10 THINGS TO EXPERIENCE IN PORTO, PORTUGAL.

Tuesday, 4 July 2023

Porto is the second largest city in Portugal behind Lisbon, and in my opinion just as beautiful and quaint. One thing that they both have in common is the amount of hilled streets you will come across whilst you’re here! If you’re looking for a place that has culture, sun and affordable food then this is the place for you. Here are 10 things I recommend doing whilst you are in Porto. 


1. Go on a Portuguese food crawl



Portugal has some great food, and after doing some research I found that this city in particular has a few local specialties. The most famous is their ‘francesinhas’, a meat filled sandwich covered in cheese and tomato sauce. Secondly you have ‘bifanas’, which are similar to montaditos de lomo but covered in a delicious spicy sauce. This had to be my favourite! Cachorro hot dogs and cod fish are also popular options in this region. Lastly, you can’t leave Porto without trying a few pastel de natas (custard tarts).



2. Book a port wine tour



This was such a fun experience, just make sure you have a big meal before this because you will end up tipsy! We booked our Port wine tour online through and it lasted around 3 hours. Our guide was informative and funny, we tried 3 different port varieties and by the end of the tour we had 9 glasses of port and one table wine of our choice. My personal favourite was the ruby port, I’d love to know your thoughts if you do this tour!



3. Visit the Duoro Valley



If you’re a real wine enthusiast, then I recommend a visit to the Duoro Valley. You can either take the train from Sao Bento yourself, or book a guided Duoro Valley tour which arranges the travel for you too. There are even tours where you can pick and stomp on the grapes yourself!


4. View the city from the Torre dos Clerigos



The Clerigos Church Tower is also a great navigation point if you lose your way around the city, but the view from it is also lovely! There’s plenty of cafes and restaurants surrounding it, so it’s also a good place to sit and have a coffee and people watch.




5. Visit the charming Livraria Lello Bookstore



We didn’t go in ourselves because there was a pretty long ticketed queue to enter the bookstore, but if you’re a book lover then you don’t want to miss this place. It has a charming red staircase and resembles something out of Beauty and the Beast. Tickets to enter cost 5 euros, but if you buy a book inside they will deduct this from the price of the book.


6. Cross the D Luis I Bridge and walk along the Nova de Gaia area



When you cross the bridge and head down the very steep hill to the Nova de Gaia promenade, you’ll find a range of bars, restaurants and port wine cellars here. You will also find the Mercado Municipal de Beira here which offers lots of different food stalls. There is a stall here that sells ‘brigadeiros’ which are Brazilian fudge balls and they are delicious! Along the promenade you can also try a cod and cheese croquette at the Casa Portuguesa.



7. Walk along the Jardins do Palacio de Cristal



The Crystal Palace Gardens are free to enter and is the biggest and largest green space in Porto. Here you’ll find different gardens with fountains and sculptures scattered around the park. It’s a great place to take a walk through or if the weather is nice, bring a picnic.


8. Snap some pics in the Sao Bento Railway Station



This is one of the prettiest stations I’ve been in (after the Toledo station in Naples), and even if you’re not planning on travelling anywhere it’s something worth seeing. As mentioned earlier in this article, you can catch the train to the Duoro Valley from here.




9. Enjoy happy hour at one of the many bars at Galeria de Paris Street



I don’t think I’ve ever paid 5 euros for an Aperol Spritz anywhere, and this is what you’ll find here when it’s not happy hour. If you do like your fancy cocktails and cool interiors, then I suggest grabbing one at The Royal Cocktail Club. A lot of these bars have dance floors in the evening, so if you’re looking for a night out this is where you want to be.


10. Try and catch a festival whilst you’re there!



The main reason for our visit to Porto was for the Primavera Sound festival, and I would definitely go again. The organisation was great, an Uber was only 10 euros from the centre and we didn’t have to wait too long, and the range of artists they brought catered for all different age groups and music tastes.

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

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A GUIDE TO A WEEKEND IN GENEVA, SWITZERLAND.

Wednesday, 17 May 2023

Geneva was never a city that was high on my bucket list, especially when the first reaction that people have when you say you're going there is 'nice, but Switzerland is so expensive!' If you live in the likes of Gibraltar or London, then the prices there won't scare you much and there are always 'hidden gems' where you can get a cheap deal or at least value for your money. If you're planning a trip to the swiss city, here are my recommendations on where to stay, what and where to eat and what to do in Geneva. 


 a guide to geneva switzerland


Where to stay


Geneva is relatively small, meaning that as long as you get a hotel in the city centre you will be able to reach most points of interest by foot. We stayed at the Auteil Manotel Hotel, which was a few minutes walk from the main train station and about 5 minutes from the bus station. 


The 4 star hotel cost around £160 a night during the spring season and my favourite thing about our stay had to be the bed and pillows. I felt like I was sleeping on a marshmallow! I also love hotels that do a bit extra for their guests (in the form of treats) so it was great to find a bar of swiss chocolate, some fruit and a bottle of red wine for us. Our room also had a big terrace facing the train tracks, which we thought might have been too noisy but to be honest with the door shut we didn't hear anything. 



What and where to eat



I could just make this article about cheese and chocolate, but we actually did eat other things which I will share. One thing has to be said, we did not have a single bad meal in Geneva. The only thing I was disappointed with was my £8 oat shaken Starbucks latte (self-inflicted for spending that at a chain coffee place).

For breakfast, head to the Cottage Cafe nice and early and grab yourself one of their 'open sandwiches' and a coffee for under £10. It's a very quaint little place and you get great views of the city and river behind you. If you want to splash out a bit more, I had a 'Oui Monsieur' at Birdie Cafe which was lovely and cheesy, but also cost me £16. 



For cheese lovers, I 100% recommend you make a reservation at Cafe du Soleil for their cheese fondue. This place was filled with tourists and locals, and if we wouldn't have pre-booked we would have probably been waiting outside for a while. The menu says that the cheese fondue is priced at around £20 per person, but we thought surely it isn't going to cost us £40 to eat melted cheese if there's two of us. We asked the waiter if we could just order one portion and that was fine, and they still gave us 10 slices of bread and a pot of fondue to share. We also split a steak and chips and this was also delicious, this got dipped into the cheese too! 


Another place which is known for their cheese is Restaurant Les Armures. This is found in the old town and you will be able to try swiss cheeses like gruy√®re and raclette. 

If you fancy something a little different, then Masala House do really good indian food. You'll find that Geneva is a melting pot of cultures, and as you walk down the streets you'll see there is a bit of everything when it comes to cuisine! 



What to do 


Geneva hasn't got a long list of landmarks to see, but some points of interest which you might want to mark on your Google Maps are: 

  • Jet D'Eau
  • Temple de Saint-Pierre
  • Jardin Anglais (English Garden)
  • Place du Bourg-de-Four
  • Botanical Gardens
  • Quai du Mont-Blanc

Map thanks to Wanderlog, a trip planner app on iOS and Android

The main event of our trip to Geneva, was a 3 hour chocolate tasting tour with Local Flavours Tours. If you select the 2:30pm tour, then I suggest you just have breakfast and treat this tour as your lunch because you will end up very satisfied

This tour will take you through some of the best artisan chocolate shops in Geneva, and of course let you try a range of chocolate in all different forms. We had hot chocolate, truffles, unique flavour creations, ruby chocolate, a chocolate patisserie and then got to select some on our own. What's great about this is not only is it an immersive way to learn about the history of chocolate in Switzerland, but it's also a great way to get your bearings around the city with a walking tour! 

The tour is slightly on the pricier side at 98CHF (around £87) per person, but if you factor in all the chocolate you eat you'd probably be spending over half of that buying them individually at the shops.  



*We were kindly invited by Local Flavours Tours to review this experience


I know this blog post is titled what to do in Geneva for a weekend, but if you find yourself with time to spare then I really recommend catching a Flixbus to the French town of Annecy. The trip will only set you back 10 euros and you will get there in under an hour. If you haven't heard of Annecy, just think Venice mixed with Beauty and the Beast! It really is one of the most picturesque places I've been to. Here you need to try a raclette baguette from La Fermette and try a tartiflette (a dish made of potatoes, cheese, bacon and everything delicious). You can find this dish on almost every menu in Annecy! 




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

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geneva travel tips



geneva travel guide pinterest




THE BEST PLACES TO EAT AND DRINK IN GIBRALTAR, ACCORDING TO LOCALS.

Wednesday, 1 March 2023

 With Gibraltar being such a small place, one of the most common ways to spend your weekends here is eating out and going for drinks. Whenever I’m travelling to a new city, I find myself searching across social media channels for the best places to eat. Which is why I wanted to find out what restaurants the people in Gibraltar would rate the best, to help tourists but also for locals to discover some new places. Over 400 people took part in this survey, and these were the results! 




For Breakfast



1. My Wines

Coming in first place for breakfast is My Wines. This was actually my vote too as I love the variety. Whether you’re looking for something sweet or savoury, or having breakfast with your family there’s something for everyone. I recommend the pancakes, bacon eggs benedict or a simple mollete with tomato. If you visit around autumn/winter, they also have pumpkin spiced lattes on the menu. I need to go for breakfast soon to try their latest edition to the menu, the ‘breakfast hunger killer’. This combines their famous lemon chicken fingers in a warm mollete with melted cheese. 





2. Hustle n’ flow


In second place we have Hustle n’ Flow, which is a very convenient 2 minute walk from my house. This place combines nutritious food with an instagram worthy aesthetic. Here you can find a variety of smoothies, acai bowls, classic toasts and a few lunch options such as wraps and burgers. My recommendations here would have to be the french toast , the blue eyed girl bowl and the ‘honey we’re all nuts!’ toast. Whilst you’re here, finish off with one of their super shot elixirs! 





3. Aquaterra 

In third place we have Aquaterra, which hadn’t been on my radar until this. This place is usually known for their meats and cool cocktails, but they also have a very cheap and cheerful breakfast menu. It also looks like it’s packed every Saturday morning so you’re best off booking a table in advance! I had their Andaluz breakfast which included bread with tomato and olive oil, topped with jamon serrano. You also get a tea or coffee included for a total of £3.90! 





For Tapas

1. La Tapilla Sixtina

In first place for tapas we have La Tapilla Sixtina, located in Chatham Counterguard. This is probably the closest you’ll get in Gibraltar to a typical Spanish tapas menu, and the prices are reasonable. Here you’ll find a variety of montaditos, tostadas, croquettes, meats and more. My staples when eating here are the huevos rotos, the pork with truffle oil, the carrillada (pork cheek) stew, and the prawns pil pil. To wash it all down, have a tinto de verano with liquor 43!





2. Vault 13


In second place, we have Vault 13, an asian-mediterranean fusion tapas restaurant. I’ve never had a bad meal here, and I’ve pretty much tried 90% of the menu. My favourites are the asian prawns, the octopus with potatoes, the pork belly, the mini chicken brioche sliders and all of the bao buns!





3. My Wines


Making another appearance on the list, in third place for tapas is My Wines. I always like coming here in a big group because there are a lot of things on the menu that I enjoy. I recommend booking a table on their terrace in the warmer months too. My recommendations here are the goat’s cheese salad, the jalapeno wontons, lemon chicken fingers, puchero croquettes, and the duck nachos (a lot of my friends are 50/50 on these nachos, but I love the oriental spin on them!) My favourite wine here is Anahi, if you’re looking for something semi-sweet to pair your food with. 





For a date night



 1. Little Bay 

In first place for date night or a meal out, is the Indian restaurant Little Bay. This place is always full so expect to wait a while for your food, but it is delicious. The go to order for my boyfriend and I when we go is the chilli cheese naan, the pomegranate aloo tikki chana masala, the anardana jhinga which is a prawn dish, and the chicken murgh makhani. For dessert, the pistachio kulfi is lovely. I also recommend checking out their signature cocktail menu!  





2. 4 Stagioni 


This is my favourite Italian restaurant in Gibraltar, mostly because of their very cheesy garlic bread calzone and the pumpkin ravioli. 4 Stagioni is located a bit further away from town but the fact you have to make more of an effort to get there almost makes it feel like an even better spot for a special occasion. If you’re more into pizza than pasta, then I recommend the tropical pizza which comes with ham, pineapple and mango chutney! Our favourite wine to have here is Satinela. 





3. Vault 13 


Also making a second appearance is Vault 13, so I thought I’d save some of my other favourite menu items for this section of the article. The whipped feta with honey, the hummus and the beetroot & goat’s cheese mousse are all great plates to start with! 






For Cocktails
 

If after you’ve checked out one of these restaurants you fancy going for a few drinks, then these are the best cocktail spots according to locals. In first place we have Las Iguanas, which probably has one of the largest cocktail menus in Gibraltar. My go to here is the Pornstar Martini or the Guava Colada. In second place is Little Bay, and my favourites here are the Masala Mule and the Ancient Routes. In third place we have Bruno’s, which is famously known for their 24 hours 241 cocktail special. I usually have a Singapore Sling or a Pornstar Martini here, or an Aperol Spritz when the sun is out!


Iguanas 241 Guava Colada's

The Yard came in 4th for their cocktails, but if you're looking for the biggest variety of gin in Gibraltar then this is the place to be!



Want to see more of what these places have to offer? Check out my reels for what we ordered on Instagram!


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