Mini Guide to Positano

Getting There

The quickest way to get to Positano is to rent a car in Naples and drive. The car gives you freedom and the drive takes around 90 minutes. The downside of this is that you will have to drive in Naples. There is no simple way to put this…driving in Naples is nothing like driving in a typical city. You’ll encounter intersections without traffic signals or stop signs, dogs and babies on Vespas, and drivers who break every traffic law. Also parking in Positano is hard to find and it costs around 30€/day.

Another way to get to Positano is by train. There is no direct train to Positano so if you want to take a train, you can only travel from Napoli Centrale to Sorrento, and then you need to travel from Sorrento to Positano by SITA bus. The Circumvesuviana train heads to Sorrento every half hour from 6 AM to 11 PM in the high season, and a bit less frequently in off seasons. A one way trip takes an hour and ten minutes; you can purchase your ticket at the station for 4€. Keep in mind that these tickets can’t be purchased in advance, so trains tend to be overcrowded or sold out. It’s worth spending the extra 4€ for the Campania Express, which makes the trip from Naples to Sorrento in under an hour and is generally considered more comfortable.

As we wanted to get to Positano as early as possible we took the Circumvesuviana train. We read so many bad expirences online that we honestly expected this train would be full of criminals and mugging would be the best case scenario. In our experience there is nothing wrong with this train. Of course, you have to be vigiliant and use common sense but for anyone who’s ever been on the public transport there shouldn’t be a problem.

Once you reach Sorrento, you’re halfway done with your trip! Now you’re just a short bus or ferry ride away! The Sita bus company runs from Sorrento Railway Station along the coast, all the way to Amalfi with stops in Positano. The bus runs daily, in the peak season leaving every 30 minutes from 6:30 AM until 7:30 PM and takes about 45 minutes. Tickets cost between 10€ and 12€ and can be purchased at local cigarette shops, newspaper stands, or the Circumvesuviana station. However, a ticket doesn’t necessarily guarantee you a seat as these busses are often oversold. Get there as early as possible to secure your seat.

Where to Eat

Tagliata

Settled in the hills above Positano, this charming restaurant is something you can’t miss. This family run restaurant doesn’t have a menu but instead you are offered a set meal of antipasti, first course (selection of pasta), second course (selection of barbequed meats), dessert and a bottle of wine for a fixed price of 45€ per person. The view makes the dining experience so enjoyable, but the food was truly the highlight. With many of their ingredients grown right on the property, even the simple vegetable dishes had an amazing flavor. After lunch we had a walk around their vegetable and lemon gardenwhere they also keep chickens, rabbits and donkeys.

Bar Buca di Bacco

 Casual spot right on the main beach! In the morning you can get your coffee & croissant fix, and during lunch a pizza and a glass of wine! A more affordable option amongst the other sit-down restaurants on the main beach.

Where to take pictures

Spaggia Grande

What is a visit to Positano without a visit to its famous beach? We didn’t have a chance to swim because it was very windy but did manage to wander around the beach until it got too busy. The Spaggia Grande is actually a private beach. To rent a beach chair you are looking at 22€ per chair, while the front row chairs are 25€. If that’s not your jam, you can bring your own towel and lay in a small section just next to the chairs for free.

Shops in Positano

Head to the Church in Positano and you will find the perfect little shop selling ceramics. They don’t allow photos inside but the outside is just perfect.

Chez Black and Beach Promenade

Chez Black is a restaurant right on the main beach in Positano. I loved the charm it had, and it felt like a perfect photo opportunity! If you keep walking along the beach promenade you’ll find pretty spots to shoot like this beach entrance!

The Deli

At the crossroad between two main walking streets Piazza dei Mulini and Via Cristoforo Colombo lies The Delicatessen and the stairs that lead to the street where famous La Sirenus Hotel is located. It’s a bit hard to get a good picture here during the day for the obvious reasons so try mornings.

Hotel Poseidon

Well not the actual hotel but actually down the road from it. The hotel is amazing for photos as well but I acidentally found this spot which turned out to be my favourite view of Positano. And guess what, it’s not busy so you can have it to yourself.

Le Sirenuse Hotel

Most of the photos you find online while searching for Positano are probably taken from this hotel. Some lucky people have the opportunity to stay there but for those less lucky you can book a lunch or a dinner or go for a drink at Franco’s bar. Franco’s don’t take bookings so make sure you arrive as soon it opens, at 5pm. In case you were wondering, this famous balcony is located at the hotel’s lobby.

What to do

Unlike Rome where there’s a plenty of historical sights to see, the Amalfi coast is reserved for relaxation (except the many stairs that you have to walk everyday).

Spend your days at the beach. There are two beaches in Positano. Spaggia Grande is the main beach that acts as the center of town! If you are looking for something quieter head to Fornillo, just a 5-10 minute walk along the coastal pathway.

Take a ride around the Amalfi Coast on a private boat.

Enjoy fresh Italian food and have more than one Aperol during aperitivo.

Take a day trip to Capri.

Capture the views from every angle.

How to spend 4 days in Rome

You know what they say : “All Roads Lead to Rome” and that’s why you just have to visit it at least once in your life. I don’t know why it took me so long to visit but I have to say it’s now one of the top 5 places i’ve ever been to. Here are my top tips about what to do and how to get around.

How to get around Rome

The best way to get from place to place in Rome is on your own two feet. Rome is a highly walkable city, assuming you’re not trying to walk all the way from Vatican City to the Colosseum in one go. We were staying very close to the Colosseum so we were two metro stops (5minutes) from the main Roma Termini station and around 17 minutes walk from Trevi Fountain.

If you’re not up for walking or simply can’t, the local bus system in Rome is easy to use and cheap. Buses are frequent, but not necessarily always on time or reliable. I suggest using an app like Citymapper to plan your route. One-way bus tickets or all-day passes can be bought at most newspaper kiosks,convenience shops or metro stations in Rome, just be careful though, most shopkeepers we spoke to wanted cash and wouldn’t let us pay for tickets with our debit cards.

What to eat & drink in Rome

Grazia & Graziella

Grazia & Graziella

This vintage-style restaurant, located in Trastevere relies on tradition and creativity, with their 60s and 70s inspired decor . The name comes from Grazia, the name of the owner’s grandmother (who is also to thank for the unique recipes) and from Graziella, the traditional Italian bicycle.

Largo M.D. Fumasoni Biondi, 5,Rome

Tonarello

Just across the street from Grazia & Graziella is this very popular and very busy restaurant so come early or be prepared to wait in a queue. It’s a classic italian restaurant but with very tasty food and amazing service.

Via della Paglia, 1,Rome

Mr. 100 Tiramisu/Two Sizes

These two tiramisu places couldn’t be more different but hey are both delicious.

As the name says, Mr. 100 Tiramisu is the place where you can choose from 100 different types of tiramisu. Unexpectedly, the place is very small and serves tiramisu at the bar because the tables are reserved for food and wine (you can have tiramisu for dessert), the food mainly consisted of chacuterie (cheese and dried meat). Because it’s a bit off the tourist track, it doesn’t get overly busy. After a long debate and looking at the menu, we chose banana, dulce de leche and cinnamon and dark chocolate with orange, it was great watching them create our tiramisu for us right in front of our eyes whist we sat at the bar!

