Kerala India, Human By Nature

Whenever I close my eyes and think about my two years travelling around the world, I immediately recall images from Kerala, India. If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, it shouldn’t come as a surprise when I say that India is my favourite country in the whole world. After visiting forty (40) countries in my life, I still believe that I belong there. And India belongs to me.

Beautiful Nature

There is no place like India, no country is so colourful, lively and diverse that can compare. It’s a strong statement, I know, but the more time passes the more I crave for India and its people.  When I close my eyes to go back to my time in India, there is one image that immediately comes back in front of me. It’s one of the tea ocean in Munnar. The green, rolling fields of tea up, up, up to the sky.

There is more than the green colour of tea that puts Kerala into a special place in my heart and it’s because of its people. There is also the magic of the smooth backwaters around Kochi where an extensive network of canals in the jungle transports you back in time.

https://www.instagram.com/p/-DuD_4sQ_R/?igshid=1v69py127ptz3

From the tea hills to the backwaters, passing by Varkala and its gorgeous coast. Popular with local and international tourists, Varkala is a magnet for those looking to relax, do yoga, get an Ayurvedic massage in palm trees and ocean view a setting.

Beautiful Humans

Humanity, the power of nature, the possibility of inclusiveness and the magnificence of ordinary lives. All of this belongs to Kerala.
Here, in the deeper south of India, is where a new way of life has evolved, very distinct from the rest of the country – a way of living that involves a clear interplay between nature and humanity. Here, people act in close connection with each other and nature.

Its history of centuries of colonialism led to Kerala to become a well-made melting pot where the most diverse ideologies, faiths and cultures can co-exist like no other place.  

Stories from the past, bequeathed from generation to generation, emerge in any conversation you have with the locals, all the food you eat, photograph you take.

In fact, if all around India, I was welcomed as a long-distance relative, throughout Kerala where I spent almost a month, the people were like family. Truly, Kerala is where I was welcomed in the locals’ homes for supper, where I was offered a bed when I forgot to reserve a room, where I was taken for lunch where the locals go.

Beautiful Kerala, India

On the international traders’ map for more than 3000 years, Kerala’s coast was a busy port for the Romans, the Arabs and the Chinese. Back in 1498, Vasco da Gama arrived at Kappad, and Portuguese, Dutch and English colonialism followed suit. Fast forward a few centuries and you’ll discover that Kerala is a very young country, only created back in 1956 from the former states of Travancore, Cochin and Malabar. An open-minded approach and international attitude have allowed Kerala to become one of the most progressive states in India, with the nation’s highest literacy rate.

The beauty of Kerala for me comes from its landscape diversity which includes almost 600km of gorgeous beaches; a slow-paced network of jungle backwaters, the tea-covered hills and its wild elephants and of course, its people.

It is my strong belief that people, regardless of their race, religion and background, are united by their permanent search of the divine. Some believe in God, others in gods, in the energy, past and future lives and heaven. Despite the differences, what unites the human race, among other things, is the need for connection. That feeling of being part of something, of being here for a reason.  Of being part of one big family. And the place I felt this the most in my entire life was Kerala.

Kerala India, Human by nature

After exploring and enjoying the frenetic and frenzy northern states, I was in search of calm and silence. I was told by my Indian friends that I didn’t need to go very far. They told me that Kerala is almost like an island, detached from the Indian chaos. They were right. Kerala is a soul-soothing state which thanks to its untouched nature is able to cure the body and the spirit of the fatigue of travelling.

The green lung of India, Kerala, god’s own country was where I felt more connected with nature, people and perhaps the gods too. 
Probably because of its spectacular diversity or maybe because of the smile of its people.

I still dream of Kerala. And I dream often about going back. 

Check these other articles of mine about Kerala:


Underrated Things to Do in Auckland

Auckland, new zealand

A mention of New Zealand often conjures up images of breathtaking mountain views, stunning lakes, and other beautiful natural scenery. That’s why my guide to the country’s North Island lists beaches, lakes and islands among the must-see stops when visiting. Now it’s time to talk about the things to do in Auckland.

Yet one part of the country that tourists may not see enough of is Auckland – ironically, the country’s most populous city. Plenty of visitors pass through, but because New Zealand is a country better known for its country and coastline than its cities, Auckland isn’t typically the main attraction. And though the North Island guide referenced above did cover some attractions (like the Auckland Museum), the city has plenty more to offer. Below are some of the attractions you don’t always hear about, but which are worthwhile.

