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Tag: Europe

How to Spend a Weekend in Budapest

Budapest (correctly pronounced [Boo-Dah-Pesht]) is the capital of Hungary, and a wonderful unique, young, and fun city to visit. Whether you’re going to enjoy the lively nightlife, relax in the thermal spas, or take in the storied history and architecture, there’s a there’s a little for everyone.

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What You Need To Know

Currency: 1 USD = 300 HUF. Credit cards widely accepted in cities, and ATMs are found even in small cities and offer great exchange rates.

Wait, where am I?” Budapest is actually two cities: Buda (West of the Danube River) and Pest (East of the river).

Budgeting: $30 USD/day (budget), $60 USD/day (midrange), $100 USD/day (top-end)

  • Meals: $5 USD (budget) to $15 (midrange) per meal.
  • Accommodation: $10 USD (budget / dorm rooms), $20 (midrange private rooms), $50+ (budget hotels/Airbnb).

Safety: Follow common sense safety principals and you’ll have no issues. Violet crime is very low. Pickpocketing is most popular in touristy spot, and frequently done by coordinated group.

Water: Safe, including public water fountains.

When to visit: June-September.

  • November – March: Rainy and cold
  • April-May: Beauty of Spring but risk it will be wet
  • June-September: Warm, long days, but busy season. Avoid August.
  • October: Start of colder weather, but quieter as post-tourist season.

Itinerary

What to expect from this itinerary: You’ll make the most out of your short weekend in Budapest, getting a post-flight massage to work out the tension, exploring the storied architecture of the city, grabbing a drink at a local pub and taking in the city at night, dancing in a ruin pub, and then capping off the trip how you started it: relaxation, this time in a thermal spa.

Day 1: Welcome!

Arriving/Departing: If you arrived by air, you have a few options to get into the city: taxi (via Fotaxi for 7,500 HUF), Shuttle (MiniBUD for approx. 5000 HUF), or Public Transport (Take 200E bus to Metro Blue Line M3 station Kobanya-Kispest, and then continue to City Centre). If arriving by train, you’ll likely arrive at Keleti palyaudvar, Deli palyaudvar, or Nyugati palyaudvar, and all are connected to the metro line.

After dropping your bag at your accommodation, it’s time to stretch the legs and see the city. From the center of Pest, walk towards the river, passing by the beautiful St. Stephen’s Basilica on the way. Continue on and cross the Chain Bridge (Szechenyi Lanchid) [Lance-Heed] as the sunsets for a beautiful view of the city. Head back north on the Pest side and stop at the easy-to-miss 5 Elements Spa to loosen up before calling it a night.

Day 2: Get the Walking Shoes On

Head West towards the river and see the Parliament Building, the largest in Europe and completed in 1902. Private tours are available, but seeing the beautiful exterior alone is enough. Make sure to see from both sides of the river.

Stop at The Great Synagogue and Jewish Museum features beautiful orchestration and nearly 150’ tall ceilings. If up for it, stop at the House of Terror is a depressing but powerful museum about Nazi communism, including detailed history about each room, including the basement jail where prisoners were beaten to death.

Continue north and grab a bite at an outdoor table at Hummus Bar. Cross over the bridge to Buda by trolley or foot, stopping at Margaret Island if you want to work off the lunch.

From the Buda side of the site, head up to the Royal Palace (Kiralyi palota), which on the hill across from the Parliament building. Entrance is free, though some attractions require paid admission. Walk through the Lions’ Courtyard, Hunyadi Garden, and catch beautiful views of the city from Savoyai Terrace or Fisherman’s Bastion.

Climb the fortress on top of Gellerthegy  (Gellert Hill) to the beautiful city views of Citadella, before crossing over Elisabeth Bridge back into the city. Across the river, act a tourist and buy a (likely overpriced) souvenir at popular shopping areas like Vaci utca or the Great Market Hall. Tired from being on your feet all day? Grab a foot massage at Spirit Thai, right next to the market.

