Heidelberg is a large city in the state of Baden-Württemberg in the southwest of Germany, situated on the river Neckar. With over 160,000 inhabitants it is the fifth largest city in this state. Together with the surrounding cities of Ludwigshafen am Rhein and Mannheim, Heidelberg forms the Rhine-Neckar metropolitan region.
Heidelberg has a lot to offer; especially with the high percentage of young people and students, you definitely won't be bored when visiting this city.
The Old Town of Heidelberg
So, Heidelberg offers countless possibilities for everyone. Your stay here is guaranteed not to be anything but boring. It is simply a beautiful city that is just waiting to captivate you as you come and explore.
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Backpackertrail is a travel start-up from Heidelberg/Germany. On our backpacking platform users can find all information they need about backpacking. Our vision is to inspire as many people as possible for the topic of backpacking.
St. Petersburg has been a city that was designated to be great in this world, since the time Tsar Peter the Great founded it in 1703. While it underwent a name change to Petrograd in 1914 and Leningrad in 1924, the importance of the city was so phenomenal that it was eventually changed back to St. Petersburg in 1991.
Water is everywhere in St. Petersburg and that water means winding canals and historical bridges. There are three hundred and twenty-four bridges in all throughout the city and visitors will want to stroll across as many as possible or at least watch a couple of them be raised under the stars on a warm summer evening. As people are walking along the canals, they will be able to see numerous luxurious mansions along the shoreline. Every once in a while, the canals will be interrupted by a plaza as well as a neoclassical palace, but no one will mind as their minds will be drawn to the new beautiful structure until the canals begin once again.
Let's find out why St. Petersburg is becoming such a popular destination, here are some of the top things to see and do !
Right next to the Winter Palace you will find the main reason some people visit St. Petersburg....
Another important attraction in the city center is The Russian Museum
A few steps away from The Russian Museum you will stumble upon a beautiful church...
A stunning church with a view...
Take a walk on the legendary Nevsky Prospekt, one of Russia's most famous and lively streets
Treat yourself to an unforgettable evening at one of the most famous theaters in Russia
If you are traveling with kids make sure to check out the newly build Grand Maket Russia model museum
St. Petersburg is an absolute gem when it comes to cultural heritage. If you’ve come as far as St. Petersburg, don’t miss out on all the wealth of attractions that can be found venturing outside of the city.
The following destinations never fail to impress with their history and grandeur...
While most of the major tourist attractions are found in the city center within walking distance from each other, we reccommend taking a couple of rides in the efficent and architecturally beautiful metro. Each station is a magnificent work of art and the metro is the most popular and affordable way to travel across the city with rides costing only 0.70$ / 0.60 € .
One of the best times to visit St. Petersburg is during the White Nights season ( from the end of May to mid-July ), when the sun never sets and the city is alive 24 hours a day with festivals, activities, concerts and longer opening hours for museums, restaurants and shops. During the White Nights season the number of tourists in St. Petersburg increases, especially on the days when the main festivals are taking place. At this time the prices in hotels and restaurants are more expensive. Therefore, it is recommended that you book in advance if you are traveling during this period.
The city is famous not only for literature, architecture and music, but also for its rowdy nightlife. With its countless bars, pubs, clubs and discos, the pulsating nightlife in St. Petersburg will not disappoint you. With a clubbing scene getting bigger and bigger, you will be able to party hard any day of the week. If what you need is a drink in the middle of the night, there is always somewhere to go with some bars even open 24 hr.
Taking an evening walk in Rubinsteina, a street full of lively bars and restaurants located in the heart of the city center close to Nevsky Prospekt is a must for those seeking to have a good time. If you love good food and drinks this street will make you a satisfied and happy person with more than 50 bars and restaurants to choose from.
Nowadays traveling to Russia is way simpler and cheaper to compare with just a couple of years ago. In a move to increase tourism in the region the government is now offering fast online e-visa applications and low cost airline Wizzair has recently opened a hub in Saint Petersburg offering cheap round trip flights for as low as 30 € making this elegant and stunning city a perfect candidate for a fun-filled city break.
Suggested lenght of stay : 5 days
Cuenca is a vibrant colonial city in southern Ecuador, the third largest in the country with a population of 400.000, and the capital of Azuay Province. it is widely regarded as the most European city in the country of Ecuador due to its 16th and 17th century era Spanish colonial architecture resembling cities and architecture throughout Spain.
Thanks to its location in the highlands of Ecuador at about 2,500 meters Cuenca enjoys a pleasant mild climate year-round with average daily temperatures of 15 degrees.
The best way to explore the city is by foot, the charming old town is relatively small but packed with many historical buildings, churches and small cobbled streets.
Some highlights of the old town include :
The Catedral de la Inmaculada Concepción also know as New Cathedral, built in 1885, is the city's main church, with its 3 beautiful sky-blue domes visible from around the city. The roof of the cathedral was recently opened to visitors, with a charge of only $1 per person. A climb up a steep spiral stone staircase leads to an excellent view over the city.
