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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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                      Published on November 14, 2018

                      Why You Suffer from Constant Fatigue and How to Deal with It

                      Why You Suffer from Constant Fatigue and How to Deal with It

                      With our busy, always on lives, it seems that more and more of us are facing constant tiredness and fatigue on a regular basis.

                      For many people, they just take this in their stride as part of modern life, but for others the impact can be crippling and can have a serious effect on their sense of wellbeing, health and productivity.

                      In this article, I’ll share some of the most common causes of constant tiredness and fatigue and give you some guidance and action steps you can take to overcome some of the symptoms of fatigue.

                      Why Am I Feeling Fatigued?

                      Fatigue is extreme tiredness resulting from mental or physical exertion or illness.  It is a reduction in the efficiency of a muscle or organ after prolonged activity.[1]

                      It can affect anyone, and most adults will experience fatigue at some point in their life. 

                      For many people, fatigue is caused by a combination of lifestyle, social, psychological and general wellbeing issues rather than an underlying medical condition.

                      Although fatigue is sometimes described as tiredness, it is different to just feeling tired or sleepy. Everyone feels tired at some point, but this is usually resolved with a nap or a few nights of good sleep. Someone who is sleepy may also feel temporarily refreshed after exercising. If you are getting enough sleep, good nutrition and exercising regularly but still find it hard to perform, concentrate or be motivated at your normal levels, you may be experiencing a level of fatigue that needs further investigation. 

                      Symptoms of Fatigue

                      Fatigue can cause a vast range of physical, mental and emotional symptoms including:

                      • chronic tiredness, exhaustion or sleepiness
                      • mental blocks
                      • lack of motivation
                      • headache
                      • dizziness
                      • muscle weakness
                      • slowed reflexes and responses
                      • impaired decision-making and judgement
                      • moodiness, such as irritability
                      • impaired hand-to-eye coordination
                      • reduced immune system function
                      • blurry vision
                      • short-term memory problems
                      • poor concentration
                      • reduced ability to pay attention to the situation at hand

                      Causes of Fatigue

                      The wide range of causes that can trigger fatigue include:

                      • Medical causes: Constant exhaustion, tiredness and fatigue may be a sign of an underlying illness, such as a thyroid disorder, heart disease, anemia or diabetes.
                      • Lifestyle-related causes: Being overweight and a lack of regular exercise can lead to feelings of fatigue.  Lack of sleep and overcommitting can also create feelings of excessive tiredness and fatigue.
                      • Workplace-related causes: Workplace and financial stress in a variety of forms can lead to feelings of fatigue.
                      • Emotional concerns and stress: Fatigue is a common symptom of mental health problems, such as depression and grief, and may be accompanied by other signs and symptoms, including irritability and lack of motivation.

                      Fatigue can also be caused by a number of factors working in combination.

                      Medical Causes of Fatigue

                      If you have made lifestyle changes to increase your energy and still feel exhausted and fatigued, it may be time to seek guidance from your doctor.

                      Here are a few examples of illnesses that can cause ongoing fatigue. Seek medical advice if you suspect you have a health problem:

                      Anemia

                      Anemia is a condition in which you don’t have enough healthy red blood cells to carry adequate oxygen to the body’s tissues. It is a common cause of fatigue in women.

                      Having anemia may make you feel tired and weak.

                      There are many forms of anemia, each with its own cause. Anemia can be temporary or long term, and it can range from mild to severe.[2]

                      Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)

                      Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) is a condition that can cause persistent, unexplained fatigue that interferes with daily activities for more than six months.

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                      This is a chronic condition with no one-size-fits-all treatment, but lifestyle changes can often help ease some symptoms of fatigue.[3]

                      Diabetes

                      Diabetes can cause fatigue with either high or low blood sugars. When your sugars are high, they remain in the bloodstream instead of being used for energy, which makes you feel fatigued. Low blood sugar (glucose) means you may not have enough fuel for energy, also causing fatigue.[4]

                      Sleep Apnea

                      Sleep apnea is a serious sleep disorder where sufferers briefly stop breathing for short periods during sleep. Most people are not aware this is happening, but it can cause loud snoring, and daytime fatigue.

