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Street Art Around the World

July 29, 2019
Shoreditch Street Art Tour

Finding street art around the world has been one of my favorite activities when traveling. Street art can be found almost everywhere, and much of it is outstanding. It can also be found in some unusual places as well. A famous street artist, Wild Drawing, goes to my favorite Greek island of Naxos and frequently paints new pieces at an abandoned hotel on a remote beach. For some people they find street art to be a nuisance, but many of the pieces are commissioned by the local businesses or governments. In London, the street art changes so fast you have to go several times a year to see it all. Street art may be temporary in some cases, but it is all wonderful to find on a trip. Since I haven’t been everywhere yet, I have asked my fellow travel bloggers to share their favorite street art from around the world.

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Street Art in Europe

Kyiv, Ukraine from Megan Starr

Street Art Around the World

There are so many amazing places for street art around the world, but my favorite city for it is Kyiv, Ukraine. The Ukrainian capital city is usually thought of when people are forming images of golden domes on Ukrainian Orthodox churches, but street and urban art is what comes to my mind when I think about the city. One thing you will find in Ukraine that is new and adds a different flair and perspective to the street art is that a lot of it is politically charged and based off of the current events of the country. Ukraine is still at war with Russia, and many lives have been lost on both sides. The street art is a reflection of the country’s ability to progress forward despite the tumultuous times it is having in other regions of the country. There are many things to do in Kyiv, but I definitely think that one should go there and stroll the streets admiring the street art that is covering many building facades.

Ghent, Belgium from Solo Sophie

With breathtaking picture-perfect canals, an incredible foodie scene (think waffles, fries, and plenty of beer!), and plenty of history, there’s no shortage of reasons to put the Belgian city of Ghent on your Europe bucket list. Of course, for those interested in fantastic street art, Ghent certainly doesn’t disappoint. While a huge mural dedicated to the Monuments Men can be found alongside the largest of the canals, it’s the ‘legal’ graffiti street that is truly unique to this part of Europe. For along a little pedestrian street on the fringes of the old town known as Werregarenstraat, people are free to graffiti at their leisure! Free to visit, stroll along on different occasions and you’re sure to notice a different work each time you pass through.

Teufelsberg, Germany from Solarpoweredblonde

Teufelsberg is located in the Grunewald forest, a short train ride from the centre of Berlin. It is an old listening station that was used during the Cold War, and Teufelsberg is actually German for ‘Devil’s Mountain.’ Teufelsberg rises up above the forest and is visible from when you get off the train at Grunewald, and it is around a half an hour walk to reach the listening station. Once you arrive, for a small fee you can walk around, or you can also get a guide. Teufelsberg is now home to many artists and creatives, and no corner is left untouched, each area is covered in street art and sculptures. It is very interesting to walk around and see all the different artworks and random sculptures made of old parts. I would recommend about an hour to make sure you can walk the whole way up to the viewpoint, where on a clear day you can see for miles.

Tirana, Albania from Once in a Lifetime Journey

Albania has quite a tumultuous past. After Communism overtook the country, with Enver Hoxha at the helm, much of the people’s freedom disappeared – from religion to art. After the fall of Hoxha’s regime, the country wanted to start afresh and introduce a liberation that it so lacked.

How does a nation cut off from the rest of the world revive its hope? It was politician Edi Rama’s inspiration and dream to revive this hope through art. A former artist himself, he knew that the universal language of art and self-expression would inspire a nation, uplift their spirit and bring in an international community.

Today, street art is a part of Tirana’s persona. Buildings are painted in the colors of rainbows and murals line the city, giving an otherwise bland architecture a new and invigorating life. A place particularly covered in street art, murals, as well as galleries,  is the super hip Blloku. Some stand out with bright yellow and blue while others are more intertwined into the buildings like trees.

While Tirana, Albania is not many people’s first pick for a getaway, it is a fascinating journey into a once isolated country. Even the most famous museum that showcases Albania’s history has “art” in its name – Bunk’Art.

Brussels, Belgium from Backpacking Bella

If you’re exploring street art around the world, don’t miss Brussels, the capital city of Belgium and home to many of Europe’s best-loved comic strip characters. There’s even a museum dedicated to them. One of the best things to do in Brussels for art lovers is to grab a special map or take a bike tour to discover all the comic strip murals on buildings dotted around the city. There are more than 50 wall murals across the neighbourhoods of Brussels paying homage to comics including Lucky Luke, Gil Jourdan and The Adventures of Tintin.

Why not check out the Tintin Comic Mural in the city centre on Rue de l’Etuve, where you can see special artwork depicting the intrepid characters mid-chase, descending a flight of stairs. Even though it was created 90 years ago, this comic book adventure series by Belgian cartoonist Georges ‘Hergé’ Remi is still popular today. In 2011, Steven Spielberg adapted it into a hugely successful, award-winning animated 3D feature film, voiced by Hollywood actors including Jamie Bell and Daniel Craig.

Discover the Tintin Comic Mural and the 49 other murals in Brussels’ special comic strip trail, in a street art adventure that’s fun for kids and adults alike.

Budapest, Hungary from Budapest Connection

Budapest is a city filled with beautiful, old buildings, and while some get pulled down from time to time, local and international artists are using the firewalls as canvases. As they decorate them with colorful murals, they are turning the apartment blocks into works of art, making the district a living art gallery.

Usually, these artworks do not live long. One week they are there, the next week they are gone.

If you want to discover the world of Budapest’s street art, start with the murals in the Jewish Quarter, the home of the most vibrant and incredible murals of Budapest.

Some of the most significant and permanent murals in the Jewish quarter made by Hungarian and local artists:

Alice in Wonderland (27. Kertész street)
Greengrocer’s (48. Dob street)
Király Street (10 Király street)
Man of the Year (40. Wesselényi street)
Rubik’s Cube (10 Dob street)
Budapest isn’t so small (45 Kazinczy street)

The ruin bars deserve a whole post on their own, but you can’t talk about street art in the Jewish Quarter without mentioning them.  The ruin bars of Budapest are full of artworks; they are strange combinations of weird and wonderful.

Minsk, Belarus from The Nomadic Vegan

As the last dictatorship in Europe, Belarus is probably the last place you would expect to find good street art. And indeed, Minsk, the nation’s capital, was almost completely devoid of street art until 2014. That’s when the Brazilian embassy organized the first of several urban art festivals in the city. The result has been a legacy of huge murals all over the city by very talented artists, both Brazilian and Belorussian.

The most famous place for urban art in Minsk is a street called Vulica Kastryčnickaja. This popular hangout for young residents of Minsk has become the most vibrant street in the city and is home to food trucks, bars, and even a fully vegan Minsk restaurant called Monkey Food.

The walls on both sides of the street are covered in murals. On one side, the artwork features endangered animals native to Belarus, including a bison, the national symbol. This entire mural is the work of Brazilian street artist Ramon Martins and is probably the largest mural in the world created by a single artist. The scale of the work is simply massive.

Istanbul, Turkey from Verses by a Voyager

Some of the most captivating street art can be found in the city of Istanbul, bridging Asia and Europe. These murals can be seen at multiple places in the city including the residential town of Balat, the famous umbrella street called Hoca Tahsin and in the area of Kadikoy, a ferry ride from Sultanahmet. With tonnes of historic architecture in the city, Istanbul is not second to none when it comes to street art. These arts vary in characters and colours. Ranging from floral paintings to human characters and cartoons, all of them can be seen decorated on the walls of this city. These striking murals have become the identity of Istanbul. If one longs to enjoy the street art in a modern city, Istanbul, Turkey is the place to visit with plenty of murals proudly flaunting its streets.