Underrated things to do in Auckland:

Eat Around Food Alley

One of the best things about New Zealand is its cultural diversity, and nowhere is this better manifested than in Auckland’s Food Alley. Also, one of the cheapest places in the city to grab a bite, Food Alley has offerings ranging from plates of Malaysian Mee Goreng and Chinese clay pot rice, to assortments of Asian beer to wash your meal down with. Though there are newer, shinier food courts elsewhere in the city, Food Alley’s unique blend of cultures makes it one of the places you should make sure to check out. 

Food Alley

Bowling At Dr. Rudi’s

Contrary to what you might expect given its name Dr. Rudi’s isn’t a clinic-turned-bowling alley. Rather it’s a bar (the full name is Dr. Rudi’s Rooftop Brewing Company), well known for its beautiful view of Viaduct Harbour and the fact that it has a free bowling alley inside. With two lanes open for anyone on a first-come, first-serve basis, Dr. Rudi’s is certainly a one-of-a-kind stop on the New Zealand bar scene, and can offer a good combination of a night out drinking and a bit of active fun. 

bowling at Dr. Rudi’s

Pay A Vist To SkyCity

With the advent of advanced internet gambling, much of the casino world has migrated to digital formats. The gambling scene in New Zealand is no exception, with the country’s top casino games having become very popular for their combination of convenience and quality. At the same time, however, in-person casinos are far from eradicated, and Auckland’s SkyCity is still thriving as a casino and entertainment centre. Even beyond it in-person casino games, the venue offers classy restaurants, theatrical performances, and access to some of the finest hotel accommodations in the city. If you need a break from the outdoors or just want some convenient amusement all in one place, keep this oft-overlooked option on your list. 

Auckland by night

Check Out Silo Park

Dubbed as “One of the city’s best-kept secrets“, Silo Park is a waterfront location that always has a few interesting events going on. Whether it’s through an edgy exhibition or an outdoor movie screening, Silo Park always gives a taste of the city’s culture. Not to mention expose you to a fun-loving population of locals and travellers alike. Plus, events aside, the park makes for a nice place to relax if you just want to hang out. 

Enjoy A Show At Academy Theatre

Though it is essentially a movie theatre, Academy Theatre stands out because of its mission to promote the world’s best arthouse and independent films. As an added bonus, it’s also conveniently located right next to Central City Library, another attraction in and of itself for culture lovers. Between the two, you can enjoy a very nice few hours out in the city. 

Want to read more about New Zealand? Check the articles below.
New Zealand: A Visual Journey around the South Island
New Zealand – A step-by-step itinerary around the North Island

What to Pack for your Very First Walking Holiday

If you’ve known me and my blog for a while. You know I love walking and it’s one of my favourite things to do while travelling. Additionally, walking can be a fantastic way for you to get fit. If you are tired of the local scenery, then why not book a holiday that is packed full of exciting trails?

Waterproofs

Packing for a walking holiday can be difficult. You never know what the weather is going to be like, and you never know when it is going to take a turn for the worst either. If you want to stop yourself from getting drenched, then it is always a good idea for you to take some waterproof clothing with you. This can include a waterproof jacket and even some trousers as well. This will help you to stay dry, and it will also help you to prepare for any weather warnings. Waterproof clothing tends to be very lightweight and easy to pack, so you shouldn’t have any problems there.

Base Layers

Base layers are ideal for comfort. The weather conditions will determine how many layers you need to pack. As a rough guide, look up the average forecast for the country of your choosing, at the time you want to visit. For example, if you want to visit Nepal with Kandoo, then you will want a few short-sleeved tops. If possible, your tops should be made out of merino or yak wool. This is especially the case if you plan on wearing your base layers for more than one day at a time. Wool doesn’t smell as much as cotton, and it is much more breathable.

Annapurna Circuit, Nepal

Trousers and Shorts

Again, the weather really is going to dictate which option you go with. Your legwear needs to be super comfortable when you are out walking, and you don’t want the seams or the hems to rub against your skin. The fabric needs to be nice and breathable if it is going to be hot weather. It also helps to make sure that it has a high sun factor rating. Trousers that have zip-off shorts are great because they give you a lot of options when you are out and on the trail.

