Things to do in Zagreb: Your ultimate city guide

If you are looking to explore Zagreb, the capital of Croatia, here are our recommendations. Discover what to see, where to go, how to get around, and where to stay.

When people decide to go to Croatia, their choice rarely stops on Zagreb.  They privilege the coastal towns, the beachfront locations, and we cannot blame them.  But when we chose to go to Croatia in the middle of November, there was no point trying to hit the beach, those days were long over.  So we decided to go to Zagreb because we knew there would be a cool city to discover, there wouldn’t be tons of tourists, and we could go to a place that is often overlooked.  When you want to do things your way, Zagreb is the place for you!

If you come to Zagreb, we recommend you stay for 3 days, to be able to fully take in all the sights at a leisurely pace.

You’ll notice that there’s not tons to do in Zagreb and that’s ok.  The city has a laid-back vibe, making it easy to explore at your own pace.  It has a booming restaurant scene, for all the foodies out there.  It also has the biggest number of museums per square meter, for those trying to get their culture on.  It may not have beaches, but it makes up for it in many other ways.

The statue of King Tomislav in Zagreb, Croatia
The statue of King Tomislav

When to go

As always, it depends what you want to do, and what your favourite season is.  Zagreb has 4 distinct seasons with temperatures rising in the summer to 25 degrees C, and dropping close to zero in the winter.  It’s also one of the rainiest capitals in Europe, so come prepared.

If you’re a Christmas fan, make sure you head there for Zagreb’s Advent.  Christmas markets are sprinkled all over the city all through the month of December, making it the perfect spot to do some shopping for unique gifts.

What to do

There’s plenty to see and do in town, and even a few things you can check out around the city.  Everything is pretty close together, and you have tons of parks and green spaces, so walking around is the best option!

Zagreb Cathedral

No European city would be complete without its cathedral.  The Cathedral of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary is one of Zagreb’s icons.  With its twin towers and defensive walls with round towers, this church is quite beautiful to visit, adding to the city’s skyline.

The Zagreb Cathedral in Zagreb, Croatia
The Zagreb Cathedral

Across the Cathedral, you will find the famous fountain of the Virgin Mary with her Angels.  The gold-plated beauty is hard to miss.

Inside the Cathedral, you will find peace… and the embalmed body of Cardinal Aloysius Stepinac.  He was the Archbishop of Zagreb from 1937 to 1960, renown for helping the Jews and others to escape during WWII and publicly condemning the Yugoslavian government and its actions during the war.  He was beatified by Pope John Paul II in 1998 for all his work.

The Virgin Mary monument in Zagreb, Croatia
The Virgin Mary monument

If you’re looking to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city, Ribnjak park, right next to the Cathedral, is a great place to wander.

Dolac Market

You know how much we love food, and fresh local products (mainly produce), so Dolac Market was a must on our list.  This open-air market is one of the iconic features of the city.

The local Dolac market in Zagreb, Croatia
The local Dolac market

Here, you will find local vendors selling fish, cheese, fruits and veggies, some toys and handmade goods, and pretty much anything else.  Come early in the morning to get the freshest and best products.  Head there around 3-4pm to get the best deals.  And no matter when you go, make sure you’re hungry!

St Mary’s Church

With its beautiful gold and green spire standing tall, this beautiful 18th century church is hard to miss from the market.  Take a little moment to step inside and admire its  beauty.

A view of St Mary's Church from the Dolac market in Zagreb, Croatia
A view of St Mary’s Church from the Dolac market

Tkalčićeva

Undoubtably the most colourful and lively street in Zagreb, this is where you’ll find all the bars, restaurants, boutiques and shops.  You’ll also find the statue of Marija Jurić Zagorka, Croatia’s first professional female journalist, and advocate of equal rights (and you know how much we love strong independent women!).

The Tkalčićeva shopping street in Zagreb, Croatia
The Tkalčićeva shopping street, lined with boutiques and restaurants

In the area, you will also find the Bloody Bridge which is actually an alley that connects Tkalčićeva with Radićeva.  The bridge that was originally there was torn down, but the alley still bares its name.

You will also find the statue of St George with the dragon he killed.

The statue of St George and the dragon in Zagreb, Croatia
The statue of St George and the dragon

The Stone Gate

This is your official entrance into Upper Town.  It is the only old town gate that remains in the city today, although it was rebuilt in the 18th century.  Under the arch, you will find a little chapel dedicated to the Virgin Mary, the patron saint of Zagreb.

St Mark’s Square

Impossible to miss once you’re in the Upper Town, St Mark’s Square and Church are the heart of this part of the city.  The Church was built in the 13th century and still stands tall today.

St Marc's Church in upper Zagreb, Croatia
St Marc’s Church

All around the square, you will find important government buildings like the Banski favori, the Governor’s Palace, and Sabor, or the Croatian Parliament.  This is also where you will find the Croatian History Museum, the Old City Hall an the Croatian Museum of Naive Art.

Catherine’s Square

Another important part of the Upper Town is Catherine’s Square with St Catherine’s Church.  It’s said to be Zagreb’s most beautiful Baroque church.

St Catherineès Church in Zagreb, Croatia
St Catherine’s Church

Right behind the church, you will find the best view from Gradec.  You will see the Cathedral, Dolac market for sure.  On a clear day, you will also see the dome of Mirogoj cemetery and Mount Medvednica.

A view of Zagreb from the Strossmayer Promenade in Zagreb, Croatia
A view of Zagreb from St Catherine’s square

Strossmayer Promenade

Running along the southern edge of Gradec hill, you have the Strossmayer promenade.  Lined with trees, it is a peaceful place to walk around, admiring the city from above.
There, you will find the statue of Anton Gustav Matoš, one of the city’s greatest enthusiasts and beloved Croatian writer.

A sculpture of famous poet Antun Gustav Matos in Zagreb, Croatia
A sculpture of famous poet Antun Gustav Matos

You will also find the world’s shortest passenger cable railway, the 66-metre funicular!  This connects Lower Town to Upper Town, although there are steps that might get you there just as quickly!

The cannon atop the Lotrščak Tower firing at noon in Zagreb, Croatia
The cannon atop the Lotrščak Tower firing at noon

The funicular is just next to Lotrščak Tower, the only preserved mediaeval tower from he 13th century fortifications.  This is where they shoot the famous canon from.  Every day at noon, a loud bang can be heard here.  Watch out, because it’s much louder than expected!

Museum of broken relationships

We usually consider ourselves pretty lucky, in love and in life.  But luck was not on our side when we were in Zagreb.  Despite the rainy and grey weather, we made the best of our time here.  And as you know, we’re not big on museums, but there was one we were really looking forward to exploring – the Museum of broken relationships… but it was closed when we went.  It closes once every four years, and it had to fall on the dates we were there!

The Museum of Broken Relationships in Zagreb, Croatia
The Museum of Broken Relationships

Started in 2006 this museum started out as a joke between two lovers who ended their relationship.  Today, it’s a globally crowd-sourced project that features items left over by lovers when their relationship ends.  Sounds pretty cool, doesn’t it?!  Yeah, that’s why we wanted to check it out too!  Guess we have to go back.

If you’re looking for museums to check out, you’re in luck because Zagreb is home to the largest number of museums.  There is really something for everyone, from the Nikola Tesla technical museum, to the archeological one, and a ton more.

Art Park

Right below the Lotrščak Tower, as you take the steps down to Lower Town, you will find Art Park.  This cute park for children is decorated by street artists.  We love street art, and this is the only place we found some in the city, along with a short staircase by Catherine’s square.

Ban Jelačić Square

Between Upper town and Lower town (though considered to be a part of Upper), you will find Ban Jelačić Square.  It’s the city’s commercial centre, and has been since 1641.  This huge square, with the imposing statue of Ban Josip Jelačić is where a lot of the trams and buses stop.

The monument in Ban Jelačić Square in Zagreb, Croatia
The monument in Ban Jelačić Square in Zagreb, Croatia

The Lenuci Horseshoe

Ok, at this point, we could break down all the little things you can find around the Horseshoe that makes up the Lower Town of Zagreb, but that would be waaaaay too long.  As they say: “Ain’t nobody got time for that!”. So here is what we suggest.  Walk down the horseshoe.  And stop and admire what you feel is important to you.  The horseshoe is made up of sooooo many parks.  Find a bench and people-watch.  There are museums all around it too, so you can stop and explore one of them if you feel like it.  Just do you, boo.

Start at Zrinjevac park, where you have the Meteorological Post, First Fountain and the Archeological Museum. You can also find HAZU and the Gallery of Modern Art there. Just after, you will find the Art Pavillion.

You will then get to King Tomislav Square with its imposing statue greeting everyone coming out of the main railway. Turn right when you get to the Hotel Esplanade, an iconic landmark of the city since 1925.  Fun fact: Guests from the Orient Express used to stay here.  One of its famous guests was Josephine Baker, a provocative dancer from the 20’s.

Keep going as you will make your way through the Botanical Gardens.  If the Gardens are open, take a stroll there, as you’ll be able to discover over 10,000 different plant species.
Keep going as you will come upon the Croatian National Theatre and the very sensual Well of Life.

Don’t be surprised to see students around there, as the Zagreb University is just there.  You will also find the museum of Arts and Crafts and the Mimara Museum. Did you spot the other statue of St George, this time killing a dragon? Famous guy, isn’t he!

Outside Zagreb

If you are looking to leave the city centre and explore things that are different, we have 2 spots to recommend for you.

Mirogoj cemetery

Ok, we know what you’re thinking.  Why in the world are we recommending a cemetery?!  Well, this is no ordinary place.  The architecture here is absolutely beautiful.  We don’t want to make this a main tourist attraction, but both a random tour guide and our hostel recommended we walk around here.

