Reykjavik is the start and end point for nearly all of Iceland's tourists due to it being the biggest city in the country, by far. There are roughly 350,000 people who live in Iceland with 200,000 living in Reykjavik. This capital city really does it have it all - it’s the perfect place to gear up for the big outdoors or kick back after you have climbed Iceland’s infamous mountain tops. Here’s our recommendation for a perfect day:
Start your day early walking or running along the waterfront. Here, you will come across the sun voyager sculpture. It is an ode to the sun and dedicated to dreamers. The boat looks out to the ocean as well as the snow covered peaks across the bay.
Once you are ready for breakfast, Reykjavik has countless options to start your morning off right. They are globally known for their rich and creamy yogurt, a local speciality, and nearly every breakfast hotspot will have it on the menu. For a big breakfast, that truly has it all, specializes in “honest food,” and is just oh so yummy head to BERGSSON MATHÚS. If you are looking for a traditional Icelandic meal head to Café Loki. Another great breakfast place to check out is Cafe Baba that serves food all day. From crepes to eggs, soups to sandwiches, this cafe offers a super funky environment with thrift store decorations that have been thoughtfully placed to make the interior something you will never forget. Bonus: the baristas are hilarious.
Your next stop has to be the Hallgrímskirkja - a cathedral and an architectural marvel that can be seen from everywhere in town. The church is free to enter but in order to reach the top of the tower you have to pay a small fee - albeit nearly everything in Iceland is expensive.
For the rest of the morning, spend your time exploring Reykjavik’s colorful streets. There is a plethora of intriguing street art, interesting cafes, tourist shops, and boutiques. The vibe of this capital city is far from most large cities as it truly gives off one of leisure coupled with warm smiles from Icelandic locals.
Once you’re ready to warm or fill up again, Iceland has plenty of options. We recommend one of the famous hot dogs at Bæjarins Beztu Pylsur. If this was 2004, you might’ve seen Bill Clinton there! Yes, these dogs are famous amongst the famous. Not in the mood for a hot dog? Other great lunch joints include Icelandic Street Food and Messinn for some delicious seafood.
After lunch, it is time for a soak in Iceland’s famous geothermal pools. You can head to the world renown (though not locally recommended) Blue Lagoon. You will receive a full treatment and leave feeling like a queen or king, but for a more local (and much cheaper) option head to one of Reykjavik’s local spas such as Laugardalslaug thermal pool or
Vesturbaejarlaug thermal pool-- more can be found here. Also, if you are staying outside of the city in an AirBnb simply ask your host and we can guarantee that they will tell you about their local hot spot that is probably an even cheaper option!
The geothermal pools have a crazy way of making way for the best night’s sleep, but before that - head to dinner at one of these restaurants: The Fish Market, Apotek Restaurant, or Frederick’s Ale House.
End your night under the stars and if you’re lucky, the aurora borealis. The best place to catch these celestial wonders are out in the countryside - away from the city lights. Such rare opportunities are humbling and profound and ones we cannot recommend enough.
We promise a day of ease and a day of joy in Reykjavik, the heart of all of Iceland’s adventures. For a full, personal itinerary (based on your travel desires and style) for all of Iceland please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Whether you're a thrill seeker or someone in search of a relaxing vacay, Byron Bay has it all!
Begin your day with a sunrise hike to the Byron Bay Lighthouse. You will be surrounded by locals and visitors alike as you watch the sun rise over the ocean, from the most easterly tip of mainland Australia. This is something you do not want to miss!
On your walk back to town, grab some brekkie (breakfast) at one of the cafes in town. If you walk back along the water, the place to stop is The Pass Cafe. Here you can enjoy some of the best views that Byr has to offer.
Other breakfast hot spots include: Dip, Byron Fresh Cafe and Bay Leaf Cafe. If you're a fellow coffee-lover, do not miss trying a Flat White. Seriously, they're the best.
If you haven't already, midday is the time to hit the beach and ensure you grab yourself a spot. Byron is no Copacabana in terms of crowd size, but it does get fairly crowded in summer time. Remember to bring sunblock and your shades - the strength of the Aussie sun is no joke. The red and yellow flags mark the swimming area, so if you plan to swim or even boogie board - be sure to abide by the flags and lifesavers' instructions and/or whistles. If you plan to surf, you should head outside this area. Boards of all shapes and sizes can be rented at many places in town, for the 1/2 day, day, multiple days, etc.
