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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 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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