The best beach clubs and bars in Barcelona

Keep in mind: some of these establishments are going to open in the coming months, so we are giving you the best beach clubs to bear in mind for the end of May and beginning of summer! 

Who loves the beach in Barcelona? And who loves the Barcelona nightlife? Combine the two and you’ve got the best beach bars in Barcelona! These bars and clubs offer a huge variety of fun experiences as well as high-quality gastronomy for those who tend to get peckish mid-way through your night out! 

See also: Top Coolest Bars in Barcelona

Beach bars in Barcelona, Spain
Beach bars in Barcelona, Spain

The best beach bars in Barcelona

These beach clubs in Barcelona have stunning views, making them the perfect place to enjoy the sunset with a cocktail in your hand. Some stylish, some more relaxed and chilled, with multiple styles of music for you to enjoy. You can book tickets, reserve tables and organise VIP bookings, we give you the top beach clubs in Barcelona. 

See also: Places to Stay Cool in Barcelona in Summer

Hotel W, The Wet Deck

Located at the beachfront along the famous Barceloneta boardwalk is the stunning W Hotel, visible on Barcelona’s skyline. The luxurious terrace here will impress you with the breath-taking views it offers and the incredible cocktails it’s mixologists can provide for you. 

Every Sunday at the Hotel W they hold an event which includes food, music and drinks by the pool. This ritzy hotel bar has it all! There’s tapas, cocktails, drinks, a DJ, a pool, and views of the stunning Mediterranean Sea. This is the perfect place for day and night parties hosted with the best DJ’s in the city. 

Hotel W, The Wet Deck in Barcelona, Spain
Hotel W, The Wet Deck

You can even book tables where you can rent a cabana with sofas and sunbeds, towels, next to an infinity pool, where you won’t have to lift a finger, and can enjoy cocktails and drinks all day long. You can also rent out private jacuzzis, with sunbeds, tables and even a private bathroom, this promotion even includes a 75cl bottle of Veuve Clicquot. 

Address: Plaça Rosa Del Vents 1, Final, Passeig de Joan de Borbó, 08039 Barcelona

Pool Bar at W Hotel in Barcelona, Spain
Pool Bar at W Hotel in Barcelona, Spain

Vai Moana

In El Poblenou you can find the chiringuito Vai Moana with Easter Island decor, this is the place to really take in the tranquillity of your surroundings and enjoy the small lapping of waves. They are located literally right on the beach, giving you the most authentic experience possible. This beach bar in Barcelona is somewhere you can of course find incredible gastronomy to keep you going. They have a load of healthy options and they have options for kids, like burgers and macaroni, and just wait till you see their cocktail, smoothies and fruit juice selection. 

This bar is occupied by those who don’t suffer the mundanities of life, they don’t care if they have sand in their shorts. They are there to relax, have fun and enjoy themselves. If you like a frozen margarita or daiquiri, this is the place for you!

Address: Av. del Litoral, s/n, 08005 Barcelona 

Vai Moana in Barcelona, Spain
Vai Moana in Barcelona, Spain

Bambú Beach Bar

For a locals choice, the Bambú beach bar is a great place to relax in a cosy atmosphere. They are right on the beach, and serve delicious food that can be savoured at any time of the day. They serve refreshing drinks and cocktails and provide a fun- filled cosmopolitan atmosphere. Bambú beach bar has been created for their people to unwind and have fun. 

Bambú were inspired by the crystal clear beaches in Thailand, creating a special touch of Southeast Asia in this bar. The tropical trees surrounding the beach bar along with the perfect crashing waves create a delightful harmony for any customer who enters Bambú. They don’t take bookings so make sure to get there earlier rather than later!

Address: Ronda Litoral, s/n, 08005 Barcelona

Bambú Beach Bar in Barcelona, Spain
Bambú Beach Bar in Barcelona, Spain

Jefferson Beach Club

Jefferson Beach Club is a great option for travellers looking for good drinks, great food and outdoor seating on the beach. They have an enormous option of drinks available, and be sure to try their incredible mojitos! Their chef is known for his paellas, and the staff known for their great service. 

They have music and are based on Sant Sebastià beach, they have the inspiration of the Hamptons, wanting to bring a small portion of Long Island closer to Barcelona. You can sunbathe on the loungers, chill on the terrace or even get up and dance. This is a space for fun and comfort. 

Address: Playa Bogatell, Av. del Litoral, s/n, 08005 Barcelona 

Jefferson Beach Club in Barcelona, Spain
Jefferson Beach Club in Barcelona, Spain

Bestial Beach Club

The Bestial Beach Club is a great place to go. They have a stunning spacious terrace right in front of their trendy inner club, the best thing about this club is that if you enter before 1am its free entry! This club is located just beside the Casino and Hotel Arts Barcelona in front of the beach. They have events weekly like Reggaeton parties and special DJ guests. 

The place is cosy but edgy and has great views out to the sea. The beach club is also a very popular restaurant throughout meal times, being one of the best places in the city to eat and relax at. This place is so picturesque you’ll not be complaining. Bestial is famous for its Mediterranean and Italian dishes as well as their delicious paella. 

Address: Carrer de Ramon Trias Fargas, 2-4, 08005 Barcelona 

Bestial Beach Club in Barcelona, Spain
Bestial Beach Club in Barcelona, Spain

The Coconut Club

The Coconut Club is a Miami style poolside bar in the heart of Villa Olímpica. They are inspired by the Caribbean and provide a cool and hip place to relax. They serve delicious Caribbean food and drinks. Their dishes are original and they even offer a selection of ice cream in case you have a sweet tooth. Their drinks menu includes a plethora of cocktails like sangria and mojitos, and their atmosphere will make you feel as if you’re in the islands, without the coconut trees at every turn. 

They also offer cool events like taco sundays where they offer a speciality dish for promotion for their eager customers! This is another one of the best places to hang out for a drink in the sun by the beach. Make sure you try their coco ice cream or coco drinks too, they are refreshing and delicious! 

Address: Carrer de Ramon Trias Fargas, 2, 08005 Barcelona 

Exploring the beach bars in Barcelona, Spain
Exploring the beach bars in Barcelona, Spain

Looking to make the most of summer in Barcelona? Check out these posts:


Your Alternative Osaka Travel Guide

If you’re looking for an alternative Osaka travel guide, you’ve just landed on the right page. Japan expert, La Carmina, shares her best tips and advice for exploring the more underground side of Osaka.

Only three hours from Tokyo by bullet train, Osaka is a turbo-charged setting for a long weekend getaway. Although it’s worth seeing historic landmarks such as Osaka Castle, travelers shouldn’t miss out on exploring the underground culture for an alternative perspective of the city. For instance, Osaka is home to a gritty and raucous music scene that’s matched only by its drinking holes — where the staff has feathered and dyed hair, the speakers blast Def Leppard, and the walls are decorated with grinning skulls.

I’ve been writing about Japan and visiting Osaka for well over a decade on my La Carmina travel blog. Here are some of my favorite subculture hangouts in the city, which I hope you’ll get to check out on your next trip.

See also: A day in Osaka, Japan

Japan travel expert - La Carmina
La Carmina, Japan travel and fashion blogger of LaCarmina.com

Osaka shopping guide

Let’s start off this alternative Osaka travel guide with a few vintage, indie and unique shopping spots in Osaka.

Shinsaibashi

Shinsaibashi’s Shopping Arcade is a bustling treasure hunt: look for indie and vintage boutiques, such as Dangerous Nude, amidst the mass retailers. Nearby Amerikamura is the cultural equivalent of Tokyo’s Harajuku, with Goths, punks and rockers hanging out in Triangle Park (here’s a map of the best stores). Poke your head through the beaded curtains for cyber fashion, tarot cards and 1980s toys.

Osaka travel guide recommending a Satanic-themed 666 clothing shop in the Shinsaibashi district of Osaka.
A Satanic-themed 666 clothing shop in the Shinsaibashi district of Osaka. Image by La Carmina Blog.

EST Center

A stone’s throw from Umeda Station, EST is a young women’s “shopping town with dream and excitement.” The boutiques lure you in with frantic J-pop music and the chic outfits seen in Cutie and ViVi magazines. If the hundred-plus indie and alternative shops aren’t enough, across the street is Hep Five, a shopping and entertainment megalopolis with a red Ferris wheel.

Osaka travel guide recommending Pokemon Center, Osaka. Photo by La Carmina
Pokemon Center, Osaka. Image by La Carmina Blog.

Sightseeing in Osaka

Here are a few more unique sights to visit in Osaka.

Pokemon Center

Believe it or not, the Pokemon Center is one of the top tourist attractions in all of Japan. The gargantuan Umeda, Osaka store is stocked with every character imaginable. Children in Pikachu hats will remind you that the brand’s motto is “gotta catch em all,” so bring your wallet.

Kaiyukan Aquarium

Kaiyukan is one of the largest aquariums in the world and a family favorite. Young Osaka resident Takumi Tanaka reminisces on his childhood visits. “It’s always fun to see the penguins and dolphins playing, but my favorite thing to do is visit the Floating Jellyfish tanks. It’s so relaxing to watch the intertwining tendrils,” he says. “Also I love to watch the staff feed the sea otters, who play like children.”

