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Category Archives: Tips
Most travelers would agree that as much as touring different countries keeps our souls healthy, most of the time we can not say the same about our bodies. Usually we use trip as an excuse to unwind from our daily lives, diets and schedules, which could potentially take a toll in our health and well-being, specially for constant travelers.
Business travelers are the most affected by the disadvantages of over-indulging while on the road. For a longer period of time, a decrease in productivity can be clearly seen as the days go by.
The travel industry has been attending to the new health-conscious target audience, offering not only light menus in their restaurant, as well as workout apps and videos in order to keep fit while on-the-go. Therefore, there is no plausible excuse for packing pounds just because you are overseas.
We have selected some of the little arrangements we’ve acquired while on the road, in order to keep us healthy and energized.
When one travels to Italy, the last thing that comes to mind is eating a salad for dinner. We like to enjoy the local food, which does not seem to have an affect on locals’ bodies. We would not dare to advise you to dodge the calorie filled local menu completely, but there are certainly ways to keep your diet balanced.
A good way to balance is to have at least two healthy meals a day. If you would like to indulge with some caloric Burritos or Pad Thai for lunch, you can alternate them with a lighter dinner.
It also helps to pack your own lunch, or buy a ready healthy meal. It is easier than having to compromise on unhealthy options for the sake of convenience. Pack dried fruits and nuts as a snack (my favorites are pistachios and dried cranberries), pack a fresh salad or sandwich for lunch. If you are traveling by car, bring a cooler as it will expand your options a whole lot.
Exercising while on the run has never been so convenient. Hotels usually provide guests with gym facilities or discounts for a gym day-pass. If both of these are not available, you can ask the concierge for tips on local parks and running tracks or a local swimming pool for a few laps (If the hotel does not have one). Another good way to exercise is by renting a bike for sightseeing or getting to meetings conveniently while burning those extra calories.
Keep in touch with family and friends
If you are traveling for an extended period of time on your own, it can get lonely. That’s why it is always a good idea to talk with family or friends even if you do not have any news, it is definitely a relaxing way to end the day.
It is always the best way to explore a city anyway. Just get lost in the city center in order to find hidden gems and burn some of the extra calories.
Try to maintain a schedule
This is one of the hardest tasks when traveling abroad. With all the jetlag and different schedules, it is hard to maintain some normalcy in our lives when on the road. This can be curbed by maintaining some every day rituals, maybe having breakfast at the same time, or exercising at the same hour and most importantly going to bed at the same time, it can help your metabolism to work a lot healthier.
Even when traveling to cold locations, it is very important to have at least three liters of water per day to aid our bodies to work in an optimal manner. Don’t forget to have a bottle of water near at all times, it will definitely keep you fresh and curb unnecessary snacking, as our bodies can’t always discern thirst from hunger.
Make time to enjoy some “me” time.
Even if you have a tight schedule during your trips, don’t forget to disconnect and go outside for a walk, do some yoga in your hotel room, or just sit and read a book. We are usually very unstable when traveling for business, taking some ‘me’ time will definitely have a positive influence on your performance as well as your well being.
As you may know by now, we are nuts for travel blogs. For long we have followed the adventures of these digital nomads that call all corners of the world, home sweet home. We have started a series of interviews with this brave bunch, in order to get some answers to our burning travel questions.
Meet Lauren Juliff, the creative mind behind one of the most inspiring travel blogs to date. She is very candid about her good and bad experiences abroad, which will enable you to fully join her in exciting trips around the globe. The girl is a magnet for crazy adventures, and after traveling to over 41 countries, we are more than happy to spend a good while reading all about of it.
Who are you?
My name is Lauren and I’m a full-time traveler. In 2011, I decided to quit my job, sell everything I own and set out on a round the world adventure. I had originally planned to travel for a year but after a few months I decided I didn’t ever want to stop exploring. I now work online as a freelance travel writer and editor, which allows me to work from anywhere.
What triggered the idea of becoming a long-term traveler?
I think I’ve always craved traveling long-term but didn’t really know it was something people did until a few years ago. I spent twenty-odd years looking forward to a two week holiday only to arrive and find myself filled with dread at the thought of having to return home. I accepted that that was how my life would always be… until I discovered backpacking and long-term travel. I spent five years saving, planning and dreaming until I finally took the plunge and bought a one-way ticket out of England.
How did your family and friends react to your decision?
My parents weren’t surprised, given that they’d had to put up with my wanderlust for much of my life! They were quite frightened, however, and didn’t like the thought of me traveling on my own. They’ve calmed down a lot since then.
I think my friends didn’t quite understand my decision. They spent many months putting me down, telling me I was going to die, that I wouldn’t last more than a week. They weren’t particularly supportive!
What city would you recommend to our readers for a memorable visit?
Ljubljana, in Slovenia. It’s beautiful, small, walkable and cheap. It has great food, amazing bars, friendly locals and a fantastic music scene. It’s my favorite city in Europe and I hope to one day spend a few months living there.
Any cities you would never return, even if paid to do so?
