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Nara: Day Trip from Osaka or Kyoto

Nara: Day Trip from Osaka or Kyoto, Japan

One of the best things we did during our stay in Osaka was to go on a day trip to Nara.

Nara is home to temples, shrines and beautiful gardens, but its main claim to fame are the resident deer who roam the streets, bow for treats, and amuse visitors.This destination is hardly a well-kept secret and you are guaranteed to find crowds around the main sights, but don’t let that deter you from visiting. I’m sharing our 1-day Nara travel itinerary featuring historic temples, secret gardens, and delicious street food!

1-Day Nara Travel Itinerary

How to get to Nara?
 
Nara is a straightforward excursion from metropolis and metropolis with multiple train choices to induce you there.

From Osaka, you can take the Kintetsu Nara Line Or if you have a JR Pass, you can take the JR Kanjo-Yamatoji Lines departing from JR Osaka Station and arriving at JR Nara Station. We went with the first option since we travelled without a JR Pass.

From Kyoto, you can take the Kintetsu Nara Line. Or if you’re a JR Pass holder, you can take the JR Nara Line departing from JR Kyoto Station and arriving at JR Nara Station – just make sure you get on the express!

Things to do in Nara

Nara Park
 

Let’s start with Nara Park since this is where many of the city’s attractions are located and where you’re most likely to do your sightseeing.

Within this public park, you’ll find temples, shrines, museums, and walking trails. The park also happens to be home to  deer who roam freely.

Know that admission to the park is free, though you’ll have to pay for a few select attractions within the park grounds.

Nara Park
Todai-ji
 

The main attraction in Nara Park is Todai-ji Temple, which was once the world’s largest wooden building, this temple also happens to house the largest bronze statue of a Buddha!

Most of the Northern part of Nara Park is covered by Todaiji’s grounds which includes attractions such as Todaji Musuem, Nigatsudo Hall, Hokkedo Hall, Kaidano Hall, Shosoin Storehouse, former site of Lecture Hall and site of fomer east pagoda.

Todai-ji temple, Nara, Japan
Todai-ji temple, Nara, Japan
Feeding The Deers of Nara
 

Now let’s cite the most draw to Nara: the deer! Nara’s deer hold a very special status in the city.

Local traditional knowledge has it that Takemikazuchi, the god of thunder, once appeared on Mount Wakakusa (just up the hill from Nara Park) riding a white deer, and thus the deer inhabiting the surrounding forest were deemed sacred messengers of the gods and today they are seen as a national treasure.

The quickest way to befriend the deer is with treats, and thankfully there are lots of licensed vendors selling crackers specifically made for the deer. These are called ‘shika senbei’ and you can get them for ¥150.

Be warned that the deer can sniff out those crackers whether you stuff them in your pockets or hide them in your bag, so once you have them in hand, prepare for a herd of deer to approach. The deer are pretty good about bowing

Shika Senbei_DreamsVoyager_Copyright
Shika Senbei For Feeding Deers
Deer Search in Nara
Deer Search in Nara
Shika Senbei 1_DreamsVoyager_Copyright-min
Feeding Dears In Nara

Not To Miss

Seasonal Soft-Serve Ice cream
 

Another sweet treat that we have a tendency to enjoyed in Japan was soft-serve frozen dessert.

They had some seasonal flavours to choose from like sakura and white peach, as well as the classics like matcha, vanilla, strawberry, and chocolate.

I wasn’t too sure about the sakura ice cream (what do cherry blossoms taste like, anyway?), but it was surprisingly sweet with a light floral aroma. Definitely worth trying!

Icecream in Nara
Eating Ice-cream in Nara

We tried to see as much as we could in a day, but Nara Park is massive and we barely scratched the surface.

If we’d had more time and we’d known how much there was to see. This destination would make the perfect weekend escape or romantic getaway.

If you do decide to stay overnight, Nara has a mix of hostels and hotels – the place is worth experiencing at least once during your travels in Japan!

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What Kind of Traveler Are You??

What Kind of Traveler Are You??

There are many kinds of travelers out there, each one looking for something different in the quest of happiness. Some visit nice museums, some travel to get some peace of mind at a quiet destination and others travel to get to know a city inside out.

What Kind of Traveler are You?

During long flight journeys I found quite few purloined moments to seek the explanations why we have a tendency to travel and considered all the various types of travelers out there.

According to my own reserach 🙂 and our extensive travel to 40+ countries, it gave us a deep insight meaning to why we travel, and what others seek while traveling.

Why do we Travel?

  • Do we visit to expand our minds or our Photo Albums?
  • Do we visit to witness different culture and individuals?
  • Do we visit nice museums and stand before illustrious items of art to grab pictures to make our friends jealous and flood our FB and Insta Handle ?
  • Do we travel to remote places, have exciting adventures and get out of our comfort zone
  • Do we travel for soul seeking or rejuvenation?
  • Or do we travel to just tick things off or “Bucket List”?

What do you Mean by : “The Traveller”

A traveller I think, enjoys a certain amount of freedom, and spends time moving around place to place slowly, seeking out the hidden, less well-known treasures, avoiding the tourist traps and possibly doing things harder. As a traveller you spend more time in slow motion, resting up and absorbing the vibe of a place.

You pay time chatting with different travelers and locals continuously asking questions; sorting out the simplest means of going to your next destination and asking places to stay, and in every way you are keen to find out how places resonate.

You’ll chat to people over a sunset beer in a quiet courtyard and sleep in a place where the view is sweet. Some friendships will last, others will be fleeting and you’ll remember those people as being put in your life at that time for a particular reason.

“While many of us might answer differently, I can say that at some time or another all of these reasons have rung true for me.

What quite somebody are you and the way does one match into the below?”

Urban traveller

You love everything concerning town life: design, culture and arts,  restaurants and bars, shopping..You enjoy roaming the streets, exploring one district after the other, observing locals and tourists alike and just immersing yourself in the city’s dynamic rhythm.

The Photographers

These are the type of travelers who travel around the year and taking panoramic and mind blogging pictures around them. They travel to capture the natural beauty and Instagram them to create beautiful stories.

Relaxation and Nature Lover traveller

Whether it’s on the beach, at the pool or in a lush park, you love to unwind and take yourself away from the everyday hustle and bustle.

Sleeping in, sipping cocktails, reading a good book and unrushed dinners are your idea of a perfect getaway.

Translucent lakes, impressive mountains, enchanting forests or quiet beaches: this is what you look for in your perfect destination.You like to pay your days taking nature walks, exploring the countryside or just relaxing in the great outdoors.

Food traveller

Local cuisine plays a big part in the decision-making process when you’re planning a getaway.

Of course, the destination matters, however what you’re extremely trying forward to is  breakfast, tasty lunch or dinner with native ingredients.

