Checking in: Manoir les Minimes in Loire Valley

Share on Facebook

Share on Twitter

Share on Google+

Share on LinkedIn

+

After some time in Paris we again packed our suitcases, jumped on a train at Paris Austerlitz station and took the slow train to the Loire Valley to check ourselves in for a little French countryside R&R (though to be honest, I never tire of Paris!) We checked in to Manoir les Minimes in Amboise, the last town before reaching the more well known Saint-Pierre-des-Corps.

Being a little out of the way allowed us to truly kick back and enjoy local life in Amboise, where we spoiled ourselves with macarons and chocolate eclairs, further stuffing ourselves with crêpes in the evening and walking around town to work it off! For more on our stay in the Loire Valley, read on…

Amboise_France

Getting There: Paris to Loire Valley

From Paris to the Loire Valley is around a 2 hour train journey from Paris Austerlitz station. This is the slow train so if you’re in a rush there is a fast TGV train running multiple times a day in each direction.

There are a number of stops in the Loire Valley as this region stretches out quite a distance. Our station was Amboise as it was the closest to our hotel; Manoir les Minimes. From the station it was a pleasant 15 minute walk in the Spring sunshine to our hotel.

Hotel Manoir les Minimes France | World of Wanderlust Hotel Manoir les Minimes France | World of Wanderlust Hotel Manoir Minimes France | World of Wanderlust

Checking in: Manoir les Minimes

We chose this town as our base in Loire Valley purely because of the hotel itself. Classified as four stars, this hotel is inside a renovated French manoir and has been operating as such for the past eight years. The hotel is renowned for having impeccable hospitality and a more homely feel than you will find in more populated areas in Loire Valley, so it was perfect for our short stay in the French countryside.

Our room was located on the second floor (up two flights of stairs), so if you have mobility difficulty I would recommend requesting a room on the ground floor as in typical French fashion, there are no elevators!

The hotel has its own restaurant though as we wanted to head out and about to explore, we decided to elsewhere in town, as there are many great restaurants around the region.

Amboise_France Amboise_France Amboise_France

The town: Amboise, France

The manoir is located in Amboise, a small town in the Loire Valley. The main attraction of the town is to visit Chateau d’Amboise, a fortress that overlooks the small town and out in to the canola fields in the distance.

A great way to see the countryside and other towns is to rent a bike at one of the local bike stores (there are a handful in town – you can’t miss them!) Otherwise a car is really necessary to see all the Loire Valley has to offer – which, as you will see, is quite a lot!

Further Reading: A Guide to the Loire Valley

Amboise_France Amboise_France Amboise_France Amboise_France Amboise_France Amboise_France Amboise_France Amboise_France

With thanks to Manoir les Minimes for welcoming us to the property & Loire Valley!

Brooke Saward

Brooke founded World of Wanderlust as a place to share inspiration from her travels and to inspire others to see our world. She now divides her time between adventures abroad and adventures in the kitchen!

A Quick Guide to Strasbourg

Share on Facebook

Share on Twitter

Share on Google+

Share on LinkedIn

+

On a mission to find the prettiest and most charming towns in France, it was inevitable that our itinerary would soon lead to Strasbourg. Located close to the border between France and Germany in the Alsace region, Strasbourg is a unique bled between the two influences in a range of ways, but most noticeably in architectural and culinary influences. If you’re visiting Strasbourg for the first time, here is everything you need to know to make the most of your stay (or if you’ve just come here for inspiration, prepare to be inspired!)

Quick_Guide_to_Strasbourg_France

Checking In: Sofitel Strasbourg

For our stay in Strasbourg we were nearing the end of our Spring European journey, so we decided to check in to the centrally located Sofitel Strasbourg for a couple of nights to explore the small city and surrounds in the Alsace region of France.

The hotel had a great location just a two minute stroll from the major shopping area and a maximum of five minutes walking to reach the Strasbourg Cathedral and La Petite, the most picturesque part of town. I’d recommend this hotel if you don’t mind a chain hotel and are looking for something central and good value for money, but it was the buffet breakfast that really sold it for me! Their scrambled eggs on toast are to die for.

Quick Guide to Strasbourg France | World of Wanderlust

What to see in Strasbourg

The city itself is incredibly picturesque, but once you have wandered around for a few hours to take it all in you will still find plenty to do, including:

Cathedral Notre Dame de Strasbourg

This cathedral is impressively large and as such, you really can’t miss it. Located in the centre of town, the 15th-century cathedral is impressive both inside and out, so be sure to stop by on your visit to Strasbourg.

La petite France

If you’ve seen the picturesque photos of Strasbourg and that is what has inspired you to come here, then you’ll find this picture-perfect part of town in La petite France, the most charming little district to wander around any day of the week.

