Although we started the third day of our Roman holiday early in the morning, it was in no way as intense as our second day. However, it was every bit as wonderful. After all, we were about to explore some more of Rome’s historic centre!
The plan was to start with the Pantheon. But, surprise-surprise, we arrived before it opened. So we had some time to slowly wake up and truly become all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed.
If you thought we covered a lot on the first day, think again! The second day of our Roman Holiday was the probably the toughest, but also the most amazing. We walked from Vatican City to Trastevere, starting early in the morning, and finishing after nightfall. We had plenty of breaks, though, to enjoy the beautiful views over Rome, to grab a bite or to have a drink.
Vatican City (Citta del Vaticano)
We left the place we were staying at early in the morning and bought some tasty pastry products on the way. Then, we got on the subway to Ottaviano, then walked a bit, passing by Piazza del Risorgimento, and ending in Piazza San Pietro.
Vatican City: St. Peter’s Square early in the morning
Though it was before 8 in the morning, there was already a line to pass the security check for Basilica San Pietro and its Dome. However, it was short and it was in the shadow. While we were waiting for our turn and enjoying our breakfast in line, the queue got larger and larger, all the way to the entrance in the Piazza San Pietro, if you’re coming from Via Della Conciliazione.
All in all, I don’t think we spent more than 20 minutes waiting. Then, we went through the security check and decided to start with St. Peter’s Dome.
So remember kids: the early bird catches the worm! It’s worth making an exception and getting there early, even if you’re not a morning person. 🙂
This year both Mathieu and I turn 30. For his birthday, in April, I wanted to do something special and go travel somewhere together. He had never been to Italy, which I love, so, in the end, I decided on a Roman holiday. This involved a lot of planning: there’s so much to see in Rome and there were so many places I wanted to show him! However, I allowed plenty of time to just enjoy the moment, stop for a drink or whatever else we felt like doing.
A lucky start to our Roman Holiday
In the first day of the Roman holiday, we got very lucky. We landed on time, managed to catch a bus that was leaving earlier than planned, and dropped us off at Mercato Centrale, right by the entrance. Of course, we went in and faced some difficulties in what to choose to try from the multitude of options. We settled on some salty pastry rolls, a piece of salty pie and pizza.
Planning to travel through the Balkans someday? Do you have any idea of how much there is to see in Southeastern Europe?! Luckily, I’ve prepared this ultimate Balkans travel bucket list with must-see places, awesome events, and wonderful experiences you simply have to try if you’re coming over.
For keeping it handy, I also made a Balkan infographic at the end. You can save it, pin it, print it, whichever works best for you and your travel style.
If you’re taking a plane to southeastern Europe, odds are pretty high to have a layover in Belgrade, Serbia. When I flew from Dubrovnik to Bucharest, I had a few hours to spare in this wonderful city. Based on my own experience, here’s some advice on what to do in Belgrade in one afternoon.
Try the Couchsurfing app
When you’re short on time and by yourself, Couchsurfing‘s App (on Android or iOS) is the best option to find some locals to go exploring or to grab a drink. There are also lots of tourists like yourself who are looking for good company. On the bus back, for example, a girl started chatting to me and it turned up that earlier she had been with another Couchsurfing group, drinking a beer at a place just next to the bus stop!
Of course, setting up on your own and wandering around is perfectly acceptable, too. Maybe even preferable if you wish to have some quiet, before returning to the crowded airport. 🙂
In this article, I will speak about the pros and cons of travelling to Dubrovnik, Croatia, as discovered during our short stay.
Dubrovnik was the place where I would part ways with Ana and Tim. I planned a two-night stay before taking the plane to Bucharest, with a short stop in Belgrade (Serbia). They, however, planned to drop me in Dubrovnik and skip it altogether, because it hadn’t sparked up their interest enough to add it to their list.
Pro: Hostel Dubrovnik, in Komolac
My third hostel experience on this road trip. I found it while browsing Hostel World, trying to find accommodation with good reviews, not too far, but not central, and at a good price. It was actually a difficult task to find it, because, unlike other places in the Balkans, Dubrovnik is more expensive, with a bed in a shared hostel room reaching a price higher than some bed and breakfast rooms from other countries (e.g. Bulgaria).
After visiting Budva, one of Montenegro’s most popular cities, we continued to travel to Kotor Bay. We made our way to Lovcen National Park, to Njegos Mausoleum, where, besides an amazing construction, we found some amazing views over Kotor Bay.
Travel to Kotor bay and stop in LovCen National Park
The National Park is located on the rocky side of the Dinara Alps and it takes its name from Mount Lovcen. The mountain rises quite steeply from the edge of the Adriatic Basin, closing the bays of Boka Kotorska.
Mount Lovcen is a symbol of Montenegro, and it’s considered sacred ground. The anthem of Montenegro says Lovcen is our Holy Altar.
As you cross the Lovcen National Park, you will discover stunning sights over the surrounding mountains, but also over Kotor Bay:
We arrived near the seaside in the afternoon on a really hot day. Ana and I were sitting on the grass, in the shade, while Tim was looking for a place to stay. But everything was booked, so we had to search in several towns until we found something.
We ended up staying in Buljarica Beach, one of the few places still not yet suffocated by tourists.
After you have seen all there is to see in Shkoder, my advice is that you book a Komani Lake ferry ride. Bookings can be arranged via your host (at least that’s how it was at the Wanderers Hostel). You will actually pay for a trip in a small bus to the lake plus the boat ride itself. You can book one-way or return tickets.