Paris, always a good idea!

I remember being in Paris for the first time: I was six and I immediately fell in love with this city.

Since that time I have come back to the French capital in different occasions, and I had the opportunity to explore this amazing city.

Exactly one year ago, I came to Paris with my boyfriend to celebrate our first anniversary together and, even if it could sound like a clique, Paris is not only an incredibly romantic place to spend time with your love one, but it’s also a city that offers everything you could wish for: good food, cultural exhibitions, amazing walks and entertainment.

TRAVEL TO PARIS – FRANCE

  1. AIRPLANE to Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport (airlines such asTAP or British Airways flight there)
  2. TRAINto Paris (from London it is about 2 hours and it costs between £60/75€/85$ and £120/150€/$170)

From the airport to Paris

  1. TRAIN RER BFROM Paris CDG Airport to Paris takes around 45 minutes and it costs £7.90/10€/$11 (adult fare)

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Whatever you’re looking for Paris is always a good idea, and here there are some tips to enjoy a three day trip in one of the most inspiring cities of the world:

FIRST DAYLouvre museum (ticket: £12/15€/$17), Notre Dame (ticket: £2.4/€3/$3.40 full price/ under 26: £1.6/2€/$2.30) and Les Marais.

Breakfast at Angelina

Angelina is an elegant café situated in Rue Rivoli, very close to the Louvre museum. This is the perfect place to start your first day in Paris. The breakfast menu is very rich and it is not easy to decide between pastries, omelettes and croissants. I suggest you to try the hot chocolate (one of their specialties): it’s the best way to fully enjoy a Parissienne breakfast experience!

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Berthillon: the best ice-cream in the city

Enjoy a nice 20 minutes walking from the Louvre to Notre Dame and you’ll reach one of the most suggestive places of Paris: “Ile de la citè”, a small land surrounded by the Sienna River. Especially in the summer, you cannot miss what it is considered the best gelato place in the town: Le Berthillon. Be prepared to queue outside, but I assure you it will be worth it: I’ve tried the vanilla and raspberry flavors and it was one of the best ice-creams I have ever had!

paris girl

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Romantic evening at Le Pompidou 

Museum ticket price: £11/13.80€/$15.50/ reduced: £8.7/€11/$12.30)

Le Pompidou is the most famous museum of contemporary art in Europe and it is interesting to visit it also for admiring its particular architecture. Le pompidou is located in Les Marais, a place where is nice to have a walk to enjoy the suggestive atmosphere of the city by night.

 

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Le Georges restaurant: In the last floor of the museum there is a restaurant that offers an amazing view of the city: the ideal place to enjoy a romantic cocktail with an amazing view!

Chez Omar, the best couscous in town: Chez Omar is a small Moroccan style restaurant located in Le marais.

SECOND DAY: Disneyland Paris (ticket price: £51/64€/$72 – one day ticket) 

Make your dreams come true and enjoy a magical experience surrounded by Disney attractions. Walking inside the princess’s castle and flying with Peter Pan made me feel like a child for one day.

The park is full of different attractions, shops, restaurants and various exhibitions that take place during the day.

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TRAVEL TO DISNEYLAND

From Paris to Disneyland

  1. TUBE – it is the best way to go from central Paris to the Park. The stop is Marne La Vallèe-Chessy and it takes about 45 minutes. Price: £6/7.50€/$8.50

THIRD DAYTour Eiffel (Lift entrance ticket (valid to 2nd floor): £8.7/11€/$12.3 Lift entrance ticket to top: £13.4/17€/$19 Stairs entrance ticket (valid to 2nd floor): £5.5/7€/$8), Montmartre and Champs-elysèes.

A walk through Montmartre: This place is surrounded by musicians, stands and tiny shops. Get lost around the streets since you find the basilica of Sacre-Coeur, situated at the top of a hill from where the view of the city is amazing.

Champs-elysèes: Have a walk through one of the most famous avenue of the world, here you’ll not only see the Arc de Triomphe, but you’ll find also cafés, restaurants, luxury shops and theatres.

Tour Eiffel at sunset: enjoy an amazing view of the the most iconic symbol of the city (metro stop: Trocadero)

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Easter break suggestions

Easter is just around the corner and with it comes some days off for you to enjoy anywhere you want! So have you already thought where is the special place you will spend your Easter break? Here are my top suggestions!

1.Amsterdam, Netherlands

Amsterdam is beautiful city and it gets even prettier when Spring comes because it is the time when all the tulips fields gain their colors. Along with a beautiful landscape there is a lot to visit in Amsterdam during Easter time such as Paaspop festival in Schijndel and Zieuwent festival in Gelderland. It is also common to see their traditional camp fire which they light up during Easter time. There is also their fantastic and diverse Easter market to shop! There is a lot of things to get entertained!

The easier way to get there is by airplane. Amsterdam has an airport (Amsterdam Airport Schiphol) which is only 20 minutes way from the city centre by train.

tulipas amesterdao

 

2.Madeira, Portugal

Madeira is one of the two Portuguese islands located in the Atlantic ocean. Just like Amsterdam the island gets especially pretty when spring comes because all nature gets greener and the flowers gain bright colors.

If you are religious Madeira is definitely a great choice! During Easter there is religious parades to watch in the streets such as the recreation of Jesus suffering in the streets and where people can participate. For example one person from the audience  carries the Cross and enacts the crucifixion. On the Good Friday there is also a special mass in the church dedicated to Easter. On Sunday, Easter day, there are many religious parades and some small stalls selling local pastries and sweet breads. Make sure to try the honey cake and also the caco cake!

To get to Madeira you can take an airplane to their airport (Santa Cruz Airport) and then from there a taxi which takes around 20 minutes to Funchal.

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3.Berlin, Germany

During the Easter week the capital of Germany has a lot of cultural activities to do and also specific events dedicated to Easter such as the big fire camp of Britz Garden and the Easter Market in Breitscheidplat. For the little ones there are thematic activities in Tierpark, one of Berlin zoos. If you have some free time from the Easter activities ther is also many monuments in Berlin to visit such as the Parlament or the Wall of Berlin.

To get to Berlin you can take a flight to Berlin airport (Berlin-Schönefeld Airport) which is about an hour way by train from the centre.

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4. Disneyland Paris, France

Easter also means family time and what better way to spend some family time than in Disneyland? The Disney themed park is a fantasy world for everyone, from kids to adults everyone will be surrender to its magic once you pass the main gates!

“From the 28th March to the 12th April 2016 Disney will welcome you with magical Spring parades, friendly smiles and fairytale fun.” – Disney website

Disneyland has a variety of Disney hotels with different themes where you can stay at. If you go on a longer vacation you can also take some time to visit the capital of France which is about 40 minutes from Disneyland.

Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport is the closest to Disney so I would recommend flying there and from the airport take shuttle or taxi which will arrive at Disney land in about 30 minutes. The shuttle stops at every Disney hotel making it very easy for you if you have chosen to stay at one of them.

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5. Barcelona, Spain

Barcelona is considered by many one of Spain prettiest cities! If you have never been there Easter is a great time to do so. With the Spring coming the weather will warm up in the city which will make it look even prettier!

Plus just like Madeira, Barcelona is a very religious city and there is many Christian celebrations and parades also. They have the “Semana Santa” (Holy Week) which goes from 20th of March until the 27th of March (Easter Sunday) and it marks the end of Lent and commemorates the death and rise of Jesus. Barcelona, as part of Catalunya, is traditionally less religious than other parts of Spain. However, it still has its fair share of celebrations during this period. Holy week begins on Palm Sunday, when a procession traditionally takes place around the cathedral with people holding palms. A week of religious ceremonies follows, ending on Easter Sunday. Barcelona looks beautiful during this period. The sun is beginning to return to the city and chocolate and cake shop windows are filled with every sculpture imaginable made out of chocolate.

Barcelona airport the only 25 minutes by train or taxi from the center making it the quickest and easier way to visit Barcelona.

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Bruges, for the best chocolate at the best view

Brugge (how is written in Dutch) is a small picturesque town in Belgium. It is a beautiful place, with the canals and gardens and plazas and chocolateries. It is great to walk around, enjoy the stunning views, and have a picnic.

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My boyfriend and I went there in the winter, so it was cold and dark early, but it was still an amazing trip. A little advice: if you visit it in the winter, go prepared for the cold.

TRAVEL TO BRUGES – BRUSSELS

  1. AIRPLANE to Brussels Airport (airlines such as Air India or Jet Airways flight there)

From the airport to Bruges

  1. TRAIN – it is the best way to travel to Bruges. It takes about 1 hour and 30 minutes and you can take it at the Brussels-South Railway Station (20 minutes away from the airport also by train).

We stood at De Vijf Zuilen. A little inn owned by a really nice and welcoming couple which we totally recommend. The decoration is really unique, and every room is different from the other. The owner, Ginette, serves you a fresh breakfast every morning, and you can take the leftovers for lunch or as a snack if you wish.

De Vijf Zuilen Inn

Prices from: £31.8/40€/$45 per room and per person

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The inn was just outside the city centre, but it was a perfectly walking distance, even in a rainy weather like we had. The city has countless beautiful corners, gardens and plazas so walking is definitely the best way to move around.

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If you like chocolate, Brugge has a LOT to offer, there are chocolateries everywhere. We tried three different ones, but I’m sure they are all delicious.

And there are the waffles! Along with chocolateries, you can find little waffle shops everywhere. But try them outside and not in a coffee, their better and cheaper.

About restaurants, we tried Bistro Du Phare by recommendation of the De Vijf Zuilen’s owner and had a delicious pasta dinner. There were other options, all looking delicious, but pasta was the most budget friendly. This is considered a cheap restaurant in Brugge.

Bistro Du Phare Restaurant

Prices in average: £12/15€/$17 per person (like most pasta restaurants)

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Places to visit I recommend Belfry of Bruges (Belfort van Brugge): it is a medieval bell tower with a beautiful view to the city and surroundings. It costs £6.3/8€/$9 (if you are under 25 years old)

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The City Gates, quite pretty also!
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It is a small city but all parks and canals are worth seeing also!
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Bruges, Belgium – take a note

Bruges is the capital and largest city of the province of West Flandersin, the Flemish Region of Belgium, in the northwest of the country.

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The historic city centre is a prominent World Heritage Site of UNESCO since 2000. Bruges has most of its medieval architecture intact. It is a oval-shaped  city which is sometimes referred to as The Venice of the North for its many canals. Bruges has a significant economic importance thanks to its port and was once the chief commercial city in the world. Bruges is well known as the seat of the College of Europe, an elite university institute for European studies.

Something curious about Bruges is that its most famous landmark is its 13th-century belfry, housing a municipal carillon comprising 48 bells. The city still employs a full-time carillonneur, and you may want to take a note of this – he gives free concerts on a regular basis.

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Joana and Rodrigo, a couple of engineers who enjoy traveling, went to Bruges on a weekend escape and they have best suggestions and plans to do in Bruges. Don’t miss out tomorrow’s post where they will share it all with us!

“The city has countless beautiful corners, gardens and plazas and if you like chocolate, Brugge has a LOT to offer, there are chocolateries everywhere.”

Joana & Rodrigo

Country: Belgium

Country’s capital: Brussels

Official language: Dutch, French and German

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

Population:  117,170 inhabitants

Total area: 138.40 km2

Lisbon: where the sun, food and history come perfectly together

Lisbon is a place I have been going to ever since I was a little. It is only about 20 minutes from where I live so I think you are pretty safe following my tips if you want to visit it someday (which I truly and strongly recommend you!)

TRAVEL TO LISBON  – PORTUGAL

  1. AIRPLANE to Portela Airport (airlines such as Ryanair, Tap or Easy Jet flight there)

From the airport to the centre

  1. TAXI – if you feel like you have just arrived and you are a bit tired so you want the easiest and quickest option you can take a taxi just outside the airport
  2. TUBE – the Portuguese tube is cheap and it has only four different lines so it easy to travel with (ticket price: £1/40€/$1.50); the price is the same no matter how far you travel on the tube

Lisbon has an airport very close to the centre – Portela Airport. Once you arrive you can either take a taxi or take the tube.

The tube is the easier and cheapest way to travel around the capital. You can use it to reach all the main touristic attractions.

Whether you are on a long or short vacation Lisbon is a good place to go! When in short vacation I can tell you right away the points you must stop at and the food you should try!

Places to go:

Praça do Comércio, Elevador de Santa Justa, Castelo de São Jorge  (all on Baixa-Chiado tube stop)

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Elevador de Santa Justa
Praça do Comércio
Praça do Comércio
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São José Statue (Praça do Comércio)

Torre de Belém, Padrão dos Descobrimentos and Ponte 25 de Abril (Take the tube until Cais do Sodré and from there the train or bus)

Ponte 25 de Abril
Ponte 25 de Abril
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Padrão dos Descobrimentos
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Torre de Belém

Finding a good place to eat in Lisbon is not a hard task. I can guarantee you that you will enjoy your meal in most restaurants in the capital if you roughly know the areas to go.  Most typical restaurants are located in Baixa and Bairro Alto. For typical food I suggest Chão De Pedra or Chapitô. 

Chão De Pedra and Chapitô Restaurant

Prices of both in average: £16/20€/$23

If you want to have the full experience of eating while listening to traditional Portuguese music – fado – then I suggest you try A Severa or Parreirinha de Alfama. Docas and Parque das Nações are also nice areas to visit and to eat where pretty much any restaurant you pick is good!

A Severa and Parreirinha de Alfama Restaurant

Prices of both in average: £24/30€/$34

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Alfama is the Lisbon neighborhood known for Fado. This is where most of the houses of Fado are located at and where you will  get the true feeling of what is a Portuguese “bairro” (note: don’t be scare with some people you may find there, this is the place where you will see the “barristas” that may be a bit crazy at times but it’s safe). The closest subway stop is Santa Apolónia.

Pastel de Nata is the pastry I recommend you to try if you visit Torre de Belem since their factory and store is just nearby. The famous pastry house has always a queue of tourists who want to try this egg custard with a choice of cinnamon on top!

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If you are on a longer vacation then I suggest you visiting more than just the capital. I recommend Cascais, Ericeira and Sintra which are all close by bus or train.

Cascais and Ericeira are both beach towns. Ericeira is Europe’s first world surf reserve and it is a picturesque fisherman village where you will eat the best fish and seafood ever! Cascais is fancier but with very nice streets and views also. The beaches have a calmer ocean so many people enjoy it. If you go there make sure to try a Santini ice cream – very popular and delicious!

Ericeira
Ericeira

To go to Ericeira take the tube to Campo Grande and then a bus (Mafrense buses) and to Cascais take the tube to Cais do Sodré and then the train to the stop called Cascais.

Sintra is a mystic village full of history and myths. It has many palaces and wealthy houses from the Monarchy period. Palácio da Pena, Palácio de Monserrate and Peninha are my favourites! While in Sintra make sure to try one of their travesseiros and queijadas – two very delicious traditional pastries from there. To go to Sintra either take a tube to Restauradores and from there the train to Portela the Sintra; otherwise take the tube to Campo Grande and from there a bus to Sintra (Mafrense buses).

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View from Peninha
Sintra
Sintra

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My suggestion to stay if you’re not on a budget is Corinthia Hotel Lisbon, a 5 star hotel in the center of the capital. If you are on a budget Lisbon has many cosy hostels such as Nest House Lisbon Hostel or 5 Sins Chiado Hostel.

Corinthia Hotel Lisbon

Prices from: £92/115€/$129 per room per night

Nest House Lisbon Hostel

Prices from: £9.50/12€/$13.50 in a dorm and £24/30€/$34 in private rooms

5 Sins Chiado Hostel

Prices from: £7/9€/$10 in a dorm

MARCH – Best Travel Deals!

Hello March and travelers! Here are the best travel deals for you if you’re planning on travelling soon and aren’t quite sure where to go yet or where to stay at!

MARCH TOP DEALS

Flights

(note: all the flights are from the United Kingdom and the price is one way only; for other countries you can check the travel website link)

  1. London Luton, United Kingdom –  Copenhagen, Denmark: £9.99 (via Ryanair)
  2. London – Amsterdam, Netherlands: £17 (via Momondo)
  3. London – Lisbon, Portugal: £42 (via Momondo)
  4. London – Mumbai, India: £185 (via Momondo)
  5. London – Los Angeles, United States: £272 (via Momondo)
  6. Manchester, United Kingdom –  Shannon, Ireland: £9.99 (via Ryanair)
  7. Manchester, United Kingdom –  Dublin, Ireland: £9.99 (via Ryanair)

Hotels/Hostels:

  1. Wakeup Copenhagen Carsten Niebuhrs Gade ** Copenhagen, Denmark – from £46
  2. Hotel Van Gogh *** Netherlands, Amsterdam – from £17
  3. Radisson Blu Hotel Lisbon **** Lisbon, Portugal – from £41
  4. The Lalit Mumbai ***** Mumbai, India – from £66
  5. La Quinta Inn & Suites LAX *** Los Angeles, United States – from £115
  6. Shannon Court Hotel *** Shannon, Ireland – from £41
  7. The Charles Stewart Guesthouse Dublin *** Dublin, Ireland – from £90

If there is a particular place you are interested to check the discounts or if there are any kind of deals and discounts you would like to know more apart from hotels and flights please comment below and I will do my best on helping you!

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.

Goa, the Indian paradise

Goa was one of the most special and different places I have visited! Being a European the culture shock can be felt when the moment you land yet it is an exciting cultural shock where you find new exciting things to explore!

TRAVEL TO GOA – INDIA      

  1. AIRPLANE to Dabolim Airport (airlines such as Air India or Jet Airways flight there) – depending on the country you are flying from you may be able to flight directly to an India airport and from there take a smaller flight to Goa or you may have to stop at another country first such as France or Germany.

From the airport to the center

  1. TAXI – it is the best way to travel to the center and also to travel around the center. Indian public transportation isn’t very developed so taxi is the safer and fastest option.

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Goa has many places to explore and one thing that is visible straight way, especially for me being Portuguese, is the influence of the Portuguese architecture and culture in the city!

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Some places I recommend visit are the Old Goa and Panaji, it used to be Goa’s capital and it is where all the monuments are at.

Mãe de Deus church is a must see. It is located in Saligao, Bardez. Its illuminated view in the evenings and the nights has a paradisical charm. That is the best time to view this exquisite piece of Gothic architecture in Goa. Originally situated at Daujim, in Old Goa in the 16th century, of which today only the tallest cross on a pedestal is seen. The church dedicated to the Mother of God came to be built at Bardez in the 19th century.

Mão de Deus Church
Mão de Deus Church

Basílica do Bom Jesus is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The basilica holds the mortal remains of St. Francis Xavier. The church is located in Old Goa. It is India’s first minor basilica, and is considered to be one of the best examples of baroque architecture in India.

Fontainhas is an old Latin Quarter in Panaji. It maintains to this day its Portuguese influence, namely at the architectonic level, such as narrow and pretty winding streets as found in many European cities, old villas and buildings with projecting balconies painted in the traditional tones and roofs made of red coloured tiles. The Fontainhas’s heritage ambiance represents the traditional Portuguese influence in the area.

Along with their monuments make sure to stop at their clean water and peaceful beaches such as Varca beach.

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During my staying I stood the the Vivanta by Taj – Fort Aguada hotel, it was a great choice that I really enjoyed! It is a luxury all inclusive hotel perfect for a relaxing and peaceful holiday!

Vivanta by Taj – Fort Aguada Hotel

Prices from: £200/264.72€/$290

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Another thing I felt in love with in Goa was their food. I loved all the food there! Best places to eat in my opinion are the small restaurants they have by Varca beach such as Jolinn Restaurant or Rina’s Corner Restaurant. They are all huts by the sand very welcoming and with such tasty food! I recommend you to try their Chicken pandulhe and matsala, their grilled fish and the natural fresh juices – everything is so good!

Jolinn Restaurant and Rina’s Corner Restaurantss

Prices in average: 3£/4€/$4.40

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bread

To me it was interesting that even though Goa is India’s richest state you can still see the poverty in the streets so he made me curious to see what it is like their poorest state (a trip I will make sometime!). Goa is also the only Indian state where drinking is allowed so you will find a lot of Indians who go to Goa as tourists and may see them drinking a bit more than usual.

Oh and one last thing, everyone speaks English so don’t worry about learning their dialect.

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Goa, India – take a note

Goa is a state located in the South western region of India. It is by area the smallest state of India and the fourth smallest by population. With beautiful beaches Goa is one of India’s richest states and it was ranked the best placed state by the Eleventh Finance Commission for its infrastructure. It was also ranked on top for the best quality of life in India by the National Commission on Population.

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Panaji is the state’s capital and Vasco da Gama, named after the Portuguese navigator who discovered India, is the largest city. The historic city of Margao still exhibits the cultural influence of the Portuguese, who first landed in 1498 and conquered it after. Goa is a former Portuguese province and it was not until 1961 that it was annexed to India being no longer Portuguese overseas territory.

Mão de Deus Church
Mãe de Deus Church

Goa is visited by a large numbers of international and domestic tourists each year for its clear water beaches, places of worship and world heritage architecture. It also a wide variety of flora and fauna making the landscape even prettier.

Tomorrow Manuel, a Portuguese student and traveler, shares his experience with us about a place he has truly enjoyed and even went back a second time! Don’t miss out!

“Goa was the place where I felt for the first time the real meaning of peace. It was the first time I was in a very different reality but felt comfortable with it.”

Manuel Ribeiro

Country: India

Country’s capital: Goa

Official language: Konkani

Currency: Rupee (1€= 73.5 INR ; £1 = 94.4 INR ; §1 =67.6 INR )

Population: 1,817 millions

Total area: 3.702 km²

Lyon, a beautiful treasure of France

Lyon is a place worth visiting, due to its beautiful architecture, but it’s also an awesome city to live in, due to its atmosphere. It is a couple hours west from the French Alps, and an hour south from the Burgundy vineyards. 3 days are enough to visit most touristic sites, I’ve lived there 3 years and the city still surprises me with what it has to offer.

TRAVEL TO LYON – FRANCE

  1. AIRPLANE toLyon Saint Exupéry (Cheap airlines such as Easyjet and Germanwings fly there)
  2. OUIGO– low-cost TGVs from £8/10€/$11 (very fast trains) so you’ll reach the city in less than 2 hours, however they can only be reached in Paris Bercy and Marseille Saint Charles, and you’ll have to leave very early or arrive in Lyon very late.
  3. TER a tiny bit more expensive than Ouigos and take a bit more time, but there usually are a lot of them so you can choose to arrive early or late, it’s up to you. (for example Geneva – Lyon costs £22/20€/$32 and takes 2 hours)
  4. TGVs –expensive, super-fast, and numerous (for example Madrid – Lyon costs £101/127€/$143 and takes8h25)
  5. BY RIDE SHARING– many people offer a ride on Blablacar, usually it is not expensive – from £16/20€/$22.50 Paris – Lyon – (sometimes Flixbus is the cheapest, but it stops a lot a takes a long time), you might want to check it out (for your own safety, make sure they have been recommended by other Blablacar users)

From the airport to the center

  1. The Rhone Express, a tramway, will take you from the airport to the city’s main train station in 25 minutes, a one-way tickets costs about£12/15€/$17
  2. BUS Flixbus is available in Lyon

Once you reach Lyon there are many things to visit and see!

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The Basilique Notre Dame de Fourvière. (Take line D until Vieux Lyon, then takes the funicular railway or climb up) There is an absolutely amazing view of Lyon in the back of the Basilique, and the interior is very impressive too, especially since there are 2 « churches », one on each floor. You can go there using the funiculars, but I personally recommend climbing up from Vieux Lyon and passing by the antique amphitheater, then go down through the garden straight to the Vieux Lyon, there’s plenty to see on the way.

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Vieux Lyon (Take line D and stop at Vieux Lyon). The atmosphere in the old town is really lovely. The area has several nice shops and restaurants, and, even if very touristic, there are not so many tourist traps. It’s a mandatory destination when going to Lyon. If you want Lyonnaise food on a budget, you might well find it here, however, some might not cook homemade or fresh food. If you want to try typical Lyonnaise and French food, I recommend Aux 24 colonnes (where you’ll most likely need to book a table) and Un Deux Trois. They’re both tasty yet affordable places!

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The Vieux Lyon traboules. These small, “secret” passages are fun to explore. They are dark hallways between buildings, usually connecting courtyards. It is a completely different way of seeing the city, and you never know what you will stumble upon. Apart from their original use by the silk trade, they were used during WW2 for people to move around the city unseen by the Nazi invaders. But remain quite when taking them, people do live there.

Lyon

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Parc de la tête d’or (Take B line and stop at Gare Part Dieu, then take bus C1, C2 or C6 and stop at Parc Tête d’Or). Take at least half a day to explore this park (no entrance fee). There is an excellent walk around the lake with toilets and refreshments (expensive ones, you might want to get your own at a store before entering the park). After walking around the lake you can visit the free zoo and botanical gardens. The park is very popular with the locals and it is crowded during hot summer days. (It is allowed to lay on the grass).

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The Presqu’ile = Almost-island. (Take D or A lines and stop at Bellecour). This is the neighborhood which is between the Rhone and the Saone rivers, a peninsula that has the main shopping district for Lyon. I recommend taking the A line to Bellecour and then walk on the whole Rue de la République until you reach Hotel de Ville and the Opera, and the Place des Terreaux, where you’ll see the beautiful Bartholdi Fountain.

TRAVEL AROUND LYON 

1. TCLpublic transport of Lyon

  • Ticket costs£1.40/80€/$2 at the machines (2€ on the bus) and allows you to use any type of transport (bus, subway, tramway, funicular) for 60 minutes;
  • Day ticket costs£4/5€/$5.6;
  • The last subway/tramway/bus leaves the stations at 00:30am, and then you’ll need to get a cab or an uber driver, until 5am, when public transports start their shift.

2.VELO’v: public bikes

  • If you want to rent a Velo’v for60 minutes, it’ll cost you £1.20/50€/$1.70;
  • You won’t have to bring it back where you got it, you can just leave it at another velo’v station, and there are tons!
  • However, you’ll need to have at least£119/150€/$169 on your account, which the Velo’v company uses as a deposit.

I truly recommend you to not drive to Lyon, unless you are willing to drive for hours in order to find a parking spot, and unless you are willing to pay tons of money for parking…

When your stomach starts to ask for some food there are many places I recommend you to go eat in Lyon. The best ice-cream you will find at Terre adélice in Vieux Lyon (D line)

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For the best typical French restaurants I would recommend Paul Bocuse is a well-known restaurant in the surroundings of Lyon. However it is an expensive one. They opened many Bocuse brasseries all over Lyon (Le Nord, Le Sud, L’Est, L’Ouest) where you will eat delicious and affordable meals.

Cheapest/Freshest place to eat: Yaafa (A line until Hotel de Ville, walk until the Place des Terreaux, and it is right behind the corner). They make amazing vegetarian falafels. It’s a very good place to eat on the go; they also make homemade lemonade and iced-tea (you get free refills if you get a menu)

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Best restaurant for coffee/tea time: Café des Négociants (A line until Cordeliers). It is a bit expensive but their hot chocolate made with real melted chocolate is the best thing you’ve never had (yet).

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Guinness, Green & Great People – Hello Dublin!

Dublin is a great city to visit if you don’t have long vacations. A weekend is enough to visit the main points of the city. I personally went there on a weekend trip and I did it again later so I guess this is enough to show you how I recommend visiting Dublin.

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TRAVEL TO DUBLIN – IRELAND 

From England:

  1. AIRPLANE ROUND TRIP FROM £9.99/13€/$14 (all flights) – Ryanair from London or Birmingham – England TO Dublin– Ireland (duration: 1 hour)

From the airport to the center

  1. TAXI FROM £20/25€/$28 (duration: 25 minutes)
  2. BUS FROM £4.6/6€/$6.7

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You can also get there by boat and then taxi to the center but if you book in advance flying is easier and cheaper. The first time I went there due to St. Patrick’s flights were a bit expensive and I did not book in advance so the boat ended up being the option taken.

I visited Dublin for the first time during St. Patrick’s. The city was very crowded and everything was slightly more expensive but I will give you the general prices for hostels and flights and not the ones during St. Patrick’s (17th of March). I went there with a friend and we stayed in a hostel. They offer a variety of cozy hostels just above their bars and restaurants in the city center which is a perfect spot to visit all the main attractions by foot.

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Our hostel offered a free guided tour which I recommend: guides are super nice and they explain everything to you! You get to walk through all the main touristic points which makes it easier to then select what do you want to see.

HOSTELS AND HOTELS

  1. Oliver St. John Gogarty DORMS FROM £11/14€/$15.50This is the one I stood at the first time I went there and the one that offers free guided tours and also an welcome drink. It is right in the center but condition are suitable only for those who need a room just to sleep and plan to stay all day out since you do not have much of your own space but I guess that is any hostel!
  2. Abigails Hostel DORMS FROM £8.5/11€/$12.20This is the hostel I stood at the second time. In my opinion is more comfortable and offers better conditions than Oliver does. It has a big variety at breakfast (food lover here!) and the rooms look newer, bigger and nicer. Location wise is pretty much just as good as Oliver as it lays right in front of the river Liffey that runs in the center of the city.
  3. Herbert Park Hotel **** FROM £99.60/129€/$144                                                                                                      This is a nice hotel if you are looking for a high quality and modern place to stay. It is a bit further from the center but if you are not on a budget it offers great quality service with a wide range of facilities and only a 15 minute taxi drive from the center.

From our free guided walk tour we choose to visit Trinity College, the post office, the castle, the Viking museum, Guinness Store House, St. Patrick’s Cathedral and the City Hall. We arrived on the 16th of March at night and we stood for three days – 17, 18 and 19. This was plenty of time to visited all we wanted and there was also free time for souvenir shopping. We also did a Viking tour in a car that goes on the water at a certain point which was a lot of fun!

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On the night we arrived we had dinner at an Irish restaurant which had Irish live dance and music at dinner! The menu was a typical Irish food menu that included their famous Irish stew which I recommend trying!

ARLINGTON HOTEL full dinner menu with live dance: £26/33.95€/$37.80

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Trinity College is world known for being one of the best colleges and it has a classic style making it very pretty. The refectory looks like Harry Potter’s eating room and in fact the students also wear long back gowns which means when it’s full looks just like in Hogwarts!

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Castle

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Post Office

Guinness Story House is very nice experience! They take you through all the process of making the beer and you even get free beer!

At least one night I think is mandatory to get the feeling of what is like to be in an Irish pub – so much fun!! I am studying in England where I did not enjoy the night life. Being from Portugal I thought maybe I didn’t like it becayse it is very cold but I was wrong! Dublin is quite cold also and rainy but the nightlife is unforgettable! Most pubs have live music with great singers and everyone is so nice making you feel welcome at any door you go in!

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