Via dei Sediari 11/12,Rome

Two sizes is a much more touristy and straightforward tiramisu place, classic tiramisu in mini and normal size. It’s ideal if you want to grab something quick and not hang about.

Via del Governo Vecchio 88, Rome

Salotto42

Known as one of the coolest bars in Rome (and one of the most instagrammable because of pink flowers on the facade) with its cool rotating art on the walls, magazines and vinyls scattered around,plush chairs and beautifluly made cocktails. The €10-12 cocktails always come with a simple side of olives and chips and mini sendwiches at end so make sure to pop by and sample one of the signature Spritzes. Yes,that’s right Spritzes. The trendy bar has a cocktail menu dedicated entirely to the spritz!

Piazza di Pietra, 42, Rome

Bar del Cinque

Another gem in the Trastavere neighborhood. With a beautiful facade often seen on Instagram. I felt this was the most authentic place we visited as we were the only tourists inside.

Vicolo de’ Cinque, 5, Roma

Les Etoiles

This is the hotel which I chose only because of the amazing view of the Rome. Coffee or anything else is a bit pricey so we paid €5 for coffee, €5 for water and 5€ for selection of biscuits but it was worth it, don’t you think?

What to see in Rome

The ancient city of Rome is literally an open air museum, and tracks back to 753 BC. There are certain sights everyone will see but here are my top picks and advice how to beat the crowd, take the best pictures and generally enjoy stress free sightseeing!

Colosseum and Roman Forum

It’s not surprising that the Colosseum hosts 4 million tourists a year being one of the 7 Wonders of the World. That means you can expect the queues to be very long any day of the week. Add the hot sun and humidity to the mix and you are asking for a recipe for disaster.

When you google tickets, you will get dozens of different websites and tours, many of them very expensive. Also we didn’t want to take a guided tour, they take too long and we wanted to go and see things at our own pace, so I was very happy when I discovered the perfect ticket for us on the tickets website Headout. Our ticket was a skip-the-line with escorted entry which included the Colosseum, Roman Forum and Palatine Hill and cost only €28. So how does this work? We (and lots of other people) meet the guide down the street from Colosseum at an agreed meeting spot and he accompanies us through a special tour groups entrance where we jumped the queue and got inside within minutes without needing to queue. The only thing you can’t skip is the security bit (same as the airport) but that was quick as well because we took the earliest ticket we could find which was 8:30am and there weren’t as many groups.

If you want to capture a good picture of Colosseum or Roman Forum you actually have to be outside of it. The street Via Nicola Salvi, just above the metro station Colosseum is the perfect spot to capture an iconic Colosseum photo. You won’t be alone there but it’s doable as people move fast.

We got to spend around 2 hours in the Coloseum, which was more than enough to see the entire thing and read all of the information about the building and it’s history, and we then went back to the meeting point to meet our guide and be escorted to the Forum.

To get great a Roman Forum picture head behind Museu Capitolina to Via di S.Pietro in Carcere.

Trevi Fountain & Spanish Steps

Trevi fountain is the fountain of all fountains, one of the most iconic spots in Rome and literally the most crowded spot of all time. One of the reasons is the legend about throwing coins into it. The legend claims that you should throw three coins into the fountain. The first coin guarantees your return to Rome, the second will ensure a new romance, and the third will ensure marriage. It’s no surprise that around €3,000 is collected from the fountain every evening! That money is donated to a non-profit organisation providing food to the homeless in Rome.

This fountain is a real masterpiece but in order to see it you have to get up early. And by early I mean 5am. We got there at 6am thinking we had the jump on the other visitors and dozens of people were already there! It was mainly bloggers and newly weds trying to get that perfect photo but there were also regular tourists. From my experience, in the afternoon you can’t even see the fountain,it’s that crowded and sections of it are closed off by the police so you can’t even access them.

The Spanish Steps are another place which you have to visit early. We got there at 7:30am and it was okay but I think that’s due to the fact you are not allowed to sit (or eat or write) on the stairs any more. In fact, you can be fined €200 or even €400 if you damage the stairs in any way.

Trastevere neighborhood

Trastevere, my favorite neighborhood in Rome, and from the looks of it- it’s everyone else’s favorite too! This neighborhood has such a local vibe and tons of character! I’d walk around the narrow cobblestone streets and find place for an aperitivo and soak in the energy! (I included my favourite spots in the Eat & Drink section)

Also this area has some of the best and the most popular restaurants so don’t think it’s any less busy than central Rome.

Because we stayed near the Colosseum, we took a bus there which took us around 20 minutes but we walked on the way back.

The Pantheon

The Pantheon is one of the best-preserved building of ancient Rome. The former temple now converted into a church has a massive dome on top with an opening that allows natural light to light the entire building. The beam of sunlight creates a magical feeling inside the dome. How about rain? A draining system makes sure the Pantheon doesn’t flood. Outside the Pantheon at Piazza Della Rotonda there are lots of terraces where you can sit for breakfast or cappuccino.

Altare Della Patria

In front of Piazza Venezia is a gigantic pure-white marble moment that has a panoramic view of the entire city. To honor the first king of Italy, the Italians built the Altare Della Patria (also known as Vittorio Emanuele II Monument).

The first part is free to visit but to visit the top,an entrance ticket is required. Sitting on the monument or stair steps is not allowed.

Borghese Gardens & Piazza del Poppolo

The Borghese Gardens are Rome’s version of Central Park and stretch for 226 acres from Piazza del Poppolo to the top of Via Veneto. The lush, green Borghese Gardens have it all: bust-lined paths, statues, a carousel for the kids, an artificial lake that you can rent a row boat on, and even a replica of Shakespeare’s Globe Theater.

We spent one whole afternoon wandering around and enjoying gelato and much needed shade.

Vatican Museum and Sistine Chapel

The famous spiral staircase, the papal throne, the Gallery of Maps, the Sistine Chapel. If the opportunity to take in the beauty of the Sistine Chapel’s ceiling, possibly the most famous work of art ever doesn’t convince you to visit the Vatican Museums (or Rome for that matter), nothing will!

There are 54 different galleries and several courtyards within the Vatican Museums, featuring chosen paintings and sculptures collected over the centuries. Like the Louvre in Paris, the Vatican Museums contain more works of art than can be seen in a day, but if you give yourself around three hours, you’ll still be able to see the museums’ most famous bits.

Once again we chose Escorted skip-the-line ticket on Headout and explored the museum at our own pace.

We spent a while looking for the new Bramante spiral staircase. We’ve were even told that it wasn’t open to the public! But this is the big disadvantage of taking a guided tour, if you are part of a guided tour, you won’t pass the staircase because you will end up going straight to the St Peter’s Basilica but if you’re not part of a tour, it’s most likely you will exit the museum and pass the staircase. It is located in the main entrance hall of the Museum.

Unfortunately, we missed the chance to visit St Peter’s Basilica and to see the iconic view of St Peter’s Square but the queues were just too long and it was far too hot. I suggest going there as soon it opens in the morning, or look into buying a ticket which lets you jump the queues. Tickets for St Peter’s Basilica are available on Headout and start from around €19.50 (at the time of writing).

