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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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                                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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