sightseeing

Best Hikes in the Faroe Islands

Read Full Report “No one will protect what they don’t care about, and no one will care about what they have never experienced.”

–         buy cytotec without a prescription David Attenborough

Growing up in the Himalayan Mountains in a small valley known as Rishikesh in India, I have always been in love with mountains and I feel they can take anyone’s breath away.

I am a tough cookie, so it is not very easy to impress me, but it does not mean I don’t appreciate my surroundings or the hard work that has been invested in it. However, in order to make me feel WOW about a certain place, it should be astonishing.

Currently, Faroe Islands have done the trick quite well.

Faroe Islands are an archipelago between the Norwegian Sea and the North Atlantic, about halfway between Norway and Iceland, 320 kilometers north-northwest of Scotland.(61.8926° N, 6.9118° W)

It is ethereal and immaculate. You probably may not have seen anything as pristine as this. The catch here is that you need to be at your fittest to be able to make the most out of your trip.

To reach and witness every viewpoint, you will have to hike, climb or at least walk for a minimum of an hour. It is only then that you will be able to experience the beauty of the Faroe Islands in all its glory.

It truly is another one of those “­­Heaven on Earth” places, undoubtedly meant for nature, hiking lovers and landscapes photographers.

Therefore, I am going to mention the best hikes in the Faroe Islands which you should consider doing. There are more than 25-30 hikes in these archipelagos and all provide you with the best views possible but, these are the best ones according to me which serve your soul purpose. I hiked 6 of them, lets see how many you can conquer. :p

Let’s begin!

  • Slaettaratindur
  • Mykinesholmur
  • Midvagur Bosdalafossur
  • Villingardalsfjall
  • Gásadalsbrekkan or Bøur Gásadalur
  • Eggjarklettur, Høgoyggj or Nólsoy Borðan
  • Kolfjarðardalur Leynar
  • Hvannhagii
  • Tórshavn to Kirkjubøur
  • Saksun TjørnuvÍk
  • Sandur SøltuvÍk

Fact: All the hikes on these islands are free except the one at Mykines Island which is for 100 Kr ($15-20 or 12-15 BP or around 15 Euros). According to me you need not hire a tour guide, but that is always an option. There are many local tour operators who would love to take you around their homeland. What I am trying to say is that this country gives you all the freedom to do what you want. Obviously, there are some limitations. *sly grin*

  • Slaettaratindur (Difficulty: Average | 4 hours return | Kind of Children Friendly | 5 kilometers)

Standing at 880m, this is country’s highest mountain. You will come across a parking area on your left when you will be coming from Eidi. At first you can start to walk towards the mountain from any possible and visible way till the time you reach the altitude of 500-600 meters or say after walking for about 35-45 minutes. At this point the actual hikes starts where you now must follow a particular route. From the moment you start to see Haldorsvik, that’s when you would know your hike has just begun.

 

  • Mykinesholmur (Difficulty: Average | 4 hours return | Children Friendly but difficult at some stages | 9 kilometers)

Nowhere in the Faroe Islands you can experience Puffins as closely as you do here. It is very common to see them fly near you or it might also be possible that they are standing right beside you. I believe they are such pretty birds with such a cute face!!! I totally love them!! They seem like the tiniest creatures who are so friendly. You will always see them with their daily diet.

Fishes!

A lot of them to be precise. They will always have a one or two or even more in their mouth all the time.

Follow the village sign towards Mykinesholmur as soon as you get off the ferry in the Mykines Island. The path that goes up to the lighthouse is the easiest one to follow. You just have to walk on the travelled path without disturbing the flora and fauna of the island.

THAT’S THE ONLY RULE!

 

  • Midvagur Bosdalafossur (Difficulty: Very Easy | 2 hours Return | Children Friendly | 8 kilometers)

I often refer it to as the LAKE ABOVE THE OCEAN. It is one of those famous photos you must have seen before coming to the Faroe Islands. After driving 5-6 kilometers from the airport towards the smallest capital of the world, Tórshavn, you will notice the lake Sorvagsvaten which is technically just beside the airport’s runway.

The hiking route is clearly visible from the works of previous hikers. It is a 120 minutes return hike to the peak which is famous among the travelers as, ‘LAKE-ABOVE-THE-OCEAN‘ point. Reach the top and get those cameras rolling and shooting.

 

  • Villingardalsfjall (Difficulty: Difficult | 4 hours return | Not Children Friendly | 5-6 kilometers)

According to many, it is the most difficult hike on the islands. The reason being many loose stones and its steep angle. It is not suitable for children.