Footwear

Choose boots that are suitable for the terrain and the conditions that you are going to be walking in. It also helps to make sure that they are nice and lightweight as well. A specialist outdoor store is ideal for things like this, and they can give you as much support as you need when you are making your decision.

Annapurna Circuit, Nepal.

Day Pack

You need to have a small rucksack so that you can take all of your items with you. This is the pack that you need to carry with you every single day. If there is a chance of rain, then you need to have a waterproof cover for your rucksack as well, as this will help you to keep your items as dry as possible. Some of the items you need to take with you include a walking pole, water bottle (I love my reusable one from Jerry’s Bottle) and some food for energy. Things like cereal bars are fantastic here and you would be surprised at how much they can help you to stay energised when you are out and on the go.

Unique Experiences Which Travelling Affords You

Unique experiences travelling

However much or little you have travelled in the past, you can always travel more. And the more you do so, the more you will have a wide and varied range of unique travelling experiences to draw on and talk about with others. There are many experiences which travel can afford you which you might expect. But also a number which you might never have thought about, or which you just didn’t happen to question. In this post, I am going to take a look through some of the lesser-known experiences which you might undergo when travelling the world. No matter who you are or what kind of places you are visiting. Take the following as an inspiration for why you should go travelling as soon as possible. You will almost certainly find that it can work in this way.

Understanding People Better

We all know that travel is said to broaden the mind, but the specifics of how it does so are often not very clear. One of the biggest and most common ways that it does so is by allowing you to have a better understanding of people in general. This is definitely the kind of thing that you would agree is worthwhile. By getting to know people a little better in terms of how they tick and so on, you will find that your social life will greatly improve as well. So this is definitely the kind of benefit you want to focus on when you are going travelling. And of course, the more you travel, the greater your understanding of people will become, so that is yet another great reason to get travelling as much as you possibly can.

Falling In Love With A City

Sometimes the real result you get from travelling is to fall in love with a particular place. But this can be one of those unique travelling experiences which can change your life instantly and dramatically. It might be that you travel for many years before this ever happens. It might even be that it never happens at all. For me, it happened in London at the age of 17. It disrupted all my life plans. If you really do fall for a place, you might just stop there and look into finding a place to live. If you do that, it is always best to look into local sources like https://www.rumah.com/apartemen/dijual.This way, you know you are definitely going to the right place. Falling in love with a city can be one of the unique travelling experiences of your life.

unique experiences travelling
ph credits

Making Friends

Travelling has a way of putting you in touch with like-minded people. That in itself is a great reason to go travelling. And it has to be one of the best benefits you can expect from travel at all. If you’re really keen to make friends when you are travelling, you will want to think about spending as much time as possible socialising. This is the only way to really make sure that that happens. You should endeavour to go and seek the kind of experiences that you genuinely enjoy. In doing so you will be that much more likely to meet similar people who are likely to get on with you and vice versa. As ever, doing what you love is the way to meet people that you will like. This is definitely the case when it comes to travelling as well. You might find yourself making lots of friends, or just one close one – and in either case, it will certainly have been worth it. Read Adventurous Kate’s How to Make Friends While Travelling Solo. 

Building Confidence

It is hard to travel the world and not find yourself building some confidence, and for many people, this is one of those unique travelling experiences which really makes living much more worthwhile. It doesn’t have to be that you are particularly lacking in confidence, to begin with. No matter your starting point, you will find that by travelling you’ll become much more confident and for a number of reasons. To begin with, you obviously often have to put yourself out there in challenging circumstances when you are travelling. But it is also true that speaking to lots of different people you will probably find that you have to do that just to get by. It is a good idea to seek out this particular experience if it doesn’t seem to be happening. This means you are much more likely to lead a happier life.

unique experiences travelling
ph credits

Dealing With Money

You can’t exactly travel the world without having to think a lot about finances. This is something which you should remember when you are planning to go travelling in the near future. Bear that in mind, because you can actually utilise this as a great experience which travelling can afford you. That in itself is something which you are going to be glad of when you have travelled enough. Travelling forces you to deal with money in such a way that you can be sensible, and generally that will mean that you are much more able to look after your finances in daily life as well.

Read more about unique travelling experiences: 

3 Ways to Grow and Improve on Your Travels
Going Home after a long time…
No, travelling didn’t solve my problems

Turin – A visual City Guide

For some awkward reasons, Turin is one of the most underrated and unsung cities in Italy. While most travellers head to the famous Italian triptych Rome-Florence-Venice, Turin still appears to remain off the tourists’ radar.

However, going back to the city after 20 years, for me was an incredible surprise as the city has everything you can think of for an interesting Italian break or weekend away.

I live you with a little visual city guide to show a few of my favourite corners in Turin. But if you are looking for more specific info, details to plan your time in Turin, check now the EIGHT THEMED GUIDES I wrote about the city.

Have I missed anything? Let me know in the comments below an don’t forget to get in touch if you need further info or help planning your trip to Turin or anywhere else in the world.

 

SaveSave

SaveSave

The Best Cities In Scandinavia

Ask somebody what Scandinavia is like and they’ll probably say cold and dark. But that’s not a fair representation of a region that has so much cultural and historical heritage as well as incredible natural landscapes to explore. If you’ve written off Scandinavia in the past because you don’t think that it’s for you, think again. There is so much to see and do, especially in the best cities in Scandinavia.

The Best Cities in Scandinavia 

Reykjavik, Iceland

If you’re put off by the cold then Iceland probably doesn’t sound that appealing to you, the word ice is right there in the name. But if you can get past that, you’re in for a treat if you take a trip to Reykjavik. The first thing to see is definitely the Northern Lights; this incredible natural wonder is visible in other countries but you won’t be able to see it as clearly anywhere else as you will in Iceland. If you don’t want to stay in one place on your trip, you can go on Iceland tours and see some more of the natural landscapes outside of the city as well. The thermal baths are a particularly popular attraction and they’re perfect if you’re getting fed up with the cold. You can also go on volcano tours or try your hand at fishing for salmon and wild trout. The food and drink in Reykjavik are amazing too, but it isn’t always what you might expect. There are some great traditional dishes but the best stuff are things like hot dogs, pizza, and beer.

Stockholm, Sweden

Stockholm, the capital of Sweden, is a great city to visit because it offers a great combination of rich historical heritage with modern tourist attractions so you’re never left wondering what to do. The architecture in the city is simply incredible, which is why there are not one, but two UNESCO heritage sights in the city. The Royal Palace and the Woodland Cemetery attract millions of tourists every single year. The rest of the city is equally beautiful and you can easily spend a day wandering around the cobbled streets along the canals. While you’re there, make sure to head over to the Old Town area where you’ll find all of the museums and boutiques as well as some great restaurants serving delicious, traditional food.

Andoya, Norway

Norway is a great country with all sorts of great cities to visit but the best place to go for first-time visitors is probably Andoya. One of the things that the area is most famous for is the Andoya Space Centre which you can visit, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. As well as the space centre, you’ll find the best wildlife watching spots in the country at Andoya. Whales, in particular, are very prominent in the area which is why tourists flock to Andoya all year round, hoping to catch a glimpse of these majestic creatures.

 

These are the best cities in Scandinavia to visit but it’s worth remembering that they can get pretty expensive so if you’re travelling on a budget, you might want to consider going elsewhere.

 

SaveSave

7 of the World’s Destinations That Are Better By Boat

There is nothing quite like being out on the open water, feeling the wind in your hair, and enjoying everything that the ocean (or a lake) has to offer. You get to enjoy a country or city in a really unique way and enjoy some amazing scenery as you go. But where are some of the best places to enjoy a trip by boat? Here are some destinations to add to your list.

The Grenadines

For a real ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ style of trip, then the ‘spice island’ in the south of the Caribbean is a great destination. The culture, views, and landscape are truly one of a kind, and sailing a yacht around the area is not to be missed.

Catalina Island, California

California isn’t normally somewhere that you would think about for boats. But Catalina Island, just over twenty miles from Los Angeles, is a true boating paradise. It is close to the mainland, but still far enough away that you can feel like you’re properly out at sea. Not only is it great for boats, but diving and watersports are popular in the area too.

Croatia

Croatia has become a destination that has grown and grown with popularity. It has even earned the nickname of the new riviera, so you know that sailing and boating is a must in the area. There are plenty of picture-perfect beaches, green lush areas, and some really cute and charming towns to explore too. So if you’re planning a trip, make sure you look up how to get a yacht charter in Croatia, as it is a place not to be missed, especially when it comes to the sea.

French Polynesia

There are five main islands that make up French Polynesia, with Tahiti being one of them. But with lush waterfalls, stunning lagoons, volcanos, and exotic marine life, it makes sense to see the area by boat. If could be a real-life Moana experience to enjoy and explore.

