Photos of Venice to make you want to go now!

If you are thinking about going to Venice by the end of this post you will already be booking! These photos of Venice will inspire you to visit, whether it’s your first time or if you’ve been a hundred times before. I don’t think you could ever get enough of this beautiful city and its amazing canals.

Photos of Venice – The Rialto Bridge

Photos of Venice - the Rialto Bridge

The Rialto Bridge may be one of the most popular photos of Venice and with good reason. This amazing image is the ultimate Venice scene. There’s history here and it is the oldest bridge across the canal, it was also the dividing line between the districts of San Marco and San Polo.  Iconic and charming make sure you take your own pictures from the canal when passing over or under this bridge.

Photos of Venice – Carnivale

Photos of Venice Carnival masks

Venice Carnival or Mardi Gras (Martedì Grasso) should be on your bucket list. Celebrated on Shrove Tuesday before the start of Lent, join the masses clad in elaborate masks like this one in a festival like one you have never attended before. An age old tradition you are sure to enjoy and remember forever. If you want to take part in one of the special events or popular balls you will want to book in advance and plan now for your visit next year.

Gondolas on the Grand Canal

Venice boats - photos of venice

Venice is nothing if not filled with its famous Gondolas. On the Grand Canal near St Marks square you will find these moored boats just waiting to be rowed. Everywhere you go in Venice you’ll find moored boats be that gondolas, speed boats or small fishing boats. Each offers its own photo opportunity and you can capture your own unique moment. You’ll especially love the ornately decorated Gondolas with gold flourishes and plush seating.

Colourful Venice squares

Venice colourful square - photos of venice

When it comes to great photos of Venice, the beautiful squares and colourful houses make some of the best. When you move away from the canals there are less crowds and even on the best day, you can find a quiet haven in one of these hidden spaces. Not the usual kind of place you would imagine to be in Venice. Be mindful that these are people’s houses and appreciate the privacy of locals.

St Marks Square

Photos of venice - ST Marks square

This expansive square is a must see in Venice but it might be difficult to get yourself a photograph like this. You’ll usually see this place filled with tourists and groups with their guides carrying colourful umbrellas. But if you get up early and avoid the cruise ship times you might just get to see this scene. And what a beautiful view it is. At any time of the day however you can enjoy the fascinating architecture in this magnificent space.

Photos of Venice at Sunrise

Photos of Venice - Sunrise

At all times of the day you will find the city spectacular, however, nothing quite beats the early morning. Sunrise here is really beautiful. You will see the light reflecting against the water and onto the buildings giving the whole place a unique glow. Keep your cameras at the ready and head out to meet the sun. It is absolutely sensational and I guess you will just have to go and witness it for yourself!

Luscious markets in Venice

Photos of Venice - markets

Fresh and succulent fruits, vegetables and fish can be found in the massive morning market in Venice. You will find it hard to resist the colourful array of foods on offer here. The fresh fish may be the most exciting part of the market and you can find so many local catches from that very morning. Ok, so you might just be visiting and not really be able to buy and cook Octopus for example. Well, don’t worry you can always walk away with a fresh fruit pot complete with cutlery to eat as you continue your wandering.

Boutique souvenir shopping

Photos of venice - shopping

If you love shopping then you will love Venice. So many unique stores to explore and find that special item to take home and remind you of your trip. Popular souvenirs you might be interested in are of course masks as pictured and some gorgeous glass items made locally. Pictures, paintings, and tapestries by talented artists are sold around the city too. Not only will you find souvenirs but also designer and independent brands of clothing and shoes too.

Churches in Venice

Photos of Venice - churches

There may be up to 137 churches within all of the Islands of Venice to find. As you might assume, most of these churches are Catholic and most are pretty historic. The amazing thing is a lot of the churches have active members, hold regular services and are very much part of the community. You probably won’t find a service in English, rather Latin or Italian. That doesn’t mean you can’t attend, though, or even just sit in the back and enjoy the experience. What is for sure is that you will find each church has it’s own character and appeal. Visit as many as you can!

