Barcelona - Girlglobalising

Barcelona - Girlglobalising

Barcelona - Girlglobalising

Considering how much I love Barcelona, I’ve never actually made a city guide for the wonderful place. Back in 2014 I spent a few weeks there on a work placement and during that time I really got to grips with the city. There’s so much to fill your time with and coupled with an amazing laid back atmosphere it really is the perfect city break destination.

And I do 100% see Barcelona as a city destination rather than a beach destination. Yes, it’s right on the beach and that only adds more value to the place, but it’s definitely not somewhere I would go for a beach holiday.

Barcelona - Girlglobalising

Barcelona - Girlglobalising

Where to stay: 

I’ve stayed in a few places in Barcelona, first the H10 hotel just off Plaça Catalunya, which is a very nice hotel, but worth noting that while it has a very lovely roof terrace it doesn’t have a swimming pool.

On this most recent trip we stayed in the Sunotel in L’Eixample which was also a very good option. It has a nice little pool on the roof and is perfectly positioned for exploring the city.

I have also stayed in an apartment in the Gracia neighbourhood, which is well known for being one of the nicest neighbourhoods in Barcelona. Have a look on Airbnb and I’m sure you’ll find a gem. Maybe even try and time it with the Festa de Gracia in August and it’ll really add to your Catalonian experience.

Barcelona - Girlglobalising

Barcelona - Girlglobalising

What to do:

There’s so much to do in Barcelona! We were only there for two days, so minus time for sleeping it was about 24 hours of exploring the city. I would recommend wandering around the Gothic Quarter and El Born areas. These are essentially the old town and are full of winding narrow streets with cobble stones and beautiful buildings to admire. You’ll also find the cathedral here and the Picasso museum which is a really great little museum and a haven from the heat. From here you could head over the La Boqueria, the infamous market on Las Ramblas. Yes it’s very touristy, but it’s also still frequented by locals and well worth a quick visit.

Barcelona is famous for it’s Guadi architecture and by all means visit one of the Guadi houses, they’re very interesting but my favourite bit of Guadi’s handiwork is Park Guell. In the north of the city looking out over the rooftops you’ll find the park of all parks. The curving tiled seat, the pillars and domed roof, the mosaic lizard are all features as well as the amazing view all the way down to the sea. It does cost to get in now, but I think it’s only about 6 euros, or you can go early in the morning (before 8am) for free and you also won’t have to battle all the other tourists.

The olympic swimming pool on Montjuic is my favourite pool ever. It’s about 6 euros to get in but that ticket will last you all day if you fancy it. It’s not chlorinated water and it’s frequented mainly by locals so not completely packed out, even on a Saturday afternoon. It looks a little run down, but don’t let that put you off. The water is clean and fresh, plus you get one of the best views across the city from there.

Barcelona - Girlglobalising

Barcelona - Girlglobalising

Where to eat and shop: 

In Barcelona I find it quite hard to find anything other than tapas on the menu. The advice I will give you is to head out of the city center, and definitely away from Las Ramblas, to find a smaller family run restaurant where you’re guaranteed to find a more authentic meal. A lovely place to visit is El Nacional, which is quite central and it’s description of a ‘food court’ doesn’t do it any favours, but trust me it’s well worth a visit. Previously it was a car park, but it’s been transformed into the most amazing building. You will have to queue but you can get a drink from the bar while you do so. For something a little different I have heard that Mosquito is good for Asian inspired tapas.

For brunch and lunch there are a few good recommendations in Brunch and Cake and Flax & Kale. For great coffee head to Satan’s Coffee Corner and Nomad Coffee Lab. And basically anywhere in El Ravel, which is the student area and basically over run with hipsters now.

I have heard really great things about the El Poble-Sec and Sant Antoni neighbourhoods. They are emerging as more affordable places for professionals, so currently they are a great mix of coffee shops, boutiques as well as family run places and old Barcelonians.

Barcelona - Girlglobalising

Barcelona - Girlglobalising

 

Bath - Girlglobalising

The small town of Bath makes the perfect day out. There’s plenty of culture, museums and galleries, but also plenty more to entertain yourself with.

This is a very mini guide to Bath, because we only managed to get a few hours in on this particular day – by the time we had battled the Saturday traffic and before the heavens opened, but there a few good things to tick off the list.

Bath Abbey is always a gorgeous place to start. Stroll up the highstreet and wander into the Abbey square and marvel at the size and decorative exterior. You can also pop inside to have a look around, always a welcome idea if you’re exploring on a hot day.

