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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 January 17, 2019

                      8 Simple Mindfulness Exercises to Bring Peace and Happiness to Your Life

                      8 Simple Mindfulness Exercises to Bring Peace and Happiness to Your Life

                      In life, we all need to be conscientious of what we are doing. You don’t need to live a life of stress if you don’t want to. You can achieve peace and happiness in life by carefully building mindfulness exercises into your life’s routine.

                      Exercising mindfulness isn’t rocket science and as importantly, you can do it. It will, however, take a few tries to get into the groove of things but once you get it, it is like riding a bike, you will never lose it.

                      Trust me. It’s in your best interest to learn and put these mindfulness exercises into practice. In this article, I will share with you 8 mindfulness exercises that will help you to boost your energy, vitality and live a more peaceful and happier life.

                      Why Is It Hard to Live A Peaceful And Happy Life?

                      Our Habitat Has Become Too Technological

                      The world has accepted the idea that technology is often the cure for all evil. We have accepted, as a society, that everything technological will make us live a better life without fully investigating the many side effects that modernity brings.

                      There are a number of technological side effects that have a tremendous impact on your life that the media rarely tells you about.[1] Some of them include self-harm, economic inequality, having less sex, and even suicide. The global community is becoming less happy because of technology.

                      How can anybody live a peaceful and happy life when they are depressed? Technology advancements, ladies and gents, is a major reason for why we are living a poor life because it has infiltrated our lives too much.

                      According to my research, Americans spend an average of 8 hours a day looking at the computer screen — The average screen time spent on smartphones alone is about 20 hours per week. That’s a lot! No wonder why living a happy and peaceful life is so difficult these days.

                      Too Many People Don’t Want to Unplug

                      Americans check their phones an average of 80 times during vacation.[2] Some admit to checking their smartphones 300 times every single day. In countries like Brazil, India and China, the situation is no different.

                      The reality is that people are constantly plugged into technological devices and this behavior is literally making people all over the globe fight an inner war with themselves, which consequently makes them very sad. As we know, war is the enemy of peace which won’t make anybody happy.

                      Listen carefully:

                      We have a global anxiety epidemic because people don’t want to unplug from their smartphones and most people aren’t doing anything to fix it. It is a sad state of affairs but very real. This obsession with technology is turning us into perishable robots who live terrible lives.

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                      The era of anxiety is here to stay. There is little doubt about it. We can, however, fight back with the best remedy of all — We call it mindfulness!

                      Thank God there is an antidote to this whole technological madness. Without further ado, let’s go straight to the mindful exercises.

                      8 Mindfulness Exercises to Start Practicing

                      There are tons of mindfulness exercises available for you to engage with out there.[3] In the paragraphs below, I will include the best ones I’ve personally tried or have seen my close friends and family members try.

                      Are you ready for it? Let’s go!

                      1. Pray Daily

                      You should pray on a daily basis. Why is that you may ask — Well, because science has told us to do so.

                      When people pray, they feel peaceful, almost eliminating anxiety. Worries become secondary, and often gives people energy and hope to cope with the difficulties of life.

                      Prayer can make you more confident and focused. Prayer also helps you with self-control, helps to control pain, and can protect you against illnesses and disorders like cancer and high blood pressure. At least, this is what researchers from Harvard Medical School have said.[4]

                      Pray. You won’t regret it.[5]

                      2. Pay Attention to Your Inner Thoughts

                      A lot of people allow themselves to be influenced by their negative thoughts. Be different and resist believing in them. It is a bad habit that can lead to unhappiness.

                      By the way, if you do feel this way, chances are high that somebody other than you put these thoughts into your head.

                      Here is my secret to combat this cancer — look at things objectively. I bet that if you look at things as they are, you will realize that most if not all of your negative thoughts are only inside of your head.

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                      If you pay close attention, you will quickly realize that these voices aren’t worth your time. Believe me — Ignoring them and looking at things with objectivity is often the best course of action.

                      This article can guide you to beat negative thoughts:

                      How to Stop Automatic Negative Thoughts When You’re Overwhelmed

                      3. Smile Often

                      Smiling will slow down your heart. It will also relax your body because when you smile, your body releases endorphins which in itself has a number of positive benefits for you as a person.