Al Fresco Dining

Photos of Venice - dining

What could be better than eating outside in a fantastic restaurant in one of the world most romantic destinations? It’s a lovely experience to sit beside the canals and eat some fresh, locally produced food. There are too many great restaurants here to mention but many of them have tables that spill out onto squares and streets. You can really soak up the atmosphere and enjoy the weather in the warm summer months.

So from these photos of Venice surely you are convinced to make that trip soon! Venice is such a photogenic destination and everywhere you turn you are sure to find that perfect photo opportunity. It may be the water that does it or it may be the charming buildings and historic character. Whatever it is that makes Venice such an alluring place one thing that is clear is that after seeing these pictures you will want to go right now!

You can get some great deals to fly to Venice at the moment so put this destination on your list. Have you been to Venice? What did you think?

Originally posted on Pretravels.com

Travelling to Lithuania: Medieval Cities And Stunning Scenery.

A castle on a lake, a mountain of crosses and a museum dedicated to the devil. You will wonder why you didn’t consider travelling to Lithuania sooner.

When you tell someone that you are travelling to Lithuania you may get a questionable look! ‘Where is that? and What is there to do?’ You’ll probably be asked. Well, there is plenty to discover in this less visited Baltic country. Do you want to know more about discovering Lithuania? Read on.

Check out Trakai castle when travelling to Lithuania.

Where is Lithuania?

Lithuania sits between Latvia, Poland and Belarus and has a small coastline along the Baltic sea. You may be surprised to hear that there’s a Scandinavian influence here! This is due to Sweden and Denmark being easily reached from the coastal town of Klaipėda.

The capital, Vilnius is found very close to the Belarus border and home to its medieval old town which gives Prague a run for its money.

The old and the new in Vilnius.

Vilnius is a great starting point when travelling to Lithuania

Boasting the largest old town in Eastern Europe you won’t want to miss a trip to the historic centre of this city. In 1994 Vilnius was added to the World Heritage list and whilst exploring this magnificent place you will notice a mix of architectural styles including Gothic, renaissance and baroque.

Top sights to see:

  • Gediminas tower and the castle. Climb to the top for lovely views across the city.
  • The Gates of Dawn. A city gate adorned with a painting of the blessed mother Mary.
  • The Cathedral and Cathedral square. A great meeting place outside this very large decorated Cathedral.
  • The Church of St Anne. A stunning Gothic brick church.
  • The Three Crosses. A large statue topping the hill opposite the castle and a bit of a hike to reach the top!

Not into architecture? Vilnius has much more to offer. With a range of restaurants, bars and clubs, you will find something here that suits your taste. The craft beer scene is really taking off too in addition to a bit of a foodie culture. Lithuanians want to be known for their modern statement restaurants just as well as their local traditional food.

If you are used to very busy European cities, such as Lisbon, then Vilnius will seem relatively quiet. Much like its neighbour Latvia, the towns in Lithuania are not as populated as they could be since many young Lithuanians are migrating. However, with increased tourism, the government hopes to change this.

Vilnius is a great starting point when travelling to Lithuania since it has good transport links, helping you to explore the rest of the Country easily.

Trakai Castle – a day trip from Vilnius

You may not believe in fairy-tales but this beautiful castle, set in the middle of a lake might change your mind. The picturesque Lake Galve is home to twenty small islands and on one of these islands stands Trakai Castle and history museum.

Walking along the bridges over the lakes, you will feel like you are stepping back in time. The Castle walls sprawl out in front of you and the open gates await. You won’t regret taking a walk up to the top of one of the towers for the stunning views of the natural surroundings.

You can get to the small old town of Trakai easily by train or by bus directly from Vilnius. The castle is then only a short walk away. Free maps are usually available at your hotel (if you are not fond of using your phone for directions!)