Wander over the the Pulteney bridge and pop in and out of the little shops. It’s not dissimilar the the Ponte Vecchio bridge in Florence – just lacking in the jewellery shops displaying all their diamonds!

Bath - Girlglobalising

Just the other side of the Pulteney bridge is Found, a wonderful independent lifestyle shop offering clothes, homeware, independent magazines and fancy chocolates. Even if you don’t walk away with something then definitely check out their beautiful Instagram.

Magalleria is also an amazing little find if your looking for a unique magazine. They stock anything and everything.

Bath - Girlglobalising

Start the climb up Walcot Street and admire the Georgian architecture along the way. Bath is famed for it after all. Pop into the vintage shops and find yourself a one-off piece.

Bath - Girlglobalising

If the hanger can no longer be kept at bay then I recommend stopping at Sam’s Kitchen for lunch and sit outside if you can and the weather allows. Take your new reading material with you and stop for a while.

Bath - Girlglobalising

Continue your march up Walcot Street, but be sure to stop in at Graham and Green. Snoop around and put together a wishlist for your dream house. I dare you not to want everything.

Bath - Girlglobalising

If that’s not enough homeware for you then head over to HAY when you get a chance. One of the very few stores we have in the UK so well worth making the trip. I mean, look at the ombre cushion display.

Bath - Girlglobalising

Slightly further up the street you’ll find Didi’s Cakes. Didi’s has made quite the reputation for themselves recently and it can only be down to their wonderful display of cakes. Cupcakes in every flavour, loaf cakes, or even a croquembouche!

Your final stop on Walcot Street is slightly further up, and trust me it’s worth all the hill climbing. Meticulous Ink is a traditional printers and stationary shop offering only the finest items. They offer a design service, or just pop in and find yourself something pretty.

Bath - Girlglobalising

I think a well deserved cool down is on the cards after all that climbing, so head downhill to Kingsmead Square. Swoon Gelato is it’s newest resident and having visited the Bristol branch more often than I should be admitting, then I can highly recommend it.

It’s just what you need after a day of exploring.

Amsterdam City Guide - Girlglobalising

Amsterdam City Guide - Girlglobalising

Amsterdam City Guide - Girlglobalising

I warn you now, this is a lengthy post. I didn’t think I had taken that many photos in Amsterdam, but then I started looking through them and realised I wanted to share every single one of them. Call it a testament to such a wonderful city. I’ve got lots of places to share with you, including where to stay, museums to see, places to shop – the list goes on.

Amsterdam City Guide - Girlglobalising

Amsterdam City Guide - Girlglobalising

Amsterdam City Guide - Girlglobalising

I mentioned in my previous post that Amsterdam, although known for it’s beautiful old town, canals and picturesque dutch buildings, it also has some very interesting architecture as well.

Nemo is a great example of this. The science centre located on the water front by the central station is a crazy building that looks a bit like a ship. We didn’t go in the centre itself, but you can walk up the steps to the terrace at the entrance of the building and it’s one of the only places to get a high up view to this ever-so flat city. Since we managed to catch such good weather, we sat and had an ice coffee on the terrace – a very pleasant way to start the day.

Amsterdam City Guide - Girlglobalising

Right next to Nemo, just over the bridge is the central library. This is a pretty cool building and certainly not like any stuffy old libraries that you might have been too as a child. Have a wander around and make sure you stop by the restaurant on the top floor. This was probably one of the best lunches we had and they’ve got everything from a salad bar, to a freshly made pizza bar to smoothies.

Amsterdam City Guide - Girlglobalising

Amsterdam City Guide - Girlglobalising

We stayed in the Hotel V Fredrichsplein, that’s just on the edge of the De Pijp neighbourhood. It’s about a 15 minute walk from the very centre and is the ideal location for being central, but staying slightly out of the hustle and bustle that comes with any capital city.

I can’t recommend the hotel enough. The staff were lovely and so helpful, the breakfast was just what you need before a day of exploring and the lobby and bar are great for an early evening relaxing drink. Plus they do 2-4-1 cocktails between 5 – 6pm. If there’s something I love more than cocktails then it’s buy one get one free cocktails!

I’ve also heard great things about the Hoxton Hotel and the No 377 House Hotel, both look as beautiful and Instagram worthy as the Hotel V.

Amsterdam City Guide - Girlglobalising

Amsterdam City Guide - Girlglobalising

Amsterdam City Guide - Girlglobalising

There are plenty of things to do in Amsterdam apart from endless wandering of the beautiful canals. The museum square has plenty to keep you occupied for more than a morning. We chose the Rijksmuseum as our choice, which has a whole mixture of collections including a bit of Van Gogh and the dreamiest of libraries.

