Category: Europe Page 3 of 4

tallinn estonia old town heritage site

What to See in Tallinn in One or Two Days

So you are planning to visit Tallinn for one day or maybe even two and I should say i’s an awesome destination in Europe as a city break. Tallinn is an unusual capital of Estonia with a cultural scene of magical medieval times, low prices and friendly locals. The charming small city, with the population of 440.000 people, offers everything for a perfect weekend break: delicious traditional dishes, historical settings and the comfort of a modern world. The pearl in the north of Europe is famous for Finnish people, it’s cheap booze and mysterious for the rest of the world.

Bridgettine Convent, Tallinn, Estonia

Bridgettine Convent, Tallinn, Estonia

If you spend your holidays in Tallinn you will find out that it’s not only an amazing combination of ancient and contemporary times. The city possesses different aspects to be proud of, for example it’s the oldest capital city of Northern Europe. It used to carry the name Revel, but after Estonia became independent in 1918 the new name Tallinn was established.

Historical ruins of Tallinn, Bridgettine Convent

Historical ruins of Tallinn, Bridgettine Convent

The official language in Tallinn is Estonian, nevertheless the majority also speaks Russian, because Russian citizens are the largest minority group of the Estonian population. The fascinating country joined the European Union in 2004 and adopted the Euro, which is a great news for travelers, but not the best aspect from an economical point of view. But we will leave politics to politicians and start our two days itinerary to the Baltic pearl!

Day 1. What to See in Tallinn in One Day

The top things to see in Tallinn: Old Town

Must visit: Tallinn's Old Town, Estonia

Must visit: Tallinn’s Old Town, Estonia

Tallinn is a small and compact city, it takes only 15 minutes to get to the city center from the airport. The taxis are very cheap, 15-20 minutes drive costs only 5€. Moreover on your ride to the main attractions you can observe the picturesque view from the seaside road. Tallinn’s coastline lies on the Baltic sea and the Gulf of Finland, so you can spoil your lungs with fresh air and your body with a surfboard on the waves. The position of the country automatically influences the weather. Tourists prefer to visit the city during April or May, when the sun starts to show it’s chocolate sides. We’ve been there in September and we could enjoy excellent weather, sunny and refreshing at the same time!

Tallinn Town Hall Square, Estonia

Tallinn Town Hall Square, Estonia

When you enter the historical cobblestone path of Tallinn’s Old Town, be prepared to immerse into a fairytale. Medieval architecture, an overwhelming fortress, impressive ancient cathedrals, cute little souvenir shops and appealing eateries that will leave you speechless. The Old Town has a perfect size, so you don’t need a map to explore the surroundings and furthermore one day is totally enough to discover all the marvelous sights of UNESCO’s World Heritage, Old Town. It’s also split into two parts: the lower town, All linn, and the upper town, Toompea.

from this spot you have a quest to find 7 towers and make a wish in Tallinn, Estonia

From this spot you have a quest to find 7 towers and make a wish in Tallinn, Estonia

Visit Raekoja Plats in Tallinn

III Draakon - Medieval Tavern in Tallinn, Estonia

III Draakon – Medieval Tavern in Tallinn, Estonia

While exploring the Old Town , you won’t wanna miss the little charming square in the pulsing heart of Lower Town. Since the 13th century the square gathered people for diverse attractions like medieval festivals and magical markets. It’s surrounded by various restaurants and one of the must visit places is III Draakon, old-fashioned tavern tucked into the corner of Town Hall. It feels like a time-machine brought you into Estonian’s golden age: detailed decor and ambience, authentic medieval atmosphere and cuisine. The rigorous waitress in a time accurate dress will serve you with delightful pies, delicious deer-soup and real Estonian beer. Don’t forget to taste the brine pickles in the barrel, it’s free! You won’t expect it, but the prices vary between 1-3€.

III Draakon - Medieval Pub in Tallinn, Estonia

III Draakon – Medieval Pub in Tallinn, Estonia

The oldest pharmacy in Tallinn, Estonia

The oldest pharmacy in Tallinn, Estonia

Next to the Raekoja Plats you can find the oldest pharmacy in Europe. Make sure to explore the indoors of the Town Hall pharmacy, because it doesn’t sell only modern pharmaceuticals, but also mementos of times past. There is also a museum where you can find the most famous of herbs and their history.

Sightseeing of Tallinn’s Old Town St. Catherine’s Monastery

St. Catherine's Church in Tallinn's Old Town

St. Catherine’s Church in Tallinn’s Old Town

In the one of the prettiest half-hidden little walkways of the Old Town, you can discover what’s left of St. Catherine’s Church and various ancient tombstones. During the late Middle Ages it used to be the largest ecclesiastical building in Tallinn, but in 1524, during the Reformation, the monastery was destroyed. Now only fragments remain of the original parts. You will be surprised what you can find inside: a black unspectacular screen, but if you look at it from different angles, which are marked, then you will discover five different religious symbols, which resemble to the star constellations.

