5 Cultured Museums & Galleries

Travelling is one of life's biggest adventures. Waking up in a new city, dipping your feet into the new culture, perhaps new language and of course making the memories and building up a large collection of Instagram worthy photos. Travel is good for the mind and the body, but also spiritually and I find that this is the biggest benefit of travelling. The outlook it gives you on life, the positivity that seeps into your mind, then creating a strong mindset is priceless. Mixing a little bit of art into your trip is also beneficial. Art galleries are such quiet peaceful places and often very inspirational. One of my favourite hobbies is to play with watercolours, so clearly Monet paintings are beautiful and subtle and it is definitely a goal of mine to see one in person. However, this blog is going to be for those who love that artistic culture of other countries nad so I'm pointing out five of the best museums worldwide that you must see if and when you're on the road.

Photo Courtesy: wien.info
The Louvre, Paris 

Paris is the city of love, culture, beauty and art. The Louvre is home to the ever so famous Mona Lisa painting of course, and it is a museum that is jam packed full of incredible pieces of art so luscious and magical that you will leave feeling so inspired and probably incredibly fulfilled. From modern art to the renaissance period, The Louvre has it all, and the entrance fee is €9 which is, considering its fame is a good price for a museum entry. It is the world's most visited museum and this is incredibly pleasing for a culture lover like myself, because Paris is certainly holding the crown in the art world and it is a brilliant way to also appreciate history. The museum itself does become busy, so getting an early start may be a good bet if you do not want long queues and busy halls inside. Website here.

Photo Courtesy: Nomadic Matt
Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam 

Amsterdam, as you probably know is the home of Van Gogh and a well known city for its art culture and its artistic flair; from galleries to shops and artwork in the streets, Holland is truly a place of art. At its core, it represents beauty, culture and freedom. The Van Gogh museum is a brilliant place to start if this is your type of art, however the Rijksmuseum has a much broader spectrum of artwork that would be better suited to art lovers. It focuses on Dutch art and history from the middle ages and some of the work includes Rembrandt and Van Gogh so this may be a good alternative to save money! The price of entry is €17.50 for adults, a little higher than Paris but there is a very good selection of famous artists and paintings. Website here.

Photo Courtesy: Rijksmuseum
Vatican Museums, Rome

Rome is the city of ancient history. Ever inch of Rome is seeped in history and therefore its Vatican Museums follow suit and home some incredible pieces of art. This gallery is not just paintings but is famous for its sculptures, including Renassiance art and of course paying homage to Pablo Picasso. The interior of the museum itself is well worth a visit, with stunning architecture. Its entry is €5 per ticket, which is well worth it for the art is houses and also for the building itself. This price also includes a visit to the Sistine Chapel and should be a brilliant tourist spot if you're in the city and wanting to take in as many sights as you can. Website here.

Photo Courtesy: Secret Italy 
Tate Modern

My first visit to Tate Modern was in high school, when I felt that I did not fully aprpeciate it. I did not fully understand the history and significance of art as much as I do now. This is a brilliant museum for modern art lovers, with all its simplicity and bold colours, bright beautiful pieces of art that inspire and are so full of creation you could burst! Based in the heart of London, you can visit Tate Modern at a price of £25.00 (at its highest price, they vary). Inside you will find some pieces from Andy Warhol and more recent artists who have created and brought to life modern art in a way we did not think possible. Impressionism is also a big hit in London, so you will see many unusual and creative pieces. Website here.



Acropolis Museum, Athens

Athens is a very underrated city; beauty and culture all in one with history around every corner and the Acropolis Museum is a must see for those in the city.  The museum focuses heavily on science, with sculptures, findings from the city including rock formations and much more that is integral to the history of the city. Entry is €20 euros and €10 during winter. To experience the true history of Athens and what it represents, this museum is a must see. For more information on Athens and a comprehensive guide to the city, click here!



Happy travelling!

Beginner's Guide To Palma De Majorca



Palma De Majorca (Mallorca) was on my travel bucket list specifically because of the majestic Cathedral that is the staple of Spanish beauty and the fact that I had never explored the Spanish islands. Majorca seemed the best place to start. It's relatively large and is also relatively easy going, unlike its sister island, Ibiza. I booked a hotel outside of the city (by complete mistake, but worked out for the better), in the area of Playa De Palma. Admittedly, I had no idea that this area catered mostly for German tourists, nevertheless, it was a lovely spot, there were some Brits and of course many people speak English. Before I talk about Palma and share with you some of my favourite photos, I'll chat to you a little bit about the area I stayed in with is south of Palma, and around 25 minutes out of the city. Palma in April through to October is usually good sunny warm weather. The temperature reached 28 degrees whilst I was there. Taxi fares to and from the airport are usually around 20-30 euros depending upon the time of day. Most taxi drivers are English speaking to some extent but they can drive a little erratically but this is the same for a lot of taxi drivers worldwide! It is a safe city, streetsellers are prevalant but I do not see why this would not be suitable for a lone traveller, even a lone female traveller. Let's take a little look at some of the attractions you should have a peruse at whilst you're staying in the magical Palma De Majorca! Firstly I want to point out that I had been insanely obsessed with this little playsuit from ChiChi London, shop here! It was the perfect fashion accompaniment and just perfect for that glorious weather!





