Most Amazing Destinations in Southern Italy

The Mezzogiorno, or “midday” region of Italy refers to the Southern section of this historically and artistically important nation. The area boasts some of the oldest cities in Italy, as well as a number of important sites from what was once part of Ancient Greece. The historical importance of the area draws some tourists, while others flock here for the warm Mediterranean climate and island life. Here is a look at some of the top destinations in Southern Italy.

grumari-foto

Maratea

The attraction of this town is easy to explain. From its position along the rocky Mediterranean coast to its Medieval town to its ritzy harbor, this is one of Southern Italy’s top resort sites. Staying here in the summer requires pre-planning as many places are booked a year or more in advance. It is, however, a very seasonal town, and much of the area closes between October and March. Sunbathing, watersports, and high-end amenities are just part of the reason that this is a perennial favorite for tourists.

Sorrento

Sorrento is the perfect blend of designated resort town and tourist-friendly old Italian city. It is easily reached from Naples via rail, and has both the amenities that tourists find comforting as well as unique and higher-end antiquities for sale in the old town. A ferry leaves from here to the isle of Capri, and it is a great jumping off point for Pompeii. However, Sorrento is also known for excellent gourmet cuisine, stunning cliff dwellings (though no beaches), and stunning views of Mt Vesuvius.

Paestum

This ancient Greek city was originally called Poseidonia for the god of the sea. The side boasts three well preserved Greek temples. The oldest temple in Paestum is the Temple of Hera, built around 550 BC by Greek colonists. Paestum is often visited as a day trip, as the sites to see are limited. Besides the three ancient Greek temples there is a museum, and some enchanting buffalo farms. However, hotels are good here, and so is the food, so it’s worth an overnight.

Alberobello

This fairytale town is the world’s best example of Trullo architecture. Trulli homes are known for their conical stone roofs that are made without mortar. These dry-stone buildings are made from local limestone; none are older than the 14th century. Though the homes can be found across the Itria Valley in Apulia, Alberobello is the only town truly marked by this type of construction. In addition to Trulli-gazing, visitors here can also stay in trullo homes, drink in trullo bars and shop in trullo shops.

Tropea

This ancient and stunning town sits among sugar sand beaches and stark cliffs. Once believed to be founded by Hercules, Tropea’s natural beauty still maintains an otherworldly draw for lovers of sand and sun. Not to miss are the town’s two most notable churches- the Santa Maria del’Isola, a medieval church that was built on its own island just off the coast. The second church to see is the local cathedral, with two unexploded bombs from WWII sitting right outside their front door. It was believed to be protected by the local patron saint.


Image by farawayvr12cpphotofinish,

 

Ways to Save Money and Extend Your Trip – Part 2

Nothing beats using your head, and taking a little good advice, to save money and keep a trip going longer and having more fun. The following blog is providing some suggestions of little things that you can do to keep that travel dream alive without only eating bread and water and sleeping on park benches. A few more suggestions to keep a trip going include:

Travel on overnight buses and trains 

If you ever looked at flights you might notice that if you fly at prime times the seats always cost more. While the same is true about buses and trains. So if you want to save money, and if you have some distance to cover, consider taking the overnight train or bus as chances are the ticket will be significantly cheaper. Further, the extra bonus is that you can sleep on the bus or train and save a night’s accommodation too.

Consider Camping out

Now this one, to be honest, will not appeal to all travelers hence the title started with “consider” camping out. Truth be known, you can save loads of cash by staying outside of cities in camp grounds. The only issue is that you will have to have your own tent with you, which could be cumbersome, and you’ll be well away from the delights of the town centres.

Avoid airport/train station/bus station shops and food

These places are always notoriously overpriced. If you need something, and it is at all possible, even just go across the street and you will pay far less.

If you want to do a day of sightseeing look in to buying combo tickets 

Let’s face it, sometimes the highest toll you will pay is for seeing the great sights and museums a city has to offer. Though there is no way to escape this premium completely often there are city saver or combination tickets available to see multiple sights that cut down on the cost of each indivdually. Combine these, if is not already included, with a daily metro ticket as you will be jetting around town.

Avoid peak season

Though for some places, particularly those sold because of their warm weather and beaches, this may not always be advisable consider traveling off peak season. If you do this in cities, where – while it doesn’t matter so much for the attractions (Paris, Amsterdam, London… ) – you will save heaps on EVERYTHING. Hostels, transport will be significantly cheaper and if that is the case the trip can go on…

Ways to Save Money on the Road and Extend Your Trip

 

So you are in Europe and you realize this is the time of your life. Lucky for you that you have an open ended ticket so really it comes down to how long you can extend the trip for. Now of course no one wants to extend the trip by sleeping in a park or only eating two minute noodles but there are steps that you can take to keep your travels safely going longer. Below are a few pointers and suggestions for steps that you can take in order to best make your money last for you on the road.

 

Be realistic about your money… 

Basically this means make a budget, then immediately add 10% to it because you’ll surely exaggerate how little you will need to spend, and then try your best to stick to this budget. If you do stick to it 80 plus percent of the time you’re trip will extend. Don’t be draconian about it and miss out on worlds of fun one day, because it’s over the budget. Give yourself wiggle room, but have the plan in place.

