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?


Reasons to Visit Netherlands in the Spring

Are you looking for a European escape in the spring? Look no further than the Netherlands in the spring! 

You can expect Netherlands spring flowers to bloom, as well as cycling tours, new sun rays, cheese markets and King’s Day, the national holiday on 27 April.

And what could possibly be better than visiting an Amsterdam tulip festival in full bloom?

Related read: A Weekend in Amsterdam: Places to See

Here’s everything you need to know about visiting to the Netherlands in the spring. 

Holland tulip fields 

Seeing fields of blooming flowers during spring in Holland might be on your bucket list!

If so, you can expect to find the Netherlands spring flowers from mid-March to mid-May. You’ll spot crocus, daffodil and hyacinth flowers. Finally, the Holland tulip fields reveal themselves from mid-April until early May. 

When travelling to the Netherlands, it’s definitely worth seeing the tulips in April. You will find massive fields filled with beautiful colours all over.

Tulip fields in the Netherlands in Spring
Windmill with tulip field in Holland – depositphotos.com

Where can I see the Netherlands’ spring flowers?

Many places around the country will give you the chance to see Netherlands spring flowers.

Flevoland 

A large majority of the Holland tulip fields are located in the province of Flevoland, to the east of Amsterdam. Flevoland boasts over 5000 hectares of tulips, many different flower festivals and other great activities every year when spring in Holland comes around. 

Many gardens in this region will allow visitors year-round. This is one of the country’s significant flower-producing areas.  

Keukenhof 

If you want to see the largest Holland tulip fields, then this is the place for you. Keukenhof is the world’s most extensive flower exhibition, and it is famous for its unique tulips of all colours.  

It’s known as the main Amsterdam tulip festival, as it is only 40 minutes from Amsterdam and 15 minutes from Leiden. At the Keukenhof, you can find over 7 million blooming flowers on display. Keukenhof is open from 24 March – 15 May 2022, from 8:00 AM until 7:30 PM. 

Get skip-the-line tickets before you go! Or join one of the below Keukenhof tours:

Keukenhof Gardens, Lisse, Netherlands
Keukenhof Gardens, Lisse, Netherlands – depositphotos.com

Kop van Noord-Holland 

Another great place to see Netherlands spring flowers is the Kop van Noord-Holland area in the North of the Netherlands. This region is between Petten, Den Helder, Nieuwe Niedorp and Wieringerwerf – and is totally unique compared to other cities in the country. 

It offers the largest single-bulb flower field ever while surrounded by the northern coast. There are many seaside towns to visit along the North Sea coast while you’re here. 

The Kop van Noord-Holland tour starts in Amsterdam, and you can expect to see a rural area full of Holland tulip fields, windmills and coastal dunes. You will find massive rows of bright flowers blooming to signal the beginning of spring in Holland. 

Other parts of the country that offer spring flowers are the fields along with The Hague and Leiden, all the way to Alkmaar in the northern part of the country. There are plenty of great places to see flowers when visiting the Netherlands in the spring!

Other things to do while visiting the Netherlands in the spring

Aside from looking at the Amsterdam tulip festival, there are plenty of other things to do during Spring in Holland.

If you enjoy walking, cycling, hiking or having a more lazy day, then this is what you might expect from the Netherlands in the spring.

Related read: The Most Charming Day Trips from Amsterdam

Here’s what you can do:

  1. Visit an Amusement Park. Spring in Holland offers the perfect sunny weather to do this. There are plenty of different amusement parks all over the country, including Efteling, Duinrell, Madurodam and Toverland. 
  1. Take a boat ride down the canal. The Netherlands in the spring is perfect for boat tours! Boating is big here, and you can easily find boats to rent. Spring in Holland is the ideal time to enjoy a calm trip down the canals of Amsterdam. 

Related tour: Amsterdam: City Canal Cruise

  1. Visit one of many windmills. This is about as traditional as it gets! Two of the most popular windmills are located at Kinderdijk and Zaanse Schans. It’s a great place to see the traditions of the Netherlands in spring, complete with a beer or warm drink.

Related tour: Amsterdam: Volendam, Edam, & Zaanse Schans Day Trip

  1. Explore at an art market. In early March, one of Amsterdam’s most important art markets reopens for the year. You’ll find many ceramics, sculptures, paintings, and drawings by Dutch and international artists at Amsterdam’s open-air Spui Art Market. Many modern galleries are located throughout Amsterdam if you prefer to browse quietly with a larger crowd. 
  1. Discover Vondelpark. Vondelpark is one of the most popular parks globally, with millions of visitors every year. This park is around 47 acres and includes food facilities, an open-air theatre and a playground within its facilities. It’s an excellent place for families to visit when coming to the Netherlands in the spring. 
  1. Go to the IJ-Hallen. If you’re a fan of thrifting, you will love the IJ-Hallen, one of the biggest flea markets ever. You can find many bargains here, and it’s open for one weekend per month. Most of the vendors are artisans with a massive variety of items, from jeans to homeware and rare vinyl records. 
  1. Celebrate King’s Day. If you happen to be in the country on 27 April, you can’t skip King’s Day celebrations! It’s a full day that takes over Amsterdam, and you’ll find everyone dressed in orange on the streets while they drink, party and have fun all day. It offers a truly unique atmosphere that you will love. 
Celebrating King's Day in Holland
Celebrating King’s Day in Holland

Ready for Spring in the Netherlands?

There are so many things to do when enjoying Spring in Holland. 

Fancy an Amsterdam tulip festival, Netherlands spring flowers and festivals throughout the country? Want to simply walk in the city and enjoy the many windmills and parks? Regardless of your choice, we’re sure there is something you will love when you visit.

Whether you’re there to discover the Holland tulip fields or cycle throughout Amsterdam, we hope you enjoy visiting the Netherlands in the spring! This country has so much to offer when the weather starts to warm up after a cold winter.


Barcelona in January: Why it’s the Best Month to Visit

Although Barcelona in January may not be as much of a hot-weather destination, it still provides blue skies and is one of the lushest seasons to visit. In January, you will find that the city is a lot quieter, meaning you get to enjoy the tourist retreats in their quiet season and experience Barcelona like a local rather than a tourist.

You will find that everything is a bit cheaper too, from your flights to general travel around the city, to your accommodation, shopping sales, and even deals across restaurants. 

If you’d prefer to visit in December, check out our guide on celebrating Christmas in Barcelona like a local.