Playa De Palma

This area itself is laid back, very 'German-oriantated' (some say the Magaluf of Germany) however I did not see any rowdy tourists at all, and most of the tourists seemed to be 40 years+. I was happy with the area, clean, a lovely long beach with an abundence of shops, restaurants and the most lavish chic modern hotels you will ever see. I was highly impressed with the choice of gorgeous hotels in the area. I was staying at the HM Hotel Balangeura Beach which was insanely amazing! White, stylish, chic and they had a brilliant choice for food. Getting into Palma from this area was easy, two regular buses and they stop near the Cathedral. Here are some of my photos from the hotel, and I would definitely recommend this hotel if you would like to spend some time away from the city and get the best of both worlds (beach and city!)



Swimsuit available at www.ukswimwear.com
Palma City

Palma City itself is absolutely stunning! I was so pleasently surprised but I had heard very good things about it. The Cathedral, an old Catholic Cathedral is the main attraction and point in the city, with lots going on and the architecture is inspired by the gothic era. Palma is also home to a large marina and lots of lovely parkland that is small, quaint and picturesque which is perfect for sitting down and enjoying an ice-cream. Here are some of the main attractions that you must see:

  • Bellver Castle - This is a beautiful castle up on a hill, buried deep within a beautiful dense area of woodland. It can be seen from the city and it boasts panoramic views of the city. It can be accessed by foot, but there are around 500 steps. You can also access it on the Hop On Hop Off Tourist bus.
  • Royal Palace of La Almudaina - This can't be missed as it is right next to the Cathedral and the gardens and areas surrounding it are incredibly beautiful. Although they do get busy, the earlier you go the better, you can grab your photos without a mass of tourists also trying to get shots.
  • Shop til You Drop - There is a huge amount of designer shops and it is easy to overspend! You will also find so many highstreet shops as well as Spanish boutiques and much more! It's a brilliant place to go with your girls, for shopping, good lunch dates and plenty of sun! 
  • Llotja - This was found by chance whilst walking back from a stroll along the marina. The museum's interior architecture was fabulous! Would make a beautiful wedding venue. This was once a Merchant's School and to enter it is completely free which is always a bonus! 
Like I state in every single city Blog, the best thing you can ever do is explore on foot! Grab yourself a map, or make sure your sat nav on your phone is working and get walking! Sometimes you find little gems away from the hustle and bustle! Scroll down for a little photo diary of my short and sweet trip to Palma and why you should make it your next weekend city break location! 

Who did I fly with: Ryanair from Leeds Bradford airport. I always book dates that match cheap airflights, because this makes sense to really get the most of the good deals and that way, travel more and often! 

























The Ultimate Corfu Guide



After a very succesful trip to Athens, using my Marco Polo Guide last year, I thought it was time to see how helpful their Corfu guide would be to a first timer in the city! Needless to say, this little pocketsize bible would be perfect for the ultimate travel companion if you're heading to this luscious island anytime soon!



Corfu is definitely a dream destination for anytime of year, although during autumn, winter, it does tend to close up for the year, and reopen in the spring time. Flights can be a little cheaper before June/July for a spring getaway and I think it's definitely worth seeing it when it's not completely overtaken by tourists!



Transport

Getting around Corfu has its benefits, it's usually very easy, although hiring a car can be the most beneficial way of seeing the island at your own leisure. Be sure to consult maps for parking arrangements before you go but you should be able to pick your car up at the airport and get exploring! Bicycles and motorscooters can also be rented because it's a very convenient way to get around! If you prefer to take the bus, be sure to make sure you know the times, by asking, as they can change often, but it is a cheap and cheerful way to get around from old town to the beach. Of course you can also take luxury to the next level and hire a yacht to sail around in, indulging in good food and of course, beautiful sunsets.

Hotels 

If you're looking for luxury then Corfu is the palce to be. There are beautiful hotels in the area, and some of the popular ones are the incredible:

  • Corfu Palace Hotel 5*****
  • Corfu Imperial Grecotel Exclusive Resort 5*****
  • Marbella Corfu 5*****
You could also look at hiring a villa, there are plenty of beautiful villas to rent in Corfu which is ideal if you're with friends or a bigger group, you can enjoy a private pool and places to cook outdoors, and enjoy the sunshine. Grab a drink and then go off to explore! 





What To Do

Old Town Corfu is particularly popular with the sightseeing tourists, who would love to capture a bit of the culture as well as soaking up the beautiful coastline. It is unbelievably quirky and beautiful in the Old Town, and you do not need a map, have a little explore on foot, like most parts of Greece, the more you see on foot the better, especially to reach those beautiful high points for Instagrammable views. Views of the sea are beautiful, but well worth it, if you're looking to soak up some Greek culture and history.

