Porto in a day

Besides being the second largest Portuguese city, Porto´s history and sights are World Heritage sites. Even though Porto has not always been a very popular destination, in the last years since it won the award for Best European Destination in 2012, 2014 and 2017, the city is a must for tourists.

When visiting Portugal, it would be great if you could find the time to visit Porto. One day is enough for those who have limited days on their trip. The city is truly beautiful and you fall in love with it instantly.

 

Liberdade Square

In the centre of Porto, you will find this square, full of restaurants and cafes. 2 minutes from the Sao Bento station, makes it a great spot to pass by on your way to other sights. Usually, when a big event happens in the city, it will take place right there.

 

Livraria Lello

This famous Portuguese bookstore, also known as Livraria Lello, is one of the oldest bookstores in Europe and one of the top bookstores in the world. The admission fee for entering is 5 euros, but if you purchase a book, it will be reducted from the final price.  It is definitely well worth the wait to get in, especially if you are a book lover.

What makes it even more special for the Harry Potter fans, is that the library in the Hogwarts Castle was inspired on the Lello bookstore since J.K Rowling lived in Porto when she was writing the first book of Harry Potter.

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Porto Cathedral

The cathedral is standing tall in the centre of Porto. Being one of the most famous sights in Porto, it gathers visitors all day long. By going to the top, you can enjoy some amazing views and with a fee of 3 euros, you can get into the side building.

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Palácio de Bolsa

Known for its beautiful architecture, the Stock exchange Palace of Porto is an amazingly preserved building full of history and a World Heritage Site. From the inside, the sight is simply stunning and will make you feel like you take all its history in.

You can pick tours based on your prefered language throughout the day. The highlight of your visit would definitely be the Arab themed room.

 

Cais da Ribeira

Ribeira spreads along the Douro river and is a stunning square full of life, with shops, restaurants and local goods.  It is a very touristy area, but on the bright side, you will be greatly entertained by all the street artists.

When you are there make sure to try the Francesinha, a local dish that is more or less a toast with different types of meats, like steak, sausage and ham. It is usually topped with an egg and a spicy sauce made with beer and tomato, which is poured over melted cheese.

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Ponte de Dom Luis I

The city´s iconic sight is perfect for photographers since it can give you the best views of the city. A cable car (Funicular dos Guindais) will be ready to take you to the top of the 172-meter long bridge.

The sight is filled with tons of people on a daily basis, that enjoy the views and the street performances. Around you will find many cafes and restaurants with fresh and delicious seafood.

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Wine Quay Bar

If you want to try the local wine with a view, then go to the Wine Quay Bar. It is located on the Ribeira Square and it is open from Monday to Saturday (16:00 – 23:00). The view is amazing, especially during the night. The service is great and so are the options of cheeses and meats to go with your wine.

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5 Things To Know For Every Trip

You have decided your next destination and booked everything. Now you are ready to go. Actually, not yet. You need to take care of a few things before you travel.

1.Learn a few local words

Words like entschuldigung (sorry in German), euxaristo (thank you in Greek), Buon Giorno (goodmorning in Italian), or hola (hi in Spanish) will always be appreciated by the locals. Especially in some German cities in Bavaria, you will not find many people who speak English, so it’s good to know a few basics.

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2.Currency

Always check the currency before you visit a new country. Find out if you will benefit from exchanging money in your country or in the one you visit. Also, check with your banks (if you have many), to see in which one a transaction like that will benefit you most. Remember that currency rates change quite often, so be sure to get the best deal.

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3.Walk or bike to explore

The best thing you can do is stay close to the city centre of the city you visit. That will minimise your transportation costs and in the process, you will get to see some amazing places, you definitely wouldn’t if you used the metro.

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4.Order local specialities

When visiting a restaurant, try the local food. First, you will try this culture’s food and second you will pay way less money. Besides, if you visit a new country and you keep on only eating from well known fast food chains or you always order chicken, then you miss the point of experiencing in whole a city’s identity.

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5.Leave the tourist zone

Of course, at first you will visit all the known sights, but after that, try to get away from the tourist zone. It will be less crowded, less expensive and with beautiful cultural sights and buildings as well.

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5 Free apps to use for your next trip

We all have our mobile phones attached to our hands. We use apps on a daily basis for almost anything. When it comes to travelling, our lives simply get much easier if we use the right apps.

We often find ourselves struggling with Google Maps and being in the middle of nowhere trying to figure out where to go next or where to go for lunch.

After doing some research on a personal level, I present to you the 5 free apps that will help you organise your next trip and help you explore any destination.

 

Visit A City

In this app, I found what I was looking for. A place where I can add all the sights I want to visit on my next trip and create a timeline of the best route and order starting from my hotel. Choose the city you want to visit and go to my plans. Choose the days you wish to stay and customize the plan the way you want.

 

Volo – Your Travel Journal

If you love organising your trips and keep your memories in one place, while sharing it with others, then check out this app. While keeping a detailed itinerary of your travels, you can check what other travellers did on the same destination.

 

PackPoint travel packing list

For those organisation freaks, PackPoint is the app for you. You have everything you will need for your trip in an app, so you never forget a thing. It is useful for organising yourself to get everything you might need, but also for not forgetting things on your way back.

 

Citymapper

The most winning-award app for transportation. Accurate and easy to use. The only negative is that it cannot be used in many cities yet. Among a few more, you can use it when visiting London, Tokyo,  Paris, Berlin, Amsterdam, Milan, Barcelona, New York, Los Angeles and Mexico.

 

World Around Me

Probably one of the best apps you will need during your trip, especially if you visit a new place. First of all, you need to add the city you are in or simply open your GPS.

After the app finding your current location, you can choose from the categories what it is you are looking for, such as restaurants, bars, banks, ATMs, parks, museums, art galleries, petrol stations, hotels, all means of transportation, doctors, hospitals as well as churches and shopping malls.

Once you have selected what you want to find, hold your camera at eye level and the choices around you will pop up.

 

 

 

7 things to know before you visit Krakow

Krakow is a good choice for an incredibly affordable destination with a medieval vibe and great architecture and the second largest city in Poland.

Going around is easy, since the city is quite small and can be seen within a day. However, Krakow is full of surprises… both good and bad…

 

1. Money makes the world go round

The exchange rates in Krakow are quite high, especially at the airport. If you want to exchange currencies after you arrive, think again.

By far, the best choice is to roughly calculate how much money you are going to need and exchange this sum of money from your hometown.

The tickets from the airport to the city cost 9 PLN per person for a one-way ticket. The food is quite cheap. Try to research a few of the places you want to eat at and see their menus for prices.

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2. Google Maps is worthless

When arriving in Krakow, your first instinct will be to open Google Maps and find the best way to go to the city.  But for some reason, Google Maps will simply not cooperate with you. The only way it shows is to use the LEO EXPRESS, which is nowhere to be found.

Instead, follow the sign ´Train to the city´. This train is scheduled to depart every 30 mins.

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3. Ticket Madness

At the train station outside the airport, there are only 2 ticket machines with MANY people waiting. You may find yourself waiting for more than 40 minutes, and you will definitely lose at least one train.

What you must know is that if you have Polish money, you can enter the train and pay inside. 

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4. Shop your heart out

Any Polish city is great for shopping since everything is quite affordable with sales up to 80%.

Besides well-known clothing stores, such as Bershka, C&A, Pull&Bear and more you will find many Polish ones with better prices and more unique clothes.

The drugstore Hebe, has two stores in Krakow and has a variety of brands at very low prices.

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5. Gotta love the bakeries

Who does not love baked goods that smell great and taste even better? In every corner in Krakow, you will come across bakeries with a variety of pastries and local goodies. Just get inside and try as much as you can.

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6. Smell your lungs out

Polish people love cleanliness. ANYWHERE and I mean anywhere you go, you will realise that everything smells amazing. People, malls, streets, sights, restaurants, hotels, even public bathrooms smell amazing.

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7. Souvenir without existence

Every city will always promote some specific sights. Every city makes a big profit from tourists that buy souvenirs of those famous sights.

What if, Krakow had a souvenir of a sight that was nowhere to be found???

The fire-breathing dragon is located in the Wavel Castle, but only from April to October.

While in Krakow, you will see the dragon in every kind of souvenir; fridge magnets, teddy bears, chocolates, postcards and more have the dragon in them, possibly making it the ´maskot´of the town.

However, no one will buy a souvenir to remind them something they never saw…

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Szechenyi Spa & Thermal Baths in Budapest

What is better than visiting the most famous natural waters in Europe and relaxing with massages and thermal baths?

When you visit Budapest, especially for the first time, you know you MUST visit at least one of its thermal baths. The Pearl of the Danube has so many natural warm spring waters, that visiting a thermal bath is the reason most travellers visit the city.

The Szechenyi Bath is the biggest and of course the most famous one in Budapest. Besides that, it is one of the biggest natural hot spring spa baths in Europe.

The 18 pools are open all year long, even in the winter. The outdoor pool can reach a temperature of up to 40 degrees Celsius, which makes it a perfect choice for your winter vacation. The chess-boards on the sides of this pool, are something special and interesting to watch when everything around you is covered in snow.

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What you will need with you

  • Towel or bathrobe (bathrobe is a way better choice for the winter)
  • Flip-flops (optional)
  • Bathing suit
  • A change of clothes
  • Hairdryer (optional)

Tips: 

***You have the option to buy towels, flip flops, shampoo & bath gel from there.

Flip-flops: The floors in the spa are quite dirty, even though they are being cleaned every few minutes.

Bathrobe: If you visit during the winter and choose to go in the outdoor pool, you will freeze when you get out.

 

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by szechenyispabaths.com

 

Prices

The prices are different for weekdays and weekends. You can find the whole price list here.

Bath Ticket with Locker: 19 euros

Bath Ticket with Private Cabin: 21 euros (20 euros on weekdays)

Bath Kit (towel, flip-flops, swimming cap, shampoo & bath gel, bottle of mineral water): 26 euros

Bath Towel: 13 euros

 

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by Budapest Cards

 

Special Events

There are many parties happening in the Szechenyi Baths on Saturday nights, known as Sparties. The party combines relaxing in the hot pools while drinking and listening to the DJ´s music under an incredible light show.

More special events take place during holidays, such as New Years and Christmas.  You can find more information on those events in the Spa´s official page.

 

Night of Baths in Budapest
by National Geographic

 

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by Tripdvisor

 

Where to eat in Krakow

Admittedly, Poland is known for the good food and Krakow is not an exception. From traditional cuisine to classic burgers, one thing is for sure… You will want more.

Below you can find the best places for breakfast, lunch, dinner, snack and coffee based on taste, ingredient quality and prices.

 

1. Milkbar Tomasza

A true hidden gem in the city of Krakow. There are many breakfast choices for you and everything is simply delicious.

Address: ul. Sw. Tomasza 24 | 31-027 Krakow, Krakow 31-027, Poland

Opening Hours: 08:00 – 20:00 (Tue – Sat)

09:00 – 20:00 (Sun)

What to eat:

  • Poached eggs with spinach, grilled peppers & Cottage cheese
  • Spanish omelette with potatoes, olives, gouda & bacon
  • Irish breakfast

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2. GOGO Burger

For the burger lovers, this is a must. The burgers are all super tasty, the service excellent and the prices very very low.

Address: Starowislna 16, Krakow 31-032, Poland

Opening Hours: 12:00 – 22:30 (Mon – Fr)

What to eat:

  • French burger
  • Bacon Cheeseburger
  • Guacamole burger

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3. Vegab

A truly unique place with unique and healthy food and the perfect option for any vegetarian. Everything is delicious and prepared with fresh ingredients.

Address: Starowislna 6, Krakow 31-032, Poland

Opening Hours: 11:00 – 21:00 (Mon – Thur)

11:00 – 23:00 (Fri – Sat)

11:00 – 20:00 (Sun)

What to eat:

  • Beirut (hummus, sesame tahini, pickled cucumbers)
  • Olymp (tzatziki, black olives, sundried tomatoes)
  • Aloha (mango sweet & sour sauce, marinated pineapple)
  • Superfood smoothie (goji berries, chia, date paste, young barley, orange, apple)
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by Vegab

4. Smakolyki

If you want to taste traditional Polish food for breakfast, lunch or dinner, this is the place for you. The decoration of the restaurant is very cosy, the food is delicious and the prices excellent.

Address: Straszewskiego 28, Krakow, Poland

Opening Hours: 09:00 – 22:00 daily

What to eat:

  • Dumplings
  • Mushroom soup with noodles
  • Roasted ribs
  • Homemade cheesecake
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by Smakolyki

 

5. Lajkonik – Piekarnia i Kawiarnia

The local and traditional bakery with many locations around the city. Everything is fresh and delicious. Perfect for a quick snack during the day or a rich breakfast.

Address: Karmelicka 22 | Opposite Carmelite Church

Opening Hours: 06:30 – 20:00 (Mon – Fri)

07:00 – 20:00 (Sat)

07:00 – 21:00 (Sun)

**Opening hours vary in the other locations

What to eat: 

  • Cinnamon roll
  • French dough with vanilla cream filling
  • Bagels
  • Tortillas
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by Tripadvisor

 

10 Things to do in Budapest for FREE

1. Gellert Hill View

On your way to Citadella, stop at Gellert Hill for the most picturesque view in all of Budapest. Take a moment and embrace the view. This monument will be specifically appreciated by photography lovers.

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2. Margaret Island

A great place to unwind and become one with nature. The perfect time to visit would be during spring, fall or summer when the weather is very good and you can fully enjoy the park.

Inside you can find the Music Fountain, canteens, cafes, bike renters, the city´s zoo, a Japanese and Rose garden and many more sights.

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Japanese Garden

 

3. Cross the Bridges

There are 4 gorgeous and big bridges in the centre of the city that unite Buda with Pest. Going towards all the famous sightseeing, you will see all of them and cross them by foot or public transportation. The chain bridge must be walked through during the day and at night.

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Chain Bridge

 

4. Free Walking Tour

Who doesn´t love a free tour in a beautiful city? Someone that knows the ropes and history and will be able to give you more insight on the place you have visited.

Visit the official free walking tour website  for all tour options and choose the one that best fits you.

 

5. Museum Lovers

Budapest has numerous interesting museums that are mostly come with a fee. However, during Hungarian national holidays (March 15; August 20; October 23) some of the city´s top museums open their doors for free.

So you might want to consider planning a trip during these dates if you want to take advantage of free admission to the Museum of Fine Arts, the Hungarian National Gallery, the Hungarian National Museum and the Museum of Hungarian Agriculture.

 

6. Budapest by Evening

Budapest is beautiful at all times of the day. But when the evening comes and the sun is about to set, it is truly an amazing time. The view is breathtaking and you get that cosy feeling of warmth.

There are so many people walking along the Danube with the sunset. Everything looks far prettier and it comes to be one of the best moments of being in Budapest.

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7. Parliament Scenery

When was the last time you saw a sight, museum, monument, city that left you in owe. The Hungarian Parliament has that effect on people.

When you visit it in the morning, you can see all the beauty from both its sides and admire the detail in this gorgeous architectural building.

However, at night it can leave you speechless. By many, it is considered to be one of the most stunning things to see in Europe.

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8. Explore Kosponti Vasarcsarnok (central market)

A market which the locals appreciate and visit daily. You can find anything from souvenirs to fresh produce.

As you enter, you will find all the local kiosks, where most Budapest citizen buy their vegetables, fruits and other products every day. However, on the second floor, you will find it filled with tourists, since it is the floor with all the souvenirs.

 

9. Fisherman´s Bastion

One of the top attractions in Budapest. You can access from Buda Castle or by bus. Its unique fortification and lookout towers, provide a stunning view of the city.

A truly unique and gorgeous sight. The architecture is so different from everything else you see in Budapest with hundreds of tourists visiting on a daily basis.

You visit both in the morning and at night. During the night the view of the Parliament across is breathtaking.

 

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10. Palace of Arts

St. Stephen´s Day, is a national Hungarian holiday that occurs on the 20th of August of each year.  This long anticipating festival takes place in Mupa, the city’s biggest concert hall. During the day, you will see jazz concerts and many other performances that end with a firework show.