Love & Road By Natalie and Rob is all about their passion for travel, for writing and for life. They quit their jobs and sold their stuff to pursue a dream of travelling the world. They travel the globe together finding the most romantic destinations, sports and travel activities and useful travel tips for their readers.
Siargao is one of the Philippines’ last pristine island and beach getaways, but don’t call Siargao “the next Boracay” within earshot of locals. Siargao’s locals and long-timers like it the way it is, thank you very much: a laid-back island stop where life revolves around General Luna Town on the east coast and its surfing spots facing the Pacific Ocean. A place where expats, locals, and assorted Siargao lifers have come together to build a caring community.
As locals like to say, the less Siargao turns out like overpopulated, overpartied, overpolluted Boracay, the better! So to come along this unique way of life our Siargao travel guide has more than practical information, we gathered some local travel tips. And when the locals’ share their favorite spots, things to do in Siargao, where to stay and where to eat, you know it gonna be good.
Siargao Travel Guide: Then and Now
“When I first visited in 2005, there was nothing, no resorts in Siargao,” recalls Elaine Abonal, a Manila-born transplant who now runs Surfista Travels from General Luna Town. “It was cool because you got to know all the locals, everybody hung out in the same place, so you get to know everyone – even if you come back the year after, people still remember you.”
A popular movie and several surf competitions later, the scene has definitely changed. “There’re so much more tourists, there are more resorts, more surf schools in Siargao,” Elaine tells us. The hardcore surfing crowd has been replaced, she says, by “a whole mix: there’re families, there’re yoga people; other people come here for Christmas because it’s a tropical island. There’s a whole mix of different ages already and some families, more parties, and a lot more tourists that come even if they don’t surf.”
How to get to Siargao Island
Elaine’s old Siargao isn’t completely vanished, though you’ll need to stay a little longer to find the island’s native spirit under the added weight of tourists. Travelers visiting Siargao for the first time mostly arrive now by air. Sayak Airport receives domestic flights from Manila to Siargao and Cebu to Siargao. If you are traveling from outside the Philippines, now it is quite easy to connect flights as there are over 10 flights from Manila to Siargao daily, the same for Cebu to Siargao.
Before the airport opened, Siargao surfers would fly to Surigao Airport on Mindanao Island, then catch the ferry from Surigao to Siargao Dapa Port. This is still available, and the locals’ preferred method to get to Siargao.
Transportation on the island boils down to rented vans for large groups, or the motorcycle taxis called habal-habal. It’s is fair easy to get around Siargao, the former costs PHP 800 for a shared ride to or from the airport, or upwards of PHP 2000 for a chartered ride; the latter costs about PHP 20-100 per ride, depending on the distance.
Most Siargao tourist spots and establishments stand within walking/boating distance of Siargao surf spots on the east coast, in General Luna town, some 30-40 minutes’ van ride from the airport. If there’s one place that exemplifies Siargao’s scene, it’s the place that started it all, the ferocious surf break known as Cloud 9.
Discovered by a surfer fleeing from Balinese authorities – and subsequently named after a local chocolate bar beloved by visiting surfers – Cloud 9 quickly earned a following thanks to perfect barrels experienced by anyone brave enough to take on its forceful waves and sharp reef bottom. A gangway leads from the beach to a surfing tower where spectators assemble to watch surfers enjoy Cloud 9’s right-hand waves.
Where to Stay in Siargao Island? Resorts, hotels or hostels?
The first Siargao beach resorts sprouted up next to the Cloud 9 surf break – in the early days, Elaine recalls, “there were only two places to go: either somewhere super expensive, which was Sagana, or super cheap, which was Ocean 101.” [click on the hotel names to check out the rates]
With expanded options now available to the growing number of Siargao tourists, travelers seeking a room can just search for ‘the best places to stay in Siargao Island’ on Booking.com, Agoda or Tripadvisor and take their pick. And there’s plenty on offer, from luxury resorts to cheap accommodation in Siargao – as explained by Jof Sering, owner of local art and crafts store Felice. “It depends on what your budget is, what kind of person you are, and then what kind of activities you like to do.”
Jof recommends Greenhouse Siargao for budget travelers – “It’s nice, small, quaint, there’s no signage, they don’t have aircon,” she says. Travelers who want more creature comforts might prefer staying at Isla Cabana, as “they have a swimming pool,” she says. “If they have kids, Isla Cabana is their type of place.” Finally, travelers looking for a social hostel in Siargao might want to try Paglaom Hostel: ideal “if you’re on a budget and you want instant friends,” Jof says. [click on the hotel names to check out the rates]
Speaking for myself, on my last trip to Siargao, I stayed at Turtle Surf Camp, just off the Tuazon Point surf break. It’s a cozy one-story building with air-conditioned rooms, a small pool and a laid-back vibe that captured the best of the Siargao surf-dude spirit.
Things to do in Siargao and around
Surfing is still one of the main things to in Siargao but more and more, “a lot of people are doing other things that’s not related to surfing,” Elaine Abonal tells us. “Some people come for the parties here, [or come to do] standup paddleboarding.”
Let’s start with what Siargao is best at the surfing scene. Beyond Cloud 9, surfers can visit other, less crowded surf spots like Tuason Point, Cemetery and Matanjac. Hire a local surf instructor, or join a Siargao surf camp like Surfista, to find the best surf breaks given the day’s weather conditions.
When is the best time to visit Siargao? “There are waves all year round, but they’re not great all the time,” says a local resort owner (who prefers to stay anonymous). “Siargao’s surf season is September, October, and then Holy Week. Sometimes from December to February you get some onshore waves, and in June and July, it’s relatively small – good for beginners.”
The reef-floored beaches on Siargao Island are no good for casual swimming – if that’s what you’re after, you’ll need to join a Siargao island hopping tour that visits offshore islets with cleaner white sand and friendlier waves. The island hopping tour covers the “Naked Island” sandbar; Guyam Island; and Daku Island; the last one has cabanas to relax in. It’s definitely a must thing to do in Siargao for surfer, non-surfers and anyone dreaming to visit the island.
There are plenty of things to do in Siargao for non-surfers, so the whole family or group of friends can come down and enjoy. Some 30 minutes drive from General Luna and you’ll find the tidal pools, known as Magpupungko Pools, carved into the reef bed, perfect for swimming and relaxing in. About an hour-and-a-half from town, you’ll come upon the hidden Sugba Lagoon tucked away between mangroves. From Dapa Port, you can take a twice-daily ferry to Bucas Grande Island, a nature reserve with innumerable caves, sea inlets, mangrove thickets, and a lagoon full of stingless jellyfish.
The list of what to do in Siargao is not finished yet. Believe it or not, tiny Siargao Island has a golf course you can tee off of: “It’s just a five-hole golf course; we play a combination of the holes to play nine holes,” one resort owner tells me. “It’s a lot of fun, and it’s a pretty difficult course, to be quite honest.” The course is located off Maya SiargaoVilla in General Luna.
Travelers with kids can visit Jof Sering’s shop Felice for hands-on activities like painting lessons, or to shop for artisanal finds like hand-crafted bags and locally-made swimwear. “Our mission vision is, to spark joy and happiness in your everyday life,” Jof says.
Siargao Travel Guide to Drinking, Dining & Socializing
The casual, come-as-you-are surfing community defines local society. The locals have an unusually egalitarian relationship (for the Philippines) with outsiders; you’ll find Siargao-born women riding the waves and flaunting string bikinis (unthinkable elsewhere in the country), and local surf legends tossing back beers with expats and moneyed local settlers. The burgeoning Siargao restaurants and bar scene provides a great excuse to meet and greet with locals.
Try visiting places like Harana Surf Resort, whose open-air bar is a popular meet-up spot for Siargao society. Little conversational groups sit on mats or beanbags on the floor around low-slung tables, sharing San Miguel Beers and a menu of Filipino fusion food like adobo bibimbap and halo-halo in a half-coconut-shell.
Diners looking for a louder, cheaper alternative go to Mama’s Grill, a rustic open-air affair serving up freshly-grilled pork, marlin, and chicken. We eat here on our last night at Siargao, sitting side by side with our surf instructors and somehow understanding each other despite the local din and the language gap.
Grilled food, good company: this is Filipino surf culture at its best, easily accessible on any night chilling in Siargao. It won’t be Boracay for a good while yet – and you should come on down while the going is good.
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Author: Mike Aquino
Travel writer, dad, putterer, not necessarily in that order. Worked in advertising from 1995 to 2008, served as About.com’s Southeast Asia Travel writer from 2008 to 2017, survived About.com’s transition to Tripsavvy, now serving as the latter’s Southeast Asia correspondent. You can check his blog Southeast Asia Time Traveler and follow him on Facebook and Instagram.
