your guide to Europe off the beaten path

10 Best Smart Backpacks You Can Buy on AliExpress For Less Than $50

Nowadays, backpacks have become high-tech accessories with a range of useful features. They are capable of charging your phone, playing music, and even streaming videos. They are water-resistant and anti-theft…

Nowadays, backpacks have become high-tech accessories with a range of useful features. They are capable of charging your phone, playing music, and even streaming videos. They are water-resistant and anti-theft friendly.

Here you’ll find a list of 10 best smart backpacks you can buy on AliExpress for less than $50. They’re suitable for travel, work, or school.

Happy shopping! 🙂

BAIBU Anti-Theft Unisex Backpack

USB Charging, Anti Theft Backpack

OZUKO Oxford Backpack For Men – Anti-Theft, USB Charging, Laptop Bag

Multifunctional Unisex Bag

Tigernu Anti-Theft Travel Backpack

Unisex Leather Backpack

USB Smart Backpack

J&Q Multifunctional Laptop Bag

Anti-Theft Waterproof Bag

USB Rechargeable Bag

Don’t forget to also take a look at our post “50 Awesome Travel Products You Can Buy on AliExpress for Less Than $20“.

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8 French Cities To Visit In Winter

From skiing in the Alps to exploring fantastic Christmas markets, French cities offer plenty of things to do even during offseason. To help you narrow down your selection, we’ve compiled…

From skiing in the Alps to exploring fantastic Christmas markets, French cities offer plenty of things to do even during offseason.

To help you narrow down your selection, we’ve compiled a list of 8 French cities to visit in winter.

8 French Cities To Visit In Winter


Provence is not the first region that comes to mind when deciding where to go during winter months. Most lodges and restaurants in the area are closed, except for a small charming town Cassis, which is located between Marseille and La Ciotat.

The town and its vicinity offer some good opportunities for hiking, thanks to a number of GR footpaths (known as the Grande Randonnée in French). A path called Calanques is the most famous one, and it leads all the way to Marseille.

Cycling and mountain biking are also possible.

Cassis is very charming during Christmas time. The town has many interesting local traditions and visitors can enjoy sampling delicious desserts at the city’s Christmas market.

At winter you’ll be able to see this Mediterranean gem in a totally new light.

If you prefer a guided tour check some of these;


french cities to visit in winter - colmar

Colmar is a charming town which can be easily accessed from major French cities by TGV trains. The best way to explore it is on foot and with a camera in hand.

The Dominican church, Unterlinden museum, and the Bartholdi museum are some of the most famous attractions in the town. However, Colmar is mainly known for its wonderful architecture and narrow streets.

That’s the reason why Christmas in Colmar is like something out of a fairytale. There’s a lovely Christmas market and the town hosts a number of open-air events and concerts.

You’ll enjoy the lights, the smell of freshly baked ginger biscuits and mulled wine.

It’s a great destination to visit with your partner because of the romantic atmosphere.

Colmar has many gourmet restaurants, including a few Michelin ones.

If you plan to stay longer, you can get a tourist pass which gives you free entry to 56 sites.


french cities to visit in winter

Annecy is well-known for its magical Alpes Christmas event. The town hosts many concerts and offers fun activities such as a skating-rink. This event lasts for the whole month of December and it’s one huge celebration. The city’s architecture looks even more beautiful with all the lights.

If you are into something more adventurous, the closest ski resort to Annecy is Semnoz, which is 20 minutes away. A lot of companies offer snow walks of the area too.

If you would like to see Annecy and its lake in a totally new light, coming here during winter might positively surprise you. You can always warm yourself with a local mulled wine or hot chocolate!

Here are some suggested activities:


Visiting Nice during winter has its own special charm. There are no hoards of tourists and the city is much more enjoyable for exploration. And not just that! The art buffs will appreciate fewer crowds in the city’s museums and galleries.

The Museum of Photography is one of the city’s highlights.

Nice is also a fantastic shopping destination, with many discounts available during the winter sales period.

In winter, the city is home to one of Europe’s greatest carnivals which takes place from February 17th to March 3rd.

Here are some great things to do in Nice;


Blois is a lovely place, famous for its impressive castles. It’s easily accessible from Paris as the journey takes about one hour and thirty minutes. It’s small, compact and discoverable by foot, which makes it an ideal short break from huge cities like Paris.

The most impressive attraction is the Château of Blois, which used to be the residence of several French kings.

The tourist organization of Blois offers great maps with suggested walking itineraries which you’ll find very helpful.

