All photography credit lies with the respective owners shown in the watermarks.

And finally, I am posting a bucket list that I have actually crossed some points off! I might be biased because I live in Europe, but I do think it is one of the most interesting continents. I love it here. I spend as much time as possible exploring close by European cities and I’m always amazed by how much there still is to see and do.

RELATED: Find out how I spend so much time in European cities when I work full time with my “Top Tips for Travelling and Working Full Time“!

Bucket List

  1. See the Northern Lights
  2. Visit all of the Balkan countries (my favourite area of Europe!)
  3. Explore the Norwegian Fjords
  4. Explore my family’s history in war memorials in France (read: here)
  5. Hire a car and take a mountain side road-trip
  6. Visit Oktoberfest
  7. Get smashed with tomatoes at La Tomatina
  8. Visit Lapland at Christmas time
  9. Explore more of the UK and see what’s on my doorstep
  10. Drive Iceland’s Golden Circle
  11. See the beautiful Lake Bled, Slovenia (read: here)
  12. Visit the Scottish Highlands
  13. Eat my way through Italy
  14. Visit a Christmas Market
  15. Go Island Hopping in Croatia or Greece
  16. Take a cruise around Amsterdam’s canals (read: here)
  17. See how history has formed today’s world at Auschwitz (read: here)
  18. Spend some time living in London
  19. Drink Guinness in Ireland (I don’t even like Guinness… but it has to be done!)
  20. Visit the Instagram perfect Hallstatt, Austria (read: here)
  21. Get lost in Istanbul
  22. Experience the fairy-tale medieval city of Tallinn, Estonia
  23. Take a French/German road-trip exploring all of the castles
  24. Visit “Dracula’s Castle”, Transylvania, Romania
  25. Finally visit Russia and not be put off by the expensive visa!
  26. Go husky sledging in Finland
  27. Soak up the  water’s healing powers in a Hungarian thermal pool (read: here)
  28. Visit Eltz Castle, Germany
  29. Visit Ukraine’s tunnel of love
  30. Visit the beautiful Plitvice Lakes, Croatia

Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post and all thoughts are my own.
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Oh the beautiful land of Mozart and The Sound Of Music. When I first started looking into a trip to Salzburg, I’d be lying if I said I knew what there is to do there. In fact, the three of us were so busy at work before our trip, that even when we arrived, we weren’t too sure on what there was to do in Salzburg!

We actually wanted to go to Vienna but accommodation costs were extortionate at the time and Salzburg seemed like the next best fit! As soon as I started looking into it, I knew I would fall in love with the city.

Fast forward a few months and here I am, an avid Salzburg fan, and with good reason! This is how we sent our 3 days in the beautiful city!

Check Into Cityhotel Strumer Tube

Upon our arrival in Salzburg, we hopped in cab and headed to our hotel City Strumer Tube, which I would definitely recommend! It’s cheap and cheerful and the girls working on reception are some of the most friendly and helpful hotel staff that I have ever met!

Explore the Old Town 

After checking in, we were ridiculously excited to get into the city centre and start exploring! As with most Central/Eastern European cities, the “old town” is where you want to start your trip. Gorgeous buildings, amazing architecture and a beautiful river!

Peak Into the Salzburg Cathedral 


There are plenty of cathedrals and churches in Salzburg (particularly around the Old Town) but my favourite is the Salzburg Cathederal. Never before have I seen somewhere so pristine and white. The gorgeous facades inside the cathedral are so ornate and different to anything I’ve ever seen before!

Pick Up a Salzburg Pass

Whilst exploring the Old Town on our first afternoon in Salzburg, we picked up a Salzburg Pass from the Tourism Office – I would definitely recommend this if you want to see all of the main attractions in Salzburg.

RELATED POST: Find out how much money you can save by using the Salzburg Pass here!

Take Cruise Down the Salzach River

The first thing we noticed in the Salzburg Pass brochure was a river cruise, and we just HAD to do it. It’s not often that you get to do a river cruise for “free” – okay, technically it’s not free because we paid for the Salzburg Pass, but you end up saving so much money, the pass pays for itself! Logic ;-).

Pop Into Mozart’s Birthplace

If you don’t have a huge interest or passion for Mozart / classical music, I’d maybe tell you to skip this attraction. Unless you have the Salzburg Pass and can therefore get in for “free” like we did! We had heard so many great things about this museum but left feeling slightly underwhelmed. But then again, it would probably be wrong to visit the land of Mozart without visiting his birth place! The one thing that I found particularly interesting to see were Mozart’s original handwritten music sheets.

Explore the Famous Graves and Catacombes of Petersfriedhof

Whilst still in the main city centre, we headed over to St Peter’s Cemetery, the oldest cemetery in Austria. It was so beautiful (is that strange to say about a cemetery…?). Whilst it might not sound like the most glamorous attraction, it is in the main city centre and is definitely worth a visit!

