If I had to describe Sintra with one word it would be a fairytale. This town near Lisbon made of palaces, exotic gardens, all kinds of architectural styles, surrounded by calming, kind of mystical forests is something that words cannot describe. Lord Byron called it a “glorious garden” and Hans Christian Andersen called it “the most beautiful place in Portugal”. It takes only 40 mins by train from Lisbon and it has to be on everyone’s ‘To See’ list. Most people who come to Sintra tend to choose two or three sights to see as there are a lot to go through and each palace is very big and requires at least an hour to explore. We chose 2, one very touristy and one very quiet but still amazing.
The first stop was Pena Palace which is the main and the most famous castle and therefore the most busy with tourists. The palace is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, one of the Seven Wonders of Portugal and it is the most colorful and original palace I’ve ever seen, like a real life Lego structure mixed with a castle from 1001 nights. The palace dates back to the Middle Age when it served as a chapel and later it was a royal Portuguese residence.
The afternoon was reserved for Monserrate Palace,a palace surrounded by luscious gardens built in 1856 by Francis Cook, a famous British art collector. Even though you will find it when you Google Sintra palaces , this place is like a hidden gem. Completely different than Pena Palace which was buzzing with tourists, Monserrate was so peaceful with mainly gardeners and builders walking around.
What I wore: Dress: Zaful | Bag: Shein | Trainers: Converse
Only 90 minutes from London, Bath is the perfect place for a weekend gateway. With its famous Georgian terraces, thermal spa waters, cream teas and Jane Austen – it’s so easy to fall in love with it. English charm pulls in visitors from all around the world and because it has so many historic buildings, the entire city has been made a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Last weekend we decided to explore this beautiful place and as I had never been before we wanted to fill our day with as much as possible.
Hunter & Sons
This place is famous for their balance of craft beers, light bites, coffee and cakes but they also have an amazing brunch menu which is available until 4pm. Another advantage is that it’s secluded and therefore not touristy which is great for a relaxing lunch. The staff are also very friendly which creates an atmosphere that is super chilled and welcoming.
14/15 Milsom Place, Bath BA1 1BZ
Coffee shop culture is big in Bath so it was very hard to choose a place for an afternoon rest. We happened to walk past ‘The Corridor’, opposite the Guildhall and couldn’t resist popping in after seeing the lovely frontage and eye-catching bar. The cafe is very light, has a very relaxing feel and the coffee is as great as the cake menu.
This place is a magazine-lovers dream! Here you’ll find those hard-to-track-down titles and discover many new magazines. From art and design to fashion, travel, music and film – the choice is overwhelming.
This shop is absolutely the cutest in Bath. They stock absolutely beautiful items for the home, as well as food and drink. You can relax here with a cup of tea and piece of cake, but also attend a variety of different workshops in their space upstairs, featuring photography, embroidery, houseplant workshops and more.
If you are one of those people who like to avoid tourist traps, it will be hard to avoid them in Bath. You will probably stumble upon some of the sites during the day and they are completely free, but then there are those that are a little bit costly.
The Roman Bathsis one of those. The first baths were built here in 70AD and over a million liters of 46°C water still flow into them every day. You can take a tour around the ruins of the Great Bath and the temple of Sulis Minerva. Don’t try the water from the bath itself though as the water is not processed but you will have an opportunity to try the warm spring water at the end of the tour (Although the experience is not the greatest because water has a strong iron taste). It costs £17 (adult) or £15(senior/students) to gain entry to the baths but they are worth seeing.
One of my favorite spots was the Royal Crescent, one of the most famous Bath landmarks. These Georgian houses laid out in a crescent were built in the 1700s and haven’t changed a lot. Most are private residences when they’re not being used by film crews for period dramas, but Number 1 Royal Crescenthas been turned into as a museum. You can go back in time to the 18th century inside and see how the Georgians lived.
Just a stones throw away is a similar row of houses called Circus where the houses are positioned in a circle but with the same Charles Dickens novel feeling.
We also took a walk along Pulteney Bridge. It’s one of the few bridges which has shops built into the sides and the facade is still very well preserved.
If the weather is good you can take a boat trip along the River Avon or have a picnic in the Parade Gardens which are just next to the river.
Being such a small city, Edinburgh is a great place to see in a long weekend. Despite its size, there’s always so much going on here and never a dull moment. I made a list of my favorite places to visit whilst here.
The Pantry is located in Stockbridge, which is about a 20-minute walk from the main Waverley train station, it’s possibly the cutest little brunch place and one I strongly recommend you visit. The space is very light, stylish and comfy to sit in.
The brunch menu consists of my favorite things like Eggs Benedict and Waffles. I went for Virgina Cured Bacon Waffles with bacon, maple syrup and fresh blueberries.
1 North West Circus Place, Edinburgh EH3 6ST
The Cuckoo’s Bakery
By the time we arrived at Cuckoo’s Bakery at 4pm, most of the cupcakes were already sold out which was a sign that this place is a hit for sure. Even though it is cake heaven, it’s also a great place for brunch and lunch. I ended up opting for the banana sponge cupcake made with gluten-free flour, filled with caramel and topped with peanut butter frosting.
150 Dundas St, Edinburgh EH3 5DQ
If you want to experience one of the most breathtaking views of Edinburgh climb up Calton Hill. With its panoramic city view, view of the North Sea and many monuments including the Forth Bridge, it is an idyllic spot to have an afternoon rest.
I don’t really need to tell you why it’s so great to visit an actual medieval castle, but it’s worth your time. The Royal Mile (another place you need to visit) will lead you straight to the castle where you can get tickets from £17. Or you can simply enjoy the view of the castle from the Princes Street Gardens.
Castlehill, Edinburgh EH1 2NG
While you are at Stockbridge take a chance to explore this urban village. Here you’ll find the most picturesque street, Circus Lane, lots of charity shops and independent cafes but at the center of Stockbridge you will also find the food market which is there every Sunday.
Stop here for a look around the stalls, and get some incredible street food all from local artisan suppliers.
Just a short walk from Stockbridge you will find Dean Village. Dean Village feels a world away from the hustle and bustle of the city, and if you’re lucky St. Bernard’s Well might just be open too. Dean Village looks more like a part of France with its turret style buildings overlooking the river.
Golden Hare Books
This cute bookshop is in the Stockbridge area too, surrounded by cool vintage shops and pretty houses and it totally stands out with the beautiful navy and gold exterior. It’s the dreamiest independent shop- with walls filled with selections of beautiful editions of new and old books, everything from poetry, fiction to children’s classics.
68 Saint Stephen Street, Edinburgh EH3 5AQ
The Red Door Gallery
This little gallery and shop is filled with artwork, independent sellers (which include everything from jewelry to stationary) and plenty of prints in between. It sits in the middle of Victoria Street, which is absolutely worth visiting as well!
42 Victoria St,Edinburgh, EH12JW
Home and lifestyle shop, with the interior inspired by typical minimalist and clean Scandinavian design. It brings together a contemporary collection of clothing, shoes, jewelry, homeware, furniture, making the store a must shopping destination in the Scottish capital.
During our time in Venice we made it a priority to visit the magical island of Burano- a small island a stone throw (or an hour and a half boat ride) away from the central island of Venice. Known for its rainbow parades of colourful houses and its ornate and traditional lace shops- it feels like worlds away from red bricked houses in London.
We arrived just after lunch on very warm and sunny Sunday so the island was very busy. Our goal was to see as many alleyways and Pantone colour hues as possible while stuffing our face with cannoli and gelato. With the whole island consisting of only roads and weaving canals- we set off with no direction to discover the beauty of this special Italian island.
First established by the Romans, Burano didn’t really establish much importance until the 16th Century when the women of the island began to hand stitch lace. Leonardo da Vinci visited and purchased a cloth from one such local woman. He used it to cover the altar of the Duomo di Milano, cementing Burano as the place to get your lace.
While the women who’d brought fame and fortune to the island practiced their craft, the men would go out into the lagoon to fish. Painting their houses bright colours to spot them from a distance and find them in even the darkest storm.
The tradition stuck and is now a carefully controlled trademark of the island. Popular with artists and the odd fisherman, if you want to paint your house you must apply to the government who will tell you which colour to use.
This care has preserved one of Venice’s greatest treasures.
The first thing you have to see in Verona is the famous “Arena Di Verona” the Roman amphitheater in Piazza Bra, built in the first century. It is still in use today and famous for the large-scale opera performances given there. Known as one of the best preserved ancient structures of its kind, in ancient times, the Arena could take nearly 30,000 people but nowadays, for security reasons, the maximum attendance is 15,000 people.
Getting off the Piazza Bra you will enter Via Giuseppe Mazzini, the shopping zone with all of the best-known designer and high street shops, so by the time you come to the end of the street you’ll want refreshments. The best place for this is cafe Venchi. They have amazing chocolates but the thing that attracted me the most are strawberries with Nutella and cream. So delicious!
Right next to the Venchi cafe is Casa di Guilietta also known as “Juliet’s House”. There are a few things that you can do here, for example grab Juliet’s boob for good luck, go inside the house and stand on the balcony for which you will pay €6 or buy a lock, write your names on it and then lock it on one of the bridges.
Just a short walk from Casa di Guilietta is the second biggest square in Verona, Piazza delle Erbe with all of its coffee shops and restaurants, souvenir stands, good looking facades and best of all Amorino, the prettiest looking ice cream.
For an afternoon rest, I suggest going to the quiet gardens, Giardino Giusti. I was expecting to see lots of tourists but these gardens were so peaceful and beautiful.
There is another thing you can’t miss when you are in Verona and that is the view. From Ponte Pietra (the Stone Bridge built in roman times) a beautiful staircase through old stylish houses and beside the roman theater (Teatro Romano), will lead you, in less than 10 mins, to the top of this hill from where you will enjoy an amazing view over the old town.
When it comes to food, you can find several restaurants that serve great food. Pasta here is amazing and the best pizza I ever had was in Verona. But for breakfast I would suggest the Duchi Cafe. Not just because it has a stunning interior but the croissant selection is to die for.
With having only one full day in this beautiful city, we had lots to cover. The mission looked impossible because Venice is so crowded and busy all the time. The fact that it was Easter weekend didn’t help. There are some empty alleys so try to avoid the main San Marco Square or Rialto Bridge which can get very crowded during afternoons.
But everything is worth it when you see how photogenic this city is. We’ve been walking all day even though you can get a boat from one place to another but it will take the same amount of time while on foot you can actually explore every hidden corner (and possibly get lost few times). After visiting the main attraction Ponte Rialto and Piazza di San Marco we headed to Libreria Acqua Alta, the self-proclaimed most beautiful bookshop in the world.
This unique bookshop is composed of a number of rooms stacked wall-to-wall with books, magazines, maps on different languages. Due to Venice’s constant flooding, these picturesque piles are all placed inside bathtubs, waterproof bins, and even in a full-size gondola. Climbing up the staircase made of books at the back you can have a view of one of the canals which makes this place even prettier.
If you’re a fan of modern art, the Guggenheim Collection in Venice is a must see. You’ll find amazing pieces by artists like Jackson Pollack, Michele Duchamp, Pablo Picasso, and Salvador Dali to name a few. And for some wow moments definitely visit Ca’ d’Oro palace, the oldest palace in Venice and of course enter the beautiful Basilica di San Marco and climb to the balcony for the great view. Other places to take note of (and keep your eyes peeled for) include Santa Stefano, Palazzo Fortuny, Musica Palazzo and Basilica Della Saulte.
Don’t forget to eat lots of pasta, pizza, gelato and cannoli while you are drinking the most popular drink in Italy- Aperol Spritz, a cocktail which is the mix of Aperol , prosecco and sparkling water. The one restaurant I would highly recommend is Taverna Scallinetto with amazing interior and delicious original Venetian dishes. Luckily we booked in advance because the place was packed.
Other food spots: Da Ivo, Cà D’Oro alla Vedova (famous meatballs and wine), Bistrot de Venise, ai merchant, De Pisis, Harry’s Bar for drinks
“Traveling. It leaves you speachless , then turns you into a storyteller.” Ibn Battuta
If there’s one place I’ve been that has made me want to stay forever, it’s Barcelona. Everything about it is just so… cool. The food is delicious, the beach amazing, the streets are full of character, the sun shines and the people are so friendly!
There are so many things to see and do in Barcelona but I tried to make it short and choose my absolute favourite.
Eat & Drink
Brunch & Cakeis probably the most popular place for brunch in Barcelona. With few different branches to choose from we went to one closest to Barceloneta- Brunch &Cake by the Sea. Food is healthy and delicious and plates are decorated just perfectly for Instagram snaps.
The other option, Milk bar & bistrois legendary for it’s ‘recovery brunch’, widely viewed as one of the best in Barcelona.
Hammock Juice Stationis a place where you can go for relaxing afternoon because it’s hidden from the tourists. Besides this spot being vegan, its design is bohemian and incredibly charming with 8 hammocks hanging from the ceiling. Their organic juices are delicious and refreshing.
Tapas 24located near Passage de Gracia can be a problem if you don’t like queueing but usually, table for two you can get pretty quickly. It’s one of the unique tapas places in Barcelona and serves delicious tapas which is not overpriced.
Granja Dulcinea is a place where I keep coming back for churros and hot chocolate. They are probably the best churros you’ll ever have. Also, their traditional decor is making a lovely calming atmosphere.
Hire a bike and explore the city. Also, the alternative route is to ride along the beach. There is a Green route for bikes that leads you to Badalona, north suburbs of Barcelona.
Badalona is very quiet, clean and so beautiful that sometimes it doesn’t seem real. Mainly locals are coming to this beach and it’s not really known to tourists.
Boqueria Market is one of the most famous food markets in the world, and with good reason. It’s a great place to wander around, try fresh and local foods.
Tour Gaudi is a must. The Modernist architect Antoni Gaudí has left his mark all over Barcelona. My favourites are Parc Guell, Sagrada Familia and Casa Batllo.
Explore Gothic Quarter! The best way to spend hot afternoon days. There so many things to see in those pretty streets.
Galeria Maxo is a place where you should go for a souvenir that is different than all those touristy things. I was completely amazed by everything I saw in the gallery.
Wander the different neighbourhoods of Barcelona, my favourite being Barceloneta ( beachy vibe), El Born (gothic quarter) and Gracia (artsy quarter).
Parc de la Cuitadell is located between Barcelona’s Arc de Triomphe, Estació de Francia and Olympic Village. I love this park because of its architecture and beauty but also numerous activities like boat rowing in the lake, the Natural Museum, conservatory, zoo and – a big statue of the mammoth. Also, the fountain in the middle of the park was built with contribution of Antonio Gaudi.
Remember, you are in the city that lives for football so being a fan or not, head to Camp Nou to see the home of one of the best teams in the world. Even better option is to try to get the ticket for their home game.
The best thing to do is to live like locals – wake up late, ride a bike, have paella by the beach and then spend the afternoon with sangria. Finish the day with late dinner!
Dubrovnik is called the “Pearl of the Adriatic” and in my opinion, there are very few places in Europe that can match this place when it comes to beauty and it should be on top of everyone’s travel list.
Know as King’s Landing from HBO’s Game of Thrones now got even more hype because it will be featured in new Star Wars VIII movie.
After visiting Dubrovnik this summer and experiencing all the beauty I’ll share some of my favourite things to see and do.
Have Breakfast at Dubravka 1836
We discovered this place on our first day and we loved it. Dubravka is a restaurant and a cafe that serves everything from breakfast to dinner but we liked breakfast so much that we kept coming back. It’s located near Pile Gate and you get stunning views of the fortresses Lovrijenac, Bokar and Minčeta. You can choose from few different types of breakfast and every single one is massive, delicious and great value for money. We were also lucky to get the table close to the edge
Walk The Walls
Probably the first thing every tourist does in Dubrovnik is walking the giant Walls of Dubrovnik. 1,940 metres long and 25 meters high, with 3 forts- Minceta Tower, Fort Bokar and St John fortress, Walls will keep you occupied for at least one hour.
There are 3 gates where you can enter- Pile, Ploce and Buza and for entrance, you’ll pay approximately £13 per person.
My advice is to avoid to climb the Walls between 11 and 5 because heat and tourists can turn this amazing experience into torture. Bring water and camera and take advantage of many photo opportunities along the way.
Explore the Old Town
Old Town Dubrovnik at night is as beautiful as it is during the day. From white cobblestone streets to the maze of stairs filled alleyways that make up Old Town, there are endless routes to explore.
Stradun or Placa is the main street of Dubrovnik. The pedestrian street runs some 300 metres through the Old Town. Many shops, restaurants and cafes are located there but because it’s main tourist promenade prices are much higher than in the rest of the town.
It can get overcrowded so the best time to go it’s early morning.
Lokrum is a small, inhabited island just a short 15 min boat ride. This island can provide you with few hours of fun in the sun or hiking to the highest point(96m) Fort Royal Castle. The climb is steep but once when you get there the view of Dubrovnik and coastline is spectacular.
Lokrum is also home to an old monastery, botanical gardens and a small lake called Mrtvo More or the (Dead Sea). And Game of Thrones fans will be amazed because there is a real Iron Throne in which you can sit and take the picture.
Be aware, island is inhabited by gangs of cute peacocks and rabbits that seem to be around every corner on this island!
Cost: Round boat trip is around £10
Have a Drink at Buza Bar
In the old Dubrovnik dialect, buža means ‘hole’ and indeed,to get to the unique cafe bar you need to go through the hole in the wall. Buza is one of the most beautiful bars in Dubrovnik located on the cliffs where you are able to enjoy magnificent views of open Adriatic sea, island Lokrum and beautiful sunsets while drinking cocktails.
Catch Some Rays on the Beach
Dubrovnik’s main public beach is Banje Beach, located near Ploce gate, offers great view of the Old Town. Although many people rent lounge chairs and umbrellas, there’s no problem with just flinging a towel on the beach. There is a beach and lounge bar and restaurant which also turns into a night club in the evening.
Problem is this beach get overcrowded so you might want to find alternative.
Little bit further away is St Jacob Beach. This beautiful sandy-pebble beach is located in the elite part of Dubrovnik, in the cove below cliffs and the namesake church St. Jacob. The beach offers a spectacular view of the old town, city walls and on the island Lokrum.
Ride The Cable Car
The best view of Dubrovnik is certainly from the top of the Srd Hill. In a short ride, the cable car takes you from downtown Dubrovnik 778 m up where the amazing view will simply take your breath away.
While you are there, after you done your Instagram pictures, you can have a meal or a drink at the cafe and restaurant Panorama, visit Museum Dubrovnik in Homeland War or go on an adventurous ride with the Buggy Safari tour.
My recommendation is to get there just before the sunset for the most epic experience.
Price of return trip is around £13.
Have a Dinner at Taj Mahal
No,it’s not Indian restaurant as you might think. It’s bosnian! If you want sea food it’s very easy to find good sea food reastaurant but this bosnian place is something different. You have to be aware that queuqeing might take hours so it’s recommended that you book in advance.
Bosnian cuisine is mainly influenced by Turkish, Middle East and Meditteranean cuisine, consisted from both, meat and vegetables.
Try local specialties like cevapcici(grilled minced meat), burek, sarma, potato pie or ajvar.
Last birthday was definitely the best ever. I got a surprise ticket from my boyfriend that ended up to be Paris for 4 days! It’s definitely magical especially during Christmas and New Year but remember one thing- layers.
Paris is very cold during the winter, and I don’t mean London-like-cold. It’s cold everywhere, even at Metro stations and on the Metro trains there is no heating so you don’t have to worry about passing out on the train like you are most probably are during London rush hour.
On the first day ,we got lucky and we got sunny and pretty mild day so we decided to climb up to the top of Sacré-Cœur. It’s “only” 300 steps once you actually get to the church. Before that there is almost 100 more. But we made it and the prize was priceless
I would recommend this to everyone because personally I think that it’s a much better view from here than from Eiffel Tower.
Also don’t miss popular Laduree, one of the world’s best luxury bakery with the most delicious macaroons and Angelina, the place where you can try Paris’s best hot chocolate.
The queue will most likely be long so you better be prepared.
If you are into very delicious and expensive dinner head over to Kong, located on the last two floors of Kenzo office, in front of the Pont Neuf, this restaurant is in the sky with a view of the Seine. Halfway between Paris and Tokyo, you’ll be surrounded by Louis XV armchairs, plasma screens, a fluorescent staircase and a carpet of pebbles. Kong is very Parisian, luxurious and so yummy that the bill wasn’t a problem at the end.
Walking through Jardin des Tuileries can be really relaxing and even though it’s the middle of winter and there is no leaves on the trees, gardens are still pretty amazing. During the summer this place is crowded with people ,enjoying the flowers and sitting on the green chairs which can be found everywhere. This place is great for photographer because on one side you have Big Wheel and on the other is Louvre. One tip if you want to visit the museum -use the secret entrance to avoid all that crowd at the main, pyramid entrance. You can get there straight from Metro Station or Portes des Liones entrance in the SW wing of the palace.
Latine Quarter is one of the loveliest places in Paris. It’s a place full of dreamers,thinkers and philosophers where you can see young students reading poetry or doing romantic walks across Paris’s oldest bridge Pont Neuf. Latine Quarter borders two small islands, The île Saint-Louis is a residential village with boutiques and places to eat, while île de la Cite is full of office buildings and iconic monuments like Notre Dame and Saint Chapelle.
I realised in Paris everything is more elegant, even Starbucks and H&M but you would never guess this is just Abercrombie and Fitch
Those more interested in culture shouldn’t miss Opera Garnier, opera house commissioned by Napoleon that looks stunning from inside and outside. With ornate marble staircases that lead you to the main theater with Chagall mural and bronze and crystal chandelier.
Even though it was very cold and windy we couldn’t miss to climb up Eiffel Tower and enjoy magnificent view.
While you are in Paris you’ll see Tour Eiffel from everywhere but make sure you see the tower in the evening when it sparkles. Sparkling is on every hour for 5 minutes from night fall until 1am.
Although all the bridges that conect the right and the left banks of Paris are beautiful,the Pont Alexander is the most romantic. The bridge features are nouveau lamps, cherubs,nymphs and gilded statues.
Of course use one afternoon to walk along Champs Elysees, enter famouse designer shops(or Laduree again ) and reach Arc de Thriumph monument. You can even climb the Arc for another view of Paris.
Even though I saw so many things in four days I feel I missed so much as well so I’ll be back next summer to explore more.
I love to travel but because of my work I can’t do that as much as I want but that doesn’t stop me to have short weekend travels. London is great place for weekend travels.
Few weeks ago we decided to visit Oxford as I never been there before. Luckily my boyfriend was my tour guide. City of academic gowns,bikes and punts on the river is perfect for weekend gateway. It’s small enough so you can walk across it in a hour but still big enough to keep you busy. There are hundreds of years of academic history with museums and collages but there is also modern part of the city where you can explore great bars and restaurants.
So now here is my guide on how to spend a weekend in Oxford
Oxford university has 38 different collages around the city. Probably the best known is Christ Church- it had a role of Hogwarts in Harry Potter and its famous students-Lewis Caroll,Albert Einstein and 13 Prime Ministers .Other good collages are Merton, Magdalen,Corpus Christi, Hertford, All Souls and Oriel.
You can get 90 min walking tour around colleges with former student( 11am-4pm, £9,95 adults)
Outside Christ Church College
The Bridge Of Sights at Hertford College
Not just you can have a tour of Oxford Castle Unlocked ,you can also stay in Oxford’s castle-turned-prison-turned-hotel, the Malmaison and spend the night in cells or student room,depends how much money you have 🙂
Either way pop into the Malmaison for a cocktail in the old prison’s visitors room then take the a short walk around the corner for French bistro-style food at Côte Brasserie.
Oxford has a huge range of different museums to choose from. The city’s biggest is the Ashmolean with a mix of art and archaeological exhibits.
For something unusual, check out Pitt Rivers Museum. This anthropological museum was founded 125 years ago with 20,000 items donated by archaeologist Augustus Pitt Rivers.
Pitt Rivers Museum
Punting is something you can’t miss if you are visiting Oxford.There are two rivers in the city, the Cherwell and the Thames (which is called the Isis when it’s in Oxford).
Underneath Magdalen Bridge by the Botanic Gardens is where you’ll find the most punts. You can hire one that fits up to five people for £20 an hour , or get a boatman to do the work for you for £25 per 30 minutes.
Eating and Drinking
When you get hungry you can visit Covered Market with the range of different stalls from local farms and also cafes and sandwich bars . You can eat there or have a picnic by the river at Botanical Gardens. Also there is The Jam Factory – the birthplace of Frank Cooper’s famous marmalade and now home to local artwork.
Some of the best places to eat and drink in Oxford are riverside pub The Trout , historical pub Eagle and Child where writers like CS Lewis and JR Tolkien used to meet or vintage glasshouse Gees and many more.