51 things to do in Ljubljana. That’s right!

Having a most scrumptious ice-cream at the Triple Bridge!
51 things to do in Ljubljana. That’s right!

Yoo Hoo!

So Slovenia!

What a most beautiful country!

Last week, I wrote a five (5) minute introduction to Slovenia!

I hope you like it?

Myself in Ljubljana – A 5 minute introduction to Slovenia!

I was intrigued to be visiting Slovenia so we based ourselves in the capital city of Ljubljana and spent a whopping seven days.

Seven (7) days!

And you know what?

It wasn’t anywhere near enough!

I know!

If you’re just joining, don’t forget to subscribe by either using the pop-up that you see if it’s your first time visiting, or simply clicking the “Following the British Berliner” tab or any of the social media icons on the side bar.

Yay!

SO WHAT WERE WE DOING IN LJUBLJANA?

Me drinking bubble tea in Taiwan because I’m weird and I like going to interesting exotic places!

Because I’m weird and I like going to interesting exotic places!

Seriously though, the reason why I wanted to go to Slovenia is because I’d heard such a lot of wonderful things from practically everyone! And remember, just two years ago, I hadn’t heard of any of the Baltic or Balkan States. In fact, I couldn’t even pronounce them!

But the other reason that I wanted to visit was because of Ljubljana. I was hearing mixed messages and that some “experts” were saying that Ljubljana wasn’t worth more than a few hours!

When I hear things like this, it makes my blood boil!

The ignorance of people constantly astounds, and annoys me.

However, I am a strong supporter of Europe, and I have a weakness for tiny countries in the middle of beyond! Besides, I had such a wonderful time in Croatia, why wouldn’t I want to go to it’s “sister country” – Slovenia – too!

How to visit the Balkans: Introducing Croatia – the dream of Game of Thrones!

We spent a jam-packed week in Slovenia, and not once did we get anywhere near bored!

Slovenia is a very green country and like Croatia, amazingly beautiful. I wanted to spend some quality time with The Tall Young Gentleman, and I think Slovenia was the perfect place to do it.

Book your hotel here!

51 THINGS TO DO IN LJUBLJANA. THAT’S RIGHT!

Dragons in Ljubljana – Slovenia, can be seen literally everywhere!

Ljubljana is the capital of Slovenia and has a population of just 278,789 people!

It was first mentioned at the beginning of the 12th century and was the historical capital of Carniola, a Slovene-inhabited part of the Habsburg Monarchy from the Middle Ages, until the dissolution of the Austro-Hungarian Empire in 1918!

The symbol of the city is the Ljubljana Dragon!

The dragon is believed to be adopted from England’s patron saint – Saint George – who is also the patron of the 15th century chapel in the Ljubljana Castle!

The dragon is found on the top of the tower of Ljubljana Castle, on the Ljubljana coat of arms, on the Dragon Bridge, otherwise known as Zmajski Most, and can be seen literally everywhere!

We had a very fine time using the Ljubljana Card.

We wanted to spend some time rambling through the cobbled streets and running from one museum or local attraction to another, using the Ljubljana Card.

Thanks very much!

Here’s what we did:

We rushed out & went for a stroll & a bit of a ramble in Metelkova City in Ljubljana – one of the most successful urban squats in Europe!
  • Ljubljana is tiny. Go for a walk! After checking into our hotel – Hotel Park – Urban & Green – we rushed out and went for a stroll and a bit of a ramble around the local area, poking into every nook and cranny!
  • Eat Slovenian meat!
  • Check out Metelkova Mesto! Metelkova City is an abandoned army base and one of the largest, and most successful, urban squats in Europe!
  • Go on a Ljubljana city tour. We were lucky to have a private guide so that we could get inside knowledge from local experts on the things that interested us. However, regular Ljubljana city tours usually include a walk around the historical city centre, exploring major attractions, an opportunity to taste traditional Slovenian dishes as part of a brief tasting session, a return funicular ride to Ljubljana Castle, and a visit to the outer part of Ljubljana Castle!
  • Visit street and food markets! One particular evening, we were passing through the Central Market and saw one person pick up a fiddle, and start playing! And then a few people just sort of joined in and started dancing! We were the only tourists present so I didn’t take any photos, as it felt slightly intrusive!
At one of Ljubljana’s most iconic points – the Triple Bridge by Jože Plečnik!
©D.wedam – Ljubljana Tourism
  • Do a walking tour of Plečnik’s Ljubljana: Jože Plečnik was a native of Ljubljana and considered one of the world’s most important pioneers of modern architecture with buildings not only in Ljubljana, but Prague and Vienna too!
  • Make sure to visit the Triple Bridge: You’ll see why!
  • Go to the Town Hall: It’s one of Ljubljana’s most striking Baroque monuments and if you’re lucky, you might even see one of the guides dressed in Slovenian traditional costume!
  • Visit the Antique Flea Market: It’s held every Sunday on one of the bridges further down the street!
  • Take photographs of the splendid buildings in the Old Town!
The Tall Young Gentleman & his almond-covered ice-cream in Ljubljana – Slovenia!
  • Have ice-cream! There are many ice-cream parlours and the servings are huge! Yum!
  • Get free WiFi! You can have free wifi access anywhere in the city for up to 60 minutes a day! In fact, if you have the Ljubljana Tourist Card, you can have free access for 24 hours with the code on the card! Mind you, we found logging into the WiFree Ljubljana network directly on your phone far easier!
  • Explore the history and architecture of Ljubljana which you can see all over the city!
  • Join in the free open-air festivals! We went in June and saw the biggest festival of all!
  • If you’re broke, make your own independent walking tour, go to any of the two Tourist Information Centres (TICs), pick up maps, and as many booklets as you need, then take off!
“The Tall Young Gentleman” at the elegant 19th century University of Ljubljana – Slovenia!
  • Be impressed by the elegant 19th century University of Ljubljana!
  • Visit the very grand-looking national museums and galleries. And if you use the Ljubljana Card, many of them are free!
  • Marvel at the many palaces, not only in Ljubljana, but in the surrounding area too!
  • Hike up the 900 year old castle hill, and be amazed by Ljubljana’s main attraction!
  • Or take a ride up the funicular, and take in the city view
One of the costumed characters / castle guides at the Ljubljana Castle in Slovenia!
  • If you do nothing at all, make sure you go to the Ljubljana Castle. We spent half a day there and really had a fantastic time. It’s free with the Ljubljana Card!
  • One of our highlights at the castle was a costumed characters castle guided tour of the Ljubljana Castle. We went on the Behind Bars tour, and it was great fun! It’s not included in the Ljubljana Card, but we only had to pay €4.00 more!
  • If you’re at Ljubljana Castle and have a bit of time, I highly recommend the Museum of Puppetry. Even though I was travelling with a teenager, he found it interesting and fun. And so did I!
  • Have a gourmet lunch on the Archers’ Tower of the Ljubljana Castle wall! Whilst there, we noticed a fancy restaurant – the Strelec Restaurant – and decided to spend our last night spending the rest of our money! The food was fantastic and the service attentive. I’ll tell you more about it in a few weeks!
  • Fill up your bottle with fresh water! Unlike many countries in Eastern / Central Europe, you can actually drink water from the tap!
Hang out with the guides & locals in Ljubljana! Good times!
  • Relax and take a break at Ljubljana’s largest and most beautiful parkland at the Tivoli Park!
  • In fact, if you’re really into stuff, you can go on a guided tour of the Tivoli Park too ‘cos it’s huge!
  • Hang out with the locals! We had such a great time with our guides, that we went out for drinks and met other locals! Thanks Urban. Good times!
  • Have a seafood lunch! Ljubljana is surrounded by water and restaurants that give you a front-side view of the river.
  • If you’re worn out after all that excitement, call for a free ride using Ljubljana’s electric-powered vehicles referred to as Kavalirs, which are a free city centre public transport option! Cool or what!
Slovenian sausages & wine, as part of our “Taste Ljubljana culinary tour.”
  • Indulge yourself on a most delicious food tour with the Taste Ljubljana culinary tour. Because food. More on that in a few weeks. Yum!
  • For ultimate excitement, try horse burgers! Yes, horse!
  • Splurge on cocktails. Prices are cheap. Oh go on. You know you want to!
  • Help yourself to a couple of cold beers at the many Slovenian restaurants and bars
  • Try as many Slovenian dishes and delicacies as you can. Prices are low and won’t hurt the bank!

