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15 Upcoming European Cities You Have to Visit Now before Everywhere Else

15 Upcoming European Cities You Have to Visit Now before Everywhere Else

Europe is the second most popular international destination for Americans, after North America (Mexico and Canada) itself. This means that many of the most common cities visited will include Paris, London, Rome, or maybe even Copenhagen if you want to deviate from the norm. However, have you even taken a gander at visiting somewhere like Paphos in Cyprus, or maybe even Riga in Latvia? Chances are high that you haven’t.

Many seasoned travelers would agree that you are missing out on the Europe of your dreams by only visiting the tourist traps you feel you have to see. Today, we will attempt to change your perspective of European travel, and open up your horizon to 15 upcoming european cities off the beaten path to many tourists.

1. Utrecht, Netherlands

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    While Amsterdam is still the choice city for individuals looking to visit the Netherlands, visitors to the country may want to consider Utrecht City, Netherlands. Built along a canal, Utrecht has a high student population to keep the city young while also undergoing a series of growth. Despite this, the city is still with great historical character, a shopping centre, museums, and cobbled streets that make it impressionable to any age group.

    2. Edinburgh, United Kingdom

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      London is always the association made when one says they are going on a getaway to the United Kingdom. However, if you are looking for a change of scenery to taking in the United Kingdom, Scotland’s capital city of Edinburgh can offer you the development and entertainment that comes with a major capital while also offering stunning countryside greenery and the famous Edinburgh Castle.

      3. Siena, Italy

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        Most tourists to Italy attest that an Italian vacation isn’t complete without visiting the capital city, Rome. However, for those looking for something new and refreshing, Siena is the city you will fancy. Located in the Tuscan region of Italy, the largest nearby city is Florence. The city centre is the main aspect of the city and the most beautiful with the red stone roofs. However, you don’t have to museum hop all day. Siena is growing as a centre for shopping as well.

        4. Marseille, France

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          Despite Marseille being the second largest city and most visited city in France, it’s no doubt that Paris is the star of the show with their 24 million visitors a year, compared to Marseille’s two million. However, as a port city, Marseille offers the visitor a nice selection of seafood, unique shops, and museums. Voted Europe’s Capital of Culture for 2013, Marseille’s French identity and Greek influence brought by the city’s pioneers make it truly one-of-a-kind.

          5. Maribor, Slovenia

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            Ljubljana may be Slovenia’s most popular destination, but the city of Maribor should also be a city on your list for your Slovenian getaway. The district of Lent specifically is the centre of attention for Maribor, including stunning architecture, the world’s largest grape vine, and a myriad of ways to relax with well-known spas scattered around the city, including the Fontana Terme Maribor.

            6. Bibury, England

            Bibury, England by kevinmcgill

              London gets all of the headlines as the tourist destination for those visiting the United Kingdom. However, Bibury can be a great weekend trip for those looking to relax and take in the best of nature that the Britain has to offer. Featured in various paintings and artwork, Bibury doesn’t draw tourist in through tons of restaurants and tourist activities. It presents itself the way it is and the tourist come. From horseback riding to the picturesque Arlington Row, Bibury is ready for you to discover it.

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              7. Palmanova, Italy

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                As you can see in the photo above, the city’s plan is beautifully designed to form the shape of a hexagon. This is formed to lead to the city square, the Grand Piazza, that features the city’s famous cathedral known as the Duomo Digale. Palmanova, being a fortified city since the early 1590s, has a historic and somewhat medieval charm that is unmatched and under appreciated in Italian tourism.

                8. Ronda, Spain

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                  Ronda is a good tourist destination, especially for those taking in the rest of Andalusia, but it still has a rustic charm that has kept it from being damaged by overproduction and rapid tourism. The gorge, pictured above, is the main attraction of the town in terms of sightseeing. This doesn’t mean that the only thing you will be doing is taking pictures of it. You will find that restaurants are centred nearby, it makes for a nice walk, and events are regularly held. If you are looking for a well-preserved destination in Spain’s southern region, Ronda could be that place.

                  9. Tallinn, Estonia

                  ESTONIA  - TALLINN OLD TOWN

                    Being the capital of Estonia, tourism as a whole in the country still isn’t the most active compared to other European countries. This doesn’t mean that the city doesn’t come with the European flair that you’d want from a city. Being added to the UNESCO World Heritage site back in 1997, the city has not only be preserved, but has improved greatly over the past eighteen years. You’ll have your fill of restaurants in the Old City, with many specializing in traditional Estonian cuisine. From the Kumu Art Museum to the Seaplane Harbour, and even a couple of nightclubs sprinkled in, you’ll certainly have a ton of places to choose from to visit.

                    10. Muhu Island, Estonia

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                      Along with the capital city of Tallinn, an even more unique part of Estonia that isn’t necessarily in the tourist scope just yet is Muhu Island. The gap is apparent between the way of life and traditions of those in Muhu and those in the mainland Estonia. I’d equate it to residents of Hawaii and those who live in the mainland United States. The island features many farm buildings, museums, places to stay and eat, as well as a jazz festival in the middle of the summer.

