Milan Walking Tour

If you’re on a tight budget or ended up sleeping in and missing a scheduled walking tours, below is a basic summary of some of Milan’s central attractions.

 

(Duomeo Di Milan) Milan Cathedral and its surroundings

Duomeo Di Milan Milan Cathedral

Unfortunately taking photos in the Cathedral is not allowed, so you can only take pictures from the outside and in front of the building. Milan Cathedral was built in the 14th century and is famous for its 3000+ statues.

The area that surrounds the Cathedral has a number of pleasant cafes and restaurants. Time passes quickly here sipping on a cup of Italian coffee.

From here you can easily reach The Scala (Teatro alla Scala).  Milan’s Scala is the place that every opera singer dreams of.

Opposite the opera house you will find Leonardo’s statue.

Leonardo Statue Milan

In order to see Leonardo Da Vinci’s 15th century mural, “The Last Supper” that he finished as his masterpiece in 1498, head to the monastery as it is found on the wall of a monastery’s dining room.

Leonardo Monestary The Last Supper

Each 15 minutes only twenty people can go in into the hall, which is then sealed from both sides.  Be sure to book your tickets in advance! If you miss your time slot you won’t get another on the same day (or even the same week).

The church next to the monastery is also recommended – the Santa Maria delle Grazie basilica. The original little chapel has been incorporated into the current building and inside you can see many divine statues, memorials, and family shrines.

Next is the legendary Leonardo Da Vinci Science and Technology Museum that contains a lot of reconstructions of Leonardo’s works, including designs and idea plans.

Once inspired by Leonardo’s many relics, head over to Sforza Castle which is in the centre of Milan. On your way you can look around at some shops or eat a good Italian pizza. The castle has been there since 14th century and is the main symbol of the city.

In front of the great Gate you can sit for a while and just look around. A lot of students spend their time at the nearby fountain. If the weather is nice you might see some talented skateboarder groups practising their shows alongside some street musicians.

Nowadays some fine galleries and museums like The Museum of Ancient Art are situated in the Sforza Castle. When you leave the castle be sure to take a look at the castle’s tail gate. The sight from this perspective is very enjoyable.

The tour ends at the mermaid bridge and a very large park.  Be sure to take this in if you still have time.

Milan Mermaid Bridge

Ponta Delgada Portugal on a Stopover?

For those of you travelling from North America to Portugal, you might end up in Ponta Delgada on a stopover.  Most people see this as an inconvenience, but for others it’s a great opportunity to take in this great remote Portuguese island.

Being that it’s so small, there are half-day (4 hours) and full day (7-8 hours) tours available right from PDL airport.  Prices range from €50 – €120 per vehicle.  Reputable companies include Azorean Tours.

 

 

Some options to consider while you’re there include:
Miradouro da Caloura
Vila Franca do Campo (N. Sra. da Paz view point)
Poça da Dona Beija (thermal hot bathing pools)
Caldeiras (where they make the traditional “Cozido das Furnas“)
Caldeiras (to see the hot water springs)
Pico do Ferro (535m)
Gorreana and visit to the Tea Plantation and factory
Miradouro of Stª Iria

 

 

And for surfers: Santa Barbara!

Porto Portugal on a Budget

Porto (and Portugal in general) is a very safe and friendly place.  Most citizens in the main city centers speak English and are always looking to help.  Take the usual precautions against pickpockets in crowded areas and trains.

Where to Stay: Yes! Hostels

 

One of the top rated hostels in Porto.  Very clean, great friendly staff and right in the center of downtown within walking distance of the main attractions.

Included:
– Breakfast 8am – 10am.
– Free (tip based) walking tours right from the hostel in the morning (10:30am) and in the afternoon (3:30pm)

Additional perks and ways to save:
€10 dinners every night at 9pm with unlimited drinks until 11pm.
– Except for Sundays and Mondays there’s a pub crawl nightly for €12 (€10 if you get dinner at the hostel) that goes as long as you want to stay out.
– €15 wine tour leaving straight from the hostel.
– Of course, the hostel will help you with other tour bookings as needed, including surfing trips.
Tip: Be sure to ask your walking tour guide for tips on cheap (and good!) local places to eat that won’t gauge you for your tourist dollars.  You can get a decent lunch from €3 – €5 quite easily.

 

 

Other:
Train from Lisbon to Porto: €24 (roughly 3 hours with great views of the country side along the way and free wifi).

Lisbon Portugal on a Budget

Lisbon Portugal on a Budget

Lisbon (and Portugal in general) is a very safe and friendly place.  Most citizens in the main city centers speak English and are always looking to help.  Take the usual precautions against pickpockets in crowded areas and trains.

Where to Stay: Yes! Hostels

 

One of the top rated hostels in Lisbon.  Very clean, friendly staff and right in the center of downtown within walking distance of the main attractions.

Cost: €12 – €36/night/person.  The one private room they have is about €36/night for the room regardless of one or two people.

Included:
– Basic Breakfast from 7 – 10:30am.
– Fast and reliable wifi throughout the entire building.
– Free (tip based) walking tours right from the hostel. €5/person is usually sufficient and worth the value.  The tours alternate routes every two days.


 

Additional perks and ways to save:
– There is one laundry machine and one dryer for €3 each with detergent included.
– €10 dinners every night at 9pm with unlimited drinks until 11pm.  A great way to meet new friends!
– Except for Sundays and Mondays there’s a pub crawl nightly starting at 11:30pm for €12 (€10 if you get dinner at the hostel) that goes as long as you want to stay out.
– €15 half day tour to Sintra right from the hostel, including a sunset drive back via Cabo da Roca, mainland Europe’s most western point.
– Of course, the hostel will help you with other tour bookings as needed, including surfing trips
Ask the Hostel staff for restaurant recommendations.  Avoid eating in the main areas as those areas are usually double/triple the price locals would pay.

 

Other:
– Train from Lisbon to Porto: €24 (roughly 3 hours with great views of the country side along the way and free wifi).
Tip: Get off at Lisboa Campanha and take any train towards Sao Bento (one stop that’s also the last stop) to get to the main square and tourist area.
– Plane from Lisbon to Porto: €9 – €55

Travel Massive UnConference

What started as an April Fool’s joke, quickly turned into something real and the next thing you know there’s going to be a Travel Massive conference in Ios Greece!  It is an experimental Travel Massive concept to bring a cross section of our global community together to meet, collaborate and share ideas on how to re brand and market a Greek Island for the future.

Details here.

THE ISLAND:
Ios is a world famous Greek Island close to Mykonos and Santorini. It is known as a party island but has a lot more to offer – and we want you to help us expose the island and its secrets. You can easily get to the Island by ferry from airports in Athens, Santorini, Mykonos, Naxos, Paros-Crete, Ιkaria or Milos.

DATES:
Travel Massive Island will start on 18th July and finish on 26th July after a party featuring international DJ’s. However, the official program will be held from Tuesday, 21st to Saturday, 25th of July (see details below).

PARTICIPANTS:
Are you a CEO? Founder? Start-up? Tour operator? Video Creator? A Blogger? Journalist? DMO? Consulting company? PR agency? Anybody who is up for a week hanging out on Travel Massive Island IOS learning and sharing ideas is welcome.

PURPOSE:
The aim of the event is to bring experts, innovators adventurous travel professionals together to learn, create ideas and share knowledge about how we can make a positive impact in travel for the island of Ios, and explore its (sustainable) future.
Our hosts are LuxurIOS Island Experience, a local brand that wants to show a different part of the island away from the famous party scene.

WHY COME?
– Meet and connect with travel insiders, leaders, and innovators in the travel industry.
– Join collaborative workshops & informative sessions created through the Unconference.
– Enjoy a creative environment to work and collaborate with content creators.
– An island. And yes, you’ll be living on it!

FORMAT & THEME:
3 days of a self-organising, participant-driven “Unconference” (see:en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unconference). In order for the event to be successful everyone should be willing to share their knowledge and ideas and be ready to help out.

The Unconference will focus on three key themes:

1. Video and creative content
Hailed as the future of content, how can emerging video platforms document and share the visitor experience? Calling presenters, filmmakers, YouTubers and aspiring actors. Let’s create something inspiring.

2. Sustainability
We make an impact everywhere we go. What sustainability practices can we learn from an island with two thousand inhabitants and how can we improve the communities we visit? Calling responsible tourism experts, advocates, leaders and innovators.

3. Local tours
How can “living like a local” provide a more valuable and authentic experience of a destination and change its perception to a visitor? Calling tour operators, tour startups, and local guides.

Outcomes
This event is part of a project by www.luxurios.com and there rebranding strategy. As a result of the event, we expect to get both creative content and great ideas on the destination marketing and branding. However, the outcome of this collaborative experiment is up to YOU. We count on your ideas and inputs! On the last day of the Unconference we will host a wrap-up report from each workshop, and a content and video screening evening.