None spring to mind. There are certain cities I’d be quite happy to never visit again — Shanghai being one of them, but I’d still return if I was paid! I’m always happy to have my mind changed about a place.
What was the most memorable experience you’ve had in this journey?
It would have to be the night I spent camping in the Sahara Desert in Morocco. I got to visit Berber villages, ride camels over the sand dunes at sunset and sunrise, and camp under the Milky Way for one magical night. I’ll never forget the feeling of laying on a mattress on a sand dune, staring up at the billions of stars and feeling so incredibly small.
What place did you experience the biggest culture shock?
China. It was the first country I ever visited in Asia and it was definitely a tough one to start with. I found it hard to deal with the constant attention from the locals as they raced around, trying to snap a photo of me. I struggled with the food as a very picky eater who had never once tried Chinese food before arriving. I struggled with the locals spitting anywhere and everywhere, and the children peeing in the streets. It was hard to deal with and I actually cut short my time in China because I found it so challenging.
Now that I’ve had a lot more experience traveling in Asia, I’m quite keen to return and give it another chance. I’m sure I’d have a completely different experience second time around.
What does it take to be a long-term traveler?
A lot of patience, a desire to be challenged, and a lot of money.
What is the best food in the world?
Pho, from Vietnam. I could eat it for three meals a day and never get sick of it!
What has been the biggest lesson you’ve learned from this experience?
That you can’t prepare for things to go wrong. I used to spend hours worrying about the various different things that could possibly go wrong on the road — and all it achieved was an awful lot of stress. The bad things that happen are always things you don’t expect — being scammed, being in a tsunami, having a woman die on your boat, having your boat start to sink — these all happened to me and they were all unexpected. The things that I wasted time and energy worrying about never happened.
What’s a piece of advice you would give someone that wants to be a long-term traveler?
Don’t make plans, expect things to go wrong, save a lot of money before you leave, and travel with an open mind.
Thanks Lauren for the inspiring interview! We hope to hear a lot more from and about you.
The world is a compilation of endless soulful cultures and breathtaking landscapes which are just waiting to be explored. By traveling you can expand your understanding and tolerance of things you did not even know existed.
Although some tourists believe that they can immerse themselves into a country’s culture by booking a plane ticket and 5-star resort, it is not even close to the reality.
We have selected some of the experiences that one must have at least once in a lifetime. by partaking in some of these experiences, you will learn not only how special each country is, but also get to know ideas and feelings you did not even know a trip could produce.
The greatest party in the world is a unique opportunity to get an unprecedented insight into the culture of this always lively country. The festivities lasts for a full week, where the whole city stops in order to dance. There is even a saying in the country that says that the year only starts after carnival, which is hosted by major cities in the last week of February. Get the chance to participate in some street parades and parties and nevertheless mingle with the always friendly locals.
Tip: Book hotels and party arrangements in advance, as they are full months in advance.
Learn one of the most passionate dances in the world. The tango is an iconic dance originated from Argentina and admired by the rest of the world. During your stay in Buenos Aires take a crash course and attempt some steps on the many Milongas in the city. This is undoubtedly an once in a lifetime experience.
Tip: Book an awesome private lesson if you are visiting for a longer period.
If you are planning an extended trip to Barcelona, make sure to check some of the best cookery schools in Europe. Learn how to cook a perfectly traditional Paella, how to make the best Gamba plates or the most delicious Gazpacho. It is a great way to mingle with locals in workshops and local markets as well as a much needed expansion to your culinary skills.
Tip: Check Annie B’s Spanish Kitchen, she offers very dynamic cookery courses for tourists.
Did you know that this 2,600 kilometer reef is the only visible site from outer space? Apart from that, this amazing place is home to some of the best snorkel safaris and dive trips in the world. The unearthly beauty of this place will definitely provide you with great memories. Composed by more than 2,900 individual reefs and 900 islands that house 30 species of whales and dolphins, six species of sea turtles and more than 215 species of birds, it is definitely a destination not to be missed.
Tip: The best time to visit the Great Barrier Reef is from June to November, when the weather is mild and visibility is generally good.
It is way more exciting than watching Animal Planet! During the excursions you can see wild animals in their natural habitat from your guided tour car. If this is your first safari, you should visit Krueger National Park or Hluhluwe-iMfolozi for a great experience. These parks are immense and they can provide visitors from utter desolation to savannas rich in wildlife.
Tip: Make sure to book camps or Safari groups that are more distant for a less touristic experience.
A very touristic place, but it is still a great place to learn the amazing history of the Inca Empire. Once abandoned and forgotten, today it is bustling with hungry tourists, with as many as 2,500 visitors a day. With breathtaking landscapes to the Pre-Columbian ruins filled with history, it is definitely a destination to be visited. Located 2,430 meters above sea levels, you can experience the emerald green grass and curtains of fog which add to the already mysterious atmosphere
Tip: If you are visiting the national parks, you will notice that very little information on the ruins are provided, which aesthetically speaking is a good thing. If you crave for more information one of the hidden gems is the excellent Museo de Sitio Manuel Chávez Ballón ($8 entry) which will explain all the important details about Machu Picchu and its construction.