                      Smile often! You may want to smile early in the morning, during the day, and late in the evening. It is amazing what happens to you when you decide to smile instead of being grumpy.

                      Surrender your problems to a nice smile. You will notice two things. First, most people just don’t which makes them live a miserable life. Second, if you decide to smile often, you will eventually smile unconsciously which is the ideal.

                      The moment that you smile unconsciously, you then know that you are truly happy.

                      4. Organize Your Working Desk

                      A messy desk will make you less productive and can agitate and overstimulate you. You don’t want that.

                      When you clear your desk, you engage in deep inner-thinking and your systematic decision making ends up becoming therapeutic.

                      Most people realize that they are most creative when their creative space is clean and organized. The former often makes people more aware of what they are doing which lends to less stress and more productivity.

                      Organizing your desk will also make you more energetic and focused because order often decreases chaos which is a condition that often slows down daily progress.

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                      5. Celebrate Your Friend’s Victories

                      I love this mindful exercise. One of the best ways to live a happy and peaceful life is to celebrate the victories of others. When you do that, you automatically make your friends in a better mood which makes you in a better mood, as well.

                      Happiness is contagious! We might as well celebrate others as much as we can. If you find out that your peer has won an award, celebrate with him! If your friend is the recipient of a local charity award, celebrate with her!

                      What is also awesome is that when you celebrate with others, they often celebrate with you in return. This, ladies and gentleman, will make you feel fantastic. You can’t go wrong with this one, period.

                      6. Listen to Your Spouse/Partner

                      God put someone in your life for a reason. You might as well listen to him or her.

                      I listen to my wife everyday. In fact, I often ask the following question to her, “Amanda, what are your thoughts about…” or “What am I missing about…” It is shocking what I hear back from her. Without her having much context and perspective, by the art of observation in my own nonverbal behavior and the behavior of others, she accurately gives me incredible insights which helps me out with living my life to the fullest.

                      I’m a firm believer that spouses are supposed to engage in interpersonal communication every day. I most definitely do and will continue doing it. You should do the same.

                      7. Give Yourself a Break from Technology

                      You can’t be in total equilibrium if your computerized devices control your life. You must get away from technology on a daily basis.[6]

                      How do you do that? This is my formula:

                      First, take this smartphone control test. It is only ten questions but this test will place you somewhere in the human robot cycle continuum.

                      If your score is between 25-30, take a break from the computer (or smartphone, pad, laptop/desktop) every twenty minutes and stop being on a computerized device after 8:00pm.

                      If you score between 30-35, still take a break every 20 minutes but stop being on these devices at 5:00pm.

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                      If you score more than 35, you need to take action immediately.

                      Limit computer use as much as possible throughout the day. Give yourself as many breaks from the computer as possible. Are you ready for the challenge?

                      8. Go Exercise

                      Go exercise at least three times a week. I don’t care if you need to workout early in the morning, late in the evening, on the weekends or during work days. Working out is absolutely imperative for you to live happy and peaceful life.

                      The stresses of the modern world are too much for you to neglect this important mindfulness exercise. When you go to the gym, you burn calories, focus on activities one step at a time, your mind relaxes, anxiety decreases, you sweat and often think about topics unrelated to your work place among many other benefits.

                      You must exercise at least three hours each week for optimum results. Why? Just take a look at all the benefits of regular exercising:

                      12 Benefits of Regular Exercise You Should Know

                      The Bottom Line

                      It’s in your best interest to learn and put these mindfulness exercises into practice. Now that our habitat has become too technological and many people just don’t want to unplug, engaging in daily prayer, celebrate your friends’ victories, and listening to your spouse are among the best ways to be mindful about what you are doing and how you are living.

                      It is possible to live a happy and peaceful life. It only depends on you.

                      Go exercise! Take a break from technology and invest in you! Life is too short for distractions.

                      More Resources About Mindfulness

                      Featured photo credit: Lesly Juarez via unsplash.com

                      Reference

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