Giveaway! + 1 Day Tokyo Itinerary

Are you planning a quick trip to Tokyo? Maybe you have a stop-over or you just want to get as much as possible out of every day you spend in this multifaced city. I’m currently staying for a few months in Japan and my family will join me next week so I have been doing a lot of research. The list below is my example of a perfect day in Tokyo if you’re short on time. Enjoy!

(Also today I have a giveaway for all you people reading my blog!
You can find it from the end of this post.)

Tokyo Travel City

Breakfast in Tokyo

Let’s start our day in Tokyo with breakfast! Mornings are maybe my favorite time in the capital city of Japan because there’s nothing better than starting your travel day in Tokyo with some delicious pastries. Tokyo is the city of cafes so just find one fitting for you and eat something tasty. Don’t forget to replace your morning coffee with something more local like matcha latte or chai tea.

Morning in central Tokyo

(Tokyo Station, Character Street, KITTE, Kokyo Gaien, Imperial Palace)
After the breakfast in Tokyo, it’s time to start our one day adventure around Tokyo. There’s no way you can see all the major sights of Tokyo in so short timing but my Tokyo itinerary includes some of my favorites. The character street found under Tokyo Station is definitely one of the must-see things in Tokyo and Japan. This “street” or better-said corridor is full of shops of different brands from Pokemon to Totoro and anime characters. You could call character street the heaven of everything cute!

Tokyo Imperial Palace

After exiting Tokyo Station continue your way to the close-by building named KITTE. You can do some shopping in this luxurious mall or even visit the museum but the thing I find must experience is on the top floor. KITTE’s rooftop garden is one of the best views you will see during your morning in Tokyo. The view towards Tokyo Stations older quarter is just what you need to take those cool holiday photos in Japan.

Tokyo Old Railway Station

When you have taken enough photos and admired the views of Tokyo, it’s time to walk towards the Tokyo Imperial Palace. Don’t worry, if I couldn’t get lost finding it you can’t either! It’s just a small walk away from Tokyo Station. Unfortunately, the palace grounds aren’t open for public but you can walk around the Palace Garden. One of my must things to do in Tokyo. The admission is free so you can spend as much or as little time walking around the Japanse garden as you want.

Lunch in Tokyo

Depending on when you get hungry, I recommend eating lunch somewhere between leaving the central Tokyo and going to Ueno. It’s very easy to find restaurants in Tokyo so don’t stress too much! I’m not the expert when it comes to different dishes in Japan (I usually just eat randomly what looks good) but I would recommend for you tempura, tonkatsu, ramen or okonomiyaki.

food

Eating out in Tokyo may seem scary because you never know if the staff will speak English. Fortunately, most of the menus have photos or you will be handed English menu automatically. Many places will bring you the bill with your food (hidden to a case) and after eating you have to take it to the counter. But this is not the only custom so you should just follow what the locals do or ask for help.

Afternoon in Akihabara and Ueno

(Electric town, Ueno Park, Senso-Ji)
You may not have time to see all three places I mentioned (especially if you fall in love with Ueno as much as I did) but you can try! Start from the electric town of Akihabara and visit some of the countless anime shops, electronic stores or theme cafes. If you want to experience something that’s only a Japan thing, Akihabara is just the place you need to add on your Tokyo itinerary. Choose your favorite from the long list of cafes and restaurants differing from maid cafes full of cute girls in maid uniforms to animal cafes where you can pet everything from reptiles to owls.

Tokyo Ueno Streets

From Akihabara, you could take a train straight to Ueno but walking the kilometer will be an experience on its own. Don’t worry, there’s no way you will get lost! Just walk the street next to the train tracks above you. If you want true Tokyo dinner, eat in one of those small restaurants under the tracks. On your way to Ueno, you should wander around the colorful shopping streets and even try local gambling game – Pachinko. I couldn’t tell you how these cames work even if I wanted so my tip is just to put some coins in and mash the buttons. It’s not hard to understand why Japanese people love playing these games. The colors and loud noises have their own charm.

Museum in ueno park

When you finally find Ueno Station, you can’t miss Ueno Park right next to it. You could spend days discovering new things in this one park and especially on weekends there’s always something happening from street performers to festivals in Ueno Park. My favorites are the tunnel of red torii gates to Hanazono Inari Shrine, watching the tourist boats and waterlilies in Shinobazunoike Pond and, of course, getting a thai latte from the cute Starbucks to drink it next to the large fountain.

Sensoji Temple Tokyo

If you don’t spend your whole afternoon in Ueno Park or want to skip it to see more of the religious sights of Tokyo, make your way towards Senso-Ji. If you are on a budget, feel free to walk from Ueno to Senso-Ji and check out the interesting kitchen equipment stores on your way. Senso-Ji is one of the most important shrines in Tokyo. However, you shouldn’t get scared of the word shrine because Senso-Ji can be so much more! Shops full of souvenirs, locals wearing kimonos and yukatas, short walk to the statue of “Golden Poo” (yeah, don’t skip this one!), and perfect photo spots everywhere.