The Backpackers and Adventure Travellers

Backpackers are the kind of travelers who love to explore different destinations and prefer independent travelling with low budget. However, adventure travelers are those who love going on trips and vacations to natural environments or remote locations with the particular purpose of active physical activities and exploring new experiences.

You opt for destinations off the crushed path and trending cities.

Rather than to a country’s preferred destination, you like to explore a city that is often overlooked and feel amazed that a place so special hasn’t been discovered yet by the crowds.

Family traveller

The location wherever you vacation doesn’t matter the maximum amount as having the entire family along in one place. Whether it’s outside fun – assume parks, playgrounds and theme parks – or family-friendly activities within, your vacation focuses on what you’re feeling is that the most vital thing: your family.

The Soul Searchers

These are travelers whose prime objective is to travel around to find themselves and to ponder the deepest philosophies of life. The soul searchers typically travel alone in search of their soul and usually schedule spots where they can spend time staring over the cliffs or taking long strolls or lonely walking through the woods.

The Typical Tourist 🙂 (Easy to find, Now-days Buzzing on Every Travel Group Forums)

As a tourist you stay in lovely hotels and you tick things off but don’t really experience the essence of a place – it’s a ‘Touch and Go’ experience of the most basic kind. A whisper of reality and then you retreat to your luxury hotel.

You get to the tourist attraction, walk around, take the photo and tick it off. You might talk about the destination at a dinner party afterwards in the way of … “Oh yes, we’ve been to Venice. It was amazing. I loved it! “

The food you eat will be good, because well, you’re only there for a short while so you can afford to splurge for a couple of days before you hit back to home. 😀

And there you have it!

Some folks may match singularly into one class, some folks may see version of themselves in many classes.

So have you guessed yet? Did you find out where you fall? Or are you someone who is totally out-of-the-box? Let us know in the comments section! We would love to hear from you! 🙂 😛 😀

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Visas

Schengen Visa Guide for Indian Passport Holder

Schengen Visa Guide for Indian Passport Holder

Being a frequent traveler to Europe, I have received tons of questions about getting a Schengen Visa. It’s quite expected.

Europe is a dream destination for several, and the Schengen Visa is probably the most complicated or if well known, the most easiest visa.

In this blog, I’ll try to answer the questions I have been asked the most, as promptly as I can. However, on a NOTE that I am writing based only as per my own experiences. The goal is to help other applicants/travelers to have a better picture of the process. But I encourage you to still contact us for more effortless process.

WHAT’S COVERED IN THIS GUIDE?

  • What is a Schengen Visa?
  • What are the Schengen countries?
  • Embassy to which I lodge my visa application?
  • What are the requirements?
  • What is the application process? What are the steps?
  • Do we ought to book flights before applying for a visa?
  • Is travel insurance really necessary?
  • Where to get travel insurance?
  • Can I book hotels on my own?
  • What does a detailed itinerary look like?
  • Validity of the visa?
  • Am I able to visit countries that don’t seem to be within the itinerary I submitted?
  • If my application is approved, do I even have to stay to the itinerary I submitted?
  • Is a cover letter required?
  • Are embassies really strict?
  • Is there an interview?
  • What are the questions raise at the interview?
  • How early to  apply for a Schengen visa?
  • How soon the visa is obtained after application?
  • what proportion cash to have within the bank for  visa?

What is a Schengen Visa?

The Schengen Visa is a travel document that permits the holder to enter any of the twenty six states that includes Schengen territory.

Its like a virtually all-access pass to several countries in Europe,  within the Schengen zone and it eliminates the hassle to apply for a visa for each individual country.

  • Austria

  • Belgium

  • Czech Republic

  • Denmark

  • Estonia

  • Finland

  • France

  • Germany

  • Greecea

  • Hungary

  • Iceland

  • Italy
  • Sweden
  • Latvia

  • Liechtenstein

  • Lithuania

  • Luxemborg

  • Malta

  • Netherlands

  • Norway

  • Poland

  • Portugal

  • Slovakia

  • Slovenia

  • Spain
  • Switzerland
Schengen-countries

Which embassy should I lodge my visa application?

It will depend upon the aim of your trip or your overall European itinerary.

The rule is:

  • If you’re visiting only one country, apply at the embassy of that country.
  • If you’re visiting multiple countries, apply at the embassy of the main destination or the country where you will be staying the longest.

However, some countries have additional rules. It is best to counter-check with the Embassy to be completely positive.

What are the requirements?

List of requirements is right here: https://www.dreamsvoyager.com/schengen-visa/

There are little variations, though, so make sure you check with the embassy that will process your application.

Do we have to be compelled to book flights before applying for a visa?

Don’t book your flights yet. They only require a confirm flight reservations & not your actual flight booking, so don’t pay for your flights yet! Some travel agencies provide dummy tickets  (often for a fee) which you can use for schengen visa (keeping in mind the hold period time for these tickets).

DreamsVoyager is a registered accredited travel agency. You can get flight reservations, hotel reservations, and travel insurance for visa application only. click here for Bookings.

Is travel insurance really necessary?

Where to get travel insurance?

Can I book hotels on my own?

The short answer is YES.

Some embassies, just like the Spain Embassy, needs an extra 15-day coverage on the travel dates you are traveling.

Make sure you recognize these very little rules once buying travel insurance.

You can simply purchase travel insurance online. We recommend a reliable Travel and Medical Insurance fullfiling your visa criteria. 

You can book travel insurance with DreamsVoyager too! Refer the same page we created for Visa Reservations.

Yep. You can book via third-party websites, but book hotels with FREE Cancellation policy so you won’t be wasting money in case your visa gets rejected.

You can also book Hotels for schengen visa direclty here:  Visa Reservations.

What does a detailed itinerary for schengen visa look like?

We have many custom tailor made itineraries in hand.  Book with us to get a curated itinerary based on your requirements which works best for your visa.

Can I visit countries that are not in the itinerary I submitted?

Yes, as long as it is within the Schengen Zone. The itinerary prepared for schengen visa is proposed based on your current travel planning. Your travel plans may improvise later and as far as your are traveling with the schengen states, you can follow the improvised version as well and carry the booking for the same during your travel to show at immigration.

Is a cover letter required?

I extremely encourage you to supply one particularly as usually in schengen visitor visa there is very less chances of personal interview and thus you can justify the aim of your trip much better through documentation. We provide complete documentation including all types of visa letters required for schengen visa including:

  1. Cover Letter
  2. Invitation Letter
  3. Sponsor Letter

Are embassies really strict?

yes, but some are more strict than others. For example, in my travel circles, the Italian embassy has more rejection rate, while the French, German and Dutch along with Asutrian embassies are known for being more forgiving and considerate. That’s just according to my own expereinces and may not be true in some cases.

Is there an Interview for Schengen Visitor Visa?

Some embassies conduct a short interview, some don’t. Usually, when third party agents (like VFS in this case) is involved, ther will no longer be an interview required most likely. But if there is a longer stay & embassy has doubts on your documentation or intention, they might call you for interview or requiring further documents. 

Some travelers are usually asked for interview at the embassy if they want more clarifications. It’s best to check with the embassy to be sure. Just answer their questions truthfully and confidently. Never lie as most of the time, they will know.

What are the questions raise at the interivew?

When one of my client applied, these were aksed:

  • What is the purpose of your trip?
  • How long is your trip?
  • How long will you stay in (country)?
  • What is your first stop?
  • What countries are you going to visit?
  • When will you leave?
  • When will you be back?
  • Will this be your first time in Europe?
  • What countries did you visit on your initial trip to Europe and for what purpose?
  • Do you know anyone in (country)?
  • Do you know anyone in any other Schengen country?
  • How are you related to them?
  • How did you meet?
  • With whom are you traveling?
  • How are you related to your companion?
  • What do you do for a living? (Expect a lot of follow up questions about your job.)
  • However long have you ever been along with your company?
  • Does your company know you’re taking this trip?
  • Do you own properties in India (home country)?

Most of the questions were about three main things:

  • The details of the trip, which means you must know your itinerary by heart.
  • Connections to anyone in Europe.
  • Job and your rootedness in home country.

Again, you have to answer every question truthfully and confidently. Note that these are just the common questions, they might still raise loads of alternative queries relavant to your background and application.

How early to apply for shcengen visa?

You can apply upto 6 months before the day of departure. While most embassies are comparitively quick, it is wise to give some time allowance just in case something doesn’t go as planned (E.g. They may ask for additional documents).A month before is even likely to be too tight for the application. 

Two months at least will provide you with enough time to secure all needed focuemnts and fix a haul if rise.

How soon visa is obtained after submitting application?

It depends a lot on the embassy or consulate you are applyng to within schengen states. The French embassy usually released visa within 1 week while other can take upto 2 weeks to even 1 month. It also depends on your case and documentation. 

How much cash to have within the bank for visa approvals?

No one really knows for sure with the minimum amount is, but bear in mind this:- you will be asked to submit flight and reservations along with day-by-day travel itineray and plan.

So here’s the thumb rule you can follow:- add the price of the flight you reserved + the cost of the accomodation + 60 Euro per day. Some embassies need 45 euro per day, some 50, some 55, to be on the safe side, use 60 euro per day per person. Of couse, that can’t be the sole quantity in your account!

How long is the validity of the visa?

Depends on the itinerary you will be submitting and the embassy where you will submit the application. It also depends on how strong and curated your documents are! 

A tourist schengen visa permits third-country nationals to enter into the shengen area for a maximum of 90 days within a 6-month period, under the purpose of traveling or visiting for pleasure.

Conclusion

The Schengen visa might seem vast and complicated, but all you need to do is keep a simple checklist of up-to-date documents ready. Follow the  process mentioned above, and it will automatically seem less confusing. (Do remember to start collecting your documents well in advance of your trip. This will save you a lot of time, effort and panic).

Take a deep breath. We’re here to simplify the entire process. When you apply for for schengen visa with DreamsVoyager, we guide you through the entire process, step by step. Furthermore, we also provide you with a few tips to keep in mind when you start the Schengen visa application process.

This visa is your gateway to all your childhood dreams, to the land of stunning natural beauty, snowy mountains, shimmering blue coastlines, charming cities and more. So, let’s break down the Schengen visa and the process of obtaining one, so you can start booking your trip as soon as possible.

With DreamsVoyager you have a guide by your side. A little bit of research and planning ahead is all it takes. You can then sit back, relax and look forward to the trip of a lifetime!

For Schengen Visa professional support, contact us!

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2-Days In Edinburgh: A complete Guide

2-Days In Edinburgh: A complete Guide

Fascinating history, baggage of culture, attractive views, delicious food and drink – capital is one in every of those cities with a small amount of everything and my first-timer’s guide to capital has everything you must see and do throughout your initial visit.The Scottish capital is simply detonating with charm and it’s manageable size makes it the right weekend town break destination. 

Edinburgh is one in every of my favorite cities within the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and was an apparent addition to my excellent 2 week itinerary of the united kingdom. I’ve put together a detailed overview of my favorite pastimes in Edinburgh. We think 2 days may be a large amount of your time to pay in capital – maybe as a weekend break, or as part of a longer trip exploring the UK and Scotland.

Of course, you may pay far more time attending to understand the town, however 2 days will definitely allow you to see several of the highlights of capital

A 2-Day Edinburgh Itinerary

This itinerary is ordered on fairly logical, with 2 full days of exploration within the town, covering a number of the most attractions.There’s lots more to see and do in the city of course, so check out the resources at the end of the post to help you plan your perfect trip to Edinburgh! 🙂

Day One

1. Explore Edinburgh Castle

We’re about to begin our 2 day Edinburgh itinerary with a visit to the beautiful Edinburgh Castle, which perches fantastically above the city, and offers a wonderful panoramic view of the city and surrounds.
 
The castle is home to a variety of exhibitions and artefacts from Scottish history, including the Scottish crown jewels. The castle is also where the 1pm gun is fired every day, so if you do have a chance to be there for this then do, as it’s quite an experience.
Edinburgh Castle
Edinburgh Castle

2. Go Whisky Tasting

Scotland and Whisky are intractably linked.

Scottish strong drink is my favorite spirit, and whenever I’m in capital I’ll forever notice time for a drop.

You can do this of course just by popping into pretty much any pub in the city, but if you want to learn about the process of making whisky, as well as the various regions of Scotland and the flavours available, then the Scotch Whisky Experience is where you need to head.
Here you’ll journey through the Whisky creation process, as well as learn about why Whisky from different parts of Scotland tastes different. Finally, you’ll be given the opportunity to taste one of four whisky flavours, before taking a look at the largest Scotch Whisky collection in the world. You can book your tickets in advance here.

Scotland Whisky Tasting
Scotland Whisky Tasting

3. Drop in at St. Giles’ Cathedral

Also on the Royal Mile, about a third of the way down from the castle, is St Giles’ Cathedral. Both the interior and exterior of the cathedral are stunning, but the highlight in my mind is the little Thistle Chapel, home to the Most Ancient and Most Noble Order of the Thistle.

The Order still exists today, and is overseen by the current British Queen, Elizabeth II.

All that aside, the Thistle Chapel is just gorgeous, stuffed full of lovely wooden panelling, and very much worth taking a little bit of time to see, as is the rest of the Cathedral.

St. Giles’ Cathedral, Edinburgh
St. Giles’ Cathedral, Edinburgh

4. Walk Edinburgh’s Royal Mile

Also on the Royal Mile, about a third of the way down from the castle, is St Giles’ Cathedral. Both the interior and exterior of the cathedral are stunning, but the highlight in my mind is the little Thistle Chapel, home to the Most Ancient and Most Noble Order of the Thistle.

The Order still exists today, and is overseen by the current British Queen, Elizabeth II.

All that aside, the Thistle Chapel is just gorgeous, stuffed full of lovely wooden panelling, and very much worth taking a little bit of time to see, as is the rest of the Cathedral.

Royal Mile, Edinburgh
Royal Mile, Edinburgh

5. Visit the Free Museums in Edinburgh on the Royal Mile

Since you’re on the Royal Miles, you should definitely take advantage of the many free museums that you can find along it’s length. Some of our favourites include the Edinburgh Museum, the Writers Museum and the Museum of Childhood.

Edinburgh Museum
Edinburgh Museum

6. Climb Calton Hill

Towards the end of the day, I’d suggest you head up Calton Hill.

This is a beautiful spot for a read of town and might be found at the east finish of Princes Street. This hill is home to a series of monuments, including the National Monument of Scotland, which bears more than a passing resemblance to the Parthenon in Greece. Which makes sense, because that’s what it was modeled on. Up on the Hill you may additionally notice Nelson’s Monument and also the Royal Observatory.

 

From here you can watch the sun set across the city, with the mountains in the background, which is ample reward for the effort required to climb up.

Calton Hill, Edinburgh
Calton Hill, Edinburgh

Day Two

7. Visit Holyrood Palace

At the alternative finish of the Royal Mile from capital Castle is Holyrood Palace, that is wherever we’re about to begin the second day of our 2 day capital itinerary. Holyrood Palace is that the official residence of a people monarch in Scotland. Although the Queen herself only spends a week in a year here – most of her time in Scotland is spent up at Balmoral.
 
When the Queen isn’t here, the Palace is employed for visiting dignitaries, different members of the royal house, and in fact, as a traveller attraction, being open daily. It’s worth checking however that there isn’t someone of importance staying, as the palace closes to visitors when fulfilling its main role as an official residence.
Holyrood Palace, Edinburgh

8. Visit Dynamic Earth

If you like fun, interactive science museums, then Dynamic Earth is a must-visit. Right next to the Scottish Parliament building and underneath the stunning backdrop of the Crags and Arthur’s Seat, Dynamic Earth tells the story of the history of the Earth.

We really feel it has something for everyone. From a time machine ride into the past, to a spaceship simulation that takes you right to the Big Bang itself, this is an educational and fun experience that we think is fun for the whole family.

Dynamic Earth, Edinburgh
Dynamic Earth, Edinburgh

9. Hike Arthur’s Seat

One of my favourite things about Edinburgh, other than how magnificently walk-able the city centre is, is that just a stones throw from Holyrood Palace, the Parliament Building and Dynamic Earth is the ancient volcano of Arthur’s Seat, part of the 640-acre Holyrood Park.

This 251 metre high peak offers spectacular views of the city and surrounds, as well as nice hiking, sunset and sunrise views, and the walk is easily manageable right from the city centre.

Arthur’s Seat, Edinburgh
Arthur’s Seat, Edinburgh

10. Follow in JK Rowling’s footsteps

For Harry Potter fans, Edinburgh’s a touch of a pilgrim’s journey website – it’s wherever author JK Rowling lived and is jam-packed with places that galvanized her.There’s Victoria Street that became Diagon Alley and also the Hogwarts-style martyr Heriot’s college.Some of the names on the graves in Greyfriars Kirkyard may look acquainted too.
 

You can also stop off for a drink in The Elephant House Café and Spoon Café where she wrote parts of the books.

Elephant House, Edinburgh
Elephant House, Edinburgh

When to Visit Edinburgh

Like much of the UK, Edinburgh has variable weather, so you need to be prepared for everything from rain to sunshine. Layered clothing is the key to a successful trip.

Be aware that being fairly northerly, Edinburgh has generally cooler weather than the southern cities in England, although it does rain less than Glasgow. There’s not really a bad time to visit Edinburgh as there is so much going on throughout the year, but if you prefer better weather and longer days to explore by daylight, then visiting in the summer months is preferable.
 
Of course, visiting outside of those months can mean it’s quieter, but avoid August as accommodation because it may be more pricey due to festivals going on.
View of Edinburgh
View of Edinburgh

Getting to and from Edinburgh

Edinburgh is very easy to get to. Flights operate to Edinburgh airport, both nationally and internationally, and the airport itself is around six miles outside the city centre, and easily reached by airport bus or with a taxi service like Uber.

The terminal in Edinburgh has quick rail services to London (around four and a half hours), and is magnificently located directly underneath the castle.Emerging from the rail station and being confronted by the beauty of Edinburgh for the first time is something you’ll never forget.
 
You can additionally drive to Edinburgh. Parking is feasible within the center, and a car will let you get to attractions outside of the city, but isn’t generally needed for day to day sightseeing as Edinburgh is very compact.

Where to Stay in Edinburgh

Edinburgh encompasses a big selection of accommodation choices from hostels to mid-range hotels to luxury properties. We’d advise finding a city centre hotel, that way you’ll be able to walk to all the attractions in this list and save on taxis or public transport fares.

If you’re travelling in the busier time of year, such as during the August Festivals or around New Years Eve, you’ll definitely want to book as far in advance of your trip as possible to be sure you find somewhere that suits. Our favourite way to find the best deals on accommodation when we travel is booking.com. We find they sometimes have the simplest deals across a large vary of properties, together with hotels and residences, and area unit very easy to use. We can also recommend apartment rentals as an option.

We also have a page full of travel packages, which includes Europe best deals. 🙂
 
Hopefully these resources will help you plan your trip to Scotland’s capital Have a great time, and as always, if you’ve got any questions or comments, just get in touch! 🙂

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2-days In Amsterdam..A Complete Travel Guide

Explore a 2-day detail of guide of traveling in Amsterdam, Netherlands from a traveler experience..

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2-days In Amsterdam…A Complete Travel Guide

2-days In Amsterdam...A Complete Travel Guide

Amsterdam is a city of Nightlife, with 2 days in hands in Amsterdam, you have enough time to explore all the city’s best attractions and soak up the fabulous atmosphere! In this post we share our to-do things which are not to be missed in Amsterdam and it helps you to plan your perfect Amsterdam 2-day itinerary.After you visit the main museums, you get to stroll the canals and parks, take your pick from trendy restaurants, and simply enjoy this European experience.

About Our Amsterdam Experiences

We have been to Amsterdam thrice, in 2015, 2017 and 2018. Our first visit to Amsterdam was perfect. It was late April, the skies were sunny, the tulips were blooming, and strolling along the canals was magical. it has a special place in our hearts.

Amsterdam was even better the second time around. This time, it was early April, it was more crowded and a little chillier, but we loved every minute we spent in Amsterdam. On our second visit, we skipped the museums and spent most of our time wandering the canals, trying new restaurants, and just enjoying Amsterdam.

On this Amsterdam itinerary, I combined the best of our experiences so you can have the perfect two days in Amsterdam and thoughts about where to stay also.

We hope you fall in love with Amsterdam like we did!

Two days in Amsterdam: Where to stay?

1. Mövenpick Hotel Amsterdam City Centre

A 4 star Luxury Hotel which has amazing river view rooms and just 10 min walk to the city center It offers spacious rooms with free wi-fi, a minibar, satellite TV and tea and coffee making facilities.

2. Pillows Anna van den Vondel Amsterdam

Located next to the Vondelpark, the hotel has rooms some with a private terrace or French balcony.The hotels is conveniently located close to the Van Gogh Museum and Rijksmuseum.

3. Hotel The Exchange

Situated next to Dam sq. this edifice offers from one star to five star rooms each unambiguously adorned by students of the style college and Dutch designers.

4. Art’otel Amsterdam

Located in the heart of the city close to the Central station, this boutique hotel offers modern rooms that feature art work by Atelier Van Lieshout.

Amsterdam Day-1

1. Van Gogh Museum

To see the world’s largest assortment of Gogh artworks and one among the foremost in style museums within the world, a visit to the current attraction may be a should.It is filled with 200 of his paintings, 500 of his drawings and 700 of his letters. It provides history of Van Gogh’s legacy and inspirations, as well as showcasing exhibitions from his colleagues like Gauguin, Malevich and Vallotton. Make sure you book your tickets online to benefit from priority access.

Van Gogh museum
Van Gogh museum

2. Rijksmuseum

It is in vicinity of Van Gogh Museum and is also one of the most famous museums in the world, attracting people from all over the globe. Its grand and prized collection includes a wide variety of masterpieces from greats such as Rembrandt, Vermeer and Frans as well as artefacts and sculptures of cultural significance .Don’t forget to relax in the Rijksmuseum’s newly renovated gardens.

Rijksmuseum
Rijksmuseum

3. Vondelpark

Existing now for almost 150 years, Vondelpark is the largest park in Amsterdam and the most famous park in the Netherlands. It is constantly filled with locals and tourists alike exercising, enjoying the sun or dog-walking. You can take a walk after a visit to the museums as it is close by, or explore it the Dutch way – through a bike tour.

Vondelpark, Amsterdam

4. Canal Boat Tour

Perhaps the foremost marked characteristic of national capital is its one hundred sixty five canals.Recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2010, it was originally intended to encourage trade and transport and today provides a way for travelers to take in the city’s sights and attractions in an unforgettable way. You can take a canal cruise from one in all the numerous tours that treat the canal, and they usually take one hour.

Don’t forget that platforms like Airbnb provide a spread of boathouses to rent so you’ll really go on the canal, too!

Some great Canal Cruises:
• If the weather is nice the best option is the 75-Minute Open Boat Canal Cruise
• Another great option is the 1.5-Hour Evening Canal Cruise
• The classic day canal cruise
• For a special occasion you can try the 4-Course Live Cooking Dinner Canal Cruise

Amsterdam Canal Cruise
Amsterdam Canal Cruise

5. Red Light District

Situated in one in all the oldest and most lovely components of the town, the infamous Red Light District, also known as Rosse Buurt to the locals, is a network of  sex shops, peep shows, low homes and museums.

The main Red light-weight District is within the Walletjes space, and whereas it’s going to look dodgy on the skin, it is well-protected with police and private bodyguards patrolling it.

Visit this district from eleven pm forwards, either in a group or in a guided tour, to get the full experience of swarming crowds and blaring neon lights reflecting in the canals.

Taking photos of the women within the windows isn’t allowed.

Red Light District, Amsterdam
Red Light District, Amsterdam

Amsterdam Day-2

1. Anne Frank House

Dedicated to period writer Anne Frank, this visit is for those wish to realize a desirable insight into the life and times of Anne Frank throughout warfare II where she and her family hid during a canal house for over 2 years.

It was opened in 1960 and, along with being able to see the Secret Annex, people can learn more about persecution and discrimination of Jews during the war through a showcasing of exhibitions. Film images, historical documents, photographs and Anne Frank’s diary are all on display and help paint a moving picture of what it was like for her and her family during the war. After the Van Gogh Museum and Rijksmuseum, the Anne Frank House is the third most visited museum in the Netherlands.

Anne Frank House, Amsterdam
Anne Frank House, Amsterdam

2. Jordaan Neighborhood

Arguably the most famous neighborhood in Amsterdam is Jordaan. Once a poor district for the working class, years of gentrification means it is now home to a host of young artists, students and entrepreneurs as well as galleries, restaurants and boutiques.

Its charming narrows streets and tiny canals, walking through this neighborhood is extremely enjoyable

It was conjointly once home to many important figures in history like far-famed Dutch author Joost van den Vondel, painter and photographer Breitner and artist Rembrandt van Rijn.

The best way to experience Jordaan is through a food tour.

Not solely you may see the neighborhood and learn its history however you may even have the possibility to have some mouthwatering food.

Jordaan district, Amsterdam
Jordaan district, Amsterdam

3. Dam Square (National Monument)

Situated within the middle of Dam sq. is that the memorial, Netherland’s most important World War II memorial.

It stands at 22-meters high and each year on the fourth of could, a national Remembrance of the Dead is held at this monument where people gather to pay respects to fallen soldiers.

There is a Latin inscription on the pillar that interprets in English to: “Here, where the heart of the fatherland is, may this monument, which citizens carry in their heart, view God’s stars.” It was designed by Dutch architect J.J.P.

Dam Square, Amsterdam
Dam Square, Amsterdam

4. Royal Palace of Amsterdam

One of three palaces in the Netherlands, the Royal Palace was originally built as a city hall and became the palace of King Louis Napoleon, and later on of the Dutch Royal House.

The State placed the Royal Palace at the disposal of the King and nowadays it’s currently used for royal events like prize-givings, the King’s New Year reception and the welcoming of foreign heads of state.

You can take a  tour throughout the palace’s rooms or take a free audio tour.

Royal Palace of Amsterdam

5. Kalverstraat

A bustling shopping attraction in Amsterdam, Kalverstraat is a 750-meter road that lures crowds of people to make it the city’s most commercial street.Major brands will have at least one store here, and you’ll additionally notice boutiques, malls, shoe outlets and memento stores.

Near the end of the street is Kalvertoren Building, a historic building turned modern mall occupying three levels. At the very end of Kalverstraat, if you walk through theMunttoren (Mint Tower), you will arrive at Amsterdam’s vibrant Flower market where you will find all kinds of tulips, bulbs and flowers.

Kalverstraat, Amsterdam

Amsterdam could be a thriving cultural hub, home to important world-famous museums, historical sites and a lively nightlife district.There is a lot of to visualize and do for locals and tourists alike, and although it ticks all the advantages of a big city, it still maintains a quiet and relaxed vibe partly due to good transport and its extensive canals taking the weight off road traffic.

A visit to Europe isn’t complete if you don’t end over minimum of 2 days in this lovely little capital. 😛

I traveled around Amsterdam using the GVB day passes that enable you to travel free round the town from 1-7 days with costs beginning at 7.50 €.

The card can be used in trams, buses, and metros.

Have you been to Amsterdam? 🙂 

If you need any kind of visa assistance or package feel free to reach us on: dreamsvoyager12@gmail.com 

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Budapest Travel Guide

Budapest Travel Guide

Budapest is one of Europe’s most beautiful cities and is ideal for those who want to relax at high-class spas, enjoy the Hungarian cuisine, shop and live luxuriously without having to spend a fortune.

Budapest is a city that is very close to my heart, partly because I have family, friends and a part of my life span as I was residing there in Hungary. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from Hungary’s largest city when we got a chance to live there for a longer while for work.

In this travel guide, I share my best advice during my entire stay at Budapest.

What You’ll Find In This Budapest Travel Guide:

  • How Much Budget To Visit Budapest.
  • How Long To Visit Budapest.
  • The Good And Not-So-Good Things About Budapest.
  • Budapest’s Must-See Sights and Attractions.
  • Budapest Nightlife.
  • Public Transportation.
  • And More…

How Much To Budget For Visiting Budapest

  • Budapest is a very economically fair destination for budget traveler
  • We recommend budgeting €17-40/day if you’re on a backpacker’s budget — you can easily spend more and you might be able to spend less, but this is a good range for planning purposes.

How Long To Visit Budapest: 3-5 Days

Want to hit the highlights? We recommend a minimum of three days. Don’t want to feel rushed? Try to stretch your travel plans: four or five days. Although I had plenty of good times in Budapest and neighbourhood ,nearby cities and specially my favourite lake Balaton for every weekend as I was living there for couple of months.

The Good And Not-So-Good Things About Budapest:

The Good

  • Castle Hill and Architecture. You’ll love walking the streets while you’re admiring Budapest’s Art Noveau and other style buildings.
  • Danube River. The banks of the Danube are amazing, so it’s a joy to take a stroll along the Danube (especially at night when everything is lit up).
  • The Thermal Baths. Budapest is world famous for their thermal baths and they’ve been attracting visitors since the Roman times. They’re still a popular buy for both tourists and locals alike.
  • Nightlife. Budapest Loves parties. It’s a party city- especially for the unique Ruin Bars

The Not-So-Good

  • The Language Ain’t Easy. Hungarian is a tough language and while the alphabet looks similar to English, the letters are pronounced much differently
  • Crooked Taxi Drivers.  Always use certified taxis and insist they use the meter.
  • Scams and Pickpockets. There are a couple of common scams popular in Budapest. And of course, there are the usual pickpockets that you have to take care of.

Budapest’s Must-See Sights And Attractions

1. Danube Promenade

The banks of the Danube river are amazing and gives you a serene walk, so you should spend some time visiting the Danube Promenade. It’s also a great place to see many of Budapest’s best sights. Don’t miss the opportunity to Sail the Danube.

Danube Promenade, Budapest
Danube Promenade, Budapest
Danube Promenade, Budapest
Danube Promenade, Budapest

2. Castle Hill

Rested above the city, Castle Hill is a must-visit neighborhood of Budapest. Some of the buildings date back to 14th and 15th centuries. Set aside a day to discover its winding cobble stone streets. The area also hosts many of Budapest’s top attractions like Trinity Square, Matthias Church (Mátyás templom), Fishermen’s Bastion (Halászbástya), and Buda Castle.

Castle Hill, Budapest
Castle Hill, Budapest
Castle Hill, Budapest

3. Buda Castle Hill Funicular

This funicular, which first opened in 1870, is the second oldest funicular of it type in the world. A system of weights and counterweights is used to help to raise the carriages up and down the hill.The funicular is the swift and rapid way to get to the top of Castle Hill, and is exceedingly popular because of its panoramic views out across the Danube.

Buda Castle Hill Funicular
Buda Castle Hill Funicular
Buda Castle Hill Funicular
Buda Castle Hill Funicular

4. Great Market Hall

This massive indoor market is a huge hub for fruits, vegetables, prepared foods, and random souvenirs. The prices are a lot higher than what you’d find over on the Buda side of the city. However, it’s a nice place to go for rush bites and to look at the architecture of the hall.

Market Hall, Outside View, Budapest
Market Hall, Outside View, Budapest
Market Hall, Interior View, Budapest
Market Hall, Interior View, Budapest

5. House of Terror

The House of Terror is a museum which reflects Budapest’s time under Nazi and communist rule — specially it focuses of the secret police of both parties. It’s housed in the secret police’s former headquarters. It’s a very interesting museum and it’s one of the cities most visited attractions. 

House of Terror Musuem, Budapest
House of Terror Musuem, Budapest
House of Terror Musuem, Budapest
House of Terror Musuem, Budapest

6. Hungarian Parliament

This iconic building is the largest building in Hungary and it’s the third largest parliament in the world. It’s a treat to admire from the outside but you can also admire the inside by taking one of the daily tours (in English) for around €12.42.

Budapest Parliament
Hungarian Parliament, Budapest
Hungarian Parliament, Budapest
Hungarian Parliament, Budapest

7. Margaret Park

A famous city Park, away from the busiest Budapest downtown, is a very peaceful green hideaway where people of Budapest go to escape the city. In this huge spread park, you’ll will find a small zoo, medieval runs, swimming pools, playgrounds, a water park, a rose garden, two musical fountains, open air theatre, cinema and some great clubs.

Margaret Park, Budapest
Margaret Park, Budapest
Rose Garden on Margaret Island
Rose Garden on Margaret Island

8. Heroes’ Square

The largest square in Hungary. It also designates the mark of the entrance of City Park so you’re sure to come across this monument.

Heroes’ Square, Budapest
Heroes’ Square, Budapest
Heroes’ Square, Budapest

9. Saint Stephen’s Basilica (St. István’s Basilica)

Saint Stephen’s Basilica is the largest church in Budapest and it also contains St. Stephen’s mummified right hand. The more impressive thing about this church: are the views from the top of the church as it also offers the highest 360-degree views of the city.

St Stephens Basilica in Budapest Hungary
St Stephens Basilica in Budapest Hungary
View from St Stephens Basilica, Budapest Hungary
View from St Stephens Basilica, Budapest Hungary

10. Ecseri Flea Market

This is one of the biggest flea markets in Central Europe and it sells just about everything you can imagine. It’s a best place to pick up a unique souvenir for way back home. It is about 40 minutes outside the city but it is easily accessible via public transportation.

