Author Archives: Pinar Tarhan

10 Fun Things to Do in Norway

Here are our travel tips on what to do in Norway outside the capital city of Oslo.

Take the Scenic Norwegian Mountain Train to Flam

Taking a train in Norway is always a sight worth-seeing as it is full of nature. But one train route beats the others’ views, and that is the carriage train called Flamsbana. Your Flamsbana journey starts from Mydrals mountain station. You get to ride through a gorgeous valley to the Flam village. Along this 20km journey, you should get off at the one possible spot- the Kjoss waterfall.

what to do Norway

Mountain train to Flam by neha

Catch the Beach Volleyball Festival in Stavanger

So June has arrived, and you don’t want scorching heat. But you are not willing to compromise beach volleyball and sand either. Then Norway’s fourth biggest city Stavanger is the right choice for you.

The weather mostly ranges from warm to cool. At the end of June comes the annual beach volleyball festival, taking place along the harbor VÃ¥gen where games start early in the morning and end late at night. However remember that playing beach volley barefoot in Stavanger might feel cold, even in the summer. I tried doing it for 10 minutes and then I had to put my sneakers back on. Of course there’s more to Stavanger than volleyball, so more attraction ideas you might want to check out Britt’s post.

what to do Norway

Photo by Britt-Arnhild

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10 Museums in France

Here are our travel tips for museums in France, outside the capital city of Paris.

Matisse Museum, Nice

French artist Henri-Émile-Benoît Matisse (1869- 1954) lived in Nice from 1918 until he died, and his great work is on display at death Musée Matisse. Located on 164, av. des Arènes de Cimiez 06000, the museum is open all year (with the exception of Tuesdays and some public holidays) and free to visit. It’s open from 10am till 6pm. The museum allows group tours that don’t have more than 20 people. However guided tours cost €20 for school groups and  €80 for adult groups. Getting to the museum is also convenient. You just need to take one of these buses: 15, 17, 20, 22, 25.

France museums

Photo by debs-eye.

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Musée des Beaux-Arts et d’archéologie, Besançon

Interestingly enough, France’s oldest public museum was at first the private collection of an abbot, although he wanted the public to be able to visit it two days a week starting from 1694. Musée des Beaux-Arts et d’archéologie de Besançon’s collections consist of 3 different areas: paintings, drawings and archaeology, though I find the archaeological aspect the most impressive. Some of the archaeology pieces are the complete sarcophagus of an ancient Egyptian (21 Dynasty) royal scribe named Seramon and several Roman pavements of mosaic as well as various artifacts from different sites of the area. The painting collection includes works from European artists like Henri-Émile-Benoît Matisse Matisse, Francisco José de Goya y Lucientes, Pieter Bruegel (Brueghel) the Elder, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Tiziano Vecelli  and Sir Peter Paul Rubens – covering several centuries. The museum is also famous for the vast number of drawings it displays, which also covers several centuries and different countries. The museum is located in the France-Comte area, in the east of France, close to the Swiss border.

France museums

Photo by Magika42000′s photostream

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25 Fun Places to Visit in Greece

Here are our travel tips for what to do in Greek places, excluding the capital, as we’ve already written about things to do in Athens on Europe a la Carte.

Enjoy exotic locations in Greece while accessing your Online Windows Desktop with CloudDesktopOnline and SharePoint Hosted documents with CloudAppsPortal site.

Delphi

Delphi features a modern town, as well as the ruins site of the Oracle of Delphi in Greek mythology.Marcus has painted a wonderful picture of the ruins in his post. The new part of the town is home to the Delphi Archaeological Museum. If you’re a fan of Greek mythology and architecture, do not miss this museum.

what to do Greece

Delphi by Marcus Cederstrom

Skopelos

Mamma mia, here I go again
My my, how can I resist ya
Mamma mia, does it show again
My my, just how much I’ve missed ya

Nope, I am not an ABBA fan. I’m just not into the 70s pop (or the fashion), but to my surprise, I fell in love with the 2008 movie Mamma Mia, an extremely entertaining musical featuring ABBA songs. Of course, my love for the movie had a lot to do with the starring actors Meryl Streep, Pierce Brosnan and Colin Firth, as well as the gorgeous locations where the movie was shot, on the islands Skopelos and Skiathos (which is also on our list).

Skopelos Bay by Yorick_R
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10 Things to See in Porto, Portugal

Beautiful Porto, one of Europe’s oldest cities, is the second largest city in Portugal. Below are our travel tips for what to do in Porto.

