Sunday, 15 July 2018

One Night at Casa do Principe

On the last night of our holiday, my boyfriend surprised me with a stay at Casa do Principe (he's a keeper!). This was the most beautiful place I have ever stayed in! Casa do Principe is named after the Royal Prince, King D. Pedro V, and has 9 suites which each refer to a significant part of the King's life.

We stayed in the King D. Pedro V Suite, which has a spacious bedroom and lounge area. The ceiling in this room is incredible - look how elegant it is! There is also a balcony overlooking the Principe Real Garden. The room includes free wifi, TV, air conditioning, daily maid service and an ensuite bathroom with toiletries. Breakfast is also included, which is a selection of croissants, cereals, meats and cheeses. There are loads of fashionable shops to wander around in the area surrounding Casa do Principe and there's also the University of Lisbon Botanical Garden down the road.

If you're in Lisbon and want to indulge a little, then you should definitely book yourself a night at Casa do Principe - you won't regret it! Are you going away anywhere this summer?

Sunday, 8 July 2018

The Ultimate Lisbon Travel Guide

For the second part of our trip, we stayed in Lisbon for five nights. Lisbon was a bit cooler than Seville, which made it more bearable to walk around in, however I have never been to such a hilly place - everywhere we went involved climbing up and down several hills (but at least we got our cardio in!).

Things to see:
There are loads of beaches if you go further along the coast of Lisbon, however these beaches tend to get really busy, so, instead, we went across the 25 de Abril Bridge to Costa da Caparica. We had to get a taxi across to it so it was slightly more expensive than going to one of the other beaches, but that was worth it in my eyes because I'd rather go to a quieter beach. One thing to note is that you shouldn't try to leave the beach when people are finishing work because the traffic on the bridge is horrendous and most taxi drivers won't pick you up at that time. There are also loads of museums in Lisbon for you to visit. Unfortunately, MUDE was closed whilst we were there but we still went to the Berardo Collection museum and the MAAT. I particularly enjoyed the MAAT because it contained loads of interesting exhibitions based on art, architecture and technology. A short walk from the MAAT is the Torre de Belem - this apparently gives great views of Lisbon, however, when we went it was incredibly foggy so we didn't bother going up it. If you have an afternoon free, then you should have a wander around the Alfama district. This is the oldest district of Lisbon and you can really see a difference between Alfama and the other districts, plus it gives amazing views. We visited the National Pantheon whilst we were in Alfama, which is where important Portuguese personalities are buried. To get back from Alfama, we got Tram 28 - which is one of the oldest trams in Lisbon. Usually this tram is really busy but, because we got on later in the evening and at a quieter stop, there was plenty of space on the tram.

We were lucky enough to be in Lisbon when the 'Lisbon Under Stars' immersive spectacle was being shown at the Carmo Archaeological Museum. Virtual dancers and visual effects were projected on to the ruins of the old Church of Santa Maria do Carmo to show the history of Lisbon. Unfortunately this spectacle has finished now, however, if you're planning on visiting Lisbon, then I would definitely recommend keeping an eye out to see if something like this is happening again.

Places to eat:
We went to The Mill for breakfast three times whilst we were in Lisbon - it's THAT good! The place is quite small so we had to wait outside for about 10/15 minutes every day, but it's worth the wait. I had the veggie breakfast a couple of times (perfect for any avocado lovers!) and I also had the pancakes (these were the fluffiest pancakes I'd ever seen!). The best lunch we had was at O Prego da Peixaria - they served delicious steak sandwiches. In fact, their steak sandwiches were so good that we had them for both lunch and dinner one day - please don't judge! Lastly, we found that the Time Out Market was the best place to go for dinner. There's loads of different stalls you can choose from and the meals are generally cheaper than if you were to go to a restaurant. However, there's limited seating here so you need to get here early to guarantee a seat.

For the final night of our trip, my boyfriend surprised me with a stay at the Casa do Principe aka the most beautiful hotel I have ever stayed in! I'm going to do a separate post on that because I feel like it deserves a whole post to itself. So there you have my summary of Lisbon, hopefully you've found it useful. Have you been to Lisbon before?

Sunday, 1 July 2018

The Ultimate Seville Travel Guide

Hola! If you follow me on Instagram you will know that I've recently been on holiday with my boyfriend to Seville and Lisbon (if you don't follow me then why not!? Jks). We stayed in Seville for four nights, which was the perfect amount of time to explore the main sights of the city and still gave us some time to relax. For accommodation, we used Airbnb and found a lovely apartment in the heart of the city with a rooftop terrace - this was so much cheaper than the hotels.

Things to see:
Seville isn't as touristy as other cities, which meant that it was a lot quicker to get into the attractions and nothing was too pricey. The Metropol Parasol was one of my favourite attractions - it's a wooden structure located in the old quarter of Seville and it provides incredible views across the city. We witnessed the most beautiful pink sunset when we went up and it only cost €3. Another thing that you must see in Seville is the Real Alcazar. For this it's definitely worth buying a ticket in advance because this was the one attraction which had a massive queue when we went. The Real Alcazar is a UNESCO-listed palace surrounded by beautiful gardens, which you can spend hours walking around. Also, for any Game of Thrones fans out there, the Real Alcazar has been used for filming the series (so maybe you could go there and recreate some of the scenes!). The Plaza de Espana is a square in the Maria Luisa Park. The square has a river around it, where you can hire row boats, and the tiled bridges are a beautiful example of Renaissance and Moorish Spanish architecture styles. Seville Cathedral is another UNESCO-listed World Heritage Site and it's the largest cathedral in the world - you can't fully appreciate the size of it until you go inside. We bought tickets for the rooftop guided tour, which allowed us to see parts of the cathedral that we wouldn't have seen otherwise. I would definitely recommend the rooftop guided tour if you are wanting to learn more about the history of the cathedral. The Giralda can be accessed via the cathedral and gives amazing views across the city, however, you have to walk all the way to the top!

One attraction that I wouldn't bother with if you're on a strict time schedule is the Torre del Oro. The tower is located next to the Guadalquivir river so it provides a different view point across Seville, however, it's not as good as the views you get from the Metropol Parasol or the Giralda.

Places to eat:
Seville offers amazing value for money when it comes to food and drink. Everywhere we went the food was so cheap but also so delicious! COCOME offers a selection of healthy breakfasts made with fresh ingredients. We went here a couple of times during our stay and both times I had the yogurt bowl and a fruit smoothie. You need to check this place out if you ever go to Seville! For lunch, Casa Morales is a great tapas place. Each tapas dish is roughly only €3 each so we shared six dishes between us. Their tapas menu varies from day-to-day but there were plenty of options to choose from. Possibly my highlight of our trip was the place we went to dinner for our last two nights in Seville; a tapas bar and restaurant called Eslava. The tapas here is INCREDIBLE - two of their dishes have won awards. Yet the price was no more expensive than the other restaurants we had eaten at. If you're in Seville, you must go to Eslava - but make sure you get there early otherwise you might have to wait a long time for a table (the first night we waited for 40 minutes but it was still worth it!).

And there you have my ultimate guide to Seville. Hopefully you have found this useful and, if you're planning a trip to Seville, then hopefully I've given you some ideas of what to see and do. Seville is the cheapest city I've visited so it's perfect if you're wanting to travel on a budget. Are you going away anywhere over summer?