Bangalore is one of the most urbanized cities in India. Earlier known as the “Garden city of India” and “Pensioner’s paradise”, Bangalore no longer falls in these categories due to its fast growth and development into a prominent IT hub of India. Most travelers visit the city for work or as a pitstop before visiting the tourist places near Bangalore. But the city itself has many interesting things to do, and we gonna try to squeeze all the best places to visit in Bangalore in one day, so you can make the most of the city in 24 hours.
While most of the best places to visit in Bangalore are not too far from each other, the city can get unpredictable with its traffic. So, we recommend that you do have some buffer time added to your itinerary of things to do in Bangalore. There are enough tourist spots in Bangalore to keep any traveler busy for days, but if you wake up early I’m sure you can manage to visit the top attractions in 24 hours and still have fun.
Places to visit in Bangalore in one day trip
Walk amongst the clouds at Nandi Hill
To begin your ‘One day in Bangalore’ trip let’s visit Nandi hills to enjoy the sunrise and walk amongst the clouds. About 40 km from the airport, in Chikkaballapur district, lies the hillock shaped like Nandi bull. The Nandi bull is mythological bull which is Lord Shiva’s vehicle as per Hindu religion. On top of the hill is the remains of the hill fortress built by Tippu Sultan which is considered to be impregnable. Due to its’ height of about 4800 ft above sea level, the weather in Nandi Hills is generally pleasant and clouds engulf the hill early morning.
Currently, the fort is being renovated and will be open to public view soon. Tippu’s drop is the famous cliffside where Tippu Sultan had his prisoners thrown to death. The Bangalore horticulture department runs a restaurant and a cup of chai feels just right in the cool weather.
Enjoy a safari in Bannerghatta National Park
Bannerghatta National Park is one of the nice places to visit near Bangalore. Go for a safari and spend some time close to nature. The park has a zoo, an aquarium, crocodile farm, snake park and a museum. The safari takes you through the biological park and you can see tigers, lions, elephants, zebras and deer in their natural habitat. The children’s park located centrally in the park is one of the favorite places to visit in Bangalore with family. While they have fun you can rest and refresh yourself in the nearby restaurant. Also, there are some adventure activities like trekking, camping, and rafting not too far from the National Park, however, these activities take at least half a day, they are a good option if you plan a one day trip from Bangalore.
Explore the history of Bangalore in Bangalore Palace
The royal Bangalore Palace was built during the rule of King Chamarajendra Wadiyar and is said to be inspired by the architecture of Windsor Castle in London. Some of the highlights of this palace are the ballroom and durbar hall. The walls of the palace are adorned with paintings and photographs of the royal family. These also include the work of India’s famous painter Raja Ravi Varma. Some very unique artwork and arms are on display through this grand palace. The beautifully maintained lawns are a sight and sometimes hold private parties. There are audio guides available and while listening to the stories, you will definitely feel like being taken back in time. It’s a good introduction to the city’s history and one of the most beautiful places to visit in Bangalore in one day.
Lunch at MTR for authentic South Indian food
If you are looking for authentic and tasty South Indian food to spice up your day outing in Bangalore, then MTR at St Marks Road or Lalbagh Road is where you should go. This chain of restaurants is Bangalore’s oldest and a hot favorite amongst the locals. The first restaurant was opened near Lalbagh in 1924, by the Maiya brothers and was renamed to Mavalli Tiffin Rooms (MTR). The rava idli, masala dosa, and bisibele bhath are some of the specialties here and they sell like hot cake. When it comes to food, for sure these are a must visit place in Bangalore city.
Take a green heritage walk through Lalbagh Botanical Garden
This 270-acre park in the heart of the city is one of Bangalore’s oldest and loved landmarks. With a wide range of flora and fauna, this epic garden along with smaller surrounding parks justifies the name of “Garden City”. Inspired by the Mughal gardens, the main glasshouse hosts annual flower shows. The best time to visit Lalbagh is either at sunrise or sunset, during one of these flower shows. If you do get tired of walking the expansive gardens, golf carts are available to help you as well. A lift will also help you to explore the garden faster and then you can add other attractions to your Bangalore in one day itinerary.
Enjoy Indian music at Indira Gandhi Musical Fountain
The musical fountain in this park is one of the biggest musical fountains in India. It is very interesting places to visit in Bangalore with friends and family as everybody enjoys the synchronized light, music and fountains show. Every evening there are two shows in two languages and it is better to inquire before booking your spot. Gandhi Musical Fountain is one of the top things to do in Bangalore and you must add it to your travel itinerary.
Shopping at Commercial Street
Next, we recommend some quality shopping time to explore souvenirs and special clothing. Commercial Street is the most loved shopping area in the city and it’s the perfect places to visit in Bangalore in one day trip. This street has numerous shops of clothes, shoes, jewelry, antiques etc and is not easy to navigate unless you are prepared for it. This area gets crowded in the evening and finding a parking spot is difficult. Some tips for shopping here are to remember what you need, bargain and carry cash as many shops don’t accept cards. We recommend, get in and get out fast with what you need, else you run a chance of over shopping.
Pub hopping and some night fun
After you shop till you drop, it’s time to just chill and relax. Bangalore is quite famous for its pubs and restaurants. If you are planning to check out a couple of bars then you should head down to Indiranagar or MG road. The nightlife is pretty amazing there with some fantastic breweries serving great drinks, food, and music. In case you are planning for a silent dinner; both these areas have enough fine dining restaurants to match up to your mood. This restaurant area is one of the good places to visit in Bangalore for couples.
Definitely, it will be a long day, it’s not easy to put all the best places to visit in Bangalore in one day itinerary. But if you manage to beat the traffic and start your activities early I’m sure you gonna enjoy all the fun things to do in Bangalore.
Where to stay in Bangalore, India
After a long day outing in Bangalore, you definitely need a good rest. There are a plethora of accommodation in Bangalore: luxury hotels, romantic resorts, and budget rooms. We listed some of the best places to stay in Bangalore but before you book your hotel check out the location. As you only have one day in Bangalore, a well-located hotel can help you make the most of your time. Here are our recommendations for good hotels in Bangalore:
Remember that Bangalore is connected by air, rail and by road with all major cities in India. It makes the city a great spot to visit places in and around Bangalore. The Kempegowda International airport is also connected with all major countries, to find the best flights to Bangalore use Skyscanner and Kiwi.com.
And if you are planning a trip to around India check our post about Palace On Wheels train trip, a 7-day luxury journey through Rajasthan and Agra.
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Author: Pujarini Mitra
Pujarini Mitra is an entrepreneur with a serious travel addiction. She loves traveling and blogging about it. She is exploring the world, one country at a time with her family. MySoulTravels is her venture to share her travel stories and experiences on the road with her baby. Follow her adventures on Facebook and Instagram.
Stunning beaches, green mountains and the interesting mix of African and Portuguese culture. Cabo Verde is not a trendy travel destination and that’s why it’s so special. Santiago is the biggest islands in Cape Verde, it’s also where the old and the new capital is located. If you want to get a taste of the country, this is the place you should start your trip, even if you only have one day there. To help you plan your 24 hours itinerary we listed the top attractions and things to do in Santiago, Cape Verde.
Cape Verde is an archipelago located in the Atlantic Ocean, on the northwest coast of Africa. Together with Madeira and Savage Islands [belonging to Portugal], they constitute the Macaronesia, which means “fortunate islands”. This name quickly gives an idea of what we can expect and it really does not disappoint.
The archipelago is located about 450 km from Senegal, the westernmost point of continental Africa. Santiago was the first island reached by the Portuguese and it’s the largest of the ten that comprise the archipelago. This island was the last of the three that I had the opportunity to visit and it was the one I enjoyed the most. I already had visited Sal and Boavista, which are by far the most tourist ones and, therefore, in my view, a little less interesting.
Things to do in Santiago, Cape Verde
If you can stay only one day on the island of Santiago, my recommendation is to explore the city of Praia and the Old Town, where the Portuguese touched the soil of Cape Verde for the first time.
Places to visit in Santiago during the morning
Start by going to the Sucupira Market, which is a strategic point in Praia city. In one of the sides of the market, you will spot huge white vans, the extremely popular Hiaces (Toyotas Hiace). These are the collective taxis that move around the island and that everyone uses.
Look for a Hiace that goes to the Old City and hop in, the price is around 200 escudos (2€). If the wagon is full, it will head [more or less] directly to its destination, otherwise, it will complete the laps necessary around the city of Praia until it is full. You can also catch a cab, the route is not that long, but catching a Hiace with locals is a unique experience and one of the local things to do in Cape Verde. During the Hiace journey, the driver stops as necessary to meet the requests of the occupants, so sit back and relax, the pressure to meet timetables is inexistent and this makes everything worthy.
