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A city break is an ideal way to learn something of a different culture in a few days. A city break gives you a chance to absorb a new experience. The Balkan region has a diverse mix of geography, history and culture.
City breaks in the Balkans offer something for everyone no matter what your age, taste, or whether you are part of a group or travelling alone.
Here are 10 cities that reflect the character of the Balkans.
1. Belgrade – Serbia
Belgrade is known for being a vibrant and trendy city and has a reputation for offering a vibrant nightlife the best features of which are the barges spread along the banks of the Sava and Danube Rivers.
Belgrade boasts two opera houses, a number of museums, including the National Museum, and the Museum of Contemporary Art. There is also some stunning architecture
A former river island, Ada Ciganlija, on the Sava river, is Belgrade’s biggest sports and recreational complex. It is the most popular destination for Belgraders and visitors alike during the city’s hot summers.
2. Bucharest – Romania
Bucharest is known for its wide, tree-lined boulevards, glorious Belle Epoque buildings and a reputation for the high life, which at one time, earned it the nickname of “Little Paris”.
Bucharest has much historical charm – from the streets of the Old City Centre, which are slowly being restored, to the grand architecture of the Royal Palace and the lush green of Cismigiu Park. The city also claims a large number of museums, art galleries, exquisite Orthodox churches and unique architectural sites.
3. Dubrovnik – Croatia
Dubrovnik is one of the world’s finest and best preserved fortified cities and features two kilometres of walls, some 6 metres thick in places lined with turrets and towers, that run around the city. George Bernard Shaw said in 1929: “If you want to see heaven on earth, come to Dubrovnik”.
4. Ljubljana – Slovenia
Ljubljana is a charming city, the numerous parks and a vibrant cultural scene. There are numerous art galleries and museums and a mediaeval castle located at the summit of the hill that dominates the city centre.
Ljubljana Zoo covers has 152 animal species. An antique flea market takes place every Sunday in the old city. Tivoli Park is the largest park in in the city, has 3 main avenues, planted with chestnut-trees.
5. Sarajevo – Bosnia
Sarajevo is surrounded by the Dinaric Alps and situated around the Miljacka river, commonly known as the Sarajevo River. This river is one of the main features of the city. In December 2009, Lonely Planet listed Sarajevo as one of the top ten cities to visit in 2010
A great way to get around this city is on the electric tram system. Sarajevo was the first city in Europe to have a full-time operational electric tram network running through the city.
6. Skopje – Macedonia
Mother Teresa was born in Skopje, and the Memorial House of Mother Teresa commemorates this. There are many old churches and mosques to visit for those who love history and architecture.
Many famous worldwide artists have attended the music festivals over the years. The Skopje Jazz Festival is part of the European Jazz Network. The Blues and Soul Festival in early July is part of the Skopje Cultural Summer Festival and the May Opera Evenings have been one of the most visited events in Skopje.
The City Park is home to the main museum, several monuments, small lakes, cafes and restaurants. The city Zoo and stadium are also here along with several nightclubs.
7. Sofia – Bulgaria
Sofia is nestled in the foothills of Vitosha Mountain, which makes it an ideal location for hiking and skiing. The city of Sofia is a lively, bustling and cosmopolitan city with many nightclubs, live venues and traditional Bulgarian taverns and restaurants. Many famous musicians have played in Sofia.
Sofia houses numerous museums and art galleries, including the National Historical Museum, the Bulgarian Natural History Museum, the Museum of Earth and Men.
The city has many places of special interest, museums and churches, and has a UNESCO World Heritage site, the Boyana Church
8 Split – Croatia
The city is located on the eastern shore of the Adriatic Sea and offers great links to surrounding seaside towns and to the numerous Adriatic Islands.
The city centre is taken up by the Historical Complex of Split with the Palace of Diocletian, which is UNESCO World Heritage Site.
9. Athens – Greece
Athens is home to the world famous Acropolis? The Parthenon and the other main buildings on the Acropolis were built by Pericles in the fifth century BC as a monument to the cultural and political achievements of the inhabitants of Athens. You could spend some days exploring this and it is best to start early on the hot summer days.
The Plaka is the oldest section of Athens. It is now a pedestrian area of restaurants, tourist shops, and cafes and is an enjoyable place to relax.
The National Archaeological Museum ranks among the top ten museums in the world.
10. Istanbul – Turkey
Istanbul, the historic city that stands in Europe and Asia and has the status of 2010 European Capital of Culture is an ideal venue for a city break.
In Istanbul’s steep and bustling streets, and visitors can spend hours buying or viewing the wonderful products on offer in the markets, where bargaining is essential. The Grand Bazaar, has over 4,000 craft shops, selling carpets, pottery, jewels, and antiques in its labyrinths.
There are many monuments and historical sites including the Hagia Sophie and one of the greatest examples of Islamic architecture, the “Blue Mosque”
Be sure to take a ferry along the Bosphorus Strait, and enjoy magnificent panoramic views of the city especially at sunset.
There are many more places in the Balkans that make it ideal for a short city break.
Anyone who studies the classics or has a unique interest in history of philosophy should venture to the great metropolis of
Passports have been around for quite a while, they originated in France and then the US picked up on them. They became valid travel documents permitting travel to foreign lands. They are required today in order to travel to another country. They used to be somewhat difficult to obtain, now through technology and the internet they are readily available as well as ll the other passport services that may be needed.
There are many sites to visit in
The Parthenon is one of the most famous sites of
Syntagma Square is the central of the
National Archaeological Museum
The National Archaeological Museum is the countries largest museum. It was originally constructed to hold the excavated finds from the nineteenth century, but since then it has grown. It now holds over 11,000 exhibits from Ancient
Barcelona, as one of Spain’s most important and largest cities, offers the visitor an abundance of cultural things to see and do. Famous sights include the impressive Sagrada Família, the bustling Ramblas, several outstanding Gaudí buildings and a good selection of museums and galleries. Also, a rather unique characteristic of the city is the fact that it also lies on the coast and offers the rarity of sandy beaches and sunbathing; an ideal situation for those looking for culture as well as a bit of sea-side relaxation.
Of course accommodation will play a relatively large part in how much you enjoy your visit. A 3-star hotel will usually provide at least the minimum in the services and amenities expected for a comfortable and relaxing stay. Like many major cities, there is a good choice of 3 star hotels in Barcelona. They can be found all over the city, but for convenience it would probably be best to stay in a hotel in or close to the city centre, so that you can easily discover Barcelona on foot, even though the city’s public transport system is both cheap and efficient.
The centre of Barcelona is quite compact, making it viable to explore on foot. Furthermore, the centre is well connect via the city’s comprehensive metro network. In the centre you will find the Cathedral, Gaudí’s La Pedrera, the main shopping centre, some of the city’s best restaurants and cafes and many of the museums, such as the Barcelona Museum of Contemporary Art, Picasso Museum, the Maritime Museum and much more.
The following Barcelona hotels are well located in the city centre, one near Plaza Catalonia, one close to the Sagrada Família and the other directly on the Ramblas.
3-star Hotel Gran Ducat Barcelona: This hotel is a modern place to stay and run by friendly, professional staff. Located just off Plaza Catalonia, you will be close to where the Ramblas begin and where the city’s main shopping area can be found. There are 64 good-sized guest rooms in total, all en suite, air conditioned and well equipped with today’s mod cons.
Usually people who visit Athens are more impressed with the antiquities and the famous monuments like the Acropolis and the Parthenon and don’t get me wrong I am impressed too… how couldn’t I be, but there are more things to Athens than people think so, theatres, cinemas, shopping malls and the Concert Hall of Athens which is not too far from the center of town and boats state-of-the-art technology and acoustics.
It was designed by a consortium of foreign and Greek consultants to correspond to the stringent demands of contemporary audiences and performers and can be considered one of the finest in the world.
Apart from the main hall Filon tis Mousikis – Friends of Music- which seats an audience of 2.000 it contains a smaller hall seating 500 people, a music library, recording studios, a restaurant and a foyer in which exhibitions of various kinds are held. It also houses an ultramodern conference centre.
The Megaro schedules concerts of all kinds from classical music of all periods to jazz and folk preformed by world class soloists, groups orchestras, operas and ballet companies throughout the year, except in summer.
It started operating in 1991 and it is an important cultural center of the whole Europe. Its superb acoustics have been acclaimed both by the public and by renowned performers of the music and art world.
The Athens Concert Hall has welcomed top class artists, music ensembles, composers, conductors and performers in an artistic trajectory that has left its mark in the country’s culture scene.
It is very easy to reach the Concert Hall of Athens since there is a metro station named after it which is only a few meters away. It is really easy to find it if you have a Metro Map. Buses and taxis are also available in the area.
I went there many times for several performances and I even got the chance to see a classical concert dedicated to Antonin Dvorak, a famous musician. The Concert Hall of Athens really impressed me so I thought that I should really share this with you. Don’t miss an excellent opportunity to visit a place like this one!
Coins issued by certain cities or empires took the leading role in dictating which coins were readily acceptable for trade in the Mediterranean lands. One such city was
In Greek mythology, Athena was the goddess of warfare and wisdom. Later known as Minerva by the Romans, she was the goddess of not only wisdom and battle, but of certain crafts and the protector of all cities and states. At birth, according to one myth, she sprang from the forehead of Zeus, the king of the gods, fully grown and dressed in armor. Athena is usually shown wearing a helmet and a magic shield called the aegis. The goddess Athena was not only wise in war but also in the arts of peace. She supposedly invented the plow and taught men how to yoke oxen. Athena’s chief symbol was the owl and in Greek mythology, the owl is firmly linked with Athena who is usually picture with her owl perched on her shoulder. Some say that is why the owl, in modern times, associated with wisdom.
Athenian coins were used in exchange throughout the Greek world, hoards have been found as far away from
Huge sums must have been necessary for the commercial activities of
Common to all issues of the coin are the goddess Athena, in profile on the obverse, and the owl, her constant companion, standing on the reverse, a sprig of olive leaves with a berry above its shoulder. Variations in design exist among denominations of the coin.
This metropolitan capital is also the largest and one of the oldest cities in Greece.
Acropolis is one of the major tourist spots as it stands high up on the hills, giving a spectacular view of the Greek capital. The structure is loaded with archaeological values and its origin goes back to 510 BC. The attraction is also worth paying a visit when holidaying in
Cape Sounion and the Temple of Poseidon
This tourist spot is a great way to enjoy holiday in
National Archaeological Museum
This popular tourist spot was structured in year 1889 and is home to some of the most amazing ancient artifacts and proof of really old civilizations. The museum is loved by many who plan a holiday in
Plaka is loved by tourist and visitors and is a major way to wind down when holidaying in
This attraction is found at the suburbs of
Maintained and run by a group of monks, the monastery is a regularly visited by tourist holidaying in
The best time to holiday in
A city not only known as the city of American freedom or the birthplace of America but also known for the revolutionary role it has played since centuries. Welcome to Philadelphia, a life-size city in Pennsylvania and the birthplace of America. Philadelphia is often referred as the New Athens, the name first suggested for the work done by the famous native of the city Benjamin Franklin. Rightly so as Benjamin Franklin was responsible for the country’s first insurance company, the city’s first public library and the first fire department; Franklin also played a great role in establishing the city’s Postal system as well as inventing new conveniences such as bifocal lenses and the Franklin stove.
Philadelphia or “Philly” best known for its role in the American Revolutionary War saw the convening of the Continental Congress as well as the writing of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States of America. Shortly after the nation’s inception took place in Philadelphia, it was named the nation’s capital between 1790 and 1800 before it was relocated to its present Washington D.C. Philly is now a big metropolitan which accommodates around 6.2 million inhabitants from almost all nationalities.
One of the unique factors about Philadelphia is that it is the most walkable city in the US and this factor is well used for the better part of it. Signs like “Walk! Philadelphia” well compliments the cities uniqueness and at the same time guide visitors toward shopping, dining, gallery perusing, cultural enjoyment, local must-sees and public transportation should it need to be taken. The city has two very walkable shopping districts as well as the walkable Benjamin Franklin Parkway, which is home to many museums, including the Franklin Institute and the Philadelphia Museum of Art that was made famous in the Rocky series of movies.
Its geographic location makes Philadelphia accessible by all modes of transport. The Philadelphia International airport is a busy one and you can find regular flights to almost all the locations. You can even enjoy the road trip to Philadelphia. Moreover as a visitor you can find hotels for every budget and if by any chance you are on a tight budget you can definitely find a suitable place in the Philadelphia districts. There is a place for every budget in Philadelphia. Some of the regular facilities offered by the hotels in Philadelphia include air conditioned rooms, car rentals, airport pick and drop facilities, swimming pools, health clubs, spas, restaurants etc. The city provides a unique nightlife to all and that definitely means that you can take a ballet in the nation’s oldest grand opera house as well as knock back a Pabst and a shot of swill for three bucks. In all Philadelphia makes a great city for all and if you haven’t taken a note of that you better mark it in your next holiday destination.
The history of
Being an ancient
You will be surprised by the rich cultural life that