5 best things to do in Madeira

View from Restaurant São Cristóvão, Boaventura

Although it is part of Portugal, the island of Madeira is closer to mainland Africa than it is to Europe. Only 500km away from the Canary Islands and a three-hours flight from Paris, this stunning island is often compared to Hawaii due to its volcanic landscapes. If you are looking for adventure, botanical wonders and dramatic coastlines this is the right place for you.

In this post I have highlighted five reasons to visit Madeira, a destination that offers a glorious climate, a stunning natural scenary and challenging mountain hikings.

Let’s discover together the best things to do in this subtropical island!

1. Ponta delgada and São Vicente

Located in the north coast of Madeira, Ponta Delgada and São Vicente are small villages which economy is based on agriculture, services and tourism. The main attractions in this area are the dramatic “São Vicente Caves” and the festival “Arraial do Bom Jesus”

São Vicente Caves

Formed 890.000 years ago from a volcanic eruption in Paul da Serra, they were first reported by the English naturalist James Yate Johnson in 1885. These are among the first caves of volcanic origin to be opened to the public in Portugal (1st October 1996) and may be visited by following an underground route over 1,000 meters long.

At the end of the tour, visitors are welcome to access the Volcano Center, a pavilion where to discover more about the birth of Madeira and the evolution of the caves among the years.

Arraial do Bom Jesus

If you go to Ponta Delgada in September make sure you see this festival. It takes place the first weekend of the month and it is one of the biggest on the island. Pilgrims come from all over Madeira in a desmonstration of faith to devote the Imaculado Coração de Maria.

The rest of the year, Ponta Delgada is a quite rural area which activity is based on agriculture and some tourism. There you can find a few hotels and high quality local restaurants. Surounded by stunning cliffs and located close to the mountain, this part of the island is ideal if you want to enjoy wild nature.

2. Porto Moniz

Still in the north of Madeira we can find Porto Moniz.

This area is known due to its three natural swimming pools filles with salt water and its black sand beach. This unique pools are formed by natural volcanic rock structures which allow cool, fresh sea water to enter, offering a refreshing experience to visitors. Enter in this pools will cost you only 1 or 2€ per day.

Personal tip: Use some water shoes and a mask to have a better experience

3. Ponta do sol

Situated on the south coast of the island, Ponta do Sol is more turistic than the above mentioned places.

Although the economic activity is based on the primary sector, mostly on the production of sugar cane, bananas and floriculture, Ponta do sol is considered the sunniest point of the island, which is an attraction for both locals and foreigners. Here you can enjoy a cute pebble beach and amazing sunsets.

In case you´d rather enjoy the mountain than the beach, there is another stunning attraction in this municipality: Paul da Serra, the only plateau on the island of Madeira with an altitude of 1,500 meters, from where you can enjoy the stunning views surrounded by indigenous vegetation.

4. Levadas 

Walking along the levadas is one of the main tourist attractions of Madeira. But do you know the origin of this paths?

Levadas are channels of water with a slope originally created to transport the water from the north to the south of the island, where the climate is drier and the population higher. The origin of these paths dates back to the 15th century, when the levadas were created as a way to irrigate sugar and vineyard plantations.

Nowadays, the levadas are an extraordinary way to discover the magnificient nature of the island.

In this post I want to share with you two of my favourite levadas:

Levada das 25 Fontes

This is one of the most popular levadas in Madeira. Its name comes from the number of little waterfalls that you can find once you arrive there. The path is stunning and it allows visitors to admire a wide variety of flora and fauna.

To walk along the 25 Fontes levada I recommend you to wear comfortable mountain shoes and clothes. The climate in this mountain is really damp and warm, therefore do not forget to bring some shorts and something to drink.

It took us around 4 hours to finish the whole path. Would you also like to enjoy this magic place?

Vereda de Ponta de São Lourenço

This mini levada is situated on the very east point of the island. Unlike the “Levada das 25 Fontes”, São Lourenço’s climate is windy and semi-arid, which explains the lack of trees and the low vegetation that you will find along the path.

Walking along this levada you will enjoy stunning rock formations, resulting of the volcanic origin of the island. Take your time to appreciate all details!

After a few kilometers you can find the Sardinha house. If you are wondering why someone would like to live in the middle of a levada, let me tell you that São Lourenço is part of Madeira’s natural park. Therefore, the Sardinha house is the base for a group of people, who work for the park and who are responsible for watching over the area and its species.

Since this part of the island can be very warm and sunny, I recommend you to walk this levada early in the morning. It took us around 3 hours to reach Ponta de São Lourenço and come back.

If you are interested in more Levadas take a look at this page, where you can find more than 50 walks, safety information, points of interest and more!

5. Funchal

The capital of Madeira is located in the south coast of the main island. The majority of the population of this volcanic island live in dramatic Funchal, with abundant plant life, colourful gardens and an eternal spring climate.

There are lots of things to do in Funchal, many of which are free. From cable cars to colonial architecture, this city is a fantastic holiday destination.

Lets explore some of the best things to do in Funchal:

Funchal city

Old town Funchal is relatively flat and easy to explore by foot.  Here are some of the highlights of Funchal that we discovered during our trip:

Santa Maria

In 2010 the project “Arte Portas Abertas” breathed new life into the historical center of the city by turning old, disused doors into works of art. Rua Santa Maria is the best place to enjoy the creativity of local artists.

Funchal Market

Fruit, fresh fish, vegetables, flowers and souvenirs are beautifully displayed in Funchal’s “Mercado dos Lavradores”.

 

 

 

Santa Clara convent

Built in the 16th century, by order of the second captain-major of Funchal, this convent is a valuable heritage for its furnishings. Nowadays, this unique place is still the house of Franciscan Sisters, who kindly open their doors for those ready to admire the stunning Amarante Chapel and the courtyard.

Opening hours:

Monday – Saturday: 10:00 am – 12:00 pm & 15:00 pm – 17:00 pm

Cable car

Ready to enjoy magnificent panoramic views from Funchal?

The cable car is one of the main tourist attractions in the city. It takes you from the old part of Funchal to Monte in around 15 minutes. As you go up the environment evolve and the urbane mesh is substituted by green slopes and flowery hills, with the city and the sea in the background. A stunning experience not suitable for those suffering from vertigo (although one of my companions suffers from vertigo and he took the cable car without hesitation. Yes, he couldn´t move a muscle during 15 minutes 😉 therefore, he took great photos 🙂 ).

Opening hours:

Monday to Sunday: 09:00 am – 17:45 pm

Wicker toboggan ride 

Once you reach Monte you will find a very special type of transport: the Wicker Toboggans, which is a unique experience not to be missed 😉

The “carros de cestos” are produced with wicker and wood. Traditionally, they have two seats and are driven by two men called “Carreiros”, who are dressed in white cotton clothes and a straw hat, using their rubber-soled boots as brakes. The downhill journey is made in about 10 minutes (around 2 kilometers at a speed of 48km/hour) of pure adrenaline. Ready to try it?

Madeira botanical garden

One of the most beautiful, colorful gardens in the island is Madeira botanical garden. Built in 1881 this part of the city was created by the Reid family as a private park. Luckily, this 80,000m² park is now open for everybody ready to enjoy its fascinating collection of a wide variety of plants.

Opening hours: 

Monday to Saturday: 09.00 am -18.00 pm (last admission at 17.30)

Madeira typical food

Espetada

Espetada is made with meat cubes – it can be chicken, beef or pork – in a laurel skewer and grilled on wood. To accompany the dish, locals suggest “Milho Frito” (fried maize).

If you want to try the best espetadas of the island, I highly recommend you the local restaurant São Cristóvão in Boaventura, north of Madeira. Try them while enjoying a stunning view of the blue ocean and the magnificent Madeira’s cliffs.

 

Scabbard Filet

Espada“, or black scabbard fish, is the most typical fish of Madeira. This kind of fish swims in deep waters and has a fearsome appearance, at least before cooked. However, it is really tasty, mostly when they prepare it with some fruit sauce.

Picadinho

Another traditional recipe of Madeira.

Prepared with beef cut into small cubes, fried and seasoned with garlic, “Picadinho” is always a good option if you want to try some local food.

Octopus

Tropical fruits

Bolo do caco

A typical bread made from wheat flour. Its name is due to the way it was traditionally cooked: on a basalt stone called “caco“.

It can be consumed hot as a meal entree, with garlic butter spread to melt, or as a main dish.

 

Your turn

The island of eternal spring, the “Hawaii of Europe”, the blossom island…

Madeira is a stunning place full of exotic plants, tropical fruits, steep cliff edges and beautiful waterfalls.

Have you ever been to Madeira? Is there any other hidden gem in this island you would like to recommend us?

In this case feel free to leave a comment below or to contact me via any social network. I am alway thrilled to read your adventures and suggestions!

 

 

 

 

 

 

*Please, note that I am not an English native speaker. Therefore, you may find some spelling mistakes in this post. Feel free to let me know it and help me improve my English level.
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Summer holidays

It is almost one year since My Expat World started this adventure. Thanks to you guys my previous small, familiar blog turned into a platform where we could share our experiences, learn more about Germany and the German way of life, as well as to travel the world.

Thanks to the blog I got to know different kind of people from all around the world who have extraordinary lives which inspire others not only to keep enjoying every single second but to share all those experiences with us.

You are my motivation to keep blogging.

Every time I receive some questions regarding Germany, every time you comment my social posts, every time you contact me to get some advice for you expat adventure… Those moments make me keep writing and developing amazing content for you. However, life had other plans for me the past few months and I was no able to write and develop quality content.

Sometimes life has other plans and people need to stop. However, I would like to keep in contact with you via Instagram with #SummerTheWorld

This lack of time made me realize that I need to take some time off to re-discover my blog, to write quality posts which answer all your questions, to put all my travel experiences together and to build up an amazing story which can be shared with you (and of course which be useful for you). In conclusion, I need to take some holidays to recharge my energy and provide you with better posts.

What does it mean?

It means that My Expat World is going on summer holidays, although it would be better to call it “creative holidays”.

During this weeks I am going to produce new content for the blog, in fact, I would like to start answering all  of your questions regarding Germany, the expat life and some of my trips before creating new content (If you still  have any question do not hesitate to contact me through the social networks or just by sending me an E-mail to expattheworld@gmail.com, I will be truly happy to help you J ).

#SummerTheWorld

I would also like to inform you that this is just a creative break on the blog, which does not mean that I will be offline and disconnected from you. Quite the opposite!

In fact, I would like to be connected with you via Instagram.

As I previously mentioned, your stories are motivating and inspiring, as well as a way to keep in touch. That is the reason why I would like to invite you to use the #SummerTheWorld so that we can be connected during this period of “creative holidays”.

No matter is you tag a selfie, a picture on the beach or just a picture of the coffee machine of your company, the important thing is to keep in touch during the summer time. Do you want to join this game? I am super exited and looking forward to see all your pictures 🙂

Furthermore, if you want to remember all the good things we lived together this past year you can always follow me on Facebook and Twitter, where I will keep posting information about Germany and other countries such as Greece, Spain, The Netherlands and more. And, of course, I will try to keep recommend you places for our traditional #SundayBrunch on Twitter (if you have never heard about it you can always follow my twitter account to join this tradition).

When am I posting new content again?

My idea is to come back to you in the middle of September (what a great idea to celebrate the first year of this blog, isn´t it?) so that I have time enough to put all your questions together, to organize my ideas and to create interesting content for you.

Once again, before I go on holidays, I would like to thank you for being part of this project, for sharing your experiences with me, for being curious and for contacting me. Thank you for making this blog possible! Thank you for being there!

I hope we read us again after the summer. In the meanwhile let´s #SummerTheWorld together!

Have a nice summer!!! Tons of love and gratitude for you!!

3 amazing places to visit in Montenegro

Visiting Montenegro had always been on my bucket list. In fact, exploring all its bordering countries is an experience that I would like to make come true one day. Therefore, the minute we planned our trip to Croatia we knew that we were going to visit the neighbour country of Montenegro.

The initial ideal was to travel until Budva with the car and to explore different spots on our way to that city, however, the weather did not co-operated with us so we had to change our plans.

Finally, we decided to travel until Kotor and to stop spontaneously on the way when we saw any dramatic spot.

Our journey started in Dubrovnik early in the morning (by the way, I still have to write a post about the amazing city of Dubrovnik, in the meanwhile you can find more spectacular croatian spots by clicking here) under a grey sky who reminded us that autumn was around the corner.

Although the weather was not as good as expected we did not care that much about it because our appetite for adventure was enormous, so we had the chance  to stop in many different amazing places located beside the Bay of Kotor.

Perast

Located beneath the hill of St.Ilija, Perast is an historical old town of the Bay of Kotor. Although its cobblestone streets are full of history (thousands of tourists stop by during the year to admire this small town, which was the center of many historical empires battles throughout the centuries) they were really quiet that day. I supposed that its less than 300 inhabitants would rather stay at home than walking under the rain.

One of the main attractions of this charming place is the artificial island known as “Our lady on the rocks”, where a Roman Catholic Church is located. According to the legend, the islet was made over the centuries by local seamen after finding an icon of the virgin Mary on the rock in the sea

To access to this unique place it is necessary to go by boat (you can buy tickets at Perast´s port for around 4€).

Since the weather conditions were not good enough to navigate to the islet we decided to stay in Perast and have a walk around the town.

As the weather was getting worse we decided to keep traveling to Kotor.

We thought it would be better to visit the city of Kotor where we could find some warm places to have a cup of coffee every time it rained intensely.

Kotor

An enormous port, full of immense ferries, welcomed us in our arrival to the city of Kotor. After the first impression (I think I had never seen such huge ferries before) we discovered an enormous wall with a stunning gate. Since Kotor was settled during the ancient Roman times, the almost 5km wall was the perfect construction to protect the city from possible attacks.

The ancient wall enclosed a beautiful city brimming with charm and history. One of the most renewed place is the Roman Catholic Cathedral of Saint Tryphon, built in honor of the patron and protector of the city around 1166.

The famous main square, Piazza of the Arms, offers the tourist restaurants and cafes from where to enjoy the well preserved facades of the city and its old buildings made of stone. (We ended up having lunch in a non touristic street surrounded by locals. I would like to recommend you the place where we went but actually I do not know how we ended up there… So, if you go to Kotor just give a chance to its touristic restaurants and let us know if you like them 🙂 )

However, what really got our attention was something I had never seen in other countries. Kotor is full of stray cats, in fact, these animals are part of the city.

They are present in each corner, in every souvenir store, even it exists a cat museum in the city!.

As we found this “cat-love” really fascinating, we decided to ask some locals about it. They explained us that cats were considered as good luck symbols, however, no one was sure about the origin of this belief.

After spending the whole day visiting historical places we decided to come back home no without stopping in another beautiful montenegrin town.

Bar Stari Grad

A small town famous due to its ancient ruins (I had no pictures of the ruins… Sorry…!! It rained cats and dogs!).

This was a great experience & we are sure that we will be back, but next time in summer when the sun shines and the temperatures are higher 🙂

I hope you enjoyed the post, it was a short trip but intense 🙂

Have you ever been in Montenegro? Which spot do you recommend? Feel free to share your thoughts 🙂

 

 

 

 

Best places in Germany

Unlike many people think, Germany is not a grey, serious and rainy country but an interesting place to discover something new every day.

After a couple of years living here I have had the opportunity to visit not only the well-known German metropolis such as Berlin or Hamburg, but also small ancient cities and the countryside. If you are willing to come to visit Germany in an unconventional way (by visiting some “non-so-touristic” places) keep reading this post because this week it is starting the “Best Places in Germany” post series. Are you ready to discover this remarkable country?

Best places in Germany (of the week):

Monschau

The first time I heard about Monschau was in December 2014, when I friend of mine advised me to visit its Christmas market. Since I could not do that (it is worthier to visit it during the week, instead of during the weekends) I decided to give this old town a chance during the summer time.

Located nearby the Belgium border, Monschau preserves an ancient style, which provides this small city with a special charm. The city center is divided in two by the Rur river, consequently, the two parts of the city are connected by ancient bridges.

What to visit in Monschau

  • Christmas market

Although I could not visit it (not yet 😉 ) I can imagine the importance and the magnitude of this market, since one of the most visited places in the city of Monschau it is its Christmas store (open all year)

  • Castle Monschau

Most part of the castle is in ruins nowadays. Reused as a hostel after the IWW it is the perfect location to host summer concerts.

  • Market square

The heart of the city. Here the visitor can find restaurants, ancient buildings with flowerbox adornments and remarkable spots to be amazed with the mountains surrounding the city.

Heidelberg

Heidelberg is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Germany, as well as one of the most important student cities.

Ancient castles, narrow alleys, hilly streets  and beautiful parks and gardens are part of the landscape. Its university is the oldest in Germany and famous for its medical faculty. In Heidelberg, everything is within easy reach either on foot or by bike.

