Panama travel guide

10 Days in Panama: Itinerary Ideas

Panama is still quite away from the tourist trail, as most backpackers prefer to visit Costa Rica or Guatemala. But that’s what makes Panama interesting, the fact that most of its highlights are located off the beaten path. And you’ll either love or hate the country or parts of it…there isn’t a middle way. Accessible even to those on a low budget, Panama offers beaches, mountains and rain forests.

Itinerary assumptions:

  • Fly into and out of Panama City
  • Stay in budget hotels or hostels
  • Use public transportation to get around. Alternatively, you can rent a car.

Day 1-3 Panama City

Arrive in Panama City, check in and get used to the surroundings. With a camera in hand explore the area close to the hotel, stopping for a bite to eat.

On the second day, explore Casco Viejo, strategically built on a peninsula after the pirates devastated the original town, Panama Viejo.

On the third day, take a trip to Panama Canal and learn about this masterpiece. And also, go to nearby Soberanía National Park, a tropical rainforest known for its diversity.

Alternatively, you can catch the scenic train along the historical trans-isthmus route to Colón. Skip the city, but go outside of it and visit the ruins of Fuerte San Lorenzo and Fort Portobelo.

Other things to do in Panama City include shopping , visiting Iglesia de San Jose and seeing the city from above.

>>book a cheap hostel in Panama City

Day 4 -6 David and Boquete

Catch a flight into David , then drive or take a bus to Boquete. Plan to take a tour of one of the coffee farms in the area.

The climate in Boquete is considered almost perfect and you can often hear people refer to the area as the valley of eternal spring.

The next day, plan to go hiking in the area around Barú Volcano, known for the incredible number of birds. You can also try mountain biking or just relax in the hot springs.

Day 7-9 Bocas del Toro

Travel to Bocas del Toro and enjoy the beach. Get to island Bastimentos and have fun ziplining in the forest. You can also plan to spend a day in Zapatilla, with its two islands known for the snorkeling and scuba diving opportunities. You can also hike in the forest.

>>book a cheap hostel in Bocas del Toro

Day 10 Panama City

Fly back to Panama City and catch the flight home.

>>read more about how to get from Bocas del Toro to Panama City

Photo credits: Panama City , Vulcan Baru , Bocas del Toro

Sweden Things to Do

Nude Beaches in Sweden

Swedes are open-minded and nude sunbathing has nothing to do with sex. The locals make it clear that the purpose of nude sunbathing is non-erotic and non-sexual. If you plan to visit a nude beach while you are in Sweden , your best bet is to ask at the hotel or hostel.

If you plan to do some research in advance, here is a list of the most popular nude beaches in the country:

Agesta Nude Beach, Stockholm

This is an official nude beach, with public facilities , picnic tables and a sandy area where you can soak up the sun. It’s a popular beach among locals and tourists alike. It can easily be reaches by bus or car.

This is considered one of the best options for nudists, if you are in the Stockholm area.

Tullan Nude Beach, Stockholm area

The beach is located about 30 min by bus from Stockholm. At the northern end of lake Tullan you’ll find the nude part of the beach. There are no public facilities and the beach is rather rocky (so bring something to sit on while you sunbath here). The sandy beach does not allow nudism (so, don’t forget to put your clothes on if you want to explore that part, too).

Svärdsön Nude Beach, Stockholm area

It’s a clothing optional beach but not an official nudist beach. It’s located about 15 km from Stockholm and can be reached by bus or car. This is one of the best nudist beaches in the Stockholm area , with lots of facilities.

Säbyträsk Nude Beach, Stockholm area

It’s located about 30 min by bus or car from the capital and is an official nude beach. It doesn’t offer any public facilities and it’s certainly an off the beaten path choice.

Truvebadet Nude Beach, Lidköping, Gothenburg area

You can easily find this nude beach, located just 5 km from Lake Vänern. There are two beaches here but only one is an official nude beach (so pay attention to signs). It’s a sandy beach, with lots of green area for sunbathing , a campground (clothing required) and public facilities.

