3 Reasons Why You Should Explore Portugal

Anyone who reads or hears about Portugal probably immediately thinks of beautiful beaches underneath breathtaking cliffs, spectacular surfing and delicious Pastéis de Nata.

Portugal is becoming an increasingly popular holiday destination. The country is experiencing a tourism boom, in fact – and there are good reasons, as this land on the western edge of Europe has so much to offer. Here we look at three of the reasons why a holiday in Portugal is definitely worthwhile.

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Summer, Sun & Beaches

Despite its relatively small area (92,212 square kilometres), Portugal has one of the longest coastlines in the world. Overall, the Portuguese can dig their feet in the sand over 3,000 kilometres. The popular holiday islands of Madeira and the Azores are part of this, of course – but even on the mainland, coastline is everywhere. A drive from Faro in the south to Viana do Castelo in the north is particularly recommended, and it provides a comprehensive insight into the culture and beauty of Portugal. You can experience this adventure even during a short break – by car, for example, you can complete this trip in less than seven hours.

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Last summer I went on a two week holiday to the famous Algarve Coast in Portugal. We went to new beaches on the Algarve daily and explored the beautiful Algarve area that has so much to offer. (Read more in my travel guide articles about that trip!)

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Many Possibilities to Explore & Adventure

Holidays are very important, giving us the opportunity to relax and escape from everyday life. At the same time, however, we also want to develop ourselves. We don’t want to spend all of our time just lying on the beach and drinking cocktails – we also want to experience the country that we visit. Portugal offers many opportunities for this, catering for a range of interests. After all, the country combines beautiful landscapes and beautiful beaches with a rich and distinctive culture. Whether it’s the big cities like Porto or small places on the edge of the streets – visitors will always find new corners and new opportunities to develop themselves.

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That’s why Portugal is also the country of road trips. To appreciate it fully, the western side of the Iberian peninsula should really be explored by road. The good news is that the roads of Europe are now safer than they have ever been before – in 2013, the EU even set itself the target of reducing road deaths by 50%. True freedom and opportunities do not appear at the hotel pool, but out there on the road.

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If you want to experience the real Portugal, you have to do this in contact with the Portuguese themselves. It’s highly recommended to visit one of the many local wineries, for example. You can buy fine wines for little money directly from the producer, and they often have special offers too.

As well as testing the local foods, that are not as known as Italy’s pizza and pasta but just as mouthwatering. The sweet little pastry cakes ‚Pastéis de Nata‚ can be found at every corner and taste like heaven to me.

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Lisbon

No list of Portugal’s highlights is complete without a mention of its capital. This beautiful city is spread over several hills overlooking the Rio Tejo, rewarding the explorer with breathtaking panoramic views at every turn. Whatever you’re looking for – whether it’s history, culture, or an exciting range of bars and cafes – you’ll find it in Lisbon. If you want to escape the tourist crowds, the cobblestoned streets of Alfama is the area of Lisbon for you. Chat with the locals here and relax, watching the world go by. This is the real Portugal.

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I visited Lisbon for two days myself last summer and got a general overview of the beauty it has to offer, but I am already keen to go back and explore more! The city is also very famous for great vegan cafés and restaurants, that I want to try myself as well as wandering through the beautiful and colourful streets.

Besides Lisbon, I am also super keen to visit Porto! Another beautiful city in the northern part of the country that I’ve heard many great things from.

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Have you been to Portugal yourself? Where have you been & what do you recommend? Is it on your bucket list? 

 

The Ultimate SYDNEY Guide | Important Tips, Places to See, Things to do

In total, I spend almost one month in Sydney. Living in Bondi Beach for 2 weeks and the rest in the City centre, so I would say I can give a good overview on places to see, what to do and tips for an awesome time in one of the most liveable Cities on the planet.

And because Sydney (and Australia in general) is a healthy/vegan/pretty Café and Food heaven there will be a Food Guide coming soon as well!

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I can definitely say that Sydney is one of my favourite cities now. Especially living in Bondi Beach (or Manly), but I could not choose between Melbourne or Sydney (if we cut out the weather fact :D ) cause both have such different personalities and I really love them both for different reasons.

That’s why I would highly recommend visiting both when you plan to go to Australia. Here you can find my Travel Guide for Melbourne with all the essential tips and places to go and see.

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Important things you need to know!

  • If you arrive at the airport in Sydney, avoid taking the tram to the centre (if you are on a budget). They are really expensive (about 20$ one way). Either take an Uber if you are several people that share the costs or take the Bus 400 to Bondi Junction and go from there to your destination (if you have the time, cause it takes longer).
  • On Sundays, you only pay 2,80$ for the whole day of using public transport (usually the daily maximum limit you could pay is 13$) so make sure you make use of it and take the Ferry or other long/expensive routes.