What to visit in Heidelberg

  • Heidelberg Castle

The castle, one of the most important renaissance structures, was started to be constructed in 1210 A.D. and, although, it has been destroyed several times due to different wars it preserves its ancient splendour.

It is worth to visit the main attraction of Heidelberg and it can be seen from each corner of the city.

  • The Altstadt

Down in the Altstadt (the old town) there are plenty of narrow streets and squares full of restaurants, stores and cafes. The main square, Markplatz, is a cute place where to enjoy a good cup of coffee or a Rothhaus Pils, one of the most famous beers of Heidelberg.

  • River Neckar

Having a walk along the River Neckar is always a good idea to avoid the crowds and to re-discover Heidelberg. The view from this side of the river is really cute and, if the weather is good, this area of the city is the best place for a picnic.

  • Alte Brucke

The Alte Brucke (Old Bridge) can be discover after passing through a remarkable medieval gate. The bridge dates from the 18th century and it is the most visited bridge of the city.

Düsseldorf

And last but not least, the beautiful city of Düsseldorf.

The capital of the NRW (North Rhine-Westphalia) Region reflects the development that this area of Germany suffered some years ago.

The old industrial city of Düsseldorf led to a modern, cosmopolitan city, centre of fashion, glamour and international businesses. Known as the german city of fashion, Düsseldorf has the honor to have been ranked as the 6th world´s best city to live in beyond other important cities such as Frankfurt or Berlin.

What to visit in Düsseldorf?

  • Mediahafen

To understand the transformation suffered by this remarkable city it is important to have a walk around its “Mediahafen”. The old port was rebuilt into a modern area full of international business, restaurants and hotels. Frank Gehry, in charge of this transformation, built the most emblematic buildings of this area.

  • Altstadt

The old town is the core of the city. Full of narrow, car-free streets is the best place to discover the ancient Düsseldorf.

  • Königsalle

Ready to have a walk surrounded by the best fashion firms of the world? Just visit the Königsalle.

Special tips:

  1. From the Rheinturm the visitor can enjoy a strinkingly view of the city
  2. Benrath Schloss (the palace of Benrath), located 15 minutes away from the oldtown by subway, has beautiful gardens and tasty home made cakes
  3. Bilk is the best area to enjoy a good meal under the sun
  4. Stadttmite is the place-to-be for sushi and japanese-culture lovers (more than 10.000 Japanese live in Düsseldorf, the largest community in Europe)
  5. An “altbier” tour should be compulsory ;). Do not forget to try the traditional Düsseldorf Beer!

Have you ever been to Germany? Which are your favourite places? Share your thoughts!! 🙂 

Five things to do in Šibenik

 

five things to do in sibenik

If you plan to visit Croatia you should add the town of Šibenik to your bucket list.

Its increasing popularity among tourists is understandable since this small coastal city has endure the test of time remaining as special as ever. But what makes this city so different? For one, the fact that Šibenik is the only dalmatian city built by Croats (cities such as Split or Dubrovnik were founded by different cultures). Second, its ancient monuments, fortress and cathedrals, all of them made of stone.

Still curious about Šibenik? Let´s find out then what to visit in Šibenik:

1. Cathedral of St. James

This UNESCO Heritage cathedral is the number on attraction in Šibenik. This magnificent monument was built  in the 15th and 16th centuries and can be said to be the only cathedral in Europe constructed only with stone.

Although the original dome was damaged by Serbian forces when the city was shelled in 1991, it was quickly repaired providing the cathedral with its original magnificent aspect.

The Cathedral of St. James (listed on the UNESCO World Heritage since 2000) is considered the most important Renaissance building in Croatia.

The ticket to visit this splendid building costs around 15kn (2€)

things to do in Sibenik

2. Šibenik City Hall

A strikingly building situated on the medieval Square of the city.

The City Hall of Šibenik was built between 1533 and 1546. Although it was destroyed in December 1943 during the attack of the allied forces, it was rebuilt to look exactly like it did before the war.

On the ground floor is located a nice restaurant with a wonderful terrace where to taste some croatian food.

untitled-design-8

3. Old Town

The Old Town of Šibenik is a medieval car-free city made up of narrow streets.

The beauty of this city lies in its ancient buildings and churches, some of which are still marked by the signs of the balkan war, and the hidden hideouts the visitor can find while walking around the old town.

