Category Archives: Kids-friendly

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.

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.

8 Kids-friendly activities in the Saronic islands in Greece

The Saronic Gulf in Greece is located to the south-southwest of Athens, and has 7 inhabited islands in it, called the Saronic islands. All islands are easy/fast to reach from the capital, with the farthest one – Spetses – taking just 2-3 hours by ferry or flying dolphin.

With its wonderful beaches and picturesque villages the Saronic is one of our favorite locations for spending a family holiday. If you happen to be around for your summer vacation, here are the eight places/activities we enjoyed most as a family.

Poros island

Walk around Poros city, enjoy magnificent views from the Clock Tower
Poros is just an hour from Athens by hydrofoil, but is perhaps one of the most picturesque islands in Greece. Its main town, Poros, beautifully spreads out on a hill, thus offering great views to the port, and the lovely bays just nearby.

10 Tips for Family Biking on Thassos

Thassos Island

Biking has always been a favorite leisure activity for our family – it allows us to spend great time together, see amazing places, have a picnic, relax and get fit at the same time.

With small kids it’s not possible to do long cycling treks, or steep mountain trails. So, we usually choose road cycling through peaceful rural areas, and stop here and there for sightseeing, for a game of volleyball or cards, ice-cream, snack, etc. One of our favorite locations for family biking is Thassos island in Greece.

Why Thassos?

  • It’s very close to Greece mainland, so it only takes a short ferry trip from Kavala or Keramoti. Kavala is a 2-3 hour drive from Thessaloniki airport.
  • Thassos has a main ring-road which follows the coastline and passes through amazing beaches and historical/cultural places to see. The road is easy to cycle, and makes a great route for family biking.
  • Thassos is also a very green island, full of cedars, oaks, pines, chestnuts, so the road is mostly shady and really pleasant.

If you decide to take your family to bike in Thassos – here are 10 tips you may use:

Tip: Getting good mobile internet while travelling in France

Getting mobile internet franceHaving internet everytime and everywhere is essential when travelling with kids: you might need to make a last-minute booking, check family-friendly attractions nearby, call your family doctor on skype, etc.

Moreover, I have found out that while most hotels in France do offer free wireless, very often the signal in your room is poor, or shows up only now and then.

One option to be always connected would be to use the 3G internet with your sim card, but abroad that might be expensive. That’s why it’s best to get 3G internet from a local provider.

What’s the best option to get a hassle-free mobile internet in France? (read below and save 1 hour running between mobile shops)

Sightseeing at the top of the Alps, Zell am See lake and more in Kaprun, Austria

Zell am See lake

After couple of utterly enjoyable days in Solden, off we were for the last stop in our summer adventurous trip – Kaprun/Zell am See, again in Austria. Kaprun is a famous winter resort, with an awesome glacier at 3,000m+. It’s among our planned ski vacation spots, so we were eager to check it out in the summer too.

Being already aware that mountain resorts do offer some kind of activity cards, we did a small research and came across 2 sports activity cards available in the area: the Zell am See Kaprun card, and the Hohe Tauern card.

Free spa, biking, water park and more in Sölden, Austria

Solden AlpsAfter a bit disappointing Verbier, we hoped that our next stop – Sölden in Austria – would offer more options for an active relaxation. Pleasant surprise – this resort also had a free sports activities card included with some of the accommodation options.

The Ötztal Premium Card, similarly to the Sportignes card, offered many free activities. You could either buy the card, or get it for free (like we did) with some partnering hotels/guest houses (listed on the card brochure). What was included with this card:

The best small charming campsite in Switzerland for 2011

verbier locationAfter 4 days full of activities in Tignes, on we headed to the next ski resort we wanted to check out – Verbier in Switzerland. Why Verbier? I had many times read about free ride skiing in Verbier during the winter, and enjoyed awesome pics, so considered it should also offer interesting activities in the summer, like in Tignes.

Well, it didn’t. To our disappointment the resort was almost empty, with only few people hiking the beautiful Alps around the village. The resort website listed some summer activities, but we couldn’t find any sign of them however we tried. Pity.

Nevertheless, we enjoyed the view (below)