Local guide: Mallorca, Balearic Islands, Spain

Local guide: Mallorca, Balearic Islands, Spain

Adoration 4 Adventure’s local guide for visitors to Mallorca, Balearic Islands, Spain. This guide has been written by a visitor to the island with contribution from the beautiful expats and locals of Palma. Thank you to Felicity Edwards for all her knowledge and help.

Local guide posts provide recommendations for destinations from locals who are currently living or have lived in that particular place. Including information on the top places to eat, drink, stay and how to get around with an emphasis on saving money.

Planning a trip to Spain? Check out my 2 day itinerary for Barcelona.

Overview of Mallorca

Mallorca is located in the Balearic Islands, off the eastern coast of Spain. It is a destination that attracts tourists from all over the world for it’s breathtaking beaches, coastal biking paths, and mountain hiking trails. The island swells with visitors during the warmer seasons and provides a great getaway in the cooler months due to its mild temperatures.

Neighboring Ibiza may be more well-known as a party destination however, Mallorca’s capital holds its own in nightlife and doesn’t shut down in the off-season. The island is buzzing with an international crowd and it’s almost impossible not to make new friends.

It is not unusual for visitors to Mallorca to end up extending their trip (like I did!) or even move there. As a firm new favorite of mine, I would recommend taking time to make the most of Mallorca in all its splendor.

View-of-Palma-Mallorca-Spain

Top 5 places to visit

5. Palma

Palma is the capital of Mallorca and the location of the main airport. This charming city makes a great base for your time in Mallorca and is worth spending a few days exploring on its own. There are winding alleys, cafe-lined streets, striking plazas, a collection of galleries and museums, and a picturesque harbor.

Near the marina is La Seu Cathedral, an imposing and majestic site to behold. After snapping your photos and walking further long the sea, head inland into the old town. You will want to get lost in these compact streets while popping into stores and discovering the best places to have a coffee.

Catedral-de-Palma-Mallorca-Spain

4. Torrent de Pareis

The journey to Torrent de Pareis is almost as spectacular as the final destination. Windy roads lead through mountains with unique rock formations caused by water erosion. There are dozens of scenic view-points and you will be stopping the car countless times to take photos or just gaze in awe. Keep an eye out for the “Knotted Tie”, a looping road that looks like a bow-tie.

Once reaching the bay of Sa Calobra, it’s an easy paved walked to Torrent de Pareis. A cove where the stream meets the sea. A dramatic landscape of jutting rock-faces, crashing waves, and turquoise streams.

Torrente-de-Pareis-Mallorca-Spain

3. Formentor

In every destination there is always one spot that tops people’s must-visit list. For Mallorca, this is Formentor. A rugged coast-line with spectacular sea views in the most northern part of the island, it’s the place most visitors want to see. There is also a lighthouse further along the twisting road.

Formentor-Mallorca-Spain

2. Coll Baix

There can’t be many better combinations then a hike and a stunning beach. Coll Baix is a hidden treasure that requires a little work to get to but is well worth the effort. First, it’s about a forty-minute drive from Palma to the town Alcudia, then more country roads. Look out for the signs for “Coll Baix” as they can be hard to spot. Once reaching the road, it gets a bit rocky and most people will park then walk the rest of the way in.

From the trail-head it’s around thirty minutes to the beach. Parts of the trail can be a little slippery and steep, so take care with your footing. At the time of my visit the tide was high, however during low-tide and warmer seasons be sure to take a picnic and enjoy the beach to its fullest.

Coll-Baix-Mallorca-Spain

1. Caló des Moro

The most memorable location in Mallorca for me, was Calo de Moro. During the Summer it can get quiet crowded so make sure you get here early in the day. Otherwise during off-peak season, you might find you have this incredible view to yourself and don’t even mind that it’s too cold to swim.

Caló-des-Moro-Mallorca-Spain

Eating and drinking

Palma Hippodrome

While on the island you’ll want to try some typical Mallorcan food. As a visitor, it can be hard to know where to go or what dishes to order. That’s why I was thrilled to hear of an all-you-can-eat Mallorcan-style buffet lunch for 11 Euros! Located at the Hipodrom (horse-racing track) in Son Pardo, just outside of Palma Centre.

Ca’n Joan de S’aigo

This place is well-known and loved by locals for its hot chocolates. It’s usually packed and there may be a line, but it is worth the wait! Try an ensaimada (Mallorcan pastry) while you are there. The strawberry ice cream is supposed to be delicious as well.

can-joan-de-saigo-palma-mallorca

100 Montaditos 

We all have our guilty pleasures and while in Palma, this was mine! 100 Montaditos is a chain restaurant but I don’t even care because they have a menu of 100 different sandwiches from 1 Euro each. There are even sweet sandwiches! I tried one with a chocolate-chip cookie bread and white chocolate as the filler. A great place to stop for a cheap bite and coffee or beer while exploring the city.

Lemon Tree

If you find yourself in Palma on a Friday night and feel like socializing over a drink – head to Lemon Tree. The Connect Lingus community hosts an international meeting there every Friday from 9:30pm until 2am (most people arrive after 10pm). There is even a bingo game with a chance to win free drinks! I won on my first Friday and was a very happy lady. Connect Lingus also hosts other free events such as Zumba, Yoga, Circuit Training, day excursions, and fun nights out. I attended a few events while here and made some great friendships.

lemon-tree-connect-lingus

Transport

The easiest and most convenient way to explore the island is by car. If you have the funds, I would highly recommend hiring a rental for your time there. Alternatively there is a public transport system (TIB for the island of Mallorca and EMT for Palma and its neighboring municipalities) that will take you to some of the spots that I have mentioned above.

Accommodation

Couchsurfing

Mallorca has an active Couchsurfing community for both hosting and events. For the first six nights of my stay, I was lucky enough to be hosted by a local who had time to show me around the island by car. Meeting locals is a great way to find out all the best things to see and do in Mallorca. If staying with “strangers” (soon to be friends!) is a little out of your comfort zone, then try going to a CS event first.

For more information about Couchsurfing, read my tips on finding travel accommodation on a budget.

Fleming Hostel

Fleming Hostel is located next to Plaza del Cardenal Reig and just a few minutes walk to Plaza España and Plaza Mayor. I stayed here for my last three nights in Palma and enjoyed the central location. The hostel is very modern with lots of space, light, and beautiful terraces. They have rooms with 2,4, and 6 beds which can booked privately or shared.

Location: Carrer Arxiduc Lluís Salvador 46, 07004 · Palma de Mallorca

Website: http://fleminghostel.com/

fleming-hostel-photo-credit-fleming-hostel

Photo credit: Fleming Hostel

I was a complimentary guest of Fleming Hostel, however my opinion is my own and will always remain unbiased in order to provide the best recommendations to my readers.


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Adoration 4 adventure's local guide for visitor's to Mallorca. Including top places to eat, drink, stay and how to get around on a budget.

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Itinerary: Barcelona, Spain (2 days)

Itinerary: Barcelona, Spain (2 days)

Adoration 4 Adventure’s 2 day itinerary for Barcelona, Spain.

I know what you are thinking. How can you only go to Barcelona for two days? That can’t possibly be enough to see and do everything in this amazing place. And you’d be right! However, we don’t always get the luxury of spending as much time as we would like in a city. Unfortunately with work, family and other commitments, sometimes all we get is two days to pack in as much as we can.

In fact, when I planned this trip to Barcelona it was to meet up with an old friend from Australia, Tamara. She was flying in from London and only had the weekend free. This was her first time in Barcelona, the third for me, and I was excited to show her around one of my all time favorite European cities.

So here was our two day itinerary for Barcelona – perfect for the first time visitor!

Heading to Europe? Check out posts on Portugal and England

Arrival

Plaça de Catalunya, Centric and Port Barcelona

Tamara and I met at the airport on Friday evening, before traveling in together. Another girl approached us to ask if we would like to split a cab and we agreed. The ride was actually really fun with all of us chatting with the cab driver and hearing about his life in Barcelona (and the many languages that he speaks!). If you are arriving with two or less people, then it is definitely more economic to take the Aerobús. This goes from terminals one and two to the city center for just under €6 a ticket.

The Aerobus terminates in Plaça de Catalunya, which is right near our hostel of choice, St Christopher’s Inn. We arrived with our bags and were greeted at reception by Adrian, who would become our new friend and comic entertainment during the stay.

St-Christophers-Barcelona-entrance-adoration-4-adventure

After checking in, we decided to start our night with some tapas and wine. We asked the other hostel receptionist for a recommendation and were pointed towards Centric, a bar across the square. For dinner we enjoyed patatas bravas (spicy potatoes), artichokes and a squid slider over a bottle of Spanish red wine. I can’t imagine a better way to start a weekend in Barcelona!

Then we took a stroll down the colorful and energetic La Rambla to Port Barcelona for cocktails by the sea. Every time I have gone drinking at a bar in this area, the bartenders have always given out free shots. Talk about a warm welcome to the city.

Day 1

Park Güell and Gaudi House Museum

Park Güell is a wonderland of Gaudi creations. Originally a private estate, owned by Eusebi Güell, the park was made public in 1926. A large portion of the park is free to enter, wander around and marvel at the magnificence of Gaudi. To access the Monumental Zone and Gaudí House Museum, you can purchase your tickets online or at the gates. Tamara purchased her double pass to Gaudí House Museum + La Sagrada Familia for €24.

The Visit Barcelona website also offers guided park tours, including entrance to Park Güell.

Park Guell, Barcelona, Spain

There is definitely something magical about Park Güell. Imagine strolling along the path ways looking at the Gaudi constructions, inspired by nature. Buskers are found around every corner, adding to the ambiance with soothing sounds. And did I mention the views? Make sure to take your camera.

Park Guell, views of Barcelona, Spain

Street Art 

While visiting Barcelona, you are going to see a range of street art from political statements, amusing caricatures and mind-blowing murals. We had a lot of fun getting lost down back streets and alleys to be surprised by new works of art.

Street art in Barcelona, Spain

Lunch at Belushi’s bar

After a big morning of exploring, we needed to recharge so we headed back to our hostel, St Christopher’s Inn. Attached to the hostel, is Belushi’s bar. Every morning they serve a continental-style buffet breakfast, complimentary to hostel guests. During the day and nights, guests also receive a 25% discount on food purchases as well as a number of drink specials.

Tamara and I ordered the patatas bravas (the portion was huge!) and two coffees. While enjoying our meal, we began chatting to another guest and decided to all go to the Gothic Quarter together.

lunch-Belushis-bar-St-Christophers-Barcelona-adoration-4-adventure

La Rambla and Gothic Quarter

La Rambla is great to see by day and night. There is just so much happening that it is hard to know where to look. For me, it really does seem to be the heart of Barcelona, that to connects everything, including the Gothic Quarter.

Step off La Rambla and you will immediately find yourself in a different world on winding alleys and quiet plazas. The Gothic Quarter is one of these areas with buildings dating back to the medieval times. The architecture is break-taking and will keep you amused for hours, even if you aren’t a history buff.

Lucky for us, Tamara has an interest in art and history, and shared all her new found knowledge. If you want all the history, without the effort then you may want to take a guided walking tour of the Gothic Quarter.

Gothic quarter, Barcelona, Spain

Tablao Flamenco de Carmen at Poble Espanyol

The stand out activity of our trip was Tablao Flamenco de Carmen at Poble Espanyol. Located just a short walk from the Montjuïc Magic Fountain, Poble Espanyol is an attraction of Spanish arts, architecture, food and history, enclosed within tower walls. We arrived thirty minutes before the beginning of the flamenco show and visited some of the artisan shops sampling sangria, cheese, olive oil and honeys from around the country.

At 8:45pm, we returned to the entrance of Tablao Flamenco de Carmen and were swiftly seated at our stage-side table. We had chosen the ticket options which included a dinner of five tapas, a main course, desert, coffee and a choice between sangria or wine. The food was incredibly delicious and plentiful. The tapas included a nice range of cheeses, ham and seafood, showing off the best that Spain has to offer.

dinner-at-tablao-flamenco-de-carmen-barcelina-spain

With much excitement and anticipation, the flamenco show soon began. Tablao Flamenco de Carmen tribute to the Barcelona-born dancer, Carmen Amaya. The performance is multi-faceted with talented vocalists, musicians and dancers. In total there were four flamenco dancers, two male and two female, each with their our incredible and individual styles. Tamara and I were both in awe during the performance. It was really very moving and an experience that I won’t forget.

Get your tickets to Tablao Flamenco de Carmen here!

Tablao Flamenco de Carmen, Turisme de Barcelona, Spain

La Sagrada Familia

You can’t come to Barcelona and not see Gaudi’s La Sagrada Familia (the sacred family). As this was my third time in the city, I had already been in the church twice. However this was Tamara’s first and top of her list of things to do. I went along with her and while she explored inside, I walked around taking photos from the park across the street. If you are on a budget and can’t afford an entrance ticket, you can still go and enjoy these incredible views from outside.

For a professionally led tour, with entrance to La Sagrada Familia included, check out Visit Barcelona.

La-Sagrada-Familia-Front-entrance-Barcelona-Spain

Arco de Triunfo de Barcelona

We’ve all heard of Arc de Triomphe in Paris, well meet the Arco de Triunfo de Barcelona. This was built for the 1888 Universal Exhibition and leads right up to the spectacular Parc de la Ciutadella. Stroll along the paved walkway to take great shots of both the arch and park from either end.

Arco de Triunfo de Barcelona, Spain

Parque de la Ciudadela and Picasso museum

Parque de la Ciudadela completely surprised me. It is a huge sprawling park, buzzing with activity and merriment. I spent an hour here while Tamara visited the nearby Picasso Museum (€12 entrance or free on Sunday between 3-7pm but there is about an hour wait). There is plenty to see and do with a grand fountain, public table tennis sets and lush gardens.

Parque de la Ciudadela, Barcelona, Spain


St Christopher’s Inn Barcelona

We wouldn’t have been able to fit in as many activities as we did, if it wasn’t for staying in a central location. One of the reasons that we chose to stay at St Christopher’s Inn is the fact that they are right near Plaça de Catalunya and La Rambla.

There are so many reasons to love St Christopher’s, that it is hard to know where to start! I definitely felt at home here, easily making friends with the reception staff and other guests. The whole vibe of the hostel, bar and restaurant are very relaxed, fun and social. There is also a “chill out” room where you can go hang out with your new mates or relax while surfing online using the free WiFi.

We stayed in both a private twin room and 8 person dorm (on different nights). The private room came with it’s own bathroom, terrace and access to a separate “chill out” room on the 7th floor. The dorm rooms are fitted out with “pod” beds that have their own curtain, lamp and draw to lock up your bags. In both rooms, the beds very comfortable, clean and modern.

St-Christophers-Barcelona-twin-room-adoration-4-adventure

St Christopher’s Inn has a variety of rooms available for groups of all types and sizes from mixed dorms, female-only dorms, twin en-suites, as well as 4, 6 and 8 bed private rooms.

Location: Carrer de Bergara, 3, Barcelona, Spain, 08002

Website: https://www.st-christophers.co.uk/barcelona-hostels

St-Christophers-Barcelona-common-room-adoration-4-adventure

My friend and I were complimentary guests of St Christopher’s Barcelona and Barcelona Tourism, however my opinion is my own and will always remain unbiased in order to provide the best recommendations to my readers.


Budget breakdown: Barcelona

All costs are quoted for two people and in the local currency (EUR). See below for the average daily spend per person including currency conversion to USD and AUD. I always try to find and negotiate the best prices to share with my readers. If you know of a better deal, tell me about it in the comments below.

Accommodation: St Christopher’s Barcelona is a social hostel located right next to La Rambla. For the full list of accommodations and current prices, please refer to Booking.

Food: St Christopher’s Barcelona provides a continental-style buffet breakfast to all their guests. The attached bar and restaurant, Belushi’s, provides a 25% guest discount on food and other drink specials.

Arrival – Tapas and a bottle of wine at Centric (€34), cocktails at Port Barcelona (€48).

Day 1 – Lunch of Patatas Bravas and coffee at Belushi’s bar (€7).

Day 2 – Coffee at the Costa Coffee near La Sagrada Familia (€7), lunch of tapas and wine near Ciudadela Park (€38.45), nachos and 2 jugs of beer at Belushi’s bar (€26.50).

Activities: Although my friend visited Gaudi House Museum, La Sagrada Familia and Picasso Museum, I choose to wander around the nearby streets and parks instead.

Transport: Taxi from Airport to Plaça Catalunya (€20), Metro pass x10 rides (€10), Airport bus (€12).

Average daily spend:  €44.10 each* ($46.77 USD and $63.37 AUD as of 19 November 2016) excluding accommodation and the Flamenco Show.

*This daily amount could be reduced by purchasing food from supermarkets or local bakeries.


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Adoration 4 adventure partners with quality brands that are relevant to readers. I only promote what I believe in, which is why the A4A audience can trust my recommendations.

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Adoration 4 Adventure’s 2 day itinerary for Barcelona, Spain exploring Park Guell, Gothic Quarter, La Rambla and Port Barcelona.

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Local guide: London Airports, England

Local guide: London Airports, England

Adoration 4 Adventure’s local guide for visitors to London Airports by A4A guest writer, Edward Alvaro.

Local guide posts provide recommended destinations from locals who are currently living or have lived in that particular place. Including information on the top places to eat, drink, stay and how to get around with an emphasis on saving money.

crowded-street-in-london-pixabay

Overview of the Capital

Together with Paris, Madrid, and Rome, London is one of the first European cities to come up on a traveller’s bucket list. It presents a rich, dynamic culture fit for every type of wanderer. You have posh commercial areas highlighted by Michelin-starred restaurants, specialty cafés, and shopping districts, as well as affluent residential communities such as those in Kensington, Chelsea, and Notting Hill.

On the flipside, there are also a bunch of free activities and less expensive neighbourhoods perfect for the budget explorer. Nomadic Matt even had a 10-day trip in the city for just $700 (£573). In short, London ideally combines the best of both worlds to come up with a legitimate tourist destination in Europe. However, with the constant wave of travellers going in and out of the city, congestion problems arise in the blink of an eye.

london-tube-pixabay

How London Offsets These Difficulties

When talking about London, it’s inevitable to think about the notorious congestion not just on the roads, but also in its aviation hubs and parking spaces. Luckily, the capital belongs on Jalopnik’s list of the cities with the best public transit systems in the world.

City Metric even reinforces the notion, owing it to London’s underground network and light railways, as well as its buses and cable cars – relatively cheap especially if you have an Oyster Card. But despite these timely transportation solutions, the city’s airports and its car bays still present a different challenge.

Since London has two of the world’s busiest landing fields in Heathrow and Gatwick, airport authorities have made it a point to provide convenience and service inside and even outside its premises. These aviation hubs also have fantastic restaurants, but if you’re on a budget, there are Pret A Manger, Café Nero, and Costa branches – just to name a few – in both airports. Although don’t expect them to be as cheap as you might think.

When it comes to car bays, as a way of offsetting the ever-growing number of vehicles, Heathrow and Gatwick put a premium on on-site and off-site parking options offered by online companies. Parking4Less even highlights an efficient airport hotel with parking, ideal for travellers who have an early morning or a late night flight. All of these are aimed to lessen your worries and make travelling to London a breeze. In a way, considering all the variables, these solutions also help you save much-needed travel funds. However, in terms of the overall navigation inside these labyrinth-like establishments, the airport hacks below offer distinct kinds of timesaving advantages.

london_heathrow_t5_ab1_wikimedia

Since London has two of the world’s busiest landing fields in Heathrow and Gatwick, airport authorities have made it a point to provide convenience and service inside and even outside its premises. These aviation hubs also have fantastic restaurants, but if you’re on a budget, there are Pret A Manger, Café Nero, and Costa branches – just to name a few – in both airports. Although don’t expect them to be as cheap as you might think.

When it comes to car bays, as a way of offsetting the ever-growing number of vehicles, Heathrow and Gatwick put a premium on on- and off-site parking options offered by online companies.

London Airport Hacks

Heathrow and Gatwick are more or less the same in such a way that both are brimming with thousands of airline passengers daily and have almost similar facilities. Say you’ve already sorted out your parking space, whether in a hotel, or at an on-site, or off-airport car bay, it’s highly recommended to snap a photo of your spot so you won’t get lost in all the craziness after your trip.

Inside, the left queue is generally fastest, as – in theory – most airline passengers naturally veer towards their right. It also speeds things up at the security line if you avoid wearing belts and jewellery. Lastly, it makes all the difference in the world if you sign up to an airport membership program. Heathrow and Gatwick both have their respective loyalty schemes that give you access to dining, shopping, and parking discounts. You can even get fast-track security features and departure lounge access.


A4A guest writer – Edward Alvaro

Aside from raising his 7- and 10-year-old daughters Carmela and Natalya, Edward Alvaro is a passionate world traveller and writer. He frequents Asia for its beaches, as well as Europe to feast on its best signature cuisines. During his downtimes, Eddie practices his skills in the kitchen, as he hopes to put up his own Asian-European fusion restaurant someday.

All photos in this article are the were sourced from Pixabay and Wikimedia and are free of copyrights under Creative Commons CC0. This is a guest post written by Edward Alvaro for which I received a small payment to go towards the costs of running this website.


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Adoration 4 adventure's local guide for visitor's to London Airports including hacks for eating on a budget, parking and getting through security quickly.

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Local cuisine and culture in Lisbon, Portugal

Local cuisine and culture in Lisbon, Portugal

Adoration 4 Adventure’s recommendations for local cuisine and culture in Lisbon, Portugal.

As a solo traveler, I am pretty comfortable with eating out on my own. However, given the chance, I will almost always choose to dine with company. One of the reasons I enjoy using BonAppetour is that it provides me with an opportunity to get to know new people over a meal.

BonAppetour is a community platform that brings travelers and local hosts together, from over 40 countries across the world. I first tried BonAppetour in Bangkok, Thailand with a Thai cooking class and meal. After having such a fun, social and relaxed time, I was hooked!

For my next BonAppetour experience, I attended a sit down 3 course meal in Lisbon, Portugal. Once again, my expectations (and the capacity of my stomach!) were well exceeded.

bon-appetour-dinner-libson-appertisers

Enjoying local cuisine

One of the richest aspects of travel is enjoying new and local cuisines. As this was my first trip to Lisbon, I chose a traditional Portuguese meal for my BonAppetour experience. However, often you can find an array of dining options from local cuisines to exotic dishes on the BonAppetour platform.

My host family were incredibly warm and kind. Luis met me near the underground station (just a short trip from my hostel in Praca de Rossio) and directed me to their apartment, where I was greeted by Patricia and their two lovely daughters. The atmosphere was very welcoming and I immediately felt like an old friend of the family’s.

Almost upon arrival, I was being seated for the first course of delicious cheeses and meats. The main was a dish that I had never heard of before but was grateful for the opportunity to try. “Carne de Porco a Alentejana” includes both pork and claims. For dessert we had a melt-in-your-mouth Portuguese pudding. Each dish was exquisite and paired with a hand picked local wine, liqueur and coffee. Don’t worry if you have food preferences or allergies, Patricia is happy to customize the menu.

carne-de-porco-a-alentejana-lisboa-portugal

Discovering Portuguese culture

The added bonus of using BonAppetour for your dining experience, is that the hosts are locals. This provides an opportunity for you to get to know more about the culture and history of your destination.

I have a particular interest in Portugal, as I had lived in Brazil for a short time and now speak a little Brazilian Portuguese. It was great fun for me to practice my Portuguese with Patricia and her family over the meal. They also impressed me with their fluency in foreign languages and worldly travels.

Patricia was delighted to share her knowledge about Lisbon and other parts of Portugal. I left her apartment with a head full of suggestions, arms full of brochures to Sintra and a tummy full of Portuguese goodness.

portuguese-culture-libson-adoration-4-adventure

Use the A4A Reader Discount Code “A4A10OFF” to receive 10% off your next BonAppetour experience.


BonAppetour

Do you want to enjoy great food and connect with locals? BonAppetour provides the opportunity to “dine at homes around the world”.

And if there isn’t a host in a city near you, you can also sign up to become a host and home chef.

Use the A4A Reader Discount Code “A4A10OFF” to receive 10% off your next BonAppetour experience.

BonAppetour - Explore Unique Home Restaurants

I was a complimentary guest of BonAppetour, however my opinion is my own and will always remain unbiased in order to provide the best recommendations to our readers.  

This page contains affiliate links. I may receive a small commission from purchases made through these links, however there is no extra cost to the reader. For more information, please read my disclaimer and privacy policy.


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Adoration 4 Adventure's recommendations for finding local cuisine and culture in Lisbon, Portugal. How to enjoy home dining around the world.

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5 reasons to visit Porto, Portugal

5 reasons to visit Porto, Portugal

Adoration 4 Adventure’s 5 reasons to visit Porto, Portugal.

I might be biased but Porto is now one of my favorite European cities. It has everything this girl could want in a destination – easy to walk around, incredible views and very affordable. Plus, it has the added bonus of giving me an opportunity to practice my Portuguese.

Since living in Brazil in 2013, I have been studying Brazilian Portuguese using various methods including group classes, private lessons, books and apps. So you can imagine how excited I was to be visiting a city where they speak the language I am learning. Well…. sort of. Actually the Portuguese from Portugal and Brazil are a little different. Especially in the accent. For the most part though, everyone could understand me and I could at least follow along in conversations.

Don’t worry if you don’t speak a word of Portuguese. The citizens of Portugal generally speak excellent English and are more than happy to converse with you. In fact, even if you don’t speak English that well, they will still try to understand and help you.

Sounds amazing right? Well read on for more reasons why you should visit Porto.

Planning a trip to Europe? Check out posts for the England and The Netherlands.

Walk-able streets

Everything about Porto is easy. Taking the train from the airport to downtown is very simple and cheap (just a few Euros). Then once you arrive to the center, chances are you won’t need to take public transport again because this city is very walk-able!

There is so much to explore and my favorite way to do that is by foot. I actually took two walking tours while staying in the city – as one morning tour covered half of the city and the afternoon covered the other half. In addition to that, there are still many gorgeous and winding alleys that you can wander off on your own.

pacos-do-concelho-porto-portugal

Stunning views

One thing that I loved about both Porto and Lisbon (Portugal’s capital) was the number of incredible rooftop views that the cities provide. Porto is not shy is showing off it’s beauty. Some of the best city views, including Vitoria and “the path of virtues” are included on the free walking tours.

path-of-virtues-porto-portugal

Portuguese cuisine on a budget

Porto has two dishes that are traditional to the area. The first is a “Tripas”, a tripe and bean stew. I decided to take a pass on this one, however don’t let that stop you from diving in. If you are unsure about the tripe then you can ask for it on the side.

The second dish is the “francesinha”. This is one monster sandwich! Basically they take two slices of white bread and fill it with meats such as beef, sausage and ham then cover the whole thing in cheese. The bowl is filled with a tomato and onion sauce which may include other liquids such as whiskey and Porto wine. If that wasn’t enough, the meal also comes with a side of fries. I highly recommend sharing as I didn’t meet anyone who had finished it on their own. For “uma francesinha e cafe com leite” (and coffee with milk) I paid 8.30 Euros.

uma-francesinha-porto-portugal

Bacalhau (cod) is also a popular dish, although not specific to the region as you can also get this in other parts of Portugal and Brazil. Still if you like fish, this can be a really nice meal or snack to have with a “cerveza” (beer).

All in all, I found the food to be really cheap! For breakfast hit up the local “padaria” (bakery) to enjoy fresh bread and coffee for under 2 Euros. Then at lunch time, look for a sign that says “menu do dia” (menu of the day) which will include a starter, main and a drink for as little as 5 Euros. This meal is also huge so don’t be afraid to share.

Wizard-y connections

Any Harry Potter fans here? If so, then you will definitely want to add Porto to your list. JK Rowling lived here at the time of writing the first book. There are many obvious connections between the city and the novels which I will let you discover by yourself (hint: a lot of these will be covered on the free walking tours).

You can even visit some of her favorite places to write, including the Cafe Majestic and Livraria Lello.

livraria-lello-porto-portugal

Oporto City Hostel

While staying in Porto you will want to be somewhere central and fun. Oporto City Hostel provides a relaxed and social environment in an excellent location. The hostel is an easy stroll from all the major historical attractions and an even shorter distance from the Trinidade Station.

I found the staff to be super helpful and always smiling. At the front desk you will find information about the free walking tours that I mentioned, as well as a pub crawl and port wine tour. In addition to this, they can provide you with a city map and recommendations.

Location: Rua Guedes de Azevedo 219, Porto

Website: www.oportocityhostel.com

oporto-city-hostel

I was a complimentary guest of Oporto City Hostel however my opinions are my own and will always remain unbiased in order to provide the best recommendations to my readers.


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Adoration 4 Adventure’s 5 reasons to visit Porto, Portugal.. Including walk-able streets, stunning views and Portuguese cuisine on a budget.

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Itinerary: Krakow, Poland (2 days)

Itinerary: Krakow, Poland (2 days)

Adoration 4 Adventure’s 2 day itinerary for Krakow, Poland by A4A guest writer, Darrell Whaley.

Since Chantell and I recently moved to Germany, we wanted to take a trip before I started school, but also a trip that wasn’t going to break the bank. So, what better place in the world to travel to than towards Eastern Europe?

Our trip started off in Krakow, Poland and as soon as we got there we knew we should have planned to stay longer. We made the most of our 2 full days in Krakow and jammed it with as many of the best things we could find. If you only have 2 days to see the city, this will easily help to smooth things over.

Heading to Europe? Check out posts on Slovakia and Hungary.

Birkenau

Day 1

Krakow Old Town

Krakow is known as one of Europe’s most beautiful cities. The evidence of Krakow’s beauty also lies in its complex history of government control. Being taken over by many different countries throughout history also brought with it different styles of architecture, which is seen all throughout the city and especially in the Old Town area. As this was our first time in Krakow, we wanted to learn as much as possible about this historically rich city, so we set to find a walking tour. The Free Walking Tour Company in Krakow is one of the most informative guides to the history of the city. They are easy to spot with their yellow umbrellas, beginning in the north part of Old Town and venturing all the way down to Wawel Castle. I can honestly say that without doing this tour, we would not have been able to learn about not only the different styles of architecture and where they came from, but also how and why the city was formed to how it is today.

Krakow Old Town

Auschwitz-Birkenau

Just outside of Krakow lies the most known concentration camp established by the Nazis during World War II. Auschwitz was a place of terror with over 1.1 million people dying at Auschwitz. It is believed there were a significantly larger number of deaths at Auschwitz than 1.1 million, due to records being destroyed or simply not kept. The memorial and museum established at the Auschwitz-Birkenau site is a tribute to those who suffered here. I was able to book a tour with a guide, which I would highly recommend. Our guide, who is from the area, shared experiences of locals who lived through the time of Auschwitz’s existence. The entire experience definitely left me heavyhearted. As somber as it may be to visit Auschwitz or any past concentration camp, I truly believe everyone should take the opportunity to go. It is a simple reminder of how we as people should never discriminate, or judge, or spread hate and fear.

Auschwitz

Day 2

Wawel Castle

On the southern edge of Old Town sits Wawel Castle. Built in the 13th century for King Casimir III the Great, it has been rebuilt and had many additions constructed ever since. Now serving primarily as an art museum, it is the perfect location to see history, take in views of the city, relax in the courtyard, and even see the Dragon’s Den, home to the legendary Wawel Dragon.

Wawel Castle Side View

Oskar Schindler Factory

Just across the river in the southern part of town sits the factory of Oskar Schindler. Most people know of Oskar Schindler from Steven Spielberg’s film, Schindler’s List. The factory has been turned into a museum with a permanent exhibition on Krakow under the Nazi Occupation from 1939 through 1945. I felt this was one of the best history museums I’ve ever been in and definitely a must visit. Every Monday has free entrance, but the wait can be long and filled with more people than normal.

Jewish Quarter

When we arrived in Krakow, we were told to explore the Jewish Quarter. We quickly found out that the Free Walking Tour Company also gives an in depth tour of the entire Jewish Quarter, so we joined them for their afternoon tour. Our guide gave us insight to life in the Jewish Quarter before the Holocaust, during, and even after. She even pointed out certain locations where Schindler’s List was filmed. It is truly incredible how strong and giving the Jewish community is in Krakow, even today, especially after everything that happened to them throughout Krakow’s history.

Jewish Quarter

Yarden Aparthotel

During our time in Krakow we stayed at the beautiful Yarden Aparthotel. After a short walk from the main Railway Station, we were welcomed by Yarden’s hospitable reception who are available all hours of the day and will help with anything and everything. They were especially helpful in giving ideas of what to see during our short time there.

Yarden Double Room

There are 48 varieties of rooms to choose, ranging from Double beds to Family Rooms, all with a number of amenities. A wonderful buffet style breakfast is included, filled with Polish meats and cheeses, breads, coffees, and so much more.

Yarden Breakfast

Yarden has a beautiful garden area perfect for breakfast or lunch, enjoying a drink in the perfect weather, or just simply relaxing in the inner city. This beautiful atmosphere is the perfect way to start your day as many people would fill their breakfast plates and quickly head towards the garden. Yarden is a unique and beautiful aparthotel perfect for any type of traveler.

Location: ul. Długa 35, 31-147 Kraków, Poland

Website: http://yardenaparthotel.pl/

Yarden Garden

Adoration 4 Adventure were complimentary guests of Yarden Aparthotel, however our opinions are our own and will always remain unbiased in order to provide the best recommendations to our readers.


Budget breakdown: Krakow

All costs are quoted for two people and in the local currency (Polish Zloty). See below for the average daily spend per person including currency conversion to USD and AUD. We always try to find and negotiate the best prices to share with our readers. If you know of a better deal, tell us about it in the comments below.

Accommodation: Yarden Aparthotel offers multiple room choices for different group sizes. For the full list of accommodations and current prices, please refer to Rooms

Food: Yarden Aparthotel includes breakfast in all their pricings.

Arrival – dumplings (24zl), water (1.79zl)

Day 1 – water (5.13zl), lunch (39zl), dumplings (34zl), sipping chocolate (37zl),

Day 2 – water (2.78zl), Polish cookies (13), food in Jewish Quarter (16zl), 2 beers (8zl), coffees (13.90zl)

Activities: Tips for 2 Free Walking Tours (40zl), Auschwitz Tour (45zl)

Transport: train from airport to Krakow for 2 people (16zl), bus to Auschwitz (28zl), 6x city tram trips (16.80zl)

Average daily spend: 85.10 Polish Zloty each* ($22.25 USD and $29.33 AUD as of 9 October 2016) excluding accommodation.

*This daily amount could be reduced by sticking more strictly to street food or cooking your own meals.


Pin it for the next adventure!

Adoration 4 Adventure’s 2 day itinerary for Krakow, Poland. Exploring the Old Town, Wawel Castle, Oskar Schindler Factory and Jewish Quarter.

Have you traveled to Krakow or planning to anytime soon? Tell us about it below!

And if you liked the post – share it with your friends on social media.