A Quick Guide to Milan

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Milan for an outsider can be seen as an obscurity in Italy. The city has reinvented itself over the decades since it was partly destroyed by the Second World War bomb raids and thus while it might appear “newer” to the untrained eye, Milan still has an impressive history that makes it feel so cultural and alive in the present day. The city is as charming and impressive as you make it, so to make the most of your trip here is a quick guide to Milan!

Armani Hotel Milan Armani Hotel Milan

Checking In: Armani Hotel Milano

One thing is for sure in Milan: everything is fashionable. Even the hotels. Fashion houses have been opening their own hotels in Milan for years now and Armani Hotel Milano is one of the most recognisable of these. The building appears simple and uncomplicated from the outside, but once inside your room it is a complete change of scene. Sure, the interior decor is minimalist, chic and characteristically dark (James Bond must have surely been an inspiration), but the simplicity of the room stops there. Each room is equipped with its own iPad controller, which essentially controls your entire room from the front door unlocking to the curtains closing… even ordering popcorn and ice cream to eat with your movie, all with the touch of a button!

The hotel is fairly centrally located at the end of popular high end shopping street Via Monte Napoleone (across the street at the T junction on Via Alessandro Manzoni) and is just a short 5-10 minute walk away from the Milano Duomo and many more shopping streets.

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What to See in Milano

If its your first time in Milano you can’t miss the top spots listed below, but be sure to allow time to wander, eat, shop and take in the atmosphere as that is what a visit to Milano is all about!

Milan Cathedral

No visit to Milan would be complete without seeing the Milan Cathedral in all of its gothic architectural glory. You can view it from the Piazza or pay a fee to enter. You can even walk around the top if you can withstand the queues!

Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II

Located inside an ornate 19th Century arcade are a range of high end boutiques and fancy cafes, inside the location known as none other than Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II. The interior is incredibly speccy, but be sure to look both up and down to get a full appreciation of the intricacies.

Teatro alla Scala

Even if you don’t like the opera, a visit to Teatro alla Scala is a great night out to get a feel for traditional entertainment & culture. This is one of Europe’s most impressive opera houses inside so be sure to take a good look around before and afterwards!

Santa Maria delle Grazie

A UNESCO World Heritage listed site, Santa Maria delle Grazie is where you can come to see Leonardo da Vinci’s famous The Last Supper mural on display.

  Milano for one day | World of Wanderlust Guide-to-Milan

What to Eat: Pastries & Pasta

When in Italy, you eat. And you eat a lot. Milan is renowned for its’ Risotto alla Milanese: risotto, saffron, grated cheese, butter, white wine and chicken stock. In town you will also find some great patisseries to grab a quick bite & espresso on the run.

If you’re a fan of pastries I would highly recommend a visit to Paticceria Marchesi, one of the best patisseries in town.

If you’re after a healthier option, head over to Mantra raw vegan where you can take a day off the heavy pasta dishes and enjoy fresh, healthy cuisine.

Entree is a great option if you want authentic Italian cuisine without the hefty price tag.

Ristorante Cracco is a more expensive option but worth the extra euros, believe me!

A Guide to Capri | World of Wanderlust

Elsewhere in Italy:

Venice

Verona

Lake Como

Amalfi Coast

Cinque Terre

Rome

Florence

Milan_Italy_Guide

We flew to Europe with Emirates via Dubai. Emirates flies daily to Milan as well as a range of other major European cities. Thanks to Armani Hotel for welcoming World of Wanderlust as a guest of 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!

A Quick Guide to Lake Como

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Located in the Northern lakes district of Italy is the crowning jewel of the region: Lago di Como (Italian) or simply, Lake Como. For centuries this lake has attracted an elite crowd of villa owners, from famous celebrities through to successful businessmen and women from around the globe. However you needn’t have a handful of zeros displaying on your bank account statement to visit, as Lake Como is home to an impressive array of accommodation offerings: from luxurious villa resorts through to humble apartment rentals, all allowing visitors to experience the magic of Lake Como, if only for a few nights.

Lake_Como_Italy Guide to Lake Como | World of Wanderlust

A Quick Guide to Lake Como

Located just below the Southern border of Switzerland, Lake Como is almost as North as one can go in Italy: the land of pizza, pasta, gelato and welcoming locals. Although I have visited Italy a handful of times, I have never quite made it to Lake Como but the destination has been on my radar for some time. And now that I’ve been? I know what I was missing out on!

The lake is impressive in size, though this does mean you’ll need more than a few nights to see it all. However if time is not on your side you can entirely manage to have the full experience over a 3-4 night stay, allowing enough time to see the highlights and leave you wanting more (which just means a return trip in the future!)

As we only had a few nights to stay in Lako Como and explore the surrounding towns, villages and attractions, below is a complete “quick” guide to Como, focusing only one the must do and see experiences: no more, no less!

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Guide to Lake Como Italy

Where to Stay in Lake Como

If we’re speaking of the lake as a whole, then it should be noted that Lake Como is huge in size and thus takes some time and effort to travel around from point to point. The town, Como, is where you will find many shops, restaurants and a great local vibe, though it is away from here where you will have the best experiences of the lake by staying in a lakeside villa, still only a bus or ferry ride away from the main town and nearby attractions.

For our stay in Lake Como we checked in to CastaDiva Resort, one of the area’s leading luxury hotels, housed in a 18th Century Villa that was once the residence of opera singer Giuditta Pasta. The resort was small in size, allowing for an authentic experience whereby staff would remember our names and greet us every morning as we wandered through the lush green gardens on our way to breakfast.

Highlights included a complimentary shuttle service in and out of Como, a gorgeous floating pool on the lake (sadly not in use for our stay at the beginning of Spring), an impressive sauna/steam/spa area and lush gardens to wander around and experience life on the lake.

Guide to Lake Como | World of Wanderlust

How to Get Around

Although the lake is huge and the villages to explore are plentiful, getting around the area is made extremely easy thanks to an extensive ferry service (fast & slow services) and public buses.

If you are staying in Como and wish to explore some of the small lakeside villages and towns, then head down to the ferry pier and take one of the public ferries to where you want to go. I would highly recommend paying a little extra for the fast service one way (if travelling to the most popular town of the region – Bellagio) and taking the slow ferry the other way in order to get a glimpse of the many towns along the lake as you stop in at each one. The fast ferry service takes approximately 45-60 minutes whilst the slow ferry will take around 2 hours.

A Guide to Lake Como Italy

Como City

The city of Como is at the base of the lake (which appears as an upside down “Y” letter) and the heart of the region. It is here where you will find the best atmosphere, ample eateries serving classic Italian meals, shops, boutiques, and a network of ferries heading upstream to explore the smaller villages and lakeside towns.

Below are my few recommendations from our couple of days spent in Como for afternoon strolls and early dinners before retiring back to our villa a short way up the lake.

Gelateria Lariana 

Naturally I tried a lot of gelato in the few days we were in Como because incase you haven’t noticed (in which case I’d say you are new here), I’m a self-confessed ice cream addict. Name a flavour and I’ve tried it. Name the world’s best ice cream parlours and gelaterias – I promise you I’ve been there. My favourite gelato in Como is located just off the main square, right by the waterfront in a small and unassuming little building: Gelateria Lariana. My favourite flavours were Bachi (chocolate hazelnut) and Dark Chocolate (seriously so good that my eyes popped out of my head for the first taste).

La Vita e’ Bella

If you’re looking for a nice little restaurant – not too fancy but great for date night – then I can recommend this great little find on Piazza Domenico Croggi. The menu is typically Italian but with a healthy spin – loads of salads to choose from and great vegetarian options!

Como Cathedral

As one of the key landmarks of the city, a visit to Como would not be complete without at least setting your eyes on the impressive facade of the Como Cathedral.

Funicolare Como-Brunate

If you’re looking to see the lake from a different viewpoint then you will find a great viewing platform by taking the 5-7 minute journey on the funicolare, to the sweeping views of the lake and surrounds below.

Villa Carlotta Lake Como Guide to Lake Como | World of Wanderlust

Villa Carlotta

Located a short 9-15 minute ferry ride from Bellagio is the famous Villa Carlotta, the most visited villa on the lake that is open to the public as a museum. The villa also has extensive gardens that will keep you busy walking around for at least an hour, so be sure to allow a minimum time of 90 minutes here to explore the Villa and gardens, as well as grab a milkshake or ice cream before you depart (the chocolate milkshakes are personally tried and tested and believe me when I say scrumptious!)

Guide to Lake Como | World of Wanderlust

Bellagio; The Jewel of Lake Como

By far the most picturesque town on the lake and certainly the most visited is Bellagio; located at the fork of the “Y” shape of the lake and within short distance to many of Lake Como’s other popular sites and attractions.

La Fontana Ristorante & Pizzeria

Our preferred lunch spot in Bellagio was La Fontana for their great pizzas and cute little outdoor setting. This restaurant is far enough away from the hustle and bustle that you get a very authentic experience and the pizza margarita is delicious! There is a 2.50 euro cover charge per person but the prices are very reasonable.

Far Out

If you’re travelling with a food intolerance or with someone who has one, then head straight for Far Out restaurant, only a short walk from where you depart the ferry. This restaurant caters to vegetarians, vegans and gluten intolerances with ease. There is no cover charge and the prices are moderate.

Guide to Lake Como | World of Wanderlust

Further Recommendations:

Villa Balbianello – Built in 1787 with beautiful terrace gardens and an in-house museum.

Villa Melzi d’Eril – Located in Bellagio, built in neo-classical style and with a stunning garden to explore.

Ciresa Plain on Mt. Barro – For enthusiastic day hikers you can get a stunning view of the lake from high above at the Ciresa Plain lookout on Mt. Barro.

Torno Italy | Lake Como A Guide to Lake Como Italy A Guide to Lake Como Italy A Guide to Lake Como Italy A Guide to Lake Como Italy A Guide to Lake Como Italy A Guide to Lake Como Italy

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Casta Diva Resort Lake Como Guide to Lake Como Italy Casta Diva Resort Lake Como

Is this the cutest town in France!? Why you need to visit Annecy

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Ahhh, Annecy. Where to begin!? The cutest town in France (in my view) has much more to offer than an idyllic location, cute French patisseries and a gorgeous lake with the alps as a backdrop. And yet of course, all of these things are what makes Annecy quite so appealing!

I first saw this town on Pinterest and immediately decided I needed to visit (seriously, this town is so cute!) But upon our visit I quickly came to learn that there is much more to Annecy than meets the eye…

Annecy_France

Annecy, France

Located in the North of the French Alps, Annecy is a medieval town with a 14th-century chateau, characterised by its winding canal network and location beside Lake Annecy. Put simply, this town is as pretty (if not prettier) than a postcard.

The city is at its best in the Spring season as the colourful blooms all over town really bring Annecy to life. You can expect an abundance of flower boxes, blossoms, and plethora of greenery in the public parks.

Annecy, France | World of Wanderlust Annecy_France Annecy_France Annecy, France | World of Wanderlust Annecy travel guide

Where to Eat, Play & Stay

Many visitors come to Annecy as a day trip from Geneva, so your first point of call is likely to be a food stop – and believe me do I have some great recommendations in store for you!

Restaurants

Le Beau Soleil (The Beautiful Sun)

We stumbled across this eatery around lunch time and quickly noticed it was much busier than any other eatery we had passed on the canals, as well as noticing that most diners were speaking in French and thus concluding it must be a popular local choice. This gave us no better reason than to stop, wait in line, and land a table at what we were sure would be a great lunch spot. Right we were! I ordered the goat’s cheese salad (above) and my boyfriend ordered steak, chips and salad. Both dishes were huge, great value for money, and incredibly delicious!

L’Heure Tourne Burger Shop

If you’re looking for a quick bite to eat and something a little more casual, you’ll find just that at L’Heure Tourne. The burgers are gourmet, the relish is unforgettably delicious, and the staff do their best to help you out in English or, in my case, Frenglish (somewhere in between).

Le Palais Des Glaces

As usual, I couldn’t finish a single meal in Annecy without a sweet treat afterwards (would you expect any less of me by now!?) We asked around with the locals in small boutiques where we could find the best gelato in town and the vote was unanimous: Le Palais Des Glaces. Believe me when I say it did not disappoint! The snickers was my favourite flavour.

Things to See + Do

Annecy is one of those places you go to do very little and wind up doing a lot, as everything just occurs so naturally and with ease.

Drop by the Lake (Lac Annecy) to rent a paddle boat and you’ll find yourself passing the hours, soaking up the sunshine and taking in the tremendous views.

Another great way to see the city is to hire a bike, ride around the lake, navigate your way through the cities’ outskirts, and take each hour as it comes.

And of course you can make your way to Chateau d’Annecy (the castle on the hill) to explore the 14th-century chateau and enjoy great views over the city.

Accommodation

Unfortunately we didn’t stay longer than the day in Annecy (if we had have known how picturesque and delightful it was beforehand, we would have booked 2-3 nights here). Thus I cannot make accommodation recommendations based on my own experiences, though if TripAdvisor is anything to go by, the following suggestions rate highly: L’Imperial Palace, Hotel Novotel Annecy Centre, and Mercure Annecy Centre.

Annecy_France Annecy_France Annecy_France Annecy, France | World of Wanderlust Annecy_France

Getting There

Annecy is a popular day trip from Geneva, Switzerland – located just a one hour bus ride from the Swiss city.

By plane, Geneva is the nearest international airport, though flights in to Geneva are typically expensive so you may wish to fly in to Zürich and journey your way down through Geneva.

Annecy also has direct trains from Paris & Lyon, making this a great city escape for a few days out of the big cities.

Annecy_France Annecy_France Annecy_France Annecy_France Annecy_France Annecy, France | World of Wanderlust Annecy, France | 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!

The Only 3 Photo Editing Apps You Will Ever Need

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One of the most popular questions I’ve had over the years on Instagram is regarding how I edit my photos. If I had to guess, I’d say I am asked at least a couple of times a day on average! But the reality of my Instagram editing process is impossibly easy, straight forward and most importantly minimalist. So if you want to know the only three photo editing apps you will find on my phone to edit my Instagram photos, here they are!

Best Apps to Edit your Instagram Photos

1. Touch Retouch

This magical app (and I really mean it, it is magical) was first introduced to me by a photographer friend who insisted I download the app immediately as it was the answer to her prayers. She was taking photos out the plane window and mistakenly getting a shadowed blur in the frame, when I asked her what she was taking the photo for (it really was that bad for the level of quality I’m used to seeing in her work). She explained to me that she would later edit it with “Touch Retouch” to remove the blur and turn it in to a cloud. Confused, I questioned her about the app and she couldn’t believe I had never heard of it before!

Essentially the app is a magic tool that allows you to highlight (in red – middle frame) the part of the picture you wish to remove/blend in to the background. Personally I like the greenery in this photo, but I thought it would be a great example to show you how well it blends in! Magic!

Best Apps to Edit Photos

2. VSCO Cam

Now I know this is one of the most popular photography apps on the market, but I’ll be honest and say that I do use this sparingly – though as it is an app I still use regularly, I thought I’d better include it. Firstly I only use the VSCO Cam filters on the odd occasion that I don’t like the colours of a photo I’ve taken and want to get playful with it in the app. The filters are much nicer/softer than in Instagram, so its a great quick fix to any photo.

However mostly I just use the app to layout my photos and see what looks good where or on the contrary, what does not work when placed beside one another. In other words, its a great way to see your Instagram feed before you upload!

Best Apps to Edit your Photos

3. Instagram

Finally, the photography app I use most and actually every time I upload is the Instagram app itself. While I never (ever, ever, ever) use the filters on here, I will always tweak photos a little to enhance the colours, brightness, decrease the highlights and raise the sharpness. As you can see in the middle frame, I also use the app to straighten photos so that they are completely straight (a little unhealthy obsession of mine). They are small changes but they make the difference!

Other FAQ Photography Questions:

What camera do you use?

I use an Olympus OMD EM5 Mark II for almost all of my photos.

What vlogging camera do you use?

I use an Olympus PEN EPL7 for vlogs.

Do you use Photoshop?

Never (I’m just not any good at it).

Do you use any photo editing programs?

If I’m patient, I’ll do a bit of editing in “Photos” on my iMac.

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 Norfolk Island: What to See, Do, Eat & Enjoy!

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I’m sure every definition of paradise is subjective, but for me a small island in the South Pacific characterised by sunshine, lush greenery and a dramatic coastline is about as close to paradise as one could get.

I didn’t know much (at all) about Norfolk Island before visiting, even though it is an outlying territory of Australia and just a two hour flight from Sydney. And yet the island turned out to be one of the most beautiful destinations I have visited in the entire South Pacific – so beautiful that I’m already planning a return trip with my family some time within the next year. So if you want to discover this incredible hidden gem before the crowds start flocking by the masses, here’s everything you need to know to have a great time in Norfolk Island!

Norfolk_Island_South_Pacific

Located in the South Pacific just a two hour flight from Sydney is one of the best kept secrets of the entire region: Norfolk Island. Although geographically closer to New Zealand, for historical reasons Norfolk is an Australian territory and closely linked with the mainland of Australia, with the official currency being Australian dollars and everything down to powerpoint adaptors being Australian too.

However the island has a very strong community of locals (around 1500 inhabitants) who have held on to their culture and traditions, so the island has a very unique flair of its own that you won’t find back on mainland Australia or anywhere else for that matter!

Norfolk_Island_South_Pacific

Although the island is small in size, you’ll need a car to get around if you want to see and do all Norfolk Island has to offer. For our stay we had a rental car, however one day in we noticed the Moke rentals on the main street and subsequently decided that we’d have to make the switch (who can resist a beach buggy as cute as this!?)

Norfolk_Island_South_Pacific Norfolk_Island_South_Pacific

Where to begin!?

There really is so much to see on the island that we struggled to get through it all in our short weekend visit, however the standouts were:

  • Convict ruins in the UNESCO World Heritage area of Kingston
  • The 360 degree view from Mount Pitt
  • Morton Bay Fig Tree Avenue
  • Cockpit Waterfall
  • Crystal Pools
  • Stargazing

Norfolk_Island_South_Pacific Norfolk_Island_South_Pacific

Again, there was so much to try and squeeze in to our four-day visit that we left wanting more time on the island. However if you too only have a few days, our standouts were:

  • Eating fresh farm-to-fork produce (everywhere you go! all of the produce is locally grown)
  • Take a hike on one of the (many) walking trails
  • Go on a guided kayak tour around the island
  • See what is in season at the Saturday Farmer’s Market
  • Shop for local handicrafts at the Sunday Craft Market
  • Drive your Moke around the island and take it all in!

Norfolk_Island_South_Pacific Norfolk_Island_South_Pacific Norfolk_Island_South_Pacific

One of my favourite aspects of Norfolk Island was the food. Being a self dubbed foodie of sorts, my favourite way to gauge a new destination is to see what is on offer by way of local cuisine and I can’t tell you how surprised I was by the produce here on the island! Nearly every item on your plate is grown on the island, so you can expect to eat seasonally and always get the best of what is on offer. Below are my favourite eating experiences from our time here:

The Olive Cafe – For breakfasts and quick lunches, you really can’t beat The Olive. We loved it so much that we ate here at least once every day and tried a handful of items on the menu! Highlights included the caramel thick shakes (yum!), eggs hollandaise, and the delicious vegetarian burger. There were also heaps of vegetarian and gluten free options if you’re travelling with food restrictions.

Joel’s Cafe – Another favourite cafe we found on the island was a little more gourmet and as such, a little more expensive. We loved their smoothies and my boyfriend tells me the spiced sauce inside the panini was magical!

Dino’s – By far the best formal dining experience was our first dinner on the island at Dino’s. This restaurant is located inside a family home and offers one of the most down to earth dining experiences you could imagine. The service was great and the ambience very cosy, but it was the food that stole the show! Don’t leave without trying the bannoffee pie – an indulgence worth every single calorie!

Hilli Restaurant – Coming in at a close second was our dinner at Hilli restaurant. The service was good, the ambience quite nice and the food was great but perhaps a little heavy. We rolled out of there regretting not sharing a dessert, but the sticky date pudding and snickers ice cream were too good to pass up!

Norfolk Island in the South Pacific

The island has more than 60 accommodations on offer so you won’t struggle for choice. For our stay we checked in to the casual but comfortable Shearwater Scenic Villas, which offered a great view of the sunrise and was idyllically located next to the crystal pools.

Norfolk_Island_South_Pacific Norfolk_Island_South_Pacific Norfolk_Island_South_Pacific Norfolk_Island_South_Pacific Norfolk_Island_South_Pacific Norfolk_Island_South_Pacific Norfolk Island in the South Pacific Norfolk_Island_South_Pacific Norfolk_Island_South_Pacific Norfolk_Island_South_Pacific

A warm thanks to Norfolk Island Tourism for arranging my visit to Norfolk Island! All opinions and oodles of photos are 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!

Pack your carry-on like a pro with Matalan: What to pack & What to leave at home

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I do love a challenge and when it comes to packing there’s no better way to travel than to travel light. But don’t let me fool you: I don’t always travel light. I sure do prefer it when I do, but sometimes my trips will require taking heavy tripods, extra camera lenses and oodles of tech-y-gear that leaves me bogged down in extra baggage charges. But if I’m going on a short trip of up to a week, you won’t find me taking any more than necessary. In fact, I’d say I have it down to some sort of art form by now.

Matalan gave me the challenge of seeing how much I could pack in a lightweight carry-on case they sent me. The aim was to pack everything I would need and leave anything I didn’t need at home. As my airline only allowed seven kilograms for carry-on luggage, it was quite a stretch! But alas I managed to squeeze in enough outfits and tech gear for a week-long trip to the beach. Here’s the result!

How to pack your carry-on Packing GIF Everything you do need

Lets cut straight to the point: here are all the items you do need to take in your carry-on for a week long trip away, not including any essentials that will get you buzzing and beeping at the security check point (because really, you can do without a pair of nail clippers or tweezers for a week anyway).

Clothes – an obvious choice but a mandatory one all the same! Keep it light with thinner fabrics and just one jumper/sweater/jacket to keep you warm in the evenings.

Shoes – two pairs will do the trick. One for adventurous activities and another pair to wear to dinners, etc.

Skincare regime – don’t let your skin suffer when you’re away from home! Keep up all your regimes whilst away or you’ll return home feeling a little worse for wear. This is my favourite way to combat jetlag by doing all the things you still do at home.

Tech gear – I’m talking camera(s), chargers, phones, etc. Sometimes it is however nice to switch off so you could do without!

Accessories – for a beachy getaway I never travel without a hat, sunscreen, sunglasses and a light scarf to transition a day outfit > night.

How to pack your carry-on like a pro Packing GIF - World of Wanderlust

Items you will want to take but do not need

And now to the fun stuff (I know, I know… how do I find pleasure in such things!?) If you’re aiming to pack carry-on only, leave the following items at home:

Choices – remember you can only ever wear one pair of trousers or a jacket at the one time. Pack one of everything and leave the rest at home (unless you like to wear different outfits depending on your mood, then pack a few choices for the main garment).

Books – I’m always tempted to take books on trips but I almost always end up gifting them instead of keeping them for my bookshelf, in an effort to shed a little weight from my case during my trip. If you’re like me and you like to hang on to your books, try purchasing Ebooks or Kindle books to read for your holidays.

Anything you don’t use daily at home – the idea is to pack everything you do use daily at home and leave any extras at home. If you don’t wash your hair on a daily basis then there’s no need to bring your whole haircare regime along with you. To the contrary if you’re protective of your skin and like to look after it well, be sure to pack your usual regime.

Everything I Packed:

Lightweight Suitcase by Matalan, Converse shoes, Country Road Jumper, Zara Jeans, Gigi New York Handbag, Apple Macbook Air 13″, Lack of Color Hat, Tularosa Dress 1 2 3, Lily Pulitzer Dress + Scarf, Victoria’s Secret Bikini, Olympus PEN EPL7, Olympus OMD Mark II (filmed on), Nike Gym Gear, Ray Bans Sunglasses, Dry Shampoo, GoPro Camera, Cleanser, Nail Polish.

Pack your carry-on like a pro! This post contains sponsored content in the form of a suitcase so light I can lift it with my left pinky… which is understandably weaker than my right. So yeah, it’s pretty light. Thanks Matalan!

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 Guide to Zermatt Switzerland

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As the most renowned ski resort in Switzerland, Zermatt brings to life all your expectations of what a ski holiday should be. The picturesque chateaus nestled high in the mountainous terrain and the panoramic views set the scene, with the world famous Matterhorn glowing in the background.

If you plan to visit Zermatt for a ski holiday, you really can’t beat this year-round ski destination, though will find more on offer on the mountain throughout the winter ski season.

So if you’re a first time visitor, here is a complete guide to Zermatt Switzerland!

A Guide to Zermatt Switzerland | World of Wanderlust

Zermatt Town

No matter where you choose to base yourself in Zermatt, you will never be too far away from the happenings in town as everything is relatively close to reach on foot. In town you can choose from a variety of restaurants to cater to your budget (they even have a McDonalds which is by no means a recommendation when you have so much great local food to try, but to allow for scope!)

In town you will also find a great range of swiss chocolatiers if you’re looking to satisfy your sweet tooth! Crêpes seem to be a real hit too, with a few crêperies to be found in the main street and many cafes serving them on the menu.

If you’ve forgotten anything before hitting the slopes you will have no trouble at all finding ski goggles and sportswear galore in town, as well as a plethora of souvenir shops selling everything from ear muffs through to cow bells.

If you don’t plan to ski there is still plenty to do to keep yourself busy for 5-7 days in Zermatt, ranging from an ice skating rink through to the central Matterhorn Museum. However most vacationers arrive to hit the slopes, so if you haven’t been skiing before you should still consider lessons, as despite the Intermediate-Advanced rating of most of the mountain, you will still find some slopes suited for beginners (especially around Sunnegan – read on for more).

A Guide to Zermatt Switzerland | World of Wanderlust

Where to Stay in Zermatt

Although small in size, Zermatt is first and foremost a vacation ski town, so there are plenty of accommodations on offer. However it should be said early on that Zermatt is one of Switzerland’s premier ski destinations and prices are steep, not only with the most expensive ski lift passes in the country but also some of the most expensive hotel rates.

For our time in Zermatt we checked in to a comfortable four star ski hotel, the Sunstar Style Hotel. Nothing is too far away in Zermatt, but this hotel was ideally located a 5-10 minute walk from the city centre and thus far enough away from the business of town without being far to walk to the centre of everything.

If you’re looking for the best of the best, the Hotel Monte Rosa is a great pick in the centre of Zermatt, or for something a little more secluded check yourself in to The Omnia.

Zermatt Switzerland Zurich Switzerland

Hitting the Slopes

One thing is for sure when in Zermatt – you will be amazed at the sheer size of the mountain and all its offerings, often feeling overwhelmed by how much there is to see in so little time (you could easily spend a week or two here!) For a full map of the slopes, lifts and trains, see here.

For advanced skiers around 20% of the mountain is classified as black and there are ample opportunities to ski off piste, though a local guide is recommended before tackling this kind of terrain!

For intermediate skiers there are endless slopes to choose from in three main sectors, including the option to ski across the border in to Italy. Tow thirds of the runs on the mountain are classed as red, so you will have ample opportunity to experience different aspects of the mountain. Cervinia is a great place to start and offers the chance to view the Matterhorn up close!

For beginner skiers (like myself!), Zermatt can at first seem quite intimidating, with only 16% of the mountain classed as blue runs. Sunnegga is a great place to start with a few gentle slopes to warm up on, followed by a few blue slopes to experience once you’ve gained your confidence. Other spots for beginners include Täsch ski lift and Randa ski lift.

Traditional_Swiss_Food Swiss Food: Where to eat in Zermatt

Where & What to Eat in Zermatt

If this is your first time in Switzerland then prepare yourself for the abundance of flavours in the rich Swiss cuisine (I’m drooling just remembering some of these dishes – rosti, cremeschnitte and oodles of cheese!)

Said to be the best value for money is the popular monutain Restaurant Chez Vrony, home to moderately priced, delicious and classic Swiss cuisine.

Another popular choice also in the mountain is Findlerhof, with views of the matterhorn on a clear day.

For cheese lovers, be sure to pop into Saycheese! to try a local Swiss delicacy; the cheese fondue! This is a real treat in the winter time as it really warms you from the insides out.

And for fine diners there are a range of gastronomical restaurants on offer throughout town – just don’t expect to leave with change in your pocket!

A Guide to Zermatt Switzerland | World of Wanderlust A Guide to Zermatt Switzerland | World of Wanderlust A Guide to Zermatt Switzerland | World of Wanderlust

How to Get There

Getting to Zermatt is a journey in itself, as the easiest and most time friendly way to arrive is by train, though connections with Zurich, Basel and Geneva are all over 3 hours in duration. Bern is the closest Swiss city to connect from, though flights in to the capital are limited.

Via Zurich

Zurich is extremely well connected with international destinations so may be the easiest city to fly in to from abroad. We flew with Emirates, who offer 3 flights per day from Dubai. From there, the train journey takes roughly 3-3.5 hours with 1 or 2 connections.

Via Geneva

Geneva is also well connected, though the train journey to Zermatt is a little longer at 3 hours and 50 minutes, with a change in Visp. Travelling by car is slightly shorted (at under 3 hours), though you must leave your car at Tasch as Zermatt is car free, offering electronic buses and taxis to transport visitors around the town.

Via Basel

Another viable option is to fly in to Basel (a popular choice for budget airlines within Europe), with a train journey of 3 hours and 15 minutes, requiring one or two changes.

Switzerland Train Travel | World of Wanderlust World of Wanderlust stayed at the Sunstar Hotel as a guest of Zermatt Tourism, however all opinions and oodles of photos are my own!

How to Spend 48 Hours in Zürich

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I first visited Zürich a couple of years ago for a few brief hours in transit and having instantly fallen in love with the Swiss city, I have since been longing to go back. Whilst planning a Eurotrip with my partner we decided the most logical choice for the destinations we wanted to visit would be to start and end in the same city, travelling in a continuous loop.

Flights with Emirates offered the cheapest fares flying in to Paris and much to my surprise, Zürich. I thus jumped at the opportunity to re-visit what I’m sure is one of Switzerland’s prettiest cities, and travel in a round-trip loop from Switzerland through Italy, France, and back to where we started.

With our Eurail Global Passes in hand, we decided to see and do as much as possible in the month of April and thus had just enough time in each city, but never too much (and quite frankly not enough if you ask me, but when can you ever have enough!?) So here is how we spent 48 hours in Zürich, our first destination on this year’s Spring Eurotrip.

48 Hour Guide to Zurich | World of Wanderlust
48 Hours in Zurich | World of Wanderlust 48 Hours in Zurich | World of Wanderlust

Check In: Storchen Hotel

We landed in Zürich in the early afternoon so our first stop was to head straight to our hotel in the centre of town, drop off our bags, throw on a new shirt and head straight back outside to explore. I always find fresh air to be the best cure for jetlag, second to a quick shower (which, lets be honest, is as good as liquid sleep)… but with so little time in the city we didn’t even allow ourselves time to shower until nightfall, which at this time of year was around 7:00pm.

We checked in to the Storchen Hotel, which had caught my attention due to its favourable location on the river, within walking distance of all the main sights and of course, the Old Town. We also wanted a simple, no-fuss accommodation for our first stop in Europe and were both thrilled with the elegant but humble four-star hotel.

48 Hours in Zurich | World of Wanderlust Cremeschnitte in Zurich, Switzerland

Dinner: AuGust

For dinner that evening I really wanted to dive head first into the local cuisine, so we chose a nearby restaurant by the name of AuGust, which is stationed in an old butcher’s shop with a modern black and white checker theme and simple, hearty cuisine.

Being a vegetarian this might seem like an odd choice (especially given the heavily focused meat-y menu), but it was a chance for my partner to taste the local cuisine (which by default is heavily meat focused) and for myself to try some classic staples in the Swiss diet like rosti and potato au gratin.

For dessert I tried my first cremeschnitte, which is very similar to a vanilla slice back at home in Australia, though with a more doughy pastry and much more rich flavour in the creamy vanilla centre. The icing is super sweet but when eaten as a whole, it really brought the flavour of the pastry to life so be sure not to leave a crumb on your plate!

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Exploring Zürich: Lindenhof Platz

While I could have easily spent a week or more meandering the alleyways of Zürich, I will admit that one full day exploring is ample time to see all the city has to offer, before heading onwards on your journey throughout the mountainous country that truly has so much to offer.

To start your day, make your first point of call Lindenhof Platz, a free viewing platform that offers views of the river and old town and allows you to get your bearings in the city. From there, the small winding alleyways in each and every direction are best explored without directions in any form, so be sure to allow some time to walk in whichever direction you fancy, stopping in to local chocolatiers and coffee houses along the way.

48 Hours in Zurich | World of Wanderlust

Augustinergasse

Arguably the prettiest street in Zürich and a personal favourite of mine is Augustinergasse, located off the main street (Bahnhofstrasse) but feeling a world away from the hustle and bustle just next door. The colourful buildings and centuries old architecture will transport you to another time and place instantly – exactly what I’m looking for on my Europe travels!

48 Hours in Zurich | World of Wanderlust 48 Hours in Zurich | World of Wanderlust

Cafe Schober

When it comes time to stop and people watch with a hot schokolade in hand, head straight to Cafe Schober, the most popular cafe in town and easily my favourite place to pass time in the cosy corners inside, or in the fresh air outdoors. Cafe Schober is located in the Old Town of Zurich (on the other side of Limmat river) and this is the perfect area to wander for a couple of hours, stopping in at a few chocolatiers on the way!

48 Hours in Zurich | World of Wanderlust 48 Hours in Zurich | World of Wanderlust

The Old Town

From Lindenhofplatz you have an incredible view of both the Limmat river and Zürich’s old town in the distance. Whilst much of Zürich has the same old town charm, the old town proper is for sure one of the most charming areas to wander at leisure. If you have an afternoon spare this is by far the most enjoyable way to experience this city – with less planning and more time wandering. Below are a selection of photos from our leisurely walks throughout the old town and below Lindenhofplatz on the other side of the river.

48 Hours in Zurich | World of Wanderlust 48 Hours in Zurich | World of Wanderlust 48 Hours in Zurich | World of Wanderlust 48 Hours in Zurich | World of Wanderlust 48 Hours in Zurich | World of Wanderlust 48 Hours in Zurich | World of Wanderlust

Emirates flies to Zürich three times daily from Dubai, with connections from over 150 destinations worldwide. We stayed at the Storchen Hotel Zurich and travelled onwards by train to Zermatt.

