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Updated on June 15th, 2020

Please note this blog contains affiliate links that give me a small commission from any purchase, at no extra cost to you. I would never advertise anything I wouldn’t use myself, and this commission helps Finding Alexx reach more travellers. Thank you for supporting me!

You’d be forgiven for not knowing much about Ghent, as it seems to fly under the radar of lots of Belgium’s tourists. I skipped it on my first trip to Belgium in favour of bustling Brussels, super cute Bruges and the hipster hangout of Antwerp, but I’m stoked that I gave Flanders’ second-largest city a chance during week #3 of my 52 in 52 adventure. Turns out there are loads of quirky things to do in Ghent, not to mention a vibrant food scene and one of Europe’s biggest cultural festivals!

Ghent is an easy day or overnight trip from Brussels or Bruges, but there are more than enough things to do in this charming city to warrant a long weekend trip too. Here’s a bunch of interesting things to see, do and eat in Ghent.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE: All the FAQs about my 52 in 52 adventure

Or skip straight to:

Ghent buildings lit up at night

Ghent travel basics

Is it Ghent or Gent? Ghent is the English name of the city and Gent is the Flemish name.
Currency: 
Euro (€)
How to pay for things: Card is accepted in most places, and there are ATMs all over the city
Language: The official language of the Flanders region, where Ghent is, is Flemish, but most people speak English too (especially anyone working in hospitality)
Weather: Mild year-round, rain is common
Best time to go: The city hold a huge music and theatre festival, Gentse Festeen, in mid to late-July, which is an epic time to experience Ghent

Ghent buildings and people at restaurants next to the canal

15 epic things to do in Ghent

  • Experience the festivities of the annual Gentse Festeen, with music, art, theatre, comedy and fashion shows all through the city
  • Take a canal tour to hear about the city’s history from the water
  • Visit the 800+ year old St Bavo’s Cathedral, an 89 metre tall Gothic church
  • Wander down Werregarenstraatje, an alleyway covered in graffiti
  • Search for the city’s best street art. There’s incredible graffiti all through the city that you’ll discover as you’re going about your day, but you can see a more detailed street art guide here.
  • Add to your vinyl collection with a special purchase from one of the many independent record stores, like Music Mania, Vinylkitchen or Vynilla
  • Visit Kouter flower market on a Sunday morning for the perfect start to the day
Ghent graffiti street
Werregarenstraatje graffiti alleyway
  • Climb the Belfry Tower for an incredible view of the city
  • Learn all about 12th century Ghent at the Castle of the Counts
  • And nearby, watch the Ai Nati Oggi street lights flash each time a baby is born in Ghent
  • Hang out at Korenmarkt, one of the city’s beautiful main squares
  • Design geeks can’t miss the Design Museum
  • Find some of the best city’s restaurants and bars in the Medieval Patershol neighbourhood
  • See the view up and down some of the main canals from St Michael’s Bridge
  • Eat at wallet-friendly food trucks and search for flea market bargains at Vrijdagmarkt on Fridays
  • Pay a visit to MSK, the Museum of Fine Arts in Citadelpark, to see a huge collection of Flemish and other European masterpieces
Gravensteen Castle of the Counts in Ghent from the canal boat
The Castle of the Counts view from a canal boat tour

15 of the best things to eat in Ghent

From traditional Belgian favourites like frites and waffles to local delicacies you won’t find anywhere else, Ghent is a real culinary hidden gem. Here’s some of my suggestions for the best food in Ghent that you just can’t miss.

  • The classic Ghent dish of waterzooi, a creamy stew traditionally made with fish but now often made with chicken. ‘t Klokhuys and ‘t Vosken are known for their waterzooi.
  • Take a quick break at the Kouter flower market for a klapke (a glass of white wine with an oyster)
  • The best pizza in town from Otomat, complete with expert beer pairings
  • Soup from one of the cheapest eateries in the city, Soup’r
  • DIY pasta dishes from Bavet
  • Delish burgers from Paul’s Boutique
  • The most Instagrammable drinks in the city, the freakshakes from In Choc (warning: you will definitely fall into a food coma)
Ghent freakshakes from In Choc
Yes, I bought two for the ‘gram, and yes, I drank both of them
  • Choc fiends, this one’s for you. Charlie Tours runs a chocolate walking tour that takes you to seven of the best sweet shops in the city!
  • Organic tea and vegetarian dishes at Lokaal
  • Waffles from Brasserie Agrea
  • Kroakemandels, a local dish of salted peas deep fried in oil, available during the Ghent festivities
  • Cuberdons, a traditional Ghent candy with a soft raspberry centre
  • Fries with loads of different sauce options from De Frietketel
  • A Michelin-starred meal from the ultra-trendy Publiek, run by two local Flemish foodies
  • A traditional Belgian fruit beer, ask your waiter for recommendations when eating at a restaurant and you won’t be disappointed
Pizza and iced tea at restaurant in Ghent, Belgium
Delicious pizza and homemade iced tea from Otomat

How to get to Ghent

Ghent is a 35-40 minute train from Brussels, and a one way ticket will set you back €9.


How to get to Brussels

The easiest way to get from London to Brussels is by train. The Eurostar will take you from London to Brussels, then you can easily get a ticket from Brussels to Ghent, Bruges or any other Belgian city or town.

Book your London to Brussels train on Klook and save 5% using the promocode ALEXXH05

If you book early enough and travel in the low season you can find London to Brussels train tickets from only £29 one way, or if you’re booking at a busier time expect to spend between £45 and £60 each way. The Eurostar trip takes about two hours.

If you’re coming to Belgium from other European cities, check out your train options here or search cheap flights to Brussels on Skyscanner.


TRAVEL TIP:

I find all my flights using Skyscanner! You’ll get the best deal if you’re flexible on where to go. Just put in your origin, your departure date (or month) and type ‘everywhere’ into the destination bar to see the cheapest locations to fly to on your next holiday.


Bridge in Ghent at night
An evening boat tour is a beautiful way to see the city

Looking for somewhere to stay in Ghent? Check out all the hotels and apartments right here, and don’t forget to sort by ‘review score and price’ to see the best value options first.

Are you thinking of adding Ghent onto your Belgium trip? Let me know in the comments below.

Like this blog? Pin it!

Read more about my 52 in 52 adventure here, see all of my blog posts from the trip here, or check out my Instagram @findingalexx to see all of my travel photos.


All the basic details from my big trip:

How do you find your flights? Skyscanner! I use the Everywhere tool to find the cheapest place to fly to each Tuesday
Do you fly every week? Not every week no, once I have the destination I check trains and buses to see if there’s any other transport options aside from flying. If so, I usually book these using the Trainline app.
How do you book your accommodation? I book all my hotels, hostels and apartments on either booking.com or Hostelworld.
Do you have travel insurance? YES, I always travel with travel insurance and you should too. I’m insured for an annual policy with Worldcare NZ.
Do you offset your carbon credits? I sure do! I always offset when I book if the airline gives me the option (Ryanair does), and I also offset all my flights using Co2nsensus.com.
What luggage do you travel with? I travel with a 75cm Samsonite Cosmolite suitcase, a matching Samsonite Cosmolite 55cm cabin luggage hardcase, and a cheap laptop backpack.
What camera do you use? You can see the full list of what’s in my camera bag right here.
For more FAQs about my 52 in 52 trip, see this post.


Huge thanks to Visit Ghent for providing me with two nights’ accommodation on this trip. As always, all opinions are my own and are based on my personal experience.

Updated on June 12th, 2020

Please note this blog contains affiliate links that give me a small commission from any purchase, at no extra cost to you. I would never advertise anything I wouldn’t use myself, and this commission helps Finding Alexx reach more travellers. Thank you for supporting me!

Here’s a big call: I think Bruges is one of my all-time favourite weekend trips from London. My first visit was earlier this year in the second week of January, when it was bitterly cold and half the city was shut after the busy Christmas season, and I still loved it. So when I got the chance to spend 48 hours in Bruges on week #3 of my 52 countries in 52 weeks adventure, I was stoked to be able to see this beautiful city in the summertime.

If you’re considering a short break from London to Bruges then I’d absolutely recommend it, and I’ve pulled together an ultimate Bruges travel guide to help you plan where to stay, what to eat and the best things to see in this super cute city.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE: All the FAQs about my 52 in 52 adventure

Or skip straight to:

Bruges walking tour around the city

Bruges travel basics

Is it Bruges or Brugge? Bruges is the English/French name of the city, Brugge is the Flemish name. So both!
Currency: 
Euro (€)
How to pay for things: Everywhere I stayed, ate and shopped at accepted card, markets are more likely to be cash only
Language: The official language of the Flemish region, where Bruges is, is Flemish, but a lot of people (especially in hotels, restaurants and shops) speak English too
Weather: I’ve experienced Bruges at both weather extremes – the freezing cold of early January and the very unusual heat wave of 40°C in July. June to August are the summer months and normally are a mild warm, but this year Europe was hit by crazy temperatures. November to March can be wet and cold so be sure to bring appropriate wet weather gear.
Best time to go: Bruges can be enjoyed year-round, as long as you’ve packed the right clothing! I would say avoid January just because a lot of shops and restaurants take a much needed holiday after the craziness of Christmas markets. December is a great time to see some of the best Christmas markets in Europe, but expect to spend more on accommodation than other months. And aside from the intense temperatures I experienced (which was totally abnormal for Belgium) summer in Bruges is stunning.


How to get from London to Bruges

The easiest way to get from London to Bruges is by train. The Eurostar will take you from London to Brussels, then you can easily get a ticket from Brussels to Bruges on the Trainline app or from Brussels train station when you arrive.

Book your London to Brussels train on Klook and save 5% using the promocode ALEXXH05

If you book early enough and travel in the low season you can find London to Brussels train tickets from only £29 one way, or if you’re booking at a busier time expect to spend between £45 and £60 each way. The Eurostar trip takes about two hours.

Then you’ll need to buy a train ticket from Brussels to Bruges. If you’re travelling after 7pm on a Friday and returning to Brussels on the Sunday, you can get a weekend return for €15.20. If you’re travelling outside of these days, you’ll pay €14.10 each way. The train from Brussels to Bruges takes around an hour, and they run every half hour.

Bruges gothic architecture with girl walking in front

How to get to Bruges from other European cities

Brussels, like many European cities, is a Ryanair hub, so it’s super easy to find cheap flights from other major destinations around the continent. I flew from Bilbao in Spain for £27 one way with Brussels Airlines, and flew out to Warsaw for only £12.90 on Ryanair! Adding luggage onto my Ryanair flight cost more than twice the price of the ticket itself.

If you fly into the main Brussels airport, Zavantem or the code ‘BRU’ on your ticket, you’ll need to jump on an 18 minute train to Brussels Central station for €12.70, where you can then switch trains to one going to Bruges.

But if you’re flying with Ryanair, WizzAir or another low-cost carrier, you’re probably flying into Charleroi, or airport code ‘CRL’. Charleroi is further from the city but you can catch an easy one-hour bus for €14.20 from Exit 4 at the airport.

If you’re keen to get to the city centre quickly and comfortably, you could look into a private airport transfer. If you’ve got a full car or van of people then they can sometimes end up being cheaper than everyone getting bus or train tickets anyway! Check out the transfers available here and you’ll save 5% if you use the promocode ALEXXH05.


TRAVEL TIP:

I find all my flights using Skyscanner! You’ll get the best deal if you’re flexible on where to go. Just put in your origin, your departure date (or month) and type ‘everywhere’ into the destination bar to see the cheapest locations to fly to on your next holiday.


Colourful houses in Bruges

How to get around Bruges

Bruges is really small and compact, so once you’re in the city there’s no need to drive or use public transport.

The train station is a 20 minute walk from the city centre, but if you’re travelling with luggage you can jump on bus #12 from bus stop #1 right out the front of the station, tickets are €3 each. I’d recommend walking around the city, and jumping on a boat for a canal tour if you can afford it (they’re around €10).

If you want to get around quicker, or to explore outside of the main city centre, you could rent a bike for €4 an hour or €13 a day from Bruges Bike Rental.

Bruges boat tour
See the city from the canals with a boat tour

Where to stay in Bruges

Please note that the prices here are based on example dates mid-week in shoulder season, check booking.com for prices and availability for the best Bruges hotels on your travel dates.

Best budget hostels in Bruges

On my first trip to Bruges I stayed at St Christopher’s Inn at the Bauhaus. St Christopher’s is a hostel chain found in major cities all around Europe, and they’re particularly known for their social atmosphere and on-site bars. If you’re looking to party, this place is probably perfect for you!

They offer a range of room options, from 16-bed dorms starting at about €15 per night all the way to private twin rooms with private bathrooms from around €64 per night. Breakfast is available for a charge but note that there’s no kitchen on-site, just a microwave, a vending machine and a bar with the usual bar snacks, pizzas etc. You can check your travel dates here.

If I was going to Bruges again and looking for a hostel, I’d personally book a room at Snuffel Hostel. They have 6-bed and 4-bed mixed or female dorms starting from around €20, or private rooms from €55. Their prices also include breakfast, plus there’s a full kitchen available so you can save money cooking your own food. See more about Snuffel Hostel and search your travel dates right here.


TRAVEL TIP:

When I look for hostels, I always try and find somewhere with a full kitchen, so I’m not forced to spend money on restaurant meals. If you use booking.com then you can tick ‘self-catering facilities’ in the search filters, or if you use Hostelworld just check the facilities available at the bottom of the page.


Bruges Burg square

Best mid-range accommodation in Bruges

Bruges has a fantastic range of B&Bs and decent hotels for less than €80 a night. I spent my second trip to Bruges staying at the quaint little Hotel Bla Bla, located right in the centre of the Old Town. It’s basic but the bed is comfy, the breakfast is good and the location is unbeatable! Prices start from around €75 for a small double room.

Two cute B&Bs I found online that I would book myself are B&B ‘t Walleke and B&B Eliantho, both with great reviews, shared kitchens and prices around €75-€80 for a double room.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE: How I can afford to stay at world-class hotels without blowing my budget

Best luxury hotels in Bruges

If you’re looking for an elegant European city break, Bruges is the perfect place, with fancy hotels that are much cheaper than you’d find in other major tourist destinations around the continent.

The city’s only five-star hotel, the Hotel Dukes’ Palace, is absolutely one to consider for a special occasion in Bruges. With opulent decor, marble bathrooms, a spa and wellness centre, and high tea on the terrace in the summer months, it’s the perfect place if you’re looking to treat yourself. And if you travel outside of high season, you can score double rooms from only €150 a night!

Another option for a luxury hotel in Bruges, and the current holder of the best-rated hotel in the city on both booking.com and TripAdvisor, is the gorgeous Hotel van Cleef. Located right in the historic centre and backing onto a canal, this family-owned hotel is famous for incredible service, stunning interior design and beautiful shared facilities, like a tea room, a canal-side terrace and an on-site masseuse.

Oh, and they’ve also got a library decked out with palm tree wallpaper, green couches, funky knick knacks and loads of coffee table books, basically made for Instagram. This is where I’m staying next time I come to Bruges!

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE: My ultimate Paris travel guide

Best waffles in bruges
Straight out of your waffle dreams

How much to budget for Bruges

Belgium is not a cheap country, but that doesn’t mean you can’t do it cheaply, so here’s a bit of info for anyone visiting Bruges on a budget.

As you’ve read above, you can score a dorm bed from about €15 per night, or €20 per night if you want a full kitchen (which I’d recommend). If you’re travelling as a couple, a decent but budget private room will set you back at least €50.

There’s no transport costs in Bruges apart from getting there from Brussels or bike rental, so no need for an expensive daily transport pass like in other European cities.

Attractions can set you back quite a bit, depending on what you’re into. Canal boat tours are about €8, the Belfry costs €12 to climb to the top, Groeninge Museum entry is €12 and the famous chocolate museum is €8 to enter.

A free walking tour is a must-do in Bruges for anyone on a budget, and Legends are the people to do it with. They’ve got a day tour, a night tour and a food tour, all tip-based so you pay what you want at the end of it. In Europe I generally tip €10 for a free walking tour, a bit more if the guide was particularly fantastic.

If you’re cooking your own meals, you could get away with less than €10 a day for ingredients to make your own breakfast, lunch and dinner. For a cheap breakfast out you’re looking at €4-€5 for a coffee and a pastry, a cheap takeaway lunch will set you back €5-€10 and a sit down dinner somewhere outside of the historical centre will probably be around €15.

If you’re eating at any of the restaurants around the Markt square, expect to spend upwards of €20-€25 for a meal. A pint of beer at a restaurant or bar starts at €3, going up to €8 for fancy craft beers.

Bruges things to do

15 of the best things to do in Bruges

From historical buildings to funky neighbourhoods, a thriving cuisine scene to local boutiques and designers, and art galleries and museums galore, Bruges is overflowing with things to see and do. Here are some of my favourite Bruges activities and experiences.

  • Wander around Markt, the main square in the city centre, famous for the rows of colourful buildings that border it
  • Take a boat tour down the canals, the best way to see the city
  • Climb 366 stairs to the top of the Belfry, a 15th century bell tower and UNESCO World Heritage site, to see the view over Markt and the rest of the city
  • See Rozenhoedkaai, the intersection of two of the main canals and possibly the best photo spot in the city
  • Visit Groeningemuseum, a must-do for art lovers and home to a vast collection of Flemish art
  • See the super creepy Basilica of the Holy Blood, a Gothic church that houses a relic of (supposedly) Jesus Christ’s blood
Basilica of the Holy Blood Bruges
The Basilica of the Holy Blood
  • Take a break from exploring and chill out at Minnewater Park
  • Into a bit of dark tourism? Don’t miss the Torture Museum, a collection of pain-inducing tools housed in one of Europe’s oldest prisons
  • Stroll the streets of Hoogstraat and Langestraat, searching for the best vintage stores, independent art galleries and funky little cafes
  • See the incredible City Hall, an exquisite (and huge!) Gothic building from 1421 on the main square
  • Escape the city for a quick walk up to Sint-Janshuis Mill, a working windmill that was built way back in 1770
  • Visit the Church of Our Lady and catch a glimpse of Michelangelo’s Madonna and Child, amongst other famous works of art
  • Get cultured at Concertgebouw, a cultural centre packed with exhibitions of contemporary art, dance performances, photography galleries, orchestra concerts and loads more
  • Learn about medical history from the past 800 years at St John’s Hospital
  • Do some sustainable shopping! Some of my faves are Juttu who have a monthly local pop-up in-store, Leeloo who sell super trendy 100% vegan clothing, and Think Twice, a vintage store that repurposes old clothes

15 of the best things to eat in Bruges

The gastronomy scene in Bruges is next level, with renowned chefs, traditional cuisine and specialised eateries sitting side-by-side. Like many of you, one of my favourite things about travelling is the food, so here’s a definitive list of the best things to eat in Bruges.

Best breakfast in Bruges Sanseveria Bagelsalon
The best bagel of my liiiiife
Cute Bruges restaurant with outdoor seating

Looking for somewhere to stay in Bruges? Check out all the hotels and apartments right here, and don’t forget to sort by ‘review score and price’ to see the best value options first.

I hope this Bruges travel guide was helpful if you’re planning your trip! Did you have any other questions, or do you have something to add to the guide? Let me know in the comments below.

Like this blog? Pin it!

Read more about my 52 in 52 adventure here, see all of my blog posts from the trip here, or check out my Instagram @findingalexx to see all of my travel photos.


All the basic details from my big trip:

How do you find your flights? Skyscanner! I use the Everywhere tool to find the cheapest place to fly to each Tuesday
Do you fly every week? Not every week no, once I have the destination I check trains and buses to see if there’s any other transport options aside from flying. If so, I usually book these using the Trainline app.
How do you book your accommodation? I book all my hotels, hostels and apartments on either booking.com or Hostelworld.
Do you have travel insurance? YES, I always travel with travel insurance and you should too. I’m insured for an annual policy with Worldcare NZ.
Do you offset your carbon credits? I sure do! I always offset when I book if the airline gives me the option (Ryanair does), and I also offset all my flights using Co2nsensus.com.
What luggage do you travel with? I travel with a 75cm Samsonite Cosmolite suitcase, a matching Samsonite Cosmolite 55cm cabin luggage hardcase, and a cheap laptop backpack.
What camera do you use? You can see the full list of what’s in my camera bag right here.
For more FAQs about my 52 in 52 trip, see this post.


Huge thanks to Visit Bruges for providing me with two nights’ accommodation at Hotel Bla Bla on this trip. As always, all opinions are my own and are based on my personal experience.

Updated on June 12th, 2020

Please note this blog contains affiliate links that give me a small commission from any purchase, at no extra cost to you. I would never advertise anything I wouldn’t use myself, and this commission helps Finding Alexx reach more travellers. Thank you for supporting me!

For me, San Sebastian is one of those cities that I had never even heard of and then suddenly a couple of years ago it was everywhere. It’s been on my bucket list the whole time I was living in London and I never made it, so I was stoked to be able to include three days in San Sebastian during week #2 of my 52 countries in 52 weeks adventure. Here’s a detailed San Sebastian travel guide, as well as what the best things to see, do and eat in San Sebastian.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE: All the FAQs about my 52 in 52 adventure

Or skip straight to:

San Sebastian La Concha beach
The main beach, La Concha

San Sebastian basics

Currency: Euro (€)
How to pay for things: Major shops and restaurants will accept credit card, but most pintxos bars will be cash only
Language: Basque, which is totally different to Spanish. Fun fact, Basque is a language isolate, which means there’s no other living languages that are related to it.
Weather: San Sebastian has mild weather all year. Summer temperatures are generally between 15° and 25°C (59° to 77°F) and winter days are usually between 6° and 12°C (43° and 54°F). August has the warmest seas, and due to it being a coastal city it rains all through the year.
Best time to go: I would suggest to avoid the high season of European summer holidays, from late June to late August. I was there mid-July and while the weather was beautiful, the beaches and pintxos bars were jam-packed. I’d recommend visiting just before summer (late April to early June) or once the summer crowds have dispersed (September to October).


How to get to San Sebastian

I made my way to San Sebastian by train, after spending a couple of nights exploring the stunning and underrated city of Zaragoza to kick off my second week of my year-long adventure. My train ticket cost €21 one way and it took three and a half hours.

If you’re flying to San Sebastian, you have a couple of options. San Sebastian has an airport that’s only 30 minutes from the city centre by bus, and the bus costs €2.45, but flights are notoriously expensive. Expect to pay at least £70 return in the off season from London, and likely at least £150-£250 return in summer.

One cheaper option is to fly into Biarritz Airport across the French border, and then catch the 45 minute bus to San Sebastian for €7 each way. You can easily find Ryanair flights for as low as £25 in the low season, or around £65 in high season, so a significant saving.

Your other budget-friendly option is to fly in and out of Bilbao, another Ryanair hub. Return flights in low season are from only £20 and you can fly in high season from £55, but the bus to San Sebastian costs €17 each way and takes about an hour and 15 minutes.


TRAVEL TIP:

I find all my flights using Skyscanner! You’ll get the best deal if you’re flexible on where to go. Just put in your origin, your departure date (or month) and type ‘everywhere’ into the destination bar to see the cheapest locations to fly to on your next holiday.


San Sebastian at night town hall
The Town Hall

How to get around San Sebastian

San Sebastian is easily explored by foot or bike. There’s not much parking available, and the parking that is available is pricey, so it’s not a great place to rent a car.

The city centre is small and most of the key things to do and see are within walking distance, plus it’s a great way to get in some exercise for all the delicious food you’ll be eating! If you’re heading out to the beaches on the outskirts of the city you could rent a bike or e-bike and use the fantastic bike lanes the city’s set up.

Or if it’s wet and you want an easy transport option, there’s a decent bus network and it’s €1.70 per ride.

San Sebastian bike rental
Always wear a helmet, kids!

Where to stay in San Sebastian

Please note that the prices here are based on example dates mid-week in shoulder season, check booking.com for prices and availability on your San Sebastian travel dates. San Sebastian is notoriously expensive for accommodation, especially in summer, so I’d definitely recommend travelling outside of peak season to get the best bang for your buck.

Best budget accommodation in San Sebastian

One of the best hostels I’ve ever stayed in, and I’ve stayed in many, is A Room in the City in San Sebastian. It’s just a couple of minutes from the beach so the perfect location, and it’s housed in a renovated convent, complete with a huge chill out lounge, a nightclub, a rooftop terrace and a restaurant, bar and patio.

I only stayed for two nights but I would happily spend a week in San Sebastian staying at this hostel. The rooms are super spacious and clean, and each bed has a privacy curtain and its own plug, light, shelf and hooks, the ideal set up for a backpacker. There’s lockers under each bed, and the locker key (and hostel key) is a waterproof bracelet so you don’t have to worry about it getting stolen while you’re out surfing or swimming. Hostels in San Sebastian aren’t allowed to have full kitchens as it stops travellers from spending money on local food, but they do have a decent kitchen with microwaves and two large fridges.

The hostel bar/café had cheap sangria, plus delish breakfasts like avo and tomato or peanut butter and banana on toast. What a treat! I’d recommend this as my best place to stay in San Sebastian for sure, and they have private rooms too if you’re not looking for dorm life. Prices start at about €26 for a dorm bed or €60 for a twin private with a shared bathroom, and you can check your travel dates here.

A Room in the City hostel courtyard San Sebastian

Best mid-range accommodation in San Sebastian

San Sebastian is one of the most expensive to visit in Spain, even more so than Barcelona and Madrid, so mid-range here means very basic double rooms without any extra facilities.

Two decent options are Pensión Old City House which starts at around €68 for a double with a shared bathroom, or Pensión T5 Donostia, where you can get a double room with a private bathroom from €87.

Best luxury accommodation in San Sebastian

If you’re heading to San Sebastian for a treat yourself trip, there’s plenty of nicer options if you can afford to splurge. Here’s three of my best finds!

This apartment is brand new and right next to Old Town, with a full kitchen, washing machine and space for four people (one double bed and one sofa bed). Shoulder season prices start from about €300 a night.

For an ultra-fancy hotel in the city, the Maria Cristina 5* hotel is the winner. This is where movie stars and Spanish royalty stay when they’re in town! A double room will set you back about €250-280 in low season, closer to €350 in shoulder season and probably €550-€650 in summer.

And finally, for a coastal getaway from your dreams, the Akelarre is a couple of kms from the city and is very, very high up on my must-stay list. There’s a three Michelin-starred restaurant, a wellbeing and spa centre and even wine tasting on-site. Double rooms start at about €300 for shoulder season, or you can get a suite with a private pool from €550. One day!

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE: My ultimate Paris travel guide


How much to budget for San Sebastian

If you thought that visiting this small coastal city would be cheaper than Spain’s main tourist spots, you’re going to be disappointed. San Sebastian is one of the most expensive places to visit in the whole country.

But on the plus side, outside of accommodation and food, you probably don’t have too much to worry about.

Swimming is free (obviously!) and if you’re going to surf then you’ll spend from €30 to rent a board per day, at least €20 per day for a wetsuit, and lessons will cost around €90 for a private lesson or €50 per person for a grouo of four or more.

I didn’t spend any money on transport at all because I walked everywhere, but if you think you might use a bus it’s €1.70 per ride or you can rent a bike for €5 for one hour, €10 for three or €20 for 24 hours.

Food is probably going to be your main expense, but if you were ever going to splurge on food, San Sebastian is the place to do it. You’ll be able to find a cheap breakfast (juice, coffee and a pastry or sandwich) from €5, a healthy takeaway salad for lunch from €8 and a sit-down meal from €15. If you’re going for evening pintxos you’ll be paying from €1.50 to €4 per pintxo at most places, and a nice restaurant for dinner will probably cost at least €20 for a main meal.

Drinks are from €5 for a house wine or beer, and you can find fancy cocktails from between €8 and €10.

San Sebastian things to do
The gardens in front of the Town Hall

The best things to do in San Sebastian

1. A walking tour

If you haven’t noticed already, I’m a huge proponent for walking tours to get your bearings! Plus in Europe there are so many free options where you just tip as you please afterwards.

The best free walking tour in San Sebastian is run by the legends at Go Local, a fully local team who know basically everything about the city, from places to eat and drink to the best gift shops to secret sunset views and photo spots. They also pride themselves on their sustainability practices like limiting group sizes, taking their tours to less-visited places and using locally-owned and run restaurants on their food tours.

If you want to explore slightly further afield or get some exercise in, Go Local also offers hiking tours, e-bike tours and bike rental.

Bike tours in San Sebastian

2. Hit the surf

Zurriola Beach, just northeast of the Old Town, is the beach of choice for anyone looking to get active. The surf is ideal for beginners and intermediate surfers, and this golden stretch of sand is home to a number of championships throughout the year. Check out Zurriola Surf Eskola if you’re looking for board rental or lessons.

3. Treat yourself to a spa day

La Perla Spa is a health and beauty centre that’s fit for royals… And it was even the spa of choice for Queen Maria Cristina in the early 20th century. When the queen started spending time in the city over a century ago, the city transformed from a quaint beach town to a hub for Spain’s rich and famous. These days the fanciness is still real, with glitzy hotels, Michelin-starred restaurants and spas dotted along the seaside.

Despite its high class clientele, La Perla is still affordable for normal travellers looking for a bit of luxury, with hydromassage baths starting at only €20.

San Sebastian best beaches

4. Shop up a storm

Let’s be real, most European shopping streets look like the exact same mix of Zara, Bershka, Mango and probably a five-storey H&M. And yes, sometimes we’re looking for that polkadot maxi dress that every other girl on the continent seems to have.

But if you’re looking for one-of-a-kind outfits, beach threads to squeeze into your backpack, or locally-designed jewellery for a souvenir, San Sebastian delivers.

Head to the Gros district for surf shops and antique stores, visit Apartamento 14 to stock up on the funkiest local boutique goods, and see the team at Joyería Munoa in the Old Town for jewellery inspired by La Concha Bay and other San Sebastian hot spots.

5. Get dressed up for San Sebastian International Film Festival

San Sebastian’s annual Zinemaldia is one of Europe’s biggest film festivals, held every year in late-September. The city is packed to the brim with upcoming movie stars and famous directors, and although hotel prices skyrocket, it’s a buzzing time to visit. If you’re thinking of going during the festival then I’d definitely recommend booking early and staying at A Room in the City hostel to lock in a bed without breaking the bank.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE: 20 things to do in Zaragoza


The best things to see in San Sebastian

1. The view from Mount Igueldo

This is the classic panoramic shot of San Sebastian, but it’s well worth seeing it in person. Catch the funicular up to the viewpoint (and amusement park) for €2.30 one way or €3.75 return, or you can walk up steep stairs for about half an hour to reach the top.

Other San Sebastian views worth mentioning are Mount Ulia on the other side of the city, and Mount Urgull in between La Concha and Zurriola beaches.

Mount Igueldo viewpoint best view in San Sebastian
The gorgeous view over the city from Mount Igueldo

2. Santa Clara Island

Sitting right in the middle of Concha Bay, Santa Clara is easily accessible by swimming, kayaking or ferry. Once you’re there you can float the day away in the quiet little bays, trek to the top of the island or grab a refreshment at the island cafe.

The swim is just over 400m from Ondaretta Beach, at the bottom of Mount Igueldo, or 1.1km from the middle of La Concha beach. There are floating jetties on the way if you need to take a breather. Kayaks can be hired from multiple spots along La Concha, and the ferry costs €5.50.

3. Sunrise and sunset

Whether you’re an early bird or a night owl, head to the beach or mountains for either sunrise or sunset and you’re guaranteed to witness some incredible colours in the sky.

Mount Urgull is a local favourite to watch the sun set over the Bay of Biscay, or grab a gelato from Old Town and wander down to Zurriola Beach to watch the sky change colour.

For the early risers, Mount Igueldo is the perfect spot to see the sun come up, or pay a visit to La Concha to get in a dip before the rest of the city wakes up.

Girl leaning on railing in front of La Concha beach in San Sebastian
This photo was taken at 7.30am, hardly anyone else around except for two drunk people sleeping on the beach!

4. Tabakalera, the International Center for Contemporary Culture

In a huge building that was a tobacco factory for 90 years, the International Center for Contemporary Culture was opened in Tabakalera in 2015, in preparation for San Sebastian being 2016’s European City of Culture. These days it’s a cultural institution of the city, home to artists, schools, foundations, small businesses and loads more, who are all involved in keeping the Basque culture thriving through art and leisure.

The exhibitions change often and it’s hard to describe what to expect, so you should go and experience it for yourself to get an insight into Basque history, art and culture.

5. The mix of modern art and Basque history at San Telmo Museum

San Telmo Museum, known locally as STM, is a newly-renovated museum with an incredible range of exhibitions, from ancient archaeological discoveries from Basque Country to fine art to robotic showcases from Basque engineers.

Cityscape of San Sebastian

The best things to eat in San Sebastian

Before I start this part of the list, let me just say that the best things to eat in San Sebastian would be EVERYTHING. The city is bursting with world-class eateries, with more Michelin stars per square metre than any other city on the planet. My top two suggestions for foodies in San Sebastian would be 1) do a food tour at the start of your trip to learn about some of the local secrets, and 2) do a full day food crawl through Gros or the Old Town to try lots of small bites at loads of different pintxos bars.

BUT if I have to choose some San Sebastian must-eats (and one drink), these would be them.

1. Pintxo-pote Thursdays for cheap pintxos

Okay, this is a cop out because it’s not an actual meal itself, so sue me. Pintxo-pote is a weekly event, where every Thursday a bunch of pinxto bars have a pintxo and a pote (a drink, like a house wine, beer or soft drink) for CHEAP. And by cheap I mean €1 or €1.50 in Amara Viejo district or €2 in the vibrant Gros district.

Head to either of the suburbs armed with stretchy trousers and loads of small change, and you’re guaranteed to have the best night of your foodie life.

Best pintxos in San Sebastian
Some bite-size goodies from Pintxo-pote

2. A Michelin-starred meal

There’s no better place on the planet to try your first Michelin-starred meal than San Sebastian, with over 18 Michelin stars in the 25km radius from the city.

Arzak is a three-star favourite, famous for stunning food presentation and mind-blowing gourmet flavours. Adventurous eaters will love two-star Mugaritz, where you can choose a 24-course degustation menu or alternatively trust the chefs to custom-make dishes to your preference and palate. Then to get a taste of traditional Basque cuisine with a world-class twist, Alameda is a one Michelin star with reasonable prices, perfect for someone wanting a fancy experience without splurging the week’s food money.

3. Cheesecake at La Viña

This creamy goodness is the best dessert in the city, hands down. La Viña gets busy in the evenings but it’s worth the wait, this traditional Basque dish is probably the best cheesecake you’ll ever have in your life.

4. Coffee and brunch at Sakona

Unlike seemingly every human in New Zealand, Australia, the UK and the US, Spaniards just aren’t fussed about brunch. In a city that’s famous for award-winning gastronomy, the pre-midday offerings are pretty scarce. That is, except for Sakona.

Sakona is one of the only spots in San Sebastian to get a classic eggs, bacon, avo, salmon etc. breakfast, as well as a really legit coffee. It’s the perfect place for a brew and an eggs benny after a morning stroll along the river.

5. Get amongst good vibes at Dabadaba

One of the most raved-about nightlife spots in the city, Dabadaba is the place to see upcoming artists, groups and DJs. Their events range massively from punk rock to EDM to indie bands, and they’re known for their top notch craft beer selection.

San Sebastian boardwalk along the beach

Looking for somewhere to stay in San Sebastian? Check out all the hotels and apartments right here, and don’t forget to sort by ‘review score and price’ to see the best value options first.

Are you a fellow foodie that’s dreamed of going to San Sebastian? If you’ve already visited and have some more tips to share, let me know in the comments below!

Like this blog? Pin it!

Read more about my 52 in 52 adventure here, see all of my blog posts from the trip here, or check out my Instagram @findingalexx to see all of my travel photos.


All the basic details from my big trip:

How do you find your flights? Skyscanner! I use the Everywhere tool to find the cheapest place to fly to each Tuesday
Do you fly every week? Not every week no, once I have the destination I check trains and buses to see if there’s any other transport options aside from flying. If so, I usually book these using the Trainline app.
How do you book your accommodation? I book all my hotels, hostels and apartments on either booking.com or Hostelworld.
Do you have travel insurance? YES, I always travel with travel insurance and you should too. I’m insured for an annual policy with Worldcare NZ.
Do you offset your carbon credits? I sure do! I always offset when I book if the airline gives me the option (Ryanair does), and I also offset all my flights using Co2nsensus.com.
What luggage do you travel with? I travel with a 75cm Samsonite Cosmolite suitcase, a matching Samsonite Cosmolite 55cm cabin luggage hardcase, and a cheap laptop backpack.
What camera do you use? You can see the full list of what’s in my camera bag right here.
For more FAQs about my 52 in 52 trip, see this post.


Huge thanks to San Sebastian Tourism for providing a free bike tour with Go Local on this trip. As always, all opinions are my own and are based on my personal experience.

Updated on June 12th, 2020

Please note this blog contains affiliate links that give me a small commission from any purchase, at no extra cost to you. I would never advertise anything I wouldn’t use myself, and this commission helps Finding Alexx reach more travellers. Thank you for supporting me!

In these days of Instagram, where each adventure abroad is prepped for with hours of online research (guilty!), it’s a special thing to be actually surprised by a destination. Zaragoza, Spain’s fifth-largest city and capital of Aragon, was one of those rare places, and it’s the perfect cheap Europe getaway. Here’s a Zaragoza travel guide with all you need to know about the city, as well as 20 things to do in Zaragoza, from visiting exquisite cathedrals and historical palaces through to eating your way around the city.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE: All the FAQs about my 52 in 52 adventure

Or skip straight to:

Girl standing on Stone Bridge over Ebro River in Zaragoza
The view of the Basilica del Pilar from the Stone Bridges

Zaragoza basics

Currency: Euro (€)
How to pay for things: Hotels, chain retail stores and sit down restaurants mostly accept credit card, smaller local shops and tapas bars may be cash only, but there are ATMs in all the tourist areas of the city
Language: Spanish
Weather: June to August is hot, sunny and dry, with some days reaching the early 30s Celcius. In winter expect highs of around 10° and lows of 3°. April and May are known for being the rainiest months in Zaragoza.
Best time to go: The city gets quiet in summer because the residents take their own summer holidays, which means less people but also shops and restaurants may be closed. The months just after summer (September to October) are a great time to visit, when the humidity and temperature drops a bit. The city holds a Catholic festival in October, Las Fiestas del Pilar, for seven days around October 12 to celebrate the Virgin of the Pilar, which would be an amazing time to experience the best of Zaragoza.


How to get to Zaragoza

My 52 in 52 adventure is taking me to a new country every single week based on the cheapest flight, and one of the best things about this style of travel is that I’m at the mercy of where Skyscanner tells me to go every Tuesday, no matter how random the destination is. From my first week in Paris, the cheapest flight out was £18 to Zaragoza flying Ryanair (plus £20.63 for adding on a checked bag, priority boarding with two cabin bags, and carbon offset).

Zaragoza is on the flight map for some of the major low cost airlines, including Ryanair and Volotea, so you can get there for cheap from London, Milan, Brussels, Paris and loads more. Right now there’s flights from London from only £13 one way and £30 return!


TRAVEL TIP:

I find all my flights using Skyscanner! You’ll get the best deal if you’re flexible on where to go. Just put in your origin, your departure date (or month) and type ‘everywhere’ into the destination bar to see the cheapest locations to fly to on your next holiday.


It’s also easily accessible by train from any of Spain’s major cities (1.5 hours from Barcelona or Madrid, 3-3.5 hours from San Sebastian) or by car if you’re road tripping around this beaut country.

View of Zaragoza city from Basilica del Pilar tower

How to get into the city from Zaragoza Airport

You can get a taxi from Zaragoza Airport into the city for about €25 for a 20 minute ride, or catch a 30 minute-ish public bus for €1.70 each way.


How to get around Zaragoza

Zaragoza is super easy to get around by foot, bike, e-scooter or public transport. If you’re staying near the Old Town then it’s easy to walk to the museums, cathedrals, up to the palace and through the foodie streets, but if you want to venture further out you can jump on a bus or a tram, rent a bike or rent a Lime scooter (but be sure to ride on the streets or bike lanes, scooters on footpaths are not allowed).

For getting out to the gorgeous gardens of Parque Jose Antonio Labordeta or the activities and art installations around Parque del Agua, there’s a hop-on hop-off tourist bus for only €8 for a day pass.

Aljafiera Palace best things to do inin Zaragoza
One of the gardens at Aljafería Palace

Where to stay in Zaragoza

Please note that the prices here are based on example dates mid-week in shoulder season, check booking.com for prices and availability for the best Zaragoza hotels on your travel dates.

Luxury

I was hosted by the beautiful people at Zaragoza Tourism, and they put me up in a stunning room at super stylish Hotel Alfonso, located just between the Old Town and the central business district. It’s a 4* with a rooftop pool and buffet breakfast, and prices start at only €80 a night for a double room, about half the price of similar hotels in other Spanish cities! If you’re looking for a cheap luxe getaway, this is your answer.

Hotel Alfonso Zaragoza places to stay
A BATHTUB in my hotel room, what a dream

Mid-range

There are countless apartments available in Zaragoza, which means full kitchens so you can save money by cooking. Some of my favourite finds are El Balcón de Espoz y Mina I, Apartamentos Sabinas Don Jaime and Fantastica Buhardilla Plaza Pilar, with prices starting from €60-€90 for two to four people.

Budget

Zaragoza only has one hostel that I could find, Albergue Hostel, but there are quite a few cheap pensións (budget basic hotel rooms with shared bathrooms) to choose from. Check out Pensión Corona or Pensión Fuenterrabía, both have double rooms starting at €25-28.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE: My ultimate Paris travel guide


How much to budget for Zaragoza

Zaragoza is significantly cheaper than the busier cities in Spain, and it got me into a false sense of financial security before I got to super pricey San Sebastian!

As mentioned you can get a double room from about €25 (or cheaper if you’re okay to stay somewhere ultra-basic), an apartment from €60, or a fancy hotel from €80.

If you explore mainly by foot, bike, scooter or public transport you probably won’t spend any more than €4-€6 a day, and most of the activities or things to see are less than €10.

In terms of food, your budget will totally depend on what type of meals you’ll be having. If you buy fresh fruit and veges from the market and stock up on supermarket staples to cook in an apartment, you’ll be able to easily eat for less than €15 per day, and if you want to eat out then expect to spend anywhere from €5 for a couple of tapas to €15-€20 for a nice sit-down meal.

Zaragoza cathedral roof
The incredible tiled ceiling of the cathedral

20 things to do, see and eat in Zaragoza

This gorgeous underrated city really blew me away with the amount of things to do, see and eat, so here’s a quick hit list of all my favourite Zaragoza activities and experiences.

1. Jump on a free walking tour

The best way to see any city, especially one with historical, cultural and art significant, is a free walking tour with a local, where you tip what you want at the end. They’ll take you to the key spots, give you some insider tips for the best times to visit certain places, help you decide on where to eat, and give you a basic understanding of the city’s history.

Bonus tip: Do one when you first arrive and ask your guide about any basic phrases you should know in the local language, so you’re never caught without being able to say thank you.

Zaragoza walking tour
The walking tour I did was the best way to get a basic understanding of the city

2. Visit the Cathedral-Basilica of Our Lady of the Pillar

This gigantic cathedral is the most famous building in the city, and it’s exquisite both inside and out. You’ll find the Cathedral in the middle of Plaza del Pilar, backing onto the Ebro River. It was the second cathedral in Zaragoza (La Seo is the other one), and the current building was mostly built between 1681 and 1872. The cathedral has huge significance to the Catholic church, and it’s said to be the site of the first ever church dedicated to Mary, way back in 40AD.

I’m not usually one to listen intently to religious stories, but the history behind this cathedral was honestly mind-blowing. It involves the only recorded apparition of Mary, a regrown amputated leg miracle, an un-detonated bomb, and a half-finished interior. SO interesting.