One of the fragments on the black screen in St. Catherine's Monastery, Tallinn

One of the fragments on the black screen in St. Catherine’s Monastery, Tallinn

St. Olav’s Church tower and observation platform, Estonia

View from St. Olaf's Church in Tallinn, Estonia

View from St. Olaf’s Church in Tallinn, Estonia

Another one of Tallinn’s mesmerizing landmarks is St. Olaf’s Church. It was built in the 12th century and after several rebuildings, it reached the total height of 123,7 m. The medieval structure might not impress you from the inside, but it gives you an opportunity to climb the tower for 2€ and to enjoy the best viewing platform. The only challenge is to climb the 258 steps of the very narrow spiral staircase. My advice: do it in the beginning of the day, when you still have power and energy. Smokers will probably overthink again if they need to quit.

Nice walk up to Toompea Hill

Alexander Nevsky Cathedral Tallinn, Estonia

Alexander Nevsky Cathedral Tallinn, Estonia

Toompea is the upper side of Tallinn’s Old Town. In the old days the nobility lived here, nowadays it’s the seat of the Estonian administration with terrific viewpoints and an enormous Russian Orthodox Church, which was built in the period of the time when Estonia was part of the Russian Empire. If you are in love with photography and you permanently crave for likes on Instagram, then Toompea is an utopian place to capture a couple of stunning pictures.

Hipster area Telliskivi Creative City

Cool Graffiti art in Tallinn, Estonia

Cool graffiti art in Tallinn, Estonia

Telliskivi Creative City, Estonia, Tallinn

Telliskivi Creative City, Estonia, Tallinn

On the other side of Upper Town, just behind the Central station is an old industrial area transformed into an innovative and creative part of the city, Telliskivi. There are plenty of cool shops, interesting restaurants and cafes. The surrounding walls are covered in colorful graffitis, ping pong tables and art installations are scattered throughout the place. This district has everything to please not only hipsters but all kinds of visitors.

Street art of Telliskivi Loomelinnak: Giant hamster

Street art of Telliskivi Loomelinnak: Giant hamster

Try food of F-Hoone in Tallinn, Estonia

Try food of F-Hoone in Tallinn, Estonia

Telliskivi is a great non-touristic district, where you can peacefully enjoy your hipster drink or tasty food for “big-smile” prices. It’s a pretty new area, so every time new establishments are surprising their visitors with awesome cafes, bars and restaurants. One of them is F-Hoone, which has been here for a long time offering delightful dishes and entertaining young spirits on the weekends with dance parties. The refurbished industrial warehouse with a minimal, funky décor and unique menu has a magnetic effect on the trendy audience. The food is high quality and you should doubtlessly try the mutton dumplings in creamy mushroom sauce. For beer drinkers I would suggest the real Estonian beer Pohjala. Locals would tell you not to drink Saku, it’s not the best Estonian beer. You can compare it to Heineken, just clever marketing.

Where to eat in Tallinn: F-Hoone

Where to eat in Tallinn: F-Hoone

Day 2. If You Stay for Weekend in Tallinn, Estonia

Tallinn Highlights: Visit Lennusadam Seaplane Harbour on trip to Tallinn

Tallinn is a tiny city with a small population but it has numerous attractions and historical sights to offer. Old City Harbour is one of them,it is the biggest passenger harbour in the Baltic region. If you are interested in continuing traveling to further Nordic destination, then you will have a fantastic opportunity to take a cheap ferry to Helsinki, Stockholm or St. Petersburg. You can already get tickets for 6-10€.

Must see in Tallinn: Lennusadam Seaplane Harbour, museum

Must see in Tallinn: Lennusadam Seaplane Harbour, museum

You should absolutely visit the exciting maritime museum Lennusadam Seaplane Harbour. The tickets are pricy, for adults 15€, for students 7€, but it’s worth it! The enormous building originally constructed as a hangar for seaplanes in the era of Peter the Great. In the museum you will learn about the history of the boats. The main jewel of the exhibition is the enormous submarine Lembit contracted in 1936. A 30-people-crew used to dive with Lembit during war times. Nowadays you can climb inside of the submarine to inspect how the sailors were living for days or even months in this cramped space. It’s definitely a breathtaking experience!

Climb into Submarine Lembit in Lennusadam Seaplane Harbour in Tallinn, Estonia

Climb into Submarine Lembit in Lennusadam Seaplane Harbour in Tallinn, Estonia

The museum has also a yellow lovely submarine, which simulates going under the water. Additionally you can use flight simulators, operate miniature ships in a big pool and take pictures in sailing costumes. It doesn’t matter if you are grown up or a child, you will enjoy visiting the Lennusadam museum!

Sightseeing in Tallinn: Kadriorg Park

How about to get some delicious Estonian ice cream and to go for walk to beautiful Kadriorg Park. It’s a romantic, majestic and cozy inner-city area with fountains, streams and beautiful flowers and trees. In the 18th century the Russian emperor Peter the Great built a fabulous summer palace for his beloved Catherine the Great, so she can have a rest after her hard-working days. For himself he built one in Petergof, Russia by the way. Nowadays you can visit this architectonical oasis and admire the pompous beauty of the inside.

Catherine's Summer Kadriorg Palace Tallinn, Estonia

Catherine’s Summer Kadriorg Palace Tallinn, Estonia

On the way to the seaside you can observe the splendid memorial “Russalka“, Russian for Mermaid.The statue on the podest depicts an angel. It commemorates the loss of the Russian ship “Russalka”, which sank in the end of the 19th century, all 177 sailors perished.

Memorial of the Russian ship "Rusalka" in Tallinn, Estonia

Memorial of the Russian ship “Rusalka” in Tallinn, Estonia

Must see in Tallinn: Bridgettine Convent

Historical ruins of Bridgettine Convent Tallinn, Estonia

Historical ruins of Bridgettine Convent Tallinn, Estonia

One more of Tallinn’s fascinating historic sites: Bridgettine Convent or better to say the remaining towering gable and walls of the main hall of it. The monastery was built in the 15th century but the forces of Ivan the Terrible ( if you know Russian history ) destroyed the holy building in 1577. Since then we can only observe the beautiful ensemble of ruins, facades and graveyard. Nowadays it’s a museum, that you can visit for 2€ and walk through the tremendous mystical ruins and cellars. It’s a very adventurous experience, who knows maybe you will face a ghost.

Where to eat in Tallinn

Best Burger Hesburger, Tallinn

Best Burger “Hesburger”, Tallinn

Tallinn is a place to see and to fall in love with. It’s unique medieval beauty and its combination of Russian and Nordic culture is admirable. And if you will get hungry on your way from one museum to another, then check Hesburger, the best Nordic Fast Food Chain with delightful burgers! Yum!

Weekend in London itinerary

A Perfect Weekend in London itinerary

It is possible to create a perfect London itinerary for 3 days even if London is a very chaotic and crowdy city with a population of 8,7.    The capital of UK is a place where you can meet numerous different cultures, who are happily living together and share their affinity for that stressful and loud city. For sure London has plenty of nice things to offer, long time I couldn’t understand though, why so many people feel a need to move and to live there? The prices for the rent are incredibly high, the streets and public transport are full with the mixed crowd of locals and tourists and it’s magnitude is so tremendous, that you always need between 30-40 minutes to get from A to B or sometimes even 1-2 hours.

My last 2 days in London changed my opinion about that magnificent city. I’ve seen many beautiful places, met interesting and friendly english people and probably felt the real vibes of London. In my eyes London has plenty of optical similarities with Australian cities like Melbourne for example. This is when I realized why English people feel so comfortable in Down Under: it feels like home but the weather is even better!

What to see in London in 3 Days

Day 1

We arrived at Victoria Station, enormous and busy but beautiful station at the heart of the city. It’s so huge so you can find everything there: national rail, underground, shopping mall, restaurants and loads of people running somewhere like a group of ants. It’s easy to orientate yourself, you can find descriptive signs all around and furthermore the train station staff is very helpful and kind. It’s more efficient to get Oyster card directly from the machine, if you stay longer then just 2 days. You need to pay 5 Pounds deposit for it, but when you bring the card back, your money will be returned.

Best way to see London in 3 Days
Best way to see London in 3 Days

Where to stay in London?

Our lovely hostel was located in Bayswater, the ideal base from which to explore the surroundings of central London. It’s a culturally diverse area of West London with terrific traditional english architecture. We stayed at Dean Court Hostel, which is 1 minute away from the Bayswater Underground and 100 meters from Hyde Park. Moreover there are various restaurants and supermarkets where you can get diverse food. We had  a private cozy room for two people with a terrace and a nice view. London is obviously one of the most expensive places to stay, Dean Court Hostel is well priced for a good located accommodation and included breakfast. However it’s a hostel with shared toilets and shower. Verdict: great place with friendly staff, definitely place to stay!

Explore Portobello Road Market

Portobello Road Market
Portobello Road Market

After walking around in Bayswater and enjoying it’s magnificent architecture, you may want to visit the world’s largest antiques market, Portobello Road. It’s an infinite road with over 1.000 of dealers on the both sides of the road selling various kinds of antiques and collectibles. The roots of the exciting market go back to the 19th century. Since that time it surprises locals and tourists from all over the world with it’s designer boutiques, street food and cute cafés. If you have passion for vintage and curious for something different than H&M or Zara, then you should doubtlessly visit the never ending market.