The entrance to the Mirogoj cemetery in Zagreb, Croatia
The entrance to the Mirogoj cemetery in Zagreb, Croatia

This is Zagreb’s main cemetery, opened in 1876.  It is the final resting place of many notable Croats, and people from all religions.  This is why you will see all sorts of Catholic, Orthodox and Muslim symbols around.

A path covered by trees at the Mirogoj cemetery in Zagreb, Croatia
A path covered by trees at the Mirogoj cemetery

If you go here, please be respectful.  It is not a place to take Instagram pictures, but a place of respect and humility. Just take in the beauty of nature and enjoy the moment.

To get there, take the 201 or the 226, just near the Zagreb Cathedral. The bus stops right at the cemetery.

Medvednica Mountain

We love a city that’s so close to nature.  Just North of Zagreb, you will find Medvednica Mountain.  Because Zagreb is known for being rainy, we didn’t have a chance to go here, but we know we will be heading up for a hike next time we’re in the city.

There are plenty of ways to get up there, but the most eco-friendly is biking or taking the bus.  If you head there, here are some more details on how you can do it.

Where to stay

Chillout Hostel is our favourite place to stay in Zagreb.  With a name like Chillout, there’s really no way to go wrong, is there?!  This hostel fits in perfectly with the vibe of the city: friendly, laid-back and full of life.

Downstairs, you have the bar where locals and travellers can meet.  Such a chill vibe, cool music and awesome staff makes this a place to meet new (or old) friends.  Super well located, right near Art Park, at the steps of the Upper Town, Chillout has super comfy rooms, with your choice of dorms or private.

As if that wasn’t enough, their staff is super friendly.  Corey made it a point to let us know where all the cool spots were, and had some awesome recommendations for us when it came to restaurants and things that were off-the-beaten path.  Plus, they offer free walking tours around the city, so you can learn more about the sites.

We can’t wait to head back here, meet up with old friends and make new ones.

Where to eat

Because we had such a short time in Zagreb, we have 2 recommendations for you in town:

Mali Medo: This microbrewery is known for its craft beer and delicious food.  Situated in Tkalčićeva, this place has an extensive outdoor terrace, so it’s perfect in the summer.  Derek loved his Pub plate that had a bit of everything.  I opted for pizza, as our waiter told us it was better than Italian pizza.  If you try, let us know what you think.  The verdict is still out for us!

Stari Fijaker: If you’re looking for typical Zagreb or Croatian food, this is your spot.  They don’t have many vegetarian options, but they were very accommodating, modifying their side dishes for me.  I had the delicious veggie steaks.

Getting around

Zagreb is fairly small (but oh-so-cute) so walking around town is your best bet.  However, if you want to get somewhere faster, or  get out of the rain, their bus and tram network is pretty awesome.

Zagreb Card

If you’re looking to visit all the museums (which would take you a long time), you may want to get the Zagreb Card.  Like in other cities, it gives you discounts on so many entrances and attractions, free transport and so much more.  It may be worth investing in the card if you plan on hitting these places up.

Street art in Zagreb, Croatia
Some faking nice advertising

Although our time in Zagreb was short, it was the sweetest.  Such a cool, laid-back city, so many parks and beautiful architecture, we highly recommend you find some time, head away from the coast, and discover this capital!

Have you ever been to Zagreb?  Did we convince you to check it out?  Let us know in the comments.


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There are a ton of amazing things to do and see in Zagreb, Croatia. Here are our recommendations of what to do, where to stay, what to eat and how to get around. Tips, tricks and more to have the best time in Zagreb

 

Things to do in Budapest: Your ultimate city guide

If you are looking to explore Budapest, the capital of Hungary, here are our recommendations. Discover what to see, where to go, how to get around, and where to stay.

Welcome to the beautiful capital of Hungary, Budapest!  Split in two by the Danube, you have the hilly Buda, home to the awesome castle, and the fairly flat Pest (pronounced Pesht, so you don’t sound like a total tourist!)  Unofficially, it’s one of our favourite cities in Europe… but we say that about every place we go!  The city with a rich history, funky culture and beautiful architecture has something for everyone.  Here are just a few of the amazing things to see and do.

When to go

As always, it really depends on what you want to do while you’re here.  If you want to avoid crowds and extreme weather (either too hot or too cold), make sure you go between March and May, or September through November.

The summer months in Budapest are the hottest and wettest.  January is probably the coldest month, and the winter sees a lot of snowfall.  But it’s beautiful to see and accommodations are at their lowest.

A view of the Hungarian Parliament Building from the Fishermans Bastion in Budapest, Hungary
A view of the Hungarian Parliament Building from the Fisherman’s Bastion

If you don’t mind the cold and want to check out the Christmas markets, mid-November and December are the perfect time to go!

What to do

The city has something for everyone to explore.  Whether you like castles and beautiful old buildings, or awesome food and hipster bars, if you are like us, you will just fall head-over-heels in love with Budapest.

Buda Castle

It’s impossible to miss the Buda Castle.  It sits proudly on top of Buda Hill and makes the city look so regal.  This used to be the home of the Hungarian kings back in the day.  Today, it’s home to a bunch of museums.

Behold the Buda castle in Budapest, Hungary
Behold the Buda Castle in Budapest

From the massive grounds, always free to walk around, to the stunning architecture, the intricate design and impressive city views, the Buda Castle is a must in Budapest, and on Derek’s list of favourite things to do in a city.

Fisherman’s Bastion

Also named the Halászbástya, the Fisherman’s Bastion was built between 1895 and 1902 and served to protect the castle and the city.  Today, it’s Budapest’s most visited attraction and an awesome viewpoint to see the whole city.  You get really impressive views of the Parliament from here.

The Fisherman's Bastion in Budapest, Hungary
You must go see the Fisherman’s Bastion, steps from the Buda Castle

Make sure you walk around the many paths around the Bastion.  You can also get really creative with your shots, so enjoy your time here.  Climbing up the towers comes at a fee, but if you visit early enough, or on a rainy day, you might get lucky (if you know what we mean!)  Luckily, there are actually a few free days from October 15 to March 10.  And night hours are free too.

Matthias Church

Located right in front of the Bastion, Matthias Church is one of the largest of the medieval Hungarian Kingdom and has a very rich history.

The Matthias Church in Budapest, Hungary
The Matthias Church

It’s quite impressive from the outside.  To get a glimpse of the inside, you have to pay a fee.

St Stephen’s Basilica

Named in honour of the first king of Hungary, this is the 3rd largest church in the country today.  As impressive as it is from the outside, it’s even more spectacular inside.

Hungarian Parliament building

You will surely be impressed when you walk by the Parliament of Budapest.  Not only is it the largest building in Hungary, as well as the tallest, it’s also the 3rd largest parliament building in the world.  With tickets, you can visit the parliament and the museum of the national assembly.

The Hungarian Parliament building all lit up at night in Budapest, Hungary
The Hungarian Parliament building shining bright

If you’re not impressed by its size, the architecture of the building will surely get you.  It’s just stunning!  You get the best views of the building from across the Danube.  Make sure you head there in the morning and at night as it looks completely different.

Shoes on the Danube

This is a memorial created by film director Can Togay and sculptor Gyula Pauer, on the east bank of the Danube River.  The memorial honours the 3,500 victims killed by fascist Arrow Cross militiamen during WWII.  They were forced to remove their shoes and shot at the edge of the river so their bodies were carried away by the flow.

The famous Shoes on the Danube river at night in Budapest, Hungary
The famous Shoes on the Danube river

Placed on the Pest side of the River, near the Hungarian Parliament, these shoes are a moving tribute to the victims.  Visitors today leave flowers, candy and candles at this site.

Great Market Hall

Located at the end of the famous shopping street, Váci utca, the Great Market Hall is the largest and oldest indoor market in Hungary.  Whatever you are looking for, you will probably find it here.  From fresh fruits and veggies, souvenirs, clothes and everything in between, the Great Market Hall is quite a trip, even if you’re not shopping.

Széchenyi Chain Bridge

Guarded by 4 lions, the Chain Bridge is an icon of Budapest.  This 19th century suspension bridge spans the Danube river and links Buda to Pest (see what we did there?! Chain bridge.  Links.  Hehehe)

The famous Chain bridge lit up at night in Budapest, Hungary
The famous Chain bridge lit up at night

This bridge is a convenient and beautiful way to get from one side of the city to the next.  Just make sure you check it out during the day and at night.  It looks so different when it’s lit up.

Hősök tere

Also known as Heroes’ Square, this is one of Hungary’s major squares.  Surrounded by museums, at the end of the famous Andrássy Avenue, Hősök Tere is an important landmark of the city, also where the first subway station in the city was constructed.

To be honest, although this is an important landmark of Budapest, it didn’t really strike a chord with us.  Luckily, you don’t need to get out of your way to see it.  It’s near the Vajdahunyad Castle and the Széchenyi thermal baths

Vajdahunyad Castle

Did you think we weren’t going to recommend this castle either?  Have you even met Derek?!  Built in 1896, this castle is quite impressive, especially in its beautiful setting in the City Park.

The Vajdahunyad Castle in Budapest, Hungary
The gate of the Vajdahunyad Castle

You can enter the courtyard for free, but to visit the inside and the museum, tickets are required.

Hungarian State Opera House

There are certain things you find out the hard way… by showing up and seeing that the Hungarian State Opera House is having a full facelift was one of those things for us!  We can’t blame anyone though, considering that the Opera House was founded in 1884.  It’s ok to get a little work done once in awhile.  Just note that it will be under restoration for the next 2 years, until 2020.

The beautiful inside of the State Opera house in Budapest, Hungary
Since the outside is under massive renovations, we had to settle on seeing the beautiful inside of the Hungarian State Opera house

You can still enter the main hall, which is stunning.  You can still do a tour of the Opera House, which you need to pay for.  And you will be treated to a mini concert, which sounded amazing from where we were standing in the lobby.

