GarethGoesPlaces

GarethGoesPlaces

Travel Tips

Revealed: Secrets to Booking Bargain Flights

Airport

Finding the right ticket for your travel experience is not always easy, a mix of price, quality and speed is necessary to make the best out of your purchase. In this article you will discover some quick handy takeaways for when planning a vacation whether it’s solo, family or business, these tips will help you grab a bargain flight.

Looking out plane window

#1 – Don’t limit yourself to one airport

The first thing you need to take into account is your departure and your arrival airport. Do some research to find nearby airports that would be suitable for you to travel to. The more airports the better chance you’ll grab a bargain flight.

Some airlines fly from different airports and therefore could make your flights cheaper. You should also consider if possible, flying from one airport and then flying back at a different airport on your return flight – this is one of the best ways to find a cheap flight, but it can also be a pain, especially if you’re driving.

A recent example of this is booking a flight to Norway for this month. I searched for flights to Stavanger from my local airports, all of which returned with prices of over £600…pretty expensive! When I searched for other airports nearby, I grabbed a return flight for £80.

 #2 – Two one-way tickets could be cheaper…

Whilst it’s still possible to grab a bargain return flight like I did, sometimes purchasing one-way tickets from different airlines can make the overall trip cheaper. Using sites like KODEX Travel can help you discover cheap last-minute flights and also give you prices for flights a year in advance, making sure you grab a bargain.

You can search for specific airlines on most flight finders, for example like the below on KODEX.

Kodex Travel Search Results

#3 – Fly low class

Whilst it may not be the best experience and if you prefer to fly in style, you’ll definitely be saving some cash by using budget airlines or purchasing the lower class seats. This is a great idea if you’re looking to travel frequently visiting more countries at a low cost. Not all low-class airlines are that bad and if you are only flying for a few hours, then stick your headphones in and you’ll be landing before you know it!

Airplane Aisle

#4 – Utilise low fare calendars for cheaper days

One of the biggest tips for finding cheap flights is by utilising low-fare calendars to identify dates that have cheap departures. Research suggests that flights during the week are usually much cheaper than at the weekends. Typically purchasing departure flights on Saturdays can be quite pricey, so departing on a Thursday and flying back on a Sunday would usually give you a cheap flight and a long weekend to explore your next city and create memories.

KODEX Travel Flight Calendar

#5 – Choosing different flight times

When searching for cheap flights, the timings of your flights can be a big factor. Flights during the day will most likely be more expensive than those that are early-hours or late-night flights. If you are not too bothered with flight times, you should definitely consider looking at the times. For my upcoming Norway trip, I’ll be flying at 8:30 pm on a Friday and arriving around 10 pm. My flight back on Sunday isn’t too late either, meaning I’ll still be able to explore and make the most of my time.

Flight Departures

If you are an early-riser like myself, you’ll find that these sort of flights aren’t too bad. Of course, when at the destination, you could always wake-up earlier to make the most of your time.

I’d love to know what you think of these tips and if you have any of your own, feel free to share them in the comments!

General

2017 Summary, 2018 Travelling

Gareth Goes Places - Scottish Highlands

First of all, Happy Belated New Year.

Yes, this post is a little late and I apologise for that, however, I wanted to start off 2018 with this post.

Last year was an incredible year. It was the year that I started to get into travel a lot more, like seriously, so much that I got the travel bug and visited 9 countries. It was also the first time I solo travelled, Poland being my first solo destination.

December was a very busy month, of course with Christmas and my 21st birthday, but also visiting 3 countries. Hungary, being my favourite out of them all. I visited Budapest for three nights. It’s such a beautiful city, especially during Christmas and at night with all the lights lit up. After spending time there, I then began to move on to my next destination Bucharest, Romania. That was also a great city – they had a lovely Christmas market right in front of the Parliament building.

For 2018, I plan to visit more countries, some long-haul destinations such as Bali, Barbados and maybe a few others. Feel free to recommend some in the comment section below. I also plan to continue doing Europe city-breaks every few months, hopefully visiting more countries than last year.

Whilst I’m only twenty-one, I had set a goal a few years back to visit 25 countries before 25. If I can reach that goal by 22 I will be very happy and will proceed with a bigger goal. Thinking about it, I’m not too far off (19 countries), so this should be quite an easy goal. I’m thinking jumping up to 50 countries before 30. That could be an interesting one.

The countries I plan to visit this year are below.

  1. Portugal
  2. Switzerland
  3. Netherlands
  4. Austria
  5. Slovenia
  6. Croatia
  7. Denmark
  8. Slovakia
  9. Faroe Islands

Any others I visit will most likely be close to those destinations.

When you can find flights from £10 return, it’s hard not to take up that offer, so expect plenty of blog posts and photos from my travels this year.

So, that’s all for now! Where do you plan to visit this year? – Let me know in the comments below!

As all, feel free to follow me on Instagram and reach out to me on Twitter if you have any questions!

 

 

Hotels

Expo Congress Hotel, Budapest – Hotel Review

Expo Hotel Budapest

Hotel Name: Expo Congress Hotel Budapest
Star Rating: ****
Location: Expo Congress Hotel Budapest, H-1101 Budapest, Expo tér 2.
Rooms: 120 standard rooms, 36 superior rooms, 4 disabled access rooms.
Top Tip: Make sure to check out the Sky Bar and enjoy a few drinks relaxing with a nice view.

Expo Congress Hotel

Expo Congress Hotel Reception
Expo Congress Hotel Reception

If you’re looking to go for a short city break and admire amazing views and stunning architecture, Budapest, Hungary is a great choice.  Expo Hotel Congress is situated not far from the city centre. A short 16-minute tube will get you there in no time. There are a total of 160 stylish rooms at Expo Hotel Congress. All rooms feature nice designs and consist of the basic hotel facilities.

