Where Past Meets Present, Where Shopping Meets Food – Bikini Berlin

Berlin is my ultimate favorite city. Having lived there for over two years, I used to live in different neighborhoods but I finally settled in Wilmersdorf – in a charming side street off Kurfürstendamm. I used to catch an S-Bahn at Zoologischer Garten or U-Bahn at Kurfürstendamm, and in front of my eyes I saw how the nearby area got slowly revamped.  I moved away for work, but I tend to return to Berlin whenever I can; during my recent visit I stayed near Breitscheidplatz where I once lived – it was nice to witness how the area slowly revived.

Complex the Zentrum am Zoo (Centre at the Zoo) at Breitscheidplatz – once a symbol of Berlin’s City West – built in 1957 by architects Paul Schwebes and Hans Schoszberger, is one of the few still preserved contemporary reminders of the eventful history of post-war Berlin. The centerpiece of the complex was the legendary fully glazed Bikinihaus – the name affectionately given by the locals in the 1950s. Abandoned during the Cold War, Zentrum am Zoo transformed into Bikini Berlin in 2014.

Bikini Berlin became a concept shopping mall with carefully curated selection of unique boutiques and a rich gastronomical offer. It offers relaxed and warm ambiance where one feels warm and welcome.

An additional highlight of the Bikini Berlin is its freely accessible rooftop terrace – resembling New York’s Highline Park and Paris’ Coulée verte René-Dumont. It also offers spectacular views onto the neighboring Zoo.

I applaud this transformation of the Zentrum am Zoo, and I can only hope that other European cities will follow this example.

Magical Mediterranean Apartment

Unforgettable vacation in the former house of one of the oldest Yugoslav actresses of the 20th century – Ita Rina

No matter how many times you visit the Balkan side of the Adriatic coast, you will never get enough of it. It is magnificent with its world-class beaches, multi-faceted architecture, and delicious food.

Budva in Montenegro is the perfect place for anyone wishing to explore Montenegro, Southern Croatian coastline, Herzegovina or Albania. Mountains, lakes and other natural beauties are just within hours of reach. Budva itself, a small resort town on the Adriatic coast, has beautiful sandy beaches and a splendid nightlife. It is one of few places that we always return to.

For all of the above reasons, Budva gets crowded in Summer. But we have our perfect getaway – magical Mediterranean apartment, Villa Janina. The apartment is located on a slope just above the city center. Thus, even if you don’t like spending your days on nearby beaches, don’t fear. Villa Janina has a tranquil garden and a relaxing terrace. The apartment is ideal for someone who wants to be in a city center and yet likes to seek refuge on hot Mediterranean days in a private oasis

The apartment has two double rooms, bathroom and a kitchenette. It is surrounded by a large terrace that has a beautiful mountain view and a pleasing side sea-view. Steps lead down to a typical Mediterranean garden with old olive trees, palms and other local flora.

Having two  rooms, Villa Janina accommodates up to four persons. It provides a much needed rest, relaxation and comfort that will fully soak visitors in during their stay. Each room has a unique design.

Practical Information

When is the best time to go there? The season lasts 4 months, from early May to late September.

If you are there in late August or in September, you will have a chance to observe how delicious organic grapes ripen slowly above a terrace – you can pick them by hand and enjoy their fresh taste.

How to get there? The quickest way to get to Budva is to fly to one of the nearby airports: Tivat, Montenegro (20km away), Podgorica, Montenegro (65km away), or Dubrovnik, Croatia (71km away). Then you can take a taxi – recommended if you are coming in July or August, as you will not stress in holiday traffic – or rent a car – recommended for anyone arriving in May or September.

How to book? The advised method of booking is through VRBO or AirBnb. Contact information via Facebook Page.

The Most Beautiful Tiles of Lisbon

Whether you look up or down, left or right, you will see the tiles. Colorful azulejos -traditional ceramic tiles – decorate walls of Lisbon. Sometimes they depict insightful scenes from daily life. Original azulejos introduced by the Moors in the 8th century were cut into simple geometric shapes and predominantly blue and white. With time colorful azulejos became fashionable.

Below are some of the most beautiful azulejos that we stumbled upon in Lisbon.

Europe’s Most Sociable City

Have you hared of the Social Cities Index? It measures the world’s most sociable cities. The Social Cities Index is a study on global sociability created by Hostelworld and Foresight Factory.

They researched ‘sociability’ based on ten distinct categories such as the frequency with
which people socialize, openness and the ‘propensity to party.’ The study analyzed the social behaviour and attitudes of more than 12,000 residents from 39 major cities in 28 countries.

European and North American cities topped the list. Below is the selection of the most sociable European cities.

19. Berlin (Germany)

Residents of Berlin have a lot of trust in one another. Berlin ranked second in ‘the trust in friends’ category.

18. Milan (Italy)

Milan ranked first in the ‘openness to others’ category. It means that people from Milan are open-minded. A large number of residents surveyed feel that engaging in the authentic culture, along with partying, are the most important things to do while traveling.

16. Helsinki (Finland)

Helsinki ranked the second in terms of the value they ‘place on socializing.’ Face-to-face interactions with friends preferred activities.

15. Warsaw (Poland)

Warsaw ranked third in terms of how much they enjoy entertaining at home.

13. Paris (France)

Parisians also enjoy in-person interactions. Paris ranked third for the value its residents ‘place on socializing.’

10. Dublin (Ireland)

Social and friendly vibe of the city, places Dublin on the top 10 list of Most Sociable Cities Overall.

Source: Pixabay

9. Hamburg (Germany)

Hamburg took third place in the ‘openness to others’ category. Its residents are fun, open, tolerant, and trusting.

8. Rome (Italy)

Rome also ranked high in the ‘openness to others’ category.

Source: Pixabay

7. Madrid (Spain)

Madrid residents like to party; the city ranked first in the “propensity to party” category, which means that residents are prone to finding any excuse to celebrate life.

Source: Pixabay

6. Copenhagen (Denmark)

Copenhageners also value socializing; they like to entertain friends at home. Copenhagen also scored high in the ‘tolerance’ category.

2. Stockholm (Sweden)

Stockholm scored second. It has the most liberal residents in the world. Locals are the second most frequent users of social media, and are very community-minded.

Source: Pixabay

1. Gothenburg (Sweden)

Gothenburg is the most sociable city in Europe and in the world. Thus, I am putting it on Europolitans bucket-list for 2018.


Photo Diary: Wintertime in Cracow

Kraków (Cracow) is the second largest cities in Poland. It is also one of the oldest ones. This city, situated on the Wisła (Vistula) river, has been one of the leading centers of academic, cultural, and artistic life in Poland for centuries. As such, it is a must see for urban travelers, architecture lovers, or history buffs.

  • Throughout the history, Kraków was the capital of numerous Polish states, entities and regions. Today it is the capital of the Małopolska (Lesser Poland) region.
  • Before the World War II Kraków had a large Jewish population. During the war its Jewish population was forced into a walled zone, known as Kraków Ghetto.
  • Jagiellonian University, one of the oldest surviving universities in the world, was founded in Kraków in 1364.
  • Karol Wojtyła, Pope John Paul II, was born in the nearby town of Wadowice. He moved to Kraków for his studies where he lived and worked until he was elected the Pope in 1978.
  • In 2000, Kraków was the European Capital of Culture.
  • Entire Old Town of Kraków is on the UNESCO World Heritage List.

We recommend going to Kraków during summer months; however, if you are prone to cold, Kraków is magical during winter months too. All you have to do is to bring your warm clothes and to sip a hot glass of mulled wine every now and then. For now, enjoy the photo diary below.

Kraków’s Rynek (Main Square) is one of the largest medieval town squares in Europe. Sukiennice (Cloth Hall) and Kościół Mariacki (Saint Mary’s Church) are the focal points of the square.  On every hour, a trumpet signal – Hejnał mariacki – is being played from one of the Saint Mary’s towers;  the tune abruptly stops to commemorate the famous trumpeter, who was shot in the throat while alerting the city about the imminent attack. The town hall has not survived to the present day.

Mały Rynek (Little Main Square) is another jewel of the city. It is located right behind Saint Mary’s Church.

Wawel is a fortified complex erected atop a rock on the left bank of the Vistula river. It consists of many buildings and fortifications – the best known are the Royal Castle and the Wawel Cathedral.

At the foothill by the river there is Smok Wawelski (Wawel dragon), a mythical beast who ate virgins…

Have you ever been to Kraków, let us know what you liked the most. If not, have we sparked your curiosity?

Photo Diary: 24 Hours in Belgrade

At the beginning of October I visited Belgrade. It was a quick work-related trip; I did not have a lot of time for roaming around the city except on my free and very chilly Saturday. Thus, 24 Hours in Belgrade.

As a kid I frequented the capital of Serbia. At first I loved it, but as the times changed on the Balkans, Belgrade became heavy, gray and depressing. This time around, I fell in love with Belgrade again – the city is still grey, but with many hip and colorful developments. Some of which are highly controversial e.g. Belgrade Waterfront. Belgrade is a modern European capital, which will not disappoint you.

All the snapshots below have been taken with my then IPhone 6.

Belgrade streets on Saturday morning and always elegant Hotel Moskva.

Even on early morning, Kalemegdan was buzzing with life.

It was a freezing day; thankfully, Belgrade has many cool cafes and restaurants, where one can seek refuge from the cold, enjoy a good cup of coffee, or indulge in a tasty meal. All of the places that I have visited offered a good service, quality coffee and tasty food. But my favorite was Kafeterija – I visited their 2 locations and I loved both – for their hip interior.

Belgrade is a city of contrasts and many call it Europe’s “new Berlin”.

Let us know how you liked it or if the above photos inspired you to visit Belgrade one day.

Photo Diary: Canal Saint Martin

Some time ago we shared with you our impressions of Canal Saint Martin, a gentrifying, 19th century waterway in Paris. Canal Saint Martin is known as a great summer hangout located in picturesque 10th and 19 arrondissements.

Below we share our moments from our last visit in Paris during a hot October day. As you can see, Canal Saint Martin looked totally different but equally charming when we visited the second time.

Europe’s most visited cities

From the ranking on quality of life in Europe, ranking of European cities that provide most opportunities, or ranking of most hashtagged cities, we now focus on European most visited cities.

Mastercard recently released its 2017 Global Destination Cities Index, which provides a ranking of the 132 top destination cities around the world in order for cities to understand what drives and unlocks the value of tourism. Measured by the number of international overnight visitors, the study predicts which cities will be the most visited in 2017.

This year 13 European cities made it to the list of the most 30 visited cities. London is predicted to be the most visited in Europe and the second visited in the world, just after Bangkok, Thailand. The list on European cities is below.

  1. London, UK — 20 million international visitors.

  2. Paris, France — 16.1 million international visitors. Check our recent articles about Paris: Canal Saint MartinCoulée verte René-Dumont, and discover 3 Reasons Why Parisian Patios are Unique.

  1. Istanbul, Turkey — 9.24 million international visitors.

  2. Barcelona, Spain — 8.9 million international visitors.

  3. Amsterdam, Netherlands — 8.7 million international visitors. Check here about Amsterdam’s Creative Solutions.

  1. Milan, Italy — 8.4 million international visitors.

  1. Rome, Italy — 7.3 million international visitors.

  2. Vienna, Austria — 6.63 million international visitors.

  3. Prague, Czech Republic — 6.4 million international visitors.

  4. Dublin, Ireland — 5.59 million international visitors.

  5. Madrid, Spain — 5.5 million international visitors.

  1. Munich, Germany — 5.4 million international visitors.

  2. Berlin, Germany — 5.1 million international visitors

To read more visit Mastercard Global Destination Cities Index 2017.