The best 17 romantic date ideas in Paris


Are you looking for the best romantic dates ideas in Paris? You’ve come to the right place, this article is full of amazing date ideas in the city.


You’ve been dreaming of Paris, the glittering Eiffel Tower, the moonlit alleyways, the rooftops bars and beautiful balconies overlooking cobbled streets. Coming up with romantic date ideas in Paris isn’t difficult… It is the city of love after all!

Date night in Paris is like the ultimate date night, so you’ll want to make sure you plan to impress. So if you’re looking for romantic date ideas in Paris, we’ve compiled a handy list for you. We’ve sorted out the logistics so that you can just focus on living la vie romantique! 


Stroll along the Canal St Martin


This is where the cool cats hang out, so you’ll be sure to impress by looking like you know what you’re doing. This gorgeous stretch of city is full of bars and canal side dining spots, so you can enjoy the sparkling green gold waters of the canal whatever your budget.

For extra romance, though, we recommend heading to Liberté (a boulangerie) and picking up a black sesame baguette, popping into the fromagerie across the road, and picking up a bottle of wine. In the summer, the banks of the canal are over flowing with people drinking in the sun.

romantic date ideas in paris


Visit a Parc


Paris is a surprisingly green city, with lots of gorgeous parks in the centre. You could stroll along the manicured gardens of the Tuileries, or see the octagonal lake of the Jardin du Luxembourg, but in our opinion there are two parks that blow these ones out of the water for romance. As far as romantic date ideas in Paris go, these parks are prime spots! 

Parc des Buttes Chaumant

Nestled in the 19th, this park is absolutely stunning and makes a perfect romantic date idea in Paris. With wide reaching views from the pinnacle of its hill, waterfalls, gently rolling hills and sharp climbs you’ll be sure to find romance here, too. There’s also a couple of gorgeous bars, and a photo booth for peak date cuteness. 

Parc Monceau

Straddling the 8th and 17th arrondissements, this leafy park is dotted with what look like roman ruins. There’s a carousel and a crêperie in the centre, and many grassy slopes to lean against in romantic reverie. You can spend the day strolling around the beautiful park and enjoying the vibes and the views. 

romantic date ideas in paris.


Spend a night at the Moulin Rouge


The Moulin Rouge is a classic date night in Paris, it’s such a fun night out and it’s the kind of thing you’ll always remember too! The Moulin Rouge is truly world-renowned and world-famous, so watching this cabaret in Paris is a one-of-a-kind date night idea. A recommend booking tickets with a Champagne package too – just to add to the glitz and romance!

list of romantic date ideas in paris


Get falafel in le Marais


Next on my list of romantic date ideas in Paris, it’s Le Marais. Le Marais is one of Paris’ most romantic areas to potter around, with gorgeous little books and pretty cafes to while away the time with your beloved. It’s the perfect kind of day date in Paris, where you can just hold hands, stroll around and soak in the atmosphere. 

Le Marais is Paris’ Jewish Quarter, and is also home to a thriving LGBTQ+ community – but the pièce de résistance that it has to offer is the falafel. You can go upmarket or low, but I would highly recommend both Mi va Mi, and Miznon as the pinnacle of falafel. Impress your date with the knowledge of the best ones! If you’re both foodies, then this is a great romantic date ideas in Paris for you! 

the best romantic date ideas in paris


Take a river cruise


What better way to admire the iconic sights of Paris than on a river cruise? It’s such a beautiful way to spend an hour or two, and it’s a perfect romantic date idea in Paris. This is a date idea you can do at pretty much any time of the day – you could enjoy croissants and coffee on a morning river cruise, or take an evening river cruise and see the city lights flickering.

If you really want to step up the romance, then a 3-course dinner river cruise is a truly wonderful way to spend the evening and treat your loved one to a super special night out.

super romantic date ideas in paris


Picnic in Places des Vosges


Next on my list of romantic date ideas in Paris, it’s a picnic location called Places des Vosges! Also in le Marais, but providing you with amazing architectural eye candy, and a bucket load of people watching. There’s also la Maison de Victor Hugo really close by so you can show off your cultural prowess too.

In terms of what to get for a picnic, there’s plenty of shops nearby, but it’d you want to have the sandwich of your dreams stop by le Marché des enfants rouge for a sandwich at Miam Miam (French for Yum Yum), and take it with you to Place des Voges.  They’re the best sandwiches around so you won’t regret it! 

romantic date ideas in paris for couples


Château de Versailles


We couldn’t write a list of romantic date ideas in Paris without including Château de Versailles. Spend the date wandering around this gorgeous chateau, with the stunning hall of mirrors inside and the series of cascading fountains outside you’ll be sure to enjoy a gorgeous time. For extra romance points rent a boat and row down the Grand canal, it’s a picture-perfect opportunity for some cute couple selfies!

Be sure to pack a baguette and a bottle so that you don’t get too peckish on board! You can book tickets to enter the Chateau here

romantic date ideas in paris city centre


Spend the day at Disneyland Paris


OK, so this might not be everyone’s idea of a romantic date, for for many people a day trip to Disneyland is the ideal romantic surprise date! Disneyland Paris is located a short train ride from central Paris, and it’s such a fun and lively day out. If your other-half is a Disney fan, this is an ideal date idea for you! You can book tickets to Disneyland Paris by clicking here.


La Coulée Vert


This is an abandoned train line running from Bastille to Vincennes, and is now a verdant green space running like an artery from the woods to the city centre. It’s a 5km trail running through elevated gardens and tree lined cycle paths, and with views of the city to die for from some places! If your idea of a romantic date in Paris is lovely a stroll through a quiet part of the city, soaking in some lovely views – then this is for you. This is one of the best romantic dates ideas in Paris. 

romantic ideas in paris


Catch a vintage movie


Next on my list of romantic date ideas in Paris, catch a movie! Perfect for bad weather days, or winter dates, this is one of my favourite romantic date ideas in Paris.

Le Grand Action is one of the city’s oldest cinemas, and whilst taking a date to the movies is pretty basic, you’ve dialled it up a little by being in Paris, and now you’re taking them to a CLASSIC movie institution on the left bank? It’s already a hundred times more romantic, which definitely makes it one of the most romantic date ideas in Paris.


Take a private tour of the city


Next on my list of romantic date ideas in Paris, it’s a private (and super cute / romantic) tour of the city in an open-top car! I absolutely ADORE this date idea, I think it’s fun, memorable and quirky too! The tour lasts between 2-3 hours and you’ll get to explore the city of Paris and see all the best bits of Paris with your special someone! This is one of the best romantic date ideas in Paris, and definitely one of my favourite too!

You can book this tour by clicking here.

romantic date ideas in Paris


Sainte-Chapelle


Next up on our list of romantic date ideas in Paris is one of Paris’ most gorgeous sights, and the inside is enough to take your date’s breath away – it’s Sainte-Chapelle. It might seem a bit weird to take a date to church (cue the Hozier soundtrack) but this is one of those moments you’ll be talking about for a long time.

If you thought Paris’ cathedrals were limited to the Notre Dame and the Sacré Cœur, then you were wrong. The stained glass is kaleidoscopic, and in the evenings that can hold evensong concerts. 

romantic date ideas in Paris france


Septime La Cave


Amazing wines and small plates – just the kind of place someone would expect to be taken for dinner in Paris, but with a little bit of edge to keep things exciting. It’s the annex of the next door Septkme, a Michelin starred restaurant that, if you fancied splashing the cash, would be a much more upmarket date idea – though the two are equally romantic! A perfect option for romantic date ideas in Paris. 


Get literary at La Belle Hortense


A little tucked away nook in le Marais, La Belle Hortense is a hidden gem in Paris where you can settle down with a book and a glass of wine, or share a carafe whilst attending a reading. Check on their website to see who’s reading in order to get something in your language of choice! 

the best romantic date ideas in Paris france


Explore Montmartre


Next on my list of romantic date ideas in Paris, it Montmartre. Montmartre is one of Paris’s most beautiful neighbourhoods and it deserves to be explored and enjoyed! If you want a romantic date exploring the cobbled streets of Paris, sipped coffee and stumbling across boutique shops – then Montmartre is going to be your new favourite neighbourhood.

I love this romantic immersive tour of Montmartre, it guides you through the area so you can discover the most romantic places in Montmartre, which include Sacre Couer, Moulin Rouge, and Maison Rose.

list of romantic date ideas in Paris france


Take a cooking class together


Last on my list of romantic dates in Paris, it’s a cooking class. Paris is known for it’s incredible food, and the cuisine in Paris is world famous! If you want to explore the foodie side of Paris and take a cooking class together, I think it makes the perfect romantic date idea in Paris!

You can learn some new skills together, and then enjoy some delicious food together too. My favourite cooking class in Paris is this one. 

romantic date ideas in Paris france.


I hope this list of romantic date ideas in Paris has given you some great inspiration for planning the perfect date in Paris! Let me know in the comments which option you ended up going for on your date night / date day!

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Top 10 of the best chocolate shops in Paris


Are you looking for the best chocolate shops in Paris? It’s a city known for many things… and delicious chocolate is one of them!


Paris: city of light, of love, and of damn good chocolate. If you’re looking for the best chocolate shops in Paris… You’ve come to the right place. 

We’ve made a handy list of the best Chocolateries (french for chocolate shop) in Paris , so you can get your chocolat where the locals do! There are lots of amazing chocolate shops in Paris, so finding the best might seem a bit overwhelming or confusing – especially with so many incredible choices at your finger tips. 

Think velvety ganache, a sumptuous Chocolat Chaud (hot chocolate) or little somethings to take home to all your friends… Or just to eat in your hotel room after a long day of sightseeing… These are the best chocolate shops in Paris. 

The best chocolate shops in Paris


Jacques Genin – Le Marais


First on my list of the best chocolate shops in Paris, this place is an INSTITUTION. It’s been voted the best chocolaterie in the world, and Jacques himself has the title of best Chocolatier (chocolate maker). Previously, you could only get these decadent morsels in top restaurants, but this little boutique means you can get yourself a couple. No list of the best chocolate shops in Paris would be complete without Jaques Genin’s amazing creations.

The best chocolate shops in Paris


Patrick Roger – Saint Michel


Next up on the best chocolate shops in Paris, somewhere chefs and foodies love to visit. Where other Parisian chocolatiers are going for the glossed, classy, decadence of a mirror glaze, Patrick Roger is ailing for pure artistry. His chocolate hens look like they may lay chocolate eggs, or begin clucking at any moment. There’s a few locations around the city, but the one at St Michel is our favourite. It’s definitely one of the best chocolate shops in Paris, and one of the most unique and impressive too. 

The best chocolate shops in Paris.


Pierre Marcolini – Odéon


Not a French chocolatier, but this Belgian master can turn out petits morceaux (little morcels) like the best of them! The store is stark and black and very modern, but don’t be deterred! The chocolate is delicious and comforting and so beautifully made.

This chocolatier is all about taste, from white chocolate and raspberry hearts to truffles that you could die for. Definitely one of the best chocolate shops in Paris, especially if truffles are what you’re searching for! 


Henri Le Roux – Pigalle (but the fancy bit)


This is the personal shop of the man who invented salted butter caramel (is that not accolade enough?), and you can see the twist of invention and innovation in every single chocolate. Not to be missed and definitely one of the stand out and best chocolate shops in Paris. If you want something a little less touristy, this place is a good one to start with. 


Jean-Paul Hévat – 1st Arrondissement


When searching forthe best chocolate shops in Paris, we came across this amazing shop. This is where chocolate meets art –  but the star of this chocolaterie’s menu, is the Chocolat Chaud. It is like drinking a slice of heaven, and I highly recommend getting yourself there if only for one sip! 


Jean Charles Rouchoux – Rennes Sévres


This chocolatier is something of a star in St Germain. You can order a plethora of things from a plaquette du chocolat (a Mans torso made of chocolate, and a bit of a pun, because Plaquette du Chocolat is the french way of saying « six pack »). 

His shops sells all kinds of chocolate related goods, from coated fruit, to truffles, to candy-style pieces. It’s a chocolate-lovers idea of heaven and the prices are really reasonable too – offering lots of options for different budgets.

The best chocolate shops in Paris ideas


Plaq – le Sentier


Next on my list of the best chocolate shops in Paris, it’s Plaq. This is a very well kept secret, and I’m sharing this with you because it’s just so good! Situated on the Rue Du Nil in what used to be Paris’ textiles quarter is this, quite frankly amazing, chocolaterie. It’s on a street dedicated to amazing food after Grégory Marchand opened his restaurant Frenchie there in 2009.

You’ll find an amazing boulangerie, fromagerie, fishmonger, bucher, and three beautiful restaurants, and all of them support and supply each other. One of Paris’ coolest streets for sure, and worth the trip. 


Maison du Chocolat – 16th Arrondissement


Make a date with the dentist, because after Maison du Chocolat on our list of the best chocolate shops in Paris, you’ll need it. After starting his first chocolaterie in 1977, Robert Linxe has been inventing new chocolates ever since. This place is an absolute classic choice in Paris and the chocolates here are so delicious. 

Think twists on classic flavours and Asian spices, fresh fruit and chantilly cream. You’ll be in heavenand you’ll be planning to return the very next day, that’s for sure! 

list of The best chocolate shops in Paris


Un dimanche à Paris – 6th Arrondissement


The name means a Sunday in Paris, and you’ll feel all the relaxation of the day of rest after just one bite of these gorgeous chocolates. This place feels like you’ve stumbled across a neighbourhood gem, which is why it makes our list of the best chocolate shops in Paris. A concept store dedicate to cocoa, but one that also serves brunch on Sundays. I can’t even describe how amazingly decadent that brunch is – but just know that it’s worth every penny of the 55€ per head. 


Michel Chaudun – 7th Arrondissement


Last on our list of the best chocolate shops in Paris, is this adorable chocolatier, and his cavern of cocoa delights, Michel Chaudun. A wooden panelled 19th century shop, a chocolatier who just loves chocolate, and sales people who’s enjoyment of confectionary is just down right infectious will leave you wanting to sample everything and walk away with boxes and boxes of chocolate.

The best chocolate shops in Paris


I hope this list of the best chocolate shops in Paris has been helpful! You’ll no doubt have some amazing places to satisfy your sweet tooth during your trip to Paris!

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The top 11 best art galleries to visit in Paris


Are you looking for a list of the best art galleries in Paris? Keep reading to see my top picks for art in this amazing city.


So you’re looking for the best art galleries to visit in Paris… And what better city of art and culture can you find than Paris? (we know, we know, London, Berlin, New York, Tokyo, New Delhi – but Paris definitely holds its own!) for centuries it was heralded as the epicentre of art and culture, probably coming second to Athens, for the amount of artistic, literary, and philosophic innovation thanks happened within the Escargot of its arrondissements!

