Adventures in the Gorges du Verdon, the Grand Canyon of Provence

“Provence”. The name probably makes you picture cute villages and lavender fields, but did you know that it is in this area that you can find one of Europe’s most grandiose canyon?
It looks like that:

 

gorges_du_verdon_panorama

A million years back, during the last ice age, the river found its way in the rocks, creating the Gorges du Verdon.

 

Difficult to seize properly the dimension of the Canyon on a picture… Try to imagine that the limestone walls are 700 m (higher than 2 Eiffel towers on top of each other!) and that the emerald river Verdon runs in the canyon over 25 kilometres, creating a fantastic playground for outdoor lovers.  By foot, by car, by canoe or climbing, discover in this article the many ways to explore this jewel of Provence.

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Kungsleden, a 7 days trek above the Arctic circle

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Kungsleden, “the royal trail”, it’s a 450km trail running into the swedish mountains of Lappland, above the Arctic circle. Thousands of hikers come every year in summer to complete a portion  (or all!) of one of the most beautiful treks on the planet and enjoy full wilderness – not even phone connection! The first part of the trail, between Abisko to Nikkaluokta is a rewarding 5-7 days trek.

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A week-end in Kungshamn, on the West Coast of Sweden

Kungshamn at dusk, Sweden.

Kungshamn at dusk, west coast of Sweden.

Driving 6h across the country on a Thursday evening after several stressful weeks is not exactly what I had in mind when I talked about “spending a relaxing midsummer week-end”.

But going out of town to enjoy life in the family stuga (cottage) is what you are supposed to do for midsummer when you live in Sweden. With no family cottage to crash in, we ended up renting one on the other side of the country (“the right side of Sweden” according to the ones who live there). “It has better worth it!” I mubbled as I packed my bags, annoyed. What I will realise during the week-end is that the great thing about Kungshamn, is that you don’t have to do so much over there.  And just for this reason, it was worth the long drive.

Kungshamn, small town of the west coast is the perfect place to be off for a few days and reconnect with your senses. Here are 5 simple pleasures to experience during a week-end in Kungshamn, Smögen or pretty much anywhere on the Swedish west Coast.

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How to celebrate your very own Swedish Midsummer

Each year, the Friday between 19 and 25 of June, Sweden stops for 24h. Streets are quiet and Stockholm only full of tourists. Swedes leave the cities to gather with friends and families to celebrate in tradition the longest day of the year.

Midsummer Eve is one of the most (if not the most) important tradition in Sweden and it’s a fantastic experience to discover the Swedish culture and gastronomy. If you have the opportunity to celebrate it with Swedes, just do it! It’s the time of the year where Swedes loosen up, and you will have lots of fun. Difficult to find a part to join? No worries, in this post I will give you some tips to plan your very own Swedish Midsummer.

Credit photo: thenigo.com

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The priceless beauty of the norwegian fjords

A room with priceless view, camping in Norwegian fjords

A room with priceless view, camping in Norwegian fjords

Waouh, look at this! Best room with a view ever!” We couldn’t stop congratulating ourselves for finding such a great camping spot (above). After a day of travel from Trondheim, it looked like we (I travelled with my brother) found our little corner of paradise, here in Romsdal.

Norway is among the most expensive countries to live in and to visit, it was not my first time there and I knew that. But this trip to convinced me once more: it really worths it and with a bit of flexibility and creativity you can have an amazing time with a reasonable budget. ( Note for the inpatients: you can directly scroll at the end of the article to see our budget.  For the others: keep reading!).

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4 nightclubs to party like a local in Stockholm

Difficult to know where to party when visiting a new city. In this post I suggest 4 places frequented by locals to enjoy Stockholm night life. Pick the place depending on your mood, and dress accordingly!

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Debaser – pop/rock club in Sodermalm, live music for hipsters

Debaser is the rock club of Stockholm. Every weekend the place hosts concerts of international rock/pop groups such as FUN or Imagine dragons as well as local groups such as Panda da panda, First Aid Kit or Urban Cone. After the performance, the club plays top hits until 3am. Debaser is the perfect to dive into the Swedish pop scene and discover upraising international stars.

