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Travel Guide to Warsaw: 48 hours in the Polish capital

 

 

Last month I had the pleasure of visiting Warsaw for the first time, and it was my first ever visit to Poland too! Warsaw was the first stop on my recent inter-railing adventure with one of my best friends, and it was the perfect city from which to kick start our time in Europe. Warsaw is brimming with colourful buildings, cobbled streets and tonnes of history, and with so much to see and do it was impossible to get round everything in just 48 hours, but here’s my tips on making the most of your short time in this amazing city…

 

Take a FREE walking tour

 

 

I really love free walking tours and feel they are the best way to discover a new city for the first time, especially if you only have a couple of days and want to squeeze in as much as possible! The free Old Town Walking Tour in Warsaw begins right underneath Sigismund’s Column and departs every day at 10.30am. Our tour guide was so friendly and really gave us an insight into the history behind Warsaw, going into particular detail about the horrendous destruction of the city during world war two. The two hour tour passed by a number of points of interest and within that time we saw pretty much every important landmark there was to see in the historic Old Town, and got to make some brilliant photo stops along the way too.

 

Wander round the Old Town

 

 

If, like me, you only have a couple of nights in Warsaw I would definitely recommend basing yourself in the old town as I think this is the most popular area of the entire city. With its historic cobbled streets, vibrant market square and a vast array of colourful buildings, old town Warsaw is a UNESCO world heritage site and is best explored on foot meaning everything can be seen within a day or two. I really enjoy visiting cities that have a small historic centre, particularly if I’m pressed for time, as it means I can really immerse myself in the atmosphere and soak up the culture at the same time too. Don’t forget to climb the clock tower just opposite Sigismund’s column for spectacular panoramic views of the castle square below, and a visit to the famous mermaid statue is a MUST too!

 

Walk along the Vistula River

 

 

After a busy day of sightseeing I love nothing better than venturing a little out of the city and just taking a gentle stroll along the river. Warsaw’s old town is so compact that it was nice to explore a little further afield and see other parts of the city that were completely new to us, and the views from across the river were pretty stunning too! A wander along the Vistula will take you to Warsaw Zoo, Park Praski and the quirky neighborhood of Praga, which was the location for the award winning film The Pianist.

 

Visit one of the many museums

 

Warsaw is full of interesting museums to visit, containing everything from war and jewish history to music, science and modern art. I do think it’s difficult to find the time to visit museums if I’m on a super short city break though, so I don’t tend to put them at the top of my list, but there are so many in Warsaw that I just HAD to include them in my guide! We actually wandered around the Museum of Warsaw, which is located in the archway/city gate just behind the iconic market square, and found the history so interesting. Another must-do is the Uprising of the Jews and the Palace of Culture which is somewhere I really wanted to head to but sadly we ran out of time!

 

Where to eat/drink

 

 

There are a variety of restaurants in the old town, most of which serve a mix of traditional Polish food and popular European dishes too. We chose to eat at a local restaurant called Zapiecek on our first night as it was just a few doors down from our hostel and served amazing pierogi (dumplings) which are a traditional Polish dish. Serving a variety of mains including everything from pork and chicken to salmon and sausage, Zapiecek restaurants can be found dotted across Warsaw and are a must visit when looking for somewhere to eat in the city. Other restaurant recommendations I received, but sadly didn’t dine at, were Magda Polka in the Castle Square, and Michelin starred U Fukeria which can be found in the market square, just opposite the famous mermaid statue.

 

Where to stay

 

 

During our time in the city we chose to stay at the super cool Oki Doki Hostel, one of the only original pre war buildings left in the city. The location couldn’t have been more perfect for us as we were right in the middle of the old town with a number of shops, bars cafes and restaurants within a few minutes walk. We were staying in a private double room on the third floor with our own en suite bathroom. The beauty of staying in a private room is that you pay hostel prices for hotel standards and this couldn’t have been more true for our stay at Oki Doki. The communal areas including the kitchen, garden and breakfast place were kept very clean and tidy but were also great places to hang out and meet fellow travellers. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend Oki Doki Hostel to anyone looking for a comfortable stay at a fantastic price right in the heart of Warsaw’s old town. Special thanks must go to Agata for making our stay so wonderful!

I could have spent at least another two days exploring everything that Warsaw has to offer, and even then I still don’t think I’d have scratched the surface! Considering Warsaw lost pretty much everything during World War Two, the defiant spirit of this city is incredibly powerful and shines through its core. Have you ever visited Warsaw before? I’d love to hear what you thought of it!

Love Jess x

 

 

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Woovim, Nendaz: A luxury chalet review in the heart of the Swiss Alps

 

If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll know pretty much ALL I posted on Insta stories for pretty much every single day of my recent press trip to Nendaz, Switzerland was about my amazing chalet that I had the pleasure of staying in. I’m lucky enough to have stayed in some incredible places during my travels, from a circus themed hotel in Vienna to a luxurious private suite in London, and although I’ve had some truly wonderful accommodation experiences, my chalet in Nendaz topped them all. My stay was arranged by the fabulous team at Travelopo, and they were brilliant to work with throughout the whole process. I had the most amazing stay in Nendaz with four other travel bloggers, so here’s why this place was soooo beautiful, and why I think you too should stay at Woovim on your visit to the stunning Swiss Alps…

 

The views were INSANE

Just LOOK at those views!

 

OK, so these views need no introduction… Just LOOK at them!! They literally took my breath away every time I woke up in the morning, every time I went to bed at night and pretty much every hour of the day in between. It amazed me how much the landscape changed throughout the day, especially when it was bright sunshine and blue skies one minute, and then snowy and wintry the next! The rolling clouds that covered the mountains remained there pretty much the whole week though, and it really did feel as though we had floating in the sky most of the time… Not that I was complaining when the scenery was looking this good!

 

The rooms were super spacious

My massive room with TWO double beds!

 

I don’t think I’ve ever stayed in a chalet as spacious as this one, and boy did I make the most of it! Our chalet slept up to 14 people, so with just five of us little bloggers there was plenty of room and more for us and all of our luggage. I was lucky enough to have TWO double beds in my room, and I was star-fishing til my heart was content all week long. The girls all had rooms which were equally as spacious, and each had stunning views of the mountains and valley surrounding us. We all had our own bathrooms, most of which were en-suite, but there was at least one on every floor.

The chalet was split on three levels; the ground floor comprised of two large bedrooms (mine and one other) plus a big bathroom, small toilet room, shower and laundry room. Oh and there was a freaking SAUNA as well! I’m being serious, it was amazing! On the first floor there was a large cloakroom with a door to the adjoined garage, another bedroom and shower room, and a modern fitted kitchen with every appliance you would need in your home from home. On this floor there was also the focal point of the entire property, the wonderful open plan living room with stunning chandelier, over-sized TV and an authentic fireplace in front of panoramic windows with mountain views and sliding doors leading out to the enormous rear balcony.

 

Dinner with a view, anyone?

 

The top floor comprised of two more large bedrooms, both with en-suite, and a further shower room in the middle of them because, ya know, a girl can never have too many showers! There was also panoramic windows with views of the surrounding mountains, and I should also add that every bedroom in the property came complete with individual flat screen TVs, not that we used them during our stay!

Outside there was ample parking for at least 2-3 cars, with a small walkway to the rear balcony allowing you to access the property from both the front and back. The balcony was the place we spent most of our time, and many a photo shoot was taken there when we wore different outfits and wanted to capture the changing landscape too! The balcony was kitted out with a couple of sun loungers for catching some rays, and also had a huge dinner table that could comfortably fit up to 12-14 people which was perfect for some alfresco dining. There was honestly sooo much room we didn’t know what to do with ourselves and we actually spent more time in the chalet than we thought we would simply because we just loved it so much and didn’t want to leave!

 

The location was perfect

Our cabin in the woods; what dreams are made of!

 

Located down a steep hill in the heart of the Swiss Alps and flanked by a whole residential street full of similar chalets, our holiday home for the week couldn’t have been better situated for us to enjoy everything that Nendaz had to offer. The chalet was a 5 minute walk from the nearest bus stop, a 10-15 minute walk from Haute-Nendaz station and tourism office, and around an 8 minute walk from the InterHome office, where we picked up our keys for the property. Although the chalet was booked through Travelopo, InterHome became the point of contact during our stay for check in and check out, and were on hand to answer any urgent queries that we might have had.

 

The centre of Nendaz town

 

 

Just a 5 minute walk away you’ll find the local outdoor pool, definitely one of the must sees in the resort, and it was a 10 minute walk to the nearby Hotel 4 Vallees Spa Complex too. The two in resort supermarkets, Co-Op and Migros, were both a 10 minute walk away. It’s worth noting that hiring a car would be a really great way to explore further afield and trips to nearby Sion or Basse-Nendaz would definitely be worth a visit! Obviously we didn’t have a car so were confined to the resort, but with so much to see and do, and a jam packed itinerary provided by Nendaz Tourisme, this really wasn’t a problem for us! If we were visiting in winter I think we would have found it difficult to wade through snow and ice and make our way up and down the steep hill every morning and night, but I think you’d either have to get used to it or use your hire car to get up the driveway nice and easily. The chalet was just a few hundred meters from the start of the Sculpture Walk, one of the circular hour long bisse walks provided by the local tourism office and a great way to explore the town.

 

There was everything you could ever want and more

Umm so this sauna was opposite my room…

 

I know I’ve mentioned the sauna before, but it was honestly AMAZING and was one of the best things about our entire home! The sauna was literally opposite my bedroom and next to my shower room, so it felt super private and we definitely made the most of it during our time in the chalet. I loved the fact that we could use it whenever we wanted, especially after a long day of mountain hiking, and the views out the window too were totally stunning. Our chalet was kitted out to be super luxurious, and would be a haven for groups, couples and families alike. The modern kitchen with it’s excellent appliances enabled us to eat in most nights during our stay, saving us a lot of money as Switzerland is notoriously expensive for dining out! The open plan living room was our little hub and the place we all gathered together every morning for breakfast and every evening for dinner, and those views every time we looked out the panoramic windows never failed to leave us speechless, quite a feat considering we’re 5 female bloggers who NEVER STOP TALKING!!!

 

The verdict

Absolute house GOALS

 

So I’m pretty sure you can tell that I absolutely ADORED my stay in our dreamy chalet in beautiful Nendaz and it truly was the best place I have ever had the pleasure of calling home for the week. I get so attached to places I stay in on my travels, especially if I’m staying in one place for a whole week, and I genuinely felt so sad when the time had come for me to say goodbye! I would recommend this gorgeous chalet for anyone looking for somewhere to stay in the bustling resort of Nendaz, whether it’s in winter or in summer, and it would give any lucky guests the holiday of a lifetime.

Have I got you feeling envious yet?! I’m hoping these pics give you someย seriousย wanderlust and will inspire you to think about staying in a chalet on your next trip to Switzerland, or any other holiday destination of your choice as Travelopo have a HUGE range of over 100,000 gorgeous villas and chalets in numerous destinations across Europe. Fancy catching some rays in sunny Majorca? What about sampling Italy’s finest pizza and pasta over in Lake Como? The possibilities are endless with Travelopo, and you’ll have the trip of a lifetime whilst staying in one of their beautiful properties. A big thanks to the Travelopo team for looking after me and my fellow bloggers on our recent press trip to Nendaz!

Love Jess x

NB. My stay in this chalet came courtesy of Travelopo, but all thoughts, opinions and photos are of course my own.

 

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Nine Reasons to Visit Nendaz, Switzerland

 

If you follow me on social media, you’ll know that I’ve just returned from a wonderful week away in Switzerland after staying in the ski resort of Nendaz, located above the Rhone Valley and just a 2hr train ride away from the popular city of Geneva. I flew out to Switzerland to join 4 other bloggers on a press trip to Nendaz where we were staying in a Travelopo chalet and working with the local tourism board too. We had such a fantastic week and enjoyed a jam packed itinerary showcasing all that the resort has to offer. I would never have thought to visit a ski resort for a summer holiday, especially as I thought there was nothing much to do other than go skiing in winter, but I have had my eyes opened to the amazing things there are to see and do in Nendaz, from mountain biking and cheese making to bisse walking and spa indulging, and here’s why I think you should visit this beautiful resort too…

 

1. The scenery is incredible

 

 

Nendaz was truly stunning from every single angle; the landscape looked different every time I woke up and I can’t believe how much it changed on a daily basis! Sometimes there were bright blue skies, other times it was grey and snowy, but no matter what the weather was doing, there was no denying that this place looked totally out of this world. My favourite views were from our beautiful chalet, which I will talk more about in another blog post, and the views from Tracouet, where we celebrated the traditional Alphorn Festival, were pretty amazing too. I really enjoyed just going for little walks around the town, and hiking further afield when we were making a day of it, as walking was definitely one of the best ways to appreciate the spectacular scenery that Nendaz has to offer.

 

2. There are endless activities on offer

 

 

Considering we visited during summer, I really wasn’t sure what to expect in terms of activities, and thought there wouldn’t be much on offer at all, but I couldn’t have been more wrong! The lovely Annick from Nendaz Tourisme put together a fantastic itinerary for us which comprised of mountain biking, bisse hiking, cheese making, sunrise watching, festival going, spa chilling and outdoor swimming! Each and every one of our days in Nendaz was jam packed with plenty of things to do, but with just enough free time so that we could relax and enjoy everything that the resort had to offer. My highlights were the gorgeous outdoor swimming pool with the most amazing views of the mountains in the background, cheese making in the middle of the Alps at 7am, and taking three ski lifts 3300m high to catch the sun rise at the top of Mont Fort, one of the highest points in the whole of Switzerland! As well as doing all of these fantastic activities, you could also go husky sledding (weather permitting), take a guided tour of the old town, or join a group exercise class. There really are so many things to see and do in Nendaz that you’ll be completely spoilt for choice!

 

 

3. The ski lifts are a great way to get around

 

 

Although Nendaz itself is small, the mountains are obviously mahooooosive and it’s difficult to get around all of them if you’re limited on time. I’d never been on a ski lift before, but by the end of the week I’d been on them several times and each trip was such a great experience and a brilliant way to get up to the top of the mountains in such a short amount of time. The ski lifts offer panoramic views over the valleys below, and they’re pretty spacious so you can have a few of you in there at a time and STILL have enough room to get those all important selfies. Not gonna lie though, I did feel a little queasy whilst on my way up and down on those lines, I just tried not to look down and kept my eyesight level – this really helps me with my motion sickness, but if you’re lucky and don’t suffer like me, you’ll love every second and get the most stunning shots!

 

4. It’s beautiful at any time of year

 

 

We went during summer, so the weather was mainly beautiful, with bright blue skies and it was surprisingly really warm! On most of the days temperatures were hitting 25 degrees plus which meant we could get in our bathing suits for the spa and the pool and enjoy some gorgeous sunshine. At night though, or on days when the sun wasn’t shining, it felt much cooler and there was a bit of a chill in the air, so I’d definitely recommend taking a jumper or a jacket. As we had so many early starts for our itinerary, we got to experience the weather first thing in the morning which was freeeeeeezing, especially at times when we were over 3000m high! I thoroughly enjoyed our summer stay, but I would also really love the opportunity to visit during winter as I think the snow and icy temperatures would make this place look even prettier than it does when it’s warm, and it’d look like a proper little winter wonderland too!

 

5. It’s easy to get to

 

 

We started our Swiss adventure in the vibrant city of Geneva, so hopped on a train from there to Sion in order to make our way to Nendaz. We then took a bus (line 362) from Sion direct to Haute-Nendaz and reached our destination in a short 30 minute journey, complete with steep, winding roads and stunning views of the towns below. The buses from Sion to Nendaz run every hour and cost 10fr per person, or around ยฃ8 each. Trains from Geneva-Sion run every half an hour and we found SuperSaver tickets for as little as 34fr each way, which was ยฃ28pp – an absolute steal in our opinion! Visit the Swiss Rail website for more info, and don’t forget to look out for the SuperSaver tickets when you can to grab a bargain.

 

6. The nightlife is pretty good

 

 

OK, so it’s not exactly Ibiza, and you won’t find David Guetta playing a DJ set anywhere on the resort, but considering this is a largely un-touristy area, Nendaz has plenty of things to keep you occupied during the evening, no matter what season it might be. You’ll find an abundance of bars and restaurants along the main road from Haute Nendaz station, just past the tourist information office, and there are plenty of others dotted in between Haute Nendaz and Basse Nendaz too, it’s sister resort. During our stay we mainly chose to eat in and use the kitchen facilities at our luxury chalet, but on a couple of nights we actually ate in two of the best restaurants in the area, both of which were rated #1 and #2 on Trip Advisor! Our first evening out was at Cafe du Sapin Blanc, a gorgeous restaurant in Basse Nendaz with stunning views of the surrounding mountains and trees, serving organic homemade food. Our second evening out was a little closer to home, just a 5 minute walk from our chalet at the wonderful La Lanterne et le Vieux-Chalet, an excellent restaurant boasting quirky, tailor made menus and the friendliest owner in the town! A big thank you to Nico from Cafe du Sapin Blanc and Alex from La Lanterne for looking after us both nights, and for allowing us to sample some of the best items on your carefully thought out menus!

 

7. It’s fun for all ages

 

 

As you know, I travelled with four other travel bloggers to Nendaz for a group press trip – we’re all young girls in our twenties – but this place is suitable for people of all ages, no matter what you want to get from your holiday. We saw kids, families, groups of guys and girls, couples and solo travellers too enjoying everything that Nendaz has to offer. There’s fun sports for the kids, a luxurious spa for the girls, nightlife for the adults, and intense mountain biking for those who are a little more hardcore! I know that I, along with Elaisha, Hannah, Hayley and Allison, had the most amazing weekend in Nendaz and we were sooo sad to be leaving after a fantastic week! Miss you girls!

 

8. You can explore as much as you want on foot

 

 

Nendaz is quite a small town, so it’s super easy to reach everything on foot. If you have a hire car, then that would be great for exploring the nearby towns or places a little further afield, but you really don’t need a car to be able to get the best out of Nendaz. If, like us, you’re arriving by bus from Sion, you can explore the entire town from Haute Nendaz station, right opposite the tourist information office. There’s one major road running through the resort, and it’s lined with shops, restaurants, bars and cafe’s so has everything you need for your stay, and it can easily be reached by walking. Throughout the rest of the resort there are other roads, pathways and streets leading to a number of different areas, but no matter what route you take you’ll find they all end up back where they started, so by walking you really can’t get lost at all!

 

9. You’ll be in the heart of the Swiss Alps

 

 

One of the best things about Nendaz is it’s fantastic location, nestled in the very heart of the Swiss Alps. I don’t think I’ve ever stayed in a place as beautiful as Nendaz before; the Alps genuinely took my breath away every time I looked at them and I felt on top of the world each time I climbed them. The Alps are famous for being the most iconic part of Switzerland and, given that they make up around 60% of the country, they attract the most tourists too. With mountains as high as 3000 metres, the Alps offer spectacular views from the top and look just as good from down at the bottom, making them quite possibly the most photographed landscapes in the whole country.

 

I still can’t look through my photos from Nendaz without gazing in awe at the incredible scenery that surrounded us during our stay. The resort really is one of the most beautiful places I have ever stayed in, and I didn’t realise just how much I would enjoy my week there. With so much to see and do, Nendaz is perfect for families, couples, groups or even solo travelers just looking for an alternative location for their summer holiday. If you’re an outdoorsy kinda person who enjoys fresh air, gorgeous views and long mountain hikes then this is most definitely the place for you! A big thanks to the team at Nendaz Tourisme for putting together such a fantastic itinerary for us,ย and to Travelopo for providing our beautiful accommodation for the week. Have you ever visited Nendaz, or stayed somewhere similar? For someone who isn’t particularly sporty or outdoorsy I absolutely adored my time in the resort and would recommend it to anyone looking to do something a little different this summer instead of lying on the beach for a week!

Love Jess X

NB. My trip to Switzerland was sponsored by Travelopo and Nendaz Tourisme but, as always, all thoughts, words and photos are my own.
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Travel Guide to Sofia: The historic Bulgarian capital

 

 

OK so this is post is waaaaaayy overdue, but better late than never, right?! I visited Sofia back in May after snapping up flights with Ryanair for ยฃ30 return. Yep, you heard correctly, ยฃ15 each way for the 3hours it took to get from Birmingham to Bulgaria. This trip was totally unintentional and completely unplanned, but when my lovely friend Toni and I decided to frantically browse Skyscanner for cheap flights to anywhere, we realised this bargain was too good of an opportunity to pass up. Fast forward seven days and we were sat on our flight heading across to the furthest Eastern European country I have ever visited! Here’s what we got up to during our time in Bulgaria, and I’ve listed my top highlights for this cultural capital city…

 

Take a FREE walking tour

 

 

I absolutely LOVE free walking tours and feel they are the best way to discover a new city for the first time, especially as they help to get your bearings when you’re wandering around like a crazy person trying to find out where everything is. The free walking tour in Sofia begins outside the Palace of Justice, right in front of the steps, and departs every day at 11am. Our tour guide, Vasil, was so friendly and informative throughout the whole event, which lasted around an hour. Within that time we saw pretty much every important landmark within the city centre, and got to make some brilliant photo stops along the way. Although we didn’t have time to go inside the churches etc during the tour, we got a good idea of the places we wanted to come back to and explore a little later on. Thank you Vasil for an amazing first couple of hours in Sofia!

 

Visit the Alexander Nevsky cathedral at night

 

 

This is probably the most famous landmark in Sofia and, in my opinion, definitely the most beautiful! As soon as I knew I was heading over to the city I made it my mission to visit the Alexander Nevsky cathedral as soon as possible. We actually walked past that place a number of times during our stay, it’s an incredible piece of architecture and looks good from every angle, especially from the inside. I particularly loved it when it was lit up at night though, as it literally glowed in the dark and made for the most beautiful picture! Sadly my camera couldn’t do it justice, so this picture is from my lovely friend and fellow travel blogger Allison who is currently spending some time in Sofia and calling it her temporary home… Thanks Allison!

 

See the ancient remains of Serdica

 

 

If you’re in to your history, you will LOVE ancient ruins, artefacts and crumbling remains as much as I do. Did you know that Sofia is over 6000 years old?!?! Nope, I didn’t either until I got there and took the fantastic walking tour. The city was known by many names until it became the Sofia we know and love today, and the ancient remains of Serdica date back thousands of years. Wander towards the metro station and you’ll find ruins that were discovered when the council started digging and building the metro line back in 1998. There’s also a brand new hotel (Arena de Serdica) that has just opened and original Roman ruins that were discovered during excavation can be found in the lobby, where an exclusive exhibition housing the 3rd century Roman Ampitheatre has been made. Learning about the history of Sofia was one of my favourite things to do in the city and it made me fall in love with it even more!

 

Explore the many different religions of the city

 

 

There aren’t many cities where you can find a Mosque next to a Catholic Church, but in Sofia it’s something that’s pretty normal! The city is home to a whole host of different religions, from Muslim and Jewish to Catholic and Protestant, but there is no divide present in the city whatsoever, it feels very united and everyone really seems to come together, no matter what their religion. We spent time wandering around the churches and admiring them from every angle. My particular favourite was the Church of St Nicholas, with it’s tiny crypt underneath welcoming visitors into it’s Wishing Room. I did make some wishes, and I do hope they come true!

 

Climb Mount Vitosha

 

 

So we didn’t exactly climb Mount Vitosha, and the tale of how we got up there in the first place is a pretty ridiculous one!! To cut a long story short, we got in a taxi hoping to head towards a rooftop bar with panoramic views for drinks and cakes before our flight home, but the taxi driver got a bit lost, didn’t speak good English and wasn’t sure where he was going. After an hour we arrived at said rooftop bar, only to find that it was CLOSED and was most definitely not in use! Luckily there were a few staff members on site who allowed us to access the roof terrace in exchange for a few Bulgarian Lev – I am sooo glad we did this as it was well worth the hours taxi and the views from the top were INCREDIBLE. Obviously I would have liked to have climbed it properly, but it was an adventure and an experience and was worth all the taxi hassle. If we had more time we would have actually hiked the mountain, and explored the nearby Stone River and Golden Bridges too as this looked super cool, but there’s always another excuse to come back!

 

Stay in a central hotelย 

 

Central Hotel Sofia

 

We stayed in a brilliant hotel. right in the heart of the city, and it had everything we needed and more. As the name suggests, Central Hotel Sofia was exactly that, slap bang in the middle of everything and the location couldn’t have been more perfect. The hotel is a 4* and has all modern amenities you could wish for. It was clean, smart, and excellent value for money. We paid ยฃ30pp per night for a good size twin room with en-suite bathroom and had a really comfortable stay. I’d highly recommend this hotel to anyone looking to stay somewhere central, modern and affordable in the heart of Sofia.

 

Eat just outside of the city

 

 

Everything is so cheap in Sofia, that meal times are an absolute steal and you can taste some wonderful food without paying a small fortune. Although the central boulevard is brimming with restaurants, bars and cafe’s, I’d recommend getting a taxi a little further out of town to see where else you can eat. After a recommendation from a local friend, Toni and I decided to jump in a cab and make our way over to Pod Lipite, a small restaurant just 5 minutes from the city centre that serves traditional Bulgarian food and hosts traditional Bulgarian singers and dancers who play every night for their guests. This place was super cute and cosy and served the most amazing food from salads and soups to chicken and beef dishes. We both had an incredible meal, with an alcoholic drink each, and the bill came to just ยฃ17!! It’s little places like Pod Lipite which really allow you to take in the culture that a city has to offer, and this meal out was definitely one of the highlights from our trip to Sofia.

 

So there we have it, my Sofia travel guide in a nutshell! Despite spending just 2 nights/3 days here, we saw pretty much everything we wanted to see and I definitely think it was enough time. Obviously we could have spent hours more properly exploring each of the churches, or taken a full day to hike Mount Vitosha, but a 2 night stay will give you enough time to see a lot of the city and worked really well for us. Hopefully this post inspires you to think about choosing Sofia for your next city break, even though it might not be an obvious choice it’s a real hidden European gem. Have you ever been to Sofia before? Tell me what you thought of it, Iโ€™d love to hear your comments on this charming place!

Love Jess x

 

Had the best time exploring the beautiful city of #Sofia with my wonderful friend of 10 years ๐Ÿ’–

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Ten Things to do in Tenerife

 

 

Tenerife is a sun worshippers haven. Situated in southern Spain, just across the sea from North Africa, Tenerife enjoys temperatures as high as 35 ย degrees during summer, 25 degrees during winter, and is hot all year round. There’s more to this Canary island than sunbathing and beaches though, as I discovered when I spent a week here with my sisters on a girly holiday back in June. With its mountainous scenery, rugged coastline and vibrant atmosphere, here are my top ten things to see and do in sunny Tenerife…

 

1. Hike Mount Teide

 

Just one more ๐Ÿ“ธ of the amazing mount teide cos I just love it ๐Ÿ—ป #teide #teidelover #tenerife #canaries #traveltuesday

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If you’re an adventure seeker and want to keep active whist you’re on holiday, Mount Teide is the place to be! The third highest active volcano in the world, this mountain can be climbed, hiked, or reached by cable car all year round. My sisters and I booked an all day excursion to Teide whilst we were on the island, and it was definitely one of the highlights of our holiday. Rather than riding the cable car to the summit, we opted to hike around the base of the mountain and admire the views from down below instead. If I were to visit again I’d love to go to the top though as I’m sure the panoramic scenes from up there were even better! Whilst at Teide, we also visited Los Roques de Garcia, a UNESCO world heritage site with rock formations that are over 170,000 years old – it looked like something out of an ancient movie and the landscapes were breathtakingly beautiful.

 

2. Create waves at Siam Park

 

#SiamPark #MaiThaiRiver #chilling #waterfall #Tenerife @travelblogneverseenbefore

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Voted the best water park in the world, this Thai themed adventure island boasts some of the biggest, most daring rides youโ€™ll ever see. I’m a huge water park fan but sadly didn’t have time to visit this place during our time in Tenerife as we were very limited on days (and euros!). The park attracts over 850,000 visitors a year and is home to a lazy river, crazy rapids, a sealion island and it even has its own beach! Located in the family friendly resort of Costa Adeje, this place is amazing for a fun filled day out for all the family, no matter what your age, and is definitely one of the most visited attractions on the whole island – I am 100% checking this out next time I return!

 

3. Wander down Las Americas

 

Casting shadows ๐ŸŒ—๐ŸŒด #Tenerife

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We stayed at one of the Parque Santiago resorts, right in the heart of Las Americas, in front of the beach and on the main strip itself. Las Americas is a thriving resort brimming with bars, cafe’s, shops and restaurants and offers plenty of things to see and do. Tribute acts fill the bars and pubs every night, whilst water sports take over the beach and live music plays from the restaurants during the day. There’s always something going on in Las Americas, and that’s one of the main reasons I loved the resort so much. Everything is so close by, and you never have to walk more than 10 minutes in either direction to find what it is that you need. I’d definitely recommend Las Americas to anyone looking for a lively, fun-filled, stress-free holiday in the heart of Tenerife.

 

4. Have drinks at the Hard Rock Cafe

 

Bright lights, big city โœจ #Tenerife #lasamericas

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One of the most extravagant hotels in the whole of Las Americas, and one of the newest, The Hard Rock Cafe is arguably a tourist attraction in it’s own right, and for good reason! I love this brand and always try to visit whenever I’m exploring a new city, but the Tenerife chain is definitely one of the best I’ve ever seen. With a 5* hotel, enormous swimming pool, trendy restaurant, music hall and glamorous rooftop bar, the Hard Rock has it all. We found that this place was great for having a few cocktails before hitting the rest of the strip, but it was quite pricey so we had to limit ourselves!

 

5. Watch the fountain show at the Safari shopping mall

 

Magical fountain shows are my favourite โœจโœจโœจ #Tenerife

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I wasn’t even aware this place existed until I wandered past one night and heard my favourite song booming from the speakers… When I heard Elvis – Can’t Help Falling In Love playing, I turned to see where it was coming from and was greeted with the most amazing sight! A beautiful sparkly fountain show right in the centre of Las Americas, that was set to music and attracted more and more people to the crowd as they stopped and stared just as I had done. The show lasts for around 10-15 minutes and a number of classic songs are played as the fountains do their thing. The show ends with the iconic New York, New York by Frank Sinatra and the fountains look even more beautiful lit up as they come to a sparkly end! You can catch the show every night at the Safari Shopping Mall, right on the Las Americas strip.

 

6. Explore Loro Parque

 

According to the Alliance of Marine Mammal Parks and Aquariumsโ€™ โ€œBottlenose Dolphin Fact Sheetโ€: Bottlenose dolphins are found in temperate and tropical waters around the world (cosmopolitan species). They can inhabit a variety of marine and coastal ecosystems of the Pacific, Atlantic, and Indian Oceans, and the Mediterranean Sea (Ridgway and Harrison, 1999). Bottlenose dolphins in the western North Atlantic are found from Nova Scotia to Patagonia and from Norway to the tip of South Africa. They are the most abundant dolphin species along the United States coast from Cape Cod through the Gulf of Mexico (Reeves et al., 2002). Other types of bottlenose dolphins are found in the Pacific and Indian Oceans, as far north as the southern Okhotsk Sea, the Kuril Islands and central California. They are found as far south as Australia and New Zealand. Dolphins everywhere depend on healthy oceans for their survival. They depend on us! Protect and conserve #OurWorldOceans #AMMPA #welovedolphinseveryday Segรบn la ficha informativa sobre los delfines mulares de la Alianza de Parques y Acuarios con Mamรญferos Marinos: Los delfines mulares se hallan en aguas tropicales y templadas alrededor del mundo (especies cosmopolitas). Pueden habitar en una gran variedad de ecosistemas marinos y costeros en los ocรฉanos Pacรญfico, Atlรกntico e รndico, asรญ como en el Mar Mediterrรกneo (Rigway y Harrison, 1999). Los delfines mulares del Atlรกntico Norte occidental se reparten desde Nueva Escocia hasta la Patagonia, y desde Noruega hasta el extremo de Sudรกfrica. Son la especie de delfรญn mรกs abundante a lo largo de la costa de los Estados Unidos, desde el Cabo Cod hasta el Golfo de Mรฉxico (Reeves et al., 2002). Otros tipos de delfines mulares pueden encontrarse en los ocรฉanos Pacรญfico e รndico, asรญ como tan al norte como al sur del Mar de Ojotsk, las islas Kuriles y California Central; y tan al sur como en Australia y Nueva Zelanda. Los delfines alrededor del mundo dependen de ocรฉanos sanos para sobrevivir. ยกDependen de nosotros! Protege y conserva nuestros ocรฉanos. #OurWorldOceans #AMMPA #welovedolphinseveryday

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Loro Parque is one of the most popular excursions on the whole island and is situated in the pretty Puerto de la Cruz area, a bus ride away from Las Americas.ย Awarded the title of best zoo in Europe, Loro Parque offers an unforgettable day out for all the family and is home to over 4000 species of animal across its 33 acre gardens. As well as having numerous exhibits for visitors to wander around, the zoo hosts dolphin, sealion, orca and parrot shows daily too. Sadly, I didn’t get a chance to tick this place off my Tenerife bucket list, but I will definitely be checking it out next time I’m on the island!

 

7. Sunbathe on Las Vistas beach

 

Pick a sunbed any sunbed โ˜€๏ธ #Tenerife #beach #lasamericas

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One of the prettiest beaches I’ve ever seen, Las Vistas is the perfect place to take time out and relax during your holiday to Tenerife. We spent many hours there sunbathing, swimming in the sea and watching the world go by. The beach was right behind our Parque Santiago hotel, so gave us direct access, and it was a stones throw from many of the cafe’s, bars and restaurants that are dotted along the sea front. The beach also offers a multitude of watersports for the thrill seekers out there who prefer keeping active to lounging around on the sand – I didn’t take part in these as was far too busy sunbathing – but it looked like so much fun!

 

8. Take a boat trip from Puerto Colon

 

Vitamin Sea ๐ŸŒŠ๐Ÿฌ #Tenerife

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Despite suffering from horrendous sea sickness, boat trips areย totally my thing and I always try to do one when I’m on holiday! I think boats are a brilliant way of seeing places from different perspectives, and I adore marine life so take any chance I get to spot dolphins, fish and even whales whilst I’m out on the open sea. Sadly I was feeling absolutely AWFUL during the entire trip and spent most of the three hours at sea with my head in a sick bag!! Despite my sickness though I still managed to see dolphins AND whales swimming next to our catamaran and that alone was worth every minute of how I felt that day. Maybe next time I’ll just go on a bigger boat so I don’t feel the waves as much… I’ve suffered with travel/motion sickness for as long as I can remember and would love to know how I can overcome it… Suggestions on a postcard please?!

 

9. Go clubbing on the Veronica’s strip

 

๐Ÿพ๐Ÿ‘

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This is something we only did a couple of nights during our trip; we much prefer bars to clubs so spent most of our time on the main strip in Las Americas, rather than wandering over to the Veronicas despite it being in the same resort. This strip is a ten minute walk from the centre of Americas and is filled with more bars and even more clubs offering cheap drinks deals, DJ’s and dance floors; think Zante/Ayia Napa/Kavos and you get the picture. I’m now 24 and this isn’t really my scene anymore (I’m so old!!) but it was fun to spend a few hours there and just a short stroll away from the lively resort centre so easily reachable on foot.

 

10. Watch the sunset from the sea front

 

Not a bad place to watch the sunset ๐ŸŒ…๐ŸŒ… #tenerife #lasamericas #friyay

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Anyone that knows me will know how much I love my sunsets! Every time I’m away I always try and catch a sun set at least once during my trip, and luckily we were able to see a couple during our week in Tenerife. Plonking ourselves in a pretty restaurant on the sea front we sat and watched the sun go down over the Atlantic sea whilst we drank cocktails and stuffed our faces with yummy meals. I think we did this on our first night and it was really special – my sister captured a timelapse of the sunset and it looked totally magical! Would def recommend having dinner in front of the sun set during your time in Tenerife if you get the chance.

 

So those are just some of the many reasons why you should visit Tenerife this summer, or in fact at any time of year. There’s so much to see and do, the weather is fantastic all year round, and the lively atmosphere makes the island a hit with families, groups and couples alike. To be in the heart of the action, stay in Las Americas and take advantage of the proximity of the beach, bars, restaurants and lively nightlife. If however you’re looking for a more relaxed holiday, the smaller resorts of Costa Adeje and Los Cristianos are probably more your thing. I absolutely loved my holiday to Tenerife this summer and couldn’t have asked for a better location from which to unwind and enjoy some much needed sunshine. The scenery was beautiful, the temperatures were just right and there was so much to do we didn’t once get bored. Have you ever been to Tenerife? What resort did you visit? Would love to know what you thought of the island!

Love Jess x

 

I think I'm a little bit in love with #Tenerife ๐Ÿ˜๐ŸŒŠ

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