If you want the place virtually to yourself then visiting in the winter/spring months is the best option. The summer months bring the better weather and more activity options but also many more tourists! Whenever you visit Trakai castle should not be missed if travelling to Lithuania.

The Legendary Hill of Crosses.

The spectacle known as the hill of crosses is the most popular tourist attraction in Lithuania. Situated near the city of Šiauliai, the historic landmark is forever growing as visitors leave their own crosses behind. You can guide your way through more than 100,000 crosses of all shapes and sizes and marvel at some of the beautiful intricate designs as well as the simple.

The Hill of crosses is a symbol of faith and resistance. Even during the soviet rule people risked their lives to plant their crosses on the hill.

It can take you around three hours to reach Šiauliai by car from Vilnius. From there you can take a tour, public transport or drive to the Hill. Remember to take your own cross with you and plant a memory in this eerie but beautiful place.

Kaunas, the city on the river.

Devils in the Devils museum in Kaunas. Add this to your list when travelling in Lithuania.

When you hear words like quaint and pretty used to describe Kaunas you may be surprised to learn that it is Lithuania’s second city.  You can easily and cheaply reach Kaunas from other European countries thanks to the rise of low-cost airlines flying to this destination. The old town here is really a lovely town square and a few surrounding streets. However small the town it is also very nice. If you want to see the local way of life and still have things to do whilst travelling in Lithuania then Kaunas is for you.

Top sights to see:

  • Kaunas castle. Mostly restored today, yet this castle is the oldest stone castle in Lithuania.
  • The Devils museum. A strange and interesting museum and would you believe it, the only museum of its kind in the world!
  • The Kaunas town hall city museum. Dominating the town square a place for weddings and perusing the small museum inside.
  • Cathedral of St Peter and Paul. You will find this Cathedral beautiful inside and out.

When it comes to eating out you will find a small variety of bars and restaurants within and near to the old town.When travelling to Lithuania you won’t go hungry! Prices are cheaper in Kaunas than Vilnius too so you can get a good meal for your money!

Some other things you might want to know when travelling to Lithuania …

Lithuania is part of the European Union and its currency is the Euro. Yes, that’s right, no need to exchange currency if you are travelling through Europe. The weather here is pretty moderate. Temperatures can drop quite low in the winter and summers tend to be mild, though can be wet too. But I doubt you’ll be visiting for the weather!

Well, that’s it! With all of this to offer you would be mad not to consider adding Lithuania to your bucket list. Have you been to Lithuania? I would love to hear what you think and where you are planning to visit next?

Originally posted on Pre-Travels.com

Kaunas spring market

Kaunas market.

Kaunas spring market Lithuania

Due to the flights being extra cheap with Ryanair from Birmingham to Kaunas, rather than Vilnius we flew into and out of Kaunas airport. On arrival we went straight to Vilnius, however we stayed in Kaunas at the end of our trip. I’m glad we did as when we arrived the streets were lined with stalls being set up for the annual Kaunas spring market.

The stalls spanned the length of the old town all the way up to St Michael the archangel church. There were very few tourists here at this time and many stall holders did not speak English. We managed to get by with hand gestures, laughter and the odd word to make our purchases!

The vendors consisted of lots of food stalls, both hot and cold,  local crafts including carvings and iron mongers and also every day items. It was great to browse the stalls taking in the sights and smells and sampling some of the foods on offer!

Here are a few pictures which are much better at showing the market than I can explain!

Kaunas market
The view of Kaunas Spring market from our room.
Kaunas spring market
Hot food cooking away at the market.
Kaunas spring market.
Sweets and treats.
Kaunas spring market.
Local crafts. We bought one of these fabric Lithuania banners.
Kaunas spring market.
More fresh cooked food on the go.
Kaunas market.
Smoking fish sold at this stall.
Stalls lining the streets in Kaunas.
Stalls lining the streets in Kaunas.
Kaunas market.
Amazing carvings at the Kaunas spring market.

 

Kaunas spring market.
Love these crisps on a stick! So simple, a potato spiralled and fried!

 

 

 







Vilnius – Top things to do

Exploring Vilnius – What are the top things to do?

We spent a few days in Lithuania in March and Vilnius was our main base to explore from. Being the largest city and the capitol, there are plenty of things to see and do.  Here are my highlights  🙂

Castle Hill and Gedimina’s Tower

Vilnius
Castle Hill – Vilnius.

The top of the hill is reached by either walking a sloping path or the easier and cheap funicular. Most of the buildings have been reconstructed however there is a stunning view over the city. To climb a little higher, pay 4 euros to enter the tower for 360 views from the top. Inside the tower there are some interesting exhibits including suits of armour and other historic pieces. The stairs of the spiral staircase are a little steep but worth it!

The Hill of Three Crosses.

Vilnius
Hill of Three Crosses – Vilnius.

The crosses stand on the old site of the crooked castle and are believed to have been erected in the 17th Century. The climb is a steep one, entering through Kalnų Park. Climbing up the slopes and steps you will reach a plateau where the crosses stand. Another great view across the city and also castle hill.

Vilnius Cathedral and Cathedral square.

Vilnius
Cathedral Square Vilnius.

This great open space is full of interesting architecture. The Cathedral itself is French Classicist style and mostly dates from the late 18th century. Built on the site of an original pagan temple . It has had various uses throughout its life, including being used by the Soviets as a garage for truck repairs. Today the chapels, sculptures and paintings are to be enjoyed by its visitors.

The old town and Pilies street.

Vilnius
Vilnius Old Town.

With one of the largest old towns in Europe, there are many streets to explore. In contrast to Cathedral square, Pilies and the surrounding streets are narrow and winding. Get lost within the souvenir and local craft stores, coffee shops and restaurants. Especially popular for its local Amber-ware.

The Gates of Dawn

Vilnius
Gates of Dawn Vilnius.

The Madonna of Mercy is the focus of this classical chapel. Following the custom of having a chapel or religious image in gateways to protect leaving travellers and guard from enemies. This is the only gateway to have survived from the early 16th Century. Entrance is from the outside, steps lead up from a door in the street below.

Vilnius.
Gates of Dawn Vilnius.

These are just a few of the main sights to see in here. More top attractions worth visiting are.. The Presidential Palace. St Johns church. Vilnius picture gallery and The Church of St Anne.

Find more information here Vilnius tourism.

Top quirky bars in Europe

Here are five of the Top quirky bars in Europe I have visited!

Ok so this is my opinion based on bars I have visited myself. (I am sure there are other amazing bars so let me know and I will add them to my list to visit)

But here is my version of Top quirky bars in Europe!

Cafe buza Dubrovnik, Croatia

Nestled on the cliffs beyond the city walls this cool bar gives you a view of the Adriatic and Lokrum Island. Find the hole in the city walls and walk down the steps in the cliff to the bar.

Buza bar Top quirky bars in Europe

Alchemia bar Krakow, Poland

In the Jewish quarter this bar has something for everyone. There are different rooms decorated in alternative ways. Go through the wardrobe and you will find two more rooms to explore.

Image from www.local-life.com

Le Zero de Conduite Paris, France

This tiny bar in St Germain de Pres is very unique. Serving only cocktails you order by drawing or acting the cartoon character representing your order. Then your drinks come in baby bottles!

Le Zero du Conduite Top quirky bars in Europe

Boadas cocktail bar Barcelona Spain

No menu here. Just ask the bow tie donning waiters for your favourite cocktail and they will shake it up for you. Serving cocktails since 1933 this small bar is full of history.

Boada Cocktail Bar Barcelona
Image from Blog.friendlyrentals.com

Mein haus am see Berlin, Germany

Looking like a sofa shop in the day time, this retro bar fills up at night and has a laid back feel. Great for a coffee in the day time and music and beer in the evening!

Image from enjoyberlin.com

Have you been to any of these bars? Can you recommend any more quirky places?