Right next door is the Van Gogh museum which I will definitely pay a visit to another time, and the Stedelijk museum as well.

From there you can head to Vondlepark, which is lovely for a stroll around in the sunshine. Bloemenmarkt, the famous floating flower market, is well worth a little wander round, particularly in tulip season.

Amsterdam City Guide - Girlglobalising

Amsterdam City Guide - Girlglobalising

You can’t visit Amsterdam without trying a piece of Danish Apple cake, which we enjoyed it as a little afternoon pick-me-up on the first day. It has an almost sponge-like pastry base that is amazing – I have to find a recipe and recreate it at home.

A canal boat trip is quite a touristy thing to do, but I have to say it was a highlight for me. Cruising along the water in the sunshine, hopping off when something caught our eye and we wanted to go exploring. There are only two companies that run the boat tours in the city, and they are both priced pretty much the same. So take your pick, catch a boat and enjoy the waters of Amsterdam.

Amsterdam City Guide - Girlglobalising

Amsterdam City Guide - Girlglobalising

Amsterdam City Guide - Girlglobalising

There are some great places to shop in Amsterdam, and although the exchange rate is not that great at the moment there’s still a lot of window shopping that can be done. A few highlights were Things I Like, Things I Love, and the Concrete Mans Supply Store next door. Anna + Nina is a very popular jewellery store in the city, full of beautiful things. A wander around the Jordaan neighbourhood will take you past loads of interesting independent shops, including some great vintage choices.

For places to eat I always recommend getting out of the very centre and about ten minutes walk south of the centre will take you to Utrechtsestraat, a road full of independent shops, bars and restaurants. Bar Moustache is a great little Italian place that was a big hit from the whole trip. Pata Negra, just opposite is a tapas place that was busy every single night and Meat and Greek looked like a fab take away option. For more food options I highly recommend Carrie’s Amsterdam city guide – full of lots of amazing recommendations.

Amsterdam City Guide - Girlglobalising

Visiting Amsterdam was an absolute delight and I can’t wait to visit again in the future. Although it’s a small city there’s plenty to fill your time. And of course there’s always the option of taking a day trip to the coast or to The Hague. There’s always more to see.

xx

Rockafeller Center - NYC - Girlglobalising

NYC street - Girlglobalising

Writing a city guide for a place like New York is quite the feat. With a city so large and with so many different things to see, there is simply no way you can cover all the bases.

As this was both mine and Dom’s second trip to the city we decided to take things at a leisurely pace, ticking things off as we hopped between coffee shops and walks in the park. Since we were there for a good five days instead of our usual long weekend adventures we managed to see all the things we wanted and not be completely frazzled by the end of a day in the city.

NYC Night - Girlglobalising

Grand Central - NYC - Girlglobalising

Here are a few things I would highly recommend if you’re visiting NYC sometime soon.

Where to stay:

We had a little hiccup with our  Airbnb on this trip, so much so that we didn’t stay for the whole trip and decided to move to a hotel. I have since heard that Airbnb is now illegal in NYC and so for the first time ever on Girlglobalising I’m not going to recommend using it for your trip.

Hotels don’t come cheap in the city so shop around as much as you can to find a good deal. We almost opted for the Hudson Hotel which looked fairly reasonable (price wise) and very nice (interiors wise). We ended up in the Nu Hotel across the river in Brooklyn which has to be one of the nicest, most stylish hotels I’ve stayed in. After the debacle with our Airbnb it definitely turned our trip around once we were settled there.

NYC - Autumn - Girlglobalising

Twin Towers Memorial - NYC - Girlglobalising

Twin Towers Memorial - NYC - Girlglobalising

What to do: 

There doesn’t really need to be a list of what to do in NYC – I’m sure everyone has things they want to tick off their bucket list and don’t need me repeating myself over here. So I will give a brief overview of the things we did that are slightly less obvious than Liberty Island and the Empire State.

The High Line – This is one of my favourite things from our trip. The old highrise train line has been converted into a walkway and garden passing right down through Manhattan and ending in the Meatpacking District. A lovely way to see the city from a different angle and an unexpected garden in the concrete jungle.  And completely free of charge.

Central Park – A slightly more obvious choice, but I missed out on this on my first visit to the city, so made up for it this time. Enter in the bottom corner of the Upper East side and follow the park round to the Boating Lake for the express tour of the park. It was absolutely beautiful in the Autumn and clearly a favourite for all the couples having engagement photos taken. Also free of charge.

