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backpacking Europe 2k16

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Nauthólsvegur, 101 Reykjavík, Iceland
Riding a strange, shrunken horse into a mossy canyon outside Reykjavik on a bright, bracing day with winter rolling in and a plate of minke whale waiting for you at day's end is tops. Doing so on three days' sleep deprivation is, in fact,...
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Reykjavík, Iceland
We got to Reykjavik on a rainy night, and the first thing I saw and heard was a lot of people in the street partying and Cher's "Believe" blasting from some club, loud enough to hear it everywhere. I though then that this place was crazy, but then...
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Háaleiti S, Reykjavík, Iceland
Iceland is gorgeous but it isn't cheap. For those looking for a reasonable and delicious place to eat, SushiBarinn is a great choice. With a before-6:30pm daily special of 10 pieces of sushi and soup for $11 and incredibly fresh fish, it was a...
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Nordurljosavegur 9, 240 Grindavík, Iceland
Iceland’s largest and most famous geothermal spa lies around an hour outside Reykjavik, quite close to Keflavik Airport. With a dramatic setting amidst large black lava boulders, the steam-filled, creamy-blue pool area is a striking and...
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Laugavegur 28, 101 Reykjavík, Iceland
I can't stop telling everyone I encounter how crazy 24 hours of daylight was. I snapped this picture from the 4th floor kitchen of the Reykjavik Backpacker's hostel at approximately 12:30 on a Saturday night (Sunday morning) in order to show...
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Hallgrímstorg 101, 101 Reykjavík, Iceland
You can’t miss Hallgrímskirkja, Reykjavík’s 240-foot-tall, rocket-shaped church, which soars above the city skyline and is illuminated at night. Designed by famed national architect Guðjón Samúelsson in...
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Reykjavík, Iceland
Most visitors to Iceland see the sites along the “Golden Circle,” the name for a roughly 200-mile loop from Reykjavik into central Iceland. The Iceland Hangout, however, will venture beyond that familiar circuit to the less-visited wild western...
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Kárastígur 1, 101 Reykjavík, Iceland
Reykjavik Roasters is a relatively new coffee shop in Reykjavik serving the best coffee in town. It's owner, a native of Iceland, was trained to roast his beans at The Coffee Collective in Copenhagen, easily that city's premier coffee house. He's...
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Chora Naxos, Naxos 843 00, Greece
Without knowing exactly who this statue was meant to be at the time, I reinvented what I imagined her to look like in wild windy abandon...with all her pieces (and some clothes on); arms flung wide, facing the sky her heart open toward the sea. It...
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ΑΓΙΟΣ ΓΕΩΡΓΙΟΣ, Naxos 843 00, Greece
After biking across the Island of Naxos, Greece we relaxed on the edge of the Mediterranean Sea.
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Italida Beach, Koufonisi 843 00, Greece
take a morning stroll along the beaches starting at finikas and heading toward pori and alternate between letting your jaw drop at the scenery and jumping in to splash around (suit very optional.)
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Athens 105 58, Greece
Acropolis is one of the world's most famous landmarks and Greece's center of history and culture. The Parthenon is the largest structure of the Acropolis and is admired by the entire world. The temple was complete in 438 BC and was dedicated to...
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Athens, Greece
Maybe the most ubiquitous dish in the capital city, but the window on the corner of Monastiraki and Metropoulos is where you go if you want the best souvlaki Athens has to offer.
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Plaka, Athens 105 58, Greece
We picked up some gyros to-go during our stroll through the historic Plaka neighborhood below the Acropolis. Thespidos street was particularly memorable for the cafe we stopped at and discovering Brettos bar, which we decided to come back to enjoy...
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Ερωτοκρίτου και, Erechtheos 16, Athina 105 56, Greece
When in Athens, venture away from the typical sites and explore the neighborhood of Anafiotika. It's like a tiny quiet village was planted in the middle of a major metropolis. A relic of the old days, the area now is a maze of small decorative...
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Acropolis, Dionysiou Areopagitou, Athina 105 58, Greece
Many who climb the stairs are only thinking of seeing the Parthenon and the Erechtheum, but I like shooting the Propylaea simply for what it is, an interesting work of columns and walls. If I didn't mention what I shot, then one could think of a...
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Acropolis, Athens 116 36, Greece
The Acropolis is, for most people, the "can't miss" site. Because of its popularity it can be very busy, and the hours seem to change constantly. There's also the possibility that the workers might go on strike, which can mess with your plans as...
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Amalias 1, Αμαλίας 1, Athina 105 57, Greece
I always like to point out how there is more to Greece than just beaches, shopping, islands, and ruins. The National Garden of Athens is a gorgeous green walk filled with different breeds of trees, flowers, and plenty of sculpture that differs...
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Polignotou 3, Athina 105 55, Greece
Slave-traders and shoe-menders, jewelers and moneylenders haggled and gossiped at this ancient marketplace the history of which spans five millennia. The Agora was also the stomping ground of rival philosophers Plato and Socrates—the latter...
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Athens 105 58, Greece

You can’t miss the Parthenon, the majestic ruin towering above Athens. Originally painted in vivid hues, this feat of architecture, engineering, and artistry is still as awe-inspiring as it was almost 2,500 years ago. Le Corbusier, pioneer...

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Akropolis, Athina 105 58, Greece
See our full list of Where to Go in 2015. According to legend, the ancient gods battled it out to become Athens' patron deity. The showdown came after the Phoenicians founded a city at a giant rock near the Aegean some two and a half million years...
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Kidathineon 41, Athina 105 58, Greece
While sitting outside at a café in Plaka, the historical neighborhood in Athens, a brightly colored wall across the way—filled with bottles—caught my eye. Ouzo was something I wanted to try, as it is for many first-time visitors to Greece, but...
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Likavittou, Athina, Greece
On my way down from Likavittos, I noticed this is the bench to sit and take in Athens. The view of the city below can't get any better. I had seen the church on the top of Likavittos Hill through the lens of my camera from the Acropolis and was...
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Every summer, the Athens Festival brings world-class performances to an unorthodox range of venues across town. The most impressive is this Roman amphitheater beneath the Acropolis, where Maria Callas, Frank Sinatra and ballerina Sylvie Guillem...
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Dionysiou Areopagitou 3, Athina 117 42, Greece
After a hot and crowded visit to the breathtaking Acropolis, I enjoyed a wonderful treat of fresh Greek yogurt with my choice of unique toppings. On that particular day, I selected candied bergamot, crushed biscuits, and almond slivers. If that...
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Leof. Vasileos Konstantinou, Athina 116 35, Greece
Built in the 4th century B.C.E., rebuilt for the first modern Olympic Games in 1896, and refurbished for the 2004 Athens Olympics, this horseshoe stadium now serves as the finish line for the Athens Marathon. For centuries, nude male athletes...
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Pl. Dexamenis, Athina 106 73, Greece
“Laiki Agora” translates to “People’s Market,” and Athen’s laikes are very similar to American farmers' markets. Shop for fresh fruits and vegetables harvested locally, along with meats, olive oils, spices, yogurt, honey, wine…the list goes on. ...
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Athens 106 81, Greece
The Exarcheia District in Athens is home to artists and cool, small businesses such as music and book stores, art galleries and even a pop-up basement Comme des Garçon shop. The district was once a hotbed of Greek anarchist activity and is also an...
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Take a walk up Pnyx Hill, simply to appreciate where the Democratic Assembly once took place. The crowds here tend to be sparse, so you'll be able to enjoy a little respite from the Athens havoc. Take note of the path: it's paved with ancient...
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Athens 105 55, Greece
Hadrian's library is one. Of the easiest sites to find in Athens, and a great way to slow down the pace of a frantic day of touring around the city. Only 20 meters from Monastiraki square in the heart of the old neighborhood. To the untrained eye...
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Schlosserove stube 2, 10000, Zagreb, Croatia
From the moment our bleary eyes adjusted to the bright lights of Zagreb's bus terminal from our overnight journey from Split, my friend and I fell in love with what a line in our guidebook claimed as the city's "cafe culture". From the steaming...
