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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!

 

Snowmobiling

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 Hotels.com 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

WHOA WAIT WHAT? UNDER 5€ FLIGHTS

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

Overbooked flight – Why I was over the moon

 

WHOA WAIT WHAT? UNDER 5€ FLIGHTS?

WHOA WAIT WHAT? UNDER 5€ FLIGHTS?

Look what I just found! Cheap flights for 5€

 

I wanted to give you guys a quick tip for cheap flights: I have found this site called Volotea that sells tons of flights for 5€ within Europe. What’s interesting is that they have opened lots of new routes that haven’t been well covered before. This opens up many more holiday options straight off the bat.

 

There are flights for the following countries:

United Kingdom

Spain

France

Italy

Albania

Austria

Croatia

Czech Republic

Germany

Greece

Ireland

Luxembourg

Malta

Moldova

Portugal

 

Volotea is selling 1 million flights for 5 € so check out where you could fly to next!

 

 

Read also:

£3 flights to Bucharest from London

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

Affordable luxury in Istanbul: accommodation

Top 10 Cheapest City Breaks in Europe

 

 

Taxis in Turkey – what you need to know

Taxis in Turkey – what you need to know

Ready for the taxis in Turkey? Read this first

 

Taking a taxi Turkey can be an overwhelming experience for a tourist, if you happen to meet a driver who is there to make some extra money quickly. I hope this post answers some of your questions on the correct fares, tips and safety. 

 

What you should know about taxis in Turkey

 

  • All of the yellow cabs have meters, which start at a standard rate 3.20 Turkish Lira (TL) and the charge is 2 TL per kilometer
  • There are no more night rates, as it was an easy way to scam tourists in the past. The price is the same, no matter what time of day it is
  • Meters are required by law, but they are still not always used. Insist the driver to switch it on by saying “taksimetreh”
  • Make sure that the meter is running and don’t accept the “broken meter” excuse from the driver
  • Sometimes the meter is hidden behind the gears. You may need to lean forward to keep checking the meter or even use the reflection on the front door window to check it’s still running
  • You should pay in Turkish Lira’s. If you pay in other currencies, your exchange rate will be high
  • Try to always pay with the smallest possible change. If you hand over a big note, make sure you mention it to the driver so they don’t try to say you paid with a smaller note and keep the change
  • As the taxis are on a meter, it may be in the driver’s interest to give you a longer ride than necessary. It’s a good idea to have a map out. Also keep your hotel phone number with you. If the driver gets lost, he will be able to call the reception for directions
  • It’s handy to have Google Maps open on your smart phone, so you can see where the driver is heading to and tell him if you think he’s going the wrong way

 

Is there a taxi app I can use in Istanbul?

 

Sure there is, and it may help you a lot!

 

 

Taxis in Turkey and Cheap hotels in Turkey

Cabs in Turkey and especially in Istanbul

 

You should only use official, yellow taxis in destinations like Istanbul. Of course the transfers arranged by your hotel are another matter. Someone may just walk up to you and offer to get you a taxi. Don’t take their offer! No matter how friendly these strangers are, you should still only take a yellow cab, as you are about to get scammed. Unfortunately, even the yellow taxis may not always have seat belts. I was reminded of this when I had to sit on the back seat pulling and tugging a belt that was stuck inside the seat. Not having seat belts is not great when the driving is like a scene from a Formula 1 contest.

 

Also, you can’t expect the driver to speak English, so having the name and the address of your destination written on a piece of paper is a good idea. The locals don’t usually tip the driver, but they may expect you to tip big, as you are a foreigner. Tip if they helped you with your luggage or you were in other ways happy with the service. But you don’t have to tip, if you don’t think it was a great experience. You could just round up the fare.

 

All of this sounds a bit much. Are there any alternatives to yellow taxis in Turkey?

I recommend downloading the BiTaksi app on your phone. The app works a lot like Uber. The nearest taxis appear on your screen and these taxis are also registered. Although the BiTaksi app is in Turkish, it’s simple enough to use, especially if you are familiar with Uber or Gett.

 Are you looking for things to do on a short break in Istanbul? Check out this blog!

 

Dream Work And Travel: The Turkish BiTaksi app for booking taxis

The Turkish BiTaksi app for booking taxis online

 

 

 

 

Also read:

How to get a free city break in Turkey whilst in transit

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

Affordable luxury in Istanbul: accommodation

Top 10 Cheapest City Breaks in Europe

Don’t travel without this app – WiFi password finder

Use these digital tricks to bust an apartment scam

£3 flights to Bucharest from London

£3 flights to Bucharest from London

Fly to Romania for 3£

Ryanair has released their early bird tickets and if you would fancy a holiday in this most affordable capital city next year, book now, as this price will not last!

The next £3 flights from London Stansted to Bucharest, Romania, are for January 2018. The return ticket prices start from £25. Flying to Romania and spending the weekend there may end up being cheaper than a night out in London!

Bucharest was recently named as the cheapest capital city holiday destination in Europe. Read all about it here but book first and thank me later! Buy your flight first to avoid disappointment – next time you check the flight, the price may have crept up to, say £5! We all want to avoid that, don’t we?

Bucharest is situated in southern Romania and is the capital city and the commercial and cultural hub of the country. The incredible, communist-era Palatul Parlamentului government building has 1,100 rooms. For nightlife, head to the historic Lipscani district. I will also write blog posts about this old and magnicifient city in late May, when I travel to Transylvania via Bucharest.

If you are going to do some shopping, and I bet you will when you see the prices, I recommend using a company called SendMyBag to avoid the suitcase hassle at the airport. Ryanair can charge you up to £50 for a single 20kg suitcase, but SendMyBag will deliver your suitcase door-to-door for £48. This way, you don’t have to drag your luggage around on your holiday, choke at the check-in counter when you have exceeded your weight allowance and get quoted an astronomical extra charge. No more dragging the suitcase off the belt, opening it up, stuffing all of the heavy items in your carry-on bag and wearing three woolly jumpers, one on top of another. You can also forget re-packing the suitcase again at the airport, so that everyone can see your underwear flying around in the process. The courier will collect your luggage from the address you give them and deliver it back to your home. I have used this service multiple times and each time the service is first class. If you choose to book a SendMyBag courier, I will receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.

How you can get your stuff delivered easily

All you need to do is to click here and type in your current location and the destination. Then just follow the easy peasy steps. The booking process should take under 10 minutes.

Here are some amazing pictures of Bucharest.

Bucharest: Lipscani Street

Bucharest: Caru Cu Bere

Caru’ cu Bere, one of the oldest beer houses in Bucharest. Established 1879. We can drink to that!

Bucharest: Palatul Parlamentului

Palatul Parlamentului with its 1,100 rooms

Bucharest by night. Photo: Andrei-Daniel Nicolae

Photo: RitaE

Bucharest: CasaDeDepuneri

Photo credits:

Andrei-Daniel Nicolae

George M. Groutas

 

Read also:

Top 10 Cheapest City Breaks in Europe

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

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

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

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

Why not consider this crazy idea?

 

Over the next few months, I will write ideas about the countries and cities where you could move next, if you feel that your journey in the UK is coming to an end. The Brexit process has changed the way most EU citizens living in the UK now view their host country. Many “EU citizens, migrant workers or expats”, which ever you want to call us, have set the wheels in motion and are looking at other options.

Without diving too deep into the reasons for leaving the misty island or the emotions Brexit has brought to surface in many of us, this article will hopefully give you new ideas for your next home country. In the coming months, I will add to the list of countries and cities where I think EU citizens can build exciting careers and where the standard of living surpasses that of the UK. I’m in my thirties and I appreciate that for many in the UK, career comes first. With 7 years and four English cities behind me, I hope I will be able to help my fellow EU citizen, if you are feeling stuck in the UK.

Where to move after Brexit

 

Where did I go when it was time to hit the pedal?

Malta.

 

Malta and the sea

Careers and work in Malta

 

If you are an EU citizen looking for jobs in Malta, chances are that you will bump into many online casino vacancies. Firstly, I think it’s great that in Malta, you really get to use your native language to your advantage. There is a constant need for language skills, such as Norwegian, Swedish, Finnish, Danish, German, French, Italian and Spanish.

 

Secondly, if you worked in the digital sectors, chances are that you have transferable skills that can be used in the online casino businesses. I see these roles advertised constantly: CRM marketing (mainly newsletters and SMS), SEO (Search Engine Optimization), Content Writer, Affiliate Manager, all kinds of Developers, UX Designer, VIP Manager, Customer Support Agent, Payments & Fraud Analyst, Data Analyst, Business Intelligence Developer, Accountant and Project Manager. If you didn’t find your job on the list, keep searching via platforms like Careerjet and Indeed. But make sure you don’t accidentally search the vacancies in Malta, USA.

 

Many of the online casinos in Malta are actually Scandinavian, German or British companies. Many look after their employees by offering free breakfasts, lunches, drinks and throwing parties. The money is usually okay, especially if you are able to choose from more than one job offer. The numbers may not add up to your salary in London, but if you are a specialist in your area, they will pay you a competitive salary. And as a number of the EU citizens working in Malta prefer to live within a walking distance from work, you will never have to invest in commute the way you did in London. If you want to save some extra cash when it’s actually time to move to Malta, check out this company, we have always received the best quotes from them for our international moves. If you decide to use their services, I will get a small commission at no extra cost to you. I’ll tell you more about this courier at the end of this post.

 

Next, I will dive deeper into my favourite things, but also the worst things about Malta, so keep reading.

 

My 5 favourite things about Malta

 

Careers and work in Malta

 

What I love about Malta are the career opportunities in the digital sector. If you speak a language that is relevant to the casinos and build up your online casino (iGaming) experience, the best employers will fight over you. One doesn’t tend to stay with a company for over a year, unless they really enjoy it there. Most companies also pay relocation packages, which means that the company buys your airline tickets and books you into a hotel for the first couple of weeks. If you don’t end up staying with the same employer for a year, the cost of the relocation may be deducted from your last salary.

 

Weather

 

Now that the awful winter is behind, I can say that I enjoy the weather in Malta again. I have even discovered what I look like tanned. That’s a new experience for a blonde like me! Here’s a video from February this year.

 

 

 

 

We have noticed that the hot weather has turned our freelancing schedules upside down. We get up around 10 and make breakfast around 12. We sit on the balcony in the sun and keep topping up the coffee. The conscience begins to remind us about working around 1 pm and ignore it whilst lying in the sun bed, until about 4 pm. By then our skins have had enough anyway. When the sun starts to disappear behind our terrace wall, we can start our working day indoors. We usually work in Malta from 4 to 12 pm these days, and it’s all because of the great weather.

 

Italian food influences

 

As the Maltese islands are so close to Sicily, that means that we get really good coffee here. The best coffees around here are definitely at the Delizie Sicialiane on Triq il Kbira, Sliema. In many spots, the food is also fantastic. We love the lunch café, Bella Italia, on the Gzira strand. Their lasagne has boiled egg in and is so delicious that I bet a Sicilian grandma has prepared it for days, just for us. However, you need to go in before 1 pm. After that you can forget about it as the Italians pour in for lunch, rocking their cool sun glasses and trendy shoes and finish everything.

 

Work in Malta: The end of the era for commuting

 

I also love the fact that it’s possible to walk to work if you want (obviously don’t move too far then) and that the time you would spend commuting each week is time for yourself. I have found that it is even more common to walk to work in Manhattan than it is in London. You can change into your bikini when you finish work and go for a swim on the way back home. Get a couple of beers on the way to the beach and your evening plans are all set. No TV required in the summer time.

The good things in life

 

And finally, the sun brings out the best in us. People tend to smile more. And why wouldn’t they? I have definitely grinned when I have started my morning with a prosecco at a beach club and rotated on the sun bed like a pit roast all day long.

Want to know what else is good in Malta? Check out this blog post about Malta by the Passport Collective!

 

When I lived in England I didn’t really remember how this feels

 

But I would hate to sound like a tour operator who tries to lure you into booking a holiday here, so I want to be honest about the cons too. So here are the things I dislike in Malta.

My 5 hates about Malta

 

Some of the top things I’m getting fed up with in Malta are actually quite irrational and irrelevant but over time, they start to bug you. I have spent almost a year in Malta, and in that time I have both enjoyed my time like nowhere else but also cursed at bad drivers and uneven pavements. Here’s the top five things that annoy me about Malta.

The sounds of construction

 

Secondly, as the growing online casino industry keeps bringing more and more foreign employees over to Malta, the construction work in Malta is booming in the most popular areas. This results in noisy neighbours that are drilling and hammering most of the day. The construction sites also create a lot of dust around. The worst effected areas at the moment are St Julians, Sliema and Gzira.

 

The cranes are everywhere! Gzira Strand

The cranes are everywhere! The Gzira Strand

Price hikes due to the high demand

 

The booming construction business doesn’t only create noise and dust, but the rent prices in areas like Sliema, St Julians and Gzira have increased so much that the locals working outside the casino industry may not afford to live in these new buildings. This crates a strange feeling of being in your own little expat bubble. You go to work where hardly anyone is Maltese and you come home to a building where you mostly hear Scandinavian languages, Dutch and German.

 

The sidewalks are very narrow: Good luck using your baby strollers!

Good luck using your baby strollers!

The social bubble

 

As the casino industry attracts lots of employees between the ages of 20-35, the crowd around you is relatively young. But as most move to Malta to work for online casinos, it may prove challenging to find other topics to talk about. This is particularly true when you meet new people. You may ask what they do for living, and expect them to name a casino role. But when someone outside the industry joins the group, people tend to be thrown off by it. For an industry outsider, socialising in Malta can get frustrating. 

Incredibly annoying sidewalks

 

Firstly, in many Maltese towns the sidewalks are so narrow you cannot walk side by side. This is hardly a big deal but the things that bug you the most are often irrational. If you are carrying your shopping bags and encounter a passer-by, one of you has to give up and hop on the road. I can only imagine how difficult getting around with a wheelchair or baby stroller is. Luckily, the seafront promenades of Ta’ Xbiex, Gzira and Sliema are great and wide and people love strolling down the seaside, eating their ice cream.