Head Back to the Hotel and Attempt to Visit Mirabell Gardens

After flying in and wandering around the whole of Salzburg in one day, sadly our first day was coming to an end. Our hotel was really close to Mirabell Gardens and Palace, so we decided to go there before heading back to our hotel and then going out for dinner.

Unfortunately it decided to absolutely chuck it down with rain – it’s safe to say that the gardens didn’t look all that pretty in torrential rain! Queue spending the evening trying to find more places in our hotel room to hang up our soaking wet clothes….

Wake Up Bright and Early For a Trip To Hohensalzburg Fortress



On our second day, we headed straight for Hohensalzburg Fortress. This is without a doubt, my favourite thing to do in Salzburg! I am an avid lover of castles and fortresses, as are the two girls I was travelling with. We spent hours here and probably could have spent longer!

The Salzburg pass includes one ride up to the Fortress on the funicular, it’s pretty steep, so prepare yourself if you are scared of heights (we let out a few girly squeals…).  But seeing as the fortress is high up, the views are incredible as you can imagine!

The fortress is absolutely huge and we felt lost a few times – a great way to spend half a day!

Take A Bus Over To Hellbrunn Palace & Trick Fountains

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Hellbrun Palace is slightly outside of the city centre, so catch a bus from Hohensalzburg Fortress (probably the closest attraction to the Palace). Hellbrunn Palace is absolutely lovely and the gardens are gorgeous in the sun.

I’d also definitely recommend taking a tour of the Trick Fountains. The stories of the King who installed all of these “trick fountains” to make his guests jump are hilarious! Be warned, you will probably get a bit wet!

Make a Quick Stop at the Zoo 

Zoos aren’t my cup of tea, but there is a zoo right next to Hellbrunn palace, so if you’re thinking of doing both attractions, it makes sense to do it in the same day! We popped into the zoo quickly to see the goats in the petting centre – my friend loves goats! Otherwise, I wasn’t overly impressed with the size of the enclosures and we left pretty quickly.

Make a More Successful Visit to Mirabell Gardens! 

On our way back to the hotel at the end of a busy day filled with fortresses and palaces, we tried to visit the Mirabell Gardens one more time! This time was much more successful, the sun was shining (just ignore the puddles on the ground) and it’s a really gorgeous place to explore. And of course, this is another place where the fortress looks particularly impressive (my OCD tendencies absolutely love that the view of the castle is directly in the middle of the garden formation).

Some Unsuccessful Day 3 Planning

On the evening of our second night, we ended up doing some very unsuccessful planning for our third day in Austria. We wanted to make a trip to Hallstatt the next day and deliberated our options endlessly before booking a guided tour.

RELATED POST: You can read all about our decision making and the options you have on getting from Salzburg to Hallstatt here!

See the City from above using Monchsberglift 


Given that our trip to Hallstatt wouldn’t be taking place until the afternoon, we had to find a way to pass the morning away. We took a look at our trusty tourist map and saw that there was a “great view point” listed. As avid fans of “pretty places”, we headed straight over to Monchsberglift! The lift takes you up to one particularly good viewpoint, you can then walk around the woodland area stumbling across other great sights – a lovely walk on a sunny day!

To get to the Monchsberglift, you will probably need to walk down my favourite little street in the city (Gstattengasse). I thought that I was being a bit weird by really liking this street as there isn’t really anything of note here, the buildings are just nicely painted… but apparently not, it’s rated on TripAdvisor as the 47th best thing to see in Salzburg – knew I wasn’t going completely mad!

Shop On Getreidegasse

Getreidegasse is a very traditional-looking shopping street, great for strolling through and having a quick window shop! There’s lots of great shopping areas around the Old Town (including a lot of luxury high-end brands!).

Take A Trip to Hallstatt!



And finally we were off to Hallstatt for our final afternoon in Austria – there’s plenty to see and do here, so the town has a whole blog post dedicated to it – you can read all about that here.

After our lovely trip to Hallstatt, we headed back to the hotel to pack up all of our things ready to say goodbye to the lovely Austria in the morning. Austria you were fantastic and I can’t wait to visit again!

RELATED POST: Want to know how much this whole trip cost? Find out how you should budget for Salzburg here!

The Things We Didn’t get to do 

As with all quick weekend trips, there are a few things we didn’t get to do, these are:

  • Untersberg – This is probably the attraction that we were most upset about missing. The cable car up Untersberg mountain wasn’t running when we visited Salzburg but the views look absolutely gorgeous (just have a quick google image search to see for yourself!).
  • Sound of Music Tour – Okay, I haven’t actually seen The Sound of Music (shock horror!), so I would have felt like a bit of a phoney if I actually went on this tour – but hey, I should tell you that it exists!
  • Eagles Nest – My inner history nerd is a bit upset that we never did a day-trip to Eagles Nest (Hitler’s former residence). Whilst this is technically in Germany, you can reach it within an hour when driving from Salzburg!
  • On a similar theme of crossing the German border, I would have also loved to have explored the Bavarian mountains or taken a trip into Munich (probably would have needed longer than a day to fully explore what Munich has to offer!).
  • Mozart concert dinner – yes, you read that right! If you have some cash to splash and want a Mozart concert while you are wined and dined, Salzburg is the place to do it!
  • Stiegl-Brauwelt – Also included on the Salzburg card is a brewery tour! I took the Heineken brewery tour in Amsterdam (read about that here) and I’m not a fan of beer, so felt like I could sit this one out!

    Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post and all thoughts are my own.
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Let’s not beat around the bush, you’ve all heard about Hallstatt by now. There isn’t a day that goes by where I don’t see Hallstatt proudly displayed on my Instagram feed, and rightfully so. If you’re a lover of pretty places, you need to head here.

So, after convincing my two lovely travel pals that we needed to take a trip to Hallstatt during our recent ventures to Salzburg, I was then left wondering “what actually is there to do in Hallstatt?!”

RELATED: Before you can explore Hallstatt, you’ll need to know how  to get there! Read my article on accessing Hallstatt from Salzburg to find it all out! 

 Hallstatt Viewing Platform

As soon as we arrived in Hallstatt, we rushed over to the Hallstatt Viewing Platform. This probably wasn’t our greatest idea given that it was a seriously overcast day and later on the skies brightened up considerably. But hey-ho, you can’t stop a girl who’s obsessed with mountain views. I was getting on that funicular no matter what the weather.

I can only imagine what the view would have been like on a sunny day. If you’ve read my post about visiting Lake Bled on the foggiest day known to man, you probably think that I am cursed with bad luck when visiting the current Instagram-favourite locations – I think you’re right! I need to learn my lesson and give myself more than one day to explore these locations!

Hallstatt Salt Mines

If you’re in Hallstatt for more than a few hours, after visiting the viewing platform, you should also visit the salt mines! Unfortunately we were only in Hallstatt for a few hours (we ended up having to take a guided tour), so we didn’t have time to make a visit, but I’ve heard great things about it! We didn’t mind too much as 2 out of 3 of us had recently visited the salt mines in Krakow (which are great and I would highly recommend)!

Explore The Old Town


Once we came down from the view point, we headed to the main town centre to see where all the action lies. As with any “old town”, you can bet your bottom dollar that it is going to be stupidly beautiful. Hallstatt Old Town is filled with cute colourful decorated buildings and I could have easily spent more time just strolling around (and taking lots of pictures).

The Catholic Church, Cemetery & The Bone Church (Hallstatt Ossuary) 

One of the most interesting things in Hallstatt is “The Bone Church”. Hallstatt isn’t a huge place and burial plots are sparse. The Bone Church dates back to the 12th Century and skulls would be removed from existing graves once the grave was needed for a new burial. Skulls were then painted according to the family name and also a number of personality traits. Over 600 artistically painted skulls now lie on display. The majority of the skulls are from the 18th Century but there are a few from the 20th Century.

The Bone Church is a really unique and interesting experience. The Catholic Church next door and the adjoining cemetery are also worth a visit – both very beautiful.

RELATED: If you can’t get to Hallstatt, Kutna Hora in the Czech Republic has an Ossuray too! Much larger and much more ornate, you can read all about it here!

Various Other Churches

After exploring the Bone Church, we explored the surrounding area poking our heads into various other churches and cute little shops. Everything is just so god damn cute!

Take in the pretty views

After racing around all the different sights, we spent the last portion of our short time in Hallstatt just enjoying the views. This is a ridiculously beautiful town and you’d be silly not to just spend time enjoying it’s natural beauty.

Now, for the things we didn’t get to do:

  • Waldbachstrub Waterfall – How on earth did I not know that a waterfall existed in Hallstatt?! I would have been straight over to visit if i knew about it!
  • Take a boat trip across the lake
  • Experience the views from the “Five Fingers”
  • Dachstein hiking world
  • Dachstein Ice Caves

Have you ever been to Hallstatt? Did you enjoy it? Is there anything else  you would add to my list?

Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post and all thoughts are my own.
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Y’know that big shiny building affectionately referred to as “The Walkie Talkie”? The one that accidentally melted cars when it was first erected? Well… it turns out that on the top floor of this building (155m high!), there’s a super cool bar set in a garden themed area. And best of all? It’s free!

The Sky Garden is a glass dome at the top of the building which spans 3 storeys and offers 360 degree views of this beautiful city. You can expect delicious cocktails, gorgeous views and funky tunes (yes, there is a DJ in amongst all the greenery!).

How to Book

Like I already mentioned, the Sky Garden is free to visit but you do need to make an online booking prior to arrival.

Time slots are available online 3 weeks beforehand and can be booked up to 1 hour before your arrival. If you’re planning on visiting on a weekday, the booking process should be easy peasy. However, the weekend slots are notoriously hard to get, so make sure you’re online 3 weeks beforehand!

RELATED: Thinking of heading to the Sky Garden? Check out my “London Bucket List” to see what else you can do during your time in London! 