January weather in Barcelona

The January weather in Barcelona is always going to be better than that of the UK. The temperature in January averages at about 16ºC during the day, usually with the sun shining bright. The temp usually only drops to around 10ºC at night, meaning you will be sorted with one warm jacket and a few jumpers! Rain is unlikely however, with an average of only five days of rain during January. 

January weather in Barcelona
January weather in Barcelona

Things to do in Barcelona in January

Sightseeing 

Check out the main tourist attractions in Barcelona that you may be too busy to view in the coming months. Barcelona hosts some of the most incredible architectural structures, designed by some of the most famous architects in the world, such as Gaudí. 

The Sagrada Familia 

This is a must, one of the most famous tourist attractions in Barcelona and the world. Incredible on the inside as it is the outside, with over four million tourists coming to see this annually you have to see this place for yourself. 

Book your skip-the-line ticket online before you go!

The Sagrada Familia in Barcelona
The Sagrada Familia in Barcelona

Park Güell 

Another of Gaudí’s works, this vibrant mosaic park is another must- see. It is surrounded by a beautiful lush green environment making it the perfect place for a day visit or to roam around for a few hours. 

Book your entrance ticket online before you go!

 Park Güell in Barcelona
Park Güell in Barcelona

Casa Batlló

This is another beautiful piece of Gaudí, found down the passeig de Gracia, with a bone like facade. Book this immersive 10D experience of Casa Batllo.

Visiting Casa Batlló in Barcelona in January
Casa Batlló

Casa Vicens

Casa Vicens is an important piece of Gaudí, being his first big architectural work after graduation, initially built as a residential house of Manuel Vicens. It is now a museum used to showcase Gaudí’s work. 

Book your skip-the-line ticket online before you go!

Casa Vicens
Casa Vicens

Palau Guell

Palau Guell is a beautiful mansion designed by Gaudí for Eusebi Guell. Another place which showcases Gaudí’s architectural genius and innovations through creating space with only a small land plot. 

See also: Hidden Gems in Barcelona

Palau Guell
Palau Guell

Museu Picasso de Barcelona 

The Museu Picasso de Barcelona is a must visit whilst it’s quiet. This museum opened in 1963 and showcased the 4,251 works of Picasso’s formative years whilst he resided in Barcelona. This is the perfect place to really learn more about Picasso during his stay in Barcelona. 

Book your skip-the-line ticket online before you go!

Museu Picasso de Barcelona 
Museu Picasso de Barcelona 

Fundació Joan Miró 

This museum is based in Montjuïc and was built by Joan Miró himself. He had a goal of creating a place for contemporary art research. He took a lot of his inspiration from nature, this museum is a great reflection of this. 

See also: The Most Unusual Museums in Barcelona

Fundació Joan Miró in Barcelona in January
Fundació Joan Miró 

Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya

This museum is the national museum of visual arts in Catalonia. The museum is filled with an incredible collection of art from different periods, it was first opened as an exposition to display mediaeval arts and has continued to inspire and teach society about art. 

Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya
Museum National Catalunya – Barcelona, Spain

Attend the Festa Dels Tres Tombs on January 17th

The Tres Tombs Parade is an amazing celebration of the feast of St Anthony Abbot. Saint Anthony Abbot was a Roman Catholic monk and patron Saint of domestic animals, basket weavers, farmers, grave diggers and the sick. The Tres Tombs Parade is a procession which takes three laps of the city and is celebrated to bless those animals of locals. This parade dates back to the 15th century when farmers would take their animals to town to be blessed. 

Attend the Festa Dels Tres Tombs on January 17th
Attend the Festa Dels Tres Tombs on January 17th

Make the most out of the great Barcelona January sales

Whether you’re walking down Portal de l’Angel, Passeig de Gracia, La Diagonal, Carrer de Pelai or Las Rambla, you’ll find yourself coming across hundreds of fantastic bargains. From your high- end branded shops, like DIOR, Chanel, Louis Vuitton, to your more affordable Stradivarius, Zara and Pull & Bear, you’ll find sales everywhere. Even at your local boutiques. 

See also: Where to Find the Best Vintage Shops in Barcelona

January sales in Barcelona
January sales in Barcelona

Visit the Poble Espanyol 

This is an incredible open- air museum which was first designed for the 1929 Barcelona International Exposition. It is a model for the different Spanish architectural styles such as Gothic, Mudéjar, Renaissance and Baroque. 

Visit the Poble Espanyol 
Visit the Poble Espanyol 

Do a food tour through Barcelona 

Barcelona hosts some of the most incredible, mouth watering cuisine. There are countless food markets such as the Mercado de La Boqueria, Mercat de la Terra, and Mercat de la Llibertat which are definitely worth visiting. 

Check out the below foodie tours in Barcelona:

Barcelona also provides you with some of the best restaurants in the world. From traditional Spanish, to Mexican, to Italian, to Japanese and everything in between you will not find yourself hungry during your stay. And why not make the most of things being a bit quieter and getting into some of the most popular restaurants in the city. 

See also: Top Coolest Bars in Barcelona and Cheap Tapas Bars in Barcelona

Food tours in Barcelona in January
Food tours in Barcelona in January

Take a trip to Andorra – Just a few hours north from Barcelona 

Andorra hosts the most beautiful slopes in the Pyrenees, and a perfect relaxing location to escape. Being only a few hours north of Barcelona there are hundreds of companies hosting cheap all- inclusive trips from Barcelona to Andorra, including meals, ski passes, transport and even your equipment. What a fantastic way to end your trip, or extend it? 

See also: The Best Ski Resorts Near Barcelona


The Best Places to Visit in Australia

Visitors who are planning a trip to Australia might feel overwhelmed because there is so much to see. After all, Australia is vast and showcases multiple cultures and subcultures within its borders.

While different travelers have different priorities, some destinations offer something for nearly everyone. Here are the top places to visit in Australia where most visitors will learn a lot and have a great time.

Visit Natvisa for some travel tips and also read our guide on getting an ETA for Australia.

See also Watch Out for Australian Big Things

The top places to visit in Australia

Byron Bay

Byron Bay was at the heart of Australia’s hippie movement. This relaxed beach town is also the easternmost point of Australia and a hub for many adventure activities like skydiving, scuba diving, surfing (it’s listed as one of the best surfing destinations in the world), and more.

