DALMATIA: HOW TO EXPLORE MONUMENTAL SALONA LIKE A BOSS

There is a lot more in Croatia than just Dubrovnik, Split, Zadar and Hvar!

Manastirine, Salona

Dubrovnik, Split, Zadar and Hvar may be one of the most beautiful cities in Croatia, but they are also the most visited and crowded places in the country. Don’t get me wrong, you definitely should not skip these cities when you are in Croatia, but you should set some time aside to look for other beautiful locations in Dalmatia.

Details in Tusculum, Salona


Croatia has many hidden gems and places where perhaps, you will be delighted even more! One of the hidden gems of Central Dalmatia is Solin, a cute little city I will be telling you about in this post. The Roman Emperor Diocletian, whose palace still adorns the city of Split today, was supposedly born in this small town called Solin, that is situated right under the Kozjak mountain.

The map of Solin, near Split, from @GoogleMaps

From Roman ruins, amphitheater, churches, tombs over imposingly carved stone works of art, Salona is the jewel of Dalmatia and totally worth exploring. Relatively unvisited, wandering via this empire will take you on a journey to a Roman era of emperors and gladiators.


Although I was born in Split, Solin is my city because I grew up here and my roots are here. I also have to admit I am extremely sad that Solin is only in the shadow of Split, little known and even less visited. For this reason, with this article, I want to present to you only a part of the beauty you will find in Solin, in the time machine of antiquity and archeological artifacts of Salona. So welcome to the virtual tour of Salona guided by a local! 🙂

Details in stone in Salona, Croatia
Details in Salona

SALONA (SOLIN) – ANCIENT AND ROMAN CAPITAL OF DALMATIA

Salona is located at the estuary of the river Jadro of the present city Solin, a suburb of Split on the Adriatic coast in Croatia. Before the Romans came, Salona was a settlement of Illyrian people who lived on the shore of the Adriatic. Around 3rd century BCE, Greeks came and then later Romans. Back in the ancient times Salona was a large town and the capital of the Roman province of Dalmatia.


How one big city looked like back in the Roman times, you can learn if you visit Salona!


THE HISTORY OF SOLIN

The Croatian name Solin is formed from the Latinized name Salona, with its roots in the Illyrian language. This name is mentioned for the first time in 119. The remains of the ramparts, objects of Greek origin found in Salona and its surroundings, point to the Greeks as the founders of this city. So, in the beginning, Salona was a Greek-Illyrian settled.

The view on amphithere

During the history, Salona was one of the most important cities of this area. The city was ruined by Avars and the Slavs around 614. The surviving population that managed to escape, took refuge in the nearby area in and around Diocletian’s Palace as it was much safer place to live. This is how the city of Split originated. You probably didn’t know this, right? 🙂

WHERE ARE ANCIENT RUINS AND HOW TO FIND THEM?

These ancient remains you can find in a small town called Solin, located only 5 km from Split city center. The best way to get there is to rent a car or scooter, but you can also use public transport (bus number 1 is taking you directly in front of Salona, bus number 16 and 37, but you will have to walk around 10 to 15 minutes if you take one of the last two).


WHAT TO DO IN SALONA?



Many people will advise you to enjoy in picnic in Salona. However, if you just lay there, eat and enjoy in surroundings, you will miss some of the greatest works of stone art in Dalmatia. I advise you to bring a backpack with plenty of water, some food and just stroll around the ruins and try to explore every corner. You will find many details and trust me, you will be amazed!

WHY IS SALONA SO IMPORTANT?

Some compare Salona to Naples’s Pompeii due to its monumental ruins and great and representable importance of our history. The greatest importance of Salona is in the study of early Christian society and architecture.
Besides, Salona is the biggest archeological park in Croatia. Some ruins are excavated but many are not due to lack of investment and Croatian politics that is not so interested in this area in preserving this historical landmark.


If you stroll around, you will find many explanatory panels both in Croatian and in English so you don’t even need a tour guide. All the paths are well-marked and there are many stone benches as well as tables to take a break and enjoy the flowering shrubs.

Table with a reconstruction of amphitheatre

ROMAN AMPHITHEATER IN SALONA

This specific Roman building could accommodate almost 17 000 people. The arena of the amphitheater was a place to have fun, where people enjoyed in spectacular and bloody gladiator fights.


This place was a center of fun in Roman times both for rich and poor. The building is an ellipsoid with three floors on the south, two on the side.

Amphitheatre

Amphitheater was built in the 2nd century. Believe it or not, there was even a system to cover it all with canvas to protect against sun or huge rains. Unfortunately, The Venetians destroyed the amphitheater in the 17th century in a war against the Ottoman Turks.

MANASTIRINE

I advise you to start your Salona journey here at Manastirine, just before the entrance to the archaeological park. Here the martyr Bishop Domnius was buried and his cathedral with famous bell tower is located in the city center of Split.

My dear and the best TRIPOD that helped me made most of these photos

The best thing to do in Manastirine is to wander around and enjoy in artistic engravings on stones. If you are lucky, you will see many squirrels climbing up the trees.

Manastirine

TUSCULUM MUSEUM

Besides Roman ruins, you can enjoy in small museum and its souvenir shop. Construction of this small museum dates back to the 19th century and its construction was ordered by an important archaeologist of Croatia – Frane Bulić.


Here you can find some artifacts from Salona but the major and the most important archaeological finds, you will find in Split Archaeological Museum.


EPISCOPAL CENTRE

The episcopal center was built for religious purposes together with two basilicas dedicated to the early Christian martyrs. Here you an find Roman public baths, Caesar’s Gate, octagonal towers and the remains of an aqueduct. Caesar’s gate was the eastern exit of the old town.


KAPLJUČ

Kapljuc is another early Christian cemetery with many details.

WHAT TO WEAR WHEN YOU VISIT SALONA?

Good hiking shoes and a backpack are must.

Details in Tusculum

For more information about Solin

Contact the tourist office.
(telephone +385 21-210 048) at Zvonimira 69. For information about the ruins, contact the museum office (telephone +385 21-213 358; info@armus.hr)



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INTRODUCING YOU THE BEST CRETE BEACHES YOU’LL LOVE!

Crete is considered to have one of the most beautiful and exotic sand beaches NOT ONLY in Greece, but in the whole world too!

CRETE ISLAND IN gREECE FROM ABOVE
Crete island from above; I took this photo from an airplane


Situated between the southern side of the Aegean Sea and the northern side of the Libyan Sea, Crete represents a pure hidden gem of Mediterranean. Although the island gets busy during summer, you are still able to find your peace and a hidden beach just for yourself! Do not forget that island is huge and if you rent a car or any similar vehicle, I assure you will be finding your own little piece of heaven.

Aerial photo from an Transavia airplane towards Crete island
We were flying with Transavia from Rotterdam, The Netherlands to Heraklion, Greece



And the best part is: Crete beaches have remarkable natural beauty, crystal-clear water, amazing turquoise color, red/black/white/pink sand, wilderness…In this wild island you can find both secluded and organized beaches with more than 100 of them being labeled with a Blu Flags which indicate cleanness, helpful amenities, safety…

Underwater photo of Cretan sea

Whether you are couple, a solo traveler, family, a group or elderly couple, Crete has something for every taste! If you are visiting Crete during late summer months, pay attention to strong winds blow during those months creating large waves, and do take extra care of yourself by avoiding swimming near cliffs especially if you are not a skilled swimmer.

This post covers my top 10 Crete beaches so keep scrolling to get inspired and refresh your bucket list!

A sea star and a shell from Cretan sea, Greece

1. KEDRODASOS BEACH

Kedrodasos beach in Crete

Kedrodasos beach has hardly any development around, being peaceful and quiet. I have never seen such a beauty in my life, at the same time whitest and the darkest sand. Lush jungle and emerald waters that remind you of a pool are looking like a pure paradise. I almost couldn’t believe it is real.

Kedrodasos beach in Crete island, Greece

This beach is my favorite beach in the whole world – so far due to its uniqueness and preserved ecosystem. Surprisingly, I have not seen many bloggers or sites mentioning this hidden gems, which is in a way-great! I would not be happy seeing this places overcrowded same as Elafonisi. So please, if you plan to stroll over this beach and take a swim, make sure to not leave any traces behind.

Cedar forest beach or Kedrodasos Beach lies well hidden on the south west coast, right next to the hustle and bustle of Elafonisi beach (1km).

Kedrodasos beach, Crete island

Kedrodasos is surely still a remaining paradise on the island. Framed by one of the few cedar forests of Crete, it has some dunes and some rocks. This is certainly due to hard-to-find way, and the entirely unsuitable dusty rough road for tour buses (how nice!). When you park your car, you will still need to walk down around 10 min. Believe me, it is a really nice path and you’d totally enjoy the route.

Kedrodasos white and black sand beach in Crete island

AMENITIES: Fortunately, there are no facilities nearby, making this secluded beach as one of the last untouched paradises in Europe and completely different from all other Crete beaches. Only trash bins are amenities here so keep it clean and take the trash with you when you leave. Kedrodasos is a nudist friendly, although it is not officially a nudist beach.



PRO TIP: The path to the beach is a bit tricky and you better have a look on the map before going there or just follow GPS like we did! To get easier there, follow the European path E4 crosses Kedrodasos (there are yellow and black signs everywhere).

2. RED BEACH

Footsteps in Red Sand Beach in Matala village, Crete island Greece

Red Sand Beach, also called Kokkini Ammos Beach has one of the most remarkable and untouched landscapes featuring azure waters, incredibly red-orange like-sand, and the occasional visit by local goats.

Funny goat in Red Beach Crete island

The beach is named after the reddish rocks of the region. The gorgeous blue water is just stunning and makes a perfect contrast to the white limestone cliffs and red sand.

Red Sand Beach in Matala Crete

You can get here either by boat or hiking. This beach is quite isolated but it can get crowded during the day so make sure to come early. Besides, hiking 30 minutes on a heavy sun can be exhausting but also dangerous.

Hiking to Red Sand Beach in Crete

You can get here either by boat or hiking. This beach is quite isolated but it can get crowded during the day so make sure to come early. Besides, hiking 30 minutes on a heavy sun can be exhausting but also dangerous.

A feather in red sand beach of Crete

The right side of the beach is reserved for nudists: do not be shy and do not stare, nudists are still people. 🙂 Start your route from the restaurant Scala and the Red Beach sign. The hike up to the hill, down and again up, wil last about 30 min depending on your fitness level. The path is not proper, more rough scramble over rocks and marked only by blue arrows painted on the rocks. It all boils down to this: bring enough water, sun protection, a hat, some food and enjoy in Red Beach!

Orange and red sand in Matala village Crete island



AMENITIES: One bar, sometimes sun umbrellas, nudist friendly, soft sand.



PRO TIP: Find a free parking under the mountain on the left side after you enter Matala village. From there you can even hike up to Red Beach. This pathway is faster, but lot harder – only for advanced hikers and people in a good shape.

3. BALOS LAGOON BEACH (KISSAMOS)

Balos Lagoon Crete island

The pure beauty and uniqueness that lagoon of Balos offers is sure to warm your heart.
Balos is a home to dazzling turquoise and blue water with exquisite views. Those views are keeping you glued to many viewpoints by evoking some magical and peaceful states that are part of our mysterious minds. This beach has a stunning white sand with pastel pink shades in some places that indeed add a dreamy feeling to whole atmosphere.

Balos Lagoon in Crete island

I have seen here one of the most beautiful sunsets in my entire life. This heavenly place will remain etched in your memory forever with its exotic blue, warm water and sand that literally cuddles your feet. Did I mention you should bring or buy here a proper diving mask? Let me elaborate…beyond the rocks at the boundaries of the lagoon, the water becomes deeper and colder which makes it perfect for snorkeling. Lagoon of Balos has many rare species of flora and fauna so the entire area is protected under the Natura 2000 program.

Sunset view on Baloos Lagoon in Crete island

The Balos Lagoon, Peninsula of Gramvousa and the Tigani Peninsula are under the Natura 2000 program protection. That means the following is prohibited:

  • Leaving your rubbish
  • Taking rocks, fossils, shells, ancient finds, and plants from the area
  • Catching animals
  • Camping and overnight stay
  • Starting a fire and smoking around bushes and woodlands
  • Anything that might threaten the ecosystem

You can get to Balos Lagoon by boat and partly by a car (later a hike). My boyfriend and I choose a car option, and we absolutely recommend it! Why? I will explain…
Renting a fully insured car and enjoying a crazy ride on dirty roads of Crete island is nothing but a pure adventure! Just drive very slowly, and be prepared to constantly swerve back and forth to avoid potholes and goats in the road. Afterall, it is all part of the experience!

The view on Balos Lagoon in Crete

We started from Kaliviani village (around 40 min driving). In the end of the road, we left our vehicle at the parking space and then followed the path for hiking (about 1,5 km – 30 min walking). Unfortunately we were not swimming in lagoon as we started late and reached our goal when Balos was closed.

AMENITIES: sun umbrellas, sunbeds, some food and water

PRO TIP: hike carefully and try not to get distracted while walking down the steps. If you come just before sunset time, be prepared not to experience Balos from down. Balos closes around 8PM and overnight as well as camping is not allowed!

4. MATALA BEACH

Roman tombs in  Matala Crete island

Let me walk you through Matala; one of the most popular destinations of Crete and certainly the most famous beach of Heraklion. Matala has become known for its caves, actually Roman tombs and hippies that found their paradise amd lived in this village in the 60s and 70s. Surprisingly, lots of people still live in caves across this area so don’t be surprised to see them along your adventures and explorations.

Sandy beach in Crete

Each year in summer, you can join Matala Beach Festival where great artists and souls gather to celebrate life and all the good thing that surrounds us. During the past, this place attracted celebrities such as Janis Joplin, Bob Dylan and Cat Stevens.

Matala village in Crete island Greece



AMENITIES: sun umbrellas, bars, restaurants, toilet, help for disabled persons, Blue Flag, soft sand, trash bins…

Matala village in Crete island

PRO TIP: Walk towards all the bars and restaurants and follow the path to the end. You will encounter two hammock in a cave like place with a stunning view.

5. ELAFONISI BEACH

Sunglasses and drops view

Elafonisi is truly a magical place that consists of a small islet full of white and pink sandy beaches. This place is stunningly gorgeous beyond every measure, with miles of shallow beaches. The pink sand adds to this one-of-a-kind experience. Waters are so shallow and therefore are ideal for families and children.

Pay attention to popularity of this beach. Elafonisi became a tourist hotspot due to placement on TripAdvisor’s 25 Best Beaches in the World list in 2014.