Mollön peninsula, Uddevalla, Gothenburg area

There are two beaches here as well, one being clothes optional, but an unofficial nude beach. The scenery is amazing but there aren’t any public facilities. The peninsula is located close to Goteborg. It’s a good option if you are looking for some place not crowded.

Smitska Udden Nude Beach, Gothenburg

This is an official nude beach with also has a clothing required section. It’s a popular choice but the beach is rocky and quite steep (there are leaders leading to the water). The clothing required section has public facilities but the nude one doesn’t.

Tallparksbadet Nude Beach, Öregrund , Stockholm area

The beach is located 2 h north of Stockholm and is an official nude beach. It’s a popular place to practice nudism but the beach is rocky. There are public facilities and a camping near-by but clothing is required.

Herrfallet Nude Beach, Arboga, Stockholm area

Located in southern Sweden, this is a lovely sandy beach for nudists. There are public facilities available.

Photo via Flickr

Argentina travel guide

10 Days in Argentina: Itinerary Ideas

Argentina is a vast country, offering a lot of interesting things to do and places to visit. No visit to Argentina is complete without experiencing the vibe of tango on Buenos Aires’ streets, the beauty of Patagonia and the wines of Mendoza. Ten days in Argentina can be romantic or adventurous, depending on your priorities.

Itinerary assumptions

Day 1-3 Buenos Aires

Choose one of the best areas to stay in the city: Palermo Viejo – the trendiest part of Buenos Aires – , Monserrat – easily accessible via subway- or San Telmo – the most romantic area in the city. Each offers a lot of budget hotels and hostels to choose from.

Start your stay with a free walking tour of the city , then go to Avenue 9 de Julio. Explore Plaza de Mayo with its landmarks and stop for a bite to eat . Take a photo of the Obelisco and then catch the subway to Montserrat (line A) and ride in one of the original wooden carriages.

Start the second day with a pastry and coffee, then go to Calle Caminito in La Boca. See tango being danced on the street and maybe even take some lessons. In the afternoon you can visit La Recoleta Cemetery and see Eva Perón’s mausoleum.

Spend the last day shopping in Palermo Viejo. Or spend a day in nature at Parque Tres de Febrero.

>>read more about 3 days in Buenos Aires and about the Things to do in Buenos Aires

Day 4-7 Patagonia : Bariloche , Ushuaia

While not cheap, there are daily flights from Buenos Aires into Ushuaia ($331 one way in late Oct 2012) and San Carlos De Bariloche (same price). If you have time on your hands then you can catch a bus from Buenos Aires to Bariloche (21 h, $140 one way) or Ushuaia (much harder and longer trip, though).

>>read more about Getting from Buenos Aires to Bariloche and book a cheap hotel in Bariloche

Travel to El Calafate and see the Perito Moreno Glacier, one of the glaciers which are not yet retreating. There are footbridges and viewpoints so you can see the glacier in its splendor. There’s also minitrek trail on the glacier, but you’ll need to do that with a guide.

Should you fancy a bit of mountain biking or paragliding, go to Nahuel Huapi National Park, near Bariloche. You can also try rafting and kayaking here.

The entire Patagonia area is known for being a place to experience nature. In Ushuaia, you can hike on Glacier Martial and see lovely views of the area , while Tierra del Fuego National Park offers excellent hiking trails, ranging from easy to hard. Pack appropriate gear and opt for a guide if needed.

>>read more about Getting from Buenos Aires to Patagonia

Day 8-10 Mendoza

Catch a plane from Bariloche into Mendoza ($240 one way in late October 2012).

Many wineries offer wine tours . The best time for such tours is in March or April. Of course, you get to taste the wine. When you get tired of the food and wine, take a walk in Parque San Martín or do some people watching in Plaza Independencia.

Hike up to Cerro Alco for some lovely views of the city. The hike takes half a day and can be done independently. If you prefer a more challenging option, climb Alta Montaña. It can only be done as part of a group.

Those looking for an active holiday, can try horse riding. Or, if you are into more extreme options, there’s always white water rafting and paragliding.