When here, don’t forget to try local chocolate. The production started in 1847 when Auguste Poulain opened his first shop in the city.


french cities to visit in winter

Chamonix is one of the most popular tourist resorts in the Alps. It’s home to Mt. Blanc – the highest peak in Western Europe. Very close to Chamonix is the Mer de Glace glacier – a third largest in the Alps.

The outdoor buffs will enjoy the possibilities for skiing and ice climbing. Chamonix is a resort known for advanced skiers, but if you are not one, worry not!

You can explore the beautiful town and its main street Rue du Docteur Paccard, which is a pedestrianized zone. The town is filled with cafes, restaurants, and shops.

There are various clothing stores, such as the North Face, Oxbow, Mammut, Colombia, Blue Ink, Lacoste and others.

Chamonix has a wide array of international restaurants where you can sample the French, Japanese, or Italian cuisine. The options are endless.

Most hotels have spas where you can relax for a small entry fee.

Here are some great things to do in Chamonix;


Bordeaux is beautiful during the spring and summer months but there are still plenty of things to do here during winter as well. In recent years, the art scene became richer and new museums and galleries are opening up quite often.

You can also visit Auditorium or the Opera National de Bordeaux and enjoy a concert of classical music.

Bordeaux is another city with a lovely Christmas market which is located along the Allées de Tourny. It opens on November 24th. The market is great for sampling some nice desserts or wine, but also for doing some shopping. You’ll find the artisan perfumes, local wine, potteries, chocolate and more.

Here are some awesome tours of the city;

If you prefer to sightsee alone, you can get a Bordeaux tourist pass.


french cities to visit in winter

Paris is an amazing place to visit throughout the year, but during winter months it has a unique charm. The city is filled with many Christmas markets where you can try some delicious desserts or simply warm yourself with a cup of spicy mulled wine. The most famous markets are Trocadero and La Defence Christmas market.

The city has many spas where you can escape the cold and relax for a couple of hours.

If you prefer something more active, simply dress up well and go for a long winter walk along the Seine or explore Montmartre or the Marais.

The city is simply magical during winter.

Here are some awesome tours you can take in Paris;

Louvre Museum – Timed Entrance Ticket 

Paris Catacombs – Skip the lines ticket

Disneyland Paris – 1 day ticket 

Picasso Museum – Full Day Priority Access


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25 Great Photography Accessories You Can Get On AliExpress For Less Than $20

Are you looking for some useful photography accessories that won’t break the bank? You’ve come to the right place. There is no shortage of accessories on the photography market, but…

Are you looking for some useful photography accessories that won’t break the bank? You’ve come to the right place.

There is no shortage of accessories on the photography market, but here, we have compiled some really useful ones that you can get for a fraction of price.

Happy shopping! 🙂

25 Great Photography Accessories You Can Get On AliExpress

Mini USB Folding Studio

Silicon Cable Organizer

Camera Strap

5 in 1 collapsible reflector

Photography Backgrounds

Flash Hot Shoe Protection Cover

Black Vintage PU Wrist Camera Strap Hand Grip

BB-6 6pcs AA Battery Case Pack

LENSPEN LP-1 Dust Cleaner for Camera

Extendable Monopod

Small Action Camera Bag

60pcs/lot for Gopro Anti-Fog Inserts

Ouhaobin HD 1080P Digital Video Camcorder

GAQOU Mini Octopus Tripod For GoPro Camera

Wireless Bluetooth Selfie Stick

Infrared Wireless Remote Control Shutter Release For Canon

ML-L3 IR Infrared Wireless Remote Control Shutter Release For Nikon

A Coloful Waterproof Multi-functional Digital DSLR Camera Bag

Cleaning Swab Suit/span>

Camera Lens Protector Bag

Camera Rain Cover


Air Dust Blower Pump

Memory Card Storage Bag

Lens Cleaning Cloth

Don’t forget to also check our post with 50 awesome travel products you can get on AliExpress.

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Traditional Greek Desserts You Have To Try

If you had to choose the factors that make a place interesting to travel to, what would you pick? Let us guess: rich culture, beautiful landscapes, great food and a…

If you had to choose the factors that make a place interesting to travel to, what would you pick? Let us guess: rich culture, beautiful landscapes, great food and a couple more. If we guessed right, listen to our advice and put Greece on your travel destination list.

This Mediterranean gem has everything you could possibly want from a travel experience. One of those things is the food, which manages to be healthy and incredibly tasty at the same time.

Once you try the entrees and main courses, make sure you leave room for dessert. Whatever you choose, you won’t go wrong. Greek desserts are famous for being so tasty, you’ll come back to Greece just to have some more!

Here’s a list of some of the most delicious ones you should try. The unique specialties vary from street food classics to restaurant delicacies. If you’re hungry, proceed with caution!

Traditional Greek Desserts You Have To Try

Greek Kataifi

At first glance, this might remind you of thin ramen noodles. But, we promise, kataifi is so much better than that and it won’t disappoint you!

This unique dessert is made with a specific shredded dough and then topped with an aromatic syrup. You will recognize lemony notes and cinnamon in the syrup and the fresh butter on top of the dough.

The center is filled with finely chopped nuts – either almonds and walnuts or pistachios. It’s perfect if you’re in the mood for something crunchy and sweet!

Greek Kataifi is a perfect representation of typical Greek desserts. It is rich and very sweet, but, most of all, unlike anything you’ve ever tried before!


If you ask any Greek man or woman what’s the best breakfast food, they will recommend bougatsa. This flaky pastry is a real Greek treasure and it can be found pretty much everywhere you go!

Whether you like a sweet or savory breakfast, bougatsa is a perfect option. But the sweet one is more famous and, in our opinion, much more flavorful. Have in mind that you don’t have to eat it for breakfast only, but as a dessert as well!

It is made of thin phyllo dough which is filled with rich, creamy custard. The heavenly aroma also comes from the cinnamon, which is traditionally sprinkled on top. Make sure you have it fresh and hot, so you could taste the butteriness!

Bougatsa is guaranteed to top your list of best sweet pastries and, possibly, best Greek desserts. Just think of it this way: being able to have dessert for breakfast is what life is all about!


On some days, there’s just nothing better than an old-fashioned baklava. It exudes a certain warm and homey feeling, especially if it’s authentic. If you’d like to try one made from someone’s grandma’s recipe, you should definitely try it in Greece!

The basic version of this well-known dessert is made with layers of thin phyllo and filled with ground walnuts. It is then drenched in sugar syrup, which gets completely absorbed.

There are many different variations of it that you should try. Some include raisins along with walnuts, while others are made with ground pistachios. If you’re a lover of all nuts, you could try one with a combination of a few of them. Also, don’t miss the baklava with rose water!

In Greece, baklava is usually made for special occasions and events. But, isn’t being in Greece special enough? Tuck in!


Not to be confused with the Turkish sweet with the same name, Greek halva is a type of pudding. It’s traditionally made with semolina flour and only a couple more ingredients. If you’re vegan, you’ll be happy to know you can eat as much of this dessert as you wish!

If you’d like to try to make a Greek dessert at home, this is the one to start with. It is delicious, but also very simple to create.

Halva contains one of the best Greek products – olive oil. It is incredibly tasty but also rather healthy at the same time.

Sometimes, beauty really lies in simplicity. With only a few ingredients, halva is without a doubt one of the best traditional Greek desserts!


Just like everywhere else in the world, the Greeks love celebrating holidays with traditional treats. That’s why every year for Christmas, Greek families make melomakarona – Greek Christmas cookies!

These wonderful, crunchy cookies are very refreshing and rich. Besides the usual Christmas ingredients like cinnamon or nutmeg, they also contain cognac and orange zest. Yum!

Even if you’re not in Greece during the holidays, you must try melomakarona. They’re a perfect treat alongside a cup of coffee or tea!


Loukoumades are another street food classic. Everyone who grew up in Greece has memories of eating these during their childhood. If you’re a lover of doughnuts and fried food in general, don’t look any further!

You must try these little balls of dough, deep fried and dipped in honey or chocolate sauce. You can ask for some cinnamon or walnuts on top, for an extra bit of flavor!

Although nowadays these are commonly served on festivals and markets, they have been around long before those came to existence. Believe it or not, even ancient Greek writers mentioned them in their work!

While you’re in Greece, make sure you eat them as often as possible. You can find them on every corner, so try and find your favorite ones! Why not spoil yourself a bit?

Portokalopita (Orange cake)

If you’re looking for a perfect summer dessert, this is it. Portokalopita combines two things Greece is known for – Greek yogurt and fresh oranges.

Originally, this Greek dessert comes from the island of Crete, and only one bite will transport you there. This moist cake is, like many Greek desserts, finished with a soaking syrup and a bit of cinnamon.

When you bite into it, you’ll be overwhelmed with the creaminess of the yogurt and the crisp orange taste. The ingredients are combined flawlessly and are even better with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Enjoy!