For the evening, consider a scenic Danube river dinner cruise with live music (Hungaria Koncert Ltd.). If you’ve had enough sight-seeing for the day, catch a show at the Capital Circus of Budapest or the Hungarian State Opera House.

For late evening, stop at a ruin pub (Szimpla Kert Ruin Pub or Instant) for drinks or dancing. Hungary is known for its wines: Kékfrankos, Egri Bikavér, Bulls Blood (for red wine) or Szürkebarát and Chardonnay (for white wines).

Day 3: Treat Yourself Before You Go

Before it’s time to leave, visit the famous thermal baths to relax in hot and cold mineral water. Note: be sure to check the schedule for the bath you are attending. It’s common for gender-specific (and often nude) days. Bring a swimsuit, towel, and shower sandals. Rent a private changing cabin (essentially a closet) in order to keep your possessions safe. Check: Gellert Baths (one of the oldest and most beautiful baths. Swim cap required).  Szechenyi Spa (indoor and outdoor spa and one of the largest and most popular).

Szechenyi Baths

Szechenyi Baths

Tips & Advice

Know the Language: Some basic Hungarian phrases:

  • Hello: Szervusz [SER-vous] (formal) / Szia. [SEE-ya] (informal)
  • Please: Kérem [KEY-rem]
  • Thank you: Köszönöm [Koh-soh-nohm]
  • You’re welcome: Szívesen [SEE-ve-shen]
  • Yes: Igen [EE-gen]
  • No: Nem [nem]

Where to stay: Coming soon!

Where to eat/drink: Coming soon!

Transportation: Traveling in Europe by trains or budget airlines (EasyJetRyanairNorwegian) is cheap and efficient, and there are plenty of options for bus as well. In Hungary, check menetrendek.hu for transportation timetables for bus, train, and boat.  The Metro Budapest provides quick and easy travel across the city. Make sure you validate your ticket when you enter the metro station: you’ll see small boxes that punch your tickets. If you do not validate your ticket before boarding the train, you risk a fine if caught.

budapest-metro

Seasonal Events: Budapest Spring Festival (April. Music and performing arts). Jewish Summer Festival (August/September. Jewish musical and cultural events). Sziget music festival (August). Budapest Christmas Market (December.)

Etiquette: Tipping is common, but not explicitly asked for. When you get your bill, add 10% for tip and tell the waiter the total amount you’re paying. Do not leave tips on the table as customary in other countries. Round-up for taxis or bartenders. Most places do not barter, but try in the area you are to see if it’s acceptable.

Spending a Weekend in London, England

Both capital and largest city in the United Kingdom (and in the European Union for that matter), London is a metropolis known for its fashion, music, culture, and culture.

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What You Need To Know

Currency: 1 USD = 0.80 GBP. Credit cards widely accepted in cities, and ATMs are common in the cities.

Where am I? “Central London” = the City of London and most of the City of Westminster. Greater London is composed of 32 boroughs and the City of London (including Covent Garden: main shopping and entertainment district, Leicester Square: center for cinema and theater, and Soho: known for fashion, clubs, and the center for LGBT).

Accommodation: $55/person (budget), $150/person (midrange), $300/person (high-end)

  • Accommodation (per person/day): $30 (budget), $75 (midrange), $200 (high-end)
  • Food (per person/day): $15 (budget), $40 (midrange), $80+ (fine dining)
    Source: com

Transportation: Traveling in Europe by trains (EuroStar) or budget airlines (EasyJetRyanairNorwegian) is cheap and efficient, and there are plenty of options for bus as well (EurolinesRegioJet). Within England, transportation by train or bus can be expensive, but public transport is widely available. Instead of taxi, opt for Uber (especially Uber Pool for cheaper rides if you’re not in a rush).

When to visit: May-September.

  • May: Less crowds and cooler weather, but not any more rainy days than peak season.
  • June-August: Peak season and great weather
  • September-October: Less crowds and cooler weather, but not any more rainy days than peak season.
  • November-April: Cold and rainy
    Reference: com

Seasonal: London Marathon (April), Oxford v. Cambridge Boat Race (March/April), Trooping the Colour celebration for the Queen (June), Wimbledon (June/July), Dance & Music festivals (all summer), Pride London (June), Notting Hill Carnival (August), Oxford Street Lights for Christmas (December)

Museums:

Itinerary

Day 1

See the iconic Victorian turreted Tower Bridge and walk across the River Thames to the Tower of London, a Medieval castle with a bloodied history that still stores the Crown Jewels. From there, walk up to St. Paul’s Cathedral. Cross back over the river to take a ride up the London Eye‘s enclosed ferris wheel for the best views of the city. Walk across the bridge for views of Big Ben and the Palace of Westminster (Parliament). Cap of the day with a trip to Westminster Abbey’s gothic church. Grab a community-style dinner and beer off the Canada Waters tube stop at Hawker House, a split-level warehouse stocked with street food from around the world, complete with DJ and outdoor fire-pits.

Day 2

Take the metro to the home of the Queen at Buckingham Palace before walking through the beautiful Hyde Park across the street. Begin a long walk to Piccadilly Circus (or hop on the tube to the “Piccadilly Circus” tube station), a popular and colorful junction in the West End known for shopping and entertainment. Stop off in the theater district’s pedestrian Leicester Square. Then journey over to storied landmark of Trafalgar Square. While at the square, get lunch in the stunning underground café of St. Martin-in-the-Fields church: Cafe in the Crypt. After lunch, enjoy some of histories wonders, whether at the neighboring National Gallery’s fine art exhibit or at the British Museum to see antiques ranging from Greek sculptors to Egyptian mummies.

Tips

Get it right: The UK = United Kingdom = Great Britain. It’s a constituent nation made up of England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Wales.

Safety: England is a very safe country, but follow standard practices.

Etiquette:

  • Tipping: Tipping is common, but not explicitly asked for. When you get your bill, add 10% for tip and tell the waiter the total amount.
  • Escalators/Moving Walkways: Stand to the right for standing, walk on the left for passing. Failure to comply will result in glares.
  • Mind your Ps and Qs: The English are known for their manners. Be polite.

England

Despite its unfair reputation as a rainy and dreary country (it actually gets less rain than Paris and New York City), England is a wonderful country to visit, from the historical cities to the lush countrysides.

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Travel Itineraries

The Basics

Currency: 1 USD = 0.80 GBP. Credit cards widely accepted in cities, and ATMs are common in the cities.

Accommodation: $55/person (budget), $150/person (midrange), $300/person (high-end)

  • Accommodation (per person/day): $30 (budget), $75 (midrange), $200 (high-end)
  • Food (per person/day): $15 (budget), $40 (midrange), $80+ (fine dining)
    Source: BudgetYourTrip.com

Transportation: Traveling in Europe by trains (EuroStar) or budget airlines (EasyJet, Ryanair, Norwegian) is cheap and efficient, and there are plenty of options for bus as well (Eurolines, RegioJet). Within England, transportation by train or bus can be expensive, but public transport is widely available.

What to do: See museums and national galleries, do a bike tour around a city, complete one of the many great walks across the country and stop at a pub along the way, explore London, solve Stonehenge, cheers a pint with a stranger.

When to visit: May-September.

  • May: Less crowds and cooler weather, but not any more rainy days than peak season.
  • June-August: Peak season and great weather
  • September-October: Less crowds and cooler weather, but not any more rainy days than peak season.
  • November-April: Cold and rainy
    Reference: HolidayWeather.com

Language: English is the primary language spoken, with French, German, and Spanish being the most popular secondary languages (in that order).

Tips

Get it right: The UK = United Kingdom = Great Britain. It’s a constituent nation made up of England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Wales.

Safety: England is a very safe country, but follow standard practices.

