Machu Picchu is like nowhere else on Earth. Perched atop a misty ridge in the Andean mountains, this ancient citadel is Peru’s finest archaeological treasure.

The Inca Trail to Machu Picchu is South America’s most iconic trek. The conditions are gruelling, but the crisp mountain air, combined with the promise of watching sunrise over one of the world’s most magnificent panoramas, is enough to energise even the weariest of travellers.

Trekkers meet in the picturesque city of Cusco, which was once the beating heart of the great Inca Empire. From here, they journey to the rolling emerald highlands surrounding the Sacred Valley. Home to the rippling Urubamba River, the Sacred Valley and its sweeping landscape is peppered with colourful village markets and crumbling ruins.

With mesmerising archaeological sites at every turn, the Inca Trail is the gateway to a fascinating ancient civilisation. The Incas built an incredible network of trails connecting their vast empire, and this route gives a real flavour of their architectural audacity.

The trek also features several dramatic ascents, the highest of which is Dead Woman’s Pass. At a dizzying height of 4200 metres, the climb here is arduous, but the rewards are bountiful. Surrounded by lofty peaks and breath taking slopes, everything else seems worlds away.

With each and every step the anticipation to reach the ‘Lost City of the Incas’ grows. Meandering past vibrant wild orchids and trudging up precipitous pathways, the draw of Machu Picchu grows every stronger. One of the New Seven Wonders of the World, this fifteenth century settlement has a spiritual aura that is magnetic. You can almost feel its pull.

Finally, the moment comes. Arriving at the Sun Gate as the first glimmer of light emerges through the white marble mist, it is just possible to make out the towering contour of Huayna Picchu amidst the hazy swirls. Then, the clouds part and the golden blanket of dawn sweeps across the hills and on to the city of Machu Picchu. The city is bathed in a warm amber glow infused with pearly wisps of cloud.

Wandering amidst the ancient relics and lush green terraces beneath the majestic peak of Huayna Picchu, it is easy to see why a trip to this ancient city is so often named one of the top things to do before you die. It is truly spectacular.

things to do in montenegro

Explore Montenegro

By | Europe, June, May | No Comments

Montenegro is a naturally diverse country, with beautiful mountains, forests, bays and beaches.

In the past it was occupied by Venetians and Austrians. Venetians christened the area Monte Negro (meaning black mountain) which became the country’s name. It was annexed by Yugoslavia in 1918 and it became a country in 2006, when it declared independence from Serbia.

KOTOR

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Kotor is a beautiful UNESCO medieval town, with a charming fortified old town and a busy harbour. The Old Town of Kotor was built between the 12th and 14th century. The Bay of Kotor is known as Boka Bay and it is considered Europe’s southernmost fjord.

The Old Town of Kotor is a collection of Venetian architecture buildings, churches (the 12th century Romanesque-Gothic St Tryphon Cathedral, the Church of St Luke and the Orthodox St Nicholas Church), a 17th-century clock tower, a naval museum, seafood eateries and chic boutique hotels in cobblestone streets that date back to the Middle Age.

If you want to have amazing views over the bay, climb up to the castle of Saint Giovanni. Climbing the 1,500 steps will take you around two hours. The entrance fee is 3 euros and there are two routes, a low risk and a high risk one. Take the low risk one.

RESTAURANTS IN KOTOR

Tanjga. Suranj Bb, Kotor 85330.

– Cesarica. Stari grad 375, Kotor Old Town

PORTO MONTENEGRO

Porto Montenegro is a marina on the Bay of Kotor that was formerly a naval base. It is full of luxury yachts, nightclubs, restaurants, bars and sailing clubs.

PERAST

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Perast is about 11 km distance from Kotor.

The village is made up of old stone houses, overlooking two small beautiful islands, Sveti Đorđe (St. George) and Gospa od Škrpjela (Our Lady of the Rocks). “Our Lady of the Rocks” church was built in 1630 on an artificial island, which was built by fishermen from Perast. The entrance to the church of “Our Lady of the Rocks” with the English speaking guide costs 2 euro and it lasts about 30-45 minutes.

The islands can be visited by boat from the waterfront in Perast. Some of the boats leave near the main square (Trg Sv Nikole).

If you are planning to visit Perast from Kotor, Blue Line bus will take you there. You can pick up the bus outside the Kotor walls (no bus stop, it is after the market stalls, a little ‘park’ with trees and seats) or outside the Kamelia Shopping Centre (no bus stop, it is a little bus shelter located about 100 metres beyond the left end of the Kotor walls). The bus leaves Kotor every hour at 15 minutes past the hour. The main stop is in the centre of Perast, across the city square. There are also two bus stops located at the beginning and the end of the town. The return bus departs Perast every hour on the half-hour (09:30; 10:30; 11:30 etc.) until 22:30. If you prefer to get a taxi, there is a taxi rank beside the bus stop in Kotor outside the Kamelia Shopping Centre or at the Port. There are no taxis in Perast.

If you like fish, you can stop by any of the small restaurants on the Perast coast where you will be able to taste great fish specialities.

HERCEG NOVI

Herceg Novi is a 700-year-old town with a beautiful baroque Monastery called Savina and nice beaches on Luštica peninsula.

BUDVA

Budva is another town on the coast, and is rated as the “tourist capital of Montenegro”. The city of Budva is 2,500 years old and is known for its Old Town (Stari Grad), medieval walls, sandy beaches and vibrant nightlife.

Budva has cobbled alleys, Venetian-era buildings and many restaurants and cafes.

Don´t forget to see the Dancing Girl Statue, the small 14th century Church of Saint Sava and the reconstructed Budva Citadel.

During the summer, there are usually theatre plays and performances, music events and entertainment programs. If you have time, try to go up to the city wall to enjoy the best views over the city.

If you are planning to use the public transport, Budva is very well connected with the rest of the cities in Montenegro. The bus station is in the city centre, around 20 minutes walk to the north of the old town, in Popa Jola Zeca.

SVETI STEFAN

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Sveti Stefan is located about 15 mins drive from Budva. It used to be a fishing village until it was turned into a luxury five-star resort. Some of the houses in the village date back to the 15th century.

Many of the best beaches in Sveti Stefan are reserved for the private use of the guests of the luxury hotels. An example of this is the one located on the right side of the islet.

If you do not want to pay for being on the beach, there is a public beach on the left side of the islet which has fabulous views. This beach has more pebbles and is less well kept if we compare it with the private ones.

PETROVAC 

Petrovac is a beautiful coastal village filled with restaurants, shops, cafes and a 600 metres sandy beach. It is much calmer than Budva.

STARI BAR

Bar is in Montenegro´s south coast. ‘Stari Bar’ means ‘Old Town’.

There are several things to visit in Bar, such as the remains of St Nicholas’ Church, a fortress from the 11th century, the remaining foundations of St George’s Cathedral and King Nikola’s Palace.

ULCINJ

Ulcinj is one of the oldest towns on the Adriatic coast. There is a combination of different cultures in Ulcinj, with many minarets and mosques that reflect its Albanian majority.

You should visit the Balsica Tower and the Renaissance Church Mosque, which is also home to the City Museum.

THE OSTROG MONASTERY

Spectacularly carved in rocks above the Bjelopavlic valley, the Ostrog Monastery is one of the most popular places of pilgrimage in the Balkans.

This Serbian Orthodox Monastery was founded in the 17th century by Metropolitan Vasilije (Saint Basil of Ostrog).

The Ostrog monastery consists of Upper and Lower monastery.

The most amazing side is the Upper one, where is said that miracles happen. It has two churches: the church of the Presentation, where Saint Basil of Ostrog´s relic lie, and the Church of the Holy Cross.

Lower monastery was built in the 19th century and consists of the Holy Trinity church, monastic residences and a religious school from the 18th century.

The companies globtourmontenegro (www.globtourmontenegro.com) and hostel-kotor.me (www.hostel-kotor.me) organize day trips to Ostrog Monatsery if you don´t want to drive up there.

 

DURMITOR NATIONAL PARK

Durmitor National Park is located in the northwest of Montenegro. It was founded in 1952 and UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1980. It is bordered by Tara River Canyon on the north side, Piva River Canyon on the west, Komarnica River Canyon to the south and Sinjavina to the east.23 of Durmitor’s peaks reach over 2,300 metres and there are 17 glaciers within the park. Apart from hiking, there are plenty of other outdoor activities to do, such as skiing, biking, kayaking, bungee jumping and rafting. The highlights are Bobotov kuk (which is the highest peak of Durmitor) and Crno Jezero (the Black Lake).

 

TARA CANYON

Tara canyon is the deepest in Europe, stretching for 144 kilometres. Tara River has a beautiful turquoise colour and is surrounded by mountains full of trees and bushes. It is a great place for practicing adventure sports such as rafting, canoeing and bungee jumping. Tara river canyon is World Natural Heritage.

LOVCEN NATIONAL PARK AND NJEGOS MAUSOLEUMmountains-862282_1280

 

Lovcen National Park has been a national park since 1952. The biggest part of the park is Mountain Lovcen, which is believed to be sacred and is considered by Montenegrins to be a symbol of national identity.

A Mausoleum of Petar Petrovic II Njegoš was built on the national park´s second highest peak, Jezerski. He is buried in a sarcophagus in the Mausoleum. Petar Petrovic II Njegoš was a poet, philosopher, prince-bishop and statesman from the 19th century, who was born in the village of Njeguši below the Lovćen Mountain. You can go by car up to the top but after you will have to climb 461 steps. Once you reach the Mausoleum, you can enjoy the amazing views from the top.

CETINJE

Cetinje used to be home to the Montenegrin royal family and capital of Montenegro. It has a few big and faded mansions, once the residences of ambassadors. Nowadays Cetinje is still the official home of the president and other government agencies.

The main pedestrian street is called Njegoseva and is full of shops and cafes. The National Museum of Montenegro is in this town as well.

