Venice and Burano Italy at a Glance

General information

From architecture, glass, clothing, art, lace, to modern-day cars…Italy makes the best-of-the-best. This exceptional and sophisticated Italian design style is clearly evident in Venice.

The patina that casts its ageless shadow over Venice makes it one of the most unique and interesting places in the world. Venice is also one of the most recognizable cities due to the fact that there are no roads or cars, but rather a labyrinthine series of canals and pedestrian-only alleyways.

If you've never been to Venice, you'll want to have a look at this video. 

45° 26' 33.7992" N, 12° 18' 55.638" E

Antique and Vintage Shopping in Barcelona

The feeling of antique and vintage shopping is like no other.

That rush of adrenaline and sense of restlessness as you search for that one thing the high street stores just don’t seem to be offering- and when you finally find that thing, the feeling is indescribable. Many describe Barcelona with the words hipster or edgy and although a little cringey, we’d have to agree.

This makes Barcelona the ultimate place to go antique shopping, the city full to the brim of hidden treasure troves and backstreet stores perfect for every vintage Vinnie.


Here’s Some of Our Favorite Places to Buy Old in Barcelona:

Mercat del Encants

The Mercat del Encants, is the largest second-hand market in the city and was built all the way back in the 14th century! This market is the ideal place for those that like to dig deep for their jewels, as its well known for having just as much useless junk, as stunning one of a kind treasures. 

The market is open on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday from 09:00-20:00 and stays open longer during the summer. There are antique auctions on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 07:00-09:00 for commercial buyers, and again at 12:00 when the unsold goods drop in price.

If you can, avoid going on a Saturday as this is the busiest day at the market.  


Dominical de Sant Antoni

The neighbourhood of Sant Antoni is home to an abundance of unique brunch spots, vegan grab and go’s, and one of a kind vintage boutiques. It is also the home of Sant Antoni Market. 

During the week, the market sells everything from clothing and homeware outside, to fresh fruit and other local produce, inside. On Sundays, the market holds its weekly Dominical de Sant Antoni, exclusively for antique goods. Here you can find such vintage gems like second-hand books, comics, postcards, newspapers, and stamps. The Dominical de Sant Antoni takes place from 08:30 to 14:30 every week.


Mercat de Colom Antique Market

Located next to the city landmark of Christopher Columbus at the end of La Rambla, the Port Antic Market is held every Saturday and sells old photographs, oil paintings, frames, records, cameras, vintage toys, and other antique gems. It’s right in the centre of the city so you’re sure to see it live in action wherever you end up during your stay in Barcelona.  


Flea Markets

If you know where to look, you can find a flea market in Barcelona every weekend of the year. It’s in these markets where you can find some of the best vintage gems, at some of the best prices. Flea Market Barcelona has been taking place for over 10 years and takes place at least twice a month in two different spots in the Raval district.

The Lost and Found Market is a slightly newer addition to the antique scene and takes place four times a year. As well as letting attendees buy, sell, and exchange second-hand treasures at a great price, there’s also live music and food stalls. 


Vintage Shopping @ Carrer Tallers

If rummaging around market stalls isn’t really your thing, we suggest heading down Carrer Tallers, a street just off La Rambla, home to many vintage shops and record stores. Our favourites are Flamingo Market Vintage, where you pay for the total weight of your finds and Holala Vintage, a store that has vintage goods dating all the way back to the 1950’s.


Ranthambore: Witness Tigers in their Element

A Golden triangle tour, adding Ranthambore to the mix, is a popular choice among those tourists who wish to experience the joy of being in nature and witnessing wildlife in its true form.

People visit Ranthambore mainly to go to the Ranthambore National Park, a home for Bengal tigers and many other fauna and flora. Known to be the fourteenth largest national park in India, Ranthambore is an easily accessible destination that many people take a detour to while visiting other parts of Rajasthan.

It was established in 1955 and later declared as the site for Project Tiger.

It is the perfect weekend getaway from many Jaipur locals as well as tourists because it is barely 160 kms away.


Here are some of the things that you can do in and around Ranthambore:

Tiger Trail

The Royal Bengal tiger is a sight to behold roaming around in its natural habitat with a majestic grace that is incomparable. Ranthambore is considered to be one of the best national parks to spot the famed animal because it can often be spotted in the vast lands of deciduous forests.


Ranthambore Fort

Built in the 10th century, Ranthambore Fort is an imposing presence in the national park as it overlooks the entire park. Hiking to the fort can be an exhilarating experience because you can spot eagles and vultures from here very easily.

The sweet peacefulness of the nature is an added bonus. Recognized by the UNESCO World Heritage Sites as one of the Hill Forts of Rajasthan, one might as well visit it.


Jungle Safari

Carried out at 6:00 am and 2:00 pm, you have an option of choosing between a six seater and a twenty seater which experts drive around specific trails. Because the park is divided into different zones, some are inaccessible to common people. However, considering that the tigers are spotted by many a tourists, it is safe to assume that your trip to Ranthambore won’t go to waste.


Hot Air Ballooning

Recently introduced in the area, hot air ballooning is fast becoming one of the most popular activities in the area. The thought of having an overview of the imposing forests and historic buildings all the while sailing peacefully in the sky is an idea that is hard to be unappealing to anyone.

The national park in itself is a destination that is worth detouring to, but the various activities that come alongside watching the tigers is what makes the experience so enthralling. Considering that there is no dearth of resorts in the area, you can stay assured that the experience will definitely not be a let down.


Planning a Trip to Colonial Williamsburg

If you are a history buff, if you’re the type who likes to learn new things while on vacation, or if you’re simply looking for a unique destination for your next trip, you should definitely consider staying a few days at Colonial Williamsburg.

It is one of the most famous living history museums in the world, and is located in the American state of Virginia.

Here you can see actors dressed in historically accurate period costumes depict what daily life was like in the 18th century.


Read on for some tips on how to plan your trip:

Book a Tour

One of the first things you should do is book a tour. History is all well and good, but it becomes twice as fun and exciting when it involves ghosts and stories about the supernatural.

Williamsburg is one of the oldest cities in Virginia, and throughout its 350-year history, it has seen more than its fair share of tragedy and violence. First, the entire town of Colonial Williamsburg was built on top of sacred Native American burial grounds, which leads locals to believe that the spirits of the dead still haunt the place.

The town was also the witness to the horrific Williamsburg Witch Trials, where the accused were tortured and sentenced to death.


Where to Stay

Once you’ve booked a Williamsburg ghost tour, you can decide where to stay during your visit to the historical town. There are several options within the area, suitable for different groups and budgets.

A budget friendly option that’s also great for families is the Governor’s Inn, located just a short walk away from Colonial Williamsburg. For the full 18th century experience, stay instead at the Authentic Accommodations in the heart of the Historic District.


Things to See and Do

There are plenty of things to see and do in the Historic District, including dropping by the Anderson Blacksmith Shop and Armory, the apothecary, the foundry, and the courthouse.

In these places you will see how weapons and tools were made, how illnesses were treated, and how justice was served during the Colonial times. You may even have the chance to participate in some activities, such as attending a court session, or helping brick makers make bricks.

Later on, whether you are traveling with friends, family, or your significant other, make sure to ride around the town in an authentic horse-drawn carriage—for bigger groups and families, they have wagons that can seat up to nine people.



Of course, food is an important part of any trip, and luckily, there are several delicious dining options in and around Colonial Williamsburg. For classic American fare in a family-friendly setting, check out Huzzah’s Eatery.

For a more luxurious dining experience, head to the Rockefeller Room, a fine dining restaurant with a traditional Southern flair and influences from the 18th century British Empire.



Finish your trip with a relaxing round of golf or pampering session at the full service Spa of Colonial Williamsburg. Choose from an array of indulgent treatments such as the Colonial orange and ginger scrub and massage.


With some careful planning and enough time to see all the places that interest you, your visit to Colonial Williamsburg will surely be an enjoyable and unforgettable one.


Ideas For A Fun Weekend In New York

New York is a wonderful and incredibly diverse city with so much to see and so many places to go that no matter how long you stayed, you would probably never run out of interesting things to do.

However, if all you have time (and/or money) for is a weekend in the Big Apple, here are a few fun ideas to make the most of your quick trip.


Things to Do on Your New York City Weekend Trip 

Explore The Spooky Side Of The City

Book a trip with ghost tour and discover a darker side of the city you may not have known about before. The neighborhood of Greenwich Village in Lower Manhattan is probably best known for its artsy, jazzy, bohemian vibe, but what you may not be aware of is that it is also an area known for its paranormal activity.

The town has a rich and fascinating history full of strange and eerie tales, and going on one of these tours would be the best way to learn more about NYC’s mysterious past.

These walking New York Ghost Tours are conducted every night at 8pm and led by knowledgeable, engaging tour guides who will take you through the historical streets and buildings of Greenwich Village.

Tours are usually about 90 minutes long, and typically take you to visit 9 or 10 locations in and around the neighborhood, including renowned writer Edgar Allan Poe’s house and the site of the tragic Triangle Factory Fire.


Go Museum Hopping

It would almost be a crime to go to New York City and not visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Just ask any well-seasoned traveler; everyone has to visit it at least once in their lives. But the Met, as it is often affectionately called, is not the only must-see museum in NYC.

The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum—also referred to as the Guggenheim—is not only famous for its impressive collection of Impressionist, Post-Impressionist and early Modern art, but also for its stunning architecture. Designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, it is a huge cylindrical building with an Instagram-worthy helix-like spiral staircase in its grand lobby.

Another museum worth checking out is the Museum of the Moving Image, located in Astoria, Queens. This decidedly modern museum is devoted to the history, art and technology of movies, television and video—basically all forms of media. Even if going to museums is not really your thing, the Museum of the Moving Image is sure to entertain you with its wide range of exhibitions and screenings.


Take Your Friends Bar Hopping

New York City is home to hundreds of excellent bars and pubs, ranging from old-school speakeasies to more millennial clubs. Round off a fun weekend in the city by hitting several nightspots and enjoying good drinks and great food.

Bemelmans Bar at the Carlyle, with its leather banquettes and mural-covered walls that date back to the 1940’s, is a solid choice. Be sure to try some of its signature cocktails like the old-fashioned whiskey smash.

If you’re into craft beers, you can’t go wrong with a visit to the Brooklyn Brewery, which has been around since 1996. If you’re up for it, you can take a tour of the brewery (tours are offered on weekends,) but if you’re pressed for time, definitely just don’t miss the chance to try one of their beers on tap.


Again, New York City is one of those places that is endlessly captivating, and a couple of days is not nearly enough time to see all that there is to see there, but if you plan out your itinerary and manage your time well, you can most certainly enjoy an unforgettable weekend getaway.


Your First Time in Rome Guide

Rome is a fantastic city and is probably on everyone’s itinerary who visits Italy or Europe for the first time.

The city is full of historical sights, big and popular ones, but also countless more.

The real question is, which sights should you make sure not to miss, and what are lesser known ones worth adding to your itinerary, without creating a jam-packed trip that ends in chaos?

There are definitely ways to find a good mix of the big popular sights, adding a few more special ones in-between, and still making space for time by yourself, exploring the city on your own.

With Monograms Travel I was surprised to find an “un” tour operator who provides exactly this. So I went with them to Rome and actually pretty much did the kind of trip that I would also have done by myself, with the only difference being that I had to spend far less time organizing it.

With that experience now, I can recommend the following itinerary.


My Rome City Trip Guide:

Day 1 in Rome:

You'd probably already had an early start to the day that you arrive. Check-in at the hotel and take it easy for a bit. Don’t go crazy right away, it's best to first get a feel of the place. You can just explore the neighborhood around the hotel. Ask a local or your Monograms local expert for some good tips. As I had a few excursions over the next few days with Monograms, their local expert recommended a few things I could do on my own, which were also not too far away. So I walked 15 minutes and visited the Spanish Steps in Rome.

Spanish Steps:

These are definitely a must-see, even if it’s just to tick-them off your list. You’ll see many other places are there to do that, too. Apart from that, the steps are really impressive. Make sure that you get there at the right time, especially if you want the fountain to make it into your photo. The fountain is often in the shade of the surrounding buildings -- at around 5.30 – 6 pm the sun is at a point where it shines through the street, hitting exactly the fountain and the Spanish Steps in the back of it. The beautiful evening light will make a fab photo! Late morning may also be okay as the sun will be on the steps and fountain, but there may be more shade on the steps. I haven’t checked it myself, so let me know via the comments if that is really the case.
Be there on time, as the street is not big and the buildings quickly bring in the shade again. If you are there a bit too early, rest a bit on the steps and watch the crowds taking their selfies. This is actually a lot of fun, as you’ll spot some fun characters.
There are also some rules and a few police officers around to make sure that you stick to those.

  • You are not allowed to picnic on the steps.
  • You are fine with a drink, but no food is allowed and you are not allowed to sit directly next to the fountain.
  • Both rules make sense when you see the amount of people every hour visiting the Spanish Steps.

On the way back to the hotel, get a bit lost and wander through the streets. Or ask for a restaurant recommendation. Choosing the right restaurant can be a bit of a task in Rome. There are hundreds of restaurants and quite a few of them should not be on your list, as they don’t have the best food and are overpriced. On the other hand though, the food in Rome and Italy in general is so delicious. Further down I’ll share a few restaurants where I went, but you can definitely also go with the recommendations of the Monograms local expert, they had great options for me!


Day 2 in Rome - Highlights of Rome

Make this your day of seeing Rome’s main attractions. Have a good breakfast, put your comfy walking shoes on and explore the must-sees of Rome. With seeing the highlights on your second day, you can then decide on your third day if you would like to go deeper into any of those, see other sights in the city or if you would like to maybe step out of the city center itself.


The Vatican City:

This one is going to get busy during the day. There are options to buy a ticket to skip the line and I highly recommend you to get that one. With Monograms you have that one, but even better, they got the first entry time to visit the Vatican City before it actually opens to the “normal crowds” at 8am in the morning. So while the others have to wait till 9am, you are already inside exploring. Don’t get worried if you suddenly find yourself standing in a long line with the skip the line ticket. We were a bit further back in that line, but entered the Vatican 15 minutes after they opened the doors at 8am.


Sistine Chapel:

This is an art masterpiece, painted by Michelangelo, but it’s also the place where the new pope gets selected.

The whole room is full of frescos where Michelangelo painted the ceiling, which is simply spectacular and which actually changed the course of Western art. Many other artists copied his “new” style.
Most people with the early entrance rush straight to the Sistine chapel and guess what happens then? There will be lots of people in that room and that’s why I would recommend to go easy and explore the galleries towards it for about 45 minutes, so that you are at the Sistine chapel at 9 am. That way the early bird crowds will be gone and you’ll be there before the first official visitors are going to enter the Vatican.


St Peters Basilica:

The St Peters Basilica is massive. It was built in Renaissance architecture and it’s the largest church in the world. The interior of the basilica is just as impressive as its size. It’s decorated in marble with many sculptures and reliefs. You can see the massive dome from many places around in Rome. Just in front of the basilica you’ll find St Peter’s Square, where the pope regularly holds his mass.

If possible, don't visit the Vatican on a Thursday. Why? The pope gives his official audience greeting and mass on a Wednesday, which over 80,000 people attend. It's then not possible to visit the St Peter’s dome and the museums on this day, which means more people come the day after (Thursdays).
Fun fact: The Vatican is its own independent country, so you can add this officially to the list of countries you have visited. It’s the smallest state of the world with around 0,44 m² and with only 800 - 1,000 people living here, also the smallest one in population.



The Colosseum in Rome is the biggest amphitheater ever built and it only took 10 years to complete (AD 80). It was used to entertain the general public of Rome. It was the place for public spectacles like gladiator contests, executions, re-enactments of famous battles and dramas, animal hunts and even sea battles! Yes, at specific times the Romans “flooded” the inner circle with water and had sea battles in the Colosseum. Incredible! Up to 80,000 people were able to watch the spectacles and it was free to attend them.

Most know the Colosseum’s function as a place for gladiator fights and nowadays it’s hard to understand how people could watch how others fought each other, sometimes till death. But not all gladiators died, actually “only” about 5-8% of them did. The gladiators often belonged to some noble families and it was not that easy to have a successful gladiator. The gladiators trained a lot and it was a big loss to loose them. The audience wanted to see a good fight and so most gladiators did not loose their life when they lost a fight. Then there were again “shows” where those who were condemned to death had to enter the arena naked and had to fight wild animals like lions, rhinos, panthers, tigers, leopards and crocodiles.
Nowadays the Colosseum is a ruin, as it got damaged by a huge earthquake in 1349. It also got misused to build other buildings, where people simply took its stones or metal out of it and used it to build other houses.
It is a very impressive building and there is no way that you can miss that sight! Still, it’s a little hard to imagine how this place might have “lived” in the past and I do hope that the tourism board or smart tour operators will find ways to use modern technology (like augmented reality) to give it that extra touch, to let people travel in time and to experience this stunning sight like it might have been centuries ago.

Tip: Get the skip-the-line Colosseum tickets online before you go!



The Pantheon is a former Roman temple, nowadays turned into a church. What makes it so special is the huge hole in its roof. No, this hole did not come from an earthquake or similar event. It’s there on purpose and it looks amazing when the sun shines through it. The Pantheon is one of the best preserved of all Ancient Roman buildings and its dome is the largest unreinforced concrete dome in the world.


Trevi Fountain:

The Trevi fountain is actually only the backside of a building, the Palazzo Poli. It’s the biggest fountain in baroque style in Rome and for sure one of the most popular fountains in the world. Thanks to the movie Three Coins in the Fountain, the fountain earns around €3,000 each day, thanks to people throwing coins into the fountain. To “get” good luck, you throw a coin with your right hand over your left shoulder… they say.

Once a week the fountain needs to be cleaned from the coins, which makes around €1,100,000 per year. That money is used to subsidize a supermarket for Rome’s needy. There is always a huge crowd of people at the fountain, no matter if it’s during the day or the night. No matter the time of the day, this is a stunning fountain and you should not miss the Trevi fountain.


