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Bosnia Europe Weekend Away

10 Things to do in Bosnia & Herzegovina

October 26, 2016

Turquoise rivers, tumbling waterfalls and lush green landscapes. The beautiful lands of Bosnia and Herzegovina are one of Europe’s best kept secrets. Wandering around Mostar feels like stepping back in time. Even if you only have a few days its worth visiting Mostar’s old bridge and exploring the alleys in Sarajevo. Here is my list of 10 things to do in Bosnia & Herzegovina.

1.Stari Most – Old Bridge

Stari Most means old bridge in Bosnian and is located in the old town of Mostar. This bridge is just as beautiful in real life as it is in photos. The bridge was built by the Ottomans in the 16th century. A word of warning the bridge is very slippery so wear sensible shoes. Crowds gather here during the day to watch people dive from the bridge into the River Neretva. Tourists can pay a fee for advice and a practise jump however this is not safe and travellers have died attempting to jump into the river.

mostar-satri-most-bridge

2.Blagaj

Blagaj is a small village town which is becoming a popular tourist destination. Its a lovely place to relax by the beautiful turquoise river. You can also visit the Dervish house in Blagaj (Tekija) for a small fee.This house is an important monument from the Ottoman period where religious ceremonies took place. You have to cover up before you go in and there are scarves and cover ups that will be given to you.

blagaj-bosnia

3.Kravice Waterfalls

This is an amazing lake surrounded by large waterfalls where you can enjoy a swim but be aware the water is freezing! There is also a restaurant next to the lake so you can relax with lunch or a beer whilst you take in the wonderful scenery.

bosnia-kravice-waterfall

4. Ancient Pocitelj

This is a UNESCO world heritage site located to the south of Mostar. The walled town of Pocitelj was built by the Ottomans.

mostar-bosnia

5. Viewpoint in Mostar

I went here on a day trip and this was our first stop with a view over Mostar our tour guide told us about the history of Mostar.

mostar-viewpoint

mostar-cross

6.Feast on meat

You have to try Ćevapi it is a traditional Balkan dish. Consisting of small grilled meat sausages made of lamb and beef mix; served with onions, sour cream and Bosnian pita bread.

mostar-mines

7.Learn about the history – Bosnia has had a turbulent past with a horrific war in the 90s, the effects of which are still massively visible especially in Mostar. You can still see bullet holes in buildings. I went on a walking tour in Mostar it was definitely the creepiest walking tour I’ve ever been on. I went with the hostel I was staying at, we walked to the sniper tower and had to climb over a huge wall to get in. It was at night so it was pretty dark. We walked around the corner and saw the graffiti as pictured below soo creepy!

graffiti-mostar-bosnia

We then walked up the stairs over lots of broken glass to get to the roof. Once at the top there was a great view of the city.

mostar-bosnia-48

8. Relax with Tea or coffee and a cake –  The Bosnians drink their coffee & tea Turkish style

sarajevo-tea-and-cake

9. Wander the old streets of Sarajevo, visit the winding alleys to discover antique shops and cute cafes. Buy some handmade copper coffee sets to enjoy Bosnian tea back home. Make sure you also check out the city hall!

10.Viewpoint in Sarajevo – As I only had 1 day in Sarajevo I didn’t have time to go during the day so went here at night and it had a great view of the city lit up. I saw the cutest proposal here. A man had bought his friends along and put some candles in a heart shape and played Bruno Mars “I think I want to marry you”he got down on one knee and proposed and she said yes! Their friends let go of red balloons and they floated off into the night sky it was so romantic. This viewpoint would be great to visit during sunset.

sarajevo-viewpoint

10. Visit the street corner that changed the world. This is where Franz Ferdinand was assassinated. This incident led Austria-Hungary to declare war on Serbia within weeks the conflict soon spread over the world causing world war one.

Accomodation

Boutique hostel skylounge – Mostar

bosnia-mostar-hostel

Photo from Hostelworld

  • Centrally located
  • Events in the evening such as walking tour then head to restaurant and bar which is a great way to meet other hostel guests
  • Breakfast included
  • So cheap around £7 a night
  • Organised tour day trip with hostel as shown in photo below

tour-mostar

Hostel Inn Luxury – Sarajevo

hostel-inn-luxury-sarajevo-mostar

Photo from Hostelworld

  • Nice design very white and clean
  • Selection of teas and coffee available for free – tea is so important for a British traveller haha

Information

  • If travelling by bus buy at the station as I couldn’t find any tickets available online
  • Currency: Bosnia and Herzegovina convertible mark (BAM) £5 = 11 BAM
  • Where to go next: Explore Croatia’s wonderful coastline such as Split or Dubrovnik or head to Montenegro and another option would be to visit Belgrade in Serbia.

Croatia Europe Travel Weekend Away

A Guide to Hvar Island, Croatia

October 22, 2016

A guide to Hvar island Croatia.jpg

Hvar is a small bay town that attracts a lot of tourists. Visitors can explore the winding stone streets, old Venetian architecture, crystal clear waters and crazy nightlife. It’s easily accessible for a day trip or for a longer stay. The only way to get to Hvar is by ferry, I got a ferry from Split with Jadrolinija. Its not too expensive either it was around £5-10.  This island is perfect for a fancy getaway but is also suitable for backpackers with a number of hostels available. Here is a list of of things to do in Hvar.

St Stephens Square

This is the main square filled with restaurants, supermarkets, bakeries and St Stephens cathedral.

street-in-hvar

Hvar’s Fortica

The fortress is perched on a hill above the old town. To get here walk up the steps off the main square and continue until you get to the top. It’s a steep walk to the top but well worth it with stunning views over Hvar town and the sea. It costs 30kn (£3.60) to get in and there’s a small museum and shop. It would also be a amazing to visit during sunset.

hvar-view

Beaches

Near the town centre most of the beaches are rocky but if you keep walking to the right of the centre you’ll get to a nice beach near some hotels. There is also a closer beach by the Franciscan Monastery.

Party

Hvar has a great nightlife and was super busy when I was there in August. Carpe Diem is a big nightclub in Hvar and you have to get a water taxi to there.Entrance to the club is £20. If you like partying this is definitely worth going to at least once. The water taxi’s are free but stop running around 2.30am.

Boat trip to the Palenki Islands

There are many companies offering boat trips so have a look around for a good deal.

Wine Tour

Hvar has been a city of wine since the ancient Greeks sailed into the bay at Stari Grad. Have a look in the tourism shops for a different range of wine tours.

Accommodation

Try to book in advance especially in peak seasons as when I went I had to move hostels as the first one I was staying at was sold out on the second night.

Hostel Villa Skansi

hostel-villa-skansi-hvar

Photo from Hostelworld

  • Good for solo travellers as has a bar
  • Has a free pub crawl, this only consists of one bar then your’e left to do your own thing but its still a good way to meet new people and you get a free shot
  • Free pizza

The White Rabbit Hostel

white-rabbit-hostel-hvar

Photo from Hostelworld

  • Centrally located near shops and restaurants
  • Also a good place to meet people as has a small cheap bar upstairs
  • Air con
  • Lockable storage

hvar-main-square

Information

  • Hvar can be quite expensive so budget accordingly
  • Some of the beach is quite rocky so bring the right footwear
  • The streets are marble which can be quite slippy
  • There are a few ferries running daily and you can book a ferry by the port

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Croatia Europe Travel Weekend Away

Why visit Croatia’s Capital Zagreb

October 10, 2016

zagreb-st-marks-church

Many travellers often overlook Zagreb and head straight to Croatia’s Dalmatian coast. I decided to stop here for one day before heading to the coast and I am so glad I did as its a lovely city with plenty of shops, museums and buildings to explore.

St Marks Church

This church has an elaborate patterned roof representing the coat of arms of Zagreb. It is just around the corner from the museum of broken relationships.

The Museum of Broken Relationships

I thought I’d try out this museum as it has good reviews and is different to any other museum I’ve seen. The concept is that people around the world send in items from previous relationships with a message about that relationship. Some of the items and letters are very sad and moving and others are funny.

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The Museum of Illusions

Fun museum that kids will enjoy as there’s lots of different activities. It’s not very big so you don’t need to spend that much time here.

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Cathedral

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View from Upper Town

You can get the shortest funicular in the world from lower town to upper town. It costs 4 kuna (£0.48) Alternatively you can walk to the top this is what I did and its not very far. Once at the top you can admire the views over the city.

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Trg Josipa Jelacica

The main square in Zagrebs lower town with beautiful coloured buildings this area is ideal for people watching.