Etiquette:

  • Tipping: Tipping is common, but not explicitly asked for. When you get your bill, add 10% for tip and tell the waiter the total amount.
  • Escalators/Moving Walkways: Stand to the right for standing, walk on the left for passing. Failure to comply will result in glares.
  • Mind your Ps and Qs: The English are known for their manners. Be polite.

 

Hungary

Whether you’re looking to find delicious food and drink, relax in the popular thermal baths, explore the beautiful historical streets, or make new friends in a ruin pub, a trip through Hungary is one you won’t regret.

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Travel Itineraries

The Basics

Currency: 1 USD = 300 HUF. Credit cards widely accepted in cities, and ATMs are found even in small cities and offer great exchange rates.

Budgeting: $30 USD/day (budget), $60 USD/day (midrange), $100 USD/day (fine)

  • Meals: $5 USD (budget) to $15 (midrange) per meal.
  • Accommodation: $10 USD (budget / dorm rooms), $20 (midrange private rooms), $50+ (budget hotels/Airbnb).

Transportation: Traveling in Europe by trains or budget airlines (EasyJet, Ryanair, Norwegian) is cheap and efficient, and there are plenty of options for bus as well. In Hungary, check menetrendek.hu for transportation timetables for bus, train, and boat. Within a city, there are usually easy public transport options, and if looking for a taxi, use Uber if possible (it’s common for taxi companies to up-charge tourists and using Uber takes the guess-work out of proper payment).

What to do: Visit the beautiful city of Budapest, relax in a thermal spa, get a massage, dance in a ruin pub.

When to visit: June-September.

  • November – March: Rainy and cold
  • April-May: Beauty of Spring but risk it will be wet
  • June-September: Warm, long days, but busy season. Avoid August.
  • October: Start of colder weather, but quieter as post-tourist season.

Language: Hungarian is the main language spoken, but you will frequently find English and German speakers as well. Some basic Hungarian phrases:

  • Hello: Szervusz [SER-vous] (formal) / Szia. [SEE-ya] (informal)
  • Please: Kérem [KEY-rem]
  • Thank you: Köszönöm [Koh-soh-nohm]
  • You’re welcome: Szívesen [SEE-ve-shen]
  • Yes: Igen [EE-gen]
  • No: Nem [nem]

Tips

No Bartering: Most places do not barter, but try in the area you are to see if it’s acceptable.

Safety: Follow common sense safety principals and you’ll have no issues. Pickpocketing is most popular in touristy spot, and frequently done by coordinated group.

Etiquette: Tipping is common, but not explicitly asked for. When you get your bill, add 10% for tip and tell the waiter the total amount you’re paying. Do not leave tips on the table as customary in other countries. Round-up for taxis or bartenders.

Top 5 Photography Spots in Prague

Sure, Prague is one of the most photogenic cities in the world, but unless you have spent some time there, you might not know exactly where to go to get the best and most beautiful shots of Prague, including unique photographs of the city that no one else will have! Follow our recommendations below for the five best spots for photographing Prague, and be sure to check our Google Maps directions for directions to the exact spot you want to be!

Under the Charles Bridge

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GPS Location: Google Maps

One of the toughest things about photography in Prague is dealing with the hordes of people taking the exact same shot as you. Want a unique picture of Prague that most people won’t get? Get off the beaten path. An oft-missed area is actually right under the tourist attraction of the Charles Bridge. Look for a staircase near the end of the bridge and loop down to beneath the Charles for one of the best views of the city. Bring your tripod and shoot just after dusk when they light the bridge for the best shots.

Atop Charles Bridge Tower

GPS Location: Google Maps

The more-popular Old Town Hall Tower offers similar views, but you’ll be shoulder-to-shoulder with other tourists, and if you want to get a tripod positioned, you’ll need patience. Instead, opt for the Charles Bridge Tower, which is less advertised, and given the lack of an elevator, is entirely less busy, despite being in the middle of one of the most popular parts of the city.

