Itinerary: Lisbon, Portugal (2 days)

Itinerary: Lisbon, Portugal (2 days)

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

Portugal has become an increasingly popular destination and for good reason. The Portuguese are welcoming, warm and charming: just like their cities. The crown jewel of this Western European treasure is the capital, Lisbon. It is a global city with a provincial feel, and a destination that deserves a place on all European itineraries.

This was my second time in Lisbon but first time for my adventure buddy, Tamara. You may remember her from such posts as 2 day itinerary for Barcelona, Spain. Even though I’d been before, I still had a list of experiences I wanted to tick off and was excited to get started.

Here is our 2 day itinerary for Lisbon, including budget breakdown.

Planning a trip to Portugal? Check out how to find local cuisine and culture in Lisbon.

Day 1: Lisbon

Breakfast at Gat Rossio

While in Lisbon, Tamara and I had the pleasure of staying at Gat Rossio hotel. Each morning the hotel provides a buffet breakfast with breads, cheeses, cold cut meats, boiled eggs, yogurt, fruit, pastries, coffee, tea and juice. Not only is the food delicious but Gat Rossio is also conscious of guests with food preferences and allergies. There are lactose and gluten free options, all easily identifiable with labels. I was ecstatic to find oat milk to have with coffee!

Do you have a sensitivity or preference when it comes to food? Read my tips for traveling with a food allergy.

And if that wasn’t good enough, you can look forward to the Portuguese specialty of Pastel de Nata (cream pastry) each morning. Warning: these are highly addictive!

Breakfast-buffet-at-Gat-Rooms-Lisbon-Portugal

Exploring Barrio Alto

Another bonus of staying at Gat Rossio is its city center location. Barrio Alto has many historic and charming sites to visit including Praca dom Pedro IV and Praca do Comercio. Tamara decided to take a free walking tour with Sandemans New Lisbon (meeting point Martim Moniz at 10 am). I had gone on walking tour during my last visit so decided to hit the streets with my camera instead.

Praça-de-D.-Pedro-IV-Rossio-Lisbon-Portugal

Taking the tram to Alfama

Alfama is the colorful “old town” of Lisbon and only a fifteen-minute walk from Barrio Alto. If you are looking for an experience you might want to take the tram there. The 28E tram is very popular with tourists as it goes through different neighborhoods of the city. The ticket is inexpensive (around €1.25, paid with your standard metro card) but it can get crowded. Expect to wait for half an hour minimum, even if you get on from the first stop at Matrim Moniz.

Tram-28E-to-Alfama-Lisbon-Portugal

Alfama is a lot of fun to explore. Here you will find many restaurants, cafes and souvenir shops. As a popular spot for tourists, some of the meal prices can be in the higher range, however it is still possible to find a cheap sit-down lunch at local restaurants. Basically, the places that don’t have English on the menu. If you don’t speak Portuguese but know Spanish, Italian or French you will see some similarities in some words (just don’t try speaking Spanish to the waiters – they are different languages!). Otherwise a bit of google translating, guessing and pointing goes along way.

I speak enough Portuguese to get around, and we found a quaint corner restaurant with meals from €5 each. The staff were incredibly friendly and when there was one word I was not familiar with, a Brazilian at the nearby table translated it.  I just love hunting for the more “authentic” places, especially if it means saving money.

Something to keep in mind when eating out in Portugal – waiters will often bring bread (sometimes also olives and cheese) to the table. These usually cost extra. Depending on the restaurant it can range from 50 cents to 5 euros for a bread roll (true story – happened to a friend of mine). Check the menu or ask your server before consuming.

 Lunch in Alfama, Lisbon, Portugal

Castelo de Sao Jorge and sunset at Zambeze bar

While in Alfama, it is worth taking a walk to Saint George Castle. There is an entrance fee, however, you can still see the castle walls and explore the alley ways outside. After a wander around, we went to the nearby Zambeze bar for a cold drink and a beautiful sunset over the city.

Sunset-at-Zambeze-bar-Lisbon-Portugal

Fado concert

As this was my second time in Lisbon, there were three things that I was determined to experience: Pastel de Nata (I got to eat every morning at Gat Rossio), Sintra (we visited the next day) and a Fado concert. Fado is a type of song that is used to express “saudade” (the feeling of missing someone or something). It originated from Portuguese women singing to express heartache when the men left on long sea voyages.

The area of Alfama is the traditional place to see a Fado concert and there are many venues to choose from. We asked Gat Rossio for their recommendations and subsequently made a booking at Parreirinha de Alfama. This venue is also recommended by the Lisbon Tourism office, so you know it’s really good.

We arrived at the reserved time of 8:30 pm and were shown to our table. The restaurant has an intimate setting with stone walls and mood lighting. The performance itself is included with the cost of the meal and guests are required to spend a minimum of €30 per person. Considering the quality of the concert and food, it was well worth the cost.

Parreirinha-de-Alfama-Fado-Concert-Lisbon-Portugal

Day 2: Sintra

Sintra is a Portuguese town located around 30 kilometers (18 miles) outside of Lisbon. It is a magical wonderland of palaces and castles that feel straight out of a fairytale. The area was once home to Portuguese nobles and is now open for the enjoyment of the public.

It makes a great day trip (or three!) from Lisbon. There are many places to see. You can try cramming in as much as possible with a guided tour or hop-on-hop-off bus. We decided to visit just a couple of sites and spend more time in each. Based on recommendations, we chose Quinta da Regaleira and Palacio da Pena.

Getting to Sintra is easy and inexpensive. From Caminhos de Ferro do Rossio station you can take a train direct to Sintra in about forty-five minutes. Don’t worry if you haven’t planned your trip in advance. Upon arrival, you will find the tourist information center inside the station, where you can pick up a map and directions.

Quinta da Regaleira

This stately home and lavish grounds is a short 15-minute walk from the Sintra train station. During our Fado dinner, we had met a couple who raved about the gardens. I have to agree – they don’t disappoint! Prepare yourself for underground cave systems, enchanting wells, and waterfalls. Entrance to the property and house is €6.00.

Quinta-da-Regaleira-Sintra-Portugal

Palacio da Pena

Pena Palace is a little further away. From the Sintra train station, it is an hour walk. Alternatively, you can buy a return bus ticket for €5.50 or enjoy the novelty of a tuk-tuk for €5 per person, each way. Pena Palace costs €6.50 for access to the grounds and €11.50 if you also want to enter the palace rooms.

The walk to Pena is a highlight on its own, as it goes through the Natural Park of Sintra-Cascais. There are a lot of hills so you probably want to be in moderate shape at least. The park closes its gates at 5 pm sharp and the palace is open until 6 pm.

Pena-Palace-entrance-Sintra-Portugal

Dinner and drinks in Lisbon

There is no shortage of traditional Portuguese restaurants in Lisbon. As we were staying at Gat Rossio and tired after a big day, we decided to stay close to the hotel for dinner. We ventured a few streets away to Rua dos Correeiros to enjoy Bolinhos de Bacalhau (fried codfish balls) for €4 and a bottle of house wine for €5.

For nightlife, many friends had recommended “Pink Street” (or Rua Cor de Rosa) which is actually located on Rua Nova do Carvalho. The street is literally painted pink and packed full of bars and clubs. For my last night in Lisbon, I decided to head to a Couchsurfing event instead. There I enjoyed a beer while chatting with expats, locals, and other backpackers.


Gat Rossio Lisbon

Gat Rooms offer designer accommodation in central locations with a focus on value. The brand strives to embody the cat spirit (the word “Gato” is Portuguese for cat) with curiosity, friendliness, and playfulness. Gat Rooms have hotels in Berlin and Lisbon, with a new site opening in Barcelona.

We stayed in their Lisbon location, Gat Rossio, and were awed by the helpfulness of the staff. The Gat Rossio team went above and beyond to make sure that we had a great stay in Lisbon. Which is not hard to do when you are staying in a hotel as nice as this!

Gat-Rooms-Lisbon-Double-Standard-Room-Portugal.

My friend and I shared a double standard room which comes with an ergonomic “5-star” bed. The furnishings and fittings are very sleek with fresh, bold colors.The custom lighting control panels above the bed let you set the mood of the room with dimming. Or allows guests to read on their side of the bed while their roommate sleeps.

On the second level at Gat Rossio, you can find the kitchen, terrace and lounge area which is called “Roomroom”. Roomroom is a great place to chill, work, or message your friends to brag about the great time you are having.

Location: Rua jardim do Regedor, 27-35, 1150-193 Lisboa

Website: http://hotelgatrossio.com/

Gat-Rooms-Lisbon-Portugal-Terrace

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


Budget breakdown: Lisbon

All costs are quoted for one person and in the local currency (EUR). See below for the average daily spend 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: Gat Rossio is a design-lovers hotel located in the center of Lisbon. They offer single, double and triple rooms as well as junior suites. For the full list of accommodations and current prices, please refer to Rooms.

Food: Gat Rooms Lisbon provides a daily buffet breakfast to all their guests.

Day 1 – Coffee and muffin (€2.20), lunch in Alfama (€7.50), beer at Zambeze (€2.00), dinner at Parreirinha de Alfama, including Fado concert (€35.50).

Day 2 – Lunch in Sintra (€8.00), hot chocolate at Pena Palace (€2.50), chocolate cake (€1.20), dinner and wine in Lisbon (€7.25).

Activities: Entrance to Quinta da Regaleira (€6.00), entrance to Pena Palace gardens (€6.50).

Transport: Metro card (€6.30), 24-hour train ticket to SIntra (€10.25).

Average daily spend: €47.66 each* ($50.21 USD and $66.38 AUD as of 4 March 2017) excluding accommodation.

*This daily amount could be reduced by choosing cheaper activities. Also, I made an error with my metro tickets and paid more than I needed to.


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Adoration 4 Adventure’s 2 day itinerary for Lisbon, Portugal exploring Barrio Alto and Alfama as well as a day trip to Sintra.

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Itinerary: Valencia, Valencian Community, Spain (2 days)

Itinerary: Valencia, Valencian Community, Spain (2 days)

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

Valencia is a Spanish city located on the eastern coast, around four hours by car from Barcelona or Madrid. It is most known for its Valencia oranges and as the original birthplace of paella.

For me, Valencia was a tranquil and charming break from the pulsing energy of the bigger cities. A place to take your time, have daily siestas and multiple cafe breaks. I spent a large part of my time wandering around with a serene smile, stopping to take photos whenever I felt like it or just sitting down in the plaza to people watch.

In total I spent two and half days in Valencia, however, it could easily be fit into two days without rushing.

Here is my two day itinerary for Valencia, including budget breakdown.

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

Day 1

Plaza de la Virgen and free walking tour

A great way to get orientated and learn the basic history of a destination is to go on a free walking tour. Most cities will have at least one walking tour, which you can find by asking your hostel or hotel reception desk, or by searching online. The free tours are on tip basis, so you pay what you think it is worth. I have also found this to be a great way to meet other solo travelers, making friends on previous walking tours in Barcelona, Porto and Amsterdam.

The free walking tour that I took in Valencia started in Plaza de la Virgen. Luckily for me, it was just a few minutes walk from my hostel. The guide led us around the center, showing us the main attractions and giving a brief overview of Valencia in two and a half hours. The pace is quite relaxed and overall we didn’t do that much walking (the center is quite small). I started chatting to another girl from Seattle and we decided to go exploring after the tour ended.

Plaza-de-la-Virgen-Valencia-Spain

Mercado Central 

The walking tour included a stop in the central market of Valencia, however, I think that it is worth a trip (or two!) on its own. Many major cities around the world have these public food markets. They can be really fun to explore and get an idea of the local produce and cuisines.

The typical Valencia snack to purchase here is horchata and farton. Horchata (orxata) is a local drink made from ground tiger nuts. There are similar versions in Latin American countries. The farton is a sweet pastry which tastes somewhat like a doughnut. The custom is to dip your farton into the horchata, however as I am not a big fan of horchata, I had mine with coffee instead.

Mercado-Central-Valencia-Spain

Plaza de la Reina and Torre de San Miguelete

A short distance from Plaza de la Virgen is Plaza de la Reina. This is a busier square with more restaurants and traffic (both pedestrian and vehicles) but it still retains that relaxed vibe. Rising above the square is the San Miguelete Tower and Santa Maria Cathedral. Both require a ticket to enter. If you are really into churches and don’t want to pay then you can visit the cathedral in Plaza de la Virgen for free.

The cost to climb San Miguelete tower is only two Euros and definitely worth it for some amazing views of the city.

Plaza-de-la-Reina-and-Torre-de-San-Miguelete-Valencia-Spain

El Carmen street art

When I had arrived the previous night by bus from Barcelona, I couldn’t help but notice all the street art I saw while walking to my hostel. This area is called El Carmen and is a maze of decorated alleys close to Plaza de la Virgen. There are also a ton of cafes and restaurants littered throughout this area. A Spanish friend of mine who lived in Valencia told me that this is where she used to go for drinks.

El-Carmen-street-art-Valencia-Spain

Ruzafa

At the time that I was in Valencia, the place to go drinking seemed to be Ruzafa. So much so that I actually ended up here two nights in a row. There is a range of bars from craft beer to jazz clubs, and I tried to visit as many as possible on a crazy pub crawl.

One famous Valencia drink is “Agua de Valencia”. This is consists of cava or champagne, vodka, gin and orange juice. Usually served by the glass or in a jug. I bought a jug to share but have to say that it was very overpriced. The Agua de Valencia I tried was similar to a mimosa which is very common in the USA and Australia. Apart from that, the drinks are generally well-priced starting from €1 for a tap beer.

Day 2

Bluebell Coffee Co.

While in Valencia, I upped my caffeine intake. It wasn’t to stay awake (I was still having daily siestas) but rather for the taste and pleasure of sipping on the hot beverage in between my leisurely strolls. The only issue was all the milk that I was drinking. I suffer from a lactose sensitivity, which means that I can’t consume dairy in large quantities. With all my coffee breaks, I really needed to switch to something light for my stomach.

Do you have a sensitivity or preference when it comes to food? Read my tips for traveling with a food allergy.

For those who have lactose sensitivities or prefer their specialty coffees, this can be a little tricky when traveling in Spain. Most cafes will only serve the standard types e.g. cafe con leche (coffee with milk) or cafe negro (black coffee). And if you are after soy milk, forget it. There more expensive options available are Starbucks and Costa Coffee, however, I tend to get sick of visiting chain coffee shops and crave the experience of an independent cafe.

And that’s what I found in Bluebell Coffee Co. A quiet and cute cafe with specialty coffee and fresh breakfast options.

Bluebell-Coffee-Co.-Valencia-Spain

Turia Gardens

When I asked a friend of mine what I should do in Valencia, she enthusiastically responded “Go to the river!”. The so-called river actually no longer exists but has been filled in and covered with a beautiful parkland that extends from Parque de Cabecera, in the west, almost all the way to the ocean in the east.

The park is full of people exercising, walking or just taking a relaxing. There is also a huge children’s playground in the shape of Gulliver from the book “Gulliver’s Travels”. I would recommend hiring a bike for a day and riding the entire length of the gardens to the sea. If you do go by foot, be aware of the different paths for cyclists, joggers, and walkers. I was almost run down when I didn’t look before stepping out onto a bike track.

Turia-Gardens-Valencia-Spain

Ciudad de las artes y las ciencias (CAC)

The City of Arts and Sciences is a huge complex of futuristic buildings within Turia Gardens. Each building is unique creation and contribution to the education of arts and sciences. There is an entrance fee to the science museum, aquarium, and 3D cinema or you can just wander around gaping at the science-fiction type architecture.

City-of-Arts-and-Sciences-Valencia-Spain

Playa de la Malvarrosa

If you bike east through the length of Turia Gardens then start to head north after the City of Arts and Sciences, you will find yourself at the sea! I actually walked the distance from Plaza de la Virgen to Playa de la Malvarossa and it took over an hour (I got the bus back).

The area around the beach is quite nice with a harbor, walking paths and Rollerblade park. The beach itself is calm and wide. Restaurants are lined up behind the shore and there is a feeling of merriness in the air. Especially if you visit on a sunny day like I did.

Playa-de-la-Malvarrosa-Valencia-Spain-Chantell-Collins


Budget breakdown: Valencia

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

Accommodation: 2 nights’ in a 6-bed female dorm (€22.20).

Food: My hostel provided free breakfast with tea and coffee however as the quality wasn’t very good, I bought my coffee and breakfast out of the hostel.

Day 1 – Coffee and farton at Mercado Central (€2.20), lunch and a beer (€6.40), latte with soy milk (€3.30), slice of pizza (€1.50), icecream (€1.50), beers in Ruzafa (€6.00).

Day 2 – Breakfast and coffee with soy at Bluebell Coffee Co. (€6.50), 1-liter bottle of water and bag of candy (€2.40), little sandwiches and fries at 100 Montaditos (€4.50), latte with soy milk (€3.30), slice of gourmet pizza (€2.50).

Activities: Tip for the free walking tour (€10), entrance to Torre de San Miguelete (€2).

Transport: Bus from Playa de la Malvarrosa back to Turia Gardens (€1.50).

Average daily spend: €37.90* ($40 USD and $52.14 AUD as of 22 February 2017).

*This daily amount could be reduced by cooking your own meals or sticking to drinking more water.


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Adoration 4 Adventure’s 2 day itinerary for Valencia, Spain exploring Mercado Central, Turia Gardens, City of Arts and Sciences, and Playa de la Malvarrosa.

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

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Local guide: Milan, Italy

Local guide: Milan, Italy

Adoration 4 Adventure’s local guide for visitors to Milan, Italy by A4A guest writer, Cinzia Ferri.

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

Planning a trip to Italy? Check out the local guides to Cinque Terre, Rome, and Udine.

Overview of Milan

Milan is the second biggest city in Italy, after Rome, and one of the most underrated places in the country. If you ask Italians about Milan, they most likely will tell you that it’s an ugly industrial town, full of traffic and noise, absolutely not worth visiting. Well, that might have been true for Milan twenty years ago, nowadays – thanks to the Expo 2015 as well – it has become one of the most interesting, modern, vibrant, international Italian towns. Milan’s beauty is not as obvious as that of Rome, Florence, or Venice, but the city really has a lot to offer.

milano_galleria vittorio emanuele

Top 5 places to visit

5. Porta Nuova

This area has been completely redesigned and amazing buildings have been built in the past five years or so. The heart of the area is Piazza Gae Aulenti, a modern square titled to the famous female architect. From there, you can see all the works of architecture which have been created, most of which have also received important architectural prizes. The most important buildings are il Bosco Verticale (vertical forest), a complex of two buildings designed by Stefano Boeri, which host approximately 900 trees, the amazing Unicredit Tower by Cesar Pelli and the Palazzo della Regione Lombardia (Lombardy Region Headquarters).

4. I Navigli

The Navigli are the center of Milan’s nightlife, but they are absolutely worth visiting during the day as well. They are a network of canals, partly designed by Leonardo Da Vinci. In the past, they stretched all around the city, what remains now are just two canals: the Naviglio Grande and the Naviglio Pavese. The area around the canals is quite busy at night, while during the day is a quiet escape from the hustle and bustle of the city center. Walking there, you’ll feel like being in a small town with cozy restaurants, small shops, and art galleries.

milano_navigli_day

3. Pinacoteca di Brera

The Pinacoteca di Brera is an outstanding museum of art which contains one of the most important art collections in Italy. There you can see paintings and works of Raffaello, Piero della Francesca, Caravaggio, Tintoretto, the famous Kiss by Francesco Hayez, and many other paintings by incredible masters. When you are done with art, you could visit the adjoining Orto Botanico (Botanical Garden), which is really old and fascinating. Tickets for the museum are 10 euros, but the entrance is free on the first Sunday of the month. Entrance to the Botanical Garden is free.

milano_pinacoteca_brera

2. Cenacolo Vinciano

The real jewel of Milan is in the church of Santa Maria delle Grazie and its Leonardo Da Vinci’s Last Supper. This incredible mural painting is one of the most famous in the world and you definitely cannot miss it. Unfortunately, it has been damaged over the years, due to humidity, bad restoration attempts, and even some bombings during World War II, but it somehow managed to survive and it has now been properly restored. The entrance to the Cenacolo is strictly limited and must be booked in advance. Tickets are 12 euros.

milano_cenacolo_vinciano

1. Il Duomo

The Duomo, Milan’s Cathedral, is the symbol of the city and the most loved place in town. Locals have a particular fondness for this place and for the Madonnina, the golden statue of Virgin Mary which protects the city from high above the roof of the church. The Cathedral is totally worth visiting (entrance is 2 euros), but a visit to the roof is not to be missed as well (entrance is 9 euros if you are willing to go up the stairs) as the view is great. Close to the Cathedral is the Museo del Novecento, an amazing collection of 20th-century art (entrance is 10 euros, but it is only 6 euros every Tuesday after 2 pm and two hours before closing).

milano_duomo

Eating and drinking

Milan is incredibly full of dining and drinking options. As in every big European city, you can find more or less everything you want. Prices are not exactly cheap, though. If you are on a budget, you can solve the problem of eating something buying a slice of pizza or a sandwich in a bakery and then eating it in a public park. A true Milanese tradition is to get a panzerotto, some kind of fried turnover, at Luini: a filling and cheap option right in the city center, a few steps away from the Duomo.

Another very popular place is Spontini, which serve pizza by the slice in various city locations. If you are looking for some trendier solutions, you can try the Navigli or the Isola neighborhood, they are packed with restaurants and hipster cafès, offering all kinds of drinks and food.

milano_navigli_night

Transport

Getting around the city is very easy. There is quite an extensive public transport system: there are many metro, bus and tram lines, which take you more or less everywhere. A single ride ticket is 1,50 euros (it is valid for 90 minutes since validation, with one metro ride only), a daily ticket is 4,50 euros and it is valid for 24 hours since validation. Tickets can be bought at the automated vending machines in every metro station, at kiosks and newsagents’ around town, but not on board. Tickets must be validated before boarding.

Milan has a bike-sharing system too. You’ll find many bike stations to pick up and drop off bikes in the city center. To use the bikes you have to register on the BikeMi website. Daily subscription is 2.30 Euros, while the weekly one is 6 Euros. You’ll find all information you need regarding both public transport and bike-sharing on the ATM Milan website.

Accommodation

Milan is undoubtedly one of the most expensive Italian towns when it comes to accommodation. Finding a cheap hotel in the city can be really difficult, then. The best solution for sleeping in the city would be renting an apartment via AirBnb, which gives you the opportunity of finding accommodation in the city center without being ripped off. There are thousands of good flat and apartments around town and you can find affordable ones even in the very center.

If you are more of a hotel type, instead, it would be better to look for solution outside the city center, like for example the area of San Siro Stadium or other less central neighborhoods, from which you can easily get into the city with the metro.


Cinzia Ferri_bioA4A guest writer – Cinzia Ferri

Hi, Cinzia here! I live in Italy, I adore travelling and I am my own boss at Instantly Italy, where I help people enjoy Italy at its best. I teach Italian and create custom travel guides for independent travelers who want to see Italy with the help of a local.

Follow Cinzia at http://instantlyitaly.com/, on Facebook and Instagram.

All photos in this article are courtesy of Turismo Milano Website and flickr.


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

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

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

Local guide: Mallorca, Balearic Islands, Spain

Local guide: Mallorca, Balearic Islands, Spain

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

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

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

Overview of Mallorca

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

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

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

View-of-Palma-Mallorca-Spain

Top 5 places to visit

5. Palma

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

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

Catedral-de-Palma-Mallorca-Spain

4. Torrent de Pareis

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

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

Torrente-de-Pareis-Mallorca-Spain

3. Formentor

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

Formentor-Mallorca-Spain

2. Coll Baix

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

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

Coll-Baix-Mallorca-Spain

1. Caló des Moro

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

Caló-des-Moro-Mallorca-Spain

Eating and drinking

Palma Hippodrome

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

Ca’n Joan de S’aigo

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

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100 Montaditos 

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

Lemon Tree

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

lemon-tree-connect-lingus

Transport

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

Accommodation

Couchsurfing

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

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

Fleming Hostel

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

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

Website: http://fleminghostel.com/

fleming-hostel-photo-credit-fleming-hostel

Photo credit: Fleming Hostel

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


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

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Itinerary: Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain (2 days)

Itinerary: Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain (2 days)

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

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

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

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

Heading to Europe? Check out posts on Portugal and England

Arrival

Plaça de Catalunya, Centric and Port Barcelona

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

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

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

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

Day 1

Park Güell and Gaudi House Museum

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

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

Park Guell, Barcelona, Spain

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

Park Guell, views of Barcelona, Spain

Street Art 

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

Street art in Barcelona, Spain

Lunch at Belushi’s bar

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

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

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La Rambla and Gothic Quarter

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

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

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

Gothic quarter, Barcelona, Spain

Tablao Flamenco de Carmen at Poble Espanyol

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

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

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

Get your tickets to Tablao Flamenco de Carmen here!

Tablao Flamenco de Carmen, Turisme de Barcelona, Spain

La Sagrada Familia

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

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

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

Arco de Triunfo de Barcelona

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

Arco de Triunfo de Barcelona, Spain

Parque de la Ciudadela and Picasso museum

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

Parque de la Ciudadela, Barcelona, Spain


St Christopher’s Inn Barcelona

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Budget breakdown: Barcelona

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


This page contains some affiliate links. I may receive a small commission from purchases made through these links, however there is no extra cost to the reader.

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

For any queries relating to the products I have included on my website, please refer to the disclaimer and privacy policy.


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

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Local guide: London Airports, England

Local guide: London Airports, England

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

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

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Overview of the Capital

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

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

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How London Offsets These Difficulties

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

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

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

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

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

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

London Airport Hacks

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

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


A4A guest writer – Edward Alvaro

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

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


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

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

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