Day 3 and Day 4 - More Sights and Things To Do in Rome

You have now explored Rome by yourself and have seen the must-see highlights of the city. On day three and four you can dive deeper into the city and endless further sights or choose activities to make this trip even more unforgettable.

No matter where you go in Rome, you’ll find plenty of amazing sights. I would recommend to just get lost. I usually decide to head towards a specific direction where I would like to see something or expect at least a nice view or similar. I don’t go straight there, but keep my eyes open for interesting looking streets, parks or inner courtyards. So I’ll head there via detours and those detours are usually the highlight of my trips. Sometimes it’s a nice cafe, park or a cool looking building.


Here are more things I loved about Rome.

- Temple of Hadrian, suddenly I stood in front of this huge temple with its massive pillars. An amazing building.

- Catacombs in the outskirts of Rome; Rome was always a busy city with many people living in it. And people die. In the old days the Christians were buried in huge catacombs, which you can visit. There are several ones and I’ve been to Catacombe Domitilla and San Callisto. There wasn’t a big difference between those, but it’s worth visiting at least one. The catacombs have four levels and up to 150,000 people buried in their up to 12-kilometer long hallways. You can only access them with a guided tour, which makes sense, as you don’t want to get lost in the catacombs.
- Church Chiesa di Sant’ Ignazio di Loyola with its super fresco beneath its ceiling and its artificial painted dome. If you are interested in art, then you simply have to visit the many churches in Rome. That’s where you see some of the masterpieces of the old day’s artists. What amused me is that quite a few churches charged to light up those paintings. Seriously? Not that many people go into churches anymore and here they have these stunning pieces of art and don’t show them without paying?
- Tiber Island, which gives you the feeling of being in a tiny village in the center of this massive city. There are more cafes and restaurants to go to and of course more churches to explore.
- Ancient Appian Way; I did my first ever ebike tour, which took us out of the city. It’s a tour I can really recommend, as it takes you to one of the catacombs (San Callisto is included in the price) and then shows you the real big architectural masterpieces of the Roman Empire, its roads and aqueducts. The buildings in Rome are stunning, but to build those roads over those super long distances is something which is easily underrated. The ancient Appian Way is a wonderful cobblestone street lined with trees and it’s actually also quite nice to get out of the busy, traffic-congested city. The tour also takes you to the remaining of an old aqueduct, which is another highlight of Roman architecture. This tour could also easily be done with a regular bike, but it was actually an interesting experience to do this with an ebike.
- Italian Cooking course; Italian cuisine is about pasta, pizza and gelato, right? Why not do a cooking course to learn how to cook those delicious dishes? I mean, seriously… you won’t need a cooking course to make a pizza or gelato, but there are some extra little tips you can get from an Italian chef and with those you can then create the authentic Roman pizza. And not to forget that you are going to eat it afterwards yourself and simply have a fun night out.
As you can see, there are so many things to see and do in Rome and I just mentioned a few. The city is packed full of them.
What’s missing? Food! There are also restaurants everywhere, but quite a few are more just there to fill your stomach without really being worth paying for. Then you find the cafes and bars next to the major sights where you can pay up to €13 for a regular glass of beer (0.3l).
I’ve been to a few restaurants which I can definitely recommend to you, as their food tasted really good and the prices were also fine. It’s a huge city, so there are countless good restaurants, but I would recommend doing your research and/or asking a local for some tips.


Cafes and restaurants I’ve been to and can recommend in Rome:

- Antico caffe del teatro Marcello, the right place to drink an espresso and it has old historical photos on its walls.
- La Matriciana, good Italian cuisine. Try their Tonnarelli cacio e pepe.
- Alessio Restaurant, very busy place. Expect to wait or better reserve a table.
- Casa Bleve, a bit upper class, but with still good prices and good wines.


Restaurants which were recommended to me in Rome:

- Sora Lella
- Da Giggetto Hostaria
- Nonna Betta
- Osteria San Daniele


Where I stayed in Rome:

Starhotels Metropole; this was definitely a good choice. Its rooms were spacious and had a very good standard. The location of the hotel was also good as it's within walking distance to most sights or at least only a short taxi ride away. The train station is also not too far away. You have to know that the train station is not really the area you want to hang-out, especially in the evening. It's a bit dodgy there, with pick pockets (though you have those everywhere in Rome) and other not so happy folks.

The Italians are not known for an awesome breakfast and you can't expect that either at the Starhotels Metropole, which is a kind of surprising, as the other standards of the hotel are really good. For breakfast you can expect orange/water syrup instead of proper orange juice. So my recommendation is, stay here, but when in Rome, do as the Romans do... which would be to get your breakfast on the go at a cafe in Rome and rather enjoy that experience.

Altogether, I had some amazing days in Rome and can highly recommend to visit this city. You'll find many awesome cities in Europe, but this one is unique and stunning. It's full of historical sights, fun things to do and good food. I can also recommend to visit it with Monograms, like I did. There was no hassle after arriving and wondering what the best way into town would be from the airport, as they pick you up and get you to your hotel. Their local experts know the city really well and can give you some good tips on things to do and where to eat.

You can trust that they will choose a good hotel for you and I liked that they provide you a highlight tour on your first day after arrival, so that you get to know a bit more of the city. Then their chosen extra excursions and partners are also well chosen and there are plenty for each destination, so that you'll find the right one fitting your interests. And if you should prefer to explore a city yourself, I can only recommend you to do that. Get lost for a while and see what's around the next corner.


Tip: book your accommodation in Rome in advance as hotels can full up quickly, particularly during high season! Read our Rome Accommodation Guide if you're looking for somewhere to stay while in Rome! We've also covered the top things to do in our Rome Activity Guide.


Must Knows: Survival Tips Before Traveling to Iran

Planning on traveling to Iran? Here's an extensive list of 7 tips you must know before heading to Iran.

So, after all that searching for an amazing destination, you have now booked a flight to Iran and are excited to discover the country.

Looking for basic advices?