Why You Should Go

  • Let’s not beat around the bush, London is an expensive city, so any free activity is a good one! Friends of mine have said that the Sky Garden is better than the Shard which you have to pay to visit – I can’t comment as I’ve never visited the Shard! I feel somewhat reluctant to visit now that I’ve had such a great experience at the Sky Garden.
  • The cocktails are absolutely insane. Whilst they are slightly pricey at around £11 each, I’ve paid up to £16 for a cocktail in the city and given the fact that this is such a touristy attraction, I don’t think £11 is too bad! Each cocktail takes a little while to make, so make sure you order as soon as you arrive (we had dinner reservations booked in Central London, so had to down our drinks super quickly and run out the door once they had been made – that will teach me for taking so long admiring the view and taking photos beforehand…).
  • If you’re a fan of London, the view is a pretty damn good one.
  • There are also two restaurants to dine in being the Fenchurch Restaurant and the Darwin Brasserie. I’ve heard good things about both and would absolutely love to try one (or both!).

Why You Shouldn’t Go

  • As you can see from my above photos, there’s a big chunk of glass separating you from the lovely view, so my photos are a bit crap. But I suppose having crap photos is better than plummeting to my death from 155m… I suppose.

Have you been to the Sky Garden? What Did You Think? Do you have any other recommendations for free things to do in London?

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If I had to name one place that has captured the heart of travel Instagram accounts over the past year, it would be Hallstatt. I can’t scroll through my Instagram feed without seeing at least one photo of Hallstatt per day.

After booking a weekend away in Salzburg with two of my friends, I decided that we definitely needed to visit Hallstatt during our short stay in Austria  (lucky, they were easy to convince!).

Getting to Hallstatt from Salzburg was one of our main stumbling blocks as we tried to travel on a Sunday. We asked the receptionist at our hotel (Cityhotel Trumer Strube) to explain the best way to access Hallstatt and she said that the Sunday train/bus service is limited, particularly on the day we wanted to travel as there was some construction work taking place.

I found that the internet wasn’t particularly helpful on this topic, so hopefully I can shed some light and make the trip a hell of a lot easier for you!

Option A) Public Transport 

Length of Journey: Approx 3 hours each way

Price: 34.8 EUR for a return journey

Overview: If you are looking to use public transport, I found this webpage very helpful. Broadly, from Salzburg, I would have taken Bus 150 to Bad Ischl, then the train from Bad Ischl to Hallstatt railway station and finally used the ferry  to cross the lake to the village.

Pros: By far, this is the cheapest option. For an overview of costs and times, I would recommend this post by Travel Timo. You can also plan your day according to your own schedule,

Cons: As with any public transport system, you can face delays or inconveniences such as limited services on a Sunday or construction works. Also, if you’re looking to relax and catch up on some sleep (I wouldn’t recommend sleeping as the countryside is so beautiful), you might end up missing your stop with 3 changes in your journey. This is also a lengthy  journey, you may therefore wish to consider an overnight stay in Hallstatt rather than a day trip from Salzburg.

Option B) Use an organised tour 

Length of Journey: Approx 1 hour 15 mins each way

Price: 55 EUR for a return journey

Pros: You get an insider’s knowledge on Salzburg, the surrounding area and Hallstatt. There are also often chances to stop off at towns on the way to Hallstatt for photo opportunities, we stopped at St Wolfgang and St Gilgen (both gorgeous). If you’re looking to relax, not have to use your brain and navigate public transport, this option is for you!

Cons: Much more expensive than taking public transport and you only get a limited amount of time in Hallstatt (we had just over 2 hours).

Verdict: We took a tour with Paramount and would recommend this option if you aren’t worried about time or money restraints. Our tour guide was super knowledgeable and had a real passion for Austria and it’s history. We learnt a lot and enjoyed our time with him immensely! He also took a different route home than on the drive to Hallstatt, so we got to see more of the gorgeous Austrian countryside!

Option C) Use a Shuttle Service

Length of Journey: Approx 1 hour each way

Price: 50 EUR for a return journey

Overview: When searching for options on how to access Hallstatt, we came across the company Shuttle Cesky Krumlov (which is also the same company as Bean Shuttle) .They offer a few shuttle services between Salzburg and Hallstatt throughout the day.

Pros: Depending on what time shuttles you pick, you can spend a lot longer time in Hallstatt than you would on a guided tour. It is also a cheaper option (although not as cheap as using public transport).

Cons: You need to book this service in advance. We were looking at our options the night before our trip and as such, we weren’t able to book the service. You submit your request for the shuttles online and then wait for an email from the company confirming that those slots are available. Our confirmation email had a mistake (they had quoted Cesky Krumlov rather than Hallstatt)  and therefore we weren’t happy to hand over a deposit before they corrected the booking information. As we were emailing them at around 6pm, the office soon shut and we were not receiving any responses to our emails. We therefore didn’t complete our booking and can’t comment on the reliability/professionalism of this service.

Option D) Take a Taxi (If you’re rich)

And the final option is to take a taxi. Whilst I wouldn’t consider this option due to how expensive it is (Rome2Rio currently estimates that it would cost £150 – £180 each way). But I should include it anyway as it is a feasible option if you’re not travelling on a budget (I don’t think there are many landing spots in Hallstatt for your private jet after all)!

