The Top Tourist Attractions In Istanbul

Hagia Sophia in IstanbulIf you want to explore history and culture, Istanbul is one of the best places to visit. It takes these many different factors and blends them into a single mixture of an exciting city that offers so much to people from around the globe. Even though it is a modern city today, it was originally founded during Neolithic times. These are some of the best tourist attractions that you are going to find in all of Istanbul.

The Hagia Sophia

Over the centuries, this has been a house of worship for several religions. When it was first built in 537, it was home to Constantinople’s Patriarch and functioned as a Greek Eastern Orthodox basilica. It was a Roman Catholic Church for almost 600 years during the 12th century, and in 1453, it became a mosque. It remained a mosque until 1931, when the Hagia Sophia was closed for religious purposes. It was reopened in 1935 as a museum. With its mosaics that depict various religious scenes, it is a truly beautiful example of Byzantine architecture.

The Blue Mosque

The Blue Mosque remains an active house of worship today, but it was built in the early 17th century. If you are planning a visit here, it is important to plan your visit, because the mosque is closed to tourists and sightseers during the five daily prayer times. Women have to cover their hair upon visiting and all guests must remove their shoes. However, it is a small price to pay for the amazing beauty inside. There are more than 200 stained glass windows and 20,000 ceramic tiles in various tulip designs.

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Vienna Does Offer A Great Deal More Than Just Schnitzel

ViennaJust because eating out in Vienna is often equated to having schnitzel, it does not mean that you cannot go on some excellent culinary adventures here. Because we love good food and we know most people do too, we have narrowed down a list of must-try Vienna food and drinks that we believe you have to explore if you ever decide to visit.

Zwetschgenknödeln

A difficult word indeed! Ordering this means that you are getting a Viennese Mehlspeisen (warm dessert). These are sweet dumplings, not unlike the traditional American apple dumpling. The only difference is that instead of apple, there is a hot plum encased in dough. This is then rolled in breadcrumbs and given the briefest of fried treatments.

Wiener zuckerl

This might be our favorite hard candy, these are not too sour, not too sweet, and have a strip of tart fruit flavoring down their center. You can enjoy these, nursing the light sugar sweetness right before you come onto the surprise in the soft center. These are made in Vienna, so you not only get a tasty candy, but a great souvenir as well!

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Places in Budapest Where You Must Eat

Budapest, HungaryThe vibrant and buzzing Hungarian capital of Budapest is evolving rapidly and the choice of food options in the city are ever growing. Besides the obvious three Michelin star rated eateries, Budapest boasts a variety of restaurants to suit all tastes. Below are some of the best options for dining in Budapest that we believe you are going to have to try.

Kispiac

This new retro style restaurant is situated adjacent to the vibrant Hold utca market and serves local  Hungarian specialties like stuffed csülök (pig’s trotter), roast malac (piglet) as well as an ever changing variety of savanyúság (sour pickled vegetables). The restaurant’s popularity can be measured by the amount of locals eating here on a daily basis.

Macesz Huszár

A blend of the modern and traditional, the Macesz Huszár restaurant serves Hungarian Jewish cuisine in a bistro-style dining room, decorated in period style with lace tablecloths and flock wallpaper. Many guests who come here adore the flódni (a delightful three-layer cake with apple, walnut and poppy-seed fillings).

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Must-See Galleries and Museums in Budapest

BudapestBudapest is the capital city of Hungary, and like many capital cities, it houses many of the country’s best galleries and museums. The bulk of museums focus on Hungarian history and lore, but there are a few offerings that give visitors a taste of more recent history and contemporary exhibitions.

One could spend the majority of the week viewing all of the exhibits offered in Budapest, so to help save you some guesswork, here is just a selection of the galleries and museums that we think you must see if you ever decide to travel to Budapest.

Museum of Military History

With exhibits that primarily explore the War of Independence (which was waged between 1848 and 1849), this museum is full of weaponry, medals, uniforms, flags, and war-themed art dating from before the Turkish Conquest of Budapest.

The grave of Abdurrahman, the most recent and also last Turkish Governor of Budapest, lies just around the corner. Abdurrahman was killed in 1686 while Budapest was being freed. The grave-tablet reads ‘He was a heroic foe. May he rest in peace’. Interestingly, there is a recreation of an electrified fence that used to separate Austria from Hungary located in the rear courtyard.

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Five Galleries In Florence That You Must-See

FLorence, ItalyFlorence is a city world renowned for being home to some of the finest museums in existence. The city boasts a remarkable mix of artistic, literary, scientific, and political talent. The incredible displays of Art, specifically from the Renaissance period, are some of the main reasons that tourists flock to Florence and many of the world’s most historically important artists have masterpieces on display in this vibrant city. Here you can see some of the must-see galleries in Florence.

The Museo dell’Opera del Duomo

Located at the east end of Piazza del Duomo, the Museo dell’Opera del Duomo (or Museum of the Works of the Cathedral) holds many of the famous Florence Cathedral’s most valued treasures. In particular, the gallery is noted for housing some the world’s most significant sculptures.

Among the gallery’s holdings are Italian artist Lorenzo Ghiberti’s famed doors entitled the Gates of Paradise, a marble sculpture created by Michelangelo for his own tomb named the Deposition, the Singing Galleries, designed by artists Luca della Robbia and Donatello and a 14th century statue of the Virgin Mary, created by Giovanni d’Ambrogio.

