Hotels Fairy is a FREE service to save you money. We never add any fees or commissions.

City Guides

Top 10 destinations by continent

Category Archive: Destination Guides

Best Hikes and Trails at Zion National Park

Zion National Park rocks

Red, orange, yellow, gray striated layers of windswept sandstone spike and drop dramatically through Utah’s Zion National Park. Less famous than its near neighbour the Grand Canyon, but no less spectacular in its raw desert beauty, Zion National Park is a mere 2 ½ hour’s drive from the center of Las Vegas, Nevada.

This national park features hikes and walks for all ability levels and holds two of the most spectacular (potentially dangerous) hikes in all of the National Park system.

Zion National Park

How to get Zion National Park

Located in the south of Utah, Zion is within driving distance of the majority of the Southwest. Only 7 hour’s drive from Los Angeles and 2 ½ hours from Las Vegas. The drive to the park features several tourist stops, including roadside natural history museums, the Valley of Fire state park, dinosaur tracks and the Native American Moapa Reservation.

Classic to the iconic American Road trip, these unexpected detours present limitless opportunities for exploration. Getting around the Park itself depends on the time of year of your visit. In the busy summer months, the park runs two free shuttle services.

One runs from the bottom of the town of Springdale to the park entrance with several stops at local hotels, campgrounds and restaurants, allowing visitors to park and ride to the main gate of Zion.

The second shuttle service runs through the center of the park with stops at the most popular trailheads. In the summer, vehicles are no longer allowed inside of this part of the park, so the shuttle is the best option of transport to the trailheads.

The shuttle operators offer guided tours on the ride up the valley, providing the passengers the history of the park as well as information on hikes, trail conditions and locations of restaurants, restrooms and water fill stations.

Zion National Park Brew Pub

Accommodations and Dining at Zion National Park

As with most National Parks, there are a variety of options when it comes to accommodations. Hotels, motels and cabins abound in the neighbouring towns with Zion Lodge being the only hotel located inside of the park.

Zion has two campgrounds of its own, which offer car-style camping but no showers. Backcountry camping is also allowed, but permits must be obtained from the park rangers at the information station.

For those who wish to bring their pets, be warned that Zion National Park only allows dogs on one of its trails, and they are forbidden from the rest of the park. Because of this, many accommodations also do not allow pets. Make sure to check the current policies before you pack up your furry friend.

Located directly outside of the gate of Zion is an RV and tent camping site which offers free showers and is central to an in-town shuttle stop.

I highly recommend this location. My husband and I tent camped, and our site was private, near the river, came equipped with a picnic table, grill and fire pit and was conveniently located across the street from several fabulous restaurants (most notably the Spotted Dog) for the nights we decided to skip dinner over the fire.

For the nights we did decide to cook, the general store located at the entrance of the park contained easy grill food, a surprisingly abundant choice of gourmet cheeses and even replacement camping gear as our camp stove failed to make it into the car and our tent was missing a pole. We appreciated its convenient location and reasonable prices.

The most popular hikes at Zion National Park

While there are many great hikes off the beaten track at Zion, my husband and I focused on the most popular hikes of the park for our first visit. The following four hikes can be accessed via trailheads which are all stops along the free in-park shuttle.

Zion National Park Angel’s Landing

Angel’s Landing

Consisting of a 5 mile round trip up 21 switchbacks, through a narrow canyon and topped with a .5 mile hand-over-hand boulder and chain crawl along a ridge which is at times 3 feet wide and 1,200 feet to the canyon floor, Angel’s Landing is Zion’s most popular hike as well as its most thrilling.

Not for the faint of heart or for those with a fear of heights, but for all others in search of a challenge and iconic view down the canyon, make it part of your must do list. It is listed as strenuous, and in the heat of summer, temperatures can reach to over 100 degrees, so remember to bring water. Rangers advise at least 2 liters per person per hike to combat the desert heat.

The Narrows

Zion National Park - The NarrowsDebated as one of the best trails in all of the National Park System, the Narrows offers an unusual hike for nature enthusiasts. The term trail is misleading, as it is actually a walk up and down a canyon, in the river.

Depending on the time of year, hikers will spend 60-70% of the hike ankle, knee, waist or shoulder deep in water.