If you’ve come for the art, though, Paris is absolutely Jam packed with galleries in every district, from the cutting edge to the medieval. It can feel a little daunting to say the least, so we’ve made a list of must see galleries in this fair city, so that you know where to begin. 

best art galleries in paris france

A few tips before we start:

  • Almost all art galleries are free, or much cheaper, for students, OAPs and under 25s. If you’re not in any of these groups admission can be fairly pricy, so do be aware of that. 
  • Many galleries have late openings so you can see things in the evening and make a real event out of the art.
  • In November there’s La Nuit Blanch where all art venues in Paris are open and free for 24 hours. If you love art, and you wanna do a Helier smelter tour of the city’s galleries for free and in one day like a mad caper, this would be the time to do it. 

The Louvre


First up on my list of the best art galleries to visit in Paris, it’s the Louvre. Of course.

This gallery is nothing short of iconic. The Louvre is the world’s largest art museum, and was originally built as Chateau Louvre in the late 12th century, and after being extended multiple times into the beautiful palace it is now, Louis XIV decided to leave for the Palace of Versailles, and it became a museum for the royal collection. It’s now home to world famous paintings such as the Mona Lisa and the Venus De Milo, but get there super early if you want a glimpse of these.

In my experience, aim for the less well trodden paths. You can find the apartment of Napoleon III, and wind through eerily quiet rooms flooded with light. You might find a courtyard full of statues, and in hot summer days, hardly anyone else. In my opinion, the Mona Lisa is kinda overrated, and needing to fight through crowds of tourists with their arms outstretched trying to snap them and Mona in an enigmatic selfie is enough to kill anyone’s love of art. 

Tread the untrodden path, and see things you never thought you’d see. That’s the point of art after all. 

the best art galleries to visit in Paris


Musée d’orsay


Next on my list of the best art galleries to visit in Paris, this stunning museum is housed in a former Beaux Arts railway station, and has every intention of taking you on a breathtaking journey through French art from around 1850-1920. If you’re a fan of the Impressionists, and the later Post-Impressionists, the Musée d’Orsay is home to the largest collection of both. You can wander past stunning Renoirs, and Cézannes, and when standing in front of a glorious impressionist masterpiece, declare to your companion “the Monet or your life” for peak pun. 

This museum can get really busy, but nowhere near as much as the Louvre. Whilst Van Gogh’s Starry starry night can be found at MoMA in NYC, you will find the less well known, but no less gorgeous Starry Starry Night Over the Rhône Arles. 

best art galleries to visit in Paris.


Musée de l’orangerie


Another hot spot for Impressionist and Post-Impressionist fans, is this charming gallery located in the western corner of the Tuileries Gardens, which are themselves a gorgeous spot to see in the center of Paris. This is the place where you’ll find Claude Monet’s most famous works Water Lilies, of which there are eight large murals. It’s definitely one of the best art galleries to visit in Paris!

Napoleon III had the Orangerie built in 1852 to house the oranges from the Tuileries in the colder months, but after the fall of the Monarchy it became a state building, and became a public museum in 1922. The building was designed by architect Firmin Bourgeois, and is almost entirely glass on the seine side to make the most of the sun, and windowless to the north to protect the citrus trees inside from cold winds. This means that to be inside the building is to experience a place suffused with light.

The truly wonderful thing about Parisian architecture is its ability to flood internal rooms with natural light. The architecture therefore lends itself perfectly to impressionist masterpieces, which themselves use light as their primary characteristic. 

list of the best art galleries to visit in Paris


Musée d’Art Moderne


Next up on our list of the best art galleries in Paris is the Musée d’Art Moderne; one of the few museums in Paris whose main collection is completely free for all ages. They’ve a huge painted mural space as you climb the first flight of stairs that’s usually home to a huge installation. When I last went they had a gorgeous installation by Marguerite Humeau, whose work resembles internal organs, aliens, celestial creatures, cartoon mice, or perhaps something resembling all three, are given sonic resonance within a space in order to convey a narrative to you without using language. Humeau was also shortlisted for the Duchamp prize last year. 

Another reason this makes my list of best art galleries to visit in Paris, this museum is also home to some classic Matisse paintings and collages, and generally works its way through Modern and Contemporary Art from around 1920 to the present day. If your tastes lean away from more traditional forms of art – this might be a space for you. additionally, as it’s got less of a “name” you’ll also find way fewer tourists here, making for a more enjoyable museum experience à mon Avis. 


Atelier des Lumieres


Atelier des Lumieres is the next place on my list of the best art galleries to visit in Paris. It is situated on Rue St Maur (one of my favourite streets in Paris for its killer cafés, hoping bars, and amazing Italian Deli) in the 11e Arrondissement. It’s Paris’ first ever digital art museum, located in a former foundry and set up by Culturespaces (a French foundation who specialise in immersive art experiences).

Using state of the art Audi-visual techniques, familiar works are transformed into huge projections covering the vast 10metre high walks of the 3,300meter squared space. It’s hard not to be awed as you take in the space, concrete walls alive with colour, and art swirling before our eyes as we’ve never seen it before. 

If you only go to one art museum in Paris, I would definitely advocate for this one, it’s a 360 degree art experience like you’ve never seen before, and for €14.50 for full price, it’s a steal in my opinion. It’s fine art on the cutting edge, and it seeks to hanged the way in which we interact with more traditional art formats, making it accessible for everyone and eliminating the potential for being bored to traditional gallery spaces. If you’ve got bored teenagers, easily distracted kids, or if you’ve found yourself being either of those things in a gallery yourself, this is the perfect place to go. 

best art gallery in paris


Musée national Gustavo Moreau


In the upper half of the 9e Arrondissement is a museum dedicated to the life and work of symbolist painter Gustavo Moreau, and it’s definitely one of the best art galleries to visit in Paris, especially if you love his style. 

It actually used to be his home, but was transformed by him in 1895 to a studio. The museum contains a wide range of his artistic output, from paintings to sketches and sculptures. Moreau himself was a key figure of the symbolist movement in the 19th century, and their main focus was on creating biblical or mythological scenes.

Whilst this is quite unlike the museum we’ve just been talking about, the beauty and intricacy of his painting, along with the way that the museum have preserved his studio and presented his works is really something to see. Among Moreau’s main influences are the artists of the Italian Renaissance, think Davinci and Michaelangelo. André Breton regarded him to be a precursor to surrealism, too, so if you’re interested in art history, his work is kind of an interesting thing to see in terms of artistic progression.

the best art galleries to visit in Paris


Musée de Cluny


Musée de Cluny is your one stop Parisian shop for medieval art. This list of the best art galleries in Paris wouldn’t be complete unless we tried to get the breadth of all the art that Paris has to offer (and boy is there a lot)! This is definitely one of the best art galleries to visit in Paris, and it’s such a beautiful building too. 

This magnificent building is located in the Latin quarter (the 5e Arrondissment) and is partially constructed from remnants of the third century Gallo-Roman baths known as the Thermes de Cluny. The museum is split over two buildings, the cooling rooms of the aforementioned baths, and the Hôtel de Cluny itself. It houses a vast collection of art and objects from the Middle Ages, including the six stunning tapestries The Lady and the Unicorn, which are definitely worth a viewing. 

best art galleries to visit in Paris


Musée de La Vie Romantique


Next up on our list of the best art galleries in Paris is La Musée de la Vie Romatique (museum of the romantic life, or museum of the romantics in English). This is one for the dreamers, fans of the Romantic writer George Sand, the composer Chopin, and countless other French romantic artists, writers, composers and musicians, would do well to stop by this charming museum at the foot of Montmartre hill in the 9e Arrondissement. 

The house was the Paris base of Art Schaffer, who was a prominent artist at the time of building in being close to the Royal Family. For decades Schaffer and his daughter hosted Friday evening salons (parties where notable people would talk philosophy, politics, art and countless other subjects) which were some of the most famous of the time. It is due to these salons that these prominent romantics from Eugene Delacroix to Charles Dickens came to the house at all, and are now exhibited for us all to see!


Musée national Pablo Picasso


Next on my list of the best art galleries to visit in Paris, it’s all about Picasso. One word should get you into this museum: Picasso. Located in Le Marais, this darling little museum (though not very little really) contains more than 5000 works of art from paintings to ceramics, and even Picasso’s notebooks, photographic archive and personal correspondence. That alone makes it a key addition to this list of the best art galleries to visit in Paris.

The museum contains an amazing collection of Picasso’s work, all collected by Picasso himself and donated by Jacqueline Picasso’s daughter after her death. Picasso himself said “I am the greatest collector of Picassos in the world”, but the museum also contains many works that inspired him. From his lovely collections of Degas, cezanne, Rousseau and Matisse, to an extensive collection of African art and Iberian Bronzes. 

Mostly the museum works through Picasso life and work with a meticulous sequential chronology, but they’ve made an effort to show works by cartoonists who mocked Picasso’s style, to present some of the works thematically, and also to maintain space for contemporary exhibitions, and new ways of displaying some of Picasso’s works. 


Centre Pompidou


Next up on our list of the best art galleries in Paris is another iconic architectural feat: the Centre Pompidou. Designed in the “High Tech” architectural style by Richard Rogers and Renzo Piano, along with Gianfranco Franchini. It’s unique in that all the internal workings of the building from vents to lifts to structure, are showcased on the outside in bright colours, so that you can see how a building of that scale actually functions. 

As a huge cultural centre, it houses an enormous national library, a modern art museum, and the centre for music and acoustic research. The gallery itself is quite stunning, you can get a ticket for the main collection, and each billed exhibition will cost extra. Most recently I went to see the Francis Bacon exhibition there, which was fantastic.

The view from the top is also stunning, especially at sunset on a clear day, where the last amber rays of sunlight tinge the darkening sky, and the lights are beginning to illuminate all the famous monuments in the darkening gloom of the city. From here you’re reminded how beautiful Paris is, despite its quite distinct lack of height compared with American or British cities. 

the best art galleries to visit in Paris


Palais de Tokyo


The final entry on our list of the best art galleries in Paris is also dedicated to contemporary and modern art. Palais de Tokyo specialises in the emerging French and international art scene, and the building itself is one of true architectural beauty.

The museum self-describes as an anti-museum in permanent transition, and whilst it doesn’t actually manage to convey this sense of transgressing the museum space (it still very much feels like a museum) it does have an amazing array of cutting edge exhibitions, and has a real sense of being full of the art of RIGHT NOW, which feels quite refreshing in a city such as Paris, that often seems to rely more on its history as being a cutting edge city, rather than trying to continue to cut edges.

Due to this is it is completely unique in Paris’ artistic landscape, and 100% worth the entry price. Exhibitions are always changing, so be sure to check what’s on when you’re next in Paris. 


I hope this list of the best art galleries to visit in Paris has been useful! Comment below and let me know which you’ll be visiting!


 

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Your guide to the most scenic neighbourhoods in Paris


Are you looking for a guide to the most scenic neighbourhoods in Paris?


Paris is often heralded as one of the most beautiful cities on the planet. However, like any capital, it’s architecture can vary. For all the cobbled streets and winding alleyways of Montmartre, you’re sure to find an alleyway that smells like wee, and looks like the world has ended in it. Knowing where to find the best scenic neighbourhoods in Paris in key to enjoying your trip to this amazing city!

We know that you’ve come to Paris for it’s beauty (and there’s a lot of it to go around!) so we’ve made a quick fire list of the three most scenic neighbourhoods in Paris so that you can delight your eyeballs, and make all your friends at home jealous. 


Le Marais


Nestled on the right bank, in a crook of the Seine, straddling the 3rd and 4th Arrondissement is Le Marais, the first scenic neighbourhood to make our list of the most scenic neighbourhoods in Paris. The alleyways are pretty little streets that wind themselves into a centre smattered with ivy strewn courtyards, with amazing falafel places and sweet little boutiques.

Like a lot of Paris, Le Marais is super historic, and is home to many outstanding buildings of historic and architectural importance. From Hôtel de sens (in French, Hôtel doesn’t just mean a Hôtel, but signifies an important building like “Somerset House” in London isn’t actually a house. There’s also the National Archives, which is beautifully located, and loads of little tucked away squares and gardens to sit in a while. 

I would also definitely recommend a visit to the gorgeous Place des Voges, in the summer recline on the grass with a baguette, a bottle of wine, and a good pal (or a good book). In the winter, head to one of the neighbouring cafés for a vin chard, and people watch!

the most scenic neighbourhoods in paris


Montmartre 


You’ve seen Amelie, your Parisian dream is sharp hills, flights of stairs, cobbled walkways, and the red green glow of Bruno Delbonnel’s stunning cinematography. So, it makes sense that next up on our list of the most scenic neighbourhoods in Paris, and taking home the silver, is Montmartre, and I can tell you, it doesn’t disappoint. Even on a dreary wet and wintry day, this neighbourhood shines, with its sweeping views of the city, iconic cafés and charming wiggly streets. 

You’ll know La Maison Rose from Instagram (most scenic neighbourhoods in Paris are all over Instagram!), but I’d steer clear as its not quite as charming as it looks, and the owners are (quite rightly) very annoyed by people coming to take Instagram shots and nothing else. Head to soul kitchen instead for a far superior coffee and tasty home made food. 

Atop the hill are the meringue-like turrets of the Sacre Coeur, this almost Byzantine beauty offers an almost unrivalled view of Paris, though do be aware that it is quite a steep climb to the top. There is a funicular from Anvers metro station, though, and a really really cute road train that can take you all the way up!

the scenic neighbourhoods in paris


St Germain


This Parisian neighbourhood is nothing short of iconic, and is, in our opinion, the most scenic neighbourhood in Paris. It’s jam packed with famous cafés, like Café de flore, Les Deux Magots, and the Brasserie Lipp, and it’s literary history is everywhere to be found. All it’s avenues are beautifully wide, and leafy. During the 1950s and 60s this area was the epicenter of the existentialist movement, and so can’t really be divorced from names like Simone de Beauvoir and Jean-Paul Sartre. Yes, it’s a little further out of the city centre, but as far as scenic neighbourhoods in Paris, it’s worth the extra travel time. 

It’s home to l’Ecole des Beaux Arts, an internationally renowned art school, and the former apartment and studio of painter Eugène Delacroix (which is now a wonderful museum) so in terms of finding art and culture, this might just be the pinnacle of it.

