravel. You can get free maps at tourist information points.

Apps

Apps can be so useful before and during the trip! One of my favorites are FourSquare – for finding things to do, AccuWeather, Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp – for keeping in touch, Google Maps, Oanda currency converter etc.

Travel Solo

Don’t be afraid to travel solo. It works wonders for your self-development, creativity and patience. You’ll also meet many people on the road and might even become friends with some! Meetup and Couchsurfing are great websites for hanging out with the locals and other travelers.

Tourism Boards

Every country has its own tourism organization. You can get plenty of free advice on their website, download apps and itineraries etc. My first stop in a new destination is usually a tourist information point. Here you can get free maps, brochures and practical information. Also the tourist information officers will be more than happy to answer your questions.

Blogs

Blogs are also a fantastic resource and can provide info on less-known aspects of destinations. They’re also more humane as they’re lead by ordinary people and not organizations. I love reading eTramping and Travels of Adam lately.

MacBook Air

Visit Festivals

Europe hosts many fantastic festivals in different fields. Love music? Check out Sziget and Exit festival. Film? Berlinale. Beer? Oktoberfest. Carnivals? Check out the one in Venice. LGBT? Amsterdam Pride.

Go on a tour

Sure, you can discover things on your own but tours can offer a fascinating insight into a culture and provide information that is difficult to find elsewhere. Most of the time tour leaders are experts in their field and tours can really become one of the most memorable things you did during the journey.

What are your favorite and most useful tips for traveling Europe? Let us know in the comments below.

Photos: 2, 4

 

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8 Less-Known and Alternative Things To Do in Amsterdam

Amsterdam is an alternative city compared to many other European capitals. But what if you want to see the more alternative side of an already alternative city? If you’ve checked…

Amsterdam is an alternative city compared to many other European capitals. But what if you want to see the more alternative side of an already alternative city? If you’ve checked off all of your travel guide’s recommendations and are at a loss what-to-do-next, follow this list for more less-known and alternative things to do in Amsterdam.

Amsterdam Magic Show

The Amsterdam Magic Show is the only theater act performed in English that showcases magic and comedy. It’s set in a 20’s styled cabaret theater (think wood paneling and lush, red velvet curtains). The show is unique and stays current as the act changes every month. Every month world-class mentalists, illusionists and magicians from all over the world come together to awaken our childhood beliefs.

It takes place on the first or second Tuesday each month. There are only two shows a night (the early and late show), so make sure to book in advance as tickets sell out quickly!

Small Museums

Cat Cabinet

Katten Kabinet

Internet was founded so it’d connect the global community over a shared adoration for felines. Well not really. But, we can say for sure that some of the most viewed content on the web is in fact, of our furry masters. Anyone who has a cat knows that you do not own one, but it owns you. 🙂

Kattenkabinet is set in a fully restored, beautiful house from the 17th century. Besides being a historical landmark on its own, it hosts an incredible collection dedicated solely to cats in art, culture and history. Even if you’re not an avid cat enthusiast, it’s a welcomed break from the norm.

Electric Ladyland

Phosphorescent sculpture

Commonly known as ‘The world’s first museum of fluorescent art’, the Electric Ladyland is a museum set in a basement. The museum displays a collection of fluorescent minerals, “thermal expansion” paintings (a painting technique discovered by the owner) and mineral artwork. You too, are an active part of the art, in the segment called “participatory art”.

The only thing that overshadows the museum is its owner, Nick Padallino. His vast knowledge on the subject and charismatic personality makes you want to listen to him for hours. If you want to bypass the magic truffles but still experience an Amsterdam trip – this museum is a perfect pick.

Other unusual museums are the Pipe museum, Vrolik Museum, Venustempel Sex Museum, Museum of Bags and Purses, Ripley’s Believe it or Not! and Red Lights Secrets – Prostitution museum.