The canyon soars hundreds of feet above you and is at times 30 feet from wall to wall. There is a danger of flash floods and sections of the trail with no high ground, so it is best to be prepared and check with the rangers regarding weather conditions for the day.

There are two ways to hike the Narrows, either as an up and back day hike or a through hike. Up and back hikers can travel 6 miles up and back without obtaining a backcountry permit.

For those wishing to hike the entire 16 miles of the trail, obtain a permit from the information center, and consider making it a two day camping adventure.

The Zion Adventure Company offers rental equipment for this hike, including canyoneering shoes, neoprene socks, walking sticks, dry bags and dry suits for cooler weather. They also offer maps and tips for the hike.

Emerald Pools

Located near the middle of the park, the Emerald Pools is actually made up of three trails, the lower pool, middle pool and upper pool, with the lower pool being the easiest and the upper pool being the most challenging.

All three trails are connected and it is easy to incorporate them all into one long hike if you wish, the entirety which should only take a couple of hours. Those hikers interested in only the challenging trails should not skip the lower pools however, as they offer a walk behind a 100 foot waterfall.

Zion National Park - Emerald Pools

Watchman’s Trail

Not advertised on the shuttle service (as its trailhead is located behind the visitor’s center) this little jewel was recommended to me by a regular Zion hiker. Barely used, this trail is a contrast to the highly popular Angel’s Landing, Narrows and Emerald Pools, and walkers get to feel that they are discovering Zion as its first visitors.

This hike is moderately difficult in its climb (450 foot gain), and can be hot, so remember to bring water. Because of its light usage, we encountered much more wildlife on this trail, and were often tripping victims of scurrying lizards.

The top of the trail opens up on a plateau with a circular hike allowing views of different parts of the valley with every turn a photographic opportunity.

Other Activities

Hiking is not for everyone, and Zion National Park offers trails which are wheelchair accessible and lookout points which are only a hundred feet from the shuttle stops. The park also offers trail rides from their stables located at the trailhead for the Emerald Pools, and an air conditioned IMAX theater.

The Zion Adventure Company rents tubes and coordinates rides for the adventurer who would rather float than climb.

Happy traveling!

How to visit Montana on a budget

Visit Montana US

The US state of Montana is well known for its beautiful landscape and especially for it’s Yellowstone Park that covers 3,500 square miles full of canyons, alpine rivers and provides a home for many wild animals like bears, wolves, bison, elks and antelopes.

When to visit Montana

You can visit Montana all year round but do check the weather forecast for the region before you set off as the weather tends to be very unpredictable from very hot to snow storms and blizzards.

Visit Montana’s cities and towns (ranked by population)

Billings Yellowstone 106,954
Missoula Missoula 66,789
Great Falls Cascade 58,505
Bozeman Gallatin 37,280
Butte Silver Bow 34,525
Helena Lewis and Clark 28,190
Kalispell Flathead 19,927
Havre Hill 9,310
Anaconda Deer Lodge 9,298
Miles City Custer 8,123
Belgrade Gallatin 7,389

Horse riding in Montana

Famous for the numerous horse ranches in the region, Montana could be called the horse rider paradise. To experience Montana without taking the time to explore any one of the horse riding ranches open to the public could almost be considered a crime.

As well as tackling a horseback mountain trek is a must when in horse riding country such as Montana.

visit Montana on a budget

The outdoor terrains offers a lot to the travellers who choose to experience what can only be described as getting back to nature. With the mountains at your feet and the vast landscape before you, camping out under the stars would not be out of the ordinary in Montana.

It is actually a very popular weekend activity among the local youth in Montana.

Hotels in Montana

Where to stay in Montana

With a diverse choice of camp sites, to luxury and affordable hotels on offer you’re spoiled for choice when it comes to choosing what accommodation suits your needs best.

When travelling to Montana on a budget keep in mind that there some bargains to be found like the Wingate by Wyndham in Helena Montana, the facilities are more than adequate and the rates are affordable.

This hotel is located in the heart of the Rocky Mountains and positioned in Montana’s Capitol City.

Sunset in Montana US

If camping out under the stars is what you had in mind then the Bear Dance and Cabin can provide valuable information on camp sites that could be simply perfect for your holiday outdoors adventure. Providing all modern and convenient amenities, your stay will be more than you have bargained for.

