A GUIDE TO SPENDING 3 DAYS IN DUBROVNIK, CROATIA.

Monday, 21 March 2022

Dubrovnik has been on my bucket list for years, the interest was probably sparked when I heard Game of Thrones had been filmed there. The city has definitely milked this as you'll find GOT merch, tours and experiences everywhere. Nevertheless it is a beautiful city and it is the perfect place for a weekend escape or as part of a trip around Croatia! I'd love to explore Split, Zagreb and Hvar another time. Here is my itinerary for things to do and where to eat on a 3 day trip to Dubrovnik, Croatia. 


tea with gi dubrovnik guide


Day 1 



Breakfast: Cele

Located right at the end of the Stradun (main street), you'll find Cele. It's a great spot for people watching and you'll get quite a range of breakfast options here. I opted for the french toast, my sister went for pancakes and my mother went for eggs benedict.

AM - Walk around the city walls

Here you will find some of the best views of the city and it is a great way to get your steps in! The first thing you'll notice about Dubrovnik is that 80% of the Old Town is made up of steps, but we still saw plenty of over 70s on group tours so it isn't anything for concern! 

The walls take between 1.5 - 2 hours to walk, depending on how often you stop to take pictures and how many people are stopping in front of you. You can enter from Pile Gate and entry for adults is around 30 euros. 

Lunch: Barba

I'd watched a couple of videos before our trip and obviously my main point of interest was 'must eats in Dubrovnik'. One place that popped up a few times was the small restaurant Barba, and specifically their octopus burger in a squid ink bun. A local had also recommended this place on our tour so it was definitely worth the hype! You can't book, but we went for lunch at 2:30pm and managed to get a spot on the windowsill. 


barba dubrovnik


PM: Kayaking Tour

For £21, you can take a 3 hour kayaking tour that takes you around the city walls at sunset and will also take you around the 'cursed' island of Lokrum. You'll also have a guide who will tell you about the history of Dubrovnik and some urban legends. You will also get 30 minutes on a private beach. Informational, relaxing and you'll also work off that octopus burger! 


Dinner: Taj Mahal (Bosnian Food)

I definitely recommend reserving your tables in advance for dinner because most of the popular places will be fully booked on the night. Don't let the name fool you, as Taj Mahal is actually a Bosnian restaurant! If you have any vegetarians travelling in your party then this probably isn't the restaurant for you as their menu is very meat heavy. We opted for the 'genghis khan plate' which consisted of cevapi, chicken kebab, pljeskavica, suńĎukica, rumsteak and chicken. The food was delicious, my only complaint was that they gave us the table right at the end of the alley way and there wasn't even a street light beside. So as the picture depicts, we basically ate in darkness! 


taj mahal dubrovnik


Day 2 


Breakfast: SNEK

What I liked about this place is that it had a number of healthier options on their menu such as chia pudding and protein pancakes, and it would cost you between £5-£10 depending on what you were eating. They also had an extensive cocktail list, so it’s a great place to come back to in the afternoon.


AM: Game of Thrones Walking Tour 

If you're reading this travel guide, chances are you still haven't got to Dubrovnik. Meaning there is still time to watch the show so you can experience this tour and know your Khaleesi from your Cersei. My mother and sister hadn't seen GOT but still found the tour entertaining as the guide has plenty of pictures, funny anecdotes and non-GOT related stories about the city to share. 



game of thrones tour dubrovnik


PM: Visit Lokrum Island

The small island of Lokrum is only a 30 minute boat ride away from Dubrovnik, and there isn't much to do there except for seeing the peacocks, an Iron Throne replica and a lake that you can sunbathe by and swim in. During your stay you will probably hear how the island is haunted because of a curse that was placed by the Benedictine monks. I'll leave that story for you to find our for yourselves!


DINNER: Gradska Kavana Arsenal

This was probably my favourite meal we had, as we were right by the sea and the food was delicious and moderately priced. They serve a mix of seafood, meat and pasta dishes. I had the fish stew, my mother had squid ink risotto, and my sister had the truffle and mushroom pasta. 


Day 3


As I mentioned Dubrovnik is a relatively small city, which means that it gives you the chance to explore neighbouring cities, or even countries. There are day trips available to Montenegro and Bosnia & Herzegovina. We decided on B&H because it's somewhere we wouldn't necessarily do an exclusive trip to. 

Day trip to Bosnia and Herzegovina 

For me the highlight of this tour was our driver, our pick up was at 7:30am so safe to say we were half asleep but he made the tour so entertaining and interesting. We drove for around an hour and a half before reaching a waterfall where we had an hour of free time, and then we continued on to the city of Mostar. 

I didn’t have any prior knowledge of Mostar or the Bosnian war in the 90s, so it was interesting to get the perspective from our Croat tour guide, and our Bosnian guide in Mostar. You definitely get the sense that people still feel very strongly and divided about what happened. 


mostar bosnia

Lunch: Restaurant Sadrvan 

This place was recommended to us by our guide, and a plate of meat, pita bread and chips cost us less than a fiver. They had a terrace so we got a great view of the bridge and river.

Mostar Day Trip from Dubrovnik (£41) 

Dinner: Mex Cantina 

The tour will have you back in Dubrovnik for dinner time, and if you fancy a change of cuisine then I recommend Mex Cantina. Half the menu was mexican and half was pizza, so we got a bit of everything and thoroughly enjoyed it.



If you have extra time...


  • If you need a pick me up on the go, try the coffee and a pastry (spinach and cheese burek) from Barcaffe in the main street. 
  • Head to Buza Bar, a cliffside bar that's a popular spot to enjoy a wine or beer and see the sunset. Note that this place only takes cash. 
  • If you fancy doing something alternative, try the 'Haunted Dubrovnik' Ghost Tour in the evening. 


We visited Dubrovnik at the end of September and we had perfect weather, aside from 20 minutes of light rain but that was the perfect opportunity to get photos with nobody in the background! I'd recommend going at the end of spring or at the end of summer as the heat can be unbearable in peak summer. 

I hope you've found this guide useful, and if you have any other questions about Dubrovnik, feel free to send me a message on my socials! 



tea with gi dubrovnik travel guide



6 SUSTAINABLE TRAVEL DESTINATIONS FOR YOUR NEXT INCENTIVE TRIP

Thursday, 10 March 2022

Is there such a thing as a sustainable travel destination? All destinations require some form of travel to get to which immediately gets you in the carbon deficit before you’ve even arrived. However, when you do arrive, the place you’re in makes all the difference to whether your trip can be eco-friendly/sustainable compared to other destinations.

Destinations that can be travelled to via train can limit your carbon emissions before you even arrive. However, there are some cities that stand out from the rest with green spaces, electric transport and eco-friendly accommodation and activities. Here are some of the top destinations that place an emphasis on sustainability to create a better environment for everyone.




Copenhagen, Denmark




As a city that has won the title as the world’s most walkable and bikeable city several times, Copenhagen is considered by many as one of the top sustainable destinations in the world. Nearly all of the larger venues and hotels in the city have a 3rd party eco-certification as it aims to become the first carbon neutral capital city by 2025.

Copenhagen has also just finished the expansion of the metro’s City Ring that connects all parts of the city within 12 min. ride directly to the airport meaning you can be as carbon neutral as possible visiting this gorgeous city.


Where to stay: Crowne Plaza Copenhagen Towers

This hotel takes the title of Denmark’s first carbon neutral hotel building. To obtain this result the hotel has cut down energy consumption via innovative solutions such as the largest building integrated solar panel park in Northern Europe, the first ever groundwater-based cooling and heating system in Denmark, intelligent light saving measures and water saving measures.


What to do

  • Take a bicycle tour of the city
  • Dry slope skiing on the Copenhill, the world’s cleanest waste-to-energy power plant
  • Visit Tivoli Gardens, one of the oldest amusement parks in the world
  • Experience urban farming at an oyster opening workshop in a sea farm


Amsterdam, Netherlands




Another city that comes to mind when thinking of bikes is of course Amsterdam. Transport around Amsterdam is some of the most environmentally friendly in the world, with bicycles, canal boats, trams and e-scooters making up a large portion of the way people get around.

And with great train links throughout Europe, Amsterdam can also be travelled to using low carbon methods which significantly decreases your carbon footprint before you've even got there!

Where to stay: Hotel Jakarta

Hotel Jakarta is said to be the most sustainable hotel in the Netherlands. The construction uses natural wood as the main building material and nearly no non-recyclable products. There are also a number of energy-saving measures implemented such as collecting rainwater for the subtropical indoor garden, solar panels that transform solar energy into electricity to heat the shower water, and a warmth and cold storage system that regulates the temperature in the hotel.

What to do


Iceland




As a country that heats 85% of all houses using renewable geo-thermal energy, and provides nearly 100% of its electricity from renewable energy sources (73% from Hydro, 27% from geo-thermal), Iceland is one of the top destinations that can provide for your trip in an eco-friendly way.

Iceland is also home to The Blue Lagoon, a geo-thermal spa that is rich in a unique combination of natural minerals, which gives the lagoon its soft, milky aquamarine colour. Enjoying a bath in the warm water of the lagoon, surrounded by black lava is the perfect way to relax without harming the environment.

Where to stay: The Retreat by Blue Lagoon


The Retreat at Blue Lagoon Iceland encompasses a subterranean spa, a geothermal lagoon, a restaurant that reimagines Iceland’s culinary traditions, and a 62-suite hotel encircled by the Blue Lagoon’s mineral-rich waters. The Retreat is a place where guests can leave the world behind and enter a timeless realm of relaxation, rejuvenation, and exploration.

What to do

  • Relax and unwind in one of Iceland’s geo-thermal spas
  • Enjoy a wildlife tour in a kayak, getting up close and personal with Iceland’s most iconic wildlife
  • Hike up an icelandic volcano
  • Plant trees to offset the carbon emissions of your trip
  • Enjoy fresh hot bread at a geo-thermal bakery

Costa Rica




Tourism in Costa Rica has increased over the last couple of years, and with the country now letting in double vaccinated individuals from any country enter, it’s a great option for an incentive trip further afield.

Costa Rica is widely recognised for its sustainable tourism and its effort towards being more environmentally friendly. It actually was voted the second most sustainable country in the world by the World Energy Council. 99.2% of the energy Costa Rica uses is renewable, 78% from hydroelectric and 18% by geothermal. A quarter of the country’s land has been turned into protected parks and reserves, which is no surprise considering 51% of Costa Rica is forested.

Where to stay: El Silencio Eco Lodge

This 4 star hotel gives the illusion that it is floating like a cloud in the rainforest, and is situated near the Poas Volcano. You will definitely be able to disconnect at this hotel as you are surrounded by a tropical forest, waterfalls and wildlife. El Silencio features an array of sustainable programmes and initiatives to reduce their environmental footprint. It also aims to give back to the community through local employment opportunities, local purchases and energy conservation.

What to do



Oslo, Norway




Oslo has been voted in the top 5 most sustainable cities in the world, and has one of the biggest targets of reducing carbon emissions by 50% by 2030. As with other Scandinavian countries, the air and water are one of the purest and it is surrounded by nature (particularly the Fjords).

Another great thing about Oslo is that it is a gateway to exploring other beautiful and natural parts of the country. This includes a hike to Frognerseteren and Vettakollen, or a day trip to Bergen where you can find the Sognerfjord.

Where to stay: Hotel Bristol

Located one street down from Karl Johan in the city centre, the Hotel Bristol has earned its eco-friendly certification by using sustainable energy, environmentally friendly suppliers and limiting waste. The hotel has a gym, meeting rooms and conference facilities and has over 250 guest rooms.

What to do:

  • Visit the Nobel Peace Prize Center
  • See an interesting collection of sculptures at Frogner Park
  • Join a walking tour around the city to learn about the history and fun facts about the country
  • Take a fjord cruise
  • Kayak through the fjords with evening BBQ and overnight stay

Ljubljana, Slovenia




Ljubljana is becoming one of the top European cities for travel and it’s not hard to see why. The diversity the city, and country of Slovenia offers makes it perfect for anyone who is interested in nature, history or adventure.

The capital of Slovenia has previously been ranked the #1 European Green capital, and is also a beautiful location to visit in the Spring or Summer months. The city centre has been car-free since 2018 and provides locals and visitors free access to a bike-share scheme. There are also tons of green spaces including a ‘Bee Trail’ which consists of 4,500 hives placed around the city.

Where to stay: Zlata Ladjica Hotel

This 5 star boutique hotel is located just by the river, one of the most picturesque spots in the city. They are also aiming to leave a minimal environmental footprint, by ensuring that all the food and drinks they provide in their hotel are locally sourced and in-season. They use minimal plastic throughout the hotel and it’s also good to note that the tap water in Ljubljana is perfectly safe to drink. So much so that you’ll see plenty of water fountains around the city.

What to do:

  • Visit/Hike Lake Bled
  • Try one of their innovative tours such as the ‘Moustache Tour’ , Taste Ljubljana food tour, or the Beer Experience
  • Visit the abandoned Hotel Bellevue
  • Contribute to a wildlife conservation project


If you want to find out more about these destinations and the sustainable activities, hotels and restaurants that can be experienced there, get in touch with Zentive Agency at hello@zentiveagency.com




* This post was written together with Zentive Agency as a collaborative piece*


3 DAY GUIDE TO PARIS FOR FIRST TIME VISITORS.

Wednesday, 2 March 2022

Paris is one of those cities you could probably visit several times and still find new places to explore. I definitely did not get through all the restaurant recommendations on my list! I had previously visited Paris as a child so my memories of it were vague, so it was nice to really see the sights properly and utilise my GCSE french. Whether you're travelling with your family, friends or partner, here are my tips and recommendations for your visit to Paris.

tea with gi paris guide



Where To Stay



Paris is made up of 20 'arrondissements' or districts, and as expected the closer you stay to the major landmarks the more expensive your hotel is going to be. The good thing is that the Paris metro system is pretty easy to use and each ride only costs you €1.90. We stayed in the hotel 25Hours Terminus Nord, which meant that the Gare du Nord metro and train station was right on our doorstep.

The hotel was beautiful and so quirky, it was very Parisian and full colour and artwork. It also had unique touches like a typewriter to send love letters out in the lobby. The bedroom decor had me feeling like I should have packed a feather nightgown, it felt so old Hollywood. We were also able to use Netflix and Youtube on the television in the bedroom which was great for when we were getting ready. Most importantly, the beds were so comfortable that skipping the sightseeing was tempting just so I could spend a few more hours in bed. 

In terms of food, I probably ate my weight in french toast at the buffet breakfast. One of the highlights was the option of champagne in the morning, which we had to take advantage of for the experience (when in Paris!). We didn't get a chance to have dinner in their restaurant NENI as they were fully booked, but we did have cocktails and some mezze plates at their Sape Bar and they were delicious. 






Where To Eat



I was travelling with my vegan friend so we did have to opt for some vegan friendly restaurants, which wasn't as difficult as we were expecting in France. I know the delicacies in France include escargot (snails) and Foie gras (duck or goose fat) but immersing myself in the local cuisine went as far as crepes and creme brulee. 

Hey Honey was a bit on the pricier side but the setting was lovely and the cocktails were shown on tarot cards. I opted for the duck breast with dauphinoise potatoes and I'm still daydreaming about how good they were. If you do want to try some classic french dishes, then Terminus Nord Restaurant has a selection of everything at decent prices.



If you're after some vegan cuisine, then Le Potager du Marais serves vegan alternatives of French dishes. I opted for french onion soup (which came complete with vegan cheese), and finished off with some creme brulee. The owner of the restaurant was lovely and took time to come and chat to us and talk about the dishes. If you fancy something different, then Jah Jah By Le Tricycle is a good shout. They only have 4 items on the menu which changes everyday but I thoroughly enjoyed my meal! It's a Jamaican vegan restaurant and I got a big plate of food for 10 euros.



If you have a sweet tooth, then definitely stop by Creperie Montorgueil and try their salted caramel and banana crepe. They also do a bunch of savoury options if that's what you prefer. If you'd like to take home some macarons, then Maison Laduree is the most famous place to get them, or you can also eat in and try one of their indulgent cakes. Lastly for some eclairs, Le Eclair De Genie offers a wonderful selection.



What to Do



The best way to start your first day in Paris is doing a walking tour of all the sights, either on your own or on an organised tour. Sandeman's offer a free walking tour that starts at 11am everyday starting from Place St Michel. If you'd rather do it on your own, save the points of interest in Google Maps. Make sure to include the Eiffel Tower, The Louvre, Notre Dame Cathedral, Arc De Triomphe, Pantheon and the Sacre-Coeur Basilica. Once you're done seeing the sites, get a different perspective by taking a 1 hour cruise down the Seine river. The boats run every hour but the best time to go is at sunset.

Tickets: 1 hour Seine river (£12.50)

There are a ton of different museums to visit in Paris, but the most notable has to be the Louvre where the Mona Lisa is housed. It probably took us an hour to find her because we started on the opposite side of the museum, and boy did it feel like we were stuck in a maze! They say that even if you spent 3 months in the Louvre, you still would not get through every exhibit. If you fancy doing something a bit more unique, then head to the Catacombs of Paris, an underground ossuaries which hold the remains of more than six million people.




We also spent some time wandering through the districts of Marais, Montorgueil, Montmartre and the Latin Quarter. You'll find lots of cute cafes, bars (and happy hours!) and independent stores around these. 


In terms of evening entertainment, something I definitely recommend doing for the experience is attending a Moulin Rouge show. They first opened their doors in 1889 and you really do get immersed in the experience when you are there. Tickets cost £70 and this also included a bottle of champagne between the two of us. There were guests who were fully dressed to the 9s here, and others who just came in jeans and boots. 




If you have time, then head out of the city to visit the Palace of Versailles, it really is beautiful. Your other option is to, of course, visit Disneyland Paris which is a short 45 minute train from the city centre. Just make sure to check online which rides and shows are currently open as with Covid things are still slightly different. The best thing about visiting in January was that the queue for rides weren't longer than 30 minutes, although there weren't many shows or characters throughout the park. 

Tickets: Palace of Versailles (£44)



TOP PARIS TIPS

  • Don't pay with card in any corner shop, I actually got my card cloned and they tried to take out 300 euros but Revolut declined it. Lesson learnt!
  • Uber is cheaper than getting a taxi or pre-booked shuttle from the city centre to the airport (we flew to Orly).
  • Make your dinner reservations in advance, as most of the time they will be fully booked if you just walk in. 
  • If the majority of your trip isn't Disney based, stay in the centre as a train from the city to the park is only 7 euros and takes 45 minutes. 
  • Do not stop for a coffee near any of the attractions, they'll charge you 7 euros for a cafe con leche. The little coffee shops you find when wandering around the districts are all regularly priced. 

Whether you're planning a long weekend or a full week in Paris, you're never short of things to do!

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