Practical Tips for Visiting Petra (aka “The Important Sh*t You Need to Know”)

Practical Tips for Visiting Petra (aka “The Important Sh*t You Need to Know”)

So you finally decided to take the leap and venture over to The Lost City of Petra, Jordan. Yay! It’s pretty safe to say you will not be disappointed. I recently visited Petra and it was one of my favorite places I have seen on my travels. Ever. Blown away is an understatement.

Practical Tips for Visiting Petra

There are a few things I wish I knew before visiting Petra and which I think may be helpful in planning your trip. So I have put together this wee little blogpost with some practical tips for visiting Petra.


Practical Tips for Visiting Petra


The Visa Situation

First things first: to get into Jordan as a US citizen, you must purchase a visa on arrival. The cost is 40 JD ($56). You can purchase the visa right at the passport check counter. They do accept credit card or Jordanian dinars (JD).

1JD = ~1.41 $USD (ouch).

How to Get to Petra

Take the JETT bus from Amman to Petra for 10 JD one-way. The journey takes about 3 hours and 30 minutes including a 20 minute rest stop. The bus is clean and comfortable. 

There is no online purchase system as of yet so you either need to call them within a week of your journey or show up early and try to get a ticket the day of. During peak season, it’s likely to sell out. There is only one bus a day

The bus from Amman to Petra is at 6:30am and the bus from Petra to Amman is at 5pm. The bus leaves from Abdali Bus Station in Amman. The JETT office opens at 6am so make sure you are first in line if you are buying the morning of. (I would recommend buying a day or 2 before if you happen to be in Amman already). 

Note: the online “booking system” does not reserve you a seat. They sent me an email saying I needed to call them within a week of the journey to confirm. I was traveling and couldn’t call so my seat was not reserved. I had to show up at 5:50am before they opened and hoped they weren’t sold out. It wasn’t peak season so I got lucky and got a seat.

Buying Tickets to Petra

Ticket Prices to Petra:

  • 1 day non-accommodated visitor: 90 JD (i.e. if you come as a day trip without accommodations in Petra)
  • 1-day ticket: 50 JD (with proof of overnight stay)
  • 2-day ticket: 55 JD
  • 3-day ticket: 60 JD

I have a feeling they are discouraging day trips and want you to stay longer based on those prices. What do you think?

Practical Tips for Visiting Petra

The Royal Tombs of Petra

You will need to bring your passport with you to purchase tickets at the visitors center. However, they did not ask for my passport for Petra by Night. They do accept credit cards, but not so much for Petra by Night. They sell the tickets right at the entrance, so you need to bring cash. (I’m honestly not sure if the visitor’s center is open at this time of night. So ya, cash is king). 

How Long Do You Need in Petra?

I recommend at LEAST 2 days in Petra. At least! I was there 2 days (+Petra by Night) and it wasn’t enough. There is a lot of walking and hiking up hills so you gotta break it up and pace yourself.

Rome wasn’t conquered in a day. Don’t try to conquer Petra in a day. The main trail alone from the entrance to the Monastery is 8km! That’s 5 freaking miles. 

Take a look at this map below. You will see the entry on the bottom right and the Monastery on the top left. Do you see how far away they are? Freakin far!

It takes about 1.5-2 hours to reach the Monastery from the entrance. That’s 3-4 hours just to do the main trail so keep that in mind. That doesn’t even account for all the millions of photos you are going to stop for. 

Get there bright and early when it opens at 6am. You will have the Treasury to yourself for the first 10-15 minutes.

I recommend breaking up the main trail into 2 days. The first day explore the Treasury, Royal Tombs, Great Temple, and at least one of the 2 hikes to the top of the Treasury or the High Sacrifice. Then on day 2 take the long route to the Monastery, and all the other sites you missed on the main trail on the first day, plus the other hike.

For the most EPIC viewpoints in Petra, check out my article The Most Epic View in Petra (+ How to Reach Them).

Practical Tips for Visiting Petra

Petra by Night 

I’m sure you’ve seen the many awesome photos of Petra by Night. Some say it’s overrated, but I disagree. It was incredible and the highlight of my trip! There is something special about being there at night with just the lanterns lighting your path. It was magical, that’s the best way to explain it.