Osaka Castle

Tanaka also encourages first-timers to visit the historic Osaka Castle, especially during the cherry blossom season. “There are always festivals and gatherings in the beautiful park, and little stalls that sell traditional foods like takoyaki. It’s fun to just sit on the benches and watch people go by,” says Tanaka.

Related tour: Guided Walking Tour around Osaka Castle

Alternative Osaka travel guide
Fu-Ki pours a devilish drink at hard rock Bar Midian, Osaka. Image by La Carmina Blog.

Bars and Nightlife in Osaka

What’s an Osaka travel guide without a list of the best bars and nightlife?

Related tour: Osaka: Nightlife Experience

Bar Midian

Fans of Visual Kei/J-rockers Blood were heartbroken when the group disbanded. But like a Goth Elvis, vocalist Fu-ki is alive and ominously wielding an ice pick behind the counter of his Bar Midian.

The Umeda dive is near-impossible to find, so I suggest studying these detailed directions on my La Carmina Blog. Midian’s decor is a heavy metal wet-dream: a dripping candle sits in a Dracula wine bottle; an axe rests in the umbrella stand. That night, we sat with tattooed rockers who headbanged to Black Sabbath videos and scandalized us with their boy-on-boy antics.

Drinks are 500 yen and have names such as Black Rose and Satan. Fu-ki mixes a strong cocktail and will gladly make you a special one, or pour you a Belgian Satan Beer. He’s also known to pick up the tab for newcomers, especially if you bond over music — so don’t forget to ask him about his Motley Crue cover band.

Bar Moonwalk

When metal and rock bands tour Osaka, they frequently stop by Moonwalk, a bar that pumps Marilyn Manson and Japanese glam metal to a young, heavily-pierced crowd.

My travel comrade and I had an instant crush on our eyeliner-smeared server Kouta, who plays bass in a new Visual Kei band. The fantasy faded a little when he went into the kitchen to cook our orders: tasty 315 yen plates of Korean fried rice and lotus pork cakes. There’s a 400 yen cover charge, but the drink menu — which has over 300 offerings for 200 yen each – more than makes up for it. Got a sweet tooth? Try the raspberry yogurt cocktail. More of a hardcore type? Go for the brandy ginger mixer. And don’t be surprised if the charming bartender brings over free shots.

Bar Rock Rock

Alice Cooper. Bad Religion. Motley Crue. Metallica. They are among the hundreds of famed faces who have raised hell at Rock Rock since the bar opened in 1995, leaving behind autographed photos and tales of destruction.

The atmosphere reminds me of a really chill jazz club, only with screamo vocals. The bar plays anything from punk to metal and has events throughout the year that bring in throngs of rock fans. These include special DJ nights such as Hell’s Bells (AC/DC), Emotion is Dead (emo) and the self-explanatory Loud & Heavy.

The menu is a typical selection of pizzas, pastas and salads (600-800 yen). The drinks are standards, plus a selection of fruity cocktails (500-800 yen). A little pricy, but worth it when they’re poured by celebrity bartender “Noxl Rose.”

Alternative bars in Osaka, Japan
Cute octopus balls, or takoyaki: an Osakan favorite food. Image by La Carmina Blog.

Food in Osaka

Take your tastebuds on an adventure.

See also: Japanese Pork Chop in Downtown Osaka

Okonomiyaki

Non-Japanese speakers, memorize the word “okonomiyaki.” It’s a tragedy if you leave without tasting the grilled savory pancake (usually with seafood, and topped with bonito flakes and brown sauce) that is Kansai’s soul food. Look for family restaurants such as Tengu, where recipes are passed down from several generations.

Takoyaki

Takoyaki — grilled octopus balls made from pouring batter into molds — are another Osaka specialty. Every major street has a stand where you can buy a dozen for 500 yen. Twists on the original include egg or melted cheese toppings, and takoyaki stuffed in a crepe. But nothing beats mom-and-pop shops, such as Tako House at Umeda station, where a shy grandma oversees the cooking.

Yuzu (citrus fruit)

Yuzu is a divine mating between a lemon and a tangerine. In Osaka, you’ll find the flavor in seemingly every type of dish: sorbet, sake, shochu. The fruit is rarely found fresh outside of Japan, so don’t hesitate to gorge on it at every meal.

Related tour: Eat Like a Local Street Food Tour

Alternative Osaka travel guide
A pentagram coaster from Gothic, fetish and occult themed Bar Idea in Kobe, Japan. Image by La Carmina Blog.

Day Trips from Osaka

If you want to escape from Osaka for a day, check out a few of these nearby places.

Kobe

Take a jaunt to Kobe to explore its outstanding parks, zoo, and harbor. For a walk on the dark side, visit Gothic / fetish / occult / Satanic Bar Idea. The friendly ladies behind the nail-spiked bar will chat with you and perform dark rituals, including shibari or rope bondage demonstrations.

Nara

Get away from the grit with a day trip to Nara, only an hour away by subway. The cultural capital dazzles with six Buddhist temples, a Shinto shrine and the Imperial Place. But the biggest thrill, for tourists of all ages, is petting the sacred deer that roam in Nara Park.

Related tour: From Kyoto or Osaka: Private Walking Tour through Nara

Kyoto

Kyoto is located north of Osaka, and home to thousands of well-preserved places of worship such as Kinkaku-ji (Temple of the Golden Pavilion). First built in the 14th century, the three-story gilded structure holds the Buddha’s ashes and is set in an exquisite garden with a mirror pond.

Related tour: From Osaka: Kyoto Top Highlights Day Trip

Japan travel expert, La Carmina
See more Japan travel tips on La Carmina’s social media @lacarmina and her award-winning travel blog.


The Most Spectacular Bali Volcano Hikes

If you’re looking for a bit of adventure while vacationing in Bali, consider doing one of the Bali volcano hikes. It is one of the best ways to not only get your heart rate up, but an incredible way to take in the picturesque landscapes that Bali has to offer.

And so, while volcanoes may not be the first type of hiking ground that comes to mind when you think of a hike, let the record show that this is not an experience that you want to miss. Every step you take will be totally worth it!  

An intro to the top Bali volcano hikes

Keep in mind that this is an introduction to three volcanoes to trek in Bali – more is to come, don’t you worry.However, before you go embarking on this adventure, it is important to keep in mind that they all differ in difficulty and trip length. That being said, they all provide breathtaking views and a sense of achievement when you reach the summit.

When to hike volcanoes in Bali: During the months of April to September (the dry season) is the best time to climb any of the volcanos as the tracks get muddy and slippery in the wet season, making it difficult or impossible to climb.

Usually, it’s best to aim for the summit around sunset, so the climbs begin very early in the morning. If possible, choose a date close to a full moon for extra light, but you can climb the volcanos any time of the month.

What to bring: Warm clothes, good shoes, water, snacks, and a headlamp.

Top 3 Bali volcano hikes

Mount Batur – The Easiest Climb

Mount Batur is the easiest Bali volcano hike of the three volcanos and provides spectacular views of Lake Batur and the ocean. It is also Bali’s most active volcano, so check whether it is safe to climb before you go.

Most people do the climb as an organized tour, but you can do it on your own if you prefer. If you decide to do the volcano trek without a guide, be prepared to deal with local guides in Kintamani, the town where the trek starts, who have a reputation for being extremely pushy and doing almost anything to hinder people without a guide to reach the summit.

The track starts out as a dirt path, but as it quickly gets steeper it also gets rockier and after a while vegetation is mainly limited to grasses growing among the rocks. Before reaching the summit, a small vendor sells refreshments.

On the summit, views reach as far as Mount Rinjani, and if you have a guide, he or she might cook you an egg boiled in volcanic steam before the descent.

  • Difficulty: The trek is straight forward, so if you are in decent shape, you shouldn’t have many problems.
  • Trip length: This Bali volcano hike takes one to two hours to reach the summit and the same time to get down, but you should also include time to enjoy the views and explore the rim of the crater.
  • Location: An hour’s drive north of Ubud.

If you decide to do the hike with a guide there’s an option of a few add-ons, including a sunrise hike with a natural hot spring, a sunrise hike with breakfast, or a sunrise hike with white water rafting.

Mount Agung – Bali’s Highest Point

The trek starts at around 2.30 in the morning at the stairs of the temple. Bring a torch or preferably a headlamp, as the first part of the trek through the forest is particularly dark. After walking uphill in the dark for about three hours you should reach the summit as the sun starts to color the sky orange. Especially on windy days, it can get very cold at the summit, so make sure to bring extra warm clothes.

As you start making your way down, the sun becomes more intense, and you’ll welcome the guy selling semi-cold refreshments at the temple where the trek ends.

  • Height: 3031 meters
  • Difficulty: You need to be fit for this trek as it is a fairly long climb with some steep sections.
  • Trip length: It takes about two to four hours to reach the summit and a little less to get down.
  • Location: An hour’s of drive northeast of Ubud

There’s an option to book a Mount Agung sunrise hike with breakfast.

Mount Rinjani – Lombok’s Spectacular Volcano

The classic Rinjani volcano trek takes two nights and three days and is the most spectacular of the three. And is one of the harder Bali volcano hikes.

On day one, walk from the National Park entrance to the rim of the volcano. The first half of the day goes through the jungle, where curios monkeys will watch you, but as you get closer to the rim, vegetation is limited to grasses and small bushes. When you reach the rim, and if you still have any breath left, the spectacular view of the crater will take away what remaining breath you have.

Spend the next day exploring the crater for a couple of hours where you can swim in the blue crater lake or relax your muscles in the nearby hot springs before climbing up to the opposite side of the rim.

On the third day, you get up early in order to reach the summit at sunrise. On a clear day, you get a spectacular view of Lombok, the Gili islands and Bali as the sun starts warming you up.

Back at camp, you’ll have breakfast before descending through grass and farmlands all the way down to the village of Sembalun where the trek ends.

  • Difficulty: Climbing Rinjani is a hard trek with some steep sections, especially the last bit to the summit, where the sand-like surface makes walking difficult, so you need to be in good shape to reach the summit of Mount Rinjani. An easier option, but with equally good views, is just to trek to the rim, which is easier as the track is good most of the way and without too many steep parts.
  • Trip length: The classic length is three days and two nights, but you can also do a two day, a one night, or some trips go as long as a week. In the latter case, you’ll spend more time trekking the area around the volcano and inside the crater.
  • Location: Mount Rinjani is located on Lombok. From Bali it is a 90-minute boat ride and an hour’s drive to the foot of Mount Rinjani. From the Gili Islands, it will take you ten minutes by boat plus an hour by car. You are not allowed to climb Rinjani without a guide, so you need to go on an organized tour, which can easily be arranged from Bali and The Gilis.

Mount Catur – The hike with the major view

Located in the northwest of Bali, this picturesque location is surrounded by so many gorgeous waterfalls, lakes as well as a botanical garden that you can easily explore. One of Bali’s most photographed temples, The Temple at Lake Bratan (Pura Ulun Danu Bratan) happens to be in this location too.

When you begin the hike, you need to keep in mind that unlike Mt. Batur and Mt. Agung, this volcano is actually extinct. This means that you won’t be able to see any cool lava eruptions or cook your eggs on lava rock either – sorry.

  • Height: 1 247m
  • Difficulty: This specific hike is neither a leisurely stroll nor a serious hiking challenge. It is somewhere in between. But keep in mind that you may want some endurance training beforehand!
  • Trip length: This hike is by no means a long one or even an over-nighter for that matter! See this as a fun day trip as because, on average, it should take you about three hours to get to the very top, where you will be met with the most stunning views yet.  
  • Location: Your hike will begin at Lake Bratan at Gua Jepang (literally translated to “Japanese Cave”).

Mount Batukaru

If you are looking for the second-highest mountain in Bali, then look no further than Mount Batukaru. This dormant volcano sets itself apart from all of the other Bali volcano hikes as it has some very unique terrains that will, without a doubt, shock and delight you!  From the shady forestry to the hike peaks and views of the craters and lakes – it has all you need to form a summit.

  • Height: 2,275 meters
  • Difficulty: This specific hike is ideal for those of you who enjoy walking through forests and being surrounded by tall trees. The rocky terrains and steep inclines make for a rather difficult and strenuous hike. Thankfully it is only a day hoke though
  • Trip length: This trek is about five hours long, so do not mistake it for a leisurely hike, as it is nowhere close to that. So, make sure that your fitness levels are relatively high so that you can get to the top in good time.   
  • Location: Mount Batukaru is an extinct volcano that is both the highest peak in the Bedugul volcanic area and the second-highest mountain in Bali.

Looking for accommodation in Bali? Check out our:

Bali Accommodation Guide


Unique Things to do in Florence

Florence is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Italy. This city has a village atmosphere that can’t stop bringing visitors back repeatedly due to its old-world charm.

However, you might be bored of going to the same few tried and tested museums or destinations. You might not yet know that there are many unique things to do in Florence, including a lot of non touristy things to do in Florence that will show you another side of this fantastic destination. 

Here are some Florence hidden gems to add to your itinerary next time you travel to Italy!

See also: Cheap but Chic: Budget Hotels in Florence

Finding hidden gems in Florence streets
Finding hidden gems in Florence streets

Unique things to do in Florence

Selfie Museum

The Selfie Museum is an international sensation that features incredible installations created by many artists designed to be used as a backdrop for Instagram photos and selfies!

Selfie Museums started as far back as 2015, with one of the first museums located in the Philippines. Now, Florence is the home to the first Selfie Museum in Italy

You should know that it’s not an actual museum but more of an interactive experience designed for entertainment. Each person is encouraged to immerse themselves in their surroundings. 

You can expect corridors of colourful backdrops, optical illusions, and more. Don’t forget to wear an #instagrammable outfit. 

A ticket gets you 1.5 hours of access to over 50 installations created by international artists. It’s also open every day from 10:00 – 19:00pm. 

Individuals can expect to pay €13, with student discounts and bundled options available for families. Booking is essential, so don’t miss out on one of the most unique things to do in Florence – book your ticket here.

All’Antico Vinaio Food Tour

All’Antico Vinaio is a renowned sandwich store in Italy, known for its ‘schiacciata’, sandwiches made on focaccia-style bread. It first opened in 1989 and has since opened branches in Rome, Milan and even across the pond in New York.

If you are looking for non touristy things to do in Florence but still want to enjoy great food and drink, you would love the All’Antico Vinaio – Skip The Line food tour. 

You can expect just under three hours of unique eats, featuring 7 different stops and 4 kinds of wine. You’ll start with traditional Italian espresso and pastries, enjoy a fantastic sandwich at All’Antico Vinaio, drink Chianti wine and enjoy a sweet surprise at the end. 

Florence food markets in Italy
Florence food markets – depositphotos.com

Museo Salvatore Ferragamo

This is one of the best non touristy things to do in Florence for any fashionistas who happen to be in Florence instead of Milan.

The Museo Salvatore Ferragamo is one of the most unique things to do in Florence off the beaten path! It’s a fashion museum entirely dedicated to the life and work of world-renowned fashion designer Salvatore Ferragamo and his company. He is known for his prolific shoe design and production. The museum features over 10,000 models of shoes created and owned by Salvatore Ferragamo. 

The museum is open every day from 11:00 until 19:30, and admission costs €16.50. You can also expect seasonal exhibitions at the Salvatore Ferragamo museum if you’re lucky!

Villa Bardini

Often, the Bardini Gardens in Florence are missed by travellers. It wouldn’t be wrong to feel like you’re discovering a new place while visiting the beautiful premises of Villa Bardini.

Villa Bardini features a 17th-century villa with many acres of gardens. This area offers some of the best views of Florence and regularly hosts art exhibitions and other significant events.

You don’t want to rush your visit to these lush gardens! There is no better place to lie under the trees and simply relax. It might not be the most fitting for the title of non touristy things to do in Florence, but it’s worth a visit anyway. 

Bardini Gardens in Florence
View from the Italian-style Bardini gardens in Florence, Italy – depositphotos.com

Acquario di Livorno (Livorno Aquarium)

You may not think of an ‘aquarium’ when you think of ‘Florence’. That’s because it’s not in the city centre of Florence – it’s actually in Livorno, about 1.5 hours away by car. 

However, the Acquario di Livorno (Livorno Aquarium) is one of the most unique things to do in the broader Florence area.

Inside, you’ll find a Mediterranean-style aquarium that features unique international exhibits. You’ll discover blacktip sharks, jellyfish, manta rays and sea turtles.

This is a fantastic opportunity for families with children looking for Florence hidden gems to enjoy. Other visitors enjoyed the tremendous sights, helpful staff and relative quietness of the aquarium compared to other tourist destinations in Florence.

Admission is around €16.00, with more significant price discounts if purchasing online. It would be a great destination to make a day trip adventure with other non touristy things to do in Florence and its greater area!

Tettuccio Thermal Spa

Located between Florence and Versilia in Montecatini, Tettuccio Thermal Spa offers four different thermal pools in Europe’s oldest spa town. These baths contain mineral salts and other precious elements, set in a beautifully landscaped garden to create the most dreamy spa day ever. 

If you are looking for the ultimate in relaxation, this is the perfect thing for you – and one of the most unique things to do in Florence.

There is a beautiful fresco in the cafe here, a historical writing room (sala di scrittura) and a few shops to browse.  

You’ll also find unusual healing treatments here, such as drinking the thermal water. There are also more traditional spa treatments, such as massages, facial treatments and thermal baths. 

Summary 

There are many unique things to do in Florence that will take you off the beaten track to find a bit of quiet during your visit – you just need to know where to look!

If you like fashion and art, you will love the Selfie Museum or Salvatore Ferragamo museum, two of Florence hidden gems that aren’t always busy.

If you are after a family outing, take a trip to the Livorno Aquarium just outside Florence for a lovely day out. Solo travellers may enjoy the Tettuccio Thermal Spa or Villa Bardini for the ultimate holiday bliss. 

No matter what you’re looking for, we’re sure you’ll find non touristy things to do in Florence during your next trip to Italy!


A Guide to the Different Tickets for the Colosseum

So, you’ve decided to visit Rome on your next holiday to Italy. We don’t blame you!

The Colosseum is a symbol of the Eternal City, with around 8 million visitors every year. You’re probably also considering going on a Colosseum tour, which is no shock, as it’s one of the largest and most famous landmarks in Italy.