SKADAR LAKE

Lake Skadar, located on the border between Montenegro and Albania, is the largest lake in the Balkans, with the size of 391km2. Two thirds of the lake belongs to Montenegro and one third belongs to Albania. The Lake is surrounded by mountains. The area is abundant in flora and fauna and is a great place for bird watching, with over 270 different types of birds.

The best wines from Montenegro come from near Skadar Lake. Vranac is a robust red and Krstac a decent white wine.

BIOGRADSKA GORA

Located between the rivers Tara and Lim in the middle of mountain Bjelasica, it was created as a national park about 60 years ago. This national park has beautiful virgin forests, green pastures and clear lakes. In the middle of Biogradska virgin forest you will find Biogradsko Lake, which is the largest glacier lake in the National park.

 

TOURS

If you do not want to drive in your holidays in Montenegro, there are some tour companies that offer a good selection of tours by bus. The main companies are Hostel Kotor (www.hostel-kotor.me), Globtourmontenegro (www. globtourmontenegro.com) and Montenegrohostel (www.montenegrohostel.com)

BEACHES

 BIG BEACH – ULCINJ

Ulcinj has one of the longest beaches of the area. The name of this fine sandy beach is Velika Plaza and is 12 km long and 60 m wide. It is one of the favorite beaches for tourists because of its pretty sand.

CRVENA PLAZA (RED BEACH) – BAR

Located near Bar, this beach is covered by small-grained gravel and with reddish colour sand.

QUEEN‘S BEACH – MILOCER, BUDVA

This beach belongs to Aman Resort complex, so it is not open to general public at all times, and they can charge you for the entrance. It is 200 m long and is surrounded by cypress and olive trees.

BECICI BEACH – BUDVA

This wonderful beach was considered as one of the most beautiful in Europe. It is a couple of km far away from the centre of Budva and is really touristic.

DROBNI PIJESAK – BUDVA

Drobni pijesak is 11.4 km away from Budva. It has white pebbles, mountains on the background and a forest on the surroundings. Due to the fact that you have to walk to reach the beach, is quite well preserved.

JAZ – BUDVA

Jaz is considered as the best beach in Montenegro. Located west of Budva, it is a lovely long beach of 1.2km length. The beach has fine pebbles and it overlooks a turquoise colour bay.

PLAVI HORIZONTI or przno beach – TIVAt

This beach is considered to be one of the most attractive beaches in Montenegro, and is mainly visited by locals. You can go there by car or taxi, or by tourist boat from Tivat port. The waters are calm, low and with small white sands. There is a pine forest, several parks, picnic tables and a restaurant in the surroundings. It resembles a bit a tropical beach.

PETROVAC BEACH – PETROVAC

This is the most central beach in Petrovac. The sea is clean and it is surrounded by thick pine forests and olive groves. Petrovac has wonderful beaches in its surroundings, so it is a great place to stay if you are looking to explore the different beaches in the area.

MILOCER BEACH – MILOCER

This beach is a great place for swimming and sunbathing.

things to do in belgrade

Things to Do in Belgrade

By | Europe, June, March-April | No Comments

Belgrade is one of the oldest European capitals. Because of its location, it has been in the past a target of the eastern, northern and western invaders. Belgrade spreads around the confluence of the Danube and Sava rivers, with Stari Grad (old town) on the east side.

TEMPLE OF SAINT SAVA

This is the largest Orthodox temple in the Balkans. The construction of the church began in 1935 and ended in 2004, although the interior decoration is not finished yet. It took longer than expected due to wars, poverty and the communist period. Built in the Serbo-Byzantine style, it is dedicated to St Sava, who was the founder of the Serbian Orthodox Church. The temple is built on the place where his remains were believed to be burnt by Turks. It is known for its polyphonic bells so try to go at a full hour to hear them.

SABORNA CRKVA SV ARHANGELA MIHAILA

Belgrade´s Orthodox Cathedral or Holy Archangel Michael Church is from the XIX century.

The facade with its golden icons is very pretty.  Inside the Cathedral, the walls are gold decorated and some chandeliers hang from the ceiling. It has a big bell tower.

ST MARK´S CHURCH

Built between 1931 and 1940, it is one of the biggest churches in Belgrade. During the war, its decoration was abandoned and is still not finished, although there are some great pieces inside. Czar Dusan was buried there. There is a small Russian Orthodox Church next to St Mark´s church.

BAJRAKLI MOSQUE

Of all the mosques that were built during the ottoman period, this is the only one that is still operating.

BELGRADE SYNAGOGE

This synagogue, which is maintained by a small Jewish community, is the only one active in the whole country that survived after the Holocaust.

KALEMEGDAN

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Kalemegdan is located in the top of a hill, overlooking the confluence of the Sava and Danube rivers. The views from the top are spectacular, especially around the sunset time. We suggest you go to Terassa Lounge to catch the best views of the towers.

The fortress was formerly an important military fortification. It was invaded more than 100 times and many people died defending their city from invaders. The Turks were the last invaders. After they left, trees were planted and monuments were constructed, making the fortress become the main park in Belgrade. One of those monuments is the 14 meter high “Victor”. It was built in 1928 by Ivan Mestrovic to commemorate Serbia’s victory over the Ottoman and Austro-Hungarian Empire during the Balkan and First World Wars.

The area is well equipped with cafes, a zoo, picnic areas, tennis and basketball courts, Svetka Petka church and museums such as the Military Museum and the Gallery of Natural History Museum.

KALENIC MARKET

Local producers sell their high quality goods directly in this market. You can buy fruits and vegetables, hams and cheeses, and national delicacies such as sir (white cheese from cows’ milk) and kajmak (creamy dairy product similar to the clotted cream). There are also bakeries, patisseries, restaurants, small shops and a daily flea market with some bizarre souvenirs.

KNEZ MIHAILOVA STREET

Knez Mihailova is one of the most beautiful streets in Europe.

It is the main pedestrian street and it is full of cafes and nice shops. Apart from being the perfect spot for shopping, the street is a great example to see the beautiful buildings and facades constructed at the end of the 1870s when the Austro-Hungarian influence was at its best.

REPUBLIC SQUARE

This is the most popular meeting place in Belgrade. It is full of cafes and restaurants.

This square is famous for the statue of Serbian Prince Mihailo on a horse, which was built in recognition of his achievements in the 19th century.

In this square there are two cultural buildings, the National Museum and the National Theatre.

TERAZIJE SQUARE

Terazije Square is considered as one of the most important squares in Belgrade, and is used as a meeting point.

Around 200 years ago, several water towers stood on this place, but nowadays, only one fountain stands. This fountain was built in 1860 to celebrate the second rule of Prince Miloš Obrenović.

In this square there are two of the oldest Belgrade hotels, Balkan and Moskva.
Near the Fountain you will also see Albania Palace, which was constructed in 1937. It was the first Belgrade skyscraper and the highest building in the Balkans before World War II.

SKADARLIJA

This is Belgrade´s old bohemian quarter. It is usually compared to Montmartre district in Paris.

It dates back to the late 19th century when writers, journalists, artists, actors and musicians used to meet in the kafanas (taverns and restaurants) to talk about the latest events and politics.

The main cobbled street is full of lively cafes and restaurants and classic kafanas serving traditional Serbian dishes. You will also see galleries and antique shops.

SAVAMALA DISTRICT

Due to the fact that Savamala was near the Sava River and the central railway station, Savamala was the centre for trade and commerce since the 19th century.

During the Second World War most of the historical buildings were destroyed and years after, it became a rundown district.

But in the last years, the inhabitants of Belgrade started to see the potential of Savamala as a creative district, so old warehouses have been turned into venues for musicians and alternative artists. Now the neighbourhood is enriched with murals, street art, clubs, creative industries and art galleries. Two important spaces are Mikser House and KC Grad. Mikser House is a mix between a workshop, an urban boutique, a place for concerts and other type of events like exhibitions. It has a very friendly environment and you can definitely feel the positive vibes. KC Grad organises debates and workshops.
HIP QUARTERS

The hip quarters in Belgrade are  Dorćol, Lower Dorćol and Kosančićev Venac. Lower Dorćol has an industrial feel but is starting to become very hip due to its restaurants and cool bars.

ZEMUN

Zemun is located north of New Belgrade overlooking the Danube River.

It is about 20 minutes from Belgrade´s city centre. To go to Zemun you can take buses 15, 17, 84, 701 or 704 from Zeleni Venac square, between the streets of Brankova and Prizrenska.

Formerly it was a separate town on the outskirts of the Austro-Hungarian Empire but now is a suburb of Belgrade. Zemun is known for its splavovi (floating clubs and restaurants) in Zemun Quay, which connects the area to New Belgrade. Zemun also has some exceptional fish restaurants.

For fantastic views of the city and the Danube, climb the 36-metre Gardos Tower. This Romanesque tower was built in 1896 by the Hungarians on the site of ruins of a medieval fortress.

ADA CIGANLIJA

Ada Ciganlija, also called “The Sea of Belgrade”, is an artificial lake in the centre of the city.

It is a great place for sports, enjoyment and recreation. Buses 23, 37, 52, 56 and 58 can take your there.

It was turned into a peninsula by human hands, leaving the Sava River on one side and the Sava Lake on the other side.

It has about 7 kms of pebbly beaches. Apart from swimming, there are plenty of other sports facilities. You can practice rowing, kayaking, water polo, windsurf, ride pedal-boats, ride a bike, play football, basketball, volleyball, handball, tennis, baseball, golf, rugby, field hockey, bungee jumping, fishing , climbing, etc.

There are also over 70 restaurants and cafes on the lake’s shore, and lots of clubs full of people during the warm summer nights. If you in Belgrade during the warm months, do not hesitate to come here.

NATO RUINS

From the 24th March 1999 until the 10th June 1999 (78 days), NATO bombed Serbia and Belgrade.