One of the most incredible activities to do while visiting Rome is to visit their amazing food markets. There, you can experience shopping like a local, and having the opportunity to make great Italian food from scratch. Sellers will provide with great tips in order to make your favorite dish to perfection, well, if they speak English of course. This market is definitely the best opportunity one will have to immerse themselves in the Italian food culture.
tips: You can check this blog for a detailed overview of the best markets in Italy.
Shopping in markets is a unique experience that every traveler should attempt while traveling abroad. Besides finding very local pieces for sale, you can really see a culture behind its touristic facade, and interact with locals either in order to bargain for souvenirs or asking locals for the best food stall.
We have listed some of our favorite markets in the world, where we had the opportunity to eat great food, see some quirky objects and people and truly experience the local lifestyle in different parts of the world.
1. El Rastro, Madrid
El Rastro is a large flea market located in the locally famous Lavapies district, where many stalls are lined with an eclectic selection of vintage clothes, books, objects and military memorabilia.
In order to find interesting things you need to have a good dose of patience and will to dig around the piles, but they are usually in pretty decent prices.
2. Covent Garden, London
This is more of a posh experience, as the market is filled with boutiques and trendy cafes. You can either sit and get your caffeine fix while listening to the many street musicians busking in the area, or you can splurge in some one of a kind objects and souvenirs. A great way to start a sightseeing day in London.
3. Saint Hubertus Royal Gallery, Brussels
This high-end gallery is the perfect place to window shop. You can see very unique pieces, from designer hats to very alternative bookshops. The market celebrates the advent of bourgeois capitalism, modernity and progress with its many intellectual clubs, newspaper publishers and different associations. They are The Association Liberale (Liberal Association) and the Cercle Artistique et Litteraire ( Artistic and Literary Club) which took up quarters in the arcade, making this market not only a shopping experience, but also a place of history and a joint of intellectuals.
4. Camden Lock, London
This market has a long history in the underground, housing some of the best alternative shops in the city. You can walk around in your Doctor Martens and find those vinyls you spent your whole life looking for. The place has lost a bit of its alternative roots along the way, but still a great place to find unique souvenirs and music. If it is getting dark, stick around and party in one of the greatest nearby nightclubs.
5. Mercado Ve-o-Peso; Belem, Brazil
One of the prime symbols of the city, Ve-o-Peso is bathed by the Guajara, at the mouth of the Amazon River. There, you can find an extensive selection of fish, seafood, meat, and various prepared food while enjoying its 17th century architecture. The market celebrates the rich culture of the city, with many mouth watering local dishes such as Acai sorbet, regional rice and beans as well as crab in different sauces.
6. Marché de Enfants Rouges, Paris
The market of the red children (reference to the uniforms that used to be worn by children of an nearby orphanage) is a great hidden gem in the city of Paris. Many people seem to miss the entrance of the small market, but if you keep looking you won’t regret the quest. Colorful fruits welcome you inside the market, which is filled with local wine, cheese, olive oil and food stands. Vendors offer a large variety of ethnic food, from Japanese to Chinese to Lebanese cuisines. If you feel like Moroccan food then you should try the Moroccan stand, called Traiteur Marocain, which sells traditional dishes like lamb tagine, couscous, and baklava.
7. Bloemenmarkt, Amsterdam
If you are looking for the famous Dutch tulips or basically any type of flowers, you can make a visit to the bloemenmarkt in Amsterdam. The market is right in the heart of the city and one of the few floating markets in the world. Take a chance to buy some seeds, as well as just experiencing the nearby bars and cheese shops. It is a very unique experience for an afternoon stroll.
Who hasn’t heard about the iconic cities in Europe? From the romantic Paris, to the hip Berlin to the open-minded Amsterdam, all of these cities are usually a top priority when planning an Eurotrip.
The old continent is an endless source of culture, art, food and landmarks which are not necessarily restricted to big cities. Furthermore, their outstanding attractions have been incessantly milked to the bone for the sake of tourism, causing them to lose a bit of the flair that made them so iconic to begin with.
We have selected some of our favorite tourist dodging alternatives, which will certainly provide you with a genuine insight on the people and culture of these particular countries.
The city house of the European Parliament and the Council of Europe, Strasbourg is a city famed by their traditional Christmas markets, the Cathédral de Nôtre Dame, which is the tallest medieval building in Europe, and their astrological clock.
Petite France with its scenic views and photogenic atmosphere is a great option for an inspiring afternoon. Do not forget to eat their tarte à l’oignon or the world famous quiche Lorraine.
The historic yet modern city is a great destination for those who want to experience the real German lifestyle yet enjoy what a big city has to offer. Cologne is sprawled across the river Rhine, and offers over 2,000 years of history, for a cultural and exciting getaway.
You can start your expedition at the Cologne cathedral, one of the most visited landmarks in Germany, as it is the biggest in the world. Walk around the Padlock Bridge, where lovers lock their love with padlocks in every shape and size, festooned with ribbons and gems stretching from one side of the bridge to the other. Spend your afternoon immersing yourself in the arts of the many museums, and cease the day sipping the deliciously local Kölsh.