Ecseri Flea Market, Budapest
Ecseri Flea Market, Budapest
Ecseri Flea Market, Budapest
Ecseri Flea Market, Budapest

11. Shoes On The Danube

I was touched with a very moving memorial while walking along the Danube promenade. The shoes on the Danube banks tell the war story of the many jews who, during 1944-1945, were forced to strip naked on the banks of the Danube and face the river. A firing squad then shot the prisoners in the back so that they fell into the river to be washed away.

The shoes are a tribute to all those who lost their lives, but also a sad reminder of a very dark time.

Shoes On The Danube, Budapest
Shoes On The Danube, Budapest
Shoes On The Danube, Budapest
Shoes On The Danube, Budapest

12. Thermal Baths

Budapest is known for its natural thermal pool baths — in fact, even the Romans enjoyed the city’s thermal baths. Some say the thermal springs which fill these baths have healing powers. They are relaxing for sure — which is why you’ll find people of all ages enjoying these warm waters.

Budapest has a handful of different thermal bathhouses — some are barebones and others are quite opulent. Most all have multiple small pools, each with different temperature water (some can be quite hot so be careful).

The two most famous thermal baths in budapest are SZÉCHENYI SPA are GELLÉRT SPA. 

Széchenyi, is probably the most popular and it’s a beautiful neo-baroque bath complex that consists of 11 medicinal pools and eight swimming pools. It’s also one of the largest spas in Europe. A ticket (including a cabin or locker) will cost around €13-€17.

Gellért is another popular option. Built in 1918, this opulent thermal bath complex features four thermal-medicinal pools, six other indoor pools, and two outdoor pools. Expect to pay around €17 for entrance and a cabin or locker rental.

Szechenyi Bath of Budapest, Hungary
Szechenyi Bath of Budapest, Hungary
Aerial view of Gellert thermal spa historical building from Gellert Hill, Budapest
Aerial view of Gellert thermal spa building from Gellert Hill, Budapest

Budapest Nightlife and Drinking

Budapest has that great combination of being a large youthful city that also has plenty of cheap alcohol-one of its famous and to be tried is Palinka and lots of large, cheap buildings — which is why this is one of the best cities to enjoy nightlife

Budapest is most famous for its Ruin Pubs. which are exactly what they sound like — pubs built in abandoned/ruined buildings. after WWII many of buildings in the neighborhood were destroyed. Years later people moved into (i.e. squatted) these buildings and turned them into secret underground pubs and bars. Many of these bars still exist and they each have their own vibe. The three main ruin pubs are Szimpla Kert, Instant and Fogas Ház

The Gozsdu Courtyard, once the core of Budapest's Jewish quarter, today is popular place with restaurants, pubs and bars.
The Gozsdu Courtyard, once the core of Budapest's Jewish quarter, today is popular place with restaurants, pubs and bars.
Bar interior in Budapest
Bar interior in Budapest

Traveling Around Budapest

Budapest has a good network of transportation via trams, buses, and subways. They’re all affordable but be sure you always validate your ticket because they do check tickets often (you don’t want to get fined —which is €27-€53).

Download the Smart City Public Transportation app for your smartphone as it gives you offline maps/routes for all the public trans in Budapest.

Single Ticket: 350 HUF (€1.15)

Book of 10 Single Tickets: 3,000 HUF (€10)

Unlimited Day Pass: 1,650 HUF (€5.45)

Train Ticket Between Airport and City: 400 HUF (€1.33)

Budapest Tram
Budapest Tram
Budapest Modern Tram
Budapest Modern Tram
Budapest Subway Platform
Budapest Subway Platform
Budapest Bus
Budapest Bus

And More ….!!! 🙂

So, would you visit Budapest? It’s cheap and hip, let’s go, let’s go!

Did we miss something? Do you have any further Questions or Do you need any help with Eastern Europe Package ? Leave a comment below and tell us all about it.We have many ongoing package for same!!

Are you going to Prague or Vienna? Don’t forget to check our website for travel Packages or we can curate them for you..!! 🙂

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“COLMAR”: France’s Fairyland

“COLMAR”: France’s Fairyland

Everyone just curious about travelling to Paris & London, yet there are many small villages in France & Europe offers a unique & unspoilt glimpse of ancient Europe, untouched by modern development tracing back to Medieval Period. For me as an avid traveler between Germany, France and Italy it was a first time visit to Colmar . I have a weakness for canal side cities – Annecy, Bruges, Amsterdam, and Venice. Nevertheless, one of my all-time favorites is in France’s Alsace region, a city overflowing with half-timbered medieval buildings and flower-lined canals. So when I got my all ears that Colmar is even more colorful, had even prettier buildings, more flowers and more scenic canals, how could I forgo a visit?

“COLMAR” - Location

Colmar is just situated on the border of France and Germany and near Switzerland, Colmar is a fairytale French town that offers a mesmerizing insight into the last 1,000 years of European history.

Colmar is a real gem in the Alsace. The town has a very well perpetuate city center and a picturesque division called ‘Little Venice’, which is touristy with colorful timbered houses and little canals. I spent 4 days in Colmar so what I liked is a perfect explanation here for you to use – if you are in love with small towns and looking for peaceful holidays and decide to visit Colmar in France.

Colmar Location
Colmar Location
Railway station, Colmar, France
Railway station, Colmar, France

How to Reach Colmar?

Colmar is very near to city of Strasbourg. You can find a direct train connection to Colmar from Strasbourg, which is 35 minutes ride, make sure that you sit on the right side of the train and enjoy the highly captivating and stunning views of the Mountains amd countryside landscape. Additionally, there a numerous low-cost flights from the closest airport; the Euroairport in Basel and Zurich.

Checking In: Airbnb (Vacation Rental)

For our stay in Colmar our only interest was being centrally located so that we could make the most of our visit. After doing, a little research online I found Airbnb Apartment, which is highly rated, based on reviews, so it seemed the obvious choice given their location right by just a short few minutes’ walk to all the shops and center of town. The apartment was extremely generous in size; I would definitely recommend this to travellers on a mid-range budget in Colmar.

Airbnb Apartment in Colmar
Airbnb Apartment in Colmar
Airbnb Apartment in Colmar
Airbnb Apartment in Colmar

Things to do in Colmar, France

1. Stroll Down the old Town

Walking the streets of Colmar is like watching or living in those childhood fairy stories, which has come to life or presents a real picture of all. There is a wooden steeple just perfect for Rapunzel to let her hair down from, tiny cottages that would make the perfect home for seven dwarfs and a candy-colored bakery Hansel and Gretel. The Strasbourg and Colmar are placed in such a way that is where France meets Germany and the two cultures come together to create a unique mix – think of it as France with a twist. Just when its Bonjour and Hallo!!

Colmar old town in France
Colmar old town in France
Colmar Old Town in France
Colmar Old Town in France

Colmar doesn’t have huge list of must-see museums or attractions –But what it does have is scenic spots by the bucket-load. You might need to pack an extra memory card or two – I cannot remember the last place where I took quite so many photos. Everywhere you look there are small houses painted in pastel shades, wooden shutters, wooden windows, twisting cobbled streets and window boxes overflowing with blooms. It is the perfect place to meander around and see what is there in the box.

View on the beautiful old half-timbered houses
View on the beautiful old half-timbered houses
Historical street in Colmar city center
Historical street in Colmar city center

I was under the dilemma that locals must be really and justifiably proud of their homes, and everything is neatly painted and preserved. Some are decorated with lamps, clocks and hearts – then there are a few who’ve have taken it to the extreme by hanging bikes, chairs, Santa Claus and who knows what else out front. In Colmar, it seems your house is an piece of artwork in addition with a place to live which is worthwhile to spend rest of your life. Houses are also mixed with cute boutique shops selling local produce like chocolate and wine as well as art and antiques. Some of them have ornate and beautifully carved signs hanging over the street to show what they sell. Then there are waterside cafés and more souvenir shops to relish your cravings to preserve Colmar in your home.

Decorative front facades
Decorative front facades
Decorative front facades
Decorative front facades

2. La Petite Venise

It is just a look around and you will find picturesque building in the center of Colmar, but things reach peak prettiness in the area nicknamed Petit Venice. Colmar’s Little Venice is where you will find that picture-perfect to get clicked row of half-timbered houses painted in shades of pink, yellow and sky blue. The houses here are homes or quarters for many tanners, butchers and fishmongers lived. The story goes that different colors were used to display the different types of businesses – so if you were a fisherman your house would be blue, or a butcher would have a red house.

View of La Petite Venise
View of La Petite Venise
View of La Petite Venise
View of La Petite Venise

For a different experience and views of Colmar, you can take a boat trip. Many visitors only spend a day in Colmar, but if you have time to spare its worth staying for at least more nights. Colmar is also a great base to explore the Alsatian wine route where some of the area’s delicious Rieslings are grown, with pretty Eguisheim 7km away by bike. When its dawn or you can also call blue hour, with soft street lighting and perfect reflections in the still waters of the canals, the fairytale is real.

Area little Venice (la Petite Venise) in Colmar, Alsace, France. Evening
Area little Venice (la Petite Venise) in Colmar, Alsace, France. Evening
Area little Venice (la Petite Venise) in Colmar, Alsace, France. Evening
Area little Venice (la Petite Venise) in Colmar, Alsace, France. Evening

It is one of those few places in the world that you can visit and ultimately feel the urge to remain there for the rest of your life. We have traveled to various parts of France and the world in general, but there is no other place in this country or anywhere else where I or any other visitor can feel like a fairy tale World

I hope that our guide has helped you to answer all your questions. In addition, if not, please feel free to pop some more in the comment section below. We will try to help in your planning. Until then, enjoy your travels!

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Northern Lights in Lofoten: See Aurora Borealis

Northern Lights in Lofoten: See Aurora Borealis

Experience the norwegian northern lights from a traveler’s experience!

Everyone has dreams of places they want to see, explore and chuck down from there bucket list in their lifetime. For many and if I am not wrong, at the top of that bucket list is the Northern Lights, or Aurora Borealis. One of the best destinations to chase and explore northern lights is Norway and more northwards you drift to, the better the chances and luckier you get.

Aurora borealis, the Northern Lights, Lofoten Islands
Aurora borealis, the Northern Lights, Lofoten Islands

Hunting the northern lights is a sport that just every winter traveller can get behind. Watching this magnificent nature phenomenon Northern lights dancing and flickering in the sky is on the bucket lists of thousands. People travel from all over the world in the hope of getting a glimpse of the sky illuminated by spectacular displays of green, purple or pink and this was certainly on my list too, and I got my chance on a cold, clear night in Lofoten Islands.

What is Aurora Borealis?

Have you ever thought about what causes the appearance of Northern Lights and why it illuminates the sky in different colours? It occurs when electrically charged gas particles from the sun enter the earth’s atmosphere and are seen above the magnetic poles of the northern and southern hemispheres. The lights appear to be dancing across the sky and it comes in every shape and size. The most common colour seen is green but if you are lucky, you can see the sky light up like a rainbow in pink, blue, yellow and purple. The color of Northern Lights mainly depends and comes from the type of particles that collide with each other.

Aurora borealis, Northern lights
Aurora borealis, Northern lights

Where can you see Aurora Borealis?

Northern Lights are most commonly seen in Norway, Greenland and Iceland in Europe, or in the Northwest Territories of North America, Alaska and Canada. Norway is the most accessible option. If sky condition is good and clear then you can see the Northern Lights all across Nordic areas.

Seeing the Northern Lights: My Lifetime Experience

It was our 3rd and final day in Lofoten Islands and we hadn’t seen the Northern Lights. On our first two nights, the excursions in search of the green light in the sky had been cancelled due to cloud cover and heavy rains and snow. But, on our last day, we got lucky to see sunshine with the fact that we surely be seeing the Northern Lights because of clear sky.

In preparation for the evening outing, we layered about every piece of woollen clothing we had from backpack and get ready for the thrilling adventure. We joined the group with our guide at 21:00 hrs and headed for Northern Light spot. After a short ride for about 15mins our Tour Guide addressed the group “That Northern Lights have been spotted.” A ripple of excitement rushed through us. Out the window, we could see a glowing thin green light covering entire snow clad mountains.

Northern lights Svolvaer
Northern Lights, Svolvaer, Lofoten Islands

Beyond the road we arrived on, toward a mountain, we could see two distinct streams of lime green and Pink light in the sky. This was it. This is what we were waiting for. This is what we were chasing. We were seeing the Northern Lights in Norway with our very own eyes.

We scrambled to find a place to set up our cameras, as we needed complete stillness if we were to have any chance of getting a clear photo. Without a tripod, we would have to improvise. The ground was completely covered with snow and ice. But sooner we spotted a picnic table, cleared off the snow, laid our camera at angled towards the dancing Northern Lights.

Northern lights view at Lofoten, Norway
Northern lights view at Lofoten, Norway

The strip of green and pink lights expanded and brightened then dulled and brightened again. The light danced across the sky, silhouetting the mountain. It was like landing and watching into a fairy tale land. A million stars twinkled above us. Constellations were so intense that it brightened the entire sky and it was almost impossible to believe that we finally made our dream come true to chase and see northern lights in real. We watched until we were completely frozen and numb…which was about a total of 30-35minutes.

Northern Lights in Sky
Northern Lights in Sky, Lofoten Islands, Norway

Want my advice for seeing the Northern Lights in Norway/Iceland/Lapland etc.? If you haven’t practiced your photography and unprepared for frigidly cold weather, forget the camera and simply enjoy the Lights in the sky. If you want the memory in a photograph, ask your tour guide to click one for you!

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