More sedate travelers can enjoy excursions like whale watching or activities like yoga. As Byron Bay becomes more and more popular, trendy bars and restaurants are popping up in the area, too.

Byron Bay hosts a number of festivals and exhibitions throughout the year. Travelers can look at the calendar so they know what to expect when they go or when to plan their next trip.

Surfing holidays in Byron Bay, Australia
Surfing in Byron Bay, Australia

Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park

Uluru is the famous red rock that rises, seemingly out of nowhere, in the Australian outback. While nearly everyone has seen a photo of it, it’s worth a visit in person because it’s much grander and more majestic in real life.

Note that climbing Uluru is not permitted, as it is a UNESCO world heritage site and the rock itself is sacred to indigenous cultures in the area. However, there are other rock formations in the area – such as those in the rest of the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, where travelers can do more exploring.

There are also museums in the area that showcase indigenous culture. Humans have inhabited the area for at least 10,000 years and it is both exciting and educational to learn more about them.

See also Why Uluru is the Heart of Australia

Places to visit in Australia
Uluru red rocks in Australia

Sydney

Travelers who love urban life should not leave Australia without visiting Sydney. This vibing metropolis has something for everyone, from an active nightlife to posh restaurants, shopping experiences, whale watching and more.

Visitors who have seen the iconic Sydney opera house can get a tour of it in person, or they can even see an opera there if they come at the right time. Other attractions in the city include Manly Beach, the Federation Cliff Walk, the Royal Botanic Gardens, Bondi Beach, Paddington Markets, Taronga Zoo, Darling Harbor, Sydney Harbour Islands and more.

The most daring travelers will want to take a guided climb of the harbor bridge. Strapped into a harness, they will follow a guide up the side of the bridge for a breathtaking view of the entire city. It’s an experience no visitor will ever, ever forget.

See also A Self-Guided Walking Tour in Sydney

Sydney Harbour, Australia
Sydney Harbour, Australia

The Gold Coast

While it is enough of a tourist trap that some publications don’t suggest going there at all, the Gold Coast has a certain appeal. It is something like Las Vegas in the United States, complete with glitz and glam, and it even has casinos.

The truth is, the Gold Coast hosts some of the best beaches (and beach weather!) in Australia. It also has nightclubs, bars, and enough theme parks for any palate.

People who don’t like everything shiny should head to nearby Springbrook National Park for a serious rainforest experience, or visit Mount Tamborine to taste wine and cheese and see the work of artisans and craftspeople. There are also plenty of great places to visit near the Gold Coast.

How to apply for an ETA for Australia
Aerial view of Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia

Alice Springs

Travelers who want a real experience of the Australian outback should visit Alice Springs. It’s 900 miles away from anything else and is a great place to learn about aboriginal history, the settlement of Australia, and more.

Alice Springs offers some odd events, like an annual “regatta” that takes place in a sandy wash close to town. There’s always something going on and, even when it’s a little strange, it’s also quite a bit of fun.

Travelers who want to explore other places in the outback, like King’s Canyon or Uluru, can use Alice Springs as their base camp and head out from there. They can set up everything from camel treks to dinner with Crocodile Dundee, so there’s something for everyone!

Places to visit in Australia
Alice Springs

Port Douglas, the Daintree Rainforest, and the Great Barrier Reef

Port Douglas is a tiny village by the sea that is worth visiting on it’s own just to get away from it all. While some people choose Cairns because it’s bigger, Port Douglas makes a great hub for exploring this area.

Both the Daintree Rainforest and the Great Barrier Reef are UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The reef is the largest one in the world, and offers superb opportunities for snorkeling, scuba diving, and more. Protecting the reef is key, as no one wants it to disappear.

The Daintree Rainforest is an ancient ecosystem that has been preserved through careful planning and conservation. Visitors can go hiking, paddleboarding, zip lining, and more, all through curated experiences that also help preserve the land. Beyond that, the Rainforest is home to Cape Tribulation, considered a top white-sand beach in Australia.

Daintree Rainforest in Australia
Daintree Rainforest

Tasmania

Beyond its allure as a separate island from the rest of Australia, Tasmania has a lot to offer travelers. Almost half of it is reserved as National Park or otherwise protected territory, so there’s a lot of natural, open space and many ways to experience it.

From impressive waterfalls to expansive forests and from breathtaking beaches to spectacular crags, the natural wonders in Tasmania can’t be found anywhere else in the world. There’s hiking, biking, and other outdoor activities, all performed in this impressive natural habitat.

Tasmania has culture, too. Hobart is the main city on the island, and it offers unique dining opportunities (like barbeques), distilleries specializing in whiskey and gin, and beer brewed only on the island. The city hosts a number of festivals throughout the year, so there’s always something fun for travelers to do when they’re done exploring in nature.

Places to visit in Australia
Visit Tasmania in Australia

Plan a trip to Australia soon

Visiting Australia is a fun time and, for some travelers, will make their dreams come true. No matter their reason for traveling, they can start planning now to visit Australia soon!

Check out the below posts for more tips and places to visit in Australia:


Top Places to Visit in Belgrade, Serbia

Over the past few years the capital of Serbia, Belgrade, has become increasingly popular with visitors who want to get a real taste of the Balkans.

Unfortunately there are not many guide books which cover this amazing city which makes it a bit difficult to plan a trip in advance and know which places to visit in Belgrade.

Over the past five years I have spent quite a few months in Belgrade and if I had to come up with the five best things to check out for a first time visitor it would look something like this:

Places to visit in Belgrade, Serbia
View of Belgrade city from Danube river – depositphotos.com

Places to visit in Belgrade

Here are the best types of places to visit in Belgrade!

A Café

Belgraders love going for a coffee. You will find cafés on every corner and they are always packed with people. “Going for a coffee” can easily mean sitting around for a few hours, chatting with friends, watching passers-by and being watched.

Check out the various places on the central pedestrian Knez Mihailova street, the beautiful art-deco Hotel Moskva (Terazije 20), the distinctly 19th century “Ruski Car” (Obilicev venac 29), or the alternative “Centrala” (ul. Simina 6).

Places to visit in Belgrade, Serbia
Old Town Central Street in Belgrade – depositphotos.com

A Fast Food Place

Serbians love meat and they love their fast food places. Once you have tasted a typical Balkan burger you will never want to go back to the likes of McDonald’s.