Venice, Italy

Can we even talk about boat trips and vacations on the water without mentioning the city built on water? Venice is a stunning spot, that is really unique and unlike any other. There are plenty of festivals to enjoy throughout the year there too. Though one of the more expensive places to go in Europe, due to its popularity, it should still be on your bucket list as it is truly wonderful.

Fort Lauderdale, Florida

There are over 300 miles of waterways in Fort Lauderdale, so it is easy to see why it has been given the title of the ‘Venice of America’. It hosts an International Boat show, as well as having plenty of canals, rivers, and the Atlantic sea all close by.

 

Menorca, Spain

The smallest Balearic island is a little lesser known, but it still has plenty to offer those looking for water. There are plenty of secluded coves, as well as secluded beaches to explore. You can even get boats that travel to the nearby Balearic islands of Mallorca and Ibiza. So much tradition on the island too, so there are things to see and so on land as well.

Have you been to any of these destinations? And have you ever been on a boat trip?
Let me know in the comments below! 

Slovenia: Europe’s best hidden cycling destination

Slovenia best European cycling destination

Why is Slovenia Europe’s best-hidden cycling destination? Well,I didn’t expect it. In fact, I had no expectations at all. I like to explore places without having preconceptions and ideas in mind. But, let me tell you, I’m in love with Slovenia now. While you’ve probably heard of Bled Lake and the capital with the impossible name to spell and pronounce, you are probably in the unknown with the rest of the country as I was a week ago. Keep reading to find out

I just got back from my cycling ambassador experience around Slovenia and I’m ready to share with you some tips and tricks about this little country as well as a great cycling itinerary for my fellow bikers.

Slovenia Europe's best hidden cycling destination

DAY 1 – Welcome to Slovenia! Europe’s best-hidden cycling destination!

 Get to know the capital

WHEN WHAT
morning Arrivals to Slovenia’s capital Ljubljana
late morning Explore the city by foot and stop for lunch / late breakfast at Pritličje. One of the best cafes in town (also ideal for digital nomads)
16:00-19:00 Cycling around Ljubljana with the Moustache Tour guides
Dinner Ljubljana Castle
Notes I will publish a dedicated article about Ljubljana since there is loads to see and explore there and I don’t want this article to be too long!
Slovenia Europe's best hidden cycling destination

DAY 2 – Dolenjska Region – Explore Novo Mesto, the hometown of Tour of Slovenia Race  

WHEN
10:00 – 11:00 Arrive in Otočec 
11:00 – 11:30 Cycling: Otočec – Novo Mesto (7km)
13:30 – 15:00 Lunch at Don Bobi and tour of the city
15:00 – 17:30 Cycle Novo Mesto – Kostanjevica na Krki (26.5km) 
17:30 – 19:00 Explore the Venice of Slovenia and then relax by SUP-ping down the river along the village
19:30 Dinner
Overnight at Balnea Hotel, Novo Mesto
Notes & more info: https://www.visitdolenjska.eu/en/
https://www.facebook.com/VisitDolenjska

https://instagram.com/visitdolenjska/

Slovenia Europe's best hidden cycling destination

DAY 3 – Štajerska Region – North-East of Slovenia 

WHEN WHAT
8:00 Depart from Novo Mesto
10:30 Arrive in Maribor
11:00-15:00 Tour of the town and lunch at the Hotel Maribor
15:00 – 19:00 Afternoon at Pohorje Bike Park
20:00 – 22:00 Dinner at Gostilna pri treh ribnikih
Overnight at Ramšak Chateau Vineyard Glamping Resort*
Notes + Info https://maribor-pohorje.si/best-choice.aspx

https://www.facebook.com/VisitMaribor/

https://www.instagram.com/visitmaribor/

* I will soon publish a dedicated article about the gorgeous Ramšac Chateau – Stay tuned

Slovenia Europe's best hidden cycling destination

DAY 4 – Primorska Region – Mediterranean Slovenia – The coast 

WHEN WHAT
7:30 Transfer from Maribor to Piran
10:00 Arrive in Piran and tour of the city
12:00 -12.30 Cycle from Piran to Portoroz (3.3km)
12:30 – 15:00 Lunch at Oštarija Portorož
15:00 Visit to Fonda Fish Farm
19:00 Dinner at Hisa Torkla
Overnight at Stara šola Korte Guesthouse
Notes + Info http://www.portoroz.si/en/

https://www.instagram.com/portorozpiran/

Slovenia Europe's best hidden cycling destination

DAY 5 – Kranjska Gora Region – IMMERSE IN GREEN   

A must-try experience for any cycling visitor is the route between Mojstrana and Rateče, which runs along a well-maintained asphalt cycle path past several interesting abandoned railway stations, well worth taking a closer look at.

