Tag Archives: guide

Get our most downloaded travel guide for free

2018-07-08

It looks like the ebook Traveling in Scandinavia has quickly risen to the most downloaded travel guide we have published. We would like to think it is only because the book includes sample chapters from our best guidebooks that cover the Nordic countries. Perhaps true, but we can’t forget the fact it is a free download as well. Anyhow, here is how to get your copy.
cafe at Esplanade park in Helsinki
Scandinavian countries are known for their high-quality education systems, honest people, large wilderness areas, lakes, fjords, and a few successful brands, like Abba or Nokia. A Scandinavian country, Finland, and its capital Helsinki will be in the spotlight of the world on July 16th 2018 when the President of Russia Vladimir Putin and the President of the United States Donald Trump meet in the city.

President Putin has visited Finland and Helsinki so many times that he doesn’t need a guidebook anymore, but perhaps someone from President Trump’s entourage could find The Best of Helsinki guidebook useful, or a guide where Helsinki tells honestly about her secrets.

Putin and Trump probably won’t have time to explore other parts of Scandinavia after the meeting, but if you have, we can recommend Lapland in the Arctic region, or Gothenburg on the prestigious West Coast of Sweden.

Traveling in Scandinavia is available as a free download right here Book cover image: Traveling in Scandinavia.

Top 5 places to visit in Gothenburg and Sweden’s West Coast

2018-05-14

Gothenburg is a lively city on Sweden’s West Coast that has a long and colorful history from the Middle Ages. Today, it is one of the major cities of Scandinavia where business and multiple cultures meet. The location of the city on the west coast (the second most popular vacation destination of Swedes) makes Gothenburg a wonderful holiday destination for all travelers.

The travel guide Gothenburg and Sweden’s West Coast covers all the essential destinations, sights, attractions, activities and places in the region. Here is an edited extraction from the guidebook: the top 5 places to visit.

Old Town, Gothenburg

Gothenburg, Sweden. A canal in the old town, city center.
The old city center of Gothenburg is known as Inom Vallgraven among local people (literally, Inside the Moat). The region is also known as Innerstaden (Inner City). The old town is surrounded by man-made canals. Gothenburg is not far from the North Sea, but the principal source of water for the canals is the Göta river, which flows from the north through the city to the sea.

In 1621, Gothenburg was granted city rights. The city center was fortified in order to protect the community from outside attacks. The canals were built, as well as protective walls (that don’t exist anymore).

Inom Vallgraven is best explored by foot. It is not a huge area. The maximum dimensions are about 1 kilometer / 0.6 miles and 500 meters / 0.3 miles. Walking along the narrow streets of this lively and busy place (especially during the weekends) is something that both locals and visitors love to do.

Haga, Gothenburg

Haga, Gothenburg, Sweden. A major city in Scandinavia.
Haga is a pretty neighborhood in Gothenburg that looks like a place for artists and hipsters, but in fact, ordinary families live in the area. It is located south of the city center.

From a tourist perspective, the main street of Haga is Nygatan. A stroll along Nygatan is like walking on the main street of a small town a few hundred years ago. Wooden buildings, streets made of stone, workspaces of craftsmen, bakeries, cafes and small shops create an idyllic atmosphere.

In the 17th century, Gothenburg expanded outside the city walls. One of the first suburbs was Haga. It was a neighborhood where the working class (such as people working in the harbor) used to live.

Slottsskogen, Gothenburg

A semi-wild deer in Slottskogen, Gothenburg, Sweden. One of Europe's best parks.
Slottsskogen (Castle Forest) is a large green recreation area about 2.5 kilometers / 1.5 miles away from the city center. It is a park, but there is also plenty of forest, a small zoo, a playground for children, a popular picnic destination and a place to see wildlife.

Slottsskogen was established in the middle ages, when the land belonged to the Älvsborg castle. The land was used for deer hunting and grazing. In 1874, the county governor opened Slottsskogen to the public. From the beginning, lawns, ponds, and paths through the woods and the zoo were the key elements of the park.

The trees and the plants in the park are mostly of local origins, but some additional species have also been planted. For example, Azaleadalen (Azalea Valley) is a beautiful display of different types of azaleas. There is a forest of linden, beech, oak and maple trees where it is possible to spot a wild deer or two.

It may sound funny, but the park is so large that it is quite easy to get lost in Slottsskogen. There are signs at crossroads, but first time visitors may want to take a map along or use a GPS navigator on the phone just in case.