Try a “gurmanska pljeskavica” (beef patty with cubes of bacon and cheese worked in); there’s nothing better than that after a night out. Recommended places include “Loki” (corner of ul. Kralja Petra and ul. Gospodar Jovanova), “Sis” (ul. Goce Delceva 27), and “Stepin Vajat” (ul. Vojvode Stepe 2I).

A Pub

Belgrade is renowned for its nightlife and what better way to start your night out than with a cool beer or a nice cocktail. Streets like Obilicev venac or Strahinica bana offer plenty of bars and pubs. The latter is dubbed “Silicone Valley” for the high number of silicone-enhanced goods on display at night.

If you’re looking for something a bit more hidden, try to find “Klub Svetskih Putnika” (also known as “The Federal Association of Globe Trotters”; bul. Despota Stefana 7). For a traditional atmosphere with gypsy music you will have to go to a “kafana“, e.g. “Blek panters” (Ada Ciganlija).

A Club

When you’ve had a few drinks and the night is still young, then you should head out to the clubs. Definitely check out the rafts (“splavovi“) on the Sava and Danube rivers. They are a bit mainstream and a bit more expensive but typical for Belgrade (a popular one includes “Freestyler“; fair warning: do not chat up random girls in these places, this could end badly).

If you’re looking for a more alternative crowd check out the clubs in the centre, e.g. “Francuska Sobarica” (ul. Francuska 12), “Siprazje” (ul. Golsvordijeva 13) or “Corba Kafe” (ul. Bra?e Krsmanovi?a 3; good live music).

Note that many of these clubs may be temporarily closed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Something Else

And now that I have talked in length about options for food and drinks, I realize I should probably also recommend something that better fits the word “sight”.

So, when in Belgrade these are the things to see:

  • Kalemegdan Fortress
  • Temple of Saint Sava
  • Saint Marko’s Church
  • Museum of Nikola Tesla
  • House of Flowers/Tito Memorial
  • Ada Ciganlija
  • Palace of Kneginja Lubica

… phew, that’s more than enough for a few days in Belgrade!

For more places to visit in the Balkans, check out these posts:


How to Plan an Unforgettable Visit to the Gorafe Desert

The province of Granada in Spain has two unique features, the Alhambra, one of the very few Muslim palaces in the world and the Geoparque of Granada, an impressive area that shows the history of earth of the last 2,5 million years, including the Gorafe desert.

The Geoparque is a huge area (more than 4700 km2), but the most interesting town and surrounding area is without any doubt Gorafe. There are three sites that you simply cannot miss when visiting.

How to get to the Gorafe desert?

Whether you are staying in Granada, Malaga or Almeria, the easiest – and fastest! – way to go to Gorafe desert is via the A92; there is a direct exit to the town.

Gorafe desert in Grenada, Spain
Gorafe desert in Grenada, Spain

Places to visit in the Gorafe desert

The first place to visit is The Megalithic Constructions Interpretive Centre, an educational center dedicated to the 240 dolmens in Gorafe and life during the Megalithic period. The center is located in the heart of the village and admission is about 3 euros. You can only visit it at noon or at 5pm in the afternoon. The guided visit takes about 3 hours.

Afterward, you should pay a visit to the dolmens themselves in the Megalithic Park, just outside the village. Admission is free! Gorafe has the highest concentration of burial mounds in the whole of Spain.

Megalithic Park in Gorafe
Megalithic Park in Gorafe

The highest part of the park is located on a road called Mirador del Llano de Olivares. If you keep on following this road, you will eventually arrive at the area commonly known as “the Gorafe desert”. Technically, this is not a desert, but rather an impressive series of badlands, in all shapes, sizes and colors. A must-see! Lots of tourists visit this area via a company that organizes guided tours.

The biggest disadvantage is that these tours can be quite expensive. (100 euros and more). The good news is that you can visit these badlands also on your own.

With a bit of luck, you can see these fellows:

Mirador del Llano de Olivares
Mirador del Llano de Olivares

Keep on following the road; a bit further, you can see Gorafe from a different point of view!

Gorafe in Spain
Gorafe in Spain

You are now very close to the badlands. For the most part, you will be driving on a dirt road which is in a quite good condition. Here and there, there are potholes: just use your common sense and drive slowly.

This is the kind of landscape you will see:

After an hour, you will see a very dramatic landscape. It’s called “Los Coloraos” and can be best compared to a small version of the Grand Canyon:

You could continue on the same road, but we strongly advise against this, mainly because the road becomes quite dangerous. It’s better to turn around and drive back to Gorafe.

More practical information for visiting Gorafe

A visit to the three sites will take at least one day. There are several hotels in Gorafe and some of them are located in caves! Check Booking for more information.

Looking for a meal? Don’t forget that in the province of Granada, tapas are free! If you combine them with a racion (big tapa), a bocadillo (sandwich) or a mixed salad, you have a proper meal. If you insist on a restaurant, go for a “menu diario”(usually 3 courses and 1 drink for 10 euros!). We had lunch in the bar opposite the church of the neighboring village of Villanueva de las Torres (big fresh tapas!). Last but not least, during summer, make sure you have plenty of water with you.

There are plenty of other interesting locations:

  • If you can’t have enough of the badlands, check out the villages of Belerda and Fonelas (about 35 kilometers to the southwest of Gorafe);
  • about 50 kilometers to the east, you will find the Embalse de Negratin, a reservoir with turquoise water surrounded by pinkish badlands;
  • Or you can go to Guadix (30 kilometers to the south) and explore its cathedral and cave houses.


Visit Kazakhstan – Where Old Meets New on the Ancient Silk Road

Until twenty years ago Kazakhstan was one of the great unknowns, a relatively undiscovered region of the former USSR. But today, many travelers are excited to visit Kazakhstan.

Located along the ancient Silk Road, this land of vast plains, beautiful mountains, clear lakes and clean rivers was considered basic, unwelcoming and remote to all but a few of the hardiest adventure travelers.

Today, Kazakhstan is an ethnically diverse republic with a unique culture mix on the border between Europe and Asia.

It is prosperous, modern, and chic in places, unspoiled, cultural, and quiet in others. It borders the Caspian Sea, the only inland sea in the world and is famous for its caviar; it is also the nation which gave the world tulips, apples and domesticated horses.

Bol'shoye Almatinskoye Ozero, Almaty in Kazakhstan
Bol’shoye Almatinskoye Ozero, Almaty

History of Kazakhstan

In the past Kazakhstan was broadly divided in two – the area of the settled Silk Road in the south, and communities of nomadic horseback herders who covered the rest of the country.

