Croatia’s Istrian Peninsula dangles off the northwest corner of the country into the Adriatic Sea. Like much of Croatia, the coastline in Istria is the big attraction. Seaside towns steeped in history line the western shore, each exuding unique character. However, the interior of the Istrian Peninsula is equally picturesque and has a storied past of its own. Medieval hilltop towns and regional delicacies are as much a reason to visit Istria as the translucent waters of the sea. Although we opted to base ourselves on the coast during our stay, we planned a one-day tour of Istria that included both the coast and the interior so that we could experience the must-see highlights of Croatia’s Istrian Peninsula.
The historic city of Kotor, Montenegro is tucked into the southern end of the Bay of Kotor under towering, majestic mountain peaks. Walking through the gates of the thick defensive walls that extend to the hill-topping fortress feels a bit like walking back in time. The originations of the seaside city can be traced to Ancient Roman times, but throughout the centuries, the city was conquered by various rulers. Today, visitors to the city will find many things to do in Kotor, Montenegro – and we’ve compiled a list of our top six to help tourists experience the best of the city and region.
Fresh air. Clear water. Green forests. Towering mountains. Wide pastures. Deep gorges. Flourishing nature. Lake Bohinj is uncomplicated and raw; she’s the girl next door that doesn’t have to dress up or put on make up in order to attract attention. Lake Bohinj is a postcard-picture scene, naturally designed in hues of unbelievable blues and shades of intense green. Cradled in the Julian Alps, the glacial lake is watched over by the mountain peaks that rise around it and is protected within the boundaries of Triglav National Park.
My desire to visit Vietnam was ignited the first time I glimpsed a photograph of Halong Bay. It countered the image of Vietnam I had conjured in my head; the one where chaotic streets are overcrowded with motorbikes and stifled with pollution. The picture of Halong Bay showed a different scene entirely – one of tree-covered karst mountains rising from an azure sea. I was intent on traveling to Vietnam just to see Halong Bay with my own eyes. I didn’t know it then, but my expectations would be surpassed when we actually experienced the UNESCO World Heritage site on a 2-night Halong Bay cruise.
In a dimly lit room, the wooden floor creaks and a fire crackles in the corner fireplace as a business-mannered bartender fills dimpled glass mugs with tepid cask ale. This is the scene in a typical London pub – and could accurately describe any one of the thousands of pubs in the city (yes, thousands). Classic pubs are a staple in London; a throwback to a bygone era that remains oddly fashionable in the present-day metropolis. (Read about our Classic Pub Crawl along the River Thames.) However, there is an alternative beer scene brewing in London: small craft breweries are opening throughout the city for microbrew consumption. Differentiating themselves from characteristic London pubs, the small batch breweries are often informal and industrial. Determined to get a good taste of the burgeoning scene, we joined hipsters and beer lovers for a self-guided London Craft Beer Crawl on the Bermondsey Beer Mile.
London is one of the most visited cities in the world – and it’s easy to understand why. The city is both historic and modern, it is home to royalty and celebrities and it’s packed with iconic sights, museums, palaces and parks. Unfortunately, the high price of sightseeing in London can quickly add up – with some entrance fees costing upwards of $30 USD per person. Budget travelers might fear a visit to London will break the bank, but we haven’t found that to be the case. In our 3-Day London Itinerary on a Budget, we focus on seeing the sights in London via self-guided walking tours and taking advantage of the many free attractions the city has on offer.
The autumn sun was already setting over the lake as we made our way down the narrow, one-lane cobblestone street to our apartment; the soft light cast a warm glow over the town. The paper-wrapped, grilled fish that I carried in my hand was growing lukewarm, but I wasn’t all that fussed. Slightly buzzed from the potent combination of Turkish coffee and homemade rakia, I was feeling rather bemused by the random events of the day. It was not how we had anticipated spending our last day at Lake Ohrid, Macedonia – but it turned out to be exponentially better than we could have ever planned.
Interesting. Zany. Nonsensical. Inspiring. Weird. Wacky. Before visiting Skopje, Macedonia, these were some of the adjectives we had heard used to describe the capital city. After visiting Skopje, Macedonia, we completely agree…with all of them. Regardless of opinions, we can certainly attest to there being no shortage of things to do in Skopje.
During our visit to Skopje, Macedonia in November of 2016, the city was in the process of a massive renovation. The complete overhaul is part of the lingering – and costly – Skopje 2014 Project; this government plan aims to reinvent the city with a classical appearance in order to boost nationalism and attract tourists. Only about half of the residents support the project, which has a price tag of more than $700 million USD – a pretty penny for one of Europe’s poorest countries. (Even some of those who agree with the facelift are not content with the project, as many accuse the government of being corrupt and wasteful.)
Croatia’s calling. Croatia keeps calling. In nearly three years of full-time travel, we’ve followed a path that has led us back to Croatia five times. We’ve swam in the sea along the Dalmatian Coast, sampled culinary treasures in Istria, gazed at the waterfalls of Plitvice Lakes, felt the buzz of urban city life in Zagreb and ventured into the less-visited terrain of Osijek-Baranja in the Slavonia region.
We’ve seen more of Croatia than most tourists, yet we continue to be lured back to the country by the diverse and picturesque landscapes we have yet to discover and the warm and welcoming people we know we’ll meet there. In 2017, we’ve zeroed in on three cities in Croatia to visit: Stari Grad, Makarska and Ston.
Packed with iconic sights, an incredible history and a lively nightlife, Budapest, Hungary certainly knows how to entertain its guests! Whether you’re a nature lover or admirer of architecture, there to marvel at monuments or partying the night away, on a low budget or seeking a luxury escape, you can find what suits your style in Budapest. We think the city is worthy of more than just three days, but our Budapest 3-Day Itinerary is designed for the visitor who is short on time, but wants to maximize Budapest sightseeing and experiences.