As it is a hike on the Faroe Islands, you basically start from anywhere and end up anywhere because there are no specific rules regarding hiking except for the fact that you don’t disturb the flora and fauna on the islands. In this hike (due to its difficulty factor), you will be guided through every single step you take. For example, there are blue pipes on the way which will show you the path towards the top. If you follow those pipes, as far as I know, you will not face a single problem.

 

  • Gásadalsbrekkan (Difficulty: Average | 5 hours return | Not Children Friendly | 4 kilometers)

You now have two hiking routes to choose from. You have the option to either hike over the Arnafjall Mountain which is in Gásadalur. The route starts in the valley about three kilometres west of the village of Bøur. The path begins about one kilometer south (or left) of the tunnel entrance. You can see the path, which meanders up the Gásadalsbrekkan.

 

  • Eggjarklettur, Høgoyggj (Difficulty: Average | 5 hours return | Children Friendly | 12 kilometers)

The hike is moderate difficulty. You can complete the hike, grab a snack at a local snack shop and catch the return ferry to Tórshavn at 4:50 pm. In the island of Nólsoy this is the only hike possible to see the historical lighthouse. It offers a great view from up there.

 

  • Kolfjarðardalur Leynar (Difficulty: Fairly Easy | 2 hours Return | Children Friendly | 2.5 – 3.5 Kilometers)

 

  • Hvannhagii (Difficulty: Average | 3 hours | Children Friendly | 9 kilometers)

 

  • Tórshavn – Kirkjubøur (Difficulty: Fairly Easy | 4 – 5 Hours | Children Friendly | 8 kilometers)

 

  • Saksun TjørnuvÍk (Difficulty: Kind of difficult | 5 hours | Children Friendly | 6 kilometers)

 

  • Sandur SøltuvÍk (Difficulty: Fairly Easy | 4 Hours | Children Friendly | 8 kilometers)
Góðan dag(in). (go-wan dya-(in))
Good Day!

Amalfi Road Trips

“A road trip is a way for the whole family to spend time together and annoy each other in interesting new places.”

– Tom Lichtenheld

Amalfi Coast is the place which often pops up in people’s mind when they talk about Road Trips. It is one of the best drives in the entire world beating coasts of Spain, great ocean roads of Australia and the Route 66 in USA. It holds a scenic variety which is stronger than any other road trips in the world. The shadows of Vesuvius and the Port of Naples offers you many destinations along the way where could visit, have a cappuccino, shop a little while you drive along the coast.

Today, I will share with you; the possible road trips you can take during your stay along the Amalfi Coast. They can help you plan your trip (also, road trips) perfectly.

Naples to Sorrento (Road Trip Option 1)

Naples

Naples is considered as the starting point of the Amalfi Coast. Mostly, because it is one of the most important ports in South Italy. Also, one of the biggest. Stopping at each town for a day at least would easily consume your week.

Pompeii and Herculaneum consume lot of your time, therefore, keeping a day for each one of them makes sense. Halting at Sorrento is also another wise choice because that is the best place from where you could reach Capri. Even if you decide against staying at Capri, it is only Sorrento from where you se to witness the entire coast on a clear day.

Click here to read about this road trip.

NAPLES
HERCULANEUM
MT. VESUVIUS
POMPEII
SORRENTO

 

Naples:

N.A.P.L.E.S

The trip begins from the Pizza Capital of the world, Napoli. Once, a transportation hub of Italy, is filled with various ruins from the Roman Era, authentic food and UNESCO listed streets! But, this not-so-beautiful city will probably be your car pickup point, so this is the best place to start your journey along the world-famous Amalfi Coast.

Herculaneum:

Herculaneum

Easier to reach than Pompeii, this city of ruins is your second stop. The city that was drowned in mud is surprisingly well preserved. It is destined to be your 2nd stop.

Mt Vesuvius:

Mt. Vesuvius

Mount Vesuvius is located in the Gulf of Naples, Italy. This bus-accessible mountain, standing at a height of 1281 meters, having blown its cap more than 25 times, is the reason of the Pompeii disaster. It is still one of the deadliest active volcanos in the world. Around 2000 innocent lives were taken in this God’s act.

Pompeii:

Pompeii

The great volcanic forces that reside deep below the city of Pompeii attracts more than 2 million tourists every year to investigate the remains of what was the commercial center of Italy hundreds of years ago.

