10 Stockholm’s museums with free entrance

10 Stockholm’s museums with free entrance

Few years ago, Swedish government decided that every person should have equal access to cultural heritage in Sweden and made many of museum free of charge. That make a Sweden a good destination for travellers who love wandering around exhibitions and learn about different things.

Most of the museums with free access you will find in the capital of Sweden – Stockholm. In this post you will find the list of them.

1. Swedish Museum of Natural History (Naturhistoriska riksmuseet)

Address: Frescativägen 40, 114 18 Stockholm

How to get there: The easiest way to reach the museum is by subway, get off on Universitet station, walk around 5 minutes

Website: https://www.nrm.se/en/16

Opening hours:

Due to Covid-19 restriction you need to pre-book your entry. You can do it on the museum’s website. Possibility times of visiting:

Tuesday – Friday:

 1st entry: 12:15 p.m. – 02:30 p.m.

2nd entry: 3 p.m. – 5 p.m.

Saturday- Sunday

1st entry: 10 am – 12:30 p.m.

2nd entry: 01:15 p.m. – 03:30 p.m.

3rd entry:4 p.m. – 6 p.m.

Note: Required pre- booking of ticket (free of charge)

Swedish Museum of Natural History is one of my favourites in Stockholm. It is located in a beautiful building, with several floors full of exhibitions. You can find there  among others Swedish Nature, Life in Water, Diversity of Life Polar Regions and more. My favourite exhibition is one about dinosaurs and pre-history.

2. Museum of Ethnography (Etnografiska museet)

Address: Djurgårdsbrunnsvägen 34, Stockholm

How to get there: The easiest way to reach museum is by bus 69 from Sergels Torg, get out on bus stop called Museiparken. If you like to walk you can also take a subway to Kungsträdgårdet, walk through Strandvägen, Diplomatparken and along Djurgårdsbrunnsviken. The walk will take around 30 minutes.

Website: https://www.etnografiskamuseet.se/en/

Opening hours: Please check if there are not any changes due to COVID-19)

Thursday – Sunday 11 am – 5 pm

Monday – Wednesday closed

Note: Some of exhibitions are not available due to COVID – 19, there is also a limitation of visitors

After living for 6 years in Stockholm, finally I managed to visit Museum of Ethnography.  

It is a middle-size museum with interesting exhibition about different cultures. You can find there exhibits from around the world showing differences between ways of living. Exhibits were collected during 18th century  as well as exhibits collected by Sven Hedin during his round the world sailing trip in the early 20th century.

It is a nice museum for visit while walking around Djurgården.

3. The Marine Museum (Sjöhistoriska Museet)

Address: Djurgårdsbrunnsvägen 24, Stockholm

How to get there: The easiest way to reach museum is by bus 69 from Sergels Torg , get out on bus stop called Museiparken. If you like to walk you can also take a subway to Kungsträdgårdet, walk through Strandvägen, Diplomatparken and along Djurgårdsbrunnsviken. The walk will take around 30 minutes.

Website: https://www.sjohistoriska.se/en

Opening hours:

Thursday – Sunday 11 am – 5 pm

Monday – Wednesday: closed

Note: Right now, museum is still closed for the public due to COVID -19 restrictions. For more information check the website.

 

This museum is as well one of my favourite museums is Stockholm. I was always fascinated by ships and sea voyages which were a first option of traveling. In the museum you can find many exhibits from voyages, seaman’s life as well as models of different ships, weapons and much more. According to the museum’s website ¨ merchant shipping history and naval history collections can compare with the finest in the world. They comprise some 100,000 objects, including over 1500 models of ships and boats.

Visiting museum plan to have minimum two hours to enjoy it.

4. The Swedish History Museum (Historiska Museet)

Address: Narvavägen 13-17, Stockholm

How to get there: The easiest way to reach museum is by bus 69 from Sergels Torg or tram 7, get out on bus stop called Djurgårdsbron.  You can reach museum as well by subway (red line), stop on Karlaplan or Östermalmstorg.

Website: https://historiska.se/home/

Opening hours:

Monday: Closed

Tuesday: 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Wednesday: 11 a.m. – 8 p.m.

Thursday – Sunday: 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Museum show through their 11 exhibitions history of world from Stone Age until modern times. You can learn among others about history of Sweden, medieval art, music and even massacres.

5. The Economy Museum - Royal Coin Cabinet (Kungliga myntkabinettet)

Address: Narvavägen 13-17, Stockholm

How to get there:  You will find this museum in History Museum building. You can get there walking from subway stations Östermalmstorg or Karlaplan (red line). If you do not like walk so much you can take a bus 67 and drop – off on the bus stop called Historiska Museet.

Website: https://ekonomiskamuseet.se/

Opening hours:  Please check if there are any changes due to COVID-19

Monday: closed

Tuesday – Sunday: 11 a.m – 5 p.m

Wednesday: 11 a.m – 8 p.m

I have visited this museum many years ago, when was still located in front of the castle in the old town. Making research before writing the post I realised that they change concept of this museum as well there will be available new exhibitions among other about hyperinflation. I look forward to visiting this place again and learn more about economy and its history. You can also find there money from different places and different times in history.

6. Army Museum (Armémuseum)

Address: Riddargatan 13, Stockholm

How to get there: Take a subway to station Kungsträdgården (blue line) or Östermalmstorg (red line), walk around 10 minutes from Kungsträdgården and 5 minutes from Östermalm.  

Website: https://www.armemuseum.se/

Opening hours: Please check if there are any changes due to COVID-19

Monday: closed

Thursday – Sunday 11 am – 5 pm

If you are intrested in war and army history, you will like this museum. You can find there three floors filled with interesting exhibitions from medieval time until nowadays. You can learn how war and conflicts affect humanity, follow develop of weapons as well as learn Raoul Wallenberg history, who helped over 20 000 people during II World War.

