Travel Guide To Paris and Barcelona

An Artist Has No Better Home Than Paris In Europe

This would be an enough hint to guess about my next destination after Belgium. It’s Paris!!

Well, I heard a lot of mixed reviews about Paris before heading there, some were of the opinion that it is too overhyped while some said that the city is truly a ‘city of love’ !!
I also met a few people who stayed at Paris for few months and they absolutely loved the city and they usually say that, the vibe couldn’t be matched with any other city in Europe!!

With the kind of expectations that I had about Paris, this city didn’t disappoint me with the kind of art it embodies but the Parisians really turned out to be averse to welcoming or helping tourists. This is something which I have not noticed in any other European city so far, except Paris. It is a tad bit disappointing in that aspect.

The last and final destination of this trip after Paris was Barcelona and this turned out to be my second visit to Barca!! So, I am not going to get into detailed travel tips about it. You can check out my old post about Barcelona!! (Well, I visited Barca again because we had a company off-site in Barca for 4 days !!  )

Let’s dive in to the trip details now 😀

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Paris

Duration of Visit : 2 nights and 2 days

Temperature : 8-10 C  (Visited in Mid-October. Warm clothes are recommended as the place is windy)

Accommodation : We stayed at a cute little studio apartment (airbnb) in Paris. It was a good stay and the place is not more than 3-5km from all the major touristy spots.

The way we explored Paris was more touristy than the actual local experience. We eventually found that 2 days is not enough to explore this place. I am definitely going again to explore it properly. If you are planning to visit Paris, plan for at-least 4 days so that you can leisurely explore the place.

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Eiffel Tower

Main Places to Visit:

Eiffel Tower – Of course, one can’t miss this beauty. Though, initially I expected that Eiffel tower would be uninteresting, I absolutely loved it when I saw it!! The magnanimous structure standing out in the city is a true visual retreat. Entrance fee is almost half for anyone below 25 yrs. Don’t forget to mention it at counter, if it applies for you.

Arc de Triomphe – The view of Paris from the top of Arc de Triomphe is magnificent!! I personally loved the view from here rather than the view from the top of Eiffel tower!! It is free entry for anyone below 26 yrs.

Louvre Museum –  This is one of the the top most recommended places of Paris but we ended up visiting on Tuesday which is an official holiday for Louvre. So, plan your schedule accordingly. We missed it this time!!

Notre-Dame De Paris – It is a beautiful architectural masterpiece which is bound to mesmerise you!! It is all about the glass painted interiors , stunning exteriors, and the French gothic architecture.

Montmartre or Sacré-Cœur – One of my friends recommended this place for the stunning view of the city. We visited this place in the night and it did have a good view of the city. I would recommend to visit this place in daylight as the surrounding areas are usually unsafe in terms of robbery.

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View from Arc De Triomphe
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Eiffel Tower In The Night
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Notre-Dame De Paris
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Louvre Musuem

Things To Do :

Visit Eiffel tower in the daylight and also, once the sun sets!! Especially, don’t miss the flickering lights show of Eiffel Tower which happens every hour after the sun sets till 11 pm.

Walk along Champs-Élysées where you get to see all the high street brands. One should experience that atmosphere if you are into fashion. Also, Paris has a lot to offer in terms of street fashion!! So much to learn- I wish I could stay in the city just to learn about Fashion

Don’t forget to taste those yummy french crepes 

Not to forget, the famous macarons and the french wine
(I personally didn’t like macarons though!! )

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Travel Tips for Paris :

If you are below 25 years, you would be getting discount in entry fee at almost all historical locations

Paris is comparatively expensive than most other cities in Europe. So, plan accordingly

Shopoholics, ensure that you have at-least a day to explore the shopping streets. Do note that they close by 7-8 pm

Don’t stay far off the city as travelling is a bit expensive. We have tried “Chauffeur Prive” app in Paris which offered 5 euros discount on each of first six rides. You can try that!!

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Bridges and Canals of Paris

Barcelona

I am including only the new places that I visited and found interesting this time. Do check out my previous post for more detailed Barcelona travel tips.

Duration of Visit : 2 nights and 2 days

Temperature : 20-25 C  (Visited towards the end of October. Might require a jacket during the night)

Accommodation : Le Meridian, La Rambla.
It is located right in La Ramblas, the famous street of Barcelona. All major locations are not more than 1 or 2 km from the hotel. However, this 5 start hotel didn’t provide service that matches up to the 5 star standards.

Newly Explored Places:

La Boqueria – It is the biggest market in Barcelona which has shops selling all different kinds of fruits, vegetables, sea food, chocolates and what not!! If you are a foodie or a grocery-shopping enthusiast like me, you should not miss this place. You will discover many new food items.

Streets of Gothic Quarters – The ancient vibe of gothic quarters in its narrow lanes and the small little squares is something one can’t miss. And, if you are looking for some vintage shopping, this is where you need to go. Carrer del Duc,Carrer de Retrizol, and  Carrer de Bisbe are some streets which I loved.

Camp Nou – We watched a FCB Vs Inter Milan match at this Stadium. The vibe and energy in the stadium is commendable. A Life time experience!!
Even though, you are not a football enthusiast, I would recommend you to watch a match if possible or visit the stadium.

Montserrat Monastery in Barcelona – It is famous for a monastery located on the top of one of the hills of Montserrat mountain range. However, I found the journey and the view from the top much more beautiful. It is a 40 min train from Barcelona city. You could do a day trip. The mountain range looks incredible when you are going to the monastery.

Torres Vineyard – We went on a vineyard tour which was interesting to a certain extent in terms of understanding about the wine making process and also, the wine tasting session. Ping me on Instagram if you want to know more details about it.

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Different type of Mushrooms at La Boqueria
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At Camp Nou
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Montserrat
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Torres Vineyard
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La Boqueria

Shopping Tips in Barcelona :

Zara and Mango are cheaper than India as these companies have main manufacturing units in Spain and Portugal. Visit Zara store in Plaça de Catalunya for good collection.

Sephora near La Ramblas is a very huge store and has massive discounts on few items which are way too expensive in India. So, girls, visit it if you like makeup and skincare

Visit Hema or Flying Tiger for cute knick knacks and some good gifts at affordable price

You can visit Pulls and Bear for good t-shirts. They have good collection. I found urban outfitters way too expensive.

Do visit Bershka, their shoe collection is usually good and the casual clothes too.

HnM is much cheaper in India than Europe. So, don’t waste money over there unless you like something very much

The streets in Gothic quarters have some amazing vintage stores which sell unique stuff but they are way too expensive

You can get good post cards, souvenir boards and magnets on La Ramblas.

Also, pickpocketing is very common in Barcelona. Be extremely careful.

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Plaza De Colon, Barcelona
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Zara Outlet
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Common Sight of Dressed Up Artists at La Ramblas 

That’s it for this trip!! 

Hope you enjoy my content and hope it would be useful if you happen to visit these places!!

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Feel free to ping me on my Instagram or email me for any more travel tips or doubts 😀

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Previous post : Travel Tales of Belgium

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Travel Tales of Belgium

While most of my trips are usually restricted to exploring places rather than food, this Belgium trip was more about food than places. Who would not want to taste those extremely soft waffles topped with some heavenly whipped cream and strawberries, or who wouldn’t want to relish the widely renowned Belgian chocolates and fries, and not to forget the wide variety of Belgian beers that are available!!

By the way, this is in continuation to my previous blog on Amsterdam which was my first destination in the backpacking trip. From Netherlands, we headed to Bruges followed by Brussels in Belgium.

Let me just jump into the details now 🙂

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Bruges, Belgium

Bruges

Also known as ‘Venice of North’, this little town on the countryside of Belgium is widely known for its medieval homes, cobble-stoned streets with horse carriages roaming around and small canals lined with colorful dutch houses and filled with in-numerous white swans. The moment you see those streets and houses, I can guarantee you that it will just take you back in time. It feels like a fairy tale!!