Dohány Street Synagogue

We’ll be honest with you here, we didn’t actually go into the Synagogue, though we really wanted to.  But the almost $20CAD entrance fee was a bit of a hard pill to swallow, especially at this point in our travels.

The Dohány Street Synagogue in Budapest, Hungary
The Dohány Street Synagogue

The Dohány Street Synagogue is a historical building.  It’s the largest synagogue in Europe.  It’s the second largest in the world.  It looks beautiful from the outside, and we’re convinced it’s just as gorgeous from the inside.  So if you do go, please let us know how it is!  They do offer a free tour around the Synagogue, so make sure you check times before you get there.

Széchenyi thermal baths

Did you even go to Budapest if you didn’t go to a bath?  No!  No, you didn’t!

The Széchenyi baths are some of the oldest and largest in Europe.  Fed by 2 thermal sources, going here requires almost a full day.  It’s a moment of pampering, relaxing and self-care, so make sure you keep a good chunk of your day for it.

You can get your tickets online, at your hotel (that’s where we got ours) or directly at the baths.  There, you will have the chance to go to one of the 2 thermal outdoor pools, the outdoor lap pool, or one of the many indoor pools, all at varying temperatures.  They have a gym, a spa (for massages), a cosmetics bar and so much more.

Just make sure you bring your towel, flip flops, and a bathing cap (if you want to do laps in the pool).  A good tip is also to bring a bottle of water, as it does get quite dehydrating to be there.  Then, just enjoy and relax!

Jewish quarters

Welcome to the coolest quarters in Budapest.  Lined with boutiques, restaurants, cool bars, hole-in-the-wall eateries, this place is buzzing, especially at night.  This is also where you will find the cool Ruin Bars and Cafes in the city.

So walk around and pick any restaurant or bar to have a drink at.  It will be delicious and it will be fun!

Ruin bar

This is another place that we ask: Did you even go to Budapest if you didn’t go to a ruin bar?  And again, no!  You probably didn’t!

Come party at Szimpla Kert in Budapest, Hungary
Come party at Szimpla Kert

Rumour has it that these ruin bars started in the early 2000’s, when a bunch of friends were looking for a cheap place to grab a beer.  When they didn’t find what they were looking for, they decided to create their own spot.  They set up shop in an abandoned building and started selling $2 beers.  It was more of an underground movement back then!  The first one to open was Szimpla Kert, so that’s where we went.

A view from the second floor of Szimpla Kert in Budapest, Hungary
A view from the second floor of Szimpla Kert

Today, the ruin bars are not so underground, and definitely not as cheap.  They are however, very cool, and a fun place to drink, especially considering that most have been transformed by artists.  Filled with thrift store furniture, odd trinkets and mementos, packed with people from all over the world and all walks of life, our ruin bar experience was quite fun!

Budapest Eye

The Budapest Eye is a big 65 m ferris wheel that is located in Erzsébet Square.  We didn’t ride it, but a ride last about 3 turns, so 10 minutes, and costs €9 (roughly $10 USD).  It’s a great place to go to get a bird’s eye view of Budapest.

Come ride the Budapest Eye Ferris Wheel in Budapest, Hungary
Come ride the Budapest Eye Ferris Wheel

What to eat

Eat everything!  Seriously!  We loved every single thing we had in Budapest.  So eat everything your heart desires, it will probably be delicious!

Szimpla Kert:  We mentioned it before, and we’ll say it again.  Go to a ruin bar.  Go to this one.  It’s super cool, relaxed and tons of fun.  They serve tons of drinks there, as well as food, so you’ll be set for the night.  Another plus, they have tons of vegetarian options!

Bors GazstroBar This was our first stop in Budapest.  We had a delicious pumpkin soup (their soups change daily so feel free to try whatever).  Derek loved his pulled pork baguette and I adored my vegetarian one.  This is a street food style hole-in-the-wall restaurant, but with quality food!

Great eats at Bors Gazstro Bar in Budapest, Hungary
You don’t need to be a Star Wars fan to eat at Bors GazstroBar, but if you are you will love it!

Karavan:  If you love street food, this is the place for you!  They have it all.  Pizzas, burgers, Mexican, Hungarian, vegan, meat-lover, whatever you want, you’ll find it here.  Karavan is a group of food trucks set up in this cool courtyard with garden chairs, heaters and tables.

Desszert Neked When you’ve had enough to eat, eat more… dessert, of course!  We had some cake pops and chocolatey desserts here and they did not disappoint.  W’d love to tell you exactly what we had, but we enjoyed them way too much.  Anyway, we’re convinced you’ll love everything you have there.

Grab a yummy dessert at Desszert Neked in Budapest, Hungary
Grab a yummy dessert at Desszert Neked

Where to stay

There is only one option for us in Budapest: the D8 Hotel.  Newly opened, this hotel has everything you need to have a great time in the city.  Centrally-located, steps away from the Széchenyi Chain Bridge, and pretty much close to everything you want to visit, you can’t ask for more.

Wediditourway at the D8 Hotel in Budapest, Hungary
Chilling out at the D8 Hotel

Start the day off right with a delicious breakfast (try their croissants! They are some of the best we’ve had) then head out to explore the city.  If you need to get some work done before, no worries!  Their lobby and lounge areas have everything you need to get connected and get things done.

And don’t worry if it’s raining while you are there – they offer the cutest umbrellas so you don’t miss a minute of exploring.  We love these thoughtful touches D8 has thought of to make your stay comfortable and as pleasant as possible.

Welcome to the D8 Hotel in Budapest, Hungary
Welcome to the D8 Hotel in Budapest, Hungary

If you need any recommendations, if you need to book a trip to the thermal baths, their staff can take care of that for you.  They gave us extra towels for the baths, booked our tickets, gave us insider tips on where to go and what to do.  We wish we could have stayed here forever!

Getting around

All the sites in Budapest are fairly close to each other.  You know how much we love to walk, so we would go from one place to the next by foot.  Considering we had such a great hotel, so close to everything, we would even stop in sometimes before heading to a different part of town.

If walking is not your thing, Budapest has a super convenient subway system that can get you from one place to the next in a jiffy!  They also have trams and buses, so think eco-friendly and use their awesome public transportation system!

Budapest Card

And as always, depending on what you want to do and see, you may want to grab the Budapest Card.  You’ll get to use the transport system for free, visit your favourite museums and attractions for free, or at a discounted rate, and you get so much more.

Just make sure your initial investment will pay itself off with what you want to do and see.  Then, reap the benefits!

The Buda side of the Danube river in Budapest, Hungary
The Buda side of the Danube river

We loved our time in Budapest.  We know we say this often, and we really mean it (Every. Single. Time)!  But seriously, we loved it here.  From the delicious food, amazing architecture, relaxing baths and just walking around soaking in the history and culture of the city (we also soaked in some rain!).  We highly recommend you spend at least 3-4 days here to take in all the beauty of the city.

Have you been to Budapest?  Is it on your list yet?  Let us know in the comments.


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There are a ton of amazing things to do and see in Budapest, Hungary. Here are our recommendations of what to do, where to stay, what to eat and how to get around. Tips, tricks and more to have the best time in Budapest

Things to do in Bratislava: Your ultimate city guide

If you are looking to explore Bratislava, the capital of Slovakia, here are our recommendations. Discover what to see, where to go, how to get around, and where to stay.

As we started planning our train trip through Europe, we searched for places that not many people visit.  That’s when we came upon Bratislava.  Although it’s the capital of Slovakia, Bratislava is a cute and small town, set along the Danube River.

Surrounded by vineyards and the Little Carpathian mountains, sprinkled with forested hiking and cycling trails, Bratislava has something for everyone.  This 18th-century town is also known for its lively bars and cafes, so you know we had to go and explore it!

The view of the Grassalkovich Palace through the gate in Bratislava, Slovakia
The view of the Grassalkovich Palace through the gate in Bratislava, Slovakia

When to go

As always, it depends what you’re really into, but generally, the weather in Bratislava is the one of the warmest and driest in Slovakia.  If you want comfy (read, non-sweaty) temperatures and to explore without many tourists around, head to Bratislava at the end of March, through April & May, or in September and October.  You may even get lucky and be able to enjoy the outdoor cafe terraces!

If you’re searching for heat, then the summer months of June, July and August are the time for you to go although temps can rise between 30-40°C.  So it may not be great if you’re planning to explore tons and go hiking.

Super cool gate at the Bratislava Castle in Bratislava, Slovakia
Super cool gate at the Bratislava Castle in Bratislava, Slovakia

Finally, if you’re searching for cute Christmas markets, fun lights and tons of mulled wine to drink, Bratislava is perfect for you!  Head there at the end of November through December.  The markets in Slovakia’s capital are smaller and more quaint than those in other European cities, but that’s what adds to their charm.  Just be warned that temperatures drop pretty low, so be sure to bundle up when you go.

What to do

Bratislava is not that big of a city, but that’s what adds to its charm! If you have two full days here, you’ll be golden.  It will give you enough time to explore the Old Town and check out some cool bars and cafes.

Bratislava Castle

If you know Derek, you know he loves castles.  As soon as there is one in a city, we have to visit it!  Perched on the top of the rocky hill, the Bratislava Castle is a massive rectangular building with four corner towers.  Its size and location make it hard to miss.  It looks like a fairytale castle so it is quite impressive.

Beautiful night shot of the Bratislava Castle in Bratislava, Slovakia
Beautiful night shot of the Bratislava Castle in Bratislava, Slovakia

Although you can walk the grounds and gardens for free, you will need to pay to get into the many museums it houses.  You can also head there for sunset to get a beautiful view of the city as the sky turns all shades of sunset.

Most SNP

This is probably the coolest yet weirdest thing in Bratislava.  The UFO Bridge (or Most SNP) is the world’s longest bridge to have one pylon and one cable-stayed plane… and a UFO sitting atop it!