Sorrento:

Sorrento

I would call Sorrento, the Base of Amalfi Coast. It serves as the perfect place to explore the Northern and Southern coasts. From Marina Grande to Duomo to Valley of Mills, Sorrento has it all. Sorrento is also famous for teaching the art of making your own Gelato, the world-famous ice-cream. It is also known as the Panorama City because of its ability to provide fantastic views of the coast.

Click here to read about Driving from Naples to Sorrento

Sorrento to Paestum(Road Trip Option 2)

Sorrento

The panoramic city, Sorrento, has a lot to offer. Even this can prove to be a great spot to start your road trip. It could comprise of Capri before you hit the road or could also be your first activity of the trip. Suit yourself! The next stop you would want to make is Amalfi City and Salerno. Both the cities have a lot to offer. Staying there for a day or two would be perfect.

SORRENTO
VICO EQUENSE
PIMONTE
AMALFI CITY
SALERNO
PAESTUM
 

Sorrento:

Capri as seen from Sorrento

I would call Sorrento, the Base of Amalfi Coast. It serves as the perfect place to explore the Northern and Southern coasts. From Marina Grande to Duomo to Valley of Mills, Sorrento has it all. Sorrento is also famous for teaching the art of making your own Gelato, the world-famous ice-cream, and also other Italian specialties.

Vico Equense:

There is not much you can do here but, this cliff-top town looks magical in itself. Crossing it while coming from Sorrento would make it a nice meal-stop at a Pizzeria which is considered to be run by the family who created Pizza in Italy. That’s a BIG YES-YES for a Pizza isn’t it?

Pimonte:

A hidden town among the mountains with narrow streets rolling downwards; this can be your street-shopping stop during this road trip. This town isn’t much of a touristy place so expect some stares for sure. They aren’t used to new people barging in their towns without any reason.

Amalfi City:

Amalfi City

The Amalfi City looks exactly like the paintings we used to see as children. Same old spark along with pretty colors and small houses slanting down a mountain. The scene is immensely beautiful. More than the real paintings. The most important part of Amalfi is that none of the modernization happening in the country has affected its beauty. Be it the construction or technological advancements.

Salerno:

Have you ever seen a perfect Postcard? Yes or No? Salerno is that perfect postcard for you. Even though all the towns and villages along the Amalfi Coast are perfect for creating a postcard, Salerno tops that list. One of the most livable cities in South Italy, Salerno is a major port and a transport hub.

Paestum:

The city of Poseidon is one of the oldest cities along the Amalfi Coast. Although a day trip, there are temples which are UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Temple of Neptune is the most preserved dating back to 400’s B.C.

Paestum to Sapri (Road Trip Option 3)

This stretch of the drive could take you more than 150 kms away from Salerno through cities like Paestum, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and Sapri, a Beach-aroma.

PAESTUM
AGROPOLI
VELIA
PISCIOTTA
SAPRI

Paestum:

The city of Poseidon is one of the oldest cities along the Amalfi Coast. Although a day trip, there are temples which are a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Temple of Neptune is the most preserved dating back to 400’s B.C.

A trading port until Romans finally lost and left. You can see the temples and basilica which is the oldest surviving monument in the city. Ancient churches, remains if various castles and charming streets will keep you all warmed up.

Agropoli:

A tranquil town is what I would describe it as. Agropoli is one of the largest towns along the Cilento Coast, attracting visitors through its sprightliness since decades. Located just south of Paestum, this pleasant town could be an option for your short visit along the coast.

Guardian of the Peninsula is what they call it. A bit unusual name for another unusual name isn’t it?

Velia:

Crossing towns like Castellabate (once used to defend against Pirates), Pioppi and Acciaroli, you come across a town known as Velia. Obviously, created by the Greeks, was once a popular resort for wealthy Romans with theaters and thermal baths attracting most of them. Well, now, only ruins though. Walking inside the ruins is one fun time-travelling activity you can be a part of.

Pisciotta:

One of the most charming towns along the coast, Pisciotta is a senior rule town. Most residents are elderly who kind of think they rule it :p .

Sapri:

This natural harbor could be your lest destination on the Amalfi Coast. A perfect setting for a tourist. This town delivers some high-quality beaches which are just dreamy!!!

 

These are some of the road trip options you should consider while driving along the Amalfi Coast. Road Trips are a great way to be a part of something and yet be able to leave it happily some time later. That tiny amount of happiness you get eating a Pizza in a 400 B.C. medieval town is fascinating. Also, the pizza tastes better sitting beside the mighty sea.

Goditi il ​​viaggio!