What I like about this museum is that every time I learn something new visiting it. In the museum is possible to see as well special exhibitions (changeable theme). Entry for extra exhibitions is paid. However, the las ne about Secret Agent Women costed 50 SEK (around 4,50€).

7. The Royal Armory (Livrustkammaren)

Address: Slottsbacken 3, Stockholm

How to get there:  Museum is located at the Royal Palace. You can take the subway and drop – off at Kungsträdgården station (blue line), then walk around 10 minutes or if you travel by red or green line, I recommend getting out at Gamla Stan station and take walk through Stockholm’s beautiful old town before visiting museum.

Website: http://livrustkammaren.se

Opening hours:  Please check if there are any changes due to COVID-19

Monday: closed

Tuesday – Sunday: 11 a.m – 5 p.m

Thursday: 11 a.m – 8 p.m

Have you been dreaming as a child to become a princess or a prince? Most of us did that even if we do not remember it 😉. This place allowed you to enter a royal world of kings, and queens. You can see how royalty used to dress before, how they had been travelling and more. As it was an original Swedish armoury you will see there as well ceremonial equipment, weapons, and costumes. According to Wikipedia it is the oldest museum in Stockholm.

8. Medieval Museum (Medeltidsmuseet)

Address: Strömparterren 3, Stockholm

How to get there:  Museum is located under Norrbo, between Royal Palace and Opera. You can take the subway and drop – off at Kungsträdgården station (blue line), then walk around 10 minutes or if you travel by red or green line, I recommend to get out at Gamla Stan station and take walk through Stockholm’s beautiful old town before visiting museum.

Website: https://medeltidsmuseet.stockholm.se/in-english/

Opening hours:  The museum is temporarily closed due to the Corona situation. I will update you as soon as museum will be open again.

Do you like Medieval times? In this museum history comes alive again. An interesting fact is that this museum is built around largest excavation in Stockholm. It is worth to visit.

9. National Museum (Nationalmuseum)

Address: Södra Blasieholmshamnen 2

How to get there:  You can take the subway and drop – off at Kungsträdgården station (blue line), take exit towards Skärgårdsbåtarna walk around 10 minutes.

Website: https://www.nationalmuseum.se/en/

Opening hours: The museum is temporarily closed due to the pandemic situation.However, they have opened a paid exhibition ¨Zorn – A Swedish Superstar¨

I have not been in that museum yet. I am looking forward to visiting it as soon as will be open. The National Museum is focus mostly on art and design.

10. Museum of Mediterranean and near Eastern Antiquities (Medelhavsmuseet)

Address: Fredsgatan 2, Stockholm

How to get there:  The museum is in the middle of central Stockholm. The closest subway stations are T -Centralen and Kungsträdgården.

Website: https://www.medelhavsmuseet.se/en

Opening hours:  

Monday – Tuesday: closed

Wednesday – Sunday: 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.

I am so exited that this museum is open again. I do not know how it is possible that living 7 years in Stockholm I have not been there yet. It is one of four museums in Stockholm showing a world culture. It this particular one exhibition is focus on Mediterranean and near Eastern Antiquities. I am looking forward to visiting it.

That would be everything for today. I hope my list of free museum will help you to plan summer activities in Stockholm :D. 

See you on the road,

Kaja 

Västerås – an industrial city with its own charm

Västerås – an industrial city with its own charm

Year 2020 is over. It was a weird and different year that no one expected. Most of the world is still fighting with the pandemic and more countries are setting up more local restrictions and even full lockdowns.

I can say that I have luck living in Sweden, where we have not had tough restrictions nor have we had any lockdown. We can still travel around home as long as we keep distance from others and try to not travel during rush hours.

We took that possibility and decided to visit a nearby town, where Carlos used to work before, and hometown of a friend of mine. The industrial town with its own charm – Västerås

Västerås – where to find it

Västerås is a city located in central Sweden, on the shore of lake Mälaren around 100 km from Stockholm. The city is well connected with the capital by trains operated by SJ (company operating trains in Sweden), which gives a good possibility for people to commute between the two cities. A train trip takes around 1 hour and in rush hours there is a train departing every half an hour.  As I mentioned in the introduction, we tried to travel there while avoiding rush hours, but it was still easy due to trains departing once per hour.

Where to stay

As we live within an one-hour train trip from Västerås, we did not need accommodation there. However, as there are many big companies there like ABB, Hitachi, or Bombardier, you can find many accommodation options. I would even say that for the size of that city there is surprisingly many hotels there. You can easily book your accommodation here. (link to booking.com)

Due to the pandemic situation, before booking any accommodation check if it is open. Most people who need accommodation in Västerås are business travellers, which are not so common right now, resulting in some hotels being closed.  

Where to eat

I have been twice in Västerås until now, and we have visited four different places. Two restaurants for lunch, one café for coffee break and one for some drinks with a friend.

Kajens Café, Mälargatan 4Dl Västerås

Being first time in Västerås Carlos invited me to a place where he went before with his colleagues. It is a small café/restaurant with a beautiful view to the lake and tasty food. You can choose between Swedish cuisine like me or something more conventional like pizza or grilled panini.

I like this place. The food we ordered was tasty, the portions were more than enough, and the price was ok. We went there during lunch time, in which most restaurants have a special deal and most of the time coffee is included in the price.

Choys Garden, Smedjegatan 2 

During our second visit to Västerås Kajens Café was closed, so we needed to find another place. We decided to have some Asian cuisine at Choys Garden.

The place was ok, but I do not think that we will come back there. The food was cheap for Swedish standards. We paid around 100 SEK per person and it was a buffe, so you can eat as much as you want. However, as I am a person with small stomach and appetite, it is not a big deal for me. 

The biggest no, and the reason why we will not come back there, is that the place was a little bit dirty. I think it was due to few personnel, and at the time of our visit they had many customers. Maybe in different circumstances my impression would be different.

In Sweden Asian Buffe restaurants are commonand you can find minimum one in each city. After visiting one in Västerås during the pandemic, I think that these type of restaurants could have problems to adapt to a new ¨keep distance¨ restrictions.

During our visit there I saw a lot of people coming at the same time to the buffet, even though signs showed that maximum 4 people should be at the same time. The problem is also that everyone is serving food with the same spoons, so there is a risk of getting sick if some guests does not put attention to disinfecting their hands and keeping distance.

Global Living, Smedjegatan 13, Västerås

Global Living is a charming coffee break/lunch/evening drink place. We went there twice for FIKA 😊, so we tried only sweets and coffee. I can recommend the hot chocolate, which was one of the best that I have had in Sweden.

This place is special. You can find there ¨avant-garde design¨ and it is possible to purchase many of the furniture and accessories you see there as well. So, if you like any painting there it is only a matter of asking the staff about it 😊.

Bistro Gränden, Smedjegatan 7,

Bistro Gränden looks like a nice restaurant for a romantic dinner with your partner, or a place for evening drinks with friends. We visited it to spend time with a friend and wait in a warm place until it was time to take  our train back.

The place is nice and warm with a wide selection of food and drinks. We ordered 3 mojitos and some French fries. It was tasty and the price was good for Swedish standards. As I live in Stockholm, and I compare the price in Bistro Gränden to a similar restaurant in Stockholm, I would even say that the price there was surprisingly low.

I highly recommend this place and we will come back in the future. Maybe next time it will be for a romantic dinner 😊.

What to visit

Västmanland County Museum, Karlsgatan 2

The first place we visited in Västerås was the Västmanland County Museum. You can learn there about the region and city´s history, about how big impact the ABB Company had in the development of the city and much more.

We had the chance of seeing a special exhibition about the music band KISS, which for me was interesting and I had a lot of fun there.

It is an interesting museum with free admission, so of course I can recommend it. Remember that due to COVID-19 restrictions museums in Sweden are closed to the public until January 25th 2021.

Aviation Museum, Hässlögatan 16

I learned about this museum while writing this post for you, and I have not had the chance to visit it yet due to COVID-19. As soon as the museum opens, I will visit it and share my experience with you.

It is an aircraft museum with most of its exhibitions in airworthy condition. I have been in many aviation museums and I really like them, so this one stays on my list 😊

Admission fee: 100 SEK

You can find more information about the museum here 

Djäkneberget, Djäknebergsgatan 10

I think this is my favourite place in Västerås. One of the highest points in city, with a beautiful view over the old town and lake Mälaren.

If you like to spend time outdoors, it is a great place for a walk, picnic or even a date with a sunset. It is a city park in which you can find a restaurant, a mini golf, and a playground for children. I know from my friend, who lives in Västerås, that this is a popular place for celebrations like Valborg or Midsommar.

I recommend you a game of finding all runestones in the park and read the inscriptions on them 😀 Reserve a lot of time, because they are around 500 of them.

You can also visit more places like:

  • Kokpunkten – Aqua Park
  • Birdsafari Sweden,
  • Botaniskaträdgården,
  • Anundshög

Västerås is  one of the towns that has stolen my heart even during a rainy day, which does not happen often. I am sure that we will visit it again as soon as the weather allows it and when the museums will be open again.  I would like to visit the Aircraft museum as well as Anundshög next time.

I hope you enjoyed the post and found interesting information here.

Stay safe and see you on the road!

Kaja

Hotel Lupus – Review

Year 2020 has been special and different for all of us. Long-haul trips got canceled, so many countries closed their borders and put lockdowns.

My way of planning travels changed as well and from well-planned trips that I used to make, I chose more spontaneous stays close to home. One of those was a trip with my family to a town located around 100 km from my hometown – Gołdap.

In this post I would like to share with you a review of the hotel where we stayed – Hotel Lupus.

How to reach the hotel and first impression

Hotel Lupus is a newly opened hotel located in Gołdap’s city central, so it is a good place for exploring the town. You can find a grocery store next to it as well as tourist information within 10 minutes walking distance. If you travel by car there is a big parking lot in front of the hotel.

There is no sign on the building with information about the hotel. We arrived late in the evening, so with the darkness it was tricky to find the place. Fortunately, there is a restaurant in the same building, so we simply asked the personnel and were directed to the hotel’s reception that was on the first floor.

As I said the hotel has been recently opened, according to the receptionist it was 5 days before our arrival, so I think there will be some outside sign with the hotel’s name on it in the future.

Check – in experience

On our way to Gołdap I called the hotel and informed that we would be arriving later than we planned, which was not an issue. When we arrived, a super friendly receptionist welcomed us, and informed us that our rooms are of course ready.

It was a spontaneous trip, but for a special occasion – my mum and my sister’s birthdays. When I booked the accommodation, I asked them to prepare a flower and some chocolates in both rooms, as a surprise for the girls. It worked perfectly. When we entered the rooms, on the table  the girls found a box of chocolates and a rose. Thank you very much for making our arrival special.

Room and general impression

We booked two rooms – one double and one triple. Our rooms were located on the same floor as the reception, close to each other. From the triple room we had a view over the main street and the parking lot, but there was a proper sound-proved window, so we did not hear any traffic noise.

Both rooms were big and spatial. In the triple room, where I stayed with my sister and her boyfriend, we had one queen-sized bed and one single bed, a desk and a wardrobe. In the double room, where my parents stayed, it was a double bed and a wardrobe.

There were TVs missing in both rooms. However, it looked like the owners of the hotel have it planned to equip the rooms with TVs in the future.

Both rooms had a nice and big bathroom with shower and space for our cosmetics. That is a big plus, because for me there is nothing worse if I do not have space where to put my make-up stuff in the hotel bathroom 😊.

Breakfast and restaurant

There is a restaurant in the same building as the hotel. The name of the restaurant is Turystyczna. In the price of the accommodation was included breakfast as well, which was served in that restaurant. Breakfast was simple, but fresh and tasty. We could choose between cereal with milk or yoghurt, bread, ham, cheese, and some vegetables. Besides that, there were also warm dishes like scramble egg or sausages. 

The breakfast area was clean, and the food was fresh and tasty. Unfortunately, there was not choice of products for people with allergies like gluten and/or lactose intolerance.

Throughout the day the restaurant serves lunches, dinners, and pizza. We had a dinner there after arrival and the food was tasty and the portions were good. More about places to eat in Goldap you can find in my other post Goldap – the hidden treasure.

Even if the hotel had some deficiencies, I can highly recommend it for its helpful and friendly personnel as well as for its location and comfortable beds. I booked the accommodation calling directly to the hotel and we paid around 100€ for two rooms for one night. You can book the hotel through my blog here. 

Do you like this review? Check other hotels reviews here

See you on the road,

Kaja

Once Upon a Road review
Location
5/5
Comfort
4/5
Service
5/5
Breakfast
3/5
Cleanliness
4/5
General Rate
4.2/5
Tężnie i widok na miasto

Gołdap – The Hidden Gem

Gołdap – The Hidden Gem

Year 2020 has been special and different for all of us. Long-haul trips got canceled, so many countries closed their borders and put lockdowns. The good thing is that in all this craziness I could spend more quality time with the people that I love and care about.

I managed to visit my family in Mrągowo – my hometown – and spent with them a whole month. Normally, with work and everything going on, a two-week stay was the maximum that I could achieve in one visit.

This month was special, but today I would like to tell you about our spontaneous trip together to a city 100 km away from home – Gołdap.  

It is a small town located in northeastern Poland, in the region of Masuria. The town is located next to border to Kalinigrand Oblast which is giving its typical border town charm with mixed polish and russian cultures. 

Tężnie i widok na miasto

Where to stay

As I said in the beginning, it was a spontaneous trip planned the day before, so we did not have so much time to look for a specific accommodation, which I think it was a good thing. Goldap is a spa town with many hotels, B&B, and private rooms, which gives plenty of possibilities for accommodation, mostly during low-season as we stayed.

We end up in the newly opened Hotel Lupus located in the city center, with a nice parking place and a restaurant. I can highly recommend it for its location, comfortable beds, nice design, and nice personnel. If I visit again Goldap, I will probably stay there again.  For my whole hotel review click here.

Zdjecie pokazujace budynek hotelu w Goldapi
Korytarz hotel Lupus

Where to eat

Our stay in Goldap was short, because it was only one and a half day, but we ate in two nice restaurants which I can highly recommend.

1. Restauracja Turystyczna, Królewiecka 619-500 Gołdap

Our first meal, which was a special birthday dinner, we had it in a place called Restauracja Turystyczna, which was a restaurant located in the same building as our hotel.

When I booked our rooms, I booked a table as well and that was a good idea. When we arrived in the hotel, there was waiting for us a beautifully decorated table with flowers on and glasses for wine. I would like to thank the personnel very much for that.

Let us come back to food. Me and my family are kind of picky if it comes to food, which make us not an easy type of customer 😊. However, I need to say that all of us where super satisfied with the food we ordered. All meals where fresh, tasty, and nicely served. See the pictures that we took.

You can find more information on here 

2. Matrioszka, Partyzantów 27A, 19-500 Gołdap, Poland

We had lunch on day 2 in a restaurant called Matrioszka. Here you can eat both Polish and Russian cuisine which gives you plenty of options. It is  heaven for people who likes dishes based on potatoes and flour, but meat lovers will find something to eat as well.

I can recommend a soup called Żarkoje (It is kind of a stew soup) and the Matrioszka plate with potatoes pancakes and more.

You can find the whole menu on http://matrioszkagoldap.pl/menu/

Lalki Matrioszka
talerz z zupa
Stół zastawiony jedzieniem

What to visit

Goldap is mostly known as a ski and SPA resort. You can visit here places and attraction such as:

1. Mini graduation towers and medical SPA with Mineral and therapeutic water drinking room, “Zdrój”

Graduation towers are known for their good effect on the human respiratory system and are recommended for people after lung problems as  rehabilitation. The salty water that is going down on the walls makes the air around full of iodine, which is like the one that we can breathe walking next to the sea.

It is a perfect place nowadays with COVID-19. We spent there half of the day, I think. Relaxing first in the salt cave, drinking mineral water, looking at the landscape view from the top and playing mini golf.

I think it is a good place to relax, recharge batteries and enjoy the time with your beloved ones or alone with a good book. Highly recommended.

Address: ul. Promenada Zdrojowa 20, 19-500 Gołdap

More information here 

Tężnia i gofry
Przejście pod tężniami
Ja i tężnie
Krany do nabierania wody mineralnej
Salon wypoczynkowy, Gołdap
kobieta grająca w minigolf
2. Water Tower

This attraction as many others is open only during summer (May – September)

It is an old water tower built in 1900 and which supplied the citizens with running water until 1996. Now it is an architectural monument with a viewpoint on top, cozy café and a museum.

Address: Ul. Paderewskiego 35, 19-500 Gołdap

Pricelist and more information you can find here: http://www.wieza-goldap.pl/en/

Wieża Ciśnień Gołdap
3. Ski slopes ¨Piekna Gora¨

As a winter sports lover you can find here 4 different ski slopes with a lift, from which the highest has 750 m of trails and it is the highest one in the lowlands in Poland.

More information: http://zajazd-rudziewicz.pl/en/skiing-slopes/

4. Revolving Café

This coffee place is a unique one and we wanted to visit it but it was closed :(. It is a place located on a hill and the building rotates which gives you a possibility to enjoy the view 360 degrees around. Is it not an amazing idea? I am sure that I need to come back there to try it.

Address: Konikowo 11, 19-500 Gołdap

More information: http://zajazd-rudziewicz.pl/en/revolving-cafe/

5. Bloodless Safari and ecological farm

Goldap can be also a good spot for exploring the area with many historical as well as architectonical monuments, among others you have:

  • Railway bridges in Stańczyki
  • A pyramid in Rapa
  • Bunkers in Mamerki
  • Weir gates near Węgorzewo
  • Borecka and Romincka Forests

That is all for today. I can highly recommend Goldap as a place to visit in Poland,within the Masuria region. I hope you find my post inspiring and helpful when planning your own visit to this beautiful town.

Stay safe and see you on the road!

Kaja

IntercityHotel Essen review

Time for next hotel review!

Every possibility to travel is good. In September 2019, our friends invited us to their wedding in Essen , Germany, so we made a quick and intensive weekend trip to celebrate with them their big day.

I will not write here about the party, but because of it I had chance to stay in another hotel in Essen (you can find the first hotel review I did from Essen here). This time we stayed in IntercityHotel Essen.

Location and first impressions

InterncityHotel is located in the center of the city, around 5 minutes walking from the train station. It is a perfect location if you need to stay only one night, and you need to have good connection to trains, subway and other local transportation.

For us it was important that the hotel was close to the train station as we traveled from Stockholm to Essen the same day, and our airplane landed in Dusseldorf (around 30 minutes train trip to Essen). We had only few hours between our arrival and the start of the wedding.

Check – in experience

We arrived at the hotel around 1 p.m., and our room was not ready yet. It is my fault, because I did not inform them that we would be arriving earlier and check–in starts at 2 p.m. As I mentioned before, we were short on time, so I asked the personnel in the reception if it was possible to maybe change the room, so we could check in earlier. After a few minutes we got our keys and we could go to our room.

The guy in the reception unfortunately did not speak English very well, so it was a little bit complicated to communicate with him. Fortunately, his manager came to help and explained us that the room we got was prepared for one person, so we needed to take an extra change of sheets and towels. I have to say that it was a weird thing for a customer to do  by themselves in a 4-star hotel. 

Room and general impression about Intercity Essen

Our room was located on the first floor with a window to the street and a view towards a construction site. We needed only the room for one night, so that did not bother us, mostly considering that during weekends they do not work on construction. I am sure that it would be annoying for a longer stay. I cannot complain because originally that was not our room. On our key it was written a room number located in another corner that was probably prepared according to my specification to have a room in a quiet part of the hotel.

The room had a nice size and it had everything you need to have in a hotel room including wardrobe, safe box, tv, mini bar (extra charge) and shoe cleaner 😊. If you like to have coffee in your room probably you would have  been disappointed, because they do not have it in this hotel. However, there is bar down at the lobby, next to reception, where you can order drinks. I did so, and the coffee was tasty plus big thanks for getting lactose free milk for me.

As I always say, the most important part in the hotels is cleanness and bed. And here goes a big applause for IntercityHotel Essen. The room was spotless clean, and the bed was amazingly comfortable. I slept like a baby. I am big fan of hard beds and the bed in our room was comfortably hard with cozy pillows and sheets.

I apologize for not having pictures of the room, but as we arrived late to Essen and we were really tired and short with time so I completely forgot to take them  😉.

Breakfast and restaurant

Next day, after partying the whole night, it was time for breakfast experience. My favorite part of staying at hotels is the morning breakfast with a good variety of choices and the most important thing: that I do not need to prepare breakfast myself.

When looking for this hotel I did not check reviews about breakfast like I usually do most of the time, but it was a nice surprise. The breakfast at Intercity hotel was tasty, fresh, and with a variety of ham, cheese, bread and the most important for me, tea.

I started my day with a small bowl of cereal with yoghurt, followed by some sandwich and I finishing my meal with fresh bread with Nutella 😊. We walked up early this day, so we had a little bit extra free time to relax before my cousin would come to pick us up, so we decided to have a cup of coffee after breakfast.

As I cannot drink milk with lactose, and I forgot to take my pills with me, I asked a waiter for lactose-free milk. Again, it was not a problem and we could enjoy our coffee shortly after they brought it. Unfortunately, the coffee that they served during breakfast was weak and tasteless. Big no for my taste. If you like strong coffee, I recommend you to order it in the bar next to the reception.

Summarizing today’s post, I would like to say that this hotel is worth recommending if you need to have a short stay in Essen.  I think we will stay there again next time we visit this city.

I booked the hotel from the travel agency Ticket.se (where I work) but you can also book it through booking.com using the following link and help me to grow my blog 🙂

That is all for today. I hope that you could find all that you were looking for.

See you on a road!

Kaja 

Finnair and Helsinki Airport review

In July 2019 I had the opportunity to fly with a Finish airline – Finnair as well as visiting Helsinki International Airport. In this post I would like to share with you my opinion about both of them.

Let’s start with a Finnair. That was my first flight with that airline, and I have to say that my first impression was a positive one. I took a flight from Stockholm to Warsaw via Helsinki (yes I know, Helsinki is not on the straight way to Warsaw, but that was the only flight that fit my time schedule 😉 ).

First flight first impression!

In short flights in the Nordics, as well as above the Baltic Sea area, most of the times you will fight with Finnair’s preferred partner – a company called NoRRA (Nordic Regional Airlines). That happened during my trip. The plane was a small one with only two seats on every side. For me that is a convenient solution. Even though the plane was not the newest one, it was a comfortable trip. The most important thing for me is the cleanness of the airplane during my trip. And here the company surprised me in very good way. The plane was spotless clean and the service fabulous.

Service after boarding

Directly after being able to remove the seat belts, stewardesses started serving beverages. Every customer could choose something to drink between coffee, tea, water and local finish juice in several different flavors. Normally, I am not taking warm drinks on the plane. I read somewhere that the cans where they store water on the planes are not always properly cleaned and that it is easy to get stomach pain. This time, I took a risk, because it was an early morning flight, and everything turned out ok. It was not the best tea in my life, but was tasty and warm, and that was what I needed. 

Helsinki Airport - terminal 2

As I said earlier, I had to change planes in Helsinki Airport to flight to Warsaw. On my inbound travel I had 1.5 hours to kill on the airport. I decided to take a walk around the terminal (I was landing and departing from terminal 2). It is a middle-sized terminal, with many different stores where you can buy tax-free products, local food or clothes and electronics. Almost like on every other airport in the world. However, as it is in Helsinki, they have one, cute small store dedicated to Mumins! Paradise for all children, both the small ones as well as the big ones 😉.

Where to eat on the airport

You can find there also several restaurants serving everything from pasta through fish and deer meat, Espresso Housea Swedish competition to Starbucks, and even an Irish Pub. On my way home, when I had longer waiting time in the airport, I had lunch in Fly Inn Panorama Restaurant & Deli. I ordered a pizza with deer meat and mushrooms. The dish was tasty, and quickly served. The portion was big, so I could not eat everything. The place was nice, with a good viewpoint for departing planes. If you love planes, like I do, you will surely enjoy lunch there. The price was reasonable. For a pizza with water I paid around 20€.

My favorite place on the airport

I would like you tell you about my favorite place on this airport. Wandering around, I found a Book Swap room towards the end of the terminal. Is it not an amazing idea? If you are traveling long and you already read your book, you can leave it there and take another one. Big applause for the creators of this room. 

The room is not only made to exchange the books. It is also a place where you can relax, read, or event take a nap while waiting for your next flight. Remember! Those type of places are designed to relax and rest during long flights, so keep your music with low volume in your headphones not to bother other travelers 😉.

I spent in this room like two hours reading, thinking and watching planes getting ready to take off. If I will visit this airport again, I am sure that that it will be the place where I will spend most of the time. I do not buy unnecessary things on the airports, and there is limit of how much coffee you can drink during the day 😉, so I really appreciate a place where I can sit and read in peace. By the way, you can also take your coffee with you and enjoy it in a peaceful environment.

That would be everything for today. Summarizing, I enjoyed my time during my flight with Finnair and on the airport in Helsinki. I can recommend it to you! If you have any questions about me, my blog, traveling and food leave your comment and subscribe to my blog!

See you on the road,

 

Kaja  

Best Western Hotel Linköping – review

In June 2019 I had the opportunity to visit again Linköping in Sweden due to a board game convention: LinCon. This time we (me and my boyfriend) chose to stay in a hotel located in the city center, with good connection to Linköping University, where the event took place. As a big fan of the Best Western hotel brand, I found a nice, cozy hotel called Best Western Hotel Linköping. This is a 3-star hotel located in the main square in Linköping, on Hantverkaregatan 1.

How to get there, check-in and the first impression!

As the hotel is placed in the main square, it is easy to reach from the train station in Linköping. You can easily walk there, and it takes around 15 minutes. If you have heavy bags with you, or you do not want to walk, you can always take a bus. From the train station almost all the busses are going to the hotel and you can stop on the bus stop called Kungsgatan.

My first impression was good. Nicely-designed reception and friendly staff. I had booked my room through hotels.com, where I could use my free night (more information about memberships and how to travel for free coming soon). As a member of Best Western Membership program too, I asked if I could use it during this stay. Unfortunately, most of the times the hotel membership does not apply when you book your room through third-party companies like Hotels.com. However, the girl in the reception was really nice and we got two coupons to use in the hotel’s restaurant for 140 Swedish Crowns. That was super nice of them.

In our room

We got a nice, cozy room in the 3rd floor. The place was small, but for our stay it was more than enough. There were no toiletries in the room as conditioner or body care, so do not forget to take yours with you. In the bathroom you will find only liquid soap/shampoo dispensers hanged onto the wall. It is environmentally friendly, but I like to have something extra to care about my skin and hair.

The only issue with the hotel was the noise from nearby restaurants and clubs during night throughout all of our staying (It was Thursday to Saturday). The windows are not soundproof at all. However, if you can sleep with earplugs, the hotel provides them for free and you can find them in your room. For longer stays the noise, as well as lack of wardrobe, could be an issue.

Breakfast and service

We had breakfast twice there and, in my opinion, it was a good breakfast. Not the best in my life, but for a 3-star hotel standard it was more than enough. They had a variety of tasty and fresh bread, pancakes, fruits, hams, cheese, cereal and more. I think that everyone could find something appealing to eat.

I really love that they have a big variety of teas and those super cute teapots, where you can brew your morning beverage. As a tea lover, I really appreciate it. If you have any allergies you can choose this hotel, because like most hotels in Sweden, Best Western Linköping also offers a lactose-free and gluten-free variants on their food and beverages.

I can highly recommend this hotel but remember to take into consideration the noise before booking your room. As I mentioned before, I booked it through Hotels.com and we paid 757 Swedish Crowns (around 70 €) per night for a double room. I think that for Swedish price levels and the good service that we got in the hotel, it was a good price.

Check my other hotels reviews here!

See you on the road,

Kaja

Once Upon a Road review

Localization
4.6/5
Comfort
3/5
Service
5/5
Breakfast
4/5
Cleaning
5/5
General Rate
4.5/5

Internship in Costa del Sol – how much it costs.

It has been already one month since I started my internship in Spain. I decided that probably many of you would like to know how much it costs to live here. In this post I would like to cover this topic and how to make shopping smartly to save some money.

My three-month internship here is unfortunately unpaid, so I came here with a tight budget. However, as a traveling-addicted person I would like to explore as much as I can here with the money I have. After one week living here, I have decided that I need 600€ for monthly expenses and the rest I can use for traveling. Read forward to see what I am spending this money on. 

1. Renting apartment

Renting an apartment is one of the biggest expenses here. Of course, you can try to find accommodation through Couchsurfing, however I am staying here 3 months and I need my space.

Costa del Sol is a place which people from Sweden, Norway, Finland and England choose as an escape from a cold winter in their countries. Here they can enjoy the sun almost during the whole winter.

That makes the real estate industry grow really fast. There are several rental options like room rental, apartment rental or simply aparthotel or hotel.

There is plenty of websites like https://www.milanuncios.es/ where you can find information about room rental from a private person or use a holiday rental agency to find it through them. I chose to rent the apartment through an agency to have comfort with communication in English. In Spain not everyone speaks English.  I found the apartment through https://www.spainhouses.net/ .

I think it was a great idea to do like I did, because I feel safe and everything is perfect. I am renting my apartment together with my classmate, which is also doing an internship in the same company. In my opinion, it is the best option if you can share the cost of accommodation with someone. We pay 800€ per month, including all utilities. However, if we would have a consumption on utilities for more than 60€ per month we would need to pay extra. It is a 65m2 apartment with 2 bedrooms, 1 bathroom, a small kitchen and a balcony with sea view. I was thinking that this is a really good price, but according to a colleague who lives here, it is an expensive one.

Be careful with the distance from work when you look for an apartment. Costa del Sol is a mountain area, so 2.5 km on the map to an apartment that is for example up in Benalmadena will not be the same as 2.5 km if you will have an apartment next to the sea, where you have flat ground. I asked a friend to come and see the apartment and the area before I decided to take it. 

2. Food and other things that I need in home (washing soap, shower gel, etc.).

As I said, in the beginning I came here with a short budget and still I would like to explore a lot. To do so, I decided that I can spend 50€ per week on food and other necessary things. To be able to stick to this budget I need to make shopping carefully and that is why I can give you some tips on how to buy good things cheap and not overpay.

Fuengirola, the small town where I am staying, is a typical touristic place, so shop owners take advantage of it. The first thing that you should know is to not make shopping in a supermarket next to the beach. The prices there are twice or even three times higher than in the shops that are farther from the coast.

I have also found that in Costa del Sol they have local outdoor markets, where you can buy fresh fruits and vegetables. In Fuengirola this market takes place on Tuesdays. You can read more about local markets here (link to next article). This is the best and the cheapest place to buy fruits and vegetables. The colors, variety and prices are outstanding. As an example, 1 kg of tomatoes or avocado (from local producers) costs 1€ each, or 1 kg of juicy mango 1,50€. I spend every week around 7€ there and I am coming back with my backpack (30l) full of good stuff.

I usually make my weekly shopping in a supermarket called Jamón  Supermarcado. It is close to my office and I can find everything I need there in a good price. They have fresh meat, different types of ham and cheese, and everything you need for a weekly shopping. I spend there between 15-25€ per week. It depends a lot on what I buy, but I always get turkey, yoghurts, lactose-free milk and some snacks to work. I am not eating so much meat here, but once I bought two chicken breasts and I paid around 2€ for it. A good bread costs between 1,50€ and 3,50€. I am buying it in a bakery close to my house. This store (Jamón Supermarcado) is not the cheapest one. You can find here a store called Mercadona, which is cheaper, but I do not have it close.

3.Transportation

I do not use so often local transportation, because I walk to and from work. The buses around Fuengirola cost 1,15€ and you need to buy it by cash from the driver. Remember to have coins, because drivers do not have change.  If you would like to go between cities in Costa del Sol, the price depends a lot on how far you want to go. The problem with the busses is that they do not have accurate time schedules. According to the locals, the buses “comes when they come” 😊.

There is also train between Málaga and Fuengirola with stops in all the towns on the way like Benalmadena, Torreblanca, Torremolinos as well as Málaga Airport. The one-way ticket costs 2,10€ and you need to buy it on the platform before getting on the train. This trains are comfortable and quick. From Fuengirola to Málaga it takes around 45 minutes.

4.Eating outside

The cost of eating outside depends a lot on where and what you want to eat. Until now I have visited some of the restaurants next to the sea (which in theory should be more expensive) as well as coffee places around.

The special food here that you can find everywhere is of course sea food and fish. One of the famous dishes is grilled sardines, which costs between 3,50€ to 6€. For me that dish would be enough for lunch, but probably for most people that would be a starter. A main dish with fish or meat costs around 10€ – 15€ and a paella with sea food – around 25€ for 2 people. 

We are in Spain, so of course tapas are a must. The traditional way of tapas was a social thing, going from one bar to another with friends, grabbing one or two beers and getting some tapas (small dish) for free. Nowadays, it is really difficult to find places where you get tapas for free. Now it is more common that you pay for a drink and for the tapas separately. And here again the difference between prices is big. You can find tapas from 1,50€ per plate up to even 6€ per plate. There are places that make combos such as beer + tapas that cost between 2,50€ to 5€.

In Costa del Sol it is common to drink coffee outside home. That is why you can find good coffee almost everywhere and it costs between 1,20€ up to even 3,50€. Check where locals drink coffee, so probably there you will find a good and cheap cup of coffee. As I mentioned before, you can meet here a lot of elder English people, who runs many restaurants and coffee shops that serve English breakfasts and coffee with brandy for 3€.

 That is everything for today. I hope you found in the information in my post interesting and useful, and if you have some more question about doing an internship and living in Spain send me a message or leave a comment.

See you on the road,

Kaja

 

Platinia Apartments – Kraków Review

In December 2018 Carlos and I spent 5 nights in a nice, cozy 3*** hotel in Kraków called Platinia Apartments. This is a small hotel located in Starowiślna Street 12. The location of the hotel is perfect!! In the center of Kraków, between the Old Town (around 5 min walking distance) and the Jewish Quarter- Kazimierz (around 10-15 min walking distance). 

First impression and check-in!

We arrived at the hotel on Friday evening. The check–in was quick and the girl in the reception was friendly. After 5 minutes we were ready to go to our room. The room was placed in the 3rd floor (as we requested) but there is no elevator, so you need to take your luggage up by yourself. We knew about it before we requested a room on the last floor, so it was not an issue for us.