But even though millions of people visit the Colosseum every year, getting tickets for Colosseum can be pretty challenging if you don’t know where to start.

Don’t worry – we’ll tell you everything you need to know about visiting the Colosseum in Rome, including recent changes that ticket holders need to know.

See also: Visiting Rome: Sights to Book in Advance

A guide to visiting the Colosseum in Rome, Italy
A guide to visiting the Colosseum in Rome, Italy

Why should I visit the Colosseum?

The Colosseum is the most significant ancient amphitheatre globally – and in human history in general. Construction for this massive monument began in 72 AD under the Roman emperor Vespasian. The builders only completed it in 80 AD under the reign of Titus, Vespasian’s heir and successor. 

It’s made chiefly of travertine limestone, volcanic rock and brick-faced concrete. In the early days, the Romans most famously used it to host gladiators and their contests and other public spectacles such as animal hunting, executions, battle reenactments, and Roman dramas.

As the years went by, its function transformed into housing, quarters, a fortress, a quarry and eventually, a Christian religious shrine.

Currently, grand restoration plans are in place to bring the Colosseum back to its former glory. The first restoration began in 2013 and became the first complete cleaning and repair in the history of the Colosseum. 

Since 2017, enough progress has been made that the top two levels have reopened for guided visits. However, you’ll need special tickets for Colosseum if you want to visit the top levels. 

See also: Things to Do in Rome: Our Rome Activity Guide

A guide to getting tickets for colosseum
Visiting inside the Colosseum, Rome – depositphotos.com

What will I find when I visit the Colosseum?

Before you arrive, you’ll find impressive construction at the monument outside. One of the best places to see the enormous exterior of the Colosseum is through Via Dei Fori Imperiali. This street provides one of the best views of the most well-preserved facade of the entire Colosseum. 

The Colosseum had 80 entrances and, at its peak, could fit 50,000 visitors in just 15 minutes. Today, visitors can visit from the Southside, and it now takes a bit longer to enter due to the long queues. The architects designed each of the five different levels in a unique style. 

Today, its designs for corridors and stairs are still being used as references for modern sports stadiums. At present, the essential ticket Colosseum visit begins on the 2nd floor. 

See also: First Time in Rome Itinerary

Different types of tickets for Colosseum

Before you enter, you should know that there are a few different kinds of tickets for Colosseum that you can choose. 

The basic tickets for Colosseum include access to the main floor and second-tier only, which will take around an hour to visit. You will also gain entry to the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill on the same day.

However, suppose you’re after a Colosseum underground tour, including the arena, underground section, and third tier. In that case, you will need to purchase a Full Experience Arena ticket. This type of ticket is also valid for two days instead of one and often offers better insights into some of the best-preserved sections of the site. 

You can also find tickets for a group Colosseum tour or even a special night tour of the Colosseum.

Please note that you will need to print your ticket, or you can show your ticket receipt on your mobile device. 

The official website does not mention changing reservations or offering refunds, so be sure that you’re buying for the correct date when you’re ready to visit.

Buying Colosseum tickets online

One of the simplest and cheapest ways to get to the Colosseum is to buy Colosseum tickets online. We recommend buying tickets from either GetYourGuide or Tiqets.

One thing to note is that there are different Colosseum ticket price ranges for various visitors.

When looking at the Colosseum ticket price, Adults aged 25+ can expect to pay €18, youth between ages 18-25 pay €4 and children under age 18 can enter for free. 

If you want to purchase an Audio guide for your colosseum tour, it will set you back €5.50.

Additionally, if you don’t enjoy waiting in queues and are booking last-minute, get the last-minute priority pass.

The unique tickets for Colosseum

You can also find a few different kinds of tickets for Colosseum that offer far more than a typical touring experience.

Some excellent tickets for Colosseum you can find are:

The different types of Colosseum tours in Rome
The different types of Colosseum tours in Rome

Summary

When buying tickets for the Colosseum tour, remember that you need to be specific and cannot rely on a basic ticket to grant you access to every section.

If you want to spend less time waiting, get a skip the line Colosseum ticket to gain priority entrance to this marvellous landmark. There are also unique Colosseum underground tour options available if you’d like to delve deep into the historical significance of the world’s largest amphitheatre.

Another great tip to remember is the colosseum ticket price can vary. Whether you want a basic package or a combination tour that lets you access every level, you can expect prices to adjust accordingly. 

Perhaps you are looking for a more extensive Colosseum tour coupled with visiting another famous Roman landmark on the same day. You can find Colosseum tickets online for all of the above and many other unique tours of the Colosseum that are updated every year.

We hope we’ve made it easier for you to buy tickets for Colosseum when it is time for you to visit!


Family Sailing Holidays on a Catamaran Charter in Croatia

Taking a sailing holiday as a family is something that has grown in popularity in recent years. Possibly the biggest reason for that is that every stage of such a holiday can now be booked online with very little stress or sweat involved.

That includes everything from selecting the place to visit to chartering a boat for duration of your trip. It can all be done very simply using the internet these days and the prices are a whole lot more reasonable than might be expected.

That just leaves you to decide where to go and what boat to take. Here we will look at why you should consider sailing around Croatia on a Catamaran.

Family holidays in Croatia

Set on the coast of the Adriatic Sea, Croatia is one of the smaller European countries and is comparatively undiscovered by the tourist trade compared with many others. It is referred to by the people who live there as “our beautiful homeland” though and once you have visited you will not find that motto hard to understand.

The country presents a particularly fine holiday prospect for families because there is something to please everyone there. Croatia has nightlife and historic sights to delight any adult visitors as well as numerous national parks and outdoor activities that will allow the kids to burn off their energy.

Exploring Croatia by boat

The single biggest reason to opt for a sailing holiday in Croatia is that you will not be restricted to one place. Chartering a boat means that you can explore much more of what the country has to offer, moving on at your own pace whenever you are ready. You can now quickly and easily charter a catamaran from Borrowaboat, a site that have a wide range of Catamaran boats to choose from while on your travels around Croatia.

The water surrounding Croatia is clean and clear as crystal and there are plenty of little islands that can only really be experienced properly on a boating holiday. These include Brac, with its white stone buildings, the scenic Maslinica and Hvar, which offers glorious food and wine that can be enjoyed while you bathe in its summer sunshine.

Of course, the mainland of Croatia also has plenty to offer families and taking a boat means that you can sample as much of it as you want. If you are looking for some after dark fun once the children are in bed, Hvar town is known as the Ibiza of Croatia for its nightlife revels.

Entertainment that is more child-friendly can be found on Paradise Beach. While some Croatian beaches are rather rocky, this one is very sandy and will allow the children to swim in the warm sea or build sandcastles.

The country is also home to several national parks that the whole family will relish exploring for the day.

Mljet National Park is the only coastal one and can be found if you sail to the island of the same name. Alternatively, if you want to dock the boat and go inland for a while, there are seven to be found scattered throughout mainland Croatia.

All of these boast lakes, rivers and waterfalls that the family can dive into, alongside canyons and mountains that can be climbed by those who are adventurous – and fit – enough! Croatia is generally blessed with beautiful weather during the summer, so it is likely that you will want to get outside as much as possible during your family holiday there.

It is a country of fascinating sights like the Museum of the Krapina Neanderthal that is full of fascinating technology-based exhibitions detailing the birth of humanity. Its interactive, cutting-edge displays will delight children of all ages.

The sort of boat to take to Croatia

As you can see, there are plenty of good reasons to take your family on that sailing holiday to Croatia, but that still leaves the question of what sort of boat to charter. There is no shortage of boat types available, but a Catamaran offers many advantages.

One of the biggest of these when sailing with small children is that a Catamaran does not heel, unlike other boat types such as Monohulls. Heeling means when the boat tips to one side or the other, either due to wind in its sails or weight, and it will greatly increase the likelihood of seasickness in children or anyone who is not that familiar with the water.

The luxury that a Catamaran provides compared with other boats is another major argument in its favour. The size means that the cabins are apart from each other, affording a lot more privacy than other types of boats – which is essential if you have teenagers in tow.

Many Catamarans also offer clear separation between sailing and relaxing sections, so the family can sunbathe or lounge on board away from any crew that are helping to sail the boat.

Croatia is beautiful and there is no finer way to find that out than by taking a relaxing sailing holiday there with your family.

It will let you explore the peaceful islands off the coast, swim in the blue Adriatic Sea and stop off at points of interest.


Ecotourism in Mauritius: How to Have an Eco-Friendly Holiday

Located off the east coast of Africa, Mauritius is a small island nation that’s known for its pristine beaches and luxury 5-star resorts. 

It’s not all about the sand and sunbeds though. Mauritius also offers a rich cultural heritage and incredible food scene – partly to do with its diverse mix of Indian, Creole, Chinese and French ethnic groups. 

What’s more, the island’s pristine landscapes have made it a bucket list destination for nature lovers. So, if you want to experience the island in a more mindful way, here’s your guide to ecotourism in Mauritius. 

See also: Mauritius Accommodation: Where to Stay on the Island

Ecotourism in Mauritius: Why it’s important 

Mauritius’ position as a small island makes it perhaps more vulnerable than most to the effects of climate change. 