Barrage Vauban

Completely free and with a great view of the town, barrage vauban is an iconic bridge built in the 17th-century.

Take a Boat Ride

Another great way to see Strasbourg as a visitor is to jump on board the boats that cruise around the river and offer impressive views of the iconic Strasbourg architecture.

Rent a Bicycle

If you’re more of an active person and would prefer to clock up some kilometres on a bicycle, the city offers a bike rental service for 20 euros per month. You likely won’t need it that long but the price is impressive nonetheless!

mille_feuille

Where & What to Eat in Strasbourg 

With the unique blend of France meeting the German border not only comes stunning architecture, but also an incredible mixed cuisine between the two countries.

You’ll see plenty of German influence such as bratwurst, pretzels, and pleeeeeenty of breads.

French pastries are an absolute highlight of Strasbourg too, though you really need to know where to go to get the best in town. Naegel is by far the best patisserie in town and for macaron lovers, you won’t find a better macaron in town than those on offer at Elisabeth Biscarrat.

Quick_Guide_to_Strasbourg_France

Getting There & Away

Getting to Strasbourg is easy from both within France and further afield in nearby Germany and Switzerland.

From Paris you can reach Strasbourg in 2.5 hours on the TGV high speed train. Deutsche Bahn also service the town with more connections from Germany.

Strasbourg International Airport is the cities’ major airport, however flights are scarce for international visitors. Alternatively Basel is the nearest airport after that, which offers great connections throughout Europe.

As Strasbourg is the capital of the Alsace region it is a must visit, however there are many great towns to visit beyond this city. Colmar and Egusheim are two of the most talked about towns in all of France and being that they are so close, make sure you don’t miss them!

Quick_Guide_to_Strasbourg_France Quick_Guide_to_Strasbourg_France Quick Guide to Strasbourg France | World of Wanderlust Quick Guide to Strasbourg France | World of Wanderlust Quick Guide to Strasbourg France | World of Wanderlust Quick Guide to Strasbourg France | World of Wanderlust Quick_Guide_to_Strasbourg_France

With thanks to Sofitel Strasbourg for welcoming us to the hotel to experience Strasbourg!

Brooke Saward

Brooke founded World of Wanderlust as a place to share inspiration from her travels and to inspire others to see our world. She now divides her time between adventures abroad and adventures in the kitchen!

Lunch in Paris

Share on Facebook

Share on Twitter

Share on Google+

Share on LinkedIn

+

For this month’s book club I gladly picked another book set in my favourite city on earth: Paris. I was back in Paris last month in April so I couldn’t help but to make another selection set in the French capital, however I promise you the June selection will offer some variation (though my love affair with Paris is unrelenting and will never end).

Lunch in Paris

Lunch in Paris Book Review

I loved this book for many reasons (and I promise those reasons extend beyond the book being set in Paris and involving food… though I will admit they are the two key factors).

Earlier in the year I introduced WOW Book Clubbers to Paris Letters, a story that I immediately resonated with because a) I love Paris as much as the author and b) I too quit my job to travel and see where it took me. That was three years ago and today I’m still globe trotting on a daily basis.

Lunch in Paris draws many similarities as well as a handful of differences, but it would serve no real purpose to compare the two because, well, I love both books. Personally I favour Paris Letters, perhaps because I find the writer more of a romantic like me and perhaps because she spends more time writing about all of Paris’ intricacies, not just centring the book around food.

But preferences aside, I really enjoyed Lunch in Paris for a lighthearted plane read. I liked it enough to be currently reading the follow up by Elizabeth Beard, titled “Picnic in Provence”.

Although I haven’t yet tried any of the recipes from the book, I am intrigued by a few of them. Being a vegetarian I can’t say I’ll be trying all of them as many are meat based, however I’ll definitely be giving a couple of the desserts a go!

So, over to you!

Questions for Discussion:

  1. I’ll cut straight to it – did you enjoy this book? I’m interested to know so that you can help shape future WOW Book Club selections!
  2. Did you relate better to the author of Lunch in Paris or Paris Letters? Why?

  3. Would you drop everything and move to a new city for a romance?

  4. Do books set in Paris further your romance with the city like they do for me!?

Lunch in Paris

Read more: How to Order Lunch at a Paris Cafe

Paris Walking Guide

Paris by Neighbourhood: A Complete Guide

Brooke Saward

Brooke founded World of Wanderlust as a place to share inspiration from her travels and to inspire others to see our world. She now divides her time between adventures abroad and adventures in the kitchen!

Checking In: Le Sirenuse Positano

Share on Facebook

Share on Twitter

Share on Google+

Share on LinkedIn

+

As one of the leading hotels of the Amalfi region and a favourite of even the most discerning travellers, Le Sirenuse in Positano is truly a destination in itself. Whether you plan to check in, dine in the Michelin star restaurant, or pass by the hotel to appreciate the impeccable views, here is what you can expect of this true delight in the Amalfi’s most loved coastal town; Positano.

