The ultimate Hong Kong shopping guide

There are numerous places to shop in Hong Kong – from huge shopping malls to street markets. But if you’re looking for a distinctive souvenir for a loved one back home – or a very special gift from you to you – drop by one of these 10 boutiques.

For the photo lovers: AO The Bookstore

4-The-Photo-Book-Centre-hong-kong-bookstore-hong-kong-travel-guide-places-to-shop-in-hong-kong
Strike a pose and visit the AO The Bookstore for great photography and art books

Dedicated to showcasing the crafts of the likes of Robert Capa, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Diane Arbus, AO The Bookstore, the only retailer dedicated to photography in Hong Kong, attracts shutterbugs from around the world.

This is where enthusiasts come to browse works by Japanese masters, search for erotic arts or peruse limited editions. Besides the bookshop, AO’s HQ located in Chai Wan is also home to the AO Vertical Art Space, a “vertical flow” gallery from the 3rd to the 13th floor of the Asia One Tower.

Interested in getting a grasp of the local photography scene? This is the place to be!

Where: Asia One Tower, 8 Fung Yip Street
Tel: +852 2976 0913
Nearest station: Chai Wan

For the “macho” men: Ed1tus

1-ED1TUS-hong-kong-fashion-places-to-shop-in-hong-kong
ED1TUS concept store is dedicated to niche menswear and men’s accessories brands

Men of all stripes unite! ED1TUS is that rare concept store dedicated to all things masculine.

Occupying a refurbished warehouse space in a derelict building, this emporium oozes virility. Founded by Jino Khidhr and David Wakely, previously a menswear buyer with specialty stores Lane Crawford, this lifestyle concept showroom stacks carefully curated offerings like Mauro Grifoni, Drumohr, Cire Trudon and FPM Luggage. Other items solely targeted at men include home decor, body lotions, creams, wine, and cigars.

Befitting its focus, catering is the responsibility of the Butcher’s Club, Hong Kong’s steak specialist. What else would you expect from a space reserved for alpha males?

Where: 16F Shui Ki Industrial Building, 18 Wong Chuk Hang Road, Aberdeen
Tel: +852 9760 0437
Nearest station: Central

For the leather fetishists: Fungus Workshop

3-Fungus-leather-workshop-hong-kong-places-to-shop-in-hong-kong
Get a unique leather bag or learn how leather goods are made at Fungus Workshop

Fungus Workshop is a rare gem of a leather shop, as much about unique aesthetics and connoisseur craftsmanship as about serious leather fetishism.

Conceived by fashion designer duo Baldwin Pui and Hoiming Fung, whose unique tastes in leather bags have captured the attention of British department store chain Harvey Nichols, Fungus operates as a workshop-cum-shop, hosting regular classes for aspiring shoe- and bag-makers.

Even if you have no interest in the classes, drop by and see how these craftsmen create leather goods – it makes for an interesting insight.

Where: G/F, 4 Po Hing Fong
Tel: +852 2779 9003
Nearest station: Sheung Wan

For the sports freaks: Lantau Base Camp

5-Lantau-Base-Camp-shopping-in-hong-kong-places-to-shop-in-hong-kong
At Lantau Base Camp you can buy quality sportswear and participate in quirky sports events

There’s more to Hong Kong than just shopping, eating and drinking, and the Lantau Base Camp is the ideal spot for those seeking physical challenges – be it a marathon or the MacLehose 100km Trailwalker.

Opened by two fitness fanatics, Lantau Base Camp is more than a store. A true fitness community, it creates events as challenging as they are fun, ranging from a 14km Valentine’s Day race to the Skirt Chaser, a running competition where women enjoy an eight-minute lead, or the Stairmaster, the toughest short-course set of races around.

The shop itself offers everything related to serious fitness, selling items like Salomon, Hoka shoes, 2XU clothing, GPS monitors and Clif Bars. Time to pump it up!

Where: Shop J, Sea View Building, 1 Ngan Wan Rd, Mui Wo, Lantau Island
Tel: +852 5463 6060
Getting there: Central Ferry to Mui Wo (Pier 6, Eastern)

For the creatives: Fotanian

2-Fotanian-hong-kong-artist-places-to-shop-in-hong-kong
Participate in a workshop at Fotanian, get inspired and buy some fantastic local art

Not a shop as such, Fotanian took flight when a vibrant agglomeration of artists moved into industrial buildings abandoned by manufacturers that moved to China. With more than 100 studios distributed in a dozen buildings, Fotanian is located in the area of Fo Tan, the epicentre of Hong Kong’s burgeoning art scene.

You are as likely to meet a famous painter as you are an emerging cartoonist. Many studios also serve as primary residence for artists, thus creating a real community vibe among the residents.

Studios are not always open to the public, but events are held regularly, culminating in the annual Open Studios festival held in the spring, where you can expect to see a mix of local art, mostly available for purchase.

Where: 15 Wong Chuk Yeung Street, Fo Tan
Tel: n/a
Nearest station: Fo Tan

For those who go crazy for colorful stripes: RWB 300

7-RWB-hong-kong-artist-shopping-places-to-shop-in-hong-kong
Buy a souvenir in the eponymous red-white-blue color combination at RWB 300

Your memory is not playing tricks on you: red, white and blue is not a part of Hong Kong’s flag. It is a color combination strongly associated with the carriage bag made of nylon canvas in stripes of these colors that has been popular in Hong Kong for generations.

Invented in the 1960s and loved for its sturdiness and versatility, the widely used bag became synonymous with the industrious city life of the decade and the people’s resilient spirits.

Since 2000, Hong Kong artist Stanley Wong has been incorporating the ubiquitous red-white-blue fabric into his photography, poster designs and installation art. Through deconstructing and restyling, he’s come up with a series of original houseware, fashion products and accessories, all found at RWB 300. If you wanted to take home an authentic Hong Kong souvenir, then this is the place for you.

Where: 192 Prince Edward Road West, Kowloon
Tel: +852 2392 5330
Nearest station: Prince Edward Station

For the herbs enthusiasts: Herboland

9-Herboland-hong-kong-travel-guide-places-to-shop-in-hong-kong
Visit Hong Kong’s very own herb paradise: Herboland

Located quite incongruously next to a stunning beach and a power station, Herboland is Hong Kong’s largest organic grower of herbs. The small entrance leads to the growing fields past a few rabbits. The grounds are relatively modest in size, but the diversity of herbs on offer is surprisingly wide: you can get around 40 varieties!

You can also buy seasonal vegetables and potted plants and even taste tea concoctions prepared with herbs in the small café on-site.

If you are interested in going organic and learning how to garden or make soap, Herboland organizes classes frequently.

Where: L.O.T.287 D.D.4 Hung Shing Yeh beach, Lamma Island
Tel: +852 9094 6206
Getting there: Central Ferry to Lamma Island (Pier 4)

For the fans of handcrafted jewelery: LoSo Shop

8-LoSo-Shop-hong-kong-fashion-places-to-shop-in-hong-kong
Experience some alternative shopping at LoSo Shop in Lo So Shing Village

Set in the picturesque Lo So Shing Village, home to a traditional fishing community, you can’t miss the LoSo Shop, a somewhat derelict blue house covered in artisan bags for sale.

Owned by Violet Chammi, LoSo Shop sells her own collection of quirky jewelery entirely designed, handmade and packaged by herself, under the brand MoonFolks. You’ll also find other products designed by Hong Kong artists and various handpicked, rare vintage items from around the globe.

With the addition of LoSo Kitchen opened nearby, be ready to escape the hustle and bustle of big city life and enjoy a homemade meal in harmonious surroundings.

Where: 21 First Street, Sok Kwu Wan, Lamma Island
Tel: +852 2982 8623
Nearest station: Central Ferry to Lamma Island (Pier 4)

Read more: Eat like a local: the 10 best restaurants in Hong Kong

For the bookworms: Eslite

6-Eslite-hong-kong-bookstore-places-to-shop-in-hong-kong
Spend a couple of hours browsing through the enormous book collection at Eslite

A Taiwanese cultural phenomenon eclipsing even the behemoth that is Amazon, Eslite might just be the blueprint for bookshops seeking to survive the onslaught of online sales and ebooks.

Occupying three floors of a shopping mall, Eslite is as much an entertainment destination as it is a bookshop. Eslite also holds exhibitions, events, and performing arts while housing an eclectic mix of cool lifestyle stores.

Lose a few hours browsing the shelves through the mixture of Chinese and English books. There’s a coffee shop, a wine bar and various restaurants, in case you need a refreshment in-between browsing sessions.

Where: 8F – 10F Hysan Place, Hennessy Road
Tel: +852 3419 6789
Nearest station: Causeway Bay

For the audio aficionados: Audio Space

10-Audio-Space-shopping-places-in-hong-kong-places-to-shop-in-hong-kong
Internationally-renowned Audio Space offers high-end audio equipment

Why bother with big brands like Bang & Olufsen and Bose, when their price range can get you much higher-grade AV toys?

Welcome to the underexplored and underexposed world of Hong Kong’s AV design and engineering industry. Hong Kong, with one of the biggest AV manufacturers, China, on its doorstep, is throwing up some amazing high-end AV products.

Among various brands, Audio Space is by far the most internationally recognized, steadily gaining respect and reputation for its top high-end tube amplifiers. Check out the Mini-Galaxy 1, a diminutive two-chassis integrated tube amplifier loaded with useful features as well as a beautifully understated two-tone gray exterior.

Where: 1F, 151 Apliu Street, Sham Shui Po
Tel: n/a
Nearest station: Sham Shui Po

[cta href=”http://www.momondo.com/flights/hkg/flights-to-hong-kong.html” rel=”” content=”Find a cheap flight to Hong Kong”]Find a cheap flight to Hong Kong[/cta]

For more tips, download our free momondo places city guide for Hong Kong and discover over 200 great recommendations from locals.

Yummy and affordable: the best budget restaurants in Copenhagen

Beyond all the bicycles, the first thing travelers notice when they arrive in Copenhagen is that food – especially good food – is expensive. So, where do you find good “New Nordic” dishes that won’t break the bank? Give these 9 food joints and restaurants in Copenhagen a try.

Hungry for more travel tips? Download our free Copenhagen city guide, momondo places.

Aroiidee

1-Aroiidee-Copenhagen-on-a-budget-norrebro-restaurants-in-copenhagen
Say “Skål!” over red curry at Aroiidee

If your travel budget doesn’t quite match with the prices of the extravagant Michelin treatment – and prices – at Kiin Kiin, but you nevertheless feel like having some good Thai food, stop by the Asian bistro Aroiidee just next door. The same guys run both places, and although the little sister restaurant is less experimental and fancy, the signature red curry at Aroiidee is so scrumptious that it is renowned Copenhagen-wide.

With its dim lighting, close seating and authentic Asian interior, this bustling Thai bistro serves as the perfect pit stop before a night out or as a romantic lead-up to some movie-watching at the cinema just down the street.

Where: Guldbergsgade 23
Tel: +45 35 35 95 05
Getting there: Bus 5A to Kapelvej

Papirøen

2-Papiroen-places-to-eat-in-copenhagen-restaurants-in-copenhagen
Tasty treat at half the price on Copenhagen’s Paper Island

Overlooking the Royal Danish Playhouse on one side and the Opera House on the other, Copenhagen’s Paper Island is an ideal end destination for a romantic evening stroll.

Considering its central location and beautiful surroundings, it’s hard to believe that, until recently, the island served merely as paper storage for the Procurement Association of the Danish Press and was completely deserted! Today, the island has become one of the capital’s most happening spots, with an activity center and science museum, Experimentarium, art galleries and food carts like the ones you would see in San Francisco. Tuck in to some seriously tasty street food from all corners of the world, and enjoy it indoors in the gray halls or in the sun overlooking the city’s waterfront.

Where: Trangravsvej 14
Tel: n/a
Getting there: Bus 9A to Arsenaløen

Read more: 7 hidden gems of Copenhagen

La Galette

3-galette-best-places-to-eat-in-copenhagen-copenhagen-city-center--restaurants-in-copenhagen
Asterix and Obelix welcome you to the pancake parlor

Some places just instantly make you feel good. This small French crêpe restaurant is one of those. Hiding out behind a narrow, graffiti-coated gateway, you will hardly notice it unless you are deliberately scouting. However, inside you will find a lovely little restaurant run by two accomplished French guys. They dish up these excellent crêpes made from organic buckwheat from Bretagne.

The crêpes are served with delicious stuffing offerings of a variety of ingredients like salmon, ratatouille and cheeses. There is a pleasant courtyard as well, and when the weather is nice, you couldn’t find a better place for a well-deserved lunch break if you are out traversing the inner city.

Where: Larsbjørnsstræde 9, Baghuset
Tel: +45 33 32 37 90
Nearest station: Nørreport

District Tonkin

4-District-Tonkin-guide-to-copenhagen-restaurants-in-copenhagen
A meal for two at District Tonkin

Fancy a quick trip to Hanoi? Just step in the front door of newly opened concept store District Tonkin, and you’re immediately teleported to the bustling streets of Vietnam, the smell of coriander and ginger titillating your nostrils.

