Call Internationally – Top 5 ways to Make a Quick and Easy International Call

The Pocketdial guide to making that Cheap and Easy Call Abroad

Do you have friends or relatives abroad and find it a challenge to call them? Calling people abroad or calling when you yourself are in a foreign country is costly and often difficult – trying to top up a card for a payphone or battling a bad connection. These are problems of the past, as there are now whole hosts of ways to make calls quick, easy and cheap.  The development of social networking and video conferencing, as well as calling companies such as pocketdial have drastically improved international calling options. Here is our Pocketdial guide to making cheap and easy international calls.

1. Call Internationally through Skype for Free

Skype is a video calling service, which anyone can use on a computer or phone. Video calls on Skype are simple and easy to do. To get an account is simple, install the free Skype call software onto your computer. Next, enter your name and profile information to create a Skype account. You can add friends and relatives who also have a Skype account to your contact list. Then, provided that the person you want to contact is also logged on at the same time as you, you can contact anyone anywhere in the world for free. Skype also has the ability to share the screen, chat and send files. Skype makes money by charging for calls to landlines and mobiles.

2. Video Call through Facebook

Facebook launched video chat in August 2011, it is an additional feature to a standard Facebook account, if you do not have an account, click here. To use make a Facebook video conference, you must set up the facility.  You will be prompted to do so if you try to call a friend or if they try to call you. To call a friend, go to their page/timeline and click call.

3. Call through Facetime with Apple

If you are an Apple user wanting to communicate with other Apple users then Facetime is for you. Facetime is a feature of apple products; iPad, Macbook, iPhone, which allows users to video call one another – free of charge. You can use Facetime from your iPhone in the same way you would if you were making a phone call. You will also get to see the person you are calling. Facetime makes calling from aboard free as you are using the Internet connection not the phone line.

4. Call through Google Plus Hangouts

Google Plus Hangouts are a great feature of Google plus accounts.  If you are not already on Google Plus, click here to get a Google Plus Account. When you log in to Google Hangouts, click on the ‘more’ icon at the bottom left of the screen (last in the menu) and several other options will appear, including Google Hangouts.  In this YouTube video, Wallace and Gromit hangout with their pals on Christmas Day!

Google Plus is similar to Skype as it provides customers with free video messaging technology, yet appears to have fewer connections problems than Skype. As you can see from the video, up tp to ten people can be involved in a conversation at a time making it brilliant for business use. Google Plus Hangouts has many features such as screen and document share and can be used on Android, iPhone and iPad.

5. Call through Pocket Dial UK

You can call your friends and family abroad using packages from Pocketdial. With Pocketdial UK you do not require a data connection or internet access to call internationally and reliably from landlines and mobiles. You can even set up a speed dial to your phone so that you do not have to dial the Pocket Dial access numbers each time (click here for details).

Family Abroad? Keeping tabs on Travelling Friends or Family

Having a friend or member of the family abroad can be difficult to deal with, especially if it is a son or daughter. They may be seeing the world and having an amazing time. But you may be constantly worrying. There are many ways that you can reassure yourself and be there to help in an emergency. This blog outlines how you can keep in touch via the internet and be there to help and support your friends and family abroad.

Family Abroad - Urban Backpacking Image Credit: Public Domain

Family Abroad – Urban Backpacking
Image Credit: Public Domain

Use Social Media and the internet to keep in touch with Friends and Family Abroad

The internet can now be found all over the world. Even in some of the most remote parts, your travelling friends and family can probably find an internet cafe. Although it will sometimes be a slower connection than they are used to, it will probably be good enough to communicate.

By following your friends and family abroad on Facebook and Twitter, you can easily see their status updates. With modern technology, you will probably be able to see their photos even before they get back! If they are uploading photos as they travel, that is.

Having copies of their Itinerary and Passport

Make sure that you have a copy of your friend or family members travel itinerary. This way, you can know what to expect. There may be times when they cannot get in touch – if they are trecking in the Himalayas, for example. If you have a copy of their trip itinerary, you won’t be worried if this happens!

You can also ensure that your friends and family abroad are safe when they are travelling, if you know which areas or countries they are in.  If you are worried about safety or political issues, you can encourage them to use the Foreign and Commonwealth Office website. This will always be up to date with travel advice and recommend certain areas to avoid. Remember that if there is political unrest, this is often confined to certain areas such as the capital city or borders with other countries. Not all areas of a country are unsafe. So if your friends or family members have done their research, try not to worry too much!

Having a copy of their travel insurance documents and passport can be invaluable in an emergency situation. If their bag is stolen with their passport in it, scanning and emailing a copy of their passport to them may make it easier for them to get a replacement, or get home. During the event of an accident or sickness, it is helpful for you to be able to reassure them and help by phoning the insurance company.

Telephone and Communication

It’s a great idea for your friends or family abroad to get an international SIM card for their mobile. This will make it easier for them to contact you or vice versa. Remember that in poorer countries, phones can easily be stolen. So it is a good idea to get a cheap basic mobile, and leave the iPhone or Smartphone at home whilst travelling!  You can easily buy a SIM card when you are travelling, just walk into the nearest phone shop and they will sell you one or tell you where to go. Mobile top ups are popular in many parts of Africa and Asia. You can often see little booths that will sell you SIMS and phone top ups.

A BT chargecard can be a good idea, especially if you have a son or daughter travelling abroad. It will allow them to make calls from anywhere, and they can be charged to your phone bill or by direct debit.

If your travelling friends or family have a landline where they are, such as a hotel, you can call them using Pocketdial UK. Our calls use a calling account number and therefore have no monthly bills. You can call abroad with Pocketdial UK from just 1p a minute. Do check with your phone provider, e.g. BT, to find out about any additional charges from them.

Bank Details and Online Banking

If you have the bank details of your travelling friends and family at the ready, it will make it easier to transfer money to them in an emergency. You can usually draw money out of a British bank from cashpoints abroad.

If there is no bank or the transfer is not working, Western Union is a good option for international bank transfers.  You send money via Western Union to any receiving country, and attach a password to it. If your friend or family member goes into a Western Union branch with their ID and the password, they will be able to get it.

We hope that you have found this blog helpful is you have friends and family abroad. If you can think of more ways to be prepared for travelling friends and family, do comment on our blog.


Expat living – Top Tips for Expatriates

Moving to another country can be an exciting life changing experience. Some of the most desirable places to move to include Australia, Dubai and Kenya. But expats often find that after the initial excitement wears off, it can be difficult. Don’t be a stranger in a strange land. Follow our Pocketdial UK top tips for expat living.

Expat Living - Dubai Image Credit: Fotopedia creative commons)

Expat Living – Dubai
Image Credit: Fotopedia creative commons)

Expat Living – Don’t be a Stranger in a strange land!

Expat living makes it all too easy to befriend other expatriates. Many countries, such as Bahrain, South Africa and Saudi Arabia have expat communities. These often gated communities make it more difficult to mix with the locals.

If you are a British expat living abroad in exactly the same way as you did in the UK, you will miss out on a lot of the opportunities that living abroad can bring. Don’t be afraid to visit a local bar or restaurant alone and mingle with the locals – provided that it is safe to do so. You can always check for safety in a country or area by visiting the UK Foreign Office website.

Embrace the local cultures when you can. If you are abroad during a religious festival, you will most likely be welcomed, even if it is not your own religion. If you are living within a Muslim community, Eid is an amazing celebration to join in.  Many Hindus will invite you to their home during Diwali.

Learning the local language is a great step to integrating with local communities. A few spoken words will show that you are making the effort. You don’t need to be fluent to make a good impression! Learning the script of the local language may also be a big help. For example, learning Arabic script will help you to navigate the roads in Dubai.

Respecting Local Culture and Customs

It is important to respect local culture as an expat living abroad. Remember that many things that are acceptable in the UK are not acceptable in some countries. Drinking and kissing in public places, for example, may be considered inappropriate in many parts of some Arabic and African countries. Don’t use the excuse that you are British – if you live in another country, you do have a responsibility to abide by their laws and respect the culture of he country that you are in.

Certain topics of conversation are best avoided in public places in some countries. For example, in China or Rwanda, avoid talking about politics. If you do, you may find yourself in a sticky situation.

Finances and Taxes for Expat Living

One of the benefits of living as an expat is that there are many places where you can earn a tax free salary. Dubai in the U.A.E is one example. However, it is important that you understand the tax laws, especially if you are looking to set up your own business. is an excellent website for offering more specific advice to expats on tax, employment and mortgages.

Don’t presume that getting a bank account or mortgage will be simple in another country. Be prepared for the fact that bank applications and mortgages could take longer to arrange. You may also need more paperwork as an expatriate.

Reverse Culture Shock!

Many studies of expats explore the way that people acclimatise to a new environment and culture over time. The usual pattern of feelings of an expat living abroad is that they experience excitement, culture shock and then slowly adjust. What is most interesting, however, is that British expats who return to the UK after prolonged periods abroad often experience this again when they come back to the UK. Yes – culture shock on return to your own country is possible!

If you are moving to another country for a long period of time, it is recommended that you don’t visit home in the first 3 months. This can interfere with the process of adjusting to a new culture.

International Travel Tips – How to have a Successful Trip Abroad

International travel can be both challenging and rewarding. Once you’ve got the travel bug, it never goes away! The challenges of travelling abroad become easier when you are prepared. This blog outlines the best international travel tips to help you to prepare for your trip and get the most out of your experience.

International Travel Tips – Things to Consider Before you Go

It’s so exciting when you come up with an idea for a new trip. But don’t forget the crucial planning stages. Weather and local festivals are important to consider. For example, you should avoid travelling to parts of India in Monsoon season. However, there are certain festivals that you may not want to miss. Visiting India during Holi or Diwali can be an exciting cultural experience. Do your research before you book, and get your timing right.

Visas are crucial, and it is always best to check out the visa situation with your Embassy or Foreign Office. You wouldn’t want to be travelling by land to Moscow from the UK, and realise that you didn’t have a visa to get through Belarus!  If you are travelling within the EU as a British citizen, you can travel freely. There are some countries that you won’t need a visa for if you have a British passport. This is because they are commonwealth countries, such as Rwanda.

Travel insurance is essential for international travel.  This is probably one of the most important international travel tips. You do not want to find yourself ill or injured abroad and not able to pay for your medical treatment.  If you want to shop around for travel insurance, you can use

International Travel Tips The Taj Mahal Image Credit: (Creative Commons 2.0)

International Travel Tips
The Taj Mahal
Image Credit: (Creative Commons 2.0)

International Travel Tips on Booking as a Backpacker

If you want to avoid package holidays and travel with a backpack, this will definitely keep costs down.  You will, of course, need to plan your travel route carefully and book your own accommodation.

There are so many cheap airlines that offer online booking. Flying is much more affordable than it used to be. Many low cost airlines are now offering long haul destinations, so that you can travel further afield. Jet2 now offer a flight to New York and Ryanair have Fez as a destination from the UK. To keep the cost as low as possible, book as far in advance as possible. Weekends can be expensive, so consider flying on a Tuesday or a Wednesday to get the best value flight.

If you are brave enough to get accommodation along the way, remember to barter hard. When travelling in parts of Asia, such as China and India, there will be ‘touts’ waiting for you to get off the train or bus. They would love to take you to their cousin’s or father’s hotel! Don’t be afraid to ask to see the rooms first, and take a look at a few different places before you commit.

Keeping Safe during International Travel

Travelling independently can be extremely rewarding, but do check if it is safe to do so in the country or area of your choice. In some parts of the world, it is recommended that you travel in small groups. Unfortunately, in some countries, such as Saudi Arabia, it is advisable for a woman not to travel alone.

Do ensure that you respect the local customs. In certain places, you will need to dress conservatively. For women, it is a good idea to carry a sarong when travelling in Africa and Asia. This can cover the shoulders and also double up as a headscarf. Remember that in some parts of the world, you cannot drink alcohol in public places. Always check on the local customs before you travel.

Final International Travel Tips: Communication

Learning a little bit of a new language to impress the citizens of the country you will visit is sure to help.  Even if you are not confident in speaking another language, a simple hello and thank you will go a long way. In some countries, you will find that most signposts are in a different script.  In Russia, for example, you will find a that most street names and Metro Station names are in the Cyrillic script. Rosetta Stone offer language learning tapes and courses. Embrace and enjoy!

Finally, for the last of our international travel tips, make sure that you have an easy way of contacting home. A telephone card or access number an be a big help in an emergency situation. Make sure that you check out Pocketdial UK, as we can help you with cheap and easy international calls.

What are your top International Travel Tips?

Thanks for reading, and feel free to comment on our blog. What are your top international travel tips?

International Food London – Where to eat in the Big Smoke!

London is a centre of diversity and culture in the UK. With so many people from so many different countries thrown together, there are bound to be some unique eateries. Whether you are a local or an international resident yourself, you simply must try London’s diverse cuisine. This blog hightlights the best international food London has to offer.

International Food London: The ‘Feast’ Food Festival

Feast is an annual food festival held in a variety of locations across London. In 2013 it’s taking place from the 4th till the 7th of July and is being held in an old warehouse once used to store tobacco. This festival brings together the best chefs, restaurants and market stalls. It has previously been called “Glastonbury for foodies”, perhaps because it also features live bands from across the country. Feast is the perfect place to experience some of the best international food London has to offer.

The Best International Food London has to Offer – Chinatown

Chinatown in London is a short walk from Picadilly Circus or Leicester Square tube stations. There are over 70 restaurants in Chinatown – a lot to choose from!  How about a delightful Dim Sum lunch? Or an evening of crispy duck and pancakes? Wan Chai corner and Mr Kong’s are some of the best restaurants in Chinatown. Visit the Londonist website for the Top 10 Chinatown Eats.

International Food London: China Town Photography by Ell R Brown on Flickr (Creative Commons 2.0)

International Food London: China Town
Photography by Ell R Brown on Flickr (Creative Commons 2.0)

Asian Fusion International Food London – Asia de Cuba

This stylish, upmarket restaurant combines, as the name might suggest, elements of both Asian and Cuban cooking. With bright, quirky interiors and a world-class specialist rum bar, Asia de Cuba is one of the finest places to eat out. It showcases some of the most unique dishes that are available in the UK’s capital. The prices might be a bit high for some diners, but it’s no doubt worth every penny.

The Best Syrian Restaurant in London – Abu Zaad

Abu Zaad is one of the few Syrian restaurants scattered across London.The original Abu Zaad Sryrian restaurant is in Shepherds Bush. It’s success has led to a second restaurant on Edgware Road.

It is in stark contrast to Asia de Cuba, featuring lower prices and considerably less elegant surroundings. However, it has a positive authentic atmosphere and seems to get great reviews from nearly everyone that visits. Serving full, flavoursome meals and not skimping on the portion sizes has already gained Abu Zhaad something of a reputation. It is often compared favourably to any of the many more well-known – and generally more common – Lebanese restaurants across the city. For international food in London with a Syrian twist, Abu Zaad is the place to go.

International Food London – Tapas at Kopapa

Kopapa is a restaurant/café that really shows off the diversity of London’s cuisine. It’s basically a kind of tapas bar run by New Zealander Peter Gordon, who is also behind Providores and Tapa Room. This restaurant has a focus on food that fuses together complex and unexpected dishes. The off-beat menu largely consists of tapas-sized optionsm although some mains are available. Kopapa is definitely recommended for those looking for some adventurous food and flavours that you surely won’t find anywhere else.

North African Food in London – Momo’s

Going for over ten years and still one of the best in the city, Momo’s offers authentic North African food in a friendly but stylish setting. Momo’s actually contains three venues – a proper restaurant, a café next door and the Kemia Bar downstairs. So it can accommodate you whatever your mood or preferences. With substantial and memorable main courses, excellent staff and service and a welcoming atmosphere, Momo’s is the perfect place to get a taste of London’s international cuisine.


How do I get my Phone Unlocked? (for international use)

What does a locked phone mean?

When a phone is locked it means that it will only accept SIM cards from a particular network provider. This often means that if you buy a phone from Orange (for example) with an Orange SIM card, that phone will only ever work with other Orange SIM cards. In this article, I will answer the questions ‘Why are phones locked?’ and ‘How do I get my Phone Unlocked?’

Why are phones locked?

Network providers like Orange, O2 or T-Mobile like to lock phones so they can keep hold of customers. Contract phones are often locked so that customers can’t easily change networks before the contract has run out. By locking phones, and therefore forcing customers to stay with them, network providers can attract more customers by offering contract phones at lower prices. Some phones are sold already unlocked, although these are often much more expensive.

How do I get my Phone Unlocked? Photography by Irita Kirsbluma on Flickr (Creative Commons 2.0)

How do I get my Phone Unlocked?
Photography by Irita Kirsbluma on Flickr (Creative Commons 2.0)

How do I get my Phone Unlocked?

This depends on what technology your phone and network provider use. There are two main technologies in mobile phones known as GSM (Global System for Mobiles) and CDMA (Code Division Multiple Access). In most of the world GSM is far more common, but in the US many networks use CDMA. If you have a CDMA phone it is basically impossible to unlock it. This is because CDMA phones don’t use SIM cards, so you can only change phones if your network provider allows it. If you have a GSM phone it is much easier to change phones. Some American providers, such as Verizon, now offer global phones that use both GSM and CDMA, although they still have many restrictions placed on them by the network.

What are the benefits?

Unlocking your phone will allow you to change network provider more easily. This means you can shop around for the best deal, without having to get a new phone. It also has many advantages if you are planning on travelling abroad.

How to unlock your phone:

If you have a normal GSM phone i.e. one that has a SIM card, then unlocking your phone is quite simple. Usually the phone will just require a simple code to be entered, this code can often be obtained either by phoning your network provider, or through a third-party company (for a small fee). However if you are on a long-term contract it is unlikely that your network provider will be willing to give you an unlock code.

Some phones do require a connection to an unlocking device. Some services offer this, as do some high-street mobile phone stores, but usually it is easiest to have this done by a third-party company.

How do I get My Phone Unlocked for International Use?

When you unlock your phone you are then able to use SIM cards from international providers with that phone. This can be very helpful if you are planning to travel abroad. Most networks do provide a roaming data service, but these are often far more expensive than the usual rates. If your phone is unlocked you can replace your usual SIM with a cheap card from whichever country or region you are in. Some providers offer cheap continent-wide coverage in Europe and Asia. Unlocking your phone, and swapping your SIM card out, means you will be able to make much cheaper calls while in other countries. Unfortunately, your phone number will change with each new SIM card.



Festivals in the UK – The Top 5 UK Arts Festivals

Festivals in the UK are a big part of British culture. The UK has a great history of internationally based festivals. From day long events to month long affairs – these events draw some of the greatest creative minds and performances from across the globe. Here are just a few of the best arts festivals in the UK…

The Brighton Festival

Brighton Festival is one of the most inspiring arts festivals in the UK. It has a unique approach to organisation. Every year a “guest director” is appointed to take charge of the acts and exhibitions that take place across Brighton and Hove. In the past this has included the experimental musician Brian Eno, and the leader of the Burmese democracy – Aung San Suu Kyi. This year children’s poet Michael Rosen has been appointed guest director. The 2013 festival will also feature recitals by Yuka Ishizuka and Syrian pianist Riyad Nicolas. The Brighton festival has everything from visual arts to circus acts and many more.

The Festival of Ideas – Cambridge

For those looking for a more academically grounded festival, Cambridge’s Festival of Ideas promotes the arts, social sciences and humanities through a series of exhibitions, talks and workshops. It is known for attracting world-renowned speakers. The festival offers a range of presentations on the latest scientific theories and challenging historical exhibits. Best of all though, the Festival of Ideas is free! It is one of the largest free festivals in the UK.

BBC Proms

One of the world’s largest classical music festivals is the BBC Proms. The Proms offer a huge platform for international artists and enquiring audiences alike. With an a variety of opera and symphony performances, the Proms host over 70 main concerts every year. The BBC Proms are one of the best places to see some of the most talented performers from across the globe.

The BBC Proms Photography by amandabhslater on Flickr (Creative Commons 2.0)

Festivals in the UK – The BBC Proms
Photography by amandabhslater on Flickr (Creative Commons 2.0)

Manchester International Festival – One of the best International Festivals in the UK

The Manchester International Festival is a showcase of original works from a variety of artists from around the world. It is one of the most exciting international festivals in the UK. There is a high quality of international talent on display at the Manchester International festival. Previous years have featured performances by Björk and Malian musical duo Amadou and Mariam. In 2013, the festival is set to showcase Pakistan born spiritual singer Abida Parveen. Also this year will feature a choreographic interpretation of John Cage’s Lecture on Nothing by Berlin-based dance artist Eszter Salamon.

Edinburgh Fringe with bonus Edinburgh Arts – the Largest Arts festivals in the UK

The Edinburgh Fringe festival is one of the largest arts festivals on the globe. It attracts performances from artists the world-over. Much of the attraction of the Fringe Festival comes from it’s very open and relaxed attitude towards performances being planned. It essentially allows anyone with a show and a venue to apply and perform. This has led to a huge international presence at the Fringe, from some of the world’s biggest artists and performers to hidden gems waiting to be discovered.  It is definitely one of the most popular festvals in the UK.

Calling abroad whilst at Festivals in the UK?

If you are at festivals in the UK without your friends or family abroad, remember that you can make cheap international calls with Pocketdial UK.


Google Hangouts for Keeping in Touch with Family Abroad

When you have friends and family aborad it is always good to find free ways to contact them. Skype is a very popular VOIP (Voice over Interactive Protocol) that allows you to call and video conference friends abroad for free. However, Google Hangouts are, in my opinion, much better than skype. In this blog, I am going to explain why google hangouts are so great for contacting people abroad.

What is a Google Hangout?

A ‘google hangout’ is the Google Plus video conferencing feature. Google hangouts are free and easy to use. They will also work on your tablet or mobile phone. Google Hangouts can involve more than two people. Away from the family at Christmas? Join them for a post Christmas dinner drink!

Google Plus itself is a social network that will allow you to share information and keep in contact with friends and family. It will allow you to share photos, updates and videos with your friends and family abroad.

How do I get a Google Plus Account?

To be able to do a Google hangouts, you need to set up a Google account. You may already have one set up – you can also sign in through Gmail, YouTube or Android.

When setting up your Google Account, enter your profile details, and select your settings. This will then take you through to set up your Google Plus Bio, so enter your details. If you are concerned about privacy, you can adjust your privacy settings.

If you are logging in through gmail, you will see your Google Plus Profile in the top right of your screen when you are in your gmail inbox. Simply click on the image of you, or the icon, and you will go straight to your Google Plus profile page.

How do you start a Google Hangout?

Firstly, make sure that the person who you want to hangout with is also registered on Google Plus and is online at the same time as you (remember the time differences!). You can add people to your circles and they become contacts. Google Plus circles are great way to organise your contacts. For example, you might have a circle for ‘work’, a circle for ‘friends’ and a circle for ‘family’.

Once you are logged in to your Google Plus account, there will be a button in the top right corner that says ‘start a Hangout’, which you need to click. Name the hangout and invite the person that you want to connect with. When they join the hangout, you will hear the signal and they will appear on your screen.

What are the Advantages and Features of Google Hangouts?

google hangouts

The sound quality is often much better in google hangouts than on skype. In my experience, you hear less feedback and it doesn’t cut you off like skype sometimes can.

Google hangouts are better than skype because you can use the screenshare facility for free. Screensharing is great if you want to share things with your friends and family abroad. Skype have recently started to ask you to upgrade, and charge for this facility.

Google hangouts have a YouTube sharing facility too, so that you can watch YouTube clips together with your friends and family abroad. The Google hangout facility allows you to create a playlist.

My favourite thing about Google hangouts is the special effects. There are sound effects and headgear to make your video call even more exciting! Give your friend a round of applause for saying something great. Give your dad a birthday cake, whilst wearing a pirates hat or say hello to your sister with a dog face!

Pocketdial UK

For times when you don’t have internet access, you can always use Pocketdial UK to make cheap international calls.


European City Destinations – Top 5 Affordable European Cities

Join me on my quest to find the most beautiful and affordable European city destinations. I feel so lucky to live in the UK because we can easily access some of the most beautiful cities in the world. Europe is full of rich culture and architecture. With cheap airlines such as easyJet, it is now more affordable to take a break to European city destinations. Many travellers to the UK embrace this and frequent European cities such as Prague, Paris and Rome.

For this article, I wanted to focus on five of my favourite European city destinations – Riga, Dubrovnik, Florence, Amsterdam and Lisbon. All of these cities can be reached from the UK by plane in less than 3 hours. The cities that I have chosen are not as bustling and busy as the larger capitals such as Paris or Rome. However, I really like the more untouched European capitals. The European city destinations that I have chosen here also work out slightly easier on the budget!

Top European City Destinations – #1 Riga

I tend to view Riga as a more untouched city compared to Prague, but with a similar feel.  It is the capital of Latvia and one of the largest Baltic cities. Riga is famous for its ‘Jugendstil’ (German Art Nouveau) architecture and fantastic nightlife.  The town square displays famous buildings including the house of Blackheads. Riga is one of the most beautiful and exciting European city destinations.


Dubrovnik (Croatia)
Photography by Lena Ni on Flickr

Top European City Destinations –  #2 Dubrovnik

On the coast of Croatia, Dubrovnik is becoming one of the increasingly popular European city destinations. It is known as the ‘Pearl of the Adriatic’. It’s not as cheap as you may expect, but it is still much more affordable than London and Paris. The medieval walled

town is stunning. The combination of Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque architecture has survived an earthquake and armed conflict. If you enjoy trying local alcoholic beverages, make sure that you try the rakija. It is a kind of plum brandy – strong and sweet!

Top European City Destinations –  #3 Florence

Beautiful Florence is the Art capital of Europe. Walk across the Ponte Vecchio bridge and shop or eat until your heart’s content. If you are an art love, you can’t miss the Ufizzi gallery. Make sure you get there early to avoid the lengthy queues. If you enjoy scenery and gardens, you should check out the Giardino di Boboli (Boboli Gardens). One of the most famous landmarks in Florence is the Duomo (Cathedral). The Duomo is beautiful both inside and out.

Lisbon Photography by Chris Yunker on Flickr

Photography by Chris Yunker on Flickr

Top European City Destinations –  #4 Amsterdam

Amsterdam is popularly known for its legalisation of drugs and prostitution. Prepare yourself to be exposed to the sights and smells that come with this if you are heading into to town! But the red light district is not all that Amsterdam is famous for. Check out some of the amazing museums such as the Nemo science museum and the Van Gogh

Museum. If you are interested in history, visit Anne Frank’s house and find out about their life in hiding as Jews during the second world war.  The multi-story town houses are a beautiful characteristic of Amsterdam.

Top European City Destinations –  #5 Lisbon

Lisbon is the capital of Portugal. It is rich with culture and things to do. For a stunning view of the city, climb the Cristo Rei (statue of Christ) or Caste of Sao Jorge. You will probably need a few days to explore the city itself. If you like sea life, Lisbon has a fantastic aquarium. Make sure that you head out to Belem to visit Jeronimos Monastery and the Tower of Belem. If you have more than a few days in Lisbon, it is worth taking a trip out to Sintra to admire the breath taking palaces.

Call European City Destinations with Pocketdial UK

Did you know that with Pocketdial UK you can call abroad for as little as 1p a minute?

Great for making those important hotel bookings for European city destinations. It is also ideal for contacting friends before you travel. Wherever you may be travelling this summer, have a fantastic trip.