n26 revolut bnext

A short pros and cons analysis between N26, Revolut and BNEXT

Even if we still have to count on cash because unfortunately the cashless revolution has just started, and much local business hasn’t switched to tech-payments, we have a multitude of alternatives in terms of online bank accounts and credit/debit cards that we have never had before.

As one of the Madridiana co-founders works in Fintech and is always answering to friends dilemmas about:

whose the best online bank account or debit card?

we have decided to prepare our very own view about the best debit cards, starting from our own experience with N26, Revolut and BNEXT.

As always, what is a priority for us (like the design) might not be a relevant feature for you, so we have evaluated different points, and for every card, we have a special bonus if you register from our referral link :) 

Let’s start with the most famous.

1) N26 the german unicorn

Probably we all have seen at least an advertisement, online or offline, from the famous German brand N26. 

I’ve to be honest, when I started following at least 3 years ago the brand on social media I have always thought that the communication was too corporate, maybe too cold, especially when compared to the second card I am going to mention later.

But later on, they have differentiated the brand with a more informal tone of voice and a very cool campaign. 

As mentioned the company is German, so the IBAN of your account will be german (starting with DE) but they are launching new national IBAN for each country, Spain, for example, has already the ES bank accounts. 

PROS ✔️

  • Free withdrawal with no limit amount with the free card
  • The exchange rate with no commission
  • Apple pay and Google pay configuration available
  • Free bank transfers in Europe
  • The customer service is really helpful and has many options of contact

CONS

  • The only available option to fund your account is bank transfer or with Cash26 by cash, but it is not that widespread to be considered an advantage
  • The saving option called Spaces doesn’t have an automatic option, you have to build it manually. 

The N26 basic account is free, you won’t have advantages in the shipping. Right now there are no available bonus for new registration, but if seems this is the best card for your needs you can add my code and help me gaining 15€ ➡️ dianap3313. 

Once you’ll start activating the card you’ll also be able to invite your friends, and then you’ll gain your 15€ for each friend.

2) REVOLUT hacking the system

From Germany to the UK, the second credit card that we have analyzed, but actually the first one we have tried is Revolut. The second unicorn of the list and a very interesting marketing case because they have launched without spending big budget like the other competitors, no banners, no advertising, just hacking the growth with a smart and transparent way of communicating with their prospects, mostly based on emojis. 

PROS ✔️

  • Free bank transfers in Europe
  • The round-up system that helps you so micro savings in every purchase (Vaults)
  • Fund your account with bank transfer, credit/debit card or PayPal (a very good and unique option)
  • Apple pay and Google pay configuration available
  • Buy cryptocurrency through the application

CONS

  • The new trading free of commission feature is only available for premium accounts
  • With the free account, you can only withdraw 200€ a month
  • The exchange rate with commissions during the weekends (when the stock exchanges are closed)
  • The pride card was a limited edition card, I got mine, but I think it should be a standard card.

We’ll both gain 10€ if you register from my referral link, sounds great right? You just need to do the identification process and order your card for free, you won’t have shipping costs with this link ➡️  https://revolut.com/referral/diana3l1!G10D21

3) BNEXT viva España 

BNEXT is the Spanish online credit card, not so famous outside Spain, but if you live in Spain it’s quite a good option.

Actually, being active in the Fintech ecosystems meetups and event, don’t actually remember when, but we have met a few years ago the team members of BNEXT and have started following their path since then. 

They have won lot’s of prices in Spain for emerging payment service and innovative Fintech, everyone loves BNEXT.

Expect for being fuchsia and not presenting any premium version, the card is completely free but in order to receive it, you have to make the first transfer on your account.

It is probably the card I’ve used the most, there is a minimum amount for the transfer of 25€ and the deposit is extremely quick, I usually charge it just when I actually need it and queuing to pay in a shop/bar. 

Probably is not the best option while traveling, but living in Spain there are several advantages for choosing BNEXT

PROS✔️

  • BNEXT is a Visa card, maybe it’s not an advantage but if you, for example, want to have different circuits, the others are all Mastercard
  • A new pro version is coming soon
  • All the cashback and discounts for phone insurance, travel insurance and so on.

CONS

  • Only have 3 free withdraw each month and a maximum of 500€ (than you pay 1.15% of the commission in the EU and 1.5% in the US)
  • Also for traveling you have a limited expense of 2.000€ for free, then you pay 1.15% of the commission in the EU and 1.5% in the US
  • You need to fund your account with at least 25€ in order to receive the card
  • The app is Spanish and so far only available in Spanish.