This situation continued until the early 20th century when the Kazakh people, under Soviet rule, suffered serious hardships.

An estimated 1.5-2 million died of hunger, some people fled to China, whilst others, mainly intellectuals, were repressed by the regime; this is undoubtedly where the image of an unwelcoming and cold land originated. However, in December 1991 Kazakhstan was proclaimed an independent state, and circumstances started to change.

Places to visit in Kazakhstan – Its Towns, Cities & Countryside 

As large as Western Europe and four times the size of Texas, Kazakhstan is totally diverse. North, south east and west, there are opportunities to enjoy everything from five star hotels to traditional Kazakh tent homes – yurts, where guests can learn about local customs, lifestyle and traditions.

There are mountain trekking and wildlife reserves, extreme touring adventures and chances to try out the ancient tradition of hunting with birds of prey. There are also opportunities for those interested in history and culture.

Kazakhstan is eager to attract foreign visitors, so those that take time to visit, are treated with enormous respect and genuine hospitality.

Visit the south of Kazakhstan

The south is rich with ancient history and culture. It is renowned for its medieval architecture, mausoleums and ancient burial mounds, it also the location of Kazakhstan’s equivalent of Cape Canavera — the Baikonur Cosmodrome.

  • Almaty, the city of the apple tree, was the nation’s capital between 1929 and 1998, and is the largest financial and cultural centre in the south. It is one of Kazakhstan’s most beautiful cities situated at the foot of the Zailisky Alatau Mountains, a base for exploring and winter sports. 
  • The Shymbulak ski resort offers exhilarating runs on deep snow between November and April, and during the spring, summer and autumn, there are walking and hiking opportunities through the gorges and foothills as well as chances to relax by crystal clear lakes.
  • The vast steppe of Baikonur is the location of the Baikonur cosmodrome, the largest of its kind in the world. This was where cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin was blasted into space in April 1961 to become the first man to orbit the earth; it is also where the first satellite ‘Sputnik I’ was launched into obit. Until a few years ago tours of the site were not available to foreign visitors, but today everyone can view the launch complex, space shuttle ‘Buran’, Gagarin’s launch site, as well as a small museum which houses photographs of every expedition launched. There are also pieces of Gagarin related memorabilia, including his uniforms and a keepsake of soil from his landing site.

The site is located in a semi arid and unpopulated area with links by road and rail. It is advisable to arrange visits through a specialist tour company such as Country of Tourism Ltd or Kendala Adventures, as permits are in high demand, especially leading up to launches.

Visit Kazakhstan, Almaty
Almaty, Kazakhstan

Places of the Silk Route in Kazakhstan

The most highly populated region of Kazakhstan, Shymkent, is the third most populated city in the country. The city was founded during the 12th century as protection for the town of Sayram, an important stop on the Silk Route 10km to the east, but the town soon grew to become a central market town for trade between the settled people and the nomads.

Two other fine examples of an important towns on the Silk Route are Turkestan (Yassay) and Taraz.

Taraz is more than 2,000 years old and known as the city of merchants. It has ancient archeological monuments such as the fretwork covered 12th century mausoleum of Aishai-Bibi, a UNESCO protected monument, and the unique 16 rib umbrella dome of the 11th century Babadja-Khatun mausoleum, the only one of its kind in Central Asia. Finally is the city of Turkestan, 1500 years old, and the final resting place of the Muslim poet and humanitarian, Hodzha Ahmed Yassavi

Sayram, Kazakhstan
Sayram, Kazakhstan

Visit Western Kazakhstan

Western Kazakhstan is the crossroads between Europe and Asia. The Caspian Sea, the Volga, and the Ural Rivers make it a prime area for hunting, angling, and water sports. Here, it is also possible to witness the second lowest land level on the earth, the Karaghiye Depression; 132 meters below sea level. There are clear springs, beach resorts and canyons where extreme travelers will appreciate rock climbing on striking cliffs.

It is not just southern Kazakhstan that was influential in the Silk Route, the west and the Caspian Sea were also hugely significant. Small settlements – Caravanserais, survived here at Sartash, Ketyk, and Alta. There is also the legendary sacred mountain of Sherkala, where ruins of a fortress belonging to Jochi, eldest son of Genghis Khan, can still be seen.

As well as a thriving beach resort, the area around Aktau is the home to galleries of rock carvings attributed to nomads dating back between the 10th and 2nd centuries BC, and an underground necropolis created by Beket-Ata, the Muslim prophet to whom all creation was open. 

Ustyurt National Biosphere Reserve is a land of desert landscapes, lowlands, plateaus and a haven for rare animals. Ustyurt moufflon, cheetah, jackal, fox, saiga, gazelle, and long spined hedgehog are all found here. As well as the reserve, Ustyurt also features the ruins of ancient settlements and cemeteries on the banks of the Dead Kultuk, which are thought to belong to nomadic tribes from the 4th century BC.

Visit Northern Kazakhstan

Northern Kazakhstan is another region which provides excellent outdoor opportunities such as cycling, boating, and off-roading, as well nature reserves and health resorts.

One of the most popular resorts for both locals and visitors is Borovoye. Known as the Switzerland of Kazakhstan, and just like its namesake, it has a rich variety of restaurants, bars, shops and nightlife. It is a natural oasis with lakes, and unspoiled green forests, camping sites and spa resorts on the lakeside. Visitors looking for a remote experience can cross the small mountainous isthmus to reach Big Chebach Lake, which is a perfect, unhurried wild experience.

The capital of Kazakhstan, Astana, is a cosmopolitan and architectural city. Set on the banks of the Ishim River, the city has everything from opera and ballet to modern architecture such as the Baiterek Tower, the symbol of the city. At the top of the 97 meter tower there is an observation deck with a bird’s eye view for miles around. There is also a restaurant, art gallery, and a large aquarium lower down.

Astana, Kazakhstan
Astana, Kazakhstan

Visit Central Kazakhstan

Central Kazakhstan is a huge and relatively undiscovered region of the country, and location of the unique Blakhash Lake; one of the largest lakes in the world.

Balkhash Lake is the largest undrained reservoir after the Aral and Caspian seas. It is unique because of the different mineral composition of its water in the eastern and western parts, and it’s also a phenomenon because of its fish. There are an incredible amount of fish in the lake; trout, marinka fish, carp, white amur, barb fish, bream, barbel fish, catfish and many others. Every year between 8 and 10 thousand tons of fish are caught here.

The central region is also home to Bektauata Mountain Massif which comprises of bizarrely shaped rocks. In clear weather the massif can be seen for hundreds of kilometers, giving it the nickname ‘the lighthouse of Balkhash’. Daylight penetrates deep into its caves, where cavers explore grottoes and crystal cellars. Over thousands of years the pounding elements have eroded the granite to create fantastic rock formations with names like the Mushroom, the Chest, and the Turtle.

Visit Eastern Kazakhstan

Eastern Kazakhstan is distinguished by the Altai and its wooded foothills, the Irtysh River and lakes; this is the border with China, Mongolia and Russia. The mountain ranges of Rudnyi, Southern Altai, Kalby, and Saur-Tarbagatai play a considerable part of the region’s landscape.

Snow capped Belukha Mountain is the highest mountain in Altai and Siberia. It is the kingdom of ice and snow, with incredible thundering avalanches and clear, sparkling waterfalls. Berkutaul, meaning home of an eagle, is the neighboring mountain and another of the of the Southern Altai’s popular peaks. At 3,373 meters, this area is also home to the endangered Snow Leopard, some of the most illusive animals on the planet.

Markakol Reserve is another land of animals. Siberian stags, ermine, brown bears, elk, foxes, lynx, sable, the rare red wolf and birds such as falcon, grouse, black stork, and herring gull can all be found in the woods. There are attractive rocky mountains covered with greenwoods, fir forests, and sub alpine meadows, rich in flowers and rare medicinal plants.

Kiin-Kerish, which literally translated means proud beauty is a natural city made from tertiary clay; an incredibly beautiful and unique place with distinctive orange, white and red structures. The main feature of Kiin-Kerish is small layers of sand and clay with imprints of plants from its ancient tropical past and the fossils of rhino, crocodile, turtle and salamanders.

Visit Kazakhstan, Belukha Mountain
Belukha Mountain


A Guide to the Best Cities in Italy to Visit

Are you already planning your unforgettable Italy trip?

Combining delicious food, glorious architecture, saturated history, and impressive art heritage, this extraordinary country has it all to make you fall for it from first sight. Thus it’s no surprise that the list of unmissable places in Italy can be simply endless.

For your convenience, below, we created a compilation featuring Italy’s best destinations making an excellent introduction to the region and its dolce vita lifestyle. This should help to make the best out of your Italy trip.

Eternal Rome

Indeed, the expression “all roads lead to Rome” is another confirmation that the heart of the country is a good starting point for any Italy expedition, especially for first-timers.

Attracting travelers from all over the world, this art-laden European metropolis can be easily called an enormous living museum. Among its narrow streets are hidden Renaissance palazzos, Baroque fountains, beautiful chapels, and charming piazzas. As for places worth checking out during your trip, make sure to visit the Roman Forum, the Pantheon, the Trevi Fountain, Saint Peter’s Basilica, and, of course, the iconic Colosseum.

The Colosseum or Favian Amphitheater is an incomparable icon of Rome and a must-see spot where you can find out more about epic gladiator fights, entertaining performances, and other legendary events.

Alluring Venice

With its limitless capacity to enchant, striking Venice is more than just a city. It’s an entire series of 118 tiny islands divided by dozens of canals and connected by over 400 elegant bridges.

Let yourself get lost among the little alleys, shop the stalls that line the streets or stop by the Rialto Market, and, as a highlight, explore lapping waterways on a traditional gondola to see the beauty of the town from another angle. Wondering what else can make your Venice travel experience even better?

Thanks to developed lagoon aquaculture, Venetian cuisine offers a mind-blowing selection of seafood dishes. Believe us, accompanied with bubbly prosecco, these mouth-watering delicacies will provide a total blast of your taste buds!

Antique Florence

Famous worldwide as the cradle of the Renaissance, charming Florence represents a paradise for all passionate art enthusiasts since it encompasses numerous exquisite masterpieces of the era.

Tour the Gallery of the Academy of Florence to see the original “David” by Michelangelo, stroll the library of San Lorenzo, and make sure to pop in Uffizi Gallery, which is home to incredible works by such skilled creators as Caravaggio, Rembrandt, and Leonardo da Vinci.

In addition to high-class museums, this fantastic town is dotted with various historical sites, monumental cathedrals, and glorious palaces, including the white-marble Baptistery, Bargello palace, San Miniato al Monte basilica, and the Medici Chapel.

Tranquil Siena

Situated just 43 miles (70 kilometers in equivalent) south of gorgeous Florence, this wonderful hill town in Tuscany has plenty of things to marvel at. According to ancient legends, Siena is considered to be found by Senius, son of Remus.

When speaking about this lively city, it’s impossible not to mention its main pride, Il Palio, or exciting horse race. This thrilling competition is run around the central piazza two times in summer. Interestingly, you can also see this event in action in the famed James Bond film called Quantum of Solace!

During your stay, save some time to peacefully wander the cobblestone streets, visit the eye-catching Siena Cathedral, and overlook the city from Torre del Mangia, an 85-meter high tower constructed in the 14th century.

Bustling Milan

Being one of the most visited destinations in Northern Italy, the world’s fashion and design capital offers plenty of things to see and do.

As a base for the city’s awesome shopping scene, chic outlets and luxurious boutiques are scattered around the area dictating contemporary fashion trends and attracting everyone with their bright showcases.

Apart from high-quality shopping, think about delving into Milan’s cultural legacy and paying a visit to the city’s remarkable museums and galleries. Witness the grandeur of Milan Duomo, stop by the famous La Scala Theater, traverse the historic Brera district, and pop in the church of Santa Maria delle Grazie to see the grand Leonardo da Vinci’s fresco “The Last Supper.”

Vivid Cinque Terre 

How about visiting not just one, but the whole five towns at once? Nestled in the region of Liguria, the Cinque Terre coast is a UNESCO-listed destination that represents a claster of  Monterosso, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, and Riomaggiore fishing villages.

Each one of the five strikes with its petite colorful buildings, breathtaking sea views, and heart-warming coziness but still having its own unique character.

Apart from offering some of the most dramatic sceneries on the planet, Cinque Terre provides plenty of hiking opportunities. For centuries, the only way to get around the area was on foot! Thus today the local network of mountain trails is heaven for adventurous hikers eager to conquer unoccupied hills and enjoy untouched natural beauty.

To guarantee great comfort for all guests, the paths here differ in complexity and the length of the journey, so you can easily choose the one according to your preferences.

Summing up, miraculous Italy has everything to satisfy even experienced tourists. And apart from choosing the right destination, a well-planned route is a key to having an unforgettable holiday.

To see many-sided Italy at its best, as an option, you can build your travel itinerary with Triptil and make your travel dream come true!

Costa Rica 7 Day Itinerary: Visit the Nicoya Peninsula

Looking to book your next adventure? Or simply want to escape reality?

Look no further than the Nicoya Peninsula, Costa Rica – a standout Central American country.

It thrives on passion for life; perhaps its most appealing attribute, and boasts a vibrant display of jungle and coastline which is home to some of the world’s most diverse wildlife.

And the best part is that you can see it all in one week. 

Limited to seven days ourselves, and on a very tight budget, my sister and I flew into San Jose where we stayed for one night before catching the bus and ferry across to the west coast to Montezuma (on the east side of the peninsula).

This was our first stop on our Costa Rica itinerary.

Costa Rica itinerary

Montezuma

Our week in Costa Rica itinerary started off spending four days in Montezuma.

Where to stay in Montezuma 

Luz en el Cielo-Eco B&B/Hostel. This place is unreal. It costs between $16 – $20USD per night for a shared room, with cooked breakfast included. Not a bad price to pay for a clean hostel in a spectacular location-nestled in the colourful jungle and an arms throw from the beach and town. They also have private dorm rooms and cabanas.

The staff are great- extremely friendly and helpful, the showers are warm, and the hammocks are perfect for monkey and bird spotting.

Book your stay here.

What to see in Montezuma

Montezuma is the epitome of hippie. Just stroll 50 meters down to the main street from your hostel and you’ll see for yourself. It draws a multi-ethnic crowd of an artistic and beach-loving nature. Stalls decorated with hand-made crafts and jewelry line the street, sarongs and artwork are on display, and alfresco-beach style cafes bars and restaurants provide the perfect setting for you to partake in the continuous mellow party.

Costa Rica itinerary, Montezuma
Montezuma in Costa Rica

Montezuma itinerary

Day One: Hiking to waterfalls

You can’t visit Montezuma without hiking through the overgrown jungle to an opening where waterfalls tumble into large natural pools of cool, emerald water. There are two large waterfalls – the highest standing at around 14 meters tall, often seen with Tico’s diving from it head first into the water below.

For the sane and safe, though not lacking an adventurous side – a rope swing and smaller jumping rock provide an afternoon’s worth of fun. The easiest way to reach the waterfall is by following the dirt road bypassing town heading south. I do however suggest you take the other path off the beaten track and use the vines to hoist yourself up the steep parts of the jungle. It’s beautiful seeing it this way and the views are spectacular.

Leave yourself a full day for this as you may find yourself wanting to explore beyond the falls. 

Day Two: Day trip to Tortuga Island

Every day a trip to Tortuga Island leaves from Montezuma in the morning, taking you on a 40 minute boat ride across pristine waters to your destination. The boat stops at two large rocks just off the beach.

Here you will discover an incredible underwater world as you snorkel in the warm water before heading onto the main island for a feast of fresh fish, a game or two of volleyball and perhaps a jet-ski or banana boat ride. 

Tortuga Island in Costa Rica
Tortuga Island in Costa Rica

Day Three: Secluded beach day

You may need a helping hand to find this one but its worth seeing if you can. A 15 minute walk north along the rocky beach will take you away from the populated main beach to a stunning, secluded spot enclosed by jungle and rocks.

You can spend the day soaking up the sun, rolling on the sleepy waves in the sea, and trekking a short way up the fresh water stream to a small opening for natural mud-masks and a massage under a waterfall.

This is the perfect spot to unwind, relax, read your book or just zone out and forget about your worries.

Day Four: Zip-lining through the treetops 

Spend your last day in Montezuma zip-lining through treetops of jungles alongside incredible wildlife on a canopy tour. This is awesome. Zip lining is like going on a flying fox, but you go faster, longer and you’re harnessed up. A perfect way to finish up your Montezuma experience.

Montezuma in Costa Rica
Montezuma in Costa Rica

Santa Teresa

Our next stop on our Costa Rica itinerary was Santa Teresa which sits on the west side of the peninsula. 

Where to stay in Santa Teresa

Santa Teresa is a long stretch of coastline, lined with restaurants, bars, small stores and jungle. It’s a surf-lover’s, yoga fanatic’s, photography guru’s utopia. There are so many hostels to choose from, though we chose to stay up the Northern end away from the main part of town which was perfect for us as we wanted our last couple of days to be peaceful.

Search for accommodation in Santa Teresa here.

What to see in Santa Teresa

It’s impossible to describe Santa Teresa in one word. It truly is an absolute paradise. Spend your morning and evenings walking 40 minutes to and from the other end of ‘town’ either along the beach or dirt road and you will stumble across some hidden treasures.

The beauty of Santa Teresa is that although it is defined by a long stretch of coastline, it is broken up into separate beaches by rocks and vibrant green trees, perfect if you want to steer clear of the main crowds.

Costa Rica Itinerary, Santa Teresa
Santa Teresa in Costa Rica

Santa Teresa itinerary

Day Five: Walk through the town & beach

I would highly recommend you walk along the stretch of dirt road to town ducking into the many small stores they have full of sarongs, swimwear, jewelry, crafts and surf gear.

Stop for lunch at one of the many “soda’s” along the way which will set you back around $4USD depending on your café of choice.

There’s not much to see in the main part of town, so you may not want to spend your time looking around there. Instead I suggest you walk back along the beach and pick a beach front bar to settle on a hammock in and sip the afternoon away with a mojito in hand as you watch the sun set over the surfers.

Day Six: Hit the waves

Grab a surfboard from your closest hire shop and take to the waves. Though if you haven’t surfed before or if you are a beginner, make sure you don’t go alone as the currents are strong and rips are common in parts.

If you are experienced, this is an absolute haven for you as Santa Teresa is home to world-class waves, and many who have simply visited on a surfing holiday in the past have ended up staying. 

Book a surfing lesson in Santa Teresa here.

Day Seven: Relax on the beach

Spend your last day in paradise letting it unwind you, relax you and mellow out somewhere on the beach. Don’t forget your camera as the setting is perfect to get the perfect photo.