Porto Cathedral (Sé do Porto)

Porto Cathedral is an impressive example of Romanesque architecture and although it went through a lot of changes throughout its history, it managed to remain mainly Romanesque, though its exterior also features elements of Gothic style. Porto Cathedral is the oldest surviving structure of the city (whose history goes back to the 12th century), and one of the most significant structures of the historical center of Porto. It is also the largest church of city. It’s famous for being the place where Prince Henry the Navigator, who is famous for his contributions to Portuguese exploration and maritime trade, was baptized. My favorite part of the cathedral is the rose window, which looks great from both inside and outside of the building. However the chapterhouse and its art collection are also recommended. It is located on Terreiro da Sé, and it can be reached after a short walk from the São Bento Station, the most central train station of Porto.

what to do Porto

Photo by gilus_pl

The Majestic Café

There’s nothing like a good café to give you the true feel of the city, and The Majestic Café is just the right one to do that . The great thing about this café is that it will also tell you a lot about the city’s history-a history filled with writers and artists, design and architecture as well. Opened in 1921and designed by architect Joao Queiros, you can easily spot The Majestic Café on Santa Catarina street, right in the city center. The café has been a favorite of many writers, including J.K.Rowling, the bestselling author of the Harry Potter series while she lived in Porto. You might even find yourself at a table where a Harry Potter book was coming to life. The café is open seven days of the week from 9.30 to midnight.

what to do Porto

Photo by  iphil

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10 Fun Things to Do in Denmark

Here are our travel tips on what to see in Denmark outside the capital of Copenhagen.

Go Shakespearian at Kronborg Castle, Helsingor

Located in Helsingor, Denmark’s most famous and possibly the most eventful castle is the Kronborg Castle. It has seen complete architectural renovations, fire and invasions. It has been synonymous with Shakespeare Hamlet as it is the castle featured in the play and has been a tourist favorite for quite some time.Must-see for the castle includes the gorgeous 62-metre long ballroom, the statue of “Holger the Dane” and the chapel. You might enjoy the free tours in English and you’ll also get the chance to experience impressive exhibitions, and you might even coincide with Hamlet being staged-famous actors Jude Law and Christopher Plummer have taken the stage in Kronborg.

If you are interested in the history, you should go under the castle to see the casemates that tell you all about the Danish history and of course you will see the statue of Holger Danske. You should however definitely bring your flashlight to be able to fully see your way.

Image via Marcus Cederstrom

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10 Istanbul Museums to Experience

All the museums listed below are on the European side of Istanbul and they are mostly very close to one another, so you can see all of them in just a couple of days.

Magic Ice – Istanbul’s Ice Museum

Istanbul Ice Museum may sounds a bit surprising. But unfortunately Istanbul is no longer the usually-warm city visitors imagine. Sure, it still has hot summers and generally warm springs, but it also sees lots of close-to-0 days, as well as snowy ones.

Istanbul Ice Museum by Inka

Opened in April 2010, Istanbul remains to be the “hottest” city that holds an ice-themed museum. It is in Forum Istanbul, a popular and trendy shopping center. You can visit the museum every day, compliments of being located in a mall. All you need to do is to take the subway and get off on the stop that leads directly inside the shopping center.

The admission to go into the Viking-themed ice wonder is 20TL, and you need to wear protective outfits before you enter. After that all you have to do is walk around and enjoy the sculptures under blue lights and read the story of the Vikings’ Istanbul voyage (which is available in both English and Turkish.)

Istanbul Museum of Modern Art (Istanbul Modern)

This list includes several museums that contain many diverse examples of Ottoman Empire, Byzantine and Ancient Anatolian civilization’s culture, but it is not to say Istanbul doesn’t have its share of museums that exhibit modern and post-modern artworks from both Turkish and international artists.

Sculpture in front of Istanbul Museum of Modern Art by Inka

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10 Things to Do in Sofia, Bulgaria

Here are our travel tips for what to do in Sofia, the capital of Bulgaria.

Be Impressed by the Alexander Nevski Church

If you are going on a guided tour, chances are the Alexander Nevsky Cathedral is on the list of sights, as it is considered to be one of the symbols of Bulgaria. This impressive piece of architecture can hold thousands of people. It is one of the largest (Eastern) cathedrals in the world. It was started in the late 19th century, but the building process was finished in 1912. It’s typical Neo-Byzantine (also called Byzantine Revival)  architecture and elegant interior design, as well as its cultural importance, are some of the best reasons to see it.

what to do Sofia

Image via Anduze traveller

Stay In an Amphitheatre

The Amphitheatre of Serdica, which is considered to be the Colosseum of Bulgaria, is an ancient amphitheatre in Sofia. Even though it was used by gladiators and their fights for a short time (due to attacks and disapproving governing policies) and its remains were recently discovered, it is one of the most interesting sights the capital has to offer. The amphitheatre was designed to hold more than 20.000 people. You can stay at the Arena di Serdica Hotel, which is built in and around the amphitheatre.

what to do Sofia

Image via hotel website

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10 Great Istanbul Restaurants to Discover

Istanbul is one big cosmopolitan city that lies both in Asia and Europe with 2 bridges connecting the land on both continents. You have endless restaurants from which to choose,; I tried to pick great restaurants from both sides that won’t hurt your budget. And don’t be intimidated about the size of the city. Without traffic, crossing sides won’t take more than 15 minutes. However I recommend that you take the ferry during rush hour. I’ve given the prices in Turkish Lira (TL; in March 2012 1TL = £0.35/$0.56/0.42Euro.

Goze, Sariyer, European Side

Located by the sea, on the European side, Sariyer is full of restaurants with great views. However only Goze offers a gorgeous view, a rich brunch menu at only 25 TL, creatively decorated tables, glass walls, elevated entrance and 2 patios.

Istanbul restaurants

Photo via sariyerilcesi.com

Turks are big on brunches at the weekends, and you can rarely beat Goze’s price and location. The open-buffet brunch menu is varied with unlimited tea, though you might have to pay extra for coffee or orange juice. Across from the restaurant there is a patisserie of the same name which specializes in desserts, so it might be a good place to finish your brunch on a sweet note.

Ciya, Kadikoy, Asian Side

Ciya, a favorite of both the tourists and locals, is a unique restaurant as its 3 branches are all located in the same fish market district of Kadikoy, and all of these branches specialize in different things. One offers traditional & authentic Turkish dishes from all around Turkey, the second one has kebab and “lahmacun” as well as a selection of traditional dishes and the last one offers dishes cooked with olive oil only.The traditional dishes are healthy and delicious, and many of them can be feasted on even if you are on a diet. I should know, my uncle is allowed to eat there by his dietician. The fact that “olive oil” dishes don’t include meat means Ciya is also a heaven for vegetarians.

Istanbul restaurants

Photo via ciya.com.tr

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10 European Film Festivals Movie Fans Shouldn’t Miss

Below are just a few of the European film festivals on offer. Whether the focus your trips is attending a European film festival or your visit happens to coincide with the event, have fun at the movie fest.

Molodist Film Festival, Ukraine

The festival is held in Kiev in October and it is one of the rare international film festivals that focuses on young directors worldwide. Some of the directors that had their career breakthroughs with this festival include Oscar-nominated English director Steven Daldry (The Reader, The Hours, Billy Elliot) and Bafta-nominated French director Francois Ozon (Swimming Pool, 8 Femmes, Angel.) The festival website promotes a few festivals from around the world. Taking full advantage of social media, the site has about 3,700 Facebook fans already. After all, “molodist” means young in Ukranian, a definition given to you before you enter the website. The festival is in its 4th decade.

Image via img.scoop.it

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The Netherlands Film Festival, The Netherlands

I am not the biggest fan of French cinema, even though there are some gems that I love. I like some German films, but for some reasons many films from these countries, indie or mainstream don’t resonate with me. The Dutch cinema on the other hand is something else. My appreciation for it started with the movie Karakter (Character) from 1997. Yes, the movie won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Film but I had no idea while I was watching it. This drama has a way of making you feel thrilled, excited and tense even though it is a drama. It features a good story, strong and difficult characters and is not boring even for a second. Now, it might have started with Karakter for me, but this can be said for many other Dutch dramas I’ve seen. The Netherlands Film Festival is held in the last week of September, in Utrecht- a city I absolutely love, just as much as Eindhoven and Amsterdam. The festival shows hundreds of films including features, previous year’s tv films and documentaries. The festival doesn’t neglect famous movie personalities’ films or kid-friendly movies either. I will try to make my my next visit coincide with the festival to get the best of both worlds: Holland and Dutch films.

Utrecht by Damiele Faieta

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Bar Hopping through London: 10 of the Best London Bars

Here are our tips for ten of the best London bars.

The Gunmakers, Farringdon

Eyre Street Hill in Farringdon houses The Gunmakers, a typically busy pub where there is often new ale to try.  It is all about the ale, and if you are hungry, it is about steaks. There are no distractions like games or quizzes. It is a place you can enjoy alone or with your friends, although it is closed during the weekend.  Don’t worry if you are a wine person. The Gunmakers has something to offer to you too.

London bars

Photo via sian

The Greenwich Union

Even if you are a tourist, it might feel good to get away from the other tourists and see where the locals hang out. The Greenwich Union is such a pub, and it doesn’t mean you’ll have to do with uncomfortable bar stools either. The Greenwich Union is in Royal Hill, surrounded by beautiful houses and it is just as lovely inside. You can relax in the cozy leather chairs, sip your beer in the beer garden, hide away at the back garden or enjoy a delicious meal in the conservatory. Fish fingers are recommended. Be warned, however, that the ale of this pub appeals more to the folks who love trying new and different stuff, e.g. organic ale. If you’re in the area during the day Thursday – Sunday, why not have a mosey around Greenwich Food Market?

London bars

Greenwich ~Union by AndyRob

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