Book your hotel here!

Sail across the waters on a river cruise in Ljubljana – Slovenia!
Experience many of the numerous museums & galleries in Ljubljana – Slovenia!
  • Experience many of the numerous museums and galleries. If you use the Ljubljana Card, entrance is free!
  • Make sure you check out the Museum of Illusions that turned out to be one of our favourite museums and such a lot of fun! Go there, and you’ll see what I mean!
  • Go to the City Museum of Ljubljana and learn about the history of Ljubljana, which we enjoyed very much, but had to rush as we had spent too much time at Ljubljana Castle!
  • Check out the National Museum of Slovenia and learn about the oldest musical instrument in the world which I told you about last week!
  • If you’re looking for something different go on the Union Experience Brewery Museum and tour! We didn’t go, but I believe families are welcome!
Myself in the mountains of Kamnik on a day trip in Slovenia!

One of the amazing things about travelling to a country that is extremely small, is that you can do day-trips to other regions of the country, fairly easily!

  • You can be a craftsperson for the day, and learn how to be a herdsman or a shepherd in the Velika Planina. More about that next week!
  • You can hike up the Alps, mountains and waterfalls in Kamnik. More about that next week!
  • You can take a bus or train out to Lake Bled. More about that in a few weeks!
  • You can go to the beach or even go wine-tasting!
  • You can get off the beaten path and discover the unknown parts of Slovenia. Even with 7 days, we didn’t have time to do that, but if you’re determined, YOU certainly can!

And lastly,

  • You can do all the activities above and more, or do nothing at all, and simply enjoy the moment! Why not?

Book your hotel here!

TAKE ME THERE!

Travel through Europe by FlixBus – the bus-coach company!

The best way to travel to travel to Slovenia depends simply on where you’re coming from!

If you’re flying in, Ljubljana is connected by air with flights from most major European cities flying into the Ljubljana Jože Pučnik Airport (LJU), also known as the Brnik Airport!

If you’re coming from Italy, Austria, Hungary or Croatia, you can either take the train or drive.

I like excitement and making things more difficult for myself, so we decided to take the fourteen and a half hour (14.5) hour journey by FlixBus – the bus-coach company!

OMG!

BY BUS!

I must be mad!

Book your hotel here!

Myself at the coach-bus stop in Austria!

And I am because the coach-bus was delayed in some places, although we had a nice stop-over in Austria!

I’ve written about the FlixBus company already and even though the very long journey was quite enjoyable as it was sunny, it’s also quite exhausting!

I’ll continue to take bus journeys. But shorter.

Or trains!

She says!

51 things to do in Ljubljana. That’s right!

That’s it for now.

See you next week.

Book your hotel here!

51 THINGS TO DO IN LJUBLJANA. THAT’S RIGHT!

The padlocks of love on Butcher’s Bridge in Ljubljana – Slovenia!

This article is part – sponsored, and even though I’m working in partnership with Ljubljana Tourism, absolutely all opinions, and the tremendous time that we had, are my very own!

I’ll be spending the summer in Germany!

Will you?

A busker at the Triple Bridge – 51 things to do in Ljubljana. That’s right!

Watch this space!