Where to dine in Montana

Bogart’s restaurant in Montana Dining out in Montana does not need to break the bank, with restaurants like Bogarts serving up state loved favourites. The Bogarts restaurant is located on 11 South Broadway, Red Lodge, MT 59068

You will also find at Bogart’s Bogie’s photos and memorabilia which are on display upon the walls. Notably the best place to go for a great meal in Montana.

The restaurant serves up the best in Mexican food, margaritas, burgers, and speciality pizzas with a hearty taste and generous portions.

The nightlife in Montana varies depending on the city location or town so check local listings for specific events and dates when planning your trip to Montana in advance.

Some events may require advance booking so it is always better to get in touch with the venues before you set off for your trip.

Olivia Cree the author of the “How to visit Montana on a budget” works as a freelance tour guide in Montana, she is also a part time mountain rescue volunteer.

A travel guide to lesser known attractions in the UK

british-bagpipeMost travellers who plan to visit the United Kingdom for the first time have in mind a dozen or so places or attractions in the UK that they would like to see.

Some very well-known tourist spots are around London, the Big Ben, the Buckingham Palace, the London Eye, etc.

But, if you really want to see and experience the true British culture and hospitality of which the Great Albion is well known, you have to leave London behind and become a traveller not a tourist!

First of all get yourself a standard BritRail GB Pass for 194.00 pounds, which is valid for eight days or if you are on a budget a National Express Brit Xplorer pass for 79.00 pounds which is valid for week.

Either of them will do and they will save you a fortune. Now you can set off and discover some of Britain’s hidden gems.

Barnard castle

Quite often when we talk about famous British castles, the Alnwick castle comes first, obviously the Harry Potter, movie has done a lot to make this magnificent castle the first choices for many travellers. Almost a million visitors went to Alnwick castle last year.

Barnard Castle 2016

However, if you wish to escape the crowds the little-know Barnard castle on the north of England is highly recommended. This 12th-century castle provides an amazing view of the river Tees. On the north east of Barnard castle is the city and county town of Durham, and on the east is the market town of Darlington.

Barnard castle is also the ideal starting point for exploring the Lake District. But before you head to the Lake District, check out the Bowes Museum which is just 15 minutes’ walk to the west of Barnard castle. So what are you waiting for? Add it to your list!

Dunwich Village

Only a few hours away by rail, Dunwich is the ideal destination for a short trip or a long weekend away from London. Dunwich during the Anglo-Saxon period was a major trading centre with a very busy commercial harbour.

Unfortunately the unpredictable weather conditions and ferocious storms that hit the East Anglian coast forced its inhabitants to evacuate the town on a numerous occasions through the centuries.

Due to coastal erosion Dunwich’s population has been forced to relocate and these days less than 200 people live in Dunwich.

Lesser known attractions in the UK - Dunwich heath 2016

Nevertheless, the natural beauty of the coastal lowland heath attracts many, nature enthusiasts, bird watchers and walkers.

If all that walking makes you feel a little peckish, head towards the Coastguard cottages, there you will find a small café that serves tea and freshly ground coffee with a wide selection of delicious homemade cakes.

Next door you will find the Dunwich Heath souvenirs shop to purchase some souvenirs and gifts for the family and friends back home.

the-ship-inn-hotel-dunwich

For a long weekend in Dunwich we highly recommend The Ship Inn Hotel Dunwich a small traditional and cosy guest house just a short drive from Westleton but within a walking distance of Dunwich’s well-known attractions and landmarks.

If you wish to save even more on your accommodation you can check out some cheaper deals with discount codes from Hotels.com

Lansallos Village

Lansallos is a small village and civil parish in south Cornwall that attracts many British holiday makers as it is well known for its stunning beaches.

Lansallos in Cornwall 2016

The Lansallos beach is small natural sandy beach easily accessible to visitors by the footpath next to the St Ildierna’s Church. The longest beach is at Lantic Bay, a beautiful horseshoe shape of beach with a steep climb back up to the coastal footpath.

If you decide to get down to either beach, be aware of the high and low tides in the area so you don’t get caught out. If in doubt ask one of the locals, they will be happy to advise you.

Clevedon Pier

Most people travelling to Britain, are aware of the Blackpool Pier and the Brighton Pier, they are both well photographed and documented in the media, the Clevedon Pier is less well known.

