Read more about the article Aalborg – Denmark
Aalborg - Norway

Aalborg – Denmark

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Paris of the North

And here we are at another great destination, the third largest city in Denmark, and slowly completing more and more points in this rather small European country. After all, cities over here are indeed small hence easy and quick to visit. It was almost 2 years ago when I was for the last time in the country with my family, and while in my case repeating Copenhagen, there was a new city too, Helsingor. And many years back, Aarhus. Too many years ago that I do not even have the travel guide for it here in my blog. Anyway into what now matters, the once called “Paris of the North”: Aalborg.

Such a nickname that stands today comes from the elegance in the architecture, the broad tree-lined avenues and streets and the somewhat refinement of the population. Unfortunately entire districts were torn down to create larger stone and brick houses, still, the city is well known for the large collection of half-timbered mansions built by its prosperous merchants. In similar resemblance, it’s second city in the country after Copenhagen’s in number of such constructions, and to my review, the second most beautiful in the country too after the capital.

Considering our very short time here since that was such flight deal at only 24 hours since landing until departure the following day, it all worked perfectly well. The city is very straightforward and easy to navigate where distances are short and all the sights concentrated near each others, therefore that actually, any longer than a day as a full weekend, would be too much if that’s what you are planning on doing. If that’s your case, consider spending the second day for visiting another city of villages nearby. This area is really beautiful all over and very picturesque, especially the small fishing villages by the coastline. (more…)

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Read more about the article Kristiansund and the Atlantic Road – Norway
Kristiansund and the Atlantic Road - Norway

Kristiansund and the Atlantic Road – Norway

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The Atlantic Ocean Road

Right after arriving the previous night into Trondheim, we dedicated today, the entire Saturday, for doing our road day trip towards Kristiansund and across some of the incredibly beautiful landscapes of this region of Norway. In the other hand it really does not matter wherever you go within this county, everywhere is absolutely unspoiled with some of the greatest natural sceneries in the world. As we’ve now been to most of the key landmarks in Norway, including many of the famous fjords, some of which the largest in the world; the Preikestolen (Pulpit Rock) by the Lysefjorden, Oslo, the beautiful cities of Stavanger and Bergen; then there was something still to do on the agenda: The Atlantic Ocean Road.

OK, OK. Yes; there are still more places in the wish-list such as Tromso, Nordkapp or seeing the Northern Lights; but for now they will have to wait for future trips, most likely from next year. The agenda is by far already too busy until the end of this year, and unless something turns out during late November/beginning of December then there are no more weekends without a trip booked.

From Trondheim the route I planned was the E39 to Kristiansund, and farther beyond in order to pass by the more and more famous and visited Atlantic Ocean Road. Once a very quiet and remote road that since being featured on TV, travel sites, or being nominated as the world’s best road trip, listed National Tourist Route, Cultural Heritage of Norway and the Norwegian Construction of the Century to name a few; it has became a worldwide attraction! And I see the clear reason anyway. You have to be there to experience it, truly exciting and beautiful. (more…)

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Read more about the article Stavanger – Norway
Stavanger - Norway

Stavanger – Norway

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Stafr: Branch, Angr: Bay

Coming back to Norway only after few weeks since we re-visited the capital city, Oslo; but this time to a new destination never been before: Stavanger. Fortunately as a rare exception to any Norwegian city, here money seemed to last a little bit longer. Nothing to compare with the most expensive city we’ve been so far in the country, Bergen, and even still, a bit cheaper overall than Oslo. This is in a way good to know, but remember that a meal for two in a normal and “not expensive” restaurant will come to a minimum of £40, that is over 400 NOK.

Nicknamed the Oil Capital City of Norway can self-explain a lot. Yet it is not only about the oil and energy, but on the more demanding tourists coming here to enjoy some of the most spectacular natural landscapes on earth that lie only few kilometres away, being its highlight the world known Lysefjorden Fjord, which is the icon and symbol taken to represent any fjord on any catalogue about Norway.

If you are expecting a beautiful city to the likes of Oslo, Bergen or Tromso, then you might be a bit disappointed, but only due to its very small size. However, Stavanger is one of the oldest cities in Norway and ranks among the best examples in wooden architecture from the 18th and 19th century that can be found everywhere around the city centre and outskirts and are beautifully preserved and restored. (more…)

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Read more about the article Sundsvall – Sweden
Sundsvall - Sweden

Sundsvall – Sweden

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The Northernmost Stone City in the World

Heading to the north some 400 kilometers away from Stockholm on a much more unusual trip to say, for example, Gothenburg or Malmo which are the next largest cities in Sweden and that I’ve already been before anyway; we arrived instead at the small city of Sundsvall. Two reasons why, the truly decision-maker was to visit our family there which we never got the chance to do so at their home town, and second, in way less importance, getting the chance to visit this region of Sweden far from the big cities in the south, and explore more the beautiful nature and country side.

We decided to spare 2 full days here, which included anyway visiting few other places nearby as our family took us around. Being such a heavy traveller as I am, 2 days in Sundsvall would have been by all means too much as you can see everything in just half a day. Still, there are way too many other places and small cities and villages nearby that will for sure make your visit well worth it; and in this case, a little bit longer time for family reunion was also nice.

Also mentioning something important you should consider, is getting here by train. It is around 3 hours and a half from Stockholm Central and the views and landscapes you will have are impossible to beat if instead you opt to fly. Let’s be honest anyway, the difference in cost between flying or taking the train was on our precise date not that different, but I knew beforehand I wanted to take the train, plus my cousin and a work colleague, both Swedish, told me it’s the best choice if I wanted to enjoy a great trip here and really see more of Swedish nature and landscapes around. They were all right! (more…)

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Read more about the article Stockholm – Sweden
Stockholm - Sweden

Stockholm – Sweden

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Venice of the North

Happy to return to this beautiful city, considering the first and only time was almost 6 years ago! It would have been in September precisely 6 years, and that was back then a very short trip when the usual travelling gang we used to be “abused” on the super low Ryanair fares to everywhere we could find. It was just £2 return! Leaving on Saturday extremely early in the morning and returning the same day but already back in London way after midnight. Long and tiring happy days. Nowadays, circumstances have changed for all, and not only you can never find such air fare deals, but we rather spend the entire weekend leaving on Friday night to return Sunday night, or similar.

Although one of the downsides of flying a low-cost airline to Stockholm is to find yourself at Skavsta Airport. This is almost 100 kilometers to the south of Stockholm itself, but the almost 2 hours bus journey to the centre is in fact also well invested and to be honest, part of the trip for the beautiful scenery you will pass and see along the way.

Being the largest city in the whole of Scandinavia and having been always so powerful and rich in history due to its strategic location and trading within the Hanseatic League, you can imagine this legacy is greatly spread across the city at the many grand buildings, medieval wealthy houses, architecture and urbanism.


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Read more about the article Oslo – Norway
Oslo - Norway

Oslo – Norway

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Meadow at the Foot of a Hill

One of the major capital cities that was still missing to have here in my travel blog, Oslo, finally written. It is not the first time I visit the city though, but at over 6 years since the previous time, and for what was back then one of those “light-speed day trips” we so often used to do almost every Saturday, travelling at odd unsocial early hours and returning back at even later hours on the same day (well, already Sunday), then was not much point to write the backdated guide as it would have been pretty much incomplete. This time, however, after staying longer and not merely one time, but twice for a weekend at different seasons of the year, I have absolutely everything I need to have a wider view of what this pretty Scandinavian city has to offer.

That we flew here on this day, anyway, came out of sudden at a random. Only 2 weeks before we were about to give up in searching what could we do one of the weekends, pretty much to what happened to us with other trips that we ended up returning to Brussels and visiting Leuven for example. So instead of searching for flights alone, it was well worth looking at the Holiday Finder tool on the British Airways website and there it was this great flight+hotel deal with such unbeatable perfect flying times, great hotel, but what is best, the surprisingly great price! Honestly, if you did not know about this tool they have, you should really give it a try, without giving up if on some precise dates you might be looking at you don’t see any good deal, because there are, yes there are great deals; simply change the dates or look farther ahead in advance in the year.

As a good point in all this, a weekend is more than enough to fully enjoy the city without missing anything. And if you plan or have more than 2 days, then I would advice you to have a look at what else you could do nearby as otherwise you will end up without any further places to visit and wondering what else to do next. (more…)

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Read more about the article Helsinki – Finland
Helsinki - Finland

Helsinki – Finland

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The Daughter of the Baltic

Many years have passed since the first and only visit to Helsinki. Very long time to remember, not to mention how young I was. That long ago I was only starting my first year at the university of architecture so I have to admit I was not even too impressed and demanding about the architecture in the city, or any city. Totally opposite as how I am now wherever I travel. But something that has never changed in all this time is my passion for art-deco and art-nouveau styles. And yes, that’s right, Helsinki has one of the largest collection of art-nouveau buildings in the world.

Returning back to this city was as exciting as for the first time. Gladly to find out it is still as cute and well cared, clean and elegant as I remembered. A big down side, the much higher costs for everything in overall. Back in 2002 they were only starting to use the Euro as currency merely 6 months before my arrival and I remember the people already telling how much the prices went up. But now, everything has changed, and although it is not as expensive as its neighbors (Sweden and specially Norway), there is a clear steep increase in prices.

So this time, I got to see how the city looks like in winter time. Fair enough it’s not very true as it was already spring and not the peak December/January; but still, was it was freezing cold. Quite the opposite as how this was the first time I came to the city at over 30 degrees in the middle of the summer. But don’t take this for granted, the weather over here even in August could be very bad and cold. I was perhaps very lucky, but it’s not the norm.


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Read more about the article Gothenburg – Sweden
Gothenburg - Sweden

Gothenburg – Sweden

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The second largest city in Sweden

A quick trip this time, just go and back in the same day to the second largest city in Sweden, Gothenburg. I know this was way too short time to enjoy such a beautiful city with so much to see and do, but hey! why to stay home if for merely £20 return flights you can get to at least enjoy other culture, other places, some nice food and a first time contact to a city for sure worth the return for longer the next time. After all, sounds crazy that sometimes it’s cheaper to go abroad than staying in London where you will spend certainly more going out for some drinks and dinner with friends. So why not to take the friends with you and travel together then?

This is a very elegant city. Full of tree-lined boulevards and avenues, canals, squares and impressive buildings everywhere, especially these along the canals. But it’s not only the architecture what makes the city special, it is also about the people. So polite, friendly, educated and so well dressed overall! We felt quite out of place as our outfit was definitely more casual.

Walking around and trying to get lost is the best way to explore the city. Since it is not too big you don’t need to worry about “getting lost”. You will always find your way and come to see those not so main streets everyone aims for, avoiding the rest of the usual tourists. Don’t get me wrong here, of course visiting the major thoroughfares is part of the mandatory sightseeing.


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