In the room it was waiting for us a surprise on the bed <3. A beautifully wrapped package full of treats to warm us up during the cold winter: chocolates, tea and hot chocolate to make in the room. I just loved it. I felt so happy and pleased when I was opening it.

We stayed in the room 34. The room was nice, kind of big and with a comfortable bed (If you like to sleep on a hard bed). In the room we got mineral water, tea, coffee, wine glasses and even a small fridge which we could use to store things. We did not use it because it was noisy 😊.

The bathroom in our room was clean and ok in size. We also got a basic cosmetics kit like shampoo, shower gel, body care and soap. I think the cosmetics have not been of a really good quality, but for the price we paid it was more than enough. The body care smelled nice 😊.

Some problems in the room

 

 

 

 

Unfortunately, we got some issues in our room, that were not taken care of even after us complaining. The first issue was with the shower, it was broken, and it was difficult to keep it in a good position to be able to shower with ease. Another issue was with the daily cleaning. Probably it was made quick and the staff were not detail-oriented or simply did not have enough time (room cleaning times are usually very short in hotels). We did not get mineral water every day, as we should, the shower was not properly cleaned, and, on the floor we could still find sand from the previous day. I think the blanket on the bed had not been washed long time, because every time after the bed was made, I could find fabrics and dust on my sheets ☹.

Breakfast and service

Breakfast was included in the price. Here I got again surprised in a positive way. The breakfast was super tasty. Every day was there a big variety of fresh bread and always something sweet for small desert. You could also order warm dishes like scramble eggs, omelet, toast with fried egg, porridge or sausages. 

The area was always clean, with freshly served ham, cheese, fruits and more. There was also a coffee machine, which had 3 options: espresso, normal coffee or latte. If you prefer brewed coffee in a more traditional way, do not worry. You can always order it in the kitchen and the staff will prepare it for you. 

I can highly recommend this hotel, but remember to take into consideration the lack of elevator before booking your room. As I said before, that was not an issue for us, and after eating so good breakfast and all those sweet treats that we had in our room, it was good to walk some stairs every day 😉. We booked it directly on the hotel’s website and we paid 745 PLN (around 174€) for a double room for 5 days with breakfast included. In my opinion the price was good for the value we got. You can book the hotel here or using booking.com window on my website. 

Once Upon a Road review

Localozation
5/5
Comfort
4/5
Service
5/5
Breakfast
5/5
Cleaning
3/5
General Rate
4.4/5

Holiday Inn Express – City Center, Essen REVIEW

The last weekend on October 2018 I spent together with my boyfriend four nights in Holiday Inn Express – City Center in Essen, Germany due to our participation on the board gamed fair – Spiel 2018. This is a three- star hotel, located in Thea-Leymann-Straße 11. The hotel is placed in central Essen, with good access  to cultural places (theater and cinema), gastronomy, and shopping (there is a shopping mall on Berliner Platzer)

 

How to reach the hotel and first impression

The best option to reach the hotel is to use the subway and go out on Berliner Platz station, exit B, which is connected to the blue line – good connection to Essen Messa and Essen Hbf (central station). I chose this hotel because of the good connection to these two stations, which were important for us. 

Problems with our room

We arrived at the hotel tired and hungry at 9 p.m. The check-in was quick, so after a minute we were ready to go to our room and finally rest. Unfortunately, our room was nor exactly like we were expecting. First, we booked the room with a king-size bed or with two single beds connected, bit we got the room with two separated bed instead. Between them was a night table, so it was impossible to put them together. 

I thought that everything could be fixed, so I went down to ask in the reception if it was possible to change rooms. In the first moment the receptionist answered in an unfriendly way, saying that they are the ones deciding which room they give to the customers and that we got that room because we booked through hotels.com and that they are fully booked. 

Angry and disappointed, I came back to the room where in mean-time my boyfriend found out that the carpet on the floor was wet and there was a black hair on one pillow. THAT WAS ENOUGH! We came back to the reception and ask for a new room. This was not a nice first impression, but from this moment on, the staff did everything they could to help us. 

Finally in a clean room

After 10 minutes waiting in bar, we got finally a new key to a new, clean room with two individual beds next to each other. From this moment everything started being better. However, we were still hungry, and they do not have a restaurant in the hotel (I sent a message asking about it before traveling there, but until now I have not received any answer). We bought some snacks in the vending machine next to the reception and went to sleep after a long day.

Problem number 2

After we finally fall asleep, the next problem showed up. The rooms are not soundproof. We could hear every word from our neighbor’s conversation. If you are sensitive to noises when you sleep, think twice before choosing this hotel. 

Holiday Inn Start - Breakfast

As I mentioned before there is no restaurant in the hotel, however they have Holiday Inn Start Breakfast area. We use to have breakfast as early as possible, when there are not so many people. I think that the breakfast was OK. Simple, with cereals, different types of bread, cheese and ham, eggs, and some sweets as well as some fruits. They got Carlos with freshly-baked croissants and hot chocolate (it was amazing). If you are allergic to lactose or gluten the hotel does not offer lactose-free products and it offer only one type of gluten-free hard bread. 

Holiday Inn Express - breakfast

Something for businessmen

If you are on a buisness trip , the hotel provides one working station with a computer connected to the Internet and printer. I am not sure if the service is free or you need to pay because I did not use it. There is also wi-fi in every room, so I was using my laptop and phone to work. The connection was stable and quick even if the hotel was fully booked with exhibitors and online journalists due to Spiel 18.

Summarizing, I think that the hotel was overpriced for the standard that offers. We paid 6513 SEK (around 670€) for four nights. That weekend the prices were also higher and most hotels in Essen were fully booked due to games convention. 

Our stay in this hotel was new experience and I learned to check better accommodation before booking it. I am sure that we will not stay again in this hotel next time visiting Essen. 

That is all for today. I hope that you could find all that you were looking for and see you next time. Our next trip – Christmas in Poland. We will visit Crakow, Warsaw and my home town Mrągowo.

See you on a road!

Kaja