Going out in Camden Town in London

Party scene in London is exciting and without exception memorable. You can always find great clubs and pubs with happy hours, cheap entry fees, live music and fascinating sometimes weird ambiance. One of the awesome party neigbourhoods in London is Camden, famous for it’s local markets and vibrant nightlife. It’s an artistic and creative area, where you can hunt for treasures in the markets and taste the food from around the globe during the day. In the evening you can listen to live music in one of the pubs and afterwards dance the night away in the club. Many famous English artists like Dylan Thomas and Amy Winehouse made Camden their home. There you can also find a life size memorial bronze statue of Amy located in Stables Market.

Camden, London
Camden, London

Camden is full with architectonic wonders, the whole neighbourhood resembles a museum, so you can’t stop admiring a bit trashy & crazy but for sure stunning buildings. During the late evening young people doing promotion for the clubs giving away the cards with discounts. Try out Camden Proud. It’s a big area divided into two music options, House and RnB, and the sizable outdoor bar, which is perfect for a drink, smoke and chat with your company. The club used to be a horse hospital and around 6 old stables are still intact.

Don’t worry  about coming back home, Uber is available in London. The cheap alternative for a Taxi, just don’t forget to download the Application.

Day 2

City Sightseeing in London

Trafalgar Square, London
Trafalgar Square, London

There should be typical city sightseeing in London like famous Trafalgar Square. It’s a place full with history of it’s heritage site, fabulous statues and fountains in the middle of the city. The imposing square attracts thousands of visitors every day, so you can see an unstoppable float of the english red buses on the crossroads of London’s traffic. Interesting fact: Trafalgar Square used to be a home for thousands of flying rats, pigeons. Tourists loved to feed them, so the population of pigeons was   growing and the square was almost conquered by them. 2003, London Mayor Ken Livingstone declared war on pigeons and illegalize feeding them. Furthermore the hawk was employed to terrify the little grey pigeons. So nowadays it’s a pigeon free area and it’s possible to hold concerts and public events on the square.

Visit St. James Park in London

St. James Park, London
St. James Park, London

To continue London city tour escape from the chaos of the vivid city in the tremendous green oasis in London. One of them is the royal St. James’s Park, which lays in the City of Westminster close to Trafalgar Square. It’s a perfect place to hang out with your friends, have a romantic walk through the oldest park or just sink in for the moment into the tranquil world of nature. During the summer St. James Park spoils it’s visitors not only with 23 hectares of green amazing surface but also with various events, a contemporary British restaurant, four refreshment kiosks and fountains with drinkable water. As every other park in London St. James Park is filled with comfy deck chairs. The only negative aspect you should pay for that treat.

Visit SOHO

Jamie Oliver Diner, London
Jamie Oliver Diner, London

On your three days in London tour you should visit terrific and never quiet area in London, Soho. It’s popular for it’s history, architecture, various bars and restaurants and fun-loving atmosphere. There, close to Piccadilly Circus station, you can also find the restaurant and take away of the famous english chef Jamie Oliver. We were also tempted by the famous name and reasonable prices to order double cheeseburger £6 and beef Hot-Dog £5. The decoration of that place and the concept of 50s’ is definitely impressive, food was not extraordinary though. Burger was good.

Godiva, Ice Cream, London
Godiva, Ice Cream, London

Walking through Coventry Street you will discover M&M’s World, delicious chocolatery Godiva, where you can also enjoy chocolate ice cream with raspberry topping in the summer days. It’s definitely a place where your eyes will be permanently entertained and your wallet will get emptier.

The Lion King Musical

Lion King, London
The Lion King, London

Dreams come true: as many other children of the 90s’ I grew up with Disney and my favorite cartoon was always The Lion King. To cut a long story short: the musical was breath taking and I recommend everyone too see it! The most thrilling moment of the show was the very beginning. You can feel the magic from the very start with the epic song “Circle of Life” until the end, when curtains close the podium. The dialogs and most of the songs are completely like in the cartoon with some amusing extras and modern day jokes. There are some songs written specifically for the live show.

The Lion King musical already exists since a very long time and still the theatre is always full with visitors. I would suggest to buy tickets 4 weeks in advance to get good seats for a lower price.

London Eye at Night

London Eye at Night
London Eye at Night

After watching a thrilling show you can admire iconic London Eye at night on your way back to the hostel. It’s a great place to take beautiful pictures too.

Day 3

Things to Do in Hackney, ideal place for Hipsters

Hackney, London
Hackney, London

To finish your perfect weekend London itinerary go to a cool district, Hackney. It’s a district in the East of London and it’s a heaven for hipsters and trendy people. But it hasn’t been always like that: Hackney used to be run down area dominated with crime, drugs and gang warfare. But brave young hipsters, just as we know them, could distribute junkies and criminal gangs by opening coffee shops and a weekly market, Broadway Market. It’s an ideal place to discover original clothing, arts, to try authentic street food or just sit down in one of the pubs, cafés, enjoy delicious ice coffee and watch various interesting people passing by.

The Pub on the Park, Hackney, London
The Pub on the Park, Hackney, London

The Hackney area is also popular for it’s huge and always busy park, London Fields. The park is full of smoke and people from all over London, because the other local parks don’t allow to have barbecues or to stay up the whole night. It has an amazing atmosphere and you can see people running, doing free group exercise classes, playing petanque or just relaxing and enjoying the day.

Facilities also include the iconic pub, The Pub on the Park. The pub has pretty simple decoration with outdoor decking areas and splendid vibes. It’s an ideal place to have a drink with your friends and to fancy the delightful burger. Speaking of burgers, The Pub on the Park serves the best burger that I’ve ever tried in my life! The price is reasonable:11₤ for cheeseburger with baked slices of potatoes. Don’t miss it!

One Day in Brussels: The Perfect Itinerary for First-Time Visitors

One Day in Brussels: The Perfect Itinerary for First-Time Visitors

Brussels in One Day

One day in Brussels is enough to see the best of it. As you probably know Brussels is the capital not only of Belgium but also of the European Union. Brussels is Belgium’s main economic and educational spot, what let to define it as a cosmopolitan city full of contrasts. Nevertheless it attracts tourists with it’s historical monuments and various world-class museums.

Interesting to mention is that the city is bilingual, all signs and the name of the streets are written in French and Dutch. The majority speaks French though, so they don’t even understand Dutch. Curious and sad at the same time, the country is divided into two parts, so many of it’s citizens can’t communicate with each other. But let’s talk about beautiful parts of Brussels because there are plenty of them!

If you are planning your day trip to Brussels the best choice to start it from Brussels-Midi train station. From here you will easily reach the city centre within a walking distance. 

10 Things To Do in One Day in Brussels

1. Grand Place

Grand Place Brussels, Belgium
Grand Place Brussels, Belgium

The main touristic spot and Brussels attraction is the city’s main plaza Grand Place and it’s right in the heart of Brussels’ Old Town. The square is full with magnificent architecture in barock style. Moreover it’s considered as one of the most beautiful places in the world. No wonder, the square is surrounded by outstanding buildings decorated with rich gold ornates and gables. The most recongizible architectural masterpiece is the Town Hall, built in the 15th century. The architecture of the beautiful Grand Place reflects the diverse culture and society of Belgium, presenting the influences of different artistic styles. Here you also have a possibility to visit various museums, the prices for the tickets are mostly around 7-9€. If you need a map of the city, don’t buy it in the Info Hall, just go to the little chocolate museum and take one for free.

Manneken Pis Brussels, Belgium

2. Manneken Pis

You’ve probably heard that one of the top things to see in Brussels is the famous urinating little boy of Brussels: “Manneken Pis”. I did it too. My expectations to see the symbol of the rebellious spirit of the City of Brussels were not so high, because what other country would actually use a pissing little boy as a symbol of the city? Moreover my hope to understand the meaning of Belgium’s most famous statue were immediately gone when I saw the microscopic bronze sculpture: 61cm.

3. Waffles

waffles_in_belgium
Waffles in Belgium

Best things to do in Brussels is doubtlessly to eat Belgian waffles. Next to the marvelous “monument” is a street full of delicious Belgian waffles. The tempting aroma will lead you to the right direction, where you can find a huge variety of these sugary baked goods from 1 to 10 Euros. The price doesn’t play a major role, all Belgian waffles taste delightful. It’s like Belgian chocolate, the taste will never disappoint you. You can get waffles either hot or cold and even with different toppings like fruits, chocolate, caramel, nuts and more and more of other exquisite extras.

4. Beer Cafe Delirium

Delirium Café in Brussels – World’s Biggest Beer Selection

Belgium is famous all over the world for it’s tremendous beer culture. Since the Middle Ages Belgian folk take it’s reputation seriously, they even designed customized shapes of the glasses for each beer to enhance the flavor. Belgians brew with love and passion numerous variety of beer tastes. Nevertheless if you have an affinity for beers, you should definitely visit Delirium Café in Brussels. It’s one of the main places to visit in Brussels because it has over 3.000 different brands of beer from over 60 countries. This unbelievable record found it’s place even in The Guinness Book of Records.

5. Visit Museums in Brussels

Brussels is hiding a diverse amount of historical treasures, I could write an infinite number of pages describing it’s breathtaking beauty. I will introduce you to a few, that left an impression on me. The Mont des Artes is an architecturally imposing complex of monuments with a wide gorgeous garden. From there you can enjoy a great view on the Grand Place and the historic City of Brussels. Close to this magical  garden you can find the influential achievements of the great Belgian architect Victor Horta. His unique design now regarded as iconic examples of the Art Nouveau style. Horta’s architectural masterpieces with borrowed motifs from nature are even featured on UNESCO’s World Heritage List. You can also visit the Horta museum, which remains a magnificent scene of a fairytale.

If you have a bit more time definitely visit Museum of Natural Sciences.

6. Les Galeries Royales Saint-Hubert

Les Galeries Royales Saint-Hubert Brussels, Belgium
Les Galeries Royales Saint-Hubert Brussels, Belgium

In a one day tour to Brussels you can’t miss this place! Close to Grand Place you can find a famous and beautiful shopping arcade Les Galeries Royales Saint-Hubert. There are numerous luxury stores, lovely cafes and a theatre. It’s the perfect place to do window shopping and buy some souvenirs.

7. Comic book murals

Belgium is famous for it’s comic books and protagonists like the Smurfs, Lucky Luke, Tintin and many others. Throughout the city, you will find colourful murals dedicated to them. You can also buy a map of the city just for 1€ which will show you where all comic book murals are. 

8. Brussels Coffee Scene

Brussels Coffee Scene
Brussels Coffee Scene

If you need a break from all walking just visit one of the amazing coffee shops in Brussels. Cafes like L’Atelier en Ville or Cafe Du Sablon take their coffee very seriously. These are ideal spots to have a break with delicious pastry.

9. Visit Parc De Brussels

If you are visiting Brussels during the summer don’t hesitate to explore the beautiful parks of Brussels. It’s a wonderful place to immerse into the peaceful vibes of the vibrant city. I would also suggest to visit Jardin Du Petit Sablon and Parc du Cinquantenaire.

10. Try Traditional Belgian Dishes

What to do in Brussels for a day? Of course try the traditional Belgian cuisine. There are two wonderful places where you can eat in Brussels that I would recommend: Mokafe and Peck 47. These are wonderful options for brunch or lunch. Mokafe will spoil you with wide range of traditional Belgian dishes on their menu. At Peck 47 you can taste savoury waffles with poached eggs.

Other beautiful cities in Belgium that you can’t miss are Bruges and Ghent.

Brussels in a Day The Perfect Itinerary for FirstTime Visitors
Brussels in a Day

Perfect Weekend in Antwerp itinerary to Have a Memorable Time

Antwerp is a compact and cozy city and it means in one weekend you will see most of it. It’s also one of the most commonly visited cities in Belgium and the second largest city in the Kingdom of waffles. The city has plenty of things to be proud of and in this weekend in Antwerp itinerary I will introduce you to the most significant ones. 

 If you are planning to visit Antwerp check out my tips and tricks how to travel light!

2 Days in Antwerp: What to See on the 1st Day

This itinerary is also ideal for a one day trip to Antwerp. Anyway it’s better to come to Antwerp by train and not only because of the costs but also because you will arrive in one of the most beautiful train stations worldwide. I promise you, you will be magnified by the extraordinary architecture of the 19th century. 

It’s also beneficial to get an Antwerp City Card if you stay for the whole weekend in Antwerp. You will be able to enjoy public transport and various museums for free. You can also get some great discounts with this City Card. 

Place to visit: Grote Markt Antwerp, Belgium

 

Romantic Things to Do in Antwerp: Visit the Diamond District

One of the main things to do in Antwerp is to visit the legendary Diamond district. Antwerp is “The World’s Capital of Diamonds”. It has a decent district with diamond dealers, merchants and brokers, who are by the way mostly Jewish. Since a long time diamond trading is ruled by jewish people. After all if you found the love of your life and you feel that your relationship is going to another level, don’t hesitate to go to the city of diamonds. Undoubtedly you will find the perfect ring and she won’t even think to say “no” to you! We all know, diamonds are a girl’s best friends! My advice before you walk around, go to Diamond Land and get closer information about the gems there, but be aware, the prices outside of that store are lower, much lower.

Ice Caramel Latte at Pelican Rouge, Antwerp

You were probably asking yourself why Antwerp is the city of diamonds? What is so special about it is that almost 80% of all diamonds all over the world are shipped to Belgium? So, here is the answer: Antwerp just got lucky! It has second biggest harbor in Europe and furthermore the position of the port is ideal: it’s in the heart of Europe. Since 15th century all trading including the diamond trading were happening here.

Antwerp Tourists Attractions: Ruben’s House

If you travel to Antwerp you should know the city is famous for it’s artists. Great artists like Rubens, who is famous for his affinity for voluptuous nudes, and other renowned painters include Weyden and Van Eyck were born in this inspiring city. A typical touristic place is Rubens House, built in 17th century architectural style containing a modest collection of his work. Worth to see it. My advice, if you don’t want to waste all your money on museums, then visit Antwerp in the last week of the month. On the last Wednesday all museum are gratis, so you will have more money to enjoy Belgian beer.

Antwerp Sightseeing: Cathedral of Our Lady

One more important monument of Antwerp: the seven-aisled gothic Cathedral of our Lady. The background story of that cathedral is very dramatic: it took over two centuries to build the magnificent monument and some tragic accidents happened during the constructions. It was damaged a couple of times through fire and different wars, so a high amount of artistic treasures were destroyed. Only by the end of the 19th century the church was finally completely restored. Nowadays the cathedral possesses some meaningful masterpieces of Rubens.

