Category Archives: Insider Tips

Beautiful Stopovers in Europe and beyond

Beautiful Stopovers in Europe and beyond

Turning flight stopovers into mini vacations

Sometimes seeing a flight itinerary with a “Stopover” can be frustrating when you really just want to get to where you need to be. Other times, especially on long journeys, they are also unavoidable. But, often times stopovers can save you money and break up a long trip. If you treat the stopover as a mini vacation, you may find yourself enriching your travel experience.  

To find the best deals and cheapest flights travelers should use research tools like ours to compare travel options, whether flight itineraries, hotel bookings or rental cars (www.dohop.com).  Dohop offers a number of filters to help you customize your travel search. 

dohop_filters

Our search engine analyzes flight connections worldwide between any two airports to offer our own self-connect itineraries. We  also offer traditional flight itineraries you see on other services, as we combine offers of more than 1,200 airlines and online travel agencies to find the lowest available prices for you.

Great stopover locations to Europe or points East.

 

sergejf | flickr | CC

sergejf | flickr | CC

Magical Reykjavik

Most flights from the US to Reykjavik land early in the morning and there are plenty of evening and morning flights to Europe from Iceland as there are now 26 airlines servicing the small North Atlantic airport ideally situated halfway between North America and Europe. It is the perfect 1-day stopover opportunity. Take a day trip to Thingvellir National Park where the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates crest (you can walk or even dive between them), soak in the Secret Lagoon or Blue Lagoon, hike a glacier or venture into the city of Reykjavik for some shopping, art and great nightlife. In winter, you could also likely catch the Northern Lights. Or, see more attractions in the summer due to the endless sun. Google’s Travel Trends 2016 report just named Iceland the #1 fastest rising destination for travel-related search.

richardmichaelshaw / Foter / CC BY

richardmichaelshaw / Foter / CC BY

Culinary Vienna

Ever considered a culinary stopover? A short stopover in Vienna to the imperial city center can open your palate and expose you to some of the world’s most treasured culinary delights. Why not consider a quick culinary class? Whether Schupfnudels, pancakes or a gorgeous piece of Sacher-Torte – Vienna is full of the highest quality food creations. Along the way, take a stroll to see St. Stephen’s Cathedral, State Opera and Naschmarkt in one of the most beautiful city centers in Europe. By the way: we highly recommend you try the best Tafelspitz in the world!

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Informa Beauty | Flickr | CC

Wellness Oasis Paris

Everyone seems to love Paris. But did you know a quick stopover could rejuvenate your mind, body and soul? The city of love offers some of the best all-inclusive packages and even offers quicker treatments at its seven different spas right within the Charles de Gaulle Airport. You can choose Paris for everything from full-body massage to waxing to meditation and wellness coaching.

Mathias Apitz |Flickr| CC

Mathias Apitz |Flickr| CC

Alluring Abu Dhabi

With a state-of-the-art airport that includes many luxury amenities and cheap, quick access to some of the city’s top attractions, more people are considering Abu Dhabi as a great stopover location. The airport is located 30 kilometers from the city center, but the public transport for tourists is excellent! Sightseeing buses leave the airport every 40 minutes to historical places like the majestic Sheikh Zayed Mosque, Emirates Palace, the Observation Deck at 300 and the unique Falcon Hospital. While you do not need to secure a visa before travel to Abu Dhabi, you do have to get a transit visa from the immigration office at the airport before heading into the city.

flickr_pozek_romania

pozek | flickr | CC

Spine-chilling Transylvania and Sighisoara

Bucharest’s revamped old town provides an array of interesting shops, architecture and bars. But if you have a day to explore, venture to the medieval city Sighisoara (UNESCO World Heritage site), the birthplace of Vlad Tepes (Dracula) and home to the Torture museum. It’s one of the best preserved medieval towns in the world. There are many architectural, historical & heritage tours departing from Bucharest. . Likewise, Transylvania day tours offer exciting landmarks like Dracula’s (Bran) Castle, Peles Castle and Rasnov Fortress.

Marcela Laskoski | unsplash | CC

Marcela Laskoski | unsplash | CC

Stopover nightlife

For those who enjoy letting their hair down and want to check out the scene should look for stopovers with well-know nightlife – like Amsterdam, Berlin, Madrid and Reykjavik in Europe or  Bangkok, Hong Kong, Bangkok and Shanghai in Asia.

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Stopover in bed

Want that one quiet night before you reach your destination? Skip the agony of trying to make a terminal bench your bed and opt for a comfy well-priced hotel night stay.  Or, if your time is too short for a hotel but too long for wait in the terminal, consider the stopover cities that offer great additional amenities. At Zurich Airport, for example you can get a nap stay for the equivalent of $20 USD (€18) at the Transit Hotel. In Munich Airport you can rent a lockable cabin for $17 (€15).

Pro tip: the less you pay for your flight, the more luxurious you can make your stopover!

 

How to do Reykjavik Iceland on a budget

How to do Reykjavik Iceland on a budget

 

How to spend time in Iceland like a local and not end up with an empty wallet?

A few tricks to get the most out of you stay in Reykjavik!

Our friends at the New Neighborhoods Festival and Chimes put together a great list of ways to do Reykjavik on the cheap.

Cheap Flights to Iceland

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1. Fly cheap!