Although Belgrade did not suffer as much as Novi Sad, Nis and Aleksinac, lots of buildings such as schools, medical centres, churches and monasteries were heavily damaged.

Nowadays, Belgrade still has the most striking ruins. You can see them in the Building of Ministry of Internal Affairs and Yugoslav Ministry of Defence, both located in Kneza Miloša Street.

 

KUVVA CVECA – TITO MEMORIAL COMPLEX OR HOUSE OF FLOWERS  

Josip Broz Tito was the president of Yugoslavia from 1953 until 1980, when he died. His tomb is in the House of Flowers.

On his view, Yugoslavia distanced from Stalin´s Russia and he followed a different version of socialism.

The complex has three museums: a museum of artefacts, the dictator’s mausoleum which also displays presidential rooms and a collection of batons, and a museum of diplomatic donations. The mausoleum offers spectacular views across the city.

REPUBLIC PARLIAMENT

The Federal or Republic Parliament was built in 1936 and it was designed in a neoclassical style. In the 90s, the Parliament was a symbol of instability and wrong ideology. Nowadays, apart from being the House of the National Assembly, the building is seen as a cultural monument, because famous designers, architects and artists took part in its design. Have a look to the sculpture “Play of Black Horses” in the entrance which was made by Serbian sculpture Toma Rosandić.

NATIONAL ASSEMBLY

This is where people forced Slobodan Milosevic to accept defeat as president of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. On the 5th October 2000, the Serbians accomplished what they had been fighting for.

Nowadays, important decisions for the future of the city of Belgrade and Serbia are taken here. In addition, this is the place to welcome successful people when a great victory is achieved. Sometimes they also do concerts here.

 

NIKOLA TESLA MUSEUM

This interesting museum is dedicated to the life and work of Nikola Tesla, a Serbian inventor and engineer. He invented AC current and many electrical gadgets and devices. In his last will he stated that after his death, he wanted his possessions to be transferred to Belgrade.

MUSEUM OF YUGOSLAV HISTORY

This museum is also known as the museum of the 25th May. You will find lots of historic facts and you will also see the medals of the marshal Tito.

NATIONAL MUSEUM

The National Museum is located in a Republic Square palace from 1844, and it is Serbia´s oldest and biggest museum. It has nearly half a million items on display, paintings, Ancient Greek and Roman artefacts, medieval objects, etc.

THE ROYAL PALACE AND THE WHITE PALACE

The Royal Palace in Dedinje was built by order of King Alexander I, as the official royal residence. It was built between 1924 and 1929 in the Serbian-Byzantine style. The designers were Živojin Nikolić and Nikolaj Krasnov. Nowadays is home to Crown Prince Alexander II and his family. The palace is surrounded by park terraces, pools, a pavilion and a concert terrace.

The White Palace is part of the Royal Palace complex and it was built to the wishes of King Aleksandar I as a residence for his sons. It was built from 1934 to 1937 by the architect Aleksandar Đorđević.

They are open to public only by appointment (weekends from 1 April to 30 October), which needs to be organised trough the Belgrade Tourist Organisation at Makedonska 5.

THE OLD PALACE (STARI DVOR)

The Old Palace was the royal residence of the Serbian Obrenović dynasty. It was built between 1882 and 1884 and it was designed by the architect Aleksandar Bugarski in the style of academism of the 19th century. It is considered as one of the finest and most beautiful examples of academism in Serbia. This was the place where on the 28th May 1903, conspirators assassinated King Aleksandar and his wife Draga and threw them from the balcony on the second floor to the street. Today it houses the Assembly of the City of Belgrade and the Mayor’s office.

THE NEW PALACE (NOVI DVOR)

The New Palace was built for the residential needs of the Karađorđević dynasty from 1911 to 1922. It was designed by the architect Stojan Titelbah, on the site of the demolished Palace of the Crown Prince Mihailo Obrenović.  Nowadays is the Office of the President of the Republic of Serbia.

TRANSPORT

There are two bus stations in Belgrade:

BELGRADE BUS STATION
Železnička 4, www.bas.rs

“LASTA” BUS STATION

Železnička 2, www.lasta.rs

The main central railway station is located in Savski trg 2.

JP “Železnice Srbije”
Nemanjina 6

TRAM

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If you are in Belgrade on a Friday or a Saturday, do not miss the interesting free of charge tour by tram called “The Tram called Belgrade”. You should apply for the tour in the Tourist Information Center (Knez Mihailova 6, open: 09 to 21h, Sunday 10-15h) with your ID. There is a limited number of spots for 25 people. On Fridays the tour is from 20h00 pm to 21h00 pm, and on Saturdays from 18h00 pm to 19h00 pm. The route starts at the turn at the Zoo (near Kalemegdan) and lasts 60 minutes.

If it happens that you are not around those days, you can take tram number 2, which does an interesting itinerary around the city centre.

SERBIAN FOOD

– Ćevapi (or ćevapčići) = grilled minced meat rolled into a finger-shape piece.

– Pljeskavica = Serbia´s version of a hamburger. The restaurant called Loki is well known for its pljeskavica.

– Uštipci = meatballs stuffed with cheese and smoked ham

– Pečenje = roasted meat.

– Bečka šnicla = Viennese schnitzel.

– Karađorđeva šnicla = rolled veal or pork steak, stuffed with kajmak.

– Sarma =ground beef and rice rolled into cabbage or greens.

– Riblja čorba or Riblji paprikaš = fish stew with tomato juice and paprika.

– Punjene paprike = stuffed paprika.

– Škembići = Tripe soup.

– Gibanica= cheese pie.

– Burek= baked or fried pastry filled with cheese, minced meat, or mushrooms.

– Serbian beers = Jelen and Lav are the local beers.

– Rakija = Serbia’s national drink. This fruit brandy is typically made from plums (šljivovica), although apricot and grape are also popular. You can try it in Rakia bar in Belgrade.

RESTAURANTS

– Gradska, Mike Alasa 54.

– Zavicaj Restaurant, Gavrila Principa 77. Near the train and the bus station.

– To Je To, Despota Stefana 21. For cevapcici.

– Restoran Durmitor, Omladinskih Brigada 16A.

– Pekara Trpkovic, Nemanjina 32. For burek.

– Mala Gostionica, Dobracina 6.

– Tri Sesira, Skadarska 29. With music. A bit more expensive than the rest of the places in Skadarlija.

– Kafana Question Mark, 6 Kralja Petra. This is the oldest kafana in Belgrade, also known as “Znak pitanja.

– Walter Sarajevski cevap, Strahinjica Bana 57A. For cevapcici.

– Restoran Lovac, Alekse Nenadovica 19.

– Crna Ovc, Kralja Petra. For ice creams.

 

RECOMMENDED COFFEE PLACES
Przionica (Dobračina 59).

Koffein (Dušana 65 and Uskočka 8).

 

RECOMMENDED BARS

Drinka Caffe Bar (Kosovska 33).

The Black Turtle Pubs are a chain of pubs that brew their own brand of beer .They offer a large selection of beers, Pils, Stout and three different fruit flavoured beers (strawberry, blueberry and lemon). They also offer seasonal brews like Weiss beer, Amber Abbey and Smoked Lager.

NIGHTLIFE 

At night, we suggest you go for drinks on the floating boats around the Danube and around Sava. Some of them are kafanas and some other are clubs. Among summer clubs, the most famous are Freestyler, Lasta and Splav 94.

If you are into house and techno, you should go to the Tube in Dorćol. If you prefer commercial music, we recommend going to Plastic. If you prefer underground places, go to Drugstore in Palilula.

NOVI SAD

If you have time while in Belgrade, you can go to Novi Sad, located in Vojvodina, north of Belgrade. There are frequent buses and trains and it only takes about an hour. Due to its small size, Novi Sad can be seen in about two hours.

NOVI SAD FORTRESS (PETROVARADIN CITADEL)

Although there is not much left of the fortress, the views of Novi Sad from the view point are quite nice.

ZMAJ JOVINA STREET

This is the main street in Novi Sad. It is full of restaurants and bars.

“THE BEACH”

It is about 20 minute walk from Zmaj Jovina.

THE CATHOLIC CHURCH

The beautiful and huge Catholic Church is about 300 years old.

 

things to do in zagreb

Things to do and See in Zagreb

By | Europe, June, March-April, May | No Comments

Croatia´s capital is a vibrant city known for its museums, restaurants and nightlife. Zagreb is a great city to explore on foot, as everything is very close by.

The centre of Zagreb is divided in three parts: Gornji Grad (“Upper Town”), Donji Grad (“Lower Town”) and Novi Zagreb (“New Zagreb”).

The Upper Town is located at the foot of the Medvednica Mountains. It is about a thousand-years old and it is the oldest part of the city.

When Zagreb was just the Upper Town, it consisted of two settlements in two hills separated by a narrow canal. The bigger western part was mainly inhabited by merchants and farmers and was known as Gradec, and the smaller eastern part was mainly inhabited by a group of clergy and priests, and was known as Kaptol.

The Upper Town features some of the must-see landmarks: the Cathedral, St Mark’s Church, the Lotrscak tower, the Stone gate, Dolac market, St Catherine´s church, Ban Jelacic Square, Tkalčićeva street, the funicular and the Museum of Broken relationships.

This side of Zagreb is really interesting history wise, and in addition it has a nice romantic atmosphere. As the traffic in this area is limited, it never feels overcrowded.

The Lower Town, located in the south, dates to the 19th century. It is full of shops, restaurants, museums, cafes and parks.

New Zagreb is located across the River Sava and is a bit further south. This part is usually not very attractive for tourists but is worth a visit if you have enough time.

