Sintra was one of my favourite parts of visiting Portugal, it was beautiful and a great break from the city of Lisbon. I spent three days checking out the city and then spent a day in Sintra. Sintra is a 40 min train ride from Lisbon and was easy to get to, looking back I wish I had at least spent the night there.
Summer home to European royalty for centuries, Sintra’s unique and fairytale castles are a must see. People usually flock here for the cooler weather and the change in the air due to the lush forests.
For the past few years, I’ve been traveling more frequently and usually pick one new destination a year, last year I thought I’d try something new – country hopping! I decided to fit in three countries in two and half weeks.
I traveled in September 2016 just to make sure the weather held up. My first stop was Lisbon!
If you’re on a budget this would be a great destination, food and hotels are reasonable.
Parts of Lisbon are hilly but I found it easy to get around by foot. These are the main neighbourhoods…
- Belem – the cultural quarter.
- Alfama – the winding old hilltop.
- Baixa Chiado – the downtown district.
- Bairro Alto – the bustling bar scene.
My cool hotel.
Marrakech has to be one of my favourite cities. From its landscape of palm trees, the backdrop of Atlas mountains and myriad of souks, gorgeous riads to it’s amazing culture where you hear a mix of French, Arabic & Berber. When you first visit the city it really feels like you’ve gone back in time.
Things to do:
Stay in a Riad
Escape the chaos of Marrakech by staying in a Riad..it’s definitely a unique experience. My Riad was literally two minutes away from Jamaa el Fna (the main square).
Head down to the Souks
Once you’ve got over your jet lag or have enough energy check out the souks. The whole souk experience can be overwhelming from the smells, sounds and haggling so be prepared!
Ben Youssef Madrasa
If you’re looking for ornate architecture this is the place to go.
If you’ve got a free afternoon take a stroll in Jardin Majorelle
Sit at a terrace restaurant overlooking Jamaa el Fna and people watch
If you’re staying more than four days I would recommend heading to Essaouira or the Atlas mountains, which would take up a whole day since it’s outside Marrakech. I would also fit in camping at the desert.
I spent four days in Marrakech so was unable to camp in the desert but did do a day trip to Essaouira
This was my first solo trip and I couldn’t have picked a better destination – you get the hustle and bustle of a city with lots to do but also the chilled out Latin vibe. I visited in December and the weather was amazing, Buenos Aires reminded me of Madrid but with a Latin flair.
Things to do:
Order a con leche
After arriving at your hotel head to the nearest cafe and ordered a con leche…
When I first arrive in a new city I usually walk around the neighbourhood to get my bearings right and just to get more familiar with the neighbourhood – heading to a nearby non-touristy cafe is usually a good way to shake off that jet lag and settle into the new city. People watching during coffee is a good way to get to get a gist of your new city’s daily life.
Buenos Aires street Art tour
Head out for a for a graffiti tour. The tour takes you around different neighbourhoods of Buenos Aires to show off their amazing street art. Book early in your trip so that you get a gist of all the areas you want to revisit.
Check out Graffitimundo for street art tours.
Palermo Soho was my favourite spot, which is loaded with lovely boutiques, galleries, cafes, and restaurants. Where ever you stay in Buenos Aires it’s likely you’ll make frequent trips to Palermo so it’s better to either book your hotel in Palermo or be a short cab ride from here.
San Telmo Market
San Telmo market takes place in the oldest neighbourhood of Buenos Aires. It attracts large crowds on Sunday so try getting there early. You’ll find everything from antiques, furniture and numerous accessories.