Marstrand and Carlstens Fästning

Marstrand and Carlsten Fortress on the West Coast archipelago in Sweden.
Marstrand is a tidy and lovely village about a 40-minute drive northwest of Gothenburg. Carlstens Fästning (Carlsten’s Fortress) is an ancient fortress that has provided protection for the Swedish fleet and for villagers.

The construction of Carlstens fortress began in the mid-17th century. The fortress protected the Swedish fleet that was stationed in Marstrand, and also the village’s busy commercial activities. The fortress has had its current structure since 1860, which means it was under construction for 200 years. In addition to soldiers, prisoners have lived in the fortress.

It is possible to drive to Marstrand village, but the island where the fortress stands is only accessible by ferry. Part of the village, hotels and restaurants are located on the island.

The fortress web page provides information on the hours when it is open.

Bohus Fästning, Kungälv

Bohus Fortress, Gothenburg, Kungälv, Sweden.
Bohus Fästning is a fortress where many battles have been won and lost during its 700-year existence. It is located on a hill in the Göta river valley at a point where the river splits into two separate streams. Bohus is 20 kilometers / 12 miles north from Gothenburg.

Visitors have to walk up to the top of the hill to explore the fortress, but the exercise is worth every step. The views to the valley where the river flows are magnificent.

During the Medieval times, Swedes, Norwegians and Danes used to fight over the region, and the fortress changed hands (from Norway to Sweden to Denmark and back again) many times during a period of 500 years.

The fortress web page has information on hours when it is open.

The travel guide to Gothenburg and the west coast region of Sweden is available, for instance, at these bookstores:
Apple iBooks – layout designed for the iPad.
Amazon.com
Amazon.co.uk
Amazon.de
Barnes&Noble
Google Play Books
Kobo

Download free ebook with travel tips to Scandinavia

2018-04-09

Nordic countries are far-away, exotic destinations to many travelers. The northernmost region of Europe has plenty of space, vast wilderness areas, relatively few people, and neatly organized societies. Because of distances, it is a good idea to plan ahead a trip to Scandinavia, and learn a little about the culture as well.

Traveling in Scandinavia ebook is filled with tips to Finland, Norway and Sweden. The book is free to download right away simply by choosing an EPUB or Kindle version of the ebook.

Saltstraumen, Norway. Lapland.
The book has plenty of tips for destinations in Sweden, Norway and Finland. Customs and etiquette in Nordic countries are different from the rest of Europe, and behaving in sauna is easy after adopting a few key lessons from the book.

Klaava Travel Guides that have been published earlier and cultural guides provide the essential information for the book, and select chapters from a cookbook, and a history book. In any case, the book provides an overview on Scandinavia from many perspectives.

Many travelers prefer summer and sun, whereas others like snow and fun. Summer and winter are the best times to visit Finland, Norway and Sweden. A typical summer day is warm but not too warm for outdoor activities, like hiking, biking, fishing, kayaking, or whatever your favorite outdoor exercise happens to be. During winter, skiing is the number one outdoor activity, but snowmobile rides are increasingly popular as well.

Book cover image: Traveling in Scandinavia

Free book shares tips to travelers planning a trip to Scandinavia

2017-08-15

If you haven’t visited any of the five Scandinavian countries before, but you believe now is the time go, a bit of research will help you decide where and when to travel. It is a large area, and the further north you go in North Europe, less people there are. If you go as far as Lapland, there are more reindeer than people.
Reindeer at Aakenus fell in Yllas-Pallas national park Finland, Lapland, north Europe.
Traveling in Scandinavia is an ebook that we have made available for free. You can download the book right away simply by choosing an EPUB or Kindle version of the ebook.

The book includes information on destinations in Sweden, Norway and Finland. Cultural insight on people, customs and etiquette are featured as well, because, well, you are supposed to behave in the sauna as the Scandinavians behave.

We have chosen chapters from our travel guides and cultural guide for Traveling in Scandinavia, and even selected chapters from a cookbook, and a history book. All and all, the book gives an overview on Scandinavia from many angles.

It is easier understand the silence of Finns, drinking songs of Swedes and electric car enthusiasm of oil-rich Norwegians after reading chapters from the book.

Some travelers like summer and sun, others snow and fun. Summer and winter are the best times to visit Finland, Norway or Sweden. Unless, you are a Scandinavia expert and know that the peak season for hiking in Lapland is autumn. It is because the color of green in the fells and mountains fades, allowing other colors momentarily shine.

Book cover image: Traveling in Scandinavia

Tips for traveling in Scandinavia in a free guidebook

2017-07-22

The land of the Midnight Sun, long and cold winters, welfare states, high living standard, languages that no one outside Scandinavia can understand, plenty of space and few people. Sure, it is a definition of Scandinavia, but for travelers, the Northernmost region of Europe is much more.

If you want to find out how much more, read Traveling in Scandinavia. It is an ebook that you can download for free.
Book cover image: Traveling in Scandinavia
The guidebook is a selection of travel information, tips and cultural insights into the Nordic countries. A little bit of information on food and history is included in the book as well.

From the book description:

Here is a taste of Scandinavia for you to explore at the comfort of your reading nook – perhaps before heading out to the North yourself. As the selection of writings show, there are plenty of destinations to see and things to do: city life, mountain biking, fishing in pristine rivers, camping, island hopping, road touring, Arctic adventures, or hiking in the wilderness. If something is missing, Finns will invent it (e.g. wife carrying competition), Swedes will sell it to the world (e.g. entire country available on Airbnb), and Norwegians will win the cross-country skiing world championship (again).

Free download.

Travel guidebooks for destinations in Europe

2017-03-15

Europe is the most popular travel destination for vacation-goers worldwide. First, royalty and then, tourists have been visiting Europe’s majestic cities, medieval villages, castles, fortresses, mountains and beaches for centuries. The infrastructure and services for travelers are in place.

Castillo de Santa Barbara, Alicante, Spain

Castillo de Santa Barbara, Alicante, Spain


Trends in travel change with time, and some destinations that earlier used to welcome visitors, may today wish tourists would go home. That’s an exception. In general, traveling in Europe is safe and people are friendly.

Even though English is the most widely understood language in Continental Europe, there is plenty of variation in regions. In eastern countries, German, Russian and French maybe more common foreign languages than English. In south Europe, English German and French are spoken in tourist regions, but outside them, travelers have to know enough local language to manage daily life.

Rick Steves has published many guidebooks for European destinations, but there are other, contemporary and visual travel guides published as ebooks worth reading.

Getting to know the local culture is not as easy as many tourists believe. You get to know some German ways and you believe that it is all the same all over Europe. Not quite. Every nation in Europe has its own culture, etiquette and accepted behavior. If you intend to stay a bit longer in a destination, it is a good idea to prepare beforehand and read a cultural guide to the country. In North Europe, local people have good foreign language skills but etiquette is different than in Central Europe (here is a free guidebook download for Scandinavia).

Klaava Travel Guide ebooks that are visual guides to select destinations also include cultural tips for understanding local customs. The guidebooks are available for download here.

Ebooks news digest: dealing with a big publisher, writers conferences, tips from Hemingway

2016-12-21

Ebook news digest December 21, 2017

book conference, frankfurt, publishing perspectives
Why I still won’t review for or publish with Elsevier–and think you shouldn’t either
(Tal Yarkoni)

Scientific publishing is a vast business sector within the publishing industry. The biggest publisher of the sector is Elsevier that has been often accused of acting like a monopoly. Tal Yarkoni highlights so many issues with Elsevier that it is almost scary. In many countries, published authors can join an association (non-fiction and fiction may have separate associations) that can represent authors when they feel they have been mistreated by publishers. In many European countries, associations employ intellectual property rights/copyright lawyers who know how to deal with often complex cases. Tal Yarkoni’s strategy, however, is crowdsourcing: using the power of the scientific community to pressure the publisher.

Which Writers’ Conferences are the Best to Attend?
(The Write Life)

An introduction to writers’ conferences in the U.S in 2017. Whatever the conference, it is good for a writer to occasionally mingle in real life among real people and talk – not just write.

My 5 Top Complaints about Being a Digital Nomad
(Julie Ewald)

If an article or a book manuscript includes the phrase “don’t get me wrong” or even worse, it starts with that useless phrase, it is not a good sign about the quality of the story. Julie Ewald’s blog post, however, features so much valuable practical information for traveling digital workers that it makes an exception. Read the article if you are planning to hit the road with a laptop.

Hemingway’s Advice on Writing, Ambition, the Art of Revision, and His Reading List of Essential Books for Aspiring Writers

(brainpickings)

Hemingway was a strong character who had his own ways of enjoying his success. A Norwegian youngster managed to make friends with Hemingway. The master himself gave the young man writing advice that was later published in the book With Hemingway: A Year in Key West and Cuba. The article highlights some of Hemingway’s tips from the book and shares the background for what happened.

Gift Guide: Books Most Recommended By FORBES In 2016
(Forbes)

Business magazine Forbes recommends both nonfiction and fiction books as gifts for 2016 season. Ebooks can be gifted by purchasing a gift card to an online bookstore. First, you buy the gift card from an online store. Then, you give it as a gift to someone. When the person who got the gift wants to enjoy it, he or she logs in to the same bookstore, finds a book, and enters the code printed on the gift card instead of paying for the book.

Here is our recommended book list.

Behind a book manuscript: How a travel writer experienced Helsinki

2016-05-21

The first impression: love or hate

In every relationship, the first impression is extremely important. The same applies to travel destinations that you are visiting for the first time. You can fall in love with a place at first sight, or it can take multiple re-visits before the poor first impression changes (if it ever does).

Now that I have written a travel guidebook on Helsinki and it is published, it is time to look back and evaluate my relationship with the city. I have lived and worked in Helsinki, the capital of Finland, for quite some time but what was my first impression about the city? Did I really like it, did it make me curious, was I unimpressed or even unmoved?

I believe it was late summer — August or September — when I arrived. The first images I can still recall were that it was green everywhere, lots of light, very clean, plenty of space and no fuss — everything just worked. Nothing was spectacular, massive, totally weird, or anything like that, but rather human-size and practical.

Local people kept their distance, and didn’t chit-chat (later, I found out that it is the norm). But if I approached someone, the response was overwhelming.

Helsinki made me curious. I didn’t quite know what it was and why it attracted me, but I wanted to know its secret. There had to be something behind those faces and facades that an average tourist didn’t see.

View video:

Helsinki, city streets

Reality check: How was Helsinki really like?

After you have spent a few days in a new destination, you realize that there are actually ordinary people who go about their daily lives in the city. Life in the destination is not all about seeing the sights, having meals in tourist restaurants and constantly carrying a camera that’s ready to shoot whatever comes in front of the lens.

Of course, a few days isn’t enough to learn how people live in a place, but a sharp-eyed traveler gets hints and impressions of the local culture. At this stage, things get interesting. If I am exploring a destination because I intend to write about it, after a week or so, I have visited and photographed the obligatory sights. Then, I can look around for things that I find different, interesting and outside the inner circle of must-see places. In Helsinki, it meant discovering places like Kaivopuisto, Itäkeskus, old Eira, touring the shores of the city on a bicycle, and getting to know the bohemian district of Kallio.

I must have taken more than thousand photos in Helsinki in winter and in summer time. Some of the images made it to the book, most didn’t. Let me show you a few pictures of Helsinki where I believe I managed to capture something about the true faces of the city.
cafe at Esplanade park in HelsinkiA cafe at Esplanade Park in the city center.

Erottaja, Helsinki, jugend housesHouses lining the Erottaja street.

helsinki, view from hotel torniA view of Helsinki from Torni. The city’s landmark white Cathedral rises above other buildings.

The bottom line: What does Helsinki mean to me?

After spending so much time in Helsinki, exploring its streets, discovering rarely visited places, studying its essence, asking stupid questions when chatting locals, photographing and writing about the city, how do I feel about it now after my Helsinki travel guidebook has been published? Would I want to live in the city? Do I feel that I want to visit the city next year and two years after that?

It is a universal up-and-down experience how a foreigner accommodates to a new country and culture. Many culture shock -books have been written about the phenomenon. Having lived long enough in Finland, I believe I have survived from my shock, and I can sit back and take a long, hard look at the city, its people and culture.

The things I most appreciate in Helsinki (and in Finland) are safety, how everything just works, rationality of the people, ample green space, human-size architecture, modern art, and large wilderness areas. For me, the ideal moment to travel to Finland is when I want to breathe freely, be sure that I can be alone of I want to be alone without anyone bothering me, not worry about officers or taxi drivers cheating me, and forget about the poverty and distress in many other parts of the world. If it is summer, I will sit down at Esplanade or Kaivopuisto Park with my ice cream and blend into the crowd. I will be quiet and think the same things as Finns do: when we head to the cottage next weekend, what will we grill after sauna?

Helsinki is one of the easiest city to travel to and explore. It is a pleasure to stop by even for a short layover. Staying in the city for a long period exposes people to the long and dark winter, but summer rewards those who survive the winter. (Locals actually enjoy winter by traveling somewhere where it is colder than in Helsinki and snow is abundant).

I actually think that Helsinki (and Finland) is a bit of a hidden gem. The world has started to take notice of the country and its capital after news of its school system, maternal packages, Angry Birds, Nightwish and talented race drivers have spread in social media. Scandinavian kitchen and literature are also trending, at least, in Europe.

At times, Helsinki may be cool, but it won’t leave you cold if you give it a few days.

This story was written by Kim Anton who has authored and photographed two travel guidebooks for Klaava Media.

Esplanade park ,Helsinki in summer
My favourite season in Helsinki? Well, everyone falls in love with Finland’s summer (as I did), but winter has its own, very special atmosphere and fun outdoor activities. The picture above and the one below show the same place in summer and in winter in the center of Helsinki.
snow storm at Esplanade park in Helsinki

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

In addition to information on sights and food, this travel guide to Pattaya, Thailand explains local customs

2015-09-21

Travelers who are unfamiliar with Asian cultures and customs tend to experience many surprises on their first trip to any Asian country. The land of smiles, Thailand, has many customs that travelers may misinterpret if they are new to the Thai culture. Once tourists understand a few basic things about Thailand and its people, a week on a beach, nights at bars, dinners at seafood restaurants and trips to nearby sights are more convenient and communication with locals is smoother.
pattaya travel guide chapter 6
That is exactly what the objective of the book The Best of Pattaya, Thailand and the Essentials of Thai Culture, published in Klaava Travel Guide series was. The guidebook interprets for travelers, for instance, what the Thai smile really means in many situations and why it is important to know the protocol of wai (the polite Thai greeting).

The travel guidebook shows the sights of Pattaya, as well as the food, the shopping, the hotels and restaurants in photo galleries and video clips. Tips for surviving in the traffic, hiring a motorbike, finding a room, playing a round of pool or viewing a Thai boxing match, among others are included as well.

View a video that shows select sections from the Pattaya travel guide:

More about the book The Best of Pattaya, Thailand and the Essentials of Thai Culture download travel guide to Pattaya, Thailand

pattaya beach from travel guidebook

Favorite photos from a travel guide to Pattaya, Thailand

2015-07-17

Writing a book is one thing, but taking all the photographs for the same book is completely different kind of process. When Klaava Media started out the book series Klaava Travel Guide, we decided it would have to be a concept for a visual guide. Information about a destination must be supported by photographs and videos, or even better: visual information is supported by textual information.
travel guide ebook: Pattaya, Thailand, Asia
Lately, we have been working with Erkki Leppänen, the author and photographer of the travel guide The Best of Pattaya, Thailand and the Essentials of Thai Culture. In some book projects, the author or the photographer selects the images that will be published in the book, in other projects, the publisher (a graphic designer) picks up the most suitable photos.

If the objective is to have about 150 photos in the guidebook, how many frames the photographer provides to the book layout process? Based on this and earlier projects, the rough estimate is that there is usually 10 times more photographs than gets picked up to the final book. Naturally, if the photographer or the author has previous experience on producing images for a travel guide, the number of photos delivered to the publisher can be the same as the number of actually published photos. Still, the photographer has probably taken 10 times more photos on location.
download travel guide ebook: Pattaya, Thailand
Video is a different medium, because clips can be cut, pasted and mixed in order to create a lively short film from multiple clips.

In any case, here are a few favorite photographs published in the travel guide The Best of Pattaya, Thailand and the Essentials of Thai Culture.

visitor guide to pattaya, Thai culture

tourist guide book: pattaya, sights

Travel guide book to Pattaya, food and drink

Klaava Travel Guide: Pattaya, Thailand, hotels

travel guidebook: pattaya, beach

ebook travel guide: pattaya, sunset

The Best of Southern Sweden: the Sights, Cities and Activities

2015-04-17

Sweden is such a large country that its southern part is totally different from Lapland in far north. Southern and South-Western regions don’t have harsh winters and summers are moderate. Southern Sweden has a rich history and cultural heritage from Vikings and beyond. Above all, it is an exciting holiday destination. We have collected a list of the best places to see and things to do in South Sweden.
South Sweden, Gothenburg, West Coast, Ystad, archipelago
The information has been extracted from the travel guide book Gothenburg and Sweden’s West Coast.

City: Gothenburg
Town: Ystad
Village: Skärhamn
Sight: Marstrand
Shopping: Inom Vallgraven in Gothenburg
Food: Gothenburg has the variety of Scandinavian and ethnic kitchens
Park: Slottsskogen
Drive: from Stenungsund to Tjörn over the bridges
Cycling: roads across the West Coast archipelago and cycling lanes in the city of Gothenburg
Fishing: Stenungsund, Orust or Tjörn is a good place to start
Sailing, kayaking: the whole West Coast
Hike: marked trails in the archipelago
For children: Liseberg amusement park and Slottsskogen park

View the book trailer video of Gothenburg and Sweden’s West Coast: