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10 Best Things to do in Lapland

10 Best Things to do in Lapland

Here are my top tips for Lapland tours from a Finnish point of view. Here you will find some tips for Lapland day trips that you won’t find on other travel blogs, as they are not written by someone with real local connections. I have spent time outside the popular resorts that most Lapland tours recommend for you. Also independent travellers will benefit from my travel tips, such as how to catch a bus in Lapland. At first you may think there is nothing to know. But as in Lapland the sun doesn’t rise at all during the winter months, it’s difficult for the driver to see you hailing for the bus by the road side. For best Lapland tours and many practical tips for the independent traveller, keep reading!

Lapland tours: Aurora Borealis – The Northern lights

If you visit Lapland in the winter time and spend a whole week there, you should be able to catch aurora borealis. Although it can never be guaranteed, as it’s a force of nature that appears when it wants to appear. It will help you spot them, if you stay outside busy destinations with lots of lights on at night time, as the glare will hide the weaker northern lights.


Lapland tours: book your Lapland hotel now


Indigenous People’s Film Festival

The Indigenous People’s Film Festival is organised annually in the village of Inari, near the Ivalo airport at the end of January. Especially interesting are the movies that tell stories about the Lapland Sami people. A special Northern Lights Theatre will be built entirely out of snow. If you have had a enough of the cold air, you can also choose to watch great films at the culture center called Sajos in Inari. And in Inari, the best party is held at the bar called Papana, which is right in the tiny heart of the Inari village. Try the favourite drink of the locals: Lonkero, which is on tap right next to the draught beer. It is gin mixed with grapefruit lemonade. Check the hotel availability and prices for Inari here.


Stay in or visit a hotel made of snow and ice

Many of the best Lapland tours will take you to a Northern town called Kittilä. Kittilä is known world wide for its ice hotels that are built entirely out of ice and snow each year. The designs change every time and the team of around 30 people work away on the structures and sculptures for weeks before the hotel is ready to open. The ice hotel consists of over ten rooms and facilities also includes a real ice bar (not those ones you see around the world that imitate real winter), a restaurant and different pieces of ice and snow art. You can check the Snow Village Hotel’s prices and availability here. But if you are closer to a town called Kemi than Kittilä which is really high up North, you should definitely check out their magnificent SnowCastle. Here you can see the prices of all Kemi hotels.


Kittilä Snow Hotel Visiting address

Lainiotie 566, Kittilä, Finland

General Info

SnowVillage is open for day visitors daily from 10am-10pm, but the last entrance is at 9pm. And Finns are typically quite particular about their time-keeping so don’t turn up late!



Snowmobiles are a popular form of transport in Lapland and they are not there only for the amusement of tourists. Snowmobiles feel surprisingly stable and are safe to use, as long as you remember a few things: don’t turn the accelerator handle too quickly and when you are moving fast, don’t try to turn. Slow down first. I’ve had an amazing time doing speeds of over 90 kilometres per hour over a frozen lake. You can probably tell that snowmobile safaris are my favourite kind of Lapland tours of the all! Now if you are going in a big group, you probably won’t be allowed to go this fast. Last time I drove a snowmobile, we were out with a group of friends under the watchful eye of an experienced instructor. If you find a great safari, you can enjoy coffee and tea that has been prepared over a wild camp fire. And what’s great about Lapland is that most municipalities offer visitors free cottages and free firewood. It is totally ok and safe to stay a night in such a cottage, that you will typically find next to a ski path. And by ski path I mean cross-country skiing, not the slopes. Just make sure you have enough wood and newspapers in the cottage to keep you warm the whole night. Unfortunately there are just wooden benches to sleep on so if this is not up to your standard, just visit a cottage during the day!


Husky safari

Huskies have traditionally been used as a mode of transport to get you from A to B. Huskies have been bred to be very energetic and fast dogs that love the outdoors and the chilling temperatures. These days husky safaris are incredibly popular Lapland tours that most visitors find exotic and fun. What is best about these dog sledges is that if you find a good one, you will be taken into the wilderness, where you don’t see anything but the vast forest. You won’t hear other noise apart from the sledge and the excited dogs and the air you breathe is the clearest and purest air you will ever breathe. I had a tough time hitting the break though! I was steering the sledge back towards the finish line and the dogs were so keen to get back to their dog friends, I had to keep jumping on the spiky break that cuts into the snow. In the end a guide jumped on the sledge and stopped the excited dogs for me.



Husky safari in Lapland Finland


Lapland tours: Reindeer safari

Reindeer herding is still a profession and the livelihood of many local Lappi residents. Hop on a reindeer sledge to enjoy a unique experience that will stay with you for a life time. The quietness of the surrounding, pure and white snow under the sledge will relax you whilst you marvel at the beautiful and snow-packed trees.

I apologise if I shock you, but reindeer are hearded by the locals mainly for the meat and the skins. Reindeer meat is light and in high regard. If you don’t mind trying reindeer meat, the best dish is called poronkäristys – it is reindeer meat with potato mash, served with sour cranberry-like lingonberries.


Sauna in a ski lift

The Ylläs ski resort has a wild ace up its sleeve – a sauna gondola that takes you around the ski lift right above the slopes. If you are able to make a group booking, you can bring the price down but it still won’t be cheap. This is actually my family’s favourie ski resort in Lapland. Not so much for just the gondola sauna but also because we have simply always had a great time here. The selection of hotels and cottages is also great in Ylläs. 


Traditional smoke sauna at the Saariselkä ski resort

Saariselkä ski resort is one of the most popular ski resorts in Finland. Last time I visited there, we put some cross country skis on didn’t exactly have an accident free ski trip!  I recall us having had a few laughing fits along the way as our whole group fell in the same downhill turn seconds apart from one another. My recommendation is that if you are up for cross country skiing and you see a warning sign of a steep hill with a bend, walk down! 

The smoke sauna is a holy institution to the Finns. Not only is it heated with just wood, but you sit there surrounded by the smoke darkened walls, which makes the experience all the more relaxing. You may ask if the smoke in the sauna could be dangerous but it is actually let out of small hatches in the walls before you go in. When you have warmed up enough, try plunging into the icy lake. In Saariselkä they actually cut a hole right into the ice – yep you read it right. The water is freezing cold but if you keep up with the sauna – ice lake – sauna repetition, you will experience such deep relaxation you have never felt before.


You can check the prices and availability of Saariselkä hotels here. You can also scroll down for information on flights to Lapland.


Ruska – watch the nature turn fiery red

The Finns call the the changing colours of the leaves “ruska”. In Lapland the trees begin to turn yellow, orange and finally deep red. This time of year is very popular especially amongst the Finns, who may drive up to 14 hours North, before they reach their hiking destination of Lemmenjoki, Ylläs or Levi.


Hotels in Lemmenjoki

Hotels in Ylläs

Hotels in Levi


Bear watching in Lapland

This tip applies to those visitors to Lapland that miss the winter season and decide to go in the spring, summer or around September – October. You can actually watch real brown bears in their natural habitat. I will attach a link for you below for a good tour organiser that also speaks English. As bears hibernate during the winter, it will be one quiet bear watching trip if you want to combine it with your ski holiday!


Lapland Log Cabin Holidays

If you are interested in log cabin holidays, you should consider these points first:

  • Do you want to be right next to a ski resort? Then look for a Lapland lodge in the following resorts: Ylläs, Saariselkä, Kittilä or Levi. Many of the Lapland tours on the market will take you to one of these resorts.
  • Are you going fishing? You probably don’t want to deal with the Finnish authorities to gain a fishing license, so you should consider going with a local fishing guide. I will share the link with you below to an English website, so it’s easy for you to arrange your own Lapland tours.
  • Are you going bear watching in Lapland? Bear watching in Finland is organised under strict safety regulations, for a good reason. Your guide knows the behaviour of bears very well, which is important for your safety. Therefor hire a bear guide or join one of the bear watching in Lapland tours.
  • Driving in Lapland: the distances are long and when you are caught in a snow blizzard, the visibility can be very poor. The snow piles up quickly, so you should follow the orange plastic tubes inserted in to the ground next to the roads – these are used by the local drivers to indicate where the road is. The big roads are cleared and gritted but small roads may take long to be cleared of snow. Many locals use their own tractors to make way for cars but there are no guarantees, as Lapland is a very large area. Driving on ice is made safer by changing to metal studded winter tyres or tyres with extra grip, that are required by law in the winter time. If you rent a car in Lapland, these tyres will have been fitted on your car automatically and you don’t need to request them separately.  I have not seen cars in Finland to be fitted with snow chains. Remember that winter tyres are heavier and use up more fuel than the normal kind, so always carry extra fuel with you on long trips if you are not sure of your car’s consumption.


Lapland tours: book your Lapland hotel now


Lapland day trips

If you are interested in Lapland Day Trips, your best options are either to get a package trip from a travel agent or to fly into Rovaniemi, which is the biggest city in Lapland. There you can find lots of husky safaris and reindeer safaris. Day trips to Lapland are gaining popularity and Thomson sells UK Lapland UK trips on their site. Thomson takes you to Kittilä, where you are given the suitable snow overall and warm winter boots. You can either wear them or bring your own skiing clothes. If you don’t want to look like you are wondering around with the tourist heard, you need to wear “salopettes” style ski trousers and a thick ski coat, as the temperatures of -30C or more probably won’t stop the tour from going ahead. Check out hotel prices in Rovaniemi here.


Santas Lapland

Santa Claus trips are very popular Lapland day trips. You can also combine your day trips to Lapland with other Lapland tours, as travelling all the way there just to see Santas Lapland for a day can leave you with a feeling that there was so much more to experience and only so little time. I recommend you book at least 4-5 days for your Lapland log cabin holidays, if not a whole week. It’s good to acknowledge that if you intend to go skiing in one of the popular ski resorts, such as Levi Lapland, you will be exhausted in the evening after a fund day at the slopes. I do recommend you book enough time for your visit. But if you are looking for last minute Lapland deals or Lapland day trips only, go with an established tour operator, such as Thomson. 


How to get around in Lapland

Driving in Lapland

The distances can be very long in Lapland from A to B so a rental car is a smart option. Driving on the icy roads is still relatively safe, as in winter time metal studded winter tyres are required by law. However, the visibility can be very poor when it snows and therefore you should allow lots of extra time on the road. The blizzard can block the driver’s view a bit but the locals councils help the drivers by sticking orange, plastic sticks to stand on the edge of the roads, so you would get to your destination safely. Bring extra fuel in case you take a wrong turn. Don’t rely on Google Maps too much!


Public Transport in Lapland

There are some train connections that also offer sleeper carriages. The coaches are also a popular mode of transport. I will include links for both booking sites in English below.


How to catch a bus in Lapland

If you are visiting Lapland in the winter, here’s a top tip for you! If you are standing on the roadside in the winter, it’s likely to be quite dark as the higher up North you go, the less sunlight you have during the winter months. This makes it hard for the bus driver to see you. When you see the bus approaching, you should hold out your smartphone and wave it so the driver notices your light. You do not want to miss your only bus connection back to the city!


What to pack to Lapland

Weather in Lapland can easily get below -30 degrees Celcius. Pack lots of warm of ski clothes! If you visit Lapland in the winter, you will need a long sleeved under layer and possibly also a cotton ski mask. Just don’t walk into a bank wearing one.

The best Lapland airport for your destination

There are a few international and domestic airports in Lapland to choose from. Flights to Lapland can be found on this trusted site that I recommend whole heartedly. I have partnered with the price comparison site only because it is my favourite one and I use it constantly myself. Flights to Lapland tend to increase in price the closer to Christmas you are, as for most overseas visitors, Lapland is a winter holiday destination. You may have to fly to Helsinki and change flights there. The Helsinki airport is conveniently small and one of the most punctual airports in the whole world, which means that even a short connection time could work for you. And the Finnish airports operate like clockwork also in severe weather (which is several months of the year).


Flights: Lapland UK and UK Lapland

You can either find a package holiday from a UK based travel agent or find Lapland log cabin holidays online. If you want to put together your own itinerary online, search for flights to these airports:

  • Ivalo: a 30 minute drive from Inari where the Indigenous People’s Film Festival is held each January and where lots of visitors go see the Northern Lights. Ivalo is the Northernmost airport in Finland and if you are continuing over to the Northernmost part of Norway or the Arctic Sea, this is probably your best airport to fly to. If you are interested in the Indigenous People’s Film Festival in Inari, you need to arrange this yourself. As far as I’m aware, there are no official Lapland tours that will take you there. Inari has a few hotels and a few AirBnB’s.


Ivalo hotel prices

Inari hotel prices


  • Rovaniemi, which is the home of the Santa Park. Many Lapland tours take you here, but I personally didn’t think the Rovaniemi Santa Park was up to standard of international tourists. The whole place lacked some TLC but the outdoor ice track looked extremely fun. As most areas in the Santa Park are free to visit, why not spend a few hours there but I wouldn’t plan the whole trip around it. Are you looking for a hotel in Rovaniemi? 
  • Kemi-Tornio: great for the Kemi SnowCastle (this is not to be confused with the IceHotel in Kittilä)
  • Kittilä: this is a popular ski resort and the home of the SnowVillage, where you can find the SnowHotel.
  • Kuusamo: near to the Easternmost border of Finland and surrounded by incredibly beautiful nature. If you want to go watch bears in their own habitat, Kuusamo is a great choice. Here’s one recommended bear watching tour in Kuusamo. Technically Kuusamo is situated just outside Lapland border but many Finns count it as Lapland. I found this great blog post by Couple Castaway which tells a funny story about this airport: the Kuusamo terminal building is so small these guys had to queue outside in the airfield for the passport control!


Lapland tours: are there Cheap Lapland holidays?

Lapland tours are usually not low-cost holidays, partly due to the long flights and the relatively high cost of employee wages for those who serve the hotel guests in Finland. The longer you wait to book, the more expensive the Lapland holidays and last minute deals to Lapland are. Not only is Lapland very popular with overseas visitors, it’s also one of the favourite destinations of the Finns to spend their Christmas or New Year in. To get an idea of the prices, I recommend Thomson Holidays for Lapland tours, SkyScanner for flights and for hotels. I have partnered with them as these are my favourite sites I use all the time.


Transportation in Finland

Trains in Finland

Is Lapland expensive?

It sure is! Firstly, you should book your flights well in advance, even if you fly with the affordable airlines, such as Norwegian. For more exact information what a holiday for two cost in Ruka, for example, have a look here. According to Couple Castaway, the most expensive part of the holiday are the flights and the accommodation. And having visited Lapland numerous times myself, I completely understand their frustration about the price of groceries too. This is unfortunately true everywhere in Finland, so it’s not just us Finns trying to rip off the tourists. The prices always give me a shock when I return home. If you are on a budget, I recommend bringing your own drinks along from the Tax Free! Once you get there, you’ll see what I mean. But Lapland is a magical and one of the most beautiful destinations I have ever seen so don’t let the prices put you off.


Coaches / buses in Finland:

Matkahuolto and

Low cost bus company Onnibus

Other things to do and see in Lapland

Fishing in Finland

Bear watching in Kuusamo


Read also:

Traditional Pee Soup, anyone? Top 8 funniest menu translations from Finland

EU Citizen: looking for Brexit exit but not sure where to move?

Top 10 Cheapest City Breaks in Europe


How to improve your Uber rating and why you should do it

Overbooked flight – Why I was over the moon

Taxi Palma: how to get to your Mallorca accommodation

Taxi Palma: how to get to your Mallorca accommodation



Taxi Palma de Mallorca airport: regular taxi fares


If you decide not to book an airport transfer taxi to Palma online, you should:

  • queue to grab a regular taxi from the taxi rank outside the terminal building. You can find it at the terminal’s floor 0, just outside the arrivals hall.
  • When taking a regular taxi in Mallorca, you should always ask for a receipt and hold on to it, in case you ever want to make a complaint.
  • The drivers should be licensed by the City Council of Palma de Mallorca. The driver will charge you extra for each piece of luggage. You can find more information on the extra fees in the Mallorca Taxi Prices table below.

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Uber Mallorca: is there Uber in Palma or Magaluf?

In another article, I wrote about Uber in Spain and Madrid in particular. Madrid is an exception to the Spain-wide Uber ban, although they are only allowed to use the luxury UberX type of cars. Unfortunately, there is no Uber in Mallorca. So you won’t be able to hop off your flight, pull out your phone and book a ride via the Uber app.



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NIE Barcelona: How I Got My NIE Number & Residencia Fast

NIE Barcelona: How I Got My NIE Number & Residencia Fast

NIE Barcelona 2018 – How I got my NIE number & Residencia quickly in Spain


In this post I’ll telly you how I was able to get a NIE number in Barcelona and how I got past the obstacles the system threw in my way. Like many of you readers right now, I was going through the gruelling bureaucracy of trying to get a NIE number and my resident status or “residencia” in Barcelona just recently. As you probably know, all of those EU nationals that plan to stay in Spain for over three months required to sign into the Registry Central de Extranjeros by law. This means that you should get yourself that green, little card, if you plan to stay in Spain for longer than 3 months.

Once given a little green card, you will also have your own Numero de Identidad de Extranjero (NIE), which translates to Foreign Identity Number. As you can imagine, also I was struggling to find recent information online on how to get this piece of green paper with numbers on it.


  • I used Google’s time tools to find new posts and articles searching “NIE Barcelona”.
  • I tried to read only those articles that had been written within the past year, but I wasted a huge amount of time following old links leading to outdated information.
  • I read through numerous posts online and spent way too much researching how I could get a NIE as fast as possible.
  • Most articles I read through were about Spanish rules that have already expired.

That is exactly why I want to give you most recent information on how you can get through the process, like I did. 

Message me to get the NIE agent's details

14 + 5 =

Cita NIE Barcelona – Do They Even Exist?


They do, but if you need to get your appointment fast, read this first to stop wasting time:

Here is what did NOT work for me when getting an appointment in Spanish

1. I tried to book an appointment online, also known as CITA NIE or Cita Previa. I kept visiting their website (link to the Barcelona NIE City Previa service is at the bottom of this page), but the issue was that there just were no appointments available. It wasn’t a matter of not having appointments left for this week, this month or even this year. There were just no NIE Cita Previa appointments for Barcelona in the system at all! I kept getting this error message: “En este momento no hay citas disponibles. En breve, la oficina pondrá a su disposición nuevas citas.”


2. I had read that you need to try to book your appointment at exactly 8 am, as the appointments would be released then. This did not work for me, there just were no appointments for NIE numbers available, ever. When we decided to move to Barcelona, we didn’t think the biggest challenge would not be finding an affordable apartment that we liked or arranging our moving boxes all the way to Spain from Malta. The NIE application was beginning to look like a monster that we would just have to tackle face on, although our odds were slim!


3. Some articles I saw suggested that I would have only a 2 minute window during the whole week to get an appointment – this would be 8:00 – 8:02. Some claimed the window would be at midnight at 00:00 while other sites tell you need to try at noon. None of these times worked for me. But just imagine how much coffee I was putting into my system! Going to bed after midnight and not getting sleep for all the stress… Then getting up with the alarm at 07:45 to get disappointed once again. I was beginning to believe these “Cita NIE Barcelona” nightmares that featured a certain office at Rambla Guispuscoa 74, were going to haunt me forever. In these nightmares the Oficina de Extranjeria Barcelona would mystically close its doors and relocate to the Himalayas when I was about to go in for my NIE number appointment.


4. Some of the sites I found online advice you to have a booking app ready and try getting the appointment through the app and the website simultaneously. This has to be done exactly when the Cita Previas are released in the system. Apparently the app is only available for Samsung devices, so as an iPhone user I was nowhere near the goal. I have gotten feedback from a reader that she had luck with the app twice – as you can save your details on the app and keep refreshing over and over, you stand a much better chance of booking a NIE appointment than going through the website.

5. In the past, people have been able to get a NIE without a Cita Previa. Many have travelled to nearby towns like Badalona or Girona early in the morning. On a few expat groups on Facebook I was advised to get to the Badalona police station for 5 in the morning. If you get there around 6 and you are number 11 in the line, you won’t get seen the whole day and you have to keep getting up after 3 in the morning until you succeed. This turned out to be a massive pile of rubbish. Someone from the same Facebook group travelled all the way from Barcelona to the Badalona police station and waited there from 5am onwards, only to be given an appointment for two weeks later. Apparently the authorities found out about the practice of Barcelona residents travelling over to their side and cut this option out of the limited pool of options of us expats.

How I finally got a NIE Barcelona appointment


We were running out of time, as we were also spending too much time apartment hunting at the same time. I turned to 3 agents that deal with NIE Barcelona queries and who take you through the whole appointment at the Oficina de Extranjeria Barcelona. The prices of their services were all pretty much on the same level, around 90€. As we were in a rush to secure a cita previa, I proceeded with the first agent that answered on a Sunday night. I was so thankful for getting the same day email reply on a weekend evening and it really lifted my moods from the dumps back to hopeful. I sent the agency the details of my passport – my name and the passport number. The payment was to be made after the NIE appointment. Now it looked like having the little green card in my hands was turning into reality!

My appointment was scheduled to be in 2 weeks based on my own availability, which was fine, as we were heading out of the country anyway. Soon we got some Cita NIE Barcelona documents to fill out online, which didn’t take me more than 5 minutes. We were also referred to a great insurance broker, who gave me a call on WhatsApp soon after and explained everything I needed to know about our health insurance options. If you are applying for the NIE with a job offer in hand, you don’t need to worry about a private health insurance, like I did.

On the day of my NIE Barcelona appointment, the agent turned up with filled out forms that I had seen online in the past, when I had been doing my research. Having him do all of the necessary paperwork was a massive weight off my shoulders, as these documents were all in Spanish. I was very concerned was that I could accidentally leave important information out. Now I didn’t have to concern myself with any of these worries and I could focus on more important things, like booking house viewings in my spare time. Actually house hunting had turned out to be another nightmare, which inspired me to write this post: Use these digital tricks to bust an apartment scam. Barcelona is full of scammers that try to steal your rent deposit and run with it, so don’t get fooled by these incredibly resourceful and clever criminals!

My Cita Previa at Rambla Guispucoa 74 – how my appointment went


We met outside the Oficina de Extranjeria Barcelona, which is located at Rambla Guispucoa 74. As standing outside the police station is not allowed for security reasons (the guards will tell you that), I waited in the pedestrian lane in the middle of the road. We had scheduled to meet at 8:00 with the but in fact the appointment was actually for 12 o’clock. Regardless, once the doors were opened exactly at 8, I and the NIE agent were first in line. It was great being there with him, as I watched other applicants trying to work out which queue they needed to be in. The correct line for those applicants with a Cita Previa (appointment in Spanish) was on the left hand side. Everyone else, who came without an appointment had to queue on the right.

We were the first ones to be given a number and after a couple of minutes wait, our turn was up. The whole appointment was in Spanish and the agent kept handing my documents over to the lady behind the desk. I found the whole appointment actually quite nice, as I trusted that the agent knew what he was doing. I didn’t have any concerns over my paperwork – they had been filled out carefully by a pro that speaks Spanish, understands the process and does this every single day. I knew things were going well when the lady reached out for a green paper card and printed my details on it.

And how long did my appointment take?

We were out of the Oficina de Extranjeria Barcelona exactly at 08:06. This was quite impressive, given that we had agreed to meet outside just before eight. Next I’ll walk you through the frequently asked questions so keep reading! 


NIE Barcelona - view


NIE Barcelona FAQ – These answers have been confirmed with a NIE agent


Can I get a temporary NIE?

  • There was lots of outdated information online regarding temporary NIE numbers. These don’t exist anymore (this was confirmed by my NIE agent). Applicants should now be added to the permanent system. This means that you should have a written job offer in hand when you walk into your NIE appointment, unless you intend to show them that you have sufficient funds to support yourself in Spain. I will tell you more about this below.


If I can’t get a Cita Previa, can I live in Spain without a NIE number?

NIE will be required if you plan to stay in Spain for 3 months or more. This also stands if you are an EU citizen. It is also needed to do any of the following:

  • Opening a bank account with some banks (see exceptions below)
  • Getting salary from your employer
  • Registering as a freelancer (autónomo)
  • Starting a business
  • Getting utilities accounts, such as electricity, water and an internet connection for your home
  • Paying tax
  • To become eligible to get a loan
  • Getting a driver’s license
  • Applying for social security benefits
  • Registering with the social services
  • Buying or selling a property and getting an insurance to that property
  • Getting a Bicing card that you can use to rent bicycles all year round for very low cost


Which documents do I need to get a NIE in Spain if intend to prove I can support myself financially and I don’t have a job offer?


  • The original health insurance policy, signed by the insurer
  • A letter from your bank, stating that your balance is at least 6 000 euros. This document should be recent and not older than 2-3 days
  • A tax document, stamped by the bank. This will cost you 10,60€.
  • Your passport and a photocopy
  • A receipt for paying your NIE tax at a bank. This should be done before your appointment. This is why I recommend using an agent – their company provided me with the tax papers so I could easily walk in and out of my Cita Previa NIE appointment in Barcelona


Do I need to prove I have money in my bank account if I have a job offer?

  • No you don’t and this is probably the best way for most applicants to apply for their NIE


Do I need a private health insurance if I have a job offer?

  • No, you should be covered within the public system but it’s good to check with your employer


Do I need a permanent address to apply for NIE?

No you don’t, as nothing will be sent to your address. Some use the address of their hotel, others their AirBnB or a friend’s address.


If I get a private health insurance for the NIE purposes, what will it cover?

  • You can discuss the price plans with your insurers but as a rule of thumb you should have the full coverage with no excess if you want your NIE application to be accepted
  • Usually private health insurances don’t cover pre-existing conditions
  • Usually private health insurance kicks in with an un-written 6 month rule: within that time frame you can only make a claim for accidental incidences like trips, falls or other accidents. When you see the doctor, make sure you get a stamped document that says: “person X has been diagnosed with X that is due to an X type of accident, which could not have been prevented”. 
  • That’s why you should also have an EHIC card from your country, if you are a EU citizen. According to some forums, you can still visit the clinic and send them a picture of your EHIC card once you get it, if you had to see a doctor urgently but it was not covered by your private health insurance. My insurance broker gave me an example: a client was diagnosed with cancer in Spain a few weeks after the insurance policy came into effect. The insurance company denied the claim for the treatment costs as they didn’t think it was likely that a cancer was not a pre-existing condition that had already been diagnosed in another country. This person was able to get great care in the Spanish public health system with the help of his EHIC card.
  • After 6 months with a private health insurance, they tend to get a bit more flexible with your claims


If I am to apply for NIE based on proving that I can afford to support myself without a job in Spain, how much money do I have to have on my bank account?

I was told to have 6 000 euros on my bank account. This could be a joint account with your partner (however we didn’t apply the NIE at the same time).


How do I prove I have these funds on my bank account?

You need a stamped letter from your bank. My bank tried to order me some kind of a certificate from the head office that would have cost 12€ and taken 4 days to do. This is unnecessary – a printed balance is sufficient as long as it is stamped by the bank.


What if I have under 6 000 euros on my Spanish bank account?

A small variation should be ok, when you plan to prove your finances at your NIE Barcelona meeting. I was 15 euros short to begin with, until I had been able to squeeze the last missing cash into the account.


What is the best Spanish bank account for non residents?

I personally believe in Banco Sabadell. Their app is in English and also offers the finger print login option. Another major bank is La Caixa bank. It’s good to choose a big bank, as other banks can charge you 2€ or more for any cash withdrawals from an ATM that is not your own bank’s ATM.


Which bank in Barcelona has English speaking staff?

Go to Banco Sabadell at Atlantico, Calle Muntaner 242, Barcelona. They are very familiar with expats and know what will be required to get the NIE. You can open your non-resident bank account without NIE, which is helpful, considering your circumstances! Make sure you go early as most banks close at 2pm for the rest of the day!


Can I apply for a NIE by proving I have the financial means to support myself and then accept a job offer or start freelancing?

Yes, as people’s circumstances change


Are you looking for travel insurance, flights or hotels? 

Here’s the partners I recommend. 


My favourite NIE and Residencia horror stories from readers

The cleaner saves the day


Someone recently commented this post with an experience of their own. This guy had travelled to the Oficina de Tramitació del DNI i del Passaport – Sant Feliu de Llobregat office. This trip was made in August 2017. He had got there at 8:15 and there were 15 others waiting to be seen. At 8:30 a police officer shouts something from the steps. Some visitors stay put whilst others head towards the door. At 9 sharp the doors are opened. Those asking for numero de NIE wait whilst those applying for a passport are prioritised. My reader is given number 3. Whereas numbers 1 and 2 are seen quickly, numbers 3 and 4 have to wait 3 hours. After 3 hours he tries to speak to someone about the appointment as it’d be nice to be able to use the bathroom too once in a while. With Google Translator in hand, he wasn’t able to work out what the answer may have been.


Finally it’s his turn. As the employee doesn’t speak a word of English, a cleaner is brought in to discuss the needs of the applicant. The cleaner translates that he is applying for the NIE for the first time. Luckily the employee then fills out most of the form on behalf of the applicant. Next, the cleaner steps in again to save the day by guiding the applicant to a photo booth in the town centre. A copy of the passport was taken and an invoice for something, what ever it was, was 2,70€. Next the photographer guided him to a bank nearby, where he paid 10€ for something. My guess is that it may have been the tax document. Returning to the police station, the applicant walked straight back to the desk of the lady he “spoke with” earlier without too much care for the waiting numbers.


Total: 5 hours spent and a massive need for a toilet break! 


This is by far one of my favourite NIE number stories. DreamWorkAndTravel congratulates this applicant for his perseverance as he is now a holder of that precious document! Do you have a crazy NIE story you would like to share with us? I would love to share it with my readers! Drop me a quick email from the “My Partners” page!

Empadronamiento Barcelona


I will soon apply for the Padrón from the city hall. I will of course let you know how it all went! The empadronamiento is a census and registering yourself on one is compulsory for anyone, who is planning to live in Spain for over 6 months of the year. There is no fee involved, which is good news!

Here’s a few frequently asked questions about the empladronamiento application process in 2018


Do I need padrón or empadronamiento?

You should apply for one if you are planning to do any of the following:

  • Applying for a health insurance card
  • Buying a car or another vehicle
  • Planning to get married
  • What documents do I need to get the empadronaimento in Spain?
You should bring these along, when applying for the padrón:


  • Your passport and a photo copy
  • NIE
  • A receipt for paying the rent
  • Proof of address, which can be any of the following: the original copy of your rental agreement that is written in either Spanish or Catalan. This tenancy agreement must be for over 6 months and it should have been signed within the last 5 years. If you own the property, you should bring the original copy of the title deeds, also known as “escritura”. If you only rent a room, you need a written document from the owner, stating that you live there. You also need a signed copy of his or her ID. If you wish, instead you can also bring along a “autorización expresa, which is a document signed by someone who is already registered at the same address. You will also need to take a signed copy of this person’s ID.


Good luck booking your NIE appointment in Barcelona! The site is entirely in Spanish too, which is convenient for us foreigners!

Still not sure about something regarding your NIE application? Then have a look at this official source


Other sources:

Policia Nacional

Ministerio del Interior

Oficina de Extranjeria de Barcelona


Read also:

Message me to get the NIE agent's details

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How to get from Madrid Airport to city

How to get from Madrid Airport to city

How to get from Madrid Airport to the city centre

The Madrid airport has great public transport connections that take you to the city centre in less than 30 minutes. But the premium private chauffeurs are surprisingly cheap compared to the regular taxis. This way you may be able to avoid the long taxi queues completely. If you have a long connection between your flights, you can venture from Madrid airport to city centre, enjoy great tapas and wine or cervesas under the Spanish sun before heading back for your connecting flight. You can also leave your hand luggage at the airport if you wish. Luggage storage is available in terminals 1, 2 and 4. If you are looking for ideas on what to do in Madrid, have a look here! Next, I will tell you how to get from Madrid airport to city centre in no time.

Airport transfer with private car service

Madrid’s private car service can be very affordable, especially if you share a minibus with other passengers. It will also be one of the most convenient ways to get to the city centre from the Madrid airport. The driver will meet you in the arrivals hall and help you with your luggage. And as you can get a premium car service for just couple of euros extra, it makes far more sense to forget the taxi queues and ride comfortably in style. Booking a private car in advance makes even more sense, if you have tons of luggage. As the driver will help you with everything, all you need to do is to wheel your bags into the arrivals hall. The drivers usually speak English too.


How much is the taxi from the Madrid airport to the city centre?


Taxis in Madrid: How to get from Madrid airport to city centre


The taxis in Madrid are still quite reasonably priced. They all have meters. The taxi ride from the Madrid airport to the city centre should cost around 30 euros. It’s good to check your meter is reset when you jump in the cab. The taxis run 24 hours a day.


    • Fare: fixed 30€ price to the city centre


    • Location: Outside of each terminal



Taxi apps in Spain


Is there Uber in Madrid?


In 2016 Uber in Madrid launched again and still operates in there in 2017. This new strategy that enabled Uber Madrid to re-launch its services in the capital city of Spain has brought an end to a country-wide ban. How did Uber Madrid achieve its goal to return to serve the passengers of the Spanish capital? Through compliance. Unlike in many other destinations, where Uber chooses to pay for the fines handed out to drivers after getting caught, the taxi company has chosen another route to follow in Madrid. For the time being, Madrid’s passengers are only able to book professional and licensed taxi drivers through the UberX service. However, in the summer of 2017, the city of Madrid has requested Spain’s anti-trust watchdog to investigate the fairness of the Uber Madrid airport service. At the moment Uber cannot really compete with price in Spain due to using high spec cars but the convenience of using the globally known app is something many of us have relied on for years. The future of Uber’s transfer from Madrid airport to the city centre is still under scrutiny.



Like in many other destinations Uber has expanded in, also Mardid has had their share of strikes and demonstrations against this Silicon Valley vigilante. In 2014 Uber was forced out of Madrid as a result of pressure from the local taxi companies. This is nothing unheard of in the digital age where new San Francisco digital companies batter the traditional industries, such as transport and accommodation. Recently Italy not only banned Uber but also similar apps that could be used to book rides. Since 2016, the more expensive service, UberX has been in operation in Madrid.

From Madrid airport to city with My Taxi app

The idea of the My Taxi app is very similar to Uber’s. You just download an app, type in your destination and either let the app identify your current location or type it in manually. Usually My Taxi works well if you are on a big road at the time of the booking. I don’t see a problem booking a transfer from the Madrid airport to ciry centre with My Taxi. Besides the typical chasing of the driver and looking for that right licence number plate out of a hundred identical taxis. If you have lots of luggage with you, you may want to choose a private car and book it in advance. This will save you all the trouble of chasing your car with your suitcases and dreading that your phone battery will die before you find your taxi from the Madrid airport.

We have found that unfortunately it’s too easy for the driver to cancel your trip or not pick you up at all. Once at 3 am we were only able to get a My Taxi to pick us up when we had accidentally selected a wrong destination from the list. The driver thought we needed to get to the airport, whereas we only needed a 10 minute drive this time around. We have also had problems booking a taxi to pick us up from smaller side streets. We just don’t get anyone to accept us as passengers. But once we walk for five minutes to a bigger road, all of a sudden getting a ride is no longer an issue! Again, this is not ideal if you have many suitcases and a frustrated or hungry partner.

Airport transfer in Madrid by Bus

There are also buses to choose from, if you need to get from Madrid airport to the train station or anywhere else in the city centre. You can catch any of the following buses for your airport transfer in Madrid:

  • 101, 200, EXPRES 203, N27 EXPRES.
  • The buses run every day from 6am to 11.30pm.
  • Fare: 5€
  • Location: outside terminals 1, 2 and 4
  • Duration: 30 minutes

203 or Expres Aeropuerto bus runs between the airport of Madrid-Barajas and the Atocha train station. This bus is quite convenient, as it runs around the clock and every single day of the year. However, the Atocha bus stop only works between 6am and 11:30am. After that, the Cibeles stop is in use and the bus turns into N27 Expres Aeropuerto.

Expres Aeropuerto

  • Fare: 5€ one way
  • Location at the airport: Terminal 1, 1st floor, Departures area
  • Duration: 30 minutes in normal traffic conditions
  • Runs every 15-20 minutes until 11:30pm. At night this bus runs every 35 minutes

How to get from Madrid airport to city. If you want to get from Madrid airport to train station and you land at the wrong terminal, this Madrid airport shuttle will take you to the train

Can I get from Madrid airport to the train station by train?

The trains run between the airport on the line C-1 and will take you to the Atocha central railway station. The downside is that if you don’t land in terminal 4, you need to first find the shuttle bus and then change for the train, which costs you precious time. You may want to choose another mode of getting from the Madrid airport to city centre if you land in terminal 1, 2 or 3.

  • Fare: 2.60€ one way
  • Location: Terminal 4. If you are in terminal 1, 2 or 3, you need to catch a free shuttle bus to get to T4.
  • Duration: 27 minutes


How to get from Madrid airport to city centre by Metro

How to get from Madrid airport to train station: the Madrid metro map

The Madrid Metro is a convenient mode of transport from the Madrid airport, way as long as you don’t arrive at night. The metro line 8 is also connected with lines 6, 10, 9 and 4 so you can easily get from the Madrid airport to city by Metro. This may be your most convenient way to get from the Madrid airport to city centre, as long as you don’t have lots of luggage along.

  • Fare: 3€ one way
  • Location: inside the terminals 2 and 4
  • Shuttle to the terminals: if you land in terminal 1 or 3, you can catch a free shuttle bus to the terminal 2 or 4
  • Duration: 22 minutes
  • Times of operation: 6:00-01:30


How do I get from the Madrid airport to city centre?

The best method of travel depends on which terminal you arrive at. The Madrid airport is well connected to the city centre and you may choose to get a train, the metro, a bus, a taxi from the taxi queue, an UberX, another taxi booked via the MyTaxi app or a private car that you book in advance.



Read also:

How to improve your Uber rating and why you should do it


Taxis in Turkey – what you need to know

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Best Scottish Highland Tours

Best Scottish Highland Tours

Looking for a Scottish Highlands tour? Explore the Isle Skye, the lochs or enjoy these Scottish mini cruises

Loch Ness tours

Scottish Highland tours and discover Scotland tours. From Inverness to Skye. Loch Ness Loch Ness is not only the home of the famous “Nessie” monster but is also a great day trip destination in the Scottish Highlands. Loch Ness is a deep freshwater lake that stretches over 56 square kilometers (21.8 square miles). The high levels of peat that flow around the lake may have inspired the birth of the Loch Ness Monster tale. Some great sights around the Loch Ness lake include the Urquhart Castle on the western shore as well as the lighthouses at Lochend and Fort Augustus. There is only one island in the Loch Ness, which is located near the Fort Augustus.

Urquhart tours

Loch Ness tours and the Urquhart Castle

The Urquhart Castle

You can explore the Loch Ness and also visit the Urquhart Castle in 2 hours.  The ticket price includes your visit to the Castle and its visitor centre. You also get to listen to the underwater sounds with a sonar and check whether the Loch Ness Monster is approaching. You will find a selection of hot and cold snacks on board the ship. Free WiFi is also offered on all of the cruises.

From Inverness to Loch Ness and the Urquhart Castle


How to book the Loch Ness and Urquhart tour & how to get there

  • Both mobile and printed vouchers are accepted
  • Easy cancellation up to 1 day before the trip for a full refund
  • The Loch Ness Freedom Cruise and Urquhart Castle Tour begins from the Clansman Harbour, 9 miles of Inverness. To get from Inverness to Loch Ness, Follow the road A82 to the harbour
  • The cruise sails to the Urquhart Castle in 30 minutes, where you can explore the castle’s history for an hour, before returning back to the Clansman Harbou
  • Information booklets will be available in English, Spanish, French, Chinese, Italian, Russian, Polish, Portuguese ad Dutch

Other Loch Ness & Urquhart tours from Inverness

Eilean Donan Castle

Scotland Highland Tours: Eilean Donan Castle The incredibly beautiful island of Eilean Donan is located on a small island that used to get cut off by the changing tides. The castle was built under the ruling of Alexander II in the early 13th century. A foot bridge was later opened in the early 20th century to help access to the mainland. This tidal island sits where three lochs meet – Loch Duich, Loch Long and Loch Alsh. The Eilean Donan Castle dominates the island which is also a part of the Kintail National Scenic Area. The Eilean Donan Castle is not inhabited, although a census from the 2001 reports a population of one person.

From Edinburgh to Skye tour with a visit to the Eilean Donan Castle

Experience one of the best mini cruise from Scotland, an Isle of Skye tour and the magnificient Eilean Donan Castle over 3 days. This Scottish Highlands tour not only takes you to probably the best Scottish isle but invites you to take in some of the most breathtaking scenery Glencoe in Scotland. The first leg of this day trip takes you from Edinburgh to Skye. On the way there you will get glimpses of tall mountains and crystal-clear lochs. Some of the valleys are so deep that even the radio signal disappears. The roads curve between the mountains and the route is just incredibly scenic. This Scottish Highlands tour will stop at the Eilean Donan Castle, which is cited to be probably one of the most photographed castles in the whole country. You have plenty of time to visit the castle and learn about its history. You will also visit the magnificent and mountainous Isle of Sky. Soon you will arrive in a picturesque harbour town called Portree, where you will also be staying. These tours support the local economy by lodging the visitors in family owned, lovely B&B’s. In Portree you can sit down for lunch and watch the bustle of the village. Next you will be able to visit some of the stunning sites on the Skye, such as the Glen Shiel and the Loch Clunie. There may be extra costs for the entry of the visitor attractions as well as meals and refreshments as these are not included in the price of this Edinburgh to Skye tour.

The Black Isle

A bagpipe player in the Scottish Highlands The Black Isle is not actually an island but a peninsula in the Scottish Highlands. The peninsula is surrounded by water from three angles: The Beauly Firth to the South, the Cromarty Firth to the North and the Moray Firth to the East. The Black Isle is famous for its castles that include Redcastle, Kilcoy Castle, Castlecraig, Cromarty House and Kinkell Castle. Redcastle that is located on the shore is said to be the oldest inhabited house in the North of Scotland.

Scottish Highlands tour from Inverness

Experience a full day Scottish Highlands break complete with a trip to the Black Isle and a visit to a malt whisky distillery. This one day excursion will take you across the Moray Firth from Inverness. You will visit the picturesque Black Isle and visit the fabulous estuary of the Cromarty Firth. This unspoilt estuary is particularly important spot for wildfowl and waders migrating South. Next you will be able to experience a sleepy fishing village called Cromarty. Small cottages, grand stone mansions and winding streets once served as one of the key ports of North of Scotland and has been successfully conserved for our enjoyment. Next this Scottish Highlands tour will take from the village of Cromarty into the Moray Firth. This is the home of 130 bottlenose dolphins. You will be able to spot many of these wonderful mammals from the Chanonry Point. Finally, this day trip to the Highlands leads you to the Glen Ord Malt Whisky Distillery. You will be able to get a peek behind the scenes of this working distillery and also taste the products. However, there is an additional price for the distillery tour as it is not included in the Scottish Highland tour package. Moving on from the Glend Ord Malt Whisky Distillery, it is time to explore the last stop on this day trip. You may get an opportunity to spot the famous Loch Ness Monster during your visit to the village of Drumnadrochit. You can also learn all about this mysterious creature in the Official Loch Ness Exhibition Center.

  • Both mobile and printed vouchers are accepted
  • Easy cancellation up to 1 day before the trip for a full refund

Hogwarts Express – take the Harry Potter train

I recently discovered that there is a real Harry Potter train in Scotland that any fan should go and see. This awesome stream train takes you from Fort William to Mallaig. You can have a closer look at it on a blog called Wunderlander. 

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Dreaming about living abroad? This village in Italy pays you 2000€ to move there

Dreaming about living abroad? This village in Italy pays you 2000€ to move there

Dreaming about living abroad? If you move to this village in Italy, the Mayor will pay you 2000€ and lower your rent to 50€


  • The Mayor of the mountainous village of Bormida in Liguria, North West of Italy, is worried that his village’s population is dwindling down, as many of the local residents are moving away for work
  • A cash reward of 2000€ is offered to those who move to Bormida
  • Besides bagging the cash incentive, the rent of new residents will also be lowered to as little as 12,50€ per week (50€ per month)
  • The nearest big city is Genoa, 86 km away (over 50 miles)
  • The beach is a 45 minute drive away
  • As Britain is preparing for Brexit, the timing of this relocation offer couldn’t come at a better time for those EU citizens living in the UK who are looking for their next home country, as living abroad is a way of life for them

Dream Work and Travel: Cheap flights to Italy

Bormida, Liguria, Italy

The village of Bormida in Liguria, Italy


Why living abroad and stepping off the career ladder can be the best decision of your life

Living abroad is something many dream of. Yet, most of us don’t end up following through with the plan. This small Italian mountain village is trying to make that relocation decision easier for you. The Mayor of Bormida, Daniele Galliano, shared his idea of offering a cash reward and lowering the rents of newcomers to the village on Facebook. Currently Bormida’s population stands at 394 inhabitants.   This initiative should see the first new tenants move in next year, once the local council has agreed on the details. Based on the answers the Mayor has received, many prospective applicants don’t even need to get the 2000€ to move in – the quiet way of life and the fresh mountain air near the coast of Italy seems rewarding enough. And the proximity to the nearest Michelin star restaurant – Locanda dell’Angelo in Millesimo, is only 21 km (13 miles) away. The perks of living very close to the Italian coast are hard to beat – the sunshine, the sandy beaches and the most amazing sea food and local wines are something most of us dream of. Also, you wouldn’t be too far from the fabulous Cinque Terre. Why not plan your itinerary using this cool Cinque Terre guide I found! With my tips below, you could also be making a freelancer career for yourself, enabling you to relocate there long term and to travel to the most spectacular sites around the country at your own pace.    Are you looking for tips for your next trip to Rome? Here are some great photos from Rome that will inspire you!

Dream, Work and - Cinque Terre is 2,5 hours away from Bormida, Liguria in Italy

You can have a day trip to Cinque Terre from your new home village Bormida, Liguria in Italy


Learn new skills or a new profession when living abroad


    • Learn new digital skills through Treehouse – you can get a free 7 day trial membership to learn web design, coding or business. You do not need any previous experience with coding to start learning. You can learn to build your own website or a site for a client, code, build an app or to start your own business. With over 1000 tutorial videos, you can make the time fly in your new Italian home village. Treehouse teaches the following topics: Design, Web Development, WordPress, Data Analysis, iOS, Android, Game Development, Virtual Reality and Databases
    • Learn a new language: study Italian online with language schools such as, which has been featured all over the international press (The New York Times, The Washington Post and Der Spiegel). They are rated an excellent 9.5 out of 10 on Trustpilot with around 800 reviews. Apart from being able to study Italian online, you can also attend language classes in Genoa with As English is not widely spoken in the village of Bormida, you will master a new language faster

Dream Work and banner

  • Learn a new profession through the Shaw Academy, one of the largest online educators in the world. You can get diplomas in photography, design, technology, business, beauty or health & wellness, music or languages. You do not need any previous experience to start learning. The Shaw Academy currently has over 400k new students each month and is growing. Students are able to choose from over 50 online courses. How do these careers sound to you? Web Designer / Developer, Financial Trader, Digital Marketer or Graphic Designer? These are great careers for anyone moving to Bormida or elsewhere, as you can work remotely as long as you have a reliable internet connection. You can give them a go with Shaw Academy’s free trial
  • See if you could use your existing skills to make it as a freelancer with (you really don’t need to earn that much to live a full life in Bormida)
  • Take time off to study a full degree 100% online through The Open University (UK degrees) or The Digital Skills Academy and get your degree accreditation from the Dublin Institute of Technology. I have recently graduated from both of these universities and recommend both for anyone working full time, part time, looking after their family or looking to change the direction of their careers

Dream Work And Travel: living abroad.

Downshift or study for a new profession in Italy

This opportunity to move to Bormida, Italy, is ideal especially to those who are able to work remotely. It is also a very affordable location for anyone studying online, as the rent would only set you back 50 euros a month for a smaller apartment and maximum of 120 euros for a large house. If you have been looking for a way to step off the career ladder and take some time off to figure out what really makes you happy in life, this “living abroad” offer from the Mayor of Bormida couldn’t come at a better time. As the living costs are so low, you would only need to work a fraction of that time you may be working now. Once you have freed up time in your meetings calendar, you could be trekking on the mountains or driving down to the beach and enjoying the sunshine and other good things in life.   If you are thinking of moving abroad, you may also like this post where I give a less known but a good option for the list of locations. Although the post’s title suggests that it is aimed at anyone looking to move out of the UK due to Brexit, the post will apply to many nationalities around the world.   Dream Work and Travel: Cheap hotels in Italy Read also: This is how you can get a free city break in Turkey


Top 10 Cheapest City Breaks in Europe

Get discounts with these promo codes: Uber, Transferwise, Dropbox

Don’t travel without this app – WiFi password finder


Related pictures of Bormida and Liguria, Italy

cinque terre italy manarola liguria rock sea mediterranean water steep coast italian riviera village homes colorful national park unesco world heritage site holiday tourism italy italy italy italy italy
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cinque terre, vernazza, village
cinque terre, vernazza, village
bad weather, thunderstorm, liguria
cinque terre, vernazza, village
travel, sea, water
cinque terre, italy, manarola
waters, sea, costa
cinque terre, vernazza, village
seashore, sea, beach
water, sea, seashore
sea, seashore, water
window sea column scoglio sky mountain porto venere liguria italy window window column liguria liguria liguria liguria liguria italy italy italy
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Searching for gaming jobs online? Follow these steps to get your dream career

Searching for gaming jobs online? Follow these steps to get your dream career

For this week’s post I have interviewed two experts, Emmi and Joanna, who know everything about gaming jobs. The girls have recently founded a gaming recruitment agency and their clients and candidates are keeping them very busy. This article will give you simple steps to follow, if you are searching for gaming jobs online at the moment or if you would like to apply for any of the betting world vacancies you find here. These tips given by Emmi and Joanna are very useful also if you are looking for a job abroad. Some of these tips apply to a wide range of roles within the gaming industry, whereas some are more specifically  about the iGaming sector, which is also known as the online casino and betting industry.  I recommend reading their interview especially if you are considering your career options because of Brexit. If you speak more than one language fluently, your options increase immediately. I have also written a post for those people who are considering to move out of the UK because of Brexit, you can read it here.


Want to work abroad? This is your chance


gaming jobs online: Joanna from Magic Mondayz

Joanna from Magic Mondayz



Gaming jobs online: Emmi from Magic Mondayz

Emmi from Magic Mondayz


Even if you have not browsed gaming jobs online before, I want to introduce you to various different roles that are on offer even if you don’t have any previoius gaming experience.I asked them about many of the betting world vacancies and the technical jobs gaming companies are recruiting for at the moment, such as database jobs and developer roles. At this point I want to mention that this is not a paid or a sponsored post, which means that the recruitment agency I am about to introduce to you is not paying me to write this article.

The gaming recruitment experts – Joanna and Emmi from Magic Mondayz


Joanna and Emmi have recently founded a highly specialised recruitment agency called Magic Mondayz. Both of the ladies have built up lots of industry experience in HR and recruitment agency roles, before venturing off together to start a specialised gaming recruitment agency. As both have also worked on the hiring side in different gaming companies, they have got to know many hiring managers personally and they have also experienced the company culture first hand. This is why Joanna and Emmi are the right people to talk to, if you are interested in working for a gaming company. First I will tell you a little bit about the types of roles you can find in the gaming sector, if you don’t have experience in the industry. After that, we will start the interview with Magic Mondayz!


Looking for online gaming jobs or interested in gaming apprecticeships or other entry level gaming jobs? You can get in touch with Emmi and Joanna from Magic Mondayz to get started.

Left: Joanna, right: Emmi


Marketing jobs in gaming


Game companies are looking for enthusiastic applicants for different marketing positions all the time. Especially if you have previous marketing experience and you have played online casino games before and you can consider moving to Malta, which is an English-speaking island in the Mediterranean, you should consider a CRM Executive role. Usually CRM Executives climb up to marketing from a customer support role, where they can learn about gaming first. The CRM team is responsible for creating and sending newsletters to the customers. The CRM teams use marketing tools, data analytics and Excel spreadsheets to determine which customer gets which newsletter or offer. Online casino marketers send newsletters to their customers about new game releases and bonuses they can claim.

Entry level jobs in gaming


There are also lots of entry level jobs in gaming up for grabs. If you don’t have web development or data management skills for example, you can apply for a customer support role or even a content writer role, especially if you speak more than one language.

Want an online gaming job? Find out how to get your new job in gaming now.

Betting world vacancies and sports betting jobs


There are numerous career paths you can take In the world of online gaming. Maybe  you are searching for gaming jobs online at this very moment. Where are looking from? Are you searching for jobs in Europe on CareerJet Malta or Indeed Barcelona, for example? Although both of these international job search platforms offer a large selection of roles out there, I have found a few downfalls using these platforms when I was looking for gaming jobs online.


Firstly, they don’t often offer any information on the salary level. Especially if you are considering to live and work in Spain, the UK, the USA, Australia, Malta or any other country, this is a big step in your life that you should not take without a better understanding of what the cost of living in your new home country will be. I have also found that sending your CV through CareerJet or Indeed is as good as sending your application to a digital shredder somewhere in the cloud. Many of us never hear a single word from that application ever again. This is one of the many reasons I recommend using a specialised recruitment agency, when you are looking for gaming jobs online. When you search for online gaming jobs, you will find agencies that cover a broad range of roles as well as highly specialised recruitment agencies, like Magiz Mondayz. You can get in touch with the recruiters Emmi and Joanna especially if you are interested in any of the following:


  • Marketing jobs in gaming companies and specific video game marketing jobs
  • Content management jobs and content writer jobs for gaming sites such as the Onnenapila (this example site is in Finnish), which publishes articles on casino bonuses and game strategies
  • Data management jobs / database jobs / SQL jobs
  • Web Developer roles
  • Web Designer roles: the affiliate marketing websites, such as the Finnish that is currently being built, have a great need for creative WordPress and other CMS Designers, as the volume of new newbsites being created is high
  • Full Stack Developer roles
  • Sports betting jobs
  • Online casino jobs, also known as iGaming jobs
  • Gaming apprenticeships or other entry level gaming jobs
  • Jobs in Europe or specifically jobs in Barcelona or Malta for English speakers

Love sports?


If you are into sports, why not become a Sports Content Writer for online betting companies? You would be surprised to see how big the demand for people following sports is in the iGaming job sector, particularly in Malta. Some of the coolest iGaming jobs in Malta I have seen include watching matches and tweeting about them via the sports betting company’s Twitter account.

Gaming recruitment expert interview

How Recruitment Consultants can help you find a good job abroad and get the offer


Magic Mondayz: betting world vacancies, gaming jobs online, sports betting jobs, online casino jobs and many more

Joanna and Emmi working from Tallinn, Estonia


Joanna: Most Recruitment Consultants have a big network of companies they work with, they know the culture and the environment and can easily assess where you can fit best. They will also guide you through the whole process, get to know you, introduce you to the hiring managers and coach you for the interview. Recruitment Consultants usually know what the particular company is looking for and can guide you accordingly, in order to increase your chance to get an offer.



What does “internal recruiter” mean?


Emmi: An internal recruiter is the person responsible for the hiring process in a specific company. An internal recruiter works inside the company and normally screens candidate’s CVäs, is responsible for 1st stage interviews, liaises with the hiring managers, schedules interviews and is overall responsible for coordinating the hiring process. They are employed directly by the company that has the open positions and are physically based in the company’s office. Joanna: It’s the person coordinating the recruitment process internally in the company. Usually it’s not only going to be a someone who conducts one of the interviews but also your first point of contact in case of any questions regarding the relocation in case you apply directly on the companies website.


What is the role of a “recruitment consultant” in an agency?


Joanna: From my perspective, a Recruitment Consultant is kind of the first friend you will make while searching for the job. Perhaps it doesn’t sound very professional, but this is how I see it. Candidates trusts us with their career choices. Therefore, we need to do our best to create a good relationship with them and show them that they can rely on us, which is much easier if you treat each other like friends. Jobs for gamers, jobs in Malta, jobs in Barcelona for English speakers and much more Recruitment consultants screen the candidates and then spend a lot of time to get to know every single person in order to figure out which company can possibly be the best fit for them. They assists candidates throughtout the whole process and sometimes are also the first people they meet when they arrive to the new destination.   Emmi: A recruitment consultant who is working in an agency is recruiting for multiple different companies at the same time. They work together with variety of companies that have open positions. A recruitment consultant is not on the payroll of any of the companies, they are employed by the agency. A recruitment consultant’s place of work is the agency’s office, so they are not physically based in any of the companies premises, but are in close contact with them throughout the process.


What “secret weapons” can the Recruitment Consultant use to get my job application forward? Can the recruiter maximise my chances of getting the offer I want?


Joanna: Definitely working with a recruiter can maximize your chance to get an offer but I don’t really believe in ”secret weapons”. We know all of the clients we work with in person and know their expectations. This helps us to ensure that both sides find their perfect fit. We can also coach candidates in the preparation for interviews and give them all of the information they need to know about the company. This helps the job applicant feel confident when entering the interview room. But at the end of the day, its up to them to make the best first impression. We are just the bridge that matches people with the best opportunities and we can coach you and tell you what the client expects. But we really believe in honesty and want you to be yourself during the interview. That’s the only way to find out if a particular job is the right fit for you. Don’t be afraid to show your personality or ask questions. If you don’t have a good feeling about the job after your interview, just take your time and wait for the right opportunity to arrive.


I want to change careers but I don’t have the required experience or education. Can I still find a job abroad?


Emmi: It’s never too late to change careers. I personally know people who were very ”well-off” in their native countries, working in stable jobs and managerial positions, but wanted some change in their life! They moved to a new country and started in a new industry, completely from scratch. It’s normal that candidates start from an ’entry level’ position ( ie. entry level gaming jobs), such as Customer Service, to learn the new industry hands-on and work their way up. We recruit for positions on all levels and there is something for everyone for sure. Joanna: Of course you can. In order to apply for the entry level iGaming jobs, all you need are language skills and an awesome personality. Most of the candidates who start their adventure within the iGaming industry, don’t have any previous experience. These applicants start in Customer Support to learn about the industry, get some training and then work their way up. 

Betting world vacancies, gaming jobs online, jobs for gamers and more.

Do you guide candidates on how to prepare for an HR interview?


Joanna: We are quite lucky when it comes to that, because we both used to work in HR in the online gaming industry and we have conducted hundreds of interviews ourselves. We know exactly what the HR interviewer wants to know about the candidate and we make sure that our candidates are well prepared.


What types of roles does your recruitment agency, Magic Mondayz, recruit for?


Emmi: We are specialized in language jobs & igaming jobs (online casino jobs) but also recruit for a number of different positions. We recruit for jobs in Malta for English speakers, online gaming jobs, data management jobs, accounting jobs, marketing jobs, customer service jobs, sales jobs, payments & fraud jobs… And the list goes on:


  • Customer Support: Finnish / Swedish / Norwegian / German / UK
  • Fraud Analyst
  • Marketing Coordinator
  • Programmatic Coordinator
  • Norwegian Content Writer
  • Nordic Affiliate Manager
  • Front End Developer
  • Back End Developer
  • Senior BI Analyst
  • Finnish Sales Agent
  • Lead UX/UI Designer
  • Nordic Country Manager

Most of the positions are based in Malta and Estonia but we also have a few clients in Barcelona and Bucharest.


What language skills is your recruitment agency interested in?


Emmi: Many of our open positions require only English language skills, but we also work with Swedish, Finnish, Norwegian, German, Dutch, Estonian, French and Danish speaking candidates.


Can you tell the average salaries for roles in the countries you recruit in?


Joanna: Sure, it will be hard to compile a full list for all available roles, but just so you to get a better understanding I will list a couple:

  • Entry level gaming jobs like Customer Support or Payments Analysts: 18.0000 – 25.000 Euro gross p.a.
  • Content Writer/Junior Marketing Coordinator/SEO Executive – 24.000 – 30.000 Euro gross p.a.
  • Junior Affiliate Manager 28.000 – 35.000 Euro gross p.a.
  • Senior Affiliate Manager 35.000 – 60.000 Euro gross p.a.
  • Mid level Software Developer – 40.000 Euro gross p.a.

It’s definitely worth mentioning that most of the companies also offer other benefits on top of the salary like a gym membership, lunches in the office and events.


Moving abroad costs a lot of money. Does the company help pay for my relocation?


Jobs abroad: gamejobs, datamanagement jobs, web developer jobs in Malta and more Emmi: Most of the companies we are recruiting for, especially in Malta, do pay for your flights and accommodation for the first 1-2 weeks, so you won’t need to worry about where you will stay while searching for your own place. Joanna: Yes, most of the companies understand that some candidates might struggle to cover all the costs by themselves and offer them relocation packages. Usually they cover the flights, two weeks accommodation and organise a pick up from the airport. Some of the HR Managers we work with actually go to the airport themselves to welcome the newbies even if they arrive middle of the night, which is pretty cool.


I searched gaming jobs online and see lots of support roles. What does “support role” or Customer Care Agent mean exactly?


Emmi: “What Agent” you might ask.. FBI Agent? 007 Agent? No, (sadly for some) Customer Care Agent, also known as Customer Service Representative, may sound like an odd job title. Basically, it’s just like any other customer service role but in an online environment. A Customer Care Agent’s primary task is to answer customer’s queries usually with email & live chat and in some companies via phone as well. On top of this, a Customer Care Agent can be involved in other tasks such as small translations, content, payments processing etc.. depending a bit on the company’s structure & size. Joanna: These are the stars who help to resolve customers queries and answer all their questions on a daily basis, mainly over live chat, email or phone. If you decide to start your career within iGaming as a Customer Support Agent, you will spend the first couple of weeks in intensive training to learn about the industry and the brands. This means that this job can really be a great start of your iGaming career for someone who doesn’t have any previous experience.


What happens if the job abroad doesn’t work out?


Emmi: From my experience, it doesn’t happen very often that the job is not what our candidates expect. This is why we take time in finding out the candidate’s as well as the company’s expectations. Joanna: It all depends on the reasons of course, but if you just feel like a particular job is not for you, we will definitely be there to help you to find something new as soon as possible.


How do I find reliable information on the cost of living in the new country?


How to find information on living costs in a countryJoanna: When I am relocating someone to another country, I always have a quick Skype session with them to go through this. It’s a good idea to join Facebook groups for expats in the place you are planning to relocate to. Most of the questions are being repeated all the time and if you search information in these groups, you will most likely be able to find all the answers. Emmi: There are different websites like Numbeo you can visit to compare cost of living in different countries. To get an idea on the apartment rent prices in a specific country, you can also join some groups on Facebook, ie. Apartments Malta, Barcelona Apartments etc. In these groups there are apartment ads from independent landlords as well as real estate agents.


How do I find an apartment in Malta, Barcelona or Berlin?


Jobs and apartments in Malta, Barcelona, Tallinn and BucharestJoanna: First of all, most of the companies will offer you to stay in the company flat for a couple of weeks when you arrive. This will give you some time to look for something suitable. You can either use real estate agents (most of the companies have good discounts schemes) or you can turn to Facebook and search in different groups. It’s definitely easier to relocate outside of the holiday season, especially if you are planning to go to places like Malta or Barcelona, because the prices in the summer can be almost double. Emmi: How quickly you find an apartment depends slightly on the time of the year. During the tourist season from May-August it can be a bit harder to find your own place, but there are always apartments available.


Don’t be shy to ask the company’s HR for tips, as many companies have good connections that can help you with the apartment search. You can also join the Apartment search Facebook groups mentioned earlier. There are also other expats like you on these groups, who are searching for a flatmate to share an apartment with. It’s quite typical to rent a shared apartment in the beginning, where everyone has their own bedroom but the common areas are shared. It’s worth looking into this option too, and it’s a good way to make new friends in your new home country. If you want to use the help of a real estate agency, you should know that their fee in Malta, for example, is usually 50% of one month’s rent, but some companies have discount deals with certain agencies. The good thing about getting help from an agency is that they usually pick you up and drive you around to show you multiple apartments at once, so you can get a better insight on what’s out there quicker.


Any more advice on finding an apartment?


My advise would be to never rent an apartment without actually seeing it. It is also important to never ever pay any money up front before you’ve visited the apartment. Once you do find an apartment in Malta, the moving in happens usually quite quickly. The case is often that you find an apartment today, you move in within a couple of days. To read more about apartment scams, click here. 


Do I need a European passport or visa to get a job in Europe?


Joanna: Yes, you will most likely need a European passport to get the job. Visa/work permit are required for the Non-EU nationals, which makes the process a little bit more complicated. But Malta, for example, just introduced a quick work permit application process for more senior employees, so there are ways to get around it.


How do I find information on tax in the country I’m interested in?


Joanna: Ask your HR Manager or Recruiter, they will be able to provide you with all info straight away. Should you still have any doubts, just contact the local Inland Revenue Department. In most countries you can get all info over the phone. Emmi: For information on taxes in Malta you can have a look at: Maltasalary IRD For information on taxes in Barcelona you can visit: Salary Atfter Tax.


How do I make friends in the new country?


Jobs in gaming: making new friendsJoanna: It’s really easy to find friends living as an expat. I remember my first day in my previous job when I thought “oh my god, there will be 100 new faces and I won’t know anyone. How am I gonna deal with it?” The thing is that 90% of the people working in iGaming are expats, exactly like you. They know how it feels to be new in a new country, so they will make sure that you have a warm welcome. Companies also organise plenty of events on a monthly basis for the newbies, to make sure they blend in quickly. So yes, usually the first friends you make (after your recruiters) will be your colleagues. I usually also advice to be active and follow the expats groups in your new country. I really wouldn’t worry about that at all.



I’m interested in working abroad but I’m not 100% sure I have the guts to try. What should I do?



Joanna: Skype me or Emmi 🙂 We both have lived in 7 different countries between us and know exactly how it feels to move to another country or get a job abroad. We can have a chat, answer all of your questions and we can take it from there. Emmi: If you find yourself wondering whether to move abroad or not, you should definitely GO FOR IT. Some people are perfectly happy living in one place their entire lives, and that’s great, but if you find yourself wondering about life & work abroad, you have to do it. You don’t want to regret it when you’re 80 years old. Moving abroad when I was in my 20’s was one of the best decisions I’ve made in my life… both for my personal life and especially for my career. 


I don’t have any savings. Can I still move abroad?


Joanna: I don’t think moving abroad without any savings is a good idea. The company will support you with the relocation but you will definitely need some money in the beginning to cover the initial expenses. These could be paying for the deposit of your flat, for example. I think having some savings will enable you to have an easier transition without unnecessary stress. Emmi: You don’t need to save for months to be able to move abroad, however it’s good to have a little bit saved up for the first month’s expenses ie. the deposit and first month’s rent for your apartment. There are a lot of furnished apartments for rent, so you don’t need to worry about buying new furniture either. Most apartmens even include things like kitchenware, towels & sheets etc. Magic Mondayz: Roles in Marketing, Customer Service, Sales, Design, Fraud, and Tech.Some, if not most companies, also pay for your relocation flights, have a taxi to pick you up from the Airport and cover your stay in their company apartment or hotel for the first 1-2 weeks. Convenient, huh?


What kind of roles are you hiring for at the moment?


Emmi: Right now we’re hiring for roles in Marketing, Customer Service, Sales, Design, Fraud, and Tech. You can have a better look at all the roles at: You can also send us an open application through the website, as we have new roles popping up every week! You will then be the first one to hear from us once something interesting that matches your skills comes up. Joanna: In general, Magic Mondayz specializes in language jobs and recruits for positions mainly in such fields as Customer Support, Marketing, Content and SEO but I personally really like IT recruitment so if any of our clients need help finding Developers or BI Analysts, I am always happy to jump in.


How can I get in touch with you?


Joanna: All of our contact details or on our Magic Mondayz website. Email and Skype are the best ways to communicate. Its enough to send the CV too. If your profile can be a good match with our clients, we will schedule a Skype call in order to find out more about you and your interests.


Additional resources


GoodMigrations: Lots of relocation advice and international mover quotes

Rent Indicator: Surprisingly detailed information on living costs and apartment prices


Read also: Use these digital tricks to bust an apartment scam

Dreaming about living abroad? This village in Italy pays you 2000€ to move there

Can an expat get a bank account in Malta? What you need to know

NIE Barcelona: How I Got My NIE Number & Residencia Fast

International house move: where to get large cardboard boxes in Malta

Can you guess where this building is?

Can you guess where this building is?

Can you guess where this building is?

And what’s inside it?


I asked my Twitter followers if they can tell where this building is. And moreover, if they can guess what’s inside it. If you think you may know the right answer but are not 100% sure, I will give you a couple of hints first, to solve this problem I put together with Veikkaajat and Uhkapeluri.


  1.  It is in a warm climate, but the temperature drops drastically in the winter. I have had a great time by the pool side in this city in September.

2. In this city, you will find world-class entertainment. As a matter of fact, many of the stars on MTV have performed concerts or held resident shows here, that can run for months or even years. For many of the artists, it’s also their “last resort”.

3. If you haven’t guessed the answer by now, I’ll post another picture for you.


Does the Egypt theme give the answer away? Could it be a casino?

Does the Egypt theme give the answer away?

4. Think of all the places in the world where the architects could be this crazy to mix such a modern structure with a sphinx imitation. And for sure, it’s not in Egypt.

5. Okay, I’ll post one more picture, which hopefully reveals which city this building is in. And then you should be able to guess what’s inside this building, too. But keep reading on.


Welcome to Las Vegas, the casino capital of the world!

Welcome to Las Vegas sign in the capital of casinos.

…And the answer is…

Drumroll please…


The black pyramid-shaped building is one of my favourite buildings in the world. It is the Luxor Casino in sunny Las Vegas, Nevada. The Luxor Casino sits at the top of the “Strip”. When you first fix your eyes on it from the landing plane, it does stick out from the rest on the Strip. Inside, casino goers sit side by side at the poker, blackjack, roulette and baccarat tables, hoping for that win of a lifetime. Free beers are served to those playing at the slots machines, that can vary from Game of Thrones themed ones to the Big Bang Theory or even Golden Girls.


I did say that the casino capital, Las Vegas, is a kind of “last resort” for many artists. By this I meant that in many cases, you haven’t heard a peep from these singers in a decade or two. With some, you didn’t know they were still here, let alone performing. At the time of writing this article, tickets for the shows of Ricky Martin, Backstreet Boys, Cher, New Kids on the Block, Billy Idol and Britney Spears were being advertised.


Although I’m not a big gambler myself, I know that increasingly people are enjoying playing at online casinos. If you are intrigued to try, and are over 18 years old, I’ve heard that this casino is particularly good for US customers or this one for the European customers. You usually also get some free stuff when you join. But do play responsibly. Enjoy the free drinks if you are headed to the slot machines of Las Vegas but remind yourself what time of the day it is – as you won’t be going to Vegas casinos to enjoy the sunshine!


Now, if a picture of Ricky Martin’s comeback doesn’t cheer up your day, I don’t know what will.


Guess what: Ricky Martin will headline in the casino capital, Las Vegas

Ricky Martin will headline in the casino capital, Las Vegas

Thanks guys!



Read also:

Top 10 Cheapest City Breaks in Europe

The Happy Hamlet Retreat

Dreaming about living abroad? This village in Italy pays you 2000€ to move there

Affordable luxury in Istanbul: accommodation

EU Citizen: looking for Brexit exit but not sure where to move?

Affordable luxury in Istanbul: accommodation

Affordable luxury in Istanbul: accommodation

Where to stay in Istanbul – affordable luxury


I’m all for travel hacks and travelling in luxury, but saving money at the same time. By saving money I do not mean sleeping in hostel dorms that are filled with snores of strangers, slamming doors and lights switching on and off (although this can be a fun experience too, if you enjoy the social side of hostels). I have learnt to crave for impeccably cleaned hotel rooms, nice and fluffy bathrobes and great service. I want to be able to ask the staff for things like booking the taxi for me, and get an answer with a smile. If you want to read my tips about taxis in Turkey, click here. Feeling that you are really looked after makes you enjoy your holiday a lot more. I would love to be so satisfied with the hotel that when I check out, I feel like writing a blog post about the service and offer them a bit of free advertising too! So this is not a paid advert by the hotel, but a spontaneous “thank you” post. As the quality variation of hotels in Istanbul is huge and as you often end up paying for something that can only be described as tolerable, I recommend you check out the hotel comparison sites I use, as one of them found me this gem. I’ll tell you all about and HotelsCombined below. I will also share my trick of competing these two sites against one another, so I can squeeze out the best possible deal every time. 

Are you looking for ideas what to do in Istanbul? Then check out this ultimate guide on Istanbul on Tripblan! Here’s my hotel review of the Bricks Hotel in Istanbul – this is where price, quality and service really meet.


Hotels in Istanbul: About Bricks Hotel Airport


Bricks Hotel Airport in Istanbul is just over 3km away from the Istanbul Ataturk airport. I was able to find a great deal through a Deluxe Double room for just 32€ (27 GBP / 35 USD). At the same time, I collected one of the 10 credits towards a free hotel night, which is a part of the free membership. The price on the hotel’s website was twice as much at the time of my stay. and HotelsCombined are the only hotel room booking systems I use these days.


Already at the check-in it became clear that this hotel was going to have a great level of service. Someone came to help me with a piece of hand luggage that I could have easily carried up myself. They showed me all the way to my room and made sure I had everything I needed. I waited a few minutes for the reception to add my details into their system, and was then able to log in the free wifi. But what was best about this hotel was that the room was fabulous. I had a bathrobe and slippers waiting for me, and many complimentary things were nicely laid out. I also expect hotel rooms to be very well cleaned, and it was obvious that the level of cleanliness is a priority in the Bricks Hotel.

By the way, here are some great reasons for visiting Istanbul!

Book your hotel in Istanbul, Turkey

Bricks Hotel Airport facilities


Facilities for working


Firstly, I would like to mention that this hotel is fantastic for anyone working remotely. The wifi connection is strong enough throughout the building and didn’t drop off. There is also a super cosy cafe downstairs – ideal for getting some work done on your laptop. Also the lobby area is very suitable for quick meetings.


A work desk in the Bricks Hotel Airport Deluxe Room


The Bricks Hotel gym and spa facilities


I tested the gym and the spa on the evening of my arrival. I was offered a free towel and a pair of rather noisy, wooden clogs for my feet. First I visited the gym. There I wasn’t able to switch the treadmill on (two guys managed to use them just fine after me though..). The machines were slightly over the top in the sense that each machine was designed to do many things (so they did nothing really well). There were a few benches and a bar for chest press too. Unfortunately there was no real dead-lift bar available unless you count the one used on the bench, and most of the hand weights were plasticky. I still managed to get an OK workout and then headed for the saunas next.


The steam room was warm and there was lots of steam. And although the door handle of the Finnish sauna came off when I pulled it, I still loved this sauna. As I am Finnish myself, I take saunas quite seriously. Here you could pour water on the sauna stones (for a Finn this is absolutely essential) and the heat was nice and hot. This is certainly a good sign. Therefore, I give the saunas of the Bricks Hotel a good rating. All of the gym and spa areas were also super clean, which was a huge plus for me. Many hotels in Istanbul offer Turkish hammams, but this one also does the traditional spa very well.


Dream Work And Bricks Hotel Airport - Istanbul




This hotel is located only a couple of metro stops away from the Istanbul Ataturk airport. Although an airport transfer can be arranged by the Bricks Hotel, they charge 25€ one way or 40€ for a return. As I’m always looking for ways to spend less on my travels, I weighed my travel options from the airport to the hotel. There is no shuttle bus to the Bricks Hotel from the Ataturk airport. The Istanbul taxis are all on the meter, but as you hop in the cab, you need to make sure that the meter is actually switched on at the start of your journey. If you are taking a taxi from either of the Istanbul airports, please read this, as it may save you lots of money and valuable time. The hotels in Istanbul tourist areas are completely over-priced so why wouldn’t you consider a higher quality of accommodation for less money? The only trade-off is some of your time spent in the Metro system. 


By the way, I bumped into these money saving tips, for when you are travelling!


To get to the Bricks Hotel from the Ataturk airport, the drive is just over 3 kilometers, so I found the 25€ airport transfer quite excessive. Instead, I took the metro for 4 Turkish Lira (LT). This is the equivalent of 1 euro (1,25 USD or 0,9 GBP). The yellow taxi would have cost me 12 TL, which is about 3€ (2,60 GBP or 3,40 USD). If you decide to follow in my footsteps and choose the metro, it’s good to know that the metro ticket machine doesn’t accept large notes, such as 100 TL. Sometimes the machine agrees to speak English, other times not.


Bricks Hotel Airport - Istanbul: How to get there from the Ataturk Airport by Metro

How to get to the Bricks Hotel from the Ataturk Airport by Metro. It’s only a couple of stops away. From the Ataköy metro station, just cross the road via the pedestrian bridge and follow the big road to the direction you came from. There’s great shops, cafes and restaurants along the way, making it a nice walk.


How to get the best deal by competing two price comparison sites against one another


If you are comparing hotels and prices, whether you are looking for hotels in Istanbul or in a completely another country, try my two favourite sites: and HotelsCombined. Put your destination and travel dates in the form below and see which site gives you a better deal. The reason why I love using is that when you sign up as a member, you get deals like Bricks Hotel Airport for as little as 30 euros. But here’s the trick: HotelsCombined offers their customers a price guarantee – if you find a cheaper deal, they will refund the difference. When you run these two sites against one another, the consumer really is king! Go on and give it a try, as you should be paying less than you are paying on most price comparison sites right now! Hotels in Istanbul vary so much in quality that I recommend you consider options along the Metro system but outside the most touristy areas.












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Overbooked flight – Why I was over the moon

Overbooked flight – Why I was over the moon

How an overbooked flight made my day


This has been a terrible week for the United Airlines and even worse for their unlucky passenger, who was assaulted and then dragged off the plane by force. Now Easy Jet made the headlines with a similar story – without the punching and dragging. A couple heading to Catania, Sicily, were ordered off the flight when it was overbooked. The airline staff then failed to explain their rights or offer these poor holiday makers any compensation, set in the EU261 regulation. EasyJet had failed to adhere to the correct  EU protocol from the start, as they hadn’t looked for volunteers, who would be willing to take the next available flight. But I want to write a happy kind of story about an overbooked flight. Yes, there are those examples too, when the airline has overbooked your flight and they are still able to make you feel amazing about it. Let’s hope the British Airways practice becomes the new overbooking standard in aviation.



Volunteering when a flight is overbooked


I rushed to the check-in desk at the Manchester airport, UK, and dug out my passport. Immediately I was asked if I would like to volunteer to take the next flight, as my first flight had been overbooked. Before I was able to show an irritated frown and decline their offer, they continued that I would of course get a 400€ compensation and an upgrade to business class, which meant that I could use the BA lounge. Now they got my attention.


I asked if I was still able to make it to Helsinki on that evening, as it was already late afternoon and I had a connecting flight via Heathrow. I was told that I will be put on the next flight, which means that I can still get home on the same day.

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    This arrangement caused no inconvenience what so ever, but made me feel like I had just won the lottery. The reason I was so pleased was that I had booked a flight with a 4 hour waiting time at the Heathrow airport. The largest airports are probably those few places that can bring out the worst in me – the hoards of people boarding their Christmas flights, the queuing, the endless tunnels and just way, way too many people for my liking. Now I was presented with an opportunity to cut my waiting time at Heathrow and enjoy champagne and single malt whiskies at BA’s Manchester lounge. Of course I said yes.


    Flight overbooked or delayed: How much compensation am I entitled to?


    AMOUNTFlight destination & distance
    Compensation of € 250 (£ 182)For flights of up to 1500 kilometres
    Compensation of € 400 (£ 290)For all other flights within the EU
    Compensation of € 400 (£ 290)For flights between 1500 and 3500 kilometres from or to an airport outside the European Union
    Compensation of € 600 (£ 436)For all other flights


    What you need to know about this compensation rule is that if you are not offered compensation at the airport due to a long delay or an overbooked flight, check your rights online but do not leave the airport. Ask to speak with a supervisor and make the arrangements there and then. Besides financial compensation, you may also be entitled to food, drinks or refreshments, emails, two free phone calls and hotel accommodation in some cases. Especially if you are travelling with small children, getting a hotel room is good practice. The airline must also put you on the next flight, regardless if it is their own flight or if it’s another airline. Airlines can no longer use the aircraft’s technical faults as an excuse for extraordinary circumstances to avoid paying compensation. Unfortunately, they can still avoid paying out by claiming the delay was due to bad weather. 



    What you should do if the airport staff declines your delayed or overbooked flight compensation



    If the airport staff don’t offer you these and you meet the criteria set out in the EU261 regulation, save all the receipts for the purchases like refreshments, food and hotel accommodation.  You can still claim these costs back from the airline, as long as the airport staff had made a mistake and you were entitled to them after all. It’s still best to deal with the issue at the airport. And please, try to keep your cool at all times. The staff usually want to genuinely help you, so try to make it easy for them. It’s likely that you get better treatment if you are a likeable customer. Delays or overbooked flights are not the fault of the check-in staff, although they often get the blame. So how did my own overbooking ordeal end?



    sandwiches at the Manchester airport VIP lounge


    How my overbooking incident ended


    In the end, I made it to the same connecting flight I was meant to be on anyway, so I had just bagged myself 400€ in cash and avoided the Heathrow waiting time. Instead, I chilled at the airport lounge eating through plates of those tiny, little sandwiches that were there to tell me “now have some more champagne and forget about that silly little overbooking blunder”! That’s how an airline should aim to make their customers feel, when the airline is to blame. I felt they valued me as a customer. And I did not complain about the business class upgrade either!


    Since being treated so royally by an airline – which feels like a change to all of those times when my hand luggage was weighed and measured again at the gate when I’m just about to board –  I have appreciated the cash compensation I’m entitled to, as an EU traveller. I will usually offer myself to be transferred, with compensation, to a later flight, if it fits my schedule. If you want to stay in Rome, Paris or Barcelona for an extra night, you need to be the first in the check-in queue! Even if you have checked in online and only have hand luggage, I really recommend speaking to the check-in staff to see if there is an overbooking. If you casually drop in that “the transfer is no problem if they are able to offer business class”, often within Europe we can strike a deal there and then. However, this highly depends on the airline. And if you choose to try out this strategy, it may become handy to refer to the “EU 261 regulation” which states your rights. You can also ask to speak with the check-in manager. As long as you do it in a friendly manner, the check-in staff is likely to want to help you out. Regardless, however, you have a case and you should always exercise your passenger rights. It won’t matter whether you are a citizen of the USA, Singapore, Nigeria or China. As long as your fight stars or ends up in Europe, you have rights.


    I once had a curious conversation at the New York La Guardia airport. I sat next to a guy whose flight was severely delayed. I mentioned “at least you can now cash in”. The look on his face was similar to the meme “conspiracy Keanu” from the Bill and Ted movie. He had no idea what I was talking about. I retreated whispering “ooohh it’s maybe a Europe thing…”.. So at least we now know where it’s best to get screwed over by an airline. Right here on the old continent! So you Americans, memorize the mantra “EU 261 regulation” and look after yourselves over here!


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