Rising sea levels have already impacted the island and the pristine beaches it’s known for are under threat. In fact, some beaches have shrunk by more than 10 metres over the last decade!

The island’s location in the Indian Ocean puts it in the cyclone belt. Thanks to climate change, flash floods and tropical storms are becoming increasingly deadly. 

Despite these threats, tourism is a vital part of the island nation’s economy as it helps fund many of its economic and sustainable developments. 

Just like many African small states, the arrival of the pandemic caused conservation and sustainability efforts to suffer. 

Many nature reserves and wildlife parks had prolonged closures and the decreased income resulted in shrinking budgets for conservation, according to a Commonwealth report. 

As a sustainable traveller, seeking out activities and accommodation that benefit the environment and local people is a way to support and strengthen conservation efforts for generations to come. 

See also: Mauritius: The Island of Incredible Colors

Ecotourism in Mauritius
View of Mauritius from Sublime Point Lookout

The best ecotourism activities in Mauritius 

Here’s a quick guide to the best ecotourism activities to help you enjoy Mauritius responsibly.

See also: Top Things to Do and Highlights of Mauritius

Meet giant tortoises 

Did you know Mauritius is home to giant tortoises? Sadly the native species suffered the same fate as the dodo and went extinct sometime in the 1700s. 

In an effort to restore the island’s natural ecosystem, the Mauritian Wildlife Foundation introduced the Aldabra Giant Tortoise from the Seychelles in 2000. The best place to see them is on a tiny islet called Ile aux Aigrettes which is a protected nature reserve. 

Here you can see babies and full-grown tortoises eating and dozing across the land. It’s a fantastic spot for seeing rare birds and plants too. What’s more, your money goes directly to supporting giant tortoise conservation. 

Meet giant tortoises in Mauritius
A giant tortoise in Ile aux Aigrettes

Go hiking in Chamarel 

See a different side to Mauritius beyond the beaches and lagoons. Head inland to Chamarel’s Ebony Forest Reserve where you can go hiking and support rewilding projects. 

Join guided or self-guided tours up the 300m raised walkway through native bush to Sublime Point Lookout. Here you can get phenomenal views across the island to the coast. 

Stop for refreshments at the tiny cafe or continue up for another hour or so to the summit of Piton Canot for even more views. 

Chamarel also has a small number of giant tortoises and a stunning natural spectacle called the Seven Coloured Earth. The small area of sand dunes is streaked with different colours just like Rainbow Mountain in Peru! 

See also: Great Hiking Spots in Mauritius

Visit a nature reserve 

Head to the UNESCO Biosphere Reserve in Bel-Hombre to experience one of the last strongholds of the island’s endemic flora and fauna. 

Featuring 3,500 hectares of protected land, the reserve is vital to the survival of rare endemic birds such as the Pink Pigeon and Mauritian Fody. 

Look out for giant fruit bats too (don’t worry, despite having a wingspan of up to 5ft long, they’re fruitarians and completely harmless)!

You can support the conservation work by doing tours of the reserve. Do a 5-hour trek with a ranger which takes you deep into the island’s unspoilt nature. 

Alternatively, opt for the 2-hour 4×4 drive or quad bike tour with an experienced guide from the Mauritian Wildlife Foundation. 

UNESCO Biosphere Reserve in Bel-Hombre
Heritage Nature Reserve

Go snorkeling in a protected reserve 

Meet the local marine life the eco-friendly way by snorkelling in a protected marine reserve. 

Anse la Raie lagoon in the north of Mauritius is home to a Voluntary Marine Conservation Area (VMCA) which means no fishing or other destructive activities are permitted. 

The best snorkelling tour you can do here is through Lagoon Attitude resort on the shores of the lagoon, a key supporter of the VMCA project. 

The guided tour takes you on a glass-bottomed boat to the marine reserve where you can spend a few hours enjoying the local marine life.

See also: Canoeing in Mauritius: Scenic and Adventurous 

Do an eco tour 

One of the easiest ways to support ecotourism in Mauritius is to plan your trip with a tour operator that’s done all the research for you. 

Pure Breaks offers tailor-made responsible holidays that are personalised to your interests. 

The self-guided tour operator has partnered with certified eco-resorts and activities that help you explore the island in an authentic and eco-friendly way. 

Eco-friendly places to stay in Mauritius

These eco-friendly resorts and lodges offer places to stay that harmonise with nature. There’s enough to suit a range of budgets too! Check out these top three eco resorts: 

Otentic Eco Tents 

For those on a budget, Otentic Eco Tents offers an eco-friendly escape in the arms of nature. Accommodation is in the form of safari tents, complete with cosy beds and a shower at the back. Furnishings are rustic and cleverly fashioned from upcycled materials. No plastic here. 

There are two Otentic glamping sites to choose from: one by the Grand River and the other at the foot of Bambous Mountain. Both sites are small and intimate, which puts them in high demand for tourists. 

They have gardens where they grow their own food. Home cooking is a speciality here with local people from the village cooking coming every day to cook some of the best food around! 

Otentic Eco Tents
Otentic Eco Tents on booking.com

Lagoon Attitude

Lagoon Attitude is a chain resort that’s committed to making a difference. A great mid-range option, the resort has taken huge steps to mitigate its environmental footprint. 

All rooms are free of single-use plastic and they have safe water refill stations all over the grounds. 

There’s a marine on-site discovery centre where scientists, schools and local tour operators can work and learn about marine conservation. It even sells its own reef-safe sunscreen too.

Perhaps the most impressive of all is the free on-site zero-waste refill station for tea and coffee. Simply fill up glass pots of what you need and take them back to your room! 

Lagoon Attitude eco resort in Mauritius
Lagoon Attitude eco resort in Mauritius

Heritage Le Telfair 

Heritage Le Telfair is a luxury 5-star resort that’s part of the Heritage Resorts chain. It’s Green Key certified and regularly trains staff on sustainable development initiatives. 

The resort works with local NGOs to donate surplus food to those in need. It also has its own recycling plant for paper, glass and plastic packaging. Even excess oil is turned into biofuel. 

It also owns a 1300-hectare nature reserve which is a protected area of conservation. Anyone can visit and activities here have a strong focus on education and protecting the environment. 

Heritage Le Telfair pool - Heritage Resorts
Heritage Le Telfair pool – Heritage Resorts

Mauritius eco-friendly travel tips 

Check out these eco-friendly tips to help you travel better and support ecotourism in Mauritius.

See also: Sustainable Travel Tips on a Budget

Offset your carbon footprint

Mauritius is not an easy place to get to as it’s a small island in the Indian Ocean. This means you’ll likely have to fly which isn’t the most eco-friendly way to travel. 

However, tourism is a vital part of the country’s economy. So, offset the carbon footprint of your travels by supporting ethical and sustainable businesses while you’re there. 

You can also donate to carbon offsetting projects, but make sure they’re Gold Standard certified as it’s the best way to guarantee that they’re legitimate. 

Have a plastic-free packing list 

If you’re travelling sustainably, it’s good practice to keep single-use plastic out of your backing list. This helps you avoid bringing excess waste for this small island to deal with. 

Removing plastic is as easy as doing a few eco-friendly swaps. For example, swap out plastic bottles for a reusable water filter bottle. 

Take zero waste solid toiletries instead of mini travel toiletries. If you can, try to take any plastic waste home with you at the end of your trip. 

See also: Eco-Friendly Gifts Ideas for Eco-Conscious Travelers

Wear reef-safe sunscreen 

Keep yourself and the environment safe by wearing eco-friendly sunscreen

Chemical-based sunscreens containing oxybenzone and octinoxate have been found to kill or bleach coral at a very low concentration. 

Choose a reef-safe mineral-based sunscreen with non-nano titanium dioxide and zinc oxide. It’s just as effective and better for marine life and your health! 

Leave your resort 

Resorts are well-known for having everything you need all in one place. You don’t ever have to leave, right? But if you do leave your resort, you’ll have a much richer and more authentic experience. 

For one thing, you’ll see the real Mauritius beyond the beaches and sunbeds! 

And another reason? You’re supporting local businesses and giving back to the economy rather than allowing big chain resorts to horde all your tourist money for themselves. 

So, leave your resort even if it’s for a day or as part of a tour. 

The Seven Coloured Earth Geopark in Chamarel
The Seven Coloured Earth Geopark in Chamarel

Do ethical, eco-friendly activities 

As you start to plan your Mauritius itinerary, think about the type of activities you want to do. 

Many resorts and hotels offer experiences you can book directly through them. Some of the most common ones are marine and wildlife activities – particularly if the resorts are on the beach. 

Before booking anything, interrogate how these activities are operated and who runs them. Look at how many tourists they take on the experience, how they portray and interact with the wildlife and whether or not they make an effort to reduce their impact. 

If it’s whale or dolphin watching, do they have boats that minimise noise pollution? If you’re snorkelling, do they tell you not to touch or step on coral reefs? 

Avoid activities that invite you to touch or hold animals. Even though the tour operator might deny it, there’s no guarantee that the animal isn’t stressed or suffering. 

If none of these issues above are overtly addressed, don’t be afraid to ask questions directly and let them know it’s important to you. 