A view of the Most SNP/UFO bridge in Bratislava, Slovakia
A view of the Most SNP/UFO bridge in Bratislava, Slovakia

It makes the view of the city a little cooler, and if you really want to get awesome views of the castle, head up to the observation deck or the bar for a drink.  Again, sunset is a magical time to check it out.

Blue church

This is one of the most iconic spots in Bratislava, the Church of St. Elizabeth, although most lovingly call it “The Little Blue Church”.  We’ve seen quite a few churches but this one was probably the most unique and cutest.  Its intricate design make it beautiful not only from the outside, but from inside as well.

Street art

Although the street art scene started later in Bratislava than in other European countries, they have still managed to create some awesome pieces and parts of the town sprinkled with cool graffiti.

Every year, over three days in June, they have the Bratislava Street Art festival where artists tag the town with their art.  You can check them out all over the city, but mainly around Kamenné námestie.  There, you will find the fox mural.  Walking around the streets there, many other pieces will just pop up at you.

St Martin’s church

Set on the shores of the Danube, St Martin’s Cathedral is the cathedral of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Bratislava, and it’s a beauty!  It’s also the largest and one of the oldest churches in Bratislava.  You can’t miss its 85 m spire that dominates Old Town’s skyline.

Looking down on the St Martin's church from the Bratislava Castle in Bratislava, Slovakia
Looking down on the St Martin’s church from the Bratislava Castle in Bratislava, Slovakia

As most churches, it is just as beautiful inside as it is outside.  This church was especially calm and peaceful.

Old Town

This is probably the number one spot on everyone’s ‘things to do in Bratislava’ list… and we can’t blame them.  But since we do things our way, we didn’t put it first.  Derek’s love of castles always wins!

The Old town gate in Bratislava, Slovakia
The Old Town gate in Bratislava, Slovakia

Walking around the Old Town is probably the cutest thing to do here.  A maze of historic buildings, stunning architecture, quirky lanes, and depending on when you go, Christmas markets!  The streets here are lined with bars and restaurants, so there is something for everyone to enjoy.  Forget Google Maps, just wander around!

Grassalkovich Palace

Slightly out of the way, on Hodžovo námestie, near the Summer Archbishop’s Palace, The Grassalkovich Palace is a beautiful place to visit.  It’s also where the president of Slovakia calls home – Lucky guy.

The famous Grassalkovich Palace in Bratislava, Slovakia
The famous Grassalkovich Palace in Bratislava, Slovakia

We thought the architecture of the palace was stunning, especially the cool gates.  A little less cool were the hoards of pigeons hanging around… you guys know how much Carine is scared of birds!

Micheal’s Gate

Michael’s Gate is the only city gate that has been preserved of the medieval fortifications in the city,  Built in around 1300, it ranks among the oldest town buildings.  Standing tall and proud, it’s one of the iconic Bratislava icons.  It’s also where Carine fell on her butt trying to take a picture of the full thing!  Luckily, there weren’t too many people around!

Michaels gate in Bratislava, Slovakia
Michaels gate in Bratislava, Slovakia

Man at work

This is probably Bratislava’s biggest celebrity.  Cumil, or Peeper, is a bronze statue of a sewer worker resting at the top of a manhole.  They say that there are 2 possible reasons for his name.

The first rumour is that he’s a typical communist era worker, and just can’t be bothered to do his work, spending his time people-watching instead.  The other rumour is that he’s actually peeping under the women’s skirts, like a total creepster.  You can find him at the corner of Laurinská and Panská Streets in the Old Town.  Make sure to rub his head and make a wish.

The famous man at work sculpture in Bratislava, Slovakia
The famous man at work sculpture in Bratislava, Slovakia

If you like these types of statutes, you can head out and search for them all over the city.  Here’s a handy guide to help you spot them.

Old Market

If you know us, you know how much we love eating.  So we had to stop by the Old Market or Stará tržnica.  Inside this 15th-century bastion, you will find tons of local vendors selling their goods.

From fresh produce to jams, pickles and everything in between, you’ll find it here.  Some vendors also set ready-made meals that are delicious.  The only unfortunate thing is that they don’t have that much vegetarian meals to offer.

Where to eat

There are a ton of delicious places to choose from when you’re in Bratislava.  Here are some of our favourites

Urban bistro:  This bistro is right near Michael’s gate.  We went there for breakfast and loved it!  The English breakfast, as well as the vegetarian option were so good.  We also loved their Jasmine Matcha latte!

Urban house:  Sister-company to Urban Bistro, this cool resto/bar had us intrigued as soon as we walked by its doors.  Cool decor, tons of plants and plenty of vegetarian options to choose from – we were hooked.  We loved their goat cheese burger.  It was messy to eat but oh-so-delicious!

MonDieu:  Although this is a chain, how can you not walk in when you see faucets pouring insane amounts of chocolate out?!  Yeah, we loved it!   Their chocolate cups with dark chocolate are so delicious!

Five Points:  We met our friends Jen and Henry from Hoopla Adventures here for a quick bite and drinks.  The great conversation, cool vibes and chill music had us stay here… or was it the delicious mulled wine?  Hard to say!

Where to stay

While in Bratislava, we stayed at the Patio Hostel.  Although our time here was short and sweet, the conveniently located hostel had everything for a great stay.  The rooms were super spacious with comfy beds and place to hang our clothes – little things that you miss when you’re constantly on the road.

We loved working in their common room and meeting other travellers.  We also loved the fact that they offer laundry machines (including a dryer) all for free!  If you spend as much time as we do on the road, this is seriously a lifesaver!

The hostel also has tons of activities going on, from walking tours to pub crawls.  Depending on what you’re looking to do in town, the Patio Hostel will have you covered!  It’s a great option for budget travelers.

Bratislava Card

Depending on what you plan on doing in Bratislava, you may want to get the Bratislava Card.  It offers discounts on more than 100 attractions, free tours, free entry to 14 museums and galleries, as well as unlimited public transport.  We walk everywhere we go, so it wasn’t our cup of tea, but to each their own!

You can either get yours online or at one of the Tourist Information Centres in the city.

The Christmas markets being setup in the Old town of Bratislava, Slovakia
The Christmas markets being setup in the Old town of Bratislava, Slovakia

Our time in Bratislava was short and sweet.  We had only two days here, but it gave us enough time to get a taste of this cute city.  There were a few more things we wanted to check out, like the Devin castle (yes Derek, we’ll see another castle!) so we know we will be back here.  There’s also so much more of Slovakia we want to explore (and eat!).

We hope this guide will help you have a great time in Bratislava too.  Let us know if this beautiful capital is on your list!


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There are a ton of amazing things to do and see in Bratislava, Slovakia. Here are our recommendations of what to do, where to stay, what to eat and how to get around. Tips, tricks and more to have the best time in Bratislava

 

The best Greek islands to visit as a couple

Greece is a beautiful and romantic place to visit as a couple, but with so many islands, it’s hard to pick. These 3 islands stole our hearts and were the perfect 2-week couple’s getaway.

Greece is undoubtably one of the most beautiful countries in the world.  Just imagine what a country made up of mountainous islands sitting in the Mediterranean and sprinkled with white homes and colourful bougainvillea looks like.  Heaven, that’s what!  Greece is probably one of the most romantic and perfect places to visit as a couple.  Whether it’s for your honeymoon or just as a couple’s getaway, make sure you check out these Greek islands.

Bougainvillea tree Paros Greece
Carine’s favourite tree in Paros Greece, the bougainvillea tree

We visited these 4 places on a 2-week trip and had enough time to enjoy each of the islands and everything they had to offer.  Ultimately, your trip to Greece will probably start or end in Athens so we’ve included our recommendations for that beautiful ancient city too.

Best times to go

Greece becomes a tourist hotbed in the summer months.  May to August are the busiest.  This is usually because most Greeks from around the world head back to their motherland for vacation.

Wediditourway Paros Greece
Watching a romantic sunset in Paros, Greece

We found the best months to go are during the shoulder seasons, in April, September and October.  That’s when you’ll likely find cheaper accommodations, and less tourists around.

We were in Greece in early September, and found that it was still fairly busy.  If you want to be sure to have a more secluded getaway, the end of the month is probably better.

Getting around

We flew into Santorini and out of Athens.  To get between the islands, we simply hopped on a ferry that took between 2-5 hours to get from one island to the next.  We booked our ferry tickets the day before and had no problem with availabilities.  Obviously, if you’re going around during a busier period of the year, you may want to book ahead of time.

You can book your tickets at a travel agent’s office or online.  We found tickets were usually quite cheaper through a travel agent than online.  These little booths and offices are all over the centre of any island.  We took the Blue Star ferries and had a great ride each time.  Though we warn you, be patient with the boarding and disembarking processes.  They are somewhat chaotic!

Santorini

This is what Greek postcard dreams are made of.  Santorini is one of the most photographed islands in Greece.  Everyone gushes over the sunsets in Oia, the views of the caldera and the cool beaches (we’re looking at you Red beach).

Oia Santorini Greece from above
A spectacular view of Oia in Santorini, Greece

Santorini will probably be the most expensive and the most touristic of the Greek islands you’ll visit.  It’s still worth it!  It’s super romantic and there are tons to see and do… you can also do nothing and just chill at your hotel or on a beach.  For more details about it, you can check out our full blog on Santorini.

We had 2 nights on Santorini, but 1.5 full days as our flight came in past midnight.  We could have used an extra night here to explore more beaches and do both of the day-hikes.  We only had the chance to do the one from Fira to Oia.

Paros

Paros is the cutest little island in Greece, and one of the most popular of the Cyclades.  It’s at the heart of the Aegean Sea, and perfect for romantic getaways.  You’ll probably get here through Parikia, which is where the port is.  A pretty good bus system will help you get around from one place to the next.  We recommend staying in Naoussa, where you have tons of hotels, restaurants and beaches.