                      11. Lodz, Poland

                      Facade of Manufaktura Shopping Centre by Adam Jones

                        For being one of Poland’s largest cities, Lodz has been overshadowed by the capital Warsaw in some respects. Regardless of this being true, Lodz is filled with a history that is most notably including World War II and the Jewish ghettos built around the city. If you are looking to visit a city that doubles as a thriving metropolis and look at the past, Lodz is the Polish destination for you.

                        12. East Anglia, United Kingdom

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                          East England is one that isn’t always featured as a tourist enclave. It is relatively unknown for its beach lifestyle that isn’t normally associated with the United Kingdom. In some respects, it makes someone feel as if they are in Nantucket or another city in New England, United States. Like any other seaside city, you will find that East Angilla is a great place to go crabbing, and take in seasonal festivals and concerts including the Great Yarmouth Maritime Festival in September.

                          13. Formentera, Spain

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                            Formentera may not be the top European spot for those living abroad, however for Europeans this is the hot spot for those looking to soak up some rays. Off the coast of Spain, on the Balearic Islands, Formentera is known for being a beach city with a low pace lifestyle, and even some sunbathing with your top off at one of the many nude beaches in the city.

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                            14. Lewis Island, Scotland

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                              The Isle of Lewis is the destination for individuals looking for the most traditional Scottish culture one can find in modern-day Scotland. Along with very traditional architecture and cultural traditions, Lewis is also recognized as a protective area of Scotland due to the variety of flora and fauna that grace the region. Popular sites of the Isle of Lewis include ancient ruins and sites like Calanish Standing Stones, Gearannan Village, and the St. Columba’s Chapel, among many others.

                              15. Turku, Finland

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                                Helsinki is the most popular city for tourists in Finland. However, Turku is another location that, while not always in a tourist’s scope of view, is important to see. The former Finnish capital offers the most for visitors during the Winter holiday season; however, during other times of the year, you can find a variety of museums, two music festivals (Turku Music Festival and Ruisrock), and the famous Paavo Nurmi Marathon held in the summer.

                                Which European city, not mentioned above, do you feel should be discovered by tourists? Let me know in the comments below.

                                Featured photo credit: BBC via ichef.bbci.co.uk

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                                Last Updated on August 15, 2018

                                7 Amazing Things That Will Happen When You Do Plank Every Day

                                7 Amazing Things That Will Happen When You Do Plank Every Day

                                Bodyweight exercises are gaining ground in the fitness world due to the practicality and simplicity of getting in shape using your own body weight. Planks are one form of bodyweight exercises that will never go out of fashion. Planks are one of the most effective exercises you can do. Why? Because they require a small time investment on your part, and offer the chance to achieve substantial results in a relatively short span of time.

                                Video Summary

                                Why is it important to train up our core strength?

                                There are numerous sites and blogs which detail ways to build your core muscles or core strength. Often though, these sites neglect to explain what your core muscles actually are, and why building them is important.

                                This is quite surprising, as core muscles are quite easy to explain. Your core muscles are a series of muscles in your midsection, and are used in most forms of movement. Though they aren’t housed in your arms or legs, your core muscles can help transfer force from one limb to another, or are used in addition to muscles in your arms or legs to increase their effectiveness. As such a strong core will make a big improvement on your ability to move and exercise further.

                                Also they are great for helping other muscles in your midsection such as your abdominal muscles. Your abdominal muscles are important for supporting your back and spinal column, and as such are important aids in preventing injuries. However for them to be most effective you need to spend a lot of time developing your core muscles.

                                In short, planking exercises can make a huge improvement in your muscles down your whole body. Making them a hugely effective exercise to perform.

                                One Exercise, multiple benefits

                                There are few forms of exercise as effective at building your core as planking exercises. However, planking exercises benefit far more than just your core strength.

                                By holding yourself in the position for a planking exercise, you’ll notice that your biceps, neck, and shoulder muscles are also being tested and strained. This this encouraging their buildup and development. This is great news if you like to do press ups, developed shoulder muscles will have a big impact on your press up performance.

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                                When planking, you are holding yourself up through your arms and biceps and so by holding a planking position, your arm muscles are being toned and developed. Making planking a great alternative exercise to other forms of bicep developing exercises.

                                Moving down your midsection, successful plank exercises actually develop the muscles in your butt! These muscles tend to be ignored by a lot of exercises, so this is another great benefit of plank exercises.

                                In much the same way as you develop your biceps and arm muscles, holding the planking position helps develop the muscles in your thighs too.

                                What is even better is that planking exercises don’t take much time at all. In fact you should probably only spend about ten minutes max per day in the planking exercise.

                                What will happen when you start doing planks every day

                                  1. You’ll improve core definition and performance: 

                                  Planks are an ideal exercise for the abdominal muscles exactly because they engage all major core muscle groups including the transverse abdominus, the rectus abdominusthe external oblique muscle, and the glutes. The importance of strengthening each muscle group cannot be underestimated either, for all of these groups serve their own purpose. If you strengthen these muscle groups you will notice:

                                  • Transverse abdominis: increased ability to lift heavier weights.
                                  • Rectus adbominis: improved sports performance, particularly with jumping. This muscle group is also responsible for giving you the renowned six pack look.
                                  • Oblique muscles: improved capacity for stable side-bending and waist-twisting
                                  • Glutes: a supported back and a strong, shapely booty.

