Marseille

Make way for… hens hens hens! 🐔

For my gal pal Liv’s hen-do (‘bachelorette party’ for Yankees), we flew down to the Marseille for a quick 36-hour visit. Around 30 of those hours were spent drinking rosé, signing karaoke, dancing, and sleeping. But here’s what I managed to see of Marseille in the little time we had there.

Marseille is France’s biggest port city. This 2000-year old city has had a bit of a bad reputation it’s trying to overcome. Over the last few years, it has reinvested itself as a gritty, stylish getaway for sunseekers on a budget. Marseille’s renaissance has produced some excellent restaurants, bars and even coffee shops. Continue reading

Barcelona

To celebrate our friend Alex’s 30th birthday, half-a-plane-load of us went to Barcelona.

Ok, it was more like a dozen of us, but that’s still a testament to 1) Alex’s popularity and 2) Barcelona’s popularity. This seaside city is full of great architecture, beautiful views, and endless tapas bars, making it a world-class destination for merry-making.

But Barcelona doesn’t need any endorsements. In fact, the residents of Barcelona probably want people like me to stop raving about how amazing their city is. Barcelona is attempting to tamp down its tourist arrivals. Approximately 32 million visitors came to Barcelona last year, which is home to a mere 1.6 million. Continue reading

Slovenia

To say that Slovenia is stunning, would be an understatement. The small central European country is often overlooked in comparison to it’s popular neighbours – Italy, Austria, Hungary and the Balkans. But, Slovenia borrows something from each of its neighbours making it a travel destination that suits every palette.

Outdoor pursuits and culinary delights are Slovenia’s biggest offering. It takes less than five hours to drive the length of this country, so our four-day road trip should have been plenty of time to thoroughly explore Slovenia. But, as the saying goes, don’t judge a country by it’s size. There is always another restaurant, another winery, another hiking trail to explore in this little gem of a country Continue reading

Bordeaux

Visiting Bordeaux during the off-peak season might sound controversial. After all, what does one do in the world’s wine capital if not drink wine and visit vineyards? Turns out, there’s plenty to do, see, eat and drink at any time of the year in this vibrant French city.

For starters, half the city is Unesco-listed. That makes it the world’s largest urban World Heritage Site. From stunning buildings to instagrammable cobblestone streets, Bordeaux is a sight for sore eyes. It’s charming, historic and romantic. We even stayed in a former castle right in the middle of the city centre.

Bordeaux Bordeaux Bordeaux BordeauxThen there’s obviously the wine. But more recently, a new wave of chefs is putting Bordeaux on France’s culinary map. For a city its size, Bordeaux’s gastronomic offering is impressive. Continue reading

Belgium

Chocolates, waffles, pommes frites, beer – why wouldn’t you want to pop over to Belgium for a weekend getaway?

Despite the proximity and appeal, I only made it to Belgium this December. This compact multilingual country is both historic and hip. There are countless castles, innovative museums, and cosy beer bars that dot the entire nation. At the same time, the Belgian people are still reeling from the terrorists attacks this year. Tourism in Belgium dropped 13% this year. Even in the picturesque city of Bruges, which usually attracts a lot of visitors.

On the bright (and frothy) side, Belgian beer was added to Unesco’s Intangible Cultural Heritage List (I rambled a lot about it during my Viennese coffee houses post last year).

Bruges Ghent Bruges BrugesSo if you are anywhere near Belgium – go! And go on an empty stomach. Continue reading

Mykonos

You’ve probably seen photos of Mykonos before this. So you already know that it’s a stunning island with white-washed streets and dramatic windmills surrounded by impressive blue waters. It’s one of the most popular islands in Greece, simply because it’s one of the most beautiful. While Santorini is dramatic, Mykonos is dreamy.

Mykonos Little Venice Mykonos Mykonos MykonosGetting from Santorini to Mykonos was a bit of a challenge adventure because of a two-day ferry strike, which we knew nothing about until we were already in Santorini. Determined to not let union laws hinder our holiday plans, we recruited some fellow travellers and hired a private speed boat to take us to Mykonos.

Continue reading

Santorini

Seems like everyone I know or follow on social media went to Greece this summer. And because I have a terrible case of travel envy, I jumped on the bandwagon too.

I’d been to Greece in my “youth” – in fact, it was one of the first places I visited when the travel bug bit me – but it was time for a re-do. So when my best friend Tav and her friends from Toronto planned a trip to the Greek islands, I invited myself along for the joy ride.

After a quick pit-stop in Athens, we found ourselves on the beautiful island of Santorini. It’s nearly impossible to take a bad picture of this place. The dramatic cliffs decked with whitewashed building compliment the turquoise water so perfectly.

Santorini Oia Santorini Imerovigli Santorini Fira Santorini ImerovigliI’ve never found myself snapping and posting so much on a holiday in recent memory. I mean LOOK at this place. Continue reading

Bristol

Autumn is here marking the end of another Great British Summer. When (and if) the clouds make way for some sunshine, England is a glorious place to be. Whether it’s dining outdoors, picnicking in the park or finding any excuse to go to the pub, Brits know how to make the most of the summer months.

And it’s not just my adopted home of London that comes alive in summer. I took a quick two-day trip to Bristol a month ago, and was impressed with its vibrant, eclectic and affordable offerings.

Bristol Bristol BristolIf I have to describe Bristol in one word, it’ll have to be cool. Bristol is just so cool. And not in the same modern, fast-paced, flashy way like London, but in a relaxed and unpretentious way. Everyone looks easy-going and acts friendly. Continue reading

Belgrade

This year, I’m definitely going to visit you in Belgrade.”

I’d been saying that to Sonja for about four years, so a visit to the Serbian capital was well due. I finally found some cheap flights and went over for a few days this July.

I’m not going to sugar coat this: Belgrade isn’t a pretty city. It has a certain “heaviness” about itself, perhaps owing to its recent past. But that heavy backdrop is what sets the scene for its cool vibe.

Belgrade Belgrade Manufaktura Belgrade If I had only one word to describe Belgrade, it would be lively. Locals are out and about, filling up the outdoor seats along leafy streets. Grey buildings have been spruced up with blasts of colourful decorations. No matter what time of day, you’ll find the locals enjoying their city.  Continue reading

Dubrovnik

Croatia has been on the top of my bucket list for a couple of years now. So, it’s fair to say that I went to Dubrovnik with high expectations. I’d been warned that it was touristy and crowded. But once you’ve been to Dubrovnik, you’ll understand that its popularity is well-earned.

Long story short: Dubrovnik is beautiful, charming and unique, and everyone should go once.

Dubrovnik Dubrovnik DubrovnikCat and I went to Dubrovnik for four days on our annual getaway (last year we went to Istanbul). We’re both active tourists, but we also love to just relax. Dubrovnik is perfect for both those holiday goals. Continue reading