The stunning fishing villages are a great location, if eating locally grown wine, cheese, pasta, seafood and homemade bread sounds like a plan.
Among its hidden gems you can find a century-old complex of hiking paths which offer some of Italy’s beautiful coastal views. The Blue Trail connects all five villages and is a great attraction for the whole family. Enjoy the view of green hills that make up the Terre National Park while sipping on delicious wine in the terraces dating back to hundreds of years.
It is a great option for a tourist dodging day, the city has a lot to offer from beautiful canals to the relaxing parks. Visit the Dom Tower to experience a panoramic view of the city as well as learning about the origin of the square with the same name. Enjoy a night out in the many brown bars or visit some of the many museums the city has to offer.
3. Bristol, UK
Bristol is a city that has been getting a lot of attention lately, from its environmental friendly fame to the many museums available in the city, the place has a large variety of options for a pleasant weekend.
You can visit the flagship museum to get some insight on the roots of the city. Visit the Bristol cathedral for a taste of medieval architecture and after climb up the Brandon Hill on a clear day for a spectacular view of the city, as well a small nature reserve,ponds and informal gardens. Do not forget to shop at St Nicholas Market on Corn Street for clothes, candles or books.
Visit the picture perfect Bruges for a very romantic weekend. Enjoy the scenery of a city which could possibly be the background of a fairy tale. Walk around the historic center for the beautiful architecture or the Markt if you’ve had enough of the peace and quiet.
If you prefer some shopping you should flock to Belfry and Market Halls, which was a bustling marketplace presided over by a gothic bell tower. Today you can hear the echoing chimes of the carillon bells or check the view on the tower’s top. Don’t forget to taste one of the best beer, fries and chocolate in the world.
The city, which is the third largest in Spain, is located in the Gulf of Valencia and close to Palma de Mallorca and Ibiza. With breathtaking architecture, blue skies and amazing cathedrals, it make a perfect destination for those who crave for culture. The city sports many museums and galleries and very lively plazas. Drink some sangria and eat your way through the city.
New Years Eve is that day of the year where we would like to let go for one more night before committing to our resolutions. And what better way to experience the exciting festivities than relaxing in a paradisaical beach or dancing until dawn in cities that never sleep?
The world is your oyster throughout the holiday season, with many options and different traditions for every kind of traveler for an unforgettable experience. We would like to share with you our Top 5 favorite NYE destinations for a last fun fueled night in 2013.
From watching the fireworks in the London Eye, to partying in the numerous nightclubs in the city, you are sure to have a great time while visiting. Make sure to book hotels and special events in advance, as everything gets booked very quickly. You can check this website to find out all of the different attractions in the city.
4. New York City
New York City has one of the most famous NYE celebrations in the world. The city is famous for its superstar televised performances, as well as different attractions like the Luminosity, which will certainly take you to a different dimension with its jugglers, clowns and their daring stunts. The city gets very crowded during this period, so make sure to book your hotel rooms and event tickets.
The city of Amsterdam really knows how to put on a show in NYE. The main halls of the city compete among themselves with the best names of techno and electronic music, as well as beautiful fireworks at Nieuw Markt. If you are thinking about going to the city, you should book in advance both entertainment and hotels as the city gets really busy during the holiday season.
2. Rio de Janeiro
How about flocking to the beach at midnight and jumping seven waves for good luck in 2014? That is one of the many traditions millions of Brazilians do in the enormous festivities at Copacabana beach. From live concerts to high profile parties, the city turns in to one of the greatest spots in the world to welcome the new year.
The city sports one of the most beautiful NYE in the world, which extends to the whole month of January. If you choose the city of lights to be your destination this year make sure to visit the Moulin Rouge, good shows, lights, food and drinks make up the 700 Euros admission fee. Champs – Élysées is where all locals meet for the coming of the new year, make sure to bring warm clothes and drinks in order to make a few local friends. If you are in a romantic getaway Montmartre is a great place to have a panoramic view of the city. Note that fireworks have recently been absent from the New Year’s Eve celebrations, but there are many other beautiful things to make the year’s passing a worthwhile experience.
If you have more NYE location tips, please let us know on the comments below.
Overpacking is a common nuisance most travelers choose to face while traveling abroad. We usually cogitate the worst case scenario as an excuse to stuff most of our wardrobe into our suitcases. Usually, this mistake is made by late packers, people that usually wait until the last minute to pack for short-term or long-term getaways.
When we pack last minute, many problems may occur in between our house door and the hotel door. Overweight charges during check-in, no space for souvenirs and gifts, getting most of the clothes dirty due to the lack of space, to name a few.
We have learned a few tricks in order to pack more efficiently and we would like to share with you essential items (which most people neglect) for your next destination. These items will spare you from common mishaps as well as helping you to save your hard earned money.
