Budapest – authentic and special

Budapest travel guide:

General information: Budapest is the Hungarian capital, with more than 1.7 million inhabitants. Although the country is in the European Union, the official currency in the whole country is the forint. But you can also pay by credit / debit card in the big majority of places. Despite being the capital, it’s very quiet and safe, so you can come back late to your accommodation and also feel safe when you walk through the city. Regarding the people and the language, read my article about Pecs and you will understand everything.

How to get around in the city?

Public transport is quite good, there is metro, buses and trams so you can choose. I also suggest walking a lot, because the city has a very nice architecture and it is worth exploring.

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Hungary: So different and so similar, 1st part: Pecs

Hungary travel guide :

General information: The country, which in Hungarian is called Magyarország, has around 10 million inhabitants. The country is very homogenous, with a very small percentage of foreigners, which actually is quite usual for Eastern Europe, where it collides with Western Europe, which is all the opposite. But, the city of Pecs, with 150,000 inhabitants, chosen in 2010 as the European capital of culture, was the meeting point of three cultures: Christian, Jewish and Muslim. That is why we can say that Pecs, located in the south of the country, is a peculiar city in Hungary, with its cultural richness. The official currency in the whole country is the forint, so you have to be prepared. But, of course you can pay in lot of places with credit/debit card.

Where to eat and go out?

You can eat in any restaurant, Hungarians give very big portions, so you ask portion for 3 people, and 7 can eat. The food is pretty good, they eat a lot of meat, but they still have a lot of bakeries where you can buy something for breakfast or just a snack. The food is cheap, so without any fear you can have lunch or dinner at a restaurant. To go out, I recommend pubs. There are several, and all are in the center, which is small, so you can go everywhere on foot. The atmosphere is quite good, you can see that it’s a student city.

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Venice – La Serenissima, an eternal beauty that never fades

General information: One of the most famous cities in the world, his majesty of Venice, is located in the northwest of Italy and is the capital of the Veneto region. It’s located on the Adriatic Sea, with the surroundings has 1, 500 000 inhabitants. The currency in use is euro.

How to get there?

There are several types of transport that will take you there. There is the train, you have to enter at the Venezia-Mestre station to get out at the next, Venezia-Santa Lucia. There are also buses, if you arrive by car, there are giant parking places, and they are not expensive. If you come by plane, you are not that far either, Marco Polo international airport is close to Mestre, surroundings of Venice. And from there you have shuttle bus and taxi.

How to get around in the city?

Very good question. In Venice it’s impossible to know your exact location. Map signal is weak, city has thousands of channels and bridges. So don’t even try, you won’t achieve it. Just enjoy sightseeing.

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Berlin – Creating art between walls and shadows

Berlin travel guide:

Berlin is German capital and it´s huge. There are more than 3.5 million people living there, without surroundings. This town has very rich history and because of that of course it has many interesting museums, visit at least two. The weather is usually cold, I was in March and I needed a jacket, especially at night. People are friendly, if you ask something they always help. The city is quite clean and tidy, like the Germans, so it is quite easy to locate.

Where to find accommodation?

As I said, I stayed in a hostel, with shared room and bathroom and without breakfast, in the eastern part of the city, because of course, it’s cheaper. And since the city is expensive, I recommend the same thing, better to spend money on other things than in an unnecessarily expensive accommodation. The city, although big, is very safe (I had to take the night train, about 3 am so I’m sure of what I’m talking about)

How to get around in the city: public transport is very fast and effective but complicated. S-bahn, U-bahn, Tram, bus, train. It takes a bit to understand all those kinds of transport, but after a day it will be automatic. The tickets are expensive, not for the Germans, but for most of the world, and especially for backpackers as me.

How much money you should take? In Germany they use euro as currency, which is the official currency of the EU and it’s used by most of its members. So, take euros. Other currencies are not accepted. Everything is expensive : food, transport, museums, souvenirs, tourist attractions (German parliament is an exception, it’s free). In 4 days in Berlin I spent 130 euros and I think it’s really a minimum. I slept in a hostel, I went to all the tourist attractions that are free, and well, instead of buying souvenirs I took photos.

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Belgrade, a city to enjoy

Belgrade Travel Guide

General information: Belgrade (Beograd in the local language, “the white city”, Београд in Cyrillic) the capital of Serbia, has more than one million inhabitants, actually just over 1,500,000 with surroundings. It’s a pretty safe city, so walking through the city center at night after a party is not a problem. The currency in use is the “dinar”. There are ATMs in every corner so you will have cash, don’t worry. Belgrade is a city to spend money and not regret it. Regarding border crossings, if you are not from neighboring countries you will have to carry your passport. The official language is Serbian and everything is written in Cyrillic. But, young people knows at least some English and everyone knows the Latin alphabet. So don´t worry. Serbs are simple and warm people, they will always help if necessary.

How to get around in the city?

There are buses and trams, the city has no metro, but buses will take you everywhere, so public transport is well planned, at least for tourists.

Where to go out?

It depends on your tastes, but every person in this world will find a suitable place, because they abound. All kinds of music and all kinds of fun.

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Bosnia, the heart of the Balkans part 2 : Sarajevo

 Sarajevo Travel Guide

General information: It is the capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina, with 300 000 inhabitants. It is pronounced like “Saraievo”. I write it because I know you can be confused with the “j” The official language is actually three of them: Bosnian, Serbian and Croatian. If you ask me, it’s the same thing, because I know very well that among the three nationalities living in Bosnia, everyone understands each other perfectly. I wrote a bit more about that in my Banja Luka article. In Sarajevo the vast majority is Bosniak (Bosnian muslims). Young people usually speak English, and much better than in some Western European countries. The official currency is BAM – the convertible marka. Bosnia is not part of the European Union so you must necessarily take your passport, even if you are EU citizen. And you have to be patient at border crossings where usually they ask a lot and review things. Sometimes is really annoying because they ask stupid things and I had the impression they ask just because they are bored on their job. So, patience. Or simply go by plane. The standard of living is not that high, so if you come from the “west”, you will enjoy it. For me it was very cheap, and I am from Croatia, always complaining that everything is expensive. The city is very safe, you can take a walk at two in the morning without worrying. Regarding the weather, during the winter it’s usually very cold, with snow, so you have to be appropriately dressed, if not you will freeze. Not recommended. Also, it’s important to know that sometimes during the night there are water restrictions so just a little bit of water can be used, if any. But during the day everything is normal.

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Bosnia, the heart of the Balkans part 1 : Banja Luka

General information: Banja Luka (the pronunciation – Bania Luka) has about 200,000 inhabitants, the official language is Serbian, the signs are in the Cyrillic alphabet, but the menus in restaurants are always in the Latin alphabet. In case you do not understand what Cyrillic and Latin means, well you will understand it when you come to the town and get lost. Cyrillic is used in Russia, for example. and Latin is used by the big majority of western countries. Sooo, Banja Luka and Бања Лука are the same thing. Fantastic. So you will get smarter by being in this town, because you will learn a new alphabet. In Bosnia where Serbs, Croats and Bosniaks live, the two alphabets are used, but this part is mostly Serbian, of Orthodox religion and they use Cyrillic more. The official currency is the BAM, convertible mark (marka in Bosnian). One euro equals two marks. There are exchange offices, but during the weekend they close very early like at 4 pm. Not everywhere you can pay with credit/debit cards (basically with any kind of cards) so it’s good to have cash. The city has an airport, half hour away from the city by car. Public transport consists of buses, but if you are going to stay just in the city you don’t need it, it’s more beautiful to walk around and get to know the city. If you decide to know the surroundings, there is a hill near by, and also the Krupa waterfalls, 30 kilometers from the city.

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