Lofoten travel Budget for 10 days

Our Lofoten travel budget is a topic we’ve been asked about frequently since we returned from the trip. Norway, like other Nordic countries, is reputed to be expensive. And while it is indeed expensive, we managed to minimize our expenses.

In the end, our 10 day trip to Lofoten was cheaper than we thought. Indeed, we had to make a few adjustments – we did not indulge in luxury, we cooked our food brought in from home, and slept in a Camper Van even when the outside temperature is below zero.

Still, even when traveling on the cheap, Lofoten was a unique experience that we are eager to repeat.

Still, traveling cheap, Lofoten was a unique experience that we are eager to repeat.




The price of flights depends on which airport you fly, as we saw in the guide to planning a Lofoten trip. There are airports very close to the main points of interest of the islands but whose prices are very expensive and others are far away, where we can find very cheap flights as well as cheap car or motorhome rental.

We, therefore, decided to travel to Tromso, where we found quite affordable flights, reducing our travel budget to Lofoten.

The flight tickets with two stopovers to Tromso from Madrid cost 200€ round trip, with a checked bag.

Total flight expenses = 200 € per person *

* Note: Price for flights from Spain. However, from other countries such as the United States, flights to Lofoten are very expensive (above $ 1,000).– still worth the trip nonetheless!


If you do not have a European health insurance card, it is more than advisable that you purchase travel insurance. For those of you from outside Europe, I recommend the Schengen Travel Insurance offered by Mondo. For only 1.27 € / day, you will be insured with € 30,000 to move around any country of the Schengen area, including Norway.

As we collaborate with them, they have given a 5% discount for our readers. Enter its website from here to enjoy your discount:

travel insurance for lofoten in 10 days Mondo

Total expenses in travel insurance = 32 € x 0.95 = 30.5 € (2 people)


The cheapest way to travel to Lofoten is by renting a Camper Van. We found one that was especially cheap in Tromso, Norwagon, so we rented the van from there and drove it to Lofoten.

travel budget to lofoten islands in camper van roadtrip in caravan

The price of the Camper was 150 € per day. We rented it for 9 of the 10 days of our trip to Lofoten.

Total cost Camper Van (accommodation + transport) = 1650 €


It is essential that you stay at least one night in a Rorbuer, the iconic fishermen’s huts that gave Lofoten its popularity.

We stayed at the famous Eliassen Rorbuer for one night and could not be happier – the cabins are amazing!

how much traveling to lofoten cost norway backpack budget cheap

Keep in mind that the price does not include sheets, towels, or cleaning. You have to leave the cabin as you found it to avoid a 40 € fee.

Total expenses on accommodation of one night in the Rorbuer = 130 €


Although part of our original plan was to join a whale watching excursion, we could not do it in the end. For such, it was necessary to have a good telephoto lens, so we rented a 70-200 2’8 for Nikon.

While we did not use it for capturing whales, we did use it for a lot of photographs of the fjords.

photographic gear rent to lofoten norway from spain

Total cost of telephoto lens rental = € 100

For those who are in Spain and Portugal, we rented it through Fragmáticos, who we collaborate with. For a 5% discount, use the code ATLAS5 at checkout.


I think this is one of the few trips where we did not use cash money at all. We paid for everything with our credit cards, with gasoline being our main expense.

90% of what we ate during our trip to Lofoten was the food we had brought from home. As we commented at the beginning of the post, Norway is an expensive country, so if you do not want to spend a lot on this trip, I recommend that you bring a checked bag filled with food.

As it was a road trip, it is not uncomfortable to carry a backpack + suitcase with you. You can save a considerable amount of money from not eating at restaurants or having to buy food at the local supermarket – we spent more here buying water, bread, eggs, fruits, and vegetables than in almost any other country.

Total expenses of food (supermarkets and airport meals) = 350 €


Our Camper Van was diesel, but even then, filling the tank was still expensive – about 80 € per trip, since we drove many kilometers. Apart from the journey from Tromso to Lofoten, every night we drove around a while to search for clearings to see the auroras.

Total expenses in gasoline = 500 €


Feeling the magic of Northern Lights and immensity of the fjords is priceless. We dedicated ourselves to these two activities during our 10 days in Lofoten. However, there are other activities that perhaps would still be of interest, such as whale watching, kayaking, or visiting museums.

In this case, you should consider the price of these activities for your travel budget to Lofoten.

Total expenses for Fjords  + fishermen’s huts + northern lights contemplation = free!

travel budget northern lights in lofoten islands norway


This travel expense to Lofoten has been calculated taking into account a trip by motorhome, where we will save on accommodation but we will increase the cost of transport. Considering a 10-day Lofoten trip by car, this would be the result:


The cost of rental cars in Lofoten can vary, but it would be normal to find some below € 400 for 10 days.

Total car expense 10 days = € 400



The fuel cost will be less than if we traveled in campervan or caravan, having an estimated consumption of € 300 for 10 days.

Total expenses in gasoline = € 300


If we travel by car, we must consider the accommodation expenses. Lofoten is expensive, but if we plan ahead, we can find some offers like the one we found. If you are traveling in the low season, you estimate an average of € 130 per night, although it can be up to € 200 if you travel during the high season.

how much cost travelling to lofoten islands norway accomodation

Total cost for accommodation = € 130 for 10 days = € 1300


Finally, Lofoten restaurants are extremely expensive, so if you travel by car you should take into account the cost in restaurants when calculating your travel budget to Lofoten. Consider at least € 70 per person per day.

Total expense per meals = € 70 x 10 days = € 700


I hope that this travel budget for Lofoten help gives you good ideas about the cost and ways to reduce your budget such as bringing a suitcase full of food or traveling by Camper Van.

If you happen to have a low budget and are questioning whether it’s worth it to travel to or give up comfort to see Lofoten, let us give you a glimpse of this place to decide for yourself.

written by Ascenphotography by danzafra

– other posts of the lofoten collection –

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How to pack a backpack for an adventure or long term travel


I cannot remember precisely the first time I packed a travel backpack, but the earliest memory I do have was during the summer camps with the Scouts when I was nine years old. Yes, I’ve been a backpacker all my life. In fact, I have traveled to Europe, Asia, and America with the same backpack until just last year.

After 18 years, I finally had to get a new one. Since then, I have traveled with the same backpack for months on all kind of trips. Even on an “interrail” and business trips with me. So, I think you can trust me to help you pick and pack the perfect travel backpack, whether it is for a long-term or a few days adventures.

The first section we created here is to help you choose the best backpack for long-term trips, but if you already have your own backpack and want to skip directly to packing, go to the next section.


Selecting a good backpack is a crucial decision, as you will spend many hours with it whether you are planning a route through Southeast Asia, Camino de Santiago in Spain, or a road trip through the Canadian Rockies.

Buying a good backpack is a long-term investment. If you buy a high-quality one and take care of it properly, it can last a lifetime. And this is an important decision because once you start traveling as a backpacker, you may not want to travel any other way.

Take into account these four essential categories when choosing a backpack:


One question that most people ask is how much capacity the backpack should have. My experience is that bigger is often better. My backpack has a 65 liters capacity. I almost never fill it all the way except when I take long-term trips to cold areas.

In addition, I have never had any trouble using it as a carry-on for the plane without any bag fees.

I would like to take this opportunity to tell you that I actually use a men’s backpack, because I did not find any that I liked with the same capacity in the women’s section. Additionally, like deodorant and razor blades, two products that are exactly the same often cost more when labeled as a product for women, all because the colour is pink.


The most important thing when choosing a good backpack is the fastening system. The pack’s weight should not sit on your shoulders but rather on your hip to prevent your back from straining.

There should be a Side Release Buckle on the hip that you can adjust according to your contour and one on the chest so that the backpack straps doesn’t pull you back.

Once you have these two straps adjusted to your body, you can then release the weight on your shoulders by adjusting the straps on the sides. When you feel that the weight is comfortably resting on your hips, you will know that it is well adjusted. You can find the positions of the different buckles marked in the image below.

how to prepare a backpack for a longterm trip, camino de santiago, trekking. the best backpack at the market

It is best to buy a backpack that you can return if you are not sure it is the right one. You can go hiking with the backpack with full weight to determine that this is the best for you.

With that, you also can check if the padding of the Shoulder Straps causes chafing.


The next thing to analyze is the position of the different pockets. These are the pockets that I find indispensable in a backpack for long-term travel:

  • Inside the main compartment, there should be two independent compartments but with the option to connect them.
  • Pockets on the sides of the hip fasteners, to keep certain things like the phone or lip balm handy so that you don’t have to take off your backpack to get to them.
  • Upper pocket with a security pocket inside. Perfect for the passport.
  • Rear side pocket. For easy access to things of low volume and you want to locate quickly.
  • Bottle holder. To have water available at all times.


The next thing to consider is the type and quality of the fabric. Look especially for ventilating waterproof fabrics and choose brands with a lifetime guarantee (in case of product defects).


There are many others to consider when choosing the perfect backpack for your trip.


In the previous image, you can see the back straps which are very useful for things like fastening insulating sleeping mats. It is a mandatory accessory when choosing a backpack if you plan to camp. Other models have the straps at the top.


To keep your back ventilated, it is better if the backpack has air channels between your back and the load. These channels are also shown in the previous image.


Some models have a small aperture in the backpack to use a hydration hose. With this, you can drink water with no need to stop and take the backpack off.

height adjustment

Some brands also offer height adjustment so that the backpack adapts even better to your anatomy.

As I mentioned in the introduction, I used the same backpack for 18 consecutive years. After it was full of holes and partially torn down, I wanted to buy the same model. However, the company that made it had shut down, so I researched the market until I found the one that I hope will come with me on all my trips in the future. After analyzing different options, I opted for this model since it fulfilled everything described above:

how to pack a backpack for a longterm or adventure travel camino de santiago, trekking. black backpage the norh face.

Backpack – 65L


Now we will cover the specifics. Every trip is different so we are going to ask you a series of questions and we will redirect you according to your answers throughout the post.

But first, let’s review the basics for all types of travel. This is how we start prepping whether it is a trip to the city, countryside, Interrail, camp, adventure trip or Camino de Santiago.


These are the indispensable things that we take on 100% of our trips. It must be the first thing you consider when preparing your travel backpack.

toiletry bag
  • Soap travel bottles
  • Toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Hairbrush
  • Deodorant
  • Sunscreen
  • Mosquito repellent
  • Tweezers
  • Nail clipper
  • Lip balm
  • Hand cream
  • Menstrual cup
  • Swimsuit – 1 or 2 (Depending on whether it is a trip of more than two weeks)
  • Quick drying towel
  • Raincoat
  • Tracksuit Bottoms – 1 or 2 changes (Depending on whether it is a trip of more than two weeks)
  • Underwear – 5 changes (regardless of trip duration)
  • Socks – 5 changes (regardless of trip duration)
  • T-shirts – 5 changes (regardless of trip duration)

Traveling to a warm destination

  • Shorts – 1 or 2 (Depending on whether it is a trip of more than two weeks)
  • Dresses or jumpsuits – 2 or 3 (Depending on whether it is a trip of more than two weeks)

Traveling to a cold destination

  • Long pants – 1 or 2 (Depending on whether it is a trip of more than three weeks). Sports type if it is an adventure/mountain trip or jeans if it is a trip to the city.
  • Long sleeves Top – 1 or 2 (Depending again whether it is a trip of more than three weeks). Sweatshirt if it is an adventure and mountain trip or jersey if it is to the city.





If it is your first time going camping, I understand that you may find it difficult and possibly uncomfortable. However, once you try it, there will be no hotels that can make you feel happier and with the same feeling of freedom. Do not hesitate to ask if you have any questions, we almost always camp on our travels.


Although it is a bit more expensive to choose an ultralight and compact tent, this is always the best solution if you are backpacking. We all like “easy-open” tents but they are bulky and uncomfortable to transport.

I recommend that you choose one fit for all seasons, so you do not need to have two different tents for cold and warm destinations.


Until recently, we used individual winter sleeping bags. But then we bought a double sleeping bag which we could not live without nowadays.

Choose a winter sleeping bag that can be used during all seasons. In the summer, we use it open as a sheet and it is very comfortable too.


The best option are always the simpler mats, although if you are going to do a road trip, another option is to choose inflatable mats.


We always carry a USB rechargeable lamp for the tent. It is a MUST in your travel backpack when camping.






Seeing the Aurora Borealis can become a frozen nightmare if you forget one of the following items in your backpack.


Choose a double layer coat. They weigh/bulk less and protects you better than the padded ones in the cold. If you are going to travel to a cold place, try one from a sportswear brand.


Keeping your feet warm is the best way to maintain your body temperature. That’s why you must choose thermal socks that keep your feet dry. Also, if you plan to trek, select seamless socks to prevent blisters.


If you travel to a cold place, forget about the typical wool gloves. It is better to opt for special gloves meant for winter sports. Besides, for having better protection against the cold, they are waterproof which will keep your hands dry. Our favorites are from The Heat Company – with features like touch screen fingers, heating pocket, and removable mittens. With them you have full mobility on your fingers to use the camera or mobile with the gloves still on, making them the best gloves for photography. Here, you can find our experience using them along with a discount coupon in case you want a pair.


There are numerous types and offers for hats on the market these days. For those of you who cannot stand the cold very well like me, I advise you to try on a thermal trapper hat with synthetic polyester hair lining. They are the warmest since they also cover your ears.


While you prepare your backpacks do not forget to put a thermal neck gaiter.


Choose lightweight thermal pants with a special material that you can wear comfortably under your pants. Essential especially when you go hiking in cold places.


Remember to take a thermal top when you travel to places with extreme conditions. It will be the best match for your coat, so you do not get cold.


I discovered this great invention when I came to live in the United States. Once you try them, you cannot imagine traveling to a cold place without them. You can find them for hands and feet, and they usually last from 8 to 12 hours. It’s incredible how well they work.







Choosing appropriate footwear is fundamental if we plan to be walking for many hours, whether for visiting cities or hiking.

When preparing the backpack for a trip, we should consider that the footwear usually takes a lot of space. I usually choose to wear two of the following three types of footwear:

  • Hiking boots: Best option for long treks on difficult terrain or in cold places.
  • Lightweight sneakers with cushioning: perfect for many hours of walking in the city or on easy trails. My running shoes work pretty well for me in these moments.
  • Sport sandals: the best option for walking in hot and humid places. For example, on a backpacking trip to Cuba.

If you are going to take short trekking trips or excursions around the city, remember to take a smaller backpack.


We always prefer to use thermal bottles than plastic bottles so that the water stays at a good temperature and to protect the environment. We like those that have a standard bottle shape because they are easier to attach to backpacks.


You can buy them at most destinations, but I wanted to add them to the list so you do not forget them. My favorites are Clif bars because they are not so cloying as the vast majority.





We love road trips, and two items can never be missed when packing. You can find them below:


Without a doubt, this was the best discovery in the preparation of our trip to Sicily. Before it was a pain to decide which item we should charge (camera, mobile, batteries).


Don’t have an Internet connection? No problem. Connect your Spotify list and ride.






These trips are our favorites. Feeling free and bound to nature require extra good preparation so that we are not missing anything when we are miles away from civilization. This is what you need to pack in a survival backpack.


Your portable kitchen. You can reuse the Jetboil as many times as you want. Remember to buy the gas bottle once you reach your destination.

Emergency Food Supply

They are not used very often in Spain, but when we travel to countries like Canada or the United States where there is a bigger outdoor scene, they are very easy to find in any sports store. It is the best option to feed yourself while taking trips to the unknown.

camping cutlery

You can find them made of plastic or stainless steel. We used plastic in recent trips. The important thing is that they do not bulge or weigh too much.


It is easy for non-smokers to forget about it. If you want to build a good campfire to warm up before the night, you will need a lighter unless you are Bear Grylls.

Sheath Knife

To cut bread, rope or defend yourself from any animal. A knife is essential in a nature trip full of adventures.


We use it to hang clothes, but also to hang our backpacks in the trees if there’s food in them. In some places like Canada, it is very dangerous to leave backpacks with food at ground level when you are in the bear country.

Bar soap

If you want to keep your backpack light, you cannot take as many pairs of underwear as the days you will be traveling, especially if it is a long trip. A bar soap solves this problem. For travels with an indefinite timeline, 5 pairs of underwear are the maximum I would take with me. Every two or three days, you can wash your clothes with the soap, which is cheaper and faster than going to the laundry mat.


We love to photograph the Milky Way, so we usually do night hiking routes where we always carry a flashlight. If the route is a bit more complicated or we are going to cook at night, then we will use a headlamp to keep our hands free. In our case, we always carry both and use one or the other depending on what we are going to do.




Essential if you visit National Parks of Canada and the United States where it is bear country


Check here if the same type of plug is used in your country of destination.


If you travel to a place where you can find icy hiking trails like Canada, Iceland or Norway.


Once we know everything we need inside the backpack, we should decide how to distribute the weight so that everything fits nicely.

The general rule is that heavier things should be closer to your back while the lighter towards the outer pockets.

My experience is that you have to pay attention to how often you will use something rather than just looking at the weight.

For example, since I use my toiletries every day, I always keep my toiletry bag in the top pocket along with my wallet, passport, etc. That way I will not have to spend a long time looking inside my backpack every time I want to brush my teeth or pay for something.

I also want my underwear to come on handy. That’s why I keep them in the big compartment but in the bottom part since it has a quick access.

However, items like crampons which I don’t use frequently, I leave them in the middle of the backpack so they are not in the way when I want to get something near the top or bottom of my pack.


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My experience with travel insurance in Cuba

While it seems obvious that you should not drink tap water or drinks with ice when traveling in a developing country, some people still accidentally consume it. I ended up being hospitalized for an amoeba infection. This incident had me saying:


To start, I want to clarify that we did not drink tap water or any of the drinks sold on the street in Cuba.

We always drank bottled water, and when we had cocktails, it was only in first-class paladares (restaurants) and we had breakfast every day in our private house.

I do not know the exact root cause of the infection because even after some analyzing, it could be anything – the ice that they put in the breakfast juice in all the houses… the water bottles that we bought and then discovered were filled with boiled water… the mojitos from the paladares that could be using tap water… Whatever it was, I spent an awful night.

So, my advice is:

No matter how careful you are, buy A TRAVEL INSURANCE.

Not only did I lose a day of vacation from spending it in the hospital, if I didn’t have insurance, I would have had to pay more than 500€ in medical bills.

And my second advice, almost as important as the first:


As we told you in the Complete Guide to organize your trip to Cuba, we purchased the basic insurance that they offered when we applied for our entry visas. While it was cheap, in the end it turned out a bit more expensive than some other options, as we will tell you later.


It had been a long day discovering the surroundings of Trinidad. Although we were having fun in the house of music, I was not in full power, so we left shortly after. As soon as we got home, we knew we were going to have a difficult night.

The next morning, I was not able to get out of bed, so Dani called the travel insurance to see which hospital he should take me to. Interestingly, there are hospitals for Cubans and specific hospitals for tourists in Cuba that they refer to as International Hospitals. Luckily, the one in Trinidad was quite close to our private house. However, I was so dehydrated and weak that we had to go on bicitaxi.

I’ve never been in a hospital in my life where I have been attended to so quickly. 20 minutes after entering the door, I was hooked to IV. Then, they did some tests to confirm that it was amoebas, which had also infected 90% of those who were there.

I began to recover after two liters of IV fluid and treatment. After lying down horizontally with my face down for four hours, I was eager to return to the private house. However, we were not aware that the complicated thing was yet to come.


When you travel with health insurance and end up at the hospital, generally you have two options:

  • Pay the invoice amount and file a claim for reimbursement later.
  • Call the insurance so they process payment directly and leave the hospital without paying.

We did not want to have to pay in advance, so we called the insurance three times… After an hour and a half, we finally got on the phone and were able to go home.

The Cuban health care surprised me a lot, and in a good way. I found it hard to believe that the service would be so good in local hospitals.

However, my experience with travel insurance did not end here. The most unpleasant surprise, and the reason why I say that it was cheap but turned out to be expensive, was coming.

Upon returning to Spain, we found a bill of 150€ in phone calls to the insurance. We tried to get money back from the calls, but in the end, they did nothing. Because I made a bad decision when choosing health insurance, I ended up paying a lot more than necessary.


The only reason we chose that insurance for Cuba was the price. For the following trips, we decided to do a much deeper analysis on different insurances to find one that would suit our travel style the best.

 The biggest difficulties we encountered were:

  • Bundled packages that couldn’t be customized for the coverage we need most, for example, compulsory inclusion of services such as laptop theft, adventure sports, cancellation, etc. We want these services for some of our trips, but we preferred them to be optional so that our final price would be cheaper.
  • Some did not cover basic aspects that you do not usually think about, but that can end up costing a lot later. For example, the insurance we used for Cuba didn’t cover telephone calls abroad.
  • Difficulty with buying: Some required long and tedious questionnaires that never seemed to end for buying a simple insurance. We already have to prepare countless things for an important trip, the last thing we wanted to waste time on was filling out endless amounts of forms.

Within these premises, we set out to search amongst the infinite number of insurances available on the internet. Finally, we found MONDO, one that’s customizable and affordable.

Apart from the classic coverages offered by other insurance, the possibilities of setting up insurance were much broader with MONDO. They offer you the basic insurance and plenty of extras that you can choose as add on. This way you can avoid paying for many services that you don’t need.

To help figure what coverage suits you, MONDO simply ask 5 questions, then uses a search engine where they compare a number of different insurances on the market to offer you the best and cheapest.

For extra precaution, we called to confirm coverage before contracting them. We wanted to make sure we would not have the same problem we had in Cuba with the extra expenses on phone calls. With MONDO, it is as easy as calling them and then asking them to call you back, or show them the telephone bills later and ask to be refunded.

And lastly, since we are considering a much longer journey than what we are accustomed to in the future, an annual insurance called our attention. Before trusting a year of our health to a stranger, we decided to try them out for several trips – and so far, we are very happy.

If you also share the same needs and want to use them, MONDO gives you a 5% discount when you purchase through Capture the Atlas. We receive a small commission so that we can continue with this amazing project to inspire you to live more adventurously.

descuento 5% en seguro de viaje mondo organización viaje travel insurance

And remember, in this blog we will never recommend something that we have not tried or do not believe in our heart to be useful. 

written by Ascen

– other posts of the Cuba collection –

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Guide to planning a trip to Cuba

When it comes to planning a trip to Cuba, visas, vaccines, and travel insurance are the topics that should concern you most. The truth is, there are many others details to keep in mind during trip planning. In this post, we will tell you everything, so that you can leave your worries aside and free yourself to imagine the adventures that you are about to live.

how to plan A TRIP TO CUBA

We make it even simpler for you. With this content index, you can go directly to what interests you on this complete guide to planning your trip to Cuba.


Cuba has a tropical climate with mild and warm temperatures throughout the year. The dry season, and therefore, the high season, goes from December to March. In addition, the months of July and August is also high season, where demand increases despite the rainy season.

The low season coincides with the rainy season, which runs from May to November. If you visit Cuba during this time, it is very likely that it will rain at least one day per week. If you happen to travel during the hurricane season between August and October, you will enjoy very low prices, although you run the risk of rainy days.

We had no choice and traveled in October. We were a little scared of a hurricane plowing through the north where we visited. However, we could not be luckier. It rained at some point during 3 of the 15 days of our Cuba trip, but at no point did the rain ruin any of the plans made, and we enjoyed very low prices – not only on flights, but accommodation, transport, etc, as you can see in the budget of the trip.

If I have to recommend you the best month to travel to Cuba, it would be April, which is low season and dry season – not many tourists, low prices and better weather.


It is necessary to have a visa / tourist card to travel to Cuba. To obtain the visa, you must have a valid passport that does not expire within 6 months from the date of visit. The tourist visa is mandatory to enter the country and is only given for leisure and tourism purposes. It lasts for 30 days and is extendable for 30 more days directly at any immigration office of the country.

When you travel to Cuba with a tourist package, travel agencies usually carry out the procedures of the tourist card in your place, but you will have to do the paperwork. However, it is very simple and here we explain how:

  • Cuban Consulate: The price is 22 euros. The only thing necessary is time, since the opening hours at the consulate of Cuba, in Madrid for example, is only from 09:00 to 16:00 on weekdays.
  • Agency: Many agencies carry out the procedures to obtain the visa. There are a lot but the most well-known and the one we used is Onlinetours. The price is the same: 22€. You would have to pay for the visa shipment by mail, which was 2€. We received the visas by express mail within two days.

Note: If you are going to enter Cuba from the US, please note that this type of visa / tourist card is not valid. You would have to get the visa directly at the American airport. The price varies according to the airport. From Miami, for example, the price of the visa is 100$.


There is no special vaccination requirement to visit Cuba. However, it is always recommended, regardless of the country visited, to have at least the first three of the following vaccines:

  • Tetanus Diphtheria
  • Hepatitis A
  • MMR
  • Hepatitis B

Other diseases that we have to be alert about are Dengue and Zika. Infection is very unusual but if symptoms occur, it is necessary to go to the doctor immediately. Since both are contracted through mosquito bites, the best way to prevent them is by using a repellent with a high content of DEET. For pregnant women, since infection during gestation can cause severe deformations in the fetus, it is recommended that they avoid traveling Cuba.

For all other cases, it is not necessary to be concerned. Despite using repellent, an infinite amount of mosquitoes bit us and here we are still!


Also mandatory in order to visit the country, this is one of the first things you have to consider when planning a trip to Cuba. If they ask you about your insurance when you enter Cuba and you don’t have any, they will require you to purchase the national insurance of the country, Asistur, which costs 2.5 CUC a day (approx.).

We also bought it through Onlinetours, taking advantage of the fact that we were already using them to apply for the visa and that they were reputed to provide a good service. The cost was a total of 17€ each, for the 16 days we were there.

In addition to being mandatory, having insurance is fully recommended. Health-care is a high-quality service in Cuba, and as such, the cost of the service is also high.


To give an example, in Trinidad I had a parasitic infection that came from what we thought to be ice water or bad food. We went to the international medical center, and the cost for one morning of hospitalization, serum, and a gastric test was almost 400 CUC (360€ approx.). 17€ for the insurance is very cheap for what it covered. However, cheap can be expensive sometimes. I will tell you in this post, between phone calls to the insurance, the doctor, etc., I had to pay 150€ out of my own pocket.

That is why I prefer to buy insurance that covers all my needs in case of an accident. After trying and analyzing several companies, we now use MONDO, which always gives us the best value for money.

discount travel insurance. how to plan a trip to cuba

The visa/tourist card, along with medical insurance and name of the accommodation where you are going to stay constitute the essential requirements to legitimately enter the country.


Amongst all of the existing options, we wanted to stay in Casas Particulares, which consists of renting a room in a Cuban family house. Although this has been legal since the beginning of 2000’s, it had only become more popular during the last three or four years.

The best thing about private houses is flexibility. When you come to a place and see an area you like, look for decorative buildings with the casas particulares sign out front. If you like the room after seeing it, you can ask to stay. The price can be negotiated. We paid between 30 CUC (27€) in Havana and 10 CUC (9€) in Viñales per night.

casa particular accomodation. how to plan a trip to cuba

Casa Particular sign

Staying in private houses and getting to know Cuban families is a very enriching experience. The rent is the main sustenance for many families on the island. If they have space in the house, they will work very hard to meet the requirements and get the appropriate permits to operate. A week’s worth of rent from this, they can only earn from working for the state for a month.

As I mentioned in the last section, you must inform about where you are going to stay in Cuba, so at the minimum you need to know the address of your first night’s accommodation. We rented the first two nights through Airbnb, since private houses are available on this platform.

In addition to the accommodation, they often try to sell you other activities, for instance: breakfast, dinner, excursions, shows, transport, etc. Usually, when you are moving through several points of the island, your private houses recommend you another house to stay in your following destination. The second major economic means available to them, after leasing of their homes, are commissions that they earn via recommendation.


Although from what we understood initially, you are not allowed to camp freely, we ended up meeting a few girls who had been camping on Cayo Jutías for a couple of weeks and had had no incident.

Camping is not very common for foreigners. Generally, there are few set places for this but with little information about where to find them. Because accommodation is quite cheap in general, we decided not to bring our tent. This was a decision that we regretted, especially during our visit to Cayo Jutías.


There are several ways to move around Cuba. We did not have time to try them all, although some seem to be adventures by themselves. Here, we tell you the different ways to help you planning your trip to Cuba.

Viazul buses

These state-owned buses offer routes between the main points of the island. Its prices and amenities are aimed completely at tourists. Viazul buses are very well equipped, they are air-conditioned and comfortable. It is very common that the locals advise against using them in favor of hiring a Taxi or shared taxi service, claiming that the Viazul takes much longer than what they say at the station, and that they are uncomfortable and not punctual. From our experience, I have to say that the only Viazul we used, from Viñales to Havana, was on time, air-conditioned, comfortable, and without delays.

It is advisable to book in advance during high season and bring a jacket since the air conditioning is usually very strong.

You can check routes, schedules and prices here.


Many hotels organize private buses between different cities of Cuba. The price is a bit more expensive than Viazul buses. This option is used on the Havana-Cienfuegos route, paying 2 CUC more than the Viazul alternative. However, you have to take into account that Havana is a large city and the Viazul station is on the outskirts. To get to the bus station, we would have had to take a cab and ending paying the price difference anyways. Private buses leave from the hotel doors located in the center of the city.

My recommendation is that to get out of Havana, look for some hotel near your private house and ask about these bus services. In the end, you will save money this way by not having to take a taxi to the Viazul bus station.


As we mentioned, in the vicinity of the Viazul stations are a swarm of taxi drivers who advise you against using the bus in favor of shared taxis. They are licensed taxis that look for passengers who want to go to a common destination, thus sharing the cost of the trip. We used this method a lot of times, as it gives more flexibility in schedules and tours than Viazul. For example, the direct route between Trinidad – Viñales is not offered by Viazul and we were able to do so by taking a shared taxi. The price of shared taxis is usually a couple of CUC below Viazul buses.

transportation cuba how to planning a trip to Cuba

Shared Taxi

Although you can save some time with shared taxis, they are quite more uncomfortable compared to Viazul buses, as they offer more seats than the car actually has. On a long and hot journey, it can be hell.


They consist of trucks that drive fixed routes between different points and they transport as many people as possible in the back side. Some have tarpaulins to protect the passengers from the sun. We could see some that had benches to sit on and others where all the passengers were standing. This method of transport is widely used by Cubans because of its low cost. We did not use it due to lack of time, as the routes are remarkably longer than Viazul buses or shared taxis. On our next Cuban adventure, we will try it for sure.

botella transportation. guide to planning a trip to cuba



You recognize them by their yellow color. There are also official taxis in Havana that use taximeters to collect. We did not use this service because even when it’s quantified, it is usually still more expensive than a good negotiation with a shared car.


These colorful taxis are the delight of any tourist who strolls through Havana. They are more commonly used as a tourist car, where the driver shows you different points of the city, rather than as a mean of transportation. Its price is not cheap, so we did not use it, although it was enough for us to photograph them.

Coches viejos de colores La Habana Cuba



We only saw this fun means of transportation in Havana. Being something only used by tourists, prices are usually higher. We did not use it.

Cocotaxi Cuba Havana. guide to planning a trip to cuba



We had to use them twice. The first time in Havana when it started raining after leaving a show, and the second time to get to the hospital in Trinidad when I wasn’t able to stand up. Personally, I do not like someone having to take me to destinations with their physical effort too much. If I had the choice, I prefer to ride a bicycle which we did many days during the trip. Nonetheless, bike taxis were very useful on these two occasions.

Bicitaxi Havana cuba. guide to plan a trip

Bike Taxi


The trains arrived in Cuba late, so they are not very developed. The tours are endless and it is a mean that even the Cubans avoid. We did not try it.


On the monetary and currency issue, Cuba is a very particular country where we are going to find two different types of currency. This must be taken into account when planning a trip to Cuba.


This national currency is used mostly by locals. The value is extremely low (1€ = 28.7 CUP). With this currency, you will be able to pay for goods and services used mostly by local people: bus, coffee, local restaurants, etc. We hardly used it since most of the things we paid were priced in the other currency. They can be obtained in the official exchange houses (CADECA) that you will find in all the big cities. However, you will have to first exchange to CUC before exchanging to CUP.


This currency is mostly used by tourists. It will be the currency you use to pay for the vast majority of things. The exchange rate is in parity with the dollar (1€ = 1.12 CUC). Beware of exchanging at the airport office, since the exchange rate they apply is much more expensive than other exchange offices.


Pay great attention to the difference between the two types of currency, especially bills. The easiest way is through images on the bills. Faces of historical Cuban figures appear on CUP while monuments built in honor of these characters appear on CUC, the currency that has more value.

bill pesos Cubanos (CUP) with the face of Che Guevara Cuba

3 Cuban pesos bill (CUP) with the face of Che Guevara

bill 3 pesos cubano convertibles (CUC) with the monument to the Che Guevara,in Santa Clara Cuba

3 Cuban convertible pesos  bill (CUC) with Monument to Che Guevara, located in Santa Clara

We carried coins and bills separately in two different pockets so they wouldn’t get messed up. We also reviewed our change very well so we didn’t get deceived. Luckily, we did not suffer the well-known scam of change in CUP, where tourist pays in CUC and get back change in CUP.

Another tip we want to give is to do the exchange only at the state’s official CADECA. It is also a known scam where several Cubans invite you to go to a CADECA where they claim to a more favorable exchange rate, then an “official CADECA” imposter gives you fake bills or Cuban pesos instead of convertibles pesos.


Connecting to the Internet in Cuba is a luxury that we totally disregarded. Our recommendation is that you take every second in Cuba to soak up the island and disconnect with all exterior life. In a few years, it is possible that Cuba will stop being that special place where children still play outside the net.

If I still have not convinced you to leave the hyper-connection behind the border, I will let you how to use the INTERNET here.

ETECSA, the Cuban telecommunications company, has offered INTERNET since 2014. However, this INTERNET is quite unbearable. You can only connect to the Wi-Fi network from certain points. The hotels or private houses that claim to have INTERNET, what they mean is that they have access to the INTERNET. However, to connect you will have to buy a 30-minute, 1 hour or 5 hours prepaid card. The cards are bought at kiosks of ETECSA or resold by hotels and other establishments at a slightly higher price. The official rate is 1.5 CUC per hour. You have 30 days to spend the card, otherwise, it will expire.

internet ETECSA Cuba wifi. Guide to planning a trip to cuba


Considering that more than half of the Cubans who work for the state make less than 100 CUC a month, to say that the Internet has arrived in Cuba seems to me to be a half-truth, since they can barely afford the connection and even when they get it, it is extremely slow.


Unlike what you might expect, in this section I am not reminding you to bring sunscreen or mosquito repellent.

Cuba is a communist dictatorship under international commercial blockade. All Cubans are entitled to an amount of food and other items listed on a ration card each month. This was intended to cover the basic needs of the entire people. However, the reality is that even with paid work, adding the ration card is still not enough.

guide cuba trip communism

Ration card

Many Cubans are forced to play their cards under the table in order to survive and get basic goods. They call it jinetear and it is the main income of many of the cities’ inhabitants, where tourism is greater. From there, they are known as jineteros. As travelers in Cuba, it became exhausting to anticipate someone to want to take advantage of you or providing help while expecting something in return. This is a tricky political and social matter with roots from circumstances related to the history and life of Cuba.

This makes measurable differences, for example, between someone from Havana and someone from Santa Lucía. We met a Cuban from Havana with an iPhone 7, and on the other hand, a night watchman in Cayo Jutías who was thrilled when we gave him a flashlight with dynamo. That’s how extreme the differences can be in Cuba.

Whether through the blockade or the inherent political system, it is a complex situation that we cannot change. However, I will recommend some essential things in your luggage if you want to help with the day to day lives of the locals.


Pencils are cheap and take up little space. The children will come to ask you to give them some.

Children Playing in Havana Cuba. Guide to planning a trip to Cuba

Children playing in Havana

The sad thing is that it does not just make them happy. We were also asked by adults for pencils, especially in rural areas, where the submerged economy is not so strong.


A simple ibuprofen is a luxury. Pain palliative medications are not considered necessary products so people suffering from chronic pain, such as migraines, live a real ordeal. This is a great gift you can make. If you prefer, like we did, you can take medicines to exchange for old books or some other souvenirs.


What impressed most me about the ration card was the tiny number of pads that correspond to each woman a month. I took pads and tampons with me to give away, and if I did the trip again, I would try to take a menstrual cup and change the life of a Cuban woman for 5 years.


We were asked for clothes during the whole trip, but as we were practically traveling with what we were wearing and washing, we could not give anything away. Ideally one would take old clothes to Cuba and give them away at the end of the trip.

And with this, we finish the complete guide to planning your trip to Cuba, where we talked about the best time to visit the island, visa, vaccines and necessary medical insurance, how to understand the monetary system, where to stay, how to move around the country or connect to the INTERNET , and things that you can not miss in your luggage.


written by Ascenphotography by danzafra

– other posts of the Cuba collection –

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Top things to do in Sicily in a 10-day road trip

Traveling across Sicily in 10 days by car was an incredible experience. We were sure we wanted to visit Italy, but in the middle of July and considering the mass tourism and the stifling heat in cities like Rome during summertime, we decided to opt for one of the islands.

Decadent architecture evoking times of greater glory, gastronomy like Arancini, Cannoli or the famous Dolci di Pistacchio, and especially the Mafia or “Cosa Nostra” are some of the images that usually come to mind when someone thinks of Sicily.

Duomo di Cefalú in 10-day Sicily itinerary

However, throughout these different posts, we also wanted to discover the deep-rooted and traditional culture, history, landscapes and magic surrounding this ancient island of the Mediterranean.

Welcome to the complete travel guide for planning a 10-day trip to Sicily by car. By the end of this post, you will have the necessary tools to start preparing your 10-day trip to Sicily itinerary.


  • Day 1: Arrival in Palermo
  • Day 2: Tour around the city of Palermo
  • Day 3: Day in Cefalù
  • Day 4: Day in Stromboli
  • Day 5: Visit  Savoca and arrival in Taormina
  • Day 6: Taormina
  • Day 7: Syracuse
  • Day 8: Ragusa, Noto, Modica, and Ávola
  • Day 9: Aci Trezza
  • Day 10: Return flight from Catania

Now, we will help you plan the best itinerary for a trip to Sicily for you.

HOW TO plan YOUR Sicily road trip itinerary

In this first section, we will try to clarify some necessary points to plan your itinerary to Sicily.


If you are going to spend 10 days in Sicily, you should bear in mind: 10 days are not enough to travel around the whole island. For us, the most difficult time during the preparation of our tour  was  having to decide among different areas of the island that we really wanted to visit.

If you want to travel across the whole island, you will need at least 20 days to 1 month.

how to get around sicily

The second thing you should consider is how to move around the island. Public transportation is not very extended or reliable. Buses are almost non-existent, while trains are old and extremely slow. With no doubt the most convenient plan is to visit Sicily by car.

Train passing through the ss113 road between cefalu and milazzo. 10-day sicily itinerary

Although Sicilians have a reputation for being bad drivers, we did not have any problems. If you are into Road Trips, Sicily is an authentic paradise.


Upon arrival in Sicily, the first thing on your list should be renting a car. Unless you fly to Palermo,  where we suggest renting the car for your Sicilian road trip the day you leave this city. Driving and parking in Palermo is completely chaotic. The best option is to use public transportation while visiting the city, and later return to the airport to pick up the rental car.


There are two main airports in Sicily. The airport of Palermo is located in the Northwest, whereas the one in Catania is in the Southeast.

If you can only spend 10 days in Sicily, I strongly recommend not to take a round trip flight at the same airport. It is better to take a one-way flight to one of the two airports and leave the return flight from the other.

Once we book our flights, now comes the most difficult decision: our travel itinerary.

Top things TO do IN SICILY IN 10 DAYS

If you travel to Sicily, keep in mind that 10 days is not enough to take a circular trip around the island. After landing in one of the two main airports of the island, now it’s time to decide: Should we take a trip through the north side or should we travel through the south?

There are many things to do on a Road Trip through Sicily. Here, we will tell you the best of Sicily, the most interesting things to do in Sicily, and those that you should not miss on a longer trip (20 days or 1 month).

 snorkel in Via Giudecca in Cefalu Sicily itinerary

Throughout this article, you will find all the information you need so you can choose between taking a Sicily road trip through the north or the south of the island.

Let’s go review the best of Sicily, the must-see places, and top things to do on the Island.


Many civilizations left their mark in Palermo, which is one of the main reasons to visit this city and have a better understanding  of the history of Sicily.  Phoenicians, Greeks, Romans, Arabs, Normans, Bourbons…a great variety of cultures made Palermo their home as it was located in a strategic territory of the island.

Cattedrale di Palermo. 10-day sicily road trip

Unfortunately, it also became known for corruption in the last century, especially for the Mafia or “Cosa Nostra.”

In spite of the bad reputation that exists in Palermo in terms of order, cleanliness and security, the historical and cultural variety, as well as the infinite markets and the narrow alleys and streets, make the city as one of the most remarkable places on the island and a recommendable place for the start of our tour.

If you want to plan your visit to Palermo further, you can find our guide to Palermo here.


Cefalù is one of the most visited places in Sicily. Despite being a small fishing village, the blue water of the Tyrrhenian Sea draws thousands of tourists every year, especially during the  hot summer months.

travel around sicily. the best of sicily Promontorio de Torre Caldura seen from Castillo Normando in the submitt of Cefalú rock. 10-days sicily road trip

It is called the Norman citadel, and since 2015, it is considered by UNESCO as part of the Arab-Norman route of Sicily.

Here you can find our guide to Cefalù.


The Riserva Naturale Orientata dello Zingaro was the first natural reserve established in Sicily.

In this natural reserve, you will find mountains and steep vertical cliffs over the sea, small bays with paradisiacal beaches, and endemic wildlife that you will not find anywhere else on the island.

Here you can see the photo of one of its beaches.


One of the most popular things to do when traveling around Sicily is visiting a volcano. One of the best options is Stromboli. This is the most popular of the Aeolian Islands, as it is still an active and erupting volcano.

Its small fishing village of tiny white houses and narrow streets takes you back in time.

Street in Stromboli Sicily Italy.

Stromboli is very different from the other Sicilian cities. There are no cars on the island and no traffic rush. If you want to know the most famous Sicilian volcanic beaches, do not miss our guide to Stromboli.


An alternative option to visit other group of islands instead of the Aeolian are the Egades Islands.

These islands stand out for their intense blue waters that have been widely photographed. However, the Egades are much more. You will find natural landscapes, caves, gastronomy, and history.

Here we leave an image of its clean turquoise waters.


If you travel around Sicily by car, you have to make a brief stop in Savoca, especially if you are a classical cinema lover. The reason is that some of the most famous scenes from “The Godfather” were filmed in this picturesque town.

Dani in the Bar Vitelli door in Savoca Sicily Italy. Things to do in Sicily in one week.

Enjoy a delicious Granite di pistacchio in the well-known Vitelli Bar and the incredible views of the sea and the mountains.

Here is our guide to Savoca.


One of the most well-known places of interest in Sicily is the Scala dei Turchi. This pure white coastal rock formation is one of the best places to enjoy the Sicilian summer. Its shape and the small natural steps in the limestone are unique.

In addition, on both sides of the rock we find two beaches with fine sand. Here you can see a photo of this geographical feature.


In Agrigento, we will find the best preserved Greek temples in the world. The city was an important landmark both in Greek and Roman times. However, it never recovered from the siege of Byzantines and Christians.

Finally, the Valley of the Temples of Agrigento was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO and today is one of the most visited attractions in Sicily.

Here you can see a common scene of Agrigento.


Taormina is the place where the luxury tourism of Sicily is mostly concentrated. This is the place where the tourism sector of the island and the Mediterranean started back in the XIX century. Besides  trying one of the best pizzas in the world, you can visit the  well-known Isola Bella.

Isola Bella Sicily Italy. 10-day road trip to sicily

Here we leave you details with our full guide to Taormina.


Syracuse was the most important Greek city in Sicily. Even though many centuries passed, it manages to preserve the Greek beauty in every corner. Strolling across the streets transports you to another time. With no doubt, it was one of the biggest surprises on the island for us.

Duomo di Siracusa in Ortigia syracuse sicily june italy itinerary

Also at a very short distance away, you can find the Area Marina Protetta del Plemmirio,  where you can find small beaches all for yourself with no one to bother you even in the middle of summer.

Here you can discover with our guide to Syracuse.


Etna is the highest active volcano in Europe at a height of 3350m. Your visit is almost obligatory if you travel to Sicily. You can take a guided tour or climb the mountain on your own.

 differente routes to discover sicily in 10 days. etna volcano from Madonna della Rocca at sunrise in Taormina Sicily Italy

Unlike other volcanoes such as Stromboli, Etna’s lava is not always visible, but only present during short periods of explosion.

The Crateri Silvestri can be accessed free of charge, but to climb higher, you can take a cable car and a jeep that takes you up to 2900 meters.


If you want to see the beautiful baroque Sicily, do not miss the Southeast area of the island, with charming cities like Ragusa, Noto, Avola or Modica.

In Ragusa, an earthquake changed the history of the island. Noto is the best example of Italian Baroque in the world. In Avola, you will delight yourself with the best arancini, the arancino nero di Ávola. While in Modica, you will enjoy chocolate made using cold pressing techiques, the same that was used by the Aztecs.

Duomo di San Giorgio Ragusa Sicily shouteast travel to sicily in 10 days

Discover all the southeast of Sicily accompanied by a couple of locals with this article.


Aci Trezza is known for some very peculiar volcanic rock formations on the coast, called Faraglioni dei Ciclope.

Sunrise on the Riviera dei Ciclopi in Aci Trezza sicily itinerary. travel to sicily in 10 days

If you want to learn the Greek myth that named this place you cannot miss our guide to Aci Trezza.


Catania is the second most important city in Sicily. The main attraction here is Mount Etna, as it is fairly close.

Its airport is a good alternative to make a one-way route to the north or the south towards Palermo airport, or to enjoy the eastern area of Sicily.


Now it’s your turn. Think which of these places you do not want to miss if you travel to Sicily and find out if they are in the north or south.

Sicily travel itinerary maps

Here is the Sicily itinerary map  if you decide to travel North coast of Sicily:

And here the Sicily itinerary map if you decide to take the road trip through the south of the island:

In any case I don’t recommend trying to see all the points indicated in 10 days. Sicily requires more time.


I guess you have no doubt about our travel itinerary to Sicily. That’s right, we took our trip through the north area of the island.

The decision was easy after talking to a friend of Dani, Rubén, who is a historian and archaeologist. He knows the island quite well and told us that he slept in the open in Stromboli while he watched the lava erupting from the volcano. As soon as we heard the story, we knew that we would go to this little island, making the itinerary across the north.

what to visit in sicily by car in 10 days

At the end of our trip, Stromboli proved to be the best adventure during our time in Sicily.

The only thing we regret is that we did not visit the Etna volcano, as in 2016, the year we traveled to Sicily, this volcano was more active than Stromboli.

You can check the 10-day itinerary for our Sicily self-drive holidays and a list of our hotel in Sicily below.


On our first day traveling to Sicily, we arrived at Palermo airport where we took a bus to go to the city center (line 29 worth € 10). We arrived at about noon and went to our first accommodation that was located near the Mercato della Vucceria where we had lunch and spent the afternoon. At the end of the day, we ate the best pizza we tried in the 10 days of or trip to Sicily by car.

mercado de la vucciria must-see places in sicily by car palermo


The second day of our Sicily trip, we got up very early as we had to see many of Palermo‘s tourist attractions.

visit sicily in 10 days by car palermo holidays

First we visited the Teatro Massimo that was not far from our hotel. Then we went through the Mercato di Capo enjoying all the aromas of traditional Italian cuisine until we reached the Cattedrale di Palermo. Nearby we visit the Cappella Palatina and the Palazzo dei Normanni, that are essentials to visit in Sicily.

sicily travel guide for 10 day itinerary selfdrive

Finally, we had to walk to the Catacombe dei Cappuccini, a place that surprised us a lot and that I don’t recommend if you are scared about skeletons and mummies.


On the third day of our route through Sicily, we returned to the Palermo airport to pick up our rental car that would take us around the island and headed for Cefalù, a beautiful coastal town on the shores of the Tyrrhenian Sea with deep blue waters.

how to plan a trip to sicily in 10 days guide cefalu italy

As soon as we arrived we made the hiking route that took us to la Rocca, a hill on which the whole town can be seen and in the afternoon we went to rest at the beach of Arrecife de Giudecca, after visiting the Duomo di Cefalù.

10-day sicily trip by car Giudecca in Cefalú

I advise you to try the cannoli that they sell in the square where this cathedral is. They were the best one we tried on our trip to Sicily in 10 days. At the end of the afternoon, we headed to Milazzo, where the next day we would take a ferry.


No doubt the fourth day of our Sicily tour was the most adventurous. We took a ferry very early that took us to Stromboli, one of the Aeolian Islands. Upon arrival, we could see the imposing Stromboli volcano that formed the island and that hours later we would climb. But first, we toured its black sand beaches and discovered a cave where we would spend the night. An authentic adventure that we are willing to repeat.

1 week in sicily trip holiday itinerary


The next morning and after not having slept almost nothing, we took the ferry back to Sicily and we headed to Taormina although first, we made a short stop in Savoca, a village in the mountain where the Saga of the Godfather was recorded.

how to visit sicily in 10 day short holidays to italy

After taking a yummy granite of pistacchio in the well-known Bar Viteli, we followed our route arriving in Taormina almost at night, which we toured with its special charm.

Our first night, we went to dinner at Villa Zuccaro, a pizzeria that won the prize for the best pizzas in Italy and the truth is that they were delicious but we liked more the ones we ate in Palermo.


On the sixth day of our trip through Sicily, we were able to discover Taormina thoroughly. Keep in mind that Taormina is one of the most expensive places in Sicily.

best places to visit in sicily in 10 days taormina italy

During this day we visited the main street called Corso Umberto, passing by the Duomo di Taormina and the beautiful views of Piazza IX Aprile. At the end of the street, we take the funicular that leads to Isola Bella, which we did not particularly like because it is very touristy and crowded. On our return, we climb to the Madonna della Rocca Sanctuary to see the views of the entire city and Etna volcanoe behind us.


Before heading to Syracuse, we visited one of the main attractions of Taormina that we left without seeing the day before, to do it in the early hours of the morning and almost without people, the Antico di Taormina Theater. Without a doubt, this theater is a must-see in Sicily in 10 days if you want to be surprised by the architectural remains that the Greeks left on the island.

10-day trip to sicily vacations taormina greek theater.

We headed to Siracusa afterwards and we went to a marine reserve that is very close: the marine protected area of Premmirio. At mid-afternoon, we went to explore the island of Ortigia, an island of only 2 square kilometers that connects with the new area of Siracusa by the Ponte de Santa Lucía.

sicily trip planner best things to visit itinerary ortigia syracuse

Once on the island the aesthetic changes completely and it is that Ortigia makes you go back in time to the Greek era. We were very surprised by the Duomo di Siracusa because from inside the cathedral you can see the columns of an ancient Greek temple, as well as the Fonte Aretusa, full of Greek mythology.


The next morning we visited the Neapolis archaeological park, where in addition to Greek remains, there are ruins from the Normandy domain to the Middle Ages, including the Roman Empire and the Hellenistic era.

best things to visit in sicily in 10 days

Then, we went to Giarratana where some Sicilian friends were waiting for us with homemade food. Without a doubt, if you have the opportunity to stay during your trip to Sicily with a local friend, do it! It is the best way to visit Sicily.

how to tour around sicily by car

With our friends, we went to discover some charming cities that are around, the baroque cities of Ragusa, Noto, Modica, and Ávola. For me, this was the day I enjoy the most of my trip to Sicily by car.


After saying goodbye to our friends, we headed to Aci Trezza, where we would finish our trip to Sicily. We fell in love from the first moment with this beautiful coastal town. Here we could enjoy the Isole dei Ciclopi, tiny islands formed by the activity of Etna volcano thousands of years ago. In the afternoon we took a short boat ride that took us to get closer to these lava formations that are also known as Faraglioni.

best places to visit in sicily trip in 10 days by car


The last day of our trip, we got up very early to see the sunrise behind the Faraglioni. Then we had to drive to the Catania airport to return our rental car and return home. No doubt you will need more than 10 days to go around Sicily. We want to come back soon to see some places we had no time to visit during our first trip to Sicily.

best of sicily by car in 10 days tourism




The best way to stay in Sicily is either at a hotel or a Bed & Breakfast.

This is our accommodation proposal for a Sicily road trip.

Palermo – Very cheap apartment in the city center

Cefalù – We did not stay in Cefalù since it was quite expensive. The best quality price we found is this apartment.

Milazzo – Very close to the port to catch the ferry the next day.

Stromboli – We slept in the open. Bivouac in the Grotta di Eolo although we booked this accommodation.

Taormina – Especially cheap accommodation for Taormina and quite well located. If you are traveling around Sicily by car, it will be better if you leave it in a parking lot before entering this city.

Siracusa – Small cheap apartment and very well located.

Ragusa, Noto, Modica and Ávola – We stayed at the home of our Sicilian friend Jonathan. Some alternatives would be the following: Ragusa, Noto, Modica and Avola.

Aci Trezza – Modern and quite cheap accommodation and well located.

If you visit other areas of Sicily you can find the most convenient accommodation here.

We tried all the accommodation recommended here. Also, if you book your hotel through our booking links we will take a small commission without affecting the price paid by the reader at all. This way you can support us to continue with this project.


Despite the fact that Sicily is not particularly expensive, the most touristy places can be pricey. You must pay special attention if you want to stay some nights in Cefalù, Taormina or Stromboli where the prices increase considerably.

Also, if you want to know how much could be this travel to Sicily, also consider the time of the year  that you are planning to travel, as July and August is very high season.

We  wrote a specific post detailing our travel budget for Sicily in 10 days.

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My first time travelling Southeast Asia

My Southeast Asia trip for 20 days with my cousin was one of the best experiences of my life. It was a totally unexpected trip. The idea of being travel mates arose at the typical Christmas dinner where plans get made but nobody usually follow through at the end. Who would have guessed that a few months later we would be traveling to Asia for the first time?

The 20 days we spent touring Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia were unforgettable. So, upon  my return of this great adventure, I decided to create this blog.

In this post and the following, we will let you know everything you need if you are planning a 20-day trip to Southeast Asia.

Prambanan temple last main view. 20 days trip to southeast asia

Our first time in Southeast Asia

That includes:

In short, we will make your backpacker trip to Southeast Asia unforgettable.

Southeast asia itinerary. Sunset on the Ombak Sunset swing in Gili Trawangan

Gili Trawangan – Indonesia


All of the following countries are considered to be part of Southeast Asia: Burma, Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, East Timor and Vietnam. All of them are located South of China and East of India. The number of paradisaical islands, between the Pacific and Indian Ocean, make Southeast Asia a popular destination for tourists from all over the world, especially those who love beaches and diving.

Like most, when we decided to travel to this region of Asia, what attracted our attention most was the contrast between wilderness and modern cities. It was a very exotic destination and you will love the contrasts. Depending on the country, it was also quite cheap, making it ideal for backpackers.

Female stone statues that supply purified pools of Goa Gajah. Southeast asia route

Bali – Indonesia

The cultural differences compared to Europe are substantial, so it is a good choice for those  seeking to know other cultures and traditions. In addition, despite some isolated cases, tourism in Southeast Asia is generally safe.

And of course, if you like Asian cuisine it is a trip you can not miss. Each country has its own subtle differences and you will be eager to try all of them.


A trip to Southeast Asia in 20 days requires a lot of planning. The first thing you should know is that 20 days is not enough to travel this area completely. It is recommended to focus on only two or three countries.


Are you wondering what is the best time to travel to Southeast Asia? Sorry, dear reader, there is no specific time. It depends on the countries that are being visited. My advice is to choose the countries in Southeast Asia that you are going to visit based on the time of year you are going to travel.

You should know when the dry season of each country is and avoid the monsoon season because it could ruin your trip.

Bathing in the Bukit Lawang Jungle Camp River in Sumatra. Southeast asia trip in 20 days

Bukit Lawang – Indonesia

We used this application. Select the month which you will be traveling and check out how many days of rain are forecasted for that month in different destinations.

If you are able to travel to Southeast Asia at any time of the year and have a favorite destination, then check which month has the best forecast for that destination.


There are no direct flights to any country in Southeast Asia from Spain. Most of the flights make at least one stopover in the Middle East. The airports that have more and cheaper flight connections are:

  • Singapore airport.
  • Kuala Lumpur airport. (Capital city of Malaysia).
  • Bangkok airport (Capital city of Thailand).

We ruled out Thailand because it was not a good time to visit this country when we wanted to travel in June, leaving us with two options.

From what we saw in different travel guides, Singapore and Kuala Lumpur were highly recommended and we could not decide. We finally opted for an option that slightly raised the travel budget, but one we did not regret.

We did not buy a return flight and instead we bought two independent flights. One way to Singapore and another to return from Kuala Lumpur.


Like I said, 20 days is not enough even if your plan is only to see 3 countries of Southeast Asia. The first thing for you and your Southeast Asia travel mates to do, is to agree on the type of trip you want to do.

If the majority prefer to see a single place, pick one country (or even a single island), and take advantage of the holidays to rest and relax. Do not choose just Singapore because you can see it in two days.

Crystal clear water beach paradise island gili trawangan lombok indonesia. Southeast Asia trip

Gili Trawangan – Indonesia

If, on the contrary, you are as crazy and hyperactive as we are, and you cannot stand the idea of not seeing other amazing places that are fairly close, then you will love our travel itinerary. I must warn you though, you will need a new holiday at your return.

20 days Southeast Asia trip. Rickshaw at Blue Mansion georgetown

Penang – Malaysia


If you have chosen to live this great Asian adventure to the fullest, and you want to see everything in 20 days, we will help make it fit! Here, we tell you our trick to visit as much as possible.

1. Select the countries where the weather is nice during the month which you are traveling to Southeast Asia. For this, we will use the application we discussed above.

2. Find out what to see and to do in these countries. Write down all the results that Google provides.

3. Open Google MyMaps and create a map. Call it “Southeast Asia trip in 20 days Itinerary ” or whatever you want. The important thing is to save it.

4. Add to the map all of the sights you searched for in step 2.

5. Discard those far removed from the rest to save time and money.

6. Categorize them by colors to differentiate those you have special interests in according to your taste.

7. Once the route has been profiled, check for connections between the different locations.

During this step, I read about the Asean Pass of AirAsia. This pass is a kind of  like the Eurorail of Asia. In this post, I explain why we did not use it.

8. Decide how many days you want to spend at each of the destinations.

9. Make an Excel document to adjust places and days to visit each of them, as well as connection flights schedules.

After many versions, this was our travel itinerary:

Outline organization trip Singapore Malaysia Indonesia. Southeast asia travel in 20 days


During the trip, we were in two different time zones, apart from the great gap with Spain. I recommend you to take that into account to avoid wasting the first day or the day after the return all fatigued.

The table above, helped us know the time in each place and helped us with remembering these time changes. The black painted cells range from 12 pm to 8 am in the time zone of each place. Although we did not sleep according to those hours for any single day, it helped us to plan the trip considering the time changes.


It is important to have a travel budget. We spent a lot less than we budgeted, taking into account flights, from Spain to Asia, as well as different domestic flights we took (5 in total), accommodation, daily subsistence, activities, etc. We spent less than € 1,400 per person. And the truth is, we did not give up anything during the trip.

Here you will find the total breakdown of the budget with all the costs of the Southeast Asia trip in 20 days.


As with all trips, for this one more reasons than others, it is especially important that you carry travel insurance. I recommend that you choose a high-quality insurance for Southeast Asia, as you will be far from Spain or your own country on a long trip. You are also traveling to countries where it is easy to suffer gastrointestinal diseases,  or even worse, mosquito-bourne diseases like Dengue or Malaria.

I recommend that you investigate and contract the best travel insurance. We always travel with MONDO who has more coverage than other travel insurance at a similar cost. We also have a discount for our readers.

descuento 5% en seguro de viaje mondo organización viaje. must thing you have to hire to travel southeast asia 20 days


The only vaccine required for traveling to Southeast Asian countries is yellow fever, and only for people who visited at-risk countries within 15 days prior to arrival.

This is not to prevent you from getting sick, but to prevent you from spreading yellow fever to Southeast Asia, where there is none.

If you want to know what these countries are, click here.

Other recommended but not mandatory vaccines are:

  • Hepatitis A and B
  • Typhoid fever
  • Polio
  • Japanese encephalitis
  • Rabies
  • Tetanus

We did not get any shot to travel to Southeast Asia (other than those we got as children).

Monkeys in Monkey Forest in the sacred forest of the monkeys of Ubud

Bali – Indonesia


Other diseases to consider when traveling to Southeast Asia are Dengue and Malaria. These two are more common in Asia and quite dangerous, but should not be a reason to not visit Southeast Asia as the chances of getting them are minimal.

There is a treatment to prevent Malaria. This treatment is done before, during and after the trip. Some experts recommend not to undergo this treatment since it can hide the symptoms of previously contracted Malaria and aggravate the situation. In any case, it is a personal decision whether to or not follow the treatment.

We did not follow the Malaria prevention treatment. If you make this decision, you should pay attention to any signs of fever as it could be Dengue or Malaria. Contact your travel insurance as soon as first signs of symptoms begin.

Both Dengue and Malaria are transmitted by mosquito bites, so the best way to avoid them is by using a repellent with a high concentration of DEET.

Even so, mosquitoes will still bite you. But don’t worry, that doesn’t necessarily mean you have been infected by one of these diseases.


The need for a visa to access Southeast Asia depends on the countries you are visiting.


No visa is required for tourists in Singapore if you have a Spanish passport or are from any South American country, although there are certain requirements to enter the country:

  • Have a passport that does not expire in the next 6 months.
  • A flight leaving the country for within next 90 days.
  • Certificate of vaccination of yellow fever in the cases mentioned above.

If you have any doubt or want to verify that they have not changed these requirements you can visit the official website of immigration in Singapore.


The visa in Malaysia is not necessary for Spanish travelers who do not intend to visit the country for more than 90 days.

However, you must meet the same requirements as to enter Singapore.


Travelers have to pay visa fees to enter Indonesia. The price is 10 $ for a stay of up to 7 days and 25 $ for stays of up to 30 days.

However, there is a way to enter Indonesia without a visa. If you travel to a small airport (we travel to Medan) from another small airport (we came from Penang – Malaysia) you will not have to go through immigration.

If you enter the country from a larger airport like Denpasar (Bali) or Adi Sucipto (Yogyakarta) apart from paying the visa fee, you will have to:

  • Carry a ticket out of the country within 30 days.
  • Have in possession a passport that does not expire in 6 months or less.
  • Have a credit card with a credit line of 1000 $ or more.
  • Proof of yellow fever vaccination if you have recently visited at risk countries.


Each Southeast Asian country has a different currency. We used Singapore Dollar, Malaysian Ringgit and Indonesian Rupiah.

The good thing about Asia is that even though there are many poor and economically underdeveloped areas, technology is available everywhere. Even in the most remote places, there are credit card readers and ATMs, so you do not have to worry.

If you travel to Southeast Asia for 20 days, I recommend that you carry around 200 € cash. If you have any problems, they will not refuse to charge you in euros.

My advice would be to not exchange money from Spain, and instead create an Evo smart account card which allows you to withdraw from anywhere in the world. We also suggest to not withdraw so much money. The prices here are much cheaper than Europe, so even with less in quantity, you will still feel that you have more money.

Finally, to not make a mess with so many changes of currency, let me tell you a trick that we used during the first few days in each country.

Make a table with amounts that go from 0.50 € to 100 € (1 €, 10 €, 50 €, etc.). Then, in the following columns, indicate the correspondence in the currencies of the countries in Southeast Asia that you will visit. That way, you have a quick way to know if something is cheap or expensive.


Where you will really save money in Southeast Asia is with accommodation. For a very low price, you can even stay in villas with a SPA. This is why Southeast Asia is not only popular for backpackers but also for couples, with many of them spending their honeymoon in Asia.

In my case, I was traveling with my cousin, and we preferred to stay in hostels for backpackers so we could meet more people. The platforms we used to find the accommodation were:

In the specific guides of each place, we will indicate our hotels.


We decided to visit Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia because we did our 20-days Southeast Asia trip in June.

To be honest, 20 days were not enough and we left with a lot of things we have yet to see. Nevertheless, we made the most out of every single day of our trip. We slept for few hours and came back with broken bodies and absolute need for more vacation. This feeling can only mean that you have just returned from the journey of your life.

The places visited in those 20 days were the following:


Singapore is the smallest country in Southeast Asia. The city of Singapore lavishes wealth everywhere. In just 50 years it managed to become the 9th strongest economic power in the world.

Southeast Asia trip. Singapore Marina Bay sky line skyscrapers. itinerary


If you want to know what to do in Singapore in two days and how to eat for free at a Hindu temple, do not miss this guide.


George Town, the most important city on the small island of Penang, made us fell in love  even before we visited it. There were street art, the best gastronomy of Malaysia, jungle and paradisaical beaches.

This combination could not be out of our Southeast Asia itinerary.

Pentai Kerachut from its pier (Penang National Park) Malaysia

Penang – Malaysia

If you want to know what to do in George Town and surroundings, do not miss the guide we have prepared. I recommend that you visit this destination for at least 3 days and not miss the Penang National Park.


If you travel to Southeast Asia, you can not miss seeing orangutans in freedom. Although there are others elsewhere, the best place to see orangutans is in Indonesia, in the jungle of Bukit Lawang located on the island of Sumatra. Getting to the jungle is hard as the nearest airport, Medan, is 4 hours away, but definitely worth it.

Male Orangutan released in the jungle of Bukit Lawang. Southeast asia trip

Bukit Lawang Jungle – Indonesia

We tell you about the two-day trekking we did in the Bukit Lawang jungle to see orangutans at this post.


Visiting the largest Buddhist temple in the world (Borobudur Temple) and one of the largest Hindu temples in the world (Prambanan Temple) in one day is only possible in Yogyakarta.

Southeast Asia Trip. Buddhist temple borobudur nirvana java

Borobudur Temple – Indonesia

This city on the island of Java, Indonesia, will make you quiver with excitement. A mystical experience not to be missed on your trip to Southeast Asia.

If you want to know everything about Prambanan temple and Borobudur temple do not miss this post.


While organizing our Asian trip I was reading the popular book “Eat, pray, love”. Ever since, I began planning the travel itinerary, and could not help but think of the rice paddies I visualized while indulging in this book.

Southeast Asia Trip. Rice fields, terraces, rice fields to the west of Ubud Bali island

Bali – Indonesia

There is no doubt that if we were to go to Indonesia, we would have to go to Bali. That is why this was the first place we chose as a must our route. And of course, we couldn’t miss Ubud, the cultural capital of the island.

Here is the specific guide of Bali in seven days and the guide of Ubud and surroundings.


This destination was squeezed onto our route at the last moment.

The idea of spending days diving in paradisiacal beaches while enjoying the best nightlife of all Southeast Asia captivated us.

They say that there are no sunsets like those of the Gili Islands and I will not be the one to say otherwise. If you want to check it out, visit our guide of Gili Trawangan.

Do yoga at sunset on the island paradise gili trawangan. My frist time in Southeast asia

Gili Islands – Indonesia


Kuala Lumpur was our last destination in Southeast Asia. The capital city of Malaysia will surpass your expectations, as there are a lot of things you have to see. It is quite similar to Singapore in terms of the rapid economic growth that has occurred. We assure you that the Petronas Towers will not leave you feeling indifferent.

Southeast Asia Trip. Petronas Towers by day in Kuala Lumpur Malaysia

Kuala Lumpur – Malaysia

We have prepared this post to tell you what to do in Kuala Lumpur in two days.

Here you can see the outline of our trip to Southeast Asia once more.



As we have said, there are infinite possibilities. How will be your Southeast Asia trip?

tell us about your itinerary at the comments

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