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Accommodation

Chill Out Hostel Zagreb

chill-out-hostel-zagreb

Photo from Hostelworld

  • Very close to main square and shops
  • Check out at 12pm
  • Each bed has a locker
  • Free towel and wifi
  • Pub crawls
  • Bar and restaurant downstairs but wasn’t loud so could get a good nights sleep

Information

  • Currency: Kuna
  • Tram line runs throughout the city 30 kunas for a day ticket (£3.60) or 10 kunas for 90 minutes (£1.20)
  • Good times to go: July & August’s hot climate attracts the most visitors to Croatia November & December are good for the Christmas markets

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Europe Food Italy Travel Weekend Away

Things to do in Milan, Italy

September 18, 2016

things-to-do-in-milan

If you’re into shopping then I would recommend Milan its the global capital of fashion and design. Milan is also ideal if you fancy splurging or going on a romantic getaway as it has many high end shops and restaurants. Here are some things to do in Milan.

Milan Cathedral

Visit the iconic Duomo Di Milano cathedral. Be aware it does get busy and there are big queues outside. There are lot of tourists taking photos outside the cathedral and there is a ridiculous amount of pigeons as well haha.

Galleria vittorio emanuele

This shopping centre is right next to the Cathedral and has a mix of high end shops and restaurants. It is well worth a visit for the beautiful ceilings and patterns.

milan-italy-shoppingNavigli District Canals

Great place to go at night full of people in bars and restaurants. The Italians have an apertivo also known as happy hour. This is pre drinner drinking, with the purchase of a drink you get to have some nibbles from a buffet. I think this is an amazing idea and Milan is a great place to have an Aperol spritz and enjoy the view of the canal.

milan-canals

Accomodation

Ostello Bello Medici Hostel 

This is one the of best hostels I’ve ever stayed in. I arrived at night around 10pm and was pretty hungry and feeling tired from travelling. The receptionist was super friendly asked me if I was hungry and bought me a bowl of pasta and some wine. I had such a friendly welcome and this hostel has such a great atmosphere.

ostello-bello-milan

Ostello Bello photo from Hostelworld

Hostel info

  • Free breakfast and dinner! Breakfast consists of cereals, toast, eggs, juice and tea. Dinner is a buffet style with bread, salad and pasta
  • Free welcome drink on arrival
  • Bar downstairs
  • Good for solo travellers as people are friendly and the dining area is a good place to meet people at dinner or after for drinks
  • Guitar and piano for guests to use also had bands and enterainment in evenings
  • Free wifi
  • 24hr reception
  • Open air terrace with hammocks
  • Free towels – always useful as a backpacker
  • Good location near shops

pjimage

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Europe Food Switzerland Travel Weekend Away

Weekend in Zurich, Switzerland

September 11, 2016

what-to-do-in-zurich-switzerland

I first visited Zurich a few years ago and immediately fell in love with this city so I decided to go back on my backpacking trip around Europe. Here are some things to do in Zurich.

Grossmünster church

For 4 Swiss Francs you can climb to the top of Grossmünster church there are quite a lot of steps and its a tight squeeze if people are going up the stairs as you come down them. Its well worth the climb once you reach the top and see the amazing views of the city.

zurich-view

zurich-roses

Lindenhof Platz

Free viewing platform offering views of the lake and old town, such a beautiful view especially in summer.

zurich-viewpoint

Where to eat

Hitl Restaurant

This is the oldest vegetarian restaurant in the world. The food is amazing! They have a buffet filled with salad, falafel, cheese, pasta, curry and many other things. You fill up a bowl of what you want and pay by weight. They also have other meals, snacks and puddings you can order.

Cafe Schober

I decided to come here after reading great reviews on Tripadvisor. I wanted to get a hot chocolate but it was such a hot sunny day when I visited I got an iced vanilla frappe which was good. Its quite expensive here but then so are a lot of places in Zurich.

Where to stay

Switzerland is an expensive place for backpackers. I stayed in Langstars hostel and prices  start from £30 a night.

Hostel information

  • Free drink in bar
  • 15 minutes walk from station
  • Good for solo travellers as people are sociable
  • Based in international area and can be quite noisy outside at night

Where to go next

I used flixbus to travel to Milan, the journey had amazing views of Switzerland’s mountains, lakes and cute countryside houses.

zurich-collage

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