Top Things to do in Zanzibar (Africa)

Top Things to do in Zanzibar (Africa)

There are a plethora of places to visit and things to do in Zanzibar. The East African island provides many things for you to do and experience. It’s safe to say that excitement and relaxation can be had on every corner of Zanzibar.

I arrived with no knowledge of the island but set off to explore Jozani Forest, Paje Beach, and even a cruise on the local boat. With almost a month on the island, I was able to cover most of the hot spots. Looking for where to start once you arrive in Stone Town? Here are the top places to visit in Zanzibar. 

Where Is Zanzibar Located?

Zanzibar is an island in the Indian Ocean, a two-hour (15 miles) ferry ride from Dar Es Salaam, a major city in Tanzania.

Zanzibar is not a country but is considered a semi-autonomous region of Tanzania. Politically it is part of Tanzania. Zanzibar also isn’t just one island but is the largest of the Zanzibar Archipelago, which consists of several islands. The four main islands are Unguja Island (which is Zanzibar), Pemba Island, Latham Island, and Mafia Island.

Best Things To Do In Zanzibar

1. Jozani Forest

Jozani Forest is one of the most popular places to visit in Zanzibar. The forest is the last sanctuary in the world to see the Zanzibar red colobus monkey. The forest is located in the Eastern part of the island and is one of the densest places on Zanzibar. It’s a clear reminder of what we have done to our environment over the centuries.

It’s easy to get lost and find the monkeys in the Jozani forest. Many nature trails lead through beautiful forests, and the red colobus monkeys are not shy. After your visit to Jozani, be sure to cross the street and visit the Mangrove forest.

Malik Ali and Lemur/ Photo by Tiana Marie of Where Tiana Travels

2. House Of Wonders

When wondering what to do in Zanzibar, a visit to Stone Town is essential. Or the “Palace of Wonders” is the tallest building in Stone Town and a main Zanzibar point of interest. It’s right next to the Old Fort and is a sight to see while in Stone Town.

3. Paje Beach

If there is a backpacker spot on Zanzibar, it’s Paje beach. The beach has hip cafes, burger spots, kite surfing companies, bars, and hostels, making it one of the great places to visit in Zanzibar. I spent a few days relaxing in the inviting turquoise waters, which is the perfect thing to do for those looking for free things to do in Zanzibar.

For those looking to have an active holiday in Zanzibar, the most popular thing to do in Paje is kite surf. There are an endless amount of schools and rental shops all dying to take you out on the water and show you the ropes of kitesurfing.  

Malik Ali and Zanzibar Warriors/ Photo by Tiana Marie of Where Tiana Travels

4. Spice Tour

Zanzibar is often referred to as “Spice Island” for its centuries of clove, nutmeg, vanilla, and cinnamon production and is one of the top five things to do in Zanzibar. Most of these spice tours depart from Stone Town and take you to a large spice farm to see, touch, and taste the many flavors of Zanzibar.

I would recommend bringing decent walking shoes as they may be muddy. Make sure to bring extra cash if you want to buy some spices and tea to take home. There is also a full tasting at the end of the tour.

5. Have Dinner At The Tea House Restaurant

Honestly, having a meal at this establishment is one of those must-do things in Zanzibar. Anyone wanting a night out in Stone Town should visit the Tea House Restaurant at Emerson on Hurumzi. The restaurant is located on top of the boutique hotel in the middle of the kasbah and it has one of the best views of Stone Town, making it my favorite thing to do in Zanzibar.

They get quite popular for sundowners and dinner, so I would recommend making a reservation beforehand. I spent an entire evening here drinking spicy cocktails, listening to live Zanzibari music, and chowing down on delicious Persian-inspired cuisine before retiring to our gorgeous room.

6. Visit The Rock

The Rock restaurant is pretty synonymous with Zanzibar and is usually mentioned in every Zanzibar guide. The restaurant is located in Pongwe (the southeast part of the island) and is accessible by motorbike or taxi cab from Paje. I made the memorable trip out to The Rock to get some lovely photos of the iconic spot. If you visit during high tide, a free boat taxi will deliver you to the rock (unless you feel like swimming).

7. Go Shopping At Darajani Market

The Darajani Market (or Bazaar) is the main bazaar in Stone Town, Zanzibar. It’s the most popular place to come and get spices, dates, bread, fruits, and almost anything you could need. Beyond getting some souvenirs, it’s a fantastic place to soak in the culture.

8. Wander Through Stone Town

One of the best things to do in Zanzibar is to wander the streets of Stone Town. There are many unique places to see in Stone Town, including beautiful boutique shops and plenty of great restaurants. Venture around the Forodhani Gardens and the Old Fort! You can easily walk around Stone Town yourself, but it’s best to book a walking tour with Colors of Zanzibar to learn more about what you see.

9. Enjoy The Many Beaches

Make sure to get out of the city and explore as many Zanzibar beaches as you can. There’s a beautiful one around every corner. My personal favorites are Nungwi Beach and Pongwe Beach, but there are so many others to explore. Of course, if you are staying at an oceanside Zanzibar resort or hotel, you’ll likely want to chill at their beach for at least one of your days too! So choose a great hotel with the ideal location!

When Is The Best Time To Visit Zanzibar?

June to September is officially the dry season meaning your chance of a sunny day is exceptionally high. In general, this is the busiest time to visit Zanzibar, and prices for accommodation will be at their highest. Zanzibar is near the equator so the weather doesn’t sway too drastically, and you are almost guaranteed some sunshine on your vacation.

That being said April and May is the rainy season, and you can expect long downpours. Flooding is typical during these months and because of this many hotels will shut their door. You’ll likely still have sunny weather, but I would expect to get wet during these months.

Visit Salvador Brazil

Visit Salvador Brazil

Salvador is the perfect entry point for anyone visiting Brazil for the first time. This stunning coastal city, the capital during the height of Brazil’s slave trade, is now a mellow, friendly outpost. And I can guarantee it will take your breath away. It’s no surprise that Salvador’s city’s center has been declared a World Heritage Site given the sheer beauty of its colorful crumbling buildings and cobblestone streets. Plus, its dark past has ironically led to a beautifully diverse local Afro-Brazilian population.

I’d been forewarned about Salvador’s safety issues, making me wary of how much I’d enjoy it. Thankfully my fears were largely unfounded; didn’t have any trouble. I think so long as you’re a discrete traveler who sticks to subtle clothing, leaves the jewelry at home, you’ll be absolutely fine.

Here’s My Killer Todo List for Salvador Brazil!

1) Explore through the Pelourinho. This is the heart of the Old Town, which in a previous life was the whipping post for African slaves being punished. Pelourinho means pillory in Portuguese. Today, as you wander among the pastel-colored colonial homes, you’ll feel like you’ve stepped back in time. The center is small and walkable, so consider doing a loop to get your bearings first and then pick a cafe to sample a tropical fruit juice (passionfruit, perhaps?) and cool off. 

2) Try moqueca. More than once. I could not get enough of this tasty dish. This stew usually contains onions, coconut milk, palm oil (a Brazilian staple), garlic, coriander, and your choice of prawns or fish. It’s served on a terracotta dish that comes out steaming hot (or is kept over the fire) and it’s really good. It’s a bit like a curry, but even better. 

3) Take a tour of the flashy Igreja São Francisco. This spectacular Baroque church will stun (or blind) you with its bling. Built-in the early 1700s, it’s a display of colonial wealth in its full glory. I took a tour with a local guide who seriously knew his stuff and I thoroughly enjoyed not only learning about the church’s architecture but also about the rich and fascinating history of Salvador itself. 

4) Make the trip to Igreja do Nosso Senhor do Bonfim. This church is legendary in Bahia; some go there on a pilgrimage. The story goes that in an attempt to raise funds the church started selling fitas (ribbons) for people to wear and make wishes. The tradition stuck and they’re still sold today. You buy a fita, make your wish and wear it until it naturally wears off.  When it finally does, you rinse it under running water and your wish comes true.  I’ve got two and they are still holding strong. They’re looking a little worse for wear but they’re not coming off until those wishes have become my reality! 

5) Walk the Pasarela and watch the sunset in Barra. This neighboring town has a beautiful little lighthouse and stunning views across the Atlantic. I spent one of my evenings watching the sunset over the top of the cliff and joined the crowds in cheering when it finally sunk into the ocean. This is a dope Brazilian tradition that you’ll see throughout the country and it’s worth partaking in at least once. 

6) Watch a capoeira performance or take a class. This beautiful martial art/dance hails from this corner of Brazil and there’s no better place in the world to watch or join in. It has a fascinating history, as capoeira evolved in the Quilimbos (communities of escaped slaves) as not just a form of expression but also a defense against slaveowners and potential capturers. The dance has pervaded and evolved throughout history and I was lucky enough to encounter quite a few dancers on the streets. But you can also take a course with some of the expert trainers and learn some basic moves. 

So there you have it. Six reasons why you too could fall in love with Salvador, Brazil. Of course, you’ll find many more recommendations in the guidebooks, but these were the standouts of my Bahian adventure I urge you not to miss. 

What Not To Miss In Dubai

What Not To Miss In Dubai

What Not to Miss In Dubai

Dubai is a city like no other, with its ancient and modern history displayed in large proportions. With impressive skyscrapers, vast desert, and history, Dubai can be a bit overwhelming to the people visiting it for the first time. It is a mix of ancient customs and cosmopolitan modernity and, believe me, you will want to see everything on your first visit. Fortunately, with this article, you will get all the information about the diversity that Dubai can offer.

1. Burj Khalifa – At the top of the world!

Burj Khalifa is located right next to the Dubai Mall and is the center of the city’s extravagance. The huge building will take your breath away. Being around 829 meters tall, Burj Khalifa is the tallest building in the world.

During our visit, we booked tickets to the 124th floor. On this floor, there is a viewing deck with a great view of Dubai and the vast desert. The cost was about 50 USD per person for a standard daily ticket. If you want to visit during a sunset or sunrise, or if you want to go on a higher floor or give yourself a feast, you have to dig deeper into your pockets. But it’s definitely worth the visit if it’s within your budget. From here you can truly immerse yourself in the strangeness of this gigantic cosmopolitan city, surrounded by nothing but sand dunes and miles of desert.

2. The Dubai fountains – enjoy one-of-a-kind magic!

They, as well as the skyscraper, are located within the Dubai Mall. One bullet – 3 rabbits. Even the Magic Fountains in Barcelona can not be matched by this synchronicity of melody and water dance. The performances are 2 during the day: from 13:00 to 13:30 (13:30 and 14:00 on Fridays) and in the evening they start at 18:00 and continue until 11:00 on every half hour. If you want your experience to be even more memorable, you can hop on to one of the boats that swim in the lake.

3. Malls of Dubai – way more than shopping centers!

One of the most sophisticated things you can see at the Dubai Mall is not the fountains or the skyscraper. It is the Ski Resort located in the Mall of the Emirates. There you can even play with penguins. Other interesting attractions that can be found in their malls are a huge aquarium again at Dubai Mall, where you can even feed sharks, find camel milk ice cream, an amazing show with lasers projections and water, have a 3-course menu in theater, and more and more kind of unbelievable things you did not even think about doing, not to mention in a mall.

4. The Old Dubai – Rediscover this place

Old Dubai is a mystical place, covered with secret tales and fascinating history. Nowhere else you can get closer to the origins of Dubai and the Arabic traditions, as here as you wander through the labyrinths of abandoned streets and narrow paths.

Explore the historical district of Al Bastakiya, shop in the Dubai Souks (markets), and discover the history of Dubai Creek, which has divided the city between tribes and dynasties. Immerse yourself in traditional Arab culture by visiting one of the tea houses in Old Dubai. Or take some traditional clothes in the textile souk as a souvenir. And do not forget to stop at one of their herbs and spices souks.

If you want a mix between old and new Dubai, you can visit the bazaar just outside Burj Al Arab – Madinat Jumeirah.

5. Dubai Desert – Endless serenity

When you’re ready to escape from the chaotic city life, head to the desert of Dubai. It is only an hour’s drive away and opens a new world of Arab culture. From huge luxury skyscrapers, you will enter into a world of intact and empty natural landscape. Here is the place where the bedouins reign and the camels roam .. Place nothing like anything you’ve ever seen.

There are many companies that offer desert tours. We chose a desert safari, including a dune bashing, dinner, and attractions. We booked our from  Raina Tours, but for more luxurious trips to the desert, I recommend Platinum Heritage Tours. Most will take you from the hotel and take you to the desert, where you can see the sunset, eat the incredible Arabic cuisine and experience the silence and the vastness of the desert Dubai.

6. Night Dubai – Perfect ending

After a long day, when you get lost in the city, there is no better way to relax than to visit Dubai’s nightlife. And it is truly magnificent. Surrounded by cocktails and hookahs, you will feel more bohemian than ever. One of the places I’ve left for my next visit is Sky 43 the 43 level salon at the top of Sheraton Four Points. From here you can dive into the shimmering center of Dubai at night while enjoying one of the many exclusive drinks and snacks served at the bar. This is a unique sight and the perfect way to end an unforgettable vacation in Dubai.

Discover the Best Things to Do in Athens Greece’s Vibrant Ancient Capital

Discover the Best Things to Do in Athens Greece’s Vibrant Ancient Capital

Athens is the capital of Greece and dedicated to the goddess Athena. It’s often called the “birthplace of democracy” and the ‘Cradle of Civilization’ because it was also home to the Platonic Academy and the Lyceum of Aristotle. 

With a recorded history dating back 3400 years, Athens (also called Athenai) has many archaeological wonders worth visiting.

Filled with temples, ancient ruins, and statues of deities, Athens is now a mix of modern buildings along with older architectural marvels. It was also just named one of the best holiday destinations to visit in 2021.

Aside from the history and architecture, the city is known for, there are many other fun things to do in Athens that most people miss… The donuts from Everest Coffee shop are conveniently located all over Athens. The BEST donuts that I’ve had so far

If you’re planning to spend some time in Athens, I wanted to recommend some of my favorite fun and unusual things to do, no matter what time of year you visit.

1. The Acropolis

Ain’t no way you’re visiting Greece and not going to the Acropolis. As one of the most important Athens locations, as well as a World Heritage Site, this fortified citadel perched on a hill above the city stands out as a testament to Greek wisdom and culture and some dope ass views at night.

If you’re ready to “ooh” and “ahh” at pillars and structures that are old af. The Acropolis is just the place, with many different ancient ruins, like the world-famous Parthenon temple, dedicated to the Greek goddess Athena.

Plan to spend at least a few hours exploring the Acropolis hill itself, maybe even a half-day. There is a lot to see, plenty of stair climbing, and worn-smooth slippery rocks. Get your walking legs ready for a workout!

2. The Parthenon

While part of the Acropolis complex, the Parthenon deserves a specific mention. Built in 447 BCE on the hill of the Acropolis, with Doric marble columns that thinned towards the top — showcasing the architectural marvels of ancient Greece.

Dedicated to goddess Athena, the Parthenon ruins are a must-visit attraction in Athens during the day, and seen from across the city the magnificent columns look spectacular lit up at night.

It can get crowded up there, so I recommend going first thing in the morning — right when the Acropolis opens, or during the last few hours before they close!

3. Odeon Of Herodes Atticus

The Odeon of Herodes Atticus is an ancient theater perched on the South-Western slope of the Acropolis in Athens. Diana Ross and Elton John have performed here!

Built by Herodes Atticus in 161 AD, in memory of his dead wife, the steep-sloped Odeon had a cedar roof and seated 5000 for music concerts till it was destroyed in 267 AD.

It has been used as a venue for many popular concerts since it was restored in the 1950s. If you happen to be visiting Athens when a concert is going on here, I highly recommend you go!

4. Ancient Agora & Temple Of Hephaestus

The Central Square in ancient Greek cities, the Agora was a gathering place for citizens to discuss affairs of state, marriages, and partake in religious rituals. Over the course of time, the Agora also came to be used as a marketplace selling goods, food, pottery, and religious artifacts. 

Next to the Athenian Agora, you’ll also find the Temple of Hephaestus which was very well-preserved compared to other Greek temples. This Doric temple was built by The Hephaisteion Master under the aegis of Pericles between 449 to 415 BC to honor Hephaestus, the god of craftsmanship, fire, and metalwork.

The Stoa, another good site nearby, houses the Museum of Ancient Agora, which is home to Athenian, Byzantine, and Turkish artifacts. 

5. Varvakios Central Market

The Varvakios Central Market in Athens (not to be confused with Central market where food trucks gather) is also called the Varvakios Agora or Dimotiki Agora. If you love public markets, this is where you’ll find fish, meat, produce, street food, souvenirs, and whole stores dedicated to olives or spices.

Because of the variety of goods, low prices, and freshness, this is where many local restaurants get their ingredients. 

6. Run Around The Panathenaic Stadium

The Panathenaic Stadium was built to host the first modern Olympic Games in 1896, on the same site as an even older ancient stadium where nude male athletes competed in track events.

While the older stadium built in 335 BC could hold 60,000 spectators, the modern Olympic Stadium you see today can hold 45,000 spectators on 47 tiers.

You can climb to the top of the stadium for an even better view of how massive it is, and of course, there is a tri-level medal podium where you can pose for photos.

You can also go inside the stadium to visit a little museum of Olympic history, complete with the torches used in past games.

7. Hike Mount Lycabettus

A cretaceous limestone hill towering over Athens, Lykavittos, or Mount Lycabettus rises 300 m above sea level. Covered with pine trees, the hill is perfect for a hike to the top and rewards the visitor with picture-perfect views of Athens.

If you’re too lazy to hike, ride the Lycabettus Funicular to the top, and spend time at the restaurant after visiting the Chapel of St. George. 

8. Hike Up Philopappou Hill

Declared an archaeological park in 1955-56, the 173-acre Philopappou Hill (or Filopappou Hill) is home to the Athenian owl, peregrine falcon, and other indigenous birds. It also gives you great views of Athens from above! Probably why the birds like it so much.

The park includes the Hill of the Nymphs, the Pnyx, and the Mouseion Hill or Hill of the Muses where the Philopappou Mausoleum or Monument is located. 

The Philopappou Mausoleum is dedicated to Gaius Julius Antiochus Epiphanes Philopappos, a prince of the Kingdom of Commagene who lived from 65 to 116 AD. His death caused grief to the citizens of Athens and the imperial family.

9. Temple Of Olympian Zeus

The half-ruined Temple of Olympian Zeus is within walking distance from the city center of Athens. At its peak, the temple was composed of the temple had 104 columns, each 17 meters high.

But in 267 AD, the temple was damaged during an attack on Athens. Later the Byzantine emperor Theodosius II prohibited the “cult” of ancient Greek and Roman gods in the temple. Citizens slowly took apart the temple’s fine marble for the construction of churches, homes, and other buildings.

10. The Prison Of Socrates

A cave-like structure cut into the Hill of Muses has long thought to have been the jail used to hold the ancient philosopher Socrates before he was executed. No one knows for sure.

The teachings of Socrates were thought of as dangerous in Athens, leading to the decline of morality in the population of Greece. A new Athenian democracy was afraid that citizens would stop obeying the established laws and rules or fulfilling their civic duty, which would lead to overthrowing the new political system.

So Socrates was imprisoned and eventually executed in 399 BC by poison hemlock. This structure was also used as a place to hide antiquities from the Acropolis and the National Archaeological Museum during World War II.

Transportation Around Athens

Rental Car

The best site to book your car is Discover Cars. They search both local and international car rental companies to help you find the best possible price. This is the easiest way to rent a car and drive in Greece.

Taxi Or Uber

You’ll find taxis everywhere in Athens. Don’t go with drivers that bargain for prices. Make sure you catch a licensed taxi that has a meter and it’s switched on. You can choose from radio taxis, Uber, Taxibeat, or Taxiplon. 


Although cycling in Athens wasn’t very popular earlier, it’s now catching on. You can rent bikes from Panorama Bikes, Athens Bikes, and Funky Ride


The Athens Metro System is very easy to use and has lines running from 5 AM to midnight. On Fridays and Saturdays, Lines 2 and 3 run till 2 AM. 

Standard metro tickets worth €1.50 are valid on most trains, buses, and trams for a 90-minute journey. Day passes worth €4.50 and 3-day tourist tickets worth €22 are also available.