Reizen is altijd het avontuur waard, of je nu alleen bent, met vrienden, je familie of je geliefde. Die laatste optie is misschien nog beter nu Valentijnsdag eraan komt. Als je iets te vieren hebt of niet; het trakteren van je geliefde op een gedeeld avontuur in het buitenland is de beste manier om samen te genieten van je welverdiende romantische vakantie.

Om je te helpen kiezen wat te doen deze Valentijn, heb ik een top 5 opgesteld van de meest geheime romantische bestemmingen in Europa – leuke en nieuwe alternatieven voor de bekende romantische steden Parijs of Venetië. Deze blog is beschikbaar in drie talen: Engels, Nederlands en Frans.

5. Sevilla, Spanje

Sevilla, de geboorteplaats van flamenco, heeft met zijn charmante stadscentrum, de gastvrije bevolking en de heerlijke Spaanse keuken al heel wat harten veroverd. Maar vaak bezoekt men deze stad tijdens de lente of zomer. Wist je dat Sevilla ook enorm romantisch kan zijn en een perfecte keuze voor jouw Valentijn dit jaar?

Maak een gezellige avondwandeling door het plein Plaza de Espana, met op de achtergrond sprankelende stadslichten en geniet daarna van zelfgemaakte paella of Spaanse tapas in één van de lokale restaurantjes van deze zuiderse stad.

Leer Sevilla beter kennen met mijn reisartikel over de belangrijkste bezienswaardigheden van deze Zuid-Spaanse stad. Je kan ook mijn reisgids als hulpmiddel gebruiken om je volgende romantische uitje naar Sevilla te plannen. Hierin vind je de beste aanbevelingen voor de lokale keuken, accommodatie en attracties.

4. Bruges, Belgium

Er zijn veel romantische plekjes in België, maar het UNESCO Werelderfgoed benoemde Brugge steekt er met kop en schouders bovenuit. De combinatie van het middeleeuwse centrum, de geplaveide pleinen en de interessante lokale geschiedenis maakt van Brugge de meest romantische Belgische stad. Vier je Valentijn in één van de 50 kastelen in Brugge of verblijf in één van de heel speciale Airbnb’s of hotels. Maak een leuke stadswandeling langs de zwanen, stop voor leuke foto’s bij de vele bruggen en kanalen, en vergeet niet om bij een lokale café het beste bier ter wereld te proeven, vergezeld van een waardig dessert – Belgische chocolade natuurlijk!

Om meer te weten te komen over Brugge, kun je kijken naar wat Brugge te bieden heeft als een van de veiligste steden om naar te reizen.

3. Crikvenica, Croatia

Kroatië is een opkomende toeristische bestemming die de laatste jaren meer erkenning heeft gekregen van vele toeristen wereldwijd. Ook in België en Nederland vertrekken we volop naar Kroatië, vooral tijdens de zomer dan.

Een minder bekende bestemming van deze parel aan de Middellandse Zee is een waardige kandidaat voor jouw Valentijn dit jaar. Met zijn lagune-blauwe wateren, een prachtig landschap van berglandschappen en heerlijke lokale gerechten is het kleine stadje Crikvenica, gelegen aan de oostkust van Kroatië, een leuk alternatief om je Valentijn te vieren in 2020. Verras je partner met een leuke boottocht vanuit de haven van Crikvenica en breng je avond door aan één van de beachbars met een adembenemend uitzicht over de riviera met zonsondergang. Mooi meegenomen: in Crikvenica is de cuisine mediterraans en best low cost, rekening houdend met de lokale munteenheid (kuna).

Heb je zin gekregen om Kroatië te ontdekken in 2020? Lees dan mijn reisblog over Kroatië, met Crikvenica als centrale bestemming.

2. Valletta, Malta

Er zijn goede redenen waarom Valletta, de hoofdstad van Malta, is benoemd tot de culturele hoofdstad van Europa in 2018 en UNESCO werelderfgoed. De sporen die vele kolonisten en immigranten hebben achtergelaten sinds 5900 voor Christus hebben bijgedragen tot het ontstaan van de culturele hotspot die we de dag van vandaag kennen als Malta.

Wat Valletta jouw perfecte Valentijns bestemming maakt voor dit jaar is de combinatie tussen de Maltese barok stijl doorheen de stad en de heerlijke, moderne restaurants met uitzicht op de oceaan en de haven. Het design van de stad is een ongekende mix tussen oude Romeinse architectuur en Britse invloeden, met als kers op de taart een vleugje Arabische indrukken (die je ook terugvindt in o.a. steden namen). De vriendelijke inwoners verwelkomen je graag in het Engels, Italiaans of Malti.

Ga gerust eens door mijn reisblog over Malta voor meer informatie over deze opkomende Europese bestemming.

1. Guimaraes, Portugal

Helemaal bovenaan de lijst van Europa’s meest romantische, geheime bestemmingen staant Guimaraes. Deze iconische Portugese stad heeft zijn middeleeuwse architectuur en gebouwen zo goed bewaard dat het hen een UNESCO Werelderfgoed titel heeft opgeleverd. De verrijkte geschiedenis van Guimaraes gaat terug tot de stichting als eerste hoofdstad van Portugal en een bezoekje aan deze stad voelt als een reis door de tijd: terug naar de 10e eeuw. Blaas je 2020 wat avontuur in en maak een baanbrekende reis naar de eerste hoofdstad van Portugal met je partner.

Leuk weetje: wat Guimaraes nog extra romantisch maakt, is dat de kerstlichten het hele jaar door het gezellige gotische stadscentrum verlichten. Ja, dat betekent heel het jaar door gezelligheid geblazen!

Bekijk hier mijn reisgids naar Guimarães, een mooi alternatief voor een rustig weekendje weg naar de meest romantische stad van Portugal.

Voyager est toujours une bonne idée, que vous soyez seul, entre amis, en famille ou avec votre amoureux. Cette dernière option pourrait être encore meilleure puisque la Saint-Valentin n’est pas loin. Si vous avez quelque chose à célébrer ou non, offrir à votre proche une aventure à l’étranger est le meilleur moyen de prendre soin de votre relation et de profiter au maximum de votre temps ensemble.

J’ai créé une liste des destinations les plus secrètes et romantiques en Europe – les anti-stéréotypes, les destinations que vous n’avez pas encore découvert. Ce blog est disponible en trois langues: anglais, néerlandais et français. Cliquez sur la langue que vous souhaitez lire et vous serez redirigé vers le blog.

5. Sevilla, Spain

Il y a une bonne raison pour que Séville, berceau du flamenco, soit la capitale de l’Andalousie: son charmant centre-ville, ses habitants accueillants et sa délicieuse cuisine rendront votre séjour romantique encore meilleur. Détendez-vous pendant une promenade en soirée sur la Plaza de Espana accompagnée des lumières scintillantes de la ville et dégustez de la paella fraîche ou des tapas espagnoles au cœur de cette ville séduisante.

Apprenez à connaître Séville avec mon article de voyage couvrant les attractions principales de cette ville, localisée en sud de l’Espagne. Utilisez mon guide de voyage comme un outil pour planifier votre prochaine escapade romantique à Séville en utilisant les meilleures recommandations sur la cuisine, l’hébergement et les attractions.

4. Bruges, Belgium

Il y a plusieurs endroits romantiques en Belgique, mais la combinaison du centre de style médiéval, des pavées partout et des lumières de la ville reflétant sur les eaux de Bruges fait de cette ville un sommet. Avec ses innombrables châteaux médiévaux (50 au total), choisissez de séjourner dans l’un des nombreux sites spéciaux de ce site classé au patrimoine mondial de l’UNESCO.

Promenez-vous dans la ville et capturez les cygnes nageant dans les canaux et les nombreux ponts et arrêtez-vous dans un bar à bière local pour déguster certaines des meilleures bières du monde, accompagnées d’un dessert digne – du chocolat belge bien sûr.

Pour en savoir plus sur Bruges, vous pouvez consulter mon article ici qui explique pourquoi Bruges est une des villes les plus sécures pour voyager.

3. Crikvenica, Croatia

La Croatie est une des nombreuses perles de la mer Méditerranée et elle a conquis de nombreux cœurs ces dernières années avec ses eaux bleues lagunaires, ses paysages magnifiques et sa délicieuse cuisine locale. Cependant, si vous avez envie de choisir un lieu hors des sentiers battus pour la Saint-Valentin, optez pour un séjour à Crikvenica, un petit village situé sur la côte orientale de la Croatie.

Ce joyau côtier inconnu vous enchante par ses vues sur le port au coucher du soleil et les impressionnantes montagnes en arrière-plan font que ce paysage mérite une visite. Montez à bord d’un bateau pour passer la nuit de la Saint-Valentin romantique parfaite avec votre amoureux. Ensuite, profitez d’un repas méditerranéen bon marché et savoureux dans l’un des nombreux restaurants du centre-ville pittoresque. La devise est le kuna, ce qui équivaut à 0,13 €.

Pour découvrir la Croatie au maximum, consultez mon guide complet sur la Croatie, avec Crikvenica comme destination centrale.

2. Valletta, Malta

La capitale de Malte La Valette a été désignée comme la capitale européenne de la culture en 2018, la même année où j’ai découvert cette île. La marque de nombreux colons et immigrants étrangers laissés dans ce pays depuis 5900 avant JC, a façonné l’une des îles et des pays les plus diversifiés du continent européen.

Ce qui rend La Valette en particulier si romantique et un choix parfait pour une visite pendant la Saint-Valentin, c’est la construction vallonnée de la ville, qui vous laisse tomber sur de beaux décors et des restaurants élégants avec vue sur la mer. Le style de la ville est un mélange de l’architecture romaine antique et des influences britanniques, accompagné de traces architecturales (et linguistiques) arabes. Les habitants sympathiques vous accueilleront en anglais, italien ou malti.

Rendez-vous sur mon blog de voyage sur Malte pour en savoir plus sur cette prochaine destination européenne

1. Guimaraes, Portugal

Au sommet de notre liste des destinations les plus secrètes et romantiques d’Europe est Guimaraes. Cette petite ville médiévale portugaise vous ramène dans le temps avec son architecture emblématique du Xe siècle bien préservée. Guimaraes était la première capitale du Portugal, et à ce titre, certains sites du patrimoine mondial de l’UNESCO sont à découvrir lors de votre visite dans cette charmante ville. Ce qui rend Guimaraes si romantique, sont les lumières de Noël qui illuminent le centre-ville gothique toute l’année.

Consultez mon guide de voyage à Guimaraes, un guide parfait pour un week-end romantique dans la ville la plus romantique du Portugal.

Travel is forever worthwhile the journey and adventure, whether you’re alone, with friends, family or your lover. That last option may be even better since Valentine’s Day coming up. If you have something to celebrate or not, treating your loved one to a shared adventure abroad is the best way to bond and enjoy your time together to the max.

I’ve listed a countdown of Europe’s secret & most romantic destinations – the anti-stereotypes, the destinations you have yet to discover. This blog is available in three languages: English, Dutch and French. Simply click on the language you wish to read in and you will be redirected to the blog.

5. Sevilla, Spain

There’s a good reason Sevilla, the birthplace of flamenco, is the capital of Andalusia: its charming city centre, welcoming locals and delightful cuisine will make your romantic stay a great one. Come to relaxation during an evening stroll through plaza de Espana accompanied by the sparkling city lights and enjoy homemade paella or Spanish tapas in the heart of this seductive city.

Get to know Sevilla inside and out with my travel article covering the main attractions of this southern Spanish city. Use my triple travel guide as a tool to plan your next romantic getaway to Seville, including the best recommendations on cuisine, accomodation and attractions.

4. Bruges, Belgium

There are a few romantic spots in Belgium, but the combination of the medieval styled centre, the cobblestoned squares and the city lights reflecting this view on the calm waters of Bruges makes this town top them all. With its endless amount of medieval castles (50 in total), opt for a night in one of the many special Airbnb’s or hotels in this UNESCO World Heritage sight. Stroll through the city and capture the swans swimming in the canals, the many bridges and waterlanes, and stop at a local beer pub to taste some of the best beer in the world, accompanied by a worthy dessert – Belgian chocolate of course!

To learn more about Bruges, you can check out my post here which features Bruges as one of the safest cities to travel to.

3. Crikvenica, Croatia

Croatia is one of the many pearls at the Mediterranean Sea and it conquered many hearts these last few years with its lagoon blue waters, stunning scenery of mountain landscapes and delicious local cuisine. However, if you feel like choosing an off the beaten path this Valentine’s Day, opt for a stay in Crikvenica, a small village located at the Eastern coast of Croatia.

This undiscovered coastal gem enchants you with its sunset views over the harbour and the impressive mountains in the background make this scenery worth a visit. Hop on a boat tour to spend be the perfect romantic Valentine’s night together with your lover. Afterwards, treat yourselves on a budget friendly and tasty Mediterranean meal at one of the many restaurants in the picturesque town hub. The currency is kuna, which equals to €0.13.

To discover Croatia to the fullest, check out my full guide on Croatia, featuring Crikvenica as central destination.

2. Valletta, Malta

Malta’s capital Valletta has been marked as Europe’s capital of culture of 2018, the same year I first set foot on this island. The marks many colonists and foreigner immigrants left in this country since 5900 BC, shaped it to be one of the most diverse islands and countries in the European continent.

What makes Valletta in particular so romantic and a perfect choice for a Valentine’s Day visit is the hilly construction of the city, which leaves you to bump into beautiful decors and stylish restaurants with a harbor seaview. The style of the city is a mixture between ancient roman architecture and British influences, topped of with a hint of Arabic architectural (and linguistic) traces. The friendly inhabitants will welcome you in English, Italian or Malti.

Head out to my travel blog about Malta to learn more about this upcoming European destination.

1. Guimaraes, Portugal

At the very top of our list of Europe’s most romantic secret destinations, we have Guimaraes. This lowkey Portuguese medieval town takes you back in time with its well preserved, iconic X-th century architecture. The enriched history goes back to the foundation of Portugal’s first capital, and as such, some UNESCO World Heritage sites are to be discovered on your visit to this charming city. What makes Guimaraes so romantic is the all-year-round christmas lights brighten up the cozy and historic Gothic city centre.

Check out my triple travel guide to Guimaraes, perfect for a romantic weekend getaway to Portugal’s most romantic city.

»So, here you are. Too foreign for home, too foreign for here, not enough for both.» -Ijeoma Umebinyuo

Although this quote might seem somewhat sad for some of you, this is the perfect caption of the life of an expat. And it is not at all sad, it is unique in all its ways. Being an expat to me is truly wanting to explore a new city, country, culture, and that desire for exploring goes further than just a holiday. It makes you leave everything behind and make a jump into the unknown. But what are benefits of being an expat, apart from the obvious – moving to your dream destination or accepting that dream job? In this article, I’ve listed six surprising benefits of being an expat.

1. You Develop a New Culture in Your Life

The life of an expat is very diverse. You are born and raised in a certain culture, country and city. You move out of that bubble, out of your comfort zone, and start a new adventure. You open yourself up to learning all about a new culture and integrating in this new way of life with a curious and open mind.

On this adventure, you do not only get to know that new culture and carry your own culture from home; you also develop your own kind of culture. This new kind of culture consists of a mix of the traditions, values and manners you picked up from your old home, your new home, and your way in between.

See it as a kind of combination of how you processed all these cultures and how you deal with them in your life. I see this change, this growth, in my own life: I grew up in Belgium, lived in Spain and now in Portugal. In my own home that I created here, I don’t live by Belgian traditions, nor Spanish or Portuguese. I merely live a mix of all three of them. And then my families are of Greek and Italian roots. So you can imagine it gets all mixed up. But that’s what makes the home of an expat so unique and special.

So at the end of the day, it’s a lot of cultures and values to keep up with. But that is the beautiful part of it: you mold it all together and create something that’s completely one-of-a-kind.

2. You Develop a Unique Way of Seeing Things

As you meet people from different origins, you start to notice different forms of communication, may it be expressions, gestures or slang. But not only the communication, verbal and non-verbal, are important here; it’s also about the mindset and mentality of the people you meet. In Southern countries, people tend to be have a different way of living than in Northern countries. Many would say Southern people are more »relaxed» and live by the thought of »tomorrow is another day».

Let’s say you move from a Northern country to a Southern country. It would be difficult to adapt to this lifestyle: meetings are not always punctual, and appointments may not even be liven up to. You might get frustrated or not be able to understand this. But after a while, you know how to live up to meetings, dates and appointments because you adapt to this way of life. And you do realize that if something doesn’t happen today, then there is another chance tomorrow. So relax. And maybe you needed this little piece of mentality. Maybe you needed to take some stress off your shoulders in your daily life.

This unique way of looking at life and communication with people is very valuable and can be used in various areas of your life. The way you deal with situations has changed because you have learned and grown. If you can leave to an unknown place and build up a whole new fulfilling life, then what aren’t you capable of?

3. You Gain an Inner Sense of Courage

Not too long ago, I had a dinner planned with locals. Lots of people would look forward to it and just go for it. I didn’t. I didn’t want to go, because I was tired of forcing myself to build up conversations in a language that I’m not strong at, with people I barely even know. I just wanted to stay at home.

But then I realized why I came here. Why I moved abroad. Why I am where I am now. And something inside me said to go for it. It’s just a meaningless dinner, but go for it. Meet these people. Speak the language. Make mistakes. Laugh about it. Learn from them.

So, I gathered all my courage and kept thinking about the center of it all, the reason behind it all, and the more I thought of this center, the less I wanted to stay at home. All of a sudden, it looked like an opportunity I couldn’t skip out on. Meeting new people ánd having a chance of learning the language? Yes, please!

Because I went back to the core of why I am doing this, I gained courage and motivation to go out there and meet new people. I gained the strength of being an apprentice and accepting that it is okay to make mistakes, to use the wrong words. It’s important to have a laugh about it and then learn from it.

4. You Process Homesickness in a Different Way

This may sound vague, but it is a principle that can be applied to in various areas of your life. As an expat, you miss out on a lot of things. At the homebase, your family and friends are continuing to live their lives. Because of your new lifestyle and job, you will probably miss out on holidays, birthdays, anniversaries etc. Even on random, average days, you will miss your close ones.

But that all makes you realize what you have: a family, friends, close ones. It makes you process homesickness on a different way: you may be missing your family, but you feel grateful to have a family and a second home to can always go back to. That awareness is super important, as it gives you more strength. For the sake of adventure/a partner/a job you moved elsewhere, and the consequences are you will miss what’s not there.

I even started missing some types of food or drinks from my hometown I never thought I’d ever miss. But that makes me realize how cool my hometown is and what I actually have in my life.

5. You Acquire Skills on Different Levels

Besides from surviving completely on your own – an accomplishment an sich – expats tend to develop a variety of skills during their adventures abroad. Whether it be learning a certain language, cuisine or professional skills, there is always a win-win situation when it comes to learning new things.

You become more open to try new experiences, such as social gatherings or discovering a new place. It doesn’t scare you off, because you already acquired that skill to overcome fear of change. I’m not saying moving to another country will give you nerves of steel, but it certainly helps you in developing a stronger sense of courage.

Let’s say you have to go to a hospital in a strange country. The first time, this is a scary and difficult thing to do: you don’t understand the language, you don’t know how everything works, and you’re not from there so you don’t feel comfortable or people might not be helpful or welcoming towards you. After having done this in a couple places or hospitals, and figuring out the local manners and language, you become more adaptable to being in this uncomfortable situation and how to approach people and ask for their help. You know how it goes, what you did wrong the first time and how to do it right.

There are several skills and experiences that help you while living abroad. And the more you experience (and fail and learn and try again), the more you grow.

6. You Create Your Own Lifestyle

Moving to another country means building up an entire new life. You create a second life, on top of the one you have had your entire life. You rent a house which turns into a home, you meet people who turn into friends, you find a job which turns into a new passion and you begin a new start which turns into a whole new life.

The freedom to choose your surroundings and lifestyle is a huge advantage. I am convinced people need space to grow. If you want to grow a plant but you leave it in the dark and don’t water it, it won’t grow. As plants need space, light and water to grow, us humans need space and an open mind to grow. And creating a lifestyle that resonates with what you want, is the best way to do this.

Becoming an expat requires a lot of courage, sacrifice and most of all: dreams. Dreams to start a new life, to meet new people, to learn new things. Motivation and passion to being a new adventure are crucial. For whatever reason you might have read this – maybe someone in your environment is an expat – I sincerely hope this gave you new insights about how and why we do this. And if you are thinking about becoming an expat and moving abroad, then I hope these six surprising benefits of being an expat have helped you and gave you a little push in the back.

“We are tied to the ocean. And when we go back to the sea, whether it is to sail or to watch – we are going back from whence we came.” –John F. Kennedy

The beach is a place where all of us love to spend time at. It is a place of pure peace, beauty and serenity – which we all need from time to time. I find myself in a need of beach (water at least) wherever I live or travel to. Us humans are extremely good in naming things, so I will introduce myself with the proper address: a thalassophile: lover of the ocean, beach, sea.

Since I’m calling Portugal my country of residence since a good year, I have traveled around and found some of the most stunning paradisiac ocean shores I have ever encountered in my life. And for such, I won’t be keeping these a secret for you no more, so I’ve listed the top 7 of the most beautiful beaches in Southern Portugal.

1. Praia do Portinho da Arrábida

My absolute favorite beach in the entire country must be Portinho da Arrábida. This beach is part of the natural park of Arrábida – which an sich is a delight for your eyes – and a dream come true for anyone who loves to do a roadtrip through lush green forests and lagoon blue waters.

Begin your road trip in Sétubal and drive towards Sesimbra at the coastal side. On your right, scenes of paradisiac beaches will flash before your eyes, so enjoy the trip and pull over in time for a pit stop at one of the beaches (and make sure to stop at Portinho for sure). I recommend paying a visit to praia da Figueirinha and Galapinhos as well, as both views from the side road, cliffs and down at the beach are the most rewarding.

How to get there: by car

2. Praia da Foz

Find this untouched piece of nature in the west coast of Sesimbra. It’s well hidden, so it requires some descending after you parked your car at the top of this gorgeous beach. You have to pass a plain of rocks to actually get to the water – but once you get there, the caves surrounding the crystal clear water make an unforgettable visit out of this small beach.

How to get there: by car

3. Praia das Bicas

What makes praia das bicas so stunning isn’t the formation of stairs leading towards it, or the great, stretched size of the untouched natural beach, nor the different levels of waves coming and going, and coming and going… it’s a combination of all three.

Don’t forget to enjoy the panoramic views of the cliffs from the parking lot before descending – having a total view of what awaits you makes this whole visit even better.

How to get there: by car

4. Praia de Melides

Praia de Melides has that summery relaxation on your holiday-kinda vibe. Instead of untouched nature, caves and rocks, this beach actually has silky soft sand, dreamy palm trees and parasols available for you. Since it’s so large, there is always plenty of space for you to find that perfect spot.

If you’re hungry, visit the beach bar right in front of the beach – they have burgers, toasts and even a swing – that last one just topped it, didn’t it?

How to get there: by car

5. Praia de Benagil

This postcard-picture-perfect beach has to be one of the most famous beaches in Portugal, if not the most famous. Benagil is most known for its cave, the Benagil cave, which you can enter with a kayak or small boat and enjoy the beautiful cave formations and the sun shining through the gap at the top of the cave.

As most Portuguese beaches, the Benagil beach is most impressive because of the returning contrast of the different warm colors of the rock formations surrounding the tropical waters. I think that’s what makes these Portuguese praias so stunning: they are not like the usual beach scene that we all know – palm tree, beach chair and a calm sea. These beaches are made out of and surrounded by unspoilt nature: forests, cliffs and lagoon blue, large waves.

How to get there: by bus (an abundance of buses drive to Benagil) or by car

6. Praia da Rainha

Praia da Rainha is one of those beaches you saw on a postcard or travel commercial, and it’s hard to blame them – this beach truly has it all. A small distance from Caparica beach, this wide stretched paradise is your ideal spot for a sunday afternoon chill – with at the background, the sound of paradisiac blue waves kissing the pale, soft sandy beach.

How to get there: by bus (schedules available on TST) or by car

7. Praia dos Três Irmãos

“The beach of the three brothers” earned its special name thanks to the three legendary rocks placed in and outside of the ocean, looking like three brother with some imagination. The fun part about this place are the different caves and rock formations you can walk through. As the proximity of the water can rise high at times, be aware when picking a spot close to the ocean. Again, do not forget to take some time to appreciate the breathtaking views from the top of this beach that reach all the way to cliffs and a transparent blue Atlantic Ocean.

I hope your first Monday of the year has gotten a little better and hopefully I’ll see you on one of these portuguese praias. Até logo!

The vivid capital of Catalunya is known for its mouthwatering tapas, extraordinary art collections and one-of-a-kind architecture. With Gaudí’s spirit present in every barceloní and barcelonina, it’s not hard to understand why many tourists come to admire the many attractions of the global city in all its defined glory. And for that, it might be confusing to know where to start – not only has Gaudí left outstanding artworks in the city, the football club Barcelona also has many fanatics from all over the world and keeps the fire burning in the modern, spicy cosmopolitan.

If you’ve been reading my blog, then you know I lived in Barcelona for a while. After exploring the city with locals and visiting the best spots, I came to the conclusion that Barcelona has it all: mountains, beaches, parks, malls, castles, viewpoints; whatever it is that you are looking for in a city. To guide you during your next trip to Barcelona, I created an insider’s guide so you can fully immerse yourself in the Catalonian spirit and, like a local, devour delicious tapas, visit gorgeous architectural wonders and come to a relaxation at the most stunning and highest viewpoints.

Your Arrival

Aerobus

The Aerobus is the most convenient way to transport yourself from the airport to the city. It has several stops throughout the city center, free wifi and luggage storage space.

Cost: €5.90

Golden Gaudí

Parque Guëll

Parque Guëll is often described as “Gaudi’s playground”, the place where he let all his fantasy run wild and create the most unique and gorgeous works. There is a free area as well, however to access the famous mosaic bench and Gaudi’s house, you must enter the paying area, which has a price of €10.

Casa Battló

Entering casa Battló is like immersing yourself in the deep, enchanting blue ocean. With a decor that takes you to your wildest fantasies, a visit to this house is often one skipped by many tourists, however very much worth a visit. Its location on Passeig de Gracia, in the middle of high-end fashion boutiques, represents the spirit of Barcelona very well, mixing the modern shopping street with an authentic showpiece, brought to you by the famous Gaudí.

Entrance: online ticket prices start at €25

Casa Milá

Casa Milá is the next Gaudí-made piece of art on Passeig de Gracia, however its themes are distinctively different. Casa Milá serves many as a natural wonder, a place for exhibitions and at the same time a foundation for disabled people. Go all the way up to this casa to enjoy the beautifully shaped chimneys, ventilation towers and stairwells.

Entrance: online ticket prices start at €22

Casa Vicens

Casa Vicens was Gaudí’s first gem in Barcelona, built between 1883 and 1885, served as a summer house for the Vicens family. Gaudí started his series of masterpieces with a contrasting styled, extremely detailed and in every way mesmerizing jewel.

Entrance: online ticket prices start at €16

Sagrada Familia

This iconic masterpiece of Gaudí earns its worldwide fame to its unique architectural style, however the inside of the cathedral is often not visited by the majority of tourists – but its interior beauty exceeds, like the previous works, the exterior beauty. So make sure you buy your tickets early in advance and save time and money.

Entrance: online ticket prices start at €22.60

The Hidden Gems

Bunkers del Carmel

Higher above Park Guëll, there is a non-touristic part of the city that, in my experience, gives you the most breathtaking view in town: Bunkers del Carmel. Many locals, mostly youngsters, join on this secret spot to enjoy the passing of sunset. Bring some snacks, a good camera and nice company and prepare yourself for sweeping sunset views.

Botanical Garden

Montjuïc is a magical place an sich. Hike uphill towards the magical fountain that lights up occasionally for a spectacular light show, and continue your road with stunning view of the iconic castle of Montjuïc. When you walk further, you run into a stretched, green park, accompanied by the Olympic stadium and further lays the botanical garden. What is a better way to enjoy a city then to come to rest in its nature, right in the city centre?

Horta Labyrinth

This park makes you feel like you’re in that Harry Potter movie – the one with the deadly labyrinth and the goblet of fire. Just one thing: this maze is not deadly. And smaller. But nevertheless worth the visit and the getting lost-part (especially while losing from toddlers that find the exit sooner than you). The ancient architectural gems and gigantic park surrounding the laybrinth make up for the €2.23 entrance fee.

Taste Catalunya

La Boqueria

It is hard to miss this food market in the middle of the Rambla, the most visited street in Barcelona. From fresh fruits to southern seafood, nothing lacks this tasteful food heaven. You’ll walk out of it satisfied, with in one hand holding a cup filled with watermelon and in the other one some candy – yes, there’s candy as well.

La Pepita

A balanced combination between traditional tapas and high-end, creative cuisine is the perfect remedy for your appetite while in Barcelona. Try some of the iconic tapas with an extra touch of la Pepita’s style and taste. Their entire menu cart consists out of unique and imaginative Spanish “pepitas”.

Bar Jaica

If you’re craving delicious, traditional tapas, then Bar Jaica is the place to be. Located in the Barceloneta area, close to the beach and port of Barcelona, this spot is ideal for a lunch break during your day. Every dish is prepared with love, especially combined with the iconic beer Estrella (or try a local type of beer named Clara).

Dazzling Disco

La Taverna de Barcelona

La Taverna de Barcelona takes you to a place where music is only played live and acoustically, while its wooden interior decorated with international flags focuses on welcoming people from all corners of the world. While bringing forth this international spirit, the pub breathes in life from the authentic Catalan fuego, making it very hard for you to sit still during an evening spent here.

Jamboree Jazz

Somewhere in the middle of La Rambla, you find Placa Reial, an exotic square filled with restaurants and bars, connecting the most popular street in Barcelona with the old neighbourhood: the Gothic Quarter. In the corner of Placa Reial, you find Jamboree. However, don’t enter the first level of the club, but descend until you find yourself in a Rnb/Jazz/Hip Hop heaven, with the finest selection of DJ’s playing your favourite and most soulful tracks from the 80’s until now. Pay attention to their Facebook page, as they often give away tickets or offer a possibility to put you and your friends on the guestlist in advance.

Pacha Club Barcelona

The world-wide famous Pacha Club has a franchise in Barcelona as well. The all-white themed luxurious night club offers various theme parties with a variety of music genres, such as: techno, hip hop, rnb, disco, etc. Be sure to buy your tickets online in advance to avoid lines, waiting times and more expensive tickets.

Seville’s charms put a spell on me – read all about the magic of Andalusia’s ancient capital here – and who would I be to keep this charming and seducing city unknown to my dear readers? After my recent travel blog about Seville, this is a more practical guide to the blossoming Andalusian capital, sharing with you the three best places to visit, the three best dishes to try (and where to try it), and the best accomodations – whichever kind of traveler you might be. Because whether you rest you eyes on a king size bed or a bunk bed in a hostel: travel is for everyone, and the sightseeings and local dishes still stay the same. And that is why I have created yet another Triple Travel Guide. Enjoy, or, as the Spanish say, disfruta-lo!

What to visit

Real Alcazares €€

Feeling like a true king isn’t difficult in this Moorish decorative and ornate collection of beautiful royal rooms, immense and fresh green gardens, also known as the Real Alcazares. It served as a set location for the serie Game of Thrones, which made this location immensely popular – more than it already was. The general entrance costs €11.50 and you pay extra for other add-ons, such as the royal bedroom, which is €4.50. Buy the tickets in advance on the official website and avoid queues of +2 hours.

Plaza de España €

One of the most iconic plazas in Spain is undoubtedly Plaza de España, built for the Ibero-American exposition in 1929. A visit to this monument won’t leave you without a grand history lesson: this plaza surrounds four bridges, each representing the ancient kingdoms of Spain. Furthermore, the brilliant Alcoves of the different Spanish regions shine beautifully in their ornate of colourful tiles, each telling their own story about the history of Spain’s different provinces.

Entrance is free.

Metrosol Parasol

Las Setas de Sevilla (the mushrooms of Seville) are a unique landmark, visited abundantly by curious tourists and locals too. As largest wooden structure in the world, built on Roman ruins, now serving as an archeological museum – included in the ticket price -, these “mushrooms” are worth paying a visit to. Since Seville is relatively flat, you can enjoy stretched views all over town, providing you with a splendid oversight of all the city’s churches, cathedrals and other iconic buildings of matter.

Entrance is €3

What to taste

Cervecería Puerto Plata

Pan con tomate y jamón is a must-try when in Seville, usually eaten around 11a.m. as a late breakfast. If you like to sleep out (as I do), wake up slowly with a aromatic cup of coffee and taste a crunchy, warm pan con tomate y jamón and enjoy splendid views in front of you on the Plaza Ministro Indalecio Prieto, with in the background the sound of horses galloping rhythmically, transporting carriages throughout the old city centre.

Taberna Coloniales €€

This restaurant is known for its famous, traditional secreto Iberico (Iberian secret), a piece of meat originated from Iberian pigs, keeping the meat tasty and juicy inside, covered by a crusty layer on the outside.

Mama Bistro €€

Carrillada de Cerdo, braised pork cheeks in a variety of different sauces, is another typical Sevillian speciality and a must try-out when visiting Seville. The best one? Available at Mama Bistro.

Bonus: place not to miss

Estraperlo €€

An ecological restaurant with nothing but fresh, tasteful biological products, where the friendly and helpful staff’s only intention is to meet your needs as good as possible and treats you like family – and not to mention the wine collection is deliciously tantalizing.

Where to stay

For You Hostel

For You Hostel is a hostel of the hotel group Zenit Hotels. The benefit of a hotel group launching its first hostel? An experience that makes you feel the ease and luxury of a hotel, yet gives you the low rates of a hostel, and a comfortable and fully furnished bunk bed, inclusive of bathroom amenities, a reading light, curtains, international plugs and a soft pillow. Equipped with a bar, patio, kitchen, and other communal areas, feel free to socialize in this modern hostel, as the staff will be happy to help you if you have any needs.

Hotel Adriano Sevilla (&Café Pompeia) €€

My quest to a paella con pollo for one person led me to Café Pompeia. This modern and delightful bistro offers a wide range of classic Spanish dishes at a reasonable price, a warm smile from the staff and, above the fact you can have paella per person here, cozy uptown vibes with a location on the vivid calle Adriano. Above this bistro, you’ll find the charming hotel Adriano Sevilla, a chic, sophisticated, luxurious hotel with small prices for the quality you receive.

Hotel Casa del Poeta €€€

As multiple times winner of the Trivago National Awards, earning its title as best hotel in Spain, this lovely boutique hotel combines both relaxation and luxury while immersing you in the ancient history of Seville and at the same time being located in the heart of the Andalusia’s capital.

Seville. A magical gateway to the early Middle Ages inspired by the fairytale marriage of the Moorish architectural style palaces, castles and buildings, together with the Spanish, traditional flamenco-infused spirit, interrupted by the modern, vivid city centre and balanced out evenly by the flourishing green city gardens with its stunning statues, dreamy views and in the background accompanied by subtle strumming on the Spanish streets artists’ guitars.

Spending only two days in this city was a bare minimum – I crossed off the top items on my bucket list, such as visiting the Real Alcazares, Plaza España , las Setas, Parque Maria Luisa, and in the meanwhile, my trip didn’t lack some occasional, mind-clearing peaceful strolls through the city.

When visiting Seville, make a clear planning of what you want to visit. As popular attractions are rapidly sold out and waiting lines tend to lengthen quite easily, you might want to be sure to not miss out on any precious sightseeing time and book your tickets in advance.

Entering the Real Alcazares of Seville is a true journey in time and a taste of different cultures coming together in one ode to history, coherency and the royal class. As there are many royal rooms, tranquil baths and decorative patios, an organized map of your itinerary will help you visit the seeings you want to see most. Don’t forget to look up, down, to your left and your right, as the designers have spared no effort of creating effortless symmetry, detailed decorations and mesmerizing patterns.

Pass a stroll through Parque Maria Luisa to discover a tranquil assembly of gorgeous green gardens, orange trees and fountains, and find yourself in the midst of traditional horse carriages passing through the park. Make you way through the park and end up at Plaza España, of one Spain’s most iconic plaza’s, mixing up different styles of Spanish architecture, in a way an ode built for the Ibero-American Exposition of 1929. Hard to miss are the alcoves against the walls, each representing a different province and designed in colourful details, bounded by the pair of a book cover, holding information about each province.

The Metropol Parasol, also known as las Setas de Sevilla (the mushrooms of Seville), is the world’s largest wooden structure built on ancient roman ruins – also interesting to visit the archeological museum during your visit to this attraction in the capital of Andalusia. To fully enjoy Seville and its countless churches, squares and cathedrals, make your way to the top of las Setas and enjoy the stretched city views.

Let’s talk food. Seville’s mouthwatering tapas include berenjenas con miel (fried eggplant with honey), fried ansjovis, and the classic bites such as patatas bravas, salada russa, pan con tomate y jamon – which is also a typical dish to eat for late breakfast around 11 a.m. together with a coffee and splendid views on a patio or terrace, surrounded by sky-high palm trees and the subtle sound of flamenco dancers on the background. Be sure to stop by the ecological restaurant Estraperlo, where I had a tasteful and all-biological lunch, just outside the crowded Maria Luisa park, in the quiet, local neighbourhood el Platinar.

Getting around Seville is pretty simple: it is very walkable, I did not use public transport – except for the handy aerobus that brings you direction aeropuerto for only €4, and occasionally a requested Uber or city taxi, whose prices often combat each other. Furthermore, be sure to beat the crowds by getting up early and buying entrance tickets online – even for Metrosol Parasol, an entrance ticket is needed, so a little preparation in advance will save you a lot of time.

Visiting the charming city of Seville will capture you quickly in its magic, ancient Moorish history and architecture, while at the same time being the modern capital of Andalusia, a touristic hotspot for discoverers and Spain lovers. Taste the Spanish flavours, watch a flamenco show and lose yourself in the many attractions of this southern city.

Ah, voyager. If you’re reading this blog willingly (as I hope so, unless you stumbled upon this blog forced by your travel-loving friend to read it) the possibility that we are sharing the same passion is inevitable. Yes, you have been bitten by the travel bug. Don’t deny it, own it! And make it your full time job. How? Don’t worry about that, let me help you by listing 7 ways to get paid to travel!

Take you chances, go on an adventure: you’ll never know which job is made for you – you won’t know until you find it out yourself. But to prepare you, I’ve listed description of the job, the salary and the pro’s and cons. I also have experience in some of these jobs: in that case, you’ll find my (personal) score with it.

Flight attendant

Tested! My score: 9/10

What: As a flight attendant, you ensure the safety and comfort of your passengers on board. Your tasks include: pre-flight briefing, pre-flight security checks, planning of meals and commercial services, security demonstration, making sure the whole cabin(adults and infants) are safely seated, providing service to the pilots, do the boarding and disembarking of the pax and providing the passengers with the best service possible, served with a smile. Of course, there are more things you have to do – sometimes, you have to be the doctor on board, or the cleaning lady, or the cook. It is a very diverse job, and I didn’t even discuss the best part: staying in luxurious hotels on your airline destinations.

Salary: €€€

You get paid a minimum salary and per flight you get paid an extra amount. Per night that you stay somewhere you get paid another (bigger) extra amount. Besides that, you eat and drink for free from the crew trolley. I admit it: airplane food is not always the best food, but catering does its best for the crew! Your uniform should also be covered by your airline company. Only the training can sometimes be paying (€100-€2000), that depends from airline to airline. You will have parts of these trainings yearly again and you will have to pass it with a high grade. Overall, I give this job a 9: the only point that’s missing is for the irregular schedules and sleep deprivation.

Pro’s:

  • Get paid to stay in hotels
  • Get paid to visit the best destinations
  • You know what to do in emergency situations (First Aid, Fire, …)
  • Satisfying job, working directly with customers
  • Using (and maintaining) multiple languages
  • Job stability (after a while you get offered a fixed-term contract)

Cons:

  • Irregular schedules
  • Non-existing sleeping rhythm
  • Really hard work and trainings
  • Long time away from your home (long haul flights)

Customer service agent

Tested! My score: 7/10

As a Customer Service Representative, you offer support to your company’s clients. Overall, there are many Customer Care jobs in call centers. However, your job doesn’t have to be located in the sector of customer service: I am working as a sales representative – so no problem resolving, only making reservations for hotels – and that also counts as customer service representative. There a lot of big call centers spread across the whole world, so your choice is endless. A lot of these companies offer relocation packages or sign up-bonuses.

Salary: €

Your salary will be the minimum salary of the country where you are based at. If you are at active in the sales sector, like the reservations specialist job, then you can earn performance bonuses, which can help you provide a better salary. But not everyone is lucky enough to have this and in most cases, you won’t get this. On the other hand, you often receive free health insurance, an apartment with all costs covered and more benefits of the company and its partners.

Pro’s:

  • Living abroad
  • Company benefits: apartment, all bills included, health insurance, sign-up bonus
  • Job stability (after a while you get offered a fixed-term contract)

Cons:

  • No direct contact with customers (only through phone or other channels)
  • Low salary

Tour guide/ company representative

Working as a tour guide or representative for a travel agency means that you have to inform your guests about tours, sell them and do them with your guests. You have different variations: you can be only the tour guide – not doing the sales -, you can be a representative – driving from one hotel to the other, selling tours and driving people around in e.g. you TA’s bus, and more. This depends on the job description. Overall, your salary will be a minimum salary and your bonuses will depend on your commissions. The more you sell, the more you earn. Mostly, you can eat for free in the hotels and the company provides you with a car, gas credit and an apartment – the basic means for you to practice your job. This job comes in handy when you want social contact, use your multilingual skills and are open for a temporary or permanent adventure.

Salary: €€

Your salary will be, again, a minimum salary. But, as mentioned before, you receive your apartment with all expenses covered, your car, and gas is also paid for you. Then, you can have free breakfast, lunch and dinner in hotels. Plus, you get commission on everything you sell. And since it’s your job to sell, it’s inevitably that you will get that extra bonus. So, no that bad at all!

Pro’s:

  • Living abroad
  • Having direct contact with clients
  • Learning more about destinations, monuments, tours, activities,…
  • Use your social skills to earn more money
  • Dine for free in hotels
  • Expenses covered (apartment, car, bills, gas,…)
  • Using (and maintaining) multiple languages

Cons:

  • You have to reach a minimum of sales to get around
  • Hard work
  • Repetitive work: same tours, same activities, same destination
  • No job stability (often temporary contracts during summer)

Au Pair

Working as an au pair, you are the nanny for the children of your hosts, but not quite. You will live with a native family and learn their language in exchange for childcare. Since you are living with this family, it means that all your expenses are covered. Of course you get a salary besides this. The salaries of au pairs can differ. I’ve had friends who worked for rich hosts with huge mansions and paid fairly good. Other friends live with a middle class family and their salary was average. It differs from the destination – where in the world are you located? How is the culture? The way of life? The family? In all cases, you will have your expenses like rent, bills and food covered.

Salary: €€

Your salary will be around the minimum wage, but it depends on your host family. Perhaps they pay you a lot more for extra hours or just because they are a very rich family.

Pro’s:

  • Living abroad
  • Having the security of a household family with expenses covered
  • If you love children: spending time with children!
  • Learning a new language

Cons:

  • As you are secure, you are also limited by living with this family: it’s not your “own place”

Teacher Abroad

If you are fluent in English, or you already have a degree in English, you can easily apply as an English teacher anywhere in the world. Of course, for other languages, this is the same, but being an English teacher online or at the other side of the world is the most popular teacher job abroad. You can apply online to earn an English teaching degree, and with that degree you can teach English even in China. Friends of mine did this: they earned the degree online, traveled to China, ended up in an international environment with other colleagues, and earned pretty good – also: the food in China is way cheaper than in Europe, so it depends on the region you are based in as a teacher.

Salary: €€€

The salary is pretty high since big companies will hire you to educate e.g. their employees. Also, depending on the area you are working in, that culture and lifestyle may be very different from yours – it might be cheaper if it’s in Asia, so you can save money too.

Pro’s:

  • Use your degree or get an extra degree
  • Be based wherever you want – English is an international language and you don’t necessarily have to learn the local language, in contrary to being an au pair)
  • Perfect if you want to save some money

Cons:

  • No job stability (often only a couple of weeks)
  • Not everybody is suited to be a teacher (I wouldn’t have the patience to do it)

Couchsurfing / Airbnb Host

The next travel job is pretty obvious. You heard about it tons of times. You’ve seen ads for it. But how do you become an Airbnb or Couchsurfing host without owning an apartment or house? First of all, check your local laws. If you are renting a big apartment and you want to rent out some rooms, you need to check the legal stuff. It’s important. Couchsurfing differs from Airbnb. You can easily put aside a sofa bed to offer a couchsurfer a place to stay. Add some breakfast, lovely location and nice pictures and you have enough customers, that’s for sure. Airbnb is somewhat more complicated. You have to rent out an entire room and a bathroom – are you sharing yours? Or is your apartment big enough and does it have to bathrooms? Anyway, after making these legal steps and obtaining permission to rent out your space, go ahead! Let your accommodation shine to those 260 millions of users!

Salary: €-€€€

The salary is depending on your time and availability. Where are you located? What is the rate of other Airbnb’s near you? How much can you rent out? You can make some money out of this, as long as there is a healthy supply and demand.

Pro’s:

  • Live wherever you want
  • Make money without sitting at a desk or office
  • Create your own schedule

Cons:

  • Be aware of the laws in your region
  • Be careful: you are inviting strangers into your property
  • In times of low season, the demand might be lower

Hotel or Hostel Receptionist/ Cleaning/ …

Tested! My score: 9/10

As a hotel receptionist, you are the face of the hotel! You welcome guests, do check-ins and check-outs, give information about the hotel and the city, have contact with other services (cleaning, roomservice, restaurant,..). If you’re working for the cleaning service, this includes cleaning the rooms, making the beds, etc. I worked as a hostel receptionist and there were many advantages about it, plus the job overall was pretty satisfying and fun.

Salary: €€

Your salary will depend on your employer – working in the Hilton will get you a bigger payslip than working in a cheap hostel – but overall, it’s not bad at all. In most hostels, you can choose to either receive a salary or stay for free in the hostel (mostly in a room shared with other colleagues), plus you can eat for free (if they offer breakfast and other meals) and, of course, both hotels and hostels offer discounts for your stays or friends and family’s discounts.

Pro’s:

  • Living abroad
  • Using (and maintaining) multiple languages
  • Discounts, free stays, free meals, other benefits
  • Having social interactions with your guests and making their stay more comfortable
  • You’ll know all about your city, transport, activities, etc.

Cons:

  • Peak moments (check-outs at the same time)
  • Cleaning: can be physically hard

Guimaraes, the first Portuguese capital, built in the 4th century, earns its a UNESCO World Heritage Site thanks to its well preserved medieval city centre. My visit to this city was like a journey back in time: to the Middle Ages.

Welcome to another Triple Travel Guide, curious travelers. This Triple Travel Guide features three hidden gems to visit, taste and stay at in marvellous Guimaraes. Scroll down to the end of this blog to see my Triple Travel pocket-sized Guide of Guimaraes.

What to visit

Choosing the three best places to visit in Guimaraes is hard. Even though it is a small, medieval village, there are a lot of beautiful squares, monuments, castles, churches and viewpoints to visit. I listed the three hidden gems when it comes to sightseeing, cuisine and accommodation.

Montanha da Penha

For impressing and high views stretching over Guimaraes, Braga and Penha, the miradouro da Penha or the Santuario da Penha is your go-to. You can easily take the cable car up and down between the woods in the city until the top of the hill, where the 20th-century, art-deco sanctuary is located. If you want to enjoy the sunset, be aware: the cable cars close before 7pm. In this case, your best option is to go by Uber: cable car up and Uber down.

Largo da Misericórdia

Forget Paris, forget Venice, forget every romantic destination you know about: Guimaraes tops these well-known romantic destinations easily. The historical centre offer a range of romantic, cozy, medieval squares, accompanied by christmas lights everywhere – all year round. After a local recommended me a to go to a restaurant on this square, I stayed there sitting for a few hours, admiring the colourful sunset and enjoying local dishes and a glass of regional, red wine.

Largo República do Brasil

If you couldn’t make it to a sunset on Montanha da Penha or Largo da Misericórdia, there is an even worthy alternative: the central point of Guimaraes, Largo República do Brasil. This long stretched flower field, with at its ending the church of Guimaraes, and at its beginning a fountain, offers you magical sunset views. Enjoy a drink while overlooking Guimaraes’ modern city centre as you watch locals and tourists pass by.

What to taste

Cervejaria Guimaraes

After being recommended by a local to visit this restaurant, I ended up in this traditional Portuguese diner – and it sure was worth it. Typical Portuguese dishes are served in this restaurant located right in the middle of Largo da Misericórdia. I see myself as an enthusiast of the Portuguese cuisine and I have tried out all one dishes in several restaurants, namely alheira – a type of sausage mixed with several types of meat, served with fried egg and rice. As a self-made alheira expert, I have to admit: the alheira here is worth the try!

Gil Doce

Regional products such as pastries and sweets are the specialities of this Portuguese pastelaria. What distinguishes this one from the thousand other pastelarias, you might wonder? The artisanal products and the love which they are served with gives a extra taste. And while you’re in Portugal, you’re allowed try out as many pasteís as possible, without a single feeling of guilt – you have to truly discover the taste of the country, am I right?

Xisko restaurant

Try out one of the most popular Portuguese dishes, Bacalhau a Bras, in this beautifully styled and elegant restaurant. If you’re looking for a different setting than the traditional pastelarias in Guimaraes, but still receive high quality food, this restaurant might be your best option.

Where to stay

Hotel Fundador

Hotel Fundador is a budget-friendly hotel, located close to the train station of Guimaraes. Easily reachable by foot from the centre and offering nice hotel rooms for a very small price, this is the perfect accommodation if you’re traveling on a budget and looking for a well located and decent hotel.

EMAJ boutique Hotel €€

Feel the medieval spirit of Guimaraes in this well-preserved National Bank turned into a centrally-located boutique hotel. Luxury and budget come together in this renovated building, with very reasonable prices for the comfort, location and service that is offered to you.

Pousada Mosteiro de Guimarães €€€

If you really want to travel back in time during your trip to Guimaraes, then complete your trip with a stay in this 12th-century Augustinian Monastery. Relax after a day of citytrippin’ in the 9-hectare garden and release your inner medieval highness in one of the luxurious rooms.

Ah, Porto. The birthplace of the Port wine, friendly inhabitants and a charming city centre. What’s not to like about it, you might wonder. I went on a two-day trip to Porto and Guimarães from Lisbon, to escape the hassle of busy Lisbon. In Porto, a whole different atmosphere rules: one that invites you to stroll around the town, relax, grab a glass of wine produced in the Douro region, and watch the sunset at one of the many bridges sights.

Welcome to another Triple Travel Guide, curious travelers. This travel guide features the hiddens gems to visit, taste and stay at in another marvellous city. Scroll down to see my pocket-sized travel guide of Porto.

What to visit

Mercado Ferreira Borges

Let’s start off with my very favorite location in Porto. The Market of Ferreira Borges. Grab a coffee, pick out a nice spot on the terrace, and admire this beautiful view over downtown Porto and the river behind it. I stayed up here, writing, reminiscing, and enjoying the view. This is that special place for – in every city, I find myself falling in love with a certain location. If you recognize this, I would love to hear your experiences.

Torre & Igreja dos Clérigos

I visited a lot of churches in a lot of cities, countries and continents. But this church had me staring at the interior for a while, speechless – with its dusty pink walls and impressive golden details, I could sit in this piece of heaven all day. You can visit this church completely for free – you only pay in case you want to visit the tower or other parts of the church.

Jardins do Palácio de Cristal

Get completely lost in this giant mosaique of nature – it’s a collection small gardens, all put together in a big park, where peacocks run around together with pigeons, like they are of the same species. These gardens are perfect for romantic dates, family walks, or just – like I did- running around and finding beautiful viewpoints after every tree. Since it’s uphill, you find yourself admiring many different viewpoints – over the river, over town, over the lower gardens, and many more.

What to taste

Don’t worry, fellow foodies, of course I have some juicy stories and dishes for you as well. I even have three of them.

Mercador Cafe

Mercador Cafe is located in the most flowery and gorgeous street in Porto – rua das Flores. It’s true to its name: a street filled with flowery balcons, beautiful buildings and regional restaurants. Mercador Cafe is my favorite. Make sure to get a seat on the terrace and order one of the many, healthy dishes – I had the rainbow smoothie bowl and although I was craving some eggs with bacon and pancakes, this smoothie bowl fulfilled me and my cravings – and that is a tough job to do.

Mirajazz

This winebar also offers – like the name suggests it – a mira (a look) and jazz. And a tasty selection of regional wines and products. Visit it before sunset to get a table on the terrace and enjoy the colours in the sky changing subtly and wait for the night to fall. Do you need any other reason to go?

O Diplomata

O diplomata is a true paradise for brunch lovers – here, you will find a fine selection of delicious pancakes, pancakes and more pancakes. You can choose between four menus and combine them with your favourite sweets.

Where to stay at

Gallery Hostel

This artistic hostel was my choice of accommodation – a perfect mix between the social aspect of a hostel and the comfort and rest of a hotel. Also, this hostel is a piece of art – literally. Rooms with themes of different artists, a gallery-inspired design and outdoor-and indoor patios, 24-h bar, free cake and a drink during the day, and lovely staff. The price might be €, but the quality sure is €€€.

The Intercontinental Porto €€

The iconic InterContinental Porto is one of a kind; it’s a palace, literally. Its location (right in the centre, next to the station Sao Bento) and luxury are everything you need for a relaxing stay in Porto. The breathtaking restored interior will leave you feeling like a king in their palace.

The PortoBar Hotel Teatro €€€

This charming and elite hotel is inspired by the art of theater, and staying in this hotel makes you feel like you’re on your own stage: of refined relaxation and luxury. My room was spacious, styled with dark, warm modern tones – this style is noticeable from the main entrance, that immediately shows you how unique this bohemian hotel is. The breakfast is also worth the try, so even if you’re not a guest, worth checking out.

The loneliness of the expat is of an odd and complicated kind, for it is inseparable from the feeling of being free, of having escaped.

This quote captures the feeling of being an expat perfectly . You are free. You have taken distance from your life at your birth town. Yet you are alone, on a quest. A quest to a life full of adventures, discovering new cultures, traveling, meeting new people, learning, falling and getting up. It is not that different from a normal life based in the same village as your family and friends. It’s just that you have come to the realization that life will end one day, and you want to make the best out of each and every day and life your true purpose.

Phew, that was kind of heavy. Let’s discuss in a more lighter way how the life on an expat is made up. It has been since February 2018 since I last spent an official night as resident at my parents home. After that, I lived in Barcelona and Lisbon. I took a chance, started a new life. Twice. And what I have learned from this, in this relatively short time of period, is beyond what I could have imagined.

You Get To Know Yourself More

Being an expat, living on yourself in a new environment in a new country, you automatically get to know yourself more. You know what you can handle and what you can’t. You discover new interests, new hobbies, new habits, etc. I myself became more strong and spiritual while living in Lisbon. I never liked doing any kind of sports, but here I love devoting my time to yoga. Everybody’s experience is different, of course. But you get to know your habits, your addictions and your needs.

You Blossom Up & Find Your True Purpose

Because you have no outer distractions or influences or other people around you – whether it be family, friends or a lover – you can do completely what you want to do. It’s like solo traveling – you get to do what you want thus you take your chances to try out new things. While trying these new things, you meet new people, you experience what you like and what you don’t like and you can move on with that knowledge.

“Stepping out of that comfort zone is scary. Challenging. Frightening. And the best thing that can happen to you.”

You Gain Independence

Living on yourself or sharing a house with (an)other person(s) causes you to be more independent. You clean, clean up, do groceries, manage your life and household; you know how to take care of yourself and build up your own life. This is important knowledge everybody needs in their lives. To be able to take care of yourself on your own is the most important thing you can learn.

Loneliness & Homesickness Is Inevitable

Even if you build up your own life in a new country, surrounded by glorious self-love, friends, maybe a lover, an amazing job, there will always be missing that one part: family. You will be homesick and you will miss your family and friends at home. That’s natural; how can you not miss the most important people in your life? But that is what makes the visit to home that much better and fulfilling. And the moments when you cherish these people and memories, will give you a feeling of gratitude because you realize you have these amazing people to miss.

Being An Expat Opens Up Your Mind & the World

Let’s continue with the most wonderful advantage, and maybe the reason why you became or want to become an expat: discover the world. Explore new cultures. Not as a tourist, but as an expat. By living somewhere, and truly mixing in that culture, you will gain experience about how that culture truly is like. It opens up your mind: you are open to new experiences, like learning that new language, getting to know all about the local food, music, traditions, and so on. And hereby comes the realization of how big the world is (and that you should explore as much as you can).

You Are Open To New Experiences

Imagine living at your parents’ village your entire life. Would you try new things? Things that scare you? Would you eat new kinds of food that you never heard about before? Would you learn a new language, not by an online course but by really speaking and hearing it? Your answer is probably no. In your comfort zone, you are safe. You are comforted. Stepping out of that comfort zone is scary. Challenging. Frightening. And the best thing that can happen to you.

When you are living abroad, you don’t mind trying new things. And that is healthy – us humans have to be open to new things, it’s good for us. That’s how you learn things in life. I wrote a list of all the things I learned during my time as an expat, and I probably didn’t write it all, but the list is long. And it is only getting longer. Not just language or culture-wise, but also personally. If you are an expat, I suggest you to do the same. It is mind-opening to see how much you’ve learned during a period.

So don’t be afraid. Go after your dreams. Step out of your comfort zone. Whatever your dream or aspiration in life is: go for it. Because the world is big and there is a lot to discover. I hope you have a clearer image about the life of an expat and what my experiences are.