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I bloody love castles. If I had to pick my perfect day out in the UK, it would revolve around visiting a castle and eating a good pub lunch.

So, you can imagine my excitement when I convinced my boyfriend that we needed a little day trip. We whittled our options down to Arundel Castle, Windsor Castle or visiting a relatively close tourist city like Cambridge or Oxford.

Arundel was the winner and it was a really lovely day – even with the rain!





What’s Inside the Castle?

The castle itself is huge. There are a few different ticket options available, which can be viewed here. We opted for the gold ticket which meant we could see the gardens, ground, Fitzalan chapel, Castle keep, main castle rooms, shop, restaurant and cafe.

The Gold Plus ticket would have also allowed us to see the castle bedrooms, but we were only in Arundel for a quick day trip (it’s a 2 hour journey from where we live) and we wanted time to see what the rest of Arundel has to offer.

The grounds are absolutely stunning, it’s the perfect place to spend a sunny day. The inside of the castle is interesting, varied and beautiful (my favourite information board was about Empress Matilda – she sounds like an absolute sassy babe!).


What Else Can You Do In Arundel?

Arundel is picture perfect. The drive into Arundel is beautiful. The main road into the town is surrounded by lush greenery with a great view of the castle and cathedral.

Once you’ve spent enough time in the castle (although I don’t think there’s ever enough time, I could happily stroll around a castle for hours), I’d definitely recommend taking time to visit Arundel Cathederal. It’s a short walk away and is a really beautiful Roman Catholic building.

Arundel is also filled with adorable streets and shops. We spent some time exploring the cute little independent shops, there’s definitely something for everyone – especially if you like fudge!

We didn’t have any time to explore Arundel further, but apparently there are some other really great things to do in Arundel including:


What’s In The Surrounding Areas?

We originally tried to book an overnight stay in Arundel so that we could do 2 days of exploring and break up the 2 hour drive each way. However, we planned everything a little bit too late and couldn’t get any decently priced hotels – woe is us!

If we had a second day, we had a few ideas for things to do outside of Arundel including exploring South Downs National Park which is filled with fun activities such as gliding, hot air balloon rides, cycling, walking, Geocaching and horseriding.

The main thing that made me want to visit South Downs so much is that, it is the world’s newest International Dark Sky Reserve (IDSR) meaning stargazing is incredible. I want to be wrapped up warm in blankets, sitting under the stars enjoying the sights please! We obviously didn’t get to do this because of time restrictions but I’m dying to go back and experience it!

By way of larger cities, Brighton is a 40 minute drive from the castle, Worthing is 18 minutes, Chichester is 20 minutes and finally you can reach Bognor Regis in 22 minutes.

I’m looking for more castles to discover in England, where would you recommend?!

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Recently myself and a friend hopped over to Ohrid (Macedonia) for a relaxing long weekend break. If you want somewhere budget-friendly, relaxing, full of history and culture, good weather (potentially!) and friendly faces galore, Ohrid is the place for you.

So, if you’re thinking about heading to Ohrid for a few days, here’s how you should spend them!

St Jovan Kaneo 

Macedonia Ohrid St. Jovan Kaneo

IMG_0749 v2You’ve all seen the pictures. This is probably THE most photographed area of Ohrid. Whilst the interior of the monastery wasn’t the most impressive, this is the perfect place to relax and get picture perfect shots. The view of the lake is second to none.

Tsar Samuel’s Fortress 

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If you know me, you will know that I love any kind of castle/fortification. So I was VERY excited to learn that Ohrid had it’s very own fortress and even more excited that we had a view of it from our bedroom window. This is the highest point of the city, so expect more incredible views!

Enjoy The Lake Views 

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Macedonia Ohrid Lake Boat

As if I haven’t already spoken about “the view” enough already! Ohrid’s main selling point is the fact that it is so god damn beautiful. I uttered the words “it’s so pretty” probably once every 25 minutes for the entire trip. Everywhere you turn will be picturesque (even the drive from the airport to the city!). But of course, the most picturesque area is on the lake-front.

RELATED: Want to know a bit more about this beautiful lake? Take a read of my “Top Things You Should Know Before Visiting Ohrid” 

Church of Saint Sofia 

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Saint Sofia is one of the larges churches in Ohrid and it was the first that we visited. This was our first experience of the Macedonian church frescoes. We were so impressed by how well the frescoes were preserved in places, little did we know that there were even more impressive frescoes in smaller churches around the city.

Boat Trip to Saint Naum 

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If you have a spare day, I would definitely recommend taking a boat trip over to Saint Naum. Make sure that you walk down to the pier the day before your trip to check what times the boats leave the next day. Everywhere on the internet told us that the boat left at 10am daily and when we turned up, the sign said the boat had departed at 9am and we had to wait until the 1.45pm departure – it’s safe to say that we were annoyed! The boat ride across would be amazing in sunny weather – we forced ourselves to sit on the top deck and watch the view even in the blistering wind.