Places to Visit in Antwerp: Grote Markt

Antwerp means “throw the hand” and it’s name comes from an interesting Belgian myth. Once upon a time a giant Antigoon was terrifying the city. A young brave man Brabo defeated the villain by cutting his hand off and throwing it into the river. The imposing statue which captures the moment of glory is standing proudly in front of the Town Hall at the Grote Markt square. At the Grote Markt you will notice that the medieval city impresses with it’s beautiful architecture and splendid art.

If you get hungry read more about Hippe Restaurants in Antwerp that you should definitely visit.

Things to Do in Antwerp in the evening or night

Another attractive and currently hipster area of Antwerp is the South, Zuid. In that young and vivid district you will be always entertained: numerous markets, exhibitions and delightful cafés and restaurants. Great place to visit and to enjoy good weather and fascinating view of the stone monument with the God of the sea, Neptune on top of it, is Marnix Square. Go there to bar Neptune, it’s very cozy pub with a friendly and sociable young service. In the evening the square is crowded with sympathetic and chatty people, occasionally you can even meet Belgian celebrities. Last but not least it’s an amazing spot to get to know new people and have nice conversations.

Perfect Weekend in Antwerp: Day 2

Antwerp Guide: Harbour & MAS Museum

Start your day at Antwerp’s harbor. Here you will find various cafés, restaurants and even a museum. Get some great coffee from Pelican Rouge. After the caffeine energy boost it’s time to visit the MAS museum: a tremendous modern architecture of red brick decorated with little hands. Honestly I’m not fascinated by that building, my personal opinion is it doesn’t fit to the lovely historic harbor of Antwerp. Although inside of the museum you can discover different exhibitions on 9 levels. On the top of the MAS you can experience the panoramic view of the city, which is breathtaking.

Visit Shopping Street Meir & Fashion Museum MoMu

Modest Antwerp is additionally famous for being an international fashion capital. The fashion department at The Royal Academy of Fine Arts laid down the foundation for many talented and creative designers. Belgium is very quiet about communicating the achievements of it’s artists though. At the shopping street Meir you can find numerous amounts of stores and whatever your personal taste or style is, in this city you can always shop till you drop. If you are not interesting in spending money on the designer clothes, you can learn something about fashion: visit MoMu, the museum of fashion.

Check out Graffiti Street & Drink Belgian Beers with locals

Pink Graffiti Street, Antwerp

Graffiti Street, Antwerp

After gathering historical knowledge it’s time to get to know the Belgian beer culture. Moreover the best way to consume some delicious gold drink is at the places where you can find only locals. One of them is charming Zeezicht: it’s located a bit further from the city center in the Zurenborg area on the square surrounded by splendid old buildings. Pay attention to the names of the streets, they are definitely amusing. Close to the cafe you can also discover a long serpentine of colorful graffitis. It’s the perfect location for a new profile picture!

Beer at Zeezicht, Antwerp, Belgium

These are three beers of Antwerp, that you definitely need to try:

  • De Koninck 5,2%, it’s Antwerp in the bottle! It has been launched in 1913 and has quite bitter taste with complex and delicious aroma of toffee, chestnut and caramel.
  • Duvel 6,8%, special golden blond beer. It’s smooth and refreshing transparent beer with citrus notes.
  • Kriek 4-6%, cherry cooling beer, perfect for girls.

 

Don’t miss other beautiful towns in Belgium like Brussels and Ghent!

 

 

Perfect Day Trip To Ghent

If you are travelling to Belgium and searching for cool city-break destinations then you definitely need to spend one day in Ghent. Despite having numerous tourist attractions the city is surprisingly un-touristy and has very relaxing atmosphere. Here are my tips how to see the best of the city within 24 hours and have a perfect day trip to Ghent. 

Before you go to Ghent check how you can pack maximum of essential but still travel light.

What to do if you have One Day in Ghent

Perfect Day Trip To Ghent, Belgium
Perfect Day Trip To Ghent, Belgium

I’ve heard a lot about this city, how beautiful and impressive the medieval architecture is and that many people in Belgium move to Ghent to study. But I didn’t expect to see something so breathtaking as the cathedrals and castles of Ghent! On my trip to Ghent I was overwhelmed how two contrasting times like modern – time of smart phones  and medieval – time of witches and brave knights ( or just Game of Thrones time ) can be presented in peaceful harmony.

On the one hand it felt like I’m a princess walking through the gorgeous historical streets, while the horse carriages are passing by. On the other hand, when you go in one of the alleys, it feels like you are back into the modern world, with good dressed people sipping their lattes in one of the charming cafés.

