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Holidays in Iceland have always had a reputation for being on the expensive side, but with Iceland Air’s great flight and accommodation deals and Iceland’s depreciating currency we thought it was a great opportunity to visit the land of waterfalls, fire and ice.
With so much natural beauty to see and do outside of Reykjavik we pondered whether to take the many guided coach tours or to self drive to see the natural beauties around the Golden Circle and the Icelandic Southern Shores.
Researching the Iceland activities and tours we wanted to do, we calculated that it would cost £554 for two people. Pretty expensive, especially when you consider that most of the tours require you to be stuck on a coach for half a day.
We looked into hiring a 4×4 to do our own self drive tour, which surprisingly came out much less than the combination of tours, totalling £311 for 4 days hire including petrol via Thifty. Not only was it cheaper, but we would have more flexibility and could drive off in any direction at a whim (we did get stuck up a mountain though), and we wouldn’t be stuck on a slow coach for most of our time.
Located in Barcelona pretty much on the coast, Primavera always has a great line up featuring established superstars such as Brian Wilson performing Pet Sounds, Air, Animal Collective, Dinosaur Jr, Mudhoney, Radiohead, Sigur Ros, plus many up and coming artists.
This smaller US festival is so cool, it might be too cool for school, but another great line up this year including The Strokes, The Killers, Beck, Haim, De La Soul, Jamie XX, Eagles of Death Metal and more gets all the hip kids to Randall’s Island, NYC.
Being a digital nomad, working where ever you want and not being tied down to the same desk in the same office from 9-5 is the dream. Cost of living is a heavy consideration for digital nomads as well as other factors such as connectivity, lifestyle, and safety of a country.
We’ve put together a chart showing cost of living by country to show you where the cheap countries are to be a digital nomad.
Cost of Living by Country for Digital Nomads: Consumer Price Index Plus Rent Index
Click for full size
What does the consumer price plus rent index mean?
Unlike many other cost of living indexes, this data collected by Numbeo includes rent as a factor, a major cost for digital nomads.
The last stop on our whirlwind tour of the Baltics was Krakow, Poland. We caught the smallest plane ever from Lithuania (it even had propellers) and landed in Krakow via Warsaw. We were only in the country for a couple of nights so really had to condense the major things we wanted to see and do in this historical city.
Our main reason for visiting Poland was to see Auschwitz. We whole-heartedly recommend that everyone should go there, but we’re glad we went at the end of our two week trip through the Baltics.
We got to Krakow mid afternoon and the weather was hot, for some reason I never expected Poland to be a warm country so I was pleasantly surprised. We struck gold with our accommodation.
London is a great city to explore whether you’re a traveller, a tourist, or a local. However there is a lot of shit that people still continue to do or see in my lovely home city. If you’re coming to London I implore you to avoid the following, they are some of the worst things to do in London.
The Shit Guide to London
A busy street full of high street shops is one of the most visited “tourist attractions” in London. Why??? If you really want to shop for major brands that can be found pretty much anywhere in the world go to a more spacious and clean place i.e. Westfield. They have one in west London and east London, so there’s no excuse. Plus you won’t be tempted by the hundreds of tacky souvenir shops selling all sorts of crap with the Union Jack or Wills and Kate plastered all over it.
It’s just a bunch of advertising signage that lights up. That is all.
After a 4 hour coach ride from Riga we ended up in Vilnius the capital city of Lithuania and the 4th country on our Baltic Trip. Like Riga, Vilnius has also been voted as a European City of Culture, and it’s Old Town is also a World Heritage Site. So yes we were excited to explore Riga, stretch our legs and find things to see and do.
We’ve recently discovered an up and coming travel and photography app called Fripito. The concept is a great one. Not only does the app contain travel guides with beautiful photography and GPS information but travelling photographers can also contribute their own photo guides and receive proceeds of the sales. The app is available to download for free on the AppStore or Google Play and guides cost between US$3.99 and US$8.99.
Readers of What Way Today can get a premium subscription to all of Fripito’s guides absolutely free, so read on.
Iceland Guide Preview
We all love a bit of socialising and community action, and Fripito does this well. Fripito works with professional photographers all over the world to create amazing guides to provide travel and photography inspiration. Also anyone with the app can comment and share photography and travel tips too.
The next stop on our Baltic trip was Riga. We arrived in the capital of Latvia suitably relaxed and refreshed and got off at the main coach station to start our Latvian travel adventure. We had to walk through the Central Market to reach our accommodation and it was bustling!
Riga is the largest city by population in the Baltics and the Riga Central Market is not only the biggest market in Europe but also listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The raw hustle and bustle of daily life at the market was a marked difference in atmosphere to the picturesque Tallinn. The energy that hit us immediately after stepping off the coach widened our eyes and only increased our excitement for things to do in Riga during our 3 day stay in the characterful city.
Riga has a beautiful Old Town filled with Art Nouveau buildings, but unlike Tallinn it feels as though the Riga Old Town is for locals as much as tourists. It is abound with fashionable boutiques, galleries, hip restaurants and bars. After a relaxed day of discovering the Riga’s old town, we hit a few of these bars.
We began the second part of our Baltic trip by entering Estonia and the World Heritage site of Tallinn via the Gulf of Finland by a high-speed hydrofoil which covered the 85 km in less than 2 hours at a cost of 20€ each. Tallinn is one of the best preserved medieval cities in Europe and this was apparent with the cobble-stoned alleyways and picturesque buildings we saw as we entered Tallinn Old Town.
The old town is no doubt touristy with its pristine streets and many “traditional” restaurants, but it is beautiful nonetheless. There are sprinklings of the new and hip with modern culture graffiti and retro cool Soviet style cafes such as Kohvik Must Prudel facing ornate orthodox churches and historic residential buildings.
We flew into Helsinki airport as the starting point for our 2 week Baltic trip taking us through the Baltic states and ending up in Poland. Here’s our list of the top things to do in the modern capital of Finland.
Meeting Moomin in Helsinki
Ateneum is a great art museum in central Helsinki. If you are interested in art it is always worth checking out what current exhibitions they have on offer. On our visit the Ateneum held an exhibition to celebrate the 100 year anniversary of the birth of Finnish author/ artist, Tove Jansson. Tove Jansson is probably best known for her series of Moomin books. The exhibition was well presented with rooms and rooms of both collected and borrowed work, and plenty of information offered in both English and Finnish. Admission is 13€ pp.