Mass transit in the sky

This short article showcases the magnificent La Paz cable car system, and how it has made a huge difference to the city. Don’t miss the sublime video at the end!

La Paz cable car
La Paz cable car, Bolivia

It sounds like something from a futuristic fantasy book. People floating above the city on their way to work, or to go shopping, or for a night out. Even though Medellín, Colombia was the first city to use cable cars for mass transit, it’s La Paz in Bolivia which has made them the backbone of the city’s public transport system.

Plus ça change

I first visited La Paz in the year 2000. At the turn of the century the city was heavily reliant on buses to whisk people around the city. ‘Whisk’, however, is probably the wrong word for commutes which could take up to 3 hours, one way.

View from La Paz cable car system Mi Teleférico
View from Mi Teleférico

The La Paz metropolitan area has sprawled so far that it has absorbed the city of El Alto. Formed in 1903 and with a population approaching one million people – almost all of whom are Amerindian -, El Alto is La Paz’s poorer cousin. A strongly socialist president (Evo Morales) decided to help the people of El Alto feel more of a part of La Paz. And so, in 2014, Mi Teleférico was opened.

Returning to La Paz in 2018 I noticed that the city hadn’t changed all that much. Ladies in bowler hats still sold piles of produce in Mercado Rodríguez. The 18th century Basílica de San Francisco still stood grandly over Plaza San Francisco. Poverty was still apparent. But some things had changed.

It was no longer possible to take an unofficial tour of San Pedro prison. A hideously ugly new presidential palace in the form of a glass skyscraper had sprouted above the historic centre. And cable cars had appeared. Everywhere.

Flying high

When you’re in La Paz you’re already standing pretty high up in the air. 3,640 metres, to be precise. El Alto is even higher. At 4,000 metres it’s the highest major city in the world. If the altitude doesn’t take your breath away, then the views from the cable cars certainly will.

There are 11 La Paz cable car lines stringing together the various parts of the city. My favourites were the Sky Blue, Green and Purple lines. First the Sky Blue line lifted me from the bustle of Prado and between the downtown skyscrapers. Below the pollution-choked Choqueyapu River glooped through the city.

La Paz cable car passengers
People in traditional dress on cable car

12 minutes later, at Chuqui Apu (which is also the Aymara name for La Paz), I switched to the Green Line. The station names have both Spanish and Aymara names (Chuqui Apu station is called ‘Libertador’ in Spanish) and are modern and shiny new. In fact, this modernity provides a wonderful juxtaposition to the locals in traditional dress

The Green Line sails over some small hills, on which are spread large houses and mansions. Apparently many of the wealthy inhabitants of these properties have moved out, not wanting to be looked down on by the travelling public. For me, the view into luscious lawns and azul pools was part of the attraction of this line (sorry, wealthy La Pazians).

La Paz cable car
View of one of the city’s wealthier neighbourhoods

From the highest point of the Green Line I could see beyond the city, where the desert takes over. At the end of this line is Irpawi station. I hadn’t intended to come here to see anything in particular, and the fact that the military museum here was closed helped that endeavour. For me the main attraction was the cable car system itself, or rather the views from it. And I had saved the best ’til last.

A near miss

Back in the centre of the city I sought out Línea Morada, or the Purple Line, which departed from Utjawi station. This was the line which connected El Alto to La Paz, and was perhaps partly responsible for El Alto’s growth. With around 250,000 people/day travelling by cable car, the Purple Line has certainly prevented road congestion from getting much worse and has reduced the commute to minutes for people living away from the centre.

La Paz is clustered in a canyon, and El Alto is on the rim. It is spread out along the altiplano and it’s where you’ll find the international airport, although the cable car system sadly doesn’t go there. From Utjawi the gondola is hoisted up and up and up out of the canyon. Below you can see Mercado Rodríguez, then the prison, then the blocks of housing clinging onto cliffs. You can also see all the way across La Paz to the point where the city disappears around a distant canyon corner.

Not having any plans today for fully exploring El Alto, I disembarked at Tiquira station. It had been one of the most dramatic public transport journeys I’ve ever taken, and it cost me only about $0.30. In fact, I enjoyed the journey so much that I wanted to see what the view was like at night.

View over La Paz from a cable car at night
La Paz cable car at night

Beneath a full moon I returned to the Purple Line. I paid my 3 Bolivianos and boarded the gondola. These little cabins can accommodate about 6 people comfortably, but I was always able to find one all to myself. At night the city takes on a fascinating new look from above. The constellation above is mimicked by myriad artificial lights below. Down there is a football match being played under floodlights, or someone struggling up steep steps lit orange by streetlights.

At Tiquira station I realised that I had made a mistake. I had just stepped off of the last cable car of the night. It was only 9pm, but at that time on a Sunday night (in 2018, at least), this particular line stopped for the day. Thankfully the lovely station staff agreed to run one more car down and, relieved, I enjoyed the view all over again. This experience did, however, make me face the prospect of an hours-long bus journey back to the centre, and it was only then that I fully appreciated how important this amazing cable car network was to the population far beyond the centre.


Take 5 minutes out of your day to watch this surprisingly relaxing footage I took of the Mi Teleférico system during both the day and night, and featuring several of its lines.


With the launch of the Gold Line Mi Teleférico is now complete. You can experience this incredible car car system as part of this FREE 14 day Bolivia itinerary

🏨

I stayed at the wonderful Loki Boutique. La Paz has a great choice of accommodation, view deals by clicking the button

✈️

Fly to El Alto International Airport and either take a bus downtown to Prado, or a cheap taxi


The witch of Triglav

A 3-minute story about my adventures in Triglav National Park, Slovenia, along with tips on how to experience this for yourself.

Triglav National Park - Lake Bohinj
Lake Bohinj

Being on the path of Romans, Franks, Slavs, and possibly even Dracula, Bled in Slovenia has some fascinating myths and legends baked into its churches and castles. But have you ever heard of the witch of Triglav?

Into the wild

Encompassing a large part of the Julian Alps, Triglav National Park is named after this mountain range’s largest peak (which reaches 2,864m/9,396ft). On the edge of both the park and the mountains, Ribčev Laz can be reached by direct bus from Ljubljana in just under two hours. When the bus passed through Bled I dialled a number I’d been given by the National Park. Franci spoke just enough English to tell me where to meet him and, sure enough, he was waiting for me in Ribčev Laz beside his 4×4.

Triglav National Park's Vogar Hut
Vogar Hut

Minutes later it became obvious why a 4×4 was necessary. Franci was a National Park ranger, and he’d been tasked with driving me up to the mountain hut I’d rented in the tiny hamlet of Vogar. To get there required a drive up a very steep track which twisted through a huge pine forest. When at last we emerged into a clearing we passed a few simple wood huts.

‘If you want dinner then knock on that door.’
‘OK. Who lives there?’
‘A witch.’

Now I hadn’t been in Slovenia long enough to assess the local sense of humour, but I wasn’t entirely certain that Franci was joking. When he drove away, leaving me beside my hut, irrational thoughts began to seep into my head, in the way they can do when you’re standing in a remote mountain clearing by a lonely hut.

The hike

My mood wasn’t improved when I discovered a scorpion in the bathroom (it was subsequently yeeted far into the twilight). Grateful for the daylight which appeared the next morning, I embarked on a long hike which I thought I had planned carefully. However, good plans don’t necessarily mix well with poor maps.

I had bought the best map of the park that I could find in Stanfords, but even this didn’t provide sufficient detail. Although there weren’t many paths to follow, when the one I was on split in two I went the wrong way and ended up, miles later, at the top of some very high cliffs. Hundreds of metres below me were the frigid waters of Lake Bohinj. A stunning view, but one I couldn’t enjoy due to having to follow a particularly precarious route (I refused to give up and turn back).

Triglav National Park
Triglav National Park

Fortunately the path eventually turned away from the cliffs and I was rewarded with a view of snow-capped mountains. A little further on was a small collection of rustic mountain huts, all of which appeared to be uninhabited. When planning this hike I knew that at some point I had to get down to the lake. My hopes that it would be a nice sedate descent were dashed when I saw a series of ladders and narrow metal steps screwed into the rock.

View of the Julian Alps in Triglav National Park
The Julian Alps

Managing to not look down once, I white-knuckle climbed down and down and down. It was an impressive via ferrata, which I managed to fully appreciate once I was back on terra firma. Here was my sedate path which led to the lake shore. Relieved to be on flat ground, I walked a little over 2km along Lake Bohinj, before turning uphill to return to Vogar.

A magical dinner

The one eatery in the vicinity was closed for the season, hence why Franci had pointed out the witch’s home. Hence why, that evening, I found myself timidly knocking on her wooden door. I was welcomed in by an attractive lady in her 40s, as well as two handsome men who were sat at a rustic table inside.

‘Dinner?’ she asked.
‘Ja, hvala,’ I replied.

She smiled and shooed the men away into another room. From the ceiling hung a cornucopia of drying herbs, on shelves were jars of pickles and jams and chutneys. My host quickly put together a wooden board overflowing with cheeses, salamis, bread, vegetables and herbs. This was accompanied with a mug of delicious herbal brew.

Lake Bohinj in Triglav National Park
Lake Bohinj from the cliffs

We conversed in that awkward way that two people with barely any shared language do, but she (and the men who had crept back in) was excellent, friendly company. With a full belly, topped off by a fiery home-brewed spirit, I found my way back to my hut through the dark.

If my host really had been a witch (and I did spy a cauldron, although I expect it was used for cooking something considerably more palatable than eye of newt), she was one who knew how to expertly concoct a delicious meal from local delicacies. Besides, I always thought that witches got a bad rap. If anyone can pull the tastiest food from the earth, they surely can.

Under the spell of being well-fed, I slept the satisfying sleep of someone who survived perilous cliffs, and who had been bewitched by Triglav’s wild beauty.


Visit Triglav as part of this 12-day Slovenia & Croatia itinerary (for Budget, Mid-range, and Luxury travellers)

🏨

I stayed at Vogar Hut, which can be booked via the National Park site. In Lake Bled I stayed in Hotel Astoria, and in Ljubljana I stayed in the Central Hotel.

✈️

Fly to Ljubljana, take the airport bus into the city to connect with buses/train to the rest of the country.

🚌

Buses to Lake Bohinj run hourly between 05:18 and 21:03 from Ljubljana Tivoli.


Norfolk (B)roads

A 4-minute read about my challenging experience of cycling around the Norfolk Broads.

The river at Potters Heigham

I had come to Norfolk for two reasons: to look at potential holiday home investments, and to enjoy myself. Norfolk is blessed with the Norfolk Broads – a large area which in medieval times was dug for peat, the resultant hollows in the land subsequently becoming flooded to create a landscape of rivers and lakes (the Broads).

Because this is such an aquatic area, perhaps the best way to see it is by boat along the many, many navigable channels. I, foolishly, thought that, because the area is notoriously flat, it would be a good idea to see it by bicycle. This was a mistake.

Hickling, Horsey, and Sea Palling

The train to Norwich, and then to the Norfolk town of Acle, took 2.5 hours. In the UK you have to book ahead to get a place on the train for your bike, which proved a fairly smooth process. Once in Acle I began the pedal into the countryside, and it was then that I realised this may have been a mistake

Despite being known as a cycling destination, the Norfolk Broads are severely lacking in cycling infrastructure. My routes often took me along dangerously fast A roads, as well as B roads full of traffic. I was glad to make it to the little village of Martham, and then on to Hickling Broad

It was a relief to get to Hickling. Here was a view I associated with the Broads: an old windmill by a watercourse full of boats. It was peaceful here and I was tempted a little way along a path beside the waterway. But I had another sight to see today.

The UK is a severely nature depleted country. It’s therefore a rare pleasure to come across the sort of scene that greeted me at Horsey Beach. Only in the Galapagos have I seen this many seals in one place. They were flopped in a large group on the sandy beach (which would be a lovely place to be in warmer weather), or splashing around playfully in the sea.

Miles along that same beach is the village of Sea Palling. There isn’t much human habitation in this area and so the beach – and dunes behind – feel particularly wild. Sea Palling provided a shop, a few eateries, and a sea rescue centre…everything the visitor could need.


