It has been almost three years since I moved to the UK to work and live and I could say that this is the most life changing decision I’ve ever done. Those three years were not as easy as I thought it would be to start living independently and pay for my own bills. But above of it all, I think homesickness is the hardest part of living away from my family. Looking back from how I was before and how I am doing right now, I can say that somehow I have learned to cope with it. So here are some of the useful tips that I think really worked for me and hopefully will work for others going through homesickness as well.
Be sad. Cry as much as you need.
Like what others says, “Crying is good for the soul” and this is true. You really need those moments where you have to be by yourself and cry while thinking of your family back home. Crying helps to relieve stress and lifts your mood to make you feel better. It somehow lessens the sadness you are feeling and resets your emotions.
Find the friends or community you belong.
I am lucky that I came over to UK with other filipinos who now became my closest friends. We helped and kept each other company when we were just starting our lives in this country. If you moved to a new country all by yourself, it can be more challenging. I would say the best and easiest way to find friends, if not in school or in a workplace, would be to go to places you usually love. Perhaps, if you like going to churches every Sunday, you can do this and you’ll find some groups there that you can join. If you love sports then you can search for clubs or a community that you’ll enjoy. Looking for people who has the same culture as you is a big help too. In my case, I eventually met other filipinos in the hospital I am working and that made me able to find my own friends/community. Looking for the people you can call your family or friends can take a while, but you’ll eventually find them. The best idea is to keep an open mind. This is a good opportunity to join events and activities you always put off in the past.
Look for a hobby.
You need to do whatever it is you enjoy doing back home. When I started living here, the only thing I would do was watch Netflix and filipino shows. I can’t play guitar or go for biking because I don’t have any of those. Later on I decided to buy both the guitar and the bike. So when I feel sad and lonely I have more ways to spend my day and have the chance to better myself and go outside to meet others. Eventually, I found playing Xbox, writing this blog and travelling as my new hobbies. Learning new things can be fun too, which I didn’t realize until my boyfriend booked those classes for us! I didn’t know how to cook before so we went for cooking classes. I love dancing, so he looked and booked for dance classes we can join. We even did ice-skating classes in winter. These things that I realise that I could have done before when I was feeling down. This is a very good way of letting yourself grow while at the same time socialising with other people too. Remember that you need to live the life and enjoy it. Crying helps but doing it everyday can be unhealthy.
Travel, travel, travel!
I know travelling can be very expensive. But to be honest, this is one of the best things that helped with my homesickness. I found it really fun being away from the place I am living, meeting other people of different cultures and going to places I haven’t seen. It gives me reason why I have to work aside from just helping my family back home and pay for my bills. It may sound cliché but it helps me to wake up every morning with something to look forward to. It is expensive but for me it is worth it. Travelling will make you realise that there’s more to life, to see and experience. Even if you only travel your new country, you will discover so much about the place you now live and the people in it.
Find the workplace you think suits you the most.
I worked as an ER nurse in Philippines, however when I moved here in UK, I was assigned to a different area. I know to myself that it was not the place that I know my skills fit but I still tried to enjoy it. I worked there for a year but I always find myself sad and disappointed with the care I am giving to my patients. I always feel like I was not the kind of nurse I knew before. Eventually, I finally decided to transfer to the area where I think I’ll mostly enjoy. And that is where I am now. It has been more than a year as a neuro ICU nurse now. Not every day is a good day; it is still quite a tough, heavy and busy job at times but I am happier with the care I am giving to the patients. I don’t feel that kind of sadness I used to feel before. So for me, if the place you are working makes you unhappy most of the time, you really need to move and find somewhere where you think you’ll fit in. It will make a massive difference.
Be with your loved ones.
Eventually, you’ll need to be with your loved ones. If you have to go and visit your family back home, then do it. Save for it and do it. Talk to them as much as you need. If video calling or messaging them makes you happier and lessen your longingness with them, then do it. In my case, it sometimes makes me sadder when I do it often especially on special occasions. I remember there was a time when I was in a good mood but after the video call I just cried and wished I can be with them. So talking to them lesser works for me better. Some people I know bring their husband/wives or boyfriend/girlfriend to live with them and that makes them more settled in the new country they are living. Each of us needs to love and feel loved. In my case, I am lucky I found my special someone here who is always there for me and makes me happy whenever I feel sad. He is such an annoying person as well so I think that counts for me to feel less homesick.
