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6 Beautiful European Cities That You Should Visit

6 Beautiful European Cities That You Should Visit

Traveling can be a welcome break from the stress and boredom associated with falling into a rut in our everyday lives. We are always on the lookout for beautiful images to browse through and fantasize, but nothing beats actually making the leap and visiting some of the wonderful cities of the old continent. There is much you can learn from the experience, and these cities, rich with history and culture, have lots to offer in terms of education, personal growth, great food and fun activities.

1. Bruges, Belgium

Bruges

    While many people fall in love with the unique aesthetic of Venice, with its canals and gondolas, it is overrun by tourists and, frankly speaking, overrated. If you want a rustic, old-town experience, with cobbled streets, canals and lovely old architecture, then head on down to Belgium and visit Bruges. The entire city center is classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

    You’ll find Michelangelo’s Madonna with Child statue and a number of museums and breathtaking churches and cathedrals. Walking down the streets of Bruges really takes you back through history, to a slower and more relaxed time. It is a city where you can ‘stop to smell the roses’, and it’s a shame that it is often overlooked when talking about lovely European cities.

    2. Edinburgh, Scotland

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    Edinburgh

      Apart from being a city with a strong Old World feel to it, what with its big castles and charming landscape, there are still some quite interesting tidbits that a lot of people don’t know about Edinburgh, like the fact that Arthur’s Seat Hill is actually an inactive volcano. Besides the world-famous Edinburgh Castle, which was never successfully taken by force throughout its existence, there are five other castles in the surrounding area, as well as a myriad of churches and cathedrals.

      The Edinburgh Dungeon, the Royal Botanic Garden and the Mining Museum are particularly interesting sites worth visiting. You can even watch the ultimate strength challenge that are the Highland Games, and you can take part in different sports, from golf to sailing and kayaking.

      3. Florence, Italy

      Florence skyline at sunset, Italy. Campanile di San Marco

        One of the most beautiful cities in the world, full of culturally significant sites, sculptures, art, and some exceptional architecture. It was the place in which the Renaissance bloomed and spread out like wildfire. Where does one even start when describing this majestic city? Perhaps the fact that the entire city was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site back in the 80s can help me paint the picture.

        Florence has been around since 80 BC and the various historical styles and influences are quite apparent, although the Renaissance style is the most widespread, with works of arts from such legendary names as Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo and Botticelli.

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        The lovely Ponte Veccio (Old Bridge) is a must see, and The Duomo will leave you staring in amazement. This being Italy, you can also enjoy some great coffee, fine wine and tasty meals while you spend your days exploring the city.

        4. Prague, Czech Republic

        Prague

          An old and proud city, Prague boasts very lovely centuries-old architecture, but it combines it well with more contemporary and quite unique architectural and artistic feats, like the Dancing House or the Franz Kafka Monument. Of course, you can’t talk about Prague without mentioning the Astronomical Clock and Karl’s Bridge, which continue to impress thousands of tourists daily.

          The Prague Castle is particularly impressive, as it is the largest ancient castle in the world, dating back to 870 AD, and encompasses several cathedrals, palaces and gardens, spanning across nearly 70,000 square meters.

          The Old Town is worth visiting and revisiting throughout your stay in Prague, and if you get tired from the sightseeing you can enjoy interesting Czech cuisine and a wide variety of good beers.

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          5. Barcelona, Spain

          Barcelona

            The capital of Catalonia, Barcelona boasts an impressive number of UNESC World Heritage Sites – around 17 in total – with several lovely sandy beaches and some otherworldly architecture that you won’t find anywhere else in the world. If you only had one chance to visit Europe and wanted to see something spectacular, I would wholeheartedly advise a trip to Barcelona and a stroll through the Gothic Quarter, spending a good deal of time admiring the Sagrada Familia, and another leisurely stroll in Park Güell.

            Barcelona is one of the most visited cities in the world, and even though there can be a lot of tourists milling around, it doesn’t get too crowded. And there is just too much to see, from the aforementioned cultural sites, to the huge football stadium and Formula 1 race track, and of course the lovely beaches.

            6. Lisbon, Portugal

            Lisbon

              Another underrated European city that more people should visit, Lisbon is the capital of Portugal, and one of the earliest settlements on this location predating Celtic times, probably back to around 1200 BC. Since the city was at times under the rule of different people from Africa and the Middle East, there is a unique mix of Christian, Jewish and Muslim influences on the city’s architecture and culture.

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              The amazing Jeronimos Monastery and the Belem Tower are notable examples of the Manueline style that developed in Portugal during the 16th century. The climate is pleasant, with warm summers, and the city has some beautiful riverside gardens.

              It is a great place for finding out more about the Portuguese culture and history, and to have a great time doing it.

              It is important to do some traveling in your life to get a new perspective on different cultures, broaden your worldview, learn more about the world and yourself and mature as a person. If or when you get the chance to go to Europe, I highly recommend visiting some, if not all, of the cities mentioned in this list.

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              Ivan Dimitrijevic

              Ivan is the CEO and founder of a digital marketing company. He has years of experiences in team management, entrepreneurship and productivity.

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              Last Updated on December 9, 2019

              5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

              5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

              Everyone experiences mental stress at one time or another. Maybe you’re starting a new career, job, or business, or you feel incredibly overwhelmed between work, parenting, and your love life (or a lack of it). It could even be that you simply feel that you have way too much to do and not enough time to do it,  plus, on top of everything, nothing seems to be going the way it should!

              Yup, we all experience mental stress from time-to-time, and that’s okay as long as you have the tools, techniques and knowledge that allow you to fully relieve it once it comes.

              Here are 5 tips for relieving mental stress when it comes so you can function at your best while feeling good (and doing well) in work, love, or life:

              1. Get Rationally Optimistic

              Mental stress starts with your perception of your experiences. For instance, most people get stressed out when they perceive their reality as “being wrong” in some way. Essentially, they have a set idea of how things “should be” at any given moment, and when reality ends up being different (not even necessarily bad), they get stressed.

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              This process is simply a result of perception and can be easily “fixed” by recognizing that although life might not always be going as YOU think it should, it’s still going as it should—for your own benefit.

              In fact, once you fully recognize that everything in your life ultimately happens for your own growth, progress, and development—so you can achieve your goals and dreams—your perception works in your favor. You soon process and respond to your experience of life differently, for your advantage. That’s the essence of becoming “rationally optimistic.”

              The result: no more mental stress.

              2. Unplug

              Just like you might need to unplug your computer when it starts acting all crazy, you should also “unplug” your mind.

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              How on earth do you unplug your mind? Simple: just meditate.

              It isn’t nearly difficult or complicated as some people think, so, if you don’t already meditate, give it a try. Whether you meditate for 5 minutes, 30 minutes, or 2 hours, this is a surefire way to reduce mental stress.

              Meditation has been scientifically proven to relax your body (resulting in less mental stress), while also reducing anxiety and high blood pressure.

              3. Easy on the Caffeine

              Yes, we know, we know—everyone loves a nice java buzz, and that’s okay, but there’s a fine line between a small caffeine pick-me-up and a racing heart and mind that throws you into a frenzy of mental stress.

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              Try giving up caffeine for a while and see how you feel. And, if that’s completely out of the question for you, at least try to minimize it. You might find that lots of your mental stress mysteriously “disappears” as your caffeine intake goes down.

              4. Attack Mental Stress Via the Back Door

              That’s right: your body and mind are part of the whole being, and are constantly influencing and affecting each other. If you’re experiencing a lot of mental stress, try to reduce it by calming your body down—a calm body equals a calmer mind.

              How do you calm your body down and reduce physical stress? A  great way to reduce physical stress (thereby reducing mental stress) is to take natural supplements that are proven to reduce stress and anxiety while lifting your mood. Three good ones to look into are kava-kava, St John’s wort, and rhodiola rosea:

              • Kava-kava is a natural plant known to have mild sedative properties, and you should be able to find it at your natural health food store or vitamin store. It’s available in capsules or liquid extract form.
              • St John’s wort is a natural flower used to treat depression. Again, it’s found at your local health store in capsules or liquid. Because it uplifts mood (enabling you to see the brighter side of all experiences) it helps relieve mental stress as well.
              • Rhodiola rosea is a natural plant shown to reduce stress and uplift mood, and Russian athletes have been using it forever. Like the other two supplements mentioned, rhodiola rosea can be found at your natural health store in capsule or liquid form.

              While these supplements are all natural and can be very helpful for most people, always check with your health care provider first as they can cause side-effects depending on your current health situation etc.

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              5. Good Old-Fashioned Exercise

              This tip has been around forever because it works. Nothing relieves mental stress like running, kickboxing—you name it. Anything super-physical will wipe out most of your mental stresses once the exercise endorphins (happy chemicals) are released into your brain.

              The result: mental stress will be gone!

              So, if you’re feeling overwhelmed or just plain stressed, try using some of the above tips. You can even print this out or save it to refer to regularly.

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              Featured photo credit: Radu Florin via unsplash.com

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