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10 Beautiful Cities That Every Backpacker Should Visit

10 Beautiful Cities That Every Backpacker Should Visit

For each of these destinations, backpackers can find cheap flights and get to where they want to go quickly and easily.

When finding a place to sleep, focus on hostels and guesthouses, as they are cheaper. Also, at hostels and guesthouses you are more likely to meet other travelers with whom you can share your experiences. Most importantly, by staying at these kinds of places, you will be able to experience the local culture firsthand. One thing is for certain: each of these cities tells its own story, and offers a unique traveling experience.

1. Bruges, Belgium

bruges

    This fairytale city is located in the Flemish region, and is rich in magnificent medieval and Gothic architecture. Dreamy canals and cobbled streets create a romantic atmosphere, which evokes the spirit of medieval times. Rent a bike and ride it through the narrow streets, which can only be accessed by foot or on a bike. Moreover, don’t miss taking a boat tour, because such tours will take you to magnificent places- places that can’t be reached by other modes of transportation. Bruges offers a romantic journey through Gothic and Renaissance architecture that every backpacker will remember.

    2. Kraków, Poland

    krakow

      This Polish city offers wonderful historical sites of great cultural significance. The first thing every backpacker should visit for its historical significance is the concentration camp, Auschwitz. Then head to the Wawel Castle which was built in the Gothic style. Also, try the local cuisine and alcoholic beverages, such as tatanka, which is made of vodka zubrowka and apple juice.

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      3. Florence, Italy

      florenceitaly

        Florence, the city where the Renaissance was born, should be on the top of the list of every backpacker. When you arrive in this city, you will feel as if you are in another world. Visit the art museum Galleria degli Uffizi, which hosts famous works, including “The Birth of Venus” and “Primavera” by Sandro Botticelli. Also, all art lovers need to visit another art museum called The Bargello, where you can see sculptures by Michelangelo, Donatello, Sansovino, and others. Fashion addicts will enjoy the Gucci Museum, whereas geeks will be blown away by the Institute and Museum of the History of Science, where you can see all the instruments Galileo Galilei used.

        This city might not be cheap, but you won’t regret visiting it, so make sure that you see everything that it has to offer, including the breathtaking countryside.

        4. Istanbul, Turkey

        istanbul

          This city on two continents is of great cultural and historical value. As every backpacker wants to experience something different than what they are used to, this city is a perfect destination – it will provide you with a culture that is vastly different from anything you’ll see in the Western world.

          Go shopping through their local markets and don’t forget to bargain, as bargaining is a part of their culture. Visit the Church of the Divine Wisdom, which is also known as Ayasofya- and don’t miss Topkapi Palace, the residence of Ottoman sultans.

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          5. Kyoto, Japan

          kyoto

            There are a lot of stories about Kyoto being expensive, however, you can be rest assured that Kyoto is actually a fairly affordable city. You only need to be careful with where you sleep and eat, because like in every city, there are places with really high prices. The outer areas of many temples are free to visit, but for some visits you’ll have to pay an entry fee, which is a must if you want to get the most out of exploring such a wonderful and magical city. Don’t try to save money on the tickets, because it is a once in a lifetime experience.

            6. Paris, France

            paris

              The city of romance and love, with truly beautiful architecture, will take your breath away. You’ll need a couple of days to visit everything you want, because every corner hides a historical secret. From the Louvre to visiting the Eiffel tower, you’ll be impressed by all the beauties this city offers. If you are already in Europe, go by train because the tickets are very cheap, and you can get there in no time. If you have never been to Disneyland, or you want to feel like a child again, visit Disneyland Paris and you’ll feel like you are in a fairytale. Just make sure you plan the trip in advance, so you don’t miss out on the wildest roller coaster rides.

              7. Niš, Serbia

              nissrbija

                This city in the south of Serbia is usually neglected by backpackers, because they focus on visiting the capital Belgrade or Novi Sad, famous for the Exit Music Festival. Niš is the birthplace of Constantine the Great and it offers a lot of important historical monuments, such as The Skull Tower, Niš Fortress, Crveni Krst concentration camp, and Mediana, an Ancient Roman archaeological site. If you are visiting in August, you’ll be able to go to the Nišville Jazz Festival which hosts the world’s best jazz musicians every year.