>>read more about the Things to do in Mendoza and book a cheap hotel in Mendoza

Photo credits
:Buenos Aires , Bariloche , Mendoza

Panama travel guide

Top 7 Beaches in Panama

Although many people immediately associate Panama with either the Canal or the famous Van Halen “Panama” song, Panama is also home to many fabulous beach destinations. Still lagging behind Costa Rica and Mexico’s development of tourism and beach-side resorts, you can still find great deals, inexpensive hotels and hostels and cheap eats at many of these tropical beach destinations. However, the tourism industry in Panama is on the brink of major new developments and soon sleepy beach towns and islands will become host to mega resorts, higher prices and more gringo tourists.

Comarca Kuna Yala

This is the premiere beach destination in Panama and comprises about 350 picture-perfect beaches. The white sand, the blue water, the palm trees, everything is as it should be in a Caribbean paradise. Scuba is prohibited here and you’ll stay in rustic houses but , to be honest, you only travel here to swim , enjoy the sand and stay in the hammock.

Bocas del Toro

A group of small islands situated on the Caribbean close to the Costa Rica border, this beach destination has long been discovered by backpackers and is on its way to more major outside tourist development. Although slightly more expensive and touristy than the rest of Panama, the island is still home to a plethora cheap hostels and inexpensive hotels. Drawing mostly a younger crowd, many travel here to bask in the sun during the day and party at night. Just a short boat taxi ride away is Isla Bastimentos, where you will find Red Frog Beach and Wizard Beach. It is also definitely worth shelling out the extra bucks to take a boat out to the National Park located on Isla Zapatilla, where you will find a pristine white-sand beach, clear blue waters.

Isla Bastimentos National Park offers excellent beaches, such as Red Frog Beach, Wizard Beach, and Playa Larga, which can be reached by a short walk or hike.

Santa Catalina

This rather remote surfer’s haven on the Pacific Coast will not disappoint. Still a sleepy fishing village (though much beach front property has recently been snatched up by foreign investors for development), Santa Catalina offers spectacular views of green, jungle covered bluffs dropping into the ocean, a huge black sand beach, and great breaks for surfers.

For divers, a boat ride to the nearby Isla Coiba will take you to an amazing marine preserve and provide for an amazing dive where you can see dolphins, whale and bull sharks, coral and a plethora of tropical fish. Isla Coiba is often compared to the Galapagos because of the unique eco-system.

Las Perlas Archipelago

This location offers excellent snorkeling spots, calm water for swimming and white beaches. Outside of the holidays and the high season you won’t find crowds here, so it’s excellent place to allow the time to stand still for a while.

Las Lajas

It may not be the most beautiful beach in Panama, but the swimming is excellent and the long (13km) beaches allows for plenty of walking…or jogging. Bring your own snacks. If you look for something closer to Boquete , visit La Barqueta but keep in mind it’s not a good option for swimming (strong currents). But it’s good for walking.

Azuero Peninsula

It offers a lot of beaches but the cleanest are Playa Los Destiladores and Playa Venado. They are also the most attractive but are less tropical (due to the deforestation in the region).

The Pacific Beaches

Playa Blanca and Santa Clara , although not very impressive, are a good option for a day trip from Panama City. However, these are the beaches which include full service, complete with all-inclusive resort, exactly the opposite the ones mentioned above.

Photo credits: Kuna Yala , Red Frog beach , Isla Coiba , Las Perlas Archipelago , Las Lajas , Playa Los Destiladores , Playa Blanca

Sweden Things to Do

Top 7 beaches in Sweden

While Swedes are known to escape to winter sun destinations, during summer they often decide to stay put and enjoy the sun in their own back yard. Prices can be cheaper than in the Mediterranean and best of all, you won’t see exclusive five star resorts here.

Sweden offers a lot of sandy beaches and there are many activities available for everyone. Do remember though that pets aren’t allowed on all beaches in Sweden.

1. Böda Beach , Öland

The beach stretches for 20 km and has plenty of facilities. It’s one of the beaches which welcome pets. Watersports, cycling and golfing are available for those into more active days at the beach. Others might just love the saunas.

2. Långholmsbadet Beach, Stockholm

If you don’t plan to leave the capital, then the popular Långholmsbadet Beach is a good option for a day of soaking up the sun. There are facilities for swimmers, there are places to eat and recreational areas, but the beach tends to get crowded in the summer.

3. Smedsuddsbadet Beach, Stockholm

Also in Stockholm, Smedsuddsbadet Beach offers recreational areas , places to eat and facilities for those who want to swim. Just like the other beach in the capital, it gets crowded during summer.

4. Ribersborg Beach, Malmö

This is a real city beach with shallow water, ideal for families with children. You can eat in restaurants or make your own BBQ (in specialized areas). The beach has a nude section and welcomes pets.

5. The Sudersand Beaches, Gotland

It is the most popular and most beautiful beach in Gotland. There are plenty of recreational activities to try, including a mini golf course, there are restaurants and a kiosk.

6. Varamon Beach , Östergötland

It is the “Pearl of Vättern” and is blessed with 80 more hours of sun per year than the rest of Sweden. You can play various sports – windsurfing, volleyball -, and there are plenty of cafes and restaurants. It’s a good option for families with children.

7. Skutberget Beach, Karlstad

It is located on the northern shore of Lake Vänern and includes a campground. There is a playground for children and the activities you can try here range from hiking to mountain biking and playing football. There are restaurants and cafes available, too.

Photo credits: 1 , 2 , 3 , 4 , 5 , 6 ,7- A beach on Lake Vänern

Sweden Things to Do

10 Days in Scandinavia: Itinerary Ideas

Scandinavia – comprising Denmark, Norway and Sweden, and often extended to Finland, Faroe Islands and Iceland – is one of the most beautiful areas in the world and certainly a major attraction in Europe. But Scandinavia is also home to the world’s most expensive city (Oslo) and traveling here is not a cheap affair.

Try to take advantage of free walking tours in cities and free museum entrances by doing some research in advance. Also, book your train ticket in advance, as you’ll be able to find better fares than if you booked them upon arrival in the area. It’s also a good idea to use bikes to explore Copenhagen and Oslo.

This itinerary visits Copenhagen –with a day trip to Odense -, Oslo – with a day trip on the mountain train line ‘Flambanen’-, Narvik, Kiruna and Stockholm.

Itinerary assumptions:

  • Fly into Copenhagen and fly out of Stockholm
  • Taking the trains and buses to travel between cities and countries is preferred over flying
  • Staying in budget hostels is preferred over hotels

Day 1 -2 Copenhagen , Denmark

A simple and efficient way to check out Copenhagen, Denmark’s capital is by bike. There are free public city-bikes which you can find in stands near major places. Just insert a 20 kr coin and use the bike in the inner part of the city (there’s a map on the bike).

Copenhagen is not a cheap city – neither is the rest of Scandinavia. So, try to cut down costs. For example, museums have one day a week when they offer free admittance. It’s usually Wednesday but it’s worth it to check in advance on the websites and plan your visit accordingly.

Start the first day with a free walking tour of Copenhagen . It starts at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. in the Town Hall Square. The tour takes 3 hours and visits , among other places: Copenhagen Town Hall, The Marble Church, Strøget shopping mile, and the Royal Danish Theater.

Climb the unique Rundetårn (the Round tower) to get to the viewing platform. If you want to go higher, climb the steps of the Church of Our Saviour (standing about 100 m high).

Check out Rosenborg Palace, a small renaissance palace with its lively King’s Garden .The palace features the catacombs which are home to the crown jewels. And there’s also a Royal history museum on site.

Should you visit Copenhagen in June to August, head to two interesting beaches: Copencabana and Havnebadet.

Take some time and walk (or shop) on Strøget, a pedestrian mall starting at the City Hall. Or you can do some shopping in the Nørrebro Flea Market.

Day 3 Odense

Take the 9 a.m. train to Odense. It takes 1 ½ h and the fare starts at 116 kr / US$19.50 one way. (Orange ticket). The Standard fare starts at 288 kr / US$48.30 one way.

Odense is the largest city on the island of Funen and the third largest city in Denmark. Most of the attractions are easily accessible on foot. The main hostels and hotels are located close to the city center.

If you are passionate about photography, don’t miss the Museum of photographic arts. Also interesting is the Danish Railway Museum which features old trains, carriages and a large model train landscape. It’s a good choice if you travel with kids. The Hans Christian Andersen’s Garden is an ideal stop for a picnic and is located in the city center.

Egeskov Castle is one of Europe’s best preserved Renaissance water castles, dating back from 1554. It’s located about 30 km from the city.

Day 4-5 Oslo , Norway

Go back to Copenhagen and take the overnight ferry to Oslo . You can book the ticket here . Single cabins start at £112 one way. It’s advisable to book in advance. The travel time is 17 h. The ferry departs Copenhagen at 4:45 pm and arrives in Oslo next morning at 9:45 a.m.

Oslo has been ranked (in 2010) as world’s most expensive city, so you’ve already got a clue what you’d be facing here. A good option is to get a bike for the day (80NOK at the tourist office) to explore the city. Don’t miss visiting the Royal Palace (if you want to book a tour , you need to do that in advance at the post office), Oslo Cathedral, the City Hall (Rådhuset), and the old bazaar (Kirkeristen). You should also consider visiting The Norwegian Museum of Cultural History, an open-air museum featuring typical buildings from various periods in Norwegian history. A fun museum – for children and adults- is Norwegian Museum of Science and Technology & The Norwegian Telecommunications Museum.

Frogner Park is a good option for some time spent in nature or for a picnic.

>>read about Getting from Copenhagen to Oslo

Day 6 Day trip :the mountain train line ‘Flambanen

It’s a 20 km scenic ride on one of the world’s steepest railway lines on normal gauge tracks. The mountain station of Myrdal is located 865 meters above sea level.

To board the train at Myrdal station, take a train from Oslo at 8:11 a.m. and you’ll get to Myrdal by 12:53 p.m. (4 h 42 min). Catch the 1:27 p.m. scenic train from Myrdal to Flam. A return ticket on the scenic railway is 360NOK/US$61.90 for adults.

Try to catch the 6:28 p.m train back from Myrdal to Oslo. Book in advance and you’ll be able to find tickets as low as 299 NOK/ US$51.40 one way.

Day 7-8 Narvik, Kiruna and the Northern Lights

Take the train from Oslo to Fauske . It takes between 16 and 17 h, depending on the transfers but fares start at 199 NOK / US$34.15 one way if you book in advance. To maximize your time spent traveling catch the night train (leaving Oslo at 11:05 p.m.). From Fauske take a bus to Narvik.

Spend the rest of the day in Narvik, checking out the museums or do some shopping. In the morning, catch the 9:35 a.m. train to Kiruna. The journey is 3h 21 min and the single non-rebookable ticket starts at 95 SEK/US$14.45.

During winter, you can visit the Icehotel (It functions as a museum from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m). Also during winter enjoy a northern lights tour or a dog sled tour. In the summer you can go hiking or kayaking.

Day 9-10 Stockholm , Sweden

You can travel to Stockholm by train (5 changes, 19 h, from 1014 SEK / US$154). Catch the night train to maximize your time spent traveling or the day train if you want to see the scenery along the way.

In Stockholm, start with a free walking tour (of the city or of the old city). Explore the Gamla Stan (Old Town), take a guided tour of the City Hall (Stadshuset), the most well-known landmark in Stockholm and visit the Cathedral. You should also consider visiting the Vasa Museum , which is a salvaged ship , restored to its former beauty.

Read more about :
>>3 days in Stockholm
>>cheap hostels in Stockholm
>>things to do in Stockholm

Photo credits: Copenhagen , Odense , Oslo , Train , Northern lights , Stockholm

travel guide Vietnam

10 Days in Vietnam: Itinerary Ideas

Vietnam is a not exactly a small country and offers a lot of things to do and places to see. It’s a country where you can easily find a cheap place to stay but you can certainly afford to spend time in nicer hotels, too. Just pay attention when you want to book a tour. Always ask the hotel/hostel staff and look for credentials. Yes, you might feel ripped off at times and you’ll probably haggle your way pretty much everywhere…but that’s part of Asia’s charm.

The following itinerary is a classic take on visiting Vietnam. You’ll get a chance to see Hanoi, Halong Bay, Hue, Hoi An, Da Nang and Saigon.

Itinerary assumptions

Day 1-2 Hanoi

After you arrive and check into the hotel or hostel, arrange for a walking tour. There is a free one run by a student organization, but you can also do a self-guided tour using Google Maps , for example. Make sure not to miss Hanoi’s Old Quarter, Tran Quoc Pagoda, and the Temple of Literature (Van Mieu). Take a walk in the French Quarter, enjoy the local food and get used to Asia (especially if it’s your first time here).

>>read about the things to do in Hanoi

Day 3 Halong Bay

On Day 3 , plan a day trip to Halong Bay , located about 170 km from the capital. It is popular for the rock formations popping out of the water. The bay is best visited by boat. You can either take a bus or rent a car to get to Halong Bay. Then you can catch one of the boats eagerly awaiting clients. Or you can book a tour (ideally, ask the hotel or hostel staff to recommend a good agency). Overnight tours are available and you’ll be sleeping on a boat, of course.

>>read more about Getting from Hanoi to Halong Bay

Day 4 Hue

From Hanoi, take the Reunification express to Hue . All cars have AC and there are 6 connections per day. Catch an overnight train to save money and time (the travel time is between 13 and 15 h). Tickets range from 442000 dong / US$21.20 (soft seat, AC) to 748000 dong / US$36 (soft sleeper AC).

Hue is the former home of the Vietnam’s emperors offering a lot of interesting places to visit. The Imperial Citadel should not be missed and you can also check out the Tombs of the Emperors. Thien Mu Pagoda is the symbol of the city, overlooking the Perfume River. Tip: don’t forget your camera.

Read more about:
>>Train Travel in Vietnam
>>Getting from Hanoi to Hue

Day 5-7 Hoi An

Hoi An is a lovely city and its Old Town is listed as UNESCO World Heritage Site. Hoi An doesn’t have a railway station so it’s best to catch a bus (otherwise you need to travel to Da Nang and then catch a bus to Hoi An). A bus ticket between Hue and Hoi An is about US$10 (but depends on the company).

You could look for a walking tour of the Old Town or do a self-guided one . Either way, the Old City is easy to tackle on foot . The sites within the Old Town can be visited by purchasing a ticket (US$5 allows for visiting 5 sites). Don’t miss the Japanese Covered Bridge, visit a museum (such as Hoi An Museum of History and Culture) and check out some old houses .

Also , you can plan a day trip to the Marble Mountains. They are located close to Da Nang. Some Buddhist temples have been built. The views are beautiful.

>>read more about Getting from Hue to Hoi An

Day 8 Da Nang

Da Nang is Vietnam’s third largest city and can be reached by bus from Hoi An. You can consider spending some time on Cham island (tours are available, but again, ask the hotel staff for guidance).

Day 9-10 Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon)

From Da Nang you can catch a train to Saigon. There are quite a lot of museums to visit especially if you are interested in history (and the war history). Don’t forget to visit Notre Dame Cathedral, located in the city center and some of the pagodas.

You’d also want to check out the Night Market and the War Surplus Market. Prepare to haggle for anything and everything.

>>read more about the Things to do in Saigon

Photo credits: Hanoi , Halong Bay
, Hue , Hoi An , Da Nang , Saigon

Planning a Trip Portugal Things to Do travel guide

10 Days in Portugal: Itinerary Ideas

Portugal is not a very large country but has a lot of things to do and see. This itinerary starts in the capital and visits Porto, Braga, Coimbra and Faro. Both the Lisbon and Faro itineraries include a day trip to a near-by place.

Itinerary assumptions

  • You will fly into Lisbon and fly out of Faro
  • You will stay in budget hotels or hostels easy to reach by public transportation. Book in advance unless you plan to pay a fortune.
  • You will use the train to get between the cities. Alternatively, you can rent a car for your stay.

Day 1-3 Lisbon with Sintra day trip

On Day 1 get to know the city with a free walking tour which takes about 2 ½ h. Then check out Baixa and Alfama. And you should take tram 28 for a spin around the historical sites of the city.

Spend day 2 in Bairro Alto and then in Belem. Maybe spend some time shopping in Chiado.

On day 3 plan a day trip to Sintra. The Moorish Castle and Pena Palace should not be missed.

Read more about :
>>Getting from Lisbon to Sintra

>> 3 Days in Lisbon

Day 4-5 Porto

There are 18 train departures per day from Lisbon to Porto and the fare starts at €24 for an adult, one way. The travel time is 3 h.

Some of the things to do in Porto include : visiting museums – Museu do Arte Contemporânea is probably the best in the city – , indulge in Port tasting , enjoy the Portuguese food , spend time in Ribeira district, check out the baroque tower of Clérigos Church and spend some time on the beach .

>>read about Getting from Lisbon to Porto

Day 6 Braga

Braga is an ancient and modern city . It can be reached by train from Porto (€19.50 one way , 37 min journey). The historical center comprises old churches, museums and shops.

Day 7 Coimbra

From Braga, catch another train to Coimbra (€20 one way, 1h 37 min journey time). The city is home to one of the oldest universities in Europe. Don’t miss the Medieval Downtown and the Old Cathedral.

You can also visit the museums and spend some time in nature. Check out the Botanical Gardens and the city parks.

Day 8 -10 Faro

The direct train from Coimbra to Faro takes about 4 ½ h and the single fare starts at €44.

Faro does have a reputation of being a party beach town but it is also a good base to explore the Algarve . Come in the off-season and you’ll avoid the mass of party goers.

The Old City , with cobblestone streets and 18th century Portuguese and Moorish-influenced architecture, is a good place to get a feel of the old era.

Plan a day trip to The Parque Natural da Ria Formosa. It offers excellent opportunities for walks and boat tours. Plus, you can see interesting plans and animals.

The historic city of Tavira can also be a good side-trip. There are trains connecting the two cities. Spend half a day visiting castles, churches and soaking up the history.

In case you plan to drive in Portugal, here is a map of the itinerary:

View Larger Map

Photo credits: Lisbon , Porto , Braga , Coimbra , Faro

Argentina travel guide

3 Days in Buenos Aires: Itinerary Ideas

Buenos Aires is the most European city in South America. Sometimes you might feel you are in Spain or even France … but rest assured you didn’t board the wrong plane. Buenos Aires is famous for tango, good food and historical sights.

Itinerary assumptions

  • You will fly in and out of Buenos Aires
  • You will stay in a budget hotel or hostel in Palermo Viejo – the trendiest part of Buenos Aires – , Monserrat – easily accessible via subway- or San Telmo – the most romantic area in the city.
  • You’ll mostly use the public transportation but you should also consider using taxis

>>read about the Things to do in Buenos Aires

Day 1

After you check in and grab a bite to eat – or at least a strong coffee – you’d probably want to start getting to know the city via a free walking tour . It leaves at 11 a.m. from the corner of Rivadavia Ave and Rodriguez Peña st. (in Plaza del Congreso).

After the tour, come back to the city center and head to Avenue 9 de Julio, which is the widest avenue in the world with 10 traffic lanes. In this area, you’ll also find Plaza de Mayo, with the original Cabildo (Town Hall), Metropolitan Cathedral and Casa Rosada, or Pink House. The latter will remind you of Eva Peron (or Madonna playing Eva).

On the same Avenue, you’ll also find Plaza de la Republica, with its Obelisco, standing 67 m high.

Catch the subway to Montserrat (line A) and ride in one of the original wooden carriages. Get off at Sáenz Peña station to see Palacio Barolo , an homage to Dante’s Divine Comedy. The tower offer fantastic panoramic views of the city.

You’d probably want to sample some of the famous Argentinean food . The steak and pasta are to die for (and the pasta comes in varieties for vegetarians, too).

Day 2

Start your day with a pastry and coffee – Portenos don’t exactly do breakfast (much like the Italians, actually). Then make your way to Calle Caminito in La Boca . The street is the cultural center of the neighborhood and is the true cradle of tango . And yes, this is where you’ll see tango being danced on the streets. You can even book some lessons!