Top attractions in the UK - Clevedon Pier 2016

The Pier located in the town of Clevedon, in Somerset and it was built during the Victorian times as a docking station for the passenger steamer from Devon and Wales.

The Clevedon Pier is 312 meters long and 5 meters wide. The whole structure is designed with metal beams and wooden planks for decking, it stands just 4.30 meters above the sea level.

There are a number of hotels and B&B within a walking distance to the Clevedon Pier, the Highcliffe Hotel Clevedon as well as the The Moon & Sixpence offer comfortable and reasonably priced accommodation. For greater savings on hotels and bed and breakfast deals check out the Dealslands website.

Camley Street Natural Park

Camley street natural park in London Our last suggestion is the Camley street natural park, and there is a good reason why we left it for last. Not because it is inferior to the rest of the attractions but because it is easily accessible by foot. No need for a rail pass or a long distance coach ride.

The Camley street natural park is located in the centre of London just off  the King’s Cross rail station.

So once you are done with the Museums, shopping centres, pubs and cafes, head over to the King Cross station, then just a five minutes’ walk off the station and you will be into an amazing oasis.

The Camley street natural park is managed by London Wildlife Trust and is the habitat of a number of different and rear birds, butterflies and bees all spread across two hectares of land.

The park runs alongside the Regent’s canal where you can see narrow boats, ducks, geese and moorhens. There is also a small visitor’s centre with a cafe and toilet facilities.

So if you really want to have memorable holidays in the UK, full of British history and culture then try our five suggestions above.

These suggestions would not be found on the mainstream travel guides but these lesser known attractions in the UK encapsulate the rich British heritage through the centuries, unique, unspoiled and picturesque, the very best of Great Britain.

Eating out in Barcelona: Best Restaurants & Tapas

Tickets Restaurants & Tapas

In Barcelona, you will always be confused by all the different things it has to offer. This high-spirited city loves to eat. When eating out in Barcelona, make sure you take full advantage of all the wonderful food it has to offer.

However, in Spain they eat dinner no later than ten p.m. so make sure you are in time at all the cafes and restaurants, even bars. Also, Barcelona is the Catalan capital of Spain. Catalan is slightly different from Spanish, don’t you dare forget that. You’ll thank me later for this tip.

Best Restaurants and Tapas

Cerveseria Catalan

Cerveseria Catalana

You must visit a restaurant called Cerveseria Catalana. Try to book a table before you get there and get there on time. Chances are, you might still end up waiting. They offer the classic Spanish tapas menu. You may not know all the different things they have, but everything is good, just order the staples. Don’t be afraid to order from the specials menu either. This authentic, delicious Spanish food.

The tipping culture is not so popular in Spain. The tourists may have infused this, and a few waiters might even expect an excellent tip from you, but a meagre 5 to 10 percent would do. Big tips could spark confusion and largely unheard of.

Brunch and CakeBrunch & Cake

If you are the type that can’t imagine a morning without eggs, head to Brunch & Cake. This is not Spanish food, but there is almost no variant of breakfast in Spanish cuisine.

This is not as well-known among locals but for any of you visiting Spain, this place offers delicious breakfast to cure your hangover.

Speaking of drinking, from dawn to dusk, you’ll find cheap beer provided by immigrants. This is cheap, unbelievably cold beer that locals complain about.

However, this street beer moving through the narrow pathways of your neighbourhood will be one the greatest memories of a Barcelona night.

To satisfy hunger during one of these strolls, head on the way to Carrer d’ Avinyó. Here Indian and Pakistani immigrants roam with warm, home-made Samosas you cannot miss.

Botafumeiro

Botafumeiro Restaurant

For a perfect seafood, experience visits Botafumeiro. It is named for the huge incense burner which is hanging in the cathedral of Santiago de Compostela. You get top traditional seafood here. It is an elegant place to eat in with its wood-panelled walls, crisp white tablecloths, and decently dressed waiters.

Eating out in Barcelona: Tickets Tapas

Tickets Bar & Restaurant

Another excellent restaurant you must visit is Tickets. It is a joyful experience to eat here. It redefines “fun with food”. You should make a reservation for their heavenly smoked Artichoke, Quail’s Egg and Salmon. It is quite a charming and sophisticated place.

Eating out in Barcelona

In the end, I would advise you to be wary of some lousy places. Barcelona may be quite famous for its food experience, but yet there are plenty of sad tapas bars and restaurants.

They serve you frozen croquettes and overpriced seafood. Be careful when choosing your meals, sometimes eating out in Barcelona can be an unpleasant experience. Many of these places offer similar stuff so be careful not to be fooled into eating the same things over and over again. Do your research, go for the public options and have a pleasant stay!

Hotels in Barcelona

There are many excellent hotels in Barcelona, but you need to book in advance to avoid disappointment as they tend to sell out quickly, especially on weekends and during the Spanish festivals like the Festa Major de Gracia, in the middle of August or the even more popular Festa de la Merce towards the end of September.

compare all hotels in Barcelona

 

 

 

Greek Islands: Four romantic days on the island of Naxos

Old windmills at Filoti village

Last summer my girlfriend and I were in a big dilemma regarding our holiday destination where we could spend a few days to relax away from the busy life in Athens. The choices between the Greek Islands?
A few hundreds. After several recommendations from our friends the decision was taken with a great enthusiasm.

What was the destination? The beautiful island of Naxos.

Naxos Town

The island of Naxos is located in the center of the Aegean Sea and it is part of the Cyclades islands. Naxos is ideal for couples and families as it offers an excellent cuisine, perfect beaches and plenty of activities to choose from.

A lovely donkey near Moutsouna beachI would strongly suggest to rent a car rather than a scooter or ATV for your transportation. The distances tend to be long and the roads are in a good shape.

However, some times in order to reach your destination you have to go through gravel roads with sharp stones. Also some times the roads are quite slippery and with many U-turns and relatively high elevation.

In addition you have to bear in mind that the public bus service doesn’t have a very dense schedule so if you wish to explore most of the island you must definitely rent a car.

I will also recommend you arrange your accommodation in Chora (the capital of the island) so you can be near the night life and the harbour so you don’t have to drive more than you really need.

If you wish to be on a more quiet and relaxed area, Filoti village is a very good choice. It is located in the center of the island and getting to all the main beaches around the island is significantly easier.

Four day itinerary on the island of Naxos

 

Marble streets on the island of NaxosDay 1: Leave from Chora and head to Apeiranthos. An amazing village with old traditional buildings, some have been built with marble and they are dated back to the years of Venetian occupation of the island of Naxos, some even predate that.

The village of Apeiranthos is famous for its local meats and cheese delicacies. The locals are extremely hospitable and willing to help you if you need directions to get to your destination.

Go around, walk and explore the side streets, admire the old buildings, the two Venetian towers, when you need a rest sit at one of the local restaurant and enjoy the local cousin.

I would definitely recommend Platanos restaurant, since we sat there and we were very happy with the quality of the food and prices of the restaurant.

After you taste the local cousin and enjoy a cup of coffee, you can head to the beach of Moutsouna which is approximately 25 to 30 minutes by car. The road is full of turns and on a high elevation so drive slowly and carefully.

At Moutsouna beach we discovered two traditional fish restaurants which unfortunately we did not have the chance to try as we were full from our previous stop but both looked quite good. We are planning to try their delicacies on our next visit to the island. Once you eat or swim you can move on to the beach of Panormos which we found amazing, relaxing and very quiet.

The amazing and quiet beach Panermos

On the Southeast side of the island and away from the crowds of tourists it’s definitely a place you should visit in case you just want to relax. However go there well equipped. There is a small and friendly canteen but it is a bit pricey and there are not many parasols.

Once you rest enough by the beach it is time to drive all the way back to your accommodation which is not a short drive so plan ahead and try to head back before the sun sets.

In the evening you can spend your time exploring the town’s side streets, the various romantic restaurants or the night clubs and bars to enjoy your cocktail.

Clystal blue-green water at the hidden beach near AgiassosDay 2: The second day we choose Agiasos beach located at the South side of the island.

However, the beach I am talking about is located 500 meters after Agiasos village. So once you see the sign ‘to Agiasos’’ on your left, simply ignore it and drive 500 meters further down the road. You will see a small gravel road heading to the beach where you can drive and park your car.

There you will find two amazing beaches that are not crowded at all.
Warning the smaller one on the far right end quite often is used by nudists. So be aware and make your choice.

If you continue on the gravel road you will find Alykes beach and Kastraki beach. On the last one try to visit the old deserted hotel and its deserted beach where you can swim all by yourself without anyone else!!! Your own private beach.

On your way back you can visit the cave of Za, which is located on a hill. To get there you have to drive up to a certain point on the road and then walk the rest of the way up.

You will definitely need sports or hiking shoes because a big part of the path is not paved. Be careful when you are entering the cave as its very dark and slippery, but for us it definitely worth the effort.

View from Za cave at the Island of Naxos

On your way back you can stop at Filoti village, where you can enjoy the local meat products (try the lamp chops!!!) at the traditional taverns situated in the center of the village under the huge trees. Many shepherds live in the village so if you are interested in buying dairy products straight from the producers, feel free to ask the locals at the square and they will direct you to one of the producers.

Once your rest you may wish go back to the city and enjoy an ice cream at Waffles house or have a drink at People’s bar.

Don’t forget to visit the famous Naxos candy store situated in the old city. It makes candies with traditional flavours and aromas such as Ouzo, Cinnamon and Citron, you can also find many modern and unexpected ones such as various combinations of Spicy, Sweet and other tastes. The owners were very hospitable; they even gave us a nice shot of a local drink called Raki.

One of the many beaches at Agia Anna on the Island of Naxos

Day 3: On the third day of your stay on the island of Naxos, you can visit Agia Annas beach and then Maragkas and many beautiful beaches situated one after the other, you would be spoiled for choice, believe me. If you like pizza try to find the “Mama Mia” pizzeria which is quite famous on the island. The Italian owners have brought a taste of Italy on the Greek island of Naxos.

A grandpa enjoing his coffe and the wonderful dayDay 4 : I would suggest on your last day to go to the Panermos bay. The driving is a bit long and strenuous for about 1-1.5 hours and there are not many interesting things to see or do on the way. However, the sandy beach is honestly incredible; it feels like you are not in the Aegean Sea but on an island somewhere in heaven!!!

Make sure you bring with you plenty of water, parasols and everything else you might need because after a certain point on the road there are no super markets or villages. Also there are no sun beds or umbrellas for hire so plan accordingly!!

On the right edge of the beach there is a very nice tavern with an amazing view of the beach and the Aegean Sea with very hospitable owners. The Panermos bay is quite far away, but if you can give it a day I am sure it will be the highlight of your trip.

While on the island of Naxos there are certain things you must definitely buy or taste. I would highly recommend the local dairy products such as Arseniko, Graviera and Ksinomizithra. Also the meat products which are produced on the island with traditional methods, the local fish and last but not least the local honey called Zikomelo.

We only stayed on the island of Naxos for four and half days but the people, the beautiful sceneries, the refreshing and relaxed atmosphere of the island were more than enough to recharge our batteries and keep us going through the hot summer.

Sunset,view and your girl._what more can you ask

I will definitely recommend the island of Naxos for a long holiday or even a short trip to unwind, relax and explore the beauty of the Greek islands.

This summer live your myth in Greece!!!

Spyros Skouris the author of the 4 romantic days on the island of NaxosAbout the author

Spyros Skouris the author of the article “Greek Islands: Four romantic days on the island of Naxos” can help you arrange your dream vacations on your visit to Athens in Greece.

He also owns an apartment in Athens which is available to rent on Airbnb.

Athens Sightseeing: A Full Day Tour Of Athens

Akropolis by night

After visiting a number of European countries, all of them start to look pretty much the same right? Fortunately, that doesn’t apply to Athens. Athens is indeed a European country but it feels like it has been ‘spiced’ with many Middle Eastern colours and aromas.

Due to its geographical position, as well as the occupation from the Ottoman Empire for more than 400 years, have left Athens with a variety of cultural influences on landmarks and on it’s inhabitants.

Athens Kalimarmaro stadium

Athens besides the many archaeological sites has numerous beautiful seaside places where you can swim in the sea or just drink a cup of Greek coffee (like the locals do) and enjoy the views. Make sure you have more than one day to visit and explore all the hidden gems of the city.

Athens Metro

Best place to start your day tour of Athens is the Metro station of Acropolis. It is advisable to be there early in the morning to have a head start, as more tourists will be visiting later on and it will get crowded. Also you must remember that the Greek sun in the summer is really strong so make sure that you apply sun cream often and always have a bottle of water with you.