Note! I never travel without insurance as you never know what might happen.

I learnt my lesson in Spain. And obviously, in countries like Qatar, where technically the risk is higher, I can’t imagine going that far beyond, WITHOUT INSURANCE. No siree! You can get yours here, at World Nomads!

Please note that there are now affiliate links (for the very first time) connected to this post. Please consider using the links, because every time some sort of accommodation or travel insurance is booked via my links I get a little percentage, but at no extra cost to yourself!

A win-win for all!

Thanks a million!

51 things to do in Ljubljana. That’s right!

Have you ever been to Ljubljana? Was there any activity that surprised you? Let me know in the comments below!

See you in Berlin.

If you have any questions send me a tweet, talk to me on Facebook, find me on Linkedin, make a comment below, look for me on Google+ or send me an Email: victoria@thebritishberliner.com

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24 hours in London: 24 things to do!

24 hours in London: 24 things to do!

So last week, I was at the BBC.

You know.

As you do!

And of course, I had to be in London in order to do the BBC Radio 4 recording.

The city of London hasn’t been having a good time of recent, what with two (2) terrorist attacks, a devastating fire in the Grenfell Tower building, and just a few nights ago, a fire outbreak in the market of Camden Lock!

What a disaster!

Thank goodness Londoners, like Mancunians, are the type of people to rally together, and keep each other close. They’re strong, and not easily over-whelmed.

Definitely no #reeling!

If you’re just joining, here’s what I’ve been up to in the past few weeks:

Victoria Ade-Genschow – The British Berliner for Bild am Sonntag
©Christian Spreitz

UK:

SWEDEN:

SLOVENIA:

Fantastic news! I’m travelling to Slovenia by bus. Now isn’t that just awesome. Eek!

GERMANY:

Book your hotel here! 

Arriving at Heathrow Airport – 24 hours in London: 24 things to do!

Now my time in London was awfully short – 24 hours to be exact!

I literally flew in from Berlin on the day, and after checking into my business hotel – The Wesley – promptly left to go to the museum!

Yes.

I’m that girl!

Tate Modern – 24 hours in London: 24 things to do!

I didn’t have a lot of time to do “stuff,” but if you plan well, you can really pretty much do a lot of things, and on a budget too. I’ve spoken about 6 easy ways to spend 48 hours in London, and how to save money before.

I know!

So here we go:

24 HOURS IN LONDON: 24 THINGS TO DO!

Is it safe to travel to Britain & the UK right now ‘cos I’m scared to travel abroad?

VISIT:

I love museums so whenever I’m in London, I try to go to as many as I can, in order to get a heads up on some art and culture.

Here are my favourites:

  1.  The Museum of London:
The Museum of London – 24 hours in London: 24 things to do!

The Museum of London is my absolute favourite London museum, and tells the story of London and its people, from archaeological interest, and is also the largest urban history collection in the world!

It’s located between the Barbican centre, the old Roman London Wall and St. Paul’s Cathedral! It looks pretty drab on the outside, but once you venture inside, you’ll be excited!

The Museum of London Docklands – 24 hours in London: 24 things to do!

A second site was opened in 2003, called the Museum of London Docklands. It’s housed in a Grade I listed warehouse at Canary Wharf, not far from the river Thames. I’m inclined to say that I liked it even more than the original site!

Cost: £0.00

I flew in & after checking into my business hotel – promptly left to go to the Charles Dickens Museum!

This museum was such a great new find that I had to go there, and was kindly sent a complimentary ticket.

Thanks so much!

The Charles Dickens Museum is a large Georgian terraced house, and the first family home of Charles Dickens! He wrote Oliver Twist, Pickwick Papers and Nicholas Nickleby right there, and achieved international fame as one of the world’s greatest storytellers!

I really had a great time there and was able to explore how he and his family lived, his books, furniture, and even some of his clothes. In fact, by all accounts Mr. Charles Dickens was a bit of a dandy!

At the Charles Dickens Museum – 24 hours in London: 24 things to do!

A delightful visit and well worth, the admission fee!

Cost: Adults – £9.00. Students – £7.00, Children from 6 – 16 – £4.00. Under 6 – Free of charge.

3.  The National Gallery:

The National Gallery – 24 hours in London: 24 things to do!

Founded in 1824 to display a collection of just 36 paintings, the National Gallery is home to more than 2,300 works of art, from medieval classics to world-famous pieces by French Impressionists.

The National Gallery is located at Trafalgar Square which can be quite packed with tourists and busy Londoners out and about for a drink, or a bit of lunch. So if it all gets too much, just pop into the nearest pub!

Cost: £0.00

4.  The Science Museum, London:

The Science Museum, London – 24 hours in London: 24 things to do!
©Plastiques Photography, courtesy of the Science Museum

When I lived in London, this was actually my favourite museum!

I remember getting scammed by a man who sold us magic jumping beans, and once we left Kensington & Chelsea, those beans never jumped again!

Anyhoo! The Science Museum features seven floors of educational and entertaining exhibits, including the Apollo 10 command module and a flight simulator, as well as medical history treasures, and developments in contemporary science, medicine and technology.

The Natural History Museum – 24 hours in London: 24 things to do!

But the best bit is the hands-on gallery where children can explore basic scientific principles, the oldest display of clocks and watches in the world, and the fact that the Science Museum is right next door to the Natural History Museum!

Cost: £0.00

Book your hotel here! 

SEE:

There are loads of things to see in London such as:

5.  Movies on the River!

Movies on the River – 24 hours in London: 24 things to do!
©Time Out

Yep!

London has the first ever open-air cinema!

This amazing and unique addition to London’s buzzing outdoor cinema scene is a summer-long collaboration of London’s Time Out Magazine. However, this being England, make sure that you have a brolly handy!

Cost: £29.00. Over 18’s only!

6.  Sutton House:

Morris Dancers at Sutton House in Hackney, London!
©Kbthompson

Sutton House is a beautiful Tudor red-brick manor house which surprisingly, can be found in the middle of Hackney!

It’s the oldest house in East London and is owned by the National Trust.

It was built in 1535 and is now beautifully restored with authentic original decor, London’s oldest loo, and a mural under the roof, painted by a group of squatters in the 80’s!

Cost: Adults – £5.40. Children – £2.70. Family – £13.60

7.  The Old Vic:

Old Vic 12
©2017 The Old Vic

The Old Vic is an 1818 venue named after Queen Victoria.

The Old Vic is the crucible of many of the performing arts companies and theatres in London today and formed the core of the National Theatre under Laurence Olivier, becoming a highly successful touring company.

It received considerable media attention when Kevin Spacey was appointed artistic director in 2003!

The Old Vic – Girl from the North Country
©2017 The Old Vic

The Old Vic is one of London’s oldest theatres and is located near Waterloo Station.

Cost: £10.00 for the first five (5) previews of every production, except otherwise stated. Thereafter, £15.00+

8.  SPORT:

On the cricket field at one of my best friend’s wedding on the Isle of Wight.
In the UK!

If you don’t have the stamina to plod through the city and queue with the masses, not to worry. Get yourself a basket, pack a picnic hamper, grab a blanket and a deckchair, plop in some champagne, and head to an outdoor open-air screening of whatever you fancy.

Next stop Wimbledon!

All you need is, some strawberries, a picnic hamper & a bottle of Pimms!
©British Tourist Authority

Don’t forget the Pimm’s!

Book your hotel here! 

EAT:

A lovely batch of fish n’ chips!

It’s true that London is known as one of the world’s most expensive cities, but amazingly, you can still eat well, and save quite a lot of money at the same time, by being diligent, keeping your eyes and ears open, and thereby saving yourself a pretty penny!

But how?

9.  LOOK FOR SPECIAL OFFERS:

Look for specials offers in the Evening Standard Newspaper!

A few years ago, I was in London and found that for the month of January and February, twenty-two (22) fine dining / top London restaurants, offered specially priced menus from only £15.00, including an alcoholic drink!

Lunch at Rotunda – A riverside restaurant in London.
Potted salmon & pickled cucumber

That food event was sponsored by the London Evening Standard newspaper, which believes that everyone can afford to eat at the best places, for only a fraction of the cost.

Lunch at Rotunda – A riverside restaurant in London.
Roast free-range chicken, cream potato, white onion sauce & onion petals!

Sponsored by the London Evening Standard Newspaper once again, June saw the launch of London Food Month, for the very first time featuring over 400 events and midnight feasts across the city of London!

I managed to fit a two-course meal plus a drink, at a London restaurant, on the riverside, for just ten (10) quid!

That’s right.

Lunch at Rotunda – A riverside restaurant in London.
A refreshing rosemary lemonade drink!

Cost: £10.00

10.   GET YOURSELF A SANDWICH:

A sandwich anyone?

In Britain, pretty much every shop, supermarket and pub, will sell you a large variety of wonderful sandwiches, spanning from an egg and cheese buttie to a BLT sandwich.

I usually get myself a lovely prawn and cocktail sandwich, which simply, never fails!

Cost: £1.80+

11.  EAT HUMBLE PIE:

A steak and kidney pub meal pie!

I never go to Britain, without having at least one helping of pie.

This trip wasn’t about being a tourist but luckily for me, there was a pub opposite my hotel – The Wesley – so I had a steak and kidney pie meal there!

Cost: £6.00

12.  UNICORN FOOD:

Freakshakes – An instagram monster of a drink & a dessert, all thrown together, and piled up with goodies!

It hasn’t yet reached Berlin, but the craze in London right now are freakshakes!

A freakshake is a milkshake topped with cream, cake, sauce, and sprinkled over with bubblegum, marshmallow, and a handful of sweets!

Cost: £8.00

Book your hotel here! 

DRINK:

Drink up!
©The Churchill Arms

Need I say more, but if you insist. A few words!

13.  Go to the pub and get yourself a pint of ale, bitter, lager, stout, or cider!

Get yourself a pint at a traditional pub in Kensington & Chelsea – London!
©The Churchill Arms

Trend at the moment – The Churchill Arms in Kensington:

The Churchill Arms was built way back in 1750, making it one of the oldest pubs in London!

14.  The London Cocktail Club:

There’s always time for cocktails – 24 hours in London: 24 things to do!

Opt for up-market cocktails at the London Cocktail Club.

Club membership is free and there’s a choice of eight (8) bars all over London! Over 18’s only.

What more do you want?

Cost: £9.00 – £12.00

15.  GIN & TONIC:

Gin & Tonic has been around for a very long time & we’ve never looked back since then!

A gin & tonic is a highball cocktail made with gin and tonic water poured over ice. It’s usually garnished with a slice or wedge of lime or cucumber, and commonly referred to as a G and T.

G & T has been around as far back as the 16th century, and we’ve never looked back since then!

A favourite of The Queen Mother.

Cost: £5.00

16.  AFTERNOON TEA:

Tea isn’t just a drink. It’s a way of life – 24 hours in London: 24 things to do!

Tea isn’t just a drink.

It’s a way of life.

The world is a better place with a cup of tea & delicate savouries – 24 hours in London: 24 things to do!

The world is a better place when you order your cup of tea accompanied by delicate savouries, such as thinly sliced cucumber sandwiches, scones with jam and clotted cream, crumpets, sponge cakes, and a glass of refreshing champagne!

The most outstanding servings are to be found at historical hotels such as Afternoon Tea at The Ritz and Claridge’s. But of course, a more budget-conscious way is to go to a typical cream and tea shop such as Bea’s of Bloomsbury and the Urban Tea Rooms.

Cost: £3.50 – £50.00

Book your hotel here! 

PLAY:

24 hours in London: 24 things to do!

London is a 24 hour city, and if you know where to look, there’s always something to do. Read on!

17.  URBAN BEACH PARTIES:

Brixton Beach party – 24 hours in London: 24 things to do!
Ⓒ Brixton Beach 2017

London isn’t Miami and you’ll be lucky if you get even the slightest tan, but when the sun does come out, you’ll need to use your elbows in order to jostle Londoners out of the way!

Beaches can be found all over London. Most are free like the Urban London Beach and The Beach at Brent Cross (free with the App), but some like Neverland London or Brixton Beach, have an admission charge.

18.  FESTIVALS IN THE CITY:

Music festivals are key to having a good time! 24 hours in London: 24 things to do!

South West Four (SW4), is a popular UK music festival that takes place on Clapham Common! Over 18’s only!

An alternative music festival would be OnBlackheath.

OnBlackheath is a music, arts and food festival for the discerning music and food lover, with bizarre yet wonderful fringe entertainment, and a safe and nourishing children’s area! It’s held in Blackheath! Families are welcome.

19.  CLUBBING:

There are loads of London clubs to try out and discover. I mean. Whatever. Right!

There are loads of clubs to try out and discover. Get yourself Time Out London, to find out what’s going on in town. Failing that, why not try a former residential block turned into a two-floor club and bar in the heart of trendy Dalston. The name? Birthdays!

Over 18’s only.

Cost: £5.00 – £10.00

20.  CONCERTS & GIGS:

Life is a party. If you’ve only got 24 hours, then dance on!

London is a trendy, hip, city. There’s just loads of live music, concerts and gigs to discover, and if you’ve only got 24 hours, then you’d best check right here!

Book your hotel here! 

SLEEP:

I was exhausted and really, really tired. So I nipped off for a nap!

I know that London is expensive, but my expert recommendation is to actually stay in the centre of the city.

Yes, the centre!

There’s a logic to my madness ‘cos transport around London is iffy and unreliable. You’re better off staying in Central London, where you can either take the bus, or walk!

My business hotel – The Wesley  was booked for me by the BBC, and even though it’s not my usual choice of an art-design or boutique hotel, it was a mere two (2) minute walk to Euston train station.

My hotel at Euston was very practical, and close to all forms of London public transport!

It’s very practical as the mainline train, the underground train stations, and bus stops, were right next to each other.

In fact, during my free time, I used the opportunity to walk right down to Covent Garden!

My hotel was that close!

And then I went to Covent Garden!

Book your London hotel here!

21.  SPLURGE AT DUKE’S LONDON HOTEL:

Splurge at DUKE’S London Hotel!

I’ve been wanting to come here but on this visit, I didn’t have the adequate amount of time to really indulge, but if YOU do, take a stroll down, have some refreshment, or stay for the night!

DUKES LONDON  is a majestic, historical, sophisticated, luxury hotel nestled in the heart of historic Mayfair, and only a 5 minute walk from Buckingham Palace!

Cost: £450.00+

22.  LUXURY AT THE GORING HOTEL:

Choose luxury at The Goring – © The Goring 2016

The Goring Hotel was opened in 1910 and is the only remaining hotel in London that is still owned and run by the family that built it!

The Queen Mother was a regular at The Goring Hotel, and Kate Middleton was based at the hotel during her wedding to Prince William.

Cost: £285.00+

23.  AFFORDABLE LUXURY AT THE HOXTON:

Trendy, affordable luxury at The Hoxton, Shoreditch hotel!

The Hoxton is the first trendy hipster destination hotel to open in East London!

This being London, the rooms are small but cleverly designed, with Wi-Fi, an hour of phone calls, fresh milk, tea, coffee, water AND a light breakfast bag provided, for free!

There are now two branches in London – Hoxton, Shoreditch and Hoxton, Holborn.

I’ll take it!

Cost: £139.00

24.  BED & BREAKFAST AT PARKWOOD:

Bed & Breakfast at the cute Parkwood / Parkwood at Marble Arch Hotel, London!

If you’re looking for a warm family atmosphere, opt for a B&B instead of a hotel.

I went to the Parkwood Hotel, now Parkwood at Marble Arch, back in 2010, when it was the UK Award Winner Bed and Breakfast for 2009 – 2010!

The Parkwood is a beautiful 200-year-old Regency townhouse. It’s just across the road from Hyde Park at Speaker’s Corner, and mere minutes from Marble Arch, Oxford Street & Harrods – ready for some serious shopping! Most of the West End theatres are also within walking distance and Buckingham Palace, Kensington Palace, etc, are just across the park!

Cost: £120.00

That’s it for now.

See you next week!

Book your hotel here!

24 HOURS IN LONDON: 24 THINGS TO DO!

24 hours in London: 24 things to do!

This article is not sponsored and all opinions and the swift time that I had in London, are my very own!

Next week, I’ll be writing about the great time I had in Slovenia, and spending the summer in France and Germany!

On August 23rd, I’ll be at Gamescom!

I’ll be there. Will you?

24 hours in London: 24 things to do!

Watch this space!

SPECIAL OFFER!

For two days only (17.07.17 and 18.07.7) Blue Host are offering their webhost programme at a rate of just of $2.65/mo for 36 months on their Basic Plan.

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Note! I never travel without insurance as you never know what might happen.

I learnt my lesson in Spain. And obviously, in countries like Qatar, where technically the risk is higher, I can’t imagine going that far beyond, WITHOUT INSURANCE. No siree! You can get yours here, at World Nomads!

Please note that there are now affiliate links (for the very first time) connected to this post. Please consider using the links, because every time some sort of accommodation or travel insurance is booked via my links I get a little percentage, but at no extra cost to yourself!

A win-win for all!