Coping with homesickness may vary from person to person. Moving to a place where you don’t have family, have a different culture and language from yours can make you feel alone and estranged most of the time. It can lead to depression if you won’t be able to manage it well. Glad that I somehow overcome it. I still feel homesick sometimes, but I guess I am managing it better now. Have you also experienced being homesick? Let me know how you deal with it. I would love to hear it. Comment it below 🙂
Welcome to one of the most romantic cities in the world! Home of the gondola and famous for its canal structure, Venice is truly unique in the world despite many countries attempting to copy the ambience.
If you arrived here by train (which I assume so as this is the easiest way to get to Venice) you’ll find yourself at Santa Lucia station which opens out onto the famous Grand Canal. This is on the north west side of Venice which is the opposite side to St Mark’s Square. We actually decided to day trip here from Milan as it is quite cheap to do so. Weather wise it is very similar to Milan however you do get some slight changes due it being a coastal area.
Getting around Venice can be done a few ways. The most obvious is by walking! Walking around Venice is just spectacular due to the narrow winding paths, the old buildings and the amazing little restaurants and stores dotted about. The second is taking the water bus (or vaporetto) which functions the same way a bus would but uses the canals and stops at various points around Venice. This can take around 30 mins to get from one end of Venice to the other and costs around €7 but you will get a great view of the city from the Canal; passing a lot of the main sites. You can get this just outside the station and go straight to the St Marks square.
A third option is a traghetti which only takes you across the Grand Canal but can be very useful if the nearest bridge is quite far away and you plan on going the other direction. They cost around €1 so a good option if you are a bit tired!
The main spot you’ll want to head to is St. Mark’s Square which is the most famous part of Venice. This is where the Doge Palace, Saint Mark’s Basilica and St Mark’s Campanile (the large tower you will see in a lot of pictures). This is a very popular area which is lined with stores and cafes. They are typically more expensive than the rest and there is no sitting allowed in this square. There are very few seats in Venice so you will likely get tired unless you are a hiking pro so remember to pop into a café if it gets too much. This area is very liable to flood (it is a floating city after all) but it is hard to predict when this might happen. Assume a summer season is dry and you should be fine! A great place, if you have the cash, is Caffè Florian which is famous for having celebrities like Andy Warhol eat here.
One thing to note is if you intend on sitting outside in the square by one of the cafes you will get a large charge on your bill for the privilege! A good idea is to walk a street or two over and get something from a nearby café / restaurant as it will save you a lot of money.
Nearby to St Marks Square is the most popular place to rent a Gondola and let’s face it, that is something everyone wants to do! A good tip is not to rent a Gondola here. It is a very big tourist trap here and the prices are very high for the time you get (they vary depending on which dock you go to along this section so I won’t list exact prices but can be upwards of €100 easily). If you head further along the “coastline” you can find Gondola stations which are independent and can save you a lot of money or give you a longer ride for the same amount! Taking one of these is a must even for the cost as it really is a magical way to see Venice especially in good weather. Canals here also light up around dusk so you may want to consider this.
If you head further along the “coastline” you can find Gondola stations which are independent and can save you a lot of money or give you a longer ride for the same amount!
If you have less cash to spend then try visiting the Castello area. This is a much calmer area about 15 mins from St Marks Square but is cheaper and has more independent owners. As we came here on a day trip we decided to spend the time walking around the area as Venice really is a romantic place to visit. The only downside to Venice is the lack of Italians! Another site to tick off is Rialto bridge which often has food markets lining the shore.
For those with more time I would recommend Burano island. With all the coloured buildings it has a little Amsterdam vibe to it and we would have visited if we had the time. It takes around 40 mins to get there from Venice using one of the vaporetto.
Enjoy this stunning city and, if you can, spend more time here than we did and tell us all about it!