Letenský Profil

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GPS Location: Google Maps

You’ve now taken photography in the heart of Prague, so let’s get a little outside the city to get a beautiful view from the hilltop of a local park, including all three major bridges lined-up.  If you walk up Nábřeží Edvarda Beneše to get there, look for a turnoff in the woods labeled as a hiking/biking path. This will take you up a windy, but paved, path to the view point in the park, including many beautiful views of the city along the way.

Smetanovo nábř (Waterfront)

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GPS Location: Google Maps

This spot can be a bit busy given it’s proximity to the city and a main thru-street, but you’ll have plenty of room to set up a shot along the waterfront sidewalk. If shooting at sunset, wait until a little after dusk when they light up the bridges and castles for a beautiful view of the city and Prague Castle.

Střelecký ostrov

GPS Location: Google Maps

Head closer to the South side of the city to a small park on an island in the middle of the river for a beautiful view of both sides of the river. Given the location, this is less popular location and once again will give you a unique picture of Prague that most other tourists will not have.

Czech Republic

Not only is Czech Republic easy to travel to, but while there you can sample world-class beers, delicious food, trek through the lush countryside or shop in the city among beautiful historical architecture. An easy jumping-off point for someone’s first trip to Europe!

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Travel Itineraries

The Basics

Currency: 1 USD = 25 CZK. Credit cards widely accepted in cities, and ATMs are common in the cities. Never exchange money on the street as it is usually a scam, and avoid exchange kiosks in tourist locations as they often bait-and-switch.

Accommodation: $30/person (budget), $80/person (midrange), $175/person (classy)

  • Accommodation (per person/day): $15-20 (budget), $50 (midrange), $100+ (classy)
  • Food (per person/day): $10 (budget), $20 (midrange), $50+ (fine dining)

Transportation: Traveling in Europe by trains or budget airlines (EasyJet, Ryanair, Norwegian) is cheap and efficient, and there are plenty of options for bus as well (Eurolines, RegioJet). Within a city, there are usually easy public transport options, and if looking for a taxi, use Uber if possible (it’s common for taxi companies to up-charge tourists and using Uber takes the guess-work out of proper payment).

What to do: Explore the unique medieval architecture of Czech Republic’s capital city: Prague (Praha), drink local beer, hike through the towering rock formations of Bohemia Paradise or mountains of Bohemian Forest, kick your feet up and relax at the historic spa resort of Karlovy Vary, or see the UNESCO World Heritage Site and Renaissance town of Český Krumlov.

When to visit: April-September.

  • Nov-March: Rainy and cold
  • April: Less crowds but colder weather
  • May-August: Peak season
  • September-October: Less crowds but colder weather

Language: Czech is the main language spoken, but English and German are widely spoken as well. Russian was required under communist rule, so anyone born before 1975 is likely to speak at least some Russian.

  • Hello: Ahoj (uh-hoy)
  • Good day: Dobrý den (DOH-bree dehn)
  • Please: Prosím (Proseem)
  • Thank you: Děkuji (Dyekooyih)
  • Yes: Ano (AH-noh)
  • No: Ne (neh)

Tips

Exchanging Money: Never exchange money on the street as it is usually a scam, leaving with you fake notes or notes of a different (and less valuable) currency. Avoid exchange kiosks in tourist locations, as they often bait-and-switch, listing one rate on their sign but not explaining that is only for a high volume of exchange. Do not hand your money over until you have a printed quote of the exchange rate being offered to you. ATMs may offer the best exchange rates in a given area.

No Bartering: Most places do not barter, but try in the area you are to see if it’s acceptable.

Safety: Follow common sense safety principals and you’ll have no issues. Be careful in crowds, such as at tourist sites or train stations, as pickpocketing is common and often carried out as a team effort.

Etiquette: Tipping is common, but not explicitly asked for. When you get your bill, add 10% for tip and tell the waiter the total amount.

