Articles Turkey

Turkey Beyond Istanbul

Turkey, I think, falls into the same trap that the Netherlands, England, France, and a few others countries do. When it comes to tourism, people think of one city and don’t really consider visiting any other places within that country. So while many people are perfectly content to spend a week in Amsterdam or London, only venturing out for a few days trips and neglecting the rest of the country, so too do far too many people seem to accept that it makes sense to visit Turkey and only visit Istanbul.

While Istanbul is a treasure-trove of a city worth spending significant time in, it’s not the only place in Turkey that holds appeal for tourists. The highlights of Turkey stretch across the country, from the Mediterranean coast to the valleys and mountains of the Asian side, from big cities and small towns to rural and deserted settlements.  Visit the ancient city of Ephesus, Mount Nemrut, the ghost town of Kayaköy, and the fairy chimneys of Cappadocia and you’ll see just how far from Istanbul – both literally and figuratively – you can get withing Turkey.

Istanbul certainly deserves a large portion of your trip (especially as most cheap flights to Turkey arrive there), but it will also eat up more of your budget. Cheap Istanbul hotels are available, but dining, drinking, transport and sightseeing will cost you more in a major city, where the cost of living is simply higher than in more rural areas. By expanding your travels to the lesser-known regions of Turkey, you’ll gain a richer experience, without being much poorer for it.

Photo by deepgoswami

England travel guide

Cheap vacation in London

London is one of the most interesting cities in the world which everyone should visit at least once in a lifetime. But planning a vacation in London isn’t exactly easy if you want to make it a cheap affair. Sure, there are many free things to do in London – most major museums can be visited for free, same for the art galleries, many history landmarks don’t require any money to be visited and , of course, you can spend a lot of time in nature – ; but when you start to add up the cost of transportation, accommodation and daily expenses, well, they add up.

Since I recently won two tickets to London, I’ve starting doing some research in order to figure out my budget. If you are not that lucky and need to find a cheap flight to London as well, then you might want to start with search for London travel deals .

If you are looking for a cheap vacation, plan to visit London in March. It’s definitely low season and the weather might actually be nice enough to allow for sightseeing. A round trip flight from Lisbon in mid-March will set you back about €56 (on EasyJet).

However, you have to do a bit of research when it comes to cheap hotels in London . London is big and you also need to consider the cost of transportation within the city when you choose a hotel. You can find a double room in a B&B for just £45 a night and you’ll be close to an underground station.

Alaska travel guide

Looking for Santa Claus

A well known folk legend says that Santa Claus lives in the land of perpetual snow. The American version says that he lives in a house at the North Pole. The plump figure of Santa is attributed to Nast, an American cartoonist of the 19th century.

But regardless of the many legends and myths, we know for sure that Christmas should be spent with the ones we love. And we should all be each others’ Santa Claus.

If you are a looking for a place to spend a white Christmas then look no further than Alaska. Christmas in Alaska is always white and the smell of chestnuts roasting on the fire is very Alaskan. On a clear Alaskan night you might be able to see the Northern Lights.

Although Christmas is just several days away, you can still look for flights to Anchorage ; chances are you’ll be able to find some good last minute deals. Or you can check out the travel deals to Anchorage and opt for a flight and hotel package.

Just remember that Alaska has its particularities; in December the sun rises at 10:14 a.m. and sets at 3:40 p.m. And it is cold. Really cold. It is wild and beautiful but it can also be dangerous for those who pretend they know everything and nothing can hurt them. Alaska is huge and it’s not hard to get lost even very close to Anchorage. Consider travel insurance and if you plan to explore the wilderness, always hire a guide.

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England travel guide

Unusual vacation

How on Earth can a vacation in London be unusual? Depends on what you consider unusual, of course! Ever since I won two free flights to London (for next spring – my choice!) I’ve been looking all over the world for something … different to do while visiting the city. Sure, I enjoy visiting the top sites and taking the cliché photos. But I also love to do something totally different or unusual.

In Budapest (Hungary) I wanted to visit the House of Terror (yes, that’s a museum!), in Sighisoara (Romania) I absolutely adored the… dungeons where the prisoners where held in Medieval times…so yes, I’m a bit of a “weird traveler” or my tastes aren’t exactly what you’d call “standard”.

Hence I started the search for unusual museums museums in London. One of them is Tate Modern which hosts a selection of twentieth- and twenty-first-century work. Want to see something totally weird (errr…unusual)? On display until May 2011 is Ai Weiwei’s recently completed “Sunflower Seeds” which comprises one hundred million porcelain seeds, weighing about 150 tons, which were handmade in China, then poured and spread to form a four-inch coating on the floor. Yeah, that’s unusual enough for me!

Don’t forget to look for travel deals to London in case you plan to visit the capital during the high travel season. And apparently, this winter isn’t exactly friendly so if you are not into freezing, I’d suggest waiting until spring.

Photo by Bernadette Demeter


Celebrate New Year’s Eve in Iceland

Iceland was recently rated as one of the best places to spend Christmas, much to the surprise of many Icelanders. It’s not that the Icelandic people don’t get festive during the Christmas holidays – they certainly do. But most Icelanders celebrate the Christmas holiday in the comfort of their own homes, and many shops, restaurants and public services shut down completely over December 24 and 25. A better holiday on which to visit Iceland is New Year’s Eve.

If you thought Reykjavik partied hard on the average Friday or Saturday night…well, you haven’t seen anything yet. On New Year’s Eve in Reykjavik, many people dine with family, while others book a table at one of the city’s best restaurants. Then, at midnight, it seems the whole town lights off fireworks at the same time. During the rest of the year, average folks need a special permit to light fireworks off on their property. This is the one night of the year they are free to go wild with the fireworks, and they certainly do! Looking out over the city at midnight is a magical sight to behold, as seemingly thousands of fireworks shoot up into the night sky Once the fireworks have fizzled out, partiers take to the clubs, dancing and drinking the night away, often until 5am the next day.

I don’t know about you, but I’m dreaming of going back to Iceland, and New Year’s Eve sounds like the perfect time  to go. With cheap flights in Europe so readily available, it’s easy to plan a budget trip to Iceland, especially during winter off season when prices are even lower.  And who wouldn’t want to ring in the New Year away from home? Forget the stress and annoyance of throwing the perfect party for your friends or spending hours trying to secure the perfect dinner reservation. In Iceland the party is right there in the streets, and the big fireworks show costs nothing to watch.  Ringing in the New Year in Iceland, your biggest concerns will be what to wear in Reykjavik…and maybe how many Icelandic hot dogs is too many at 5am.

Photo by Kristin Sig

Los Angeles Things to Do

Read. Enjoy. Travel

I read a lot. I’m sort of addicted to reading. I love reading so much that I’ve been involved in a project which offers free books to strangers on streets. It was my favorite thing to do during the summer weekends. I’ve always loved reading. And day dreaming about visiting the places featured in the books.

Reading is our way to escape reality and dream about places we may never be able to visit. But, how about when you read a book and the possibility to fly to the exact same place described in the book is right at your finger tips?

If you happen to buy (or receive as a gift) one of the adventurous coffee table books I’m more than sure that you’ll start making travel plans immediately.

Let’s say you read Surf Photography Of The 1960s & 1970s by LeRoy Grannis. It won’t be long until you’ll start looking for travel deals to Los Angeles and plan your next surfing vacation. Just don’t forget to book one of the cheap LA hotels as well.

I’m currently reading “The DaVinci Code” and all I can think about is visiting Paris. Likewise, when I read some books set in New York, all I could think about was planning my next vacation there. And that’s just by reading novel. If I get my hands on photography and travel books, my backpack is half done by the time I read half of the book!

Photo credit: Cristina Dima

Articles Croatia

Explore the Undiscovered Mediterranean

Greece and Italy may get all the love when it comes to countries on the Mediterranean Sea, but Croatia shouldn’t be neglected. With beautiful landscapes and national parks, ancient walled cities, pristine beaches, rolling vineyards, fresh seafood and friendly people, Croatia charms visitors with its relaxed paces of live and inexpensive luxury.

Croatia is growing in popularity (with celebs like Zane Lamprey singing its praises), but for now it’s still relatively off the radar, which means fewer crowds and lower prices. Hotels in Croatia can be  much cheaper than their Greek and Italian counterparts, and the cost food, drinks, and activities is lower as well. Cheap flights to Dubrovnik, the main arrival gateway for most visitors, can be expensive, but you can lower costs by flying to another major city in Europe and then connecting to Croatia on a low-cost carrier.

Croatia’s at its best during summer, but high season does see larger crowds and higher prices. For a more relaxed, budget-friendly experience, visit during late spring or early fall.

Photo by zsoolt