Tag Archives: tourist

Travel photography application shows where to take that perfect tourist postcard picture

2017-01-11

Accidental travel photographers tend to take photos at the same places where everyone else is taking pictures. If you want your travel pictures to look better than 99% of all photos taken in that same spot, you may want a little help from an expert. The travel photography expert is called Snapfindr, an app that runs on your smartphone or tablet.
snapfindr app screen shot
Snapfindr is a free application that shows you the exact locations of major sights in the most popular travel destinations where to take that perfect postcard image. At the moment, the application covers the top sights of Barcelona, London, New York, Paris, Prague, and Sydney.

Let’s say you are exploring Paris. You find the famous Notre Dame cathedral, and want to take a memorable photograph of the place. Snapfindr shows you exactly where to stand and which direction to point your camera. If you have a camera where you can adjust the settings, the application gives you tips on them as well. Notre Dame is only one of the locations in Paris the app covers. You can navigate from destination to destination using an online map or embedded sample images.

All right, that is what Snapfindr can do. Then, there is only a question of how and for what you use it for. Maybe you don’t want to take the same images as everyone else is taking during sightseeing tours. Perhaps there are even better ways to use Snapfindr?

One of the best use cases for this application is learning travel photography. The persons who have taken the images included in the app and written the notes for camera settings and related remarks are very skilled photographers. Anyone who wants to learn the first steps in classic travel photography can get many valuable lessons in Snapfindr:

– How to position yourself and your camera.
– How to frame the subject.
– Timing: what is the time of the day when you get the most spectacular images.
– Camera settings for that perfect picture.

Snapfindr even features sample images taken on the spot for you to compare your snapshot with the teacher’s mastershot.

For more travel photography, take a look at our writers’ galleries.

Snapfindr screen shots:
screen capture of snapfindr application

screen capture of snapfindr application

screen capture of snapfindr application

Nordic mixture of unique experiences and culture: The Best of Helsinki

2016-02-27

The capital of Finland, Helsinki, is a traveler-friendly city: there is plenty to see in the city, but it is easy to move around town and traffic rarely causes major problems. Food, drink, and accommodation options are plenty. Helsinki is a mixture of many things: it is centuries old, but modern; it is a western city that used to be part of eastern empire. These influences and traditions have blended into a unique Nordic culture and architecture that visitors can experience in Helsinki. Travel guide The Best of Helsinki: The Sights, Activities, and Local Favorites explains and shows it all.
Helsinki: Klaava Travel Guide, sample page
Travelers who have never visited any Scandinavian country may think there is always snow on the ground and people have to give way to elks and reindeers that roam on city streets. Yes, snow covers the ground in Finland in winter, but summers are beautiful, warm and green. Yes, there are plenty of elks and reindeers (and a number of wolves and bears as well), but they are hiding in the wilderness.

Helsinki (or any region in Finland) has plenty to offer for nature-lovers because large forests, lakes or the sea are never far away. Party-goers enjoy Helsinki’s lively nightlife scene, whereas foodies may enjoy a meal the Lapland, Asian, Italian, Russian or traditional Finnish way.
The Best of Helsinki, Klaava Travel Guide
The Best of Helsinki is a visual travel guidebook that shows you the places to go and helps you navigate to your destination. You can browse the book to get an overall understanding what the city has to offer, and then study details of those places that seem interesting.

Find out more about the book here.

Here are a few sample pages extracted from The Best of Helsinki.
Travel guide: The Best of Helsinki
Helsinki: Klaava Travel Guide, sample page
Helsinki: Klaava Travel Guide, sample page
Helsinki: Klaava Travel Guide, sample page

Top 20 tourist regions in Europe: Spain, France, Italy have the most popular destinations

2016-01-20

Europe is the world’s number one tourist destination, but anyone who has traveled in the culturally rich continent knows how different the countries are. Which countries and which regions exactly are the most visited destinations in Europe? The European Union has vast databases of information on tourism that reveals interesting details where travelers like to spend most of their time.

This particular statistics from EU is calculated from the nights tourists have stayed in hotels, B&B, rental cottages and campgrounds. The number of nights is different than the number of visitors, because the number one destination Canary Islands (Spain) is likely to get at least seven nights per visitor because most travelers fly to the islands and stay there for one or more weeks. That’s why number two destination Ile de France (in practice, Paris) may get more visitors than Canary Islands but since they are likely to stay only a few nights in Paris, the number of nights doesn’t add up to the same level as in the islands.
europe most visited tourist places
Anyhow, the statistics show where tourists really like to spend time (and money), which means there has to be something special in the destination that gets millions of visitors travel there every year. EU has updated the statistics on July 3rd, 2015, but the actual numbers maybe older.

The total number is million nights spent by residents and non-residents in each destination. The blue bar shows the number of nights for hotel accommodation, green for holiday homes and the color of sand for campgrounds.

Top 20 tourist regions of Europe are:

1. Canary Islands, Spain.
2. Ile de France (Paris).
3. Catalonia. The province in Northeast Spain where Barcelona and the Costa Brava are located.
4. Balearic Islands (Mallorca, Ibiza, Menorca).
5. Adriatic Croatia (Jadranska Hrvatska), the coastal region of Croatia.
6. Veneto, Italy. The region around Venice.
7. Provence-Alpes-Cote-d’Azur, France. The region where Nice, Monaco, the French Riviera and the Southernmost Alps in France are located.
8. Andalusia, Spain. The province in southern Spain where, for instance, Sevilla, Malaga and Marbella are located.
9. Rhones-Alpes, France. The high Alps, and the city of Lyon in the valley of Rhone.
10. Inner London, UK.
11. Tuscany, Italy. Florence, Siena and other towns on the rolling hills of Tuscany.
12. Valencia region in Spain. For instance, Benidorm, Alicante and Torrevieja are here.
13. Emila Romagna, Italy. Rimini, San Marino, Bologna, Parma are some of the towns in the region.
14. Tirol, Austria. The province in the high Alps, Innsbruck is the largest town.
15. Languedoc-Roussillon, France. The province is bordered by the Pyrenees and the Mediterranean.
16. Lombardy, Italy. The region where the large lakes of Garda, Lugano and the city Milan meet the Dolomites mountain range.
17. Upper Bavaria, Germany. The region around Munich.
18. Aquitane, France. The province between the Atlantic Ocean and the Pyrenees from Biarritz to Bordeaux.
19. Lazio, Italy. The region around Rome.
20. Bolzano, Italy. The high Alps region in Italy.

If we look at the same statistical data and take into account only foreigners who have stayed in another country, the most popular travel destinations in Europe looks a bit different.
europe most visited tourist places, foreigners
Destinations that rise to the Top 20 when only foreigners are taken into account are: Crete (Greece), South Aegean Sea (Notio Aigaio, Greece), Salzburg (Austria), North Netherlands. Other destinations are the same as in the Total Top 20.

If you want to know where residents like spend their vacation in their own countries, here is a statistics for that as well.
europe most visited tourist places, residents

Ten things every traveler should know about Finland

2015-11-24

People who live in the far north, for instance, in Scandinavia have to cope with different environment than, say, people in Italy or US. This inevitably leaves its mark on local cultures and customs of each region. If you are planning a journey to Finland, here are ten tips that help you explore the country and communicate with locals. Otherwise, you may wonder for the whole duration of your trip why didn’t anyone speak to you or why did locals eat reindeer.
reindeers in Lapland

1. Reindeer is not the national dish of Finland.
In Lapland (the northernmost region of Finland, Norway and Sweden), however, reindeer is daily food. A few restaurants in the capital Helsinki have reindeer on their menus, and meat is available in large grocery stores. If you want to taste reindeer, here is a tip: try the smoked reindeer first. It is a delicacy that practically every meat eater loves. After that, if you are adventurous, try the traditional fried reindeer with mashed potatoes. More tips for touring and eating in Helsinki in this book.

2. Helsinki is the most popular tourist destination, but there are other places worth a visit.
Finland´s capital Helsinki draws the country’s biggest tourist crowds, especially, in summer. Visitors who are looking for natural landscapes, peace and quiet or adventures head to Turku archipelago, Lapland or lake district in eastern Finland.

3. Mobile networks in Finland have a wide coverage, and they are among the fastest and most economical available.
Roaming costs both for voice calls and Internet data are easy to avoid by getting a prepaid SIM card from a R-Kioski shop (it is like a 7-Eleven) and inserting the local card to a smartphone. If you want to find a free Wifi access point, look for a hamburger restaurant, like Hesburger or McDonalds, a shopping mall, or an access point in the center of Helsinki provided by the city.

uspensk cathedral in helsinki
4. Russian influence is evident in Helsinki, but don’t tell it to the locals.
Until 1917, Finland was Russia’s territory. Hundred years earlier, when Russia had won Finland from Sweden, the capital was moved from Turku to Helsinki. The new capital needed administrative buildings, university and proper infrastructure. That’s how Helsinki’s uniform city center around the Senate Square was established. Today, excellent Russian restaurants can be found in Helsinki, and plenty of business is conducted with Russians. A visitor should never question if Finns are eastern or western Europeans: Finland wants to belong to the west.
Read more about Finland’s history between the east and the west.

5. Midsummer turns Finland’s cities into ghost towns.
Midsummer is no ordinary fiesta in Finland. The sun doesn’t set at all in the north, and in southern parts of the country there is enough light to party through the night without artificial lights. The thing is that locals escape to the countryside and into deep forests to celebrate the Midsummer. Shops and restaurants are closed, leaving only innocent tourists roaming on empty city streets. If you happen to be in Helsinki during Midsummer, take a boat ride to Suomenlinna fortress or ferry to Tallinn in Estonia. Other places to visit are medieval town of Turku where an old castle stands by the sea, or the medieval castle in Hämeenlinna by a lake.

6. Leave your cheque book home.
The preferred way to pay in Finland is a debit or credit card that has microchip for added security (chip card). The only alternative is cash (Euros). The overall price level in Finland is higher than in Continental Europe, but somewhat lower than in neighboring countries Sweden or Norway. The price of Big Mac meal was 6.50 Euros in 2015.

7. You will not a see single reindeer or elk.
Reindeers live only in Lapland where it is easy to find them and photograph animals even in selfies. The only town where reindeers occasionally visit is Rovaniemi because they organize reindeer races. A large elk population roam in forests across the country, but you would have to be extremely lucky to see one.

8. Finland is a bilingual country.
Both Finnish and Swedish are official languages in Finland. This is the reason why street signs in Helsinki and in other coastal towns are in Finnish and in Swedish. Children learn both languages at school, but still, English is the foreign language that Finns know the best.

9. Finns follow the rules.
If you see a pedestrian waiting for the pedestrian traffic light to change to green, even though there are no cars in sight, you are looking at a local person. More than 600 000 people live in Helsinki . and more than a million in the metropolitan area, but the city is a safe place. In summertime, public drinking in parks and streets may surprise visitors, as well as Finns’ fairly natural way of dressing, but you should excuse them because of the short summer that they enjoy from the bottom of their hearts.

10. The top sights in Helsinki are not the Sibelius statue or Olympic stadium.
Don’t waste your time, but head to Suomenlinna (a beautiful island fortress outside the city), Temppeliauko Church, also known as the Rock Church, or Ateljee Café at the top of hotel Torni. If you have time, take a hike in Nuuksio wilderness (only 30 minutes from the city) or get an invitation (or rent yourself) a cottage by a lake and enjoy the summer the Finnish way. More tips in the book The Lighter Side of Finland.

Suomenlinna, Helsinki

Suomenlinna, Helsinki.

Let a robot take a sightseeing tour in a tourist destination for you

2015-09-15

So little time, so many places, and so limited travel budget. It is impossible to visit every interesting destination on earth personally. What if there was a robot that could visit some of the destinations for you, would you pay for the service? Teletrip is trying to do exactly that: the company is building a network of remote controlled devices that are located in popular tourist spots.

teletrip remote controlled device in new york

Here is how Teletrip works. Teletrip sets up tablets on wheels in popular tourist destinations. The tablets come with special software, and they are connected to the Internet. If you want to see how Avenue des Champs Élysées in Paris really looks like, and a Teletrip device is available on the spot, you can hire it. Teletrip charges you by minute. You logon to the Teletrip site, and control the device that is actually on Champs Élysées. You can move it (it has wheels), rotate and tilt it. The tablet camera shows you the surroundings.

Teletrip is a startup at its early stages, but the concept and a couple of remote controlled devices are ready. The company is asking people around the world to become hosts for Teletrip devices in their neighborhoods. Plans for drones and underwater devices are being sketched as well.

We have traveled a lot, and we will travel a lot. A remote controlled device like Teletrip could help us with planning and researching a trip, but it can’t replace the experience. Google has great tools, like Earth and Street View Maps, making basic research from our own couch convenient. Of course Teletrip gives you a bit more because you can tell it to peek around the corner that Google Street View has missed, but still we are not convinced. Teletrip may have created a technology that works, but it may have better applications than travel.

Introduction video by Teletrip:

Via tnooz.

New Klaava Travel Guide Published: Gothenburg and Sweden’s West Coast

2015-03-08

When most people think about Scandinavia, they probably think about Stockholm, fjälls, fjords in Norway, large wilderness areas of Lapland, and the Northern lights, but how many travelers have seen the unique archipelago in the South-West corner of Sweden? That’s where the city of Gothenburg is located as well, but on the mainland. Now, you can read all about it from our new travel guide.

gothenburg-sshot4

Gothenburg and Sweden’s West Coast is not an ordinary travel guide. Although it includes all the necessary sections that you would expect from a guidebook, the ebook comes with some extra features: photo galleries and resizable maps have been complemented with video segments.


Find out more about the book here.

Book trailer video:

Book Trailer Video: Introduction to Helsinki

2014-11-13

Yes, for the traveler, Helsinki is certainly worth a visit or three. What’s more, according to recent research, the residents of this city are very content with where they live.
Helsinki, Finland tourist guide
Let Helsinki tell you in her own words about her city. What to see, do, and expect. She is proud of herself and her accomplishments over the years, and is more than happy to give you some outstanding tips.

The video was produced for the travel guidebook I, Helsinki

Helsinki speaks out in her own travel guidebook I, Helsinki

2014-09-10

Typically travel guidebooks are written by travelers or locals who explore the destination until they know what is remarkable and worth recommending to visitors. I, Helsinki is a different guide because in the book, the destination herself shares the best tips of the city. Here is a video clip that shows readers some of the places the book talks about.

from the book: I, Helsinki
Old Market Hall near the Market Square in Helsinki, Finland.

Watch the video:

The video segment is based on chapters in Russell Snyder’s book I, Helsinki.
Download ebook: I, Helsinki by Russell Snyder