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    56 European cities by price: Europe Backpacker Index for 2017

    56 European cities by price: Europe Backpacker Index for 2017

    By Roger Wade

    Europe continues to be home to many of the world's most expensive cities, as well as some bargain cities where many things cost only about a quarter as much for an international traveler. Now in its 7th annual edition for 2017, the Europe Backpacker Index ranks 56 of the continent's most popular cities from cheapest to most expensive.

    Thanks to a stagnant economy and virtually no inflation (except for a few countries), prices for visitors in Europe held very steadily throughout 2016. Iceland keeps getting more expensive, partly due to its soaring popularity. And Britain is now a relative bargain after the post-Brexit currency weakness. That probably won't last too long, so don't put off your next London visit.

    For tourists holding US Dollars, Europe continues to be unusually cheap. Those who track exchange rates over the years will know that they tend to swing back and forth. In other words, in a few years, it's very likely that Europe will feel much more expensive for Americans than it does in 2017.

    How the Backpacker Index works

    Prices for most things (hostels, transportation, attractions) are fixed and certain, but prices for a “budget lunch” or a pint of beer can vary depending on where you go. Still, our estimates are based on a lot of research and should be very close if not right on.

    Costs for each city

    • One night in the cheapest bunk at the least expensive hostel with a good location and good reviews
    • Two public transportation rides per day
    • One paid/famous attraction per day (Every city is loaded with free things to do for budget-conscious travelers, but here we take the average cost of a major attraction in each city for each day.)
    • Three “budget” meals per day (We took our minimum meal price and added 20% to make it more realistic for a longer trip).
    • Three cheap, local beers (or wine) each day as an “entertainment fund.” Non-drinkers might have dessert and coffee or attend a local music performance instead, so this is a general benchmark that should be proportional to each city.

    Europe Backpacker Index for 2017

    From cheapest to most expensive

    1Sofia, Bulgaria (cheapest)

    Sofia remains a fantastic bargain among European capitals, with a very pleasant city center that is quite welcoming of foreign tourists. Prices of nearly everything are very cheap, except for inbound flights from other major cities. For this reason, Sofia is out of the way for anyone who isn't doing an extensive tour of the region. Don't expect any major checklist attractions, but you can expect a surprisingly lovely urban experience at shockingly reasonable prices.

    • Currency: Bulgaria Leva
    • Best cheap hostel: Hostel Mostel – 11.45 (includes breakfast)
    • Transportation: 2.00
    • Meals: 16.80
    • Drinks/Entertainment: 7.50
    • Attractions: 6.00
    • Daily Backpacker Index: BGN43.75 = US$24.04/day

    Sofia prices and weather


    2Krakow, Poland

    Krakow continues yet again as Europe's best travel bargain. The low prices have drawn in larger numbers of Europeans for weekend breaks, and there are many great and cheap hostels, bars, and restaurants to keep prices low while you are enjoying the beautiful old city and the local culture. Put this one on your list before demand forces prices up like in Prague and Budapest.

    • Currency: Polish Zlotych
    • Best cheap hostel: One World Hostel – 34.15/night
    • Transportation: 5.60
    • Meals: 24.00
    • Drinks/Entertainment: 24.00
    • Attractions: 16.00
    • Daily Backpacker Index: PLN103.75 = US$24.82/day
    Krakow prices and weather

    3Bucharest, Romania

    Definitely not Romania's most charming town, Bucharest's Old Town gets decent reviews but the rest of the city struggles to appeal to tourists. Fortunately, those that make the effort to come will at least be rewarded with low prices all around, which certainly help make up for the other frustrations of visiting. And that huge parliament building is worth a look. Hostels seem to be getting cheaper lately, so it's even more appealing for the backpacker set.

    • Currency: Romanian leu
    • Best cheap hostel: X Hostel Bucharest = 31.12/night
    • Transportation: 5.00
    • Meals: 45.60
    • Drinks/Entertainment: 15.00
    • Attractions: 12.00
    • Daily Backpacker Index: RON108.72 – US$25.70/day

    Bucharest prices and weather


    4Belgrade, Serbia

    Belgrade is one of the Balkan cities that had years of trouble in the 1990s and still struggles a bit to attract tourism. This is another where you won't find an abundance of checklist attractions, but you will find a lively and interesting urban center with good nightlife and appealing prices.

    • Currency: Serbian Dinar (prices below are in euros)
    • Best cheap hostel: Downtown Hostel Belgrade – 6.00/night
    • Transportation: 1.50
    • Meals: 9.60
    • Drinks/Entertainment: 4.50
    • Attractions: 3.00
    • Daily Backpacker Index: €24.60 = US$26.17/day

    Belgrade prices and weather


    5Budapest, Hungary

    Another excellent travel bargain, Budapest is all-around cheap as long as you steer clear of the most touristy places along the river. The castles and cathedrals are enough, but here you also get thermal spas that are cheap even for the backpacking set. Hostels, in particular, are a great value, but you have to get a bit out of the center to find inexpensive hotels.

    • Currency: Hungary Forint
    • Best cheap hostel: Treestyle Hostel – 1547/night
    • Transportation: 700
    • Meals: 3120
    • Drinks/Entertainment: 1050
    • Attractions: 1500
    • Daily Backpacker Index: HUF7,917 = US$26.75/day

    Budapest prices and weather


    6Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina

    Another Balkan-area city whose name conjures up images of its past troubles, Sarajevo is a destination that is struggling to attract tourists. The location deep into the mountains is remote, but it's also gorgeous once you arrive. The Muslim Old Town next to the modern center is very interesting and incredibly welcoming. This one is a hidden gem, partly because it's so hard to reach. If you can figure out a way to get here, do it and see what the fuss is about.

    • Currency: Converted Mark (fixed, so prices below are in euros)
    • Best cheap hostel: Hostel Ljubicica – 5.84/night
    • Transportation: 3.60
    • Meals: 9.60
    • Drinks/Entertainment: 3.75
    • Attractions: 4.00
    • Daily Backpacker Index: €26.79 = US$28.50/day

    Sarajevo prices and weather


    7Kiev, Ukraine

    KievNewKiev has always been fairly cheap (and very remote) compared to the rest of Europe, but the conflict and uncertainty that Ukraine has gone through starting in 2014 caused its currency to plunge and inflation to skyrocket. It's hard to say what prices may be at any given moment in 2017, but at least it should continue to be cheap for outsiders. Hopefully, the situation on the ground will feel more secure soon as well.

    • Currency: Ukraine Hryvnia
    • Best cheap hostel: Hostel Elements – 191/night
    • Transportation: 8.00
    • Meals: 354.00
    • Drinks/Entertainment: 180.00
    • Attractions: 15.00
    • Daily Backpacker Index: UHR748.00 = US$29.18/day

    Kiev prices and weather


    8Český Krumlov, Czech Republic

    CeskyKrumlovThe second most popular tourist town in the Czech Republic is another jewel not to be missed if you are nearby. Framed by a gorgeous serpentine river, the historic Old Town feels perfectly preserved yet not overly touristy. Best of all, Český Krumlov seems shockingly cheap when you are there, with hotels, food, and drinks at very low prices even in the heart of town. This place is a huge hit for Asian tourists, for some reason, though it's highly recommended for everybody.

    • Currency: Czech krona
    • Best cheap hostel: Travel Hostel – 247/night
    • Transportation: 48
    • Meals: 288
    • Drinks/Entertainment: 90
    • Attractions: 100
    • Daily Backpacker Index: CZK773 = US$30.34/day

    Český Krumlov prices and weather


    9Warsaw, Poland

    While Krakow gets most of the raves in Poland, the capital city also has plenty to brag about in addition to very reasonable prices. The Old Town center was famously rebuilt after WWII to resemble its former self, and it's as charming as it is impressive. Warsaw is a bit out of the way for most travelers, but it's very worthwhile for those touring the area.

    • Currency: Polish Zlotych
    • Best cheap hostel: Chillout Hostel – 38.06/night
    • Transportation: 6.80
    • Meals: 39.60
    • Drinks/Entertainment: 24.00
    • Attractions: 23.00
    • Daily Backpacker Index: PLN131.46 = US$31.45/day

    Warsaw prices and weather


    10Zagreb, Croatia

    The beach resort towns of Croatia are the main attraction, so Zagreb, which is well inland, tends to be only a shortstop for most. Still fairly cheap by European standards, and especially compared to Italy next door, Zagreb is a bargain and a worthwhile pause on the way to one of the beach towns or nearby Plitvice National Park.

    • Currency: Croatian Kuna
    • Best cheap hostel: Hostel Temza – 60.80/night
    • Transportation: 20
    • Meals: 84
    • Drinks/Entertainment: 36
    • Attractions: 30
    • Daily Backpacker Index: HRK230.80 = US$32.69/day

    Zagreb prices and weather


    11Riga, Latvia

    It's surprising to see a city so far north also so high on the cheap-cities list, but it turns out that Riga is quite a bargain for the backpacking set. Hostel beds, in particular, are very affordable, and so is pretty much everything else. Riga's main problem is that it's a bit out of the way for those not on an extensive tour. Even for a weekend break, Riga is worth a look, especially for the nightlife crowd.

    • Currency: Euro
    • Best cheap hostel: Central Hostel Riga – 8.00/night
    • Transportation: 2.30
    • Meals: 12.00
    • Drinks/Entertainment: 6.00
    • Attractions: 3.00
    • Daily Backpacker Index: €31.30 = US$33.30/day

    Riga prices and weather


    12Bratislava, Slovakia

    You'd think that practically being walking distance from Vienna would make Bratislava a very popular stop for those on a Europe tour, but so far it's still mostly forgotten. It's cheaper than Prague and much cheaper than Vienna, so perhaps it will start catching on more in the coming years. A lack of famous attractions doesn't help, though the pleasant and historic town center is worth a day or two.

    • Currency: Euro
    • Best cheap hostel: A Wild Elephant’s Hostel – 8.00/night
    • Transportation: 1.40
    • Meals: 12.00
    • Drinks/Entertainment: 6.00
    • Attractions: 4.00
    • Daily Backpacker Index: €31.40 = US$33.40/day

    Bratislava prices and weather


    13Vilnius, Lithuania

    VilniusUnlike nearby Riga and Tallinn, the city of Vilnius does not have a cruise port and it's well inland. For this reason, it feels far less touristy than the other two, and the Old Town is gorgeous. This is another Baltic capital that is surprisingly cheap in many ways, so it's a worthwhile stop between Latvia and Poland. The (hard to find) Frank Zappa statue is one of the more famous quirky attractions here.