Walk the beautiful street of Dionysiou Areopageitou and buy yourself a ticket (20 Euros per person which applies for all the archaeological sites of Athens for 4 days). I could fill in at least ten pages with the facts and the history of Acropolis but this is neither the place nor the time to do so.

Always remember to support the campaign for returning the STOLEN artefacts of Parthenon, which are now located in the British Museum in London back to Greece, where they belong to.

So enjoy the beauty of Acropolis standing for more than 2000 years and wonder around it. Make sure you exit not from the typical exit, but from a downhill exit next to a small wooden kiosk that you will come across as you climb up the stairs. This way you will be able to see more sites and ancient constructions as well as an additional theatre.

Athens Archaeological Museum

Once you exit the site of Acropolis head the opposite way to the new museum of Acropolis, a construction that Greeks are really proud of since it was literally built upon ancient buildings but without causing any destruction to them. You will be able to see parts of them as you move though the Acropolis museum.

Exiting the museum of Acropolis and head left the same road you followed to go to Acropolis. Enjoy the weather and feel free to buy from the street vendors’ traditional artifacts and souvenirs which are actually in much better prices than the shops. Always try to support the local economy which really needs your help, especially these days!!!

Once you meet the first cafeterias’ with their tables outside you can go for a coffee to the roof gardens and admire the views of Acropolis.

Once you catch your breath continue and enter the ancient Agora from the small exit in front of the cafeterias with the same ticket that you bought in Acropolis. There are three must see places there among the many:

• The ancient temple that really looks like Acropolis.
• The old church with the unique pictures that were saved during the occupation from the Ottoman Empire (check out the Saints and Angels that their faces were removed by the occupants).
• The small museum which shows aspects of everyday life in Athens.

Exit the site from the main entrance and you are in Monastiraki area.

Day tour of Athens - Monastiraki

Warning!!!: As all the main tourist attractions around the world, the same rules apply in this area. Keep your bag zippers closed, leave no bags unattended and beware of your personal belongings in general. Pick pocketing is not a very common thing but not a very rare as well. Kindly decline any offers for sunglasses, perfumes or mobile phones since they will be 90 percent end in monkey business.

Monastiraki open flea market where you can shop various stuff

Shop around this area, you can find really good prices in leather and gold or buy some souvenirs for your friends back home. (Make sure you buy a hat for the rest of your vacations in Greece since the Greek sun is very strong. The area is ideal for taking pictures of locals restoring old furniture and buying antiques.

Hungry? I would suggest you head to the restaurant of Savvas with the amazing roof garden. It serves traditional Greek cuisine and the quality of the food is always very good, and of course you can stare (guess what???) Acropolis!

From there you can head to the Athens central meat & fish market called “Varvakios” to take some photos. Avoid it if you don’t have a strong stomach, watching hanged meats and the heavy smells might not be for everyone! The whole area is really popular for buying traditional products.

Head back to Ermou street (if you don’t know which one it is, simply ask an Athenian. The majority of the Greeks speak English and usually are very helpful with tourists.

Ermou street is the road with all the big brand names stores and you can always buy designer clothes or anything else you might need. Head up towards Syntagma square. On your way visit the small church (Kapnikarea) in the middle of the street.

It is estimated that the church was built some time in the 11th century, perhaps around 1050. As it was common with the early Christian churches, this was built over an ancient Greek pagan temple dedicated to the worship of a goddess, possibly Athena or Demeter. You can walk into it and light a small candle like Orthodox people do.

Efzonas on Syntagma sq in Athens

Reaching Syntagma square you will see the Greek parliament and the national guards called Efzones. They wear their traditional skirt (which has 400 foldings, one for each year of occupation under the Ottoman Empire).

Take some photos and walk until the national Library and Academy. Two amazing buildings built like the ancient Greek ones. Once you are done continue on to the Omonoia street where you need to ask the way to the National Museum which is just five minutes by foot.

The national Archeological museem of AthensThe National Museum even though it is last on the list, it is for me the most important sight of Athens. Make sure you do not miss it. It hosts an amazing collection of masterpieces of art of the ancient Greece.

Statues more than 5000 years old, jewels of the Macedonian family of Alexander, and the famous Machine of Antikythera.

That is a full a day tour of Athens, where you can cover all the main tourist attractions.