American Museum of Natural History – One for a rainy day. A huge museum that takes a while to get around, but have some great exhibitions, particularly the Mammals sections and the Gems and Minerals section. A bit pricey at $22 but the price is optional and you can pay less if you choose.

MOMA – The Museum of Modern Art is a popular choice again and one that we didn’t actually make it to. A top tip is to go on Friday between 4 – 8pm when entrance is completely free of charge. Make sure you don’t have a backpack though, as the queue to check it will be very long and this was our downfall on our trip.

Soho and Greenwich Village – Two places to just wander around and take in the sights and sounds of NYC. Not too far is West Village as well, perfect for a leisurely day of shopping!

Brooklyn Bridge – Heading across the water I highly recommend taking a scroll across the Brooklyn Bridge to take in the skyline of the financial district. Time it either in the early morning or at dusk as the sun is setting to make the most of the photo opportunities.

Brooklyn and Williamsburg – Explore the quieter side of NYC – as quiet as it gets anyway! Wander around the unique independent shops and maybe head to a flea market. We went to Brooklyn Flea which is hosted in an old bank and is worth it just to take in the setting.

Brooklyn Brewery – Another Brooklyn based attraction. The Brewery offer many tours to learn how the popular beer is produced, but if you head there between 12-6pm on a Saturday then it’s completely free. Be prepared to queue for a little bit though.

Sprinkles Cupcake ATM – Worth it for the Instagram opportunity, but that cake is pretty tasty too. It only takes card, but the shop just next to it will take cash.

NYC Night - Girlglobalising

NYC - French Toast - Girlglobalising

What to eat:

It’s hard to pinpoint good places to eat in a city so big and varied as NYC. But I have a few suggestions, mainly brunch, lunch and snack places but they’re everyone’s favourites, right?

Dough Donuts – Literally the size of your face. They come in all the flavours under the sun and you may be best to share these (only if you want to though…)

Jack’s Wife Frieda – A hugely popular choice, so much so that we couldn’t get a table. But everyone must go there for a reason, so try and squeeze in if you can.

Blue Stone Coffee –  Where we actually ended up after the Jack’s Wife Frieda debacle. We had massive chicken club sandwiches and coffee, so nothing bad to say here.

Stumptown Coffee Roasters – Found hidden away in Greenwich village, Stumptown came to the rescue when we were looking for somewhere to hide from the rain. Very nice coffee indeed.

Brooklyn Heights Cafe – In Brooklyn (duh) serving everything from burgers, to salads, to seafood and in very atmospheric surroundings. Make sure to wander down to the river front afterwards.

The Butchers Daughter – A recommendation you will have no doubt seen on Instagram. We popped in for breakfast on the first morning and had soft boiled eggs and coffee, but they also had some very nice (and healthy) looking juices.

Other places that we didn’t make it too but were noted on my list – Egg Shop, Buvette, Black Seed Bagels, By Chloe, Cafe Henrie, Meatball Shop, Union Fare.

NYC - Autumn - Girlglobalising

Central Park - NYC - Girlglobalising

Central Park - NYC - Girlglobalising

I think this may be the lengthiest of my city guides so far! But there is just so much to see and do in NYC that it was never going to be a short post. Feel free to add any more recommendations in the comments, in case anyone is heading off there soon – and for my next trip too!

Dom John - NYC - Girlglobalising

Rockefeller - NYC - Girlglobalising

Rockefeller - NYC - Girlglobalising

Copenhagen

Copenhagen bikes

Dom portrait

From the way things are going at the moment, weather-wise at least, I think I’ve already had my summer. It was so gloriously warm and sunny in Copenhagen and since then it’s been dreary, rainy and cold. As has become the norm when I visit a new place, I have put together a small city guide of things to do and see, where to stay, shop and what to eat.

I made the point in my Mini visual diary of Copenhagen that it is expensive there. This could probably do with clearing up a bit, as it’s not all out extortionate, where you don’t really want to hand over your money, but everything is about £3-4 more expensive than you’re used to paying. While it didn’t hold us back from doing the things we had planned, it did throw up a few obstacles, especially when it came to dinners. It is also worth noting that it was incredibly cheap to get there (£30 return from Luton!) and we also chose a very reasonably priced Airbnb to stay in. So all in all it wasn’t as bank breaking as I always assumed Scandinavia to be. Now lets get on to the best stuff…

The Round tower, Copenhagen

The Round tower, Copenhagen

The Round tower, Copenhagen

Other than the odd tourist attraction and a few places I’d spotted on blogs and Instagram, I didn’t have a set plan of what to see and do in Copenhagen. We were more excited to just explore the city and with Copenhagen being one of the most stylish cities in the world, people watching was going to be at an all time high! A few things well worth the time are:

Nyhavn – The most iconic area of Copenhagen, surely? Sadly the colourful harbour side is now full of tourist-y restaurants and the odd erm, exotic dance club. But it’s a historic part of Copenhagen and free and you can still get a cracking photo.

The Little Mermaid – It’s been well accounted for that this monument, in honour of Hans Christian Anderson author of The Little Mermaid, is underwhelming to say the least. It’s far smaller than you would expect and if you’re staying in the centre it’s a bit of a trek out to see it. But again, it’s free (no complaints here) and is iconic to Copenhagen, so I feel it’s worth a visit.

The Design Museum – There are a number of museums in the city that took our fancy, but with a limited budget we decided just to pick one. The Design Museum is the most expensive thing we paid for but at 100 DKK (roughly £11) it was still worth the ticket. Housed in a beautiful old building, it has quite a large fashion section and huge collection of Danish design objects and furniture.

Freetown Christiania – I’m not sure how to approach this as a recommendation. It’s a really bloody odd part of Copenhagen to say the least! Established in 1971 by a group of hippies the green and car-free neighbourhood existed with it’s own set of rules for almost 40 years. Have a wander round to veiw the street art and weird-ness of the place, but it wasn’t my favourite area to hang around in.

The Round Tower – This was something I spotted on Instagram, when suddently it seemed like everyone was visiting the city. The tower used to mark the very centre of the city, which helped in the production of maps. It is a slopping tower, so it’s not stairs that you climb, but a nice gradual slope up to the top with fantastic veiws across the city.

The Little Mermaid, Copenhagen

Copenhagen bikes

Kaffe, Copenhagen

Nyhavn, Copenhagen

As with things to do in Copenhagen, I wasn’t really aware of what would be on offer, food-wise, in Denmark apart from a couple of giant Danish pastries of course! We were given some great recommendations before we left and a few from our Airbnb hosts as well.

Original Coffee – I think this is my favourite of the whole bunch. Not only because they do a really good latte, but also because they do two or three set breakfasts that are both tasty and insanely cost effective, especially compared to other restaurants in Copenhagen. Think soft boiled eggs with rye bread and cheese, plus a pot of natural yogurt with berry compote and granola, all for around £5-6. Bargain!

Proviant – Another great breakfast spot. Smaller than Original Coffee, but serving equally as tasty natural yogurt and granola. Dom went for the waffles topped with yogurt and fruit and I got slight order-envy about it.

Cafe Bopa/Cafe Pixie – Since we were staying in the Osterbro borough most of my recommendations are based in that are. Cafe Bopa and Cafe Pixie are two adorable little cafes open from breakfast to dinner. I recommend going for an early evening drink in the sun, but the burgers also looked pretty fab as well.

Papirøen/ Paper Island – I have more on this coming soon, but basically this is the best street food market I have ever been to. It’s also right by the water front, so what more could you ask for?

Meatpacking District – We made a bit of a mistake here by having a giant mid-afternoon Danish pastry, so when it came to dinner time, we were still too full. What a rooky mistake, ey? We headed down to the Meatpacking market anyway and had a beer, but from the look of things it could have rivalled Paper Island.

Design Museum, Copenhagen

Design Museum, Copenhagen

Design Museum, Copenhagen

 

Of course there are for more things to do and places to eat than what’s listed here, but this post is already one of the longest in Girlglobalising history so I’ll leave it there. In terms of everything else in Copenhagen, there are a few things to be aware of:

Transport – Transport in Copenhagen is pretty good. Getting from the airport on the train was fairly easy and not too expensive. There is also a metro system but I have to say it’s not the most extensive. The easiest way to get around in the city is either by foot or by bike. For the first time in a very long time I cycled around a city! Copenhagen is so well equipped for cyclists with almost a second pavement for bikes taking you completely off the road.

Where to stay – Unfortunately I don’t have that many recommendations on where to stay. If you’re on a budget I would recommend an Airbnb. I pretty much fell in love with the apartment we were staying in and it was very reasonably priced. There a lot of typically Danish, stylish places to stay for your trip if a hotel is slightly out of your price range.

Copenhagen

Copenhagen

Tivoli Gardens, Copenhagen

It’s safe to say I loved Copenhagen and am already planning when I can go back to explore some more. It was such a laid back easy city that you can just enjoy your time in, without having to rush round at 100mph.

Has anyone else been to Copenhagen and have some recommendations to share? Let me know for next time! You can follow me on Instagram and Bloglovin if you fancy keeping up with any new posts coming up soon.