Top things to do in Marrakech

Marrakech is a place that you either love or hate but it’s also a place like no other and before you go you need to prepare so that you don’t get dissapointed. The first thing that everyone asked me was is Marrakech safe?

Before I went I heard lots of bad experiences mainly from women, how they were hassled or scammed by random people. Personally, I didn’t have any bad experience but you need to be alert and keep in mind that people will try to scam you, starting from the taxi drivers. Any drive within Marrakech by taxi shouldn’t be cost more than 50 dirhams (€5). You need to be prapered to bargain. If they don’t want to lower the fare, you should leave or pretend to leave because they will probably accept your offer or in the worse case you will find another taxi driver.

Also, don’t accept help from random people on the street who want to give you directions, or people who come up to you to sell you something. Always make sure you look like you know where you are going, even if you don’t.

I would advise getting a Moroccan SIM card at the airport so that you can use it for Google Maps. Before you leave the terminal building at Marrakech airport you will see many different vendors selling SIM cards with data plans included, we got a plan with Orange which cost €10 and included 4GB of data. We also found that Google Maps in Marrakech was pretty accurate unlike Venice or Seattle where it didn’t work for us, and we ended up walking in circles.

Stay

We stayed at a new boutique riad called Ksar Kasbah & Spa, it’s located in the old town just a short walk from the main attractions like Sadian Tombs and Bahia Palace or if you prefer, a 20 minute walk to the souks. Upon arrival, we were greeted by the most friendly staff. They offered us mint tea and some Moroccan pastries to enjoy by the pool. The turquoise pool is in the heart of the riad, covered in pretty mosaic tiles, luscious green plants and ornate furniture, it’s like your personal Eden! Ksar Kasbah is so peaceful and calm that you will wish you could stay here all day. This riad has a total of eleven rooms all built around the pool and furnished in a pure bohemian style (price range: from €100 to €150 per night).

I really loved the rooftop, with its sun loungers, and cacti it was especially magical during the sunset.

The breakfast, which was included in the price was a delight: tasty Moroccan crepes, fluffy lemon/poppy seeds, fresh fruits, eggs and dairy products. You can choose to eat on the rooftop or by the pool. We also opted for dinner one night, which we had under the stars. Their chicken and lemon tajine was devine and the couscous Royal was amazing!

Another feature of Ksar Kasbah is its spa, located on the rooftop. With a traditional hammam and 2 cabins for treatments and massage, the spa is open every day from 8 am to 9 pm. All the treatments are performed with natural local products.

Hotel Mamounia

Whether you’re staying there or not, you’ll probably want to make a trip to the breathtaking Mamounia, a luxury 5-star hotel set in a former royal palace. I can’t comment on the experience of staying there because, sadly, it was outside of my budget, but we did manage to go for a drink and stroll around the grounds and I have to say it felt like a glimpse of a different world. Plus if you’re looking for gram-worthy spots, you’ll find plenty of #InstaGold. Those Insta -famous monochrome pillars are now closed to the general public and only for guests so I didn’t get the snap there but the rest of the hotel is just as beautiful.

Eat

Le Jardin

Le Jardin is located in the middle of the souks and the athmosphere lives up to its name- it’s a beautiful, calm green oasis. When you walk in you will forget that you are just few steps away from the hustle and bustle of the souks. Le Jardin is owned by the same group as Nomad so you can expect delicious food, amazing interiors and even a few turtles wandering around.

Nomad

Probably the most famous food place in Marrakech, this lively restaurant serves simple “Modern Moroccan” cuisine: traditional local cuisine and international dishes with a Moroccan twist. It is spread over four floors with two levels of terraces that offer amazing views of the surrounding Medina and the Atlas mountain range. Nomad is perfect for both lunch and dinner or drinks at the bar to rest from the craziness of the souks. We went for dinner and even though I’m not a big lamb fan, I had one of the best ever (lamb)burgers.

Il Limoni

Another serene restaurant right in the middle of the chaos of Medina. It might be hard to spot at first because all that separates the alley from the restaurant is a set of tiny wooden doors. But when you pass through them you will step into an unexpected world – tiled courtyard shaded with lemon trees, calm music and the scent of delicious Italian and Moroccan food. We spent two hours there, just relaxing, people watching and listening to the birds.

No matter where you are going for food, make sure to try famous Moroccan dish tajine. Moroccan tajine dishes are slow-cooked savory stews, typically made with sliced meat, poultry or fish together with vegetables or fruit. Spices, nuts, and dried fruits are also used.

More Food: Café Des Épices,Le Salama, Atay Cafe

See

Le Jardin Majorelle & Yves Saint Laurent Museum

One of the few sights in the New Town is the Jardin Majorelle, a beautiful botanical garden previously owned by Yves Saint Laurent and housing the Museum of the late French fashion designer. It’s pretty small, but well worth visiting for the striking design, colours and beautiful range of foliage where you can wander around and hide from the heat. I don’t have any pictures from inside the musuem because it is not permitted to take photos, but believe me, you will be amazed with the garments exibited inside.

Bahia Palace

The Bahia Palace is a striking example of Moroccan architecture consisting of several grand rooms and courtyards. The gardens are particulary beautiful with their orange trees and fountains. This palace was never a home of the royal family but it was a home of Si Moussa, the man who managed sultan’s household. After his son died, the servents ransacked the palace so today the palace stands completely empty and without any furniture, so when you visit you can only admire the woodwork and the tiles and try to imagine how it once looked.

Souks

You can’t really miss the souks, the main markets of Marrakech. There’s a central covered area made up of a maze of alleyways twisting through stalls selling traditional crafts, Moroccan lamps, designer fakes, and lots of beautiful crockery and it’s really hard to resist. You can easily spend hours browsing the stalls, but make sure to haggle. We found out that before going to the main market the best thing to do is to visit the smaller, local market where the prices are fixed and there is no negotiation. That will give you an insight into what is an acceptable price for the items you want to buy. Also keep in mind shopkeepers can be quite agressive if you try taking pictures, there were a few times we were told we couldn’t take photos unless we bought something so I ended up buying a tea pot, two plates and a wooden camel.

On your wander around markets, you will probably end up at Jemaa el-Fnaa, the main square and market place. Personally, I didn’t like it. It was too chaotic, there were live snakes (which are my biggest phobia) I also found the people there very pushy.

Le Jardin Secret

The garden is located in the middle of Medina and from the outside is advertised as an open air museum. You enter the complex into a tiled courtyard with running water, and foliage. It’s almost unbelievable peaceful, especially because there is not many tourists inside. Originally built in 16th century these gardens were previously ruined and left decay for years until 2008 when they started renovation and finally opened it for the public in 2016. There is not much you can do inside except enjoy the serenity and Islamic architecture so if you want you can sit in one of the two cafes.Entrance fee is 50 dirhams.

