Itinerary: Malaga, Andalusia, Spain (2 days)

Itinerary: Malaga, Andalusia, Spain (2 days)

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

Malaga is one of the sunniest destinations in Europe with an average of over 320 sunny days per year. The coastline is even named Costa del Sol (Coast of the sun) and there are plenty of beaches to be enjoyed.

In addition to it’s proximity to the sea, Malaga is a traditional Spanish city with modern bars, restaurants, and retail stores. The architecture has been influenced by previous rulers, with an Arabic citadel right by a Roman theater and catholic cathedrals.

I flew into Malaga to kick off my 16-day adventure in the region of Andalusia, staying for two days and then returning for another two before my return flight. Getting to Malaga is easy with its bustling international airport. From here, the cheapest and most efficient way to get down town is by the Cercanias (railway). There are airport buses, however, they are a little more expensive. Be aware that taxis have high airport tax added to fares. Alternatively, if you are arriving by land, buses or Bla Bla Car are great options.

Here are my recommendations for a 2 day itinerary in Malaga, Spain.

Heading to Spain? Check out my posts for Barcelona and Mallorca.

Day 1

Breakfast at Republica Malaga

For the start of our Andalusian trip, my friend and I stayed at Republica Malaga. Throughout my years of traveling, I have seen quite a few hostels but few that manage to achieve the comfy and homely atmosphere that Republica Malaga has. In fact, the entire hostel has been hand-decorated by one of the owners, Miriam. Miriam is also an avid traveler (just shy of 50 countries) and has taken inspiration from all the different hotels and hostels she has visited around the world.

Entrance-to-Republica-Malaga-Adoration-4-Adventure

The ambiance of the hostel is very social, and a lot of that comes from both Miriam’s decorating and bubbly personality. She wants to see guests having a good time and has plenty of recommendations for the city. She even helped us plan our itinerary, including many of the dining options included in this post.

Breakfast is provided complimentary to all guests and served buffet-style in the lounge and dining area. I was really impressed by the range of options with cereals, yogurts, toast, pastries, fruit, juices, teas, and coffee. I love long morning breakfasts and enjoyed sitting with a cup of coffee while chatting with other guests.

Free-breakfast-at-Republica-Malaga-Adoration-4-Adventure

Paseo del Parque and Paseo de la Farola

The first thing I would recommend doing in Malaga, is taking a stroll down Paseo de los Curas to Paseo de la Farola. Paseo de los Curas is a walkaway right by the port and has a striking white trellis structure overhead.

Paseo de la Farola is a perfect for sitting in the sun with a drink and some tapas. My friend, Katie, and I stopped in at a restaurant called Plaza to share Paella and bottle of white wine. For the location, the price wasn’t bad and the wine was actually very good. As a bonus, they gave us a glass of cava each. This is actually customary in the Andalusian region and many restaurants will usually serve a small complimentary liqueur with the bill.

Most of the restaurants in Paseo de la Farola will be a little more pricey because you are paying for the view of the port, however, there is a more economic option. The following day we visited Chopper and between three people, we shared a bottle of wine and tapas for €12.

After you’ve finished your meal, grab an ice cream and head to the beach, but be sure to come back through the leafy-green Paseo del Parque, opposite to Paseo de los Curas.

Centre Pompidou, Malaga, Andalusia, Spain

Playa de La Malagueta 

Every day in Malaga should be a beach day! Less than a fifteen-minute walk from the historical center and right next to the port is Malagueta beach. Even if it’s not warm enough to swim, still bring your beach towel so you can stretch out on the sand and soak up the sun.

Heading further east, you will find “Chiringuitos” – beach-side restaurants that specialize in espetos (grilled sardines on a skewer). In front, you will find old fishing boats transformed into fire-pits to cook fish. Some of the best Chiringuitos are in the old fishing neighborhood of Pedregalejo. I visited the area on my second visit to Malaga and loved the low key atmosphere and relaxed beach vibes.

Playa-de-La-Malagueta-Malaga-Andalusia-Spain

Dinner at La Casa Invisible

La Casa Invisible is an unexpected gem, with cheap drink and food options. Miriam from Republica Malaga brought a group of us here for dinner on our first night. The meals are a twist on traditional Spanish tapas and are very filling. The best part, in addition to the cheap drinks, is the atmosphere. It is situated in a courtyard with shady palms and a bubbling fountain. A great place to come with a group or a date.

Location: Calle Nosquera 11, Málaga, Spain

Day 2

Teatro Romanoa, Castillo de Gibralfaro and parador de Malaga

The architecture in Malaga is diverse, beginning with its oldest monument, the Roman theater, dating back to the first century BCE. It sits grandly in the center of Malaga, right next to the Alcazaba and path leading up to Castillo de Gibralfaro.

Castillo de Gibralfaro rises high above the city with magnificent views the whole walk up. The sights from parador de Malaga are free, and if you wish to enter the castle it’s free after 2 pm on Sundays.

Views-of-Malaga-from-Castillo-de-Gibralfaro-Malaga-Andalusia-Spain

La Alcazaba

In addition to Castillo de Gibralfaro, La Alcazaba is also free on Sunday after 2 pm. Alternatively, you can purchase tickets at the gates for a couple of Euros, or a joint ticket for a small saving. We happened to be in Malaga on a Sunday and explored the Arabic fortress palace with its stunning outlooks, arches, and fountains.

For other attractions, there are an impressive amount of museums in the city. I asked some locals for their favorites to narrow down the list for you:

  • Museo Picasso: free admission on Sundays after 2 pm
  • Centro de Arte Contemporaneo (CAC): free admission
  • Museo de Malaga: free admission for EU citizens and €1.50 for others
  • Centre Pompidou: free admission on Sundays after 4 pm
  • Coleccion del Museo Ruso: free admission on Sundays after 4 pm
  • Museo Carmen Thyssen: free admission on Sundays after 5 pm.

