Loading...

Follow StefanRTW | A Travel and Lifestyle Blog on Feedspot

Continue with Google
Continue with Facebook
or

Valid

During an early autumn motorcycle trip out to the Niagara Parkway I stumbled onto the Ridgeway Battlefield Site.

Today, it’s a National Historic Site of Canada and one of the more unique military attractions near Niagara Falls.

Personally, I’m a fan of the War of 1812 and all of the history surrounding that. Of course I was interested in the Battle of Ridgeway Park when I passed by.

At first I was surprised by the quality and detail put into the signage and facilities here at the park.

In this post we’ll take a look at what you can expect visiting the Ridgeway Battlefield Site and a quick primer on the Fenian history here in Ontario.

Who Are the Fenians?

The Fenians were members of different Irish nationalist organizations in the UK, Canada, and the United States.

The group became popular with the rise of the push for Irish independence from the British.

They didn’t hold any grudges against Canadians personally and their aim was to push Britain into granting Ireland their own independence.

The name “Fenian” was coined by their own founder, John O’Mahony, after the ancient Irish warriors known as the “Fianna Eirionn”.

For the most part, the Fenian’s were made up of veterans and young Irishman with an intense sense of nationalist pride.

Along with Ontario, this group also raided New Brunswick, Quebec, and Manitoba.

The outcome of the Fenian raids in Canada lead to the provinces joining together in a confederation. This would lead to forming the Dominion of Canada in 1867.

What Happened at the Battle of Ridgeway?

The Battle of Ridgeway is an interesting and important part of Canadian history.

On June 1st 1866, a group of Fenian raiders crossed the Niagara River from Buffalo.

These were mostly Irish-American veterans of the U.S. Civil War and had the experience to launch a small-scale attack on Canada.

Their goal was to force Britain to give Ireland its independence. The Fenians weren’t interested in capturing Canada.

Instead they were hoping to succeed by inciting violence and scaring the local population.

There was no resistance as they crossed the Niagara River with more than 1,300 men landing near Fort Erie.

At this point the Canadians were aware of the invasion. A few militias were quickly put together to defend against the Fenians.

On the morning of June 2nd the Fenians assumed a defensive position on a Limestone Ridge, close to the small town of Ridgeway.

Nearly nine hundred Canadian militia from Toronto, Hamilton, Caledonia, and York marched against the Fenians to start the battle.

Throughout the day skirmishes were fought in the area with cavalry charges, riflemen attacks, and hand-to-hand guerrilla combat taking place.

Unfortunately, the Canadian militia was poorly trained. Key mistakes were made that lead to the Fenians capturing the small town of Ridgeway.

Expecting British reinforcements to arrive shortly, the Fenians gave up Ridgeway after a few hours and retreated back to Fort Erie.

Another battle took place, the Battle of Fort Erie, with the small group of Canadian militiamen holding the town against the Fenians.

Despite their quick victories and overwhelming force at the beginning of the battles, the Fenian’s were left with no choice but to return back to the United States. A larger force of British and Canadian’s were quickly approaching.

Upon arriving back in the US more than 850 Fenians were arrested by the American authorities.

The Canadians and British Army were prevented by American gunboats from retaliating.

The Outcome of the Battle of Ridgeway

If it weren’t for the Fenians it’s doubtful that Canada would have become a confederation just over a year later.

Politicians and local newspapers greatly exaggerated the Canadian defeat at Ridgeway.

There were countless claims that Canadians or unable to defend themselves without relying heavily on the British army for support.

The easy Canadian defeat at Ridgeway added a great amount of shame to Canadian national military heritage. It took almost 25 years for the Canadian government to recognize the veterans of the battle and praise them for so graciously defending the country.

The immediate need for local defense and increased Canadian nationalism lead to the Confederation be negotiated.

The results? The Dominion of Canada being created on July 1st, 1867 – unity among all of the provinces for the first time in Canadian history.

The Battle of Ridgeway is one of the most important parts of Canadian history. This event truly defined the path for Canada to take moving forward in the future.

Ridgeway Park and the Ridgeway Battlefield National Historical Site

You can find the Ridgeway Battlefield Site on Highway 3 just outside of Fort Erie.

The park is located in Ridgeway, Ontario on Garrison Road.

Visiting the park you’ll find a number of outdoor interpretive panels that share the history of the Fenian Raids.

These panels explain the reasons of the raids, the different government responses, and the final outcome that these raids had on Canada.

To be honest, I had not even heard about the Fenian’s until I happened on this park.

It’s incredible to me that such a key piece of Canadian history can go unnoticed and unheard of by so many Canadians.

Some of the other highlights of the park include:

  • A commemorative cairn with information about the raids and a plaque dedicated to the soldiers that perished during the attack
  • A series of period paintings that give a visual account of the battle
  • Interpretive signs and a covered gazebo for picnics and relaxing
Tips for Visiting + More Information

Those of you interested in learning more about the Battle of Ridgeway will want to pay a visit to the local historical Museum.

The museum is located at 402 Ridge Road and provides a lot more insight into the Fenian Raids.

The impressive historic Fort Erie is located nearby – definitely worth a visit as well if you’re interested in War of 1812 history.

Parking at the site is free although you will want to be careful turning off of the highway into the park (there is high-speed traffic going by).

Don’t forget to check out the large mausoleum next door. This mausoleum is dedicated to the soldiers and veterans from the battle.

There aren’t any facilities nearby although Fort Erie and Niagara Falls are a short drive away.

The post The Battle of Ridgeway Park & Ridgeway Battlefield Site appeared first on StefanRTW.

Read Full Article
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

Search engine optimization is an essential skill in the travel bloggers toolset.

When you optimize your travel blog, including blog posts, it makes your blog more visible to people using search engines.

How are these people finding your blog to begin with?

By using search engines with keywords and phrases related to the topic and content of your blog.

To show up for these searches your blog needs to be properly optimized for search engines.

Let’s take a look at some travel blogging SEO strategies that you can start using today.

There’s just one thing – don’t expect it to happen overnight.

SEO takes time to start working.

Give it a month or two before you start panicking and making rash changes on your blog.

Otherwise, let’s jump right into it!

The Ultimate Guide to SEO for Travel Blogs

Consistent traffic growth is what every travel blogger is looking for.

With enough traffic you can make money travel blogging, sell your own travel-related service, or promote your own product to an interested audience.

Optimizing your blog and blog posts for better rankings in search engines is called Search Engine Optimization, or SEO for short.

This is one of the best strategies for marketing a travel blog and building your following.

Let’s take a look at how to optimize your travel blog for search engines!

Setup Google Search Console and Google Analytics

There are two amazing free SEO tools from Google that every travel blogger needs to be using:

  • Google Search Console
  • Google Analytics

The data that these tools can provide is incredibly valuable.

Auditing your travel blog regularly and using the analytics data to make improvements can lead to insane growth!

Here’s some of the data you can get from these tools:

  • Exactly where your website visitors are coming from
  • Your best ranking keywords
  • Keywords with poor rankings that can be easily improved
  • The best and worst blog posts for engagement
  • How long people are spending on your blog

There is so much information you can get from these two tools to improve and streamline your travel blogging strategy.

Both Analytics and Search Console monitor the traffic to your website once they’re implemented.

It’s great to go back and compare traffic stats to see if the improvements you’ve made are actually working.

Check out these helpful guides on setting up your Google Analytics and Google Search Console tools:

Start With the Right Keyword Strategy

Keyword research is one of the most important and valuable travel blogging strategies.

Ranking for the right keywords will determine the long-term success of your blog.

Learning how to research your market’s keyword demand and find the right terms and phrases to target will lead to better rankings and more traffic from search engines.

It’s not so much about the number of visitors to your blog – it’s the quality that’s most important.

For example, think of your blogging goals and what you’re hoping to achieve by starting your travel blog.

What sort of information is your target audience looking for online?

Put yourself in their shoes and check out your competition for inspiration on finding the right keywords.

When it comes to travel blog keywords – don’t overlook the demand of the long tail keyword.

Long tail keywords are search phrases that make up three or more words with a specific focus on search intent.

There is less competition for these keyboards and they convert at a better rate with search users further along the information funnel.

Using the right keyword tools, such as Google Search or KWFinder, you can find all the best travel blogging keywords.

Optimize Your Blog Homepage

Before worrying about optimizing your blog posts for SEO you need to focus on getting the homepage up to speed.

The homepage is an important page for travel blogs.

It’s a great place to showcase your best content and include sign up forms for growing your email list.

You’ll also want to promote your top converting products or services on the homepage of your blog.

Consider using a “Static” page as the homepage to your blog rather than the default blog roll.

This gives you more control over what’s being displayed on the page and where your visitors are being directed.

In terms of what to include on your homepage, here’s what it needs:

  • Email signup form
  • Quick introduction and overview
  • Links or banners for top converting affiliate products
  • Your most popular blog posts
  • Any guides or posts you want to promote
  • High quality images

When it comes to SEO, your blog homepage should send signals to Google about the type of content you’re sharing.

This makes it easier for Google and other search engines to rank your blog based on relevance.

Using plugins like Yoast SEO you can further optimize your homepage title and description.

Too many travel bloggers overlook the importance of a solid homepage – don’t miss out on this opportunity!

Optimize Your Blog Posts for Search Engines

Along with your homepage you also need to optimize each blog post for better search engine rankings.

Start by submitting your travel blog sitemap to Google using the Google Search Console tool mentioned above.

Google ranks each post on your blog independently of one another based on different factors present on your website.

These on-page ranking factors include:

  • Using relevant keywords in the title tag and meta description
  • Using relevant keywords in the Headings and content
  • The length of the content (2000 words minimum for search engines)
  • Image optimization and alt-text/description keywords
  • URL structure
  • External and internal links

These are some of the important on-page ranking factors that have an impact on your travel blogs ability to rank.

Content pages, otherwise known as blog posts, act as doorways to your blog.

The more content pages you have the more visitors are going to get from search engines – especially if these pages are SEO optimized.

How do you optimize blog posts for SEO?

Here are some of the best on-page SEO strategy guides for you to take a look at:

Go through these guides and apply what you learn to your own blog.

Once you get the hang of on-page SEO it becomes a natural part of your blogging process.

Build Links for a Stronger Domain

You’ve probably heard about link building before – you might already know what it is.

If not, here’s a quick description:

  • Links to your website, also known as backlinks, act as votes in the search engine popularity contest. The more links (votes) your blog has the more popular (better ranked) it’s going to be.

Google uses the “authority” of your blog as a ranking factor to help determine its relevancy.

Links from related websites shows to Google that your blog is important and your content is helpful.

One of the metrics used to determine a website’s reputation is “Domain Authority”, or DA.

Getting backlinks from other websites, especially those with a higher domain authority, will increase the DA of your own blog.