The Uffizi Gallery

Florence’s most famous gallery ‘The Uffizi’ currently holds the highest concentration of Renaissance art in the world, including works by Botticelli, Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, and Raphael. Work began on the Uffizi building in 1560 by Giorgio Vasari, originally created to house the offices of the Florence parliament. Alfonso Parigi and Bernardo Buontalenti completed the structure 21 years later in 1581.

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Going To Eat Out In Italy – The Basics

Italian FoodOne of the many pleasures of traveling to Italy has to be the fact that you can enjoy a leisurely Italian meal. This is because the Italians are very passionate about their food. Each region that you go to, sometimes even different cities in that specific region, all have their own specialties that they are usually extremely proud of. We recommend that you ask your waiter what the specialties of the region (and the house) are, because this could enhance your dining experience. In order to get you the most out of your travel experience, we want to share how Italians traditionally eat.

The Italian menu

There are five sections to the traditional Italian menu. If you are ordering a full meal, it usually means an appetizer, first course, and a second course that comes with a side dish. You do not have to order from each course, but most people go for at least two courses. It is quite normal to see these meals last between one or two hours, possibly even longer. If you want to experience the Italian culture, remember that it is typical for Italians to enjoy a long Sunday lunch with their families. This means that the restaurants are often bustling with people and very lively.

The antipasti – the Italian appetizer

Before the main meal ever arrives, you get your antipasti. There may be some regional specialties and you can expect a plate of the local cold cuts. Sometimes it is possible to get a variety of dishes when you order an antipasto misto. This is typically great value for your money and can be a great deal of fun to share amongst yourselves.

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The Best Places To Visit In Brussels

Grand Palace, BrusselsIf you have a city like Brussels that is renowned for its sights, it can be a rather difficult decision to determine where you should spend your time. We wanted to narrow down all the different available attractions in Brussels so you can make the best possible decision for yourself. These are a few of our personal favorites that we believe you have to see.

Centre Belge de la Bande Dessinée

Comic strips throughout Belgium are serious business, despite the fact that they are often considered laughter provoking. Herge created the country’s best-known comic export in 1929 – Tintin. This Belgian Comic Strip Center not only pays homage to Tintin, but also to Charlie Brown, Andy Capp, Willy and Wanda, the Smurfs, Thorgal, and Asterix. Comics are considered such an important factor in Belgium culture that they are often called the ninth art.

Palais Royal

What was once the traditional palace of independent Belgium is now home to a small museum with artifacts from the royal dynasty and it is the crown prince’s residence. It overlooks both the parliament building and Parc du Bruxelles. You know the King is in Brussels if the national flag is flying outside the palace. During the summer, it is free to tour the building and you can explore the music room, the mosaic parquet floor, and the impressive throne room.

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Must-See Beaches on the island of Chios, Greece

Chios, GreecePopulated with merchants and mariners, Chios is a large Greek island located in the Aegean Sea. Because it is a popular tourist destination, Chios offers much to do and boasts plenty of beautiful sandy beaches. However, these are not all the same beaches that you are going to find everywhere; each beach on Chios has its own unique history and atmosphere.

Even though we realize that some people are going to say that ‘any beach is a beach’, we believe that you are going to feel differently once you see the amazing difference offered throughout Chios. Here are the beaches on Chios Island that you must see:

Komi Beach

In an area with ample amenities (including hotels, studios, restaurants, and taverns), Komi Beach is located only 4 km from the village of Kalmoti. It is considered to be one of the most attractive beaches of Chios due to the high caliber of the sand, and thanks to the availability of fresh seafood at most of the taverns and cafes. The shallow waters make Komi beach an enjoyable experience for persons of all ages and abilities.

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Using Credit Cards in Europe

Credit CardsIf you are going to travel abroad to Europe, the last thing you want to do is carry around a great deal of money. This is not just a safety issue, but you would not believe how many people have managed to lose a great deal of money. Especially if you are checking in and out of hotels, you could easily leave something behind.

Even though the use of credit cards in Europe is widespread, there are some warnings and tips that you should take into consideration before you arrive with nothing but plastic in your wallet. Having these tips spelled out for you should help you avoid some of the issues that other travelers have encountered.

Some businesses have minimums or just say “no”

For most people, it is quite normal that you are able to pay with credit card. However, this is not true everywhere you go in Europe. Some tiny old-fashioned shops, restaurants, cafes, and street vendors might not accept MasterCard, Visa, or its local equivalent. Some businesses are not going to accept you paying with credit card unless you have a larger purchase (say over 20 euros). Make sure that you at least have some local currency with you to avoid this type of mistake.

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The Most Beautiful Ionian Islands

KefaloniaEven though there are more than 6,000 islands spread throughout Greece, the Ionian Islands are among the best-loved ones. They are known for their rich history, year-round temperate climate, and startling beauty. With Mediterranean blue waters, soaring mountains, and rugged shorelines, these islands owe their dramatic landscapes to the seismic activity that once ensured that the islands were torn from the mainland. With so much history and natural beauty here, it should come as no surprise that you have a great deal of visitors here. These are just some of our favorites.

Corfu

Corfu is undoubtedly the most popular of the Ionian Islands and it is also the northernmost one. It has been linked to Ancient Greece’s history and mythology. The tourism on Corfu dates back more than a century. It is known for its picturesque beaches and resorts and cultural institutions. You can also see the many different architectural and cultural influences reflected here of the many foreign empires that ruled this island at one point or another. This includes the French, the British, Venetian, Byzantine, and Roman. You can find some of the best historic sites in the Old Town of Corfu, including a Spianada and a 15th-century old fortress.

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