The Iglesia El Sagrario, dating back to 1557,is located right across the new cathedral and has been transformed into a museum impeccably restored where you can find life-size Jesus and the apostles, many paintings and wonderful art pieces, you can even view the very old Pipe Organ dating back from the 18th century. Worth to see with entrance fee only 2 $
Walk along the river Tomebamba which is separating the colonial section from the modern residential areas of the town of Cuenca, this river walk is known as barranco and features paved trails on both sides connected by numerous bridges. It's a great place to relax on a sunny day, have a drink in one of the many bars along the path or simply enjoy the beautiful views.
Take some amazing pictures at Turi, a viewpoint located to the south of the city. It has great views over the city both during the day and at night. There is no charge for the view, but a taxi to the viewpoint might cost a few dollars.
Cuenca boasts a huge variety of museums and art galleries and is the most important center of craft work in Ecuador. Despite its name, the Panama hat is native to Cuenca. Historically, this style of hat was exported to Panama, and then shipped internationally from there. Visit the interesting Panama Hat Museum to learn more about the hat’s production and to purchase one of your own.
In Plaza de San Francisco every day hundreds of vendors sell unique souvenirs of high quality, such as Panama Hats, leather jackets, ceramics, ponchos, scarves or traditional alpaca sweaters, which are all produced around Cuenca.
For those looking to take a break from sightseeing and have a relaxing day we recommend spending a day at the Piedra de Agua Fuente Thermal & Spa, a great place to relax and pamper yourself, located very close to the church of Banos, just 30 min away from downtown by bus n 12. It's not only a great spot on top of a hot springs, but they have a beautiful pool, massage treatment and you can get in a hot spring inside a cave! The entrance price is very reasonable and they have many promotions available.
Cuenca is also the starting point for excursions to some of the highlights of the country:
Cajas National Park is a national park in the highlands of Ecuador. It is located about 30 km west from Cuenca, here you will find many trails for hiking, several lagoons and areas for camping and enjoy the landscape. The Hike is quite tough due to high altitude, approximately 4.000 mt above sea level but it will reward you with amazing vies of nature at its best.
Ingapirca are the largest known Inca ruins in Ecuador, merging the Inca and Canari cultures. It makes a fabulous day-trip from Cuenca. Leave early in the morning when the weather is sunny for crisp pictures with blue skies. There is a fee you have to pay at the entrance of 6 $.
Located about 45 mins from Cuenca by car El Chorro de Giron is a 75 meters high waterfall set in an amazing area of cloud forest covered in bromeliads, orchids and soft green moss. An enjoyable hike leads up to the base of the falls where there is a viewing platform, and then you can climb a little further up the falls to a second viewing area. It can get crowded on the weekends but if you come on a weekday you may have the place all to yourself.
Cuenca used to be a sleepy, provincial city, but local youngsters and visiting tourists have turned this into a respectable little party city with a good selection of clubs open between wednesday and saturday. Calle Larga is a particularly lively street with a great concentration of bars.
There are many restaurants serving excellent national and international food at very reasonable as well as a thriving street food culture favored by backpackers on a tight budget. Many restaurants offer an affordable lunch-set menu with prices usually ranging between $2.00 - $4.00 for a three course menu.
Suggested lenght of stay : 3 days
The charming Bruges is the capital and largest city of the province of West Flanders in the Flemish Region of Belgium, in the northwest of the country. The city's total population is 115.000.
Tourists tend to overwhelm the place, especially in the summer months, its perfectly preserved center has made it the most popular touristic destination in Belgium, but this shouldn't put you off from spending a couple of days in this culturally rich city.
Along with a few other northern cities, such as Amsterdam and Stockholm, it is sometimes referred to as The Venice of the North, thanks to the beauty of its city center has also been recognized as UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2000.
Picturesque cobbled lanes and dreamy canals with its scenic bridges link photogenic market squares lined with high towers, stone churches and old medieval whitewashed houses.
Surprisingly for a city of this size there is an endless array of fun activities and interesting museums that should keep you occupied for a couple of days, here are some of the things you should do :
At the heart of Bruges city center stands the Belfort, an imposing bell tower dating back to the 13th century. Anyone who climbs all 366 steps will be rewarded with a stunning view over the city and its surroundings. As this is the most visited sight in town queues can get pretty long and only a select number of people are allowed to the climb up the tower at one time. Located beneath the tower, the Market Square ( Markt ) is filled with beautiful & unique buildings with stunning architecture. Here you will find many good-looking restaurants and cafes where you can enjoy the exceptional views however don't get tempted, these are the typical touristic places with average quality meals at a premium price. Continue your walk on Steenstraat, Bruges’ main shopping street, where you will find just as many small crafts boutiques as major chain stores, all housed in the warmth and beauty of typical buildings. Along this street you will stumble upon the impressive Sint-Salvatorskathedraal, the largest church of Bruges. Often overlooked this church is worth a visit, there is no entrance fee and inside you will find interesting artwork from different periods of Belgium's history along beautifully colored stained-glass windows.