Paros Island Greece
The beautiful white buildings of Paros, Greece

Things to do in Paros

Staying in Naoussa, you are well-located enough to easily see and do what you want.  We didn’t rent a car or scooter here, though most people do.  We found using the bus was convenient (and eco-friendly) enough for us.

We stayed on Paros for 4 nights, but you can easily do 3 nights at a leisurely pace.  It’s a small island, and can easily be explored without rushing.

Enjoy Naoussa

There are tons of delicious restaurants and boutiques all around Naoussa.  We would recommend taking an afternoon to walk around and check out all the little alleys.  While you’re going around, make sure you stop by the Venetian castle and explore it.

Paros Venecian castle Greece
The 15th century Venetian Castle of Paros, Greece

When the sun sets, head out to find some delicious food.  Our favourite restaurants on this island were:

  • Konstantza Cafe:  A great little spot for breakfast.  You can have one of the delicious and affordable set breakfast menus.  We loved the Greek omelette here.  We warn you, we love feta, so you’ll see a reoccurring theme here!
  • Soso:  A wonderful tapas restaurant.  There salad tester is out of this world, as well as their vegetarian quiche with feta and grilled veggies.
  • Allas:  This was Derek’s favourite spot.  He would have eaten here all day, every day.  He loved the chicken souvlaki.  Make sure you try the Naxos cheese rolls, the fries and the layered salad with tomatoes, cheese and bread.  Yum!
  • Minoa:  A classical Greek restaurant, set in a beautiful patio.  You can’t go wrong here.  Derek had the moussaka and I had the imam bayildi.  We shared the tsatsiki and fried zucchini.  Everything was super delish!

Beaches

There is a cute little beach right in Naoussa called Piperi beach.  It’s not anything crazy, there are a few parasols, a restaurant and hotels there, but what we loved about it was that it was quiet, and had shade… free shade!  You’ll notice that most beaches will charge you 10-15 euros for a parasol and some lounge chairs.  Most of the time, the parasol will not even provide enough shade, so we would recommend skipping them!  Piperi is easy to get to, with clear and calm water, so it was our #1 choice on the island.

Piperi beach Paros Greece
Our favourite place to get a tan, Piperi beach in Paros, Greece

From Naoussa, you can hop on a ferry that will take you across the bay to Kolymbithres beach.  The water is crystal clear here, but the sand space is limited and covered with parasols.  There also not much shade available and it does tend to get crowded.  If you head here, we would recommend you go in the morning.  One really cool thing about this beach were the funky rock formations that are all around the coast.

Other beaches to check out are Monastiri beach, Santa Maria, Chrissi Akti (or Golden Beach).  They are accessible by local ferry or by bus.

Lefkes

Lefkes is in the middle of the island, high up on the mountains of Paros, and was the first capital of Paros.  Today, it’s a pretty popular spot because it’s so so cute!  You can walk around the narrow streets, admire the old washhouses, the adorable homes with bougainvillea and take in the gorgeous view of the sea and Naxos.  You just need 1-2 hours to take it all in, unless you really want to take your time.

Lefkes Paros Greece
The old village of Lefkes in Paros, Greece

There are churches and museums to visit in Lefkes, cute little boutiques and restaurants all around.  You can just walk around like we did.  We recommend putting down your GPS and getting lost in the beauty of this village.  Try going early in the morning, or toward the evening, because it get pretty hot up there.

Antiparos

Antiparos is just a short ferry ride from Paros.  A cute little island you can visit on a day trip.  We didn’t have a chance to do it, but next time we come to Paros, we’ll be there!

Naxos

A short ferry ride from Paros will take you to Naxos.  Another cute Greek island worth exploring.  It’s actually the biggest and the greenest island in the Cyclades, and you know how much we love green space!  It is a naturally stunning island with high mountains, lush green gorges and valleys, and beautiful traditional villages on mountain tops.  Your entrance into Chora port Naxos will be something spectacular for sure!

Naxos sunset Greece
Every night in Naxos, we were treated to breathtaking sunsets

Things to do

We stayed on Naxos for 4 days, 4 nights, in Chora, and it was the perfect amount of time to explore, lounge around and take in the sights.

Apollo Temple

As you enter the port of Chora on Naxos, your eyes will naturally be drawn to this gorgeous and mysterious structure on the little islet.  This is the impressive marble gate of the temple of Apollo.  It stands in the spot, on Palatia islet, as it did since the 6th century BC.

Apollo Temple Naxos Greece
A must do, catching a sunset through the Apollo Temple’s Portara, in Naxos, Greece

The Apollo Temple is beautiful to visit at any time of the day, but we recommend going at sunset.  It will be pretty busy (most tour buses will be gone though) and you can try to watch the sun set through the structure.  Just be warned that most people will be standing there trying to get the same shot.  Our advice is take in the beauty of the sun through there, and then watch the sun set on the cliff side where there will be less people.

Sailing day

If you want to explore some less-known islands and beaches in and around Naxos, a sailing day is what you need.  But beware, as not all sailing companies are made equally.  That’s why we highly recommend touring with Xanemo Sailing.  With only 10 people on board, delicious food, stunning views, and the best hosts, you can’t go wrong.

Xanemo sailing boat sunflare Naxos Greece
Our best time in Naxos was aboard Naxos Sailing!

Most sail boats around Naxos will take you to Koufonisia, an over-touristy island.  Xanemo will likely take you to Iraklia, Schoinousa and Aliko beach, on Naxos, right by the protected cedar forest.  You may spot a turtle, or some dolphins, so make sure to bring a camera.  It is a perfect way to spend a day on the ocean!

Beaches

After experiencing the beautiful beaches of Australia, we know we can’t find better.  We’ve stopped being beach snobs, and just enjoy being by the water.  Since we were staying in Chora, we were happy to be a 5-min walk away from St. George beach.  With calm, crystal clear waters, and smooth sand, it did the trick for us.

St-George beach Naxos Greece
Take a refreshing dip at St. George beach in Naxos, Greece

If you want to check out other beaches, Plaka beach, Agios Prokopios and Agia Anna beaches came highly recommended by locals.

Old town

Walking around and getting lost in the Old town of Chora is probably the best way to explore.  You will stumble upon tons of restaurants and bars.  You’ll “accidentally” walk into the cutest boutiques and shops.  You may even discover a medieval castle along the way.  The narrow streets in the mountain are the perfect setting for your afternoon adventure in the Old town of Chora.

Wediditourway Old town Naxoes Greece
Endless photo opportunities around every corner in the old town of Naxos, Greece

Eat to your heart’s content

Did you think we were going to a new island and we weren’t going to eat everything in sight?  It’s like you don’t even know us!  Luckily, there are tons of vegetarian options available on Naxos, and they’re all delicious.

  • To Elliniko:  This cute little restaurant has a beautiful garden where you can eat.  Set up under the garden lights, you will have a delicious, affordably-priced meal, in a magical setting.  We loved their zucchini croquettes with tsatziki, their stuffed red peppers, fried Naxos cheese and… everything we had!  There may be a line-up so reserve ahead of time.
  • Scirocco:  Situated in the roundabout in Chora, this restaurant is just awesome.  The waiter was actually pleasant (which is sometimes hard to find in Greece), the food was delicious and the beers were cheap!  We loved their fried Naxos cheese with honey and sesame seeds.
  • To Souvlaki tou MakiAnother spot Derek would have loved to eat at every day.  This cheap eats spot is actually just delicious!  As the name says, it’s all about souvlaki.  Their vegetarian one is out of this world!
  • Loukoumades:  You need to come here if you want to have the best loukoumades on Naxos.  The owner is super sweet, almost as sweet as his fried balls of dough! We tried the ones with chocolate and with cinnamon.. Both delish!
  • Anna’s Organic Shop and Garden cafe:  The service may be slow, but this cafe is cute and it’s always nice to find organic options.  Anna makes her jams at home, and they are delicious.  A great little spot for breakfast!

Athens

Your trip to Greece will either start or end in Athens because of major flights coming in and it of here.  We know it’s not an island, but it is beautiful and romantic, especially if you’re a history buff like Derek.

Acropolis at night Athens Greece 2
A view of the world famous Acropolis of Athens, Greece

Things to do

We spend 2 days & 2 nights here, and it was more than enough time to see and do everything.  We stayed in Koukaki, and it was a great spot, near all the bars and restaurants, and walking distance to the main Acropolis sites.

Step back in time at the historical monuments

There are a ton of historical monuments all around Athens for you to explore.  You can get your multi-tickets to the 6 major monuments at any one of them.  This ticket will set you back €30, but the sites are well-worth it.  Make sure you buy them at one of the lesser-visited sites like Hadrian’s Library or Temple of Olympian Zeus.

The tickets will allow you to visit all the sites once, over the next 5 consecutive days.  You can also get the €20 ticket for the main Acropolis site, if you want to only visit those temples.

The sites included in your multi-ticket are the Acropolis (the Parthenon and the Erechtheion) with its North and South Slopes.  You also get access to Hadrian’s Library, the Roman Agora, the Archaeological Site of Lykeion, and the Ancient Agora.  The Acropolis museum isn’t included, but the museums in the Ancient Agora and the Kerameikos cemetery are.

Travel tip:  The Acropolis is the most crowded of the Ancient sites.  To visit it, either go at opening, at 8am, or before closing, at 7pm.  Just make sure you get your tickets the day before at one of the less popular sites.  Also note that the hours of operation here are the summer hours.  They change in the winter.

Watch a sunset

The best spot we found to watch the sunset is on Mouseion Hill (or Muse Hill, or Lofos Muson), right by the Philopappos Monument.  From there, you can see the sun set over the city, and you get a beautiful view of the Acropolis.  The sun sets opposite the Acropolis, but the lightning is just magical.

Wediditourway Athens Greece
Watching the sunset over Athens, on Muses Hill in Greece

Explore the old town

Plaka is the oldest section of Athens and a beautiful part to visit.  The main streets are pedestrian, closed to traffic.  Still be sure to watch around because you have the odd speeding motorcycle or delivery truck coming through.