    • Currency: Euro
    • Best cheap hostel: Downtown Forest Hostel & Camping – 8.00/night
    • Transportation: 2.00
    • Meals: 13.20
    • Drinks/Entertainment: 6.00
    • Attractions: 3.00
    • Daily Backpacker Index: €32.20 = US$34.26/day

    Vilnius prices and weather


    14Istanbul, Turkey

    The classic east-meets-west city had been creeping up in price, but the decline of the Turkish Lira lately has made it a bargain again. There's no shortage of markets, mosques, and attractions for even a longer stay, and everywhere else in Turkey is cheaper. Accommodation is more expensive than you might expect. Check our list of recommended cheap Istanbul hotels for bargains in all price ranges.

    • Currency: Turkish lira
    • Best cheap hostel: İstiklal Hostel – 25.25/night
    • Transportation: 8.00
    • Meals: 31.20
    • Drinks/Entertainment: 24.00
    • Attractions: 30.00
    • Daily Backpacker Index: TRY118.45 = US$34.43/day

    Istanbul prices and weather


    15Prague, Czech Republic

    In the 1990s Prague was always used as an example of a city that is incredibly cheap yet still beautiful and historic, but that sort of chit-chat triggered the masses to flood in. Still, in spite of high-ish hotel prices, Prague is still quite cheap for those willing to stay in hostels and scout for bargain food and drinks. Plus, it's still gorgeous, if crowded. Choose from our recommended hotels in Prague list for excellent values at top-rated hotels.

    • Currency: Czech krona
    • Best cheap hostel: Czech Inn – 248/night
    • Transportation: 48
    • Meals: 372
    • Drinks/Entertainment: 105
    • Attractions: 250
    • Daily Backpacker Index: CZK1,023 = US$40.15/day

    Prague prices and weather


    16Split, Croatia

    SplitSplit is partly known for being the transportation hub along the Croatian coast, and the gateway to many nearby islands. But the Old City here is even older than Dubrovnik's and in many ways, it's just as impressive. Prices here are far cheaper than those in Dubrovnik, so it's a much better stop for most people, as it also feels far less touristy than the walled city to its south. If you visit Split first you will wonder why there is such a fuss over Dubrovnik.

    • Currency: Croatian Kuna
    • Best cheap hostel: CroParadise Green Hostel – 93/night
    • Transportation: 18
    • Meals: 100.80
    • Drinks/Entertainment: 42
    • Attractions: 40
    • Daily Backpacker Index: 293.80 = US$41.61/day

    Split prices and weather


    17Saint Petersburg, Russia

    Not unlike Kiev, the Russian currency plunged starting in 2014 and into 2015, and inflation ate up most of those savings. Far more tourist-friendly than Moscow, Saint Petersburg is also cheaper and arguably more interesting. Most things are very affordable, and the city would seem even cheaper if its incredible Hermitage Museum/Winter Palace didn't (justifiably) cost so much. Hotels and tourist restaurants aren't so cheap, however. Prices here could drift up or down as 2017 goes on.

    • Currency: Russian Ruble
    • Best cheap hostel: Plosaty Hostel – 347/night
    • Transportation: 70
    • Meals: 1,236
    • Drinks/Entertainment: 600
    • Attractions: 400
    • Daily Backpacker Index: RUB2,653 = US$41.93/day

    Saint Petersburg prices and weather


    18Santorini, Greece

    SantoriniArguably Greece's most popular holiday island, Santorini is here mainly as a placeholder for all of them. There are a few sights and cultural attractions but most people (Europeans) come to just relax in the sun during the day and drink into the night. If you stay in hostels or basic hotels and eat in places without sea views, these Greek islands all tend to be quite affordable.

    • Currency: Euro
    • Best cheap hostel: Youth Hostel Anna – 8/night
    • Transportation: 3.20
    • Meals: 15.60
    • Drinks/Entertainment: 10.50
    • Attractions: 3.00
    • Daily Backpacker Index: €40.30 = US$42.87/day

    Santorini prices and weather


    19Ljubljana, Slovenia

    LjubljanaSlovenia is mostly known for its natural sights such as Lake Bled or the Karst plateaus, but its capital is definitely worth a look as well. Ljubljana is a charming and laid-back city with a peaceful Old Town and very appealing prices for visitors. This is the kind of place you'll think about moving to when you see it, so it's a very nice place to chill out for a few days on longer trips around Europe.

    • Currency: Euro
    • Best cheap hostel: Aladin Hostel – 12/night
    • Transportation: 2.40
    • Meals: 16.20
    • Drinks/Entertainment: 6
    • Attractions: 5
    • Daily Backpacker Index: €41.60 = US$44.26/day

    Ljubljana prices and weather


    20Tallinn, Estonia

    Tallinn is cheap by most European standards, but it's the most expensive city in the Baltic area because it's a popular getaway for the Finns just a 2-hour ferry ride away. Frequent ferries from Helsinki are loaded with the party crowd and those looking to stock up on bulk alcohol for the return trip. Still, it's a fun place with a lovely Old Town.

    • Currency: euro
    • Best cheap hostel: Old Town Alur Hostel – 11.00/night
    • Transportation: 2.00
    • Meals: 14.40/li>
    • Drinks/Entertainment: 9.00
    • Attractions: 6.00
    • Daily Backpacker Index: €42.40 = US$45.11/day

    Tallinn prices and weather


    21Tenerife, Spain

    The Canary Islands (off the northwest coast of Africa) are a popular warm-weather retreat for many Europeans all year, and Tenerife is the largest and most popular island with English speakers. Prices tend to be similar to or a bit lower than mainland Spain, which makes it a relative bargain for most Europeans who are just a cheap flight away. Not many cultural attractions to be found, so it's mainly a place to relax. The beaches in the southwest of the island are the most popular with English speakers.

    • Currency: Euro
    • Best cheap hostel: Los Amigos Backpackers Hostel – 13/night
    • Transportation: 2.70
    • Meals: 14.40
    • Drinks/Entertainment: 7.50
    • Attractions: 5.00
    • Daily Backpacker Index: €42.60 = US$45.32/day

    Tenerife prices and weather


    22Athens, Greece

    The Greek capital was once one of Europe's great bargain cities, and it has become reasonable again after the political instability in recent years. The infrastructure created for the Olympics has actually turned Athens into a modern and easy-to-visit place, and the Acropolis and other attractions continue to amaze, so it still seems like a good deal for the moment and may get even cheaper. Political protests have kept some people away, which has helped keep hotel and hostel prices affordable.

    • Currency: euro
    • Best cheap hostel: Hostel Zeus – 8/night
    • Transportation: 2.80
    • Meals: 19.20
    • Drinks/Entertainment: 7.50
    • Attractions: 8.00
    • Daily Backpacker Index: €45.50 = US$48.40/day

    Athens prices and weather


    23Lisbon, Portugal

    Its out-of-the-way location seems to keep tourism well below the levels that the city otherwise deserves, but those who go to the trouble to reach Lisbon will find an extremely handsome and charming city that is a great bargain as well. The city is particularly known for excellent and cheap hostels that are always in a race to outdo each other, with visitors being the ultimate winners. Lisbon is one of those destinations that many people avoid for a long time, and then after they visit they vow to return again and again.

    • Currency: euro
    • Best cheap hostel: Urban Garden Hostel – 10.50/night
    • Transportation: 2.80
    • Meals: 16.80
    • Drinks/Entertainment: 9.00
    • Attractions: 8.00
    • Daily Backpacker Index: €47.10 = US$50.11/day

    Lisbon prices and weather


    24Moscow, Russia

    Certainly one of the world's most important cities, Moscow continues also to be frustrating for many travelers, with relatively few hostels and traveler-friendly budget restaurants. The currency collapse brought prices down, although inflation has been bringing them back up again. Still, if you can get through the paperwork and find a cheap flight, it's a fairly cheap place for backpacker-types. Tourist hotels and restaurants can be quite expensive, so even though it's somewhat cheap for those willing to search for local deals, Moscow can be a drain for 3-star and above travelers.

    • Currency: Russian ruble
    • Best cheap hostel: Chillax Hostels 446/night
    • Transportation: 100
    • Meals: 1,416
    • Drinks/Entertainment: 900
    • Attractions: 400
    • Daily Backpacker Index: RUB3,262 = US$51.56/day

    Moscow prices and weather


    25Naples, Italy

    Italy's cheapest major city is a very good bargain for those willing to venture south of Rome. Affordable hostels and casual dining choices keep it cheaper than cities to the north, and it has a different atmosphere as well. Naples has almost no green space and a reputation for petty crime, which keeps many visitors away. If you want to see Naples on a day trip and also visit the Amalfi Coast, Pompeii, and the island of Capri, you are better off staying in the lovely town of Sorrento, which is only a bit more expensive.

    • Currency: euro
    • Best cheap hostel: La Controra Hostel Naples – 17/night
    • Transportation: 2.60
    • Meals: 15.60
    • Drinks/Entertainment: 6.00
    • Attractions: 9.00
    • Daily Backpacker Index: €50.20 = US$53.40/day

    Naples prices and weather


    26Madrid, Spain

    This classic European city definitely feels like a bargain compared to capitals to the north. There is great competition among its many hostels, and even private rooms in the city center are often cheap. Check out our cheap Madrid hotels list for well located and dependable bargains. Another money saver is the tapas culture, with cheap eats and cheap glasses of beer or wine as part of the nightly ritual.

    • Currency: euro
    • Best cheap hostel: Hostel Era – 13.90/night
    • Transportation: 3.00
    • Meals: 19.20
    • Drinks/Entertainment: 6.00
    • Attractions: 10.00
    • Daily Backpacker Index: €52.10 = US$55.43/day

    Madrid prices and weather


    27Valletta, Malta

    VallettaNearly hidden just a bit south of Sicily in the Mediterranean, Malta is a small island group with a pleasant climate and an improving tourist infrastructure. The tiny capital city of Valletta is a UNESCO World Heritage site on its own, and the rest of the islands offer a nice mix of historical sites and pleasant beaches. Nearly everyone speaks English, so it continues to be popular with Brits. Valletta is actually the historic Old Town and most visitors are better off just across the harbor in the district called Sliema.