Other things you can do include
Murano – An island similar to Venice which is famous for glass making. Less busy then it’s bigger sister.
Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute which is the building opposite to St Marks Square
Torcello island is a less populated destination with a lot more greenery to admire.
Welcome to Milan. Home of the famous Duomo and (some say arguably) the fashion capital of the world.
Where we stayed: As this was my second visit to Milan we stayed in the same hotel I did on my first visit. This was the Da Vinci Hotel which is a 4 star hotel on the outskirts of Milan. Due to the location the hotel is actually very well priced for Milan and is right next to the Milano Bruzzano Parco Nordwhich is the last stop on the city boundary for the train. This means the Milan 24 hour train ticket applies which costs only €4.5 for the 24 hours and can be used as many times as you like in that time. They also have a 48 hours ticket. This is quite good if you don’t expect to be in the city past midnight as the trains frequency starts to slow down. Often at night only the over-street trams run excluding times between 2-4am however they do not have the best reputation.
Weather: Arriving here at the start of October the weather had begun to change seasons. Especially since we travelled north from Rome. Milan is very close to the mountainous border with Switzerland so temperatures here are colder than the rest of Italy. Even though this is the case the temperature was still in the highs of 20°C and lows of 8°C through the night. There was some rain in this time but it was mostly overcast. It is often the end of October when the temperature really drops and the rain sets in for winter. Weather here doesn’t change much until April when the summer starts to arrive. One thing to note is in Italy it is very rare for it to snow here.
First thing I would like to mention is we used Milan as a home base to travel to other areas of Italy such as Venice, Verona, and Como. Train transport in Milan is very good and tickets are very cheap with quite short travel times (Venice being 2.5 hours). For our first day, after having an amazing breakfast, we decided to go straight to the centre and see the Duomo. Famous for being made of marble with the gold Madonnina at the top, it is the largest church in Italy (with the Vatican City being a separate country) and 4th largest in the world. It’s an incredible building both inside and out and you can buy a ticket to get to the top of the cathedral to see the Madonnina closer up. The views of Milan up here are not that great however, due to all the spires and taller buildings nearby.
BE CAREFUL OF THE LUCKY LEG: On the door of the cathedral you can see a section like the image below. Italians say rubbing the left leg of Christ will bring you good luck. However, note the other mans leg is also showing the brass underneath. This is where uninformed tourists rub the leg of the soldier who is beating Jesus with a club. MAKE SURE YOU GET THE RIGHT LEG OR YOU'LL HAVE AN AWKWARD PICTURE!!
Fun fact the Madonnina is to remain at the highest point in all of Milan. Once skyscrapers were built they created smaller replicas of this statue to sit on the top so that she would always remain at the highest point.
Nearby to the Duomo is a very amazing place called Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II which is a prestigious mall housing some high brand stores and restaurants. Every store here must have a black background with gold lettering and at the top of this building is one of the very few hotels in the world which have a 7 star rating! President Obama actually stayed in this hotel on one of his presidential visits. You can see it in the image further up. There are also symbols in the centre representing different cities and the bull (which represents Turin) is said to bring luck and fertility if you place your heel on the bulls testicles and spin 3 times. A great little restaurant here is Restaurant Savini which is one of the oldest restaurants in Milan and has some great food but can be expensive. There is also a Da Vinci statue just outside the Galleria and a Da Vinci exhibit inside but we didn’t go into this as the Da Vinci science museum is exceptional.
Something worth seeing is Da Vinci’s Last Supper. This is housed in Santa Maria Delle Grazie which was actually a monastery for monks. It can be very difficult to book tickets to see it in advance as only 15 people are allowed in at a time. If you prefer you can get a tour which will avoid the queues and plan your visit for you. They will also tell you some history about the painting such as why the centre of the painting has a section missing. Nearby is also the Sforzesco Castle which is a large fortress in the city centre with a huge park behind. There are often a lot of musicians and performers here but beware of the people holding bands of string as they are con artists who will try to tie it to your wrist and then demand money after. The castle houses one of the sculptures of Michelangelo and an excellent Egyptian museum which is worth a visit if you are interested in history. If you are a fan of the Arc de Triomphe there is also the Arco della Pace which was designed at the request of Napoleon and shares many of the same traits. The area around the arch is often used as event space so there may be an event here depending on when you visit.
