13 Things To Do in Skopje, Macedonia

13 Things to Do in Skopje, Macedonia

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.)

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Christmas in Zagreb, Croatia Celebrating Advent

Christmas in Zagreb, Croatia: Celebrating Advent

As the crisp air brightens my cheeks and little puffs of breath escape from my mouth, I inhale the scent of sizzling meat being cooked to perfection. The tantalizing aroma drifts on a light breeze from cheerfully decorated wooden huts and I wonder how many minutes will pass by until we succumb to buying a sausage. Festive lights hang in a canopy over the street, casting a warm glow onto the revelers swaying to the music as they peruse the wares for sale. Although I feel foolish, I can’t wipe the giddy grin from my face. Advent has begun – and there is nothing quite like a European Christmas market to usher in the holiday spirit. With a steaming cup of spiced, mulled wine in one hand and my other tucked into the crook of Kris’s arm, we navigate our way through the merriment as we celebrate the beginning of Christmas in Zagreb, Croatia.

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A guide to Visiting Prishtina, Kosovo

A Guide to Visiting Prishtina, Kosovo

Prishtina, Kosovo (also Prishtinë and Priština) is not a city included on most travelers’ itineraries. It doesn’t rank as a top destination in Europe, Eastern Europe or even the Balkans, for that matter. It held the honor of being the ‘World’s Newest Capital City’ from 2008 to 2011, but even that title was scoffed at by the nations that don’t recognize Kosovo as a country. As Prishtina – population 205,000 – evolves into its new role, there are obvious growing pains. However, propelled by our fascination of former Yugoslavia, we were intent on visiting Prishtina, Kosovo to see the city for ourselves.

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15-Day London, Paris, Rome Itinerary by JetSetting Fools

15-Day London, Paris, Rome Itinerary

When my mom and sister revealed their zealous plans for their 15-day London, Paris, Rome Itinerary, I was skeptical that they would be able to pull it off. Unlike me, who wants to travel to eternity, Dianne and Tracy approached their trip as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to visit the cities. It would be Tracy’s (my sister) first trip to Europe and Dianne’s (my mom) second trip (although, it would be her first time to London and Rome). They packed their 15-Day London, Paris, Rome Itinerary to the brim…and then heaped on a bit more for good measure.

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3-Day Itinerary of Sightseeing in Rome JetSettingFools.com

3-Day Itinerary of Sightseeing in Rome

When we made plans to go to Rome, the purpose wasn’t to take in the sights or to immerse ourselves into the culture. We were going for one reason: to meet my mom and sister. It wasn’t our first time in Rome, but it was for them. Their trip was a two week introduction to the Big Three: London, Paris and Rome; we were joining them for the last leg. Like most first-timers to a city, they wanted to see the sights and had plotted a 3-day itinerary of sightseeing in Rome.

It’s been a long time since I’ve participated in a mad dash of tourist sights, but I wanted to experience the city with my family, so I jumped on board with their schedule; Kris was more content to wander on his own. Our days started fairly early – earlier than our typical days, anyway – and ended long past dark. With the tour guide book in one hand and a camera in the other, we determinedly routed our way through an ambitious 3-day itinerary of sightseeing in Rome.

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One Day in Pula, Croatia: 8 historic sights to see

One Day in Pula, Croatia: 8 historic sights to see

Pula, Croatia is located near the southern tip of the Istrian Peninsula and is more industrial than other places in Istria. The large cranes in the shipyard, which can be seen on the approach by bus from Rovinj, certify that Pula is a ‘real’ working town, but the preserved historical and architectural features are what prompted our visit to Pula. There are many sights that can be seen with one day in Pula, Croatia, but we were most looking forward to seeing the 1st century amphitheater. Since we were already making the 40-minute trip down, we also added 7 more sights to see on a walking tour through the city center.

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Year-long, Round the World Budget: In Mostar, we ate out more often, as our accommodations and food were so inexpensive!

Round the World Budget: Daily cost for a year of travel

After 386 days of traveling around the world, we’re closing the books on this adventure. During our one year and three week journey, we budgeted $100 (on average) per day and kept track of every cent spent. We’ve tallied the cost of every bed we slept in, every meal we ate, every glass of wine we consumed, every bus we took and every admission fee we paid – and {dramatic pause} we came in well under budget, averaging just $89 a day! Below is a breakdown of our year-long, round the world budget, by category, with a brief recap of the last 110 days.

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Things To Do in Budapest on a Budget JetSettingFools.com

Things to do in Budapest on a budget

Budapest, as a city, is an extremely affordable destination. However, as we started our research into what to see and do, we quickly realized how easily we could bust our budget. Almost every tourist attraction charges an entry fee – some upwards of nearly $20 USD. We set our budget at $75 total per day for our 11 day stay, so we had to get a little creative to discover things to do in Budapest on a budget.

The first thing we had to do was cross off a few of the pricy activities. Paying $18 each to tour the Parliament Building just didn’t fit into our budget. We also eliminated entrance into Matthias Church ($4.50) and the Great Synagogue ($9) – and, since we’re not museum people, we crossed all of those off our list, too. Once we whittled it down to what we actually wanted to see and do, we researched affordable alternatives to the mainstream tourist offerings.

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Spa Day and an Opera in Budapest: Opera House from outisde

Affordable experiences in Budapest: Spa, Opera, Dinner

Budapest is a big city. It is full of iconic sights, bridges and interesting neighborhoods – and a lot of walking in between. There are a plethora of cafes to get us going in the morning and bars that keep us out late at night. After spending a week in Budapest sightseeing from Castle Hill to Gellert Hill to City Park, we needed a day of relaxation – and, go figure, Budapest has that, too. We planned a day full of affordable experiences in Budapest that included a trip to one of Budapest’s thermal baths, a night out at the Opera, an evening stroll along the Danube River, dinner with a view of the shimmering Parliament Building and a night cap with the locals.

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Iconic Budapest sights: Our fist look at Parliment

4 Iconic Budapest sights

When we think of Budapest, what comes to mind are images of the massive parliament building, the towering cathedral, and Chain Bridge that spans the Danube River and connects Buda to Pest. Even though we have 11 days to discover the city, our first mission was to see these four iconic Budapest sights.

Iconic Budapest Sights: Parliament

As we rounded the corner into Kossuth Square and got our first glimpse of Parliament, I literally stopped in my tracks. The colossal building was much larger than I anticipated it being. It stretches 879 feet along the bank of the Danube River. Built from 1885 to 1904, it was inaugurated in 1896 for the country’s 1000th year celebration. The Gothic design features spires, statues, arches and a dome that soars 96 meters, in honor of the country’s birth date, 896.

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