Over at Saint Naum, you can visit the monastery, do a spot of shopping, grab a bite to eat and hire a rowing boat around the springs (pictured above). Oh… and try to avoid the peacocks, according to a sign, they “WILL HARM YOUR CHILDREN”.

Enjoy the Lake Walks 

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One of my favourite areas of Ohrid is the lake-front, particularly a little wooden walkway which follows the cliff edge. Such blue clear water! I kept saying to my friend that it would have been the perfect place for a wedding!

Plaošnik 

Macedonia Ohrid Wall

Macedonia Ohrid Plaoshnik

Plaošnik is an archelogical site and holy place in Ohrid which is currently undergoing some extensive restoration works. Our favourite part was an ancient ornate hole in the ground…. we thought it was a bath tub, turns out it was a baptistery… but anyway definite #BathTubGoals, maybe minus the swastikas though….

Ancient Theatre of Ohrid 

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Move over Rome, Ohrid’s amphitheatre is the place to be! The stage is still used for events throughout the year although I can’t imagine Justin Beiber playing there anytime soon… With a view of the stage and the lake, who can complain (apart from maybe about the stone hard seats…).

National Workshop For Handmade Paper 

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I shouldn’t be allowed into a cute little shop filled with handmade paper and prints. Especially when the lady working there is lovely and demonstrates how the paper is made and the prints are created. I was strong willed to not walk away with arms filled with prints.

The Icon Gallery of Ohrid

Time to get artsy! Head over to the Icon Gallery of Ohrid for a fascinating look into art throughout the centuries in Macedonia. I’d be lying if I said that art galleries normally hold my interest, I’d rather be exploring the real world, but this one was actually interesting, especially as I visited with an History of Art student (as you can imagine, I made much less intelligent comments about the paintings).

Church of Our Lady Perivlepta 

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Without a doubt, the Church of Our Lady Perivlepta is home to the most impressive frescoes I’ve ever laid eyes on. There’s a lot of construction work happening at the moment but around all of the scaffolding, you’ll be able to see plenty of incredibly well preserved frescoes – I don’t think there’s one tiny segment of the wall that’s not covered!

Walk the City Walls 

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Around  the edge of the city there’s some impressive city walls. And if you’ve read my blog post about my day trip to York , you’ll know how much I bloody love a historical city wall!

Shop in the City Centre

The city centre is where you should head if you want to do some shopping. Whilst I didn’t see many shops that took my interest, some of the restaurants are great!

RELATED: Want to know how much all of this will cost you? Go and read my article “Budgeting For Ohrid” 

  Things we didn’t get to do but sound great! 

  • National Park Galicica – unfortunately the national park can only be accessed by car. Something we should have researched before we arrived in Ohrid! If you fancy exploring the national park for a day, think about hiring a car or a driver for the day – Macedonia is super cheap after all!
  • National Ohrid Museum – we heard great things but simply weren’t in the “museum mood” and instead chose to explore by the lake and eat good food in our few spare moments!
  • Bay of the Bones Museum – We should have visited the museum on our way to the Monastery of Saint Naum but the weather was bad, the lake was too choppy and the boat couldn’t stop at the museum :-(.
  • Vevchani Springs – This is actually something that I didn’t see advertised at all while we were in Ohrid. When I got home and was browsing my internet favourites, I stumbled across this TripAdvisor link which I’d obviously saved months ago and completely forgotten about – it looks gorgeous and is about a 30 minute drive from Ohrid.

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It appears that my “Budgeting For Ohrid, Macedonia” article was popular, so I’ve decided that I will be doing a quick “budgeting” post for all of my current and upcoming travels.

Budgeting is something that I struggle with and when I told people that I was going on a city break to Salzburg, all I heard was “oh my god, it’s so expensive there” but we were pleasantly surprised!

My Trip

  • Destination: Salzburg, Austria
  • Total number of days: 3
  • Total number of nights: 3
  • Date: June 2016
  • People travelling: 3 (some costs such as taxi journeys are therefore divided by 3).
  • Travelling style: Mid-range. We chose to stay in a mid-range hotel, pay more for excursions (see more below) and have a really relaxing trip.
  • Exchange rate used: The exchange rate used for the entirety of this post (EUR to GBP) is 1.29 (accurate during the time of my trip)

So, How Much Did I Spend?!

During my time in Salzburg, I spent 341.87 EUR (265.01 GBP). This total covers accommodation, food, drinks, sightseeing and transport. Pre-arrival costs such as flights are not included as these vary so much!

To see a full breakdown of my costs in Microsoft Excel spreadsheet format, click HERE!

Accommodation – £112.87 – 145.60 EUR -43%

We decided to stay at Cityhotel Trumer Stube and we would recommend it to everyone! The location is fantastic (a 5 min walk into the main city), the rooms are modern/clean and the staff working on reception are incredible. All of the girls that we spoke to were lovely, helpful and ridiculously friendly. So friendly that one of my travel buddies said, I think the job description to work here states “must be cute as hell”.