The Old Town appears down there, next to the water, after a tight corner. This site is the birthplace of Cape Verde, where the Portuguese arrived with their ships, centuries ago. The Hiace will leave you in Largo do Pelourinho, where today we can still find the homonymous structure. It’s the central point of the Old Town, quite close is the 1st street urbanized by the Portuguese in sub-Saharan Africa, called Rua Banana. This street is not that long and deserves to be visited, due to its history, houses and also because it is the access to Igreja de Nossa Senhora do Rosário. This religious temple is the oldest in the country.
Then visit the ruins of Sé Cathedral and slightly above you have Forte Real de São Filipe, catch a cab or ask for pedestrian access. You will love the view that you get during the ascent, and also the challenge to climb stairs of different sizes and shapes along this uneven path.
By this time, you will probably want to have a lunch break, so go back to the place where you started the visit, Largo do Pelourinho. Get closer to the sea and pick a restaurant. Sit back and enjoy the view. The peacefulness is outstanding.
What to do in Santiago during the afternoon
Catch that Hiace again, toward the center of Praia city. Ask to stop at Sucupira Market, your place of departure in the morning. Visit the market and walk by the stalls of fruit, clothing, textiles, toys, bread, and cakes. Even animals are sold there. What I liked the most was the colors of the local clothing, all of them are sold there, as well as the fruit and vegetables available.
From the market, head to Plateau, the oldest neighborhood in Praia. This area is different from the rest of the island’s capital. The main point of the neighborhood is Praça Alexandre Albuquerque, located in the heart of several businesses, institutional and religious buildings. The streets are extremely busy [especially on weekends], many locals come down to buy and sell something or address any issue they have.
The colonial buildings are beautiful, lots of them have been restored. This neighborhood is also known as Chinatown, given the number of Chinese traders that have settled there. And among all the cool things to do in Santiago a visit to the local market in Plateau area is a must.
Look for the Presidential Palace, and near it, there is a viewpoint with beautiful views. Since the Plateau is located, as the name foretells, on a plateau, from there you can admire the black sand beach and the port. Walk down to the sea and go for a relaxed stroll by the seashore. Pass by the Maria Pia lighthouse and discover the islander of Santa Maria, which is very close. Keep walking until you reach the beach Quebra Canela and climb up to the place where Cruz do Papa is, a huge cross that is on the top, and from where we have an outstanding view.
As a farewell, walk down again to the beach level and visit the wood café next to the beach. It has live music at the end of the day, on Sundays you’re lucky [if you like it as much as I do] because it’s reggae. Say goodbye to Santiago with a glass in your hand, good music, and a beautiful sunset ahead of you.
If you can stay for dinner, you should go back to the Plateau and look for Quintal da Música, the famous open-air restaurant where you can find daily music outdoors. The Cape Verdean music has an immense soul, I like it a lot, particularly the mornas.
Where to stay in Santiago, Cabo Verde
After dinner and might one stay the night, as it’s easy to fall in love with Santiago and Cabo Verbe relaxing vibe. So if you need to spend the night there here are our recommendations of where to stay in Santiago, Cabo Verde – best hotels for any type of travelers and budget.
She travels independently and already went to more than 40 countries. She loves to meet the culture, the habits and the ways of living of the locals. Morocco, India, and Cambodia are among her favorite places. You can check her blog Wandering Life and follow her on Facebook and Instagram.
Saint Petersburg is the most beautiful and the most European city in Russia and like any big city, it has tons of things to do. One day is never enough to see a city but luckily if you travel to St.Petersburg in summer during White Nights you’ll literally get a chance to explore the city for 24 hours non stop. To help you make the most of your trip we listed the best places to visit in Saint Petersburg in one day, an itinerary that might leave you tired but in ecstasy.
First, we gonna list the top things to do in Saint Petersburg, places to visit and must see. After that, we gonna organize them in a one day itinerary to enjoy the best of St. Petersburg summer [June, July]. Be part of the White Nights and use the endless sunshine to help you avoid the crowds and visit St. Petersburg top attractions in one day, an unforgettable one.
Top places to visit in Saint Petersburg
There are several places in Saint Petersburg that you can’t miss even if you have only one day in the city. The State Hermitage/The Winter Palace is the main city and country art museum and the second largest art museum in the World. It hosts thousands of painting, sculptures and some archaeological artifacts spread around its stunning richly decorated halls and rooms.
St.Isaac Cathedral is one of St.Petersburg’s top attractions, the largest Orthodox cathedral and the fourth largest cathedral in the world. Except for these impressive facts the cathedral is absolutely beautiful, its interior is incredible; columns, pilasters, marble statues, mosaic, and paintings.
Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood is definitely one the most photographed and most visited places in St. Petersburg. Its fairytale look with 9 colorful cupolas always attracts many people. Its interior is as impressive as the outside look.
Peter and Paul’s cathedral was the first building in St.Petersburg and the heart of the city. There are several museums inside the complex but if you don’t have much time for exploring them just to walk on the old cobblestone streets, listen to the carillon bells of Peter and Paul’s Cathedral is definitely one of Saint Petersburg must do.
Russian Museum, unlike the Hermitage, contains only Russian art mainly painting and some sculpture. Here you can see a history of Russian art in progress from the first icons to the masterpieces of Malevich and Kandinsky.
Palace bridge – a beautiful drawing bridge over the Neva River, the main place to come in the season [May – October] to watch the opening of the bridges.
24 hours in Saint Petersburg Itinerary
To make sure you get as much as possible from your day stay start your itinerary from early morning. For the start, you can go on a bus tour or boat tour in St. Petersburg. Both go through the city center, the bus tours work as a traditional hop on hop off, when the boats cruise for about 2 hours non stop along the city rivers. You get a very different perspective of the city and its sights from the water. I’d suggest on a nice sunny day take a boat trip and on a cloudy rainy day go on a bus tour.
For those who prefer walking, there is a nice walking/cycling route through the city center. Start your St. Petersburg one day itinerary at Kazan Cathedral, walk along Nevsky Avenue to the Palace Square and the Hermitage. Then head to St.Isaac Cathedral across the Palace Bridge to Peter and Paul’s cathedral. Across the Trinity Bridge to the Summer Garden, past by the Church on Spilled Blood and the Russian Museum back to Kazan Cathedral.
This route will take you about 2 – 3 hours to complete including short photo stops and It covers all the main places to visit in Saint Petersburg and is a great alternative to a bus tour on a sunny day. The most famous places to visit in St. Petersburg are located close to each other and they are easy to access on foot.
After finishing your tour go to the Hermitage, a visit to St.Petersburg won’t be complete without a stop at one of the most famous museums in the world. Hermitage is huge and would take ages to explore every single corner of it. The best you can do is to see the main masterpieces, even this will take you at least 2 hours.
The Hermitage highlights not to miss are the Madonna Litta and the Benois Madonna by Da Vinci, Madonna and a Child by Raphael, Pavilion Hall with an incredible Peacock cloak, The Lodges of Raphael, Crouching Boy by Michelangelo, the Georgian Hall.
After the museum it’s time for lunch, there are several places to visit in St. Petersburg for good food, keep reading this post and you will find the “Where to eat in Saint Petersburg” section for recommendations. Done with lunch, it’s time to visit at least one of St. Petersburg’s cathedrals; St.Isaac and Church on Spilled Blood are probably the most impressive, both from the outside and inside.
If you like classical music or ballet definitely go to Mariinsky Theater, there are three stages and every evening at least two are busy with performances. It can be opera, ballet or philharmonic orchestra. If it sounds like too much of a cultural experience for you, go to one of the restaurants for dinner and continue the night at one of the many bars in the city. The best bars and restaurants in St. Petersburg are at Rubinstein Street area.
What are the White Nights in Saint Petersburg?
If you think this busy day is finally over you’re mistaking the summer in Saint Petersburg, everything is just starting. The famous White Nights don’t leave you a chance for sleeping! White Nights occur in the Northern hemisphere in summer when the light day may be as long as 22 hours and even in 2 night hours it never gets completely dark. Basically, what happens you just finish watching the sunset and it’s almost time for the sunrise. This period is the best time to visit St.Petersburg.
You’ll be surprised how many people walk at night in the city center, doesn’t matter if it’s weekend or not. The main attraction of the White Nights in St. Petersburg is the opening of the bridges over the Neva River. It happens every night between 1 am and 3 am and some bridges are opened and closed two times during the night. The bridges get opened for ships and ferries, mainly cargo, to go through the city.
The main bridge to watch is the Palace Bridge that is open at 1:20 am with music, lights and hundreds, if not thousands of people watching the show every night. Most restaurants, bar and even coffee shops stay open until early morning. Midnight craving? Don’t worry, you’ll easily find a place to eat 24 hours. To walk at night in the city center is safe, I’ve done it many times since I was at school.
Sunrise these day is very early between 3:30 and 4 am if you feel strong enough you might make it. This time is the best for taking photos of the main attractions in St. Petersburg without crowds, very likely you’ll be alone on the Palace Square or at Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood.
Where to eat in Saint Petersburg
Depending on your budget and food preferences, in the city center you can find anything from traditional Russian pelmeni (dumplings) to Italian pizza, sushi, and vegetarian/vegan restaurants. Here are our suggestion of the best restaurants in St. Petersburg that you must try:
– Pelmenya – a small and cozy mono cuisine restaurant, its main dish are dumplings, pelmeni, khinkali and momo with different fillings like meat, fish, cheese, vegetables and cottage cheese. It’s a great place to come for a quick lunch while visiting St. Petersburg tourist attractions. They also have a good variety of beer and wine.
– MooMoo Burgers – for burgers, this is the best restaurant in St. Petersburg. Huge homemade patties and buns generously topped with cheeses and sauces. Our favorite is Cheese Blast, a juicy meat patty, fresh buns with three or four different cheeses. Yummy!
– Suliko on Kazanskaya street – one of the locals’ favorite Georgian cuisine restaurant. They have the best Adjarian Khachapuri in St.Petersburg, great lamb kebabs, homemade wines and different shawarmas.
– Ukrop (Eng. Dill) – a good alternative to all the meaty places mentioned above, caters for vegetarians and vegans. Here you can find all sort of vegetarian, vegan and raw dishes, healthy drinks and teas.
Where to stay in Saint Petersburg
After 24 hours visiting the best spots in St. Petersburg you might be tired and desperate for some rest. Before heading to your next destination a good nap is more than welcome, so here are our suggestions of where to stay in St. Petersburg. Hotels and the best places to stay in Saint Petersburg for all type of travelers and budget. Choose the perfect accommodation for you and enjoy the well-deserved rest.
And don’t’ forget to check the best flights to Saint Petersburg on Skyscanner or Kiwi.com. Book them in advance and start planning your summer trip to St. Petersburg right now.
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Author: Campbell & Alya
Stingy Nomads is a South African/Russian couple that met on the road, in the Philippines, four years ago. Since that time they’ve traveled together to over 30 countries following their biggest passions; hiking and diving. The blog is two years old, it started as a hobby writing mainly for friends and family. It focuses on budget travel and adventure activities all over the world; Africa, Latin America, Asia and Europe. Follow their travel adventure on Facebook and Instagram.
Cusco was the capital of the mighty Inca Empire that stretched from Ecuador all the way down south as far as Santiago, Chile. For it to be the heart of such a huge empire, Cusco must’ve been founded at a perfect location. This perfect location is surrounded by a beautiful landscape that remained unspoiled even today. This powerful beauty and history are what attracts thousands of travelers to Peru every year, and it’s easy to understand why there are so many things to do in Cusco that any type of tourist will enjoy a trip there.
Adventure, culture, history and food, Cusco and the whole country offer incredible attractions all year around. Planning a trip to Cusco is essential, you need to think about the weather, the tours you want to do, the day trips from Cusco, how you gonna get from Cusco to Machu Picchu and other places around.
When is the best time to travel to Cusco, Peru?
You can travel to Peru during the whole year, but the best time to visit Cusco and also the best time to go to Machu Picchu is during the winter [cold temperatures, but sunny days], from June to August. This period is also the high season when most of the travelers flock to Peru looking for the best things to do in Cusco and around. Pay extra attention to the holidays that happen in the of July and also de Inti Raymi, the Sun Festival that happens on June 24 in Cusco. It’s one of the biggest attractions in Cusco, but also a busy time to visit Peru.
The rainy season starts from December all the way to April, it’s not the best time to travel to Cusco especially if you are looking for outdoor activities and trekking, but it’s totally doable. Just be prepared for muddy tracks and pouring rain. We would say that the best time to visit Machu Picchu and Cusco would be between seasons, like May, September, and October, the weather will probably be good and the places to visit in Cusco and around won’t be packed with people.
Where to Stay in Cusco, Peru
Before we dive into the list of what to do in Cusco and around you need to think about where to stay in Cusco. There are plenty of hotels in Cusco, from 5 star to hostels and guesthouses. Here it is our list of the best places to stay in Cusco, you can choose the one that suits your travel style and budget.
Top things to do in Cusco for all type of travelers
Cusco has activities for everyone, and today we’ll look at how each traveler type can enjoy the beauty, the history and the culture of the Inca Empire. Pick your favorite ones or pack all them in an ultimate travel itinerary to Cusco, Machu Picchu and around.
Things to do in Cusco for the history buffs
Machu Picchu is the most famous attraction in Peru and the main reason most travelers visit Cusco. Built in the 1400s, Machu Picchu escaped the Spanish conquest and remained hidden from the outside world until 1911. It served as the religious and political capital of the Incas and is regarded to be one of the most sacred sites of the Inca empire. Machu Picchu receives over 3000 visitors per day, but still exudes a mystical feeling to its visitors. You can take a luxurious train ride or do a multi-day trek to Machu Picchu. There are many options of Machu Picchu tours from Cusco [click here]and maybe choose one of them.
If you prefer to avoid the crowd, the Choquequirao site is a good alternative to Machu Picchu. Like her iconic sister, Choquequirao was a sacred site that was hidden from invaders and the first excavations done only in the 1970s. Even now, only 30% of the archaeological site is excavated. It served as a ceremonial center and a spiritual site, although guides will be quick to admit: not much is known about the place. Unlike Machu Picchu, Choquequirao only receives around 30 visitors a day – partly due to its isolated location. To get there, travelers must hike across a challenging canyon. It takes 4 days to get there and back, it’s definitely a unique experience to have in Peru.
The Sacred Valley is a combination of history and beauty across a series of towns, valleys, and historical sites. The most famous are the terraced ruins of Pisac and Ollantaytambo, the alien-like agricultural laboratory at Moray, the photogenic salt mines of Maras, and the colorful village of Chinchero. You can rent a car to go from Cusco to Sacred Valley by yourself or you join a day trip from Cusco, check the possibilities at one of the many tour agencies lined along the main square. A guide will explain how the Incas built their fortresses high up the mountains, experimented with different crops and harvested natural resources with technologies way advanced than its time!
Things to do in Cusco for the nature lover
Ausangate is the name of a sacred Apu [mountain in the native language]. The 5-6 days Ausangate trek is touted as one of the toughest but most beautiful in the Cusco region. You’ll trek for long hours in high altitude and sleep in freezing temperatures. But you’ll also walk under towering snow-capped mountains and camp near mesmerizing blue lakes. You’ll interact with indigenous communities and get up close with playful llamas. You’ll see some of the most incredible landscapes and feel that the challenge is all worth it.
If you do not have time for a multi-day trek, the Humantay Lake is a great day trip from Cusco. This glacier lake blew me away the first time I saw it. The lake lies at the feet of the majestic Apu Humantay and its crystal blue water sparkles when the sun shines on it. You can even climb up to a narrow ridge above the lake for a beautiful view of the surroundings. Most tour agencies in Cusco offer day trips to Humantay Lake and it’s definitely one of the top things to do in Cusco.
The Rainbow Mountain is another great day trip from Cusco. It was discovered less than 10 years ago and recently exploded in popularity. The 2-hours hike up the 5200 mountain is extremely challenging but when you finally reach the top, you’ll be rewarded with an unbelievable view of the 7-color mountain, possibly the most Instagrammable mountain in Peru! Do note that at over 5000m, the main difficulty is the altitude. Horses are available for rent the whole way up the mountain.
Things to do in Cusco for the adventure seeker
If adrenaline is what excites you, then the Slingshot by Action Valley is for you. The Slingshot is like a reverse bungee where you blast off into the air like a human catapult to over 120m in 3s. This intense experience lets you live off your Superman fantasy – even if just for a few seconds.
Among the fun things to do in Cusco is the highest bungee jump in South America. Jump off from a platform 120m high and free fall into the beautiful Inca region of Cusco. Conquer your fears and strike off an item on your adventure bucket list with Action Valley, who has more than 20 years of experience and a solid track record of 100 000 jumps.
Things to do in Cusco for the Foodie
Cuy, or guinea pig, is a popular dish in Peru. Guinea pig meat is high in protein and low in fats and was a staple diet of the Inca empire. Some people cringed at the sight of this rodent, some love it. Be warned though, this novelty food does not come cheap but should be on an adventurous foodie’s must-try list.
Ceviche is the [unofficial] national food of Peru, made up of raw fish slices ‘cooked’ with citrus juices and spiced with chili peppers. It tastes a little sour, a little spicy and very, very fresh. Try it at a fancy restaurant or have it alongside locals at the San Pedro market. If you’re a seafood lover, you’d love ceviche very much.
Peru’s national drink is the Pisco Sour, an alcoholic cocktail that is considered a South American classic. The drink is a mix of Pisco – the base liquor – and lime juice, syrup, egg white and a little Angostura for a slightly bitter taste. Order it at a bar, try it for free on a walking tour in Cusco or learn how to make it in a cooking class.
Things to do in Cusco for the culture geek
There is a whole range of museums in Cusco that will satisfy any culture, history and art lover. Learn about Inca history at the Inka Museum, or appreciate art at the Museum of Contemporary Art. Discover the benefits of Coca leaves at the Coca Museum or indulge in some chocolate at the Choco Museum. Visit the Machu Picchu Museum to learn more about the wondrous ruins or know more about the region at the Cusco Regional History Museum. If the weather is not so good and you are wondering what to do in Cusco, the answer is museums.
The Qorikancha, or Temple of the Sun, was perhaps the most sacred and most important building in the Inca empire. During the Inca period, this building was covered in sheets of gold and decorated with gold statues. Presently, it acts as a church, museum, and convent under one roof. You can clearly see the architecture from three distinct eras: pre-Inca, Inca and Colonial, a must see in Cusco. The entrance fee to Qorikancha is PEN $10. Guides can be hired for a more detailed explanation of the historical significance of this building.
Things to do in Cusco for the shopaholic
I’m sure you can’t miss out the bright, colorful artisan markets in Cusco. They are all over the Andean region! You can buy all sorts of souvenirs like wool sweaters, shoes, jewelry, paintings, accessories, notebooks etc. Most of the textiles are hand-knitted, vibrant and extremely detailed. They will remind you of your awesome time in Cusco. They are relatively cheap, but don’t forget to bargain!
Now that you know what to do in Cusco and around it’s time to pack your bags and go! Search for the best flights to Cusco on Skyscanner or Kiwi.com and have fun in Peru.
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Author: Owen Ter
Owen Ter is a travel blogger from Singapore. After graduating from university, he bought a one-way ticket to South America, backpacked for one year and visited all countries on the continent. Oh, and he brought along an inflatable graduation hat. His favorite city is Cusco. He writes at My Turn to Travel. You can also follow him on Facebook or Instagram.
When most people think of Florida, they think of Orlando, which is fair – it’s hard to beat Disney World! However, drive a couple hours to the west and you’ll find yourself in Tampa, which is a slightly smaller, but also exploding city. There are many great things to do Tampa and the city is growing at an insane rate, marrying together its rich history and expanding to meet the demands of the modern Floridian.
Tampa is great because while it is such a unique little-big city, it’s not overwhelming, and after a couple days, you won’t leave town thinking you’ve missed anything. And hey, if you came to Florida for the beach, it’s less than an hour away! So let’s start talking about where to stay in Tampa and then we move to our list of things to do. Tampa has some great attractions, outdoor activities and of course, good places to eat.
Where to stay in Tampa
Doesn’t matter if you are planning a weekend in Tampa or a 10 days family holiday, you need to find the perfect place to stay. There are many hotels in Tampa, from 5 star to family resorts and boutique guesthouses. To help you find the best place to stay in Tampa we narrow down some of the top hotels, check them out and book in advance to get the best deals and hold the property that matches with your visit to Tampa.
As for finding the best things to do in Tampa to keep you busy, the city has two major areas to offer: Downtown Tampa, and Ybor (pronounced ee-bore) City. These little mini cities (and by that I mean not residential) come bursting with their own personalities. There’s always some sort of something happening, whether it’s a food festival, concert, Trick or Treating for the kids, or a new restaurant opening. There’s a lively energy to Tampa in general, and it’s concentrated in these two areas. Both the day life and the nightlife always have something to offer. The cherry on top? They’re just an Uber away from each other.
Photo Credit: Visit Tampa Bay
Things to do in Downtown Tampa
We’ll start off with our recommendations of what to do in Downtown Tampa. Downtown Tampa is your classic downtown area with lots of independent restaurants, clubs, cafes, river views, and even a water park for the kiddos – one of the top things to do in Tampa with kids.
As recently as 2015, Tampa has expanded its Riverwalk area to 1.8 miles of tranquil strolling or biking (complete with bike rentals!), beautiful lights, great views of the water, even better views of the skyline, and even some musicians, depending on the night. Tampa’s Riverwalk is my favorite place to go when I just need to get out of the house and stretch my legs, but I don’t need all the hustle and bustle of a store or a restaurant. The Riverwalk is also great for people watching; depending on the time of day, you’ll run into all different kinds of people.
Next, we have Tampa’s Water Works Park. If you have kids that you need to get running around, and maybe even a cool off on a hot Florida day, this is a good bet. This is one of the free things to in Tampa – just walk right up to it and let the kids go loose. You won’t even have to pay for parking, as long as all the free spots haven’t been taken yet. Trust me, the kids will love getting wet and meeting some new friends instead of sweating!
Speaking of parks, Tampa’s Curtis Hixon Park is centrally located and if there’s something happening in Downtown Tampa it’s probably at this park. The park is also connected directly to Tampa’s Riverwalk, making it an ideal place to spend an afternoon. If you catch a food festival, an outdoor concert, or maybe even ice skating in December (fake ice rinks are Florida’s favorite thing on Christmas), you can easily enjoy the Riverwalk, bring your dog or even rent a bicycle for the day.
And if you’re just not an outdoorsy kind of person don’t worry, some of the best things to do in Tampa are indoors. There are all sorts of restaurants for you to try, both local and chains. If you just want some Domino’s, Downtown Tampa’s got your back; or, if you want more of a culinary adventure, you can also find a locally owned pizza restaurant. The same goes for a variety of food choices – choose your adventure! Go to the ritzy, yet delicious, Anise Global Gastrobar, or go for something a bit more on the casual side, like Fly Bar, a favorite among the locals.
Photo Credit: Keir Magoula – Visit Tampa Bay
Things to do in Ybor City
Drive a couple minutes to Ybor City, and you’ll find yourself in an area with a whole different personality. Tampa is home to many of Hispanic descent, and they’re here thanks to Ybor. Ybor is famous for its Cuban heritage and one of the things to do there is to visit the museum that will tell you all about its history. Or, if you’re not interested in museums, you can always partake in some of the culture that still lives in Ybor. Cuban sandwiches are the obvious answer, but even more interesting are the Cuban cigars, which are rolled right in front of your eyes. These cigars are for sale in the shops, as well as in various clubs around Ybor and Downtown Tampa.
Of course, much like Downtown Tampa, Ybor is home to all sorts of stores and restaurants. Again, pick some interesting places to visit in Tampa and have fun! You can follow the hipsters, the trend-setters, the Goths, or any other kind of stereotype that will show you a new surprise. Interested in vintage duds? La France is a store full of the most beautiful clothes, shoes, jewelry, and knick-knacks. Or, if you’re more interested in a dog’s skull, head on over to Dysfunctional Grace Art for some Gothic products.
Walk a little more and you’ll find the movie theater next to the Ybor streetcar line (which you can ride!), and behind that, you can find a giant arcade to take the kids to (though let’s be honest, you don’t need kids to have a good time). Or, if you’re not a fan of the arcade, another good thing to do in Tampa is to visit the aquarium, which is also great fun for kids and adults alike. All these attractions are just a stroll away, so enjoy a warm Florida night.
Photo Credit: Keir Magoula – Visit Tampa Bay
Are you looking for unique things to do in Tampa? Head to CineBistro for a movie with reclining seats and a dinner and drink menu, this is one of the romantic things to do in Tampa. Once the movie’s over, the sun has gone down, and maybe you’ve sobered up a bit, go on a ghost tour and learn about the spooky past of this old city.
As you can tell, the list of what to do in Tampa is big and has so many different kinds of entertainment that it’s impossible to not have fun. Whether you’re planning a romantic weekend in Tampa, family activities of a friends getaway, it’ll be difficult to get bored. With so much personality offered in two different small cities that are constantly growing and evolving, it’d be a shame to travel to Florida and not visit Tampa and all the great things the city has to has to offer, both to its visitors and to its locals.
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Author: Jamie from Crashed Culture. She is on a quest to visit every country in the world and learn as many languages as possible.
Brighton is a truly unique city on the south coast of England. It’s got a beach, but no sand. It’s a city but it has no cathedral (the queen gave it official city status a few years ago). It’s a riot of seaside color where every cafe serves tempting vegan options, the nightlife is eclectic and all that British stiff-upper-lip vibe stuff sort of falls by the wayside. So now you know that a day trip to Brighton is a must for anyone visiting England.
Planning your Brighton day trip easily as the city is just an hour from London by train and it’s the perfect place if you need a break from the capital. In fact, the day trip to Brighton is so popular it has a nickname locally – they’re called DFLs or ‘Down from London’ visitors. And by the way, just like Ankh-Morpork, this is a twin city made up of both Brighton and Hove. Hove is the chic end with boutique eateries, Brighton is the shabbier, but arguably more character-filled cousin.
Brighton is an environmentally friendly city with restricted parking. By far the best option is to take the train, there are local stations in every area of the city or you can drive and use the Park & Ride. So now I’ve sold you on the place, let’s talk about the top things to do in Brighton!
The best things to do in Brighton in one day
As soon as you arrive, walk towards the seafront and you’ll find a network of intricate shopping streets known as The Lanes. These are legendary for their vintage, quirky and beautiful independent shops and bazaars. There’s nothing here that you’d find on the high street, and it’s totally fine to haggle. Here’s a few you won’t want to miss: Snoopers’ Paradise Ltd in the North Laine (7/8 Kensington Gardens) takes you through a turnstile entrance into a kind of Narnia where you can find absolutely anything old, kitsch and awe-inspiring.
Beyond Retro (42 Vine St), also in the Lanes, specializes in all things 70s and 80s, which are all original and lovingly cared for. Pick up a satchel, fringed jacket or tapestry covered bag to rock. And if you have a secret hankering for the smell and feel of paper, forget the Kindle and lose yourself in Magazine Brighton (23 Trafalgar St) which stocks a kaleidoscope of unusual magazines to suit every taste and oozes a love for print. It’s a bit hipster, but you’ll fall in love with it.
Anywhere you go in the Lanes, keep your eyes peeled for graffiti because art pieces are everywhere from bins to gutters. Look out for local artist Minty, who could one day be as famous as Banksy.
When it comes to museums, there are some interesting things to do Brighton. See the way that old bobbies (policeman) used to handle prisoners at the Old Police Cells Museum in the town hall. Entrance is free, but do pre-book. The Toy and Model Museum is in an underground street, right by the station. It’s bound to dazzle you and isn’t just for children although it’s one of the great things to do in Brighton with kids. They host events where their train sets whir to life, and a gaggle of vintage toys surround you.
When you’ve satisfied your curiosity, it’s time to see some of the magical places that make up Brighton.
Brighton day trip: what to see
Take a bus from the central clocktower, or walk east past the Lanes to reach the Royal Pavilion, an opulent palace that looks like it belongs in India but was actually built right here in Sussex for King George IV. It’s got lashings of gardens and looks good from every angle, but you can also step inside and wander its palatial rooms for a small fee.
Walk south and it’s time to get the full seaside experience – and hope for some sunshine! Start by strolling the pier, which is a hive of activity in itself with shops and games all along it. I like to buy some candy floss, then take it to the very end of the pier (usually pretty quiet) and have a Titanic moment. It’s the closest thing to walking on water! If it’s sunny, there are free deckchairs set up on the pier’s edge where you can bask and look out to sea.
Turn right from the pier and duck down onto the beach. Besides you are nooks in the side of the city that house shops and eateries, the rest of the people walking high above you. Doing this place right will involve weaving into the Fishing Museum to see ancient mariners hauling in Brighton’s younger days and then trying their catch. There’s also a palm reader, so why not try some unusual things in Brighton? As you walk you’ll pass a kiosk selling fresh seafood with a view of the sea. Jellied eels are the traditional and brave option, but not to everyone’s taste. If you’re a bit unsure, the oysters are delicious.
Depending on how your feet are faring, you can keep walking, another 20 minutes walking west along the beach will take you to Hove and it’s colorful array of beach huts. It’s a great spot for an Instagram shot and one of the top things to see in Brighton and Hove area.
If you’re keen to go a little further by car or train, Arundel is just a half hour from the city and features a castle that belongs in a fairytale.
Back to our Brighton day trip itinerary, it’s time to plan your evening in town. The pier glitters at night like a birthday cake and the air is full of excitement. Glance right and you’ll see the wreck of a second Victorian pier, the West Pier which was left skeletal by a fire, against the skyline. Some would call this an eyesore, but it’s incredibly atmospheric – the two piers form the perfect contrast of dark and light against the stormy waves. You’ll want to wend between the bars on the front and try some local cocktails while you enjoy the view.
Where to eat in Brighton
Before all good things, there should be ice cream. Gelato Gusto in the North Laine (2 Gardner St), is the perfect kick-off, a cute little purple parlor that often attracts queues out the door – so arrive early. They use only local Sussex milk, and you can taste it.
When you’re next peckish, made up for that moment of unhealthiness at the incredible Ilic Brighton eatery (60 North St). All the food here is vegan (yes, that’s a very Brighton thing) but also mouthwateringly good, fresh, healthy and immensely affordable. Fill your plate with fresh options from their buffet and stuff yourself for just a few pounds.
If it’s fish and chips you need, though, to top off your experience, pop over to The Regency. The faded glamour of this venue suits the English seaside and it’s right at the heart of the action (131 King’s Rd) with plenty of outside tables. You can’t beat their cheap and cheerful fish and chips for flavor.
Or if you’re a true carnivore, the city can deliver on fresh and well cooked genuine Argentine steak. Latinoamerica on one of Hove’s main streets (36 Church Rd, Hove) will sizzle up a steak to perfection.
Where to stay in Brighton
If you decided to stay longer or maybe spent a weekend in Brighton there are plenty of great hotels to choose from. There are places to stay in Brighton for every budget, check out our recommendation for the best hotels in Brighton:
Paris is one of the most visited cities in the World. The French capital has an old history, beautiful architecture, great food and it has always been the source of inspiration for painters, writers, and other artists. But to really enjoy this stunning city you need to go beyond its tourist attractions and discover Paris like a local.
There is no best time to visit Paris, every season in the City of Light has its own charm. And if the weather is not that nice, there are a lot of interesting museums or indoor things to do in Paris, so you will never be bored there.
Tips for visiting Paris for the first time
Paris is divided into 20 Arrondissements (or Paris Districts)
They are named as Paris 1, Paris 2, Paris 3., and so on. Paris 1 to Paris 8 are the most central but also the most touristy districts, while Paris 9 to Paris 20 have lesser tourist attractions but more local life. To find the best places to stay in Paris check this Paris by Arrondissement Guide, with the essence of each district.
Paris is a very walkable city
There is no better way to explore Paris than by foot, the city is packed with cobbled streets, nice green areas and some beautiful avenues. If the weather is nice, wear comfortable shoes and walk, walk and walk.
Parisians are not as rude as people may think
Even if you don’t speak French, try to start a conversation with a “bonjour”, it changes everything and we are sure they will try to help you as much as they can.
Paris is not as expensive as you fear
Book your accommodation in Paris in advance, perhaps in a less touristy district, use the city’s public transportation, and avoid drinking your cappuccino (or beer) in front of Notre Dame. These little tricks that can save you lots of money and help you enjoy Paris like a local.
We live in Paris 320 days a year and despite exploring it extensively the city still surprises us, we never get enough of it! If you are planning a trip to Paris, we suggest visiting Paris top attractions (more on this at the end of the post) but also try to go off the beaten path to get the essence of the city. Because Paris is much more than the Eiffel Tower or Notre Dame, let us give you some advice on how to enjoy Paris like a local.
5 Travel tips to explore Paris like a local
Enjoy the Colorful Street Art of Paris 13
The 13th district of Paris, traditionally a “grey neighborhood”, is today in continuous transformation. Its once characteristic ugly towers or streets without any charm are now highlighted thanks to fantastic street art. Huge and colorful murals by famous street artists from all the world have invaded the biggest avenues in Paris 13. Today street art is part of the district’s soul and little by little it is becoming a new attraction for those who want non-touristy things to do in Paris.
Stroll along the Parisian Canals
The Seine River is the most beautiful avenue in the city, but if you want to go local in Paris, check the street life along the Parisian Canals. We like watching how the locks adjust the level of water to let the boats pass, the canals are also a great place to stroll, for evening picnics by the banks, play pétanque with friends or have a lazy drink in one of its picturesque cafes. From time to time, when the weather is nice, we like to rent an electric self-drive boat to navigate the Parisian canals in our own way, a truly local thing to do in Paris.
Sunny Days at Parc Buttes Chaumont
Parc Buttes Chaumont is one of the biggest and most original green spaces in Paris and its construction on ancient quarries explains its impressive steepness and change in levels and heights. Parc Buttes Chaumont is located in Paris 19 so unlike some other central parks like Tuileries or Parc du Luxembourg, this is a great place to get a glimpse of local life in Paris.
In Parc Buttes Chaumont you can run, have a nice stroll around the lake, enjoy a picnic with friends or just lay on the grass to get some sun on your face. It’s one of the top things to do in Paris with kids, they love the park’s swings, small carousel and traditional Guignol shows (puppet shows). Parc Buttes Chaumont is also our favorite place for jogging, which usually ends with a hot coffee or (if the weather is good) a glass of rosé at Rosa Bonheur.
Enjoy Panoramic Views of the City
We love to see Paris from the heights, gazing across the lights and landmarks that define the city. There are endless opportunities to have a panoramic view of the City of Lights: climbing the stairs of Paris’ most iconic monuments, drinking our favorite cocktails in fancy rooftop bars, or even flying over the city on a hot air balloon!
Explore Paris Local Cuisine
You don’t need to dine in a Michelin starred restaurant in Paris to appreciate the French cuisine. Local Markets in Paris are a good way to start your exploration and some of them, like Le Marché des Enfants Rouges, have some areas to eat for a few euros. Local food tours and cooking classes are also a great way to learn about the French cuisine and taste some of its dishes. And the guides are always happy to give you some restaurant recommendations where you can eat like a local in Paris. Finally, add a wine tasting tour to your Paris itinerary and learn how to pair your favorite dishes with a good French wine.
Paris Top Attractions
As much as we love going off the beaten path and enjoying the non-touristy things to do in Paris, some of the city’s top attractions are a must, especially if you traveling to Paris for the first time. Here is our list:
Eiffel Tower – the symbol of Paris and France
Louvre Museum – one of the best museums in the world and also one of the biggest!
Notre Dame Cathedral – the heart of the city and one of the most beautiful gothic cathedrals ever built
A walk (or a boat trip) along the Seine – Paris’ most beautiful avenue
Panthéon – where the “Grands Hommes de la France” are buried
Arche de Triomphe – background of military parades and with great views from the top
Where to stay in Paris
Looking for the best places to stay in Paris can be an overwhelming task. When it comes to chose where to stay in Paris my advice is to think about what type of experience do you want to have. Are you looking for 5 star hotel in Paris? Or just a place to sleep and have a good breakfast? Maybe staying in someone’s house can be an option for a cheap and local Paris experience. But doesn’t matter your style, here are some good suggestions from top hotels to affordable places to stay in Paris:
Author: Elisa from World in Paris
Quirky Parisian explorers with a preference for the less known sights, we are continuously looking for new ideas and tips to bring you the best of the City of Light. You can follow her on Facebook and Twitter
We have been living in Florence for over a year and still discover new things to do all the time. If you are on holiday and don’t have the luxury of exploring everything the city has to offer, I’ve narrowed it down for you. Here is an itinerary to enjoy 24 hours in Florence, what to see and places to visit. Plus some recommendations on where to stay in Florence and where to eat. With a little tenacity and a sense of adventure you can nail it down and have fun.
Start your day with a traditional Italian breakfast, essentially espresso and a pastry, don’t waste your time trying to find a western breakfast. They are rare, expensive and usually are not very good. The espresso and pastry will help give you the energy to start your long day.
One day in Florence: what to see and places to visit
Begin your day in Florence by climbing the steps to the Duomo at Santa Maria del Fiore. This will require purchasing a ticket, scheduling an appointment ahead of time, and printing out your ticket. Some websites claim that you can show proof of purchase on your phone but this is false. You must bring your pre-printed ticket to gain admittance. The top of the Duomo offers an unrivaled panoramic view of the city and can help orient you to the city’s layout.
Once you’ve made your way back down the 463 steps of the Duomo you may find yourself in the mood for a snack and perhaps another espresso. Remember, in Italy gelato is not a dessert but rather a snack. You can find all of our favorite gelato places throughout the city here but I suggest going to the closest one. Perché No is a great gelato storefront that is easy to find and is located directly between the Santa Maria del Fiore and your next stop, Piazza della Signoria.
Piazza della Signoria is rich with historical significance making it a “must see” when visiting Florence. This piazza, dating back to the early 1300’s, was the original home of Michelangelo’s “David”. A replica now stands in its place after the original was moved to the Academia. The piazza houses the Palazzo Vecchio, the town hall of the city, and is one of the most significant public places in Italy. The Loggia dei Lanzi, located adjacent to the Palazzo, is an open air sculpture gallery of Renaissance art. The piazza is also the gateway to the Uffizi Gallery, one of Florence’s most famous museums. Neptune’s fountain, Tribunale della Mercanzia and Palazzo della Assicurazioni Generali are all also found here. In short, Piazza della Signoria is not to be missed, it’s one of the top attractions in Florence.
Once you have taken in all the sights Piazza della Signoria has to offer, you will likely be ready for some lunch and questioning yourself where to eat in Florence. A short walk from the piazza will take you to a street that is famous for their delicious affordable sandwiches and charcuterie, Via dei Neri. You will know you are in the right place when you see the large crowds of travelers and locals alike waiting to purchase sandwiches. All’Antico Vinaio is so famous for their sandwiches they have three locations on the same street, and all of them will have a long line for lunch (however don’t be deterred, the lines move quickly). Currently costing only 5 euro, these sandwiches are large enough to feed two. If you feel like having a sit down meal, you can try one of the charcuterie places, such as La Prosciutteria, that offer meat and cheese boards with delicious Italian wine.
After a thoroughly satisfying meal, it’s time to move again. As you only have 24 hours in Florence, you can’t waste time. Find your way to the Basilica Santa Croce, also known as the Temple of Italian Glories. It has earned this nickname because it is the burial place of some of the cities most illustrious residents such as Michelangelo, Galileo and Machiavelli. The church houses beautiful works of art such as early Renaissance frescoes by artist like Giotto. The piazza in front of the church is a popular hang out area for locals and host farmers/ artisanal markets throughout the year. It is also home to the ancient annual tradition of calcio storico, a sport that’s a hybrid of Rugby and bare-knuckle fighting.
Our list of things to see in Florence is far from the end, directly south of Santa Croce is San Niccolò, the next leg in your journey. You can cross the Arno river via the bridge Ponte alle Grazie but take the time to admire the view of the Ponte Vecchio located directly west of you. Tons of tourist crowd Ponte Santa Trinita everyday to get pictures of the Ponte Vecchio but Ponte alle Grazie is usually empty. Once across the bridge, make the trek up to Piazzale Michelangelo. On your way you will pass by the impressive Torre di San Niccolò, a well preserved gate to the former defensive walls of Florence that was erected in 1324.
When you reach the top of Piazzale Michelangelo, you will understand why it’s one of the top places to visit in Florence. The breathtaking view is where millions of visitors every year flock to see the sunset. If the crowds of visitors are too much, head 5 minutes up the road to San Miniato. San Miniato is a church, monastery, and cemetery that has an equally beautiful view of the city but with none of the crowds. If you happen to be there by 5pm you will get a chance to hear the monks singing Gregorian chants. A bit of local life on your 24 hours in Florence.
Depending on your level of hunger, either before or after going to Piazzale Michelangelo I suggest visiting Osteria Antica Mescita San Niccolò. It is located very close to the Piazzale and is a locals only restaurant that serves delicious Tuscan food. They even have a dining area located in the former crypt of the church, for me it’s one of the best restaurants in Florence.
Remaining on the south side of the Arno, finish your night in Santo Spirito, the best spot to end your 24 hours in Florence. This hip neighborhood comes alive in the evening with countless wine bars and aperitivo. This is where the the young residents come to have drinks and socialize. It is not uncommon to find live music as you make your way through this historic neighborhood.
There will always be more to see in Florence, even on extended holidays. We have hosted multiple guest over the last year and always try to make sure they get the most out of their stay. This route has allowed us to cover the most ground in one day in Florence and left our visitors feeling like they truly experienced the essence of it. This city is a magical and unforgettable place to visit, I hope you enjoy your 24 hours in Florence and plan to come back for more.
Where to stay in Florence
It is highly recommended to book your accommodation in Florence in advance. Florence is one of the most visited cities in Italy and the good hotels in Florence have high occupancy year round. Consider staying near to the Duomo so it’s easy to start your ” Florence in one day itinerary”. Hotels near the trains station will make easy to get in and out Florence. So you enjoy the top things to do in Florence from the moment you arrive to the last minute. Here it goes a list with some of the best hotels in Florence:
Author: Briana Grappo Briana and Javier are two expats from California, who are living in Florence, Italy. In 2017, they quit the rat race and sold off their belongings so that they could move abroad. Briana works with disabled children and Javier is a private chef. They run a travel and lifestyle blog called A dash of Life and YouTube channel. You can follow them on Instagram and Facebook.
So, you’re inNew Zealand, on the South Island, and find yourself in the beautiful town of Wanaka. But you’re in a rush and can’t stay for long. In fact, you work out that you only have a day to play with. This is a daunting prospect!
Confronted with the picturesque postcard scene that stands before you, of glorious mountains, gleaming glaciers and pristine lakes, you wonder how on Earth to make the most of your time here. What should you do in Wanaka in 24 hours? Where should you go? Simply, how should you spend your one day in Wanaka? Let’s go through your options.
24 Hours in Wanaka, is it possible?
Honestly, the first thing I’d suggest is give yourself more time to explore! Seriously, do whatever you can to extend your stay here: delay flights, cancel reservations and make excuses! I promise you will not want to leave when your 24 hours draw to a close. Truthfully, Wanaka has a wonderful habit of changing people’s’ plans. I would know – I went there for a night and stayed for two months! There’s simply a magic to it that makes it supremely difficult to bid it farewell. And it isn’t hard to see why.
Situated on the Southern side of the glacial lake that shares its name, Wanaka is surrounded by mountains and water; glaciers glisten on distant peaks; this is nature at its finest. The atmosphere and environment are unique: a spectacular combination of magnificent natural beauty, unparalleled outdoor pursuits, happy vibes and laid back people.
Wanaka is a fascinating place in that it transforms depending on the season. In Summer, the warmth and fair weather make it an ideal lakeside location. In Winter it becomes a skier’s paradise, with heavy snow falling in town and over its peaks. For the sake of this piece, let’s say you’re spending one day in Wanaka outside of the snowy months.
Wanaka is a special place. But what if your hands are tied and the 24 hour limit set in stone? Well, all is not lost. Here’s a suggested itinerary, what to do in wanaka in one day:
The waterfalls cascading from Rob Roy Glacier
24 Hour Wanaka Itinerary
07.00 – Wake
If you want to make the most of your day in Wanaka, you must get up early. You wake in one of the plethora of hostels, hotels and guest houses in and around town (that you booked in advance to avoid disappointment!), ready for a full day ahead. After a quick shower you pull on some clothes and take the short walk to the lakefront, making sure you bring your swim stuff with you.
07.30 – Breakfast at Kai Whaka Pai
You see a coffee shop called Kai Whaka Pai on the corner (translated from Maori to ‘Food Made Good’) that looks the perfect spot to sit down. Sat there admiring the lake, covered and glinting in the light of the morning sun, you enjoy a relaxed breakfast and perfectly crafted morning coffee.
08.30 – Morning swim
Having finished the meal you feel energised and take a dip in the lake. At this time there aren’t many people around and it seems as if the lake is all yours. Swimming out to one of the platforms offshore, you sit, dangling your feet in the cool waters and gazing to the horizon and the peaks in the distance. Now you remeber, you must go for at least one hike in Wanaka.
09.30 – Prep for a hike
Back at the hostel from your swim and having dried off sufficiently, you’ve changed into hiking gear, ready to venture off for a decent walk. You’ve read about the Rob Roy Glacier and fancy seeing it with your own eyes.
The route to Rob Roy is easiest with a car but there are also shuttle buses from the town centre. Along the way to the beginning of the Rob Roy Hike you pass Roys Peak, another tempting trail that rises steeply and overlooks Wanaka. You could just as easily do this walk to enjoy the stunning views from the top, but decide to stick with your plans.
10.45 – Rob Roy Glacier Track
Having driven the hour or so through wonderful landscapes, you arrive at Raspberry Creek Car Park and begin the Rob Roy trek, across valleys, along rivers and mountain sides, eventually coming to the glacier itself, which rises above you, pouring waterfalls down the mountain sides all around it. As a well prepared hiker you’ve brought lunch with you and eat at the foot of this magnificent sight. Because having an outdoor meal while admiring the glacier is must do in Wanaka.
16.00 – Beach time
The hike took about 4 hours to return to the car park and you’re tired after the return drive. It’s the perfect opportunity to laze on the beach, next to the lake. It’s an easy place to spend a couple of hours.
Maybe you take another dip to feel refreshed after the exertions of the walk. You shut your eyes in the later afternoon sun, lazing on the beach as other happy individuals frolic in the waters around you. You have a read, or play volleyball on the sand court just next to the beach.
18.00 – Early dinner
Feeling peckish, you wander along the bars and restaurants that line the waterfront. They’re busy but welcoming, and you sit for an early evening meal. A cheeky drink in the evening sun goes down a treat too.
19.00 – Sunset at Mt. Iron
The sun is getting lower in the sky and you’ve just been told about a good place to watch the sunset: a 250m rocky knoll called Mount Iron, just 2 km outside of town. You get there easily enough (hitching a lift, driving, borrowing a bike from the hostel, or simply walking) and do the short (45 – 60 min), but steep ascent to the top.
You’re just in time for sunset and the 360 degree panoramic views over Wanaka provide the perfect place from which to enjoy it. The world seems to extend around you, warped by distance and perspective; beauty everywhere you look.
21.30 – Head to the bar (Fitzpatricks)
High on life after watching the sunset, you fancy sampling the nightlife. It’s been a busy day but you’re not quite ready for bed. Drawn by the noise and crowds, you find yourself back in town and at Fitzpatricks, a raucous Irish bar just up the road from the Lake. Pulled along by the lively atmosphere, one drink leads to two, to three…
00.00 – Bed time
Enough is enough though and as fun as Fitzpatricks was, bed beckons! You make your way back to the hostel/hotel and settle into a deep sleep, content after having sampled some of the best things to do in Wanaka, determined to come back to experience the rest soon.
Alternative Wanaka Itinerary:
The above itinerary would give you a good overview of the top things to do in Wanaka. However, there’s far more stuff to do and see in Wanaka! Here are some alternative ideas for what to include in your one day in Wanaka itinerary:
Climb Roys Peak
Mentioned in the itinerary above, this is one of the most well known hikes in Wanaka. Not far from town, the trail criss-crosses steeply up the side of the mountain, providing insane views from the top. It’s a leg and lung buster, but most definitely worth the effort.
Visit ‘The island in the lake on an island in a lake’- Mou Waho
This is an amazing, quirky place just a short boat ride from Wanaka. Here, the island (on Lake Wanaka) has a lake, which has an island in the middle… You can swim in crystal clear water and see the Weka, which is a flightless bird that’s been extinct on the mainland since the 1920s.
Kayak, sail, row on the lake
Getting out onto Lake Wanaka is a must if you have the time. There are many options and all can be arranged on the day, but it provides a unique perspective of the surroundings.
If you’re feeling particularly adventurous you can head slightly out of town to Skydive Wanaka, to jump out of a plane over this incredible land from 15,000 feet with a freefall of 60 seconds.
Of all the things to do in Wanaka, this has to be one of the most novel. Puzzling World is a sort of museum/amusement park full of all manner of puzzles, mazes, obstacle illusions and other such attractions. It’s just outside of town and worth a visit, especially on a rainy day.
Diamond Lake and Rocky Mountain Walk
Wanaka is so ridiculously jammed full of amazing trails and hikes to do. The Rocky Mountain walk is another, which takes you past the Diamond Lake.
River and gorge jumping
In the same region as the Diamond Lake and Rocky Mountain there are ample opportunities to explore gorges and crystal clear rivers, jump from rocks into deep pools of turquoise waters and bask in glorious sunshine… All unrestricted and totally free. These places are there to be found and enjoyed. Just ask the owner of your hostel/guesthouse to direct you to them.
And there you have it: my suggestions for how to spend 24 hours in Wanaka, New Zealand! No matter what you decide to do with your time, I promise you won’t be disappointed.
Where to stay in Wanaka, New Zealand
You can choose from affordable guest houses to luxury accommodation in Wanaka. Here is a list of the best places to stay in Wanaka:
Danny Newman is a travel enthusiast with a passion for writing and inspiring others. He runs a blog called Coddiwomp, which is dedicated to helping aspiring travellers travel for the first time. For Danny, the essence of travel is found in the feeling it elicits. He wants to inspire and support as many people as possible to experience this ‘travel feeling’.