Other services available at the hotel include;

  • Sky Bar
  • Expo Brasserie
  • Lobby Bar
  • Spa and Fitness

Location:

Budapest is well known for its beautiful buildings and stunning architecture. There is plenty to see and explore around Budapest. With the hotel being situated not far from the city centre, you’ll be able to relax and unwind in a quiet location in a more local less-touristy area.

The quickest way to get to the city centre is via the Metro which is situated right near the Puskás Ferenc Stadion – a short 24-minute walk.

Budapest Parliament Building
Budapest Parliament Building

After checking in at Expo Congress Hotel, we explored the local area and came across a Burger King not too far from the hotel itself. We decided to grab some food from there and explore more areas. Due to our arrival time in Budapest, we didn’t manage to explore the city until the following day.

Due to the location of the hotel being situated a little out from the centre, you will be required to use public transport to access the main attractions – but don’t worry, if you pick up a 24-hour or 72 hours Budapest card, you’ll be able to travel on the Metro, Trams and Buses using your ticket.

The Superior Room:

Expo Congress Hotel Superior Room
Expo Congress Hotel Superior Room

Upon arriving at Expo Congress Hotel, there was no queue so we were able to check-in within minutes. We stayed in the Superior room on the 9th floor with a front-facing view towards the Castle and Parliament in the distance. The Superior room accommodates up to two people in single beds or a double, upon your request.

Expo Congress Hotel Superior Room ft. TV and Travel Phone
Expo Congress Hotel Superior Room ft. TV and Travel Phone

After stepping inside, I was very happy with the room. It was pretty spacious and stylish and consisted of the usual hotel room facilities.

  • LCD TV
  • Spacious Safe
  • Free Fast WIFI
  • Climate Control
  • Minibar
  • Walk-in Shower
  • Tea and Coffee Facilities

What was very handy that I’ve not come across in other hotels during my travels, is the travel-buddy phone they provide to guests. In your room, you’ll find a smart-phone docked with interesting Budapest attractions and guides along with more hotel information. This makes your trip more enjoyable knowing you don’t need to worry about your data usage on your own smartphones.

Expo Congress Hotel Travel Buddy Smartphone
Expo Congress Hotel Travel Buddy Smartphone

I’m happy to say, the hotel came equipped with the basic needs for a short city break stay.

Dining at Expo Congress Hotel:

Expo Congress Hotel has a bar and a restaurant. The bar is available on the 12th floor and is open from Tuesday to Saturday, 17:00 till 24:00. Whilst you can’t order major food and snacks, you can take advantage of the happy hour promotion and great prices for an evening drink with a lovely view.

Expo Congress Hotel Restaurant
Expo Congress Hotel Restaurant

The food available in the morning at the Expo Congress Hotel restaurant concluded of the usual all-you-can-eat buffet breakfast. You can also request the breakfast to be delivered to your room for a small cost.

Stuffed Chicken at Expo Congress Hotel
Stuffed Chicken at Expo Congress Hotel

The dinner menu was quite interesting. I opted for the stuffed chicken with pasta, it was pretty nice and needed after a long day of exploring.

Amenities & Entertainment:

The hotel has various spa facilities which include, a sauna, steam bath, jaccuzi, relaxing area and sundeck terrace. Other facilities available in the hotel include the fitness studio, which consists of various machines, dumbbells and access to the sundeck terrace. Both are open from 7am to 10pm.

Expo Congress Hotel Lounge
Expo Congress Hotel Lounge

All facilities and services:

  • Free WIFI
  • Restaurant and Bar
  • 24 Hour Reception
  • Fitness Centre
  • Sewing service
  • Ironing service
  • Shoeshine service
  • Porterage
  • Complimentary Luggage Room
  • Late check-out until 3 pm for EUR 25 / room

Pros:

  • Quick and easy check-in and check-out
  • The room was very spacious and comfortable
  • Breakfast can be delivered to room
  • Safe is spacious, big enough for a laptop
  • Beds were comfy for a short stay
  • Location is slightly good, not too far away from the city centre but will require public transport
  • Stylish wall-art and designs
  • Travel buddy phone – Extremely handy!
  • Bathroom has a walk-in shower
  • Nice view looking towards the Parliament building and castle
  • Good choice of food available at the restaurant
  • Variety of drinks available at the Sky Bar

Cons:

  • Some food was a little too cold to enjoy
  • Water wasn’t complimentary and carried a €2 price tag
  • No swimming pool at the hotel
  • No Instagram account specifically for this hotel, which is a lost opportunity to connect with the guests staying at Expo Congress Hotel

The wrap up:

If you’re looking to explore Budapest for a few days and not be situated right in the centre with everything going on, but still a short metro ride away, then Expo Congress Budapest is the ideal hotel. All rooms are very stylish and easy to access via lifts or stairs. The staff at the front desk are ready to help if you have any issues during your visit.

Disclosure: My stay was hosted by Expo Hotel Congress, Mellow Mood Hotels, but all views are my own and reflect my stay accurately.

Duration: 2 nights, Monday 4th December - Wednesday 6th December 2017
Poland

Discover Krakow – Top 8 Things to Do – 2018

Discover Krakow

Craving a city break but not sure where to go? Krakow in Poland is a great choice. Krakow has plenty to offer, from its beautiful sight-seeing attractions and tours to a variety of popular restaurants and bars. Accommodation in Krakow is really good, whether you’re looking to stay in a more relaxed environment or opt for a luxurious city break stay, there’s plenty of hotels to choose from.

I visited Krakow on a solo travel adventure for three nights, and during my trip, I visited the major attractions which included; The Main Market, St. Mary’s Basilica, Wawel Cathedral and Castle, Kazimierz – former Jewish district, Auschwitz, Salt Mine and more.

The great thing about this city, is that the majority of popular attractions and those that I wanted to visit, were all within walking distance – resulting in not having to use public transport or Taxis.

In this article, I’ll be covering the top places you should visit if you decide to book a trip to Krakow, Poland.

Discover Krakow – Top 8 Things to Do

1 – The Main Market

Krakow’s main market square (Rynek) has plenty to offer. There are beautiful surroundings and buildings that will make you want to explore more of the local areas and find the hidden gems of Krakow.

The Main Market in Krakow, is stunning both in the day and at night, with all the lights lit up and restaurants with outside seating with fires on. No better way to enjoy Krakow at night dining at the 200 metre square.

Fact: Did you know, Rynek is one of the largest medieval squares in Europe and is surrounded by townhouses with unique names with interesting history behind them.

2 – St. Mary’s Basilica

St Mary's Basilica
St Mary’s Basilica

When you visit Old Town, St Mary’s Basilica is beautifully situated at The Main Market. The church has stunning architecture both on the inside and outside. If you’re into gothic style buildings, you’ll love this. To enter the church, you’ll need a ticket. The cost of tickets is 10/8/5zł (kids under 8 go free). Tickets can be purchased in a separate building across from the tourist entrance.

Fact: St. Mary’s Basilica was rebuilt in Gothic style after Tartar raids in the 13th century which ended up leaving the original church in heaps of ruins.

3 – Cloth Hall

The Cloth Hall is at the centre of Krakow’s Main Market Square. Inside the small shopping mall, you’ll find various handicrafts and local products. It’s worth visiting as the prices are quite reasonable!

Cloth Hall, Krakow
Cloth Hall, Krakow

Fact: Back in the old days, the merchant stalls in Cloth Hall sold wax, spices, leather and silk. They also sold lead and salt from the nearby mines such as Wieliczka.

4 – Wawel Cathedral and Castle

If you visit Poland, Wawel Cathedral is a must. It’s by far one of the most important buildings. Situated on the hill is Wawel’s Cathedral and Castle. A step inside is definitely recommended to get the full experience.

Wawel Castle
Wawel Castle

There are also various other buildings close by, which are worth a visit after taking a short break at the cafe located right near the Cathedral.

5 – Wawel Dragon

Located right near the Wista riverbank below Wawel Castle is The Wawel Dragon, a sculpture by artist Bronisław Chromy. The Wawel Dragon is believed to be a Polish traditional legend.

Wawel Dragon in Krakow
Wawel Dragon in Krakow

If you’re visiting Wawel Castle then a visit to the Dragon is a must, especially since it’s just below the castle near the riverbank. If you visit at the right time or wait a short while, you’ll catch the Wawel Dragon breath fire.

6 – Kazimierz – former Jewish district

History lover? You’ll enjoy a visit to the Kazimierz – former Jewish district. There’s lots of history behind this place and it’s quite interesting. Whether you read up about it or take a tour, it should definitely be on your list to visit whilst staying in Krakow.

Kazimierz is also known for its cafe culture and the nightlife. If you visit, I’d recommend grabbing a Zapiekanka there. They are very tasty!

 

Zapiekanka in Krakow
Zapiekanka in Krakow

7 – Auschwitz

Whilst very touching, it’s a must if you visit Krakow. You’ll really understand what it was like, and learn more in person than watching documentaries. I visited on a Tuesday and the weather wasn’t great at all, which made the experience more dramatic and touching.

Auschwitz Krakow
Auschwitz Krakow

It’s very busy, even during the week. If you decide to go, I would highly recommend booking a tour or purchasing a ticket in advance. My tour guide was very knowledgeable and gave a lot of details about the concentration camp and the horrendous things that went on during the devastating times.

8 – Salt Mine

The Salt Mine was a good experience, even after walking down 800 steps…don’t worry – there’s a lift to bring you back up to the surface.

Salt Mine in Krakow
Salt Mine in Krakow

Located in Wieliczka, The Salt Mine is famous for its pits, chambers and everything else within its depths. The sculptures inside the mine have all been carved by hand from salt blocks. – They are very cool!

There is a lot of walking involved in this tour, and they usually last two hours, sometimes three, so make sure to wear comfortable clothing!

For the best experience, I would recommend booking in advance to ensure you get enough time to visit the whole mine as it gets quite busy at times and visitors are always guided in groups.

 

 

 

 

 

Hotels

Vienna House Andel’s Cracow, Luxury Hotel Review

Vienna House Andel's Cracow Exterior 2

Hotel Name: Vienna House Andel’s Cracow
Star Rating: ****
Location: Pawia 3, 31-154 Kraków
Rooms: 159 rooms and suites
Top Tip: Try out the Italian Chardonnay at Oscar’s bar. If you’re into your pasta, give the Tagliatelle chicken and spinach a go – that was delicious. After a long day of sight-seeing, I recommend getting a massage at Vienna House Andel’s Cracow.

 

Vienna House Andel's Cracow Exterior
Vienna House Andel’s Cracow Exterior

If you’re looking to explore Poland, Krakow is a great choice. There’s plenty of history to be learned, lots of attractions to visit and sight-seeing to be done. Vienna House Andel’s Cracow is the perfect option if you would rather a luxurious stay for several nights with everything within walking distance.

Each and every room at Vienna House Andel’s Cracow feature state-of-the-art amenities. The hotel consists of 159 rooms and suites – standard, superior, executive and suites.

Vienna House Andel's Cracow Lobby
Vienna House Andel’s Cracow Lobby

Andel’s Cracow by Vienna House offers its guests various options. these include restaurant and bar with terrace, spa and fitness facilities, 24/7 reception and room service, free high-speed WIFI, underground parking spaces.

Location:

Krakow is a popular tourist location with lots to offer. Vienna House Andel’s Cracow is situated in the heart of Krakow with everything within an extremely short walking distance. Honestly, there’s no need for public transport. I’ve not used any throughout my duration of my Poland trip.

Krakow, Poland
Krakow, Poland

Upon arrival of my stay at Vienna House, I was immediately impressed with the location and surroundings. Andel’s Cracow has a tram station less than a minute’s walk, a massive shopping mall right outside, and access to smaller shops from the underground passageway.

Wawel Castle, Krakow, Poland
Wawel Castle, Krakow, Poland

Vienna House Andel’s Cracow is centrally located in Old Town giving you plenty of sight-seeing and photo opportunities within minutes of exploring. After checking in, I would highly recommend exploring the local areas and taking in the sights both during daylight and at night with everything lit-up.

The Superior Room

Once I arrived at Vienna House Andel’s Cracow, I was given the Superior room – a luxurious room equipped with a double bed, a very fancy bathroom with both a shower and bathtub (with a beautiful neon lighting option – perfect for that relaxing bath after a long day of sight-seeing), LCD TV with DVD and CD player, super-fast free WIFI, a big safe, minibar with luxury coffee and tea making facilities, daily digital newspaper, DVD library and the option to have free breakfast delivered to my room – what else do I need? This is perfect.

Vienna House Andel's Cracow Superior Room Bed View
Vienna House Andel’s Cracow Superior Room Bed View

After stepping out the lift, I was faced with various room doors, all of which were designed very well. Once I opened the door to my room, I was amazed to see such a beautiful room layout with lots to offer and presented very well. I’m not even sure where to begin.

Vienna House Andel's Cracow Superior Room Bed
Vienna House Andel’s Cracow Superior Room Bed

Hopefully, the pictures above will get my point across, but let’s just say, I was extremely pleased with everything the room had to offer.

Vienna House Andel's Cracow Superior Room with WindowVienna House Andel's Cracow Superior Room Bathroom

Also, I would like to thank Lukas for the amazing welcoming gift.

Vienna House Andel's Cracow Superior Gift
Vienna House Andel’s Cracow Superior Gift

Dining at Vienna House Andel’s Cracow:

Vienna House Andel's Cracow Restaurant
Vienna House Andel’s Cracow Restaurant

For my first night stay at Andel’s Cracow, I was excited to try out their dishes. I went for taglitelle chicken and spinach dish. It was delicious. For the cost of £6 it was superb. The presentation was great too.  Yet another glass of Italian Chardonnay was accompanied beside this dish. The wine of which I’ve just taken a sip of as of writing this sentence.

Vienna House Andel's Cracow Dining
Vienna House Andel’s Cracow Dining

Amenities & Entertainment:

Vienna House Andel’s Cracow has a spa and fitness studio available to every guest at the hotel. They also have a sauna and massages available – I booked in for a massage on Sunday night. Considering I booked quite late at 6pm, they still organised a massage for me later that night at 7:45pm. The massage was great and really made me feel relaxed afterward.

I couldn’t help but get into that bathtub with the neon lights straight after dinner and a few more glasses of the Italian Chardonnay – which I highly recommend. This completed my night.

Vienna House Andel's Cracow Reception
Vienna House Andel’s Cracow Reception

All facilities and services:

  • Free High-Speed WIFI
  • Restaurant and Bar
  • Underground Parking
  • 24 Hour Reception
  • 24 Hour Room Service
  • Fitness Centre
  • Massages
  • Daily Digital Newspaper
  • Free Breakfast Delivered to Room
  • Free Welcome Drink
  • Early check-in or late check-out on request – this was perfect for me, I was able to check-out at 6pm for my flight, yes that’s 6pm!

Pros:

  • Very quick check-in and check-out
  • Location is perfect – the majority of attractions are within short walking distance
  • The WIFI is incredibly fast and accessible throughout the hotel
  • Both the bedroom and bathroom were very luxurious
  • Great amount of detail and design has been put into each room
  • Vienna House Andel’s Cracow staff are very helpful and polite with a positive attitude
  • The bedding was extremely comfortable
  • Luxury tea and coffee making facilities
  • Great choice of meals on the dinner menu
  • Variety of drinks available at Oscar’s bar
  • Free welcome drink
  • The massages are brilliant, especially after a long day of sight-seeing
  • Suprise gift if you choose not to have your room cleaned the next day

Cons:

  • No swimming pool at the hotel
  • TV has limited channels
  • No Instagram account for Vienna House Andel’s Cracow – this is a lost opportunity to connect with guests staying at this hotel, whilst also increasing brand awareness.

The wrap up:

If you are looking to explore Krakow a little more luxuriously, then staying at Vienna House Andel’s Cracow is the perfect option. With each and every room having a luxury design and options available to all guests, with polite and positive staff team members ready to help at your request, there’s no reason not to book a city getaway break at Andel’s Cracow. The ideal location for solo travellers, corporate and family vacations.

Disclosure: My stay was hosted by Vienna House Andel’s Cracow, but all views are my own and reflect my stay accurately.

Duration: 2 nights, Sunday 12th - Tuesday 14th November 2017
Hotels

Novotel Krakow Centrum, Poland – Hotel Review

Novotel Krakow Exterior View

Hotel Name: Novotel Krakow Centrum
Star Rating: ****
Location: Tadeusza Kościuszki 5, 30-105 Kraków
Rooms: 198 rooms and suites
Top Tip: Check out the breakfast options to start your day off healthy, then begin a short a walk along the river right outside the hotel to admire the views.

Novotel Krakow Centrum

Novotel Krakow Centrum Lobby
Novotel Krakow Centrum Lobby

If you’re looking for a short two-night city break, Krakow, Poland is the perfect place. Novotel Krakow Centrum is an ideal hotel for your solo retreat or family vacation. There are 198 rooms and suites at Novotel Krakow Centrum, 21 family rooms, and 38 connecting rooms. The hotel offers various options for each and every guest – indoor heated pool, fitness room, spa, gaming area (Xbox 360 + Kinect) with interactive table for children, bicycle rental and Novo Square lounge bar – a combination of a bar and a restaurant, the perfect place to rest.

Novotel Krakow Novo Square
Novotel Krakow Novo Square

Location:

Krakow is a popular location for tourists, there’s plenty of history and landmarks to see. Novotel Krakow Centrum is just a short walk from the Old Town and is positioned right in front of River Wista.

On my first night staying in Krakow, after checking in at Novotel, I explored the local areas and due to most of Krakow’s attractions being in walking distance, the location of this hotel was ideal. It took me less than 14 minutes to walk to Wawel Cathedral from this location. There is no need for public transport, and I would recommend walking as you’ll see much more. A walk along the river is definitely recommended – it’s very beautiful at night with the various buildings all lit up!

The Standard Room:

Upon arriving at Novotel, I checked in within minutes. There was no queue, I was straight up and the check-in process was simple. I was given Room 317, Novotel’s Standard room that accommodates up to two adults and 2 children.

Novotel Krakow Centrum Room Layout
Novotel Krakow Centrum Room Layout

After stepping a foot inside, I was very pleased with the room – it was very spacious, had a great view from the front of the hotel right above the entrance (the windows are huge – pretty cool!) The Standard room includes free WIFI, LCD TV, air-conditioning, bathroom with shower, minibar, basic tea and coffee facilities (didn’t come across any milk) and a pretty big safe with plenty of room.

Novotel Krakow Centrum Bed
Novotel Krakow Centrum Bed

I’m pleased to report the room was equipped with the essentials for a short enjoyable stay.

Dining at Novotel Krakow Centrum:

Hotel Novotel Krakow Centrum has 1 restaurant and a bar. Novo Square is a modern interior designed lounge bar with a restaurant serving light and healthy foods from all over the world.

Novotel Krakow Centrum Breakfast
Novotel Krakow Centrum Breakfast

The food available for breakfast at Novotel’s restaurant included scrambled eggs, sausages, tomatoes and beans, boiled eggs, vegetables, fruit, cereals, toast and bread, and croissants. Whilst, not the biggest selection, there was a good variety to choose from to start your day off healthy. Bacon along with other food is available upon request. Some of the dishes are also available 24/7 via Room Service. Novo Square’s menu includes alcohol and soft drinks along with a selection of interesting regional beers.

Novotel Krakow Centrum Dining
Novotel Krakow Centrum Dining

Amenities & Entertainment:

The hotel has one swimming pool (heated), a wellness centre which includes a gym, sauna, jacuzzi, beauty parlor and also massages. Hotel Novotel Krakow Centrum also has a children’s play area which consists of an Xbox 360 with Kinect, along with an interactive table for children. They also have a chill-out lounge in the lobby with charging units allowing you to take a rest after your day’s exploring.

Novotel Krakow Centrum Gaming Area
Novotel Krakow Centrum Gaming Area

All facilities and services:

  • Free WIFI
  • Online Check-In
  • Parking
  • 24 Hour Reception
  • 24 Hour Room Service
  • Indoor Heated Pool
  • Fitness Centre
  • Restaurant and Bar
  • 24 Hour Security
Novotel Krakow Centrum Lobby
Novotel Krakow Centrum Lobby

Pros:

  • Quick and easy check-in and check-out
  • The room was very spacious and comfortable
  • Nice design for sink and bathroom layout
  • A complimentary breakfast was included with my stay – the food was tasty! Great selection of drinks, however, the glasses were a little small, so I did find myself going up for more after a few sips.
  • The location is spot on, the majority of attractions are within walking distance
  • Huge window with a great view of the river and surrounding areas
  • The service was fantastic, front desk was very helpful
  • The bedding was comfy for a standard room
  • Received a helpful interesting Krakow pocket guide and map
  • Variety of food and drink to choose from at the Novo Square Restaurant and Bar

Cons:

  • The room only featured one image, it could do with some more decoration – different style of modern photography or art. This would make the rooms more vibrant.
  • The LCD TV was limited to a few channels
  • There was no milk provided with the tea and coffee facilities

The wrap up:

If you want to explore Krakow and have the majority of attractions within walking distance of fewer than 20 minutes, yet stay in a quiet clean location with great facilities at reasonable prices, shopping centres on your doorstep and plenty of restaurants nearby, I recommend staying at Hotel Novotel Kraków Centrum.

Novotel Krakow Centrum Exterior
Novotel Krakow Centrum Exterior

Disclosure: My stay was hosted by Novotel Kraków Centrum, AccorHotels, but all views are my own and reflect my stay accurately.

Duration: 1 night, Saturday 11th November 2017

 

Czech Republic

8 Epic Reasons To Visit Prague

DSC01850

Ask any traveller who’s been to Europe and visited Prague, no-doubt they’ll say it’s one of the most stunning and fun cities they’ve visited. That’s because of many reasons, not just the architecture, history or the very cheap beer! In this Prague travel guide, you’ll find 10 exciting reasons to visit Prague, Czech Republic.

8 Reasons You Should Travel Prague

1. Breathtaking attractions

If I were to list all the attractions in Prague, I’d be here all day. The list is endless, it’s a beautiful city that you can return to again and again and visit new attractions because there’s just so many of them. I’ve visited twice and loved every moment of both trips. There’s still much more for me to discover there so maybe another trip back to this beautiful city in the future is needed.

Prague Attractions
Prague Attractions

From the Castle District to the Jewish District, from Old Town to New Town, you can’t miss the breathtaking architecture and stunning views. Some of which will leave you lost for words.

2. It’s cheap!

One of the biggest reasons people tend to travel Prague is due to how cheap it is.

Accommodation in Prague can be pretty cheap, but don’t get me started on the meals and beers. If you visit a local restaurant you’ll pay less than $3 for a meal. Beers are even cheaper than that! You’ll pay roughly $2 in a bar and less than a dollar if you buy from shops.

The further you go out, the cheaper it gets.

Quick stop at Kampa Park
Quick stop at Kampa Park

Whilst there are the finer options which are a little more pricey, like dining out at top restaurants such as Kampa Park, it’s definitely worth it. Especially when you can sit down and throw back a glass of wine with a brilliant view like this.

3. Events and special ceremonies

Prague has various events annually which will make your trip memorable. Quite a lot of them are free and are seasonal events, holiday parades and sometimes specific markets for special occasions, like the winter Christmas market. These events will allow you to experience Czech culture in exciting interesting ways. Best of all, you will capture some great pictures too!

When I visited Prague this year, I caught a special ceremony taking place at Prague Castle. Whilst it was very busy, it was quite interesting and a little different from usual.

4. Public transport

The majority of Prague’s most interesting sights can be reached on foot. For both of my visits, I mostly walked everywhere as the main attractions are all local. I also personally prefer walking as you get to find hidden sights such as the John Lennon wall.

If walking doesn’t appeal to you, or the weather isn’t great, you should consider utilising Prague’s public transport options. Whether you decide to hop on a metro or tram, they are both fairly cheap. Taxis, however, can also be very cheap, but just make sure you use a reliable trust-worthy taxi company. I would recommend using the AAA Taxis.

Prague Transportation
Prague Transportation

5. Prague is a safe city!

I’ve visited Prague twice and have both times been walking around the city at night to capture and take in the beautiful views at night. From my own experience and reading about Prague, it’s classed as one of the safest cities in the world. You won’t need to worry about major crimes like robberies, kidnapping etc.

Of course, there are pickpocketers but just keep an eye on your stuff and you’ll be fine, like most people.

View of Prague
View of Prague

6. Nightlife and clubs:

Prague’s nightlife is great! It’s pretty lively and offers a lot. From pubs to jazz clubs to live music to modern clubs, there’s something to do in the evenings. All of which serve the famous Czech beer – which again, is very cheap!

Prague at night
Prague at night

If the club scene isn’t your thing, don’t worry, there are plenty other things to do such as the museums, shops and even some night tours such as the ghostly tour telling you Prague’s darkest and scariest secrets.

Prague Nightlife
Prague Nightlife (source)

7. Admire the architecture

The architecture in Prague is stunning. There’s so much to look, especially the churches and other important buildings which are still intact today. When exploring Prague, you’ll notice a lot of the city has a mix of gothic and renaissance architecture.

Stunning Architecture in Prague
Stunning Architecture in Prague (source)

Prague seriously is breathtaking and there are lots of interesting tours that take you on a trip to really see the best architecture in Prague along with the beautiful interior designs.

8. Find out where Franz Kafka grew up

Franz Kafka German-speaking Bohemian Jew was born and grew up on the streets of Prague, quite close to Old Town Square. He had a big passion for writing and soon become one of the major figures of the 20th-century literature. Before that, he was a lawyer who worked at an insurance company.

Franz Kafka's grave in the Jewish Cemetery
Franz Kafka’s grave in the Jewish Cemetery (source)

The Franz Kafka Monument also known as the Statue of Franz Kafka can be found outside the Quadrio Shopping Center.

kinetic Head of Franz Kafka
kinetic Head of Franz Kafka

 

Gibraltar

Rock of Gibraltar Macaques Experience

Rock of Gibraltar

As part of my travel to Sotogrande, Spain, we flew into Gibraltar and then walked for about 5 minutes to enter Spain.

Upon arrival, I saw the Rock of Gibraltar and immediately began to get excited, I literally wanted to get off the plane and go up the rock right away.

Gibraltar Airport ft. the Rock
Gibraltar Airport ft. the Rock

After sorting our luggage out, we decided to head up the Gibraltar Rock which is surrounded by the Mediterranean Sea.

There are three different ways you can visit the rock, you can hop on the Gibraltar cable car, go for a hike, or get a Taxi/Bus tour.

Of course, the hike is always great fun, but not everyone’s option.  We found the most cost effective and least time-consuming route was to get a taxi tour bus from Casemont square. It’s £25 (€30) per person and this covers your transport and all fees including the St Michael’s Cave ticket. They’ll also drop you off to where you need to go next depending on location.

St Michael’s Cave:

St Michael’s Cave has been a point of interest to all visitors to Gibraltar since the Romans. Many believe that St Michael’s Cave was originally linked to the continent of Africa by a subterranean passage believed to be over 15 miles long under the Strait of Gibraltar. Due to this, the very well known Rock of Gibraltar macaques was said to have come to rock via the undersea passage.