Le Sirenuse Positano Le Sirenuse Positano

Le Sirenuse Positano

Le Sirenuse first opened its doors in 1951, when four Neopolitan siblings refurbished their families’ summer vacation home in Positano and brought their vision to life for a boutique luxury hotel on Amalfi’s coastline. Initially the hotel opened with 8 rooms in a building which can still be seen as part of the hotel to this day, however you can now add to that an additional 50 rooms, a sizeable growth but one that has been contained to retain the family-run feeling this small luxury hotel offers to keep guests returning year after year.

Le Sirenuse Positano Le Sirenuse Positano | World of Wanderlust Le Sirenuse Positano

The Room: Deluxe Superior Sea View Room

For our stay we checked in to the a deluxe superior sea view room, which really is just a fancy name for a beautifully white and bright interior, ample space, and an unrivalled view of the town and sea. Absolutely no attention to detail is overlooked, with a lush corner plant, colourful mosaic tiles, art work throughout the room and a beautiful terrace lined with flowers and overlooking the sea.

Rooms include the hotel’s very own line of luxury bath amenities, with a selection of colognes and perfumes to add a personalised touch. There is a small television in the room if you should ever tire of the view (believe me when I say that will most certainly not happen – morning, noon or night! Though if you should be looking for a night in, the hotel offer an extensive list of DVDs to borrow at your leisure.

Guide to Positano | World of Wanderlust Le Sirenuse Positano

Around the Hotel

Le Sirenuse is renowned for its incredible view and I was delighted to learn on arrival that not only do you enjoy such views from the comfort of your room, but also in a range of public terraces available to guests throughout each floor of the hotel. Moreover, the hotel has almost direct access to the beach with a private elevator that leads guests a mere 150 steps away from the beach itself!

During the summer season the hotel opens its pool for guest use, with an impressive terrace restaurant open throughout the day for breakfast, lunch and later in the evenings as it switches to its popular Michelin menu.

The level of service on offer at this particular hotel is distinguished by the fact that it has remained in the same family for more than half a century, with hotel guests and outside guests who are visiting the hotel restaurant always made to feel like an invited guest to a private party.

In terms of arriving at the hotel, Positano is located 60km from Naples train station, with the easiest mode of transport being a private driver, particularly if you are not confident navigating the Amalfi Coast roads in a small car (the roads are narrow and feature more than their fair share of hairpin turns). Alternatively you can catch a ferry to Capri and change to a ferry to Positano, or, as we did, catch the train to Sorrento for a few nights and then venture onwards by either ferry or public SITA bus to Positano. The bus station (Sponda, the second stop in Positano if travelling from Sorrento) is a short 200 metre walk from the hotel.

Le Sirenuse Positano | World of Wanderlust

World of Wanderlust visited Positano as a guest of Le Sirenuse & Leading Hotels of the World. All opinions and oodles of photos remain my own!

Brooke Saward

Brooke founded World of Wanderlust as a place to share inspiration from her travels and to inspire others to see our world. She now divides her time between adventures abroad and adventures in the kitchen!

A Complete Guide to Transport in Europe

Share on Facebook

Share on Twitter

Share on Google+

Share on LinkedIn

+

A trip to Europe almost never consists of staying within one countries’ borders. Europe is a fascinating region with so much to offer at every turn, so be sure to do your research and pick your destinations carefully as there is so much to see in Europe no matter how long you intend your visit to be! Below you will find a full guide to transport in Europe, including which countries are best to travel on train routes, which destinations are better reached by car or public bus, and which destinations require flights. Happy travels!

hogwarts express train

Train Travel in Europe

For sure the most popular way to travel through Europe and in my opinion the most enjoyable, train travel is a great way to see the countryside of Europe without the hassle of navigating for yourself.

However not all of Europe is well connected by trains or at least not all of Europe offers the most reliable services.

In Western Europe, you can travel to nearly every single destination (even small towns) by train. This makes it very feasible to purchase a train pass, such as a Eurail global pass if travelling across a number of countries at a fast pace or regional passes like the Benelux pass to travel between Belgium, Holland & Luxembourg.

In central Europe, the trains are still very reliable, plentiful, clean and efficient. Cities like Prague, Vienna, Bratizlava & Budapest are extremely well connected with plenty of departures each day, however if you would like to visit smaller towns like Hallstatt in Austria you will need to be prepared for quite a few train changes! Alternatively, consider one of the below modes of transport for travel days like these.

