Strasbourg: capital of Europe and tourist destination

I have been several time in past in Strasbourg, but always for work reasons and for this reason mainly focused on institutions. The city is famous, together with Brussels, as capital of the European Union because of the presence of the European Parliament, the headquarter for the plenary assembly, and other offices, included the diplomatic missions of the various countries. This time I explore Strasbourg as tourist.

I already discovered that the city is the third one in France as tourism destination chosen by the worldwide travellers. They are right, because there are many attractions to be seen and also a walk in the centre or a trip on the river with the boat is something that gives satisfactions to the tourists. In some corners of Strasbourg as the streets and the buildings are it is like to jump in the past, travelling through history.

Before to describe some of the best monuments and museums, I want to share some curiosities. First of all it is necessary to mention that the Grande Île is protected as Unesco Heritage. As you know Strasbourg is located on the border between France and Germany, so crossing the river Rhine you can find the city of Kehl. Anyway on the French side in the city area are living around half a million inhabitants and this means that Strasbourg is the nineth city in the country.

 

If you want to visit the down town you should know that the best way is on foot or by bike, in order to not miss any particular corner and to enjoy better the atmosphere of the area. If you prefer to use the public transport network, you can be sure that it works perfectly, it is well organized. Never be in hurry in that part of Strasbourg because you will need a lot of time to visit the different attractions and to take pictures of the well kept buildings, bridged and small streets with characteristic shops and restaurants.

Thinking about the restaurants when a traveller goes to the city a must is the sauerkraut (choucroute in French), made with cabbage. It is a specialty served in the traditional restaurants and I have to say that is quite good, reminding a bit the German style mixed with the French cuisine, especially from Alsatian region. You will be delighted, but of course on the menu there are different proposals.

 

About the culture Strasbourg is really active and it offers many free and not free events: opera, ballet, concerst, exhibitions and so on. There is a big number of museums able to satisfy every interests. The quantity of the collections is not second to the one of the entertainment. The city offers a great nightlife thanks to the largest concentration of bars and clubs that remain open until dawn in Europe. There are lovely squares full of patios and young people where spend the evening drinking, chatting and have fun.

The architecture of the city has similarities with Germany because the influence that comes from the other side of the border is obviously high. Among the big and modern buildings of the European Parliament and the Council of Europe there are many ancient architectural testimonies like the Cathédrale Notre Dame, built between 1176 and 1439 with a 142 metres tower from where to enjoy the panorama over the city.

Stay tuned, because in the next article I will write about the attractions, going deep in what to see in Strasbourg.

Anasa

Airport lounges: 1 card to access during your trips

VIP airport lounges: how can I get in? This is a common question for passengers, especially among those who have the chance to travel often. It is not a matter of feeling important, but to improve the waiting time quality. Entering a reserved lounge gives you a lot of advantages. You can’t imagine this, but you will save money. I will explain to you how.

Have you ever waited for a plane standing at the gate for hours? Have you ever spent a huge amount of money for a snack just because the airport is expensive? Me yes. That’s why I search for some way to get more comfortable. Today I was thinking that my traveler wallet is getting old. Some signs on it are demonstrating how many trips I took. Anyway, I started to check the cards I have inside. One of them inspired me to write this post.

VIP airport lounges is a need when you spend a lot of hours in a terminal around the world. Of course, it is necessary to pay a fee, but let’s make a generic calculation. It may not be applicable exactly with this amount everywhere. But the process is the same in every airport in the world. Imagine being there during lunch or dinner time. You are hungry.

What to do? Easy, you search for a bar or a restaurant. You won’t eat just a sandwich, but you will have two courses and maybe a couple of glasses of wine. You will spend around 30-35 euros. Then you will buy a magazine to read while you wait and it will be 2-3 euros. The average price of a VIP airport lounges is 35 euros. Inside you have newspapers, magazines, food, and drinks without limits included. Plus free and unlimited Wi-Fi. 

VIP airport lounges in a card

I am going to share with you the easiest way to use VIP airport lounges, you can do it all around the world. It is a small investment that allows you to reduce the cost (do you remember the average price of 35 euros I wrote before?) and get all the benefits. It is what I did some years ago and now I am really happy with my choice. 

Here you are going to read my experience with Priority Pass. Travel is great. But when you have to go on a plane, you have to spend hours in airports as well and it is boring, especially in small places. Imagine then too crowdy places. Why not use VIP airport lounges with snacks and drinks included at a cheap price?

If you will follow my steps you will benefit from a very good opportunity. But I suggest it only if you are a frequent flyer. Or at least my advice is for who is going around the world at least five or six times per year. Anyway, there are many options, so even for a few trips, it can be good the card.

VIP airport lounges and Priority Pass card

Maybe there are a few shops or they are closed and the waiting rooms are not so comfortable. That is why to have a Priority Pass card is helpful. Use VIP airport lounges is not a luxury, but only a better way to wait. It allows the owner to access to the airport lounges almost everywhere: 1000 lounges in 500 cities in 130 countries.

The member can decide the type of card to have discounts for any access. Alternatively, it is possible to pay a certain amount as membership and then enter for free in the lounges, for an unlimited number of times.

The owner can have also a guest and pay a discounted price for her or him. When you enter a lounge you can find newspapers and magazines, TV, computer, comfortable armchairs, showers, food, and drinks. This is the way to get direct access to VIP airport lounges. Not all the lounges are the same, some are more equipped, but for sure you can have a luxury stay. Normally the right to enter is given to first-class ticket holders, airport cardholders or who want to pay an expensive fee.

If you travel with European continental flights you have only the business class and not the first one. Then to buy the membership of a card by a specific airport it has no sense if you are not using it. That is why the Priority Pass card is convenient. You will save money and you will use many lounges around the world, to wait for your plane with some luxury. This is my way of travel and it makes me happy spending a lot of time between planes and airports.

Check out your Priority Pass plan, get the card and start to be a VIP at the airport. In some cases, there are spa treatments to wait for you. You will be fully relaxed before to go onboard. Download the App to be always informed about the updates and to have the complete list of the lounges. You will enjoy each VIP airport lounges in the places you will visit.

Plan your trip

Now it is time to go, right? Your VIP airport lounges are waiting for you. So check out my destinations to get inspired and read my reviews, so you can easily plan your trip. To search for the best rates and combine the connections I suggest you use Infobus, Kiwi, and Skyscanner. The three platforms are perfect to make you saving time and money. For the hotel, there are two very good sites: HotelsCombined and Booking. It is the website that researches you. Your task is only to input personal criteria. 

And if you need some travel items I can inspire you: shopping tips and Amazon Store. Plus surf AliExpress platform.

Booking flight and hotels

The number of platforms dedicated to travels are increasing, especially the ones that offers the way to find and buy plane tickets, holidays and hotel reservations. I have to say that they are useful, but are the deals convenient? Generally there are good rates offered, but if you compare them with the proposals present on the hotel websites you can be surprised with better prices or with some extra benefits as the free minibar with soft drinks, the complimentary transfer and so on.

Many hotels complain about the platforms because they are useful to support the different structures helping them to occupy all the rooms, but they ask for an high commission. Also some hotels are not present on those websites. It is then easy to establish a cooperation between the companies that are managing the travel and booking sites, so they can find the way to have a deal and give less advantages to customers.

The same problem happens with flights, when you search for a ticket you just compare thousands websites and meanwhile your reserch become part of the site data, so if you go back to the same page, you will see an higher price. This tricks are common and well known, but in last period Google started to offer a new service. You can directly directly on Google Flights about the connnection you need and the prices. I noticed in the past months that generally there are always the higher prices.

Today I red an article on The Scottish Sun that describes how the improved Google Flight app reveals to readers if the flight and hotel fares are a good deal or not. The journalist underline the opportunity that you have receiving the alerts from Google when the price decrease. With some graphics you can check how the rate goes and the app helps to recognize the best offers using the colours about “cold” and the “hot” fares.

The application works for flights and hotels and I have to say that the service provided is really better than the past, but I have still few doubts. For instance I saw that they also propose the best deals on business class, but of course the cheapest fares are referred to the connections with the stopover, so you need to stay around the world more time before to arrive at your destination.

Meanwhile I was reading the article and checking the new app it cames to my mind the Austrian Airlines promotion, started few years ago and not only one among the airline companies. With your economy ticket you can bid an upgrade to business class. You make an offer and if it will be accepted, according to the amount and the different bids received, they can decide if accept and let you travel in business class with a bit more than what you spent for the economy ticket.

We all know that to find the best deals we need to check the dates, try to change them, to try to change airport, to make the reservation in a specific day of the week and so on. I agree with all tricks, but since the algorithms are changing so fast, I generally keep always in mind these advices, but I always prefer compare the official websites of the hotels and of the airline companies, deleting the computer chronology step by step to non influence the sites and their results, with the different booking services.

How do you reserve your flights and hotel rooms?

Anasa

Hotel Istanbul: 1 soluzione ideale per i viaggiatori

Siete alla ricerca di una sistemazione strategica? Tav Hotel Istanbul Airport è la soluzione ideale. Si trova all’interno del terminal, ma è ben connesso alla città e soprattutto è disponibile anche per poco tempo, giusto per riposare e rinfrescarsi tra un volo e l’altro. Lo uso di tanto in tanto quando non mi fermo molto nella splendida città turca e vi racconto la mia esperienza. 

A volte mi è capitato di avere un volo la mattina presto e di arrivare da altre città turche. Quindi per non perdere tempo e riposare ho deciso di dormire all’interno dello scalo per ottimizzare i tempi in attesa di partire. Invece di alzarmi durante la notte e spostarmi all’aeroporto posso avere il mio hotel a Istanbul vicino al check-in. Comodo no?

Inoltre ho a dispositione tutti i ristoranti, i bar e i negozi che voglio, aperti 24 ore su 24. Questo significa avere tutte le occasioni per trascorrere il tempo piacevolmente o di riposare. Nel caso voglia raggiungere il centro cittadino posso utilizzare la metropolitana, veloce e diretta. Tav Hotel Istanbul è l’ideale per chi vuole dormire in aeroporto.

Sono questi i morivi per cui utilizzo Tav Airport Hotel Istanbul. Grazie alla mia TAV Passport Card posso approfittare di sconti con cui godermi la camera e altri servizi. Posso accedere alla sala Vip e passare i controlli di sicurezza (entrambi quelli presenti allo scalo turco) attraverso corsie preferenziali. Passare una notte all’hotel Istanbul e risparmiare tempo sulle procedure mi consente di dormire di più. Non male. Non condividete?

Hotel Istanbul: caratteristiche

Uno degli elementi che più mi piace dell’Hotel Istanbul all’aeroporto è la possibilità di scegliere quante ore restare nella stanza e pagare per il quel tempo.  Se volete rinfrescarvi con una doccia e dormire per un paio d’ore lo potete fare senza dover prenotare la camera per l’intera notte. Non ci sono ragioni per pagare più di ciò che vi serve.

Naturalmente potete anche pernottare per più giorni se vi serve. Conviene passare una notte all’Hotel Istanbul. Il check-in alla reception è molto veloce e la struttura è ben equipaggiata. Loro sanno come soddisfare le esigenze dei viaggiatori. Inoltre le stanze sono molto spaziose per muoversi facilmente. 

Il minibar è pieno di varie bevande di di stuzzichini di ogni genere. Ci sono prodotti da bagno, ciabatte e accappatoio.. Nonostante la posizione interna al terminal gli ospiti possono trovare silenzio assoluto per riposare con la massima tranquillità. Non c’è rumore proveniente dalle altre stanze e neppure dalle piste su cui rullano gli aerei 24 ore al giorno.

Se non vi volete muovere dall’Hotel Istanbul per non perdere tempo a cercare un posto per consumare un pasto, potete optare per lo Skyline Restaurant, dove vengono servizi colazione, pranzo e cena agli ospiti dell’albergo all’interno del terminal. Il menù si compone di una moltitudine di piatti turchi e di ricette internazionali per accontentare ogni palato.

Trascorrere una notte all’Hotel Istanbul dell’aeroporto è utile, così come fermarsi al ristorante per gustare qualcosa di buono. L’orario di apertura include l’intera giornata, infatti si può sempre ordinare qualcosa al bar, che serve bevande e snack a tutte le ore. Tav Airport Hotel Istanbul fornisce un grande servizio ai passeggeri che prenotano una camera. La struttura permette di avere lusso non solo nell’arredamento ma anche nelle dotazioni.

Sicuramente passare la notte all’aeroporto prima del volo oppure riposare qualche ora in attesa della coincidenza aerea è una buona scelta. In ogni modo se le ore non sono molte potete sempre fare un giro tra i negozi. Trovate di tutto e in qualsiasi momento del giorno e della notte. Troverete qualsiasi prodotto, dal lusso agli oggetti da pochi euro, mentre nei bar e ristoranti potrete assaggiare cibi e bevande tipiche della Turchia oppure di matrice internazionale, senza contare i locali con cibi provenienti da altri Paesi.

Prenotare l’albergo

Permettetemi di darvi qualche consiglio. L’Hotel Istanbul dell’aeroporto Ataturk vanta un elevato numero di stanze, tutte spaziose, ma è bene prenotare in anticipo, perché il passaggio di viaggiatori è alto e continuo quindi potreste rischiare di non trovare posto. I prezzi sono nella media e la posizione è perfetta se avete connessioni da prendere ma anche se volete visitare Istanbul senza pernottare in centro. 

Pronti a partire? Leggete i miei articoli sulla Turchia e le mie recensioni per trovare maggiori consigli per i vostri viaggi. Per prenotare i vostri voli seguite i miei passi per risparmiare tempo e denaro. Ci sono tre piattaforme che potete usare per trovare le migliori offerte per i biglietti aerei: InfobusKiwi e Skyscanner.

Per prenotare l’Hotel Istanbul oppure trovare un’alternativa per le vostre esigenze vi suggerisco di usare: Booking oppure HotelsCombined. Loro vi mettono a disposizione le migliori soluzioni presenti online.

Volete spendere poco e risparmiare i vostri soldi? Il modo migliore è quello si usare i segreti degli agenti di viaggio. Leggete qui quanto potete tagliare i costi o trovare le tariffe più convenienti e le connessioni più adatte a voi. 

Per essere sempre aggiornati, seguitemi e iscrivetevi alla mia newsletter. Potete scrivermi le vostre domande attraverso il formulario di contatto, sarò felice di rispondervi e di condividere maggiori dettagli sulle mie esperienze. Non solo sull’Hotel Istanbul ovviamente. 

A relaxing mountain

I love to have a break going to the mountains. It is great to have a walk-in nature. That’s why I visited a relaxing mountain. It helps to think and to search for some fresh air. Especially when in summer the temperature in the city is very high. I am not a lover of the hot climate. Well, I found a great place in Piedmont, my region, called Oasi Zegna. It is located in the northern part of the region. Nice mountains with a marvelous view and some trails to go around safe and totally in peace. These are the features of this area.

A relaxing mountain called Bielmonte

I needed to have a day off, from time to time. I can be in touch with nature and almost without connections with the rest of the world. The place is a natural park on the Alps, in Biella province. From Turin it is necessary to drive for an hour and a half, more or less, then you enter a paradise. The main mountain is called Bielmonte and it offers a lot of opportunities. Because there are pathways to walk, others where to have fun with the mountain bike or riding a horse. It a relaxing mountain.

There are restaurants, accommodations, spaces for workshops and sports activities. Are included the winter ones, starting from the ski. There are also some sanctuaries. You can enter to see art, pray or just take all the peaceful atmosphere that is always present around the churches over there. It is also possible to visit a few archeological sites. Of course, the park is very big and if you want to see all you need to stay a few days and move for many kilometers. It is a relaxing mountain full of things to do.

If you are going to visit Turin or Piedmont, you can put Bielmonte in your list for the tour. Do you like the mountains? This is the perfect place where to spend a few days. Thanks to the accommodations you can plan excursions and activities, staying a few days. The position is also good because it is closed to other interesting areas. More mountains, nature, and art to visit. 

Bielmonte is in Biella province, at the border with Alta Valsessera. In that area live free deers, roes and other beautiful mountain’s animals. Then you can see as well insects, as the rare protected beetle Carabus olympiae. Not always insects are ugly and annoying. The trails for trekking go to pastures where it is possible sometimes to taste local cheese. While you enjoy a relaxing mountain taste good food is a pleasure. Don’t you agree?

A lot of panoramic points are disseminated on the way. From Valsessera the road goes to Valsesia. It is famous because it is close to Monte Rosa and the Unesco sites. They are the Sacred Mountain of Varallo and the Supervolcano, one of the 12 in the world that had an eruption of magnitude 8. I had the trip alone, I planned everything by myself. But the Equipe Arc En Ciel, a local organization, generally helps visitors to go around. Geologists and naturalist guides accompany people to explore the area.

A relaxing mountain that allows you to be alone with nature or to have fun with other people. If you have a passion for nature and geology you will have many interesting aspects to discover and to learn.

Around Italy

The country is well known for art, but also nature is amazing. If you love it, Piedmont is sure the destination made for you. Do you want to know more? Explore the blog section dedicated to Italy. A lot of curiosities, fact, and all types of information. They will be useful to plan your travel. For any question, feel free to use comments space below or contact form. I will be happy to answer and to give you more ideas to explore Italy or other countries I visited. To be updated, subscribe to my newsletter. I will write to you weekly with news and extra contents.  

Start to search for the hotel. You will benefit from the special deals proposed by HotelsCombined. On the platform, there are always sales so you can find the best place for a cheap price.