Believe it or not, during the Second World War, St Michael’s Cave was actually prepared as an emergency hospital but was never used in the end.

There is plenty to see in this cave and upon entrance, you’ll see various seats and enough space to fulfil a capacity of 600 people. The Cathedral Cave has been in use as a theatre for concerts, ballet and drama ever since the early sixties.

The home of Gibraltar macaques

The Rock of Gibraltar is the home to around 300 Barbary macaques, they are the only population outside of Northern Africa and the only population of wild monkeys in Europe. Being a monkey lover, I had taken a ridiculous amount of pictures of them.

Rock of Gibraltar macaques
Rock of Gibraltar macaques

The Gibraltar macaques can be found at the top of the rock and some halfway down the rock – but those aren’t as friendly and don’t get on too well with tourists.

You’ll have to be cautious of them as some are quite friendly but others can be quite aggressive and may attack if you get too close. I witnessed a father and his son edge forward to the below macaque and in return, it showed its teeth and moved forward as a way to warn them to back off.

Whilst these endangered monkeys are looked after and fed fresh fruit on a daily basis, they are known to approach and sometimes climb onto people, mainly as they are used to human interaction, but remember, they are still wild animals and may bite if frightened or annoyed. Be careful.

Rock of Gibraltar Vicious Macaque
Rock of Gibraltar Vicious Macaque

Whereas others, are quite friendly and don’t mind if you touch them.

Rock of Gibraltar Macaque
Rock of Gibraltar Macaque

The diets of these macaques mainly consist of plants and insects. The lifespan of a male is around 25 years, while females live up to 30 years. According to our tour guide, 50% of baby macaques don’t survive due to the parents fighting other macaques and animals with them on their back.

A macaque carrying a baby on its back
A macaque carrying a baby on its back

The only animal they are afraid of is snakes.

Gibraltarians that have purchased private property on the Rock of Gibraltar are said to have plastic snakes placed around their house to keep the macaques away.

Below are a few more pictures of the Gibraltar macaques.

This one is my favourite.

To see more pictures and follow my journey of travelling the world, make sure to follow on Instagram.

Countries

Germany Travel Itinerary 2017

As part of my goal to visit 25 countries before turning 25, Germany was one of many on my list.

I booked a trip to Germany with a friend of mine for a long weekend break to go for a few hikes and visit some interesting places.

One of which I have finally ticked off my bucket list.

📷 @garethgoesplaces

That of course, is Germany’s longest suspension bridge. 100 metres high and 300 metres long, the experience of walking across this was amazing. The views were incredible.

Planning the Germany trip itinerary was a challenge. We had two full days to ourselves in order to visit as much as we could. There were so many places I’d have loved to go but due to the distances and how long we were there for, we had to decide on the main attractions local to where we wanted to go.

However, we managed to visit quite a few for the time we were there for.

Here’s what the itinerary looked like for our Germany trip.

Tip: When planning an itinerary, I always tend to use Google Maps and it’s suggested 
driving times, walking times and other various transport times, whilst taking into 
account breaks for lunch, drinks and photo opportunities. Sometimes it’s so much 
cheaper to walk to another location rather than using a Taxi or another means of 
transport. We walked an hour to get to another town rather than spending €20 on Taxi 
fares there and back, best thing of all, we came across plenty of spots for photos.

Day 1: Buch, Morz, Hängeseilbrücke Geierlay, Mörsdorf

After arriving at Frankfurt Hahn, early in the morning, arriving 20 minutes ahead of schedule thanks to Ryan Air, we managed to get off and hop in a taxi to our Airbnb destination, Beller Weg, Buch, Germany.

The location of our Airbnb had its ups and downs, it was an amazing location surrounded by various hiking routes, but with its positives, came a few negatives, one being the majority of the town’s shops were closed – thankfully, we had eaten at the airport before leaving.

After exploring our temporary home town, we began our trek out to Germany’s longest suspension bridge, Hängeseilbrücke Geierlay.

This was a nightmare at first.

We decided to follow the route displayed on my friend’s phone, taking us through a small forest and many fields only to come to several electric fences with overgrown fields and trees blocking our route.

Come to think of it, maybe the farmers didn’t appreciate it and decided to block it off!

So, after an hour or two of trying different routes to get over and around these obstacles, we decided to come back to the Airbnb and grab a glass of water and fill up some bottles. We didn’t think of taking any drinks with us! – Stupid, I know.

After downing several glasses of water, we set out again, for the second time, following a new route on my phone. We eventually got there passing through a few towns, saving us €40 to get to our destination. (Props to Google Maps!)

Although it took us 2 hours to get to this location via walking on the side of the roads, taking short cuts and passing through a farm we come across so many amazing photo opportunities which I couldn’t miss out on.

Morz: Time for a drink

During our walk, we had drunk almost all of our water.

We needed more.

I noticed on Google Maps there was a local hotel restaurant open in Morz, so we decided to stop there for a quick drink and a short rest – carrying a load of camera equipment and a tripod throughout the day was a little tough but it was totally worth it.

Morz is a beautiful small village and it’s the first one we came across that actually had a restaurant which was open. We timed our trip right and got some brilliant weather, this worked in our favour and gave us a bit of a base tan!

After stopping off for a quick refreshment, we began to set off again and continue our walk to the bridge.

An hour later, we arrived.

We could see the bridge from the road we walked along.

The view of the Geierlay
bridge during the hike to get there!

It was amazing, we literally couldn’t wait to get closer and step a foot on the bridge and walk across.

Thankfully, just before the short scenic walk to get on the bridge, there was a little food van, I decided to go for the currywurst and a bottle of beer. Very refreshing!

Hängeseilbrücke Geierlay: The Bridge!

The main reason we decided to come to Germany – the suspension bridge!

We arrived here shortly after 3pm, at that time, it was very busy!

Trying to get a clear shot of the bridge without people was impossible, so, we ended up exploring around the bridge and stayed till around six o’clock and at that time, we managed to get a load of shots with hardly anyone on the bridge!

The wait was worth it.

📷 @garethgoesplaces

Believe it or not, we didn’t actually leave the bridge until around 8pm.

At that time, we were getting hungry but we didn’t plan it out too well and erm, let’s just say, we didn’t make it in time to a restaurant.

We just wanted to explore, explore and explore.

Thanks to our Airbnb host, Rebekkah, she saved us some Pizza in the oven.

Lifesaver.

After finding a quicker route home, through almost a pitch black highway, we got back and loaded up the oven with some delicious pizza slices.

Day 2: Burg Balduinseck, Mastershausen, Bell, Kastellaun

Although we got back very late and had a very early morning, we didn’t let that stop us from waking up early to make the most of our day.

We knew the bakery was closed the day before, but we decided to give it a shot and see if it’d be open.

We were very lucky.

The bakery was closed – but a mini bakery van had just turned up along the way.

Packed full of mouth-watering pastries, I had a hard time choosing what to pick! Eventually, I choose a few pastries and they were absolutely amazing. I couldn’t tell you how good they were, you’d have to try them yourself. Any pastry lover will understand what I mean.

After a breakfast, we began our short walk to Burg Balduinseck. A castle ruin just a short thirty-minute walk from Buch.

Burg Balduinseck

Burg Balduinseck

Once we arrived, I was straight up the steps and exploring, climbing some parts to get a better view and find out more about this Ruin in Buch, Rhein-Hunsrück.

Before castle Balduinseck was described as neglected in 1711 and in 1780 as decayed, it actually looked a quite nice! For those interested, the castle is 300 metres above sea level and was originally created around 1325.

Burg Balduinseck

Whilst there wasn’t too much to do at this location, it was quite interesting to explore the surrounding areas and read about the ruin and what had looked like beforehand.

The Forest Hike

Once we had taken enough pictures of the ruin and spent a while exploring the surrounding areas, we set off on a hike through the local forest heading towards Kastellaun – the main town which had shops, restaurants, bars, night clubs – literally everything Buch didn’t have!

It took us just over three hours, passing through various photo opportunities in the forest and some mysterious spots.

We also passed what seemed like a blocked off mine.

Still not entirely sure what the place was but it did look quite interesting and if it were possible to explore inside, I might have gone for a little wander.

The mine we came across during our hike through the forest

Continuing our journey, we came across a nice little area to sit down and relax before adventuring up a very steep hill for quite some time to reach the top of the forest and walk along the fields towards Bell.

Such a small beautiful town, Bell, was just a very short distance from Kastellaun.

We knew we were very close.

30 minutes or so later…

We arrived!

As soon as we walked further into the town, we nipped in a burger place and got some very scrumptious chilli cheese burger with chips. Perfect timing.

Coming to the end of the afternoon, we had stopped off at Neto – because, why not?

We grabbed some food for dinner and a few drinks to keep us going.

Passing through Kastellaun, one thing we noticed was the very tall ruined medieval castle.

It wasn’t too long till we were already up at the top of the castle.

Overlooking the town sitting on the edge of the castle walls – such beautiful views.

Overlooking the town sitting on the wall of Kastellaun C
Overlooking the town sitting on the wall of Kastellaun Castle

Sadly, we couldn’t spend all evening there as we still had to get back and sort dinner, pack and get some sleep before waking up at 4 in the morning…

Once we arrived back at the Airbnb, had some dinner and finished packing, we stayed outside in the garden chilling to some music and taking in the countryside vibes.

Before we knew it, we were then off on the plane jetting back to England.

Germany

This Bridge Will Make You Want to Travel to Germany

Gareth Goes Places - Geierlay

If you’re an adventurer like me, love heights and don’t mind a slight thrill-seeking trip then you’ll love this bridge in Germany.

That bridge is of-course, Germany’s longest suspension bridge, Geierlay.

This 360m long and 100m high bridge is located out in Germany’s beautiful countryside.

Geierlay Bridge
Geierlay Bridge

After an hour’s hike from Buch to Mörsdorf, passing through small beautiful towns we eventually arrived.

The paved walk towards the bridge was very nice, lots of scenery to take in and a great stroll. There’s also a little food van at the start of the paved walk way. They served very tasty warm food and had a variety of drinks available, at reasonable prices too.

I’d recommend the Curryverst sausage – that was lush!

After admiring the beautiful scenery, we were very excited to begin the walk across the bridge.

We arrived around three in the afternoon, at that time, it was very busy – although really enjoyed the experience walking across the bridge with the slight sways, we ended up staying until 8pm so we could capture some shots when it was less busy.

It was worth it.

Geierlay
Geierlay

The untouched surroundings of the bridge made it much more exciting and breath-taking.

It takes around six minutes to walk across the bridge, but for us, it was little longer due to taking pictures.

Gareth Goes Places - Geierlay
Gareth Goes Places – Geierlay

Come to think of it, we must have crossed the bridge at least 8 times… maybe more?

If you’re looking to travel to Germany any time soon, I’d highly recommend visiting this bridge.

Bridge Address:
Geierlay Visitor Center
Kastellaun Straße 23
56290 Mörsdorf

For our trip from London Stansted to Germany, Frankfurt Hahn with a return flight and an AirBnB , our total cost was £75. 

Crazy, right?