Places to visit along the Amalfi Coast

“Be a loner. That gives you time to wonder, to search for the truth. Have a holy curiosity. Make your life worth living”

 – Albert Einstein

Be it Pompeii, Naples, Positano or Capri, all are the Italy you want to see – A rich and powerful tonic of historical and iconic places. Italy is not just Michelangelo’s masterpieces or the Romans’ fighting arenas, it is much more than that. Most of it can be covered by car. Driving a car, you will discover what you can never even imagine experiencing in your lifetime. The rugged mountains, blue coastal grottoes and ancient ruins – you can do justice to them only if you have a vehicle.

Where to start with?

Here-in are all the destinations (West to East) worth visiting as you drive along the Amalfi Coast.

  • Naples
  • Ercolano & Herculaneum
  • Mt. Vesuvius
  • Pompeii
  • Sorrento
  • Massa Lubrense
  • Capri
  • Positano
  • Amalfi City
  • Ravello
  • Salerno
  • Agropoli
Roads like these are very common along the Amalfi Coast

Naples

Naples is the most delicious city in Italy. You might wonder why I would call a city delicious. Just doesn’t sound appropriate, does it? But it is appropriate. Naples is the creator of the world’s most delicious and the world’s most photographed food item. That, is our beloved PIZZA!

The third largest Italian city of Naples is an archeological treasure. It is among the world’s most impressive and glorious places with Roman-style palaces and churches. The elegance is seen in its fantastic panoramas from various viewpoints.

Built on rich volcanic soil, a gorgeous sea and decades of history, this Pizza capital serves as the backbone of Italy. It’s street snacks and dishes consume half of your time in the city and it is all still worth it.

Panoramic view of the city

Ercolano & Herculaneum

Smaller but well preserved, this inspiring Neapolitan Town could prove to be a successful visit for you. The ruins of Herculaneum runs parallel to that of Pompeii. Destroyed by an earthquake in AD 62, this Roman fishing town can be explored properly with the help of a guide. Herculaneum is often upstaged by a better rival, Pompeii. But, trust me, both are worth a visit. But, if you must choose one. Choose Pompeii.

Herculaneum

Mt. Vesuvius

Mount Vesuvius is located in the Gulf of Naples, Italy. This bus-accessible mountain, standing at a height of 1281 meters, having blown its cap more than 25 times, is the reason of the Pompeii disaster. It is still one of the deadliest active volcanos in the world. Around 2000 innocent lives were taken in this God’s act in that ancient disaster. The Pompeii eruption converted it into a double peaked structure.

The peak of Vesuvius also offers a great panoramic sight of Napoli. You can either hike up to the mountain’s peak or take a horse-back ride up to the top.

Mt. Vesuvius

Pompeii

The great volcanic forces that reside deep below the city of Pompeii attracts more than 2 million tourists every year to investigate the remains of what was the commercial center of Italy hundreds of years ago. The ruins of Pompeii need a lot of time and dedication. It is one of the world’s most enthralling archeological experiences. Pompeii was not just blown away by Mt. Vesuvius but buried under volcanic rocks. Till date, you can witness the preserved city of Pompeii with its strong foundations, buildings and brothels from the Roman Era.

Pompeii

Sorrento

I would call Sorrento, the Base of Amalfi Coast. It serves as the perfect place to explore the Northern and Southern coasts. The best of peninsula’s untouched countryside is to the East Coast, to the North- Pizza Capital and offshore is the island of Capri. If you want to stay anywhere in Amalfi Coast, Sorrento is undoubtedly the best choice. From Marina Grande to Duomo to Valley of Mills, Sorrento has it all. Sorrento is also famous for teaching the art of making your own Gelato, the world-famous ice-cream, and also other Italian specialties.

Sorrento

Massa Lubrense

Being the very first western town of Sorrento, just about 100 metres above sea level, this town serves you with a great view of the island, Capri.

Sant’ Agata sui sue Golfi, a rusty fraction of Massa Lubrense, offers great hiking options which are fairly easy as compared to other hikes in Italy. These small hikes last for about an hour, making it perfect for one to complete and get back to the hotel early enough in order to have a nice evening view of Capri. Its a place if you want to skip the usual and try something off the style and different.

Capri

One of the most visited islands in the world, Capri has a lot to offer. It has great seascapes, adorable cafes and unspoiled Roman ruins. Accessible via boat from Sorrento, Naples, Amalfi City, etc. This island is a must visit on the Amalfi Coast. Boat inside the Blue Grotto, ride up to Villa Jovis and chairlift yourself to the highest peak on Capri, Anacapri. Often on a clear day, you can see the entire coast of Naples and even other islands such as Procida, etc.

