You've looked into a trip to Albania and you've decided doing a road trip is the best way - a great idea! A road trip in Albania is a great way to see the country and is one of the easiest ways of getting around given that public transport isn't all that reliable all the time.However, what is driving in Albania like? What do you need to know? Is there anything important to know about renting a car in Albania?We had all these questions and more when planning our trip to Albania and the internet didn't necessarily answer all our questions (and, in some cases, answered them but the answers were from 2015 or 2016). So after two weeks of road tripping the Balkans, with one week of driving in Albania, here are our top tips and main things you must know before driving in this beautiful country.
So, you're thinking of visiting Belarus. Some people may be confused as to why you wish to visit this country in eastern Europe that most wouldn't think of as a destination and other people might not even know where it is... but you are thinking of visiting! (If you're thinking of visiting because I've shown you ten million pictures and shown you how awesome it is, HURRAH! If not, I'm glad you're thinking of visiting this beautiful country.)Belarus is considered 'Europe's last dictatorship', thanks to their president who has been in power since 1994. Their president has literally been in charge of the country longer than I have been alive. That took a while for me to process but hey, this is how things are. Plus I will speak later on about politics in the country and the attitude towards 'living in a dictatorship' since that's one very interesting aspect of visiting. However, there are a few things you definitely need to know before you visit Belarus!Over the past few years, Belarus has really been opening up to tourism. Starting on the 12th February 2017, they introduced a 5-day visa-free regime for visitors coming from 80 countries that allowed up to 5 days in Belarus without needing to apply for a visa in advance. In December of the same year, they increased the period to 10 days and then in July 2018 they upped it again to 30 days. The country is still 'getting used' to tourism (particularly from non-Russian speaking or non-former-USSR states) so it's not like heading to France or Spain but it's leaps and bounds more accessible than it ever used to be.Read on to find out everything you need to know before you visiting Belarus, from the visa-free regime, visas, registration in the country, language to use, currency, SIM cards, where to stay, how to get around and even things that might get you in trouble...
One of my new favourite cities is, without doubt, Minsk. I wasn't sure what I would think of the city when I planned my trip to Belarus but I ended up falling hard for this completely underrated city! Located between Russia to the east, Ukraine to the south, Lithuania to the north and Poland to the west, Belarus is an oft-overlooked country in terms of tourism.Until the introduction of the visa-free regime in 2016, Belarus was quite a difficult country to visit as pretty much all countries in Europe (excluding Russia and a few other countries, such as Ukraine and Moldova) required a visa to visit the country or transit through. Since 2016, they have introduced a visa-free regime for passport holders from around 80 countries, including all 39 European countries. In 2018, the visa-free period was extended to 30 days, meaning that you can really explore a lot of Belarus now without needing to apply and pay for a visa.Between 2016 and 2018 there was a 40% increase of inbound tourists to Belarus, presumably thanks to the relaxed visa conditions. However, even with Belarus' relaxing of visa requirements and their hosting of the European Games in 2019, the country still doesn't seem to be on many people's radars.Here is a selection of my photos that will inspire you to visit Minsk!
Minsk is a great city to spend a few days and has an excellent system of public transport for getting around. Compared to many European capitals, Minsk is not that expensive and is also not packed with tourists so I definitely recommend a visit to this interesting city.The city has a population of just under two million and is the largest city in Belarus. It is home to the country's main airport (Minsk National Airport) as well as the national war museum and national art museum and lots, lots more.Getting around Minsk is not difficult once you have figured out the different forms of transport (although I still haven't quite solved marshrutkas... they're confusing) but it can be a little overwhelming at first for a tourist! Most things are also in Cyrillic only (yay for the metro being in English as well) so I hope you find this guide to public transport in Minsk handy during your stay in Belarus.Find a guide to taxis and Minsk's Uber at the end of this article!
Since Eastern European and Baltic cuisine seems fairly heavily centred on meat and potatoes, it's understandable to think that finding vegan food in Lithuania would be a major challenge. However, Vilnius is possibly the best city in the Baltics for a variety of vegan cafes and restaurants and is very vegan and vegetarian-friendly.While some countries struggle to understand the concept of vegan (or, in my case, 'no lactose' or 'no dairy'), Lithuania is easily ahead of the crowd with their understanding of dietary requirements. You can even find vegan versions of traditional Lithuanian foods so no need to miss out on that classic Baltic cuisine!Vilnius is easily my favourite Baltic city (and possibly my favourite city in general, although I am slightly biased since my family is originally from Lithuania) and I love the food scene there. They adore their coffee, the beer options are extensive and they are certainly on the instagrammable cafe trend! I have included all my favourite vegan and vegan-friendly cafes and restaurants below, as well as the few I haven't yet been to (watch this space! I'm back next month so maybe there will be even more recommendations...). Enjoy the delicious food of Lithuania and fall in love with vegan Vilnius!
Where should you travel to in 2019? From emerging travel destinations to trending hotspots, here are the best places to travel in 2019! There are so many amazing places that deserve to be on this list so it was tough to cut it down to only this many.From Berlin, celebrating 30 years since the fall of the Berlin wall, to Kaikoura in New Zealand, which is now fully accessible again by road and rail after the destructive 2016 earthquake. Both Matera in Italy and Plovdiv in Bulgaria were named European Capital of Culture for 2019, so expect both destinations to be trending this coming year!Here are the top destinations you should explore in 2019:
Once Christmas is upon us most markets have closed already or are winding down to end before the new year. But - if you haven't had your fill yet (or don't have the opportunity to visit them until the new year) - some Christmas markets continue into January for your New Years visiting pleasure!If you're looking to adventure to some Christmas markets in January, then I have rounded up all of the festive fun still on offer into 2020.In this complete guide to Christmas markets open after Christmas (which seems like a strange idea but should definitely be more of a thing), you can find all your markets for enjoying festive cheer after the big day.
Now, we all know that Europe is pretty much a castle-lovers dream. From stunning German palaces to imposing Polish castles, there is bound to be a castle to transport you to your own personal fairytale. But how about staying in a castle? If that's something on your bucket list then keep reading - because that's exactly what we did on our weekend in Walbrzych!