ZAGREBACKA KATEDRALA / ZAGREB CATHEDRAL

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This Catholic Cathedral is the tallest building in Croatia. Its twin neo-Gothic spires can be seen from many areas in the city. In the past it was known as St. Stephen’s Cathedral, and it is dedicated to the Assumption of Mary and to kings Saint Stephen and Saint Ladislaus. It was built in the 13th century in Romanesque-Gothic style. The Cathedral was terribly damaged in an earthquake in 1880, destroying the dome and the bell tower completely. It was renovated afterwards, so most of the structure dates from the late 19th century or early 20th century, although there are parts that date from the 13th century and after. Inside the Cathedral you will find a sculpture of the Cardinal Stepinac (who was Archbishop of Zagreb from 1937 to 1960) created by Croatia’s most celebrated sculptor, Ivan Meštrović.

 

CRKVA SVETOG MARKA / ST MARK´S CHURCH

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This church is recognizable by its coloured tiles adorning the roof featuring the Coat of Arms of Zagreb (white castle on red background) and

St Mark´s Church was constructed in the 13th century.

It has been renovated several times, but there are still some remains of the original design, such as a Gothic doorway and a Romanesque window.

Inside the church you will see sculptures by Ivan Mestrovic and frescoes painted by Jozo Kljakovic.

KULA LOTRSCAK / LOTRSCAK TOWER

The Tower of Lotrscak, which was built in the 13th century, is a fortification tower that was built to protect Gradec’s southern town wall.

In the past, the tower had some bells that were ringing at night at the closing time of the gates. If people were left outside once the gates were closed, they had to wait there until the next day.

In the 19th century, a fourth floor and a canon were added to the tower.

Nowadays, every day at noon a cannon is fired from the Lotrscak Tower. It is called the Gric cannon.

TIP: If you want to have great views of Zagreb, climb up the tower and enjoy the stunning views of the city.

KAMENITA VRATA / STONE GATE

The Stone Gate is the only Upper Town gate that survived out of the five gates that guarded Gradec. It dates back to 13th century.

The houses and the surroundings around were destroyed in 1731 by a fire but the Stone Gate which had a painting of the Virgin Mary miraculously was not damaged. In order to protect the painting, a chapel was constructed, where the painting is kept behind a metal enclosure. Nowadays, people go there to pray.

TRZNICA DOLAC / DOLAC MARKET

This colourful market is the most popular farmers market in Zagreb.

It is located behind the main square and it has two floors. Most of the stands sell local fruits and vegetables, but you will also find homemade food, seafood, meat, dairy products, flowers and souvenirs.

CHURCH OF ST. CATHERINE

This is the most beautiful baroque style church in Zagreb. It was built by Jesuits in the early 17th century.

Beside the church there was a monastery that nowadays is the gallery of Klovicevi. A big part of the church was burnt in 1645 and 1674, but it was restored with the help of Croatian nobles, who could place the family´s coats of arms or bury a relative in the church in return. There are other gifts from the nobility inside the church.

This church is known for its stucco decorations, the five Baroque altars from XVII century, and the marble altar from 1729.

TRG BANA JELACICA / BAN JELACIC SQUARE

This is the main square in the city. In the middle, there is a bronze statue of Ban Jelacic from the 19th-century which symbolizes Croatia’s battle for independence.

You will also see a small fountain in the square called Mandusevac Fountain, which has a bit different location to the original one. The original waters were coming from a creek from Medvednica mountain.

FLORAL SQUARE

People named Petar Preradović square Cvjetni trg (Floral square) because of its flower stands. One of Zagreb´s landmarks are actually the flowers. This square is a great place to relax while having a coffee in one of its outdoor cafes.

USPINJACA / FUNICULAR RAILWAY

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The Zagreb Uspinjaca is a funicular that connects the Upper and the Lower Town. It is the shortest funicular ride in the world, as the distance it covers is only 66 metres. It has been in use since 1890 and it runs every 10 minutes. It is made of two vehicles, where roughly 28 passengers fit in.

TIP: Reach the top and enjoy the amazing views from promenade of Strossmayerovo Setaliste.

MUSEUMS

Zagreb is the city of the museums. It is said it has the biggest number of museums per square meter.

One of the most unusual museums to visit is the Museum of Broken Relationships, located at Sv Cirilac Metoda 2 in the Old Town.

It is about tales of break ups and stories of many relationships from around the world. You will also see personal things related to those relationships that have been donated to the museum, such as cards, photos, a wedding dress, etc.

CAFES AND RESTAURANTS

  • Zagreb 360º. For the best views of Zagreb and its surroundings, come here! Zagreb 360º is an observation deck and café located on the 16thfloor of the Zagreb Skyscraper (1A Ilica Street).
  • Pivnica Mali Medo. It is a pub that belongs to Medvedgrad Brewery. They brew their own beers. Address: Ul. Ivana Tkalčića 36, 10000, Zagreb.
  • Tolkien´s House:If you like beer, this pub is a good choice as they have a great selection. Address: Opatovina 49, 10000, Zagreb.
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BEST BEACHES IN SARDINIA BY PUBLIC TRANSPORT

By | August, Europe, July, June | No Comments

We have seen there is quite a lot of information on the internet about which the most beautiful beaches in Sardinia are and how to reach them by car, but we saw there was a lack of information about how to reach these idyllic beaches when you do not have a car.

Inspireholidays has created this post for all the ones who want to forget about driving, sit back in the bus and enjoy an amazing day in the beach.

We will do an 8 days tour, starting from the south of Sardinia, and heading up to the north through the east side, in order to finish in the north west of the country.

DAY 1 – CAGLIARI

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Cagliari itself does not have the typical crystal clear beaches Sardinia is known for, but in order to reach tomorrow´s paradise of beaches, we suggest starting the trip in Cagliari as there are lots of ferries and planes that arrive into the capital and is very well connected to tomorrow´s destination. The plan is to take the bus from the company Turmotravel at 14.30 pm in Cagliari to arrive in La Caletta at 17.43 pm. This is the link: http://www.gruppoturmotravel.com/english-version/Linea-Cagliari-Olbia.php .

Once you arrive in La Caletta at 17.43 pm, you could go for a walk on the beach and have dinner afterwards. Overnight in La Caletta.

Until 14.30 pm, you can spend the morning either visiting Cagliari, or, if you prefer to be on the beach, you could spend the morning in Poetto Beach, which is an enormous lovely beach that stretches for around 8 km and is very close to the city centre.

CTM bus PF or PQ from Piazza Matteotti will take you to Poetto beach. In summer there are express buses PN, 3/P and 9/P.

DAY 2 – GOLFO DI ORISEI

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The area of the Golfo Di Orisei, east coast of Sardinia, has some of the most beautiful beaches in Sardinia. In order to explore these beautiful beaches, we suggest you take a mini cruise with one of the tour operators and enjoy the stops in the different beaches. The most common departure points are Cala Gonone, La Caletta, Santa Maria Navarrese and Arbatax.

Our main reason of spending the night in La Caletta is that it is really well connected to arrive the night before, spend the day on the beaches, and go back on the same day to the following destination. The tour operator that departs from La Caletta is called Davide e Golia, his website is http://www.davidegolia.it/it/home.php . The boat departs at 9 am from the port of La Caletta and the price for the whole day is 45 euros per person. With this mini cruise, you will stop 1 hour in Cala Luna, 2 hours in Cala Mariolu and 1 hour in Cala Biriola.

Cala Luna is a beautiful 700 meter long half-moon shape beach. The water colour is azure. There are six small caves located in the northern part of the beach, and nearby is the Grotta (cave) del Bue Marino, which can be accessed by boat.

Cala Mariolu is a small pebble nice and cozy beach. This is a great beach for snorkeling and scuba diving. The name comes from the nun seal called “mariolu” by Sardinian fishermen.

Cala Biriola is great for snorkeling, scuba diving and climbing.

You will be back in La Caletta at 19h00 pm.

The plan after arrival, is to go to San Teodoro by public bus number 514 from Arst company, this is the link: http://www.arstspa.info/514.pdf . After 19h00 pm, the only bus departing La Caletta is at 20.40 pm, which arrives to San Teodoro at 21.26 pm. This is the timetable for (GIO3), corsa giornaliera from 16/6 to 15/9. Overnight in San Teodoro.

DAY 3 – SAN TEODORO´S BEACHES

San Teodoro has some of the most beautiful beaches just a short ride from the center. From the 1st June until the 30th September, there is a beach shuttle bus in San Teodoro. Some of the best beaches are Brandinchi, La Cinta and Lu Impostu.

Brandinchi is located about 7 km north of San Teodoro and is about 700 meters long. The beach is characterized by white fine sand and clear and shallow water surrounded by dunes and a pinewood. Cala Brandinchi is also known as “Little Tahiti” because of the Caribbean-style colours of its waters.

La Cinta is a very long white sandy beach surrounded by dunes. It is almost 3 kms long.

Lu Impostu is about 1 km long. The sand in Lu Impostu is very thin and the sea water is very clear, light blue colour.

The daily pass costs 5 euros and you can use the bus the whole day, so you can actually visit more than one beach in the same day, which we think is great. Timetables as follows: http://www.santeodorobeach.com/en/timetables-and-stopped-2/ . The plan after spending the whole day sunbathing in the beaches and refreshing in the beautiful waters is to continue the route towards the north, to Palau. Therefore, we need to do a journey by bus from San Teodoro to Olbia airport, and then from Olbia airport to Palau. The first bus is number 514 from Arst, and it departs San Teodoro at 19.31 pm and arrives to Olbia airport at 20.07 pm (Gior and Gio 3). This is the link: http://www.arstspa.info/514.pdf . The second bus is from Turmotravel company. The bus departs from Olbia airport at 21.45 pm and arrives to Palau at 22.37 pm. This is the link: http://www.gruppoturmotravel.com/Linea-Olbia-STeresa-Estiva.php (from 01/06 to 30/09). Overnight in Palau.

DAY 4 – LA MADDALENA

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After having breakfast, we will go to the ferry port in Palau in order to take a day boat trip to La Maddalena. There will be lots of tour operators offering this trip, with departures around 10 am. There are usually two itineraries offered, one of them covering Islas Spargi, Budelli, S. Maria, La Maddalena and Sud Caprera, and the other one covering Islas Spargi, S. Maria, Budelli and Caprera (Tahiti). The boats usually return around 17.45 pm. After arrival, the plan is to take bus number 601 from Arst to Santa Teresa di Gallura. This is the link: http://www.arstspa.info/601.pdf . There is a bus at 19.53 pm departure, arrival at 20.28 pm (Gior), and another at 21.50 pm departure, 22.30 pm arrival, (STA2) corsa giornaliera from 16/6 to 15/9. Overnight in Santa Teresa di Gallura.

DAY 5 – COSTA PARADISO AND RENA BIANCA

Today we will go to the beautiful beach of Costa Paradiso and to the beach of Rena Bianca in Santa Teresa.

Bus number 728 from Arst departs from Santa Teresa at 8.45 am and reaches Costa Paradiso at 9.29 am (Gior).

The most popular beach of Costa Paradiso is the bay “Li Cossi”. “Li Cossi” is considered by many as one of the most picturesque beaches on the island. To reach the beach, you have to enter a residential area, where you can park your car. Then you need to walk for about 1,5 km, until you reach the seaside. The beach is surrounded by pink granite rock formations and mountains. The beach has fine white sand and crystal clear emerald waters.

The same bus number 728 comes back from Costa Paradiso at 16.20 pm and arrives to Santa Teresa at 17.04 pm. Link: http://www.arstspa.info/728.pdf .

Therefore, it is a great time to spend the rest of your afternoon in the popular beach of Rena Bianca, located just a few hundred meters north of the center of Santa Teresa di Gallura. The beach is about 200 meters long and it has fine white sand and shallow waters. If you want to enjoy some amazing views, climb the hill of “La Torre di Longonsardo”.

After you have relaxed in the beach, the plan is to go back to Olbia by public bus 601 from Arst. Link: http://www.arstspa.info/601.pdf . The bus leaves at 20.30 pm from Santa Teresa and arrives to Olbia I.B at 22.15 pm (Gior). Overnight in Olbia.

DAY 6 – SPIAGGIA CAPRICCIOLI

From the 1st June until the 30th September, there is a bus from Sunlines company from Olbia to Capriccioli. Link: http://laura2395.xoom.it/virgiliowizard/sites/default/files/sp_wizard//usr/SUNLINE/olbia_costasmeralda_isuleddadagiugnoasettembre.png . In order to make the most of your day and enjoy the maximum time on the beach, we suggest you take the bus that leaves Olbia (Piazza Crispi) at 07.40 am and arrives to Capriccioli at 09.06 am.

The beach of Capriccioli, which is about 200 meters long, is divided into two parts by large granite rocks. The beach has shallow waters and a fine light-coloured sand.

There is a bus back to Olbia that leaves Capriccioli at 19.06 pm, arriving to Olbia at 20.09 pm.

This bus from Sunlines stops as well in Porto Cervo, which is the actual Costa Smeralda, so if you do not want to spend the whole day on the beach and you want to see where rich and famous people spend their holidays, an idea would be to combine the beach of Capriccioli and Porto Cervo. The bus of Sunlines stops as well in Portisco – (Rena Bianca), which is a nice beach. Overnight in Olbia.

DAY 7 – PORTO ISTANA

Today we will go to the beach of Porto Istana by public bus number 5 from Aspo company. You can find the timetables here: http://olbia.mycicero.it/tp/MYCICEROOLBIA/StampaOrari/Index .

The beach of Porto Istana has fine and white sand and shallow and crystal clear water.

For tonight, we plan to sleep in Porto Torres, so we will take the bus from Sunlines which departs from Piazza Crispi at 16.40 pm and arrives to Porto Torres at 19.35 pm. Link: http://docsardegna.xoom.it/virgiliowizard/sites/default/files/sp_wizard//usr/sunline/portotorres_olbia_colori_chiari_2014.pdf .

DAY 8 – LA PELOSA – STINTINO

This is the last day of our holidays.

From Porto Torres, we will take bus number 727 from Arst company to go to La Pelosa beach. There is one that leaves at 9 am from Porto Torres (Via Mare-Pensiline) and arrives to La Pelosa at 9.47 am, (STA3) Corsa festiva from 16/6 to 15/9.

This is Sardinia´s most famous beach. La Pelosa is located 2 kilometers away from Stintino, province of Sassari. The beach is 300 meters long and in front of the beach you will see Asinara island, which is now a park but used to be a penitentiary. This beach is accompanied by an ancient sixteenth-century tower, which used to be part of Sardinia’s marine defense system. Thanks to its turquoise calm waters and its soft white sands, you will feel like you are in the Caribbean.

There is a bus back to Porto Torres departing La Pelosa at 20.05 pm, which arrives to Porto Torres around 21.00 pm, (STA3) Corsa festiva from 16/6 to 15/9.

After this 8 days trip, we let for you the decision of which is going to be your next stop. We will take a ferry from Porto Torres to Barcelona with Grimaldi Lines.

Things to do in Dubrovnik

Things to do in Dubrovnik

By | Europe, July, June, May | No Comments

Dubrovnik is an amazing city with a stunning Old Town, which became a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1979. The city is considered as the “Pearl of the Adriatic” due to its spectacular architectural heritage.

In the past, Dubrovnik rivalled Venice in wealth and power. In the 15th century, it attracted the best architects and sculptors in order to embellish the city in a Renaissance style. In 1667, Dubrovnik was devastated by an earthquake that destroyed most of its Renaissance architecture and art. After the earthquake, the city was rebuilt in a baroque style.

Dubrovnik was bombarded in 1991.

Years after and with help from the international community, the damage was repaired.

Nowadays, Dubrovnik is once again a charming city with beautiful buildings, fountains and full of life.

CITY WALLS

 

 

dubrovnik-708197_1280Walk along the 2km loop of the well-preserved city walls and enjoy the stunning views of the city with its reddish roofs and the Adriatic Sea. The walls are 22 meters high in certain places. We recommend you go either late in the afternoon or early morning to avoid the crowds and the heat. The admission is 120 kn and it takes roughly one hour and a half to make the loop. There are three entrances to the City walls: the main entrance by Inner Pile Gate, the entrance by St John´s Fortress and the entrance by St Lucas Fortress.

PLACA / STRADUN

This beautiful pedestrian street full of souvenir shops, fountains, monasteries, restaurants and baroque buildings is the main street in Dubrovnik. It is nearly 300 meters long, which go from the Pile Gate up to Luza Square. We recommend you get lost in the charming narrow streets surrounding Stradun. You will love the atmosphere with its restaurants, stairs and decorations.

Visit the nearby serbian orthodox church Blagovijest (Church of the Holy Annunciation).

CATHEDRAL OF THE ASSUMPTION OF THE VIRGIN

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The Cathedral is one of the most important buildings in Dubrovnik. Its dome stands out from the rest of the reddish roofs in the city.

It was one of the most affected buildings during the earthquake in 1667. It was first constructed in a Byzantine style, and reconstructed in Romanesque during the XII century. After the earthquake, it was rebuilt in a new style, Baroque. Several important paintings and treasures are kept inside, such as St Blaise´s relics.

ONOFRIO´S FOUNTAIN

 

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This fountain, which is the main fountain of the city center, dates to the XV century and stands out due to its large size and circular shape. It used to receive the water from an aqueduct located outside the city walls. It has 16 mask shaped water taps, and it is said that you will have good luck by touching the heads of the figures on the fountain.

LUZA SQUARE AND SURROUNDINGS

This was the former market square, and it is surrounded by the most important monuments of Dubrovnik: the Bell Tower, the Sponza Palace and the Church of Saint Blaise. In the middle of the square, you will see Orlando´s Column (1418).

  • The Bell Tower. It was built in 1444 but it has been restored in several occasions, the last time being in 1929. The bell is the only original bit. Visitors go every hour in order to hear the bell strike.

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  • The Sponza Palace. This is the former customs building and one of the main economic buildings of the former Ragusa Republic. Nowadays the State Archives are kept inside, with more than 7,000 volumes and 100,000 papers of more than 900 years.
  • Church of Saint Blaise (XVIII). Baroque church dedicated in memory of the patron saint of Dubrovnik.

RECTOR´S PALACE

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Before falling into the hands of the troops of Napoleon, it used to be the headquarters of the Rector of the independent Republic of Ragusa. The Palace was constructed in the XV century and restored in the XVII century, after the earthquake.

The engraved capitals of the pillars that lead you to the entrance of the palace stand out.

Certain days the Dubrovnik Symphony performs at the Rector´s Palace. If you are lucky and they are performing when you are around, we recommend you get tickets for the cheap seats upstairs.

DOMINICAN MONASTERY

Dubrovnik’s Dominican Friary was founded in 1315. It has a Gothic Renaissance cloister, a 14th-century well in the center of the cloister garden, the bell tower and the Dominican Museum with fine religious art.

FRANCISCAN MONASTERY

This monastery was built in 1317. The complex consists of a monastery, a church, a library and a pharmacy. The library, the cloisters and the bell tower were heavily damaged in the attacks during the 1991 war. The pharmacy is one of the oldest in Europe, which has been functioning since 1391.

TAKE THE CABLE CAR UP MOUNT SRD

Take the cable car and go up to the top of Mount Srd to enjoy the breathtaking and panoramic views of Dubrovnik, its old town and the surrounding islands. If you can, go just before dusk to see the sunset.

There is a fort at the top that was built in the Napoleonic era and used during the Siege of Dubrovnik in 1991 by the Yugoslav-Montenegro-Serb army. Nowadays the fort houses the Museum of the Croatian War of Independence.

BEACHES

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Banje Beach. Pebble beach located about a 10 minute walk east of Ploce gate. It offers superb views of the old town and Lokrum island, and it is a great place to see the sunset. Although it is not the best beach in the world, it is a nice beach to sunbathe and refresh yourself.

Lapad Beach. Sandy beach located around 3.5 km from the old town, at the end of a pedestrian street full of bars and restaurants.

CLIFF BARS

Buža I (Ilije Sarake) and Buža II (Crijevićeva 9) are two cliff side cafes located on the south side of the Old Town and outside the city walls where you can watch the sunset while you have a drink. Both bars are accessed by holes in the castle walls that leads out to the sea. It is very easy to miss the entrance, but there is a wooden sign with an arrow saying “Cold drinks with the most beautiful view“, so keep an eye for it. Buza I is larger and has little tables and chairs on different levels. Buza 2 is smaller with some stairs that lead you to the sea.

CEREMONIAL GUARDS

In the evenings, four ceremonial guards march through the main street Stradun. Until 9h30 pm, they keep guard over the two main city gates in full period costume and then they march back down the Stradun.

WAR PHOTO MUSEUM

Exhibition of photographs of the war. Although it is not pleasant to see these images, they really capture the damage of the reality, so we suggest you visit this museum if you want to learn and understand more about the war.

FOLKLOR LINDO

In summer, Folklor Lindo performs traditional dances and songs in an outdoor theatre near Banje Beach. So if it happens that you are around in summer, we recommend you attend to a performance.

 

bosnia holidays

Bosnia Holidays.What to see and visit

By | Europe, June, March-April, May | No Comments

MOSTAR

Visit our post “Things to do in Mostar

 

SARAJEVO

Visit our post “Things to Do in Sarajevo

BLAGAJ

Blagag Tekke (Blagaj Monastery), which was constructed in 1520, is one of Bosnia and Herzegovina’s most ancient sites. The Dervish Monastery, called tekija, is open to the public. It reflects both Mediterranean and Ottoman style architecture. Next to the Monastery, you will see the source of the blue green River Buna, which takes place in a large cave at the bottom of a cliff.

If you want to enjoy beautiful views of the tekija, follow the path behind Vrelo restaurant.

If you have time, we recommend you going to Stepjan Grad, the castle which overlooks the village. The castle is in ruins but you can see the impressive walls and enjoy the amazing views from the top. There is a path that takes you from the village to the fort, the distance is about 2 kms.

How to go: As Blagaj is only 12 kms far away from Mostar, we recommend visiting Blagaj in a half day excursion. There is a local public bus from Mostar to Blagaj. The bus might leave from the road opposite the main bus station in Mostar, not the actual main bus station. It takes around 15 minutes, and it stops at Spanski TRG (Spanish square) in front of the gymnazija. You can take either bus line number 10 or number 11. Number 10 ends in Blagaj and number 11 continues further, but you can stop in Blagaj.

POCITELJ

Pocitelj is a well-preserved fortified medieval town that is 35 km south of Mostar. It was established in 1383 by King Stjepan Tvrtko I.

Pocitelj was seriously damaged during the 1992-96 war by Croatian forces, and part of its inhabitants had to abandon the city. Several great Islamic works of art and architecture were totally destroyed. In 1996 the World Monuments Watch named Pocitelj as one of the 100 most endangered cultural sites. It was in 2000 when the government of B&H decided to put the town under permanent protection. This included the restoration of the town, continued preservation and encouragement to the old population to come back.

What to see in Pocitelj: You can visit Sahat Kula Castle (1444) , the amazing mosque of Dadzi Alija (1563), and climb the citadel to enjoy the beautiful views of the town and its surroundings.

KRAVICA WATERFALLS

If you are several days in Mostar and you do not have a car, you could take a one day tour to visit Kravica Waterfalls, just about 40 kms from Mostar. The waterfall over the river Trebižat is 120 metres wide and 27 metres tall. There is a small lake beneath the waterfalls, where people swim in summer. In addition, there is a beautiful sandy beach and a small picnic area to relax and enjoy the nice views.

MEDUJORGE

Medujorge can be visited in one day trip from Mostar. Apparently, on the 24th June 1981, six children were playing in the mountains around Medujorge and Bijakovici when the Virgin appeared to them. Since then, the apparitions have not stopped, and it is said that the Virgin appears every day to three of them and once a year to the other three. It was the first in Europe after the one in Lourdes (France) in 1858 and the one in Fatima (Portugal) in 1917. Although the Catholic Church has never recognized the apparitions, is being said that around 15 millions of people have already visited Medujorge (pilgrims, believers and curious people), making this small area really profitable. There is a blue cross that symbolizes the exact place where the Virgin appeared, which is called Apparition Hill.

things to do in mostar

What to see and do in Mostar

By | Europe, Jan-February, June | No Comments

Before the war, the multicultural city of Mostar was one of the most ethnically diverse cities in the country. During the Balkans war, Mostar was the most heavily bombed Bosnian city. Now, Mostar suffers a geographical division of ethnic groups: the Bosniaks on the east and the Croats on the west.

Mostar has been rebuilt beautifully since the war, and the Old Town which surrounds the bridge is nowadays full of souvenir shops, restaurants, handicraft shops, kiosks and cobbled streets such as kujundziluk.  Although Mostar has been reconstructed, the 18 months sieged city still shows signs of war, and bullet ridden walls can still be seen. There are some beautiful buildings such as the gym and the city baths that were constructed in the Austro Hungarian times.

 

THE OLD BRIDGE (STARI MOST)

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This Ottoman bridge is Mostar’s most notable architectural landmark. Mostar comes from the word Mostari, which means “Bridge Keeper”.

The original bridge was constructed in 1557 to replace an older wood suspension bridge. It took 9 years to be finished. It was destroyed on the 9th November 1993, when the Croatian forces bombarded the bridge, causing the bridge to collapse into the river below.

The bridge was rebuilt by hand in 2004 with funds from UNESCO, the UN, the World Bank and several European countries including Croatia and Turkey. They used traditional methods and the same materials that had been used in the bridge´s original construction.

The bridge, symbolises the union between the two cultures in the city, the Catholic Croats in the west and the Muslim Bosniaks in the east of the Neretva River. It is 28 metres long and 24 metres high.

There are two towers on each side of the bridge. One of them, the Tara Tower, is the “Old Bridge Museum” nowadays. If you want to learn more about the history of the bridge, do not hesitate to have a look inside, as this museum is really interesting.

Since 1664, men dive off the bridge. It became a tradition, and nowadays you can see young men collecting some money from tourists before jumping into the cold waters of the Neretva river. The city holds a formal diving competition.

ČARDAK

Čardak is a small white coloured cube shape house located at the western entrance to the Stari Most. This little house is decorated with Turkish tables and cushions and traditional rugs. In summer, this is a nice spot to enjoy a Turkish tea or a Bosnian coffee while you enjoy the nice views of the bridge below.

KOSKI MEHMED PASHA MOSQUE

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This is a small beautiful Ottoman mosque which was built in 1618. The minaret was destroyed in the war in 1993, and the roof dome was damaged. This is the only mosque in Mostar where the original colors, wall decorations and ornaments have been preserved. To access the Mosque, you will be asked to cover up. If you do not have clothes with you to cover yourself, you can borrow shawls in the entrance. You can keep your shoes on. If you want to have amazing views over Mostar, take the effort to climb up the narrow staircase in the minaret to enjoy the incredible views from the top. Next to the Mosque, there is a small cemetery, a garden and fountain taps. There is also a nice Turkish cafe called Koski Basta Caffe where you can enjoy a delicious Turkish tea or coffee and enjoy the incredible views.

BISCEVIC HOUSE

Biscevic house is one of the three Mostar’s traditional Turkish-style homes. It was constructed in 1635 and it is located near the Karadjoz Beg Mosque. Inside the house, you will be able to see traditional rugs, beds, clothes and household stuff from the Ottoman period. Downstairs in the courtyard, there is a kitchen and a fountain.

MUSLIBEGOVIĆ HOUSE

This National Monument and museum is from the second half of the 18th century. It is located near the Karadoz – Bey’s Mosque, and is considered as the perfect example of residential architecture from the Ottoman period in the Balkans. The house comprises a residential building, a courtyard for women called haremluk and a courtyard for men called selamluk.

THE FORMER FRONT-LINE

The old front line runs along a main boulevard called Bulevar Revolucije, which is parallel to the river. In 1993 Mostar was divided in two, Croats on the Western side and Bosniaks on the Eastern side. The distance between one side and the other was 5 meters. On this street you can still see many damaged and ruined buildings which were heavily bombed during the war.

THE SNIPER TOWER

The Sniper Tower used to be a bank. In the war, the Croats and Serbs took it over and they used this building as a base for snipers to hide in the tower and aim their targets from there.

Nowadays, the tower is decorated with street art. People can explore its floors and enjoy the view of Mostar from the top floor. The best time to go is around sunset.

CARSIJA

The word čaršija means market or bazaar. This oriental bazaar in Mostar is located in the surroundings of the Stari Most. There are plenty of things you can find in this market, such as glass lamps, copper work, Bosnian rugs, souvenirs, tablecloths, handmade jewellery, paintings and decorated plates.

THE NERETVA RIVER

The Neretva River is the largest river in the eastern side of the Adriatic. It is 225 km length. Its colour changes with the weather but it usually has a beautiful emerald green colour. Its waters are very cold (just for you to imagine, it can be 7 degrees Celsius in summer.) If you are in Mostar during the summer months, it is nice to sit by the water in the cafes, enjoy an ice cream or refresh yourself by dipping your feet into the water.

KRIVA CUPRIJA (CROOKED BRIDGE)

This small version of the Stari Most was built in 1558 by Cejvan Kethoda, a Turkish architect. It was made before the construction of the Stari Most, just to test the designs credibility. It is so well made that if no one knew the real reason, no one could tell it was just a test. This bridge was damaged during the war, then the floods of December 2000 destroyed it, and in 2001 it was fully reconstructed after being financed by Luxembourg.

NEW MUSLIM CEMETERY

Before, it used to be a park, but it was turned into a cemetery during the war in 1993. It was decided to bury the dead in this place because this park was protected by trees, so relatives and visitors would not be visible to snipers. Most of the tombstones are sadly dated 1993, 1994, or 1995.

 

 

PUBLIC TRANSPORT IN MOSTAR

There are two bus stations in Mostar. The main bus station is on the east side (Ivana Krndelja bb Square), in the Bosniak and Muslim part of the city. The other station is on the west side (Vukovarska bb), Croats side, around 20 minutes walk from the city.

There are daily buses to nearby villages and towns covered by “MostarBus” routes. Other bus companies offer lines to most of the cities in Bosnia and Herzegovina and to other countries such as Croatia, Serbia or Montenegro.

The train station is located next to the East side bus station, around 5 minutes walk from the city centre.

 

RESTAURANTS AND BARS

 

– National Restaurant Cevabdzinica Tima – Irma. Onescukova bb, Mostar, +38766905070

– Sadrvan. Jusovina 11, Mostar,+38761891189

– Hindin Han. Jusovina bb, Mostar, +38736581054

– Konoba Taurus. Kriva Cuprija 4, Mostar, +38736580809

– Palma, Alekse Šantića 13, Mostar, +387 36 580-465. Great place for cakes and ice creams.

– Ali Baba’s Cave (Pećina). Bar in Kujundžiluk, Mostar. The lounge was built directly in a cavern.

– Studio Lounge, Bar in M. Balorde (Old town). Open-air bar on top of a high building with jazzy/world music and a great view over the town.

what to do in sarajevo

Things to do in Sarajevo

By | Europe, June, March-April, May | No Comments

Sarajevo has an enormous religious diversity. The city has an orthodox church, a catholic church, a mosque and a synagogue in just about 200 metres. Sarajevo has Austrian Hungarian buildings, grey socialist buildings, and an ottoman bazaar full of small shops and lively coffee shops.

Sarajevo has been in the headlines of the news in the last 100 years mainly because of three facts:

  • The murder of the Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife by Gavrilo Princip in 1914, which was the trigger of the outbreak of the First World War.
  • Winter Olympic Games in 1984.
  • Balkans War, where Sarajevo suffered of three long years of siege that destroyed the city and caused a big number of victims. Actually, you can still see some bullets and other weapon impacts on the walls of some houses.

 

WHAT TO SEE IN SARAJEVO

Bascarsija

The word “Baš-èaršija” means “main marketplace”. It was built in the middle of XV century by Isa-beg Ishakovic. Baščaršija is one of the main touristic attractions in Sarajevo, and is considered the historical and cultural centre of Sarajevo. It is a maze of cobbled streets in the old Turkish neighbourhood full of small souvenir shops, jewelry shops, handicraft shops, restaurants of ottoman and Bosnian cuisine, mosques, fountains and terraces where you can enjoy a Turkish tea or a Bosnian coffee.

Sebilj Fountain in Baščaršija

This Fountain is in the old town centre and is always surrounded by pigeons. It was built in 1753 by a Bosnian vizier Mehmed-pasa Kukavica and destroyed in 1891 and rebuilt again in 1913. The name from the Arabic word that means “public fountain with the shape of a kiosk”.

The Coppersmith Street

One of the oldest streets in Bascarsija is Kazandziluk Street which means Coppersmith Street. It is filled with beautiful copper goods such as coffee pots called dzeva.

 

Old City Hall, Vijecnica

The City Hall was constructed in 1892-1894 in a pseudo-Moorish style, and reconverted in National Library towards the end of the Second World War. On the 25th August 1992, a projectile was launched by the Serbian forces that besieged Sarajevo, which ended up with a big part of the Bosnian literature that was conserved in this building. Around 2 million volumes and over 155,000 manuscripts and many books of an incalculable value were destroyed. It is the most representative building from the Austro-Hungarian period in Sarajevo. Nowadays is open to the public for a small entry fee.

Latin bridge

Small stone bridge constructed on the XVI century, from where Gavrilo Princip (a 18 year old Bosnian Serb) assassinated the heir of the Austro-Hungarian Empire Franz Ferdinand and his wife Sophia on the 28th June 1914, which caused the beginning of the First World War. The murder is marked with a stone plaque outside the Museum of Sarajevo (Musej Sarajeva). A memorial to Gavrilo Princip (his footprints carved in stone) used to be here but it was removed during the 1992-1995 War.

The Academy of Fine Arts 

This beautiful building supposed to serve as an Evangelical Church, but it has been the Academy of Fine Arts since 1981.

Ali Pasha’s Mosque (Alipašina džamija)

This is one of the most beautiful cupolaed mosques, which was built in 1561 beside the tomb of the founder of Bosnian governor of the Sandjak province Ali-pasha. He died in Sarajevo in 1557, and just before dying, he dictated his testament ordering a mosque to be built next to his tomb with the funds from his foundation.

Gazi Husrev Bey’s Mosque

Gazi Husrev Bey´s Mosque is the most important Muslim praying centre in Bosnia and Herzegovina. It was constructed in 1531 by Mimar Sinan (this is the same architect of the amazing Suleymaniye Camii Mosque in Istanbul) and donated to the city by the one who was the Bosnian ottoman governor at those times. It has two minarets of 45 metres height, a 26 metres dome, and in its gardens there is a remarkable wood fountain of ablution. This was the first mosque in the world to receive electricity. Like other cultural attractions in Bosnia, the mosque was a target by Serbian snipers during the siege of Sarajevo. Although it was heavily damaged, it was reconstructed after the end of the war with foreign hep.

Gazi Husrev-begov Bezistan

This stone-building was built in 1555 and is a covered market in a rectangular shape. It is 109 metres long and it has entrances on either side and in the middle. It is full of small shops that sell souvenirs, jewelry, accessories and clothes. The design is based on the design of the mosques.

The Cathedral of Jesus’ Sacred Heart

It was built in 1889 according to the design of Josip Vancaš and is the seat of the Archdiocese of Vrhbosna. He combined elements of Romanesque and Gothic style.

The Old Orthodox Church

This Serbian Orthodox Church is dedicated to Archangels Michael and Gabriel and it is one of Sarajevo’s oldest houses of worship.

The Orthodox Cathedral

It was built in 1868 in the new baroque style with elements of the Serb Byzantine architecture and it is dedicated to the Holy Virgin.

Morica Han

Building of the ottoman area, nowadays is the Hotel Sarajevo Inn. In its restaurant you can enjoy prints of the Umer Khayam period.

Eternal Flame – Vjecna Vatra, this is a memorial to the civilian and military victims of the Second World War.

Sniper Alley

Located in the centre of the city, the Bulevar Mese Selimovica was occupied by Serbian snipers who caused hundreds of victims among the civilians in the Balkans War. This place was strategic because it was surrounded by high buildings and close to the mountains.

Sarajevo roses

They can be considered as a symbol of the past, the present and the future of the city. These red marks on the ground serve as a reminder of what the people of Sarajevo suffered. The ones that can be seen nowadays are the ones that took the life of at least three people, its footprints have been filled with red resin.

Avaz Twist Tower

The Avaz Twist Tower is a 176 m tall skyscraper with a blue glass facade with offers stunning panoramic views of the city. Afterwards, you can enjoy a coffee or a beer in the café-bar just below the top. This is a good place to watch the sunset on Sarajevo.

Zuta Tabija Fortress (Yellow Fortress)

See the sunset at the Zuta Tabija Fortress (Yellow Fortress) in Sarajevo. You can walk there by going past the war cemetery near the Sebilj fountain, or you can take a taxi. Taxi should be around 3-5km. The hike up is quite steep but the views are really worth it.

 Sarajevo War Tunnel Museum

This passage was the key of the survival of the citizens during the Siege of Sarajevo. It was constructed in a private home cellar in about 6 months in 1992 underneath the airport, and it was the only connection with the world during the 4 years.

The tunnel was linking the besieged city with the free area further away from the airport. Through the tunnel, they passed food, war supplies, humanitarian aid, pipes with fuel, etc. Nowadays, 20 metres of the original 800 metres can be visited.

 

STATIONS

There are two bus stations in Sarajevo, the Autobusna Stanica “main bus station” located next to the train station in the Bosnia and Herzegovina side (west of Sarajevo) and the Autobuska stanica Istočno Sarajevo,”Lukavica” station (Sarajevo East) which is close to the airport about 15 km far from the city, in the Serbian side of the Srpska Republika.

Bear in mind that if you are arriving by bus from Montenegro, from a Serbian city or from a Bosnian city which belongs to the Srpska Republic (Serbian part of Bosnia), the bus will arrive to Lukavika, not to the central station. This division was caused because in order to retire the Serbian army, Milosevic negotiated that Bosnia should be split in two; on the one side the Bosnia and Herzegovina Federation (inhabited by Bosnians and Croatians, 51% of the territory), and on the other side the Srpska Republika (inhabited by Serbians and which reflects the 49% of the country’s territory). This frontier divides Sarajevo in two, and that is the reason why Sarajevo has two bus stations.

The train station is near the main bus station, which is in walking distance to the historic old centre. Tram number 1 will take you to the old centre; the frequency is every 10-15 minutes.

 

RESTAURANTS

 

– Buregdzinica Bosna, Bravadziluk, Old Town, +38733538426. Restaurant specialised in Bureks (pastry dough filled with beef). Options: sirnica (cheese), zeljanica (spinach and cheese) or krompiruša (potato).

 

-Cevabdzinica Željo 1 and 2. Kundurdžiluk 12 (+387) 33 44 70 00. Željo does some of the best čevačiči in Bosnia. Sarajevo ‘čevapčiči’ are small, immensely tasty grilled spicy sausages, served with spiced flat bread called somun and a creamy cheese called kajmak. Traditionally they are accompanied by a glass of yoghourt.

 

– Zlatna Ribica – Bar, Kaptol 5, Bascarsija, Vječna vatra.

 

-Cajdzinica Dzirlo – Tea House, Street Kovaci Cilcma 6, +38762755866.

– Caffe Tito. If you like a bit of history with your brew, head to Caffe Tito (Zmaja od Bosne 5). This coffee shop is dedicated to hot beverages and the late benevolent dictator of the former Yugoslavia, Josip Tito. Located down a small side street, it’s hard to find but worth the effort.

– Try some Rakia.  Rakia (or fruit brandy) is considered the national drink in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

– Miris Dunja café, Cizmedziluk 9, is tucked away in a small street just before the Gazi Mosque.

– Baklava Shop, Curciluk Veliki 56. This little Ottoman style cafe specialises in Baklava. Baklava is a rich sweet pastry made of layers of filo-pastry filled with chopped nuts.

– If you want to try some local freshly brewed beers, head to Pivnica HS. It is located roughly a block outside the Old Town and next door to Sarajevskaya Brewery.

cool restaurants in London

Cool Restaurants in London

By | Europe, July, June, May | No Comments

Cool Restaurants in London

 

Finding a cool restaurant in London and good can be as hard as finding the right Tube stop on the map in an Underground station. Actually, it might be easier to find a bad restaurant in London. That’s not because the majority of eateries in the capital are poor, far from it. However, for tourists not au fait with the city, it’s easy, as with any metropolis, to fall into a hideously expensive tourist trap selling bad quality food. Here are 10 cool restaurants to check out in London.

 

Hummus Bros.

hummus bros

Not as unique as it once was, but with good reason. Hummus Bros. now has five locations around London. However, it remains one of the coolest chains in the city, with its simple yet tasty hummus recipes and stripped back decor. More suited to visitors looking for lunch on the go between visiting tourist attractions, but well worth a short, sit-down bite to eat.

 

 

Lucky Chip Burgers and Wine

burger

Another successful start up which has now branched out into new locations, Lucky Chip Burgers and Wine does exactly what it says on the tin. Great burgers, great wine, and a whole lot of food. We recommend the Woody Harrelson. As veggie burgers go, it’s one of the best.

 

 

Bagel Bake

 

You’ll notice we didn’t provide a weblink to this restaurant. Why? Because Baigel Bake is an institution, legendary well before the internet was even an idea in Tim Berners Lee’s mind. Queues can be seen outside the traditional Jewish bakery most weekdays, and at 3am, when hungry clubbers start leaving local venues. Almost as famous as Brick Lane itself, you have to try it if you’re in East London.

 

White Rabbit

 

rabbit

Dalston is one of London’s most chic areas these days, with a host of restaurants having popped up. White Rabbit is among the best, not only in Dalston but in the city generally. A small but broad menu of delicious dishes, we’re partial to the jerked mackerel. Unsurprisingly, rabbit isn’t on the menu. That would be sacrilege.

 

 

Stokey Bears

 

bears

If you go down to the woods today, well, you’re a fool, because Stokey’s is where it’s at. The bear-themed burger bar is just down the road from Stoke Newington station. An area traditionally known for Turkish restaurants, Stokey’s is a modern burger joint with excellent craft beers and ales. The best of the bunch is Bearhug Spirit Pale Ale. Don’t have too much though, or it’ll leave you feeling grizzly.

 

 

Meat Mission

 

meat mission

Meat may be the dish of the day here, but Meat Mission is more of an evergreen affair, if quality and entertainment are what you’re looking for. The Hoxton restaurant is one of the coolest in an area not short on exciting dining establishments, and its burgers are top notch. The cocktails are what do it for us though. Our recommendation: the St Lawrence. Holy cow.

 

 

The Regency Club

 

In far flung Harrow, a suburb of London, this might be a bit far for most tourists. But if you want high quality, authentic Indian food, it is well worth the journey to Queensbury. Our recommendation is the Regency Platter. Chicken wings, lamb chops, tikka, kebabs and mushkaki make for one hell of a meal. Might be one to share with a friend. Or Not.

 

Chisou

 

Sushi restaurants are ten a penny in London. Good sushi restaurants, less so. Good, authentic sushi restaurants, even more less so. Chisou is one of the best in town. The Tori Kara age is our fave and vegetarians could do much worse than the tofu-based atsuage shogayaki. With locations in Knightsbridge and Mayfair, Chisou is a swanky affair, but one of the coolest sushi places in the UK. The decor is as elegant as the dishes, and the service fantastic.

 

 

Harwood Arms

 

Gastropub is a dirty word these days, with a surfeit of establishments trying (and often failing) to do rustic pub grub well. The Harwood Arms, however, lends credence to the term gastropub. Recipes are simple, earthy and very tasty, while the bar itself stays true to its roots as a top quality pub, with a fantastic atmosphere to boot. The only Michelin-starred pub in London, it’s well worth the trip to Fulham.

 

Hawksmoor

 

Rated by Times’ food critic Giles Coren as the best steak in the UK, it’s fair to say Hawksmoor comes with a strong reputation. The epithet is well deserved, but the restaurant is also pretty high up in the cool, erm, stakes. With seven restaurants in the UK, it’s not as unique as it once was, but the food is wonderful. Not sure what to have? We’d go for the rib-eye. Mouth wateringly expensive, it also happens to be mouth wateringly delicious, justifying every penny of the bill.

 

The Manor

 

In the mid-noughties Clapham was famous for being the first port of call for graduates new to the city, with a nightlife to match it. These days it’s renowned for a sea of posh houseware shops aimed at those with lots of free time and lots and lots money. But that’s not to say there aren’t some cool places in the area, and The Manor is the pick of the bunch. A sleek menu complements a restaurant of elegance and class, with knowing staff and a cool, refined atmosphere. Definitely one of South London’s best.

 

cool places in london

Cool Places in London

By | Europe, June | No Comments

Madame Tussaud’s, the Tower of London, Buckingham Palace, what do they have in common? Well, they’re some of London’s most famous attractions and therefore some of its busiest as well. But in a city with London’s size, history and diversity, there are tonnes of other things to do. Here are some of the coolest activities you might not find in a guidebook.

 

Scenario

 

Sure, you’re a grown up and all, but that doesn’t mean you don’t still like playing games. Scenario, in the hip Dalston area, is one of London’s coolest bars. Visitors can play retro video games while enjoying a cocktail (or two, maybe three if you get a power up). A host of board games, consoles and arcade machines are available, and are all free to play.

 

Fifty-Five Bar

 

London certainly isn’t short on cocktail bars, but we tend to believe atmosphere and location to be as important as the quality of the cocktails themselves. Fifty-Five Bar does all of these things extremely well. Nestled beside the canal in Camden, it’s in a busy enough area to be lively, but removed from the centre of London and as a result comes with a more natural party vibe. It’s Happy Hour offers two cocktails for just £10 (a steal in London) and the selection of drinks and spirits is almost as impressive as the know-how of the guys and gals behind the bar.

 

Koko

 

Not far away from Fifty-Five Bar is Koko, a legendary music venue and one of London’s (perhaps the world’s) finest. A Grade-II listed building, it’s decor is largely unchanged from its early 20th Century design. Big name acts frequent the palatial music hall, and it’s played host to the likes of Prince and Madonna in the past. But the venue is perhaps best enjoyed while watching one of the UK’s many up and coming acts.

 

Hampstead Heath

 

A little more sedate than cocktail bars and clubs, but no less interesting, is Hampstead Heath. A huge park in North London, it overlooks the city and on a clear day there are excellent views. Families can be seen taking walks with children and dogs and for kids, it’s a fantastic place to run free and explore.

 

 

Hampstead Village and Highgate Village

 

Another benefit of Hampstead Heath is its proximity to Hampstead Village. More of a high-end district of London than an actual village, it nonetheless bears all the hallmarks of country living, with beautiful coffee and antique shops and a calmer atmosphere than Camden, just down the road. Check out one of the town’s many pubs, which are known for their roaring fires and friendly bar staff. Alternatively, head over to nearby Highgate Village, which also boasts a fine selection of bars, cafes and restaurants.

 

Somerset House

 

Somerset House is one of central London’s coolest venues, with live music shows, film screenings, art exhibition and a whole lot more. It is best enjoyed at the height of summer, when the evenings are long and the sun descends slowly. With so much going on year round, it’s one of London’s most exciting venues, and yet relatively unknown to visitors from abroad. Make sure you don’t miss out.

 

Wembley Stadium

 

The expensively built and controversial new(ish) Wembley Stadium has packed a lot into its short history. While the area around the stadium is low on attractions, the venue itself is not. If you’re a sports fan, there are plenty of events year round including, football, but also American Football and other events. Moreover, the stadium plays hosts to various concerts from A-list acts. For those unable to afford tickets to premium shows, there is an interesting museum in the stadium worth visiting.

 

 

Clapham Common

 

South London’s Clapham Common is one of the city’s great green spaces. London is famed for its beautiful park, and the Common stands head to head with its more illustrious competitors further into the city. If you want to avoid the noise and crowds of central London, you could do a lot worse than spend a sunny afternoon lazing in this park.

 

Victoria Park

 

East London’s Victoria Park is another option for those who want to play games or relax in the sun. A bit more lively than the above, but not quite as packed as Regent’s Park in the centre of town. In summer, it has festivals, and in winter there is a temporary theme park with ice skating, mini golf and more. The summertime is the best time to visit though, as Londoners bathe in the pleasant weather and local street performers practice their tricks.

 

Portobello Road

 

London’s shopping scene is world famous and its markets suitably busy. While Portobello Road is certainly the latter, it has a more natural feel than areas such as Oxford Street, and is a favourite of locals on weekends. Pricey antique stores mix with bespoke, streetside stalls seamlessly, and the atmosphere is charming. If you happen to be in the UK during August, make sure you check out Notting Hill Carnival, Europe’s largest street carnival and a reflection of London’s multicultural diversity.