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Travel Guide to Vienna, the musical Austrian capital

 

As part of my mini Europe trip taken in March I visited the pretty city of Vienna, somewhere I have wanted to explore for AGES! If you read one of my previous posts you’ll know that I travelled with my friend and fellow blogger Lucy to Bratislava for two nights before catching a train over to the Austrian capital for a further two nights. We stayed in the quirky Musuemsquartier, located in the cities seventh district, and found it to be the perfect base for exploring the rest of the city. We only had two full days there so barely scratched the surface, but here’s a round up of my short time in the city and my top tips on what to see and do there…

 

Climb St Stephen’s Cathedral

 

Because a city isn't a city unless it has a beautiful cathedral at the very heart of it 💒😍 #Vienna #stephanzplatz @viennatouristboard

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Climbing towers is probably one of my favourite things to do when I’m on a city break – there’s just something about racing to the top to discover breathtaking views of the city below you and viewing it from every angle possible. I didn’t get chance to climb the 343 steps of St Stephen’s South Tower during my visit to Vienna, but I saved my little legs and instead was able to take an express elevator up to the top of the North Tower to capture the most stunning views of the Old Town below. Although the South Tower is the highest point of Vienna’s inner city skyline, and the views are supposedly slightly better, I really enjoyed my visit to the North Tower and even caught a glimpse of the largest bell in Austria, The Boomer Bell, which has resided in the tower since 1957.

 

Visit Hundertwasser village

 

 

This was somewhere completely off the beaten track and really unexpected but I am so glad I got chance to visit this pretty place whilst I was in Vienna. Lucy had seen photos of Hundertwasser all over Instagram, but I was yet to lay my eyes on it so had no clue what to expect when we set off on our wander through the city to try and find it. After a few wrong turns we came across our desired location and we soon fell in love with this place – I’ve never seen anything like it! Essentially it’s just a residential block of flats with a small shopping centre directly opposite, but the design, style and architecture is incredible and made for the most amazing Insta shots. Austrian artist Friedensreich Hundertwasser founded the site, which has now been turned into a museum and is visited by thousands of tourists annually. I think the building was really reminiscent of iconic Spanish architect Gaudi, and Hundertwasser looked a little like Park Guell. I just feel a little sorry for all the residents who have to go about their normal everyday lives whilst the cameras are constantly clicking, but if you get chance I’d 100% recommend stopping off here for a few minutes!

 

Wander around Stadt Park

 

 

After a busy day of exploring it was nice for us to sit down, rest our feet for a short while and just enjoy the ambiance of Stadt Park, a gorgeous green space right in the heart of the city. With flowers, trees, ponds, streams and local wildlife to look at, this place offered some respite from the hustle and bustle of the city centre and was well worth a visit. We cut through Stadt Park to reach Hundertwasser Village and the walk was gorgeous.

 

Tick off all three of the big palaces

 

Pretty sure this is one of the most beautiful palaces I've ever seen 😍 #Vienna #belvedere @viennatouristboard

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Make sure you visit Belvedere Palace with it’s elegant architecture and perfectly manicured flower gardens…

 

Ohhhhhh Viennaaaaaaa 🎼🎼

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… don’t miss out on Schonnbrunn either, one of the most recognized landmarks in the whole of Vienna, and the biggest palace complex in the city…

 

 

… and finally, no trip to Vienna would be complete without visiting all of the big three palaces, so ticking the stunning Hofburg complex off your list is an absolute must! With so much history and culture to discover, taking a trip to all of these palaces will help you to fall in love with Vienna even more.

 

Eat like a local

 

 

I always try to indulge in some local cuisine when I’m visiting a new city, and as it was my first time in Austria, I couldn’t wait to see what would be on the menu! I have to admit, I wasn’t as adventurous as I normally am when travelling, mainly because I was a bit limited on funds and short on time, so mostly just wanted to eat quickly before getting on with exploring! I did however get chance to eat chicken schnitzel for dinner and traditional Viennese sausages for breakfast which were a particular highlight. Sadly I didn’t get chance to sample any of their world famous apple strudel.. but there’s always next time!

 

Stay in the Museumsquartier area

 

The edgy, quirky district of #Museumsquartier made the perfect base to explore #Vienna 😍 @viennatouristboard

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I’m slightly biased as I stayed in this area during my time in Vienna – you can check out my hotel review of the amazing 25 Hours Hotel to find out why it was so great – but I would definitely recommend basing yourself near to the Museumsquartier area if you can! This place made such a good base for us as it was so central, close to the metro/bus/tram stops and there was so much to see and do within the district itself. Brimming with shops, cafe’s, bars, restaurants and, of course, museums, this part of town is edgy, lively and will certainly keep you busy during your visit to Vienna.

 

Make use of the metro or the trams

 

 

I’ll go into more detail about this below, but I cannot stress how important it is to use public transport during your time in Vienna. The city is ENORMOUS, and you’ll barely even scratch the surface if, like me and Lucy, you only have two full days there. I did get to tick off all the landmarks I wanted to see, but still feel like we saw barely any of the city despite exploring as much as we possibly could. The transport systems in Vienna are amazing, so take advantage of them, whiz from place to place and see as much, or as little, as you want to see there whilst allowing your legs to rest while you’re chilling on the tube!

 

Purchase Vienna city cards

 

 

This was an absolute MUST for us and we couldn’t have been without them during our trip. These city cards, from the lovely team at the Vienna Tourist Board, gave us free public transport to anywhere in the city, on the trams, metro and buses, and enabled us to go as far and as wide as we wanted. Vienna is such a huge city and it’s impossible to see it by foot, so these cards were a godsend and I’d 100% recommend them to anyone visiting the city.

 

So there we have it, my travel guide to Vienna. For the best possible experience I’d recommend using different methods of transport to get around, such as the metro, buses and trams, and you can walk to some places too, depending on where you’re staying. The city is huge and you’ll find it difficult to see everything without using the metro to get from place to place, but I always think it’s boring just being whizzed around on the underground, rather than appreciating the beauty of the city from one of the open top tourist buses! I have to admit I felt a bit like this during my time in Vienna and it kind of spoilt it a little – we were so pushed for time that we had no option but to use the metro, but I just felt like we were whizzing from place to place just to tick certain landmarks off, rather than spending time getting lost down side streets and discovering quirky, hidden areas of the city.

 

 

Overall though, I did think Vienna was absolutely stunning and I saw as much as I wanted to see during my short time there, but I just wish I’d got to really immerse myself in the city a little more. Hopefully this post inspires you to think about choosing Vienna for your next city break, and will leave you wanting to explore one of the most famous places in Austria. Have you ever been to Vienna before? Tell me what you thought of it, I’d love to hear your comments!

Love Jess x

Thank you to the wonderful team at the Vienna Tourist Board for our complimentary city cards for the duration of our trip.

 

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Highlights from #MustSeeMenorca: My Favourite Spanish Island

So #Menorca's harbours look pretty special in the sunshine ⛴⛴ #mustseemenorca #spain #visitspain #igersmenorca

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Two weeks ago I was lucky enough to be selected to go on my first ever group press trip and I had the most amazing time! Along with the brilliant teams at Jet2, Traverse Events, Turismo Menorca and Spain I headed off with 59 other bloggers, Youtubers and Instagrammers to explore the beautiful island of Menorca. Although this place is the smallest of the Balearic islands (excluding Formentera), it’s right up there with its sisters Majorca and Ibiza and is brimming with gorgeous white sand beaches, crystal clear turquoise waters and so many things to see and do. This was my fourth visit to the island but my first as an adult and it made me appreciate it’s beauty, culture and charm so much more! Here are my highlights from my trip and why I think you #MustSeeMenorca too…

Watching the sunset from Illa Lazareto

 

 

On our first night in Menorca we took a short boat ride from the pretty port of Es Castell over to Illa Lazaretto, an old quarantined island which has remained largely untouched since it was used to house terminally ill patients of various diseases. We wandered around the former grounds of the hospital wings, the communal gardens and the old chapel and the whole island felt very eerie, almost haunted, and I could just sense the history that was there. We had the privilege of watching the most glorious sunset over the harbour and across Es Castell, but it was a sight in itself to see 60 bloggers snapping away furiously with their Go-Pro’s, iPhone’s and DSLR cameras all trying to get the perfect Instagram shot!

 

Partying in Cova D’en Xoroi

 

 

This was probably my favourite part of the entire trip; partying in a bar in a cave on the sea – could it get any better than that?! Our closing party took us to the amazing Cova D’en Xoroi, a place I went to when I was 7 years old but could barely remember, so I was super excited to be attending again, and this time I could have a drink or three 😉 We had a wonderful time dancing to music, drinking cava, and watching the most glorious sunset over the Mediterranean sea. This place is an absolute MUST when visiting Menorca and it’s not hard to see why!

 

Exploring the white washed village of Binibeca

 

 

Another part of Menorca I had visited when I was a little girl, but didn’t realise until I got home and showed my mum this photo! Binibeca was a real hidden gem, and probably the most beautiful village I have ever had the pleasure of visiting. With its black lampposts, tall trees and white washed buildings, Binibeca makes the most picture perfect shots. You’ll also find a couple of small shops, restaurants and a doctors surgery on site whilst it’s location at the edge of the sea offers the most stunning views of the turquoise waters below.

 

Walking around the old capital, Ciutadella

 

 

The capital of the island  until 1722, the gothic city of Ciutadella is definitely worth a visit during your time in Menorca. The city is home to cobbled streets, local markets, a pretty harbour and the most stunning cathedral. Ciutadella is considered the most religious capital of the island, compared to Mahon, the new capital, and is visited by large numbers of tourists year after year. Why not taste some of the Spanish delicacies at one of the many food markets before wandering around the harbour or people watching along the side streets? There’s so much to see in Ciutadella – we spent our last day there and it was the perfect ending to a wonderful week!

 

And exploring the new capital, Mahon

 

 

Known for it’s striking architecture, it’s bustling streets and it’s busy port, Mahon is the proud capital of Menorca and boasts that it’s the birthplace of Mayonnaise, or ‘Ma-hon-aise’ as it’s supposedly pronounced! Mahon also has the one of the largest natural harbours in the world, stretching 900m wide with gorgeous clear waters. Getting around on foot is definitely the best way to see the city, and exploring the little side streets, with their wonderful array of restaurants, bars, cafes and shops, makes for the most delightful afternoon. My favourite part was walking along the harbour and taking a boat trip from the port, but don’t miss the stunning Church of Santa Maria too, with history dating back to the 1200s!

 

Kayaking in Cala Galdana

 

 

I was super nervous about kayaking for the first time… water sports are not my strong point despite having jet-skied, boat-tripped and para-sailed in the past! Let me tell you now though that kayaking was one of the hardest physical things I have ever done, but definitely one of the most rewarding. Luckily, I partnered up with the lovely Paco from the Spanish Tourist Board and he was amazing, doing most of the work whilst my poor arms couldn’t cope with the tremendous amount of rowing that was required. Sorry Paco – I’m useless and have no upper body strength! Our time on the water saw us speeding across the open sea, entering dark caves, cruising into little coves and we even stopped for a swim and a snorkel whilst enjoying crisps and drinks on the rocks. Kayaking definitely isn’t for the faint-hearted, but it was hands down one of the best things I’ve ever done and I’m so glad I got to do it with all of my wonderful Menorca buddies!

 

Visiting the highest point of the island, El Toro

 

 

El Toro is an absolute must see when visiting Menorca, and for very good reason. Drive (or hike, if you’re feeling brave enough) up to the top of the highest point of the island for the most spectacular panoramic views below. You’ll get to see the rest of the island from every angle, and you’ll also get to visit the Sanctuary of the Virgin of El Toro, a stunning 15th century baroque-style church. To the front of the site you’ll see the iconic statue of Jesus of the Sacred Heart with his arms stretched wide, said to be blessing the Menorcans who died in the Spanish Moroccan wars of the 20th century. This place felt truly special, and the views were completely stunning.

 

Tapas eating in every kind of Menorcan restaurant

 

 

We all know that food is a big part of any trip abroad, but even more so when you’re visiting Spain; the home of Tapas, Paella, Gazpacho and many more iconic dishes. As you’d expect, meal times were one of the focus points of our press trip and I think we were all desperate to enjoy a true taste of Spain during our time in Menorca. My favourite restaurant was La Minerva in Mahon, a floating restaurant in the middle of the harbour that served up the most amazing Tapas, seafood and more. I’m not the most adventurous person when it comes to food, I try as many new things as I can, but I’m happy just to stick to plain foods as 9 times out of 10 I get sick when I start eating things that are rich, or that my stomach isn’t used to! Luckily I pushed myself a little on this trip and managed to try new things that I never would have picked if I was travelling alone – cuttlefish and squid being two of my new feats, although Tapas will always remain a firm favourite of mine!

 

Other important parts of our trip

During our time in Menorca we stayed in the stunning Hotel San Luis PortBlue in the peaceful resort of S’Algar, just a few minutes walk from the waterfront where you’ll find a small selection of restaurants and shops. The resort itself was super quiet and I normally prefer staying somewhere more lively with more places to go and more things to see and do, but as we had jam packed itineraries for the entire week, it made a nice change to have a sleepy resort to be based from! We each had spacious and modern double rooms with en-suites, desks, LCD TVs and the most amazing sea views across S’Algar… I’m definitely missing waking up to those every morning!

 

 

Obviously, the main reason we were all visiting Menorca in the first place was to attend the two day conference held at the luxurious Barcelo Hamilton Hotel in Mahon. Our hosts put on a fantastic event with inspiring talks from speakers, enjoyable group challenges and plenty of time for everyone to get to know each other a little better. We were also treated to a fantastic display of foodie treats throughout the two days and admired the gorgeous sea views from our central location. My favourite part was our mini closing party on site, where we spent time drinking cava from the rooftop terrace complete with bar, hot tubs and the most amazing views across the harbour below!

 

Rooftop views and cava to end day 2 of the #mustseemenorca conference at the beautiful @barcelohamilton 🍾🍾 #menorca #Spain

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So there we are, the highlights from my #MustSeeMenorca trip – an unforgettable week with so many memories, and there were so many more I could have picked! I posted tonnes of photos on my Instagram  whilst I was away and received so many comments from lots of you saying that you wanted to hop on a plane and join me out in Menorca! I hope you all get to visit one day, and I just want to say a huge thank you again to the fantastic teams at Jet2, Traverse, Turismo Menorca and Spain for hosting our trip and making it so wonderful – our week in the sun definitely felt like a holiday and not a press trip! Have you ever been to Menorca? What were your favourite parts? I’d love to hear your Spanish stories!

Love Jess x

 

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Travel Guide to Bratislava, the charming Slovakian capital

I'm just gonna keep posting pics from my #Bratislava trip cos I was there this time last week and I LOVE IT SO MUCH 🏰😍 @visitbratislava

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If you follow me on social media you’ll know that I’ve done a lot of travelling already this year. Although we are only four months in to 2017, I have explored four new countries, and new four cities, and have had numerous days out and weekend stays too. Two weeks ago I headed on a mini European adventure with my wonderful friend, and fellow travel blogger, Lucy. We had booked 2 nights in Bratislava and 2 in Vienna and were so excited to be kicking off our holiday exploring the Slovakian capital. We had the best possible start to our trip as this place totally stole my heart and, in my humble opinion, it’s extremely underrated and is a true hidden gem! When you think of city breaks, Bratislava might not be at the top of your list, but here’s why I really think it should be, and here’s my ultimate guide to this beautiful city…

Get around on foot

Although Bratislava is a fairly big city, pretty much everything you would want to see and do is located in the Old Town and Historical Centre, which is a small area and can easily be covered on foot. If you’re anything like me, you’ll LOVE wandering around on foot, getting lost down side streets and discovering places off the beaten path. You can use trams or buses to get around the city, but to be honest everything is close by and walking along the cobbled streets really helps to immerse yourself in the true Slovak culture. During our trip, Lucy and I planned the landmarks we really wanted to visit and then roughly mapped out our day making sure we ticked off everything we wanted to see during our short time there. We managed to see almost everything we wanted to, but I could have wandered for hours more and really wanted to hike up to the Slovak Monument for panoramic views across the city below… There’s always next time though!

Take advantage of cheap accommodation

Room with a view! Good morning #Bratislava we can't wait to spend all day exploring 😍☀️ #VisitBratislava #WanderlustWednesday

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Part of the beauty of visiting Eastern Europe is that prices are super cheap compared to back home in the UK, or in other parts of Europe such as Scandinavia, where things tend to be more expensive. Bratislava was hands down one of the cheapest places I have ever visited, along with Prague and Budapest which I found to be really good value for money too. Hotels were inexpensive with top chains like Ibis, Crowne Plaza and Hilton offering fantastic rates on rooms, but in the end we opted for different type of accommodation, and one I had never experienced before! Yep, we booked a hostel!

I was super nervous about staying in a hostel as I’d only ever heard horror stories of unclean rooms, dirty dorms and shared areas, but we booked a private apartment which was actually part of the hostel itself so this meant we got the benefits of a hotel room for the price of a hostel which worked really well. We stayed at the funky Freddie Next to Mercury Hostel which was a 5 min walk from the train station and about a 20 min walk to the Old Town – a little out the way but the apartment was HUGE with great views and for just 36 euros pp for two nights who were we to complain?! I’d definitely stay in a hostel again, as long as it was a private room with private bathroom, and will be using this mode of accommodation to save pennies on future trips!

Purchase a Bratislava City Card

During our trip we were delighted to be working with the fantastic team at Visit Bratislava who were super helpful and gave us loads of tips to help us plan our time in the city. We were treated to complimentary City Cards which also meant we were able to join one of the free walking tours that depart daily from the Tourist Information centre just behind the Old Town Hall. The walking tour lasted for around an hour and a half and we covered all of the main sights and really got to understand the history behind this little known city.

Our tour guide was fantastic, she knew her stuff, had perfect English and was happy to answer any questions we had. Being in a small group of four also meant we could take our time and really enjoy the tour without rushing round, so it was a great way to explore the sights as well as find out all about the places we were visiting. I’d highly recommend purchasing a City Card during your time in Bratislava, but only if you have a good few days to explore as I feel we missed out on a lot of the benefits we could’ve taken purely because we didn’t have the time to do everything we wanted to do! A big thank you to the wonderful team at Visit Bratislava for looking after us!

Explore the beautiful castles

If you see just one thing in Bratislava, make sure it’s at least one of the beautiful castles – seriously these things are sooo princessy and dreamy and I was totally in my element! Hrad Castle, on top of a hill overlooking the city, was the highlight of the trip for me and it was so worth the hike up there from the bottom of St Martin’s Cathedral! The red turrets, the white walls, the black lampposts, everything about it was like something from a Disney film and I just gazed up at it in awe for ages taking it all in!

If you have the time and don’t mind venturing a little out of the city, a day trip to Devin Castle should be on your go-to list and will be well worth the visit. From all the photos I saw on Instagram, and in the tourist brochures, this place looked AMAZING and I am so gutted I didn’t get chance to visit!! With history tracing back to 5th Century BC, the castle and its ruins stand on a cliff over 200m high offering spectacular panoramic views of both the Danube and the Morava rivers. It’ll take you around 20 minutes to reach Devin, and the easiest and quickest way to get there is either by bus from Bratislava’s main bus terminal every half an hour, but if you’re looking to make a day of it why not jump on a boat from one of the nearby ports? The boat service runs twice a day and a comfortable cruise along the Danube will get you over to Devin in no time.

Base yourself at the Main Square

By day one way, by night another 🌓

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Every city should have a main square, right?! I just love finding central squares to base myself from, it really helps with getting my bearings and knowing where to come back to after a long day of exploring! The main square in Bratislava is really beautiful and boasts some incredible architecture. We spent most of our first morning in the city wandering around the little side streets, eating ice cream, pigging out on pizza and just enjoying the sunshine and the cobbled pathways. The square is also home to cafes, shops and restaurants offering plenty of places to stop and recharge your batteries.

My favourite thing about the main square though was the old town hall with its coloured roof and its impressive tower and spire. We climbed the tower and were treated to stunning views across the rest of the city, catching all the landmarks lit up in the glorious spring sunshine. Looking down towards the square you’ll find the stunning fountain right at the heart of it, and see the surrounding architectural buildings too.

Eat in Hviezdoslav Square

Finding a nice restaurant to eat in after a long and tiring day’s walking can sometimes feel like a chore, especially if you don’t have any recommendations to go on, or if you don’t really know here you’re going! Lucy and I felt a bit like this in Bratislava, we were both exhausted after walking over 18km, and were absolutely starving! After visiting Hrad Castle we’d walked past a few places that took our fancy but it was quite early to eat and, naturally, most places were empty and not yet serving food.

On our walking tour earlier on in the day we stumbled upon the pretty Hviezdoslav Square and so headed back there to see if we could find somewhere to feed ourselves and rest our feet for a couple of hours. The Square is one of the focal points of the city, with fountains, shops, hotels, bars and restaurants dotted along each side of the street. Named after poet and dramatist Pavol Hviezdoslav and located in the Old Town, between the Slovak National Theatre and the UFO Bridge, the Square is the perfect place from which to unwind after a busy day’s exploring. We chose to eat at Carnevalle, a meat restaurant serving steaks, poultry and more, but there were lots of other places to choose from and the Square was lively with plenty going on both during the day and in the evening too.

Ride up the UFO Tower and cross the SNP Bridge

This is another major tourist attraction in Bratislava, and sadly one which I didn’t quite get to tick off my list! Lucy and I trekked down from Hrad Castle, over the SNP bridge and along the river Danube, only to be told that the tower was closed for a private event and no longer open to the public for the remainder of the evening. We. Were. GUTTED! We had planned to watch the sunset there and take in some fantastic views across to Austria and Hungary, but sadly it just wasn’t meant to be. I will definitely return here though and see it for myself, and there’s a fancy restaurant right at the top of the tower with gourmet cuisine and panoramic views which looks right up my street! I’ll be back UFO, I’ll be back.

Discover the charming churches

St Martins Cathedral was looking so beautiful in the #Bratislava sunshine today 😍💒 #visitbratislava @visitbratislava

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Anyone that knows me will know that I LOVE churches. I love exploring inside them, I love climbing their towers, and I love gazing up at their ornate architecture and pretty ceilings. Bratislava is home to a number of impressive churches, and you could spend so much time exploring just these buildings alone, but my two favourites were the stunning St Martins Cathedral, and the striking Church of St Elizabeth, also known as the Blue Church. The Cathedral is one of the focal points of the city with its spire standing 279ft tall and dominating the Old Town’s skyline. We were given scarves to cover our bare shoulders inside this Roman Catholic Church and were not allowed to take any photos so instead just gazed up at its beautiful altar, stained glass windows and intricate gothic ceiling. If you have the time you can purchase a ticket to go down to the ancient catacombs hidden beneath the church floors to see the crypts that have been discovered there.

Unlike anything I’ve ever seen before, the Blue Church was a special sight to behold and one of my favourite places in Bratislava. Built in the early 20th century and designed by Hungarian architect Edmund Lechner, it’s art nouveau style is absolutely beautiful, and both the interior and exterior are of the building are painted shades of blue all over. The Church also boasts a 36 metre high round tower which I would love to have seen but sadly the building was closed when we went to visit!

Find somewhere special to watch the sunset

🌅🏰 We watched the sunset over the castle on the hill 🌅🏰

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This was quite possibly the highlight from my entire trip to Bratislava. If you do just one thing in the city, PLEASE make sure you find somewhere incredible to watch the sunset. We wandered over to the swanky Lemontree & Sky Bar Restaurant just before 7.30pm to indulge in a yummy cocktail before watching the sun set and cast its golden shadows across the whole of Hrad Castle below. We had planned to watch the sunset from the UFO Tower and, as you know, we weren’t able to do this but our plans turned out way better than expected as we enjoyed Bratislava’s golden hour in the most amazing surroundings. The Sky Bar was absolutely beautiful and it was the perfect place from which to watch the sun set over the castle on the hill, in true Ed Sheeran style.

So there we have it, my ultimate travel guide to Bratislava. For the best possible experience I’d recommend getting around on foot; the city is small enough to explore everything this way, but you can use the tram system to get around if you don’t fancy walking , or you can take a river cruise down the Danube if you’re wanting to venture a little further afield. Hopefully this post inspires you to think about choosing Bratislava for your next city break, I would 100% recommend it to anyone looking for somewhere totally new and exciting to explore!

Have you ever been to Bratislava? Tell me what you thought of it, I’d love to hear your comments!

Love Jess x

Thank you to the wonderful team at Visit Bratislava for our complimentary city cards for the duration of our trip.

Because blue ice cream and blue skies make for the perfect day in the spring sunshine ☀️☀️ #Bratislava @visitbratislava

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A Day in Malmo, Sweden

#tbt to when me and the sis were a little windswept overlooking #Malmö city centre 🇸🇪 #Sweden #throwbackthursday

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So last month, as part of our little winter escape to Copenhagen, my sister and I decided to take a spontaneous day trip to Malmo, Sweden to tick another city, and another country, off our ever expanding bucket lists. From Copenhagen airport we took the train, crossed over the spectacular Oresund Bridge and, within less than half an hour, we had arrived safely in the Swedish city. With only a day to explore we got straight to it and made the most of our short time in Malmo; here’s my guide of what to see and do during your time there too…

 

Arrive by train

 

 

Day returns either from CPH Central Station or CPH Airport Train Station run pretty much every hour to and from Malmo, and we paid around £15pp for a return ticket which we thought was really good value! The journey across the Oresund Bridge was incredibly scenic with some brilliant views of the Flinte Channel below. Snap your photos quick though, as the bridge blocks a lot of the daylight out, and you’ll be in a tunnel for part of your journey too.

Explore Little Square

This place was super cute and it was as if we had found a little slice of home right in the middle of Sweden. Lilla Torg, or Little Square as it’s known as, had a mixture of trendy bars and restaurants and it’s cobbled streets and colourful buildings really made for the perfect escape tucked away from the bustling high street.

Spot the Turning Torso

Can you see it? Can you see it? If you look really closely at this picture you’ll find the Turning Torso, the most famous landmark in Malmo, hiding just behind the tall grey curved building on the right hand side. Granted, the weather was horrendous while we were there and the fog was so thick you could barely see a thing, but I promise it was there! I wish we’d have seen the tower on a clearer day though as I’ve been told it really is a sight to behold.

Discover Malmo Castle

#Malmo castle… Probably the most unconventional castle I've ever seen! Have you been? #Sweden #city #citybreak #europe #visitsweden

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Sadly we didn’t have time to go inside the actual castle, but we wandered around the grounds and saw it from the outside so we got a feel for the place and what it would have been like all those years ago. Unlike most castles we have across Europe, this one felt really traditional as it was in the middle of a moat so I could imagine the draw bridge being let down and the horses trampling over it during it’s busy times! I’d highly recommend a trip to the castle during your time in Malmo.

Wander round the parks

 

Because windmills look prettier when they're in #Sweden 😍 #Malmo #city #europe #flashbackfriday @visitsweden

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The weather wasn’t great when we visited, it was pretty cold and super foggy but I imagine you could spend a whole day wandering through plenty of Malmo’s pretty parks when the sun is shining and the climate is a little warmer! You’ll find green spaces, lakes, ponds and lots of wildlife to chase as you’re wandering through the parks and whiling away the hours.

Take a stroll down by the harbour

Another day, another country! Oh hey #Malmö 🇸🇪🇸🇪 #Sweden #city #happymonday

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The harbour was probably my favourite place in the whole of Malmo, I really loved the mix of the cobbled streets and funky buildings that complemented each other perfectly. The boats were moored and the water was totally calm, making it a really peaceful place for an afternoon stroll, a world away from the typical working harbours that are so often found throughout Europe and the UK.

 

So there we have it, my guide to exploring the little Swedish city of Malmo in just a day. Obviously, if you have more time to spare you could fit more in, but Malmo is fairly small anyway so you can do most of it in a day. If you’re looking to venture a little further afield, why not head over to the nearby cities of Lund and Helsinborg to discover more of this Scandinavian gem? I loved my little taste of Sweden during my time in Malmo and am planning to head back there and make my way over to Stockholm as soon as possible!

Love Jess x

 

 

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A Guide to Copenhagen: The Perfect Winter City Break Destination

 

 

Been in #Copenhagen for less than four hours and I'm already in love! This place is so beautiful 😍😍 #visitcopenhagen

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Last month I had the pleasure of visiting Copenhagen, somewhere I have wanted to go for sooo long! If you follow me on social media you’ll know that I asked my Twitter followers to help me decide my next winter city break destination as I just couldn’t make my mind up, so I was so pleased when Copenhagen came out on top and won the poll! I travelled to the city with my sister for three nights and we had the most amazing time, walking for miles each day and enjoying everything there is to see and do. Copenhagen really is the perfect destination for a European winter city break, and here’s my ULTIMATE guide to visiting the charming Danish capital…

 

Get around like a local

 

 

 

The centre of Copenhagen is fairly compact, so you can get around pretty much everywhere on foot, or by bike, which is what most of the locals seemed to do! My sister and I walked everywhere and ended up doing a good 15km per day, but we were venturing over to Christianshavn and exploring a little further afield instead of sticking to the central area. We did use the metro to get to and from the airport and found it super straight forward and low cost too – just like the London underground but much cleaner! Copenhagen Central Station is right next to Tivoli Gardens, around a 10-15 min walk right to the centre, so this was really easy to navigate and made it a good base from which to get our bearings.

 

Choose your hotel carefully

 

 

We were staying at the Copenhagen Admiral Hotel, just around the corner from the beautiful Nyhavn Harbour and right on the waterfront facing Christianshavn and Paper Island. We took the metro from the airport to Kongens Nytorv and the hotel was a 10 minute walk away from there. We found the location to be absolutely perfect for where we needed to be, and what we wanted to see. The Little Mermaid and Kastallet Fortress were a 20 min walk away along the waterfront, whilst Rosenborg Castle and the botanical gardens were still 20 minutes away, but in the opposite direction. It took us less than 5 minutes to reach Amalienborg Palace and around 10 minutes to reach Christiansborg Palace respectively, whilst the Round Tower was a 15 minute walk away. On city breaks it’s pretty crucial to be central to the attractions you want to visit so as not to waste too much time travelling around, and this was certainly a big factor for us during our stay. Copenhagen Admiral was the perfect base for us, and I’d highly recommend this place to anyone looking to be in the centre of the action whilst in the city –  you can read my full review and blog post here!

 

Gaze at The Little Mermaid

 

Watch and you'll see, someday I'll be part of your world 🐚🐚 #Copenhagen #thelittlemermaid #ifoundariel

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Ahhhh the little mermaid – I just LOVE her! I’ve wanted to see her since I was a little girl, and before my trip so many people had warned me that it wouldn’t be worth the wait, that she’s just a tiny statue in the middle of the water, and that she’s nothing special at all but, you know what, I found her to be totally magical and utterly mesmerising. I know she’s only small, but to me that was what made her so beautiful. She was dainty and sweet yet iconic and powerful, everything the little mermaid should be! People come from all of the world to catch a glimpse of her, and I’m so glad I finally got to see her for myself after all these years!

Stroll around the royal residences

 

Brb, just moving in to my new home 🏰🏰 #RosenborgCastle #Copenhagen #visitcopenhagen #visitdenmark #housegoals

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Copenhagen is home to the Danish royal family, and they have a number of residences in the city, most notably the grand palaces of Amalienborg and Christiansborg. Both residences are open to the public for guided tours and you can catch the changing of the guard at Amalienborg every day at 12 noon – something that is a must see during your time in the city! We climbed the tower at Christiansborg for views across the city, and also visited the royal chapel too. On our last day we made our way to Rosenborg Castle, which has been preserved and is now a museum showcasing the history of the monarchy over the past 400 years. The castle is home to the legendary crown jewels and was truly beautiful, we loved spending our last morning in Copenhagen exploring this special place!

 

 

Explore Christianshavn

 

Depending on where you’re staying, Christianshavn should be able to be easily reached either on foot or by metro from anywhere in Copenhagen. This area of the city is a Freetown and is home to an abundance of café’s, bakeries, cars and restaurants. We were just opposite and could see the whole area from our hotel, so a short walk across the nearby bridge brought us there in just a few minutes. Prior to the trip, several of my blogger friends had recommended we check out Papioren, a huge indoor market home to every kind of street food you could think of, and many stalls and stands selling clothes, shoes, ornaments and souvenirs to take home. We spent a good couple of hours wandering around, trying to decide whether we should eat Chinese noodles, Italian pizza, American pulled pork or Indian curry before eventually choosing to share a huge Moroccan flatbread and a portion of sweet potato fries- we ate well that day! After deciding we should probably work off our lunch we strolled around Christainshavn before finding the Church of Our Saviour, complete with its amazing organ, beautiful architecture and impressive gothic spire. Sadly the tower was closed during our trip so we couldn’t climb the 400 odd steps to the top, but it was a beautiful building and well worth the visit.

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Go Instagram crazy at Nyhavn harbour

 

 

I have lost count of the amount of times I took photos of the beautiful Nyhavn harbour, I just loved it!! I’ve never seen anything like it before and it was truly stunning from every angle, and in every light. Admittedly, it looked a whole lot better with a background of blue sky and bright sunshine, but it looked just as pretty in the dark at night with the lights catching the reflection of the water perfectly. Nyhavn is a tourists paradise, and the whole area was busy pretty much all of the time but we still managed to get some brilliant photos. Eating in the area was expensive, so I’d recommend heading towards the Stroget or around the Kongens Nytorv area for a cheaper meal, although if you want to splash out one night the Nyhavn is a real treat and a lovely dining experience. Don’t forget to grab a chocolate dipped waffle and stroll along the harbour devouring your new sugary snack – I definitely enjoyed this a bit too much while I was there 😉

 

Stroll down the Stroget

 

One of the largest pedestrianized shopping streets in Europe, the Stroget is home to every kind of shop, restaurant and bar you can think of. You’ll find a mixture of high street and small independent shops as well as high-end designer stores and boutique outlets too, If shopping is your thing you will easily spend a day strolling down this enormous street and browsing til your hearts content. I have to say, I’m not much of a shopper, especially when I’m on holiday – I don’t need to bring extra weight back in my luggage with me (!) – so we just used the street to get around and walk to and from some of the attractions in the area.

 

Climb the Round Tower

 

 

We climbed all the way up there this morning ⬆️⬆️⬆️ #roundtower #Copenhagen #visitcopenhagen #visitdenmark #rundetårn

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It took us until the very last day to see the Round Tower, or RundeTaarn as the locals call it. I’d read so much about it on other people’s blogs and was so excited to finally see it for myself just before we hopped on the plane back to London. Built in the 17th century to allow the King to ride his horse all the way to the top, the Round Tower is just one big ramp that winds up and up until you reach the top – and the views are pretty spectacular once you get there. It was super windy when we were there so it literally took our breath away and it was SO BLOODY COLD, but climbing the tower was an experience in itself and was the perfect way to end our time in Copenhagen.

 

So there we have it, my ultimate travel guide to Copenhagen. Explore this compact city on foot to fully take in everything there is to see and do, and don’t forget to pack your thermals if you’re visiting during winter! Hopefully this post inspires you for your trip to Copenhagen and helps with that all important planning.

Have you ever been to Copenhagen? Tell me what you thought of it, I’d love to hear your comments!

Love Jess x