Dinner in Tokyo

For dinner, I have two choices for you. If you have enough money, find a sushi place! If not (or if you want to the more local itinerary in Tokyo), buy food from a convenience store. Don’t laugh at me! This is a very normal thing to do in Japan and in fact, the food is DELICIOUS. They will even heat it for you and give you chopsticks. Just find a small convenience store (bigger markets don’t usually heat the food for you) – for example, 7/11, Lawson or Family Mart.

food2

Evening Shinjuku, Harajuku, and Shibuya

(Shopping, Metropolitan Government Building, Nightlife)
I know my Tokyo itinerary includes too many things to do in Tokyo. But if you’re leaving late or have all night to hang out in Tokyo, continue your way to Shinjuku or Shibuya after Senso-Ji. You can start by shopping. All of these streets – Shinjuku, Harajuku and, Shibuya – have shops worth your visit. Shibuya is more trendy and fresh, from Harajuku’s Takeshita Street you can find the oddest fashion items ever and Shinjuku is perfect for visiting all kinds of stores (my favorites are definitely the “English bookshop” Book Kinokuniya, Tokyu Hands and Tower Records).

Tokyo nightlife itinerary

After a small shopping spree, I recommend adding the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building on your itinerary. Sounds dull, I know. Many people skip this attraction just because they don’t do enough research. Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building is one of my favorite things to do in Tokyo. Despite the name, it’s an observation tower. Or well, in fact, two FREE observation towers. The north observation tower is open until 11 pm so you should have enough time to visit here and see Tokyo from the hights despite how long time the other things on my Tokyo itinerary will take.

Tokyo Itinerary

I don’t party a lot but if you only have one night in Tokyo there’s no better way to spend it than giving the party life of Tokyo a go. Shinjuku and Shibuya side of Tokyo is just perfect for this. There’s something for everyone from big multistorey nightclubs to small cellar rock bars (went once one of those but its story for some other time…) Those travelers who want to experience the whole “Japan is crazy” atmosphere should book tickets to popular Robot Restaurant. Their shows are truly one of the kind…

Tokyo Itinerary - Shinjuku

Giveaway with GPSmyCity

(This giveaway has already ended… Sorry!)

Are you a traveler like me who loves discovering new cities by walking around on their own? In that case, you will love this opportunity to win a one-year subscription to GPSmyCity‘s mobile app. The app will turn your phone into an audio guide in over 1,000 cities worldwide.

GPSmyCity has given me this change to giveaway 10 annual subscriptions to their app for my readers! So, in two weeks (to be more specific on Sunday 26.8.2018) I will randomly choose 10 winners from people who have taken part in this contest.

How to participate in this giveaway? It’s easy! Just go to my Twitter @LostViivi and answer the question in tweet pinned to my profile. Or go straight to the tweet HERE to tell me “What has been your favorite travel destination of 2018?” You don’t have to follow me but it will make contacting you a lot easier in case of winning.

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Like always all comments are more than welcome and don’t forget to take part in the giveaway. And if you like my blog I recommend you to check my Twitter because what would be better than reading crazy travel stories in real time?

With love,
Lost Viivi

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Bucket list: Golden Pavilion

This summer I’m finally returning to Japan after two years! Because I have been doing a lot of planning, updating my Japan bucket list and just going through some of the amazing memories I had during my first visit, I thought it would be ideal to share some of this information with you. That’s why I have updated my old Japan bucket list post about Golden Pavilion aka one of the places in Japan that made the most lasting impression on me.

Like always all comments and questions are more than welcome. What are some of the things on your bucket list that you would love to revisit? I hope you enjoy!

kinkakuji3

Golden Pavilion

Why should you add Kinkakuji to your bucket list?

Like I mentioned this temple is the place to take your best travel photos. Or well probably just that one photo with you standing in front of the water and golden building. If you are lucky there are no photobombing tourists next to you.

But in reality, I’m just kidding. The golden pavilion did impress me. I would not recommend it for you if it was just for that one selfie. I had never seen quite anything like Kinkakuji. Beautiful gold pavilion.

 

Read more about my experience visiting Kinkakuji

GoTravelGlobal

Today I’m going to introduce yet another Wanderlust Wednesday place based in Japan and Kyoto. This pavilion is mainly on my must recommended bucket list attractions because of its photogenic looks but also because of the amazing experience I had visiting there.

So let me make sure you will fall in love with Golden Pavilion and add it to your Japan bucket list! It may seem too expensive to visit and there isn’t a lot of things to see. However, if you want to brag in social media using amazing photos from your Japan trip this temple is the must place to go in Kyoto and take the new charming selfie…

Golden temple autumn Kyoto

Golden Pavilion

Other Names: Kinkakuji

Where? Kyoto, Japan

How to get there? Direct buses leave from Kyoto Station

When to go? I think the prettiest times to visit are when there are autumn leaves. Kinkakuji is open from 9AM to…

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Traveler’s Guide to Weather

The name of this blog post may seem kind of silly but that’s literally today’s subject. We’re going to talk about the weather and not just any weather. The weather during your adventure. We usually check the weather of our travel destination before booking the tickets or at least before we start packing. However, sometimes that’s not enough.

There’re many things you should take into account while checking conditions for your holiday season. This is my travel guide for surviving the weather in any possible travel destination. (Don’t blame me if I give bad tips…)

rainbow

Research the long-term weather statistics

Most people check only the forecast for their travel dates while the more “experienced travelers” search for last year’s weather during their trip’s time. Both are good ways to prepare yourself for the adventure and you should learn to do them always before booking any flights. (There’s a huge difference between visiting places for a beach holiday in winter and in summer.) However, I’m more thorough than most people. Let me explain. I have lived my whole life in Finland and so the unpredictable weather conditions are my specialty. They may promise us hot summer days for next week but then it ends up snowing. You never know.

