Bongiorno Tutti! Today I am talking about my experience in Italy and some of the amazing things you can do there. If you don't know, I am full Italian and it was great to finally see the country my grandparents are from. Although, we explored northern Italy and my grandparents are from the south, it just means I will have to go back very soon to see the town they are from. I would have loved to do all around Italy, it just didn't quite fit in our travel route and it definitely a trip I would love to do on its own. This trip I got to see the oh so popular Rome, Tuscany, and Cinque Terre. I am going to break down all the activities and highlights in each place, to get an idea of some of things to check out in those places
1. Colosseum Tour
So if your traveling to Rome, seeing the iconic colosseum is an absolute must! If you do your research you can find some awesome walking tours that take you through the colosseum and Palatine Hill . We found one that was fair in price, and the only downfall was the day we booked it on. This was completely out of our control as there was a bike-a-thon happening in the area and they shut down all entrances to the Colosseum besides one for all the tour groups. So unfortunately there was a lot of waiting in line. Besides that the tour was enjoyable and we had a great tour guide. A recommendation is to research events that are happening before booking any excursions so that you can avoid the chaos we went through.
2. Trevi Fountain
This was something on my bucket list ever since I watched Hilary Duff make her wish in The Lizzie McGuire Movie. Depending on the time you go this place can be VERY crowded. It definitely was for us. Rome is a very touristy city with more than 30,000 visitors a day, so crowds should be expected. My recommendation is to see the Trevi Fountain at night, where there is less crowds and its lit up. Especially for those who get easily claustrophobic, this will be the better option. There are also cute little shops around the Trevi Fountain and ice cream in every corner, so make sure to check those out as well.
Entering the Vatican can be quite expensive, however walking outside in the vicinity is free. This is definitely an option for those that are price sensitive on activities. When we looked into getting into the Vatican it was close to 40 Euros a person. if your set on visiting the inside, I recommend buying your tickets at home instead of there because you might score a cheaper deal. Also, there is a dress code that some people weren’t aware of but they are strict about clothing in entering all the churches. You have to make sure your shoulders and knees are covered before entering the church.
4. Iconic Monuments
There are so many other monuments and museums to check out in Rome, so just spending a day roaming the city is fun to do. We spent a whole day just taking the train to different places and exploring the area. We also ate A LOT of ice cream and pizza, as expected. The best pizza place was definitely just outside of the main area of Rome where are BnB was. It was called Pizza e Abbracci, and it was basically there version of fast food or “midnight food.” The place opened around 7pm and you could get a full pizza for only 4.00 Euros. It was honestly super cheap and amazing!
1. Full Wine Day Tour- Siena, San Gimignano, Monteriggioni
We explored other cities and towns in the Tuscany region through this tour including Siena, San Gimignano, and Monteriggioni. This tour included wine tasting a full authentic Italian meal. IT was beautiful to see these small towns, however I do wish we had more time in each place. The best part of the tour was definitely the meal and wine tasting in Siena. The tour was quite short and the tour guides weren’t the greatest, however the beauty of the towns and the food made up for it. This tour was about $60.00 per person, which was quite reasonable compared to many of the other wine tours in Tuscany. If you have some money to splurge in Tuscany I’ll leave some other recommendations for wine tours that we looked at, as well as the one we decided to book. Again, depending on when you are traveling prices can range. If your going to go on a wine tour, I definitely recommend somewhere in the Tuscany region!
2. Florence - Duomo, Ponte Vecchio, and more!
Florence is another place full of places to see, so it was hard to do everything in a day. We only had one full day in Florence, and spent it exploring as much of the city as we could. Highlights to check out were definitely the Duomo, which was my favourite and absolutely beautiful. Again, if you want to go inside dress code does apply. In addition, Ponte Vecchio which is one of the oldest bridges in Florence was amazing and makes for beautiful photos. Lastly, we saw the famous David sculpture made by the one and only Michelangelo.
3. Leather Market/Shopping
The leather market was one of my favourite things in Florence, where you can score amazing deals on beautiful European handbags. So all my ladies, this is definitely somewhere you want to check out if your heading to Florence There are many vendors at the market selling identical bags but be careful because some might be fake leather. Also, be open to bargaining so that you can score an even better deal.
4. BnB in Rigano Sull’Arno
We had a total of five days in Tuscany, and had two days for exploring. The other three days was spent relaxing as our vacation was very go go go until this point. I wanted to talk about the beautiful country house we stayed in because it was my favourite BnB we booked. The only downfall about this place is its on the outskirts about half hour way from Florence. There are also no trains by the place so I recommend having a vehicle if you plan on staying here. The closest town would be Pontassieve which is about a 10 min drive down. Since it was on the outskirts we decided to spend majority of the time relaxing by the pool and enjoying the panoramic views. I loved the quietness of the area, and the beautiful views I was waking up to. Bernardo was a great host and I would 10/10 recommend his place. I will leave a link below of his Air BnB.
1.Hike from Monterosso to Vernazza
This beautiful hike will expose your to amazing views and photo opportunities that will not get any other way. The the short hike is about 3 hours and full hike is about 9 hours. Both will give you great photo opportunities, you will just get more on the 9 hour hike. We did the shorter one and didn’t actually expect it to be as intense as it was. We thought it was more of a walk, however it was definitely a hike where you should wear good runners or hiking shoes and dress athletically. Its a great workout, and really worth it. This was the only hike we did in Cinque Terre however, there are hikes to the other towns as well. Due to time, we decided to just take the trains to other places. However, if you have the time and love hikes I would definitely do all of them.
2. Fried Fish In Riomaggiore
Riomaggiore which is the closest tow from La Spezia had the best fried fish to go. The food in Cinque Terre was more on the pricier side but the fried fish was decent and you got a lot for what you paid for. The place was called Il Pescato Cucinato and If you love fish, this would be a great place to try.
3. Monterosso Beach
One of our last days in Cinque Terre was spent at the beach in Monterosso. The water here unbelievably blue and beautiful. There are many shops and restaurants near by for lunch, but you can also bring your own like we did. We just packed some sandwiches and snacks for lunch and had a gelato for dessert. This would make for a great relaxing day during a busy vacation
If your planning to head to Italy I hope you found this helpful, and decide to check out these amazing places. Next week I talk about my last stop of my Europe Travels in Paris. <3
Greece was one of my favourite places to go to! Athens was incredible with all the rich history and Santorini has been on my bucket list for years. I had amazing experiences here that I am super excited to share. Today, I am going to be sharing my top 8 things to do in Athens and Santorini.
1. Hop on, Hop off Bus
As in Berlin, we decided to get a 2 day Hop on, Hop off bus ticket in Athens. We also had limited time here and a lot to see so we thought this would be the best option for us. Just like the bus in Berlin, it took us all around the city and showed us all the iconic monuments. In addition, it also took us in the outskirts to check out some of the beaches. This is a great way to travel around the city throughout your trip for a really good price. Its about $30.00 a person per day, but you can literally ride all day. The last bus, I believe comes around 7pm. I would recommend to check out this bus especially if your heading to Athens for a short time or because your not sure what to see. This gives you an idea of all the activities you can explore, so that you can hop off to check them out on your next ride. Even if you wanted to just stay on and ride the bus, there is an audio system that explains the rich history of Athens and its iconic monuments. So a lot of options are available with this bus, and its worth checking out if your going there.
2. Zeus's Temple
Something to check out is definitely Zeus’s Temple. Its crazy to see structures that have been here for centuries. This is a must see, especially if you enjoy looking at old monuments. There is a cost to get into the grounds, around 15-20 euros. Depending on what time you decide to go, there is special discounts around low season for tourists. In addition, there is a package you can buy that also includes a vist to Acropolis. I will link the full website that explains all costs associated. Although, it can be a little costly to see these places, its honestly worth it if your heading to Athens.
In my opinion, this is the best place to check out in Athens. It can be expensive to get in because of the popularity, but the views and structures you see are indescribable, and worth it. For every structure that you visit, you can read about the history that explains how and why each were built. I will leave a link with some deals to get your tickets at a cheaper price. If you buy them there its around 25 euros per person.
4.The Greco’s Project
If your looking for the BEST gyros in town, you have to check out The Greco’s Project. My friend and I got a full Greek salad and gyros for 7.00 euros each. So its definitely reasonably priced and is absolutely delicious. Easily my favourite gyro in Greece, and trust me we ate a lot of them! This is perfect for a nice lunch thats really affordable or a nice dinner in the evening. If you love trying traditional cuisine, this is definitely a place you want to check out.
1. Wine Tour Canava Roussos
This was one of the oldest winery’s in Santorini where they use traditional wine making methods with authentic Santorini Installations. The great thing about this wine tour is that it is FREE! You get to learn all about the winery and how they make the wine traditionally and modernly. The only thing that costs money is the actual wine tasting, however you can learn all about the winery and are free to roam around. Definitely, a great winery thats affordable and unique to Santorini.
2. The Santorini Brewing Company - The Donkey Experience
If you like beer this is great place to check out as this particular beer is authentic to Santorini. I’m not the biggest beer fan, but my group found it enjoyable and thought it was a unique experience. So if you love beer, this is definitely a place you want to check out in Santorini.
3. Black Beach
There are many Iconic beaches in Santorini to check out, we decided to see Black Beach in Thera. We spent a day at Black beach where we enjoyed the sun, and the fantastic views. The reason why its called black beach is because the sand is black due to the volcano lava flow and the sea water. This is the only beach we spent a day at, however, we did drive by and see others. I would say to check out as many as you can because they are all so beautiful. Especially Red Beach! That one is breathtaking, and we had the opportunity to see it on our catamaran cruise, which Ill be talking about next.
4. Oia Sunset cruise
This was one of my favourite experiences in Greece. Oia is the most beautiful and iconic place in Santorini. ITs the place where you see all the amazing white buildings, and amazing views. As beautiful as the pictures are, it does not do it justice! This is a place I think everyone would love to see. We walked in the town of Oia, as well as, took a sunset cruise to see the whole town from the ocean. What an experience this was! The cruise started around 3 and went to about 9pm. They took you to the hot springs, red beach, and the perfect view of the sunset in Oia. The price might range depending on what time of the year you decide to go. However, dinner and drinks were also provided, which made for a relaxing and fun experience. I will link the sunset cruise we took down below!
I am definitely going to be coming back to Greece, especially Santorini because I fell in love with that place. I hope if you are planning a trip to Europe to strongly consider making your way to Greece and checking these amazing places out. I am excited for next week, as I’ll be talking about Italy and the AMAZING gelato!
Today I am going to be talking about my 3 day adventure in Berlin. We might have been there for a short period of time, but we definitely used it wisely. It was very go go go because we wanted to see as much as we could in the short amount of time that we were there. This city is full with incredible history and it was cool see and learn about everything that happened in the past. If you are heading to Berlin here are __ things that you must do!
1. Hop on, Hop off Bus
I definitely recommend the hop on hope off bus especially if you have a short amount of time here. The bus takes you to all the iconic monuments such as the Brandenburg Gate, Berlin Cathedral, Oberbaum Bridge, and others. Its convenient because you can enjoy the on board audio system where they explain all the history at each monument, and you can hop off at any of the stops to explore on foot and take some amazing pictures. Especially if you do not know exactly what you want to see, this bus literally takes you all around the city and runs all day. Also, the price is pretty cheap at about $30.00 per person. We had the bus for two days, so $60.00 and we got to take our time and see everything. I will leave a link here for which bus we went with, as there are many different companies. I would recommend buying the tickets here, as you will be paying more if you buy it in Berlin.
2. The Jewish Memorial
One of the stops on the Hop on, Hop off bus was the Holocaust Memorial to remember all of the fallen Jews. Its crazy to see this history right infant of you and not be in aw. Around the memorial are little readings explaining the history of Berlin during World War II, what the city looked like at the time and explaining the execution of the Jews. Definitely recommend hopping off the bus to explore on foot and read some of the history.
3. The Berlin Wall
Another stop on the bus tour was The Berlin Wall. There is a small portion of the wall remaining that you are able to walk beside and read about the separation of the city between the East and West. In addition, there is a whole inside and outside museum right behind the wall explaining the full history of Berlin and their part in World War II. It also shows you timelines of events, all of the fallen Jews and their stories, the role women took in the wars, the role different countries took in the war such as Italy, and so much more. We spent so much time here seeing everything, that we actually missed the last bus pick up. So a tip for everyone, make sure you keep track of time so that your not across the city from where you are staying.
Berlin was awesome to see and I am so happy we went. I honestly did not think I would like it as much as I did. I wasn’t one to really care about Social in school. However, when the history is right in front of you, it makes a huge difference. This was a short post but I hope you found it helpful. I am super excited to be talking about Greece next week and the incredible things to see in Athens and Santorini! If you missed my other two blog posts I'll link them below.
Welcome back to my Europe travel series! Today I am going to be talking about our first stop on our trip which was Amsterdam, Netherlands. This is a place that I completely fell in love with, because I did not really care about it at first. However, the vibes in Amsterdam were great and the people there were super nice. It was a great start to the trip, and I’ll definitely be going back in the future.
The list below will discuss all the amazing things we did in Amsterdam, and some tips if your heading out there.
1. I Amsterdam card
This card gives you access to a lot of the attractions Amsterdam has to offer. If I am being honest we did not use it enough, because we only went to two things on theist of offerings. The good thing about the card is that you get free transportation. However, I would take a look at all the excursions the card offers, and choose which ones you would really want to see and based on that you can decide if the card is worth it to grab. I do think that you get a lot for the price of the card, considering admission to these places can get quite expensive. I will leave a link below if your interested In the places the I Amsterdam card has to offer.
2. Madam Tussaud
With the I Amsterdam card you get a discounted entrance free to Madam Trousseau. If your unfamiliar of what this is, its a wax figure museum of all your favourite celebrities. Its pretty cool to check out if your in Amsterdam. We spent a good couple hours there, because there is so many wax figures to see and of course we have to stop and get photos as well. The only downfall I would say is that it was crazy busy and theres not really any organization, so some places were very crowded. Therefore, I would be prepared for that but still go and check it out.
3. Canal Tour
The Canal tours take you through the rich history of Amsterdam where you listen on their special audio system and learn about all the special landmarks that made the city what it is today. Plus, I found it quite relaxing and fun. The total ride I would say was about 30-45 minutes and something enjoyable, and relatively affordable to do. I believe we went with the Lovers Canal Cruises which costed around €16 each person.
4. Rijks Museum
If you love art museums, the Rijks museum is a place you definitely want to check out. Its a Dutch national museum dedicated to arts and history in Amsterdam. With the I Amsterdam card you get free admission to this museum, which is great because admission is expensive. This museum is one of the most popular museums in Amsterdam, and one of the biggest. You can easily spend half a day here, especially if you love and have a passion for art. Even if your not that artsy, like me, this is still something cool to check out!
5. Smullers & Febo
Problaly one of our favourite things in Amsterdam as a group was Smullers and Fibos. These two places offered many traditional dutch favourites out of a type of vending machine. Everything from Croquettes, Frikandel, to Kaassoufflés, and others food such as burgers. It was great because they were always opened late, and always tasted fresh. We snacked countless times in Amsterdam at Smullers and Febos, and it just got better every time we did. Also, make sure you put in exact change because the machines don’t dispense the difference. Don’t worry theres a sign, but if your like me and don’t read things, then I am telling you now. Your welcome.
6. Shopping/ exploring
Make sure you bring your wallets with you because there is tons of shops to check out in Amsterdam, and many places to eat. You can easily spend a day shopping and enjoy all different kinds of cuisine. In addition, there are some cool street performances that happen during the day.
7. Red Light District
The Red Light District is an interesting place to walk through if your in Amsterdam. Due to the legalization of prostitution and sex oriented businesses, you’ll find many adult activities there. Of course, if your just an observer like me, it can be quite interesting to see and learn about the history of the Red Light District and see how different things are around the world. Its not for everybody, but its a very touristy place and just something cool to check out during the day or evening.
If you haven't seen my first blog post in this series I will link it dow below. Its all about the planning process that went into this five week adventure across Europe. There is a lot of tips and advice if you are planning a trip yourself. I hope you enjoyed reading about the experiences in Amsterdam and found them helpful. Next post is all about Berlin. Stay tuned! <3