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Editorials, Travel Inspiration  • 

5 most incredible places in Sardinia

March 25, 2015

Sardinian beaches

Sardinia, an Italian island on the Mediterranean, is mostly visited for its top-rate beaches and great weather. What most of the tourists are missing though is one of the oldest and most mysterious cultures of Europe, deep forest ravines and one-of-a-kind natural wonders. Each day of my visits to Sardinia was a great adventure and it was hard to choose the most unforgettable experiences, but here goes:

Su Nuraxi

Sardinia nuraghes

Sardinia had for centuries remained the home of a mysterious Nuragic civilization, who built distinctive megalithic towns, fortresses and temples, generally called nuraghes. Though they left over 7 thousand of those monuments around Sardinia, little is known about those people, their religion, origin or even the purpose of their constructions.

The most famous place to explore the mystifying nuraghes is Su Nuraxi site near Barumini town – maybe you will be the one to solve the mystery of ancient Sardinian people…?

Golgo plateau

Donkey in Sardinia

The best place to get to the most beautiful beaches in Sardinia – Cala Goloritze and Cala Sisine. Golgo is interesting by itself, with its San Pietro church, donkey pastures, natural swimming pools and… the biggest sinkhole in Europe. Su Sterru might not look impressive, but the though that this 270 metres (885 ft) deep hole was used for human sacrifice can give you the chills.

Capo Caccia

Neptune's Grotto Sardinia

The peninsula near Alghero town has a lot to offer to the tourists who visit it: panoramic views on the sea, great beaches and the famous Neptune’s Grotto. This 4 km long cave, with many of its chambers hidden under water, is one of the most prominent attractions of the island. Even the steep stairs by the sea are worth a visit.

Orgosolo

Sardinia Orgosolo

This town in Sardinian mountains is famous for murals created here since 1968. The paintings tell the history of Italy but also engage in political and social discussion. Artists, even from outside Sardinia, are encouraged to add their own murals.

Visiting Orgosolo can be interesting from another reason: its locals are native Sardinians, unlike the Italians on the coast. Though they now speak the same language, their heritage is different from the rest of Italy which is clearly visible in small towns like this one.

Cala Goloritze

Cala Goloritze

Cala Goloritze remains my favourite place on Earth and I still can’t even believe I’ve even been there! Turquoise waters and rock formations distinguish Cala Goloritze from other beaches in Sardinia and, as it’s unaccessible by car, the number of tourists isn’t overwhelming. You, too can get to this paradise by taking a trekking route from Golgo plateau (1,5 hour one way) or renting a boat.

Editorials, Travel tips  • 

What to see in Budapest – my favourite spots

January 12, 2015

parliament budapestBudapest – the capital of Hungary is a charming and friendly city, suitable for every time of the year. It’s been gaining popularity during the past couple of years so if you haven’t been there already, you sure are missing out! Here’s a list of my favourite things to see in Budapest:

Gellert hill

gellert hill budapest

A huge, green hill in the city centre. On top of it you’ll find the Citadel built by the Habsburgs and the Liberty Statue – erected by the Soviet Army to commemorate the World War II, though now its meaning is more universal. What I like the most about Gellert hill though is the panoramic view on Danube river and whole Budapest. The South hillside is also a good place for a pleasant walk in quiet surroundings.

Buda castle

buda castle budapest

Built in XIIIth century, the castle overlooks the whole Buda part of the city. Though it was rebuilt a couple of times and didn’t retain its medieval look, it’s still quite impressive. Currently it hosts the Hungarian National Gallery, but you can also visit the Habsburg palatines and royal rooms.

If you don’t feel like climbing the Castle Hill, you can get to the top by a fenicular – be prepared for the queues though. The ride is short but super popular with the tourists.

The Chain Bridge

chain bridge budapestThough it’s only two centuries old, the Széchenyi bridge was the first permanent bridge in Hungary – and the first connection between Buda and Pest. The chain bridge made with cast iron and stone was once regarded a modern world engineering wonder and a symbol of advancement. Until this day it’s one of the most prominent constructions in Budapest – and that’s saying something. It’s also guarded by four stone lions.

The Chain Bridge is seriously the most beautiful bridge I’ve ever seen – yes, it’s even better than Dom Luis in Porto :)

The Parliament

parliament budapest

You probably saw this building on the cover of every guide on Budapest – the neogothic, fascinating Hungarian Parliament by the Danube river is everyone’s favourite. It was built after the merge of three cities: Buda, Obuda and Pest into one. Its interesting interior is open for visiting, though not during the debates.

Trinity Square

trinity square budapest

The centre of the square is the Trinity statue, commemorating the victims of plague. There’s also the Mattias church with colorful roof tiles and the Fishermen’s bastion, which looks like a fairytale castle and offers panoramic views of the city.

Surrounded by shops, restaurants and cafes, it’s an attractive and chic district of Budapest.