This is why a long-term weather statistics are my best friends. Just google your destination and weather statistics. You should get the average temperatures for several years. What has been the highest temperature? What about the lowest? Now you know all the possibilities. It’s time to start packing.

cute_dog

Clothes with many usages for travelers

Packing is never an easy project. My secret is packing clothes that I can use in many different ways. Okay, think normal jeans with not too skinny legs. When it’s chilly weather you can use them normally, no problems and you will keep yourself warm. But then you get to the destination and it’s super hot every day – not even close to jeans weather. What can you do? Roll the legs of your jeans and change them to stylish capri pants. This same rule goes for many other clothes:

  • Huge scarf changes to blanket that makes your airplane experience luxurious.
  • You can use top on its own or under hoodies.
  • Dresses aren’t just for hot days! Put leggings under your favorite dress and you will be ready to survive chilly evenings.
  • Roll the sleeves of your shirt and survive surprising sunny days.
  • Pack pajamas that you can turn to trendy daytime clothes in an emergency.

Travel Blog Flying

Sun is warm, shades are cold

You may have seen sketches of goths running from shadow to shadow so they wouldn’t get roasted in the sun because of the black clothes. It may seem funny but totally usable tactic for all travelers who are in trouble with the weather. When you are feeling cold, search for sunny spots. Even in Finnish winter, we all know that standing in sunlight is much better than hiding in the shadows. Winter sun on your skin is one of the best feelings in this world! But same goes for summer and shades. When you are feeling too hot, just stand under a tree or run from one shadow to another one. You will look stupid but hey who cares!

Traveling isn’t just about the temperatures

Temperatures and weather are of course important parts of the conditions in your travel destination. But the humidity level will also affect your holiday. Warm weather isn’t always nice and soothing. I remember experiencing extremely humidity for the first time during my trip to Tokyo. It was hard to breathe and you got tired quickly. Not nice travel weather even if the temperatures weren’t too high for me. So, when you pick travel destination for the nice hot weather, remember to check their humidity levels. I wouldn’t recommend traveling to a destination with a too high humidity percentage. You will literally die if you aren’t used to it.

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Travelers are all different

What kind of weather are you used to? It’s important. Believe me! I’m from Finland and we don’t usually get over 30°C at summer time. When I travel somewhere with hot temperatures, I’m dead. When we were in Rome with my mum, it was like a torture. We couldn’t be outside for longer than a few hours because it was so hot. And when I say hot I mean like 33°C. We met other Finns on our way to Colosseum and they were having the same problems as us. The hot temperatures just don’t work out for us northern citizens.

Same goes the other way around. I will forever remember a few occasions I have been in a hostel and had heated conversation about the current weather. While in Japan I got odd looks from the locals and concerned questions from the hostel receptionist. All this because I went outside wearing a light top when it was in their opinion autumn weather (come on it was like 20 Celcius!) This same happened while in Iceland. We northern citizens were wearing only light clothes and autumn gear while everyone else was dying of the cold weather. 

observation tower Brighton

Not every attraction can be seen around the year

The last but not the least of these points I want to share with you doesn’t have anything to do with you as a traveler. Some attractions are weather-related. Maybe the best example of this are ice and snow. It’s hard to see snow castles or igloos if it’s not cold enough weather. This isn’t the only thing. It was really windy when I visited New York and Statue of Liberty so I couldn’t go to the most famous spot: the torch. In Iceland, we didn’t see Northern Lights because the solar wind forecast wasn’t on our side. These’re just some examples so if you are going somewhere just to see one attraction, remember to check it’s availability at that time of the year.

Do you have any funny stories regarding weather during your travels? Or did I forget some important tricks you would recommend for everyone? Like always all comments are more than welcome.

With love,
Lost Viivi

Travel Guide: Brighton, UK

I have finally decided to write that long waited for Brighton travel guide. My first trip to Brighton was about a year ago and after coming back home I couldn’t stop talking about returning to this idyllic British city.  So earlier this year I packed my bags and traveled to Brighton again! I’m in love with Brighton and so should you. Most travelers just go to London not even looking for other possibilities. Read this Brighton travel guide and decide if this seaside city is the right destination for you. Skip to the end of this travel guide if you only want tips for day trips from London to Brighton.

Brighton Abandoned Pier
Abandoned Pier in Brighton

Basic facts of Brighton for travelers:

When you start planning a trip to Brighton of Britain, remember to keep in mind at all times that there’re several cities called Brighton all around the world. Mixing these places up is easy (it happened to me so believe I know!) Britain’s Brighton is in fact only a part of a city called Brighton and Hove.

Population: 290 000
Language: English
Currency: British pound
Time zone: UTC/UTC+1 (they use summer time)
Summer weather: average day temperature of 21°C
Winter weather: average day temperature of 7°C

shops in Brighton

Should I travel to Brighton?

In my opinion: YES! The city is beautiful, easily accessible, and a real treat for anyone fond of small alleys or getting lost. In addition, there’re so many things to do or see in Brighton. It mixes the best sides of shopping holiday, beach days and city breaks. All these within a walking distance! If this wasn’t enough to make you interested in traveling to Brighton, just check out their pier! (The new one, not the old abandoned one.) I love wooden piers and Brighton’s is my favorite. The gaming halls full of claw machines and coin games are like a heaven. Totally the must thing to do in Brighton.

travel to Brighton pier
Brighton Palace Pier

When to travel to Brighton?