You can actually party in 2 Debaser clubs in Stockholm, both offering the same experience.

Where: subway Medborgarplatsen / subway Hornstull

Good to know: Opens until 3.00am. Admission fee varies depending on the performances, check the website.

Dress like a local: jean, pop or vintage tee-shirt, sneakers/ flat shoes accepted.

 

Berns – vibrant nightclub on Ostermalm

Unsure where to go? Berns might be your best bet, the night club is a great party spot and its different rooms give you the possibility to choose between different ambiances. In Stora Salongen it’s a huge dance floor, with high ceiling and crystal chandeliers  and a balcony where you can spot people in the crowds. The Terrace plays house music at a lower volume, perfect to engage conversation with your new flirt and your friends. On the lower level, the Gallery focusses on dance music -house and techno. The all place is huge! The nightclub is quite fancy but here you still get a good chance to get in. The main downside of the place: its expensive entrance fee.

Where: Berzelii Park, Ostermlamstorg subway

Good to know: admission fee of 220SEK. Minimum age: 23 years old. The club closes at 3pm but the Gallery at 5pm. Visit the website.
Dress like a local: Smart casual (shirt and nice shoes)

 

Sturecompaniet – Upper Stockholm at its best

With its up beat ambiance, its house and techno sound and its beautiful people, Sturecompaniet is representative of Östermalm nightlife. This complex includes some of the most hyped clubs of Stockholm: Sturecompaniet itself, hell’s kitchen and heaven’s gate (until 5pm), intimate club “V”. Some of them are so select that you will have to queue a second time inside to see if you can join the VIPs. The only trick is to arrive  really early around 10pm if you want to be (almost) sure to get in.

Where: Stureplan, subway Östermalmstorg

Good to know: Got rejected? Head up to Ambassador, similar ambiance with upbeat sounds  but slightly less selective

Dress like a local: To have a chance to get in, dress to impress. Mini dress and high heels for girls, suit up for guys

Fashing – the hidden retreat of jazz and nostalgics

This is the place to be if you want to dance like “back in the days” in an in time ambiance. Fashing is the club for live jazz, folk, groove, world music. After live sessions the place turn out to a night club for 60-70s music where even the shy swedes dance until early morning (until 04.00am on weekends).

Where: T-centralen subway.

Good to know: Check the website for concerts, entrance fee after concerts 100SEK

Dress like a local: Drop the too fancy outfit.

 

General tips for partying in Stockhom

  • Go early. Most of clubs close at 03am and by 01.00am the lines are huge (it’s the time where bars closes). Aim for 12.30am if you don’t like to queue too much.
  • Pack light. In most places you have to pay for the cloakroom have to pay, some even charge extra for handbags.
  • Keep an eye on your budget: on top of the entrance fee, a beer at 55-70SEK, a glass of wine at 60-90SEK and  a drink for 110 – 140SEK, you can spend a lot during the evening.

 

Itinerary Croatia: coast and islands hopping 2 weeks

If you are dreaming of a vacation of old medieval and roman towns, national parks, beaches and great Mediterranean food, you picked up the right itinerary!

Inspire yourself from this itinerary to combine the discovery of the Croatian coast and the exploration of 3 great islands (Read related post: 3 beautiful croatian islands accessible by ferry). With this trip is doable by public transportation – i.e ferries and buses- you can get the best of both worlds, even if you don’t sail.

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3 beautiful croatian islands easily accessible by ferry

The Adriatic sea is famous for its beauty and sailing fans have been exploring it for years. However, there is no need to love sailing nor to own a boat to fall in love with Croatia! I have picked for you 3 beautiful islands accessible by public transportation (car or passenger ferry), each of them with their own characteristics and charms. Pack a swimsuit!
Welcome in Paradise - Sali, Dugi Otok

Welcome in Paradise – Sali, Dugi Otok

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Does the Stockholm card worth it?

Like lots of touristy cities, Stockholm offers its own city pass the “Stockholm card”, promising the visitor a good deal for his/her trip to the capital of Scandinavia. But does it really worth it?

Well, it depends! I have done the maths for you,  and it’s pretty complicated. But keep reading and let me guide you through the labyrinth of the Stockholm card.

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