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Explore Rome in 12 hours

Rome makes for one of the most alluring cities in Europe boasting an enriched mix of charming side streets, hauntingly beautiful ruins and inspired alfresco dining. Read all about how to spend a day in Rome!

Dip your finger into the Dolce Vita honey pot by idling around Trastevere’s picture-perfect streets, discover priceless artistic treasures and explore Rome’s ancient heritage rivalling astonishing contenders from all over the world. 

My friend and I started our day by leaving the hotel room at around 9 am in hope of finding the Trevi Fountain to be as peaceful as it looks on famous social media photos. Nope. Instead we arrived to floods of tour bus folk sitting upon the fountain’s edge and police blowing their whistles like lifeguards at a swimming pool. The Trevi Fountain is truly a masterpiece in itself and should be, rightly so, admired for a while before moving on. 

Next on the agenda was to climb the Spanish Steps. Guarded by the likes of Prada and Valentino, the steps run steep with ever-lasting views of the narrow streets and rooftops below.

With little time comes little patience. With only having the one day for exploring, we decided not to tour the insides of the coliseum as (1) it was raining and (2) the tour would take a huge chunk out of our day. Instead, we were more than happy with the most beautiful views of the exterior bones of the Coliseum showing us that we could admire its beauty from afar [pending outfit change]. 

Girl needs to eat! Who would dare to visit Italy and not try the pizza? Surrounded by fairy lights and cobbled roads, dine alfresco at Ella’s Pizzeria for a delicious pit stop. 

Soak up the Italian culture and wander aimlessly around the most charismatic neighbourhood in Rome, Trastevere. Here you’ll come across charming storefronts, hanging ivy, fairy lights, rustic plant pots, distressed bookshops and authentic outdoor dining offering a variety of Italian dishes. We spent a good amount of time just wandering around, getting lost and talking about how pretty everything was!

As we refused public transport, time seemed to slip away from us. And that’s how I spent my day in Rome. Leaving Rome unfinished motivates a swift return, perhaps next summer…

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  • C A L P E

    August 2, 2019 by

    Calpe Day Trip Guide from Benidorm If you’re in Benidorm and looking for a day trip then Calpe is the perfect choice! Calpe is a quaint town north of Benidorm sitting on the coast of Spain where you’ll find those beautiful Spanish steps and white-washed buildings to roam around before heading to the beach so… Read more

  • B E R L I N

    July 14, 2019 by

    A recent goal of mine has been to explore more of Europe; starting with Germany, Berlin was high on my list. Here’s a post packed with those instgram-worthy spots I enjoyed over a two day visit… A German City Guide What to do with your weekend in Berlin East Side Gallery Artists from all over… Read more

  • Explore Rome in 12 hours

    December 8, 2019 by

    Rome makes for one of the most alluring cities in Europe boasting an enriched mix of charming side streets, hauntingly beautiful ruins and inspired alfresco dining. Read all about how to spend a day in Rome! Dip your finger into the Dolce Vita honey pot by idling around Trastevere’s picture-perfect streets, discover priceless artistic treasures… Read more

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C A L P E

Calpe Day Trip Guide from Benidorm

If you’re in Benidorm and looking for a day trip then Calpe is the perfect choice! Calpe is a quaint town north of Benidorm sitting on the coast of Spain where you’ll find those beautiful Spanish steps and white-washed buildings to roam around before heading to the beach so you can experience crystal clear water and soft pale sand – a great place to catch that Spanish glow.

We caught an ALSA bus in the morning and arrived in Calpe within a couple of hours. The drive was beautiful. Passing coastal towns with houses painted white and tanned rooftops, catching views of the sea and country hills made the journey fly by!

We arrived at the main bus station about a 15 minute walk away from the beach. But first, we explored a quiet part of town where we found those rustic Spanish steps painted yellow and red surrounded by houses, plant pots and flowers.

After exploring the beautifully peaceful old town we decided to follow our hearts to the beach. From memory, we hired a sun lounger for around 5 euros each per day.

The best thing about this day trip (aside from gaining an amazing tan and ‘mermaiding’ in the ocean) was our sunset hike overlooking beautiful Calpe and the surrounding beaches. Don’t be put off when you see the barriers, they aren’t charging you but instead accounting for how many people are participating in the hike.

Our bus was leaving so we didn’t have time to walk all of the way to the top but I am determined to make my way back and complete it!

Enjoy this post? Try these ones…

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B E R L I N

A recent goal of mine has been to explore more of Europe; starting with Germany, Berlin was high on my list. Here’s a post packed with those instgram-worthy spots I enjoyed over a two day visit…

A German City Guide

What to do with your weekend in Berlin

East Side Gallery

Artists from all over the world have stamped their mark on the last standing remains of the Berlin Wall, a beautiful way to make something so ugly into a place for people to visit and never to be forgotten.

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The Berlin Cathedral Church

One of my favourite spots to explore. Situated over on the east side of Berlin, the Berlin Cathedral stands proud next to a beautiful river where you can sit, admire the gorgeous view and people watch.

Berliner Fernsehturm

We played “spot the tall pointy thing” all over the city.

House of Small Wonder

If you’re needing an escape from the tourists and to rest those tired feet of yours then this cute and planty cafe in the north of Berlin is the perfect place to refuel… AND the prices are very reasonable!

Brandenburg Gate

This huge historical landmark once signified a divide but has now become a symbol of peace and unity. Being one of the busiest tourist sites in Berlin it’s probably best to make sure you get there for sunrise in order to get the view to yourself.

Viktoriapark & Golgatha Bar

This hidden gem is a moderate 35 – 40 minute walk away from the city centre. The main reason why I wanted to find this place was because I thought it would be a chilled escape away from tourists, and the fact that there’s a nearby beer garden (Golgatha) to sunbathe in made up for the long trek!

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When in Germany…

Konzerthaus Berlin

My favourite building in Berlin is home to grand halls with beautiful ceilings towering over orchestral concerts, and of course, a red carpet fit for a QUEEEEEEEEN.

Neue Kirche

Old buildings galore! This whole area is surrounded by interesting architecture; we loved taking a slow walk around the block looking upwards. You can take beautiful photos from any angle but I liked the view from the steps of the building mentioned above – Konzerthaus Berlin!

Checkpoint Charlie

What was once a crossing point for western allies by 1962 is now a historic landmark positioned in the middle of the city between two roads. If you’re here during the summer months then keep your eyes peeled for a man-made beach nearby!

Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe

A place for remembrance and peace, visit during the end of the day to skip the tourists and immature people running around as if it were a maze! As you walk around, you can almost feel the significance of this horrific event.

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V E N I C E 

“If you read a lot, nothing is as good as you’ve imagined. But Venice is – Venice is better.”

Fran Lebowitz


When the moon hits the midnight sky of Venice it sends streaks of silver into its’ running canals, forcing a hypnotising haze of mirrored images from above. Stars glisten bright as you walk over the Grand Canal, men serenade as they graciously steer their treasured gondolas carrying hopelessly romantic couples.

During my travels to set my sights on Venice for the first time, I stayed in Jesolo, a short ferry ride from Venice itself. This made things a lot cheaper as booking accommodation in Venice can be quite expensive and you have the privilege of having easy access to the golden sands of Jesolo beach on your doorstep!

Every day I took a 30 minute ferry ride to the floating islands of Venice. An early morning ride along the turquoise coast was a relaxing way to start the day before hitting the chaotic crowd of buzzing tourists. The moment you step onto the ancient, stone slabs you feel as though you’re walking back in time. You’ll meander through stalls of souvenirs and cold beverages as you grow close to the first landmark you should visitSt Mark’s Square!  


What was once the homes of politicians and families of wealth and stature, here stands a square of white stoned, symmetrical housing that seems to guard the concrete courtyard. Choirs from around the world come to perform for Venice; you’ll hear musical bands play their best as relaxed tourists sit outside restaurants and bars, waiting for their deep glasses to be topped up with wine. So, soak up the atmosphere and take it all in. Don’t sit down on the floor though, the police will ask you to stand!


Birthplace to the famous Marco Polo: this magically floating city is connected by 118 islands, 400 footbridges and 170 boat canals. Catch yourself wandering the seemingly endless alleyways and bridges into this scenic maze of surprises. Going to Venice and not taking a ride in a gondola? Oh dear, that’s just as bad as going to Rome and neglecting to tour the Colosseum! It must be done…

Fact: these traditional gondolas have been used for an easy transportation around the Venician canals for hundreds of years. This exclusive group of gondoliers have been carrying the torch of honour through many generations; very few licenses are issued yearly.

Ponte dell’Accademia is one of the only four bridges crossing the Grand Canal; wooden structured and raised high above the water, this bridge gives us one of the best views in Venice. Take a deep breath and feast your eyes upon the beautiful backdrop, you’d think you were standing in the middle of a Hollywood movie set!

With the sounds of humming motors and polite chatter in the distant background, follow the narrow streets running parallel to the Grand Canal. A swift breeze of chilled air tickles your neck as you turn around each corner to find yourself presented with ancient courtyards, home to peaceful churches and glass galleries. You’ll find yourself looking up all the time, staring at the beautiful balconies laced with flowers.

If you get the chance, take a detour to Burano – an island near Venice! Hop on a boat to this colourful yet peaceful town to escape the hustle and bustle of Venice…


Fact: Burano, home to lace makers and passsionate artists. The first thing you’ll notice about this beautiful town is its’ many colours and its’ resemblance to the tv show of Balamory! Every house is painted with a colour. Why? The different colours signify a family; if you see blue houses for example, the people who live there will be related in some way. If you want to live in Burano, I’m afraid you’d have to marry into a family as it is tradition that only families born and raised can live there!

 This place is perfect for an afternoon, you don’t need a whole day here because it doesn’t take long for you to walk around the whole place! Stop for a bite to eat and a glass of wine from one of the authentic, family-run restaurants to get a feel for the real Burano dining experience.


Each day is a different experience in Venice. One day you may find yourself mesmerised by glass artists performing their magic in small studios or getting yourself lost within the shopping district…


The best present I’ve ever received; my Olympus Pen E-pl7 – the camera of my dreams! I love to take photos of every destination I’ve had the pleasure of visiting.

Happy travelling…

xoxo

Love Thy Traveller

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A M S T E R D A M

“Some tourists think Amsterdam is a city of sin, but in truth it is a city of freedom. And in freedom, most people find sin.”

John Green

Nine boxes you must tick on your first trip to Amsterdam 

1. Canal cruising – The most charming aspect about Amsterdam is its’ maze of forever running canals reflecting wavy images of beautiful, untouched houses by day and flickering, warm lights by night. Take a cruise along the calm waters back in time as you listen to the tour guide retelling the history of these gorgeous canals and neighbourhoods.

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2. Rent a bike – As there aren’t many wide streets around the inner circle of Amsterdam, cycling is the perfect solution to weaving in and out of the crowds and seeing the most this city has to offer! Airbnb are a personal favourite for having the best selection of apartments that include bikes for you to use during your stay but if your accommodation does not, renting a bike is easy, around every corner there is a bike rental shop cheap and cheerful…

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3. Wander around Vondelpark – Vondelpark is my favourite spot to take a stroll after filling up on hot chocolate in the winter months. My best friend and I love this place; it’s crawling with budding fitness fanatics working out, families on bike rides and couples walking hand in hand admiring the rose garden. Walk around this huge park, stopping for the perfect beverage along the way!

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4. Wake up and smell the coffee… Going to Amsterdam and not visiting a café? That’s just as ludicrous as going to Paris and chosing not to see the Eiffel Tower! On my very first trip to Amsterdam, my best friend and I stayed in the one and only ‘Bulldog’ hostel situated in the glowing heart of the red light district. It was cheap, loud and smelt strongly of weed, but we loved it! It was a brilliant way to see the city first hand, on arriving we explored the local area – jaws dropped!

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5. Get lost… Hands down the best way to truly explore a city is to go get lost. Surprise yourself with the hidden treasures you will uncover; cute local cafés, bustling beer gardens, superb sky bars and small local-owned shops. Try following the many street signs and ask for directions to find your next destination. I always try to pick up a map of the town or use the app Citymapper to find my way back.

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6. Iamsterdam sign – Tourist central! This landmark is just something you gotta do; pose in front of the giant letters or perform daring acrobatics across the top of them. You will see it all as people try to capture the best photos, applying filters as they happily walk away…

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7. The Sex Museum – Another notorious tourist destination you should cross off the list. A provocative insight into the history and nakedness of the world’s origin of sex shown to you through a walking tour of this quirky building. Neck a glass of your preferred poison and giggle your way through this amusingly open exhibit.

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8. Red lights – Glistening red lights compel not only the men, but the women too. People are fascinated with the seductive sense of freedom – no rules in this city of ‘sin’. The red light district is filled with stag and hen dos stumbling from window to window; I recommend you retreat to the Rembrantplein square if you’re up for a night out and food! I’ve been to Escape (nightclub) and it was such a good night out but I strongly recommend you pre-drink as the alcohol pricing is very expensive!

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9. Shop till you drop – Shopping, shopping and more shopping! There’s an area northwest of the city where I once stumbled upon, home to the cutest local shops holding the best souvenirs. I purchased a silver candle holder for my living room which is now sitting proudly at the centre of all my candles.

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Happy travelling…

xoxo

Love Thy Traveller

 

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With love, Paris

So I asked myself:

“What should my first post be?”

One cold night in early January, I was chatting away on the phone to my best friend Roannah where we were reminiscing on how perfect Christmas and New Year’s was. We were expressing to each other how much we were fed up of being stuck in England with nothing to do or see…

It happened so fast that I can’t remember who suggested it first but before we knew it we had spent the next hour or so investigating booking.com, skyscanner and eurostar.com for the cheapest travel and accommodation! By 8 o’clock we were squealing with excitement over the fact we had just spontaneously booked the Eurostar to the city of love – Paris.

Monday 20th February 2017: My 6am alarm overwhelms our London hotel room, hurrying us out of bed. We dashed around the room to put on our first-day outfits while brushing our teeth, and then wrapped up warm for the walk to the underground.

As we arrived at St Pancreas train station, the air was mild and the sun was rising. We quickly grabbed ourselves breakfast on the go from the station’s Costa and headed towards our awaiting train, luggage trailing behind. You would think that the train journey would drag as we were far too excitable, but amused to find out that we had passed through the channel tunnel and whizzing through France unknown to the fact we had even left England!

On arriving at Gare du Nord station, Paris, we darted straight for the subway to take us to our hotel which was located along Av.de Friedland, within 200m of the Arc de Triomphe – much to our liking! We ditched the bags off at the hotel where we tried our rusty french on the receptionist: “bonjour”, “merci”. Lusting after experiencing as much as possible, we ventured out to the magnificent Arc de Triomphe. Truly a work of art. I recommend going to visit both day and night, the darkness of the evening sky contrasts against the pale building making it a treasure to photograph.

img_85941.jpgAfter admiring the Arc we hopped on the subway to make our way to the next destination on our list – The Louvre. Much to our delight, we were allowed in free of charge because we were under 25! I hadn’t really thought much about what to expect, but by God I was impressed. The ceilings were incredible. I must have nearly bumped into someone about 7 times because my eyes were transfixed upon the golden framed paintings above.  Finding Mona was a workout in itself though. We must have spent around an hour trying to navigate our way through the maze of paintings to set our eyes on the Mona Lisa herself. I recommend you ask a security guard straight away to save precious time! The crowd surrounding the painting was huge but definitely worth waiting for a close up: she’ll be watching…

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We decided to then walk to the Eiffel Tower; walking is the best way to discover hidden cafés or cute shops that you might not have ever known of if you had taken a taxi or the subway! I love to feel like I’m eating or shopping like the locals. It probably took us around 40 minutes to reach the Eiffel Tower on a leisurely stroll, I mean, you don’t exactly need a map to find it! We decided to walk through back streets until we came across the base of the colossal tower, it emerged from the off-white Parisian buildings in front of us. In ore of its’ size and structure, we decided to head up to the viewing point which was a quick 15 minute walk away. The weather was perfect to be honest, not too cold for the winter month of February and it didn’t rain! It made for a very moody but seductive Paris, that’s for sure! This area was filled with budding tourists, professional photographers and couples admiring the towers’ beauty from a far. I couldn’t help but take hundreds of photos, it would be rude not to right?

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So the Eiffel Tower was amazing to see during the day but I certainly recommend that you see this beauty at night. Its’ glistening frame lights up the dark sky every night, showing off a display every half an hour which is truly captivating…

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​Tuesday 23rd February: Waking up in Paris felt like I was still dreaming. To make the most of our two days we made sure we woke up bright and early to climb the stairs of the Arc de Triomphe, which looking at it, you wouldn’t expect to be so tiring! The staircase is in the form of a tight spiral running to the very top of the Arc, prepare yourself for a dizzy head! Oh, and the entrance was free for this too; I’ve never felt so lucky to be 23… As we drew closer to the top, the daylight shone bright compelling us to keep climbing to the very top, breaching the surface to see the streets of Paris from above. Distant sounds of the bustling city below: commuters on their way to work, tourists wandering the streets and beeping cars meandering traffic. Yet standing there, camera in hand, it felt peaceful.





To the Montparnasse! We caught the subway to the Montparnasse tower, we heard the views were fabulous and they really were! The roof has an ice-skating rink and a small bar, this would have been great in the summer months but instead we were wrapped up trying to keep my hat from blowing away haha!


Food, food and more food! As passionate foodies ourselves, we wanted to find a cute cafe to eat like the locals! We stumbled upon a hidden cafe, Le Pain Quotidien, tucked away down a back street of Champs-Élysées, as we walked through the door we were greeted with a friendly “Bonjour” and the sweet scent of pastry and coffee. I ordered a hot chocolate with a fruit salad and a pot of delicious chocolate spread… yum! My bestie, Roannah, ordered a traditional slab of bread with all the spreads on offer.


Next stop – Ladurée! When in Paris… lust over macaroons. For a moment I was channelling Gossip Girl’s Blair Waldorf as my eyes widened, gazing over the countless flavours of perfectly circled macaroons sitting there pretty, tempting me to buy them. I bought a box of 8 to take home with me to share with my family, they were incredible!


Before leaving, we wanted to see the Eiffel Tower one more time to say our farewells to such a beautiful city. I can say I have completely fallen in love with Paris, the people, the streets and the culture!

Au revoir Paris, see you soon!

xoxo

Love Thy Traveller