 

Petra by Night is only 3 days a week (Monday, Wednesday, & Thursday) and I made sure I planned my trip around that because I did not want to miss it. It starts at 8:30pm but keep in mind it takes about 30 minutes to walk to the Treasury from the entrance! The cost is 12 JD ($17).

Safety in Petra

The world isn’t a safe place these days, but we shouldn’t stay at home because of it. Unfortunately, there is a negative stigma tide to Middle Eastern countries, one very hard to shake.Yes, it borders Syria and Saudi Arabia. But Jordan is generally a safe place, minus a few areas here and there.

I was in Amman at night, rode the bus to Petra myself, and walked around the streets by myself. I went to Petra alone as a female and I felt completely 100% safe.

I never once felt uncomfortable, like I was in dangerous, or harassed by men. In fact, it is one of the few countries in the world where I never got catcalled. Not once! The Jordanian people were some of the kindest, most hospital people I have ever met and I felt super welcome and safe in their country.

Riding Horses/Donkeys/Mules in Petra

You may get exhausted from all the hiking and walking you will be doing in Petra and need a little lift. In fact, you will get hassled 20+ times a day for a “taxi” ride on a donkey/mule. They can be persistent so learn to politely, but firmly decline if you’re not interested.

If you do decide to take a ride, make sure to negotiate the price beforehand or they will for sure overcharge you. A horse ride from the entrance to the Siq is included in the ticket price. However, they do indeed expect a tip.

How to Dress in Petra

Make sure to dress like you’re going hiking all day, because well, whether you like it or not, you will be doing a LOT of hiking. Especially if you want the best views. Absolutely no flip-flops.

If you must get that shot in a cute dress, bring a change of clothes or wear them underneath. There are 3 bathrooms throughout where you can change. Or if you hike first thing in the morning, you can change on the mountaintop because no one is there!

Practical Tips for Visiting Petra: How to Dress in Petra

I would recommend dressing in layers as it’s freezing in the mornings and evenings and scorching hot in the day. You are in the desert after all.

I would avoid wearing black as it picks up ALL the dust. I learned the hard way. 

Note: while it is a super touristy area of Jordan and the dress code is not as strict, you still want to respect the Jordanian culture. (I.e. don’t dress like  hoochie).

What to Bring With You to Petra

Bring small bills to buy water, coffee, snacks. I brought a 50 JD bill and not one person had change so I had to buy an expensive necklace to break change. The necklace sure is pretty though.

Bring sunscreen and lots of water. Also, bring some snacks as you’re going to be there all day and food is not cheap inside. There is also limited options. 

Bring hand sanitizer as your hands will get super dusty throughout the day. You’re gonna be hiking in sand, dirt so if you’re a clean freak like me, don’t forget it!

Where to Eat/Drink/Snack inside Petra

There are 2 restaurants inside Petra. One is a fancier buffet that charges 17 JD (~$24) and another right across from it that looks like a rundown shack. This “shack” also serve a buffet which was actually pretty good for only 10 JD ($14). I ate at the shack and I was satisfied. 

Practical Tips for Visiting Petra: Where to Eat in Petra

There are also many little cafes with coffee/tea and packaged snacks along the way. I stopped at so many because they had a nice views and I needed a break from walking in the heat. My favorite was the one right smack in front of the Monastery. They even accepted credit cards! (with a minimum 5JD purchase). Tip: order the coffee with cardamon, so yum!

Where to Stay in Petra 

Technically there are no hotels in Petra. The town called Wadi Musa is where you will be staying, located right next to Petra.

For a budget hotel under $30, stay at Rocky Mountain Hotel. The hotel is located on top of a hill in Wadi Musa, a 5 minute taxi ride from the Petra entrance or a 30 minute walk down a very steep hill. The view at the top of the restaurant is worth it alone. The sunsets there are epic and the buffet food was actually very good. To check out current prices and pictures, check here.

Where to stay in Petra: Rocky Mountain Hotel Petra

View from the cafe at the top of the Rocky Mountain Hotel

The Sun will Make the Sites Look Different at Different times of Day

Wait, what? Depending on where the sun is in the sky, the red rock will appear a different color. When the sun is shining directly onto the rock, it turns a deep red color. In the shade it’s noticeably lighter so it’s a good idea to come back to certain sites and photograph them at different times of the day.

As you will see in the photo below, this is the difference of the colors of the Treasury at 6am (left) and 4pm (right). A HUGE difference, right? 

Practical Tips for Visiting Petra

I was told the sunlight at the Monastery is best around 1pm.

A Word on Travel Insurance 

Make sure to get travel insurance in case something happens. You’re pretty much out in nowhere so getting to the hospital may cost you a fortune if you are uninsured. Most US plans will not cover you overseas so make sure to check in advance.

My go to travel insurance that I have been using for the past 4 years is World Nomads. I have made 3 claims and have been reimbursed without any hassle. I highly recommend them. This is an affiliate link, btw :). 


♥For more inspiring travel photos, make sure to find me on Instagram @CrazyTravelista.


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The Most Epic Views in Petra (+ how to reach them)

The Most Epic Views in Petra (+ how to reach them)

The rose-red city half as old as time’, the words used to describe the ancient city of Petra by poet John William Burgon.

Petra comes from the Greek word for rock. Quite fitting for an entire city carved into the red sandstone cliffs. Petra has a fascinating and mysterious history and is on many bucketlists rightfully so.

Petra is also known as the “Lost City” as it was abandoned for centuries after a devastating earthquake. It was rediscovered by a Swiss explorer named Johann Ludwig Burckhardt in 1812.

Petra was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1985 and is known as one of the 7 New Wonders of the World.

Today, it is estimated that less than 2% of the sites are excavated in Petra, yet you could spend several days discovering all the remains and hiking trails of the monumental city. 

I recently spent a few days in Jordan and was determined to find the most epic views in Petra, and I think I found most of them! I honestly wish I had one more day as I just scratched the surface of this amazing place.

Below I have highlighted the most epic views in Petra, as well as how to find them (some are kinda hidden so hopefully this guide will help you find them easily).


The Most Epic Views in Petra


Beyond the High Sacrifice 

The high sacrifice is a holy place that was used for animal sacrifices and is located on the summit of the Attuf Ridge high above the Royal Tombs and main trail. The peak rests at around 550+ feet. From here, you can see most of Petra, excluding the Monastery and Treasury.

most epic views in Petra

You will look right down to the royal tombs across from you. There is a little shack with coffee/tea and trinkets at the top and it’s hard to resist sitting at the very edge of the cliff sipping coffee with the epic view. 

most epic views of Petra

How long it takes to reach the top:

About 40-ish minutes, depending on your fitness level. I have read articles that says 1 hour but only if you go at a snail’s pace.

How to Get There:

Look for the sign that says: High Sacrifice (Jabal Almadbah)

About 5 minutes after the Treasury, it will be on the left side. When you see the shop called “Why Not Shop” , look for the steps on the left. You’ll see a brown sign. If you see the amphitheater, you’ve gone too far.

most epic views in Petra

Looking down onto the Treasury 

This might be the most epic view you can get in Petra and takes a steep hike to get to with many stairs. The walk takes about 45+ minutes to get to the top. I would definitely go first thing in the morning to beat the heat and the crowds. I went around 6:45am, at the top around 7:30am and absolutely no one was there. It was awesome to have the place to myself. 

Trail Name: Al-Khubtha Trail

How to Get There:

About 5-7 minutes past the Treasury, you will pass the Street of Facades and public bathrooms on the right. Right after the bathrooms, you should see some little steps and a brown sign saying Al-Khubtha Trail. Take the steps up and you should pass the Royal Tombs on the right side.

most epic views of Petra

You will then reach the bigger/steeper steps. Follow that up and you will see a few more signs saying saying “Come and Sit and Enjoy The Spectacular View of the Treasury From Above”.

Most epic views in Petra

View from the Bedouin tent thingy

There is a sign at the top pointing with an arrow to the rocks saying “Best View”  where you will get a side view of the Treasury. But in my opinion, the best view is actually from the Bedouin type tent thingy about 2 minutes past this. You can see the Treasury straight down from there!

The Monastery and Petra Mountains in the Distance 

The Monastery is arguably the most epic site in all of Petra, bigger and more badass than the Treasury. It takes a strenuous 45 minute hike to the top. But the best views aren’t from there. The best views are from above. 

most epic views in Petra

How to Get There:

most epic views in Petra

Walk past the Monastery and cafe and you’ll see a hill. Climb up the hill and on the left you’ll see a sign that says Do “Not Miss This Spectacular View”, another one that says “View Wadi Araba Water Spring”, and “Grand Canyon View, Best in Jordan”.

most epic views in Petra

Climb to the first platform and that’s where you will get the best view. You can go higher to a little cafe, but the views aren’t as good as from here in my opinion. You get the Monastery from the distance as well as the vast Petra landscape framing it. 

Cafe with the “Best View in Jordan”

One of the best views over Petra where you can relax and sip on some very yummy tea is at a cafe located 10 minutes past the Monastery.The cafe is decorated Bedouin style with the colorful floor pillows and tables. Have a mint tea and enjoy the views. There is a cute and super friendly kitty that lives there too! A bonus if you ask me. 

most epic views in Petra

How to get there:  

If you come down from the Monastery view and keep waking up the hill, you will see signs that says “Grand Canyon View, Best in Jordan”(btw, if you haven’t yet noticed from this article, there are tons of signs in Petra that will claim the “best view”, that’s for you to decide!). Walk to the top to the cafe for a panoramic view of the mountains.

most epic views in Petra

Petra By Night

This is a definite a MUST if you’re visiting Petra. It only occurs 3 nights a week (Monday, Wednesday, & Thursday) so make sure to plan accordingly. This was the highlight of my Petra trip and the only way I can describe it is MAGICAL.

The Siq opens right up to the Treasury at the end and that first sneak peak through the narrow gorge is EPIC. It brought me to tears seeing the Treasury and all the candlelights surrounding it. What a great introduction to Pera!

How to Get There:

You really can’t miss it as it’s on the main trail. After you get your tickets at the visitor’s center, proceed to the walk through the Siq. It takes about 30 minutes from the entrance to get the the Treasury, but half the excitement is walking through the narrow path illuminated by candlelights.

Inside the Caves of Petra

I must admit I have never seen photos of the caves of Petra, as they are overshadowed by the Treasury and Monastery. The caves are made of swirly marble patterns and were so beautiful. They also provided a cool escape from the heat!

How to Get There:

Walk past the Street of Facades and they will be on your right before the Royal Tombs (if you see the Amphitheatre, you went too far). You can climb up into them and it gives you a nice alternate view of Petra that’s pretty damn impressive.

Walking through the Siq

The Siq is the gateway to the city of Petra and is a long narrow gorge with twists and turns that ends with a dramatic opening right smack in front of The Treasury.

most epic views in Petra

 

The Siq is around 1.2km long and is anywhere between 3 and 12 meters wide. The cliffs are as high as almost 600 feet in some parts and the walk alone through the Siq is filled with many photo ops.

most epic views in Petra

How to Get There:

You have to go through the Siq to enter Petra so you literally can’t miss it!

Have you Been to Petra? Do You Have Any Other EPIC Viewpoints you Would Recommend? Please Share Below!

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If you haven’t already, find me on Instagram @crazytravelista for lots more beautiful travel photos. ♥

 

Personalized Traveller Collective Keychain: The Souvenir You’ll Take Everywhere!

Personalized Traveller Collective Keychain: The Souvenir You’ll Take Everywhere!

So What is this Traveller Collective Keychain?

It’s not just any keychain. The Traveller Collective keychain is composed of a clip with “spacers” that represent each individual country you’ve ever travelled to. Each county has its initials engraved onto each little spacer. Cool, huh? It’s a pretty unique way to track all the different places and adventures you’ve had while travelling! Mine has 55 currently and hoping to add more soon!

Traveller's Collective Keychain Giveaway

Forget the debate about the number of countries you’ve been to and how you shouldn’t “count countries”, it’s not about that. It’s more of a symbol that each spacer on your keychain represents an amazing place you’ve been, a constant reminder of your footprint left on the world. 

I sometimes find myself flipping through the spacers while on a long train ride or a flight. First, I try to guess which country it is based on the initials. Then it triggers memories from that particular place:

The time we had our own private little island to ourselves in Belize.

The time I went on a safari in South Africa.

The time I went on a one week sail trip in Croatia that changed my life.

That time I got left behind from our cruise ship on the shores of Barcelona, got heat stroke, and spent the day in the hospital (hey, I never said all memories were good ones haha!). 

That time I scuba dived for the first time in the Red Sea.

That little reminder sparks a whole lot of emotion and takes me right back to the moment. 

How Will You Leave Your Mark on the World?

Although the keychain is super unique, I  like to focus on the concept behind the actual material product. The idea of a close community of travellers, leaving our marks on the world (represented as the spacers), as well as what should be most important to us…giving back to those less fortunate.

We are lucky enough to have a platform to reach many people, and we need to take advantage of that and use that to promote a positive message.

Travelling has taught me so much, and we often forget what a PRIVILEGE it is. So it’s really important to take some time to give back to the world we are constantly taking from. 

Traveller's Collective Keychain Giveaway

Being creepy in Italy with my Traveller Collective Keychain

Making a Difference

What’s really special about this souvenir is that the Traveller Collective company cares about making a difference (and you can too!). So much so that 20% of the profits goes to helping underprivileged communities.

Traveller Collective has partnered up with Imagine1Day on some really great community projects in Ethiopia.

They have previously raised $10,000 to build a sustainable, clean and safe drinking water source in Northern Ethiopia.

Currently, Traveller Collective is aiming to raise $10,000 to help build a school along with providing educational materials for the children of Dum, Ethiopia.

So when you buy a keychain, you’re directly helping make a difference for these less fortunate communities. It’s a win-win if you ask me! ♥

Traveller's Collective Keychain Giveaway

Disclaimer: this post was written in collaboration with Traveller Collective. However, I have my own keychain and I LOVE it! Not only the look, but the important message behind it. It’s something I wholeheartedly support! I would never recommend something I truly didn’t love!♥

Click photo to PIN for later 🙂

Traveller Collective Keychain

Top 5 Things I Loved about Clarion Collection Hotel Oleana Bergen

Top 5 Things I Loved about Clarion Collection Hotel Oleana Bergen

I had avoided Norway for so long because it is the most expensive country in Europe. Understandable. As you can imagine, I was thrilled to finally be going to Bergen after dreaming about it for what seemed like forever. I was almost equally excited about staying at Clarion Collection Hotel Oleana Bergen after obsessing over this beautiful hotel online for weeks beforehand.

I won’t bore you by describing every little thing inside the hotel room. “The room had a desk, a chair, a bed, a window…”. How boring does that sounds? If you want the little details you can check on the hotel’s website.  What I am going to tell you are the top 5 things I loved about Clarion Collection Hotel Oleana Bergen!

1. Amazing Ambiance/Decore

Hotel Clarion Collection Lobby

Spent way more time than one should in a hotel lobby sitting on that comfy couch

The first thing I noticed when I opened the door and stepped into the hotel was the incredible ambiance. Dim lighting, colourful and funky furniture, and an elegant and romantic atmosphere. I definitely felt underdressed arriving in my typical flight outfit of gym attire. Clarion Collection Hotel Oleana has a sophisticated flare about it, one that would normally make me feel uncomfortable. You know that super ritzy house of your rich friend that is so impeccably fancy that you feel like you don’t even want to sit down or touch anything because you might break it? This was the complete opposite. The seating area of the lobby was very warm and inviting with a big comfy couch centered right in front of the big screen TV. Throughout my stay, I spent way more time than anyone should spend in a hotel lobby because of that darn turquoise couch!

2. Ideal Location

Clarion Collection Hotel Oleana Location

Clarion Collection Hotel Oleana is only 3-4 minutes from the bus station!

The hotel could not have been in a better location! Right smack in the center of town situated along a cute cobblestone street. I took the Flybussen bus from the airport to the first stop after the central station called Festplassen. The journey took about 22 minutes and a roundtrip ticket cost 185 NOK (approximately $22). Clarion Collection Hotel Oleana was about a 3-4 minute walk from the bus stop. It was also about a 6-7 minute walk from the famous UNESCO Bryggen area, and a 7-8 minute walk from the I h, 2 of the city’s top attractions. 

When I arrived, I was a little worried that it might be a little loud at night (as most city center hotels are). But that was not the case at all. The only cars on the cobblestone street were taxis to pick up guests in the nearby hotels. There was absolutely no street noise or commotion outside of the hotel. I’m a super light sleeper, so this was a definite plus for me!

3. Complimentary Food

food at Clarion Collection Hotel Oleana

This might be the absolute best part about Hotel Oleana. Why? Because in the few days that I was in Bergen, I DID NOT SPEND ONE CENT ON FOOD! Norway is the most expensive country in Europe, and I didn’t have to buy food once. Score! Clarion Collection Hotel Oleana provides 3 meals a day on the house. Breakfast consisted of eggs, bacon, roasted potatoes, cereal, a variety of meat and cheeses, fruit, juices, and coffee. I was happy that I got way more than the typical European breakfast tends to offer. The mid-day snack consisted of waffles, various fruits, and coffee. Dinner was different every night and usually consisted of pasta, chicken, potatoes, meats and cheeses, and bread.

What I particularly liked about the food choice is that all the food allergens were listed next to the items. This was particularly helpful for me due to my dreadful gluten allergy. I was very pleased with the food choices and quality overall.

4. Extremely Accommodating Staff

Entrance to Hotel Oleana in Bergen

The beautiful and inviting entrance to the hotel. Can I stay forever?

People can really make or break your experience in a new place. But let me tell you from the very beginning that the staff went above and beyond what I expected. They were extremely friendly and responded quickly to any of my needs. What particularly surprised me is that one night they didn’t have any gluten-free options available for dinner except for salad. For those of you that know me, Im not a salad girl. I need my meat! As I was chomping away like a rabbit on my lettuce, the chef who had remembered my allergy came to the table and asked if I would like for her to make something special for me. About 10 minutes later, she came out with a lovely gluten-free pasta dish made just for me! I thought that was very thoughtful and I was basking in the wonderful hospitality.

They also printed out the bus schedule and helped me get to the bus station at 4am! All with a smile on their faces. 

5. That Shower Though!

Hotel Oleana sexy shower

The sexiest shower I ever did see. Right inside the room!

Ok I lied, this was my favorite thing about the hotel! I might have gotten the room with the world’s coolest shower ever! That was the first thing I noticed when walking into the room. The shower was inside the room, literally! What an extremely cool design concept. The mix of the purple velvet room decor, the abstract wall paintings in the bathroom, the dimly lit bedroom, and the sexy semi-private (but not really private) shower, was a recipe for romance if I ever did see one! I was traveling alone, but it would have been very nice to share with my other half!

Other things I really enjoyed about the hotel?

~the lovely view overlooking the colourful rooftops

~the large flatscreen TV with English channels

~the blackout drapes

~the queen chair in my room

~the most powerful hotel hairdryer I ever experienced

~extremely comfortable mattress and down comforter

~6 outlets in the room (most European hotels have only one or two)

~ incredible rain shower head

What I didn’t like about the hotel?

~small sink area for toiletry items (not a huge deal)

~not enough bright lights in the room (payoff for the sensual atmosphere)

Price

Ok, this is the part you I know really want to know about. How much would a hotel like this cost in the centre of town in the most expensive country in Europe with all meals included? Around $150 USD! Eating out in Bergen 3 meal a day alone would easily set you back $75+ a day. Keep in mind that I traveled in January (complete off-season) so prices were on the low end during this time. Expect to pay more in the peak summer months.

Final Verdict of Clarion Collection Hotel Oleana: A+

I had a wonderful time at Clarion Collection Hotel Oleana and I was pleasantly surprised at the highly quality of accommodation for the price. If you’re looking for a cute hotel with a great location, quiet, modern and romantic atmosphere, with a friendly staff, as well as 3 daily meals included, this is the hotel for you! I would definitely recommend this hotel to my closest family and friends. I cannot say enough good things about it. I will be back, Bergen. I will be back!

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Hotel Oleana Pin it

Note: a special thanks to Clarion Collection Hotel Oleana for hosting me. My opinions, however, are entirely my own. If I don’t like something, I will definitely speak my mind! 

Have you had a superb hotel experience that really left an impression on you? Conversely, have you had a nightmare experience? I want to hear from you!

Cruising Along the Vltava River: Prague Dinner Cruise Review

Cruising Along the Vltava River: Prague Dinner Cruise Review

Prague, the City of a Hundred Spires, home to the infamous Charles Bridge, endless beer gardens, colourful buildings, and the UNESCO historical old town center. It’s a fairytale destination that will surely leave you planning your next return if you ever get the pleasure to visit. Prague feels a little like a different world, somewhere where gothic and medieval structures are the norm and serve as a staple to the city’s impressive architecture. I like to call Prague the Gotham City of Europe, and quite frankly, I think it’s one of the most beautiful capital cities in all of Europe.

I had always wanted to do a dinner cruise on the river, ever since the first time I stepped foot in Prague and noticed how the city is perfectly positioned along the Vltava river. I soon realized that it’s a very popular tourist attraction, as the river is virtually filled with these small cruise ships on any given night. The thought of a dinner cruise was very inviting. To stuff my face, sip on wine, and take in all the marvelous sites in Prague. That sounded like a fabulous evening in my book.

I gave in and bit the bullet. Sure, it might be a little touristy, but I really wanted to do it. I invited my friend Carey as my hot date for the evening. As we picked up our tickets at the box office before boarding, we realized the return time, 3 hours later! Wow, that’s kind of a long time to be on a boat, but it should be fun.

View of Prague from the Vltava River

View of Prague from the Vltava River-Notice the infamous Dancing House on the left

Onboard the Cruise

~The food~

A small buffet was offered onboard, offering an assortment of grilled chicken, pork, rice, pasta, vegetables, fruit, salad, cured meats, traditional Czech dumplings, and a few desserts. As someone who suffers from a Gluten allergy, my options were limited and could only try the grilled chicken, vegetables, and salad. The staff were great in letting me know the ingredients of each dish to make sure it was safe for me to eat. The food was flavorful and was good for buffet food, but not great. To this day, I have yet to experience excellent buffet food.

~The atmosphere~

There were about 25-28 passengers onboard the 2 story small cruise ship, mostly age 30 and up, and consisting of mainly couples. Also onboard was an instrument player, who would entertain us throughout the evening with soothing melodies. There is something about live music that is just so calming and stress relieving.

Prague Dinner Cruise, Top Deck

Prague Dinner Cruise, Top Deck

~The Top deck~

After dinner, we quickly darted to the top deck where we could admire the sites and take a few photos. This was the place you wanted to be with drink in hand. The top deck offered the best unobstructed view of all the sites, and was the perfect spot to catch the sunset with the medieval architecture beautifully framed in the backdrop. After dark, it was also great to view the spectacularly lit-up Charles bridge in all its glory as the cruise slides right underneath of it, giving you an in-your-face view. It really is a breathtaking structure, and a key architectural symbol of this unique city.

Vltava River at night, photo courtesy of Tinggly

Spectacular Prague by night, photo courtesy of Tinggly

Good to know before you board

  • Drinks, including water, are NOT included in the cruise ticket.
  • They only accept cash onboard the cruise so that caused a little problem because, ironically, neither me nor Carey had any cash on us at the time. During dinner we were parched and just wanted some water. When we were told they didn’t accept cards we were slightly panicked. After we expressed our concerns to the waitress, she appeared empathetic and went to ask what could be done. Upon returning, she informed us that when we finally dock, they could borrow a credit card machine from another boat and we could pay with our cards. Now that is some good customer service, something that is extremely rare in the Czech Republic.
Views of Prague from the Top Deck

Views of Vyšehrad from the Top Deck

Pros

  • Very friendly and accommodating staff
  • Relaxing atmosphere with live music
  • Top deck with excellent views of the sites, especially the Charles Bridge at night
  • Romantical (I know that’s technically not a word, but it should be in my opinion)

Cons

  • Way too long. Could have been perfect at 1.5-2 hours max
  • Drinks not included and slightly pricy
  • Older crowd

Would I recommend this dinner cruise?

For someone who does not have a long attention span, 3 hours was extremely long to be stuck on a boat with no escape. Honestly, the last hour I was just itching to get off. Otherwise, I would say yes. But in this case, I would recommend one of the shorter cruises they offer.

Go on this dinner cruise if you:

  • Have patience and don’t mind being stuck on a boat for long periods of time
  • Are very hungry, as 2nd (or 3rds) are not frowned upon
  • Want to see the sites from a different perspective
  • Want a romantic evening with the Mr. or Mrs.
  • Are traveling with your parents and want to show them the city in a relaxing environment

Final Thoughts

As a guest on this dinner cruise, It’s tempting (as you might feel obligated) to want to report that it was the most amazing experience ever. But, I also need to be real and give my honest opinion. That being said, I have been on a few dinner cruises before, some in the USA and one in Egypt. They were all pretty much the same, one not better than the other. The purpose of a dinner cruise is to have a nice dinner, relax, and take in the surrounding sites in a calming atmosphere, and it accomplished just that. And for that, I am grateful I was able to experience it.