Thurne, Potters Heigham, Ludham and Coltishall

After a long cycle through a heavy rain storm to see a house we didn’t get, we cycled a long way back to where we had originally intended to go – Thurne, which is a very small village at the end of a Broad. It has a cute pub, but not much else going for it. Onwards to Potters Heigham, which felt as though it were the main centre of the Broads.

The bridge at Potters Heigham is believed to date back to 1385. Its aesthetic is somewhat ruined by the traffic lights which are necessary to control the flow of traffic (traffic which doesn’t fit on the adjacent more modern bridge that carries a noisy A road). This strange little hamlet has a large marina and dozens of boatyard buildings. Little shacks stretch either side of the river, the occupants of the furthest must walk 20 minutes from the car park. A factory-like tearoom serves dry scones and meager cream portions. Onwards!

Along a thankfully quieter road I cycled on to Ludham. This is a village that has everything; a marina, a butcher, a good local shop, and (most importantly) a pub. There are many sights to see around Ludham, including How Hill, where you’ll find a formal garden, well-preserved mills, a millkeeper’s cottage, and wildlife trails. Also close to Ludham are the ruins of St Benet’s Abbey, which had the rare honour of being spared by Cromwell. It was once a massive and impressive place, but now just the gatehouse survives, and even that has in years past had a mill built into it.

Unfortunately we didn’t have much time to explore Coltishall. The one thing I can say about this village is that it’s surrounded by roads that are actually quiet and pleasant to cycle along. Oh, and it has a great pub called The Recruiting Sergeant which serves excellent food.


Wroxham, Stokesby and Reedham

St Benet’s Abbey

Although Potters Heigham is busy with boats, Wroxham is considered the actual centre of the Norfolk Broads. Here there are dozens of boat yards, and lots of different types of boats to hire for hours or days. I opted to hire a canoe for a couple of hours, to see what all this river fuss was about. Several minutes after leaving the dock I was in a wonderland of tree-fringed river. So THIS is what it’s all about.

The watercourse somehow reminded me of the Amazon, perhaps because the trees at the water’s edge dipped their branches into the river. I paddled into a gap through the trees and into a broad. On this large lake were sailing yachts and people fishing. I wondered what type of fish there were in those murky depths – here the water was fresh, but at some point the river turned salty where it met the sea.

My final stop in the Broads was Stokesby, which really is off the beaten path. Unfortunately I only saw the place at night, but its delightful pub sits right on a river and I imagine it’s a wonderful place to be in the summer. The same can be said of Reedham, which I did manage to see during daylight. This village has a waterfront with pubs and cafes, a swing bridge to let through large boats, and a ferry further upriver.


Norwich

Before returning to London I spent a night in Norwich. The cathedral here is almost one thousand years old, and has the second-largest spire in the UK. Norwich also has a castle (closed when I tried to visit), as well as many charming pedestrianised streets.

A river runs through this city and the waterfront varies from modern malls, to tree-lined footpaths. All around town are plaques informing visitors about historic events which took place in the city. I liked it, but one day felt about right to see the place.

Norwich Cathedral

🏨

I stayed at, and can recommend, the Dairy Barns in Hickling, the Recruiting Sergeant in Coltishall, and the Barn Apartment in Stokesby. I also stayed in the Nelson Premier Inn in Norwich, which I absolutely do not recommend.

🚅

Take a Greater Anglie direct from London Liverpool Street to Norwich, and then you have a choice of destinations in and around the Broads, including Acle, Reedham, and Hoveton & Wroxham.


Antwerp

A 3-minute read featuring the highlights of Antwerp, with personal recommendations and travel tips

The Guild buildings on Antwerp's Grote Markt
The gilded Guild building’s on Antwerp’s Grote Markt

I’m going to start this post by throwing some Antwerp facts at you. In the 16th century this indomitable city was the richest in Europe, thanks to pepper, silver, and textile booms, and attracted merchants from across the continent. At the beginning of the century 40% of world trade passed through here.

Reformation, riots, and revolt spurred the city’s decline. Napoleon had plans to reinvigorate the city’s harbour, but Waterloo put paid to those. Amidst the wars that Europe suffered in the last century, Antwerp hosted the Summer Olympics, and then in the 90’s became a major fashion centre.

Drunk man’s lock

Door in a 16th century stone arch, and with a lock that has two metal strips leading to a keyhole
Antwerp door, with 16th century lock at bottom-left

Antwerp’s history is writ large on the city’s impressive architecture. In fact, many of the buildings reflect the characters who once lived here.

Take this 16th century lock. See how it has a wiggly ‘V’ of metal lines pointing towards the keyhole? This design allowed the owner to return home from a drunken night out and easily locate the hole with his key.

But this little reflection of character pales into comparison with what can be found in the Zurenborg district.


Art Deco wonderland

In Zurenborg’s “golden triangle” of Transvaalstraat, Waterloostraat, and Cogels Osylei streets you’ll be treated to a huge variety of architecture. Although you’ll find in this Zurenborg district Gothic Revival, Neoclassical, and other styles, it’s Art Deco architecture which prevails.

The buildings here reflect Antwerp’s growing wealth and were mainly constructed between 1896-1904.

Various large homes with a range of architectural styles
Selection of interesting architecture in Antwerp’s Zurenborg district

They’re in Fashion

Five storey rounded building with red brick and stone, and wrought iron balconies
Het Modepaleis, the flagship store of Dries Van Noten (one of the Antwerp Six)

In the early 80s a group of fashion designers graduated from Antwerp’s Royal Academy of Fine Arts. They went on to become hugely influential in the fashion world and are known as “The Antwerp Six”.

Thanks in no small part to this group, the city has a thriving fashion district, in which some of the six set up shop. Here you’ll find a plethora of places to go on a spending spree, all centered on Nationalestraat, and with gorgeous shop fronts that are a feast for the eyes.


Café culture

Antwerp is well-known for its “brown cafés”, allegedly named due to the cigarette smoke which once filled the cafes and leaving the walls stained brown. It’s this slightly rough-at-the-edges, very relaxed feel which make these cafés so appealing.

Inside you’ll find friendly staff, locals, and a large choice of delicious beers (try the Trappist brews, but don’t expect to walk straight afterwards).

Interior of the Den Engel brown cafe, with dark wood walls and marble-top tables
Interior of Den Engel brown café, on the corner of Grote Markt

More must-sees

White stone statue of a small boy lying down and hugging his dog. The cobblestone paving has been fashioned to look like a blanket
Statue of Nello and Patrasche – a sad tale of a boy and his dog
Large, ornate train station entrance with fanned window and a clock
Antwerpen Centraal’s impressive entrance

In addition to the locations mentioned above, when you’re in Antwerp you shouldn’t miss:

  • Antwerpen Centraal train station, built in 1895 – an architectural marvel
  • Cathedral of Our Lady, completed in 1521 (although the south tower was never fully finished) and with impressive stained-glass windows
  • MAS Museum. This museum is bursting with Belgian history, and has a free-to-visit roof terrace with breathtaking views
  • St Anna’s Tunnel. This pedestrian tunnel – opened in 1933 – links the two sides of the city

Visit Antwerp as part of this 8-day Belgium itinerary (for Budget, Mid-range, and Luxury travellers)

🏨

I stayed at the Hotel Indigo, which has stylish rooms and an excellent breakfast

✈️

I recommend flying to Brussels and then taking the 31-minute train direct from the airport to Antwerpen Centraal

🚅

Take Eurostar direct from London to Brussels, and then the 46min train from the same station to Antwerpen Centraal


🇷🇺🇲🇳🇨🇳 TRANS-MONGOLIAN

Trans-Mongolian itineraryThis is one of those journeys-of-a-lifetime, where you get to experience the fascinating history of Moscow, the vast expanses of Siberia, the beauty of Lake Baikal, the Mongolian wilderness and the wonders of Beijing. Click for Luxury, Mid-range or Budget.
https://ko-fi.com/widgets/widget_2.jskofiwidget2.init(‘Help support this blog’, ‘#ab3801’, ‘A0A11OSAU’);kofiwidget2.draw();

Here’s your Trans-Mongolian itinerary:
[bws_pdfprint display=’print’]