Accommodation is difficult when you’re travelling as 3 adults. You don’t want someone to be in a hotel room on their own and missing out on all the fun! Because of this, we probably ended up paying more per person than a couple or a solo traveller. The total accommodation cost was around £338 and the room could have slept 4 people (2 double beds), meaning the cost per person would have been £84.50 per person if there were 4 of us rather than £112.87 – a considerable saving (maybe not… but when a number goes from above £100 to below £100, it always seems like a good deal)!

If you want to pay less on hotels, you could easily stay further away from the city centre. The bus connections are amazing and travel costs are covered by the Salzburg Card (which you can read my review on here).

Food/Drink – £64.42 – 83.10 EUR – 24%

I travelled with two girls from work, we were all extremely busy at work before our trip and wanted 3 days of relaxation, fun and sightseeing. So, despite the fact we are all 21 and society believes we spend all of our time drunk, not a single drop of alcohol was drunk this weekend, so I can’t comment on alcohol prices!

We opted for easy and quick breakfasts and lunches, then ventured out to a proper restaurant each night. Apart from one night where we were exhausted and bound to our hotel room due to torrential rain… ordering takeaway pizza was the only option.

Food and drink costs were on par with most Western European tourist cities.

Sightseeing and Activities – £79.46 – 102.50 EUR – 30%

For exploring the city, I would wholly recommend the Salzburg Card. We saved around 38 EUR on sightseeing by purchasing this card, so money-wise, if you want to see lots of sights in a condensed timeframe, Salzburg isn’t a bad city to visit!

We did however hit a stumbling block whilst planning a trip to the beautiful town of Hallstatt. We planned to visit on a Sunday and there were public transport issues outside of Salzburg. We therefore booked a half-day tour with Panorama Tours which was fantastic as our guide had a real sense of pride in his country’s history and landscapes. However, this wouldn’t be the best option if you’re looking to travel on a budget – the half-day tour cost 55 EUR after all!

RELATED POST: Is the Salzburg Card Worth It? 

Transport – £8.27 – 10.67 EUR – 3%

The only item contained in this section is a taxi from the airport to the hotel and vice versa on departure. Each journey cost around 16 EUR which was split between the three of us. Public transport would definitely be much cheaper if you are a solo traveller, however 16 EUR split between a number of people isn’t too bad at all.

You are unlikely to need to pay for any other transport during your stay in Salzburg if you have the Salzburg Card. We used the fantastic bus system a few times and each trip was free due to the use of this card.

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Macedonia Ohrid Plaoshnik

Macedonia Ohrid Wall

Macedonia Ohrid St. Jovan Kaneo

Macedonia Ohrid Lake Boat

I recently popped over to Macedonia (Ohrid to be specific) and I bloody loved it (warning: there is an over-use of the word “bloody” through the entirety of this post. Ohrid really is just bloody brilliant). So, here’s a few things you should know about visiting Ohrid, Macedonia.

01. It’s absolutely bloody beautiful.

02. The people are unbelievably friendly. We stayed at Villa Kale and the owners were a lovely husband and wife duo. When we handed our passports over on arrival, they immediately noticed that myself and my friend were born in 1994, the same year as their daughter. From that point on, we were treated like family, given tips and tricks about the area and always asked if we were okay. It was like having a second mum and dad.

03. Want to meet more friendly faces? Head over to The Gladiator Restaurant, another family run establishment. Food in Macedonia is cheap and The Gladiator is probably one of the most expensive places to eat in Ohrid, however it’s definitely worth it if you’re not sticking to an uber-strict budget. Arrive early evening to ensure you get one of the 3 balcony tables so that you can watch the sunset over the lake! My friend is a vegetarian and whilst there was nothing on the menu that would be suitable for her, the owner was excited and created a platter of yummy vegetarian goods for her.

04. One more friendly face – Marta Pejoska – we stumbled across Marta’s gorgeous little jewellery studio on our walk back to the hotel one evening and we couldn’t be happier with our discovery! Marta makes incredible filigree jewellery and is SO lovely – we could have chatted to her for hours. Make sure you check out her studio!

05.You can’t exchange money to Macedonian Denar or vice versa outside of Macedonia. You should bring some Euros to the country to help you get by (larger items such as long taxi journeys and hotels can usually be paid in Euros) but then you should head to an ATM as soon as possible to get some Denar!

06. It’s super cheap! I mean really really really cheap. Read my post “Budgeting for Ohrid, Macedonia” to find out how much money you might need for your trip!

07. Visiting in “off-season” won’t mean you are visiting a ghost town. I read so many articles that tried to scare me from visiting outside of June to September. We visited in mid-May and it was great! Relaxed, sunny (most of the time!) and not overcrowded – perfect! If you’re looking for a party however, you’re probably better off visiting in summer!

08. Macedonia is rich in Greek, Roman and Ottoman history, so there is plenty to see and do in Ohrid! An ancient fortress, a Roman amphitheatre, a gorgeous national park, hundreds of churches – what’s not to love!

09. Lake Ohrid is supposedly the oldest and deepest lake in Europe (estimated 4 million years old and 940ft deep)! It was given UNESCO World Heritage status in 1979, so you know it’s going to be a beautiful place!

10.Something that I think makes Macedonia that little bit more beautiful is that it is the only country to get independence from Yugoslavia without shedding a single drop of blood. It remained entirely peaceful throughout the wars of the early 1990s and gained independence in 1991.

11. Macedonians are relaxed, don’t expect that bus or boat to be at the scheduled time. Or maybe expect the scheduled time to move unexpectedly at the last minute. Maybe  I experienced this more because I wasn’t visiting in peak-season, but oh well, it makes for the adventure!

12. Ask your hotel/hostel how much a taxi journey from A to B should be. Taxi drivers are more likely to try and rip-off a tourist. Make sure you know how much a journey should cost and barter your way down to that price!

13. You should go. You will absolutely love it.

Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post and all thoughts are my own.
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IMG_1743 - edited.JPG

So, you’re travelling to Salzburg and you’ve heard about the Salzburg Card. You’re probably now wondering whether it’s worth your money. Many cities have an”all access” card but I’ve never come across one that is worth your money, until I travelled to Salzburg.

The Basics

As expected, the city’s many museums are covered by this card, however there are a few really great unexpected perks such as free travel within the city (their bus system is fantastic!), entrance to some of the the more expensive attractions in the city (such as Hellbrunn Palace & Trick Fountains, Salzburg Zoo and Hohensalzburg Fortress) and finally some incredible free experiences such as a cruise down the Salzach River.

As well as the freebies within the city, price reductions are available for many attractions outside of the city.

A complete list of the items covered by the Salzburg Card can be found here.

The Price (Correct as of June 2016)

There are two different price brackets for 2016. These are “winter season” being 01 January – 30 April and 01 November – 31 December and “summer season” being 1 May – 31 October.

You then have the option of 24 hours, 48 hours and 72 hours depending on how long you are in the city. 2016 adult prices are as follows:

Summer Period

  • 24 hours          27 EUR
  • 48 hours          36 EUR
  • 72 hours          42 EUR

Winter Period

  • 24 hours          24 EUR
  • 48 hours          32 EUR
  • 72 hours          37 EUR

Was It Helpful for Me?

MOST DEFINITELY. We purchased the 48 hour pass in the Summer period for 36 EUR and managed to see attractions worth 74 EUR in our time – an amazing 38 EUR saving!

The attractions we covered were as follows:

Catacombs 2.00
Hellbrunn Palace and Trick Fountains 12.50
Hohensalzburg Fortress 12.00
Mozart’s Birthplace 10.00
Monchsberglift 3.60
Salzach Cruise 15.00
Salzburg Zoo 10.50
Bus from Fortress to Hellbrunn 3.60 Est. price from Rome2Rio.com (3GBP x 1.2)
Bus from Hellbrunn to Mirabell 4.80 Est. price from Rome2Rio.com (4GBP x 1.2)
 Total 74.00

Whilst we would have visited all of the attractions on this list (beside the below disclaimer), the card made things particularly easy to see what options we had for the day, choose where to visit and opened our eyes to more options which was great.

We were however disappointed that the Untersberg cable car was not open at the time of our visit (the cost would have been covered by the Salzburg Card ordinarily) – we really wanted to visit Untersberg, let me know if you’ve been, I’d love to see photos!

Disclaimer – A zoo wouldn’t usually be on my list of things to do within a new city – animals in cages make me sad! However, my friend LOVES goats and a goat petting area was right at the beginning of the zoo. Our Salzburg Card allowed us to gain free entry for her to see the goats. We wandered further into the zoo and weren’t happy with the small animal enclosures, so swiftly exited. So I’m not sure if that counts as money I would have otherwise spent!

Should You Buy It For Your Trip?

Whether the Salzburg Card is worth it completely depends on your travel preferences and what you want to gain from your visit.

For example, if you want to spend time relaxing in the city centre, drinking good coffee and absorbing your time eating Austrian food, leisurely seeing the hours pass as opposed to trying to see as many sights as physically possible – this pass probably isn’t for you.

An older woman on one of our tours outside of the city centre also commented that she liked to spend hours inside each museum, meaning she didn’t have enough time to see many museums in a 24 or 48 hour period, thus not getting her money’s worth.

Unfortunately almost all of the attractions on the card close at around 5pm, so you might want to plan your time carefully.

I would say that if you want to see  3 or more of the more expensive attractions in Salzburg, the card will be worth it given the reasonable price and obvious value for money. However, if you’re in Salzburg for 24 hours on a very strict budget and would prefer to wander around the city absorbing the charming culture, this option probably isn’t for you.

The free transportation is particularly helpful when it comes to the further away destinations such as Hellbrunn Palace (entrance is included on the Salzburg Card) and Untersberg Mountain (the cable car is included on the Salzburg Card).

Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post and all thoughts are my own.
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