Category Archives: City guide

Top 5 Interesting Places To Visit In Italy

This is a guest post by Jane Roberts.

Italy is one of the world’s most celebrated tourist destination despite the country being the most destroyed and affected during the World War II. The country indeed is a major tourist destination as it is a home to the most diverse and beautiful landscapes in the whole of Europe. The country is home to the world’s greatest reserve of art treasures that is displayed in cities and buildings. Many of the Italians here are indeed proud of their country and whenever you ask them the best place on earth to live, without doubt the response will be “right here”. In this article, you will find the top five interesting places to visit in Italy and without any doubt, you will live to tell your amazing experience.

Croatia gems: Zadar

I love spring and autumn.. these are the best seasons to travel! The weather is good, travel is inexpensive..what more could you want 🙂

Now is just one of those ‘travel-friendly’ times of the year and I’m coming up with a series of posts on some great places you can visit in.. beautiful Croatia!

Why visit Croatia? My top 3 reasons are: the seaside and islands, beautiful nature, historical buildings. Croatia has 500+ km coastline and 1246 islands and islets. Lots of places to go, no? Even during high season, you can find yourself a perfectly peaceful beach spot on an easy-to-reach island. There are 8 national parks (with Plitvice lakes and Krka, which I’m going to cover, being the 2 biggest ones) and 10 nature parks.

Le Cinque Terre – The Five lands of color and amore

Cinque Terre (Five Lands) in North-western Italy was the main destination in my Italy vacation this April. A place I was attracted to for a long time, but which escaped my travel plans for one reason or other.

Even writing about the ‘Five Lands’ gets me excited, and brings back the same exhilaration I had while driving the 1-2 hours north of Pisa, through the curvy and narrow road just before we reached the northern-most of the villages – Monterosso Al Mare.

When this place gets into your destination list – here are some tips to help your planning:

Lucca – Tuscany’s best kept secret

Being very close to Pisa (40-50 kms), Lucca was also a destination in our 3-day trip to Tuscany, the primary goal of which was visiting Le Cinque Terre.

Lucca is claimed to be Tuscany’s best kept secret – a place which is less touristic than Pisa, but featuring many and truly beautiful medieval buildings, small streets, spacious squares, cute little shops. Moreover, it’s a perfect place to visit with small kids – the old town is mostly pedestrian, very green and peaceful, with many gardens and places for relaxation. As you can guess, it was flooded with bikers too!

Pisa – the biking heaven

Manarola, Le Cinque Terre

If you’re a keen traveler  there’s no way you haven’t seen this famous picture of Manarola village in Le Cinque Terre (the Five Lands, from Italian).

Exactly this pic has made Le Cinque Terre a wanted destination in my trip list. I did one attempt to visit it last summer, in August, but the hectic traffic and crowds along the way quickly changed my mind. So, my next attempt was a month ago, beginning of April.

I usually keep to a busy touring schedule so I decided to combine the visit to the dream Five Lands with a visit to the nearby Pisa and Lucca. A group of four, we set our ‘base camp’ in Pisa by renting a good apartment from airbnb, and planned a day for each of the places we wanted to see.

Biking in Rome – how and where

I love biking the European capitals. First, because they are huge and walking the distances on foot or driving in hectic traffic/finding parking spot is no fun. The bike combines the convenience of a fairly quick transport, the option to avoid the traffic and stop/park anywhere you want to take a look, and is a perfect way to keep fit even while on vacation 🙂

They say in Rome the traffic is too heavy for biking and it’s generally dangerous to bike. It’s not. You just need to be careful, but the drivers in general are quite attentive.

3 must-see cities in Belgium: Biking in Brussels

I love biking the European cities. Allows me to see much more in shorter time, and also enjoy city biking which, in Sofia, is almost impossible (traffic too heavy, no biking alleys, etc). I’ll share in this post how to rent a bike in Brussels, and what are the key sights I enjoyed within 4-5 hours (my top time for city biking).

In Brussels it’s possible to rent a bike using the cheap city biking service Villo (http://en.villo.be). They have many bike stands in the center of Brussels, and  some in the farthest parts of Brussels. Mind though, that the farthest stands don’t always have vacant bike positions (seems in the distant parts people prefer to use public transport, especially in the winter when I visited) and you might need to search for a stand with a free position for your bike. When returning the bike to the central bike stands there’s no such issue.

3 must-see cities in Belgium: The chocolate city – Bruges

After Leuven, I had one day to visit a city a bit more distant than Brussels, and really hesitated between Antwerp and Bruges. But, since Bruges is famous for its chocolates, and I’m a big fan of Belgian chocolates – the decision was made 🙂

 

Bruges is just 100 km northwest from Brussels, and takes an hour and a half to reach by train (due to heavy snow the train was the better option). You basically need 5-6 hours to stroll through it and visit its museums.

3 must-see cities in Belgium: Leuven

After my Sicily trip, and a few other short getaways in the neighbouring countries, it was time to get my adventure spirit re-kindled 🙂 A few lucky coincidences and – next destination was set to Belgium! I only had 3 days available, so I’ve aimed at visiting at least 3 cities – Leuven, Bruges and Brussels of course. But, due to the short distances between the cities, you can even see more within this time.

In a series of 3 posts I will tell more about each of these cities, interesting sights and what to do there.

Sicily inside out: Final part: Agrigento and Palermo

After a tiring 3-hour evening drive from Ragusa, Noto and Modica (for approx 130 km distance, there are no highways in southern Sicily yet) we reached Agrigento. Even when you approach you see the gorgeous lighted Valley of Temples – the major and quite large attraction of Agrigento, for which we had planned to spare 3-4 hours.

Agrigento city itself is not something special. What I liked is it’s positioned on a small hill, with the Valley of Temples below it. So when you walk/drive along the streets (there were interesting restaurants and bars in the city, but nothing more special) – you can always enjoy magnificent views to the Valley.