You can visit Brighton around the year but their tourist season is during summer because the weather would be too cold for beach life during winter. The temperatures and conditions are generally same as in London but the sea affects them a little bit. In winter you can enjoy snow days in Brighton while autumn and spring are perfect for those travelers who want to just enjoy the city without too many people around.

Both of my own visits have been in spring so I can’t really give a full opinion on this. However, there’re things to do in Brighton all around the year so no worries! You won’t get bored.

Brighton streets

How long should I stay in Brighton?

A weekend is enough to get the feeling of Brighton but you can really extend your holiday as long as you want. London is easily accessible by train so you can even make Brighton your home base for day trips to the close-by cities. If you are a traveler who just wants to book her days full of attractions and things to do in Brighton, I would say that 4 to 5 days would be an ideal time for the trip. For me, this city was more about getting lost walking the small alleys, drinking chai latte in bohemian cafes, and sitting half of the day on their beautiful beach enjoying the sun. Far from traditional sightseeing. If you want a relaxed holiday with not so many planned thins to do Brighton is a perfect option.

Street art alley in Brighton

How to get to Brighton?

The easiest way to get to Brighton is through London. You can take a train or bus to Brighton from all airports in London, however, some of them will have several changes or they will last for hours. I recommend flying to London Gatwick Airport. Gatwick Airport is halfway from London to Brighton when you take a train. The train journey to Brighton from London takes about an hour while from Gatwick Airport the trip will only last half an hour.

Brighton streets

Is Brighton expensive?

The prices are on the same level as in London. You can find cheap budget hostels in Brighton but also better and more expensive five-star hotels. Food is quite pricey if you want a real meal. Pizza and other cheaper options are available. Main attractions in Brighton are expensive but fortunately, most of the must-visit places in Brighton are totally free! So, you can have either expensive or budget holiday in Brighton. In the best case scenario combine these two.

observation tower Brighton
British Airways i360 in Brighton

The most important tourist attractions in Brighton

  • Royal Pavilion: This beautiful building is the true diamond of things to see in Brighton. It doesn’t fit in the rainy UK with its exotic Indian and Chinese heritage. Nowadays the Royal Pavilion is a museum where you can see the redecorated original settings from 200 years ago. As the old seaside home of the King, Royal Pavilion will charm you with its luxurious and dark past. It’s quite expensive but worth it!
  • Brighton Palace Pier: In the modern era word “palace” has disappeared from the name and most people call this “new pier” build in 1899 just the Brighton Pier. It’s the new pier because a little farther away on the beach you can see “old pier” that is getting destroyed a little by little by the sea. Brighton Pier is my favorite thing to do in Brighton. What there wouldn’t be to love in old wooden pier?
Brighton Pavilion in sunset
Brighton Pavilion
  • Brighton Pier Fair: There is a small fair on the wooden pier and it should be on your list of must to do things in Brighton. Their haunted house is a well-known attraction but unfortunately, it has been closed everytime I have been in Brighton. The arcade halls are my favorite part. Claw machines, coin games, and other arcade games are kind of a big thing in my family. I’m blaming them for the lost money!
  • Brighton Marina: Brighton’s marina is the commercial center of the city. Bars, shops, restaurants, cafes, theaters, minigolf, and bowling. Brighton Marina was built about 40 years ago and it’s the biggest marina in the country. I wouldn’t recommend this place for claustrophobics because part of the marina is underwater! But the above water area is BEAUTIFUL. Maybe not the most important thing to see in Brighton but still worth of visit.
  • The Lanes: Brighton’s historic quarter has small alleys to get lost around but also cute cafes and bars where the locals meet. Just walk around to experience the idyllic atmosphere of Brighton that changes to something more modern and electric the closer the night comes!
  • North Laine: Colorful street art and small businesses with inviting fronts. This bohemian street is the heart of Brighton and paradise for all shoppers! Old record shops, flea markets, and cafes selling cakes from your dreams. If you don’t walk around the Lanes and North Laine, you can’t say that you have visited Brighton. Sorry, not sorry…
  • Museums: Brighton isn’t a city of museums like London but they have one bigger museum and several small interesting ones. I personally visited and liked the most important place aka Brighton Museum & Art Gallery where they show you everything from changing art exhibitions to archeological findings. Other museums that were recommended to me (and that I skipped, ups…): Brighton Toy and Model Museum, Booth Museum of Natural History, Brighton Fishing Museum, and so many more small galleries or art shops! Visiting at least a few of these museums should be on your must to do things in Brighton list.
  • British Airways i360: Every real tourist destination needs an observation deck. In Brighton, this has been taken to a whole new level. Their observation deck spins and takes you slowly to 138 meters. Again, this attraction is a little expensive but what observation tower wouldn’t be? The view is amazing and my favorite thing to spot up high were the graffiti paintings on the roofs of the close-by buildings. Clever!

Brighton guide to colorful streets

Cool things to do in Brighton

  • Sea Life Brighton: If you love aquariums as much as I do, skipping the world’s oldest aquarium in Brighton build in 1872 isn’t a possibility. I have seen bigger, more modern and more enchanting aquariums but the old building has its own charm. Remember to book tickets to their behind the scenes tour early because when I went to Brighton it was fully booked for every day. You get to see what happens inside the aquarium where visitors don’t us0ually can go.
  • Undercliff Walk: If you are staying for a longer time in Brighton and want to spend a day walking/hiking next to the sea, 5 kilometers long Undercliff Walk on Brighton Beach is a perfect choice. The path goes between Black Rock (near Brighton Marina) and Saltdean. The cliffs on your way are made of chalk that was formed on the sea thousands of years ago. (Or something like that… Read more here.)
  • Police Cell Museum: You can visit this museum only by taking part in a tour that introduces you to the bloody history of Brighton’s old police cells. You will spend your day in the cells and hear interesting stories of prisoners, murder and solving crimes!
  • Walking Tours: One of my recent favorite things to do where ever I travel are the walking tours. Like all the bigger cities, Brighton has several free and cheap walking tours that teach you everything there is to know about the city. Take at least one walking tour to learn the basic things of Brighton and to get some unique tips from the local guides.
Ghost Walk Of The Lanes Brighton
Ghost Walk of The Lanes around Brighton
  • Ghost Walk of The Lanes: Brighton is a city with a dark past and a lot of paranormal activity. I went to the Ghost Walk of The Lanes walking tour because it’s one of the most recommended tours in Brighton. I can agree with that. If you aren’t scared of ghosts and stories of murderers, Ghost Walk of The Lanes is a must thing to do in Brighton. Darkening evening, scary props and the small alleys of the Lanes will make your experience extraordinary! (And your walk back to your accommodation deadly scary…)
  • Brighton Open Market: This is the place to buy your local souvenirs. They sell local handicrafts and food in permanent market stalls but also in changing stalls around the decked market square. Check before your trip if they have any events during your stay. For example, when I was in Brighton for the first time they had Fairytale Market and it was magical!
  • Search for cool graffiti and street art: You can find art on Brighton streets where ever you walk in this city. The Lanes and North Laine are some of the best spots for graffiti sightings but any side street will do. I recommend doing googling before your trip so you don’t miss the most famous pieces of art like two policemen kissing.
  • Relax on the beach: My last tip is also the most obvious one: relax on the beach and just have a fun day playing in the sea! You can walk on the beach from Brighton Pier until the Brighton Marina. The walk is about 3 kilometers but on the beautiful settings that will feel like nothing. If you return after dark or during the sunset, the lights of Brighton Pier are must see.

beach and pier in Brighton

Low budget holiday to Brighton

Can you make a low budget holiday to Brighton? Yes, if you are ready to skip some of the must to do things in Brighton and if you can contain your shopping needs, it will be easy. Hostels are the must choice for you. There are several of them around Brighton and the prices are super cheap. Just be careful because not all hostels are clean, peaceful or near the main street. For example, on my first trip to Brighton, the hostel I was staying had a bar on its first floor. They played music half of the night so loud that it felt in our room like you were part of the party.

Cheap accommodation isn’t the only thing you can save during your Brighton holiday. This student city offers many budget options. Museums, Sea Life and Royal Pavilion are nice but not necessary. You can see the most important part of the Royal Pavilion from outside and the free walking tours (with voluntary fees) will tell you all the information you need to know about Brighton or its history.

The most important places to visit are also free – let’s not count the money you will use for shopping. The Lanes and North Lane are colorful, full of small alleys and covered by small idyllic shops, cafes, and restaurants. All this is free. Well, if you don’t buy all the shops empty like I would love to do, it will be free. Brighton Pier is also free to visit and so is the beach. Just walk around and enjoy the Brighton atmosphere. Especially at summer you can find several free events, concerts, and plays all around the city.

brighton travel abandoned pier
Abandoned pier in Brighton beach

Useful tips to remember

Brighton is a moderately safe city and there aren’t too many things to keep in mind regarding your safety. However, these things are good to know before your trip so you can get most out of the experience.

  • Drugs: Okay, don’t get most out of the drugs during your visit to Brighton. This city is well known because of its high drug usage. Mostly you will see marijuana. It’s used either secretly or so normally that you don’t even realize before people are doing it. Someone will probably offer you drugs but just say that you don’t use and there shouldn’t be any problems.
  • Homeless people: Regarding the government, Brighton has the worst homelessness rate in Britain (when we don’t count London in the equation). You can clearly see this while walking around the city at evening or night time because most of the doorways and parks are full of people in their sleep bags. Even then generally speaking they won’t bother you and are just normal people who don’t have a home. If you have an extra penny consider to giving it to someone who needs it and if you don’t have anything to spare just smile while walking towards.
  • It’s a party city: Staying in shared accommodation means that people will return at the middle of the night even during weekdays. If you are staying near a bar, the music may disturb you through the day. But it’s not only a bad thing! You can always meet new people or just take over the whole hostel room in evenings because everyone else is at a party. Experiencing at least one wild party in Brighton is a must thing to do!
  • Check the events during your stay: It was a huge surprise for me how many events, concerts and other things to do there happens in Brighton every week! Even better many of these things are free. Just remember to check them before you go because sometimes the tickets are sold out quickly.
  • Airport security after Brighton: If you’re staying in a hostel or shared accommodation while in Brighton, I recommend reserving a little extra time for the airport when returning home. The security may want to do a random drug test for your things or you may happen to meet one of those cute dogs. Even if you kept away from drugs the results are probably going to be positive. However, don’t worry! As long as you haven’t used anything and don’t carry anything illegal with you it’s going to be a simple package check. Tell them honestly that you were staying in a hostel so you think that someone was using something near your things. It will make the process faster and being honest is always a good thing.

Metro London Cool

Day trip to Brighton from London

Trains between Brighton and London operate several times per hour so you can leave to Brighton at any time. The journey lasts about an hour and will take you to Brighton station. Just step outside the station from its main doors and keep walking amongst the street. This will take you to the beach which is the best place to start your adventure around Brighton. After you have arrived at the beach and enjoyed the view, start your day in Brighton. Here is my itinerary suggestion:

  • Walk along the beach towards the British Airways i360. It’s the tall tower on your right side if you have walked straight to the beach from the train station. After arriving at the observation tower, buy your tickets. Check the time of your ride and then remember to go back to British Airways i360 at the right time.
  • After buying tickets and possibly visiting the observation tower, continue your way towards the Brighton Pavilion through the Lanes. Stop for coffee and shopping whenever you want. You can either buy a ticket to the Pavilion or just admire it from its park.
  • Next to the Brighton Pavilion, you can find the Brighton Museum & Art Gallery.
  • Now it’s time to walk the famous North Laine. Remember to keep eye on interesting graffiti paintings on your way.
  • If you haven’t yet eaten find a restaurant or walk to the Brighton Pier and eat fish and chips with sea view. Continue enjoying the pier on its fair and gaming halls or go to the world’s oldest aquarium that you can find on the other side of the street in front of Brighton Pier.
  • As your last activity in Brighton go for the Ghost Walk of The Lanes and then walk back to the train station along the beach. This way you can see the sight of Brighton Pier’s beautiful lights in darkness as your last memory of the city.
Big ben and Telephone box London
The train journey from Brighton to London only lasts for an hour

I loved Brighton but what now?

Have you stayed in Brighton for long enough but would like to continue somewhere else? Don’t worry because you have an almost endless amount of possibilities! Here are some of my favorites:

  • London: Only one hour by cheap train and you will be in London. And then from London (even if it has always new things to see and experience), you can literally travel anywhere in Britain. With the cheap buses, you can travel around with only a few pounds.
  • Manchester: Well known soccer city is about 3 to 5 hours train trip away from Brighton but you can get cheap deals every now and then for the tickets. Bus from Brighton to Manchester takes a few hours more but the best prices are also under $10.
  • Paris: Does this recommendation surprise you? In fact, you can go by bus from Brighton to London and from London to Paris. It’s surprisingly cheap even if flying would be faster.
  • Bournemouth: Another seaside town worth seeing in Britain. Take a cheap bus from Brighton but be ready to sit for about 5 to 6 hours.
  • Bristol: Busses starting from one pound go between Bristol and Brighton. The trip takes about 5 hours but the night bus is always a practical decision. Bristol is an interesting city full of passion, culture, and things to do.

Brighton beach in UK

Have you ever visited Brighton or planning on going to see this seaside town? If you haven’t yet been in Brighton, I totally recommend it! I’m in love with this colorful city… Like always all comments and questions are more than welcome.

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With love,
Lost Viivi

Travel Guide: Rome, Italy

If you are reading this blog post, I would guess that you are planning trip to Rome or you are already there but don’t know what to do. Or then you are just interested what I have to say about this Italy’s ancient city. I have to start by saying that during my visit to Rome I didn’t fall in love. The city is nice, there is a lot of things to see and Vatican was amazing. But I didn’t fall in love. That doesn’t change the fact that Rome is still one of those places everyone should see at least once in their life time and so here is travel guide to Rome for anyone interested!

ancient_rome

Basic facts of Rome:

As the capital city of Italy Rome is also the fourth largest city in EU when compared by the population. Inside of Rome there is also Vatican, the smallest country in the world by population and area. Here some more basic information about Rome:

Population: 2,8 million
Language: Italy
Currency: euro
Time zone: UTC+1
Summer weather: dry and warm, average day temperature of 30°C
Winter weather: humid and cold, average day temperature of 12°C

rooftops_rome

Should I travel to Rome?

The short answer? Yes.
Rome is like a big museum so if you are not someone interested in history, museums and old buildings, going to somewhere else may be a good idea. But even then Rome is travel destination you should experience once in your lifetime. Walking around the old narrow streets takes you straight back to Europe’s ancient city and there is something to see literally everywhere.

summer_rome

When to travel to Rome?

The right questions would be when is not the right time to travel to Rome. We made the mistake everyone should try to avoid making. July and August are just inevitable death so don’t travel at that time. The average temperature of those months is about 26°C. What this means? Sunny days are impossible to get around in the heat of over 30°C. Especially if you are from a northern country like me and not used to over 30 degrees.

On the other hand, January can be quite cold if you are used to warmth. The best time to visit Rome would be late autumn, early summer or late spring. 

rome_history

How long should I stay in Rome?

Whatever you stay for a weekend or two weeks, you won’t have enough time to see everything. Rome is big, full of historical attractions and place that makes you quickly bored. In the end, you can get an overdose of all the history and cool places so I don’t recommend making the trip just to see everything possible. Take your time and be ready to miss some of the major attractions. Decide beforehand what you want to see.

The shortest time I would stay in Rome is for three full days. Think it this way: You will need one full day for Vatican, one day for Colosseum area and one day for just walking around, doing shopping or going for a day trip outside of the city. But the more time you have the better.

tourists_rome

Is Rome expensive?

Once again short answer is yes.
If you are not careful in Rome, you will end up paying too much for the things locals can get a lot cheaper. Main areas of this capital city are made for tourists and so also the prices are high. Check out the prices of attractions beforehand from the internet and see should you book online or buy tickets in Rome. When eating, go for the smaller side alleys and compare prices of different restaurants.

rome_colosseum

The most important tourist attractions

  • Colosseum, Forum Romanum, and Palatine Hill: These are maybe the three most important landmarks and tourist attractions in Rome. You can access all of them with the same ticket valid for two days. Just remember that you should start from Palatine and buy your ticket from there. We got inside with no waiting at all because there was literally no queue. After that, you can go to the shorter line in Colosseum.
  • Spanish Steps: It’s long tradition for tourists to take a break and sit on these steps while writing postcards to send back home. Perfect place for people watching (Following those vendors who try to sell everything touristy is too much fun!) but also amazing opportunity to see the beautiful view to Rome if you just have the patience to climb up.
  • Piazza Navona: Souvenir shops, cafes, and restaurants. Piazza Navona is one of the most popular places to hang out for tourists. Wander around the small streets, visit churches and just enjoy the atmosphere this plaza offers.
  • Capuchin Crypt: One of the most unique attractions in Rome. This crypt has remains of 3 700 humans. Their skeletons make out most of the crypt and its decorations. Definitely part of Rome’s history but a little different take on it. Not for easily scared people!
  • Vittoriano: Huge white monument honors the first king of Italy. It’s nice to see from outside but mentioned on my Rome travel guide for a totally different reason. What many people don’t know is that you can take lift up to the top part of this monument and see beautiful panorama view to the city.

vatican_museum

Vatican

Vatican is small country inside of Rome and one of those places you shouldn’t skip at any price. It is worth of using one full day so it also deserves its own post in my blog. Next Wednesday I will publish small post full of information about Vatican and all the travel tips I learned while visiting there. For nor I can just say a few things…

  • Buy your tickets beforehand or you will wait in line for hours.
  • Take a guided tour to their gardens! It’s totally worth it.
  • There are too many people everywhere.
  • Read the map before exploring Vatican museum. You won’t have enough time and willpower to see everything as well as you want so pick out the most important ones to see for you.
  • Don’t trust the “Vatican” sign in the metro! It’s a trap. Or well not really but it may be sign for the wrong entrance.
  • If you try to find the Vatican’t entrance and decide to ask help from local, they may not know the right way. We even asked help from a military person but he didn’t even know in what direction the country is. So, have a map and read street names.

Street art Rome

I have seen too much history… What to do?

  • Markets! Campo de’ Fiori, Borghetto Flaminio Market, Fontanella Borghese Market and Campo de Fiori are just a few markets you could wander around in Rome. Visiting at least one market is must to do thing for every travelers. Pick your favorite from flea markets, food markets or markets selling literally everything.
  • Go to see the sea and spend day on beach. Follow the locals on train and spent nice relaxed day on beach. You have deserved one day of rest between all the sightseeing in Rome. The ride only takes about 30 minutes.
  • Jewish Ghetto is always one of those places you should check out in bigger European cities. It has its own atmosphere and style when compared to the rest of the city. Rome’s Jewish quarter has many attractions for travelers from Tiber Island to synagogues and from small cafes to bohemian shops.
  • Roman Cat Sanctuary aka Torre Argentina may be historic attraction. To be exact it is the place where Julius Caesar was murdered. So, why should you visit here is your brains got overdose of history? The ruins are taken over by about 250 cats and animals always make everything better, right?
  • Testaccio is one of the local neighborhoods in Rome. You don’t see many tourists here and so it is good place to escape the too packed historic areas. Visit at least local food market and Macro Museum of Contemporary Art (even if you don’t go to the museum, their yard is old slaughterhouse and super cool). And don’t skip partying because there is several clubs and bars in interesting buildings all found side by side from same street.
  • Nothing wins shopping! Rome is historic city but also paradise for shoppers. If you are on budget go to the cheap flea markets and if money isn’t problems the area around Spanish steps and Piazza di Spagna is full of high-end shops. There is also some cheaper shops if you start from the Piazza del Popolo and continue along Via del Corso street. Basically Rome is full of shopping areas so just use Google and find the nearest ones.

streetart_rome

Rome + Low budget = no problem?

Rome is often seen as expensive tourist destination that isn’t fit for those traveling with small budget. This isn’t the whole truth. Even if you don’t have a lot of money, Rome has many free things to do and some of them also happen to be must things to do in Rome.

  • Spanish steps: Spanish steps is also included as one of the major tourist attractions in this blog post. As long as you don’t end up buying something from the vendors walking amongst tourist it should be 100% free.
  • Churches: Rome is the city of churches and most of them are totally free to enter.
  • Pantheon: This old temple is the most influential building in Rome. It is best-known from photos of beautiful light coming inside of the hole in its roof. Definitely worth of seeing and free.
  • St. Peter’s Basilica: This is free part of Vatican if you don’t have the money to go for tour inside. However be ready for long queues and waiting before getting in the crowded basilica.
  • First Sunday of the month: This may surprise you but first Sunday of every month is day when you can see Colosseum, Forum Romanum and Palatine Hill free of charge. You just have to wait in line for long time but hey, it’s free! Also many Romae’s museums are free on this same Sunday.

rome_spanishsteps

Beware of scams!