                      Being overweight, smoking, and drinking alcohol can all worsen the symptoms of sleep apnea.[5]

                      Thyroid disease

                      An underactive thyroid gland means you have too little thyroid hormone (thyroxine) in your body. This makes you feel tired and you could also put on weight and have aching muscles and dry skin.[6]

                      Common lifestyle factors that can cause fatigue include:

                      • Lack of sleep
                      • Too much sleep 
                      • Alcohol and drugs 
                      • Sleep disturbances 
                      • Lack of regular exercise and sedentary behaviour 
                      • Poor diet 

                      Common workplace issues that can cause fatigue include:

                      • Shift work: Our body is designed to sleep during the night. A shift worker may confuse their circadian clock by working when their body is programmed to be asleep.
                      • Poor workplace practices: This may include long work hours, hard physical labour, irregular working hours (such as rotating shifts), a stressful work environment, boredom or working alone. 
                      • Workplace stress – This can be caused by a wide range of factors including job dissatisfaction, heavy workload, conflicts with bosses or colleagues, bullying, or threats to job security.
                      • Burnout: This could be striving too hard on one area of your life while neglecting others, which leads to a life that feels out of balance.

                      Psychological Causes of Fatigue

                      Psychological factors are present in many cases of extreme tiredness and fatigue.  These may include:

                      • Depression: Depression is characterised by severe and prolonged feelings of sadness, dejection and hopelessness. People who are depressed commonly experience chronic fatigue.
                      • Anxiety and stress: Someone who is constantly anxious or stressed keeps their body in overdrive. The constant flooding of adrenaline exhausts the body, and fatigue sets in.
                      • Grief: Losing a loved one causes a wide range of emotions including shock, guilt, depression, despair and loneliness.

                      How to Tackle Constant Fatigue

                      Here are 12 ways you can start tackling the causes of fatigue and start feeling more energetic.

                      1. Tell The Truth

                      Some people can numb themselves to the fact that they are overtired or fatigued all the time. In the long run, this won’t help you.

                      To give you the best chance to overcome or eliminate fatigue, you must diagnose and tell the truth about the things that are draining your energy, making you tired or causing constant fatigue.

                      Once you’re honest with yourself about the activities you’re doing in your life that you find irritating, energy-draining, and make you tired on a regular basis you can make a commitment to stop doing them.

                      The help that you need to overcome fatigue is available to you, but not until you tell the truth about it. The first person you have to sell on getting rid of the causes of fatigue is yourself.

                      One starting point is to diagnose the symptoms. When you start feeling stressed, overtired or just not operating at your normal energy levels make a note of:

                      • How you feel
                      • What time of day it is
                      • What may have contributed to your fatigue
                      • How your mind and body reacts

                      This analysis may help you identify, understand and then eliminate very specific causes.

                      2. Reduce Your Commitments

                      When we have too many things on our plate personally and professionally, we can feel overstretched, causing physical and mental fatigue.

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                      If you have committed to things you really don’t want to do, this causes irritability and low emotional engagement. Stack these up throughout your day and week, then your stress levels will rise.

                      When these commitments have deadlines associated with them, you may be trying to cram in far too much in a short period of time.  This creates more stress and can affect your decision making ability.

                      Start being realistic about how much you can get done. Either reduce the commitments you have or give yourself more time to complete them in.

                      3. Get Clear On Your Priorities

                      If working on your list of to-do’s or goals becomes too overwhelming, start reducing and prioritizing the things that matter most.

                      Start with prioritizing just 3 things every day. When you complete those 3 things, you’ll get a rush of energy and your confidence will grow.

                      If you’re trying to juggle too many things and are multi-tasking, your energy levels will drop and you’ll struggle to maintain focus.

                      Unfinished projects can make you self-critical and feel guilty which drops energy levels further, creating inaction.

                      Make a list of your 3 MIT (Most Important Tasks) for the next day before you go to bed. This will stop you overcommitting and get you excited about what the next day can bring.

                      4. Express More Gratitude

                      Gratitude and confidence are heavily linked. Just being thankful for what you have and what you’ve achieved increases confidence and makes you feel more optimistic.

                      It can help you improve your sense of wellbeing, which can bring on feelings of joy and enthusiasm.

                      Try starting a gratitude journal or just note down 3 things you’re grateful for every day.

                      5. Focus On Yourself

                      Exhaustion and fatigue can arrive by focusing solely on other people’s needs all the time, rather than worrying about and focusing on what you need (and want).

                      There are work commitments, family commitments, social commitments. You may start with the best intentions, to put in your best performance at work, to be an amazing parent and friend, to simply help others.