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12 Irish Desserts You Must Try

Whether you want to make a dessert for St. Patrick’s day or to satisfy your sweet tooth, here’s a list of Irish desserts you must try. Some of them are…

Whether you want to make a dessert for St. Patrick’s day or to satisfy your sweet tooth, here’s a list of Irish desserts you must try.

Some of them are easy to make from the comfort of your home but if you don’t prefer that, hit up cozy Irish cafes.

Carrageen Moss Pudding

Carrageen Moss is a type of red algae which can be found at the shores of Ireland. This seaweed has numerous health benefits – it’s rich in vitamins and minerals such as iodine, magnesium, and potassium.

It found its way in the Irish cuisine as well. Carrageen Moss is first soaked in warm water and then simmered with the milk (it can be any milk of your choice). The mixture is then usually flavored with orange juice and served as a dessert.

Here’s an interesting recipe for carrageen moss pudding.

Irish Whiskey Truffles

This is a great dessert for the whiskey connoisseurs and chocolate lovers. The recipe usually includes Jameson and the truffles are easy to prepare.

The cream is first heated then stirred with Jameson whiskey.

This is a cool dessert for St. Patrick’s day. Here’s a recipe with the detailed explanations.

Porter Cake

This is a delicious cake that uses Porter such as Guinness or Beamish as an ingredient. It can be prepared in less than two hours and it’s ideal for those who love fruit.

Yes, this cake is a solid mix of dark beer and dried fruit. Typically Irish.

It’s recommended to leave this cake for a day or two before slicing it, but if you have zero patience, no one can blame you for trying it immediately!

Lemon Curd Sponge Cake

If you’re a fan of light desserts, this is a cake you absolutely have to try when in Ireland. It goes very well with the afternoon tea.

All it takes is a 45 min of preparation and 15 min of cooking.

You can check the full guidelines here.


Barmbrack is a yeasted bread with raisins and sultanas. Just like the Lemon Curd Sponge Cake, this one is also a popular afternoon dessert served with tea.

It’s very popular during Halloween when various objects are baked into the bread and then used to predict the future.

Tradition tells that those who find the ring will get married within the year, while silver coin means a good fortune.

Irish Coffee

Irish coffee is famous worldwide, for its interesting mix of coffee, whiskey, sugar, and cream. It was created in 1943 by Joe Sheridan in Limerick.

It’s not that complex to prepare, so if you want to try it in the comfort of your home, check out this recipe.

Irish Apple Cake

This is another very popular cake for the St. Patrick’s day. For those who don’t like overly sweet cakes, this will be an ideal choice for the dessert. Irish cake is often eaten with the custard sauce, which gives it an even better texture and taste.

Guinness Cake

This surely isn’t your everyday cake, but its interesting mixture is what makes it so special. The Guinness stout gives it an intensive flavor and the cake usually has a creamy white chocolate as a topping.

Baileys Brownies

If you love Baileys (and brownies!) this is a combination you simply have to try. The recipe isn’t difficult to prepare yourself, but it does take some time. Here’s a great article which explains the process in detail.

Mudslike Cheesecake

This cheesecake is a great combination of cookies, mascarpone cheese, and Irish cream liquor. In case you want to make it yourself, you can get sandwich cookies such as Oreo. All you need is a blender and some patience.

Irish Lemon Pudding

This is a famous St. Patrick’s dessert, which surprisingly isn’t green colored! It’s a fantastic mix of creamy sweetness and lemony tartness. The bottom part of the cake is creamy while the top has a dense layer.

Irish Potato Candy

Irish potato candy is a famous dessert in the Philadelphia area, during St. Patrick’s day. Just note that the commercial versions of the candy do not contain potato at all. It is generally made with a coconut cream and it is rolled in cinnamon on the outside.

However, a homemade version can be made with real potato which is usually mashed and doesn’t have any additional liquids.

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Michelangelo Paintings And Where To Find Them In Europe

As you may know, Michelangelo Buonarroti is one of humanity’s greatest sculptors and painters. Everyone who knows a bit about art has heard of David or the Sistine Chapel’s ceiling….

As you may know, Michelangelo Buonarroti is one of humanity’s greatest sculptors and painters. Everyone who knows a bit about art has heard of David or the Sistine Chapel’s ceiling.

The Italian’s immense influence on other artists and the world in general is something yet to be seen again. Even though he spent his life in his homeland, Italy, Michelangelo’s works are now part of exhibitions around the world.

Thousands of tourists and art enthusiasts form queues in front of museums just to take a peek at his creations. His legacy is so powerful that witnessing his art is looking into the eyes of history and revolution. Just knowing that you’re looking at something he once stared at is exciting to say the least.