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Zrinjevac, 10000, Zagreb, Croatia
After an incredibly delicious and inexpensive dinner, my husband and I walked back to our hotel around 10pm. As we are walking, I think I hear music. I have had a few glasses of wine, it could be just in my head....but, no! It is music! Even...
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Zagreb, Croatia
A car’s side mirror on a plinth. Next to it, a mounted set of papier mache breasts. Between them, a hanging axe. I was standing in front of one of the world’s strangest – and strangely inviting – exhibitions. Zagreb’s Museum of Broken...
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Uspinjača, 10000, Zagreb, Croatia
The funicular is the easiest way to get up to Zagreb's old town, also known as Gornji Grad or Grič—to see St. Mark's Church, the Museum of Broken Relationships, the Naive Art Museum, and quite a few nice restaurants. Not to mention the views—from...
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Avenija Dubrovnik 17, 10000, Zagreb, Croatia
Make a detour south of downtown to Zagreb's contemporary art institution which is great exposure to the vivacious local art scene. Classic modernist trends give way to the pop wave and the many strands that make up the current art world. They also...
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Dolac, 10000, Zagreb, Croatia
Zagreb's central open air market brings together all the old women with small inventories of what they just pulled from their garden and larger vendors with bigger piles of seasonal produce. Both look great but you always want to dive into the...
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Trg Sv. Marka 5, 10000, Zagreb, Croatia
After landing in Croatia’s capital city, be sure to explore the old town including this beautifully tiled church. With origins that date back to the 13th century, the real draw is the Zagreb coat of arms meticulously recreated in roof tiles. After...
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Petrinjska ul. 2, 10000, Zagreb, Croatia
Croatians aren't big on breakfast in true Mediterranean style usually a cigarette and a strong coffee is enough ha. This fantastic little eatery is a game changer offering a original selection of doughnuts and muffins as well as brunch bites. We...
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1060 Vienna, Austria
The Naschmarkt is absolutely one of the things you have to experience during your stay in Vienna! Locals call Vienna’s largest inner-city market the “city’s stomach." The market is a unique place for strolling, admiring, discovering, and sampling....
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Stephansplatz 1, 1010 Wien, Austria
In the heart of Vienna sits St. Stephen's Cathedral. Built in the late 12th century, it's a grand piece of beauty borrowing both from the Romanesque and Gothic styles of architecture. Unlike St. Vitus in Prague, St. Stephen's shimmers with light...
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Maria-Theresien-Platz, 1010 Wien, Austria
The Habsburgs were, generally speaking, lovers of art and many of the works of the Kunsthistorisches Museum come from their collections. While the grandiose interior alone may be reason enough to visit, the collections here are outstanding. The...
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Kärntner Ring 17, 1010 Wien, Austria
When it’s December, cold and raw in Vienna, and you’ve been wandering the streets (perhaps a bit lost in search of say, Hotel Sacher), and you pass by Café Schwarzenberg for the second time—it’s a sign that you should go in and take the chill off....
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Josefsplatz 1, 1015 Wien, Austria
Entering the Austrian National Library is a momentous moment in one’s life. This place looks like something out of Harry Potter. I wasn’t allowed to use my tripod inside for this triple exposure four-shot panorama but it obviously...
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Riesenradplatz 1, 1020 Wien, Austria
This is the iconic Ferris Wheel in the Prater Amusement part. Featured in the film "The Third Man."
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Griechengasse, 1010 Wien, Austria
The Greek quarter... with a Greek restaurant of course. One of Vienna's many quaint and delightful alleys to explore on foot.
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1010 Vienna, Austria
The Stephansdom (St. Stephen's Cathedral in St. Stephen's Square (Stephansplatz.)
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Burgring 7, 1010 Wien, Austria
The building mirrors the Art History museum opposite architecturally but not in content. The skeletal remains of gigantic dinosaurs tower over you, as well as a realistic Allosaurus, which moves and gives out a terrifying roar. Mammoths and a...
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Alte Donau, Wien, Austria
This is a summertime oasis for the whole family, with a choice of sailboats, electric boats, and surfboards located on the Alt Danube. Take a trip around the Old Danube or simply go swimming at one of the many swimming areas with lifeguards,...
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Schwarzenbergstraße, 1010 Wien, Austria
Before or after the theater, the pub 1516 is ideal for home-brewed seasonal beer, slightly loud music, and a lively mixed crowd, where you can get excellent pub food: hamburgers, chicken wings, pork ribs, farm bread with tasty fresh toppings, and...
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1080 Vienna, Austria
Vienna, Austria is home to numerous Christmas Markets. Spend the day visiting as many of the traditional Christmas markets as possible. Short on time? Head to the Christmas market in front of City Hall, the Rathausplatz, or the Christmas village...
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Arsenal 1, 1030 Wien, Austria
History buffs definitely won't want to miss out on the Museum of Military History, or Heeresgeschichtliches Museum. Focusing on Austria's military history from the 16th century up to 1945, exhibition halls are broken down into the Thirty Years'...
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Budapest, Balatoni út - Szabadkai utca sarok, 1223 Hungary
Statues of Communist ideologues once dotted every city behind the Iron Curtain, but in the world's rush to forget the Cold War, such monuments are hard to find these days. Not in Budapest—once East and West came together in the early 1990s,...
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Budapest, Szentháromság tér, 1014 Hungary
Fisherman's Bastion was built in the late 1800s on Buda's Castle Hill not to provide protection, but rather as a lookout point—and this fairy-tale castle site, with its seven spired towers representing the seven tribe of Magyar (Hungarians)...
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Budapest, Rezeda u. 9, 1118 Hungary
A huge dolomite rock rising up from Hotel Gellért at its base marks one of the earliest inhabited parts of Budapest. The citadel atop the hill was built by the Austrians in the mid-1800s to better control the unruly Hungarians after...
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Budapest, Kossuth Lajos tér 1-3, 1055 Hungary
The splendor of this neo-Gothic parliament building—the third-largest parliament building in the world—is obvious from the outside, but consider these facts: This place has 691 interior rooms, 10 courtyards, 88 statues of Hungarian...
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Budapest, Szent István tér 1, 1051 Hungary
If you happen to be meandering through Budapest, and have the urge to do a little sightseeing, St. Stephen's Basilica is definitely a sight to see. The structure is named in honor of Stephen, the first king of Hungary. Apparently, his right hand...
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Our yummy dessert/snack on a stop at a cafe. In Slovak it's called "Veternik".
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Budapest, Felvonulási tér, 1146 Hungary
For a different type of thrill in Hungary, try renting a communist era car to drive around Budapest or out to any of the fascinating cities in the small country. Their are several agencies, such as Rent A Trabant, that offer these quirky cold war...
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Budapest, Petneházyrét, Hungary
We have all tossed a coin or two into a fountain. And maybe you have hopped into a fountain during one of your worldwide voyages. But have you ever just ventured in and out of a fountain without getting wet? Well in Budapest you can do just that....
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Budapest, Szabadság tér 9, 1054 Hungary
Barcelona has Gaudí, and Budapest has Ödön Lechner. One of Hungary’s most influential architects, Lechner (1845–1914) created the country’s distinctive National Style. His work blended art nouveau with folk motifs and Asian elements, such as...
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Budapest, Dohány u. 2, 1074 Hungary
Dominating the intriguing Jewish quarter on the Pest side of the city, the Great Synagogue is a must-see for lovers of culture in general and Europe's Jewish history in particular. This is Europe's largest operating synagogue (the largest, in...
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Budapest, Balassi Bálint u. 15-17, 1055 Hungary
Kino was the very first stop on my first day in Budapest. A lovely little coffee shop near my apartment not far from the Margaret Bridge (or Margit hid) connecting Buda and Pest. They were patient with my first attempts at ordering with guidebook...
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Budapest, Állatkerti krt. 9-11, 1146 Hungary
It's an unforgettable experience: Getting up at the crack of dawn in mid-winter, walking through the large municipal park on the Pest side of town, checking in to the Széchenyi Thermal Bath (mostly with Hungarian pensioners because tourists...
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Budapest, Szent György tér 2, 1014 Hungary
This stunning 18th-century Baroque palace, a World Heritage Site perched on Castle Hill, evokes images of Hungarian kings and the mighty Hapsburg empire. Accessible via funicular or a steep walk, the castle's gardens, squares, and lavish interiors...
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Budapest, Kelenhegyi út 4, 1118 Hungary
Throughout Budapest are a whopping 123 therapeutic hot springs, but these, in the stately, slightly dusty Hotel Gellért (built in 1918) might be the most famous. The communal bath in the center of the hotel spa is for everyone, but the most...
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Budapest, Vörösmarty tér 7-8, 1051 Hungary
One of Budapest’s best known and most ornately decorated coffeehouses—as well as one of Europe’s oldest—Café Gerbeaud has been satisfying the city’s sweets cravings since it opened in 1858. The decor in the...
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Budapest, 1051 Hungary
There's no better way to connect with a culture than through food. It's a universal language, tangible and immediate. Street/market food is particularly insightful. I recently spent time in eastern Europe and was pleasantly surprised by the...
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Budapest, Hősök tere, 1146 Hungary
One of Budapest's most history-laden spots, the enormous Heroes' Square is framed by art museums near the City Park. But the main focal point here is Millennium Memorial, a tall column and colonnade structure completed in 1900 that commemorates...
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Budapest, Vámház krt. 1-3, 1093 Hungary
The Great Market Hall in Budapest should be any visitors first stop in order to get acquainted to the people, goods and grub of Hungary. The market is one of those strange places that caters to both locals and tourists alike without losing its...
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Dubrovnik’s star turn as King’s Landing in HBO’s Game of Thrones brought a new immediacy to the city’s historic sites. The infamous Season 5 “Walk of Shame” scene took place on the Jesuit Staircase that descends from Gundulic Square to St....
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One of Dubrovnik’s oldest fortresses stands atop a 100-foot rock, guarding the western land entrance to the Old Town, and vigilantly turned toward Venice, Dubrovnik’s traditional rival. As you enter the Old Town through the Pile Gate,...
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At Pile Gate, the Old Town’s main entrance, descend the staircase to a landing near the small fountain (formerly only for Jews) to experience a moment of serenity, looking at this quiet bay bracketed by the mighty fortresses of Lovrijenac and...
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Gundulićeva poljana, 20000, Dubrovnik, Croatia
You could expect no less than to find a bustling fish market in a seaside town. Explore the isles of this market that houses fishermen and farmers alike and watch the morning's catch being descaled right in front of you.
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Ulica kralja Petra Krešimira IV, 20000, Dubrovnik, Croatia
In a swift four-minute ride, the Dubrovnik cable car can deliver you to the top of Mount Srdj for a bird’s-eye perspective of the Old Town and surrounding areas. Sometimes, on really crisp days, Italy will appear far out on the horizon. Even...
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In Dubrovnik, you have to walk the walls. It's a must. Not only for stellar views over one of what is arguably one of the most beautiful old cities in the world, but also for the friendly faces you might find. Like this one. My friend Katie...
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Crijevićeva ul. 9, 20000, Dubrovnik, Croatia
Climb the grand baroque staircase and pass the Jesuit church, cross Gundulić Square, and follow the COLD DRINKS WITH THE MOST BEAUTIFUL VIEW signs. Then, yes, walk through the walls. Buža translates to “a hole-in-the-wall,” and a...
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Ul. od Tabakarije 1, 20000, Dubrovnik, Croatia
Near Old Town, but tucked away from the busy summertime crowds, is Restaurant Orhan. Best seat in the house is at one of the waterfront tables under their outdoor covered terrace, where you can leisurely indulge in a fresh meal, all while taking...
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Ul. Miha Pracata 4, 20000, Dubrovnik, Croatia
Croatian made jewelry is unique, intricate, and has a long history. Many of the jewelry store owners have family heirlooms of jewelry, metalwork, swords, and pistols dating hundreds of years back on display. Treat yourself to a story of local...