Buying a compact day pack is an investment travelers will not regret. Backpacks are an easy target for pickpockets as well as taking a toll on your back and sightseeing plans. opt for messenger bags or backpacks with protected zippers, this way you can enjoy your trip in a more comfortable way.
Power Strip ( + adapter depending on country visited)
It is never a good idea to rely on hotel plugs, specially if you are traveling with family or friends. With a power strip you can charge cellphones, camera batteries, laptops and all of your dear gadgets at the same time, which will certainly save time and arguments. Adapters may be needed in case the location you’re traveling to has different plugs. You can check different plugs abroad in this website.
Pairs of Jeans in Neutral Colors
Neutral color jeans are a good way to save some space on your luggage and you can match them with pretty much any shirts, tops or sweaters you wear.
This is a very versatile piece that will certainly be used during your trips. You can use it as a hand towel, lens cleaner, eye mask, hair tie, headband, scarf, pillow if you wrap it around a bundled-up sweater, as a sling for a sprained arm, and even as a hobo handbag to tote your belongings.
This is a life savior during trips, from rescuing busted suitcases to removing lint from clothing, we can always find a good reason to use duct tape while traveling.
This is also a neglected article that could potentially save your life while traveling, well at least your social life. Wet wipes can be used to clean food and drink stains, clean dirty cutlery in restaurants as well as keeping hands clean and sanitized.
1 Pair of Dress Shoes + 1 Pair of Jogging Shoes
There is nothing worse than sightseeing with uncomfortable shoes or being under dressed for a night out. Opt for different shoes for day and night during trips, but restrict yourself to one pair of each. ( +1 flip flops if you are traveling to the beach).
With a travel mug you can save a pretty penny on drinks while sightseeing. It can also be used as a safe compartment for glasses and/or delicate souvenirs on your way back home.
Silicone Travel Bottles
Silicone travel bottles are not only within the size regulation for liquids in flights but also a good option to avoid wasting products, as you can easily squeeze out your favorite products until the last drop.
There are many ways in which the use of safety pins can save you while traveling, from fixing and securing bag zippers to fixing hems if they come undone. It can also be a quick fix for teared clothes when sewing is not an option.
Every experienced traveler should invest in a good money belt, as it can keep your money and passport safe, as well as avoiding pickpockets.
Besides being an environmental friendly option for carrying groceries or gifts while abroad, it can also be used as a beach, laundry or picnic bag.
There is nothing worse than getting our coats soaking wet and having to purchase a new one while traveling. A thick (winter) or light (summer) waterproof jacket will keep you dry and warm as well as lasting for a good time.
If you have more tips for effective packing, please list them on the comments below.
Nature is an always evolving masterpiece which never cease to surprise us, from breathtaking landscapes to horrific natural disasters, it seems like the world we live in tries to talk to us constantly, in cryptic yet obvious ways.
And if you are anything like us, you will enjoy this post which is not for the faint of heart, a list of the most spine-chilling natural locations in the world. They are beautiful natural wonders that need to be visited with extreme caution or not be visited at all.
But for the sake of curiosity, we have selected some of the world’s most beautiful and deadly locations, for an adrenaline filled expedition or complete avoidance. So, put on your helmets and join us on a trip around the top 10 most naturally dangerous places in the world.
10. Thetford Mines – Canada
The open-pit mine operates only during the summer, from May to November, when you can take a bus tour of the mine. The tour promises to enter the working mine and visit the plant, where asbestos fibers are packed. While undoubtedly fascinating, the idea of touring an active asbestos mine may be questionable.
Asbestos is composed by fibers that when split cause a dust, which could be inhaled or swallowed, if any of these happen the effect is deadly. While it seems like a fascinating experience, we do not encourage taking part of this free tour(would you expect it to be any other way?). If you insist, don’t forget your full body bio-hazard suit. We know we won’t.
9. Alnwick Poison Gardens – England
The complex of gardens Alnwick is the most secured dangerous place in our list. Not due to the various species of very poisonous plants, but the way in which it is controlled. This is a garden in the property of the English duchess Jany Percy. The garden is especially dedicated to poisonous and narcotic plants, where the most dangerous ones are all very well locked in cages. Flame-shaped beds contain belladonna, tobacco and mandrake. The Alnwick Garden has a Home Office license to grow some very special plants; namely, cannabis and coca which are also found behind bars in giant cages – for obvious reasons.
8. Izu Islands – Japan
The Izu Islands are a group of volcanic islands stretching south and east from the Izu Peninsula of Honsh, China. These islands currently form two towns and six villages which are still inhabited. The location of these islands is placed exactly in the junction of three tectonic plates, which adds to the probability of volcanic activity. In 1953, an eruption killed 53 people, while in 2000 residents had to evacuate due to its activity. They have been allowed to move back into their houses since, but nowadays residents are encouraged to have gas masks at hand due to the high emission of toxic gases.
