Zadar

‘Zadar has the most beautiful sunset in the world, more beautiful than the one in Key West, in Florida, applauded at every evening.’ /Alfred Hitchcock in 1964/

Zadar, the capital of Dalmatia lies on the coast of the Adriatic Sea in the middle of Croatia. Throughout history it has been occupied by the Romans, the Greeks and has been a part of the Republic of Venice and the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy. The town’s income comes mainly from fishing and tourism. What if I told you you can study archaeology, Francophone Studies or Psychology at the seaside, you can do it at the University of Zadar. Isn’t that cool?

What are the sights you definitely have to check out in Zadar?

Church of St. Donat
Trg. Sv. Stoshije 4
Opening hours: Open every day! Monday-Sunday 9:00-17:00
Tickets: 12-20 kn
Click here for more information!

The symbol of the town definitely has to be the Church of St. Donat, it’s even embossed in tickets for local transportation. The church was built in the 9th century and was named after Zadar’s bishop who lived in the 4th century. As we were inside people were charmed by the four little kittens who seem to have found shelter in the church. Outside on the square you can find ancient Roman ruins.

Sea Organ
Obala kralja Petra Krešimira IV

It’s a musical instrument that was first established in the world in Zadar and is played on by the waves of the sea.  Next to it you can find the Greeting to the Sun that you have to see at night.

Andy Warhol exhibition
Rector’ Palace –  Poljana Šime Budinića 3
Opening hours: Open every day! Monday-Sunday 9:00-23:30
Tickets: 200 kn
Click here for more information!

There is a current exhibition dedicated to the American pop-art artist, but be prepared because it is only open until September!

The beach
No words needed, just enjoy the rocky beach of Zadar!

Besides from these Zadar offers several kind of boat trips. The organized ones go the Kornati Island and Krka National Park, but you can plan one for yourself. The prices of these are pretty high, a 3 hours trip to a neighbour island costs 1000 kunas.

I advice you to go to the local market that to see the fish and beautiful and fresh vegetables of the local people. Also make sure to take a walk at night.

Bon voyage!

 

Budapest sights I.

The Hungarian capital, Budapest has one fifth of the population. It was used to be occupied be the Celtic people and then by the Romans. Hungarians only came in the 9th century. It hasn’t always been the capital, because kings spent most of their time in Visegrád and they transferred to Budapest only in the 15th century. After that it became a Renaissance town. River Danube divided the two parts, Buda and Pest and they were united in 1873. Although Budapest has been through a lot (it was first destroyed by the Turks and the Tartars, then the world wars came), it always managed to renew itself and become the marvelous metropolis it is today.

Budapest is the ultimate tourist city with endless options to visit. Here are the ones I recommend of them:

St. Stephen’s Basilica
1. Szent István Square
Opening hours: Open every day! Monday-Saturday 9:00-19:00, Sunday 7:45-19:00
Tickets: 1200-1600 HUF
Click here for more information!

Budapest Eye
Erzsébet Square
Opening hours: Monday-Tuesday 10:00-23:00, Wednesday-Thursday 10:00-24:00, Friday-Saturday 10:00-01:00, Sunday 10:00-24:00
Tickets: 1500-2700 HUF
Click here for more information!

More posts about the sights I will visit are coming soon!

Debrecen

I went to see Hungary’s second largest town last weekend because one of my Polish friends came here with Erasmus for a semester. It was a lovely trip for us and now I’m here to give you some tips of what to visit. 

Debrecen, or as it was used to be called, the ‘calvinist Rome’ lies in the northeastern part of the country. It became the capital for a while in 1849 during the Hungarian Revolution and War of Independence of 1848-1849. The dethronement of the Habsburg dynasty was declared by Lajos Kossuth on the steps of the Great Church that is now the main attraction of Debrecen. Although the town suffered a lot during the world wars and in 1956, there is no sign of it these days. Annually the famous flower carnival takes place on the streets.

The Great Church
1. Kossuth Square
Opening hours: Monday-Friday 9:00-16:00, Saturday: 9:00-13:00, Sunday: 12:00-16:00
Tickets: 400-7000HUF
Click here for more information!
Built in Gothic style already in the 12th century the church has a long and interesting history. It used to be a Catholic church and has burned down in 1564. After the reformation it became Prostestant. The upper circle can be visited that gives a nice view of the city.

 

Déri Museum
1. Déri Square
Opening hours: Closed on Mondays! Tuesday-Sunday: 10:00-18:00
Tickets: 900-1800 HUF
Click here for more information!
The founder of the museum, Frigyes Déri was a very successful textile merchant who collected art pieces. It has a Japanese, an Egyptian, a weapon, an archeological collection and an art gallery with the Munkácsy trilogy as well. For me this was the best attraction, because it is a very demanding and neat collection.

 

Statue of Lajos Kossuth
Kossuth Square
The statue is situated next to the Great Church and it commemorates the dethronement of the Habsburg dynasty. Simply beautiful.

 

Statue of Lőrinc Szabó
Kossuth Square
It is next to the Great Church as well and immortalizes the Hungarian poet.
Statue of Lőrinc Szabó

1956 memorial statue
10. Kossuth Street
The statue commemorates the Hungarian Revolution of 1956 that Debrecen has been a part of. 
Debrecen

Debrecen mosaic crest
Kossuth Square
The legs of the lamb has been placed on the Old and the New Testament and on the top of it, the phoenix represents the rejuvenation of the town after everything that affected it throughout history.

Debrecen

And here are the other places I couldn’t visit because of lacking time, but wish to see someday:
University building with Great Forest Park
Zoo
Botanical Garden
Aquaticum
Museum of the Reformed College
St. Anna Cathedral
Debrecen

 

Siófok on a cold weekend

Travelling in autumn has many advantages. First, you can avoid huge crowds even in popular tourist places. Then, different festivals/programs in general. And of course, how would you see all those beautiful colours nature puts on autumn leaves?

Though Hungary doesn’t have a sea, it has Lake Balaton instead. It’s a freshwater lake that has many resort towns. The most famous of them are Balatonfüred, Tihany and Siófok. Siófok lies in the southern part of the lake and it becomes a party town every summer. If you are up to that, you should take your trip between May and September. Because all its facilities close in the end of September. But there are still some things to do even after that. You can take a walk along Lake Balaton. During our journey it was pretty foggy and kind of mysterious.  The wind was so strong, seagulls decided not to fight it and landed on the see among the rabble of ducks. Swans and ducks didn’t really bother about the weather, all they were interested in was food. Most of the hotels are always open and they have spa areas, which is a great form of recreation. Or take a boat trip! They offer Pirates of the Caribbean trips for example. Well, originally for children, but even adults have to admit, it looks kind of cool.
What I like about Siófok is that it feels like you are in a harbor town and makes you feel like a sailor. My favourite place is where the Angel of peace statue is. It is painted gold and stands on a tall pole next to the dock. Fishermen are always surrounding her. The statue was made by a Russian artist and was settled to her final place in 2012. It symbolizes peace, friendship and unity.
And that is what Siófok represents as well.

 

Horn

Although Horn may not be a flourishing metropolis, it still owns a special place in my heart. Before I got an internship for a surgery practice, I have never even heard of it. Since 2015, I spent 10 weeks in this town. What I learned about it the most is how to find beauty in small details and how great it is to know every corner of a place.

But let’s see the numbers first! Horn lies only 80 kms from Vienna, and it the capital of the Waldviertel region (it can be translated as ‘forest region’). It has 6.6 thousand inhabitants and because of the local hospital, some of these people are from the Czech Republic, Romania, Bulgaria, Hungary or Italy.

You may think there is nothing to see here, but you couldn’t be more wrong! There are two churches in the city center. The Roman Catholic and the Piarist Church invite all the believers for a mass on Sundays. Next to them is the Sgraffito House, a painted masterpiece. By walking toward a small hill, you will point the cemetery with its own church and a small river crossing a playground. Horn Museum has a mineral, a dinosaur and a town history exhibition. One of its properties include a nail from Jesus’s cross (neat, huh?).

And if you run out if things, you can go to Krems, Rosenburg, Sankt Pölten, Vienna, or even to the Czech Republic.

The take home message from this is that we should cherish all the gifts we get from life. Even the smaller ones can become wonderful memories in the end.

Vienna

My favourite European capital, the ‘City of Music’ was founded by the Romans in 15 BC and they referred to it as Vindobona. In the 15th century, it became the residency of the Habsburg family and the center of Austria and later of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Today it has almost 1.8 million inhabitants and attracts 7 million tourist every year. I’ve been to Vienna (or as the Austrian people say it, Wien) many times.

Here are all the places I visited and recommend for you to see as well:

Stephansdom
3 Stephansplatz
Opening hours: Open every day! Monday-Saturday 6:00-22:00, Sunday 7:00-22:00
Tickets: 15 EUR
Click here for more information!

Augustinian Church
3 Augustinerstraße
Opening hours: Open every day! Monday 7:30-17:30, Tuesday and Thursday 7:30-19:00, Wednesday and Friday 7:30-18:00, Saturday and Sunday 8:30-19:30
Tickets: unknown
Click here for more information!

Schönbrunn (with the Zoo, the Butterfly House and Gloriette)
47 Schönbrunner Schloßstraße
Opening hours: Open every day! From 1st April to 30th June Monday-Sunday 8:00-17:30, from 1st July to 31st August Monday-Sunday 8:00-18:30, from 1st September to 4th November Monday-Sunday 8:00-17:30, 5th November to 31st March Monday-Sunday 8:00-17:00
Tickets: 14.20-17.50 EUR
Click here for more information!

