“If you don’t climb the mountain, you can’t see the view.”
– Harvey Mackay
One of the best day trips from Lisbon is a visit to Sintra, a super charming little town situated in the high hills of the Serra de Sintra, one of Portugal’s 13 natural parks. Scattered all over the hills are beautiful palaces, extravagant villas and the ruins of an enormous Moorish castle. Sintra is simply a must-go and must-see whenever you are in Lisbon for more than 2 days.
The internet is full of organised tours to Sintra and this can make you feel that Sintra can only be done with a guide. I disagree. It’s an easy trip to undertake yourself, since public transport to and in Sintra is perfectly well organised and tickets can be bought online and on the spot. We did it all ourselves, took an early train to Sintra, had coffee with a pastéis de nata before taking the bus all the way up the Sintra hills. We visited 3 castles in one day at a leisurely pace and had a delicious light lunch in the charming old city centre as a break between our sightseeings.
If you want to explore Sintra without a guide too, please read on, since this week’s blogpost is all about possible ways to organise your one-day-trip to Sintra without a guide, without any hassle and with lots and lots of castles and food to enjoy!
“Every choice you make has an end result.”
– Zig Ziglar
There are so many cities to choose from for a city trip, that it may be hard to decide which one(s) to visit. Maybe my list of 7 reasons why you should visit Lisbon can help you choose. I have recently spent a wonderful week in this charming city and can honestly say that I think Lisbon offers something for everyone. I would definitely go to Lisbon if…
1. You like city trips and you are keen on beach days. Lisbon offers both!
2. You like sweet and salty food. Go to Lisbon and you can enjoy both!
3. You like good food and live music. Have dinner in a Fado restaurant in Lisbon and you have both!
4. You like reliable and inexpensive public transport. Travel to and in Lisbon and you have both!
5. You like city trips and you like to do some walking and cycling. Lisbon offers both!
6. You like wine and you like bubbles. Have some vinho verde in Lisbon and you have both!
7. You like modern and classical art. Lisbon is full of museums and certainly offers both (and more)!
Read on for tips and background information about food, public transport, miradouros, the best beaches, museums, Fado restaurants and more.
Let me also tell you that Lisbon is a great city to visit in winter, since Lisbon offers mild temperatures and sunshine☀️ in these months. I think it’s wonderful to enjoy that kind of weather in winter, when many of us have to do without warm and sunny days. Another good reason to put Lisbon on your list of cities to visit👍
“As for New York City, it is a place apart. There is not its match in any other country in the world.”
– Pearl S. Buck
After a romantic city break to Venice with my husband early in 2019, I spent the Whitsun weekend in Paris with one of my female friends from Holland. In summer I went to Hamburg with 10 Swiss friends and I spoiled myself with one more city trip with another Dutch friend in 2019: New York City. You will understand that with so many holidays in one year, a girl has to watch her spending, so we did New York City very low budget (you can read all about it in this NYC blogpost), which worked out brilliantly.
For all my city trips, I always list 10 things that you should NOT do. So, here they are: 10 things NOT to do in New York City. I provide you with the reasons why and I offer you great alternatives! Enjoy your read.
“Balancing your money is the key to having enough.“
– Elizabeth Warren
Last October I visited NYC with a friend. For both of us it was an extra holiday on top of many others. That’s why we decided to plan our visit such that we would make most of it in a budget-friendly way. We used to do that as students because we had to and we challenged ourselves to do it again because we wanted to. And you know what? We can still pull if off!
Read on to find out what we did (and did not) to limit our spending and make most of our stay!
“When life gives you snow, go snowshoeing.”
Hello and Happy New Year to you!
Last blog was all about hiding your Xmas extras, but that is of course a temporary solution. (Re)starting a healthy diet and exercising are ways to ensure lasting results. That’s why this week I’d like to promote a healthy activity that will bring you much while not costing you or the environment a lot: Snowshoeing!
In case you are a fan of winter wonderland, when you like relaxing your brain while exercising, when you love enjoying nature and respecting it at the same time plus when you are looking for having the time of your live for just a tiny bit of money, you should definitely go snowshoeing.
Read on to find out the many more advantages snowshoeing offers.
“Here’s to books, the cheapest vacation you can buy.”
– Charlaine Harris
Do you know that feeling too? You have been somewhere and although it is always great coming back home, you also kind of want to prolong the holiday or at least that holiday feeling. Books are a super solution to get the best of two worlds. You can curl up on your own sofa with a novel and the book brings you back to where you have just been (or takes you where you’d like to go one day). Books are therefor the cheapest vacation you can buy and thus a perfect Xmas gift!
Have a look at my selection of novels to put on your Xmas list (or to give someone else of course). The novels have one big thing in common: the story takes place in NYC. Trust me, a trip to NYC is far from cheap, so this may just be a perfect alternative. The novels can also serve as a prelude to a planned city break or as a trip down memory lane. NYC is simply fascinating, and so are these novels!
For teachers and story-lovers among you I have selected Teacher Man by Frank McCourt. For shopaholics and those of you are fan of a feel-good story, I have selected Still Me by JoJo Moyes and for those of you who just love a good thriller, you will be thrilled by Run Away, Harlan Coben’s latest novel. And for everyone who loves reading novels about relationships, any of these will work for you!
“Without stones there is no arch”
– Marco Polo
Milan is a shopping paradise for fashion lovers and offers cultural minded visitors the Duomo, the Last Supper and many museums. Going to Milan also means lots of delicious Italian ice-cream, Risotto alla Milanese for lunch and a legendary Aperitivo Milano at the end of your day.
Reasons enough to visit Milan and to enjoy all the good stuff this city has to offer you. Below you find 10 tips to make most of your city trip.
Enjoy your virtual visit to magnificent Milan and your real one even more!
“Nowhere does the sky shine so beautifully grey as in Hamburg.”
“Nirgendwo strahlt der Himmel so schön grau wie in Hamburg.”
After a romantic city break to Venice with my husband and a weekend in Paris with one of my friends from Holland, my next city trip was to Hamburg. I went with a large group of female friends (10 in total!). We had extra planned our girls’ weekend away in August to enjoy the city in warm and sunny weather…
Well, the weather wasn’t warm and sunny at all. It was gloomy, rainy and cold. The company and Hamburg itself were fantastic though. It’s a city I would definitely put on your list of places to go to: awesome architecture, positive people, musicals and museums in abundance, lots of water (and that does not include the rain), fantastic”Fischbrötchen” and “Franzbrötchen” and the epic Elbphi of course.
Having listed all that, there are some things I would NOT do when visiting Hamburg. Read on to find out which ones and what my alternatives for you are!
“Be stubborn about your goals, and flexible about your methods.”
In one of my previous blogposts I have already hinted at my trip to NYC. Can you imagine my stress when one week before the trip I sprained my ankle while taking one of the beautiful photos of “petite” Alaska in Switzerland?! I was wondering how much I could actually do and see in NYC…
Like so often, a story popped up and I’d like to share it with you this week. It’s the story of Diederik, who owns a vineyard on the shores of Lake Zurich, and it’s about the way he has dealt with disastrous weather conditions for winemakers.
Continue your read to find out what the link with my NYC trip is and what a great learning this story offers all of us.
“Happiness is Only Real When Shared.”
As you can see on the photos in this blogpost, Switzerland, despite being so organised and clean, can look pretty wild too.
When we went for a walk in Graubünden’s National Park a few weeks back, I felt like really going “into the wild”. Look at these impressive mountains with that first touch of snow on the top. Can you imagine how I felt, walking on a trail amidst these mountains and lots of trees, crossing wild waters (OK, over bridges, but still…) and even spotting some deer and other game. The film “Into the Wild” spontaneously popped up in my head and I turned to my husband to tell him so. In that instant the famous sentence “happiness is only real when shared” got its extra dimension for me.
It’s so true. No matter how happy you are, you are happier when you can share your happiness with others, building up memories together. That is also one of the pains of losing loved ones: shared happy moments can no longer be shared.