In Eastern Europe train travel becomes a little more difficult. One of my biggest mistakes on my first trip to Eastern Europe was thinking that it would be as well connected as the West, even going so far as to pin point two cities on the map and assume there would be a train between the two. Time wasn’t an issue so I was prepared to take an overnight train, however no such train existed on many of the routes I had planned (rookie error, yes!) Be sure to do your research in advance and be prepared for changes in Eastern Europe – delays, cancellations and poor weather conditions are much more common generally speaking.

brooke flying

Air Travel in Europe

Although my least favourite way to get around Europe (you don’t see nearly as much from a plane window as you do on the train), air travel is still often necessary in Europe and sometimes a better option. For example if you intend to visit Ireland, better to book a cheap flight with Aer Lingus from one of their connecting cities in Europe than to get stuck paying for a premium airline on the same route.

If you’re looking to save money on airfares that can’t be avoided, below is a comprehensive list of Europe’s budget airlines:

Airline Hub(s)
Aer Lingus Dublin, Shannon, Cork, Belfast
airBaltic Riga (Latvia)
airberlin Multiple German cities
Air One Milan, Venice, Pisa
Blue Air Bucharest, Bacău (Romania)
Brussels Airlines Brussels
CityJet London City Airport
Condor Multiple German cities
Darwin Airline Geneva, Lugano
easyJet London, Milan, Berlin, Paris, Liverpool, Geneva, Basel, Nice, Toulouse, Edinburgh, Madrid, and more
Estonian Air Tallinn
Flybe Manchester, Newquay, Exeter, Southampton, London (southern England); Jersey, Guernsey (Channel Islands)
Germanwings Multiple German cities
Helvetic Airways Zürich, Bern
Icelandair Reykjavik
Jet2 Multiple British cities
Jetairfly Brussels, Liège, Ostend (Belgium)
Meridiana Olbia, Cagliari (Sardinia); Rome and other Italian cities
Monarch Airlines Multiple British cities
Niki Vienna, Salzburg
Norwegian Oslo, Bergen, Copenhagen, Stockholm, Alicante, and London
Pegasus Airlines Istanbul, Antalya (Turkey)
Ryanair London, Dublin, and several other cities
SmartWings Prague, Ostrava (Czech Republic)
Thomsonfly Connects various British cities to Mediterranean resorts
Transavia Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Eindhoven
TUIfly Multiple German cities
Vueling Multiple Spanish cities, Amsterdam, Florence, Rome
Widerøe Oslo
Wizz Air Budapest and many other Eastern European cities
XL Airways Paris

Read more: Hacks to save money on travel in Europe // The cheapest cities in Europe to fly in to

bus

Bus Travel in Europe

After trains and planes, the next most popular mode of transport in Europe is buses. Although I much prefer trains (they get you there faster and are a smoother ride), sometimes it is nice to take it slow, much cheaper, and even sometimes a necessity.

If you’re on a budget you really can’t beat bus travel. For a few euros you’ll find yourself hopping from A to B and the further East you travel, the further your pennies will take you.

When I was travelling in Romania, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Croatia and across borders in central Europe, more often than not it was a necessity to travel by bus. Many countries in the East of Europe do not have extensive train services as is so common in the West, so more often than not you will find yourself looking out a bus window on journeys that can last up to 10 hours or even more!

To see what buses are available for your routes, I would highly recommend checking out the Eurolines website as it is one of the easier to use websites for searching bus travel in Europe.

Road_Trip_Wales

Hire Car Travel in Europe

One of the more expensive options that does have an added benefit of providing more freedom and flexibility is to hire a car in Europe. The cost of car hire in Europe varies widely, depending on the country you are visiting and your age will also play a factor.

When I hired a car in Ireland I was almost denied due to my age (car insurance in Ireland comes with a high excess and is incredibly expensive), though age didn’t play a factor at all when hiring a car in Portugal, so be sure to do your research in advance to determine whether or not you will be able to rely on a car rental.

In terms of expense, car hire in France is one of the most expensive in Europe, however just across the (virtually non-existent) border in Germany car hire is much more reasonable and of course comes with the added benefit of driving on the Autobahn!

Remember it is also possible to start your car hire in Germany at a lower fee and drive it through France, Italy and other surrounding countries, and bring it back to Germany without paying hefty fees for a French car rental. Also note that some companies allow you to drive point-to-point, leaving your car in a different city or even a different country after your journey.

Hallstatt

Private Drivers in Europe

Here’s something you probably haven’t considered before and bear with me a second, I promise it is not as elaborate as it sounds!

Private drivers in Europe are a great way to travel between two destinations that aren’t linked by train or have shuttle services that don’t run in the winter. I first tried a private car service when travelling from Cesky Krumlov (Czech Republic) to Salzburg (Austria – pictured above) in the winter of 2012, when my shuttle bus service was cancelled last minute and I had booked (and paid) for a hotel in Salzburg the following evening.