Amsterdam Light Festival

Amsterdam Light Festival  2

Another attraction that puts Amsterdam on the map as the capital of magical entertainment. There aren’t any illusionists/magicians involved into organizing this festival as international architects, artists and (light) designers bring the real magic. Festival is held every winter, and it brings together new talent with a unified goal, to make Amsterdam vibrate warmth and pulsate with color during the coldest, darkest nights.

There are a lot of interesting tours on offer. Bike tours or culinary boat tours, just to name a few. Enjoying dutch delicacies and craft beer is a perfect addition to a light spectacle that’s displayed right in front of your eyes.

Neighborhood: NDSM

ndsm-amsterdam-noord-21

Probably one of the coolest neighborhoods in Europe, NDSM is a former shipyard now transformed into a creative hub. Kunststad (Art City) is located in the NDSM hangar where artists are continuously keeping busy creating. Alongside the riverbank there are a lot of restaurants, pubs and clubs. Visit IJ-kantine,Greenhouse Café Noorderlicht or try bungee jumping from a crane.

Restaurants

Restaurant de Kas

De Kas interior

Majority of the time we completely desensitize from the food on our plate. How much effort and time it takes for that one potato to be on our plate. Restaurant de Kas puts you in a setting where you’re surrounded by the produce that’s going to end up on your plate. They differ from other restaurants, as their menu is created daily and only consists of things in season and harvested from their garden.

The restaurant is inside of a greenhouse that used to belong to Amsterdam’s Municipal Nursery. They describe their cooking style similar to the cuisines of the rural Mediterranean. The vegetable dishes are served in combination with meat or fish from local suppliers, but there are vegetarian options available.

Ctaste

ctaste

The “dark dining” concept originated in Switzerland in 1999., with Blinde Kuh. Since then it has spread all over the world, from New York to Beijing.

The question you might be posing to yourself is, why would anyone desire to not see what they’re eating? Well, eliminating sense of sight, your other senses of taste and smell are heightened. At the Ctaste, the visually impaired staff will lead you to your table in a dark room. Before you enter you’ll choose a prefixed menu from a selection of cuisines, but the dishes they’ll be serving you are a surprise.

The Butcher

A burger joint located near Albert Cuypstraat in de Pijp. If the name of the restaurant is not self explanatory enough there’s a cow hanging upside down in the window display. So yes, beef burgers all around. What separates the Butcher from other burger joints is the secret bar located in the back. The same concept that made the cocktail bar Please Don’t Tell in New York City thrive among its competition. In order to be granted an entrance to the secret bar – you need to know the daily changed password.

Markets

Thanks to globalization, whatever country you’re in, you’ll find an H&M or a Forever21 anywhere. So why buy something at H&M in Amsterdam, when that same collection is probably displayed back at your home country? If you enjoy the hunt of something unique and want to purchase something characteristic of the country you’re visiting – you can never go wrong with street markets.

Antique market Amsterdam

Flea Market - Antiques

Serious collectors fly to Amsterdam just to navigate through its 1750 square feet of lost artifacts. Don’t bring too much money as you won’t be able to resist.

Noordermarkt

Noordermarkt

Here you can get anything from jewelry, clothes to books or art pieces. If you’re in need of some organic ingredients for your dinner – you’re in luck as here you can find a vast array of different organic foods.

Albert Cuypmarkt

If street markets are your scene then you’ve probably heard of the Albert Cuypmarkt, Amsterdam’s busiest market. Whatever you’re in need of, the chances are you’ll find it here. I’d say that to make the most out of it spend at least half a day exploring. If you get hungry there are snack vendors, eateries and cafes all over the surrounding area. Haggling in Netherlands’ largest antique market is an experience of its own.

Other markets worth a visit include Waterlooplein Flea Market and of course Bloemenmarkt.

De Hallen

Amsterdam DE Hallen

De Hallen is an early 20th century industrial building, now a center of the arts, fashion and most importantly, food. In this complex you can find a cinema (largest independent cinema), a boutique hotel, stores and Food Hallen – indoor food market with around 20 street vendors and a bar.