Elafonisi rooms and apartments to rent

The sand is shiny pink shade and soft. I did like the pure softness of the sand although it was not nothing much more softer than on any other sand beach in Crete. The problem is…I did not notice much of the pink sand. And although it is illegal to remove any of the sand, wildlife and plants from the area I guess is really true: everybody wants to take a pink souvenir home.😏 Sad world, if you ask me.

We shall respect the nature everywhere we go, leave no traces, only footprints and take only air.

That same light pink sand gets its hue from tiny pink crushed shells, broken coral pieces, and calcium carbonate materials, all of which fall to floor. The beach is also home to 110 different plant species!

AMENITIES: sun umbrellas, sunbeds, restaurants, bars, shops, trash bins…

PRO TIP: it’s definitely worth a visit but as early as possible in the morning. During the day when it gets crowded, pack your things and head over to close by Kedrodasos beach!

6. KOKKINOS PIRGOS BEACH

Cretan sea and Kokkinos Pirgos beach in Crete

Kókinos Pyrgos is inundated with the bluest of turquoise waters. This place took its name by a castle that was there during the time of Middle Ages and built from red clay earth.

Black sand beach in Kokkinos Pirgos

This small community is located just 2km away from Tymbaki. From its beach, you can enjoy in terrific view on Paximadia islands, two small uninhabited islands in the gulf of Mesara that can be reached via boat from Aghia Galini.

Sun umbrellas in Kokkinos Pirgos beach in Crete

AMENITIES: Docking facilities for sailing and fishing boats, bars, hotels, restaurants

Kokkinos Pirgos Crete island

PRO TIP: Surprise your palate in Red Castle Fish Tavern, feel and eat like a local person. We came back here even three times to have our dinner-it was that good!

7. PREVELI BEACH

Preveli beach view in Crete island

Beach of Preveli (Lake Preveli or Phoenix) is located at the exit of the imposing Kourtaliotikos Gorge, where the Great River (Megas Potamos) flows. During the 60s and 70s, it was a favorite destination for the hippies, same as Matala village. On the banks of the Grand River there is a large colony of Theophrastus palm trees, which give the region a sense of a tropical landscape. Here flows the river, forming a small lake, 1.5km long, and emptying into the sea which makes it a quite cold to swim and dive.

Preveli beach Crete

Kokkinos Pirgos (i.e. Red Tower) is located 67km west of Heraklion and close to the town of Tymbaki. The name is taken after a tower that was built with reddish soil in the mouth of Geropotamos river. It is the seaside village of Timbaki, the main port of the region and developed in tourism. In Kokkinos Pirgos you will find many hotels, rooms, restaurants and cafes. The climate of the region is generally warm and many locals deal with growing fresh vegetables in greenhouses.

Preveli beach in Crete island

The palm tree forest of Preveli is located below the monastery of Preveli, at the mouth of the Kourtaliótiko gorge. It is a forest of endemic Cretan date palm Phoenix theophrastii and the second largest palm forest in Crete after Vai in the East of the island. Fossils and bones of giant tortoises, crocodiles, squirrels, wild boars, antelopes and many other animals have been discovered in this area being unique and dating from ancient times.

Palm trees in Preveli beach in Crete island

The palm tree forest of Preveli is located below the monastery of Preveli, at the mouth of the Kourtaliótiko gorge. It’s a forest of endemic Cretan date palm Phoenix theophrastii and the second largest palm forest in Crete after Vai in the East of the island. Fossils and bones of giant tortoises, crocodiles, squirrels, wild boars, antelopes and many other animals have been discovered in this area being unique and dating from ancient times.

Palm tree forest

AMENITIES: small restaurant, no staying overnight and no any other amenities such as sun umbrellas. However, the beach is not well organized because the area is completely protected.

PRO TIP: the best seasons to visit are spring and autumn; May/June, then September/October when the beach is less crowded.

8. KALAMI BEACH


This beach is a breathtaking and we noticed and already from a near by restaurant located above. Just 500m north from the Kalami village, nature created this beautiful beach with deep water and round pebbles. There are not many pebble beaches in Crete so this was very refreshing. Close by you can find a tiny harbor with boats. This beach is not crowded with tourists but many locals come here to take a swim.

Kalami beach in Crete

AMENITIES: some umbrellas and a few tamarisk trees to provide you shade, many restaurants above the beach and accomodation places, tiny coves near by.

PRO TIP: you don’t want to miss he ancient city of Aptera and the Turkish forts of Intzedin and Aptera that are close by to Kalami beach. Here’s the interesting part: if you go just 100m on the east, you will encounter Atherina, one of the nicest private beaches in this area. You can explore another secret bay on the west.

9. UNKNOWN BEACH

I call this piece of paradise an unknown beach, because I have no idea what is the name of it. Unfortunately, I have lost many of my Google Map locations, so I ended up searching for places. I am still trying to find the name of this beach and hopefully I will succeed (NOTE: Crete has more than 300 beaches so it is not an easy job!)

A hidden beach in Crete island Greece


As soon as I find the name, I will post it on my Instagram Stories!

Crete island beach

For now, all I know about this beach is that you have to drive for a while along diry unprotected road and you end up close to a small monastery with few priests that live there. You have to walk for a while and get down the long stairs to get to this beach. It is a wonderful, hidden and pebble beach surrounded by rocks.

Hidden beach in Crete island

Basically, you will find no one here only Kri-Kri goats which is an incredible.

Kri-Kri goats Cretan Ibex in Greece

AMENITIES: None

PRO TIP: Do not forget your diving mask! Pay attention to goats as they love to sneak on bags and food.

10. UNKNOWN BEACH 2

Crete island beaches

Another unknown beach that is on my list to investigate. It is actually a small hidden cove next to large beach with plenty of crowds, a bar, sun umbrellas and sun beds.
We spot this secret beauty while swimming and we realized we can reach it from the coast side or simply by swimming.

Crete island rocks

If you go a bit deeper inside, some weird looking rocks will make your shade. The sand is super soft, black and brown in some parts. The sea is so crystal clear and you will love diving here. We also found a bunny ear cactus above and we ate some prickly pear fruits.

AMENITIES: None here, but there are some just 4 min walking.

Crete island beach

PRO TIP: Come here early because the beach is so tiny and later you might have some guests.

Black sand in Crete island

HOW TO PRESERVE BEACHES OR PLACES (CONSIDERING POPULARIZATION) THAT ARE THE MOST AMAZING IMAGINABLE?


One of the best ways, through ecological networks such as Natura 2000 & also with the help of environmental associations and stricter site regulations.

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10 AMAZING THINGS TO DO IN SENSATIONAL CRETE ISLAND

At the crossroads of three continents, Crete has always been very desirable and constantly occupied by successive invaders.

Crete island map

It’s no wonder why Crete was that popular to invaders. Being surrounded by the Cretan Sea, which is part of the transparent Aegean Sea, this island still has a golden reputation as a sensational Mediterranean destination. Out of all the Greek islands, Crete is the largest island in Greece and the fifth largest island in the Mediterranean.
Due to its size, I advise you to choose at least a two week trip if you want to explore the whole island properly.

Roman tombs in Matala village
The view in Matala on Roman tombs

WHY TO CHOOSE CRETE IN THE FIRST PLACE?


Crete offers all visitors to become part of the rich gastronomic culture of the island, to admire the remains of great and ancient civilizations, to explore famous and hidden beaches, impressive mountain areas, fertile valleys and steep cliffs.
The island is an artistic and vivid mosaic of many contrasts, starting from sublime mountains, long desert paths to red-pink and black sandy beaches.

The view on Roman tombs from Matala village


It’s an island of special charm with those famous Greek sounds and traditional taverns. An island of culture where Crete locals drink ouzo while playing cards.
And while there’s a whole stack of remarkable things to do in Crete, I decided to pick the best ones, to show you the highlights of this dreamy island. After this post, I promise you’ll be wanting to go there NOW!

The beach in Kokynos Pyrgos
The beach in Kokynos Pyrgos

Have a look at 10 amazing things to do and places to visit in Crete.

1.) RENT A CAR AND BE SURE TO EXPLORE CRETE PROPERLY

Roads across Crete island in Greece
The roads in Crete island

Without a doubt, renting a car and hitting the road is the best way to sneak into every possible paradise corner this island offers. At Heraklion Airport there are various companies. My advice is to book a car in advance especially if you arrive during the summer season (from late June to early September). The reason? Prices and waiting lines.

An amazing scenery of Crete island in Greece

If you are an avid driver, Crete will delight you because the roads are mostly winding and extremely adrenaline-fueled. Make sure you get a good car so you can drive almost everywhere. We had a Fiat Panda at our disposal and we didn’t had any problems.

2.) SEE THE GORGEOUS VIEWS OF BALOS LAGOON

Balos Lagoon in Crete, Greece island

One of the best hiking routes is around Balos Lagoon. Actually, this is one of the hardest hikes in the whole Crete too, especially when climbing up. Prepare you’ll need an hour, or hour and a half to get down there and back, bring as many water as you can and have a great hiking shoes on.

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🇬🇧▪︎STEEP HIKE – STUNNING VIEW▪︎ _ You can get to Balos Lagoon by car or by boat.⛵🚙 We have chosen car option, and we absolutely recommend it!👌 Rent a fully insured car and enjoy a crazy ride on a dirty road. 🚗 Drive very slowly, and be prepared to constantly swerve back and forth to avoid potholes and goats in the road. It’s all part of the experience!🐐 We started from Kaliviani village (around 40 min driving). In the end of the road, leave your vehicle at the parking space and then follow the path for hiking (about 1,5 km – 30ish min walking).🎒 Hike carefully and try not to get distracted while walking down the steps. TIP: If you come just before sunset time, be prepared not to experience Balos from down.🌅 It closes around 20h and overnight as well as camping is not allowed!🙆‍♀️ __________________________________________________ 🇭🇷▪︎STRMO PJEŠAČENJE – ZAPANJUJUĆI POGLED▪︎ _ Do Lagune Balos možete doći automobilom ili brodom.⛵🚙 Izabrali smo opciju automobilom, i apsolutno je preporučujemo!👌 Iznajmite potpuno osigurani automobil i uživajte u ludoj vožnji po prljavoj cesti.🚗 Vozite vrlo sporo i budite spremni na stalno okretanje naprijed i natrag kako biste izbjegli rupe i koze na cesti. Sve je to dio iskustva! 🐐 Mi smo krenuli iz sela Kaliviani (40-ak min vožnje). Na kraju ceste ostavite svoje vozilo na parkiralištu, a zatim slijedite stazu za pješačenje (oko 1,5 km-30 min min pješačenja).🎒 Pješačite pažljivo i pokušajte se ne ometati dok hodate stubama. SAVJET: Ako dođete nešto prije zalaska sunca, budite spremni da nećete doživjeti Balos odozdo.🌅 Zatvara se oko 20h i noćenje te kampiranje nije dopušteno!🙆‍♀️ ___________________________________________________ #crete #travelawesome #travelblogger #travelcrete #ig_greece #greece_travel #myinstatravel #stayandwander #ig_europe #greek_islands #visitcrete #creteisland #traveldrugari🗺️ #passionpassport #CRETE #islands #ig_today #earthpix #thetravelwoman #hello_worldpix #bestplaces #beautifuldestinations #traveler #wonderful_places #exploreobserveshare #island #wonderfulglobe #welivetoexplore #sunsetphotography &#theglobewanderer &#greece_nature &#exploreobserveshare

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Balos Lagoon in Crete island, Greece during the sunset time

I advise you to start early in morning, or an hour before the golden hour, to avoid the crowds. You are not allowed to camp/overnight in Balos and there are working hours too so make sure to check that advance. There’s also a small boat from Kastelli to Balos if you are not a hiking person.

Balos Lagoon in island of Crete, Greece

The views are rewarding and the water is warm, shallow with pretty pinkish sand. I’ve seen here one of my most beautiful sunset ever. If you go to Crete and you miss Balos, you haven’t seen anything.

3.) TAKE A BITE OF TRADITIONAL DISHES IN CRETAN TAVERNAS

Greek food in traditional Cretan taverna

Avoid ordering pizza, spaghetti and things like that. Crete is an island that produces almost everything locally and all the dishes are beyond delicious, ordering a pizza there is a sin. So, don’t wander around with an empty stomach. If you are a food lover, you and your palate will enjoy in food here.

Blue tones of Greece in Crete island

Village tavernas mainly produce their own meat, olive oil, brandy, cheese and wine, as well as their own freshly caught seafood. You will come across one of the most delicious and natural dishes you have ever tasted.

Traditional tsikoudia drink in Greece

The Cretan diet is one of the healthiest in the world. My advice is to spend your time in Crete in a Greek way. Follow the dish with local wine, and finish it with tsikoudia drink (brandy) which is offered as a digestif after dinner with free fruit and dessert. Tavernas are very recognizable, usually painted in blue tones.

Blue tones in Crete island of Greece

4.) EXPLORE MATALA VILLAGE

Matala village funny poster

This was my favorite village because it’s quirky, lively with many caves and incredible views. Matala is known as a hippie village that hosts a fun festival in the summertime.

Matala village in Crete island Greece
“Welcome to Matala. Today is life, tomorrow never comes.”

It’s nothing unusual to hear artists playing guitars or drums along the way.

Music is my weapon peace is in my soul urban art in Matala village
“Music is my weapon, peace is in my soul.”

The whole place has a great vibe, many artistic symbols, roman tombs and cute tavernas with gorgeous views.

Sunset view in Matala village Crete island

5.) FIND A RED BEACH

Red Sand Beach in Matala village

Kokkini Ammos Beach (“Red Sand Beach”) is located in the south of Matala. To get to this beach, you can either follow the footpath from Matala or take a boat from Matala beach. The beach is isolated, except for a small bar which is not always open, and if it is, works until the sunset.

Red sand in Red Beach Crete island Greece

Red Sand beach has been voted as one of the top nudism-friendly beaches in the world and its surrounding area is protected under the Natura 2000 international program.

A sign of nudist beach

The half of the beach is nudist friendly. The sand is somewhere from orange to red, yellow to golden and super soft. The whole area is surrounded by limestone rocks with many engraved faces and symbols. Personally, this was my tiny paradise in Crete and we came back twice.

Sunset time in Red Sand beach near Matala in Crete island
Sunset on our way back from Red Beach


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🇬🇧▪︎SEA DIMENSION▪︎ _ "I love moving in extra dimensions. Not just backwards and forwards, but up and down and around. I love swimming with fins— human feet are practically useless underwater. I love all the unique things you see on each dive. Millions of little aquatic soap operas playing out between all the creatures. And the silence. Well, it’s not really silent down there, but the roar of bubbles blocks any other sound…." Kirsten Hubbard . Photographs taken with: Samsung S7 Edge📷 __________________________________________________ 🇭🇷▪︎MORSKA DIMENZIJA▪︎ _ "Volim se kretati u dodatnim dimenzijama. Ne samo unatrag i naprijed, već gore i dolje i okolo. Obožavam plivanje perajama – ljudska stopala su praktički beskorisna pod vodom. Volim sve jedinstvene stvari koje vidite na svakom zaronu. Milijuni malih vodenih sapunica koje se igraju između svih stvorenja. I tišina. Pa, nije baš tiho dolje, ali tutnjava mjehurića blokira sve druge zvukove…" Kirsten Hubbard . Fotografije snimljene sa: Samsung S7 Edge📷 ___________________________________________________ #crete #kedrodasos #wearetravelgirls #travelblogger #travelcrete #ig_greece #greece_travel #myinstatravel #stayandwander #ig_europe #greek_islands #visitcrete #creteisland #traveldrugari🗺️ #passionpassport #CRETE #islands #ig_today #earthpix #thetravelwoman #hello_worldpix #travelblogger #beautifuldestinations #bestofthedays #traveler #seaphotography #exploreobserveshare #island #diving #seaanimals &#undersea &#underwater

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6.) EXPLORE PREVELI BEACH

Preveli beach in Crete island

Beach of Preveli (Lake Preveli or Phoenix) is located at the exit of the imposing Kourtaliotikos Gorge, where the Great River (Megas Potamos) flows. During the 60s and 70s, it was a favorite destination for the hippies, like Matala village.
On the banks of the Grand River there is a large colony of Theophrastus palm trees, which give the region a sense of a tropical landscape.

Palms in Preveli beach Crete


The river, forming a small lake, 1.5km long, is emptying into the sea which is quite cold. A big fire in 2010 burnt almost everything of this paradise, but the palms recovered really fast! Now, it’s a palm tree forest of endemic Cretan date palm Phoenix theophrastii. The whole area is protected so there are no many amenities but the flora and fauna are incredible. You can be served to eat and drink in a small restaurant.

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🇬🇧▪︎PALM TREE FOREST▪︎ _ The palm treeforest of Preveli is located below the monastery of Preveli, at the mouth of the Kourtaliótiko gorge. . It's a forest of endemic Cretan date palm Phoenix theophrastii. 🌴😍 . This is the second largest palm forest in Crete after Vai in the East of the island.🏝 Fossils and bones of giant tortoises, crocodiles, squirrels, wild boars, antelopes and many other animals have been discovered in the area being unique and from ancient times.🐢🐊🐿 . On the 22nd of August 2010 a fire swept through the palm forest of Preveli.😏 The speed at which the forest was regenerating was amazing!🙏 Fresh palm leaves were everywhere, even sprouting from charred trunks. Almost all the trees had survived. Nature is truly a miracle.🌍🌿 . ADVICE: The best seasons to visit are spring and autumn; May/June, then September/October when the beach is quieter.👌 ___________________________________________________🇭🇷▪︎PALMINA ŠUMA▪︎ _ Palmina šuma Preveli nalazi se ispod samostana Preveli, na ušću klisure Kourtaliótiko. To je šuma endemske kritske palme Phoenix theophrastii.🌴😍 . Ovo je druga po veličini palmina šuma na Kreti nakon Vai na krajnjem istoku otoka.🏝 . Fosili i kosti divovskih kornjača, krokodila, vjeverica, divljih svinja, antilopa i mnogih drugih životinja otkriveni su na ovom području jedinstvenom i od davnina.🐢🐊🐿 . 22. kolovoza 2010. požar je progutao palminu šumu Preveli.😏 Brzina kojom se šuma obnavljala bila je nevjerojatna!🙏 Svježe palmino lišće bilo je posvuda, čak je i izvirivalo iz ugljena. Gotovo sva stabla su preživjela. Priroda je uistinu čudo!🌿🌍 . SAVJET: Najbolje godišnje doba kada treba posjetiti su proljeće i jesen; svibanj / lipanj, zatim rujan / listopad kada je plaža mirnija.👌 ____________________________________________________ #crete #discovergreece #photographylovers #travel_greece #travelcrete #ig_greece #Kings_greece #myinstatravel #palm #stayandwander #sunsetlovers #ig_europe #greek_islands #visitcrete #creteisland #traveldrugari🗺️ #palmtree #CRETE #travellinthroughtheworld #ig_today #earthpix #amateurphotography #hello_worldpix #palmbeach #beautifuldestinations #greece #palms #bestvacations #palma

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Purple sea urchin Crete island


7.) OVERNIGHT IN A TYPICAL GREEK HOUSE

Traditional Greek house items

In order to get to know the place better, we shall always taste and feel the tradition of certain destination. Don’t you feel the same? Plus, if you meet a local person and he/she tells you more stories and shows you more places around, you’ll end your trip being significantly richer for one more culture.

Traditional Greek stone house in Crete

Greek houses are often cheaper than a regular accommodation because they are rustic and especially cheaper if they’re not so close by the sea. Typical Greek house is usually made from stone, it’s cold (which is perfect for summer vacay) and charming. We slept in one of those houses only for one night and we totally loved it!

8.) TAKE A SWIM IN KEDRODASOS BEACH and EXPLORE THE SEA WORLD

Kedrodasos beach in Crete island

Do you ever find a place that makes you question:
“Is this real?”

Well, Kedrodasos beach (Cedar forest) is one of those places. Covered in black & white sand, cedar trees, some dunes and here and there – rocks, this beach became my fav in Crete. The softness of the sand is so high, you can easily fall asleep on it. This paradise lies well hidden on the south west coast, right next to the hustle and bustle of Elafonisi beach (1km).

Kedrodasos beach Crete

Well, Kedrodasos beach (Cedar forest) is one of those places. Covered in black & white sand, cedar trees, some dunes and here and there – rocks, this beach became my fav in Crete. The softness of the sand is so high, you can easily fall asleep on it. This paradise lies well hidden on the south west coast, right next to the hustle and bustle of Elafonisi beach (1km).

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🇬🇧▪︎KEDRODASOS BEACH▪︎ _ Kedrodasos beach (Cedar forest) lies well hidden on the south west coast, right next to the hustle and bustle of Elafonisi beach (1km).🇬🇷 Framed by one of the few cedar forests of Crete, Kedrodasos is still a remaining paradise on the island. This is certainly also due to the hard-to-find way here, and the entirely unsuitable dusty rough road for tour buses (how nice!).😋😗 . The path to the beach is a bit tricky and you better have a look on the map before going there or just follow GPS like we did! 🚗 . Once you park your car you need to walk at about 10 minutes down to the beach.⛰ Beleive me, it's a really nice path you'd totally enjoy the route. You simply shouldn't miss out this beach when on Crete❗😊🎒 . Follow me for more info and pics of our travel exploring & nature perfections! 🌱🌊🙏 __________________________________________________🇭🇷▪︎KEDRODASOS PLAŽA▪︎ _ Plaža Kedrodasos (cedrova šuma) nalazi se dobro skrivena na jugozapadnoj obali, tik uz gužvu na plaži Elafonisi (1km).🇬🇷 Uokvirena jednom od rijetkih cedrovih šuma na Kritu, Kedrodasos je još uvijek raj na otoku. To je sigurno i zbog teškog načina dolaska ovdje i potpuno neprikladne prašnjave grube ceste za turističke autobuse (kako lijepo!)😋😗 . Put do plaže malo je težak i bolje je pogledati kartu prije odlaska tamo ili samo slijediti GPS kao i mi! 🚗 . Jednom kad parkirate automobil, trebate se spuštati pješice otprilike 10 minuta do plaže.⛰ Vjerujte mi da je to zaista lijepa staza u kojoj biste potpuno uživali tokom rute, a ovu plažu jednostavno ne biste trebali propustiti kad ste na Kreti❗ . Upratite me ako želite vidjeti dodatne informacije i fotografije sa naših putovanja i savršenstava prirode!🌱🌊🙏 ___________________________________________________ #crete #kedrodasos #photographylovers #travel_greece #travelcrete #ig_greece #Kings_greece #myinstatravel #stayandwander #ig_europe #hiddengems #visitcrete #creteisland #traveldrugari🗺️ #beaches #CRETE #travelsoul #ig_today #earthpix #amateurphotography #hello_worldpix #explorenewplaces #beautifuldestinations #greece #hiddengem #bestvacations #exploreobserveshare #islands &#kreta #bestplaces

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Sea photo diving in Cretan sea


Framed by one of the few cedar forests of Crete, Kedrodasos is still a remaining hidden gem on the island. This is certainly also due to the hard-to-find way here, and the entirely unsuitable dusty rough road for tour buses. The path to the beach is a bit tricky and you better have a look on the map before going there or just follow GPS. Bring a diving mask or buy one there – it will be your best investment on this island!

9.) WANDER AROUND CHANIA

Chania city in Crete Greece

I fell in love with Chania immediately! This charming city is inhabited since the Neolithic era, around 1700 BC and has a great Venetian Harbor, the narrow shopping streets, waterfront restaurants and old port.

Chanica Crete island

You can sit on one of the historical landmarks and enjoy in the panoramic view. Just stroll around the city and explore it’s corners, you’ll love it!

Chania Crete island


10.) DISCOVER THE FIRST SETTLEMENT IN EUROPE – KNOSSOS

The Palace of Knossos in the south of Heraklion

The Palace of Knossos is situated in the south of Heraklion. The city is built by a civilization that we call the Minoans. It is believed that Knossos is the first settlement about 7000 BC.

The Palace of Knossos

If you like history and ruins, this is a perfect place for you! Although it’s restored, Knossos still has many original parts being big as much as two football fields.
The palace was excavated a century ago. However, there are still plenty questions about the palace and the people who lived there.

If you liked my article and you think it’s helpful for some future travels, share it with others on your social media! ♡

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KING’S DAY NETHERLANDS 2020 IN THE TIME OF CORONA

THE DUTCH CELEBRATED KING’S DAY AT HOME FOR THE FIRST TIME SINCE THE SECOND WORLD WAR

This year hasn’t been so orange colored for Dutch people. Equally, the whole world became quite grey colored, entering the year 2020 with corona virus infections. The Dutch Government had to also follow the measures in response to the coronavirus pandemic. Indeed, safety comes first and health too. That’s why large-scale events are banned even until 1st of September 2020 and the “Konings Dag” (King’s Day) was no exception.

BUT WHAT IS KING’S DAY?

King’s Day is a Dutch national holiday, being celebrated on 27th of April in the whole Netherlands in the honor of a Dutch king Willem-Alexander. Actually, that day is his birthday. I guess we all know that The Netherlands (still known as Holland) is the kingdom. Until Willem’s mother, Queen Beatrix, abdicate in 2013, this national holiday was known as Queen’s Day and it was celebrated on 30th of April.

People wearing orange on King's Day the Netherlands

HOW DUTCH PEOPLE CELEBRATE KING’S DAY?

Long story short – WILD! People from the Netherlands and abroad are drawn to Amsterdam to enjoy in parties in literally every club and bar, flea markets, street parties, concerts, dance events, sidewalk performances, boat parties and many more. City’s canals are filled with those party boats and everywhere you can see crowd, bottles, speakers, colors and plenty of trash too. Surprisingly, the day after, the city shines like nothing ever happened, already in the afternoon. Most Dutch people put out the flag and most of people wear orange clothes (national color).

Traditionally Amsterdam is a hotspot. the capital city is definitely the best place to celebrate this day.

Almost everyone is dressed up funny on King’s Day

WHY ORANGE COLOR?

The history of orange as national color dates back to 16st century to Willem of Orange (Willem van Oranje), a distant ancestor of the current king. He was a prince, from a tiny region in France around the city of Orange. I guess the name says it all. 🙂

WHAT IS KING’S NIGHT?

You see, many people go straight to work day after King’s Day. That’s why smart Dutch people invented “Koningsnacht” or “Kings’s Night”. The night before King’s Day is literally a chance to party hard in order to be able go to work day after the biggest national holiday in the kingdom.

Dancing people on King's Day Amsterdam the Netherlands

SO HOW DID KING’S DAY LOOKED LIKE IN 2020?

King’s Day celebrations DID NOT take place this year. At least, not outside and wild like they used to. Thus, King’s Day 2020 was very different from any previous one. Citizens were encouraged to stay home, but they still could celebrate. Some people did celebrated at home, some went to a park to drink a beer (while keeping the distance), some enjoyed home performances and concerts, digital markets, online bingo, DJ’s and their livestreams…

Those who didn’t followed the distancing rules of 1.5 meters, were punished with €390 fine! Watch the videos of King’s Day 2020.

And while King’s Day 2020 went quiet, King’s Night went even more quieter. As you know, I moved from Amsterdam to Spain already a year ago, so I wasn’t experiencing King’s Night or Day. However, I still keep a good contact with many of my friends in Amsterdam and they were so good to send me some photos of this year “celebration”.

See below photos from the empty King’s Night, taken by our dear friend Linda Milojkovic. (edited by me)

@lindamilojkovic
@lindamilojkovic
@lindamilojkovic
@lindamilojkovic

PARTY SUGGESTIONS IN AMSTERDAM

1.) INDEEP’N’DANCE EVENTS

If you love parties an techno, you have to know for Linda Milojkovic and Dejan Milojkovic (Dexon). They are the owners of InDeep’n’Dance Records, a record store, label & organization behind famous weekly Techno Tuesday Amsterdam & Kraft Amsterdam Events, both concepts are home based in Melkweg Amsterdam.

These two artistic souls are often organizing parties, and in the time of King’s Night and Day too. If you are fan of high quality modern techno music and new generation producers & artists, see their website with some great techno events and other related content. Besides the music, this lovely couple does t-shirt printing (their own collection and custom t-shirts).

2.) LOVELAND VAN ORANJE

Of course, there are many more parties and events during the King’s Day. Unfortunately, none for this year, but you can see the list of events and festivals for year 2021 (or wait a bit more since it’s still early).

IMPORTANT TO KNOW

1.) CROWD

King’s Day is really, really crowded. In recent years, Amsterdam authorities did take some measures. For example, a big events and DJ events, parties, festivals are moved to the outskirt of Amsterdam and for those you always have to pay a ticket. The events tend to sell out weeks earlier so I advise you to buy your ticket a month earlier or so.

To give you a better picture, around 600,000 to a million people descend onto the city of Amsterdam to celebrate the King’s birthday. Literally, Amsterdam becomes one giant drunk and loud place for two days, but extremely fun too!

2.) NO PLUBLIC TRANSPORT

There’s no public transport in the center of Amsterdam during the King’s Day. (that includes private cars, taxis, Uber…) If you need a taxi, bus or tram to get to the closest point, it will probably take you somewhere around Nassaukade, Museumplein or Valkenburgerstraat. Expect to walk for at least 15 minutes to get to the city center. One more reason why bike is the great way to move around Amsterdam. The ferries between Amsterdam Noord and the rest of the city are operating normally even when it’s King’s Day.

3.) IT’s CITY-WIDE PARTY experience

Amsterdammers (people from Amsterdam) celebrate this day with parties all around the city. I advise you to start exploring the city on King’s Night by simply walking around in downtown Amsterdam. You’ll spot many parties and fun people (official rule states that pubs must close an hour or so before sunrise). After, you can continue to party in one of the huge events (the best events, in my experience, are outside of the city).

However, don’t get “smashed” during the night. If you are not more or less sober, you won’t be able to enjoy and to properly experience the day after – King’s Day. Remember, King’s Day is a once-a-year unique experience that you shouldn’t miss!

Alone person in Amsterdam streets during King's Day 2020
Empty Amsterdam, a photo by @marko_arch

INTERESTING FACTS:

  • When the 27th of April is the Sunday, Dutch people celebrate King’s Day on 26th of April
  • Beatrix, who was the last queen, has her birthday in January, but since January is a very cold month for a national holiday, Dutch people celebrated Queen’s Day on 30th of April (the birthday of the queen before Beatrix – Juliana)
  • Dutch queen is called Maxima and she is Argentinian
  • During King’s Day, you can sell anything on streets in so called “Free market”. You don’t even need to have a stand. Explore King’s Day street markets.
  • Everyone will wear orange and look funny and so should you
  • You can still visit museums during the King’s Day

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An illusion room in NEMO museum Amsterdam

THE BEST AND UNIQUE MUSEUM OF AMSTERDAM: NEMO

Amsterdam is a city of art and culture.

If you can’t travel the whole world, but you would love to see it somehow – come to Amsterdam! The population of Amsterdam is one of the most diverse in the whole world with over 180 nationalities plus this fascinating Dutch capital has more than 75 museums all around the city. As a matter of fact, Amsterdam has been declared as the world’s most popular city with the most cultural attractions per capita.

The choice is enormous. From modern and contemporary art, science, film, biology, photography to houseboat museum, cannabis, erotic and torture museum. There is simply a little bit of everything for everyone.

@marko_arch

I must admit I haven’t been to many museums in Amsterdam. Somehow, I never had enough time. However, I’ve been to few and I want to present you one unique museum I believe you will adore as much as I do. In this post, I’ll describe you my favourite museum in Amsterdam: NEMO Science Museum. A museum that will drive you to the past and pull you back-to the future.

@liammcgarry

BOAT-SHAPED BUILDING

The building of the museum is striking. It represents a full size replica of a Dutch trading ship that is docked on a pier. The architect was Renzo Piano, surprisingly – not a Dutch but an Italian man. Believe it or not, the museum was build on top of a tunnel and connects city center and the North part of the city.

On the ROOF OF THE NEMO SCIENCE MUSEUM you can enjoy in amazing views over Amsterdam, being in the tallest town square in the whole Netherlands – 22 metres above water level. (considering the whole country is below the sea level, this is quite high!) Here you will also find the open-air exhibition Energetica, a huge terrace and a gorgeous healthy-style restaurant.

I recommend you to visit the roof on a sunny day and enjoy in interplay between the elements (water, sun, wind) via sculptures and installations that you can operate yourself and find more about how renewable energy works. The roof is also a nice to just relax.

@ollar

But that’s not end of the story about the exterior of NEMO. As I already mentioned in few of my previous articles, Dutch people are truly genius architects and builders and I keep admire them in all what they did and what they still do.
They’ve even made a green roof on NEMO since 2013 as a part of Amsterdam’s natural environment. On the roof, you can find 14 types of succulent and 25 different types of herbs (17,500 individual plants.)

This is how NEMO building looks like from outside

Besides, there are two hives of approximately 20,000 Buckfast bees situated on the roof. However, don’t worry, these kind of bees are super friendly and quiet and you probably won’t even see them.  

WHAT CAN YOU EXPECT TO FIND IN NEMO?

NEMO Science Museum offers stories of science and technology via devices and inventions on 5 floors. The museum has a collection of approximately 19,500 objects that explain the story of man and energy. The main focus is exactly the energy, but in a broad sense of the word.
Literally, this means that in NEMO museum you can find it all; from a walkman, rare algae and pieces of meteors to “how it works” interaction devices, quizzes to test your IQ, optical illusions and so much more. It’s a perfect place to grab lots of knowledge and entrain yourself, your family and friends. 

I am finally bigger than my bae! 🙂
NEMO is definitely making you feel like a kid on certain floors


If you love bunch of facts and if you constantly question everything like I do, NEMO is definitely a must place you shouldn’t avoid when in Amsterdam.
Check NEMO’s interesting section online with many explanations called: “Discover The World Around You At Home”.

A Waterclock from Bernard Gitton installed in NEMO in 2011.
An old compas
Collection of old phones and other technology devices

1.) THE LOBBY

In the lobby, you can find a Water Clock small cafeteria and a gift shop which sells small copies of some of the attractions in the museum, books, cards, crystals and many more interesting things.

2.) FIRST FLOOR

The main focus on the first floor is DNA and chain reactions. Plenty of devices that will blow your mind.

3.) SECOND FLOOR

On the second floor you can find many objects to play with and understand how and why something works. A great thing is that on each floor you have a great explanation next to every device or you can always call stuff to explain you better. There’s also a small cafeteria and a movie/performance hall where many acts, movies and shows about science are shown.

In NEMO you are able to see many on-screen presentations

3.) THIRD FLOOR

There’s a giant science lab on the third floor where you can do science experiments such as looking at DNA, testing electricity etc. There is also a small part of knowledge about money and business.

In NEMO Science Museum Lab, you can learn how to make electricity with a help of onions

4.) FOURTH FLOOR

This floor is dedicated to the human mind and it’s my favourite! It contains of many experiments such as memory tests, mind solving problems, IQ tests, sense testers and many more. This floor is quite dark which adds more to overall impression.

On the fourth floor, there’s a section dedicated to sex
A spider’s web made under the influence of a psychedelic drug-LSD

5.) FIFTH FLOOR

This floor has a cafeteria, a children’s play area and a great views of the city.

FROM WHERE ARE ALL THOSE OBJECTS IN NEMO?

The vast majority of NEMO’s historical and engineering collection comes from the former Amsterdam Museum Energetica. That former museum had a large donations too. Most of the objects in NEMO are very rare and you won’t see them anywhere in the world, but in NEMO.

The only place on Earth where you can find this ZEBRA ROCK is in Western Australia. How the stripes are formed is still a mystery
BRAIN CORAL: this is the limestone of a brain coral, an animal.

WORKING HOURS

The museum is currently closed due to corona virus measures. I hope everything goes well as soon as possible and measures become less strict and we can all travel again. For future visits, it’s important to mention that this museum is a popular place for families. It can be busy and loud and you often have to wait your turn to try some device. That’s why you should avoid NEMO during school holidays and during holidays.


Quiet periods are on beautiful weather (Dutch people love to use every ray of sun) and at the beginning of the day around 10 AM. I advise you to come as soon as NEMO is open because you need a lot of time to explore all. (remember, there are 19,500 objects!!) 

You will hear Dutch people often saying word “Lekker” which is a positive word, meaning tasty, great…And this is a presentation of what happens inside of our mouth with our tounges when we kiss

FACILITIES

Dutch people are usually offering many facilities in each museum. One of the highlights here are:

  • elevator
  • baby change
  • FREE LOCKERS
  • trained stuff to suggest you most interesting things and to answer on all of your questions
  • gift shop
In NEMO gift shop you can buy plenty of interesting things. Some are very expensive, but some are surprisingly affordable
Most of the books in NEMO gift shop are science related, brain hacks etc.

HOW TO REACH IT

NEMO is super easy to reach. If you go on foot from the main exit of Central Station, it will take you only 15 minutes. And don’t worry. You will recognize NEMO right away. A huge, blue/green building in a shape of a boat.  

On of many on-screen presentations

HOW TO SAVE THE MONEY ON TICKET

A challenging thing about museums in Amsterdam is crowd. For example, a waiting line to Anne Frank house can last for hours. In order to save your time and some money, I advise you to buy tickets online (usually you have a discount and you can skip the line) or get I Amsterdam City Card. For more information, visit the official website of the NEMO museum.

The view from the lobby by @marko_arch

What is your favourite museum in Amsterdam or if you still haven’t been, which museum you would love to visit?

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🇬🇧 WHY AMSTERDAM?⠀ _⠀⠀ ⠀ Did you know that Amsterdam is a home to more than 180 nations, being the most diverse city in the world? ⠀ ⠀ Besides, it's declared as the most cultural city in the world too offering the biggest number of cultural attractions per capita.⠀ ⠀ I was lucky to have a job in the city centre near Central Station in Amsterdam for almost 2 years where I was meeting a minimum of 300 people a day. Yep, I even counted few times.😁⠀ ⠀ Working near Central Station surrounded by coffee shops, Red Light Windows and smart shops meant one thing: being able to meet lot of wild and interesting folks; many sex workers, their boyfriends and loud English people who were majority of Amsterdam tourists.⠀ ⠀ But also, I've met some influential and incredibly rich people, businessmen and on the contrary, a poor guy from Switzerland who won the jackpot two days before, a 11 year old with tattoos and a piercing who was a cocaine addict and many more people especially from the African countries I didn't even know they exist. ⠀ ⠀ I was speaking at least 3 languages each day and I was trying to learn 7 more. Or, at least a greeting from each.⠀ ⠀ Working in hospitality for years, got me realized my brain is expanding and my perspective is multiplying with each new soul I meet.⠀ ⠀ There was no money that can make me rich like a new friendship from other part of this planet.⠀ ⠀ I got hooked up to people.⠀ ⠀ I was an addict of meeting new, different and foreign. I still am and I will always be.⠀ ⠀ "My name is Valentina. Pleasure to meet you."⠀ ⠀ 😊❤⠀ ⠀ ____________________________________________________⠀⠀⠀ ⠀ #theviewfromhere #peopleareawesome #people_and_world #people_infinity #ig_respect #loves_people #travelblogging #travelstories #travelgirls #travellog #travelstory #iamatraveller #splendid_people #faces_of_our_world #humanity_shots_ #worldtravelers #snap_people #ok_people #water_perfection #waterreflection #visitamsterdam #amsterdamworld #amsterdamlife #gramthedam #ig_energy_people #ig_muse #featurecollective #great_captures_people #great_captures

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Climbing on stairs above Cetina river to do Zipline

TOP 5 REASONS TO TRY ZIPLINE IN CROATIA!

The view on Cetina river and Zipline wire
The view on Cetina river, its canyon and Zipline

Both Zipline and Bungee Jumping helped me to overcome my fear of heights, although Zipline was much less scarier than MY BUNGEE EXPERIENCE, but still very thrilling.


I guess you already know how much I love to travel and try out different activities especially those that are pumped up with adrenaline.

There are few locations around Croatia where you can try this awesome activity (see the list of all the places HERE). However, if you try Zipline in Omiš, you will have an unique opportunity to see the Cetina river from bird’s perspective, so translucent and turquoise, totally surreal.

Turquoise river Cetina and surrounding nature looking from a beginning Zipline spot
Turquoise river Cetina and surrounding nature looking from a beginning Zipline spot


In this article, I will tell you a bit more about Zipline, city Omiš, Cetina river, my personal experience and top 5 reasons why you should try this awesome activity!

Are you ready to dive into my new story!? 🙂
Enjoy in reading!

Driving towards Cetina river and its canyon taking photos from the car
TRAVEL TIP: If it’s high season, take the left turn after Stobreč town to Poljica road and continue to Srinjine settlement. You won’t drive next to the Adriatic sea but mountains and villages yet you will save a lot of time as only and mostly locals know this road.


GENERAL INFO ABOUT OMIŠ & CETINA RIVER

Panorama view on Omis city, Adriatic sea and mountains


THE TOWN OF OMIŠ is located at the mouth of the river Cetina, somewhere around 20 km south from Split.

Its unique position on the Adriatic coast surrounded by mountains, canyons, old walls and fortresses, attracts many visitors especially during the summer. It’s a perfect getaway from hustle and bustle in Diocletian’s city. Back in the days, Omiš used to be a pirate city and Fortica fortress was a perfect defenders spot.

But besides architectural and historical attractions that this charming city can offer you, natural wonders are by far the best what you can explore in this area.

The view on canyon of the river Cetina  and some boats on Adriatic sea
Enter to the canyon of the river Cetina from Omiš town starts with tunnel.

Famous bridge in Omis over Cetina river and the view on mountains
Zipline agency is located immediately after the main bridge in Omiš, on the left (if you are coming from Split)


CETINA RIVER

Beautiful green landscape of Cetina river and mountains
Beautiful landscape of Cetina river.


Cetina is one of the most beautiful rivers in Croatia and the longest one in the whole Central Dalmatia. It starts under Dinara mountain near the border with Bosnia and continues its 100 km journey towards Adriatic sea. This water-rich river supplies several places along the way with fresh water.

TRAVEL TIP: If I were you, I would definitely visit THE SOURCE OF THE CETINA RIVER near the small village called Cetina. It’s a bit of a driving, but trust me, you will be amazed!

What’s also amazing about Cetina, is a diversity of the relief flowing through it and its subsurface. Many Dalmatian rivers are flowing between the canyons, inaccessible gorges being the true treasure of deep caves,
and Cetina is no exception too.

Luckily, smart people remembered to organize some activities in this lush greenery and karst area full of rapids and waterfalls. If you come here, you will feel a perfect blend of adventures, extreme and less extreme sport and the most important-fun. CANYONING, RAFTING, KAYAKING, ROCK CLIMBING, HIKING, ZIPLINE are only few of the activities in which you can enjoy in this spectacular area.

In the green and blue surreal nature of Cetina river
In the green and blue, surreal nature of Cetina river.



ZIPLINE ABOVE THE CANYON OF THE RIVER CETINA

Zipline stainless-steel cable from close up

First of all, you will have to set a aside at least five hours for this experience. I advise you to explore more around the area after you finish with Zipline.

The Zipline itself lasts around 3 hours or more, depending on the group and if it’s high season or not. But, don’t worry: this day will remain forever recorded in your memory so it will be totally worth it. If you are wondering what to do after, as I mentioned, Omiš is a great city to wander around, Cetina river or Adriatic sea to take a swim and Radman’s mills to take a bite of fresh and homemade food.

Eating fried frogs in Radman's mills
One of the specialities in Radman’s mills are fried frogs. They taste sweeter than chicken, but they won’t fill your stomach. You have to take another main dish if you choose to try them.

Another speciality of the house is eel and it doesn't tastes bad, but weird.
Another speciality of the house is eel and it doesn’t tastes bad, but weird.

BUT WAIT, HOW DOES ZIPLINE WORK?

The answer is-gravity! A zip line is made up of a pulley appended to a stainless-steel cable that extends between fixed points of different elevations. Zip wire then allows a person that is fastened to the moving pulley, to ‘zip’ from the top to the bottom of a cable, propelled by gravity. The zip line of course, must be inclined to a certain degree in order to allow person to move.

Zipline starting on a cable in Omis, Croatia
Approximately this is how you start your Zipline.

So, let’s continue to adrenaline polygon located in Omiš. Actually, the ZIPLINE is above the canyon of the River Cetina, and the agency itself is located in the old part of Omiš town. ( Poljička square)
If you decide to try this activity while in Croatia, you will have a transfer included from the agency to starting point of Zipline as well as all the equipment.

Sitting on a rock with Zipline equipment and helmet
This is how equipment looks like: harness, gloves, helmet, brake.

Be aware that in some points, you will have to hike so choose wisely the time of reservation. For example, we went around noon which was the worse time under the sun in the middle of July. Considering we got burnt badly few days ago in Catalonia, we were totally immune haha. Just joking of course, get some sun creme with at least 30 SPF, preferably 50 SPF.

Hiking with a group toward the Zipline starting point
Hiking with a group toward the Zipline starting point


ZIPLINE consists of eight steel cables with total length of the cables 2100 m. (the longest is 700 m and is 150 m above ground level). All you have to do is to sit in a “belt” and descend down the canyon. Sounds pretty easy, right? Well, like with everything, it’s always easier to say than to do.

Climbing on the stairs to the Zipline starting point
There will be some climbing too!



But during the entire polygon you and your group are followed by two guides that are helping you all the time with tips and encouraging words. Of course that before the actual start, there is a training session with two short cables on which the guides are showing you how to behave, what to do and not to do while on the ZIPLINE.

Zipline always starts with a training.
Yep, I was a bit afraid lol.


Furthermore, at each cable, one guide demonstrates the descent and the second one stays to attach the participants onto the cable with full instructions provided.

First, the longest (700m) and the scariest wire 150 m above the ground above Cetina river
First, the longest (700m) and the scariest wire 150 m above the ground.

To see more about Zipline in Omiš, check their OFFICIAL PAGE.

Waiting in line to do a Zipline looking towards the Cetina river and mountains
Of course I decided to be the last to go on a wire lol.
Mountains on a sunny day above Cetina river
Beautiful nature around Cetina river on a nice sunny day.
Green scenery above the canyon of the river Cetina
Yes the views are spectacular. And yes, half of the way agency is driving you here, half of the way you hike to get here.


TOP 3 REASONS WHY YOU SHOULD TRY ZIPLINE!

 

1. IT’S A PERFECT WAY TO GET OUT OF YOUR COMFORT ZONE AND TO TRY SOMETHING NEW!

 

Doing tandem with my boyfriend on Zipline in Omis, Croatia
In one place, you are allowed to go in tandem and one can even hold a phone or camera (GoPro the best) a make a video! For example, Bungee Jumping tandems are very dangerous, but Zipline tandems are totally safe.

2. IT’S FULL OF FUN AND ADRENALINE!

 

Zipline above the road and green, blue Cetina river
The last wire is above the road! Look at that colour of Cetina river!

3. YOUR EYES WILL BE PLEASED WITH ALL THOSE PANORAMIC VIEWS!

 

Waiting to do Zipline in Omis with the group

4. IT WILL HELP YOU TO TRY OVERCOME YOUR FEAR OF HEIGHTS!

 

Hiking towards first Zipline point

 

5. YOU WILL HAVE ONE MORE AWESOME STORY TO TELL TO YOUR FAMILY, FRIENDS AND MAYBE TO YOUR CHILDREN TOO!

Swimming in Cetina river
Don’t forget to take a swim in crystal clear Cetina, but be careful, it’s super cold even in the middle of the summer! I couldn’t do it and my boyfriend did for a few seconds haha.

Boyfriend and I on a Cetina river beach

Besides, there are plenty shallow cute beaches to explore while you’re in Radman’s mills. Go wander around a bit!

In the final analysis, as you seen, this area is gorgeous aso mark the Zipline here or elsewhere in the world, high on your bucket list!

I hope you enjoyed my article!

I’m curious to know other places around Europe that are offering Zipline. If you know any or even better, if you’ve tried Zipline somewhere else, please write me in the comments below.

If you want to see more of extreme sports that I’ve done, click HERE to see my vlog and two of my Bungee Jumping videos on my YouTube channel.

Here below there’s a short video so you can sneak peak how Zipline looks like. 🙂



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Bungee Jumping in Croatia, over Maslenica bridge and blue Adriatic sea

HOW TO DEFEAT YOUR FEAR OF HEIGHTS!?

Imagine if you could face your fear of heights or even better, to defeat it!


What if there is someone who already defeated the same fear that you have and wants to share their story to help you!?


You’d probably love to read how!


Luckily for you, I decided to share my story to help all of you who are feeling exactly how I used to feel.


So, let’s start with my view of fear in general.

Fear is, a kind of a blocking feeling that stops individual from taking certain actions in life.

It takes a lot of courage to face the deepest fears.

However, the outcome of defeating them, brings profound self rewarding feeling, but also freedom, joy, excitement, serenity, confidence…

In my previous blog post I was writing lot more about fear in general so feel free to read that one too! 🙂
You see, I was once a totally different person. I had numerous fears and some of them were:

  • fear of heights
  • fear of bugs
  • fear of people
  • fear of public speaking
  • fear of dark

Fortunately, I was always aware of disabilities that my fears are causing me so I never stopped confronting them; furthermore I was always a dreamer too. In my biggest dreams, I was Sky Diving and Bungee Jumping.

For the whole life, I was waiting for a moment to do both. Finally, the day came and I checked off at least Bungee from my bucket list. A day after, I did even Zipline. (Top 5 Reasons to Try Zipline in Croatia)

Those two activities that I’ve done in only 2 days, were the key factors that created a new person that I am today. In this article I will tell you more about Bungee Jumping and how exactly it helped me feel fearless as well the place where I’ve done it.

BUNGEE JUMPING

Bungee Jumping is one of the highest adrenaline pumped activities that someone can experience. It’s a way of free falling where a person jumps from something tall (usually a building, tower or a bridge) and then vertically falls down.

Immediately after the jump, a person is pulled back with elastic bungee rope. The rope is designed to stretch (never to brake) and to bounce the person back up for a few times before it finally stops swinging.

A girl doing Bungee Jumping from Maslenica bridge in Croatia surrounded with Adriatic
Bungee Jumping

Nowadays, Bungee Jumping is lot more popular than ever before. Many tourist destinations are offering bungee as a fun activity while travelling. It is important to always choose the right, secure company that has many years of experience in that field.

I did my first, unforgettable Bungee Jump in Croatia over Maslenica bridge with a help of guys from Izazov Tours.

Maslenica bridge in Croatia with Adriatic sea around, cliffs and pine trees
Maslenica bridge in Croatia
Extraordinary view over Adriatic sea and mountains in Croatia from Maslenica bridge and Bungee Jumping platform
Extraordinary view from Maslenica bridge and Bungee Jumping platform

MY BUNGEE EXPERIENCE

Everyone, especially if it’s their first time, gets that slight hesitation before the jump and that is totally normal.

But after looking up to those incredible views of the Adriatic with cliffs emerging from the crystal clear sea and mountains that feel pretty surreal, you imagine yourself as a bird that is fully ready to dive into the beautiful scene that seems painted.

The view opposite from Bungee Jumping platform looking on crystal clear Adriatic sea
The view opposite from Bungee Jumping platform looking on crystal clear Adriatic sea

When I finally jumped (and I did it faster than I expected I would), my body turned fully into exhilarating feeling and nothing else than that.

It was a feeling of full weightlessness and freedom, euphoria, pride and awe with zillion other feelings and sensations.

I believe that even if I write all the possible feelings, I could never be able to describe it well.

An extreme activity such as Bungee is a must do action that can only be well experienced, not well described.

Bungee is unlike other sports because there’s no need to take certain classes and lessons before the real action. All you have to do is to carefully follow all the necessary instructions provided by your instructor. I have to say that instructor I was given was very professional and experienced man who was also extremely funny and that gave me more courage too.

What can ease the fear more than a humor in scary situations?

I’ve seen there is another Bungee location in Croatia over Sibenik bridge too and that one is only 10 meters smaller than Maslenica.

Nevertheless, I advise you to choose guys from Izazov Tours because I already tested their service and I was more than happy with what I got. It is important to mention that you can only pay with cash, no cards.

PRICE: 500,00 HRK per person which is around € 65,00

Maslenica bridge in the distance from where I was doing Bungee Jumping
Maslenica bridge in the distance from where I was doing Bungee Jumping

IMPORTANT TO KNOW

Bungee Jumping is all about confronting the fears, testing your bravery and love for extreme sports, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be careful about lowering the risks and negative effects that can affect on your well-being.

You shouldn’t do Bungee if you have any of the following conditions:

  • Heavy psychological problems
  • Epilepsy
  • Pregnancy
  • Neurological issues
  • High blood pressure
  • Any heart diseases
  • Orthopedic problems
  • If you are a drug or alcohol addict and if you were taking any of those before planning to do Bungee

As long as you don’t have any of the above-mentioned facts, you are perfectly fine to go for a Bungee.

A girl preparing to bungee jump from Maslenica bridge in Croatia on a beautiful sunny day
Right before THE jump 🙂

 

HOW TO DO A BUNGEE AND HOW NOT TO? LEARN FROM MY MISTAKES…

There is one simple rule when it comes to Bungee Jumping: CAREFULLY AND STRICTLY FOLLOW THE INSTRUCTIONS PROVIDED BY THE BUNGEE INSTRUCTOR.

Perhaps you were watching tons of Bungee accidents but the main characteristic to all of them is: not following the instructions and jumping with bad companies together with their not enough tested equipment.

I did listen to my instructor, but somehow during the jump, I forgot about half of what has been said. When you jump, you should jump as far as you can (pretty same like the cliff jumping into the sea) and you should keep your hands spread all the time without touching anything in any single point.

I wasn’t following any of those instructions fully, so after jumping head down, the rope pulled me back up into itself and scratch me on the second fall.

Of course, I got even more scared in already exciting and thrilling action like that so I started using my hands trying to somehow hold myself or who knows what my plan was but not following instructions, led me to a pretty solid bruise which frankly, could be even deadly if I was less lucky.

Red bruise on biceps from bungee jumping rope
A large bruise from bungee jumping

As has been noted, I was still enjoying fully my bungee experience and I would definitely do it again.

All things considered, pluck up your courage, follow the instructions and have the best experience of your lifetime doing Bungee Jumping!

Small boat on Adriatic sea still tied with a bungee rope
After you jump from Maslenica bridge, the guy from a Bungee Jumping company picks you up in a small boat, untie all and tells you to remain calm and to lay for few minutes. Did I mention that you have to climb all the way back up on foot? (56m)
But trust me, after doing Bungee, it’s a piece of cake!

CONCLUSION

I believe that confronting any kind of fear is the best way to overcome it. Actually, you should get more familiar with your fears and eventually with yourself.

On the contrary, fear is good to a certain point, but if it starts stopping you from life experiences and chances, you definitely should consider working on it on a slightly extremer way.

See it like this: imagine it’s apocalypse and somehow you ended up on a high cliff. The only way to save yourself is to move slowly along the edge of the cliff to the end point. If you are much afraid of heights, you’d probably stay there and die, poop yourself in your pants or start having panic attack that will lead you falling in a pit down the cliff.

Maybe my imagination is huge, but I rather choose to be a brave person in this life, than to be a coward. I am not saying that you should check every edge of this world and put yourself in extremely dangerous situations, but you definitely should free yourself while you are still here.

A freeing feeling that extreme experiences are providing, usually take you to a level of great confidence where you start to feel like nothing is impossible. It’s not far from the truth, I must say.

Bungee Jumping convinced me that only sky is the limit and only feelings are real. Moments too!

Because, no one ever thought of that pink dress or shiny suit that he bought in their thirties.

Statistically, most of the people in their time of dying, regret of not living fully. Don’t be one of them.

 

‟You will never do anything in this world without courage. It is the greatest quality of the mind next to honor.”

Aristotle

 

Bungee Jumping diploma from Maslenica bridge in Croatia
With Izazov Tours, you even get a proper Bungee Jumping diploma.

If you are adrenaline lover or if you liked this post, make sure to follow my blog because in the next article I will write more about another extreme activity: Zipline in Croatia.

Subscribe to my YouTube channel if you want to see a new video of my Bungee Jumping that is coming soon together with some more tips.:)

Stay safe and productive,

Lots of love,

Valentina.

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5 IMPORTANT THINGS WHEN MOVING TO NETHERLANDS & LIFE IN AMSTERDAM

Streets of Amsterdam West neighborhood, sunrise time
Streets of Amsterdam West neighborhood, sunrise time

Have you ever wondered how it looks like to live in Europe, The Netherlands or to be more precise, in Amsterdam?

What else that magical city hides besides dozens of bicycles, canals, tulips and cheese?

To be frank, many people asked me about those two questions above and about my life in Amsterdam.

That’s why I decided to share in this article my experience of living in Dutch capital.

I will include all the knowledge and tips about paperwork and all the other aspects that are important to know before moving abroad to The Netherlands in 5 crucial steps.

I was a resident of Amsterdam for almost 4 years and I will speak openly about pros and cons of living there.
I hope my tips will be useful to you or to your friends for easier deciding on future life.

PLANNING TO MOVE ABROAD?

You are not satisfied with you current location for whatever reason? Totally fine!

You are still not sure where you want to move? That’s also totally fine!

FIRST, ASK YOURSELF QUESTIONS!

1.Where do I want to live? (warmer countries/colder contries)

2. Where do I want to work? (your profession, your knowledge vs. your wishes and possibilities + available jobs in desired country)

SECOND, DO YOUR RESEARCH!

If you already have some countries in your mind, research about all the necessary documents for moving there, their health system, prices of living/public transport, tax, job opportunities etc.

It’s essential that you take a closer look at what everyday life is like in the country.

WHY THE NETHERLANDS?

The Netherlands is a popular country for expats especially students.

Dutch society is known for its tolerant vibe and the country has a high standard of living. Amsterdam is a charming canal city that keeps attracting many international workers.

Tech and finance industries are growing there rapidly.

Other cities are also home to large expat communities such as The Hague, Utrecht and Rotterdam.

The whole country is well connected so you don’t have to worry about transport.

If you’ve decided on moving to the Netherlands (Amsterdam) there are certain things to be aware of before you make that move:

ADVANTAGES OF LIVING IN AMSTERDAM:

  • More than 180 nationalities
  • High paychecks
  • Ability of opening your own company for only €50
  • Full freedom & tolerance
  • Great infrastructure (easy travelling)
  • Entertainment 24/7
  • Plenty of life opportunities

DISADVANTAGES OF LIVING IN AMSTERDAM:

  • Rain, rain, rain and some more rain
  • Grey, cloudy and foggy days
  • Strong winds
  • Lack of sun
  • Hydroponic food (growing on water plus lack of sun – food has different taste)
  • High prices
  • Dutch language

5 IMPORTANT THINGS BEFORE MOVING

  1. Have a place/option where you can always return

2. Bring as much money as you can

3. Have some kind of insurance

4. Bring all your personal documents

5. Notify somebody where you will be staying

Let’s move on to checklist of all you need to do as soon as you move to Amsterdam:

1. LEGAL STATUS

The Netherlands is one of 26 countries making up the ‘Schengen’. It’s an EU member state, meaning EU/EFTA residents can enter and remain in the country without requiring a visa.

Any EU/EFTA residents staying longer than four months will need to register with the government. Make sure to have always your ID or passport with you.

Non EU/EFTA residents need visas for entry and residence permits. For more information on this, read the complete guide —> Dutch visas & permits.

2. CITIZEN SERVICE NUMBER (BSN)

To work in the Netherlands, you need to have a BSN number. It’s the same as OIB in Croatia or N.I.E in Spain.

HOW TO GET BSN? You need to first register with the Town Hall (Gemeente). As a result of registering with the municipality you will be assigned a burgerservicenummer (BSN).

WHY DO I NEED A BSN? Anyone coming from abroad to work or study still requires a BSN number, even for short stays. BSN is required in order to be permitted to work, open a bank account, make use of a health care institution, voting, starting a business, studying, apply for benefits or an allowance etc.

WHICH DOCUMENTS I NEED TO BRING? EU citizens will need to provide a valid proof of identity (such as a passport or ID, not a driving licence) and their address to be registered, while for non-EU citizens other documents (such as your residence permit and employment contract etc.) have to be presented too.

If you’re non-EU citizen, your employer will typically need a work permit (tewerkstellingsvergunning or TWV) for you, and you must also have a residence permit.

IMPORTANT TO KNOW: If you currently don’t have an address in The Netherlands, you will receive a temporary BSN (RNI) and in the next 4 months, you will have to bring some address registration (if you want to have a permanent BSN.)

BEWARE Not all documents are automatically valid in the Netherlands. The civil registry will only accept official documents in Dutch, English, French or German. An official translation will be required for other languages. Make sure to ask all in advance.

BUT FIRST…MAKE A CALL! You have to call to make an appointment in order to get your BSN. (usually it takes up to 3 weeks)


3. BUY A LOCAL SIM CARD

This step is crucial before looking for a job or anything like that. I noticed that no one was calling me until I bought a Lebara sim card. I guess is very clear.

When people see your foreign telephone number, first what they think is that you are not serious enough, you are not a resident yet and above all, they are not sure about how much money they will spend calling you. Local sim cards you can get anywhere and usually they are free (you have to top up the credit).

I advise you to choose Lebara as it worked out perfectly for me for the whole 4 years.

4. ACCOMODATION

The most important thing to do when arriving to The Netherlands is to find a place to register. As soon as possible! Until you don’t find a place to register, you can’t really continue with anything else.

WAYS OF FINDING AN ACCOMODATION: The best way to find an accommodation is via friends or people you know.

1.) ON INTERNET: In addition, apply for everything that comes up on website called Kamernet. (to rent: Te huur). It costs around €25 a month, but at least you know all the people who are putting adverts there are real, not scams.

Actually, in Kamernet there are scams too and you need to be careful, but there’s the smallest chance you will run into one via this website.

I advise you to be careful when looking for an accommodation on social medias like Facebook groups because there are plenty of scams. Never, I repeat, never give or send someone money before you see the place and have the keys. Funda

2.) ASK anyone you meet about an accommodation or a job you are looking for. Even if they can only give advice or information, it is still incredibly valuable.

3.) REAL ESTATE AGENCIES AND REAL ESTATE AGENTS personally, I know bunch of people that found their place to live via real estate agent. You have to pay few hundred of euros for their service, but in general, it’s totally worth it because they are struggling to find accommodation, not you.

All you have to do is tell them what are your wishes and financial possibilities. I advise you to look for real estate agents that are having NVM sign which indicates registration in Dutch Cooperative Association of Real Estate Agents and Appraisers. (means they are legit!)

Wondering where to live in Amsterdam? As further from city center you go, less you pay. Amsterdam North is a great area and very well connected.

Amsterdam West and Oud West are my favourite parts of the city. Here, I’m still speaking about rooms or studios because flats are expensive in these area. But, you never know. Who looks for something all the time, he/she eventually finds.

Prepare to live in a room in a sharing flat for beginning. Moving with your partner/friend/family is always easier because you can share the costs and at least you know each other well.

ACCOMODATION PRICES: Try finding something for 500 euros or less. That is the cheapest you will most likely be able to find and it will be a room. An entire, small flat, you won’t find under 1000 euros plus deposit, agency fee and probably 6 to 12 months proof of your salaries.

Amsterdam has one of the most expensive accommodation in the whole Europe so be prepared. I can tell you from my experience, I was really missing a “home” when I was living in Amsterdam. You know, your own mattress where only you were sleeping, your own toilet seat etc. 🙂

But, as I already mentioned, if you look for something long enough, you will find it or it will find you.

5. START LOOKING FOR A JOB

Many people moving to the Netherlands will already have a job offer, but many won’t. Luckily, the Netherlands has plenty of job opportunities for expats, especially in the tech and finance sectors. Actually, there are loads of job opportunities in the whole country.

DO I HAVE TO SPEAK DUTCH IN ORDER TO FIND A JOB? You don’t have to speak Dutch to work in the Netherlands – in fact, English is the main business language in many companies. Although, remember that your employment chances will be limited if you don’t speak Dutch.

You will probably end up working for a large international company if you don’t speak it. For example, finding a full time job is almost impossible because many of them require either fluent Dutch or fluency in any language other than English. 

Dutch people are usually working part time, leaving at least 3 days a week to rest. Many of them are freelancers too. (you are able to open your own company for only 50 euros in KVK). A regular Dutch working week is 38 hours.

The majority of full time (voltijd) jobs are between 36-40 hours. If you work less than 36 hours a week, but more than 12, then you are considered as working part time (deeltijd). A high proportion of women in the Netherlands, approximately 74 percent, work part time.

Unlike many other countries, regularly working long hours overtime is not so common in the Netherlands.

Highly-skilled workers are wanted in Netherlands so much so that there’s a fast-track immigration process to get them in. If you are highly skilled in something even as a butcher, you can easily get a high paid job. There are also tax benefits (the 30% tax ruling) for some international employees.

This group includes engineers, those with technical skills, IT specialists, those working in finance, as well as people with a great experience of working in sales and marketing.

HOW TO GET A JOB IN AMSTERDAM? I can tell you how I did it. First time when I came to Amsterdam, I printed around 30 CV’s (CV should be translated to English and you should always attach a photo on the first page) and I went around the city choosing the places I would love to work in.

I was seeing many places with a sign: “Employees needed” and you will see them too. There’s always something to do in Amsterdam. Come inside and politely ask for a manager or a boss. Never leave your CV to an employee because he/she might throw it away (happens often). If there’s no manager or an owner of the place, come another day.

It’s always a season in Amsterdam but let’s say months: November, January, February are the quiets and March to September are the busiest. (in hospitality or ‘horeca’ in Dutch).

I found my first job on that way: ‘from door to door’.
Next time when I was looking for a job, I got a bit lazy to walk around. I wanted to work in a nice hotel so I googled all the existing hotels in Amsterdam plus the closer area, and I’ve send to all of them an email with my CV and motivation letter included.

Day after, I already received two phone calls. Even if you don’t have a job yet, I advise you to move and look for the job in your new country, not from your birth country or country where you are not satisfied living in. Main reason? Success of finding a job is much higher.

ONLINE SITES WHERE YOU CAN LOOK FOR A JOB:

6. APPLY FOR A FREE DUTCH COURSE

As soon as you solve your registration (address), you can apply with your documents and your contract (flat, house, studio) to Gementee for a free Dutch school. It is usually held in ROC van Amsterdam and you will be attending the school that is the closest to address you provided.

Learning a language in this country will open many doors for you. Plus, you will be able to read the ingredients on products lol. (everything is on Dutch or French). This course helped me a lot. You will be set in a group of 20 to 30 people and your classes will usually be 2 times a week lasting 3h (morning or evening).

However, it’s always better to take a paid Dutch course with a smaller group. You will learn more and faster. In this free course, the main focus is on group work and it’s very laid back. Beware that you need to have 80% of attendance if you want to have a free course.

If you are not attending, you will have to pay. (yes, it’s a real school, only in this one you have to pay if you are absent).

USEFUL SITES:

Government of the Netherlands: government.nl

Local government informations/tips for expats: iamsterdam.com

LIVING IN AMSTERDAM

My personal experience? I was very satisfied with my life in Dutch capital. Although I came to the Netherlands when Croatian people still didn’t have a right to work legally and although it was very hard in those times, I gained an enormous life experience I couldn’t gain nowhere else.

I was able to travel much more than I could ever travel If I have stayed in Croatia.

Amsterdam is very unique European city. If you are coming from Balkan area, or any other further country, you will notice a great difference in the way of living as a resident of Amsterdam.

It’s unlike any other city with more than 180 nationalities which makes it a perfect place for finding a business partner, a friend or a lover. Or meeting such an interesting person that you only could imagine or see on TV screens.

WEST VS. EAST: The Netherlands is a very modern country, rich kingdom where every person has its strong rights. I think that makes the biggest difference with Eastern Europe. You will be amazed by many things how smooth they function, how fast Dutch people are making and repairing things etc.

THE WEATHER: One thing is for sure: you will have to get used to rainy weather and strong winds as well cycling in these conditions. To be frank, I cried everyday when I first came to Amsterdam. Rain didn’t stop for the whole month.

Actually, I realized rain in the Netherlands is like sun in Spain – often and strong. The worse kind of rain you can experience is a “spray rain”. You don’t even see it, but after a short time, you are completely wet. After a while, you get used to it and you actually start loving the rain.


CYCLING CULTURE Believe it or not, the only thing I miss about Amsterdam is cycling. It may look hectic, but it’s the safest in the world.(just avoid tourist groups, they are the most dangerous on the cycling paths). If you decide to move to Amsterdam, you will dig deeper into a cycling culture after a while.

But I promise, you will fall in love with it. Bike in Amsterdam is not just a bike. It’s like a car, camper and a house. IF YOU WANT TO READ MORE ABOUT CYCLING CULTURE IN AMSTERDAM YOU CAN DO IT IN ONE OF MY PREVIOUS POSTS.

I highly recommend moving to Amsterdam at least for 6 months. It’s a magical city and totally worth your time.

If you want to read another post related to Amsterdam: general info about Amsterdam or 15 things you probably didn’t know about Amsterdam and the ultimate list of 26 things to do in Amsterdam.

I hope my article will help you with your decision. If you need more informations or you’re having some more questions/doubts, don’t hesitate to ask me in the comments below, on any of the social media or via email: kookylovestotravel@gmail.com

I will be more than happy to help! 🙂

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WHERE TO EAT AND HAVE FUN IN AMSTERDAM

I got to be honest. The food is not a highlight in Amsterdam nor in the whole Netherlands.

I don’t like comparing much because each destination is unique, but seriously, there’s not much to say about Dutch kitchen.
To be frank, I cannot compare it to some other national kitchen even if I want to.

Well, I could say it’s land of snacks. And sweets. (Probably because tourists are smoking much cannabis – it’s a joke 🙂 but not far from the truth!)

At the same time, you can always enjoy in diverse food aromas around the streets of Amsterdam. The city is a home to loads of international restaurants.

Also, you can have plenty of fun in the Dutch capital.
You may not have full stomach with €10, but for sure you will have enough fun with the same amount!


In this article I will mention some typical Dutch dishes and more importantly, the best places where you can eat properly & have a good time after it or perhaps 2 in 1.


Beware that even though I was living 4 years in Amsterdam, I don’t have many excellent photos of food. That’s because I’m a huge foodie and I like to eat food, not take photos of it.
So, I promise I will be a bit more patient in the future with my appetite, so I can decently present you how good my chosen dishes are. 🙂

I’ll try to steer you in the right direction and I hope my picks will help you to have the best time and a full stomach when in Amsterdam! 

 

TRADITIONAL FOOD

Although The Netherlands is not known for its cuisine, you should try at least some of the traditional snacks and dishes in the list below.

1. CHEESE

Hemp cheese in Dutch cheese store
Hemp cheese in Walskaas shop, a real family business in Amsterdam

The Netherlands has a strong cheese culture, with recipes dating back generations. Most Dutch cheeses are hard or semi-hard and classified by age. ‘Jong’ or young is the creamiest and softest flavor. ‘Belegen’ is slightly harder and nuttier tasting, but still quite smooth. ‘Oud’ or old is the hardest from all.


There are many souvenir packages with traditional Dutch “cheese shaver” to perfectly cut any cheese into slices.
I got seriously hooked up on cheese called ‘Old Amsterdam’ (award winning matured Gouda taste).



WHERE TO FIND DUTCH CHEESE?



When it comes to Old Amsterdam, I would definitely suggest Old Amsterdam Cheese Store in the city center that even offers tastings.

Cheese shops are perfect places to get a true sense of the variety of Dutch cheese and they are basically everywhere around the city. Above, I’ve mentioned two. Street markets are full of traditional food culture, and cheese is definitely no exception to this: go early, when the market isn’t so busy. (Noordermarkt is a must!). To dig deeper into a cheese culture, visit Amsterdam Cheese Museum.

2. STROOPWAFEL

Stroopwafel dipped in a coffee on a rooftop in the Amsterdam city
Eating a waffle on the rooftop of the Volkshotel

It is undoubtedly the most famous pastry from The Netherlands. It’s a unique kind of cookie/waffle filled with special sweet and sticky syrup (the ‘stroop’) in between. You can buy them in every supermarket.

However, for the best ‘stroopwafels’ in Amsterdam, you should go to ‘Landskroon’ bakery or to the Albert Cuyp Market. Many places in Amsterdam are offering a free cookie together with a coffee and almost every better bar/restaurant offers one ‘stroopwafel’ instead of a regular cookie.

Two cappuccino coffees on a DIY table
Stroopwafel with the coffee in Canvas, Volkshotel

3. BITTERBALLEN

They are simply little deep-fried mini croquettes that are usually served with mustard and made from beef ragout. Beer is a perfect drink that pairs with bitterballen.

OTHER TRADITIONAL DISHES INCLUDE:

– KROKETS– deep-fried roll with meat ragout inside, covered in breadcrumbs. The meat is usually veal or beef.

– OLIEBOLLEN– again deep-fried and topped with powdered sugar being the traditional year-end treats, while in Croatia people eat these when they have nothing else to eat at home lol. They come plain or filled with raisins and the best is to eat them from roadside stands, fresh and warm.


– SNERT (PEA SOUP)- it’s usually chock full of smoked sausage and served alongside a slice of rye bread. There are many veggie versions around the city too. Amsterdam is very vegetarian and vegan friendly city.

-STAMPPOT- a dish with a base of potatoes, into which you mash any vegetable you want: carrots and onion (hutspot), kale…

-DROP-  Dutch version of licorice with impressively wide variety of flavor and texture combinations. Dutch drops are often laced with a rather puzzling ingredient called salmiak with almost umami flavour. 

-HARRING- maybe the most famous Dutch food, raw fish-herring that is served together with chopped raw onions and gherkins. The way of eating is a real Dutch tradition too. In the Netherlands, new herring is eaten by lifting up the herring by its tail into the air and then taking a bite upwards. If you have a sensitive stomach like I do, rather try harring sandwich called ‘broodje haring’.

-PATAT- Dutch version of french fries that are much thicker than the normal French Fries and are actually invented in Belgium. 
BEST PLACE TO EAT THEM: Vlaams Friteshuis Vlemminckx

-POFFERTJES- I would describe them as much fluffier and thicker baby pancakes made with yeast and buckwheat flour, typically served with a powdered sugar. Fresh ‘poffertjes’ are often made at an roadside stand during winter same as oliebollen.

-JENEVER- Not a food, but a spirit precursor to gin. The spirit is distilled from juniper berries and has a malty flavour similar to whisky. It was traditionally used for medicinal purposes and it became country’s signature drinks. And guess what? It is served in a tulip-shaped glass.

-APPLE PIE-  The Dutch version is infused with cinnamon, dotted with raisins and served with a whipped cream. Winkel 43 serves t he best homemade one!

 

PLACES TO EAT IN AMSTERDAM

1. BIERFABRIEK

This is a very unique place where you can feel like at your own home. It’s a brewery, cafe and restaurant in one. Bierfabriek literally means ‘beer fabric’ and it brews their own beer and serve rustic, tapas like dishes. 

You can draft your beer by yourself at self service tap tables, eat your chicken with your hands and throw the peanut shells on the floor. The place is full of peanuts and they are displayed in bags and on each table so you can feel free to take as many as you want. While entering and walking towards the toilet, you will hear cracking sounds of stepping onto peanut shells.

PRICES: The prices are kind of cheaper comparing to other places in Amsterdam that are serving their own beer.

WHAT TO TRY: I advise you to try ‘Rosso’ beer as it has a very distinctive taste.

Tapas and tortillas in Bierfabriek
Peanut shells on our table plus cheese croquettes and tortilla sandwiches

2. NOOCH

Nooch is an Asian cuisine restaurant that delicately fuses modern Vietnamese, Chinese, Japanese, Indonesian and Thai kitchens.

Dadar gulung traditional dish in Nooch Asian restaurant in Amsterdam
Kue or dadar gulung (Indonesian traditional and coconut pancake)

Nooch is a small and charming, Asian cuisine restaurant near the city center. Modern Vietnamese, Chinese, Japanese, Indonesian and Thai dishes are served in this place. I fell in love with Asian cuisine due to this place and I can’t wait to travel across the Asian continent!

PS: They working times are limited so check the website before visiting. Reserving the table is a must because the restaurant is not very big.

PRICES: More or less is expensive. As closer you are to the city center, the more you pay.

WHAT TO TRY: Dim Sum Platter, Dadar Gulung, Lapis Legit

 

3. THE SEA FOOD BAR

It’s not so easy to find a restaurant with a fresh fish in Amsterdam. However, Sea Food Bar is a perfect place to taste some. An award winning, modern seafood restaurant where most of the fish comes from the North sea – coldest in the world.  

It is founded by the De Visscher family who are fishmongers since 1984.

PRICES: Quite expensive, but totally worth it. They have excellent wines too!

WHAT TO TRY: Catch of the day or King Prawns were my usual choice. On the other hand, once I ordered oysters, and I ended up with 8 long hours of stomach spams. I never went there after that. Probably oysters weren’t so fresh that day. Despite that, I still recommend this restaurant because I had plenty more great dinners there and always a decent service. But, never eat oysters if they are not caught in front of your own eyes! 🙂

Oysters and me in the Sea Food Bar in Amsterdam
Oysters eating in The Sea Food Bar

4. ZA

ZA is a Mediterranean and modern designed restaurant near Central Station in Amsterdam. This place has a great choice of quality wines, sometimes live music, tapas and delicious, perfectly served food. They even serve Croatian/Istrian wine – Roxanich Milva.

This place has a concept of “shared dining” and “tapas” style cuisine with Italian influence.

PRICES: Quite expensive, but prices are following the quality. My boyfriend ate in ZA the best piece of meat ever in the whole Netherlands. Menu is changing from time to time.

WHAT TO TRY: Home made Focaccia

Nicely cooked meat in ZA restaurant in Amsterdam
The best place to eat meat – ZA
We were too hungry to make nice photos lol

5. NOVOTEL AMSTERDAM CITY

Novotel Amsterdam City is actually a 4-star hotel in the Amsterdam’s business district ‘de Zuidas’. You can reach the hotel via A10 highway and within walking distance from RAI station.

I recommend this place as I was working there and I saw how much effort chefs are putting into dishes. If you are in Amsterdam due to business and staying near RAI, it’s a nice place to relax. Avoid Mondays tho, as they are super busy.

PRICES: Expensive (4-star hotel prices)

WHAT TO TRY: Their local beer made with honey from the roof of the hotel (if they still have it). They have a great burgers too but try to order something traditional! Their menu is sometimes changing.

 

Decorated fish and salad on the plate
The restaurant has Dutch chefs and they always try to properly decorate food for a 4-star hotel
Fish cake decorated on a plate
Fish cake as a starter

6. SUMO SUSHI EXPRESS AND MOJO JAPANESE RESTAURANT

Any sushi lovers here? Well, I am!
These are my top 2 sushi places in Amsterdam.
MOJO JAPANESE RESTAURANT – for eating in
SUMO SUSHI EXPRESS – for take away or order online

PRICES: Restaurant is a bit pricey, Sumo is less expensive

WHAT TO TRY: All? 🙂

 

Colorful Sushi in Amsterdam
Sushi is my huge addiction 🙂
Sushi from close up
Anyone for sushi!?

8. WATERKANT

Waterkant is a trendy and cosy bar/restaurant place with a terrace (self service if you sit outside).

In this place you have many healthy food and beverage choices; vegan, vegetarian, meat, large number of beers…


If you want to be around local people, this is a perfect place for you as Dutch people love Waterkant and its vibe next to the canal.

The place has a home delivery too and great events every or every second weekend. It’s very magical in the night time!

PRICES: Expensive

WHAT TO TRY: Home made ginger beer, banana burger

Waterkant and its lights during the night in Amsterdam
Waterkant at night
Waterkant during the night in Amstedam city
Waterkant literally means ‘waterside’

9. BEACH CLUB 5

Beach Club 5 is open 365 days a year. It’s actually not in Amsterdam but the closest beach to the city – Zandvoort. They have a terrace with spectacular view and great steaks.

PRICES: Expensive

WHAT TO TRY: Steaks, mushrooms and bread

 

Chicken mushroom and bread in Beachclub No5
My dish at Beachclub 5

Lunch at Beachclub No5
Beachclub 5

10. FLOOR 17

85 meters up in the sky, on the roof of Leonardo Hotel Amsterdam Rembrandtpark, you will find the spectacular Floor17 Rooftop Terrace. Fancy an amazing view over Amsterdam?

Don’t miss this place even if it’s grey and cloudy!

The view from lounge of Floor 17
Beautiful view from the restaurant and lounge of Floor 17, Leonardo Hotel Amsterdam

BONUS TIP:

Perhaps you are from Ex Yugoslavia and you can’t survive without Balkan products such as cevapcici, Yugoslavian beers, Prijatelji shop are definitely for you!

The shop is located near the Anne Frank House and the owner is my Serbian friend so you can even have a nice chat with a proper person to find out more about the shop and all the goods inside.

Of course, you don’t have to be Ex Yugoslavian to go there.

You just have to be curious enough! 🙂

 

Serving cevapcici dish from Balkan in Amsterdam
I was serving cevapcici to Dutch people in the time of neighborhood festival
Ajvar is the famous Balkan product
Prijatelji.nl main product: Ajvar !

BONUS TIP 2

Amsterdam can be a tricky place to find food and drinks in the late hours. Especially bread, cosmetics and other necessary stuff.

Sterk shop is a late night shop again near Anne Frank House that has everything you need with extensive and exclusive range of champagnes, wines and beers from all over the world.

I would definitely say that is a must visit shop. (They have a beer with 32% of alcohol!)

 

Mr. Basil drink from Sterk shop in Amsterdam

 

Agroposta drinks from Sterk shop in Amsterdam
Croatian products in Sterk shop: Agroposta

Gonzo Imperial Porter drink from Sterk shop
Gonzo beer in Sterk shop

BONUS TIP 3

If you need some vitamins, the best place to get them are definitely markets!


I advise you to visit Nieuwmarkt market square where each day except Sunday, you can find fresh veggies, fruits, squeezed juices etc.

If you eat exclusively healthy, Eko Plaza shop is a perfect place for you and you can find it in almost each neighborhood. However, Eko Plaza is a bit pricey but each day after 6PM you can find many discounts!

 

Fresh green salad and tomatoes on the shelves of Ekoplaza
Fresh veggies in Eko Plaza

PLACES TO HAVE FUN IN AMSTERDAM

1. BOURBON STREET MUSIC CLUB

Bourbon Street music club – tiny and charming club with live music (entrance of minimum €5)

Bourbon Street Music Club in Amsterdam
Live blues music with Afro-Croatian brothers

2. TON TON

TonTon Club is a super fun gaming place right next to Red Light District. Here you can find many video, arcade and multiplayer games with a large range of beers.

Ton Ton gaming machine in Amsterdam
Two player table game in TonTon

3. GASHOUDER

Gashouder is the perfect location for extraordinary fairs, big presentations, parties and live shows.

The ceiling is out of this world and inside you feel like you are thrown in Universe. With a surface area of 2500 m2 and a height of 14,5 meters it’s one of the most monumental locations of Amsterdam.

Both Westergasfabriek and Gashouder were a former gasworks in Amsterdam.

Events that took place there include:

Gashouder arena in Amsterdam during Awakenings festival
My first time in Gashouder with an apple juice 🙂
photo by: @mario_keglevic

4. LAB 111

First time when my friend invited me here, I though something bad is happening because she had invited me to a hospital, laboratory.

But Lab 111 is something totally opposite: a cosy bar and a cinema.
Yet, it would be great to have a room where you can immediately detoxify after a heavy night out. 🙂

Great food and drinks are in the bar with a name: Strange Love Bar.

LAB 111 in Amsterdam
Entrance of Lab111

As has been noted, Amsterdam is a really fun and internationally diverse place where you can find all you ever desired from food to entertainment.

I hope my article was helpful and if you want to read more about Amsterdam, check out some of my previous Amsterdam’s articles! 🙂

Rating: 1 out of 5.

 

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Amsterdam houses along the UNESCO canals

ULTIMATE LIST OF 26 THINGS TO DO IN STARTLING AMSTERDAM

Get ready to find out the 26 BEST things in amazing capital of the Netherlands!

2020 didn’t start so well.

We are caught up in a misfortunate, global situation that left us all feeling a bit discouraged.
In times like this, it is the most important to occupy your brain. Bloggers and creatives are here to help you spark you imagination!

Photo by @aqui_c

In order to feed your imagination and travel appetite, I am continuing to write about travels. Many readers and followers expressed desire on my Instagram profile to read more tips about an unique city such as Amsterdam.
Just to remind you, I was a resident of Amsterdam for almost 4 years so I was able to wander around long enough to share with you some excellent corners that are maybe not so popular.

Here are some items you definitely should add to your Amsterdam bucket list regardless of the season.

Amsterdan houses along the canals with reflection in the rearview of the scooter
Photo by @alexisantoine


GET LOST

As Lost in Amsterdam slogan says:

“You are not lost, until you are lost in Amsterdam.”

GPS is such a cool invention, but sometimes, it feels much better to let go. Somehow, I was never feeling afraid being lost here. I advise you to do the same. Leave your phone and start exploring around by yourself! Make sure to visit Lost in Amsterdam restaurant & bar too. Interior is very different and the vibe is extremely pleasant.

PRO TIPS:

  • Have an address of your accommodation and Google Maps already downloaded, so you can use it even when offline and end your day sleeping somewhere warm
The view on Amsterdam houses and canals
Photo by @colt_jones

STROLL OVER THE MOST ARTISTIC AREA OF AMSTERDAM: DE JORDAAN

Back in the 17th century, The Jordaan area of Amsterdam used to be the neighborhood for poor full of refugees and struggling artists. Today, it’s one of the most expensive areas to live, still full of artists and charming little houses. I advise you to explore every little street in this Jewish quarter!