Hofburg (with Sisi Museum)
Michaelerkuppel
Opening hours: Open every day! From September to June Monday-Sunday 9:00-17:30, from July to August 9:00-18:00
Tickets: 8.20-29.90 EUR
Click here for more informaiton!

Belvedere Castle (with Gustav Klimt’s Kiss)
27 Prinz Eugen-Straße
Opening hours: Open every day! Saturday-Thursday 9:00-18:00, Friday 9:00-21:00
Tickets: 12.50-20.00 EUR
Click here for more information!

Albertina
1 Albertinaplatz
Opening hours: Open every day!  Wednesday and Friday 10:00-21:00; Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday 10:00-18:00
Tickets:
Click here for more information!

Museum of Natural History (with the Venus of Willendorf)
7 Burgring
Opening hours: Closed on Tuesdays! Thursday-Monday 9:00-18:30, Wednesday 9:00-21:00
Tickets: 5-10EUR
Click here for more information!

Art History Museum
Maria Theresien Platz
Opening hours: From June to August Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday 10:00-18:00, Thursday 10:–21:00; from September to May closed on Mondays! Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday 10:00-18:00, Thursday 10:00-21:00
Thu, 10 a.m. – 9 p.m.

Tickets: 15-20 EUR
Click here for more information!

Maria Theresia Square (between the two museum mentioned above; the main Christmas fair is held here)

Capuchin Church (with all the graves of the Habsburg family members)
2 Tegetthoffstraße
Opening hours: Open every day!  1st and 2nd November 10:00-14:00, 24th and 31st December 10:00-16:00, Monday-Sunday 10:00-18:00, Thursday 9:00-18:00
Tickets: 3-4 EUR

Imperial Furniture Collection
7 Andreasgasse
Opening hours: Closed on Mondays! Tuesday-Sunday 10:00-18:00
Tickets: 6-11.50 EUR
Click here for more informaiton!

Prater (Madame Tussauds Wax Museum is here as well)
Opening hours: Open every day! Monday-Sunday 10:00-1:00
Tickets: The entrance is free, the individual attractions cost 1.50-5 EUR
Click here for more information!

Austrian Parliament
3 Dr.-Karl-Renner-Ring
Opening hours: Closed on Sundays! Monday-Friday 8:30-18:30, Saturday 9:00-17:00
Tickets: 5 EUR
Click here for more information!

City Hall
 Friedrich-Schmidt-Platz
Opening hours: Closed on Saturdays and Sundays! Monday-Friday 8:00-18:00
Tickets: unknown
Click here for more information!

Opera House
2 Opernring
Tickets: 14-206 EUR
Click here for more information!

Hundertwasser House
36-38 Kegelgasse
Opening hours: Open every day! Monday-Sunday 10:00-18:00
Tickets: 9-12 EUR
Click here for more information!

Stadt Park
1 Parkring
Opening hours: Open all the time!
Tickets: The park is free to enter.

Sigmund Freud Park
6 Universitätsstraße
Opening hours: Open all the time!
Tickets: The park is free to enter.

Bon voyage! 🙂

Austrian dream destinations

Tomorrow I’m leaving for a long weekend in Siófok, but someone pressed expressed his displeasure about me leaving my readers with no content /yep, you know exactly who you are!/. So here I’m is a list of my Austrian towns.

All the places I’ve already been to:
Vienna: my favourite European capital deserves its own blog post with pictures of course!
Horn: this is the small town 80 kms from Vienna where I spent 10 weeks. It also deserves its own post!
Rosenburg: its castle is worthy of its fame and they entertain people with falcon shows every afternoon.
Linz: the Cathedral, the Castle and the zoo are all worth a visit.
Wels: not far from Linz is an other large town. It also has its own castle (how unusual in Austria, isn’t it?).
Pichl: it’s a small town with only 2800 people where I spent 3 weeks when I was 12 years old. Although there is not much to see, it still holds a special place in my heart.
Bad Ischl: the Kaiser-Villa is a must see attraction for every Sissi fan! It served as a small hunter castle for Franz Joseph.
Salzburg: is where you can find Mozart’s birthplace that was turned into a museum. In memory of the composer there is a music festival every year that is very popular among people from all over the world. In addition, the Mirabell Castle and Garden are magnificent!
Hallstadt: here you can find one of the Gosau lakes (kind of like the Plitvice Lakes in Croatia), they are beautiful natural sights. Then the Salt Chamber is great fun or you can visit the Ossuary, a chapel made of human bones.
Mariazell: it’s basilica is a very popular shrine destination amongst Catholics. Approximately 1 million people visit this place every year. It is also famous for its ginger bread.
Eisenstadt: here is a castle of the Hungarian noble family, the Eszterházys.
Forchtenstein: also an Eszterházy castle with full of their art heritage.

And all the places I still want to visit:
Innsbruck
Graz
Klagenfurt
Baden
Krems
Bregenz
Salzkammergut