Plaka district Athens Greece
Sightseeing in Athens is not complete without taking a stroll though the Plaka district

The streets of Plaka are lines with boutiques, souvenir shops, restaurants and cafes.  It’s really a great place to sit around, people-watch and take in the beauty of this ancient city.

Eat

We loved all the restaurants we tried in Athens.  All the delicious food we had, at fairly affordable prices blew our minds.  Here are our 2 favourites:

  • Kalamaki bar:  This little restaurant is close to the action, and the food is delish!  We loved every single thing we had, from the greek salad to the souvlaki, the fries to the drinks.  Everything was amazing!
  • Riza Riza:  Right next to Kalamki, Riza Riza was a hit.  Their drinks were so good, the portions were large and filling, and the atmosphere was so much fun.  Affordable and delicious, just like we like it!

There you have it, the perfect 2-week itinerary for your romantic Greece getaway.  These islands can be fun, relaxing, romantic and the most beautiful experience yet.  Don’t forget to take some time to enjoy the moment, enjoy your surroundings and each other’s company!

Wediditourway Santorini Greece
Picturesque Santorini. The cutest little chapel in Greece

Have you been to any of these or any other Greek islands?  Which ones are your favourites for a couple’s getaway?


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The best Greek Islands to visit as a couple. What to do, where to stay, where to eat and all our tips to visit 3 beautiful and romantic Greek islands, and Athens.   www.wediditourway.com

15 things we wish we knew before starting our Instagram

Here are 15 things we wished we knew before starting our travel Instagram account. If you’re looking to monetize your account, you may want to know these things too.

Instagram.  We all have our opinions on it, love it or hate it.  We’ve been on the platform for almost a year now. We’ve grown to a decent following, and have worked with many brands during this time.  We are, by no means, experts on the matter, but after a long period of high activity on this channel, we’ve learned quite a few things.  We’ve been through some good times and some rougher times on the platform.  We want to share what we’ve learned with those who want to document their trip in the hopes of becoming the next big social media travel influencer.  We don’t have all the answers, but this should help get things started.

Our journey

We started our Instagram page about a month after leaving on our long-term trip.  Our friends back home were begging us to document our travels so they could see where we were and what we were doing.

We started out innocently enough, posting decent enough pictures that we edited through Adobe Lightroom.  We just wanted to make them pop a little more.  We had very little followers and were doing this more for fun than with the hopes to become content creators (we actually hate the word Influencer, but that’s a story for another day).

Wediditourway Bannf Canada
The Canadian Rocky Mountains are amazing!  Banff, Canada our first stop and one of our first pics

Slowly (and yeah, we mean very slowly) our following started to grow.  After 4 months, we had about 4,000 followers.  We didn’t quite understand why people were following us, but they did.  Then, over the course of 2 months, we more than doubled our community, finally reaching 10k followers.  That was an awesome milestone!  We were so proud, so happy.  We had started putting a lot of time and energy into growing our community.

But then, things started to change.  We went go from gaining about 700 followers a week to being stuck between 11k and 12k for the last 2 months.

Wediditourway Lake in Alberta Canada
Our very first Instagram picture on our account. A beautiful lake in Alberta, Canada

This isn’t the same journey for everyone.  Some grow super fast, then stagnate.  Others are super slow to grow then gain 50k followers in 5 months.  Others just grow consistently throughout time.  It’s different for everyone, but most will tell you that these lessons are universal.

Through the ups and downs, we keep sharing our adventures with others, hoping that we can inspire others to get out there and create their own adventure.  We also love documenting our adventure through photography.  We often take a look back in time to see how far we’ve come.

So here’s what we learned along the way (and are still learning).  Hopefully, it will help you get off the ground a little quicker, and get you to where you want to be.

What we learned

You are not alone. Find your niche

When we started out, there were tons of other travel accounts out there.  There are new ones popping up every day.  Don’t worry, because there is room for everyone in this world (and on Instagram).

Wediditourway Jeju South Korea
South Korea’s island paradise, Udo Island, near Jeju

So to set yourself apart and find your niche.  Be super targeted.  If you want to do travel, dig down another two layers.  That can mean eco-friendly couple travel, or budget nature travel, or LGBTQ travel with pets.  Whatever it is, there is something that makes you unique.  Focus on that.  Always.

Find inspiration but don’t copy

Pretty simple, no?  We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again.  It’s ok to get inspired by your favourite couples out there, those amazing photographers, or the witty captions you read.  What’s not ok, is straight up copy them.

Wediditourway Mayajimacho Japan
A ferry ride from Hiroshima is Miyajima, Japan and its famous torii

It’s ok to find inspiration, in fact, it can help you get started or out of a creative slump.  It also helps you figure out what type of pictures you like, what kind of editing you want to do, and what you want to focus on.  So take a look at what other accounts are doing, what works and what doesn’t, but be sure you make it unique in your own way.

Consistency is key

We’re actually really bad with this, but we know it’s super important!  A very popular couple we know and love posts at the same time every single day.  That is commitment, and that’s the right way to do it.  Your followers will know that you are serious about the account and your work, and they’ll know to expect to see you at the same time every day.

We try to post every day, but timing gets tricky.  We’re travelling and we want to enjoy our trip as well.  We won’t turn down dates with friends, or pull our phone out when we’re in the middle of an activity.  We’d rather be fully present in the moment.

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A fun hike through the rainforest in Cairns, Australia

Find a balance that works for you, look at what times your audience is online, and stick to that timeframe.  Be flexible, but have some rigour about it.

Extra tip: To figure out what the best time to post is, make sure you sign up for a business account on Instagram.  Use the data to target your posts as much as possible.  This will also help when you’re building your media kit.

Content is king

Your pictures, your stories, your captions, everything you put out is your content.  It’s part of your brand, and it should be as awesome as you can make it.  It’s a process for sure, and you will continuously be learning.  Make sure your content is not only good for your standards, but for the standard of what’s online.

This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t put anything out until it’s perfect, because perfection doesn’t exist.  Just make sure it’s the best thing that you can put out at that time.  If it doesn’t make you happy or proud to put it out there, skip that day, or post something else.

Wediditourway Wanaka New Zealand
We found this little furball near Wanaka, New Zealand

Extra tip: To make sure your pics are always on point, make sure you edit them with software like Adobe Lightroom.  If you want to create a consistent feed, use presets like the ones from Aggie Lal (@travel_inhershoes) or Marie Fe and Jake Snow (@mariefeandjakesnow).

Stories are queen

Often, people focus so much on their feed, they forget to put effort into their stories.  Your stories should to have purpose too.  They need to show your personality and what makes you unique.  Put effort into your stories, and show the real you.  Take people on the adventure with you, share candid moments.  This is what will keep them coming back.  Be consistent with your stories as well!

Wediditourway SignaporeWediditourway Marine Bay Sands Signapore
Staying silly, as always, in Singapore

Extra tip:  If you want to create a nice theme through your stories, use an app like Unfold.  You can also put hashtags in your stories so more people see them, either through the #Hashtag sticker, or even just as text hidden in your story.  Be sure to use the location as well, as that will help get more views and help locate people.

Another extra tip: If you start creating your story, then save it to share later, beware!  Pretty much anything you save, like the slider, a poll, heck even hashtags, will not work if you post a saved story later on!  So create your caption and save that story, but add anything else that adds engagement just before posting.

Start before your trip

This was one of our big lessons.  We should have started creating content before we left on our trip.  There are so many reasons for that.  You get to learn how to use your gear.  You figure out what works and doesn’t for you (in terms of style, poses, editing, all of it!)  You get to see if you need more gear.  And even more importantly, you start building your community while you’re still at home.  Just make sure your content fits with your niche.

Wediditourway Ao Nang Thailand
Thailand has the nicest sunsets, Ao Nang is no exception

Engage. A lot.

The key to succeed on Instagram is no secret.  Engage, engage, engage.  The earlier you start, the more you do, the better!  Some larger accounts say that to grow, you need to spend a good 3-5 hours/day liking, commenting and following other accounts.

To be honest, we know we should have done more of this, especially in the beginning, when the algorithm wasn’t such a *insert expletive of your choice here*!  But to be honest, we were having too much fun on adventures to spend that much of our time on social media.  But if your goal is to grow quickly, then spend your free time engaging.  It’s called social media for a reason.  So get social.

Wediditourway Angkor Wat Siem Reap Cambodia
Angkor Wat, enough said!  Siem Reap, Cambodia

And like we said, if you start before you leave, you can do this while you’re watching TV at home, vs taking time away from your adventure, once you’re abroad.

Extra tip: It’s hard to get people to comment on your posts naturally, unless you are super kick-ass (which we’re sure you are!)  In the beginning, we would recommend joining 2-3 pods to get more comments (aka engagement).  Once your growth starts happening organically, you can drop out of them, as you will be getting regular engagement anyways.  Also, when people comment on your posts, be sure to return the favour and like/comment on their latest post too.

Don’t focus on the numbers

Ok, easier said than done.  Hell, we still get caught up in the numbers sometimes!  And we get it.  You put in so much time and effort to create great content.  You pick outfits and props, take the pics, edit them, think of captions and engage with others.  You want the numbers to reflect your hard work.  But the algorithm changes again, and you’re stuck wondering why your numbers are garbage.

So save yourself the trouble.  Really!  Don’t pay too much attention to the stats.  They will get you depressed.  And don’t compare yourself to others either.  You never know what they are really doing to get their numbers.  Did they buy likes, followers or comments?  Are they using the right hashtags?  Are they spending twice as much time as you on this?  Who knows, and really, who cares?!  Just work on your own path, enjoy the journey, and stay focused.

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Enjoying one of many waterfalls in Langkawi, Malaysia

The only times we would say to pay attention to those numbers are when a post does really well, or really poorly.  Try to draw conclusions so you can either replicate or avoid the same things.