Note: A special thanks to Tinggly for hosting my experience. My opinions, however, are completely my own.

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4 Must Visit Fairytale Cities

4 Must Visit Fairytale Cities

Throughout all of my travels, smaller towns have really seemed to capture my heart. That is not to say that Rome, Paris, and Istanbul are not amazing cities. There is just something so special about these tiny, quaint little cities that are so charming and unique that they really leave an everlasting impact on you.

Fun fact: the one thing all 4 of these towns have in common? They are all car-less!

1. Cesky Krumlov, Czech Republic

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Cesky Krumlov is a car-free town located in the South Bohemian Region. The Old Town, surrounded by the Vltava River, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The architecture is what makes this tiny city so unique, and can be described as a blend of Renaissance, Baroque, Medieval, and Gothic. You will instantly feel as if you’re stepping back in time.

Must-See: Cesky Krumlov Castle will give you an amazing view of the town and the surrounding land. Not to mention, it’s one of the well-preserved castles I’ve ever been to.

How to Get There: A 3-hour bus ride from Prague and costs about $18 roundtrip on Student Agency Bus. Busses run every 2 hours.

Time Needed for Visit: You can do the trip in one day. It’s a small city so a day trip from Prague is all you need.

Bonus: In the summer, you can raft/tube down the river running through the city  🙂

2. Hallstatt, Austria

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Hallstatt is the quintessential fairytale town. Nestled between the salt-topped mountains and a beautiful lake, it is so unbelievable picture-perfect that it looks like it’s photoshopped. Unsurprisingly, there has even been a real-life replica of the town built in Luoyang, China. Fairly unknown to most, this makes this town refreshingly untouched by mass tourism (at least in the winter).

Must-See: Everything!!! Just walk around the village for numerous photo-ops, you really can’t go wrong.

How to Get There: A little tricky to get to, but it’s well-worth it. It takes about 3 hours total by bus from Salzburg, and you must switch busses twice. The total cost is about $18 each way. (Bus 150 from Salsburg Hbf, then switch to Bus 542, then 543). It’s a lot smoother than it sounds. Don’t let it overwhelm you! Another option is to take a ferry across the lake.

Time Needed for Visit: The village is extremely small so a day trip is all you need.

3. Positano, Italy

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Probably the most well-known on this list, but it doesn’t take away from the beauty and magic of this place. The colourful houses nudged into the mountainside, the breeze from the ocean, and the heir of romance make this place so magical and unforgettable. Positano is far from cheap, but it’s one of those places you must visit once in your lifetime.

What to do: Take a private boat tour to the island of Capri for the day, explore the tiny streets and many steep steps of the city, sunbathe on the beach with a breathtaking backdrop of the city behind you, enjoy the fabulous food in one of the seaside restaurants, admire the artists painting live images of the town right in front of your eyes.

Where to eat: Chez Black Restaurant for authentic homemade pasta, seafood, and wine.

Splurge on: Reserve a spot on the balcony of La Sirenuse Hotel restaurant for a spectacular view of the city and a magnificent sunset. Cocktails run about $18, but the view is well worth it.

How to Get There: A 2.5-hour bus or train ride from Naples will run you about $20.

4. Zermatt, Switzerland

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I had never heard about Zermatt until my travel partner suggested we visit there on our trip to Switzerland, and man was I blown away! Think of the most beautiful, cozy, make-believe ski town you could ever imagine, and there you will find Zermatt! Home to the infamous Matterhorn Mountain, you will not be disappointed at the endless picture-perfect viewpoints at each and every corner. On top of the shear beauty of this place, everyone is extremely nice, helpful, and happy, something very refreshing to see in a place that is so ritzy and glamorous.

Must-See: To say Switzerland is expensive is an understatement, so if you would like to splurge on the cable car to the top of the mountain (about $85) or paragliding over the alps ($200+), go for it! However, I chose to forgo these expenses and just enjoyed strolling around this visually stunning city while snapping pictures along the way.

How to Get There: Located in the far Southeast of Switzerland, a train ride from Geneva, Zurich, or Basel will take you anywhere from 3.5 to 4 hours.

Time Needed for Visit: Due to the extremely high prices, this city can be done in one entire day.

 

What are some other small fairytale towns you recommend? I’d love to add some more to my list!

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