Here’s a list of Iran travel tips that will help you:

Local dress code is not as strict as media tells you:

Although observation of hijab is necessary in public places according to the Iran law, there is a good deal of variety for it. In Tehran, adult ladies typically wear a manteau or a long blouse along with a scarf on their head, and of course trousers, jeans or leggings. No need to overdress, just give it a good once-over cover. Gentlemen should avoid wearing shorts, boxers, and sleeveless shirts.


Money problem

The official currency here is “Iranian Rial”, with the international code of “IRR”. However, people use “Toman” as a common name for the money, and here begins the confusion, since 10 Rials equals 1 Toman. So when you hear the price is 10,000 [~Toman], you are probably expected to pass on a 100,000 [Rial] paper money, and It’s best to ask the sales person if they mean Toman. A trick to fix the issue is to memorize “Toman” as “TØman” – this way you know one of the zeros is omitted.


The streets are tricky

Just like anywhere else, traffic jams are very common in major cities like Tehran, Isfahan, Mashhad, Ourmia, and Ahvaz. Rush hours can be a little different for each city, but it is normally from 7 to 10:30 in the morning, and 4:30 to 8:30 in the evening, and clearly subways and busses also become pretty crowded during this time.

Moreover, you may notice that some streets, avenues and squares have two or more names, old popular names and new official ones that you might see on the signs. You may have this in mind just in case. This is not a problem when using apps like Google Maps though, as they can search both new and old names.

Jaywalking is quite common, but if you are visiting around the cities, be careful with the vehicles passing by, in particular when crossing the streets and even on zebra crossings. Are you travelling with kids? Be more careful. The drivers normally will not stop at once for the pedestrian as you may expect, unless you actually make your way to the other side. Besides, motorcycle riders are free spirits with little limits. Here, drivers have their norms and orders and traffic patterns are comparable to South America rather than Europe.


Restrooms for all, but not toilet papers

The nature is calling in the middle of a pleasant walk? Go to the nearest park or square in the area, and you usually will be lucky to find a public toilet (especially in big cities), mostly under the name “WC”. Gas stations and shopping centers are also the places you can consider to find restrooms in. Mosques are sacred places, but in case of emergency you can use their water service.  You can also use some apps (mentioned in the following title) to find closest public toilet. While urinals are pretty uncommon, many public toilet services include one or more rooms with western type water closets, along with the usual Asian squatting pan types. Washing liquid is often available too.

But the challenge here might be toilet papers. Other than in hotels, restaurants, museums, etc., you will barely see toilet papers in public WCs due to Iranian culture of cleansing with water. So it is wiser to bring or buy your own toilet paper in advance, or at least have a pocket tissue with you.

Last hint about restrooms, people may or may not wear slippers inside the house, but most of them have a single-purpose pair of slippers in their bathrooms that are defined for the bathroom only. So if you are invited to someone’s place or have rented a private local suite or apartment, you might leave the special slippers where they belong after using bathroom.


Mobile apps come in quite handy

The growing number of useful mobile applications in Iran has provided easy and fast access to various services. Here’s a list of critical apps with an English language option you can use to have a better travelling experience. To use them online without WIFI, you can buy an Iranian SIM card as soon as you arrive in Iran to go online via mobile data.

  • Navigation and public transportation: The well-known Google Maps will help you find your routes to different destinations. Although Iran public transport or bike paths are not available in the app, it is still very useful and many places in the cities are marked in the maps too.

How about when you go underground to use subway in Tehran? Tehran Metro is a user-friendly app designed with functions like subway stations map, nearest stations, path finding and time estimation.

Also, if you are confident enough to rent a car and drive, Waze is quite popular among people and knows many shortcuts to escape traffic jams.

  • Public toilet: As mentioned before, there are a couple of Iranian apps showing WCs near you, Closest WC is an easy one to use.
  • Online taxi: Snapp and Tap30 (pronounced “Tapsi”) are the two most popular online taxi applications in Iran that are active in most major and some smaller cities. The working styles are much like Uber, and both of them support more than two languages including English (Snap supports French too). Note that they require a unique Iranian mobile number.
  • VPN apps: Along with a number of websites, Facebook, Twitter and a couple of other social media are blocked access in Iran. Meanwhile, a lot of people, as well as many political officials, use them regularly without much difficulty. A simple search in app stores will let you find your little helpers!
  • Messaging: Last year an internet researcher, Amir Rashidi, said:” Telegram means the whole Internet for Iranian users”, and he was kind of right. People use Telegram for messaging, blogging, reading news, to store or transfer files, to coordinate meeting and plans, and as a shop window for their business. Being blocked since a year ago, people still use it as before. Recently What’sApp has gained its position as the alternative popular messenger.
  • Google Translate: Needs no introduction. By simple use of this app, you can communicate with others, especially when shopping. Remember not to give your phone to people in the street, just show them the screen.


Helpful greeting tips

Making friends in Iran is easy. People will get social soon, and do not be surprised if they (not everybody, though) start ta’aroffing around or asking a few personal questions. All these are signs of friendship.

People normally greet same sex with handshake, hug or kiss on the cheek. When meeting religious people however, keep in mind that they usually do not greet opposite sex with hug, handshake or kiss, yet they will greet you sweetly.

It can also be different for each region. But how do we tell? Do not panic.  As a safe global norm, it would be better for gentlemen to wait and see if their new female friend offers a handshake or hug when greeting. If so, go for it. If not, just a smile with a nod or a hand wave will do the job. Ladies face fewer limits. Offer your handshake if you feel they are ok. Chances are they will shake your hand, and if they smile and i.e. just bow with hands on the chest, go on greeting without shaking hands. But in any case, take it easy. Most folks are easygoing and will understand the funny situation; also many of them just have the regular greeting rules as you.


Check the calendar

During the month of Ramadan it can be difficult for travelers as many food stores are close during the day. At times around the Iranian New Year which occurs on March 21, more people inside Iran go on holiday, so it can be more difficult to secure accommodation.


Travel tip shared by SurfIran



Eat Your Way Around Edinburgh

From drinking and dining in a traditional Scottish pub, to having tea and cake in a quaint tea room on the Royal Mile and having a nice sit down meal in New Town...