                      But sometimes, we extend ourselves too much and go beyond our personal limits to help others. That’s when constant exhaustion can creep up on us.  Which can make us more fatigued.

                      We all want to help and do our best for others, but there needs to be some balance. We also need to take some time out just for ourselves to recharge and rejuvenate.

                      6. Set Aside Rest and Recovery Time

                      Whether it’s a couple of hours, a day off, a mini-break or a proper holiday, time off is essential to help us recover, recharge and refocus.

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                      Recovery time helps fend off mental fatigue and allows us to simply kick back and relax.

                      The key here, though, is to remove ourselves from the daily challenges that bring on tiredness and fatigue. Here’s how.

                      Can you free yourself up completely from work and personal obligations to just rest and recover?

                      7. Take a Power Nap

                      When you’re feeling tired or fatigued and you have the ability to take a quick 20-minute nap, it could make a big difference to your performance for the rest of the day.

                      Napping can improve learning, memory and boost your energy levels quickly.

                      This article on the benefit of napping is a useful place to start if you want to learn more: How a 20-Minute Nap at Work Makes You Awake and Productive the Whole Day

                      8. Take More Exercise

                      The simple act of introducing some form of physical activity into your day can make a huge difference. It can boost energy levels, make you feel much better about yourself and can help you avoid fatigue.

                      Find something that fits into your life, be that walking, going to the gym, running or swimming. 

                      The key is to ensure the exercise is regular and that you are emotionally engaged and committed to stick with it.

                      You could also walk more which will help clear your head and shift your focus away from stressful thoughts.

                      9. Get More Quality Sleep

                      To avoid tiredness, exhaustion and fatigue, getting enough quality sleep matters. 

                      Your body needs sleep to recharge.  Getting the right amount of sleep every night can improve your health, reduce stress levels and help us improve our memory and learning skills.

                      My previous article on The Benefits of Sleep You Need to Know will give you some action steps to start improving your sleep. 

                      10. Improve Your Diet

                      Heavy or fatty meals can make you feel sluggish and tired, whilst some foods or eating strategies do just the opposite.

                      Our always on lives have us reaching for sweets or other sugary snacks to give us a burst of energy to keep going. Unfortunately, that boost fades quickly which can leave you feeling depleted and wanting more.

                      On the other hand, whole grains and healthy unsaturated fats supply the reserves you can draw on throughout the day.

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                      To keep energy up and steady, it’s a good idea to limit refined sugar and starches.

                      Eating small meals and healthy snacks every few hours throughout the day provides a steady supply of nutrients to body and brain. It’s also important not to skip breakfast.

                      Eating a balanced diet helps keep your blood sugar in a normal range and prevents that sluggish feeling when your blood sugar drops.

                      11. Manage Your Stress Levels

                      Stress is one of the leading causes of exhaustion and fatigue, and can seriously affect your health.

                      When you have increased levels of stress at work and at home, it’s easy to feel exhausted all the time. 

                      Identifying the causes of stress and then tackling the problems should be a priority. 

                      My article on How to Help Anxiety When Life is Stressing You Out shares 16 strategies you can use to overcome stress.

                      12. Get Hydrated

                      Sometimes we can be so busy that we forget to keep ourselves fully hydrated.

                      Water makes up about 60 percent of your body weight and is essential in maintaining our body’s basic functions.

                      If we don’t have enough water, it can adversely affect our mental and physical performance, which leads to tiredness and fatigue.

                      The recommended daily amount is around two litres a day, so to stay well hydrated keep a water bottle with you as much as possible.

                      The Bottom Line

                      These 12 tips can help you reduce your tiredness and feeling of fatigue.  Some will work better than others as we are all different, whilst others can be incorporated together in your daily life.

                      If you’ve tried to make positive changes to reduce fatigue and you still feel tired and exhausted, it may be time to consider making an appointment with your doctor to discuss your condition.

                      Featured photo credit: Annie Spratt via unsplash.com

                      Reference

                      [1]Oxford English Dictionary: Definition of fatigue
                      [2]NHS Choices: 10 Reasons for feeling tired
                      [3]Verywellhealth: What is chronic fatigue syndrome
                      [4]Everyday Health: Why does type 2 diabetes make you feel tired
                      [5]Mayo Clinic: Sleep apnea
                      [6]Harvard Health: The lowdown on thyroid slowdown

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