The Santa Maria Dell Grazie also has another surprise! If you head around the side of the building there is a little gate which is my favourite spot in all of Milan. You can see a bit of this small garden below.
If you are a fan of Opera or dance it may be worth a stop by the Teatro alla Scala. One of the best theatres to visit and you can only enter the inside by seeing a show as there are no tours for the theatre room. For fans of aperol spritz you can taste the place where Campari was invented at Camparino. Another great place is the Pinacoteca di Brera which is a very popular art gallery however we didn’t visit as the queue to go inside was huge (over certain holidays all museums in Milan become free such as Easter which makes lines very long).
One thing I recommend if you are a fan of science, Da Vinci or have children is to visit the Leonardo da Vinci National Museum of Science and Technology. There are a lot of interesting things in this museum such as original ideas from Da Vinci but also a huge room filled with airplanes, boats etc all life size.
This is everything major that I can tell you about Milan! Most importantly remember to walk around the side streets here as there are so many interesting places hiding in every corner. Also, visit the Jollibee!
So you are thinking of going to Italy? Well, welcome to the stunning capital of Rome!
Where we stayed: We spent a few days here at the start of September 2018 and stayed on a side street along Via Cipro which is near Vatican city. We chose an Airbnb for this as it is cheaper than the hotels in the main city and the area is on the outskirts which kept the cost down. Rome is also quite large and public transport is not the best. Train stations are around the outskirts of the city, and quite far away from the centre, and buses are not always on time. This area is very close to Cipro station which allows much easier access to the big tourist spots.
Via Cipro is also near a great place called Bonci Pizzarium which is very popular for some of the best Pizza in Rome.
Weather: Around September the weather was still high from the summer. Highs reaching 30°C with lows around 23°C. This can feel hotter than this due to the lack of shade in the city centre due to the wide streets and plazas. This weather lasts from end of May to end of September. Outside of these months the temperature doesn’t get very cold aside from December / January.
We started with the closest spot to where we stayed which was Vatican city. Since we were within walking distance we were able to go very early morning. There was no one here early morning which makes it a great time to get some good shots or just admire the city without the tourists. The plaza gets busy around 11am onwards so try to get here early. This will also work in your favour if you plan on going up Saint Peters Basilica (which I recommend!) as the path near the top of the dome gets very narrow and the ceiling slopes over. Not the best place to be in a crowd! As a benefit to the long climb you’ll get some amazing views of Rome including the classic pictures above. You’ll also be able to see the great Castel Sant’Angelo at the end of St Peters Square up here. We visited the Castel however didn’t go in as museums are not so much our thing. The building alone from the outside is very impressive and as it was used as a fortress it certainly makes you feel small!
A great place to eat near here is RIONE XIV Bistrowhich is close to the Castel and is a very small restaurant but all the pasta here is made fresh each morning so really makes a great place to taste some great Italian pasta.
From the Castel Sant’Angelo we walked over to the Spanish Steps. This is quite a walk however there are no really good transport links from this area. You will find you will walk a lot in Rome so be prepared shoe wise and check the weather before you leave. Heatstroke here can come very quick if you aren’t prepared. Something we enjoyed more than the Spanish steps was the Villa Borghese which is nearby. Still home to the Borghese family, the total grounds actually encompasses an area larger than Vatican City. This is a very beautiful place and actually based around an English garden. It is also very historic to Rome as the Borghese family were once one of the most powerful families in Rome and the Villa was once the home of the upper classes with many parties being held here.
For those who are on a Hard Rock café exploration this is also located near the Spanish Steps.
Next day we made the trip to the world famous Colosseum and Palatine Hill. A good tip is to pre-book tickets for both of these as you can get good bundles online on places like Viator. I would recommend you spend a day here as there is a lot to see especially if you do a tour of the Colosseum. We chose to see only the general Colosseum as you have to book a tour in order to see the below stage and upper most area. Palatine Hill can take a full afternoon as the place is quite large and there is a lot of information packed in here for those who are interested in history. If it is a sunny hot day bring a hat / umbrella (good tip from Asia) and a lot of water as it is an open area with very little shade.