7. The Door to Hell – Turkmenistan
This geological structure of 70 meters in diameter was drilled by Soviets in the hopes of finding oil mines in the area. During the drilling the soil broke, revealing a crater that emits toxic gases. These gases quickly spread, killing hundreds of people in the nearby villages. Due to the disaster, researchers tried to find a way in order to fix the problems with the toxic gas. What is the solution you may ask, To burn it, as they believed fire would cease in a few days, which was not the case. Due to the miscalculated effort the pit spits fire to this day and although it looks like a hell of a place, we prefer to admire it through pictures, thank you very much.
6. Crystal Cave – Mexico
Who wouldn’t like to visit a place where crystals go up to 11 meters in height, 4 meters in diameter and weight approximately 500 tons can be found? But did you also know that for this marvel to exist, you would have to face a temperature of around 50 degrees Celsius and humidity oscillating in between 90%-100%? This natural marvel is found in the city of Chihuahua in Mexico, which is the biggest zinc, silver, and lead source in the world. An unequipped person would survive for around 10 minutes inside the cave. So make sure to be equipped before having your crystalline wandering.
5. Dominica Boiling Lake – Dominica Island
Do you enjoy relaxing in thermal waters with a drink at hand? This would be completely possible here if the waters weren’t a bit too hot. 197 degrees Celsius to be exact. The water is constantly boiling, and if it wasn’t dangerous enough, the rocks surrounding the lakes are extremely slippery due to the local climate. So don’t get too close when taking a picture.
4. Mud Volcanoes – Azerbaijan
Are you afraid of getting burnt in this volcanoes, do not worry they are cold… very cold. That is the main reason why people underestimate their dangers, but once eruption starts, the volcanoes shoot mud up to hundreds of meters, but due to gravity they return to the soil in a very heavy consistency. Therefore, if you get hit in the head, you will be out before you know it. These eruptions have killed many shepherd and sheep in Azerbaijan, where one third of all mud volcanoes in the world are located.
3. Ilha da Queimada Grande – Brazil
This beautiful island is located only 35 kilometers from the coast of Sao Paulo, which in itself seems like a pleasant place to kill a few days. Well, go ahead if you don’t mind some venomous snakes. And by some we mean five per square meter. The species that live there is the Pit Viper, the golden lance-head. This species of snake is responsible for 90% of deadly snakebite fatalities in Brazil. If you are still considering, maybe with the fact that their fast-acting poison melts the flesh around their bites may convince you otherwise. This place is so dangerous that a permit is required to visit.
2. Nyos Lake – Cameroon
“I was surrounded by dead people, inside, outside and behind the houses. Dead animals also everywhere, I was very confused. In my family we were 56, but 53 of them died”. This is a statement given by Monica Lom Ngong to the BBC. They used to live in the surroundings of Cameroon’s Nyos lake in 1986. A tragedy occurred during this year, killing over 1800 people living in the surroundings of the Oku mount. The lake is situated in the flank of a deep inactive volcano, which makes its waters to become rich in Carbon Monoxide, a very toxic substance to human beings. Other lakes in Africa share the same characteristics, therefore research well before booking your trip.
1. Bolton Strid – England
You must think this is a joke. How come this beautiful little river could be the most naturally dangerous place in the world? There is a statistics flying around the world which says that 100% of people that bathed in this river, never returned (A.K.A they are dead!). Although it is a very narrow river, it has extremely deep waters as well as a very strong stream. In reality, this river is a continuation of Wharfe River, located in Yorkshire, which flows a large amount of water coming from the river. Therefore stay away from this seemingly inoffensive river.
Istanbul is a great destination for those looking for a unique cultural experience. As the country resides in the meeting of two continents (Europe and Asia), and has the biggest population in Europe, you can already predict the contrasts and rich history of this traditional yet cosmopolitan city.
Cross the Bosphorus back and forth and visit some of the city’s best selections of beautiful landmarks, exquisite markets, trendy or cozy nightclubs and a cuisine which will certainly not disappoint.
We have selected some of our favorite spots in the city, to guide you in the quest of worthwhile attractions, breathtaking landmarks and some very authentic venues, and of course for the foodies, a selection of budget conscious places offering delicious local food.
Where To Eat:
Do eating freshly baked pastries and sipping on a nice cup of tea sound like a good morning to you? Then you should pay a visit to one of Istanbul’s Kovans. The cozy environment and the friendly staff will present you with their amazing selection of Turkish pastries such as tahinli çörek, a tahini based dough, or anything chocolate. Baking is done throughout the whole day, so do not hesitate in getting your midday croissant on, it will definitely be fresh.
Location: Üsküdar, Kadıköy, Caferağa neighborhoods
Finding a nice and cheap place in the historical peninsula can be quite a challenge, the touristic hub usually offers far from tasty dishes to very tacky atmosphere. But there is Borsa Self-Servis, an authentic Turkish restaurant with pocket friendly prices that make up for the “uninspiring” ambiance. You can choose from the large selection of meat, chicken and vegetarian meals. You can never go wrong with fast, easy and cheap.
Location: Yalıköşkü Cad. Yalıköşkü Han No:60-62
Snack pick: Taste the Delicious Simit (Turkish Bagel)
This is the best option if your stomach starts growling and you are not ready to make a stop to your expedition. You can always stop by one of these carts, and taste some freshly baked Sesame bagel. Prices are usually around 0.75 Korus, which is less than 50 cents.