La-Alcazaba-Malaga-Andalusia-Spain

Wine from the barrell at Antigua Casa de Guardia

For a really unique drinking experience, head to Antigua Casa de Guardia. Here they serve sweet fortified wines (sherry) straight from the barrel. Miriam from Republica Malaga brought a group of us here from the hostel. A little glass of sweet wine was a nice way to start the night.

Location: Alameda Principal, 18, 29005 Málaga

Antigua-Casa-de-Guardia-Malaga-Andalusia-Spain

Dinner and drinks at La Tranca

For my first visit to Malaga, La Tranca was my favorite place to eat at and I only tried one thing – empanadas! This was another suggestion by Miriam of Republica Malaga and even got the nod of approval from an Argentinian friend. The flavors for the empanadas are listed on the wall and once you eat one, you will want to try them all!

On my second visit back to Malaga, I also dined at a tapas bar called Meson de Cervantes. It is a little more pricey than the other restaurants or bars that I have included in this post, but the food was top notch. Meson de Cervantes was suggested by a friend in Gibraltar. He also recommended “Tapeo de Cervantes”, so if you go, let me know how it is.

Location: Calle Carretería, 93, 29008 Málaga


Republica Malaga

Republica Malaga is a small and cozy hostel full of quirky personality. Each item, within the rooms, has been handpicked by Miriam and you can see the love that has gone into creating this wonderful place.

Situated in the center of the historical district, you couldn’t ask for a better location. Upon arrival, maps are available with all the major sites in Malaga. Make sure you grab one of their business cards too (you’ll see why when you get one).

Lounge-room-Republica-Malaga-Adoration-4-Adventure

My friend, Katie, and I stayed in a private double room with access to the two shared bathrooms. The kitchen is also shared if you prefer to stay in and cook. Both nights we were there Miriam invited the guests out to restaurants and bars. This gave us an opportunity to try local places and make new friends.

Republica Malaga is the kind of hostel that has guest extending their trips or coming back to Malaga. With one of the highest ratings on Hostelworld for Malaga, its definitely a crowd-pleaser.

Location: Antonio Baena Gomez 2, Málaga, Spain 29005

Website: https://www.republicamalaga.com/

Standard-double-private-room-Republica-Malaga-Adoration-4-Adventure.

My friend and I were complimentary guests of Republica Malaga, however, my opinion is my own and will always remain unbiased in order to provide the best recommendations to my readers.


Budget breakdown: Malaga

All costs are quoted for one person 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: Republica Malaga is a home-made hostel located in the historical center of Malaga. The spacious rooms include high ceiling and chandeliers, giving the rooms lots of light. Room options include a double room, twin room, triple room, 5 bed mixed dorm, and 5 bed female dorm. For the full list and current prices, please refer to Rooms.

Food: Republica Malaga provides a buffet-style continental breakfast to their guests each morning.

Day 1 – Paella and a shared bottle of wine between 2 for lunch at Plaza (€15), Baileys ice-cream from Conico (€3.80), wine and tapas for dinner at La Casa Invisible (€5.25), glass of wine at Casa Lola (€2.50).

Day 2 – Tosta and coffee with milk for lunch (€5.60), tapas and shared bottle of wine between 3 at Chopper (€4), glass of fortified wine at Casa Antigua de Guardia (€1.20), empanadas and wine at La Tranca (€10.30), glass of beer (€2.50).

Average daily spend: €25 each* ($26.67 USD and $35.29 AUD as of 19 April 2017) excluding accommodation.

*This daily amount could be reduced by skipping the wine and sticking to water.


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Adoration 4 Adventure’s 2 day itinerary for Malaga, Andalusia, Spain including Passeo del Parque, Malagueta, Alzacaba, and budget food recommendations.

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

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Travel for a cause: Volunteering with refugees in Calais, France

Travel for a cause: Volunteering with refugees in Calais, France

Adoration 4 Adventure’s recommendations for volunteering with refugees in Europe.

There are many reasons why people give to those that are less fortunate. Some have been in similar situations and want to help others the way that they were helped. For others, it’s the knowledge that it could just as easily be them in that position one day. After all, there are many events that are out of our control, and even the most financially secure person might need help during an economic crisis or war.

I chose to volunteer with refugees because I wanted to do something positive after seeing all the negative headlines and hateful comments towards asylum seekers. I truly believe that we are all global citizens, and are only separated by the barriers and borders that we create. As I am currently based in western Europe, I decided to volunteer in Calais, France.

The experiences I had while preparing and serving food to refugees was profound. If you are thinking about volunteering or looking for other ways to help, this article will provide information about the current situation in Calais and the organisations I was involved with.

Refugee-Community-Kitchen-Calais-France

Calais and Dunkirk

Up until 2016 there were over 8,000 people living in a Calais camp, referred to as the “Jungle”. The majority of camp residents had traveled to the north of France from Sudan, Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, Syria, Eritrea, and Pakistan. Their intention to cross into the United Kingdom and claim asylum on the basis of fear of persecution due to race, religion, nationality, or political views in their home country.

In October the French government destroyed the Jungle, deporting residents or moving them to camps in other parts of France. Many refugees remained in Calais, either sleeping on the city streets or in the surrounding woods. A new camp formed in Grande-Synthe, Dunkirk, 44 kilometers (27 miles) from Calais and by March 2016 the numbers had grown to around 2,000.

Living conditions in the camp were bleak. Only a few hundred shelters were available – tiny wooden boxes that housed up to 15 people in each. Other residents were forced to sleep in one of the two community kitchens. As there was not enough space, they would sleep in shifts and had nowhere to keep their belongings.

The majority of the refugees in Calais are men who are making the long journey on behalf of their family. After receiving asylum status in the UK, they would hope to bring their family over. There are many dangers involved, and some have been hit by cars or trains, and even drowned trying to cross over into the UK. Despite this, there are still families with young children who were living at the camp, waiting and hoping for a better life.

Urgent update: The Grande-Synthe Refugee Camp was destroyed by fire in April 2016 and residents have been moved into temporary shelters. Volunteer teams are working tirelessly to provide food and clothing after many lost the little belongings the owned. The situation is ever changing – however, volunteers, food, and monetary donations are still desperately needed. See the links at the bottom of the post for how you can help.

For more information about the fire at the Grande-Synthe Refugee Camp and the events immediately following, there are two articles from fellow volunteers: The Fires In Dunkirk Were An Entirely Preventable Catastrophe and Up In Flames.

Volunteers give out food in Calais. Source - The Guadian. Photograph - Philippe Huguen/AFP/Getty Images

Photo credit: Philippe Huguen/AFP/Getty Images (The Guardian).

Refugee volunteer organisations

I volunteered with Refugee Community Kitchen (RCK) at a warehouse in Calais, which they share with Help Refugees.

Refugee Community Kitchen (RCK)

RCK cooks and provides hot meals to the refugees living in Calais and Dunkirk. Until the camps were destroyed, they also provided food products through “free shops” so that residents could prepare their own meals in the community kitchens.

Website: http://refugeecommunitykitchen.com/

Help Refugees

Help Refugees is a non-profit organisation with over 80 projects in France, Italy, Greece, Turkey, Serbia, Lebanon, and Syria. In Calais, their warehouse received donated clothing which was then sorted by volunteers and distributed to the refugees in Calais and Dunkirk.

Website: http://www.helprefugees.org.uk/

 Help-Refugees-Warehouse-Calais-France

What is the cost of volunteering?

When considering to volunteer for any type of organisation, it is important to also think about the potential costs involved. It is great to be altruistic, however, not everyone has the same financial situation. Generally, opportunities can range from those that charge you to volunteer to those that pay. I would be very skeptical of any position that charges volunteers unless it was a reasonable sum to cover accommodation and living expenses.

Following is the information specific to my experience in Calais. Your volunteer organisation should outline whether food, accommodation and transport are provided.

Meals

The Help Refugees and RCK warehouse in Calais serve a large, nutritious lunch for all its volunteers on a daily basis. There are tea and coffee, as well as donated snacks and pastries. All other meals need to be sourced by the volunteers.

Transport

Calais is easily connected from Paris and London by frequent buses and ride-shares (such as Bla Bla Car). Ride shares can be found in the Facebook group, Uniting Volunteers, travel buddies (car & room share) – Refugee Crisis. If you are arriving in Calais at night, please be careful and don’t walk around alone.

Depending on where you stay in Calais, you might need transport to the warehouse but there will be other volunteers going back and forth you can carpool with.

Accommodation

For volunteers that commit for more than one month with Help Refugees or Refugee Community Kitchen, free accommodation may be provided in a shared trailer at the local camping grounds. For short term volunteers, the options range in cost:

  • Calais Youth Hostel (over 20 per night for a bed in a twin or triple room, includes breakfast)
  • Airbnb or share houses (starting at 10 per night for a bed in a shared room)
  • Les Palominos campsite (starting at 5 per night for a bed in a shared trailer).

Shared houses can be found in the Facebook group, Uniting Volunteers, travel buddies (car & room share) – Refugee Crisis.

Refugee-Community-Kitchen-loading-supplies-Calais-France

How you can help

No matter what your situation, there are ways that you can help. Last year I wasn’t able to volunteer so I donated money to various charities. Donating on behalf of friends and family is a great gift idea as well.

Donate money: Make a donation to Help Refugees or Refugee Community Kitchen.

Donate goods: Donate goods to Help Refugees and food to Refugee Community Kitchen.

Donate time: Register as a volunteer for Help Refugees or Refugee Community Kitchen.

Buy a Help Refugees shirt: Get your own Help Refugees shirt or sweater.

Refugee-Community-Kitchen-volunteers-preparing-food-Calais-France


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Adoration 4 Adventure's recommendations for volunteering with refugees in Calais, France with Help Refugees and Refugee Community Kitchen.

Have you ever traveled for a cause? Tell us about it below!

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Road trip: Ireland and Northern Ireland (6 days)

Road trip: Ireland and Northern Ireland (6 days)

Adoration 4 Adventure’s 6 day road trip itinerary for Ireland and Northern Ireland.

When I thought about traveling to Ireland, I knew there was only one way I wanted to do it – an epic road trip!

There are so many sites to visit and although it is possible to take tours from Dublin, I wanted to get off the “tourist trail”. Having a car gives you the freedom to explore at your own pace. And better yet – a camper provides the ultimate independence with a bed, kitchenette, table and chairs.

For this Irish road trip, I had the company of my friend Tamara and our “Aces” 2-Seater Camper from Wicked Campers Europe. I was excited to try traveling in a camper, and what better way than in a black and red Motorhead van called Lemmy. He definitely turned a few heads!

Here is my 6 day road trip itinerary for Ireland and Northern Ireland, including distances between stops and budget breakdown.

Aces-Wicked-Camper-Wicked-Campers-Dublin-Ireland.

Planning a trip to Europe? Check out local guides to London Airports, Plymouth, and Camden.

Day 1 – Dublin to Cork

Dublin

Before setting off on your Irish road trip, I definitely recommend a couple of days in Dublin. This is an international city with many expats and visitors, however, it still maintains it’s Irish culture.

To see the main attractions, try a free walking tour. Other popular activities include the Guinness Storehouse, Jameson Distillery, and Leprechaun museum (apparently very kitsch but a lot of fun!).

Have an obligatory Irish coffee in the Temple Bar area but for a real Irish pub experience, our walking tour guide recommended O’Donoghue’s on Baggot St. It is a lot bigger than it initially looks and has live Irish music.

Trinity-Collage-Dublin-Ireland

Glendalough (67.7 km / 42 miles from Dublin)

Going south from Dublin, skip the longer coastal road and head inland through Wicklow County. This will be the beginning of stunning scenery during your road trip.

First stop is at the Glendalough Monastic Site to explore the church ruins and hauntingly beautiful cemetery.

Glendalough-Monastic-Site-County-Wicklow-Republic-of-Ireland

Cork (258 km / 160 miles from Dublin)

Cork is the third largest city in Ireland and, in my opinion, the most charming (I might be a little biased as my father’s family came from Cork). This is a great place to stop for the night and stock up on groceries for the trip.

When the sun starts to set, try dinner at Gallagher’s Gastro Pub, then head to Crane Lane for a drink and a dance.

Day 2 – Cork to Kenmare

Cork 

It is easy to spend a half a day here and the city is very walkable. Take a stroll down Oliver Plunkett Street, stop for a coffee in the English Market, continue on for views from University College Cork (UCC), and end up in Fitzgerald’s Park for a picnic by the fountain.

Cork-Dublin-Ireland.

Blarney Castle (9.3 km / 5.7 miles from Dublin)

In the afternoon, it’s back in the van but the next stop isn’t far. Just 20 minutes outside of Cork is the infamous Blarney Castle. If you haven’t heard the tale, those who kiss the Blarney Stone receive the “gift of the gab”. This basically means that you are instantly transformed into a smooth talker. I kissed it and I am still waiting.

One thing I didn’t realize is that they hang you upside down to kiss the stone. Don’t worry, it is totally safe with a full-time employee there to hold onto you. Also, there are bars below so it’s not possible to fall.

The grounds also have a manor, waterfall, and Ireland’s only poison garden.

Blarney-Castle-County-Cork-Ireland

Kenmare (87.7 km / 54 miles from Blarney Castle)

Kenmare is located southwest, right near the Ring of Kerry. We stopped overnight to visit a friend that we made in Dublin. I love how “small town” it is. There are only a few main streets and two general stores – right across from each other! But don’t worry, there are plenty of pubs.

Aces-Wicked-Camper-Wicked-Campers-Kenmare-Ireland-Adoration-4-Adventure

Day 3 – Kenmare to Dingle

Killarney National Park (12.7 km / 7.8 miles from Kenmare)

After grabbing your Barry’s Tea to-go, get ready for the Ring of Kerry! The entire route can take a full day on its own – so if you have time, go for it. We just had a few hours but still enjoyed every minute of it.

Ring-of-Kerry-Ireland

From Kenmare, you can drive along a portion of the Ring of Kerry to Killarney National Park. There is no cost to enter unless you want to take a horse and cart ride from the characters out front. Otherwise, you can visit the Abby ruins, cemetery, and see the lake in less than half an hour by foot.

Killarney-National-Park-Killarney-Ireland

Inch Beach (39 km / 24 miles from Killarney National Park)

It’s time to see some of that rugged Irish west coast, starting with Inch Beach. This is a nice place to grab a tea or coffee (I basically spent my entire road trip with Barry’s Tea in my hand) and have a picnic from the back of your camper.

Inch-Beach-Ireland

Dingle (23 km / 14 miles from Blarney Castle)

Dingle was a highlight of our road trip for so many reasons. It’s a bit out of the way on the peninsula, but worth the extra time driving. For the perfect night out, have a pint in Dick Macks Pub, head to the Marina Inn Hotel for cheap Irish stew and Tom Crean beer, then end the night at An Droichead Beag (The Small Bridge in Irish) for the best Irish music in Dingle.

Dingle-Ireland

Day 4 – Dingle to Cliffs of Moher

Limerick (148 km / 91 miles from Dingle)

When you are driving from Dingle to Cliffs of Moher, there are many different towns to stop at along the way. However, there is nowhere else like Limerick. After being surrounded by green fields and quaint towns, Limerick is a shock to the senses with its industrial feel and vibrant residents. Visiting in Limerick, will definitely provide a contrast to the other destinations on your road trip.

We parked close to the Milk Market and had delicious tea and scones at a place called Ma’s. Be aware that parking here isn’t free and you will need to buy a parking ticket from one of the nearby stores (they have them at Ma’s). It’s an interesting system where you scratch off the date and time on the ticket and then place in your car window.

Arthurs-Quay-Limmerick-Ireland

Cliffs of Moher (78 km / 48 miles from Limerick)

I would recommend arriving at the Cliffs of Moher before sunset. These 320 million-year-old cliffs are notorious for being too foggy to get a good photo. When we visited in the evening, it was windy and chilly but we could see the cliffs and water. The next morning, we returned but you couldn’t see a meter in front of you. That’s why it’s good to go the day before, sleep nearby, and plan to return the next day. You will increase your chances of seeing these beauties.

Cliffs-of-Moher-County-Clare-Ireland.

Day 5 – Cliffs of Moher to Belfast

Mullingar (195 km / 121 miles from Cliffs of Moher)

After a huge Irish breakfast at Cliffs of Moher Hotel (you have to try it at least once in Ireland!), it’s a big drive to get to Belfast.

For a lunchtime stop, check out Mullingar. A great place to buy more groceries if you need them, or to chill out in one of the many cafes or restaurants. See if you can spot the Banksey Tribute and County Infirmary building on your way out of town.

County-Infirmary-Mullingar-Ireland

Belfast (181  km / 112 miles from Cliffs of Moher)

Crossing the border from the Republic of Ireland to Northern Ireland is almost unnoticeable, apart from the small welcome sign and change of line color on the roads. What you will quickly notice is that the speed signs are now in miles (not kilometers) and the currency is pounds (not euros).

Day 6 – Belfast to Dublin

Belfast

Outside of Belfast you can find parks to stop and have a picnic lunch. We spent time in Belvoir Park Forest to relax before driving into the city.

There are a few different free walking tours in Belfast, however, for something more substantial, I would recommend a political tour. On a one hour Black Cab Tour, our guide gave us the condensed history on how Ireland split into Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, as well as the divide between the protestants and catholic communities.