This results in better rankings and more traffic.

This is one of the travel blogging strategies that doesn’t end – you’ll have to keep building links from day one to stay relevant and highly ranked.

Some of the best ways to build links for a travel blog include:

  • Getting recommend by other travel blogs
  • Guest posting or contributing on other travel websites
  • Pitching other bloggers and website owners for link placement
  • Creating super helpful content designed to go viral

For strategies on how to get backlinks for your blog check out this helpful guide on Backlinko.

The post SEO for Travel Bloggers appeared first on StefanRTW.

Read Full Article
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

Affiliate marketing is one of the best ways to make money travel blogging, especially when you’re just starting out.

There are countless case studies and success stories when it comes to affiliate marketing for travel bloggers.

The trick with this monetization strategy is to push through those first few months when you’re only making a few dollars a day.

As you build your travel blog and drive more traffic to your content you’re bound to start making more affiliate sales.

In this post let’s take a look at how travel bloggers can get started with affiliate marketing.

What is Affiliate Marketing?

As a travel blogger I’m sure you’ve heard of affiliate marketing before – maybe you’re wondering what it’s all about?

Here’s a simple breakdown:

  1. Someone visits your website from a search engine for social media.
  2. The visitor clicks on a special “affiliate” link that you’ve added within your content.
  3. The visitor follows through the link and purchases the product or service you recommended.
  4. You earn a commission for the sales generated through your special link
Where do you get the affiliate links?

Each affiliate platform is different.

Some affiliates will give you a single link that links directly to a product or service with your affiliate ID.

Other affiliates will have unique links for each product or service available for you to promote.

Take the time to understand how each affiliate platform works before adding links to your content.

You don’t want to start generating sales and miss out on your commission because your affiliate ID wasn’t included in the link!

How Much Money Can You Make With Travel Affiliate Marketing?

It’s possible to earn thousands of dollars every day or make nothing at all after months of effort.

Thankfully, there are heaps of helpful guides and in-depth tutorials covering every aspect of making money travel blogging.

It’s easy to overcome specific problems along your blogging journey with all of the resources available out there.

So, how much can you really make with a travel affiliate site?

Most people should be able to reach $1000 per month after 6 months to 1 year of part-time effort.

This assumes you’re starting out as a total beginner without much or any blogging experience.

Once you’ve reached the $1000 per month threshold you’ll be able to continue growing your blog or try out a different strategy.

There are hundreds of affiliate programs for travel bloggers with great payouts.

Considering the growing demand of travel, this is a great niche to get into.

Why Start Affiliate Marketing?

The best part about affiliate marketing is that there are so many different niches and programs to choose from.

It seems like almost every product or service has their own affiliate offer from flights and car rentals to cruise ships and excursions.

With so many different niches this opens up a lot of opportunity to travel bloggers looking to try something new without much competition.

Using the right keyword strategy it’s still possible to find untapped verticals in the travel industry – perfect for those of you looking to get started with affiliate marketing.

Travel Keywords for Affiliate Marketing – What Are People Searching For?

With an affiliate site it’s smart to start out with “buyer” keywords.

These are keywords and search phrases where you know the person is moments away from buying something – they just need a nudge in the right direction.

This is where keyword research and great content can help you build the foundation to an amazing travel affiliate site.

There are a few different ways you can approach your keyword research strategy depending on what you’re promoting:

Product Keywords

These types of keywords are the low-hanging fruit that you can quickly rank and start earning from.

There are a seemingly endless amount of product keywords

It’s a gold mine in the travel niche with so many different travel products.

Here are some great travel product keywords to consider:

  • Best travel luggage
    Best walking shoes for Europe
    Best laptop for travel
    Best carry on rolling suitcase
    These are easy to monetize with affiliate programs like Amazon.

With the right keyword research strategy you’ll be able to find keywords with low competition that you can quickly rank for.

Flight and Hotel Keywords

The competitive nature of airlines and hotels means that he’s keywords have extremely high competition.

It’s unlikely you’ll ever be able to rank for “cheap flights to Paris” unless you have an unlimited budget.

You might be able to get away with ranking for something like “where to stay in small city”, though Google will likely show their own local results first.

It’s smart to avoid flight-based and hotel-based keywords.

Location-Specific Keywords

Starting a local travel site can be a good idea for medium-sized cities without much competition.

Otherwise, you’ll probably be out-ranked by localized results or more popular local websites.

For example, consider a keyword like “best places to eat in NYC”.

While this keyword might have a high search volume, how would you monetize visitors to that page?

You could earn a few bucks through display advertisements but it doesn’t make sense to monetize location specific keywords affiliate marketing.

How to Start Travel Affiliate Marketing

At this point I’m assuming you have your own travel blog or website already up and running.

If not, open this post on how to start a travel blog in a new tab and pop back here once you’re done following through the guide.

To build a successful travel affiliate site there are three things you need to focus on:

Keyword Selection

Choosing the right keywords can make or break your entire affiliate marketing strategy.

Look for buyer keywords – those where people are one or two steps from making a purchase.

In the travel niche there is still a lot of opportunity to find low competition keywords that you can quickly rank.

As your website grows you can start going after higher competition keywords.

Until then stick to the low-hanging fruit and focus on those quick rankings.

Creating Great Content

Great content needs to be the foundation to your travel site.

Blog about things that people are actually looking for more information on.

Stay relevant, use a lot of images, and share everything on social media.

Guest Posting (Link Building)

In the travel niche, the best way to build links is through guest posting.

Links are when someone adds a link to your website from theirs.

Each of these links is a vote in the search engine popularity contest – the more you get the higher you’ll rank in search engines.

There are countless opportunities in the travel niche, especially as travel continues to become more popular.

While the competition might be high in some verticals you can still find low competition niches with the right keyword research strategy.

Once your plan is in place, get your creating amazing content in building links – you’ll be killing it with affiliate marketing in no time!

How to Run a Successful Travel Affiliate Website

Building your own successful affiliate site in the travel niche takes hard work and requires a solid strategy.

Here are some helpful tips on developing your own affiliate marketing strategy with your travel blog:

Use Contextual Links

Contextual links are those added in your content as part of the text.

For example, here’s a contextual link that leads to another helpful blogging post (see what I did there).

These links work better than banner ads and are an effective way to start making affiliate sales.

Your visitors are more inclined to click on a link that flows naturally with the content rather than an awkwardly placed advertisement.

Focus on Great Content

Like I keep saying – great content is the foundation to any successful affiliate website.

You need to be focusing on creating great content from day one.

What do I mean by “great content”?

Here are some guidelines you should follow when you’re creating posts for your travel blog or affiliate site:

  • A minimum of 2000 words
  • Use images or videos every 300 to 500 words
  • Include affiliate links every 300 words
  • Include a CTA (Call-To-Action) and any relevant email signup forms
  • Link to other pages on your blog
  • Link to other relevant websites (not your competition)

These are some basic guidelines to help you get started with creating great content.

Don’t forget that keyword research will help you find the best travel blog post ideas if you’re having trouble with that.

The post Affiliate Marketing for Travel Bloggers appeared first on StefanRTW.

Read Full Article
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

Niagara Falls is the most popular tourist destination in Canada.

More people visit here than anywhere else in the country including places like Toronto, Vancouver, and our beautiful East Coast.

Is one day in Niagara Falls enough to see it all?

One Day in Niagara Falls Itinerary

In this post I want to share with you a helpful one day Niagara Falls itinerary.

This way you’ll be better equipped to make the most of your visit to this beautiful natural wonder!

The area around Niagara Falls, on the Canada side, shouldn’t take more than one day to explore.

There are plenty of other things to do in the Niagara region but if your focus is on the Falls themselves this is the guide for you.

Where to Stay in Niagara Falls, Ontario

There are hundreds of options for accommodation in Niagara Falls between all of the hotels, motels, and B&B’s.

Most of the best places to stay are close to the Canadian Falls and Clifton Hill.

I recommend staying somewhere that’s walking distance to most of the attractions, restaurants, and shops you want to visit.

Here are my recommendations on the best places to stay in Niagara Falls:

Budget

King’s Inn Near the Falls – Great if you’re Niagara Falls on a budget? 15-min walk from Falls. Rates starting at $45 per night.

Mid-Range

The Rex Motel – Clean, modern hotel with updated rooms. Rates starting at $70 per night.

Luxury

Marriott Fallsview – Closest hotel to Niagara Falls. Wide range of different rooms available starting at $300 per night.

Arrive at Niagara Falls (9:00AM)

The earlier you can reach Niagara Falls, park your car, and start exploring the better off you’ll be.

As the day progresses it continues to get busy around the Falls, especially during the warmer summer months.

Thousands of people are visiting every day so it’s best to arrive as early as possible!

The best thing to do after parking is to make your way to the walkway along the Niagara River.

You can walk right up to the Falls for some amazing photo opportunities.

Standing at the Falls you’ll notice that there are 3 different waterfalls pouring over the escarpment.

These are the picturesque Canadian Horseshoe Falls, the Bridal Veil Falls, and the American Falls.

At the Falls is a large public building with a parking lot, Tim Hortons, washrooms, and the ticket booth for Journey Behind the Falls (A tour that takes you behind the waterfall).

Take a Hornblower Boat Cruise (10:00AM)

The Hornblower boat cruises are the best way to see the Niagara Falls up close.

The tours have been running for more than 170 years bringing people right past each of the three different waterfalls.

Prices for the most popular “Voyage to the Falls” boat tour are $25 for adults.

This includes admission on to the 700 passenger catamaran, mist poncho, complimentary elevator ride, and access to the Hornblower Riverside patio.

With just one day in Niagara Falls this is one of those MUST-DO experiences that you don’t want to miss.

It’s hard to describe the thunderous roar and earthy vibrations as the boat cruises by the millions of gallons of water flowing over the escarpment into the Niagara River beside you.

Head to the Niagara Cruises website here to book your tickets for this amazing boat tour!

It’s a good idea to book tickets for this Cruise in advance – this is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Niagara Falls.

Explore Clifton Hill (11:30AM)

Clifton Hill is the main tourist shopping area in Niagara Falls.

There are dozens of restaurants, quirky tourist attractions, and interesting stores that you can check out.

This is the best place to grab souvenirs like maple syrup maple candy, Tim Hortons, or really cheap tourist t-shirts.

Some of the other highlights of Clifton Hill include:

  • Niagara SkyWheel (large, modern ferris wheel that offers amazing views of the Falls)
  • Louis Tussaud’s Waxworks (cool wax museum, great for kids)
  • Ripley’s Believe it Or Not!
  • Nightmares Fear Factory (the best spot for some quick scares)
  • Fudge Factory (fudge and a vast selection of candy)

Thinking about lunch yet?

