Madrid in 2 days: Ultimate Travel Guide

I’ve had the chance to go to Madrid a few times now and I would say it’s a pretty cool city to visit. People are nice, the food is great and there are plenty amazing things to explore.

The three times I’ve been there, I was in Madrid for 2 days and, unless you want to visit museums, it’s a reasonable amount of time to check all the “must-go” properly and still enjoy some “chill” time.

 

Wander through Plaza mayor

Plaza mayor during NYE

This square is the center of Madrid and it’s definitely a pretty sight.

However,  I was there in New Years eve (aka super crowded), so this was only photo I could take.  It was built under the Philip III – who is represented  in the statue in the center – reign and it’s super close to Puerta del Sol, another super famous site in Madrid.

 

Pass by Puerta del Sol

Puerta del Sol - photo in mywowo.com
Puerta del Sol – photo in mywowo.com

This square is the “center of Madrid”! Always crowded with people running around, it is one of the most famous landmarks of the city.

 

Explore Parque del Retiro

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El Retiro – Cristal Palace

My absolute favorite place in Madrid. Retiro is a huge park with a lot to explore! Unfortunately, it was under construction, when I visited.

There’s plenty you can’t miss, inside: The mesmerizing Crystal house, in which you can get into; the impressive Monument in honor to Afonso XII, fountains, statues and much more!

 

Taste typical food at Mercado de San Miguel

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Mercado San Miguel

Not only is this market super cool to take photos but you also get the chance to taste some typical food in here! From tapas, desserts and sausages, this is a true food heaven for the madrileños.

 

Admire Debod Temple

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Temple of Debod

This magnificent temple was brought all the way from Egypt, stone by stone, and rebuilt in Madrid. It’s, obviously, different from everything in Madrid and totally worth to stop by and admire it!

Discover the Royal Palace

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Royal Palace – View from the gardens

Don’t miss the chance to see what once was the home for the royal family! This place has incredible history and it’s worth for you to at least see it from the outside! Its gardens are beautiful as well. Find the Almodena Cathedral right in front of  the palace

 

Pass under Puerta de Alcalá

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Puerta de Alcalá | Photo by @tania_fernandez

This gate passes a certain vibe of Arc du Thriumph, right?  Ordered by Carlos III, it was built by Sabatini to refurbish the city and it’s now one of the most remarkable monuments in the city. It’s really close to Park del Retiro.

 

Try the typical tapas

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Cidreria El Tigre

You know what I think about food! You don’t know a country’s culture if you don’t try the food! To try the tapas, I totally recommend you “Cidreria el tigre”, a local restaurant in which you can find spanish people drinking by the end of the day.  You order the drink an they give you tapas. A pint is around 6€ and you get lots of food, as you order some drinks.

 

Accomodation

If you’re wondering where to stay, I would recommend airbnb for sure! There’s lot of apartments in Madrid, and they’re usually cheaper (and better) than the typical hostel/hotel.

If you’re booking for the first time you can use my code here for 35€ credit!

 

Transportation

All the monuments are in a pretty walkable distance, however if you’re feeling lazy or short on time, I would recommend the subway. It’s pretty effective and it gets everywhere !

 

This is pretty much what I gotta say about Madrid, but probably there’s much more! Is there any tip you would like to share?

Don't forget to follow me on Instagram to see what I'm up to! 

 

Happy travels, 

Catarina

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Paris: ultimate travel guide

Being the dream trip of many, Paris is one of the most visited cities ever! It’s a cliché for sure, but any given traveler will have to go there at least once. It’s a big city with much to see, so your route should be carefully planned if you want to make your trip worth it! One thing that I can promise you is that this city is an open sky museum!

After my third time in Paris, I’ve decided to share some basic must go’s with you! 

Eiffel tower

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OMG , could this one be more obvious? Obviously this huge landmark has to be seen, but the questions here are: where from? And is it worth to go up the tower?

Well, going up is a unique experience for sure! BUT,  in my opinion there’s way better (and free!) views of the city rather than the Eiffel Tower. So, the places I suggest you to go is literally bellow the tower, near the margins of the seine. To see it along with the beautiful french capital, don’t miss Trocadero gardens, it’s a gorgeous viewpoint.

Price: 16 € for adults | Website here

Arc du Triomphe

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To be honest, my first impression of this so called monument was “what a big ass roundabout” . It’s a mess that only the french could deal with! Many cars, many people but you gotta give it to the greatness of the building! It honors the ones who died fighting in the french revolution and it’s located near the Champs Elysées, which you should also check.  If you go up to the top, which you can do only by stairs,  you have an amazing view including the Eiffel.

Price: 12 € for adults | Website here

Louvre

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The Louvre is an incredible and huge museum (I don’t think this word even starts to describe it). Interesting fact: If you would take 1 minute per piece and spend there 8 hours per day, it would take you 75 days to see it all. So yeah, it’s pretty big!

But, if you’re an art lover, you should definitely go inside and spend your day admiring the many pieces included there.

Just in case you don’t know:  the famous Mona Lisa is in there, but don’t be disappointed by the small size of it!

If you don’t have much time to spare here or if you’re simply not a big fan of art, I still advise you take a look at the outside as those stunning pyramids which modern design fits perfectly in the building.

Price: 15€ for adults | Website here

Tuileries Garden

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Located right next to the Louvre, you’ll find the Tuilleries Garden!  It’s a public park used by locals and visitors to relax. So it’s the perfect spot for you to sit near a fountain and have a warm coffee while you chill and admire  nature.

Price: free

Saint Chapelle

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I’m totally not the person that will visit all the churches, when traveling, but this one… oh man! It’s the most beautiful I’ve ever seen! Its inside has amazing color stained glasses and the effect of the lightning on it makes it something you see once in a lifetime. It’s just mind-blowing and so worth it!

Conciergerie 

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I ended up coming to this place because of the deal with saint Chappelle, but this old prison was a total surprise for me! It was part of the royal palace, which had also the Saint Chapelle and Palais de Justice. The building is very well kept and all the signs were very informative, but the most interesting part for me was the cell of Marie Antoinette.

Price (Saint Chapelle and Concergerie) : 15€ for adults | Website here

Notre dame

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Another iconic and unmissable site of Paris. The church itself is huge and beautiful, wether outside or inside. The entrance is free , so don’t miss the chance to check it out! And of course, don’t forget to pay a visit to Quasimodo 😛

Price: free |PS – there’s usually a big line to enter but it walks really fast.

Shakespeare bookstore

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This one goes for the book lovers out there! I could just get lost in this adorable quirky book store. It has existed for almost a century,  it has seen a lot of people to pass by, and you just can see that those walls have a lot of stories to tell. Literally. Definitely worth to stop by.

 Pont des Arts 

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This was the original bridge where love promises were made through lockers. A few years and lockers later, the lockers were removed due to the weight they made on the bridge. However, any bridge over the Seine is beautiful and in any of it you can find love lockers, after all you’re in  Paris, the city of love.

Sacre Coeur

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This church is located in one of the highest points of Paris: Montmatre. This means that you’ll have to take a lot of stairs but it also means that you’ll have a great view. And indeed, it was worth it! The view over the city is just stunning as it’s the church.

Price: Free

Montmatre

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This neighborhood is one of the most typical and known from Paris. It’s narrow streets and cute houses are very worth to see.

Versailles

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As this place is out of Paris, you’ll need at least mid day to visit it, so make sure you plan it accordingly. The village itself is very beautiful and quite different from palace, but of course the main attraction is the Château  de Versailles. It’s just overwhelming how big and rich it looks. Covered in gold and showing the wealthiness of Louis XIV’s time.  The gardens are payed separately but they’re really worth to visit as well. Not only they are extremely beautiful, but there’s a fountain show available, which is basically water “dancing” on the sound of music. It’s truly a unique show and very fun!

Price: 16 € for adults | Website here

Disneyland

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Of course I had to mention Disneyland! I mean, I’m the biggest Disney lover ever so for me it’s unthinkable to go to Paris and not go to this magical world. But for that I have this whole different article here. Check it out 🙂

Some of my tips to help you having a better experience in Paris:

  • Paris is one of the most visited cities of the world, so no matter when you go it will be FULL of tourists and the lines will be huge. So, make sure you booked every entrance in advance,
  • In the majority of monuments, people bellow 25 don’t pay BUT you have to book! Make sure you book it before as well.
  • Even tho the city is very big, it is doable to visit it by walking and, in my humble opinion, it’s the best way to do it and see how things actually are around there.
  • Food can be very expensive, so if you are on a budget follow  this tips to save some money.

Have you visited Paris? Is there any place I’m missing? Let me know everything !

Don’t forget to follow me on Facebook and Instagram to check out what I’m up to ! 

Lots of Love, 

Catarina

 

Disneyland Paris in one day: 6 best rides + hacks

When going to Paris, if you are a inner kid like me, Disneyland is something that you just can’t miss. People usually say you can’t see anything in one day at Disneyland, but I must disagree as I live to prove it!

I went to Paris in October and I just couldn’t skip Disneyland Paris, since I was going to be so close, so I just booked my ticket !

I pretty much got in to every attraction, and this is my top 6 :

 

      Indiana Jones Adventure

This is the craziest and funniest roller coaster I’ve ever been to! The decoration is insane, it really seems you got into an Indiana Jones movie and the ride itself it’s insane! It has a loop in the middle and it’s super fast – totally worth it!

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Star Wars Hyperspace Mountain

This one is so much fun that I did it two times in a row! You basically ride in a cart at the speed of light, as you were inside a spaceship and part of a galactic battle! It’s always all dark so you almost don’t know what’s happening – so cool!

 

New Star Tours – the adventure continues

This attraction is a simulator that tells a story (which I’m obviously not gonna spoil for you), like you were part of it – it’s very good because it all seems real !

Big Thunder Mountain

This one is lighter than the ones I mentioned before, but it’s still worth to try. It passes through the water and it has a nice view, in the middle of the fun. The ride is short for the line it has though.

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It’s a small world

This is a must for us travelers! You basically go on a boat and pass through  a representation of every country on this journey while listening to an adorable song. Very fun !

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Pirates of the Caribbean

I don’t know about you but I just love all about this movies! On this ride you walk into a journey like you were Jack Sparrow! I was hopping for something scary, but it’s not at all, it’s a trip around Pirates of the Caribbean world totally work taking!

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Disneyland is definitely doable in one day, and to make the most out of it here’s a few  hacks I used and actually worked:
  1. Choose one park: it’s sad but it’s true! It’s already hard to see Disneyland Park in one day, imagine the both of them… Don’t book the ticket to both parks in one day, it’s literally mission impossible to see everything.
  2. Play smart with the timings: go during the week, otherwise is going to be packed and get there really early.
  3. Go to your favorite attractions first – the ones you wanna try are probably the ones that will be crowded during the day, so run your ass to those and start the day with the best ones!
  4. Use your map – don’t run from one side to the park to the other,  make sure you saw everything in one side and then move to another
  5. Take your own food – obviously everything there is crazy expensive, but also another thing I noticed is they have lousy service in the restaurants and it’s freaking slow! So bring your own food, not only you’ll save money but you’ll save time and I bet the food will be way better!
  6. Don’t miss the final fireworks show – The show is at 8 PM and it’s a must for Disney lovers, since it’s not only firework it’s a whole show full of songs we all love!

And you, have you visited Disneyland? What’s your favorite ride?

Vienna Bucket List: 11 things to do

Hello there!

While I was an exchange student  in a village of Lower Austria,  I got the chance to visit Vienna a few times. This city has many sides and a lot to offer! It is  beautiful, with breathtaking buildings, filled with music, art and people from all over the world. It is definitely something special. So here’s a short travel guide to visit some basic monuments and some different places in the capital of Austria.

1. Visit Schonbrunn Palace and Gloriette

This one is definitely my favorite monument in Vienna. It is known for being Princess Sissi’s Palace and it is just glorious! The tour inside the palace is payed – you should definitely check it out, if you have the chance – but you can visit the gardens for free, they are beautiful and there is a great viewpoint from the gloriette.

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2. Take a picture of Rathaus

This is one of the most imposing and tall buildings in Vienna, it is quite beautiful on its own but you can also go up and have an amazing view over the city.

3. Comtemplate St. Sephen’s Cathedral

This famous cathedral is a gothic landmark of Vienna. If you go to the top, you can see the whole city, specificaly Stephansplatz, which name obviously comes from the cathedral,

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4. Get lost in Freud Museum

Don’t miss the chance to visit Freud’s former office, to see all the old objects and to learn a bit about his life and work.

5. Check out the Naschmarkt 

This is one of the most amazing markets I’ve visited, it is quite big and it has a big variety of stores and tents, from souvenirs to pubs, restaurants, spice shops, etc. It is a great spot to have lunch or just enjoy a glass of vino verde or kaiserspritzer, two typical beverages from Austria. This one is definitely worth a look.

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6. Grab a bite Museumquartier

This city has a lot of interesting museums all around, but this area in particular is a must visit, even if you aren’t going to any museum. This is a perfect place to grab something to eat and chill out in the sun. If you do like museums, you shouldn’t miss the natural history museum or MUMOK, if you are into art.

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7. Walk around in  Stadtpark

who doesn’t love parks? This is a beautiful park to take a walk, wether is sunny or not. Here you will find fountains, statues and a nice statue.

 

8. Have fun in the Prater

Prater is a great theme park that has the oldest big wheels in the world. Tbe entrance is free, you only pay for the rides you go on,  so you can j just walk around or go in some rides. If it’s spring or summer don’t miss the water rides, they’re super fun!.

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9. Enjoy a concert in the Vienna State Opera House

A great part of Vienna’s culture is music, so if you like opera or classical music don’t miss the chance to see a live show.

 

10. Eat an Apfelstrudel in a Coffeehouse

When in Vienna be Vienese ! This is the most classic austrian thing to do. Go to those old coffee houses and have that delicious apple pie and a cappucino, it feels great specially during the winter.

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11. Pay tribute to old musicians in Wiener Zentralfriedhof

I know this may sound creepy but this is the cemitery where a lot of famous musicians are buried (e.g. Beethoven and Brahms). It is weirdly nice and interesting.

 

This are the things I found most interesting in Vienna, but of course, this city has a lot more you can see and do to such as Belvedere, Rigstrasse or Hofburg. Besides that, do not miss the chance to eat some austrian goodies like schintzel, kaiserschmarrn or goulash! Hope this post was helpful 🙂

 

Lots of Love,

Catarina

Continue reading “Vienna Bucket List: 11 things to do”

Clink78: The coolest hostel I’ve stayed in my life

Hey!

My purpose with this blog is to guide you when travelling to the places I’ve been to, so despite there are websites and apps to review hostels, I thought that it would be interesting to share my experience at Clink78 with you, because that hostel is something, trust me.

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As I told before, I went to London for a flash birthday trip with my boyfriend. As I was looking for accommodation, and I couldn’t find any cheap hotel deals (does that even exist in London?!),  I heard about Clink78 through a friend that had stayed there.

As soon as I started checking the reviews and Clink’s Instagram and Facebook, I immediately knew I had to stay there. They have such a nice engagement with costumers! They share recommendations and tips for travelling to the cities they’re in and they promote activities on their bar (yeah, they have a bar!) every night.

There are two Clinks in London and both of them are really well located – near King’s Cross Station. I stayed at Clink78, which has some nice markets and restaurants around, which might come in handy.

The hostel is located in an old courthouse – how awesome is that! – and it has some rooms that were adapted to keep the old decoration, so this makes it almost a magical spot. For example, there’s a room to hang out and watch tv or work, with the old tables and sits, which a found very cool and original ! Inside, it had some really cute details, full of lights and colors. Its target is obviously young travelers and that shows – all of us are there to have a good time! There’s a really chill environment all around, even everyone in the staff is super nice and outgoing.

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As I got to the hostel, I got a big welcome from the girl in the reception who was so nice, she even yelled “it’s your birthday!!”, and all the staff in general was very helpful and nice. They even offered coupons for free drinks at the bar (not sure if they still do) to everyone who checked in, and they upgraded mine for any drink I wanted because of my birthday. That is a nice way to win my friendship :p

About the room, they have some pretty cool mixed rooms with capsules and prison cells, but I stayed in a double private room with bathroom. Even though it is a little small, it was enough for the both of us and it was quite simple and functional. The bed was comfortable and there were some shelfs to put our stuff, but it was a shame that there was no “extra” space to put our coats and luggage, like a cabinet or hangers, as we were there only for two nights, it was not a big deal. The bathroom was small as well, but it was really peculiar, it was like a capsule.

Clink offers a regular continental breakfast with coffee, toast , milk, cereal etc, which was plenty for me. It is held in the same area where the bar works at night, but it was perfectly clean and there was a lot of space to sit and hang out.

It is a super cool hostel to stay for a few days, specially because all the staff is so kind and the hostel is really well located. Plus, the Wifi worked really well (which is a miracle in any hostel!)

Lots of Love,

Catarina