If you’re after literary Paris, as found in the work of Proust, Wilde, Dickens, Boris Vian, and countless others – here is where you’ll find it!

the the scenic neighbourhoods in paris


19th Arrondissement


This Arrondissement is a little tucked away place in Paris’ north east corner, and it’s home to one of the city’s most beautiful parcs: Buttes Chaumant. It’s name means charming mounds, but it’s a completely landscaped place with rolling hills, and waterfalls; meandering pathways and sweet little cafés. The area as a whole is gorgeous, but this is definitely a place for the gram.

the most scenic neighbourhoods in paris


7th Arrondissement


This is the typical ‘touristy’ neighbourhood in Paris, which is why we saved it for the bottom of our list of scenic neighbourhoods in Paris. Yes, it simply stunning – but it’s super expensive to stop in and it’s a little crowded at times with visitors and tourists.

But, saying that, it’s beautiful. The iconic Eiffel Tower and its Champs de Mars park are at the heart of this neighbourhood, so of course it had to make the list of the most scenic neighbourhoods in Paris. There’s everything you’d expect, beautiful cobbled streets, green spaces, cafes and little shop fronts. All in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower herself.

scenic places in paris


Paris is so beautiful!

You’re bound to find gorgeous nooks and crannies everywhere you look! So if you think there’s a neighbourhood we’ve not given enough attention to, let us know!


 

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Which neighbourhood is the best for tourists in Paris?


Are you planning a trip to Paris soon?


If so you might be wondering which neighbourhood is the best for tourists in Paris, and where the best place to stop in Paris is, for sightseeing. Here we’ve talked through our favourite Parisian neighbourhoods, and which neighbourhoods are the best for tourists in Paris.

Which neighbourhood is the best for tourists in Paris.

Paris, like any capital city has an arrondissement for everyone (an arrondissement is like a borough or neighbourhood). Whether you’ve come to soak up any left over vibes of Sartre and de Beauvoir, live your Champs Elyssée fantasy, or get down and dirty to good music in dive bars. In terms of which neighbourhood is the best for tourists in Paris, it really does depend on what you want to get out of the city, so this list is going to break it right down for you so you know where’s best for you!


Which neighbourhood in Paris is best for sightseeing?


The 7th Arrondissement

If you’re wondering which neighbourhood is the best for tourists in Paris for sightseeing, is the super central 7th arrondissement. You’ve come to Paris to get killer views of the Eiffel Tower, to wander up wide boulevards in your bright young things attire, and nibble on the odd croissant. For quintessentially Parisian insta shots, the 7th Arrondissement is the one for you. It’s home to the trocadero and the Eiffel Tower, but also almost all major art museums, such as the Musée D’Orsay or the Musée Rodin.

Be aware that this is one of the glitziest neighbourhoods, so things can be quite pricy, but spending some time here will definitely pimp up the gram, and you’ll feel delightfully Parisian strolling these gorgeous streets.

Which neighbourhood is the best for tourists in Paris Which neighbourhood is the best for tourists in Paris


Which neighbourhood in Paris is best for nightlife?


The 10th and the 11th Arrondissement

These two areas are absolutely cracking for good nightlife. The 10th is home to the canal st Martin and boasts amazing restaurants and bars.in the summer you’ll find hundred of Parisian drinking wine on the canal banks and the vibe is super convivial. It also boasts cool clubs such as Le Java, and Point Ephemere.

The 11th is home to rue Oberkampf and Rue St Maur, both of which boast some of the best bars in Paris. For somewhere a little down and dirty head to Café Populaire. The beer selection is brilliant, and the clientele so friendly that you’ll be making like a Parisian in no time.

Which neighbourhood is the best for tourists in Paris


Which neighbourhood in Paris is best for authentic Parisian vibes?


The 6th or the 18th Arrondissement

Both of these Arrondissement are famous for their aesthetics and their history. The 6th is home to literary hot spots such as Les Deux Magots, famous for being the haunt of famous philosophers Simone de Beauvoir and Jean-Paul Sartre. It’s leafy and architecturally beautiful.

The 18th is home to the famous area of Montmartre, with the soaring meringue-like turrets of the Sacre Coeur atop the hill, and sweet little cafes and creperies you can’t help but feel like you’re living your Amélie dreams on its pretty cobbled streets. If you’re wondering which neighbourhood is the best for tourists in Paris, then this has to be at the top of the list. 

Which neighbourhood is the best for tourists in Paris !


Which neighbourhood in Paris is best for families?


The 5th Arrondissement

Though not as connected by metro as other districts in Paris, this is a great one for families! You’ve access to all the amenities, but the 5th offers a quieter, more village-y feel. Highlights include the Jardin des Plants and the natural history museum, so there’s loads to keep the little ones interested. You’re also a stones throw on foot from all the central sights. 

Which neighbourhood is the best for tourists in Paris


Which neighbourhood in Paris is best for Disneyland Paris?


Val d’Europe or Marne-la-Vallée

And lastly on my list of which neighbourhood is the best for tourists in Paris, it’s somewhere a little further out of the city. This little town on the out-skirts of Paris was actually built at the same time as Disneyland Paris, because Disney wanted a town near the park for guests to stay and for staff to live – and so Marne-la-Vallee was born.

The town is beautiful, it’s clean, quiet and obviously really well connected to the parks. You can get shuttles from most hotels, or you can get the public bus, or the train. It’s really easy, and there are plenty of cafes, restaurants, and even a huge shopping mall with supermarket.

Which neighbourhood is the best for tourists in Paris

 

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Where to stay in Rome and how to find the best accommodation


Are you looking for info on where to stay in Rome, and how to find the best accommodation?


Where to stay in Rome

Where to stay in Rome…. It’s a question you’re probably asking yourself a lot if you’re currently planning a trip there!

If, like us, you’ve been dreaming of living your Lizzie Maguire fantasy, whizzing through the streets of Rome on a Vespa and being mistaken for an Italian pop star, then you’ve been planning your trip to Rome since 2003. Don’t worry, it’ll live up to expectations! But before you start planning anything else…. One of the most important things about booking your trip to Rome is finding the right place to say, and that includes where to stay in Rome.

Luckily we went and checked them out for you and we’ve got five top recommendations for you! 


Where to stay in Rome for first time visitors


If you’re wondering where to stay in Rome for first time visitors, the Historic Centre is my recommendation. In terms of getting to see the most Rome-y bits of Rome you really can’t go wrong with staying in Rome’s historic centre. It’s beautiful, quintessentially Roman, and perfectly located for getting anywhere.

With it’s higgldey-piggledy historic lanes are countless amazing pizzerias, cafes, restaurants, and bars. You’ll find tiny little jewellers shops nestled between minuscule coffee shops, and a pizza places selling the most incredible pizzas to make your mouth water (and make it so that you’ll never want to eat ANYTHING ELSE ever again). This part of Rome is busy (so expect crowds) but it’s in the heart of everything, so a perfect choice for first-time visitors. 

Hotel recommendation: The 47 hotel is a gorgeous boutique hotel, with stunning balconies and views of Rome’s historic architecture. 

Where to stay in Rome near fountains


Where to stay in Rome for the safety conscious


Rome is actually a super safe city, and there aren’t really any no-go areas in the city centre itself. The historic centre above would be a good choice if you’re feeling safety conscious, as it’ walking distance to most sights and attractions, which means you don’t need to worry about getting taxis or public transport too much.

However, if you’re looking for a quieter part of town, we’d highly recommend Prati. It’s super well connected on the metro, convenient for the Vatican, has loads of gorgeous restaurants and some pretty sweet hotels you can check out. 

Hotel recommendation: Hotel Della Conciliazione is beautiful, slap bang in the middle of the area and has an excellent breakfast.

Where to stay in Rome along the river


Where to stay in Rome for the romantics


If you’re wondering where to stay in Rome for couples or romantics, then Aventine Hill, with its soaring hills, breathtaking views, is a really beautiful  choice. The Art Nouveau villas make this is the area for a romantic break away, or even a honeymoon.  It’s tucked away from the main tourist traps, and isn’t too hotel heavy, but in a way that makes it feel as though you’ve headed to a remote Italian town, rather than the bustling city of Rome.

With Aventine Hill, you’re close enough to see all the sights and sounds of the city, but you can retreat back from some peace and quiet in the evening if you want to. 

Hotel recommendation: Hotel Aventino is a beautiful hotel with a bar, a stunning garden, and free WiFi and breakfast.

Aventine Hill


Where to stay in Rome for foodies


If you’re a foodie, you’re always on the hunt for great food – and you might even choose your hotel based on the restaurants and cafes around it! I know for me and my husband, we definitely fall into this category. SO I had a think about where we woulld want to stay in Rome to take advantage of all the glorious Italian food!

In terms of where to stay in Rome for foodies, Testaccio is perfect for food lovers (click here for a great food tour you can take of the area!). If, when you thought of Rome you saw colourful lanes overflowing with family owned trattorias and boisterous pizzerias, you cannot go wrong with Testaccio. This area is the spiritual home of Rome’s world renowned nose to tail cuisine, and you’ll find some excellent traditional trattorias sandwiched in between Michelin starred restaurants.

Hotel recommendation: Althea Inn is a beautiful hotel with a stunning roof terrace, slap bang in the middle of Testaccio.

where to stay in rome italy


Where to stay in Rome for culture nerds


Let’s face it, Rome is all about its history and culture – there’s so much history here that the challenge is actually finding something new or modern! Everything is seeped with history and the city feels like stepping back in time.

Pretty much anywhere you stay is going to be brimming with stories and beautiful architecture, but pretty near the top of our list for this is Monti. It used to be the ancient city’s red light district, but now it’s anything but (times have changed for the better!). Here you’ll find loads of information about Ancient Rome in the national museum, the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore, and the opulent Domus Aurea. Just southwest of here is also the residential neighbourhood Celio, at the heart of which stands the iconic colosseum. It’s a great place to base yourself if you’re looking to feel at the heart of Rome’s culture and history. 

Hotel recommendation: Monti Palace is yet another hotel with an amazing roof terrace, they also do a cracking free breakfast.

Where to stay in Rome!


Where to stay in Rome for the party goers


If you’re looking to have a lively holiday, you might be wondering where to stay in Rome for nightlife and partying. For quintessential Roman nightlife, with bars spilling out onto the pavements and aperitivo in abundance, look no further than the iconic Trastevere.

This neighbourhood boasts the best nightlife in Rome, and also has some beautiful sights to soak up in the day time, such as the botanical gardens and the gianicolo. Come for tiny streets and a lively atmosphere. So if partying is your priority and you want to sample Rome’s famous nightlife, then this is the place to stay for you. 

Hotel recommendation: Relais Le Clarisse a Travestere is an informal guesthouse set in a building dating from 1122, less than a minutes walk from a metro station, and right in the middle of the action.

where to stay in rome


I hope this guide of where to stay in Rome has been helpful! If you have any other suggestions to add to the list, let me know in the comments. Or, if you have any questions or help – let me know and I’ll do my best! At the end of the day don’t worry too much about choosing where to stay in Rome – it’s an incredible city and you’ll have an amazing time no matter where you’re based!


 

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Is Venice expensive? Everything you need to know about visiting Venice on a budget.

is Venice expensive.

When I visited Venice, I had heard so many horror stories about how over-priced it was there. But is Venice expensive? Or can Venice be done on a budget? I’ll delve into my own experience below so you can learn what the prices in Venice are REALLY like, and if you need to be worried about blowing your budget.


Hotels and accommodation prices in Venice


Hotels and accommodation is probably the most expensive part of visiting Venice, but as with any small city when choices are limited, prices do tend to go up. Because of this, you’ll likely end up paying more than £100 a night in peak-season, even in lower quality properties. There are a few ways to save yourself some money on accommodation though…

is Venice expensive.

Tip 1: Is Venice Expensive? It will certainly be more expensive if you visit in high season. Go to Venice at a less busy time of year, such as January, September, October or November and you’ll find the hotel prices are much lower. Avoid February if you want to save money because February is when they hold the Venice Carnival (and the city is packed full during this time, so prices skyrocket).

Tip 2: Stop on Murano Island instead of Venice island. I stayed at a 5* hotel there for about half the price I would’ve paid on Venice island. Yes, it took a little longer to get around, but we took their complimentary speed boat and used the public water buses and it was fine.

Tip 3: Stop in an AirBnB instead of a hotel. You’ll likely find somewhere more central, for much less money.

Tip 4: Stop a little further out of the city centre. I’ve marked on a map below the areas where you’ll probably find cheaper hotels. Everywhere outside of the red shaded area is likely to be priced cheaper.

is Venice expensive map


Food and drink prices in Venice


Next up when you’re wondering “Is Venice Expensive?” is probably how much food and drink is. In all honesty, I didn’t find the prices in Venice any different from the prices in any other European city. The prices were no different from Paris, London, Madrid, Rome, etc.

As in all cities, you’ll have tourist areas where prices in restaurants are inflated due to demand and foot traffic. If you head away from these areas (sometimes even by a few hundred feet) you’ll find much cheaper options and much more affordable places to eat.

So, for example, instead of eating somewhere with a water-side view of Rialto Bridge, walk a little along the water and find somewhere with less of a view. You’ll likely find the price has decreased too! 

As an example for prices to expect on average:

  • A pizza: 10-20 euros
  • A cup of coffee: 3-6 euros
  • A plate of fries: 3-6 euros
  • A seafood platter main course: 20-30 euros
  • A bowl of pasta: 15-25 euros
  • 2 scoops of ice-cream: 3-5 euros
  • A glass of wine: 5-10 euros

Of course the exact price will depend on which restaurant you’re in, and where the restaurant is on the island, but these prices are roughly what we paid for this kind of thing.

is Venice expensive


Tours and sightseeing prices in Venice


There’s a lot you can do in Venice without spending a penny. The city is actually an amazing place just to walk around and enjoy, without paying extra for viewing decks / museums/ etc. If you don’t want to spend additional money on tours and attractions, you could easily spend a few days in Venice just by doing things for free / or very little money.

However, here are some of the common tours on offer in Venice, and what they cost. These tours are via Get Your Guide, who offer really good prices on tours, and are a reliable tour company with great reviews. I’ve had great experiences with them (on some of these exact tours) so I highly recommend them. I also recommend booking tours ahead of time (especially during peak season) to ensure you get your place guaranteed.