Looking for a scenic place to take a romantic evening stroll? Tucked away at the southern end of Bruges old town Minnewater Lake —also known as the Lake of Love— offers urban nature lovers a perfect setting regardless of the season or time of year. Swans are a common site on the lake, and the traditional Belgian brick houses in the background make the park particularly photogenic.
A boat trip down the romantic canals of Bruges is at the top of the bucket list for many Belgium visitors, and there’s no better way to experience this beautiful city than from the water. A half-hour trip allows you to appreciate the most noteworthy delights of the city from a completely different angle and snap some incredible pictures. Boat rides departs at regular intervals and should cost around 10 € per adult.
For art lovers the Fine Arts Museum of Bruges, better known as the Groeningemuseum, holds a collection that covers around 600 years of Flemish and Belgian paintings, from the 14th through the 20th century. The collection includes masterpieces by Jan van Eyck, Hans Memling, Hugo van der Goes and Gerard David, as well as works by the minor masters active in Bruges in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries.
The Choco-Story (Chocolate Museum) is another popular attraction that recounts the history of cocoa and chocolate. Here you can find more than 1,000 ancient objects and 80 information boards explaining the story of how chocolate evolved from its origins as a spicy Mayan drink to become the delicious sweet that we all love today.
Any visit to Belgium is likely going to involve sampling some of the local beers, and De Halve Maan Brewery, ideally located in central Bruges just 10 minutes walk from Market Square is one of the country’s best working breweries.The most convenient way to visit the brewery is by joining a guided tour, which last around 45 minutes and include a glass of beer at the top of the building.
When the night comes, venture in the narrow streets lined up with traditional old pubs where you can wash down some delicious food with a extensive range of strong Belgian beers.
One of the most famous popular and well-rated bar is Le Trappiste located in an 800 year old medieval cellar in the heart of Bruges, only 300 metres away from the main Market Square. They have an impressive range of beers on the tap and a unique atmosphere.
Being a small and compact city you will be able to cover all sites comfortably in just 2 days. Should you decide to stay 4/5 in Belgium you could consider included Bruges in an itinerary with nearby Ghent or Brussels.
Mendoza is a medium-sized city located in Western Argentina approximately 1000 km from the capital Buenos Aires, thanks to a thriving and praised wine industry and its scenic location at the foothills of the Andes is one of country's most popular destinations, and makes a perfect base for exploring the province’s rugged countryside.
Most of the tourists come to Mendoza for the wine, the region in fact one of South America's most important wine, with the Malbec gaining huge popularity overseas in the last decade. If you are visitng between the end of February and the beginning of March, you can attend Mendoza’s biggest event – the Fiesta Nacional de la Vendimia, a celebration of wine and the wine making industry attracting visitors from the whole country.
Mendoza, despite being situated in a desert area and receiving fewer than 10-days of rain per year is surprisingly green, the amount of trees and parks is a consequence of an artificial irrigation system, which waters the trees and also creates a natural cooling system.
The city is very attractive and well-planned with wide boulevard lined with trees on both sides, historic squares adorned with Spanish tiles, large parks where you can hide from the summer high temperature and a handful of interesting sites.
Here are some of the top things to see & do while in Mendoza :
You can start your visit in The Parque General San Martin, one of the most rewarding attractions in Mendoza. This immaculately preserved park features many statues and a picturesque central lake, its location right in the heart of city makes it a popular and tranquil place to spend a family day or do some outdoor exercise.
Take a stroll along Paseo Peatonal Sarmiento, a long and wide pedestrian-only boulevard lined with lots of cafés and shops, a great place for tourist to relax and mingle with the locals while having a glass of wine. This is where everything happens, from street musicians to concerts sponsored by the municipality. On one end of the street is the beautiful Plaza Independencia, the main city square surrounded by theaters, municipal buildings, promenades and smaller plazas at each corner. In the middle of the square there is a fountain with a decoration depicting Argentina's liberation from Spain.
Make sure to stop at Mendoza's oldest market, Mercado Central. This historic building dating back to 1884 is situated on Las Heras Avenue. Here one can find all sorts of groceries including fruits, spices, vegetables, cheeses and meats alongside handicrafts such as Inca weaving and traditional ponchos. Small shops also offer tables where you can sit down and listen to live music while enjoying empanadas, pizza or sandwiches.
A visit to the charming and picturesque village of Chacras de Coria should be on everyone's agenda, this rural village located in the southern outskirts of Mendoza is a perfect mix of traditional rural life and upscale modern infrastructure. This little town gained a lot of popularity among tourist in recent years due to its laid back vibe and a plethora of cute cafes, delicious restaurants and boutique wineries. It's only a 20-min drive from downtown Mendoza and a taxi shouldn't cost more than 10 $ / 8 €
Biking around the picturesque vineyards in the wine valleys of Mendoza is surely one of the quintessential Mendocino activities. There are plenty of places to rent bikes both in the city and the valleys, and this is a great way to spend a day cycling around and tasting wine without having to worry about driving back to your hotel in the evening.