There are outdoor activities, from hiking and a scuba centre, where you can hire equipment and go scuba diving in the crystal seas. For the more low key tourist, who isn’t so hyped for energetic water sports, the island boasts many museums, such as the Andivouniotissa Museum, which is €4 entry and open Tues-Sun 8:00am until 2:45pm; and there are plenty of other choices with a multitude of different cultures to learn about; with Corfu’s rich history and ties to Italy and France. In my Marco Polo Guide, I was able to pinpoint some of the best discovery tours in the area, there are plenty of walking tours, and of course you should look at Pantokrator, and the surrounding villages, and if you're looking for a little midweek adventure, you can head to the port and take a boat trip to Albania! My Marco Polo guide suggests it's definitely a full day trip.







Other attractions includ the Byzantine Museum, British Cemetery, Archeological Museum and of course, whilst you're there, you have to soak up a little bit of the shopping scene! In the old town you can find traditional gems, clothing and things for your home, including token presents. Don't forget to take home some of the incredible Olive Oil! It's lovely to stroll around and you'll be sure to find something of interest. Marco Polo also have an extensive map of the island to refer to which is so helpful if you find yourself off the beaten track! Take advantage also of Corfu's beautiful beaches, but top up your sunscreen as the summer months are likely to get very hot, and I always forget to top up and get horribly burnt! Not fun! 

Where To Eat

You will never go hungry in Corfu. Plenty of taverns but some top picks are Avli Restaurant, Taverna Bikolis and if you want to splash out a little on a special holiday meal, then the luxurious “The Venetian Well” is surely a good place to start, but looking at my guide, it gives me in depth info of restaurant etiquette and what is good to eat and a list of Greek food dishes to try! Needless to say, I'm a huge fan of Spanokopita so I always eat endless amounts of then when in Greece! 

Generally the Greeks are outspoken, friendly, family-orientated people. Will be there to help, and most often than not can speak standard English. You'll find in Corfu that English is widely spoken due to the heavy tourism but if you fancy speaking a little Greek then you should! "Kalimera" means good day and is a nice way to introduce yourself - it's a little bit of fun trying to speak some choice Greek phrases, and Marco Polo have pages of phrases in Greek including the Greek alphabet just in case you come across something you're not sure of! It can be tricky but generally fun!
Thank you Marco Polo for this wonderful guide that will sure be of help to anyone heading to Corfu. Not only that, but they have guides for just about everywhere in the world, and here's how we are going to celebrate!!!

WIN

Head on over to my Instagram page here to find out how THREE LUCKY PEOPLE can WIN Marco Polo Guides!!!!!!

*This is a collaborative post but all thoughts and opinions are my own

East Asia Travel Tips & Ideas



East Asia is packed full of cultural highlights, wonderful food and some of the best scenery you’ll find anywhere in the world. If this is a part of the planet that you haven’t got round to exploring in much depth yet, that’s something you should aim to change as soon as possible. The sooner you get to grips with everything East Asia has to offer, the sooner you’ll fall in love with it. But before you rush off, here are some travel tips you’ll want to be aware of.


Photo Courtesy: Pixabay
Budget and Spend Carefully
A lot of the essentials in this part of the world are very affordable, so there’s no need to spend very much money. However, you will have to be very careful because tourists are often the main targets of scammers and thieves. Be sure to know some of the ways in which you can be conned. For example, agree a price with your taxi driver before you set off because that’s one way they get you. Budget everything and don’t fall into these kinds of traps.
As Well as China, Explore Macau and Hong Kong
China is the first country that comes to mind when you think of places to travel to in East Asia. However, there are a few interesting locations around China that are technically autonomous from China itself. Macau is one such example; it’s a former Portuguese colony with a fascinating cultural mix on display. The JW Marriott Hotel Macau is one of its finest hotels for first time visitors. Then there’s Hong Kong; a huge metropolis with a mythos entirely its own. Both are worth a visit.
Be Sure to Take the Weather Into Account
The weather conditions can vary wildly at different times of the year, and this is something that you should take into account before you plan your trip to East Asia. You don’t want to be caught in monsoons and storms. Research the weather in the locations you want to head to and see what the best time to visit is.
Sample the Street Food
Street food is a huge part of what East Asia can offer. As long as you make sure that you only eat the food that you see being made fresh in front of you, it’s perfectly safe to eat. There is all kinds of stuff on offer, so be sure to give it a try. Don’t stick to the fast food chains that they have all over the world.
Make the Most of What Nature Has to Offer
There are some stunning natural landscapes in East Asia, so don’t spend all your time looking around the admittedly captivating cities that this part of the world has to offer. Whether it’s Halong Bay in Vietnam or Stone Forest in China, you shouldn’t miss out on the natural side of East Asia when you visit the region.
Traveling East Asia is something you certainly won’t forget, so start making plans right away. You  I won’t regret it. However, don’t forget to make the most of the things that have been covered here because they’ll make your trip much more enjoyable and varied.