Posts for Europe Category

Explore the beauty of Mdina: The Silent City

Blog, Europe - GoroadTrip - November 5, 2018

Mdina top attractions

Mdina the ancient capital of The Maltese Archipelago is separated from its twin Rabat by ramparts and fortifications which are even today one of Mdina top attractions. Originally, Mdina and Rabat actually formed only one city, Melita. The latter has been stormed several times during its existence by the Arabs, Normans, and Spaniards. The architectural heritage of Rabat and Mdina is thus today a melting pot of cultures.

Nicknamed the “Silent City”, Mdina the ancient capital of Malta brings together 4000 years of history of the island. Its 300 inhabitants, descendants largely of the Maltese nobility, maintain with love the most beautiful palaces of the archipelago. The cleanliness of Mdina is exemplary. Visit Mdina for its calm and exceptional heritage.

Visit its alleys

Timeless, Mdina takes you through a maze of alleys. A good signage brings you cultural and historical information in front of many monuments. The quiet and pedestrian town, we always come back to admire the knockers of its doors, its high houses with rich pediments, its majestic bougainvilleas … And simply enjoy its serenity.

Visit its ramparts

Located on the central hill of Malta, the ramparts of Mdina dominate the island. The view is breathtaking on Mosta, the Mediterranean, and Valletta. On its flanks the alignments of the best Maltese vines.

St. Peter and Paul Cathedral

St. Peter and Paul Cathedral is a miniature version of St. John’s Cathedral in Valletta. Baroque style and very richly decorated, it was completed in 1702. Rebuilt after the earthquake of 1693, behind its monumental facade, you discover a masterpiece of Baroque architecture making it one of Mdina top attractions. The beauty of its floor composed of carved marble slabs houses the eternal rest of the Grand Masters of Malta. Admission is free during the services but there is a fee if you want to visit the cathedral museum.

Cathedral Museum

Cathedral Museum is one of the most important museums in the Mdina is offered in a combined ticket with the cathedral. The varied collection includes paintings, engravings (on Dürer wood), Roman remains, ancient manuscripts, liturgical objects.

Visit the Palazzo De Piro

Built in the 17th century, the Palazzo de Piro is today a “multifunctional cultural center”. It hosts, in an atmosphere full of grandeur and nobility, the exhibitions and important artistic events of Malta. Rejuvenate on its extraordinary terrace overlooking the northern part of Malta.

Visit The Moat Garden

Before leaving Mdina, go down into the moat for the pleasant garden, resting with its benches and its beautiful perspective on the entrance and fortifications of the city.

Falson Palace

Falson Palace or The Palazzo Falzon is one of the oldest palaces of the Mdina and houses a very interesting private museum made up of the Swedish philanthropist Olof Gollcher’s collection.

Church and Carmelite Priory

Church and Priory of Carmelite Baroque church of the seventeenth century combined with a charming cloister which is one of Mdina top attractions. The refectory is beautiful and the reconstituted cuisine not uninteresting. It includes a nice design cafe to rest in.

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Blog, Europe - GoroadTrip - October 13, 2018

Ireland is such a beautiful country. Full of rolling hills and forests, it is one of the most popular tourist destinations. And while it is home to many beauties and has a host of activities that are inviting to the usual tourists, a lot of adventure junkies travel here each year looking to feel the thrill of one quite extreme sport that is known as sea stack climbing.

Sea Stacks are called so because they are staggeringly tall and huge cliff-like structures that have indentations on them, like stacks of paper or files but, somehow, much more inviting. And they rise straight out of the sea, waves crashing and curling around their thick bases. Climbing is often considered dangerous and is, hence, even illegal in many places in the world. But if you’re an adventure seeker in Ireland, you’re in luck. Ireland is known for its collection of majestic and terrifying sea stacks, rising straight out of the surface of the sea and making our hearts call for adventure.

So, here are five places in Ireland you can go to if you love or want to try out Sea Stack Climbing:

Berg Stack

At the turn of the road at An Port stand four looming figures. The Berg stack faces South and towards the Sturral Headland.

All four stacks can be reached using one launching pad. From An Port, climbers need to head south using a coastal path. After about 600 meters, which involves crossing two different bridges, one needs to leave the well-beaten path and head sea-ward. This will lead you to an angled slope that’s not very steep and overlooks the Vertical Picnic stack and the Berg Stack. Climb down to the platforms at sea level, specifically the one that faces Berg. It should be easy to recognize considering that it has a couple of sharp grooves running up its northern side.

Ends of the Earth Stack

Much like its name suggests, this twenty meters stack sits serenely in one of the quietest and most remote areas of Ireland. The moment you step foot here, the majesty of the land hits you. It is as if you and your travel partner(s) are the only people on the planet and somehow it’s not terrifying at all but exceedingly calming. Located to the north of Glenlough Bay, the Ends of the Earth stack looms at a staggering three hundred meters away from the mainland. Not far from this devilishly beautiful stack are Glenlough Bay, Tormore Island and the northern stretches of the Slievetooey Peninsula. At the base of this giant, the tidal streams from north-west and south crash into foaming white salt waves, the sight both violent and breath-taking at the same time.

Glenlough Bay

Glenlough Bay is tucked into the nook of another very remote location in Ireland. A meandering twenty-kilometre trail leads you 3 kilometres away from An Port and to that which can be termed Ireland’s final stretch of wild, wild greatness. Along the length of the entire sea coast, the surface of the churning sea is broken by a collection of sea stacks and cliffs, all of which are fantastic for climbing.

Tormore Island

In the outer edges of the Slievetooey Massif and in southwestern Donegal, this island is a whopping 148 meters in height and is definitely Ireland’s tallest sea stack. It rears its head over the flurry of skerries and sea stacks that have often been termed Land of the Giants. This no rag-tag bunch of stacks are Cnoc na Mara and the Cobblers Tower. This giant among giants is pretty dangerous to get to. If you are going for the nautical way there, you will need an expert guide with you, for the way will take you twisting and turning among a maze of skerries and islands, some of them lurking in the quiet depths, ready to welcome any amateur into their chilly embrace. But, once you brave all these terrors, the sight that awaits you at the top will make all the effort seem more than worth it.

Cnoc na Mara Island

Considering how popular Cnoc na Mara is with climbers, you could say that we saved the best for the last. Cnoc na Mara can easily be called the most popular destination for sea stack climbers. It has an almost vertical climb, sometimes considered too steep for beginners.
If you are coming here by boat, remember that it’s about 150 meters away from the mainland.
There are some things that you need to remember before you decide to climb this stack. The winds can get very harsh and make climbing extremely difficult so you must remember to confirm the weather conditions beforehand. The grassier side is also a big no-no. It is too steep to climb and the winds make it nigh on impossible to attempt a climb.

Tip: Try and use about five dozen half a meter ropes to climb this stack.

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Top Attractions in Luxembourg City

Blog, Europe - GoroadTrip - September 28, 2018

When one looks at the geographical situation and the history of Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, one understands better why this country has as its administrative language, French, and German. Tourists can easily be tempted by a stay in Luxembourg City which is home to a multitude of places of interest. A point of interest in Luxembourg is that it has a cycling network of 600 kilometers and some 20 marked bike paths that are quite safe, plus another 300 kilometers of mountain bike circuits.

It is a dynamic country, a financial and economic center of significant size, a very prosperous country and the meeting point of a strong multiculturalism. The capital, Luxembourg-City standing at the crossroads of Latin and Germanic cultures is home to 40% foreigners in terms of population. When it comes to tourism the country focuses its promotion both on the preservation of its natural space and also on the historical heritage of which it is the happy heir.

  • Luxembourg City the capital of the Grand Duchy, is the economic and financial lung of the country but a true city of contrasts. Its exuberant dynamism, is a point of interest in Luxembourg which is reflected in the presence of many international companies, 200 financial companies and the presence of some 150 nationalities, must not forget that this city is nestled in the heart of a green and peaceful countryside and that it also has historical monuments of great beauty: its ancient fortress, whose construction dates back to the ninth century, protected sites since it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. An excellent tourism destination, Luxembourg can be discovered on foot or by bike.
  • Luxembourg City also benefits from the most complete transport infrastructure: besides the Luxembourg-Findel international airport located 6 kilometers north-east of Luxembourg, it also has a TGV station. Not far from this city, shoppers will be delighted to discover Bertrange, which contains City Concorde, one of the largest shopping centers in the country in which a hundred shops are located: from jewelry shops to perfumeries, restaurants and bars and bookstores.
  • The Luxembourg Ardennes are representative of this lush nature that can be explored through several means of transport. Valleys, high plateaus surmounted by meadows or shale rocks characterize the landscapes of this region which also includes the Natural Parks of the Upper Sûre and lakes created by the Esch-sur-Sûre Dam.
  • The Moselle Luxembourgeoise region has sunny slopes and this region also has a long winemaking tradition and is a point of interest in Luxembourg.
  • Wellness enthusiasts also have the opportunity to visit the spa estate of Mondorf-les-Bains, which is also the only spa resort in Luxembourg.
  • Be careful to go to Luxembourg at the right time: the rain falls frequently throughout the year and the most enjoyable months are those from May to September when the temperature can reach 26 degrees.
  • The Grand Duchy is also visited for its cultural capital. It is enough to immerse yourself in the Mullerthal Region, also called Luxembourg’s Little Switzerland, to measure its wealth. In Echternach, a point of interest in Luxembourg, which is also the oldest city in the country, tourists will enjoy visiting the Basilica and the crypt with the tomb of Saint Willibrord, Bishop of Utrecht in the 7th century AD and founder of the Abbey of Echternach an order of Benedictine monks.
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5 most Beautiful Towns to Visit in Lithuania

Blog, Europe - GoroadTrip - September 24, 2018

Lithuania is the largest of the three Baltic countries and the one with the most troubled history. After having been a great kingdom, constantly occupied by Poland, Germany, Russia, it was Lithuania that first faced the USSR, in 1989-1990, showing the way to independence. Today, like its Baltic counterparts, Lithuania integrates the European Union in a dynamic way and adopted the euro on January 1, 2015.

This is the perfect opportunity to discover these little-known regions with many lakes, thick forests and some beautiful national parks. Beautiful towns in Lithuania are described below –

• Vilnius

Vilnius, which for a long time, thanks to its very important Jewish community, had the title of “Jerusalem of the North”, is a magnificent conservatory of cultural and artistic influences. Declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO due to its architecture, Vilnius is the least famous of the Baltic capitals: lost in the middle of the land, it does not enjoy access to the sea, unlike Riga and Tallinn.

This city whose Jewish population was decimated during the Second World War was in turn Polish, Nazi, Soviet. Projected towards the future, Vilnius has the charm of cities with multiple cultural and architectural influences.

• Kaunas

Kaunas is the major river port of the Baltic countries, and the second largest city in Lithuania. Polish, then Russian, the city was, from 1920 to 1940, the capital of independent Lithuania. Occupied by the Germans, she saw the establishment of an extermination camp: a museum of deportation and resistance preserves this memory.

The old town of Kaunas is attractive with its restored medieval towers and its beautiful Town Hall. A mixture of baroque, medieval and Gothic architecture overlooks the city with its museums and religious buildings. Crossed by the Niemen from west to south, the landscape of Kaunas offers beautiful manor houses, wooden houses and an open-air museum that offers a panoramic view of the harbor. Kaunas is one of the most beautiful towns on Lithuania.

• Nida

An old fishing town 52 kilometers from the peninsula of the Curonian Spit, Nida stretches across a strip of sand covered with forests. Old village town of the 18th century, it is best known for the wooden architecture of its houses planted in the sand. Beautiful dunes overlook the area for beautiful climbing. The highest, Parnidis has a solar clock, installed at its summit. Every year, traditional festivals and folklore concerts take place in the village to relive the ancient times. It is one of the beautiful towns in Lithuania.

• Palanga

Surrounded by centuries-old forests and immersed in an exceptional ecological atmosphere, Palanga is Lithuania’s most popular seaside resort and one of the beautiful towns in Lithuania. With its modern architecture, Palanga is immersed in a cosmopolitan atmosphere with thousands of restaurants, cafes, toy stores and boutiques on its streets.

A soft sea and smooth beaches, the resort allows doing water activities such as surfing, scuba diving, and water bikes. In the middle of a landscape accentuated with pines, the ballades by bike or on horseback constitute a real pastime.

• Druskininkai

Located near the Russian and Polish borders, Druskininkai is a known spa resort in Lithuania since the 19th century. Today, the city is a tourist center of international renown, marked by a certain well-being as evidenced by opulent villas.

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Cool Places to Visit in Macedonia

Europe - GoroadTrip - September 20, 2018

places to visit in Macedonia

Located in the Balkan Peninsula, Macedonia shares borders with Bulgaria, Serbia, Kosovo, and Albania. Far from being a small country, Macedonia has more than two million inhabitants who occupy more than half of the territory. Macedonia is becoming more and more interesting for tourists wishing to discover new destinations.

Some of the places to visit in Macedonia are listed below –

• Skopje

In the north of Macedonia, Skopje, the capital, saw the Romans, Bulgarians, Serbs, Byzantines, the Ottomans, before being integrated into the kingdom and then part of the Socialist Republic of Yugoslavia. Skopje has grand buildings and monumental statues making it important among places to visit in Macedonia. In the center of the great square of Macedonia stands the fountain-statue of Alexander the Great. On the other side of the River Vardar are tall buildings, including the archaeological museum.

Old Bazaar is the largest in the Balkans after Istanbul. The heritage of the Ottoman Empire is present at caravanserais e.g. Kapan Han, ancient hammams such as Daut Pasha and Cifte and mosques at Mustafa Pasha, Sultan Murat. There are also several churches, such as Church of the Ascension of Jesus, which has a remarkable iconostasis. Finally, overlooking the old town, the Kale Fortress, built by the Byzantine emperor Justinian, is now a place of archaeological excavations.

• Ohrid

Ohrid is the most attractive places to visit in Macedonia. The region, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, has been populated since prehistoric times. In ancient times the already flourishing city was called Lychnidos and had an acropolis and a theater, which was used as an arena by the Romans and now serves as a backdrop for the summer festival of Ohrid. In the 9th century, the city became an important religious center. St. Clement and St. Naum, followers of St. Cyril and Methodius (inventors of the Cyrillic alphabet), settled here and founded the first Slavic university and monasteries.

There are about twenty churches in the old town. In St. Sophia Cathedral, one of the architectural jewels of Ohrid, you can admire frescoes from the 11th century. Finally, do not miss to visit the Church of St. John at Kaneo, built in the thirteenth century, installed on a rocky promontory, facing the lake. At the top of the old town, the medieval fortress offers a breathtaking view of the lake from its walkway.

• Lake Ohrid

Straddling two countries (Macedonia and Albania) and surrounded by mountains, Lake Ohrid, the largest in the country (358 sq km), is often compared to a sea. One of the most attractive places to visit in Macedonia its shores have pebble beaches, campsites, hotels, cafes and lounge bars where you can drink cocktails. In summer, translucent water has an ideal temperature.

Around the lake, there are several villages worth a visit, such as Trpejca, nicknamed the “Macedonian Saint-Tropez”, and Radožda, a small fishing village where you can taste the famous Ohrid trout.

• Bitola

It is good to stroll through the long pedestrian street of Širok Sokak one of the most enchanting places to visit in Macedonia, lined with elegant colorful buildings, shops, restaurants, and cafes.

The second city of Macedonia has beautiful buildings built in the time of the Ottoman Empire. In the Muslim part, you can see several mosques, an old bazaar and a covered market dating from the fifteenth century. The archaeological site of Heraclea is close to Bitola.

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