Thanks to its close proximity to the Andes Mountains the city is also very popular among trekkers and outdoor enthusiasts, hardcore climbers come from all around the world to reach the peak of Aconcagua, standing at 6,962 Mt the highest mountain outside of the Himalayas. The hike to the peak is a challenging 3 weeks walk consisting of hiking, walking on ice with crampons, and even climbing – and you’ll need to be very fit to do it.
Other outdoor activities such as wild water rafting, horse-back riding or skiing in Argentina's most popular ski resort are very popular in the area.
For those of you seeking a relaxing and fun time nothing beats Termas Cacheuta Thermal, an oasis of tranquility set in a spectacular location in the middle of the Andes that includes several pools filled with thermal water at different temperatures. It also includes picnic facilities, which allows families and groups to enjoy the park all year round.
When the night comes the city really comes to life with a great selection of restaurants for all tastes and thanks to it's many university students there are many bars and clubs open until late that are popular among locals and the foreign crowd mostly to be found near Plaza Independencia and Avenida Aristides Villanueva.
In Mendoza there is something for every traveler, from adventurous backpacking to high end wine tasting. The only thing missing is enough time to enjoy it all. We recommend to spend here at least 5 days
Siem Reap the capital of the Siem Reap Province is the most visited and most Western-feel part of Cambodia where the party, culture, good food and hospitality meet. Only a few kilometers away from this vibrant town is situated one of the worlds' biggest temple complex the Angkor Archeological Park with the mesmerizing Angkor Wat.
The influx of huge amount of tourists result in the higher prices in this region than the rest of the country, nevertheless hotels, bars and restaurants are very affordable . You may think that there is one temple and that is all to it, but the Archeological park is actually more than 400 sq.km big, including numerous breathtaking temples and nature, offering unforgettable memories of a lifetime.
Angkor Wat is Cambodia's no 1 attraction and a reason alone to visit this beautiful country but Siem Reap offers many other interesting thing to do, let's dive right into it !
There are 2 suggested routes that will allow you to make the most of your time in the Angkor Archeological Park :
The Small circuit is generally doable in one day ( you can even complete it by bicycle ) while The Long circuit generally requires two days. Whilst the long circuit includes many of the sites in the short circuit it does not by any means include all of them.
It is for this reason that we recommend that people allow not less than 5 days in the Siem Reap region. You can take a 3 day pass for $ 62 to be used over the next 10 days and strike a balance between temples, non temples, sightseeing elsewhere, partying and shopping.
THE ANGKOR ARCHEOLOGICAL PARK
The most significant temple of many is the Angkor Wat, worth visiting in the small hours before the sun rises. Positioning yourselves on the far left side will result in pictures competing with postcard images. There is something spiritual as the sun rises and the five towers of the temple appear on the horizont symbolising the five peaks of Mount Meru. But don't expect to be alone as many other tourists think the same way, renting bikes and tuk-tuks to make sure they won't miss this special moment. Not to mention that this is the perfect time to start to tour a bit around the temples as later on it gets really hot.
The other very important temple to visit is the Bayon which is situated in the Angkor Thom complex where you will find the Terrace of the Elephants and the Terrace of the Leeper King which are both richly decorated among many other sites. Hoverever the highlight of this area as I mentioned is the Bayon temple from which are smiling down at you giant stone faces. It is easy to get lost in the many chambers on three floors while observing the Hinduist decoration. Make sure to climb on the top of Baphuon to enjoy the breathtaking views.
The next stop of the small circuit is the Ta Keo temples massive construction. It gives a very rough impression of big bulky stones and three terraces with difficult, steep steps to climb. It must have been one of the first temples to be constructed as it is lacking the decoration of other temples and the whole building has a raw look.
The next major stop on this circuit is the tourist favorite Ta Prohm, featured in the Tomb Raider movies. Here you really can observe how nature is mixing into the business of historical monuments and you just can't tell when a huge tree finishes and the building begins as they are forming one whole majestic creation.
Along the route you will see many other small temples that are worth of visiting like the Chau Say Tevoda, the Prasat Bei, the Banteay Kdei or the Prasat Kravan which are just short stops.
The grand circuit means that you have to go bigger distances to see some of the temples and it is recommendable to do it on a rickshaw while the adventurous visitors may want to do the small circuit by bike. Those can be easily rented by various agencies nearby the Night Market or also you can ask at the reception of your hotel or hostel. Prices may vary depending on the quality of the bike.
There are new and new temples being discovered each year adding more and more value for tourists worth buying at least the three day pass. Rickshaw drivers many times offer drinks together with some interesting stories, make sure that you haggle the price before if you are happy with your driver your can contract him/her for several days.
Other attractions in the area include :
Angkor National Museum is a centrally located archeological museum dedicated to the collection, preservation and presentation of Angkorian artifacts, also provides information and education about art and culture of Khmer civilization. This is the right place to get deeper education about the history of Cambodia. Some tourist prefer to see this museum first before visiting the Angkor Archeological Park in order to appreciate and understand better the history of the temples.
The Landmine Museum, located 25 kilometers north of Siem Reap was founded by ex-child soldier Aki Ra as a way to tell the world about the horrors of the Khmer Rouge regime. After the peace settlement in 1991 Aki Ra has been devoting his time to clearing land mines, the Museum not only tells his unique history and the history of landmines in Cambodia, but it is also home to over two dozen abandoned, orphaned or destitute children. All are cared for, housed, fed, educated and given a future they would otherwise never have had.
Kompong Phluk is a collection of three floating villages totaling somewhere between 2000 – 3000 residents. It is it located near the Tonle Sap Lake making it a convenient home for fishermen. Kompong Phluk has the largest mangrove forest in the region (called the flooded forest) as it is under water for part of the year. Kompong Phluk and the greater Tonle Sap lake is a UNESCO Biosphere reserve and contains unique plant species, fish, and animals, many of which find themselves endangered. There are many agencies offering half a day tours to get a closer view of the lifestyle and culture of this unique Southeast Asian lake community.
After a day of sightseeing head to Cambodia’s legendary party road-known as Pub Street right in the middle of the tourist center. All you do at night is likely to revolve around this part of the city. It is often said that unless you visit Angkor Wat and Pub Street, a trip to Siem Reap is not complete! When it comes to drinking and dancing away at night, the Angkor What? And Temple bar seems to feature most of the action around the area.
Nightime is also the perfect time to do shopping as Siem Reap is home to 2 popular night markets in downtown area which are open daily until midnight. Angkor Night Market & Noon Night Market are great for purchasing cheap souvenirs and fake branded clothes and bags or authentic Cambodian craftsmanship. Prices are highly negotiable so be patient and bargain hard, english is widely spoken as the markets are very touristy but you can always use a calculator to display the price if you are having problems communicating with a vendor. Here you will find many restaurants serving local delicacies such as fish amok, lok lak and Khmer red curry, and cheaper food stalls selling fish or meat skewers.
Recommended lenght of stay: 5 days
The second largest city of South Africa is famous for its harbor and natural setting dominated by spectacular heights of Table Mountain and surrounded by stunning beaches, lush farmland and superb vineyards. Cape Town has established itself as South Africa’s cultural capital and one of the most vibrant cities on the continent.
The easiest and most affordable way to explore this vast city is to use MyCiTi Cape Town’s modern, scheduled bus service. Current routes link the central city with major landmarks, such as the V&A Waterfront, the Table Mountain Cableway, the pristine beaches of Camps Bay and Clifton, and the seaside fishing village of Hout Bay. You can simply get your card from an authorized retailer and top it up with money for travel.
Uber is also present in Cape Town and is a popular and convenient way to get around the city without having to negotiate prices with taxi drivers thus reducing the risk of overpaying
Situated in the oldest working harbor in South Africa, with the iconic Table Mountain as its backdrop, the V&A Waterfront is Cape Town’s tourist showpiece, a favourite place for local and international visitors where crowds gather to eat, drink, shop, socialize, and admire breathtaking views of Table Mountain. Here you will find many attractions and activities that includes helicopter rides, leisure boat cruises, stand-up paddling, live entertainment, Two Oceans Aquarium and much more.
Located within the premises of the waterfront inside a revamped grain silo, The Zeit Museum of Contemporary Arts Africa is the largest art museum in Africa featuring an impressive collection of work from all over the continent and beyond. The museum was opened in 2017 and is already considered a must-see attraction in the city.
Fascinating culture and art can also be found within Cape Town. The beliefs of numerous religions including Muslim, Jewish, Christian, Hindu, and traditional African are evident as everyone is strolling around the city. All these beliefs seem to coexist harmoniously, despite the history of years past. Art is everywhere in the city including the facades that are brightly painted and Afro-chic décor of numerous buildings.
One of the best places to see all the above is the CBD, the very heart of Cape Town which is full of unique boutiques that are excellent for finding the perfect gift. St. Georges Cathedral and The Slave Museum are also attractions that people can explore in this area. One of the most picturesque and photographed places in South Africa is the Bo-kaap, a colorful Muslim area within walking distance from the city center full of history and culture characterized by brightly painted houses and quaint cobbled streets.
A trip to Robben Island, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is a must-do on the itinerary of any tourist to Cape Town. For centuries, however, the trip was one to be feared, this was the prison where the South African authorities sent those who dared challenge their cruel and racist rule during the Apartheid Era. Nelson Mandela spent 18 years of his sentence here, seeing his cell is a significant moment for any tourist who visits the island today.
Nothing will compare to the magnificent beauty of Table Mountain National Park that encompasses the city. Everyone will want to venture to the flat top of Table Mountain, and the easiest way is via the aerial cableway, but there is plenty of other activities to do within the park as well. Time your visit very carefully as the Table Mountain is often covered in clouds ( with one particular formation dubber ''The Tablecloth'' ) and the cableway doesn't even operate in high winds, thick clouds and mist.
One of the great day trips from Cape Town is the magnificent Cape Point Route which leads to Cape Point, the meeting point of the Atlantic and Indian Oceans. This is also one of the most remarkable drives anywhere in the world and features steep cliffs, stunning views and plenty of sightseeing opportunities ! You can choose to drive yourself or take one of the many daily tours departing from downtown.
Cape Town experiences winter from June until August and that is when it is wet with mild temperatures. The summer bring hot and dry weather with a lot of sun.
You will find many parks where you can relax and take a break from sightseeing including the Company’s Gardens, the Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens, and Green Point Park.
South Africans are notoriously very sporty and enjoy spending many hours weekly outdoor practicing sports, Cape Town itself offers many possibilities to go hiking, paragliding, mountain biking, and even learn how to surf.
The warm weather of Cape Town means that people will want to spend a lot of time at any of the beaches. In Clifton, a luxurious suburb in the southern edge of the city there are four beaches that are separated by massive granite boulders. Each beach has its own specialty, so people will want to choose the one that suits their needs.
Anyone looking for a beach with something more intriguing than sand and water will want to venture over to the Boulders Penguin Colony. The Penguin Colony is between Foxy Beach and Boulders Beach and people can walk amongst the penguins there.
Shark cave dives and whale watching expeditions can be organized about an hour away in Hermanus and the journey can be worthwhile for those heart pounding adventures.
While people can see a few popular attractions in only a day in Cape Town, it is recommended that they spend at least five days in the area. An entire week to ten days is even better for a complete experience that people will remember for a lifetime.
San Sebastián is the capital of Gipuzkoa, a sophisticated city of 190.000 inhabitants located just 20 km from the french border. Together with nearby Bilbao is a center of Basque nationalism.
The city sits in an idyllic position built around the shell-shaped Bahía de la Concha. The natural setting – crystalline waters, a flawless beach, green hills on all sides – is captivating. It is quite unusual feeling that you can sunbathe and swim right next to major historical buildings and churches. Whether you are into sightseeing, nightlife or lazing around on the beach this city has something to offer to people of all ages.
The city is quite small and cozy and is best explored by foot with the major sights are located within easy reach. Another cool way to move around is to rent a bicycle from one of the many rental places scattered around the city.
We recommend starting your day visiting the buzzing Parte Vieja (Old Quarter), the most popular yet authentic and charming area of San Sebastián where you can spend hours exploring its narrow streets, each packed with many lively bars offering delicious pintxos, the Basque version of Tapas, accompanied by local wines. This is perfect place to sit down, relax and enjoy a copa. Being a very touristic place you would be surprised to know that prices are very affordable, you can expect to pay around 2€ - 3€ for a pinxto and 1,50 € for a nice cup of Txakoli white wine.
Standing right in the middle of Parte Vieja is Plaza de la Constitución, considered to be the very center of San Sebastián, this former bullring is now one of nicest and cleanest squares in Spain where big parties and celebrations often take place.
Just a step from the Old Quarter, the Monte Urgull preserves in its summit the Castillo de la Mota, a trace of the city's military character with its remaining fortification walls and cannons. You can easily hike to the top of the mountain from downtown walking along the beautiful promenade and enjoy a splendid view of all three beaches (La Concha, Ondarreta and Zurriola Beach) from the top.
Located at the foot of Monte Urgull, The Museo de San Telmo, first inaugurated in 1902 is the oldest museum in the Basque Country where you can learn about for Basque history and culture from prehistoric times to modernity. It is set in a splendid former monastery and the price of 6,00 € x adult makes it a worthwhile stop.
A trip to the top of Monte Igueldo, just west of the city should be on every visitor agenda, from there you can enjoy great views of the city, the ocean, harbor and lighthouse. You can take the affordable funicular up (€3.75 return). You will also find a fascinating vintage amusement park Parque de Atracciones Monte Igueldo that has 20 different attractions ( some of them offer a breathtaking view over the whole bay ) where you can spend a nice family day.
For a city of its size, San Sebastian has a impressive calendar of festivals and cultural events. The International Film Festival, which happens in September, brings European and Hollywood stars to town, while the Semana Grande in August features a week of street parties and parades. There’s also music festivals, culinary fairs and folk fests that celebrate Basque culture in all its forms. Big events aside, there’s always something happening in San Sebastian, with performances at the cutting-edge Kursaal, the belle époque Teatro Victoria Eugenia or the Tabakalera, the city’s newest arts space.