If for you cycling is synonymous with great exertion, adventure and adrenaline-pumping excitement, you may be the right person to tackle the ascent of the Vršič mountain pass, one of Europe’s most challenging road cycling routes.

You can also choose Bike park. The park offers three different trails – Downhill, Airline and Lunapark – whose names say it all about the styles of riding you can choose from. Featuring a 350-metre vertical drop, several kilometres of trails with varied surfaces, and all kinds of fun obstacles such as bridges, jumps and teeter-totters, the park has something for everyone who can ride a bike.

WHEN WHAT
8:00 Transfer to Kranjska Gora
10:00 Arrive in Kranjska Gora and pick one of the many cycling routes in the region
17:00 Chill by Jasna Lake with a book
Overnight at Hit Alpinea Kranjska Gora (Ramada Hotel&Suites)
Notes + Info https://www.kranjska-gora.si/en

https://www.instagram.com/kranjskagora/

https://www.facebook.com/KranjskaGora

Slovenia Europe's best hidden cycling destination

DAY 6 – HIKING or MOUNTAIN BIKING in KRVAVEC 

Timing Activity
9:00 Depart from Kranjska Gora to Krvavec Mountain Resort / Bike Park
10:00 – 13:00 Enjoy and go cycling cray at Krvavec Bike Park
13:00-14:30 Lunch up at Hotel Krvavec
Notes + Info http://www.tourism-cerklje.si/en

https://www.facebook.com/TICcerkljeNaGorenjskem

Slovenia Europe's best hidden cycling destination

photo credits: Nace Production

Slovenia: Europe’s best-hidden cycling destination

This is probably the first of a series of articles I’m going to write about Slovenia (if I’ll ever find the time LOL). There is so much to see and explore in such a small country and Slovenia is Europe’s best-hidden cycling destination. You can find out more in the links above and by checking the official Tourist Board website which is incredibly well-researched and written. Make sure to drop me a line via the contact form if you have any specific questions or enquiries – I’d be happy to help you plan your trip to Slovenia!

*

I was invited by the Official Tourist Board of Slovenia as the Italian/British Cycling Ambassador 2018 – all opinions above are mine. A special thank you go to Slovenia TO team, Vesna for planning everything incredibly well, Marusa for making sure everyone was happy in such a pressure-filled week, the filming crew and especially Lea, Sašo and Nace for their ability to make me feel comfortable in front of the camera. 

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

4 Attractions For A First Time Visit To Vienna

attractions Vienna

In recent years, Europe has become an incredibly popular tourist destination because there are some great cities there and it’s very cheap to pay for accommodation and food and drink etc. Places like Prague and Budapest are great but they attract a big party crowd so if you’re looking for a romantic, relaxing getaway, you might be a little disappointed. Vienna in Austria, however, is a different story. This beautiful city, with its rich cultural heritage, attracts tourists but it hasn’t been tainted like a lot of other places. It’s a little more expensive than some of the other cities nearby but it’s worth paying the extra for it. These are just some of the amazing things that you can do while you’re there.

Top 4 Attractions in Vienna

Take A River Cruise

Vienna sits on the river Danube which goes through quite a few countries in Europe. Taking a cruise on the river is the perfect way to see the city. You’re also quite close to Budapest in Hungary and Bratislava in Slovakia and you can get to both by river. It’s worth taking a day trip there if you’ve got the time. There are also some great cruises that offer food so you can have a romantic meal on the river in the evenings.

Musical Parks

attractions Vienna

One of the things that Vienna is famous for is its musical parks. If you’re staying fairly centrally at somewhere like the Vienna Marriott Hotel you’ll have good access to most of them. The biggest one is Stadtpark but there are quite a few dotted around the city. Inside the park, you’ll find all sorts of statues and water features that play all sorts of music from traditional classical all the way up to modern. These great parks are a good way to spend a day relaxing in the sun if you got to Vienna during the summer.

