Paris, France – take a note

Paris is the capital and most populous city of France. It is located on the Seine River in the place known as “région parisienne” (Paris Region). 

paris map

Paris was founded in the 3rd century BC by a Celtic people called the Parisii, who gave the city its name. In the 12th century Paris was home of the University of Paris, one of the first in Europe. In the 18th century the capital of France became an important centre of finance, commerce, fashion, science, and the arts, a position it still retains today.

Paris is home of the most visited art museum in the world, the Louvre and along with many other famous museums it is also covered of contemporary art and many notable architectural landmarks. Paris is also known for its fashion, particularly the Paris Fashion Week, and for its high quality food having some three-star restaurants.

In 2014 Paris received 22.4 million visitors, making it one of the world’s top tourist destinations. 

paris france

Sofia Casotto is back with us and on tomorrow’s post she is going to tell us all about her romantic trip in the city of Paris! Check out all the suggestions and ideas she has for you to do in the city as well as to where to eat and stay!

“You know, I sometimes think, how is anyone ever gonna come up with a book, or a painting, or a symphony, or a sculpture that can compete with a great city. You can’t. Because you look around and every street, every boulevard, is its own special art form and when you think that in the cold, violent, meaningless universe that Paris exists, these lights, I mean come on, there’s nothing happening on Jupiter or Neptune, but from way out in space you can see these lights, the cafés, people drinking and singing. For all we know, Paris is the hottest spot in the universe.”

From the movie Midnight in Paris (quote chosen by Sofia Casotto to describe Paris)

Country: France

Country’s capital: Paris

Official language: French

Currency: Euro (£1 = 1.29€; §1 = 0.90€ )

Population:  117,170 inhabitants

Total area: 105,4 km²

Lisbon, Portugal – take a note

Lisbon is the capital and the largest city of Portugal. About 27% of the country’s population lives in Lisbon making the capital the 11th most populated city in the European Union. It is continental Europe’s westernmost capital city and the only one along the Atlantic coast. The westernmost areas of its metro area is the westernmost point of Continental Europe.

lisbon

Lisbon is the 7th-most-visited city in Southern Europe, with 1,740,000 tourists in 2009. 

Lisbon is one of the oldest cities in the world, and the oldest in Western Europe, predating other modern European capitals such as Paris and Rome by centuries. In 1147, the Crusaders under Afonso Henriques, the first king of Portugal, reconquered the city and since then it has been a major political and economic centre of Portugal.

IMG_8259

Lisbon enjoys a Mediterranean climate. It has the warmest winters of all European capitals, with average temperatures 15 °C (59 °F) during the day and 8 °C (46 °F) at night from December to February. The typical summer season (from May until October) reaches around 28 °C (84.0 °F).

Tomorrow I will be posting all the tips and places to go while visiting Lisbon, the capital of my country. So if you want to get inside suggestions from a local don’t miss out tomorrow’s post about the fabulous city of Lisbon.

“Lisbon is not only my country’s capital but also one of the cities I love the most. It is a place where the sun meets with great food, a warm breeze, nice people, beautiful monuments and a maze of streets  full of history.”

Carolina Lopes

Country: Portugal

Country’s capital: Lisbon

Official language: Portuguese

Currency: Euro (£1 = 1.29€; §1 = 0.90€ )

Population:  2.7 million inhabitants

Total area: 100.05 km²

Rovaniemi, Lapland – The Santa’s Home

It only takes a flight to Rovaniemi, known as the Santa’s home airport and with a 10 minute taxi drive you will not only meet Santa himself but also his adorable elves. You can also ride reindeers, huskies and many other things!


01d39ef6e1e20a90aa0cb7c38323e9ccee9117eb84

A trip to Rovaniemi is the perfect vacation with or without children since there is entertainment for everyone but in fact once you reach Santa’s town you will be a child again!

The best way to get there is by airplane but if you have some time to spend you can also take a sleeping train from Helsinki to Rovaniemi and have a view of the finish landscape. It will make you feel just like in the Polar Express movie. But if you can’t wait to meet Santa we recommend taking the airplane.

12736688_10204408621975198_1660102947_o

Be aware that once you reach Rovaniemi not many transports will be available. There are barely any buses so best way to travel is taxi. From the airport there are taxis to all central location in Rovaniemi and usually they accept credit/debit card to pay if you don’t have any cash (there aren’t ATM at Rovaniemi airport so if you want to have some pocket money it is better to do before flying to Santa’s airport). There is a group taxi to take people to the hotels otherwise you can also call a private taxi (phone number: 00358 200 88000).

TRAVEL TO ROVANIEMI, LAPLAND – FINLAND

  1. AIRPLANE to Helsinki Airport (airlines such as Finnair Airlines flight there)
  2. AIRPLANEto Rovaniemi Airport (flight duration from Helsinki to Rovaniemi: 1 hour 15 minutes)

From the airport to Rovaniemi centre

  1. TAXIFROM £5.40/7€/$7.6 (duration: 10 minutes)

The best options to stay during your vacations are either in a hotel or in a house.

RENT AN HOUSE

Prices from: £58/73€/$82 per night at one bedroom house

01532408d73ca89fae2cf5ae46ce4d93a699af5526

01e2f3b0aeb6f0bf84e740d210a6aa1bfa207edbc8

01bca8cd286b3308255fc719d6244c6ef3b30b738e

Hotel prices may vary depending on what are you looking for since there are many hotels in Rovaniemi.

HOTEL SUGGESTIONS:

Snowman World Igloo Hotel 

Prices from: £185/232€/263$ per night for 2 people w/ breakfast included

A great choice to truly experience the city of the snow since you will be sleeping on actual igloos! The hotel also has a restaurant made of ice where you can enjoy typical food.

Santa Village Hotel 

Prices from: £268/337€/$379 per night per room w/ breakfast buffet included

It is located right at the village and the rooms offer high quality and atmosphere since they were built quite recently back in 2010.

If you are a meat lover you must try their reindeer meat or if you prefer fish than they have a fresh smoked salmon on their traditional rye bread which is a must try!

12696458_10204408622575213_1019345153_o (1)

Their bakery is also quite tasty, I personally recommend a delicious apple pastry they have which you can find in most places!

12699072_10204408622615214_1502088206_o

Santa village and Santa Park are close to the airport only a 10 minute drive. The Santa village is free to visit however if you wish to do any of the activities they offer such as ride a reindeer or a husky you have to pay.

0191beccfa1a5a530cf2b249fb287a2a9ae41dc4bc

ACTIVITIES AND ITS COST:

  1. Ride Huskies (500 meter ride will cost £22/28€/31$ for an adult);
  2. Ride a snowmobile (30 minute ride costs £54/68€/$76 and it is minimum 2 people)
  3. Ride a reindeer (400 meters costs £13/16€/$18 for an adult);
  4. Visit the snowman world (where you can experiment ice restaurants and bars where a full menu costs £69/87€/$98 or go for some fun ice activities);
  5. Visit Santa Park (costs £24/30€/$34 a two day ticket);
  6. Do a safari (if you wish to explore the surroundings there is a variety of safaris you can choose from including to go see the Northern lights).

01a9936cf0e940df4d5dde2b3a92aa7b135d2b7eda

Santa Park is a two day valid ticket. Yet an afternoon should be enough to visit it as t is fairly small. Santa Park is like a theme park where most activities are aimed mainly for children (yet remember everyone will be a child once you pass the magic doors!). Activities include elf school, many workshops where you can build some nice souvenirs to bring home, watch some ice sculptures among other things.

12736625_10204408623055225_891379491_o

12696428_10204408622975223_1318050543_o

12699065_10204408622695216_1763755301_o

This year Santa Park opens in the 21st of November 2015 and closes in the 9th of January 2016. It is open from 10am until 17pm and from the 1st of December until the 9th of January it stays open until 6pm. On the 24th of December it will be also open from 10am until 16pm.

018b81c10c55feaa28a6ab283cb13ba79e00489b66

One thing that surprised me was the fact that once you get into Santa Village you have to pay for everything and everything is quite expensive. Yet I truly enjoyed what I saw and the best thing for me was the snowy landscape on which the park lays on.

012405bcb5cf67c2ff2f1df7c63714cf9bad57e7e5

01bf22547a15f88055a7da20c535af08c4a61c2d8a