La Bombonera – the large football (soccer) stadium – dominates the area and is the home stadium for Boca Juniors. The museum presents the club’s history (and can be an interesting choice for those passionate about football).

During the afternoon make your way to La Recoleta Cemetery, where you’ll see Eva Perón’s mausoleum, among others. A walk in this cemetery pretty much looks like a stroll in a very interesting street. Avenida Alvear, also in the area, makes you feel like you’ve probably landed in Paris.

Day 3

If it’s a Sunday, go to San Telmo and visit the artists fair in Plaza Dorrego. Then you can plan a day in nature.

Pick up some food for a picnic and make your way to Parque Tres de Febrero (also known as Palermo Woods). Walk until your reach the Jardín Japonés and continue until you see El Rosedal (Rose garden).

You’ll probably want to spend the afternoon doing a bit of shopping in Palermo Viejo. Or relaxing with a mojito.

Photo credits: Casa Rosada , Tango , La Recoleta Cemetery , El Rosedal

travel guide Turkey

10 Days in Turkey: Itinerary Ideas

Turkey has a lot to offer and 10 days in the country are not enough to visit too many places. This itinerary leaves out the beaches and focus on Istanbul , Cappadocia and the ancient sites of Ephesus, Troy and Hieropolis.

Itinerary assumptions:

  • You will be flying into Istanbul and out of Izmir
  • You will be using the buses and trains to get around Turkey, but a rental car is also a good idea for the time spent visiting the ancient sites
  • You will be staying in hostels or hotels , with easy access to the transportation hubs.

Day 1 -3 Istanbul

On the first day in Istanbul, get to know the most famous sights: Hagia Sofia, Blue Mosque and the Spice Bazaar. On the second day, visit the Topkapi palace and allow some time for the Archeological Museum, too. Allow for a more relaxing day 3 when you can take a ferry on the Bosphorus, stopping in several ports to explore the sights and take photos.

Read about :
>>3 Days in Istanbul
>>Things to do in Istnabul

Day 4 -6 Cappadocia

Your best bet (price wise) is to catch a bus from Istanbul to Nevsehir or Göreme. Or you can catch a train to Kayseri.

Tourists come here to see the cave dwellings . Don’t miss the churches and monasteries, which are also carved in the stone. It’s best to rent a car for the stay in this area. If you like to spend time in nature, there are some interesting hiking routes here, too.

Make sure not to leave Cappadocia without trying the local food and wine.

>>read more about Getting from Istanbul to Cappadocia

Day 7, 8 Selcuk , Ephesus , Priene, Miletus and Didyma

Fly into İzmir Adnan Menderes International Airport (ADB), then catch a train (or rent a car ) to get to Selcuk , as it’s just 60 km from the airport.

Ephesus is located just 3 km from Selcuk . You can easily plan to walk to the site or catch a dolmus. You can easily cover the entire site in just 2 h. And you should check out the museum while you are here, too.

If you chose to rent a car, you can also visit other interesting sights. Priene is close to Kusadasi , which is a bit further from Ephesus. The sight is one of the most important in the area and is located close to Ephesus and Miletus. Priene is the least crowded and a bit off the beaten path. Also in the area is Didyma, containing the remains of the Sanctuary of Apollo.

>>read about the Greek and Roman ruins in Turkey

Day 9 Troy

Travel back to Izmir and catch a bus to Çanakkale, the town closest to Troy. Or you can use the rental car to get here. The site has a mix of Roman and Greek ruins. You can spend quite a lot of time here as there are many ruins to see.

Day 10 Pamukkale and Hieropolis

You can either travel by rental car to Pamukkale or catch a bus from Çanakkale. Trains are only available from Izmir. Pamukkale is known for the hot springs and the ancient site of Hieropolis. You don’t want to miss Laodikya either, which has been mentioned as one of the 7 Churches in the Book of Revelation. The site is located between Denizil and Pamukkale.

Travel to Izmir for the flight back home.

Photo creditsIstanbul , Cappadocia , Ephesus , Troy , Pamukkale