    • Currency: Euro
    • Best cheap hostel: Corner Hostel Malta – 20/night
    • Transportation: 3
    • Meals: 15.60
    • Drinks/Entertainment: 7.50
    • Attractions: 6.00
    • Daily Backpacker Index: €54.10 = US$57.55/day

    Valletta prices and weather


    28Bruges, Belgium

    Bruges is a very good bargain for the backpacking set due to reasonably priced hostels and affordable attractions. In high season (summer) prices go up a bit, but still, Bruges is a fine choice to chill out for a few days or more, even though you can see the main sights in less time.

    • Currency: euro
    • Best cheap hostel: St. Christopher’s Inn – Bauhaus Hostel – 17.00/night
    • Transportation: 2.60
    • Meals: 20.40
    • Drinks/Entertainment: 10.50
    • Attractions: 6.00
    • Daily Backpacker Index: €56.50 = US$60.11/day
    Bruges prices and weather

    29Berlin, Germany

    Berlin is officially booming, and is now one of Europe's most-visited destinations. This city has endless things to see and do, along with an arts and entertainment scene that rivals anywhere in Europe. The museums and attractions are priced reasonably, and can be efficiently bundled with a Berlin Card. All that, plus the competition among its many hostels keeps things pleasantly cheap. Put it on your list and schedule a trip before things change much. See our recommended hotels in Berlin list for some very good rates at highly rated and well located hotels.

    • Currency: euro
    • Best cheap hostel: Amstel House Hostel – 13.92/night
    • Transportation: 5.40
    • Meals: 16.80
    • Drinks/Entertainment: 9.00
    • Attractions: 12.00
    • Daily Backpacker Index: €57.12 = US$60.77/day

    Berlin prices and weather


    30Hamburg, Germany

    This somewhat remote city is largely forgotten by most North American visitors, known best as where the Beatles honed their chops, but Hamburg is a lovely and classy city that is worth a stop if you are in the area. Germans, in general, like good value, so there are plenty of good budget sleeping and eating options for the backpacker types. Hotel prices here are heavily influenced by trade fairs and business travelers, so it can be cheap one week and very expensive the next.

    • Currency: euro
    • Best cheap hostel: Backpackers St. Pauli – 19/night
    • Transportation: 3.00
    • Meals: 18.00
    • Drinks/Entertainment: 9.00
    • Attractions: 10.00
    • Daily Backpacker Index: €59.00 = US$62.77/day

    Hamburg prices and weather


    31Nice, France

    As the largest city on the Côte d'Azur, Nice actually has a decent infrastructure for budget tourists, though things can get pretty crowded in summer and prices do shoot up. This is a great base for exploring Monaco and Cannes with a short train journey, but even in the city itself, there is plenty to do, and a pleasant beach if you don't mind rocks where the sand should be.

    Note: Drink prices here are for wine rather than beer, as it's much cheaper and better as well.

    • Currency: euro
    • Best cheap hostel: Hostel Baccarat – 20/night
    • Transportation: 3.00
    • Meals: 19.20
    • Drinks/Entertainment: 9.00
    • Attractions: 8.00
    • Daily Backpacker Index: €59.20 = US$62.98
      /day

    Nice prices and weather


    32Dublin, Ireland

    For a city that was once considered cheap, Dublin still feels weirdly expensive, especially in light of the larger financial struggles a few years back. Fortunately there are some good deals on hostels these days, so hopefully, other things (like €5+ for a pint of Guinness in even a dumpy bar!) will loosen up and make the city friendlier for backpackers and budget travelers. Speaking of Guinness, if you are going to do the Guinness Brewery and the popular distillery tour, then the Dublin Pass is a great deal.

    • Currency: euro
    • Best cheap hostel: Abbey Court – 13.50/night (including breakfast)
    • Transportation: 3.00
    • Meals: 19.20
    • Drinks/Entertainment: 15.00
    • Attractions: 10.00
    • Daily Backpacker Index: €60.70 = US$64.57/day

    Dublin prices and weather


    33Salzburg, Austria

    SalzburgA classic tourist city, Salzburg is at the base of the Alps and it has one of the most impressive Old Towns anywhere in Europe. As the birthplace of Mozart, Salzburg is a key hub for classical concerts and festivals, but for non-Europeans, barceit's even more famous as the setting of the Sound of Music. The bus tours dedicated to that movie are more fun and far more scenic than you might expect.

    • Currency: Euro
    • Best cheap hostel: YoHo international Youth Hostel – 15/night
    • Transportation: 5.00
    • Meals: 21.60
    • Drinks/Entertainment: 9
    • Attractions: 10
    • Daily Backpacker Index: €60.80 = US$64.68/day

    Salzburg prices and weather


    34Barcelona, Spain

    Barcelona and Madrid are very different in many important ways, but they are very similar in general prices so there's no reason not to visit both if you can. And this is another city where hostels tend to get expensive and crowded during summer but are quite cheap for most of the rest of the year. See our cheap and recommended Barcelona hotels list for some options that are well located and highly rated. If you have 2 or 3 days in town and want to see the main sights you should read our Barcelona Pass review as it might be helpful.

    • Currency: euro
    • Best cheap hostel: Fabrizzio’s Terrace Barcelona – 16.00/night
    • Transportation: 4.30
    • Meals: 19.20
    • Drinks/Entertainment: 9.00
    • Attractions: 13.00
    • Daily Backpacker Index: €61.50 = US$65.43/day

    Barcelona prices and weather


    35Florence, Italy

    A highlight of so many Italy tours, Florence is cheaper than Rome and Venice in most regards. Hostel competition is fierce and quality is mostly quite good, so this is a good hang-out for weary backpackers. And the food is excellent, if not particularly cheap. If you have extra days to spend in Italy on day trips then Florence is your best choice in the area. Pisa, the Cinque Terre, and many lovely Tuscan hill towns are within easy reach.

    • Currency: euro
    • Best cheap hostel: Tourist House Santa Croce – 21/night
    • Transportation: 2.40
    • Meals: 18.00
    • Drinks/Entertainment: 9.00
    • Attractions: 12.00
    • Daily Backpacker Index: €62.40 = US$66.38/day

    Florence prices and weather


    36Dubrovnik, Croatia

    Dubrovnik has one of the most amazing walled historic centers in the world, and it used to be considered a bargain compared to Italy. But now it's so popular with tourists and cruise passengers that it feels more than a bit pricey. If you are on the fence about visiting here, you are better off going to Split, which is similar, much cheaper, and easier to reach.

    • Currency: Croatian Kuna
    • Best cheap hostel: Hostel & Rooms Ana – Old Town – 119/night
    • Transportation: 24
    • Meals: 136.80
    • Drinks/Entertainment: 90.00
    • Attractions: 100.00
    • Daily Backpacker Index: HRK469.80 = US$66.54/day

    Dubrovnik prices and weather


    37Edinburgh, Scotland

    While it's certainly true that most things in Edinburgh are a bit cheaper than things in London, it's not exactly cheap for most budget travelers. Those who are satisfied with skipping the Edinburgh Castle and the Camera Obscura will find this city very reasonable, except during the Festival season. Speaking of that, check our Edinburgh cheap travel tips for the festival season, which can actually be helpful all year round.

    • Currency: British pound
    • Best cheap hostel: High Street Hostel – 12.08/night
    • Transportation: 3.20
    • Meals: 15.60
    • Drinks/Entertainment: 9.00
    • Attractions: 14.00
    • Daily Backpacker Index: £53.88 = US$67.35/day

    Edinburgh prices and weather


    38Munich, Germany

    MunichGermany's most pleasant city is only a bit more expensive than the others, so budget travelers can get by with few complications as long as they aren't going during Oktoberfest (when hotel and hostel prices triple). Prices of hostels do shoot up a bit during summer, but overall it's fairly easy to find bargains, and the city is so livable that it feels like good value.

    • Currency: euro
    • Best cheap hostel: Wombats City Hostel Munich – 22.36/night
    • Transportation: 5.20
    • Meals: 19.20
    • Drinks/Entertainment: 9.00
    • Attractions: 9.00
    • Daily Backpacker Index: €64.76 = US$68.89/day

    Munich prices and weather


    39Luxembourg City, Luxembourg

    This underrated and mostly forgotten city is definitely worth a stop if you are passing between Belgium and France. The location is stunning and the city's history is interesting, plus the food and drink culture is what you would expect for this part of Europe, meaning there are a lot of great choices.

    • Currency: euro
    • Best cheap hostel: Luxembourg City Hostel – 25.00/night (including breakfast)
    • Transportation: 4.00
    • Meals: 19.80
    • Drinks/Entertainment: 10.50
    • Attractions: 6.00
    • Daily Backpacker Index: €65.30 = US$69.47/day

    Luxembourg City prices and weather


    40Brussels, Belgium

    For the budget traveler, Brussels can be a bit difficult since the infrastructure is built mostly for business travelers and government employees. There aren't many hostel options, and cheap meals are a challenge in the city center area. Still, it's worth a look for the main square alone if you are heading to or from Bruges, which is much cheaper and listed above.

    • Currency: euro
    • Best cheap hostel: Brxxl 5 City Centre Hostel – 18/night
    • Transportation: 4.00
    • Meals: 21.60
    • Drinks/Entertainment: 12.00
    • Attractions: 10.00
    • Daily Backpacker Index: €65.60 = US$69.79/day

    Brussels prices and weather


    41Rome, Italy

    Regardless of costs, Rome is one of those cities that you've just got to visit anyway, so, fortunately, it's not as outrageously expensive as some lesser destinations a bit down the list. There are good budget options for most things, but hotels and hostels are more expensive than one might expect, and the main Rome attractions are justifiably expensive as well. Choose from our recommended Rome hostels and hotels for excellent bargains with great locations. The Rome and Vatican Card is a good way to see the main attractions and skip the very long queues here.