Summer is obviously the best and most popular time to visit, the city gets crowded with people from all Europe that come here to enjoy the spectacular beaches and party till dawn, if you consider a holiday in July-August make sure you book your accommodation well ahead as affordable hotels tend to get full already months in advance.
Playa de La Concha is the largest and most popular beach and recently ranked in the top 15 beaches in Europe according to Tripadvisor. It's long and wide with golden soft sand and many facilities including a great choice of places to get food and refreshments, it's large size means you Won't have a problem to keep social distance even in the peak summer season. Flanked by two green hills with Santa Clara Island sitting in the middle of the bay, there aren’t many beaches that can boast such spectacular views !
Relaxing under the sun with a cocktail in one hand and a book in the other is my idea of a good time... but those looking for a more active holiday should head to Zurriola, the city's second largest beach which is popular with a young and hippie crowd, and is the ideal place for practising outdoor sports or taking your dog out for a long walk. It is considered the surfing capital of Spain for a good reason and you can find many surfing schools competing against each other. Whether you are an experienced surfer or just a beginner this beach will hit the mark.
The city has also developed into a worldwide renowned cuisine travel destination, since there are more Michelin starred restaurants per square meter than in any other place in the world, and is the birth place of the Basque cuisine revival via its “Nouvelle Basque Cuisine”.
Because of its cuisine, culture, beauty and excellence as a tourist destination, with a wide variety of quality lodging and tourism resources, San Sebastian continues to be one of Spain’s main tourist destinations, receiving more than 500,000 visitors a year.
The easiest way to get to San Sebastian by air is by flying to nearby Bilbao some 100 km away, the airport has many international flights and is served by low cost carriers such as Easyjet, Vueling & Volotea. There is an hourly bus from the airport to the downtown San Sebastian which takes approximately 75 min and costs 17,10 €
Recommended lenght of stay: 3 days ( off peak ) 4-7 days ( summer )
Bremen is a picturesque city in the noth of Germany with a population of 550.000, the city was once a member of the medieval Hanseatic League and is still one of the most important in northern Germany. Together with the city of Bremerhaven on the North Sea it forms Germany's smallest state.
Known worldwide for the brothers Grimm's fairy tale "Town Musicians of Bremen" and for the beer Becks, which is brewed in a factory on the riverside, Bremen has grew from being a small fisherman's village to a large city with a a vibrant cultural life and nightlife.
The city centre is very compact and all the major sights are within walking distance, an enjoyable way to discover this city is to rent a bike, everywhere you look you will find WK-Bike stations, this is a bike sharing company from which you can hire a bike for just 1 € / 30 min with a maximun fee of 9 € x 24 h
Start the visit at the townhall square, where you will find the magnificent townhall building and the statue of the 4 musicians of Bremen, adjacent to the townhall you will find the towering Bremen Cathedral, a beatiful example of both Romanesque and Gothic styles, the church is equally impressive inside with beautiful arches and ceiling decorations, it's a must see when visiting Bremen and there is no entrance fee.
The nearby Böttcherstraße is a pedestrian narrow lane that connects the townhall square to the river promenade, it is one of Germany's nicest and most charming streets famous for its unusual architecture and ranks among the city's main cultural landmarks and visitor attractions, it is home to arts and craft shops and is the perfect place to buy some souvenirs.
Now that you have arrived on the banks of the river Weser, you can have a relaxing walk or enjoy a cold beer and a pretzel in one of the many bars overlooking the river, the bars and restaurants on the promenade are a popular hangout place for both locals and tourist and all of them have a large outdoor seating that can get packed during Summer.
In the heart of the city center you can indulge in a endless shopping spree, in particulary along Obernstrasse and Sögestrasse, here you can find all major shops such as H&M, Zara, New Yorker, C&A among others and 2 huge multi-storey department stores Karlstad & Galeria Kauhof where you can find everything under one roof. Shops in Bremen are generally open until 19 with some of the larger chains open until 20 during weekdays while on sunday all shops ( except those catered towards tourist ) are closed.
Are you ready for some more sightseeing ? When in Bremen you must visit the old fishermans village of Schnoor, the oldest part of the city, miraculously escaped the destruction of the second world war where you will find perfectly kept medieval buildings you and a large selection of restaurants mostly catered to tourist where prices tend to be higher than elswhere in the city.
When graced with good weather conditions you can relax in one of the cities many parks, including the Buergerpark know as the "green lung", this is the largest and most popular park in the city located just behind the central station. Large fields, lakes, playgrounds, picnic spots, restaurants and biergartens, this park has something for everyone, you can easily spend the whole afternoon here.
Travelling with children ? You can pay a visit to the Universum Bremen, a futuristic science center where both adults and children can have fun with lots of interactive experiences. It is possible to try, touch, feel, hear and see all different fields of science.