Paris, France from Experiencing the Globe

Paris is one of the most important art centers of the world, and street art has become a significant feature too. So much that Paris’ City Hall announced that they allocated a bit part of the 500 million euros budget of participatif to create murs d’expression –painted walls all around the city.

Most people will look for street art in the trendy neighborhoods of Montmartre, Le Marais and the Latin Quarter, or just settle for the surroundings of the Centre Pompidou, but I’d recommend going off the beaten path, especially to East Paris. The best areas are Oberkampf, Belleville, and Ménilmontant. Art pops up all over buildings, walls, windows, trash cans, and even on the floor. Look for Rue Oberkampf, Rue Laurence Savart, and Rue des Cascades. If you’ve seen them, go again on your next trip, because it’s everchanging!

My personal favorite is Rue Dénoyez, in Belleville. If you’re there in the morning, stop for a coffee in the cool Café Le Barbouquin, or in the evening for an aperitif at Aux Folies. Continue walking up to Belvédère de Belleville for more art, plus the most amazing views of the city.

Padua, Italy from Surfing the Planet

Padua is very well known as a cultural center, famous for one of the most recognized and most antique universities of Europe, and the basilica of one of the most venerated saints in Christian culture, Saint Anthony. Nevertheless, the most important sights in Padua have a relatively new addition, the street art of Kenny Random.

Kenny Random’s style is quite unique and recognizable since there are some recurring characters in his works, such as a small bird, a cat, or a boy wearing a black hat. The murals can be found in many places, some of them in the center, but others in the suburbs. Finding some of these great artworks is one of the great new things to do in this charming town in the Veneto Region.

Prague, Czech Republic from Global Castaways

The street art in Prague is a bit different from the others around the world. Yes, you can still find lovely graffiti on the buildings around the Czech capital, but alongside them, you can find peculiar art installations.

Don’t be surprised if you stumble upon flying statues or some small guy ( Sigmund Freud) hanging for dear life above the street – this is Prague!

Beside the statues, Prague is home to one of the most famous graffiti walls in the world – The Lennon Wall. Once an average graffiti wall covered in Beatles lyrics, during the years, it became a symbol of a new generation that’s trying to spread ideas of love and peace around the world.

If you want to see the hanging Freud and the Lennon Wall yourself, check out Global Castaway’s Prague itinerary guide for more info.

Lisbon, Portugal from What’s Hot

Lisbon is already a very colourful city, but the street art on every corner brings some extra brightness to some of the city’s run-down areas. Here you’ll find street art of all kinds: random scribbles in alleyways as well as enormous displays by world-famous artists. Some are inspired by political and cultural events, some are very abstract, but all are beautiful. There’s no one technique that defines Lisbon street art with lots opting for spray cans and paint, but others use the dilapidated state of the walls to their advantage by further carving. Expect to see a modern interpretation of the Creation of Adam, a cartoon strip depicting the history of Lisbon as well as paintings of beautiful fado singers. The best thing to do is book a street art tour so an expert can explain the history behind these paintings as sadly there isn’t much information to be found online. Check out this post for more things to do in Lisbon on your first visit.

Longyearbyen, Svalbard, Norway from The Round the World Guys

As one of the northernmost human settlements in the world, the Svalbard capital of Longyearbyen endures long winters. While that means that the majority of your time will be spent in the cozy indoors, there are some places outside that are worth checking out!

The ‘main’ Longyearbyen town center is pretty much a 100-meter pedestrian stretch, and this is where most Svalbard hotels, restaurants and shops are located. There are a few pieces of street art here. The main one is the Miner’s Memorial statue, to honor Svalbard’s history of coal mining. And if you look beyond the statue, in a nearby wall of the Coop grocery store, you can find a colorful polar bear mural. It highlights the bears, which are common in Svalbard.

Berlin, Germany from We Did it Our Way

The street art in Berlin is beyond anything we’ve ever seen. It’s not even surprising that it’s been dubbed the “most bombed city in Europe” and even “Graffiti Mecca.” Although graffiti is still illegal in Berlin, there are a ton of beautiful pieces to discover it all over the city.

The origins of the street art movement in Berlin may come from its dark history. Not too long ago, the Berlin wall was used as a canvas for artists who wanted to spread messages of peace and hope. Even today, the wall is home to the free East Side Gallery, where parts of the wall have been decorated by artists. If you want more details on the pieces, there are a ton of paying street art tours you can join.

You can also take in all the street art by walking around the city. Many neighbourhoods, even the very residential, ones are home to a ton of street art and huge murals. The main areas you can find street art in are Mitte, Kreuzberg, Friedrichshain, Prenzlauer Berg, and Lichtenberg.

If you don’t want to move around too much but still want to enjoy the street art, there’s also an amazing gallery called Urban Nation. It boasts pieces from great street art masters from Shepard Fairy, to Banksy and so many others.

There is no shortage of street art to see in Berlin, either out on the streets or in one of the two famous street art museums.

Street Art in Asia

Kochi, India from TraveLynn Family

Street Art in Asia

Colourful Kochi perches happily on the Keralan coast of India and is a warm introduction to the colours of India. The old town of Fort Kochi showcases a rich colonial past (a mesh of Chinese, Portuguese, Dutch and British empire builders) with quiet lanes and a relaxed, friendly atmosphere; a welcomed break to the chaotic, bustling main cities you may have experienced elsewhere in India. Local artists have brought the history of the old town lanes alive with their vibrant street art, demonstrating the fusion of old and new India, and makes for a fascinating stroll via the Portuguese churches and Chinese fishing nets.

Ipoh, Malaysia from Let’s Venture Out

One of the main reasons why people visit Ipoh, besides to taste the famous Ipoh white coffee is to hunt down street arts! Located right in between Kuala Lumpur and Penang, it’s the perfect stopover for a relaxing few days away from the crowds.

The Lithuanian artist, Ernest Zacharevic, was commissioned to paint several murals to revive the town, in an attempt to put Ipoh on the map. The most popular street arts are found in the Old Town, along Concubine and Market Lane, but there are even more along Mural Art’s Lane.

What makes Ipoh street arts so special is that they are interactive and have a 3D effect, just like those in Penang! And the lack of crowds definitely counts as a bonus, leaving you with ample time to do a proper photo-shoot and discover more arts along the back alleys at your own pace.

Yangon, Myanmar from The Travel Scribes

When you think of Yangon or even Myanmar, street art probably doesn’t come to mind. And you’re not wrong: the street art scene in Yangon is in its infancy and is also possibly a little bit closer to murals than graffiti and art.

That said, we were fascinated to walk the street art alleys of this vibrant city. The street art alleys of Yangon are less about art and more about sustainable investment in the community. The first one opened as a garden project in 2016; a local organization wanted to give children a safe space to play and cleared out all the garbage from the alley to plant a garden, as well as paint the walls. This project has now blossomed into a set of 8 alleys, attracting international artists to create the designs for the streets.

It can be a little tricky to find your way through the alleys considering the frenetic pace in Yangon, but you can find a map here.

Penang, Malaysia from The Traveling Twins

One box to tick on our to-do list in Malaysia was to go to the Unesco Heritage site of George Town and see Penang street art.

When we arrived on the island to start our search, I felt a bit lost.  It was hot and sticky; I couldn’t see any of the famous murals. Google maps came to our rescue.  All the pieces were marked, and we found some. Now we had broken the ice, and the game began. The girls and I were off to see as many new, different kind of street art as we could.

Why different?  Because although Lithuanian artist Ernest Zacharevic’s work for the 2012 George Town festival is the most famous, Penang’s street art culture had started three years earlier than that when the Government commissioned a series of large wrought-iron flat cartoons to celebrate the listing by Unesco.  And now there are other murals too.

On the second day, we located the pieces we hadn’t found before. And for even more fun, we rented a four-seater pedal car to continue our search. In the course of our wanderings, we discovered that Penang is a great place  – not only to see street art but also to explore for itself.

Bethlehem, Israel from Walk my World

When you think of street art around the world, it’s unlikely that Bethlehem would come to mind.

However, it’s a place with a thriving street art scene largely along the controversial wall that was built by the Israeli government which separates Israel from the West Bank of Palestine.

On the Israeli side, the wall is immaculately clean, but on the Palestinian side, the wall is covered in incredible art, protesting its construction. You can see murals of Donald Trump, Mark Zuckerberg, and many other famous people, alongside poignant speeches. A trip to Bethlehem may begin with visiting the birthplace of Christ, but it’s very likely that it will be the street art you remember.

Aside from those at the wall, the most famous pieces of street art are by the enigmatic artist Banksy. You can see some of his most famous works dotted around the city, such as the Molotov cocktail with an olive branch, the dove with a bullet-proof jacket and the soldier being frisked by a child.

Phnom Pehn, Cambodia from Travel For Life Now

Phnom Penh has some of the most fascinating street art in Asia. It is an emerging scene with international and local artists. The infusion of Khmer imagery into the murals is very interesting. The best place to see street art is in Boeung Kak Lake and Street 93, though there are murals located throughout the city. To find get to Street 93, go to Al Serkal Mosque (1 St. 86) or at Number 10 Lakeside Guest House on Street 93. Walk down the street, and you’ll see plenty of murals on both sides. Many of the Cambodian Street artists also do commissioned murals inside of businesses. There are some other murals behind the French Embassy and near Meta House (#47 Street 178). The Cambodian Urban Arts Festival has taken place in December. Last year’s festival was cancelled, but it might return.

Street Art in South America

Lima, Peru from Winging the World

 

Peru’s capital might be most known for it’s impressive (and expensive) gastronomy, but Lima actually has loads of cheap things to do. One of the best is exploring the wildly diverse street art scene.

Although it is the hipster neighbourhood of Barranco that most think of when they hear the terms ‘street art’ and ‘Lima’ in the same sentence, it is actually the old port district of Callao which is now leading in this area.

Formerly one of the city’s roughest districts, money has been poured into Callao, and street artists from all over South America have been invited in to assist with the facelift! With the increased gentrification in this area, wealth for the local people has increased, and as a result, crime has dropped.

Callao is a must-visit for street art fanatics looking to get off the beaten track, however, it is still worth visiting with a local or Spanish speaker to avoid any unwanted attention. Travellers not wanting to take such risks will be happy to hear that the Barranco district is very safe and just as colourful (albeit a little more crowded)!

Medellin, Colombia from Livingoutlau

Medellin, the most dangerous cities in the entire world back then, would probably surprise you to have some of the best graffiti I have ever encountered. But if you take a look at history, it will start to make sense. Colombia is trying to get rid of the dark past it had back when the most dangerous criminal in the world, Pablo Escobar, was in charge. Instead of getting stuck in the violent and turbulent past, citizens of Medellin are redirecting their energy into art and dance. As a result, some of the best graffiti exists in Communa 13, one of the most dangerous neighborhoods back then. The graffiti usually revolve around the idea of rebirth, hope, and change.

Valparaiso, Chile from Stingy Nomads

Valparaiso is considered to be the art capital of Chile, and it does deserve this title, the art here is everywhere from fancy galleries to street painters and murals. Valparaiso is probably one of the most colorful and artistic cities we’ve ever been to. There are two areas in the city that are famous for beautiful murals (wall paintings); Cerro Concepcion and Cerro Bellavista both are located on the hills. One can spend hours getting lost in the narrow streets of Concepcion or Bellavista, admiring murals, small art cafés, and stunning views from the lookouts. In Cerro Bellavista, there is a whole street art museum Museo a Cielo Abierto (Open-air Museum) where you can see many vibrant elaborated murals made by both unknown street painters and local artists. Most of the paintings here were done 30 years ago.

Sao Paulo, Brazil from I Heart Brazil

Besides having unique bistros and bars, this concrete jungle is more than Brazil’s business hub. The city is also a reference in the art scene, especially in street art.

That’s why reserving a few hours to spot these colorful murals is hands down one of the best things to do in Sao Paulo.
Granted, Sao Paulo isn’t conventionally pretty, but it’s without a doubt, a paradise for art lovers. From the unique museums spread throughout the city to striking street art, Brazil’s largest city is jam-packed with colorful wall art.

Although each neighborhood has its own murals, most graffitis are in the Vila Madalena neighborhood, an upper-middle-class area with a hip crowd and laid-back eating venues.

While there, head over to the Batman’s Alley to see a ridiculously talented open sky exhibition of street art. Even though the paintings in this little street are pretty, other artists come to leave their art on top of the previous one. That’s why we, locals, say that Batman’s Alley isn’t only an open-air museum but also a gallery with temporary exhibitions.

Cartagena, Colombia from Layer Culture

When on the lookout for some of the best street art around the world, one may not think about a place like Cartagena in Colombia? Whist in a historic place like Cartagena it is important to learn about history. Any trip to old town Cartagena will confirm this. However, whilst walking around other streets in Cartagena, one can’t ignore the amazing art that paints the streets of Getsemani, a small neighborhood inside the city.

You’ll encounter everything from large murals that cover the entire length of a street to small pieces that showcase a particular artists skill or a cultural reference. Both add to the vibrancy of the neighborhood, many of which paint a message of community resistance. Cartagena is a city which has gone through a major gentrification process, and Getsemani is a neighborhood that aims to revolt change.

Buenos Aires, Argentina from Wild About Travel

The colorful street art in Buenos Aires is strongly linked to the city’s history. Indeed, in the early 20th century, local artists were paid to paint large political slogans on the buildings’ facades. However, after that period and for a long time, graffiti and urban art were almost nonexistent. The reason was the dictatorship, significantly limiting the freedom of speech. Once back to democracy, in the 1990s, street art flourished in Buenos Aires and developed as a mean of expression, with subjects often related to politics or social issues.

As a result, Buenos Aires has become one of the most exciting street art scenes in the world. You can spot graffiti almost everywhere. However, the best places to see the most interesting murals are the neighborhoods of San Telmo, Palermo, La Boca, and Villa Urquiza.

Such is the relevance of Street Art in Buenos Aires that several shop owners gladly allow having their walls painted. After all, it drives interest and attracts more customers. Furthermore, over the last few years, more and more internationally acclaimed street artists like Blue, Ice, Roa, Aryz, painted stunning large-scale murals. Urban art is no much part of Buenos Aires that there are also Street Art tours. For those who want to spot the best paintings and know more about the artists and their meaning.

Street Art in North America

Denver, Colorado, USA from The Discoveries Of

Street Art Around the World

Denver‘s street art scene is popping! I recently visited the city on a longer trip around Colorado and fell hard for it – in no small part to the huge number of colourful murals that bring the city’s walls to life.


While there are many areas in Denver where you can find cool works, the RiNo District is the undisputed heart of the city’s street art sphere – marked with a series of hundreds (if not thousands) of works by some of the world’s leading artists including Shepheard Fairey, Pat Milbank, Obey Giant and Detour 303.


RiNo even hosts an annual street art festival each September (Crush Walls) when tonnes of new works go up, and the whole area is a frenzy of spray cans and splattered overalls. Even if you can’t time your visit for the festival, you can see the results all year round – don’t miss them.

Philadephia, PA, USA from Two Traveling Texans

Street Art Around the World

You can find amazing street art in many cities around the world, but in Philadelphia, the Mural Arts organization has been working to create artwork that not only transforms the wall it appears on but also changes lives. They have helped people with substance abuse issues, those that have been incarcerated, the homeless, and more. The artwork also gets people talking about critical issues facing society like women’s rights, education, and immigration. Some famous street artists such as Shepard Fairey have worked on the murals.


The street art is concentrated in the city center along what is called the Mural Mile. (The route is longer than a mile). Many of the murals are huge, covering the whole side of a building. The best way to see the street art in Philadelphia and learn the inspiring stories behind it is to take a tour. Mural Arts offers walking tours and tram tours.

Kakaako, Oahu, Hawaii from Borders & Bucket Lists

Located just outside of the popular tourist city of Waikiki, Hawaii lies the trendy town of Kakaako. Every February, a popular street art event called PowWow! Hawaii takes place. To put it simply, artists from around the world come to Kakaako, are given a wall, and are challenged to cover the entire wall with their own artwork before the weekends. Because this competition has been going on for quite a few years, the walls of Kakaako’s buildings are covered with street art. While some artists go for an abstract and colorful take, others try to embody realism in black and white. A few use buckets and buckets of household paint, and others prefer to spray their art on with their pressurized paint cans.

While you can see the street art from past PowWow Hawaii! festivals in Kakaako at any time, if you happen to find yourself on the island of Oahu in February, be sure to check if the street art festival is happening! If it is, head over to Kakaako and watch tons of street art being made live!

Chemainus, British Columbia, Canada from Freedom56Travel

Street Art in Canada

Chemainus is a picturesque village on Vancouver Island in British Columbia. Formerly a forestry industry-dependent area, the main employer of the village closed and most industries had left the area by the early 1980s. In an effort to re-energize the failing economy and keep the town alive, Chemainus residents initiated a Festival of Murals to add beauty to the downtown area and bring in much-needed visitors.

The Festival of Murals was an enormous success and Chemainus is now a thriving tourist destination. Home to more than 40 beautiful murals with more planned for the future, Chemainus is a true gem on Vancouver Island. Other artists are also hard at work in Chemainus, including sculptors and woodcarvers who also add beauty to the town. Don’t miss the murals featuring local Indigenous peoples, historical figures, and other notable citizens.

Sherbrooke, Quebec, Canada from One Trip at a Time

Sherbrooke in Quebec may not be high on tourist lists, but if you are interested in street art, then the stunning murals are a great reward.

There are 16 murals in total around the city, all quite different and featuring unique aspects of Sherbrooke life. The murals include a typical street scene, a waterfall, a giant bookshelf, and a fire station. There are also clever murals which play with your perception such as a building being pulled like curtains/drapes to reveal a beautiful lake or a building façade being maneuvered into place with people already looking out of the windows!

All the murals include animals to find or humorous situations within them, and it’s definitely worth spending a few minutes admiring each as you’ll see more quirkiness and detail the more you look.

The city suggests two different circuits, a 3.5km walk to see 10 of the murals and a 7km walk to see all 16. The routes can be found, together with more information about each of the murals in this excellent flyer.

Miami, Florida, USA from Universo Viajero

Street Art in the USA

When you think of Miami, a beach of white sand comes immediately to your mind, with large buildings on the skyline. However, the city is much more than that. One of the neighborhoods that have taken on increasing relevance is Wynwood, the “art district” of Miami. During our last trip as a couple to Miami, we decide to go and enjoy a day surrounded by art. As soon as you enter the area, you start to see murals everywhere: on the side of buildings, on walls next to sidewalks, on the ground, and almost anywhere you look. You can get lost in the streets and be surprised by the street art, but you can also visit Wynwood Walls. This place is a completely free outdoor exhibition where important artists and muralists from around the world each year put one of their works to the enjoyment of the visitors, which after a year will be replaced by a mural of another artist and so on. That’s what makes this place so entertaining, you could come back every couple of months, and you’ll always find a new mural. Definitely, a must-see if you love Street Art.

Sainte-Anne, Guadeloupe from The Migrant Yogi

Street Art in the Caribbean

Guadeloupe is a hidden gem of an island (actually, an archipelago of six islands), located in the Caribbean. It’s a dependant territory of France, so if you are a francophile, you’ll fit right in. While you won’t find much English spoken here, the inhabitants of the island are super-friendly and eager to help.

Sainte-Anne is a beach town with laid-back vibes and plenty of street art to feast your eyes on. Wandering the network of streets as you navigate away from the shore, each corner you turn results in a delightful surprise of vibrant colors for your senses to absorb. In 2017, Sainte-Anne hosted the International Festival of Graffiti and Street Art, where the best urban artists gathered to exhibit their creativity.

Boise, Idaho, USA from Let’s Go Boise Idaho

When you think of amazing public art from around the world, Boise, Idaho may not be the first thing you think of. But the city’s cultural art has been growing over the years, and they now have more than 300 pieces of public art throughout the city.

One of the most amazing pieces is an entire block of art called Freak Alley. The alley began as a door painting in 2002 but has since grown into art spread throughout every alley and parking lot within the entire block.

You can find murals, graffiti, and drawings, but it’s not just random art. The artists are selected and given an area, and then that art is replaced every two years.

Because Freak Alley in Boise is located right in the middle of downtown (between West Bannock and West Idaho Streets on one side, and 8th and 9th Streets on the other), you will always see locals and tourists wandering through the area — and it is, of course, a great place to get an iconic Boise selfie when you’re visiting.

San Francisco, California, USA from Berkeley and Beyond

San Francisco’s Mission District has long been rich with murals. One popular mural collaboration occurs in Clarion Alley, located between Mission Street and Valencia Street.

Painting in this one-block-long alley started with artists who lived in warehouse around the corner on 17th Street. It had a loading door that opened on to Clarion Alley. The building was torn down in 2002, and now this alley art is overseen informally by volunteers for The Clarion Alley Mural Project. You never know what you’ll see, and what is there one time might be painted over by the next time. Surprisingly, tours are available. Plenty of restaurants and shops are just around the corner. History and mural documentation can be found here.

Street Art in Central America

Panama City, Panama from The Travelling Stomach

Wandering the streets of Panama City’s old town (Casco Viejo) amongst the brightly painted buildings and historic architecture, you can find some incredible street art. The contrast between the Spanish colonial buildings, French-style townhouses, and colourful murals is a photographers dream! One street artist, in particular, to look out for is Rolo De Sedas, devoted to brightening up the grey streets of Panama City with his iconic depictions of Panamanian women in traditional dress.

For more vivid murals, just outside Casco Viejo follow Avenida Central, where locals come to shop and socialise, towards the bustling fish market and keep your eyes peeled. Dotted down side alleys, around door frames, and on shop shutters, you can find some amazing intricate and colourful paintings.

Oaxaca City, Mexico from Unearth the Voyage

Oaxaca City in Mexico is a great place to see some gorgeous street art. The street art isn’t in one place, so you really have to know where to go if you want to see all the works of art. When we visited, we didn’t know where to go so we just walked up and down the streets to see what we could find. Many of the best murals are on the side streets or down alleys, so they aren’t obvious at all. There are many types of street art all around the city; you will see big colorful murals, small little doodles, and creative posters. A lot (but not all) of the street art in Oaxaca is political in nature. There are many paintings and posters relating to different socioeconomic issues, environmental issues, and human rights issues. One of the best places to find many different paintings is in the neighborhood Barrio de Xochimilco which is just north of the city center. Xochimilco is a quiet residential neighborhood which makes for some great street art strolling!

San Juan La Laguna, Guatemala from Beyond my Border

San Juan is a beautiful Mayan village that sits along Lake Atitlan in Guatemala. I first heard of this village while visiting Panajachel, where I learned that there were numerous Mayan towns in the area, each unique in its own way. San Juan La Laguna was known for its street art.

Of course, as with any curious traveler, I decided to explore the town and see its artwork for myself.

To reach this village, I boarded a tiny boat that sped through Atitlan. Once we arrived, I stepped onto the wooden deck and made my way into its bustling town center. Along the way, I was mesmerized by the many paintings, graffiti, and other pieces of art that dotted its streets. Almost every wall was decorated in some way or form.

The art was fascinating. From Mayan history to modern culture, they captured the daily lives of those who live here.

I’d definitely recommend any street art enthusiasts to visit San Juan if given the chance!

Cozumel, Mexico from Cultures Traveled

Inspired by the alluring turquoise sea and the abundance of life in its depths, the street art on the island of Cozumel, Mexico is vibrant and alive. As part of a project to bring awareness to ocean conservation, the PangeaSeed Foundation commissioned over 20 pieces of graphic art that spans the city streets. While there are no guided tours, there are maps around the island that will guide you through the “Sea Walls.” Exploring these artistic pieces, many created by local artists gives a further appreciation of the beauty that surrounds you in this gorgeous Caribbean paradise.

Street Art in the UK

Bristol, England from The Wanderlust Within

Street Art Around the World

The UK’s capital of street art, Bristol, is home to 100s of cutting edge graffiti art pieces. Not only is it where Banksy is from, the elusive graffiti artist who has inspired a new generation of street artists but its also home to Upfest, Europe’s largest live street art and graffiti festival. It’s, therefore, no wonder that this vibrant city is decorated from the side streets to the narrow alleyways, shopfronts and the bridge underpasses. The widest selection of colourful murals is found in Stokes Croft, Southville and Bedminister, but it’s worth taking a street art tour, so you don’t miss any.

Brighton, England from Diary of a Detour

Street Art in the UK

Brighton has a vibrant street art scene and attracts top artists from all over the world. There are a number of hotspots including Trafalgar Lane in the North Laine, Black Rock at the end of Madeira Parade and Providence Place which is behind the London Road shops. However, if you take a stroll around the city, you will find murals and graffiti everywhere.


Some of the more prolific artists include Snub23, Glimmertwin32, Mazcan, Mick Mowgli and Toska11, but there are so many more. Use the hashtag #brightonstreetart on Instagram to see some of the incredible murals there. Banksy even paid the city a visit, with his famous image of two policemen kissing on the side of the Prince Albert, near the railway station. Although the original has been sold, a replica is still there, along with portraits of music icons covering the outside of the pub.


Paste-up art is also very popular and features work by Minty, The Postman Artist, and Trusty Scribe, amongst many others.
Having visited some of the top spots in Europe and North America, I truly think that Brighton has the best street in the world!

Aberdeen, Scotland from Two Scots Abroad

Aberdeen in the northeast of Scotland probably isn’t the first city that comes to mind when thinking about street art in the UK.

Thanks to a collaboration with the globally respected brand, Nuart from Norway, the Granite City is now a canvas with three year’s worth of murals splashed all over the city.

A variety of artists have claimed space from world-renowned artists such as Vhils and UK based like Helen Burr.

It’s not just about the walls, though! Mosaic tiles fill holes in the ground, colourful Lego bricks fill gaps in walls, and electrical boxes have been turned into high rise housing projects. Visitors are encouraged to look down as well as up.

You can follow the Aberdeen Street Art Trail using this extensive guide and don’t forget to tag your social media pictures with @nuartaberdeen #nuartaberdeen.

If visiting from April to September, you can enjoy one of the Nuart walking tours and if you really crush on street art, book your flights for the opening weekend usually around the UK Easter weekend.

Glasgow, Scotland from FunkyEllas Travel

Scotland’s largest city, Glasgow, is a creative and arty place and the walkable mural trail in the city centre really shows this off well. The murals brighten up alleyways and dark corners and are ever-changing with new artwork regularly appearing. The trail launched in 2014 and there are maps available from most of Glasgow’s main attractions. Some of these murals are massive, like ‘Honey, I shrunk the kids’ which cover the side of a four-story building! Many of these masterpieces were created by local artist Smug, who is a genius with a spray can. One of Scotland’s best known and most loved comedians, Billy Connelly, is also represented, with three huge colourful murals depicting three of his most famous photos. There are always at least 25 murals to find, and it’s an amazing way to explore the city.

Manchester, England from Helen on her Holidays

Manchester, in the north of England, is a brilliant city to visit if you’re interested in street art. There are pieces all around the city, but you’ll find the highest density in the Northern Quarter. The Northern Quarter is one of Manchester’s most historic areas, and one of its most vibrant – and that’s definitely reflected in the art. To make the most of your time in Manchester, I recommend taking the street art tour run by Hayley Flynn AKA Skyliner. Many of the pieces in the Northern Quarter have a historical connection, which isn’t immediately apparent, and there are tiny pieces that you might not even notice if they weren’t pointed out to you.

Manchester was part of the Cities of Hope project and many of the works created for the festival by world-renowned street artists like Phlegm, SNIK, Hyuro and Case can still be seen around the Northern Quarter.

My favourite piece in Manchester is an intimate portrait by C215 on Warwick Street of a couple who are homeless. Three other pieces I love are all on Tib Street: an outline of a vanished building made up of wallpaper patterns and fragments of letters just off Silver Jubilee Walk; portraits of Manchester icons on the side of Afflecks; and the parrots which perch on the building next door to Tib Street Tavern – a reminder of when Tib Street was better known as “Pet Paradise” for the pet shops which regularly drew large crowds.

London, England from A Girl and Her Passport

Shoreditch Street Art Tour

London has one of the most vibrant street art scenes I have seen in the world. The street art changes monthly, and if you don’t go about every month to see them, you might miss them. One of the most popular neighborhoods for street art in Shoreditch. Almost every block has street art of some kind on it. While there are still some Banksys to be found here, I recommend looking out for artists that you like and seeing where else you can see their art. Most of the artists tag their pieces with their Instagram handle so you can find their work there even if you missed it in person. I would also advise getting on a street art tour because some of the best pieces are hidden or in out of the way spots.

Street Art in Australia

Port Adelaide, Australia from Josie Wanders

Street Art in Port Adelaide

Port Adelaide in South Australia is just now coming of age on the street art scene. It took place in the Wonderwalls festival of 2015, 2017 & 2019 so now has many large murals, including two that are seven stories high on the sides of a prominent building. The works have been done by many well known local and international artists. This piece was done by Chilean artist INTI, who has dozens of murals all over the world. It has always stood out to me, taking up the whole side of a building with its distinctive colours and style. Port Adelaide is a good, walkable area to visit for an afternoon to see the street art, enjoy the history, and perhaps spot some dolphins playing in the Port River.

I hope you have enjoyed this tour of street art around the world. The list is long but not exhaustive, so please share where else in the world you have seen great street art in the comments.

Texas, Travel, United States

25 Great Things to do in Dallas

July 7, 2019

Things to do in Dallas

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When I tell people that I am from Dallas, I usually get a response of how boring it is there. Lots of people want to come to Texas but have no desire to visit Dallas. Let me tell you though; there are tons of great things to do there! I have gathered an epic list of places to visit in Dallas, Texas.

1. Visit the Dallas Arboretum

I will admit that I am biased towards the Dallas Arboretum because it is my favorite things to do in Dallas. I wrote a whole post about it here. The Dallas Arboretum is open all year long only closing for Thanksgiving, Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. There is so much going on at the Arboretum you could visit almost every day and find an event.

Things to do in Dallas

The most popular things that happen are the Dallas Blooms, the Pumpkin Patch and the 12 Days of Christmas. Dallas Blooms occurs in the spring and features tulips and other bulb blooming plants. The Pumpkin Patch happens in October and usually has a different theme every year. The 12 Days of Christmas are life-size displays of the song, including eight maids a milking and partridge and a pear tree.

Almost all year there are concerts outside called the Cool Thursdays Concert Series. Most of the artists are a cover or tribute bands. You can buy tickets for individual shows or the whole series.

Adult admission to the Dallas Arboretum is $15. Kids 2-12 access is $10. Photo courtesy of the Dallas Arboretum.

2. Bike White Rock Lake

The Dallas Arboretum overlooks White Rock Lake, which is technically a Dallas park. As a kid, my Dad and I used to bike the lake. Many people do this still today. The bike and hike trail is over 9 miles long. You can sail a boat on the lake, and many people kayak as well.

Things to do in Dallas

You will find people picnicking and walking their dogs here. There is also an off-leash dog park. I enjoy watching all the water birds that live at the lake, including ducks, geese, and pelicans. They like to hang out between the Arboretum and the Spillway. There are several points around White Rock Lake that offer great photo opportunities, especially at sunset.

Photo courtesy of the Dallas Arboretum.

3. Eat Tex-Mex

Speaking of eating, you can’t come to Texas and not have some Tex-Mex food. There are so many restaurants to choose from. In Dallas, my recommendations are Desperados, El Fenix, Javier’s, Herrera’s,  and Mesero.  Tex-Mex is personal though, and you might find you like some places better than others. Rarely have I had bad Tex-Mex in Dallas, so if you see a place you want to try, go for it!

Things to do in Dallas

My favorite Tex-Mex dishes are pretty simple. I love queso dip, sour cream chicken enchiladas, beef fajitas, chicken quesadillas, and street tacos. Of course, I like to have a margarita on the rocks with salt. For dessert, I like to get a pecan praline. It is brown sugar melted with milk and pecans hardened into a round shape. Some are soft though.

4. Catch a movie at The Angelika

What I love about this theater is that they show many movies that never play at other theaters. It shows films from film festivals from around the world. The theater also shows regular blockbuster movies. You can get assigned seating, which is crucial if you want to sit front and center during a showing of Star Wars! The Angelika is located at Mockingbird Station, making a great option for tourist visiting Dallas without a car.

5. Walk the Katy Trail

The Katy Trail used to be an abandoned railroad line that has been converted into a walking trail. It is a great place to walk, run or bike. The path is beautifully maintained with landscaping. There is a restaurant and beer garden on the trail called the Katy Trail Ice House. Both the trail and the Ice House are dog-friendly!

6. Visit the Dallas Museum of Art

The Dallas Museum of Art is a beautiful museum that incorporates all styles of art. They frequently have traveling exhibitions that are extremely good. There are events at the museum, and many of the events are geared towards children. The best thing is that general admission is free. Traveling exhibitions are usually a fee, and the price varies.

Things to do in Dallas

Photo by Thomas Hawk on Flickr

7. Nasher Sculpture Center

Right across the street from the Dallas Museum of Art, is the Nasher Sculpture Center. This outdoor sculpture garden hosts a variety of large sculptures in the garden. There are also some pieces inside the center. Admission is $10 for adults and kids under 12 are free. The first Saturday day of the month is free, and there are usually events on the day such as art making, art chats, and sketching.

8. See all of Downtown Dallas from Reunion Tower

One of the most iconic buildings in Dallas is Reunion Tower. It is a beautiful place to see much of the Dallas skyline. You can visit Reunion Tower during the day or at night. To see the views, purchase tickets for the GeO-Deck. Adult admission is $17, and kids 4-12 are $8. On the GeO-Deck is cafe so you can get a snack and a drink while you are there. There are plenty of ticket options for groups and if you want to visit both during the day and the night.

Things to do in Dallas

There is a restaurant as well called Five Sixty by Wolfgang Puck. You do not need a GeO-Deck ticket to go to the restaurant or the bar. However, you can purchase discounted tickets from your server. The coolest thing about dining here is that the view constantly changes as the restaurant slowly rotates at all times. Reservations are recommended, and there is a dress code.

Photo by Daxis from Flickr

9. Play at Klyde Warren Park

Klyde Warren Park was built over a highway to meet the need of having a large green space in Downtown Dallas. Klyde Warren Park has become very popular. It has easy access from the Dallas Light Rail, and there is parking located nearby (although it is paid parking). There are food trucks, a splash park for kids, a leash-free dog park and plenty of green space. Events and activities are always happening at Klyde Warren Park.

10. Ride the McKinney Avenue Trolley

One of the stops for the McKinney Avenue Trolley is located right next to Klyde Warren Park. The trolley is free to ride! The trolley goes through the Uptown Neighborhood all the way to Downtown Dallas. It connects with the DART Light Rail System at some points as well. Not only it is a free transport option but fun to ride and see parts of Dallas.

Things to do in Dallas

Photo by bk1bennett from Flickr

11. Visit the Declaration of Independence

Dallas has its own copy of the Declaration of Independence. It is located at the Dallas Public Library. The document is one of the 25 original copies printed in 1776. It is free to see, and you can also see Shakespear’s first folio as well. The Declaration and the folio are located on the 7th Floor of the library.

12. Watch America’s Team in Person

The Dallas Cowboys, America’s Team, are a great entertainment option in Dallas. While the stadium is technically in Arlington, they are still the Dallas Cowboys. The stadium is relatively new and worth seeing if there isn’t a game going on. If you aren’t a Cowboys fan, maybe you can catch a game of them playing your home team! You can also arrange tours of the stadium.

A guided tour is $32 for adults, and a child’s ticket is $27.

13. Catch the Sunset at the Omni Hotel

The Omni Hotel has a great rooftop pool and bar area. It offers incredible views of Reunion Tower and the sunset. The hotel is also a great option to stay at while visiting Dallas and all the things to do here. Click here to check rates at the Omni Hotel.

 

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14. Learn about JFK at the Sixth Floor Museum

Many American’s know about the assassination of John F. Kennedy and all the theories behind it. At the Sixth Floor Museum, you can learn more about JFK’ legacy and the trip he was on that brought him to Texas that fateful day. You can see the layout of the book depository and right outside it the grassy knoll that the Presidential motorcade passed.

Admission for adults is $18, and for kids 6-18 it is $14. You can also book a tour through Get Your Guide.

15. Eat at the Dallas Farmer’s Market

The Dallas Farmer’s Market is a great place to get something to eat in Dallas. The Market Shops offer a variety of places to eat from tacos to popcorn to seafood. On Friday, Saturdays and Sundays there is an actual market for fresh food products. Because the vendors are all regional, their offerings are seasonal in nature so you may not find blueberries in winter. While some vendors accept cards, it is best to have cash on hand.

Things to do in Dallas

16. Visit the Dallas World Aquarium

The name of the Dallas World Aquarium is slightly misleading. There is an aquarium, but I think the highlight is the Rainforest environment inside. You walk through a tropical forest that is filled with exotic animals. They even have sloths! Walk slowly, or you will miss some of the more well-hidden animals.

Admission for adults is $20.95, and it is $14.95 for kids 2-12.

17. Admire Dallas City Hall

The famous architect I.M. Pei designed Dallas City Hall. The building is an upside pyramid shape. In front is an open courtyard with fountains and places to sit. If you are visiting the Declaration of Independence at the Dallas Public Library, it is right across the street.

18. Explore the State Fair of Texas

The State Fair of Texas at Fair Park has been happening for over 100 years. There is something for everyone to do at the State Fair of Texas. You can visit the animals, see the awards given for pies and quilts, ride the amusement rides or have a Fletcher’s Corn Dog. The fair happens in the fall usually starting in late Septemeber continuing for about three weeks.

General admission for adults is $16.50, and kids are $12.50. Rides and food are extra. There are packages you can buy at a discount online as well. Look out for special offers for admission.

19. See the art at the Meadows Museum

One of the less known museums in Dallas is the Meadows Museum at Southern Methodist University. The Meadows Museum has a connection to the Museo Nacional del Prado in Madrid, Spain. One of the founding collections of the museum is of Spanish Art. Many of the visiting exhibitions are Spanish related, but the museum doesn’t restrict to a specific style or period.

Adult admission is $12, and kids are free under the age of 12. Admission is free for all after 5 pm on Thursdays.

20. Visit the Original Neiman Marcus

The department store Neiman Marcus was founded in Dallas. The original store is located in downtown Dallas. It is the only department store located in downtown Dallas. At Christmas time, they have Christmas windows just like the major department stores do in New York City.

Things to do in Dallas

Photo by protoflux from Flickr

21. Look at Animals at the Dallas Zoo

The Dallas Zoo is an excellent option for things to do in Dallas especially if you are trying to entertain kids. They have all the things that most traditional zoos have, but they also have seasonal activities as well. During the holiday time, they have winter lights at night. There are also daily feedings of the giraffes that cost $5.

Admission for adults is $15 and kids aged 3-11 are $12. Kids under 2 are free.

22. Learn about Science and Nature at the Perot Museum

The Perot Museum new building was built in 2012. The Perot Museum is a uniting of the Dallas Children’s Museum and Dallas Museum of Natural History. The new museum features things like sports, a gem and mineral collection and the hall of birds. For the architecture enthusiast, you will be intrigued by the building, which was built by Thom Mayne. The building is designed to look like it is floating. Parts of the building feature drought-resistant plans to help the environment.

23. See the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge

This Calatrava bridge was opened in 2012. Originally it was planned as a combination of three bridges, but only two have been built and the third was canceled. Margaret Hunt Hill was an oil heiress and philanthropist. The bridge itself is great to admire. It is also a good place to photograph the Dallas skyline.

 

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24. Explore the George W. Bush Museum and Library

Explore more presidential history at the George W. Bush Museum and Library. This is another museum at Southern Methodist University making it a good place to stop if you are visiting the Meadows Museum. The topics covered in the museum include President Bush’s career and 9/11 information.

Adult admission is $16, kids ages 13-17 are $14, kids ages 5-10 are $10 and children under 4 are free.

25. Visit the Bishop Arts District

Hailed as Dallas’ Most Independent Neighborhood, the Bishop Arts District is worth visiting. There is something for everyone here. The shops are locally own shops that host a variety of goods, such as household products, gifts, Texas memorabilia, bookstore and plenty of bars and restaurants. Some of my favorites include Oddfellows, The Wild Detectives, Glorias and Cafe Brazil. The neighborhood also hosts events throughout the year, such as the monthly wine walk!

Where To Stay in Dallas

Dallas has tons of hotels but there is one that stands out the most to me and that is the Omni Hotel in downtown Dallas. The hotel has a great location and is close to many of the things to do on this list. You can walk to many places from here or catch the Dart train. The hotel also has great amenities and comfortable, stylish rooms.

Have you been to Dallas? What are your favorite things to do in Dallas, Texas?

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Dallas, TX

Europe, Greece, Travel

Things to Know Before Traveling to Greece

July 1, 2019
Greece at sunset

I have yet to meet someone who doesn’t have Greece on their bucket list. However, many people have preconceived notions about Greece that are not true or are less than accurate. Knowing the truth will help you plan better and help you enjoy your time in Greece even more. Here are all the things to know before you travel to Greece.

This post may contain affiliate links. If you click on the link and make a purchase, I may earn a commission at no additional cost to you.

Athens is More Than the Acropolis

Most people think of Athens, and they think of the Acropolis that sits on a hill in the center of the city. Many people believe they can visit the Acropolis and be done with Athens. Some people only spend one day in Athens!

You still don’t need a week in Athens, but you do need about three days to see more than the Acropolis. One of the best things to do is to visit the Acropolis Museum. It is stunning and is not very large. There is an archeological dig exposed under the building as well.

There are many more museums to explore in Athens as well, including the Benaki Museum and the Museum of Cycladic Art. The Benaki Museum has a wonderful cafe with an outdoor terrace to view the city.

There is also all the great food to eat as well. There is good food all over Greece, but Athens has a city feel and more upscale options if that suits you. Many places have excellent views of the Acropolis. I suggest going right before sunset to eat so you can enjoy your Greek food with a stunning sunset.

Athens has many other ancient sites to visit including Hadrian’s Library and the Ancient Agora. These sites can be seen with an additional cost added on to your ticket to the Acropolis. You can easily walk to them after finishing the Acropolis. A short tram ride away are some beaches if you want to make a day trip to the beach while in Athens.

Greece is On its Own Time

Unlike much of Europe, Greece has a much more laid back attitude and it is actually one of the things I love about spending time there. Ferries might be late or may be canceled. You may have to ask for your bill a few times before it arrives. There is no rushing in Greece unless you are driving. Then watch out!

This may be hard for some people to deal with but if you know about it in advance you know what to expect. The only thing I will say is that it usually all works out in the end. Greeks, for the most part, are pretty trustworthy and do not like to let the tourists down.

Strikes

Every summer there are ferry strikes. These seem to only happen during tourist seasons as well. I assume this is because it gives the workers more leverage. They are usually announced in advance so you won’t be standing at the ferry terminal waiting in the heat wondering if the ferry is going to come.

However, by the time they are announced, you will probably not be able to change your hotel and everyone will be either buying new tickets or plane tickets. That is if you are on an island with an airport. My advice is to get travel insurance to make sure you are covered for any out of pocket costs you may have to incur. Also, do not book your flight and ferry on the same day! This is a good time to see more of Athens.

Tipping in Greece

I belong to several groups on Facebook about Greece and at least once a week I see questions about tipping in Greece. Like most of Europe, no one in Greece will complain if you don’t tip but most people tip about 10%. This is for restaurants mostly. Even in a cafe or coffee shop, I like to leave something if I have been waited on at a table.

For larger groups, everyone should leave 10% as you are most likely taking up several tables during that time. If you feel like the waiter or waitress did an outstanding job, then more than 10% should be given. Another rule of thumb some people use is to round up. For example, if your bill was €18 then you could leave €2 as a tip. Keep in mind Greece is still suffering from economic issues so every bit helps the locals. Another thing to remember is that if paying with a credit card, you may not be able to add a tip after it has gone through the machine. Either ask them to add it to the total or have enough euros to tip in cash.

Santorini is Crowded

For many visiting Greece means the island of Santorini. Santorini is beautiful and has a unique landscape. However, everyone has Santorini on their bucket list and it means it is very crowded during the tourist season. If you must visit Santorini, here are a few tips that may help you avoid the crowds. First, go in the offseason. The main season is May to September with July and August being the busiest. However, I was in Santorini in September and it was still very busy. Go in October or April and you will still get to see the sites without the crowds.

If your only option is to go to Santorini in the tourist season, then stay outside the two main villages of Fira and Oia. They are the most crowded and probably the most expensive places on the island. A great alternative is in the village of Imerovigli. You will still get caldera views from here and the prices are less steep than in Oia.

200 Inhabited Greek Islands

There doesn’t seem to be an exact count of how many inhabited islands there are in Greece, but safe to say there are around 200. This is another reason that Santorini or Mykonos are not the only Greek islands to visit. These islands range from big islands like Crete, Rhodes and Naxos to small islands like Hydra, Aegina and Kythnos. All of these have many different things to do and see. Each island has its own culture and feel. You could go to a different island every time you visit Greece and still not see them all.

The Mainland

Mainland Greece is much larger than all the islands and there is so much to see there. The second largest city in Greece is Thessaloniki. Not only does it have the benefits of a city with cultural things to do but Thessaloniki has beautiful beaches as well. You can get to Thessaloniki by train from Athens or a quick flight from Athens.

Meteora is another gem of a place to visit on the mainland. Meteora is famous for the monasteries that are perched on top of high rocks that almost seem impossible to get to let alone build. You can either drive from Athens or take the train.

Another option on the mainland is the Peloponnese region. The Peloponnese is a peninsula and isn’t too far from Athens. This is were Kalamata is and where the famous Kalamata olive is from. This region is also known for its beautiful beaches.

Less Expensive

People are always asking me if Greece is expensive. The answer is yes if you are going to Santorini or Mykonos. However, if you are not going to these two places then my answer is no. Hotel prices vary across islands and the season, but even the 2 star hotels in Greece are nice. Most islands don’t have that many luxury resorts and you can always find something near the beach.

I just booked a hotel in Naxos for 6 nights for less than $250 without breakfast. It is even less expensive if you go in September or later. Food is not expensive and you can eat out for about €25 for two people not including drinks. Although in some places, that does include one glass of wine. Look for where the locals are eating and not only will you get great food but good value for your money.

Smoking

This is the only bad thing about Greece. Greeks still smoke a lot and I am comparing this to Italians! For the most part, it probably isn’t a big deal unless they are smoking next to you at dinner. Most restaurants in Greece do not allow smoking inside and you will most likely be eating outside. If it does bother you, ask the waiter to move you or if you are in a cafe, just move tables.

Sailing the Greek Islands

Sailing is a great way to see many islands in a short period of time without having to ferry hop with your luggage. This was how I saw Greece the first time and I fell in love. We sailed to 14 islands. While you don’t have as much time to explore if you were visiting a few islands for two weeks but it gives you a good feel for what the island is like and you can plan your return trip.

It is very relaxing and being on the water with the Greek breeze feels amazing. Most sailing trips have a preplanned itinerary but I have seen a few that let you plan the trip as you go based on the guests wants and the weather. Go in September as the water is warmest and the wind is not so high.

When to Visit Greece

My preferred month is September. The water is warm and so is the weather. The nights can be cool but never chilly. The crowds have left by then as well. October is also nice but many places start to close in October so there are fewer options for hotels and dining. However, you will have the beaches to yourself. You can also get good deals with shopping later in September you go.

If you must go in the summer due to work or school, I recommend going in June. The crowds haven’t started yet and the prices will still be low. The hotels and restaurants will be open by this time as well.

Beach Nudity

Beach nudity is common in Greece. Some beaches are more prone to it than others. If it is at a large beach the nudists tend to stay away from the sunbeds and umbrella areas. You will see some topless sunbathing on almost all the beaches. I am going to be totally honest and tell you that I am not a fan of full nudity for a variety of reasons. However, I have learned to accept it and try to look away as much as possible. Maybe I would feel differently if it was young fit people I was seeing naked and not 80-year-old men!

Cash

Cash is king in Greece. Restaurants would prefer you pay in cash. Some do this to avoid the taxes and some because they don’t want to pay the credit card fees. Technically the tax thing is illegal but unless you get a ridiculous bill, I would just pay and let it go. Paying in cash will endear you to the restaurant as well. Get Euros at the airport and take out enough to last you as long as you can. There are ATM fees in Greece and on some islands, the fee is quite high. On the small or less populated islands, ATMs can be a bit harder to come by.

No Toilet Paper in the Toilet

I saved the worst thing for last! On all of the islands, you cannot flush toilet paper. There will be a small covered trash can to dispose of your toilet paper in. It can be unsettling at first, but everyone is doing it. And no, it doesn’t smell either. The reason you have to do this is that the pipes can’t handle it. In Athens, this isn’t an issue as the plumbing is better there.

These are all the things you should know before traveling to Greece. I hope that I have answered all your pressing questions or have given you some things you didn’t know. Is there anything about visiting Greece that you think I have missed? Tell me in the comments.

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Two Years After I Left Qatar

June 17, 2019

Discovering Qatar from a Dhow Boat Cruise

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Two years ago, tomorrow, I flew out of Qatar for the last time as a Qatar resident. Four years ago, I had been in Qatar for two years. As you can imagine, my life has changed a lot since I left. Most of it for the good and some of it for the tragic. However, I am still glad that I went when I did. Here is how my life has changed and what I have learned about myself in the process.

Long-term travel

When I left Qatar, I planned to travel for a long time. There was no set plan in terms of timings or even countries. Although a few destinations were planned. I was in London for the first month. Even though I was totally unprepared for a London summer, I enjoyed myself immensely. I forgot how much I like a big walkable city with good public transportation. If you didn’t know, I used to live in New York City. London had museums and wonderful places to eat. I had sublet a room in an apartment, so I wasn’t in a hostel or a hotel. The only thing was I was a bit lonely as it is hard to make friends in such a large city, the same is true in New York City. By the time my month was up, I was ready to go. I have been back to London though as it has become one of my favorite places.

My next stop was Montenegro. This was a much shorter trip of only five days. I think I went way too short on this trip as I did with a few other stops on this journey. My next stop was a month in Greece! The only thing was the island was too small, and I was sometimes a bit bored because I had done most of the things. More short trips continued and over the past two years, I have learned that for the most part that trips of 3 weeks to a month are the perfect length for me.

Grief

In 2017, I fell in love with a wonderful man while I was in Greece. Things moved quickly, and we had discussed moving in together. After Thanksgiving weekend, his house caught on fire, and he died from carbon monoxide poisoning. I was devastated. My life stood still for a long time, and I wasn’t ready to work. I did some school, which kept me busy. It was an intensive course, and I knew that work wasn’t going to be so intense. I wasn’t sure I could concentrate on work fully. Interviewing was even a challenge. For so many reasons, I decided to delay working again, and I return to Greece for several months. This was either going to break me or heal me. Luckily, it was a healing trip, and while I still miss him daily, I can function now.

Freelance

Going back to Greece for the third time in three years, reignited the urge to want to live there full-time. I knew that I needed to find a remote job so that I could move there. I applied and applied, and then I slowly came to the realization that I didn’t want to work for someone for set hours. I wanted to work when I wanted and travel when I wanted. Never in my life have I ever wanted to work for myself. But I have been doing it for about six months now, and I love it. Even better, I have had lots of referrals and have not had to do a lot of hustling for clients. I have really been lucky and have great friends.

Naxos Beaches

What it has also taught me is that while I love working for myself, I also enjoy meeting new people. When I was in Antigua, I met some lovely people I met in one hostel I was staying in, and we are still chatting away planning to meet up soon. After I returned to my parent’s house, I worked from their kitchen table until my nieces got out of school for the summer. Then I joined a coworking space. I have loved being there. My days are more productive, I get dressed every day, and I have been meeting new people. I would love to join a coworking space in Greece, but the island I am planning on living on does not have one. So there may be some adjustment when I moved. More on the moving to Greece process later.

Returning to Qatar

Last November, after I left Greece, I decided to visit Qatar. It is such a short flight, and I had plenty of Qatar Airways miles left to fly there. Unfortunately, I got a horrible cold right when I arrived so I didn’t get out as much as I would have liked. However, I did get to see many people and spent two days at my old job. What I did realize very quickly is that I was unhappy for the last six months that I lived there.

Interestingly, I didn’t see that when I was there, and it took me returning to realize that. Qatar will always hold a special place in my heart, and I miss my friends and coworkers. Although many of them have also moved on.

The Future

If one thing is constant with me is that I love change. No matter what comes, I am sure that I will learn something new and grow from it even though I am now “middle-aged.” I look forward to the next two years and beyond.

Has your life changed a lot in the last few years? What have you learned from it?