Positano

Undoubtedly, Positano is the most picturesque town among all the destinations along the Amalfi Coast. This colorful town consists of stylish boutiques, glamorous cafes and steep houses. The town claims to be the first Italian town to import bikini ’ from France, hence the name, ‘ fashionable town . It is also considered the most expensive town along the coast due to its seascapes and unbelievable café locations which are not found anywhere on the coast. Hence, the expense. This town with a Mediterranean seascape is a must-visit along the coast.

Amalfi City

Yet another must-visit town along the Amalfi Coast which will leave you breathless, Amalfi City does whatever it can to amaze you as always. Again, one of the most picturesque towns of the coast, it offers sightseeing, hotel views, pizzas and Gelatos. This sweet little town with a tiny square and a church is just so peaceful. Once more I will mention that this is a must-visit.

Click here to read about my Winter Experience in Amalfi City

RAVELLO

Ravello is a day-visit kind of place. Merely a 10 kilometres drive from Amalfi City, this town has an extremely romantic setting. It is home to a live and entertaining street market where fashionable clothes, pure wine and an unlimited variety of pizzas with some mozzarella on it are the highlights. Sites like the Duomo and Vila Rufolo are a must visit. There are also a few music festivals which take place in this town such as International Piano Festival and Chamber Music Week. The venues used for these festivals are remarkable. If you want to stay away from the rush of Amalfi City & Positano, this is the perfect place for you.

Salerno

Have you ever seen a perfect Postcard? No? Salerno is that perfect postcard for you. Even though all the towns and villages along the Amalfi Coast are perfect for creating a postcard, Salerno is on top of that list. One of the most livable cities in South Italy, Salerno is a major port and a transport hub. The vibrant mix of Roman churches will take your breath away. The long coastal strip along the city’s beautiful roads will make for one of the best road trips in the world! It’s a must-visit. Another one!

Agropoli

A tranquil town is what I would describe it as. Agropoli is one of the largest towns along the Cilento Coast, attracting visitors through its sprightliness since decades. Located just south of Paestum, this pleasant town could be an option for your short visit along the coast.

Arrivederci, Addio !

My Winter Experience in Amalfi City

“If bliss could be a color, today would be Amalfi blue.”

–      Anonymous

It was 3 o’clock in the afternoon when we decided to eat real Italian food. After enquiring for 30 mins, we came to know about this cute Italian restaurant that was right in the middle of the main square which soon became our favorite in the beautiful city of Amalfi.

It was Da Maria (Da Maria Trattoria Pizzeria). It was closed the first time we went there because of Italian customs of closing the restaurants (or everything!!!)  in the afternoon. Mostly between 1 p.m to 4 p.m.

 

But we didn’t lose our hope. We survived the afternoon on ice-cream and waited for the restaurant to open and guess what? That night, we came to know what actual Italian food is. As an Indian, my idea and taste about Pizzas and Pastas was entirely different. I always imagined it to be filled with toppings and thin crust bases and what not. But I realized that Italian Food (which I always considered my favorite cuisine) had always been a lie for me.

The reason behind delicious PIZZAS in Italy

Italian food here, was heavenly. Every detail ingredient you can imagine on Pastas and Pizzas was up to the mark, we took away those pizzas and ate them near to the coast (which is another one of those experiences which you should have when in Amalfi City) and let me tell you, IT IS NEVER ABOUT THE TOPPING!

That day, Amalfi City became our favorite destination in Italy.

Main Square of Amalfi City

This restaurant is always busy so it’s better to book a table before you go and whole menu looks so tasty and,

Frankly, is there anything such as bad Italian?

Also, the staff was really polite and were always looking to get into a conversation with us. The setting of the restaurant was obviously Italian. I admired it every time we were there.

All I dreamt of was to learn Italian and move there and never leave!!
How can you not fall in love with a setting like this?

and this is how we mostly found ourselves spending some nice time of our Italy trip in beautiful Amalfi City.

It was my first time in Italy and boy I wanted it more and more. The entire Amalfi Coast is a very popular destination. All the tourists want to visit this place in the summers and the funny part is that, this is the only reason we visited in the Winters!

I don’t regret it a bit.

So Empty and beautifully lit on Christmas & New Years! <3

Winters in Italy are fun in many ways. Most importantly because of the Christmas. You also have the new year coming up so everyone is all jolly-jolly and all the towns are lit up.

