Highlights of Asturias, Spain

Highlights of Asturias, Spain

Adoration 4 Adventure’s highlights of Asturias, Spain.

When people think about visiting Spain, the first thing that usually comes to mind is metropolitan Madrid or energetic Barcelona. For the beach lovers, the Balearic Islands, Canary Islands, or sunny region of Andalusia may be on the top of your list.

However, there is much more than the tourist hot-spots. Spain has 17 regions with distinct cultures, landscapes, and even different languages.

I had the pleasure of being based in the northern region of Asturias for eight months. The lesser-known Asturias is a natural paradise with cooler weather, luscious forests, and spectacular beaches. The northern route of the Camino de Santiago also passes through many of its cities.

Here are my highlights from Asturias, Spain.

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



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Gijon

The three major cities of Asturias are Gijon, Oviedo, and Aviles. In my opinion, Gijon is the nicest but as this was my base, I might be a little biased. Also, unlike the others, Gijon is right on the beach. Oviedo is a more of a historic city with beautiful architecture. Aviles has an estuary and major river running through it.

In addition to San Lorenzo beach, which is great for surfing, paddle boarding, swimming, or just soaking up the sun, Gijon also has some great seaside walks. The La Nora route, starting in Gijon, stretches east along 10 kilometers (6 miles) of stunning coastline. My friends and I packed a picnic and went at a leisurely pace, returning in less than four hours.

Lastres (Llastres)

Lastres, or LLastres in Asturiano, is a fishing town located 42 kilometers (26 miles) from Gijon. Referred to as one of the most beautiful and typical Asturian towns, this makes a great place  for lunch or a swim at the beach.

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Covadonga

The most revered and famous sites in Asturias, Covadonga’s main attraction is a church within the mountains.

During the summer season, it is possible to arrive here by bus but is much more convenient to visit by car. Also be aware that during the warmer months it can get crowded with tourists on weekends.

A windy drive up the hill will take you to lush fields full of grazing cattle and smooth lakes that are not swimmable but perfect for picture taking.

Mirador del Fitu

Mount Fitu was one of the favorite spots that I visited during my time in Asturias. There are plenty of hiking trails and panaromic views to be enjoyed.

Mirador del Fitu, Asturias - Adoration 4 Adventure

Taramundi

A rural town with a history of craftsmanship, in Taramundi you can find museums for watermills, knifemaking, and textiles in addition to the breathtaking scenery.

Ribadesella

Ribadesella is another coastal location with an inland beach close to the center, and more beaches across the bridge. The great thing about Ribadesella is that you can get here easily by Alsa bus from Gijon, Oviedo, and Aviles.

During a road trip from Gijon to Covadonga, we stopped here for a relaxing drink by the ocean.

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Cangas de Onis

After Covadonga, Cangas de Onis is considered to be one of the holiest sites in Asturias. The town itself is very pretty and nice to walk around, however, the main attraction is the Roman bridge with the Victory Cross.

In the past two years, I have not stayed in one place for more than 4 months at a time. ✈️ . And… I traveled to approximately 37 countries between the beginning of 2015 and end of 2016 🤗. . In 2017, I will be based in Europe and be doing more traveling! With my first trip in January to Palma de Mallorca, Spain! 🇪🇸 . ❓What will be your first big trip of 2017? . . #adoration4adventure #darlingescapes #dametraveler #digitalnomads #europe_vacations #exploringtheglobe #finditliveit #getaway #ilovetravel #instago #instatravel #landscape #lifewelltravelled #livetravelchannel #lonelyplanet #MyTinyAtlas #passionpassport #thatsdarling #thehappynow #travelawesome #traveler #wanderwisely #writetotravel

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Cudillero

When describing the beauty of Cudillero, many people liken it to the infamous Cinque Terre in Italy. This charming village is dreamlike both at day and in the evening when all the buildings are lit up.

Take a stroll through town and stop for a bit to eat. Typical for a fishermen’s town, the specialty is seafood.

Cudillero, Asturias, Spain - Adoration 4 Adventure


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Adoration 4 Adventure’s highlights of Asturias, Spain including Gijon, Covadonga, Cangas de Onis, Ribadesella, Lastres, and Cudillero.

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

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Eating and biking around Riga, Latvia

Eating and biking around Riga, Latvia

 Adoration 4 Adventure’s recommendations for eating and biking around Riga, Latvia.

There are many ways to a see a city – by foot, by bus, or even by boat. All of these options are possible in Riga, Latvia. However, on my recent visit there with Sally of Passport and Plates Travel Blog, we decided to get to know the city through its food and on the back of bicycles.

Sally and I teamed up with E.A.T. Riga Tours to try out their Riga Food Tasting Tour (2 hours) and Beautiful Riga Bike Tour (2-3 hours) over two consecutive days. I couldn’t have imagined a better way to get to know the city, its landmarks, culture, and history.

Here is how we biked and ate our way around Riga, Latvia.

Planning a trip to Latvia? Read how to find adventure and nature in Sigulda, Latvia.

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Pictured with Sally of Passport and Plates Travel Blog: http://passportandplates.com/

Riga Food Tasting Tour

The food tasting tour is a walking tour of the Central Market, followed by a lunch of Latvian foods at Desa & Co restaurant. We met our group and then set off in the direction of the Central Market. Our tour guide, Agnese, shared a summarized history of the city while we walked. She was friendly, charming, and happy to answer any questions.

I had walked briefly through the Central Market on my first day, however, without having the history and background of the market, the experience was nowhere near as enjoyable as it was on the food tasting tour.

There are actually different areas of the market for meat, vegetables, pastries, clothing, and flowers. This market is a great attraction for tourists but is also a marketplace that is used by locals daily.

Central Market, Riga, Latvia - Riga Food Tasting Tour - Adoration 4 Adventure

After visiting the market, we were excited to try some traditional Latvian food. When we arrived at the restaurant, Dessa & Co, the tables were set with dishes to taste. I was intrigued to try a new cuisine and was pleasantly surprised by a few dishes including the marinated cabbage with beetroot, and the cottage cheese pastry for dessert (lucky for me – there were some left at the end of the lunch so I got to eat 3 or 4!).

The serving portions weren’t too big but were enough to fill the tummies of all the people on the tour. I felt like it was a nice introduction to the city and enjoyed the small group size of around 10 people. Private tours are also available upon request.

Food Tasting Tour Menu

Website: http://www.eatriga.lv/food-drink/riga-food-tasting-tour/

  • Lightly salted pickles
  • Marinated cabbage with beetroot
  • Rye bread with carrots
  • Pīrāgi (savory pastry with bacon)
  • Vecrīga (sweet pastry with cottage cheese)
  • Hemp butter
  • Jāņu siers (traditional cheese with caraway seeds)
  • Ievas siers (cheese with pesto)
  • Deer, pork and bison salami from Desa & Co
  • Kvass (non-alcoholic drink)

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Beautiful Riga Bike Tour

Website: http://www.eatriga.lv/bike-tours/beautiful-riga-bike-tour/

For the second day, it was time to hit the road! Both Sally and I were actually a little nervous as we were not confident about riding on the roads. Luckily for us, the bike tour was mostly based on pathways and bike lanes, with only a few small sections on the road. I never felt unsafe, and actually had a lot of fun. After this tour, I even felt brave enough to bike around Copenhagen, Denmark.

The tour begins in the Old Town, where the team fitted us with bicycles and helmets (optional). Soon we were off, zooming towards the Daugava River, stopping on the bridge to take a few photos and enjoy the views. We crossed to the island of Kipsala, an area with older wooden-style houses, some of which have been renovated while others wait to be purchased and made over.

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After Kipsala, the tour crosses back into the “Quiet Centre” where you can find amazing architecture in Art Nouveau style. This is the area where Sally and I stayed, and is a great location within walking distance to the center while not being too loud or busy. On the way back to the starting point, the tour also passes through the beautiful green parks.

One of my favorite features was our guide sharing the historic moments when Latvia regained its independence and pointing out the related landmarks. If you are interested in seeing the beautiful highlights of the city, learning about its history, while getting fresh air and exercise, then the Beautiful Riga Bike Tour is the way to go.

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I was a complimentary guest of E.A.T. Riga Tours and the Investment and Development Agency of Latvia, 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 eating and biking around Riga, Latvia. A review of Beautiful Riga Bike Tour and Riga Food Tasting Tour.

Have you visit Riga or planning to anytime soon? Tell us about it below!

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Finding adventure and nature in stunning Sigulda, Latvia

Finding adventure and nature in stunning Sigulda, Latvia

Adoration 4 Adventure’s recommendation for finding adventure and nature in stunning Sigulda, Latvia.

Where can you find a destination that provides both stunning sceneries as well as activities for adventure-lovers? Well, take a flight to the Latvian capital of Riga, then a short train ride to the tip of the Gauja National Park. Here you will find Sigulda, a charming town packed full of nature and adventure attractions, many of which can be accessed by foot.

And if that wasn’t enough, it is also in a gastronomic region specializing in “Wild at palate” cuisines featuring ingredients from the local forests.

I spent two action-packed days here and was blown away by how much there is to offer in this lovely location. Following is all that I enjoyed during my visit. If you are looking for more thrills, they also have cable car rides, zip lines, and bungee from above the Gauja National Park.

Planning a trip to northern Europe? Read my guide to Tallinn, Estonia for first-time visitors.

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Adventure

Bobsleigh and Luge Track

Location: Šveices iela 13

Website: http://tourism.sigulda.lv/bobsleigh-and-luge-track-sigulda-/

When it comes to bobsleigh, luge, and skeleton, Latvia excels. Latvian athletes have been awarded an impressive amount of medals for these sports in the Olympics and other world championships.

Sigulda can be referred to as an “Olympic City” as the home of several medalists as well as a Bobsleigh and Luge Track. This 6-floor high track was designed for competitions and training. It is one of the only tracks of this kind opened to the public.

All visitors to Sigulda have the opportunity to walk along the 1200+ meter long track. During the period between May and September, it is possible to enjoy a bobsleigh ride on wheels reaching up to 85km (52 miles) per hour. Then in the winter from November until mid of March, you can take a ride in a “soft bob”, a bobsleigh with padding that can achieve speeds of 80km (49 miles) per hour.

 Bobsleigh and Luge Track, Sigulda, Latvia - Adoration 4 Adventure

Adventure Park Tarzans

Location: Peldu iela 1

Website: http://www.tourism.sigulda.lv/adventure-park-tarzans-eng/

Adventure Park Tarzans is a must-visit for all thrill seekers. The largest outdoor adventure park in the Baltics has a surprising amount of experiences, including paintball shooting, archery, obstacle course, and many rides. There is something for every member of the family.

Upon arrival, we took the toboggan down the slope. The cart zooms along a track, winding through bends and turns, reaching up to 40km (24 miles) per hour. There is a brake so you can control your own speed. Once reaching the bottom, I was excited to try the Crazy Roller, a giant circular cage that rolls 360 degrees with its passengers inside. I have visited a lot of theme parks in my life, however, this was a new ride for me.

After pumping up our adrenaline, it was time to relax with the chairlift back up to the top of the slope. This two-person ride gives incredible views of the Gauja Valley.

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Camping, canoeing, kayaking, and rafting with Makars

Locations: Siguldas pludmale, Peldu 2, Sigulda and Canoe camping, Gaujas 36, Ligatne

Website: http://makars.lv/en.html/

For a combination of both natural beauty and adventure, look no further than Makars. With two locations in Sigulda and Ligatne, Makars offers tours and rentals for canoeing, kayaking, or rafting. Camping is also available if you want to extend your time being close to nature.

At Makars with Monta of Sigulda Development Agency and Sally of Passport and Plates

At Makars with Monta of Sigulda Development Agency and Sally of Passport and Plates. Photo credit: Makars

During my visit to Sigulda, we took a 2-person kayak along the Gauja River. Makars transported us and the kayaks to Ligatne, where we began our peaceful down-river journey. This route is 25km (15 miles) and took an hour to return to the Sigulda site by kayak. No previous kayaking experience is necessary. There are also longer routes of up to 210km (130 miles) over seven days.

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Nature and history

Livonian Order Sigulda Castle

Location: Pils iela 18

Website: http://tourism.sigulda.lv/castle-of-livonian-order-in-sigulda/

Within the valley of Sigulda, there are three historic castles, all of which should be explored. The first we visited, was the Livonian Order Castle. This medieval castle was built by German “warrior monks” known as the Livonian Brothers of the Sword.

Now over 800 years old after surviving wars, changes of ownership, restoration, and finally reopening to the public in 2012. Within the complex, there is a viewing deck of the valley from which you can see all the way to Krimulda Manor. At the entrance of the property, there are a few gift stores including a shop that makes the iconic Sigulda walking sticks. Here you can watch the process of the walking sticks being made.

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Turaida Museum Reserve

Location: Turaidas iela 10

Website: http://tourism.sigulda.lv/turaida-museum-reserve/

The historical center of Turaida stretches across 42 hectares of protected land and monuments. The jewel of the museum reserve is the Turaida Stone Castle. Visitors can climb the 5-storey high main tower for 360-degree views of the valley and surrounds.

There is also a unique Folk-song Park with 26 spiritual statues in homage to Latvian folklore. The statues were created by hand in 1985, and on national holidays the area is filled with traditional folk music.

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Gutman’s Cave

Location: Turaidas iela 2a

Website: http://tourism.sigulda.lv/gutman-s-cave/

In a mystical place like Sigulda, there is bound to be at least one fable. Gutman’s Cave is the center of the tragic and beautiful tale of the Rose of Turaida. This story can be found in many places in Sigulda, including the Turaida Museum Reserve, and is best experienced in person. However, if you can’t wait until your visit, you can read more on the Sigulda Tourism website.

Within the cave, there are inscriptions dating back to the 17th century, commissioned by nobles to display their family names and coat of arms.

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Hiking to Krimulda Manor

Location: Mednieku iela 3

Website: http://tourism.sigulda.lv/krimulda-manor/

To see the third castle within the valley, we decided to go by foot. Sigulda is made for hiking, with many cared for trails and walking tracks. There are signs to help you find your way. Walking from the center of town takes you past Adventure Park Tarzans, then across the Gauja River.

The beauty of the forest makes the journey just as good as the final destination, and you may find yourself smiling blissfully and falling more in love with Sigulda with each step.

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Eating and drinking

Doma

Location: L. Paegles 15a

Website: http://tourism.sigulda.lv/doma-en/

Doma provides a low-key and relaxed dining whether it be for lunch or dinner. This place is highly recommended by locals, with fresh ingredients and outdoor seating available. We split a burrito and homemade burger for lunch, both of which were tasty and satisfying without being too heavy.

Mr. Biskvits

Location: Ausekļa iela 9

Website: http://tourism.sigulda.lv/cafe-and-bakery-mr–biskvits-eng/

Mr. Biskvits is a popular lunch-time favorite and all for good reason. The atmosphere is cozy and chic with rich warm interior colors and the delicious smell of pastries. We came here for coffee and cake, grabbing a corner table and relaxing to the soothing tunes while enjoying our drinks.

Mr.-Biskvits-Sigulda-Latvia-Adoration-4-Adventure

Accommodation

Hotel Sigulda

Location: Pils iela 6

Website: http://hotelsigulda.lv/en/

Hotel Sigulda is located walking distance from the train station. It couldn’t be easier to arrive, from a short stroll to the hotel followed by a swift and friendly check-in. I stayed in the standard double room on the ground floor and was excited to find a bath tub in my room (just what you need after an action-packed day!). The room is spacious and comfortable, also with a desk so you can work if needed.

We also had dinner and breakfast the following morning in the hotel. Dinner was an absolute treat with three-courses made from local produce. Breakfast is served buffet-style and has a huge variety to choose from. There is a patio out the front of Hotel Sigulda, so even if you don’t stay here, it is still a lovely place to come for a coffee or glass of wine.

Hotel-Sigulda-Sigulda-Latvia-Adoration-4-Adventure

I was a complimentary guest of Sigulda Development Agency and the Investment and Development Agency of Latvia, however, my opinion is my own and will always remain unbiased in order to provide the best recommendations to my readers.


Pin it for the next adventure!

Adoration 4 Adventure's recommendation for finding adventure and nature in stunning Sigulda, Latvia including hiking, kayaking, and Turaida Museum Reserve.

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

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

A guide to Tallinn, Estonia for first-time visitors

A guide to Tallinn, Estonia for first-time visitors

Adoration 4 Adventure’s guide to Tallinn, Estonia for first-time visitors.

Tallinn is one of those cities that wooed me. After spending a week there and learning about life in this charming city, I was all set to move in!

Before arriving, I knew very little about Estonia. Apart from the fact that it is located in the north of Europe, one of the Baltic countries, and had formerly been occupied by the Soviet Union. These are all true but are just a small part of what makes this a culturally rich and dynamic destination.

Since its independence in 1991, Estonia has made leaps in progress, especially in the technology sector with famous companies, such as Skype and Transferwise, getting their start here. Estonia is a hub for entrepreneurs and has one of the highest percentages of start-ups per person in the world.

The quality of life for Estonians is also advanced with free healthcare and education (including bachelors and masters), subsidized medication, 18 months paid maternity leave, online voting, and online submission of tax returns. Residents of the capital have access to free public transport in the center.

Not only does Estonia offer incredible benefits for those who live there, but also treasures for those who visit. Following is my guide for first-time visitors to Tallinn, Estonia including what to do, where to eat, and day trips outside the capital.

Planning a trip to northern Europe? Read my one day itinerary for Helsinki, Finland.

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Top 5 places to visit in Tallinn

There are so many attractions to see, that it is hard to narrow it down. However, these were a few of my favorite spots.

The Kadriog Park and Palace, Hellemann Tower, and Tallinn Television Tower are all included on the Tallinn Card, which is available for 24, 48, or 72 hours. The card gives free access to over 40 museums and sights, 3-hour free bike rental, free public transport, and many discounts for tours, cafes, and restaurants.

The Tallinn Card PLUS includes a free tour, with an option for either a hop-on, hop-off bus, or Russian-Language walking tour of the Old Town. For obvious reasons, I went with the first option. The hop-on, hop-off bus provides a convenient way to see the attractions and hear about the history of the city through the onboard audio guide. It also makes it easier to access the further away sites such as Kadriog Palace and the TV Tower.

An important fact to note is that many of the museums are closed on Mondays, so plan your trip accordingly.

Kadriorg Park and Palace

Free entrance with Tallinn Card.

Location: August Weizenbergi tänav 37, Kesklinna linnaosa

Website: https://www.visitestonia.com/en/kadriorg-palace

The palace was built under the orders of Tsar Peter the Great of Russia, in honor of his wife. Currently, it holds the foreign art collection from the Estonian Art Museum. The gardens are well manicured and colorful, and there is a cute cafe on site where you can grab a latte after you finish exploring.

Kadriorg-Park-and-Palace-Tallinn-Estonia-for-first-time-visitors-Adoration-4-Adventure

Telliskivi Loomelinnak (Creative City)

Free entrance into the urban center.

Location: Telliskivi tänav 60a, Põhja-Tallinna linnaosa

Website: https://www.visitestonia.com/en/telliskivi-loomelinnak

Telliskivi is an artistic community and collection of creative businesses, bars, and restaurants. The area which was once a railway factory has been transformed into a vibrant space. Weekly flea markets are held here on Saturdays, as well as other cultural events.

Telliskivi is walking distance from the Old Town.

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Hellemann Tower and Town Wall

Free entrance with Tallinn Card.

Location: Müürivahe tänav 48, Kesklinna linnaosa

Website: https://www.visitestonia.com/en/hellemann-tower

The Old Town has many viewing points and some of the best should be stumbled upon by chance while walking around. One of my favorites was The Hellemann Tower. From here you can see the contrast between the Old Town and modern city center while standing between the two on a medieval city wall.

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St. Alexander Nevsky Cathedral

Free entrance.

Location: Pikk 64-4

Website: https://www.visitestonia.com/en/alexander-nevsky-cathedral

Orthodox churches are eye-catching due to their distinguishing architecture. The St. Alexander Nevsky Cathedral is beautiful to gaze at from the outside, and its domes appear in the Old Town skyline from many different viewpoints, offering great photo opportunities.

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Tallinn Television Tower

Free entrance with Tallinn Card.

Location: Kloostrimetsa tee, Pirita linnaosa

Website: https://www.visitestonia.com/en/tallinn-television-tower

Construction of the Tallinn Television Tower began in 1975 and was officially opened in 1980. The TV Tower is the tallest building in Estonia, with panoramic views of the capital and the Gulf of Finland. The experience center provides historical information in a fun and interactive way. For those who are more daring, you can also pay extra to “Walk on the Edge”.

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Eating and drinking

Café Dannebrog

Location: Lühike jalg 9

Website: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Cafe-Dannebrog/

The thing I did the most during my stay was to drink lattes! The Old Town is full of cafes and visiting different venues can be a fun activity in itself. One novel place is the Café Dannebrog, which is hidden within a tower. The downside is that the prices are higher and there were no dairy milk alternatives when I visited, however, if you are budget conscience you can just go for the views.

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Enoteca Lucca

Location: Terase 16

Website: http://lucca.ee/et/

A Mediterranean restaurant and wine bar with a bold and modern-style decor. I shared the beef tartar as a starter and had the roasted corn feed chicken breast with creamy mushroom sauce as a main. Both were delicious and reasonably priced for the quality of food and service.

Peatus

Location: Telliskivi 62

Website: http://peatus.eu/

Located within the Creative City of Telliskivi, this bar and restaurant are housed within the carriages of a renovated train. Choose to sit inside the coach or outside if the weather is good. There is table service and you can also order drinks through the window of the dining car. The menu is short but with some great lunchtime options.

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Leib Resto ja Aed

Location: Uus 31

Website: http://www.leibresto.ee/en/

Leib is owned by a chef and sommelier – a fact that I really love about this restaurant. The whole experience is very professional and welcoming from the moment you walk in, are shown to the coat room then seated. I tried the Estonian beef fillet with roasted Jerusalem artichoke cream, which came in a good portion size. Followed by a nice pot of black tea.

Olde Hansa

Location: Vana Turg 1

Website: http://www.oldehansa.ee/

A visit to a medieval city isn’t complete without a medieval dining experience. Olde Hansa is a restaurant in the theme of a rich merchant’s house. Staff are dressed in period costume and the decor is matching with soft candle lighting. The menu is extensive with an option for a fixed plated feast or a la carte dining including exotic meat such as bear, wild boar, elk, and rabbit.

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Transport

From the airport, you can travel to the city center by taxi, bus, or rental car. For more information and timetables, check out Leaving the Airport.

The Old Town and city center are very compact and easy to walk around. The only attractions I visited that were out of reach by foot was the TV Tower and Kadriog Palace, both of which are included on the hop-on, hop-off bus with the Tallinn Card PLUS.

Accommodation

The capital has a variety of options including hotels, hostels, guesthouse, as well as bed and breakfasts. Visit Estonia has a list with over 100 choices you can filter by preference.

Day trips

If you are staying more than a few days in Tallinn, I highly recommend taking a day trip. There are many different options depending on the type of experience you are after, including Parnu Beach, the University city of Tartu, and a boat trip to one of the Estonian islands.

It was a tough decision but in the end, I decided to go on a tour of Lahemaa National Park. It has a five-star rating on Trip Advisor and was recommended by Visit Estonia.

Lahemaa National Park

Website: http://traveller.ee/tour/lahemaa-national-park-day-trip

The tour started in Old Town, where we met our local guide. There were just five of us in total, which made for a great group size. The first stop was the tallest waterfall in Estonia, Jägala. In a country that it relatively flat, it was interesting to see the diversity in the landscape.

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Pictured with Sally of Passport and Plates Travel Blog: http://passportandplates.com/

Next, we visited old manors to hear their history and ghost stories. I love a good tale and this tour had quite a few of them! Although the majority of Estonians aren’t religious, they consider themselves to be superstitious and spiritual with a connection to the forest.

Another significant part of Estonian history was touched upon with our stop at an abandoned Soviet submarine base.

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After lunch in a traditional coastal town (try the Estonian garlic bread – it’s nothing like you would imagine), we arrived at a maritime museum. I am definitely not the museum type, and as far as museums go, maritime would not rank highly on my list. However, this one completely surprised me. The exhibit has been privately collected by the Estonian owner. Our tour guide shared some background about the relationship between Estonians and the sea. There is also a platform out the back, which is worth climbing for the views.

To my delight, at our next stop, we heard the tale of “babies rock”. Estonian parents would tell their children that babies came from underneath the rock. And if they wanted a little brother or sister, they would need to wait until low tide, then walk out and knock on the rock.

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Our day concluded with a walk through the mysterious bogs of Lahemaa National Park. There is a raised wooden pathway, however, it is best to go with sensible and waterproof shoes. It is interesting to hear about the magical properties that the Estonians believed the bogs had. Also, the viewing deck gives some spectacular views.

Lahemaa-National-Park-forest-and-bog-walk-Estonia-Adoration-4-Adventure

I was a complimentary guest of Visit Estonia, 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 guide to Tallinn, Estonia for first-time visitors including what to do, where to eat, and day trips outside of the capital city.

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Itinerary: Helsinki, Finland (1 day)

Itinerary: Helsinki, Finland (1 day)

Adoration 4 Adventure’s 1 day itinerary for Helsinki, Finland.

As a budget traveler, I had put off going to the Scandinavian region after hearing how much more expensive it can be than other European countries. Then when planning a trip to Tallinn, Estonia, I discovered that it is possible to make a day trip to Helsinki, Finland by ferry.

In fact, Helsinki makes for a great day trip, whether you have a flight layover, cruise ship stop, or are coming by boat.

Here is a quick and easy guide to making the most of your day in the Finnish capital, without blowing the budget.

Planning a trip to northern Europe? Read my guide to Tallinn, Estonia for first-time visitors.

How to get there

Arriving by boat from Tallinn, Estonia

The quickest boat from Tallinn to Helsinki is Linda Line Express. The trip is just under 2 hours, including boarding and docking. I paid €40 for a return ticket. The cheaper and longer options are with Tallink or Viking.

No matter which option you choose, check which port your boat leaves from, as there is more than one. Also, arrive at least 15 minutes early to allow for boarding. I took my backpack across and then stored in a locker at the terminal for just €4.

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Arriving by plane

From the airport to downtown you can take a 40-minute train, 30-minute bus, or 30-minute cab. For more information and current prices, check out Connections to Helsinki Airport: Train, buses and taxis. There are also lockers available at the airport to store your luggage while you go exploring.

Walk around the city center

Many attractions in Helsinki are condensed in the center and port area. If arriving by boat, you will easily find Market Square with street food. For those who are feeling adventurous, try some exotic meats such as moose meatballs. In the port area, they have swimming pools for a dip in the warmer months.

A few blocks away is Senate Square and the iconic Helsinki Cathedral. There is also the Uspenski Cathedral, an eastern orthodox style, looking over the port area with beautiful city views.

Helsinki Cathedral, Helsinki, Finland - Adoration 4 Adventure

Unless you are visiting a museum or paying entrance to a church, the city can basically be explored for free. The only costs you need to worry about are food and drink. Alcohol is notoriously expensive, with Finnish people even taking the boat across to Estonia just to stock up on liquor.

Food can be a bit pricey but you will find a few restaurants advertising lunch menus for under €10. I was recommended Fafas, a kebab restaurant which is apparently very popular and cheap. To save money, I made my own sandwich in Tallinn and brought it over on the boat. If taking a packed lunch, there is Esplanade Park where you can enjoy your food outside.

One important factor to note is that Finland does not accept 1 and 2 cent coins. So if this is your last stop in Europe, make sure to offload all your small change before you get here.

Take a boat ride to Suomenlinna

After exploring the port and city center, take a boat ride to the island of Suomenlinna. It is twenty minutes and €5 for a return ticket but the views and boat ride are worth the ticket cost alone.

Suomenlinna is on the UNESCO world heritage with a sea fortress. There is no cost to visit the sea fortress but if you want to visit one of the museums, there will be an entrance fee. For more information about what you can do there, visit Suomenlinna Sveaborg.

Suomenlinna-Helsinki-Finland-Adoration-4-Adventure


Budget breakdown: Helsinki

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.

Food: Bread roll and cheese from Remi supermarket in Tallinn, Estonia (€1), a bottle of water bought on the boat from Tallinn to Helsinki (€2), large latte with soy (€4.50).

Transport:  Return ticket from Tallinn to Helsinki on Linda line express (€40), return ticket from Helsinki city center to Suomenlinna (€5), locker at Helsinki port (€4).

Average daily spend: €56.50 ($62.33 USD and $83.99 AUD as of 17 May 2017)

*This daily amount could be reduced by skipping the coffee or getting a cheaper type.

Food-Market-Port-of-Helsinki-Finland-1-day-itinerary-Adoration-4-Adventure



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Adoration 4 Adventure’s 1 day itinerary for Helsinki, Finland including Market Square, Helsinki Cathedral, and a boat trip to Suomenlina sea fortress.

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

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

Why Warsaw, Poland should be your next European destination

Why Warsaw, Poland should be your next European destination

Adoration 4 Adventure’s recommendations for visiting Warsaw, Poland.

Warsaw is a city with strong character and a complex history. The capital of Poland has a bustling financial center, a pretty Old Town, and plenty of cultural activities.

I visited Warsaw for the second time and fell even more in love with this unique city. The following are the reasons why you should make Warsaw your next destination.

Planning a trip to Poland? Check out a 2-day budget itinerary for Krakow.

Polish-flag-in-Warsaw-Poland-Adoration-4-Adventure

You can live large on a small budget

Poland is a part of the Schengen area, so your arrival will be border control-free when coming from another member country. It is also in the European Union, however, has its own currency, the Zloty.

Generally, transportation, restaurants, and bars will be relatively inexpensive compared to central or western European countries. Beers can be bought for as little as 4 PLN ($1 USD and $1.40 AUD) and the standard price for trams is 3.40 PLN ($0.88 USD and $1.19 AUD) in zones 1 and 2. Uber is incredibly cheap, even going to the airport from the center it only cost me 21.81 PLN ($5.52 USD and $7.45 AUD). You can feel like a champion, buying rounds of drinks and ordering an Uber for you and your friends to the next bar, without it breaking the bank.

Accommodation is also very economic. I stayed at Hostel Helvetia where they have dorm rooms starting from 39 PLN ($10 USD and $13 AUD) per night. This economic price includes daily breakfast of bread, spreads cereals, coffee, and tea. Or you can upgrade to the more exclusive Helvetia Plus with private rooms and a full breakfast with the additional items cold cut meats and cheese, tomato, and juices. You can get your own room with a private bathroom from 169 PLN ($44 USD and $59 AUD) per night.

 The-full-breakfast-at-Helvetia-Plus-Helvetia-Hostel-Warsaw-Poland-Adoration-4-Adventure

Great nightlife and hipster scene

If you like to party, Warsaw is your city! There are plenty of bars and dance clubs to choose from depending on your taste. Here are just a few that I personally tested and recommend:

  • Cafe Loft: Inner city bar with a good cocktail menu and trendy decor. They also serve food.
  • Pavilions: A cluster of bars, all side by side, off the main street of Nowy Świat. The different themes and an alternative crowd make for a fun way to start the night.
  • Plan B: Frequented by locals and overflowing on the weekend, this bar has cheap drinks and guest DJs.
  • Club Luzztro: A dark and atmospheric club with electronic music. If this is your style, also check out Smolna. I didn’t get a chance to go, however, it was highly recommended.
  • Teatro Cubano: Popular Latino music club that plays all your favorite Reggaeton songs. They also have a separate dance floor for other styles of music.

Cafe Loft, Warsaw, Poland - Adoration 4 Adventure

Delicious Polish food

Polish food is generally filling, cheap, and good. There are many dishes to try including Barszcz (beetroot soup), Placki ziemniaczane (potato pancakes), Sledzik (herring). and Kielbasa (sausage). The following are all places that I ate at and are also recommended by locals.

  • Cukiernia Pawlowicz: A Polish bakery located on a side street off Nowy Świat. Try a Paczki (hot doughnut) filled with chocolate.
  • Bar Mleczny: Literally translated into “Milk Bar”. These are cheap Polish restaurants that serve traditional dishes. The menu is normally only in Polish so you might want to make friends with a local or Google translate. I had a meal of sauerkraut and pickle salad, tomato and rice soup, pork in a spinach sauce, and a drink for less than 20 PLN ($5 USD and $7 AUD). These places are only usually open for lunch, closing before 6 pm.
  • Zapiecek: Delicious Pierogi (polish dumplings) fried or boiled. It is a chain restaurant and you won’t find any locals eating here, however, the food is still great quality for a relatively low price. The best thing about Zapiecek is that they have over 30 types of Pierogi to choose from.
  • Czerwony Wieprz (Red Hog): A humorous communist-themed restaurant with dishes inspired by former Soviet Union leaders. The menu is even divided between meals for dignitaries and proletariats (high and low cost).

Lunch-at-Bar-mleczny-in-Warsaw-Poland-Adoration-4-Adventure

Polish culture and history

While visiting Warsaw, you will want to get to know more about the city and its past. But on the flipside, there is also the modern Warsaw with over 18 theaters and modern art installations, such as the giant Palm Tree.

  • The Old Town: Learn about how the city was almost completely destroyed during World War II and meet the city’s symbol of a mermaid on a free walking tour (tips encouraged for guides).
  • Royal Castle: The castle was completely rebuilt, however, the artifacts and furniture inside are antique. Entrance is free on Sunday.
  • Chopin Museum: The beloved Fryderyk Chopin was born in Poland and his homeland pays homage to him with a museum. There are also daily concerts with his music in the Old Town. While walking in this area, look out for benches that bear his name. These play melodies and show historic landmarks that were relevant to him during his time in Warsaw.

Mermaid-of-Warsaw-Poland-Adoration-4-Adventure

  • Palace of Culture and Science: This looming building towering over the city was a gift from Stalin. It is the tallest building in Poland and has a terrace on the 30th floor which people can visit to see the city views.
  • Praga: The bohemian residential area across the river. There are rumors of pickpockets, so be careful of your bag. However, there are some great bars, cafes, street art. Free walking tours also cover this area.
  • Warsaw Uprising: An interactive museum to retell the valiant Polish resistance through sound and touch.

Monument-to-Warsaw-Uprising-Poland-Adoration-4-Adventure

Relax and unwind

When you aren’t sightseeing, museum or bar hoping, you might want to find somewhere quiet to chill.

  • Lazienki Park: Gorgeous sprawling park with countless squirrels and the beautiful “Palace on the water”.
  • Cud nad Wisla: A riverside outdoor bar that has been set up with sand, deck chairs and hammocks for a beach feel. I was so relaxed here, that I actually feel asleep in my deck chair.

Lazienki-Park-Poland-Warsaw-Adoration-4-Adventure


Hostel Helvetia, Warsaw

Imagine staying in one of the first hostels opened in Warsaw. Hostel Helvetia started in 2005, dreamed up by the adventure-loving couple, Gosia and Piotr. The decor is bright, airy, and colorful, with spacious rooms and comfortable beds. The staff are extremely friendly and are happy to answer all your questions and give you additional recommendations.

Helvetia-Plus-Common-room-and-kitchen-Warsaw-Poland-Adoration-4-Adventure

At Hostel Helvetia, they offer economically priced rooms for single, couple, and family travelers. The room options include female dorm, four-person dorm, six-person dorm, eight-person dorm, twin room, double room, and family room. The common area is a cozy place to hang out, relax, and make new friends. I spent 4 nights in the three-bedroom female dorm and had fun meeting other guests.

They also have Helvetia Plus, just five minutes walk from Hostel Helvetia. Helvetia Plus feels like your own private apartment in Warsaw. There is a kitchen and common area, with a choice from twin room, double room, and apartment. The atmosphere is very calm and tranquil. I stayed in a twin room for 3 nights and felt like the only person in the whole apartment.

Helvetia-Plus-Twin-Room-Warsaw-Poland-Adoration-4-Adventure

Hostel Helvetia is located in a fantastic location, right next to the historic district and within walking distance to many of the places that I have recommended. For a detailed description on how to get here from the airport, bus, or train station check out their Contact page. Gosia and Piotr have also included many great tips for first-time visitors to Warsaw.

Location: Sewerynów 7, 00-924 Warszawa

Website: http://www.hostel-helvetia.pl/

Tamka-Street-near-Helvetia-Plus-and-the-Chopin-Museum-Warsaw-Poland-Adoration-4-Adventure

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


 Pin it for the next adventure!

Adoration 4 Adventure’s recommendations for visiting Warsaw, Poland. Including places to eat, drink, stay, and things to do.

Have you visited Warsaw or planning to anytime soon? Tell us about it below!

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