Art

attractions Vienna

Vienna is possibly best known for the incredible art that you can find there. There are all sorts of galleries around the city but the 3 main ones are the Leopold Museum, The Museum of Modern Art, and the Kunsthalle Wien. The Leopold is impressive before you even get inside, the building itself is a huge, spectacular limestone cube. Inside you’ll find the biggest collection of art by Egon Schiele, one of Austria’s best loved painters. There’s also a great cafe there where you can stop for a coffee. The Museum of Modern Art is great if you fancy something a little less traditional than the Leopold.

Go To The Beach (Almost)

If you’re missing the beach holiday vibe while you’re in Vienna, don’t worry. You can go to the beach, sort of. While there isn’t a beach there, the banks of the river Danube are the next best thing. There are some great areas where you can relax and do a bit of sunbathing on the bank. Be aware that some areas are nude sunbathing areas so make sure you don’t accidentally wander on to one of those.

Vienna is an amazing city with so much on offer, you won’t be disappointed if you visit. 

attractions Vienna
If you are looking for other travel inspirations, make sure to visit my travel section here

Airbnb vs Hotels: Who’s going to win the war?

Airbnb vs hotels

I’m not a sophisticated traveller.  I’ve stayed at 5 stars hotels as well as the most basic hostels you could imagine. When I travel – which is what I’ve been doing full time since September 2015 – I like my accommodations to cover the basics:  a comfortable bed, preferably a private toiled and wi-fi.  If I can get extras, I like to have an espresso machine, a bike to rent and if I am staying longer a washing machine and a kitchenette. I consider myself a seasoned traveller and that’s why I think I can finally compile an Airbnb vs Hotels pros and cons list. I am not a football fan ( I don’t even know the rules, but I am going to use the same scoring system below). 

To write this article, I was just checking my Airbnb profile and I realised I’ve booked accomodation in 14 countries, including some beautiful properties in Malta, Matera, New York, Paris, Berlin, Melbourne, Mumbai, Dorset (when I was working with Airbnb and I stayed in a converted church!!!) or in Coggee, Sydney where the house came with a surfboard and a Nepresso machine.

Airbnb vs Hotels
Malta
Airbnb vs Hotels
Matera
Airbnb vs Hotels
Melbourne

It was in fact 10 years ago when Airbnb entered the hospitality industry creating a brand new model of sharing economy which was later replicated by Uber, Deliveroo, Boatsetter and my beloved client Spotahome. Yup, 10 years have already passed and I believe, as a full time traveller and digital nomads and having travelled far and wide that I should now share my experiences on the hospitality “battlefield”.

1 SOLO TRAVELLERS: AIRBNB 1 vs HOTELS 0 

As a solo traveller during my long trip around the world, I often opted for airbnb or hostels instead of hotels as they rarely offer you a solo discounted rate. 


Reading this survey, I recently found out that I’m not the only solo traveller and I also realised that 74% of people have chosen to use Airbnb when travelling alone to avoid extra charges. T
he survey also mentioned  that hostels appealed to 35% solo travellers because they liked the communal aspect, whereas 29% chose them solely because they were cheaper than other options. I have been to the best and worst hostels around the world, and I loved and hated them in equal measure. I believe that as you grow up, your tolerance to noise, wild sex above your head and disgusting bathrooms, lowers month by month. For me, for example, I’m done with hostels, it’s either hotels, shared accomodation or housesitting

2 THE LOCAL FEEL:  AIRBNB 1 vs HOTELS 1

When Airbnb was launched back in 2008, it was meant to be a social enterprise, a way for travellers to connect with their hosts and learn about their destination once they got there. Personally, I had various experiences: if on my first Airbnb’s stays I had lovely hosts opening the door for me and telling me everything about the area, sometimes even  while sharing a meal together, the most recent experiences have been different. As Airbnb grows and becomes more and more structured, hosts also have become more structured and organised. Some of them have several properties, cleaners and key boxes. They no longer welcome their guests but they might leave a note, the wifi password and a map of the city. So are we going back to the hotel concierge for gret info? Are we looking at blogs? Where is Airbnb USP gone? Where do we find that human interaction?