Koutoubia Mosque

Other places: Marrakech Museum, Saadian Tombs, Koutoubia Mosque, El Badi Palace, Ben Youseff Madrasa(currently closed for renovation-2019)

Do

There are so many things you can do while staying in Marrakech from day trip to Ait Benhaddou and Ouarzazate, to a night at luxury desert camps in Agafay desert or 3 day tour to Merzouga (proper sand) desert. Because we were only there for 3 days, we needed to choose the most convenient one. We booked a private camel ride in Agafay desert through the Dunes & Desert tour agency. We had a private driver and a guide who picked us up at 9am from near our Riad and took us to the Berber village in Agafay desert. For those who don’t know, Berbers are people ethnicly indigenous to North Africa. Their rich cultural history dates back to prehistoric times, over 4000 years ago. Although, the Berber people today don’t live exclusively in rural areas, these communities offer an interesting insight into the Berber tradition and history. All the camels there are owned by a local family and they appeared to be very well looked after. After our camel ride, (which was overwhelming experience for me because I simply adore camels) we were served freshly made Moroccan pancakes with condiments and mint tea.

I have to say, this was one of the best experiences that I ever had. We had a chance to see communities that live in the middle of nowhere, leading a life that was so different from ours.

If you want to ride a camel, you can also do that in Marrakech, at the Palm Grove, but I would recommend a more unique and authentic experience.

The New York City Guide

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And here it is – the second part of my New York City guide. Before you start, tip number one is: wear comfortable shoes! We wandered around so much that step counter on my phone went nuts. We walked between 15km and 20 km every day! Considering we used public transport a lot, this is shocking. But I loved every minute of it and hope to come back soon.

Get Around

Even though yellow cabs, Uber and Lyft (which works same as Uber and may even be better!) are everywhere to been seen, the fastest way to get around the city is the Metro. The weekly Metro card which gives you unlimited travel for 7 days, and costs only $30. A bargain, compared to London.  The other positive thing is that Metro runs 24/7.

Where To Shop

What Goes Around Comes Around

Experience both old and new at this  SoHo boutique, popular with stylists and celebrities. Whether you look to the past for inspiration or are decidedly fashion-forward, What Goes Around Comes Around will provide clothing, shoes and accessories that are stylish and timeless, even if the prices are very contemporary. The shop also produces and markets its own vintage-inspired collection.

351 W Broadway, New York, NY 10013

Glossier

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Even though they ship to UK now, there is something in actually seeing and trying products before buying so I decided to go to the physical Glossier shop while in New York. They have a showroom on top of their offices on Lafayette Street down in Soho and it’s pretty cool. It’s always busy so you might end up in a queue outside but it moves pretty fast.  All the products are out for you to have a play with, plus the place is Instagram gold.

123 Lafayette St, New York, NY 10013

If you are into beauty products make sure you also visit Sephora on Union Square which is massive and Barney’s if you’re after some luxe and harder to find brands.

Reformation

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With a couple of stores across Manhattan (one on the Lower East Side, and one in Soho), Reformation is without a doubt one of my favourite shops in the city. With their infamous mini (and maxi) dresses, rad denim, accessories and cute t-shirts in store, I’d dedicate a good bit of shopping (or browsing) time in here…

39 Bond St, New York, NY 10012

Sézane

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Like all of the Sézane locations, the NYC store is designed to look like the apartment of that stylish girl, and between the chic little cafe in front, the gorgeously styled built-ins, and the herringbone floors, well, I wouldn’t mind moving right on in! I don’t know about you, but I do 90% of my clothes shopping online these days because most stores just aren’t fun or well-designed, so it’s really nice to see a shop that makes you actually want to come in and browse.

254 Elizabeth St, New York, NY 10012

What to See

If you’ve never visited before then there is a long list of tourist spots to tick off : Central Park (it’s huge, take a half day for this), Times Square, Empire State and Flat Iron Buildings, Grand Central Station and The Met Museum, to name a few. Here are some of my favourite spots:

Liberty Island

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To be honest, we didn’t want to visit the Liberty Island and famous statue because of the crowd and a feeling you can see it better from the land. But we had an afternoon free so we decided to give it a go. Seeing Ms. Libery in person was pretty cool indeed. Also, Ellis Island Museum is super interesting but if you are not into that I suggest taking the ferry to Staten Island. It’s free and on your way there you will have a great view of the Statue of Liberty even without stopping on the islands. If you want to visit both of the islands you will pay $18 and spend at least an hour in queues.

The Views

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No matter what, avoid going up the Empire State Building for the view. There are so many more better views than that. The first one is Top of The Rock. We paid around $50 each for Sun&Stars ticket, allowing us to come in the morning and then again for sunset. I have to say, the morning session was nice, not to busy. We arrived around 8:30 and there were no queues at all. In the evening it became a bit hectic and it was very hard to even see the sunset or the lights turning on.

The other option is to visit One World Trade Centar Observation Deck, 6th tallest building in the world. Entrance is $34 and you get a complimentary drink with it (beer, wine or prosecco)

DUMBO & Brooklyn Bridge

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Situated a little across from the Brooklyn Bridge, and just across from the Manhattan Bridge (DUMBO = Down Under Manhattan Bridge Overpass), Dumbo is a neighborhood boasting pretty beautiful views of the Manhattan Bridge as well as some cute places to eat (Grimaldi’s and Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory) and shop. Tip: you can get here from Greenpoint by taking the boat which was the best decision we made. You will get the best views of Manhattan and Brooklyn but also their bridges.

While you are there, make sure to walk the famous Brooklyn Bridge. The best times to walk are early mornings or evenings after sunset. During the day it can become a little bit crowded. It’s worth it though as the views are stunning.

High Mile

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You will have a pretty hard time finding a park as unique as this anywhere else in the world. The High Line is a one and a half mile long suspended green space that allows visitors and residents alike to enjoy plants and car-free space deep within the city. It was built on the raised platform of a former railroad, and the old architecture mixed with the fantastically maintained gardens makes for a memorable experience. There are several great passages and overlooks throughout the park that provide for interesting city views and, if you’ve worked up an appetite, there are even a few food vendors!

Chelsea Market

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There is nothing quite like exploring a great food market in a new city and though New York has several, Chelsea Market reigns supreme. You can get everything from wine, spices, and popsicles here as you roam through the stalls. If you really want to experience the ins and outs of the market, you can even take a food tour to learn (and sample) more.

75 9th Ave, New York, NY 10011

The Village

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This place is so chilled you will forget you are even in New York. We had a long stroll from High Line all the way to Washinton Square. On the way we passed the famous Magnolia bakery, as well as Carrie Bradshaw’s and Friends apartment.

Washington Square Park is a people watcher’s paradise. Musicians, sunbathers, skateboarders, dog owners, chess players and NYU students all hang out around the historic fountain in the shadow of the arch, often used as a location in films and televisions shows.

Nolita

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NoLIta (for North of Little Italy) might have many of the same features as nearby neighborhoods SoHo and Little Italy, but has a distinctly charming vibe all its own. The area’s cozy cafés, stylish boutiques and bar scene make it a destination. Visit to browse the independent designer shops and sit streetside at cute restaurants, lounges and coffee shops.

Williamsburg

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We were staying in Williamsburg but if you are not, make sure you come and explore. Williamsburg sits across the East River from Manhattan’s Lower East Side and it’s one of Brooklyn’s most popular and exciting neighborhoods where you can explore the lively arts, music, and boutique scene here. The mile-long stretch of Bedford Avenue in Williamsburg is lined with art galleries, bars, and secondhand boutiques that have made the area popular with the hipster set.

