Category: Traveling in Europe

From a Ugly Bunker to a Hipster Paradise

Forget “poor but sexy.” The quote that best describes Berlin is from German cultural critic Karl Scheffler, who called it a city “condemned always to be becoming but never to be”. Many Berliners would see this as a blessing: the German capital is constantly reinventing itself, and when you’re here, you can too. Generations have come to escape the crushing weight of conventional life, to join an off-kilter milieu of artists and misfits, scholars and anarchists. But the city’s buildings, many still empty today, also hold the promise of reinvention.

Art collectors Christian and Karen Boros heard their call around 15 years ago, as they sought a home for their 700-piece contemporary collection. “We looked at old factories, schools, hospitals, swimming pools – everything empty. Places crying out, ‘Help! Give me a new use!’” In 2002, when they came upon what Boros calls “surely the ugliest building in Berlin” – a World War Two bunker in Mitte, at the time not yet Berlin’s hipster centre – it was love at first sight. To the city’s artists and art lovers, the Boros Collection has been an open secret ever since, the bunker’s hulking façade and spray-painted interior walls a handy metaphor for Berlin’s layered history.

The bunker has been re-purposed as Berlin’s coolest art space

The couple weren’t just looking for a way to reinvent the concept of a gallery, though. They wanted to rethink modern living as well. The improbable result was a penthouse atop the bunker, designed by the same architect. Their home isn’t part of the tour, but just knowing they’re up there is strangely compelling. It’s easy to imagine yourself into their lives; no doubt part of the charm of visiting any private art collection. “It’s not like I go down in my bathrobe every day and look at the art with a glass of red wine,” says Boros with characteristic wryness. “But the feeling of sitting on an accumulation – that I could go down at any time and look – is very nice.”

That feeling of richness – of being surrounded by culture – is familiar to all who spend time in Berlin. Indeed, it is one of the capital’s greatest strengths. The Boros Collection may not be a secret anymore, but in this city of constant reinvention, there are plenty of places now getting a second or even third lease of life. When asked about the fast pace of change in Berlin today, Boros is hopeful: “As long as so much is still being created here, this city will live on, not repeating itself, but reinventing itself.”

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Grand staircases spiraling into decay across Europe beautifully captured

Mesmerising images by a staircase-obsessed explorer reveal the wonderfully designed staircases spiralling into decay across Europe. Other eerie pictures from these undisclosed and supposedly secured buildings show different grand staircases with some covered completely dust and paint peeling off, whilst others feature hypnotic spiral designs.

A staircase photographed in France. Image by Romanelli Alessandro/

Urban explorer, Romanelli Alessandro (45), captured the images on a tour of Italy, France, Germany, Poland and Czech Republic.

A wonderful image of a staircase in Italy. Image by Romanelli Alessandro /

“Most of the buildings that have these staircases are closed to the public for being unsafe and to prevent vandalism or other types of intrusion.  What you see in these pictures is the absence of man. The one who creates and then forgets,” Romanelli said.

A wonderfully designed staircase in Italy.  Image by Romanelli Alessandro/

“People always build new things forgetting to preserve the beautiful and forgotten architectural wonders like the buildings with these staircases. I like the excitement of entering a place where life lives no more. I’m very jealous of what I find and take photographs of them.” Despite the buildings being abandoned, urban explorer Romanelli faced various dangers from the police, dogs, and security guards as all the sites are closed to the public. Many people appreciate what they see; a beautiful staircase photographed symmetrically,” the photographer explained.

An eerie picture from Poland. Image by Romanelli Alessandro/

“On some occasions, people do not comprehend the actual abandonment of a place and many are astonished by what they see.”

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Hundreds of buildings will be publicly accessible during Open House London in September 2017

If you are like us, you’re a tad noisy and love to have a little look around other people’s properties, Open House London may be the perfect event for you. This annual celebration of London’s architecture and design gives the public access for free to over 800 … Continue reading Hundreds of buildings will be publicly accessible during Open House London in September 2017

8 Incredible European Cities That Are Incredibly Cheap To Visit

“Cheap” isn’t usually the first word that comes to mind regarding a trip to Europe. But if expert travelers know anything, it’s that there are always ways to work the system in our financial favor. For those who seek adventure on a budget, we can verify that when you plan a trip correctly, they can be cheap visits indeed. Some of our favorites include:

  • Dubrovnik, Croatia

Dubrovnik hearts will melt on this charming city’s scenic walks , which are dotted with well-priced hostel accommodations.

  • 2 Berlin, Germany

Of all the European capitals, Berlin may be one of the easiest to navigate on a budget. With stunning architecture, public art and waterways galore, some of its most glorious views come for free.

  • Algarve, Portugal

The town of Lagos and its Camilo Beach, pictured above, are known as gems of the Algarve, Portugal’s southern coast. Since there are many backpackers in the region, you can bet accommodations can come cheap.

  • Zagreb, Croatia

The average cinema ticket in Zagreb costs about $9 in Croatia’s capital, according to Hoppa. But really, who needs movies with so many museums and medieval alleyways to explore?

  • Krakow, Poland

Compared to the other cities in Hoppa’s list, Krakow has notably cheap taxi fares. Whisk past historic cathedrals and castles on your drive home.

  • Debrecen, Hungary

Just $3.16 for the average cocktail? We’ll take it, if it comes with views of Debrecen’s lively public squares.

  • Rhodes, Greece

An ancient palace is the star of this island city Rhodes, where casual dining comes cheap. Oh, and its beaches aren’t too bad, either.

  • Ostrava, Czech Republic

This historic escape ranked as one of the most budget-friendly cities on Hoppa’s index: Here, in Ostrava, the average midrange restaurant meal costs just about $8.50 per person.

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John and Tina Reid via Getty Images

Bulgaria’s capital city boasts cheap beergood vibes and prices that may make you want to move there permanently.