As it turned out I was able to stop over on the way to a small town in Austria that had long been on my bucket list (Hallstatt) at no extra cost, even though it was a little out of the way.

Four years later a company has started up in Europe to cater to this increasingly popular demand of travellers trying to get from one destination to the next with stops in between, without the hassle of lugging themselves and their luggage off and back on to trains all day.

DayTrip is affordable and comfortable, so we decided to use the service between Milan, Annecy and our countryside chateau in France as we really wanted to stop and see Annecy, though train connections would not have allowed enough time to stop along the way in just one day. The car journey took around 6 hours but we were able to stop at any point to take photos, grab a bite to eat, or just to stretch our legs. The driver picked us up from our hotel in Milan and dropped us off at our doorstep in France. Talk about service!

my first cruise

Cruises & Ferries

And finally you have sea travel by way of cruises (very popular in the Mediterranean throughout the year) and ferries (a great way to island hop in Greece, Italy and Spain).

Cruises are available throughout the Mediterranean, Northern Europe, and even throughout Europe’s river network. River cruises with AmaWaterways have been incredibly popular of late, allowing travellers the ease of falling asleep in one destination and waking up in another!

While cruises have been typically considered to be for older people, this is slightly changing as more and more young people see the benefit of a cruise: you check in once, you don’t have to change hotel rooms, you sleep and you arrive in a new city to explore. No time wasted travelling through the day, no hassle of unpacking and repacking, and if you snag a deal they are incredibly cheap!

Ferries in the Mediterranean are incredibly popular and necessary, unless you are a gazillionaire and can afford a private jet (in which case, I’d still take the ferry!)

Happy & Safe Travels in Europe!

This post contains sponsored material.

Checking In: Château de Bagnols

Share on Facebook

Share on Twitter

Share on Google+

Share on LinkedIn

+

A trip to France wouldn’t be complete without at least a little time in the French countryside, so on my recent visit to Europe in the Spring I did just that: checked myself and my boyfriend in to a French countryside escape.

We were travelling from Italy onwards to France, so wanted to stay somewhere between the two cities of Milan and Paris. I had read so much online about Annecy being one of the prettiest towns in France, so began to look in to accommodation there and within the region.

As it turned out we stumbled across a delightful Château a further two hour drive from Annecy, but still on the way to Paris and only a 45 minute drive from Lyon, where we could onwards catch the high speed train to Paris.

Chateau-de-bagnols

A French Château

With suitcases in tow, we checked ourselves in to Château de Bagnols in the small town of Bagnols, a 45 minute drive from Lyon and far enough away from anything to feel a world away from reality. The Château has been beautifully restored to retain all of its former glory, with rooms so authentic that you would be forgiven for believing you have stepped on the set of a Game of Thrones episode.

The gardens were magnificent and a true delight of the hotel, beautifully manicured in symmetry and with plenty of cherry blossoms in full bloom. The hedges were typical of a French Château and small enough in size to wander around for an afternoon stroll, followed by a glass of bubbles on one of the outdoor tables overlooking the gardens and countryside in the background.

Visit Château de Bagnols for current room rates.

Chateau de Bagnols France | World of Wanderlust Chateau de Bagnols France | World of Wanderlust Chateau de Bagnols France | World of Wanderlust

The French Countryside Experience

The village of Bagnols itself is so small that we were only able to find one business, a small pizzeria that stopped serving at 7:00pm in the evening and a church that looked as if it could fit only a few people inside. The village locals we encountered consisted of only one elderly couple, who enthusiastically greeted us in French as we strolled through the handful of houses near to the hotel.

If you’re looking for a romantic getaway for two in the French countryside, then this is about as authentic as you will get. Having previously searched for a similar experience a couple of years ago when visiting Beaune, not too far from Bagnols, I realised that I had picked a much bigger town that anticipated. Thus if you’re looking to “go off the grid” for a few days, this is where to do so!

What I Ate in Paris | World of Wanderlust

French Cuisine

It simply wouldn’t be a trip to France without indulging a little.. (okay, a lot!)

During our stay we planned to eat locally, though with the only shop in town closing at 7:00pm precisely, we wound up eating at the hotel restaurant that evening. The meal was pricey but delicious and a great re-introduction to French cuisine.

Breakfast the following morning consisted of pastries, pastries and more pastries, which gave us our first chance to delight in the coffee + croissants ritual the French so love and do so well!

Chateau de Bagnols is part of the Small Luxury Hotels collection. With thanks to SLH & Chateau de Bagnols for welcoming World of Wanderlust to experience the hotel.

Brooke Saward

Brooke founded World of Wanderlust as a place to share inspiration from her travels and to inspire others to see our world. She now divides her time between adventures abroad and adventures in the kitchen!