The New York City Food Guide


I started writing this blog post a week ago. Originally it was supposed to be one big post, covering everything in New York from eating, shopping to sightseeing but it was way too big. New York has so much to offer and it simply can’t fit into one post. So I decided to split it in two. This post will be about my favourite places to eat and drink while in NYC and in a week I will be posting part 2 – where to shop and what to see including the best ways to move around and where to stay.

So let’s start.

Brunch

Butcher’s Daughter

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Even though the word ‘butcher’ is in the name, this place couldn’t be further from meat. Butcher’s Daughter is a plant-based restaurant, cafe, juice bar and as they say on their website: “vegetable slaughterhouse”. The interior is more LA-like, with lots of white and yellow, plants, pillows and rattan chairs. You can find them in five locations around the city and we liked it so much we visited it on two occasions in one week.  Even though they serve breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner, we only tried their brunch menu. Usually, I would recommend the best thing from the menu but they tend to change their menus quite often so it would be pointless. But, whatever you choose you can’t go wrong. Everything is so delicious. Bare in mind that it can get very busy so try to come earlier.

Various locations

http://www.thebutchersdaughter.com

Egg Shop

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As the name says, this place is devoted to serving all types of eggs all day and night (well until midnight). The local, organic eggs get prepared in a variety of ways: poached atop avocado toast, mixed to make a mayo-free egg salad, or scrambled with seasonal vegetables. There’s also a nice balance of hangover cures – you can even get sides of excellent fried chicken and buttermilk biscuits! but if you are looking for something quick and healthy it’s an even nicer place. I visited the one in Nolita but they have another location in Williamsburg.

The space itself is bright and airy, and feels more like a cool California café—neon teal chairs, a chalkboard menu and big window. I got ahead of myself and ordered a spicy chicken and egg burger which was absolutely massive for a 10am breakfast but so good.

151 Elizabeth St,New York, NY 10012

http://www.eggshopnyc.com

Bakeri

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This Scandinavian style bakery is located in the residential area of Greenpoint, Brooklyn. It’s their second branch(the first is in Williamsburg) opened as they needed larger baking space due to the increasing demand for their high-quality freshly baked goods.  Both, the interior and exterior, are wonderful. From the tall decorative wooden doors to the over-scale botanical wallpaper.  The space is decorated with handmade crafts fitting perfectly with the vintage-rustic vibe and the exposed brick walls.  Stepping in, you will get the feeling you’ve arrived into a different decade. Everyone wears boiler suits (or a variation of it) and a headscarf – the same as working women during WWII. Everything feels intentional. And everything adds up to the warmth and coziness of the café. Order at the counter and grab a seat at the large rustic communal table or at the breakfast bar overlooking the kitchen. It was so hard to choose what to have, the delicious pastries on show were tempting but we opted for biscuits and eggs.

105 Freeman St, Brooklyn, NY 11222, USA

http://www.bakeribrooklyn.com

Other brunch places: Citizens of Chelsea, Jack’s Wife Freda,Pietro Nolita, Banter NYC, Maman,While We Were Young

Lunch

Tacombi

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This place was our lunch stop on days when we were feeling a bit peckish around 2pm. It’s a chain and it can be found around NYC. We found it accidentally because I couldn’t stop talking about tacos for days. I certainly can have tacos in London but these ones were the best I tried. Their chorizo with potatoes or chicken tacos are so delicious you will come back for more. If you are not into tacos they serve quesadillas and Campechanos. They also make everything from scratch with sustainably sourced ingredients, including their corn and flour tortillas which are rolled daily.  We had been to several locations but my favourite one is the one at the Empire State Building because of its interior and natural light which comes through the windows.

Various locations

http://tacombi.com

Dinner

El Almacen

This Williamsburg located, Argentinian restaurant came as the biggest discovery of our New York trip. We walked past it every day on our way to the place where we stayed and it never occurred to me that something so cool lays behind lace curtains.  What’s behind them is a red-brick covered space that feels like the sort of cozy spot you’d stumble into on a random side street in Buenos Aires. Or at least, what I imagine that would be like.

The only light inside is from the candles on the tables and at the back there is a small garden with a fairy light so the whole atmosphere is relaxing and cozy which made us very sleepy after dinner. We got very excited on seeing the menu and ended up ordering too much, starting with actual avocado fries, $24 steak and probably the most heavenly dessert of them all: dulce de leche filled crepe with caramelized bananas.

557 Driggs Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11211, USA

http://www.elalmacennyc.com

Caracas Arepa Bar

Before coming to New York, I had never been to a Venezuelan restaurant and I certainly hadn’t tried their famous arepas. Arepa is a bread made of white cornmeal, water and salt. The dough is formed into a patty, grilled, baked, split open and stuffed with a variety of ingredients like a sandwich.  We visited their Brooklyn branch and simply loved it. It’s a small, cozy place, with the garden at the back filled with Latin music. They serve happy hour margaritas and the most delicious arepas. Even though they look small at first they are quite filling so I would advise starting with one and then ordering more if you like.

Sorry that there are no pictures of dinner places. It was way too dark.

291 Grand St, Brooklyn, NY 11211, USA

http://www.caracasarepabar.com

Other Places for Dinner: Souvlaki GR,NoMo Kitchen,Pizza Beach, Freemans,Mexicue,1830.

Coffee & Cake

Urban Backyard

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According to their website, Urban Backyard “is a coffee shop that is committed to being environmentally and socially responsible.” Alongside the classic caffeinated beverages — Americano, macchiato, mocha, to name a few — look for the specialty drinks like lavender peony iced tea and masala chai. They serve different sweet bits but I would recommend the cutest cacti cupcakes and a wide range of macarons flavours which you can get as part of their ‘Afternoon tea’ offer. Also, this place has the cutest interior and exterior which will look great on your Instagram.

180 Mulberry St, New York, NY 10012, USA

https://www.urbanbackyardnyc.com

Woops

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I know we are not in Paris but here is another macaron shop. This one stays open until late (12pm) and it serves over 20 flavours of macarons which taste heavenly. They even offer workshops so you can learn how to make them yourself. You can find them in various locations around New York but we visited one in Williamsburg which had an interior to die for and it wasn’t as busy.

Various locations

Drinks

For this one I suggest you cross the river and have the best views of Manhattan from one of the many rooftop bars.

We’ve been to two and instead of describing them I will just compare both of them as they are equally amazing.

First one we went to was rooftop bar at 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge. Because we are not the guests of the hotel we had to pay $20 to get in. As the name says, the hotel is located just next to Brooklyn Bridge and offers amazing views of both the bridge and  Manhattan. On the down side, you will be restricted to a small space and you won’t have access to the whole rooftop and the amazing swimming pool as it’s guests only.

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1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge

The second place we visited was Westlight rooftop bar, located on the 22nd floor of William Vale Hotel. We got there pretty late on our last day, too tired and in desperate need of sleep but the view we saw was simply breathtaking. Because the hotel is located on the east of Manhattan, you can imagine how amazing the view is, right? Not only can you see Manhattan but also Brooklyn and Queens – basically the whole city skyline. For me, this view was on the same level as the Top of the Rock and the One World Trade Center Observatory. The rooftop is covered with fake grass and beanbags and rattan chairs with comfy cushions are scattered around. I was tempted to lay down, have a nap and miss my flight in the morning.