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                Aside from visiting all the famous historical sites, people from Niš advise tourists to visit their local taverns and try the best traditional meals. For breakfast or dinner you should try burek, available from local bakeries. You can also spend the end of the day drinking some beer at the Nišava river bank.

                8. Dublin, Ireland

                dublinbridge

                  Guinness definitely tastes better when you drink it in Dublin, so if you are beer lover, this should certainly be on your bucket list. Backpackers will be happy to hear that all national museums are free to visit, so you will be able to see some priceless works at no cost. Dublin differs from most European cities in the fact that you have to pay to visit a church, but the things you see in Dublin are worth every penny.

                  Dublin is an expensive city, so don’t accept the initial offer at the first hostel you visit- do some research on cheap guesthouses and hostels beforehand. Once you meet the locals and other travelers, they will definitely be able to inform you about cheap, but good local restaurants to visit.

                  9. London, UK

                  london

                    London is an expensive city, similar to Dublin, but it is also a city well worth seeing. You can save some money on accommodation and food if you come prepared. Visit Buckingham Palace, and while you’re there go see the nearby Green Park. There are a lot of beautiful natural sites, which will make you forget that you are in a busy city. Visiting museums is mostly free, but you’ll have to pay to see some exhibitions.

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                    Whatever you like and you’re interested in, you will definitely find it in London. Whether you are a comic addict or an architecture lover, you will find your place there.

                    10. Dresden, Germany

                    dresden

                      Somehow this city rarely ends up on a backpacker’s to-do list, but the mixture of old and new is magnificent. Take your time to explore this unusual and wonderful city, and you’ll make some wonderful memories. Visit the Zwinger Palace, a complex of museums, which was built in Rococo style in the 18th century. Other idyllic sites to visit include the picturesque Elbe river banks. I recommend this city to every backpacker, because you’ll not only get to drink excellent beer and see beautiful architecture, but also have the chance to relax away from the ruckus of the busier cities.

                      Each of these cities differs in price, with the cheapest one probably being Niš in Serbia. However, you are more than able to plan out a great trip in any of these locations without going over budget. Near every city there are outstanding countryside sites, so, if you are an adventurous type, rent a bike and see all the natural beauty these places have to offer.

                      Featured photo credit: Bunyamin Ozadali via flickr.com

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                      Last Updated on July 8, 2020

                      18 Benefits of Journaling That Will Change Your Life

                      18 Benefits of Journaling That Will Change Your Life

                      The act of writing in a journal often seems daunting or unnecessary to many people. Even authors who work on novels might shun the idea of daily diaries. What purpose does jotting down words on a regular basis do if not contributing to the next novel, play or song? I know from experience many benefits of journaling that I wish to share.

                      1. Understand Yourself Better

                      Though many people and even writers avoid keeping journals, I vow to do it more often. Not only do I desire to take up daily journaling but also I plan to do it with pen to paper.

                      Some of the benefits I’ve found from my more active days include finding myself in the sense of understanding what matters to me and what I want out of life. I’ve been incredibly fortunate to find a spouse who is my best friend and advocate in raising children. I attribute this and much more to what I learned about myself in keeping journals for years.

                      2. Keep Track of Small Changes

                      I’ll admit that I never got very far with my guitar lessons, but in writing in a journal, I have seen the ability to track small changes like those that come when you practice anything.

                      Those learning a musical instrument often fail to see the small improvements that come with regular practice. Writing won’t help you switch chords any faster, but it will help you to develop a better sense for language and grammar just by doing it.

                      3. Become Aware of What Matters

                      As you continue to write in a journal, following a stream-of-consciousness feel, you can look back on the topics that you chose to write about. Those issues and emotions that poured out of you will provide insight on to what matters most to you.

                      You may not even realize that you’re job is depressing you or that you want to spend more time with your kids until you look over your thoughts that you weren’t really thinking about.

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                      4. Boost Creativity

                      The idea that the brain and its neural activity across hemispheres encourages learning also shows up in increased creativity. Just like with learning an instrument, your increased activity will inspire your thoughts to connect and reconnect in different ways.

                      When I wrote in a journal, I often wrote poetry as well as just my thoughts as they came out. I started to hear poems more in my mind; so much so that I took to scrawling lines on napkins and finding metaphors in mundane activities.

                      You really are what you do, so writing helps grow more than being a writer. Writing boosts the way you communicate and structure language, which really is a creative process.

                      5. Represents Your Emotions in a Safe Environment

                      A journal is as private as it gets. You can lock it in a safe or tuck it under a pillow and no one will accidentally share it on social media or have an opportunity to “leave a comment.”

                      Write about your sorrow as much as your happiness and frustration and know that you don’t have to keep your emotions inside your body. You can put them on paper.

                      6. Process Life Experiences

                      When you take the time to look back over what you’ve written, be it a week or a year later, you will have the distance you need to more objectively interpret your raw feelings.

                      Everything from losing a job to losing a loved one can emerge in a new light for a fresh perspective. Figuring out how the benefits of journaling affect your perspective on life will create connection and increase creativity.

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                      7. Stress Relief

                      In combining the exercise inherent in fine motor coordination that comes from the act of writing with the emotional release of self expression, those who maintain a journal relieve stress.

                      Try it out. Go home and write about your day. Write about the traffic. Write about the coffee order the barista got wrong but you didn’t have time to change. See how you can physically purge some of that pent-up stress by putting it on paper.

                      8. Provide Direction

                      Though journaling is often conducted as an activity without much direction, it often provides direction.

                      One of the biggest benefits of journaling is that your chaotic thoughts merge to show a direction in which to head. Asking the right questions is the only way to achieve the best solutions, so look to your journal to find your way toward your next goal.

                      9. Solve Problems

                      Just as in practicing math problems, we all get better at finding hidden solutions through the act of processing.

                      Think of your next goal as X and solve your life problems by reading your journals as word problems. The benefit of journaling here is that you write, explore and process to recognize and then solve problems.

                      When life is too in-your-face, you have to step back to see reality. Living in the moment allows us to write in the moment and use that expression to solve problems.

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                      10. Find Relief From Fighting

                      Solving your problems only comes after time to process, recognize and strategize. Just as in the benefit of journaling where relief comes from the act of writing, relief from fighting comes when you decide to “sit this one out” and communicate one-way.

                      Fighting is only productive when the fighters care to communicate and find common ground. When the emotions are as high as the stress levels, writing will function as the best time out.

                      11. Find Meaning in Life

                      Journaling will show you why you are living, whether you are wallowing in things you wish to change or striving to make the changes. Your life will begin to take on new meaning and your own words will reveal the actions that got you where you are so that you can assess and pave a new path for your future.

                      12. Allow Yourself to Focus

                      Taking even a small amount of time out of every day will provide you with not only peace of mind but also increased focus. Taking a break to meditate in writing and journaling will sharpen your mental faculties.

                      13. Sharpen Your Spirituality

                      When we write, we allow all the energy and experiences to flow through us, which often provides further insight into our own spirituality. Even if your parents didn’t raise you to follow a specific religion, your thoughts will start to show you what you believe about the universe and your place in it.

                      14. Let the Past Go

                      I’ve mentioned a few examples where going back over your writing offers advice and direction, but the simply truth is that writing down our feelings can be the best way to let them go. We can choose to literally throw these pages away when they’re filled with negativity and hate.

                      15. Allow Freedom

                      Journaling is the perfect way to not only express yourself but to also experience the freedom of being who you are. Your books can stay private or you can publish them. Your freedom stems from your sense of self and your perception of your thoughts.

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                      16. Enhance Your Career

                      Again, the private act of pen-to-paper processing provides the benefits of journaling mentioned above, but you can also enhance your career when you take similar ideas and categorize, edit and publish them in an online blog.

                      Your thoughts will often be personal and express emotions, but another benefit of journaling is uncovering fresh ideas about your work.

                      17. Literally Explore Your Dreams

                      All the benefits I’ve mentioned explore ideas, thoughts and emotions, which is also what our dreams and nightmares do. Through writing down your dreams from the previous night, you can enhance your creativity as well as connect some of the metaphorical dots from the rest of your journal.

                      18. Catalog Your Life for Others

                      No one wants to think about dying, but we all die. Leaving a journal will act as a way to reconnect with family and friends left behind. The ideas you wish to keep personal while you process the life you’re living will serve to rekindle and inspire those who loved you through the process.

                      We consider our partners our life witnesses, but writing provides a tangible mark on the world.

                      Now that you’ve learned all the benefits of journaling, it’s time to start writing a journal:

                      Featured photo credit: Kelly Sikkema via unsplash.com

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