Alternative Housing

As mentioned, Amsterdam and its forward thinking inhabitants are great at putting old, unused spaces to new purposes. These are some of the noteworthy mentions that you should check out or even better stay at, for a different experience.

Faralda Crane Hotel is set in a 50 metres high harbour crane in NDSM shipyard.

Amstel Botel is a floating hotel in NDSM shipyard.

Amstel Botel

Hotel de Windketel is a private tower and once part of the municipal waterworks.

‘Hotel de Windketel’ Watertorenplein Amsterdam

The Lloyd, world’s first 1-5 star Hotel. Its role throughout the years has been changed often, serving first as a refugee center, detention center, juvenile detention center and artist studios.

Lloyd Hotel

Amsterdam is on the pricier side and unfortunately not all of us can afford to stay at Hotel de Windketel. However there’s always a demand for cheap short stay Amsterdam accommodation, so you’ll surely find something suitable for your budget.

Photo Credits: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15

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10 Interesting Dublin’s Attractions

Dublin, the capital of Ireland is a small city with an energy rivaling one of a titan. It’s a perfect getaway for literary buffs and beer devotees. Dublin has a…

Dublin, the capital of Ireland is a small city with an energy rivaling one of a titan. It’s a perfect getaway for literary buffs and beer devotees. Dublin has a lot to offer from medieval history, endless serene landscapes to one-of-a kind pub scene.

If it’s your first time in Dublin and you don’t have a lot of time to explore, it’s difficult to know what to dedicate your time to. As UNESCO’s city of literature you get a first hand glimpse at the lives of some of the greatest writers that ever lived, James Joyce and Oscar Wilde just to name a few.

Literature adventures aside, Dublin’s pub culture with live music, dare-to-try oyster stouts and mutton stew, make a compelling argument that Dublin is indeed a hedonist’s heaven.

This list is a quick rundown of 10 interesting Dublin’s attractions.

Dublin Castle

DUBLIN CASTLE AUGUST 2014 Ref-4011

It was built on a site previously settled by the Vikings, under the first Lord of Ireland, King John (1204). The castle carried out multiple functions over the centuries, a military fortress, a prison, treasury and more. It upheld its historical significance to this day, as now it’s used for State receptions and Presidential Inaugurations. It’s a perfect beginning of your Dublin adventure as it foretells the origin of the city.

Chester Beatty Library

The library is on the grounds of the Dublin castle and it was founded by the “King of Copper”, Sir Alfred Chester Beatty, the mining magnate. The library hosts an extraordinary collection of some of the rarest Islamic and Far Eastern artifacts. It is so highly regarded that it even won the European Museum of the Year award.

Kilmainham Gaol

gaol

This was the final resting place for some of the most noted figures in Irish history, Charles Stewart Parnell, Robert Emmet and leaders of the rebellions. It’s a somber reminder of the dreadful conditions convicts were subjected to during their incarceration. Access is available by guided tour only.

National Leprechaun Museum

What a Surprise - There Is Actually a National Leprechaun Museum

As the name is pretty much self explanatory, the museum in question is devoted to cherishing the myth of a leprechaun. The museum is a fun experience with its tunnel full of optical illusions and rooms carefully designed to deliver a story. If you’re having trouble finding the museum just follow the end of the rainbow.

National Botanic Gardens

Botanic Gardens - Glasnevin

Dublin’s national botanic gardens grew to hold more than 20,000 plants and over a million of dry specimens. Take a day to spend relaxing in the sun, reading and having a picnic. There is no entry fee but the downside is that it’s a little bit outside of the city – but I promise that it’s worth the trip. It’s a Dubliner’s favorite escape from the everyday bustle.

Guinness Storehouse

Guinness Storehouse

Opened since 2000 and already attracted over four million visitors. Seven floors devoted to exploring the story of Guinness. What more can you ask expect than a Gravity Bar offering you a stunning view of Dublin and of course a pint of the Guinness.