My point goes to hotels and my most recent assignment as a writer for Arrivedo for whom I create neighbourhood guides is a proof of that. Hotels now recognise the importance of giving more and above of the standard facilities.  Travellers are seeking unique travel experiences and some hotels are starting picking up on. I had the pleasure to work with Accor Hotels which totally embraced the sharing economy while launching their latest brand Jo & Joe. Hotels chains are stepping into the millennial game, designing venues and hotels to appeals to millennial traveller

3 UNIQUE EXPERIENCES:  AIRBNB 2 vs HOTELS 1 

Elizabeth Lowrey, a principal and the director of interior architecture at Elkus Manfredi Architects, said that “People who choose Airbnb are seeking an intimate, non-manufactured experience. They want to be embedded in the fabric of a community, where they can feel the uniqueness of place”. This was/is Airbnb’s USP and sometimes you still get to meet your host who will take you around and show you the best bits of his/her town. It’s rare, but when it happens, it’s magic. 

4 LOCATION: AIRBNB 3 vs HOTELS  2 

I’ll admit it. Sometimes, I’ve stayed at Airbnb s which looked and were fabolous but where far, far away from the main attractions. It’s common for hotels to be usually positioned in the most sought after areas: business, fashion or entertainement districts are normally filled with hotels rather than private properties, so depending on your preferences you can either chose to stay at a hotel or a airbnb in te various cities.

5 PRICE:   AIRBNB 3 vs HOTELS 2   

Hotels argued that the reason why some people where choosing airbnb vs hotels was the price difference, and I would say that this Schofields analysis is quite accurate. Why would I pay more to stay at a hotel where I have to wake up at a certain time to get breakfast or where wif-fi is only in the lobby, when for a lower price I can normally get a kitchen and fiber optic internet throughout my airbnb? It’s a tough question and sometimes I struggled myself, but I’ve also been extremely lucky to stay and work with some of the best hotels in the world, from Relais & Chateaux, The Leela Palaces, Il Principe di Savoia  and many others which all made me feel very at home. 

6 INNOVATION: AIRBNB 3 – HOTELS 3

“The way this (new) consumers likes to travel is not to spend time in the guest room but to have access to communal spaces,” said Tina Edmundson, global brand officer of luxury and lifestyle brands at Marriott International, which just opened Moxy New Orleans. 

What millenials and digital nomads (like me) are looking for are smart, keyless, innovative, uniquely designed and interenet-connected rooms with plenty of outlets for charging electronic devices. 

CONCLUSIONS AIRBNB vs HOTELS

AIRBNB vs HOTELS: 3- 3 It’s a draw

Of course it is because both Airbnb and hotels are changing and adapting to this very fast-moving environment.

I was an early adopter of Airbnb, in fact I think that the San Francisco-based company combined with the explosion of low-cost airlines is what made me fall in love with travelling over a decade ago and it made it more accessible to me and other people who love travelling as much as I do. I was a host on Airbnb too for a while in London and I loved to share my home with travellers from all over the world. 

As the sharing economy keeps growing around the world and travellers prefer to connect with locals and experience unique adventures on their travels, the hotel industry is taking the battle more seriously.

Times are changing…

The sharing philosophy is disrupting a solid industry as the hospitality one. I believe there is room for both (Airbnb and alike and hotels) to grow and to gain loyal customers. One thing is granted: change and adaption is necessary to stay on top of an everchanging culture and taste.

Airbnb needs to go back to its original purpose of being a point of contact between travellers and local hosts, while hotels need to go above and beyond offering beds and facilities to lure people in. Guests love comforts, but that is no longer enough. They want value for their money and certainly they are no longer willing to pay for basic services like wifi or a kettle in their room. Hotels should always offer those things that are harder to find in most airbnbs (generous breakfasts and SPA services) for free. The Airbnb vs Hotels battle is an interesting one and being a travel blogger I love to see the changes happening in the hospitality industry.

Finally, as I always say, I would never recommend something unless I’ve tried it myself – even when I write sponsored posts, they are 100% genuine and honest since my job is to give you, my beloved readers, the right information and tools to make your own decisions. So, after using Airbnb’s service now for several years, it’s a service I recommend wholeheartedly.

  • If you want to learn how to sign up and use Airbnb for the first time, click here [you get €28 off on your first booking with this link].
  • If you are a hotel, looking to get your own Arrivedo neighbourhood guide, social media strategy or professional photography, please connect with me by filling the form at the bottom of this page

What do you think? Who deserves to win the Airbnb vs Hotels battle? Let me know in the comments below!

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSaveSaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSaveSaveSave