travel

Bucharest

A city that may not at first spring to mind for a city break, but should definitely be on your list! With lots of garden bars tucked between amazing architecture, a charming old town with a huge variety of cafes and restaurants and Europes largest urban beach, there’s plenty to keep you busy!

Sample itinerary


  • Currency: Romanian Leu
  • Local time: GMT +2
  • Language: Romanian

Stay: Old Town

Evenings in Bucharest centre around the old town, and so staying nearby makes for easy access to all the bars/cafes/restaurants. We stayed in an amazing apartment that we found on Airbnb, owned by CityLife Suites, and at £230 for three nights, it was a real bargain! The communication from the owners was great, and they also sorted airport transfers for us and gave a huge list of recommended bars and restaurants, which gave us a great starting point for exploring the city!


Do: Therme, Garden Bars, Old Town

Therme spa is located around 30 minutes by taxi out of the city, but it absolutely worth making the trip for. I recommend buying an all day ticket (80lei/£15) as once you get here, you won’t want to leave! The outdoor pool area is also home to Europes largest urban beach – brilliant for a sunny day – and the pool also has a huge swim up bar. Inside, there is a regular activity timetable, and when the sun goes down it turns into a lit up party paradise!

There are plenty of garden bars to choose from in Bucharest, and if you have a spare afternoon, definitely take some time out to visit one. My favourite was Gradina Floreasca as not only did they do great food (see below) but the pool was amazing to relax by for the afternoon and the drinks were very reasonable.

Spend your evenings in the old town, wandering the streets (all pedestrianized, which is lovely) and take your pick from the many cafes and restaurants that line the streets. In the good weather tables are filled outside and the buzz of chatter fills the air. There are also plenty of bars to keep you occupied into the early hours.


Eat: Les Bourgeois, Gradina Floreasca, Hanu’ Lui Manuc

Dinner in Bucharest depends very much on what you’re looking for in terms of cuisine, but here are plenty of amazing places to eat!

Located in the heart of Old Town, Les Bourgeois has tables sprawling across the street and an extensive menu offering local Romanian dishes as well as plenty of international options, and all for a very reasonable price. The pork chop with truffled potato is my personal recommendation!

Breakfast at Hanu’ Lui Manuc was a leisurely experience, and we were seated in a very pretty outdoor garden. The breakfast menu is simple; omelette or fried eggs with a choice of cheese, ham or smoked salmon. Working out around £3 per person (including a hot drink) it was a great place for a cheap meal that was still very good quality.

We visited Gradina Floreasca for the afternoon to spend time in the relaxing garden bar and make the most of the (free) swimming pool. The food here was excellent – the chicken and avocado salad in particular – and it’s definitely worth heading here for an afternoon in the sun and a delicious lunch.


Drink: Nomad, Pure Vida, Gradina Floreasca, Bound Bar

Visiting in summer months can mean soaring temperatures, so if you’re in need of a drink to cool down, consider the outdoor patio at Bound Bar. The giant mojitos were a personal favourite, and if you fancy a dance in the evening, this bar turns into a club at night.

Gradina Floreasca (as already mentioned above) is a garden bar in the heart of the city, and has an extensive drinks menu of alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks. The perfect place to spend an afternoon with an Aperol Spritz!

If its a drink with a view you’re after, then Nomad and Pure Vida are the places to aim for – they’re two of the best rooftop bars in Bucharest.

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Rhodes

The island of Rhodes is the largest of the Greek Dodecanese islands, and has something to offer everyone. Whether it’s a quiet beach town you’re looking for, or a resort full of bars and clubs, Rhodes is the place to go for a Greek summer holiday that will keep everyone happy.


  • Currency: Euro
  • Local time: GMT +2
  • Language: Greek

Resort: Pefkos

If you’re after a sleepy Greek resort with plenty of tavernas and bars but the distinct lack of a club 18-30 feel, then Pefkos is for you. It’s quite a drive from the airport (about an hour and a half) but is totally worth the journey – Once you arrive, you’ll realise you’ve stumbled upon a gem. The stretch of sand is soft and clean, and the sea is a vibrant blue. Trips into Lindos can be taken by boat from the beach, and there are plenty of waterspouts on offer too.