Other beach activities in Byron include snorkeling as well as paddle boarding and kayaking with the local dolphins. For those seeking some adrenaline, you can go hang gliding and sky-diving, weather permitting. There is also the possibility of a day trip to Nimbin, a rather notorious, freedom-loving, hippie town that offers the opportunity for a very green experience - for those seeking it.
For lunch, there are several options. For Mexican: Chihuahua, Seafood lovers: Beach Byron Bay, Asian/Vegetarian: Foxy Luu's, American: BayGer, Middle Eastern/Mediterranean: Orgasmic.
We suggest you welcome that post-lunch siesta under some shade. If you're not used to it, the heat and sun can catch you off guard and wipe you out. So it's best to stay hydrated and rested.
As it nears sunset, head to the beach or another lookout - if you're super adventurous, the lighthouse again, for some of mother earth's most spectacular performances. I have journeyed to many places in this world and I have seen innumerable sunsets - alas, none compare to those found in the Australian sky. So, kick back and toast to another glorious day around the sun.
When your stomach starts to grumble again, you can usually hit any of the lunch spots, for dinner in addition to: Miss Margarita, The Sticky Wicket Bar and Bay Kebabs.
Night life is always what you make of it. Are you a backpacker in search of your fellow travellers or maybe just on a budget? Most if not all hostels will be offering unbeatable drink and dinner deals. For those seeking a club, you have La La Land or Cheeky Monkeys, the former being more upscale than the latter. Railway Friendly Bar is more laid back and offers live music and outdoor seating. Desiring craft beer? Byron Bay Brewery is the place. And of course there's also the chance to stargaze while listening to the sounds of the ocean.
Whatever you are looking for, we guarantee Byron Bay will leave an imprint on your heart.
Let’s not waste time with what brought you to Cape Town for a mere day, if you’re down this far south you only have one responsibility: enjoy this amazing city to the fullest extent!
For the early birds...
Start your day off, outdoors. If you’re feeling up to it,, enjoy a hike or even a run up Table Mountain. For those in search of an even greater challenge, try Lion’s Head. The mornings in Cape Town offer the coolest temperatures that the city will experience all day so you’ll want to take advantage by spending these hours outside. If Table Mountain isn’t something that interests you, there are usually free yoga classes on the beach near the waterfront or you can join one of the many yoga & pilates studios around the Cape.
For those who wish to slow down...
Check out one of Cape Town’s beautiful cafes. There is the famous Insomnia coffee if you want to jolt your heart into action with the strongest coffee in the world. There is also Scheckter’s Raw for our vegan and more healthy-minded readers. After you’ve loaded up with some tasty breakfast, you can take a slow stroll around the V&A Waterfront or along Sea Point. Hopefully you haven’t stayed in bed too long, and it isn’t too warm yet.
For those who plan ahead . . .
You could be riding out to Robben Island, where you can talk to a former prisoner who will lead you around the prison. Nelson Mandela was once a resident of this famous island, so don’t miss a chance to engage with this incredible part of South African history. Want another historical tidbit? Visit Mount Nelson Hotel for High Tea, where you can follow in the footsteps of other famous historical travel writers and indulge in a South African Milk Tart.
For those seeking relaxation outside of the city. . .
Luckily, Cape Town and its surrounding areas are host to beautiful wine resorts. Throughout Stellenbosch and its beautiful gardens like Kirstenbosch National Garden , you can relax with a glass of world-renown South African wine and soak it all in. At many of these gardens and wine resorts, keep in mind that many host movie nights or concerts that you can find out about online - so do you research! Don’t forget to try local South African cuisine while you’re there! This includes Biltong, South Africa’s version of beef jerky.
For those city slickers . . .
Cape Town’s downtown is crazy busy with activities to do. You can visit local historical landmarks while you walk down the famous Long Street. There are local bookstores to visit, cafes to try, more coffee to drink (that’s right - Insomnia Coffee is in the area) and graffiti to photograph. If you want to head out a bit, try Bootlegger Cafe, a cafe famous for their delicious food, drinks and very free and fast wifi for you millennials.
For those looking to treat themselves . . .
Head to the Victoria and Albert Waterfront for a special dinner. Some of the most delicious restaurants are based here. After your meal of fresh seafood, end the night looking out over the ocean from high above in the ferris wheel, under the stars.