Thanks a million!

24 hours in London: 24 things to do!

What would you choose to do in 24 hours – Visit. See. Eat. Play or Sleep? How many things have you done? Let me know in the comments below!

See you in Berlin.

If you have any questions send me a tweet, talk to me on Facebook, find me on Linkedin, make a comment below, look for me on Google+ or send me an Email: victoria@thebritishberliner.com

21 reasons why Dubrovnik is one of the top European cities to visit. If you haven’t been. Go now!

How to visit the Balkans: Introducing Croatia – the dream of Game of Thrones!

It’s proper Springtime!

A few weeks ago, I told you about how we had such a lovely time in Croatia, and all the unique things that we did!

However, we did more than just go to Croatia.

Yep!

We also went to..

Wait for it.

Dubrovnik!

And what a magnificent city. I really can’t hold it in any longer so this week, I’m going to tell you why Dubrovnik is one of the top European cities to visit, and that if you haven’t been, you ought to go now!

21 REASONS WHY DUBROVNIK IS ONE OF THE TOP EUROPEAN CITIES TO VISIT. IF YOU HAVEN’T BEEN. GO NOW!

21 reasons why Dubrovnik is one of the top European citities to visit. If you haven’t been. Go now!
21 reasons why Dubrovnik is one of the top European cities to visit. If you haven’t been. Go now!

If you’re just joining, this is what you missed:

Croatia is the first time that I’ve ever been to the Balkan States, my 62nd country, and the first (1st) new country for 2017!

It was better than I ever hoped.

Whoopa!

LET’S GET A LITTLE HISTORY!

How to visit the Balkans: Introducing Croatia – the dream of Game of Thrones!
How to visit the Balkans: Introducing Croatia – the dream of Game of Thrones!

Dubrovnik , otherwise known as Ragusa, is a Croatian city on the Adriatic Sea, in Dalmatia!

The name Dubrovnik is first recorded in the Charter of Ban Kulin in 1189 and was mostly explained as a Slavic name, meaning an oak grove or oak forest. However, both names Dubrovnik and Ragusa co-existed for several centuries.

Ragusa, recorded – since the 10th century – considered to stem from the Greek word Lausa – remained the official name of the Republic of Dubrovnik until 1808, while Dubrovnik – first recorded in the late 12th century – was in widespread use by the 16th or early 17th century!

The prosperity of the city was historically based on maritime trade, and during the 15th and 16th centuries, became famous not only for it’s wealth, but also for it’s skilled international diplomacy!

Dubrovnik is one of the most prominent tourist destinations in the Mediterranean Sea, a seaport, and the centre of Dubrovnik-Neretva County. It’s population is about 42,461, and is one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites!

WHY GO TO DUBROVNIK?

21 reasons why Dubrovnik is one of the top European cities to visit. If you haven’t been. Go now!

Courtesy of the Dubrovnik Tourist Board who issued me with a press pass, and very kindly invited us to a Croatian traditional lunch, and organised a private customised walking tour, we were in fact, able to do quite a lot.

Thanks so much!

What now?

I thought you would never ask…

Welcome to the Old City in Dubrovnik, otherwise known as Grad!

1.  The Dubrovnik Old City & City Wall: Dubrovnik is a museum city crammed with hidden treasures. If you don’t do anything at all, make sure you climb the City Wall! Top tip! You can use the ticket of the City Wall to get into the Lovrijenac Fort – for free – and there is no need to buy another ticket!

2.  It’s a waterfront port city: You know how much I enjoy water destinations. Dubrovnik ticked each, and every box!

3.  History: Dubrovnik is an old city alive full of history and stories, and Dubrovnik like the city of Split, is a flagship heritage attraction, utterly protected by UNESCO, since 1979!

A large part of Kings’ Landing and the Red Keep was filmed in Lovrijenac – the fortress outside the City Wall in Dubrovnik – and just a few minutes away!

4.  Walking Tours: The Dubrovnik Tourist Board very kindly organised a private customised walking tour which was peppered with the history of the old Republic of Dubrovnik, tips about famous Croatians, and the secrets of where Game of Thrones was filmed. A large part of King’s Landing and the Red Keep was filmed in Lovrijenac – the fortress outside Dubrovnik’s City Wall and just a few minutes away! In fact, I’m watching the bestselling cult series again right now, and I’m ecstatic. I must have seen the complete 1 – 6 series American Amazon here, British Amazon here, German Amazon here, at least four (4) times, and I’m watching it all over again!

5.  The port of Dubrovnik is romantic: You can enjoy a very pleasant walk along the river-side or towards the castle and fortress. Or you can simply have a meal or a glass of something bubbly, while basking in the early evening sun!

Take me to the island of Lokrum in Croatia, which is a mere 15 minutes away and a special UNESCO forest vegetation reserve!

6.  You can visit an island: You can take a daytrip to the Elaphiti Islands or to the island of Lokrum, a mere 15 minutes away and a special UNESCO forest vegetation reserve! We really tried hard to get there, but either it was raining and no boats were going out, or we spent a hell of a lot of time on the City Wall!

7.  You can stroll through the very small Old City with nothing to fear but the selfie stick of other tourists!

Me in Dubrovnik – Croatia!

8.  It’s a city of history through the ages: You only have to walk through the City Gates and history is right before your very eyes. Turn here, and you’ll see ancient sailing vessels, turn there, and you’ll hear the whisper of centuries of wealth, power and fame!

9.  Dubrovnik is known as a city on the palm of the hand: The city is so named due to it’s history, it’s beauty, and it’s openness to the world!

In a living city, there are strings of washing strewn across the window or terrace. In some places, with the horror of a pair of damp dangling knickers fluttering, in front of one’s face!