( A must-visit place if you are planning to visit any nearby major cities. If you are visiting Brussels, then it’s just a 2 hr travel to reach this place and most of the tourists visit this place for a day tour)

Duration of Visit : 2 nights and 2 days

Temperature : 10-15 C  (Visited in Mid-October. Warm clothes recommended as the place is windy)

Accommodation : We stayed at an airbnb in Hertsberge, Bruges which is 14 km away from the Bruges city centre. We choose this place as it had the best reviews and undoubtedly, our host was extremely cordial and the airbnb was too good. The only drawback is the location which is quite far off from the city and the lack of good internal public transport in the city makes it difficult unless you have a personal vehicle.

Main Places to Visit:

Belfry – It is the clocktower in the main market square of Bruges where you can take the stairs to go to the top of the tower. It gives a panoramic view of the entire city, sunset is usually good. Charges per person are around 10 euros but if you are below 25, there is a discount.

Markt – The main market square of Bruges where you get to see the horse carriages and the colourful medieval buildings along with the city hall.

Walplein Square – This is my most favourite spot in Bruges. It truly takes you back to 1900’s. It is a quaint little square with horse carriages and a canal filled with swans all the time. One can just sit back and relax.

Minnewater park – The castle in the minnewater park which is just by the lake is a visual retreat to anyone.

Begijnhuisje (Ten Wijngaerde) is a preserved beguinage (UNESCO World Heritage Site). I personally didn’t find it interesting. If you want to visit this place, visit before 5 pm and it is near Walplein.
We visited Church of Old Lady as well but didn’t find anything very special about it. It was similar to many other churches.

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Markt
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Streets of Bruges
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View from the top of Belfry
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Belfry of Bruges
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Castle of Minnewater Park
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Canal at Walplein

Things To Do :

Canal Boat Tour – Though it was not as good as Amsterdam, Bruges canal tour is interesting in terms of the very tiny canals that it has, and the beautiful houses. Costs around 8-10 Euro per person and is not more than 30 min. We choose Canal Boat Tours , the experience with them was just average (Guide was speaking Dutch, so it was difficult to understand)

Walk on the streets near Walplein –  Noordstraat and Mariastraat are some good streets. Best way to explore Bruges is by walking around and since it is a small town, it is not so tiring to cover it by walking.

Try waffles at Chez Albert .The plain waffle is just too delicious.

Try Belgian fries at Chez Vincent

Try strawberries dipped in chocolate

If you are into berries, this place has really good berries

Belgium is famous for Lace as well. However, I found it expensive than India.

The only travel tip that I would suggest for Bruges is that, walking in the city is the best way to explore it.

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Belgian Fries With Tender Chicken
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Walplein

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Streets of Bruges
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Strawberries dipped in Chocolate

Brussels

Brussels has a busy city vibe with people hustling around. I didn’t find it interesting as a place, as I am inclined towards nature-centric or less-crowded places. However, one has to visit this place atleast for the chocolates, waffles, beers and fries.

Duration of Visit : 2 nights and 2 days

Temperature : 10-15 C  (Visited in Mid-October. Warm clothes recommended as the place is windy)

Accommodation : We stayed at an airbnb right next to Manneken pis, which is just a 2 min walk to the Grand Place of Brussels (Main City Centre). It was a comfortable stay and it was very close to all the main locations of the city.

There are a lots of trains and buses running from Bruges to Brussels and vice versa (Also, you can get a train ticket at half the price if you are below 26). The journey is ~2 hrs.

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Streets of Brussels

Main Places to Visit:

Grand Place – It is a square in the centre of the city which is surrounded by age-old buildings with spell-bound architecture. Do visit this place in the night once all the buildings are well-lit and the vibe couldn’t be missed in the night!!

Place Poelaert – It is a place suggested by my friend and which is not so popular but has an amazing view of the city. Visit during sunset for the best experience.

Sablon – This is a peaceful and less crowded locality in Brussels with good restaurants around. Walk to explore this place.

Mont De Arts – It is a good place away from the hustle and bustle of Grand place with a view of the highest tower of Grand Place buildings. The view is good and if you want to chill and relax for some time, it’s a good place

We also visited Royal Palace of Brussels which was a good masterpiece of architecture. However, we couldn’t cover the European Parliament area (Do visit if you have time) and Atomium ( We didn’t find it interesting)

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Grand Place
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Grand Place

Things To Do :

Visit Delirium Cafe which serves almost 2000 types of brewed beers (If you are into beer, this should be on your list)

Taste desserts at  Aux Merveilleux de FredExpect long queues and these desserts are slightly on the sweeter side. If you are into dark chocolates and don’t like too much sugar, it is not a place for you. But, it also serves amazing chocolate buns and croissants

Taste waffles at Waffle factory. Slightly expensive but I loved the whipped cream over there 😛 ( But I loved Bruges waffles more)

Taste fries at Fritland. They are really good and the sauce is something special which adds to the taste

Go to Rue Neuve  for shopping. It almost has all the brands covered. Ensure you don’t plan it on Sunday as shops are usually closed on Sunday. Also, on weekdays, the stores get closed by 7 pm. Plan accordingly.

For more general Europe travel tips, visit my previous blog post.

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I hope you find it useful if you are planning to visit Brussels or Bruges 🙂

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Feel free to ping me on my Instagram or email me for any more travel tips or doubts 😀

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Previous post : A Ticket To Amsterdam

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A Ticket To Amsterdam

Amsterdam!!
It just broke the clichéd opinion that I had about this city before visiting. I knew this place more as a city for stoners and thought it to be over-hyped. To my surprise, it hosts some of the most beautiful canals, bridges, flowers and dutch architecture. The streets were all vibrant and buzzing with people who are moving around on cycles at any hour of the day.

Also known as a city where Cannabis and prostitution are legal, and where you can savour some of the most amazing dutch pancakes, and of course, lots and lots of canals and bridges.

Before I could explain any further about the city, let me just dive into the actual things to do and places to visit in Amsterdam. We spent around 4 days in Amsterdam during mid-October.

Temperature : 15-20 C  (Warm clothes recommended as the place is windy)

Accommodation : We stayed at our friend’s place in Amsterdam Amstel which is pretty close to the city centre. Since I had already done my research about good hostels, dropping in some suggestions here : ClinkNOORD, Flying Pig

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Canals of Jordaan

Main Places to Visit:

Rijks Museum – It is one of the best museums that I have seen so far. It showcases the rich heritage of their ancestors and their lifestyle incredibly. If you plan to visit, don’t forget to cover 2nd floor and also, the 1.2 section in 1st floor.

Red Light District – The widely renowned red light district of Amsterdam is a must visit after 11pm when the streets get lit up with red lights.

Zaanse Saanch – It is 40 min metro ride from Amsterdam to this beautiful place which is designed in a way to give you an essence of age-old dutch countryside with windmills!! It takes atleast 3 hrs to explore this place properly. Don’t miss this place if you have enough time.

Anne Frank House – It was the place where Anne Frank was reportedly in hiding for around 2 years during WWII. However, if you are planning to visit this place, ensure that you book your online tickets (no offline tickets available) well in advance (We couldn’t get the tickets :/ )

Vondel Park – If you want to relax in a very silent place filled with beautiful trees, canals, and swans, you must visit this place. It had insane variety of trees sporting different fall colours. It is also a place where public sex is legal!!

Van Gogh Museum – If you are into paintings, you should consider visiting this place. (We couldn’t find time to visit it)

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At Museum Entrance

If you want to go shopping, you can find many shops near Dam Square or for street shopping, you can visit Albert Cuyp Market.

Also, you might want to get clicked before ” I Amsterdam ” Symbol which is just close to Van Gogh/ Rjiks Museum. You are lucky if you get a good picture without the crowd.

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Coffee Shop (Smokeys)
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Adam’s Lookout (Look at the view)
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Amsterdam Canals (Canal Cruise)

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Few Travel Tips :

If you are below 25 yrs, you are most likely to get a discount in entry fees in most of the museums, historical monuments in Europe. Just ask them about it and flash your passport and you get a discount 😀 (I availed many such discounts)

If you are planning to rent a bicycle in Amsterdam, you can visit Mac Bikes . They charge around 10-15 Euros per day. Also, ensure that you carry a mobile holder otherwise it gets difficult to deal with google maps.

If you are planning for shopping, never plan it on Sunday as most of the stores remain closed that day. During regular days, the shops shut by 7-8 pm, so plan your shopping accordingly. Also, street shopping markets shut by 5 pm

Ensure that you have a minimum of 2-3 hrs to explore each museum. If you don’t have enough time, ask for the must-visit spots in the museum at the ticket counter. Also, while planning for museums, check for working days.

Pick pocketing is common in Europe. Be alert (Especially your passports and wallets)

You can get a metro pass for 4 days which costs around 18 Euros. It would be really helpful for internal travel.

If you are into exploring other museums, you can checkout “I Amsterdam” Card which offers many activities at a discounted price of 75 Euros per person. It covers most of the museums. Since I am not into museums, I didn’t take one.

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I hope you find it useful if you are planning to visit Amsterdam 🙂

Feel free to ping me on my Instagram or email me for any more travel tips or doubts 😀

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Backpacking Trip To Spain

When it comes to ticking things off my bucket list, I have my head clear and my mind focussed 😀

Do you think anyone would want to have ‘facing a gruesome accident but managing to get out alive’ in their bucket list? Well, I did tick it off my list 😛

Brushing aside such not-so-sane things, I do have some travel goals and Europe was always on the list and I wanted to do one backpackers trip with strangers before I turn 25. And yeah, it’s done now (atleast, a little part of Europe)

Spain and Portugal exploration happened to be my first leg of Europe journey. To all those people who wanted to know about how I have planned the trip, about the backpackers group and about my experience in these two countries- this blog post, the upcoming one and my Instagram posts would answer all your queries. I will be pitching in my suggestions about the places to visit, the places you could skip and also, the precautions you need to take based on my personal experience.

Let’s get started!! 😀

Mumbai > Barcelona > Ibiza > Madrid > Lisbon > Mumbai

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BARCELONA

5 days and 4 nights stay

Accommodation : Generator Hostel

Main Places to Visit:

La Sagrada Familia – Renowned for its captivating Gaudi architecture and magnificence. Book your tickets online and they don’t allow post your time slot (Be on Time).It will be a guided tour provided you make it on time. By the way, it is still being built!! (since a century almost :/ )

Gothic Quarter – Old city of Barcelona. Explore the place on foot. Has a plethora of options for restaurants and clubs. Night life is good here.

La Rambla – You can’t miss this street. It is one of the best to witness the vibe of Barcelona city.

La Barceloneta – Seaside neighbourhood of Barcelona lined up with good restaurants along with a splendid view

Things to Do:

Cycling tour in the city ( they are going to show you some of the best streets in Barca)

Try Sangria and Aperol Spritz if you are into wine and alcohol

Try PaellaTapas, Churros, Croissants  when in Spain (Food)

Camp Nou (didn’t visit as I am not so much into football) and Opium (popular pub) are two things which have good feedback but I couldn’t make it. Try those if you find time.

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Streets of Barcelona 
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L’esquerra de L’eixample
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Gaudi Fountain
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La Sagrada Familia

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IBIZA

2 days and 2 nights

Accommodation : Amistat Island Hostel 

Main Places to Visit:

Sant Antoni de Portmany – Town on the west coast of Ibiza (party place). Explore port area for night life.

Dalt Vila – It’s the old town of Ibiza which should be explored on foot. Such amazing fairy tale streets!!

Castell de Eivissa – You might want to visit this place to get a good panoramic view of Ibiza.

Things to Do:

Boat Party – You should not miss on this. A unique experience all together. Costs around 6-8k per person.

Watch the sun go down with wonderful live instrumental music and some wine at/ near Café Mambo in Sant Antoni de Portmany. Have to say, my best sunset so far.

Amnesia is apparently an amazing pub you can visit in Ibiza. We chose to party by the sea-side with some good wine and good company !! (my way of partying 😛 )

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Carretera de Cala Gracio`
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Sunset near Cafe Mambos in Sant Antoni de Portmany
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View from Castell de Eivissa
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Near Playa De Bossa

MADRID

3 days and 2 nights

Accommodation : Sun Gate One (best hostel in the entire trip)

Main Places to Visit:

Royal Palace of Madrid – One of the most popular places in Madrid. We didn’t enter inside though!! We were enjoying the view with some good live music 😀

Gran Via – This street is always buzzing and is the best for shopping 🙂

Toledo – It’s on countryside, a 45 min ride from Madrid. You can find many local travel agencies conducting a day trip to Toledo. Historically significant place!! Again, explore this beauty on foot.

Also, Stadio Santiago Bernabeu  if you are interested in football 🙂

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Royal Palace of Madrid
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Streets of Madrid
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Streets of Toledo
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View of Toledo from the highest view point
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Near Gran Via

I didn’t find Madrid interesting though!! It mostly had the busy city vibe with good partying and shopping places. Teatro Kapitol is a must visit pub if you are into partying.

Alert : Pickpocketing is damn prominent in Spain. Be very very careful with your belongings!! You never even notice it, they are too good at it.

Backpackers Group

‘When in City’ is one such travel agency which frequently does backpackers’ trips across the world every year. Well, there are enough pros and cons when dealing with this group. So, weigh those if you are planning to join their trips :/

Pros being that you might end up meeting really cool people like I did. It could be a coincidence too. Of course, more than anything else, people you are with, is important.

Cons being that you are going to overpay for their not-so-good service and their not-so-experienced team. You end up paying a premium compared to other such groups. They have limited knowledge about the best places to explore (atleast in case of Spain and Portugal)- had received misleading guidance at times, and you will also see them become stingy :/ (mostly in case of accommodation)  –  which was so disappointing for many of us. Their packages include only accommodation at hostels, internal flights and a trip guide ( International flights , visa charges not included). Many things in their itinerary require additional payment. So, take note of all those.

So, before you go ahead, decide if you are okay with the cons and then take a call.

Well!! These are some suggestions based on my travel experience. DM me on Instagram for more details. Would always love to help you guys 🙂

Hope this post is helpful for those planning to any of these places!!

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Those who made the trip worth-while 😀

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Weekend Getaway To Guhagar

If you are staying in Mumbai/Pune and would like to quickly escape to a less crowded beach and a good resort for a weekend, then this post would help you plan one 🙂

We wanted to just chill and relax at any place with a clean and isolated beach for two days and also, wanted to explore beaches other than Goa.

We started exploring the places along the Konkan Coast and finding resorts along the coast. We were not intent on travelling a long distance ( not more than 300 km from Mumbai).

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Accommodation

Mango Village Resort 

The resort had villas spread over a huge arena. It was secluded from the hustle and bustle of the city and it was exactly what we were yearning for – a quiet and relaxing place.

You should definitely try this resort if you are planning to explore this place.

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Mango Village Resort

 

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Travel

 

If you are in Mumbai/ Pune, a long car drive would be the best way to reach this place.

Chiplun is one of the major cities near Guhagar- Trains heading towards Goa stop at Chiplun and there are also a lot of MSRTC buses which can get you to Chiplun from Pune/ Mumbai. There are local buses/ taxis which can take you from Chiplun to Guhagar.

We preferred travelling by car over train/ bus just so that we could enjoy the route as per our convenience.

Guhagar – Places To Visit

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Guhagar Beach

Guhagar beach is the main attraction and it is completely worth to visit this place to chill. A continuous stretch of tall trees guarding a beach is a perfect visual retreat.

It’s a pretty small village and hence, a walk through the peaceful little lanes would be enought to explore this  place.

We limited ourselves to exploring the resort and beach as we wanted to have a lazy and relaxing weekend instead of hopping around a lot 😛

Hope this helps 😀

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DM on my Instagram if you need detailed information.

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