Pick a restaurant at night (Rocamar restaurant has a laidback vibe with beanbags and hammocks to laze about on), and let the music transform you into a state of bliss.

Exploring more of Costa Rica? Here’s a few tips:


Cost Rica 7 Day Itinerary: Visit the Nicoya Peninsula

Looking to book your next adventure? Or simply want to escape reality?

Look no further than the Nicoya Peninsula, Costa Rica – a standout Central American country.

It thrives on passion for life; perhaps its most appealing attribute, and boasts a vibrant display of jungle and coastline which is home to some of the world’s most diverse wildlife.

And the best part is that you can see it all in one week. 

Limited to seven days ourselves, and on a very tight budget, my sister and I flew into San Jose where we stayed for one night before catching the bus and ferry across to the west coast to Montezuma (on the east side of the peninsula).

This was our first stop on our Costa Rica itinerary.

Costa Rica itinerary

Montezuma

Our week in Costa Rica itinerary started off spending four days in Montezuma.

Where to stay in Montezuma 

Luz en el Cielo-Eco B&B/Hostel. This place is unreal. It costs between $16 – $20USD per night for a shared room, with cooked breakfast included. Not a bad price to pay for a clean hostel in a spectacular location-nestled in the colourful jungle and an arms throw from the beach and town. They also have private dorm rooms and cabanas.

The staff are great- extremely friendly and helpful, the showers are warm, and the hammocks are perfect for monkey and bird spotting.

Book your stay here.

What to see in Montezuma

Montezuma is the epitome of hippie. Just stroll 50 meters down to the main street from your hostel and you’ll see for yourself. It draws a multi-ethnic crowd of an artistic and beach-loving nature. Stalls decorated with hand-made crafts and jewelry line the street, sarongs and artwork are on display, and alfresco-beach style cafes bars and restaurants provide the perfect setting for you to partake in the continuous mellow party.

Costa Rica itinerary, Montezuma
Montezuma in Costa Rica

Montezuma itinerary

Day One: Hiking to waterfalls

You can’t visit Montezuma without hiking through the overgrown jungle to an opening where waterfalls tumble into large natural pools of cool, emerald water. There are two large waterfalls – the highest standing at around 14 meters tall, often seen with Tico’s diving from it head first into the water below.

For the sane and safe, though not lacking an adventurous side – a rope swing and smaller jumping rock provide an afternoon’s worth of fun. The easiest way to reach the waterfall is by following the dirt road bypassing town heading south. I do however suggest you take the other path off the beaten track and use the vines to hoist yourself up the steep parts of the jungle. It’s beautiful seeing it this way and the views are spectacular.

Leave yourself a full day for this as you may find yourself wanting to explore beyond the falls. 

Day Two: Day trip to Tortuga Island

Every day a trip to Tortuga Island leaves from Montezuma in the morning, taking you on a 40 minute boat ride across pristine waters to your destination. The boat stops at two large rocks just off the beach.

Here you will discover an incredible underwater world as you snorkel in the warm water before heading onto the main island for a feast of fresh fish, a game or two of volleyball and perhaps a jet-ski or banana boat ride. 

Tortuga Island in Costa Rica
Tortuga Island in Costa Rica

Day Three: Secluded beach day

You may need a helping hand to find this one but its worth seeing if you can. A 15 minute walk north along the rocky beach will take you away from the populated main beach to a stunning, secluded spot enclosed by jungle and rocks.

You can spend the day soaking up the sun, rolling on the sleepy waves in the sea, and trekking a short way up the fresh water stream to a small opening for natural mud-masks and a massage under a waterfall.

This is the perfect spot to unwind, relax, read your book or just zone out and forget about your worries.

Day Four: Zip-lining through the treetops 

Spend your last day in Montezuma zip-lining through treetops of jungles alongside incredible wildlife on a canopy tour. This is awesome. Zip lining is like going on a flying fox, but you go faster, longer and you’re harnessed up. A perfect way to finish up your Montezuma experience.

Montezuma in Costa Rica
Montezuma in Costa Rica

Santa Teresa

Our next stop on our Costa Rica itinerary was Santa Teresa which sits on the west side of the peninsula. 

Where to stay in Santa Teresa

Santa Teresa is a long stretch of coastline, lined with restaurants, bars, small stores and jungle. It’s a surf-lover’s, yoga fanatic’s, photography guru’s utopia. There are so many hostels to choose from, though we chose to stay up the Northern end away from the main part of town which was perfect for us as we wanted our last couple of days to be peaceful.

Search for accommodation in Santa Teresa here.

What to see in Santa Teresa

It’s impossible to describe Santa Teresa in one word. It truly is an absolute paradise. Spend your morning and evenings walking 40 minutes to and from the other end of ‘town’ either along the beach or dirt road and you will stumble across some hidden treasures.

The beauty of Santa Teresa is that although it is defined by a long stretch of coastline, it is broken up into separate beaches by rocks and vibrant green trees, perfect if you want to steer clear of the main crowds.

Costa Rica Itinerary, Santa Teresa
Santa Teresa in Costa Rica

Santa Teresa itinerary

Day Five: Walk through the town & beach

I would highly recommend you walk along the stretch of dirt road to town ducking into the many small stores they have full of sarongs, swimwear, jewelry, crafts and surf gear.

Stop for lunch at one of the many “soda’s” along the way which will set you back around $4USD depending on your café of choice.

There’s not much to see in the main part of town, so you may not want to spend your time looking around there. Instead I suggest you walk back along the beach and pick a beach front bar to settle on a hammock in and sip the afternoon away with a mojito in hand as you watch the sun set over the surfers.

Day Six: Hit the waves

Grab a surfboard from your closest hire shop and take to the waves. Though if you haven’t surfed before or if you are a beginner, make sure you don’t go alone as the currents are strong and rips are common in parts.

If you are experienced, this is an absolute haven for you as Santa Teresa is home to world-class waves, and many who have simply visited on a surfing holiday in the past have ended up staying. 

Book a surfing lesson in Santa Teresa here.

Day Seven: Relax on the beach

Spend your last day in paradise letting it unwind you, relax you and mellow out somewhere on the beach. Don’t forget your camera as the setting is perfect to get the perfect photo.

Pick a restaurant at night (Rocamar restaurant has a laidback vibe with beanbags and hammocks to laze about on), and let the music transform you into a state of bliss.

Exploring more of Costa Rica? Here’s a few tips: