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.

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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.

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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

5 European Beaches to visit this summer!

Yet there is still a few months left for the summer if you want to plan a great and on budget summer vacation my advice is – start planning now. Can’t wait to have your feet on the sand and the heat of the shinning sun caressing your body? Then get excited planning your beach holidays to one of this amazing European beaches. Below I suggest the 10 best beaches to visit this summer. Which one is your favorite?

1. Ses Illetes, Spain

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Neighbor of Ibiza, this beach is located in Formentera which is a county of the the Spanish Balearic islands. With only 85 square meters it has beaches like Ses Illetes which is considered by many the Caribbean of Europe. Best time to go is between June and September – these months are the warmest with temperatures reaching 30ºC and a sea temperature that goes up to 25ºC in August!

Formentera has no airport, the best way to get there is catching a boat from Spain mainland – either Barcelona, Valencia or Denia. There boats will take you to Ibiza and from there catch another ferry to Formentera. In the summer months there are direct ferries between Denia and Formentera. Otherwise you can also fly straight to Ibiza and then take the ferry from there. From Ibiza to Formentera it takes only about 30 minutes by ferry.

Staying wise the island offers a variety of hotels– mostly small and in the one and two-star categories. There are also many small apartment developments. Camping is forbidden on the island. In peak season, advance booking for hotels is absolutely essential

Formentera is usually quieter than Ibiza having no much more than a series of wood-built beach side restaurants. If you like it simple and beautifully heavenly you will like this place. Yet quitter than Ibiza you may find also a lot of tourists here during the summer time.

2. Cala Gonone, Italy

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Cala Gonone is in the island of Sardinia, Italy, also in the Mediterranean just below the island of Corsica. It lies on its Est border and the nearest airport and port is Olbia, about 1 hour and an half from Cala Gonone by car. To get to the island itself you can either fly from Italy – Milan or Rome to Olbia or also take a ferry from Civitavecchia (Rome’s cruise port), Genoa or Livorno as they all stop at Olbia.

The best months to enjoy this beautiful and relaxing beach is between July and September where the temperatures reach 30ºC.

For your stay if you do not want to worry about anything I suggest the Hotel la Favorita otherwise if you enjoy camping the island offers friendly comaping conditions – Camping CalaGonone.

3. Saleccia, Corsica

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This beach is located in Corsica, an island in the Mediterranean Sea that belongs to France.

From July until September is when you will find the best temperatures with an average of 25ºC with a very unlikely chance of raining specially in July.

To get there I suggest taking an airplane to Nice, France. From here the simplest and fastest solution is the NGV (High Speed Boat). The trip takes around 3 hours and the closest NGV stop to Saleccia is at l’Ile-Rousse. If you are not a fan of boats there are also ferries available both from France and Italy. Airplane is another way to reach yet it is also the most expensive option and the flights are not very frequent. The closest to Saleccia is Bastia airport. Once you get to the airport, the boat or ferry station the best way to get to the beach is by renting a car. Public transports are not very developed in the island.

The island has a variety of nice hotels to stay close to the Saleccia beach such as Le Relais de Saleccia or U Santa Peru.

4. Arrifana, Portugal

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Being a Portuguese myself and someone passionate for my country this one may be a bit suspicious but I truly think you will enjoy this one or any other Portuguese beach!

If you want to enjoy the 30ºC between July and September is the best time to go. If you like to relax in a calm place this is a good choice compared to the crowded touristic places from the South such as Vilamoura.

Best way to get there is flying to Faro airport in the South of Portugal and then from there it only takes a 1 hour and half car drive. You can rent a car for a good price at the airport which will be easier if you want to visit more then just Arrifana. Otherwise there are also buses you can take in Faro to Arrifana.

There is a variety of hotels and hostels to stay or another good idea is to rent an house or apartment which you can find for great prices. Check out Trivago website where you can find a variety of deals for all pockets!

5. Brela, Croatia

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My final beach suggestion is in Croatia. For this one no boats or ferries needed. Simply take an airplane to Split, the closest Croatian airport to Brela, and from there a taxi or a bus.

On this beautiful beach where the deep blue ocean meets the peaceful green of mother nature thanks to all the trees surroinding the beach the climate only makes the picture even better with a 28ºC average temperature during the months of July, August and September.

Bluesun Hotel BeruliaSunčeva postelja Hotel, Bluesun Hotel Soline and Villa Paulina are some of the hotel suggestions I recommend while staying in Brela. 

Venice, Italy – take a note

With the carnival just around the corner what better city to write about but Venice? The famous city, in fact also known as “City of Masks”, is  located in the northeastern part of Italy is locate in a group of 118 small islands separated by canals and linked by bridges.

The name is derived from the ancient Veneti people who inhabited the region by the 10th century BC.

The city is sited in the Venetian Lagoon, between the mouths of the Po and the Piave Rivers. Venice is world famous for its architecture and its artwork that lay in a beautiful landscape to the canals. In fact the city is also known for its several important artistic movements, especially the Renaissance period. With a strong link to arts it was also the city where the musician Antonio Vivaldi was born.

The city in its entirety is listed as a World Heritage Site, along with its lagoon.

While in Venice make sure to try the cake Tiramisu, originally from Italy means in English “pick-me-up” (or “make me happy” if translated more provocative).

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Tomorrow Sofia Casotto, raise and born in Italy, gives us the best insights and suggestions on how to spend some unforgettable days in Venice. She choose to talk about Lido, a small island on the Venetian Lagoon where the Venice Film Festival takes places every September. Don’t miss out, after all who’s better for tips about the an Italian place than a genuine Italian?

“Last summer I spent one amazing week in Lido of Venice, and, even if I’m from the north of Italy myself, the beauty of this place surprised me.”

Sofia Casotto

Country: Italy

Country’s capital: Rome

Official language: Italian

Currency: Euro(£1 =1.41 euro)

Population: 264,579 inhabitants

Total area: 414.57 km2