Post only your best

Post only your best work on your feed.  Not what you think is ok, but really your best or your favourite.  If it’s not good enough, then don’t post, and just engage on that day.

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Taking it easy near Dumaguete, Philippines

People see so many posts in a day, that to really get the best engagement, you should be posting only your greatest work… or work that makes you happy!

It’s a lot more work than you think

We totally thought we could put some hashtags up, take good pics and grow a following magically.  Nope!  It’s a lot of work.  Like a lot!

We’re not just talking about the Instagram part, but all of it.  If you want to have a blog and a Pinterest, that will take a lot of time.  If you want to work with brands, you’ll need to build a media kit.  You’ll need to reach out to a lot of brands who often won’t answer you.  Reaching out and sending personalized requests takes time, effort and grit.

Then, once you get a collaboration, the work doesn’t stop.  You have to shoot, edit, put together what you promised the brand and send a report of your results.  It’s a lot of time and effort, but if you enjoy it, it’s totally worth every minute of it.

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Taking in some awesome street art in Berlin, Germany

If you’re not in it for the long-term, or to monetize your account, then just stick to the parts you enjoy, and focus on those.

Extra tip:  When brands do start wanting to work with you, choose wisely.  There is no need to push products or brands you wouldn’t use in real life.  So stay true to who you are, and use your “influence” for good.  The perks may seem enticing, but don’t sell out your community for a quick pay-check.

Keep learning and evolving

Don’t get comfortable.  Ever!  Always look to perfect your skills.  Whether it’s your photography, your captions, your editing, your poses, whatever.  There area ton of sources out there to help you.  Look for the content creators you like and soak in their knowledge.  It will only help you grow as a creator, and keep your material fresh.

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Always time for a good laugh, Valencia, Spain

Have fun with it

This is our #1 rule.  Just have fun with it!  Don’t let it get too serious.  Don’t get into arguments because of it.  Don’t let that famous Instagram shot be the only purpose for your trip.

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Strolling through the Sahara Desert, Morocco

The day you stop having fun, you need to re-evaluate what you’re doing and how you can make this fun again.  And if you can’t find the fun in it anymore, maybe it’s time you stop…

Have no shame

We’re not talking about getting naked, but if that’s your thing, go for it.  We’re not saying it’s ok to break the rules either, cause you should never “Do it for the ‘Gram”.  We’re talking about taking pictures in front of people.

It’s pretty awkward to set up a tripod in a crowded place, and start posing in front of strangers.  Like the time a security guard followed us around and stood 3 feet from us while we were shooting… AWKWARD!

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We got some stares here, being silly again, in Eauze, France

People will stare, they will ask questions, and give you weird looks.  Just ignore them and have fun with it.

Make friends with other couples

This is probably the best part of Instagram: being able to connect with people.  Being a content creator on Instagram is not a competition.  Don’t push anyone down.  Seriously, there is room for everyone on the platform and that’s pretty awesome.

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Athens was jus amazing, Greece

Make friends with others, because the travel life can sometimes get lonely.  It’s fun to meet Insta-friends around the world.  When times get tough, or you need some advice, you can have a support system around you.  A bonus is that you can have friends (and places to crash) all over the world!

Diversify your portfolio

We were lucky that pretty early on in our journey, we met an awesome, pretty famous Instagram couple.  They were kind enough to share some knowledge that was passed on to them by another wise blogger.  And we’re passing it on to you now.  Don’t put all your eggs in the same basket, i.e. Instagram.

They told us to focus on our blog, because that’s a piece of the internet we actually own.  When wise people talk, we listen.

From then on, we focused more of our energy on the blog, not forgetting IG completely, but not putting in as much time and effort into it.  We also starting building our audience on Pinterest.

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One of a hundred amazing sunsets we have captured, Dilijan, Armenia

We’re really happy we took this piece of advice.  We’re happy Instagram gets us to work with amazing brands, companies and hotels, but with the ever-changing algorithm, we’re using it more as a media channel for our blog.  If Instagram wants you to pay to get your content seen, and they are acting like a media outlet, then we will treat them like one!

The blog isn’t for everyone.  You really need to enjoy writing and have to find your niche there too.  If that’s not your thing, go for a Youtube channel, or become a Pinterest guru.  Just focus on the things that bring you joy.  And if you just want to post pics on Instagram, then do that.

So there it is, all the advice we wish we knew before we got started.  It would have helped manage our expectations and helped us avoid some important mis-steps.  But like we said, it’s a process, and for the most part, we’ve been enjoying it.

If you want even more tips from some of our favourite Instagram couples, you can check out their wise words here.

Is there any advice that you got that could help others?  What’s your favourite tip?  Let us know in the comments!


We put a lot of time and effort into the content we create.  Please like, comment and share, every action on your part helps us out tremendously and is very much appreciated.

Love our blog? Sign up to get our latest posts, and help keep our dream going

You can also help us by pinning it for others to find.


15 things we wished we knew before starting our Instagram account. We've learned so much in less than a year. We're happy to share our journey with you so you can learn from our mistakes and thrive. www.wediditourway.com

15 things to do in Armenia that are not churches

Armenia is an ancient country, with tons to see and do. Most concentrate on the churches, but we found 15 awesome things that are not churches

Armenia!  This beautiful old country, full of history and wonder… and churches!  Not many people know where Armenia is, or can point to it on a map.  Things are slowly changing for this country as more and more people are starting to explore the Caucasus and adding Armenia to their list.  And we can’t blame them.  Armenia is awesome!

Being the first country in the world to accept Christianity as a state religion in AD 301, it’s no surprise that most famous sites here are churches.  Impressive, we know, but there is so much more to this magical place than see the monasteries!  So here are the top 15 things to see and do in Armenia that are not churches.

Karahunj astronomical observatory

Welcome to what is suspected to be the oldest astronomical observatory in the world!  Before Stonehenge, there was Karahunj, or Zorats Karer.  It’s a prehistoric archaeological site near the town of Sisian.  As its name indicates, these are Speaking Stones or Standing Stones.

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The impressive sight of Karahunj, near Sisian, Armenia

The site is made of six different parts: the central circle, the north arm, the south arm, North-East alley, the chord (crossing the circle) and separate standing stones.  There are a total of 223 stones of which 80 have a circular holes.  After many studies, it was found that 17 of the stones were associated with observations of sunrise or sunset at the solstices and equinoxes, and 14 with the lunar extremes.

There is so much history and mystic coolness associated with this place.  It’s almost like you can feel the energy when you’re there.  We highly recommend you stop by on your way to Tatev.

Wings of Tatev

Ok, this one is kind of part of a church, but not really!  The Wings of Tatev are the record holder for the World’s longest reversible ropeway, at 5,752 m.  With epic views over the valley, this ropeway will take you to the beautiful Tatev Monastery.  If you don’t want to see the church, that’s ok too!  You can go hiking in the area, do some wine-tasting, or even go paragliding!

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The epic view from the platform of the Wings of Tatev, Armenia

Khndzoresk

Access to this site requires a strong heart.  The swinging bridge to get to the caves is not for the faint.  Be warned that this guy swings and bounces quite a lot.  But if you can get across, it’s quite awesome!

Khndzoresk is a village and rural community in the South-East of Armenia, right by Goris.  There, you have an amazing view of the steep slopes of Khor Dzor (Deep Gorge).

Khndzoresk is an old village that has been built into the side of the mountains.  With caves and ruins still up for you to explore, it’s quite a site.  It’s such a cool place and well worth the detour if you go to Tatev, Goris or Artsakh.  It was inhabited until the 1950’s.  How freakin’ cool!

The climb down to the bridge is long (even longer on the way up).  You can take a taxi to get back to the main road, though if you’re slightly fit, you don’t need to.  The steps there make it a pretty easy hike.

Explore Armenia’s traditions on a tour

Armenia is a beautiful country full of natural riches and traditions.  We had a great time doing various tours of the some of the countries exports.  The typical tour is a wine tasting.  The Areni region is known for producing great wines, so find a wine you like and go do a wine tasting at their vineyards.  If wine is not your thing, then you can head to the Ararat brandy distillery and get a crash course in the tradition of brandy making in Armenia.

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The beautiful rugs at Megerian Carpet factory, in Yerevan, Armenia

Next, you have the traditional carpet making tour.  We had a great time exploring the Megerian Carpet factory near Yerevan.  We learned how they make these carpets with the traditional Armenian double knot, visited their museum and warehouse, and so much more.  It was super interesting.

And finally, for those who love natural and organic cosmetic products, you can tour the beautiful Nairian lab and production facility.  We had a wonderful time seeing what plants and herbs are used to make their natural products.  They even have a shop where you can try and buy these.

Shaki waterfalls

This little waterfall is just magic.  You need to hike a short 5 minutes to get to it, but it is gorgeous.  Lush and abundant, it’s somewhat surprising to find this waterfall in an arid Armenia.  But there it is, tucked in a beautiful natural setting, on your way to Tatev.

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The beautiful Shaki waterfalls in Armenia

There are plenty of tables and places to hang out before getting to the waterfall, so do as the locals do and set up a little BBQ.  It’s the perfect setting to take in the surrounding beauty.  Unlike the locals, pick up your trash when you leave.  This place is too beautiful not to care for it.

Hike the trails

Armenia is slowly getting noticed for its amazing hiking trails.  Through valleys, mountains and beautiful scenery, there are so many trails that run deep through this country.

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The beautiful hikes in Dilijan, where the Transcaucasian Trail passes

Whether you want to do multi-day hikes, a loop circuit or get from point A to B, there is something for everyone.  For those looking for a challenge, you can hike up Mount Aragats or Mount Aghzahad.  There are beautiful lush forest hikes in the Dilijan National Park, what we call the “Switzerland of Armenia”.  You can even hike to different countries on the Transcaucasian Trail.  To find the best hikes, check out HikeArmenia’s website.

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Mt. Ara, one of the many mountain hikes you can do in Armenia

Eat. A lot.

In case you didn’t know, the food in Armenia is just delicious.  Most of the produce is grown locally, and cooked with care.  In fact, cooking and food are an important part of Armenian culture.  If you know any Armenians, even if they are not living in Armenia, chances are, every time you see them, they try to offer you insane amounts of food to eat.  Yeah, we all have that in common!

So if you want a good glimpse the beautiful and generous culture of this country, we highly recommend you eat as much as you can.  Prices are low, and the food is so delicious!

Here are some of our favourite dishes.  Obviously, we prioritize the vegetarian ones (or versions):

  • Lavash:  This traditional Armenian bread is a staple of every meal. Thin and cooked in a tonir (clay barrel).
  • Eggplant rolls:  Grilled eggplant, rolled with a mix of cheese, dill and walnuts, sprinkled with pomegranate. Yum!
  • Vegetarian manti:  Manti is a traditional Armenian dumpling (ish), served with broth and yogurt.  They have the non-vegetarian version too.
  • Cheese platter:  Simple, but the locals cheese here are amazing. Derek’s new favourite is Lori cheese, the perfect mix of squeaky and salty.
  • Garden salad:  Another simple dish, but when the veggies are this fresh, it’s delicious!
  • Lahmajoon: Also known as Armenian pizza. It’s a thin dough covered in meat.  Some places have the vegetarian lahmajoon, if not, go for the za’tar!
  • Khorovats:  Basically, this means BBQ.  The veggies, the meats, it’s all delicious!
  • Gata:  A typical Armenian coffee cake.  Each family and city makes it a certain way.  Regardless of how it’s made, it’s delicious, especially when it’s fresh out the oven!
  • Surjukh:  Known as Armenian Snickers, this dessert is a string of walnuts dipped into a mixture of fruit juices and spices, then dried.  You’ll find them sold at groceries, on the side of the highway, and at major tourist sites.

Take in the art

Armenians have always been a very artistic culture.  It’s no surprise that we dance, sing and play music, every chance we get!  There are art museums, galleries, statues and street art around every corner of major cities.  At most tourist sites, you will find a local painter selling his art, or a musician playing traditional Armenian songs.

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Find beautiful paintings at the Painter’s vernissage in Yerevan

In Yerevan, you are spoiled.  You can find any type of gallery, museum or handcraft.  If you want to get traditional pieces, ranging from household goods, to jewellery, painting to instruments and so much more, head to Vernissage or the Painters’ vernissage.

Walking around the streets, you’ll also find statues on almost every street in Yerevan.  You can take in the beautiful art installations at Cascade.  Even Cascade itself is a beautiful piece of art, with stunning views of Ararat!  If you’re lucky, you may spot some cool street art around the city too.

Musical nights

Whether you are into the ballet, the opera or musical performances, you can always find tons going on, especially in Yerevan.  From the National troupes, to local musicians, from jazz shows to traditional Armenian classics and funky rock/Armenian fusion, there are shows going on nightly in certain bars around the city, at the National Opera or in coffeeshops.

Opera Yerevan Armenia
Home to musical performance and ballet, Opera in Yerevan, Armenia

Honour the past at Tsitsernakaberd

Armenia has quite a bloody past.  Although it is working hard to move past it, it’s still important to recognize what happened over 100 years ago.  That’s why, no tour of Armenia would be complete without visiting Tsitsernakaberd, the Armenian Genocide memorial complex.   This is Armenia’s official memorial dedicated to the victims of the Armenian Genocide of 1915.  The monument was built in 1967, which is quite rare to see from the strict Soviet regime, and a trip there is quite moving.

Tsitesnagerb Yerevan Armenia
The stele and slabs of Tsitsernakaberd

The monument is made of 2 structures.  First, there is a 44-meter stele that symbolizes the national rebirth of Armenians.  Then, you have 12 slabs placed in a circle to represent the 12 provinces lost in present-day Turkey.  At the centre of this circle, there is an eternal flame dedicated to the 1.5 million people killed during the Armenian Genocide.

Eternal flame at tsitesnagerb Yerevan Armenia
The eternal flame, in the heart of Tsitsernakaberd

On the same hill, you have the genocide museum.  It is a brutal recounting of the atrocities that the Armenian people endured during the Genocide.  It is a stark reminder of the cruelty humans are capable of, and moreover, it’s a warning sign to ensure no such atrocities are ever committed again.

Byurakan astronomical observatory

Byurakan  Astrophysical  Observatory (or BAO) was founded in 1946.  Located on the slope of the mountain Aragatz, Armenia’s highest peak, the observatory focused its studies mainly on the instability phenomena taking place in the Universe.  Since its opening, the observatory has discovered special star clusters – stellar associations (1947), more than 1,000 flare stars, dozens of Supernovae, hundreds of Herbig-Haro objects and cometary nebulae, and hundreds of galaxies.  However, after the breakup of the Soviet Union, the observatory fell into hard times.

It still runs today, and it’s possible for you to visit the observatory on clear nights.  It’s quite an experience to see the telescopes, get a sense of how things work and gaze at our beautiful galaxy.  A must for any astronomy fans!

Soviet amusement parks

In most major cities, mainly Yerevan and Gyumri, you will find these old soviet amusement parks.  They are a mix of scary, thrilling and creepy!  But they are kind of fun to check out, if only to wonder how these rides are still operating, and if they’re still up to code!

Certain rules are stricter than in other parks, like you can’t bump the bumper cars, but you’re sure to have some fun.  If you want a real thrill, we suggest heading up the ferris wheel, that creaks and sways with the wind, or with the slightest movement!

Another cool timepiece left from the soviet era is the children’s railway station in Yerevan.  The station itself looks like a castle out of a fairytale.  The trains and locomotives sitting in the back yard are also pretty cool.  If you’re lucky, you may just get there when the trains are operating and you can go for a little ride with the kids.

Chill by the water

Armenia is a very arid and mountainous country, but there are some places you can relax by the water.  Being a landlocked country, don’t expect to see any oceanic beaches, but you will find some beautiful lakes!

First is the beautiful Parz Lake.  When you come to Armenia, you have to visit Dilijan.  Nestled in the mountains covered with lush forest, Dilijan is truly a unique place.  Your trip there would not be complete without driving (or hiking) through the Dilijan national park, making your way to Lake Parz.  There, you will find a lovely restaurant, a floating restaurant, as well as a ropes course, for those who need more action.

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The beautiful Parz Lake with its changing leaves, Dilijan, Armenia

Then, you have the famous Lake Sevan.  This is the largest body of water in Armenia.  Sure, there’s a monastery at the top of the peninsula, but that’s not what we’re here for today!  There are tons of cafes, restaurants and bars around the lake.  If not, you can do as the locals and set up camp by the shores, make your own BBQ and take in the beauty of this massive lake.  If you’re brave enough, you can also jump in, but be warned, because the water is always cold!

Lake Sevan Armenia
Lake Sevan, Armenia’s largest body of water

Finally, there is Kari Lake, at Mount Aragats.  This lake is by a hotel and restaurant, renown for serving khash, a traditional Armenian soup made of cow hoof.  The lake is also the starting point for hiking Mount Aragats.  It’s a beautiful lake, and if you don’t want to hike all the way up to the peaks of the mountain, you can go until the top of the nearby crater.

Go fortress hunting

There are a ton of fortresses around Armenia, all quite old and full of history!  Luckily, the main ones are near Yerevan.

The first is Erebuni fortress, located just outside the city centre.  Some also call it Arin Berd.  It is an Urartian fortified city and one of many fortresses built along the northern Urartian border, dating back to 782 BC.  This place used to be one of the most important political, economic and cultural centres of the vast old kingdom.

Next, you have Amberd fortress, which literally translates to “Cloud fortress” or Fortress in the clouds.  This 7th century fortress is located on the slopes of Mount Aragats, right where the Arkashen and Amberd rivers run.  It’s a beautiful fortress, overlooking a gorge on the cliffside of the mountains.

Amberd fortress Armenia
Amberd fortress in Armenia

Finally, you have Smbataberd, a 5th century fortress located between the villages of Artabuynk and Yeghegis in the Vayots Dzor.  You will notice that Smbataberd was built in a very advantageous position.  It’s on the southern end of a ridge, guarded by steep cliffs on three of its sides. Its large ramparts with its towers are still relatively intact on the exterior, making it quite a site to see.

Celebrate

If there’s one thing Armenians know how to do well (ok, it’s one of the many things they do well), it’s party.  You already know they love to sing and dance, well, they also like to celebrate while they’re doing that!  During our 7 weeks in Armenia, we saw fireworks at least 4 times.  That’s almost every other week!  For the best parties, be sure to be in Yerevan.


During national celebrations, the city’s streets shut down, becoming pedestrian walkways.  There are concerts, shows and kiosks all around the capital, all for free.  Street performers, bands, face painting, and of course, fireworks!  Expect to have a ton of fun during these days!

Not only are national holidays cause for celebration, but you will find tons of bars, clubs and wine bars where you can get the party started any day of the week.  If you want to experience the real Armenian joie-de-vivre, we highly recommend you head out for a night on the town!

Although the history of Armenia is very rich, and that churches are an intricate part of it, there is much more to the country than some of what the traditional tours offer.  These churches and monasteries are beautiful, and true architectural wonders, having stood through wars, earthquakes and the tests of time.  But if you want to truly discover all the beauty of this ancient country, we recommend going off the beaten path and seeing the other beauties it offers.


We put a lot of time and effort into the content we create.  Please like, comment and share, every action on your part helps us out tremendously and is very much appreciated.

Love our blog? Sign up to get our latest posts, and help keep our dream going

You can also help us by pinning it for others to find.


Discover the 15 top things to do in Armenia that are not churches. From hikes, food, arts and so much more.  www.wediditourway.com