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Best Value Portuguese Wines in New York City

If you’re on the search for the best value Portuguese wines in New York City we’ve searched far and wide so you don’t have to. Finding a good amount of value Portuguese wines in the city was quite difficult actually.

When I think of NYC I think you can find anything you want. Well, it wasn’t like that when it came to Portuguese wines. I have a couple of theories on why it is like this, but the point of this article is to give you a quick shortlist of great value Portuguese wines that you must try.

So after walking all over the city on a beautiful Friday afternoon, and after a quick stop at Jacob’s Pickles to refuel, here are the top options:

Chambers Street Wines

Address: 148 Chambers St A, New York, NY 10007

Xisto ilimitado red, Douro

Xisto ilimitado red, Douro$25.99 / bottle

Beautiful red wine in case you like Malbec! Like walking a violet field!

Xisto ilimitado white

$24.99 / bottle

Here you have an amazing old oak-aged white for 25 bucks. Spices, caramel, vanilla… where’s the cheese?

Sidonia de Sousa 2015 red, Bairrada

$14.99 / bottle

I would compare this to a Pinot Noir or a funky Barbera. I love baga for one reason. Most of them give you that hay, barnyard, turnip and earthy character that is just lovely, but still on the lower end of tannins.

Quinta santa da teresa, Vinho Verde

$15.99 / bottle

I am going to sum this one up in one word: LEES! Who the hell said Vinho Verde is that watery fizzy drink only? Grow up…

Astor Wines & Spirits

Address: 399 Lafayette St, New York, NY 10003

Aphros loureiro 2018, Vinho Verde

Aphros loureiro 2018, Vinho Verde$15.99 / bottle

Any wine geek or adventurous person that wants a skin contact wine? YEAH! What a ridiculous price! 100% Avesso here. Down this list you will have a skin contact 100% Loureiro. Please get both and drink them together!

Alvarinho casa capitao mor 2017, Vinho Verde

Alvarinho casa capitao mor 2017, Vinho Verde$14.96 / bottle

Another ridiculous wine that screams lees and batonnage. What a concentration of flavors this is. $15 bucks. FIFTEEN BUCKS!

Casa mouraz tinto 2014. Dão

Casa mouraz tinto 2014. Dão

$15.99 / bottle

Do you want an old fashion taste of Portugal? This is it. A blend of 9 grape varieties. Yes, very common to blend lots of stuff in Portugal. The result? An organic wine that has tannins that tell you that you better go get a ribeye because it will give you a great time!

Filipa pato rosé 2018. Bairrada

Filipa pato rosé 2018. Bairrada$15.99 / bottle

You know, we all have that friend. That friend that thinks they know it all or that always complains it is not good enough. Or the other way around, where that friend is really excited to taste different stuff. This is it.

Please give it blind to your friend, ask them how much it costs and how good it is and then tell them this insane price because here you have an organic rosé sparkling wine with beautiful lees aging.

Please Please Please, of them all, if you had one wine only you could try, please let it be this one!

Union square wines

Address: 140 4th Ave, New York, NY 10003

Alvarinho anselmo mendes contacto, Vinho Verde

Alvarinho anselmo mendes contacto, Vinho Verde$13.99/case or $17.99/bottle

Great Alvarinho here, literally from a neighbor of mine, beautiful skin contact here. Compare this to the other skin contact we saw above and decide if you like skin contact more with a floral or fruity character.

To sum up, I am a bit disappointed with the poor selection of Portuguese wines in New York City. For the city that it is, I was expecting more.

Anyone can have that great French or Italian wine that everyone knows. But few can find the great undervalued wine from Portugal and I hope I will see more of them next time I visit because back home I taste lovely things with unbelievable prices!

Who the hell am I?

I am Rafael de Lima, aka Raf, owner of de Lima’s wine bar in Porto, Portugal, and de Lima’s wine experiences. Winemaker for fun in Monção, making a weird alvarinho that only my geeky friends get to taste. I am also currently about to finish my WSET level 4 in London. I am honored to say that I make my living spitting wine and making other people discover the beauty of Portuguese wines.

Learning Everything About The Travelers We Don’t Have

Schonbrunn Palace gardens

Let me paint you a picture. 🖼

I’ve spent the last seven years building and breaking through marketing challenges for other startups. It’s fun!

Whether it was with a local veterinary clinic needing to find a path towards profitable client acquisition, or direct-to-consumer products needing a clear digital acquisition plan to breakthrough stagnant growth, I’ve managed to help solve these marketing problems that run the gamut.

But when it comes to my own business, why is it so much harder?

Ever since I started my life in “entrepreneurship” I’ve always been obsessed with the customer experience.

I remember back when I had my first business, a t-shirt brand for pilots, I would do anything and everything for each and every customer. Even if it meant hand delivering local packages.

It was never strategic, it was just logical… your success is predicated on having customers. Why wouldn’t you care about them the most?

So when I sat down to try and really get a grip on how we are going to get consistent customers for Life Nomading, I knew I needed to put this at the very forefront of priorities every single day.

How could I blend digital with a personal touch?

No one wants to go on a group trip and feel like they’re left in the dark during their decision making. Duh!

Our travelers are about to drop $1,000 to $3,000 on a trip of a lifetime with us. The least we can do is be their lifeline into an adventure.

It’s no secret tourism is competitive. My hypothesis right now is that I believe in my crowded marketplace of group trips, customer service is definitely one of the things I can control and be the best at.

Sure our trips are truly different than those on the market, but quite honestly that is proving to be the most challenging thing to educate right away for new traveler communication. So I think we need to try and get travelers into our brand first, educate over-time.

I also have a small business mover advantage, ie. I have plenty of supply and very little demand at the moment. I can take the time to get to know every email subscriber and every Instagram follower we get. (more on that later)

Okay, so I’m going to care about each and every prospect more than anyone in the industry, logical.

But how am I going to get in front of them in the first place?

Initial Marketing Strategy

Be a ninja on digital. It’s what I know best and quite honestly it’s the best bang for my dollar. We’ve tried hosting happy hours, meetup groups, handing out flyers in person, networking at tradeshows, etc… but those all take a ton of time and quite honestly isn’t all that targeted.

So for now, I want to be everywhere I can be online before going broke.

STEP 1

Build out a 60-second story that hits home our why, our who, and our what. It has worked for other brands I’ve worked with, so I don’t intend to re-invent the wheel, to begin with.

STEP 2

Build out all the nitty-gritty digital marketing assets:

    • Facebook Ads – to get in front of our traveler persona in their ~20’s & 30’s with the video above [performing pretty well at the moment, all the interactions are from people that clearly travel]
    • Google Ads – to capture those already searching for trips to Iceland, Bulgaria, or Portugal [we did get a booking from this last month, but I’m continually cautious that this only really be profitable when the timing is perfect for our related trip dates]
    • Retargeting digital campaigns for all different stages of our website traffic. [so cheap to keep people coming back, a must I believe]
    • Build out email sequences to educate subscribers with Klaviyo for anyone that joins our newsletter, visits our Itinerary pages, etc… [ultimately this is where I end up owning “the rest of the customer story”.]

STEP 3

Don’t let a single opportunity pass with these ads.

I’ve done the math and at the moment, if I generated two bookings a month from our paid strategy, I break even. In November 2019, we got one from these efforts and I was beyond elated. I was also cautious because as this month closes in we have yet to close one for December.

Unlike being a product company where, in my past, we were managing sometimes thousands of transactions per day, this is much different. Getting a few email subscribers a day on our newsletter or followers on Instagram is early encouragement.

So much so, the moment they join our list or follow us I can’t help but send them a personalized message:

I do this same thing on Instagram whether someone follows us or just likes our video ad. I do this in audio memo form in their DMs and this is being received SUPER well. It takes a ton of time to be quite honest, but I’d say I have been getting probably about 40-50% response rate from my audio messages.

I even had a group of two friends pretty much verbally commit to Bulgaria through this outreach. But any good salesperson knows it doesn’t count until the transaction is made.

STEP 4

Learn from the insight I’m getting from every response. Before doing manual outreach it was much harder to understand why the hell people aren’t booking trips with us.

Just in the past couple of months of doing this strategy, I have learned so much from all those interactions.

For the most part, people actually take the time to read our itinerary pages and respond with crazy positive praises and a desire to go on a trip with us.

The issue? They either have a hard time getting off work/school for our few dates available throughout the year (a huge conundrum I’m trying to tackle as a small operator), or they are looking at other destinations for 2020 and will keep us in mind for 2021. UGH!

The nice part is people love our brand and our trips. The frustrating part is how many variables go into having the perfect departure date for the right traveler, and cross paths at the perfect time when they want to book.

Step 5

And finally, to round out my digital strategy, we try our best to keep Instagram and LinkedIn organic posting consistent. Chopping up hours and hours of travel footage into bite-size 15-second clips that will live on those channels for our hard-earned audiences to continue seeing our brand daily.

via GIPHY

Instagram is our wanderlust angle, to show the beauty of travel for those who resonate best with that vibe.

LinkedIn to get those same people when they are behind their desk perhaps a bit frustrated with the slog. And quite honestly, if you’ve read this far you are part of the strategy too 🤷‍♂️

We know for a fact that our trips can be beneficial to those that are too busy to plan a trip, but still want to take advantage of the time off they have from their busy careers.

And that’s why I am sharing my progress with you! I hope you can see behind a company that someday you may decide to support by joining on one of our trips.

My Current Objectives (KPIs)

Right now I am hyper-focused on a few things:

A. Qualified traffic to our website – I say qualified because we generate a healthy amount of traffic from pages that have nothing to do with trips or travel even. My goal is to ensure that all our ads hit the right people because I care more about retargeting them after they’ve first been exposed to us as a brand.

B. Adventure Call Bookings – I completely changed our checkout process recently. It now requires you to book a 15-minute call with us to get approved. My goal this month and next is increasing our call bookings from well, one.

C. Trip Bookings – obvious, we need to book our trips. The even more challenging part is booking out the trips we have that are still 8-9 months away.

That’s where I’ll leave you this week. I could go on for hours but welcome to why you are now seeing more ads and posts from us. 😀

What do you think I could be doing better? Where are the gaps I’m missing? What would you like to hear about more? Share and send me a message or comment on the social post to help a fellow founder out!

What It’s Like Building a Travel Company

Life Nomading Adventures has been around for much longer than you may know.

This blog was a place where I first began sharing my thoughts about travel and life back in 2012.

Life Nomading Office throwbackCan you spot the old school Life Nomading website circa 2015 ⏫

For some, seven years doesn’t seem like all that long ago. For me, it has been quite the journey.

I’ve moved six times, which if you do the math, isn’t very long in one place.

Nomad, amirite? 😂

But what’s even more interesting is the life that this website has taken on since those early days. We’ve been able to educate thousands of readers, share adventures with travelers on our group trips, and connect with one another online to help reach travel goals.

I recently left my full-time marketing career to pursue the ambitious goals I have for Life Nomading Adventures. I’ve always dreamed about this day, but for one reason or another, I never quite felt like it was the right time.

The truth is, this company has never been sustainable for me to focus all of my efforts. But today is the day I give it the chance it deserves.

2020 is our most ambitious year yet for our Life Nomading trips. We have three amazing adventures planned in Iceland, Bulgaria, and Portugal. If I want them to have the most impact possible on our travelers, I know I must put everything I have into it.

I had my aha moment while in Bulgaria this past summer hosting our trip on the coast of the Black Sea.

Life Nomading Bulgaria Group TripOne evening on the trip, as our Guides were getting our travelers situated in a small coastal village called Sozopol, I looked at Caroline and we both smiled. That day, we had watched our trip-goers have one of those life-changing, lightbulb, blow-your-mind moments that you simply can’t plan for, and it had brought us more joy than we could have imagined. We had unknowingly created something special in those late-night planning sessions for these trips and we knew we had to do more.

The impact these trips have had on our travelers is infectious. They create friendships, inspire people to make positive changes in their lives, let go of their past, and give people a reprieve from social pressures and stressors that come with the “daily grind”. We get to see people be their true authentic selves while traveling.

Hosting trips is the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done. So why would I ever stop doing it?

This transition doesn’t come without many questions for me, personally. How will we be able to grow our business in these early days? How will I make my rent each month? How the hell can we market ourselves with no budget, no funding, and with plenty of competition in the market?

These are all exciting hurdles I’m ready to tackle.

I’ve spent the last seven years marketing other people’s startups, and finally, I feel it’s my time to “cash-in” on my experience.

But as I start this new chapter of growth for our Life Nomading Adventures, I realized that I missed sharing them with this blog I created to do exactly that.

So I’m back! Whether my mom is the only one reading or not, I need to document this progress and I hope you’ll join along for the ride! 🙂

Our business trials, tribulations, and what we’re trying to do here for all of you to see, comment on, and maybe chuckle at.

Every week a small article like this will be available. Follow along here as I try my hardest to grow this travel business into something sustainable and impactful for a small team, our local vendors in our humble destinations, and for the travelers that join us on our adventures.

Let’s get started.

If you’d like to be notified about when these articles are posted join the newsletter below ⬇

10 TV Shows and Movies to Watch Before you Go to Iceland

Iceland has a surprisingly strong connection to major films and tv shows for an island country with one of the smallest populations. Smash hit TV shows such as Game of Thrones and major movies filmed in Iceland like Thor: The Dark World Full Disclosure: We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase, at no additional cost to you. and Batman Begins Full Disclosure: We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase, at no additional cost to you. all used this beautiful country as it’s backdrop.

There is also a collection of critically acclaimed Icelandic movies you should keep an eye out for as well. We created a list of the films and shows you must watch before you go to Iceland to get a taste of the scenery. Prepare to have that magical moment where you step into your favorite movie moments in real life when you venture to this epic country.

Game of Thrones

Country of Origin: United States
Filming Location(s): Dimmuborgir, Vik, Thingvellir National ParkVatnajökullSkaftafellGrjótagjá, Laxa I kjos
IMDB Rating: 9.5

Game of Thrones has dozens of filming locations in Iceland. On our Life Nomading trip to Iceland, we are staying on the Laxa I Kjos where Drogon burns the sheepherder and his sheep. If you haven’t seen Game of Thrones, we recommend you do! It’s kind of hard to jump into it as the plot is intricate and intertwined. However, if you are familiar and want to catch some Iceland scenery, almost any episode beyond the wall or at the wall is shot in Iceland.

Game of Thrones: The Complete Seasons 1-8 (Collectors Edition/BD) [Blu-ray] Price: $249.95 Game of Thrones: The Complete Seasons 1-8 (Collectors Edition/BD) [Blu-ray] Full Disclosure: We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase, at no additional cost to you. Last Updated: 04/30/2019

Noi, The Albino

Country of Origin: Iceland
Filming Location(s): Bolungarvik
IMDB Rating: 7.4

Noi The Albino is the most critically acclaimed Icelandic film with over 20 awards. The movie follows Noi who is either a genius or the village idiot. His big dreams of escaping the remote fishing village for which he grew up in rubs some townspeople the wrong way. Including the father of the girl he romances, who is less than enthused by the whole ordeal. He willfully fails in school and attends classes not in person, but through a tape recorder placed at his desk. Tomas Lemarquis, who plays Noi, went on to act major Hollywood films such as X-Men: Apocalypse, Snowpiercer, and Bladerunner: 2049. This quirky film is one of the best Icelandic movies of all time and is a must see whether you are going to Iceland or not.

Noi Price: Noi Full Disclosure: We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase, at no additional cost to you. Last Updated: 04/30/2019

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

Country of Origin: United States
Filming Location(s): Grundarfjörður; Stykkishólmur; Vatnajökull
IMDB Rating: 7.3

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty is an adventure inspiring film any way you slice it. It is not only an ideal movie to watch before going to Iceland, but also a good movie to watch before any vacation. It follows Walter Mitty on an epic adventure that changes his life and results in major updates to his online dating profile. Several scenes are shot in Iceland with full utilization of the surreal Icelandic landscape. It didn’t get the best reviews from critics, but audiences gave it a thumbs up. It’s an epic adventure for the soul and the eyes.

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty Price: $14.99 The Secret Life of Walter Mitty Full Disclosure: We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase, at no additional cost to you. Last Updated: 04/30/2019

Batman Begins

Country of Origin: United States
Filming Location(s): Skaftafell; Vatnajökull; Öræfasvei.
IMDB Rating: 8.3

Most of the scenes set in Tibet were shot in Iceland. While this is often considered the worst movie in the Batman Dark Knight trilogy, it is still a great movie and the beginning of the best Batman trilogy. Most of the Iceland footage is in the part of the film where Batman trains with the League of Shadows in Tibet.

Batman Begins Price: $3.99 Batman Begins Full Disclosure: We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase, at no additional cost to you. Last Updated: 04/30/2019

James Bond: Die Another Day

Country of Origin: United States
Filming Location(s): Jökulsárlón
IMDB Rating: 6.1

Die another day is one of several James Bond movies shot in Iceland. This is probably one of the most famous scenes, where 007  makes an epic escape in a pimped out Aston Martin. Not much of the movie is shot in Iceland, but what it has a ton of action and excellent utilization of the landscape.

Die Another Day Price: $10.99 Die Another Day Full Disclosure: We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase, at no additional cost to you. Last Updated: 04/30/2019

Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back

Country of Origin: United States
Filming Location(s): Vatnajokull
IMDB Rating: 8.8

The force must be active in Iceland. Many star wars movies shot in Iceland – including the two newest films to the franchise: Force awakens and The Last Jedi. In The Empire Strikes Back, all the scenes set on the ice planet, Hoth, are filmed in Iceland.

Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back Price: $17.99 Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back Full Disclosure: We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase, at no additional cost to you. Last Updated: 04/30/2019

Land Ho!

Country of Origin: United States
Filming Location(s): All Over Iceland
IMDB Rating: 6.0

Land Ho! is almost exclusively filmed in Iceland. A film professor recommended this movie for the list, and it is an excellent movie. It has tons of Iceland footage and explores all around the country. It tells the tale of an Englishman who gets coxed into an Icelandic road trip vacation with his ex-brother in law who is a wealthy southern businessman from the USA.

Land Ho! Price: $12.99 Land Ho! Full Disclosure: We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase, at no additional cost to you. Last Updated: 04/30/2019

Lara Croft: Tomb Raider

Country of Origin: Iceland/United States
Filming Location(s): Jökulsárlón, Breiðamerkursandur
IMDB Rating: 5.8

Lara Croft: Tomb Raider is one of many major Hollywood movies shot in Iceland. There are several Iceland filming locations including the excellent destination of Jokulsarlon lagoon. While watching the movie note the pars set in Siberia, all those scenes filmed in Iceland.

Lara Croft: Tomb Raider Price: $9.99 Lara Croft: Tomb Raider Full Disclosure: We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase, at no additional cost to you. Last Updated: 04/30/2019

Everest

Country of Origin: Iceland/United States
Filming Location(s): Iceland – Unkown
IMDB Rating: 7.1

The movie Everest which is based on a true-life story was filmed in Iceland. While this may not be a full-blown Icelandic film, it is directed and produced by the Icelandic director, Baltasar Komakur. It follows two mountaineers that make a successful ascent of Mount Everest only to encounter a deadly storm. It stars Jake Gylennhaal and Josh Brolin. It is difficult to determine which scenes were shot in Iceland, but it was reported they shot there for over a month.

Everest Price: $6.99 Everest Full Disclosure: We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase, at no additional cost to you. Last Updated: 04/30/2019

Thor: Dark World

Country of Origin: Iceland/United States
Filming Location(s): Thingvellir national park,  Landmannalaugar, and Vatnajokull
IMDB Rating: 7.0

Norse gods and Thor, the god of lightning, descend from Nordic traditions. It only makes sense for a Thor movie to film in Iceland. Several scenes are shot in Iceland and it is said that the background for the city of Odin, Thor’s home, is taken from Icelandic landscape.

Thor: The Dark World Price: $14.99 Thor: The Dark World Full Disclosure: We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase, at no additional cost to you. Last Updated: 04/30/2019

If you want to check out Iceland for vacation, don’t miss out on these awesome opportunities to step into the screen and see where your favorite film moments took place.

Ultimate Guide to The Best Time to Visit Iceland

Best Time to Visit Iceland Guide

Traveling to Iceland is a must if you’re like me and have a love for natural landscape adventures. It’s hard not to want to explore a place that is known for all of their natural beauty, still silence and purity. Iceland has similar seasons throughout its year (read: drizzly rain and just a bit of cold always), but some months are better than others depending on what you want to do and see there. Let’s dig into figuring out when the best time to visit Iceland is for any of your crazy activities or desires!

First thing’s first, if you’re looking to take to the beaches in your swimsuit, you’ve found the wrong post. Leave now and search “Cabo” on your next try.

The only swimsuit wearing you’ll be doing in Iceland is in the Blue Lagoon or other natural hot springs around this country that you stumble upon.

But enough about the warm weather chat, let’s get to it.

Best Time To Visit Iceland to Avoid Crowds

It’s no secret that Iceland has become a popular tourist destination.

In fact, some are saying that Iceland is beginning to be a bit over-touristed. However, there are times when the spring breakers and out-of-school crowds are fewer and less photo obsessed than typical. That’s when we recommend you visit if you intend to see all the classic Iceland sights like the Golden Circle and the Blue Lagoon.

Iceland Tourism Numbers by MonthCredit data to https://www.ferdamalastofa.is

If you’re like us, however, and love to stay away from the crowds. Going on your own trek is possible during most times out of the year. You will be just fine traveling to Iceland because sadly, few tourists venture out on their own to explore less popular or undiscovered areas.

Visiting for all the Iceland Tourist Spots?Visiting for Your Own Adventure?Are you a photographer?
Offseason (low season): November through February or MayAnytime during the year and stay away from the Golden Circle.Winter months: read our winter section below for exactly why.

Which Season is Best to Visit Iceland In?

So many variables go into when the perfect time to travel to Iceland is. Do you want to see the Northern Lights, go ice-caving, or maybe see a few whales in the North Atlantic ocean?  Are you going to be preparing for more snow in the cold or more rain in the warmer time? Seasons play an important role in what you can and can’t do in any given Icelandic season so keep reading.

Iceland Temperature Chart by MonthVisiting Iceland in the Winter is for Photographers (November – February)

Photographers get excited because winter in Iceland was made for you!

Winter months in Iceland is cold. Well, cold, if you’re from Florida or Texas that is. Are you from the Midwest? You’ll survive then!

The temperature ranges from a high of ~38ºF (~3.4ºC) to a low of ~26ºF (~-3ºC). Being the coldest season for Iceland, you can imagine that snow and winter weather conditions play a large factor in your time spent here here during this season. It is an island surrounded by cold Atlantic water and wind after all.

Daylight is scarce in the winter so be ready for partial or complete darkness. In it’s shortest month of December, there are times where the “day” is only four hours long. The sun will rise around 11 AM and set around 3-4PM.

But just because daylight is scarce doesn’t mean you should shy away from Iceland in the winter, especially if you’re a photographer.

With fewer tourists around, the black sand beaches and rocky shores are covered in ice and snow. Of course you also have the highest probability of seeing the Northern Lights too. You’ll want to come here in the winter with your camera and tripod ready. Bundle up, invest in a few extra layers, and get some gloves.

Your Instagram feed will thank you later. 😉

Top Activities to Do in the Winter

  • See the Northern Lights: We get it, you want to see the northern lights. They’re pretty cool. The winter time, with so much darkness, affords you the most opportunities to luck out and see these natural beauties. Try to get away from Reykjavik because the city lights can make it hard to see this phenomenon.
  • Visit a hot spring or the Blue Lagoon: While hot springs and the Blue Lagoon can be accessed year-round, it makes sense that the winter months offer a sweat warm relief from the relentless cold. If you’re trying to trek to a less frequented hot spring like the Reykjadalur hot spring for example, I would caution you to save that for a warmer months. The hike can get a bit daunting (ie. very slippery) and with little sunlight, I would caution against hiking this in any chance of darkness. I may or may not have learned this from experience.
  • Iceland Airwaves Festival: If you’re obsessed with Icelandic artists like I am, this music festival could be perfect for you. Iceland Airwaves festival is held in November in Reykjavik and brings together emerging and well-recognized artists from around the country.

Visiting Iceland in the Spring (March-May)

Iceland’s spring season varies by who you ask. Typically spring falls anywhere from mid-March through late April or early May.

Icelanders actually consider it springtime when the European Golden Plover, a species of bird, makes its first appearance. The Icelandic media covers the first sighting of the plover bird I’d assume like how in the states we watch the shadow of the Punxsutawney Groundhog on Groundhogs Day. We’re all weird, aren’t we!? (shrug)

In spring, the temperature ranges from a high of ~49ºF (~9.4ºC) to a low in the evenings of ~28ºF (~-2ºC) in Iceland. If you’re asking me, this weather is pretty standard in Iceland in almost any season. It’s pretty safe to assume you’ll need to pack for all weather conditions regardless of the season. Just be prepared to bring coats and rain gear no matter what.

There will be plenty of daylight to keep you adventuring. Unlike winter, springtime in Iceland affords you anywhere from 10 hours in March to upwards of 17 plus hours of daylight in late April early May. You can adventure until you can’t adventure anymore. You have plenty of daylight to get lost for a while.

Springtime in Iceland is “shoulder season” which means that it’s not as overrun with tourists as in the summer which makes it great for doing just about anything.

Top Activities to Do in the Spring

  • Join a Life Nomading Group Trip: We’re big fans of visiting Iceland in the spring. So much so, that we actually launched our very own group trip that we host every year at the end of March in Iceland. It’s the perfect weather, perfect low-key vibes, and always a fun time. Visit our Iceland page for more details.
  • Aldrei Fór Ég Suður: If you’re feeling the music vibes and want to go to a music festival. the Aldrei Fór Ég Suður festival may be right for you. Located in the Westfjords which is about a 4-5 drive northwest of Reykjavik, this festival will take you far away from any of the normal touristy vibes. I can only imagine what fun you’ll get into up there with three thousand others. They make this event free to all who want to make the trek up there in April.
  • Sónar Reykjavík: If you’re a fan of electronic music, than Sonar is worth looking into. This event is hosted in late April in Reykjavik. Tickets are on sale on their website for what looks to be about 17.990 ISK.

TIP: March is pretty much the last month where the weather is cold enough to visit ice caves in certain areas of Iceland. I highly recommend you do this, so if you are debating on a spring month to visit Iceland in, try to shoot for March or earlier if possible.

Visiting Iceland in the Summer (June-August)

While you won’t be sunbathing or meeting others during a day at the beach, Iceland does warm up a bit during its summer season between June-ish and August.

Since warmer weather is a popular time to travel in, that means Iceland’s popular spots can get much more crowded. Through the summer months, the tourism numbers get larger and larger making this the peak season for Iceland.

If you’re a serious photographer, a seasoned traveler looking for a less touristy vibe, or wanting a cheaper all around trip to Iceland, than we’d recommend avoiding this beautiful country in the summer. Instead, try out one of their shoulder seasons like Spring or Fall.

In the summer months, the climate ranges from a high of ~56ºF (~13.3ºC) to a low in the evenings of ~44ºF (~6.1ºC). If you haven’t learned by now, you must bring a coat. This weather isn’t bikini or swim trunks weather by any stretch. Get your winter weather raincoat shopping on.

You’ll have all the daylight all the time with barely any darkness. The summer season in Iceland is unique in that you can have days of almost complete daylight in June. It’s crazy! In the summer you will find you have anywhere from 17 hours to 21 hours or more of pure daylight.

I’ve personally experienced this time of the year and it’s very odd going to bed or staying out late and having the sun out like you are partying in the middle of the day.

Summer Tip: Bring a sleeping mask if you have a hard time sleeping with light leaking into your room. This will be critical because I kid you not, you’ll think it’s the afternoon all day long.

Sleep Mask - Create Total Darkness Price: Sleep Mask - Create Total Darkness Full Disclosure: We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase, at no additional cost to you. Last Updated: 04/30/2019

Top Activities to Do in the Summer

  • Whale Watching: Summer in Iceland is prime whale watching season. With the temperatures warming up, the various whale species (Harbour Porpoise, Fin Whale, Humpback Whale, Orca’s, Blue Whale, Minke Whale, and Sperm Whales) come out to play. You can depart for whale watching in various parts of Iceland. Departing the coast of Reykjavik for your whale watching adventure is fine, but for some of the best experiences travel to Northern Iceland to Akureyri where the more diverse species of whales are spotted.
  • Icelandic Horseback riding: Iceland is known for a special species of horse simply called an “Icelandic horse”. They’re most notable for their small pony-like size, however they are not to be confused, they are a full-fledged horse. Size shouldn’t matter! If you’re an equestrian lover you won’t want to miss your chance in riding one of these while here in the summer since they are the only breed of horse in thecountry.Icelandic horses
  • Secret Solstice Festival: Be warned, if you watch the video below you will book your ticket to Iceland and partake in this music festival. There’s something about the potential of cracking open a few cold ones while partying in the middle of a glacier that gets me excited. Am I the only one?

  • Iceland Ring Road Trip: With the weather being the warmest in this season it makes renting a camper van and exploring the entire country much more attainable. The Ring Road is an 800-mile long road covering the outskirts of Iceland. Convince your partner or best friend to come along, and rent a camper van to explore the country for a week or two. Every mile of Iceland is a whole new landscape and a road trip like this would leave you inspired, to say the least.

Ring Road Iceland MapVisiting Iceland in Autumn (September-October)

While September and October in Iceland is definitely shoulder season for the country it has great offerings from fair temperatures, decent daylight time, and somewhat smaller tourist numbers. You’ll get a little bit of the winter AND summer benefits all in the course of a two-month window.

During Autumn in Iceland, the climate ranges from a high of ~50ºF (~10.1ºC) to a low in the evenings of ~36ºF (~2.2ºC).

You’ll definitely have enough daylight in Autumn in Iceland for activities. In Autumn, Iceland experiences anywhere from 10 to 14 hours of daylight. While Autumn is certainly not the season with the most or the least hours in the day, this season will afford you plenty of time to take adventures without all of the summer tourists.

Top Activities to Do in Autumn

  • Round-Up Season (RÉTTIR): Round-up or Rettir season is when all the farmers in Iceland go to fetch their sheep and horses that have been roaming for the season. This is a part of the year where neighbors and fellow farmers gather to sort the thousands of livestock to take back to their farm. It’s a very Icelandic thing to do. We’d recommend you try to partake!
  • Northern Lights spotting: If you read, winter is a great time to watch the northern lights, but autumn is also an opportune time to take a rental car and get lost somewhere away from the city to watch the Northern Lights if you’re lucky. Monitor the Northern Lights Forecast to see where the best chance of visibility will be on your trip.
  • Reykjavik International Film Festival: We all love a good film festival. If you’re in the city around this time the Reykjavik Film festival may be worth checking out at the end of September and early October.

Cost of Visiting Iceland by Season

Traveling to Iceland is undoubtedly one of the more pricier countries to visit currently. In general, the diagram below is a good guide to see which seasons are more or less expensive taking into account: lodging, food, airfare, rental cars, activities, etc…

WinterSpringSummerAutumn
$$$$$$$$$$

 

Not-So-Scientific Seasonal Cost Analysis: Iceland

We decided to run our own little Iceland cost experiment to see what kind of pricing fluctuations happen for different seasons in Iceland. Prices below are meant to be as rough benchmarks for two people traveling together in the varying seasons for 6 days / 5 nights.

Airfare

x2

Airbnb

x2

Compact CarBlue Lagoon x2~Avg Total
Winter$957$1,098$372$192$2,613
Spring$891$1,098$258$192$2,439
Summer$890$1,086$642$192$2,810
Autumn$863$1,080$414$192$2,549

Chart based on data for 2019 & 2020 season data.
* Car rental using Compact size via Hertz
**Airfare found via Google Flights and using the cheapest, non airline specific. (WOW airlines is no more remember RIP)
***Airbnb metrics are the “average” price given from Airbnb for a given window.
****Blue lagoon price for two on peak time in the day.

What we found

Our research found that for a couple traveling to Iceland, your biggest cost changes depending on when you travel, is your rental car. In the summer months, a car rental can be more than double (2X) than in the Spring or Winter seasons.

That money adds up quick!

Luckily, airfare, Airbnb lodging, and activities seem to stay pretty competitively priced during most times of the year.

Cost Tip: One variable not mentioned in this experiment is the cost of fuel for your rental car. If you’re an American traveling to Iceland you will be sticker shocked by gasoline prices so prepare your budget accordingly. Most of your trip involves driving and burning that fuel.

When Should You Visit Iceland to Save Money?

Iceland’s spring season seems to be our winner when it comes to saving the most money while adventuring to this beautiful country.

While we think most of our numbers are pretty accurate, please don’t take our cost analysis as gold. Pricing varies depending on many factors. Do your research or let us handle all of that for you!

When’s Our Favorite Time to Travel to Iceland?

The springtime. Spring is affordable and gives you access to almost everything you can get in winter and the summer months (ice caving, Northern Lights, access to roads). We love the spring so much that we offer a yearly Life Nomading group adventure trip there in March were we take up to 12 travelers and have one heck of a time.

Woohoo, you’ve made it this far! Congrats, you’re now pretty frickin educated about when some of the best times to visit Iceland are. As you can see, Iceland is great in any season you visit, it just depends what your travel goals are. With a climate that stays pretty consistent and plenty of things to see and do you can’t go wrong any time of the year.

If you’re headed to Iceland, but would prefer to join a group of other millennial travelers this could be the perfect opportunity for you. You’ll save even more money, see and do things you wouldn’t think were possible, and get to meet others along the way. For more information about our trip be sure to visit our Iceland page.

Whether you’re a photographer looking to capture the still life and Northern Lights, or a college student with time to visit Iceland in the summer, we recommend to just take that leap, book your tickets now, and go.

Sunsets Over País Vasco, Spain

Listen in as we chat with Kayla Tulane about how something so simple as a sunset in northern Spain can be the perfect time to reflect on some of life’s most important lessons.

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Credits

Guest: Kayla Tulane – Thanks Kayla for sharing your stories!

Hosted & Narrated by:

Editing: Laura Samulionyte

Why Following Your Dream Is The Easiest Way To Ruin Your Life

Why Following Your Dream Is The Easiest Way To Ruin Your Life

Doing something you love for too long can leave you in a pickle.

Doing something you “love” for too long can leave you in even more of a pickle.

I won’t go too deep into my life story, but I just need to first say that sometimes we are so driven to find our dream job that we convince ourselves we have. Guided by our families, mentors, friends, and social media followers’ watchful eyes, we do a whole lot to ensure that we are not perceived as failures. We had clear intentions. We had clear dreams. And we were successful.

The truth of the matter is dreams change.

Dreams are made up of references from experienced life. They mold, change, and evolve based on your day. Your large “life” dream, I think, evolves in the same way. There will always be bits and pieces of your life intertwined, but dreams absolutely can (and should) evolve. If they don’t, how do you mark your growth as a human?

With all of this being said, I changed course in my life.

It was risky, scary, exciting, and ultimately overwhelming, but I hate to say that a large part of those emotions were driven by my perception of other’s judgment.

How people would make up their minds about me and my decision that I had just spent the better part of a full year making. A decision that began with questioning how everyone else (and, therefore, I) categorized myself. Did I choose these labels? Did I accidentally fall into this job? Did someone just say that I was good at something and then I ran with it? If I don’t try something new, am I missing out on a larger potential?

So here’s how it went down:

College, graduation, move to New York, landed a steady job (excited), grew in said job (okay), grew stagnant in the job (not so excited), decided a change was needed, set a date to leave the job.

Beyond this, I didn’t have much of a plan.

I decided to take two months to travel, something that I hadn’t done much of despite my keen interest in people and culture.

The plan was (against my better judgment) to return with a fresh slate and start new when I returned. I started out with zero expectations other than craving something that would wake me up from the labeled coma I had somehow found myself in.

I wish I could tell you that I had some sort of sparkling, fireworks revelation while traveling; maybe a moment of realization about how I wanted to repurpose my life. But despite every Elite Daily or Thought Catalog article you read, that doesn’t always happen when you “Travel the world to find yourself.”

My revelation was much more subtle and felt as if it were plainly obvious the whole time.

The revelation (that traveling helped me find):

Your passion, dream, identity, and job are not all the same things and they do not need to be neatly categorized into one box.

My concept of the word passion had always been associated with dance; A love that had already grown and changed course for 15 years, but neatly fit into one artistic box of my life.

Dance and movement grew to be an important part of my personality, life and being. And it always will be, but as my 20-year-old self once wrote in a college theory paper, “Change is the only constant.” Little did I know, those words would ring loud and clear with a whole new, proven meaning five years later.

Just as my love for ballet morphed into a love for modern dance, I have morphed that passion into an emotion. The thrill of finishing a ballet class sweaty, heart-pumping, and standing a little taller. The feeling of improvising for a full hour only to narrow in on a single moment’s feeling of your whole body breezing through the air. The mind-tugging moment of reading a book only to look up and visually comprehend that the world is a very real place that holds beautiful people, stories, and history. The fresh taste of completely foreign cuisine prepared by a chef who has cooked with these spices for their entire life. Connecting with a simple violin solo that seems to capture a feeling so perfectly.

I am enthralled by moments that remind me of my humanity and connect me with others doing the same.

It may seem incredibly vague, but this is what I crave, this is what I love, and why my dream(s) have changed yet somehow remained in tune with the same emotion.

I truly believe that these moments are why people travel in the first place, to reconnect and to explore senses that awaken them to the world surrounding them.

I’m 26, but I fear that many people much older than I have never taken a moment to curiously explore, capture, and meditate on what it is that drives them to do what they do and love it in the process.

The post-revelation life adjustments:

Your passion, dream(s), identity, and a job should support the others (And they may be in a few fluid piles rather than boxes). Find a way to make it work. For me, this meant finding a flexible job that will allow me to take the time my personality craves to be curious: to travel, to experience, and to learn.

I’ve found new passions, taken steps to dare myself, I have started a business, and want to share my experience of being curious in different corners of the world through Life Nomading Adventures.

As an outsider looking in it may seem like a backward career move, but to me, any move in a career that you aren’t whole-hearted about is backward.

New Zealand: The Best Way Up is Chocolate

Dirk Frey Life Nomading

Dirk Frey Life NomadingIn our first Travel Tale, we take a peek into our friend Dirk Frey’s stories on the road around New Zealand. Listen in as he shares some of the highlights from his stint exploring and living in New Zealand, a country with many interesting characters, endless Lord of the Rings references, and even a special folk music festival.

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Credits

Guest: Dirk Frey – Thanks Dirk for sharing your stories!

Hosted & Narrated by:

Editing: Laura Samulionyte

Show Transcript

Caroline Lloyd: We’re just going to be chatting over a beer

Dirk Frey: Well if it’s going to be over a beer then… let me get a beer.

Ian Hoyt: Hey there fellow nomads. This is Ian and Caroline and this is the Life Nomading podcast.

Ian Hoyt: Welcome back, fellow nomads. It’s Ian and Caroline and welcome to the first episode where we take a listen to some of your stories, stories about what makes traveling so special.

Caroline Lloyd: This week on the Life Nomading podcast. We sat down with an old friend, Dirk Frey.

Dirk Frey: I am currently a programmer for a CNC machine at a cabinetry company and I do woodwork there too.

Ian Hoyt: Now Dirk has an interesting connection with Life Nomading. That is Dirk and I grew up on the same block.

Dirk Frey: Ian and I we go way back then. We were in the same neighborhood. We were the neighborhood kids growing up. I Dunno, we are the same bicycle crew, I was thinking that I was hanging out with Dan and the culdesac and Ian was uh, playing with I think more like Halley and chase and Ricky and there was big gap and then I saw him again in Cincinnati and we reconnected.

Caroline Lloyd: But when Ian and Dirk reconnected years after their col-de-sac had days, they realized that they had grown to love a common interest, travel.

Ian Hoyt: And that’s not an uncommon shared passion in the normal world. But coming from a small town in the Midwest, it’s a bit rare to venture that far from home.

Dirk Frey: I thought it was impossible. I guess. I don’t know why people in like Findlay, Ohio were just raised like, I guess it was so expensive for our parents growing up and throughout the 80s and stuff to fly to like Europe. You had to like set aside like maybe 10 grand to do like a proper, Europe trip back then or something. And that’s in like 80s dollars and stuff. Think about flights for two grand each way, you know, France and, and stuff like that. So it was a lot more expensive. And prohibitive talking to people from Findlay. Sometimes it’s just like, so wait, so what is it like there? They don’t like Americans do they, or they’re like, or they might say something like, I don’t know if I could handle French language all around me or, or just people speaking Spanish.

Caroline Lloyd: So how did Dirk become this adventure seeker that he is today?

Dirk Frey: So I would, I wasn’t into travel or even I would say the outdoors and particular until into college, a couple of years basically I met some guys, I would say, uh, some rock climbers who I befriended and ended up becoming some of my best friends in college. And I joined the mountaineering club at UC. And so I got really into the outdoors and rock climbing and I go out in the nature with them. And then they were, one was the son of a air force pilot and so he was kind of an air force Brat and traveled around with his family from like state to state and out of the country a lot. And so he’s always talked about his grand travels and stuff and always wowed me. I was like, wow, you can get out of Ohio on. I was also amazed that you know like 19 years old or 20.

Ian Hoyt: One of the most dramatic changes in mindsets for Dirk was actually a road trip from coast to coast, casually seeing pretty much all of the US on just a couple of hundred dollars. Was it luxury? No, but the memories seem to be worth it.

Dirk Frey: It just showed me like, oh, on a shoe string budget and just like as long as you have good friends, even if you hate each other halfway through the trip because you know Joe is six foot eight, he’s taken up all the room to sleep. Having the friend and having that connection and by someone to share the glory and the misery altogether from the highs and the lows of the trip. And then also like it’s something when you’re a young person and like I think that’s one of the best things you can do in America is road trip because you get to go from like temperate forests to plains to a mountain desert to like the ocean, the other side of the ocean. So it was just like seeing all the sides of America stopping in, making goofy jokes with your friends and listening to music. Yeah.

Caroline Lloyd: And it’s all about those little moments. So we decided to ask Dirk about some of his favorite travel moments, things that stuck out in his mind, poignant memories, things that made the journey worth it.

Dirk Frey: There are times that I can think of a travel idea or a story in my brain and like my heart’s still kind of swells with, you know, the pride, a camaraderie that like I, I’m glad I was here in this time and space at this juncture with these people.

Ian Hoyt: And before we jump too far into Dirks incredible stories, we need to set the stage a little. He was on an extended excursion inspired by his childhood dream that started in the backyard of Findlay, Ohio. A little adventure movie called Lord of the Rings.

Dirk Frey: I quit my job for a bit and I traveled around the world for six months and four of those months were just on the island of New Zealand, South island in particular. And I decided I wanted to do a big bike trip and I was going to ride a bike and just bike around all of the South Island. And I went from Christ’s church and I went up into like near the mountain ranges. And that’s why I was saying that Lord of the rings would come in later because I specifically stopped at every location. That was super important to me. Having watched the extended cuts of the DVD releases, I was on a working holiday visa. So in New Zealand, Americans are allowed to work for one year you get a tax number. And so after the bike trip I uh, lived and worked in Christchurch doing various jobs. Like I worked in a kitchen, I was the stop go guy at the traffic.

Caroline Lloyd: So this particular tail started on a biking trip with the little sprinkle of local New Zealand serendipity. I should also mention that Kiwis are what New Zealanders are referred to in this story.

Dirk Frey: I was biking and uh, you know, after 60, 70 kilometers on the bike that the heavy gear and it’s like, okay, this is a good stop. And I’m on my way. I had to keep going uphill slightly because I’m going into the mountains to go to this certain mountain called Mount Sunday and I get to a bar and I decided to have like a beer and maybe I’ll get to know the locals a bit and it’s just all crusty old New Zealander Kiwis who are working on the sheep farms and it’s kind of the off season so there they’re drinking more than having to work with these times.

Ian Hoyt: And one of those crusty old Kiwis he starts talking to.

Dirk Frey: He wasn’t from New Zealand. He was from some place between Scotland and England and his accent was just as thick as you could possibly imagine that. But he was like, “Nah, you can’t do that on the bike, man.” I was like, Nah, I was just pedal real slow. I was like, no, no, you can’t do that in the bike.

Ian Hoyt: After finally convincing Dirk that biking up the incline was a terrible idea. They loaded up the bike in the man Subaru.

Dirk Frey: He invited me to his sheep station up in the mountains and we put it in the back end and we’re going over like potholes and shit and it’s dark out. I thought I was going to set up camp, but he’s just like, no, you’re going to come to my house and you’re going to sleep in this bunk bed. I’m like, okay, sure. Okay. And yeah, no. And I just, I went along with it cause I was really tired. I was like, I don’t have the pedal, any extra of this mountain and if I don’t really have to. And he was super nice and we, uh, shared a breakfast and it was really beautiful scenery. And once I, this dawn opened up and it was just mountains on either side and showed me his sheep dogs and stuff. He’s got no classic radio stations up there. So he has these tapes of singers from the 60s and it like use these cassette tapes that he puts into scar to place singers and stuff. And one of them is somebody who had the car before and it was a Maori track. And so they’re not aboriginals, they’re the people before any of the Europeans came over the Maori people. And so like there are traditional chants and the Haka call. So it’s cool. And it puts you in New Zealand when you’re going into everything.

Caroline Lloyd: And this was just one stop on his biking journey. Dirk continued on his trip to his final destination, which was actually determined by a run in earlier in his trip. He had met some people that had invited him to a festival. The Waihi Bush festival to be exact.

Dirk Frey: What I did was I got back onto couch surfing, which I hadn’t done in a while. I found a place to stay that was near the beach and Christ church and these guys were super, super nice and accommodating and they uh, put me up in a bunk bed. I would do my best to like be a good guest and I would even like try to introduce them to some American culture and customs. And so like, the best thing I could do is like, I can make really good Reuben’s but oh, they appreciated it. And like, I mean like I, I went all out to like make them dinner and stuff and like I even bought some things cause I was like staying for free and I wanted to give back to them and they were very gracious and say, well if you, uh, want to do some more volunteering over again, we had this thing called Waihi Bush festival and basically one of their dads owns a farm out in the rural parts of New Zealand and they hold a folk festival every year. And I was just like, Oh yeah sure. I mean like yeah, like it’s in February. I’m like, ah, that’s fine. That’d be a one month after my biking trip. And so like I did the whole biking trip and I could go into that for a lot more things, but I had to like haul ass to get to the festival, the tail end of the trip. But it was so worth it.

Ian Hoyt: Now you can only imagine something exciting would happen at an event called the Waihi bush festival. But trust me, this wasn’t anything you ever could have imagined.

Dirk Frey: There was a, there was a suicide that happened before and I don’t know if this is a British or New Zealand culture, but they made jokes about it to get over it. And it was something that like, you know, you just, just like what you do when you travel, you experience different cultures and way people process things are different. And so instead of letting the suicide, I mean people were down about it, but they didn’t let it hang over the whole festival. So they would make jokes about it and say, sang this song. It’s called when you’re feeling down the best way up, is chocolate. So the song goes, so when you’re feeling down the best way of this chocolate, it’ll help you get you through the day.

Dirk Frey: It felt like a movie almost playing out to me. Cause there’s these characters and there has these highs and lows and it was just like this whole story and dancing.

Caroline Lloyd: But ultimately what Dirk experience came from a collective experience. It’s an ideology that stems from people and how people and moments alter perspective. Oh and don’t forget chocolate.

Dirk Frey: It’s always better to make memories with friends I think. It’s really rewarding. I won’t say I won’t knock my solo trip or the amount of time I got to contemplate and just sit and stare at really beautiful scenery. But yeah, it’s the memories we make with others. It’s pretty great.

Ian Hoyt: So that’s it for this episode of the Life Nomading podcast. I hope you enjoyed the very first Travel Tale?

Caroline Lloyd: It’s that until someone writes in with a better title. So send in your input. And on that note, if you would like to be featured on this podcast, you have a great story to tell. Feel free to send us a message on Instagram @lifenomading.

Ian Hoyt: And if you get a second, we’d love to hear your thoughts about this new format of the Life Nomading podcast. And you can do that by going to iTunes and leaving a review. We would so appreciate it.

Caroline Lloyd: So that’s it for this week. I’m Caroline

Ian Hoyt: and I’m Ian and until next week go explore something. See yah.

The Truth Behind A Remote Working Lifestyle

remote working lifestyle

Goodbye offices, cubicles, and commutes! When it comes to working remotely from home, a co-working space, or perhaps a local coffee shop there is more than meets the eye. We share our thoughts on the pro’s and con’s of working on your own from wherever inspires you most.

Show Notes

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Credits

Hosted by:

Editing help by Laura Samulionyte

What Do Bulgarians Eat

what do bulgarians eat

Bulgaria is located in the southeastern part of the Balkans. With that location, comes a tradition of phenomenal food that makes even the biggest of foodies blush. At one point in time, this region of the world was occupied by the Romans, Greeks, and Turks making it a crazy melting pot of Mediterranean and Arabic cuisine. If you love food and are wondering what do Bulgarians eat, here are some of the dishes you can’t leave the country without trying.

Bulgarian Baked Goods

bulgarian baked goods and breadBulgarians love bread. If there is one thing you won’t have trouble finding at any point on your visit to Bulgaria it’s a delicious hunk of bread in many different forms and variations. I’ve personally seen grown men cry over some of these baked goods, so you shouldn’t be ashamed if you do the same after trying them.

Milinki

This is possibly the most dangerously addicting food you will try in Bulgaria. Milinki is essentially little balls of dough topped with lots of butter and brined cheese.

bulgarian eating milinki

Me in the wild enjoying Milinki heaven.

They are typically baked and sold together in sets of around 6. You may tell yourself that you’ll only eat one, but you’ll probably end up eating them all.

Banitsa

Banitsa is arguably the most Bulgarian of all the baked goods. Even though there are tons of different types of banitsa they are based on filo dough which is layered with a delicious Bulgarian feta and egg mixture. Varieties can differ based on the region, type of cheese, and even baking method. Incredibly addictive. Beware.

Kozunak

Kozunak is considered a dessert and traditionally made on Easter. It is usually made by taking three strands of dough and weaving them together. The Kozunak is then baked and topped with sugar and nuts. One of the things that make Kozunak unique, and even more delicious, is how flaky the dough is.

Bulgarian Salads

Bulgarians love their salad, and you can easily see that by opening up a menu at any restaurant. There are many different types that are both healthy (most of the time) and delicious, but here are some of the most famous ones.

Shopska

If there is one thing for certain, it’s that it’s never hard to find Shopska salad in Bulgaria. Easily found in every restaurant or on the tables of home-cooked meals, it’s made of cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers, red onion, and topped with a healthy amount of Bulgarian feta cheese (which is many times shredded, creamy, and delightful). It doesn’t come with a “dressing” but all restaurants in Bulgaria have olive oil and vinegar on the tables so you can season your salad to your liking.

Snezhanka

This salad is pretty unique and made by finely chopping cucumber and dill then mixing it into strained yogurt. The resulting salad is tart, salty, and very refreshing. You can also add some finely chopped garlic and top it off with walnuts if you want.

A “winter” variation exists which replaces fresh cucumber with pickles.

Russian

Despite its name, this salad can be found all over Bulgaria and is traditionally made in the winter around the holidays. It’s made by chopping the following ingredients in cubes: pickles, cooked carrots, cooked potatoes, peas (not chopped obviously), and best of all hot dogs. Yes, hot dogs. This is then all mixed into mayonnaise! While this might sound like an odd mixture you’re guaranteed to love it. Unless you hate mayonnaise…then it might not be your thing.

Bulgarian Meats

bulgarian meatsBulgarians eat a lot of meat… like a lot. And there are tons of different types of meaty deliciousness waiting for you if you’re a true carnivore. Here’s what you need to try when you visit Bulgaria.

Kufte

Kufte is the Bulgarian meatball, but with a little something extra.

Unlike most meatballs that are just meat, kufteta (kufte in the plural form) have a mix of chopped onions, parsley, eggs, and wait for it… soaked bread. The resulting “meatball” is not just a spherical hunk of meat, but a delicious treat that is loved by all Bulgarians.

Another secret ingredient used in the making of kufteta, and most Bulgarian meat dishes, is chubritza. Chubritza is a special herb mix which you can get only in Bulgaria. It has a strong, very distinct smell that you will later dream about.

Kebapche

There’s no great cuisine in the world that does not have a recipe for meat in tube form, and Bulgaria definitely lives up to that.

The kebapche is usually made from ground meat that is 50% pork and 50% beef along with a healthy sprinkle of cumin and chubritza. The mixture is then rolled into a tube shape and grilled. For the most Bulgarian experience possible, it should be grilled outside with lots of beer close by.

You can find kebapcheta (plural form) at many pubs and restaurants as meze – a type of food that’s eaten as a side to alcohol. You never order one, and you should definitely try dipping it in some lutenitsa, a type of pepper and tomato based spread famous in Bulgaria.

Meshena Skara

When translated into English the name of this “dish” is mixed meat, and it lives up to the name. If you want to get a taste of the entire gamut of Bulgarian cooked meats this is what you should get. It’s essentially a large platter with everything I’ve mentioned in this section and several more types of cooked meats/sausages.

So you should probably get it. Go crazy!

 

Bulgarian soups and stews

Shkembe Chorba

The name of this soup directly translates into “Stomach Soup” and it’s exactly what it sounds like.

This Bulgarian favorite is essentially beef tripe (stomach lining) that is chopped into cubes and then simmered in a paprika-infused milk broth. It’s then often times served with a healthy dose of garlic soaked in vinegar.

This may not sound like the most appealing dish in the world but it’s a must-try. It’s delicious and often times consumed in the early hours of the day when people are making their way home from the bars and need some strength to get them the rest of the way to their beds.

If the idea of eating tripe doesn’t appeal to you, don’t eat the chunks of tripe but just enjoy the broth. It’s one of the most flavourful and delicious things out there. Trust me!

Gyuvech

Gyuvech is named for the type of dish that the meal is cooked in. Essentially a Gyuvech is a clay pot (it can be both large and small) that is bulbous, with a clay top, and oftentimes decorated with classic Bulgarian designs. Gyuvech is a type of stew that combines meat, potatoes, carrots, onions, and other veggies. There are many different types of gyuvech depending on the area of Bulgaria you’re in and the season.

Tarator

Do you remember the Snezhanka salad from above? Well, this is essentially the soup version of the salad and beloved by all Bulgarians. It’s made by finely chopping cucumbers (never pickles), and dill, and combining it with a mixture of equal parts water and yogurt. The soup is then topped with olive oil, and sometimes garlic and walnuts.

This is possibly one of the most famous Bulgarian dishes and usually consumed during the summer since it’s served cold.

Whether its fluffy delicious bread in the morning or a shopska and Meshena Skara in the evening, Bulgaria has an endless array of yummy cuisine that is worth visiting and experiencing. When it comes to what do Bulgarians eat, I think it’s safe to say they eat well.