City Central Ghent, Belgium

How to Get to the City Centre

We were traveling by train and arrived on the railway station “Gent Sint-Pieters”. The station is not directly in the center, so from there we took a tram direction “Korenmarkt”. The tram 1 or 22 stopped just in front of the main entrance of the station and it took only 5-6 minutes to get to our destination. 

The Must-Do in the City Centre of Ghent

Cathedral of St. Bavo

The breathtaking part when you arrive in the centre city of Ghent is the architectural attraction: It doesn’t matter where you turn your head, you will be surrounded by majestic buildings of medieval times. One of them is the high gothic Cathedral of St. Bavo. It was built between 13th and 16th centuries and has famous unique artworks of Rubens “The Conversion of St. Baaf” and Van Eyck brothers “The Adoration of the Mystic Lamb”. One of the panels of the Van Eyck’s paintings was stolen in 1934 though, so it was replaced by a reproduction. The curious travelers should definitely enter the the cathedral, because underneath the main church are numerous tombs and treasures.

Historical City Ghent, Belgium

The Belfry & Townhall

It’s important to mention that Ghent’s historical city central is car-free and very pedestrian-friendly. Ideal to explore the surroundings by feet. But first take a closer look at the city center, there are so many splendid buildings to admire! One of them is The Belfry: 91-meter-high tower, the symbol of the city’s independence. Town Hall ( Stadhuis ) is another magnificent architectural masterpiece, that contains a variety of architectonic styles.

Where to eat in Ghent

Tuna Burger at Three Monkeys, Ghent, Belgium

The city is full of canal arteries and attractive bridges, where you can take variety of amazing pictures. One of the main bridges will lead to the The Old Market (Groentenmarkt). That place is full of life and joy, on every side you can discover variant restaurants, cafés, on the river you can see boats and kayaks. In that delightful area is a great place to have lunch and enjoy energizing drink: “Three monkeys” . It’s a relative new café and all the waiters are very young, but welcoming and sociable. The most important thing is that the food is divine! We ordered the tuna burger and for a small amount of money it was served with a descent portion of chips, salad with tuna steak on top, lemon mayo and a juicy burger! We felt like being in a gastronomic paradise.

Take a Boat Trip

What to do if you have One Day in Ghent, Belgium
What to do if you have One Day in Ghent, Belgium

This is by the way also an interesting fact about Ghent: the city boasts with the full architectural load of history, but a modern influx of young people makes it hip and vivid. The best way to observe all these beauty is from the water. Join a lovely boat ride along the Leie for 7€.

Discover Ghent’s street art

As I already mentioned Ghent doesn’t have only historical attractions but also great street art. If you pay attention to the little alleys, you may discover a narrow graffiti street (Werregarenstraat, 9000 Gent). My advice, prepare your camera, because the serpentine of colorful graffitis seem to have no end! The end of that street will bring you to the shopping area, where you can decide if you would like to spoil yourself and make your wallet a bit thinner. Be careful, for shopaholics Ghent can be a dangerous oasis: various shops with the stylish closing.

Graffiti Street of Ghent, Belgium

Castle of the Counts – Gravensteen

Another important thing to see in Ghent is Castle of the Counts – Gravensteen. The pompous and imposing fortress stands in the city centre and provides the whole city with the shattering medieval charm. The castle was built in the late 12th century and was used during all this time for several purposes: a mint, a prison and even a cotton plant. Nowadays it’s open to visitors as a museum, showing different torture methods that were once used at that castle. If you’re keen to visit this breathtaking monument then keep in mind the opening hours: daily from 09.00 to 17.00.

Visit Appelbrugparkje in Ghent

Ghent is also famous with the rich amount of cute little parks, but no wonder it’s a student city and as we all know, students favorite places to catch up and to relax are parks. Whenever you will go, you will come across little green grass islands, where a group of people are enjoying the sun. One of the places that I discovered was Appelbrugparkje. Very intimate, small and an appealing location.

Try some Belgian Beers

And another famous thing in general in Belgium is beer. Not only the taste of the beer plays a significant role but also the place and atmosphere of the surroundings. That’s why follow my recommendation and visit “Het Waterhuis aan de Bierkant”, this literarily translates to the “Water house on the beer side”. The location of that place is ideal: next to the canal, under the sun and not far from the imposing fortress. 

If you are interested in Belgian Beers my Belgian friend helped me to create a list of the best Belgian beers that you definitely need to try.

Next to “Het Waterhuis aan de Bierkant”, Ghent, Belgium

By the end of the day you will be infatuated with that unexpectedly culturally rich city Ghent. There are so many things to discover and see. One day is definitely not enough, to get to know all the charming facades and corners, buildings and museums, parks and cafés of this unique Belgian beauty.  But I’ve listed the best things to do with 24 hours in Ghent, Belgium in this city walk tour. 

Read more about other awesome cities that you can’t miss in Belgium like Brussels and Bruges.

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