Tag Archives: Europe

Top Tourist Attractions In Portugal

The top tourist attractions in Portugal are unique to the country even though it shares the Iberian Peninsula with Spain. It owes its unique identity to its geographical and cultural separation from its Spanish speaking neighbor. While Portugal might not be the richest country in Western Europe, it has is a rich land with lively cities and plenty of attractions to see an enjoy.

cityscape of Lisbon Portugal

1. Cristo Rei

This Christ the King statue is the country’s most iconic landmark. The Portuguese had it built to give thanks because their country was spared from harm in the second World War. Cristo Rei resembles the world-renowned Christ the Redeemer Statue in Brazil. Situated in Lisbon, Portugal’s capital and largest city. It hasn’t moved an inch since its completion in 1969.

2. National Museum of Ancient Art

The museum of Ancient Art has the most expansive collection of Portuguese art from before the 19th century. Like Cristo Rei, you can find it in Lisbon. Included in its displays are a variety of artworks including sculptures, drawings, and paintings. The oldest collections in the National Museum of Ancient Art are from the Middle Ages. Works of famous artists such as Cristovao de Figueiredo, Francisco de Holanda, and Garcia Fernandes are part of the impressive exhibits.

3. Algarve

The Algarve is a region  located in the most southern part of the country and is home to some of the most amazing beaches Portugal has to offer. The Algarve is one of the top tourist attractions in Portugal with more than 10 million tourists coming to visit every year, with a high percentage of British notably escaping the winters back at home. There are many beautiful coastal towns to choose the perfect accommodation and you can stay in everything from hostels to 5-star hotels. For a unique experience, check out Villa Plus, they’ve got a large list of amazing villas to enjoy with your better half or the entire family.

4. Monsanto Forest Park

Home to pleasant countryside, there is no better place to see natural beauty than in Monsanto Forest Park. It has more greenery than anywhere else in Portugal. The area contained by the park used to suffer from reduced wildlife until the government deemed it a protected area. Today, it has an ecological park, a thriving flora, and a recovering population of animals.

5. Berardo Collection Museum

The Berardo Collection Museum opened its doors to the public in 2007 in Lisbon. Unlike the National Museum of Ancient Art, it displays modern artwork. There are more than a thousand individual pieces currently on display. And with more than 2.6 million tourists visiting every year, Berardo Collection is one of the world’s most visited museums.

Works by famous artists like Pablo Picaso, Jackson Pollack, Salvador Dali, and Andy Warhol are part of its exhibits. Berardo Collection Museum is definitely one of the top tourist attractions in Portugal not to miss if you’re an art lover.


A trip to Malta for a holiday or an English course

The European island archipelago of Malta in the Mediterranean Sea is attractive to both travelers and language learners alike and its rich culture, colonial history and pre-history and consistently pleasant climate ensure that you’ll never be short of something to see, do or explore here.

old buildings in Malta

Malta is host to some of the Mediterranean’s most attractive beaches and lagoons and the varied nature of these beauty spots allow you to spend a day on a touristy beach mixing with fellow holiday-makers and locals alike, followed by a day in a secluded bay enjoying some peace and quiet. The more popular, busier beaches offer a wide range of water sports so a day in the sun needn’t consist purely of lying on a sunbed enjoying a good book – although if this is your idea of a relaxing holiday, then Malta’s warm summer and relaxed atmosphere will appeal to you! The crystal-clear, turquoise waters which surround the island make it a perfect base for scuba diving and offer an opportunity to explore the island’s diverse marine life as well as underwater caves, reefs and wrecks.

Inland, there is much evidence of Malta’s fascinating and varied history to be explored. A number of archaeological sites offer a glimpse into life on the island over 5000 years ago and much of Malta’s colonial past is still evident in the architecture, best seen on a lazy stroll through the island’s narrow streets.

For travelers who want more from their trip than a sun tan and a cultural education, Malta is a great place to enroll on an English course. As a bilingual island there are numerous opportunities to practice your language skills outside of the classroom – a trip to one of the many village markets, for example, allows you to indulge in a spot of bargain-hunting as well as striking up a conversation with the locals. One of Malta’s restaurants which offer fabulous, fresh seafood or its several bars and nightclubs give you the chance to let your hair down and make new friends – all the while speaking English of course!


Natural Bristol!

Bristol is a grand city made famous by its rich history as a port and trading hub. It is widely known that in 1837 Bristol born engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel launched the famous Great Western steamship  that was built in the city’s harbour. But as with many other cities, these famous tales often overshadow things that might otherwise take prominence. For example, as well as being a historic and creative city, Bristol has an array of natural attractions including parks, zoos, aquariums, botanical gardens and more. Check out some of these enjoyable nature activities in Bristol!

University of Bristol Botanical Gardens

Deer in Avon Valley Wild Life Park

The University of Bristol’s botanical gardens were opened in 1882 by Adolf Leipner – the Lecturer of Botany at the time – for a mere £15. Since then the gardens have seen many thousands of visitors every year and continue to thrive. With four impressive plant collections and a further four greenhouses filled with tropical and sub-tropical plants, there is no shortage of interesting things to see. Opening times from April – September are from 10:00am – 4:30pm and it costs £3.50 to get in at the time of writing. School age kids go free.

Avon Valley Adventure and Wildlife Park

From Flickr

Avon Valley is the perfect place to take the kids during the summer holiday, as there are plenty of attractions and events to fill a whole day (perhaps even two). Attractions include a huge indoor soft play arena, pet’s corner, quad bikes and boat rides. One of the park’s great selling points is that it gets the kids out in the fresh air and away from the television. The main park is open from the 23rd March (opening times are 10:00am – 6:00pm, Mon – Sun). It costs £8.00 for an adult and £7.50 for concessions and children. Kids under 2 go free.

Bristol Aquarium

From Flickr

The Bristol Aquarium is home to a wide array of sea life including sharks, rays and a multitude of species that are native to the UK. As if the resident giant octopus wasn’t enough, there is also an underwater tunnel constructed with 2 inch thick glass which houses puffer fish, butterfly fish and wrasse among others. The aquarium opens 7 days a week from 10am – 5pm and a one day adult ticket costs £13.00. Child tickets are £9.00, Senior and Student tickets are £12.00 and family tickets are available for £38.50 (2 adults & 2 children)

If you’re looking for a Bristol hotel, consider staying somewhere quite central, as the city itself is quite big and can be difficult to navigate if you don’t have a car. The Bristol Mercure is very conveniently placed and has the added benefit of a spa to rest your weary body after a day of exploration.

If you haven’t yet, check out our Bristol Travel Guide as well for even more great things to do!


Venice Travel Guide

The ‘Floating City’ is one of Europe’s must-visit cities and a trip to Venice can feel like a journey to a different, magical world. The city is made up of 118 little islands and has canals round every corner, making for a truly spectacular sight. Just over 250’000 people live there permanently and you’re perhaps just as likely to meet a tourist in the street as a local. Venice is a fascinating city with architecture, artwork and more and is considered one of the world’s most romantic cities.

What to See and Do

Saint Mark’s Square is the center point of Venice and is always packed full of tourists. The Campanile of the square stretches high into the sky, making it easy to spot from the surrounding areas. The current one was built in 1912 after the previous Campanile collapsed in 1902 and the views from the top of the 50 meter structure are some of the best you’ll find of Venice.

Tourist Attractions in venice

Saint Mark’s Basilica is very much a part of the square with its western walls literally part of it. This great example of Byzantine architecture has over 4,000 square meters of ruby, emerald, diamond and gold covered mosaics and was built both as a tribute to Saint Mark’s body, as well as a way to demonstrate the great wealth and power of 11th century Venice.

The other must-do activity in Venice is to take a trip on a gondola. These traditional Venetian boats cruise along the city’s canals every day and a ride at sunset can be a very romantic way to spend an evening in Venice, especially if you pass under the Bridge of Sighs where legend promises eternal love with a kiss.

Gondola ride in Venice, Italy

Venice Tips and Advice

The first piece of advice for visiting Venice is to find a good map. And then buy a better one! The narrow and winding streets make the city of Venice a real-life labyrinth and you will almost certainly get lost at some point on your trip. The great thing is, however, that an afternoon lost in Venice is better than most afternoons anywhere else! You’ll find little passageways and sights that you’d never have found in the guidebook, making getting lost a lot of fun. Just make sure you have that good map, though, if you do want to ever find your back.

The city of Venice can be quite expensive, but it doesn’t have to be! Don’t go for a meal near Saint Mark’s Square unless you’re happy to be a fortune for your food. Restaurants further from the center re generally cheaper which will make you and your wallet happy. You can also save money on accommodation by looking for a self-catering apartment instead of a hotel. GoWithOh.com is one site with apartments in Venice and worth checking out if you fancy that option.

If you ever find yourself needing the toilet in Venice, know that cafés are obliged to let you use theirs for free. It’s always polite to stay for a drink if you do use their toilet, but a good piece of advice to know if you simply can’t wait!

Hope you’ve enjoyed our quick Venice travel guide, and if you have any other special tips or cool things to see in Venice, please comment below!

Guide Provided by Euan McTear