Heroes’ Square

heroes square budapest

The central feature of Heros’ Square (Hosok tere in Hungarian) is the Millenium Memorial topped with the statue of archangel Gabriel. Behind it there’s a colonnade with statues of 14 most prominent figures in the history of Hungary. There are also two art museums on both sides of Hosok tere and a city forest hiding Vajdahunyad castle behind it. Trust me, all this is well worth of taking a longer walk away from the city centre.

St Stephen’s Basilica

saint stephen budapest

A wonderful cathedral in honour of the most important saint and the first king of Hungary – St Stephen. Inside you even get to see his thousand year old, mummified hand.

I was mostly interested in climbing to the top of basilica from where you can see the whole city.

Margaret Island

Left: Mini Zoo. Right: the view on Margaret Island from Buda Castle

Left: Mini Zoo. Right: the view on Margaret Island from Buda Castle

Me and my brother decided it was our favourite park in the city. Margaret island is 2,5 km long and lays in the middle of Danube river, not far from the Parliament. It has thermal water pools, playgrounds, jogging tracks, a church, a hotel, the biggest fountain in Hungary and even a free mini zoo. All this surrounded by blooming flowers and lush trees – you can spend a whole day just there and won’t get bored.

Gellert Baths

gellert baths budapest

There’s a lot of hot springs in Hungary, but few can compete with the beauty of Gellert baths situated in the Art Nouveau style hotel. There are internal and external swimming pools full of thermal water (temperatures vary from 20 to 60 degrees C), saunas and massage rooms.

A visit at Gellert’s is fun but also healthy – its thermal waters heal joints, spine and asthma among many others.


All photos above are mine, please don’t use them without permission :)

Editorials, Travel tips  • 

Winter in Europe – 5 places you must visit

January 5, 2015

Though winter months might be a low time for travel, because of low temperatures that don’t really encourage sightseeing, there’s plenty of interesting places to visit in Europe during this time. From skiing resorts to warm retreats, here are my top destination for winter travel!

Rome

I’ve visited Rome in February and since then I’m convinced that winter is the perfect time to visit the Italian capital. The weather is mild (about 15 degrees Celsius) and there are definitely less visitors than in summer – you can easily get to every tourist attraction, avoiding the usual queues. Streets and restaurants are less crowded, not to mention that hotel prices are three times lower than during high season.

Innsbruck

Austria with its beautiful mountains is a great country to visit during winter. The best place to start your exploration of Austrian Alps is the city of Innsbruck, as it’s located between very high mountains and near several big ski resorts. It’s also very charming and offers lots of activities for tourists all year round.

Budapest

One of my favourite cities in Europe offers the best solution to cold weather: thermal baths. There are over 15 of them in Budapest and some offer outside pools to swim during the winter – you have to try it! To keep your belly warm, there are also two food festivals in February: Mangalica and Gozolgo. If you need some more inspiration, head on to this site!

Les Trois Vallées

A huge region in France where you can ski all interlinked valleys using a single ski pass. It’s actually the biggest area of this kind in the world and quite an impressive one – with over 600 km of slopes and 180 lifts everyone, from a begginner to an expert, will find his perfect piste. Also, due to its size you don’t have to worry about queues and bumping into another skiers. Absolutely a must-see for every ski lover!

Here’s a handy guide for choosing a resort in France if you’re not sure which one would be the best for you.

Granada

The heat of summer in Spain can get unbearable, but mild temperatures of Spanish winter are perfect for sightseeing. One of the most mysterious cities is Granada, with its fascinating islamic legacy and narrow medieval streets. The main attraction is Alhambra – a walled palace on a hill which was once a residence of Nasrid sultans. You can also visit Generalife, a summer estate of the Emirs with a Persian garden – both of the palaces are UNESCO World Heritage sites.

Editorials, Photography tips

Best Instagram travel hashtags for your photos

December 3, 2014

instagram hashtagsRecently I’ve been using Instagram quite a lot, posting photos of my travels. And I know that choosing the right tags can be intimidating, so I’ve created this useful guide how to choose the best Instagram travel hashtags.

“Why use hashtags” you ask? Well, people are looking for photos from places (like #NYC), or landscapes, or just general #travel inspiration on Instagram and they might find your photo. It’s an easy way to expose your Instagram to a wider public! But first, know the basic rules:

1. Don’t get crazy with the numbers

I haven’t really noticed a big difference in likes when I use 10 hashtags compared to 30 or more. It can also be frustrating for your followers to see a huge chunk of hashtags under your every post. For me, 10 is the limit which helps the photos enough and still isn’t irritating.

2. Use less popular hashtags

This might be against common knowledge, but I’ve noticed that the less popular hashtags get more attention. So many people tag their photos with #Instagood that your photo will pushed on page three in a second! It will stay on top longer with #hiking and more people will see it.

3. Stay relevant and don’t overdo it (please!)

Hashtags on Instagram are supposed to help group similar images for easier search – please keep it in mind. There are people out there who chuckle when they see your selfie tagged #landscape.

instagram hashtags Below are the best ways to use travel hashtags on Instagram. Ask yourself:

Where are you?