Turkish Coffee Pick: Ethem Tezçakar Coffee
This is a must stop if you fancy a taste of genuine Turkish coffee. It’s a great place to sit and relax for a break in exploring the Grand Bazaar. It is a small place and run by a local family, causing the whole atmosphere and coffee to be one of the best in the city.
Location: Halicilar sokak the Grand Bazaar. Open Mon-Sat 9am-7pm
Lunch or Dinner Pick: Keyf-i Mekan Cafe and Restaurant
This is definitely one of the greatest restaurants in Istanbul. The menu is very unique and the atmosphere is as Turkish as it gets. The restaurant gets raving reviews online, and for a reason, from its tasty pasta to chicken and beef Turkish dishes, it is definitely a nice and cozy option for a pleasant dinner or lunch.
Location: Tigcilar Sokak No: 48 | Kapalicarsi / Mercan
What to see:
This is one of the greatest masterpieces in Istanbul. This church-turned-mosque-turned-museum displays a variety of attractions, from beautiful shinny mosaics to tombs of Ottoman sultans to beautiful carpets; the place is definitely a must-see for its visual and cultural aspects.
Location: Ayasofya Meydani, Sultanahmet Fatih
Hürrem Sultan Hamam
If you want to partake in a traditional bath house experience, then this is the place for you. This newly restored heritage sight is designed with the best austere style and endowed with an understated modern luxury. The place also contains separate baths for men and women for a more comfortable experience. Although the treatments are relatively expensive, the location is exceptionally clean, and the people working there know what they are doing. Embrace some soap and exfoliation massages and be surprised by how dirty your skin actually is.
Location: Cankurtaran Mh., 34122 Fatih.
This cistern was forgotten for centuries, but now it is a must-see while in Istanbul. The cistern combines water to lights, music and fish which flitter around the 336 columns that support the ceiling. Don’t miss the upside-down head of Medusa that forms the bottom of one column.
Location: Yerebatan Caddesi 13, Sultanahmet.
Istanbul Archeology museums
After a visit to Topkapi, you should flock to the Istanbul Archaeology Museum. The large porticoed building housing the glorious sarcophagus of Alexander, which depicts scenes from the life of Alexander the Great in vivid 3D. The museum also showcases some of the city’s oldest Ottoman structures, beautifully restored to show off its finest ceramics.
Location: Osman Hamdi Bey Yokusu, Sultanahmet.
Where to stay:
A luxurious 5-star property, Eser Diamond Hotel & Convention Center features 218 rooms, two restaurants and a roof garden. You can unwind in the spa with a massage and a beauty treatment, exercise in the fitness center or enjoy long laps in the Olympic-sized outdoor swimming pool. The hotel is also equipped for seminars and wedding with 16 meeting room accommodating up to 3250 people and two closed ballrooms. The hotel’s friendly staff is available 24 hours and complimentary wireless Internet is accessible throughout the property.
Location: Çanta Mimarsinan Mh.Kınalı Çorlu yolu Cad. No:17 Silivri
An inviting Istanbul hotel in the old town, with easy access to Süleymaniye Camii and the Grand Bazaar.
A short walk from Süleymaniye Camii, Kaya Madrid Hotel Istanbul is located in Aksaray, within easy walking distance of the Grand Bazaar, in the centre of the old city. Trams run along nearby Ordu Caddesi, Aksaray metro station is a five minute walk away, and further attractions such as Galata Tower and Taksim Square to the north are easy to reach.
Location: Cingiraklibostan Str No 50
For more hotels, you can check our website. We have different options for all kinds of budgets.
Where to Party
Overseeing the Bosphorus, Reina is a classic venue for different bars and world cuisine with its 5 exclusive restaurants. If you are looking for a glamorous night out, this is definitely the place to be.
Location: Muallim Naci Caddesi no:44 Ortakoy
By its name you can predict the eclecticism of the place, from reggae, jazz and world music to the best Latin, Electronic, indie acts. With no entrance fee, it is the perfect place to spend the night listening to good music for those on a budget. (Note that during concert nights an entry fee is required)
Location: Sehbender Sok. No:3, Beyoglu
Jolly Joker Balans
If you are looking for an incredible night out with live music, this place is a great alternative. From its amazing acoustics to the old pub vibe, a location where you can check some of the best Turkish pop and rock acts.
Location: Balo Sok. No. 22, Beyoğlu
From middle-eastern food to the Harem-like design, a mixture of oriental and occidental music from add an incredible vibe to this venue, and the Bosphorus view does not hurt a bit.
Location: taskisla cad. no:3, macka demokrasi, parki ici
If you have more tips, please leave them in the comments below.
Traveling is a very rewarding experience, from sightseeing to enjoying different cuisines, a culture can be easily sensed whenever one travels abroad. And although the biggest tourist hubs cater to milking traditions in order to make some cold cash, the best way of experiencing the local lifestyle is by interacting with locals. And what better way than bonding by an amazing festival?
