Vibrant in art and culture, and showcasing a creative imagery into the past, Rome is an intriguing and breathtaking city to explore.
Rome is located in the central Italian peninsula on the Tiber river, 24km inland from the Tyrrhenian sea. Rome is the capital city of Italy, and also the capital of the Lazio region. Rome is also the most populated comune in Italy. With twenty eight centuries of history, and as one of the oldest continuously occupied sites in Europe, Rome showcases a rich history in amongst the now cosmopolitan and happening city. Rome is truly, a magnificent city to explore and to absorb the dreamy atmosphere.
The city of love
This was my second visit to this charming city, and I would come back again! As we were based in Dundee Scotland, we found cheap flights from Edinburgh (around $20 USD)! Only a three hour flight. So took the opportunity to travel to Italy and explore.
We found a cheap(ish) backpackers hostel to stay in, which was located in the city center. An ideal location so we could just walk around and explore. We were here for six days and five nights before flying to Venice.
The eternal city
Walking through Rome provides a glimpse into ancient times. I was truly in awe walking around and visiting the ancient ruins. Rome is a very special place where you can feel and view history. Here is a list of the best ancient landmarks to visit when in Rome!
- Pantheon: An ancient pagan temple, that has since been converted into a church. This is one of Rome’s best preserved monuments.
- Janiculum walk: A beautiful walk through the hills, and when you reach the top an impressive view overlooking the Roman skyline.
- Circus Maximus: An open field with ruins. This was once, one of the largest sporting arenas in the world!
- Roman forum: A true glimpse into ancient rome. With ancient ruins linked to the former emperors. These ruins illustrate 900 years of history!
- Piazza Navona: A breathtaking piazza containing three gorgeous fountains.
In addition to the ancient landmarks highlighted above, a trip to Rome would not be complete without a visit to the impressive Colosseum! A well preserved piece of history, and a major tourist attraction in Rome.
The Colosseum, also known as the Flavian amphitheater, is a huge stone amphitheater built between AD 70-72 by the Vespasian emperor. The Colosseum was used for four centuries! As the site of gladiator combats between men and other animals. The largest amphitheater in the Roman world, the colosseum could seat more than 50,000 spectators! The preservation of this ancient site began in the 19th century.
Highlights and must sees
In addition to the ancient sites must sees, here are recommendations of other points of interest that we enjoyed.
- Trevi fountain: A well know landmark. A gorgeous 18th century sculpted fountain.
- Spanish steps: 135 steps which are located between the Piazza di Spagna (at the bottom) and the Pizza Trinita dei Monti at the top.
- Capitoline museums: A complex of art and archeological museums.
- Pincian hill: Wander around the pretty gardens.
- Visit the Vatican city: The headquarters of the Holy Roman church and one of the world’s smallest sovereign states. The Vatican city became independent from Rome in 1929. Inside you can visit St.Peters Basilica, the Vatican Museums and the Sistine Chapel.
- Get lost. Just rome around Rome and explore your surroundings.
- Indulge in Italian food, coffee and wine!
Rome is a very special city. Rich in history and culture. A beautiful city to explore and a great highlight of a trip to Europe.
Charming waterfront, colorful buildings, stunning decor and a cosmopolitian atmosphere, Copenhagen (Kobenhavn in Danish) is a great introduction to Denmark and an insight into Scandinavia.
Copenhagen is located on the eastern coast of the island Zealand, and a smaller section of the city is located on Amager. Copenhagen is the capital city of Denmark, and also the cultural and geographic link between Scandinavia and mainland Europe. The city was founded in the 10th century and was once a small viking fishing village. Now the city represents a strong urban and cultural modern city. Copenhagen has the buzz of a city and is still small enough to give you an intimate atmosphere. You can easily explore the city by foot or bicycle.
A weekend in Denmark
As were based in the UK we were always on the lookout for cheap deals to travel more of Europe. We found a cheap flight (around $15 usd) to Copenhagen. So we jumped at the chance to visit the capital of Denmark.
The flight was only two hours from London. We arrived around 6pm and checked into our hostel. Generator hostel is located in the city center, just steps away from the Kongen’s Nytrov square. This hostel was so comfortable and the decor was gorgeous, the on site bar made is easier to meet other travelers. This was a standout backpackers hostel from all of my travels. We had two full days and a half day to explore this beautiful city.
Highlights and must sees
- Nyhavn: A beautiful neighborhood to walk around. Colorful buildings line the canal of this 17th century waterfront. A great place for a meal and drinks, with many options for bars, cafes and restaurants.
- Frederiksberg Palace: A pretty palace that is located on Frederiksberg hill and overlooks the stunning Frederiksberg garden.
- The Little Mermaid: A statue of the little mermaid is located on the Langelinje pier. The statue is over 100 years old!
- Kronborg castle: A beautiful 16th century castle.
- Amalienborg palace: The home of the Danish royal family.
- Stroget: One of Europes longest pedestrian streets and the largest shopping district in Copenhagen.
- The national museum: A look into Danish history, from the stone age, viking age, middle age to modern day Denmark.
- Glyptoteket: A beautiful art museum.
- Botanical garden: Walk around the gorgeous gardens located in the city center.
From seeing the major sights of the city, wandering the streets and experiencing the Danish nightlife, our time in Copenhagen was well spent and very enjoyable. I would love to visit Denmark again to explore more of the country.
Our next stop is Malmo, Sweden, only a 40 minute train ride away!
Kuala Lumpur, also referred to as KL by the locals is the capital and largest city of Malaysia. Located close to the center of peninsular Malaysia in the Selangor state. The name Kuala Lumpur translates to “muddy confluence” and the city is called this, as it is located at the confluence of the Klang and Gombak rivers!
Kuala Lumpur was once a small Chinese village, with the locals working within the tin mining industry. The city has come a long way from this once sleepy village. The city is described as being the cultural hub of Malaysia. Kuala Lumpur is a cultural melting point, the mix of Malay, Chinese and Indian communities brings this city to life. The city is vibrant and full of energy. From modern skyscrapers to ancient temples, the mix of old and new is impressive. From the sights in and around the city, the modern shopping options and dinning experiences. Kuala Lumper is a great city to explore for short stays or even for a stopover.
Five days in KL
We had just spent two and a half weeks exploring parts of Thailand; Phuket, Phi Phi Island and Bangkok and we had the chance to explore a new country before flying to London for the beginning of an eight month work and travel experience in Europe.
We stayed at a guest house in the Bukit Bintang district, the ‘trendy’ area of the city. The Bukit Bintang area is well known for its shopping and entertainment. From fancy shopping centers/malls to night markets. The nightlife is also happening here, with many cafes, restaurants and bar options. Popular among the local youth and tourists, this is probably the best area to stay in for a first time visit to Kuala Lumpur.
Five days was enough time to explore the city and see most of the sights, we were also able to enjoy two day trips from the city.
Highlights and must sees
The Petronas towers
The most famous landmark in Kuala Lumpur. These towers are very impressive, both from the ground and from the top! Standing at 451.9 meters tall and with 88 stories. These towers were once the tallest buildings in the world, from 1998 to 2004. They still remain the tallest twin towers in the world.
Kuala Lumpur bird park
A great way to escape the heat and humidity of the city is by exploring this eco tourism park! The worlds largest free flight walk in aviary, I was very impressed.
Perdana botanical garden
A nature sanctuary in the city, another option to try and escape the heat! This makes for the perfect early morning or late afternoon walk.
Kuala Lumpur butterfly garden
This park is so impressive, walking around lush gardens in amongst 6,000 butterflies! Show casing 120 species.
Sultan Abdul Samad Building
Impressive architecture and represents a historical landmark of the city.
Menara KL tower
Another well known landmark of the city. Sitting at 421 meters tall, this tower offers impressive views of the city.
Vibrant and filled with energy. The perfect place for bargain hunt shopping and to enjoy the nightlife.
A strip representing the city’s local cuisine. The perfect place to explore the various food options.
Day trips from Kuala Lumpur
A limestone hill over 400 millions year old, containing three caves and a series of cave temples. Batu caves is a place for hindu festivals and pilgrimages. This place is well worth a visit. We took a train from the Kuala Lumpur central station and travelled for approximately 17 km, north of the city to the Batu caves train terminal. A very easy and affordable (50 us cents) journey.
When you arrive, the first sight is the impressive statue of the Hindu God. After climbing the steep staircase you can enter the caves and explore. The limestone formations are impressive and I also enjoyed watching the cheeky monkeys.
Kanching rainforest waterfalls
A refreshing break from the heat of KL, we took a local bus from the Kuala Lumpur central market bus terminal to the Kanching rainforest waterfalls. The falls are located inside a forest reserve. It was nice to walk through this park, and a great hiking experience to see the waterfalls. A couple of the waterfalls had a pool large enough to swim in. Many monkeys occupy the area, I know that they are a nuisance for some people, they are not for me. I was disappointed to see the amount of rubbish people left in this beautiful place. Remember, if you’re traveling, don’t leave your mark and take only memories.
I enjoyed my time exploring the city of Kuala Lumpur and the nearby areas. Hopefully one day I can return and explore more of Malaysia!