Support local businesses 

Where possible, support local businesses. This is a guaranteed way to make sure that your money is going directly into the local economy and strengthening the local community. 

This could be staying in homestays or small, family-run accommodation. You could also check out the local markets, eat at local restaurants or book with small tour operators. 

Waterfall in Heritage Reserve in Mauritius
Waterfall in Heritage Reserve

Final thoughts on ecotourism in Mauritius 

The island nation of Mauritius knows perhaps more than most the value of ecotourism in preserving its fragile ecosystem. Travellers that make sure to support it are guaranteed an authentic and enriching experience. 

The small island in the Indian Ocean is fast becoming a bucket list ecotourism destination for nature lovers, adventurers, foodies and luxury travellers who are mindful of their footprint. 

So, if you’re planning a trip to Mauritius, put your money into initiatives that have a positive impact on the environment and community. 


A Guide to Visiting Sagrada Familia in Barcelona

On your next trip to Spain, there are lots of things you might want to do. Something that you don’t want to miss is a visit to Sagrada Familia basilica. 

Whether you’re religious or not, it’s an architectural masterpiece and famous landmark in the heart of Barcelona that is visited by around 5 million tourists every year. 

But don’t let the prospect of large queues keep you from visiting! If you weren’t convinced before, here’s how why you need to visit Sagrada Familia on your next holiday to Spain.

See also: The Best Tourist Attractions in Barcelona

Sagrada Família, Barcelona Spain
Sagrada Família

The History of Sagrada Familia

While Gaudi is the most famous name behind the Sagrada Familia towers, nine architects have taken on the project since his death, and it’s still incomplete today. 

In case you didn’t know, Gaudi was a dedicated Catholic, and he was notably obsessed with both nature and religion. His plans for the Sagrada Familia towers involved representing the entirety of Catholic history. This project was to become his grandest legacy. 

Despite changing hands, every architect involved has remained true to Gaudi’s original plans from 1883. The original completion date was set for 2026. However, this has been delayed due to the Coronavirus pandemic of 2020 – with no new end date in sight.

Currently, all ticket sales are funding the completion of the project – churches or the government do not back it. So, when you visit Sagrada Familia, you’ll be financing the completion of Gaudi’s famous landmark. 

Private donations are also accepted to build the Sagrada Familia towers further. Whenever it is eventually completed, it will become the tallest church globally.  

Another of the fantastic Sagrada Familia tips is that Gaudi was buried there in 1926, located within the El Carmen Virgin chapel. Despite being incomplete, it’s also a UNESCO World Heritage Site – another amazing fact to tick off your bucket list!

Is visiting the Sagrada Familia towers worth it?

If you’re asking if visiting the Sagrada Familia towers is worth it during your next trip, the answer is a resounding yes!

That’s because the Basilica of the Sagrada Familia was built in 1882. It is a monumental church with ties to the Holy Family and was consecrated by Pope Benedict XVI in 2010.

What’s even more amazing about the Sagrada Familia is that it features breathtaking architecture by Antoni Gaudi, one of the world’s most famous architects. He pioneered a new era of architecture called Catalan modernism, which features free-flowing curves and organic forms. 

You can find nine completed spires, of 18 in the original design, with plans for further completion in the coming years.

See also: Things to Do in Barcelona: Our Barcelona Activity Guide

Visiting Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, Spain
Visiting Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, Spain

Tips for visiting the Sagrada Familia

As this monument is one of the most popular in Spain, and because it’s in the middle of the city of Barcelona, you can expect queues to be extremely long. The best time to visit Sagrada Familia is as early as possible in the morning. 

The Sagrada Familia opens at 9 am when queues are at their shortest. The period between 9 to 11 am is generally less crowded.

However, you may want to get inside the monument for the best photographic opportunities later in the day. For amazing pictures, the best time to visit Sagrada Familia is between 5-6 pm, when the sun sets. 

The sunlight shines through the colourful stained glass at this hour, producing dream-like sights and images. It’s also possible to attend evening Mass at 6 pm, which comes at no charge. Here, visitors must dress and act appropriately.

Some other things to consider include:

  • Length of visit. Most tourists want to know how long to visit Sagrada Familia towers to make the most of their trip. The recommended time is around 2 hours, but you can stay as long as intended. 
  • The price. Sagrada Familia ticket cost is between €33 and up to €99 for an 8-hour guided tour that includes Montserrat.
  • The best time to visit Sagrada Familia. The Sagrada Familia hours of operation are from 9 am till 6 pm every day. Sagrada Familia’s hours of operation for Mass is 6 pm. 
  • Different kinds of tickets. You will need a special ticket to visit the Sagrada Familia towers that include tower access; this is not granted with a basic ticket. 
  • Ticket availability. Make sure to get your tickets in advance, as tickets can sometimes sell out by 5 pm. It’s also an option to buy online tickets to streamline the process. Look for availability and book your tickets below:
  • Extra packages. You may find a higher Sagrada Familia ticket cost for inclusive packages, such as a Sagrada Familia and Park Güell combination tour
  • Guided tours for foreign visitors. There are several guided group tours available in different languages. When you visit Sagrada Familia, the currently available options include English, German, Italian, French, and, of course, Spanish. 
  • Can I get a Sagrada Familia audio guide free? You can find free audio guides online, but these cannot compete with guided tours. 
  • Planning your arrival. You can find public transport links that will take you to visit Sagrada Familia – the L2 or L5 via the metro or one of many dedicated buses, including the 19, 33 and 34. 
  • What to wear. Remember that when you visit Sagrada Familia, it is a holy place of worship. Visitors need to dress appropriately, meaning that tops should cover their shoulders, and shorts/skirts should come mid-thigh. Hats are not allowed at the Sagrada Familia.
  • Navigating the Sagrada Familia. You should download the official app to manage tickets, find audiobooks and more. The app costs €26 from the official website. However, it is possible to visit without downloading the app, too.
Visiting inside Sagrada Familia, Barcelona
Interior of Sagrada Familia cathedral in Barcelona, Spain – depositphotos.com

Summary

We hope we’ve answered the question ‘is visiting the Sagrada Familia towers worth it?’ The answer is yes – it’s great to visit year-round!

You should add Sagrada Familia to your itinerary next time you go to Barcelona. 

Don’t miss out on your chance to visit Sagrada Familia and its massive cultural and historical significance. Whether planning how long to visit Sagrada Familia or finding the Sagrada Familia ticket cost price, we hope our Sagrada Familia tips have made planning much easier for you!

Looking for more things to do in Barcelona? Check out the below posts:


Best Places to Visit in the Dominican Republic

The Dominican Republic: you’ve probably heard of it, maybe heard of the baseball players it has given Major League Baseball. Maybe even been there already, but no matter what you know (or don’t), the Dominican Republic is a place with someone for everyone from solo travelers to those with families. So whether you’re looking for a relaxing beach, a night out in the city or kite boarding in one of the best places on Earth, there are many incredible places to visit in the Dominican Republic.

Before we delve into what you can do in the Dominican Republic, you first need to know when is the best time to visit. The Dominican Republic is a tropical island, located just south of the Tropic of Cancer. This means the summers can be warm and brutally humid, while the winters dip down to the perfect, low-humidity temperatures for enjoying everything it has to offer.

See also: Tips for Travel to the Dominican Republic

The beach is one of the many incredible places to visit in the Dominican Republic.
The beach is one of the many incredible places to visit in the Dominican Republic.

When to visit the Dominican Republic

Summers (verano e infiernosummer and hell) in the Dominican Republic are not as warm as you might expect, with averages reaching around 80-85˚ F (27-29˚ C), but the humidity can reach as much as 90-100% making being outdoors difficult at times. However, you should note that most places to stay will offer air conditioning. As a nation in the Caribbean, the DR is also under Hurricane Watch from June-November and while it has been spared from large hurricanes in recent years, it is something to take into account in your travel planning. All of that said, the months of March – October are the low season in the Dominican. However, prices of accommodations and plane tickets drop off and it’s still a wonderful time to be in the country!

Winters in the Dominican run from approximately November through March when humidity reaches much more manageable levels, while temperatures remain in the low to mid 80’s. This is the ideal time to visit the Dominican, though be warned, it’s also “high” season when prices for accommodations, plane tickets and everything else peak. Yet, you’ll still be able to find great deals on places to see and things to do during the Dominican winter.

Getting around the Dominican Republic

Getting around the Dominican Republic is best done by car. All the major car rental companies are present in the DR and driving there, while intense, can generally be done with ease. When you’re driving in the Dominican, especially in cities, you’ll need to pay attention to motos (people on motorbikes) as they can take over the roadways, especially outside Santo Domingo. You might also have to have a keen eye out for potholes. Leave a major roadway and potholes could end up being the bane of your trip. There are speed limits, which are mostly obeyed by other drivers as are stop lights and signs. If you’re comfortable driving normally, you’ll be plenty comfortable here. 

Best places to visit in the Dominican Republic

Although there are many more places to visit in the Dominican Republic, some of which are more “off the beaten path”, we are focusing here on looking at some of the places in the Dominican Republic that may be better known, or easier to access thanks to having international airports, and giving you some options of things to do outside of the typical beach vacation most people tend to think of the Dominican Republic for. 

Let’s start with Santo Domingo, the first city of the Americas, for those of you who think you can’t see anything “old” on this side of the world.

1. Santo Domingo

Getting to Santo Domingo

Santo Domingo is only second to Punta Cana in airline traffic. Depending on where you are, it may be more or less easy to find a direct, affordable flight, but it’s certainly not impossible. The airport code for Santo Domingo is SDQ. 

Flights to Santo Domingo typically come from the following places: 

From North America

Many of the largest cities on the East Coast of the US, such as New York, Boston, Altanta, and Washington, D.C. offer nonstop flights to Santo Domingo. To get to Santo Domingo from the West Coast, you will need a layover somewhere in the East to hop down. The three largest US-based airlines (Delta, American, United) all offer nonstop flights to Santo Domingo from the East Coast, in addition to some of the major lower-cost airlines (Spirit, JetBlue). 

You can also fly nonstop to Santo Domingo from Toronto, Canada, and Mexico City, through their flagship airlines.

From Central and South America

There are daily nonstop flights from Bogota, Colombia, and Panama City, Panama. Panama is also a great layover option if you’re flying from the West Coast, as it’s only a two hour flight to Santo Domingo from there. 

From Western Europe

You can fly nonstop to Santo Domingo from Madrid, Paris, and Frankfurt. From Europe, however, you have a much greater offer of flights if you fly to Punta Cana instead, which is a two and a half drive to Santo Domingo.  

You can also visit Santo Domingo as part of a Caribbean cruise itinerary. Major cruise lines such as Carnival, Ponant, Norwegian Cruise Line, and Seaborn are stopping at the Santo Domingo Port in some of their itineraries, which allows you, in most cases, at least enough time to visit the Colonial City. As the first city in the Americas, the Colonial City is the crown jewel of Santo Domingo. If you only do one thing in the city, do this.

The Highlight of Santo Domingo: the Zona Colonial

Founded in 1496 by Bartholomew Columbus (Christopher Columbus’ brother), Santo Domingo was the founding capital of the Spanish Empire in the Americas. As such, it boasts many of “the firsts” of its kind in terms of government buildings and infrastructure, including the first fort, the first courthouse, the first hospital, and the first cathedral. The whole Colonial City was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1990. 

Easily walkable despite the cobblestone streets, the Zona Colonial features remarkably preserved examples of Gothic and Renaissance architecture, most notably present in the Catedral Primada de America. 

Start your journey at the Colonial Zone at Plaza España, an open square facing the port, which gives you access to landmarks such as the Alcazar de Colon (the Palace of Diego Columbus), and the Calle Las Damas, where many of these “first of the Americas” buildings are. Give yourself at least a morning to explore and enjoy one of the multiple cafes or restaurants spread across the different streets of the Zone.

The Highlight of Santo Domingo: the Zona Colonial in Dominican Republic
The Highlight of Santo Domingo: the Zona Colonial

A Seasonal Highlight: Winter Baseball

While many, if not most, people don’t visit the Dominican Republic to watch baseball, it is one of the most fun activities you can do while visiting. Baseball is the country’s national sport, something evident by the large number of Dominican players that end up playing professionally. Running from late October to mid-January, the games are held in venues around the country. Tickets are extremely affordable and you’ll have the chance to see some big names from the MLB come down and play winter baseball as well as glimpse future up and coming stars. Unlike games in the US, baseball games here are a bit wild with a vast array of drinks and cheerleaders. That’s right, cheerleaders! All in all, Dominican games are a highlight when visiting the country and if you get the opportunity, it’s one you should take. Weekday games are usually in the evening and weekend games start in the late afternoon. 

Watching baseball in the Dominican Republic is a popular activity for visitors
Watching baseball in the Dominican Republic is a popular activity for visitors

2. Punta Cana

If you are familiar with the Dominican Republic, or have been before, chances are you visited Punta Cana or that came up as an option for your vacation. And while Punta Cana is the prime destination for resort vacations in the Dominican Republic, there’s more to it.

Getting to Punta Cana

Punta Cana is easily the Dominican’s top destination. With the island’s busiest airport (and 2nd busiest in the entire Caribbean), getting there is not difficult. Punta Cana has year-round flights from everywhere in the Western Hemisphere; you might want to arrive from either eastern North America, South America, or Europe. With a new highway built, Punta Cana is also only a short 2.5 hour drive from the capital – Santo Domingo should you choose to rent a car.

What to do in Punta Cana

Punta Cana is the Dominican’s top destination, boasting many of the best activities and accommodations on the entire island and possibly in the entire Caribbean. Punta Cana boasts all-inclusive hotels as well as themed hotels, such as the Nickelodeon Resort, where everything, from the rooms to the restaurants and rides, is themed after some of Nickelodeon’s most popular shows. You can even stay in a SpongeBob SquarePants-themed pineapple suite, which is a townhouse shaped like a pineapple on the outside. Or the Hard Rock Hotel, which hosts some of the top concerts and shows in the country, including world-famous Cirque du Soleil in recent years. 

Punta Cana also boasts pristine, extensive beaches for every beach taste. Here are some examples: 

  • Macao Beach is the preferred destination for those looking for adventure in Punta Cana, with its buggy rides and surf-friendly waves. 
  • Juanillo Beach in Cap Cana, a postcard-perfect beach of white sand sprinkled with palm trees, is perfect for swimming and water sports like kayaking and Stand Up Paddleboard (SUP), as well as lounging under perfect blue, breezy skies. 
  • Cabeza de Toro is a beach area northeast of Punta Cana where you can go out fishing and snorkeling. This area of the country often sees competitive fishing tournaments, so fishing is some of the best you can do. You can book a fishing, snorkeling, or sailing excursion through most hotels. 

Last but not least, the Ojos Indigenas Reserve in Punta Cana is a welcome respite from the beach-heavy environment Punta Cana can bring across at times. The Ojos Indigenas Reserve includes 12 freshwater lagoons in 1500 acres of land. The reserve includes species endemic to the Dominican Republic and intends to preserve the natural habitat of the area as it was experienced by the Taino people, the indigenous inhabitants of the island. 

Top places to visit in Dominican Republic - Punta Cana
Aerial view from the plane over Punta Cana, Dominican Republic – depositphotos.com

3. Dominican Republic’s North Coast

Next, let’s talk about the original tourist destination of the Dominican Republic: the North Coast. The north coast is home to many of the most popular places to visit in the Dominican Republic.

Getting to the Dominican Republic’s north coast

The North Coast of the Dominican Republic offers a wonderful reprieve from the resorts of Punta Cana and the business of Santo Domingo.  Getting there is as easy as flying into Puerto Plata’s Gregorio Luperón Airport with a number of seasonal flights from the eastern US, Europe and Canada as well as a few year round flights from the US East Coast and Canada. Puerto Plata is about a 10 minute drive from the airport, while Cabarete is about a 20 minute drive.

Puerto Plata

Puerto Plata is the Dominican Republic’s largest city in the north, with a population of around 330,000. Founded in 1502, Puerto Plata offers a whole host of sites to see and do. You can visit Fort San Felipe (completed in 1577) as the main colonial remnant on the North Coast of the DR.

Puerto Plata is a popular place to visit in the Dominican Republic
Puerto Plata is a popular place to visit in the Dominican Republic

You can also take a cable car up Mount Pico Isabel de Torres to see a smaller Christ the Redeemer Statue than Rio, but a taller mountain and take in resplendent views of the city and ocean. If you are there at the end of February to early March, you can also enjoy Carnivál in Puerto Plata when Dominicans go out and celebrate with masks, parades, and much more.

Top attraction in Dominican Republic’s north coast: The 27 Waterfalls

One of the main attractions in the area, however, are the Damajagua Falls or 27 Waterfalls (Veintisiete Charcos), but keep in mind you’ll need to be 12 or older. If visiting in the winter when water levels are higher, you can visit this wonderful natural wonder and enjoy a truly experience. You’ll have a guided tour and two options to make your way up. You hike (quicker and easier) or swim and climb up through deep, gorgeous caverns. You can go up to the first stage (7 waterfalls), 2nd stage (12 waterfalls) or the 3rd and most difficult stage, all 27 waterfalls, but be warned it’s a difficult swim up. Upon reaching your destination, you’ll be able to jump and slide your way back down with falls landing from 5 feet up to around 15-20 foot jumps. If you’re willing and able, the 27 Waterfalls of Damajagua can be one of the highlights of your trip!

When planning, you’ll find a host of accommodations for everyone from boutique hotels to all-inclusive resorts. Options within the city are available for those looking for a more low-key, authentic Dominican stay, but all-inclusive resorts around the city and surrounding area. If you’re unfamiliar, all-inclusives charge by person (not room) and include room, food, and drink. We recommend doing your research as some of the all-inclusive have seen better days.

4. Cabarete

A short drive from Puerto Plata and about 20 minutes from the airport, you can find yourself in Cabarete, a thriving beach town where many young people and snow-birds alike end up. Cabarete is one of the top kiteboarding locations in the world and just west of the town (1-2 miles) you’ll find hundreds of surfers in the winter months.

Cabarete has many great food options including a whole slew of wonderful beach bars. There are fewer resorts available here, but plenty of amazing options in town and next to the beach. Many places available to stay have full kitchens available as well and the grocery store is stocked well enough to satisfy all travelers. Cabarete is also one of, if not the, best spot on the island to find large sweets for boogie boarding and surfing. Like everywhere else in the Dominican Republic, Cabarete has something for everyone: beaches, outdoor activities, and great food and drink. 

Kite surfing in Cabarete, Dominican Republic
Kite surfing in Cabarete, Dominican Republic

5. Samaná Peninsula

Continuing on the Atlantic coast, Samana is a definite change of pace from what we see in the largest resort destinations in the Dominican Republic.

Getting to Samaná Peninsula

While one of the most beautiful parts of the Dominican Republic, it can also be one of the more difficult to arrive at Samaná does have an airport with a few year round flights (all from Canada – Toronto & Montreal and Europe – Madrid) with seasonal flights from these same places, but Miami in the US. As such, many travelers rent a car and drive. From Santo Domingo it is a 2.5 hour drive on easy going roads. There are several tolls along the way, but the alternative route is not worth avoiding these costs as the roads are far worse and it takes far longer. 

Las Terrenas

Las Terrenas is one the main places you’ll want to visit on the Samaná Peninsula. With a population hovering around 15,000, it has become a go-to spot for expats, especially from France, looking for a more relaxed lifestyle. Despite its size, however, Las Terrenas has plenty to offer for everyone! Like many places to visit in the Dominican Republic, Las Terrenas is surrounded by beautiful beaches. If you’re staying in the city, the beaches are just a short walk away. Playa Las Terrenas and Punta Pops are right there and provide plenty of shade with crystal clear blue waters. Unlike other places in the Dominican Republic, the beaches here are going to be far less crowded as Las Terrenas provides a quieter time (though still with a great nightlife, more on that later!).

If you’re staying outside the city, the beaches are not nearly as vast, but are even more peaceful with plenty of places to relax and enjoy the warm waters, whether its Playa Carolina Portillo to the east or Playa Bonita to the west. Playa Cosón, a short drive further east from Playa Bonita, offers wide swaths of gorgeous golden sand beaches, with towering palms. It is also as isolated a beach as you may ever find. 

Las Terrenas in Dominican Republic
Las Terrenas in Dominican Republic

While Las Terrenas is not as lively as say Cabarete or Punta Cana, it still offers an exciting nightlife. A row of restaurants and bars along the waterfront in downtown Las Terrenas offers a slew of places to go for families and singles alike. As with the beaches, just outside the city to the East and West, many small bars and restaurants also exist, many as part of hotels for those looking for a quieter night out.

Final thoughts

This is, by no means, an exhaustive travel guide on the Dominican Republic. Hopefully, it gives you some ideas for your next vacation. Thanks to its natural beauty and rich history, the Dominican Republic is a prime Caribbean destination for all travelers. Ready to go?


Best Bora Bora Overwater Bungalows

Bora Bora is one of the most popular island destinations in the world. 

This fantastic place in French Polynesia (also known as Tahiti) is a popular honeymoon and holiday destination – and we can understand why! This small island features Bora Bora huts on the water unique to the island. You can wake up to the ocean right beside you, complete with cerulean seas, island huts and clear skies.

Want to find the best Bora Bora overwater bungalow to visit for your next vacation? We don’t blame you!

See also: Tahiti vs Bora Bora: Which Island is Ideal for a Honeymoon?

The best overwater bungalows in Bora Bora, French Polynesia
The best overwater bungalows in Bora Bora, French Polynesia

Best Bora Bora overwater bungalows

Here’s our list of the best overwater bungalows in Bora Bora in no specific order.

The Black Pearl 

Are you looking for a private Bora Bora overwater bungalow that you can enjoy any time? The Black Pearl is an excellent choice if you’re looking for Bora Bora huts that offer a luxurious stay and include full amenities on the water. 

This lodging is a privately owned overwater bungalow that overlooks the lagoon and offers air conditioning and simple swimming access. 

You can expect a modern kitchen, spacious bedroom, clean bathroom, large outside deck and even a barbecue for the perfect summer cooking. You’ll also enjoy a private dock where you can swim and enjoy an outdoor shower. 

Book your stay at The Black Pearl

The Black Pearl overwater bungalow in Bora Bora
The Black Pearl overwater bungalow in Bora Bora

InterContinental Bora Bora Le Moana Resort

Perhaps you are looking for a Bora Bora overwater bungalow that offers a hotel-like atmosphere? The InterContinental Le Moana Resort in Bora Bora offers the best Bora Bora huts on the water, with various bungalow rooms on offer. 

It features a private beach, shared swimming pool, restaurants, room service, and more. There’s a good reason that this four-star hotel is popular! 

Previous guests enjoyed the tasty breakfasts, unique Bora Bora bungalows and views, central location on the island and friendly staff.

Book your stay at InterContinental Bora Bora Le Moana Resort

InterContinental Bora Bora Le Moana Resort, an IHG Hotel
InterContinental Bora Bora Le Moana Resort, an IHG Hotel

The St Regis Bora Bora Resort

You may be looking for the best overwater bungalows in Bora Bora for a honeymoon or similar romantic getaway. Then, you’ll enjoy the luxury of the St Regis Bora Bora Resort, a five-star experience with some of the best views on the island.

You can book from many deluxe Bora Bora overwater bungalow villas at this magnificent resort. Each villa looks toward the main island and has a private bedroom, lounge and bathroom, complete with glass viewing panels throughout the structure. 

You will find tasteful, modern finishes designed for comfort and an on-site spa, sun terrace, live music, restaurant, hot tubs, and a fitness centre. 

This place is truly one of the most luxurious Bora Bora bungalows you could imagine – and it is also one of the priciest lodgings on the island. 

Book your stay at St Regis Bora Bora Resort

The St Regis Bora Bora Resort
The St Regis Bora Bora Resort

Conrad Bora Bora Nui

Sticking to the theme of the best overwater bungalows in Bora Bora is the Conrad Bora Bora Nui. This Hilton-owned hotel boasts a five-star rating and different sizes of Bora Bora huts on the water. It features a clean lobby, outdoor swimming pool, hotel restaurant and bar, relaxing spa, fitness centre and dedicated kids area.

Guests enjoy the Conrad Bora Bora Nui for its modern finishes, exceptional service and stunning views. 

You’ll want to book here in advance, as it is extremely popular with families, couples and solo travellers.

Book your stay at Conrad Bora Bora Nui

Conrad Bora Bora Nui luxury overwater bungalow
Conrad Bora Bora Nui

OVERWATER BUNGALOW N ° 3

This fantastic private Bora Bora overwater bungalow is a 1-bed, 1-bath home that sits on stilts to offer a truly spectacular panoramic view of the island. 

It’s also stated that famous Hollywood actor Jack Nicholson once owned this bungalow. It’s located in the north of the island and is a quiet residential block with a small beach. There are only 5 Bora Bora huts in this little area, so it is pretty secluded and private compared to some of the hotel offerings.

Other guests gave this bungalow a perfect score, describing it as ‘literal paradise’, complete with kayaking facilities, a well-supplied house and masseuse available for proper relaxation. 

Book your stay at Overwater Bungalow No 3

Private overwater bungalow in Bora Bora
Private overwater bungalow in Bora Bora

Gorgeous Over Water Bungalow in Bora Bora

If you are looking for an exclusive Bora Bora overwater bungalow, look no further than this. 

Previous owners of similar Bora Bora huts on the water include Jack Nicholson (as previously mentioned) and renowned actor Marlon Brando. 

This home is a large bungalow with two bedrooms, two bathrooms, and lagoon and mountain views. This fantastic bungalow offers privacy, making it perfect for couples or families. It also provides air conditioning, a full modern kitchen, a large living room and beach access. 

This location is one of the Bora Bora huts perfect for snorkelling, swimming and kayaking in the waters. 

Book this exclusive bungalow

exclusive Bora Bora overwater bungalow
exclusive Bora Bora overwater bungalow

Budget stays – Royal Bora Bora

Are you on a budget but are still dying to visit Bora Bora? We’ve found one of the best Bora Bora huts for those looking to save money on accommodation. 

Royal Bora Bora is a three-star hotel that offers a private beach, restaurant, swimming pool and fitness centre. There are also standard hotel rooms available. 

Please note that this is not one of the exclusive Bora Bora huts on the water. However, it will let you experience tropical paradise at a fraction of the cost of typical Bora Bora overwater bungalows. 

Book your stay at Royal Bora Bora

Royal Bora Bora
Royal Bora Bora

Other pocket-friendly options you might consider are Lokai House or Sunset Hill Lodge. You probably will not have the best overwater bungalows in Bora Bora at these places. But you may likely be able to spend less money while still having a fabulous holiday. 

These smaller lodges offer apartment-style accommodation – so don’t expect Bora Bora bungalows over the water. Young adults, students and solo travellers on a budget may prefer these cheaper options for Bora Bora accommodation. 

Enjoy the magical experience of Bora Bora

The magic of staying in one of many Bora Bora bungalows is hard to beat. You can expect sweeping ocean views, modern furnishings, an accessible beach and ocean access, water activities and more. 

Whether you need an excellent honeymoon location, want to visit with friends and family, or want to decompress with an island paradise, Bora Bora huts are a great choice when deciding on your next vacation spot.