Melbourne Travel Guide – Things to Do, See & Eat

My first destination in Australia now got my new favourite city in the world. Being overwhelmed at first and feeling uncomfortable, I fell in love more and more day by day and now I am already excited to go back.

Besides the wonderful cafés, pubs, shops and sights obviously the people I met there are a huge reason for my Melbourne love as well.

In this travel guide, I tell you all my beloved places to go to, things to see and facts to know that I discovered in 2 ½ weeks in the city and I will hopefully be adding more experiences and favourites when I go back soon.

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Blog posts from Melbourne

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Things to know

When you arrive at the Melbourne Tullamarine airport you can take the Skybus to the city for 19$

Melbourne has a Free Tram Zone in the CBD area which means that you don’t need to pay when travelling in this zone or when you use the Free Tram Route 35 that goes around the CBD. This makes exploring the city 100 times easier, quicker and cheaper and it was so practical to not worry about your ticket.

 

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I only paid for going to St. Kilda and Brighton Beach (both 20-30 minutes away from the centre) and otherwise I used the free tram and walked the rest.

Melbourne has a free Wifi in the whole CBD area which was great to use google maps, check out places and it also worked in my hostel (as most hostel Wifi’s are shit :D )

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I never ever thought that Melbourne is so cold! I’ve been there in the End of September / Beginning of October and even though it was 18-24 degrees at that time, I always wore all my warm clothes because the wind is freezing. When you are in the sun and protected from the wind it is nice but in the shades and windy streets, it feels like winter.

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The vibe of the city reminds me of a mix between London, Seattle and New York (even though I haven’t been to NY). I can’t really describe why, but the people, their style, the shops and restaurants have this urban hipster vibe (in a very good way!) – especially Fitzroy.

There are a lot of awesome Vintage Shops in Melbourne. This is another reason why I really want to go back – so I can shop the perfect Vintage Levi’s Mom Jeans and Shorts as well as Dr. Martens, cool Hoodies, band t-shirts and awesome jackets…

Fitzroy is the coolest, hippest, nicest area in Melbourne and especially the Brunswick street is awesome! Nice shops, cafés, restaurants, pubs and vintage shops.

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Apparently, Melbourne has the best coffee in the world! I don’t know if that is really the case, but at least they have the most coffee shops in the world (per person), but not the big chains – Melbourners love their individual, cute coffee places and you find them at every corner.

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Where to Stay

Of course, I can’t tell you which place is the best to stay in Melbourne as I haven’t tried them all.

In the beginning, I’ve stayed in the CBD area the Nomads All Nations hostel that was cheap, but not very clean and nice. The vibe and the kitchen weren’t that great and considering that it wasn’t even a good price (24$ for a 12-bed-dorm). They offer free pancakes for breakfast as well as tea, coffee, pasta and rice which is great!

Afterwards, I moved into The Nunnery in Fitzroy. I really recommend this area and also this hostel, but it is also pretty expensive (35$ for 12-bed-dorm). The vibe there is super chilled, it isn’t that big and it’s easy to meet people. Everything is clean and they offer free breakfast, tea, coffee and pasta as well as specials like a pub crowl, soup, BBQ or movie night every week.

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What to do

For me, the most important thing when visiting a city, is walking through its streets and soaking up its vibes. Not the sights but the streets, buildings and people give it its charm.

You will see a lot of Asian people, shops, supermarkets and restaurants, many barbers & hairdressers, coffeeshops, chocolateries & bisquiteries.

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Streets I recommend to check out are: Brunswick Street in Fitzroy (vintage shops, cute cafés, restaurants & pubs, many vegan places), Lygon Street in Calton (many European and especially Italian restaurants), Fliders St, Bourke St, Swanson St, Elisabeth St, Collin St (in the CBD) and Little Bourke St (Chinatown).

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At Federation Square a lot of open-air (Veranstaltungen) take place. You also find an aboriginal museum and ACMI Museum (modern, technology) there. The immigration museum is another recommended one on Federation St.

The Eureka Tower is the highest building in Melbourne and you can enjoy an awesome view from above over the city. Sadly I didn’t do it, but it is on the top of my things to do next time for sure!

 

The Queen Victoria Market is one of my favourite places in Melbourne. They don’t just sell fresh fruits & veggies for a great price (and offer so many different options), but also the best hummus I ever had and yummy bread, sweets and take-away dishes. There is also a part that sells shoes, clothes, souvenirs and everything else you could think of.

Another market in Melbourne is the South Melbourne Market that is meant to be great as well.

 

South of the Yarra River, you can find the Royal Botanical Garden (that I only saw a small part of and want to go back to!)…

…as well as the National Art Gallery that had a Moma exhibition from New York at the moment and the Arts Centre Melbourne where I really wanted to see the Australian Ballet dancing Spartacus, but the tickets where too expensive sadly.

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St. Pauls Cathedral, State Library Victoria, City Square and Melbourne Town Hall are worth a look as well.

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Walk101 do a Free Walking Tour in the centre of the city as well as in St. Kilda. Originally I wanted to do both, but I only made it to the centre tour which was a lot of fun and I highly recommend it.

You go to the meeting point, join the tour, meet a lot of other travellers, learn a lot about the city and history as well as some insider tips from the tour guide and in the end you pay as much as you can / want to.

The laneways in Melbourne are very famous with their street art. You just need to walk through some smaller streets and you will find amazing artworks. At ACDC lane and Flinders Lane (and the areas around), you will find the most famous pieces and walls. But also the streets of Fitzroy are great to see some pretty street art. The cool thing is, that they change daily/weekly because artists make new sprays all the time.

Furthermore, Arcades are very popular in Melbourne and I recommend to walk through the beautiful Royale Arcade and Block Arcade for it’s amazing architecture and the  Centreway Arcade to find cute book, vintage and soap shops.

To get a little bit outside the big city vibes I highly recommend to go to St. Kilda for one day. Especially when the weather is nice. The pier is only 25 minutes by tram away from the centre and you will find some vacation and beach vibes there. It’s great to stroll through the pedestrian zone and the not so busy streets, enjoy the peace in the Botanical Gardens or sit at the beach.

Behind the famous amusement park, I found a real oasis: VegOut an urban garden community that allows you to walk through the patches and forget that you are in a huge city.

Another great getaway that is even more quiet and peaceful is Brighton. A suburb of Melbourne about 25 minutes by train away from the city centre. The famous Brighton Bath Boxes are located there and you can enjoy some sunny time at the beach.

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Where to eat

Melbourne and especially Fitzroy is full of amazing (vegan) food places. Literally, every pub offers vegetarian and even vegan dishes but you can also find hundreds of beautiful, hipster, chic cafés that all have avocado toast, granola and even acai on their menu. Many coffee shops sell raw slices and vegan cookies as well as delicious looking banana bread or carrot cake.

It would already be worth coming back to Melbourne just to try out more food places, as I obviously couldn’t (or wouldn’t want) to afford eating out every day for every meal – but I really wished to!

 

Degraves Street

Degraves St is a pedestrian street where cafés, coffee shops and bakeries as well as restaurants and bistros are side by side and everyone can for sure find something to satisfy their taste buds.

I’ve been to Mock Turtle on Degraves St and…

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…here I ate the best Avocado Toast of my life. I can not really imagine someone being able to top it. Sadly it wasn’t vegan and I forgot to ask for a vegan option, but it was amazing and so worth it… I mean look at the variety of toppings and the bread was just delicious (which isn’t always the case if you are used to the great German bread :P ) and the Avo smash perfectly ripe and creamy. The price was pretty high but I would still always come back!

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Slow Poke

Another great breakfast place that is located on Brunswick St. A super quiet café that has a small courtyard where you can sit peacefully and enjoy the sunshine. Their orange juice is fresh pressed and they have some amazing looking baked sweets. They also have a yummy lunch menu.

I ate buckwheat chocolate granola with coconut yogurt and cacao nibs, almond milk and canned peas which was amazing. The Avo Toast looked good, but by far not reach the one from Mock Turtle.

Lentils as Anything

I fell in love with the philosophy of this place and I am so lucky that they have one local in Sydney (and about 5 in Melbourne, even in St. Kilda). This place is run by volunteers and they offer a completely vegan buffet for lunch and four dishes to choose from every day for dinner, as well as a dessert. At the end you pay the amount you think the food was worth it – and I tell you, the food is amazing!

We tried all the dishes they had that evening and everything was super delicious and I am really sad that I only went there once in Melbourne. I’ll definitely go there lots in Sydney!

Lord of the Fries

If you crave some unhealthy food, go to Lord of the Fries! A completely vegan fast food burger chain that make amazing burgers and delicious fries. They don’t advertise to be completely vegan, to attract everyone and to amaze them with the vegan deliciousness. And it’s also fairly cheap!

I ate a “Fish-burger” and sweet potato fries with vegan aioli and tried the normal fries and the classic burger from a friend and everything was yummy. But I still wouldn’t want to go there every second day, because you can really taste that it’s not healthy at all :D

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Madam Saigon

… is a better option when you want something healthy and cheap. This bistro makes great Asian dishes and they have vegan options on their menu. I tried the vegan noodle salad bowl with tofu and it was delicious, fresh, healthy and great for lunch while only costing 11$ (7€).

Zero Gradi Gelateria

A friend who has been living in Melbourne for a while crowned this place to the best Gelataria in town and they have vegan flavours too (and not only fruit sorbets). I combined vegan chocolate and coconut and it tasted amazing – creamy, chocolat-y and not too sweet.

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More great (vegan/healthy) places that I sadly could not try this time:

  • Fina’s Vegetarian Café
  • Pina Chocolate Café
  • Veggie time
  • Smith & Daughter
  • Veggie bar
  • Nice Guy
  • Particle
  • Urban Projuice
  • Yong Green Food
  • Vegilicious
  • Radhey Chai Bar
  • Tahina Bar
  • Mantra Lounge
  • Rue de Creperie
  • Loving hut Richmond

And you will find a lot more by just walking through the streets (especially Brunswick St)!

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Algarve’s Breathtaking Beaches & Awesome View Points | Portugal Pt. 2

After talking about the cute little towns at the Algarve that we explored and the yummy food we ate, as well as some general recommendations in the first part of my travel guide for Portugal I want to share a list of our favorite beaches and some places you need to visit at the Algarve.

There will be a third part where I talk about our two-day trip to Lisbon soon!

Portugals Breathtaking Beaches at the Algarve Coast

The Algarve Coast is truly beautiful and special. High rock cliffs combined with lovely white sand beaches floating into the turquoise ocean.

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Praia de Anna and Praia do Camilo 

…are both near Lagos and truly beautiful! You can find the known wooden stairs leading to the small bays surrounded by the cliffs. From above you have an awesome view over the ocean, the cliff formations and the beach. Both beaches are pretty small at first sight but expand when you are willing to follow short tunnels through the stones.

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@gypsea_lust visited Praia de Ana as well – just some days before we went there!

Meia Praia, Lagos

Lagos main beach can be recommended as well, even tho it’s „only“ a long sand beach without the typical cliffs. But because of its length, it is not overcrowded at all and you can rent jet skis, stand up paddles and kayaks or do other fun activities there.

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after a long day at the beach

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Praia de Benagil

This beach is probably the most popular one, although it’s not lovely at all. Way too many people and pebble beach – not what we are looking for. But you have the shortest access to the well known cave hence there are lots of boats, kayaks and paddle boards going in and out of the cave. My dad and my brother swam into the cave which is not a very long way, but the water in Portugal is pretty cold (cause it’s Atlantik water) and took some video clips and pictures there but we didn’t stay at the beach for longer.

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@hilvees and @eljackson took some amazing pictures at the cave when they where there!

Praia da Marinha

Instead, we went to Praia da Marinha located nearby and definitely worth seeing. It is also a bit crowded, but the scenery is just insane! We went to this popular photo spot with the natural stone bridge where you had to climb a bit to get there and you could even jump from one of the big rocks in the water.

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Praia de Carvoeiro / Algar Seco

My brother searched for a place to do cliff jumping and found one near Carvoeiro which was called Algar Seco. You walk some stairs from a parking lot to the cliffs where you can jump in the ocean. They constructed stairs into the stone so you can climb back easily and the height was – depending on the changing water level – around 5-7 meter (where I jumped from), 12-15 meter (my brother jumped from here) and around 30 meters (where some boys jumped from). The beach in Carvoeiro wasn’t very special, but still good enough to rest after the cliff jumping :D

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Praia da Luz

The closest beach to our house in Espiche (talking about that in part 1 of my travel guide) was in Luz. It is pretty long and when you take the time to walk some meters you can find a more private place in the sand with a beautiful view of Luz.

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Praia do Beliche

Last but not least our favorite beach: Praia do Beliche near Sagres and the viewpoint Cabo de São Vicente, the only beach we visited twice on our vacation. It is separated in two parts where only one can be arrived through stairs and the second part is only accessible while ebb tide or when you walk through the water. Therefore the second part was very empty and perfect for taking pictures. Also, the waves were pretty high at this beach and it was a lot of fun playing in them and we even rent a surfboard at this beach to try surfing for the first time (not very successful but still fun :D ).

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Amazing viewpoints and places worth going

We haven’t done many sight seeing besides scrolling a bit through some cities and towns at the coast and the two-day city trip to Lison. Besides that, we spend most of our vacation at the beautiful beaches. But there are still two viewpoints I highly recommend you to go to.

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Ponta de Piedade

A very popular viewpoint near Lagos at the Algarve and so so beautiful! Sadly we didn’t go there in the morning so the lightning in our pictures isn’t very charming.

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Luckily @eljackson captured the beauty of this place

Cabo de São Vicente

The lighthouse at the Cup de São Vicente is another lovely photo spot, especially for sunset when the sun kisses the ocean good night…

We went there in the late morning to see the lighthouse and explore the area, spend the rest of the day at the Praia do Beliche nearby and came back for sunset after dinner to take some of my favorite pictures from that trip. Sunset at the sea is just magical!

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More blog posts about Portugal:
- Part one of my travel guide with tips & recommendations for your trip and our favorite 
towns and where & what to eat

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That’s it for my second part of my Portugal Travel series and there will be a third one about our two days in Lisbon next week!

Also, my brother is editing a short video from our Vacation – are you excited to see some moving images from all these beautiful places? 

Exploring the Algarve | Portugal (Pt. 1)

As you have probably already seen on Instagram or read in my previous blog posts, I’ve been in Portugal at the beautiful Algarve coast for two weeks with my family and today I want to share the first part of my travel guide including tips, recommendations and our favorite towns and food places with you.

Part two talks about our favorite beaches and some must-sees and pretty photo spots you shouldn’t miss. And there will be a third part about our two-day trip to Lisbon soon!

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General

Before we start with the more interesting part I want to share some general information that you might not know.

Portugals national language is Portuguese, but they all speak very good English. There is a one hour time difference to Berlin and you pay with the Euro.

Even tho it gets really hot in Portugal you always need a light jacket for the mornings and evenings because of the pretty cold ocean wind and sadly there are no warm summer nights like in other European countries. But this also means that it’s not hot at night and you can sleep better.

Portugals Coast is located at the Atlantic Ocean and this means that the water temperature is much lower than in the Meditteranean Sea and it wasn’t possible (for us) to swim for more than 10-15 Minutes.

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Transportation

We flew from Berlin Schönefeld to Faro, one of the bigger cities at the Algarve with an airport. The flight takes around three hours and one hour time difference (so it’s one hour later in Germany).

For our two week stay, we rented a car which I highly recommend because there are so many small beautiful beaches and cute towns and you don’t want to be staying at the same place your whole trip – there is so much to explore!

Only in Lisbon, we used the public transportation because the road system is super confusing and it’s quicker as well.

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Where to stay

I already got some messages on Instagram asking for our lovely home away from home that you saw in my pictures.

We really were so blessed to find such a cute little house with a huge pool and a pretty garden for such a good price. It is located in Espiche, a small town near Lagos (one of the more famous and bigger cities), so it’s super peaceful and lonely there.

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You can rent the bungalow we stayed in or a smaller apartment on the same property here. The two apartments and the bungalow share the same garden and pool, but we were lucky and had it all to ourselves because nobody stayed in the apartments at the time we were there.

Espiche itself hasn’t much to offer, but it’s very close to Luz a super cute town that has two supermarkets and a beach. We also saw many cute apartments and houses to rent there and I would definitely recommend this more than staying in Lagos.

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Cities and Towns at the Algarve

Like I sad Espiche and Luz are very peaceful and lovely to stay at, but not made for an evening stroll through streets and alleys looking for little boutiques or restaurants (even tho they have some that still looked good).

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Lagos

However, Lagos is perfect for that. It has a very cute old town, many alleys with restaurants, bars, cafés and boutiques. We even found places selling vegan food, but typical fish restaurants, as well as Italian restaurants, are more popular obviously.

Lagos has one main beach that it super long and not crowded at all (probably because there is so much space) and is near the well known Ponta de Piedade and some very beautiful beaches with amazing cliffs and rocks (I’ll talk about them later).

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We went to an amazing restaurant called Gorilla that offers many healthy, Asia-styled food like sprouts-salad with tofu (or meat), veggie filled dumplings and weird flatbread filled with jackfruit meat and veggies which was all super delicious!

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Also, this café was my personal dream! They had vegan chocolate, banana cake and vegan carrot, walnut, date cake, amazing looking salads and also homemade vegan ice cream. Sadly I haven’t had the chance to try it all because it wasn’t a place to eat dinner with the family, so I only ate their chocolate ice cream, but I am sure it all tastes delicious cause it looked so so yum!


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Albufeira

On our first day, we went to Albufeira which is another pretty city. We walked a bit through its streets and along the beach and had sunset drinks and dinner at a lovely bar at the ocean. They offered so much good food, including vegan and vegetarian options, sushi, fish, burgers, sandwiches and more. Their smoothies tasted amazing as well and also the location and the atmosphere was very nice because it was outside the city center at the beach and not as crowded as the old town.

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I ate veggie Quesadillas without cheese willed with mushrooms, zucchini and eggplant, served with guacamole (had to eat two portions because it wasn’t very filling but sooo delicious! :D)


Carvoeiro

Another small town surrounded by many popular beaches. We had dinner there after a long beach day and like I always do when there is no good veggie option I ordered pizza with vegetables without cheese :D

More blog posts about Portugal:
- Part two of my travel guide about Breathtaking Beaches & Awesome View Points 
  you should not miss on your trip

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Food in Portugal

I didn’t really eat a lot of typical Portuguesian food because it’s mostly fish-based, but my dad did and he sad that the huge touristic restaurants don’t make a lot of effort and are still expensive, but smaller more local restaurants do and you can easily see and taste the difference.

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A typical pastry that we fell in love with was Pasteis de Nata. Small puff pastry cakes filled with vanilla pudding – very sweet, but so delicious, cheap and can be found nearly everywhere.

I can also highly recommend the supermarket chain Intermarché because it is huge and sells nearly everything you need and their fresh produce had an amazing quality. They even sell red bananas, that I have never ever seen somewhere else before and coconut yogurt for a pretty good price (cheaper than in Germany!).

As I already mentioned for every city: there can be found vegan and vegetarian options and even restaurants or cafés. Especially in the bigger cities like Lisbon and Lagos. Sadly I couldn’t test a lot more, because I traveled with my family and we needed to find places to eat where everybody likes something.

But as well as eating out we also love to shop for fresh food and prepare it ourselves. We had a very big breakfast every morning, some watermelon and bread as a snack on the beach and then cooked something, ate bread or went to a restaurant for dinner.


So that’s it for the first part of my little travel guide for the Algarve. In part two I will tell you more about our two days in Lisbon and all the beaches and some sights I can recommend to you.

Have you been to the Algarve or Portugal in general? Do you want to? What places or cities can you recommend?