    • Currency: euro
    • Best cheap hostel: The Yellow – 23.10/night
    • Transportation: 3.00
    • Meals: 19.20
    • Drinks/Entertainment: 9.00
    • Attractions: 12.00
    • Daily Backpacker Index: €66.30 = US$70.73/day

    Rome prices and weather


    42Vienna, Austria

    Being one of Europe's grandest capitals, it's only slightly surprising that Vienna comes out as a relatively expensive city. Its location between so many other tourist cities makes it an easy one to stop off in for a few days, and while food is a bit expensive, there are some good-value hostels in the city to help make up for it. The Vienna Pass is a good way to save money while seeing the top attractions, but only if you are well organized.

    • Currency: euro
    • Best cheap hostel: Wombats City Hostel – at The Naschmarkt – 17.26/night
    • Transportation: 4.40
    • Meals: 20.40
    • Drinks/Entertainment: 10.50
    • Attractions: 14.00
    • Daily Backpacker Index: €66.56 = US$70.81/day

    Vienna prices and weather


    43Milan, Italy

    Milan's success in finance and fashion have helped make it one of Europe's most expensive cities to sleep in, although the hostels aren't as outrageous, so overall expenses are similar to most other Italian cities. Since it's on-the-way between so many other nearby cities, Milan is definitely worth a stop for a day or two if you can manage it, but don't feel bad if you skip it.

    • Currency: euro
    • Best cheap hostel: Koala Hostel – 26.40/night
    • Transportation: 4.00
    • Meals: 18.00
    • Drinks/Entertainment: 10.50
    • Attractions: 10.00
    • Daily Backpacker Index: €68.90 = US$73.30/day

    Milan prices and weather


    44Ibiza, Spain

    While it's not really considered a backpacking destination, Ibiza is popular enough with budget travelers to include here. Hotels can be quite cheap outside of July and August, which makes up for a lack of hostels. Entrance to the main nightclubs in Ibiza will cost a fortune, as will drinks once inside, but if you are content to hang out on the beach then this island can be affordable. Note that the hotel price here is for May, and in summer it will be considerably more. If these rankings were for July, Ibiza would be way down this list, so it's only really a bargain in the offseason.

    • Currency: Euro
    • Best cheap hostel: Hostal Residencia Adelino – 30.00/night
    • Transportation: 2.60
    • Meals: 18.00
    • Drinks/Entertainment: 9.00
    • Attractions: 10.00
    • Daily Backpacker Index: €69.60 = US$74.04/day

    Ibiza prices and weather


    45Paris, France

    Similar to Rome, it's just a good thing that Paris isn't any more expensive than it is because people are going to visit anyway. As long as you are willing to stay a bit outside the main tourist districts then Paris can be quite reasonable on the wallet, and the quality of food is exceptional nearly anywhere you go. The main attractions are actually fairly cheap compared to major sights in some other big cities, and you might save even more money with a Paris Pass. To get the best value have a look at our recommended Paris hostels and cheap hotels section.

    Note: Drink prices here are for wine rather than beer, as it's much cheaper and better as well.

    • Currency: euro
    • Best cheap hostel: Vintage Hostel Gare du Nord – 22.90/night
    • Transportation: 3.60
    • Meals: 20.40
    • Drinks/Entertainment: 12.00
    • Attractions: 12.00
    • Daily Backpacker Index: €70.90 = US$75.43/day
    Paris prices and weather

    46Helsinki, Finland

    Helsinki, like Stockholm and Oslo below, has a good economy, but along with it they have very high wages and taxes, and that makes things expensive for outsiders. Even hostels are quite expensive, and hotels are worse. As nice as it may be, if cities had prices reflecting their desirability, Helsinki would be much, much cheaper than it is.

    • Currency: euro
    • Best cheap hostel: CheapSleep Helsinki – 19.78/night
    • Transportation: 4.40
    • Meals: 22.80
    • Drinks/Entertainment: 18.00
    • Attractions: 7.00
    • Daily Backpacker Index: €72.58 = US$77.21/day

    Helsinki prices and weather


    47Amsterdam, Netherlands

    From a price standpoint, Amsterdam may be a victim of its own popularity. Even with scores of hostels throughout the city center, they are still able to get fairly high rates even during the shoulder season. Pick from our recommended Amsterdam hostels and cheap hotels for great value and locations. The famous attractions are on the expensive side, though good deals are always available on food and drinks if you know where to look. Budget travelers will have to book a place way outside the center in order to find a decent deal, and unfortunately, Amsterdam loses some of its charms if you have to commute in and out like that.

    • Currency: euro
    • Best cheap hostel: Flying Pig Uptown – 27.90/night
    • Transportation: 5.60
    • Meals: 15.60
    • Drinks/Entertainment: 12.00
    • Attractions: 15.00
    • Daily Backpacker Index: €76.10 = US$80.96/day

    Amsterdam prices and weather


    48Copenhagen, Denmark

    The Danish capital is one of the famously expensive Scandinavian cities, but its currency has also eased so it's a better bargain in 2017. Quality does tend to be quite high, and Copenhagen is arguably one of the prettiest cities in all of Europe, so the higher prices feel somewhat justified. Still, it's a tough place for the backpacker crowd, especially for those who drink.

    • Currency: Danish kroner
    • Best cheap hostel: Sleep in Heaven – 168.13/night
    • Transportation: 48
    • Meals: 168
    • Drinks/Entertainment: 120
    • Attractions: 80
    • Daily Backpacker Index: DKK584.13 = US$83.33/day

    Copenhagen prices and weather


    49Interlaken, Switzerland

    InterlakenThe big cities in Switzerland are awesomely expensive because everything is priced for business travelers and the like, so budget travelers are better off skipping them in favor of the small towns of Interlaken or Lucerne to get better views and lower prices. Interlaken itself feels a bit tired, so head straight up to Gimmelwald or one of the other mountain towns for the best experience.

    • Currency: Swiss Franc
    • Best cheap hostel: Happy Inn Lodge – 23.75/night
    • Transportation: 0 (local transport is free for overnight guests)
    • Meals: 38.40
    • Drinks/Entertainment: 15.00
    • Attractions: 10.00
    • Daily Backpacker Index: CHF87.15 = US$85.44/day

    Interlaken prices and weather


    50London, England

    London is famously pricey, but it's also a weird one for budget travelers since it actually has somewhat affordable hostels (at least outside of peak season), and all the major museums are actually free. However, pretty much everything else feels outrageously expensive, particularly the other attractions like the Tower of London and the London Eye. The post-Brexit currency slide has helped bring prices down, but it still ain't exactly cheap. Those wishing to save by bundling these top attractions should consider a London Pass. For cheap hotel and hostel, options see our recommended London hostel and hotels page. If this is your first visit you should also read our list of the best things to do in London, including current prices for all of them.

    • Currency: British pound
    • Best cheap hostel: Smart Russell Square Hostel – 16.10/night (including breakfast)
    • Transportation: 4.80
    • Meals: 21.00
    • Drinks/Entertainment: 12.00
    • Attractions: 15.00
    • Daily Backpacker Index: £68.90 = US$86.13/day

    London prices and weather


    51Stockholm, Sweden

    Backpackers who want to visit the homeland of most of their furniture have to go a long distance out of the way to reach Stockholm, and then face shocking prices once they arrive. This is another city where almost nothing is cheap no matter where you look. The long-promised ABBA Museum is now open and it's predictably expensive as well. This is a beautiful city that you will really enjoy for a few days, as long as you can afford it.

    • Currency: Swedish kronor
    • Best cheap hostel: Stanstulls Hostel – 207/night
    • Transportation: 72
    • Meals: 216
    • Drinks/Entertainment: 150
    • Attractions: 150
    • Daily Backpacker Index: SEK795 = US$87.08/day

    Stockholm prices and weather


    52Oslo, Norway

    As oil prices collapsed in late 2014, the Norwegian currency did as well. Now this gorgeous country is still pricey but not outrageous like it was a couple years ago when it was on par with Switzerland. Flights into Oslo can be quite cheap as well, although Bergen (below) is probably a better choice if you have to choose just one.

    • Currency: Norwegian kroner
    • Best cheap hostel: Anker Hostel – 258/night
    • Transportation: 60
    • Meals: 228
    • Drinks/Entertainment: 150
    • Attractions: 60
    • Daily Backpacker Index: NOK756 = US$69.68/day

    Oslo prices and weather


    53Bergen, Norway

    BergenEven with a lower Norwegian currency, Bergen is still very pricey compared to the rest of Europe. This is the gateway to the beautiful fjords of Norway, and the city itself is more interesting and easier to visit than Oslo. Actually, hotels here are very good quality and decent value. It's the food and drinks that feel so overpriced, and the few hostels feel weirdly expensive as well.

    • Currency: Norwegian kroner
    • Best cheap hostel: HI Montana Youth and Family Hostel – 228/night
    • Transportation: 62
    • Meals: 240
    • Drinks/Entertainment: 180
    • Attractions: 60
    • Daily Backpacker Index: NOK770 = US$91.34/day

    Bergen prices and weather


    54Venice, Italy

    No surprises to find Venice so far down the affordability list, but once again this is a city where it's all easily justifiable, and fortunately, you can see all the main sights in just two days and one night if you are tight on funds. Of course, most cheaper hotels are not even on the main island, but getting back and forth is cheap and easy. Check our cheap and recommended Venice hotels list for some great choices.

    • Currency: euro
    • Best cheap hostel: Ostello S. Fosca – 31.36/night
    • Transportation: 7.00
    • Meals: 26.40
    • Drinks/Entertainment: 12.00
    • Attractions: 12.00
    • Daily Backpacker Index: €88.76 = US$94.43/day

    Venice prices and weather


    55Reykjavik, Iceland

    After its currency collapsed in 2008, Iceland cost about half what it did previously for foreigners, but prices crept up and up, and it's again very expensive. Reykjavik isn't a particularly charming city, which is fine because the appeal of Iceland is the amazing scenery everywhere else. If you plan a trip to Iceland, don't linger in the capital longer than you have to. Accommodation and food on rest of the island are also fairly expensive, but the whole island is stunning and almost everything is free once you get there.