Travel Shoes: 10 Stylish Sandals for Summer!

Share on Facebook

Share on Twitter

Share on Google+

Share on LinkedIn

+

Summer in Europe is about to kick off (and the rest of the Northern hemisphere – I just imagine myself wearing all 10 of these sandals on a beach in Greece or wandering through Montmartre in Paris). To help you prepare for your Eurotrip, American adventure, escape to a tropical island… and so on, we’ve got a selection of the most stylish sandals this summer! Best yet, they’re affordable and most are under $100.

Guide_To_Capri

My sandals for the summer are by Steve Madden. I’ve got them on order in black, too!

A Quick Guide to the Gold Coast

Share on Facebook

Share on Twitter

Share on Google+

Share on LinkedIn

+

G’day from sunny Australia!

Sorry, I just couldn’t pass up the opportunity to throw a friendly Aussie welcome in there! I recently returned home after a month of travels in Europe and have headed immediately to the sunshine: the Gold Coast of Australia. This is an area I have long loved to holiday, having visited a handful of times when I was younger as it was my parent’s holiday destination of choice and continues to be a top choice for families to this day.

But because so much has changed and my memory is forever failing me, I jumped at the opportunity to come back up the coast this month and share my holiday with readers to inspire their own visit to the Gold Coast. So without any further rambling, here is my overall guide to help you plan and book a trip to one of my favourite holiday spots in Australia!

Guide to the Gold Coast

Introducing The Gold Coast

The Gold Coast is a city located in the state of Queensland and one of the most popular coastal holiday spots in all of Australia. The city is so popular for its oodles of beaches that stretch along the coastline, all the way down to the border with New South Wales.

It has long been a popular choice for families visiting Australia as the city features a handful of theme parks, each with their own personality and offerings (more on that later). It is also a popular choice for students and young people who seek the coastal lifestyle with great year-round weather and a lively nightlife + cultural scene.

Wet n Wild Gold Coast Things to See & Do

Being that tourism is the main industry on the Gold Coast and has been thriving for decades, there are oodles of fun things to see and do.

Theme Parks – My all time favourite theme park is a Wet n Wild, a water adventure park full of slippery slides, a wave pool and endless ice cream options to cool down in the summer. Other theme parks include Movie World, Sea World, and Dream World – or, you can see a full list here. If you have time, they’re all worth a visit!

Beaches – As is to be expected of a coastal city, the Gold Coast is full of great beaches to enjoy at leisure. My favourites are Broadbeach, Miami, Nobby’s and Kirra beaches.

Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary – Although I haven’t been since I was a kid, I still remember the first time I saw koalas, kangaroos and wombats up close.

Q1 View – You won’t find a view more impressive than that on offer on top of the Q1 building. Admission is fairly expensive at $25 but I promise you it is well worth it!

Where to eat on the Gold Coast Australia

Where to Eat & Indulge

As always, sharing with you my favourite eateries brings me great pleasure (except for when I’m hungry, in which case it just makes me hungrier).

Commune Cafe – My favourite cafe in the Gold Coast is located in Burleigh Heads and serves a mean acai bowl. I also love their smoothies (banana is a winner) and breakfasts. The “my fav” breakfast is my go-to.

Cardamom Pod – Hands down my favourite vegetarian eatery on the Gold Coast at present. Its also inexpensive and centrally located at Broadbeach.

Elk Espresso – Serving a mean thick shake menu, you really can’t miss out on a visit to Elk! I loved their entire menu. They’re also located at Broadbeach with parking available right out front.

The Bazaar Buffet – If you can arrive hungry and make the most of it, I promise you that you won’t find a better buffet in town.

Gelato Messina – I was so happy to learn that the Gold Coast has their very own Messina (believe by most to be the best gelateria in all of Australia). You’ll find them in Coolangatta.

Gold Coast Australia Where to Eat Vegetarian & Vegan in Gold Coast Australia Neighbourhoods in the Gold Coast

With thanks to Visit Gold Coast for arranging my visit and putting together such a fantastic itinerary for me to enjoy the Gold Coast!

Brooke Saward

Brooke founded World of Wanderlust as a place to share inspiration from her travels and to inspire others to see our world. She now divides her time between adventures abroad and adventures in the kitchen!

A Quick Guide to Capri

Share on Facebook

Share on Twitter

Share on Google+

Share on LinkedIn

+

Located just five kilometres from the coast of Naples is the popular resort island of Capri, a summer escape for locals and international visitors alike, all holidaying in search of their very own La Dolce Vita or “The Sweet Life”. As a sweet escape from reality, Capri has much to offer visitors throughout the warmer months, so read on for a complete guide to Capri!