Things to Do

Opera House. See a show or a ‚behind the scenes‘, we watched the behind the scenes of the ballets Spartacus and the Nutcracker and it was amazing to see the ballet dancers in their training, it was only 29$.

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See the Opera from many different perspectives. From the Harbour Bridge, the Botanical Garden, the Ferries that go to Manly or from the other side of the harbour.

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Botanical Garden. The Botanical Garden of Sydney is huge and shows many different plans from all over the country and the world. You can explore different sections with plants of different parts of Australia. The place is ideal for a nice picnic in the shades of palm trees and from the waterfront walk and Mrs. Macquarie’s Point you have a beautiful view over the Harbour, the Harbour Bridge, the Opera House and the Downtown Skyline.

 

National Art Gallery of New South Wales. The Art Gallery located in The Domain is definitely worth a visit showing beautiful Aboriginal Art as well as modern Australian artists and exhibitions.

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Museum of Contemporary Art. Another very nice museum with beautiful exhibitions and a great view from the Skydeck over the city and Harbour Bridge.

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Walk on Harbour Bridge. When you walk on the Bridge you have a beautiful view over the Harbour, the Opera and the waterfront houses. There is also a Skydeck on one of the towers. The entry price is pretty high, but the view is for sure great.

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Darling Harbour. This vibrant place is best to visit in the evening when everyone is out for drinks and dinner or at lunchtime when you can see the real Sydney-business people coming out of their Skyscrapers for a quick bite to eat and a chat with friends and colleagues.

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Shopping. Great places to check out for shopping are around Town Hall and the Queen Victoria building.

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At the Queen Victoria building, there is also the Jet Café & Bar that I can highly recommend to eat Carrot Cake. I went there every time I was nearby and it is the best carrot cake I’ve ever had and for the location definitely not overprices.

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Peddy’s Market and Chinatown are also good to check out. It’s not as big as in Melbourne for example, but in the Peddy’s Market there is a section of fresh fruit & vegetables that are fairly cheap and good quality and the IGA upstairs is super interesting because they mostly sell Asian food and you can find some cool stuff to try out.

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Once a month there is also a completely Vegan Market with lots of street food and great brands. For more information have a look at their Instagram @sydneyveganmarket. I am super sad that I never made it there…

Newtown. This part of the city reminded me a bit of Melbourne with all the street art, Vintage and Second-Hand shops and the people that walk around. Very hipster and cool. There are also many vegan restaurants and cafés located here like Gelato Blue, Golden Lotus, Lentils as Anything, Buddha Bowl Café, Gigi’s Pizzeria and more.

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Surry Hills. Another lovely part of the town with many nice lunch spots and restaurants, shops and little boutiques. I lived there for one week in an Airbnb with my cousin and it is definitely the best place to live in the city centre because it is located very central, near the Centra Station that takes you basically everywhere and it’s not too far to walk to the Harbour and it’s still very quiet and calm and nice.

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Manly. The ferry ride from and too Manly is already worth going. You have the most amazing view over the skyline, Harbour Bridge and the Opera House. But Manly in general is a super cute part of town you shouldn’t miss. The beach is really nice and the pedestrian streets are great to stroll around, shop and eat some yummy food. I can also highly recommend doing the walk along the water and West Esplanade. You can see some beautiful houses, lovely views and pretty birds. I would check out Shelly Beach if you have the time as the walk is beautiful to get there and the beach is supposed to be one of Sydney’s best beaches.

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Rose Bay Beach. I went there several times when I was in Sydney in January because it is a beautiful beach. Not very busy and mostly locals going there, you have an amazing view and can see the city centre and Harbour Bridge in the background and the beach is a dog beach so you see many cute puppies playing in the water.

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Bondi Beach

I lived in Bondi for 2 weeks, so I definitely know my way around and have checked out many places. I would always recommend staying in Bondi Beach for a few days if you have the time or at least visit the are of Sydney for one full day (or more!).

If I would have to choose a place to live in Sydney, I would pick Bondi Beach. I just really love the vibe: health, fitness, summer, surf and motivated people. Everywhere you look there is people working out, going for walks or surfs, enjoying the sun, healthy vegan cafés, smoothies and acai bowls and walking around in only a bikini and barefoot is no problem.

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I stayed at Surfside Bondi Beach Backpackers twice and I can highly recommend it. Super great vibe, not such a big hostel, the owner and workers are really nice and it is located perfectly: 2 minutes to the beach and right near the main street.

You obviously can’t miss the famous view over the Icebergs Bondi Pool at the ocean just like the beach promenade and the lovely sunset colours over the ocean.

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There is also a Coastal Walk along the beaches that is worth walking to see the best ocean views, nicest beaches and prettiest (and most expensive) houses of Sydney.

Shopping. I liked shopping in Bondi better than in the city centre because it is more casual and less stressful. Great shops to check out are Nimbleactive, Playa, the Vintage store on Hall street and all the nice boutiques and shops on Hall Street, Campbell Parade and Gould Street. There is also a big Westfield Shopping centre in Bondi Junction.

I will also share my food favourites of Bondi with you soon in an extra Sydney Food Guide so stay tuned!

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Have you ever been to Sydney? What were your favourite places? Do you want to visit Sydney one day?

Why I couldn’t be a Full-Time Nomad – Things I Miss about Home

I have many homes now. I call everywhere I go home. If it’s a hostel bed, friends couch, camper bed or my own room. As long as I feel comfortable and have my stuff with me I feel good.

And even when I leave Australia there is a place that I’ll call home forever. The Sunshine Coast with my AuPair family. This place and these people will stay in my heart forever.

But there are definitely things that I miss about my real home. Germany. My parent’s house. And about having a constant home base.

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The Nomadic life is great and I love it. I enjoy it a lot to have the freedom to go places, see friends, move again if I am not happy and travel where my heart leads me, but through the 6 months that I have been doing that now I discovered that this couldn’t be my life forever.

I love it, BUT I also love having a set home. So in this blog post I want to talk about a few things that I miss about Germany, my home and the „normal“ life and why. Maybe for you to understand that the settled down life has its advantages as well and for you and me to remember and appreciate when we are not travelling.

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  • Having your family and friends around you. No need to constantly make friends with new people, meet new people. To be around people you know, that know you and that you trust.

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  • Knowing your way around. I love exploring new places, but it is always most exciting when you finally can put your map in your bag and stop constantly checking on google maps if you are still on the right way. It’s great to know the best places to shop and know how to get around with public transport easily.

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  • Having a routine. Daily and weekly routines make me more productive, organised, feel safe and comfortable which can be great. But I obviously would never miss the curiosity of new challenges, changes and new adventures.

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  • Staying on track with your goals and plans. It can be hard to continue good habits and work on your goals while travelling. You get distracted, you want to explore and experience and you’re not in your usual environment. So it might be a bit harder to eat healthily, work out and work as you are used to.

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  • Having everything you need. I am definitely not a person that needs a lot of material things. I am fine with the few T-Shirts that I carry around with me and only use one soap bar to wash my hair, body and face. But there are a few things that are wonderful to have. Your own comfy bed, no snorers, fresh air and nobody distracting you while sleeping. Your clean kitchen with all the utensils you need and nobody in your way while cooking. A clean bathroom where you don’t need to wear flip flops or clean the toilet before you use it.

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  • Your own space. Walking around naked, throwing your clothes on the flow when you come home late at night, cooking only in a shirt, singing out loud or listening to loud music, only wearing underwear while getting ready –  all the things you can do when you have your own space.

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And a few small things that I miss:

  • German bread. The sourdough bread here can be really yummy, but sometimes I just miss my super grainy, moist fresh bakery bread from home.
  • My cat. I miss her so much. Miss her cuddles, her talking, snoring. Just her being around.
  • Some real German food. Sauerkraut, red cabbage, German dumplings, Schupfnudeln, Spätzle… sometimes that’s just really nice. Especially when my grandma cooked it.
  • Family gatherings. I am always so sad when I miss family gatherings. Christmas, Easter, birthdays or just for no reason… I love sitting together and talking with my grandparents, aunts & uncles and my cousin and eating yummy food together. And also my aunt & uncle just adopted a foster child and I haven’t got the chance to meet her yet :(

 

  • Sauna. We have a sauna at home and I missed the snuggly Sunday evenings.
  • Food Testing & Photography. I miss my pretty bowls and dishes, decoration, ingredients, supplies and the time to try out new recipes, experiment in the kitchen and take pretty food pictures from it… but I am still cooking: Easy, Cheap, Healthy Dinner Recipes – Perfect for Backpackers

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But there is something that would combine the two – being on the go, travelling, exploring and having a home, a cozy place where you don’t need to move from: camper life!

I’ve done several camper road trips and vacations with my parents already and last week I did my first one with a friend renting the little camper myself. We had a lot of fun, a great little cozy place for us and everything with us all the time.

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And if it’s your own camper you can even pimp it and make it extra cozy and cute with your own things, decoration and nicely renovated.

I definitely want to own a camper myself at some stage in my life to travel Europe in a little home on wheels and also do some other van trips on the West Coast of Australia and through north and south America.

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What do you love and dislike about Travelling? What do you miss when longterm Travelling?