Tag Archives: city

Travel guide to the city of contrasts: Valencia, Spain


As long as Spanish people living in inland regions have had the means to travel somewhere warm, Valencia has been one of the most popular destinations. Over the years, Americans, tourists from other Europeans countries and recently also Asians have discovered Valencia’s charm. Some travelers arrive in Valencia for the historic city, others for the ultra-modern City of Arts and Sciences, others for the beaches, whereas some people want to join a genuine Spanish fiesta. Here is a travel guide to the city of Valencia that shows you where to visit, and what to do in this lively city.

cover image of book: Valencia, Spain

Valencia is often regarded as the home of paella (a rice dish) and also the place where the Holy Grail is on display (in the Cathedral). They are only two of the curiosities that can be easily found in the city.

Batman fans know that Gotham City refers to New York City. Yet, there are very few – if any – signs or symbols of bats in New York City. There is, however, a city in Europe where bat is the key symbol: Valencia, on the Mediterranean coast of Spain. When exploring Valencia, look closely, and you’ll find bat symbols on the facades of buildings, towers, and even on the streets.
bat symbol in Valencia, Spain, Europe
Valencia, Spain – The Key Sights, Places, and Events covers the information a visitor needs on a city break, or during a vacation when there is enough time to explore also sights outside the city.

Spanish culture and customs are slightly different to the rest of Europe. The Iberian Peninsula was ruled by Arabs for five centuries, after all, and the long dictatorship of Franco ended only in 1975. The travel guide highlights the elements of the Spanish culture that travelers are likely encounter.
Plaza de la Virgen in Valencia, Spain, Europe
If you are already thinking what would be the best time to visit, here are a few tips. Summer months tend to be quite warm and very humid, which is why people escape to the beach or to the mountains in summer. If you want to join the biggest fiesta you have ever seen, the Fallas in March is your choice. Every weekend around the year is party time in the old city center, and every day is an exciting day in the City of Arts and Sciences. For outdoor activities, or exploring the city on foot or by bicycle, autumn, winter and spring are perfect seasons.

The Valencia, Spain travel guide book is available for download in all major online bookstores, for instance: Amazon.com, Google Play Books, and Kobo.

Valencia, Spain: city of arts and sciences
a main street in the city street leads to Plaza de la Reina in Valencia, Espana
All photos from the Klaava Travel Guide Valencia, Spain.

Tour de France in Europe is the world’s biggest cycling race, but which cities are the most bicycle-friendly in the world?


The Tour de France is regarded as the world’s biggest sports event when measured by the number of spectators who are watching the race live where it happens. Professional road cyclists race for three weeks in July along a route that mostly zigzags in France, but also in neighboring countries. In 2017, the race starts in Germany. Spectators have free access to follow the race at any point of the route. The best spots have thousands of enthusiastic fans cheering the riders, and since the race is 3540 km / 2200 miles long (in 2017), it adds up to millions of spectators.

The Tour de France is more than 100 years old event, but also the Giro d’Italia (Tour of Italy) and the Vuelta a Espana (Tour of Spain) are traditional three week stage races with long history where the world’s best professional road cyclists compete in teams against one another. Can there be any relation to the popularity of cycling in daily life of ordinary citizens because cycling as a sport is so popular in Europe?
Copenhagen, Denmark: cyclists in front of bicycle rental shop in the city center
Let’s look at a list of the world’s 20 most bicycle-friendly cities in 2017. The ranking has been prepared by the Copenhagenize Design Co. that selected 136 global cities, assessed each one against a set of 14 parameters, and arranged 20 top cities in order. The common denominators that defined the best cities are quite straightforward: cycling is understood as a serious transport method, cities have invested in infrastructure, and they have a desire to make cities better.

Here is the 2017 ranking for the best cities for cyclists as compiled by Wired.

1. Copenhagen, Denmark
2. Utrecht, Netherlands
3. Amsterdam, Netherlands
4. Strasbourg, France
5. Malmö, Sweden
6. Bordeaux, France
7. Antwerp, Belgium
8. Ljubljana, Slovenia
9. Tokyo, Japan
10. Berlin, Germany
11. Barcelona, Spain
12. Vienna, Austria
13. Paris, France
14. Seville, Spain
15. Munich, Germany
16. Nantes, France
17. Hamburg, Germany
18, Helsinki, Finland
19. Oslo, Norway
20. Montreal, Canada

What do you know, France gets the biggest number of cities into the top 20. Germany, Netherlands, and Spain – all very successful nations in bicycle racing – follow France. Only two cities outside Europe made it to the top 20: Tokyo and Montreal.

If you want to follow Tour de France, the official web site of the race is Le Tour, and here you can see which television channels are broadcasting the race live.

For travel information on France, here is a travel guidebook for download.

Vuelta a Valencia 2017

Top destinations for digital nomads 2016


The only way to really experience world’s amazing destinations is to go those places by yourself. Digital nomads are people who work while they travel across the world. The new lifestyle has inspired many new businesses and services that aim at assisting mobile workers on their journey.

To save you the hassle of weighing up the pros and cons of popular destinations across the world, here is a list that introduces the world’s top 7 nomad destinations in 2016.

Top 7 Nomad Destinations 2016

Infographic by Blogtrepreneur.

Since we have visited the top 7 cities, here are a few personal remarks on them.

1. Bangkok, Thailand
Bangkok is an affordable city with a food culture that you’ll never forget. Tropical climate and difficult traffic may not please everyone.

2. Prague, Czech Republic
The old town is one of the most magnificent places to stroll for hours. Living in Prague is affordable. Continental climate with warm/hot summers and cold winters.

3. Hong Kong
Everything is business and trade in Hong Kong, so jump on board. Very busy, but well functioning city where you can find anything and everything the world has to offer.

4. Porto, Portugal
Portugal second largest city, the home of delicious Port wine. Mild climate that is rather pleasant through the year with most rain in winter. Porto, and Portugal in general, is an affordable destination.

5. Budapest, Hungary
The cost of living is a delight in Budapest for a nomad who has to work to pay the rent and the food. Summers can be very hot and winters mild.

6. Taipei, Taiwan
Taipei is becoming a megacity where everything under the sun is available. City center can be expensive and not that welcoming, but outside the city beautiful, lush sceneries await.

7. London, UK
A digital nomad who wants to stay in London has to have clients that pay well because the city is one of the most expensive in Europe and the world. As a megacity it is one of the most pleasant ones where people still are friendly and everything (mostly) works (apart from the old underground network that is constantly being repaired).

Eurobarometer ranking 2015: Oslo and Zürich the best European cities to live in, Istanbul the worst


Is it really possible to measure which city is the best to live in? Perhaps not, but that’s why European Union (European Commission’s Eurobarometer program) asked TNS Opinion to survey residents themselves for their direct opinions how things are in their home cities. More than 40 000 people were interviewed in 83 cities in Europe. The result: ranking of the best and the worst cities to live in Europe in 2015.

The overall satisfaction was the highest in Oslo (Norway) and Zürich (Switzerland). Belfast (Britain), Vilnius (Lithuania), Aalborg (Denmark), Rostock (Germany), Hamburg (Germany), Cardiff (UK), Stockholm (Sweden), and Braga (Portugal) made it to the top 10 as well.
eurobarometer: cities best 2015
The lowest overall satisfaction in own home town was in Istanbul (Turkey). Other cities in the bottom 10 are: Ankara (Turkey), greater Paris (France), Rome (Italy), Marseille (France), Miskolc (Hungary), Napoli (Italy), greater Athens (Greece), Palermo (Italy), and Athens (Greece.)
eurobarometer: cities, worst

eurobarometer: all cities

Ranking of 83 cities by overall satisfaction.

The Eurobarometer survey the “Perception of Quality of Life in European Cities” has been conducted every three years since 2004. In 2015, more than 40,000 people were interviewed in 79 cities and in 4 metropolitan areas (greater cities). In each city, around 500 citizens were interviewed. Residents rated the quality of services, such as education, cultural and sport facilities as well as public transport and administrative services.
You can view the whole 172-page Eurobarometer report here.

We have sampled the key information from the extensive report for travelers who are planning to visit European cities.

Cleanliness tells a lot about a city and its administration. If the streets are clean, it tends to show that residents care about their community and the administration works for the taxpayers. Luxemburg and Oviedo (Spain) take the top spot as the cleanest city.
eurobarometer: clean cities
Italian cities ranked the dirtiest.
eurobarometer: dirty cities

Some travelers want to relax in a safe environment, whereas others look for an adventure. The safest cities as judged by residents themselves are Zürich (Switzerland), Aalborg (Denmark) and Munich (Germany).
eurobarometer: safe cities
If you travel to cities, like Athens (Greece), Istanbul (Turkey) and Sofia (Bulgaria), be aware that even the residents don’t feel all that safe in there.
eurobarometer: not safe cities

Tourists who are looking for cultural experiences might want to consider visiting cities like Vienna (Austria), Zurich (Switzerland) and Helsinki (Finland).
eurobarometer: -cultural cities

Travelers tend to spend a lot of time on city streets, parks and public buildings. The quality of public spaces is considered the highest in Rotterdam (Netherlands), Malmö (Sweden) and Oviedo (Spain).
eurobarometer: public spaces

The cheapest and most expensive cities in Europe for backpacking travelers


Europe is the world’s number one travel destination that has (almost) endless number of countries, historical cities, castles and natural wonders to explore. Food lovers, beer drinkers and wine enthusiasts can spend practically rest of their lives sampling the tastes of different regions in Europe and getting to know the cultures. Europe is the home of some of the most expensive cities in the world, but there are some surprisingly low-cost cities as well.

kiev, juanedc.com

Kiev by Juanedc.com

If you are traveling on a tight budget, but want to experience the great cities of Europe, here is some valuable information to help you plan your backpacking trip to the old continent. Price of Travel has calculated a backpacker index for 2016 on 56 European cities.

Here is the top 12 from the cheapest to more expensive ones:

1. Kiev, Ukraine (the conflict in eastern Ukraine is still ongoing)
2. Bucharest, Romania (Transilvania is located north of the capital)
3. Krakow, Poland
4. Sofia, Bulgaria
5. Belgrade, Sebia
6. Sarajevo, Bosnia & Herzegovina
7. Budapest, Hungary
8. Cesky Krumlov, Czech Republic
9. Warsaw, Poland
10. Zagreb, Croatia
11. Vilnius, Lithuania
12. Riga, Latvia

You can view the full index of 56 cities at Price of Travel.

Here are the most expensive cities in Europe in 2016 for backpackers:

50. Interlaken, Switzerland
51. Stockholm, Sweden
52. Bergen, Norway
53. London, UK
54. Helsinki, Finland
55. Venice, Italy
56. Zürich, Switzerland

Italy, a canal in Venice


The best cities to live in the world: top 10 in 2015


People who intend to move overseas usually have traveled in the destination, perhaps even stayed there a while before making a decision to move there permanently. It is extremely important to get a personal feel on the city, its culture and people before making any judgments on its attractiveness as a place to live.
Sydney Northbridge golf course A suburb of Sydney, Australia.

Numerical judgments, such as the Economist Intelligence Unit’s (EIU) Global Liveability Ranking, measure a number of factors in the world’s cities and calculate the best cities to live in from those factors. EIU has measured 30 factors, such as stability, infrastructure, education, health care and environment in 140 cities across the world in order to conclude the world’s best city.

Melbourne, Australia is the number one, whereas conflict ridden cities, like Damascus (Syria), Kiev (Ukraine), Tripoli (Libya) have heavily fallen towards the bottom. The best cities to live in top 10 ranking in 2015:
1. Melbourne, Australia
2. Vienna, Austria
3. Vancouver, Canada
4. Toronto, Canada
5. Calgary, Canada
5. Adelaide, Australia
7. Sydney, Australia
8. Perth, Australia
9. Auckland, New Zealand
10. Helsinki, Finland
10. Zürich, Switzerland

Cities in Australia and Canada dominate the top ten ranking. Three European cities – Vienna, Helsinki and Zürich – that are quite different culturally and historically made it to the list.

If you are planning to travel to Helsinki, here is a compact city guide and here are two cultural guides that help you cope with the unique Nordic customs: The Lighter Side of Finland and Analysis of the Finnish Tango.

Try something new on your next trip: visit the most unfriendly cities of the world


Many polls and surveys have asked travelers opinions on the best cities of the world, and the best cities to live in. These polls give you ideas which cities feel easy to digest, look beautiful or have people who are keen to help a tourist. If you look at the tail end of one of these lists, you will find cities that get little or no love from visitors. Travel + Leisure did exactly this: they wanted to discover which cities are the most unfriendly in the world.

The top 10 list of the world’s most unfriendly cities is dominated by U.S., Russian and French destinations:
1. Moscow, Russia
Bad traffic, aloofness and poor culinary culture don’t impress tourists.
Moscow, Russia

2. Atlantic City, New Jersey, USA
Not exactly a jewel of the east coast where fast-paced people run gambling businesses.
Atlantic City, New Jersey

3. St Petersburg, Russia
Beautiful city, but language problems and cautious residents don’t welcome visitors.
St Petersburg, Russia

4. Marseille, France
A long history of high crime rates shows, although the city has developed into a cultural destination in recent years.

5. Los Angeles, California, USA
Rude people who are trying to scam one another and tourists.
Los Angeles, California

6. New York, USA
Don’t bother to ask for help or advice from a New Yorker.
New York, Manhattan

7. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA
If you are a sports fan, you better be a fan of a local team or talk about something else.

Philadelphia, Photo by Chris Hunkeler

Philadelphia Night Skyline, Photo by Chris Hunkeler

8. Baltimore, Maryland, USA
Protests kept tourists away from the city.

Baltimore harbor, photo by Beau Considine

Baltimore harbor, photo by Beau Considine

9. Las Vegas, Nevada, USA
Seedy nightlife and flamboyant performances didn’t convince visitors.
Las Vegas

10. Cannes, France
Voters didn’t like high prices in Cannes that don’t justify the aging beauty’s charm anymore.
Cannes, France

In order to find friendly and charming towns and villages in southern France, read the travel guide The Gems of Nice and the French Riviera.

View the whole Top 30 list of the worl’d unfriendliest cities at Travel + Leisure web site.

Helsinki speaks out in her own travel guidebook I, Helsinki


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