General admission is 16 € x adult and 11 € x children over 6 years but you can save money purchasing a family ticket or an evening ticket for just 5 € which will allow you to stay for 1:30 h before closing time. The science center is located at the very end of Burgerpark therefore the fastest and easiest way to get here is by taking the tram 6 (direction Universität) which runs at very regular intervals.
Are you a beer lover ? You have come to the right place ! The legendary Becks beer was founded in Bremen in 1873, its brewery can be found on the Weser river bank within walking distance from the city center and is open to visitors with tours available several times a day. The brewery tour offers a fascinating insight into the art of beer brewing with a wealth of information on the brewery itself and its well-known brands: Beck' s and Haake-Beck. Visitors are then guided through the museum, the raw material rooms, the brewhouse and pass the malt silos, fermantation and storage tanks. Finally, guests are invited to test beers in the guest room. Admission fee is 14,50 €
The large student population of the city makes sure that the party never stops in Bremen, you can go clubbing just any day of the week and come home just as the day breaks. Most clubs can be found in the area of the central station, however we do recommend to have a drink or two in one of the lively bars in the neighbourhood of Das Viertel, the most colourful and bohemian area of Bremen just a short walk from the historic centre.
I myself have lived in this city and go back often to experience its charm & authenticity and I have always been welcomed with a smile :)
Suggested lenght of stay: 3 days
Bergen is The Gateway to the Fjords of Norway and a well-established cruise port, an international city packed with history and tradition, with small-town charm and atmosphere. As a European City of Culture and UNESCO World Heritage City, Bergen is an old city with a young vibe. it is known as the city of seven mountains thanks to its suggestive location nestled between numerous mountains and sea offering excellent hiking opportunities in its immediate surroundings.
To make the most of your trip it's important to take in consideration the amount of daylight hours, the winter months are dark and rainy with an average of 7 hours of daylight thus limiting your amount of activities while in the summer months you can be graced with up to 18 hours of daylight and temperatures are often above 20 degrees.
You could start your city tour by taking the funicular Fløibanen, one of the most iconic attractions of Norway which takes you to a view-point at Mt Fløyen where you can enjoy a spectacular view of the city.
A trip to Bergen cannot be complete without a visit to the old quays of Bryggen, a world heritage site where you really get a feel of what the city must have been like in the middle ages. Today Bryggen is home to many museums, shops, restaurants and pubs. It's pointy houses are one of the most photographed location in the whole country.
The Kode Art Museums is one of the largest museums for art, craft and design in the Nordic countries, art lovers can find an extensive collection of masterpieces from Edvard Munch and paintings from Nikolai Astrup and Pablo Picasso. Admission Fee is 160 NOK / 15,60 €
The picturesque Fisketorget is one of Norway's most visited outdoors markets. The fish market sells locally sourced fresh seafood, fruit and vegetables. It's a popular place to have lunch or dinner for both locals and tourist and this is also where the city's best restaurants purchase their seafood daily.
Parents travelling with children will find plenty of activities to keep their little ones occupied, attractions such as the Vilvite Science Center and the Bergen Aquarium are perfect to spend a nice family day at any time of the year while in the hot summer days the numerous beaches around the city are a great place for a picnic and for children to play together.
Other attractions worth a visit include the Ruins of the Christ Church, the Ole Bull statue, the Madam Felle monument and the Mt.Ulriken trail.
Norway is notoriously expensive and unfortunately Bergen makes no difference, meals and drinks prices are especially very steep to compare with most European cities, however if you look hard enough and follow the younger student population you will stumble across some affordable ( by local standards ) eateries. On the positive side, the 3-star and 4-star hotels in Bergen are surprisingly good value, so mid-range travelers are well looked after at decent room rates. Also, most attractions are free or reasonably priced here, so it’s really just the food and drink that could put a strain on your budget.
The city hosts several festivals including the Bergen International Festival, an annual international music and cultural festival held over fourteen days from the end of May to the start of June.
Surrounded by mountains and seated near the fjords, Bergen provides unforgettable experiences for outdoor adventures and nature lovers alike. There are many tour companies offering daily trips to some of the most breathtaking natural wonders of Norway including the popular Nærøyfjorden and Folegonni Glaciers.
The narrowest fjord in the world, Nærøyfjorden and its spectacular scenery, earns it its place on the World Heritage list, with steep mountainsides, hanging valleys, towering peaks, snowfields, waterfalls and small hamlets, this fjord is perhaps the most outstanding natural attraction in Norway.
Folgefonna is Norway’s third largest glacier and is covering a total of 200 square kilometres. From Folgefonna you have panorama view to the Fjord, Rosendal alps, and the North Sea in West. If you’re here in the winter, try to hit the slopes at one of the nearby ski resorts as you get some world-class skiing here while in summer you can join a guided five-hour glacier hike, a thrilling, challenging, and exciting activity !
Suggested lenght of stay: 2 days / 4 days with visit to nearby fjords