Boat Trip: Glimpse of Murano, Torcello & Burano Islands – Approx £18 per person

Doge’s Palace Priority Admission Ticket – Approx £25 per person

Traditional Shared Gondola Experience – Approx £30 per person

Private Gondola ride – Approx £100 per boat (up to 6 people per boat)

Leonardo Da Vinci Museum Entrance Ticket – Approx £6 per person

Hop-on Hop-off City Sightseeing Boat Tour – Approx £20 per person

Skip the Line: St. Mark’s Basilica Guided Tour – Approx £28 per person

Private Tour with a Local Guide – Approx £35 per person

Panoramic boat cruise & sunset spritz – Approx £20 per person

is Venice expensive in italy


Money saving tips and tricks in Venice


I’m hoping by now you’ve realised that Venice isn’t as expensive as people would have you believe. Yes, the tourist traps can be expensive (the same with any big city) but if you avoid those super busy tourist areas, you should be easily able to find affordable food and accommodation.

Nevertheless, here are some extra money saving tips and tricks to help you stick to your budget in Venice:

Tip 1: Take a plastic bottle and refill it at the public water fountains. That way you won’t need to keep buying drinks throughout the day (this could save you about 10-15 euros a day). Is Venice expensive? Not if you don’t spend money on unnecessary items!

is Venice expensive?

Tip 2: Find small food stalls and ‘bargain’ cafes, instead of eating at restaurants. For example, if a quick slice of pizza is all you need for lunch, you could buy it buy the slice and only pay 2/3 euros (instead of paying 15 euros for a whole pizza somewhere else). pizza shop in venice

Tip 3: Walk everywhere! You don’t need to spend money on private boats or water taxis in Venice, most places are within walking distance. If you get your steps in, you’ll also save money. Is Venice expensive? Not if you walk everywhere!

is venice very expensive?

Tip 4: Go window shopping! You don’t need to spend money to look in Venice’s beautiful shops. Their glass stores and their mask stores are famous in Venice, and you can go in and look around these shops without spending anything. We had lots of fun trying masks on! Is Venice expensive? Not if you only window shop!

is venice really expensive


So, is Venice Expensive?


I hope this blog post has answered your question “Is Venice expensive?”

In short, it’s no more expensive than other big cities, so don’t be worried!

If you’re smart and savvy during your trip to Venice you shouldn’t need to worry too much about blowing your budget. To avoid paying lots, avoid big tourist areas and you should be fine!

You might also want to read this other blog post about Venice.

is Venice expensive.

 

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Plitvice Lakes in Croatia… Everything You NEED to Know!

The Plitvice Lakes are nestled in a beautiful part of Croatia, half way between the ocean and the capital city of Zagreb. It’s one of the most amazing national parks I’ve ever seen, and it’s one the absolute treasures of Croatia. Vibrant greenery, beautiful clear waters and amazing landscapes make this gorgeous park a sight to behold, and so we’ve made you a list of everything you need to know when visiting Plitvice Lakes.


What are the Plitvice Lakes?


Plitvice Lakes is a UNESCO natural heritage site, comprised of 16 lakes, and a wide variety of flora and fauna both on land and underwater. The Plitvice Lakes aren’t your normal lakes though, as in between all the lakes you’ll find beautiful little waterfalls and elevated walkways over the water too. Honestly – it’s just so stunning. I’ll pop a photo below to do it justice, because I don’t think I can describe it as beautiful as a photo will. 

Croatia Plitvice Lakes

It’s the perfect place to unwind and get in some walking, as there are special walkways to make walking enjoyable and totally easy too. Whether you’re looking for something strenuous, or more of a gentle stroll, the Plitvice Lakes has got it. Oh! And if you’re a photography lover – this is THE place to be in Croatia. There are so many amazing photo opportunities there.


Where are the Plitvice Lakes?


The Plitvice Lakes are kind of in the middle of nowhere, but equally not far from anywhere in Croatia that you might be visiting. As it’s halfway between the coast and the capital, it makes it the perfect stop if you’re travelling through (although we would definitely advocate for going to see it in its own right).

Plitvice Lakes location


How do you get to the Plitvice Lakes?


You can drive (it’s about 2 hours from Zagreb, and 2 hours from Zadar) or you can get a bus. OR if you’d rather have the whole day taken care of (completely effort-free) you can jump on a guided tour. 

These are the main highways that reach the Plitvice Lakes, which may be useful!

  • DC1 (Selište Drežničko – Prijeboj) from the direction of Zagreb/Zadar
  • DC52 (Vrhovine – Korenica) from the direction of Otočac (A1)
  • DC42 (Vrbovsko – Grabovac) from the direction of Ogulin (A1)

However, if you can use Google Maps on your satnav, just enter ‘Plitvice Lakes’ and you’ll find it super easily. Or, alternatively if you get a tour over to the lake, your driver will know the way, so you won’t need to worry!

Plitvice Lakes croatia


Are there tours that include the Plitvice Lakes?


Yes, there are lots of tours that depart from different Croatian destinations that can take you out to the lakes. Tours are a great choice for convenience actually, especially if you’re a bit nervous about driving in Europe or in a different country. If you take a tour, someone else does the driving for you – which is always nice!

Here are some tours I recommend:

Plitvice Lakes full day tour from Split – This wonderful day tour takes you around all 16 lakes at Plitvice Lakes, as well stopping off at breathtaking canyons and largest waterfall in Croatia on the drive there.

Rastoke & Plitvice Lakes National Park Tour from Zagreb – This 10 hour includes skip-the-line tickets, and lets you explore the picturesque watermill village of Rastoke, and the amazing Plitvice Lakes National Park.

From Zagreb: Transfer to Split & Plitvice Lakes Guided Tour – This is quite a good option if you want to visit the lakes whilst on a transfer from Zagreb to Split or Trogir. It means you can head onwards to explore another city, whilst also stopping off at the amazing Plitvice Lakes park.


When should I go?


It’s beautiful all year round, I mean look at it!

Obviously the high season during the summer holidays is when it’s at its busiest, and it’s nice to explore at that time of year because the weather is great too. If you’re not constrained by summer holidays though, we’d recommend visiting outside of the main summer season, so you can explore with less crowds. April or May is great, or September or October. 

Additionally, what ever time of year you go, we’d highly recommend getting an early start to beat as many of the queues as possible!

guide to Plitvice Lakes


How much does it cost?


There is a small ticket price when entering the park, but it’s not much and it’s totally worth the (small amount of) money too. The ticket price varies slightly depending on the season, and peak season prices are higher than winter prices. I’ve copied the official price list from the national park’s website below.

Remember, if you take a day tour, the park ticket price will be included in your tour price. 

Plitvice Lakes prices


Can I swim in the lakes?


No, absolutely not. Because the lakes are a world heritage site, swimming is not allowed in the lakes. You’ll get to lake through the lakes (on the raised walkways) and you’ll get to view and hike around them, but you can swim inside them. If you do want to do some swimming whilst you’re in the area, The Korana river is a bit North of the lakes, and is a lovely spot to do some swimming once you finished exploring the lakes.

Plitvice Lakes


How Long should I stay?


You can do a day trip from most Croatian cities that are nearby, and that’s enough time to see the lakes and enjoy them.In fact, most people will do a day trip when visiting.

If you’re able to drive you there yourself (and you’ve rented a car) then opting for a two day ticket is a great idea too. That way you could stop somewhere local, and really make the most of the amazing trails! It also makes sure you don’t need to rush anything and you can spend plenty of time exploring at your own pace. 

Plitvice Lakes


Are there hotels nearby?


Yes there are several hotels near to the lakes, but in peak times these hotels will get busy, so if you plen on booking a night there it’s a good idea to do so in advance! Here are the closest hotels to the Plitvice Lakes:

The Bellvue Hotel – A budget option, really close to the Lakes and close to the local village with amenities.

Eva luxury rooms and apartments – A nice aparthotel close to the lakes, with kitchens and stuff and decorated really nicely.

Villa Lika Hotel – A really small hotel with a boutique feel, lovely decor and realllyy good reviews!

Plitvice Hotel – One of the biggest hotels in the surrounding area, a good choice for price and convenience.


Rules of conduct at Plitvice Lake


According to the Plitvice Lakes website, the code of conduct rules are as follows:

  • Don’t damage the trees
  • Don’t pick flowers
  • Don’t drop litter
  • Don’t shout or yell
  • Don’t walk off the footpaths
  • Don’t disturb the animals
  • Don’t swim in the lakes
  • Don’t light fires or bonfires
  • Don’t fish in the lake
  • Don’t camp in the national park
  • Don’t walk dogs off their leash
  • Don’t feed the fish
  • Don’t cycle or use your bike

I hope this guide to Plitvice Lakes has been really useful for you! It’s an amazing place to visit – you’re bound to LOVE it.

 

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Amazing day trips from Vienna you won’t want to miss

Are you looking for the best day trips from Vienna?

Things to do in the Austrian alps in Summer!

If you’re visiting Vienna, it’s the perfect chance to explore a bit more of Austria and see what else this amazing country has to offer! Austria is bigger than it looks, and there are so many wonderful day trips from Vienna that can show you more of the country, the culture and the traditions.

If you’re currently planning your Vienna vacation, then take a look through these day trips from Vienna and see if any of them take your fancy! It’s worth scheduling in an extra day (or two!) so you can fit in a couple of day excursions and explore Austria even more!

Amazing day trips from Vienna…


Melk, Hallstatt, and Salzburg Private Tour

The first day trips from Vienna I want to recommend is the “Melk, Hallstatt, and Salzburg Private Tour” tour from Vienna is a stunning day trip to take from Vienna. It’s a little like stepping back in time, and the beautiful architeture is really something special. Some highlights of this tour include…

  • Visiting the beautiful city of Melk in Lower Austria, famous for it’s Benedictine Abbey, which is one of the most incredibly designed monastic houses in Austria.
  • You’ll also visit Salzburg, which is a stunning city on the border of Germany, and one of the most well known cities in Austria. It’s also the birth place of Mozart!
  • You’ll also stop off at some stunning views along the way, overlooking Austria’s beautiful (and huge!) lakes. You’ll get plenty of chances to take some amazing photos.

day trips from vienna


Wachau and Danube Valleys Tour

The “Wachau and Danube Valleys Tour” from Vienna is the perfect way to explore the Wachau and Danube valleys. You’ll make your way there on a coach, and then transfer onto a beautiful boat journey to soak in even more of the region. Some highlights of this tour include:

  • A gorgeously romantic boat cruise on the Blue Danube – one of Austria’s most beautiful rivers.
  • A visit to the Abbey of Melk, and a look inside this famous and iconic piece of architecture.
  • Plenty of time to enjoy theand Danube Valleys (UNESCO World Heritage Sites) and take lots of photographs!
  • Time to shops in Melk and browse some of the town’s beautiful shops.

the best Wachau day trips from vienna


Bratislava Tour by Bus and Boat

Next up on my day trips from Vienna list… The “Bratislava Tour by Bus and Boat” is a wonderful day trip from Vienna. Bratislava is actually the capital of Slovakia (and not in Austria at all) but it’s such a short distance, that it’s the perfect chance to explore Europe a little further! Bratislava is found by the Danube river, and is known for it’s beautiful scenic streets, quirky shops and local vineyards. Highlights of this tour include:

  • A beautiful scenic walk through Bratislava and the old-style traditional streets
  • Time to enjoy the city; sit a local cafe or enjoy a spot of shopping
  • An enjoyable and scenic cruise that takes you from Bratislava to Vienna (with Twin City Liner boat)

day trips from vienna


Prague Day Trip

No list of day trips from Vienna would be complete without a day trip to Prague. A day trip to Prague from Vienna is such a great day trip from Vienna, and lets you explore a little more of Europe. Prague is the capitol of Czech Republic, and has the beautiful Vltava River running through it. It’s a culture hub, and a really popular destination for city breaks. If you don’t have time to stop in Prague though, the day trip from Vienna is the perfect option, you’ll get to visit Prague and see some of the highlights in a one-day tour from your Vienna hotel. Here are some of the tour highlights…

  • Soak in some of Prague’s most iconic landmarks
  • Visit the capitol city of Prague and tick another European city off your bucket list!
  • Experience the old city of Prague which is seeped in culture and amazing architecture
  • Visit the iconic Prague sights like the Prague Castle, Wenceslas Square and The Charles Bridge

day trips from vienna 2020


Day Tour of Salzburg

The “Day Tour of Salzburg” or “Private tour from Vienna to Salzburg” are great options if you want to fit in a day trip to Salzburg during your Vienna vacation. Salzburg is everything you imagine Austria to be, and it’s one of the most well preserved towns in the Austrian Alps. It’s also, rather famously, the filming location for “The Sound of Music” and both of these tours will include trips to see some of the key filming locations in the movie. This is a fantastic option for day trips from Vienna. Highlights of the tour include:

  • Have a whole day exploring and wondering at the beautiful Salzburg
  • An amazing and knowledgable guide around the town
  • A visit to St Peter’s Church (an incredible historic cathedral in the heart of Salzburg)
  • Visit Mozart’s birthplace
  • See the famous filming locations for the “The Sound of Music”

day trips from vienna 2020


Panoramic Austrian Alps Tour and Hallstatt

Last on my list of day trips from Vienna… This private tour is great if you’re a family or a larger group that want something a little more tailored. The “Panoramic Austrian Alps Tour to Hallstatt” ticks all the boxes – you’ll see so many stunning Austrian locations and get to admire some fo the most beautiful landscapes. A big advantage of this tour is being able to tailor the schedule to suit your wants or needs too. Highlights include:

  • A full day with a private tour guide
  • Enjoy the Austrian lakes and Salzburg
  • Tailor your itinerary and schedule to fit in everything you want to see!
  • Visit Lake Attersee and also the beautiful Lakeside Town of St. Gilgen

Things to do in the Austrian alps in the Summer


I hope this list of amazing day trips from Vienna is useful for you! Have an amazing Austrian vacation!

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10 things to do in the Austrian Alps in Summer


Are you looking for things to do in the Austrian Alps in Summer?


Lots of people assume the Austrian Alps are a winter-only destination, but it’s just not true! The Austrian Alps make an amazing destination for a summer vacation, and there is so much to do in the Austrian Alps in summer. Here I’ll list out some fo my favourite things to do in the Austrian Alps in Summer, I hope you find it inspiring!


Visit Lake Lünersee

First on my list of things to do in the Austrian Alps in Summer… This stunning lake is one of the largest lakes in the Eastern Alps, and it’s such a stunning place to visit in the Austrian Alps in the summertime. It’s a destination that’s great for couples, families, hikers, and nature-lovers, and there is so much to see and do around the lake in the summer including hiking, climbing, fishing and swimming.

Lake Lünersee is also a great starting point for many summer hikes around (and up to) the Schesaplana. It’s all of these things combined that make this one of the best things to do in the Austrian Alps in Summer.

Things to do in the Austrian alps in Summer...

The lakes in the Austrian Alps are actually one of the main reasons to visit Austria in the summer time. If you only have a day to explore the Austrian Alps, then I really recommend taking a private tour of the lakes. This ‘Austrian Lakes and Salzburg Private Tour from Vienna‘ by Get Your Guide is a brilliant way to squeeze in a trip to the alps and have the luxury of your own private tour guide.


Do a ‘Sound of Music’ tour

Next on my list of things to do in the Austrian Alps in Summer…. If you’re a musical fan, then you know the pure magic of Sound of Music. A lot of the movie was filmed in the Austrian Alps in the heart of summer, so taking a ‘Sound of Music’ tour in the height of the Austrian summer is a perfect time to see the filming locations. You can do a Sound of Music tour from most places within the Austrian Alps, but the most popular starting point is usually Vienna, so if you only plan on visiting the Austrian alps for a day, this is the perfect way to see them!

The particular tour I recommend going on is the ‘Sound of Movies Musical Tour to Salzburg‘ by Get Your Guide. It includes a hotel pick-up, and a guided tour to so many of the movie’s filming locations, including the alpine lakes, Hellbrunn Park, Salzburg, and the Mondsee to St. Michael Church.

Things to do in the Austrian alps in Summer!


Grossglockner National Park

One of the Austrian Alps’ most stunning National Parks, this incredible place is home to the the Grossglockner Mountain (Austria’s highest mountain!). The Grossglockner is 3,798 metres above sea level (woah!) and it’s absolutely stunning. Whether you visit the national park for a day and drive through it, or whether you stay for a weekend – it’s a stunning place to spend some time if you’re looking to visit the Austrian Alps in the summer.

There are hikes, viewing platforms, cafes, hotels, nature-lookouts – there is so much do to here in the summertime!

Things to do in the Austrian alps in the Summer


Tyrolean Ötztal Valley

There’s a huge amount of diversity for activities in Tyrolean Ötztal Valley during the summer months in Austria. Although Tyrolean Ötztal Valley is known for being a winter destination, it’s actually an incredible place to visit during the summer months too. There are amazing bikes trials, hiking trials and even a high-ropes course for the more adventurous amongst you!

Austrian alps in Summer


Explore Innsbruck

Next up on my list of things to do in the Austrian Alps in Summer, is Innsbruck. In the winter, Innsbruck is a cosy winter getaway – but in the summer time it’s a beautiful summer mountain resort! I love the buildings in Innsbruck, their colourful facades and beautiful architecture get me every time. It’s a stunning city to enjoy whilst you explore local shops, eat dinner al fresco, and admire the stunning scenery around you.

Things to do in the Austrian alps in Summer.

The city pass include entrance to loads of attractions and also includes public transport – so it is pretty useful to purchase if you’re staying there for a few days. I also recommend the cable car in Innsbruck too – the views from the top are fantastic!


Take a boat ride in Millstätter See (Lake Millstatt)

If you fancy a more relaxing boat ride (as opposed to the rafting mentioned above) then a nice relaxed boat ride in the Millstätter See is a gorgeous way to spend a summer day in the Austrian Alps. This is actually one of the most popular holiday destinations for summertime, because the lake provides such a lovely and scenic base for travellers and tourists. There’s lots to do on the lake (as well as a boat ride) so it’s a great place to set as your base if you want a few days in one place.


Schattberg X-Press Gondola

Next on my list of things to do in the Austrian Alps in Summer, it’s the Schattberg X-press! This cable car / gondola station is located in the centre of Saalbach, and once on-board you’re whisked up to the dizzying heights of nearby mountains to enjoy the incredible views and panoramics. It’s truly stunning, and a way to capture some great photographs too (for those photography enthusiasts reading!). There are a few hikes that you can take from the top, some bike trails, and a playground for children.

Things to do in the Austrian alps in Summer


White water rafting at The Ötztaler Ache

Next on my list of things to do in the Austrian Alps in Summer, something for the adrenaline seekers! If you love fast-paced sports and activities, then Austria has so many to offer during the summer time. One of the most popular choices is white water rafting at The Ötztaler Ache – which many people claim is one of the best rafting experiences in Europe. The views as you zoom down the rapids are just breathtaking too!


Salzkammergut salt mines

And last on my list of things to do in the Austrian Alps in Summer, the quirky Salzkammergut is home to lots of wonderful ways to spend time in the summer but the salt mine is a rare sight to see. I really recommend this ‘Salzkammergut: Salt Mine, Lakes, and Mountain Tour‘ – it has a good variety of activities and it’s good value for money too!

During your tour you’ll pop on some traditional miners’ clothes (great for photo opportunities!) and then take the traditional miners’ train deep inside the mountain. Once inside, you’ll find the fascinating underground world of the salt-miners, and the almost magical world of the salt pools. It’s like something from a fairy tale or fictional book!

Things to do in the Austrian alps in Summer...


I hope this list of things to do in the Austrian alps in Summer is helpful for planning your vacation! Austria is so beautiful, especially in the summer time – you’ll love every second!

 

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The Best Spots for Your Next European Adventure Vacation

When people usually think of Europe, their minds drift to beautiful structures like the Eiffel Tower, Big Ben, the Colosseum or the Sagrada Familia. Maybe it drifts to all the thousands of years of history the continent has experienced.

There’s no wrong way to think of Europe. It is a beautiful continent with over forty country and countless activities. Planning a trip there may be daunting, especially if you’re looking to going somewhere else besides the big three of London, Paris and Rome.

More and more people are seeing Europe as an adventure destination in their urge to see something off the beaten trail. If you’re thinking of making your next vacation an adventure vacation, check below for some of the top spots to go.

The Best Place to Go Hiking

Here, you can toss it up to a three-way tie between France, Switzerland and Italy. All three countries are home to the Alps even though Switzerland seems to have gotten the naming rights.

The famous Mont Blanc tour takes you through all three, starting in France and ending in Italy with a lot of your time in Switzerland. With all three countries so close together, it’s easy to cross borders and hike along numerous paths.

There’s really no shortage of types of trails. While the Mont Blanc trail is recommended for those with above-average fitness levels, there are plenty of hikes and routes for those who want to explore plenty of areas or are only looking to travel around for a few days. Whatever you’re looking for, the Alps surely has it.

The Best Place to Go Skiing

Not to sound like a beaten record, but the top places for skiing are usually a toss up between the French Alps, Swiss Alps and Italian Alps. It seems that places with beautiful mountains that are ideal for hiking are also going to be ideal for skiing. Who would have imagined?

Not just skiing, but the resorts scattered throughout these mountains have been in business for a long time, so they know what it is to treat their customers right and give them the best experience possible.

If you’re looking to get out of the region, Austria is also well known for their ski resorts. They have hundreds of kilometers of slopes just waiting for you to come and glide down the powder.

The Best Place to Go Fishing

We finally move out of the France-Switzerland-Italy combo and head up north to Norway. Norway is a beautiful country with countless places to go fishing. People fish for cod, halibut and coalfish around islands, fjords and even venturing out to the open sea.

Fishing is a big part of the local life in Norway and there are plenty of expert fishermen around. If you don’t want to head out to see, there are thousands of lakes, ponds, rivers and streams for you to dive into.

Many different companies offer day tours or multiple-day ventures so you can get your fishing fix. Be sure to prepare for cold weather and icy temperatures.

The Best Place to Go Surfing

If you’re looking to hang ten, head west to the Iberian Peninsula and go to Spain. With the Mediterranean Sea on one side and the Atlantic Ocean up north, you won’t have a shortage of places to hit the waves.

Many surfers choose to head to northern Spain to not only enjoy the pintxos but also because it is the best place for beginners and experts alike. Basque country boasts some beautiful beaches, nice weather and great water. San Sebastian is routinely rated among being one of the best beaches in not only Europe, but also the world. It is also the food capital of the world, meaning you can eat well after you’ve been out all day.

The Best Place to Go Biking

This may be the hardest because Europe has so many biking trails. They’re also developing an entire network of trails to connect the entire continent.

But at the moment, the Netherlands is the best place to bike. With its flat land and close proximity to a number of other countries, you’ll be able to enjoy the perfect scenery and beautiful flowers all around.

It’s also perhaps the most bike-friendly country in all of Europe, so you won’t have any issues on the roads.

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The Best European Road Trips

If you’re planning a summer road trip adventure, there’s no better location for it than Europe. Europe has so many beautiful locations, and wonderful roads, it’s hard to choose just one!

Some of the best adventures you can have are in Europe (by car!) and you’ll be lucky enough to see some of the most beautiful towns, cities and views along the way.

Here are some of my favourites…

The Amalfi Coast

We visited the Amalfi Coast on our honeymoon, and it’s honestly one of the most breathtaking places in the world. The bright green hill and cliffs contrasted against the sparkling blue ocean, it’s magical. Every few miles you stumble across another beautiful town of village, with pastel coloured houses speckled along the coastline.

The Grossglockner Hochalpenstrasse

This is a high alpine mountain pass that winds through the iconic Austrian Alps, and offers up some of the most incredible mountain and countryside views. The winding roads are something from a story book or fairytale, and they just keep on coming. Grossglockner, the black mountain, is the main event, and this route offer up some amazing photo opportunities.

 

The Trollstigen route in Norway

This stunning route in North Europe, is a one-lane road which has been carved from the lofty mountains all around it. Norway is known for it’s huge landscapes and impressive outlooks, and this road gives you the ultimate way to see them. Trollstigen offers some of the most unforgettable sights in the country of Norway, and every year people from across the globe flock there to drive on the famous road.

If you want to read more of these European Roadtrips, you can check out this amazing piece of content from Kwikfit, that has even more suggestions and even more tips and tricks of when to visit.

Remember before roadtripping…!

  • It’s important to always check your tyres and book a car service (check their pressure and also tread depth)
  • Plan out your fuel stops
  • Download your route (there might not be wifi on route)
  • Take a blanket in the boot (incase you get stuck at night and need warmth)
  • Take water and food supplies (you never know when you might need them!)

 Content and admin for collaboration with Kwik Fit

 

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3 Family-Friendly Adventure Spots in Europe

For a holiday that caters for all the family, you don’t have to travel thousands of miles. There’s plenty to see and do in Europe, with activities to keep all of the family entertained, whatever their age!

Here, we’ve picked our top 3 family-friendly holiday destinations for you to consider for your next summer holiday with the kids in tow!

  • Italy

Just a short flight from the UK, Italy is a firm favourite amongst holiday-goers, and it’s easy to see why! Head to the island of Sardinia for glorious sun, delicious cuisine, with white and pink beaches, rugged green landscapes and monthly festivals… You’ll never be bored on a family holiday here.

Wander around its main town, Sassari, and visit the well-preserved city walls and cathedral. Or hop on a boat and head to Neptune’s Grotto Alghero to see the hidden cliffs and striking rock formations. If you’re feeling energetic, climb to the top via the ‘goat’s stairway’. We’ll warn you now though – there’s 656 steps to tackle!

Best of all, you can enjoy your holiday from a family-friendly Eurocamp holiday parc. They offer an adventure like no other, with luxury mobile holiday homes located near all of Italy’s best sights and on-site activities for children like rock climbing, canoeing and water parks.

  • Scotland

A spot that’s a bit closer to home, Scotland is perfect if you’re planning a staycation this year. Famous for its beautifully idyllic spots on the north Coast, it’s ideal if you’re looking for a peaceful break. However, it also offers plenty of adventure activities for the whole family too. Head to Scotland’s Big Tree Country, Perthshire, to discover zipwires, abseiling, canoeing, rock climbing, mountain biking and much more – perfect for keeping kids and adults alike entertained.

This area was the former summer holiday spot for Beatrix Potter and you can discover many of the same sights that influenced her famous children’s books – admire Eastwood House from across the river Tay and get closer to nature by exploring the local countryside with all the family.

  • Spain

The Costa Brava region in Spain is known for its good food, stunning coastline, nature parks and plenty of water sports to entertain family members of all ages.

Whether you want to relax on the white beaches or wade in the crystal clear Mediterranean Sea, soak in the sunshine on your family holiday in Spain. You can plan a trip to Water World, Europe’s largest water park, or explore the nearby city of Barcelona for the day – your family is spoilt for choice when it comes to planning an adventure in Spain!

When you’re planning you next family holiday, discover some of our favourite adventure holiday spots. It doesn’t matter if you’re staying in the UK or hoping to visit somewhere sunny, there’s something to keep every family member happy in these must-see spots in Europe.

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Some more Italy: The Cities & Islands

Surely, Italy is one of the countries in Europe that attracts tons of tourists from all over the world. It is not such a surprise given the fact that the country is full of things worth visiting. It represents the whole idea of “la dolce vita” where one can have fun, relax, go on a spree and live a good life, at least when on holidays. Besides, there are many places to visit and many things to do. So, if you’re a Londoner and are planning your trip to Italy, here are the things worth including in your itinerary.

Rome, Lazio

Rome is the capital of the country and is part of the region of Lazio. It is full of historical and archaeological attractions such as the Colosseum, the Pantheon, the Roman Forum, the Aqueducts, and of course, the Vatican. The churches are beautiful and grand. Lovely squares and parks abound. Moreover, the cuisine is totally delicious. When in Rome, it would be worth visiting the memorial house of two of Britain’s most prominent poets, John Keats and Shelley Percy. Located on Piazza di Spagna, it contains a lock of Keat’s hair, some original letters, books and other mementos of Keats, Percy Shelley and Lord Byron. If you are also interested in seeing Keat’s gravesite, you can do so at the Protestant Cemetery in the Ostiense area.

(Furthermore, if you’re a soccer enthusiast, it would certainly be worth visiting the city during a derby match between Rome and Lazio. It is, according to most soccer related sources, one of the World’s 10 biggest rivalries. You can get into the soccer fever and be in the middle of the spectacle as fans get engrossed in their common passion while cheering, jeering or engaging in banner war.)

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Milan

The shopping capital of the country and of the world, Milan also has its fair share of attractions worthy of being included in anybody’s agenda. There is the mighty Duomo, which took as long as 600 years to complete. You will be amazed at the beautiful Gothic architecture of this basilica. Drop by the convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie to gaze upon the world-famous painting of “The Last Supper” by Leonardo da Vinci.

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Image credit: Pedro

Florence

If you love art and history, Florence is brimming with Renaissance grandeur! Plan for a visit to the Galleria dell’Accademia to see Michelangelo’s David including other art and musical exhibits. The Uffizi is home to the world’s most important collection of Renaissance art, made up of thousands of paintings, antique sculptures, tapestries, and illuminations. It features works by famous artists such as Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Botticelli, and Giotto.

Don’t forget the beer! Even if Italy is known for the best wines in the word, Florence proudly boasts some of the best breweries in the country, being hailed as the beer capital of Italy. Some of these would be Beer House Club and Archea Brewery.

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Image credit: Lex Kravetski

Sicily

A trip to Italy is never complete without visiting the amazing Island of Sicily. An extensive coastline made up of beautiful beaches and picturesque towns is just one of the attractions. It is also home to some of the best ancient Greek-Roman ruins such as the theatre in Taormina and the Valley of the Temples in Agrigento. There are numerous regional parks where you can go hiking, cycling, horseback riding or to just watch the flora and fauna. The region is also full of water and theme parks that can be ideal when you are traveling with kids. If you’re in Sicily, enjoy as much as you can of the food! Dishes here are a source of pride, a very important “must try”, and they are usually made from the freshest in-season ingredients.

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Romance on The Coast: How To Enjoy A Romantic Sailing Holiday in the Mediterranean 

During a sailing holiday you can really get away from it all, dipping in and out of daily island life when you wish and truly getting some alone time. If you have never sailed before, it might be a bit daunting and difficult to know where to start. Well, here are a few tips to help you on your way to a romantic holiday sailing in the Mediterranean.

How to rent a boat

The best thing you can do when planning a sailing holiday is to research tour operators and sailing holidays. Checking what they have to offer, their experience reviews and value are all factors to consider. You also need to decide what kind of sailing holiday you want to take as there are a few to choose from.

Bareboat Sailing

If you are a qualified sailor and happy to take a boat out on your own, then you can just hire the yacht and the seas are yours. You have to be quite confident and able to navigate but it can be a great romantic adventure, sailing the seas and choosing where to stop and anchor. Find little coves and bays you can have to yourselves as the larger boats can’t dock there.  There’s nothing quite like setting sail, just you and the open sea.

Skippered Yacht Charter

If you are not a qualified sailor but still want the experience of setting off on your own then a skippered charter might be for you. You are basically hiring a yacht and a skipper to take you where you want to go. The skipper will also show you the ropes if you wish and you can help as much or as little as you want. They are also able to advise you on ports to visit, places to eat and and the most romantic spots to swim.

Flotilla holidays

A good choice if you are beginners who need guidance but also want some alone time. A flotilla is a group of around ten yachts which are guided by a professional crew on a lead yacht. There can be about 30-50 people depending on the size of the boats, however, with your own boat you’ll have your own place for peace and quiet. Choosing to sail on flotilla holidays will give you some experience of sailing by yourself with the peace of mind that your guides are not too far away. Each day you will be briefed on your destination, then away you go!

Luxury Yacht Charter

For the ultimate in sailing luxury you can charter your own fully serviced yacht. You’ll have your own skipper, host and spacious cabins to relax in. It is like a sailing chalet, taking you to a different destination each day. Obviously, these Yachts come at a price but if you are looking for the most comfortable way to sail the Mediterranean without lifting a finger, then this might be the boat for you.

How to choose your itinerary

Depending on how much time you want to spend sailing and how many different places you wish to see will both be factors when choosing your itinerary.

For short island hopping you may want to stay in one destination, for example Greece or Croatia, as there are lots of lovely islands to explore here. Greek Island hopping is quite popular and the scenery is beautiful and quite varied too. The Greek Ionian Islands are great for easy island hopping but for the keener sailors the Cyclades Islands are great too.

If you want to sail to a few different locations then you could take a tour from the likes of Athens to Venice, stopping at Milos, Fiskardo, Kotor, Dubrovnik and Split. That gives you four countries in just ten days. There are similar itinerary’s available depending on how many nights you want to stay and sail.

You must remember that when you are sailing, you are staying in small quarters and you won’t have much space. Keep this in mind when packing, reducing your luggage and being organised will help you stay comfortable on your sailing holiday.

So you see, there are many different types of sailing holidays you can take and a wealth of fantastic destinations to explore in the Mediterranean. Still struggling to decide? Here are a few of the top Romantic destinations to explore when sailing here.

Top Romantic Mediterranean docking spots

Santorini, Greece

A luxurious destination with its trademark white buildings with dazzling blue rooves and fantastic volcanic scenery. Santorini is a must when sailing around the Greek islands. It will always be a popular place with visitors so it will be hard to find a secluded spot. You must however hang around for the truly spectacular sunsets.

Menorca, Spain

Although this island is only small, it has more than 120 beaches which is quite impressive. This means you might find your own little secluded romantic spot to dock and enjoy the serene surroundings. Find your very own slice of paradise and relax.

Navagio Beach, Zakynthos, Greece

Or shipwreck beach to others, this beach is a popular spot with tourists and is quite recognisable with its curved shore and the wreck of a boat on the sand. Many people take a day trip to this beach, however if you have your own yacht you can visit early in the morning or late in the evening to avoid the day tripping crowds.

Bol, Croatia

Although this island is not far from the busy port of Split, Bol has managed to keep its serenity as opposed to some other neighbouring islands. Visit Zlatni Rat or the Golden horn, a small stretch of beach on the south coast for a beauty spot to relax in. Put this island on your list if you are planning a Croatian island-hopping tour.

Rimini, Italy

Sat in the Adriatic Riviera you’ll find Rimini, a bustling resort full of lovely well-groomed beaches and excellent local food. If you want to relax in a place with plenty of amenities but a local touch then Rimini is an excellent choice. As Italians favour this area for a holiday destination you’ll see the food is more than enough reason to stop by.

Solta, Croatia

Another often overlooked Croatian island, Solta is small and rugged unspoiled destination. There are still traditional fishing communities and working vineyards and olive groves on the island which add to its charm. It is a place Croatians like to visit but hasn’t much been touched by the rest of the outside world.

Porto Christo, Mallorca

A small, tranquil Spanish town which seems worlds away from the busy noisy clubs of other nearby resorts on the island. Anchor here are you can explore sandy beaches, natural caves and plenty of sunshine. A great stop when sailing the Spanish islands.

Would you choose to take a romantic sailing holiday?

Now you know all about the choices you have with a sailing holiday, would you choose to set sail for a romantic holiday? It sounds like a fantastic idea and with so much choice and the help of expert tour companies you are sure to find the perfect sailing holiday for you.

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Romantic things to do in Kiev, Ukraine

Kiev, Ukraine’s capital and one of the most appealing cities globally, is a bliss for lovers and honeymooners. Whether it is on valentines day, a vacation or when you are in your feelings, Kiev has a good number of romantic places you could visit.
1. Declare your love at Lover’s bridge
The bridge has been used as a wedding proposal site by many couples and passionate poets who come to write their love romantic lyrics on the railing. There is a belief among the people of the city, that if you kiss someone while standing on the Lover’s bridge, you will never forget them, for as long as you live.2. Create memories swimming with dolphins at Nemo Dolphinarium
Enjoy watching a delightful dance waltz performed by the dolphins with your lover by your side. You can even jump in the water with your heartbeat and swim with these sweet and trained creatures. You can even take pictures! For more intimacy, book an unforgettable and private show for just the two of you.

3. Make wishes, at the Fountain of Desires
Located on the wall of the Intercontinental hotel, the Fountain of Desires receives a huge number of visitors every year. There are 21 bowls in the fountain, with the images of Nike, the famous Greek goddess. The bowls are gold coated and they sparkle like diamonds on sunny days.

4. Enjoy the sunset at Navodnitskiy park
Located on the Dnieper river, the scenic Navodnitskiy Park has a monument at the centre; a bronze boat with the founders of Kiev. The park is perfect for newly weds or people who have just renewed their vows. According to the locals, couples who manage to throw their bouquet into the bronze boat (with their backs turned) will live a happy, peaceful life full of love.

5. Enjoy breathtaking views on the Castle Hill (Zamkova Hora)
From the hill, you and your lover can enjoy awe-inspiring views of the Podol district and the Dnieper river. You will also build the team spirit as you climb up the 120-steps metal staircase, to reach the hill. The hill got its name from the castle built by Prince Vladimir Orgerdovich.

6. Landscape Alley (Peysashnaya Alleya)
Enjoy a romantic walk, looking at the beautiful sunset and a view of the Podil district (on the lower part of the city). On the alley, you will find a range of captivating and romance-inspiring sculptures of fairy-tale characters.

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5 destinations to visit in Europe this summer

The Brexit negotiations may have got underway in June but that’s no reason why you shouldn’t head for Europe yourself this summer – especially as by the summer of 2019 it may well not be quite as easy to pop over for some Euro-fun.

There are literally thousands of places just waiting to be visited from seaside resorts to exciting capitals everywhere from Amsterdam to Zurich – but to help you make up your mind we’ve picked five of the very best for you

Crete

Every summer millions of sun-worshippers head for this, the largest of the Greek Islands and a place where there really is something for everyone. If the heavy partying scene of Malia’s not your cup of tea then you’ll find many quieter parts of the island like the area around Souda Bay to the south of the island. Or you could head for Knossos where you’ll find plenty of remains left from the Minoans. If you’re feeling more intrepid you can even venture through Europe’s longest gorge or visit the cave where Zeus was said to have been born.

Monaco

You might think that Monaco’s only for the super-rich and celebrities but it’s well worth a visit if only to gaze in awe at the supercars that prowl the streets and the jaw-droppingly extravagant luxury yachts that line the marina. But the one place that you should include on any itinerary is the Le Grand Casino – but don’t expect to find any Monegasques there as they are barred from entry.

Barcelona

If you want the best of both worlds with an exciting city break plus the chance to swim in the sea then Barcelona’s a must. It’s a place where life’s lived outdoors whether you’re enjoying the freshest seafood or brilliantly moreish tapas. The architecture’s stunning too whether it’s the ornate and over-the-top designs of Gaudi or the wide boulevards lined by imposing apartment buildings. Football fans should also make sure they take in a tour of Nou Camp which is a little way outside of the city centre.

Berlin

There can’t be many European cities that have played such important roles in modern history as Berlin. All but destroyed in the Second World War and split in two by the Iron Curtain, the post-reunification city has echoes of its past everywhere you look. From the 1936 Olympic stadium and the remains of the notorious Checkpoint Charlie to the stunning Reichstag offering panoramic views of the city, you’ll find more than enough to do however long that you decide to stay.

Rome

A city with a very different, but no less turbulent, history makes the perfect introduction to Italy and Italian culture. Visit the Colosseum and the Ancient Forum to imagine what it was like in Roman times and see the Mussolini-era architecture of the EUR. You’ll find many of the city’s best restaurants along the Via Veneto and, when you’ve had enough of sightseeing, the Romans’ favourite seaside resort of Ostia is only a short train ride away.

 

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Best Luxury Experiences in Ibiza

Booking a holiday to Ibiza soon? If you want to fill your vacation with some amazing luxury experiences, you’ve come to the right place! Here are some recommendations for some gorgeous luxurious experience on Ibiza.

Book a 5* Hotel

Luxury is all about the experience – so if luxurious experiences are what you’re after, then book yourself into a gorgeous 5* hotel, even better if you can upgrade to a suite. If you’re looking to stop in Santa Eulalia del Rio, Aguas De Ibiza is a beautiful hotel, and definitely one I’d recommend! Which brings me onto my next idea…

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Dine out in style

Many of the luxury hotels have incredible restaurants too. Aguas De Ibiza actually has a flair of gastronomy, you’ll definitely want to check out the hotel’s restaurant. If luxury food is your kind of thing, you’ll definitely want to give this place a try –  ViCool is owned by chef Sergi Arola (a well known Spanish chef). Take a break from Ibiza nightlife for a night, and enjoy some incredible food instead.

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Hire a private boat

If you want to see more of the island, but also want to stay out in the sunshine, we’re not sure what could top hiring a private boat. Don’t know how to sail? It’s not a problem – lots of companies in Ibiza will hire a boat and a skipper to sail it for you. You just need to lay back and relax, and enjoy the view! maybe take your camera too, for all the incredible views on offer!

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Pamper yourself at a VIP day spa

Pamper yourself after a night of sampling the island’s glamorous nightlife by spending the day at one of Ibiza’s opulent spas. There are plenty to choose from on the island, most of them located inside the 5* hotels. Book a massage or facial, and get yourself looking relaxed and refreshed for the night ahead.

Hire a private driver to tour you around the island

If seeing the island by sea isn’t you thing, maybe hiring a private driver is more your style. You could hire a limo for the day, and explore some of the cute hidden beaches and market towns Ibiza has to offer. Your driver will know all the best places to pull over for amazing insta snaps too!

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Become a VIP

For a bit of luxury during the evening, book yourself a VIP package at one of Ibiza’s many nightclubs. Prices can vary, but there’s nothing like treating yourself to the best service all night. Many VIP packages include a private dance area, a private bar and drinks on arrival. Oh and you won’t have to queue!

 

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Top 10 Romantic Destinations in Europe

This part of Eurasia seems to be familiar to everyone, yet it still overwhelms us with its diversity and some perplexing charisma. Europe is not romantic, it is just romance itself. Here, your soul awakens for new feelings and impressions. So now, we wish to tell you about the most dazzling places in this region.

  1. Venice

In fact, Venice isn’t just a city. Nowadays, this may be compared to a large souvenir shop or a fair. The whole area embodies a single tourist spot encompassing over 100 small islands. Each of them has its own allure. Known as the jewel of the Adriatic, Venice has the pretty long and intriguing history reflected in every stone.

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  1. Paris

This city doesn’t actually need any extensive introductions. For already a couple of centuries it is known as the city of romance and love. Indeed, Paris has somewhat a unique atmosphere that makes hearts melt: legendary historical monuments, sophisticated architecture, sweet landscapes create the special French charm.

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  1. Santorini Island

A rare destination in Greece can surpass this one in terms of popularity and enchantment. Officially called Thira, this beautiful volcanic island is actually a remnant of an old eruption, after which an enormous caldera arose. Its views coloured in white and blue have formed the entire country’s image to a certain degree.

  1. Barcelona

If you seek romance in Spain, Barcelona should be your choice. It provides plenty of options – from just strolling down the fascinating Las Ramblas Street to take up various beach activities. But what you really must see are the architectural masterpieces by Antoni Gaudi.

  1. Florence

By all means, this is one of the prominent European destinations. The centre of Renaissance, the city of da Vinci, Boccaccio, Michelangelo, and Raphael – Florence embodies the Italian spirit. Apart from being the country’s cultural centre, it also provides marvelous shopping, exclusive food, and the complete set of fun events.

  1. Vienna

One of two former capital cities of Austrian-Hungarian Empire is located in a spectacular setting beside the Alps, spa resorts, and the Vienna Woods. Famous for its opera, science, and rich cultural heritage, it also attracts people of all ages with modern amusements.

  1. Budapest

Along with Vienna, Budapest was once the capital city of the glorious monarchy. Today, this city is just great for walking – it encompasses thousands of spots worth your attention. Likewise, it is known for wonderful ecology and nearby spa areas.

  1. Rome

“All roads lead to Rome” – this is what we’ve always been told. And we must admit that’s true. It is probably one of the most interesting cities in Europe. Rome is pretty diverse – here, the ancient history mixes with the latest civilization achievements. Monuments of old harmoniously blend with modern megapolis culture.

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  1. Madeira Island

A picturesque island with its capital city of Funchal lies just in the heart of the Atlantic. Especially if you love sailing cruises, this should become your waypoint! Madeira annually hosts numerous events like the Carnival parades, the Atlantic and the Flower festivals, and New Year is celebrated here with gigantic fireworks.

  1. Ljubljana

Slovenia is a small and lovely country located in Central Europe, and we bet its capital city can’t leave anyone indifferent. To be honest, this is one of the most underrated cities in the region. It doesn’t occupy much space, yet it combines great coziness and opulence at the same time. If you visit Ljubljana for once, you will definitely return here again.

 

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Three reasons music lovers should visit Vienna this summer

Vienna is a melting pot of culture. From the sprawling estates of grand palaces owned by the elite long ago, to the twisting and turning medieval streets that open up onto the stunning view of St Stephen’s Cathedral steps, there is something for everyone in this fair city.

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Photo credit: Matthias Ripp

This year though, the summer has a lot to offer musicians and dance-lovers of the world over. Here are just three of the highlights from this year’s summer events, and the reasons why this is the place for you this season.

  1. The Vienna Jazz Festival, 26th June – 10th July

Regarded as one of the biggest and best jazz shows in the world, the annual Vienna Jazz Festival sees thousands of performers and fans flock here every year. Shows and concerts take place throughout this city, making use of its incredible backdrop of medieval architecture, including the ornate Vienna State Opera House and the grand City Hall. Some performances are even held at the Ottakringer Brauerei, an old-fashioned brewery, perfect for the sultry tones of smooth, classical jazz.

  1. Vienna KlangBogen, 1st July – 31st August

As one of the motherlands of Opera, you’d be missing out on a musical journey if you didn’t stop by at least one of the many concerts during the KlangBogen – the Viennese celebration of opera. This annual festival has taken place since 1997 at the Theatre an der Wien, and is hugely popular and symbolic of the historic attachment Austria has to this art form. This summer in particular is a momentous occasion for Vienna Opera, as the famous Marriage of Figaro once more returns to the stage. Composed in 1786 by Mozart, it premiered at the Burgtheater in Vienna on 1st May 1786. How fitting that it should return for this year’s festival, and what a treat for those who manage to book tickets!

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Photo credit: Kamil Rejczyk

  1. Annual Music & Film Festival – 14th July to 4th September

In many ways this is the jewel in the crown of Viennese culture during the summer months. This year celebrates their 26th annual edition of the Vienna Music & Film Festival, so every evening during from mid-July to the beginning of September, you can expect the famous square in front of Vienna’s City Hall to be packed with people. With a giant open-air cinema construction that shows countless films accompanied by classical music, the atmosphere is truly magical in this romantic city.

The programme includes many different forms of artistic and musical expression, including opera, ballet and musicals. This event is also free to enter, so the whole family will be able to enjoy the friendly and relaxed atmosphere, as well as a delicious snack, courtesy of one of the many purveyors of traditional Viennese street food.

I hope today’s blog post has convinced you that Vienna is the place to be if you love music and dance. Are you planning on heading out there this summer? Let me know in the comments.

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Five Briliant Reasons To Visit Monaco

Hear the word Monaco and what do you think of? Glitz, glamour and the high life. It’s where the rich and beautiful go to play, and we can’t help but want to be part of it. Monaco is very much on “the wish list” and we’ve been doing some research to find out the best spots to visit. Here are our top five reasons to visit Monaco.

Cruise The Coast In A Super Car

The French Riviera is famous for its coastline. Stunning Mediterranean waters sit below winding roads, framed by picturesque views. Two James Bond films have been shot in this stunning location, Goldeneye and Diamonds are Forever. In 1995’s Goldeneye, Bond races his Aston Martin against a red Ferrari along the Mountain Roads, and much of the film itself is set in Monaco.

Now, we’re not suggesting a race in a fast, expensive car, but the idea of cruising in a super car does sound rather fun! Also, there are so many impressive cars in Monaco that you’ll feel left out if you don’t have one. There are a number of companies, such as Europe Luxury Car Hire, that will hire you a fancy car to enjoy the scenic routes. We can’t decide which one is best, but there is something romantic about an Aston Martin – and if it’s good enough for Bond, it’s good enough for us.

Image Credit: LifeinRiviera.com

Watch The Formula 1 Grand Prix De Monaco

The Grand Prix de Monaco has been running since 1929, and it is considered to be one of the most prestigious and important races in the world. The Formula 1 race is held on the actual streets of Monaco which are narrow, have tight corners and a tunnel – it is certainly one of the most demanding tracks in Formula One.

The Grand Prix de Monaco usually takes place in May, which just so happens to be a great time of year to visit. We want to go and enjoy the race, but we also want to visit some of the famous nightspots that spill out onto the racetrack itself such as La Rascasse, Jimmy’z, Black Legend and Moods.

Image Credit: f1madness.co.za

Take a Flutter at the Casino de Monte Carlo

 Another famous pre-, post- and during Grand Prix destination is the Casino de Monte Carlo, which is also featured in several Bond films. This holiday has a theme: Bond, fast cars and gambling – it’s sounding great so far.

Built in the early 19th century, the Casino de Monte Carlo was the vision of François Blanc, founder of the Société des Bains de Mer. However, it was actually the brainchild of Princess Caroline, who was looking for ways to increase revenue to save the House of Grimaldi from bankruptcy. The new casino brought roads and better hotels to Monaco, helping to make it the resort destination it is today – thank you Princess!

It is considered one of the most beautiful casinos in the world and draws in the glamorous crowds to match. It also plays host to the world’s richest poker event every Spring, the EPT (European Poker Tour), which in 2016 had a prize pool of more than €5.6 million shared between the best poker players. We’re probably not ready for that game just yet, considering there were 564 competitors who probably are better in poker than we are (but then again, it’s never too late to start practicing!)

Image Credit: commons.wikimedia.org

To Go Diving Without Getting Wet

Diving is great, and there are some amazing spots to give it a go, but sometimes you wish that you could see all the mesmerising the sights without getting wet. Well, in Monaco you can do that, at the Oceanographic Museum and Aquarium. This impressive building was built in 1910 and sits atop of a sheer 280-foot cliff.

Once inside the Aquarium you can go for an adventure under the sea. We’ve heard that the basement tanks are the place to go to visit colourful reef fish and coral. If we visit we’re definitely going to the top of the building to take in the beautiful panoramic views over Monaco.

To Eat Europe’s Best Brunch

Everyone loves brunch, and although an American institution, it’s now spread worldwide as a must-do weekend activity – especially when you’re on holiday. Each Sunday, The Monte Carlo Bay Hotel host their own brunch and according to sources it’s meant to be a delectable culinary experience, prepared by chef Marcel Ravin. The brunch is held at the hotel’s Blue Bay restaurant from 12:30 to 15:00 on its sunny terrace, and you are welcomed with a glass of Tattinger champagne at the door – brunch, Monaco style. They call it “bubbly brunch” thanks to the champagne that accompanies it.

The Monte Carlo Bay Hotel is only 3km from the Prince’s Palace and 4km from the Oceanographic Museum – so brunch and then a nice walk to our next activity sounds like a solid plan.

Image Credit: http://www.montecarlosbm.com/

 As we’ve been researching we have found absolutely loads of things we want to do in Monaco. It seems like an incredible place to visit. We imagine just wondering the beautiful streets and watching the rich and famous strut their stuff would be a holiday in itself – but we can’t wait to try out these five activities and many more, we definitely won’t be forgetting to take some brilliant photos!

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Launch your Turquoise Coast Cruise from Beautiful Fethiye

There are direct flights from the many regional airports of Western Europe to the Turquoise Coast of Turkey for eight months a year. One of the two airports serving the coast is Dalaman in Mugla. It is a modern airport with plenty of capacity and is less than an hour west of the expanding Turkish tourist town of Fethiye, an obvious starting point for those wishing to experience the delights of the warm, crystal blue waters on board a yacht.

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As Turkish tourism has grown, so has the demand for sailing adventures on what is a stunning coastline. The seas are calm for most of the extended season and the sun is guaranteed. Those wanting to relax away from the crowds can do so on fully equipped yachts that are available at most budgets, from standard up to absolutely luxurious. A Fethiye motor yacht charter can offer a personalised itinerary heading east towards Antalya or west past Marmaris and down the Datca Peninsula. There is no need to travel huge distances because there are quiet coves with little beaches all along this coast where there will never be many boats, if any, anchored.

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Fethiye itself is worth exploration, on and off the boat. It has grown over the years with its modern marina just metres away from an ancient amphitheatre. The Lycian sarcophagi which are carved in typical Lycian style are scattered around the town, the best preserved situated in the yard of the town governor’s office on the main street and another on the main street going towards the caves tombs and Kayakoy.
The Lycian Amintas Rock Tombs are 2400 years old. They are located in the cliff at the back of the town centre. These huge impressive rock tombs are the symbol of this town and give outstanding views of the archipelago. Kayakoy is the deserted Greek City, ruins that are scheduled to be restored. The Greeks left in the population exchange nearly a century ago when the Turkish Republic was formed.

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There are numerous bars and restaurants, modern shopping but also narrow streets where vendors sell everything from carpets and crafts to spices and souvenirs. Once on board, it is a pleasure to sail out of the bay between islands en route west to Gocek, a small town specializing in hosting those enjoying holidays on the sea.

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At times there are yachts as big as any in the world anchored in Gocek. It has a modern marina and boats offering day trips around the ’12 Islands’ as the popular tour is known. There are cafes and restaurants for a coffee or beer while the captain buys any supplies he might need. There is shade from the sun at the height of the day and a street full of tourist shops.

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There is never any great haste when cruising these waters. It is tempting to stop in every cove but the next place that has gained a degree of fame is Iztuzu Beach, a 5 km strip of sand that has been given protection because it is a nesting site for the endangered Loggerhead Turtle. That does not mean that tourists cannot enjoy the beach; they are just barred at 8 in the evening for twelve hours during which time many turtles come ashore to lay their eggs and weeks later the hatchlings head for the sea under the cover of darkness.

Ekincik
Just a short distance further west on a Blue Cruise in Turkey there is a sheltered bay called Ekincik. There is a beach and restaurant as well as a pier to tie up. It is a nice place to stop for a swim while the captain cooks lunch, typically kofta (meat balls), chicken, fish, salad and the day’s fresh bread.

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There is no need for a watch on such a holiday. The sun rises in the height of summer very early and sets around 15 hours later though there is minimal drop in temperature at night. The experience however is so good that time can sometimes appear to go so quickly. The answer of course is to come back again in the future and perhaps visit another part of the coastline ‘aboard ship.’

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Swiss day dreams

While daydreaming about places to visit the other day, Switzerland suddenly popped into my head. It kind of reminds me a little of New Zealand (the lakes and mountains) and yet it’s a LOT closer (a 4 hour flight, instead of a 24 hour flight!).

This little (famously neutral) country tucked away between France, Germany and Italy is home to some truly spectacular natural scenery, as well as the vibrant cities of Geneva and Zürich.

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Image credit: Kosala Bandara

And yet somehow, Switzerland is not typically one of the countries that comes to mind when planning a trip. It has caught my attention though and considering it is officially the happiest place on Earth (with Britain at No. 21), a little trip sounds quite enticing. Besides, anywhere that we have to thank for the creation of beautiful Rolex watches like these and tasty cheese must be worth a visit, right? I have found myself daydreaming about cheese fondue and chocolate more recently, so here is a list of things to do in Switzerland.

Climb the Matterhorn

As one of the world’s most famous and historical mountains, the Matterhorn is the mountain of mountains. It is an almost perfect pyramid that reaches 4,478 metres above sea level. Located in the Swiss Alps, trekking around this mountain takes you in and out of two countries, the second being Italy. Of course, a sight this tremendous deserves to be done properly, so is perhaps worth a trip in its own right.

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Image credit: Noel Reynolds

Walk the shores of Lake Geneva

Next to one of the most impressive mountains, Switzerland also has one of the largest lakes in Europe. There are any number of activities to partake in, like boating, paddle boarding, jet skiing and hiking. Or, if you prefer, enjoy relaxing on the beaches, sit by a fire pit or enjoy a stay in one of the nearby chalets for probably the most romantic getaway you’ve had in a long time.

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Image credit: Tobias Neuhold

Travel in style

And speaking of romance… how about an old fashioned train journey through the panoramic Swiss scenery. The GoldenPass Line travels through the vineyards and mountains and turns travelling into a real experience. Similarly, the Bernina Express traverses the Alps as one of the highest-altitude rail routes in Europe.

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Image credit: Shearings

Explore the urban areas

After all this nature, any city lover will likely be craving some tall buildings and loud noises. The biggest city in Switzerland is Zürich and with its population of close to 400,000, you probably won’t find quite the big city buzz you had imagined if you’re from somewhere like London, but what you will find is a vibrant and charming city with winding lanes and an interesting mix of old and new. Another city that drew my attention was Geneva. It is known for being sleek, slick and cosmopolitan (after all, it is one of Europe’s priciest cities) but with a bit of the urban grittiness you would expect from a modern city. Plenty of bars and restaurants to dig into one of those famous Swiss cheese fondues, or try chocolate that rivals that of Belgium.

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Image credit: Metro Centric

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Backpack through Belgium, the Country of Chocolates

Belgium promises a fun, diverse holiday experience with its array of activities and sights to see. Bordered by Germany, France and the Netherlands, it has soaked up the best of its neighbours with an alluring appeal all of its own as well. The community is mostly bi-lingual and extremely open to tourists, and including the following places in your Belgium travel planner will make your trip a perfect one.

Brussels

The country capital is a must-see stop on any tour and exemplifies the diversity of the country entirely. Take in a relaxed afternoon at the Grand Place which has an amalgam of the historical and the modern with the 15th-century town hall at its heart surrounded by chic cafes placed across this cobble-stoned square. These cafes also boast of architecture from earlier periods of time and tourists can sample some delectable Belgian treats while enjoying the view. From here head to the Rue Charles Buls for some indulgent shopping and get a glimpse of the cheeky Manneken Pis statue.

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Brussels, Belgium, Europe by Hernán Piñera

Musée du Cinquantenaire

If you wish to dive into the rich history of this country or rather monarchy then the Musée du Cinquantenaire is the place to be. It houses an enormous collection that not only encompasses Belgium history but everything from Egyptian relics to early 19th century artefacts as well. The museum itself is an impressive architectural work and only adds to the awe-inspiring aura of its antiquities. Make this part of your Belgium itinerary planner and have a fascinating day!

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Musée du Cinquantenaire, Belgium, Europe by lizzlebob

Musées Royaux des Beaux-Arts

A trip to the Musées Royaux des Beaux-Arts is mandatory as it is home to a vast majority of Belgian artwork that dates back through the centuries. It, in reality, houses a combination of museums – the Musée d’Art Ancien, the Musée d’Art Moderne, and the Musée Magritte. Considering Belgium’s artists have been involved in various art movements sweeping Europe through the years and have even engineered a renaissance all their own, the Musées Royaux des Beaux-Arts offers an amazing experience.

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Musées Royaux des Beaux-Arts, Belgium, Europe by Paolo Trabattoni

Antwerp

Once you have had your fill of Belgian history and past cultural feats, head to Antwerp which has always been hailed as the port city that keeps the country’s cultural scene on its toes and constantly on its toes. Antwerp is home to the impressive Gothic cathedral, Onze-Lieve-Vrouwekathedraal. The cathedral looms over the city and is quite a sight from wherever you might glimpse it. Scheldt Riverbank is a picturesque spot with a tunnel that allows pedestrians and cyclists to cross the river while taking in the beauty of the tunnel walls themselves. If you have kids or are a nature lover, make sure to stop at the Antwerp zoo for a fun day.

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Antwerp, Belgium, Europe by Krzysztof Belczyński

Waterloo Battlefield

Head to the site of Napoleon’s most popular defeat, Hameau du Lion (Lion Hamlet) which is a few kilometres walk or cycle ride away from the actual town of Waterloo. Make sure to visit on the 18th of June as an annual re-enactment is usually held on this picturesque patchwork field that is otherwise littered with memorials and historical buildings.

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Waterloo Battlefield, Belgium, Europe by Dennis Jarvis

Bruges

The idyllic town of Bruges thrills many a tourist with its medieval buildings and amazing sites. Visit the chocolate museum and gain insight into the history of those delicious treats, before watching them made before your eyes and then pick up a sample. Maybe you could take a stroll through the Markt which is always alive with tourists and local activity, surrounded by historical cafes and other landmarks, it promises a worthwhile visit.
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Travelling from the Winelands of Portugal’s Douro Valley to the Winelands of Spain’s Rioja

Wine is one of life’s special treats, and I feel like it’s something you appreciate more as you get older. I know that my partner, Pad, is getting more and more interested in the wine he drinks, and we’re both very interested in the history and culture behind the food we eat and the things we drink.

I never really knew “wine tours” were a thing, until I heard of Wines and Tours (I mean, of course I knew you could go to wineries and see where the grapes grow) but the idea of touring such regions and seeing lots of different wineries and experiencing lots of different flavours was completely new to me.

Stepped Douro Vineyards

But if you’re a foodie and you’re enthusiastic about wine and travel, this is basically the ideal holiday. An excuse to take a tour around a beautiful region, sampling the incredible wine on offer as you go. Perfection right?

The company, Wines and Tours, offers a variety of tours from French regions, to beautiful areas of Portugal. The way you can select and combine tours also makes the experience personalised and unique to you.

Here’s what to expect on one of their tours, told by the co-founder himself, Bill Warry…

As you’d expect, port has a starring role in the Wines & Tours three-part trip to the Douro region. We start in Porto, with post-flight relaxation and a Welcome dinner in the luxury facilities of The Yeatman, the famous five-star hotel named for one of the most successful and influential merchant families.

Breakfast at the Yeatman

The hotel’s cellars contain a superbly comprehensive collection of Portuguese wines, and the views of Portugal’s second largest city—with its varied architecture: stately beaux-arts; extravagant baroque; village-style plazas—are wonderful.

In the morning there’s a conducted tour of Taylor’s Port Lodge. This oldest of Port Lodges is just next door to the hotel, and offers the opportunity to learn about the different styles and qualities of port. And the chance to taste a few.

After lunch at Taylor’s Tres Seculos restaurant—which boasts the same top quality cuisine as The Yeatman—we drive to Vinhos Norte, a pristine family winery in the neighbouring Vinho Verde region; Vinho Verde literally means Green Wine, though rather than describing colour, the name suggests the age of the wine. In this region it’s usually designed to be drunk very young. These crisp, fresh wines are mostly whites, but rose and red are also produced.

Understanding wine part-way through fermentation

Wine&boat&stunning scenery

The day’s discoveries are discussed over dinner at a Pombal hotel, and the next morning we visit Victor Marques: farmer, wine-maker and poet. The fabulous barbecues in his vineyards are legendary, and the 20 year old vintage port made by Victor’s father is amazing; quite possibly the smoothest you’ll ever have.

The next day, we take to the river, cameras ready to capture a tapestry of stepped vineyards flanking the river banks, with every bend revealing a scene more beautiful than the last. And along the way, there’s wine to taste.

The river trip takes us to a stone’s throw of the Spanish border, and the final part of the journey is in Rioja country. There, the next couple of days are filled with wine-tasting, food, fantastic company, and raw, rugged countryside; quite different to that of the Douro Valley, but still stunning.

The raw beauty of Rioja

Beautiful Riojan landscape

The whole week-long tour is made up of three different tours from Wines and Tours Ltd; we promote a concept of sequential conducted tours. Essentially, these allow you to choose the length of your wine-tour holiday, and exactly how much you want to taste and discover. 

So why choose one of these tours? And why does it make such a great vacation?

  • It’s different and unique, compared to your usual beach holiday or city break.
  • These areas of Europe are simply stunning. Perfect for a summer getaway.
  • You’ll get to explore different regions, and won’t be stuck in one place.
  • You get to combine your travelling with another passion – wine!
  • You’ll get to meet like-minded people, also interested in travelling and wine.
  • You’ll have an informed guide, and you’ll learn loads.
  • Your guide will take you to the best places and make the best recommendations.
  • You’ll understand wine better, and be told how to handle and study it.

Tranquility at Tua

 

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Beautiful Copenhagen! Photos, Photos and More Photos…!

Last week I was lucky enough to head to Copenhagen for a few days on a business trip… Which was SO EXCITING!! Especially as it was to Copenhagen – somewhere I’ve never been before.

I’ll be honest – Copenhagen has never really been on my radar, but before jetting off I did a little research and couldn’t wait to visit. The company I work for (I do social media and PR for Tiger Stores) are a Danish Design store so I’m always hearing about the Danish culture, and was pretty excited to experience for myself.

Here are my photos!

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One thing I adored about Copenhagen was the quiet, the calm and the cleanliness of it. There aren’t many cars in the city, and almost everyone rides bikes – so the city is very quiet and peaceful compared to London. In the evening it was noticeable how calm the streets were, there was a lack of engines, transport and sirens… it was kinda lovely.

There were so many bikes in the city, I spent a lot of time taking photos of them. There’s definitely something super ‘instagrammable’ about bikes in the sunshine. It’s kind of fun imagining what kind of person owns the bike…

Like this one below, is totally some rich hippy artist. But he has an adventurous side (look at the wheels). And he’s maybe got a new baby or something (because the plants are a bit overgrown – so he hasn’t had chance to cycle recently). 

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The streets and buildings reminded me a little of Amsterdam, which makes sense as apparently a lot of buildings in Copenhagen were built by the Dutch. Some of the streets were simply gorgeous – especially the street with coloured fronts along the waterside.

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Look at my shoes. I <3 them.

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One of the evenings, my colleagues took me out for dinner at an area of the city called Christiania. Christiania is a part of the city which (for want of a better word) is ‘free’ – it doesn’t abide to the normal laws in the city (for example, people sell and smoke weed freely in the area) and the people there are an independent community. It’s like a huge park set around a beautiful lake with homes, cafes, restaurants and market stalls.

The history of the area is fascinating – and it’s an amazing place to visit for the sheer experience of it. There are only a few photos below (as they ask you not to take images once inside the grounds).

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Next up, a few more random photos from the city and just strolling around…

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The city is seriously so gorgeous… These photos are just random shots from here there and everywhere whilst walking around the city – and it seems like everywhere you look there is something else to take a photo of.

I thought the multi-coloured houses would just be located on one street (kind of like Notting Hill) but they weren’t – they pop up everywhere, which is so nice. You’ll be walking along this normal street one second, and the next minute you’ve turned onto an amazing rainbow.

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Oh and CAN WE JUST TALK ABOUT THE PASTRY!?

Holy smokes.

It was good.

My friend Samuel (who was travelling with me) had warned me beforehand how good the pastry was, and I was somewhat doubtful. I’m not a big pastry fan here in the UK – and if I was going to convert they’d have to be something special.

Well, it was. It was squishy, sweet, sticky, crispy, cinnamonny and custardy all in one mouthful. I am literally drooling on my keyboard as I write this.

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And then it was time for home.

I tried to sneak a pastry in my carry-on for Pad, but it got a bit gross so I abandoned it on the plane. Until next time, Copenhagen.

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My favourite European destinations for cheap summer getaways

We’ve had some pretty epic holidays this last year and the year before, so it’s likely this year will be a bit different, as we’ll be choosing locations closer to home.

We’re still planning to get away (I don’t think I could do a year without a holiday of some kind!) – but the places we choose will be much closer to home, most likely inside Europe – where we can grab up some cheap flights – instead of forking out £600-£800 for a long-haul flight.

Here are a few of my favourite places in Europe:

Berlin, Germany

This is actually a city I only visited very recently (Pad and I went to celebrate his 30th birthday). It made such a great impression on me, which I totally wasn’t expecting. Berlin is quirky, modern, but also has history to it too, which is culturally important and fascinating.

The flight only took an hour and a half (no jet lag… yay!) and it’s the kind of place you can head to for a few days over the weekend or bank holiday. I’d go back in a flash, I just loved it there, and it’s actually a great city for the transition period between winter and spring. It’s not really a ‘sight-seeing’ city in my opinion, it’s more of a ‘live like a local’ kind of city… But that’s what makes it so awesome.

And also, Berlin is cheap! Like half the price of London cheap. Bonus points for that. 

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east side gallery berlin

Venice, Italy

I went to Venice last year with my friend (and future bridesmaid!) Harriet. I didn’t really know what to expect – I’d seen photos of the city, and heard all about it – but experiencing it for yourself is totally different.

It’s seriously beautiful. Like “Holy crap, I can’t believe this place actually exists’ kind of beautiful. Most of the time, it feels like you’re walking through a movie-set. The water, the bridges, the courtyards – it’s all just perfection. I went in June and the weather was lovely (hot, but not too hot, you know?) so I think May / June would be a pretty ideal time to visit.

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Rome, Italy

Another Italian city (what can I say, I love Italy) Rome is another city that feels like a movie-set. It has so many recognisable attractions, monuments and buildings – you literally never have the opportunity to put your camera away. It’s been a while since I went to Rome, but I’ve been desperate to go back again – especially because Pad hasn’t been yet and we’d get to explore it together with him seeing everything for the first time.

Rome is another place where you can book a getaway pretty cheaply – flights probably won’t cost more than £250 return, and you could get an AirBnB for your accommodation!

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Paris, France

Paris is so close to London, you can get a ferry to france if you’re driving and want to keep the car with you (perfect if you’re extending the roadtrip beyond just Paris, and you’re exploring more of France afterwards), or if not, you can fly or train it. Loads of choices!

It’s awesome, because within a couple of hours you’re somewhere completely different and in a whole new city. In the last year I’ve been to Paris with Pad, and then with my sister Bekah – and there’s always something new to see and explore. Disneyland is my main reason for visiting if I’m being honest – I LOVE DISNEYLAND.

But, you know, it’s romantic too in Paris. I’ve heard 😉

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St Ives, Cornwall

I’d never really been convinced with UK beach locations, until we visited St Ives last year. I can’t even believe how gorgeous the beaches were – and I wish we had stayed longer than a few days, because I probably could’ve relaxed on those beaches for at least a week or so!

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My photos of The Berlin Wall, taken from The East Side Gallery

One of the main things I wanted to see in Berlin, was whatever remained of The Berlin Wall. It’s a random fact, but the Berlin was first pulled down on the actual day I was born. So that was on all the papers and all the headlines the day my Mum was in the hospital giving birth to me. I guess, because of that early connection to the city and to the wall, it’s always fascinated me and it’s something I’ve always wanted to see, and learn more about.

It’s not actually blindly obvious in any of the guidebooks or tour-books where you can see The Berlin Wall, and yet I knew there must be somewhere you can go to see the remnants of it. However small those remnants might be.

We went to Checkpoint Charlie first where there stands a small piece of the wall – but it wasn’t enough, so I went on Google and tried to find somewhere else in the city. What I saw recommended a few times, was The East Side Gallery in East Berlin. It’s a free, outdoor gallery with a large stretch of the wall itself still standing, and covered in beautiful murals and street art.

It’s quite simply; beautiful, powerful and thought-provoking. 

By far the part of the trip that enjoyed the most, and something no one should miss if visiting Berlin. 

east side gallery berlin

You can see the East Side Gallery in the map below, but it’s kinda that whole road, not just a building. It basically runs right along Muhlenstrabe (the main road) for at least 20-25 of walking.

We got off at the U Schlesisches Tor station (on the U1 line) and just did the quick walk across the river to the east side gallery, which was very pretty… so why the heck not?

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Below are a few photos of my favourite parts of the wall, but all of it was just beautiful. For me, it’s especially beautiful because it’s something that was once so negative and such a point of pain and struggle, that has now been turned into something that represents freedom of expression, and colour and art.

east side gallery berlin

east side gallery berlin

east side gallery berlin

I loved the verse below, sometimes you don’t need the colours and the the patterns, sometimes words are enough to show the power of what the wall now represents, as opposed to what it once represented.

east side gallery berlin

east side gallery berlin

east side gallery berlin

east side gallery berlin

I loved this little verse too.

east side gallery berlin

The image below is one of the remaining walls most famous and iconic parts. In the city they actually sell t-shirts and postcards with this printed on.

east side gallery berlin

east side gallery berlin

east side gallery berlin

east side gallery berlin

east side gallery berlin

east side gallery berlin

Have you been to the East Side Gallery in Berlin? What did you think? 🙂

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