There is a nice referral program, a few times a year they also usually rise the bonus up to 10€, but the ordinary one is 5€ for both if you register from this link and order a free card from BNEXT ➡️ https://share.bnext.es/391720756

4) More and more coming soon

I’ve just ordered three more cards in order to complete my ranking with Bunq, Transferwise and Monese, whose applications are already on the “Bancos” folder in my phone. I wish my favorite Fintech of all the time, Nubank, a Brazilian challenger bank worth $10 billions was able in Spain in order to try it and rate it.

 

Here we are again writing about the main attractions close to the Spanish сapital. We have already written about Toledo, the city of three cultures and astounding architectural diversity. We began that article by mentioning Escorial and Segovia, that are also a day-trip from Madrid. Incorporating them in the first piece seemed unwise, but we could not just let those places go and leave uncovered. So fasten your seatbelt and be ready for our special tips for these two gateways from Madrid.

Let’s start with El Escorial

 

Monastery El Elscorial (Photo Credit: DEZALB)

El Escorial is a monastery built by King Philip II as a residence for the Spanish Royal Family to commemorate the 1557 Spanish victory at the Battle of St. Quentin in Picardy against Henry II, king of France. The work began in 1563 and was completed 21 years later. Sadly, the architect Juan Bautista Toledo did not live to see the completion of his project. The monastery is located in San Lorenzo de El Escorial, and it’s more than a monastery, it’s a complex made by a monastery, a pantheon, a library, a basilica and a royal palace of course. It takes half a day to see everything.
You can get here from Madrid in several ways:
  • By bus from Moncloa, travel time is about one hour, bus fare is 4,20€
  • By train from Atocha Station, the same time, train ticket is 3,30€
  • By car it is also a one-hour drive.
There are many offers in Madrid for a day-trip in Escorial for more than 50€ without lunch, or with an incredibly sad boxed lunch. You can find plenty of nice and super affordable places in the historic center of the town. From 1984, the Monastery has been declared a part of the UNESCO Heritage because the austerity of the style of Escorial broke the architectonic trends of the 15th century, and influenced the Spanish architecture of the following centuries.
From the end of the 16th century, it used to be considered the 8th wonder of the world, both for the huge dimensions and for the symbolism. It is dedicated to the sacrifice of San Lorenzo, that’s why there are several corners dedicated to him. First and foremost is the basilica of San Lorenzo el Real, the central building in the El Escorial complex. It was originally designed, like most of the late Gothic cathedrals of western Europe, to take the form of a Latin Cross. And later it was modified by Juan de Herrera to that of a Greek Cross a form with all four arms of equal length. The altar screen (reredos) of the Basilica is 28-meter high, it is three-tiered, highly decorated, made of red granite and jasper and adorned with gilded bronze statuary and three sets of religious paintings commissioned by Philip II.
Now El Escorial is also a museum because of the great collection of sculpture, ancient books and works of art that have been stored in this place for all these centuries. One of the most famous paintings that can be admired inside the monastery is the Tiziano Vecellio crucifixion from 1555. Among all the works of art, the Escorial gardens are a must-see of this venue. They are designed in an Italian way, and are as beautiful as the most charming gardens in other European royal residences. Even if the winter is quite cold, the whole complex doesn’t lose its allure during this season, you will still enjoy it even when visiting on a cloudy or foggy day. There are special celebrations in August during San Lorenzo and San Bernabé, when the Feria Industrial y Artesana de la Sierra de Guadarrama takes place with incredible food and artisan stalls.
El Escorial half-day trip is very often proposed in a combination with Avila. Avila is very close to El Escorial, and is another UNESCO patrimony. It is sometimes called the Town of Stones and Saints, and it claims that it is one of the towns with the highest number of Romanesque and Gothic churches per capita in Spain. It’s a maze of religious buildings, from the most important ones like the cathedral to all the surrounding churches and a monastery. Yet, Avila is not just about the religion, it’s very famous for gastronomy with several signature recipes such as the Avila steak, and for vegetarian the renewed yemas of Santa Teresa, there are sweets made with eggs and sugar.
If you don’t want to waste time of your Escorial visit you should reserve a El Escorial & Valley of the Fallen Half-Day Trip before heading there.

And now it’s time to write about the second protagonist of this article: Segovia

Segovia Madrid (Photo Credit: Schnauzer)

Why is Segovia so famous? As all most famous sights in the world, in order to be recognized and remembered a venue needs to be as much unique as it can. So does Segovia with its landmarks. Located on the plains of Old Castile, Segovia is renowned for a very ancient aqueduct dating from the late 1st or early 2nd century AD.  It is still used to deliver drinking water. “The aqueduct of Segovia is – because of its long span, architectural beauty, uncharacteristic slenderness, and dramatic presence in the center of a dense urban fabric – the most impressive Roman structure in Spain, and one of the most famous among the numerous aqueducts built by the Romans throughout their vast Empire,” Lapunzina wrote. Obviously this is another great patrimony of UNESCO heritage, how could it not be part of it? The position of this city is everything and it’s also crucial for the aqueduct because it is build on a little hill crossed by two important rivers, the Eresma and the Clamores. It’s a Roman city because it has been a very important military center during the Roman Empire.
The Medieval era marks its architectural development, Segovia then became an important industrial center for the textile production. It’s in this period that all the Roman buildings were constructed, they are still preserved to nowadays. Of course the aqueduct is one of those buildings, positioned right at the entrance of the city. A real jewel for its engine, the aqueduct used to carry water from 15 kilometres away. The Cathedral and the Alcazar are the second must-see of this route, and it’s impossible not to visit them because they are the first things you see after the aqueduct.
How to get to Segovia from Madrid?
  • By bus in less than one hour, there are a lot of stations where to start the trip
  • By train with the AVE, 30 minutes to the station and then by bus 15 minutes to the town center
  • By car it will take approximately one hour.
Official tour-guided trips usually start at the aqueduct, plaza Azoguejo. You should wear the most comfortable shoes, like the ones for hiking, it will take at least two hours to visit this huge place, and the city of full of uphills and uneven pavements. From the entrance of the city the Alcazar is within a walking distance. But get ready to spend lots of energy there because there is a tall tower, climb 152 steps and enjoy a great bird-view from high above. What might be impressive about the Alcazar is again the position and the surroundings. It is a crucial contact point for the Camino di Santiago, with the homonym door from where a special walk starts. After a two-hour discovery of the aqueduct and some arduous exploits at the Alcazar it is time to explore Segovia’s traditional gastronomy. Plaza Azoguejo and Plaza Mayor are probably the perfect places for restaurant hunt. You can sit outside when the sun is rising or setting and eat while watching the architectural beauty of this city. Typical food is the cochinillo which is roasted pork or milk-fed lamb, called lechazo, but there is also a good choice of fish for sea lovers. Trout usually rules the menu. Segovia is a full day trip and it takes time to visit everything. Segovia is a full day trip not also because it takes time to visit everything, but also because waiting for the sunset in the warm Spanish darkness is a great idea, since the illuminated aqueduct is the perfect end of this great route. Even more so that you ponder over it in a good company of Spanish wine and astounding Roman architecture.
If you don’t want to waste time of your Segovia visit you should reserve a Segovia Day Trip before heading to the city and walk around with the best guides.
There are many gateways from the Spanish capital that you can handle in a day in a relaxed way, just one-hour drive or half an hour train journey would take you to awesome retreats.
The most common are: El Escorial, Segovia and Toledo. Every touristic stall in Madrid offers all these one-day trips for usually more than 50 euro with the bus tickets and some museum entries.
The truth is that you can organize a very pleasant route for half, or even less than half of that price. Between these three options, the first unmissable is Toledo.

Discover Toledo

Less that one hour by bus, around 10 euro for the round trip, and amazing escalators will load all the tourists right at the top of the hill where all the main attractions are.
The first thing that everyone needs to know about Toledo is that it is called “the city of three cultures” which is its most emblematic feature, intertwining three different worlds.
As most of our favorite sights, Toledo is a part of the UNESCO Heritage for its unique history and untouched patrimony.
The first thing to visit is the Museum Santa Cruz, very close to Plaza de Zocodover. It’s a cultural space born from the merge of the Hospital de Santa Cruz and the Convento de Santa Fe, offering different temporary exhibitions all year.

toledo travel madridiana

The front side of the Alcazar over the terrace

Then it’s time to move to Alcázar, the place where you can spend hours admiring all the historic pictures and military armaments. Four floors, I don’t know how many rooms and topics and things to see, but you should spend at least two hours in here. It is not just about the inside, the special location of this building gives the mind-blowing view from the top of the hill.
toledo travel madridiana

This position gave Alcázar an opportunity to become an important and strategic venue during Spanish Civil war.

Time to rest and eat something typical in one of the numerous tapas bars in the tiny streets that connect Alcázar with the second most important venue of the city: the Cathedral.
Before arriving at the Cathedral, it is interesting to step into these tiny streets where a lot of Arabic buildings can be found, easily recognizable by their architecture and decorations.
As all the city museums have military collections on display, the local souvenir shops also specialise in this merchandise, most popular tourist take-aways are souvenirs dedicated to the war history.
Knives and guns are everywhere, it is really impressive. By the way, the choice of marzipan is enormous, at it is considered the most typical food of the area.
 toledo travel madridiana

The Cathedral of Santa María de Toledo is huge and gothic, and the entrance ticket is 10 euros, but there is a dedicated free entrance (in the picture) if you want to pray, exactly on the opposite side from the main entrance.

Of course, there is a sort of a fence of this area, but you can at least see and have an idea of the style and the dimensions of the church from the inside.
It was built in 1226 during Catholic monarchy and is considered one of the greatest examples of Gothic architecture in Spain.
On the 15th of August, there is a strange tradition during the Virgen del Sagrario celebrations. The Cathedral is full of water from the Pozo (well) del Claustro because it is considered miraculous, and you can later buy this water all year long, at the entrance.
On Sundays at 9 am when the holy mass starts, it is also great to hear the incredible pipe organ.
The Jewish area is very close to the Cathedral, that’s why visiting at least one of the synagogues right after the Catholic marathon is a very good idea.
toledo travel madridiana

The view from the Alcazar (the Cathedral on the left)

Toledo is famous for its tolerance and who different cultures that have coexisted together for such a long time, even though the Jewish community was expelled from Spain in 1492 with the edict of expulsion.
If you are not a staunch devotee of any religion, visiting churches is still a good idea, you can focus totally on art instead of religion.
Inside Santo Tomé church, in fact, there is one of the most famous Spanish works of art by El Greco. 
toledo travel madridiana

El entierro del señor de Orgaz – El Greco (Photo Credit: Wikimedia Foundation)

Do you recognize it? It’s the representation of “el entierro del conde de orgaz” which means “The Burial of the Count of Orgaz” right at the entrance of the church. It’s oil on canvas dated 1588. It illustrates a popular local legend. Being an exceptionally large painting, it is clearly divided into two zones: the heavenly above and the terrestrial below, brought together in a single composition.

The entrance is not free, but for meager 2 euros you can see this masterpiece and the church of course.
It is strictly prohibited to take pictures inside Santo Tomé, a bodyguard is constantly observing the visitors ready to block every attempt to shoot.
Not enough of El Greco? Well, Toledo is the right place for El Greco lovers. You can finish the day visiting the museum dedicated to him.
Make sure to visit this city when in Spain because “You haven’t seen Spain until you saw Toledo”.
Curious about the other two one day trip mentioned at the beginning of the blog? A new article about them is coming soon.
If you don’t want to waste time of your Toledo visit you should reserve a FREE TOUR before heading to the city and walk around with the best guides.

fitur 2017

A world tour in a day.

I appreciated a lot all the different folk activities, with popular traditions at their best.

What I disliked about this fair was the incredible mess when there was free coffee or free food taste. Incredible. And the queue at Burger King during lunch time was unbelievable.

I went on a public day, on Saturday and many stands were even empty. No people, no information.

The South America Pavilion is always the most interesting and active in all the tourism fair I’ve been. Andalucia was incredible, with a concert, a beautiful architecture, lots of informations and people working, folk groups everywhere.

Check out some pictures I toook.

fitur 2017

fitur 2017 fitur 2017 fitur 2017

Copenhagen, the capital of Denmark, like most of the Nordic cities, is one of the happiest places in the world. In this city you can see people leaving a stroller with their child inside or outside a cafe while they are sipping hot tea. Even though there is more cycling culture and pedestrian travel than ever before, there is almost no corruption.

Ideal for a weekend in Denmark, Copenhagen can be the end or the beginning point of a Danish coast to coast excursion. You can visit the city and just walk around, mesmerized by the attractions and the history, or do what locals do and ride a bike, making sure you don’t actually end up in a traffic jam. The port area has great dining facilities; you can find street food stalls or before it was closed a five-star restaurants like the Noma.

The Tivoli Gardens
Tivoli gardens copenhagen

These very famous gardens and amusement park were built in 1843. The Park has more than 20 attractions, like roller coasters, outdoor theatres, restaurants, gardens, and also a hall for concerts. If you have the opportunity to go at night it will be a remarkable experience to see the fantastic night lights and attend a concert in the middle of the park. Many movies have been made using the gardens as a backdrop and it has been visited by Hans Christian Andersen and Walt Disney, as well.

If you are thinking about a trip to Copenhagen during the winter, that’s a very good idea, especially during Christmas time. Copenhagen becomes even more special and magical at that time of year.

 
Christiansburg

Like most of the European capitals, the parliament building in the city is always an attraction for tourists. As an example, think about Westminster in London or the futuristic Norman Foster glass dome at the top of the Reichstag in Berlin.

Christiansburg Palace was the residence of the royal family until the 1794 fire, after which it became the parliament building.

Nyhavn
nyhavan copenhagen

Nyhavn is the ancient port of the city and is probably the most famous place in Copenhagen. It is in the center of the city and was a crucial part of the economy in the past and is a strategic colorful attraction for tourists today, even though, in the past, it was also considered as a dangerous area.

It’s a must-see attraction. Perfect for a Sunday lunch or a relaxing dinner, the street food market closes at 10 pm and it’s a great, inexpensive alternative for a typical meal or you can try some of the other cultural food stalls; there is something for everyone.

The Little Mermaid
the little marmaid copenhagen
The iconic statue, The Little Mermaid, is a mandatory stop for everyone visiting Copenhagen. Probably one of the most common selfies in the world and for a lot of people also a huge disappointment, mostly because of the size of the statue and the over-crowded situation. The Little Mermaid became a famous attraction in Copenhagen because it was mentioned in one of Hans Christian Andersen fairy tales. The statue is located at the Langelinje port in the city.
Rundetårn (The Prince’s Mansion)
In practically all capital cities, there is, of course, a national museum. The Prince’s Mansion is the location of the National Museum of Denmark, an attraction you should not miss it if you want to discover more about the Danish culture and history. This is a fantastic place to better understand the history of this nation.

Some of the things you will see here includes a great collection of ancient remnants from Danish churches and some beautiful ceramics and old coins. There is also a section dedicated to Eskimo stories, as well as opportunities to learn about the populations from Asia, Africa, India, and Australia.

Statens Museum for Kunst
As the Prince’s Mansion was about the history of Denmark, the Statens Museum for Kunst is a collection of Danish works of art from the 1700s to contemporary art and is called the National Gallery of Denmark. It also contains other national exhibitions from all over the world. The museum is huge, so be sure you familiarize yourself with the gallery before starting your visit.
 
Rundetårn
The Rundetårn is the most famous tower in Copenhagen. It is 236 meters high and built in 1642 as an astronomical observatory. Inside it is empty but is not disappointing, as the spiral staircase and the view from the top over the city are worth every step you take during your visit.
Amalienborg
The Amalienborg Palace is the actual residence of the Danish Royal Family and has been since 1794. There are four different buildings, Queen Margherita II and her family live in the Palace of Christian IX, and the Palace of Christian VII is used for the official visits.
 
Strøget
Strøget is the shopping area of Copenhagen; you can’t miss it if you prefer a pair of new shoes instead of a souvenir. You can also find many shops, boutiques, cafes, and restaurants as well. Among all the northern capitals, Copenhagen is the fashion capital, so you are in the right place if you want to discover young emerging talent. 
Christiania
 christiania copehagen

It all began as a Hippie settlement in the seventies and now Christiania is a self-proclaimed autonomous neighborhood of about 850 residents with no cars, only bikes and wild horses on the streets. They have their own currency and their economy is based on the business conducted in Pusher Street. It’s the most peculiar thing you will see in Copenhagen; it is one of a kind sightseeing; it’s original and different from all the things you have seen before your visit to Christiania; you’ll feel like you’re in another world.

Last but certainly not least, if you are a beer lover, Copenhagen gives you the opportunity to visit the birthplace of Carlsberg.