Sofia Adventures

Welcome to Sofia!

Sofia is an intriguing city, with corners that show at various times a glint of the splendor of Vienna, the charm of Istanbul, the quirkiness of Budapest, and the brutalism of Moscow. You’ll find Roman ruins in our subway stations, medieval icons in the church basements, and Thracian relics in the former presidential palace. Yet Sofia brings all of these seemingly disparate traditions together into one magical, inspiring city.

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17 Insane Bucket List Activities for Your First Time in Makarska!

17 Insane Bucket List Activities for Your First Time in Makarska!

Croatia’s Dalmatian Coast is dotted with seaside towns, inlets, and lagoons all the way from the shore to its many islands. Makarska, located on the mainland between Split and Dubrovnik is one such gem.

Makarska is such a focal point in Croatia’s tourism that it even has its own Riviera. This is my favorite part of the coast because you can never run out of things to do in Makarska.

The town is divided by a large peninsula separating the marina and the downtown areas on one side, and the seemingly endless sprawl of pebble beaches on the other. Towering high above, the face of Mt. Biokovo wraps its stony walls from the east to the west of Makarska, creating a cocoon of good vibes down beneath.

Nowhere else in Croatia can you see the relationship between sea and mountains more vividly than here.

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Where to Stay in Makarska

CROATIA - MAKARSKA - View of Makarska city center from the sea. Dalmatia, Croatia.

We’re in the process of creating comprehensive guides on where to stay in various Croatian cities. You can discover the best hotels in Dubrovnik Old Town as well a. But, for now, we recommend checking out Booking.com or, if you’re in a rush, read about our favorite places down here.

Here are our top suggestions for where to stay in Makarska. In most cases, budget means hotel stays for around $45 a night, mid-range is from about $50 to $80 per night, and luxury will cost over $100 per night.

Budget: When planning a stay in Makarska with a reduced budget, we recommend you check Apartments Jure fairly close to the center, as well as the pretty Villa Ivona.

Mid-range: If you can extend your budget a bit more, two places we recommend are Sobe Kiki Apartment in the city center or ApartHotel Villa Mozart, about 7 km from Makarska. 

Luxury: There are many luxury hotels in Makarska that you can book, we suggest that you take a look at Valamar Meteor Hotel and Hotel Park Makarska.

Insanely Fun Things to Do in Makarska

In no particular order, these are some of the main bucket list ideas for you to spend a fantastic time in Makarska, Croatia

So Many Beaches So Little Time

There seems to be a place to swim everywhere in Makarska. The most popular and widely used is the city’s main beach. A sprawling 2 kilometers of pebbled shoreline that can accommodate over 10,000 people. By the peninsular rocks, beach bums can enjoy a spectacular view of the entire city from the shore.

The adventurous can take a dip in their birthday suits at the FKK or nude beach, on the other side of St. Peters lighthouse. I’ve even seen groups of people tanning and swimming on the wave breakers in the city harbor. Where there’s a spot to take a dip there’s always a way!

Dinner With A View

Croatia - Makarska - View of Tucepi waterfront in Makarska riviera, Dalmatia region of Croatia

The good thing about being nestled underneath a giant mountain is that you get some pretty breathtaking views. So why not enjoy a five-star meal while you soak in the Dalmatian sunset at Grill Panorama. Located 450 m above the city, Panorama offers a delightful blend of Mediterranean and continental cuisine with ample portions guaranteed to satisfy any palate.

Panorama also offers shuttle busses to and from the restaurant so you can sip a glass of wine after dinner as you roll back down the Biokovo foothills into town.

Two Words: Rave Cave

 

Croatia has gained a global reputation for its nightlife. If dancing until the sunrise is your idea of a party, then Club Deep is where you need to be. Located on the edge of town, this natural cave has been turned into a music mecca. Boasting an array of homegrown talent and international DJs, Deep has been a staple in Makarska’s club scene for over two decades.

Playing an array of electronic and contemporary beats, the pulsating lights hanging from the ceiling guide you deeper into the dance floor. Like pretty much anywhere else in town, your sunrise view will make you forget how tired your legs are once 6 am hits.

Reimagining the ‘Old Town of Europe’

Croatia - Makarska

Makarska’s historic district is a panoply of Venetian architecture turned into modern establishments. The focal point is Andrija Kačić Miošić Square – named after the famous Croatian friar and boasting a statue of him erected in 1890 during Croatia’s national awakening.

Early in the morning, local farmers lay out their organic goodies in the open-air fruit and vegetable market – a tradition that has been going on for hundreds of years. Kačić is also dotted with little cafes and wine bars that are perfect for the mid-day espresso as well as for a glass of pinot.

At night, the square comes alive with concerts ranging from a very convicting Aerosmith cover band to traditional Klapa quartets and even live concertos and opera.

You can also visit St. Mark’s Church, built from 1700-1766 by Nikola and Stjepan Blašković. There is an old Venetian drinking fountain just to the right of the church that I have filled my water bottle at many a scorching summer day.

Dance the Day Away at Buba Beach

When you go on vacation you need a beach bar. Makarska has Buba. On the outskirts of town, it’s a non-stop day party complete with live DJs, loud music, and an endless supply of cocktails, offering – the perfect mix of sunbathing and sangria (or 5L beer towers).

At night, Buba has been known to throw sunrise sets boasting talent like Silicon Soul and Solomun, who have spun their decks into the early morning hours amid a throng of dancing disciples.

Adriatic Seafood Experience at Restaurant Ivo

Dubrovnik - Croatia - Fresh fish and salad dinner

Ivo has been delighting pescatarians since 1979 with their authentic Adriatic cuisine and seafood. The restaurant is a homegrown staple and every local has eaten there at least once. In 2015, Ivo was recognized among Croatia’s top 100 restaurants – and for some good reasons.

Always fresh, you can enjoy a classic platter of grilled scampi or dive right into the John Dory or scorpionfish – prepared with traditional Dalmatian gusto and always paired with a glass of wine.

Satisfy Your Inner Thrill-Seeker at a Local Dive Spot

Croatia - Makarska - MAKARSKA RIVIERA, CROATIA - August 2020: View of the rocks near Makarska on a summer day, in Makarska Riviera, Croatia.

As little kids, we used to tempt fate and fling ourselves off the limestone cliffs near Makarska’s harbor. The two main spots are located at the farthest edge of town near Osejava, and also at St. Peter’s peninsula, facing into town. There is a convenient platform you can use where the old club Grotto used to be, with a 5 m drop-off.

Risk takers and local 12 years old’s (not kidding) will jump from ‘The Path’ roughly 15 m above the water looking over the Grotto point.

More dangerous and for experienced jumpers only, Osejava offers as high as 20 m, but be careful getting out – there is no platform and the waves will throw you on the rocks if you don’t time it properly!

Book a Day Excursion to Biokovo National Park

Croatia Makarska - Sunset over Biokovo park mountains in Croatia

A UNESCO heritage site, the Biokovo Mountain range is part of the Dalmatian hinterland with an endless supply of photo opportunities and cultural experiences.

Take a guided tour up the mountain from town and climb atop the two highest points – St. Juraj (1762m) and Vosac (1422 m). On a clear day, you can see Italy’s Rimini coast from the peak!

Exploro Travel is a local agency that offers half-day trips to the various peaks, alongside other excursions, and airport VIP shuttles.

The winding road behind the mountain face is home to rustic Dalmatian stone houses, wild mountain goats, and also a very active bee-keeping community – you can even purchase homemade honey while you hike.

Also, part of the experience, the Kotisina botanical garden, located around 500 m above Makarska, is an amazing location full of endemic flora. You can reach the place on foot or by car.

Sip an Espresso and Enjoy a Decadent Dessert at Café Romana

Croatians live for coffee time but they also have a sweet tooth. If you want to know what it feels like to be a real Dalmatian, then you should try one of Romana’s many homemade desserts and have a coffee while enjoying a blissful view of the marina.

Located in the heart of downtown, along Makarska’s busy Riviera district, Romana offers dozens of pastries, cakes, and freshly squeezed juices alongside lattes and espressos. I recommend the cremeschnitte – a delicious puff pastry with a creamy custard filling topped with icing sugar.

Start your Pub Crawl at Ivana Cocktail Bar

There’s a long-standing joke that every local had their first legal drink at Ivana Bar. The place is located smack dab in the middle of the main city beach and you can get a liter cocktail of your choice, or 10 vodka red-bull for just $20.

There is always a live DJ, and during the peak season, you can see groups of people dancing along the walkway right beside the bar. This place goes bonkers during world cup season, so if you’re vacationing around then, you will see it on full display.

Stargaze at the Astronomical Observatory

Opened in 2017, the immersive experience boasts a monument to the Partisan victory after WWII which is surrounded by an Astro Park.

During the day you can cross the perimeter and find iron castings of different stars and planets scattered along the grounds. At night, the observatory offers spectacular views of the heavens and stars.

Sea Shells by the Sea Shore

Makarska’s Malacological Museum of Shells boasts over 3,000 different species on display for the curious –  all housed inside the cellar of the old Franciscan Monastery in town.

While some of the shells are only 1 cm big, others are the size of a full-grown adult. The tour is an inexpensive visit, costing less than €5.

Nugal – The Beach No One Told You About

Croatia . Makarska - Beautiful Nugal beach near Makarska town, Dalmatia, Croatia. Makarska riviera, famous landmark and travel touristic destination in Europe

Located on the easternmost point of the town, past Osejava along the coastline towards Tucepi, Nugal is a destination most tourists don’t know about. The wild beach requires a bit of a hike (around 30 minutes), but you can ask a local guide for directions if you don’t feel comfortable going alone.

Primarily a nude beach (hence the name), it offers peace and quietness away from the hustle and bustle of the city. But at night, especially during August, the water comes alive with rare fluorescent algae and you can pick up starfish as big as your head.

Because of its isolation, there is virtually no light pollution and it offers the best view of the Milky Way Galaxy I have ever seen with the naked eye.

Go Island Hopping For the Day

Aerial view of a beach with golden sand and blue water

Makarska has the benefit of facing two of Croatia’s most popular island destinations: Brac and Hvar. For around $30 per person, you can take one of the locally guided tourist cruises to the islands. I’ve gone on these every time I’ve been to Makarska because you get to see two different islands, three different beaches – including Croatia’s most famous Bol beach – all the while being back in time for supper

Your choice of chicken or fish and seemingly endless amounts of wine put you at ease as you slowly cruise from the mainland towards another adventure. If you’d rather visit one island at a time, then check this Brac boat trip, which offers excellent value for money.

Party like a Local on Fisherman’s Night

Between June and September (almost) every Thursday is locals celebrate fisherman’s night. The entire downtown turns into a massive outdoor food and music festival complete with all the trappings of a traditional Adriatic gathering: prosciutto, wine, fish, and of course the harmonica.

You can also participate in some classic games like tug of war or more traditional Croatian ones, like balancing on a beam and trying to reach the giant prosciutto leg hanging at the end. Make sure you watch your step because the beam is suspended over the water, so if you plan on participating, bring a change of clothes!

It’s a very community-oriented event with hundreds of picnic tables along the entire Riviera. You can smell the grilled calamari and mackerel from the beach. Anyone coming to Makarska for the first time should participate in at least one of these events.

Try Some Water Sports When You Need a Break From Tanning

If you get bored of lounging around all day you can try some of the many marine activities Makarska has to offer. From jet skis to parasailing, and even several aqua parks for the little ones, there’s no shortage of adrenaline-pumping pass-times along the beachfront. In 2018, some local entrepreneurs even added the first fly-board, so now you can hover around and learn to do some areal flips and tricks.

A favorite among tourists (and locals) is the pedaling boats. You paddle and steer yourself and there is a slide above you.  Paddling way out and facing shore will offer the most complete view of the entire city from east to west and a full picture of just how grand Biokovo is.

Break a Sweat at the Local Street Park

Workout parks are fairly common throughout Europe, but having one right on the beach 50 feet from the water is a different story. You can get your morning workout in or maybe do some calisthenics at sunset then go for a quick dip right after.

There’s a community of locals who you can find defying gravity there pretty much every day. If you’re in town craving a workout, then don’t worry, everyone is welcome.

What to Pack for Croatia

Greece - Crete - Heraklion - Old Venetian Harbor Luggage

We have an entire Croatia packing list, but make sure you don’t leave these items behind!

A Guidebook – While travel blogs are great, we also definitely see the benefit of having a good paper guidebook in hand to refer to in your on-the-ground travel. We recommend the Lonely Planet Croatia book.

Mosquito repellent: Mosquitos in the summer can be nasty! You can bring ones with DEET or without DEET, or I love having some of these mosquito repellent wipes that I can keep in my bag in case I suddenly start to get swarmed and don’t have my regular repellent with me.

Sunscreen: You can buy sunscreen in Croatia, but it’s likely cheaper at home or bought online in advance. I love this solid Neutrogena sunscreen. Who doesn’t love a good solid for liquid swap? Great to keep in your bag without worrying about sunscreen explosions.

Water shoes: Pebble beaches in Croatia are a double-edged sword. On the one hand, the pebble seafloor is what creates that gorgeous deep turquoise-colored water that is hard to beat, as the lack of sand means you have incredibly clear water. However, on the other hand, pebble beaches and rocky shores can be downright painful!

Our friend recently cut his foot on a rocky beach in Croatia; had he been wearing water shoes, he’d have avoided such unpleasantness! We suggest these unisex water shoes. They’re not sexy, but they will make your trips to the beach far more pleasant!

A secure backpack: We both carry the CitySafe backpack by PacSafe not only on our travels but in our day-to-day lives. It’s cute, it’s functional, it’s comfortable, and it’s secure. We’re talking about interlocking zippers (which you can then put through a second clasp for two layers of security), slash-proof wire mesh construction, and RFID blockers to keep your data safe.

It’s neutral enough to be unisex, it’s roomy enough to fit a small laptop, a large camera, and tons of odds & ends, and it fits under the plane seat in front of you. We’re obsessed. Check it out for yourself!

Grayl Water FilterTap water is generally safe to drink in Croatia, but if you’re not used to drinking tap water from other countries, the typically harmless bacteria found in all water can cause some gut irritation. To both be safe and not buy dozens of plastic water bottles, you can get a reusable water bottle that comes with a water filter so that you can stick to the tap water and reduce your plastic waste. If you’ll be traveling outside of the major tourist centers, check if the water is potable locally.

Sea bands: If you get seasick easily, pack some Sea bands or seasickness pills so you don’t miss out on the best parts of Croatia – being on the water! A trip to Croatia isn’t complete without a quick boat trip, so make sure you’re prepared to enjoy it to the fullest!

Read more: Essential Croatia Packing List: What to Wear & Pack for Croatia

More Croatia Travel Resources

Croatian national theater in Zagreb, Croatia

Headed to Croatia? We have some great travel resources to help you with your trip. First read our guide to planning a trip to Croatia, which covers visas, budgets, vaccines, and much more. We also have a Croatia packing list with a detailed section for all seasons.

While in Dubrovnik, check out our favorite Dubrovnik Instagram spots and the best Dubrovnik day trips.

If you’re still putting together your itinerary, here’s a great list of places to visit in Croatia, our Croatia national parks guide, and the Croatian waterfalls guide to help you choose. We also have a guide to the best day trips from Spit if you’re to be visiting Split as well.

If you’ll be spending time in Zagreb, check out our list of the city’s best photo destinations. We also have a guide to visiting the famous Plitvice Lakes from Zagreb.

Next, check out our Balkan currency guide which explains how money works in Croatia and local tipping customs.

Of course, if you’re coming to Croatia you’ll have lots of opportunities to shop! Read our guide to shopping in Croatia so you know which souvenirs are truly local gems.

If this will be one of your first trips in the Balkans, check out our massive list of things to know before traveling the Balkans as well as our Balkan busroad trip, and itinerary guides. 

We publish new content nearly every day! Bookmark our pages on Croatia and the Balkans so that you don’t miss out on any new info or resources that we publish before your trip!

Don’t Forget About Travel Insurance!

I’m sure you’re aware that travel insurance is a good idea for traveling in Croatia (or really, any part of the world)! We have both been paying customers of World Nomads for the last three years. We love the peace of mind it gives us in case of emergencies, accidents, illnesses, theft, or trip cancellation or disruption.

While the Balkans are perfectly safe to travel around, there’s always a risk inherent in everyday travel – especially during the winter! – so it’s better to play it safe.

 

>> Get a travel insurance quote for your trip here <<

Pin This Guide to the Best Things to Do in Makarska for Your Adventures in Croatia!

 

10 Super Helpful Things You Should Know Before Visiting Antalya!

10 Super Helpful Things You Should Know Before Visiting Antalya!

 

You become a healthier version of yourself with delightful traveling, this is an approved and well-known concept which implies that the real evolution of one’s personality happens outside borders… walls, or even limits. However, regardless of wherever you plan to go, traveling without proper scheduling and preparation is not complete in any way.

This article wants to make you aware of some important things to know about Antalya to get ready for your adventure in Turkey! There are several crucial things that you, as a traveler, need to consider before planning the trip, including currency, means to travel, places to stay, and language, to mention just a few.

So read on and get ready to discover all those details you should know before visiting Antalya!

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Where to Stay in Antalya

Turkey - Antalya - Love Antalya, famous fountain in the centre of Antalya, Turkey

We’re in the process of creating comprehensive guides on where to stay in various Turkish cities, but for now, we recommend checking out Booking.com as early as possible since many of the best hotels in Antalya sell out early (especially in the summer). If you’re in a rush and want to check our favorite places, check this selection.

Here are our top suggestions for where to stay in Antalya. In most cases, budget means hotel stays for around $35 a night, mid-range is from about $40 to $80 per night, and luxury will cost over $100 per night.

Budget: Visiting Antalya with a reduced budget doesn’t mean that you won’t have an ample choice when it comes to accommodation. There are many places you can book for a small fee that provide great services. We recommend you to check Antroyal Hotel, which guests love for its great breakfast selection, or Beyond OTEL.  

Mid-range: If you can extend your budget a bit more, two places we recommend are Güden-Pearl and Old Town Deluxe Flats.

Luxury: There are many luxury hotels in Antalya and it’s not hard to find good fees when traveling off the high season. If that’s your case, you will want to check our favorite places, the first one is Nox Suite and the other one is AG Hotels Antalya, right in the city center.

10 Things You Should Know Before Visiting Antalya

Turkey - Antalya - View of Hadrian's Gate in old city of Antalya Turkey

Turkey was included in the top 10 international tourism destinations of 2018 in the World Tourism Ranking compiled by the United Nations World Tourism Organization.

Starting from its delightful food variety to an endless list of epic landscapes, such a Pamukkale, or the legendary Cappadoccia, but also considering its fantastic urban culture and values, and incredible history.

Turkey is famous for a set of European and oriental elements that define its character. Turkey is seen as a door between Asia and Europe, and it has always been included among the favorite destinations to travel and explore.

Antalya, known as the gateway of the Turkish Riviera, is a worth-visiting holiday utopia offering much more than one might expect. We are here to guide you through everything you need to know before visiting Antalya.

This stunning city offers over 300 days of sunshine, rich historical places, breath-taking beaches, remarkable natural beauties, and a myriad of restaurants and bars serving fantastic local cuisine. Here’s what you need to know to plan the perfect trip.

Visas

Turkey makes it easy for visitors to get a tourist visa. British citizens traveling to Turkey can wander around without a visa for visits lasting up to 90 days. However, ordinary passport holders must have a visa to enter. On the other side, US citizens, are required to have a visa to enter Turkey which they may obtain online through the official Turkish visa portal.

If you intend to stay for more than 90 days, you should get a residence permit from the local authorities or apply for a more extended visa before your trip.

If you plan to work in the country, make sure you have the correct permits or you may be deported, fined, and banned from re-entering. Get yourself an “official passport” from the Turkish Embassy if the purpose of your visit is to work or study.

The Turkish government advises that all visitors have with them a travel document or a passport valid for at least six months as from the date they enter Turkey.

How to Travel

Turkey - Antalya - The Temple of Apollo in Side Town of Antalya Province

Once you get your E-visa, book a flight to Antalya to go to Fraport TAV Antalya Airport or YDA Dalaman Airport in the region of Muğla, depending on where you want to travel in Antalya. The former is 13 km away from the city center, whereas the latter is closer to Kaş and Kalkan.

You can travel to your destination point with the available public bus. You can also use a private transfer service or the airport shuttle service.

  • Public bus No 600 departs every 30 minutes from the airport to the bus terminal in Otogar.
  • Public bus No 800 runs every 2 hours between the airport and Antalya’s bus terminal in the Lara district.

Language

Turkey - Antalya - Aspendos amphitheater, Antalya Turkey

It doesn’t matter whether you’re visiting a foreign country for work or leisure, the first question that will always come first to your mind is if it’s possible to travel without knowing the language spoken at your destination.

Although Antalya is the fifth most populous city in Turkey and attracts thousands of tourists, not many locals speak foreign languages. Turkish is the primary language spoken by 85-90% of the population

However, locals are really helpful and hospitable and will go the extra mile to understand your requests and help you out. In case of extreme need, it can also be useful to download a good translation app. If possible, choose one that can be used also when you’re not online.

The Fun of Adventure

Turkey - Antalya - Lower Duden waterfall (Karpuzkald?ran waterfall). Lara, Antalya, Turkey

Antalya is a resort city with beautiful beaches, impressive hotels, historic sites, and a yacht-filled old Roman harbor. All reasons that make it a worth visiting destination.

This beautiful area of Turkey features plenty of historical places, important landmarks, sites, monuments, structures, and several appealing locations. 

Couples looking to make romantic memories should keep Antalya in mind when planning a romantic vacation. But this also can apply to families, or groups of friends looking for unforgettable experiences.

All year round, there are several festivals that you can attend in Antalya, these combine tourism with cultural and traditional activities, no matter if it’s summer or winter.

This also applies to many adventure sports such as scuba-diving, paragliding, sea kayaking, and skiing. So whatever you wish to try, Antalya is the right place for you.

The Weather

Turkey - Antalya - Old Harbour view in Antalya City. Antalya is populer tourist destination in Turkey.

Turkey is a vast country with diverse topography, and the climate you’ll find will largely depend on where you are visiting. The weather across the country ranges from hot to cold temperatures and from a desert-like dry climate to a mild-snowy winter.

Antalya, however, remains the gateway to Turkey’s southern Mediterranean region, so it’s known for its gorgeous climate all around the year.

Specifically, Antalya’s summers are humid, and hot, whereas winters are cold, wet, and somewhat cloudy. The area has an average temperature of 41°F to 94°F all year round and it rarely goes below 34°F or above 102°F.

The weather remains good with a pleasant average temperature during October, November, May, and April. From June to September, the climate is usually very hot and dry. From November to February, Antalya experiences a very rainy season.

Best Time to Visit

Turkey - Antalya- Old town (Kaleici) in Antalya, Turkey

The Turkish Riviera, also known as the Turquoise Coast, is famous for its mild weather, which makes it a year-round tourist attraction. So there’s really never a bad time to explore this fascinating beauty.

Antalya is full of many charms, so you can choose any time for your visit, depending upon your priorities. 

June – August: This is summer, the high season. The perfect time of the year to enjoy a vacation in Antalya. These months are ideal for enjoying the sun and the sea, swimming, and practicing outdoor sports and activities. Remember also that, as with any peak moment, prices tend to go up and places tend to be crowded.

September – November: If you’re not a fan of crowded areas, fall is the best time to visit. Tourism slows down, being November the least crowded month.

The dress code of a place matters a lot if you are going to visit as a foreigner. Once you have decided the time for your visit, it is best to know what you need to wear to packing accordingly not only to customs but to weather as well. Here’s a packing list on what to wear and pack for Turkey.

Currency Exchange

Currency exchange can be an additional expense to your travel budget, and with clever preparation and thinking, you can avoid this unnecessary expense. Antalya’s currency is the TL (Turkish Lira), and it makes perfect sense to have some local currency as soon as you land.

It is suggested to only exchange some currency needed when you arrive in the country, enough to pay for bus tickets or snacks. Since fees tend to be less convenient at the airport, just exchange a small amount, because airport fees are painfully high in most airports. You’ll discover better and affordable exchange places later on your trip.

However, if you’re a super savvy traveler, the best option you have is to contact your bank before the trip to obtain the best possible exchange rate. Sometimes, this exchange rate can be even lower for customers. So, go ahead and contact your bank first to figure out what rates they offer.

Another alternative is to use ATM as soon as you reach the center of the city. Usually, the currency exchange fees on ATMs are more convenient and affordable for travelers than the ones offered by currency exchange bureaus.

A Place to Stay

Turkey - Antalya - Ruins of the ancient fortress Hidirlik Kalesi in Kaleici. Antalya, Tourkey.

Antalya is fairly cheaper than the most visited city in Turkey, Istanbul. There are both affordable and luxurious accommodations but it can often be hard to find one that combines a good price with a top rating. So read as many reviews as you can before booking, or check our recommendations at the beginning of the post. The city offers warm hostels, wooden houses, fancy hotels, and camping areas to stay in, just choose wisely.

We are aware that it can be a tough choice to select a place to stay with so many options. If you don’ really mind the weather, then a trip to winter can certainly save you a few bucks. Besides, the place is less crowded, so you can easily find the best rates at luxurious accommodations.

These are some of the most popular neighborhoods in Antalya to look for accommodation.

Kaleici: The gateway to Kaleici is Kale Kapisi, the main square of Antalya. It features active nightlife as well as the historical architecture of Antalya. The clock tower, the statue of King Attalus II Philadelphus (the founder of the city), Hadrian’s Gate, and Suna-İnan Kıraç Kaleici Museum are some of the places worth visiting in Kaleici.

Lara: This is the place to stay if you want to enjoy a stress-free family vacation. There are many famous beaches in the area and boasts the highest number of luxury hotels. Lara Beach is one of most the beautiful beaches in Turkey and lies in the east of Antalya.

Belek: This resort town is famous for its golf courses, long sandy beaches, and thermal spas. It is one of Turkey’s best-known tourist centers, only 31 km from Antalya’s main city. Belek is also known as the Capital of Golf, with 16 high-end golf resorts. It is the ideal place to stay if you plan to make short trips to Antalya’s other areas of interest.

Konyaalti Beach: One of the two main beaches in Antalya. Konyaalti Beach is a place of relaxing vibes worth visiting. It is situated on the west side of the main city, making it a perfect place to stay if you’re on a budget.

Olympos Beach: This is a bohemian sanctuary with Lycian ruins and beautiful treehouse bungalows. It is situated in the west of Antalya’s city center. There are no showers and changing room facilities at the beach, allowing the water to remain clear all around the year. The ancient city of Olympos is one of the main attractions of the beach.

What to Eat

Turkey - Antalya - Plate of sea bream fish in Turkey.

Antalya is the fastest-growing sun-drenched city in Turkey, and travelers visiting from all around the globe are discovering its heavenly mix of traditional and international cuisine, including Chinese, French, and Mediterranean.

Travelers with a sweet tooth will love to read that Antalya features an extensive variety of traditional and international sweets.

Among the things you should taste, check traditional things such as the traditional Turkish Doner Kebab, Gozleme, Baklava, and Locum. But there are many other fabulous things you can try in Antalya while exploring for the love of food.

Transportation

Turkey - Istanbul - Bus from Train Station to Istanbul

Antalya has a well-developed transport system and it allows visitors to travel easily around the city. Antalya Trams (Nostalji Tramvay and AntRay), Dolmus, and Buses are extremely convenient and are usually on time.

Taxi stands are all over the city, but this can be quite expensive as it is compulsory to pay a fee for gas. The average fee of a 3-km distance covered by a taxi can cost you TL17.50 (which equals about $2.20).

It is advisable to get an Antalya kart transit card for transportation around Antalya which allows getting discounted and reasonable transport fees for travelers.

There are numerous options for a traveler to make the most and best from the trip to Antalya.

A peaceful walk around the ancient city, adventure sports, relaxing and beautiful beaches, various cuisines, soothing waterfalls, and historic sites are some of the few options that may inspire you to plan a vacation to this mesmerizing part of the world.

What to Pack for Antalya

Greece - Crete - Heraklion - Old Venetian Harbor Luggage

We have a guide on what to pack for Turkey, but here are five things you definitely want to bring with you!

The Lonely Planet Turkeya good guidebook that can help you with the kinds of safety tips you need if you’re out in the city and feel a bit lost, especially if you don’t have internet or a cell signal. These also have specific neighborhood information that will help you in different parts of the city, and it’s a great supplement to blog posts like this one!

Unlocked Cell Phone: Stephanie and I both have unlocked cell phones that we bought in Europe (Stephanie uses a Samsung and I use an iPhone). This allows up to get sim cards when we travel so that we always have the internet. This has gotten us out of so many jams! If you don’t have an unlocked cell phone that can use a Turkish sim card, you can buy a cheaper unlocked phone online and bring it with you!

Pacsafe Citysafe or Other Anti-Theft Bag: This is the bag both Stephanie and I use for all our travels. It has a pouch with RFID technology so our credit cards can’t get scanned from afar, interlocking zippers to make it harder to pickpocket, and it’s roomy enough to be a perfect sightseeing day bag, yet it’s still quite stylish for all of its security features. If you’d rather bring something smaller, you can pack a money belt instead. 

Grayl Water FilterWhile the water is *technically* safe to drink in much of Turkey, I would still avoid it. If you don’t want to be buying millions of plastic water bottles, you can get a reusable water bottle that comes with a water filter so that you can stick to the tap water and reduce your plastic waste. If you’ll be traveling outside of the major tourist centers, check if the water is potable locally.

Seabands: If you get seasick easily, pack some Sea bands or seasickness pills so you don’t miss out on the best parts of Turkey – being on the water! A trip to Turkey isn’t complete without a cruise or at least a quick boat trip, so make sure you’re prepared to enjoy it to the fullest!

Read More: Essential Turkey Packing List: What to Wear & Pack for Turkey

More Turkey Travel Resources

Turkey - Istanbul - Stephanie Ortakoy Mosque

We have a ton of resources to help you plan your trip to Turkey!

If this will be your first time traveling to Turkey, check out this guide to planning a trip to Turkey (including visa information) and this guide of beautiful places to visit in Turkey. You can also check out our Balkan currency guide, which explains how the Turkish lira works and guidelines for tipping in Istanbul.

If you’re heading to Istanbul as well as Antalya, we have you covered. Start with our essential Istanbul Travel Tips and guide to staying safe in Istanbul

We’re working on our massive things to do in Istanbul post, plus you can check out our guide to the best Instagram spots around Istanbul, tips for shopping in Istanbul, the best Turkish food to eat, how to plan an Istanbul honeymoon, and what to do in Istanbul at night.

If you will be visiting in winter, we have a special winter in Istanbul guide plus an overview of Istanbul weather in January.

If you want to be in the city for just a few days (four or less), check out our Istanbul city break guide, which breaks down the best of the city so you won’t miss anything!

Headed to Cappadocia? If you’re curious about the most Instagrammable places in Cappadocia, we’ve got you covered. We also have posts on the best things to do in Cappadocia, and how to plan a perfect 3 day Cappadocia itinerary, plus how to get to Cappadocia from Istanbul.

We have tons more Turkey and Balkans resources, and we publish new content nearly daily. Bookmark our Turkey and Balkans travel pages so you can find any new resources that come out before your trip!

Don’t Forget About Travel Insurance!

If you’re planning a trip to Turkey, make sure to travel with a valid travel insurance policy. While we feel safe in Turkey, it’s a good idea to be covered in case of an emergency. Travel insurance covers you in case of theft or an accident, which can save your trip if there’s an incident.

For travel insurance, Allison and I use World NomadsI’ve been a happy customer of theirs for almost three years, and I’ve never had an issue when making a claim. I’m happy to refer them to anyone I meet.

>> Get your free quote from World Nomads here <<

Pin These Helpful Things to Know About Antalya for Your Next Trip!

The Most Gorgeous Hotels in Ksamil for Your Albania Vacation

The Most Gorgeous Hotels in Ksamil for Your Albania Vacation

Ksamil is a pretty seaside town in Albania located just across the water from Greece’s Corfu island. This absolutely stunning place is also very convenient when it comes to accommodation.

If you’re used to Greece’s great prices when it comes to your Summer vacation, then Albania can be an even more convenient choice (and that’s already saying a lot!).

In fact, the price of an Albanian beach escape will blow your mind. In the area, you can also visit the gorgeous Sarande. Instead, if you’re all for a beach vacation with a side of culture, you can also check the Roman city of Butrint, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, just a short bus ride away.

So, if Ksamil is the next place you’re going to visit when in Europe, then check these places to stay!

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Gorgeous Hotels in Ksamil

Albania - Ksamil - Empty Ksamil Beach - Butrint National Park, Sarande, Southern Albania, Europe

This list of great hotels in Ksamil is divided according to the price for a one-night stay. This way you’ll be able to discover which is the most convenient place to stay according to your budget and taking into account the most remarkable characteristics of each hotel. Take a look!

Budget Hotels in Ksamil
($50 a Night and Under)

In no particular order, these are the hotels we recommend in Ksamil if you can’t assign a big part of your budget to accommodation.

Albania - Ksamil - Empty Deckchairs In Ksamil - Butrint National Park, Sarande, Southern Albania, Europe

Jasmina Soni Apartments

This is probably the most affordable pet-friendly accommodation you can get at the heart of Ksamil and it has most of the needed features you will require for a comfortable stay.

One night will only cost about $16 in a double room with a balcony that has terrific views of the picturesque rolling hills. For that very low amount, you already have a private bathroom complete with all the amenities – just a reminder that towels and linens are for an extra, you won’t pay much, so you can still pack lightly.

Considering the very budget-friendly prices, you get huge rooms and you really can’t find a reason to complain. Not as stylish as boutique hotels, but everything is decent and the level of comfort and functionality has been considered.

The property is a few kilometers from the beach, so it’s a good idea to rent a car for you to conveniently travel to different locations. If you don’t plan to rent a car, don’t worry, the hotel is only within walking distance from the bus station. 

Guests can enjoy free parking too! plus, there’s free parking for guests!

The units feature their own kitchenette and dining area, and shopping for groceries in the several markets nearby for fresh goods will be even more helpful to your budget!

»» Check out reviews, prices, and availability here ««

Vila Vasiliu

This beautiful property is very close to 4 different beaches along the Albanian Riviera. The property has a beautiful garden with sun loungers and umbrellas. They combine both a traditional style with modern functional furniture.

The entrance to the property will make you feel like royalty with its castle-inspired gate. The rooms are simple but fully equipped with features you will need for your stay and more.

Each room has its own private bathroom and the beds are huge with comfortable quilted headboards. There’s also a touch of antique furniture and pieces of artwork hung on the walls to complete a classic homey feel.

You can also step out to breathe in some fresh air on the balcony – which is available for all rooms! A large group of travelers (maximum of 6 people) can get their 3-bedroom apartment and pay only $44 per night – that is such a steal!

So far, guests have loved the service, the location and the property itself so be sure to hurry up if you see it available!

»» Check out reviews, prices, and availability here ««

Hotel Livia

If you are looking for accommodation that is so close (it’s actually inside) to the Butrint National Park, then Hotel Livia is a good choice that’s still within the budget.

Not only does it have a very stylish exterior, but its interiors are also very well decorated. The hotel itself is built in stone and wood and executed in the style of traditional Albanian houses. There are lovely outdoors with shady trees and plenty of coffee tables.

The entire property is also very exclusive so you won’t have any problems with random outsiders – it has fences and a gate to keep everything safe and secure.

You will love that they have good choices for rooms, but it is best suited for couples who want mid-range features at a fraction of the cost. Their double rooms are only $17 and the suite rooms are only $34.

The rooms have either a terrace or a balcony where you can see popular landmarks and enjoy a garden view. Light, warm colors are used as the basis for the room’s theme; combined with wooden furniture to give it a cozy vibe. The rooms are fully furnished and you also have an area next to the bed that can function as a work desk or as a mini-boudoir so you can prep yourself for the evening!

»» Check out reviews, prices, and availability here ««

Hotel Sunway

Hotel Sunway is a high and modern white building that offers fairly priced accommodation, especially for those who wish to experience camping in the nearby areas. Make sure to book the property in advance if it is something that fits your preferences and needs, last-minute booking is not possible because a lot of people love this small hotel.

Every morning, the owner’s mother prepares a hearty breakfast buffet for their guests – a mother’s love truly makes the dishes taste better!

The prices are in the upper budget range, but if you’re getting mid-range amenities and features, then this is already a good choice! All rooms have a balcony with iron-glazed coffee tables and chairs, perfect for a nice morning coffee or tea.

The entire hotel features modern design and architecture which is also evident in the rooms. The beds are extremely comfortable and you can just hop in and sleep soundly.

There are tiled floors and walls inside the ensuite bathrooms and a glass wall separates the shower area from the toilet to avoid a damp mess after you bathe. Guests who have rented or brought their cars may park freely at their garage.

»» Check out reviews, prices, and availability here ««

Mid-Range Hotels in Ksamil
($50-$100 a Night)

Check this mid-range accommodation in Ksamil if you manage to stretch your budget a bit more…

Albania - Ksamil - Restaurant with served table in seafront of Ionian sea, Ksamil

Hotel Piramida

A newly opened hotel is something that most people love. Why? Because most of the facilities aren’t dated and you are sure that everything is working just perfectly. Hotel Piramida fits that description because it opened only a few years ago.

The hotel features a private pool (with a pool bar) in the garden, which is something quite hard to find since beaches are already extremely affordable and beautiful in the area. It has a total of 17 rooms ranging from double to triple or quadruple rooms.

An energizing continental breakfast is included in your stay is available in the morning, but there are also markets only 2 minutes by foot if would rather have a different choice.

The rooms have a minimal flair, some of them with a tiny splash of color, but not too much, with a basic palette in black, white, and gray. All of the rooms have a private balcony with a table and chairs. 

»» Check out reviews, prices, and availability here ««

Hotel Esmerald Ksamil

Hotel Esmerald Ksamil is a family-run hotel where you can get a really good view of the islands and the emerald-colored sea (which was the perfect color to add to the hotel’s name) from your balcony.

The building stands out from the neighborhood due to its white color and modern style. While there are many other nearby beaches to explore, there is a private area of the beach dedicated to the hotel where you can rent loungers for a small price. Sometimes, parties are even held here, and you won’t have to worry about the noise reaching your room.

Their studio rooms have either garden or sea view. They’re also fully equipped with a flat-screen TV, A/C, heating, strong WiFi, a dining table, and a refrigerator. There’s not much to expect in terms of style, but they’re simple and comfortable.

The ensuite bathroom is spotlessly clean and it has tiled walls and floors plus an enclosed shower. Parking is also free and it is located underground, so you are sure that your car will be safe.

»» Check out reviews, prices, and availability here ««

Heksamil Hotel

Heksamil is another top contender for a modern hotel with a private pool in Ksamil. They offer multiple room types have one of the best customer services you can think of! The pool area also features loungers, hammocks, and inflatables for kids (year-round!)

Balconies give all guests a sweeping view of either the sea, the garden, or the town.

The rooms have a modern functional style with tiled floors and wooden furniture to complete its polished simple aesthetics. They’re fully equipped with features like  A/C, flat-screen TV, washing machine, and fridge.

The private bathrooms are decorated in shades of blue, making them look relaxing. Parking on-site is free and you can also charge your electric vehicles here.

»» Check out reviews, prices, and availability here ««

Poda Beach Hotel

Poda Beach Hotel is another mid-range beachfront hotel with a pool near the heart of Ksamil, which you can recognize by the entrance resembling a Greek temple. There’s a landscaped garden with an assortment of plants and trees to give you shade and a fresh ambiance – making it a small oasis by the beach. They offer rooms perfect for couples and even for a honeymoon.

All of the rooms (doubles and suites) are soundproof. Due to its perfect beachside location, most of the rooms feature a balcony or a terrace facing the sea. If you want a private spa bath in your room, you may opt for the bigger rooms or suites.

The beds are extra wide to keep you sleeping soundly after all the tiring and fun activities you can do nearby. The private bathroom also has all the amenities and toiletries that you need for a refreshing shower.

Poda Beach Hotel serves a continental breakfast with a good selection of bread, jams, and other delicacies to pair with a cup of hot coffee. Just in case you want to check their a la carte offerings, you may visit their café and restaurant, or you can check their bars for drinks.

The beach area of the hotel has sunbeds and umbrellas (maybe a lot) and a gorgeous beach bar!

»» Check out reviews, prices, and availability here ««

Luxury Hotels in Ksamil
($110+ a Night)

These beautiful hotels are there for you to splurge and indulge during your Ksamil stay, discover the best ones down here…

Albania - Ksamil - Empty Ksamil Beach - Butrint National Park, Sarande, Southern Albania, Europe

King Hotel Ksamil

With a bright light and a crown logo visible even at night, King Hotel Ksamil stands out from beachfront luxury choices with tons of features and amenities. They have suites and rooms for families, couples, and even solo travelers. Most of the rooms open to a balcony with a view of the sea or a terrace, while some have huge windows that give you the same view.

You can also get your breakfast at the hotel for only $6.

The rooms have a simple and minimal style and you can really see how clean and well-maintained their facilities are. The private bathrooms are very luxurious because of the tiled walls and floors plus the enclosed shower with a powerful rain showerhead.

The rooms have everything you look for and regardless of the tier, they all boast a minibar with a fridge and an electric kettle. Kids can enjoy the free playground outdoors.

The buffet also has selections suited for kids who are picky eaters. You may also check the café or restaurant on-site for some great choices of Albanian and international food. Just be sure to bring cash, because cards are not accepted at the restaurant.

»» Check out reviews, prices, and availability here ««

Hotel Castle

If you want to stay in a castle-looking hotel in Ksamil, then this one’s for you. Hotel Castle truly gives you the royal treatment you want for a well-deserved vacation. It is also very near to other beaches that you can reach on foot in a few minutes. At night, the glowing lights make the hotel look very bright and hypnotic – quite like a very festive place!

The interior of the hotel makes use of wooden floors and ceilings and contemporary furniture.

Rooms include doubles, triples, and quads for all types of guests. All of their rooms have a balcony and it opens you to a panoramic view of the sea with amazing sunset views! The entire room is also ridiculously clean so you won’t have to worry about your allergies.

Check their wellness facilities and try their sauna or fitness center. The property has a private beach area and it guarantees that you’ll have a nice sun lounger all for yourself!

»» Check out reviews, prices, and availability here ««

Seaside Ksamil

The name of the hotel straight away gives you a relaxing idea of a beach setting in a peaceful location away from the hustle and bustle of the city – and that’s exactly what this place offers!

The property features a beautiful garden with flowering plants, swaying palm trees, and graceful vines crawling. There’s also an area with seaside views as well as a side of the hotel facing the magnificent scene of the town. No matter where you are, there’s a nice view always waiting for you in this dainty countryside house.

While rooms fit on the upper mid-range price, they do have a luxurious apartment with 2 bedrooms and a living area. This particular apartment can accommodate up to 8 guests and, like most of the rooms, it has everything you need, including 3 beds and 3 sofa beds. You can set up a nice meal or dinner in the outdoor dining area and you may also fire up the grill for a BBQ.

There’s even a washing machine you can use at your disposal, so you don’t have to use the sink to wash your clothes!

»» Check out reviews, prices, and availability here ««

Villas and Holiday Homes in Ksamil

Do you prefer the homely feel of your own place rather than a hotel stay? Then check these villas in Ksamil for a relaxing vacation…

Albania - Ksamil - Rocky shore next to Ksamil, Saranda, Albanian Riviera, beautiful seascape, sunset

Villa Ermali

Villa Ermali is in a peaceful location and has a wonderful view of the beach, but still near to the city center and nested on top of a hill. You can simply go for a 10-minute walk from the property and take a dip or enjoy long walks by the sea.

The owner is also very accommodating and can speak multiple languages to help you with any concerns you may have during your stay – actually, most guests have loved staying here so you might not have any issues at all.

The price is very good considering you will only pay $28 per night and get the exclusivity of the entire property! If you don’t want to go out just to get breakfast, you do have the option to get it on-site for only $11 per head.

The villa has 2 bedrooms and it can accommodate up to 4 guests. Parking is also free and you can keep it safer with a lock. Sometimes, the owner pays a visit to their guests to bring some fresh fruits or other complimentary details.

During summer, you can use their grill to make a nice steak and match it to tasty baked potatoes. Past guests, have loved that the WiFi, A/C, and heating are all functioning well and you won’t have any issues connecting to the internet or having the right temperature despite the season.

»» Check out reviews, prices, and availability here ««

Casa Ksamil

A huge group can save by getting a holiday home like Casa Ksamil. Take into account that properties like these are quite difficult to find online. This home in particular can accommodate up to 10 guests and it has all the features to make you feel at home despite, ironically being on vacation.

Casa Kamil features 4 bedrooms, each in a different style. Some of them are equipped with bunk beds. The style is modern, bold, and features vibrant colors. There are 3 bathrooms, though small, featuring amenities including a hairdryer. Some guests have noticed that the shower and toilet area are close to each other, so it can be a good idea to point the shower head to the side wall not to get the toilet all wet.

The living room has a comfy and colorful leather sofa with pillows. You are also provided with other features like a washing machine, a minibar with a coffee machine, a fully-equipped kitchenette, and ironing facilities.

There’s also a balcony with seaside views, as well as views of the flowery garden and the green mountains.

»» Check out reviews, prices, and availability here ««

5 Things to Pack to Albania

Bulgaria - Burgas - Stephanie at Burgas Train Station with Luggage

We have a complete packing list for Albania, but make sure you bring these five items with you!

Lonely Planet Western Balkans is a great guidebook for your visit to Albania, and it’s great if you’re also visiting any combination of the following countries: North Macedonia, Kosovo, Bosnia, Serbia, Croatia, Montenegro, and Slovenia. It can be really hard (sometimes impossible) to buy a physical guidebook in English once you’re in Albania, so if you like having your guidebook in your hands you will need to bring it with you from home.

Unlocked Cell Phone: Allison and I both have unlocked cell phones that we bought in Europe (I use a Samsung and she uses an iPhone). This allows up to get sim cards when we travel so that we always have the internet. This has gotten us out of so many jams! 

If you don’t have an unlocked cell phone that can use an Albanian sim card, you can buy a cheaper unlocked phone online and bring it with you!

Pacsafe Citysafe or Other Anti-Theft Bag: This is the bag both Allison and I use (and they also make men’s versions). It has a pouch with RFID technology so our credit cards can’t get scanned from afar, interlocking zippers to make it harder to pickpocket, and it’s roomy enough to be a perfect sightseeing day bag. 

 

A Sturdy MoneybeltIf you don’t want to get a new bag with anti-theft features as I use, you can use a money belt instead. I prefer to have these features built into my bag instead, but I know for a lot of people a money belt is a less expensive investment than a new bag. 

Grayl Water FilterWhile the water is safe to drink in the country’s larger cities, you need to avoid it in the small towns and villages inland and on the coast. If you don’t want to be buying millions of plastic water bottles, you can get a reusable water bottle that comes with a water filter so that you can stick to the tap water and reduce your plastic waste. 

Wet wipes, hand sanitizer, TP & other Balkan transit needs. Bathrooms in the Balkans tend to be… how can we say it?… not so well-stocked. Save yourself the disappointment and bring a mini-rescue pack of wet wipes & hand sanitizer.

Read next: Essential Albania Packing List: What to Wear & Pack for Albania

More Places to Stay in Albania

Albania - Berat - Ottoman Houses

Are you visiting other parts of the country? When traveling to Albania, we recommend checking out Booking.com as early as possible. The country is gaining in popularity as a tourist destination, so some of the best spots do sell out early (especially in summer and on the coast)!

More Albania Travel Resources

Albania - Berat - Berat Flowers

First, start by reading our post on planning a trip to Albania. It covers everything from visas to vaccinations to what to pack, so it’s a great jumping-off point for your travel plans.

Next, check out our Albania packing list and our suggested one, two, and three-week Albania itineraries.

If you’re curious about the currency used in Albania and how tipping works, we recommend our Balkan currency guide to learn all about the Albanian lek and tipping culture. We also have a post on Albanian cuisine!

If you’re looking for even more places to add to your Albania itinerary, we have a bunch of ideas for you from us and other bloggers in this collaborative post about the 15 best places to visit in Albania! If you love UNESCO sites, make sure to check out Gjirokastra, Berat, and Butrint!

We are working on all of our Tirana guides, but for now, we have posts on the best restaurants in Tirana, the best Tirana cafes, and the best Instagram spots in Tirana, plus how to visit the Tirana Christmas Market.

We add new content almost daily! We recommend you bookmark our homepage, our Albania page, or our general Balkans page to refer to when planning your trip.

Don’t Forget About Travel Insurance!

If you’re planning a trip to Albania, make sure to travel with a valid travel insurance policy. While we feel safe in Albania, it’s a good idea to be covered in case of an emergency. Travel insurance covers you in case of theft or an accident, which can save your trip if there’s an incident.

For travel insurance, Stephanie and I use World NomadsI’ve been a happy customer of theirs for almost three years, and I’ve never had an issue when making a claim. I’m happy to refer them to anyone I meet.

>> Get a travel insurance quote for your trip here. << 

Pin this Ksamil Hotel Guide for Your Trip to Albania!

12 Amazing Things to Do in Kaş During Your Next Trip to Turkey!

12 Amazing Things to Do in Kaş During Your Next Trip to Turkey!

 

Once you discover Kaş, you will never want to leave, trust me! In Kaş, a magic spell will surround you and won’t let go.

When you wander this magnificent fishing village, you will feel the spirit of the streets. And once you’ve experienced the Mediterranean blues in Kaş, you’ll become obsessed with spending here every summer of your life!

However, before we step together into the city of Kaş, let us take a journey to witness the miraculous beauty of the local nature and the cultural richness that this city has been offering for centuries…

Kaş has been a very popular spot since prehistoric times, and it continues to be attractive today due to its natural beauty and location. Being at the intersection of the Lycian Way and the Caria Road, it has also doubled the historical and cultural value of the region. With its climate, nature, and historical texture, Kaş is one of the places you should visit in Turkey.

If you are ready for limitless joy and amazing views, let’s discover this stunning city.

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Where to Stay in Kaş

turkey - kas - sunset in the mediterranean. Kas, Bodrum, Antalya, Turkey.

If you’re spending some time in Turkey, you will probably be arriving in Istanbul, So, why not check our giant neighborhood guide and hotel recommendations? If you don’t have a clue about where to stay in Istanbul, read about our favorite Sultanahmet hotels near the Blue Mosque or our favorite Bosphorus view hotels.

Once in Kaş, there are plenty of places where to spend a great time. These are our top picks for each budget category.

Budget: For a great budget-friendly hotel, you can stay at Kaş Artemis Hotel, only 700 m to the seafront. Another great and affordable option is Hideaway, a few meters from the center.

Mid-Range: For an affordable stay, we recommend Club Çapa Hotel, ideal for a seaside holiday. One more place we suggest is Aqua Princess, close to the sea and the center too.

Luxury: There are many fabulous hotels to choose from, but we love Suna Sun Boutique Hotel for adults only. For a fantastic stay in the city center, then check the pretty Erdem City Hotel.

Amazing Things to Do in Kaş

In no particular order, check these amazing things you can do when you visit Kaş, on the coast of Turkey…

Tour the Center of the City

Turkey - Kas

The cobblestone street lined up with wooden houses adorned with flowers which run through in the middle of Kaş welcomes visitors with amazing views, bohemian cafeterias, and hundreds of cats.

On the streets, you can find small boutiques, antique shops, gift shops, jewelers, and carpenters featuring their crafts. If you want to better know local life, just take a walk along the streets in the old center of Kaş. They can be crowded at peak times though, so you can enjoy a more quiet time if you visit in spring.

Enjoy the Amazing Blue of the Kaputaş Beach

turkey  - kas - Famous Kaputaş beach from top. Antalya Turkey.

Kaputaş Beach is located on the Kaş-Kalkan road. It is a very special natural beach only 20 from Kaş.

Kaputaş is one of the most beautiful beaches in the Mediterranean. The beach embraces visitors with an amazing turquoise sea. Known as Canyon Beach, the sea here is normally wavy, but the view remains simply outstanding.

Kaputaş beach definitely deserves to be on the list of places to visit. If you decide to make a stop in Kaputaş, remember to carry flippers, goggles, and snorkel with you. You won’t regret it.

During the whole summer season, there are regular minibusses covering the route Kaş-Kaputaş Beach and Kaputaş Beach-Kalkan-Patara. If you prefer to relax and enjoy a guided visit, check this value-for-money jeep safari that also takes you to Patara beach and Saklıkent.

 

Feel the Historical Spirit in the Ancient City of Xanthos

Turkey - Kas - Xanthos Ancient City. Grave monument and the ruins of ancient city of Xanthos - Letoon (Xantos, Xhantos, Xanths) in Kas, Antalya/Turkey. Capital of Lycia.

It was the largest administrative center of the Lycian civilization in antiquity. The ancient city of Xanthos is a UNESCO World Heritage site with a history that goes back all the way to the 7th century BC. It’s located 70 km from the Kaş-Fethiye highway.

Most of the historical art in Xanthos belongs to the Hellenistic period. The Harpy Monument, the city walls, the agora, the church with mosaic floors, the theatre, and the Tomb monuments in the necropolis can be seen here.

Many of the artifacts were discovered by British Fellows who carried out excavations in the ancient city in the 1840s. Today, these are on display at the British Museum.

There are many historical monuments that are worth visiting in this fascinating ancient city. The ancient settlement was destroyed many times, continuously burned down, and rebuilt.

They said that this is the site where most artifacts in the region can be found, so much so that the excavations are still ongoing. To have a better idea, researchers confirm that all the artifacts that we can see here today are only a fraction of what the city used to be. Want to put both Patara and Xanthos on a day trip? Then we suggest you this tour.

Walk Saklıkent Canyon

turkey - kas - Saklikent Canyon is the deepest canyon in southern Turkey, Goynuk canyon Saklikent, located in District of Kemer, Antalya Province

The canyon of Saklikent is about 14 kilometers long and is believed to have emerged as a result of an earthquake. This unique beauty is one hour away from to center of Kaş.

At the end of the canyon, there is a small waterfall. On hot summer days, it is a good idea to walk through the canyon and to refresh in its ice-cold water. There are very nice restaurants lined up by the river where you can relax after the walk too.

Say Kalimera to our Greek Neighbor Meis Island

Turkey - Kas - Meis Island

No matter where you look when in Kaş, you can always spot the island of Meis (Kastellorizo for the Greeks), which adds even more beauty to the scene. The island of Meis, located just 2.1 km from Kaş, is also one of Greece’s most distant islands to their mainland.

Meis is a lovely little island that hasn’t surrendered to urbanization. After a 20-minute ferry ride from Kaş, you’ll find yourself in a different country.

Enjoy the Amazing Views of the Ancient Theatre of Antiphellos

Turkey - Kas - Remains of Antiphellos Theatre at location Kas, Antalya, Turkey

This is my favorite place in Kaş, I like to come here just to enjoy the great sunset over the sea… These Lycians really knew their business. Everything they designed has a beautiful view.

There are not many structures remaining from Antiphellos to the present day except the Ancient Theatre of Antiphellos. Although it has been restored, you can still feel its historical aura.

When you access the theater, you can feel that the atmosphere isolates you from your surroundings. When you get to the top seating area, it is a pleasure to watch the sunset combined with the views from Kaş and Meis Island.

You can stay long after the sun has gone down to witness the glittering view of the sea in the evening.

Visit the Church of Saint Nicholas

Turkey - Kas  - Saint Nicholas (Santa Claus) Church in Demre. It is rumored that St. Nicholas, is the same person as Santa Claus. Internal view of the church. Very close to the ancient city of Myra. Antalya / TURKEY

Do you know where Santa Claus comes from? St. Nicholas, worldwide known as Santa Claus, was born in one of the important cities of the Lycia region, Patra, but in general, it’s said that he lived in Demre.

Saint Nicholas had a great influence on the city of Mayra, where the Church of St. Nicholas is located, ıt became the capital of the Lycian region and increased its reputation. The Church of Saint Nicholas is an important monument and the most outstanding example in Byzantine art history,

The Church of Santa Claus, which was heavily damaged by floods, earthquakes, and invasions, was rebuilt under the orders of Emperor Constantine IX and his wife Zoe in 1042, and also by the Russian Tsar I in 1862. From mosaic floor coverings to a terrific interior design, everything is waiting to be discovered.

Take a Short Trip to Kalkan

Turkey - Kas - Holidaymakers sunbathing at Kalkan beach - Kalkan, Turkey

If you come to Kaş, you shouldnt leave before visiting Kalkan, which is located about 25km from Kaş. It was founded 200 years ago by Greek sailors and bears traces of the Lycian civilization.

Those seeking tranquility should know that here it’s quieter than in Kaş. Kalkan does not offer that small boutique hostel culture and yet you will find luxury small hotels and villas, prefer for a stay when exploring the area.

Another characteristic of this place is that the majority of the population is British. The British who own villas in Kalkan make up almost 80% of the population.

Feel the Hot Sand in Patara Beach

Turkey - Kas - Patara

There are many beautiful beaches around Kaş, Patara is one of them. And you should really see it. Patara is only 40 minutes away from Kaş, near the ruins of the ancient city of Pattara.

Patara Beach is approximately 12 km long and its most important characteristics are the soft, fine sand, and the extension of the coast. This shore is protected since it’s a place where sea turtles lay their eggs.

Pattara also has a very ancient history. The old city of Patara was one of the most important cities of the Lycian civilization. This is due to having the first parliament building in this region, which gave it an important place in history.

Also known, as one of the birthplaces of the god Apollo, other important structures you can check in Patara include the Vespasianus Bath, the Theater of Patara, a Corinthian Temple, and a Byzantine church.

Dive into the Amazing Blue Underwater World

Turkey - Kas - Diver swims near a cave in Alanya / Turkey

If you are interested in diving, Kaş is one of the most important diving centers in the world. The underwater exploration will offer you beauty, sunken cities, and forgotten ships to discover… The beauty beneath the turquoise color of the sea, coupled with warm temperature and transparency is undefeated.

Here, you can train to become a professional or experienced diver through an unforgettable holiday that includes daily training and a final certification.

Jump from the Asas Dağ

Turkey - Kas - Paragliding in the sky. Paraglider tandem flying over the sea with blue water and mountains in bright sunny day. Aerial view of paraglider and Blue Lagoon in Oludeniz, Turkey. Extreme sport. Landscape

Are you an adventurer? If you say yes, you shouldn’t miss a paragliding adventure in Kaş to enjoy a great view from the sky.

Do go for the 650-700 meter high track at the foot of Asas. The runway height is ideal for those who will experience it for the first time. The flight time takes approximately 20-25 minutes. If you’re eager to try this activity, then check this fantastic tandem paragliding fly over Lycia, Kas, and Meis.

Taste Local Turkish Food in Bi Lokma

Turkey - Kas - Manti / Turkish Ravioli with yogurt.

So you are in Turkey, a country with an amazing history, and with gastronomy spanning from the Ottoman Empire to the Turkish Republic. It’s now time to taste the delicious Turkish cuisine.

Bi Lokma is my favorite restaurant in Kaş which serves fresh homemade dishes. If you want to taste local Turkish food, I recommend you to visit Bi Lokma and eat its Sarma, and the Mantı. You can also taste their delicious Turkish breakfast.

5 Things to Bring to Turkey

Greece - Crete - Heraklion - Old Venetian Harbor Luggage

First of all, check our essentials ist of what to pack for Turkey, and also consider these five things you definitely want to bring with you!

The Lonely Planet Turkeya good guidebook that can help you with the kinds of safety tips you need if you’re out in the city and feel a bit lost, especially if you don’t have internet or a cell signal. These also have specific neighborhood information that will help you in different parts of the city, and it’s a great supplement to blog posts like this one!

Unlocked Cell Phone: Stephanie and I both have unlocked cell phones that we bought in Europe (I use a Samsung and Allison uses an iPhone). This allows up to get sim cards when we travel so that we always have the internet. This has gotten us out of so many jams! If you don’t have an unlocked cell phone that can use a Turkish sim card, you can buy a cheaper unlocked phone online and bring it with you!

Pacsafe Citysafe or Other Anti-Theft Bag: This is the bag both Stephanie and I use for all our travels. It has a pouch with RFID technology so our credit cards can’t get scanned from afar, interlocking zippers to make it harder to pickpocket, and it’s roomy enough to be a perfect sightseeing day bag, yet it’s still quite stylish for all of its security features. If you’d rather bring something smaller, you can pack a money belt instead. 

Grayl Water FilterWhile the water is *technically* safe to drink now, I would still avoid it. If you don’t want to be buying millions of plastic water bottles, you can get a reusable water bottle that comes with a water filter so that you can stick to the tap water and reduce your plastic waste. If you’ll be traveling outside of the major tourist centers, check if the water is potable locally.

Sea bands: If you get seasick easily, pack some Sea bands or seasickness pills so you don’t miss out on the best parts of Turkey – being on the water! A trip to Turkey isn’t complete without a cruise or at least a quick boat trip, so make sure you’re prepared to enjoy it to the fullest!

More Turkey Travel Resources

Turkey - Istanbul - Stephanie Ortakoy Mosque

We have a ton of resources to help you plan your trip to Turkey!

If this will be your first trip to Turkey, check out this guide to planning a trip to Turkey (including visa information) and this guide of beautiful places to visit in Turkey. You can also check out our Balkan currency guide, which explains how the Turkish lira works and guidelines for tipping in Istanbul.

If you’re heading to Istanbul, we have you covered. Start with our essential Istanbul Travel Tips and guide to staying safe in Istanbul

We’re working on our massive things to do in Istanbul post, plus you can check out our guide to the best Instagram spots around Istanbul, tips for shopping in Istanbul, the best Turkish food to eat, how to plan an Istanbul honeymoon, and what to do in Istanbul at night.

If you will be visiting in winter, we have a special winter in Istanbul guide plus an overview of Istanbul weather in January.

If you want to be in the city for just a few days (four or less), check out our Istanbul city break guide, which breaks down the best of the city so you won’t miss anything!

Headed to Cappadocia? If you’re curious about the most Instagrammable places in Cappadocia, we’ve got you covered. We also have posts on the best things to do in Cappadocia, and how to plan a perfect 3 day Cappadocia itinerary, plus how to get to Cappadocia from Istanbul.

We have tons more Turkey and Balkans resources, and we publish new content nearly daily. Bookmark our Turkey and Balkans travel pages so you can find any new resources that come out before your trip!

Don’t Forget About Travel Insurance!

If you’re planning a trip to Turkey, make sure to travel with a valid travel insurance policy. While we feel safe in Turkey, it’s a good idea to be covered in case of an emergency. Travel insurance covers you in case of theft or an accident, which can save your trip if there’s an incident.

For travel insurance, Allison and I use World NomadsI’ve been a happy customer of theirs for almost three years, and I’ve never had an issue when making a claim. I’m happy to refer them to anyone I meet.

>>Get a travel insurance quote for your trip here.<<

Pin this Guide to 12 Things to Do in Kaş for Your Trip!

Great Things to Do in Cluj Napoca for a Fantastic Vacation!

Great Things to Do in Cluj Napoca for a Fantastic Vacation!

Cluj-Napoca is the treasure city of Romania. Located in the heart of Transylvania, famous all around the world for its tales about Dracula and vampires, Cluj is the second biggest city in Romania and it was nominated European Youth Capital in 2015.

I know for sure that you’ve been curious about it since you first read the word Transylvania, so let’s see what are the top things thing to do in Cluj Napoca.

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Where to Stay in Cluj Napoca

Romania - Cluj Napoca - Old city of Cluj-Napoca, night scene

Here are our top suggestions for where to stay in Cluj Napoca for your next visit to Romania. In general, budget means hotel stays for around $30 a night, mid-range is about $35-70 per night, and luxury will cost over $80 per night.

Budget: When it comes to Cluj Napoca with a limited budget, check the comfort and simplicity in Hotel Olimp, another place we recommend is Hampton by Hilton Cluj-Napoca.  

Mid-range: With a more generous budget, discover the Zen Central Suites or Golden Tulip Anna Dome Hotel.

Luxury: Want to splurge in Cluj Napoca? We recommend a stay at Hotel Platinia or at the magnificent Hotel Opera Plaza.

Great Things to Do in Cluj Napoca

In no particular order, these are some of the top things to do in Cluj Napoca when venturing into wonderful Romania…

Discover Piata Unirii

Romania - Bucharest. Piata Unirii , Bucuresti Sunset

Like any other enthusiast traveler, the first things you want to see in a new place are the landmarks and the structures the city has to offer. There is no better place to start with than Union Square.

A full-day walking and sightseeing is waiting, so you better fuel up with a tasty breakfast and a cup of coffee. And there is no better place to do so than in Union Square.

Enjoy a perfect view of the center of Cluj-Napoca, while you walk in the area. Here, it’s possible to admire the curious combination of architectural styles from Baroque to Gothic, from Neoclassical to Renaissance.

If you are not really sure where to start from, we suggest you check a tour like this one, that will take you on a walk around town to see the main attractions.

Visit St. Michael’s Church

Be ready to be astonished at the grand Saint Michael Church situated in the center of Cluj, in Union Square. This building is centuries-old, dating back from the 15th century, and it is the second tallest church in Romania.

Tourists as well as locals, no matter who passes by, will lift their heads to admire this grand majestic church. One thing to keep in mind, that not even many locals know, is that you can actually climb the tower and admire the city from above. Be ready, though, you will need to climb 175 steps to get there.

No matter whether you choose to see the church from the outside, the inside, or up from the tower, it’s a promise that you’ll be bewildered by the building!

Check Banffy Palace

Right across Piata Unirii is Banffy Palace. The building was designed by German architect Eberhard Blaumann and built back in the 18th century. As of 1951, the palace houses the National Museum of Art, which holds an extraordinary heritage of paintings, sculptures, and other works of art.

After a tour of the museum, if it’s your lucky day, you can come back at night for the many events that are held in the central yard of the Museum; from shows and exhibitions to concerts and party events.

Go for a Gala Evening at the National Opera

The National Opera stands gloriously to its range as it is considered to be a European Cultural Institution. It has featured over 200 different titles of operas, operettas, and ballet.

One of the best goosebumps moments in my life happened while I was watching the Swan Lake play and you could not hear a peak from anywhere as the audience was astonished by the greatness of the performance.

If you enjoy ballet as well, you can choose between Swan Lake, Giselle, The Nut Cracker, Don Quijote, and many others.

Learn About the Pharmaceutical History of Transylvania

Photo Credit: Monica Emilia Chirila / CC BY-SA 3.0 RO [link]

The oldest pharmacy in Cluj-Napoca is hosted in Casa Hintz and has an impressive collection of 3000 pieces, the oldest dating from 1573. It is separated into 4 rooms and it illustrates the pharmaceutical activity of Transylvania since the 15th century.

One of the fun reasons why a lot of people visit is that it’s possible to find there bizarre things like powdered human mummies, potion antidotes, and lobster eyes.

During the annual Night of Museums, an Egyptian mummy was brought here to be exhibited, and over 25.000 people from Cluj spent the night visiting the pharmacy and other museums of Cluj.

Take a Walk in Central Park

As you will get to notice, people from Cluj are calm and for sure they don’t like to rush and ran around. Follow their example and go for a walk in Central Park. Hey, you can even feed the ducks if it helps you relax. During summer, you can take hire a pedal boat from the jetty on the lake or just sit back and enjoy nature.

Don’t worry if you are visiting in winter, you can still walk the alleys and sit on a bench right in front of the Casino, only a marble fountain separates you from the building.

Experience Paranormal Activity in Hoia Baciu

Hoia Baciu forest is the perfect spot to unwind and relax. Or not? It is said that this beautiful forest is haunted since the beginning of time and people claim to have seen UFOs and experienced nausea, anxiety, and sickness symptoms.

The story began when a shepherd stepped into the forest with a flock with more than 200 sheep and never came out. The forest carries his name and since then, it is considered one of the most haunted forests in the world.

One of the weirdest things about it is that the trees grow in a clockwise spiral form, and none of the specialists that investigated this phenomenon can explain the reason.

Some say that this forest might be a portal to another world, but this won’t stop the young souls from celebrating the WoodTech festival in Hoia Baciu!

Spend an Afternoon at the Botanical Garden

You cannot overlook the Botanical Garden in Cluj Napoca. 10 000 different plant species live in one of the biggest public botanical gardens in Romania. Dull of breathtaking beauty, any nature enthusiast will love this place!

You can enjoy the Japanese Themed Garden with a classic pond with soft aesthetics and aromatic air or the Greenhouse where you’ll find huge palm trees and exotic plants.

One of the main attractions is a lotus from Amazon who grows to 1,5m in diameter and can hold as much weight child. After your walk in the garden, you can climb up the water tower to get a full look at the Botanical Garden and watch the sunset from there.

Quick tip! On some days, if you have a book with you, you can get in for free!

Get Inspired by the Panoramic Views of Cluj

Once upon a time, Cetatuia was a fortress, turned into a prison, and now is the most romantic place in Cluj.

You’ll first love will be Cluj, but most of everybody’s love stories in this city started with a date on Cetatuie. Here is where you can get the best panoramic view of Cluj, to see the rise of the airplanes at sunset, wait for the starlight sky, and admire the city lights in the evening.

This is the perfect spot to end the landmarks tour in Cluj-Napoca so you can get to the fun part.

Experience Untold

Let’s have some fun, shall we? The 13th biggest festival in the world, Untold can host none less than 370,000 people from 110 different countries in only 4 days, this was the last festival’s record back in 2019.

As many say, it’s not just a festival, is a true experience. In Central Park, you will find out that there is so much stuff you can do between concerts and you won’t get the chance to get bored while waiting for the music to start.

You get to choose between VR experiences, getting inside a bubble, and even fire acrobats that will shock you with daring shows. If you want to experience a more traditional side to it, they even bring a Maramureseana House where you can enjoy traditional plates of food and attend yoga, ceramics, painting, and crochet classes. Crazy, right?

You can come bare face at the festival cause there are people here to transform you with make-up and hairstyle in a Festival Queen. Therefore, there is no need to worry about your style cause fashion designers have an outdoor shop for you to choose your next outfit.

 In Candyland, you can go back to your dream childhood while savoring a triple flavored ice cream while riding an English Carrousel.

Are you waiting for the concert now? Many famous names have stepped on the stages of Untold, like Robbie William, Armin van Buuren, Steve Aoki, James Arthur, Martin Garix, Tov Lo, David Guetta.

How about the tickets? They sell as fast as hot bread! You can buy your pass online but the organization decided to give people more opportunities to attend the festival.

You can donate blood and you receive a 1-day pass, volunteering also sounds like an amazing option, right? One of the craziest things I ever witnessed in Cluj was going grocery shopping at Kaufland Market and getting a full-day ticket pass at Untold!

The funny thing is that it wasn’t announced so it caught me off guard while I was at the cashier and they told me to go and grab my ticket to Untold…  and I have only bought a pack of gum!. In just 30 minutes, every Kaufland Market got full of people, and tickets sold out in 10 minutes. There is so much to say about this festival… but you better experience it for yourself!

Bar Crawling on Piezisa Street

Festival or not, Cluj is a vibrant city.

Piezisa street waits for students every autumn. It’s a relaxed and bohemian place, where young people feel happy and free, ready to live and have fun. In the beginning, it was just a normal street but due to its intense traffic, people started to open their business on the side of the street, and fast forward, the street was closed to vehicles.

Now, it’s a students’ paradise and from down and up to the hill, there are a lot of options to start your night with.

Cleo Pub is a bar with personality. It’s a place where you can spend your days and nights, having a coffee or a cheap beer, playing cards, or enjoying a shisha. You can even attend the Quiz Night held every Wednesday,  the bar gets full of people ready to win the game!

Just a few meters up on Piezisa street is Booha Bar. One of the most famous bars in Cluj-Napoca and for all the right reasons. Here is the place where you need to come in time to get your spot and where they play the best music.

Prices are a bit higher than the normal rates on the street but it isn’t that important for people because it’s worth every penny. The music varies based on the events they organize, mostly Indie and Drum’s Bass.

If there is a place that knows how to throw a party, that’s Booha Bar. They started a new concept called Booha College Party and it extended all over the country.

Booha College Party brings all the good DJs and themes at every festival and once a month in different locations. Your tickets must be purchased when they announce the event cause otherwise, you may not get a spot at the most awaited events of Cluj!

Visit the Beer Factory

Romania - cluj dapoca - Old beer factory

The Ursus Beer Factory first appears in the city records in the 18th century as the first beer factory opened in town. After 150 years of producing one of the best beer in Romania, it finally came to an end back in 2010.

Even though this brought sadness among locals, the restaurant is still open.

There you still can a cold beer and the house specialty “Rib Eye Stick”, a combination of grilled veal, served with creamy mushrooms, garlic bread, and buttercream with Chippolino.

Food for Every Taste!

romania - cluj napoca - Traditional Romania Food at a local brunch in Transylvania

Maybe you loved Cluj so much that you extended your stay here but the only thing you miss from home is your food! No problem, Cluj has it all!

If you came a long way from Tokyo, Tokyo Japanese Restaurant is the only 5 stars certified in town and of course, the chef is a Japanese Master Chef. The atmosphere in this place is a quiet and romantic one, the staff is very friendly and attentive to customer needs. Besides, dishes are presented in a delicate yet spectacular way.

India is already known for the tasteful and diverse dishes from the country, but the good thing is that you don’t need to go there just now to have a taste of Indian food! Indigo is one of the first Indian restaurants to be opened in 2010 in Cluj and it’s the only one to serve the famous Thali.

Experience Samsara Food House and Samsara Chilled Tea House

Why do I say experience? Well, let’s start with the first one. Samsara FoodHouse the biggest vegetarian and vegan restaurant in the country and you don’t even need to be vegetarian to have a bite! Samsara FoodHouse will make you believe that food can be delicious without meat too!

romania cluj napoca - Vegan or vegetarian restaurant dishes top view, hot spicy indian soups, rice and salads in copper bowls. Traditional indian cuisine meal assortment on wood background. Healthy eastern local food

Samara Chilled TeaHouse is nearby and the place is actually located in a house! It is separated into 4 different rooms, each one having its own theme. As you walk in, you will feel like you are in your own home, thanks to their policy about removing your shoes.

You can choose between the rooms and one of the things that make it feel like a home is that you will be sitting on the ground on the mattresses and pillows. Sounds cozy, right?

The music is Ambiental and combined with the exotic tea and flavored shisha, you will just disconnect from your day-to-day worries.

See the Earth

LightsOnCluj is the festival of light and it started as a project for designers to expose their work, but it turned out to be one of the most creative and beautiful events in Cluj.

Every installation is placed in different places in the city and has the intention to catch the eyes of people and help the authorities with more ingenious lighting solutions.

One of the main attractions of 2019, was the Gaia installation of the British artist Luke Jeram.

It’s the layout of the Earth and its scale is 1.8 million if compared to our planet. Have you ever imagined seeing the earth as an astronaut? Here is your chance.

Explore Turda Salina

Located at 120 below the ground lever, Turda Salina was a salt mine back in1932 but now it has transformed into a full and eclectic experience for visitors.

It’s an underground museum but there is so much more you will discover here! There is an elevator that will take you down and to the amusement park with a Farris Wheel, a mini-golf course, pool tables, bowley alleys, and an amphitheater. There’s even an underground lake that you can explore on a paddleboard.

If you’re not sure whether you should visit or not, why not checking the premises and the unique atmosphere with an organized tour? We recommend this one, which will show you the best of Turda Salina in just a few hours.

Experience the Dungeons

remoania - Vintage Combination lock in a Quest Escape Room

The Dungeon is the first escape room in Cluj and it has been welcomed with enthusiasm by everyone!

When you visit, the staff will tell you everything you need to know to learn how everything works.

More or less, this is how it goes: you are locked in a basement and here is your chance to test your detective skills and the main goal is to find a key to get out. Easy peasy, right? But is it actually like that?

I guess there is only one way to find out!

As you can see, there’s a lot to do in Cluj Napoca, and it can be a great destination any time of the year you want to visit!

What to Pack for Romania

Don’t forget! Romania is a 4-season country, so before you are visiting, make sure you check up the weather! Luckily for you, Cluj is always hotter than other cities so don’t be scared if you forgot about this aspect.

We have a full Romania packing list, but in case you just want the quick version, here are a few essentials you shouldn’t forget to pack!

A good guidebook: While travel blogs are great, we still think a good guidebook is always handy. We own and recommend Lonely Planet Romania & Bulgaria for travel in Romania and beyond!

One or two swimsuits: If you’re staying in a resort with a sauna, indoor pool, or steam room — or just visiting Bucharest’s epic Therme spa — you’ll likely want one! We suggest bringing two so you never have to put a cold wet one back on. We love this one.

Moisturizer: Travel will beat your skin up in the best of times. If you’ve never used a moisturizer before, you really should start. You’ll be happy to give your face a boost before heading outside in the cold all day.

Sunscreen: We strongly suggest wearing sunscreen when you spend time outdoors, no matter the weather outside. I love this solid Neutrogena sunscreen – it’s mess-free, works well in carry-ons, is ultra-protective, and blends in well.

Read Next: Essential Romania Packing List: What to Wear & Pack for Romania

Romania Travel Resources

Romania - Bucharest - Street art near Carturesti Verona

If you’re going to Romania, we have a goldmine of resources for you to take advantage of! First, check out this guide to planning a trip to Romania. It’s a good starting point for planning your trip.

Next, check out all the things to do in Transylvania and things to do in Bucharest. You can also check out our Instagram guides to SibiuBrasov, and Bucharest – more are on the way.

You can also read about the best Romanian castles, the Romanian food you should try on your trip, the best Romanian souvenirs, and inspirational travel quotes about Romania. Plus, how to plan some epic day trips from Bucharest.

We publish new content nearly every day! Bookmark our pages on Romania and the Balkans so that you don’t miss out on any new info or resources that we publish before your trip!

Don’t Forget About Travel Insurance

I’m sure you’re aware that travel insurance is a good idea for traveling in Romania (or really, any part of the world)! Stephanie and I have both been paying customers of World Nomads for the last three years. We love the peace of mind it gives us in case of emergencies, accidents, illnesses, theft, or trip cancellation or disruption.

While the Balkans are perfectly safe to travel around, there’s always a risk inherent in everyday travel, so it’s better to play it safe. The saying goes “if you can’t afford travel insurance, you can’t afford to travel” is true!

>> Get a travel insurance quote for your trip here <<

Pin this Guide to the Best Things to Do in Your Cluj Napoca Vacation!

8 Things You Need to Know Before Visiting Patras Carnival

8 Things You Need to Know Before Visiting Patras Carnival

Either you have some very excited friends who have visited Patras Carnival, and loved it, or… you ended up looking up for it because flights to Rio De Janeiro were a bit out of budget.

Whichever scenario brought you here, I guarantee, you will NOT be disappointed, as our carnival in Patras is not in any way less fun or exciting compared to its more famous “cousin”, Rio Carnival.

Patras Carnival has a history of almost 200 (!) years and is considered one of the most famous Greek attractions. People from all over Greece and neighboring countries visit the city during the Carnival days, and during those days, Patras is suffocating from young, energetic revelers, who are spreading fun vibes all around.

Because it’s an event – or more accurately a series of events – for which you will not find much information online, let me give you a thorough local-expert survival list, to make sure you will not omit anything important in your trip plan for Patras Carnival!

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Where to Stay in Patras

Greece - Patras - Patras city, Greece, view from above scenery. Patras is Greece's third-largest city and the regional capital of Western Greece, in the northern Peloponnese, 215 km (134 mi) west of Athens.

If you’re planning to spend some time in the wonderful area of Patras during the carnival, why not check these places to stay? Here are our top suggestions for where to stay in Patras. In most cases, budget means hotel stays for around $50 a night, mid-range is from about $60-80 per night, and luxury will cost over $100 per night.

Budget: When it comes to Patras with a limited budget, check the simple but cozy El Greco Hotel or Hotel Atlanta.  

Mid-range: With a more generous budget, discover the comfortable Galaxy City Center Hotel, with top reviews, and Moxy Patra Marina.

Luxury: Want to splurge? We recommend a stay at the magnificent The Bold Type Hotel as well as at Maison Grecque Hotel Extraordinaire.

8 Things You Need to Know Before Visiting Patras Carnival

These are the key things you need to consider if you’re planning to visit Patras for Carnival. With these tips, you won’t miss any of the fun!

Choose Your Dates Wisely

Greece - Patra - Sunset view on the bridge near Patras. Suspension bridge crossing Corinth Gulf strait, Greece, Europe. Second longest cable-stayed bridge in the world. Dramatic red sky under a Rion-Antirion Bridge.

Carnival is a pretty long celebration. As it is widely known, we Greeks don’t miss a chance to prolong celebrating! 

And when I say long, I mean it starts every year on January the 17th and ends a day before Clean Monday. Clean Monday is a moveable feast, occurring on the 7th Monday before Easter.

Of course, you are more than welcome to spend almost a month in Patras, in order to attend the full program of Carnival; however, let’s go with the more probable scenario, of you visiting Patras for 4-5 days.

The tourist attraction of the Carnival is the big parades, happening throughout the city streets, where you can also take part. And these parades happen on the weekend, right before the end of the Carnival.

More specifically, here’s the timeline:

  • Parade of the Floats – Friday
  • Walking (or Night) Parade – Saturday
  • Grand Parade & Closing Ceremony  – Sunday
  • Awards & Clean Monday – Monday

So a perfect vacation stay would be from Friday, February 28, one day before the big parade, until Tuesday, one day after Clean Monday (March 3rd). During this time, you will also have the chance to attend additionally the Closing Ceremony, the Parade of the Floats, and the awards of the best Carnival groups.

Don’t Be a Last-Minuter When it Comes to Accommodation

Greece - Patra - building in Patra Greece - carnival season

When I said that Carnival is one of the biggest attractions of Patras, I seriously meant it. That’s why it’s a logical consequence, that accommodation options in a small city like Patras, are severely diminished already a month before the start.

We are going to explore your options for accommodation in ascending order when it comes to the price.

First of all, if you have friends here, know that locals are really familiar with the concept of hosting hordes of visitors in their places. So don’t be ashamed and go ahead to ask them if they can spare a couch.

This brings us to your second option, being Couchsurfing. If no friends are detected in Patras, why not make some? Send some requests on the famous app and if you are lucky enough, a local will accept to host you.

There are not many Airbnbs available during this period in Patras, and the ones that are, are usually overpriced. Sometimes a hotel is more budget-friendly, so keep this in mind before booking.

A very important tip before choosing your apartment or hotel is to relocate the map on the platform, as most apartments that appear are really far from the actual center, even on the other side of the sea! So be very careful to book an apartment within walking distance from the center, unless you decide to bring a car and stay sober.

Suggested hotels in the city center are the Galaxy City Center Hotel and Patras Palace, especially if you wish to enjoy a sea view.

Byzantino, on the other hand, is an excellent choice if you want to be literally one step away from the feast.

Join a Carnival Group

Greece - Patra Aerial drone photo of iconic fully crowded square of Saint George or Agios Georgios during the annual Carnival Parade in city of Patras, Achaia, Peloponnese, Greece

Carnival groups are masses of people dressed in the same suit that storm around the city during the two Parades, the “Night Parade” and the “Grand Parade”.

Joining such a group is definitely a must, otherwise, why would you come for the Carnival! This is also the big advantage of Patras’ Carnival compared to Rio’s, where mostly samba schools join the parade.

For these parades, you don’t need to know how to samba nor wear a costume like Victoria’s Secret’s latest feathered runway creation. (Although if you want to, you’re still more than welcome).

On the official Patras Carnival website, you can see a list with all the available groups, once they are announced. You don’t need to rush for this one, as… Greek people never rush! The list is announced about a month before the carnival. You can choose your favorite suit among them and send your inquiry to join.

Keep in mind that the suit is hardly ever important for the younger ones. The most complicated and impressive suits are those of the first groups in the line during the parade. These groups usually consist of older people, who enjoy carnival as it was in the old times.

On the other hand, younger people care more about night parties and wild entertainment. So they follow far behind during the parade, usually starting much later than the first groups and their suits are much less complex.

Groups also organize special parties for their members, before and after the parades. So it’s a great way to socialize with other people. Depending on what you want to experience during your stay, choose your group accordingly!

Don’t Miss the Parade of the Floats

greece - patras - Carnival mask on colorful blur party backgroundPatras Carnival Fireworks

Friday might be your arrival day in Patras, but you’re not allowed to miss this parade!

The floats are huge sculptures, made of polystyrene, which are paraded through the streets. They tend to have a particular artistic look and a satirical dimension. Most of the time, they are inspired by contemporary politics, but they also convey various other messages concerning nowadays.

The biggest and most magnificent float is the one of the Carnival King, of whom you will read about again later.

Following the Float of the Carnival King, the Float of the Carnival Queen is carrying a beautiful, young lady, sharing smiles with the attendees. Every year there is a call, during which ambitious Queens can apply for the position.

This parade is definitely going to supply you with a good deal of Instagram stories, so be ready!

To avoid surprises when you read the seventh title, the Queen of the Carnival is a real person, while the King is just a… float!

Wear Your Suit and a Bottle of Mavrodafni (No Matter What!)

Greece - Patra - venetian carnival mask with wine

And when I say no-matter-what, I mean even if it’s raining cats and dogs.

It’s not unusual for the Carnival days to be rainy. Luckily, as the saying goes, we’re not made of sugar. We’re in fact so used to parades with rain, that if we’re honest, it doesn’t feel like Carnival without a bit of rain. (No? Just me?)

However, the point is that you need to get out of the house and join the parade even if all the Plagues of Egypt strike Patras the same day. (Okay, that’s a bit too drama queen-ish – I guess then, and only then, you have a decent excuse to stay home!).

The next thing you need to do, while you’re on your way to the parade, is to find a store or a wandering seller that sells Mavrodafni.

Mavrodafni or Mavrodaphne is a local wine made of black grapes, for which we in Patras are very proud. It doesn’t matter if you buy it on the street or in a store; the bottle is secured anyway.

There’s just one last thing you need to pay attention to in order not to make a terrible mistake and locals start looking at you with repulsion.

Don’t use a glass!

Mavrodafni is supposed to be consumed right away from the bottle and there will be no exceptions. So grab a bottle, hold it throughout the parade, get a second one if this one is finished and last but not least, don’t even consider saying that you didn’t like the wine. We get really emotional about this.

Experience the Best of Patras Nightlife

Greece - Crete - silhouettes of a crowd of people dancing in a nightclub on the dance floor at a party out of focus

Once the parade is finished, you might want to get a 1-2 hour rest or not. After that, it’s time to explore the Patras nightlife scene, which is without a doubt… active!

First of all, the best parties are literally happening on the streets, outside bars and cafeterias. Bars all along the main street, turn their music really loud and people are gathering up right outside. You can stay, dance, drink something if you want, and then move along to the next one.

When you get tired of migrating from bar to bar, it is very important to choose the most suitable type of Carnival party for you.

The most famous and biggest clubs in Patras are “OMNIA downtown” and “Navona Club di Oggi”. They are a bit far away from each other, so if your friends are not supporters of walking drunk, make sure you choose the nearest. Expect mainstream music and unfortunately, a very big line. However, once you get in, you will be compensated with a good time!

Next, as mentioned previously, there are hundreds of small bars with their own parties and if you’re a big group, chances are you will have much more fun in such a place. I’m just going to mention “Notos Jazz Bar” and “Bocas” as favorites, in case you are really lost.

Last but not least, in case you hear very loud music from an apartment and see people going in and out (that’s my way of describing a house party by the way), give it a try and ask if you can join. Everybody is in a great mood and usually will welcome you in. That’s the most authentic night outing.

Enjoy the Closing Ceremony and the Burning of the Carnival King

Greece - Patras - Fireworks

The closing ceremony has more fireworks than our taxes can afford, live music concerts with artists like Boney M, and of course, the burning of the Carnival King. Do I need to say more?

Let’s take it one by one. During the Grand Parade, a huge float representing the Carnival King is paraded through the streets. At the end of the parade, the King is directed towards the port, where it is set on fire symbolically.

The fire is said to burn along with the King’s evil spirits, passions, and hatred among the people.  The lighting of the fire is also related to the transition from winter to spring.

Right after, there is an epic firework display and an open-air concert. Everyone is simply there, enjoying the last Carnival day and having a good time, with the company of her/his Mavrodafni.

Have a Relaxing Day by the Beach on Clean Monday

Greece - Patra - Rio Antirio Beach Patra and big cable bridge

Clean Monday is the First Day of the Great Lent, during which, according to the Orthodox Church, we’re not allowed to eat meat, eggs, or dairy products. However, shellfish is permitted and of course, being Greek, we’re taking advantage of this!

Clean Monday is traditionally celebrated with a small excursion, flying of kites, eating of shellfish and other traditional fasting specialties, such as “Lagana”, a special type of bread, and “Halva”, a traditional sweet.

In order to fly your kite, you should choose a nice park, such as “Faros”, or simply the beach. You could also head to the mountain, Panachaiko if you’d like to change up the setting a bit.

As far as it concerns lunch or dinner options, there are many great options in Patras. In Istioploikos, you can enjoy seafood right next to the waves, while in En Plo, you can have a more authentic Greek taverna experience.

However, in case you have the energy needed, I strongly suggest that you visit a village nearby Patras called Psathopyrgos. If you’re returning back to Athens, it is on your way and it offers an idyllic view to combine with your fasting food!

5 Things to Bring with You to Greece

Greece - Crete - Heraklion - Old Venetian Harbor Luggage

If you’re planning a trip to Greece, you’ll want to pack all the normal essentials, but here are a few things we strongly recommend bringing that may not have crossed your mind. For more packing tips, check out our complete Greece packing list.

– A physical guidebook, in paper or on Kindle. We love Lonely Planet Greece for this region and strongly recommend it to supplement blogs. Blogs are great, but a combination of a blog and a guidebook is key to having the best access to information easily at your fingertips.

– A water bottle with a filter. While generally, the tap water in most of Greece is drinkable, we generally recommend using a water bottle with a purifying filter to reduce your plastic consumption and ensure you won’t drink any funny-tasting water on your stomach that could make your trip unpleasant! There are places in Greece, especially on the island, where the water tastes like minerals.

We recommend the GRAYL water bottle – it filters water perfectly in an instant so that you can even drink from lakes, bad taps, etc.

– Motion sickness pills. Santorini roads are winding, especially around the coast. If you have a weak stomach as we do, save yourself and bring some non-drowsy motion sickness pills.

– Wet wipes, hand sanitizer, TP & other Balkan transit needs. Bathrooms in the Balkans tend to be… how can we say it?… not so well-stocked. Save yourself the disappointment and bring a mini-rescue pack of wet wipes & hand sanitizer.

 Travel safety items. We think Greece is safe to travel to, but at the same time, it never hurts to be prepared! Some people like to carry money belts, but neither Allison nor I use these. Instead, we both carry the same PacSafe anti-theft backpack.

It has locking zippers, slash-proof construction with metal mesh hidden in the fabric, and tons of other smart security features — all while being cute and stylish enough to be our everyday bag. We recommend it highly for both male and female travelers, as it’s neutral enough to be unisex. We also strongly recommend travel insurance! Our recommendation is at the bottom of the post.

Read More: Essential Greece Packing List: What to Wear & Pack for Greece

More Greece Travel Resources

Greece - Delphi - Stephanie Selfie

First read our guide to planning a trip to Greece, which covers visas, budgets, vaccines, and much more. We also have a separate guide to tipping in Greece so you know what to give to different servers and staff while you’re here.

Next, you’ll want to read our all-season Greece packing list.

If you are still trying to figure out your Greece itinerary, check out our guides on where to go in Greece, the best places for island hopping in Greece, and when is the best time to visit. 

If you know you’ll be spending time in Athens, check out our Athens Instagram guide, the best Athens day trips, and our complete Athens hotel guide. We also have a guide to the best things to do in Athens in winter

We also have Athens safety tips so your trip can be hassle-free. We are currently working on our mega-post of things to do in Athens as well as our itineraries, so stay tuned! 

We publish new content about the Balkans almost every day! For more information about traveling to Greece and the Balkans, bookmark our Greece and Balkan travel pages so you can find out what’s new before your trip.

Don’t Forget About Travel Insurance!

I’m sure you’re aware that it’s a good idea to have travel insurance for traveling in Greece, the Balkans, or anywhere in the world!

Allison and I have both been paying customers of World Nomads for the last three years. We love the peace of mind it gives us in case of emergencies, accidents, illnesses, theft, or trip cancellation or disruption. 

While Greece is safe, there’s always a risk inherent in everyday travel like theft or injury, so it’s better to play it safe. The saying goes “if you can’t afford travel insurance, you can’t afford to travel,” and we think it’s true!

>> Get a travel insurance quote for your trip here <<

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