 

Oktoberfest – celebrate in Germany!

Oktoberfest

5 reasons why you should celebrate Oktoberfest.

Oktoberfest is a 16 day festival which is held in Munich at the end of September until the beginning of October. However the event is celebrated across Germany and other parts of Europe.

As a beer lover I think this is a great festival. But there is more to it and here are my five reasons why you should celebrate:

Oktoberfest

1) For the love of beer!

There are only 6 beers that can be served at Munich Oktoberfest. These beers are brewed within the city limits. They are Augustiner-BräuHacker-Pschorr-BräuLöwenbräuPaulanerSpatenbräu, Staatliches Hofbräu-München.

Beers come in different sizes including the Stein which is up to 1 litre of beer in a mug! Expect lots of drinking and glass clinking.

One beer please, Oktoberfest
Beer served at Oktoberfest in Berlin.

2) The Great food!

Street food at Oktoberfest is in abundance! Good hearty Barvarian food. Including roasted meats, sausages, sauerkraut, pretzels and cheese. Stodgy but great to soak up all that beer.

Oktoberfest
Image from wikipedia.

3) The amusements and games!

Can you ring the bell by swinging the hammer hard enough? Or do you prefer to show off your target shooting skills? For the rest of the family there are carousels and rides to be enjoyed by all. Just make sure you do this before the beers…

Oktoberfest
“Muenchen-Oktoberfest” by Bernhard J.

4) The stalls!

Find souvenirs a plenty! From hats and traditional dress to beer tankers and sweets. There are many stalls for you to browse and shop.

Oktoberfest
Stalls in Berlin.

5) The atmosphere!

Sing along and clink your beers with fellow drinkers and merrymakers.  Ein Prosit is a popular song you will hear. Make sure you finish with ‘Prost’ or cheers and take a drink of beer!

Oktoberfest
Me with one of the bar maids at Oktoberfest :-).

 And its not just Munich. Oktoberfest is celebrated all over Germany and now is popular in other countries too!

Is there an Oktoberfest celebration where you are?

One beer please – How to ask for beer in Europe

One Beer Please

‘One Beer Please’

How to ask for a beer in the 26 countries of the European Union.

One beer please
Beer served at Oktoberfest in Berlin

 

Flag of Austria One beer please

Austria  Austrian –  Ein Bier Bitte

 

 

Flag of Belgium one beer please

Belgium French – Une bière, s’il vous plaît  or Dutch – Een biertje neem

 

Flag of Bulgaria

Bulgaria Bulgarian – Edna bira , molya

 

 

Flag of Croatia

Croatia Croatian – Jedno pivo molim te

 

Flag of Cyprus.svgCyprus Greek – Mia býra parakaló̱ or Turkish – Bir bira lütfen

Flag of Czech Republic

Czech Republic Czech – jedno pivo, prosím

 

 

Flag of Denmark

Denmark Danish – én øl venligst

 

 

Flag of Estonia

Estonia Estonian – Palun üks õlu

Continue reading “One beer please – How to ask for beer in Europe”

Berlin- a city of History and Beer

Exploring Berlin

We arrived in Berlin via an overnight train from Budapest and I had actually had a good nights sleep! A 20 minute bus ride got us near to our hotel, The Circus Hotel on the corner of Rosenthalerplatz. Leaving our bags behind I grabbed my map and went out to explore.

Berlin
Cool Berlin

There’s so much to see and do in Berlin. We decided to start with the iconic Brandenberg Gate. After wandering about and getting a little lost we jumped onto the U-Bahn subway. We quickly discovered this is the best way to get around. The Brandonberg gate is a site of many historical events. Previously representing the divide between East and West Germany, it now stands as a symbol of Unity. We took a look at the Reichstag building, admiring the architecture and the large centre dome. Continue reading “Berlin- a city of History and Beer”

Facebook Iconfacebook like buttonTwitter Icontwitter follow buttonVisit me on Intstagram
%d bloggers like this: