When visiting Tokyo for the first time, one sleepy, jetlag heavy morning, we stubbed around the area we were staying and ended up on the west side of Ueno Park. Not knowing much about it, we wandered around aimlessly, discovering time after time the most peaceful, serene and beautiful little visual scenes which felt iconically Japanese. We loved it from the instant we stepped foot onto the lotus leaf-covered boardwalk which leads into the park. Ever since, when we return to Tokyo, we make a point to spend an entire half-day here exploring everything this place has to offer. Below are my favourite 13 things to do on your first trip to Ueno Park!
If you're visiting Lisbon in late spring, early summer, you'll have the chance to see something truly spectacular at the Carmo Convent. The Carmo Convent is already a pretty astonishing place, but from May to July, when the sun sets, there is a phenomenal transformation which it undergoes. This phenomenon is called 'Lisbon Under Stars'. In 2018 over 30,000 people came to see this award-winning show and in 2019 those numbers should almost double since they added another month onto the performances dates due to its overwhelming popularity. I was lucky enough to see the show when we were travelling to Lisbon this summer. I was really blown away by the performance and the technical ingenuity it took to bring the whole piece together.
Lisbon is one of the most picturesque cities in the world. Steeped with history and painted with one of the most colourful palettes, there pretty much isn’t a single street you can walk down, without being wowed at all the fantastic hues and views along the way. For photographers and bloggers, this place is a dream!
For many people visiting Lisbon means one thing, trying as many Pastel de Natas (Portuguese Egg Tarts) as possible! We made it our mission while we were there to eat one every single day - for research, of course! You'll find these famous baked treats in almost every bakery window you pass by. From mom and pop bakeshops to fancy patisseries, there are thousands of different tarts for you to try! But if you're only in Lisbon for a short time or just don't have the room in your stomach to try them all, I've made a list of our favourite places! I divided the list up into the various neighbourhoods to makes it easy for you to try a tart while exploring that particular area of town. And it was interesting how the different regions personalities were actually reflected in the desserts themselves.
Kyoto is the second most popular spot for visitors coming to Japan after Tokyo. Where Tokyo is the city of dazzling neon lights, uber-modern inventions and architecture, explosive excitement and a bustling population, Kyoto feels like the exact opposite. It's the perfect balance to any trip to Japan. Kyoto is history. It's ancient Zen gardens perfect for internal contemplation, peaceful walks along aged pathways, spiritual visits to sacred temples and traditional creative arts and culture. Whereas Tokyo is a city designed with curated, instagrammable spots, Kyoto is just naturally photogenic. If you're only visiting Kyoto for a short period and are looking for the best spots to soak in the visual beauty of this city, these are my favourite places to hit up while on your photographic journey in the old capital of Japan, Kyoto.
Just an hour outside of Lisbon, you can escape the crowds and find yourself in the coastal town of Cascais. Cascais was the beachfront getaway for much of Lisbon's aristocracy throughout the 1800s and as such, it still to this day remains one of the most elegant and relaxing cities to visit outside of Lisbon. From the town of Cascais, you can take the road less than 30 minutes up to Cabo da Roca, the westernmost part of continental Europe and visit a few of the most picturesque beaches on your way back into town. Who knew all these could be found just an hour outside of Lisbon.
Washington, D.C. is the capital of the United States of America. It's here where laws are passed, protests are united, and some of the greatest moments in U.S. history have happened. Washington, DC is located between Virginia and Maryland along the scenic Potomac River. It's a beautiful city to visit on the weekend.
The Moorish Castle, of the ‘The Castelo dos Mouros’ is an ancient world heritage site, found in the hilltops of Sintra, just an hour outside of Lisbon. The secret garden of the Portuguese countryside. It was first built in the 9th century but fell into ruins after its final abandonment in the 18th century. When King Ferdinand built his fairytale castle just down the road, he also took it upon himself to retake these ruins for the people of Portugal so that this magnificent piece of history may be preserved for years to come. To this day, it is one of the most amazing places to visit when coming to Sintra. Most people visit this site as a part of a Day Trip to Sintra, but if you’re into history and hiking, you can easily make an entire day out of touring this site and exploring around the surrounding areas.
Pena Palace is one of those destinations which seems too magical to believe it’s real. Atop the Sintra hills, the golden walls, blue tile and red painted exterior of the palace begin to emerge from the abundant greenery below. Seeing this palace in real life is nothing like seeing the pictures. I really don’t think they can do it justice. There is something about walking up those cobblestone steps, which makes you feel like you’re walking into a fairytale, and yet you can smell the flowers and touch those ethereal details
Sintra is one of those destinations which seems too magical to believe it’s real. It’s a charming town, full of fairytale castles, historic battlements and a rich tapestry of cutesy stores and gourmet cafes.
Lisbon is one of the most picturesque cities in the world. Steeped with history and painted with one of the most colourful palettes, there pretty much isn’t a single street you can walk down, without being wowed at all the fantastic hues and views along the way. For photographers and bloggers, this place is a dream! The “miradoures” (viewpoints) which you can find all over the city seem to open Lisbon up like a pop-up book. The intricate tiled walls and buildings are like a patchwork quilt across the city. Make sure you have a few extra batteries with you because you’re never going to be able to stop snapping! Below is a list of my favourite places I found in Lisbon and at the bottom of this post I’ve made a google map of where you can find these spots for yourself!
Having just returned from my trip to Lisbon, I wanted to put pen to paper right away to share all the things I learned when travelling to Portugal for the first time! Lisbon is just as wonderful as you hear it is, the streets are as vibrant as the personalities, and it’s a tremendously laid back and yet bustling city all at the same time. I was so busy leading up to this trip, so I felt more unprepared than usual and as such made a few blunders which I felt like needed to be shared for other, just as unknowing travellers, to learn from.
The Gion district is one of Kyoto’s oldest neighbourhoods. The streets seem to surge with history but what makes this area so unique is because it is one of the last remaining places where you can see real Geishas in Japan. Up and down these streets you can keep your eyes open and see if you can catch a glimpse of a Geisha on her way to a tea houses where exclusive guests enjoy an evening of traditional Japanese entertainment.
La Sagrada Familia is THE MOST important sight to see when visiting Barcelona. Its history, design and the feeling you get upon stepping inside in unparalleled. The church feels like a summation of what Barcelona is all about and understanding it before visiting or while you tour it is so essential to better enjoying this fantastic monument.
Nowhere in Japan is more wild, bright and colourful as Harajuku. This neighbourhood is filled to bursting with amazing places to see! Below is my list of the best places get those iconics shots of Kawaii Tokyo! All the stops are located at the bottom in a handy dandy google map for you to follow and are in an easy to follow directional order.
Hakone is one of the most beautiful day trips you can take from Tokyo. It’s only a short 2-hour train ride away and transports you from the out of the metal metropolis of the city, into the lush green landscape of the Japanese countryside. Hakone is famous for their hot spring onsens, stunning view of Mount Fuji across Lake Ashinoko and unparalleled natural scenery.
Graffiti in Barcelona will always be part of the city. The city became a center of fashion, design, art and creativity after the Olympics in 1992. The new art expression became popular in Barcelona. As a consequence, many Graffiti artists visited the city just to paint a part of the city.