24 Hours In Barcelona | A Barcelona Travel Guide

barcelona travel guide

Having friends in different countries can be heartbreaking at the worst of times, but incredibly exciting at the best of times. So when one of my close friends moved to Barcelona last year, I kept telling myself – this is just another excuse to travel. And I wasn’t lying, because this Summer we headed over to Spain to pay them a visit. It was my first time in Barcelona, but luckily I had the best tour guides in town. So here’s my Barcelona travel guide to 24 hours in Europe’s hottest city!*

barcelona travel guide

24 Hours in Barcelona: A Barcelona Travel Guide

  • The only place worth brunching
    • Caravelle is renowned for their brunches – and coffee – in Barcelona. If you love food, this is where you should start your day. I found them via BCN Best Coffee (they do other guides too).
  • Wander around Las Ramblas
    • It may be a bit touristy, but Las Ramblas has some great shopping, and even better markets.
  • Sip coffee with the Devil
    • Satan’s coffee corner is the perfect pit stop. Great coffee, and some interesting Japanese-inspired food.
  • Take a wander around the back streets
    • Satan’s coffee is perfectly located amongst some gorgeous back streets and alleys. Take a wander, you never know what you might find.

barcelona travel guide

  • Breathe in some art
    • Everyone and anyone knows Gaudi. So whether you’re a fan of art, architecture, or you just fancy walking around some pretty cool surroundings in the sunshine, Park Guell is a must-visit.
    • Tip: Book your tickets online before you leave. You’ll need to turn up at a specific time slot, and tickets sell out hours beforehand at the park itself.
  • Basque in your dinner
    • And your beautiful surroundings at El Nacionale. The Instagram worthy building features a selection of Barcelona’s best food. You’re spoilt for choice here.
  • End the night with a view
    • …and a gin and tonic, at Barcelo Raval Hotel’s 360 Terrace. Walk around and take in the whole of Barcelona by night.

Feel free to leave your own Barcelona travel recommendations in the comments.
And don’t forget to check out my other travel posts!

*As much as I’d like to, I can’t genuinely confirm whether this is the hottest city in Europe or not…it probably isn’t.

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Danish Architecture: A Copenhagen Love Story

Danish ArchitectureDanish Architecture: A Copenhagen Love Story

If you hadn’t already picked up on it, I’m a bit of an architecture geek. Unfortunately not the kind that has any knowledge on how to build a structure etc. Rather the kind that stands outside pretty (art deco, brutalist etc) buildings with my mouth gaping open – and my camera shutter clicking. I love spending my travels walking down streets and alleys. No I’m not up to anything dodgy, I just want to check out the buildings! Promise.

Danish Architecture: Why?

One of the main draws of Copenhagen – for me – was the architecture. It’s not as if Danish architecture is anything new. From traditional red roofed town houses, to contemporary glass structures, Danish architects are world renowned. The Sydney Opera House? Danish architect. The best house in the world? Danish architect. You catch my drift.

However I was eager to discover some of Denmark’s best structures, at home in Copenhagen.

Danish Architecture: Love or Loathe?

The residential buildings in Copenhagen are charming. They reminded me of Japan a little bit. But instead of having to look up, you also have to look down. You’ll often find cafes, shops and studios located in the basement of a building, if not at ground level. There’s also lots of space. It seemed as though the buildings in Copenhagen were built with space in mind. Or maybe this is just some of Scandinavia’s well loved interior design at work.

As for more formal structures, I was interested to learn (from the help of the internet, and a tour guide) about the methods and meanings behind them. From “blue buildings” with windows that reflect the sea, to diamond structures that reflect the sunlight and glisten, well, bright like a diamond. It’s hard not to fall in love with a city this transfixing.

See more of my Copenhagen travel guides.

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Naples to Sorrento | Italy Travel Diary

naples to sorrentoNaples to Sorrento | Italy Travel Diary

Travelling with a friend for the first time is always a bit daunting. The most difficult task being, where do you go? You may have conflicting views as to what makes the perfect Summer holiday. One of you may be a city type, the other a beach type etc. etc. You both want to make the other person happy, but ultimately come to a compromise.

So when Eva and I decided to take a short break together recently, we spent a lot of time deciding on the perfect location. Oddly enough, it wasn’t because we couldn’t agree, but because we had too many places we wanted to visit together! Finally though, we decided to pay a visit to ancient Napoli, and the gorgeous Sorrento.

Naples to Sorrento… Why?

One of the things that cements mine and Eva’s friendship is our love of culture. I knew this wasn’t going to be a sit down and chill by the pool holiday. Oh no. This was a get up and go, and travel across Italy kinda holiday. The kind where you pop in and out of museums, art galleries, bars and restaurants all day. But that’s fine, because I’m all about cramming in as much as possible. Naples itself has a lot of history, and I was eager to explore it.

Naples to Sorrento… How?

The trip from Naples to Sorrento is relatively easy, and incredibly inexpensive. It costs around €4 for single ticket from Naples main station (Napoli Centrale). Sorrento was the last stop, so we were able to sit back and enjoy the ride, albeit it a very hot one. The journey is beautiful, passing Pompeii (Mount Vesuvius) and the coast. I’d happily do it again just for the scenery.

Would I go back?

The streets in Naples are lively, and filled with stories. However my favourite places were the old town – stunning. And Piazza Vincenzo Bellini – amazing nightlife. Not to mention, the food is great. Fresh seafood, pasta and pizza (try a ‘deep fried pizza’) is easy to find. Whilst the prosecco and bellinis were the best I’ve ever had. I’d go back just for them!

Sorrento on the other hand is a little too touristy for me. If you don’t mind putting up with overcrowded streets full of tourists, then go for it. Because Sorrento is genuinely beautiful. In all fairness, we did go during peak season. I’d love to go back at a quieter time of year, to experience it a little differently.

Read more travel posts here.

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What is Hygge, And How Do I Get It? | Lifestyle

What is HyggeWhat is Hygge, And How Do I Get It?

I have an odd fascination with words that don’t translate. It all started years ago,with 気持ちいい (kimochi/ii); a Japanese word that relates to a particular feeling of enjoyment. So when I heard someone talking about the Danish word hygge, I knew I had to investigate further.

Luckily enough my investigation coincided with a rather interesting email. An email asking if I would like to attend a talk with Not on The High Street and Signe Johansen – author of How to Hygge. The panellists included Skandium’s found Magnus Englund, and Not on The High Street’s director Sally Bendelow. I was eager to hear more, so I jumped at the chance. Little did I know it would lead me down a very interesting, familiar rabbit hole. One that would leave me asking ‘what is hygge?’

What is Hygge?

Hygge is not about buying a new throw for your sofa (although Wool Couture‘s is tempting). Nor is it about lighting a bunch of candles. Although both these things can contribute to a sense of hygge. Confusing, right? Well that’s because hygge is more of a concept, than an entity. It isn’t about material objects, it’s the sense of comfort you get from them. Well, amongst other things.

It’s about creating a comforting atmosphere. A place where you feel at home.

what is hygge

How Do I Get It?

For those that fancy a little Danish in their lives (no I’m not talking about pastries or Mads Mikkelsen), hygge is relatively easy to achieve. It’s about taking a step back from our hectic lives, and taking the time to appreciate the little things. Simple things such as spending time with our families/friends, or trying out that recipe for cinnamon rolls that you always wanted to bake. During the colder, darker months, a lot of Danes spend more time at home. They invite friends and family over, enjoy some good food and drink, and relax. And yes, there may be a candle or two involved.

Can We Really Get Hygge?

Hygge is not a new term, however it is having it’s moment in British culture right now. Autumn and Winter in the UK are characteristically dark, cold, and damp. Something our Danish cousins know about all too well. It’s at this time of year that people like to cosy up at home with their loved ones, pop on Netflix, and snuggle into the sofa with some comfort food. Not much different to what I was talking about before, right?

Denmark is well known as being the happiest country in the world. So it makes sense that us Brits would want in on it too. What with current political and economical events, we’ve all been left looking elsewhere for comfort. And I think hygge may just be it.

I’ll be writing a more in-depth guide on How to Get Hygge soon, so keep your eyes peeled!

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Thoughts on Living Danishly | Copenhagen Travel Diary

living danishlyThoughts on Living Danishly

I’ve been staring at my screen for a while now, wondering how exactly I’d write this post. It’s pretty personal, and a tad emotional. I don’t really do that much on here, but every now and again I do indulge myself…

I kind of always knew I’d like Copenhagen. Admittedly I’m a Skandiphile. I love Scandinavia, right from the food, down to the design. But I’d never been before. My trip to Copenhagen last month was either going to make or break my love for our Northern European cousins.

Thoughts on Living Danishly

Ever since I came back from Denmark, I’ve had a bit of an ache in my chest. Falling in love with a country/city is one thing. But to fall for the culture, way of life, and people is another. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not about to up sticks and leave London. But Copenhagen certainly has left room for thought.

I remember a very specific moment from my trip to CPH. We were cycling back from Superkilen, and on this particular day the main road had been closed. Families had come out into the street with their children, and there were thousands of people. We had to get off our bikes at one point because there were so many people. Families, friends, all were socialising together. Children and adults alike were drawing on the street in chalk. There were drawings of Copenhagen’s skyline, pokemon, loved ones, you name it. It was so wonderful to walk through all those people, and feel the sense of community.

Personal Reflection

With everything that’s been going on lately in my life, I’ve done a lot of personal reflection. What I want in the next few years. Where I want to be.

I’ve been reading ‘The Year of Living Danishly: Uncovering the Secrets of the World’s Happiest Country’ by Helen Russell. After seeing tons of people reading it in Copenhagen, I decided to give it a go myself. I was curious to learn more about Denmark, Danish people, and their way of life. Was it really as wonderful as it seemed? Well I won’t ruin the book for you, but it’s certainly opened my eyes to a new way of living.

Life can be pretty hectic in London, and whereas I love it, sometimes it can be tiring. It’s also become a little old as of late. Part of me yearns for new discoveries. New life lessons. Somewhere less hectic, and a bit happier.

Maybe living Danishly for a while wouldn’t be such a bad thing? Who’s to know. I guess for now, I’ll watch this space.

 

Read more lifestyle posts here.

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24 Hours In Copenhagen | A Copenhagen Travel Guide

copenhagen travelOne of my favourite travel adventures this year has been my trip to Copenhagen. My first foray into Scandinavia. Well, unless you count watching Scandi-dramas, reading endless design books, and a perpetual desire for Danish pastries. Yes, I was over the moon to finally be here – I’m totally a Scandiphile – and trust me, I had an awesome time. So without further ado, here’s my Copenhagen travel guide to help you through your 24 hours in the City of Cool!

copenhagen travel

24 Hours in Copenhagen: A Copenhagen Travel Guide

  • Stay at: an Air Bnb in ‘Indre By’
    • Hotels can be crazy expensive in Copenhagen, but have no fear, Air Bnb is here! Prices are more than affordable, and you get to stay with some of the locals – it’s win, win.
    • Otherwise known as the Downtown Copenhagen or simply K, Indre By is as central as it gets. Park yourself here and you’ll be right in the middle of it all. We stayed in Strøget – an area with plenty of shops, restaurants and things to do. I’d also recommend areas such as Frederiksberg & Vesterbro.
  • Have a Danish for breakfast 
    • Come on, you can’t come all this way without trying one of the countries most famous foods. Trust me, these are nothing like the ones you’ve had at home. They’re found in most cafes, and pair perfectly with a coffee.
    • Tip: try the Kanelsnegl from Vores Broed.
  • Grab a bike! 
    • Copenhagen is very cycle friendly. Every road has a designated lane for cyclists, with some areas only accessible by bike. It’s safe and easy to navigate, as well as being a fast way to get around the city. I’d recommend Donkey Republic – bikes that you can lock/unlock with your phone, for only £6 a day!

copenhagen travel

  • Go up the Rundertaarn (Round Tower)
    • This beautiful 17th century tower is only £3 to enter, and features a round “staircase” and a lovely view from the top. The inside is so Instagram-able though, you may not want to leave.
  • Pop into Trinitatis Church
    • Next door to the Rundertaarn is a beautiful example of Danish architecture – Trinitatis Church. It’s free to enter, and open to all.
  • Have lunch at: Torvehallerne
    • This street food market offers up some of the best food in CPH. If you want something entirely Danish, try Hallernes Smørrebrød. These open sandwiches are packed full of ingredients, and flavour. Tip: grab a few and share.
    • Stop by The Coffee Collective after for an espresso. You know, to keep you going.
  • Check out the view from Christiansborg Palace
    • The former palace, now parliament, allows you to go up the viewing tower for free. The view is breathtaking, and on a good day you can see Sweden (including The Bridge). The restaurant below offers up delicious food, presented beautifully. Again, with a view.

copenhagen travel

  • Take a Boat Tour from Nyhavn
    • Nyhavn is probably the most photographed of all Copenhagen. Boat tours run on a regular basis here, but I’d suggest Nettobådene (the small white kiosk opposite Charlottenborg Fonden). They run every hour, and cost only £4.80. Tip: these are half the price of others, but they do the exact same tour.
  • Shop til you drop in Strøget
    • Or at least until you have to catch your flight. Strøget features a variety of shops, all in central CPH, and only 15mins from the airport. You’ll find Danish brands and stores such as Mads Nørgaard, Naked, and Illums (the best department store in the world tbh). The Hay House is also in Strøget, and is definitely worth wasting your time in.
  • Try the Flæskesteg at Københavner-caféen
    • Københavner-caféen serves up traditional Danish dishes, in a relaxed environment. You must must must try the Flæskesteg (roast pork) – it’s super Danish, and incredibly tasty.

Feel free to leave your own Copenhagen travel recommendations in the comments.
And don’t forget to check out my other travel posts – More Copenhagen posts coming soon!

copenhagen travel

Cafe Kitsune Paris: A Love Affair Between Tokyo & Paris

cafe kitsune parisCafe Kitsune Paris | Coffee & Pastries | Metro: Palais Royal – Musée du Louvre | Map

What is one to do with a spare afternoon in Paris? Spend it like a true Parisian of course, and lounge around beautiful architecture and gorgeous people, all whilst sipping on a coffee. That’s exactly what VA (Chopstickpanorama) and I decided to do during our whirlwind visit to Paris recently, at Cafe Kitsune Paris.

Cafe Kitsune Paris

We found the cafe located along Galerie de Montpensier. An old arcade which still has it’s original, vintage shop fronts and fittings. Nestled inside an old fabric shop, Maison Kitsune has found the perfect setting for their oh so chic Paris cafe. We took a seat at their outside tables, as inside is pretty cramped and not really made for sitting in. Everything about Cafe Kitsune Paris has been thought out to the last little detail, from the tree lined park, to the signature tables. If you don’t feel like a true Parisian whilst you’re here, I’ll eat my hat!

カフェキツネ – パリ

The cafe boasts a wide selection of coffees and teas to order. I was so pleased to see London based Workshop Coffee Co being used at the cafe – it’s nice to discover a familiar name when travelling. VA and I ordered a flat white and an iced latte – both which made for a good cup of coffee. Cafe Kitsune Paris also offer the occasional pastry too. If you’re lucky you’ll be able to grab some cake, or one of their iconic fox biscuits, which mimics the brands logo (kitsune is Japanese for fox). Hurry up though, Maison Kitsune’s cafes are known for selling out of their food offerings quickly.

How does the Paris cafe compare to the Aoyama, Tokyo cafe?

I personally prefer it. The location and vibe is much more relaxed, and it fits in with the brands aesthetic perfectly. If you’re looking for somewhere with good coffee, delicious food, and a stylish setting, Cafe Kitsune Paris is it.

You can find Cafe Kistune Paris at Galerie de Montpensier, 75001 Paris, France
Unfortunately Filles du Calvaire cafe has now closed, so this is the only remaining Cafe Kitsune in Paris.

Check out more: Travel Diaries & Recommendations

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