Known as the Venice of the North, Bruges is a medieval paradise replete with sweeping canals, quaint cobblestones alleyways, unique Gothic architecture and an utterly enchanting atmosphere. Bruges is truly one of my favourite cities to visit. It feels like you could walk endless along the streets and continuously find new discoveries. It’s a fairy-tale like village and I think far too many people just breeze through it on a day-trip from Brussels. I think to truly experience the city at it’s best you need to spend the night and dedicate a good 48 hours to explore every nook and cranny of the city.
Known as the "Venice of the North", Bruges is a medieval paradise replete with sweeping canals, quaint cobblestones alleyways, unrivalled Gothic architecture and an utterly enchanting atmosphere.
Golden Lane is one of Prague's most picturesque streets. Located inside Prague Castle, this fairytale like laneway of pastel coloured homes was built in the castle's fortifications at the end of the 16th century. To access the Golden Lane, you need to purchase a ticket for Prague Castle. Almost every different circuit ticket includes the Golden Lane and for a good reason, since no visit to Prague castle is complete without visiting Golden Lane.
One of Prague’s most visited sites is the Old Town Square, in the centre of town. In this one square, you’ll find some of Bohemia’s most famous buildings. There is something here for art lovers, historians and foodies alike. The plaza is over 1.7 hectares large with a sprawling history detailing Prague's gruesome and glorious past. Rotating minstrels still entertain on-lookers, and the square often continues to serve as a place of political protest for locals to give voice to their concerns. Standing in the centre of the square, make a 360° spin to get your bearings and decide on which buildings you might want to take a closer look at or even head inside.
Strahov Monastery in Prague and their illustrious shelves of parchment treasures, is a dream come true for any visitor. It is one of the greatest libraries of the world and well worth the effort of visiting if you come to Prague.
Prague might be known mainly for its fantastical baroque streets and incredible astronomical click, when one of it's hidden gems is the food. Food in Prague, if you stay away from the tourist traps, is plentiful, delicious and cheap! Czech food is comforting, warm soups, roast meat and sweet pastries are just some of the incredible kinds of treat you'll enjoy while visiting this amazing city.
After seeing the chaos on the Charles Bridge in the afternoon on the first day we were in Prague, I was anxious and apprehensive of walking across it. Our lovely tour guide was fantastic in taking into consideration our hesitation of large crowds and managed to take us there on an ideal time of day. Although it was still busy on, it was nothing compared to the afternoon crush we’d seen on the bridge before.
Prague is one of the captivating cities in Europe. It feels like walking through a baroque dream. While you can spend an entire weekend here just wandering the streets, there are a few things to avoid to ensure your trip is as stress and chaos free as possible.
St. Vitus Cathedral is one of the most astonishing churches in the world, and as such is filled with some of the most incredible pieces of art from across Europe. The best piece of art can be seen all over the walls. The stained glass windows of St. Vitus Cathedral are some of the most transcendent works of art which blend religious history and powerful human emotion.
One our first day in Prague we set out with our fantastic tour guide Barbora, from Prague Guides, who met us at our hotel and took us on a comprehensive tour of Prague from local's perspective. Prague Guides were so affordable and gave you an intimate and personalised experience that is unmatchable.
When we arrived in Prague, after dropping off our bag at the hotel, we set out to explore a little and make our way over to the Clementinum Library. The Clementinum is located right outside the entrance to the Charles Bridge on Křižovnická Street. I always knew Prague was a very busy city with loads of tourists coming to visit no matter the season. Knowing this I tried to prepare myself, but I was never prepared for this.
Prague has some of the most beautiful libraries in the world, and although most of them are off-limits to the public, there are tours during certain times of the day which allow bibliophiles to soak up all the history and literary treasures that lie inside these old buildings.
On my last trip to France, we visited the scenic southwestern area of Provence, famous for its lavender fields, stunning landscape and unbelievable food. Provence has several famous towns you can stay in while travelling, places like Arles, Avignon or Marseille are all very popular with attracting tourists. And while these incredible towns were a joy for us to visit, we decided to make our mainstay in the almost unheard of town of Merindol. But why stay in a small town, that is farther away from all the big sights and doesn't immediately appear to cater to foreign tourists? Well, I'll tell you why and hopefully at the end of this you'll be convinced that a small, unknown town is just right for your next trip to Provence.
Les Baux-de-Provence is situated at the top of the picturesque Alpilles mountains. It is less than an hour away from many of the major cities in Provence, making it an easy day trip, or even a great place to stay overnight on your way to your next destination.
Vincent Willem van Gogh, better known to the world as just Van Gogh, is one of the most prolific (if not THE most) artists of all time. A tall order but for anyone who has ever had the chance to view his work, especially in person, can tell you; his painting are more than painting, they are expressions. Emotionally compelling images of pain and suffering mixed with astonishing beauty.
L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue's Sunday market is one of the largest and most impressive outdoor flea markets in Provence. Walking along the picturesque Sorgue River, you can buy everything from food to antiques, vintage clothing, fine art, fresh cut flowers and even some of the best handmade goods the country has to offer.
One way which I love to explore a city, especially for the first time, is through their works of art. Both historical and right up to modern day. Art teaches us about the culture of people who made it. What was important to them, what moved them, what inspired them? Even what shaped them.
Munich is a popular destination that many travellers fly into due to airports many connections and the regularly discounted flights which are often on offer to Munich. Many travellers just us it as a transfer point, but the city itself has so much to offer. If you do find yourself flying through Munich or using it as a jumping off point to your European adventure, take at least 24 hours to explore this magnificent city.
Dresden was so heavily bombed during WWII that almost nothing remained of the baroque city. Huge restoration projects took shape after the war was over and now visitors can walk through the city without ever knowing that only 60 years ago, it was all but rubble. On this guided tour we take you to all the most popular sites in Dresden's Historic Old Town.
The Zwinger is one of those historic buildings that is so seamlessly incorporated into the fabric of the city. Yes, it is also a very popular tourist destination, but the people who live and work here, don't treat it with kid gloves. As if it's something precious and should only be viewed from a distance. They luncheon here, bring their children to play and dash through the archways on their morning run.
The Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister (or Old Masters Gallery) is honestly the best art gallery I ever had the pleasure of visiting. It doesn't feel too big nor too small. It's like a grand old home that someone has decorated with exquisite pieces of arts — a stellar collection that's lovingly curated.
The first place I wanted to visit in Dresden was the fabled "Green Vault". The Green Vault or *Grünes Gewölbe* is Europe's largest collection of precious, historical treasures. It was the first public museum in all of Europe featuring a collection of crown jewels, royal bowls carved out of crystal, agate and ivory, golden figurines with multicoloured gems inlaid within and the ‘Dresden Green’ - the largest green diamond in the world. When walking up to the Green Vault, I suppose you expect to see a big green building but in fact, the gallery got its name a different way. During it's original construction, the columns and bases which held up the vaulted ceiling were all painted green - giving the entire place an Emerald city like vibe.
The Dresden Frauenkirche or Church of Our Lady in one of the grandest buildings in all of Europe, but it is its destruction, and reconstruction is to me, what makes this church stand out. The interior and overall design aren't in my top ten but the story behind, literally, every stone, is one I will never forget.
Along the side of the Georgentor, is one of the unique and valuable sites in Dresden. You'll walk by its dozens of times while visiting Dresden and I think it's worth more than a quick glance and few photos. This is the Procession of Princes of Fürstenzug.
The Dresden Theaterplatz (Theatre Square) is the main square which occupies the space in from of the Semperopera. This was one of the squares we frequently would be caught walking through and was for sure one of my favourite places. If you're entering the Theaterplatz from the Zwinger gates, you see the statue of King John in the centre, the Semperopera on the left and the Dresden Catholic Church and Royal Residence on the right.
The Schloßplatz, or Palace Square, is the main square in the old town district of Dresden. It is named the Palace Square since the former royal residence resides right on the edge of the plaza. A balcony down from the residence looks out over the area below so that the Royals could take a peek at the people of their city going about their lives. The Schloßplatz also houses the Catholic Church, the court houses of Saxony, the Georgentor, and Augustus Bridge the over the River Elbe. Like most other parts of the old city, the Palace Square the 15th-century designs of the square was destroyed in the WWII bombings. The building has been laboriously restored to their original historic design.
Venice is a city which seems to dazzle everyone who enters. It glows. It sparkles. It surprises. But behind all that shimmer and shine, there are all those same dark corners and less than perfect experiences to be had. Avoid all the following things to ensure you have the best vacation in this magical floating city.
Venice is a veritable maze of stunning old canals, crumbling gothic bricks and some of the most incredible architecture you can find anywhere in Europe. Finding beautiful places to take photos isn't too much of a challenge in Venice but there are some unmissable locations that you'll want to check off your list if you want the perfect Instagram feed of your trip to Venice.
The Grand Canal or Canalazzo is the heart of Venice. Ever since the founding days of the Venetian empire, this canal served as the major thoroughfare for the Venetian people. The most important historical palaces and famous Venetian buildings wrap around the edges of the canal. Once upon a time, the Grand Canal was the like the Rodeo Drive for Venetian aristocrats. The who's who of Europe could be seen relaxing in gondolas, wearing the newest and most extravagant fashions, cruising up and down the river.
Night time is one of the best time to get out and walk the streets of Venice. Many of the hoards of cruisers are back on their ships by the time the sun goes down and many other tourists who stay in the cheaper hotels on the mainland have also departed, leaving the streets almost empty.
The Keukenhof is known as the "Garden of Europe", and if you've ever had the chance to walk through their green fields, you will truly understand why. For two months every year, from March to mid-May, millions of rainbow coloured flowers (4.5 million to be exact) bloom over the 32 hectares of gardens inside the Keukenhof. They create what can only be described as a blanket of fantastical aromas and ethereal colours which cover the Dutch countryside.
Scotland might be a small country, but its abundance of lakes, rivers, and fertile soils makes it the perfect place for incredible seafood, delicious meat and hearty vegetables.
The UK, in general, has a bad reputation for their food. It's thought to be bland and boring, but I have found nothing of the sort to be true. Especially with new, young chef coming in with modern ideas. They are transforming classic, traditional dishes into meals bursting with exciting, new flavours. Scotland might be a small country, but its abundance of lakes, rivers, and fertile soils makes it the perfect place for incredible seafood, delicious meat and hearty vegetables. When the Scandinavians came to Scotland, they brought with them their love of salting and smoking food. When the French came, they brought with them a refined culture of cooking and a love of pastry. All this, along with the native people's local fruits and veg created the unique set of culinary combinations we get today in Scotland. Here are some of the meals you MUST try if travelling to Glasgow and where to find them!
The origins of Scottish whisky come from a drink once called “uisge beatha” which means “water of life”. The first whisky ever is known to have been produced back from 1494! From there, the distillation process has been refined over the years, but the taste and recipe remain much unchanged.
The Butterfly and the Pig is one of the best tea shops in Glasgow. The perfect place to unwind and relax, all the while sipping traditional Scottish teas and treats.
Buchanan Street is the main shopping thoroughfare in Glasgow. The Glaswegians were out in full force today. Soaking up every last bit of summer they would get! It was a day clear of rain, and you could tell everyone was the better for it!
The four of us decided on heading down to the Finnieston for dinner in the west end. The Finnieston is a chic cocktail bar and restaurant that specialises in locally-sourced seafood and bespoke beers.
One of the greatest things about the UK is their selection and passion surrounding beer. There is nothing more relaxing than grabbing a pint after a long day and kicking your feet up with some friends.
If there's one thing university students love, it's coffee and brunch. So, one a chilly morning upon our arrival in Glasgow, we headed out to the University District to eat and explore.
One of the museums I had been most looking forward to visiting in Glasgow, was the Kelvingrove. The Kelvingrove was designed by Sir John W. Simpson and E.J. Milner Allen and opened in 1901, as the Palace of Fine Arts. It was supposed to be for the Glasgow International Exhibition that was going on that year but after the exhibition, it continued here showing off some of the best Scottish and international artists around the world.
To visit some of Scotland hipest shops and restaurants, we headed off to Glasgow's infamous Ashton Lane. Ashton Lane is a cobblestone backstreet in the West end lined with bars, restaurants and even a cinema. All of these places are housed in the old, brick houses that have stood on this street for ages.
This is my highlights tour to see the most important aspects of the La Sagrada Familia. It’s perfect for those who just want a short introduction to the church or who are on a time crunch!
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.
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.
Barcelona is one of the most exciting cities to visit in Europe. But being one of the top tourist hotspots means there are plenty of activities which are overhyped and not worth your valuable travel time. From tourist trap restaurants to pickpockets along busy beaches, here are some things to avoid on your next trip to Barcelona.
In a city filled with incredible architectural masterpieces from Gaudi, there is another architect who often gets forgotten. And yet he is perhaps just as influential in terms of founding the Catalan art form of 'modernism'. His name is Lluís Domènech i Montaner and one of his best designs is the Palau de la Música Catalana. The Catalan style of architecture called 'modernism' was developed to support a new Catalan identity.
If you're trying to pick a city to visit based on the food alone, Barcelona is no doubt on the top of that list! Catalonian cuisine combines the very best elements of Spanish and French cooking with that uniquely Catalan flare that is unmatched anywhere else in the world. Knowing which items you NEED to eat when you're there will help you weed out the authentic recipes from the tourist traps.
The Festa Major de Gràcia is Barcelona's biggest, most colourful and most popular neighbourhood, street festival. Every year, the Gràcia neighbourhood is transformed with fantastical scenes made out of recycled materials and bright papier-mâché . The decorations and all the events are organised by local residents with their aim being to bring together the community and invite others from all over the world to experience their outlandish creations. The festival is also replete with activities and events for all the family so throughout the week-long festival there is always something to do.
Barcelona is one of the most artful and vibrant cities I've ever visited. Every corner you turn feels like stepping into a colourful daydream. And it's no coincidence that this picturesque city cultivated so many different world-famous artists and artistic movements. Getting to explore the museums and art galleries of Barcelona is something I feel that everyone should do when travelling to this city. It's a world-class place when it comes to these institutions and there is truly something for everyone!
Park Guell is one of Antoni Gaudi's most imaginative and symbolic work of art which thanks to a failed housing project is now open to the public as a city park. Hidden in the north of Barcelona his version of nirvana.
If there one thing I like to do more than anything else it's to explore locals marketplaces. Whether it's a rural farmer's market no bigger than a few tables of tomatoes or a giant European market hall, there is something so exciting about being surrounded by a myriad of colours, aromas and flavours local to that city.