In the evenings, things tend to revolve around the Main Street, where restaurants serve up traditional Greek dishes and cocktail bars tempt you in with sunset views and extensive drinks lists.


Hotel: Pefki Island Resort

Hotels in Pefkos are plentiful, and it was difficult deciding between them. We chose Pefki Island Resort, which is made up of studios and apartments housed in low level buildings scattered around the water. It sits on a shared site with two other hotels; Island Blue and Lindia Thalassa, and their facilities are also available to Pefki Island guests, which means in total the resort boasts 5 swimming pools!

Steps at the edge of the hotel will take you straight onto the narrow sandy beach, complete with loungers and parasols for those who like to relax by the sea. A walk along this sand will take you past some lovely beach side bars, perfect for an afternoon drink or to visit in time for sunset.

A fun, friendly hotel with great swimming pools and private access to the beach – What more could you want for a week in the sun?!


Restaurants: Philosophia Beach Restaurant, Spitaki Taverna

The choice of restaurants for dinner in Pefkos is excellent, especially considering the small size of the resort. There is one main road that contains majority of the dining options, however, there are a few situated a little further out, but that are definitely worth the walk! One of these is Philosophia Beach Restaurant, a few minutes walk from the main road and as the name suggest, overlooking the beach! (It’s also located very close to Pefki Island Resort). The welcome is warm, the views are amazing and the food is exceptional quality. This is not one to be missed!

A personal favourite on the main road of restaurants is Spitaki Taverna. Set in beautiful gardens with authentic Greek charm, the menu features all of the traditional Greek dishes you would expect, with emphasis on grilled meat. If you’re lucky, you’ll even get a visit from a local cat or two while you wait for your food!

Other restaurants of note are: Ella, Enigma, Coralli and Taverna Nikolas.

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Crete

The largest of the Greek islands, Crete has many areas popular with holidaymakers, offering everything from sleepy mountain villages to coastal resorts with fine sand beaches. The best bit? Endless blue skies and temperatures that sit around 30 degrees all summer! 


  • Currency: Euro
  • Local time: GMT +2
  • Language: Greek

Resort: Agios Nikolaos

Agios Nikolaos is one of the most popular resorts in Crete, and with good reason. The focus of this picturesque town is undoubtably the lake, which is lined with tavernas and bars with people spilling out onto the pavements, happily soaking up the afternoon sun.


Hotel: Wyndham Grand Crete Mirabello Bay

The Wyndham Grand Crete Mirabello Bay is a 5* hotel offering one of the best All Inclusive deals in the area.

The food here was excellent, and well above usual standards of an all inclusive. I stayed for a week and never ate the same meal twice! Breakfast is served buffet style, and can get quite busy, but it’s so lovely to be able to take your food out onto the terrace and eat overlooking the sea. Lunch options are plentiful, ranging from snacks at the poolside bar, a daily buffet in the main restaurant or an a la carte menu at Elia restaurant (I particularly recommend the salads here!). Dinner is again offered buffet style, but each guest also gets a visit to each of the a la carte restaurants on site (one Greek, one Italian) during their stay.

As expected of an all inclusive, drinks are available pretty much any time, and the cocktail list here is extensive. There is a lovely rooftop bar offering gorgeous views of the bay and I highly recommend leaving some time before dinner to stop by here and watch the sun go down with a glass of wine. As for after dinner, head down to the beach, where the bar stays open late and often offers evening entertainment too.


Restaurants: Patriko

Even if you’re staying at an all inclusive, sometimes you want to venture out of resort and try the local restaurants. There are plenty of restaurants to choose from in Agios Nikolaos, most situated by the water, although there are also several within easy walking distance of Mirabello Beach.

Located a pleasant 15 minute stroll from Mirabello Beach is Patriko, and I cannot recommend the food here highly enough. We went for a mixed souvlaki skewer, which was served with pitta break, tzatsiki and fries, and the quality and taste was exceptional.

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Tenerife

Tenerife is the largest of the Canary Islands, and features a warm climate year round. Despite it’s reputation as a party island (mainly because of the Playa de las Americas resort) there are plenty of tranquil spots on this island for a relaxing winter sun break.


  • Currency: Euro
  • Local time: GMT
  • Language: Spanish

Resort: Los Cristianos

Located in the South of the island (typically the part that gets the sunnier weather) Los Cristianos is the perfect location for a beach break with friends or family. With several beaches to choose from – including the long and sandy Las Vistas – plus plenty of bars and restaurants, you will never run out of things to do. And if you do fancy an evening of dancing? Las Americas as mentioned about is only 10 minutes away in a taxi!


Hotel: Aguamar Apartments

A collection of spacious and always spotlessly clean apartments gathered around a large deep blue swimming pool. The staff are friendly, there are always plenty of sun loungers and its very conveniently located for access to the beach and the various bars and restaurants that Los Cristianos has to offer.


Eat: Pizzeria da Capo, Piccolo, Chill Out

Piccolo restaurant, situated on the Vistas beach with amazing views out to sea, offers good value and authentic Italian food. The truffle pasta with steak was a particular favourite, and they house wine is also very good.

Located on a corned one street back from the harbour is Pizzeria da Capo – an amazing family run restaurant serving huge portions of incredible Italian food. The menu of the day is exceptional in value, and changes daily. Booking is always recommended, as this place is always full!

Chill out is the place to go if you have a celebration during your time in Los Cristianos. A diverse menu with great quality meat and fish, and a very goo dessert trolly that comes around to your table if you still have room after the main course. Slightly more expensive than other nearby restaurants but worth the extra cash if you’re celebrating a birthday/anniversary.


Drink: Planeta Goloso, Marina Bay sunset bar, Players Lounge

Whether it’s an afternoon sangria in the sunshine or a gin and tonic at sunset that you’re after, Los Cristianos has a bar for every occasion. For a relaxing mid-afternoon drink, head to Planeta Goloso. With lots of parasol covered tables overlooking the beach, this is a place to relax, have a drink and take some shade from the heat of the day. They also have an axcellent selection of ice cream here!

Marina Bay sunset bar has, unsurprisingly, one of the best views of the sunset on the South coast. They offer a happy hour early evening, with discounts on sangria and local beers, and the view really is worht the few extra minutes walk from the centre of town.

If you’re wanting to watch some sport while you’re away, make your way to Players Lounge, where they have several screens showing most games live. Cheap beer, an extensive cocktail menu and a great view of the beach if you’re less bothered about watching the football!

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Majorca

Majorca enjoys a Mediterranean climate, meaning whichever month you visit, it will never be cold! The warmest months to visit are May-September, when the days are long and you’re all but guaranteed sunshine.


  • Currency: Euro
  • Local time: GMT +1
  • Language: Spanish

Resort: Port de Pollença

Situated in the Northern part of the island, Port de Pollença is on the coast with a long sandy beach. It’s a lively resort, with plenty of sunbeds on the beach and extensive watersports options. There are also plenty of bars, restaurants and clubs to keep you entertained in the evening, and all are within walking distance of the beach, so you won’t have far to travel!

Pollença Old Town is situated a few miles inland, and is a great area to visit in the evenings for small trattorias dotted along cobbled streets. With a more relaxed vibe to Port de Pollença, come here for a candlelit dinner or a chilled glass of white wine in a quaint square.


Stay: Villa Can Serra

We booked a 4 bedroom villa with a private pool – Villa Can Serra – through airbnb, and it was excellent. The pool was large and clean, and the villa had a rooftop ‘chill out’ area above the pool house which was lovely for evening drinks.

Located just a short drive from both the beach and Pollença Old Town, it was a great location as we could get taxis into town easily for a night out if we wished. There was also a large supermarket a short drive away and the villa had all the utensils needed for a self catering trip, including a BBQ outdoors.


Do: Mountain trip, Sóller, Fornalutx

One of the best ways to see the island is to hire a car. Jump in and drive up into the mountains for breathtaking views into the valleys below. There are plenty of view points to stop at along the many mountain paths, so don’t forget to take your camera!

If you’re driving from Pollença like we were, head through the mountains to Fornalutx, a quaint village set in the mountains and high above the town of Sóller. A picturesque and charming village that offers a look into everyday life for locals who live on the island. Stop and have a wander around the small streets and soak up the atmosphere, before driving down into the Sóller valley. Here, you’ll find a marina lined with plenty of bars and restaurants to stop off at for lunch, and a lovely beach. There are also trams that run through the town and are a great chance to take in the views from a different perspective.

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Budapest

Budapest is one of those places that everyone seems to have been to, and everyone seems to adore – and for good reason! Sightseeing and spas in the day, then partying with ridiculously cheap drinks in cool bars at night. What is there not to love?!

Sample itinerary


  • Currency: Hungarian Forint
  • Local time: GMT +1
  • Language: Hungarian

Stay: Downtown

When choosing where to stay in Budapest, it’s worth noting that Buda and Pest are two different areas of the city, split by the river. Most of the sightseeing and nightlife happens in Pest, so this is definitely the side to stay. When looking at a map of the city, you want to be to the right of the river.

Budapest has an excellent transport system, meaning that wherever you stay in the city, nothing is too far away. However, if you’re heading to the city for the nightlife, you can’t go wrong staying anywhere downtown. You’ll be within walking distance of Kazinczy street, which is the main hub of evening entertainment. Many streets twist and turn off of here, and they’re all worth exploring as ruin bars pop up in the lest likely of places!

The map below shows the area I recommend staying within for the overall city in red, and the blue is downtown if you’re after the nightlife.

budapest


Do: Spas, sightseeing, ruin bars

You must try one of the renowned spas whilst in Budapest, and if you only have time to visit one, make it Szechenyi. With a huge heated outdoor spa pool, along with a huge variety of spa baths, jacuzzis, steam rooms and saunas indoors, this place will keep you occupied for hours and you’re guaranteed to leave feeling relaxed. (Tip: take your own towels to save on a fairly hefty fee to hire them) If you feel like indulging and visiting more than one spa (like we did!) Rudas is also well worth a visit. Very different to Szechenyi, the focus here is indoor pools and saunas, many with a set order of use based on increasing the body temperature gradually. The real gem here though is the hot whirlpool on the roof, offering stunning views over the river Danube.

There is plenty to see in the city during the day, and most can be accessed on foot. St Stephens Basilica, the incredible Hungarian parliament building and Heroes Square are all must-sees and will guarantee some excellent Instagram snaps!

Famed for its ruin pubs and bars, nightlife in Budapest is like nothing else I’ve experienced. From quirky garden bars with candles and hammocks to huge clubs perfect for dancing in until morning, theres something for everyone here! Szimpla Kert is undoubtably the most famous of Budapest many ruin pubs, and for good reason. With so many rooms to explore and an outside beer garden too, hours can be spent here (and were) drinking away the afternoon. Szimpla also run a farmers market on Sunday mornings thats well worth a visit.

Other bars of note worth visiting are Fogas and Instant for large dance venues that stay open late, and the colourful and quirky garden bars Psst Shhh! & Koleves (both a bit tricky to find, located on Kazinczy U, but worth searching for).


Eat: Karavan, Kazimir Bistro, Comme Chez Soi, Gelarto Rosa

Eating in Budapest is fun and varied; they have everything from 5* restaurants to amazing street food!

Stop by Karavan street food park for a chance to try some of the local cuisine. I personally recommend the Langos (a bit like donut bread) with sour cream and cheese. Doesn’t sound appealing, but please take my word for it and grab one, you won’t regret it!

For a dinner that offers traditional food in a relaxed atmosphere, had to Kazimir Bistro. Located downtown near the famous ruin bars, it has a friendly locals feel and authentic Hungarian cuisine. Not to be missed!

Another restaurant well worth a visit is Comme Chez Soi. It’s Budapests answer to fine dining, and the prices are in line with this, however the lunch menu is a lot more affordable for those on a budget. They’re closed on Sunday and get very booked up the rest of the week, so worth making a reservation here in advance.

If ice cream is what you’re craving, make sure you head to Gelarto Rosa, a great ice cream parlour that encourage you to pick multiple flavours so that they can turn the contrasting colours into a delicate ice cream flower. Another one for Instagram!

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Bratislava

I visited Bratislava with my sister as part of a weekend break combined with Vienna. We spent a day and a half exploring the city, taking in the sights and trying the local food, and it turned out to be one of the prettiest cities I’ve been to!

Sample itinerary


  • Currency: Euro
  • Local time: GMT +1
  • Language: Slovak, German

Stay: Old Town

Bratislava is a very small city; you really can walk everywhere in the centre of town, and so technically it doesn’t matter where you stay – everywhere will still be accessible!

We chose to stay in Old Town Bratislava, which was covered in cobbled streets lined with cafes and restaurants, all seeming to lead to Hlavné námestie (Main Square).

We stopped off at a lovely wine bar in the square, aptly named ‘Wine Not?’, which had lots of outdoor seating complete with patio heaters and blankets, meaning that just because the temperature drops, the people watching doesn’t have to end! As night falls, the fountain in the middle of the square comes to life, lit up in an array of colours and makes for a great instagram shot, if thats your thing!

There were a wide selection of Airbnbs available all over the city, and all at extremely reasonable prices. Ours was on Panksá, a pedestrianized street one road behind the main square, and we loved that we could throw open the windows and look down into the streets below, watching the hustle and bustle of the city.


Do: Bratislava castle, Michaels Gate, Old Town

Bratislava castle is like something out of a fairytale, and is visible from most points in the city. It’s well worth taking some time to wander around this historic building – A gentle but definite uphill climb from the city centre will get you to the edge of the walls, and from there you can explore at your leisure.

In the middle of Old Town stands one of the oldest town buildings – Michaels Gate, or Michalska Brana as its known locally. For a small fee, you can enter via a discreet door from the street and find yourself inside a small museum, housing the Exhibition of Weapons. Wander around the museum inside the tower, climbing small flights or stairs as you go, and you will find yourself at the top of the tower, offering an observation deck with excellent views all across the city. A must do on a sunny day!

Human sized sculptures are dotted all over Old Town, and prove quite the tourist attraction. Often queues of people waiting to be photographed with these, it’s a must-have picture for the collection from your trip to Bratislava! Cumil ‘The Watcher’ was our favourite, although we got a few strange looks when we decided to lay down next to him when it was our turn for a photo!


Eat: No1. Slovak Pub, Modra Hviezda, Urban House

No trip to Bratislava is complete without a trip to No1. Slovak Pub. A tourist hotspot maybe, but its a chance to throw yourself into the culture and experience local Slovakian food in a (very warm) quirky pub in the centre of town. It was our first stop after dropping our bags off, and although on reflection we paid quite a lot for the food, I would 100% recommend it as an easy introduction to the cuisine.

We only had one evening in Bratislava, so we wanted to make sure we chose well for dinner. We had been recommended a particular restaurant by our lovely Airbnb host, and so we set out on foot (you really can walk everywhere!) to hunt the place down. Tucked away underneath the castle is the amazing Modra Hviezda – A real gem in the city! Slightly tricky to find, but more than worth it when you do, the food was outstanding and of very high quality; very reasonable too. Apparently it is always extremely popular (mainly with locals who book tables weeks in advance) so its worth giving a call to see if they have space!

If you’re after a spot of brunch in the city, head to Urban House, A fun and lively coffee house serving an excellent brunch menu. We went for avocado on toast with a poached egg and were not disappointed!

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Milan

I visited Milan for a weekend (literally two days!) in early October with a friend. In the 36 hours we spent in the city, we managed to cram in an impressive amount of sightseeing, and even more impressive amounts of wine and pasta!

Sample itinerary


  • Currency: Euro
  • Local time: GMT +1
  • Language: Italian

Stay: The Westin Palace

My trip to Milan was booked on a bit of a whim, with only a few weeks until departure, so we managed to get an amazing deal on lastminute.com. We booked one of their ‘Top Secret Hotels’ (for those who haven’t done this before, it’s where they list hotels and show you a rough location of each, along with a generic description of the hotel and a star rating. Thats all you get until you confirm your booking and pay. A gamble? Yes. One worth taking? In this case, definitely. Once I’d paid (£91, absolute bargain!) they emailed confirmation to say our accommodation would be at The Westin Palace, and upon googling, we were suitably impressed.

Upon actually arriving at the hotel, our impression levels were kicked up a notch. A doorman greeted us and took our luggage inside for us. In reception, there were chandeliers hanging from the ceiling. And a harp player. Check in was a breeze, our room was ready and waiting for us (despite an early 11am arrival) and we were quickly escorted upstairs.

Although compact, the room was everything we needed and came with an impossibly comfortable bed and a seriously powerful shower. We couldn’t fault the service at the hotel, and the location was great too. It was within easy reach of several Metro stations, or simply a 20 minute stroll to the Duomo in the centre of town.


Do: Milano Navigli, Duomo Di Milano, Sephora

Without a doubt our favourite area of Milan was the Navigli area. It offered canal side eating and drinking as well as quirky market stalls and a very picturesque area to wander in the fading afternoon sun. (Tip: We tried to walk there from the Duomo and after getting ever so slightly lost, decided to purchase a Metro card and hop on. We never looked back!)

No trip to Milan is complete without visiting the Duomo! There are several options for exploring this incredible cathedral, but because the weather was so lovely, we opted to take the lift up to the terraces and take in the amazing views over the city. It cost €13 to go up, and while there was a bit of a queue for the lift, it was 100% worth it when we got to the top and had unlimited time to explore at our leisure.

Being British, we sadly do not have Sephora shops in the UK, so you can imagine my excitement when I realised they had them in Milan! Although not all of the brands I was used to from the American stores were available, I was still like a child in a sweet shop and had to be dragged out in the end in order not to miss our flight! It’s definitely worth adding to the list of many shops you will surely visit on your stay in the city of fashion but if like us, you’re travelling hand luggage only, don’t forget that you can’t buy anything over 100ml – sob!


Eat: Pavé, El Cicinin

For a fabulous breakfast/brunch in a place packed with locals (always tells me I’m onto a winner) head to Pavé. A neighbourhood favourite for very good reason; it comes complete with an incredible selection of cakes and pastries, as well as a main brunch menu and excellent coffee. If you only have time for one brunch out, Pavé is the place to head!

When it came to dinner in Milan, we found the best place to head was down to the Navigili area mentioned above. Restaurants and bars line the canal on both sides, and we were tempted by the aromas coming from most of them! After stopping for a glass of wine at an outdoor bar (the sun was setting and we were super lucky to get a table!) we wandered around the area in search of authentic Italian food. And wow did we find it! On a side road off from the main Navigili canal strip, El Cicinin offers cozy candlelit tables indoors and heated al fresco dining outside. The menu offered your typical Italian dishes; olives, bread baskets and charcuterie boards followed by pastas, pizzas and an excellent specials board. It was very reasonably priced, the food was divine and to top it all off, they served wine on tap by the litre. What more do you want for an evening in Italy?

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Vienna

My sister and I went to Vienna straight from Bratislava (€5 on the bus – 1hr!) and spent two nights exploring the city. The extravagant coffee shops were a particular highlight, as was the sachertorte!

Sample itinerary


  • Currency: Euro
  • Local time: GMT +1
  • Language: German

Stay: Austria Trend Hotel Rathauspark

The centrally located Austria Trend Hotel Rathauspark was the perfect base for us to explore Vienna from. It’s located a 20 minute walk from Stephansplatz (the large square in the very centre of Vienna thats home to the cathedral and many shops) and while a Metro would have gotten us there even quicker, we found many coffee shops, pretty parks and historical buildings on our walk.


Do: Spanish Riding School, coffee shops, museum quarter

A trip to the Spanish Riding School is a unique chance to watch the live practice of equitation. Morning exercise sessions are always popular, so arrive around 9am to beat the crowds. However if you want to see a full performance, tickets will need to be purchased well in advance.

The museum quarter (museumsquartier) is home to many of Vienna’s finest museums, and it is well worth setting aside an afternoon to explore the area. If you’re thinking of visiting multiple museums, the Vienna Card may be of interest to you, as it gives discount of many of the cities museum entry costs.

Make sure you leave some time in your schedule to stop off in one of Vienna’s many coffee houses. Renowned not just for their coffee, but as places to while away an afternoon, it is perfectly acceptable to spend a couple of hours in a coffee house in Vienna, sipping your drinks and reading a newspaper at your leisure. A favourite on the trip was Cafe Eiles, which not only did great coffee but also had a very reasonable breakfast menu.


Eat: Demel, Huth Gastwirtschaft

There are several things people want to tick off on a trip to Vienna, and trying Sachertorte usually makes the list. Stop by for a slice of this world famous chocolate cake at Demel, but be warned, combine it with one of their wickedly indulgent hot chocolates and you won’t be needing another chocolate fix for quite a while!

Another must-eat is a schnitzel, and whilst veal is the traditional choice, we opted for chicken and were not disappointed in the slightest! For classic Viennese cuisine, and an ever-changing monthly menu head to Huth Gastwirtschaft. Located centrally in the city, its easy to get to and has a relaxed and cozy feel.

As for street food, the ‘Wurstelstand’ kiosks (usually found outside U-Bahn stations) are a popular and cheap choice for lunch on the go. Pork and veal sausages usually top the list, but most kiosks offer a huge variety, all tucked into a fresh roll and served with the usual condiments.

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Dublin

Dublin was my first taste of Ireland, and I quickly discovered that the Irish are about the friendliest people you’ll meet! The city is very compact, so everything is in walking distance – Even the Guinness Storehouse which is the other side of town.

Sample itinerary


  • Currency: Euro
  • Local time: GMT
  • Language: English

Stay: City centre

Dublin City centre is fairly small, and so anywhere with a central postcode will be fine for exploring. We walked everywhere on foot (even home from a night out!)

There was a large group of us – 8 in total – and so we chose to stay in an Airbnb so that we could all stay together. This worked out well in terms of food too, as we cooked breakfast in each morning (food bills in Dublin quickly add up, it’s not the cheapest city!) and were also able to go back and enjoy the communal living space in the evening that you wouldn’t get with a hotel.


Do: Guinness Storehouse, Irish pubs

You can’t go to Ireland and not drink. Well, this is what I was told when I attempted to go whilst partaking in Dry January! Turns out it was true. Our very first stop when we got out of the cab from the airport was a pub, The Ferryman, which turned out to be a traditional Irish pub full of locals – Perfect start to the weekend! We visited many more pubs over the weekend, some more touristy than others, but we had a brilliant evening in Whelans, a live music venue in the heart of town that is a favourite of Ed Sheeran and also the filming location of PS I love you…

The Guinness Storehouse is a must-do if it’s your first trip to Dublin. We timed our visit so that there was time to explore the factory (upon entry, you wander around at your own pace – expect to spend around an hour doing so) and make it to the Gravity bar at the top for sunset. Your entry ticket includes a pint of Guinness in the bar, and the views you get from the top are brilliant. It’s worth noting that tickets for the Storehouse can be purchased in advance on their website, and doing so will save you money and queuing time on the day.


Eat: Chai Yo, 777

Dinner in Dublin needn’t be an expensive affair. Chai Yo was recommended to us by a friend who had previously been to Dublin, telling us ‘the food is great and you’ll have a lot of fun’. And wow, did we have fun! The waiting staff turn what could be a standard Thai meal into a full on party; singing, dancing and performing at tables in-between courses being served. The entertainment would have been enough for me to recommend it, but as it turns out the food was also excellent, and the bill wasn’t eye watering either! (Tip: Check out the set menu, 4 courses for €17.50 can’t be argued with!)

If you weren’t specifically looking for it, you would walk straight past 777, but it’s worth seeking out as this Mexican is truly a hidden gem of the city. The funky restaurant has great music, an expansive menu and excellent cocktails. The best bit? On a Sunday, every dish is €7.77 – A welcome break from the usually expensive dining out in Dublin.