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Ever since Bergen was the inspiration for the kingdom of Arendelle in the hit Disney film Frozen, this Norwegian town has been getting a lot of attention from travelers. But the city is more than a fairytale setting — although the vibrant colors on the historic buildings in Bryggen wharf may seem straight out of a storybook. Teeming with culture, nature, and adventure alike, some of Bergen’s other proud badges include Norway’s second largest city, the Gateway to the Fjords, and a European City of Culture. Here are five ways to experience the best of all that on a budget:
Hapag-Lloyd Cruises, which has been operating in Europe since May of 2013, is bringing their luxury ship Europa 2 to the United States this coming December. Accommodating 500 passengers in 251 spacious veranda suites, the ship is billed as one of the most luxurious cruises in the world. It offers the largest space-per-passenger ratio in the industry for a once-in-a-lifetime, intimate cruising experience — no closet-sized cabins or 45-minute lines to get to shore here.
But what does this opulent experience include? Here’s a look at the costs, amenities, perks, and more. And even better, we’ve included some information about a great deal on this ship’s inaugural sailing.
Make no mistake, collecting points to use for travel is a hassle. With black out dates and restrictions, actually using them for travel can be an even bigger hassle. That’s why loyalty programs are often overlooked as too conflated or difficult to actually enjoy, but those who put in the effort can be rewarded handsomely. Case in point: I recently used a combination of points to fund a visit to a remote island paradise in the southern Maldives. It wasn’t easy, nor was it straightforward, but it enabled me to travel to a place I could never afford otherwise. Here are five astonishing properties around the globe that may not be so far out of reach after all… Read more
Poland, Ukraine, and Belarus suddenly have a new reason to be at the top of travelers’ bucket lists – especially those with an interest in Jewish historical sites. Earlier this month, it was announced that a new EU-funded project will create a virtual passage through 60 Jewish towns along the Poland-Ukraine and Poland-Belarus borders that existed before World War II. Dubbed the “Shtetl Route,” visitors will be able to make use of guidebooks, dedicated tour guides, and an interactive website starting in 2015. Until then, here are a few important Jewish historical sites worth checking out… Read more
The great thing about traveling to Europe is that you can experience some of the world’s greatest art for an entirely reasonable price. With an abundance of free and low-cost museums, the world’s masterpieces are yours to savor. But which do you see first? Upon arrival in Europe’s capitals, most travelers head straight to the big, famous collections at the Louvre, the Prado, or the Rijksmuseum, just to name a few. But if you venture further afield, you can take a deeper dive into the world’s great artists and their work in single-artist museums. Here are some of our favorites, all of which can be visited for less than $20 USD.
Where’s the first place you look when you need a place to stay? A hotel app? A frequently-used travel reservation site? Without question, hotels have an enormous amount of mind share when it comes to lodging – but they’re also costly. In fact, many hotels charge you for extras you may not even use. But a new wave of lodging sites have cropped up, enabling travelers to stay in private homes, house boats, castles, and much more. Let’s take a look at some options for avoiding a typical hotel stay…
East-bound Europeans will be happy about the launch of El Al’s new low-cost carrier, UP. Based out of Tel Aviv, the offshoot airline will directly compete with Europe’s budget airlines like EasyJet, which offers service to Israel for as low as 68 EUR (about $93) each way. That’s more expensive than the fares offered on UP, which will start at just $69 each way.
Beyond price, frequency of service is a key part of UP’s strategy: a total of 50 flights per week will shuttle between Tel Aviv and Berlin, Kiev, Prague, Budapest, and Larnaca, some of Europe’s most popular hubs.
And here’s our favorite part: A new low-cost carrier in Europe can mean cheaper flight options for U.S. travelers heading to the region. Opting for a layover in Europe, and a switch to a budget carrier once you get there, can really save. And the difference in price can far outweigh the inconvenience of connecting in another airport. As El Al’s new low-cost carrier augments service to Tel Aviv, we’re wondering: could UP offer a new solution for U.S. travelers trying to get to Israel more affordably? Read more
Italy wasn’t created for one-stop shopping – in fact, it’s not even that well suited to single-destination trips. Rome? Venice? Florence? How to choose? Well, you might not have to. The Italy deal in this week’s Top 25 newsletter offers a six-night train ride including a two-night stop in at each of those iconic cities. Since you won’t be spending the entire trip watching the scenery go by (at least, we hope not), here’s a look at the best shops to visit to take home a one-of-a-kind, easy-to-pack souvenir. Read more
Coffee, one of the world’s most universally beloved drinks, offers a taste of local culture with every sip, in whatever form it’s served (small but strong, organic and Fair Trade Certified, topped with whipped cream, or spiked with whiskey). Inspired by cool fall temperatures and a recent #TTOT (that’s Travel Talk on Twitter, a hashtag travelers should definitely check out if they’re not familiar with it), here we spill the beans on five destinations where caffeine-craving travelers can get their fix.
Vienna: The coffeehouse, or Kaffeehaus, is as much a staple of Viennese culture as the waltz and opera. In recent years, the number of traditional coffeehouses has dwindled as owners face competition from modern chains (yes, Starbucks has several locations here) and increasing real estate costs, but enjoying a cup is still a must-do during a visit. From decades-old institutions with soaring ceilings and immaculately dressed waiters to boho-hip joints that draw a young crowd, you can find the perfect spot for any sipping style.
Can’t-miss spots include Café Sperl, a gorgeous architectural gem that has been around since 1880; Café Sacher, known for its decadent Sacher-Torte; and Café Landtmann, with live music, a celebrity clientele, and live music.
What could be more fun than a daytrip through Area 51? Or a road trip through Dracula’s hometown? On the eve of the season’s spookiest holiday, we’re looking back on our recent travel stories that made us go “Aah!” (or, at the very least, contained awesome photos of electric guitar-playing skeletons and UFOs). Now, grab your passport – and a flashlight – and read on! Read more
Upon first setting out for a 5-day road trip through southern Transylvania, your first thoughts will probably be focused on the country’s best-known cultural export, Dracula-ah, ah, ah. And, well, who can blame you? After countless movies, TV shows, and even a Marvel comic book series, the word “Transylvania” has been iron-branded onto our collective consciousness as the grim, blustery, far-far-away native land of the original Vampire.
But that is precisely why a 5-day road trip through central Romania is so necessary: it helps show that the mythical, Hollywood-ized land is a real, live place, with people (not vampires) and cars (not horse-drawn carriages, though you’ll see a few of those, too) and bustling city centers (as opposed to whatever Bram Stoker would have us believe). Which isn’t to say we base our opinion of a place by how many bright-lit shops and cafes line its streets; in the case of Transylvania, however, those modern establishments throw the country’s exceptional history, not to mention its stunning, centuries-old architecture, into sharp relief.
Below, an itinerary for your 5-day trek through Transylvania, including where to sleep, eat, church-hop, and plenty of off-road sightseeing stops along the way! Read more
There is generally one main factor at play when it comes to cruise prices during the holiday season: the strength of the cruise industry. If it’s been a gangbuster year, don’t expect the cruise lines to wave you aboard for a pittance. Conversely, if sales have been lagging over the past ten months, they’re more likely to roll out holiday deals in a bid to shore up fourth quarter revenues. Value offers will vary by line, so consumers will benefit from some comparison shopping.
Though 2013 brought some challenges to the cruise market – remember the Carnival Triumph power loss in February? – deals seem to be on the scarce side this season. Nevertheless, we found a few decent ones floating around: Read more
Here we are in September, and though certain parts of Europe tend to cool down faster than others (Vienna is already in the low 60s, while Sicily is keeping things at a balmy 75 degrees) summer season has for the most part come and gone. But don’t let that end your fun – or derail a possible vacation. Between now and Thanksgiving, there’s a special window of opportunity for savvy travelers known as shoulder season.
Flights aren’t necessarily cheaper compared to the rest of the year, and yes, temperatures can fluctuate quite a bit (you may luck out weather-wise, but it’s never guaranteed), there is one sure benefit to traveling at this time of year: fewer tourists.
This in-between season offers a calmer, less hectic way to enjoy Europe’s traditionally touristy destinations like Rome and the Greek islands. With the dip in foot traffic comes shorter lines, greater flexibility in organizing tours, and easier access to in-demand restaurants and hotels – in short, a better vacation. Here, we offer suggestions for the activities you’ll want to add to your itineraries for a visit to Europe in the next month or two. Read more
When I visited France last summer, my family from the Mayenne region made sure to put the Robert Tatin Museum, near Cossé-le-Vivien, on the itinerary, and it became the highlight of my visit. Although it is located around three hours outside of Paris, it’s worth the trip. Robert Tatin, who died in 1983 at the age of 81, was an eccentric environmental artist who sculpted his home and the surrounding fields into an unique museum. Read more
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