 

Buy an ISIC and always ask for discounts – 

Still with a little of the traveler mentality ingrained in me if I want to save money here at home, I’ll ask the bar tender in a bar if there are specials that night – there usually are. Same goes for traveling there are loads of discounts if ask about specials then even more if you can show a student ID. Sometimes individual University Ids will work, sometimes not, so if you have an ISIC card it will work every time.

 

Plan Ahead – 

Spontaneity is a fabulously fun thing in travel, but pure flexibility also is for the rich. Sure if you have loads of money you can always walk into any hotel or train station and away you go. However, for the “service” of that you probably will be paying twice the price. If you want to stretch the trip try to at least plan plane, train and bus tickets a few days – preferable a week or more – in advance. You will save a tonne of money doing this.

 

Check your bank on overseas transaction costs and take money out with your bank card

This will not take you long, just a visit to your local bank branch, (unfortunately this you will have to do before you leave – not while you are in Prague) and inquire about the cost of doing transactions abroad. Perhaps your bank can make amendments to your account so you can save loads on over seas transaction fees. Also, forget about exchanging currencies and using traveler’s cheques in foreign countries chances are you will get the best exchange rate with your debit card.

 

Things not to do in Barcelona

Barcelona is a dazzling city with so much to do. There is something for everyone here regardless of if this is your first for forty-first time! The following list will just discuss a couple things not to do, as to maximize the fun you will have here. The list just talks about a few ways to save your money, and a couple safety tips as there are a few pressing dangers a foot in Barcelona.

 

Don’t Feel that you have to go inside Sagrada Famillia. 

Now if you didn’t see Sagrada Famillia while in Barcelona that would be outrage. However, there is caveat to that statement – you need to see it from the outside not particularly the inside. Thankfully for you too doing that is free. What you don’t need to do is pay 12 Euros to go inside of what is basically a big construction site.

Don’t eat on Las Ramblas Street 

Though there are many restaurants and tapas bars screaming out to you while you are on this festive strip don’t succumb to them. The food here is not even always authentically Spanish and what is worse is that you could head two streets over and get better quality food for less. Las Ramblas has its definite charms, but when it comes to food it is a rip off to be avoided.

Don’t be to conspicuous or touristy

Sad to say this in such a wonderful city, but there is a really danger of thievery and pick pocketing in particular on Las Ramblas street. Basically despite all the sounds, excitements and intrigues going on around you carrying your camera around your neck may not be such a good idea. Best is to blend in as best as you can so not to attract the wrong kind of attention.

Don’t just snap photos of the Las Ramblas human statues without paying

We know there are many human statues competing with each other, but still these are people trying their best to earn their living. News alert, they actually aren’t real statues you can just snap a photo of as you like. The basic idea is, if you take a picture of a human statue you contribute to their hat, jar, or open guitar case full of coins.

Don’t Mistake Girona or Reus for Barcelona Airport

Just as a heads up when you fly to Barcelona Girona or Barcelona Reus – probably on Ryan Air or Easy Jet – remember that both of these air ports, which actually are separate cities, are about an hour away Barcelona. If you want to avoid this inconvenience you will need to be sure to fly directly to Barcelona airport.

Mistakes to Avoid as a New Backpacker

 

Congratulations you have decided that the time is right and you are ready to strap on a backpack and go see the world. Deciding to really do it puts you over the legions that just talk about doing it so kudos. Now though you need a little bit of advice from the people that have done backpacked before you so you can have the best time possible. Before going into a list of things, the first thing I will say is that you need to let the trip come to you. Planning is great, but the truth is what do you know about the place you’re going until you’re there? A list of some mistakes to avoid as a new backpacker include.

 

You don’t need to take everything and the kitchen sink with you… 

Ever heard the expression less is more…? Well when it comes to traveling it really is. A lot of people will over plan for every possible scenario that “could” occur when they are abroad. The funny thing about this to experienced travelers is some newbies act like there are not stores in these other countries. Whatever you forget you can buy there and probably cheaper. The moral here is the less you have the easier it is to move. Remember you carry this stuff on your back. You sure you need a $300 dollar wet suit with you? Another factor is you can’t have stolen what is sitting back in your room at home.

 

Too little Research for where you’re going, or too much… 

This point is about striking a balance. Ever is the fool who has no clue about the country they are in. They don’t know what to see, they don’t a word of the language – not even hi, bye, and thanks – and they don’t know how to find anything they need be it accommodations or cheap eats. These people embarrass backpacking as they have no respect for where they are. Do some research about where you go, BUT… The opposite of this is that you do too much and form an itinerary for every moment you are there. You’ll regret the latter as so many cool, spontaneous things you could do come up and you turn them down to stick to an itinerary you made before even leaving your home country. Again, balance, balance, balance on this point… and most important listen to the advice of the locals, it is way better than you will read in a travel guide.

 

Overdoing Social Media… 

Have you ever noticed that when people go traveling all of a sudden they are more active on Facebook? While the reality is that as they are doing exciting things so they have more interesting stuff to post, which is fine and dandy – BUT, as they are sitting in front of a computer putting up pictures and labeling them all they could be making more pictures. Naturally when you are away people back home are going to be interested. They’ll be even more interested if you are not online all the time to tell them blow by blow in real time what is happening. Keep the social media to a minimum and interact with the people that are around you right then. That is the real experience, not exciting people back home…