Situated on the Rhône and Saône rivers, Lyon is a picturesque French town located in Central Eastern France. Lyon is the capital of the France’s Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region and it is the third largest town in France. Modern day Lyon attractions are its food, light festival and industry, however it is a city where old meets new and as you wander through the tree lined streets, you'll feel the history that resonates through this beautiful city.
When you think of France, the Roman Empire and Roman ruins don't immediately come to mind. They're saved for the greats like Rome or England yet Lyon has it's own well preserved Roman amphitheatre and some of the best Roman ruins in France located in its museum. Lyon is in fact and ancient Roman settlement, steeped in history beyond what you find in its paved streets, you just need to take the funicular up the hill and head to it's open air museum.
Located in the Andalusia region of Spain, Granada is the capital city of the province of Granada. With a colourful history that includes being ruled by the Moors, Muslims and Christians, it is an area with a rich mix of culture and architecture.
Granada is a hub of Spanish- Islamic art, in particular Alhambra, Generalife and Albayzin, It is also a city that boasts many parks and gardens. It is a spectacular area to visit on its own, or as a day trip from Seville.
Weather wise, its winters are cool but comfortable, with an average temperature of 12.6°C (55°F). Summers are hot and dry with an average temperature of 34°C (93.2°F) in its hottest month, July, however temperatures often soar above 40°C (104°). Autumn and Summer in Granada are quite variable, with the temperatures ranging from cool to quite warm.
If you've not been to Rome yet, then you may already feel like you have been. It is such a popular city and has been documented widely on the internet. I would say it is one of the most Instagrammable city in Italy. Before we visited we knew of all of the major sites. The Trevi Fountain, the Spanish Steps, the city is packed with iconic landmarks. Some people sigh and think 'ahh Rome it is soooo touristy'. Well, yes and no.
Firstly, you need to be selective about the time of year you visit. We recommend mid Autumn and Spring. Winter is too cold and Summer, well, good luck with the crowds! Secondly, it helps to have a local to show you around. Wait, you don't have one of those? Well you're lucky because we did and we're about to show you how to visit Rome with a local.
Located in the Mediterranean just south of Sicily. Its capital Valletta is located on the largest island Malta, with the smaller islands Gozo and Camino also forming part of the archipelago that is collectively known as 'Malta'.
Geographically Malta is situated in a key position between East and West and over the years has been occupied by Greeks, Phonecians, Carthaginians, Romans, Arabs, Normans and then finally, by invitation, the Brits before they gained their independence on the 21st of September 1964.
A rich cultural history has contributed significantly to the architecture, language and culture, making Malta both a unique and attractive destination. Its language is partly Arabic, partly Sicilian and partly English, so don't be surprised if somethings look or sound a little familiar.
There are many great places to visit in Malta, despite its compact size. It truly is the gem of the Mediterranean. Should you visit Malta? Yes you should and these just 10 of the reasons why.
The concept of weekending in Europe was an exciting and foreign one to us Aussies. At a stretch we may 'long weekend' in New Zealand or a Pacific Island, but it is near impossible to travel any further than Australia within the confines of a weekend.
Due to conflicting holiday schedules (me, the teacher have 13 weeks a year, and the husband, a consultant having 4 weeks a year), weekending in Europe was not only going to be exciting, but a necessary way for us to travel during our time in the UK.
Whilst we had grandiose ideas of flitting off every weekend (and believe me in the first year we hit the travel hard!) we learned some rules early on to ensure that we could weekend away without being completely ruined come Monday morning.
Read on and I will share them with you.
When it comes to exploring Europe, I'm not all that keen on the idea of driving around on my own on the wrong side of the road. I can't even imagine how I'd tackle a roundabout without having a head on collision, so for me, its either public transport, flying or a tour. "Why don't you just travel with a friend?" you say. Well, thing is, I am living in the UK with my husband and nearly all of our friends are back home in Australia. As a teacher I have 13 weeks leave a year and he has 4 1/2, so in my case, its either head out solo, or spend holidays back in the UK in our flat. I know what I'd rather do.
I had heard mixed reviews about Gibraltar, but something inside of me desired to see 'The Rock'. I decided to base myself in Seville for 4 days in order to explore the Moorish architecture and history of the south whilst being able to take in The Alhambra, the Seville Alcazar and of course Gibraltar.
Being an Australian, I am used to driving on the opposite side of the road and would surely cause an accident if I were to drive in Europe. This being said I decided that I would navigate Seville on foot and take day tours to The Alhambra and Gibraltar. Whilst this was the most practical option for me, it resulted in me nearly missing the chance to see Gibraltar. At 9:30 the night before my tour was due to depart, my tour guide called to cancel. I expressed my annoyance at the extremely late notice and luckily, for quite a few Euros more, the guide managed to find a driver to take me on a personal tour.
Slightly poorer, but happy, I was picked up in a new BMW by a driver who spoke as much English as I speak Spanish. We communicated through hand signals and the odd word translated on Google. Located around 2.5 hours south west of Seville, it is a comfortable and scenically pretty drive on the highway.
So Why Visit Sintra?
When it comes to picking destinations, I often select a location because I have been given positive recommendations or I have been inspired by images online or on the TV. In some cases this has left me underwhelmed. This was not true in the case of Sintra.
I had window shopped Sintra on Pinterest. I initially thought Sintra was a only castle, in particular a castle with a really cool well that you could walk down. It turns out that Sintra is a town in the region of Greater Lisboa, Portugal. I also discovered that the few hours I had there weren't nearly enough.
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