Combining a tasteful, industrial interior with a laid-back street food vibe, District Tonkin lets you check out their handpicked selection of Asian art, premier cookbooks, and home décor while munching on their deliciously greasy signature sandwich: the bánh mì – a mouth-watering amalgam of marinated meats (or tofu), a peppery spread, spring onions and loads of fresh coriander. With an interior this stunning, and sandwiches so scrumptious, you won’t just want to eat here every day – you’ll want to move in!

Where: Dronningens Tværgade 12
Tel: +45 60 88 86 98
Nearest station: Kongens Nytorv

Madglad

5-Madglad-copenhagen-restaurants-Vesterbro-restaurants-in-copenhagen
Madglad

No strings attached – just honest, solid and tasty meals served with love and a crisp piece of bread and wrapped for you to bring to your favorite location. Madglad is takeaway wearing its most classy gowns, yet with good portion sizes and at budget friendly prices. There are daily specials, plus a vegetarian alternative – many of which are inspired by a traditional Danish kitchen with a few modern and international touches.

The kitsch interior and compact setting creates an intimate and delightful atmosphere that will make any social character feel right at home. Madglad brings joy to the world.

Where: Oehlenschlægersgade 53
Tel: n/a
Getting there: Bus 6A to Frederiksberg Allé

Read more: Free things to do in Copenhagen

Grød

6-groed-restaurants-in-copenhagen-Jægersborggade-restaurants-in-copenhagen
Get yourself over to Grød for porridge 2.0

Bring a spoon and an open mind. Grød is Danish for oatmeal, and oatmeal is back. It is no longer merely a distant childhood memory; it is the wholegrain essence from which hipsters grow their attitudes. Getting down and dirty with local farmland produce is the thing. Thus, oatmeal is celebrating a renaissance in a modern and refined version with great attention paid to texture and toppings. We recommend the spelt oatmeal with rose hip compote and caramelized pumpkin seeds. Yum!

The concept also includes Italian risottos, Asian congees and fruity oatmeal. Pop by when you stroll along the charming street of Jægersborggade, and you are in for a pleasant surprise.

Where: Jægersborggade 50
Tel: +45 50 58 55 79
Getting there: Bus 5A to Stefansgade

Ahaaa

7-Ahaaa-norrebro-copenhagen-restaurants-in-copenhagen
Get an authentic taste of the Middle East on Danish shores at Ahaaa

Nørrebro houses a large Arab community and a vast number of falafel and shawarma joints. However, for some reason, it still takes a bit of research to find genuine, quality Middle Eastern food. That is, unless you happen to come across Ahaaa on Blågårdsgade.

This is where you get the best falafel sandwich in Copenhagen, and the outside tables make for the ideal setting in which to devour it. Ahaaa also serves up super tasty shawarma, hummus, fava beans, manakish breads and a number of other delicious Middle Eastern dishes. Everything is homemade and the friendly staff is always very generous with the pickled cucumbers and radishes. Yummy!

Where: Blågårdsgade 21
Tel: +45 35 39 00 85
Getting there: Bus 5A to Ravnsborggade

Rub & Stub

8-rub-and-stub-copenhagen-on-a-budget-copenhagen-city-center-restaurants-in-copenhagen
Rub & Stub: Changing the plates of restaurant cooking, one leftover at a time

Go the whole hog with a clean conscience at inner city restaurant Rub & Stub – the first in Copenhagen to take on large-scale food waste by using surplus goods from the food industry, and welcoming “odd sized” produce – that supermarkets have rejected for merely aesthetic reasons – into their scrumptious dishes.

Hidden away on the first floor of Huset i Magstræde – a timbered culture house-turned-cinema – this volunteer-run restaurant can be a bit tricky to find. But do not give up! The chefs make excellent use of the leftover ingredients, the service is incredible, and the atmosphere is beyond pleasant. So seize the day – when else are you going to get the chance to stuff your face and support an important project, simultaneously?!

Where: Rådhusstræde 13, 1.th. (Entrance through Magstræde)
Tel: +45 61 33 63 78
Getting there: Bus 2A to Nationalmuseet

Foderbrættet

9-Foderbrættet-Vesterbro-restaurants--restaurants-in-copenhagen
Taking hot dog to the next level at Foderbrættet

A “bald Frenchman in a sleeping bag” might not sound like something you want to sink your teeth into, but don’t be quick to judge. It’s actually just one of countless nicknames for the Danes’ fast food favorite: the hot dog.

Recently, the modest dish has seen somewhat of a gastro-renaissance, and restaurants that challenge and tweak the classic combination of bread, sausages and toppings are starting to pop up. Among the most experimental is Foderbrættet, which serves an unusually avant-garde pescatarian variation in which the “sausage” is made from cod, wrapped in tempura batter and sprinkled with seaweed. Wash it down with a drink, and burn off the excess calories on the downstairs dance floor.

Where: Vesterbrogade 41
Tel: +45 33 23 64 63
Nearest station: Vesterport

[cta href=”http://www.momondo.com/flights/cph/flights-to-copenhagen.html” rel=”” content=”Find a flight to Copenhagen”]Find a flight to Copenhagen[/cta]

Looking for more info on the Danish capital? Download our free Copenhagen city guide, momondo places, featuring the very best local tips and hidden treasures of the city.

10 romantic vacation ideas for globe-trotting couples

You love traveling and you’ve found a partner that loves it, too. That’s great! But where do you go if it’s your first time traveling together? Or where do you go when you’ve seen it all? Check these ideas for romantic trips and get inspired to plan that getaway you’ve both been craving.

Don’t just survive but come back stronger! Read our 7 useful tips for traveling with your partner.

For the first-timers – Fez, Morocco

8-Fez-Morocco-holidays-in-morocco-holidays-for-couples-romantic-holidays
If the Madrasa Bou Inania walls had ears …

traveling for the first time with a new beau can make or break a relationship. Luckily, we’ve chosen just the right place to thrill the stress away: Fez, Morocco. Keep your senses alert in Fes el Bali (or Medina of Fez), the oldest walled part of the city; the myriad of spices, local crafts, and interesting people will give your nose, eyes, and ears a real show. The scaffolding covering the decrepit buildings will quickly be forgotten after you stumble upon the Madrasa Bou Inania, one of the few religious places in Morocco accessible to non-islamic visitors, founded in the 1350s and recently renovated.

The real sensory overload happens at the Chouara leather tannery. The overpowering smell and vivid colors of honeycombed dye vats sprawled over rooftops will be that picture you’ll keep in your wallet to remember the time when you fell in love in Morocco.

[cta href=”http://www.momondo.com/flights/fez/flights-to-fez.html” rel=”” content=”Find a flight to Fez”]Find a flight to Fez[/cta]

For the freaks of nature – Big Sky, Montana

4-big-sky-mountain-hotels-near-yellowstone-romantic-holidays
A single bison looking for love in Big Sky, Montana

Take your big dreams of big adventures and make them real in Big Sky, Montana. In an hour’s drive, the vast landscapes of West Yellowstone Park will give you a humbling feeling, especially if you stumble upon bison, bighorn sheep, wolves, or even bears. Depending on the season, master the wilderness with a dog-sledding expedition or go rafting in Gallatin Canyon for extra thrills. Romantic accommodation options range from “glamping” in fancy tents to picturesque lodges, ranches, or other hotels near Yellowstone.

After hiking up and down Lone Mountain, treat your feet to his and hers cowboy boots at Carter’s Boots in Bozeman city and prance into the closest bar for a local brew.

[cta href=”http://www.momondo.com/flights/bzn/flights-to-bozeman.html” rel=”” content=”Find a flight to Bozeman”]Find a flight to Bozeman[/cta]

For adrenaline seekers – Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

9-what-to-do-in-rio-de-janeiro-romantic-breaks-romantic-holidays
Love is a game in Rio de Janeiro

If you consider your partner as more of a teammate, print your names on a green and yellow soccer jersey and catch the next plane to Rio de Janeiro. Olympians and beginners alike can find a sports activity to get their adrenaline flowing whether it be stand-up paddle on the Barra Canal by the perfectly named Praia dos Amores or hang-gliding off the Pedra Bonita mountain.

The beach of Copacabana is a great place to challenge your partner to a friendly game of futevolei (beach volleyball using your feet and not your hands), and to then reconcile over a muscle-pumping session alongside buff Cariocas on the outdoor gym sets. AtivoRio lets you sign up for soccer games with locals, as well as join a SightRunning group, a sports and traveling combo perfect for the (hyper)active couple.

Craving more Rio inspiration? Download our free Rio city guide app.

[cta href=”http://www.momondo.com/flights/rio/flights-to-rio-de-janeiro.html” rel=”” content=”Find a flight to Rio”]Find a flight to Rio[/cta]

For the couple with kids – Saint Lucia

2-Gros-Islet-St-Lucia-hotels-in-st-lucia-holidays-for-couples-romantic-holidays
For kids (at heart), choose Gros Islet

Even if you’re all grown-up and are a proud parent, you’re still a kid at heart. The whole family will find exactly what they need in Gros Islet. Younger children will love the beaches, and can also keep busy at the kids’ clubs proposed by resorts in Saint Lucia, or you can enjoy family fun at adventure parks zip-lining through the treetops.

snorkeling in Rodney Bay is both an educational and fun way to discover the underwater creatures. And for a short day trip, perhaps while the kids are at their clubs, take a well-deserved romantic break smothering mud on each other at Soufriere’s Sulphur Springs or smooching under the Toraille Waterfall.

[cta href=”http://www.momondo.com/flights/slu/flights-to-saint-lucia.html” rel=”” content=”Find a flight to Saint Lucia”]Find a flight to Saint Lucia[/cta]

For a gay-friendly getaway – Sitges, Spain

3-Sitges-gay-friendly-hotels-romantic-breaks-romantic-holidays
Romance is sunbathing in Sitges

If you and your partner are the life of the party, Sitges is waiting for you! This party central spot – just 40 minutes away from Barcelona by car – was once known for its bohemian and artist subcultures. Today, it’s one of Spain’s loudest, proudest, and sunniest destinations for LGBTQ travelers world over. When you’re not at a pool party, you might be at one of the gay-friendly bars on the Dos de Mayo street, or even lying on the superb nudist beach. There’s a festival for every season – Carnival in February, Gay Pride in June, Festa Mayor in August, and a film festival in October.

If throbbing bass beats and all-day summer parties aren’t your thing, plan your trip during the off-season. The sun always shines on Sitges, so visit in the late autumn and winter to enjoy nearly empty beaches and take endless strolls on the sea-front promenade, ogling the lovely 20th century Indiano mansions while catching some rays of sunshine.

[cta href=”http://www.momondo.com/flights/bcn/flights-to-barcelona.html” rel=”” content=”Find a flight to Barcelona”]Find a flight to Barcelona[/cta]

For the couple with a small budget, but big hearts – Brasov, Romania

5-brasov-airport-romantic-honeymoon-romantic-holidays
Lovers in Brasov

One way ticket to Brasov for two, please! Once you’ve discovered this romantic little city in Romania, you may not be too eager to go back home. Like a fairy tale, the cobblestone streets have you meandering through rows of café-lined alleys and multicolored shopfronts. Enjoy the simple pleasures of the city for less than $2 (9 Romanian lei) for a cup of Joe. If your curiosity leads you on a 40-minutes drive out of the city center, use your imagination to fill in the cracks in the walls of Bran Castle, often called Dracula’s Castle.

After an inevitable visit to the Black Church, blackened by the great fire of 1689, head to the hills by Telecabina (cable car) or by foot through romantic wooded alleys and enjoy the view atop Mount Tâmpa. A silly photo-op awaits by the Hollywood-esque Brasov sign in big white letters.

[cta href=”http://www.momondo.com/flights/buh/flights-to-bucharest.html” rel=”” content=”Find a flight to Bucharest”]Find a flight to Bucharest[/cta]

For romantic city soulmates – Seoul, South Korea

6-Seoul-places-to-go-in-seoul-romantic-honeymoon-romantic-holidays
Selfies in Seoul at the Wall of Love

If taking cute selfies with your babe seems like a perfect date, then Seoul could be your dream destination. On your first day out, you (and many other couples) will want to take a snapshot at the Namsan Seoul Tower – atop the hill, special heart-shaped chairs are placed for lovers to canoodle, and the overflow of locks on the Wall of Love is impossible to miss.

Calling Seoul romantic is an understatement, especially if you visit Namiseom Island. Although a 40 mile drive outside of Seoul city, the chestnut and poplar trees all aligned are a stunning picture-perfect backdrop at any season. A perfect way to end the day: go to the DIY Ring Café in the trendy neighborhood of Hongdae to make your own matching souvenir jewelery.

[cta href=”http://www.momondo.com/flights/sel/flights-to-seoul.html” rel=”” content=”Find a flight to Seoul”]Find a flight to Seoul[/cta]

For beach-loving honeymooners – Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic

7-Puerto-Plata-dominican-republic-honeymoon-romantic-holidays
Sunset and romance on the beaches of Puerto Plata

The cake was cut, the “Just married” sign paint is still fresh, and your bags are packed for a love-filled escapade in Puerto Plata, one of the Dominican Republic’s less touristy and more paradisical beach cities. When you’re not ensuring an heir to the throne in your seafront hotel, perhaps roam about the historic town or sunbathe on Playa Bergantín.

Anglophone tourism being a budding economy, the local commerce is eager to please, often offering service in English with a smile. The creole culture of African and Caribbean origins will put the rhythm in your night with bars playing “merengue” you won’t resist dancing to. A quick break to sip on Mamajuana (local rum cocktail known to be aphrodisiac), and you’re ready to get back on that dance floor, or to the hotel room!

[cta href=”http://www.momondo.com/flights/pop/flights-to-puerto-plata.html” rel=”” content=”Find a flight to Puerto Plata”]Find a flight to Puerto Plata[/cta]

For hungry hearts – Istria, Croatia

10-croatian-olive-oil-best-romatic-getaways-romantic-holidays
Rovinj romance at the local market

Some say the way to a person’s heart is through their stomach. Istrian Croatia will have you neck deep in plates of white truffle and fresh fish, and that’s only the beginning. Proud producers of gourmet Croatian olive oil, their liquid gold is the punctuation to the Mediterranean and Continental influenced dishes like buzara (shrimp or mussels stew) or pljukanci (hand-rolled pasta).

Irresistible blue waters and green landscapes will give you endless things to talk about over dessert, if you can manage to speak through a mouthful of fritule pastries (the Croatian donut). Bring home an armful of local products purchased at the market by the harbor in Rovinj, just down the hill from the Church of Saint Euphemia and its 200-foot bell tower. For the complete romantic package, grab a bottle of Istrian wine and take a ferry from Rovinj to Venice (they run during the summer season).

[cta href=”http://www.momondo.com/flights/puy/flights-to-pula.html” rel=”” content=”Find a flight to Pula”]Find a flight to Pula[/cta]

For a romantic vacation without limits – French Polynesia

1-bora-bora-travel-to-bora-bora-romantic-holidays
Fall in love in Bora Bora

The term DINK describes a couple with double income, no kids. If you fit in this category, chances are that when it comes to planning your trip, you’re less concerned about hotel babysitting services and more concerned about having the time of your life. Just grab your sundress and boat shoes and whisk yourselves off to the French Polynesian island of Bora Bora. Numerous luxury hotels with bungalows and private views line the shores of white sand.

In terms of romantic vacations, Bora Bora is an expert – picnics on private beaches, swimming with colorful fish, sipping on Tahitian vanilla mojitos, and feasting on ahi tuna (a local yellow-fin tuna delicacy) And when you’re done pampering yourself, a helicopter tour above Mount Otemanu or a day trip shopping around the municipal market in Pape’ete, Tahiti, are great excursion options.

[cta href=”http://www.momondo.com/flights/bob/flights-to-bora-bora.html” rel=”” content=”Find a flight to Bora Bora”]Find a flight to Bora Bora[/cta]

Looking for more romantic travel inspiration? Check out our list of these drop-dead gorgeous hotels or the 7 tips on traveling with your partner for the first time.

Gunnar Garfors: a record-breaking globetrotter

Norwegian new media specialist Gunnar Garfors is the guy that makes fellow globetrotters envious. Not only is he the youngest “hobby traveler” in the world to visit all 198 countries*, he did it all while maintaining a full-time office job, using just the weekends, plus his five weeks of annual paid vacation!

His book, 198: How I Ran Out Of Countries, was released to acclaim last year, and we caught up with the world-record holder in a rare moment in-between travels to get the low-down on his inspiring journey across the globe.

When did you start taking a serious interest in traveling?

I was lucky to start traveling from a young age with my family, and then went InterRailing on my own when I was 17. But it started properly in 2000, when I went on my first trip outside the Western world for a wedding in India and then China to be with my girlfriend who was studying there.

Then, in 2004, I visited Kazakhstan. That was something totally different for a Norwegian guy like me. I was originally invited for a conference and I decided to take a week extra with my brother to explore the region. After that, I just decided I was going to visit the remaining Stan countries – Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, Afghanistan and Pakistan – because I was fascinated by the history and the generosity of the people I had met. This took up until 2008, and afterwards I decided to travel to every country in the world.

I didn’t have much money, but everything I earned I spent on traveling. I’m glad I did. I don’t have any expensive art, I don’t have a car, I don’t have a dog, I don’t even have a CD collection. Everything I earned went towards traveling as it is, for me, the most important part of life: exploring!

peru-globetrotting-traveling-around-the-world
Gunnar standing proud atop Machu Picchu. © Garfors

How did you manage your time and travels?

I actually did it all in bits while having a full-time job, often flying out somewhere on a Wednesday night, taking Thursday and Friday off as vacation time, then returning back for Monday morning in the office.

This is better, too, I think. When people go away for extended periods of time they tend to plan too much, meaning that any hiccup along the journey can have a domino effect on the rest of your travels. Separating the trips also allows you to really sink in to an individual country, rather than feel like you are always hopping from one place to the next.

Read more: This is how you find the cheapest flights!

With only a limited amount of time in some places, how did you make sure that it was well spent?

My main priority when traveling is to experience life as the locals live it, so I tend to just jump in and meet them, rather than go on recommendations from others who may have visited the place before me.

I love maps, and always make sure I have one with me when I travel, but otherwise I don’t do too much pre-planning. I talk to local people. I don’t speak many languages, but you can really get by almost anywhere with English. Otherwise, I have always been surprised by how many talented translators you will find just on the street, greeting you with open arms and willing to help.

Beyond the language barriers, there is one thing that everyone can do when traveling to a new place – smile! It sounds obvious, but a welcoming smile can really put unknown situations at ease. I have been able to discover many differences between cultures and society while traveling, but this is something that remains a universal language all over the world, and we need to learn to do it more.

What is your favourite place in the world?

It is literally an impossible question to answer, especially because it’s so personal: your travel experiences will only be as exciting as you yourself make them. Don’t wait for the good or even unforgettable experiences to come to you: you have to find and seize those moments. One thing I can say is that my experiences in both Ireland and Brazil were fantastic, and that the people there were extremely social, open and inviting.

Narvik-around-the-world-traveling-traveling-around-the-world
A Northern Lights-showered gondola ride through the epic mountains of Narvikfjellet. © J-A Pettersen

If I can shine the light on my home country, I always love traveling to my cabin in Northern Norway just outside of Narvik. Up there, you are north of the polar circle, so during the summer you have the midnight sun, you have this incredible scenery, with incredible mountains, fjords, glaciers, islands, bountiful fish in the sea, and everything smells alive and fresh.

If you then go back in the winter, the sun is gone – it’s 24/7 darkness, with just a small amount of blueish light. At night, you have the incredible, dancing northern lights. It’s one extreme to another. It’s incredible and unlike anywhere else I have traveled to.

Do you have an ethos/perspective on how you can keep an open-mind while traveling?

Start by traveling small and closer to home, it will give you a good sense of perspective of where you want to go, what kind of traveler you are and where you want to go next. Don’t rush, and take one trip at a time. That will all boost your curiosity about the world, make you more creative, motivated to save money and eager to explore.

Read more: Ways to accomplish your travel goals in 2016

How can you get the most out of traveling alone?

Well, there’s two type of travelers: Those who can go at it alone, and those who can’t. Ultimately, it is all about balance. It is a good idea to do a bit of research in terms of safety and ease of travel. In some places, traveling in a big group can seem intimidating or even threatening for locals, while being on your own means you are more easily able to blend in.

Also, it’s easy to forget how likely it will be that you’ll meet people along the way, both locals and like-minded travelers. Stay positive say “yes” more and you’ll be making friends in no time.

Read more: 20 indispensable trips for the solo traveler / The 8 best solo traveler destinations

What are your tips for budget traveling?

Try to go against the stream – don’t travel when everybody else is expectedly traveling, like around school breaks. Playing around with alternative nearby airports while booking can also end up saving you a lot of money.

If you have to do a stopover, you should maybe consider doing one for longer than four or so hours, and instead look out for flight deals that have a layover of 24 or more hours. These are often cheaper, and it ends up feeling like having a vacation within your normal vacation. It’s much better to get out of the airport, if possible, and explore where you are.

Read more: The best budget destinations of 2016

What was the final country you visited and feelings once you arrived?

Cape-Verde-around-the-world-travel-traveling-around-the-world
Ready to get the fire started on the shore of Cape Verde’s Santo Antão island

That was in May 2013 and I visited Cape Verde. It was an amazing feeling touching down on the runway there, and it was great to share with some of my family members who accompanied me on the trip.

After that, I came home and felt like something was missing. I thought I would have this overwhelming sense of accomplishment but I realized that what I had done – traveling to all 198 countries of the world – was just the beginning. There was so much more that I had to explore, both places I had to return to, plus new cities and regions of those countries. It will take a lifetime to do, but I am up for the challenge.

To find out more about Gunnar and his travels, visit his very own blog.

*Gunnar credits the 198 countries of the world as the 193 UN members, plus 2 UN observers – the Vatican, Palestine – and 3 other countries (Kosovo, Taiwan and Western Sahara) that are recognized by a number of UN countries.

Looking for more great travel inspiration? Visit the momondo blog to discover our list of the 21 things not to forget when packing for a trip, or check out our interview with one of Iran’s most exciting young photographers, Mohammad Reza Domiri Ganji.

Take the plunge: 11 natural swimming pools around the world

So, pack your swimsuit – and a sense of adventure – and check out our 11 favorite swimming holes.

Cenote Ik Kil, Mexico

1-Ik-Kil-natural-swimming-pools
Cenote Ik Kil natural swimming pool in Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula © Travis Wise

Located on the Yucatán Peninsula in southeastern Mexico, Cenote Ik Kil is originally known as a cavernous sinkhole for Mayan human sacrifice to a rain god. But don’t worry; there won’t be any sacrifices – just pure bliss!

The 360-foot all-natural pit – formed by a cave collapse – is a popular stopover for those traveling to the ancient Mayan city of Chichen Itza. You reach the water by walking down a stairway carved into limestone.

It can get a bit crowded, so make it an early stop for the most serene dip. After your swim you can fill up on a traditional Mexican lunch buffet at the restaurant on site.

Take me there! Find a cheap flight to nearby Merida with momondo.

Blue Lagoon, Grindavik, Iceland

2-Blue-Lagoon-natural-swimming-pools
The Blue Lagoon in Iceland

Already one of the best tourist attractions in the world, the Blue Lagoon and its steamy waters makes for an energizing and scenic swim.

Located in Grindavik, just a 50-minute drive from Reykjavik, the man-made Lagoon was created in the late 1970s, and contains 1.5 million gallons of geothermal seawater from deep inside the Earth. At a temperature of 100°F, you are guaranteed a relaxing – and toasty – swim all year round.

The waters are thought to have a “healing quality” and are full of minerals like silica and sulfur. There are luxurious offerings here: put some silica mud on your face for softer skin, pay a visit to a waterfall that can heal shoulder pains or get an in-water massage. Relaxation is the key word at the Blue Lagoon!

Ready to go? Find a cheap flight to Reykjavik with momondo.

Hamilton Pool Preserve, Dripping Springs, Texas, United States

3-Hamilton-Pool-Preserve-natural-swimming-pools
The serene Hamilton Pool in Texas, US © SandraHintzman

If you think Texas is just cowboy hats and boots, you’re sorely mistaken. It’s also home to one of the most beautiful natural swimming pools in the States, the Hamilton Pool. Located about 23 miles from Austin, Texas, this impressive natural jade green pool features a 50-foot waterfall and is surrounded by huge slabs of limestone.

The pool is very popular during the hot Texan summers, with waits of up to 1 hour. In order to access it, you’ll need to take a half-mile steep hike. But once you’re in, you are guaranteed one of the most splendid swims in Texas. If you didn’t bring a picnic basket, you can always grab a bite at the nearby It’s All Good BBQ restaurant.

Ready to go? Find a cheap flight to Austin with momondo.

The Blue Hole, Ocho Rios, Jamaica

4-The-Blue-Hole-natural-swimming-pools
The Blue Hole in Ocho Rios, Jamaica

It might be hard to leave Jamaica’s sandy beaches behind in order to drive inland, but once you jump into this natural swimming pool, you’ll never want to leave. The road to the Blue Hole is quite rough, so make sure you have a sturdy car. You can pair a visit to the hole with a quick stopover to Dunn’s River Falls.

For the adventurous: Take the plunge from the Tarzan Rope swing overhead into the more-than-30-foot-deep hole. For the cautious: Floating in the waters while inching your way in is OK, too.

Plan your trip right now! Find a cheap flight to Kingston with momondo.

Little River Canyon, Alabama, United States

5-Little-River-Canyon-natural-swimming-pools
Little River Canyon natural swimming pool in Alabama, US

The name might be misleading – Little River Canyon isn’t little at all. This stunning sinkhole is 12 miles long, and surrounded by cliffs and gigantic sandstone jump-off points jutting from the waters.

Considered one of the cleanest and wildest waterways in the South, the river runs along the top of Lookout Mountain from northwestern Georgia to the river’s end in Fort Payne, Alabama. Leap into the pristine waters from one of three rope swings outside the hole and get that unique feeling of freshness one can only get in natural waters.

If you’re planning more than a one-day excursion, you can book one of the rustic cabins in the area and have a relaxed weekend in the nature.

Ready to take the plunge? Find a cheap flight to nearby Atlanta with momondo.

Enfield and Lucifer Falls, Ithaca, New York, United States

6-Enfield-and-Lucifer-Falls-natural-swimming-pools
One of the many waterfalls at Robert H. Treman Park in Ithaca, US © Tatiana Di

Avoid the sweltering city heat and head into upstate New York, where you can visit the Robert H. Treman Park and experience waterfall heaven.

Start the day with a hike along the Gorge Trail and you will pass 12 different waterfalls including the impressive 115-foot Lucifer Waterfall on your way. When you reach Enfield Falls, also called Lower Falls, you’re ready to start splashing. Jump in the stream-fed swimming lake at the foot of Enfield Falls and swim around in these peaceful surroundings.

There are grill and picnic facilities on location, so remember to pack a basket of goodies to enjoy after your hike and swim.

Are you convinced? Find a cheap flight to nearby New York with momondo.

Fairy Pools, Isle of Skye, Scotland

7-Fairy-Pools-natural-swimming-pools
Clear waters at Fairy Pools in northern Scotland © Daniel Stockman

Whether or not anything magical happens when you enter the clear blue lakes and waterfalls of the Fairy Pools on the Isle of Skye is unknown, but a visit to the blue- and pink-hued waters conjures up mental images of a fairy tale land.

Located at the foot of the Black Cuillins near Glenbrittle, the mystical waters of the Fairy Pools are great for swimming. Though the waters may look warm, they are rather on the frigid side of the thermometer. You are after all in northern Scotland!

After a refreshing swim, you might be ready for a warm beverage. A visit to the Wee Tea Room, a small personally run café located in the middle of the moorlands by Eynort, might be just the answer.

Adventure awaits! Find a cheap ticket to nearby Inverness with momondo.

Cummins Falls State Park, Tennessee, United States

8-Cummins-Falls-natural-swimming-pools
Jade green waters and serene surroundings at Cummins Falls in Tennessee, US

Situated halfway between Nashville and Knoxville, this swimming pool is definitely a hidden gem. This area was a popular hunting ground for Native Americans as large populations of buffalo used to roam around, so it’s not so out of the ordinary to find arrowheads along the river.

Cummins Falls is not for amateurs. You will have to hike, wade and climb to get to the rope that walks you down to the water’s edge. Though the hike is only 2.5 miles, the level of activity makes it one for adventure seekers. Remember to pack your hiking shoes along with a swimming suit and flip-flops and be mindful of the weather as sudden rainfalls can cause flash floods.

Cool off by jumping in the forest green water and taking a swim beneath the spectacular waterfall.

Up for a hike and a swim? Find a cheap flight to nearby Nashville with momondo.

Erawan Waterfall, Thailand

9-Erawan-Waterfall-natural-swimming-pools
Erawan National Park offers splendid natural swimming pools © honey-bee

The clear waters, the gleaming light breaking through the lush trees and seven waterfalls, one on top of the other, will make for one of the most enchanting swims of your life.

On foot, it will take a little less than four hours to visit the entire site, named for Erawan, a three-headed white elephant featured in a Hindu legend. Take your time lounging in the waters that teem with fish, and venture to explore the accompanying caves.

If you’re planning to explore Erawan over several days, there are plenty of hotels to choose from in the area.

Explore this exotic location! Find a cheap flight to nearby Bangkok with momondo.

Devil’s Pool, Victoria Falls, Zambia

10-Devils-Pool-natural-swimming-pools
The Devil’s Pool at Victoria Falls in Zambia © joepyrek

Devil’s Pool sits atop the famous and breath-taking Victoria Falls. The natural swimming pool gives way to a whopping 360-foot drop off. It’s only “open” during the drier months of the year – May through October – when the water levels of Victoria Falls are low enough for the pool to appear.

From farther away, travelers can see the “Smoke that Thunders,” the name given to the fall’s cascading waters, which are the largest in the world. But not to worry, guides are on hand to ensure your safety and you’re encouraged to bring a (waterproof!) camera to document the plunge.

Adventurous enough? Find a cheap flight to nearby Livingstone with momondo.

Cyprus Lake Grotto, Ontario, Canada

11-Cyprus-Lake-Grotto-natural-swimming-pools
The Grotto at Bruce Peninsula National Park in Ontario, Canada © Ryan McGilchrist

Cyprus Lake Grotto located in Bruce Peninsula National Park is a gorgeous, turquoise watering hole surrounded by a large cave. This unique place is a favorite among hikers and nature lovers.

The cave was formed by waves breaking along the rock formation from nearby Georgian Bay over the course of time. Sunlight will reveal the sparkling underwater tunnel as you walk along massive boulders. Once inside you can enjoy a relaxing swim in clear waters.

In addition to swimming, try your hand at kayaking or visit another traveler favorite, Indian Head Cove, where you can scuba dive in the Caribbean-looking waters.

If all the activity is making you tired and hungry, not to worry – there are plenty of restaurants and cafés nearby.

Won over? Find a cheap flight to nearby Toronto with momondo.

For more travel inspiration, visit our momondo blog. Like nature? Read our post on the best nature spots in Australasia or the best islands in Thailand.

Off the beaten track: 12 secret spots in Paris

There are so many things to see in Paris – the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre Museum, Notre Dame. The list goes on.

But there are plenty of places where you can escape the tourist mayhem. Here are 12 lesser-known spots, hand-picked from our Paris city guide, momondo places. Download it now for free!

Gaîté Lyrique

1-La-Gaite-Lyrique-museum-in-Paris-things-to-see-in-Paris
Visit the Gaîté Lyrique museum in Paris

Focused on art and creativity in a digital age, La Gaîté Lyrique is a museum for adults and children alike. Housed in a former 19th century music hall, the classic baroque architecture contrasts beautifully with the hyper-modern subjects being exhibited.

Events range from interactive concerts to workshops, imaginative storytelling and drawing, dance performances and more. There are also a variety of activities for children, so don’t shy away from bringing the little ones along.

The futuristic, free library on the first floor is open to everyone and worth a browse – besides a wide-ranging collection of books and cultural publications, a handful of consoles are available for the video game-fanatics.

Where: 3bis Rue Papin, 3rd arr.
Tel: +33 1 53 01 52 00
Nearest station: Réaumur Sébastopol

Read more: How to get from Paris airports to the city centre

La Pagode

2-La-Pagode-cinemas-in-Paris-things-to-do-in-Paris
La Pagode – arguably the most beautiful movie theater in Paris

Paris just loves the movies! Having said this, there is only one single movie theater in the 7th arrondissement but, in exchange for its exclusivity, it is truly the most beautiful in the entire city.

La Pagode is a real Japanese pagoda (a tiered tower), where the walls in the biggest screen room are hung with silk, the candelabras are held by golden dragons and elephants, and warriors stand poised for battle on the painted ceiling.

It also has a wonderful Asian garden, which has been given a protected cultural status for its beauty, where you can enjoy a ginseng tea and delicious tarts after the film viewing.

Find the schedule on the cinema’s website or buy the weekly guide Pariscope.

Where: 57 Bis Rue de Babylone, 7th arr.
Tel: +33 1 45 55 48 48
Nearest station: Saint-François-Xavier

Le Marché de Belleville

Get a bargain at Le Marche de Belleville food market in Paris
Get a bargain at Le Marche de Belleville food market in Paris

You’re greeted by the smell: the spices, the fish, the oil and the strange edible roots, the stalls with yams and freshly roasted chicken.

The market in Belleville is one of the most popular and ethnically diverse in Paris, and can take you for a journey around the world in just one morning, when Chinese, Orthodox Jews, Middle Eastern and African women with wax printed head wraps buy groceries for the week, and a little bit of added bric-a-brac.

The customers in Belleville aren’t rich, in fact it is the poorest neighborhood in the city and as a result the prices are low. If you can shimmy your way through the crowd, you can find some really good bargains in Belleville.

Where: Boulevard de Belleville, 11th arr.
Tel: n/a
Nearest station: Belleville

Le Ballon de Paris

4-Le-Ballon-de-Paris-attractions-in-Paris-things-to-see-in-Paris
Enjoy a great view from the Le Ballon de Paris

For children and high-flyers, Le Ballon de Paris is a really good alternative to the Eiffel Tower. Why wait in a claustrophobic queue to get nudged and pushed, when you could float in the air, looking over the entire city?

The balloon is as tall as a twelve-story building, and it is a dizzying feeling when the balloonist lets go of the cable and it rises into the air. Suddenly you are up there, at a height of 490 feet, swaying in the wind.

The balloon is permanently anchored in the Parc André Citroën, which is worth a visit in itself. From the first sunny spring days, the park is filled with Parisians who picnic, read or sunbathe on the grass. A special attraction is the fountain with its many springing jets of water that kids love to race through.

Where: Parc André Citroën, 15th arr.
Tel: +33 1 44 26 20 00
Nearest station: Javel

Le Carreau du Temple

5-Le-Carreau-du-Temple-exhibitions-paris-things-to-see-in-Paris
Visit the cultural centre Le Carreau du Temple

As its name suggests, this location has been central in French history from the time of the Templars and Crusades.

Today, the lofty market hall is a cultural centre open to the public. Though it is closed for a month during the summer, Le Carreau du Temple more than makes up for it the rest of the year. A contemporary program of theater, concerts, exhibitions, festivals and fairs – with themes as diverse as shoes, street-food, dance, cultural identity, sport and jazz music – make it a dynamic and stimulating space.

Its community-focused environment offers a contrast to the tiny art galleries and fashion stores in nearby Marais.

Where: 4 rue Eugène Spuller, 3rd arr.
Tel: +33 1 83 81 93 30
Nearest station: Temple

Musée Rodin

6-Musee-Rodin-rodin-museum-paris-gardens-in-paris-things-to-see-in-Paris
The Thinker just outside the Rodin Museum in Paris

The Musée Rodin is without a doubt the loveliest museum dedicated to a single artist in Paris. It is crammed with the sculptor’s sensual and moving works such as The Thinker, The Kiss, The Gates of Hell and The Burghers of Calais.

Auguste Rodin began drawing when he was ten-years-old, and his talent was so obvious that he was admitted to an art school at the tender age of 14. He became both celebrated and infamous at a relatively early stage of his career, and he was often thought of as a bit too advanced for his time.

You should go there on a sunny day, as the garden is an important part of the experience. Outside the museum you can find a series of Rodin’s masterpieces between wide lawns, shadowy avenues and 2,000 rose bushes.

Where: 79, Rue de Varenne, 7th arr.
Tel: +33 1 44 18 61 10
Nearest station: Varenne

Palais de Tokyo

7-Palais-de-tokoyo-exhibitions-paris-things-to-see-in-Paris
A Jean-Michel Basquiat mural at Palais de Tokyo in Paris

The Palais de Tokyo is one of the largest sites for contemporary and modern art in Europe.

It is not a museum in the traditional sense – the Palais de Tokyo refers to itself as an anti-museum. The exhibitions play with the question, “What is art?”, and challenge you to take part in the debate. It is a face-to-face experience with some of the most brilliant works of art of our time. Children will find it exciting as well.

The adjacent restaurant, Tokyo Eat, will tempt you with its inventive cuisine and interior design.

Where: 13, Avenue du Président Wilson, 16th arr.
Tel: +33 1 81 97 35 88
Nearest station: Alma Marceau

Passage Brady

8-passage-brady-covered-passages-paris-things-to-see-in-Paris
Taste the spice of life in Paris’ Passage Brady

In a neighborhood as trendy and multi-cultural as the Grands Boulevards, one curious turn down the small Passage Brady and you will find yourself immersed in Paris’ thriving Pakistani and Indian communities.

The passage is from 1854 and is not nearly as pretty as many other passages in Paris, primarily as a result of poor maintenance and holes in the glass ceiling letting in rain on bad days. The atmosphere, however, is 100% authentic, and you can buy colorful saris, try the best chicken vindaloo in town, or visit a traditional New Delhi barber and beard trimmer.

Passage de Pondichéry at no. 84 is also a good place to eat, but remember to choose the correct side when you look for Passage Brady: it is divided by Boulevard de Strasbourg and the part that isn’t roofed has somehow become home to shops renting party clothes and costumes, which isn’t nearly as interesting.

Where: 33 Boulevard de Strasbourg, 10th arr
Tel: n/a
Nearest station: Strasbourg – Saint-Denis

Read more: What to do in Paris for free!

Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain

9-fondation-cartier-contemporary-art-things-to-see-in-Paris
Catch a memorable performance at contemporary art centre Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain

With a knack for zooming in on the contemporary art scenes of different regions around the world, Fondation Cartier expertly tailors special events to complement the themes of its exhibitions. From concerts and radio broadcasts to poetry readings and dance acts, there is something for every taste.

An impressive all-glass, cube-like structure, the museum is also surrounded by a charming garden, accessible to the public between July and September.

Not sure the kids will appreciate contemporary art? Fondation Cartier also offers tours and workshops specifically aimed at translating the space and its exhibits for the younger ones.

Where: 261 Boulevard Raspail, 14th arr.
Tel: +33 1 42 18 56 50
Nearest station: Raspail, Denfert-Rochereau

Restaurants at the flea market

10-chez-louisette-things-to-see-in-Paris
Chez Louisette nearby the flea market in Saint-Ouen

Tired after browsing through antiques? Take a lunch break and recharge your batteries. There are a number of excellent restaurants hidden around the outskirts of Paris in Saint-Ouen, which also hosts a fantastic flea market Saturday through to Monday.

At Le Biron on 85 rue des Rosiers in Saint Ouen you could be lucky enough to meet the American superstar Lenny Kravitz or the French actress Mireille Darc, eating artichoke tureen or preserved veal.

And at no. 136 Avenue Michelet, you will find the kitschiest eatery at the market – Chez Louisette has colored lamps and French Yé-Yé (a genre of twee pop music) coming out of the speakers. At this place the food almost serves as garniture, while Le Paul Bert is the place to go to if you want to rub shoulders with the antique dealers.

Where: Marché aux Puces de Paris, 93400 Saint-Ouen
Tel: +33 (0)1 40 11 77 36
Nearest station: Porte de Clignancourt

Sainte-Chapelle

11-Sainte-Chapelle-paris-things-to-see-in-paris
Sainte-Chapelle’s unique glass mosaic showcases more than a thousand scenes from the Bible

It is not particularly well-known, and many Parisians have never even been there, but Sainte-Chapelle is hands down the most beautiful church in Paris.

You can find it tucked away in the middle of the court of the Palais de Justice, currently home to courtrooms and court registries. As a result, you have to go through security checks and have your bag checked before entering the chapel.

Originally, Sainte-Chapelle was the private church of the French kings, and although it is less spectacular than Notre Dame, the atmosphere is nothing short of magical. The upper chapel, dominated by huge glass mosaics, is particularly mesmerizing. The light shines through the panes, illuminating more than a thousand scenes from the Bible in rich and vibrant colors.

Where: 6 Bd. du Palais, 1st arr.
Tel: n/a
Nearest station: Cité

Musée Eugène Delacroix

12-Musee-Eugene-Delacroix-museum-in-paris-gardens-in-paris-things-to-see-in-Paris
Visit the Eugene Delacroix Museum on a sunny afternoon and relax in this lovely garden

Musée Eugène Delacroix is a little museum in the apartment where the painter lived and worked until his death in 1863. The museum is situated on Place Furstenberg, which is one of the most romantic squares in Paris with its Paulownia trees and beautiful buildings.

Although many of his best-known works are currently displayed at the Louvre, you get a special, intimate experience from walking around the artist’s red-colored rooms and studying the sensuous paintings and drawings on display.

The museum opens up to a little garden, where you find Delacroix’s atelier. Today, the garden has been recreated to resemble what it must have looked like in his day.

Where: 6, Rue de Furstenberg, 6th arr.
Tel: +33 1 44 41 86 50
Nearest station: St. Germain des Près

Ready to explore the hidden gems of Paris? Find a flight to Paris with momondo.

 

For more tips, download our updated city guide for Paris featuring more than 200 recommendations from locals.

The most romantic hotels in Europe

Love knows no boundaries, so why not spread the love by traveling with your one-and-only for a dreamy vacation in Europe. Get hooked on love in any of these romantic hotels, each chosen to seduce any type of budget. One tip: pack light – love is all you need.

Ready to put a ring on it? Don’t miss the 9 best honeymoon destinations!

La Torre del Canonigo – Ibiza, Spain

la-torre-del-canonigo-ibiza-accomodation-romantic-weekend-breaks-romantic-hotels
The best view in Ibiza is from the Torre

All year round, partygoers flock to the island for nights they’ll hardly remember but, for this romantic getaway, stay at La Torre del Canonigo for a night you’ll never forget. Situated in the heights of Dalt Vila (high town), a UNESCO Heritage site, the tower boasts one of the most beautiful Mediterranean views – the perfect backdrop for a night swim in your private outdoor hot tub.

When you’re done staring into each other’s eyes, check out the Archeological Museum full of hidden treasures of Ibiza’s amazing history. Not racy enough? Take a stroll down Calle de la Virgen for some eye-popping fetish shops to tickle any especially curious couple’s fancy.

Can’t wait! Search for a room at La Torre del Canonigo

Palazzetto Madonna – Venice, Italy

palazzetto-madonna-holidays-in-venice-hotels-for-couples-romantic-hotels
Sweet dreams, amore at Palazzetto Madonna

If you weren’t in love before spending your vacation in Venice, you surely will be after a night at the Palazzetto Madonna. While many romantic hotels in Venice adorn flamboyant Rococo decors, this boutique hotel tastefully combines Italian aesthetics and modern design.

Drop off your bags and jump on the water bus at the nearby station and share a typical meal of polenta and squid ink at an osteria (restaurant) on Campo Santa Margherita. As the bells of the Campanile di San Marco chime midnight, do like Casanova and slip into the satin sheets of your personal palazzo.

Look no further. Search for a room at Palazzetto Madonna

Trezzini Palace Hotel – Saint Petersburg, Russia

Trezzini-palace-saint-petersburg-russia-romantic-hotels
Red romance at Trezzini Palace

Nothing says “I Love You” like a room full of satin sheets and velvet pillows in Saint Petersburg. At the Trezzini Palace, feel regal in a palace that preserved influences from its imperial past.

The impressive volume of the rooms and their decor are just a pre-starter for the tsarist luxury you’ll encounter when visiting the Hermitage Museum or the nearby Saint Isaac’s Cathedral. The massive dome made of 100 kilos of pure gold will have you seeing tsars (get it?). By the time you take a horse carriage ride at the Palace Square, you’ll be head over heels for each other. Slow things down by taking a soothing and scenic ride on the Neva River and kissing under some of the city’s 365 bridges.

I do! Search for a room at Trezzini Palace Hotel

Fusion Hotel Prague – Prague, Czech Republic

Fusion-hotel-Prague-petrin-hill-prague-romantic-weekend-breaks-romantic-hotels
Feel the love designed by ©tinquer at the Fusion Hotel

After placing a Czech garnet necklace around your lover’s neck, tell each other how much you love one another atop Petrin Hill. On a moonlit night, the view will have you falling in love with the Vltava River and Prague‘s red tile roofs. Skip dinner and head straight to the Fusion Hotel where the Fusion Love suite will have you work up a whole other appetite. The not-so-subtle mirrors strategically placed around the round bed will impress even the shyest of lovers.

Feeling it? Search for a room at Fusion Hotel Prague

Montmartre Mon Amour – Paris, France

montmartre-mon-amour-accommodation-in-paris-romantic-things-to-do-in-paris-most-romantic-hotels-romantic-hotels
Ouh-la-love! Make your heart race at Montmartre Mon Amour

Sure, it might seem like a go-to, cliché destination, but the City of Lights is made for lovers. A walk through the Paris‘ Place des Vosges, window shopping at Place Vendôme, and a coffee at the terrace of Café St Regis will have you falling in love faster than you can say “je t’aime”. Just beyond the Sacré Coeur basilica, at the hotel Montmartre Mon Amour, each room adorns a loving portrait of an emblematic French couple such as Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir. In terms of romantic hotels, this one wins it all. Love and culture, who could ask for more?

”Oui, mon amour”. Search for a room at Montmartre Mon Amour

Download our free Paris city guide

Witchery by the Castle Hotel Edinburgh – Edinburgh, Scotland

the-witchery-edinburgh-castle-scotland-places-to-stay-in-edinburgh-romantic-hotels
Soak in luxury in this tub-for-two in the heart of Edinburgh

For whisky and castle lovers alike, Edinburgh is the perfect place for a romantic getaway. The obvious Edinburgh Castle is an iconic attraction, but for a stroll with your honey, the Princes Street Gardens has some great bushes for stealing kisses. If you get chilly, cozy up in one of the city’s many pubs along the Royal Mile. The seductive 5-star hotel Witchery by the Castle Hotel Edinburgh will be waiting for you at the end of the day. A romantic night in the velvety four-poster beds and a dip in the Victorian roll-top bath will leave you satisfied and asking for more – if your wallet will allow it!

It’s on! Search for a room at Witchery by the Castle Hotel Edinburgh

Coimbra Portagem Hostel – Coimbra, Portugal

coimbra-portagem-hostel-hostel-coimbra-fado-coimbra-romantic-hotel
Hospitality reigns at Coimbra Portagem Hostel in Portugal

Could it be the sounds of fado (a plaintive style of Portuguese folk music) – resonating on the monumental stone walls of the city of Coimbra – that make this one of the most fascinating cities in Portugal? Or is it the student population running wild in their black robes that gives this city its eternal youth ideal for a young-love escape? Foundation grounds of the first university in Portugal, Coimbra has since become the university capital of the country, offering many nightlife attractions to keep the youngins busy all year round, and at friendly prices.

Just across the Ponte de Santa Clara bridge, your humble abode awaits at the Coimbra Portagem Hostel. The standard double room is a perfect cocoon to reminisce the sounds on the Coimbra guitarra you listened to at A Capella, a chapel from 1361 turned concert venue.

Just a click away. Search for a room at Coimbra Portagem Hostel

Hotel Goldgasse – Salzburg, Austria

hotel-goldgasse-romantic-road-romantic-hotels
Follow the road to Hohensalzburg Castle

Cultural couples will have to look no further for their dream destination – Salzburg, Austria is the end of the road. The Romantic Road (Romantischestrasse, for locals), that is, the one that winds through the cultural and historical sights from Germany to Austria. Birthplace of Mozart, all year round travelers can delve into the local culture and events like the Salzburg Festival or Mozart Week.

At Hotel Goldgasse, they take Austrian love to new heights with echoes of history rising crescendo from the authentic inn style restaurant on street-level to the contemporary Rooftop Suite. No view is too good for you and your better half, so spoil yourselves rotten with the unique panorama of the Fortress Hohensalzburg and a glass of Austrian sparkling wine, Sekt.

Bags are packed? Search for a room at Hotel Goldgasse

Apollon Boutique Hotel – Paros, Greece

Apollon-boutique-hotel-ferry-from-athens-to-paros-best-greek-islands-to-visit-romantic-hotels
Feel like a Greek god at Apollon Boutique Hotel

While the Cyclades might rhyme with partying in Mykonos, lovebirds nest in the heart of the archipelago on the romantic island of Paros. A ferry’s way away from Athens, you’ll be walking hand in hand on the sun-drenched beach of Chrissí Aktí before sunset. Once you’ve thrown off your clothes and slipped into your finest bathing suit at the Apollon Boutique Hotel head to the port of Parikia. Or perhaps discover the Aegean world while exploring charming white-washed alleys of Naoussa.

Taking a mere 30 minute’s drive to cross the island, the options for you to sigh and swoon are endless. And after a romantic night listening to the waves crash through the window of your lovely room, enjoy the cool sea breeze at the Apollon hotel’s terrace under the shade of the bougainvillea flowers.

Inspired? Search for a room at Apollon Boutique Hotel

Lesar Hotel Angel – Ljubljana, Slovenia

hotel-Angel-slovenia-holidays-romantic-weekend-breaks-romantic-hotel
A heavenly room no dirty devil can resist

It’s all in the name! The Lesar Hotel Angel is the perfect dose of sweet and heavenly for your romantic Slavic trip. The fireplace in the lounge could be your favorite place to snuggle, or perhaps the candle-lit garden will have you cooing “Ljubim te” (I love you, in local Ljubljana tongue). In the historical, medieval town, the Prešernov Square will inspire your inner artist as you admire the statues of poet France Prešeren staring longingly at his lover Julija Primic’s statue perched on a windowsill. Before you take the Triple Bridge and cross over to the modern city, hold each other close under the ceramic tiled roof of the stylish Hauptmann House.

Let’s get lucky! Search for a room at Lesar Hotel Angel

City House – Hamburg, Germany

hotel-city-house-hotels-in-hamburg-cheap-romantic-getaways-romantic-hotels
Feel like a hot dog in Hamburg

If you’re lucky enough to enter the port of Hamburg by boat, you’ll most likely be saluted by your country’s national anthem and flag at the Willkomm-Hoft. A warm beginning to a convivial stay in the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg (the city’s full name). After a good night’s sleep in the charming City House hotel, fill up on breakfast hams and cheeses and head to the Speicherstadt, the largest warehouse district in the world awarded the status of UNESCO World Heritage Site, or get giddy with romance at the central fountain at the Planten un Blomen park.

Before heading back to your room at the city villa, grab a seat on the long tables in the St Pauli Fischmarkt and blush as the marktschreier (market criers) boisterously flirt with customers to sell their fresh fish.

Let’s go! Search for a room at City House

Komorowski Luxury Guest Rooms – Krakow, Poland

komorowski-luxury-guest-rooms-romantic-holidays-most-romantic-hotels-romantic-hotels
You’ll never want to leave the room at Komorowski Luxury Guest Rooms

If you love romantic hotels, this one is surely for you! Drop off your suitcase and draw the blinds, the Komorowski Luxury Guest Rooms will have you forgetting all about visiting the city of Krakow with a hot tub big enough for two (or even three) people in every room! No excuses though, the city’s historical Old Town and Main Market Square are just a stone’s throw away.

While you’re checking out the Wawel Royal Castle, reenact a romantic scene of the prince saving his dame from the fire breathing dragon in front of the famous Smok Wawelski statue. Before calling it a day and diving back into the hot tubs, tackle the Kosciuszko Mound to embrace one of the most beautiful views of the historic city.

Ready to go? Search for a room at Komorowski Luxury Guest Rooms

 

Looking for more travel inspiration? Check out the momondo blog for tips and advice on traveling with your partner or find out which country you should be looking for love in.

Beyond Rio: 8 amazing destinations to enjoy Carnival in Brazil

It’s no surprise that Brazilians know how to throw a party. When it comes to Carnival, nobody does it bigger or better. But it’s not all about Rio de Janeiro, as most people may think.

If you’re already planning to show off your samba moves for Carnival 2016 in Brazil from February 5th – or, perhaps you are planning a big trip for next year – don’t overlook these 8 under-sung heroes where you can experience the Brazilian Carnival in style.

Salvador (Bahia)

Brazilian Carnival - Salvador
Brazilian drums in Salvador, Bahia

Prepare to dance to a different rhythm if you decide to move Northeast during Carnival in Brazil. In Salvador, capital of Bahia state, it’s all about the “axé music” (pronounced asheh) and its vibrant fusion of Afro-Caribbean genres.

Get your “abadá” – a sponsored t-shirt used as a ticket if you want to be inside the roped area where all the action happens – and get ready to put all those hours spent in the gym to good use. Hundreds of thousands of people follow the “trios elétricos” (trucks with huge giant speakers and platforms in which popular singers/bands perform) through the city for up to 10 hours a day, dancing, singing, drinking and having the time of their lives.

Big names in Brazilian music show up on top of the trios to lead the crowds and every year a number of international guests join in the fun too, from will.i.am to David Guetta!

Ready for all the fun? Search for cheap flights to Salvador with momondo

Recife & Olinda (Pernambuco)

Olinda and its giant folkloric dolls parading through the streets. © Prefeitura de Olinda
Olinda and its giant folkloric dolls parading through the streets. © Prefeitura de Olinda

Also in the country’s sun-soaked Northeastern region, two sister cities offer some of most laid back fun during Carnival times: Recife, capital of Pernambuco state, and neighbor Olinda, a well-preserved and UNESCO heritage colonial town.

Unlike Salvador, no ticket is needed to join the party. Did we say party? We meant P-A-R-T-Y, with all the possible capital letters – just take a look at the Guinness Book of Records, and you’ll see Recife’s Carnival street party “Galo da Madrugada” named as the world’s biggest, with an estimated 2 million joining the celebration each year.

Spend the day in Olinda with its world famous folkloric giant dolls parading through the streets, and then head 6 miles south to Recife’s historical city center for a night of free gigs and street festivities.

Excited to join this party duo? Search for cheap flights to Recife with momondo

São Luiz do Paraitinga (São Paulo)

Brazilian Carnival - São Luiz do Paraitinga
Very tranquil during the year, beautiful São Luiz do Paraitinga becomes a popular destination during Carnival. © Dagaz Analú

It may not be featured in most touristy guides of Brazil, but when it comes to Carnival, the small town of São Luiz do Paraitinga is becoming one the most popular destinations in the country. No wonder why its 10,000 people population turns 15 times bigger every February …

The vibe at this historic town is like no other – everything revolves around local culture. You probably won’t listen to any world famous tunes like “Girl from Ipanema” or “Mas Que Nada” during the street parades. Instead it’s all about the “marchinhas” there – a comic genre of music that started as a satire of military marches (hence the word translation as “little marches”) – with lyrics citing local cultural icons and making fun of their own socioeconomic problems.

Located a 2.5-hour drive from the state capital, the city is also very close to popular beach destination Ubatuba. So, that’s your vacation sorted – relaxing on a white sand beach during the day there, then heading to São Luiz do Paraitinga for all the evening fun.

Feeling the rhythm already? Search for cheap flights to São Paulo with momondo

Florianopolis (Santa Catarina)

Brazilian Carnival - Florianópolis, Santa Catarina
Feel the rhythms of samba during Carnival in Florianopolis, Santa Catarina. © Revolweb

Being one of the most popular beach destinations in Brazil, the southern city of Florianopolis offers a Carnival programme that is often featured among the favorite places for young party lovers in the country.

Should you be unsuccessful in grabbing a ticket for the official parade – in which the traditional “samba schools” compete for the annual title of best in town – there’s no need to despair. Most of the city’s 42 beaches hold an array of events during the days of Carnival, including jam-packed rave parties featuring some of the most famous DJs in the world.

But it’s in the city center where the real action happens: expect free concerts from some of the biggest hit makers in Brazilian music – from pop star Anitta to samba band Sorriso Maroto – all presented in a laid-back and effervescent environment, featuring traffic-free streets, caipirinha bars and VIP areas.

Sounds fun! Search for cheap flights to Florianopolis with momondo

Manaus (Amazonas)

Brazilian Carnival - Manaus, Amazonas
Explore all the regional tales of Carnival in Manaus, Amazonas

It’s on the very top of Brazil’s map and quite far (a minimum 4-hour flight from Rio, and in a different time zone!) from more traditional touristy destinations, but visit Manaus – perched in the middle of the Amazon Rainforest – and you’ll be treated to a very unique experience, especially during Carnival time.

Just like Rio, there’s a very famous competitive parade, only bigger as it happens in a space with capacity for 100,000 people! But in Manaus, the talk of the town is … an ox! Festival “Carnaboi” celebrates the local legend about a resurrected ox, whose tale is told through music and flamboyant costumes, all based on local Amazonian folklore and indigenous culture.

It might not be easy to get a ticket for the main competition show, but there’s fun spread all around town, with street parties happening in almost every neighborhood and dozens of bands performing for free.

Ready for some adventure? Search for cheap flights to Manaus with momondo

Ouro Preto (Minas Gerais)

It's all about the rhythm with the "blocos" in Ouro Preto, Minas Gerais. © marcellonicolato
It’s all about the rhythm with the “blocos” in Ouro Preto, Minas Gerais. © marcello nicolato

During any other time of the year, visitors of this normally tranquil former colonial mining town in Southeast Brazil are more interested in its outstanding baroque architecture. But during Carnival time, Ouro Preto becomes the ultimate hotspot for young revelers.

All thanks to the city’s majority student population, who live in spaces called “repúblicas” (rented houses ruled and maintained by themselves). As most of the 300 repúblicas hold their own Carnival parties, it’s not hard to imagine the festive atmosphere around town during the six days of celebrations.

Visitors buy “packages” that include unlimited drinks, accommodation in shared dorms and parties all week. More often than not, parties continue onto the streets of Ouro Preto, where they mix with the town’s traditional Carnival “blocos” (organized groups following a band), like Zé Pereira dos Lacaios, the oldest in the country, active since 1867!

I’m all about the fun! Search for cheap flights to Belo Horizonte with momondo

Diamantina (Minas Gerais)

Brazilian Carnival - Diamantina, Minas Gerais
Head to historic center of Diamantina for a family friendly Carnival fun

Here’s another historical town (and another UNESCO World Heritage Site) in Minas Gerais (248 miles from Ouro Preto) that boasts equally popular street parties, but this time a little more family friendly.

In the afternoon, traditional bands and blocos like Bartucada and Bat-Caverna start festivities at the Old Market Square, where the main stage holds free performances from nationally acclaimed musicians.

Parading through the streets of the old town, dozens of groups dressed in funny costumes sing and make fun of political news that affected locals’ lives during the past year, while talented percussionists have the job of not letting any reveler stand still.

Ready to dance? Search for cheap flights to Belo Horizonte with momondo

Rio de Janeiro

Brazilian Carnival - Rio de Janeiro
Put on your best costume and join the street fun in the streets of Rio

No, not “that” Carnival in Rio … Forget about the spectacular, yet very-expensive-and-impossible-to-get-a-ticket-for Carnival parade at Marquês de Sapucaí (aka Sambadrome). Instead, spend zero Reais and witness one the most popular and democratic street parties in the world.

An astounding number of almost 500 different blocos take the streets of Rio de Janeiro during Carnival days. A diversity of rhythms and cultural influences inspire the groups, that can easily turn The Beatles or Beethoven into the most energetic samba interpretation.

It all starts very early (from 8am). So start off with a hearty breakfast, put on a funny costume (anything from your favorite soccer shirt to the latest Marvel superhero) and simply join the crowds along the streets. It doesn’t hurt preparing an itinerary and following your favorite routes – which might include beaches like Ipanema, Leblon and Copacabana. Rest assured that nobody will judge you if you leave your fellow revelers behind and jump into the water at some point to cool down from all those heated festivities!

Have your samba moves ready? Search for cheap flights to Rio de Janeiro with momondo

 

Looking for some more Brazil travel inspiration? Check out momondo blog to find out about the buzzy nightlife of Rio de Janeiro, then download our free Rio city guide, momondo places, from the App Store.

Economy, business and first class seats: what’s the difference?

It’s fair to say that most of us make do with economy class, also known as coach, standard or, more endearingly “cattle class”. If we’re honest, that’s just how things will be unless we get lucky (find out how you can bag an upgrade here). But it’s not that bad, right? After all, we all end up in the same place, and things have gotten a lot better in recent years. You know, unless you’re stuck on an old aircraft with virtually no leg room, one overhead TV for the whole row and next to a toddler who’s throwing his first of many tantrums. But it’s not that bad …

To prove it, we’re going to run through what you get for your money for your typical economy, business, and first class tickets. We’ll even take a look at those premium economy seats that are all the rage. The first and most important thing to remember is that all seat specs and luxuries (or lack thereof), depend on what airline you’re flying with, what airplane you’re on, and if you’re on a short or long-haul flight.

Economy class

Kiss your knees goodbye
Kiss your knees goodbye

Do we need to dwell on economy? Generally speaking, you’ll get a seat, in a plane, that takes you from A to B. That said, there are some differences, the most noticeable of which are seat width and pitch (legroom). Pitch can vary from 28” to 34”, and width from 17” (cozy!), to 33”. While these few inches might not seem like much now, when you’re in that seat for 6+ hours – they matter! Other factors that may vary are power outlets, Wi-Fi, amenity bag, food, in-flight entertainment, type of TV screen and level of service.

Some airlines now have their in-flight services built into touch screens. All you have to do is enter your card details, add the food or items you want to your basket, and cabin crew will deliver your purchases directly to your seat.

Extra info: Air New Zealand has a unique economy feature called Skycouch. A row of three seats can be easily converted into a flat bed, large enough to fit two adults lying down. If it’s just two of you flying, you can purchase the third seat to make up the full row for half price. Genius!

Premium economy class

A little more legroom and a TV. Worth the extra?
A little more legroom and a TV. Worth the extra cash?

To get things off to a suitably confusing start, premium economy is called different things. While Air Canada calls it Premium Economy, Virgin America calls it Main Cabin Select, British Airways uses the term World Traveller Plus and SAS call it SAS Plus. But it’s all the same thing: economy with some added oomph. And added cost, of course. That said, it’s not anywhere near as much as business class airfares.

If you’re lucky, your extra cash will give you a dedicated lounge at the airport, and the seats will be in a different cabin to economy. Usually, you’ll get a wider seat with a greater pitch, larger TV screens, better food (this could be a larger selection, complimentary drinks, etc.), and a greater baggage allowance. While this is the general rule, some airlines go all out. Virgin Atlantic offer a seat width of 21” with a pitch of 38”, power ports, priority boarding and baggage reclaim, choice of meal, dedicated toilet, pre-departure drink and post dinner liqueur, a dedicated amenity kit, and more. Phew.

So, is it worth it? Well, it all depends on the route, airline, and whether or not you really think those few extra inches and extra drink or meal will make the difference to your flight.

Extra info: Virgin Atlantic was actually the first airline to incorporate the concept of premium economy back in 1992.

Business class

Now we’re talking

They say that if you fly business class once, you’ll never be happy in economy again. While it might be hard to easily see the benefits of coughing up for premium economy over economy, the luxuries of business over premium economy are immediately apparent. It is – obviously – a completely different class.

Simply put: everything is better. From pre-flight drinks (in real glasses, obvs.), to meals served on real china with proper knives and forks (instead of those toy knock-offs back in economy), you’re spoiled rotten. Full flat-bed seats are the general standard for business class, with seat width going as wide as 34” and pitch all the way to 87”.

Some airlines offer a chauffeured pick-up and drop-off service if you live within a certain distance from the airport, and most – if not all – have a dedicated lounge in the airport where you can fill up on free food and drinks – but don’t drink too much … The gigantic A380, Emirates, never one to shy away from excess, has an entire bar on board exclusively for business class passengers. We’re not talking a fold down table in the galley – this is a proper, semi-circular, fully-stocked bar, serving hot and cold snacks and all the cocktails you can manage. What more could you want? Business class is in fact becoming so good, that many airlines have abandoned their first class seats altogether.

Extra info: the record time for a Paris to New York flight is held by the now obsolete Concorde. Clocking in at just 2 hours and 52 minutes, it was so fast that on flights to the west, it was possible to arrive at your destination at a local time that was earlier than when you left.

First class

Dream on ...
Dream on …

The pinnacle of air travel, first class travel is reserved for celebrities and the super-rich (and the super-lucky). Think all the perks from business, lathered with a ridiculously thick layer of luxury. However, aside from privacy, and seat size (bear in mind that many first class flights don’t so much have seats, as individual suites), there’s not that much they can do to make first stand out markedly from business. One noticeable difference is price, with seats costing up to five times as much as business class seats. Ouch.

So what do you get when you’ve spent a small country’s GDP on your ticket? Roomy seats for one thing (up to 32” wide with a max pitch of 92”!). The standard of service is incomparable, with highly trained crew able to anticipate passengers needs and not be phased by any celebrities they might encounter. The standard of food leaps up a notch up too, with many menus and dishes created by Michelin starred chefs.

Things get a little extravagant in the Emirates A380 (again), with a choice of two shower spas, which are essentially bathrooms – complete with heated floors. But nothing compares to Etihad’s A380. There, you can choose between three different first class suites, the most indulgent being The Residence – a three-room suite, comprised of a living room, bedroom (with double bed), and private bathroom (with shower, of course). What does it cost? Around $32,000 for a one-way ticket between New York and Abu Dhabi.

Extra info: In 1987, American Airlines saved an estimated $40,000, by removing one olive in each salad served in first class.

So there it is. You can now fly economy with full peace of mind, knowing that you’re not missing out on anything special … Right?

Don’t forget you can always check sites like SeatExpert to find out details about particular seats, on particular aircraft, with particular airlines. If you’re particular about these things. Alternatively, the airline’s site will have details regarding each of their classes and planes so you can read about it, and then book economy. Like everyone else.

 

Looking for more travel inspiration? Check out our 15 ways to accomplish your travel goals in 2016, and start your year off with a new booking.

The 8 best food markets in Europe

There is something magical about food markets. Probably it’s the unique mix of the fuss, the horde of hungry people, the smell of all kinds of greens and meats – and of course the great opportunity to improve your bargaining skills. Get your own slice of foodie heaven with a visit to the 8 best fresh food markets in Europe.

For more tips, download momondo places, our selection of city guides that give you access to over 200 recommendations from locals for each city.

Amsterdam: De Hallen

1-De-Food-Hallen-in-Amsterdam-de-hallen-amsterdam-food-food-market-amsterdam
De Hallen food market in Amsterdam

If you prefer having the entire night’s entertainment in one single spot, go to De Hallen. This slickly renovated 19th Century tram depot is smack in the middle of Oud-West, which is steadily becoming Amsterdam’s foodie village.

Choose a restaurant – Remise47, Halte 3, Belcampo Café and Meat West are all in the same complex – or opt for the huge FoodHallen, Amsterdam’s answer to Copenhagen’s Torvehallerne and London’s Borough Market: twenty food trucks dishing out goodies like gourmet hotdogs and Vietnamese Bánh mì.

Leave some room for popcorn though, because the independent cinema next door is one of the city’s biggest and comfiest.

Where: Hannie Dankbaar Passage 33
Tel: +31 20 705 8164
Nearest station: Ten Katemarkt

Read more: What to do in Amsterdam for free

[cta href=”http://www.momondo.com/flights/ams/flights-to-amsterdam.html” rel=”” content=”Find a cheap flight to Amsterdam”]Find a cheap flight to Amsterdam[/cta]

Barcelona: Mercat de La Barceloneta

2-mercat-de-la-barcelona-barceloneta-market-food-market-bacelona
Mercat de la Barceloneta food market in Barcelona © Forgemind ArchiMedia

Mercat de la Barceloneta is another neighborhood market that has been given a modern makeover. In this case, unusual iron canopies – homage to the barri’s industrial past – were placed over the original 19th-century construction with a result that divided neighborhood opinion when it was finished in 2007. Most locals, though, love the prettied-up square outside, as well as seeing their favorite stalls inside all shiny and new.

Where: Plaça del Font 1
Tel: +34 932 216 471
Nearest station: Barceloneta

Read more: What to do in Barcelona for free

[cta href=”http://www.momondo.com/flights/bcn/flights-to-barcelona.html” rel=”” content=”Find a cheap flight to Barcelona”]Find a cheap flight to Barcelona[/cta]

Copenhagen: Torvehallerne KBH

Torvehallerne food market in Copenhagen
Torvehallerne food market in Copenhagen, one of our favorite food markets in Europe

Hand-picked spices, quality chocolates, organic bread, homemade ice cream and select wines. The common denominators in these choice offerings are their craftsmanship, excellence and taste, in which you can indulge in this covered Copenhagen market. Even when you are not on the lookout for anything particular, an inspiring stroll around this market will awaken your taste buds.

Enjoy the many refined specialties based on genuinely local recipes, as well as several regional specialties from all over the world, such as from Spain, Italy, Greece, Asia and South America. Be sure to try a cup of quality coffee from The Coffee Collective and taste the sweet treats made by the pioneering Danish chocolatier, Summerbird.

Where: Frederiksborggade 21
Tel: n/a
Nearest station: Nørreport

Read more: 7 things not to miss in Copenhagen

[cta href=”http://www.momondo.com/flights/cph/flights-to-copenhagen.html” rel=”” content=”Find a cheap flight to Copenhagen”]Find a cheap flight to Copenhagen[/cta]

Lisbon: Mercado da Ribeira

Mercado da Ribeira food market in Lisbon
Mercado da Ribeira food market in Lisbon

From hot spices and mushrooms to fresh seafood and floral bouquets, this market has everything you could wish for. Housed in a neoclassical building dating from 1882, the setting and atmosphere are half the fun, especially in the early morning.

Once Lisbon’s market for the masses, the building was recently taken over by Time Out magazine and, after a lengthy restoration project, now features a trendy upstairs café area and more than 20 food corners, with plenty of different world kitchens to choose from. The black and white pictures hanging on the walls feature fish sellers from the last century, offering an interesting view into a time when fishermen would moor their boats on the dock outside and sell directly to the customers.

Where: Avenida 24 de Julho 60
Tel: +351 213 244 980
Nearest station: Cais do Sodré

Read more: Lisbon’s best hostels and cheap hotels

[cta href=”http://www.momondo.com/flights/lis/flights-to-lisbon.html” rel=”” content=”Find a cheap flight to Lisbon”]Find a cheap flight to Lisbon[/cta]

London: Southbank Centre Food Market

Southbank
Southbank Centre Food Market in London

If you need refreshment while exploring London’s Southbank at the weekend, take a detour behind the Royal Festival Hall to a small street food market, crammed with food stalls and a few outdoor tables from Friday to Sunday. Bread, cakes, gourmet burgers, curries, even artisan cheese on toast – there is a lot to munch on at the market here, with food from all cuisines and corners of the globe.

On a cold day, try the churros, tasty donuts from Spain. Long crisp fritters sprinkled with sugar and cinnamon, they’re perfect served with a cup of thick, creamy chocolate.

Where: Southbank Centre Square, Belvedere Rd
Tel: +44 (0)20 7960 4200
Nearest station: Waterloo

Read more: The 9 best nightlife spots in London

[cta href=”http://www.momondo.com/flights/lon/flights-to-london.html” rel=”” content=”Find a cheap flight to London”]Find a cheap flight to London[/cta]

Berlin: Markthalle IX

6.Markthalle-Berlin-food-market-berlin-street-food-market-berlin
Markthalle IX food market in Berlin

One of the few remaining grand market halls built around Berlin in the 19th century, Markthalle IX still serves its original purpose. The vast space hosts regular indoor markets with lots of local producers and farmers selling their wares – as well as a weekly street food Thursday market and equally popular monthly breakfast market.

There’s lots of benches to grab a seat and enjoy a glass of Riesling or a wheatgrass shot, or you can just roam around with your pulled pork bun and soak up the trendy vibe. Don’t forget to look up and admire the building’s original awnings and beams.

Where: Eisenbahnstraße 42-43
Tel: +49 30 6107 3473
Nearest station: Görlitzer Bahnhof

Read more: Vintage shopping in Berlin

[cta href=”http://www.momondo.com/flights/ber/flights-to-berlin.html” rel=”” content=”Find a cheap flight to Berlin”]Find a cheap flight to Berlin[/cta]

Paris: Le Quartier Chinois

7-le-quartier-chinois-Paris-food-markets-in-Paris-best-food-markets-in-Paris
Le Quartier Chinois food market in Paris

Paris’ Chinatown does not at all resemble the Latin Quarter. Actually, it does not even look like Paris. There are no beautiful buildings or balconies with curlicues, just grim concrete blocks and huge high-rises.

However, though the neighborhood is far from picturesque, it is a joy for everyone who likes to eat or cook Asian food. Around 250,000 Chinese, Vietnamese and Thais live here in the surroundings of the Latin Quarter, and consequently you can find anything you could possibly think of in terms of Asian delicacies and foodstuff. For example, pay a visit to the Frères Tang supermarket on Avenue d’Ivry, where you will find the oddest noodles and weirdest types of rice as well as cabbages, sauces and beans.

Keep in mind, however, that many of the shopkeepers don’t speak French and English, so communication may be an issue.

Where: Avenue de Choisy and Avenue d’Ivry, 13th arr.
Tel: n/a
Nearest station: Porte de Choisy

Read more: What to do in Paris for free

[cta href=”http://www.momondo.com/flights/par/flights-to-paris.html” rel=”” content=”Find a cheap flight to Paris”]Find a cheap flight to Paris[/cta]

Rome: Testaccio Market

8-testaccio-market-rome-rome-food-markets-best-street-food-in-the-world
Testaccio food market in Rome

When the inhabitants of the very popular, very colourful Testaccio district heard that their long-running produce market was being moved into shiny new purpose-built premises, they were skeptical. But since its inauguration in 2012, they’ve embraced the new-look venue whole-heartedly.

All the old traders are still there, with their piles of delicious fruit and vegetables, fresh fish and meat and – a Testaccio specialty – last season’s shoes at knock-down prices.

The new market also has great street food at Mordi e Vai, excellent just-squeezed juices and smoothies at Zoé, not to mention clothes, housewares, bread, cakes, wine and more.

Where: Via Galvani/Via Alessandro Volta
Tel:+39 06 578 0638
Nearest station: Piramide

Read more: The 10 best cultural spots of Rome

[cta href=”http://www.momondo.com/flights/rom/flights-to-rome.html” rel=”” content=”Find a cheap flight to Rome”]Find a cheap flight to Rome[/cta]

For more travel inspiration, visit our momondo blog, where you can find info on the very best cities for foodies, or our round-up of the most unusual cafés in the world.

Dare to bare it all: the best activities to experience in the nude

The notion of public nudity often gets a bad rep. Call it nudism or naturism, it is certainly a topic that can give even the most grown-up among us the giggles … but non-sexual, clothing-optional endeavors are advocated by many as relaxing, freeing and fun.

Get comfortable in the buff with our list of the best nudist activities around the world.

Nudist Beach – Samurai Beach, Port Stephens, Australia

A sunny day at the nudist beach.
A sunny day at the nudist beach. © nudistblr

For bashful first-timers, a trip to a nudist beach is a great way to dip your toe into the naturist lifestyle. The pristine shores of Samurai Beach in Port Stephens, Australia, are considered among the best nudist beach spots in the world.

Sitting just outside a national park, protected by dense greenery and sand dunes, you’ll find nothing here but lighthearted groups of friends and families enjoying the South Pacific breeze on their bare skin.

If you just want to quietly bask in the sun’s warm rays – without having to worry about those pesky tan lines – there’s more than enough stretch of sand to go around.

However, if you’re feeling sociable, you’re always welcome to join your scantily clad beach companions in a nude carnival in February or the annual Samurai Beach Picnic, complete with Nude Olympics!

Naked Yoga – New York, USA

While the very idea of assuming the downward-facing dog pose in the nude – in a room full of strangers no less – may conjure feelings of extreme awkwardness, the relatively new fad of naked yoga (“nagna yoga” in Sanskrit) has been practiced by religious figures in India for centuries.

New York‘s aptly named Bold & Naked yoga studio offers both co-ed and gender-segregated naked vinyasa courses that focus on accepting and celebrating the human body in all its shapes and sizes.

An entirely non-sexual environment, a naked yoga class not only aims to promote a healthy body image, it is also a rather original critique of consumerism.

Dispensing with the small details of everyday life that foster discrimination and set people apart from each other (like designer gym wear) is seen as an important step towards feeling comfortable in one’s own skin.

Naked Bike Ride – London, UK

The World Naked Bike Ride.
The World Naked Bike Ride. © GoToVan

Sometimes nudity is really just about shedding your clothes and your cares. Sometimes it’s a statement. Case-in-point is the World Naked Bike Ride, held annually in 70 cities across the globe as a form of protest against car culture and oil dependency, and in the name of a more body-positive society.

Dress code rules are “bare as you dare”, body art and costume creativity are encouraged, and any form of human-powered transport is a valid ride.

Starting at several different points throughout the capital and merging in the center, London’s 2015 edition saw well over 1,000 peeled participants take to the streets!

Strip down to your love handles, hop on your bike and join the fight against indecent exposure to vehicle emissions!

Naked Golf – Le Porge, France

Golf enthusiasts will either be outraged or quite happy to learn that, only an hour’s drive from Bordeaux, the unruffled La Jenny Naturist Resort in the beautiful Bassin d’Arcachon region does away with the fuss of argyle socks and itchy plus-fours (traditional golf trousers) and not only encourages but requires its members to get stark-naked before they head onto the green!

The 22-acre course on the Atlantic Coast is only one of many sports and activities offered by this family-friendly “nakation” destination, where you are put up in cozy wooden chalets shaded by pine trees, hidden away from prying eyes and free to waltz around au naturel to your heart’s content.

In short, a naturist’s nirvana.

Sauna – Helsinki, Finland

A traditional Finnish sauna.
A traditional Finnish sauna. © Martin Terber

An oldie but a definite goodie, the century-old Finnish ritual of getting steamy in a wood-fired sauna is a cozy way of cleansing your pores and your spirits.

An integral part of Finnish culture, the sauna is a versatile setting, where, believe it or not, holding a business meeting is just as natural as sitting in quiet reflection.

The average age of a Finn’s first sauna experience is at a shy 20 weeks of age and the ratio of people to saunas in Finland is nearly two to one!

Dead in the center of Helsinki’s cool and grungy Kallio neighborhood, Arla, a public sauna open since 1929, has gained quite the cult-following among all ages and is as local as it gets.

No clothes allowed, naturally, and if you stop by on a Thursday you can get yourself a professional back-scrub.

Nude Cruise – Caribbean

Swimming in crystal-clear waters.
Swimming in crystal-clear waters. © diluvi

Texas-based company Bare Necessities charters entire sailing cruisers, embarking from Florida, for a week at a time so you can cruise the Caribbean in the one style that will always be popular.

This veritable floating nudist camp sets out to several different destinations, from the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico to the best French islands of the region.

Besides island-hopping around the usual favorites, where you can participate in a long list of activities like hiking, canoeing and snorkeling, “The Big Nude Boat” also stops off at its very own private nudist island in the Bahamas!

Nude sunbathing in the city – Munich, Germany

In Munich, Germany’s third largest city, public nudity without scrutiny or judgement has been widely accepted for decades and, since April 2014, has actually been legalized by the government.

Now before you start stripping down at the airport the minute you land, this nudie free pass is restricted to 6 parkland zones within the city. All offer some degree of privacy but are not concealed or fenced off in any way. One of the areas is in Englischer Garten (English Gardens), the city’s biggest public park, dead in the center of town!

If parking your bum on soft green grass in the middle of a bustling metropolis has always been your dream, put Munich down for your next city break.

Naked Run – Roskilde, Denmark

The Naked Run at Roskilde Festival.
The Naked Run at Roskilde Festival. © Frank B. Schmidt mx

If running around in the nip strikes your fancy, look no further than Denmark’s famous Roskilde Festival.

Along with tens of thousands of fans and such legends as Bob Marley, David Bowie and The Rolling Stones, the popular non-profit music festival has also been attracting a considerable number of streakers since hosting its first Naked Run in 1999.

Organized by the Roskilde Festival Radio, every Saturday of the festival each year, around 30 bare-skinned boys and girls line up to run around the campsite, come rain or shine.

But be warned, it’s not all fun and games … a pair of suggestively-shaped trophies are awarded to the first male and female participants to reach the finish line, along with a bunch of prize gifts. It’s pretty competitive business. Don’t forget to warm up.

The most romantic hotels in Europe

Love knows no boundaries, so why not spread the love by traveling with your one-and-only for a dreamy vacation in Europe. Get hooked on love in any of these romantic hotels, each chosen to seduce any type of budget. One tip: pack light – love is all you need.

Ready to put a ring on it? Don’t miss the 9 best honeymoon destinations!

La Torre del Canonigo – Ibiza, Spain

la-torre-del-canonigo-ibiza-accomodation-romantic-weekend-breaks-romantic-hotels
The best view in Ibiza is from the Torre

All year round, partygoers flock to the island for nights they’ll hardly remember but, for this romantic getaway, stay at La Torre del Canonigo for a night you’ll never forget. Situated in the heights of Dalt Vila (high town), a UNESCO Heritage site, the tower boasts one of the most beautiful Mediterranean views – the perfect backdrop for a night swim in your private outdoor hot tub.

When you’re done staring into each other’s eyes, check out the Archeological Museum full of hidden treasures of Ibiza’s amazing history. Not racy enough? Take a stroll down Calle de la Virgen for some eye-popping fetish shops to tickle any especially curious couple’s fancy.

Can’t wait! Search for a room at La Torre del Canonigo

Palazzetto Madonna – Venice, Italy

palazzetto-madonna-holidays-in-venice-hotels-for-couples-romantic-hotels
Sweet dreams, amore at Palazzetto Madonna

If you weren’t in love before spending your vacation in Venice, you surely will be after a night at the Palazzetto Madonna. While many romantic hotels in Venice adorn flamboyant Rococo decors, this boutique hotel tastefully combines Italian aesthetics and modern design.

Drop off your bags and jump on the water bus at the nearby station and share a typical meal of polenta and squid ink at an osteria (restaurant) on Campo Santa Margherita. As the bells of the Campanile di San Marco chime midnight, do like Casanova and slip into the satin sheets of your personal palazzo.

Look no further. Search for a room at Palazzetto Madonna

Trezzini Palace Hotel – Saint Petersburg, Russia

Trezzini-palace-saint-petersburg-russia-romantic-hotels
Red romance at Trezzini Palace

Nothing says “I Love You” like a room full of satin sheets and velvet pillows in Saint Petersburg. At the Trezzini Palace, feel regal in a palace that preserved influences from its imperial past.

The impressive volume of the rooms and their decor are just a pre-starter for the tsarist luxury you’ll encounter when visiting the Hermitage Museum or the nearby Saint Isaac’s Cathedral. The massive dome made of 100 kilos of pure gold will have you seeing tsars (get it?). By the time you take a horse carriage ride at the Palace Square, you’ll be head over heels for each other. Slow things down by taking a soothing and scenic ride on the Neva River and kissing under some of the city’s 365 bridges.

I do! Search for a room at Trezzini Palace Hotel

Fusion Hotel Prague – Prague, Czech Republic

Fusion-hotel-Prague-petrin-hill-prague-romantic-weekend-breaks-romantic-hotels
Feel the love designed by ©tinquer at the Fusion Hotel

After placing a Czech garnet necklace around your lover’s neck, tell each other how much you love one another atop Petrin Hill. On a moonlit night, the view will have you falling in love with the Vltava River and Prague‘s red tile roofs. Skip dinner and head straight to the Fusion Hotel where the Fusion Love suite will have you work up a whole other appetite. The not-so-subtle mirrors strategically placed around the round bed will impress even the shyest of lovers.

Feeling it? Search for a room at Fusion Hotel Prague

Montmartre Mon Amour – Paris, France

montmartre-mon-amour-accommodation-in-paris-romantic-things-to-do-in-paris-most-romantic-hotels-romantic-hotels
Ouh-la-love! Make your heart race at Montmartre Mon Amour

Sure, it might seem like a go-to, cliché destination, but the City of Lights is made for lovers. A walk through the Paris‘ Place des Vosges, window shopping at Place Vendôme, and a coffee at the terrace of Café St Regis will have you falling in love faster than you can say “je t’aime”. Just beyond the Sacré Coeur basilica, at the hotel Montmartre Mon Amour, each room adorns a loving portrait of an emblematic French couple such as Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir. In terms of romantic hotels, this one wins it all. Love and culture, who could ask for more?

”Oui, mon amour”. Search for a room at Montmartre Mon Amour

Download our free Paris city guide

Witchery by the Castle Hotel Edinburgh – Edinburgh, Scotland

the-witchery-edinburgh-castle-scotland-places-to-stay-in-edinburgh-romantic-hotels
Soak in luxury in this tub-for-two in the heart of Edinburgh

For whisky and castle lovers alike, Edinburgh is the perfect place for a romantic getaway. The obvious Edinburgh Castle is an iconic attraction, but for a stroll with your honey, the Princes Street Gardens has some great bushes for stealing kisses. If you get chilly, cozy up in one of the city’s many pubs along the Royal Mile. The seductive 5-star hotel Witchery by the Castle Hotel Edinburgh will be waiting for you at the end of the day. A romantic night in the velvety four-poster beds and a dip in the Victorian roll-top bath will leave you satisfied and asking for more – if your wallet will allow it!

It’s on! Search for a room at Witchery by the Castle Hotel Edinburgh

Coimbra Portagem Hostel – Coimbra, Portugal

coimbra-portagem-hostel-hostel-coimbra-fado-coimbra-romantic-hotel
Hospitality reigns at Coimbra Portagem Hostel in Portugal

Could it be the sounds of fado (a plaintive style of Portuguese folk music) – resonating on the monumental stone walls of the city of Coimbra – that make this one of the most fascinating cities in Portugal? Or is it the student population running wild in their black robes that gives this city its eternal youth ideal for a young-love escape? Foundation grounds of the first university in Portugal, Coimbra has since become the university capital of the country, offering many nightlife attractions to keep the youngins busy all year round, and at friendly prices.

Just across the Ponte de Santa Clara bridge, your humble abode awaits at the Coimbra Portagem Hostel. The standard double room is a perfect cocoon to reminisce the sounds on the Coimbra guitarra you listened to at A Capella, a chapel from 1361 turned concert venue.

Just a click away. Search for a room at Coimbra Portagem Hostel

Hotel Goldgasse – Salzburg, Austria

hotel-goldgasse-romantic-road-romantic-hotels
Follow the road to Hohensalzburg Castle

Cultural couples will have to look no further for their dream destination – Salzburg, Austria is the end of the road. The Romantic Road (Romantischestrasse, for locals), that is, the one that winds through the cultural and historical sights from Germany to Austria. Birthplace of Mozart, all year round travelers can delve into the local culture and events like the Salzburg Festival or Mozart Week.

At Hotel Goldgasse, they take Austrian love to new heights with echoes of history rising crescendo from the authentic inn style restaurant on street-level to the contemporary Rooftop Suite. No view is too good for you and your better half, so spoil yourselves rotten with the unique panorama of the Fortress Hohensalzburg and a glass of Austrian sparkling wine, Sekt.

Bags are packed? Search for a room at Hotel Goldgasse

Apollon Boutique Hotel – Paros, Greece

Apollon-boutique-hotel-ferry-from-athens-to-paros-best-greek-islands-to-visit-romantic-hotels
Feel like a Greek god at Apollon Boutique Hotel

While the Cyclades might rhyme with partying in Mykonos, lovebirds nest in the heart of the archipelago on the romantic island of Paros. A ferry’s way away from Athens, you’ll be walking hand in hand on the sun-drenched beach of Chrissí Aktí before sunset. Once you’ve thrown off your clothes and slipped into your finest bathing suit at the Apollon Boutique Hotel head to the port of Parikia. Or perhaps discover the Aegean world while exploring charming white-washed alleys of Naoussa.

Taking a mere 30 minute’s drive to cross the island, the options for you to sigh and swoon are endless. And after a romantic night listening to the waves crash through the window of your lovely room, enjoy the cool sea breeze at the Apollon hotel’s terrace under the shade of the bougainvillea flowers.

Inspired? Search for a room at Apollon Boutique Hotel

Lesar Hotel Angel – Ljubljana, Slovenia

hotel-Angel-slovenia-holidays-romantic-weekend-breaks-romantic-hotel
A heavenly room no dirty devil can resist

It’s all in the name! The Lesar Hotel Angel is the perfect dose of sweet and heavenly for your romantic Slavic trip. The fireplace in the lounge could be your favorite place to snuggle, or perhaps the candle-lit garden will have you cooing “Ljubim te” (I love you, in local Ljubljana tongue). In the historical, medieval town, the Prešernov Square will inspire your inner artist as you admire the statues of poet France Prešeren staring longingly at his lover Julija Primic’s statue perched on a windowsill. Before you take the Triple Bridge and cross over to the modern city, hold each other close under the ceramic tiled roof of the stylish Hauptmann House.

Let’s get lucky! Search for a room at Lesar Hotel Angel

City House – Hamburg, Germany

hotel-city-house-hotels-in-hamburg-cheap-romantic-getaways-romantic-hotels
Feel like a hot dog in Hamburg

If you’re lucky enough to enter the port of Hamburg by boat, you’ll most likely be saluted by your country’s national anthem and flag at the Willkomm-Hoft. A warm beginning to a convivial stay in the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg (the city’s full name). After a good night’s sleep in the charming City House hotel, fill up on breakfast hams and cheeses and head to the Speicherstadt, the largest warehouse district in the world awarded the status of UNESCO World Heritage Site, or get giddy with romance at the central fountain at the Planten un Blomen park.

Before heading back to your room at the city villa, grab a seat on the long tables in the St Pauli Fischmarkt and blush as the marktschreier (market criers) boisterously flirt with customers to sell their fresh fish.

Let’s go! Search for a room at City House

Komorowski Luxury Guest Rooms – Krakow, Poland

komorowski-luxury-guest-rooms-romantic-holidays-most-romantic-hotels-romantic-hotels
You’ll never want to leave the room at Komorowski Luxury Guest Rooms

If you love romantic hotels, this one is surely for you! Drop off your suitcase and draw the blinds, the Komorowski Luxury Guest Rooms will have you forgetting all about visiting the city of Krakow with a hot tub big enough for two (or even three) people in every room! No excuses though, the city’s historical Old Town and Main Market Square are just a stone’s throw away.

While you’re checking out the Wawel Royal Castle, reenact a romantic scene of the prince saving his dame from the fire breathing dragon in front of the famous Smok Wawelski statue. Before calling it a day and diving back into the hot tubs, tackle the Kosciuszko Mound to embrace one of the most beautiful views of the historic city.

Ready to go? Search for a room at Komorowski Luxury Guest Rooms

 

Looking for more travel inspiration? Check out the momondo blog for tips and advice on traveling with your partner or find out which country you should be looking for love in.