    • Currency: Iceland kronur
    • Best cheap hostel: Reykjavik Hostel Village – 2933/night
    • Transportation: 800
    • Meals: 3,720
    • Drinks/Entertainment: 2,100
    • Attractions: 1,500
    • Daily Backpacker Index: ISK11,053 = US$99.30/day

    Reykjavik prices and weather


    56Zurich, Switzerland

    Certainly no surprise here, especially considering that Zurich also came out on top on our survey of world taxi prices. Switzerland is a rich country and Zurich is its very-rich main city, so the hotel and restaurant scenes are dominated by business travelers and those on expense accounts. It's a nice enough place, but honestly, Bern is more interesting, and the highlights of the country are in the scenery rather than in the cities.

    • Currency: Swiss franc
    • Best cheap hostel: Youthhostel Zurich – 48.76/night
    • Transportation: 5.20
    • Meals: 37.20
    • Drinks/Entertainment: 21.00
    • Attractions: 15.00
    • Daily Backpacker Index: CHF127.16 = US$124.67/day

    Zurich prices and weather

     

    How to use this information

    As mentioned at the top, these prices are for a typical group of expenses for a backpacker, and you could even say these are “average prices” for each city, but definitely not “minimum prices.” Those who never drink, only eat two meals a day, and/or skip most museums or attractions can get by on much less. However, if your style of travel is more minimalistic than this, the order of these cities should still be more or less the same.

    Each city name is linked to a page that contains specific prices for many more things and is converted to US dollars or any other currency you wish on a daily basis.

     

    (source: priceoftravel.com)

    25 Travel things to ad to your bucket list.

    25 Travel things to ad to your bucket list.

    It's often said that traveling leaves you speechless, before turning you into a storyteller. I predict that if you manage to tick off all 25 things on this list you're going to have some pretty cool stories to talk about when you're older. In no particular order, here are Smaller Earth's 25 amazing things to do before you die. #BucketListGoals

    1. DIVE THE GREAT BARRIER REEF

    Dive the great barrier reef

    In North Eastern Australia you will find The Great Barrier Reef, visible from Outer Space this ocean masterpiece is the largest living thing on the planet. The Reef is a whopping 2,300km-long ecosystem. It comprises of thousands of reefs and islands, made up of hundreds of different coral types. This colorful ecosystem is home to thousands of different types of fish, sharks, shells, starfish, turtles, and dolphins. Grab a snorkel and a Go Pro and you'll capture some of the best footage this planet has to offer.

     

    2. ROADTRIP DOWN ROUTE 1 IN CALIFORNIA

    Roadtrip down route 1 in California

    Starting from one end to another this beautiful coast-hugging road will take you from San Francisco Bay down to San Diego. You will never see a blue as vivid as the Pacific Coast. As you wind down from San Francisco you will pass through Big Sur, Santa Barbara, Malibu, Los Angeles and Orange County before ending up in San Diego. You can camp at sites along the way, chill at the golden beaches, ride the ocean swell, and eat at the vibrant towns along the way. Hire a convertible, throw on some Beach Boys and make sure to take a camera. 

     

    3. CAPTURE THE NORTHERN LIGHTS

    CAPTURE THE NORTHERN LIGHTS Capture the northern lights

    The Northern Lights can be seen from many locations, but the further north you go the better the lights will be. More formally known as the aurora borealis these mysterious rays of light create an almost lava lamp like spectacle in the sky. It is the result of fast moving highly charged electrical particles created by the sun. It's fair to say the Northern Lights will dazzle you.

    Check out our latest Smaller Earth programme: Summer Camp Canada

     

    4. INTER-RAIL AROUND EUROPE

    INTER-RAIL AROUND EUROPE Inter-rail around Europe

    An inter-rail pass can ultimately tick off a handful of European countries in one trip. It gives you the opportunity to delve deep into different European cultures, visit historic cities and towns, discover some of the world's best landscapes, gateways, and trails. Whether it's two weeks, one month or longer, it's the ultimate summer trip for the first time gap year backpacker. 

     

    5. DISCOVER PETRA, JORDAN

    Discover Petra in Jordan

    Petra or "The Rose City" is an archaeological site found in the desert of Jordan. The entrance to Al Khazneh carved into the red mountain rock is 45m high and dates back to around 300BC, it's also a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the seven new wonders of the world. Petra was once a thriving trading city until it was abandoned and left in ruins for centuries. You might recognize it from the Indiana Jones film 'The Last Crusade'. 

     

    6. VISIT THE TAJ MAHAL

    Visit the Taj Mahal

    The Taj Mahal was commissioned in the 17th century by Shah Jahan, a Mughal emperor. It's located in Agra, India. The mausoleum took over 20 years to build, a world heritage site that is one of the most famed pieces of architecture in the world. A symbol of India built around Indian, Persian and Islamic influences. Around 3 million people visit this spectacular landmark every day. 

     

    7. EXPLORE ANGKOR THOM

    Explore the Angkor Thom

    Angkor Thom, located in Cambodia Asia, was the last city of the 12th century Khmer Empire. A city that represents one of humankind's most astonishing and enduring feats of architectural achievement. Most of the city has disappeared but these beautiful remains are one for the bucket list.

     

    8. VISIT LAKE LOUISE, BANFF

    Visit the Lake Louise, Banff

    Lake Louise is located in Banff National Park in Canada. The Park itself holds some of the best ski resorts, hiking trails and lakes in the world, but none of them are quite as famous as Lake Louise. Often described as 'The Diamond in the Wilderness'. It's surrounded by glaciers and waterfalls. If this is on your bucket list then bring an extra battery for your camera. 

     

    9. CATCH A SUNSET AT THE GRAND CANYON

    Catch a sunset at the Grand Canyon

    No travel list is complete without having The Grand Canyon on it. This rugged, beautiful natural formation of red rock stretches as far as the eye can see in almost every direction. The Grand Canyon National Park is more than just a pretty sunset though, you can go hiking, camping, spot rare wildlife and even go white water rafting at the Colorado River. 

     

    10. STAND BEFORE THE GREAT PYRAMID OF GIZA

    Stand before the Great Pyramid of Giza

    Ancient Egypt is one of the most fascinating and studied cultures of all time. A civilization that left us a legacy with The Great Pyramid of Giza. It is the oldest and most intact of the 7 Ancient Wonders of the World and a symbol of the great Egyptian architecture. The pyramid took over 20 years to build and to stand in its presence is awe-inspiring.

     

    11. HIKE THE GREAT INCE TRAIL TO MACHU PICCHU 

    Hike the great Ince trail to Machu Picchu

    For many travelers to Peru, a visit to the lost Incan city of Machu Picchu is the whole purpose of their trip. With its awe-inspiring location, it is the best-known and most spectacular archaeological site on the continent. Apart from a few indigenous Quechuas, nobody knew of Machu Picchu's existence until American Historian Hiram Bingham stumbled upon it in 1911.

     

    12. FALL IN LOVE WITH PARIS

    Fall in love with Paris

    "We'll always have Paris" France's capital is one of the most historic and beautiful European cities. The language, the food, the art, the culture, everything about Paris will leave you wanting more. From its quirky cafe's to its scenic landmarks Paris will find a place in your heart. 

     

    13. VISIT THE ISLE OF SKYE

    A trip to the Isle of Skye will give you landscapes and views to rival anywhere in the world. From its pure sandy shores to the picture-perfect waterfalls it's an island full of hidden treasures. 

     

    14. GET LOST IN VENICE

    Get lost in Venice

    Stunning architecture. Mysterious passageways. And of course, the canals. Venice is one of the most alluring cities in the world- the type of place where, as a visitor, you'll welcoming getting lost.

     

    15. GO ON AN AFRICAN SAFARI

    An African safari is surely high on the dream list of any wildlife enthusiast, intrepid traveler or adventure seeker. Safaris in Africa are unforgettable – and no two will ever be the same.

     

    16. WALK THE GREAT WALL OF CHINA

    Walk the Great Wall of China

    The Great Wall of China is one of the true wonders of the world. It winds up and down across deserts, grasslands, mountains, and rivers for around 13,170 miles. (so maybe don't walk all of it!) It's over 2000 years old and a famed tourist spot for its architectural grandeur and historical significance.

     

    17. VISIT THE THE NATIONAL KHAO SOK PARK, THAILAND 

    Many believe this lowland jungle (Thailand's rainiest spot) is over 160 million years old, one of the world's oldest rainforests. Dramatic limestone formations and waterfalls cascade through juicy thickets drenched with rain and morning dew.  Whether it's riding in the back of an open Tuk-Tuk, or racing across the waves in a longtail boat, a journey through Thailands islands always feels like a real adventure. Thailands beauty has no ends.

    You can visit this on our Best of Thailand Tour

     

    18. WALKTHROUGH ASHIKAGA FLOWER PARK, JAPAN

    WALKTHROUGH ASHIKAGA FLOWER PARK, JAPAN Walkthrough Ashikaga flower park, Japan

    Space travel to James Cameron's Pandora in "Avatar" would be pretty much ideal, but until that becomes possible, the Ashikaga Flower Park is the next best thing on the list.

     

    19. VISIT ROME

    They say all roads lead to Rome and it's easy to see why a city steeped in history and culture that paved its way through our history books. From the famous ancient Colosseum to the nearby Vatican City you are surrounded by beauty in Rome. 

     

    20. VISIT SANTORINI

    Visit Santorini

    Santorini may well have conquered a corner of your imagination before you’ve even set eyes on it. The main island of Thira will take your breath away with its snowdrift of white Cycladic houses lining the cliff tops. When the sun sets, the reflection on the buildings and the glow of the orange and red in the cliffs can be truly spectacular.

     

    21. SAIL AROUND HALONG BAY, VIETNAM

    Being recognized as Natural Wonder of the World by UNESCO, Halong Bay is one of the most beautiful destinations in Vietnam for travelers who love discovering nature. One of the best way to explore this wonder of the world is a cruise trip through rock islands, caves and spectacular beaches.

     

    22. HIKE TO THE WULINGYUAN SCENIC AREA

    With its towering sandstone pillars, dizzying stone bridges and mysterious caves, the Wulingyuan Scene Area is one of China's most aesthetic natural sites. 

     

    23. EXPLORE BAGAN: MYANMAR

    EXPLORE BAGAN: MYANMAR Explore Bagan, Myanmar

    Bagan (or Pagan) is an ancient city that was the capital of the first Burmese Empire. Bagan serves as home to temples and buildings built from the 11th century to the 13th century. There are more than 2000 pagodas and temples to be found that were built by ancient kings.

     

    24. STAND ON PREACHERS ROCK, NORWAY

    Stand on Preacher's Rock, Norway

    "The Pulpit Rock" is a square formation of rock resembling a pulpit, standing 604 meters above the Lysefjord. The hike takes about two hours and when you face the view on the top, you will immediately see why this remarkable rocky plateau receives well over 200.000 visitors every year.

     

    25. IGUAZU FALLS, ARGENTINA

    The exquisite Iguaza Falls is also known as the Iguassu Falls or Iguacu Falls. The magnificent spectacle of these 275 individual drops has awed tourist, locals and indigenous inhabitants for centuries.

     

    (source: smallerearth.com)

    How to calm a nervous dog in the car

    How to calm a nervous dog in the car

    It's important to be able to take your dog in the car without a lot of fuss. However, this can be a bit of a problem if your dog is nervous in cars. Whether you simply need to take a nervous dog on a short trip to the vet or you need to take it on a long road trip, there are steps you can take to make your dog's trip easier and the experience more pleasurable for both of you. If you love your dog and you want to take it places with you, learn how to manage and overcome its nervousness in the car.

     

    Travelling successfully with your dog

    1 Make sure the dog is comfortable but safe. Always travel your dog in a crash-test approved safety devices, such as a travel pod (small dogs), harness (medium-sized dogs), or crate (large dogs.) This keeps the dog safe and prevents it from distracting the driver from actions such as climbing onto his lap.
    2 Avoid giving the dog a large meal prior to travel. A good compromise is to feed the dog 3-4 hours prior to travel. You can also wait to feed your dog when you get to your destination if your trip is short. Remember that a dog may feel sick even if its stomach is very empty.
    3 Give the dog plenty of opportunity for breaks. Your dog will need toilet breaks if you are taking it for a long ride. You should also carry water and a bowl so it can have a drink during breaks in the journey.
    Get out and take your dog out to stretch its legs. This will go a long way toward soothing its sickness or nervousness.
    For long journeys exercising the dog beforehand will help to burn off excess energy and help it to settle en route.
    4 Make your dog as comfortable as possible. Don't overheat the car or smoke during the journey, as this may induce nausea even in a seasoned traveler. Consider using pheromones in the car, such as an Adaptil collar on the dog. This gives off hormones that reassure the dog and reduce anxiety, and may well help with his distress at being in a vehicle.
    Take along something the dog finds comforting, such as a blanket that smells of home, or a favorite cuddly toy.
    Take someone else with you until your dog gets used to being in the car. Your dog can easily distract you if it is moving around a lot in the back of the car and if it is whining or barking. Obviously, any distraction while you are driving can be dangerous.
    If the dog is sitting in a rear gate, have someone pat the dog (if able) every so often. Move it if this location causes undue stress.
    Talk to your dog to reassure it. Use a calm voice and don't show panic or annoyance if it is doing something you don't want it to do. Just keep calmly talking to the dog and telling it how good it is being. 
    6 Take a bag of supplies with you for your journey.
    It should include treats for rewards, a good strong leash, fresh cool water and a bowl to drink from, a toy or two, and plenty of cleaning up materials, such as cloths, spray cleaner, poop baggies etc. It is likely that your dog might have an accident in your car in the early days just due to plain nervousness. If you have cleaning products at hand, the long term damage to your vehicle will be minimized and you and your dog's comfort can continue for the rest of the journey.

    Addressing Motion Sickness 

    1 Assess whether your dog has motion sickness. Some dogs are nervous about car travel because they feel nauseous and associate journeys with feeling ill and travel sickness. Recognize the signs of motion sickness, the most obvious of which is heavy drooling. Strings of saliva hanging from the dog's lips is a sure sign of motion sickness. In addition, all dogs react differently but some hang their heads and look troubled, others may try to pace, and some will whimper.
    Those dogs who suffer from motion sickness will need medication to travel well. You will need to speak to your vet about a safe medication to counteract nausea. It might be that the dog always needs medication for long journeys, but you may well be able to retrain it to accept short journeys without illness.
    2 Be prepared for the dog to be sick. Do not shout or chastise the dog if it vomits. It cannot help being sick and being chastised only adds to its apprehension and increases the trauma of the experience, which will make it even more anxious.
    If you know your dog gets travel sick but have to make a journey, such as to the vet to get travel sickness meds, then seat it on a puppy pad so that the mess can be easily cleaned.
    3 Place your dog in a spot in the car where it can see out. It usually helps a dog if it can see out of a window. If you have a toy or small dog, consider getting a travel pod which raises it up off the seat in a safe way, so it can see out. For medium sized dogs, have a certified crash-tested harness and seat the dog on a back seat so it can see out. For large dogs, consider putting the dog in a crate, so they are safe and can see out.
    You can also put a blanket underneath where the dog will be sitting. It should be a blanket that the dog uses regularly, so its smells will be familiar to the dog.
    4 Consult with your vet about whether your dog needs medication to prevent nausea. Avoid using human anti-motion sickness medications unless you have checked it out with your vet first. These are not approved for use in dogs, so the side effects have not been fully tested, and the possible reactions with other drugs is unknown. On a practical level, dogs metabolize drugs differently than people, so there is a distinct possibility that those human drugs won't be effective.
    The best medication for motion sickness is a prescription drug called Cerenia (maropitant) which is available as an injection (given by the vet) or tablet. Both forms work for 24 hours. This medication is superior to others because it acts on the nausea center in the brain, and switches off all feelings of nausea and sickness.
    5 Consider alternative treatments. Some owners find giving their dog Bach flower remedies, commonly known as Rescue Remedy, helps, but this is anecdotal. This is a liquid and you place a few drops on the dog's tongue. The Bach flowers are dissolved in alcohol and one possible explanation that some dogs seem to benefit is that they are given the equivalent of a small alcoholic drink.

    Retraining a nervous dog

    1 Figure out if your dog is simply nervous, as opposed to nauseous. Some dogs dislike car journeys because they feel fearful or anxious because they had a bad experience in a car, such as being involved in a crash. It could even be that a dog is hesitant to get in the car because it got too excited and the driver shouted at it.
    It is immensely helpful to retrain the dog so that journeys become associated with a pleasant experience and therefore something to be looked forward to.
    2 Avoid long journeys while retraining your dog. If your dog hates car travel, then try to avoid long journeys while you are retraining it. Your aim is to build new associations with the car so that the dog thinks the car is a great place to be. This is a gradual process that can't be rushed, and will actually be set back if you rush it. 
    3 Begin exposing your dog to positive experiences in the car. Start with the car parked and with the engine off. Open a door and put an extra tasty treat inside. Encourage the dog to jump into the stationary car and give it lots of positive attention when it does. Then let the dog come out and do something pleasurable afterward, like take the pup for a walk.
    Then start feeding the dog meals in the stationary car. Protect the upholstery with a towel or puppy pad, place the food bowl on top, and get it used to take meals in the stationary car.
    Consider stuffing a Kong and giving it to the dog in the stationary car. Think of different activities which your dog enjoys and make them happen in the car. It could be it takes weeks or months until the dog is willingly jumping into the vehicle, in anticipation of the "good thing", but eventually he will learn.
    Transition to pleasurable experiences while the car is on and moving. Once the dog is comfortable in the stationary car, start taking ultra short trips. Initially, these areas limited to starting the engine, letting it run, then turning it off. Then try backing out of the driveway, and straight back in.
    Build up to a short trip around the block. Then a short drive around the neighborhood.
    This is all about gradual adjustments, so don't rush it. Make sure your dog is really comfortable with a phase before moving forward.
    If you can have someone go with you to watch the dog for signs of distress or nausea. If this happens, stop the car, take the dog out and let it walk around for a bit to give it relief. Complete the journey and next time don't go so far.
    In these early days, try to visit places that are fun, so the journey has a reward at the end of it, such as a park or woods.
    (source: wikihow)

    The most beautiful contact between the earth and sea took place at the Montenegrin littoral -Lord Byron

    The most beautiful contact between the earth and sea took place at the Montenegrin littoral -Lord Byron

    Good afternoon people! Starting with the quote of Lord Byron on today's post, we come back to Europe in order to visit a really small but extremely beautiful country, with one of the most magnificent sunsets in the Mediterranean, Montenegro!

    Montenegro (Montenegrin: Crna Gora, Црна Гора) is a country in the Balkans, on the Adriatic Sea. It borders Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina to the north, Serbia to the northeast, Kosovo to the east, and Albania to the south. To the west of Montenegro is the Adriatic Sea.

    Montenegro's tourism suffered greatly from Yugoslavia's tragic civil war in the 1990s. In recent years, along with the stabilized situation in the region, tourism in Montenegro has begun to recover, and Montenegro is being re-discovered by tourists from around the globe.

    In 2007, the country received peak level of tourism which almost reached pre-war volumes. As a result, many roads have been renovated (reducing driving time) and many hotels have been constructed or renovated.

    Climate

    Montenegro's southern areas along the coast enjoy a Mediterranean climate, having dry summers and mild, rainy winters. Central and northern regions have Continental climate, where temperature varies greatly with elevation. Podgorica, lying near sea level in the valley of the central region, is noted for having the warmest July temperatures in Montenegro, averaging 35-40°C (95-104 F).

    Cetinje, in the Karst at an elevation of 670m (2,200 ft), has a temperature 5°C (10 F) lower. January temperatures range from 8°C (46 F) from Bar on the southern coast to -3°C (27 F) in the northern region.

    Montenegro's mountainous regions receive some of the highest amounts of rainfall in Europe. In the northern mountains, snow is present throughout the spring.

     

    Terrain

    The terrain of Montenegro ranges from high mountains through a segment of the Karst of the western Balkan Peninsula, to a narrow coastal plain that is only one to four miles wide. The coastal plain disappears completely in the north, where Mount Lovcen and other ranges plunge abruptly into the inlet of the Gulf of Kotor.

    Montenegro's section of the Karst lies generally at elevations of just below 1,000m (3,000 ft) above sea level-although some areas rise to 1800m (6,000 ft). The lowest segment is in the valley of the Zeta River, which flows at an elevation of 460m (1,500 ft).

    The high mountains of Montenegro include some of the most rugged terrains in Europe. They average more than 2,100m (7,000 ft) in elevation.

     

    History

    Montenegro was founded as a state under its present name in the 15th century, continuing the tradition of the Slavic state of Duklja. It was able to maintain its independence during the reign of the Ottoman Empire in the Balkans, as its independence was formally acknowledged at the Congress of Berlin in 1878.

    After the World War I, fighting for the Allied powers, it was absorbed into the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes, which later became the Kingdom of Yugoslavia in 1929. Montenegro was also later part of various incarnations of Yugoslavia until it regained its full independence from the federation of Serbia-Montenegro on the June 2006 referendum.

    Montenegro was the only subsequent republic of the former Yugoslavia that supported Serbia during the wars of the Former Yugoslavia in the 1990s.

     

    Cities

    Montenegro's main cities cosist of the following ones:

    Podgorica — the capital and biggest city in Montenegro, experiencing a huge architectural boom in the last couple of years

    Bečići — with a 2km long fine sandy beach, it is home to numerous resorts and hotels

    Budva — most popular town known for its beautiful beaches and vibrant nightlife

    Cetinje — the old royal capital of Montenegro, with a large number of museums, monasteries and former embassies

    Herceg Novi — founded in 1382 and located in the entrance of the Bay of Kotor

    Kotor — an ancient fortified town located deep down the Boka Kotorska bay, UNESCO world Heritage Site

    Nikšić — the second largest city in Montenegro and economically important

    Perast — beautiful small village, a UNESCO World Natural and Historical Heritage Site

    Tivat - a small town in the Bay of Kotor, quickly emerging into a major touristic, business and transport centre

    Žabljak — center of Montenegrin mountain tourism and a popular spot for skiers

     

    Destinations

    Other important destinations in Montenegro include:

    Biogradska Gora National Park — one of the last remaining untouched forests in Europe

    Durmitor National Park — rafting through the Tara Canyon, the deepest canyon in Europe, is one of the most popular activities in Montenegro

    Lovćen National Park — beautiful mountain with natural, cultural and historical scenery

    Mount Ostrog — the amazing monastery situated on the almost vertical cliff of Mount Ostrog

    Skadar Lake National Park — the largest lake on the Balkans and the natural habitat of the very diverse flora and fauna

    Sveti Stefan — picturesque town-hotel, a former fishermen town on the small peninsula near Budva (currently closed for renovation)

     

    Entering Montenegro

    Nationals of the following states may enter, pass through the territory of and stay in Montenegro up to 90 days with a valid travel document without a visa: Andorra, Argentina, Aruba,Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bermuda, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Brunei, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland,France, Germany, Guatemala, Greece, Holy See, Honduras, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Lichtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macau,Macedonia, Malaysia, Malta, Mexico, Monaco, Nicaragua, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Panama, Paraguay, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, El Salvador, San Marino,Seychelles, Serbia, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United States of America, Uruguay, andVenezuela.

    Nationals of EU/EFTA countries, Monaco, San Marino, Albania and the former Yugoslav countries can enter with an ID card and stay for max 30 days

    Holders of travel documents containing a valid Schengen visa, a valid visa of the United States of America or a permission to stay in these countries may enter and stay, i.e. pass through, the territory of Montenegro up to seven days, and not longer than the expiry of visa if the period of validity of visa is less than seven days. Visit for more details. However, border guards are not fully aware of this information, and they might tell you that you require a visa to enter Montenegro. Stay calm and politely ask them to recheck their information. They will fill a form with your passport and car registration information which can take up to 1 hour!

    Entering Montenegro by plane from Podgorica Airport is Montenegro's main international airport. It is situated 12km (7.5 miles) south of Podgorica. It is a hub for Montenegro's national airline carrier, Montenegro Airlines.

    One can get from the airport to Podgorica center by taking the minibus, which usually waits in front of the terminal. The taxi to the center will be more expensive, usually at €15. From the city center (Republic Place) to the Airport, metered Taxi costs 5-6 Euros.

    One thing to notice about Podgorica airport is the lack of bus service to the coast. Hence, as soon as you exit the terminal, you will be surrounded by guys asking if you want a taxi. At this point, they are competing to see how much they can squeeze you in. Montenegro is most definitely not a cheap country, but still, keep your wits about you. Hotels in Kotor will offer airport transfer for approx 70-80 euros, so don't listen to guys quoting EUR120 or more for the drive to the coast. If you say "forget that", and take a taxi to the center, they may try to bargain when you're in the car... at least here it's one-to-one.

    Tivat Airport is situated near the city of Tivat, on the Montenegrin coast. It has regular flights to Belgrade and Moscow throughout the year and has charter flights to major European destinations during the summer. Tivat airport is 20km from Budva and Herceg-Novi and 60 km from Bar.

    Destinations covered from these airports are listed in detail on the website of 'Airports of Montenegro'. Destinations covered by Montenegro Airlines, as well as booking information, can be found on the website of the carrier.

    Dubrovnik airport in Croatia is a half hour drive from the Montenegro border and the coastal city of Herceg-Novi and is served by many major airlines, so it might be a good option for tourists coming by plane (especially from North-West Europe). Crossing the border is quickest by taxi since the driver will know the small border (that saves time in the high season).

    Get Airport and City Transfer 

    Get Airport, city and VIP Transfers

     

    Entering Montenegro by Train. There are one daytime and one overnight train (two in summer) from Belgrade. Trains go through Bijelo Polje, Kolašin, Podgorica departing in Bar, Montenegro's main seaport. The railway through the Dinar ridge is considered as one of the most scenic railways in Europe. Travel by train is the cheapest way to get to Montenegro, the trip time is 10h from Belgrade to Podgorica (11h to Bar), but expect considerable delays.

    Ticket from Belgrade to Podgorica costs €19.20, plus €3 seat reservation (not compulsory but strongly recommended in summer season) or €6 berth reservation. Tickets from Serbia can be purchased at Serbian railway e-shop.

     

    Entering Montenegro by Bus. Montenegro is well connected with neighboring countries and ticket prices are all under €25. During the summer, more seasonal lines are being introduced.

     

    You may also enter Montenegro by car. European routes E65, E80, E762, E763 and E851 pass through the country, which means that you can easily enter Montenegro by road from Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia and Albania.

    Entry from Schkoder in Albania can be lengthy. You will need an internationally recognized insurance certificate (green card) or you can purchase minimal frontier insurance for €15 valid for 15 days. Also, carry original vehicle registration papers.

    There are no roads in Montenegro built to full motorway standard, as all roads are of single carriageway type. Almost all roads in Montenegro are curvy, mountainous roads and speeds over 80km/h are not permitted. The general speed limit within a built-up area is 50km/h. Roads in the northern mountainous region require additional caution during the winter.

    Driving with headlights is obligatory, even during the daytime; so is the use of seat belts.

     

    Last but not least you may obviously enter Montenegro by ship. There are regular ferry lines from Bar to Bari and Ancona in Italy. Lines operate almost daily throughout the year, and get more frequent during the summer. A trip to Bari takes around 8 hours. A 2 hour trip by ship to Durres, Albania from Ulqin Lines connecting Montenegro with Italy are Bar-Bari and Kotor Bari. To check the timetable, go to website with all Adriatic ferry routes.

     

    Getting around

    There is local train service, operating from Bar, through Podgorica and Kolašin and Mojkovac to Bijelo Polje. It is the fastest and cheapest way to travel from north to south, but not so frequent as buses. The quality of service varies, from old noisy Soviet-made electric units to a clean renovated cars with air conditioning. International trains to Belgrade consist of a mix of Serbian and Montenegrin cars, the Montenegrin offer generally a better quality.

    From fall 2013, there is a new connection between Podgorica to Montenegro's second city Niksic with brand new state-of-the-art carriages and a renovated track, in a spectacular scenery.

    Montenegrin railways have recently updated (June 2013) website at Montenegrin and English, there is a searchable timetable (Red vožnje) on the home page and price overview for a connection. Tickets can be purchased on board.

    This may be the easiest way to get around Montenegro. Buses are frequent (especially during the summer), safe and are more or less on schedule. Local buses usually have no air conditioning.

    Ticket prices within Montenegro are all under €15. Buses to attractive tourist destinations (Budva, Kotor) are generally more expensive (up to 2 times more per kilometer) than others.

    Examples of prices: Podgorica–Ulcinj €6, Podgorica–Cetinje €3, Podgorica–Kotor €7, Podgorica–Plav €11 (Aug 2012).

    Besides the buses, there are minibusses at bus stations that are usually slightly cheaper but are actually a faster and more comfortable option.

    Montenegro has no motorways; most roads have only two-lanes with the frequent addition of a third lane for overtaking, and generally are not up to European standards, although in the past few years many of the main roads and tunnels have been renovated and are quite safe as long as you are not driving recklessly. Most roads are curvy and mountainous, so speeds over 80 km/h (50 mph) are rarely legal, and rarely safe.

    The speed limit is 80 km/h on the open road unless signs specify otherwise. The speed limit inside the cities is 50 km/h.

    The use of safety belts and headlights during the day is compulsory, and the use of cellphones while driving is prohibited. Signposts used in Montenegro are almost identical to those used in EU countries.

    Local drivers tend to drive fast and to get involved into dangerous overtaking. Traffic jams are common during the peak of the summer season. Pedestrians are notorious for jaywalking in every Montenegrin city.

    Drivers tend to be extremely vocal, so don't take it personally if a driver yells at you.

    Finally, hitchhiking works pretty great in Montenegro.

    Roads from Podgorica to Bar and to Niksic are fairly good and easy to drive on.

    The roads from Podgorica through Cetinje to Budva and to Petrovac are both in good condition but are curvy mountainous roads which rarely permit speeds of 70km/h.

    The road from Podgorica north to Kolasin, and then on to Zabljak or Serbia, is considered dangerous during the winter, especially the part through the Moraca canyon. It is recommended that one takes the bus to the north during the cold or rainy days, as bus drivers are experienced and know the road.

