The Granada & Seville Travel Guide | Spain

Beautiful castles & flamenco anyone?

 

IMG_20170527_141536.jpgIMG_20170527_185707.jpgIMG_20170526_112855.jpg

In all of Spain, these are two places I wish I could have spent more time in. These are two of the most beautiful, culture filled and historically rich cities I have ever visited. When I was booking this holiday, I was told to only add one or the other onto my trip because of my time frame, but I didn’t, and I am so glad I didn’t because they are both amazing places which deserved a visit.

¬†Seville and Granada are part of what some call “Andalucia’s Golden Triangle”. Triangle because there is one other place in the area which is also a must visit called Cordoba. I however, didn’t visit because of the time limits but I will definitely make a point of it next time.

 Granada

I am still to this day, almost a year later, unsure if this or Lisbon was my favourite place of this holiday. I would probably say both as they are pretty different and equally beautiful. Of all places I went, I think I probably took more photos in Granada than anywhere else, purely because I wasn’t sure that it was even real.

It really is one of those places where you could just stare at the city and landscape all day and not get bored. Beautiful is an understatement.

In terms of getting here, I would recommend either bus or BlaBla car, which was my personal choice, however in hindsight, although it was the quickest way of getting there and the lady was absolutely lovely, maybe learn a bit more Spanish than I did first because it made for quite the awkward roadtrip!

IMG_20170526_090217.jpg

Accommodation
I stayed in a Hostel called ‘Old Town Hostel‘ which in terms of location and staff was great! I arrived at about 10pm and had it not been for another guy arriving at the same time I may have never found it, as it is very hidden down a small alleyway! However, all ended well.

Things to do

I must admit, my main reason for wanting to go here, and probably the main reason of most people, was to see the Alhambra (Tip: Book in Advance!! You don’t want to be one of the people having to line up at 4am to get in). The Alhambra, in brief, is an absolutely stunning Moorish Castle/ Palace that has a very detailed and beautiful history. It’s well worth a visit.

Another must visit I would say is a viewpoint called Mirador de San Cristobal. It has an amazing view from afar of the Alhambra and even the walk there is worth the walk alone.

IMG_20170526_073905.jpg

IMG_20170526_183016.jpg

Other recommendations for Granada depending on the length of your trip would be

As for food

Meson Alegria – A bar with some amazing Tapas. Granada is also well known for the fact that you order a drink and receive a free Tapas, this place was no exception and the food & atmosphere was amazing! Even at 11pm!

IMG_20170526_085552.jpgIMG_20170526_094336.jpgIMG_20170526_112855.jpgIMG_20170526_093631.jpg

 From there, I took a bus & AVE Train to Seville
Granada to Seville

Seville

When I was planning my trip to Spain, I had to choose between Madrid and Seville and although I never visited Madrid, I am so glad I chose Seville. It’s so colourful and has its own unique kind of beauty. The food is amazing, the people are really welcoming and friendly and (fun tip)¬† if you are a Game of Thrones fan, you can visit the site where the Water Gardens of Dorne was filmed at the Real Alc√°za.

IMG_20170528_171405.jpg

This is also another place where I would highly recommend doing a Walking Tour. I did mine through the Hostel I was staying at (more on that soon) and it was super informative and interactive.

Accommodation

There is only one place I would recommend staying in Seville, whether you are traveling alone or not, and that is La Banda Rooftop Hostel. It is by FAR the best place I stayed on my whole trip. There is a reason they have a 9.6/10 rating on Hostel World. The people are great! SO friendly and accommodating, the rooftop bar is a great place to meet people, I would recommend doing one of the family dinners! They also have a nightclub tour type thing which was really fun. The beds are super comfortable, the place is clean and all around just so cool! If I get a chance to go back to Seville, you bet this is where I am staying.

Things to do

  • Flamenco Show –¬†100% recommend everyone go and see a show in Southern Spain. Honestly one of the most magical experiences I have ever had. The energy and emotion is completely captivating. Just do it.
  • The Real Alc√°za – I personally didn’t have time, however I heard it is similar to Alhambra so I wasn’t too sad.
  • Metropol Parasol – This building is basically what people describe as a ‘stylish mushroom’ and is quite different to anything else I saw in Spain. However, its really cheap to enter and has the most stunning views at the top!
  • Plaza de Espa√Īa – Truly a beautiful plaza. The architecture and (TILES) design is stunning. I recommend going earlier in the day as the crowds are really something else.
And for Food
My food highlight was a place called Bartolomea. Everything I ate here was just GOOD. Would definitely go back even though there are SO many places to eat in Seville. The decor is also really nice & the staff are friendly.

IMG_20170528_140241.jpgIMG_20170528_192450.jpgIMG_20170527_141247.jpg

And there you have it, the last of my Spain Travel Guides. Probably not forever, because I will definitely be back. Spain truly was amazing and although I haven’t visited much of the Northern part of Spain (its on my list!) I say, GO to Southern Spain. Its extremely beautiful, diverse and full of history & culture.

I would love to know where your favourite parts of Spain are! Please leave a comment and let me know!

Also feel free to share with friends and family, especially if they are planning a trip soon.

Leave a comment or find me on Instagram and here, Facebook and Twitter.
X

 

The Costa Del Sol Travel Guide| Spain

Sun, Sand, Spanish beaches and Great Food

 

MALAGA

Malaga for me was just a ‘stop off’ destination. It was the place that I flew into because it was the cheapest and easiest from Barcelona! However, it is now that place that I would definitely go back to as I felt I did not get to explore enough. It is a place that has all the Beachy Vibes, Highrise Hotels, Resorts… but also a lot of history.

From the airport, the easiest way to get into the Town Centre is via a bus. Its cheap and makes a lot of stops so you really just need to look at a map beforehand and get off where you need to. The trip took about 30mins and once you are in the Town Centre, the easiest way to get around is just to walk!

 Quick Facts

If you are Artsy: Pablo Picasso was born in M√°laga in 1881
Currency = Euro
You can take a ferry over to Morocco – it takes about an hour.
Language = Varieties of Spanish & English in most places
How to Pay = Card & Cash ‚Äď Definitely have a small amount of cash on you
Best time to Visit = Between April & June or between September & November

IMG_20170523_173115.jpg

 

Accommodation
I booked a bed in a 10 person mixed dorm at a cheap & cheerful hostel called Picnic Dreams Boutique Hostel. Now, this probably isn’t the cheapest hostel you can find, however I would highly recommend. The location was perfect, people were really friendly and the place was clean! Plus there were little curtains over each bunk for privacy.

Things to do
I only really had a day and a half in Malaga and wanted to get an overview of the place. So I booked into a Walking Tour called Malaga Free Tour Monuments. It was a good way to get a brief history of Malaga and also get shown around to the various stand out points,¬† such as Picasso’s house, the Alcazaba and the Museums.

Top places I would advise visiting in Malaga are:

As For Food

Los Gatos – Traditional Spanish food – open really late – Great vibe – fairly cheap
100 Montaditos –¬†Fun Spanish fast food – Tapas – all really cheap, also really cheap alcohol, fast service.

Marbella & Puerto Banus

IMG_20170525_123009.jpg

Getting from Malaga to Marbella & Puerto Banus is fairly easy as its a short bus ride (BlaBla Car could also be an option – I definitely had a good, but interesting experience using this service!).
From there it is quite easy to hail a cab to where you want to go. Mine was to my accommodation in Puerto Banus – aka my splurge of the trip Hotel Bluebay Banus.

Puerto Banus is an interesting place to say the least and not somewhere I thought I would ever find myself. Its basically a ‘Mini Town/ Marina’ just west of Marbella. You can walk down to the dock and see yourself staring into very high end stores and watching the millionaires sail out to sea on their Luxury Yachts.

It does however have beautiful beaches, beautiful people, a relaxed but party filled atmosphere and many a beach club. Pretty cool… but I definitely felt very out of place!

IMG_20170525_132851.jpg

Top Places I Would Recommend Visiting/ To do’s in Marbella & Puerto Banus

  • Walking around Old Town Marbella
  • Cocktails at The Sinatra Bar
  • Go to the beach – there are many
  • Go shopping
  • Wander through Alameda Park
  • Take the Fly Blue Ferry from Puerto Banus to Marbella & back – Great views and probably one of the more fun things I did in this neck of the woods
  • Visit the Puerto Banus Beach Clubs
  • Take the walk (if you are crazy like myself) from Puerto Banus to Marbella. It is quite the walk but the views are absolutely worth it

IMG_20170524_200223.jpg

IMG_20170525_180509.jpg

IMG_20170525_180322.jpg

There are also a fair few day trips which you can do from this part of Spain.

My Top Recommendations:

  • Frigiliana – One of Spain’s most picturesque whitewashed villages.
  • Nerja
  • Granada – Post Coming Soon!
  • Ronda – Has Spain’s oldest bullfighting ring as well as being beautiful sitting on the side of a gorge
  • Gibraltar – Tax Free Shopping and a nature reserve? Yes, thanks.

Costa Del Sol is definitly somewhere I want to spend more time when I get the chance. I feel like I really only touched the surface of this side of Spain! Can not wait to go back.

IMG_20170525_163339.jpg

I would love to hear all your recommendations! Things I need to add to this guide??
Leave a comment, share with your friends or find me on Instagram and here, Facebook and Twitter.

X

 

The Barcelona Travel Guide

 The city views are EPIC
 IMG_20170520_201709.jpg
Barcelona is an interesting place. Before I went to Spain and Portugal, Barcelona was THE most hyped place. Everyone was giving me tips of where to go and what to see (yes, it was helpful, im not saying it wasn’t), however. I personally think it can be a little overrated.¬†No one tells you about the 4million tourists who come out after 10am.¬†
  IMG_20170520_163202.jpg
But in saying that, I still did love it and would go back because you just can not see enough in 4 days!
IMG_20170521_144110.jpgIMG_20170520_102339.jpg
QUICK FACTS:
Pickpockets are a thing here so just have some common sense and keep a hold of your personal things. Keep bags close to you, don’t put phones etc on tables etc – Especially on the Ramblas!
Currency = Euro
Language = Spanish &¬†Catalan –¬† Touristy Places people speak English too
How to Pay = Card & Cash – Definitely have a small amount of cash on you
Best time to Visit = Between April & June or between September & November
QUICK TIPS:
– Get up early in the morning to do sightseeing
– Book tours earlier in the day and make sure to book in English
– download offline maps to get around – however location tracking is a bit off in the lane ways
– Loads of places have free Wifi – if you get stuck – go to Starbucks
– Walk as much as possible – I came across so many random amazing buildings just from walking around and getting lost
– Sangria & Alcohol in general is very cheap
Tinto de Verano is the ‘traditional’ drink in Barcelona? (Do not quote me on that – it’s basically¬†Sangria)
IMG_20170520_194820.jpg
ACCOMMODATION
 Hostels: I would highly recommend staying in hostels. As someone who had never done it before, I chose not to stay in a hostel for my first city but I really do regret it! Hostels are a great way to meet people and generally all the good ones are located in the city centre. After speaking to a few people the ones that continuously popped up were: Kabul Backpackers & St Christopher’s Inn.
Airbnb: Airbnb is a great option for couples or if you are a solo traveller meeting up with friends. They can generally be found in all areas of the city and for a great price! You will get to meet some of the locals which is always great and they can give you some recommendations & tips you may not have had before for that area.
IMG_20170520_101841.jpg
The little street I stayed in – El Born
 GETTING AROUND
I won’t lie. I don’t think I’ve EVER walked as much as I did when I was in Barcelona. I personally think there is no better way to see the city. One of my many joys of this city was seeing all the nooks and crannys that you can only see by being on foot. I clocked up a ridiculous amount of steps.
 However other options for the less able/ time restricted would be:
  • the Train/ Subway/ Bus – It’s fairly inexpensive.You can get a T10 ticket for around 10 Euros… and I think I only used about half while I was there.
  • Taxi’s are a pretty good option for when you have luggage etc. I used them to get to the airport and from the main area in the city to my Airbnb and it wasn’t too expensive. TIP: Generally the taxi drivers do not speak English so good luck!
  • I personally never used a bike while being here however, I wish I had, especially early in the morning when there is no one around.
THINGS TO DO
There are SO many things to do in Barcelona. You could seriously spend a week here and still not have seen half of it. It can be quite hard to pick and choose so I thought I would just give a run down of my favourite things!
IMG_20170520_132918.jpg
This magnificent Roman Catholic Church kind of speaks for itself. I have never seen anything quite like it. Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí was really one of a kind and when this is finished it should be one of the wonders of the world. Photos really do NOT do it justice.
IMG_20170520_142054.jpgIMG_20170520_113311.jpgIMG_20170520_112926.jpgIMG_20170520_125312.jpg
It isn’t expected to be completed until¬†2026‚Äď2028 and I 100% would love to go back and see it once it is done. I would recommend doing a guided or audio tour.
IMG_20170520_201639.jpg
Some of the best views of the city can be seen from up here. I would recommend coming near the end of the day as its a great place to see the sun set. Also, look out for the days and times of the Magic Fountain Show as its definitely worth staying to see! Although to get a good viewing spot you need to be early. I would recommend going an hour or so early and wandering around the grounds as you can really see some great views from less popular spots!
IMG_20170520_201709.jpg
View from the top – Can see Mt Tibidabo in the distance
You can get here via the train – which would be the easiest or you could potentially just walk, bus or take a taxi.
Tip: There is no Uber in Barcelona at this point so taxi is the best option if you have luggage.
IMG_20170520_210624.jpg
Unfortunately due to the amount of people in the market at the time I didn’t manage to get any photos however I loved this place. Its so vibrant and beautiful! A lot of Fruit and Vege as well as Seafood and Meat. There is also the usual Deli’s, Bakeries & Crepe stores! And, all the Spanish food you can imagine (plus Cheese Cones. Google it)
It is located just off the Ramblas (on the left hand side if you are walking from the beach) so it is quite easy to find!
A tip I will give is to go tot eh back, the further you go into the market, the cheaper it gets!

IMG_20170522_122606.jpgIMG_20170522_124444.jpg

IMG_20170522_130020.jpg
View from the bar at the top of the Cable Car
The cable car goes from Barceloneta Beach up to Mt Montjuic and you see some of the most amazing views of the city. I will say that it is a little overpriced and is much better going from Montjuic Castle to Barceloneta rather than the other way around because the queue is insanely long!
 SHOPPING
Although I didn’t do a lot of actual shopping in Barcelona, I did do a lot of wandering and window shopping. I was mesmerised by the sheer size of some of the stores such a Zara and Mango. It was insane.
The places where I found the most popular with the best shops to, shop, were Passeig de Gràcia & la Ramblas. There were also a lot of small laneways off the Ramlas which had Outlet stores and smaller brand stores. I would 100% wandering through these just to have a look in some of these stores.
No matter where you go in the city, there will be a lot of shopping opportunities
  BEACH
Now, I will say this straight away. If you love the beach, this is for you however, go early (like, before 10) because after that there are just SO many people walking around trying to sell you things that it is seriously off putting.
IMG_20170522_111407.jpgIMG_20170522_111307.jpgIMG_20170522_100452.jpg
I didn’t spend a whole lot of time at this beach because of that. It’s really quite annoying. But, if you walk a little further down to the other beaches, it SO much nicer.
I never thought I would be one to enjoy visiting castles. But here we are, like, 4 down and I have to say, I love it! Castles and the history behind them is awesome. I visited this castle on my last day in Barcelona as I had a change of plans and needed something to do. I took the Cable Car to half way and then decided to walk the rest of the way up. TIP: Don’t do that.
IMG_20170522_145416.jpg
The views from the top of the castle are seriously spectacular. You can see the whole of Barcelona – 360 degree view. Which if you think about why these castles were built, is quite important I guess!
I would recommend going early in the day. But in saying that, in terms of tourist amounts in comparison to the rest of Barcelona, it was quiet!
IMG_20170522_150702.jpgIMG_20170522_145530.jpgIMG_20170522_143304.jpgIMG_20170522_143250.jpgIMG_20170522_140337.jpg
FOOD
I don’t want to add much in here because in all honestly, I researched a lot of restaurants etc before I went to Barcelona and I don’t think I even went to one of them! I was so busy that I basically just ate on the go half the time or popped into small hole in the wall places – which I would highly recommend!
There is however a bar/ restaurant I went to which was fantastic called La Luna which had great food and drinks.
I also had a ‘local’ coffee shop which I went to every morning called¬†Caf√©s El Magn√≠fico¬†because the coffee was top notch and the people were really lovely! They didn’t even mind my extremely broken Spanish!
 LANEWAYS
The Laneways in Barcelona were really just something else. SO beautiful. Nearly every other corner you turn, you will see something different and unique. Because of the history with all the different cultures and people. The structures can be quite different from one lane to the next.
IMG_20170519_131623.jpgIMG_20170519_131124.jpgIMG_20170519_130421.jpgIMG_20170519_125412.jpgIMG_20170519_122436.jpg
The Jewish Quarter and the Gothic Quarter which I saw whilst on a walking tour  (P.S highly recommend this walking tour!) were probably by favourites.
IMG_20170521_164959.jpg
 This place to me was like being inside a fairytail. It felt magical being here! The architecture really is something else. I spend probably 2 or 3 hours here . You basically buy a ticket to go in at a certain time but there is another part of the park which is free so you can wander this part in the wait time.

IMG_20170521_150345.jpg

IMG_20170521_165220.jpg
View from the little house

They let in a limited number of people so book in advance – but you can also see quite a lot without entry ticket. You can bus to and from or walk which I did. However it is quite the hike.

IMG_20170521_160723.jpg
The famous seating which you have to get a photo with

IMG_20170521_160418.jpgIMG_20170521_162042.jpgIMG_20170521_150354.jpg

Other places worth mentioning:
Picasso Museum
Basilica of Santa Maria del Mar
Cathedral of Barcelona
IMG_20170520_163202.jpg
Tibidabo Amusement Park
Casa Batllo & Casa Mila
Placa de Catalunya
Chocolate Museum
 DAY TRIPS
There are SO many options for day trips from Barcelona. Check out Viator for some great group options / ideas.
My Top 3 day trips had I had the chance:
1. Andorra¬†–¬† Would a LONG day but amazing to be able to go to such a small country! Its in between France and Spain and is about 3hrs from Barcelona. I thought about doing this trip through Viator.
2.  Girona РIf you are a Game of Thrones fan, then this place is for you. It is another big city in Catalonia and full of amazing sights and history.
3.¬†Montserrat – This is the day trip that I was actually going to do whilst in Barcelona. It fell though because I may have slept through my alarm that day. It is a short train ride from Barcelona and is home to a beautiful mountain and Monastery. There are a lot of guided tours that go here so maybe do that if you aren’t confident to go yourself. A tip I read is to go early in the AM to see the sun rise.
 All in all, all said and done, Barcelona is in my top 5 cities I have visited. It has the  traditional architecture with instagramable beaches, narrow atmospheric (stinky)  streets with delicious & not so nutritious local cuisine. I loved the local vibe of where I was staying as it was saturated with culture and cute laneways.
I leave you with my best tip. Book in advance & Go to these places as early as possible to avoid crowds! The Sagrada Familia’s of the world are packed for a reason, so you just need to get in early (and deal with it) .
To see more photos of my Barcelona Adventure, follow me on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.

The Lisbon Travel Guide

Pasteis de Nata – Google it and, need I say more?

LX Factory 2

I have waited a while to write these travel posts about Spain and Portugal because I feel that when you first get back from a trip, its all a bit depressing and a little overwhelming! It takes talking to various people to realise all of the things you really loved and want to see (and eat) again.

Lisbon was probably my favourite place I visited in those 2 and a half weeks. Which is a tough call considering I managed 2 countries, 5 cities & 3 towns during that time. It was just SO beautiful and I would say if there’s one place I would (and do) recommend to everyone, that would be it.

Lisbon 11Lisbon 5Lisbon 2

As you would have seen on my Instagram I went to Spain and Portugal earlier on this year and let me tell you, I LOVED IT. Lisbon especially, stole my heart – and my stomach. Dreams people. Dreams.

There were MANY things on my to-do list for Lisbon. However I was only there for 3 days so couldn’t quite finish the list however these are the places I did go and would highly recommend.

FOR THE VIEWS
Alfama. Alfama is great for many things. The small lanes, the hole in the wall coffee places and the teeny tiny restaurants that have old men living above them yelling and shaking their fist if you are noisy after 10pm (Not only is it the oldest suburb of Lisbon, it has the oldest residents..)
But best of all, I think it has the best views of Lisbon. Every ‘I went to Lisbon’ picture you see on Insta will include the view from here because it really is amazing.
Lisbon 7
At night
Lisbon 3
During the Day

WHAT TO EAT

PAST√ČIS DE NATA¬† Famously, there is a shop in Belem that does the ‘best ones’ however, there wasn’t a chance in hell I was queuing up for an hour to get in. I found the best ones I tried to be from a place called¬†Manteigaira at the Time Out Market.
Time out Market 1Pastel De NataPastel De Nata 2
In fact, the Time Out, was where I got some of the best food I ate in Lisbon, So I would highly recommend going there and trying a few of the different places.
Its a great stop on the way back from Belem and is also very close to the city centre (as far as I remember) if not, there is public transport just across the road.
You HAVE to try Ginjinha which is a traditional Portuguese Liqueur made from Sour Cherries. You will find little hole-in-the-wall places all over the place (Even in Sintra) and I promise it is delicious.
Fresh fruit. I found myself eating a lot of fresh fruit on this trip. 1, because it was so hot that fruit, just sounded good. 2, it was easily accessible with little carts of cherries and berries scattered all around and 3, its cheap! and tasty.
IMG_20170601_123514
Lisbon 9
On my last night in Lisbon, I had dinner with one of my new friends in a place called Lisboa Tu & Eu. We tried a lot of different things on the menu (sardines were… interesting, wine was delicious!) and the atmosphere was fantastic.
After having the old guy living above the restaurant come down and yell at the owners for the noise, we were moved inside and for the inconvenience, offered alcohol shots along with the other 10 or so people in there (which might I add were mostly older people). It was great. I happily declined the small beverages but I decided from that point on wards that this place was my favourite.
  THINGS TO DO

LX Factory 1

LX FACTORY
This place was really cool. Super arty, funky and trendy. Its a little strip of old factories which have been turned into boutique, cafes, music stores, cork retailers & creative hangout spaces. I had the BEST chocolate cake i’ve ever eaten here from a place called Landeau. Def try if you get a chance.

Lisbon 10Lisbon 8

BELEM
About 6kms west of the city is a suburb? called Belem. It is well known for the Belem Tower &¬†Pasteis de Belem, which drew me here and I never had ūüė¶ but I also discovered it had beautiful scenery, gardens and the walk/ bus/ tram trip here alone was worth the visit.

Lisbon 6Belem 2Belem 1

ACCOMMODATION

There is many a beautiful Hotel here, just in any city. But I say, if you want to get to know the locals and get a bit of a different feel, stay in an AirBnb or a hostel. I booked my accommodation quite far in advance and because I wasn’t so sure on this solo travel thing just yet (hindsight tells me BOOK THE HOSTEL). However, my airbnb was great, the location was fantastic and the people were seriously cool (with many pets).

Lisbon 4

GETTING AROUND

As with many cities in Europe, the public transport here is great! I used mostly trains and trams to get around Lisbon which worked a treat however there is also Uber which I used a fair bit and buses. All options really cheap.

IMG_20170601_121832
Praça do Comércio

I would say however, if you are semi-fit. Walk. Its a BEAUTIFUL city and is best seen that way (just wear sensible shoes because its hilly AF and also slippery!)

DAY TRIPS

Sintra 1Sintra 5Sintra 5'
While researching Lisbon, I knew I wanted to do at least 1 day trip and the place that stood out most to me was a Town called Sintra. It is very well known and there are many ways to see it. I chose to do it alone and not with a tour group as I knew there were particular places I wanted to see and didn’t want the time crunch. Good choice in the end I say.
It really does live up to the hype.
  Sintra 2

Sintra 4

Sintra 3
Pena Palace
the Gardens.  It was seriously stunning. I could write a whole post on this place ( if you want it, lemme know) so I will just leave it there. If you would like more info on how to plan a day trip to Sintra let me know!
Overall, Lisbon, Portugal was the best last minute travel decision I could have made. I spend HOURS planning this trip and when a few extra days came up in my schedule I had a really hard time deciding between here and Paris but decided, you know what. I ahve plenty of time in my life to go to Paris and Lisbon won’t be an under-rated destination for long. Overjoyed with my choice. Absolutely can not wait to go back and next time visit the rest of Portugal too!
If you would like to hear more about lisbon or just follow me in general. You can find me on Instagram and here, Facebook and Twitter.