10.  Dubrovnik is an authentic living city: I always felt as if I was in somebody’s backyard, as on practically every corner and side-street, there were stairways and steps, and strings of washing seen strewn across the window or terrace. In some places, with the horror of a pair of damp dangling knickers fluttering, in front of one’s face!

11.  Dubrovnik is international: We saw plenty of American, Korean, Italian and Croatian tourists, dominated by Brits and the Irish! A quick look around and a bit of a natter with other tourists would reveal a bevy of young wealthy Indians. Many of whom actually lived in Germany!

21 reasons why Dubrovnik is one of the top European cities to visit. If you haven’t been. Go now!

12.  Dubrovnik is small: I don’t know how they do it, but Dubrovnik is tinier than Split! And with a population of just 42,461 inhabitants, is perfectly walkable. In fact, no vehicles are allowed into the Old City except for those trolley-like carts!

13.  The nightlife: Dubrovnik has a great nightlife. In pretty much every corner, there’s a bar or a few tables, and in the summer, live music. As this was a family holiday, the party would have to wait however, almost every evening we found a nice little place where we could enjoy a glass of wine or champagne, while the sun set!

We found a natural cave complete with stalagmites and stalactites. It’s known by the locals, but not so much by travellers. It’s the Cave Bar More in Dubrovnik – Croatia!

14.  Secret bars: We found two bars that were not well-known, but were absolute fantastic. We stumbled upon both of them! One was whilst we decided to go cliff walking around Dubrovnik instead. We found a restaurant, but deeper inside it was a natural cave complete with stalagmites and stalactites! It’s known by the locals, but not so much by travellers. It’s called the Cave Bar More where you could have wine and cocktails. Which we did!

The other place we saw whilst we were on the Castle Walls itself. It’s difficult to find as it’s part of the cliff and sort of tucked behind a side street, that leads to the City Wall. There’s no signage, but if you’re determined, you’ll find it! On talking to one of the waiters, he told me that their customers tend to be locals or those “in the know.” It can get a little chilly, and there are no barriers or fencing, so you’ll need to keep a hold of young kids, but it was awesome.

A marvellous place to have a beer and watch the sun go down in front of the Lokrum island. It’s called Zto Bard. Go find it!

Night life in Dubrovnik – Croatia!

15.  Museums & Galleries: I love places that teach you something and give you an impression of the lives of those living there, and Dubrovnik had them in spades. We were only able to make it to the Maritime Museum, which really gave me some insight into the maritime history of Dubrovnik and how important the sea is, but I so desperately wanted to visit the Ethnographic Museum. We managed a quick peek into the Franciscan Monastery which I recognised from Game of Thrones, and a peek into the Cathedral, but we weren’t able to do it properly, and simply had no time at all, for the Dominican Monastery!

The cable car is a unique way to see the height and sights of the city of Dubrovnik!

16.  Dubrovnik Cable Car: What a unique way to see the height and sights of the city of Dubrovnik! In fact, once you’ve taken the cable car, and you’re at the top of the Srđ Hill, there’s a viewing platform where you can see enchanting views of the Old City, the Lapad Bay, and the other nearby islands!

17.  It’s off the beaten path: Croatia, not to talk of Dubrovnik, is still relatively unknown! Perhaps, it was the fact that we had arrived in the low season, but in Zagreb we saw very few tourists except for Americans and local Croatians. In Split, mainly German and Italian.

Most of the Asian and British tourists seemed to be in Dubrovnik!

There was some sort of voluntary cat home under the steps of the Dubrovnik City Wall!

18.  Cats: We saw cats everywhere. They weren’t as feral or as wild as the cats that we saw in Portugal – but quite cute. In fact, there was some sort of voluntary cat home under the steps of the City Wall! You can make a donation or leave tins of cat food, and even play with the cats. If the cats let you!

19.  A budget destination: In comparison to Italy and Austria nearby, prices are lower and the quality just as good!

OMG! The seafood in Croatia is so impressive!

20.  Croatian food: OMG! The seafood was impressive. More about that next week!

21.  Because Game of Thrones!

TAKE ME THERE?

Take me to Dubrovnik right away!

As you all pretty much know by now, I’m a great believer in train travel. However, Croatia is quite far from Germany, so we flew!

Note: There aren’t a lot of inter-city trains. In fact, there’s no train station in Dubrovnik at all!

There actually aren’t a lot of trains in Croatia at all!

If you’re on a tight budget then many bus-coach companies such as MeinFernbus / FlixBus also go to Croatia. But do be aware that the fastest routes are usually only sold in Croatia itself.

We decided to use the coach-bus between Split-Dubrovnik.

Split – Dubrovnik proved problematic, as the coach-bus actually went backwards in the direction of Zagreb, then dropped us in the backwater town of Benkovac, at the Benkovac Busbahnhof!

I didn’t like Benkovac in Croatia, at all!

Benkovac was yucky!

As soon as I saw the “bus station,” I wanted to get the hell out of there!

It was practically deserted and every “room” was boarded up.

We had a 1 hour stop-over at 10:30, and the next decent place was a bar. So we ran to it and ordered a few (non-alcoholic) drinks there!

It’s 10:30 in the morning remember.

An early morning shot of vodka in many East European countries, is believed to be quite healthy!

Not that it stopped any of the local punters. Ho! Ho!….!

Our journey took 8 hours and 30 minutes, but the bus was 45 minutes late, so make that 9 hours and 15 minutes instead!

We probably should have rented a car, and be done with it!

Cost: Split – Benkovac €12.00. Benkovac – Metkovic €7.35. Benkovac – Dubrovnik €5.65 per person.

IS IT GOING TO BE CROWDED?

Dubrovnik has the potential to be most popular!

Not in April.

But it has the potential to be, as Dubrovnik is most popular!

In fact, most of the tourists were on the City Wall, and many tourist attractions  were still very much empty as it wasn’t yet “the season.” Many a restaurant were looking for punters and luring customers in with 10% discounts, or more!

But in the summer, prepare to gird your loins, and fight your way through!

Plan well.

Book your hotel here!

WHAT IS DUBROVNIK LIKE?

21 reasons why Dubrovnik is one of the top European cities to visit. If you haven’t been. Go now!

Marvellous!

We were only there for 4 days, but we could have stayed for a week, as we had so many things to see, and the weather put a hamper on some of the activities that we wanted to do.

It’s rich in history, is of architectural interest and has a wonderful harbour. There are castles and fortresses galore, the seafood and wine is not to be missed, and the islands nearby are attractive.

If it’s good enough to reflect the main filming location in Game of Thrones as King’s Landing, the capital city of the Seven Kingdoms, it’s good enough for you!

I DON’T SPEAK CROATIAN!

I’m guessing that the parrots don’t speak much Croatian either, although I couldn’t quite understand what they were doing there!

No worries!

It’s amazing how many languages a typical European speaks.

Most speak a minimum of three (3)!

If you speak English, German, Italian or Korean, you’re good to go.

Besides, everyone pretty much speaks English too!

AM I GOING TO LIVE IN A HUT?

You really can’t live on the Dubrovnik City Wall. Even if you want to!

Not at all.

Not unless you want to!

I’M ON A BUDGET. WHAT SHOULD I DO?

This glass of beer was quaffed on our Dubrovnik apartment terrace, and was a gift from our Croatian landlord!

We’ve all been there.

Dubrovnik isn’t cheap-cheap, but if you’re from the UK or the US, it’s as cheap as chips.

If you’re from Germany, prices are the same as in Berlin, and you can eat at gourmet restaurants, at budget prices!

And the seafood is delightful!

We pretty much spent a large amount of time drinking lots of wine, whilst people watching. And a few more!

And on this trip, we decided to book apartments instead of hotels or hostels.

Book your apartment here!

This was our sunny terrace at our Dubrovnik apartment. We were very comfortable!

We had great difficulty with personal space in Madrid last year, as The Tall Young Gentleman has recently turned 15 (OMG!), and is very tall. We decided to either book two (2) hotel rooms, or a large apartment instead.

Prices are low, and the quality and standard of apartments available, is exceedingly high.

Book ahead to get good prices.

Book your apartment or hotel here!

I’M LOOKING FOR SOMETHING A BIT DIFFERENT. ANY IDEAS?

I have plenty of ideas. Just ask me!

Always.

Go ahead and ask me!

WHAT ABOUT TRANSPORT POSSIBILITIES?

Lots of people, walk or take the bus. But you can just as well canoe your way around!

All of Croatia is pretty small, so every city we visited was quite walkable.

Cars are not allowed into the Old City! For the day-to-day, the locals used some sort of cart!

Dubrovnik is pretty small so everywhere is walkable. You can travel around the city by bicycle, boat, cable car, the local bus, or simply walk.

We were lucky to get a private customised city tour courtesy of the Dubrovnik Tourist Board who paired us with the expertise of the PR Department Coordinator!

ANYTHING ELSE?

You need proper shoes in order to navigate Croatia!
You need proper shoes in order to navigate Croatia!

Ditch the heels and expensive leather brogues, and take comfortable walking shoes.

There be steep and cobbled stones!

Oh, and get the Dubrovnik Card. It includes the cost of the City Walls, which more than makes up for itself!

MY VERDICT:

Dubrovnik is a dream!

Dubrovnik is an undisputed dream.

It’s medieval.

It’s appealing.

It’s got history, art and culture, and looks utterly charming.

If you’re looking for one of the top European cities to visit in 2017, that is safe, lively, and ready to be discovered. It’s right there!

WOULD I COME AGAIN?

Because the White Walkers from Game of Thrones, scare me!

Utterly!

Because, Game of Thrones!

Go visit Dubrovnik. Now!

Where we stayed: Green Park Apartments – Just €60.00 per night for the whole apartment. Marvellous!

Book your hotel here!

21 REASONS WHY DUBROVNIK IS ONE OF THE TOP EUROPEAN CITIES TO VISIT. IF YOU HAVEN’T BEEN. GO NOW!

21 reasons why Dubrovnik is one of the top European cities to visit. If you haven’t been. Go now!

This article is not sponsored and even though I received a press pass, and a complimentary city tour courtesy of the Split – Dalmatia County Tourist Board, all opinions and the delightful Castle Wall that we sprawled over, are my very own!

In May & June, I’ll be visiting Sweden and Slovenia!

From May 17th – May 20th, I’ll be at the Berlin Music Video Awards.

From June 8th – June 9th, I’ll be at the Berlin Fashion Film Festival.

From July 4th – July 7th, I’ll be at Berlin Fashion Week. It’s going to be so much fun!

I’ll be there. Will you?

If you’re not in Berlin in May, you’re quite mad!

Save the Date!

May & June are going to be pleasing!

Croatian food is most delicious!

Watch this space!

Note! I never travel without insurance as you never know what might happen.

I learnt my lesson in Spain. And obviously, in countries like Qatar, where technically the risk is higher, I can’t imagine going that far beyond, WITHOUT INSURANCE. No siree! You can get yours here, at World Nomads!

Please note that there are now affiliate links (for the very first time) connected to this post. Please consider using the links, because every time some sort of accommodation or travel insurance is booked via my links I get a little percentage, but at no extra cost to yourself!

A win-win for all!

Thanks a million!

21 reasons why Dubrovnik is one of the top European cities to visit. If you haven’t been. Go now!

Have you ever been to Dubrovnic? Any ideas why parrots are in the Old City? Let me know in the comments below!

See you in Berlin.

If you have any questions send me a tweet, talk to me on Facebook, find me on Linkedin, make a comment below, look for me on Google+ or send me an Email: victoria@thebritishberliner.com

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