If you want to make your trip affordable, start by choosing a cheap flight. There are several low cost airlines flying directly from the US, UK and Europe to Reykjavik (Keflavik) and can be found on Dohop’s flight search engine. You can find return flights even for as little as approx. $250 (£77,€89, zł400) for off-season trips. 

2. Use a credit card for payments

You can spend your whole holiday without even seeing Icelandic krona! Cash in Iceland is not very customary, you can pay just about everywhere easily with a credit card. That saves you ATM charges, etc.

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3. Hostels

Hotels are rather expensive in Iceland. Fares often start from approx. $220 (£160,€200, zł860) per night for a double room in a 3-star hotel. Try staying in one of the many charming or hipster (depending on your style preferences) hostels downtown. If you pick KEX, you might get a chance to see the next big act from Iceland as its bar hosts live music nights – from jazz Tuesdays to indie Saturdays and KEXP sessions during Iceland Airwaves.

4. Self drive

If you plan on going out of town, rent a car and drive on your own. This way you will be able to see more, travel independently and really feel Icelandic nature – stop whenever you like and change your route according to the weather. Although Icelanders say wait 5 minutes for the rain to stop, check the weather in advance and adjust your daily destinations accordingly so that you make the most of your trip.

5. Night out in Reykjavik

Fancy a beer? Hanging out in a famous Kaffibarinn and sipping local Gull? Unless you know where and when to go for happy hour, be prepared to spend approx. $10 (£7,€9, zł40) for 0.5l glass! Don’t worry there is a way to make your night out affordable. If you don’t know any locals who will guide you to the nearest special deal, download Appy Hour app (Android /iOS) and save up to 50% on each drink.

6. Dining out

Traditional Icelandic cuisine might not be too impressive – don’t be fooled by weird Icelandic delicacies such as fermented shark or marinated sheep testicles, Icelandic cuisine has more to offer. There are tons of great, tasty choices. For lunch, try a simple but deliciously prepared and beautifully served catch of the day (arctic char, cod, among others) for approx. $13(£10,€12, zł50). Don’t pay for soda but rather drink tap water with your meal – it’s the best and cleanest water there is. It is more healthy than your regular choice of soda and you don’t have to pay for it – how great is that!

If fish is not on top of your food choices, go to one of the best “deals” places such as Kryddlegin Hjortu on Hverfisgata, where you can eat a tasty dinner with a 2 for 1 deal. Most restaurants have a tilborð (special offer) on their menu.

7. Shopping

Best souvenir to bring from Iceland? We’d say the traditional beautifully knitted sweater, made from Icelandic wool (lopapeysa). Go native and buy it in one of the red cross stores where you can find them at least 50% cheaper. Or, if you know how to knit – buy yourself a bag of wool of your choice, find your favourite pattern online and knit one yourself! 

Pro tip: Don’t forget to get a “tax free” receipt for any items you purchase over 6,000 ISK, so you can get a tax refund.  24% VAT is usually built into the price tag on retail items. So, you’ll want to get that back.

8. Do the pool like a local

One of the best things in Iceland are the outdoor geothermal swimming pools. If you plan to stay a couple of days in Reykjavik or you travel in a group, go for 10 entrance card instead of buying single ticket every time you go for a swim. It will help you save up to 50% on each bath.

Related posts: 

Read this post in Polish

What to wear when traveling to Iceland

What to do in Iceland: Dohop Staff Picks

 

Jak spędzić czas na Islandii nie wydając przy tym tony pieniędzy

Jak spędzić czas na Islandii nie wydając przy tym tony pieniędzy

Jak spędzić czas na Islandii jak jej rodowity mieszkaniec nie wydając przy tym tony pieniędzy?

Użyj poniższych wskazówek i wykorzystaj swój wyjazd jak najlepiej!

flights to iceland

1. Lataj tanio!

Jeśli chcesz sprawić, żeby Twój wyjazd był oszczędny, zacznij od znalezienia taniego lotu. Istnieją przynajmniej dwie linie lotnicze, które oferują bezpośrednie loty z Warszawy i Gdańska do Reykjaviku (KEF) za niewielką cenę: węgierski Wizzair i islandzki WOW air. Najlepsze okazje znajdziesz na Dohop. Można tam trafić na bilety nawet za 400 PLN (specjalne oferty poza sezonem)! Sprawdzaj Dohop regularnie, by mieć dostęp do wszystkich specjalnych ofert lotów.

2. Używaj karty kredytowej podczas płatności

Możesz spędzić swój cały wyjazd nie zobaczywszy nawet Islandzkiej korony! Gotówka na Islandii nie jest obowiązkowa, z łatwością możesz wszędzie zapłacić kartą. Unikniesz dzięki temu dodatkowych opłat bankowych.

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3. Hostele

Hotele na Islandii są raczej drogie. Ceny zwykle zaczynają się od 200 euro za dobę za dwuosobowym pokóju w 3-gwiazdkowym hotelu, ale warto zaglądać na Dohop, gdzie obok lotów znajdziesz też atrakcyjne oferty noclegów. W Reykjaviku zamiast hotelu wybierz hostel – zależnie od Twoich preferencji nocuj w jednym z uroczych ze skandynawskim designem lub nowoczesnym hipsterskim hostelu w centrum miasta. Jeśli wybierzesz KEX, prawdopodobnie będziesz miał również okazję zobaczyć na żywo popularny Islandzki zespół, ponieważ bar w KEX regularnie organizuje wieczory z muzyką na żywo. Od jazzowych wtorków, aż po indie soboty i sesje dla KEXP podczas festivalu Iceland Airwaves.

4. Prowadź sam

Jeśli planujesz wyjazd poza miasto, wypożycz samochód i prowadź sam. W ten sposób, będziesz mógł podróżować niezależnie, zwiedzić więcej i naprawdę poczuć islandzką naturę – zatrzymać się gdziekolwiek chcesz i zmienić trasę zależnie od pogody. Mimo, że Islandczycy zawsze mówią, żeby poczekać 5 min aż przestanie padać, sprawdzaj pogodę wcześniej i dostosuj swoje plany odpowiednio, aby skorzystać jak najwięcej ze swojego pobytu. Dohop pokaże Ci też najkorzystniejsze ceny wypożyczenia samochodu, więc pamiętaj, aby tam zaglądać.

5. Impreza w Reykjaviku

Chcesz wyjść na piwo? Spędzić wieczór w słynnym Kaffibarinn popijając lokalny Gull? O ile nie wiesz gdzie i kiedy pojść, żeby załapać się na Happy Hour, bądź przygotowany na wydatek rzędu 40 PLN za pół litra piwa! Ale nie martw się, jest sposób by nie wydać fortuny podczas jednej imprezy. Jeśli nie znasz żadnych mieszkańców, którzy mogliby pokazać Ci najbliższe miejsce z ciekawymi ofertami, pobierz Appy Hour app (Android / iOS) i oszczędź nawet do 50% na każdym drinku!

6. Jedzenie na mieście

Islandzka kuchnia nie jest zbyt powalająca – ale nie daj się zwieść dziwnym islandzkim specjałom, takim jak sfermentowany rekin czy marynowane jądra barana! Islandzka kuchnia ma więcej do zaoferowania. Na lunch, spróbuj prosteale smaczne danie – pięknie podaną rybę dnia (tzw. “catch of the day”, np. pstrąg czy dorsz) za około 50 zł. Nie płać za wodę mineralną, lecz wybierz wodę z kranu. To najlepsza i najczystsza woda jaką do tej pory piłeś! Jest zdrowsza niż napój, który mógłbyś wybrać i nie musisz za nią płacić. Jeśli ryba nie jest Twoim ulubionym daniem, pójdź do jednego z miejsc z dobrymi ofertami, takich jak Kryddlegin Hjortu na Hverfisgata, gdzie możesz zjeść smaczny obiad w ofercie 2 za 1.

7. Zakupy

Najlepsza pamiątka z wyjazdu na Islandię? Tradycyjny, piękny, ręcznie robiony sweter z islandzkiej wełny zwany Ioppapeysa. Bądż jak prawdziwy mieszkaniec i kup go w jednym ze sklepów czerwonego krzyża,gdzie możesz go znaleźć nawet 50% taniej. Lub, jeśli potrafisz robić na drutach, kup dowolną paczkę wełny, znajdź swój ulubiony wzór i zrób go sam! Robiąc zakupy pamiętaj o tym, że wyjeżdżając możesz otrzymać zwrot naliczonego podatku VAT na wszystkie dobra zakupione powyżej kwoty 6000 ISK (ok. 200 zł).

8. Pływaj jak Islandczyk

Największą atrakcją Islandii są odkryte geotermalne baseny.Jeśli planujesz kilkudniowy pobyt w Reykjaviku albo podróżujesz grupą znajomych, wybierz karnet na 10 wejść zamiast kupować pojedynczy bilet za każdym razem, gdy idziesz popływać. Dzięki temu oszczędzisz aż do 50% przy każdej kąpieli.

Related posts:

What to wear when traveling to Iceland

What to do in Iceland: Dohop Staff Picks

12 Travel Booking Myths Busted

12 Travel Booking Myths Busted

There are endless travel booking myths out there that can cloud your judgement or negatively impact your travel planning. This can be frustrating when traveling in your home country, but imagine traveling internationally and running into snags because you were not properly informed. We here at Dohop want to help you understand what is true or false about travel booking for Flights, hotels and car rentals.

Flight Booking Myths

Dohop airplane

 

1. Buying a ticket at the last minute means a better deal. FALSE-ish. Many airlines have moved away from last minute booking sales. You’ll more often find flight deals or “flash sales” for flights either well in the future or within +/- three months of intended travel, depending on the destination’s high and low seasons. The usual rule of thumb for international travel however is the farther in advance you buy your tickets, the better the fare will be.

2. You can book tickets more than a year in advance. FALSE. Most airlines release their seats up to 11 months in advance only.

TIP: There is no better time than the present to book flights for the fall and your next international holiday travels. This time of year is a peak time for best pricing on flights for the fall and early 2017. See the best-priced destinations and dates, from where you are, with Dohop Go.

3. You always have the choice of booking a one-way ticket, instead of round trip. TRUE. Airlines let you book one-way tickets. But some countries will not allow travelers to visit the country if they don’t have a round trip ticket booked, or a proper visitor or work visa in place. It’s important to gather this info in advance.

4. Train travel is cheaper than air travel. FALSE. It’s a common myth that flights are more expensive than train tickets. But the truth is that air travel quite frequently is cheaper than train travel, especially since the introduction of low cost airlines like WOW air, Ryanair and easyJet.

5. You can change the name on a ticket. Somewhat FALSE. It really depends on the airline. Some will force you to buy a new ticket, while others will charge a fee to make any changes. It’s important to check an airline’s rules before buying a ticket.

6. Non-Refundable airfares are always non-Refundable. FALSE. In addition to being refundable without penalty within 24 hours of booking on most airlines, non-refundable fares are fully refundable if the flight is canceled, significantly delayed, or if the airline makes a significant schedule change before you depart. Many airlines also make special exceptions on a case by case basis for extenuating circumstances.

7. You can book bereavement fares, senior and child discounts. Mostly FALSE. Most airlines have stopped offering bereavement fares and senior discounts. Many airlines have special fares for children under 2 years old who will be sitting on a guardian’s lap. However, kids 3+ years generally have to pay full fare. It’s important to review each airline’s child travel policies and pricing and also ask for assistance in advance if needed.

Hotel Booking Myths

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8. Your electronic room key card stores all of your personal and credit card info. FALSE. It doesn’t.

9. When a hotel says all of our rooms are the same, they mean it. FALSE. Every floor of every floor has structural differences. Room sizes and layouts may vary, popularity of different views change, and yet many times these rooms are listed under the same price category– identical in the eyes of the hotel inventory system.  No one wants the bad rooms. But, what is bad for one might be ideal for another! Read guest reviews and browse photos from review sites and contact the hotel if you have specific room preferences.

10. Mid-week prices are the cheapest. Partially TRUE and partially FALSE. Unlike mid-week airfares, larger hotels in larger cities such as Berlin, Warsaw, London and Barcelona, host many business meetings and conferences during the workweek, which lessens the number of rooms available and increases pricing. Smaller hotels or those in predominantly vacation destinations may have better rates for mid-week stays.

Car Rental Myths

dohop-Car

11. Car rental companies are open 24 hours per day. FALSE. This is a common misconception and definitely worth looking into before selecting which rental car office from which to rent a car. If you’re car rental office is at a major airport, it is more likely to service customers 24 hours per day. However, smaller airports or rental offices in other non-airport locations may have restricted hours for pick-ups and drop-offs.

12. Rental cars charge full-day for an hour if you book at 23:00 Hours. FALSE. In fact, the booking timer only starts ticking from the moment your car arrives at the venue. So if you book the car at 11 PM on a Sunday, you pay three days rent only when you leave the car at 11 PM on Wednesday. Packaged rental deals, like those that have a flat rate for weekends, may have different rules, so it’s important to confirm the rental car office’s rental rules before booking.

Dohop Travel App

Compare and save on travel while on the go. Download the Dohop App for Android or iOS

  • Get Dohop’s powerful travel search engine on the go.
  • Search and book flights, save recent searches.
  • Customize search filters and currency preferences.
  • Easily book hotels and car rentals.
  • Use Dohop Go destination-by-price “discovery” tool inside the app.

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appstore_360  playStore

5 Reasons to Visit Warsaw This Year

5 Reasons to Visit Warsaw This Year

Warsaw is a really awesome city to spend time in, but can be hard to navigate for first-time visitors.

The city is big, spread out and lacks a really ‘cool’ center.

So we got tips from some Warsaw locals and created a handy must-see guide for you.

We want to make sure you don’t end up in a club bouncing with corpo-types and crap DJs playing Eurotrash music and there are so many more things to see than just the Disneyland-like Old Town.

Just in time for New Neighborhoods in Warsaw on September 10th, we present:

5 Reasons to Visit Warsaw This Year

 

1. Bibenda

Bibenda_Warsaw

Bibenda is definitely a go-to restaurant in Warsaw

Wether you are looking for a Sunday afternoon lazy brunch or Friday night dinner with endless wine and every occasion in between, Bibenda is the place to go.

The menu is based on locally grown ingredients and old Polish recipes but with a Texan twist, thanks to the founding chef’s childhood in Austin.

You will love the awesome service, the house dog named Buba who happens to be on the house red and white wine labels (very drinkable, highly recommended) and the menu made to share.

 

2. Bars on the Vistula River

Hocki_klocki

Warsaw was recently ranked among the top cities for vivacious river life in Europe and that’s starting to really ring true.

While the river has, up until about 4 years ago, been a bit of a dead zone dividing the two banks of the capital, the city has put quite a bit of money into revitalizing it.

Now, you will find bars, concert venues and barges to eat tasty treats and dance until sunrise between the Old Town down to Łazienkowski Bridge. Just get off the metro at the Copernicu Center and start wandering.

Particularly worth a stop is Munchies for pulled pork deliciousness, Barka for techno, Hocki Klocki (in the image above) for hip hop and rock concerts and Cud Nad Wisłą for a wide variety of gigs, from DJ sets by Mike Skinner to crooning Polish singer-songwriter Kortez.

3. Museum of the History of Polish Jews 

warsaw musuem jews

The Museum of the History of Polish Jews took years to build for many obvious political reasons.

But, it now stands in the heart of the former Warsaw ghetto and provides both an intense wealth of information about the very long history of Jews in Poland and it is also a rather inspiring space architecturally.

Designed by Finnish architect Rainer Mahlamäki, it is meant to recall Moses’ parting of the Red Sea.

Plan to spend a few hours here as there is a lot to take in.

Wrap up with a walk through the neighborhood to get a full impression of a moving, tragic part of Warsaw’s history – the liquidation of the Jewish ghetto in 1943.

4. Plac Defilad

Plac Defilad

Plac Defilad is an initiative sponsored by the city of Warsaw to animate the square in front of the iconic Palace of Culture, connect the clubs and theaters and other cultural institutions there and revive some public space in the very center of the city.

The project is administered by barStudio, so keep an eye on their Facebook for regular events, but you can pretty much be sure that around 13:00 each Sunday in the summer, you can eat delicious brunch and listen to live classical music.

We can highly recommend New Neighborhoods Festival at barStudio on September 10th.

New Neighborhoods Plac Defilad

It’s an absolute pleasure for your hungover belly and ears.

There is also a few cool festivals run on the square, outdoor cinema, theater, concerts and much much more.

 

5. Plac Zbawiciela

PlacZbawiciela

This square – actually a roundabout just south of the city center – is home to a giant white church (Jesus the Savior Church) and is the absolute see-and-be-seen place in all of Warsaw.

You can literally plop yourself down for breakfast at Charlotte (the Croque Madame is ace), meander over to Karma for a coffee meeting (they roast their own), grab Thai street food at Tuk Tuk and then drink ’til the wee hours any night of the week at Plan B (THE cult dive bar in town) – all in one place.

You will run into friends, make new ones, get work done, while lazy hours away… it is definitely a go-to spot for Warsaw’s young crowds.


Check Flights to Warsaw Hotels in Warsaw

Reykjavik Celebrates Cultural Exchange

Reykjavik Celebrates Cultural Exchange

reykjavik_culture_art

Reykjavik Culture Night

Saturday, 20 August 2016, marks the official start of the city of Reykjavik’s annual cultural and event programming– when the museums, galleries, theaters and other culture-focused organisations announce their annual schedules.

culture night

For the past 21 years, Reykjavik has celebrated the occasion with a full day of activities under the umbrella Menningarnótt (Culture Night). The name is a bit misleading, as the day’s events kick off in the morning with the Reykjavik Marathon, end with an impressive late night fireworks show and sandwiched between is a full schedule of welcoming cultural events, celebrating both Iceland’s commitment to the arts and it’s long history of cultural exchange.

We’re really looking forward to the many music, theater, live art and social events for both kids and adults. One of the best traditions during Menningarnótt, is the “vöfflukaffi” where residents of the Þingholt neighborhood open their homes, offering waffles and coffee to passers-by. Waffles! Coffee!!

The full event schedule can be found here

New Neighborhoods Festival

Dohop is so happy to be a part of Menningarnótt this year through our support of the New Neighborhoods Festival happening at Kex Hostel on 20 August from 14:30 (2:30pm).

Dohop partnered with New Neighborhoods Festival to celebrate our mutual love of cultural exchange through travel, art, music and collaboration.

reykjavik_culture_new_neighborhoods_festival

New Neighborhoods Festival, organized by the Chimes Agency in Poland, mixes a Polish and Icelandic musical lineup and includes visual artists from the two countries, providing exceptional visual elements for attendees – thus, incorporating artistic exchange into the spirit of the festival.

New Neighborhoods Festival Schedule (20 August):

14:30-15:10 – Beatmakin Troopa

15:30-16:10 – Hatti Vatti

16:40-17:10 – Úlfur Úlfur

17:40-18:10 – The Stubs

18:40-19:10 – Tonik Ensemble

19:50-20.30 – Baasch
The visual design of the festival is produced by photographer and video producer Guðmann Þór Bjargmundsson and video projections designer Stanisław Zaleski, of YesEyeDo who has previously collaborated with Grzegorz Jarzyna, Keith Warner and Amon Minamoto as well as designed video projections for Metropolitan Opera New York, Royal Danish Opera and National Opera in Warsaw.

The Reykjavik event is part of a two-city cultural exchange through music and art, also taking place 10 September in Warsaw, Poland.

Book flight Book hotel

 

5 Things to See, Do and Taste in Wroclaw

5 Things to See, Do and Taste in Wroclaw

Is Wrocław one of the most gorgeous cities in Poland?

It probably is. In fact, it may even be one of the prettiest cities in the entire world (along with Bergen, of course).

Just take a look at this:

Wroclaw

This year, Wroclaw is the European Capital of Culture for 2016. Wroclaw is considered the Venice of Poland (laced with canals and gorgeous architecture) and has plenty of things to do any time.

Here are five things our friends at Chimes, who are organizing the New Neigborhoods festival, suggest you do in Wroclaw.

1. Song of the Goat Theater

A world-class theater with an international cast and highly ambitious artsy productions (that also travel the world over) all in Wrocław? Yes.

Screen Shot 2016-08-18 at 13.56.45

The wonderfully named Song of the Goat Theater, established 20 years ago, really pushes the boundaries of modern theater. Director Grzegorz Braal really loves to push his actors hard and far to provide high quality interpretations of classical theater (but not only).

They offer intensive master classes in a variety of dance and acting techniques and regularly ‘take the show on the road’, performing in London, China, Brazil and many more countries.

2. Bernard

This is definitely our recommendation on where to eat in Wrocław.

Bernard

Tasty food made from local ingredients, fantastic service – what more could you ask for? They even brew their own beer – it’s a good lager – and make interesting cocktails based on it (worth a try).

Plus, it’s located right on Wrocław’s main square. Be sure to make a reservation, as the place is full from morning until evening.

3. National Forum of Music

Poland’s concert halls have seen a boom in the past two years and most of the larger cities have put a major effort into revitalizing their philharmonic halls.

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Wrocław’s opened recently to great fanfare. It is an architectural and acoustic dream – it both looks intriguing and sounds fantastic inside.

What is particularly cool, however, is the fact that the NFM hosts not only classical symphony orchestras, but also soundscape events, a new electronica festival and much more.

4. The T-Mobile New Horizons Film Festival

This is probably one of the best film festivals in this part of Europe, featuring a great lineup of films from around the world, accompanied by masterclasses by film greats like Agnieszka Holland or Ulrike Ottinger, loads of panels and even a few great concerts sprinkled in.

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It is definitely one of the highlights of the calendar year in Wrocław and always worth a trip.

Make sure to mark your calendars for next summer already in anticipation of what’s sure to be a fantastic event. You can mentally prepare to never leave the cinema from morning until evening (though that might pose a health risk 🙂 ).

 

5. Szajba

Tucked into a courtyard just near Wrocław’s city center, you will find Szajba, a great bar to grab a bite, get drunk, dance and hang out.

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It’s small, eclectic and packed with young people looking to have fun.

The best part about Poland’s bar scene is that there is no curfew, so, if you need to dance the whole night through, you can! And this is a great place to do so. They also run concerts of great Polish bands once a month and maybe you’ll be lucky to catch one.

Oh, and it’s pronounced “Wrotsvaff”. True story.

 

 

4 Tips to Make Left-handed Travel the Best

4 Tips to Make Left-handed Travel the Best

Left-handed people don’t have an easy lot in life, living in a world where almost everything is “vice versa”.

This can get especially frustrating while traveling. Well, we have a small something for the left-handers of the world, seeing as Saturday is International Left-Hander’s Day.

Personally, we think every Saturday should be Left-Hander’s day, seeing as about one in seven people are left-handed. But what do we know.

Introducing Dohop‘s four tips for left-handers to make travel more enjoyable.

1. Own the Armrest.

When a left-handed person boards a plane, there is always that sigh of frustration; they know that the armrest-hassle is about to begin with whatever right-handed person they will be sitting next to.

However, there is a solution to this as there are two stand-outs for the left-handed traveller.

Make sure to select the aisle seat in the left row (from the front) or the window seat in the right row. This is actually, for once, worth the extra euro or two the airlines charge for selected seating.

lefty airplane seatmap

 

2. Keep it Right (Sometimes).

When traveling, the left-hander can accidentally make some cultural no-nos. Let’s avoid that.

Always offer your right hand when greeting someone (you probably do this anyway). If you try to shake hands by extending your left hand in some Asian countries in might be considered impolite.

In Africa, Asia and in some Muslim countries it is frowned upon to eat with the left hand, as this can be seen as unclean.

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Or just be a rebel: eat and drink with your left, local custom be damned!

Important business tip: In Asian countries, the business card should not be handed over or received with the left hand.

 

3. Bring Your Own Utensils.

Accommodation is not made for leftys, to put it mildly.

Most right-handed people don’t realize it, but appliances and utensils work differently for left-handers.

Parachute cords are almost always on the right side, for instance (this just means that skydiving is even more extreme for left-handed people).

There are a few common items we suggest left-handers pack and bring with them when they travel, just in case.

It starts with the corkscrew, but also a pair of scissors, a pocket knife and a can opener (what’s the deal with right-handed can openers anyway?).

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Medieval torture-device for lefties. Scissors to most people.

Just remember not to put them in your check-in bags, as we doubt that security will accept “but I’m left-handed” as an explanation for having a knife in your hand luggage.

4. Use Your Superpowers.

Sometimes, being left-handed can actually seem like a superpower.

You see, most countries have right-hand traffic so the cars are designed for right-handed drivers. This means that all operating elements, including gear change, are on the right side.

However, there they are a few wonderful countries with left-sided traffic where you sit on the right side of the car. So the controls – for once – are on the left.

Here, being left-handed is actually like a superpower.

I’ll handle this,” you can say and drive like the left-handed god you are.

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To make the most of this superpower, book trips to England, Australia, Thailand, South-Africa or Mauritius.

Share this with your left-handed friends. Then give them a left-handed high-five.

What to wear when traveling to Iceland

What to wear when traveling to Iceland

What to Wear: Iceland Insider Style tips

What to wear in Iceland

We bet one of your first thoughts after booking your flight and adventure itinerary to Iceland is “What to wear?” It’s a legitimate question, particularly because it’s a known fact that Iceland’s weather is constantly changing. More so, one of the very common sayings in Iceland is “Don’t like the weather? Just wait for 5 minutes!”

Yet, Icelanders generally manage to be stylish every day while keeping up with the weather, both in the cities and in the highlands. With that in mind, we asked our in-house style guide, Armina Ilea to share her thoughts and Iceland insider style tips on keeping both warm and fashionable while traveling to Iceland.

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Here’s Team Dohop’s in-house style icon, Armina Ilea, layering a cozy lopapeysa over a fleece top while touring around Vík.

Layers over layers

In Iceland, layering is a must. The first step in answering “what to wear” is figuring out “what’s the weather.” You want to be prepared both for a random blizzard and for those very much appreciated warm sunny moments– all in one day.

For efficient layering, start with a base-layer like a cotton/silk tank-top or even one of the super soft wool-thermal tops offered by specialized stores like our very own, Icelandic brands – 66°North or Cintamani. Then, add a tight, long-sleeved shirt or zip-up– fleece is good if you plan to hike or go for a long walk. Throw on a cardigan or a jacket. You can layer them quite nicely and guarantee an eclectic, stylish look. Oversized parkas are very chic in Iceland, particularly those with and fur-trimmed (faux fur-trimmed) hood can work magic! Add a chunky scarf and you’re done.

Contrary to popular belief, you do not need your hiking boots just because you’re going to Iceland. For strolling through the city or dressing up for a night on the town, waterproof walking shoes or sleek boots do the trick (buy a pair in Iceland if you want truly unique style). Save the clunky hiking shoes for the countryside and highlands.

Chunky warm knits

The knits can be as chunky as you like and nobody will raise an eyebrow. If you want something traditionally Icelandic, the lopapeysa is always a great choice and comes in a large variety of styles. Many stores carry them in Reykjavik and the small towns dotting the countryside. Or, try a poncho or cape with a modern cut, both are becoming quite popular among Icelanders and are chic alternatives to the basic sweater. You’ll find plenty of these brands like Farmers Market and shops like Geysir on Skólavörðustígur, downtown Reykjavik.

What to wear: "Farmers Market's design concept and inspiration draws from Icelandic roots, combining classic Nordic design elements with chic modernity."

“Farmers Market’s design concept and inspiration draws from Icelandic roots, combining classic Nordic design elements with chic modernity.”

Chunky tops are usually paired with skinny jeans or slim fit waterproof pants for a minimalistic nordic-style.

When traveling in the highlands, it’s also important to know what not to wear.  Huge pieces might get in your way (it’s windy out there!), and definitely stay away from regular denim jeans (if they get wet, you can lose precious body heat).  Keep your layering to slim-fitting, lightweight and weatherproof pieces.

When in the cities, you can return to embracing the chunkiness.  

Weatherproof 

Another famous saying in Iceland is: “It’s not the weather. It’s how you dress.” Though you think you can easily tolerate a little rain (it rarely downpours), the wind combined with the rain can be quite bothersome. It can start out of nowhere. Knowing what to wear– a waterproof jacket that is also wind-proof– is a must to keep you warm and allow you to continue your hiking trips around Iceland. For a trip downtown in Reykjavik, a stylish waterproof coat or raincoat will do. There are quite a few fashionable brands in Iceland like Reykjavik raincoats. We’re fans of the classic yellow one.

JUST ADD WATER ! At Reykjavik Raincoats we are extremely passionate about raincoats and our goal is to make the perfect raincoat that makes you wish it would rain every day just so you can wear your Reykjavik Raincoat.

JUST ADD WATER ! At Reykjavik Raincoats we are extremely passionate about raincoats and our goal is to make the perfect raincoat that makes you wish it would rain every day just so you can wear your Reykjavik Raincoat.

Swimwear

One of our biggest “what to wear” recommendations is to not come to Iceland without a swimsuit and don’t leave it in your hotel. In your travels around Iceland, you will stumble upon many natural and man-made thermal pools. You don’t want to miss this unique experience just because of logistics. You will definitely need swimwear whether it’s for the spontaneous dip in a natural thermal pool, a pampering experience at the famous Blue Lagoon or a visit to the many swimming pools in each city and town. Yes, going to the pool is a very popular activity in Iceland no matter the weather. They make for a relaxing, warming activity after a long hike and a great way to watch the Northern Lights in the winter. You’re swimwear choices should follow the same rules and styles that apply everywhere else– pick the suit that makes YOU feel great!

Fur and Faux Fur

Once again, blame it on the weather but fur (whether you choose faux or real) is the perfect way to keep both warm and fashionable when in Iceland. It’s not unusual to see revelers in vintage fur jackets when going downtown. Gyllti kötturinn, The Red Cross and Spúútnik usually have plenty in stock. Or, you can opt for something luxurious and brand new from Eggert, Pelsinn or Feldur Verkstæði. It’s easy to find a gorgeous pair of fur-lined gloves, a fluffy warm hat or just a fur-trim jacket while in Reykjavik.

 

What to do in Iceland. Dohop Staff picks.

What to do in Iceland. Dohop Staff picks.

Iceland: Dohop Staff favorites   

We love Iceland. It’s where Dohop’s travel search engine was created, where we have our headquarters and it’s also a rich resource for our love of outdoor adventure.

We thought it would be fun to share with you some of our favorite landmarks and attractions in Iceland among the Dohop staffers. Dohop takes pride in helping you find the best price on your flight, hotel and rental car. So, we thought we could also help by showing you some of the best spots to explore in Iceland, whether you are a true adventurer or prefer city life.