If you feel that your feet can still do some extra walk, you can always add one of the following sights to your tour. Plaka, Kallimarmaron, the National Garden, Zapeio, Likavitos and Glyfada area.

But my suggestion is to visit those places another day so you can take your time and enjoy them like they deserve to.

Spyros Skouris profile photoAbout the author

Spyros Skouris the author of the article “A full day tour of Athens” can help you arrange your dream vacations on your visit to Athens in Greece.

He also owns an apartment in Athens which is available to rent on Airbnb.

Kaunas City in Lithuania

For those who want to visit the more undiscovered and unexplored parts of Europe should not hesitate to visit Kaunas city in Lithuania. You will not be disappointed.

Legend claims that Kaunas city was established by the Romans in ancient times. Later on the Russian empire as well as the Swedish army set their eyes on this beautiful city. Through the centuries the Kaunas city was an important trade center across the Northern Europe and the Baltic countries.

Kaunas castle

The city is surrounded by rivers from three sides, the medieval old town of Kaunas is located next to the meeting point of the two major rivers: Neris and Nemunas. This area of the city was once an important market, and it was fortified by the Kaunas castle in the 14th century.

If you are visiting Kaunas city for first time, you could consider a guided tour of the city, even though it is fairly easy to navigate yourself as the central Kaunas is defined by two pedestrian streets, the first one is a 2-km-long Laisvės alėja (Liberty Avenue), a central street of the city, lined by linden trees, and the second one Vilnius Street, leading to the oldest part, the old town of Kaunas.

Guided tours in Kaunas city

The old town of Kaunas: The length of tour is approximately one hour and thirty minutes. During the tour you will see many popular monuments like the Kaunas castle, monasteries of male and female Franciscans, the Saint George the Martyr church, the Vytautas‘s church, and many more important landmarks.

Kaunas Garrison Church LithuaniaUsually the guided tours are in Lithuanian language, as well as in English and Russian. You need to check with your hotel to point you to a local certified tour guide to show you around. The cost of the guided tour is around 30 Euros per person but you can obtain a discount for larger groups.

If you decide to stroll across the city on your own, there are certain monuments and landmarks that you should not miss.
• Governor‘s Palace
• Nicholas Boulevard
• Choral Synagogue,
• Kaunas musical Theater
• Comendant‘s Palace of Kaunas Fortress,
• Kaunas Fortress

Hotels in Kaunas City

Magnus Hotel KaunasMagnus Hotel Kaunas

Situated in Kaunas, this 3-star property is cosy and modern. It is conveniently positioned for those wanting to visit local attractions. There are 82 modern rooms at Magnus Hotel Kaunas, each providing all the necessities to ensure a comfortable stay. Each features a flat-screen TV with cable / satellite channels, as well as a private bathroom.

Hotel Magnus features a restaurant and a bar where guests are able to unwind at the end of the day. A variety of breakfast options are on offer in the hotel’s dining room.

Kaunas City HotelKaunas City Hotel

Kaunas City Hotel is situated in Kaunas and offers guests wireless internet. It is moments from the Kaunas State Drama Theatre, restaurants and nightlife options.

Kaunas City has 44 modern rooms that are equipped with a range of essential amenities to ensure guests have an enjoyable stay. Each one features a flat-screen TV with cable channels, in addition to a private bathroom.

Hotel Kaunas

Hotel Kaunas

Hotel Kaunas provides elegant 4-star accommodation in Kaunas. It also offers an indoor pool, a sauna and 24-hour room service. The elegant rooms at Hotel Kaunas include a refrigerator, a mini bar and a private bathroom. All offer a telephone and heating.

A satisfying breakfast is prepared each morning at Hotel Kaunas, and there are numerous cafés and eateries close by. For those wishing to stay on-site for dinner, 55 provides international and local cuisine.

Flight to Kaunas city

Kaunas International Airport is the second busiest civil airport in Lithuania after Vilnius Airport and the fourth busiest in the Baltic states.

The airport is located in the central part of the country, 14 km (8.7 mi) northeast of the Kaunas city centre and 100 km west from the capital Vilnius.

Ryanair is flying to Kaunas city from Birmingham, Bristol, London Gatwick as well as Luton airport. A return flight to Kaunas city from Gatwick will cost 182.00 Pounds in December. From Bristol airport cost 138.00 Pounds.