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!

Italy by Rail – A Complete 3 Week Itinerary

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In Italy it is always so much to see, so little time. With impressive cities, endless history, fantastic cuisine and friendly locals, no time is ever enough in Italy. People always ask me “Where should I go in Italy?” to which I can honestly respond “Everywhere!” Yes, the country really is that spectacular and there is so much to see. So if you’re planning your first trip to Italy and want to hit up all the highlights; here they are…

italy by rail Milan Dom

Milan

Start your Italian journey in Milan, the financial centre of Italy and a busting metropolis filled with fashion, arts, and great cuisine (though you’ll find the latter everywhere in Italy!) You only really need one night in Milan to get over the jet lag, as well as seeing the impressive Milan Cathedral (probably the most impressive in all of Europe), Leonardo Da Vinci’s last supper mural and Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II.

Stay: 1 night

Read more: What not to miss in Milan

Torno Italy | Lake Como

Lake Como

On your second day catch the train to Como and begin exploring the Italian lakes district. Lake Como is arguably the most picturesque of all, so pick yourself a town to be based in and prepare for a world of expensive villas, impressive gardens, and casual afternoons on the public ferry service back to your abode.

Stay: 2 nights

Read more: A Quick Guide to Lake Como

Venice

Venice

Ahhhh Venice, how could you go wrong!? You’ll need precisely two nights to see the highlights of Venice, wander the streets, ride along the canals and make a quick escape to a quieter stop afterwards so as to escape the crowds.

Stay: 2 nights

Read more: A Quick Guide to Venice // Postcards from Venice

verona

Verona

Verona is the perfect stop after Venice simply because it is smaller, less busy, and just as magical with the added glorification of a link to Shakespeare. One night will give you just enough time to wander the streets and indulge in some street sweet treats.

Stay: 1 night

Read more: One day in Verona

Bolonga via Expedia

Image via Expedia.com

Bologna

If the name sounds familiar, you’re probably thinking of bolognese. And yes, Bologna is the birthplace of bolognese. Stop in at Bologna for just a few hours to eat the dish in its hometown and climb the tower for a great view over the city.

Stay: Day Trip

Cinque Terre, Italy

Cinque Terre

Onwards to Cinque Terre, the gorgeous coastal area of cliffside towns, and plenty of them! You will need to transfer to a bus in order to make the full journey, as Cinque Terre itself is not connected to a train line. This region is a great excuse to wander without rhyme or reason, with your hardest choice for the day being which gelato flavour to indulge in!

Stay: 3 nights

Read more: Cinque Terre Guide

florence

Florence

And now for my favourite city in Italy; Florence. This would have to be one of my favourite places in the whole world, especially in the summer sunshine. There’s plenty to see and do in the city itself, but you’ll need to reserve one full day for a Tuscany vineyard experience out of town. Ahhh how I miss Firenze!

Stay: 4 nights

Read more: You Can’t go to Florence & Not see these 20 Attractions

Me at seventeen (ha!)

Me at seventeen (ha!)

Pisa

On one of your afternoons in Florence, catch the train onwards to nearby Pisa to see the sight in which this town is made famous for: the leaning tower of Pisa. The food is much cheaper here than in Florence, so perhaps make it a lunch stopover and you’ve got a win-win!

Stay: Day Trip

Rome if you want to

Rome 

Rome, the eternal city. There really isn’t a city in the world quite like Rome and no other city has ever had the power to make me feel so young and so small. The city is ancient, overbearing, and at times overhwelming. But you absolutely cannot cut yourself short on time here – there is just so much to see and do!

Stay: 4 nights

Read more: Rome Bucket List

Where to find the Best Pizza in Naples

Naples

Onwards to the Amalfi Coast with your first stop being Naples, the birthplace of pizza! Leave your bags at the train station and make a run for the best pizza in town. Trust me when I say this stop is entirely worth it just for the pizza alone!

Stay: Day Trip

Read more: Where to find the Best Pizza in Naples

Pompeii via Business Insider

Image via Business Insider

Pompeii

Another great day trip during your time in the Campania region is to wander through the ruins of Pompeii. This is a magnificent insight into the history of the country and will leave you awestruck long past the day you fly home.

Stay: Day Trip

Le Sirenuse Positano

Amalfi Coast

Last but certainly not least, the stunning Amalfi Coast! This is for sure my favourite area in Italy to stop, unwind, and soak up that Italian sunshine. Be sure to spend a couple of nights in Sorrento, take a day trip to Capri, spend a further two nights in Positano and make a further day trip to both Amalfi & Ravello.

Stay: 4 nights

Read more: A Quick Guide to Positano

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!

15 Must try Foods in Italy (and where to get them)

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Let there be no ambiguity here: I purely choose to revisit Italy again and again and again because of the food. Its what lures me back. Sure, the scenery is gorgeous no matter where you are – on the coastline, in the Northern lakes district or floating down a canal in Venice… but the food is what draws me back every single time.

Below is a list (take it as a check list, if you will) of the best foods to try in Italy. Being a vegetarian myself I only every indulge in a handful of these (making up for in sweets what I lack by way of savoury selections), however to be fair to the meat eaters I have included all the most popular dishes and where to find them.

It should also be noted that Italian food isn’t really Italian food. Each region in Italy specialises in something – be that a certain dish or type of cooking – so really, you should aim to eat regional in Italy. Thus I have also included where to find the best, most authentic version of each dish to really help you taste the flavours of Italy!

How to Spend a Weekend in Sorrento | World of Wanderlust

Gelato

I’ll start this list with my all time favourite (and perhaps yours) – Gelato. As a huge fan of ice cream for my past 20-something years of existence, I was in a world of delight when I first arrived in Italy at 17 years of age and tasted my first gelato. Coming from a small town on an island in Australia, I had never tried gelato until this point, which is probably a good thing in hindsight as no gelato across the world will ever compare with the Italian’s. My favourite gelaterias across Italy are tried and tested (usually at least 10 times) and include:

Florence – La Carraia // Rome – Gelateria I Caruso // Milan – Il Massimo del Gelato // Sorrento – Primavera

Tiramisu

Originating in the region of Veneto, Tiramisu is an Italian classic dessert that has swept the world by storm. You’ll find many variations on the classic dish and in all honesty, sometimes a more contemporary take outdoes the original… but in Italy it is hard to come by a bad house-made Tiramisu!

In Rome check out Flavio al Velavevodetto for a perfectly portioned individual serving.

Panna Cotta

Panna Cotta, a creamy white dessert topped often with a drizzle of caramel sauce is said to originate from the region of Piedmont in Italy. Panna Cotta is light but holds itself with just enough solidity to not fall apart on the plate, but still fall apart in your mouth. A true Italian delight!

In Rome check out Pompi Cafe & in Venice be sure to try the Panna Cotta at La Bitta.

Carbonara

The origins of Carbonara are extraordinarily vague, however as it is a pasta dish we know it invariably comes from Italy, we’re just not sure which region to be precise (it is subject to much debate). The dish is usually served with spaghetti pasta in Italy, though you will find different variations throughout Italy and the world, with some chefs using fettucine, rigatoni, linguine, or even bucatini. The dish consists of a light eggy sauce, cheese, bacon, and pepper (traditionally there is no cream, peas or mushrooms as you might have tried back home).

Rome – Da Danilo // Da Sergio // Da Enzo // Milan – Ristorante Da Oscar // Florence – Antico Noè // Venice – Al Chianti

Where to find the Best Pizza in Naples

Margherita Pizza

This year I finally made it to Naples and let me be frank: I came here to try the pizza. Naples, a sprawling city in the Campania region, is the birthplace of pizza. The pizza in Naples comes in a variety of variations – large, small, crispy, doughy, lots of toppings, sparse toppings… you name it. There’s no denying this will be your best experience (in the world, ever), though a few of the faves have opened up stores in New York City, so you can also find a great pie there.

Naples – Da Michelle, Pizzaria Starita, Di Matteo

Bruschetta

Who doesn’t love bruschetta!? This breaded dish can be ordered anywhere in Italy as a starter and you just know you can’t go wrong. The dish has its origins in central Italy but can be found in nearly every restaurant throughout the country, sometimes being offered complimentary to start an evening meal. Bruschetta is made with garlic rubbed bread, topped with a variation of toppings including tomatoes, cheese, onion, cured meats and/or vegetables.

Its hard to go wrong with this Italian staple and you’ll find bruschetta available almost everywhere!

Caponata

This Sicilian regional dish is a popular antipasto made with eggplant, olives, capers and celery. Caponata is a great option for vegetarians in the summer time (the sun down South can get extremely overwhelming!) and of course you’ll find the best caponata at its origins in Sicily.

Focaccia Bread

Foccacia bread is made flat, plain inside, but topped with the likes of olives, olive oil and a variety of herbs. This is an easy dish to try and recreate back home, and luckily you will find the standard of foccacia bread fairly similar across Italy.

Weekend in Sorrento | World of Wanderlust

Aubergine Parmigana

When in Campania you simply cannot go without trying the Aubergine Parmigiana, or in Italian you will find it on the menu as Melanzane alla Parmigiana. Being a vegetarian I can sometimes find it difficult eating abroad, however in Italy this is my absolute go-to dish. Essentially the dish consists of baked eggplant covered in a rich tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese.

The best parmigiana I had was in Positano at Le Tre Sorelle.

Bolognese

You might immediately notice I didn’t type “Spaghetti Bolognese”, because in Italy, this dish isn’t necessarily served with spaghetti pasta! In fact, bolognese was born in Bologna, where the dish is most certainly not served with spaghetti, which instead hails from the South of Italy. Just order a “Tagliatelle alla Bolognese” and you’ll be fine.

The best Bolognese in Bologna can be found, well, anywhere in restaurants throughout the city!

Espresso

As soon as you arrive in Italy you might realise the coffee culture here is very different to anywhere else in the world. First of all, the Italians are very passionate about their coffee. Second of all, it is all about the glorified espresso! Sure, you can still order different coffees (if you prefer your coffee less strong, order a caffè Americano).

Rome – Rosati // Milan: Biancolatte // Florence: Scudieri // Venice: Torrefazione Cannaregio

Ravioli

There is again a little contention when it comes to discerning the origins of ravioli, but the earliest records show ravioli in both Tuscany and Venice… but any further discussion would be speculation, so I shall avoid at all costs!

When in Rome drop by Trattoria Monti for a spectacular ravioli in typical Italian home-style cooking.

Sorrento Italy

Lasagna

Would this be a complete Italian foods list without lasagna!? The answer is most definitely no. As a vegetarian I love trying veggie alternatives on the classic dish, though if you eat meat you really can’t go past the classic lasagna with that rich bolognese sauce (10 years ago before vegetarianism it was one of my favourite dishes my mother cooks!)

To play it safe and follow the recommendation of a meat eater, check out these 15 Best Places for lasagna in Rome.

Creamy Gnocchi

Again, many regions lay claim to gnocchi; a potato dumplings that is thick, heavy & hearty. Usually served in a creamy sauce, gnocchi is incredibly indulgent but entirely delicious – you must try it at least once!

You’ll find gnocchi on menus everywhere but for my preference, I order it only at those swanky restaurants where you pay way too much for way too little food, but when it comes to gnocchi a little goes a long way!

Prosciutto

You might be surprised to see prosciutto on the list as I’ve been a vegetarian for far longer than I have been travelling, but my boyfriend tells me it absolutely cannot go ignored on a list of must eat foods for Italy! Essentially prosciutto is a flavorous dry-cured ham that can be found all throughout Italy.

happy eating!