Here’s my roundup of places you should eat and drink in while in Edinburgh:

While we went looking for some with dogged determination, others we just stumbled up on and they turned out to be great finds!


Cafe Hub

I am not sure if it was the time of the day or the month, but we just couldn’t find a nice street side cafe to grab a mid morning bite on the Royal Mile. The weather was brilliant. The sun shone is all her glory while the air was still nippy. It was just one of those days that begged for you to sit outside and have a meal. That was when we chanced up on the Cafe Hub. The impressive Gothic building that houses the cafe has the highest spire in Central Edinburgh. Constructed between 1842 and 1845, the building was meant to be a Church but was never consecrated as one. Today the building houses offices and a performance space, that used for the Edinburgh International Festival amongst others.

While the indoor cafe is not much of a looker, the food is fresh, wholesome and delicious. Try and get a table outside bang on the Royal Mile if the weather is good. They have a special kid’s menu and apart from the variety, the prices are great too!

After polishing off bowls of hot potato and leak soup served with some delicious fresh sandwiches that the cafe specializes in, we topped it all up with scones served with clotted cream and jam.

They serve breakfast till 11:30 a.m. So if you are looking for a place to have a good breakfast right next to Edinburgh’s main attractions then this cafe is a good bet!

Great for: It’s location, vegetarians, children and value for money.

Visit their website here.


The Doric

Built in the 17th century, The Doric claims to be Edinburgh’s oldest gastro pub. Its the perfect place to grab a drink and unwind after a day of sightseeing in the city. Located on the ground floor, the bar has barely 10 tables so you need to be lucky to find a spot, especially when there’s a live performance going on. We happened to walk in and found a spot at the bar, as 2 musicians were performing folk music and serenading the guests around.

While the focus is most definitely on alcohol with the bar serving 50 kinds of single malt whiskies and a range of ales brewed locally, the food was also particularly good. The bar serves a variety of bar snacks as well as home made pies, filled rolls and soup of the day with bread.

After a few drinks we headed to the restaurant on the first floor which is open from 12pm till late at night. Traditional dishes and fresh local produce find favor in the bistro. The wild mushroom soup served with a thick slice of fresh warm bread was definitely a highlight!

Great for: Live traditional folk music, pub grub, children (who are allowed till 8 pm) and vegetarians.

Visit their website here.


Clarinda’s Tea Room

As we walked towards the Holyroodhouse Palace we saw a window adorned with lacy curtains and a sign – ‘Clarinda’s Tea Room – Home Baking & Take Aways’, painted on it. It was the ‘home baking’ sign that instantly caught my friend’s fancy and who dragged me across the road to take a peak inside and what a find it was!

The small tea room was one of the prettiest I have ever seen! Six or seven tables all beautifully laid out with lace tablecloths and charming china, make up the tea room. Floral wall paper, old photos and pretty plates adorn almost every inch of the walls. But it was the cake stand overflowing with delicious cakes and biscuits all freshly baked on the premises that grabbed our attention immediately. Choosing which one to try was a task as just about everything looked so good!

The tables by the window overlooking the Royal Mile with soft sunlight filtering in, are the nicest and hence the toughest to get. Luckily we found one inside that accommodated our large group. We tried their sandwiches and baked potatoes which were good. But really what stood out were the cakes and tea!

A bit of trivia: ‘Clarinda’ (Agnes Maclehose 1759 – 1841) was a friend and mentor to Scotland’s national poet. Robert Burns, and was the inspiration for his popular love song, “Ae fond kiss”. her memorial stone can be found in the nearby Canongate churchyard.* 

Great for: Tea & cakes and its location


Oink Hog Roast

Across the street from Clarinda’s Tea Room is a restaurant that’s all about pigs! Almost everyone who was walking down the Royal Mile stopped to look at a whole pig that was roasting by the window of this restaurant.

Adam Marshall and Sandy Pate, farmers from the Scottish Borders brought their fresh produce to the people of Edinburgh through delicious Scottish hog roasts (pulled pork) at a local farmer’s market. The simple but delicious dish met with such success, that they eventually opened their first restaurant in the city in 2008 and in 2013 they opened their second restaurant on the Royal Mile.

When we entered the tiny restaurant there was barely place to stand as people stood in a long queue waiting to place their orders at the counter.

I am vegetarian so I didn’t try the roast, but my husband said it was delicious!

Good for: Meat lovers, value for money and its location

Visit their website here.


The Dogs

Large framed prints of dogs stare at you in this trendy gastropub located in the newer part of Edinburgh. We were seated in a room adjoining the main dining room I am guessing because of the boisterous kids we had with us!

David Ramsden opened the restaurant hoping to create a space that serves great value food and wine, in a relaxed environment with no frills and fuss. And from our experience of dining there the restaurant truly delivers on this promise. The food was one of the best we ate in Scotland.

Scottish and British favorites feature on the menu like steaks, mussels, haggis and black pudding. My husband had a cock-a-leekie, which is a traditional Scottish soup made up of chicken and leeks. They have exciting vegetarian options too and I had a pie which was served with vegetable haggis, again a Scottish favorite.

Great for: Vegetarians and kids

Visit their website here.


Extra Foodie Tips

  • I would highly recommend making a reservation at a restaurant before you go for a meal. Almost all restaurants have a website where you will find their contact details.
  • If you are traveling with children check beforehand if the restaurant you want to go to allows kids and if they do, till what time they are allowed.
  • Ask for a kid’s menu, as most restaurants have one.


* History as stated on their website



Costa Brava, Spain: The Culture Guide


The region of Costa Brava is teeming with unique cultural attractions.

Starting with the incredible ancient history and ruins of the region, stretching into medieval times with pristine examples of Romanesque art and fantastic architecture still intact.

The cultural experiences available range from museums and art galleries, to pottery and handicraft workshops, to sea side restaurants and delicious Costa Brava "marisc" (seafood). From the Salvador Dalí house & museum to local wine & produce delivered directly to your table, the cultural side of Costa Brava awaits.


Here is our cultural guide for the Costa Brava in Spain:

Sant Pol Campground in Sant Feliu de Guíxols

Our cultural journey of Costa Brava begins at the Sant Pol campground in Sant Feliu de Guíxols. This is not the style of camping you may expect.