To follow from this day we decided to explore and see the remaining part of Rome right in the city centre. This is popular for the location of Fontana di Trevi and the Pantheon. For the fountain I definitely recommend coming twice; once in the day and once at night as the fountain changes massively when it gets lit up at night. It gets very busy here almost 24/7 so expect a very big crowd. You can’t come to Rome without making a wish at the fountain! The Pantheon is about 5-10 minutes walk from the fountain. One of the best preserved ancient buildings in Rome but is actually not the original. Originally designed around 30BC but burnt down, this version is still almost 2000 years old. Since it has been in almost constant use since then it has remained in excellent condition and stepping inside is truly a marvel. We also stopped by Gianicolo which is the highest point and Rome and a good place to stop by to see the highest viewpoint of this amazing city.
Nearby to the Pantheon is Antigua Tazzadoro La Casa del Caffè which is a great coffee shop to stop by and grab a pastry.
If you are now on your way to Rome have a great adventure! Most importantly… TRY THE GELATO!!
Other thing you can do while in Rome:
Visit the Musei Vaticani and Cappella Sistina below the Vatican City but remember to book in advance!
Domus Aurea. Emperor Nero’s impressive house. Currently under construction but you can take a weekend tour.
See an opera or dance show at Teatro dell’Opera
Grab food at the Testaccio Market.
Galleria Colonna. A private palace turned art gallery. Frankly the building artwork alone is worth a visit!
From its white houses and blue domes to its clear blue skies and amazing beaches, Santorini is indeed a perfect holiday destination for everyone. Best for couples for a romantic getaway, family and friends or solo-travellers who loves to see beautiful landscapes. With its picturesque scenery, you’ll definitely have to include this island in Greece on you travel bucket lists. And so, we are here to tell you travel tips and things to do in to make Santorini one of your best holidays.
Booking a Cheap Flight
Getting a cheap flight is one of the crucial part of travelling. Luckily, Michael has been part of the Jack’s Flight Club where he was able to get the return direct flight from Newcastle(U.K) to Santorini for only £70 via Thomas Cook. However, since we were planning to go to Italy after Santorini, we just paid £35 for a one-way ticket which usually costs like £200 – £500. So we really saved a lot.
Best Month To Visit Santorini
Many travellers advised that the best time to visit Santorini will be April to November as this is the part of the year when the weather is nice and warm with a very little chance of rain. However, we have to remember that June or July is the hottest month in Santorini where temperature can get up to more than 30 degrees Celsius and the also the peak season for tourists as this is their summer season.
We went to Santorini in mid-September and the weather is beautiful! Bright and sunny days with temperature from 19 to 26 degrees celsius. We didn’t experience rainfall until the last day of our stay (where we were heading to the airport), so it didn’t really bother us. However, if hiking is one of the things you are planning to do (which I would say a must) in Santorini, I would advise to better avoid the summer as it will be really hot!
Where to Stay in Santorini
We chose to stay our 4-nights in Karterados which is near the Main Street. We are near the bus stops, shops, and easy access to anywhere we want to go in Santorini as it is in the centre. We paid £90 per night for a double room which is quite a good price as we just booked it a month before our planned travel.
One thing about Santorini is that hotels can be expensive depending on the place and month you are staying. Usually the best hotels or apartments that are located in Oia, which gives you the most beautiful sunset view, are the most expensive ones. It can go from £200- £800 per night. Although, you’ll be able to find a really good but affordable hotels, studios, apartment or Air bnb if you plan and book it two or three months earlier. Remember that hotels with beautiful views, even though it is expensive, can get full easily especially on peak season so you better book and plan your holiday ahead of time.
Why Hiking in Santorini is a Must
We planned to hike from Thira to Oia on our first day in Santorini. Our hotel is not really very far from the place where we should start the hike which is in the Hotel Atlanta. Just starting from this point, you will already have a beautiful view of the island which made both of us mesmerised.