 

The lack of city culture

 

And finally, there is no big city vibe in Malta. There are modern cities like Sliema and St Julians, but Malta is still a tourist destination first. It’s great to see how the tourists have returned after a stormy and freezing winter and all of my winter blues has been swept away with the emerging sun. But what I miss about big cities is the sense of discovery and excitement. Do you know that feeling of being in love with a place, partly because it is new to you? When it surprises you around every corner? When you dream about all the new things you will discover?

 

I’ll post a video below, which is a good example of the city vibe I miss  the most, now that I live in Malta. Here’s an insane clip of a beat boxing guru, Verbal Ase, at the Union Square Street Station of the New York City subway. Could you expect to see this guy perform at a Malta bus stop and get the same reaction from the crowd? Keep watching until the end of the clip when the pants come off!

 

 

 

 

Whether your next home country will be Malta or any other out there, you probably want to have a hassle-free international house move. I may not be able to promise you that, but I can help a little bit. I have now used this courier called SendMyBag twice, when I have hauled large and heavy boxes containing my valuable items, across continents. What was superb about them was that, first of all, they quoted by far the best price out of 6 couriers between New York and the UK. Secondly, the website is very easy to use and the service has been on time every time. Although I don’t want to advertise too many services on my blog, I have arranged a 5% off deal for my readers with SendMyBag as I have actually had a really good experience with them, more than once. I would not endorse most of the couriers out there, even if they paid me.

 

SendMyBag also offer competitive prices when sending your luggage to your holiday destination, offering you a hassle-free airport experience, as you don’t need to drag your luggage around. Another reason I chose this post to give you the 5% discount on their services is the fact that their hub is in the UK, so you can get really affordable deals from there. Okay advertising over, thanks for reading!

 

Another great resource is a website called GoodMigrations. They offer international mover quotes and city guides. Their Ultimate Guide to Moving Abroad covers important topics, such as finding a home, visas, schools and how to make new friends.

 

Read also:

Use these digital tricks to bust an apartment scam

Where to watch football and Rugby in Malta

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

How to get a short city break in Turkey whilst in transit

How to get a short city break in Turkey whilst in transit

This is how you can get a short city break in Turkey

It is no wonder that the Turkish Airlines has been awarded as Europe’s best airline in 6 consecutive years. They have invested in customer service and their tickets include features other airlines will not offer. In this article, I will tell you how to score a free, short city break in Istanbul or another big city in Turkey, whilst travelling. The presumption is that you are already planning to travel somewhere and are looking at different route options. Choosing to transfer in Turkey can land you a free hotel night, paid by the airline and their partners. What makes this offer even more appealing is the fact, that Istanbul has been listed as the 5th cheapest European capital city destination. 

Here’s what you need to know about this deal.

Who can get a complimentary hotel night

Turkish Airlines offer a complimentary hotel stay to those economy class passengers, whose flight connection is over 10 hours long. If your transfer is only 9 hours long, you are unfortunately out of luck and will not qualify for the hotel room. However, if you are flying in the business class, a 7+ hour transfer lands you this hotel deal. If you are an occasional business class traveller, arranging your flight route via Turkey can really offer extra value for your money.

 

Turkey

 

How does the Turkish Airlines complimentary hotel deal work

When you have arrived in Turkey and proceeded past the customs, look out for the Hotel Desk to collect your complimentary hotel night. The staff will make the hotel stay arrangements for you, so you can just head to your room and relax or go explore the city. If you land in Istanbul, you need to walk past the customs first and then walk right. Look for the Starbucks, the hotel desk is right next to the cafe.

The small print of this deal

I wouldn’t write about this offer if the small print tried to trick you in any way or if I didn’t think it was good value. Here’s all you need to know about your free city break offer. Your first and the connecting flights must be international flights with Turkish Airlines. You need to have bought the shortest available connection to qualify for this deal. This means that if there is a way to reach your destination quicker with this airline, you can’t use this offer. The complimentary accommodation will be for maximum of 2 nights, which I find more than reasonable. And it is highly recommended that you arrive in Turkey with a Valid visa – if not, you will need to spend your night at the airport. I found a great resource for those of you, who need a visa in order to visit Turkey. Naturally you will need to have your passport and travel tickets in and out of Turkey. Check out this blog called A Mary Road to see what else you need to provide. This post explains exactly what you need to obtain a visa to Turkey. 

Why not read the Top 10 Cheapest City Breaks in Europe -article next!

You might also be interested in this app that finds public WiFi passwords for free around the world.