3. Go up the Basilica del Pilar tower

For only €3 you can get the lift up 60 metres high in one of the towers, and then walk up stairs to 80 metres. You’ll get an amazing view of the Plaza del Pilar, across the Ebro River, and of the stunning blue, green and yellow tiles on the cathedral’s roof.

Zaragoza Basilica del Pilar tower view

4. Wander around the Plaza del Pilar

The main square in Zaragoza’s Old Town is bordered by cathedrals, museums and art installations on all sides. It’s one of the largest squares in Europe, and probably one of the quietest too! Don’t miss the waterfall at one end, dedicated to Latin America, and the Goya Statue at the other.

5. Visit La Seo Cathedral

The first cathedral in Zaragoza is just a couple hundred metres from Basilica del Pilar, it’s much smaller but still boasts beautiful architecture and artwork. It’s also home to a tapestry museum which is worth a visit!

La Seo cathedral Zaragoza
La Seo Cathedral on a rainy day

6. See an exhibit at La Lonja

Once a merchant market back in the 16th century, La Lonja is now an exhibition hall home to a variety of art and photography galleries throughout the year. When I visited there was an amazing (and free!) photography exhibit showcasing photojournalists from the Aragon region and the neighbouring Catalonia, Navarre and Basque Country.

7. Explore Aljafería Palace

This 11th century palace has a crazy cross-religious history, originally being an Islamic medieval palace, then home to Christian kings, then Catholic monarchs, then a military base and now a UNESCO World Heritage Site as well as housing the Aragon parliament.

Entry is €5 and I’d really recommend jumping on a guided tour to get a full history lesson.

Aljafiera Palace arches Zaragoza things to do
Aljafiera Palace

8. Check out Museo Goya

Much to my mother’s dismay, I’m not a huge fan of art museums, or even really art or museums in general. It’s not my fault, I guess I just prefer doing things or eating things or photographing things rather than reading about things. Sorry Mum! So in full transparency, the Muso Goya is absolutely a Zaragoza must-do, but I didn’t actually do it myself.

Museo Goya is probably Zaragoza’s most famous museum, home to a massive collection of Aragon-born Francisco de Goya’s works of art, along with loads of other paintings from the 15th to 20th century. It’s €4 to enter and again, totally worth getting the audio-guide.

9. Pedal around the city

Zaragoza is a fantastic city for cycling, with great bike lanes for safe riding. There are some bike rentals available via app, or pop into one La Cicleria, Bizi or Ciclos Richi to rent a bike for a longer period of time.

10. Hop on and hop off around the main sights

A hop-on hop-off bus tour is a fantastic way to see any city, especially one like Zaragoza which has a couple of key areas for things to do and see. The bus is only €8 for a day and it means you can tick off the Parque Jose Antonio Labordeta, the Old Town, and the Expo area easily without splurging on taxis or having to walk miles and miles.

Zaragoza fountain in the main square
Plaza del Pilar Latin America statue and waterfall

11. Parque Jose Antonio Labordeta

And on that note, let’s talk about the park! This is the green lung of the city, a huge space filled with fountains, trees and perfectly manicured gardens. It’s also home to the highest point in the city, so it’s a beautiful place to watch the colours of the sky change as the sun goes down.

12. See the cathedral from the Stone Bridge

Cross the Stone Bridge for a fantastic view of the Basilica of Our Lady the Pillar, and a great photo spot too.

Zaragoza travel guide Stone Bridge
The Basilica from the Stone Bridge

13. Explore the Expo area

Northwest of the Old Town, if you cross the river, you’ll reach the Expo Zone, opened in 2008 when it was home to a three month exhibition for sustainable development. It’s packed with ultra-modern buildings, bridges and art installations, as well as an aquarium. It’s a crazy contrast with the rest of the city so absolutely worth a visit.

14. Chow down on croquettes at Taberna Dona Casta

And the moment all you foodies have been waiting for, a definitive list of my favourite eats in Zaragoza!

Let’s kick off with the best croquettes in town, Taberna Dona Casta. With loads of croquettes to choose from, I’d recommend picking three or four to try, leaving a bit of room to get another one of your winning flavour combo. I can vouch for the mushroom and goats cheese, the ham, gorgonzola and nuts, and the apple and blue cheese. YUM.

And the moment all you foodies have been waiting for, a definitive list of my favourite eats in Zaragoza!

Let’s kick off with the best croquettes in town, Taberna Dona Casta. With loads of croquettes to choose from, I’d recommend picking three or four to try, leaving a bit of room to get another one of your winning flavour combo. I can vouch for the mushroom and goats cheese, the ham, gorgonzola and nuts, and the apple and blue cheese. YUM.

Best croquettes in Zaragoza Taberna dona casta
Insanely delicious croquette flavours at Taberna Dona Casta

15. Try the patatas sherry at La Ternasca

I’m a foodie through and through, and I’m constantly searching for the best things to eat in each place I visit. So with that in mind, I don’t say this lightly… The patatas sherry at La Ternasca was one of my favourite meals I’ve ever had in my life.

The dish is made up of freshly cooked thinly-sliced potatoes covered in scrambled eggs, pulled lamb and truffle oil, and, along with other lamb dishes, it’s one of La Ternasca’s specialties. It’s just basic ingredients but the flavours are deliciously intense, and the lamb is super tender. SO GOOD, please do yourself a favour and try it!

Patatas sherry La Ternasca best food in Zaragoza
I’ll admit the photo doesn’t do it justice, but you just have to try the patatas sherry at La Ternasca

16. Treat yourself at Casa Lac

Spain’s oldest restaurant, opened in 1825, is the ideal spot if you’re looking to get fancy for an afternoon or evening. Casa Lac is famous for making vegetables the hero of all their dishes, and they’ve got set menus, a la carte, and tapas available.

If you can’t stretch the budget for a full meal, pop in for dessert and order the traditional bread pudding. Divine.

Best dessert Zaragoza travel tips
Delicious traditional dessert

17. Do a chocolate crawl

Zaragoza’s chocolate scene is on fire, with choccy shops down basically every street. For €9 you can pick up a chocopass from any of the tourism offices in the city, and that gives you chocolate treats from five chocolate establishments of your choice out of a list of 21. It’s a fun way to see the city, not to mention gives you a much-needed afternoon sugar boost in the middle of a day of exploring!

18. Get an ice cold refreshment from Heladeria Tortosa

Heladeria Tortosa is the best gelateria in the city for sure, with a line out the door at peak ice cream times. They’ve got loads of flavours to choose from but they’re particularly famous for their meringue milk gelato.

Best gelato in Zaragoza

19. Eat your way down El Tubo

El Tubo is one of the main alleys in Old Town, and it’s completely packed with tapas bars and nightlife hot spots. Head there after a siesta and get ready to eat your weight’s worth of tapas for the next few hours.

If you’re travelling with a friend or a group, why not do a food crawl? It’s my favourite way to get amongst the gastronomic scene of a new place! Share a small meal or tapas at one place, then move onto the next and do the same, and repeat as many times as you can until you roll back to your hotel room.

El Tubo is one of the main alleys in Old Town, and it’s completely packed with tapas bars and nightlife hot spots. Head there after a siesta and get ready to eat your weight’s worth of tapas for the next few hours.

If you’re travelling with a friend or a group, why not do a food crawl? It’s my favourite way to get amongst the gastronomic scene of a new place! Share a small meal or tapas at one place, then move onto the next and do the same, and repeat as many times as you can until you roll back to your hotel room.

20. €2 tapas and a drink for Juepinchos at La Magdalena

Budget travellers, this one’s for you! If you’re in Zaragoza on a Thursday, you can’t miss Juepinchos at La Magdalena, a suburb slightly to the east of the Old Town. On Thursday evenings the bars in La Magdalena offer a drink (normally a house wine or beer) with a tapa for just €2!

It gets busy, obviously, and the tapas sit on the bar without English translations or a menu, but it’s an incredible way to experience local delicacies without breaking the bank.

Zaragoza travel guide
Stone Bridge and the Basilica

Zaragoza, you were a foodie’s dream! There’s so much to do in this little city and it’s still off the beaten track, which means lower prices and less tourists. Get in for a sweet weekend getaway before everyone else cottons on!

Looking for somewhere to stay in Zaragoza? Check out all the hotels and apartments right here, and don’t forget to sort by ‘review score and price’ to see the best value options first.

Have you heard of Zaragoza before, or is it on your bucket list? Tell me in the comments below.

Like this blog? Pin it!

Read more about my 52 in 52 adventure here, see all of my blog posts from the trip here, or check out my Instagram @findingalexx to see all of my travel photos.

Huge thanks to Zaragoza Tourism for hosting me on this trip to Zaragoza! As always, all opinions are my own and are based on my personal experience.

Updated on June 15th, 2020

Please note this blog contains affiliate links that give me a small commission from any purchase, at no extra cost to you. I would never advertise anything I wouldn’t use myself, and this commission helps Finding Alexx reach more travellers. Thank you for supporting me!

Ahhh Paris, one of my favourite cities in the entire world, and the perfect place to kick off my 52 in 52 adventure. I’ve visited four times so far and have seen the city in a completely different way each time, so I’ve got lots of Paris travel tips and tricks to share in my ultimate guide to Paris!

Read on for the low down on where to stay in Paris, the best places to eat, the most Instagrammable spots and experiences you just can’t miss.

Skip straight to what you’re looking for:

Girl walking in front of Malabar Cafe in Paris
A classic Parisian corner café

Paris basics

Currency: Euro (€)
How to pay for things: Anything touristy (restaurants, hotels and hostels etc.) will accept credit cards. Outside of tourist areas or at small shops and cafes you will likely need cash, but there’s ATMs all around the city.
Language: French, obviously
Weather: It can get really hot and stuffy in July and August, as well as incredibly busy. The colder months are November to February, and you’ll likely get some snow around that time.
Best time to go: I always like visiting the big European cities in shoulder season, when it’s not school holidays and not too hot but not wet and cold either. Paris is particularly beautiful in spring and autumn, where flowers and trees change colour. Consider travelling between March and June, or September and November, if you’re looking for mild weather and affordable prices. Of course summer in Paris brings loads of free events, plus Bastille Day celebrations, and winter brings gorgeous snowy photos and Christmas markets, so it just depends on what you’re looking for!

Jardin du Luxembourg
Jardin du Luxembourg sunset

Things to know before you go to Paris

  • The city is broken up into arrondissements numbered 1-16, that represent areas. Then there’s suburbs which are smaller than arrondissements.
  • Parisians are notriously intolerant to people who speak English right off the bat (and I don’t blame them!), so it’s always good to have a few local phrases up your sleeve. Bonjour means hello, bonsoir means good evening, s’il vous plait means please and merci means thank you. If I need to ask a question or have a conversation in English, I always start with ‘Parlez-vous anglais?’ which means ‘Do you speak English?’ and this seems to always be appreciated! I’m not going to type out pronunciation on here because with my Kiwi accent it’d probably be wrong for most of you reading anyway haha.
  • There are a lot of pickpockets in Paris so always wear a cross-body bag and leave valuables (like passports) locked at your accommodation instead of on you.
  • As of July 2019 there are currently a lot of political activity going on in Paris, so avoid any areas with organised protests.
  • If you’re a freelancer or a ~digital nomad~, there are five stunning WeWork offices (with loads more being opened soon) where you can rent hot desks. I visited four of them and I’m obsessed! Find out more info about WeWork here.
  • If you are looking for a café where you can use your laptop, there are loads of co-working cafés that offer a table for an hourly rate.
Eiffel Tower with girl walking in front
The Eiffel Tower from Pont de Bir-Hakeim

How to get cheap flights to Paris

I started planning my 52 countries in 52 weeks adventure by looking at the cheapest flight available from Dubrovnik, after my epic week island hopping through Croatia.

Using Skyscanner’s Everywhere search tool, it showed me that the cheapest place to fly was Paris Orly airport, for only £26 (plus seat selection and 20kg luggage, so total of £55) flying with Transavia, a French budget airline. BARGAIN!

Paris is a transport hub with loads of low cost carriers flying in and out, so if you’re flexible with your travel dates then you should be able to find a good deal. Note that low cost carriers often use secondary airports rather than the main one, so there might be additional costs or time involved with airport transport.


TRAVEL TIP:

I find all my flights using Skyscanner! You’ll get the best deal if you’re flexible on where to go. Just put in your origin, your departure date (or month) and type ‘everywhere’ into the destination bar to see the cheapest locations to fly to on your next holiday.


If you’re coming from London, you can find good deals on the Eurostar (as low as £59 return!) if you book early. Consider leaving work early on a Friday if you want to avoid the weekend rush.


How to get from Orly Airport to Paris

My flight arrived at Orly airport, which is 25km south of Paris and is actually closer than the main airport, Charles de Gaulle, which is 40km northeast. To get from Paris Orly to Paris there’s a bus for €12, which comes every 15 to 20 minutes.

Because I was staying in Montparnasse, in the southern part of Paris, flying into Orly was actually perfect and meant I didn’t have to deal with any crazy train stations or mid-city bus traffic. The bus took 30 minutes for me to get from Orly Airport to Montparnasse, and then it was a 10 minute walk to my hostel.

Paris travel tips flight photo
The view from my flight, probably over the Alps in Switzerland or Italy

Where to stay in Paris

Because travelling to a new country each week isn’t busy enough for me, I decided to test out three different places to stay in Paris during this week… Why do I do this to myself?!

Sometimes due to budget, availability or content partnerships (where I do some photos for a hotel or hostel), I have to move to new accommodation in the same destination.

The upside of dragging my suitcase through crowded train stations and on local buses a few times a week is that I get to experience multiple different neighbourhoods in one city, which means more Paris travel tips to share with you guys. Glass half-full and all that!

The three places I stayed during my week in Paris were Enjoy Hostel in Petit-Montrouge, LAZ’ Hotel & Spa in the 9th arrondissement, and St Christopher’s Hostel near Gare du Nord.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE: My full LAZ’ Hotel review

My first hostel in Paris was Enjoy Hostel, which cost me £128 for four nights in an 8-bed dorm with a private bathroom (which was actually two adjoining 4-bed dorms, each with a private bathroom).

This hostel was smack-bang in the middle of the 14th arrondissement, in a suburb called Petit-Montrouge, just a short walk from Gare Montparnasse train station.

Enjoy Hostel was fine for what I paid based on normal Paris prices. The location is in a more residential area but there were easy transport options (a bus stop right outside meant I could get to any of the main tourist spots in less than half an hour, and a couple of Metro stations were within 8 minutes’ walk).

The dorm rooms were small but bearable, and the beds were comfy which is always a plus. There was no lift and I was on the 3rd floor (with a 25kg suitcase, ughhh) but that’s often the case in European hostels. This place was nothing special but was adequate for a cheap stay in Paris if that’s what you’re looking for.

Check your travel dates and book your stay at Enjoy Hostel right here.

A quick rundown on my stay at Enjoy Hostel
Price: £32 per night in JulyBunks or beds: BunksDorm size: 8 bed
Check in: 2pmCheck out: 12pmPlugs in room: Yes, by each bed
Private bathroom: YesBed curtains: NoLinen provided: Yes
Towel provided: No, €2Lift: No, and 4 floorsKitchen: Yes, full kitchen
Breakfast: Yes, bread with spreadsCleanliness: Clean enoughLocation: 14th Arr.
Staff: Super friendlyVibe: Quiet, chilled outLuggage storage: Yes
Air con: YesOrganised events: NoWiFi: Yes, worked perfectly
Lockers: YesLaundry facilities: NoPublic transport: Bus stop outside

On my fifth night of my year-long trip I probably reached the peak… When I got to stay at the stunning LAZ’ Hotel & Spa Urbain for one night!

Luxury Paris hotel
The stunning penthouse at LAZ’ Hotel

I’ve got a full review right here if you’re interested, but let’s just say it involves a penthouse upgrade, a bath tub with a view of the Sacre Coeur, watching the Bastille Day military flyover from my terrace, and a treat yo’self moment with a room service cheeseboard. Dreamy.

Located in the swanky 9th arrondissement, this place is incredible, and because it’s reasonably new the prices are nowhere near what you’d expect! The legends at LAZ’ hosted me for one night but rooms are on average around €150 per night, which is cheap for any decent double room in Paris, let alone a fancy 4-star with a pool. I’d absolutely recommend checking out LAZ’ Hotel if it’s within your budget.

A quick rundown on my stay at LAZ’ Hotel
Price: From €130-€170 per nightLift: YesBreakfast: Not always included
Check in: 3pmCheck out: 12pmLuggage storage: Yes
Location: Ideal, 9th arr.Staff: Super friendlyVibe: Ultra-stylish
Air con: YesFridge: YesWiFi: Yes
Pool: YesFitness room: YesLaundry facilities: No

My final night in Paris was at St Christopher’s Gare du Nord, just a short walk from one of Paris’s major train stations, unsurprisingly called Gare du Nord.

St Christopher’s is a huge chain with hostels all through Europe, and this is one of two in Paris (the other is near St Martin’s Canal, about 15 minutes’ walk from this one). I paid £23 for a bed for one night in a female 8-bed dorm with a shared bathroom.

The hostel was fine but is very obviously a chain, with loads of people coming and going, huge tour groups checking in when I got there, and a bar/restaurant connected to it (with a 10% discount on food and drinks for hostel guests).

I generally prefer staying at smaller hostels with a more chilled vibe but this place would be perfect if you’re looking to party with other travellers.

Because of the restaurant there’s no full kitchen, only a fridge and a microwave, so not ideal if you’re hoping to save money on making your own meals. They also don’t have free luggage storage after check out, it’s about €5 to store a large suitcase. These are the types of things that can add up quickly when you travel so always good to check for these facilities when you book.

St Christopher’s is a classic choice for first-time travellers because it’s the contracted hostel for some tour companies (like Contiki and Topdeck) as well as travel agencies, so the average age is a bit younger than other places I’ve stayed. 

A quick rundown on my stay at St Christopher’s Gare du Nord
Price: I paid £23 for one night in JulyBunks or beds: BunksDorm size: 8 bed female-only
Check in: 2pmCheck out: 11amPlugs in room: Yes, for each bunk
Private bathroom: NoBed curtains: YesLinen provided: Yes
Towel provided: TBCLift: YesKitchen: Fridge and microwave only
Breakfast: €5Cleanliness: Very cleanLocation: Next to Gare du Nord
Staff: Other travellers, very helpfulVibe: Social, quite youngLuggage storage: €5 for a large locker
Air con: NoOrganised events: Pub crawlsWiFi: Yes
Lockers: YesLaundry facilities: NoPublic transport: Train station right outside

Looking for a hotel in Paris? Check out all the best Paris hotels on booking.com, and make sure to sort the results by ‘review score and price’ to see where you’ll get the best bang for your buck.

If you’re keen to find a cheap hostel in Paris instead, search your travel dates on Hostelworld.


How to get around Paris

There are plenty of ways to explore Paris depending on where you’re going and how much time you have.

Paris is a beautiful city to discover by foot, because there’s super cute cafes, fancy restaurants, gorgeous views and boutique shops around every corner. I’ll be writing an Ultimate Paris Walking Tour guide soon with an accompanying map, and I’ll link it here!

If you need to get somewhere in a hurry or just want to get home, there’s the RER, the Metro, and the bus system. The RER is the train that services some key Paris stations as well as regional France; the Metro is the underground system all throughout the city, and buses are self-explanatory!

I usually prefer buses or trams to any underground system just because I like looking where we’re driving in case I spot somewhere I’d like to go back to, but obviously the Metro is faster in most cases.

You can choose from a travel pass with unlimited public transport use (one day passes start at €7.50), buying single tickets (€1.90 per ticket, or €2 if you pay on the bus) or buying a pack of 10 tickets for €14.90. Note that you can use one ticket to move between the Metro and RER on one journey, but can’t transfer them to a bus.

Paris also has Uber, as well as e-bikes (Jump is the main one, download the app here) and e-scooters available for hire (you’ll see Lime, Dott and Bird scooters all over the city).

Please note that e-scooters in Paris can only be used on the road and bike lanes, and if you get caught on the footpath you will get fined up to €135! Helmets are not compulsory but please be careful when riding on the road.

How to get around Paris
The Métropolitain is Paris’ underground system

How much to budget for Paris

Paris is a magnificent city, but it’s definitely not cheap.

Dorm rooms at hostels are usually between €25 and €45, a 3-star hotel will set you back between €75 and €110 per night and a 4-star from about €140-€150 per night, and splurging on a 5-star will likely cost at least €200 per night all the way up to over €1000.

Supermarkets are reasonably priced so cooking your own food or having picnic meals will help you to stay within a budget, and you’ll find classic Parisian breakfasts (a juice, a coffee and a pastry) for between €6 and €10 depending on the area you’re in, but adding anything hot will cost you extra.

For lunches and dinners, certain parts of the city have streets of restaurants that offer menu deals. The Latin Quarter is one of the best spots for cheap eats, where you can score a three-course meal for as low as €15!

You can’t skip dessert in a country like France so expect to pay between €4 and €6 for a banana and Nutella crepe.

While the prices are high, Parisian food on a whole is fantastic, so at least it’s worth the money.

Paris food budgeting tips
The perfect Parisian picnic

Do you need a visa for France?

I’m on a Kiwi passport and we don’t need a visa for France if our stay in the Schengen Zone is less than 90 days in a 180 day period. If you’re on a different passport, check your visa requirements with the French embassy, or see visa guides for Canadian, Australian, US and other citizens here.


Paris travel tips for foodies

This is an impossible question to answer succinctly, so I’m just going to hit you with some bullet points about the best food to eat in Paris.

  • You’ll find authentic Parisian breakfasts at almost every corner cafe, but I can recommend Le Square Trousseau in the Quinze-Vingts area, and Carette near Trocadero has the best croissants in Paris hands down
  • For a less-authentic but still delicious breakfast (and fantastic coffee!), check out Holybelly 19. It’s an Aussie-inspired cafe with small sharing plates and is one of my favourite places in the city. I can vouch for the mini doughnuts with dulce de leche, the Brillat-Savarin cheese with elderflower jelly, and the soft-boiled egg with dark toast. They’ve also got a sister cafe, Holybelly 5, down the same road that offers classic breakfast meals like eggs, pancakes, and even Vegemite on toast for homesick Aussies!
  • You’ll find macarons all around the city but my favourites are from Ladurée and Pierre Hermé.
  • For a cheap lunchtime deal, check out L’As du Fallafel in the Marais neighbourhood for the best falafel sandwich of your life for only €8
  • Whether you’re vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free, sugar-free or anything-free, there’s bound to be something in Paris for you
  • For a good value, hearty dinner, Sacrée Fleur in Montmartre is one of the best steak restaurants in the city
  • Angelina is a world-famous cafe that offers one of the most decadent hot chocolates I’ve ever had
  • Or if you want to try some local delicacies without smashing the credit card, Chartier is a 100+ year old French restaurant serving up classic French fare for cheap, with mains priced between €8.50 and €13.50
  • One of my top Paris travel tips is to have a DIY picnic somewhere with a view! Pop into a fromagerie (cheese shop) and get a couple of options, grab a fresh baguette or two, and take a bottle of wine to a spot in the Champs de Mars or Jardin du Luxembourg.

Top tip: To avoid using plastic glasses for your picnic wine, consider getting a Dopper bottle, a drink bottle that has a cap than can double as a wine glass!

Best breakfast in Paris
Some delicious breakfast plates at Holybelly 19

How to explore Paris on a budget

  • I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, DIY picnic! It’s an authentic way to eat, you can enjoy Eiffel Tower sunset views or gorgeous squares at lunch time, and you’ll pay far less than eating out
  • Loads of restaurants have fixed menus where you can get two or three courses for cheap. The best areas for this are the Latin Quarter, Republique and the Marais if you look hard enough
  • If you’re staying at a hostel or an apartment with a kitchen, stock up on fresh food from a Carrefour or a weekend market and cook at home
  • Walk everywhere! It’s a reasonably small city so no need to spend money on taxis unless you’re heading somewhere with your suitcases, and public transport is cheap if you need to travel a decent distance
  • If you want to treat yourself to a bit of luxury without hurting your credit card, go somewhere fancy for a hot chocolate or dessert. You’ll get a five star experience without having to eat microwave pasta for the rest of your trip.
  • Take it easy on the drinking. Alcoholic bevvies in Paris are expeeeensive! You might be able to score a €6 house wine in areas like the Latin Quarter and Montmartre, but a spirit and mixer will set you back a minimum of €8, likely more.
  • If you do want to drink then consider getting a bottle from the supermarket and heading to Champs de Mars or the banks of the Seine, or try the neighbourhoods of Oberkampf or Belleville for budget-friendly nightlife.
  • If you’re travelling to Paris in summer, there are loads of free events put on around the city. From open air cinemas and free music festivals to Pride and the insane Bastille Day fireworks, there’s plenty to do without having to spend money.
  • On the first Sunday of every month, some of the most famous museums in Paris are free! That includes the Louvre, Musée Picasso and Musée Rodin.
Best fireworks in paris
The best fireworks display I have EVER seen hands down, Bastille Day at the Eiffel Tower

The best things to do in Paris

For a full list of epic things to do in Paris I’ll publish a new blog post soon, but here are some of my favourites.

  • See the Eiffel Tower, obviously! My favourite view is from Trocadero.
  • Wander around the Jardin du Luxembourg
  • Take a spin on the Roue de Paris if you’re there during summer
  • Grab a coffee and a pastry and people-watch from a sidewalk table
  • Stroll down the banks of the Seine
  • Get a caricature done in Montmartre
  • See a cabaret show
  • Visit one of the many museums
  • Have a picnic at the Champs de Mars
  • Go shopping at classy boutiques in the Marais neighbourhood
Cheap cabaret in Paris
La Nouvelle Eve is an incredible (and affordable) cabaret show

The best day trips from Paris

  • Disneyland Paris for anyone young-at-heart!
  • The Palace of Versailles
  • The castles of the Loire Valley
  • Monet’s Garden in Giverny
  • You can get a cheap train from Paris to Brussels in only 1.5 hours
  • Luxembourg is less than 2.5 hours away by train

The best Paris photo spots

  • Palais Royal
  • Pigalle basketball court
  • Pont Alexandre III
  • Pont de Bir-Hakeim
  • Malabar Cafe
  • The sinking house of Montmartre
  • Moulin Rouge
  • Jardin du Luxembourg
  • Place des Vosges
  • Petit Palais
Paris Instagram spots Palais Royal
The stunning black and white column display at Palais Royal

My ultimate Paris recommendations

This blog is looong, so I don’t blame you if you skipped all the way to the bottom. As promised, here’s a definitive list of my ultimate Paris travel tips, with must-sees, must-eats and must-dos.

Must-see view: The panoramic view from the Arc de Triomphe, €12 to go up

Must-eat: Broken record but a DIY bread and cheese picnic with a bottle of vino

Most beautiful interior: The department store Galeries Lafayette for sure

Best sunrise spot: Looking over to the Eiffel Tower from Trocadero

Best dessert: Pierre Hermé macarons

Best suburb to visit: The Marais is definitely my favourite neighbourhood. Stylish boutiques, classy cafés, funky gift shops and good looking people everywhere!

An event you shouldn’t miss: Bastille Day on July 14. I know this sounds dramatic (classic me!) but standing under the Eiffel Tower watching the crazy Bastille Day fireworks display was honestly one of my favourite ever travel memories. It’s set to some sweet tunes, the pyrotechnics and light show are absolutely insane, and you’re surrounded by hundreds of thousands of people all in awe just like you. So special.

Best free experience: Wander through the stunning gardens all over the city. My favourites are Jardin du Luxembourg and Jardin des Tuileries

Best way to see the city: On foot, for free! Just wander up and down random streets and I guarantee you’ll find cafés, boutiques and views that you’ll fall in love with.

Best splurge-worthy activity: See a cabaret show. We couldn’t quite bring ourselves to pay €100+ for Moulin Rouge, but we found a smaller cabaret just around the corner called La Nouvelle Eve and LOVED it. We paid €59 each and that included half a bottle of champagne each. A super fun night, very entertaining from start to end, well worth the money.

Best nearby adventure: I’m a child at heart so I’ve got to say Disneyland Paris!

Paris travel tips and guide
Just another gorgeous corner café

I could write LOADS of blogs from my week in Paris but I’d love to know what you want to hear about! More Paris travel tips? Cheap eats? Photo spots? A neighbourhood guide? Tell me in the comments below.

Like this blog? Pin it!

Read more about my 52 in 52 adventure here, see all of my blog posts from the trip here, or check out my Instagram @findingalexx to see all of my travel photos.

WeWork Champs Elysees view

Thanks to the legends at LAZ’ Hotel & Spa for hosting me for one night, and to WeWork for partnering with me throughout my 52 in 52 adventure. As always, all opinions are my own and are completely based on my personal experience.

Updated on June 11th, 2020

52 countries, 52 weeks, mostly solo, sharing all my adventures and misadventures with the whole world! Exciting? Yes. Crazy? Also yes. I started planning this insane trip back in January 2019, booked my first flights in April, and officially set off on July 9 to Paris for my first stop.

I’ve got LOADS of messages and comments from people wanting to know more about why I’m doing it, how I’m planning it, where I’m going and how I can afford it, so I wanted to put all the FAQs in one easy place. Read on to learn all about my 52 in 52 travel project!

If you want to learn more about me and my previous trips, check out my personal FAQ here.

Skip straight to what you want to know:

Mljet National Park aerial view in Croatia

What is 52 in 52?

I’m visiting a new country every week for a year (almost), with the route based entirely off the cheapest flight available each week.

I used Skyscanner’s Everywhere search tool to check for the cheapest flight each Tuesday, then chose the first country that came up, booked a flight (or a train or bus if they were better), and repeated that over and over again!

As of writing this blog, I’m three weeks in to the year-long trip. Hello from Warsaw, Poland!

Why did you decide to do this trip?

This is a long one! In June 2019 my UK working holiday visa was expiring, so in early 2019 I started thinking about my next move. I definitely wasn’t ready to settle back in NZ just yet, and after an extended period in an unhappy job situation I felt sick at the thought of sitting in an office in another country, so long-term travel was the obvious option. But that was the easy part!

With no travel buddy, not a huge amount of savings and no financial security, and on the other hand literally endless opportunities of where to go and what to do, this was going to be a crazy trip to bring to life.

My previous full-time job of encouraging other young people to get out and see the world definitely grew into a personal mission, and I knew that I wanted to do some type of trip that helped break down the barriers that get in the way of people booking their next adventure. The two biggest ones? Time and money.

I know that the vast majority of people who follow me or read this blog don’t have the freedom to take months off work, or the budget to explore Europe for weeks at a time.

There are plenty of incredible travel bloggers out there who share epic experiences of extended South America backpacking trips, or spending six months months in Asia, or road tripping across the entire globe (massive shout out to Expedition Earth!), but I wanted my trip to showcase adventures that any young traveller could replicate.

To tackle the time barrier, I decided to do a trip made up of 52 one-week adventures, showing how I make the most of seven days in each of the 52 destinations. I don’t expect anyone else to try and visit 52 countries in a year (not sure if anyone else is that crazy haha) BUT I do hope my trip inspires someone to spend a week in Spain’s Basque Country, or Turkey, or Tel Aviv, or any of the 52 places I’m visiting.

Oh, and budget? I’m just going where the cheapest flight tells me to go each week, which means no forking out because I need to be in a specific place on a specific date. Flexibility is key to getting cheap travel deals, and the route is taking me to loads of places I probably never would’ve added on to a world trip if I was planning it myself.

How cheap are your flights?

So. Cheap. I’ve booked the first 26 weeks so far, and the weekly transport (mostly flights, two trains, not including Bangkok to Kuala Lumpur to Singapore because I’m on a tour) has come to a total of £1750. That’s 26 countries, all through Europe, the Middle East, Asia and down to NZ, for less than £2000! That also includes luggage, so if you were travelling hand luggage only (good luck to you haha) the price would be less than £800.

The second half of the trip will be more expensive as flying in Australasia, Asia and the Americas is pricier than Europe, but the total for the year should be between £4000 and £5000.

How do you find cheap flights?

The best way to find cheap flights is to be flexible on where and/or when you go. If you want to visit Disneyland in the school holidays then obviously you’re going to be paying the highest prices, but if you can travel mid-week or in the shoulder season, and if you can consider visiting somewhere that’s not necessarily a tourist hot spot, you’re far more likely to get a good deal.

Of course, being flexible with time isn’t always an option depending on your job or study situation. If there are specific dates you want to travel, I’d really recommend putting them in to Skyscanner’s Everywhere tool to see all the cheap flight options for your dates.

You might not visit somewhere that’s been on your bucket list forever, but you might find a hidden gem and you’ll have loads more money to spend while you’re there too. It’s a win-win.

Is this trip sponsored by Skyscanner?

I wish! I do work with some travel partners but Skyscanner is not a sponsor of this trip, yet… I really, really love Skyscanner and I find all my flights through them, so I’d obviously love for them to come on board. If you try out the Everywhere tool or use Skyscanner because I’ve mentioned it, please let me know, and I can use that as a testimonial for when I finally speak to Skyscanner’s marketing team 😉

What about your carbon footprint?

Sustainable travel is a really important topic, and something I want to talk about throughout my trip. I’m offsetting all of my carbon emissions throughout the year, either at the time of purchase (if the airline offers that) or in bulk on myclimate.org.

While this trip entails a lot of flying, the majority of my flights are short-haul, and on low cost carriers who have higher occupancy and (generally) newer and more eco-friendly fleets than legacy carriers.

For the first 26 weeks, my carbon emissions come to the exact same amount as a single return flight from Auckland to London via Dubai in economy class, or a return flight from Auckland to LAX direct in business class, so the number of flights doesn’t necessarily mean it’s far worse than one long-haul trip.

My carbon offset for the first six months comes to around £150 total. It’s not as much as you’d expect, and I’d recommend everyone to consider offsetting their flights next time you travel somewhere.

I’m also taking trains between routes where that’s a logical option (like Amsterdam and Zurich) but because a lot of the destinations aren’t capitals and major hubs or aren’t next to each other, unfortunately there aren’t as many train options as you’d expect.

In terms of sustainability outside of flying, here are some other things I’m doing to try minimise my impact:

  • Cutting down any single-use plastic
  • Travelling with a filtered drink bottle to avoid buying bottled water
  • Using Ethique shampoo, conditioner, body wash and other toiletries, a zero-waste Kiwi company
  • Walking as much as possible throughout the week, or using public transport where possible instead of taxis or Uber
  • Decreasing my meat consumption, and I have Huel at least once if not twice a day, which is vegan and sustainably-sourced
  • Trying to find accommodation with strong sustainability policies

Always keen to hear new tips on how to be more sustainable!

How much will the whole trip cost, including accommodation and everything else?

It’s impossible to know, because I don’t even have all the destinations confirmed yet. My weekly spend changes drastically depending on where I am (Warsaw is shaping up to be incredibly cheap, but my bank account was nooot happy in Paris!). I’ll be sharing exactly how much I spend in each place on my weekly wrap up blogs.

Are you just booking on the fly each week or planning in advance?

I’ve got the first six months booked so far, because I need to be able to plan ahead for visas, accommodation etc. I’ll be booking the second half of the trip in the next few weeks.

How can you afford to travel so much?

Unsurprisingly, this is what I get asked the most! To clear up any immediate assumptions, I do not have a rich boyfriend, my parents do not pay, and I’m not in some high flying job. Dammit!

I did have some savings back home that I’m using over the year (about $12,000 NZD/£6500), I had about £3000 from my final pay and savings from the last few months in London, and I will be doing a small amount of freelance work over the year (probably worth about £700 per month).

I also want to say that travel does not cost as much as you think. My flights so far have cost less than £80 on average (some as low as £30 including luggage), my hostel dorms are between £10 and £25 per night depending on the destination, and I’m mostly making my own food so not spending loads on eating out.

I’m being totally serious when I say that the majority of weeks are going to cost me significantly less than what I spent each week in London over the past two years.

The budget side is something I’m definitely winging (with confidence, I like to think haha) so I’ll continue being transparent about it throughout the year, and you can all learn from my inevitable mistakes.

What do you do for work?

I’m a freelance travel content creator, which is something that hardly existed five years ago. My job can mean loads of different things depending on the partner, but essentially I write travel blogs and articles, take photos and video, and share my experiences with different products, destinations or suppliers on social media.

My freelance activity, e.g. writing for huge companies like Hostelworld and STA Travel, is paid, but a lot of the content work I do for hotels, tour companies and so on is just in return for freebies or discounted rates. Ideally I’ll get to a stage where this type of activity actually gives me an income, but getting to that point takes time.

I don’t make any money off this blog yet but again, that will change as my audience grows.

Please note that any brand partnerships will never get in the way of me telling the truth. I will always be 100% honest and transparent in my content, so if I’m gifted something or sponsored by a company I wouldn’t use or don’t like myself, I’ll tell you.

Are you travelling solo?

Mostly, yep! I do have some friends and family coming to hang out with me at various points of the trip, but 95% of the time I’ll be by myself.

Do you get lonely travelling solo?

Ask me again in a year and I might have a different answer, but I haven’t felt lonely yet! I speak to my mum most days (probably incredibly annoying for her haha), I’m always in contact with my closest friends, I meet people in hostels and I am constantly chatting to new people through my Instagram or on travel Facebook groups.

I always thought of myself as an extrovert but after a few weeks solo I actually feel really comfortable being by myself in a random country. Because this trip isn’t all fun and games, it’s a lot of work around shooting, writing, editing and so on, it’s been amazing to be able to split my days between exploring the destination, doing some work and having down time, without needing to consider anyone else.

In saying that though, for the first six months I’ve got someone coming out to see me once a month for a quick visit, which will be amazing!

Who takes your photos?

Me, myself, and I! When I travel solo all my photos are taken with this tripod, aka my best buddy for the foreseeable future.

I use self-timer or WiFi on my camera to set it up to my phone, or if I’m shooting with my phone I’ll use the app Manual Camera where you can set an intermittent timer to take a photo every second for ten seconds. Then I just walk around and pose, and voila!

Taking photos with a tripod is tough when there’s people around so most of my shoots are super early in the morning, before anyone else is up and about.

I never really ask strangers to take a photo of me, but if I need to then I’ll keep an eye out for a family with kids taking a selfie, and offer to take one of all of them first. Then I’ll ask them to return the favour, and they probably won’t steal my phone because no one with a pram will be able to out-run me anyway!

Are you going back to countries you’ve already been to?

I’m visiting countries that I’ve visited before the start of the 52 in 52 trip, but once I’ve been to a country during the year then I can’t go back.

The only exception to this is that I’ve got two weeks in NZ for a family wedding, two weeks in Australia to be able to showcase two different states, and two weeks in the USA to showcase two different states as well.

Where did you start from?

I started the trip from Croatia, after a couple of weeks of relaxation and island hopping before kicking off a crazy year. The first flight I booked was the cheapest flight from Dubrovnik airport on Tuesday 9 July, which was to Paris for £26 one way (£55 including luggage).

What’s the itinerary?

My itinerary so far is:

July 9-16: Paris
July 16-23: Zaragoza/San Sebastian/Bilbao
July 23-30: Brussels/Bruges/Ghent
July 30-Aug 6: Warsaw
Aug 6-13: Vienna
Aug 13-20: Milan
Aug 20-24: Budapest
Aug 24-Sept 2: Jordan
Sept 2-10: Cyprus
Sept 10-17: Crete
Sept 17-24: Sofia
Sept 24-Oct 1: Hamburg/Munich for Oktoberfest
Oct 1-Oct 9: Porto
Oct 9-15: Zurich and the Swiss Alps
Oct 15-22: Amsterdam
Oct 22-29: Dublin/Killarney/Galway
Oct 29-Nov 5: Bucharest (Transylvania for Halloween!)
Nov 5-12: Israel
Nov 12-19: Turkey
Nov 19-26: Azerbaijan
Nov 26-Dec 3: Dubai/Abu Dhabi
Dec 3-10: New Delhi
Dec 10-15: Bangkok
Dec 15-28: Southern Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore on a tour
Dec 28-30: Singapore
Dec 30-Jan 7: Bali
Jan 7-21: Home for a family wedding
Jan 21 onwards: No idea yet!

What if the cheapest flight is to somewhere unsafe?

I’m not going anywhere with an “avoid non-essential travel” rating of safetravel.govt.nz, not just because of my own personal safety concerns but also because travel insurance may not cover high risk destinations. Most high risk countries don’t have cheap flights going there anyway so this hasn’t come up yet.

Do you have travel insurance?

YES! I always travel with travel insurance, and you should too. Not only does it cover you for lost luggage, but it can cover damaged or lost belongings on your trip, sickness or accidents, cancellation if something unexpected stops you from going (like an injury or death of a loved one), flight delays and LOADS more.

I have a long-term policy with Worldcare, which covers me for every single part of my trip until I am back in NZ in January, when I’ll get a second policy to cover the second half of my trip.

Always look at the policy wording when you buy insurance, as policies can differ quite significantly. I always go for policies with gadget cover, the ability to add high value items (like my drone), decent activities cover (like hot air ballooning, skiing, PADI diving etc.), a 24/7 contact number, and rental vehicle excess.

Sometimes if you book with a credit card, your credit card insurance will automatically cover you, but just be aware that this may not include comprehensive medical or luggage cover and you may be left out of pocket if you need to make a claim.

What about visas?

I’m travelling on a Kiwi passport, which comes in at 9th equal for strongest passport in the world, so I’m really lucky to get visa-free entry to loads of countries.

There are some places that require visas on arrival and a couple of e-visas, but anywhere that would need me to send my passport away (like Russia or China) are a no-go on this trip unfortunately as I can’t be without my passport. They’re on the list for a future trip for sure!

This website is a great resource for checking visa requirements for various passports.

Won’t you get burnt out going to a new place each week?

Another one to ask me again in a year! One week doesn’t seem like that long in each place, but as a Kiwi most of my international trips have been whirlwind, because you need to squeeze as much of a continent as you can into two or three weeks of leave. Living in London wasn’t too different either, except I’d have a monthly three or four day trip to somewhere in Europe.

Some of my stops include visiting more than one city so these will be busy for sure, but a lot of the weeks I’ll spend in a single city.

Most of the journeys are short-haul so only a couple of hours in the air, and aside from travel days I’ll have six full days in each destination, which I think is actually quite a decent amount of time.

My normal lifestyle in both London and Auckland was incredibly fast-paced, with a high stress job, a bustling social life, a gym routine and doing my blog on the side, so while I’ve added in the complication of constantly moving, I don’t need to worry about a job, social life or sticking to a gym routine! Woohoo!

How will you stay fit and healthy on the road?

This one is a work in progress. To stay healthy physically and mentally, I think the most important things are diet, exercise and sleep.

For exercise, I haven’t quite locked in a routine but ideally I’d be doing a short work out of some sort each day. I’m going to try out Les Mills on Demand, the app version of NZ’s best gym and the creator of gym classes found all around the world. If you’ve been to Virgin Active or FitnessFirst in the UK, you’ve probably done a Les Mills class!

LMOD is available on your computer or an app, and you can choose from hundreds of different work out classes, from deep stretching to combat to HIIT, and everything in between. As of July 2019 a monthly subscription is £11.95 for the UK or $29.99 for NZ. I’ll let you know how I find it once I get my A into G and try it out!

In terms of sleep, I have a terrible sleeping pattern that I am desperate to change. I can’t get to sleep until between 1am and 2am! This was a huge problem when I had an office job with a start time because I was constantly sleep-deprived, but being funemployed (well, self-employed kinda) I can sleep until 9am and not get in trouble.

I’m a super night owl so my best hours of productivity are from 8pm to 1am, but that means it’s hard to switch my brain off when it’s time to sleep. A work in progress!

To make sure I fall asleep and stay asleep while in hostels, I use these cheap silicon earplugs which are comfortable and completely silencing, and this eye mask if the room is light.

What do you eat when you’re travelling?

I have some weird dietary requirements after a complicated gallbladder surgery back in my late-teens, which can make eating while travelling really difficult. Unfortunately it’s not as easy as cutting a specific food group out, as a random variety of foods seem to mess with me and give me serious abdominal pain. Think of the stitch, but about a hundred times worse. It sucks!

The best way to avoid this is for me to eat a consistent diet, which is impossible when I’m flitting between cuisines on a weekly basis! Enter Huel, my lifesaver.

Huel is a powdered nutritionally-complete meal, just add water and it’s got the entire make up of carbs, protein, iron, and all other vitamins and minerals you need in a meal. It sounds and looks like a protein shake but it’s dietitian-approved as an actual meal, and it’s mainly used by busy people who would otherwise choose unhealthy food.

I find it perfect for travel because all I need is water, it’s got all the goodness I need, and it brings some consistency to my meal plan each week. I usually have it for breakfast each day and sometimes lunch too, if I’m travelling somewhere where food is expensive.

Huel is super cheap (less than £1.40 for a 500 calorie meal), vegan, there’s a gluten-free version and loads of flavour boosts to choose from, plus it’s sustainably-sourced and zero waste! Win, win, win.

If you want to try out Huel for yourself, click here to get £10 off your order

For dinners I try and stay at hostels or apartments with kitchens, and will do a supermarket shop when I get to a new destination. Food wastage can be an issue when you’re moving every week so normally I stick to basic meals, like pesto pasta with veges, wraps, or a stir fry.

What apps do you use when you’re travelling?

This question probably deserves a full blog so I’ll add that to my to do list, but here is a quick guide of apps to get before your trip:

  • Citymapper, for making sure you know how to get from A to B on public transport in major cities all around the world
  • Google or Apple Maps for obvious reasons
  • Uber (or local equivalent, like Grab in Southeast Asia, OlaCabs in India and Takkun in Japan)
  • Hostelworld and Booking.com for booking and managing accommodation
  • Google Photos to back up all my phone photos online
  • Google MyMaps, where you can create bespoke maps and pin important places. I have one for every destination I visit where I pin my accommodation, food suggestions, photo spots, shops to visit and loads more.
  • Snapseed and Lightroom mobile for photo editing
  • Lime, Bird, Dott or whatever the local equivalent is for e-scooter rental
  • Netflix and Amazon Prime
  • Google Translate
  • Life360, a tracking app that’s perfect if you’re travelling solo and want your family to be able to see where you are
  • Klook for booking activities and experiences
  • Audible for audiobooks
  • Skyscanner for booking flights
  • Transferwise for cheap currency exchange
  • Curve for managing all your different cards and currencies, with no overseas fees!

How do you deal with foreign exchange and always using different currencies?

I have a couple of different ways to manage my money on the road.

First of all, I swear by Monzo! (UK only, sorry Kiwis and Aussies.) Monzo is an app-based bank and is probably the best thing to happen to money since credit cards were invented. The app has a fantastic budgeting section, automatically categorises all of your spending, they offer super quick 24/7 service and you can freeze your card at the tap of a button.

You can also split bills and pay other Monzo users just by standing next to them and tapping their name, there’s no overseas fees and you get up to £200 a month free ATM withdrawals while travelling. Literally the bank of the future.

I use Transferwise for any currency exchanges I do, and I also have a Transferwise Borderless account for euros. THEN I have another UK bank, an NZ credit card and an NZ debit card. Travelling with this many cards can be super frustrating, so I was stoked when I heard about Curve!

Curve is a payment card, not a bank, where you can connect multiple bank cards in different currencies and manage them all through an app. I’ve connected all of my cards to it and then switch which card I want to use on my phone!

Curve also charges your cards in their local currency so you never have to pay foreign exchange fees, gives you 1% cashback at select retailers, and you can even go back in time and switch a payment to another card up to 14 days after purchase.

There’s a free version available with up to £200 fee-free overseas ATM withdrawals, or you can upgrade to Black for £9.99 a month or metal for £14.99 a month for £400 and £600 respectively, plus on the paid plans you get worldwide travel insurance and gadget insurance.

Definitely something that’s worth looking into if you’ve got multiple cards with different currencies.

Will you be staying in hostels, hotels or Airbnbs mostly?

I’ll be staying at hostels the majority of the time, with some hotels a few times a month and maybe Airbnbs when I’ve got friends coming out to see me.

How do you choose a hostel?

I’m obsessed with getting the best bang for your buck, so the number one thing I think about when choosing a place to stay is value for money. I don’t search for the cheapest option but I don’t search for the fanciest option either, I look for the best-rated option based on cost.

On Hostelworld I’ll filter by free WiFi, luggage storage and self-catering facilities, then show hostels rated only 8 and above, and then sort by price.

Let me say this once: Review scores are gospel. I always try and stay somewhere rated 9 or above, and will do an 8 if I have to due to price and availability, but it’d have to be tough times for me to consider anything in the 7s.

Reviews are written by travellers like us, so if other people haven’t been impressed then it’s likely you won’t either. In saying that though I’ll always check the review breakdown into categories (location, staff, comfort etc.) and what people have written, because then you can consider what (if anything) you’re okay to compromise on.

If they’ve mentioned security issues, hygiene concerns or *gasp* bed bugs, it should be a definite no. But if somewhere has an 8.3 rating because some people didn’t like their roommates, the WiFi was spotty or they had to wait ten minutes at the front desk to check in, then you’re probably fine.

And how do you choose a hotel?

Booking.com makes it super easy to search for the best value option, you just need to sort your search by “price and review score”. This shows you the cheap highly-rated options first, then the prices increase and ratings decrease.

If you’re on a budget (obviously I am haha) then adjust the maximum price on the sidebar, so it cuts out the five star hotels that are so expensive you’ll cry.

I really love staying at places with character, so I never go for business-y chain hotels (which are usually overpriced anyway). I’ll always aim to stay somewhere with super funky design, breakfast included, and a fridge so I can have a small amount of my own food.

How much luggage are you taking?

I’m travelling with one 75cm wheeled check in bag, a matching (of course) 55cm wheeled cabin luggage bag, and a laptop backpack.

Both of my suitcases are Samsonite Cosmolites, and they are absolute game changers. Packing for a year-long trip is tough, as you’d imagine, so I was desperate to find hard-case bags that were sturdy without being too heavy.

Samsonite UK kindly gifted me these two beauties for the trip, and they are basically straight out of my dreams!

 

The big one is 2.6kg and the small one is 1.7kg, both around half the weight of your average suitcase. Lightweight luggage is a lifesaver, and means I’ve got an extra couple of kgs for my stuff.

My laptop bag is just a cheap one from Amazon, but it can fit my 15.6″ laptop, notebook, my tech organiser with my camera gear, chargers etc.

Please note that I was gifted these bags by Samsonite, but I would never promote something I don’t truly love myself! All opinions on this blog are my own and are from my personal experience.

What clothes did you pack?

I have a confession to make: I’m a chronic over-packer. It all comes back to my analysis paralysis, I always feel like I need to have the perfect outfit for each potential situation! I’ll do a full blog on what I packed at some stage but just know that it’s probably way too much.

Because my destinations are ranging from European heatwave to Dublin in November to conservative countries in the Middle East, I had to take a massive variety of outfit options, and then also needed to think about comfort, weight and what would look good in photos. Not an easy task haha.

I did try to go for a ‘capsule wardrobe’ though, where each item has to match multiple other items to maximise the amount of potential outfits I could wear. This means mostly classic, basic pieces in neutral colours with a small amount of stand-out items that are coloured or patterned.

What’s in your camera bag?

A LOT. I normally shoot with a Lumix GX85 mirrorless camera, but I also take a lot of photos with my Pixel 3XL phone and Moment wide angle lens, my Mavic 2 Pro drone, an Insta360 360-degree camera, a GoPro Hero 7 Black and a DJI Osmo Pocket. Phew! For a full list of my tech, head on over to this blog.

Do you need a travel buddy?

Always looking for travel buddies! If your trip matches up with any destinations on my itinerary, or if you live somewhere I’m visiting and want to meet up, flick me a message on Instagram @findingalexx ????

How do I do something like this?

Just do it! You do need a bit of money (not as much as you’d think) and obviously a decent amount of time, but if you’re fine on those fronts then you can absolutely do this too. It’s scary, it takes a lot of planning, and it’s a tiny bit crazy, but I guarantee it’ll be the best thing you ever do.

If you have any other questions that I haven’t answered then comment below or flick me a message on Instagram @findingalexx, and I’ll add it to this list!

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Check out all of my 52 in 52 blogs right here, and see all of my adventures and misadventures on Instagram @findingalexx

Please note this blog contains affiliate links that give me a small commission from any purchase, at no extra cost to you. I would never advertise anything I wouldn’t use myself, and this commission helps Finding Alexx reach more travellers. Thank you for supporting me!

Looking for some help to maximise your time and effort on your blog? Whether you’re an established creator going through a bit of a rut, or a brand new blogger needing some tips to avoid getting overwhelmed, I’ve got lots of helpful blog workflow ideas to keep you organised and make sure you’re reaching your potential.

Confession: I’m an absolute nerd for productivity. I make spreadsheets for fun, I have tried out almost every project management tool on the internet, and I rely on my ‘second brain’ (my online system) for everything from appointment times, meal ideas, categorising my travel photos, managing my social media channels and more. As I said, nerd!

blog workflow

I totally understand that not everyone, in fact probably almost no one, is like me. Having a blog can be overwhelming, especially if you’re also juggling full-time work, social and family commitments, travel and so on. It’s a common occurrence for new bloggers to try this out as a side hustle, but to get discouraged when they start to see all the work that goes into it.

It’s taken me a couple of years of working on my blog, including the past year as a full-time content creator, to really knuckle down a travel blog workflow that is both efficient and effective.

Everyone’s blog, photography or creative workflow will be different because it needs to fit the way you think, but this guide will explain why you need a blog workflow, my exact workflow for blogging and content creation, how to create your own blog workflow and the best tools and gadgets I’ve found to help you stay organised.

Things to do during self-isolation

Why do you need a blog workflow?

Contrary to some people’s beliefs, having a blog doesn’t mean writing a couple of pages and pressing publish.

Depending on your niche, the work that goes into the back end of content creation is major. Travel bloggers obviously have to travel (some travel full-time, like me!), mum bloggers are raising children, fashion bloggers might be attending shows and launches, and food bloggers spend hours making their own dishes to share.

On top of that, you’ve got to build a brand, do SEO research, gather information, try products and services, take or source photos, manage social media, network, promote your posts, and build an email list. Then after all that’s done, you need to find ways to make money off it! That might mean outreach to potential partners, adding affiliate links or selling advertising on your website.

If you tackle each of these tasks in a different order or a different way for each blog, you’ll be wasting so much time!

Not only will you have to stop and think after every single task to try and remember what to do next, you’re much more likely to miss important steps or make mistakes if you’re winging it every time.

Having a workflow set up for each blog you publish can save time (and brainpower!), and help you maximise the success of your blog.

design desk display eyewear
Photo by energepic.com on Pexels.com

My exact travel blog workflow

Explaining a workflow process can be confusing because the terminology isn’t super clear.

So just to make it easy to understand, I’m going to split my workflow into three key areas: capturing content (travelling, taking photos, doing the things I’ll be writing about), publishing (keyword research, writing, editing, everything that can happen once I’m sitting at a desk on my laptop) and promoting (what I do after a blog has been published to get it seen by more people).

Ritz Carlton Hong Kong view

Step one: Capture the content

This one will totally depend on the type of content you create. If you’re a lifestyle blogger, this part might be quick and easy because you’re writing about the things that happen in your normal day-to-day life. For a travel blogger (like me) this is often the most time-consuming part, and might include planning a trip, exploring a new destination, staying at a hotel, doing an activity, etc.

The most important thing to remember for this step is to capture enough to use when you’re in the publishing stage. This could mean photos or videos, or just to take enough notes (mentally, electronically or on paper) to refer back to when you are writing.

I generally take both photos and videos, in both portrait and landscape orientation, on my camera and on my phone. I know that seems like a lot, but for me it’s necessary!

Photos are great for all channels but videos perform well on Instagram Stories and Tiktok, and might be useful down the line if I decide to focus more on YouTube or other video platforms. Portrait is best for Instagram because it takes up more of someone’s phone screen and is more likely to grab their attention, but I find a mix of landscape and portrait is important for blogs. And I always use phone photos to share on my Stories, but prefer to have the higher quality raw camera photos for other channels.

Don’t forget to back up your photos online (I use Google Photos) and on an external hard drive, just to be safe.

Girl sitting on train looking out at mountains in Swiss Alps

Step two: Do SEO research

Before you begin typing, you need to do some SEO research to plan your basic blog outline.

SEO research is essential to your blog workflow, because without it, your reach will be completely dependent on how you promote it on social media and other channels. With a good SEO strategy, your blog will make its way up Google’s ranks and with any luck you’ll be able to reach hundreds or thousands of people a day.

There’s a number of SEO tools out there, but my top pick is Keysearch. Keysearch is the most affordable and easy-to-use SEO platform that I’ve tried personally, so it’s unsurprising that it’s a popular choice for many bloggers. At only $17USD per month, or $169 annually, it’s a reasonably small investment compared to other SEO sites like Ahrefs or SEMRush (both $99 a month, ouch!). KWFinder is another budget-friendly option, at $30USD per month.

With Keysearch, you can find out search volumes and difficulty scores of different words you want to rank for, track your SERP (search engine results page) rankings, analyse your competitor’s keywords and more. I’m on the Starter monthly plan which gives me 200 daily searches, but if you’re doing SEO for a business you might need the Pro monthly plan which gives you 500 searches.

BONUS DEAL: Sign up to Keysearch with the promocode KSDISC and you’ll save 20% each month!

To make sure you’re writing a blog that is likely to rank, use Keysearch to find keywords with a low difficulty score and decent search volume. Your potential to rank will depend a lot on your topic, the strength of your website’s Google profile (how many backlinks you have, your expertise on the subject etc.) and how informative and Google-friendly your blog is, so it’s impossible to give you exact numbers to aim for.

If you’re keen to take your SEO skills to the next level, head on over to Make Traffic Happen where Gemma and Laura dive deep into SEO strategy with their ‘SEO the Easy Way’ course and eBook.

advertising alphabet business communication
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Step three: Plan blog outline

Now that you’ve got the keywords you’re aiming to rank for, it’s time to plan your blog.

Is it a review, a listicle, a thorough destination guide or something different? Figure out the question you’re answering or the problem you’re solving. Is it telling people things to do in Hungary, or the best gifts for new mums, or a comparison of two different cameras? Understand why you’re writing the blog first, and then it’s much easier to plan the layout of the article.

I try to plan my headers before I begin writing but that might not work for everyone. It might take you a bit of trial and error to learn whether you prefer to have a detailed blog plan first or if you like writing off the cuff and set it out into headers later.

Be sure to include your keywords in the first paragraph and sprinkle them throughout your headers and paragraphs, but only use them in places that make sense and don’t stuff them in every second sentence. You want Google to be able to read your blog and understand what you’re talking about, but don’t forget first and foremost you’re writing for humans!

do something creative everyday text
Photo by Joslyn Pickens on Pexels.com

Step four: Write!

I think this is the easiest bit! Sit down at your computer, your tablet or your desk with a pen and paper, and start bringing your blog to life.

My personal preference is to type up blogs on my laptop on WordPress, but many people write their blogs in Word, Google Docs or another online programme before transferring it into WordPress. Either way, make sure you’ve got a decent spellcheck like Grammarly (free) to avoid any spelling or grammatical errors.

Step five: Get the blog ready for publishing

Now step four and five might be a bit intertwined depending on your workflow preferences.

To get a blog to the stage where it’s ready to publish, it’s essential that it’s laid out correctly with optimised headers and sections, include relevant external and internal links, include photos and have an SEO-friendly meta description.

On top of that, you might also need an affiliate or sponsorship disclaimer, a table of contents, a call-to-action encouraging a comment or purchase, a social plugin for easy social sharing, Pinterest pins, and a featured snippet if your blog theme requires one.

My exact blog workflow for this step looks like this:

  • Write the blog
  • Write a CTA that encourages comments
  • Add relevant internal links
  • Add relevant external links and affiliate links
  • Add a ‘read more’ section to similar blogs
  • Add photos (I normally use my own but you can find free stock photos on Unsplash)
  • Add Pinterest pins
  • Add affiliate, sponsored or PR buttons/disclaimers if necessary
  • Add meta description
  • Add feature text (my blog theme pulls this onto the blog homepage)
  • Double check keywords + spelling + grammar
  • Publish or schedule the blog!
woman using smartphone and laptop
Photo by Plann on Pexels.com

Step six: Build links

Once a blog is live, I start thinking about how I can build the post’s link profile.

I’ll go through old related blogs and add a link to the new blog, and I’ll look for opportunities for guest posts or collaboration posts on link building Facebook groups (like this one) to give it some Google love.

Step seven: Promote on social

The last step is to share the blog across my own social channels. I normally add the Pinterest pins to my Tailwind schedule and Tailwind Tribes, do a ‘swipe up’ Instagram Story, share it on my Facebook page and might do a LinkedIn post.

apple applications apps cell phone
Photo by Tracy Le Blanc on Pexels.com

How to create a blog workflow

Go through the your existing blog process from start to finish

To figure out how you can make your workflow better, you first need to complete the entire process start to finish to know what you’re working with.

Begin with thinking of an idea for a blog, and note down every single step it takes you to reach the stage of publishing and promoting it. Be sure to include specific tools you use, like a keyword research platform or photo editing software.

It might seem like a loooong list, but it’s meant to! The idea here is to have every single task of your workflow on a Google doc (or a piece of paper if you work that way!) so you can see exactly where you can make improvements.

Cross-check tasks to see if you are doubling up anywhere

Are you editing photos twice, once for social media and then again for your blog posts? Or are you writing a blog post but then rewriting after doing some more SEO research?

You want to avoid switching back and forth between tasks, it’s much more efficient to do photos > writing > promoting rather than to interrupt each step by having the fix something from the step before.

Kos One Canggu hostel

Batch tasks that use the same software/tools

I prefer to write the blog first, then upload the photos, then write all the photo alt texts, and then add all the links at once. I find it much quicker to be adding links (especially affiliate links) at one time once the blog is written, rather than searching for links when I’m in the middle of writing.

You might want to batch tasks like Pinterest pin creation, social sharing, backing up your photos etc.

Write your blog workflow somewhere you can track it

This one’s important! Write down your blog workflow somewhere that’s easy to access and easy to track your progress.

I have mine set out in Airtable, which is the project management software I use. On here I’ve got a spreadsheet with my entire blog workflow on the first column with tickboxes in the rest, so I can track exactly what stage I’m at in the workflow for various blogs.

Do the same for other creative processes

I actually have a workflow spreadsheet for my photography and my partnerships too. This way I can see at a glance exactly what stage I’m at in terms of editing photos, writing blogs and fulfilling partnership commitments for every trip I do, which means I never have to be stressed about forgetting something or skipping a step!

Setting up a creative workflow can take a bit of time to begin with but the benefits are undeniable. By following a pattern and tracking your progress on tasks, you’re able to get more done, quicker, with less stress. The dream!


Tools and gadgets to support your blog workflow

There are some handy gadgets and online tools that you can use to maximise your time and effort that you’re spending on your blog.

A decent computer

Baby boomers and elderly tourists might think tablets are the future, but I’m a laptop girl myself. A tablet is ideal for Netflix and… well, that’s about it. I need a proper screen, a keyboard and decent storage to keep on top of my blog and content creation. A good laptop is one of the most important blogging or digital nomad essentials!

My laptop is the ASUS Zenbook Pro Duo, and it’s a productivity nerd’s dream! It’s got a 15.6″ 4K screen plus a 14″ 4K ScreenPad, which extends the main screen to take up half of the bottom of the laptop, above the keyboard. It’s ideal for multi-tasking, emailing, video or photo editing, or for watching Trevor Noah’s Daily Show while I’m “working”.

Skyroam WiFi hot spot

Portable hard drives

If you’re working with photos, you’ll need a secure back up system. Ideally this means an online back up and at least two external back ups.

I prefer the LaCie rugged hard drives because they’re sturdy and can handle being shoved into the bottom of my carry on bag, but I’ve also had good experienced with Seagate and WD Elements.

A physical diary or workbook

Some people prefer actual paper notebooks over online tools, or like to mix the two.

I use online tools to track big projects and my detailed to-do list, but I still use an actual diary for daily to-dos, setting goals and monthly check ins. This is the goal-setting diary I have.

A project management tool

If you’re serious about your content creation or blog workflow, it’s definitely worth setting up a free account with a project management platform to track your tasks. Once again, I’ve tested loads out so I can share my personal experience with the different options.

Airtable is my go-to project management tool. It’s like Excel or Google Sheets on steroids, with loads of templates to choose from and different views for your projects. I use a free Airtable account for loads of different projects and tasks, like my blog workflow, photography workflow, travel plans and a gigantic bucket list of hotels, restaurants and activities I want to do on my travels. Told you I’m a nerd…

I’m also familiar with Monday.com, Asana, Trello and Todoist either through my blog or previous job. Monday.com and Asana are both great for project management if you’re working with a team, and Trello and Todoist are more like to do lists with some fancy features.

mug watch and planner book on brown wooden surface
Photo by Content Pixie on Pexels.com

A note-taking system

Does anyone else feel bogged down with the sheer amount of information you try and keep inside your brain? I felt this way for years – between a busy full-time job, travelling almost every weekend and trying to grow my blog, I was exhausted trying to stay on top of each aspect of my life.

Enter Evernote!

Evernote is a free online note-taking tool that you can use to hold all that info you’re currently trying to squeeze into your head. I use Evernote to store important links, contact details, my yearly goals, notes and minutes from meetings and conferences, summaries of books I’ve read, ideas for future blog posts and more.

Blog resources

There are a bunch of different blog resources I’ve mentioned here that could save you time in the long run.

I hope this blog workflow guide has helped you to optimise the time and effort you’re spending on your blog! Blogging is a hard slog and it can be tough to stay consistent but with a workflow to follow each time you create a new post, you’ll find it much easier and quicker. Let me know in the comments if you have any questions!

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Disclaimer: This blog post is sponsored by ASUS UK, my official laptop partner.

Planning an itinerary for 2 days in Milan? This thriving cultural hub is one of the world’s fashion capitals, but there’s plenty of exquisite architecture, funky neighbourhoods and epic activities for every type of traveller. From the obvious attractions to lesser-known churches, and from shopping hot spots to football stadiums, here’s a huge list of fun things to do in Milan in 2 days, plus the perfect Milan 2 day itinerary!

And to help you plan your Milan trip with minimal fuss, I’ve included loads of info on how to get to Milan, how to get around, potential places to stay and things to know before you go.

2 days in Milan

Things to do in Milan in 2 days

Visit the Duomo di Milano

Up there on my personal list of most exquisite buildings I’ve ever seen, the Duomo di Milano is absolutely mind-blowing. With 135 spires, 3,400 statues and a 108m tall marble facade, Milan’s cathedral is the largest church in Italy and second-largest in Europe, after St Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican City (a sovereign state within Italy’s borders). Construction began way back in 1386, and the current building wasn’t finished until 1965!

Milan duomo at sunrise
You’ve got to get to the Duomo at sunrise to see it with hardly any tourists around

You can head into the cathedral to explore at your own pace for only €3, and a pass up to the rooftop to see the spires up close is €10 by stairs or €14 by lift. Duomo di Milano tickets are snapped up quickly so get there early, or be prepared to wait in lines. If you’re keen for the full Duomo experience, including fast-track admission, a guided tour through the cathedral, rooftop access and entry to the Basilica Nuova, a church completed in 355 sitting underneath where the Duomo stands, you can book this highly-rated guided tour on Klook.

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Marvel at the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II

Window shop ’til you drop in the stunning Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, home to flagship designer stores, historic bookshops and genuine Italian leather accessory vendors, as well as some high-end restaurants and wine bars.

Girl standing in Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II Milan

If you can pull your eyes away from the glitzy dresses and lavish handbags in the windows of fashion houses like Prada, Versace and Armani, you’ll notice that the building itself is also seriously impressive, with a glass-dome roof that lets sunlight stream in all day. And if you manage to see the arcade outside of shopping hours, head to the bull mosaic tiles right underneath the middle of the dome, stand on the bull’s testicles with your heel, and spin around three times for good luck. Yes, I’m serious!

See the Last Supper at the Santa Maria delle Grazie

One of Leonardo da Vinci’s 15th century masterpiece murals, the Last Supper is available for viewing at the Santa Maria delle Grazie dining hall. Art buffs cannot miss this, but you need to book in advance if you’ve only got 2 days in Milan! Tickets are released two months at a time and about two or three months before the date of visit. You can book tickets through the official website here.

If you miss out on getting a ticket through the official website, you can book a guided tour last minute if you’re willing to pay the money.

Sip an Aperol Spritz at the Terrazza Aperol

Aperol Spritz is the summer drink of choice for young revellers all over the globe these days, but this spot is guaranteed to be one of the best views for sipping a Spritz anywhere in the world. Terrazza Aperol isn’t known for its service, and the prices aren’t cheap, but the bustling atmosphere, great music and incredible vantage point up close to the Duomo make it worth the euros.

Terrazza Aperol in Milan

Wander through Parco Sempione

This 38 hectare park inside Milan’s historic centre is a brilliant escape from busy shops and chaotic piazzas, just a short walk from the city’s main landmarks. Modeled off a typical English garden, the park was created in the 1890s and connects the grand Arco della Pace, or Arch of Peace, with Sforza Castle.

Within the park there’s bike paths, pedestrian walkways, picnic areas and cafés, and in summer there’s an entertainment programme with fun activities and shows for the whole family. We stumbled across a dancing competition for the elderly, and proceeded to watch sprightly 80 year olds dance their hearts out for an hour!

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And see the Castello Sforzesco

Although construction in this location first began in the 1300s, the existing castle was built in the 15th century and has been extensively renovated and restored in more recent years. These days, the castle is home to a number of museums and galleries, boasting statues and paintings from artists and creators like Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci, as well as antique furniture and instruments.

Visit Piazza Mercanti

Piazza Mercanti is a Medieval-era merchants’ square with well-preserved buildings that were once some of the most important places in Milan. The architecture here is noticeably different to other parts of the city, and you can see the old locations of Milan’s courthouses, chamber of commerce and more.

Soak up the atmosphere in Navigli

Hands down my favourite part of the city, Navigli’s absolutely pumping with good vibes and even better food. The main stretch along the Navigli Grande canal is full of waterfront eateries and hip cockatil bars, and the side streets are home to hidden gems that are absolutely worth exploring.

Navigli at night Milan
Sunset over Navigli Grande canal

I’d recommend heading here during the day to take a boat ride down the canal, grab a gelato cone and take advantage of lunch specials at one of the authentic restaurants, but then make sure you’re back in the early evening because…

Join in for aperitivo

At 5pm every afternoon, Navigli’s quiet paths are filled with locals taking part in their traditional aperitivo routine. Aperitivo is where order a drink from a bar or restaurant, and you get small plates and antipasto snacks for free! Prices and food quality depend on the place you choose but we paid €8 for a (strong!) cocktail and had our pick of about 20 different small plate options, ranging from cold cuts to pastas to bruschetta.

best aperitivo in Milan Navigli
Aperitivo is the meal of my dreams

This is a Milanese after-work routine to wind down from a busy day in the office, and it’s something I wish every destination implemented! Navigli’s sunsets are a stunner too, aim to grab a seat outside to watch the sky turn all shades of pink and purple reflected in the canal.

Keen to take aperitivo to the next level? This guided tour will show you the best of Navigli’s food and drink scene, and includes loads of food plus two glasses of wine and a cocktail.

Watch a show at Teatro alla Scala

Hosting a variety of concerts, operas and ballet shows, Teatro alla Scala is a world-class theatre that first opened in 1778. Their theatre programme consists of classic operas, symphony orchestra concerts, ballet recitals and more, and many renowned musicians, actors, dancers and composers have performed at La Scala. Check the upcoming events in advance as many shows sell out!

For true theatre fans, there’s also a museum attached to La Scala, which gives you an insight into the theatre’s history, Italian opera culture and memorabilia from past performances. You can buy tickets here.

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Fill your suitcase down Corso Vittorio Emanuele II

Let’s be honest, taking home a Prada purse or Armani jacket is unlikely to be within your travel budget, but this city has something for everyone if you’re planning on shopping for a day in Milan. Corso Vittorio Emanuele II is one of the city’s main high street shopping areas, with global chains like Zara and Mango as well as smaller Italian shops and souvenir stores.

It’s easy to reach after visiting the Duomo or La Scala, and it’s pedestrian-only so you don’t need to avoid mopeds weaving in and out of the crowds. After shopping up a storm, head to a trattoria for an authentic meal or pop to a pumping wine bar for a local tipple.

Girls shopping in Milan street

See the Basilica of Sant’Ambrogio

Saint Ambrose, a 4th century Archbishop of Milan, built this ancient church in 387AD, and it was reconstructed in Romanesque style in the 11th century. The unique church has two huge bell towers of different heights, a vast courtyard, and a crypt containing the remains of Saint Ambrose himself, as well as two other saints. If you’re interested in architecture, this is a stand out from most other buildings in the city.

Take a tour through San Siro Stadium

Football fiends, this one’s for you. A visit to San Siro Stadium is a must-do for any sports fans visiting Milan, or anyone travelling with soccer-mad kids! Walk through a museum dedicated to AC Milan and Inter Milan, with uniforms and memorabilia of past competitions, visit the locker rooms, and head out to see San Siro’s field from where the players enter the stadium. You can buy skip-the-line tickets here.

If you are a serious AC Milan or Inter Milan geek, go for the more expensive guided tour. You’ll get a proper lesson on the stadium’s history, football culture in Italy, and both teams that call San Siro Stadium home.

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Have a classy meal in Brera

Brera is one of the most sophisticated parts of the city, and it’s particularly charming for a night time walk and evening meal or drink. Choose the most elegant outfit in your suitcase or your backpack, or buy something fresh and fancy, and head out to find a gorgeous wine bar and treat yourself to a nice red with a huge antipasto platter.

Girl eating lunch in MIlan

Proper foodies might prefer to explore Brera on this guided food tour, which includes six tasting plates of various local delicacies. Yum!

Get some fresh air in Porta Nuova

This innovative district is Milan’s green lung, which is currently being redeveloped with a huge focus on sustainability and healthy living. It’s home to a huge park, uniquely laid out with criss-crossed bike and pedestrian paths and home to more than 135,000 plants. With the open green space right next to towering skyscrapers, you’d be forgiven for thinking you were in Silicon Valley instead of an Italian city!

Porta Nueva Bosco Verticale apartment buildings

It’s impossible to miss, but make sure you take a good look at the Bosco Verticale, a pair of self-sufficient residential apartment buildings with trees planted on the outside of apartment balconies. One of the coolest things to see in Milan!


The perfect Milan 2 day itinerary

Day one

  • Visit the Duomo di Milano, Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II and Piazza Mercanti in the centre of the city, ideally before all the other tourists get there!
  • Head down Corso Vittorio Emanuele II for a spot of shopping
  • Visit Teatro alla Scala (bonus points if there’s a show on!)
  • See the Last Supper at Santa Maria delle Grazie
  • Visit the Basilica of Sant’Ambrogio
  • Spend your evening in Navigli, joining in on the Milanese tradition of aperitivo

Day two

  • Do a tour at San Siro Stadium
  • Head to the Isola district to see some brilliant street art, then walk over to the modern Porta Nuova district. Don’t miss the Bosco Verticale apartment buildings!
  • Visit Parco Sempione and Castello Sforzesco
  • Wander down to the elegant Brera district for a drink at a fancy wine bar or a delicious meal
  • After dinner, head back to the Piazza del Duomo to see the Duomo all lit up at night
  • If you’re keen to continue your night, the Terrazza Aperol is a worthwhile place to start!
Girl and vespa in front of street art in Milan Isola
Street art in Isola, near Porta Nueva

How to get to Milan

Milan has great transport links to other European transport hubs by plane, train, bus or car.

There are three airports in Milan: Malpensa (MXP), Linate (LIN) and Bergamo (BGY). Malpensa is the main airport for major international airlines, but if you’re flying on a low cost carrier like RyanAir or EasyJet, you’ll probably be arriving at Bergamo. Linate is mostly used for domestic flights. Bergamo and Malpensa are on the opposite sides of the city, but each airport has about a one hour journey into the city, Bergamo by bus and Malpensa by the Malpensa Express train.

If you’re travelling through Europe on a rail pass, Milan is easy to reach by train from most nearby cities. It’s two hours from Venice, three from Rome, almost four from Zurich and about seven from Munich. And if you’re on a tight budget, Flixbus and a number of other bus companies run bus services all through Europe for crazy low prices, with long drives but excellent value if you’re not in a rush.

You can search all bus and train tickets to Milan right here on Omio, which shows you all the options available.

If you’re lucky enough to have a rental car in Europe, Milan is easy to get to from Switzerland, southern Germany, southeast France, western Austria or other parts of Italy.

Girl walking down street in Isola, MIlan

How to get around Milan

Milan’s got a well-connected metro system which can get you to and from all the major landmarks. A single ticket costs €2 and is valid for 90 minutes, or you can buy a 10-ticket carnet for €18. If you’re just spending 2 days in Milan, you can get a 48 hour ticket for €8.25, or if you’re in Milan for one day it’s €4.50 for a 24 hour ticket.

Note that in Milan, you’re limited on taking luggage on the metro. Similar to flights, you can have a carry-on size suitcase up to 50cm for free, but a larger suitcase will set you back an extra €1.50 for a luggage ticket.

If you’re keen to explore above ground and hop on and off at various tourist spots, consider getting a Milan hop-on hop-off bus ticket. You can choose from a 24 hour or 48 hour ticket, and you’ll be able to easily plan an ideal 2 day Milan itinerary.

Statue in Milan city centre

Where to stay during your 2 days in Milan

Budget travellers rejoice, there’s a number of decent hostels in Milan that won’t break the bank. We stayed at Atmos Luxe, it’s small but the beds are comfy, bathrooms are super clean and there’s breakfast available for an additional cost. It’s ideally located, just a short walk to Navigli aka aperitivo central! Other highly-rated hostels worth considering are Ostello Bello Grande, Combo Milano or Ostelzzz Milano.

Milan hostel Atmos Luxe bedroom
Our bunkroom at Atmos Luxe hostel

If you prefer a hotel for your 2 days in Milan, INTOMilan Aparthotel is my pick in the city, or for an apartment take a look at Apartment Solari in Navigli.

I hope this list of the best things to do in Milan in 2 days has helped you plan your trip! Milan is ideal for a weekend getaway and there is SO much to see, do and eat to fill any 2 days in Milan itinerary. If I’ve missed anything important please let me know in the comments!

You can find more things to do in Milan on Klook, and find the best places to stay in Milan on booking.com or on Hostelworld.

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Read more about my 52 in 52 adventure here, see all of my blog posts from the trip here, or check out my Instagram @findingalexx to see all of my travel photos.

Huge thanks to Atmos Luxe for hosting me for four nights. As always, all opinions are my own and are based on my personal experience.

Updated on July 27th, 2020

I spent a glorious week in Chania, Crete’s second biggest city located on the northwest coast of the island, for week #10 of my 52 countries in 52 weeks project. While I did manage to squeeze in a trip to one of the world’s best beaches, I’ll admit that the majority of the week I was actually trying out all the best restaurants in Chania, all in the name of research, of course.

Crete is by far Greece’s largest island, but it’s somehow managed to keep a distinctly local feel. From mountain villages to coastal towns to historical city centres like Chania’s Venetian Harbour, Cretan tradition is still strongly celebrated in the way of festivals, architecture, and, of course, cuisine.

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I’m a sucker for any destination with a thriving food scene, and Chania impressed me from the get go. Local markets sell cheese, olive pil and wine produced on the island, family-owned taverns serve up freshly caught fish, and cocktail bars, ice cream parlours and healthy cafés cater to both young residents and travellers alike. Here’s a run down of the best places to eat in Chania that you have to visit when you’re there.

best restaurants in chania crete

Best brunch in Chania: Ginger Concept

Kallinikou Sarpaki 36, Chania Town

I accidentally stumbled across Ginger Concept while looking for the Well of the Turk, which you’ll also find on this list. Located down a classic Cretan cobbled street on the outskirts of Chania’s Old Town, Ginger Concept is a modern and elegant bistro serving up brunch dishes like smoothie bowls, Edam and prosciutto toast, and Nutella pancakes.

Their all day menu has sharing plates, gourmet pizza and classic pastas, but the breakfast offerings are definitely the selling point.

best brunch in chania ginger concept

Best coffee in Chania: Monogram Coffee Roasters

Daskalogianni 5, Chania

Full disclosure: I’m not a coffee drinker because I can’t even sleep at the best of times, let alone with caffeine pumping through my veins. BUT the digital nomad coffee snobs I met at my hostel were religious Monogram-goers, and I trust their opinion. Also their hot chocolate was delicious!

Pull up a chair outside to bask in the sun, or grab a takeaway cup and head to the seaside to find a seat with a view. Monogram also sell their own coffee beans if you like taking home a tasty reminder of your holiday.

best coffee in chania monogram

Best lunch in Chania: To Koutourouki

Parodos Potie 8, Chania

With an outdoor dining area covered in greenery that looks straight out of a fairytale, this family-owned restaurant is a local favourite for authentic Mediterranean fare paired with delicious ouzo, raki or wine. Service is excellent, the staff are super friendly and it’s such a treat to chow down on a brilliant meal amongst a lush atmosphere.

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The smoked pork is a must-eat, one of the best things I ate on the trip! Genuine Cretan cuisine and friendly staff make this one of the best places to eat in Chania Old Town.

to koutourouki chania restaurant

Best dinner in Chania: Ta Meraklikia tou Boureksi

In Greek: ΤΑ ΜΕΡΑΚΛΙΚΙΑ ΤΟΥ ΜΠΟΥΡΕΞΗ
Ipsiladon 13 Behind the Town Hall, Chania Town

This bona fide Cretan home-style eatery is away from the well-trodden tourist trail, with no website, online menu or even an easily-recognised sign (unless you can read Greek!). You’ll find huge portion sizes of authentic meals made up of with locally-sourced ingredients, cooked with love and served up by the family who own the place. The menu changes daily but if it’s available, the chicken and okra was my favourite dish.

cretan traditional dish

Best seafood in Chania: Mikrolimano Psarotaverna

Akti Papanikoli 5, Chania

Chania’s Venetian Harbour is filled with seaside restaurants selling their catch of the day for tourist prices, but if you walk 15 minutes more to the west of Old Town you’ll find a bunch of classic taverns with great views, fresh fish and a calmer atmosphere.

Mikrolimano was recommended by the place I stayed, and it didn’t disappoint. The staff here are warm and welcoming, the price was surprisingly reasonable and I was even treated to free raki after my meal. Calamari and stuffed cuttlefish are two of the most talked about dishes on their TripAdvisor page.

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Best vegan/vegetarian restaurant in Chania: Pulse Vegan-Vegetarian

Theotokopoulou 70, Chania Town

Serving up classic Greek dishes with a vegan or vegetarian twist, Pulse is one of the best vegetarian restaurants I’ve visited on my travels and definitely one of the best places to eat in Chania for vegetarians.

The €12 mezze board is to die for, the vegan moussaka has its own cult following, and the Portobello with the mixed mushroom medley was my lunch two days in a row. Pulse normally closes for winter and some weekends, so check their Facebook page to make sure they’re open when you want to visit.

chania vegetarian restaurant pulse

Best Chania food tour: Walking Tour & Food Tasting with a Local

I try to book a food tour at the start of every visit to a new place, so I can hear all about the destination’s specialties, get some local suggestions on best places to eat, and meet other travellers who love food as much as I do!

This Chania food walking tour is run by a local and has a 4.9/5 star rating on Get Your Guide! You’ll visit the market, various neighbourhoods like the Ottoman and Jewish Quarters, and be able to sample some delicious Cretan treats.


Best healthy café in Chania: Fresh Point Juice Bar

24 Zabeliou Street, Chania Town

Located down the narrow alley just behind the waterfront restaurants, Fresh Point is a brilliant option for a quick burst of energy during a day of exploring. Their juices are made right in front of you using seasonal fruit and veges, and they’ve also got huge sandwiches, pastries, Greek yoghurt and fruit salads. Prices are cheap compared to any other café I found in the Old Town.

best healthy cafe in chania fresh point

Best late night eats in Chania: The Well of the Turk

Kallinikou Sarpaki 31 Street Splantzia, Chania Town

This Chania institution boasts a menu packed with both Mediterranean and Middle Eastern dishes, cooked using the freshest Cretan ingredients. I dare you to walk past the Well of the Turk at night time without the wafting scent pulling you in!

The portion sizes are huge (as they often are in Turkish restaurants) so a half portion of the shisk kebab was enough for me, and the cheesecake is a must-eat to round off a delicious dinner. This Cretan-Turkish eatery is one of the best restaurants in Chania for sure.

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Best ice cream: Delizia Gelato Italiano

Chalidon 13, Chania

When you walk through the Old Town at night it seems like every third shop is an ice cream parlour, but Delizia Gelato Italiano always has the longest line… And for good reason!

They have loads of flavours to choose from, with creamy gelato and sweet sorbets, as well as sugar-free and vegan options.

best ice cream in chania delizia gelato

Best bar in Chania: ABABA

Isodion 12, Chania 

This quirky watering hole is the ideal place for a pre or post-dinner bevvie with friends. The bar staff are attentive and friendly, the music is great and it’s a nice escape from the bustling streets of the Old Town.

ABABA’s drinks menu is impressive but I rate the mojito! They also serve up a decent coffee if you pop in during the day.

ABABA best bar in chania

Best cocktails in Chania: Boheme

26-28 Chalidon Street, Chania Town

With a dreamy courtyard dotted with fairy lights and lanterns hanging from the trees, Boheme is a cute little evening drinking spot. It’s definitely not the cheapest in town, but the fancy cocktails and delicious small plates are well worth the euros.

best cocktails in chania boheme

Best sunset views in Chania: Koukouvaya

Alexi Minoti 1 Venizelos Graves, Chania Town

One of my biggest regrets during my week in Chania was that I didn’t make it to Koukouvaya, a gorgeous hillside café with stunning views over the ocean, and the best restaurant in Chania to watch the sunset. A taxi for one was going to be pricey, and public transport would’ve required a decent walk in the dark which is a big no-no for solo female travel.

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But if you’re able to add it to your Crete itinerary for an evening, you’ll be treated to a sunset view like no other. This place gets busy, understandably, and ratings for service don’t seem so great, but the dessert has rave reviews!

chania sunset point
I didn’t make it to Koukouvaya so this isn’t the sunset from there, but if this is what it looks like from sea level, imagine the sunset from a hill overlooking to ocean!

Best cruise in Chania: Sunset cruise with Cretan wine

If you’re in Chania with family or a group of friends and are happy to splurge for an incredible experience, this sunset wine cruise is an absolute must-do.

Set off from Chania Harbour for two hours at sea, watching the sky change colour as the sun goes down, with the opportunity to jump into the water for a spot of swimming or snorkelling. You’ll get local snacks and wine too, win!


Best fresh food in Chania: Chania Market

Odos Hatzi Michali Yannari, Chania Town

One of my favourite things in any European city is to find a local market and stock up on local ingredients for a DIY platter. Bonus points if the market has samples!

Chania’s Municipal Market is on the edge of the Old Town, housed in a cross-shaped building with vendors selling delicious treats for you to try your own hand at serving up some Cretan cuisine from scratch. Grab some olives, cheese, herbs, bread, smoked meats and fresh product and cook up (or plate up) a storm. During the high season there’s also a number of souvenir shops selling funky Chania trinkets.

chania municipal market stalls

Best bakery in Chania: Bougatsa Iordanis

Bougatsa is a Greek breakfast pastry, traditionally made with creamy custard filling inside cripsy filo pastry, topped with icing sugar and cinnamon. And Bougatsa Iordanis, a fourth-generation family-owned bakery and Chania institution, serves up the best bougatsa in town. Best of all, it’s CHEAP! Only €2 here gets you a bougatsa that was big enough to keep me full for half a day.

Local mizithra cheese is used in their 90-year-old tried and true recipe, which makes it distinctly different from bougatsa in other parts of the country or even the island. Expect a line of locals in the morning getting their pastry and coffee before they start the day!

best bougatsa in chania iordannis

Best cheap eats in Chania: Funky’s Pizza

If you’re just keen to fill your belly with something cheap and cheerful, or if you need some greasy goodness after a few too many cocktails, head to Funky’s at the end of the main street for a mega slice of pizza.

They’ve got a bunch of flavours to choose from but the €1.20 massive slice of margarita is the clear winner for me. You can also order half-and-half pizzas, burgers or pastries.

best pizza in chania funkys

Best restaurant out of Chania’s Old Town: Mom’s

Located a 20 minute walk from Chania’s Old Town, in the residential area near Koum Kapi Beach, Mom’s menu is packed with home-style dishes and comfort food favourites like hearty burgers, loaded fries, huge pizzas and delicious desserts. If you’re a sweet tooth you have to try the Ferrero Rocher pancakes, they’re absolutely smothered in hazelnut choc goodness.

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The service here is brilliant, the staff are super friendly and it’s a lovely atmosphere to enjoy a good meal either solo or with friends. I even got a free profiterole and raki shot after my meal! They’re open until 1.30am too, so you can satisfy a late night craving if you’re staying at a hotel or hostel out that way.

Nutella pancakes at Moms comfort food chania
One of the best pancake dishes of my life

Best food experience in Crete: Cooking class

If you prefer to learn to cook traditional meals rather than just eat them, you’re in luck. This Crete cooking class experience teaches you all about the local Cretan cuisine and lets you try your hand at creating your own.

Learn to make dishes like stuffed peppers, cheese pie, Greek salad and tzatziki with the freshest locally-sourced ingredients, and enjoy the fruits of your labour by chowing down on your creations at the end of the workshop.

Greek yoghurt in crete
Greek yoghurt and honey at a small village eatery in Crete

Where to stay in Chania, Crete

Best hostel in Chania: Kumba Hostel

This absolute gem of a hostel is actually one of the best places I’ve ever stayed, and I feel like I left a piece of my heart there! Kumba Hostel is a funky little capsule-style hostel about 20 minutes from Old Town and a short walk from Koum Kapi Beach.

There’s kitchen facilities for guests to use, the bathrooms are nice and clean, the pod beds include a light, storage space and privacy curtain, there’s loads of social space to hang out with other travellers. The hostel also offers day trips to explore the island and there’s an on-site café with great coffee and a cheap breakfast and snack menu!

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Best apartment in Chania: Palazzo di Irene

If you’re looking for a private room in a brilliant location, you can’t go past Palazzo di Irene. They’ve got a few gorgeous suites available depending on your needs. I stayed in a studio apartment with a kitchen, huge comfy bed, lovely bathroom, lounge area and a sun-soaked balcony, but there’s also options with two bedrooms and even one with a sauna.

Palazzo di Irene is smack bang in the middle of the Old Town, so you’re staying right amongst the charming atmosphere and within close walking distance to many of the best restaurants in Chania.

Palazzo di Irene Crete bedroom

I hope this has helped you decide where to eat in Chania! This list of the best restaurants in Chania has been pulled together from only a week in the city, so if I’ve missed any you think I need to add, let me know in the comments.

Like this blog? Pin it!

Read more about my 52 in 52 adventure here, see all of my blog posts from the trip here, or check out my Instagram @findingalexx to see all of my travel photos.

All the basic details from my big trip:

How do you find your flights? Skyscanner! I use the Everywhere tool to find the cheapest place to fly to each Tuesday
Do you fly every week? Not every week no, once I have the destination I check trains and buses to see if there’s any other transport options aside from flying. If so, I usually book these using the Trainline app.
How do you book your accommodation? I book all my hotels, hostels and apartments on either booking.com or Hostelworld.
Do you have travel insurance? YES, I always travel with travel insurance and you should too. I’m insured for an annual policy with Worldcare NZ.
Do you offset your carbon credits? I sure do! I always offset when I book if the airline gives me the option (Ryanair does), and I also offset all my flights using Co2nsensus.com.
What luggage do you travel with? I travel with a 75cm Samsonite Cosmolite suitcase, a matching Samsonite Cosmolite 55cm cabin luggage hardcase, and a cheap laptop backpack.
What camera do you use? You can see the full list of what’s in my camera bag right here.
For more FAQs about my 52 in 52 trip, see this post.

Huge thanks to Kumba Hostel and Palazzo di Irene for hosting me during my week in Crete. As always, all opinions are my own and are based on my own experience.

Updated on June 18th, 2020

Some people consider accommodation on a trip to be a place to rest their head and store their suitcase, but I reckon a beautiful place to stay can take your travel experience to the next level.

I’ve stayed in hundreds of unique places to stay around the world in my travels, from bamboo nests to capsule hotels to funky hostels and five star hotels, and I wanted to write a one-stop-shop list with all my favourites along why you should visit, how you can book and some bonus tips to get the most from your stay.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE: How I can afford to stay at world-class hotels without blowing my budget

All of the places on this list I’ve personally stayed in myself, except for one which friends have raved about (see if you can find it!) so you can trust that the reviews are based on my own experience, as always. Select the continent or country you’re looking for below, or scroll through for some accommodation inspiration!

3 days in Dubai

Australasia and the South Pacific

Best places to stay in Australia

Sydney

Ovolo Woolloomooloo

Type of accommodation: Design hotel

Why it’s amazing: Even with 100 rooms in a huge warehouse setting, the Ovolo on Woolloomooloo Wharf feels like an upscale boutique hotel. The design is simply stunning, it’s industrial-chic with pink and gold accents, and the rooms are decked out for maximum comfort. But what takes it to the next level is the perks, like daily social hour with free drinks and canapés, and free snacks in the lobby all day. Sign me up.

Address: 6 Cowper Wharf Roadway, Woolloomooloo NSW 2011, Australia

Check your travel dates and prices here.

Ovolo woolloomooloo loft room

Little Albion, A Crystalbrook Collection Boutique Hotel

Type of accommodation: Small boutique hotel

Why it’s amazing: Located in a heritage building in Sydney’s sophisticated Surry Hills neighbourhood, this gem is ideal for an elegant weekend away. The rooms are beautiful, beds are comfy, there’s a sun-soaked rooftop terrace and they have a daily honour bar where you can DIY your own tipple.

Bonus tip: Reuben HIlls is a café just around the corner and they have the best Nutella hot chocolate I’ve ever had in my life.

Address: 21 Little Albion St, Surry Hills NSW 2010, Australia

Check your travel dates and book online here.

Little Albion Sydney bedroom

Best places to stay in New Zealand

Auckland

M Social

Type of accommodation: Designer hotel

Why it’s amazing: M Social is a new designer hotel right by the water in Central Auckland, in the bustling Viaduct entertainment district. Rooms are large and funky, beds provide a brilliant night’s sleep, the location is ideal for easy access to the city and public transport, and there’s a brand new shopping mall, Commercial Bay, that just opened a short walk down the road.

Address: 196-200 Quay Street, Auckland CBD, Auckland 1010

Check your travel dates and book online here.

M Social Auckland hotel room

The Coromandel

Slipper Island

Type of accommodation: Glamping & lodge

Why it’s amazing: This hidden gem in the North Island’s Coromandel Peninsula deserves way more hype than it gets, but that’s because even some locals don’t know about it! It’s a short boat ride from the small coastal town of Tairua, and the island is basically private, with a shallow bay perfect for kayaking and easy access to fishing and diving spots. There’s a lodge with a full kitchen and bunk rooms or two safari-style glamping tents if you’re feeling flash.

Bonus tip: You can book for just a couple or a family, but if you want to head over for a special occasion, you only need 30 people to rent out the entire place and have your own private island!

Address: Slipper Island (Whakahau)

Check your travel dates and book online here.

Slipper Island aerial shot

Tairua Airbnb

Type of accommodation: Airbnb

Why it’s amazing: Full disclosure: this beachfront Kiwi bach is actually owned by my parents. But that means I’ve spent a lot of time there and can vouch for it personally! Tairua is a quaint little town that many tourists pass through on the way to Cathedral Cove and Hot Water Beach, but it’s not a hot spot in itself and that’s what makes it great. It has a warm, local feel, there are some excellent eateries, and it’s super chill. I’ve spent almost every NZ summer there and it’s one of my favourite places in the world.

Address: 13 Manaia Road, Tairua

Check your travel dates and book online here.

Tairua Airbnb lounge with view of the ocean

Best places to stay in Fiji

Octopus Resort

Type of accommodation: Luxury resort

Why it’s amazing: A quintessential island resort, complete with beachfront activities, traditional bures and incredible staff. There are dorm beds available for budget or solo travellers too, that’s a win!

Address: Likuliku Bay, Waya Island, BA Nalauwaki, Fiji

Check your travel dates and book online here.

Aerial shot of beach in Fiji

Mantaray Island Resort

Type of accommodation: Luxury resort

Why it’s amazing: This resort is unique in that it’s pretty heavily catered to a younger crowd, with both private and dorm rooms, loads of optional adventures and a bustling bar with delicious cocktails. Don’t miss the sunset tubing activity!

Address: Nanuya Balavu Island, Yasawa Islands, Nanuya Balavu Island, Fiji

Check your travel dates and book online here.

Traditional wooden bures in Fiji resort

Asia

Best places to stay in Hong Kong

Ritz-Carlton Hong Kong

Type of accommodation: Luxury hotel

Why it’s amazing: Um, it’s the Ritz-Carlton… Do you need any more convincing? Seriously though, I somehow managed to score a few nights here a couple of years back and it was INSANE. The staff are brilliant, there are not one but two Michelin-starred restaurants, and the rooms are basically built for royalty. It’s the highest hotel in the world too, with the Presidential Suite on the 117th floor (and I stayed on the 116th floor!).

Address: International Commerce Centre (ICC), 1 Austin Rd W, West Kowloon, Hong Kong

Read my full review here and book online here.

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Ritz Carlton Hong Kong view

SLEEEP

Type of accommodation: Capsule hotel

Why it’s amazing: There’s nothing better than a full night of deep sleep, and that’s what this cute little capsule hotel is built for. It’s got eight pods, each set up with your choice of mattress, pillow and duvet which you select before check in through an app. You can tailor the pod lighting to your preference too, and even set a ‘sunrise’ alarm to wake you up naturally. The hotel has bathrooms and lockers but no kitchen or fridge to use, and there’s no food allowed inside, so you’ll need to chow down on dumplings at the night market instead.

Address: 1/F, 242 Queen’s Road Central, Sheung Wan, Hong Kong, Hong Kong

Read my full review here and book online here.

Hong Kong capsule bed

Best places to stay in Thailand

Bangkok

W Station

Type of accommodation: Boutique hotel

Why it’s amazing: Bangkok is one of my favourite cities in Asia, but there’s no doubt that it can be a bit of an assault on the senses. If you’re looking for an escape from the chaos, W Station is the ideal spot. It’s a quiet, homely boutique hotel with cosy rooms, friendly staff and a brilliant restaurant downstairs, and it’s only a few minutes’ walk to the nearest Skytrain station.

Address: 6 Soi Krung Thonburi 2, Krung Thunburi Road, Bangkok

Check your travel dates and book online here.

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Hotel bedroom at W Station Bangkok

Siam@Siam Design Hotel

Type of accommodation: Hotel

Why it’s amazing: If you’re happy to splurge a bit (in relation to Thailand’s normal prices) for a fancy hotel in an excellent location, Siam@Siam offers is well worth it. Prices start from around £75/$150 for two people but you’ll get a huge room, luxurious bathroom, access to the infinity pool, an amazing breakfast and you’ll be just a short walk from the Siam Paragon, MBK and Siam Discovery shopping malls.

Bonus tip: I’ve been randomly upgraded both times I stayed here and according to their reviews this is fairly common, so it might be worth asking nicely!

Address: 865 Rama 1 Road, Wangmai, Pathumwan, Bangkok

Check your travel dates and book online here.

Siam @ Siam Design Hotel bedroom

LubD Siam Square

Type of accommodation: Hostel

Why it’s amazing: Just across the road from Siam@Siam Design Hotel, Lub d is the answer if you’re on a tight budget. With dorm rooms or cosy privates to choose from, fast WiFi, laundry facilities and a common room to meet other travellers, it’s perfect for backpackers, social travellers or anyone wanting to save their cash for cocktail buckets and elephant pants.

Address: 925/9 Rama 1 Road Wangmai Patthumwan, Bangkok

Check your travel dates and book online here.

LubD Siam Square hostel private room

Khao Sok National Park

Floating rafts

Type of accommodation: Unique

Why they’re amazing: Um hello, it’s literally in the middle of paradise. It amazes me that Khao Sok is so often left off Thailand itineraries, because every single traveller should know about this place. While a boat trip around Khao Sok is worth every cent (or baht), I would highly recommend spending a night or two on the man-made Cheow Lan Lake in a floating raft hotel.

How to book them: It can be costly and difficult to get transport if you book your own floating hotel, so your best bet is to book a Khao Sok National Park tour that includes a night on Cheow Lan Lake plus the boat there and some activities too.


LOVE TRAVEL INSPO?

I’m currently on a year-long solo round the world adventure, visiting a new country every week for an entire year, with my route based on the cheapest flight every Tuesday. Am I crazy? Yes. But is it epic? Also yes. Follow along on Instagram @findingalexx.


Khao Sok National park aerial view

Art’s Riverview Lodge

Type of accommodation: Unique

Why it’s amazing: Offering basic accommodation but in a lush all-natural setting, Art’s Lodge is good value jungle life at its best. Sleep in wooden treehouses, watch for monkeys down by the river and soak up the off-grid vibes.

Address: 54/3 Moo 6, T.Khlong Sok, Phanom District, Surat Thani, 84250 Khao Sok, Thailand

Check your travel dates and book online here.

Khao Sok jungle glamping

Elephant Hills

Type of accommodation: Glamping

Why it’s amazing: This is the only place in this list I haven’t stayed at yet, but I’ve had so many friends rave about it and I was hoping to make it there later this year (ha, thanks COVID). Elephant Hills has luxury glamping tents in both the jungle and on Cheow Lan Lake, an ethical and sustainable elephant sanctuary, and loads of jungle activities to keep you occupied.

Bonus tip: If you are celebrating a special occasion, this is the perfect type of place to book.

Address: 170 Moo 7 Tambon Klong Sok, Panom District, Suratthani 84250 Thailand

Check your travel dates and book online here.

Elephants at Elephant Hills glamping in Khao Sok National Park

Krabi

Avani Ao Nang Cliff Resort

Type of accommodation: Luxury hotel

Why it’s amazing: This one’s a classic beach resort but the infinity pool alone makes it a worthwhile stay. The sunset view is absolutely incredible, and it’s made even better when you’re chilling in the water with a half-price happy hour pina colada. The dream!

Address: 328 Moo2, T. Aonang, A.muang, Krabi, 81000 Ao Nang Beach, Thailand

Check your travel dates and book online here.

AVANI Aonang Cliff resort Krabi infinity pool

Best places to stay in Singapore

Marina Bay Sands

Type of accommodation: Luxury hotel

Why it’s amazing: One of the most recognised hotels in the world, this one’s a bucket lister for sure. The rooms are what you’d expect from a fancy hotel but, of course, the reason for booking is the world-famous infinity pool with insane views over the Singapore skyline.

Bonus tip: There’s no way to access the infinity pool without being a hotel guest or without knowing one willing to lend you their key (each person needs to scan their hotel key to enter the pool area), but you can get the view by heading up to Ce La Vie rooftop bar instead.

Address: 10 Bayfront Avenue, Marina Bay, 018956 Singapore

Check your travel dates and book online here.

Marina Bay Sands infinity pool

YOTELAir Singapore Changi Airport

Type of accommodation: Capsule hotel

Why it’s amazing: YOTEL has capsule-style hotels in airports and cities around the globe, and I’m obsessed with their perfect mix of comfort and efficiency. YOTEL at Changi is in the Jewel Changi mall, only a few minutes’ walk to departures. It’s ideal if you’ve got a long stopover or have an early morning flight. The rooms are small but they use they space incredibly well, with a huge, comfy mattress complete with a remote to recline it from couch to bed, a fold out desk, room for luggage and a decent bathroom with a hair dryer and toiletries. The mall itself is amazing too, with loads of shops, an insanely huge food court and epic activities like bounce nets, light shows and a cinema.

Address: 78 Airport Boulevard, Changi, Singapore, Singapore, 819666

Check your travel dates and book online here.

YOTEL Changi Airport Singapore hotel room

Best places to stay in Indonesia

Labuan Bajo

Le Pirate Boatel

Type of accommodation: Unique

Why it’s amazing: Le Pirate Boatel is a boat that’s permanently moored in a harbour near Labuan Bajo in the Komodo Islands, with funky open-air rooms with views out over the ocean. Each room has a fan, a net curtain, storage space and power plugs, plus a hammock net over the water for maximum chill out time. The boat’s got shared bathroom facilities (although they are pretty small!), an on-site bar and restaurant, and offers activities like snorkelling, kayaking and island visits. A super cool and unique idea for something to do in Indonesia!

Address: Labuan Bajo, 86754 Labuan Bajo, Indonesia

Read my full review here and book online here.

Labuan Bajo boatel

Bali

The Udaya

Type of accommodation: Luxury hotel

Why it’s amazing: You’ve probably seen the Udaya’s Insta-famous pool or flower baths on your social media feeds, because it’s one of the resorts that has become synonymous with Bali’s travel bloggers and digital nomads. And I’m not even embarrassed to say that I got caught by the hype and splurged on a night to celebrate six months of solo travel back in January! The Udaya was next level in terms of service, comfort and surroundings, and the flower bath at the on-site Kaveri Spa was ultra-relaxing and a great way to treat myself for making it half way through my 52 in 52 project.

Fun fact: I booked a night here at the beginning of January for my last night in Bali for £131 (well over my average accommodation spend of £15-20), and was counting down the days to my self-treat. But a few days before, I got an email telling me to check in for my flight… which was the day before I thought it was. Yes, I had booked the expensive hotel room for the night of 6 January, when my flight was actually out of Bali at 10.50pm on the 6th of January. Cue tears. Luckily the hotel ended up having a cancellation for the same room type the morning of 5th of January, so I managed to get the epic Udaya experience after all!

Address: Jl Sriwedari, No.48B, Banjar Tegallantang, Ubud, Bali

Check your travel dates and book online here.

Udaya Bali hotel

Firefly Eco Villa

Type of accommodation: Unique Airbnb

Why it’s amazing: If you’ve never wanted to stay in a bird’s nest before, this one might just change your mind. Firefly Eco Villa has a few different rooms and huts to choose from but I stayed on the 3rd floor of the bamboo bird’s nest, in the middle of lush rice paddies in Ubud. The ‘room’ is a comfy mattress with a mosquito net and a plug, with storage for bags downstairs. There’s a shared semi-outdoor bathroom but it offers full privacy, a flushing toilet and hot water. It’s such a cool experience to spend a night in the Balinese countryside, falling asleep to nature’s sounds and waking up to a gorgeous sunrise!

Bonus tip: The ladder to get up to the room is not for the faint-hearted, so if you’re not okay with heights, aren’t comfortable climbing or have a small bladder requiring midnight bathroom visits, book the first or second floor option or one of the other huts instead.

Address: Literally the middle of the rice fields in Ubud’s countryside

Check your travel dates and book online here.

Firefly eco villa Bali

Kos One Hostel Canggu

Type of accommodation: Hostel

Why it’s amazing: If I could magically build the hostel of my dreams, it’d look pretty similar to Kos One in Canggu, Bali’s hipster hot spot. The dorm rooms have spacious and comfy capsule-style beds, there are private rooms if you want your own space, there’s social spaces on each floor, and downstairs has a huge café serving up delicious meals and strong drinks. Oh, I forgot the best part! There’s also a gigantic pool complete with floating bean bags, a pool bar and a waterslide from the second storey.

Address: Pantai Batu Bolong St No.78, Canggu, Bali 80361

Check your travel dates and book online here.

Kos One Canggu hostel

Warwick Ibah

Type of accommodation: Luxury villas

Why it’s amazing: A total oasis away from moped traffic jams and endless honking horns, Warwick Ibah can be found in the Campuhan Valley on the outskirts of Ubud. The rooms here are enormous, with bathrooms bigger than most bedrooms, complete with a huge marble bath for ultimate relaxation. The resort is so spread out that it truly feels like you have the jungle to yourself!

Bonus tip: I’m a sucker for hotel pools, if you can’t tell already, and Warwick Ibah’s is one of my favourites. It’s set against palm trees that reflect beautifully in the water, you can catch the sky changing colour at sunrise and sunset, and there are comfy day beds or “relaxation corners” built into a stone wall.

Address: Jalan Raya Campuhan, Bali, 80571 Ubud, Indonesia

Check your travel dates and book online here.

Girl in front of Ubud luxury infinity pool

Nusa Lembongan

The Tamarind Resort

Type of accommodation: Luxury resort

Why it’s amazing: With modern rooms, a brilliant restaurant and two infinity pools (!!), the Tamarind will impress anyone… But it’s the staff here who take it to the next level. Incredibly warm and welcoming, from the moment I stepped through to the door until they offered to drop me off at my ferry back to the mainland, they were helpful and went out of their way to ensure I was enjoying myself. The cherry on top of the cake!

Bonus tip: Looking for a floating breakfast? This is the spot, the Tamarind’s floating breakfast is to die for. You’ll get choc chip pancakes, a smoothie bowl with your name cut out of fruit, strawberries and cream, champagne, eggs benedict and more. Take it in the infinity pool by the restaurant to get volcano views in the background.

Address: Jalan Jungutbatu, 80771 Nusa Lembongan, Indonesia

Read my full review here and book online here.

floating breakfast nusa lembongan

Acala Shri Sedana

Type of accommodation: Boutique hotel

Why it’s amazing: The Acala’s serene location is a beautiful escape from the chaos of mainland Bali, and it’s excellent value for the price you pay. The villas are large with gorgeous outdoor bathrooms, the staff are lovely, and the infinity pool offers incredible views over lush jungle and the ocean.

Bonus tip: I’m not an early riser at all but the sunrise view from the pool at the Acala is one of the best I’ve ever seen. Definitely worth an early wake up!

Address: Jl. Ancak Sari No. 277 Ancak, Lembongan, 80771 Nusa Lembongan, Indonesia

Read my full review here and book online here.

Acala Shri Sedana infinity pool Bali

Best places to stay in Vietnam

Tam Coc

Tam Coc Garden

Type of accommodation: Luxury resort

Why it’s amazing: Tam Coc Garden Resort is the perfect mix of authenticity and luxury, giving you a five star experience in the middle of the Vietnamese countryside. Surrounded by lush gardens, rice paddies and towering limestone karsts, the resort has spacious rooms with great views, a restaurant serving up incredible dishes, and a huge pool.

Bonus tip: The WiFi here is literally the fastest I’ve ever had at a hotel, ever. So if you’re in Tam Coc and in need of fast internet for work or video uploads or whatever, it’s worth popping in for a meal or a night!

Address: Hai Nham Hamlet, Ninh Hai Commune, Ninh Binh, Vietnam

Check your travel dates and book online here.

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Tam Coc Garden Resort

Hue

Sahi Homestay Retreat

Type of accommodation: Homestay

Why it’s amazing: Located in a residential area just a short drive from the main centre of Hue, Sahi Homestay is beautifully-designed with a focus on natural health. There are private rooms as well as a 2-bed and 4-bed dorm, and all the rooms are Scandinavian-style and minimalist, with loads of natural light and lots of space. The family who run it are super friendly, they are happy to help with local travel tips and they cook some deliciously authentic Vietnamese vegetarian meals!

Address: 27/245a Bui Thi Xuan, Hue, Vietnam

Check your travel dates and book online here.

Sahi Homestay private room in Hue

Hoi An

TRIPLE Riverside Villa

Type of accommodation: Boutique hotel

Why it’s amazing: This bright yellow brand new hotel hasn’t been open long, but has already made its mark as a top place to stay in the gorgeous town of Hoi An. With an ideal location on the river, a short bike ride to the Ancient Town using the hotel’s free bikes, and a huge pool to cool off in after a busy day or exploring, TRIPLE Riverside Villa was a brilliant place to stay during my five days in the city.

Address:

You can read my full review here and book online here.

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TRIPLE Riverside Villa Hoi An

Phu Quoc

Naomi Resort

Type of accommodation: Overwater bungalows

Why it’s amazing: I’ve done a lot of research on places to stay around the globe, so I’m pretty confident in saying that Naomi offers some of the cheapest overwater bungalows in the entire world. I paid just £50/$100NZD for a night in a double bungalow with a comfy bed, decent bathroom, storage and sitting areas both inside and outside, with a ladder right into the ocean just 20 metres away. Absolute bliss.

Bonus tip: This is a new hotel and the area is still quite fresh in terms of tourism, so don’t expect pristine resort beaches and world-class restaurants, but the value is undeniable. Similar bungalows in the Maldives would cost upwards of £400 a night, and even Thailand or Malaysia would set you back at least £200. It’s worth it for the overwater experience alone!

Address: Ap Cay Sao, Ham Ninh, Phu Quoc, Vietnam

Check your travel dates and book online here.

Vietnam overwater bungalow in Phu Quoc

Lanaland Homestay

Type of accommodation: Homestay

Why it’s amazing: Lana is one of my favourite people I’ve met on all my travels, and spending a few nights at her homestay on the underrated island of Phu Quoc was definitely a highlight. The homestay has dorm rooms with shared bathrooms as well as private rooms with en suites, and both have access to laundry facilities and cooking equipment. There’s free WiFi, filtered drinking water and loads of social events every week, and it’s a ten minute walk to the beach.

Bonus tip: Z Coffee is a small café on a corner just a few minutes from Lanaland, on your way to the main road and the beach, and the food is amazing and so cheap! I rate the banana pancakes and chocolate milkshake, delicious.

Address: Cua Lap, Duong To, Phu Quoc Island, Vietnam

Check your travel dates and book online here.

Where to stay in Phu Quoc Lana Land Homestay

Best places to stay in India

Udaipur

Premkunj Udaipur

Type of accommodation: Boutique hotel

Why it’s amazing: Hidden next to a local village on the outskirts of Udaipur, Premkunj is an opulent oasis far from the craziness of India’s cities. The rooms are adorned with stunning feature walls and decor, there’s a huge pool to cool off in on a hot day, and the chefs serve up authentic cuisine using local ingredients. The hospitality I experienced all through India as a solo female traveller was heart-warming, but Premkunj literally felt like a home away from home, and I can’t wait to return one day.

Fun fact: The team at Premkunj have a strong focus on sustainability and protecting the local area. The staff are all from the nearby village, giving young locals the chance to work in tourism, learn English and meet travellers from all over the world, something that’s often reserved for privileged and well-educated city-dwellers who were taught English in school. They’ve also installed rubbish bins on a nearby hike, and do a weekly clean up to keep the track litter-free.

Address: House No.1, Upli, Basti Ram Jiki Badi, Udaipur, Rajasthan 313001, India

Check your travel dates and book online here.

Premkunj Udaipur hotel

Jodhpur

Almond Tree Homestay

Type of accommodation: Boutique hotel

Why it’s amazing: The Blue City of Jodhpur is colourful and chaotic, and the Almond Tree is a much-needed escape from the crowds at the end of a long day. With massive rooms and equally massive bathrooms, an on-site restaurant with delicious masala chai and succulent curries to choose from, and a lush rooftop garden with a spa pool and views of Umaid Bhawan Palace, it’s simply dreamy.

Address: 321, Umaid Heritage, Jodhpur, Rajasthan 342006, India

Check your travel dates and book online here.

Almond Tree Jodhpur hotel

The Middle East

Best places to stay in Turkey

Istanbul

Blue Mosque Suites

Type of accommodation: Boutique hotel

Why it’s amazing: This family-owned hotel is ideal for anyone wanting to sight-see in Istanbul! It’s just a short walk from the stunning Blue Mosque and grand Hagia Sofia, and has easy transport links to other tourist hot spots like the Grand Bazaar and Topkapi Palace. The bed is one of the comfiest I’ve slept in on my travels, there’s a little rooftop terrace so you can eat breakfast in the sun, and the family who run it are always happy to help with any Istanbul questions.

Address: Sultanahmet Mah. Akbıyık Cad. No:94, Fatih, 34122 Istanbul, Turkey

Check your travel dates and book online here.

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Blue Mosque Suites Istanbul

Cappadocia

Artemis Cave Suites

Type of accommodation: Boutique hotel

Why it’s amazing: Staying in a Cappadocia cave hotel is on the bucket lists of people all over the globe, and with over 1000 reviews averaging 9.3/10, Artemis is definitely one of the best options in this otherworldly region. The rooms are spacious, with lovely bathrooms, comfy beds and air con/heating, but the best thing about Artemis has got to be the three rooftop terraces that allow the perfect vantage point for sunrise balloon viewing and photos. Oh, and the massive buffet breakfast is nothing to scoff at either!

Bonus tip: From Artemis it’s only a few minutes’ walk up a steep hill to get to Sunrise Point, which has panoramic views of the valleys and, if weather permits, the balloons floating over them. The balloons go up every day depending on weather, but if you’re desperate to see them (or to go for a ride yourself) then I’d recommend staying at least three nights in Cappadocia just in case.

Address: Isa Gaferli Mah. Aydınkırağı Sk. No:22 Göreme Nevsehir, 50180 Goreme, Turkey

Read my full Artemis Cave Suites review here and book online here.

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Artemis Cave Suites Cappadocia

Kookaburra Pension

Type of accommodation: Value hotel

Why it’s amazing: I’m a sucker for a good deal, and the value you get for the price you pay at Kookaburra Pension is seriously impressive. Prices start from only £30/$60 for two people and that includes a buffet breakfast! The rooms are basic but decent, it’s close to the main street and eateries, and there’s a gorgeous rooftop terrace for sunrise balloon viewing.

Bonus tip: Topdeck Cave is a restaurant that’s only a short walk from Kookaburra, and it’s one of the best culinary experiences I’ve had on my all travels. Big call! The menu changes daily, the dishes are authentic Turkish cuisine and made with local ingredients, and the setting inside a traditional cave house is super cool in itself. This place is so popular that it’s often booked a few days in advance, so contact them to book a table.

Address: Orta Mah. Konak Sok No:10 Göreme Nevsehir , 50180 Goreme, Turkey

Check your travel dates and book online here.

Cappadocia rooftop cheap hotel Kookaburra Pension

Best places to stay in Dubai

Al Seef Heritage Hotel

Type of accommodation: Boutique hotel

Why it’s amazing: Dubai is known for ultra-modern skyscrapers and glitzy shopping malls, but Al Seef Heritage Hotel is a world away from that side of the city. Located next to the Al Fahidi Historical District, the Al Seef complex transports you back to Old Dubai, complete with rustic decor, traditional Arabian architecture and restaurants serving up authentic Emirati and other Middle Eastern cuisine. The service here is impeccable, I particularly liked the golf cart drop off, and you also get access to the nearby Canopy by Hilton Al Seef’s infinity pool.

Address: Al Seef Street, Umm Hurair 1, Dubai Creek, P.O. Box 35449, Bur Dubai, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Check your travel dates and book online here.

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Al Seef Heritage Hotel Dubai

Sonder Apartments

Type of accommodation: Apartment

Why it’s amazing: If you love staying somewhere with homely vibes and self-contained facilities while you’re on the road, Sonder’s going to change your life like it did mine. They have beautifully designed and comfortable apartments for short or long-term stays in 28 countries around the world, and they can match the service level and ideal locations of top hotels while keeping their spaces livable and practical. The Sonder Dubai is located down the main stretch of JBR, with access to the Rixos Premium’s on-site pool bar and gym, and each room has a full kitchen, fancy bathroom, living area, separate bedroom and laundry facilities.

Bonus tip: The Sonder JBR Suites are located in the Rixos Premium complex, which has loads of food and drink options too. Head to Black Tap for the world’s craziest milkshakes, check the Ladies Day specials at the Azure Beach pool bar, and tuck into some delicious Italian food at Luigia.

Address: The Walk, Jumeirah Beach Residence, 34HP+VG Dubai, United Arab Emirate

Read my full Sonder Dubai review here and book online here.

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Digital nomad essentials

Best places to stay in Israel

Tel Aviv

Abraham Hostel

Type of accommodation: Hostel

Why it’s amazing: Abraham Hostel is a social event in itself, with a huge common area, work spaces, an on-site bar and a rooftop terrace. Rooms are basic with bunk beds but they’re spacious and clean, and you can upgrade to a private if you prefer. But Abraham’s event calendar is particularly worth shouting about. Each week they hold loads of fun activities like themed parties, pub crawls, Shabbat dinner, curry night, hummus workshops and more, and they run day trips and multi-day tours around Tel Aviv and other parts of the country too.

Bonus tip: Even if you don’t stay at the hostel, Abraham’s Tours are absolutely incredible. The food tour to the multi-cultural Neve Sha’anan neighbourhood had delicious food and gave us an eye-opening insight into the city’s diversity, the Best of the West Bank tour took us into the Occupied Palestinian Territories for a thought-provoking history lesson, and the Hebron dual narrative tour was by far the best cultural day tour I’ve ever done on my travels.

Address: 21 Levontin Street, Tel Aviv, 6511604, Israel

Check your travel dates and book online here.

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Abraham Hostel Tel Aviv

Best places to stay in Jordan

Amman

Cabin Hostel

Type of accommodation: Hostel

Why it’s amazing: This place has cosy pod-style beds, luggage storage, comfy hang out areas and shared bathrooms, and it’s one of the cheapest options for accommodation in the whole of Jordan. The Cabin Hostel team are awesome and make everyone feel at home, they even brought us afternoon snacks when they noticed we’d been working on our laptops all day! The location is ideal, with easy access to ancient ruins, street markets and cheap eats.

Bonus tip: Hashem Downtown Restaurant is an Amman institution that can’t be missed if you like your Middle Eastern cuisine. They serve up impressive portions of falafel, hummus, pita and chips for only a few Jordanian dollars, which is brilliant value. Expect a line at lunch and dinner time!

Address: King Hussein Street Building 3, 16665 Amman, Jordan

Check your travel dates and book online here.

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Cabin Hostel Amman Jordan dorm room

Europe

Best places to stay in the UK

Herefordshire

Brook House Woods

Type of accommodation: Glamping

Why it’s amazing: If you’re living in London and need an escape from the city, Brook House Woods has a number of glamping tents in the English countryside just three hours away! This place is totally off the grid, with no WiFi or cell reception, an outdoor kitchen, toilet/shower stalls and a fire pit. We stayed in the bright red Goji hanging tree tent, complete with two single beds, a fireplace, a desk, storage and a glass-top roof for star-gazing and a sunrise wake up. It offers a much-needed escape from the London madness.

Address: Brook House Farm, Avenbury Lane, Bromyard ​HR7 4LB

Read my full Brook House Woods review and book online here.

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Brook House Woods tree tent

Best places to stay in France

Paris

LAZ’ Hotel Spa Urbain

Type of accommodation: Boutique hotel

Why it’s amazing: This small boutique hotel in Paris’ elegant 9th arrondissement is a must-stay for any fashion fiends or theatre geeks. It’s super close to major shopping malls like Galeries Lafayette and Printemps as well as the Palais Garnier opera house, and has great transport links to the rest of the city’s landmarks. There’s an indoor pool and wellness area, the buffet breakfast is varied and delicious, and the rooms are absolutely gorgeous. As far as fancy hotels in Paris go, this one certainly offers brilliant value.

Bonus tip: If you have something to celebrate, splurge on a room on the top floor. You’ll get your own rooftop terrace with views of the Sacre Coeur!

Address: 17 Rue de Milan, 9th arr., 75009 Paris, France

Read my full LAZ’ Hotel review and book online here.

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Girl in black and white bathtub looking through glass into bedroom

Best places to stay in Bulgaria

Sofia

Hostel Mostel

Type of accommodation: Hostel

Why it’s amazing: Hostel Mostel is by far the best value hostel I’ve ever stayed in, and that’s saying something. Dorm rooms start at just £7.50/$15NZD and that includes breakfast and a vegetarian dinner with a beer… A budget traveller’s dream! It’s super social and you’re guaranteed to meet new travel buddies in the dining area each night. They offer private rooms for a great price too.

Address: 2A Makedonia Boulevard, Sofia, Bulgaria

Check your travel dates and book online here.

Hostel Mostel Sofia at night

Best places to stay in the Netherlands

Rotterdam

CityHub

Type of accommodation: Capsule hotel

Why it’s amazing: CityHub is as if someone went inside my brain and built my perfect capsule-style accommodation for a city break. These space-efficient hubs are pod rooms with a large comfy bed (big enough for two), storage space and super fast WiFi. You can connect your phone via bluetooth to use the hub speakers, and use the CityHub app to control the lighting. Each floor has single sex bathrooms with Ritual toiletries, fluffy towels and hair dryers. They’ve got locations in both Rotterdam and Amsterdam so far, but I’m desperate for them to expand further into Europe!

Address: Witte de Withstraat 87, 3012 BN Rotterdam, Netherlands

Read my full CityHub review here and book online here.

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Rotterdam CityHub capsule hotel

Best places to stay in Germany

Hamburg

25hours HafenCity

Type of accommodation: Design hotel

Why it’s amazing: It’s a big call, but 25hours hotels take the top spot on my favourite hotel chain in the world. Their rooms are so beautifully designed, using different artists and designers for each hotel to create a distinctly local feeling. My room at HafenCity felt like stepping into an explorer’s ship cabin from 100 years ago, but with eco-friendly toiletries and a bluetooth speaker. The location is brilliant, near Hamburg’s Port area and close to transport links, and the facilities include a rooftop sauna, a vinyl room and Heimat restaurant, which serves up home-style dishes using fresh, regional ingredients. Oh, and 25hours has a partnership with MINI, as in the cars, which allow guests to test drive a MINI for free to explore the city!

Fun fact: 25hours hotels have two other hotels in Hamburg, nine locations in total in Germany plus hotels in Zurich, Paris and Vienna, with Dubai and Florence opening soon.

Address: Überseeallee 5, HafenCity, 20457 Hamburg, Germany

Read my full 25hours Hamburg review here and book online here.

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25hours Hamburg

Best places to stay in Switzerland

Zurich

25hours Langstrasse

Type of accommodation: Design hotel

Why it’s amazing: Zurich’s 25hours Langstrasse hotel was just as impressive as my stay in their Hamburg HafenCity hotel. The rooms are bright, colourful and filled with natural light, it’s a short walk from Zurich’s main train station, and the restaurant’s buffet breakfasts and Middle East-inspired all-day dishes are delicious. There’s also a pawn shop where you can buy and sell vintage trinkets, a sauna and gym with views over the train station, and an artist’s residence with masterpieces from both domestic and international artists adorning the walls.

Address: Langstrasse 150, Aussersihl, 8004 Zürich, Switzerland

Read my full 25hours Langstrasse review here and book online here.

25hours Switzerland

Interlaken

Balmers Hostel

Type of accommodation: Hostel

Why it’s amazing: Budget accommodation is hard to come by in Switzerland, let alone a wallet-friendly hostel offering free breakfast, self-catering facilities, social events and a stunning location. Balmers dorm beds start from around £18/$36 per night in the shoulder season, which is probably the cheapest you’ll find in Switzerland’s tourist destinations. The rooms are warm and comfortable, everything is clean, there are loads of social spots to meet other travellers including an indoors chill out zone, hammocks outside and an on-site bar, and the staff are incredibly friendly and helpful. I would’ve happily stayed here for a week, and I’ll go back next time I’m in Interlaken for sure!

Address: Hauptstrasse 23-25, 3800 Interlaken, Switzerland

Check your travel dates and book online here.

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Interlaken Balmers Hostel

Best places to stay in Portugal

The Algarve

Mercedes Country House

Type of accommodation: Boutique retreat

Why it’s amazing: Oh my days, this place is heaven. Located a short drive from Faro in a calm and quiet countryside setting, Mercedes is a family-owned boutique hotel offering huge rooms, private backyards, an outdoor pool and rooftop terrace. They serve a delicious breakfast and dinner on-site, using fresh, organic ingredients grown in their own backyard or sourced locally, and they offer wine tasting, a visit to a local wine producer, massage treatments or cooking classes.

Address: Lugar do Medronhal, 475-Z, 8005-502 Estói, Portugal

Read my full Mercedes Country House review here and book online here.

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Reception sign at Portugal hotel

Porto

Selina Porto

Type of accommodation: Hostel

Why it’s amazing: Selina is up there with my favourite hostel chains around the world, and they’ve got 66 locations throughout the Americas and Europe. With a focus on community, workspaces and epic accommodation, their hostels are the perfect mix of somewhere comfy to sleep, somewhere to get shit done and somewhere to make new travel friends! Their Porto location has both capsule-style dorm and private rooms, self-catering facilities and a huge outdoor social area complete with a food truck and dance floor, as well as an on-site bar, a café, a quiet work room and a secret library upstairs.

Bonus tip: Espaco 77 is a sports bar just around the corner from Selina Porto and they have 50c beer, or €1 for a big bottle. You’re welcome!

Address: Rua Das Oliveiras, n.61-65, Porto, Portugal

Read my full Selina Porto review and book online here.

Best hostel in Porto Selina

Best places to stay in Greece

Mykonos

Rocabella Hotel & Spa

Type of accommodation: Boutique hotel

Why it’s amazing: Anywhere that welcomes guests with a glass of bubbles is a winner in my books. Rocabella Hotel in Mykonos is super stylish, with bohemian vibes and brilliant service. The infinity pool and sun-soaked day beds make it hard to leave, but Agios Stefanos is just a few hundred metres away if you do want to take a dip in the ocean. Reeza Restaurant serves up fresh, authentic dishes and there’s a spa if you want to treat yourself to a massage or beauty treatment. This place is ideal for a girls’ trip or a romantic getaway.

Address: Main Street, Agios Stefanos, 84600, Greece

Check your travel dates and book online here.

Rocabella Hotel Mykonos

Santorini

Orabel Suites

Type of accommodation: Boutique suites

Why it’s amazing: Anywhere with a 9.8 rating on booking.com from over 160 reviews is going to be worth your money. I visited the Orabel on a trip to Greece with some friends, right before I moved to London, and it was one of the highlights of our whole Europe adventure. Our two bedroom suite was stunning, soaked in natural light and it even had an indoor spa pool to soak in after a day of exploring on the quad bikes. But what made it five stars in my books was the food and drinks… Absolutely world-class. I still dream about the breakfast to this day, fresh Greek yoghurt with honey and fruit, cooked dishes using their own ingredients from their garden, fresh bread and fruit juices from their own trees. Divine.

Bonus tip: Order a passionfruit colada from the pool bar, then send it to me!

Address: Agios Georgios, Perivolos, 84700, Greece

Check your travel dates and book online here.

Orabel Suites Santorini Greece at night

Crete

Kumba Hostel

Type of accommodation: Hostel

Why it’s amazing: It’s always nice to stay somewhere you feel at home, and after four days at Kumba it felt like I was leaving somewhere I actually lived. This place is really social, with a huge area for chatting to other travellers. The rooms offer pod-style beds that block out sound and light with privacy curtains, and there’s cooking facilities, but the on-site café serves up delicious meals for a low price too. It’s not in the centre of the city but you can walk to the ocean and it’s a lovely walk into Chania’s old town too.

Address: Iroon Polytechniou 37, Chania, Greece

Check your travel dates and book online here.

Kumba Hostel Crete

I hope you’ve found somewhere epic and unique to stay on your next adventure! I’m going to keep this list updated while I’m on the road, and I’d love to know if you have any suggestions for places that I need to add to my own accommodation bucket list too. Tell me in the comments!

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