They said that trail may take 4-6 hours. But we chose to chill and enjoy the view as long as we will reach Oia before sunset. Anyway, we had the whole day ahead for us to see everything.
There are two ways you can go for hiking. First, you could go to Oia in a very early morning and witness the sunrise then hike all the way to the Thira. Or you can do what we did, where you can hike from Thira then witness the popular sunset view in Oia. The question is which one you prefer: Sunrise or Sunset?
The main thing of this hike is you’ll see the beautiful Caldera. You’ll also enjoy the shops that you’ll pass by as you walk along. There also plenty of restaurants to try which gives you a romantic and amazing view while enjoying your greek cuisines!
Greek Cuisines usually involve pasta, salads, fish, meats, cheese, lemons, olives and herbs. Prices are not too expensive and are reasonable. Like in this restaurant we dined in, we only paid around €30 for 2 cuisines and drinks. A good price for having this romantic view and really good food. This is one of best dinners we had and one that we always remember.
The Most Beautiful Sunset in Oia. I never fell in love with a sunset until we saw this one in Oia. To see this most famous sunset in the world is definitely a bucket list. After almost 7 hours of hiking, we were able to reach Oia just before sunset. We went to the castle area which is the popular spot which is usually very busy but you’ll only be able to see the sunset over the ocean here. We decided to go to the other side of Oia where the shot below was taken. This is a much better spot with less people and you get to see the sunset over the village lighting up the white houses.
Aside from this amazing sunset view, Oia is also a georgous little village, with its churches and castle. You can also enjoy shopping and dining in restaurants around. This is also where you can find the Blue domes for which Santorini is popular.
Transport going back from Oia to Thira/Fira can be quite difficult at this time after sunset. Remember that this is a major tourist destination here in Santorini. Taxi will be very difficult to find. Bus is the only transport available and you have to be prepared for a very long queue, waiting time and possibility of you standing inside the bus. The journey is 30 minutes and fare is only €2 per person. Getting a private transport from your hotel can be the easiest way possible for you to get home. Many hotels offer this in Santorini as they know that transport is usually a problem although this can be quite expensive. Like in our experience, we paid around €40 going back to our hotel from Oia.
Santorini Boat Trip
On our second day, we decided to go for a boat tour to explore the other islands in Santorini. We booked our bout tour via Viator.com which costs us around £60 for the ‘Volcanic Island Cruise’. There are various kinds of trips and tours available online so you can choose easily whatever you like and suits your budget.
One good thing about this tour is that we get round trip transfer from our hotel place so it is definitely hassle free. The coach will then take you to the boat which will let you see more of the beauty of Thira while on a cruise. First stop is the Nea Kameni Island which is known for its volcanic origin. From here, you’ll be hiking until you reach the top and get near to the volcanic crater.
Make sure to wear your comfortable shoes suitable for hiking as climbing Nea Kameni is really rocky and can be steep. You definitely want to enjoy and feel safe while hiking this beautiful place.
From the top, you’ll enjoy the beauty of Caldera whilst learning more from the tour guides about the historical beauty of Santorini which makes this tour a really must to do in Santorini.
After this, you’ll head back to the boat and it will take you to the hot springs which you’ll be able to enjoy as you swim into the warm water. This part of the tour is really relaxing . However, if you don’t know how to swim or not confident about it, better to stay in the boat and just enjoy watching as the water is really deep.
After the fun and relaxing hot spring, the tour will then take you to Thirasia for lunch. Another beautiful island in Santorini which has various cool restaurants along the resort. If you love seafoods(like us), you’ll definitely like this place cause the food is great and fresh. You’ll be able to enjoy having a meal while enjoying the breathtaking view of this island. You can also go up the mountainside to the higher elevation which has more restaurants than at the bottom and a better view.
The last bit of the trip will then take you to the Oia. This involves another climbing of stairs more than 200 steps! There is an option for you to pay and get a donkey halfway of the climb which costs £5. However, we chose to just climb instead of getting a ride from a donkey as it looks really cruel and sad seeing the donkey carrying the tourists in the hot weather. Instead, we just enjoy the climb together.
This part of the tour is really good for the tourists who has not visited Oia and wanting to see the popular sunset view without hiking, like we did. We kinda find it good for us as well cause at least we will be able to see the sunset for the second time around and more time for us to go around Oia. Afterwards, a bus can take you back to your hotel after the sunset so you won’t have the problem of transportation.
Visit the beaches!
There are plenty of popular beaches in the Santorini, but the one that makes us really interested is the Red Beach which is located in Akrotiri.
On our third day, we decided to be more relaxed (without any climbing this time) and rent a buggy to go to Akrotiri. There are many places where you can rent a buggy. This can be really expensive depending on the kind of buggy you want. For us, we paid £100 to rent the buggy until 6pm.
If you don't fancy renting a buggy, but still want to go to Akrotiri, there are buses available that go to that place so you don't have to worry. Although, renting a buggy and driving around the Santorini is so cool and fun and it gives you more freedom to stop and see anywhere you want on this island.
Parking is not a problem in Santorini and most of them are free. As you walk your way to the Red beach, you have to climb this very steep and and rocky part of the mountain. Bear in mind to be extra careful and wear a proper shoes to keep yourself safe during the hike. This climb will only take you around 5 minutes and you’ll be able to reach the Red Beach.
Because of its interesting, amazing color and scenic view, Red Beach become a popular destination and here in Santorini and can be very crowded especially in summer.
Swimming in the Red Beach is possible and it is very clean. However unlike any other beaches which have fine sand, this one is rocky and walking in bare feet can be painful so you have to wear your slippers. You’ll still surely enjoy this beautiful and one of a kind beach in Santorini wether you love to swim or just want to sit on the beach chair and relax on the coast. We also found out that snorkelling is also possible here but we decided to just relax as it will be our last day. But, if you have enough time and money, it will be a good experience to try the snorkelling here.
Aside from Red beach, there are also what they call as the black beach in Perissa and Kamari; and the white beach which is located in the southern side of Santorini which can only be accessed via boat from the Red beach.
More Activities in Santorini
In our three days in Santorini, we can say that it is enough for us to enjoy the beauty of the island, see the important places and tick all the must-dos. However if you still have more time ( and money, of course! ), these are the other things we think you can do in Santorini (which we also thought of doing):
Try the Greek Night Out – they said that this one of the must things to do here but we were not able to try as we ran out of time.
The Kamari’s open air cinema
Do the Wine tasting tour
Go for Greek cooking classes
See the Santorini while riding a cable car (Thira port cliffside)
We always think Santorini is the most romantic place we have been and really a different place compared to other countries in Europe. It has its own beauty that will surely capture your heart. You definitely have to try visit this wonderful island and understand why it is the best holiday destination.
To kick things off! We arrived in Charles de Gaulle. Paris should be well known as the place that hates luggage. Escalators (if you’re lucky) and barriers are very narrow and barriers close very quickly here so take care with your luggage or you can get stuck in the underground! (as i did…)
Time for our first stop! Disneyland! I know… “typical decision”… “when do they get to Paris” but bear with us we do get there. For us, long time Disney fans, a stop at Disneyland was a must. We decided to spend 2 days here and 3 in Paris itself so opted for the 2 day pass which allows access to both parks. The main thing to remember when travelling is go where you want to go. The main attractions are popular for a reason!
Where to stay! We decided to stay in an Airbnb in Chessy which is just behind Disneyland and around 10 mins in a car or taxi to the main park. Only cost us €45 a night staying here. A big saving on the Disneyland hotels! Taxi will cost you around €5 each way and there are a lot of options in Chessy although there are no real shops in this area.
“The main thing to remember when travelling is go where you want to go. The main attractions are popular for a reason!”
There are a lot of shows and they all run at different times! Having been here before I knew the layout and shows that were there but if it is your first time I recommend getting the Disneyland Paris app or visiting the website so you can check show times and plan around those. One of the highlights for us was “Mickey and the Magician” which is in the Warner Studios park. Think of it like a London West End show but based on Disney movies. Brilliant whether you’re 5 or 50.
Couples retreat or family holiday! For us 2 days was possible to see both parks but it was a very quick run around and we were exhausted at the end of the first day. Ideally take at least 2 days a park especially during a busy season. If you can only choose one I would recommend Warner Brothers unless you have young children <5 years old. The shows, rides and target audience are much better in Warner Studios and there is something for everyone there.
*Be warned that Disneyland and Warner Studios are both quite open parks in many areas. If you go in July, as we did, expect any weather to be amplified! 28°C will feel like 38°C and 5°Celsius, if windy, will feel like -5° so be prepared!
Seasonal events! We got very lucky when we went as it was the 25th anniversary of Disney so there was a firework show from 10pm-12am local time (varies depending on sunset). This was one of the best firework shows I have ever seen and they projected scenes from favourite Disney movies on the castle along with an amazing soundtrack.
PARIS – The City of Lights & Love
Onto Paris! Now we get to the part a lot of you are waiting for… Paris city centre! We moved to a hotel for this part of the trip as it was July and summer holidays made booking quite difficult. Staying in the Hotel Devillas, which is based in the 13 Arr section of Paris, was good as it is located within walking distance of the Louvre and Notre Dame and not very expensive. A blessing giving the 28°C heat.
First Day! This was both our first times in Paris so we choose to sight see a lot of the main places. After a quick breakfast at a local cafe we started by heading west through the botanical garden and make our way along the river towards the Eiffel Tower. We had a route planned out which took us through the Panthéon then to Notre Dame and Sainte Chapelle. Notre Dame was quite busy when we got there around midday so if you want the solo experience you’ll have to get here early.
We then jumped back to the side of the Gare Musée d’Orsay which is a spectacular building. Not being into art ourselves we didn’t stay long however we did stay to see some of the Picasso and Monet works. All museums in Paris are free for EU members 25 and under so make the most of it! Moving further west we came to the Eiffel Tower. You can go up or eat in the restaurant but I find looking at the tower is a lot better than looking from it! Heading over the river you can stop at Place du Trocadero which has a great view of the Eiffel Tower and is impressive itself!
All museums in Paris are free for EU members 25 and under so make the most of it!
Moving further west we came to the Eiffel Tower. You can go up or eat in the restaurant but I find looking at the tower is a lot better than looking from it! Heading over the river you can stop at Place du Trocadero which has a great view of the Eiffel Tower and is impressive in itself.
For the family! There is the Paris Aquarium located at the Place du Tracadero and heading north up the Champs-Élysées at the Arc de Triomphe is an amusement park which has rides but also horseback riding through the park.
We headed down towards the Louvre at this point as it was getting dark so the lights would be up. It had gotten a lot stormier by this point and lightening was streaking through sky when we got there which gave the area a mysterious ambiance, as the french would say. Nearby we went to Les Caves du Louvre which is a brilliant little place where you can sample, and even create, french wines from the best parts of France. It’s a great place to try some wines and the sommelier will explain about each one.
Second day! After a busy day yesterday we decided to take a longer morning lie in. We decided to have a wander today and see some points we missed the day before and the less popular streets too.
The Arc de Triomphe is up next and a short(ish) walk north from this location. A visit to Paris wouldn’t be complete without the Champs-Élysées. This is where a lot of the high end popular fashion shops are located but be warned that it is very expensive in this part of Paris and better to eat somewhere out of the way not just for price but also quality. We went to Musee-Jacquemart Andre which is east of the Arc de Triomphe. The food was out of this world and the little garden area outside was a great addition to the sunshine.
Things we missed! Sacre-Coeur is a white Basilica which is a great landmark. There is also a haunted house which is located between 2 and 10 Arr. Both are great features and do seem like good places to visit!
A little street called Rue de Passy and the area of Saint Germain were up next. These are great streets to get away from the typical Champs-Élysées shops and into a more unique french style. Unfortunately, we were running out of time in Paris as we leave in the morning but we had one last stop for our last night.
A little boat trip along the river! For our last night we booked a boat trip on a boat called La Calife. This is a late night restaurant which takes you down the river and back during night hours so you can sail by Paris as it lights up.