Draft itinerary
July 18 – 21 – Arrival and welcome to Island / Island Explorations
July 21, Tuesday – Unconference Day 0, Opening session.
July 22, Wednesday – Unconference Day 1, Collaboration sessions.
July 23, Thursday – Unconference Day: 2: Project work
July 24, Friday – Unconference Day: 3 Presentations, travel film screening
July 25, Saturday – Closing party with international DJs

COSTS:
– The Unconference is FREE to attend, but you’ll need to cover all the other costs including transport and accommodation.
– Travel Massive is negotiating deals with sponsors, so we might have access to some discounted accommodation and we are in contact with other transport partners.
– The Island hosts a great party at the 25th of July with international DJs including David Morales. The public entrance cost 50EUR but all Travel Massive members can enter for free.
*Travel Massive is not making money out of this event.

CONTRIBUTE!
The whole event will be run in an open and collaborative style. If you have any inputs or something you’d like to contribute (from a great idea, workshop to giveaways) – let us know by sending an email toisland@travelmassive.com.

FINALLY…
This is an experiment. Consider this is a BETA product, use at your own risk! We hope to take away a lot of learning from this event and will be relying on your help and input to make this a success.

Paris – Contiki European Horizon

In and around the Louvre


 

Around Paris


The final stop is in the City of Love where there is plenty of free time to explore and shop.  The obvious recommendations are the Eiffel Tower, Louvre, L’Arc to Triumph and Notre Dame Cathedral.  Although these are highly recommended, if you feel like these are too touristy or main stream, a walk along the Seine river and seeing the small flea market type shops are an experience on its own.

The activities are endless and it might be hard to get motivated to go out as you will be tired from the last 11 days, but just keep in mind that you will never be with the same group of people ever again and the next time you will be back in Paris (if ever) may be decades away.

TL;DR – Go out with a bang. Paris is a truly magical city with a lot of history, culture, and attractions.

 

Looking to take a similar trip?  Visit Contiki’s website to get started!

Switzerland – Contiki European Horizon

 

Switzerland was probably the highlight for most people on the trip. The stunning scenery, clean water, and crisp air definitely gave everybody a second wind during the last leg of the trip.

On the way to the hostel from Italy, you will pass through Lucerne to learn about some Swiss history and to do some Swiss watch shopping. While here, be sure to pickup some milk as milk from Switzerland is second-to-none in quality and taste!

With two nights in the same hostel, it is a great time to catch up on emails and do some laundry. The Jungfrau tour which takes you up a mountain via rail to an elevation of 4,158m (13,641 ft) is highly recommended, but some preparation is required. Be sure to take warmer clothes with you and some Advil/Tylenol to help with elevation sickness (most people will be ok). If you’re feeling extra adventurous, be sure to hike to the peek of Jungfrau and/or take some snowboarding lessons while you’re there.

Although after a few days it’s difficult to leave Switzerland behind, knowing that you’re heading to Paris makes it a little more tolerable.

 

Looking to take a similar trip? Visit Contiki’s website to get started! (Affiliate Link)

Italy – Contiki European Horizon

 

Venice, as most would imagine, has amazing architecture and history.  A gondola ride is a must to fully experience Venice. If you ask nicely, you can even steer the gondola through the winding liquid streets.  All in all, I’m glad I went to experience this legendary city.

Next stop: Beautiful Switzerland!

Tip: Be sure to buy beers, snacks, etc. during your last rest stop in Italy. Things are significantly cheaper in Italy and Switzerland is a whole different currency all together.

Looking to take a similar trip? Visit Contiki’s website to get started! (Affiliate Link)

Austria – Contiki European Horizon

 

Hopfgarten, Austria is a small and tranquil village that is surrounded by stunning alpine scenery. The best way to relax here is to opt-in for the bike rental and bike through the village and surrounding bar and dance floor for those that want to dance the night away! Don’t stay up too late as the next day you are off to Italy!

Looking to take a similar trip? Visit Contiki’s website to get started!

Germany – Contiki European Horizon

 

While in Germany, you get to experience both the quiet country side that is the Rhine Valley and the city life of Munich.

While in the Rhine Valley you will stay in a small hostel run by a nice couple in the town of Bad Salzig. Don’t expect much as it’s quite the departure from the bustle of Amsterdam. Just take in the beauty and get to know your fellow travel-mates.

In Munich, be sure to take in the main attractions and how beautiful and clean the city is. Don’t go too crazy as dinner that night is beer and pork knuckles!

If you survive the night, the next stop is Austria!