We stayed in amazing circular apartment style buildings comfortably sleeping four and perfect for families. This unique circular accommodation is right on site in the Sant Pol campground close to the restaurant, pool, reception and small shop all conveniently located to provide the maximum service quality while camping in Costa Brava.

Sant Pol was the perfect place to start our trip.


Girona City and Cultural Capital

From Sant Pol campground we drove into the city of Girona, the cultural capital of the Costa Brava region.

Girona is an urban center and can be easily accessed by its international airport or high speed train connections from Barcelona and Madrid. The city has a population of roughly 100 thousand and plays host to many festivals and events throughout the year.

It is bustling with cafes and restaurants, and is home to an impressive medieval old town as well as Jewish quarter. Upon our arrival we met up with a local guide and went on a walking tour through the city.

Girona has gained international attention for being one of the filming sites of the massively popular Game of Thrones series. The old town especially has daily GOT (Game of Thrones) tours that run through all of the sites seen in the series. It is very popular and many people travel to Girona just for this reason. I bet that once there though they are pleasantly surprised by all the other cultural attractions the city has to offer.

Our walking tour of the city included the German Gardens, many parts of the old town, and some fantastic views over the city from the top of the old walls. We also gained a better understanding of the history and importance of the cities’ location being at the confluence of the rivers Ter, Onyar, Galligants, and Güell.

Overall it was a fantastic introduction to the cultural vibrancy of the Costa Brava region.


Incredible Handicrafts and Interactive Creative Tourism Experience

From Girona city we drove into the country side of Costa Brava to the town of La Bisbal d’Empordà. La Bisbal d’Empordà is famous for handmade pottery manufacturing and upon arrival we were treated to a workshop in the factory of Ceràmiques Yuma.

The Yuma ceramics factory is a wonderful location to participate in this cultural handicraft. We were greeted by Francesc, the master potter, who introduced us to his studio and workshop. We also got the opportunity to partake in making some of our very own pottery.

The experience in La Bisbal d’Empordà is a unique chance to meet locals and immerse yourself in a creative and fun cultural activity. The pottery making in Ceràmiques Yuma is a special art and a great example of shaping local ingredients into a fantastic finished product and something to be proud of. The pottery and ceramics handicraft is an important cultural heritage, and current day tradition within Costa Brava. We highly suggest you sign up for one of the workshops during your visit.

From La Bisbal d’Empordà we drove further into the surrounding countryside to meet up with the team at Burricleta as part of our Activities adventure in the region.


Mediaeval Villages & Biking Adventures Through History

The plan with Burricleta was to go on an E-Bike adventure to the nearby mediaeval town of Peratallada. As seen in the Travel Dudes Costa Brava Activities article linked above, Peratallada has a history dating back well over one thousand years. The town is a historic masterpiece and was literally carved from the stone it sits upon. The fortified Peratallada is a maze of wonderfully restored and still somewhat raw middle-aged houses. It is a cultural gem of the Empordà region.

The cultural significance of Peratallada is in the history of the village and at its core is the (still to this day) privately owned castle at Plaça Major, as well as the 13th century Romanesque church dedicated to saint Stephen. The town hosts everything from mediaeval festivals and handicraft workshops to boutique hotels and wonderful shops. You can find craft beer, cute cafes, delicious restaurants and overall a bustling tourist economy.

Peratallada is the perfect medieval village and a great example of Costa Brava’s culture heritage.


Salvador Dalí - All Things Strange & Wonderful

From the medieval villages and countryside of Empordà we drove north to the wonderful seaside town of Cadaqués, home of Salvador Dalí.

Salvador Dalí was a famous painter and artist throughout the 20th century who resided for the better part of his life in the Costa Brava region. The main museum hosting a large array of some of his best works is located in Figueres, however, on this day, we were on route to another Salvador Dalí museum in the region his remote home near the coastal town of Cadaqués.

The Salvador Dalí home is a magnificent look into the private life of the famed painter. Actually located in Portlligat (just 5min drive from Cadaqués) the home is a strange mix of many different rooms joined together by narrow corridors and hallways.

The home was Dalí’s only stable residence where he lived and worked alongside his wife Gala for the better part of 50 years. In 1930 Dalí bought the original structure which likely resembled a small fisherman’s cottage. As an artist he immediately fell in love with the surrounding landscapes, the light, the remote and rugged coastline, and for the next 40 years (at least) he continued to build upon his fisherman’s cottage growing the structure into the strange piece of art installation it is today.

This quirky structure has been added upon and renovated continuously throughout the decades, and as Dalí’s life evolved so did his house. As we learned at the museum, Dalí would buy the other nearby cottages and one by one integrate them into his house, every new ‘room’ a new cell of his life. Thus all of the rooms are starkly different and have an incredible uniqueness to them all.

The guided tour of the home-museum is very popular and fills up fast (only 8 people allowed in every half hour, likely due to space requirements) so be sure to book your ticket in advance. It was a wonderful look into the life of Salvador Dalí and his eccentric and narcissistic influences.

We highly recommend the tour of the house next time you visit Costa Brava.


Cultural Cuisine in Sant Feliu de Guíxols

From Dalí’s house we then drove south to the small seaside village of Sant Feliu de Guíxols. There, right at the harbour, is an absolutely delicious seafood restaurant called Sa Marinada. Now even though it’s not covered in this video, be sure to check out the Costa Brava Gastronomy video and article for more on the wide array of amazing dining experiences the region has to offer.

Sa Marinada itself serves up unique seafood dishes matched with the perfect local wines and all in an incredible location along the coast. As you all know food and wine is an integral part of all European culture and the Costa Brava is no different.

The specialties in Costa Brava are definitely seafood and wine with locally grown varietal grapes such as Syrah, Garnacha, Cabernet Sauvignon, Picapoll and Malvasía. At the Sa Marinada restaurant specifically the dishes are based on the Mediterranean diet, inspired by traditional recipes with a modern touch. They are always using fresh and local ingredients to provide a fantastic culinary experience.


Cultural Conclusion - What a Trip!!!

Although we only got a small taste of the local food and wine it was absolutely delicious and goes to show that the Costa Brava has a strong and vibrant culture around it’s culinary dining experiences.

There is so much on offer that it may seem a little overwhelming at first, but focus on what it is you want to taste and discover and go from there. We also highly suggest to try the local cuisine if you’re in the area.

Overall the cultural activities and attractions within Costa Brava are fantastic. There is so much to see, learn, discover, and share. From the amazing history to the art and architecture, to the food and wine, landscapes and handicrafts. We only scratched the surface in this video & article, but we have also been able to provide quality insights on how to spend your time exploring the Costa Brava region and all of the cultural experiences on offer.


Travel tip shared by Greg Snell for Travel Dudes.

42° 17' 33.72" N, 3° 17' 3.7896" E

Top Places to Satisfy a Street Art Connoisseur’s Aesthetic Sense!

Street art is a form of an artist’s self-expression in terms of imagery and symbolism, meant to convey personal messages or social critiques to the viewer.

Very few places in the world provide artists the liberty to express themselves, for the world to see and interpret. Here I have taken the labor to compile the list of places where your eyes can quench its thirst with some raw art.


Let’s dive right into the list of cities with the best street art to offer, in no particular order of course.

Street Art in Mexico City

Mexico City has been famous for its murals of historical significance, boosted after the “All City Canvas”, a legal graffiti and street art project. It saw the sun with permissions that took almost a year to take. 9 artists both locals and from across the world came to paint the city as it is today.

One of the most incredible experience is exploring the city on foot without spending a single penny. Look for artworks especially by artists like Roa, Mr. Fly, Farid Rueda, and Axolotl Collective. The first spot you must go to is La Romita priding itself as one of the liveliest pieces of all. Other places that one must visit include, Playa del Carmen, San Miguel de Allende, Puebla, Puerto Vallarta, Isla Holbox, Tijuana, La Paz, and Monterrey.


Street Art Capital; Melbourne, Australia

Melbourne has the distinction of being one of the World’s biggest and free-living art galleries. To experience the world’s best street art, pin the following locations on your map:

  • Hosier and Rutledge lanes

  • Flinders Court

  • Russell Place

  • Croft Alley

  • Stevenson and Tattersalls lanes

  • Union Lane

  • Finlay Lane &

  • Blender lane

Melbourne as a city identifies the fact that public spaces provide a platform for artistic expression. You’ll find everything from art to activism, social commentary by the Doctor, to Murals by Shida.


Talking walls of Bethlehem, West Bank Palestine

Palestine has one of the most thought-provoking, politically aware and sensitive street art content. The famous “Security Wall” constructed by Israel is by far the best place to experience different perspectives of writers, artists and activists come together in one place. The strongest content is visible in Bethlehem. There’s another religion developing in the city where Jesus was born, the Street Art Religion! The street art is basically the “Political Commentary” for the viewers to learn more about the entire situation. Famous pieces to look out for are, The “Armored Dove”, The “Girl Frisking Soldier” now inside a postcards shop, The “Protester throwing Flowers”, and “Angel Scattering Hearts” along the separation wall are famous works by Banksy.


Street art in London, UK

Although visiting London is nothing less than a luxury. Although heavy on your pocket but you still can go around and explore the street art without spending anything. Leake Street Tunnel is certainly declared as a legal place to spray. It rose to fame after the well-known street artist, Banksy held “Festival of Cans” here. It’s a 300-meter long tunnel underneath Waterloo Station. It is claimed that you won’t see the same art the next day here. Brick Lane can be called as a place for a treasure hunt, with some of the most interesting works of Graffiti and Street art to offer. Brick Lane and Shoreditch technically converge, in Shoreditch, there’s mostly paid advertising going on, in the form of Graffiti art such as Amara Por Dios, sponsored by Sony. Don’t forget to visit Camden and Hackney wick to get your hands on some more great pieces of art.


Street Art in Yoga Capital of the World; Rishikesh, India

Located in the foothills of Himalayas in the North of India, stands the ‘Yoga Capital of the World’. Street art in Rishikesh is not only restricted to buildings but tin roofs, Broken metal doors and bridges etc. Rishikesh Street Art festival is also a famous phenomenon started by people behind the beautiful street art across the city, giving artists the legal opportunity to create “hidden artwork”. One can find these masterpieces at the nooks and crannies of the city.


Lynch’s Muse; Lodz, Poland

Lodz is famous for being the artistic inspiration to David Lynch. Anyone having even a bit of liking for Lynch will manage to find the reason for this city’s uniqueness. Before heading there, do your research over internet and you’ll be amazed by the amount of art stretched across the city. It won’t be difficult to map the history of street art in Poland as the country has a culture of expressing creativity in urban public spaces. Murals by Aryz from Spain and Os Gemeos brothers from Brazil are some of the numerous ones beautifying the place with their meaningful art. A colorful bird mural by Hygienic Dress League; the Detroit based artists, can be located near the Museum of Cinematography on Miedziana Street, others including Bang! by Etam Cru and SatOne in 2011, Artur Rubenstein Mural;a depiction of the classical pianist by Brazillian artist Kobra in 2014, Poland’s 1st and world’s 3rd 3D Mural by an Italian artist ‘AWeR’.


Living Art Work in NYC, USA

New York City is brimming with some of the best street artwork in the world. Street art came to a bigger picture in New York in the early 1980’s and ever since tons of artists from across the world have rushed in to beautify this Concrete Jungle with their masterpieces. It won’t be wrong to call NYC a treasure chest of some good quality Street Art. Some famous Murals include:

  • Banksy’s Hammer Boy in 2013 on 79th Street near Broadway

  • Tats Cru’s Big Pun Memorial to pay homage to late Puerto Rican hip-hop artist

  • The Bushwick Collective, an outdoor street art gallery in Brooklyn

  • Coney Art Walls, on Stillwell Avenue Brooklyn, is one of the most visited spots in NYC

  • The Freedom Tunnel located beneath Riverside Park is focused on raising awareness of the homeless in the region

  • L.I.S.A. Project NYC is a collection of fascinating artwork in Mulberry St. Little Italy

Have pictures to treasure? Share your experience in the comments below!

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