For those in need of a pick-me-up…
Of course it depends on what you’re looking for when you read “pick-me-up.” There are local yoga classes you can take until late in the evening to get your namaste on, or you can head out to a club in downtown Cape Town to spice things up.
Just make sure you get back to your hotel and get a good night’s sleep for your plane ride tomorrow! There’s a million other cafes and food markets to visit in this South African city, but you did as much as you could - so take comfort in that fact… and book another flight back as soon as you can.
I have been in Moscow three times in total, since 2014 and each time, I have had a different experience. Moscow is surprising and unexpected. Sometimes scary, but amusing; interesting and mysterious. The fact that I have traveled to and lived in Russia for a couple of months has often provoked a lot of mixed reactions. Why Russia? Why Moscow? Russia has often a bad reputation abroad, Russians are seen as cold, distant, unfriendly people. And Moscow is not really a typical touristic getaway.
I actually did not go to Moscow for tourism. I first did a 2-week-long cultural exchange with a Muscovite family. Then in 2016 I went back for a couple of days after finishing my Erasmus program in the Caucasus and I have recently spent three months working there.
To be honest, my first impression of Moscow was not really that good. I felt like a tiny human lost in a flow of people I did not understand culturally or linguistically. Fifteen million people live in Moscow. That is more than the entire population of my country! And few of them speak good English of French, which means that it can be quite hard to be understood if you don’t try to speak Russian.
Moscow is such a big city, I felt overwhelmed by the hugeness of everything, from the 10-lane roads to the giant buildings, the monumental Orthodox churches to the numerous statues you find on every corner. Having lived there for three months, I still cannot say that I know Moscow very well. I can find my way in my own neighbourhood, but overall I have probably only been in five percent of the city. However, the more I discovered about it, the more I loved it.
Architecturally speaking, I find Moscow absolutely gorgeous. What I particularly like about the Red Square is that it is not only one cultural landmark in the middle of a random place or the only beautiful thing in the neighbourhood. The entire surrounding is astonishing. You will find the very luxurious commercial galleries on its left, and the historical Kremlin on its right. The National Museum of History is in front of it and the newly-opened Zaryadye Park behind it. The famous Cathedral of Christ the Saviour is only a ten-minutes walk away. Everything comprised in the first ring is worth seeing: the Bolshoi Theatre, the Arbat, the Gorky Park, the Lubyanka area, and the numerous pedestrian streets.
The heart of the city also has a vibrant and dynamic vibe. You will find countless restaurants, karaoke-bars, and cafés where people dance until dawn and enjoy life, even when it is -25 degrees outside! Even if real estate prices are unaffordable and probably as high as in London, for example, eating and drinking is still pretty cheap. You can easily have a good meal for less than 10 euros (12 dollars), drink included. Many restaurants often offer lunch deals for 5 or 6 euros.
One more thing you should definitely not miss in Moscow is its incredible subway. First, it’s stunning, and second, it is one of the deepest in the world. You will experience a long ride down to a complex underground network on such deep escalators you’ll think you’re about to fall from them.
Moscow is well-known for the Red Square and the Kremlin, but it also has some hidden gems that I find underrated. So remember to check out the Izmailovo Market, the Kolomenskoye Royal Estate, Tsaritsyno Palace and the Novodevichy Convent.
Moscow is also a capital of culture. Classical operas, ballets and countless museums that feature the finest of classical and contemporary artworks will exceed your expectations. Although Saint-Petersburg is a bigger cultural center and has more to offer culturally; Moscow is more an expression of the Soviet Union’s past.
Regarding the people with whom you will interact, keep in mind that Russians have a different culture, a different past and different habits. They might indeed seem cold, distant or rude, but try to put your cultural standards aside and try to immerse yourself in their world. Of course, you can always meet extremely nice people or jackasses everywhere, but generally speaking, Russians aren’t excessively nice, or “polite”. Overly-apologising is not part of their culture and neither is being ashamed or embarrassed. Don’t get offended too easily if they speak loudly to you or seem annoyed.
Wherever you go, I can only recommend to bear in mind that you are the stranger entering someone else’s world. Be patient and respectful towards any culture different than yours, and if you feel uncomfortable, take it with humour!
To sum up, I know some people who immediately fell in love with Moscow and with the Russian culture, and others who simply hated it. Personally, I needed some time to truly appreciate it. But Moscow was definitely a nice city to live in, to have fun, to learn and to confront yourself with a different world.
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