You want a brake of the beach destinations? Visit the spectacular Lake Como in Italy

Guys, we all know where we are heading usually in the peak of the summer. I chose 3 times beach vacations for this year as well! However, if you want to see something different than a beach destination, I have a suggestion for you – Lake Como, Italy.

That is the pearl of North Italy, and I definitely recommend you to check why this is one of the most famous lakes in the country. I will share with you my 3 things that impressed me the most, during my vacation there and then I will share the activities I have done there also what I did not like so it can help you organize an incredible trip there.

Firstly, let me tell you, that this is another destination of my list that you can easily reach on a good budget.

How to get there? If you are taking a flight – the nearest airport is Milan, where we landed. Then we rented a car and drove to the lake (that is how you can also see all the little places around the whole Lake.) In case you do not want to rent a car, you can easily take the train from Milan and it will take you around 40 min or the direct buses from Bergamo airport to one of the towns around the lake.

Next, I want to share my tips for organizing a better trip, than mine and my 3 reasons to choose exactly this destination:

1. The magnificent views that you will never forget

It is simply not possible and never enough to RECORD with a camera or phone all the beauty that Lake Como has to offer. This place is like taken from one of those cheesy romantic movies that we`ve been watching when we were young, where two girls go on holiday and randomly bumped into the love of their lives. And of course, the view, the food, the smell of cheese, sunset walks and a romantic boat trip are making all that possible.

If you do not want to miss any of those spectacular, cute romantic views, follow the list of places I visit and activities I did and you won`t make a mistake. Here is the list of activities I and my friends decided to do there:

Checking the cute small towns around the whole Lake:
Ice Cream Party

Enjoying the views and taking photos of the breathtaking views is only one part of what you are going to during your visit at Como. We had sunny days where we managed to drive through the small towns along the lake (the plus of having a car). However, we had some rainy days and rainy days and that was not a problem as we managed to hide from the heavy rain of the mountains into the museums and historical churches.

Visiting the Museo della Fine della Guerra in Dongo

This museum is not strong on artifacts, however, is beautifully designed. What you can see there is old newspapers, automatic riffle, and videos, showing the closing period of World War II. Something that will make you remember this museum is that this is the place where they captured Mussolini

Visiting Villa Carlotta in Loc. Tremezzo, Como

You can spend around 1,5 hours here, enjoying the beautiful interior of Villa Carlotta and its amazing garden. There are many flowers here, and the perfect timing to visit is spring or early summer.
You can find masterpieces on the first floor of the villa from the 18th century and the second was bought of Princess Marianne of the Netherlands as a wedding present for her daughter Carlotta. There you can have a look at the furniture.

It is a beautiful place, and you won`t regret visiting.

Boat trip

The best option for a boat trip is the public ferry. You can make a daily trip to another town with the ferry and enjoy the nicest views from thw water. You can check some routes here.

The `plus` is that you can take your car as well!

Visiting Piona Abbey

The route to the Abbey is very picturesque and the views of Lake Como are spectacular. It is very beautiful inside, Gothic style with the wonderful cloister. The small park with olive trees makes it very relaxing. There is a small gallery and in the Abbey’s you can buy good wine, liqueurs, honey, candies, health products, jams made by the monks in the monastery.

It is a great experience and I definitely recommend you to visit it. Just take care to put a longer skirt. I was wearing a short dress, and I was not allowed to stay even in the shops for a long time.

Beach day at Lecco

The last day we decided that we are going to spend on the beach. We found a place where it has a swimming pool, but also a beach near the lake. I actually went swimming in the Lake, even though it was a little cold. That was my first swim in a Lake and it is much different than sea or ocean. You definitely should try swimming in Lake Como. The water is clean and not extremely cold. And, of course, we had a gorgeous view. One thing that was missing – any type of Frappuccino, or cold summer cocktail that I am used to drink on the beach… not that much of a deal, but I felt like saying it.

There are many swimming pools around the Lake, just pick one and spend a day on the beach.

2. Here is where the fashion matters

Every country has its own style and way of wearing clothes. Depending on the place, people can be more pretentious with the fashion trends or more casual. In some places high heels, smoked eye make up and hair pulled up during the day, is unlikely to be seen, unless very special occasion. When in other places, you can meet people walking around, drinking coffee, and snacking in this outfit. Well, Lake Como is happiness for the eye of the fashion enthusiasts. I saw well dressed ladies, with nicely done make up, hair and overall their style was very fashionable. If you are one of those people, who like to dress up nicely on a holiday (not only comfortable), you can certainly do it in Lake Como. That does not mean that you would feel uncomfortable in case you choose very casual style. We are tourists after all, and Como has many of us. I do not have pictures for this reason of mine, but I guess you get the idea.

3. In case you want to run into a celebrity – here is the place

May be it is not a secret for you guys, that many celebrities choose to buy a house exactly there, because of the astonishing view. Some of the famous people who you can meet there are: George Clooney, Madonna, John Kerry, Sylvester Stallone, Ronaldinho, Richard Branson, Gianni, Versace, Matthew Bellamy. They do choose this Lake for a reason!

And lastly – what we did not like and what you can do better than us:

The truth is, that we did not like the food there. But I have to admit, that we had really bad luck with finding available good restaurants. Like I told you before, our group love to check restaurants and start planning the lunch and dinners hours before we go, and we almost always use tripadvisor. Now, what we did not know is that we either have to go to those places earlier or to make a reservation. We thought we can simply go at the restaurant, wait a bit and get a table (like in Amsterdam, when we do not have a reservation). It turns out that we have to make a reservation up front, which for us was always, hard because we were around the Lake all day and it was hard to decide which place, we are going to visit next. My advice is: ask the locals, ask tripadvisor and make a reservation at lunch for the dinner! That will save you not only time, but dissatisfaction of your spent money for low quality food on a touristic restaurant.

Those were my tips, and impressions of the amazing Lake Como. If I can, I would definitely visit it again. I love mountains and lakes, it is totally different experience then sea or ocean vacation and it will definitely recharge you so you are ready to go back to work.

Thank you for visiting and
till next time


Breathtaking Balkans: 4 facts that will make you visit the ancient city Sozopol

If you haven`t given a chance to the Balkans until now, Sozopol is the first reason to do it.
That is one of the most ancient cities in Bulgaria. Its age is around 6000 years old. But that is not the reason I strongly recommend you to visit it. Here is why:

1. Budget!
Guys, the Balkans are your perfect choice for holiday if you are thinking about your budget! Now, after Spain, my next choice for beach holiday is moving to Bulgaria, Black sea. That is my third summer vacation, so I am definitely focussed on my budget.

Let`s start with the flight tickets. I bought mine in March for 120 EUR. In late June, the tickets dropped to 50 EUR. So you can easily fly to Sofia, using Ryanair, Transavia or Wizz Air on the price of a dinner in Amsterdam. From Sofia, you can take a bus to Sozopol or rent a car.

Next – the accommodation and food costs. The accommodations are relatively cheap (around 35 EUR for a double room, however, you can get it cheaper if you book in advance, or higher if you want some perks), but you certainly will be nicely surprised by the food costs, drinks and parking and of course the quality of the food.

2. Sozopol is one of the most charming places on the Balkans

It is believed that the Black Sea was named after the terrible, sudden heavy storms that forced the ships to stay in the harbor. Sozopol was a natural shelter for sailors, as the sea here is mostly calm and the weather is wonderful.

This place simply got my heart. It has a special spirit coming from the preserved local feel. Walking around more than 200 ancient houses, built 17-19th century, I felt like going back into time, while I was passing women selling jam, corn, hand made clothes, hats, socks from their own houses. When visiting the archaeological museum, I learned that the lower floor of those houses is originally built for stores to keep nets and other fishing inventory. Now, they are transformed into small shops, coffees, galleries or hotels.

3. The hospitality of the locals

Yep, they are very hospitable. If you need anything in a restaurant, they will do everything possible to get it for you, even to go buy it from the competitors. I got help and extra help for everything I needed to arrange, from sightseeings to simple errands like hair dresser, navigating me in the city etc. People were just nice, relaxed and chatty.

4. Not overcrowded town with variety of activities
Sozopol gives you peaceful feeling, but in the same time full of life place. There is a cute town center with cable streets, where you can taste good ice creams and cakes. Special attention to the cakes here! They are absolutely amazing, and so many different kinds, that it is hard to choose.

Then the beach, lined with restaurants and bars, mostly offering traditional Bulgarian cuisine, and also cater for fast food appetite. The streets and beaches are not overcrowded both at night and day.

Here is the list of activities I did during my 6 day holiday:

Boat trip. You can easily take a 1 hour boat trip. It will give you breathtaking views (because of the rocks around the peninsula), that are visible better from the boat and it is really relaxing. You can also take a boat trip on Ropotamo river, which coastline is sandy and form enormous dunes where you can see the rare water lilies.

Ravadinovo castle. There is no historical value of this castle, but if you a fan of fairy tales and want to see stunning views – this place will take you on a magical tour in the old world of legends. It is set beautifully on a lake with amazing gardens around, and it will take you around 2-3 hours to see it all. You can visit the art gallery there, spend some time horse riding, try an escape room, drink a cup of coffee with stunning view and of course take many many pictures (exactly like I did). I definitely recommend you to see that!

Museum (in my case – on a rainy day). I had 1 stormy day so I used to learn something new about the history of this ancient city. The archaeological museum of Sozopol is small but very well organized. You can spend like 30-40 min there. It will give you great insights on the history and development of Sozopol, about its first name – Apollonia, how it became an independent city-state and then later the first democratic state of the territory of Bulgaria.

Shopping: I love the rose oil products, that are 100% natural, without parabens and among the best rose oil worldwide. I recommend you to take some of those products, at extremely low prices, compared to the expensive brands from other countries. I bought a soap, eye serum, and lip balm. You can take a look also at the leather coats, they are at reasonable prices.

I recommend visiting the ancient churches in Sozopol. It is worth visiting: the church St Georgi (330 a.C.), St. Zoslim (19th century), deep down in the ground Virgin Mary (15th century), St. Cyril and Methodius, which attracts many tourists because of the relics of St. John the Baptist lies there.

In case you have some more time you can also try:

A day trip to Nessebar. You can take a boat to Nessebar for around 15 EUR, 45 min. You will walk around Nessebar, and come back. It is definitely worth seeing, however, I would rather spend few days there.

Aquapark Neptun.
If you like Aquaparks, then right next to Ravadinovo castle, you will find aquapark Neptun. The entrance is 18 EUR for adults for the whole day, there are also prices for half day and kids. It is a good idea if you want a change from the beach view.

If you go there in late August or September, you can also visit the famous Apollonia festivals, however, I have to warn you – the city will be packed.

That is my second story in more than few words! I haven`t been to the Bulgarian sea side for years, but because I work in the travel industry I know all about it. Sozopol is one of the favorite destinations for Russian, German and Scandinavian tourists and after I saw it, mine as well. You will find beautiful views on a rainy or sunny day and always something to do without being in overcrowded place. Let me know your impression of Sozopol, or whether you are planning to visit it soon.

Till next time

10 reasons to drop whatever you do now and go to Spain

Guys, in my first post, I want to share with you my favourite destination of all times – Spain. I have been to the States, Asia, all around Europe, however Spain has a special place in my heart. I am so passionate for Spain, that I choose to go there at least 2 times a year. I have been to Barcelona 2 times, and I am planning to take my mother there so I can visit a third time. I have been also to: Alicante, Valencia, Teulada, Palma de MaIIorca and many more small towns around.  It is absolutely amazing, cosy, relaxing, and fun. I want to share my overall experience for Spain, so you can enjoy it the same way or even more.

Here is why you need to drop everything you are doing now and book your trip to Spain. You won`t regret it!

1) Spain is absolutely affordable destination
The flight tickets for Spain are relatively cheap, especially if you choose the right moment to go. My tickets to Barcelona in last November costed 90 EUR, in June they costed 120 EUR, but I have seen them for 70 EUR in September. Palma varies around 100 EUR for the summer. The best moment to go is April, September-November if you want to avoid the crowds and save some money. I visited Alicante and few other cities for 150 EUR ticket in June, and that was actually a good price, considering the fact that the season did not start yet and for a beach vacation I spent so little.

2) Spain has stunning mountains.

Since I am coming from a country with high mountains, and I love-loove them, the mountain view gives me peace like nothing else. If you are like me and in need of mountain – you can have it in Spain. You have calmness of the nature, you will feel the ease of the mountain view and you can truly find peace of mind.

3) Spanish food is heavenly good
Since I am a real foody person, for me one of the reasons to visit a country is its cuisine. My travel group is as well foody and peaky when it comes to restaurants. We spent hours to pick the right place to eat, and hours of discussing the food that was served. We won`t change the topic until we go through every dish on the table and the dessert. Yep, we enjoy it until the last bite. And if we find that the dish is not good, then we are going to discover why and what we would change to make it perfect. The Spanish food is amazing. You should try: empanadas, (that I discover on my third visit to Spain. So find a good place in whatever Spanish city you go, and target that dish), gazpacho, tortilla, all the sea food, don`t get me even started there, of course buy some chorizo, and order patatas bravas to start your dinner. We had a huge discussion whether chorizo is a type of salami, or they are totally different and incomparable, which did not lead to any concrete conclusion, however it made me focus more on eating chorizo and buying it for home. Well if you know the answer of that discussion, please feel free to help us close it.

4) Sangria ladies and gentleman
I am a person who enjoys cocktails, especially in the summer. What is a beach vacation, without a fresh, summer, fruit, wine cocktail? Please don’t hesitate to take sangria, and do not be modest to take only one glass. If you are in a group with friends, go for the 1-2 liters, because it is going ridiculously fast in a nice, warm evening, while snacking calmarie, squied, or patatas bravas. Furthermore, we found amazing strawberry mojito in Spain. What I tried before was very light on alcohol, nice mojito cocktails, but in Spain, the strawberry mojitos rocks. If you want to go for wine – La Rioja region makes one of the best wines in the world. So go ahead, and try some Spanish wine.

5) Amazing cathedrals
Spain is full of cathedrals. From the breath-taking masterpiece of Gaudi – La Sagrada Familia to the cathedral of Santiago de Compostela, a place of international pilgrimade.

6) Hidden beaches with turquoise blue water
I visited many places with beaches literally looking like a post card (Thailand, Mexican gulf), however the beaches I visited in Spain have the cleanest, transparent, turquoise blue water I have ever seen. It is just leaving you speechless, and giving you inside peace.

7) You get free snack when you order a drink
I am coming from a country where when you order a drink this is all you get. Spain is something else. Receiving a tasty snack with you drink is a a time-honoured tradition in Spain, mostly in the smaller cities.

I feel like I should make a whole new section for paella, because OMG it is amazing. They have so many varieties of paella, and they are all worth trying. I am just going to mention my favorite one – sea food paella. Please try it at least once, at a good, well known place for paella, not a touristic one and you will be amazed. They usually served it at least for two people, however once you tasted it, you would want a double portion of it.

9) They use flowers as a fence…
The decoration of their houses made me think where I want to buy a house. I live now in The Netherlands, and I would love to buy a house there, however once I saw the Spanish houses in their small cities… well it is just so cute that I want to live there. I think at one stage of my life, I will just relocate to Spain, get a house like that and arrange a beautiful garden like theirs. For now, all we can do is to take a lot of photos with their amazing house decorations.

10) Weather in Spain
If you live in a colder and rainy country like me, then Spain is a great choice, because the weather is nice until late November, and it gets warm enough for the beach already in May-June. If you choose to go to the Cannary islands (where surely I will go soon), you can even choose to go later in the year and still enjoy the sunny beach weather.
If you live in a warm country, like where I am from (Bulgaria), then I can tell you that the temperature in the pick season is perfect for the beach – around 30, and the rest of the year it wold be always a good choice to visit, because it would be warm, not windy, and not rainy – perfect weather for holiday.

In one of my next articles I will tell you more specifically for my trips to Barcelona, Alicante, Valencia, Teulada, Palma de MaIIorca and all beautiful places I have been to in Spain, so it can help you plan your vacation in Spain better and comfortable on budget like I did.

Till next time