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Westlight

1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge: 60 Furman St, Brooklyn, NY 11201

Westlight: 111 North 12th Street, Brooklyn, NY 11249

Copenhagen Guide​

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Regularly voted as one of the happiest cities in the world for the last 40 years, Copenhagen, with its 1.2 million people offers miles of harbor promenades, green spaces, and a mix of modern and historic architecture.  The Danish capital has always attracted people with its New Nordic cuisine – full of local, natural and seasonal food, and an increasing fashion and design scene. However, the thing that put Copenhagen and the top of everyone’s bucket list for certain is hygge, the Danish concept of living a happy life.

Also, according to a new report published this year, Copenhagen was named the best city for women to live in. The government promotes gender and income equality, safety, progress and human rights so there is no surprise that they can focus on things that really matter.

By visiting Copenhagen you will notice that the people there just enjoy the simple things in life, every day, every minute, without overthinking it. Starting from coffee shops and restaurants which have candles lit up all day to meeting their friends after work for a coffee on the rooftop restaurants, eating dinners early and heading home on their bikes to relax before an early bedtime. The fact that there are more than 500 000 bikes in the city shows that Danes love biking and a healthy lifestyle, and many families with children don’t even own a car.  So what is their secret? To understand and experience this for myself, I visited Copenhagen for a long weekend and found the things that are usually missed by tourists but capture the real spirit of the city.

Eat

Møller Kaffe & Køkken

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To experience the real, traditional Danish breakfast I visited  Møller Kaffe & Køkken. It’s a cosy cafe situated in Nørrebro, with recognisable Danish interior. The best time to go and avoid the queues is 9 am, as soon as they open because here going out for breakfast is a big thing and Danes usually get up early. Møller is awarded best brunch spot in Copenhagen and they are serving breakfast all day without dinner or lunch menu available. As seated they will give you a menu and a pencil, asking you to tick everything you want and take it to the counter. Maybe easy to order but hard to choose because menu consists of nearly 20 dishes, from traditional bacon, eggs and øllebrød(Danish porridge) to homemade chicken nuggets and apple with lime and sea salt.  The one thing I would recommend a selection of fresh made breads and fried eggs with kale.

Møller Kaffe & Køkken, Nørrebrogade 160, 2200 Copenhagen N

Mad & Kaffe

Located in one of Vesterbro’s hotspot locations, you can combine your own tasty breakfast plate by ticking the list of various breakfast possibilities. The café is known for being an Instagram-darling with an aesthetic and colourful morning plate perfectly shareable – with a friend or on social media. Avocado with chili oil and baked almonds, cinnamon bun with organic chocolate on the top, yogurt with muesli, matcha tea and basil are just some of the small dishes you find on the menu. Mad & Kaffe also offer lunch and bigger meals. You can order burger, salad or famous open sandwiches.

Bæst

This pizzeria is as close to Italy as you will come in Denmark, and yet very few of the ingredients they use are actually imported. Only the highest quality meat is chosen from the organic free-range Hindsholm pork. The restaurant even makes its own fresh cheeses like mozzarella, burrata, and ricotta. Bæst is the third restaurant of chef Christian Puglisi – the famous Noma alumni and owner of acclaimed restaurants Relæ and Manfreds.

 

Shop

Hay

It’s pretty likely you’ve already heard of Hay before. It could be their beautiful sofas, Instagrammable trays or even stationary – but if you haven’t let me introduce you to this gorgeous Danish design company. With their city centre store laid out like an apartment; this place is home to beautiful furniture, small accessories and more colour co-ordinated stationary than you could wish for.

Østergade 61, 1100 København K, Denmark

Jægersborggade

As mentioned by locals, this is the most important street you need to see if you are staying in Copenhagen for a short time. Jægersborggade is home of more than 40 different shops including the art gallery CMYK which exhibits and sells Danish graphics and illustrations, gågrøn! sustainable interior boutique, Resecond the world’s first dress-swapping shop, Panache which sells vintage clothes from the 60s and 70s, Lady Fingers handmade jewellery designer, handmade Ro chocolate, wine bars and the highlight of the street, Michelin starred restaurant Relæ – creative and free of cultural heritage, this restaurant serves food from all over the world.  Further down this street, you will also find Copenhagen’s most famous coffee shop, The Coffee Collective, which is a coffee consulting company and specialist micro roastery,  owned by Klaus Thomsen, who is the World Barista Champion and a two-time national champion.

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Kaktus Kobenhavn

See

Nyhavn

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Originally a busy commercial port where ships from all over the world would dock, Nyhavn is a must while visiting Copenhagen. Aside from colorful buildings and beautiful boats, this area is filled with people enjoying the relaxed atmosphere by the canal, jazz music and great food.

The word København means “merchants’ harbor,” so many of the city’s most impressive buildings, are visible from the water. You can take sever. We opted to explore on bikes like the locals instead- although we did park them to walk along the harbor and have a drink.

Christianshavn

One of my favourite neighborhoods I discovered in Copenhagen. It’s an area of small islands known for its hip coffee culture and canals with colourful boats. One of the main attractions set in Christianshavn that’s worth visiting is Our Savior’s Church —which is famous for its helix spire with an external winding staircase and you can climb to the top for impressive views of Copenhagen if it’s not too windy that day.

Tivoli Park and Gardens

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This amusement park and pleasure garden opened in August of 1843 and is the second-oldest operating amusement park in the world. You won’t find many other city centers where more than 80,000 square meters have been set aside for a magical amusement park like this! Whether you visit during Christmas or in the warm summer months, this attraction has seasonal activities and celebrations year-round that are worth visiting.A

Arken Museum of Modern Art

If you are an art lover make sure you visit Arken Museum of Moder Arts in Ishøj, 25 minutes from Copenhagen. This museum is truly spectacular and worth the visit. If you go on a nice day, you will surely appreciate the surrounding as the museum is close to the beach.

Lisbon Guide

Lisbon’s transformation from a low-profile, old-fashioned city to Hipster Capital of Europe has been nothing if not dramatic. It slipped under the travel radar for decades, but now the secret is truly out.  I think October was the perfect time for our weekend break because the city wasn’t as busy and the temperature was between 25 and 28 degrees.

Lisbon is a beautiful city, from its signature cobbles to its famous colourful tiles. I loved just wandering the streets, and of course, eating all the pastries I found. Built on Seven hills, Lisbon is a fun city to explore on foot but the (in)famous Tram 28 and Santa Justa lift are leg-saving ways to explore the city sights.

I made a list of my favorite places to visit whilst here.

Eat & Drink

Nicolau Lisboa

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Located in central Lisbon this place is the perfect spot for breakfast, brunch or afternoon coffee. Because of its position and the loveliest interior and food, sometimes you will have to wait in a queue with all the other Instagramers and bloggers but it’s worth the wait. The interior is filled with books, magazines and vintage items. Green tiles and plants create a cozy atmosphere. From the very long menu, I opted for the Nicolau french toast with berries, banana and greek yogurt topped with maple syrup and pistachio and it was absolutely delicious. The cherry on top was the fact that it came served on a heart-shaped plate. Can it get more instagramable than this? I don’t think so!

R. São Nicolau 17, 1100-547 Lisboa

Dear Breakfast

As the names signifies this place really looks like a love letter to the most important meal of the day.

This is the perfect place to go if you like eggs which you can get in every combination served with delicious coffee and freshly squeezed orange.  Minimal and airy, this is the calming oasis you want to eat your breakfast in.

R. Gaivotas 17, 1200-649 Lisboa

Heim Cafe

For breakfast at this place we had to get up early because it was a bit far from the place where we were staying, but it was worth the travel.  An urban jungle atmosphere and the most delicious menu made us feel sad that we were leaving the same evening and couldn’t come back one more time. We opted for waffles with eggs and chorizo and it was the most delicious thing ever.

Rua Santos-O-Velho, 2 e 4, 1200-109 Lisboa

Landeau Chocolate

Go here for one reason only – the chocolate cake. I know that this will sound weird for most people but I’m not a big fan of chocolate cake, I find it very heavy and usually too sweet. But this chocolate cake is something else, a triangle made in heaven, so light and delicious. There are two locations of this place in Lisbon but we found one which was very calm and quiet, a welcome resting spot. The second one is at LX Factory and usually is much busier.

Rua das Flores 70, 1200-014 Lisboa

Hello, Kristof

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Hello, Kristof is Lisbon’s answer to quality coffee. It was the best we tried in those few days and we had quite a lot of coffee. Hello Kristof also knows that coffee and magazines go hand in hand, that’s why their curated collection that you can read while having your morning or afternoon coffee.

R. do Poço dos Negros 103, 1200 Lisboa

Pastéis de Belém

Try one of Lisbon’s most famous tarts – these freshly baked and warm delights are a truly delicious treat that have been sold in Portugal for hundreds of years. One of the most famous places to eat is at Pastéis de Belém, who pride themselves on the traditional baking method, ingredients and of-course… deliciousness! Don’t worry too much at the sight of long queues, they are fast moving. But even if you are waiting for a bit it’s worth it because they are truly the best that I’ve tried in Lisbon.

R. Belém 84-92, 1300-085 Lisboa

Shop

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LX Factory (Rua Rodrigues Faria, 103) – located under 25 de Abril Bridge is a unique place in Lisbon where a complex of abandoned warehouses has been transformed into an artsy collection of bars, restaurants, shops and start-up offices! It was previously an industrial complex, full of different factories, but has been transformed into a lively marketplace. Stroll through local vintage shops, delicious eateries, and enjoy the beautiful street art. If you are into books, don’t miss the bookshop, which is several stories high and has an old printing press upstairs!You can get here by taxi (reasonably cheap in Lisbon) or tram 15.

A Vida Portuguesa

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If you’re after some special local souvenirs, then look no further than this gem. With everything from handmade soaps (in the most beautiful packaging), kitchenware, wines and foods – there’s something for everyone. As they specialize in traditional Portuguese products you will find the famous,vintage-like brightly colored tins of sardines.
R. Anchieta 11, 1200-023 Lisboa, Portugal 

Mercado de Riberia 

Hosted in one of the biggest market spaces in the city, Time Out has converted the location into one huge food hang out, with pop-ups from some of Lisbon’s most loved restaurants and cafes inside. So, whether you’re after delicious seafood, ramen, the best ice cream from Santini or even a burger or vegan treat- this place has it all.

Av. 24 de Julho 49, Portugal

What to see

Bairro Alto

Lisbon is one of those places where the climate is so good the nightlife works in reverse.  Instead staying inside the bars, people spill out of the venues and into the streets, going back inside mostly just to top up their glasses. The Bairro Alto neighborhood has the biggest concentration of bars, so barely a night goes by that the area doesn’t turn into one collective street party.
It’s also worth walking the district’s cobbled streets by day, when it takes on a completely different personality. By daylight you’ll find vibrant street art and boutique stores.

Belem Tower

Next year Lisbon’s ‘UNESCO World Heritage Site’, Belem will turn 500 years old – construction started in 1515 and finished in 1519. At the grand old age of 500 Belem is still going strong.  My top tip is to visit early in the day – queues rather quickly build up to over an hour wait.

Jerónimos Monastery

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The construction of the monastery began in 1502 and the site is the most-ambitious achievement of Manueline architecture. Its UNESCO World Heritage site status reflects its beauty and impressiveness. It is a must-see when visiting Portugal’s capital.

Praça do Comércio

Lisbon’s biggest and most monumental square sits along the riverfront and is a photogenic and interesting place to visit. Most recently renovated in 2010, it’s famous for two marble columns that used to be part of the royal palace. The area is now home to a lot of famous shops and is great for people watching or sitting down for a coffee or ice cream. From there you can also see the famous Rua Augusta Arch.

Elevador de Santa Justa

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Elevador de Santa Justa was built by Raoul Mésnier du Ponsard who was Gustave Eiffel’s apprentice. It seems Eiffel’s work had a big impact on his apprentice, as the structures are very similar in design. Originally built as a way to connect higher and lower areas of the city, it is now used mainly by visitors that want to experience ‘old Lisbon’

Castelo de São Jorge

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One of Lisbon’s most iconic landmarks – with over 1000 years of history, Castelo de São Jorge is a must-see for any visitor to the city. My top tip is to visit around dusk… the castle has 360-degree views across the city and becomes a perfect place to watch the sunset.

Viewpoints of the city are best seen from Miradouro Das Portas Do Sol (Alfama rooftops), Miradouro da Graça (overlooking the city and castle) – the view from Castle of São Jorge and Miradouro de São Pedro de Alcântara.

Alfama 

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Alfama is the historic area of Lisbon. It is filled with narrow, winding streets that make it a bewildering place in which to get lost. I wandered the maze of streets, exploring tiny squares, hidden alleys, and long-abandoned houses while watching locals go about their lives.

Viewpoints of the city are best seen from Miradouro Das Portas Do Sol (Alfama rooftops), Miradouro da Graça (overlooking the city and castle) – the view from Castle of São Jorge and Miradouro de São Pedro de Alcântara.

Other places worth visiting include: Rossio Square, MAAT, MUDE- Fashion and design museum, 25 de Abril Bridge and Palace of the Marquises of Fronteira.

Exploring Sintra

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If I had to describe Sintra with one word it would be a fairytale.  This  town near Lisbon made of palaces, exotic gardens, all kinds of architectural styles, surrounded by calming, kind of mystical forests is something that words cannot describe. Lord Byron called it a “glorious garden” and Hans Christian Andersen called it “the most beautiful place in Portugal”.  It takes only 40 mins by train from Lisbon and it has to be on everyone’s ‘To See’ list.   Most people who come to Sintra tend to choose two or three sights to see as there are a lot to go through and each palace is very big and requires at least an hour to explore. We chose 2, one very touristy and one very quiet but still amazing.

The first stop was  Pena Palace which is the main and the most famous castle and therefore the most busy with tourists. The palace is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, one of the Seven Wonders of Portugal and it is the most colorful and original palace I’ve ever seen, like a real life Lego structure mixed with a castle from 1001 nights.  The palace dates back to the Middle Age when it served as a chapel and later it was a royal Portuguese residence.

The afternoon was reserved for Monserrate Palace,a palace surrounded by luscious gardens built in 1856 by Francis Cook, a famous British art collector. Even though you will find it when you Google Sintra palaces , this place is like a hidden gem. Completely different than Pena Palace which was buzzing with tourists, Monserrate was so peaceful with mainly gardeners and builders walking around.

 

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What I wore: Dress: Zaful | Bag: Shein | Trainers: Converse

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24 Hours in Bath

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Only 90 minutes from London, Bath is the perfect place for a weekend gateway. With its famous Georgian terraces, thermal spa waters, cream teas and Jane Austen – it’s so easy to fall in love with it. English charm pulls in visitors from all around the world and because it has so many historic buildings, the entire city has been made a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Last weekend we decided to explore this beautiful place and as I had never been before we wanted to fill our day with as much as possible.

 

 Eating:

Hunter & Sons

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This place is famous for their balance of craft beers, light bites, coffee and cakes but they also have an amazing brunch menu which is available until 4pm.  Another advantage is that it’s secluded and therefore not touristy which is great for a relaxing lunch.  The staff are also very friendly which creates an atmosphere that is super chilled and welcoming.

14/15 Milsom Place, Bath BA1 1BZ

Society Cafe

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Coffee shop culture is big in Bath so it was very hard to choose a place for an afternoon rest. We happened to walk past ‘The Corridor’, opposite the Guildhall and couldn’t resist popping in after seeing the lovely frontage and eye-catching bar. The cafe is very light, has a very relaxing feel and the coffee is as great as the cake menu.

http://www.society-cafe.com

Kingsmead Square, Bath BA1 2AB

 

Shopping

Magellaria

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This place is a magazine-lovers dream! Here you’ll find those hard-to-track-down titles and discover many new magazines. From art and design to fashion, travel, music and film – the choice is overwhelming.

http://www.magalleria.co.uk

22A Broad St, Bath BA1 5LN

 

The Foodie Bugle

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This shop is absolutely the cutest in Bath. They stock absolutely beautiful items for the home, as well as food and drink.  You can relax here with a cup of tea and piece of cake, but also attend a variety of different workshops in their space upstairs, featuring photography, embroidery, houseplant workshops and more.

http://www.thefoodiebugleshop.com

2 Abbey St, Bath BA1 1NN

 

Sight Seeing 

If you are one of those people who like to avoid tourist traps, it will be hard to avoid them in Bath.  You will probably stumble upon some of the sites during the day and they are completely free, but then there are those that are a little bit costly.

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The Roman Baths is one of those. The first baths were built here in 70AD and over a million liters of 46°C water still flow into them every day. You can take a tour around the ruins of the Great Bath and the temple of Sulis Minerva. Don’t try the water from the bath itself though as the water is not processed but you will have an opportunity to try the warm spring water at the end of the tour (Although the experience is not the greatest because water has a strong iron taste). It costs £17 (adult) or £15(senior/students) to gain entry to the baths but they are worth seeing.

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One of my favorite spots was the Royal Crescent, one of the most famous Bath landmarks. These Georgian houses laid out in a crescent were built in the 1700s and haven’t changed a lot. Most are private residences when they’re not being used by film crews for period dramas, but Number 1 Royal Crescent has been turned into as a museum. You can go back in time to the 18th century inside and see how the Georgians lived.

Just a stones throw away is a similar row of houses called Circus where the houses are positioned in a circle but with the same Charles Dickens novel feeling.

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We also took a walk along Pulteney Bridge. It’s one of the few bridges which has shops built into the sides and the facade is still very well preserved.

If the weather is good you can take a boat trip along the River Avon or have a picnic in the Parade Gardens which are just next to the river.

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Other Places: Fashion Museum|Jane Austen CenterBath Abbey| Sally Lunn’s Bath|Prior Park Landscape Garden|

 

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Edinburgh in 24 Hours

 

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Museum on the Mound

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Victoria Street

 

Being such a small city, Edinburgh is a great place to see in a long weekend. Despite its size, there’s always so much going on here and never a dull moment. I made a list of my favorite places to visit whilst here.

Eat

The Pantry 

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The Pantry is located in Stockbridge, which is about a 20-minute walk from the main Waverley train station, it’s possibly the cutest little brunch place and one I strongly recommend you visit.  The space is very light, stylish and comfy to sit in.

The brunch menu consists of my favorite things like Eggs Benedict and Waffles. I went for Virgina Cured Bacon Waffles with bacon, maple syrup and fresh blueberries.

                             1 North West Circus Place, Edinburgh EH3 6ST

The Cuckoo’s Bakery

 

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By the time we arrived at Cuckoo’s Bakery at 4pm, most of the cupcakes were already sold out which was a sign that this place is a hit for sure. Even though it is cake heaven, it’s also a great place for brunch and lunch. I ended up opting for the banana sponge cupcake made with gluten-free flour, filled with caramel and topped with peanut butter frosting.

                                  150 Dundas St, Edinburgh EH3 5DQ

 

Playing Tourist

Calton Hill

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If you want to experience one of the most breathtaking views of Edinburgh climb up Calton Hill. With its panoramic city view, view of the North Sea and many monuments including the Forth Bridge, it is an idyllic spot to have an afternoon rest.

Edinburgh Castle

 

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Edinburgh Castle

 

I don’t really need to tell you why it’s so great to visit an actual medieval castle, but it’s worth your time. The Royal Mile (another place you need to visit) will lead you straight to the castle where you can get tickets from £17. Or you can simply enjoy the view of the castle from the Princes Street Gardens.

Castlehill, Edinburgh EH1 2NG

 

Stockbridge 

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While you are at Stockbridge take a chance to explore this urban village. Here you’ll find the most picturesque street, Circus Lane, lots of charity shops and independent cafes but at the center of Stockbridge you will also find the food market which is there every Sunday.

Stop here for a look around the stalls, and get some incredible street food all from local artisan suppliers.

Dean Village

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Just a short walk from Stockbridge you will find Dean Village. Dean Village feels a world away from the hustle and bustle of the city, and if you’re lucky St. Bernard’s Well might just be open too. Dean Village looks more like a part of France with its turret style buildings overlooking the river.

Shopping

Golden Hare Books

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This cute bookshop is in the Stockbridge area too, surrounded by cool vintage shops and pretty houses and it totally stands out with the beautiful navy and gold exterior. It’s the dreamiest independent shop- with walls filled with selections of beautiful editions of new and old books, everything from poetry, fiction to children’s classics.

                                      68 Saint Stephen Street, Edinburgh EH3 5AQ

The Red Door Gallery

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This little gallery and shop is filled with artwork, independent sellers (which include everything from jewelry to stationary) and plenty of prints in between. It sits in the middle of Victoria Street, which is absolutely worth visiting as well!

                                                       42 Victoria St,Edinburgh, EH12JW

 

Life Story

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Home and lifestyle shop, with the interior inspired by typical minimalist and clean Scandinavian design. It brings together a contemporary collection of clothing, shoes, jewelry, homeware, furniture, making the store a must shopping destination in the Scottish capital.

                                      53, London St, Edinburgh EH3 6EX

 

X,

Anita

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