Apart from some basic understanding of the Irish Republican Army (IRA), I was amazed to realize how much I didn’t know about the conflict (referred to “The Troubles”) which is still apparent today. It is very eye opening to see a giant “Peace Wall” separating two parts of the city and street art propaganda on opposing sides.

Black-Cab-Tours-Belfast-Northern-Ireland

Bellinghamcastle (98 km / 61 miles from Belfast)

If you haven’t had enough of small Irish towns or castles, stop in at Bellingcastle on your way back to Dublin. The town seems to have been built around the castle, aptly named Castle Bellingham.

Bellinghamcastle-Castlebellingham-County-Louth-Ireland

Dublin (71 km / 44 miles from Bellinghamcastle)

And it’s back to Dublin, where we dropped Lemmy off at the Wicked Campers depot and took cheesy tourist photos that we will cherish as much as the memories from this incredible trip!

Aces-Wicked-Camper-Wicked-Campers-Dublin-Ireland-Chantell-Collins-Adoration-4-Adventure


Wicked Campers

Wicked Campers are all about cheap travel in wicked style while letting loose and having fun. If you have a fondness for freedom, an appetite for adventure, and a good sense of humor, then traveling in a Wicked Camper is definitely for you. This no-fuss method of travel gives you the ability to create and change your itinerary on a whim. Basically, you are a self-sufficient turtle with your home on your back – but even better because you don’t have to walk everywhere.

The Wicked camper vans are iconic with custom-designed paint jobs. Chances are you have already spotted one of these bold and colorful vans during your travels. Wicked have locations in Australia, New Zealand, Japan, as well as throughout the continents of North America, South America, and Europe.

Aces-Wicked-Camper-Wicked-Campers-Belfast-Northern-Ireland-Picnic-furniture-and-utensils

Wicked Campers Europe have depots in The Netherlands, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Germany, UK, and Ireland. Their vehicle fleeting includes 2 Seater Campervans, Minicamper 3-Sleepers, Safari 5-Sleeper Campers, and Premium Campers. All vehicles have space for sleep, so you never need to worry about or pay extra for accommodation.

My friend and I got to cruise around Ireland in a Wicked 2-Seater Camper. This camper comes with everything you need to have a fun and affordable road trip, including a large comfy bed, kitchenette, camp table, and stools. The van includes plenty of storage for your bags, while also converting into a table and chairs.

Aces-Wicked-Camper-Wicked-Campers-Belfast-Northern-Ireland-Chantell-Collins-Adoration-4-Adventure.

The back compartment of our van included a cooler (esky), gas cooker, saucepan, pot, bowls, plates, cups, cutlery, outdoor table, and chairs. We were able to save money on food by buying groceries and storing them at the back. Many times during our trip, we would pull over for lunch and make sandwiches from out the back of Lemmy.

Our Aces camper drove like a dream and we never had to worry because Wicked Campers Europe provides roadside assistance. We were also thoroughly informed on how Lemmy works, the general road rules for Ireland, and road trip suggestions at the time of pick up. If you are looking for more road trip suggestions for your own Wicked journey, check out Van Tour Europe.

Location: 37 Cherry Orchard Industrial Estate, Ballyfermot Dublin 10, Ireland

Website: http://www.wickedcampers.co.uk/

Aces-Wicked-Camper-Wicked-Campers-Belfast-Northern-Ireland-Kitchen-utensils

My friend and I were complimentary guests of Wicked Campers, however, my opinion is my own and will always remain unbiased in order to provide the best recommendations to my readers.


Budget breakdown: Ireland and Northern Ireland

All costs are quoted for two people and in the local currencies (EUR for Republic of Ireland and GBP for Northern Ireland). 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: We slept in our 2-Seater Camper from Wicked Campers Europe. To hire your own cheap campervan, check out Bookings & Quotes.

Food: We purchased groceries for snacks (fruit, protein bars, etc) and some lunches (bread, peanut butter and strawberry jam). I also purchase a bottle of soy milk which I would then use for my teas and coffees if we stopped in places that did not have dairy milk alternatives. Read my tips for traveling with a food preference or allergy.

Day 1 – Sandwich, soup and coffee from a service/gas station (€7), groceries (€12), Irish Tapas and a pot of tea in Gallagher’s Gastro Pub (€10).

Day 2 – Ham and cheese toastie and coffee in Fitzgerald Park (€8), coffee at Farmgate in the English Market (€3.2), tea from a service/gas station (€2.50), burger at Horseshoe in Kenmare (€12), 2 bottles of wine to share (€17.50).

Day 3 – Groceries (€15), tea (€1.50), glass of wine at Dick Macs in Dingle (€5.50), Irish stew and Tom Crean beer at the Marina Inn Hotel (€8.50), drinks at An Droichead Beag (€13).

Day 4 – Ham and cheese toastie and coffee at Strandhouse Cafe (€8.95), tea and a scone at Ma’s Kitchen in Limerick (€4.60), pea soup, lobster risotto and wine at Vaughan’s Anchor Inn (€25.90).

Day 5 – Irish breakfast at Cliffs of Moher Hotel (€9.95), ham and cheese toastie and soup at Cafe Bazaar in Mulligar (€5.95), coffee and scone (€4.60), groceries (€10).

Day 6 – Cup of tea and cookie from Costa Coffee (£3), sandwich and yogurt from a service/gas station (€6).

Activities: Entrance to Blarney Castle (€15), Black Cabs Political Tour (£10).

Transport: Fuel for 6 days split between two (€85.69).

Average daily spend: €50.38 each* ($54.32 USD and $70.37 AUD as of 22 March 2017) excluding the 2-Seater Camper.

*This daily amount could be reduced by eating out and drinking less.


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Adoration 4 Adventure’s 6 day road trip itinerary for Ireland and Northern Ireland, including stops in Dublin, Cork, Dingle, Cliffs of Moher and Belfast.

Have you traveled to Ireland and Northern Ireland or planning to anytime soon? Tell us about it below!

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Itinerary: Faro, Algarve, Portugal (2 days)

Itinerary: Faro, Algarve, Portugal (2 days)

Adoration 4 Adventure’s 2 day itinerary for Faro, Algarve, Portugal.

If I had to describe Faro in one sentence, it would be “a historic city with access to golden beaches and an incredible culinary scene”. Faro has managed to keep the balance of an authentic old town while providing a variety of modern bars, cafes, restaurants, and attractions to keep you entertained for days.

Faro hosts the major airport in the south of Portugal and is the gateway to the Algarve. Bring your swimmers and a hungry tummy. You are in for a treat because Faro is full of surprises.

Here are my recommendations for a 2 day itinerary in Faro, Portugal.

Planning a trip to Portugal? Check out my 2 day itinerary for Lisbon and 5 reasons to visit Porto.

Day 1

Breakfast at Porta Doze Guesthouse

Your culinary journey in Faro starts at Porta Doze Guesthouse. My friend, Tamara, and I stayed here for three nights during our trip in Portugal. Porta Doze is a cozy bed-and-breakfast located in the center of town and just a block away from the bus terminal.

Each morning the lovely Vânia would prepare a delicious breakfast from local ingredients. What made this even more special was how personalized she made the experience. After asking about our preferences, Vânia customized the meals to suit our tastes. For Tamara, it would be a plate of fresh fruits, yogurt, and granola served out on the terrace in the sun. For me, it was bread with cheese and jam sat down next to my laptop in the dining room. (I promise that I did sit out on the terrace at least once!).

And if that wasn’t sweet enough, there would always be a pastry like the “Pastel de nata” (a Portuguese egg tart) with coffee or tea.

Breakfast-at-Porta-Doze-Guesthouse-Faro-Portugal

Exploring the city center

After your glorious start to the day, step out and go exploring! Faro has shaded shopping streets, a cute marina, and a number of museums. You don’t have to wander far to find the perfect cafe or maybe even an ice cream.

Another site worth visiting is the Faro cathedral. Located within stone walls, it has a courtyard filled with orange trees (very reminiscent of Valencia, Spain) and restaurants. For a small fee, visitors can enter the church and climb to the top for views out to the sea.

Faro-Harbour-Faro-Portugal

Ilha Deserta

Have you ever wanted to visit a desert island? Well, here is your chance! Ilha Deserta is an uninhabited island with nothing but a restaurant and a few beach huts. The entire island can easily be walked around in less than an hour. It is also home to the most southern point of Portugal!

The beach on the south side is the perfect place to relax in peace. I recommend bringing a towel, sunscreen, bottle of water, and a good book. After you’ve finished enjoying the sun, stop in at the restaurant for a cold beer while waiting for your boat ride back to the mainland.

Ilha-Deserta-Faro-Portugal

Dinner at A Venda

A Venda was recommended by Rui, one of the owners of Porta Doze Guesthouse, as a good-value, local restaurant. The interior has a retro-design with crocheted placemats and mismatched furniture. There is a relaxed vibe and friendly staff who are happy to help with suggestions.

Tamara and I shared five small plates of food (pratinhos), a bottle of wine and a dessert. The price was really reasonable for the amount of food that we had. In fact, I wished I had of ordered more!

Dinner-at-A-Venda-Faro-Portugal

Day 2

Praia Faro

Get your beach towel out again, because it is time to hit Faro Beach. From Porta Doze Guesthouse,  it’s just one block to the bus terminal and then a short bus ride to the beach. In fact, it’s the same bus that takes you to Faro airport. So simple!

If you love the beach as much as I do, you will want to spend hours here just listening to the waves with your eyes closed, taking photos, or sleeping in the sun.

Faro-Beach-Portugal

Drinks at Hotel Faro

Another local recommendation from Rui was to see the sunset from the Hotel Faro rooftop bar. We came up here one evening and ordered cocktails while watching the sun go down. Even after dark, the view is magnificent with all the harbor lights. The cocktails aren’t too overpriced however weren’t very strong, so you might be better off ordering a glass of wine or beer. Either way, it’s a great way to start your evening in Faro.

Marina-and-Faro-Hotel-Faro-Portugal

Dinner at Portas de São Pedro

I am still raving about the food that I ate at Portas de Sao Pedro. This was one of those magical experiences where you stumble across a restaurant that looks good and it turns out to be amazing. We shared a bottle of wine, four dishes, and a dessert. I even accidentally ate octopus (I am not a fan of seafood) without realizing it, and loved it!

Our waiter was so much fun, chatting about life as a local in Faro and bringing different types of liqueurs to try for free. There was a lot of laughter and jokes shared, then at the end of the night, they took our photo for the restaurant. When you visit, let me know if we made the wall!


Porta Doze Guesthouse

Porta Doze Guesthouse is your home away from home in Faro. A four-bedroom family hotel with two shared bathrooms, a terrace, dining and lounge room. You will find yourself looking forward to your time here, as much as exploring outside.

Whether it’s curling up on the sofa with a magazine, sitting out on the terrace with a coffee, chatting in the kitchen with a glass of wine, singing along to one of the records, or taking a luxurious hot shower –  Porta Doze Guesthouse is to be savored.

Porta-Doze-Guesthouse-Dining-and-lounge-room

My friend and I stayed in the Citrus Room with twin beds, a wardrobe, table, and chairs, as well as its own private terrace with street view. The rooms are big with plenty of space to spread out.

I also loved all the windows which can either be opened up to let the light stream in or closed at night for a peaceful rest. Extra blankets and a heater are available for the cooler months. As well as a fan for summer.

Porta-Doze-Guesthouse-Twin-room-with-shared-bathroom

The decor is minimalist and modern, with personal touches everywhere you look. Even those who don’t usually appreciate interior design will be impressed. The owners, Rui and Joana have a knack for design. Check out the Porta Doze Guesthouse Instagram and see for yourself.

Location: Rua Miguel Bombarda 12, 8000 394 Faro – Algarve

Website: https://www.portadozeguesthouse.com/

Porta-Doze-Guesthouse-Back-terrace

My friend and I were complimentary guests of Porta Doze Guesthouse, however, my opinion is my own and will always remain unbiased in order to provide the best recommendations to my readers.


Budget breakdown: Faro

All costs are quoted for one person 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: Porta Doze Guesthouse provides bed and breakfast living in the Algarve. For a truly homely experience, this guesthouse offers four bedrooms for groups of families, friends, and couples. For the full list of accommodations and current prices, please refer to Rooms.

Food: Porta Doze Guesthouse serves breakfast each morning to their guests. They also have an “honest bar” where you can purchase drinks and snacks at your own convenience.

Day 1 – Bread rolls and ham from the supermarket for lunch (€1.49), beer on Ilha Deserta (€3.50), dinner with a bottle of wine at A Venda (€16.50).

Day 2 – Bread rolls and ham from the supermarket for lunch (€1.49), Snickers bar at Faro Beach (€0.90), cocktails at Hotel Faro (€16.00), dinner with a bottle of wine at Portas de São Pedro (€20.00).

Transport: Return boat ticket to Ilha Deserta (€15.00), return bus ticket to Faro Beach (€4.50).

Average daily spend: €39.69 each* ($41.98 USD and $55.25 AUD as of 8 March 2017) excluding accommodation and snack purchases from the Porta Doze Guesthouse honest bar.

*This daily amount could be reduced by skipping the wine and sticking to water.


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Adoration 4 Adventure’s 2 day itinerary for Faro, Algarve, Portugal. Including Ilha Deserta, Faro Beach, and many Portuguese culinary delights.

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

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

Adoring Albufeira in the Algarve, Portugal

Adoring Albufeira in the Algarve, Portugal

Adoration 4 Adventure’s recommendations for adoring Albufeira in the Algarve, Portugal.

Are you searching for a European beach holiday that is spectacular yet inexpensive? Well, look no further than Albufeira in the Algarve. The Algarve is a coastal area in the south of Portugal with consistently good weather year-round. This stretch of golden sands is well connected with an airport in Faro, as well as buses and trains from the capital of Lisbon.

The summers are meant to be superb and as a winter escape, you can’t go wrong. After hearing rave recommendations, my friend Tamara and I decided to add Albufeira to our Portugal itinerary. We visited in early March and were thrilled to find weather warm enough for bikinis! At this time of year, there aren’t too many places in Europe where you can expect temperatures fit for frolicking on the beach.

And if that wasn’t good enough, throw in fresh seafood feasts, Portuguese hospitality, and luxury hotels. Are you booking your flights yet?

Here are my recommendations for adoring Albufeira in the Algarve.

Planning a trip to Portugal? Check out my 2 day itinerary for Lisbon and 5 reasons to visit Porto.

Praia-dos-Olhos-de-Agua-Albufeira-Portugal-Chantell-Collins-Adoration-4-Adventure

Albufeira

If you are flying into Faro, it is just a 35-minute bus ride to Albufeira. From Lisbon, Albufeira can be reached either by bus or train (both around 3 hours and €20-30 one way). We chose the bus as it stopped at the Albufeira bus depot, where we could transfer onto a bus to our resort, Velamar Boutique Hotel.

Albufeira has everything you need for retail therapy, and just outside the center are beautiful beaches waiting to be explored. The old town is located in Praia dos Pescadores (beach of the fishermen) and has a lively nightlife with pubs and karaoke bars. We visited on our first night to eat dinner at Ruina (ruin), as recommended by the Velamar Boutique Hotel manager, Jose. The restaurant is in an old fortress and located right on the sea. If you are a fan of seafood then this is a treat not to be missed.

The Velamar Boutique Hotel is located in Olhos d’Água (eyes of water) which is walking distance to not one but three magnificent beaches! The area itself has many amenities including supermarkets, bakeries, clothing stores, bars, and restaurants. You can easily spend your whole time hanging out at the hotel and beaches, without ever venturing into the center.

Praia-Maria-Luisa-Albufeira-Portugal

Praia dos Olhos de Agua

Moving from east to west, the first of three beaches located near Velamar Boutique Hotel is Praia dos Olhos de Agua. This beach has a number of sea-front restaurants providing an opportunity to dine in the sun and soft sea breeze. We stopped in at Restaurante La Cigale twice for mid-afternoon drinks. Tamara also tried the soup and fish, both which she loved.

The beach has many little coves which make the perfect place to lay down your towel, stretch out in the sun and read a book. We spent a whole afternoon doing only this.

Praia-dos-Olhos-de-Agua-Albufeira-Portugal

Praia Maria Luisa

Maria Luisa is the closest beach to the hotel and was also the beach with the least amount of people when we visited. Although we were there in the off-season so it was very quiet and relaxed anyway. Besides being another great beach to relax and walk on, there are stairs that lead to the top of the cliffs for awesome ocean views.

There aren’t any restaurants near the beach front, however, there are many on Albufeira street closer to the hotel. My favorite was 3 Maria’s where you can get a “Menu do dia” for €13. This includes a starter, main course, dessert and half a bottle of wine. For a sit-down dinner in a charming restaurant, the value is unbelievable.

Praia-Maria-Luisa-Albufeira-Portugal-Chantell-Collins-Adoration-4-Adventure

Praia de Santa Eulalia

With all this eating and laying around, a stroll can be great to stretch the legs. Santa Eulalia is a long and wide beach that is nice to walk up and down. This would be a good option if you are looking to go for a jog as well. Tamara and I had grand plans to work out while we were in Albufeira but it never happened. And that’s okay because when you are on holidays, it’s all about enjoying yourself!

The layers and textures of the colored sands at Praia de Santa Eulalia are very striking as well. All three beaches are unique and worth a visit.

Praia-de-Santa-Eulalia-Albufeira-Portugal

Velamar Boutique Hotel Pool

If you happen to get sick of beaches (is that even possible?) or feel like a change of pace, then there is the pool at Velamar Boutique Hotel. During summer there are sun loungers and a pool bar to help keep you hydrated.

Velamar-Boutique-Hotel-Outdoor-pool-Albufeira-Portugal


Velamar Boutique Hotel

Velamar is a boutique hotel that is both luxurious and affordable. The building was recently renovated and the decor is ocean-inspired with soft blue and green tones. There are many premium amenities including a stylish hotel bar, games area and meeting room.

Velamar-Boutique-Hotel-Lounge-Bar-Albufeira-Portugal

We stayed in the Classic Room that comes with either a double or twin beds. Our room was very spacious with a huge closet, en-suite and balcony. There is also a television, mini fridge, and facilities to make tea and coffee. The sliding glass doors and curtains can be opened up during the day for the breeze and sun. At night they provide a thick barrier for a peaceful sleep.

Velamar-Boutique-Hotel-Classic-Room-Albufeira-Portugal

Buffet breakfast is included for all guests at Velamar Boutique Hotel. The restaurant is located on the top floor and has sea views. One of the best parts of my day was leisurely breakfasts with multiple courses and coffees while looking out at the ocean. Breakfast includes a range of cereals, bread, pastries, cold cuts, cheeses, fruits, and juices as well as two coffee machines. There is also usually a choice of freshly cooked eggs, which the servers will tell you about once you are seated.

The staff at Velamar Boutique Hotel are multilingual, friendly and helpful. The hotel manager, Jose, and the team went out of their way to make sure our stay was memorable.

Location: Estrada de Albufeira, Olhos d’Água, 8200-635 Albufeira, Algarve

Website: http://www.velamar.pt/

Velamar-Boutique-Hotel-Restaurant-Buffet-Breakfast-Albufeira-Portugal

My friend and I were complimentary guests of Velamar Boutique Hotel, 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 recommendations for adoring Albufeira in the Algarve, Portugal. Including Praia dos Olhos de Agua, Maria Luisa and Santa Eulalia.

Have you traveled to Albufeira and Lagos or planning to anytime soon? Tell us about it below!

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4 great getaways from Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain

4 great getaways from Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain

Adoration 4 Adventure’s recommendations for 4 great getaways from Barcelona, Spain.

The words “getaway” and “Barcelona” don’t sound like they belong in the same sentence. Why would anyone want to get away from Barcelona? Believe me, I am with you on that. I’m crazy about this city and am not shy to show it (it’s my favorite European city and in my top 5 of the world). So much so that I spent almost a month based here. And what a month it was!

Barcelona is easily worth a month (or more) of your time. However, it is still nice to get out of the city and explore other surrounding areas. The public transport system is easy to use and relatively inexpensive. Within just few hours you could find yourself in a totally different region or country.

Here are my recommendations for great getaways from Barcelona.

Heading to Spain? Check out my posts for Barcelona and Mallorca.

Montserrat (1 day)

Montserrat is the most well-known day trip from Barcelona. The monastery is just over an hour out of the city and easily accessible by a combination of train and rail or train and cable car. Alternatively, if you have a car, you can drive. There are many ticket options available on the website and it can be confusing. My friends and I bought our train and rail pass from the ticket office at Plaza Espana.

Once you arrive, there is no actual entrance fee unless you want to visit the Museum, Audiovisual Space, or take a ride on a funicular. Access to the grounds and the Basilica are free. Inside the church, you can view the famed Our Lady of Montserrat statue.

There are also numerous hikes, which were my favorite part. Visit the tourist office to pick up a map so you can find views like these.

Montserrat-Spain

Girona (1-2 days)

I visited Girona as a day trip, however, it could also be stretched into a lazy weekend. By train, it is 40 minutes from Barcelona Sants station and costs around €25 return. For photographers, this city is a dream with a mixture of cultures and architectures. A majority of the activities are free or less than €5 so it’s also a destination that suits budget-conscious travelers.

Here are some of the things you can do during your visit to Girona:

  • Walk through the Jewish Quarter and visit Europe’s smallest plaza
  • Visit the Santa Maria Cathedral and Arab Baths
  • Explore the garden and church ruins
  • Walk along the city wall and take photos of the incredible views
  • Eat delicious ice cream from Rocambolesc (there is also a location in Barcelona)
  • Visit the Cinema Museum.

River-onya-Girona-Spain

Valencia (2-3 days)

I visited Valencia for 2 and a half days and absolutely loved it. It takes 4 hours by bus from Barcelona, so is not possible as a day trip but you wouldn’t want to spend less time here anyway. Life is meant to be enjoyed in Valencia and there is absolutely no rushing.

Valencia is in the region of Comunitat Valenciana with the official languages of Valencian and Castilian (Spanish). English is also widely spoken. As a different region with a different language, it is nice to see the contrast to Barcelona (located in the region of Catalonia with the language of Catalan). it is also a University city, so there are also many young international students.

Read my 2 day itinerary for Valencia, Spain.

Plaza-de-la-Virgen-Valencia-Spain

Andorra la Vella (2-3 days)

Andorra is the sixth smallest nation in Europe, located on the borders of Spain and France, and close to the Pyrenees Mountains. From Barcelona, you can take a direct bus to the capital of Andorra la Vella in 3 hours.

Andorra la Vella is small but picturesque with a mountain backdrop. The city itself can be explored in a few hours and is probably not worth a day trip unless you are counting countries or looking to shop. The attached neighborhood of Escaldes-Engordany is like a giant outdoor outlet store.

The majority of visitors to Andorra come here for the skiing and stay up in the mountains. The other option for visitors to Andorra la Vella is one of their luxurious spas.

Andorra-la-Vella-Girona-Spain


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Adoration 4 Adventure's recommendations for 4 great getaways from Barcelona, Spain. Including Montserrat, Girona, Valencia and Andorra.

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

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