The cobbled streets connect all these historical buildings. Sometimes the narrow streets pass underneath an arch, other times, the visitor have to pass through a tunnel which leads to a narrower street where stands, for example, a small sanctuary. But that is the magic of a place which was built on a rocky coastal area.

five things to do in Sibenik

4. Fortress of Šibenik

Šibenik  had such a strategic position in the Adriatic Sea that the city has been always desired by all the Mediterranean powers. However, croatians anticipated that and erected a couple of fortresses which have been an underused tourist attraction. An ambitious program of restoration is already beginning to return the four fortresses of Šibenik its ancient splendor.

The four for Šibenik are:

1. St. Michel´s Fortress: The first fortress of the city was built on the 11th century under the reign of King Petar Krešimir IV, considered the founding father of the city. 

2. Barone Fortress: Built in the 17th century to protect the city from the Candia Wars.

3. St. John Fortress: Also built in the 17th century but more popular than the previous fortress since it was used as set of Game of Thrones in 2014.

4. St.Nicholas´ Fortress: The most beautiful fortress due to its privilege location. This fortress stands at the entrance of the St. Anthony Channel.

things to do in sibenik

 

5. The port of Šibenik

To have a walk outside the old town allows the visitor to enjoy different parts of the city such as the medieval mediterranean garden or Šibenik harbour.

From the ancient port of Šibenik not only the view of the city is remarkable, but it is easy to travel to other dalmatian cities such as Primosten (read more about this city here) or to navigate to the impressive Krka National Park (more information about this spectacular place here).

five things to do in sibenik

Now it is your turn; have you ever been to Šibenik? Did you like it? Which monument did you like the most? What would you recommend to visit in Šibenik? Feel free to share your experience! 

Primosten

 

Primosten

Primosten is ranked as one of the most picturesque small town in the Adriatic due to its remarkable beaches and its old town, which is located on a small island connected to the mainland by a mound. This ancient place is located only 36 km from Krka National Park (if you want to find out more about this remarkable park click here) and 26 km from Sibenik (new post coming soon! ;)), and it is easily accessible by car.

Although the overcast sky threatened storm we remained firm in our half day excursion and we visited some historical sites such as St. Juraj church (located on the highest point of the island and built in 1485) and St. Roko chapel (a valuable cultural monument built in 1680). From my point of view the most amazing spot was the graveyard which encloses the St.Juraj church, from where the visitor can enjoy a striking view of the open sea.

Primosten

During the summer months many festivities take place in Primosten such as folk music evenings and fishing nights, although the most know is the traditional donkey race (the race of these charming animals is an annual tradition which attract thousand of visitors every year). Furthermore, the port of Primosten hosts many sport and recreation activities such as jet-ski, water sports and beach volley.

Primosten
St. Juraj church

Despite the cloudy sky and the shower that welcomed us at the beginning of our trip, the sun started to shine the moment we descended the narrow slopes of the old town. Therefore the moment we reached the sandy beach of Primosten we could contemplate the calm Adriatic sea, enjoy a nice walk around the town wall and choose a nice restaurant to try some local dishes.

Primosten

If you also want to enjoy a good meal and become acquainted with the local gastronomy I recommend you to visit the “Marina” restaurant (more information here). The place is located in front of a small beach and they serve home made regional food (Tip: The mussels were really tasty).

Before leaving Primosten we could not resist to stop at the top of a mountain nearby the national road to capture this beautiful moment

Primosten

Have you ever been to Primosten? What did you like the most? Share your comments! 

 

 

Krka National Park

Krka

During our trip in Croatia we had the opportunity to visit the National Park of Krka. Located 90 km far from Split.

The Krka National Park is one of the most beautiful natural spots in Croatia.

Our minds changed the moment we started our hike

Arriving to the park was not as astonishing as we thought because it looked as a common natural park that you can easily find in any other country.

After paying 110 Kn per person (around 14€ /16$) we were allowed to enter into the National Park and to take the free bus to go down hills. We were a bit disappointed since we were expecting something more “wild” (more natural) from the very beginning.

However, our minds changed the moment we started our hike. Instead of taking the bus we decided to descend the green hills of Krka walking down a natural narrow path from where we could enjoy an amazing landscape.

Krka

National Park Krka

 

Once we arrived to the end of the path we reached a tourist area. From there you can choose two different ways:

  1. Krka National Park by walk
  2. Scradinski Waterfall and Ferrys

Krka

 

Krka National Park by walk

Following the main trail of the park the visitor can enjoy a nice walk surrounded by nature.

By choosing that option we learnt more about the national flora and fauna while passing through natural caves and waterfalls. Once we reached a high vantage point we enjoyed the wonderful view of the famous Scradinski Waterfall.

Down there, it is located a footbridge that cross the lake allowing the visitor to appreciate the immensity of nature. Furthermore, it is allow to have a swim in the lake to enjoy its pure fresh water.

National Park Krka

Krka

Following the trail we reached the previously mentioned lake. After a nice bath in its transparent water we had a break laying down on the green grass.

As we wanted something more exotic we decided to walk around until we found a nature path which we decided to follow. Since it was not so touristic we could enjoy the essence of the nature and the incomparable views of the  Krka forest.

Krka

 

Scradinski Waterfall and Ferrys

If you prefer to enjoy the nature of the National Park without wasting corporal energy I recommend you to take the ferry that sails across the blue river of Krka.

Here you can find more information about the natural and cultural heritage of Krka, the National Park´s price list and more.

Do not miss the chance to buy some traditional products

At the end of the path we found some antique traditional houses, rebuilt into souvenir stores, where we stopped by to find some presents for our friends. However, the most special products we bought were some traditional delicatessen made by locals; honey, oil, compote… Tasty and healthy products that I highly recommend you to buy if you ever  want to try real croatian foodstuff.

To finish the tour we decided to take the bus which drove us back to the main entrance of the park, where our rented car was waiting for us to keep discovering Croatia.

Your turn: Have you ever been in Krka? Did you like it? Share your experience!

 

Crete in 5 days (Chapter I)

 

We needed some holidays so we decided to visit Crete; the biggest greek island located in the mediterranean sea at the same distance from the three continents (Africa, Asia and Europe).

We loved it!

Therefore we would like to share our trip experience with you and, furthermore, give you a couple of tips to visit Crete.

Rethymnon

The third most important city of Crete and our first stop. Actually it was a good idea to start our trip in Rethymnon.

This small city is as charming as its people. Walking among its ancient streets we discovered historical remains located close to modern stores and restaurants ready to welcome the tourists. Do not miss the chance to have a walk around the Venetian Fortezza.

Rimondi Fountain

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Venetian Fortezza

Chania

It is the second most important city of Crete and our second stops. Throughout history many different cultures settled in it, leaving their trace in the architecture of the city.

The prettiest part of the city is the old town, surrounded by an ancient wall. Walking among it narrow streets and contemplating its pastel-colored houses we arrived to the port, where we enjoyed a beautiful view.

But walking around the city was not our only plan. We wanted to try the greek food (tzatziki, greek salat, greek yogurt…). That is the reason why we went to some typical greek restaurants:

To Patriko

We have no words! We enjoyed real home made greek food. The food was delicious! The waitress was delightful, she also taught us some greek words! We highly recommend it!

Address: Panou Korounaiou 25, Rethymnon

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Ta chalkina

Charming place located at the end of Chania´s port. Known due to its greek music concerts this restaurant offers a selection of greek dishes. Do not forget to try its champignons! Amazing!

Address:  Akti Tompazi, Chania

(The restaurants were recommended to us by an expat friend with greek family)

After enjoying such a tasty food we would recommend you to relax and have a rest.

What do you like more, beach or mountain?

In Crete you can easily relax yourself in both of them. In the way between Chania and Rethymnon there are some known beaches where to lay down and have a rest.

In Daratsos beach, located in front of our hotel, we enjoyed one of the most beautiful sunsets that we have ever seen.

Although we were excited about going to the beach (yes, in Germany we do not have so many of them) we could not resist to get lost among the mountains of Crete. Therefore we rented a car and we travelled from Chania to Paliochora among extraordinary landscapes where we had the opportunity to make some unexpected new friends on our way.

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But that´s another story.

Have you ever been in Crete? Which are you favorite places in Chania? Share them with us!

 

* If you want to know more about Crete follow our “Secrets of Crete” section in Facebook and do not miss our next posts (Crete Part II & Part III)!! Stay stunned!

Crete in 5 days (Chapter III)

Since we came back from Crete we cannot stop thinking about its food, its people, its landscape, our new friends “the goats”, its exotics beaches…

Elafonisi

Finally we found a crystalline water beach!!.

Elafonisi is located in the south-east of the island and we really recommend you to spend one day enjoying this amazing place.