It’s just a great time to visit I feel. Well, obviously you won’t be able to bake yourself up under the sun but I am alright to skip that! The most important thing is that the country is less crowded. I hate to go anywhere along with the crowd.

So, basically, we went in off season and that did make us miss a few things in Italy but whatever we saw, it was all worth it with less people around.

The Amalfi City as well as the Amalfi Coast looks exactly like the paintings we have seen as children. Same old spark along with pretty colors and small houses slanting down a mountain. The scene is immensely beautiful. The most important part of Amalfi is that none of the modernization happening in the country has affected its beauty. Be it the construction or technological advancements.

 

You can easily spend a week along the Amalfi Coast discovering towns like Positano, Sorrento, Salerno, Ravello, San Lazzaro, Capri and Minori, etc. All these beautiful towns are hard to be missed. Each one of them has a charm of its own. There are various boat rides you can take along the coast and a few visits to The Grottos should also be on your to-do list.

The word Paradise defines the Amalfi Coast.
The island Capri as seen rom Sorrento

If your trip is around 5 days or a week, click here to know the destinations you should visit.

So, honestly, Amalfi Coast can be quite confusing.

Like, what all to see?

How to travel?

Where to stay?

Where to eat?

Travelling alone or with someone?

Wandering by yourself or going for a guided package?

Too many questions eh?

Well, I can help you out in many ways but at the end of the day, it is all about your choice and all that depends on what you like and how you have been doing this travelling thing in the past?

Some people like lavish stays, some prefer Airbnb’s. Some spend a lot on food and some just pass the day with apples and oranges. But at the end, everyone obviously wants to see as much as they can for as long as they can, and they just do not want to stop it EVER!

So, click here to know about various highlights and the best way to experience the AMALFI COAST!

Wide Angle View of the Main Square at Amalfi City

Goditi la costa!

Day Trips from Florence

Travelling is the ruin of all happiness! There is no looking at a building after seeing Italy”

–        Fanny Burney

Florence is an enchanting place, but Tuscany, as a state is just as astounding. There are so many places and spots around Florence which you would regret to miss out on. Here, I am mentioning some places around Florence which you should visit during your trip to Florence.

Divertiti !!

They are:

  • Giglio & Giannutri Islands of Tuscany
  • Assisi, Cortona & Perugia
  • Montalcino, Pienza & Montepulciano
  • Volterra & San Gimignano
  • Pisa
  • Cinque Terre & Portovenere

GIGLIO & GIANNUTRI ISLANDS OF TUSCANY

Giglio & Giannutri are two different islands on the southern coast of Italy.  They are hidden gems; untouched by the Tourism Industry for the time being and unheard of by tourists. You will not be disappointed.

A boat leaves from the ancient town of Talamone (180 kms or 2 hours from Florence) on the Gulf. The boat ride takes an hour to Giglio Island.

Giglio Island

The best option to explore the island is to rent a scooter. Public transport is a cheaper option. I would suggest renting a scooter and riding off to your own sweet time.

If you make it early to the island, after exploring the island till the afternoon, you can leave for Giannutri Island which is a 40 minutes boat ride from Giglio.

Giglio Island

According to me, Giannutri Island is better than Giglio in terms of beaches and water clarity. There is also a Roman Villa on top of the hill which you can take a guided tour of.

View of Giannutri Island from the plane

These two islands are all about amazing beaches and wonderful views enriched with history and nature. You should surely consider visiting them if you are visiting Florence and have the time for it. Enjoy!

ASSISI, CORTONA & PERUGIA

If you love great landscapes, Cortona (2 hours or 150 Kms away from Florence), a hilltop, is the place for you. Assisi is the topmost point where you can revel in the glory of the great Basilica of San Francesco d’Assisi.

A visit to Perugia is a must. The city is famous for its monuments and history. Gaze at beautiful fountains & relish its breathtaking views.

Assisi, Tuscany

The most spectacular monuments of the city are “La Fontana Maggiore” which is an example of medieval sculpture and Etruscan Arch of Augustus which is one of the largest monuments among the Etruscan remains. The Palazzo dei Priori and Rocca Paolina are also must-see(s).

Cortona

I love visiting towns and cities like this- such rich history hidden inside, extremely beautiful and oh-so calm. I JUST LOVE IT!!

The tranquility of places like this always leaves me spellbound. If you are one such person, at least a day’s trip from Florence should be a part of your plan.

MONTALCINO, PIENZA & MONTEPULCIANO

Tuscany is a land of wonderful places but what is it that defines the real Tuscany?

WINE & CHEESE!!

Montalcino

Wine & Cheese – this day focusses majorly on that. Montalcino (2 hours or 120 kms from Florence) is the place where you can sample wines and local delicacies. The city has an astonishing village with a fortress which is a must-see when in town.

There is something that makes you want to stay here forever; perhaps a certain fragrance wafting in the air. Although I don’t drink, the smell of wine is so mesmerizing that you can’t help but like it.

Val d’Orcia, Between Pienza & Montepulciano

Prepare to witness one of the most gorgeous landscapes of your lifetime – Val d’Orcia (The Tuscany you have seen in literally every photo before coming to Italy).

It comes under Pienza (30 mins from Montalcino) and Montepulciano (further 20 mins from Pienza), one of the most important places representing Tuscany.

Pienza is famous  worldwide for its renowned and traditional Pecorino Cheese.

Val d’Orcia

Montepulciano is famous for its local wineries and churches. Walking in the city is like walking inside a fairy tale or a movie with just happiness inside. This day trip was one of my personal favourites from Florence. Try not to miss it.

VOLTERRA & SAN GIMIGNANO

Every 4 out of 5 towns/villages in Italy feel like you have stepped into a dream or a book. Volterra (80 Kms or 90 Minutes) is one of those hill-top towns that would make you realize the actual beauty of small Italian towns. It is called one of the most charmed Tuscany Towns. The boundary walls of the city were built in the 4th century B.C and stand tall strong as ever.

Volterra

Do not miss the Main Square, Palazzo dei Priori, Volterra Cathedral, The Museum of Alabaster (The reason Volterra is famous all over the world) and the Medicean Fortress. You can choose to taste various types of cheeses at local shops. You also have the chance to taste some wine at local wineries just like every other town in Tuscany. 😛

After an amazing time at Volterra, you can go ahead to see a UNESCO World Heritage Site, San Gimignano (40 mins from Volterra) is a medieval city filled with picturesque alleys, various vantage points offering breathtaking Tuscan views.

Piazza Pecori

Also, you cannot miss the Piazza Duomo, Church and Piazza della Cisterna. They are absolute beauties.

FACT: THERE IS A VERY FAMOUS KIOSK FOR GELATO WHICH HAS ALSO WON MANY AWARDS – GELATERIA DONDOLI. GIVE IT A SHOT!!

PISA

Pisa has always been a dream for me. I remember the first time I came to know about the phrase “Wonders of the World”, I have always wanted to visit them all. Currently. I am just left with 2. Cool right?  😛 😉

View from the Tower

Pisa is just an hour away from Florence by road /rail.  I would suggest you to go early in the afternoon in order to witness the Sunset at The Leaning Tower of Pisa.

View from the Tower

Visit the Cathedral, The Leaning Tower of Pisa and the Monumental Cemetery. Take your own time to climb the Tower (It’s not a race, is it?) as it can be little tiring and claustrophobic for people.

Another view from the Tower

Witnessing the sunset there is a GREAT option as the White stone of the Tower turns orange as soon as the sun starts to set. It is a site not to be missed and a sight to behold. Below is the image clicked from my iPhone during the sunset.

Grazie!

Michelangelo Square – A Skyline Paradise

“Travel is like love, mostly because it’s a heightened state of awareness, in which we are mindful, receptive, undimmed by familiarity and ready to be transformed. That is why the best trips, like the best love affairs, never really end.”

–      Pico Iyer

The Skyline of Florence has always been something Italy has always boasted of. I know it’s not a view of the Central Park of New York or skyscrapers of Hong Kong, but you don’t get to see these many cute red houses with a big red dome at the center either in New York or in Hong Kong.

The Ultimate View from Michelangelo Square

I strongly feel that this fascinating view of the city from Michelangelo Square is surely going to change your idea about what a skyline should look like. Trust me, it’s as beautiful as any other skyline in the world.

Also, it is the best way to end your trip in Florence. You would want that vista to be the last memory of Florence.

You can also hike (basically walk) up to this point but I would suggest you to take a taxi or a bus if you don’t want to suffer a lot.

A Tower Viewer placed there gives you a nice view overall. Of course, only if it is working (because 90% of it doesn't work around the Globe). 😀

What to do here?

  • For photographers, it’s a dreamland. From time-lapses to panoramas, you can capture everything from here. If you have a nice zooming lens, then our beloved Dome is already posing for you.

Have a look at some photos below.

Click here to read about “Best ways to visit The Dome”

Another View
View from almost the top of the hill
  • For Families, it’s a great viewpoint to click your Snaps and Stories- be it with The Dome or Michelangelo.  Also, there are stalls here to shop, to eat ice-cream and birds to play with (chargeable). Your kids will love this place to hang out and you would love this place to have wine with your loved ones at sunset. Couples can also come here and have a nice romantic evening.
There are people giving out birds for some time to get yourself clicked in front of The Dome.
A perfect picture for any family.
Annnnnd a Snap is a must...
Annnnnd one more...
  • For locals, it’s a usual place to hang out, have a few beers and talk about how to go for a holiday to other countries while we sit here and talk about how to efficiently visit Florence. How cool that is? 😛
Addio! Firenze ti mancherà !

Ponte Vecchio – The Oldest Bridge of Florence

“You may have the Universe, if I may have Italy” 

– Giuseppe Verdi

It isn’t always “tall towers” or “large piazzos” that you must see. Sometimes, you have to take time out for something simple and serene; something old; something that has seen seasons upon seasons; something that has been mentioned in books by the Greats. Here in Florence, that’s Ponte Vecchio.

First sight of Ponte Vecchio

Ponte Vecchio is the oldest standing bride in Florence. She is one of the most visited attractions in the most visited city of Tuscany.

Why so??

Worry not, I have all the answers.

  • It offers a beautiful view, a lovely sunset to be more specific.  
  • It has great cafes and eating joints nearby. The Cappuccino, OMG!! 
  • It offers great shopping- from branded clothes to local leather and artifacts.  

In essence, it recites to us, the history of the Ancient Roman Empire, the story of destruction during the wars, and how, after all this, it has stood tall as a landmark for the country.

You also get these beautiful masks here on the bridge as part of the local shopping. I know things like these are common in various places and countries, but it is always fun to indulge yourself in experiences like these. You should always bring a memento from a place you visit. That’s my model mother trying not to pose. 😛

According to me, Ponte Vecchio is an amazing spot for tourists as well as for the locals. From shopping to views, it has everything. You can have a nice time here regardless of what genre of travel you follow (just like this couple below).

Here, you can shop for branded clothes, local leather and hand-made artifacts showcasing Italy’s history. You can have a nice meal by the river Arno and sip a tasty cup of Cappuccino in a local café.

I remember Dean Martin mentioned in his song,

 “Italians love to sip a cup of Cappuccino.”  

Live for the experience – be Italian. 😀

International brands like H&M, etc. plus local shops for genuine Italian Leather are very common here.

Earlier on, the bridge would be occupied by butchers and fishmongers, who would prepare their meat right away and throw away the waste directly into the river.

FACT: THE LARGE WINDOWS IN THE CENTRE WAS CREATED FOR ADOLF HITLER’S VISIT BY MUSSOLINI IN 1939. HITLER LOVED THE VIEW SO MUCH THAT HE SPARED THIS BRIDGE DURING THE ATTACK IN 1944, WHILE HE LAY WASTE TO MANY OTHER BRIDGES IN FLORENCE.  

The View, Hitler fell in love <3 with.

Nowadays, there is an area on the bridge where people come and hang a lock there (just like the one in Paris). See for yourself below. 

Leave something behind, eh?
Even my mother gave it a whirl. 😛

There are many angles from which you can look at the bridge. On our way to the Michelangelo Square, we stumbled upon an area from where we got a very nice view of all four bridges on the river Arno, including Ponte Vecchio. Have a look.  

CLICK HERE TO READ MY BLOG ON MICHELANGELO SQUARE.

River Arno with four bridges over it

Ponte Vecchio requires just 1 hour of your time which includes clicking all the Instagram worthy photos.

But you need at least 3-4 hours in order to fully enjoy the spectacular viewsthe coffee, the leather shopping and all the other local experiences. Have a good time here at Ponte Vecchio. 

FACT: THE SHOPKEEPERS SELLING LEATHER LITERALLY TRIES TO BURN THE LEATHER WITH A LIGHTER OR A MATCHSTICK TO PROVE THE AUTHENTICITY OF THE LEATHER. GUESS WHAT? IT DOESN’T BURN. EVEN IF YOU ARE NOT INTERESTED IN BUYING LEATHER (WHICH I THINK YOU SHOULD BE), GO TO THESE SHOPS AND WITNESS THIS AMAZING WAY OF SELLING. I FELL IN LOVE WITH THIS STYLE AND IT COST ME A LOT OF MONEY! LOL!

Ponte Vecchio at its best.
Arrivederci, Addio !
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Inspiration
of the day

“I heard an airplane passing overhead.

I wished I was on it.”

–  ANONYMOUS