3 Days in North Ossetia – Visiting Vladikavkaz

I knew very little about Ossetia and Ossetians before coming here, except for what international media has been talking about in the past 15 years, which can be summarized as conflicts and unrest. But it turns out they have a very interesting past and history around the Caucasus. This time around my journey brought me from Georgia through the Caucasus mountains to reach North Ossetia, the big brother of South Ossetia which received a lot of media attention in the past years. The Difficult Past of Ossetia The past few years haven’t been easy for their cousins in the south Ossetian part of Georgia, which resulted in a bloody war that Russia supported and resulted in a unilateral declaration of independence of the South Ossetian Republic that only a handful of countries around the world recognize. The events are still very fresh and coming in […]

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Athens On & Off the Beaten Track – 3 Days City Guide

Athens is this city where you can spend endless time exploring every corner of every street and you will always find something interesting. It’s just incredible how much a single city can hold, its a playground for history lovers, having literally layers over layers of civilizations stacked on top of each other, dating back more over 5000 years ago. On top of this, Greek people happen to have an extremely refined sense of design and their creativity gave birth to tons of stylish restaurants, cafes and bars spread around the city. These places are focused more on the experience rather than only consumption. I’ve been to Athens several times,  and usually the first visit to Athens is the same for everybody: Visit the same most important sights: the Acropolis, the Parthenon, at least 3 museums and enjoying the streets of  Plaka in the center. All of […]

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Visit Crete: 2 to 3 Days Itinerary in Chania

Ever since I came to Chania 15 years ago as a novice traveler, I’ve been bragging about it as my favorite city in Greece. So being here again after such a long time definitely brought excitement to rediscover it. Chania offers a different feeling of the typical islands of the Cyclades with their white and blue architecture. Chania has a Phoenician, Venetian and Ottoman background where many remnants are still visible today. But its history goes even further with traces that are harder to see, such as its Minoan roots that date over 3500 years. Some open-air Minoan Archaeological sites can be found in the center of the old town. The most scenic part is concentrated around the Venetian port, which ads an interesting taste of Ottoman occupation, especially with the mosque of Kioustsouk Hasan situated right on the port on the eastern side. For me, […]

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Visiting Valletta, Malta: World Capital of Balconies

Malta is one of those European countries that “awe’s” me as soon as I set foot on its streets. The proof that a city doesn’t need any fancy activities to make it a great one. A short walk around Valletta, Malta’s tiny capital of less than 10000 people, will convince anybody that preserving its authenticity and showcasing its historical traits is the secret to making any city a great one! I’ve been in Malta for the first time in 10 years ago, and it hasn’t changed that much since then, except for the obvious restorations of the walls. At the time I had the opportunity to dig deeper into the suburbs of Valletta and all around the Island, which is definitely worth it! Mdina is the other highlight that I wish I had time to visit again, but this time I was on a short […]

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Menorca: The Baleares Islands Best Kept Secret

You know the feeling when you go to the cinema to see a movie you have hardly heard of and see it with little expectations? And When you finally leave you are amazed by it? Well that’s what happened to me when I visited Mao, the capital of Menorca, the lesser known island of the 3 Baleares island. If you haven’t heard of Menorca you probably have of its bigger brothers who will surely ring a bell. Mallorca’s beaches and Ibiza’s Party have stolen the show for many years, but Menorca definitely deserves some credit as an amazing destination. My guess is the more people end up going, the more it will gather attention in the next few years which will help it grow exponentially, at the expense of its “little town” charm. Already, the mainstream cloth shops such as Zara, Mango, and Stradivarius have found […]

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Malaga: The Flawless Spanish City that Has it All – City Guide

Sunny Malaga has grown exponentially in the past 20 years to become one of the top 5 agglomerations in Spain. And for a good reason! Its location is just perfect, providing comfortable Andalusian weather all year round, with a nice sea breeze, as well as access to Spain’s best ski resorts around Granada just about an hour away. Culturally, it is rich with Andalusian culture which is to my eyes the most authentic in Spain and the easiest to flavor as a tourist. Being the birthplace of Pablo Picasso, it is easy to see how Malaga reserves a special attribute to culture, offering art museums and many architectural sites throughout the city. Its Alcazaba (a.k.a the little Alhambra) is also a great little extra to sample the Moorish era if you don’t have time to make it to Granada and provides a pleasant afternoon visit right […]

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Cadiz: Oldest City in Western Europe

Ever since I visited the Romain ruins in Cartagena where I was told there was an even older city than Cartagena in Spain, I have had my eye on coming back to Cadiz to explore it more profoundly. Some claim it is as old as 3000 years old, built by the Phoenicians at the 8th century B.C. there is a lot of history around the small city, set as a port town fortified with walls and forts on a small peninsula. It breaths Andalusia at every corner, with orange trees lining the narrow streets and balconies on houses built and stacked so close together it wins the title of the densest city in Spain. Even Cristopher Colombus came here as a starting point on two of his first voyages to the Americas! Plaza de la Cathedral is the heart of the city, but there are […]

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Tangier: The Moroccan Doors to Africa

Tangier used to be an important gateway to Europe (or to Africa) and seems to have caught up on its lack of interest for travelers which traditionally valued more others cities in the country such as Marrakech, Fes, Tetouan or Essaouira. This was the case when I first came to Tanger back in 2003. The city was known for high crime and was not recommended by most book guides out there, considering it a port of arrival rather than a touristic destination. That was the case for me at the time, having spent only 2 days in the cities before rushing south to more “attractive” destinations. However, this year’s visit surprised me. 15 years later, the Medina definitely has been pumped up with restorations to make it more appealing to the touristic eye. Most of the highlights will be around the Medina (historic old town) […]

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Anchoring in Madeira Island, Portugal

Madeira, this Portugues island in the Atlantic received a lot of attention when Cristiano Ronaldo, who was born on the island, came to fame. Its a popular stop for cruise ships and sailboats doing the crossing between Europe and the Americas all the way back to the 15th century due to its strategic location. And it is considered nowadays one of the most beautiful cities in Portugal! Its the second time I’ve been to Funchal the Capital of Madeira. Easy to visit on foot in a single afternoon, it’s a refreshing city that reminds colonial cities of the Canary Islands, but with a Portuguese flavor. when I come here I like to skip commercial streets and head straight to the old town (Zona Velha) and this is exactly what I did on this trip. I actually discovered through foursquare a very nice cafe, the most […]

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The Canary Islands: What Every Island on Earth Should Look Like!

After a nice 4 months in south-east Asia where I had the chance to visit four countries while settling in their capitals to get some work done, it was time to hit the road again and like almost every year, I am back to Europe on time for Spring and the Summer Holiday! I’m pretty excited about many pans I have for the next months and since it’s still a little cold on the continent, I am starting my adventures in the Canary Islands off the coast of western Africa, more specifically on two of them: Tenerife and La Palma. I’ve visited many islands through my travels, actually I visited all of the islands countries of the world. Among them, many of the most popular islands still “under control” by European nations. I must say that contrary to what many people think, staying on an island […]

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