An odd thing about this beach is its sand. If you look at it you will realize that it has a rosy color (although we did our best it is difficult to appreciate it in the picture). Do not miss the chance to enjoy this unique place!

Stavromenos

 

Stavromenos is a touristic place full of apartments and semi-rocky beaches where to enjoy the view and some typical local food.

Here we enjoyed a couple of days. We were just relaxed, we swam in the mediterranean sea and we tried all the regional food and wine that our stomach could assimilate.

Where to eat?

Taverna Eleven is a nice and familiar restaurant located at the beach.

Its menu is narrower as those that you can find in other restaurants because they use local products and fresh fish of the day. We recommend you to try the local wine the serve, tasty! and to enjoy the sunset while having dinner on the terrace.

Heraklion

To finish our trip (and because our flight had some hours delay) we decided to visit Heraklion, a city built 2500 years ago and used as a port city then.

In Heraklion we could find ancient monuments like the Morosini fountain (year 1720) and the actual city hall (date from that time) in the middle of modern streets full of fashion stores.

City hall

After those 5 days we fell in love with his island. We recommend you to discover and to enjoy it! If you want more tips about Crete contact us!! We are really happy to give you some tips!

If you want to know where to sleep in Crete check our facebook, more ideas coming soon! Stay tuned!

 

See you soon Crete!

 

*Check my other posts related to this trip to find out more amazing spots: Crete in 5 days (Part I) & Crete in 5 days (Part II) (Press on the name to discover more)

Creta en 5 días (Parte II)

La idea inicial era bajar al sur visitando distintas playas por el camino. Así que ahí fuimos. Nos montamos en el coche y empezamos nuestro viaje.

Las primeras primeras paradas fueron en pequeñas playas que nos íbamos encontrando por el camino. No recordamos ni los nombres. Según las veíamos ahí que íbamos a ver si eran interesantes.

Nuestra primera gran parada fue Falasarna (playa de la que muchos de vosotros ya habréis oído hablar). Sinceramente nos decepcionó un poco. Esperábamos encontrarnos con una playa de aguas cristalinas y arena blanca pero no sabíamos que para eso aún teníamos que esperar un día más. Sin embargo, decidimos tomar un café en el chiringuito situado junto a la playa antes de continuar nuestro viaje.

Nuestra segunda parada fue en algún punto de la montaña. Conduciendo pasamos por diversos pueblos y pudimos comprar miel a pequeños productores que la vendían a pie de carretera.

A 1600 metros de altura todo era diferente. Las montañas eran verdes y estaban llenas de flores. La carretera era… Bueno, digamos que era un camino de piedras donde cabía un coche solamente y donde había que estar siempre atento por si las cabras se asomaban a saludar (Eso sí, muy educadamente, una vez que ellas querían podías continuar tu camino). El clima también era diferente. Cada 40 kilómetros las condiciones climatológicas cambiaban. Tan pronto pasábamos del sol y el calor tan característico de esta isla como llovía y conducíamos entre la niebla. ¡Un paisaje digno de disfrutar!

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Tras unas horas llegamos a nuestro destino (y última parada): Paleochora. Una pequeña ciudad situada al sureste de Creta.

Paleochora es un lugar con encanto. Situada al pie de la montaña esta ciudad cuenta con playas tranquilas, calles por las que perderse y un precioso puerto. Una característica peculiar de este lugar son sus casas de colores. No os las podéis perder!

Dónde comer?

En la calle Epar.Od se sitúan los mejores restaurantes de comida griega de la ciudad. No perdáis la oportunidad de cenar en una de sus terrazas mientras disfrutáis del anochecer.

Restaurante donde cenamos. Si os gusta el pescado no os perdáis el emperador, delicioso!!



Y tras 24 horas tumbados a la bartola en la relajante playa situada frente a nuestro hotel, llegó la hora de volver a cruzar la montaña en busca de más playas donde detenernos en nuestro camino al norte.

                                         
Esta vez si encontramos una playa paradisiaca con aguas cristalinas. Pero mejor dejamos el final de nuestro viaje para otro día.

Mientras tanto podéis seguir nuestro diario de viaje  y re-leer el primer capitulo de este post series aquí para conocer más cosas sobre la increíble Creta y su gente.
Y vosotros, habéis visitado Paleochora? Conocíais Falasarna? Qué os pareció? Contadnos vuestras impresiones!