One of the places I’d recommend for first-time visitors to the falls is the Rainforest Cafe – it’s a fun place to eat if you’ve never been!

The Bird Kingdom (1:00PM)

Five minutes from Clifton Hill, right beside the US Border entrance, is the Niagara Falls Bird Kingdom.

This is the largest free-flying indoor aviary in the world and it’s full of hundreds of tropical birds.

When you’re inside you can explore a multi-level rainforest on different open-air pathways for the best bird experience.

There are parrots, toucans, owls, bats, and other interesting creatures.

This is a great place to visit if you’re looking for things to do in Niagara Falls with kids.

The bird kingdom is open daily between 9AM and 6PM.

Tickets are $18 for adults and $14 for children. You can save $3 per ticket if you buy online.

Hike the Niagara Gorge (3:00PM)

There are more than 4 km of rugged trails winding through the deep Niagara Gorge.

The Niagara Glen Park offers a number of different opportunities for outdoor activity.

Bouldering is a popular local hobby with climbers visiting every day to test their skills on the Escarpment.

Thinking of climbing? Visit the Nature Centre to pick up a Bouldering Permit.

During the summer there are guided hiking tours available with a Niagara Parks Naturalist.

These tours are great for familiarizing yourself with the local geology, plant, and animal life while learning more about the history and impact of the falls.

Ride the Whirlpool Aero Car (5:00PM)

One of the most unique and fun Niagara Falls attractions is the Whirlpool Aero Car.

Suspended from 6 cables, a cable car whisks you across the Niagara Gorge offering amazing views of the Niagara Whirlpool and River down below.

The round trip takes about 10 minutes with the cable car turning around halfway through the journey.

Up to 35 people can stand on a cable car and there is plenty of room to take photos of the scenery.

Tickets for the Whirlpool Aero Car cost $15 per person with the rides running between April and November.

Head to Niagara-on-the-Lake for Dinner (6:30PM)

Niagara-on-the-Lake is one of the oldest and prettiest small towns in Ontario.

Sitting on the shores of Lake Ontario, at the mouth of the Niagara River, it’s worth it to consider doing a day trip to Niagara-on-the-Lake all on its own.

In town you’ll find a beautiful tree-lined main street with picturesque and well-preserved 19th century buildings.

Niagara-on-the-Lake is about 30 minutes away from Niagara Falls.

Those of you driving will enjoy the scenery along the Niagara River Parkway.

There are plenty of options for parking once you get there.

Looking for alternative transportation?

It’s possible to take a shuttle from Niagara Falls using the WEGO Shuttle Services.

If you get the chance, Niagara-on-the-Lake is an incredible place to visit even if just for a few hours!

Tips for Visiting Niagara Falls

Tip #1: Don’t Visit During the Summer

I’ll be honest, the crowds are crazy at Niagara Falls during the summer.

By 9AM it’s already packed and thousands of people are wandering around everywhere.

It also gets really hot in Southern Ontario, especially in July and August when you can expect temperatures upwards of 30°C.

When’s the best time to visit Niagara Falls?

October to April and avoiding major holidays is the ideal time to visit.

Kids are in school and there are generally less people traveling during this time.

You’ll find better deals and lower prices for tours and accommodation during the off-season.

What’s the best day to visit Niagara Falls?

The middle of the week is when you’ll find the best deals.

This is also when the least amount of people will be out traveling.

You’ll have the best opportunities for photos and exploring without too many tourists around.

Personally, I’d recommend visiting on Wednesday, Thursday, or Friday to avoid the weekend crowds.

Tip #2: Don’t Overpay for Fixed Rate Parking ($10-$15 MAX)

The best place to park in Niagara Falls are the fixed rate parking lots.

These are dozens of lots in Niagara Falls and aren’t hard to find once you arrive.

Start looking for parking close to Clifton Hill and avoid using any of the hotel lots.

The hotels for overcharging for parking so you’re better off avoiding them.

Tip #3: Read Reviews Online Before Spending Money

The Tim Hortons on Clifton Hill charges more than the locations everywhere else.

Some restaurants also charge a “tourist tax” that can add up to a signification amount of your bill.

Surprising, right?

This was something I didn’t expect to find when visiting the Falls.

It’s a sleazy way to get more money out of tourists.

Before spending money ANYWHERE pull out your phone and look up reviews.

Seriously, you just have to do a quick Google search for the specific location.

One of the first results will be Google Reviews and it doesn’t even take a minute to read the first few.

This is the most practical way to find honest places to visit and it’s a strategy I use whenever I’m traveling to avoid getting scammed or overpaying.

The post How to Spend One Day in Niagara Falls, Ontario appeared first on StefanRTW.

Read Full Article
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

Last updated: July 2018

Planning a trip to Salzburg? Save $35 on your first AirBnb booking:

http://www.airbnb.ca/c/spidruczny

Most people planning a trip to Salzburg probably know about the Sound of Music or the birthplace of Mozart.

These are just two of the many different things to do in Salzburg.

Surprisingly, this historic Austrian city has a lot to offer its visitors.

There’s the picturesque city skyline standing over thBudge banks of the Salzach River. The river meanders on while the Old Town, or Altstadt,  beckons you over to explore.

Looking up you’re bound to be impressed by the medieval fortress overlooking the town. Once you’re up there you’ll be rewarded with breathtaking views of the surrounding Austrian Alps.

So what makes Salzburg so impressive?

During World War II nearly 50% of the buildings in the city were destroyed. The historic medieval bridges and the Salzburg Cathedral dome were left in ruins.

Thankfully, almost everything else was left untouched. Most of the buildings with Baroque architecture were unharmed!

This resulted in Salzburg becoming one of the best preserved cities in Europe. In 1997 this was globally recognized with the city being given UNESCO World Heritage status.

That’s enough of me rambling on! In this post I want to share with you the highlights as well as some of the best things to do in Salzburg.

This way you’ll be better equipped to make the most of your trip to Austria.

Let’s jump right into it!

Where to Stay in Salzburg

Finding the right place to stay can be a stressful part of the trip planning process.

To make things easier for you I’ve put together a quick list of some great places to stay in Salzburg.

Budget
  • ACHAT Plaza Zum Hirschen – Elegant hotel just 5-minutes from the main train station. Double rooms starting at $80 per night.)
Mid-Range
  • Hotel Goldgasse – Modern, upscale hotel in the historic old town – perfect for exploring. Queen rooms starting at $160 per night.)
Luxury
  • Hotel Sacher Salzburg – The most grand hotel in Salzburg. Ultra-luxurious rooms with incredible views. Double rooms starting at $770 per night.)

Would you prefer a local experience? Then consider booking an apartment or private room on AirBnb!

Sign up using my referral code here and get up $45 off your first trip!

How to Get Around in Salzburg

For the most part you can walk everywhere in Salzburg.

The majority of the popular tourist sites are all within a few kilometers of one another.

During the warmer months consider renting a bicycle in Salzburg.

The city is the cycling capital of Austria. It’s quick and easy to explore the city on bike and get out into some natural areas as well.

Otherwise, the bus is the best mode of public transportation in the city.

24-hour tickets are available if you’re going to be riding the bus more than three times. Tickets can be purchased at the machines beside any of the stops.

If you’re interested in checking out the sights I mention in this post then I highly recommend picking up a Salzburg Card.

It offers free-entry and discounts to many of the sights, attractions and landmarks in the city and it’s definitely worth it if you’re visiting for two or three days. 

Whether you’re visiting because of your love of The Sound of Music or you’re just interested in exploring a new Austrian city here are 10 of the best things to see in Salzburg during your trip.

Hohensalzburg Fortress

The Hohensalzburg Fortress is one of the highlights of Salzburg.

Built in 1077, it’s the one of the largest and best preserved fortresses in Europe.

At first was a much smaller stone structure overlooking the city. Today, the Fortress is a sprawling defensive structure with a commanding position in the city center.

Reaching the Fortress is easy. There is a funicular ride if you’re feeling lazy or it’s a 15-minute scenic walk up a wooded path.

At the top you’ll find some amazing views of the surrounding mountains. It’s here where you’ll get the best views of Salzburg as well, especially on a clear day.

Some of the other highlights of the Fortress include the Marionette Museum, the Fortress Museum, and the Golden Hall.

Take your time to walk around and explore the exhibits. There is a small cafe and restaurant at the Fortress for refreshments

Cost: Adult €15.50 (Entrance included in your Salzburg Card)

Hours: October to April 09:30-17:00 | May to September 09:00-19:00

More Infohttps://www.salzburg-burgen.at/en/hohensalzburg-castle/

The Mozart Museum

The Mozart Museum can be found at Getreidegasse 9 in the heart of the Salzburg Old Town.

This beautiful house was used by the Mozart family for more than 26 years. On January 27th, 1756 its in this very house that Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was born!

Today, the museum features a number of different Mozart related exhibits.

Visitors are able to see the different instruments Mozart used and other interesting items from his life.

Despite not being interested in classical music I found the museum to be interesting. It provides a unique insight into life during that time period.

The Salzburg Cathedral

The Salzburg Cathedral is one of the biggest, and most impressive, churches Austria.

In 774 the first religious structure was built on this site. Over the years it was destroyed, renovated, and rebuilt.

During the seventeenth Century it was rebuilt again in a Baroque architectural style – this is the Salzburg Cathedral that you see today.

One thing you should know is that Mozart was baptized here just one day after he was born!

Despite all of the changes the Salzburg Cathedral has remained an important symbol of the city.

The cathedral is generally open throughout the year between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m..

Entrance to the inside is free. Guided tours for adults are €5.

More Info: https://www.salzburg.info/en/sights/churches-cemeteries/salzburger-cathedral

St.Peter’s and the Catacombs

The St. Peter’s Complex was founded in the second century. Since then the church, cemetery, and abbey have remained spiritual center of Salzburg.

It’s at the cemetery where you can explore the catacombs.

The catacombs were carved out of the small mountain in the city, Monchsberg.

For hundreds of years they were developed and used as hermitage’s, burial sites, and a shelter for those looking to escape religious persecution.

These are some of the best preserved early Christian catacombs in Europe.

Cost: €2 (Free with Salzburg Card)
Hours: May-September: daily 10 am-12:30 pm, 1 pm-6 pm | October-April: daily 10 am-12:30 pm, 1 pm-5 pm | Closed: Jan. 1, Dec. 24-26, Dec. 31
More Info: https://www.salzburg.info/en/sights/churches-cemeteries/st-peters-monastery-cemetery

Monchsberg

Similar to Festungsberg, Mönchsberg is another mountain in Salzburg and looms more than 500m above the city.

In English it’s called “Monks Mountain” and got its name from the local Benedictine monks that occupy the St.Peter’s Abbey near the northern foot of the mountain.

