I last went to Prague about 5 years ago but didn’t have the pleasure of exploring the city as much as I would have liked to. When my friend suggested we go to Prague, I jumped at the chance. An opportunity to go away and just forget all the stress and worries of real life? Yes, please, thank you, sir! We found a really good package deal via British Airways, so it was really a no-brainer. So on April 24th, we flew out to the wonderful city of Prague to start my first adventure of the year.

Want to know what to visit, where to eat or what to do when in Prague? Be sure to read on and take notes! 📝

MUST SEE

  • WENCESLAS SQUARE

Our first full day consisted of 15,866 steps. That is a helluva lot of walking. We started off by attempting to find Wenceslas Square. Google decided to take us on a complete hike, but luckily we found a quicker way after that first trek. The weather was so beautiful, so we decided to chill in the square for a bit before continuing our journey.

Wenceslas Square is one of the main city squares and the centre of the business and cultural communities in the New Town of Prague, Czech Republic

  • OLD TOWN SQUARE

After Wenceslas Square, we made our way to Old Town Square. Old Town Square is a historic square in the Old Town quarter of Prague. There are many buildings displaying different architectural styles in the square and it was such a beautiful sight to take in. We made our way to the Old Town Hall Tower, as the Astronomical Clock is currently under repair. For 250 CZK (£8/$11) you can go up the tower and witness astounding views of Old Town. 

  • CHARLES BRIDGE

After taking many photos in the square, we made our way to Charles Bridge. Charles Bridge is a historic bridge that crosses the Vltava river. Its construction started in 1357 under the auspices of King Charles IV, and finished at the beginning of the 15th century.

We walked over that bridge many times during our trip and it never got old. It is absolutely amazing and is decorated with about 30 statues and statuaries, depicting saints and patron saints. It is such a beautiful bridge to walk over especially when the weather is gorgeous.

The Crucifix and Calvary on Charles Bridge

  • DANCING HOUSE

After making it to the other side of the bridge, we decided to try and find the Dancing House. Also given the nickname Fred and Ginger, the Dancing House is located on the Rašín Embankment – it is not the typical Baroque, Gothic or Art Noveau designs that Prague is famous for but I definitely loved it and it is very different to any building I’ve ever seen. 

  • PRAGUE CASTLE

I was genuinely expecting to find a grand castle upon us deciding to go to Prague Castle, only to find out it’s actually a castle complex consisting of palaces, churches, gardens, etc. It was still a very interesting place to visit and they even had a changing of the guards. According to the Guinness Book of World Records, Prague Castle is the largest coherent castle complex in the world!

There are several types of tickets you can get when visiting the castle (because come on, what tourist attraction is really free these days?) – we chose Circuit B for 250 CZK (£9/$11) which allowed us to visit St. Vitus Cathedral, Old Royal Palace, St. George’s Basilica and Golden Lane.

I’ve mentioned before that I love cathedrals and St. Vitus’ was no exception. I was astonished by the stained glass windows and even though the cathedral was chock full of tourists, I still felt at peace somewhat. I wanted to light a candle, but they had these fake ones which I don’t fw, tbh.

One of the stain glass windows in St. Vitus Cathedral

The cathedral was my favourite part of the circuit, but I did enjoy the Old Royal Palace which apparently holds a copy of the Czech crown (I didn’t see) and St. George’s Basilica. I also really liked Golden Lane, with its cute brightly coloured buildings. 

St. Vitus Cathedral

St. George’s Basilica

  • LENNON WALL

Rather randomly, there is a Lennon Wall located in Prague which we had to visit. It was once an ordinary wall but has since been filled with Lennon-inspired graffiti. Also a little further down from the wall is a small bridge with lover’s locks (eye roll).

  • BETHLEHEM CHAPEL

We never actually got to go inside the chapel because it looked like renovations were taking place so we ended up having to just take pictures of the outside. The Bethlehem Chapel is a medieval religious building in the Old Town of Prague, notable for its connection with the origins of the Bohemian Reformation.

  • OLD NEW SYNAGOGUE

This is Europe’s oldest active synagogue located in the Jewish Quarter of Prague. We didn’t go inside the synagogue either but just observed the outside. It is said that the body of Golem (created by Rabbi Judah Loew ben Bezalel) lies in the attic where the genizah of Prague’s community is kept.

  • JOSEFOV (THE JEWISH QUARTER)

This town quarter was once the Jewish ghetto of the town. Most of the quarter was demolished between 1893 and 1913 as part of an initiative to model the city on Paris. What was left were only six synagogues, the old cemetery, and the Old Jewish Town Hall. There were a few stalls that we visited selling their wares and I bought a bracelet from one of them.

DINE

Before we arrived, I had already done research on some restaurants that were considered really good according to TripAdvisor and Time Out. I already knew that I was looking to eat well when I was out in Prague and wanted to get a scope of the different kinds of food they had there. 

  • KAVARNA ADRIA

This cafe is reportedly visited by many locals and is located on the second floor of Palac Adria. We got to sit out on the terrace for dinner, making the whole experience even better. Offering both local and international dishes, Kavarna Adria had an extensive menu. I already knew what I was going to order before I’d even stepped into the cafe – beef goulash with Vienna onion and speck dumplings.

This is the sort of meal that will send you to SLEEP. The beef was deliciously tender, the gravy was rich and meaty and the dumplings rounded it off perfectly. I thought it was decently priced at 199 CZK (£6/$9). I also ordered a tequila sunrise because you can’t go wrong with cocktails. 

It was really relaxing sitting out on the terrace above all the hustle and bustle of Central Prague. The service was good, with the waiter being nice and friendly. Would definitely visit again!

  • GEORGE PRIME STEAK

I wanted to be bougie for one night and, to be honest, you can’t get any bougier than George Prime Steak. Also, I really love steak!!

I immediately felt fancy as soon as I stepped into the restaurant; the ambience was amazing. Amazing setting and location – the atmosphere was relaxing, the chairs comfortable and the food delicious. 

We didn’t get this, however, a waiter goes around with a display of the various cuts and gives recommendations on how they should be cooked. I always go for my steak medium rare, anything above is atrocious.

I ordered a T-bone steak (2 for 1, baby) with creamed mash potato and stir-fried baby bok choy. I could have eaten it all over again if I could! I also ordered one of their signature handcrafted cocktails – PAPA REVOLUTION: Bulleit Bourbon, Bitters, DON PAPA RUM, Roger Groult Calvados, Passionfruit Puree, Touch Of Apricot. So yummy! If you can’t tell, cocktails are my weakness.

Although pricey according to Prague standards, I would not hesitate to come back again.

  • CAFE LOUVRE

This cafe offers a garden area and an indoor eating area. We decided to sit outside because how often do you get to eat outside especially if you live in London? It may look high end but the friendly staff make you feel right at home. Excellent food, excellent service – what more can I say?

I ordered the pork tenderloin marinated in garlic and rosemary, smoked meat-stuffed dumplings and stewed cabbage. There’s only so much cow you can have. It was absolutely delicious. The sauce complimented the meat and the dumplings were there to soak up all the deliciousness.

Again, decently priced at 219 CZK (£7/$10) so definitely a place I would visit again. 

  • TRDLO

Trdlo or trdelník is very popular pastry in Prague. Everywhere we went there were loads of trdelník shops and it smelt so sweet and yummy! We had just walked over Charles Bridge for the 1000th time and decided to stop by one of the shops and try this delicious snack.

It is made from rolled dough that is wrapped around a stick, then grilled and topped with sugar and cinnamon. I went for the Vanilla Dream – vanilla, strawberries and whipped cream. It was so good!

DRINK

  • HEMINGWAY BAR

This is the cutest bar I have ever been in! Inspired by Ernest Hemingway, this little bar specialises in freshly mixed cocktails. We were lucky to get a seat because apparently it does get quite busy. 

The server we had was amazing! She explained each of our cocktails to us in such detail. There was many to choose from on their menu.

Firstly, I opted for the Candy Shop – Pisco spirit, fresh lemon juice, sugar syrup, raspberry purée, rhubarb bitters, egg white, soda water, pop rock candy, homemade figue marshmallow. Our server suggested I take a bite of the marshmallow and then a sip of the drink, which I did and it was so yummy! Sweet and sour at the same time.

For my next cocktail I ordered the Magic Moment – Beefeater gin, mallow and nettle cordial, magic moment. If you’ve been on my Instagram then you’ll have already seen what the “magic moment” is, but it sure was pretty and pink! The drink was quite strong and I’m not usually a gin drinker, but I did enjoy this one.

MUST DO

  • SEGWAY EXPERIENCE PRAGUE

My colleague at work suggested that we do a Segway tour and after finding pamphlets for it in our hotel, we decided that it was going to happen. I had the BEST time doing the tour. We were lucky enough to actually get a private tour because no one else turned up and so basically paid group price for a private tour. It also ended up being longer than the allotted time, so we got even more for our money.

Our guide, Peter, was amazing! He was so patient with us as we learned the ropes and was full of amazing historical facts about Prague. If you ever go to Prague and do this tour, see if you can get Peter because he is the best.

Peter took us to a few monasteries including Strahov Monastery and Brevnov Monastery. As we approached Strahov Stadium we also got to freestyle in the parking lot which was a lot of fun! We didn’t get to see inside the stadium because it was blocked by sandbags. We also got to go through Ladronka Park and visit the village estate of Spiritka. 

It was such a fun experience whizzing through Prague on a Segway and I would definitely do it again!

  • DRUNKEN MONKEY PUB CRAWL

…..

…….

All I can really tell you is that there a 2-hour open bar and beer pong. And really good music. And really fun, crazy, amazing staff. 

What I can’t tell you is what happens after you leave the Drunken Monkey because girl. Anyway, if you’re looking for a lit last night in Prague then I would definitely recommend. I just wouldn’t recommend mixing your drinks. ✌🏾

HOLD ONTO YOUR FUCKING PHONE XD

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London is one of the most expensive cities on the planet, and yet it still manages to attract hundreds of thousands of visitors each and every year. But not all of these tourists and visitors are well-heeled travellers. So, there must be some ways you can visit London on a shoestring budget, right? There totally is, you just need to know where to look for some great deals and discounts. Here are my top tips, just for you!

Book In Advance

There are quite a few attractions that you have to pay to enter, such as Madame Tussauds, the Tower of London, and Westminster Abbey. Some are so expensive, you might think that you need a cash advance to pay for them all! But there is a way to get cheaper ticket prices – you just need to book in advance! If you book your tickets early through the attraction website, you’ll be able to get a percentage off the full price of a ticket.

Seek Out Free Attractions

But you don’t have to pay for every single attraction in London. There are some fab ones that are completely free and ideal for very limited budgets. The majority of galleries and museums in the city are free to enter, though they might have a special exhibition that you need to pay extra for. There are also lots of great outdoor spaces that don’t cost anything to check out, such as Hyde Park and Regent’s Park. You’ll also be able to watch the daily Changing of the Guards for free.

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Eat Away From The Beaten Path

Dining out in London can end up being very expensive if you stick to the usual tourist hotspots. But, if you are up for exploring away from the beaten path, you will easily be able to find some more affordable eateries. It’s also a good idea to eat at street-food markets as well as these are considerably cheaper than eating in a proper restaurant. There are various street-food markets around London but one of the most famous has to be the one at Borough Market. Some other great ones include the one at the Southbank Centre and Leather Lane Street Market.

Get West End Tickets On The Cheap

Going to see a theatre show at the West End is a must-do when you are in London. Unfortunately, though, some of the ticket prices can be eye-watering! Even if you book well in advance, you might find that the price of tickets is a lot more than what you are willing to pay. But there is one way to get very cheap tickets – you need to buy them at the last minute from one of the booths on Leicester Square. Sellers sell any remaining tickets at super discounted prices. You might not be able to get a ticket for your preferred show, but at least you can see something!

As you can see, a trip to London doesn’t have to cost you a fortune, and all budget travellers are made to feel welcome!

This is a collaborative post. May contain affiliate links.

I don’t think I could ever get tired of Paris. It doesn’t matter how many times I go, or how many times I visit the same landmark, or how many times I go to Disney – there’s always this sense of familiarity which makes me feel comfortable and I know that I can visit again and again.

Last November, my friend and I went to Paris for a few days where we also spent a whole day in Disney. You can’t really go wrong with a trip to Disney and it really is the happiest place on Earth. Don your Minnie ears and join me on a Parisian adventure!

Theme tune for this trip 💕

I think this will be my third post in relation to Paris. My last post was a detailed account of how to spend less than 48 hours in Paris – it’s crazy how many things you can cram in in such a short space of time.

If Disney is the main focus of your trip then I would suggest staying in one of the hotels near the Disney area. If you have £££ then definitely check out the hotel in the park itself. As we are only young 20 somethings still trying to establish ourselves in the world and don’t really have moolah like that, we stayed at Vienna House Dream Castle Hotel

British Airways do really good package deals and ours only cost around £200 – that’s flights and hotel. We also had breakfast included, which is definitely a bonus. When I’m booking packages, I always like to look for the hotels that have breakfast included just because it can save you so much more money. You can fill up your belly in the morning, then you just have to grab a light lunch and save your money for dinner.

Again, I booked our Disney tickets through Attraction Tickets Direct. You only save a couple of £s booking through them, but it is still cheaper than booking directly with Disney. Also, they have e-tickets, so no waiting around for the post hoping your tickets come on time! The website also offers deals on tickets for attractions in other major cities, as well. 

Our hotel had a free shuttle bus to/from the hotel to Marne-la-Vallée – Chessy station, which made things a lot easier. Because of where the hotel is situated it isn’t that easy getting there – you can get to the station perfectly fine, but once there without the free shuttle bus you’d have to get a taxi, which is just extra £.

Disney, as always, was amazing. We got there early enough to have to queue and wait for them to open the gates. There’s always a feeling of happiness I get whenever I see the castle at the end of Main Street.

The day we chose to go happened to be the best day because we managed to go on some of the rides more than once because the queues were so short!

Favourite rides 🎢

  • Buzz Lightyear Laser Blast – I’m absolutely crap at this and my hand/eye coordination skills are questionable, to say the least, and yet I still LOVE this ride
  • Hyperspace Mountain – sorry, this will always still be Space Mountain to me. 
  • Star Tours – love how interactive this ride is!
  • Hollywood Tower – this makes your heart drop out your butt, so really not for the faint-hearted. My friend said she thinks a little boy fainted on the ride when we were on it 😭

The highlight of the day was definitely the Stars on Parade and the Disney Illuminations. We managed to get a good view of the parade as we were sitting down at the front, and gosh! You could feel my happiness all the way from Paris to Timbuktu.

I loved seeing all my favourite Disney characters dancing and singing (I attempted to sing along until I realised that it was the French version of the song 😅)! The fireworks were out of this world and standing there taking it all in with delicious hot cocoa was definitely the best way to end the day at Disney.

Just before we flew back home, we spent our last few hours in Disney Village and exploring the shops. I may have spent a stupid amount of time in the Lego store…

I reckon the next time I go back to Disney, I will definitely be wearing a Princess dress because if little kids can do it, why can’t I? And don’t tell me it’s because I’m not a little kid.

We only spent a couple of days in Paris, but still snuck in a lot of sightseeing. We started off by taking the train into central Paris and getting off where the Louvre is located. Unfortunately, the day that we visited the Louvre there was tarpaulin over it so we didn’t get its full glass glory. 

From the Louvre, we wandered through the Tuileries Garden – I have no idea if it was the same goat that I saw when I visited back in 2016, but nevertheless, there was a goat right next to the statues munching on grass. 😂 We need to appreciate the number of statues there are of people who look like they’re having a crisis. Falling down and all sorts.

The Tuileries Garden led us to the magnificent Luxor Obelisk. This is a 75ft high Ancient Egyptian obelisk and I craned my neck so much to try and take it all in. It is an extraordinary landmark and it definitely stands out. Next to the obelisk is the Fontaines de la Concorde, which are stunning as well. Good architecture is like eye candy to me.

You can’t visit Paris without visiting the Arc de Triomphe, no matter how cheesy and touristy it may be. We only saw it in passing, but I managed to capture a photo whilst standing in the middle of a crossing with lots of traffic. 📸 The things we do for the ‘gram, eh?

Our next stop was the Eiffel Tower. I think I’ve been up the tower a grand total of 4 times now and it never ceases to amaze me. The views are breathtaking no matter what level you end up on. Although the very tip-top of the tower can get crowded because it is quite small, the views are definitely worth it. 

StorytimeWe eavesdropped on a couple arguing. I say arguing, more like the man was popping off at the woman whilst the woman was standing there sulking. I caught him saying things like, “It’s not about getting the most expensive ticket”, “You have been miserable this whole trip” and “You say sorry, but you don’t mean it.” *sips tea*

Our last stop was NotreDame Cathedral, which brought back memories for both of us because the last time we had both visited the cathedral was back on our year 8 trip. That was god knows how many years ago. We went to check if the little park was still there and it was! It was relatively unchanged, just missing a few things but wow. We couldn’t believe it.

We also went inside the cathedral as it was free entry. I’ve mentioned this in a few posts, but I really like cathedrals and the insides are always so stunning. Especially the stained glass windows. 😍

Overall, it was a nice little getaway. It always is great to just go away for a few days, take a breather and then return back to normal life.

 

Notes

  • If you get your Disney tickets through ATD, then you get a percentage off food/drink/merchandise at Planet Hollywood and Earl’s Sandwich
  • Choose to go to Disney when the kids are still on break. During the week is definitely better too. We unintentionally chose a day just before they put up their Christmas decor, so it was extremely quiet. As we leaving to go back home, we saw floods of people coming through because of the Christmas and it being a weekend.
  • I’ve said this before, but I’ll say it again: a travel card is so much more efficient. I use Revolut now! You can use their app to check the balance, easily transfer money from your own account and send money to other people, as well as being able to freeze your card in case you lose it and other additional security features. You also get a notification when you’ve made a transaction straight away. I still carry cash with me, but I love having this card as well. Plus it’s contactless!

 

 

 

 

 

This year for myself and Mutay’s birthday trip we decided to head to Dubrovnik! Keep reading to find out all about our adventures.

Flying Out ✈️

I just need to point out that Monarch is stingy when it comes to their hand baggage allowance. You’re allowed 10kg, however, you can only have one small suitcase that measures 56 x 40 x 25cm or two bags that add up to that measurement. There’s no room for movement. Usually, with cheap airlines, you’re allowed your small suitcase and then a backpack. Also, the legroom is atrocious on their planes and I don’t need much cause I’m a short ass but man.

The flight was smooth, though, and we landed in Dubrovnik on time. It took us ages to leave the plane though because our bags had to be put somewhere else cause there was no space. Once we came out the airport, however, our driver was waiting for us to take us to the hotel.

We arrived at Hotel Adria and already were impressed with how nice the hotel smells. Check in was easy and we made our way to our room, which had a spectacular view from the balcony. The room itself was really nice! We ordered room service and decided to chill out on the balcony with our rose gold prosecco we bought at the airport. The view was amazing, the food was so-so but the company was perfect.

Dubrovnik Walls 🏛 Buggy Safari 🚜 and Pub Crawl 🍻

Continental breakfast always throws me off because 1. There are so many options and 2. Some of the options are a bit questionable. Par exemple, vegetables and pie? Anyway, the rest of the breakfast options were good and we managed to snag a table by the window so we could have breakfast with a view.

After breakfast, we headed to our first destination, Pile Gate which is the entrance to the Old Town. We explored the Old Town, which is really quaint. We stumbled across St. Blaise Church where they were holding a mass. I wasn’t expecting it though, so felt super awkward walking in mid prayer.

We also found a spot called Buža after spying a sign that said cold drinks with amazing views. They weren’t wrong, even though I initially thought it was click bait. The service was a bit slow but definitely worth a stop on a hot day!

We somehow ended up at the Ethnographic Museum where we bought a 1-day Dubrovnik Card which allowed us free entry to some museums and the Walls of Dubrovnik. We were more interested in seeing the Walls, so we headed there next.

The Walls are probably Dubrovnik’s most famous feature. They surround the city and overlook the sea – you will definitely need to visit here for some amazing views.

Honestly, it felt like I was climbing the Great Wall of China again and my heart felt like it was going to burst out my chest at any minute. It was so worth it, though! The views were spectacular and the weather was amazing. After the Walls, we decided to grab something to eat, at a restaurant called Dubravka where I had a delicious lasagna bolognese.

We had to rush at this point because we had to get all the way to Srđ Hill! The Uber we ordered took so long, we had to cancel it and order another one and then that Uber had to make a pit stop to fill up his gas and we ALMOST didn’t make it, but I’m so so glad we did because the buggy safari was THE best part of the day.

For about an hour you get to drive a buggy through the hills and fields of Dubrovnik! Honestly, it is one of the best experiences I’ve ever had despite it being a little scary as well. We got to see ex-mine fields, fortresses, and an amazing 360° view of Dubrovnik, including islands and mountains. Absolutely stunning views and I would definitely recommend this activity for all you adrenaline junkies.

After the safari, we headed back to our hotel to freshen up before heading out on a pub crawl.

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….
….

It all got a bit crazy, I can’t lie. With unlimited drinks for an hour in the first bar, I think you can guess what happened. Before I’d even finished one drink, I’d somehow appeared with more. Somebody needs to stop me. It was so much fun, though, from the bits I can remember and SOMEHOW we managed to make it to the final club – although, we didn’t stay long according to Mutay.

/Welp/.

We made it back to the hotel, though! That’s a plus, right?

Full Body Scrub 💆🏽 Candle Massage 🕯 & Rest 😴

So, the next day was a complete write-off.

We were in no fit state to do anything. Which was a shame, but nevertheless we still managed to drag ourselves to the hotel spa and indulge in a full body scrub and candle massage.

Definitely needed!

The full body scrub was so good – it felt like she was scrubbing my sins away. I also somehow sustained an injury on our night out (don’t ask me how) and so had these big scratches on my right foot, which did start stinging after everything.

The candle massage was really good, as well! They use a massage candle that melts into a warm massage oil. It smells amazing and left my skin feeling smooth like butter. The massage part was so relaxing and after the treatment, we shuffled back to our room to sleep.

We eventually left the hotel to find a pharmacy and grab some dinner. We stopped by Taverna Nostromo where I had a yummy beefsteak on a bed of arugula with potatoes, cheese sauce and BBQ sauce.

The rest of the evening was spent watching Let’s Eat on Netflix, which has made me want to eat all the Korean food.

Pebble Beaches 🏖 Kayaking 🚣🏾 & Game of Thrones Tour ⚔

This was our last full day in Dubrovnik so we were determined to make the most of it. Our first port of call was to find a company that offered kayak tours – you’ll find loads of them just outside Pile Gate. Most companies will offer you a 2.5-3 hour tour including snorkelling, food and an experienced guide.

Our tour wasn’t until 1 PM, so we had some time to kill. We were originally going to go to Banje Beach but the uber driver we had told us that basically everyone and their mum goes there, so he suggested Copacabana Beach as it is much quieter.

He was definitely right, and we got the chance to splash around in the sea and relax on the sun loungers (for a fee, of course). I was hoping there would be sand beaches, but it was mostly pebbles. Nevertheless, it was definitely nice to get some downtime and not feel like crap anymore.

We got an uber back to Pile Gate (after a whole lot of kerfuffle because the driver apparently couldn’t get down the road to the beach, although our driver going to the beach managed to…?) and we missed our kayak slot, but luckily we managed to catch the 1:30 PM slot.

Kayaking is HARD, guys. Honestly. I got some serious #armgainz after our tour. Initially, it was difficult to get into and we ended up being so behind from the rest of the group, but we eventually got into a rhythm in the end. The tour was so worth it, though, and the views were amazing and we were surrounded by beautiful, sparkling water. We stopped off at a beach where you can go snorkelling or cliff diving, of which I did neither because ya girl’s wig is new and I don’t want to ruin it!

After the tour, we headed back to the hotel for a quick shower before heading back out for the Game of Thrones tour. We left this until the end of the trip, as we felt it would be the perfect way to end our holiday. Our tour included a cruise on the Adriatic Sea in Karaka, which was a boat used on GoT (fangirl cries). We also had the opportunity to cosplay, so I got to dress up as Danaerys. It actually reignited my love of cosplay and I can’t wait until October for Comic Con as I’m planning to go as Gamora!

After the cruise, we were split into three groups and had a walking tour around Old Town. We got to see where Cersei had to do the walk of atonement, where Sansa escaped from the men that tried to rape her in season 2 and we also visited King’s Landing. It was a lot of walking, but it was SO good and very informative. We ended the tour at King’s Landing and after ending back into the Old Town we stopped off to buy a few souvenirs.

I also managed to find the burger spot we passed on our pub crawl and had a delicious burger, which was definitely needed after all that walking! Whilst walking back through Old Town, we spotted a display where they were giving out roses to everyone. It was super cute and apparently every year this artist gives out 100 roses to Dubrovnik. I tried to Google more about it, but couldn’t find anything, unfortunately.

Wrapping Up 👯

Our flight wasn’t until 12:30 PM but it still didn’t leave us time to do much. So we grabbed breakfast and basically chilled in our hotel room until our driver came to take us to the airport.

The driver was kind enough to stop halfway (even though he said he was running late) to let us take photos of the amazing views. Oh, to have sunny weather all the time is a dream.

I need to go back to Croatia, ASAP. It was honestly one of the best trips I’ve ever been on and there was so much to do whilst we were out there. I definitely want to do the island hopping that they offer as I’ve heard amazing things about the islands, especially Lokrum Island. I also want to visit other parts of Croatia, like Split because apparently, it’s not as expensive as Dubrovnik.

I had so much fun whilst I was out there and will forever treasure the experiences and memories I’ve created. ❤️

My hovercraft is full of eels.

Let’s get back into the swing of things with a new travel post. It has occurred to me several times that I haven’t been out of the country since November, which is very unusual for me. I don’t think I’ll be beating my record of 7 countries in a year, but that’s alright. I’ll be off to Croatia in August, so at least I’m getting out a bit. Not to mention, Mutay and I did visit Edinburgh in February!

For my mum’s 60th birthday I treated her to a trip to Venice because you only turn 60 once, right? To be honest, it was also an excuse for me to come along, and I managed to lock in a good price with my sister accompanying us as well.

We arrived in Venice pretty late on Monday night, so we didn’t do anything when we got to the hotel except unpack and fall asleep straight away. The real fun started on Tuesday.

I’m putting this photo here because I’m gassed and I love my outfit 😍

CA’ D’ORO, CHIESAS AND SO MANY BRIDGES 🌉

This day consisted of a lot of walking, which I was definitely not ready for. Our first stop was Ca’ d’Oro, “Golden House”, a palace overlooking the Grand Canal. Built between 1428 and 1430, it is one of the oldest palaces in the city. We didn’t stay long here but we did admire the mosaics that adorned the palace floor and the gallery on the upper floors. There were many busts, statues and paintings. We also got to witness a stunning view of the Grand Canal from the top floor! 

View from the top floor of Ca’ d’Oro

After Ca’ d’Oro we headed over Chiesa di Santa Maria dei Miracoli located in the city’s historic Jewish Ghetto. This church holds a portrait of the Madonna which many believe to be miraculous. You have to pay €3 to enter, but that’s mainly to help with the upkeep of the church. Fun fact, the painting is said to have brought someone back to life! The inside was beautiful with white, grey and pink marble decorating the walls. As with all churches, I found it really peaceful.

Inside of Chiesa di Santa Maria dei Miracoli

Our next stop was Ponte di Rialto, one of the oldest bridges to cross the Grand Canal. It was insanely busy, as expected, but I did manage to snap a few photos! It’s a huge bridge, and I would recommend trying to get here as early as possible because of how busy it gets. On either side of the bridge are rows of shops, which I think is pretty cool. Considering it started off as a wooden bridge, it has definitely come a long way.

Views from Ponte di Rialto

After the bridge, we popped into Chiesa di San Salvador – this church was free to get in. There are many, many churches around the city some of which you have to pay, but you if don’t wish to you can always admire the architecture from the outside. Venice boasts some beautiful architecture, and will definitely appeal to the architect junkies out there. Built in the Baroque and Renaissance style, legend has it that Bishop S. Magnus saw a vision of Jesus asking him to build a church on this site. The history behind many of the churches is so fascinating!

Finally, after much walking over many bridges, we reached Piazza San Marco (St. Mark’s Square). This place was probably the most exciting area for us to visit and it is Venice’s most famed tourist attraction. A colleague I used to work with actually proposed to his girlfriend here! Hella cute. St. Mark’s Square holds the Basilica di San Marco (St. Mark’s Basilica), and if you don’t have Skip-The-Line tickets it is literally hours to get in. When we first arrived, the queue was snaking all the way around to the Doge’s Palace! Speaking of the Doge’s Palace, we decided not to go here only because they don’t do single entry tickets and you’d have to either buy a ticket for all the museums in St. Mark’s Square or all the museums in general.

St. Mark’s Square is actually the only ‘piazza’ in Venice, all the other squares are called ‘campi’. The square is surrounded by buildings on three sides and open on one side where you’ll find the gondola service. There are loads of stalls and restaurants where you can even catch some live bands! It was very busy in the square with everyone crowding around the Basilica trying to get that Instagram snap on point (me included) and there were so many bloody pigeons! Bleurgh!

We decided to leave the Basilica for the next day as the queue was way too long, and there was no way we would stand there for hours especially in that heat. The square also holds Campanile di San Marco (St. Mark’s Bell Tower), a huge tower which is right near the Basilica. Originally a lighthouse and watch tower, it has undergone several reconstructions and currently houses 5 bells: the Mezza Terza Bell announced the Senate; the Nona Bell announced midday; the biggest bell, the Marangona Bell, announced the beginning and end of the work day; the Trottiera announced council meetings and the smallest bell, the Renghiera Bell announced executions. It was nice to admire it from the outside, but we ended up not going up it.

After the square, we visited another one of Venice’s famous bridges, Ponte dei Sospiri (The Bridge of Sighs), the meaning behind the name has several stories. One is the sighs that the prisoners would make as they crossed the bridge from the Palace to the Old Prison and another is that of the sighs of lovers as they passed under the bridge on a gondola (cheese). The bridge itself is quite small and was hella crowded when we got there, and again, I would recommend coming here early if you can!

Views from Ponte dei Sospiri

Having exhausted ourselves with so much walking we went on a search for somewhere to eat and we ended up in Bar Oasi, purely because my sister and I thought the waiter was cute. I had one of many pasta dishes that I would have on this trip, starting with the spaghetti alla bolognese. Simple, yet so tasty – I had to post a picture of it along with a pasta pun 😜 We were thoroughly exhausted at this point, so we headed back to the hotel to relax. We ordered room service and I caught up on the latest episode of GoT.

What do you call a fake noodle? An impasta. 🍝

BASILICA DI SAN MARCO, ‘FLOWER’ WAITERS AND A GONDOLA RIDE 🚣🏾

We would start our mornings early, mainly because the breakfast buffet was between 6:30 – 9:30 AM. It’s definitely good to start off early when in Venice though because it can get insanely busy. Also, because we stayed in Mestre, rather than in the city centre it would have been harder for us to get back if we stayed out later.

So, Wednesday morning we started our day at Arsenale di Venezia (The Venetian Arsenal) which is a complex of former shipyards and armouries where you can see Porta Magna, the Arsenal’s land gate. It’s not that busy around the Arsenal, so I don’t think it’s on many tourists lists, but I would definitely recommend a visit because it’s nice and peaceful and there’s a really cute bridge. 

After the Arsenal, we headed over to Scuola Di S. Giorgio Degli Schiavoni which is one of the city’s most historic confraternity houses (a Christian voluntary association of lay people created for the purpose of promoting special works of Christian charity or piety). We found many scenes depicting St. George slaying the dragon, as well as panels featuring St. Jerome and St. Tryphone. The scuole is small, and you do have to pay to get in. If you’re lucky, the guy will mistake you for a student like he did with me and you’ll pay €3 instead €5 😜

The next stop was Riva Degli Schiavoni, which is a waterfront promenade located between Piazza San Marco and Arsenale di Venezia. It’s really nice to stroll along here and you’ll find many market stalls where you can pick up souvenirs. 

We were meant to pop into Punta della Dogana, an art museum, however, after finding out it cost €13 to get in and having already spent so much getting into places we decided to skip this. We did manage to view ‘Mermaid’ by Damien Hirst, which is at the back of the building overlooking the water and is one of the 180 works in his ‘Treasures from the Wreck of the Unbelievable”. Stunning sculpture!

‘Mermaid’ by Damien Hirst

Before the Punta della Dogana, we did find a random exhibit for the illy Art Collection at the Magazzini del Sale which is in its 25th year. You can find out more about the exhibit here. It was a really interesting find and I enjoyed viewing the different cups on display – especially loved the alien one.

David Byrne – Alien cup (2001)

We found a random restaurant called Ai Fabbri Trattoria where I had the gnocchi alla bolognese, which again was simple but delicious. We were given sweets at the end of the meal and when we asked the waiter was kind of sweets they were he responded with, “They’re flower… like me” 😭 We think he meant sweet, bless him, but it did make us laugh. The other waiter looked like my ex, though, which stressed me out and I had to text Mutay about it who said it was probably him in disguise trying to make sure I got holiday anxiety 😂

You hold the gnocchi to my ❤️

After eating we headed to the Basilica! It’s free to get in, but in order to avoid waiting in the queue, we opted to get the €2 Skip-The-Line tickets. We actually got turned away the first time because you can’t bring backpacks inside and also because you need to cover your shoulders and legs when you go in. We all had to buy this dusty orange wrap for €1 before we were allowed in. The Basilica was absolutely stunning, though, albeit very dark inside! You also have to pay extra if you want to see St. Mark’s treasure, the museum or if you to climb to the top of the terrace. When I tell you Venice is expensive…

The most exciting part of the day was the gondola ride we took – we opted for the long ride and the gondolier was a really nice man who explained to us the sights along our journey. We passed under the Bridge of Sighs and the gondolier told us the next time we are there with a boyfriend, you have to kiss when you pass under the bridge 😂 We also passed Casanova’s house, which gave me David Tennant feels because he was brilliant in his role as Casanova, as well as Marco Polo’s house! The gentle rocking of the gondola nearly put me to sleep, haha. We didn’t get serenaded but there was plenty of music surrounding us and a few gondoliers we passed were singing, which was nice. It was just as nice quiet with just the gentle sounds of the river surrounding us.

After the gondola ride, we stopped by for some gelato which AH-MAY-ZING. I got a regular cone with three flavours: oreo, dulce latte and chocolate chips covered in caramel sauce 😍 It was a messy affair, but it was so delicious! I would recommend Gelato Fantasy as their scoops are massive, so you definitely get more for your money.  After gelato, we decided to head back to the hotel where we had dinner. I’m not even gonna write about the dinner we had because it was so disappointing 😢

GLASS BLOWING, COLOURFUL BUILDINGS AND MORE GELATO 🍨

We had had enough of churches and galleries at this point and all the ones on my guide for day 3 were indicating you had to pay to get in, which frankly we’d also had enough of. Instead, I researched free things to do in Venice and was surprised that Burano and Murano weren’t on my list anyway! Nevertheless, we took the water bus from Piazzale Roma to Murano.

Murano has many stops, but we got off Murano Faro where you can go to a glass blowing demonstration. Murano is famed for its glass making, so you will find many shops displaying glass wares. Murano is composed of seven islands which are all linked together by bridges – it’s super easy to get around, so it really doesn’t matter where you get off the water bus.

Murano

When you come out the station, you can turn left to visit the shops, etc. or turn right for the glass blowing demonstrations. We watched a demonstration at Vetreria Artistica Colleoni, where it is €10 per person, however, the €10 can then be used as credit in their gift shop, so a win/win really. The demonstration was amazing – we got to see the guy make a glass vase complete with decoration as well as make a horse in under a minute. To show how hot the glass gets, the speaker put a piece of paper near the horse and it burst into flames! It was very hot in there, though, I was literally sweating my balls off. We were lucky to catch the demonstration as well because the following day they would be closed for a month because it’s too hot to be doing glass making in the summer!

We explored Murano a bit more, before heading back to the station and catching the water bus to Burano. Burano is made up of four islands and is famed for its embroidery and colourful homes. I absolutely loved Burano! The colourful buildings honestly made me so happy and even though there were quite a few tourists it was still nice and quiet. If you want to get away from the noisiness of main Venice, then I would suggest taking a trip to Murano and Burano.

The colourful homes of Burano

My mum and I stopped by Museo Del Merletto, which is a lace museum and was once the lace school of Burano. The embroidery we saw were so delicate and my mum was certainly enamoured, being a seamstress and all. 

After the museum, we decided to grab lunch at Restaurant Galuppi where I opted for the tortelloni ai Funghi porcini – HMM. The tortelloni was stuffed with cheese and spinach, which made it extra delicious! We made a few stops at the lace stores and stalls before heading back to St. Mark’s Square to pick up even more souvenirs. I finally got a shot glass to add to my collection.

I am tortelloni in love with you

We then decided to get gelato because when in Venice and you can never have enough gelato, honestly. We got it from a different place and the scoops weren’t as big 😢 Still, it was very yummy and I opted for strawberry, cream cherry and vanilla flavours. It tasted liked bubble gum! After gelato, we headed back to the hotel before going to Roadhouse Grill for dinner where I had to fattest T-bone steak 😍 We then ended up going to bed early because we had a flight at 7:45 AM the next morning!

CONCLUSION

Venice is a stunning city. You’ll only really need to spend a few days here because it is very much a walking city, so everything is easily accessible. It is very expensive, which is not surprising because it is such a tourist attraction but when in Venice, amirite? Venice is the perfect getaway, whether you’re with your partner or with family, and it’s even better in the summer months because the weather is beautiful. Art, culture and architecture – there’s something for everyone in this city!

TIPS

  • I used visitacity.com to get an idea of what we were going to do whilst in Venice. You’ll find 1 to 3-day guides on the site, and you can even get the app and download the guide for offline use! It was definitely very useful. Thanks to Sharmayne for suggesting this site! I’ll be using it when I head off to Croatia ☺️
  • On our first day, we only took the bus which is €1.50 each way, which also ended up with us doing A LOT of walking (I guess that’s what I get for complaining about cardio all the time). I’d suggest going for the Vaporetto/Bus pass which will cut down the walking time. You can get: 24 hours: €20 / 48 hours: €30 / 72 hours: €40 / 7 days: €60
  • As I mentioned the Basilica is free, but if you can’t stand queues then head to this site and get the €2 skip-the-line tickets. Make sure your shoulders and legs are covered when you visit, and no backpacks. If you happen to have one then they do have a free locker service around the corner of the Basilica.
  • I opted for a hotel that included a full breakfast so that we could fill ourselves before lunch. I would suggest getting your big meal at lunchtime because it is pretty pricey eating out. For the three of us, prices ranged from €50 – 80.
  • Take a day for Murano and Burano as it is a fairly long journey on the water bus from the mainland of Venice. 
  • We actually didn’t stay in the centre of Venice and instead stayed in Mestre, mainly because it was much cheaper, and it was only a 25-minute bus journey to get to Piazzale Roma which is basically the entrance of the city centre.
  • If you go to the gondola service by St. Mark’s Square there are two options: a short ride is €80 and a long ride is €120. I know, I know – it is expensive but did you really visit Venice if you didn’t go on a gondola? Also, escape premium prices and take a ride before 7 PM 😉

Ending this post with these photos my sis took of me 😜