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Top 7 Things to Do in Budapest

TravelShannon GuerreroComment
Top 7 Things to do in Budapest

Budapest is definitely a gem that can't be missed on your next European trip.  I really didn't realize how much I'd like Budapest.  I actually didn't know what to expect.  The first day we got to Budapest we decided to take in the city by wandering through the streets.  This is my favorite thing to do.  Get lost a little.  I can't tell you how cute the Budapest streets are.  The buildings have such character.

When planning your trip, there's a few things to know about Budapest.  First off, I don't think you need a crazy amount of time here.  I'd say 2-3 days is reasonable, especially if you don't have a ton of time available to you.  Of course if you have more, that's great, but not completely necessary to see the essentials.  Second, a tip on how to pronounce Budapest.  I've always heard different ways to say this city name.  It's actually pronounced bood-a-pesht.  There's an 'h' sound in it!

Below are the top seven things you must add to your Budapest itinerary.

RELAX IN THE THERMAL BATHS

I was told that no visit to Budapest would be complete without a visit to one of the famous Thermal Baths.  There are two main ones that you can visit.  One is Gellert and the other is called Széchenyi.  Don’t ask me to pronounce that one out loud, ha!  I would say yes you should visit one, but I’m not sure I’d go back!

We spent a few hours at the Gellert Thermal Baths and Spa. It was pretty relaxing, but honestly I was a little grossed out by how many people are sitting in the pools at once.  I would be interested in checking out the other bath, Széchenyi, because the outside pools, look insanely beautiful.

Central Market Hall | Grand Market Hall | Top 7 Things to do in Budapest

STROLL THROUGH THE CENTRAL MARKET HALL

Also called the Great Market Hall, but great is an understatement.  This place is huge.  You can find everything from goods to food and snacks to fresh produce.  Make sure you check the opening hours because we almost went when it was already closed.  Here you can try one of Hungary’s famous foods, Langos or really any Hungarian dish.  Come hungry!  Oh wait, that’s funny.  Be hungry in Hungary.

CATCH THE SUNSET ON THE DANUBE

Budapest during the day is beautiful, but I think I may be convinced that Budapest is even more beautiful by night.  Be sure to take in the sunset somewhere along the Danube.  The colors are gorgeous and the view along the water is amazing.  And as the sun goes down, the buildings start to turn on their night lights.  The Parliament building all lit up at night is another can’t miss sight.

TAKE IN THE VIEW FROM FISHERMAN'S BASTION

Fisherman’s Bastion was definitely my favorite place we visited in Budapest. The view from here is unbelievable.  It is up on a hill overlooking the Parliament building and really all of the city.  You can grab the Number 16 bus to get up the hill, or if you’re ambitious, you can hike it!

Shoes on the Danube | Top 7 Things to do in Budapest

PAY TRIBUTE TO THE SHOES ON THE DANUBE MEMORIAL

This really is a touching memorial just south of the Parliament building.  It is in remembrance of the Jewish people who were persecuted in that spot in 1944 and 1945.  I come from Jewish heritage so this was a must see spot for me to pay tribute.

Budapest Tram | Top 7 Things to do in Budapest

RIDE THE TRAM

Aside from being a great way to get around this city, the Tram is an easy way to see more of the city.  You can’t miss the cute yellow train cars.

VISIT THESE HISTORIC BUILDINGS: 
PARLIAMENT BUILDING, BUDA CASTLE, ST. STEPHEN'S BASILICA + DOHANY SYNAGOGUE

I didn’t want to leave these Budapest sites off this list because they’re such beautiful buildings.  I would say you don’t actually have to go inside these places but admiring them from the outside is totally necessary during your Budapest visit.

There you have it! You're all set with the must see's in Budapest.

Yours Truly // Shannon

6 Most Instagrammable Spots in London

TravelShannon GuerreroComment
6 most instagrammable spots in London

What better a way to start of my Europe blog posts than with one from London.  I spent about a week and a half in London, which is by far the longest I stayed in one city during my month long adventure.  I definitely have a soft spot for London and it is one of the only cities in the world that I have visited not once but four times.  That’s saying a lot considering I have this constant struggle with revisiting places and seeing new ones instead.  London is just that special.

There is so much that is iconically London, but the following places are the most Insta-worthy places you should visit while in London-town.  They are all equally iconic, picture perfect and Instagrammable.

Big Ben

ARCH ACROSS FROM BIG BEN

This view might as well be the official postcard of London, England.  Really, when you think of London, what’s the first landmark that you think of? It’s Big Ben, right?  Thought so.  This view directly across from Parliament and Big Ben is just to the west of the bridge on the walking path.

Madison London

MADISON ROOFTOP

I was on the hunt for best rooftop bars while I was in London, but I failed miserably.  Maybe it was because I was exhausted from traveling for 2 weeks straight or maybe it was because it was rainy (no surprise there!).  I did, however, convince some friends that we should head over to see the view from the Madison after dinner.  I think that was the single best decision I made while in London.

The entrance to this rooftop bar is by the elevators in the middle of the shopping plaza.  You can’t miss them.  There’s security there and if it’s a busy night (which it might be), you’ll have to wait in a line.  We waited all of 3 minutes before being allowed into the elevator.  As that elevator rose to the top, the most beautiful sunset I’ve ever seen started to appear right behind St. Paul’s Cathedral.  Did I mention the roof sits adjacent to St. Paul’s?  That alone, should get you to check this place out.

I should say the photo above, is a literal depict of the view from that night.  No crazy editing there.

Phonebooths

PHONEBOOTHS

Did you really go to London if you didn’t take a picture with an iconic British phone booth?  Or so I’ve seen others say.  We were on the hunt to find a spot where there were more than one phone booth.  You can find single phone booths around every other corner, but always by themselves like the one across the street from Big Ben.  This cluster of phone booths is just on the corner of Broad Court and Bow Street down the street from the Covent Garden.

Tower Bridge

TOWER BRIDGE

On the north side of the Tower Bridge, just to the side of the Tower of London is in my opinion the best place to get pics of the Tower Bridge.  You can sit on these lovely benches under shade of some trees with this iconic view.  Yes, I don't think the Tower Bridge has a bad side, but I did tell you these would be the most Instagrammable spots, right!

Peggy Porschen

PEGGY PORSCHEN

I’m going to go ahead and put this out there.  Peggy Porschen’s is the most Instagrammable spot in London.  I didn’t say iconic London worthy, but just plain Instagram, Profile-picture worthy.  Millennial pink, gold accents, flowers arching across the entrance and of course cakes.  Need I say more?

Notting Hill

NOTTING HILL

I can’t help but have a soft spot for Notting Hill.  It may be because I loved the movie and Hugh Grant and Julia Roberts, but there’s just something so cute and quaint about the neighborhood of Notting Hill.  You really could turn around any corner here and stop for a picture.  It is that photo ready.  And most of the buildings here are pastel-colored, yes!

Now you're all set to visit London and get the most profile worthy photos.  You're welcome!

Yours Truly // Shannon

Gat Rooms Hotel - Lisbon, Portugal

TravelShannon Guerrero1 Comment

My first stop of this crazy European Adventure of mine was Lisbon, Portugal.  I had the opportunity to stay with Gat Rooms Hotel in Rossio.  I can’t tell you how nice it was to have such a great hotel to stay at while in Lisbon.  Not to mention one as comfortable as this one to help me get through my jetlag.  

Speaking of jetlag – it doesn’t usually hit me on the way there.  It always gets to me when I return home, but this time was different.  The jetlag hit me hard the first few days abroad.

Back to the important stuff.  I know it's sometimes a challenge finding a hotel during your trip research, so I’m writing this in hopes of making your selection that much easier when looking to select your lodging for your next trip to Lisbon.

LOCATION

I really don’t think you can get a better location for a hotel in Lisbon.  Hotel Gat Rooms is extremely centrally located.  It was a 10-minute walk from the iconic Rua Augusta Arch, the Alfama area and the Chiado.  It was also just a 20-minute drive from the airport which was really refreshing considering airports are usually outside of the city limits making the commute pretty long and tiring after a flight.  

Do be sure that if you take an Uber, they drop you off on the main street where you then can walk between the restaurants to access the front of the hotel.  I was dropped off in the back, in front of a church and was a bit confused on how to enter the building.

ROOMS

I was really impressed by the great design of the hotel.  Well, to be honest, I’m conviced Lisbon should be known for its great sense of design.  Everything is so well thought through.  Even in the rooms, everything is very strategically placed with a minimal, hip look.  My room had this amazing window sill that looked out on the city with a great view of the São Jorge Castle perched on the hill.

I hope you noticed the empty birdcage with feather decals falling on the wall.  Gat rooms. Get it? A cat got the bird? I'm thinking Tweedy and Sylvester right about now.

FOOD

I think “breakfast included” is one of the best things hotels can offer.  I mean breakfast is the most important meal of the day.  Breakfast is something Gat Rooms knows how to do, well.  I don’t think I’ve ever seen a spread that vast – meats, cheeses, breads, pasteis, eggs.  I’m still dreaming about the melty ham and cheese sandwich I was able to make and press myself.  Not to mention the freshly squeezed orange juice station.  I don’t think I could get through this without also mentioning the self-serve, make-your-own hard or soft boiled egg station.

HOTEL

I think I imagined a smaller hotel not having very many areas to socialize.  Gat Rooms really encourages social interactions in their many lounge areas.  The breakfast area has a bunch of bench tables.  The room room has a great modern vibe with all red seating areas.  The two outdoor terraces are possibly at the top of my list of cutest outdoor lounges.  One of them even has shade coverings that can be used during the day and pushed back at night.  I also loved the pops of color and multiple shades of green to follow with the Gat Rooms branding. Did I sound like a Graphic Designer there? Guilty.

Check out Gat Rooms Rossio, here.

And if you didn't notice by the name alone (gat=cat), there are subtle or maybe not so subtle cat icons throughout the entire hotel.  Exhibit A, the cute cat icon on the hotel key card.  If you like neon, too, you're even more in luck.  The hotel is illuminated in a green neon light day and night.
 

Yours Truly // Shannon

*Sponsored Post: My hotel stay was provided in collaboration with Gat Rooms Hotel! All opinions are my own.