What to eat: Potato soup (bramboračka), goulash soup (gulášovka), roast pork and dumplings (vepřo-knedlo-zelo), fried cheese (smažený sýr), traditional dumplings (knedlíky). Pair with some of the many delicious beers (pivos) Czech Republic is known for (Pilsner Urquell, Kozel, Budějovický Budvar, Staropramen).

10 Days in Andalucia, Travel Itinerary

Touring Andalucia (Andalusia), you’ll immediately notice the Moorish influence that is rich in this southern region of Spain. But wonderful architecture isn’t the only thing to see: there’s some of the most beautiful beaches in the world, romantic cities to wander, remote “white village” towns dotting the mountainside to kick-back in, and plenty of culture all along the way.

Court of the Lions; Alhambra, Granada, Spain

Court of the Lions; Alhambra, Granada, Spain

What to expect from this itinerary: We’ll bounce you around several of our favorite cities in Andalucia over the course of this trip, so expect a bit of traveling, but short enough trips that you can still enjoy each day in full.  We’ll try to keep the budget cheap, so you’ll stay in a mix of budget hostels as well as some nice accommodation thrown in here or there to keep you feeling fresh. Expect a little road trip, a little hiking, and plenty of history, walking, and wine!

The Basics

Money/Currency: 1 USD = 0.92 EUR

Where to stay: Hostels 15-30 EUR for dorms and 40 EUR for private.

Transportation: Fly via Madrid, Sevilla (Seville), or Malaga. Trains (RENFE) can get you all around the country quickly (though slightly price). Buses are common and car rentals are reasonably priced.

When to visit: Visit anytime April through June or September through October for the most reliable weather. July and August are unbearably hot in the cities, and also extremely crowded with foreign travelers.

Travel Itinerary

Day 1: Malaga

We’ll start the trip with a night in Malaga, one of the largest cities in southern Spain. Best known as the birthplace of Pablo Picasso, you’ll find art museums (surprise, surprise…), beaches, shopping, and delicious food.

  • Getting there: Fly directly into Malaga’s airport, or travel via train (2.5hr trip via high-speed RENFE) to the main transportation terminal (Maria Zambrano) and grab a cab (6-8 EUR) to your hostel. Busses are also available via Movelia or Alsa. Malaga is a transportation hub in the south, so getting there (or elsewhere) is very easy from Malaga.
  • Where to Stay: Hostel La Palma (from 20 EUR) for basic private rooms and shared bathrooms in a perfect location with balcony views. If you’re looking to be even more budget-friendly, check Oasis Backpackers Hostel (from 10 EUR) which is also in a great location with a rooftop balcony.
  • Where to Eat: Explore the one of them many chiringuitos along the beach (such as El Tintero, where there is no menu—waitresses announce what they’re carrying and you can claim any dish they carry) and have paella, fish, and sangria. Stop in the oldest tavern in Malaga, Antigua Casa de Guardia. On your stay, try espetos (sardines on a stick) or pescaito frito (deep-fried seafood).
  • What to Do: Visit the Moorish hill castle of Alcazaba (2 EUR / free Sunday afternoons) or Castillo de Gibralfaro (2 EUR / free Sunday afternoons) and enjoy the best view of the city. Embrace the city of Picasso and tour the Museo Picasso Malaga (8 EUR) to see some of his work or travel to his birthplace. Take advantage of your proximity to the coast and trek to some of Andalucia’s best beaches at Costa del Sol. Walk Calle Marqués de Larios after dark and take in the beauty of the pedestrian shopping street before ducking into one of the many alleyway restaurants for a glass of Mosto wine.

Day 2-4: Granada

Travel east to the beautiful and sprawling city of Granada. Explore the mesmerizing Alhambra overlooking the city, hike or ski in the nearby Sierra Nevada, wander the storied Albaicin district, or take advantage of a lively bar-scene driven by the local universities.  Like most places on this trip, the city is best seen by foot, so grab a local map and set-off exploring.

  • Getting there: Grab a bus from Malaga’s bus station (a 20 minute walk if you stayed at our previously recommended spots in town centre) and enjoy a scenic 2hr drive through the mountains. When you arrive, grab a 6-10 EUR cab ride to your hostel. You can also get here by flying into the small local airport, by trains (from Madrid, Cordoba, Barcelona, Valencia, and Linares-Baeza).
  • Where to StayEl Granado hostel.
  • What to Do: See the Moorish architecture of Alhambra (see our Tips section at the bottom of this page). Go for a sunset walk up Carrera del Darro, Cuesta del Chapiz, stop for one of the best views of the city at Mirador San Nicolas, and then wander back down through El Albaicin district (which is best to get out of before dark). Take a ride to the Sierra Nevada for a hike or horseback ride. Enjoy the Andalucia’s most famous performance art of Flamenco, which dates back over 3,000 years. Tour La Catedral de Granada or Capilla Real).

Day 5-6: Ronda

Retreat from the cities packed with tourists and head to Ronda, a beautiful town set atop a deep gorge north of Malaga and slightly off the beaten-track. Spend the days hiking in the nearby mountains, shopping in the winding streets, or just relaxing in the remote white villages in the mountains along the horizon of the city.

  • Getting there: Enjoy a little road-tripping and rent a car from your previous destination and drive here. If that’s not desirable, you can easily catch a bus several times a day from Malaga (9 EUR) or get there from regional trains from Madrid and Costa del Sol. The train station is a short walk to the bus station. Once in town, you can best get around by foot, and you’ll find plenty of shops, restaurants, and sight-seeing if you stay near the gorge’s bridge in town.
  • Where to Stay: Be adventurous and stay with locals in one of the remote white villages in the mountains a 20-minute ride from town. You won’t find many English speakers, but you’ll find a nice retreat from the bustle of cities and tourists, and can spend your days relaxing or hiking in the surrounding mountains.If staying in town, check Budget: Hotel RondaSol (20 EUR for a private room). Midrange: Hotel Enfrente Arte Ronda (80 EUR). Luxurious: Hotel Acinipo.
  • What to Do: Walk across the Puente Nuevo (New Bridge) and do the short 10-min hike down into El Tajo (the gorge) for your best view of the city from down below. Shop in the Calle Espinel (Calle la Bola), the main shopping area. Get a permit and hike La Garganta Verde. If you’ve got some time to kill, tour the slightly underwhelming Plaza de Toros, the oldest bull ring in Spain for 6 EUR. Wander the twisting streets of La Ciudad, the oldest district in Ronda. Drive a couple hours to the beautiful mountain top town of Zahara la Sierra and eat on the narrow streets with a breath-taking overlook of the valley.

Day 7-9: Sevilla (Seville)

Spend the last nights of your trip in the capital of Andalucia, and Spain’s 4th largest city.

  • Getting there: If you’re following our itinerary, you will get here by a rental car, and immediately drop off the car once you get to town. Otherwise you can get here by air (fly into Sevilla International Airport, about 20 minutes from town or La Parra Internation Airport for budget airlines), by bus (5-20 EUR depending on where you’re coming from in Andalucia), or by train (Sevilla Santa Justa Station). Once in town, transportation is easy by foot, train, bus, scooter, or bicycle (see the “Sevici” bike system, letting you rent a bicycle for cheap to get between two destinations).
  • Where to Stay: Coming soon!
  • What to Do: There’s plenty to do in Sevilla, so don’t expect to run out of options–consider getting the Sevilla Card, which grants you access to most museums and monuments in town and can be used across multiple days. Tour the Cathedral of Seville (8 EUR) and climb the La Giralda clock tower (9 EUR) for a beautiful view of the city from above. Explore the gardens and Moorish palace of the Real Alcazar (9 EUR).  Hear the Spanish art of Flamenco at one of the many storied establishments in town. Attend a bull-fight at one of the oldest bull rings in Spain (not for the squeamish as it’s a 3-hour act that concludes with the bloody killing of a bull). Walk to the sprawling pavilion of Plaza de Espana, built in 1929 and climb the Cerro de Carambolo. Eat endless amounts of delicious tapas and ice cream.