As super touristy city Rome is the paradise of scammers and shady people. Be always on your toes and if something feels too good to be true or just not right, get away. It’s not worth the risk of getting robbed. Here is list of some of scams or dangers you may encounter in the ancient city:

  • Help is not free. You will probably encounter this scam if you are buying tickets from the main touristy metro stations. There is someone standing between two ticket machines “helping”. In reality you could just turn the machine to English and buy your tickets cheaply. After you have bought the tickets this person helping you will snatch the change you get back from the machine as tip for helping. Tip: Pay the exact amount of your ticket price or make sure you are ready to lose the change you would get.
  • Fake tours, guides and tickets. Only buy tickets from official people. Someone may offer you possibility to skip lines or get cheaper tickets but remember to always think: Why would this guy get any special tickets if anyone else doesn’t have? Remember also ask the price always before buying anything from anyone.
  • Rose for beautiful lady. This tourist scam is getting popular around Europe. This usually happens for couples or families, not as often for solo travelers. Man offers you rose because you are so beautiful just to demand high payment after you have taken the flower. If you are girl traveling with boy, they ask the price from man traveling with you because what kind of guy doesn’t buy flowers to his girl, right?
  • Fake products. This should be clear thing. Be always careful when buying brand products and especially if the price seems to be off.
  • Photo with pigeon. I saw this a lot when traveling in Italy and around eastern Europe. Someone will throw food around you or take your hand and put food to your hand just for pigeons appear to eat around you. What any tourist would want to do in this situation? Take photo of course! Just be aware that it will cost… a lot.

rome_metro

Useful tips to remember

  • Water fountains can be found around Rome and you can get free drinkable water from them. Yes, I know this sounds suspicious but it’s the truth. Locals drink from them, tourists drink from them and even my mom ended up drinking the fountain water (before our trip she was totally against it). Just check carefully that the fountain you are using is truly for drinking and not just for decoration. If others drink from it, there is big possibility that you can too.
  • You can skip the longest lines if you are clever. Traveling to Rome means waiting in queues for too long whatever you do. However with small research and clever thinking you can skip the longest lines. We mentioned these things already but here is two examples: For Vatican buy your tickets beforehand and there is almost no waiting. When visiting Colosseum go first to Palatine hill where you can buy the ticket right away. Instead of few hours of standing in line in front of Colosseum you only have to wait for about half an hour.
  • Always carry big scarf with you. No, this doesn’t have anything to do with chilly weather or covering yourself from the sun. Churches and other sacred places in Rome have strict dress-code. You can’t enter if your knees or shoulders are showing. During the summer months top and shorts seem like luxurious choice but it means churches are off limit for you. Except if you follow my tip and cover yourself with scarf when needed.
  • Some locals enjoy “siesta”. This means that there is shops and restaurants closed during afternoon hours but it depends a lot from area to area and even from shop to shop. People in Rome usually eat later at evening so you should too.
  • Use metros or trams and save yourself from terrible bus journey. Streets in Rome are narrow and often full of traffic. We didn’t use any buses during our trip but that was because many people warned us about them before we left. Metros and trams are easy to use and don’t get stuck to bad traffic!

airplane

I saw Rome, what now?

Have you spent more than enough time exploring Rome but still feel like you could continue your adventure to somewhere else? Don’t worry! I am expert at making long and difficult travel plans so here is a few possible ways you can continue your trip from Rome to somewhere else in Italy or Europe.

  • Train: Taking a train from Rome is maybe the easiest and fastest way to get Around Italy. Some tickets are a little expensive so it’s good to buy your trip beforehand. However there is some cities you can reach with only using ten to twenty euros. I recommend cities like Nice, Florence and Pisa.
  • Long distance bus: This is slower alternative for trains but also often cheaper when we talk about longer distances. Remember always check the current rates for trains and buses so you will know which one to pick. Taking night bus is easy way to move between two cities but it’s good to know that Rome’s main bus station is kind of shady and chaotic. I recommend using buses for places like Venice, Milan or Verona. If you want to go outside of Italy, Zurich or Ljubljana are interesting destination accessible by cheap buses.
  • Airplane: Rome is big centric city in Europe so many low-cost airlines fly around the continent from there. At least right now you can get flight to many countries only with 20€. (This is not advertising in any way but I use SkyScanner to find my cheap flights. Currently they are the only website I know with working “Fly Anywhere” option.) Those twenty euros flights I found were destinations like Bulgaria, Malta, France and Romania.
  • Cruise: Many cruises visit Rome or leave/end up in Rome. So, what would be better way to continue your holiday than board luxurious cruise ship? Some of these cruises sail around Mediterranean Sea visiting France, Spain, Greece and other cities in Italy while some ships sail even further.

colosseum_rome

So, this was my Rome travel guide for anyone who is planning their trip. It was first time I write guide like this so any feedback would be nice. Do you want to see more guides like this? I had fun writing so whatever your answer is there will be probably more posts like this coming. Sorry! Have you ever visited Rome or do you have any tips I forgot to mention? All comments are welcome like always.

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With love,

Lost Viivi