Temple Bar

Temple Bar at Night

This is Dublin’s neighborhood famous for its artistic vibe. It’s the home to many cultural institutions, such as the The Gallery of Photography. The Gallery of Photography is located in Meeting House Square. It’s a beautiful place for a walk, as wherever you take a step you’ll be followed by lively music protruding from pubs and nightclubs.

Dublin Writers Museum

In 1991, the long awaited Dublin Writers Museum was opened to celebrate the heritage of their brightest minds. The Museum has an impressive collection. It hosts first editions of Bram Stoker’s “Dracula”, also his friend Oscar Wilde’s “The Importance of Being Earnest” and Samuel Beckett’s “Waiting for Godot” among other famous works.

James Joyce Center

Many people travel to Dublin just to experience in person the spirit of the city that shaped their favorite author. The most famous Dubliner in many opinions is, James Joyce. The most famous exhibit is the door of No.7 Eccles Street, the fictional address of Joyce’s Ulysses protagonist Leopold Bloom. For the Joyce’s stans, you’re also able to follow the steps of Leopold Bloom through Dublin with walking tours on offer.

Tivoli Car Park

DUBLIN STREET ART - Tivoli Car Park

Every year there is an event organized by All City Jam, gathering graffiti artists from all over the world to use their walls as they please. It’s sort of a “graffiti mandala”, as the art remains intact for only a year. The Tivoli Theatre is on Francis Street, just off Thomas Street.

If this is your first trip to Dublin you’ll be surprised how intimate the city will already feel to you. Its cobbled streets and its unique character will have you enamored and as a witness to that, you’ll find yourself subconsciously already planning your return.

When looking for hotels in Dublin I recommend you check out HotelsCombined. It’s awarded as world’s best hotel price comparison site. With its simple design and many hot deals, your Dublin adventure is just a few clicks away.

If you liked this list check out the more comprehensive one made by The Crazy Tourist.

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Freeletics App Review – Fitness On the Go

January is officially over and as every year, I find that most of my friends (myself included) are pretty much already falling behind on their New Year’s resolutions. The statistics…

January is officially over and as every year, I find that most of my friends (myself included) are pretty much already falling behind on their New Year’s resolutions.

The statistics say that year after year number one ranked NY’s resolution is to lose weight and/or introduce healthier eating. But only 9.2 % feels successful in achieving their resolution.

What are the most common reasons to neglect a healthy diet and exercise, something that is of key importance for our overall health?

Well if you’re used to eating food high in sugar/fats it would be harder opting daily for a salad with simple protein. If you’re accustomed to a sedentary lifestyle and want to start exercising, there a lot of things that factor in that are hard to overcome.

freeletics nutrition

This is a list I compiled of most frequent reasons why people forego their exercise/diet regime:

  • Getting started with a new diet. When I say diet, I’m referring to adopting healthy lifelong habits (I’m strictly against fad diets). At the beginning people tend to be overly enthusiastic and put big restrictions on themselves. Following a healthy lifestyle is about modifications not restrictions. It’s about balance. Best way not to fail is to make a plan.

  • Where to start? The internet has millions of recipes uploaded daily and it can get hectic trying to pick which recipes are best for your goal. Your goals might vary, from losing body fat, building muscle or just staying fit. So before making any modifications – research thoroughly.

  • You don’t have time to work out. You might be a busy student, have a demanding job, or a frequent traveler. It is difficult to encompass a fitness routine into your already busy schedule.

  • No support system. It’s easy to have beginner’s motivation but to stick with your routine it takes serious effort and endurance.

  • Newbie in the gym. If you’re just starting to work out for the first time and don’t have the necessary funds to hire a personal trainer, it might feel daunting to walk into a gym that offers various exercising machines. Which exercises should you focus on? How many sets/reps should you do? Are you doing the exercises correctly?

This is not supposed to be a list of excuses. So how to overcome them?

Make a list, what are your priorities and what are you willing to sacrifice.

freeletics app review running

As many of you would agree, one of the biggest difficulties as a frequent traveler is being consistent with maintaining our key life habits. When you’re on a holiday or a business trip we tend to forget all about exercising. It’s either because the hotel doesn’t have a gym, you don’t want to spend an hour or two exercising when you could be sightseeing or not knowing the area and how safe it is to go for a run. Keeping in mind the challenges and how it’s not always an option to get outside and train, you need the possibility to train anywhere. At home, in a hotel, on the go.

Fortunately I’ve come across Freeletics  app (Freeletics.com), while I was researching how to find the best solution for myself. I’ve been using it for something over two months and for me it turned out to be a great investment.

If it’s raining and you can’t do your bodyweight exercises (that often encompass light jogging) outside, you can switch to the 2×2 workouts. The 2×2 workouts as explained on their website is, “Same workouts. More flexible. Just as tough. 2×2 means you can train with only 2 by 2 meters of space. Workouts with exercises where you usually need distance are replaced with ones you can do on the spot. And runs replaced with exercises suited to you and your fitness level.

freeletics app review wear

Freeletics offers four apps: bodyweight freeletics, running freeletics, gym freeletics and a nutrition guide.

They do have free workouts but you have to pay to unlock the Coach version. They offer a subscription that lasts 3 months/34.99€; 6 months/59.99€ ; 12 months/79.99€ – and for that price you get three apps (bodyweight, gym and running), but for the nutrition guide you have to pay extra.

Even though I have all three apps, I’ve been solely using the bodyweight and running app. I relied on those apps because I don’t enjoy going to the gym and because it’s more time efficient for me to work out at home (no time lost in commuting). It’s based on high intensity workouts which proved to be very effective and what’s an important benefit for me, also very short. I spent half an hour to an hour working out five times a week.

How does the app work?

When you unlock your Coach version of Bodyweight Freeletics, first you put in some basic information about yourself (weight/height, date of birth). Next step asks you to rank your top three goals (gain strength, lose weight, improve endurance, general fitness, relieve stress), how many days per week are you willing to train with the Coach (you can adapt it weekly according to your schedule). And last thing is to grade at what fitness level do you think you are.

freeletics bodyweight app

 

Coach generates a fitness test based on the info you’ve provided. After that brief work out (for which you need only a 2×2 space) – it provides you with your first week with workouts that are explained in great detail (video presentations).

Every 15 weeks you can redo the fitness test and get a new tailored plan for your next level.

One other thing that really stands out with Freeletics, is their community. They were able to build a community (they refer to themselves as ‘Free Athletes’) that is centered on a healthy lifestyle and encouragement – people organize groups within their local communities and do their freeletics workouts together.

People love this new workout regime and have shared hundreds if not thousands of  their testimonies on Youtube and other social media channels.

Final conclusion

Pros are:

  • App is beautifully designed

  • Exercises are explained in great detail (accompanied by videos)

  • It’s time efficient, duration of a work out can be from 15 min to an hour

  • It’s effective, I was surprised how quickly your body adapts and how fast I was able to see results

  • Online community is exceptionally welcoming and motivating

  • Their website is full of very well researched articles that provide you with input on how to improve your overall health

  • Budget friendly (with bodyweight and running no need for a gym membership)

Cons are:

  • It’s very intense so you need a strong will to succeed – but as soon as you see results (which will be soon) you won’t feel like throwing in the towel

  • Depending on where you live, Freeletics community might not be as big (my friend in Berlin has regular meet ups with her new freeletics pals) whilst I in Belgrade, rely on the online community for motivation

 

So after doing Freeletics for almost three months now, I can say that it definitely is worth the money and would highly recommend it. Its benefits are even more apparent to frequent travelers. The best thing is that you can buy the Coach version and if you’re not pleased with the app you can ask for a refund within 14-days of purchase!

© All photos belong to Freeletics
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