Although he may be more famous for his sculptures, Michelangelo’s paintings are something extraordinary as well.

Here’s a list of some of them you can (and should!) find in museums across Europe!

The Sistine Chapel Ceiling, Vatican

When it comes to Michelangelo paintings, this group of frescoes is by far the most grandiose one. They cover the entire ceiling of Vatican’s most important chapel and have a legendary status in the art world.

Michelangelo was the type of person who wouldn’t settle for less when it came to his work. The Sistine Chapel is the perfect example. When the pope asked him to depict the 12 Apostles on the ceiling, he ended up painting over 300 figures. What was supposed to be a simple frescoe became one of the most complex paintings in history.

The centerpiece is The Creation of Adam, an iconic scene from the Book of Genesis. Wherever you’re from, you must have seen it at least once in your lifetime. God and Adam almost touching fingers is not only familiar to art historians, but important for pop culture as well!

You will need a moment just to take it all in. All the faces, the shadows and details. It’s hard to imagine someone standing in the same position for years until they’ve created perfection in their own eyes. But that’s what truly makes a genius stick out from everyone else!

The Vatican is famous for having one of the most stunning art collections in the entire world. It is the only state whose cultural property is completely protected in case of war. Among many world class artists, Michelangelo’s paintings and sculptures have a prestigious position.

They say all roads lead to Rome. If you find yourself there, make sure the road leads you to the Vatican as well. The Sistine Chapel and Vatican Museums are must see!

Doni Tondo, Uffizi Gallery, Florence

This Michelangelo painting is a perfect representation of his signature techniques and colors. Even though the painting hasn’t been signed, there is no doubt that this is his work of art.

It is unique since this is the only saved panel painting by Michelangelo that has been completely finished. The theme is once again Biblical. It portrays the Holy Family – Mary, Joseph and Jesus.

This Michelangelo painting is so authentic and obviously his that experts have noted it even has many characteristics of sculptures. Buonarroti, primarily a sculptor, had successfully transferred his famous skills and style from marble to wood.

The name Doni comes from its owner, Agnolo Doni, who had it made to celebrate his marriage. Tondo refers to the circular form of the panel, which was very popular during the Renaissance.

The Doni Tondo can be found in the Gallerie degli Uffizi in Florence, Italy. The Uffizi has a rich collection of paintings and sculptures, especially works of famous Italian artists. Have in mind that there’s an entire room on the 2nd floor dedicated to Michelangelo only. Grab a slice of pizza and stop by the Gallery later to enjoy some food for the soul! Get your timed entrance ticket here

The Manchester Madonna, National Gallery, London

This unfinished painting was attributed to Michelangelo long after his death. This is a panel, an art form so rare with Buonarotti, that there are only a couple left.

Originally called The Virgin and Child with Saint John and Angels, it shows Virgin Mary in a heartbreaking scene. She’s holding an open book in her hand and trying to keep it away from Jesus. Many have interpreted this as her trying to save him from reading about his pain and suffering in the future.

The name Manchester Madonna comes from the fact it caused a real frenzy when it first came to Manchester in 1857. The people were beyond excited about it and over a million of them saw it in only a few months.

Today, it can be seen in the UK capital’s National Gallery. This magnificent art museum has an impressive collection of some of the most famous art ever. You can book a walking tour of the National Gallery and the British Museum here. Van Gogh’s Sunflowers and Venus and Mars by Botticelli are only a couple you must see with your own eyes. Michelangelo is high up on that list as well!

The Last Judgement, Sistine Chapel, Vatican

We’ve come full circle and returned to the Vatican. Il Giudizio Universale covers the entire wall behind the altar and it took Buonarroti 9 years to finish!

Many believe that this Michelangelo painting is his greatest masterpiece ever. It was heavily inspired by Dante’s Divine Comedy and it was just as revolutionary.

Traditionally, the Earth, heaven and hell were always shown as horizontal layers, completely different in characteristics. However, Michelangelo distanced himself from the usual depiction. In his painting, all three form a single large space and neither section is entirely spared from chaos.

The figure of Jesus Christ takes the very central position. He is looking down and, just by waving his hand, deciding the fate of the whole human race. Compared to him, everyone looks powerless.

Many believe Michelangelo incorporated his self-portrait in the frescoe. A morbid detail of St. Bartholomew holding his own skin in his hands might distract you from it. But, if you look closely, the face he’s holding is very similar to Michelangelo’s.

If you only had to see one Michelangelo painting, it might as well be this one!

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