Luxury Moscow, Russia (Trans-Mongolian itinerary)
1 To Moscow
(✈ Book >)
Dep: Morning Arr:
Afternoon
🏨Four Seasons Moscow (Book >) All hotels >
Wander around Red Square and down Ilinka and the Kitai Gorod lanes where you’ll see ancient churches. Continue on to Lubyanka Square, where you’ll see the KGB base, and down to the Russian parliament I recommend the agency Svezhy Veter for booking your Trans-Mongolian itinerary train tickets – they can help with visas too
2 Start with a visit to Lenin’s tomb then stroll along Tverskaya to Pushkin Square. Admire the Tsarist-era interiors of Yeliseyevsky Supermarket and the upscale GUM. Experience the regal metro and take the red line to Sportivnaya where you’ll find the Novodevichy Monastery and be able to see the resting places of famous Russians in the cemetery. Go back two stops on the red line to Park Kultury and pay a visit to Gorky Park Try to get familiar with the Cyrillic alphabet before you visit Russia – it may not be as hard as you think and can help when reading street signs
3-4 🚄Moscow to Yekaterinburg (Info & Book >) Dep: 23:55 (Wed) 🏨Train
On your last day in Moscow visit the Tretyakov galleries and the magnificent Kremlin. Day 4 is your first full day on the train, which you can spend gazing out at the vast landscapes of Russia Make it clear to your agency that you want a private 1st class cabin
5 🚄Moscow to Yekaterinburg Arr: 03:44 (Fri) 🏨Hyatt Regency Ekaterinburg (Book >) All hotels >
A horrible time to arrive, and so I recommend getting two nights in your hotel. When you’re ready to emerge from your room it’s a 30-min walk in one direction to Ganina Yama and a 25-min walk in the other direction to the Church On The Blood Try to learn a few common Russian phrases
6-8 🚄Yekaterinburg to Irkutsk Dep: 12:15 (Sat) 🏨Train
Onwards along the edge of Siberia. Relax, read a book and watch as you glide by endless silver birch forests and rustic rural villages. You’ll pass through Omsk at 02:31, Novosibirsk at 12:53 (worth getting off the train for a few minutes, but don’t linger long (take your passport in case the train leaves without you!) and Krasnoyarsk at 02:06 The train runs on Moscow time, which can get a little disorienting the further east you go
9 🚄Yekaterinburg to Irkutsk Arr: 21:15 (Tue) 🏨Hotel Sayen (Book >) All hotels >
Another day to enjoy the serene life aboard the Trans-Mongolian The Trans-Siberian Handbook offers a great guide to the kilometre posts you see alongside the track
10-11 Set off on a two-day tour to Olkhon Island on Lake Baikal. It takes about 5 hours to get there but the journey is truly worth it Bring clothes for all climates – it can be hot during the day and very cold at night
12 🚄Irkutsk to Ulan Bator Dep: 08:08 (Fri) 🏨Train
Back on the train and more time to gaze at the endless vistas. The tracks go along the edge of Lake Baikal, a real highlight of this trip There are hot water samovars in each carriage, very handy if you bring tea or coffee
13 🚄Irkutsk to Ulan Bator Arr: 06:50 (Sat) 🏨Accom. not included, contact tour company
Begin your 8-day tour of Mongolia (Book here >). Your guide will collect you from the train station and take you to the stunning natural scenery of Terelj National Park. Horse riding tours and tours to other parts of Mongolia are also available. Many roads in Mongolia are gravel and very bumpy. This can get uncomfortable so remember to bring travel sickness pills
14-20 Over the next several days you will visit a mini-Gobi desert, 8 Lakes base camp, an overnight horse riding trip by Shireet Lake and the Buureg Valley (staying in a nomadic family’s ger), see the Tsutgalan volcanic waterfall in the Orkhon Valley, relax in Tsenher hot spring and visit fascinating Kharkorin. You’ll return to Ulan Bator at around 16:00 on day 20 (I recommend the Kempinski Khan Palace for the night of day 20) Being vegan, or even vegetarian, isn’t easy in Mongolia – read this blog for tips
21 🚄Ulan Bator to Beijing Dep: 06:50 (Sun) 🏨Train
The final leg of this Trans-Mongolian itinerary. From the window you’ll see the edge of the Gobi desert and, when you cross the border to China, you can watch as the wheels are changed for the different gauge of tracks Don’t miss the opportunity of going to the very back of the train (to the ‘caboose’) and watching the rails unravelling beneath you
22 🚄Ulan Bator to Beijing Arr: 14:35 (Mon) 🏨Four Seasons (Book >) All hotels >
After the serenity of the train, the busyness of Beijing may come as a shock. There’s a lot to see here so you may want to extend your trip by a day or two Beijing can’t easily be seen on foot – buy a smart card (aka Yikatong card) for the metro
23 Beijing to Home
(✈ Book >)
Dep: Afternoon Arr: Evening Connect this Trans-Mongolian itinerary with the China or Japan itinerary.
A little more time this morning to see the sights of Beijing before transferring to the airport
Mid-range Karakorum, Mongolia (Trans-Mongolian itinerary)
1 To Moscow
(✈ Book >)
Dep: Morning Arr:
Afternoon
🏨PR Myasnitsky BoutiqueHotel (Book >) All hotels >
Wander around Red Square and down Ilinka and the Kitai Gorod lanes where you’ll see ancient churches. Continue on to Lubyanka Square, where you’ll see the KGB base, and down to the Russian parliament I recommend the agency Svezhy Veter for booking your Trans-Mongolian itinerary train tickets – they can help with visas too
2 Start with a visit to Lenin’s tomb then stroll along Tverskaya to Pushkin Square. Admire the Tsarist-era interiors of Yeliseyevsky Supermarket and the upscale GUM. Experience the regal metro and take the red line to Sportivnaya where you’ll find the Novodevichy Monastery and be able to see the resting places of famous Russians in the cemetery. Go back two stops on the red line to Park Kultury and pay a visit to Gorky Park Try to get familiar with the Cyrillic alphabet before you visit Russia – it may not be as hard as you think and can help when reading street signs
3-4 🚄Moscow to Yekaterinburg (Info & Book >) Dep: 23:55 (Wed) 🏨Train
On your last day in Moscow visit the Tretyakov galleries and the magnificent Kremlin. Day 4 is your first full day on the train, which you can spend gazing out at the vast landscapes of Russia I recommend asking for a private 1st class cabin for the longer stretches on the train – you’ll really appreciate having your own space
5 🚄Moscow to Yekaterinburg Arr: 03:44 (Fri) 🏨Renomme Hotel (Book >) All hotels >
A horrible time to arrive, and so I recommend getting two nights in your hotel. When you’re ready to emerge from your room it’s a 30-min walk in one direction to Ganina Yama and a 25-min walk in the other direction to the Church On The Blood Try to learn a few common Russian phrases
6-8 🚄Yekaterinburg to Irkutsk Dep: 12:15 (Sat) 🏨Train
Onwards along the edge of Siberia. Relax, read a book and watch as you glide by endless silver birch forests and rustic rural villages. You’ll pass through Omsk at 02:31, Novosibirsk at 12:53 (worth getting off the train for a few minutes, but don’t linger long (take your passport in case the train leaves without you!) and Krasnoyarsk at 02:06 The train runs on Moscow time, which can get a little disorienting the further east you go
9 🚄Yekaterinburg to Irkutsk Arr: 21:15 (Tue) 🏨Hotel Sayen (Book >) All hotels >
Another day to enjoy the serene life aboard the Trans-Mongolian The Trans-Siberian Handbook offers a great guide to the kilometre posts you see alongside the track
10-11 Set off on a two-day tour to Olkhon Island on Lake Baikal. It takes about 5 hours to get there but the journey is truly worth it Bring clothes for all climates – it can be hot during the day and very cold at night
12 🚄Irkutsk to Ulan Bator Dep: 08:08 (Fri) 🏨Train
Back on the train and more time to gaze at the endless vistas. The tracks go along the edge of Lake Baikal, a real highlight of this trip There are hot water samovars in each carriage, very handy if you bring tea or coffee
13 🚄Irkutsk to Ulan Bator Arr: 06:50 (Sat) 🏨Accom. not included, contact tour company
Begin your 8-day tour of Mongolia (Book here >). Your guide will collect you from the train station and take you to the stunning natural scenery of Terelj National Park. Horse riding tours and tours to other parts of Mongolia are also available. Many roads in Mongolia are gravel and very bumpy. This can get uncomfortable so remember to bring travel sickness pills
14-20 Over the next several days you will visit a mini-Gobi desert, 8 Lakes base camp, an overnight horse riding trip by Shireet Lake and the Buureg Valley (staying in a nomadic family’s ger), see the Tsutgalan volcanic waterfall in the Orkhon Valley, relax in Tsenher hot spring and visit fascinating Kharkorin. You’ll return to Ulan Bator at around 16:00 on day 20 (I recommend the Kempinski Khan Palace for the night of day 20) Being vegan, or even vegetarian, isn’t easy in Mongolia – read this blog for tips
21 🚄Ulan Bator to Beijing Dep: 06:50 (Sun) 🏨Train
The final leg of this Trans-Mongolian itinerary. From the window you’ll see the edge of the Gobi desert and, when you cross the border to China, you can watch as the wheels are changed for the different gauge of tracks Don’t miss the opportunity of going to the very back of the train (to the ‘caboose’) and watching the rails unravelling beneath you
22 🚄Ulan Bator to Beijing Arr: 14:35 (Mon) 🏨Hunan Hotel (Book >) All hotels >
After the serenity of the train, the busyness of Beijing may come as a shock. There’s a lot to see here so you may want to extend your trip by a day or two Beijing can’t easily be seen on foot – buy a smart card (aka Yikatong card) for the metro
23-24 Beijing to Home
(✈ Book >)
Dep: Evening Arr: Morning (next day) Connect this Trans-Mongolian itinerary with the China or Japan itinerary.
A little more time this morning to see the sights of Beijing before transferring to the airport
Budget Beijing, China (Trans-Mongolian itinerary)
1 To Moscow
(✈ Book >)
Dep: Morning Arr:
Afternoon
🏨ART Hostel (Book >) All hostels >
Wander around Red Square and down Ilinka and the Kitai Gorod lanes where you’ll see ancient churches. Continue on to Lubyanka Square, where you’ll see the KGB base, and down to the Russian parliament I recommend the agency Svezhy Veter for booking your Trans-Mongolian itinerary train tickets – they can help with visas too
2 Start with a visit to Lenin’s tomb then stroll along Tverskaya to Pushkin Square. Admire the Tsarist-era interiors of Yeliseyevsky Supermarket and the upscale GUM. Experience the regal metro and take the red line to Sportivnaya where you’ll find the Novodevichy Monastery and be able to see the resting places of famous Russians in the cemetery. Go back two stops on the red line to Park Kultury and pay a visit to Gorky Park Try to get familiar with the Cyrillic alphabet before you visit Russia – it may not be as hard as you think and can help when reading street signs
3-4 🚄Moscow to Yekaterinburg (Info & Book >) Dep: 23:55 (Wed) 🏨Train
On your last day in Moscow visit the Tretyakov galleries and the magnificent Kremlin. Day 4 is your first full day on the train, which you can spend gazing out at the vast landscapes of Russia When booking train tickets ask for 4-berth cabins
5 🚄Moscow to Yekaterinburg Arr: 03:44 (Fri) 🏨RedLine hostel (Book >) All hostels >
A horrible time to arrive, and so I recommend getting two nights in your hotel. When you’re ready to emerge from your room it’s a 30-min walk in one direction to Ganina Yama and a 25-min walk in the other direction to the Church On The Blood Try to learn a few common Russian phrases
6-8 🚄Yekaterinburg to Irkutsk Dep: 12:15 (Sat) 🏨Train
Onwards along the edge of Siberia. Relax, read a book and watch as you glide by endless silver birch forests and rustic rural villages. You’ll pass through Omsk at 02:31, Novosibirsk at 12:53 (worth getting off the train for a few minutes, but don’t linger long (take your passport in case the train leaves without you!) and Krasnoyarsk at 02:06 The train runs on Moscow time, which can get a little disorienting the further east you go
9 🚄Yekaterinburg to Irkutsk Arr: 21:15 (Tue) 🏨Rolling Stones Hostel (Book >) All hostels >
Another day to enjoy the serene life aboard the Trans-Mongolian The Trans-Siberian Handbook offers a great guide to the kilometre posts you see alongside the track
10 🚐Irkutsk to Olkhon Island (Book >) Dep: 08:45 Arr: 14:45 🏨Sunny Hostel (Book >) All hostels >
Take a transfer to Olkhon Island – the perfect place to enjoy stupendous views of Lake Baikal. This afternoon pay a visit to the Khuzhir Museum (usually free) There are no ATMs on the island, so take out cash in Irkutsk before you depart
11 Contact your hostel for help with arranging tours on the island, but don’t miss out on experiencing the Buryat culture, including the Shaman Rocks Bring clothes for all climates – it can be hot during the day and very cold at night
12 🚐Olkhon Island to Irkutsk Dep: 09:00 Arr: 15:00 🏨Rolling Stones Hostel (Book >) All hostels >
Back to Irkutsk where you should have time to squeeze in a visit to the Prince Vladimir Temple You’ll need tram stop Detskaya St (ул. Детская) for the temple
13 🚄Irkutsk to Ulan Bator Dep: 08:08 (Sat) 🏨Train
Back on the train and more time to gaze at the endless vistas. The tracks go along the edge of Lake Baikal, a real highlight of this trip There are hot water samovars in each carriage, very handy if you bring tea or coffee
14 🚄Irkutsk to Ulan Bator Arr: 06:50 (Sun) 🏨Accom. included in tour
Begin your 7-day tour of Mongolia (Book here >). Your guide will collect you from the train station and take you to Genghis Khan’s ancient capital Kharkorin. Many roads in Mongolia are gravel and very bumpy. This can get uncomfortable so remember to bring travel sickness pills
15-20 Over the next several days you will visit the Tsenkher hot springs, Tuvkhun monastery, Orkhon Waterfall, Naiman Nuur lakes, Shireet Lake and the Elsen Tasarkhai sand dunes, occasionally staying in traditional gers. You’ll return to Ulan Bator at around 16:00 on day 20 (I recommend the Khuvsgul Lake Hostel for the night of day 20) Being vegan, or even vegetarian, isn’t easy in Mongolia – read this blog for tips
21 🚄Ulan Bator to Beijing Dep: 06:50 (Sun) 🏨Train
The final leg of this Trans-Mongolian itinerary. From the window you’ll see the edge of the Gobi desert and, when you cross the border to China, you can watch as the wheels are changed for the different gauge of tracks Don’t miss the opportunity of going to the very back of the train (to the ‘caboose’) and watching the rails unravelling beneath you
22 🚄Ulan Bator to Beijing Arr: 14:35 (Mon) 🏨Kellys Courtyard (Book >) All hostels >
After the serenity of the train, the busyness of Beijing may come as a shock. There’s a lot to see here so you may want to extend your trip by a day or two Beijing can’t easily be seen on foot – buy a smart card (aka Yikatong card) for the metro
23 Beijing to Home
(✈ Book >)
Dep: Afternoon Arr: Evening Connect this Trans-Mongolian itinerary with the China or Japan itinerary.
A little more time this morning to see the sights of Beijing before transferring to the airport

🇧🇪 BELGIUM

Bruges Markt Square - Belgium itineraryA week visiting Belgium’s best cities? I have all you need to know below. Click for Luxury, Mid-range or Budget.
https://ko-fi.com/widgets/widget_2.jskofiwidget2.init(‘Help support this blog’, ‘#ab3801’, ‘A0A11OSAU’);kofiwidget2.draw();

Here’s your Belgium itinerary:
[bws_pdfprint display=’print’]

Luxury Bruges
1 To Brussels
( Book >)
(🚄 Book >)
Dep: Evening Arr: Evening 🏨Hotel Amigo (Book >) All hotels >
Enjoy an evening stroll around the Grand Place before bed. Book a transfer to your hotel.
2 🚄Brussels to Antwerp train (Book >) Dep: 13:52 Arr: 14:27 🏨Maison Nationale City Flats & Suites (Book >) All hotels >
Spend the morning visiting Mannekin Pis and, on a much grander scale, Saint-Michel Cathedral and Place Royale. You may want to add a little more time in Brussels to see the excellent Belgian Comic Strip Center. In Antwerp you’ll have the rest of the afternoon to walk to the magnificent Zurenborg district, resplendent with Art Nouveau architecture. This Brussels-Antwerp train is on a high speed Thalys. Plenty of other, slower trains depart throughout the day. If you travelled by Eurostar your ticket is valid to any Belgian city within 24 hours of arriving into the country
3 A full day in which to marvel at Antwerp’s medieval buildings and ornate cathedral in the city centre. Nearby you’ll find the MAS Museum – packed with artifacts and with a free viewing platform on the top floor. Antwerp is famous for its Brown Cafes – so-named because of the walls stained from previous years of smokers.
4 🚄Antwerp to Bruges train (Book >) Dep: 10:06 Arr: 11:35 🏨Hotel de Orangerie (Book >) All hotels >
Take a stroll around the Markt square and then climb the steps to the top of the belfry. The Basilica of the Holy Blood makes for a peaceful and interesting visit, as do the Church of Our Lady and nearby Sint-Salvatorskathedraal. The Markt square hosts a food and flower market every Wednesday.
5 See the city on foot a free walking tour (remember to tip at the end!), then by water on a cruise along the canal. Old Saint John’s Hospital – a building dating to the 12th century – makes for a fascinating visit. The Old Chocolate House makes superb hot chocolate!
6 🚄Bruges to Ghent train (Book >) Dep: 14:44 Arr: 15:07 🏨Pillows Hotel Grand Reylof (Book >) All hotels >
In Bruges you’ll have time to walk to the windmills via Jeruzalemkirk and see any sights you may not yet have had time to visit, before setting off for Ghent. Taxi to the hotel should cost around €27 (at the time of writing this Belgium itinerary).
7 A Ghent boat tour will take you past key sites and is a good way of spotting places to revisit (including quirky Baudelostraat warehouse). Try a raspberry-flavoured cuberdon sweet from a street stall
8 🚄Ghent to Brussels train
Brussels to Home (🚄 Book >)
(✈ Book >)
Dep (SNCB): 16:25
Dep: Evening
Arr: 16:55
Arr: Evening
Connect this Belgium itinerary with the France or Germany itinerary >
If you’re travelling with Eurostar your ticket will be valid from Ghent.
Mid-range Bruges at night
1 To Brussels
( Book >)
(🚄 Book >)
Dep: Evening Arr: Evening 🏨Art de Séjour Bed & Breakfast (Book >) All hotels >
Enjoy an evening stroll around the Grand Place before bed. Book a transfer to your hotel.
2 🚄Brussels to Antwerp train (Book >) Dep: 13:52 Arr: 14:27 🏨Hotel Indigo (Book >) All hotels >
Spend the morning visiting Mannekin Pis and, on a much grander scale, Saint-Michel Cathedral and Place Royale. You may want to add a little more time in Brussels to see the excellent Belgian Comic Strip Center. In Antwerp you’ll have the rest of the afternoon to walk to the magnificent Zurenborg district, resplendent with Art Nouveau architecture. This Brussels-Antwerp train is on a high speed Thalys. Plenty of other, slower trains depart throughout the day. If you travelled by Eurostar your ticket is valid to any Belgian city within 24 hours of arriving into the country
3 A full day in which to marvel at Antwerp’s medieval buildings and ornate cathedral in the city centre. Nearby you’ll find the MAS Museum – packed with artifacts and with a free viewing platform on the top floor. Antwerp is famous for its Brown Cafes – so-named because of the walls stained from previous years of smokers.
4 🚄Antwerp to Bruges train (Book >) Dep: 10:06 Arr: 11:35 🏨Hotel Navarra (Book >) All hotels >
Take a stroll around the Markt square and then climb the steps to the top of the belfry. The Basilica of the Holy Blood makes for a peaceful and interesting visit, as do the Church of Our Lady and nearby Sint-Salvatorskathedraal. The Markt square hosts a food and flower market every Wednesday.
5 See the city on foot a free walking tour (remember to tip at the end!), then by water on a cruise along the canal. Old Saint John’s Hospital – a building dating to the 12th century – makes for a fascinating visit. The Old Chocolate House makes superb hot chocolate!
6 🚄Bruges to Ghent train (Book >) Dep: 14:44 Arr: 15:07 🏨Pillows Hotel Grand Reylof (Book >) All hotels >
In Bruges you’ll have time to walk to the windmills via Jeruzalemkirk and see any sights you may not yet have had time to visit, before setting off for Ghent. Taxi to the hotel should cost around €27 (at the time of writing this Belgium itinerary).
7 A Ghent boat tour will take you past key sites and is a good way of spotting places to revisit (including quirky Baudelostraat warehouse). Try a raspberry-flavoured cuberdon sweet from a street stall
8 🚄Ghent to Brussels train
Brussels to Home (🚄 Book >)
(✈ Book >)
Dep (SNCB): 16:25
Dep: Evening
Arr: 16:55
Arr: Evening
Connect this Belgium itinerary with the France or Germany itinerary >
If you’re travelling with Eurostar your ticket will be valid from Ghent.
Budget Antwerp
1 To Brussels
( Book >)
(🚄 Book >)
Dep: Evening Arr: Evening 🏨2go4 Hostel (Book >) All hotels >
Enjoy an evening stroll around the Grand Place before bed. Your hostel is next to Grand Place and easily accessible on public transport.
2 🚄Brussels to Antwerp train (Book >) Dep: 13:52 Arr: 14:27 🏨Abhostel (Book >) All hotels >
Spend the morning visiting Mannekin Pis and, on a much grander scale, Saint-Michel Cathedral and Place Royale. You may want to add a little more time in Brussels to see the excellent Belgian Comic Strip Center. In Antwerp you’ll have the rest of the afternoon to walk to the magnificent Zurenborg district, resplendent with Art Nouveau architecture. This Brussels-Antwerp train is on a high speed Thalys. Plenty of other, slower trains depart throughout the day. If you travelled by Eurostar your ticket is valid to any Belgian city within 24 hours of arriving into the country
3 A full day in which to marvel at Antwerp’s medieval buildings and ornate cathedral in the city centre. Nearby you’ll find the MAS Museum – packed with artifacts and with a free viewing platform on the top floor. Antwerp is famous for its Brown Cafes – so-named because of the walls stained from previous years of smokers.
4 🚄Antwerp to Bruges train (Book >) Dep: 10:06 Arr: 11:35 🏨Snuffel Hostel (Book >) All hotels >
Take a stroll around the Markt square and then climb the steps to the top of the belfry. The Basilica of the Holy Blood makes for a peaceful and interesting visit, as do the Church of Our Lady and nearby Sint-Salvatorskathedraal. The Markt square hosts a food and flower market every Wednesday.
5 See the city on foot a free walking tour (remember to tip at the end!), then by water on a cruise along the canal. Old Saint John’s Hospital – a building dating to the 12th century – makes for a fascinating visit. The Old Chocolate House makes superb hot chocolate!
6 🚄Bruges to Ghent train (Book >) Dep: 14:44 Arr: 15:07 🏨Hostel Uppelink (Book >) All hotels >
In Bruges you’ll have time to walk to the windmills via Jeruzalemkirk and see any sights you may not yet have had time to visit, before setting off for Ghent. In Ghent take tram 1 from Perron 2, alight at Burgstraat
7 A Ghent boat tour will take you past key sites and is a good way of spotting places to revisit (including quirky Baudelostraat warehouse). Try a raspberry-flavoured cuberdon sweet from a street stall
8 🚄Ghent to Brussels train
Brussels to Home (🚄 Book >)
(✈ Book >)
Dep (SNCB): 16:25
Dep: Evening
Arr: 16:55
Arr: Evening
Connect this Belgium itinerary with the France or Germany itinerary >
If you’re travelling with Eurostar your ticket will be valid from Ghent.

🇮🇪🇬🇧 IRELAND

Cashel, Ireland - Ireland itineraryMagnificent countryside, dramatic scenery, countless historic sights and lively cities reward every visitor to the island of Ireland (or Éire in Irish) This itinerary takes in the best bits of the country of Ireland, as well as Northern Ireland.  Click for Luxury, Mid-range or Budget.
https://ko-fi.com/widgets/widget_2.jskofiwidget2.init(‘Help support this blog’, ‘#ab3801’, ‘A0A11OSAU’);kofiwidget2.draw();

Here’s your Ireland itinerary:
[bws_pdfprint display=’print’]

Luxury Dublin, Ireland
1 To Dublin
(✈ Book >)
(🚄 Book >)
Dep: Morning
Morning
Arr: Morning
Afternoon
🏨The Merrion Hotel (Book >) All hotels >
When you arrive you should have time to pay a visit to St. Patrick’s Cathedral and Dublin Castle. If you’re planning to visit several sights then invest in a Dublin Pass.
2-3 Fans of Guinness will no doubt already know of the Guinness Storehouse, but any visitor will enjoy looking around this impressive brewery. More of a whiskey connoisseur? Then the Old Jameson Distillery is for you. Non-alcohol sights include O’Connell street, Ha’penny Bridge, Christ Church Cathedral, Trinity College Library and the Flea Market. In the evenings the pubs of Temple Bar is where to be. Get a Leap Card, which will save you money on public transport in several Irish cities including Dublin.
4 🚗Dublin to Killarney (Hire car >) Dep: 09:00 Arr: 18:00 🏨The Killarney Park (Book >) All hotels >
Driving to Killarney you’ll join the Ring of Kerry drive and enjoy stunning countryside scenery. On the way to Killarney you’ll pass the Rock of Cashel – worth a stop for this historic site. You should also divert to Blarney Castle and kiss the famous stone. Country roads in Ireland can be narrow – I recommend hiring a smaller car.
5 Spend a day in Killarney National Park and be sure to visit Muckross Abbey, Ross Castle and Torc Waterfall. The town of Killarney is itself bursting with charm. A Heritage Card can save you money if you plan to visit several Irish heritage sites.
6 🚗Killarney to Portmagee
🚗Portmagee to Dingle
Dep: 08:30
Dep: 13:00
Arr: 09:45
Arr: 15:00
🏨Dingle Benners Hotel (Book >) All hotels >
On your way to Dingle stop off at Portmagee and take a ferry tour to Skellig Michael. Start your visit to the Dingle Peninsula with a drive across Conor Pass Come prepared for rain. Lots and lots of rain.
7 🚗Dingle to Doolin Dep: 15:00 Arr: 18:15 🏨Hotel Doolin (Book >) All hotels >
Continue your visit to the Dingle Peninsula with a drive to picturesque Annascaul, dramatic Slea Head, the panoramic views from Mount Brandon and the villages of The Gaeltacht – you may need more time. You’ll find plenty of lively pubs in Doolin, famous for its music scene. You’re likely to hear a lot of Irish spoken in the Gaeltacht areas – learn a few words and make a good impression.
8 🚗Doolin to Galway Dep: 13:00 Arr: 14:30 🏨Glenlo Abbey Hotel (Book >) All hotels >
Doolin is the gateway to the Cliffs of Moher, where you’ll spend the first part of today. Unesco-listed Galway offers medieval walls, the fascinating Galway City Museum, cosy pubs, cute streets and the seaside Salthill Promenade. Seeing the Cliffs of Moher on a boat tour is highly recommended.
9 🚗Galway to Belfast Dep: 09:30 Arr: 14:30 🏨The Merchant Hotel (Book >) All hotels >
A little more time to enjoy Galway before driving to Belfast, where you can enjoy sights such as Titanic Belfast and Crumlin Road Gaol. Remember to bring both GBP for Northern Ireland and Euros for Ireland.
10 Take the car north to Dunluce Castle. Next to this is the geologically impressive Giant’s Causeway and the Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge. The coast around Giant’s Causeway is great for hiking, if you have time in your Ireland itinerary.
11 🚗Belfast to Dublin Dep: 10:00 Arr: 13:30 🏨The Merrion Hotel (Book >) All hotels >
You can either return home from Belfast, or drive back to Dublin via the prehistoric monument of Newgrange. Be aware that road signs switch from MPH to KPH, travelling from N Ireland to Ireland.
12 Dublin to Home
(✈ Book >)
(🚄 Book >)
Dep: Afternoon Arr: Afternoon Connect this Ireland itinerary with the Belgium or France itinerary.
The ferry port and airport are far apart – choose your car rental location accordingly.
Mid-range Cliffs of Moher, Ireland
1 To Dublin
(✈ Book >)
(🚄 Book >)
Dep: Morning
Morning
Arr: Morning
Afternoon
🏨Clayton Charlemont (Book >) All hotels >
When you arrive you should have time to pay a visit to St. Patrick’s Cathedral and Dublin Castle. If you’re planning to visit several sights then invest in a Dublin Pass.
2-3 Fans of Guinness will no doubt already know of the Guinness Storehouse, but any visitor will enjoy looking around this impressive brewery. More of a whiskey connoisseur? Then the Old Jameson Distillery is for you. Non-alcohol sights include O’Connell street, Ha’penny Bridge, Christ Church Cathedral, Trinity College Library and the Flea Market. In the evenings the pubs of Temple Bar is where to be. Get a Leap Card, which will save you money on public transport in several Irish cities including Dublin.
4 🚗Dublin to Killarney (Hire car >) Dep: 09:00 Arr: 18:00 🏨Killarney Plaza Hotel and Spa (Book >) All hotels >
Driving to Killarney you’ll join the Ring of Kerry drive and enjoy stunning countryside scenery. On the way to Killarney you’ll pass the Rock of Cashel – worth a stop for this historic site. You should also divert to Blarney Castle and kiss the famous stone. Country roads in Ireland can be narrow – I recommend hiring a smaller car.
5 Spend a day in Killarney National Park and be sure to visit Muckross Abbey, Ross Castle and Torc Waterfall. The town of Killarney is itself bursting with charm. A Heritage Card can save you money if you plan to visit several Irish heritage sites.
6 🚗Killarney to Portmagee
🚗Portmagee to Dingle
Dep: 08:30
Dep: 13:00
Arr: 09:45
Arr: 15:00
🏨Dingle Benners Hotel (Book >) All hotels >
On your way to Dingle stop off at Portmagee and take a ferry tour to Skellig Michael. Start your visit to the Dingle Peninsula with a drive across Conor Pass Come prepared for rain. Lots and lots of rain.
7 🚗Dingle to Doolin Dep: 15:00 Arr: 18:15 🏨Hotel Doolin (Book >) All hotels >
Continue your visit to the Dingle Peninsula with a drive to picturesque Annascaul, dramatic Slea Head, the panoramic views from Mount Brandon and the villages of The Gaeltacht – you may need more time. You’ll find plenty of lively pubs in Doolin, famous for its music scene. You’re likely to hear a lot of Irish spoken in the Gaeltacht areas – learn a few words and make a good impression.
8 🚗Doolin to Galway Dep: 13:00 Arr: 14:30 🏨The Twelve Hotel (Book >) All hotels >
Doolin is the gateway to the Cliffs of Moher, where you’ll spend the first part of today. Unesco-listed Galway offers medieval walls, the fascinating Galway City Museum, cosy pubs, cute streets and the seaside Salthill Promenade. Seeing the Cliffs of Moher on a boat tour is highly recommended.
9 🚗Galway to Belfast Dep: 09:30 Arr: 14:30 🏨Hampton by Hilton (Book >) All hotels >
A little more time to enjoy Galway before driving to Belfast, where you can enjoy sights such as Titanic Belfast and Crumlin Road Gaol. Remember to bring both GBP for Northern Ireland and Euros for Ireland
10 Take the car north to Dunluce Castle. Next to this is the geologically impressive Giant’s Causeway and the Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge. The coast around Giant’s Causeway is great for hiking, if you have time in your Ireland itinerary.
11 🚗Belfast to Dublin Dep: 10:00 Arr: 13:30 🏨Clayton Charlemont (Book >) All hotels >
You can either return home from Belfast, or drive back to Dublin via the prehistoric monument of Newgrange. Be aware that road signs switch from MPH to KPH, travelling from N Ireland to Ireland.
12 Dublin to Home
(✈ Book >)
(🚄 Book >)
Dep: Afternoon Arr: Afternoon Connect this Ireland itinerary with the Belgium or France itinerary.
The ferry port and airport are far apart – choose your car rental location accordingly.
Budget Giant's Causeway, Northern Ireland
1 To Dublin
(✈ Book >)
(🚄 Book >)
Dep: Morning
Morning
Arr: Morning
Afternoon
🏨Jacobs Inn (Book >) All hostels >
When you arrive you should have time to pay a visit to St. Patrick’s Cathedral and Dublin Castle. If you’re planning to visit several sights then invest in a Dublin Pass.
2 Fans of Guinness will no doubt already know of the Guinness Storehouse, but any visitor will enjoy looking around this impressive brewery. More of a whiskey connoisseur? Then the Old Jameson Distillery is for you. Non-alcohol sights include O’Connell street, Ha’penny Bridge, Christ Church Cathedral, Trinity College Library and the Flea Market. In the evenings the pubs of Temple Bar is where to be. Get a Leap Card, which will save you money on public transport in several Irish cities including Dublin.
3 🚌Dublin to Cashel
🚌Cashel to Cork
🚌Cork (South Terrace) to Blarney
🚌Blarney to Cork (City Hall)
🚌Cork to Killarney
(Book >)
Dep: 08:00
Dep: 12:05
Dep: 13:55
Dep: 16:28
Dep: 17:30
Arr: 10:25
Arr: 13:45
Arr: 14:30
Arr: 17:12
Arr: 19:05
🏨Black Sheep Hostel (Book >) All hostels >
Driving to Killarney you’ll join the Ring of Kerry drive and enjoy stunning countryside scenery. On the way to Killarney you’ll pass the Rock of Cashel – worth a stop for this historic site. You can also divert to Blarney Castle and kiss the famous stone. Missed a bus? They are pretty frequent, so don’t worry.
4 Spend a day in Killarney National Park on a tour or by hiring a bike and be sure to visit Muckross Abbey, Ross Castle and Torc Waterfall. The town of Killarney is itself bursting with charm. A Heritage Card can save you money if you plan to visit several Irish heritage sites.
5 🚄Killarney to Tralee (Book >)
🚌Tralee to Dingle (Book >)
Dep: 10:20
Dep: 11:00
Arr: 10:58
Arr: 12:02
🏨Hideout Hostel (Book >) All hostels >
Once you arrive in Dingle head straight out on a hike to Annascaul, taking the bus back. Come prepared for rain. Lots and lots of rain.
6 🚌Dingle to Tralee (Book >)
🚌Tralee to Limerick (Book >)
🚌Limerick to Ennis (Book >)
🚌Ennis to Doolin (Book >)
Dep: 09:30
Dep: 11:00
Dep: 13:25
Dep: 14:30
Arr: 10:33
Arr: 13:05
Arr: 14:25
Arr: 15:35
🏨Aille River Holiday Hostel (Book >) All hostels >
You may want extra time to explore the Dingle Peninsula, but if not then head on to Doolin – famous for its music scene – where you’ll find plenty of lively pubs. You’re likely to hear a lot of Irish spoken in the Gaeltacht areas – learn a few words and make a good impression.
7 🚌Doolin to Galway (Book >) Dep: 13:33 Arr: 15:30 🏨Galway City Hostel (Book >) All hostels >
Doolin is the gateway to the Cliffs of Moher, where you’ll spend the first part of today (check bus times here). Unesco-listed Galway offers medieval walls, the fascinating Galway City Museum, cosy pubs, cute streets and the seaside Salthill Promenade. Seeing the Cliffs of Moher on a boat tour is highly recommended.
8 🚌Galway to Dublin (Book >) Dep: 10:15 Arr: 12:40 🏨Jacobs Inn (Book >) All hostels >
You probably didn’t get to see all of Dublin’s sights on day 2 of this Ireland itinerary, so here’s your chance to make up for what you missed. Remember to bring both GBP for Northern Ireland and Euros for Ireland.
9 🚌Dublin to Belfast (Book >) Dep: 08:15 Arr: 10:35 🏨Botanical Backpackers (Book >) All hostels >
Once you arrive into Belfast visit sights Belfast such as Titanic Belfast and Crumlin Road Gaol. Save money by taking a free walking tour (but don’t forget to tip).
10 Take the 09:30 tour to the Giant’s Causeway, on which you’ll also visit Carrickfergus Castle, the Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge and the Dark Hedges. A Heritage Card can save you money if you plan to visit several Irish heritage sites.
11 🚌Belfast to Dublin (Book >)
Dublin to Home
(✈ Book >)
(🚄 Book >)
Dep: 09:45
Dep: Afternoon
Arr: 11:40
Arr: Afternoon
Connect this Ireland itinerary with the Belgium or France itinerary.
The ferry port and airport are far apart – choose your bus route accordingly.

🇬🇷 GREECE

Lindos, Rhodes, Greece - Greece itineraryThere’s so much ancient history here that there’s a risk you’ll get blasé about seeing another 3,000 year-old pot. But then you realise walk through an old agora, or stand before a famous acropolis, or follow in the footsteps of knights and you appreciate Greece all over again.  Click for Luxury, Mid-range or Budget.
https://ko-fi.com/widgets/widget_2.jskofiwidget2.init(‘Help support this blog’, ‘#ab3801’, ‘A0A11OSAU’);kofiwidget2.draw();

Here’s your Greece itinerary:
[bws_pdfprint display=’print’]

Luxury Meteora, Greece
1 ✈Thessaloniki (Book >) Dep: Morning Arr: Afternoon 🏨The Excelsior(Book >) All hotels >
You should arrive in time to visit the 1,600 year-old Roman Rotunda Accommodation and transport can book up early in high season.
2 🚄Thessaloniki to Palaeofarsalos train
🚄Palaeofarsalos to Kalambaka train (Book >)
Dep: 15:15
Dep: 18:20
Arr: 16:59
Arr: 19:16
🏨Theatro Hotel Odysseon (Book >) All hotels >
Walk along Thessaloniki’s promenade to the Byzantine-era White Tower. The Church of the Holy Apostles, Arch of Galerius and Church of Saint Demetrius are also worth seeing. Make sure you always have some cash on you – many places don’t take card.
3 Go on a walking tour of the area, including to the famous monastery of Ypapanti and Great Meteoron or Varlaam. Make sure you’re covered up appropriately for entering the monasteries.
4 🚌Kalambaka to Delphi bus (Book >) Dep: 09:30 Arr: 13:30 🏨Nidimos Hotel (Book >) All hotels >
When the heat of the day has started to cool off, head for the Sanctuary of Apollo. There’s isn’t much info on site and so you’ll need to do your own research.
5 🚌Delphi to Athens bus (Book >) Dep: 11:00 Arr: 14:00 🏨Hotel Grande Bretagne (Book >) All hotels >
Wander around the Athens’s Agora (central market) and the beautiful neighbourhood of Plaka. Kumru is a delicious warm sandwich made of sesame bread, Turkish sausage (veggie options also available), grilled cheese and tomatoes.
6 Devote today to seeing the Acropolis and the National Archaeological Museum. This website provides good advice on buying tickets for the Acropolis.
7 🚕Athens to Piraeus
⛴️Piraeus to Rhodes (Book >)
Dep: 17:00
Dep: 18:00
Arr: 17:30 🏨On ferry
The Museum of Cycladic Art, Monastiraki Neighbourhood and Temple of Poseidon are worth visiting if you have time. Book a Lux cabin for tonight’s journey for supreme comfort.
8 ⛴️Piraeus to Rhodes Arr: 08:40 🏨In camera Art Boutique Hotel (Book >) All hotels >
A full day in which to visit the ancient sights of Rhodes Old Town. Must-see places include the Palace of the Grand Masters, the Street of the Knights, the Süleyman Mosque and the Archaeological Museum in the Hospital of the Knights. The Archaeological Museum is worth spending a few hours in and you can save money by buying a combined ticket with the Palace of the Grand Masters.
9 Take a day trip to Lindos and explore the town’s pretty streets and fascinating acropolis. In the evening head up Rhodes Old Town’s Roloi Clock Tower. Bring a snorkel and swim in the clear waters off of St Paul’s Bay.
10 ⛴️Rhodes to Symi (Book >) Dep: 10:00 Arr: 11:15 🏨Iapetos Village (Book >) All hotels >
Soak up the atmosphere in a harbourside café then take the bus to Panormitis Monastery. Back in town walk up the many steps to the Kástro. I recommend sitting on the right-hand side of the bus for the journey to Panormitis.
11 ⛴️Symi to Santorini (Book >) Dep: 17:15 🏨On ferry
Want more beach? Saint Nicholas Beach is either a short boat ride or long walk from town. This ferry service departs only once a week – plan your Greece itinerary accordingly.
12 ⛴️Symi to Santorini
🚕Port to hotel
Dep: 00:30 Arr: 00:15
Arr: 01:00
🏨Aenaon Villas (Book >) All hotels >
Visit Akrotiri, and the picturesque town of Oia from where you can take a stunningly beautiful hike to Fira. Don’t ride the donkeys in Santorini as they are often mistreated.
12 Soak in the views from your hotel or visit the beach – Ammoudi Bay is one of the best for a swim. Check what time cruise ships will be docking so as to avoid the crowds.
13 ⛴️Santorini to Mykonos ferry (Book >) Dep: 12:50 Arr: 15:35 🏨Myconian Kyma Design Hotel (Book >) All hotels >
Staying in the Chora you can spend time here and there drifting through the pretty whitewashed streets. Head down to Little Venice for sunset. Sea crossings can be rough – take some motion sickness tablets if necessary.
14 The Mykonos Windmills  are just a 15-minute walk from your hotel. Paraportiani Church is also worth visit, as are Platys Gialos, Agios Sostis and Ornos beaches. The windmills are a great place from which to watch sunset.
15 ✈Mykonos to Home (Book >) Dep: Afternoon Arr: Afternoon Connect this Greece itinerary with the Western Turkey or Hungary, Romania and Bulgaria itinerary
Book a transfer to the airport.
Mid-range Athens, Greece
1 ✈Thessaloniki (Book >) Dep: Morning Arr: Afternoon 🏨The Bristol Hotel (Book >) All hotels >
You should arrive in time to visit the 1,600 year-old Roman Rotunda Accommodation and transport can book up early in high season.
2 🚄Thessaloniki to Palaeofarsalos train
🚄Palaeofarsalos to Kalambaka train (Book >)
Dep: 15:15
Dep: 18:20
Arr: 16:59
Arr: 19:16
🏨Dellas Boutique Hotel (Book >) All hotels >
Walk along Thessaloniki’s promenade to the Byzantine-era White Tower. The Church of the Holy Apostles, Arch of Galerius and Church of Saint Demetrius are also worth seeing. Make sure you always have some cash on you – many places don’t take card.
3 Go on a walking tour of the area, including to the famous monastery of Ypapanti and Great Meteoron or Varlaam. Make sure you’re covered up appropriately for entering the monasteries.
4 🚌Kalambaka to Delphi bus (Book >) Dep: 09:30 Arr: 13:30 🏨Nidimos Hotel (Book >) All hotels >
When the heat of the day has started to cool off, head for the Sanctuary of Apollo. There’s isn’t much info on site and so you’ll need to do your own research.
5 🚌Delphi to Athens bus (Book >) Dep: 11:00 Arr: 14:00 🏨Rastoni Athens Suites  (Book >) All hotels >
Wander around the Athens’s Agora (central market) and the beautiful neighbourhood of Plaka. Kumru is a delicious warm sandwich made of sesame bread, Turkish sausage (veggie options also available), grilled cheese and tomatoes.
6 Devote today to seeing the Acropolis and the National Archaeological Museum – a highlight of this Greece itinerary This website provides good advice on buying tickets for the Acropolis.
7 🚕Athens to Piraeus
⛴️Piraeus to Rhodes (Book >)
Dep: 17:00
Dep: 18:00
Arr: 17:30 🏨On ferry
The Museum of Cycladic Art, Monastiraki Neighbourhood and Temple of Poseidon are worth visiting if you have time. Book an AA2, AS2 or AB2 cabin for tonight’s journey for supreme comfort.
8 ⛴️Piraeus to Rhodes Arr: 08:40 🏨Petrino (Book >) All hotels >
A full day in which to visit the ancient sights of Rhodes Old Town. Must-see places include the Palace of the Grand Masters, the Street of the Knights, the Süleyman Mosque and the Archaeological Museum in the Hospital of the Knights. The Archaeological Museum is worth spending a few hours in and you can save money by buying a combined ticket with the Palace of the Grand Masters.
9 Take a day trip to Lindos and explore the town’s pretty streets and fascinating acropolis. In the evening head up Rhodes Old Town’s Roloi Clock Tower. Bring a snorkel and swim in the clear waters off of St Paul’s Bay.
10 ⛴️Rhodes to Symi (Book >) Dep: 10:00 Arr: 11:15 🏨Captain’s Suites (Book >) All hotels >
Soak up the atmosphere in a harbourside café then take the bus to Panormitis Monastery. Back in town walk up the many steps to the Kástro. I recommend sitting on the right-hand side of the bus for the journey to Panormitis.
11 ⛴️Symi to Santorini (Book >) Dep: 17:15 🏨On ferry
Want more beach? Saint Nicholas Beach is either a short boat ride or long walk from town. This ferry service departs only once a week – plan your Greece itinerary accordingly.
12 ⛴️Symi to Santorini
🚕Port to hotel
Dep: 00:30 Arr: 00:15
Arr: 01:00
🏨Horizon Resort (Book >) All hotels >
Visit Akrotiri, and the picturesque town of Oia from where you can take a stunningly beautiful hike to Fira. Don’t ride the donkeys in Santorini as they are often mistreated.
12 Soak in the views from your hotel or visit the beach – Ammoudi Bay is one of the best for a swim. Check what time cruise ships will be docking so as to avoid the crowds.
13 ⛴️Santorini to Mykonos ferry (Book >) Dep: 12:50 Arr: 15:35 🏨Mouselis Studios (Book >) All hotels >
Staying in the Chora you can spend time here and there drifting through the pretty whitewashed streets. Head down to Little Venice for sunset. Sea crossings can be rough – take some motion sickness tablets if necessary.
14 The Mykonos Windmills  are just a 15-minute walk from your hotel. Paraportiani Church is also worth visit, as are Platys Gialos, Agios Sostis and Ornos beaches. The windmills are a great place from which to watch sunset.
15 ✈Mykonos to Home (Book >) Dep: Afternoon Arr: Afternoon Connect this Greece itinerary with the Western Turkey or Hungary, Romania and Bulgaria itinerary
Book a transfer to the airport.
Budget Santorini, Greece
1 ✈Thessaloniki (Book >) Dep: Morning Arr: Afternoon 🏨Crossroads (Book >) All hostels >
You should arrive in time to visit the 1,600 year-old Roman Rotunda. Accommodation and transport can book up early in high season.
2 🚄Thessaloniki to Palaeofarsalos train
🚄Palaeofarsalos to Kalambaka train (Book >)
Dep: 15:15
Dep: 18:20
Arr: 16:59
Arr: 19:16
🏨Meteora Central Hostel (Book >) All hostels >
Walk along Thessaloniki’s promenade to the Byzantine-era White Tower. The Church of the Holy Apostles, Arch of Galerius and Church of Saint Demetrius are also worth seeing. Make sure you always have some cash on you – many places don’t take card.
3 Go on a walking tour of the area, including to the famous monastery of Ypapanti and Great Meteoron or Varlaam. Ensure you’re covered up appropriately for entering the monasteries.
4 🚌Kalambaka to Delphi bus (Book >) Dep: 09:30 Arr: 13:30 🏨Sibylla Hotel (Book >) All hostels >
When the heat of the day has started to cool off, head for the Sanctuary of Apollo. There’s isn’t much info on site and so you’ll need to do your own research.
5 🚌Delphi to Athens bus (Book >) Dep: 11:00 Arr: 14:00 🏨City Circus Athens (Book >) All hostels >
Wander around the Athens’s Agora (central market) and the beautiful neighbourhood of Plaka. Kumru is a delicious warm sandwich made of sesame bread, Turkish sausage (veggie options also available), grilled cheese and tomatoes.
6 Devote today to seeing the Acropolis and the National Archaeological Museum – a highlight of this Greece itinerary This website provides good advice on buying tickets for the Acropolis.
7 🚕Athens to Piraeus
⛴️Piraeus to Rhodes (Book >)
Dep: 17:00
Dep: 18:00
Arr: 17:30 🏨On ferry
The Museum of Cycladic Art, Monastiraki Neighbourhood and Temple of Poseidon are worth visiting if you have time. Book a DOR (dormitory) cabin for tonight’s journey for supreme comfort.
8 ⛴️Piraeus to Rhodes Arr: 08:40 🏨Stay Hostel (Book >) All hostels >
A full day in which to visit the ancient sights of Rhodes Old Town. Must-see places include the Palace of the Grand Masters, the Street of the Knights, the Süleyman Mosque and the Archaeological Museum in the Hospital of the Knights. The Archaeological Museum is worth spending a few hours in and you can save money by buying a combined ticket with the Palace of the Grand Masters.
9 Take a day trip to Lindos and explore the town’s pretty streets and fascinating acropolis. In the evening head up Rhodes Old Town’s Roloi Clock Tower. Bring a snorkel and swim in the clear waters off of St Paul’s Bay.
10 ⛴️Rhodes to Symi (Book >) Dep: 10:00 Arr: 11:15 🏨Captain’s Suites (Book >) All hotels >
Soak up the atmosphere in a harbourside café then take the bus to Panormitis Monastery. Back in town walk up the many steps to the Kástro. I recommend sitting on the right-hand side of the bus for the journey to Panormitis.
11 ⛴️Symi to Santorini (Book >) Dep: 17:15 🏨On ferry
Want more beach? Saint Nicholas Beach is either a short boat ride or long walk from town. This ferry service departs only once a week – plan your Greece itinerary accordingly.
12 ⛴️Symi to Santorini
🚌Port to Fira (Info >)
Dep: 00:30 Arr: 00:15
Arr: 01:00
🏨Villa Manos (Book >) All hotels >
Visit Akrotiri, and the picturesque town of Oia from where you can take a stunningly beautiful hike to Fira. The bus meets every large Blue Star ferry arrival and stops outside the villa.
12 Soak in the views from your hotel or visit the beach – Ammoudi Bay is one of the best for a swim. Check what time cruise ships will be docking so as to avoid the crowds.
13 ⛴️Santorini to Mykonos ferry (Book >) Dep: 12:50 Arr: 15:35 🏨Morfoulas Studios (Book >) All hotels >
Staying in the Chora you can spend time here and there drifting through the pretty whitewashed streets. Head down to Little Venice for sunset. Sea crossings can be rough – take some motion sickness tablets if necessary.
14 The Mykonos Windmills  are just a 15-minute walk from your hotel. Paraportiani Church is also worth visit, as are Platys Gialos, Agios Sostis and Ornos beaches. The windmills are a great place from which to watch sunset.
15 ✈Mykonos to Home (Book >) Dep: Afternoon Arr: Afternoon Connect this Greece itinerary with the Western Turkey or Hungary, Romania and Bulgaria itinerary
Book a transfer to the airport.

🇭🇺🇷🇴🇧🇬 HUNGARY, ROMANIA & BULGARIA

Bran Castle, Romania - Hungary, Romania & Bulgaria itineraryThree countries, 11 unforgettable, action-packed days. Beautiful cities, medieval towns, ancient castles, huge forests and wild mountains – this itinerary has it all. Click for Luxury, Mid-range or Budget.
https://ko-fi.com/widgets/widget_2.jskofiwidget2.init(‘Help support this blog’, ‘#ab3801’, ‘A0A11OSAU’);kofiwidget2.draw();

Here’s your Hungary, Romania & Bulgaria itinerary:
[bws_pdfprint display=’print’]

Luxury Budapest, Hungary
1 ✈To Budapest (Book >) Dep: Morning Arr: Afternoon 🏨Aria Hotel Budapest (Book >) All hotels >
Upon arrival into Budapest, visit the immense St Stephen’s Basilica. If you’re not up for much walking, buy a public transport pass at the airport.
2 Walk over the chain bridge and marvel at the views from Fisherman’s Bastion, including over the impressive Hungarian Parliament Building, then continue on to Buda Castle (under which is The Hospital in the Rock) and Heroes’ Square. Try to catch a performance at the beautiful Hungarian State Opera House. There are many interesting free walking tours in Budapest (don’t forget to tip!)
3 🚄Budapest to Sighișoara train (Book >) Dep: 23:10 🏨Train
Begin your day with a tour around Vajdahunyad Castle then go for a soak in the healing waters of the famous Széchenyi Thermal Baths. Buying an Interrail pass (Eurail pass if you don’t live in Europe) can save you money.
4 🚄Budapest to Sighișoara train Arr: 11:06 🏨DoubleTree by Hilton (Book >) All hotels >
Sighișoara’s well-preserved old town walls encircle the 12th century citadel in which you’ll find the clock tower (good views form the top), the Monastery Church, the bust of Vlad Tepes and the Covered Staircase which leads to the Church on the Hill. If you have a little more time then hike or bike into the Transylvanian countryside and up to the Breite plateau. This is the town in which Vlad Tepes (aka Vlad the Impaler/Dracula) was born – his birth home is now a restaurant (Casa Vlad Dracul).
5 🚄Sighișoara to Braşov train (Book >) Dep: 11:08 Arr: 13:46 🏨Hotel Kronwell (Book >) All hotels >
Once you’ve dropped your bags at the hotel walk to the medieval Catherine’s Gate and then along the city wall. Squeeze down String Street (Strada Sforii) – at 4ft wide reputedly the narrowest in Europe. Visit Saint Nicholas Basilica and admire the ornate interior. Beware of pickpockets, especially in crowded areas and larger train stations.
6 Take a taxi to Bran Castle – one of several deemed to be the home of Dracula, but certainly the most photogenic. Consider adding a day to explore other castles in the area including Corvin Castle, where Vlad Tepes was allegedly held prisoner for several years. Learn a few basic Romanian words and phrases.
7 🚄Braşov to Bucharest train
(Book >)
Dep: 11:20 Arr: 14:05 🏨Hotel Epoque (Book >) All hotels >
The immense Palace of Parliament – one of the world’s largest buildings – is a good place to start in Bucharest. Stroll around Cișmigiu Gardens and the cobbled streets of Old Town (don’t miss Stavropoleos Church). Although cheaper, Romania’s R-trains are slower – spend just a little more to make the most of your time here.
8 🚄Bucharest to Veliko Tarnovo train (Book >) Dep: 12:40 Arr: 20:41 🏨Agusta Spa Hotel (Book >) All hotels >
In Bucharest go to Revolution Square (Piața Revoluției) – an important place in Romania’s history. This site has useful Bucharest public transport info.
9 🚌Veliko Tarnovo to Sofia bus
(Book >)
Dep: 16:15 Arr: 19:15 🏨Sense Hotel Sofia (Book >) All hotels >
Bursting with history, the Bulgarian mountain city of Veliko Tarnovo has a wonderful old town which is best explored on foot. The Tsaravets fortress is a must-see. Bus travel is faster than train travel in Bulgaria.
10 Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, the National History Museum, the Sveti Georgi Rotunda are all must-sees. If you’ve some spare time then the National Palace Of Culture often has great events and fascinating exhibitions. Pick up souvenirs at Bitaka Flea Market. Learning some basic Bulgarian Cyrillic can help you get around, especially if you stay in the country for more than a few days.
11 Sofia to Home (✈Book >) Dep: Afternoon Arr: Afternoon Connect this Hungary, Romania & Bulgaria itinerary with the Slovenia & Croatia, Western Turkey or Austria & Munich itinerary
Not ready to go home? Extend your Hungary, Romania & Bulgaria itinerary with a visit to Bulgaria’s beautiful Black Sea beaches.
Mid-range Brasov, Romania
1 ✈To Budapest (Book >) Dep: Morning Arr: Afternoon 🏨Hotel Bo33 Family & Suites (Book >) All hotels >
Upon arrival into Budapest, visit the immense St Stephen’s Basilica. If you’re not up for much walking, buy a public transport pass at the airport.
2 Walk over the chain bridge and marvel at the views from Fisherman’s Bastion, including over the impressive Hungarian Parliament Building, then continue on to Buda Castle (under which is The Hospital in the Rock) and Heroes’ Square. Try to catch a performance at the beautiful Hungarian State Opera House. There are many interesting free walking tours in Budapest (don’t forget to tip!)
3 🚄Budapest to Sighișoara train (Book >) Dep: 23:10 🏨Train
Begin your day with a tour around Vajdahunyad Castle then go for a soak in the healing waters of the famous Széchenyi Thermal Baths. Buying an Interrail pass (Eurail pass if you don’t live in Europe) can save you money.
4 🚄Budapest to Sighișoara train Arr: 11:06 🏨Casa Savri (Book >) All hotels >
Sighișoara’s well-preserved old town walls encircle the 12th century citadel in which you’ll find the clock tower (good views form the top), the Monastery Church, the bust of Vlad Tepes and the Covered Staircase which leads to the Church on the Hill. If you have a little more time then hike or bike into the Transylvanian countryside and up to the Breite plateau. This is the town in which Vlad Tepes (aka Vlad the Impaler/Dracula) was born – his birth home is now a restaurant (Casa Vlad Dracul).
5 🚄Sighișoara to Braşov train (Book >) Dep: 11:08 Arr: 13:46 🏨Casa Veche (Book >) All hotels >
Once you’ve dropped your bags at the hotel walk to the medieval Catherine’s Gate and then along the city wall. Squeeze down String Street (Strada Sforii) – at 4ft wide reputedly the narrowest in Europe. Visit Saint Nicholas Basilica and admire the ornate interior. Beware of pickpockets, especially in crowded areas and larger train stations.
6 Take a 35-minute bus journey from terminal #2 to Bran Castle – one of several deemed to be the home of Dracula, but certainly the most photogenic. Consider adding a day to explore other castles in the area including Corvin Castle, where Vlad Tepes was allegedly held prisoner for several years. Learn a few basic Romanian words and phrases.
7 🚄Braşov to Bucharest train
(Book >)
Dep: 11:20 Arr: 14:05 🏨Hotel Christina (Book >) All hotels >
The immense Palace of Parliament – one of the world’s largest buildings – is a good place to start in Bucharest. Stroll around Cișmigiu Gardens and the cobbled streets of Old Town (don’t miss Stavropoleos Church). Although cheaper, Romania’s R-trains are slower – spend just a little more to make the most of your time here.
8 🚄Bucharest to Veliko Tarnovo train (Book >) Dep: 12:40 Arr: 20:41 🏨Gurko (Book >) All hotels >
In Bucharest go to Revolution Square (Piața Revoluției) – an important place in Romania’s history. This site has useful Bucharest public transport info.
9 🚌Veliko Tarnovo to Sofia bus
(Book >)
Dep: 16:15 Arr: 19:15 🏨InterContinental Sofia (Book >) All hotels >
Bursting with history, the Bulgarian mountain city of Veliko Tarnovo has a wonderful old town which is best explored on foot. The Tsaravets fortress is a must-see. Bus travel is faster than train travel in Bulgaria.
10 Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, the National History Museum, the Sveti Georgi Rotunda are all must-sees. If you’ve some spare time then the National Palace Of Culture often has great events and fascinating exhibitions. Pick up souvenirs at Bitaka Flea Market. Learning some basic Bulgarian Cyrillic can help you get around, especially if you stay in the country for more than a few days.
11 Sofia to Home (✈Book >) Dep: Afternoon Arr: Afternoon Connect this Hungary, Romania & Bulgaria itinerary with the Slovenia & Croatia, Western Turkey or Austria & Munich itinerary
Not ready to go home? Extend your Hungary, Romania & Bulgaria itinerary with a visit to  Bulgaria’s beautiful Black Sea beaches.
Budget Sofia, Bulgaria
1 ✈To Budapest (Book >) Dep: Morning Arr: Afternoon 🏨AVAIL Hostel (Boo k >) All hostels >
Upon arrival into Budapest, visit the immense St Stephen’s Basilica. If you’re not up for much walking, buy a public transport pass at the airport.
2 Walk over the chain bridge and marvel at the views from Fisherman’s Bastion, including over the impressive Hungarian Parliament Building, then continue on to Buda Castle (under which is The Hospital in the Rock) and Heroes’ Square. Try to catch a performance at the beautiful Hungarian State Opera House. There are many interesting free walking tours in Budapest (don’t forget to tip!)
3 🚄Budapest to Sighișoara train (Book >) Dep: 23:10 🏨Train
Begin your day with a tour around Vajdahunyad Castle then go for a soak in the healing waters of the famous Széchenyi Thermal Baths. Buying an Interrail pass (Eurail pass if you don’t live in Europe) can save you money.
4 🚄Budapest to Sighișoara train Arr: 11:06 🏨Burg Hostel (Book >) All hostels >
Sighișoara’s well-preserved old town walls encircle the 12th century citadel in which you’ll find the clock tower (good views form the top), the Monastery Church, the bust of Vlad Tepes and the Covered Staircase which leads to the Church on the Hill. If you have a little more time then hike or bike into the Transylvanian countryside and up to the Breite plateau. This is the town in which Vlad Tepes (aka Vlad the Impaler/Dracula) was born – his birth home is now a restaurant (Casa Vlad Dracul).
5 🚄Sighișoara to Braşov train (Book >) Dep: 11:08 Arr: 13:46 🏨Hostel Boemia (Book >) All hostels >
Once you’ve dropped your bags at the hotel walk to the medieval Catherine’s Gate and then along the city wall. Squeeze down String Street (Strada Sforii) – at 4ft wide reputedly the narrowest in Europe. Visit Saint Nicholas Basilica and admire the ornate interior. Beware of pickpockets, especially in crowded areas and larger train stations.
6 Take a 35-minute bus journey from terminal #2 to Bran Castle – one of several deemed to be the home of Dracula, but certainly the most photogenic. Consider adding a day to explore other castles in the area including Corvin Castle, where Vlad Tepes was allegedly held prisoner for several years. Learn a few basic Romanian words and phrases.
7 🚄Braşov to Bucharest train
(Book >)
Dep: 11:20 Arr: 14:05 🏨Mil Pasos Penthouse Hostel (Book >) All hostels >
The immense Palace of Parliament – one of the world’s largest buildings – is a good place to start in Bucharest. Stroll around Cișmigiu Gardens and the cobbled streets of Old Town (don’t miss Stavropoleos Church). Although cheaper, Romania’s R-trains are slower – spend just a little more to make the most of your time here.
8 🚄Bucharest to Veliko Tarnovo train (Book >) Dep: 12:40 Arr: 20:41 🏨Rooster Hostel (Book >) All hostels >
In Bucharest go to Revolution Square (Piața Revoluției) – an important place in Romania’s history. This site has useful Bucharest public transport info.
9 🚌Veliko Tarnovo to Sofia bus
(Book >)
Dep: 16:15 Arr: 19:15 🏨Hostel Mostel (Book >) All hostels >
Bursting with history, the Bulgarian mountain city of Veliko Tarnovo has a wonderful old town which is best explored on foot. The Tsaravets fortress is a must-see. Bus travel is faster than train travel in Bulgaria.
10 Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, the National History Museum, the Sveti Georgi Rotunda are all must-sees. If you’ve some spare time then the National Palace Of Culture often has great events and fascinating exhibitions. Pick up souvenirs at Bitaka Flea Market. Learning some basic Bulgarian Cyrillic can help you get around, especially if you stay in the country for more than a few days.
11 Sofia to Home (✈Book >) Dep: Afternoon Arr: Afternoon Connect this Hungary, Romania & Bulgaria itinerary with the Slovenia & Croatia, Western Turkey or Austria & Munich itinerary
Not ready to go home? Extend your Hungary, Romania & Bulgaria itinerary with a visit to Bulgaria’s beautiful Black Sea beaches.

🇸🇪 SWEDEN

Stockholm, Sweden - Sweden itineraryFrom the vast, open landscapes of Lapland, to the sunny beaches of Gotland, this Sweden itinerary offers many amazing sights for visitors. Click for Luxury, Mid-range or Budget.
https://ko-fi.com/widgets/widget_2.jskofiwidget2.init(‘Help support this blog’, ‘#ab3801’, ‘A0A11OSAU’);kofiwidget2.draw();

Here’s your Sweden itinerary:
[bws_pdfprint display=’print’]

Luxury Treehotel, Sweden
1 ✈To Luleå (Book >) Dep: Morning Arr: Afternoon 🏨Treehotel (Book >) All hotels >
Take a taxi for the 1 hr 15 mins drive to your hotel from the airport. The fastest flight times involve leaving in the afternoon and arriving into Luleå in the evening.
2 Go hiking in Lapland, get some white water rafting thrills, glide along calm waters in a canoe, go on a moose safari and, at the end of the day, relax in the tree sauna. You may want to add on some extra days… Book activities well in advance.
3 🚄Boden to Orebro train (Book >) Dep: 17:49 🏨Train
You’ll have most of today to enjoy more of this beautiful part of Sweden. Arrange a transfer to the train station (which should take about 35 mins) then relax in a comfy couchette for the overnight journey to Orebro. Buying an Interrail pass (Eurail pass if you don’t live in Europe) can save you money.
4 🚄Boden to Orebro train Arr: 07:31 🏨Clarion Hotel Örebro (Book >) All hotels >
A day on which to soak in the sights of ancient Örebro, the most impressive which is the immense Örebro castle. The city park is one of the most beautiful in Sweden and the Wadköping open-air museum is also well worth a visit. Tap water is good and tasty in Sweden – remember to bring a refillable bottle.
5 🚄Örebro to Gothenburg train (Book >) Dep: 09:12 Arr: 12:10 🏨Upper House (Book >) All hotels >
Head up Gothenburg’s 17th century Skansen Kronan, then take a look at the picturesque wooden houses in nearby Haga. Buy a travel card for Gothenburg, which will save you hassle and money – it also includes ferry journeys.
6 Slottsskogen is a free-to-enter park and mini-zoo in the city centre. If you’re in need of some culture, the Gothenburg Museum of Art comes highly recommended. Like fish? Then a visit to the Fish Market Feskekörka is a must, or go to the trendy shopping district of Magasinsgatan instead. The well-preserved Älvsborg Fortress is a fun excursion. Got some spare time? The four-day cycle ride from Helsingborg to Båstad comes highly recommended.
7 🚄Gothenburg to Mariestad train (Book >)
⛴️Mariestad to Vassbacken cruise (Book >)
Dep: 08:25
Dep: 11:30
Arr: 11:08
Arr: 22:15
🏨M/S Wilhelm Tham All hotels >
Transfer to Mariestad where you’ll join the M/S Wilhelm Tham and cruise along the Göta Canal over Lake Vänern to the locks at Sjötorp and Hajstorp. Apart from the two honeymoon suites, most cabins on the historic M/S Wilhelm Tham  have bunk beds.
8 ⛴️Vassbacken to Ljung cruise Dep: 11:17
Dep: 12:46
Arr: 12:07
Arr: 13:25
🏨M/S Wilhelm Tham All hotels >
Continuing along the Göta Canal you’ll reach the highest point at the obelisk, pass through the Tåtorp locks and along beautiful Lake Viken. Next comes Forsvik Lock and the historic Forsviks Bruk village. Lake Vättern is Sweden’s second largest in Sweden, beyond which is the lock staircase at Borenshul, beautiful Borensburg village and the berth at Ljung. You can also hire your own boat to cruise along the Göta Canal.
9 ⛴️Borensberg to Norsholm cruise
(Book >)
🚄Norsholm to Stockholm (Book >)
Dep: 11:17
Dep: 12:46
Arr: 12:07
Arr: 13:25
🏨Grand Hôtel Stockholm (Book >) All hotels >
Into the longest lock staircase on the canal at Berg, then Lake Roxen and ending at Norsholm Lock. In Stockholm take in the magnificent sight of an almost fully intact 17th century war ship at the Vasa Museum. Nearby is the equally…impressive ABBA Museum. The Downtown Camper hotel has great views from its rooftop bar.
9-10 Visit the royal family’s palace, head out to the open-air museum of Skansen, wander around the streets of Gamla Stan, look at the amazing photography at Fotografiska Museet, learn about the Nobel Price at the Nobelmuseet. Stockholm is quickly becoming a cash-free city and so you may not want to bring too much.
11 Stockholm to Home
(✈Book >)
Dep: Afternoon Arr: Evening Connect this Sweden itinerary with the Germany or Estonia itinerary
Want to extend your Sweden Itinerary? Take a look at the Gotland journey at the end of the Mid-range itinerary.
Mid-range Örebro castle, Sweden
1 ✈To Kiruna (Book >)
🚄Kiruna to Abisko Östra train (Book >)
Dep: Morning
Dep: 14:49
Arr: Afternoon
Arr: 15:54
🏨Hotel Abisko Mountain Lodge (Book >) All hotels >
Arriving late Oct to mid-March? You’ll get here after sunset and in time to hopefully see the Northern Lights. To make this journey in one day you’ll need to catch a very early flight.
2 There are a number of excellent hiking trails in Abisko National Park, you can also visit the Sámi village of Rávttas. If you’re here outside of warmer months then skiing, dog sledding, Arctic reindeer sledding and chasing the Northern Lights are all popular things to do. If you’re really into hiking then Abisko is the start of the famous 400km King’s Trail, or Kungsleden.
3 🚄Abisko Östra – Gävle C train
(Book >)
Dep: 16:44 🏨Train
You’ll have most of today to enjoy more of this beautiful part of Sweden. Relax in a comfy couchette for the overnight journey to Gävle C. Buying an Interrail pass (Eurail pass if you don’t live in Europe) can save you money.
4 🚄Abisko Östra to Gävle C train
🚄Gävle C to Orebro train (Book >)
Dep: 08:24 Arr: 07:35
Arr: 10:55
🏨Clarion Hotel Örebro (Book >) All hotels >
A day on which to soak in the sights of ancient Örebro, the most impressive which is the immense Örebro castle. The city park is one of the most beautiful in Sweden and the Wadköping open-air museum is also well worth a visit. Tap water is good and tasty in Sweden – remember to bring a refillable bottle.
5 🚄Örebro to  Motala train (Book >)
🚄Motala to Hallsberg train
🚄Hallsberg to Gothenburg train (Book >)
Dep: 08:11
Dep: 09:12
Dep: 17:43
Arr: 09:26
Arr: 17:06
Arr: 20:05
🏨Hotel Pigalle (Book >) All hotels >
Divert your journey to Gothenburg with a stop at Motala and a boat trip along the Göta Canal, departing at 10:30 and returning at 15:30 (May to Sep only). Buy a travel card for Gothenburg, which will save you hassle and money – it also includes ferry journeys.
6 Head up Gothenburg’s 17th century Skansen Kronan, then take a look at the picturesque wooden houses in nearby Haga. Like fish? Then a visit to the Fish Market Feskekörka is a must, or go to the trendy shopping district of Magasinsgatan instead. The well-preserved Älvsborg Fortress is a fun excursion. Got some spare time? The four-day cycle ride from Helsingborg to Båstad comes highly recommended.
7 🚄Gothenburg to Stockholm train (Book >) Dep: 16:19 Arr: 19:43 🏨Radisson Blu Waterfront Hotel (Book >) All hotels >
Gothenburg’s Slottsskogen is a free-to-enter park and mini-zoo in the city centre. If you’re in need of some culture, the Gothenburg Museum of Art comes highly recommended. Stockholm’s Downtown Camper hotel has great views from its rooftop bar.
8-9 Take in the magnificent sight of an almost fully intact 17th century war ship at the Vasa Museum. Nearby is the equally…impressive ABBA Museum. Visit the royal family’s palace, head out to the open-air museum of Skansen, wander around the streets of Gamla Stan, look at the amazing photography at Fotografiska Museet, learn about the Nobel Price at the Nobelmuseet. Stockholm is quickly becoming a cash-free city and so you may not want to bring too much.
10 🚌Stockholm to Nynäshamn bus
⛴️Nynäshamn to Visby ferry (Book >)
Dep: 11:30
Dep: 13:15
Arr: 12:30
Arr: 16:30
🏨Clarion Hotel Visby (Book >) All hotels >
Gaze out to sea as you glide over the Baltic Sea to the island of Gotland The ferry journey is usually smooth, but you may wish to take motion sickness tablets just in case.
11-12 Over the next couple of days be sure to take in Visby’s Burmeister House, walk along the city wall and the views from Klinten. Visby is full of church ruins – see if you can get to all 15 within the city walls. The Gotlands Museum makes for a fascinating visit. Hire a bicycle and explore the coast in either direction from Visby. Stockholm is quickly becoming a cash-free city and so you may not want to bring too much.
13 Visby to Home (✈Book >) Dep: Morning Arr: Afternoon Connect this Sweden itinerary with the Germany or Estonia itinerary
If you’re doing this Sweden itinerary in the summer take Flygbussarna coach to the airport, at other times of year you can take bus route 61 or a short taxi ride.
Budget Abisko National Park, Sweden
1 ✈To Kiruna (Book >)
🚄Kiruna to Abisko Östra train (Book >)
Dep: Morning
Dep: 14:49
Arr: Afternoon
Arr: 15:59
🏨Abisko Turiststation (Book >) All hotels >
Arriving late Oct to mid-March? You’ll get here after sunset and in time to hopefully see the Northern Lights. To make this journey in one day you’ll need to catch a very early flight.
2 There are a number of excellent hiking trails in Abisko National Park, you can also visit a Sámi camp, take the chair lift to Nuolja and go in search of the Northern Lights, If you’re really into hiking then Abisko is the start of the famous 400km King’s Trail, or Kungsleden.
3 🚄Abisko Östra – Gävle C train
(Book >)
Dep: 16:38 🏨Train
You’ll have most of today to enjoy more of this beautiful part of Sweden. Settle into your seat for the overnight journey to Gävle C. Buying an Interrail pass (Eurail pass if you don’t live in Europe) can save you money.
4 🚄Abisko Östra to Gävle C train
🚄Gävle C to Orebro train (Book >)
🚄Örebro to Gothenburg train (Book >)
Dep: 08:24
Dep: 17:19
Arr: 07:35
Arr: 10:55
Arr: 19:55
🏨Linnéplatsens Hotel & Hostel (Book >) All hostels >
A day in which to soak in the sights of ancient Örebro, the most impressive which is the immense Örebro castle. The city park is one of the most beautiful in Sweden and the Wadköping open-air museum is also well worth a visit. Örebro station has a left luggage facility.
5-6 Head up Gothenburg’s 17th century Skansen Kronan, then take a look at the picturesque wooden houses in nearby Haga. Like fish? Then a visit to the Fish Market Feskekörka is a must, or go to the trendy shopping district of Magasinsgatan instead. The well-preserved Älvsborg Fortress is a fun excursion. Buy a travel card for Gothenburg, which will save you hassle and money – it also includes ferry journeys.
7 🚄Gothenburg to Hallsberg train
🚄Hallsberg to Motala train  (Book >)
🚄Motala to Linköping train
🚄Linköping to Stockholm train (Book >)
Dep: 06:04
Dep: 08:46
Dep: 16:05
Dep: 17:00
Arr: 08:25
Arr: 09:26
Arr: 16:44
Arr: 18:41
🏨Red Boat Mälaren (Book >) All hostels >
Divert your journey to Stockholm with a stop at Motala and a boat trip along the Göta Canal, departing at 10:30 and returning at 15:30 (May to Sep only). Stockholm’s Downtown Camper hotel has great views from its rooftop bar.
8-9 Take in the magnificent sight of an almost fully intact 17th century war ship at the Vasa Museum. Nearby is the equally…impressive ABBA Museum. Visit the royal family’s palace, head out to the open-air museum of Skansen, wander around the streets of Gamla Stan, look at the amazing photography at Fotografiska Museet, learn about the Nobel Price at the Nobelmuseet. Stockholm is quickly becoming a cash-free city and so you may not want to bring too much.
10 🚌Stockholm to Nynäshamn bus
⛴️Nynäshamn to Visby ferry (Book >)
Dep: 11:30
Dep: 13:15
Arr: 12:30
Arr: 16:30
🏨Visby home rental (Book >) All hotels >
Gaze out to sea as you glide over the Baltic Sea to the island of Gotland The ferry journey is usually smooth, but you may wish to take motion sickness tablets just in case.
11-12 Over the next couple of days be sure to take in Visby’s Burmeister House, walk along the city wall and the views from Klinten. Visby is full of church ruins – see if you can get to all 15 within the city walls. The Gotlands Museum makes for a fascinating visit. Hire a bicycle and explore the coast in either direction from Visby. Stockholm is quickly becoming a cash-free city and so you may not want to bring too much.
13 Visby to Home (✈Book >) Dep: Morning Arr: Afternoon Connect this Sweden itinerary with the Germany or Estonia itinerary
If you’re doing this Sweden itinerary in the summer take Flygbussarna coach to the airport, at other times of year you can take bus route 61 or a short taxi ride.