11 things to do in Évora – One day trip

Hey there! Long time no see huh? I am back!!!

This time I’m writting about Évora, one of the most beautiful cities in Portugal. Évora is a very special place for me, since I have family there, which means: I went there many times and I absolutely love it!

So if you’re spending a few days in Lisbon you can easily take a train and you’ll be there in 1h30 hours for about 10€ (one way).

This amazing city is located in Alentejo region, have you heard of it? Alentejo is this perfect countryside region where you can rest peacefully, try some great wine and marvelous food. Évora is a part of it, and it has many things to visit for itself, but as it is quite small, it’s  easy to see in a day. To simplify it for you, here are my 10 favorite things to do when visiting Évora in a short period of time. Continue reading “11 things to do in Évora – One day trip”

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Lisbon Travel Guide: One day trip to Sintra, the fairytale village outside the city

Hello!

Back to the Lisbon Travel Guide, I decided to write about a magical place called SINTRA!

Sintra is a charming little village just a 45 minutes train ride away from Lisbon. This is one of my favorite places in Portugal and the one I recommend everyone to go, when visiting Lisbon. It is surrounded by woods and hills, it has gorgeous palaces and breathtaking views. It is literally a fairy tale come true.

Visiting Sintra should take you a whole day, so you will have to go early, not only to avoid crowds, but to make sure you have time to see everything.

 

Sintra Center

Being this the point of start for a Sintra day tour, you will be enchanted right from the beginning, with these narrow and colorful streets. There is also a view from the palace and you can not skip the traditional pastries “queijadas de Sintra” from Piriquita, as they are the most known and delicious in the country.

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Sintra center
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Queijadas at Piriquita
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Narrow Streets

 

Castel of the Moors

This castel in ruins goes back to the 9th century, and it was restored afterwords. I actually haven’t visited the inside for a while, but from what I remember it has a really interesting background and an amazing view. If you don’t want to spend money here, you can still see a few things in the outside, so don’t miss it.

 

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Pena Palace

This stunning palace is located on the top of Sintra, and you can see it from bellow in almost every part of the town. It is a landmark of Sintra and it is known for its unique colors and architecture. The tour for the palace and the gardens costs around 16€ , and it allows you to see how the royal families used to live and the gardens, which are really nice as well.

 

 

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Quinta da Regaleira

This one is my absolute favorite in Sintra. Regaleira is a really pretty palace, but in here, the real magic is found in the gardens. The price is just 6€, which is super cheap for this awesome place. The gardens have wells, cages, lakes, flowers… and amazing viewpoints. I don’t think any words or photos can truly show how fascinating Regaleira is, so my advice is: go and see for yourselves.

 

Quinta da Regaleira

 

Some tips that might helpful:

  • Once this is a very touristy zone, all the coffee shops are pricey, so if you want to save money take some food and water with you.
  • In Sintra is always colder and windier than in Lisbon, so make sure you bring a coat.
  • The cheapest way to get to Sintra is by train, from Cais do Sodré. You can also go by tram from praça da figueira (15E) or by bus, but as they are often crowded I don’t really recommend it.
  • Once you get there, you can go from one place to another by foot, but it is a bit far and it is going up, so you can take a bus going through the main attractions. either take one trip by bus from Sintra center to the top and then walk down, or buy the daily ticket and ride as you wish, which is what I would do, as it is A LOT of walking.
  • If you are going by car, you can also do a detour and visit the most western point in Europe: Cabo da Roca!

 

I hope this somehow inspired you enough to convince you to visit Sintra, because believe me, you’ll love it!

 

Lots of Love, 

Catarina

 

 

Travel hacks: How to save money on food while traveling

Hello there!

I think everybody knows that food is one of the biggest expenses while travelling, so based on my own experience I will share some tips with you and show how I save money  without starving when I’m on a foreign country Continue reading “Travel hacks: How to save money on food while traveling”

I went to the Harry Potter Studios and it was the best day of my life!

17238992_10154636727268318_259507777_n.jpgHello my dear readers!

I have an announcement to make: I am a major Potterhead.

I read each book a billion times and I lost count of how many times I saw the movies… I love it, and Mrs.Rowling is super cool for writing such an amazing story with such lovable (and some despicable) characters always in great detail.

So, this year I decided to do something different for my birthday: I went to London and treated myself with an awesome afternoon at Warner Brothers Studio: The Making of Harry Potter. It was (literally) a magical place over there! Seriously, this exceeds all expectations. It was absolutely amazing and it was worth every penny I spent !

The tour starts with an exciting speech given by the staff (Who might like Harry Potter the same crazy way we do btw) and I have to admit: I teard up a bit  (yup, I am that ridiculous). Afterwords,  you can just wander around the studio at see everything at your own pace. And there is a lot to see!

The Making of Harry Potter includes only  things that were used for the movies ! You might recognize some of the sets: the Dinning Hall, Hagrid’s Shack, the Weasleys’ house, the Potions classroom, the Hogwarts Express (there’s a freaking train inside!) and my favourite part: the Diagon Alley! You get to walk in the street with all the different stores including Fred and George’s Wizard Wheezes, Gringotts, the Daily Prophet… Let’s just say you´ll feel a bit like Harry felt the day Hagrid told him  he was a wizard.

There is also a part of the studio with the outdoor sceneries, which includes the night bus, the house of Privet Drive and the Weasleys’ car.

Furthermore you will  find all kind of props like the characters’ clothes from several occasions, all the horcruxes, the Mirror of Erised and the door of the chamber secrets.  The tour also allows you to understand some of the special effects they used and how they were made. Fun fact: Dobby was added to the scenes after they shot it, so while they were filming and to make it easier for the cast, they looked at a tennis ball on a stick as they were directing to Dobby.  

Other thing that I  found really interesting as well was that they sell ALL the candies they ate in the movie, this includes Bertie Botts every flavor beans, chocolate frogs and obviously the famous butter bear, which is absolutely delicious

It was truly an unforgettable experience, so here are a few pictures for you to have an idea. But there’s nothing like going there and see for yourself, which I strongly recomend 🙂

 

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If you’re thinking to go there soon, here are some tips:

  • Buy your tickets online and as early as possible, because they will sell out for sure.
  • To go there get a train to Watford and they have shuttles from there, for 2.5 pounds both ways.
  • They will open a new attraction on March 31 – The Forbidden Forest, so I think it might be worth the wait.

                                                                                                                                                                                     Lots of Love,

Catarina

12 things you have to do in London

London!  It’s such a basic destination for a traveler, but it’s my favorite city in the world. Well, at least until today. So, it only made sense that this was the chosen city for my first actual piece. I mean, I posted a billion pictures on Instagram, there’s no way this is a surprise for you! 

I went to England 3 times now,  but every time I’m there I feel that there is not enough time because the city is so amazing and it has so much to visit that I just don’t know how to choose. I absolutely love its vibes and cultural diversity, so I chose a few spots that I totally recommend on a trip  to London.

  1. Check out Big Ben and Houses of Parliament

I know, it’s pretty obvious, but it’s a great place for taking a few shots, specially if you take a walk along the Thames and enjoy the view. The London eye is also located close to there.

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  1. Get lost in the Markets

London has a lot to offer in what concerns to markets: Camden, Portobello, Convent Garden, Borough, Broadway… But if you don’t have a lot of time, you will have to make choices.

Camden Lock is my favorite, it is located next to the canal, it’s a great place to grab a quick and cheap bite due to its large variety of street food stalls from all over the world, and I must warn you: all the food looks wonderful (foodie alert!!!). Do check the other stores as well, you can find art crafts, vintage articles, souvenirs… it’s totally worth the look. Don’t miss on Convent Garden, it’s such a cute place. It has a bunch of stores, pubs and nice restaurants where you can sit down and relax a bit. The inside is full of color and the architecture is really nice.  If you are a fan of the famous movie “Nothing Hill”, you should check Portobello Market as well, it sells fruits, jewelry, clothes… and you get to see the original “Travel Books Shop”, which is now a souvenir store!

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  1. Take a walk in the Parks 

The parks are an absolute must in London. I suggest you take a relaxing walk through Green Park on your way to the iconic Buckingham Palace. Do check out Hyde Park, which is close to the Palace as well. If you like animals, take some peanuts with you to give the squirrels, they will grab it from you hand and it’s just adorable.

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  1. Watch the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace 

Buckingham Palace is just stunning and the magic of this event will make it seem even more fantastic. FYI it happens everyday at 11am.

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  1. Admire a few museums 

The British Museum is one mandatory stop for a first time Londoner, BUT if I had to choose I would go with Natural History Museum. I mean, it has a huge dinosaur and mummies, how can you miss that? Victoria and Albert is also a good choice if you like art.

 

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  1. Walk along the Tower Bridge and go inside the Tower of London 

This worldwide known bridge is just fantastic, so don’t miss the chance to take some great pictures. The inside of the Tower  is just incredible, you get to see the guards, the interiors with complete furniture. It’s really interesting and it really takes you back in time.

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  1. Catch a Musical 

You know London is a city of art, so if your favorite musical is in Town, don’t miss your chance.

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  1. Shop at Oxford Street  

This popular street allows you to feel the real city spirit, plus it has a zillion stores where you can have your shopping dream day! You  know that certain brand that doesn’t exist in your country and you reaaally want to check out? It probably has a store there.

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  1. Eat at Chinatown 

If you are a fan of Asian culture this is the place to go! Chinatown has a wide variety of Chinese restaurants, and the wide majority has really good quality. Pay attention to the prices though, not all of them are cheap!

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  1. M&M’s Store 

If you have a sweet-tooth like me, you will love this store. Not only will you drool because of all the M&M’s they have there, but also the store is really fun and colorful. It has a bunch of cool merchandising of the brand, they really pulled it off!

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  1. Check the banners at Piccadilly 

You know, those popular screens with advertising that look a bit like NY, don’t miss a chance to take a great shot of it. Just make sure the lights are on, because when I was there the last time it was under construction (just my luck!)

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  1. Harry Potter: Making of at WB Studios 

For those who aren’t Muggles, this is the best place you can go when in London. Seriously, I had the best day of my life. You can see every little detail they used in the movie, you will learn about their tricks, see their sets and it’s just amazing. Of course that it is not possible for me to resume my experience in one paragraph, so of course I will make a piece about it really soon!

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And you? Are there any spots you like in particular? Is there anything else you might find worth visiting? 

I have much more to tell you about London, so stay tuned  !

 

Lots of Love
Catarina