A Quick Guide to Capri | World of Wanderlust

Getting There

Arriving in Capri is almost always by ferry or private charter, from nearby Naples (40 minutes by ferry), Sorrento (20 minutes by ferry) or Positano (50 minutes by ferry). You will then arrive at Marina Grande, the ferry terminal and first port of entry to the island. Here you will be bombarded with the stream of crowds and locals waiting to sell you something – anything – or provide transport for the day. It is better to arrive prepared and with a plan so as to ensure not being ripped off and to make the most of your time on the island.

A Quick Guide to Capri | World of Wanderlust A Guide to Capri | World of Wanderlust

How to Get Around

There are a few ways to get around the island but before naming these, it should be noted that Capri is a rather large island to get around, although the majority of tourists manage to make their way around on foot or with the funicular to reach Capri Town, spending the majority of their time there in the many hotels or meandering the streets on a day visit. Should you wish to see more of Capri beyond this, your two best options are:

Hire a Vespa

For a few hours you can hire a vespa at a reasonable 40 euros, including time, gas, and insurance. This allows you to see the island at your own leisure with this amount of time allowing you to see the highlights, though not giving you much time in each. Should you prefer to see and do all the activities on offer (such as the Blue Grotto boat trip), then you can always hire the vespa for an hour or two longer by paying an extension fee upon return. We found this the best way to get around and see the island at our own pace, stopping in to different parts of the island with a hand-drawn map offered to us by the vespa rental cashier.

Taxis 

As soon as you arrive in Capri you will notice an endless stream of taxis (many with the top down!!!) ready to take you wherever you wish to go on the island. You can pay them to take you directly to Capri town or hire them for a few hours to drive you from point to point around the island, giving you some amazing views and the experience of driving cliffside up the peaks of the island!

On Foot

Another option is to walk from the Marina to Capri town on foot, in around 25 minutes uphill and less time as you come back down.

Public Buses

There are also public buses running throughout the island which provides a cheaper option, though limits your freedom to experience the island on your own time.

A Guide to Capri | World of Wanderlust A Quick Guide to Capri | World of Wanderlust A Quick Guide to Capri | World of Wanderlust Guide to Capri

What to See: Around Capri

Although quite small, Capri suddenly becomes a lot bigger as you aim to whizz around the island and see everything in a day. To truly enjoy the island I would recommend staying a few nights, allowing time to kick back and enjoy the sunrise and sunset, particularly as the day crowds leave at around 5:00pm and you have the island to yourself.

Capri Town

Your first point of call should be Capri Town, especially if you’re looking for the quintessential Capri atmosphere – with gorgeous roof terraces, fresh flavours on your plate, and a healthy dose of gelato to combat the summer sun.

AnaCapri

If you plan on seeing more of the island beyond popular Capri (town), head on over to AnaCapri for a more local vibe and make your way down to the southern coastline for impressive views of the cliff edges.

Blue Grotto

Another popular spot for day visitors is to see the Blue Grotto caves. As this is so popular I would suggest arriving early to beat the crowds or making your way over by land, without the additional boat tour.

A Quick Guide to Capri | World of Wanderlust A Quick Guide to Capri | World of Wanderlust A Quick Guide to Capri | World of Wanderlust A Quick Guide to Capri | World of Wanderlust

Capri Town

Not only the name of the island, Capri is also the name of one of the island’s two towns. This is undeniably the most popular spot for visitors, particularly day visitors arriving from Naples, Sorrento or Positano. Many of the best restaurants, bars and views are found here, so be sure to check out:

Buonocore Gelateria

There really is no better gelateria in town, if you manage to find it! We found ourselves wandering back and forth until a local pointed us in the right direction and even then we had trouble locating it amongst the busy crowds! I opted for dark chocolate and hazelnut flavours – both delicious with an extremely creamy texture – some of the best gelato from our trip to Italy!

La Cappanina

Located a mere 100 metres from Piazzetta di Capri is this incredibly popular, swanky restaurant with more than 200 Italian wines on offer.

A Guide to Capri | World of Wanderlust A Guide to Capri | World of Wanderlust A Quick Guide to Capri | World of Wanderlust A Quick Guide to Capri | World of Wanderlust Guide_To_Capri

Brooke Saward

Brooke founded World of Wanderlust as a place to share inspiration from her travels and to inspire others to see our world. She now divides her time between adventures abroad and adventures in the kitchen!

A Weekend in Sorrento

Share on Facebook

Share on Twitter

Share on Google+

Share on LinkedIn

+

Visiting the Amalfi Coast has long been on my bucket list but in the lead up to my visit I had absolutely no idea just how magical my time here would be. The area is full of beautiful towns, villages and islands to visit, with Sorrento being the biggest of these beyond Naples, which is considered to be the gateway to the Amalfi. However Sorrento is not a sleepy resort town that only comes to life in the summer, as many locals live here and the town is much more sizeable in comparison to its neighbours. Thus we chose to visit in Spring before the summer season crowds arrived to bring you this guide: How to spend a weekend in Sorrento!