Day 10: Madrid

Spend your last day in the country’s capital before you travel home, and enjoy the lively city’s nightlife and cultural heritage.

  • Getting there: Train (RENFE into stations Chamartin or Atocha), bus (nearly a dozen international bus stations exist in the city), air (Adolfo Suarez Madrid-Barajas Airport). Once in town, you’ll find one of the best public transportation systems in the country. Busses and subways (Metro de Madrid) are tightly connected and work with the same ticket (1.50 EUR for 5-stations, 8 EUR for a day unlimited travel), shuttles (MadShuttle, EuropeShuttle), and taxis (many don’t speak English, so write down your destination).
  • Where to Stay: Coming soon!
  • What to Do: Visit the central plaza of Puerta del Sol or the Plaza Mayor square for shopping, restaurants, street performers, and more. Tour the Museum District and see the famous fine art museum of Museo del Prado (14 EUR) or the Reina Sofia National Museum and Art Center (8 EUR) for modern art. Catch a performance of Flamenco at Corral de la Moreria or Las Tablas or Opera at the Teatro Real or see the Spanish National Orchestra at the Auditoria Nacional. Catch some football and see Real Madrid play or watch a bullfight at Las Venas, the birthplace of bull-fighting. If the timing of your trip lines up, see La Transhumancia (a massive festival where shepherds march their livestock through the streets) or the Madrid Gay Pride parade in June/July. Shop in Sol-Salamanca or Chueca and Fuencarral districs or the markets of El Rastro or Cuesta de Moyano.

Tips

Getting around: The cities we brought you to are best explored by foot, but there are plenty of options for local transport in each city. Busses will typically shuttle you around for 1 EUR, and taxis are prevalent.

Visiting Alhambra: Book your tickets in advance (print them in town at the tourist shop for Alhambra). You can’t go wrong with either the morning or afternoon tour window. Get your tickets printed (the tourist shop in town has a kiosk to do this for you) and head to relatively secret Puerta de la Justicia entrance and you’ll save an hour on entrance lines alone.

Speak the language: Learn a few phrases and earn some respect:

  • Hello: hola!
  • Please: por favor
  • Thank you: gracias
  • Good morning / Good evening: buenos días / buenos noches
  • Where is…: donde esta…
  • I don’t understand: no comprendo

Spain

Explore the endless beautiful, relaxed pace of life, and romantic streets of Spain. Beautiful mountains to the north and an old-time and Moorish feel to towns in the South, Spain is a beautiful place to visit.

Old streets of Spain

Travel Itineraries

The Basics

Currency: 1 USD = 0.92 EUR

Accommodation: Hostels 15-30 EUR for dorms and 40 EUR for private.

Food: Local tapas will run you 5-10 EUR and sit-down restaurants closer to 10-15 EUR. There are plenty of classy, expensive restaurants, but stick to tapas to enjoy amazing food and to save some money.

Transportation: Local city buses and metros are 1-3 EUR. Intercity trains run everywhere, but can be quite expensive. RENFE high-speed trains (300km/hr) cost 50-150 EUR. If you’re not in a rush, save money and stick to overnight buses.

What to do: Explore the history of Granada, the beautiful city streets of Seville, hike in the Sierra Nevada, run with the bulls in Pamplona, relax on the beautiful beaches of Costa Del Sol, hike the Pyrenees, or visit the Guggenheim in Bilbao.

When to visit: Visit anytime April through June or September through October for the most reliable weather. July and August are unbearably hot in the cities, and also extremely crowded with foreign travelers.

Speak the language: Learn a few phrases and earn some respect:

  • Hello: hola!
  • Please: por favor
  • Thank you: gracias
  • Good morning / Good evening: buenos días / buenos noches
  • Where is…: donde esta…
  • I don’t understand: no comprendo