Monchsberg and 4 other mountains in the area make up the 5 mountains that Salzburg was built around.

In between 1764 and 1766 a tunnel was built through the mountain and acted as one of the city’s main gates.

During World War II there were air raid shelters carved out of the mountain that could be accessed through this tunnel and today it’s one of the oldest street tunnels still in use in Central Europe.

At the top of Monchsberg is a large, forested park area that’s frequented by both tourists and locals looking to partake in some outdoor recreation.

When I was there in December there was only a few other people walking their dogs and during the colder winter months you’ll likely have the entire place to yourself if you want to hike around and explore.

During the summer there are many tourists that visit this forest to relax and escape the crowds of the Old Town below.

Also at the top you’ll find one of the locations of the Museum of Modern Art along with a small café/restaurant.

In the summer there is a large terrace adjacent to the restaurant but all year long the walkway along the edge of the mountain offers an incredible panoramic view the Old Town and Hohensalzburg Castle.

I think there’s a way to reach the top on foot but it’s easy to reach from the Old Town through an elevator that runs through the center of the mountain itself.

An ascent and descent on the Monchsberg Lift costs €3.60 but it’s free if you have a Salzburg Card.

The Augustiner Brauhaus in the Mulln Monastery

Since 1621 the Mulln Monastery has been brewing beer for the city and all of Austria.

The famous beer, Augustiner, is a local and national favorite and the delicious recipe has been kept secret and guarded for nearly 400 years. Augustiner gets its unique flavor from the traditional and environmentally friendly brewing technique that has been perfected over the centuries.

Today, the Mulln Monastery houses the Augustiner Brauhaus known as the Braustubl.

For many people this is one of their favorite things to do in Salzburg and is an interesting and unique drinking establishment worth checking out.

It’s the largest beer inn in the entire country and beer is poured into intricately designed steins from wooden barrels – a historic and long-standing tradition.

Along with beer you can also enjoy a variety of local, tasty snacks that you’ll be able to purchase from a small arcade lined with shops and market stalls known as the Schmankerlgang.

These snacks are a great addition to the drinking experience and really add another level of enjoyment to a visit to one of the oldest breweries in the country.

The Mirabell Gardens

First opened to the public in 1854, the Mirabellgarten is an absolutely magical place to visit!

Fans of The Sound of Music will immediately noticed the scenery at the gardens. A number of different scenes were filmed here and this is a popular stop on The Sound of Music tours!

For the rest of you, the Mirabellgarten is a great way to escape the hectic tourist-crowds of the city center.

The beautifully manicured and geometric rearranged gardens are peaceful and stunning.

Don’t miss the famous hedge at Mirabellgarten.

This hedge, which runs along one side of the garden, was designed between 1704 and 1718. This is supposedly one of the oldest landscaped hedges in the world – what a cool fact!

Everything else from the patterned flower beds to the bright colors everywhere you look makes this one of the best places to visit in Salzburg.

Make sure to bring your camera. The uninterrupted views from the Mirabell Garden of the Hohensalzburg Fortress are incredible!

Cost: Free (Tours are available)

Hours: 06:00-dusk daily

More Info: https://www.salzburg.info/en/sights/top10/mirabell-palace-gardens

The Sound of Music

Fans of The Sound of Music are going to love Salzburg with all of its scenes from the famous movie.

The Mirabell Gardens are one of the popular stops for movie scenes. There are a number of other filming locations throughout the city that you can check out.

Rather than having to navigate to the different sites on your own it’s a good idea to go on a guided tour.

The one I recommend is called The Original Sound of Music Tour. This is a half day tour that brings you to some of the best places from the movie.

Enjoy the scenery while being whisked around on a coach bus. Music from the movie soundtrack will be playing on the bus to give you an even better experience!

Some of the stops on this tour include:

  • The Lake District (mountain scenes)
  • Mondsee (a small town nearby where Maria was married)
  • Hellbrunn Palace (the gazebo from the movie)
  • Leopoldskron Palace (boating scene and von Trapp house)

Prices for tours are reasonable. Expect to pay around $50 USD for a half-day tour with transportation included.

These tours are the best way to experience The Sound of Music highlights in Salzburg!

The Getreidegasse Neighborhood

In the north-western area of the Old Town is where you’ll find the Getreidegasse neighborhood.

This is one of the most picturesque and affluent neighborhoods in the city center.

The neighborhood is full of well-preserved historic buildings and quiet passageways with small shops, cafes, and boutiques.

This is a great place to pick up some local souvenirs. Those of you not interested in shopping will still find Getreidegasse a wonderful place to explore.

What I love most about Getreidegasse are the wrought-iron guild signs above each of the shops. They’re all so intricately designed and unique in their own way!

During the Christmas holidays a number of markets pop up inside the passageways.

Check out my Salzburg Christmas Market video if you’re planning to visit during this time.

Take your time to explore all of the courtyards and arcades in this neighborhood – they’re wonderful!

The post THE TOP 17 THINGS TO DO IN SALZBURG, AUSTRIA appeared first on StefanRTW.

Read Full Article
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

In this post I want to share with you guys some of the best GoPro tips for beginners.

When I first picked up my GoPro and started using it I had no idea what was going on. Having used these amazing action cameras for the past three years I now have a better idea of their full potential.

Rather than diving into serious photography tips it’s probably better to start off right at the beginning. Let’s talk about the settings and accessories that you should be using with your GoPro as well as some helpful tips on how to get amazing photos and videos.

Being able to capture steady video and clear images should be one of your main goals as a GoPro user. If you’re not careful you’ll be dealing with a lot of blurry photos and shakey footage that you can’t use.

Thanks to the newer models that come with built-in touch screen navigation it’s now easier than ever to use a GoPro and take advantage of all of its different settings. These small cameras come packed with features and design qualities that you’ll fall in love with.

Some of you might even start using your GoPro on a daily basis whether it’s for vlogging, travel, or just general photography. You can push these guys to the limit to get some amazing footage and stunning photography – it might end up surprising you!

Enough rambling on. Let’s dive right into what you’re looking for and get started with some basic tips and tricks.

The Best GoPro Tips for Beginners: Making the Most of Your Action Camera Use the Right GoPro Settings for Beginners

You can use your GoPro right out of the box and start filming everything right away. The problem with this approach is that the default settings might not be what you’re looking for.

At this point it’s time to start getting comfortable with the touch screen and menu of your device. Take some time to browse different settings and make some changes to see what happens.

Once you’re comfortable with your camera we can start making lasting changes to give you a better filming or photography experience.

Resolution

Changing the video resolution is the first thing I do when I start recording with a new GoPro.

With video, the higher the resolution that you’re using the more storage and battery life you’re using. This means that capturing higher-resolution footage is going to run down your battery and fill your SD card faster than using a lower resolution.

Depending on your computer and what you’re using the footage for I recommend capturing video in 1080P. This is currently the industry standard for video resolution and anything you capture in 1080P is going to look great on most devices.

With the newer GoPro models you can capture footage in 2.7K or 4K. This is overkill for most people and I don’t recommend it unless you want the higher quality video for a specific reason.

For photos you can leave the resolution the same or set it to the maximum. Images don’t take up as much space as video and it’s unlikely you’ll have to worry about running out of storage with pictures.

Frames Per Second (FPS)

With the GoPro you can capture video footage in 24, 30, and 60 frames per second for most standard filming needs. There are higher FPS that you can capture in for slow motion video but most people won’t be using this feature.

Personally, I recommend shooting video in 30 frames per second or 24 frames per second. The higher FPS the more battery life and memory card storage you’re going to use so keep that in mind when you’re deciding what to capture in.

Field of View (FOV)

One of the best features of the newest GoPro models is the ability to change the field of view from wide-angle to linear mode. Linear mode results in a better-looking footage that’s less blown out and more representative of what the camera is actually capturing.

Of course when you’re using linear mode you won’t be able to capture as wide of a field of view as you’re able to when you’re using the wide-angle mode.

For high-action activities like skiing and water sports I recommend shooting in the wide-angle mode. For travel videos and up-close footage I recommend capturing in the linear mode.

Capture Everything All The Time

With your settings good to go you can finally start using your GoPro.

The best thing you can do to take better photos and capture better quality videos is to use your GoPro all the time. Bring it with you everywhere you go and capture everything going on around you.

You don’t have to use it only for high-intensity activities. It’s fun to bring along when you’re hiking, exploring somewhere new, or just taking your dog for a walk.

When you’re starting out there’s no need to worry about whether you’re taking Steven Spielberg level footage. Just get out there and get familiar with everything that this little action camera has to offer.

Eventually you’ll learn how everything works and you’ll be able to start putting together great photos and videos. After a few weeks of regular use you can start making YouTube videos or small movies to share with your friends and family.

The important thing to remember here is that you always want to have your camera with you when you’re out and about. There’s no point in leaving it back home and never getting a chance to use it!

Keep on Top of the Battery Life

One of the biggest gripes that I have with the GoPro cameras is that the battery life has always been subpar. Even in the newest models with the best improvements you only ever get one or two hours of constant use before you have to start worrying about your battery running out.

For beginners I recommend picking up some spare batteries. Having one or two extra batteries to use during the day remove the stress of low battery life. This way you can focus on taking photos or capturing videos while having fun!

Here are some tips for managing your GoPro battery life:

  • Turn off any of the settings you don’t need. Features like wifi or high screen brightness can run down your battery even when you’re not using the device. Turn all of these unneeded features off and only keep your camera on when you’re using it.
  • Pack one or two extra batteries in your camera bag or daypack before you head out for the day. It sucks when your battery runs out halfway through your day so it’s always good to have backups.
  • Capture what’s important. It’s always nice to have B-roll footage or lots of extra photos to go through but these can run down your battery life and eat up your memory card storage. Always consider what you’re taking the photo or video of – this will benefit you in the long run.

The best way to avoid running into any GoPro battery life issues is to carry extras. I can’t recommend enough picking up a few spare batteries to use, especially if you’re planning on traveling or using the camera when you’re not close to home.

These days spare batteries come with their own chargers so it’s easier than ever to keep on top of everything with your batteries.

For some more tips take a look at my post on how to improve your GoPro battery life!

Use the Best GoPro Accessories for Beginners

There are so many different GoPro accessories out there. How do you know which ones are worth it?

Over the past few years I’ve amassed an enormous collection of both branded and private label accessories. To this day there are a few that I use regularly. Most of them have very specific purposes so I never end up using them.

The best accessories that I would recommend starting out with include:

Spare Battery and Charger

Like I’ve already mentioned, you can’t go wrong with some spare batteries and an extra charger. These are the accessories I recommend picking up first since you’ll see the most use out of an extra battery.

I’m a big fan of the GoPro branded batteries. For me they’ve lasted longer than the private label once so they’re what I recommend for anybody looking for spares.

Hand Grip

Whether you’re hoping to start vlogging with a GoPro or you just want to take some amazing selfies – having a hand grip or selfie stick is important.

This is another accessory I use on a daily basis and the mount basically stays attached to the camera all the time. For traveling, taking photos around your neighborhood, or getting selfies you need to pick up a hand grip.

Take a look at the Vicdozia Monopod if you’re looking for a reasonably priced selfie stick. This is the one I use and so far I’m impressed by the quality and design.

Suction-Cup Mount

The suction cup mount gives you the ability to mount your GoPro on flat, smooth surfaces like windows or car windshields.

This is great for getting amazing time lapses or setting up the camera as a dash cam for road trip videos.

The official GoPro suction mount is a great choice if you’re looking to pick one up.

Tripod

Tripods give you the ability to set up your camera in a fixed position for an extended period of time. This is great for time lapses or recording videos of yourself for vlogs or YouTube videos.

Serious photographers will find a lot more use out of a tripod compared to if you’re just a beginner lobbyist.

Nonetheless, take a look at my review of MeFOTO Backpacker tripod.

Chest Mount or Head Strap

For any activities or outdoor excursions you’re going to want a chest mount or head strap. With one of these mounts you can strap the Go photo yourself and not worry about it.

It’s going to keep capturing footage while you can focus on the experience happening in front of you.

The chest mount and head strap are two accessories I use fairly regularly and are a necessary addition to any accessory arsenal.

Keep the Camera Steady (Pro Tip: Use a Gimbal)

Even though the newer GoPro models come with digital image stabilization the videos still tend to come out with noticeable vibrations and shakes.

These shakes and vibrations were much worse in older models and it’s something all of us action-cam users have to deal with on a regular basis.

Thankfully it’s easier than ever to stabilize the shots that you’re getting when you’re moving around. In some cases a sturdy tripod might be enough but for the most part I recommend looking into a powered gimbal to stabilize your footage.

Gimbals use a series of small electric motors to counteract the movement of the camera. This results in incredibly smooth and crisp footage regardless of the setting. You could be gunning downhill on a mountain bike or snowboarding in the Swiss Alps – your footage is going to come out steady whenever you’re using a gimbal.

The problem with these gimbals is that many of them are quite expensive and out of reach for amateur photographers and obvious. However, if you want to take your GoPro shots to the next level then a gimbal it is something you need to consider investing in.

For those of you on a budget still looking to pick a gimbal for better handheld stabilization take a look at the Feiyu G5 V2. This is a cheap GoPro gimbal that will turn your unsteady footage into the crisp and clean shots that you’re looking for.

There’s also the official GoPro Camera Karma Grip so you can take a look at that as well if you’d prefer the branded product.

Edit Video Using Final Cut Pro or Adobe Premiere

When it comes to the best editing programs for GoPro videos look no further than Final Cut Pro or Adobe Premiere.

These are two of the top-rated video editing apps and it’s what many videographers and YouTubers are using.

As a Macbook user I’m currently editing videos with Final Cut Pro. Those of you on Windows computers are going to want to take a look at Adobe Premiere.

There are a number of different free editing programs and apps that you can use if you’re looking for something simple and basic.

GoPro comes with their own editing app but in all honesty it’s no good and it can completely turn you off video editing if you’ve never done it before.

For Apple users your devices come with iMovie. This is a simple software that you can use for making basic videos. The problem with the free apps and editing programs is that they lack the features and functionality that you’ll find with a dedicated program.

Take a look at my post on the best GoPro editing programs for a better idea on how you can edit your videos.

Edit Photos With Lightroom

The GoPro is capable of taking incredible photos. When I started using my Hero 5 Black on a regular basis I was blown away by the pictures I was able to get with such a small device.

For editing your photos I recommend using Lightroom. This software is extremely capable of bringing the best out of the photos that you captured.

Even as a complete beginner you can quickly edit your photos in Lightroom using PRESETS for professional level results.

There are plenty of tutorials online if you’re wondering how to use Lightroom for editing GoPro photos.

Alternatively, many smartphones come with their own built-in photo editing apps. The Instagram editing app is amazing and it shows that you can still come out with some incredible looking photos using only your smartphone.

Whether you want to edit your photos on the computer or smartphone it’s something that you should be doing regularly. Unedited photos tend to come out uninspiring and dull – not what people are looking for these days.

There’s no need to go overboard with the edits. A few small changes can make a drastic improvement!

The post GoPro Tips For Beginners: 10 Helpful Hints and Tricks appeared first on StefanRTW.

Read Full Article
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

One day in Bruges is simply not enough.

If that’s all the time you then this is the perfect itinerary for you.

Just an hour away from Brussels by train, Bruges makes for an easy day trip. It’s also a great place to spend the night before heading off in the morning to explore somewhere new.

In this post I want to share a practical itinerary and some helpful tips on making the most of your trip to Bruges. Even if you only have one day you’re still going to have a great time!

Let’s jump right into it!

When’s the Best Time to Visit Bruges?

Like with most Western European cities, Bruges is busiest during the late spring, summer, and early fall. This is when most people have time off of work and when the weather is ideal for traveling.

During the summer prices for accommodation and tours are going to be slightly higher.

Make sure to book your hotel or accommodation as far in advance as possible to avoid any issues with availability. You’ll also be able to secure the best rates by booking as early as possible.

To avoid the crowds it’s best to visit in April, May, late September, and October. The weather is still great for spending time outdoors during these months and the crowds of tourists haven’t started to pick up yet.

If you can get the time off work or aren’t completely set on summer travel this is when I’d recommend visiting for the best experience!

What to Do with One Day in Bruges

In this post all assume you’re starting your day off at 10AM.

You can adjust it depending on your timeframe and whether you’re arriving from Brussels or waking up in town.

Start at the Market Square

The Market Square in the center of the Old Town is the best place to start your day. From here you can easily access all of the main tourist attractions. Tthe square itself is one of the most picturesque places in Belgium.

Take some time to walk around and admire the architecture and beautiful buildings around you. Visiting earlier in the day is the best bet since the square won’t be too busy yet.

The highlight of the Market Square is the large tower that dominates the skyline – the Belfry.

It’s possible to head up to the top of the Belfry where you’ll be rewarded with an amazing view of Bruges and the surrounding area.

If you haven’t had breakfast yet try wandering through the surrounding streets and keeping your eye out for a bakery or small cafe. During the warmer months many places will have outdoor seating. It’s a fun experience to sit outdoors and enjoy a bite to eat before heading off to explore.

Go On a Walking Tour (Or Boat Tour)

Starting at 11:30 there’s a free walking tour leaving from the statue in the Market Square.

The tours are run by “Legends of Bruges” and they’re great way to learn more about the medieval history of this charming town.

While you could always explore on your own walking tours bring you to all the best places and see if you from having to wander around aimlessly.

The tours take between 2 to 3 hours so don’t forget to wear comfortable shoes. There’s a break in the middle and make sure to leave the guide a tip!

If you don’t feel like a walking tour you could go on a boat tour instead. Boat tours give you a different perspective of the town and can result in some pretty amazing photographs.

From March until November there are 30 minute tours running everyday. The tour costs 8 euros per person and they’re great if you want to sit down and relax while enjoying the scenery.

Get Something for Lunch

After the tour it’s time for lunch!

You can’t visit Belgium and not try some Belgian beer. Be sure to visit somewhere with a decent selection of beers so that you can get the true local experience.

There are a number of restaurants and small eateries throughout the Old Town. Head over to TripAdvisor to see what’s available or just walk around and stop by wherever seems interesting.

Personally, I recommend visiting Jilles near the Fish Market. They have some great Burgers, the prices are reasonable, and there’s a great selection of beers.

It’s the perfect lunch stop during a summer trip to Bruges!

Visit the Famous Basilica

Steps away from the Market Square is the Basilica of the Holy Blood. In this Basilica there’s a vial where the blood of Jesus Christ is believed to be kept.

It’s completely free to visit the inside although there’s a donation expected.

Even if you’re not religious this is a cool experience and something that you need to do when you’re visiting Bruges.

The Basilica is small inside and it should only take you 20 to 30 minutes to check out the vial.

Learn More About Bruges

At this point you’re probably ready to relax. Visiting a museum or gallery is the perfect thing to do right now!

There are two great museums in Bruges that I would recommend checking out. These are the Groeninge Museum and St. John’s Hospital.

St. John’s Hospital is one of the oldest hospitals in Europe. This makes it rather unique and it’s pretty cool to walk around and explore the building.

The Groeninge Museum is one of the best museums in town and showcases artwork from Flemish and local artists.

Both of these are great places to spend some time learning more about local history and culture. They’re also great if you’re looking for somewhere to escape the rain or heat.

As for galleries, there are a number of different art galleries and artists shops throughout the Old Town area. Wander around and pop into any of the shops or galleries that seem interesting to you.

Eat a Belgian Waffle

This is something you can choose to do before or after dinner. I like to grab a waffle late in the afternoon and finish it while exploring the city some more.

The best place to find a Belgian waffle in Bruges is right in the city center in the Market Square. This is the historic centre of the town and on market days there are a number of street vendors selling waffles.

The waffles range in price from 1 to 3 euros depending on how many toppings you get. I recommend going with the classic Belgian waffle topped with whipped cream although that’s more of a personal preference!

If the Market Square is too busy you can find some other vendors and cafes selling waffles throughout the Old Town. Don’t hesitate to check out some different menus to see where you can find the best waffles.

It’s Dinner Time!

Don’t forget to walk around for a short while after finishing your waffle. You want everything to settle down in your stomach before you eat dinner.

As always, I recommend heading over to TripAdvisor to compare restaurants and find somewhere to eat in Bruges. You can set filters depending on your preferences, budget, and location of where you want to eat.

There are so many different restaurants and small eateries that I can’t recommend one specifically.

For a unique experience it’s a good idea to grab dinner right in the Market Square. Here you can enjoy the amazing view and watch the crowds of tourists while eating your meal.

For more quiet, romantic, and peaceful dining experience I recommend stopping somewhere outside of the Market Square. Prices will be lower and you’ll be able to enjoy your meal without the crowds of tourists around you.

Brewery Tour or Self-Guided Walking Tour

After dinner it’s up to you to decide how you want to spend the rest of your night. If you’re not staying in Bruges then you’ll probably have to start making your way back at this point.

Otherwise, there are a few things to do at night that are pretty interesting depending on what you’re looking to do.

During its medieval history there were more than 50 breweries running at any given time in the small town of Bruges. These days there are only three breweries still brewing delicious beer.

These would be the Fort Lapin, De Halve Maan, and the Bourgogne des Flandres breweries.

At each of these you can go on a tour and sample some fresh Belgian beer. The tour will also bring you through the brewery facilities giving you a better idea of how beer is made here in Belgium.

If you’d rather just sit in a bar and sample different beers without going on a tour I recommend heading to the Bauhaus Bar. There are more than 25 different Belgian beers on top and there’s a lively young crowd every night of the week.

Alternatively, you can easily walk around on your own. Going on a self-guided walking tour of the town is a great way to discover its hidden gems without feeling restricted to a guide or itinerary.

And there you have it!

This is a great one day in Bruges itinerary that’ll help you make the most of your time even if you’re only visiting for the day.

If there’s anything I missed or if there’s something you would like to recommend don’t hesitate to leave a comment down below.

Where to Stay in Bruges

The Relais & Chateaux Hotel Heritage is one of the best hotels in town.

It’s a 4-star luxury property that was originally built as a private mansion in 1869. The 19th-century building has been renovated and turned into this stunning luxury hotel with spacious rooms, high ceilings, and tasteful decoration.

The best part about the Hotel Heritage is its location just 150 feet away from the Market Square. Staying here it’s easy to get out and explore the city!

For a better look at the property I recommend checking out my in-depth Relais & Chateaux Hotel Heritage review.

Alternatively, if you’re looking for something a little more reasonably priced I would recommend checking out the Hotel Ibis Brugge Centrum.

This property is part of the Ibis chain of hotels and it’s perfect if you’re looking for something affordable, comfortable, and well-equipped for a short-term stay.

Heading to other places in Belgium during your trip? You might also be interested in these articles:

Things to do in Ghent

Want more tips for visiting Bruges? Check out these links:

Daily Costs for Visiting Bruges

Things to Do in Bruges During Your Trip

More One Day Itineraries:

One Day in Ljubljana

One Day in Belgrade

The post One Day in Bruges Itinerary – What to Do in Bruges in One Day appeared first on StefanRTW.

Read Full Article
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

Last updated: January 4th 2018

Planning a trip to Iceland can be tough and discouraging.

There are countless blog posts and many people telling you that it’s very expensive to travel there.

For some people, yes, that’s definitely the case.

But, if you plan ahead and make smart decisions it’s definitely possible to explore Iceland without spending too much money.

How to Travel Iceland on a Budget

Today, I want to talk about how you can travel Iceland on a budget.

Don’t worry – you’ll still have an amazing time. You won’t have to sacrifice too much comfort and you’ll still have enough money to see and do what you want.

When it comes to planning an Iceland trip there are four different areas where you can keep costs down:

  • Accommodation
  • Transportation
  • Food/Alcohol
  • Sights and attractions

Keeping your costs down in these four areas is going to make it easier for you to manage your expenses while you’re traveling.

This way, the next time someone asks you:

Is Iceland expensive?

You can tell them no and start sharing all of your helpful travel tips with them. Let’s take a look at how you can save money in these four sections and still have an amazing time on your trip to Iceland.

Finding Cheap Places to Stay in Iceland (Accommodation)

You have a few options when it comes to cheap accommodation:

  • Hostels
  • Camping
  • AirBnb
  • Camper Van

If you’re trying to save money I recommend avoiding hotels altogether.

You’re unlikely to find one for less than $125- $150 per night.

Even for that price you won’t be staying at the greatest places.

Hostels

Hostels are a great choice for cheap and comfortable accommodation.

Depending on the time of year you travel you could get a bunk in a hostel dorm for between $25 and $35 per night.

That’s already a significant discount compared to hotel prices. If you’re traveling with a partner you could opt for a private room at a hostel instead and split the cost. 

Hostels are a great choice for accommodation. They’re great for meeting new people and other like-minded travelers that are also traveling on a budget.

You’ll be able to share Iceland travel tips and learn more about other affordable things to do in Iceland that you might have overlooked.

If you’re a budget traveler then you probably already know about the benefits of staying in hostels.

Camping in Iceland

Camping is the most affordable form of cheap accommodation in Iceland. This is especially true if you’re up for roughing it a little and don’t mind spending the night in a tent.

I’ve written a post on camping in Iceland. Take a look to see what your options are for free camping.

Many people are unaware but Iceland has some of the best camping facilities in Europe and it’s the most budget friendly option if you need a place to spend the night.

Just outside of the Reykjavík city center, about 15 to 20 minutes away on foot, is the Reykjavík Campground.

It’s a fully serviced campground where you can take advantage of free Wi-Fi, a kitchen area for cooking, showers and bathrooms, picnic tables and even the indoor common area of the nearby hostel.

If you plan on staying for two nights or longer it’s only about $14.50 per person per night and without a doubt this is the cheapest accommodation you’ll find in the city.

Similarly, all throughout Iceland are many other campgrounds that make for the most budget friendly and practical choice if you’re looking for an affordable place to stay.

I recommend picking up a Camping Card if you’re planning on traveling throughout the country and you want to save on accommodation.

It’s only about $125 and includes 28 nights of camping at any of the listed campgrounds.

The campgrounds available are spread across the entire country and this is a great option if you plan on driving the ring-road. 

The only drawback to camping is that you can only do it during the warmer summer months otherwise it will probably be too cold for you to spend the night in a tent. If it’s too cold, or if you don’t like camping, then hostels are your next best choice.

AirBnb

When I travel with my girlfriend we love using AirBnb.

In many of the most expensive cities around the world it ends up being quite affordable to book a private room using the AirBnb platform.

This is even the case with “entire apartments” in many places, which is where you get the whole place to yourself.

Across all of Iceland you’ll find plenty of options for AirBnb accommodation.

Of course, there are the most options in Reykjavik.

Outside of the capital your options start to become limited but there are still places to stay that end up being reasonably priced.

Doing a quick search on AirBnb right now shows me private rooms in Reykjavik starting at around $50 per night. The average private room seems to start at around $80 per night.

For two people you’re looking at anywhere between $25 and $40 per night for accommodation with AirBnb.

If you haven’t already, head over to AirBnb and sign up. By signing up through my link if you’ll be able to get a discount on your first stay!

Camper Van

Renting a camper van knocks out two birds with one stone.

The van rental gives you transportation as well as accommodation in the same cost.

For those of you that want to explore Iceland outside of Reykjavik renting a van is the best and easiest way to get around.

Keep scrolling to the “By Car or Camper Van” section under “Transportation” down below for a more in-depth look at how to take advantage of this style of travel.

Transportation

If you’re visiting Iceland and you don’t plan on venturing far from Reykjavík then transportation shouldn’t be a problem for you.

The city is well connected to the airport and it has its own public bus system.

The only problem is that the bus system is underdeveloped and doesn’t serve the city as efficiently as it could.

Otherwise, Reykjavík is very walkable. You shouldn’t have any problems exploring the city on foot.

When it comes to areas outside of Reykjavík that’s when you need to start looking into how to get around.

By Airplane

There are domestic airports throughout the country. This gives travelers the ability to fly just about anywhere in Iceland worth checking out.

The problem with flying is that it’s the most expensive option of getting around.

I recommend avoiding flying unless you’re on a tight schedule or it’s the only way you can reach where you want to go.

By Ferry

The ferry is another great way of getting around Iceland. It’s the best choice if you want to get to any spots that aren’t easily accessible by road.

There are many ferries that operate lines between various fjords and islands.

These are ideal if you want to go sightseeing and check out some of the fjords in a unique way.

If this is something you want to do when visiting Iceland don’t worry about the costs. Simply book your ferry tickets and enjoy your trip.

By Car

The best way to get around the country is by car or camper van.

Renting a car in Iceland is the most budget friendly way of exploring the island. This way you can see everything that Iceland has to offer.

Many people visit and decide to rent a car to drive the main “ring road”.

This is the famous road that circles the entire country. There is an entire industry of car rental services in Iceland catering to foreign tourists for this reason.

There are a range of different websites that you can use to find affordable car rentals.

Most prices that I found for random dates were between $40 and $50 per day for the most basic car rental option.

You’ll have to add a little bit extra if you opt to go with some additional insurance or if you want a bigger, better car. Keep in mind that you will also pay premium if you don’t know how to drive a manual transmission. It’s a good idea to learn how to drive a standard before embarking on your trip.

I’d also recommend shelling out for the additional insurance.

Usually I wouldn’t suggest this but many of the roads outside of Reykjavík are gravel and not very well-maintained.

You’ll find that cars and trucks will be kicking up stones every time you pass them or drive behind them and it’s very common for your car to get scratched, or even get a broken windshield, when you’re driving throughout Iceland.

By Camper Van

For one person renting a car can be expensive. Though it’s still the most budget friendly option if you want to explore all of Iceland.

If you’re traveling with a partner then it’s not that expensive to split the costs. You could opt for a bigger car, or camper van, depending on what daily budget you’re comfortable with.

For camper vans in Iceland I recommend checking out these sites:

Renting a camper van is a more expensive option than renting a car. The benefit is that it gives you more flexibility on where you can travel. You don’t have to worry about finding accommodation every night either so you save in this regard as well.

Again, split between two people the costs for renting a camper van in Iceland are reasonable compared to the alternatives.

What’s great about a camper van rental is that they typically come with everything you would need for your trip.

There’s no need to spend extra money on cooking utensils, sleeping gear, driving accessories, or anything else. The van rental companies typically provide you with everything needed for a short-term trip around the island.

Using a camper van to explore Iceland also means you don’t have to spend time or extra money finding accommodation. There are a lot of places to park the van and spend the night.

This gives you a better opportunity for exploring everywhere and you can see a lot more of the country that’s off the beaten path.

Keep in mind that you’re going to want to be a confident driver if renting a camper van is something you’re interested in. The weather can change quickly and you could run into trouble if you’re not prepared or confident in your driving ability.

Food and Alcohol

Making Your Own Food

Food enthusiasts are going to have trouble keeping costs low. Restaurants are expensive compared to your typical European travel destination.

However, making and preparing your own food is the best way to manage your costs and keep expenses low.

Depending on where you’re staying you might have access to cooking facilities. If this is the case I recommend buying groceries and preparing your own meals.

You can also pick up smaller items at local bakeries and delis. These are great places to stop for quick snacks.

Breakfast is the easiest to make on your own. You should avoid eating out for breakfast as this is going to be the most expensive meal if you don’t choose to prepare it yourself.

In the morning stop by the grocery store and pick up some energy bars, oatmeal, fruit, or dry cereal. You can grab some milk and drinks if you have access to a fridge.

These items are going to cost you just a few dollars per day and even less if you’re splitting costs with a travel partner.

For lunch and dinner, the grocery store, local bakeries, and nearby delis are your best bet for meals. You can pick up loaves of fresh bread for $2 to $4. Cheese and deli meat will cost you an additional few dollars.

Along with some fruit, drinks, and maybe a few snacks, you’re looking at anywhere from $10 to $15 for lunch and dinner. This is a reasonable amount for one or two people depending on your travel style and dietary preferences.

If you don’t want to prepare your own food you can expect to pay at least $15 to $20 per person per meal at a restaurant. It’s easy to spend upwards of $100 per day on food alone in Iceland. If you’re traveling on a budget you going to want to avoid doing this and simply prepare your own food.

Alcohol

If you’re someone who needs a daily beer to relax you’re going to be in for a surprise once you get to Iceland.

Alcohol and beer is very expensive across the country. I would recommend avoiding getting anything alcoholic to drink at a restaurant or bar.

Sure, it might not be as fun but if you’re traveling on a budget your money would go further if you chose to skip a few drinks.

If you really need to drink and you are dead set on visiting a bar I recommend grabbing some beers or liquor at a local grocery store and drinking beforehand. This way once you reach the bar you’ll only need to buy one or two drinks to have a good time.

I don’t really drink at all so I can’t comment too much on the drinking experience. From what I could see the prices for alcohol are very high in Iceland.  It would be a better idea to spend that money on something that would make for a more unique travel experience.

Sights and Attractions

The last area that you can budget for when you’re visiting Iceland are the sites and attractions.

There are various free things to do in Iceland. Many of the best natural attractions are free as well.

For example, you’ll be able to see icebergs, waterfalls, volcanoes, epic mountain ranges, glaciers, thermal springs and wildlife all for free.

There are tours available to check out all of these awesome attractions. Though if you’re on a budget it’s a better idea to rent a car and explore them on your own.

Some of the best things to see in Iceland include:

Even in Reykjavík it’s possible to spend a few days there without spending money on any sites or attractions.

Walking around the city on foot will bring you to many of the best landmarks.

Many of the museums, such as the Icelandic National Museum, have a free entry day that you can take advantage of.

Generally, visiting Iceland is all about exploring its natural beauty.

For the most part all of the best natural beauty that the country has to offer is completely free for everybody to enjoy.

How Much Would a Trip to Iceland Cost?

There are a lot of blog posts out there detailing how much money for a trip to Iceland you would need.

In my opinion, it depends on the person and what your travel style is.

Some people are better at sticking to a budget than others. It even depends on what you’re comfortable on eating and where you’re able to cut costs.

With that in mind, I still want to share with you a ballpark idea of how much a trip to Iceland could cost you.

Accommodation ($25 to $50 per day)

On the budget side of things I would expect that you could get away with spending anywhere between $25 and $50 per night on accommodation.

This assumes you’re splitting costs with a travel partner or spending the night camping or in a private room AirBnb.

Transportation ($25 to $75 per day)

For those of you visiting Reykjavik you won’t be spending much on transportation.

To explore the rest of the country you’ll have to rent a car or van. Alternatively you’ll have to shell out on ferries, flights, or buses.

For transportation outside of Reykjavik I would expect that you could get away with spending anywhere between $25 and $75 per day.

This assumes you’re splitting costs with a travel partner.

This daily amount includes things like rental fees, bus tickets, ferry bookings, daily gas fuel ups, and all other typical transportation costs.

Activities ($10 to $25 per day)

Like I’ve mentioned in this guide many of the activities and things to do in Iceland are free.

This is especially the case if you’re hoping to explore the country and check out some of the beautiful natural scenery.

Things like walking tours, admissions to pools or springs, and entrances to churches, monuments, and museums are going to cost you.

I would say that on average you could expect to spend between $10 and $25 per day on various attractions depending on what you’re interested in checking out.

Your cost could also get blown out of proportion if you go on a day trip. These cost at least $100 for things like bus tours, horseback riding, and snorkeling.

Be sure to consider some of the more expense day trips, attractions, and other excursions when you’re planning your trip.

Food and Drink ($10 to $25 per day)

The easiest way to keep costs down here is to simply pick up everything you want to eat at the grocery store or local bakeries.

Drink water and avoid spending money at cafes or restaurants.

Of course this isn’t going to be as fun as going out all the time but if you’re hoping to keep costs down then it’s something you’re going to have to do.

I would say that it’s pretty easy to get away with spending between $10 and $25 per day eating and drinking in Iceland. Your costs will be slightly on the lower end if you’re splitting everything with a travel partner.

At the higher end of the daily budget you could even get away with eating out once or twice during your visit.

Total Daily Costs for Iceland: $70 to $175

In my opinion, your daily cost for a trip to Iceland could be anywhere from $70 to $175 per day.

Keep in mind that this is still on the budget side of things. You can easily exceed the budget in just a few areas if you’re not careful.

Some people will be able to get away with spending less while others are going to end up spending more.

Use these figures as a ballpark when you’re creating your own budget and you’ll be good to go on enjoying your budget trip Iceland.

Final Thoughts

As you can see planning a trip to Iceland doesn’t have to be expensive.

If you make a small effort to change your spending habits you can easily keep costs down.

Avoid areas where you’re forced to spend money and you can still have an incredible time visiting Iceland.

I wrote this post to show you that you don’t need a ton of money to explore Iceland.

Traveling,..

Read Full Article
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

Thanks to the Parks Canada Discovery Pass national parks in Canada had free entry last year. My girlfriend and I wanted to take advantage of this pass so we decided to explore some of the national parks close to home.

Just a short drive from Hamilton and Toronto is the Point Pelee National Park.

The park is located closest to the small town of Leamington. London and Chatham are also easily accessible.

In case you’re unaware, Point Pelee is the southernmost point in all of Canada. It’s just as far south as Barcelona and Northern California! This is one of those bucket list destinations here in Ontario that is definitely worth checking out.

Visiting the park provides a unique experience to see a range of different outdoor habitats. At Point Pelee you can explore sandy beaches, wet marshlands, and dense Carolinian Forest at your leisure.

It’s so close to most of us here in Ontario. If you’re looking to explore somewhere new then hop in your car and make your way to Leamington!

In this post I want to share my experience at the Point Pelee National Park. I also want to go over some helpful tips for visiting the park and what you can expect during your trip.

A Trip to Point Pelee National Park in Ontario

Quick Look at the Park

Of all of the national parks in Canada, Point Pelee is one of the smallest. Surprisingly, it’s also one of the most ecologically diverse.

Visiting the park you rewarded with a trip to the southernmost point in Canada. This is just one of the many highlights of visiting Point Pelee. As long as you enjoy spending time outdoors and you’re interested in learning more about local nature you’ll have a great time at the park.

Like I mentioned in the introduction, the park is home to a wide range of different natural habitats.

It’s dominated by marshland that covers more than 70% of the park. This Marshland is one of the main reasons why Point Pelee is designated as a Wetland of International Significance!

You’ll also find Carolinian Forests and sandy beaches at the park. The forests and beaches are what you’ll notice the most although you will get an introduction to the vast marshes.

Point Pelee was established as a national park in 1918. It was the first national park to be established for conservation in the country.

These days people are visiting to spend time at the beach, explore the marshland, or to make their way to the southernmost point.

I visited the park in August and it wasn’t as busy as I expected. Try to arrive as early in the day for a quieter experience and to get the best photos.

What to Do at Point Pelee The Marsh Boardwalk

One of the highlights of the National Park is the Marsh Boardwalk. This is a 1.5 kilometer long raised wooden walkway through the marsh.

At a leisurely pace it should take about 25 minutes to walk the entire loop. Along the way there are plenty of opportunities to stop and explore the marsh or take some photos.

During my August visit the marsh was full of plants and buzzing with insects. I saw a number of turtles and large frogs as well.

If you don’t feel like walking you can rent a canoe or kayak from the Visitor Center beside the parking lot. This way you can explore the marsh from the water for an even more unique perspective of the landscape.

There are guided canoe tours every day in July and August. This is a good option if you don’t want to explore the marsh on your own.

At the Marsh Center you can also find more information about the marsh or ask the Rangers any questions you might have.

Interesting fact: this is one of the last freshwater marshes still remaining anywhere on the Great Lakes.

When you’re done the boardwalk loop climb up to the top of the observation tower.

From here you’ll have the best view of the marsh and you’ll get a better idea of its massive size.

The Southern Tip of Canada

As a Canadian myself even I was surprised to find out how far south Canada really stretches.

At the southernmost point in Canada you’re standing below the 42nd parallel. This puts you just as far south as Northern California and European cities like Rome and Barcelona. No wonder it gets so hot here in the summer!

The southerly climate experienced at Point Pelee is the main reason why there are so many rare plants and animals at the park. Some of the wildlife in plant life found here aren’t found anywhere else in all of Canada!

Everything about visiting the southernmost point is amazing and Parks Canada really knows how to run the show.

After parking at the Visitors Centre you can start making your way to the southernmost point. There are two options to get there – walk a 2.5km trail or hop on to a free shuttle.

In August with the heat and humidity my girlfriend and I decided to take the shuttle. We ended up having to wait 20-minutes for enough people to show up for a full shuttle run. It was a short drive to the tip and from there it was just a 10 minute walk to the southernmost point.

Walking out to the tip starts with a scenic trail through a forested area. After a short while the trail makes its way onto the beach. From here you walk along Lake Erie until you reach the southernmost point in all of Canada!

At the tip you can look out onto the water and know that you’re probably the southernmost person in the country at that moment. How cool is that?

There really isn’t much to do apart from enjoy the view of the beautiful surrounding scenery. I took a few steps into the water for a better photo although this isn’t recommended because of the tides and fast moving current.

Spend Time at the Visitor Center

Once you’re done with the photos and exploring the point it’s time to head back to the visitor center.

Spend some time at the Visitor Centre and check out all of the different exhibits.

There is a lot to learn about Point Pelee and the exhibits cover some important information about the park.

With the Marsh Boardwalk and southernmost point out of the way you can now explore the rest of Point Pelee!

Explore the Hiking Trails

There are a number of different hiking trails at Point Pelee. Most of the park is accessible by foot or bicycle so it’s really easy to get around.

Hiking is going to reward you with some of the best views and other areas of natural beauty at the park. Many visitors head to the tip and boardwalk without exploring much else. This leaves the rest of the park waiting to be discovered!

The trails are accessible from parking lots and well-marked trailheads. I recommend picking up a map at one of the visitor centers to give you a better idea of where to go.

Regardless of which trail you choose you’ll be hiking through beautiful landscapes and natural habitats. You’ll get the chance to explore marshes, forests, beaches, and you might even see a cactus or two!

Bird lovers are especially going to want to spend some time on these Trails. Birds from all over North America use Point Pelee as a landing point on their southerly routes. It’s a popular bird-watching destination for a reason!

Photograph the Night Sky

The Point Pelee National Park is one of the few Dark Sky Preserves in Ontario. You can find another one a few hours north at the Torrance Barrens Dark Sky Preserve in Muskoka.

On certain nights throughout the year you can visit the park to admire the beautiful night sky above you.

Light pollution isn’t as bad here as in neighboring cities and other areas. This makes the park a great place to photograph the night sky and stargaze.

On these nights local astronomers will be sharing information on the location of constellations and other important stars and sights.

At the visitor center you’ll be able to learn more about what happens at the park during the night.

There are exhibits about nocturnal wildlife such as bats, owls, and other critters. You can even go on a canoe ride on the marsh if you’re so inclined!

Spot Some Wildlife

Point Pelee has a lot to offer when it comes to wildlife. There’s a good chance you’ll see a number of different birds and small mammals during your trip.

At the park more than 300 species of birds have been spotted. During the spring hundreds of thousands of birds fill the sky as they begin their migration. This is a popular time to visit for bird watchers and it makes for a unique experience to see all the different birds.

Small mammals such as fox, skunk, coyote, squirrels, and chipmunks can be found in abundance at the park. Deer have been known to venture out into the shallows and even towards the tip. You might get lucky and spot a deer when you’re hiking around!

Reptiles such as snakes, small lizards, and turtles also call the park their home. These are harder to find so you still might run into a turtle or two in the spring or summer.

While birds are the most popular form of wildlife here at the park there’s a good chance you’ll see something else!

Where to Stay

The park is located closest to the small town of Leamington. Options for dining and accommodation here are limited, especially if you’re not camping.

During my trip to Point Pelee my girlfriend and I stayed in Chatham. We used it as a base to explore Essex County and the surrounding area. It’s about a 55 minute drive to the park from Chatham

For accommodation we spent two nights at the lovely Retro Suites Hotel. This is a boutique hotel downtown with free parking and easy access everything nearby.

Take a look at my Retro Suites Hotel review for a better look. It’s definitely where I would recommend staying if you’re planning a visit to Southwestern Ontario.

The post A Visit to Point Pelee National Park in Ontario appeared first on StefanRTW.

Read Full Article
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

Lunenburg was one of the first places I added to the list of things I wanted to do on my Canada East Coast road trip.

I had read about the charming small town online. It seemed cool though I wasn’t sure whether it was worth visiting it not.

That was until I saw some Instagram photos of Lunenburg and I knew I had to visit!

The colorful buildings and coastal vibe give Lunenburg its unique personality. It’s easy to see why it’s such a popular destination here in Nova Scotia.

The historic downtown area is picturesque and one of the most brightly colored places I’ve ever been.

Even in late September when many of the tourists have gone home the town still comes alive in the early evening.

People line the streets looking for somewhere to try the readily available delicious seafood. There seems to be live music everywhere and there’s some great local beer waiting to be discovered!

Despite being less than 100 km away from Halifax, Lunenburg deserves your attention as much as anywhere else in Nova Scotia.

In this post I want to talk about some of the best things to do in Lunenburg if you’re planning a visit to this lovely coastal town.

The Ultimate Lunenburg Travel Guide Explore the Historic and Colorful Downtown

Lunenburg is most well known for its historic old town.

The old town was added to the UNESCO World Heritage Site List in 1995.

It’s here that you’ll find the best example of a plan British colonial settlement in North America that still exists.

The original layout of the town was made up in 1753. Much of what you see today exists how it did more than 265 years ago.

What’s most interesting is the well-preserved wooden architecture. Some of wooden houses date back to the 18th century making them the oldest of their type in Canada!

The best way to experience the old town is to ditch your map and wander around.

There are so many interesting and unique details that you can find throughout the center. Keep a close eye on doors, windows, doorknobs, murals, and anything else that you stumble across when you’re out exploring.

Walk on the Waterfront Trail

Right along the edge of the harbour is the waterfront trail.

It’s not as long as you would hope but the trail makes for a pleasant way to explore the waterfront.

From the walkway you’re able to enjoy a beautiful view of the Lunenburg Harbor. Keep your eyes on the water – you might get lucky and see a whale or a seal!

It’s fun to get a closer look at a variety of different boats, ships, and yachts. There are fishing boats, whale watching boats, luxury yachts, and some original wooden ships like the Bluenose II.

In the morning and late afternoon is when the lobster and other fishing boats are most active.

You can see fisherman bringing in their haul or heading out to fish depending on when you visit.

There are some unique brightly colored buildings along the watefront. I really loved the wooden design features and window shutters!

The walkway along the harbour is a great way to explore the waterfront in Lunenburg.

I recommend visiting early in the morning. The lighting is perfect, the harbour is calm, and it’s a peaceful experience!

Visit the Fisheries Museum of the Atlantic

The Fisheries Museum of the Atlantic is one of the best museums in Lunenburg.

At this museum you’re about to learn more about Maritime life and culture. You’ll find exhibits about life in a fishing community and what life is like at sea.

The living fish exhibit shows you what sort of fish can be found in the area. There are a few wharf-side vessels that you can get a better look at.

The highlight of the museum are the large whale jaw-bones positioned at the entrance. These are cool to check out and make for a great photo opportunity!

Depending on your preferences you could go on a guided tour or explore the Fisheries Museum of the Atlantic at your own pace.

Don’t forget to check out the Ice House Theater if you want to relax with a film.

The museum is easy to find. It’s the big red building at the end of the boardwalk right beside the water!

St. John’s Anglican Church

One of the most interesting Canadian National historic sites in Lunenburg is the St. John’s Anglican Church.

The design of the church is unique, I’ve never really seen anything like it before. I was surprised to find out that it’s the second oldest church of English origin in Canada.

It doesn’t matter which angle you approach the St. John’s Anglican Church – you’re bound to be impressed by it.

The church is built in a Carpenter Gothic architectural style.

Unfortunately, much of the church was damaged in 2001 after a large fire. In 2005 the church was reopened after having been fully restored.

These days it’s one of the most impressive sites in town.

There are a few ghost stories about the church if you’re into that sort of thing. There is even a haunted walking tour that you should check out to learn more about the haunted history of Lunenburg.

Try to stop by the church during the day and at night. It’s cool to see it in the different lighting and ambience!

Hop On the Bluenose II

At the harbour you’ll find the famous Bluenose II.

This is a replica of what was once the fastest racing fishing schooner in the world. The original Bluenose is an iconic Canadian Maritime vessel. You can even find it on the Canadian dime!

The Bluenose II is an exact replica and it’s a great place to learn more about boating and Maritime Canadian history. Every so often the schooner goes under an extensive restoration project to keep everything working and in its best condition for visitors.

If you happen to catch the Bluenose II in Lunenburg you can take a tour on board. I actually caught up with the Schooner during my trip to Halifax so that’s when I got to check it out. 

You can also choose to set sail on the Bluenose II if that’s something you’re interested in. It’s a great excursion and a memorable experience to have when you’re visiting the Maritimes.

Visit Another National Historic Site

A few blocks away from the St. John’s Anglican Church is the Lunenburg Academy. You definitely want to check it out – it’s a beautiful building with an impressive design and style!

The Academy is a Second Empire-style building. It’s the only 19th century building of its kind that still intact in Nova Scotia.

Getting to the Academy is easy. It’s located at the top of Gallow’s Hill and easy to find from anywhere in town.

The haunted walking tour starts here if you’re considering taking advantage of the experience. On this tour you’ll learn a lot more about the Academy as well as the other haunted buildings and ghost stories in Lunenburg.

Drive to Blue Rocks

A short drive away is the quaint fishing village of Blue Rocks.

This is a small still active fishing community in the most picturesque Maritime location you could imagine.

The blue slate rocks, the quickly rising and falling tides, and the wooden shacks all come together to make Blue Rocks a unique Nova Scotia destination.

Some of the locals claim that one of these shacks is the most photographed building in Canada. I’m not sure if I believe that but don’t forget to grab your own photo of the fishing shacks on the water!

Depending on when you visit you can get busy at the Blue Rocks. There are a lot of other tourists coming to check out the area. Be respectful of the people living here and don’t assume that you can park anywhere you want.

Grab Dinner at the Knot Pub

Tucked away outside of the town center is the locally famous Knot Pub.

This is a local bar that serves delicious food for reasonable prices.

What’s great about the Knot Pub is that this is somewhere locals actually eat.

There are plenty of options for seafood although the menu items are limited here. I recommend heading closer to the center and stopping at a dedicated seafood restaurant.

You’ll definitely want to check out Knot Pub if you’re looking for something warm, hearty, and that comes with a home-cooked taste!

After dinner head down to the waterfront and go for a relaxing stroll.

The Knaut-Rhuland House

The Knaut-Rhuland House is another one of the National Historic Sites in town.

Originally, it was a house that was built in 1793. Today, it’s a museum that’s currently managed by the local Heritage Society.

At the Museum you can learn more about what life in Lunenburg was like at the turn of the 19th century. There are costumed guides as well as permanent and temporary exhibitions.

The house, having been built so long ago, features prime elements of Georgian architectural styles. Architecture and history lovers alike will find this museum fascinating!

Enjoy a Beer at the Ironworks Distillery

Since being founded in 2009 the Ironworks Distillery has become one of the most popular things to do in Lunenburg.

The Distillery owners make everything from scratch. With a focus on local development there’s an emphasis at the distillery of using local raw ingredients.

At the Ironworks you can find rum, vodka, gin, brandy, and tasty liqueurs.

For an even better look at what goes on behind the scenes it’s possible to go on a guided tour of the Distillery. You’ll be able to sample some of the different spirits being produced as well as pick up something to bring home.

The building where the Distillery is located is from 1893. It used to be a marine blacksmith shop. Ironworks were made here for for the local shipbuilders and that’s where the name “Ironworks” came from.

Where to Stay

During my trip I spent two nights at the Lunenburg Inn B&B.

I actually wrote a review of my stay at the B&B and you can check that out here.

At the there are a few different room types to choose from depending on your budget. A complimentary full breakfast is included in the rate. The location of the property is great for exploring the town and you can’t go wrong with free parking!

I would definitely recommend taking a look at the Lunenburg Inn if you’re planning a trip to the area and looking for somewhere to stay!

More Information on Visiting Nova Scotia

Looking for other small towns in Nova Scotia to visit during your trip?

Just across the border from New Brunswick is the lovely historic town of Amherst.

It has a beautiful and picturesque well-preserved downtown area with lots of small shops and things to check out. The town is also in a great location for exploring the Bay of Fundy and Advocate Harbour.

Take a look at my post on visiting Amherst!

The post Things to Do in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia appeared first on StefanRTW.

Read Full Article

Read for later

Articles marked as Favorite are saved for later viewing.
close
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

Separate tags by commas
To access this feature, please upgrade your account.
Start your free month
Free Preview