We have made a calendar so you don’t miss out on some of our favorite festivals worldwide. These will never leave your memory and definitely cause a repeated visit.
January: Carnival of Venice
As a revival of it’s roots in the Renaissance period, the carnival of Venice was relived in 1979 as a main effort to celebrate Venice’s history and culture. The festivities take place yearly, exactly 40 days before Easter. Highlights are the beautifully crafted venetian masks, which hold different meanings.
The festivities begin on the Friday afternoon with La Festa delle Marie, a procession through the city, and other attractions that follow in the next 12 days.
February: Rio Carnival
The carnival in Rio is one of the biggest celebrations in the world, where Brazilians push aside their love for soccer and start rooting for their favorite samba schools. In Rio’s carnival, you will be able to see beautiful parades with millions worth of raunchy costumes, floats and hypnotic drum music.
March: Annual Witch Gathering in Mexico
Contrary to what you may take from its name, this is a lighthearted festival. From parades to typical food, travelers have plenty of reasons to visit Catemaco in Mexico. During March the parades and processions extend through the streets, special dances and gatherings, as well as charms to protect you from curses and enemies.
April: World Marbles Championship – England
Do you want to lose your marbles fast, then you should flock to t Sussex pub– the Wembley of marbles – where around 140 competitors vie for championship honors inside a 6ft concrete circle. The event invites everyone to compete in this nostalgic sport, which attracts people from the U.S and Continental Europe. There is even rivalry between the best two German and British teams, so don’t be surprised if you see some marble hooligans.
May: Cooper’s Hill Cheese Rolling – England
Do you love cheese? To the point that you would roll down muddy hills in order to prove your love? If so, you can come to the Cooper’s Hill Cheese Rolling. The festival attracts over 5,000 people worldwide, in order to put their love for cheese and injuries to the test. The premise is simple; A seven-pound circle of Double Gloucester Cheese is rolled down the hill, the first person who catches it or arrive at the bottom gets to take the cheese home.
June: Sonar Multimedia Festival – Barcelona
Sonar is an electronic and advanced festival which takes place in Barcelona, Reykjavik, Stockholm, Mexico, Tokyo, Osaka and Cape Town. The festival hosts from the biggest names in music to the most alternative names in arts installations. The festival happens yearly by day and night in different locations of Barcelona, therefore accommodations and tickets should be booked in advance.
July: Running with bulls – Spain
This is a controversial festivity for adrenaline seekers. The running of the bulls is one of the main attractions from Pamplona ‘s Fiesta de San Fermin. Nationals and Tourists gather around the city in order to drink and party. You can also watch some bullfighting or if you have the nerve to participate at the main attraction, which consists of running as fast as you can from life threatening bulls.
August: La Tomatina – Spain
The messiest festival in Spain takes place in the small city of Bunol, where approximately 40,000 international and national tourists show their love for tomatoes. Trucks of squishy ripe tomatoes supply the local battlers, all attendees rejoice in laughter as the main square of Calle del Cid becomes a nasty sauce. After the whole fight, get ready to be hosed down by the local fire brigade.
September: Burning Man – U.S
One of the most unique festivals in the world, the burning man feels like you have entered another dimension. It takes place in the somewhat isolated Black Rock Desert. The festival which still remains as a non-profit organization, encourages attendees to explore their uniqueness, and detachment from their conventional capitalistic ways. If you intend on visiting it, make sure to research about the festival’s guidelines.
October: Amsterdam Dance Event
One of the biggest events in Amsterdam, where several venues invest on big names to set themselves apart from the fierce competition. The event usually starts on a Wednesday and stretches all the way until Sunday throughout the whole city. Make sure to purchase tickets in advance, as the main parties are sold out months before.
November: Dia de Muertos – Mexico
The Dia De Los Muertos ( Day of the Dead) can be celebrated in two special locations in Mexico, Mixquiq and Janitzio. Locals prepare a feast with many of the favorite dishes of lost loved ones. Pan de Muertos or “Bread of the Dead” is a traditional bread which is baked and eaten during this celebration. Mementos are set out of favorite things of the the ones who have passed away.
Visiting the cemetery is a popular tradition. At the cemetery, the tomb or burial plot is decorated. The cemetery visit is spent in a picnic environment. The air is filled with music from Mariachi bands while the scent of a wide variety of foods wafts through the air. Fireworks are also common.
The largest celebration by the Kalasha people in Pakistan, who resist Islamic religion that surrounds them. While men bake goat shaped bread, women sing songs to the demigod Balomain, who is believed to pass through the valley, staying for four days to enjoy the festival and collecting prayers to take back to the creator, Dezau – what better recommendation for a festival than from a god himself? The festival also sees the mass slaughter of goats. If you do visit during Chaumos you are expected to take part in the festivities, which may include buying your own goat to sacrifice. In Bumboret the festival is closed to Muslims. You will need a temporary registration form to enter the Kalasha valleys; these are available free of charge from Chitral town’s superintendent of police.