                                  2. You’ll decrease your risk of injury in the back and spinal column

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                                    Doing planks is a type of exercise that allow you to build muscle while also making sure that you are not putting too much pressure on your spine or hips. According to the American Council on Exercise, doing planks regularly not only significantly reduces back pain but it also strengthens your muscles and ensures a strong support for your entire back, especially in the areas around your upper back.

                                    Check out this article if you would like to find out about how doing planks on different surfaces can impact the effectiveness of this exercise in strengthening your core.

                                    3. You’ll experience an increased boost to your overall metabolism

                                      Planking is an excellent way of challenging your entire body because doing them every day will burn more calories than other traditional abdominal exercises, such as crunches or sit-ups. The muscles you strengthen by doing this exercise on a day-to-day basis will ensure that you burn more energy even when sedentary. This is especially important if you are spending the majority of your day sitting in front of a computer. Also, making it a daily 10- to 1 minute home exercise before or after work will not only provide an enhanced metabolic rate but it will also ensure that that metabolic rate remains high all day long, (yes, even while you are asleep).

                                      4. You’ll significantly improve your posture

                                        Planking exercises have a great impact and improvement on your posture. This is great news as a strong posture brings with it a huge number of fantastic benefits .

                                        A good posture keeps your bones and joins in the correct alignment which means both your bones and joints will be better maintained and more healthy, but also means the overall effectiveness of your muscles will be improved.

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                                        A good posture will ensure your back or spine is in the correct position and so you will suffer less back pain.

                                        On top of everything, someone with good posture looks better, healthier, and more confident.

                                        5. You’ll improve overall balance

                                          Have you ever felt that when you tried standing on one leg, you couldn’t stand up straight for more than a couple of seconds? It’s not because you were drunk- unless you happened to be at the time!-  but rather, it’s because your abdominal muscles weren’t strong enough to give you the balance you needed. Through improving your balance by doing side planks and planks with extensions you will boost your performance in every kind of sporting activity.

                                          6. You’ll become more flexible than ever before

                                            Flexibility is a key benefit of doing planks regularly, for this form of exercise expands and stretches all your posterior muscle groups – shouldersshoulder blades, and collarbone – while also stretching your hamstrings, arches of your feet, and toes. With a side plank added in to the mix, you can also work on your oblique muscles. This will provide you with further benefits when it comes to hyper-extending your toes, a movement that is crucial for supporting your body’s weight.

                                            7. You’ll witness mental benefits

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                                              Plank exercises have a particular effect on our nerves, making them an excellent means of improving overall mood. How? Well, they stretch out muscle groups that contribute to stress and tension in the body. Just think about it: you are sitting in your chair, at home or at work, all day long; your thigh muscles get tight, your legs get heavy due to being bent for several hours; and tension develops in your shoulders due to being forced to slump forward all day. These are all circumstances that put too stress on the muscles and nerves. The good news is that planks not only calm your brain, but they can also treat anxiety and symptoms of depression– but only if you make it part of your daily routine.

                                              How to hold a plank position

                                              1. Get into pushup position on the floor.
                                              2. Now bend your elbows 90 degrees and rest your weight on your forearms.
                                              3. Keep your torso straight and rigid and your body in a straight line from ears to toes with no sagging or bending.
                                              4. Your head is relaxed and you should be looking at the floor.
                                              5. Hold the position for as long as you can.
                                              6. Remember to breathe. Inhale and exhale slowly and steadily.
                                              7. When your form begins to suffer, pull the plug. You’re only benefiting from the plank by actually doing the plank.

                                              Watch the video if you have any doubt!

                                              Here is a great infographic that shows the best plank variation exercises to evenly target all abdominal muscle groups:

                                                How to improve your plank time gradually

                                                1. Start with the easier variation if needed. You can start with a bent-knee plank if you can’t perform a regular plank yet. If you can hold a plank for more than two minutes with ease, you can move on to these tougher variations.
                                                2. Practise every day. Space your planking exercise throughout the day and do 3-4 times every day. Try to hold the position 10 seconds longer each time.
                                                3. Perform other body-weight exercises at the same time. Push-up and squat will improve your core strength too.

                                                Are you ready to devote 5-10 minutes of your day, every day, to stay fit, healthy and, most importantly, strong as a bull? Then jump in and make doing plank exercises a part of your life.

                                                Who Should Be Cautious Doing The Plank?

                                                You need to be cautious doing Planking exercises if any of these risks apply to you:

                                                • Prolapse
                                                • After prolapse surgery
                                                • Pelvic pain conditions
                                                • Weak or poorly functioning pelvic floor muscles
                                                • Previous childbirth
                                                • Overweight

                                                Choose an alternative pelvic floor abdominal exercise or consult your doctor before performing plank regularly.

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