    The old road from Cetinje to Kotor is mostly a narrow one-lane road offering stunning views of Kotor from above, but exercise extreme caution when passing oncoming traffic, over-taking and around corners.

     

    Language

    The official language is Montenegrin. It is essentially the same language as Serbian, Croatian and Bosnian. In some municipalities with an Albanian majority or visible participation (Ulcinj, Plav, Gusinje) and the Malesia district in Podgorica municipality, the Albanian is commonly spoken. Slovenian and Macedonian are also understood. Even though their languages are virtually identical, people still distinguish between the Montenegrin, Serb, Croat and Bosniak ethnicities, Montenegrins forming a slight relative majority. Montenegrin, while found written in both Cyrillic and Latin forms, Latin text is found to be much more common in usage than in neighboring Serbia and the Serbian portion of Bosnia.

    In Podgorica and the coastal area, many people can speak some English, but that is not always the case in the north. Older people sometimes have a working knowledge of German. Italian also comes very handily, especially along the coast.Russian, which belongs to the same family of Slavic languages, is also heard sometimes.

     

    Sightseeing

    Montenegro may be small in terms of area, but it boasts stunning mountainous landscapes, dramatic coastlines, historic monuments and truly beautiful walled towns. The Montenegro coast is just as gorgeous as that of its better-known neighbor, Croatia, and it is for good reason that its main tourist destinations can get crowded in summer. Nevertheless, if you can't visit at another time, don't let their popularity hold you back. Even the largest of cruise ship crowds will not stop you from enjoying this country's magnificent Riviera and Medieval coast towns, especially if you're willing to get up early and do your sightseeing ahead of the others.

    Of the country's many churches and monasteries, the Serbian Orthodox Monastery of Ostrog deserves special attention. It's spectacularly located against a practically vertical background, some 15 km from Nikšić. Founded in the 17th century, it's one of the most visited pilgrimage destinations in the Balkans and boasts a magnificent view over the Bjelopavlići plain.

     

    The Bay of Kotor is probably one of the prettiest bays in the world. On its deepest point lies the equally stunning town of Kotor, a beautifully preserved fortified, Medieval town with a vibrant history. Wandering through its labyrinth of narrow and cobblestoned streets, you'll come across lively piazzas, many ancient churches and lots of pleasant bars and restaurants. Don't miss the 12th century St. Tryphon Cathedral, the Church of St. Luke and the Orthodox St Nicholas Church. Kotor is locked between the blue sea on one side, and a dramatically steep cliff on the other. It's a heavy walk uphill, but climbing the 1500 steps will allow you to see the old fortifications on the top as well as provide some amazing views over the bay.

    Budva is the country's most popular tourist destination and boasts some great beaches as well as a lovely, walled town center. The old town center is picturesquely located on a rather small peninsula, and its narrow, winding lanes hide a multitude of historic buildings, churches, and small squares. Among the most interesting monuments here is the 7th century St. John's Church, the 8th century Santa Marija of Punta and the 12th century Church of St. Sava. The medieval town fortress is referred to as Citadela and right next to it is the colorful Church of the Holy Trinity, built in 1804. Budva's over 30 km long Riviera has been called "The Riviera of Sandy Beaches" and is dotted with lovely hamlets and a wealth of historic monuments. A strip of hotels and restaurants separates it from the impressive mountain massifs of Lovcen. From Budva, it's an easy bus ride to the unique Sveti Stefan resort.

    The small but gorgeous town of Perast saw some of its best architecture arise in the 17th and 18th century when it belonged to the Republic of Venice. That typically Venetian, baroque architecture has been wonderfully preserved, with highlights including the Bujovic, Zmajevic, Badovic and Smekja Palaces which were once owned by wealthy maritime captains. All the way in the south, Ulcinj is one of the Adriatic's oldest towns, with a delightful center and lots of natural beauty around. It also makes a good base from where to explore the old center of nearby Bar, Lake Skadar or even a cross border visit to Albania. Although less spectacular than nearby Kotor, Herceg Novi (roughly translated as New Castle) is another charming Montenegrin town with a beautiful old center and a good number of interesting churches, squares, and fortresses.

     

    Although Montenegro's magnificent sea side scenery is best known among travelers, its mountainous inland has some grand panoramic views to offer, too. The country shares the large freshwater Lake Skadar with neighboring Albania.

    It has National Park status and offers great opportunities for hiking, bird watching, and wildlife spotting. Of the many friendly fishermen's towns around it, Virpazar is the most convenient one for travelers.

    A real must-see is the splendid Tara River Canyon, with its steep banks rising up to 1300 meters above the River Tara waters. It's the second longest canyon in the world and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The canyon is located in Durmitor National Park, which is a World Heritage Site of its own and boasts a rich flora and fauna as well as snow-covered high peaks, several canyons, and many glacier lakes. The most visited one is Black Lake, within walking distance of the town of Žabljak, which serves as a traveler's hub for mountain and winter tourism.

     

    Montenegro has really developed as an 'Adventure Tourism' destination in recent years. A number of companies have invested in training and equipment to provide: White Water Rafting (along with Europe's deepest canyon), Kayaking, Mountain Biking, Climbing, Scuba, Sailing, Wind and Kitesurfing, Horse Riding, Hiking, and Paragliding.

    Montenegro makes a fantastic location for all Mountain activities, much of the interior is uninhabited mountain and forest wilderness, with dramatic scenery and some of Europe's last bears, wolves and occasionally Lynx. Diving is also very attractive; Montenegro may not have the underwater coral gardens of Sharm El Sheik, but there are quite a few semi exotic species, incredible visibility, impressive underwater topography and a profusion of diveable historic wrecks (7 in the Bay of Kotor alone).

     

    Currency

    Montenegro has the euro (€) as its sole currency along with 24 other countries that use this common European money. These 24 countries are: Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Latvia,Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia and Spain (official euro members which are all European Union member states) as well as Andorra, Kosovo, Monaco, Montenegro, San Marino and the Vatican which use it without having a say in eurozone affairs and without being European Union members. Together, these countries have a population of more than 330 million.

    One euro is divided into 100 cents. While each official euro member (as well as Monaco, San Marino, and Vatican) issues its own coins with a unique obverse, the reverse, as well as all bank notes, look the same throughout the eurozone. Every coin is legal tender in any of the eurozone countries.


    Hundreds of new ATMs have been installed in most major cities. The ATMs accept most international VISA and Mastercard Credit/Debit cards.

     

    Food

    Apart from the hotels located in towns and summer resorts offering half-board and full-board accommodation, and those along the roads and communication lines such as restaurants, pizza places, taverns, fast food restaurants and cafes, there is a choice of national restaurants offering traditional Montenegrin cuisine.

    In addition to the standard European and Mediterranean cuisine, Montenegro offers a variety of healthy food products and local specialties.

    Cold hors-d'oeuvres include the famous njeguški pršut (smoked ham) and njeguški cheese, pljevaljski cheese, mushrooms, donuts and dried bleak. The main courses specific for the northern mountainous region are boiled lamb, lamb cooked in milk, cicvara in fresh milk cream (buttered corn porridge), boiled potatoes with cheese and fresh cream. A selection of traditional recipes of the central and coastal parts will include the kastradina (dried mutton), smoked and fresh carp (from Skadar lake) and a variety of fresh sea fish and seafood dishes. Donuts served with honey and dried figs are traditional desserts in these parts of Montenegro.

    Products of animal origin are supervised and approved by veterinary and health authorities according to EU standards.

     

    Drink

    The legal purchasing age of alcoholic beverages is 18, but there is no legal age for drinking.

    Montenegrin vineyards and the production of quality wine is part of the tradition of southern and coastal wine makers.

    The best known Montenegrin wines are the premium whites: "Krstač", "Cabernet", "Chardonnay" and red: "Vranac", "Pro Corde". All of them are produced by the famous company "Plantaže", but there's also some home-made wines of high quality, like Crmničko wine.

    1L bottle of "Vranac" red wine will cost you from €8 to €15 in the bar or restaurant and it is well worth it! Also, you can buy a bottle of "Plantaze"'s wine for about €2-€4 in supermarkets.

    The continental region and north are more oriented towards the production of aromatic fruit-flavored brandy (plum brandy - šljivovica, apple brandy - jabukovača). Grape brandy "Montenegrin loza", "Prvijenac", "Kruna" or homemade grape brandy (lozova rakija, lozovača) is a must-try, and a good choice to "warm up" before going out in the evening.

    "Nikšićko" beer is the best-known beer in the Montenegro, and most common alcoholic beverage, which cost from €0.50 to €2.50. It is produced as a draught beer or bottled, in both "Nik Gold" and lighter "Nik Cool" variant. The dark variant, "Nik tamno", is praised among beer lovers. The local word for beer is 'pivo', strangely Montenegro also has a river called Piva. Other alcoholic drinks can cost anywhere between €1 and €10.

    Safety

    Montenegro is generally a safe country. There is, like all countries in the world, a number of criminal activities, but police forces are generally fast in their duties. The number is 122, as well as the international distress call 112. Organized crime is regarded as being widespread, but doesn't target tourists. When traveling in the areas bordering Kosovo, it is recommended you keep to the main roads. Unexploded landmines may remain along the Kosovo border. You should also avoid areas where there is military activity.

    In the resort towns such as Kotor, Budva, Sveti Stefan and Herceg Novi, beggars and pickpockets are not uncommon. As in many other European locations, beggars are part of organized crime groups. Do not give them money. Doing so may also make you a target for more aggressive approaches. Always carry your bags in the safest way, slung around your shoulder with the pouch in front (with your money carried under your clothing) where you can keep your arm or hand across it. Prostitution is illegal, so it's best not to engage in it.

     

    In case you read this article and you found it fascinating, you may proceed and have a small break during April 2018. 

    Montenegro mini-break on April 2018

    Last but not least, every good trip starts with the nice mood and of course the right preparation. Make sure that you have managed to get all your documents, and also get the best accessories and gadgets, in order to make your trip a smart, comfortable but mostly a safe experience!

    Visit tripatricks.com for more gadgets and accessories, and participate in the big Sale 20% off in all electronic and pet travel products (in case that you are traveling with your buddy).

    Now that you know it all, go and get it! 

    tripatricks.com

     

    (Source: wikitravel, BBC news, BBC travel)

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

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