Where do you go to get the best shots of landmarks in Europe, like this one of the breathtaking view of the city of Florence in Italy? Read on to find out.
Hear it from this travel insider
Nic Cladakis, 28, is a Contiki trip manager (’cos calling them tour guides is so un-millennial) for Europe. The London-based Australian travels 10 out of 12 months in the year and has globetrotted to 42 countries. Contiki runs trips for wanderlusting 18 to 35 year olds, so you know you won’t be stuck with the type of tour that you’d normally go with your folks. The hip tour operator’s jaunts around Europe — from Paris and Prague to Spain and Switzerland — can last for up to 46 days. “I usually [go back home to London and Melbourne] between trips when it’s not so busy, from October to December and January to February. Peak season is usually July to August,” explains Nic.
“Go up to Piazzale Michelangelo. Not many people mention this in travel guides — most will tell you to go to [The Duomo] and all that. But here, you get an amazing view of the whole Florence old town. We usually take our group photos up there,” Nic reveals.
“Obviously everyone wants to go up the Eiffel Tower, but the best place to go is the Arc de Triomphe. If you go up there, you can actually get the Eiffel Tower in your photo.”
“Go to Poble Espanyol, which is a [replica traditional] Spanish village. We go there to watch a traditional flamenco show, but when you go outside to the wall of the village, you get amazing views of the city as well.”
Prague, Czech Republic
“When you go up the grand Prague Castle, which is one of the oldest and biggest medieval castles in Europe, go outside the cathedral to get a different view of the whole of Prague. And when you’re in Prague, you have to try a local dessert called the trdelnik, which sounds like ‘turtleneck’. It’s pretty much a doughnut wrapped around a stick with fruit in it, and sometimes, they put soft serve on top. It’s amazing.”
More tips for travelling smart
#1: As a rule of thumb, you should… “Take half of what you think you need.," says Nic. "The mistake people make is that they pack too much. A lot of people come with hairdryers and straighteners and stuff like that. But you should pack small and you can always buy the things you need while you’re [travelling]. You can always buy basics anywhere and it’s not that expensive. You’ll always end up buying things and throwing things out. It happens to everyone. On holidays, I’d buy new shoes and throw out old ones, or bring old tees and buy new ones along the way.”
#2: If you really need to pack everything and the kitchen sink…“Allocate one person to bring one item each, if you’re travelling in a group. And hotels mostly have irons and hairdryers, so you don’t need to bring those. For myself, when I need to iron a button-down collared shirt, I’d hang it in the shower, have a hot shower, and after I’m done, I leave the water on really hot for a little bit. It steams the room and also steams the shirt and ‘irons’ it out for you.”
#3: The most underrated activity on a vacation is… “Drinking water. It’s probably the most important thing to do. But people often forget and just go for the soft drinks or lemonade or Red Bull. I always tell people to keep eating your salads and veggies and stay hydrated. It’s about knowing your limits and being healthy. A lot of people go on holiday and eat junk food. But eat healthy and don’t wear yourself out.”
#4: The most useful thing you could have in your suitcase is… “A Swiss army knife. It’s got everything — a nail clipper, screwdriver, scissors, magnifying glasses. And it can be used for everything — opening bottles, if something falls out I can screw it back, and even cutting fruit and food. It’s probably the handiest thing in my bag.”