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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Lisbon Travel Guide: TOP 6 Parks & Gardens

Hi guys!

Parks are always one of my favorite things to visit in other cities, and Lisbon has a lot of amazing parks worth to take a look at – some more forest-like, some more exotic… but they are plenty, so here’s my advise on that 🙂

 

Eduard VII Park & Amália Rodrigues Garden

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Edward VII Park is located in Marquês de Pombal (can’t miss the huge green area near the roundabout)  and it has a beautiful view through Avenida da Liberdade and Tagus River. Amália Rodriges Garden is located right behind with a nice fountain.

Location – Marquês de Pombal or S. Sebastião | Price: Free

 

Monsanto Forest Park

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Monsanto is a huge forest park a bit far from the city center. It has so much to explore that you can get lost inside (literally: it happened to me), great viewpoints, like Alfredo Keil where you get a view of the river, but my favorite is “panorâmico” de Monsanto. This place was a fancy restaurant that was abandoned after it  went bankrupt, so even though it is state’s propriety and it’s not really legal to enter, it has such fascinating view that everyone goes there – WORTH.IT.

Location – Monsanto  | Price: Free

 

Campo Grande Garden

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This garden was recently renovated so it is a very nice place to hang out – a McDonald’s inside, a little lake where you can go on a boat and sometimes they held Outjazz in there, which is a free music festival happening in the evening.

Location – Campo Grande | Price: Free

 

Calouste Gulbenkien Foundation Gardens

 

 

This was one of the first places that made me fell in love with Lisbon. Gulbenkien is an amazing foundation with  a museum that often has great exhibits,  but the best part , in my opinion, are the gardens. It’s close to a busy street but, as you come in, it’s like you immediately left the city and entered in a different dimension, since it is so different from the common gardens: it has lakes, fountains, plants, animals and it is just relaxing to walk around there. There’s also an auditorium outside where you can sit and just read a good book .

Location – S. Sebastião| Price: Free

 

Tropical Botanic Garden

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With all the fuzz going on in Belém with the monuments and pastéis , this place goes a little unnoticed by tourists – but it is something special. It has a few temples and tropical plants, so it is actually a pretty cool place to go.

Location – Belém | Price: 2€

 

 Quinta da regaleira

Quinta da Regaleira

I’ve told you about it on the post  about Sintra , but I will tell you again because I can’t say it enough times. This garden is freaking amazing and I cannot get tired of it. It is located in Sintra, but usually tourists tend to choose Pena Palace instead of this amazing place. Well I tell you : do go ! This is such a beautiful place, filled with secrets and beauty!

Location – Sintra center| Price: 6€

My personal favorite park is of course Regaleira, even though is not exactly in Lisbon.

 

Let me know everything! Have you visited any of this? Which one is your favorite? Which one would you rather visit? 

All the photos are mine, if you wanna check what I’m up to follow me on Instagram 🙂

 

Lots of Love, 

Catarina

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”

Portugal: Food and Drinks you have to try

Food is one of the greatest pleasures in life and it’s an important part of a country’s culture, so I decided to tell you everything you gotta eat when visiting Portugal. Because here’s a fact: We have amazing food.

For those who don’t know, Portuguese cuisine is knowned for being so delicious and affordable (at least the majority of it) , so here are a few tips of what to eat when visiting Portugal:

Pastel de Nata

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Well, this one was pretty obvious. Pastel de Nata or egg custard tarts if you will, is the most famous sweet in Portugal. The best ones are “Pastéis de Belém”, located in an old caffe in Belem. It goes perfectly with an expresso, believe me.

Bacalhau

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There’s a billion ways you can eat codfish (aka bacalhau): Bacalhau à Brás, Bacalhau à Gomes de Sá, Bacalhau no forno, Bacalhau com natas, Bacalhau à Lagareiro… you get the idea, right? If you want to go Portuguese all the way,  I strongly advise you to try Bacalhau à Lagareiro, it is cooked on the oven and filled with olive oil and garlic. It’s just YUMMI.

Francesinha

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If you like meat, you will love this dish. It is a steak topped with a few types of sausages, bread, cheese, a fried egg and a delicious sauce on top! This dish is typical from Oporto, but you can find it in other places as well.

Cozido à Portuguesa

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Our famous meat stew. This is the dish that we eat when we get our families together on Sunday. It combines differente types of meat, such as: pork, veal and sometime chicken which are all boilled together. It is eaten with various types of portuguese sausages and boiled vegetables.

Arroz de Marisco

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Because Portugal is just by the sea, we have some fresh and great seafood. There’s a lot of dishes, but I would say this one is pretty known and delicious as well 🙂 It means seafood rice, not bad right?

Arroz de Pato

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This dish is very tradicional as well, it is duck rice that goes to the oven to get crunchy on top with chorizo and if you like fruit with your meal, it goes perfectly with orange on the side. Might sound weird, but it’s delicious.

Polvo à Lagareiro

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There it goes, seafood again… This dish is octupus (for those who are thinking that it is disgusting, please taste it, it’s the best thing you’ll eat) on the oven with potatoes with garlic and olive oil. It is to die for.

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Ameijoas à Bulhão Pato

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There it goes, seafood again… It’s fresh and delicious – These are clams with garlic, olive oil, butter and some herbs. It is the best snack. And I dare you not to mix the sauce with bread, it’s impossible not to clean the dish.

Cheese (goat cheese e queijo da serra)

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Well, we have a lot of great cheeses. The ones I advise are: goat cheese, queijo da ilha and queijo da serra. Specially queijo da serra, which is kind of butterish and liquid so you spread it on bread and it’s just heave. Cheese and wine is life, am I right?

Wine

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Let me tell you a thing: We have incredibly affordable wine that is really good. (Although we have some expensive ones too). There is a big slection of wine to choose from: Red, white, Rosé, verde and sparkling. The flavour and aromas difur throughout the region. All worthwild trying. My advice is to take a tour and visit the visit the vinyards and the wineries.

Port

18319137_1541998725822409_1753943940470953066_o.jpg  (Photo taken by me in OPorto)

The taste of love in alcohol form? Yap – Port wine. You probably tried it before, but there’s nothing like going to a tradicional adega and have a tasting session. You will find Porto cellars in Vila Nova de Gaia (Porto) and  you can book a tour and get to know why Port wine is so unique.

Ginja

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This drink is liquor of sour cherries, as it turns incredibly sweet. The best one is Ginja de Obidos, which is served in a chocolat cup, so yeah you drink it and then eat the chocolat. Is that anything better? Despite it is original from Obidos, you can find it in Lisbon as well.

So, now if you are now wondering the best places to eat all this food, stay tunned, because I will make another post with several suggestions of where to eat in Lisbon 🙂

Lots of Love,

Catarina

 

Lisbon Travel Guide: the basics

Hello!

As Lisbon has so many things you can see and do, I’ve decided to start this post series: Lisbon Travel Guide!

So, as first a piece, these are the Lisbon basic touristic spots, the “must-see” for every first time visitor.

Baixa-Chiado The whole downtown area is essential to see, if you’re coming to Lisbon. You can start in Rossio and walk through Rua Augusta until Praça do Comércio. If you go up on the Rua Augusta’s arch, you’ll get a stunning view of the square and the river. You should also go to Chiado, and check the St. Justa elevator..

2017-04-20 11_17_32-The Random Wanderer (@the.random.wanderer) • fotos e vídeos do Instagram

 

Electrico 28  This tram is super famous around the world. Even by its own, it’s really nice for a capture, but if you take a ride on, you’ll see Lisbon most incredible sights and buildings.

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Belém  The whole Belém area is impressive: in here you will find a few of our most remarcable monuments. Starting with the biggest, Jeronimos monastary was built in the XVI century and it is enourmosly beautiful. By crossing to the other side of the road, next to the Tagus river is located the Monument to the Discoveries (in portuguese Padrão dos Descobrimentos) build in honor of Henry the Navigator and all the Portuguese dicoveries, not only it is amazing from the outside but you can go up and see the amazing view. If you walk along the river, you will get to the Belem Tower

You’ve probably heard about our famous custard tarts, right? Here is where you can have it, they are called pastéis de belém. You also have the Jeronimos Monastary which enourmously beautiful.

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Alfama This is probably the oldest, most famous and most enchanting neighbourhood in Lisbon. It has incredible views and a charm of its own. This place is also known for Fado music houses, since it comes from here.

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Parque Edward XVII  The view on the top of this park awsome!  You see all the way to the river.

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For me, these are the most touristic spots of Lisbon. Of course there’s plenty more I want to share with you, so stay tuned because this beautiful city has a lot for me to tell you!

 

If you want to check out my travel photos make sure you follow me on instagram:

https://www.instagram.com/the.random.wanderer/

2017-04-20 11_18_02-Catarina Palma (@catarinaaspalma) • fotos e vídeos do Instagram

 

Lots of Love,

Catarina