Guide-to-Sorrento How to spend a Weekend in Sorrento | World of Wanderlust

Check In: Grand Hotel Excelsior Vittoria

When only the best will do, check yourself in to the Grand Hotel Excelsior Vittoria, one of the finest hotels on the Amalfi Coast and my preferred choice in Sorrento. From the minute you arrive you can feel the difference of a family run hotel that has stayed within the same family for centuries, since 1834.

The hotel is centrally located with an entrance at Piazza Tasso and an exit via a private lift directly to the port, making it effortless to catch a ferry to nearby destination such as Positano or Capri. I would highly recommend paying the extra for a seaview room as this hotel enjoys unobstructed views of the port and ocean – you can even see Naples and Ischia in the distance!

Guide to Sorrento | World of Wanderlust

Piazza Tasso

As the centre of Sorrento you really can’t miss the chance to wander through and people watch in Piazza Tasso. This square is crazy at the best of times – with locals, visitors and traffic fighting for the right of way in every direction you turn. There are a few restaurants and cafes in this area that provide a great pit stop to break up your day, sit back and people watch as the crowds pass you by.

How to spend a weekend in Sorrento

Marina Grande

Although Piazza Tasso is the centre of Sorrento, the Marina Grande might be considered just as central as this is where you will board and disembark ferries around the Amalfi Coast. Marina Grande connects you with Naples, Capri, Ischia, Positano and Amalfi. For a full timetable, see here.

A Quick Guide to Capri | World of Wanderlust

Day Trip: Capri

Undeniably the most popular day trip to make from Sorrento is to catch the short, 20 minute ferry ride from Marina Grande to nearby Capri – Amalfi’s most renowned holiday destination.

Prices on Capri are noticeable more expensive, both for accommodation and general expenses like a coffee, gelato, or sit down lunch. This is of course to be expected for an island location, however give you all the more reason to visit for a day from neighbouring Sorrento rather than needing to stay overnight here.

A great way to get around the island is by hiring a scooter and hitting the open road, or you can also walk to Capri Town from the ferry terminal or if mobility is an issue there are taxis (with the top down no less!) always available.

How to Spend a Weekend in Sorrento | World of Wanderlust
Weekend in Sorrento | World of Wanderlust

Eat: Street Food

The Italians are no stranger to eating on the go and to my delight, Sorrento was full of great street food to snack on all day whilst wandering the streets. My favourite finds were:

Primavera Gelateria 

My absolute favourite gelateria in town was Primavera – home to an endless supply of delicious flavours that made me feel as if I was in some sort of gelato heaven (really – it was that good!) Flavour highlights included Snickers, Kinder Bueno, Salted Butter Caramel and Mars.

Queen’s Chips 

I know, I know… not very cultural but believe me when I say this street food stopover was entirely worth my while and will be worth yours, too. These were hands down the best frites I have tried in my lifetime. Cooked fresh and topped with ketchup + mayonnaise.

Crêpes 

All over town you will notice a stream of crêpe stands and if you’re a fan of the crunchy delights elsewhere in Europe, you’ll be delighted to learn they are just as delicious here! I wouldn’t say any particular store was a standout as they seem to be pretty standardised and (to my delight) were heavy on the fillings. Delicious!

Weekend in Sorrento | World of Wanderlust

Eat: Restaurants

My boyfriend summer it up when he turned to me in the street one day and said “Brooke, we’re in Italy, nothing is going to taste bad.” He was right. This particular region of Italy is bursting with delicious flavours, focusing heavily on rich tomato sauces, lemon flavoured desserts and an abundance of fresh fruit and vegetables. My favourite dish from this region is aubergine casserole – baked aubergines in a rich, creamy, tomato and cheese sauce, served with freshly grated parmesan. If you’re looking for great recommendations from locals, try these:

L’Antica Trattoria

With a beautiful outdoor ambiance in the warmer months and fantastic, hearty, authentic cuisine, you really can’t go wrong by booking yourself a table at L’Antica Trattoria. This is one of the most popular restaurants in town so be sure to book a table in advance.

Terrazza Marziale 

If fancy plating and small portions are your thing, then head on over to Terrazza Marziale for a contemporary take on classic Italian dishes in a gorgeous, romantic setting. Bookings recommended.

How to Spend a Weekend in Sorrento | World of Wanderlust

Brooke Saward

Brooke founded World of Wanderlust as a place to share inspiration from her travels and to inspire others to see our world. She now divides her time between adventures abroad and adventures in the kitchen!