First of all, hashtag your destination! It’s useful for your followers, people who search for images from this place and even locals who look for something interesting in the area. You can begin with a country and get more specific about the place, like:

#France
#Paris
#Montmartre
#SacreCoeur

What are you doing?

Whether it’s hiking or sunbathing, admit it with a hashtag:

#packing
#flying
#hiking
#swimming

What’s on this picture?

Just describe what’s on your photo! Don’t limit yourself to #foodporn, when you can use:

#airplane
#cloudporn
#louvre
#waterfall
#sunset

What kind of picture is it?

Whether it’s a #landscape, a #macro or #seascape, tag it! There’s a lot of people who search for these hashtags:

#landscape
#cityscape
#macro
#fisheye
#animals

hashtags instagram

General hashtags for travel

For everyone looking for travel inspiration, drop some general hashtags:

#travel
#adventure
#travelphotography
#instatravel
#traveltheworld
#welltravelled
#justbackfrom
#passportexpress
#passionpassport
#travelblogger

You can make derivations from the above words, like #travelling, #tourism etc.

Later’s got a huge list of general hashtags you can use on your travel and lifestyle photos, check it out!

Research local Instagram communities

Here’s a pro tip: try to figure out the hashtags local communities use. They’re looking for great photos to feature on their social media pages – which can promote your account and get you new followers.

When I was in Scotland, I used #brilliantmoments and #edinphoto on my posts, and got featured by VisitScotland and Enjoy Edinburgh!

Think of your own hashtag

A couple of months ago I had a brilliant idea of my own hashtag: #TailsOf(insert place). So there’s been #TailsOfEdinburgh, #TailsOfPorto, #TailsOfPoland etc. It’s a nice way to showcase my previous posts from a certain place – and I can see my followers like them too!

IMG_0233
Got any more ideas for Instagram travel hashtags? Share them with me!

All of the pictures in this post came from my own account, if you liked them please follow me on Instagram.

Editorials

10 reasons to visit Porto

November 10, 2014

porto ribeiraPorto in Portugal is one of the most surprisingly beautiful cities I’ve visited. Spending 4 days there was a great adventure so here are my 10 reasons to visit Porto!

10 Douro River and Dom Luis bridge

porto douro dom Luis
Douro is one of the longest rivers in the Iberian Peninsula – and also the heart of Porto, as city’s historic centre lies on the bank of this river. The most distinctive bridge across Douro is Dom Luis, constructed by Eiffel’s partner. Its upper deck is used by pedestrians and trams, while motor traffic occupies the lower deck.

9 Ribeira

porto ribeira
The poor port district on the right bank of Douro river. Though it’s loved by tourists for the expensive restaurants and souvenir shops, it hides a darker side. Ribeira is still a poor part of the city, with ruins, slums and stray cats ruling the streets.

8 Azulejos

azuleos church
Ceramic tiles, painted blue and used to decorate, surprisingly, the exteriors of many buildings around Porto.

7 Wine

porto wine

Rabelos boats that were used to transport port wine from upper Douro river

Porto is the home of port wine – a very sweet and strong drink. You can try Porto’s most tasty alcohol in one of the cellars of Villa Nove de Gaia, opposite side of Douro river. English tradesmen, who exported port to Great Britain, lived there and that’s why a lot of port wine’s names are English (like Sandeman or Offley).

6 Fado


You know what comes best with wine tasting? Sentimental fado songs. Telling stories about poverty, loss or life on the sea, they capture the melancholic Portuguese nature perfectly.
I was lucky enough to listen to live fado concert during wine tasting in Quevedo winery.

5 Clerigos Church tower views

clerigos views
I love enjoying cityscapes from above – that’s why I’m always on lookout for viewpoints! Clerigos Church tower was a perfect one – not only the whole (quite big!) city is visible, but also the ocean and Douro river. Awesome!

4 Francesinha

francesinha
Imagine meat… on meat, on another meat and another. Between two slices of bread. On top of that an egg and melted cheese. Then put this thing on french fries and pour some beer sauce on it. That’s how you get the manliest sandwich on Earth – francesinha.
Yes, it has four kinds of meat and it was invented for the sailors. It’s probably not the most healthy food – but it’s delicious, so who cares!

3 Surfing

matisinhos beach

Matosinhos beach, the best place to rent a surfboard in Porto.

This one’s special for me, as it was my first time surfing and I totally loved it. Portugal is a great place to surf anyway – especially if you’re really good at it. Nazare is the best place to surf record-breaking waves – like Garrett McNamara did in 2011.

2 Restaurant Street

seafood porto
Food might be my favourite part of traveling… Which is why I was thrilled to discover that Herois da Franca Street in Matosinhos was full of tasty restaurants with freshly grilled seafood. Seriously, it’s a whole street of restaurants, you have to go there.

1 Sunsets

sunsets porto
I’ve never seen such amazing sunsets like the ones in Porto… Are they like, saturating the sky to make it look better? Yes, probably!

All photos in this post by me, Aleksandra Boguslawska