PRO TIPS:

  • Visit Noordermarkt market (my favourite market in Amsterdam) that works on Mondays and Sunday mornings, to explore some local delicatessen and organic food, souvenirs, crafts…

HOP ON THE BIKE AND FEEL LIKE A LOCAL

Okay, this is a big lie. The reality is, you won’t feel like a local as soon as you hop on a bike even if you did a Tour de France for a few times. You will still be a tourist driving a bike and locals will see that from the distance.

However, if you visit Amsterdam for a longer period, or you have a local by your side, you might get deeper and faster into Dutch biking culture. Amsterdam is flat and highly populated so leave the expensive public transport and enjoy in city properly – biking!

PRO TIPS:

Bikes in Amsterdam tied onto the bridge
Photo by @jacegradinetti
Colorful wall with bikes in Amsterdam
Colorful vibes

EXPERIENCE AN ADRENALINE RUSH ON EUROPE’S HIGHEST SWING

Whether you like adrenaline or not, climbing up to A’DAM tower to observation deck is a must! You’ll experience the best panoramic views of the city and who knows, maybe you get encouraged once you’re up there, to swing 100 meters above the ground. 🙂

PRO TIPS:

  • Buy tickets in advance and see the weather forecast
  • If it’s cloudy and rain, the views won’t be so spectacular
The view on Eye Filmmuseum and A'DAM tower
Photo by @moritz_photography
A'DAM tower from frog's perspective
Photo by @mariganeshkumar

TAKE A WALK OF A LIFETIME OVER THE FAMOUS RED LIGHT DISTRICT

Red Light District sign
Photo by @jordanmerrick

Whatever your opinion might be about legal prostitution, coming to Amsterdam and not seeing it’s old part ‘De Wallen’, equals to going to Paris and not seeing the Eiffel Tower. On the other hand, I understand we all have different desires and priorities. Yet, wandering around the streets of Amsterdam in the Red Light District area can only be exciting and fun, even during the late nights.

For all of you who might be scared, this area is all covered with cameras and police offices are regular visitors here. (I don’t mean it literally!😂)

PRO TIPS:

  • If you want to avoid teasing, never go alone sightseeing Red Light District in the night time (if you are man it’s not a problem). Plenty of people who spend their time there, are there for one obvious reason
  • It only makes sense to visit this area during the night because all the lights are visible after the sunset. Remember, passing with a bike can be tricky during the night due to crowds

YOU AIN’T SEEN ANYTHING YET IF YOU HAVEN’T SEEN KING’S DAY YET

Each year on April 27, the Netherlands celebrates the birthday of their King Willem Alexander. Most of the canals (more than 165) become packed with boats with loud music and shows. Streets become dancing floors with parties, flea markets and fun activates. It’s the day of free tax so literally anyone can sell almost anything.

The craziness starts on April 26th with great festivals and concerts with music from all genres. Each club offers different a program. Almost everyone is drunk or on drugs and wearing orange colors. It’s the wildest event I’ve seen in my life, but definitely a must experience. It’s even wilder than New Year’s Eve!

PRO TIPS:

  • If you want to get some orange items for this day, head over to ‘Action’ shop few days before. Buying items on the streets will cost you double or even triple

HEAD OVER TO THE TINIEST HOUSE IN AMSTERDAM – OUDE HOOGSTRAAT 22

The smallest house and tea dining room in Amsterdam
The smallest house in Amsterdam

The smallest house (1738) is like a miniature version of typical houses along the canals of Amsterdam. Tiny house is located in Oude Hoogstraat – one of the oldest streets in the heart of the city being only 2 m wide with 5 m deep.

PRO TIPS:

VISIT THE EXTRAORDINARY RIJKSMUSEUM AND ITS LIBRARY

Rijskmuseum Library
Photo by @wilvanw

Rijksmuseum is one of the greatest and the most popular museums in the Netherlands. Here you can admire Dutch art and 800 years of history from the Middle Ages till today. It has many artefacts and building itself it’s worth revisiting.

Please don’t miss the most extensive art history library in The Rijksmuseum (INCLUDED IN THE TICKET PRICE) because it seriously looks like a library from the Harry Potter movie. It’s gigantic!

PRO TIPS:

  • By downloading the Rijksmuseum app, you will have access to free and self-guided tours
  • Buy tickets online and get there early morning
  • Enjoy in Rijksmuseum’s garden on a warm day and stretch your legs around the greenery and its sculptures FOR FREE (every day from 9 AM – 6 PM) 
Observing  artworks in Rijksmuseum
Absorbing the art

SEE THE MOST INTERESTING MUSEUM IN THE ATTIC

Our Lord in the Attic Museum (Museum Ons’ Lieve Heer op Solder) is one of the oldest and most unique museums in Amsterdam. The museum is actually well preserved house from the Dutch Golden Age. It hides a very interesting story and has a church built in – attic !

PRO TIPS:

  • WORKING HOURS: Monday to Saturday from 10 AM to 6 PM and Sundays from 1 PM to 6 PM
  • Be prepared for many stairs
  • You can’t enter the museum if you are wearing stiletto heals


HAVE FUN IN NEMO, THE SCIENCE MUSEUM

Reward yourself with a day in innovative Nemo Science Museum and discover approximately 19,500 unique artefacts of humankind, energy technology and science. This is my favourite museum in Amsterdam because it offers fun activities, knowledge and plenty of rare items that you won’t seen anywhere in the world but here!

PRO TIPS:

Nemo Science Museum at night
Photo by @liammcgary

JOIN PLASTIC FISHING WITH THE FIRST PLASTIC FISHING COMPANY IN THE WORLD

Did I already mention how Dutch people are brilliant? Plastic Whale is a movement that collects people (crowdsourcing) who love creating and doing a greater good. You can join the movement of fishing for plastic along canals of Amsterdam on boats made from plastic and help these people to collect, recycle and turn plastic into furniture and more boats.

PRO TIPS:

ENRICH YOURSELF WITH A HISTORY IN TROPPEN MUSEUM

Amsterdam is the most multicultural city in the world with over 180 nationalities. Troppenmuseum wonderfully shows that diverse world of cultures, located in one of the most impressive museum buildings in the whole country. 

PRO TIPS:

GO SIGHTSEEING THROUGH AMSTERDAM FROM THE WATER

Amsterdam is much more special from canal point of view. The city has 165 canals and 10 of them were placed in UNESCO’s World Heritage list. On each canal there are interesting and historic sights, some of them you can only see boat’s point of view. (Reguliersgracht-7 bridges)

PRO TIPS:

Boat under the bridge in Amsterdam canals
Photo by @claudialorux

DIVE INTO FLORA AND FAUNA OF THE OLDEST ZOO IN EUROPE – ARTIS

ARTIS ZOO (Artis Amsterdam Royal Zoo or Natura Artis Magistra in the past) is opened in 1838, being one of the oldest zoo parks in the Europe. Interesting, the Zoo first had only few monkeys, parrots and a cat from Suriname which was Netherlands colony. (That explains a lot!)

And whatever your opinion may be about zoos, you have to admit that ARTIS is truly a captivating place, nicely decorated and the best part, it keeps expanding as much as it can, in order to offer more space to the animals. (The oldest zoo in Europe is in Vienna)

PRO TIPS:

ARTIS Zoo Amsterdam aquarium
Photo by @kookylovestotravel 🙂
Monkey from ARTIS zoo in Amsterdam
Photo by @jangemerle

MEET A LOCAL PERSON IN THE BIGGEST MARKET IN EUROPE

Albert Cuyp Market is actually a long street, originated as a market in 1905 and it represents the hot spot for locals. Here you can taste authentic dishes, stroll over more than 260 market stalls, dozens of shops, experience Dutch humor and “gezellig” (a Dutch word which means “fun”, “coziness”, “great”) vibe in the streets.

Don’t be shy to start the conversation, Dutch people are extremely friendly and interesting plus their English is great! (In case someone doesn’t approach you first)

PRO TIPS:

  • Market is open on Monday-Saturday from 9am to 5pm and closed on Sunday.
  • Make sure you don’t come late because sometimes it closes earlier especially if it starts to rain
  • If it’s rain during the whole day, double check their website for opening hours
A stand in Albert Cuypmarket
Photo by @ronnieovergoor1

SNEAK PEAK INTO THE HOUSEBOAT MUSEUM TO SEE HOW LIVING IN THE BOAT LOOKS LIKE

Amsterdam has more than 2500 houseboats and this cute little museum allows you to see what living inside a houseboat looks like. Head over to houseboat museum on address Prinsengracht 296k and enjoy in short and self-guided tour.

PRO TIPS:

  • Go early to avoid the crowds
The view from a bridge over Amsterdam canal
The view on Amsterdam canal and houseboats

ENJOY IN CULINARY CULTURE IN DE FOODHALLEN

This place used to be a tram station until creatives turned it into a venue of 21 stands with fresh and unique dishes. In Foodhallen you will find local Dutch treats as well wide range of other foods from all over the world. I highly recommend you to visit this place and surprise your palate!


PRO TIPS:

  • It’s a bit further from the city center so bike your way there
  • WORKING HOURS: 11:30 AM to 11 PM, from Sunday to Thursday & 11:30 AM to 1 AM Friday to Saturday

TREAT YOURSELF WITH DUTCH SWEETS IN SOME OF THE COOLEST SPOTS IN AMSTERDAM

You will notice that Amsterdam has a ton of cute, cosy, modern or even rusty little cafes and places to have a bite. As I already mentioned in my previous article, ⇨Where to Eat in Amsterdam⇦ Dutch cuisine is full of snacks and sweets. In almost every café, you can taste famous Dutch apple pie. However, if you want to eat something more, I will share some of the cutest places that you shouldn’t avoid ↓

PRO TIPS:

  • Bagels and Beans – wide range of interesting foods, organic drinks, mushroom coffees etc.
  • The Avocado Show – everything is made from avocado
  • Little Collins – quality food from local markets, an unconventional way of preparing classic dishes
  • Vegabond – a cosy, vegan place with an unique interior
  • Winkel 43 – best apple pie and hot chocolate (beware of the huge lines, but totally worth it!)
  • Van Stapele – best chocolates
Small Ducth flags on pastries
Dutch people love their little flags 🙂

TAKE A WALK ALONG 9 STREETS

The 9 Streets are a must shopping alleyways situated in the Amsterdam canal belt, just behind Dam Square. “De 9 Straatjes” is the ideal place to get deeper into the Amsterdam vibe and explore vintage shops, hidden restaurants and small bars.

For that true taste of A’dam. Nine little streets that are big on personality. (National Geographic)

PRO TIPS:

  • Once you’re there, explore three main magical Amsterdam canals: Herengracht, Prinsengracht and Keizergracht
Photo by @kelvinyup

EXPLORE ELCTRIC LADYLAND – THE FAMOUS FLUORESCENT LIGHT MUSEUM

Electric Ladyland is also the final studio album from Jimi Hendrix and the name of the first museum of the fluorescent art. To be frank, I haven’t been here yet, but many of my friends did and they loved the concept. It’s very unique, a kind of “Participatory Art” where you as a visitor, take place in the creation of a piece of Art, not just viewing it.

How cool is that!? 🙂

Museum offers a guided tour with a small fee and includes demonstrations of wide collections of Fluorescent Minerals from all over the world.

PRO TIPS:

  • You can visit this unusual museum BY MAKING AN APPOINTMENT ONLY (Wednesday – Saturday  2:00 PM – 6:00 PM) 

 

TASTE A DUTCH LOCAL BEER IN THE ARENDSNEST TASTING ROOM

This place is so authentic because it offers more than 50 beers on tap and more than 100 on bottle, all from The Netherlands only. (There are 400 breweries in the country!)

PRO TIPS:

  • If you are visiting Amsterdam with friends or family, try group beer tasting paired with food. I did it once and absolutely loved it. Beer tastes much better if you pair it with proper food plus, you learn the history about beers and a right way to taste them
A glass of Grolsch beer
Photo by @jeancarloemer

DO A CYCLING TO IJBURG AND EXPLORE IJMEER LAKE AND DIEMENPARK

IJBURG is a beautiful neighborhood, yet still under construction. The area is located on the IJmeer lake, on six artificial islands. The area obviously has many bridges with some being the biggest in Amsterdam. I went many times with bike here on a sunny day because the path is beautiful with plenty flora, fauna and gorgeous views along the water and greenery.

PRO TIP:

  • Crossing over the bridges with a bike can be challenging, but the views are rewarding
  • Sometimes during the warm days, you can spot art performers in the bushes
Photo by @faithej1

STROLL THROUGH UNIQUE PARKS OF AMSTERDAM: VONDELPARK, WESTERPARK, BEATRIXPARK, AMSTELPARK

AMSTERDAMMERS (people who live in Amsterdam) love to spend their time in nature and parks are the hot spots during the sunny days. Beatrixpark is the least known and Amstelpark is being the furthest. Vondelpark and Westerpark are very popular, especially Vondelpark which breaks records each year in number of visitors.

PRO TIPS:

  • If your time is limited, see only the famous Vondelpark
  • My favourite park in Amsterdam is Amstelpark (if that means something to you) because it’s beautifully decorated, it even has a windmill and a labyrinth

GO ON A CANOEING OR HORSE RIDING IN AMSTERDAM FOREST (AMSTERDAMSE BOS)

Kayaking in Amsterdam Forest
Kayaking is one more activity in which you can enjoy in Amsterdam Forest

Amsterdamse Bos is an enormous man-made park/forest, approximately three times the size of Central Park in New York City. It is situated in both Amsterdam and Amsteelveeen muncipality.You can enjoy in many sport activities in Amsterdam Forest or just take a walk and discover all the art and monuments.

Hire canoe from 6 euros per hour and a pedalo too from 10 euros per hour. I must say, the entire place looks like Amazon from the water. ➜Explore more about horse riding in Amsterdamse Bos.

PRO TIP:

  • Avoid visiting Amsterdamse Bos when it’s rainy especially if you don’t have a good, long boots – it gets nasty!
Driving pedalo on the green water surface in Amsterdamse Bos
Driving pedalo in Amsterdamse Bos
Duck in greenery on Het Nieuwe Meer Amsterdamse Bos
Ducks in Het Nieuwe Meer in Amsterdam Forest

THE HORTUS BOTANICUS AMSTERDAM

Dutch people love plants and guess what; Amsterdam has its botanical garden too! The Amsterdam Hortus dates back to 1638 and it has various cultural activities throughout the whole year plus of course, many remarkable plants. If you love nature, put this place on your bucket list!

PRO TIPS:

Amsterdam purple tulips Holland
Photo by @jareth21st

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