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Team Dohop on a hike in Iceland in July 2016

South Iceland 

  1. Glymur –  is the highest waterfall in Iceland. It’s amazing and makes for a great hike when the weather is clear. It’s only an hour drive from Reykjavík and a convenient stop during a South Iceland road trip.
  2. Hella – is named for the caves along the Ytri-Rangá river, it’s rural, pretty and home to some of the best skydiving in Iceland. The town has a quiet small-town vibe and was the location for the first novel of the same name by renowned author Hallgrímur Helgason.
  3. Háifoss – is not far from the soon-to-erupt Hekla volcano and is the second highest waterfall in Iceland. Its gorgeous views are other-worldly. It’s best explored using a 4×4 car and in summer.
  4. Vestmanneyjar –  even sailing to this beautiful island is a memorable experience. Adults and kids love it there for its swimming pool, sailing, golf and baby puffins! There’s also a very interesting museum about the volcanic eruption in Heimaey.
  5. Þórsmörk –  the mountain ridge between Tindfjallajökull and Eyjafjallajökull is a top destination for hikers, with many different trails varying in difficulty, within reach of many other impressive camping and hiking locations and excursions such as Landmannalaugar and Stakkholtsgjá.
  6. Paradísarhellir and Seljalandsfoss – the cave was an infamous hideout for forbidden lovers (who actually had a house and 8 children together). In order to enter the cave, you must climb a chain hand over hand, which makes it quite a fun location to visit.
  7. Seljavallalaug the “Old Pool” is close to Eyjafjallajökull and is a treasured landmark, as it’s one of the oldest pools in Iceland. After the 2010 eruption, volunteers used backhoes and elbow grease to remove ash and restore the pool to a useable state. It’s a nice pit stop on your way to Sólheimasandur and Vík.
  8. Skaftafell – the dramatic landscape is awe-inspiring and diverse, with huge mountains, glaciers, forest, desert and is a short distance from the glacial lagoons. It offers challenging mountaineering routes, short and long hiking trails and a very good camp site. Not far away, is Iceland’s best climbing area.
  9. Fjallsárlón – the glacial lagoons are some of the most breathtaking natural wonders in Iceland. You can hike to this smaller and less crowded lagoon while taking in its spectacular mountainous backdrop.
  10. Jökulsárlón – the most famous of the Iceland glacial lagoons, it’s as surreal as it is majestic. You can spend hours there taking pictures from different vantage points, walking alongside the lagoon. You can watch icebergs tipping over and floating out to sea with seals swimming around them. Then, cross the Ring Road to explore a spectacular natural exhibition of crystal clear ice sculptures along the black sand beach.

North Iceland

  1. Dalvík – is a quiet town with a kid-friendly “beach.” You can catch fish at the pier and go to a museum of Jóhann the giant, all in the same day, with no stress involved. If timed right, you can enjoy The Great Fish Day or Fiskidagurinn mikli happening annually (4-7 August 2016).
  2. Hvítserkur and Borgarvirki in Vatnsnes – both are amazing natural rock formations, seemingly in the middle of nowhere, one in the sea and the other high above rural farmland with a commanding view over the plains.
  3. Ásbyrgi Canyon – it’s said to have been created by a hoof from Sleipnir, Oðin’s 8 legged horse. It’s a beautiful area, with plenty of camping, lots of walking and unusually for Iceland, plenty of trees.

West Iceland

Team Dohop enjoying the many bike and hiking trails across Iceland.

Team Dohop enjoying the many bike and hiking trails across Iceland.

  1. Reykjavik is all about visuals, design, creativity, great shops, great fashion and people watching. Merely sitting on a terrace and observing the people walking by can do more in terms of inspiration than any fashion magazine. Visits to the numerous museums and specialty shops or weekend strolls through downtown are a must. Keep an eye out for concerts, DJ sets and random dance parties, as nightlife in Reykjavik is an experience like no other. Then, enjoy a slow-paced day at one of the many great coffee shops – Eymundsson and Reykjavik Roasters being staff favourites.  Or, visit one of the many pools throughout the city (we recommend Laugardalslaug and Seltjarnarnes) to refresh. Whether it’s sunny or not, indoors or outdoors, you’ll always be warm and cozy in these geothermal heated pools.
  2. Vatnshellir – this relatively new (to the public) lava cave is located in Snæfellsjökull national park. It’s the closest you’ll get to experiencing Jules Verne’s Journey to the Center of the Earth.  
  3. Breiðavík and the West Fjords – its isolated and expansive yellow sand beach is framed by daunting fjords on either side. A short distance away you’ll find Látrabjarg, a cliff of cliffs and home to variety of cliff-dwelling birds including puffins. There are many small towns along the journey to Breiðavík, each with their own special thing.
  4. Arnarvatnsheiði – if you love driving enduro/motor cross bikes or ever wanted to try, here you will find plenty of road tracks on this magnificent Icelandic heath.
  5. Langjökull – is the 2nd largest glacier in Iceland after Vatnajökull. Snowmobile trips with expert guides are a must here. There is also a man-made ice cave adventure called “Into the Glacier” in Langjökull that is worth visiting. In the winter, wondrous northern lights, free of light pollution from the towns and cities, open the vast starry skies above.
  6. Kerlingarfjöll – is similar in landscape to Landmannalaugar but much closer to Reykjavik (only 3 hours drive) and easier to get to. Hike amidst some of the most colorful landscapes. Then, take a dip in Hveravellir pool to sooth your tired legs.

Reykjavik

If you are renting a car through Dohop, for your Great Iceland Roadtrip, here’s a great guide for finding gas stations along your journey.

Disclaimer: Iceland is beautiful. Its striking landscapes and sweeping views are intoxicating and awe-inspiring. But it can also be dangerous. Use precaution when exploring the vast mountains and glaciers as the terrain and weather can change before your eyes. Be mindful of the swift and often invisible currents of the rivers and ocean.  It is recommended that those visiting the countryside in Iceland engage an experienced guide.