Florence Eats

The food experience in Florence was on another level especially after the disappointing and the midcourse food we found in Rome. I was only in Florence for three days. My friend S is a foodie and it was her mission to find delicious eats for us there. We read reviews and local recommendation websites to find these restaurants. 
 

Ps.This food post includes vegetarian and sea food options. I did not find any halal Italian recommendations. 

Florence Eats

Lunch in Florence

We only had two lunches in Florence. Both were at the market. We loved the variety and the ease of the location so we went back there the second day. The Market has two main floors. The ground floor is Mercato di San Lorenzo, which is old fashioned with food stalls and shops selling delicious balsamic, olive oil, truffle and honey. The first floor is known as the Central Market and it is like a food court with restaurants on the sides and tables in the middle. It was very crowded, so if you don’t like the crowed then this might not be for you. You can go to the market to only shop for Italian ingredients and gifts as well. I managed to get some delicious balsamic vinegar, honey with truffles and sun dried tomatoes. 

We had some pasta downstairs from Nerbone. Their Pesto pasta was fresh and it was like a salad pasta, but the coolness of it made it taste like a light lunch. The caprese and artichoke starters were good as well. Two mains and two starters and drinks cost us 20 euros.  

The second visit, we went to the Central Market upstairs and the pizza stall looked the most tempting, so we got some from there. There was only one pizza stall with the longest queue! It was very fresh and stone oven baked. It took 15 minutes and it was very yummy! The pizzas were 8-11 euros each. We treated ourselves to some Italian snacks and gelato from there too! 

Gelato 

Of course right!! I had about two a day from most stalls. I don’t discriminate gelato. Most was nice and refreshing. Plus being there in the summer you need a few whenever you see a stall. I made a specific journey to a well recommended spot that I thought I will share with you. 

Dinner in Florence

Simple and proper Italian Pasta (Osteria Santo Spirito)

I wanted to eat every possible type of pasta when I was in Italy and I really enjoyed this place! It was a 40mins wait, but the food was worth it. Simple, but GOOD. 

Pizza with a twist (Berbere)

This pizza was the best one I have had hands down. I had a special one with mozzarella, tomato sauce and capers. The bread served in this pizza place is actually the best I tried in Italy. I also tried the cucumber and watermelon salad, which was just perfect for the weather!  

They have a few branches around Italy, so you don’t only have to be in Florence for this pizza. Though, I can’t really vouch for the other branches. 

Creative Dinning Experience in Florence

Leaving the best dinner for last! Garga was a feast for the stomach and the eyes. It was decorated with a number of very interesting art pieces. You can even draw your own art on the table too! They might keep it and even print it! The food was so creative and REALLY yummy! We also got complementary starter from the chef then he came and said hi at the end of the meal, which was really sweet. It's a pricey meal, but if you want to treat yourself a little I would recommend this. Not to mention that the spinach prawns I had there were the BEST! The dessert had an unusual mix of chocolate mousse with salt, olive oil and berries. Having all of them in one bite is SO GOOD!! 


Over to you:

Which one of these would you try when you visit? and do you know of any MUST TRY restaurants in Florence?

Florence Highlights 

Florence was hands down my favourite city in the two weeks I spent in Italy. It just had everything I wanted and then some. I only spent three days there with my friend S, but I could have stayed there a week! The city has such a great vibe. I had the best food there as well! Unfortunately, I didn't plan what we wanted to see before hand and all the tickets for the main attractions were sold out for the next three days, which is the amount of time we were spending there. It was a shame going all the way and not being able to go inside the Duomo or see David. We still made the most of our time there regardless and LOVED IT! 

Florence highlights

Florence Free walking tour

We found this online and since I have tried a number of free walking tours that I enjoyed like the one I went on in Oslo and Sarajevo, I thought this will be a good choice. I mean the amount information and some of the things you will see is interesting, but the tour guide was so monotone. We got so bored and left after an hour. It might be worth it for the education though! Here is their website in case you are interested.  

Florence Cathedral (Santa Maria del Fiore) and The Famous Duomo

Seeing this in person (from the outside) was magnificent. The level of detail and beauty is unreal! Because we didn't book ages in advance, there weren't any tickets online and the queue was INSANE! There were legit people outside selling the full experience for 50 euros, but I din't want to spend that much, so I only gave it some love from the outside and left! I previously read some of the Brunelleschi's dome book about how that dome was built, which I would highly recommend if you are into reading a story of the place before you go. It was an interesting story. 

San Lorenzo Basilica + Treasure Museum (Han Bing gallery) 

We only stumbled upon this because we couldn't go inside the Duomo and wanted to keep on exploring. The cool thing about the basilica is that they had an audio guide with a visual guide (something like an ipad or a tablet) that shows you pictures of previous structure and it gives you so much information. It was very interesting and you can spend over two hours listening and looking! I really liked the court yard of the treasure museum, the arches and the temporary exhibition of Han Bing work that they were hosting. 

Uffuzzi Gallery

Thankfully, we managed to get some ticket for this famous gallery at least! We got them online for the last entry. It was a clam gallery with lots to see. We got the audio guide, which was a good call otherwise we wouldn't have enjoyed it as much! 

The Palazzo Pitti and Boboli Gardens

This garden was fantastic. We had a full on photoshoot there! We couldn't help ourselves. The view from the rooftop was stunning as well. I wasn't a huge fan of the ceramics museum they had there, but the garden itself was so peaceful and lovely for an afternoon. We booked the tickets online for the 4pm slot and stayed there till 6ish. 

Plaza Michelangelo

This was my favourite. We went there two hours before the sunset for the view, but we got to walk around it and went into the little rose garden next to it. It was free, but it got SO CROWDED half an hour before sunset. Like there were too many people! I still managed to get a good photo, but be warned. I imagine that it would be much quieter in the sunrise.  

The view from Plaza Michelangelo

Muslims in Florence:

There were plenty of Muslim tourists not to stand out! Everyone treated me really nicely and I didn't face any problems, which is great. I think people there are used to Muslim tourists.  

Halal Food in Florence:

Just like Rome, I didn't find special halal Italian food, but I still had a fantastic food experience with being a vegetarian and eating some sea food. 

Transportation in Florence:

It's affordable to get the bus and no one really checks tickets. I followed the suggestions made by google maps for the buses. There were few times were the bus route wasn't exact. It's always good to check the destination with the driver. I liked that the buses were air conditioned at least unlike Rome!

Related Posts:

Where I stayed in Florence
More about Italy

Over to you: Have you been to Florence? What were the highlights for you? If you haven't what would you like to see? 

Where I stayed in Florence

B&B in Florence

Italy is one of the most common destinations and it's on most people's travel list. So, when it comes to finding a place, the choices are endless. I looked at many options in Florence until I found the lovely B&B Fifty Seven

It is a family owned B&B.The owner of the B&B, Lorenzo, took a risk and changed this long term renting property to a B&B. I think his bet is paying off! His mother and girlfriend have transformed the interior and chose everything personally. That's why the rooms are full of little personal touches. His mother comes every morning to make sure that everything is tidy and in place. It's true teamwork.

There are only four rooms in the flat with two shared bathrooms, a big open kitchen and a balcony, so the place never feels crowded.  

It's truly a bed and breakfast because breakfast is provided with no extra cost. There is a choice of cereals, spreads and crunchy biscuits. The kitchen is fully equipped, so you can make more elaborate breakfasts if you like. The neighbourhood is really good, so the close by stores sell high quality things.   

 

B&B Fifty Seven is tucked away from the tourists areas on the other side of the river. It's a short walking distance from the famous Michelangelo Square (Piazzale Michelangelo). I found the whole of Florence to be walkable, so going from B&B Fifty Seven  to the attraction could be walkable (20-30mins), but you can also get the bus from there. There is a direct bus to the station (Bus D) and that same bus stops at all the popular spots too! 

The location of  B&B Fifty Seven 

The location of  B&B Fifty Seven 

My friend S and I totally loved this place. It was so pleasant and we felt at home. I think it added so much to our experience in Florence. Lorenzo and his mother were very hospitable and very helpful. It was such a nice find and I would highly recommend it if you are visiting. 


To book this B&B:

You can contact Lorenzo directly via his website. If you do that you can receive a 15% discount! Or you can book it via Booking.com   . I contacted him personally and he was very professional and quick in his responses! 

Read more on Italy! 

Over to you, have you stayed in Florence before? Was there a specific area you loved? 

Disclaimer: This was a discounted press stay, but all opinions are my own. 

First Time in Rome

First Time in Rome

This visit was my first one to Rome. Everyone knows that Rome is a big deal! After all, all paths leads to Rome! In general Italy has been on my list since forever, I mean who doesn't have Italy on their list? I kept pushing the idea of going until my Italian friend announced her Italian wedding, which meant by default that Italy is finally happening! My other friend, S, who is also invited to the wedding have not been to Italy neither. Therefore, we decided it's time for a girls Italian adventure. We decided to go two weeks before the wedding to visit the main cities: Rome, Florence, Venice and Milan. The only problem was that all of this was happening in July! One of their hottest months and apparently the summer we went was the hottest in 40 years according to a lady who was walking on the street. 

This post is all about Rome and the sights we managed to see. To be honest, the whole city is a big museum. Just walking around aimlessly gives you sights to see. We were spoiled for choice really. You could spend days from one museum to the other and from a church to the other. All that choice made Rome very hard. We didn't want to fit everything in, but we wanted to at least see the main sights. We took it at leisurely pace and the level of July heat is insane that you would DIE if you try to cram everything in! 

Villa Borghese + Borghese Gallery

I arrived to Rome at midnight, so I just hurried to the last train from the airport to the city's main train station then got a taxi from there. I wanted to take a bus, but I couldn't figure it out and thought a taxi was the best option. I was staying a little far from the main city centre, so the taxi was 20 euros. I wanted to take it easy on my first day, so I only went to one park and one gallery. I headed to Villa Borghese, which is a lovely park away from the busy city centre. I packed a picnic and stayed there for a couple of hours. The park houses the Borghese Gallery, which consists of a few rooms with impressive ceiling paintings and sculptures. It's a modest size, but full of impressive artwork there. As you leave the park you can continue walking to Pincio Promenade Passeggiata del Pincio to see statues in the open air and head to Piazza del Popolo. That walk was scenic and gives beautiful views of the city of Rome like the photos below! The Piazza has plenty of restaurants.  

Ps. architecture students get a free entry to Borghese Gallery

Vatican City

Obviously! We booked our tickets online from the official website. There were so many options! So, we settled for an individual Museum + Chapel guided tour. It was slightly more expensive to be on a tour with a guide, but it was worth it! We learnt so much and we were glad that we opted for that option. That way we weren't walking aimlessly.  

Full ticket: € 32.00.

Fun fact: The Vatican used to be its own country. They even have their own Vatican city passports *still*!

Colosseum + Roman Forum

Another expected one! But, I cannot go to Rome and not visit right?! We went after lunch, but man oh man the sun was on FULL BLAST! It was so hot, which made it extremely hard to enjoy the place! Thankfully, we reserved and paid for our tickets online. That saved us from waiting in the endless queues. It was still hard to fully appreciate it with the heat. It was 27 degrees at 8am, so even going earlier would not have made huge difference. Just don't go in July! I think it will be a good winter activity though!   

Muslims in Rome:

I was wearing the turban and everyone was nice to me and I wasn't picked on or stared at. I haven't seen Italian Muslims, but I was only in touristy areas. I saw a few Muslim tourists though.  

Halal Food in Rome:

I did not find Halal Italian places sadly. I mainly had vegetarian pastas and pizzas. There are a few halal indian places, but I wanted to only Italian food in Italy.  

Getting Around and Public Transportations: 

I used google maps for getting around including all buses. The bus times are estimation. Some were on time and others were over half an hour late. For some reason, google thought buses were better to take so I just followed! The bus get extremely busy and hot, but they are cheap. It's actually almost free since it's impossible to get to the little validating machine inside the bus.  

3G and Data in Italy: If you have a UK sim card with a contract or a prepaid package then the internet then you have access to the internet in the rest of Europe. That was the most helpful thing ever! 

Over to you: Have you been to Rome before? If you haven't what would you love to see?

Eight reasons every Muslim woman should travel solo at least once 

Over protective parents and rigid cultural teachings have held Muslim women from travelling the world and embarking on journeys to explore the world. Thankfully, this has changed and it could be seen with the increasing numbers of travelling Muslim ladies. You can see some examples on the Muslimahs Who Travel Instagram Account. A good number of them is doing it solo. I am just happy to see people going out of their comfort zones and embarking on different adventures. However, I think every Muslim woman should try travelling solo at least once. It does not have to be an epic trip of backpacking around Asia on foot. Anything would do! Even a weekend getaway in the same country. Here are: 

Ten reasons every Muslim woman try travelling solo at least once

ps. If you are a female from other faiths  you will benefit from this post too! 

1- It will give you courage

Travelling alone doesn't always come naturally and there is so much fear involved, but after you do it, you will feel more courage and pride. You will feel proud of yourself for being able to do that.

“The most courageous act is still to think for yourself. Aloud.” ― Coco Chanel

2- Independency

Most of my friends are independent Muslim women that are working important jobs to support themselves and to impact their societies. Travel Independency is slightly different though. When you are travelling on your own, you are depending on yourself to plan the trip, to find your way in unknown streets and to enjoy yourself. After moving across the world to live in the US and then the UK, I have learnt to be truly independent in every way. When my dad visited me in London, he was so impressed in my ability to find my way around the transports system and keep him well fed and entertained. 

“I am no bird; and no net ensnares me: I am a free human being with an independent will.” ― Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre
Every Muslim woman try travelling solo at least once 

3- Recharging Escape

Alone time away will give you the needed escape to recharge and be ready to face life difficulties. I would encourage you to mute your social media on such escapes. Social interactions, going out and being around people is wonderful, but could be very emotionally exhausting and recharging is a must. Escaping from the day to day life to spend time just with yourself is needed.

“Reality doesn't impress me. I only believe in intoxication, in ecstasy, and when ordinary life shackles me, I escape, one way or another. No more walls.” ― Anaïs Nin, Incest: From a Journal of Love

4- Educating Others

Travelling as a Muslim female, always peaks the interest of the locals and other travellers. I know this might be a weird reason, but enlightening others come from our will to teach them. I sometimes feel exhausted from answering questions about Islam and the Arab culture but then I remind myself that without me giving the correct information to others then they will probably get a wrong one from the many pointless available propaganda. 

Read: Travel Blogger in a Headscarf Q&A

5- To know the locals

when I travel solo is when I get approached for conversations. When I am with a group, people are not as brave to say more than a comment. Let me give you few examples:

- When I was in Athens, I made friends with the table next to me. First, we politely smiled then before you know it I was with them on the table talking about art in details because the girl happened to be an artist too!

- when I was on the train in Sri Lanka, people sat next to me and they were very thrilled to tell me about the upcoming waterfalls so I get my camera ready to capture them!

6- More awareness of people and places

When you are by yourself, you will have to depend on your instinct to tell if a person or a place is safe or not and that will just make you more aware. 

“Be present in all things and thankful for all things.” ― Maya Angelou
Reasons to travel solo

7- Enjoy your own company

I think this one is the most important lesson I have learnt from travelling. I truly learnt how to enjoy my own company. People still don't understand this one. I even get asked: "but how can you travel alone? and go to restaurants alone!" Well first off: alone doesn't mean lonely and second that teaches you to appreciate yourself and value your own time. I did get asked in Sri Lanka once about why I was alone when I entered one of the restaurants, but I just said because I like it. The waiter still prayed for me to return with a partner one day not knowing anything about me, but I didn't mind. I still had an EPIC trip!!   

“You are not an option, a choice or a soft place to land after a long battle. You were meant to be the one. If you can wrap yourself around the idea that you are something incredible, then you will stop excusing behavior that rapes your very soul. You were never meant to teach someone to love you. You were meant to be loved.” ― Shannon L. Alder

8- get lost and discover

That can be done with others, but it's different when you are by yourself. I take a much longer time to find my own way when I am alone because I can't always remember the routes I take. It feels like walking on a cloud that's how much I am in my own world, but that's ok because I get to discover new spots!

“How To Be An Explorer Of The World?
1. Always Be LOOKING (notice the ground beneath your feet.)
2. Consider Everything Alive & Animate
3. EVERYTHING Is Interesting. Look Closer.
4. Alter Your Course Often.
5. Observe For Long Durations (and short ones).
6. Notice The Stories Going On Around You.
7. Notice PATTERNS. Make CONNECTIONS.
8. DOCUMENT Your Findings (field notes) In a variety Of ways.
9. Incorporate Indeterminacy.
10. Observe Movement.
11. Create a Personal DIALOGUE With Your Environment. Talk to it.
12. Trace Things Back to Their ORIGINS.
13. Use ALL of the Senses In Your Investigations.”
― Keri Smith, How to Be an Explorer of the World: Portable Life Museum
Muslim Woman Travelling Solo

Note1: Usual Safety Cautions Apply When Travelling solo!

Read: How to stay safe when travelling?

Note2: You can still awesome travel photos of yourself even when solo! 

Read: How to take pictures of yourself when travelling solo?

Over to you: Why do you think women should travel solo at least once?

How to take pictures of yourself when travelling solo 

I am very excited for you that you are taking a trip solo! And pictures are really important! Even if you don't like your photo taken, it's really nice to have a few pictures just to remind yourself of the trip and to share with your friends and family. We all appreciate a good view but when you are in it, it's more personal and truly yours. You might have wondered how can solo travel instagrammers take pictures of themselves. It's actually not too hard! The photo below was taken by myself in Sri Lanka

Here are the four tricks I regularly use!

How to take pictures of yourself when travelling solo 

1- Mini Tripod and Timer

I use the Joby tripods because they are so versatile and can be twisted and places in random spots. I think most cameras would have a timer. Look into how to set that before you trip! You don't want to be fiddling with your camera and figuring that out on the spot. 10 seconds is the most common time, but you can set the duration. Possibly 20 seconds so you don't have to run to the spot. 

Ps1. You can do that on your phone too! 

Ps2. You can take a proper tripod with you if you like but that might be too heavy to carry. 

2- Remote shooting

This is done by connecting your wifi enabled camera with a phone application and using your phone as a remote. If your camera doesn't have an app from the manufacturer then it might be worth purchasing a remote. I absolutely love this feature on my Canon G7x and its own app Canon Camera Connect. I can see the photos on my phone before shooting as well!  

How to take pictures of yourself when travelling solo 

3- Selfie stick

I know. You probably know that, but just in case! It looks slightly funny, but everyone is doing it now it became very normal. I actually use a selfie stick for my travel vlogger rather than still photos! Just like the two photos below!  

4- Asking others

You can start this conversation by asking others if they want their photo taken then ask nicely for them to do the same. Everyone loves that! You can ask them straight if they would take yours and offer to take their as an appreciation token. Sometimes people just offer when they see me struggle setting the tripod and timer. 

Relevant posts: 

How to stay safe while travelling solo

The Vlogging Camera I swear by (Review for Canon G 7X)

Over to you: Which of the tricks above do you use to take your own travel photos? And do you have any other ways I haven't mentioned? Share away! 

 

How to stay safe when travelling 

Being safe is essential. Unfortunately, there are unkind people worldwide, so it's important to be vigilant and careful. Same things apply in your home country too. Don't be held back by fear though! Just try your best. Here are a few pointers that you probably know, but they might be good reminders. 

1- Give your parents/partner or a friend your travel details before you travel.

This is important. It's good to give the address and all relevant phone numbers to a person or two back home just in case. 

2- Take a photo of your passport and visa 

You might feel this is not important, but in worst case scenario when your passport is lost or stolen, you would need to provide the basic information like the number, place o issue and dates. My passport was stolen by monkeys in Sri Lanka! Real story that you can watch here: (). Thankfully, I got it back, but it does happen! 

3- Don't tell others you are travelling alone. 

Give the impression that someone elseis waiting for you and expecting you. I used to say that my friend "imaginary" is waiting for me in the next city especially when I am on a train. Sometimes I do! I tend to meet Instagram friends in different countries and it's amazing! 

4- Don't give any personal information especially where you are residing. 

I get this a lot out of curiosity and I give the general name of the area or a landmark that's close by but never the hotel name. Just say oh I can't remember or I will look it up later. You never know! Better safe than sorry! 

5- Post about a location after you have been not while you are there 

Be extra cautious! You don't want to tell others where to find you when you are travelling alone. I mean you can share the city name. Like I mention London a lot, but that city is HUGE! Unless I am at an event with others then I am more "sharing" happy. Asses the situation. 

6- Dress to blend

I know sometimes when you travel you want to dress beautifully for your travel photos, but if you are dressed in a very flashy manners you will be targeted by shop keeper or theives. Keep this in mind depending on location of the trip. For instance, in Italy many locals are dressed fashionably, but in Sri Lanka people are dressed more practically. 

7- Put your camera around your neck

I would say put it in your bag, but I know we all want to take travel photos. So when it's around your neck it's more secure.  

8- Minimise the things you have with you.

The more things you have the bigger the chance you will lose something or attract unwanted attention. So try to pack in one or two bags max. 

9- Plan your route

It's better to check or plan your route you intend on taking before you set off at least to have an idea of what roads you will be walking into or what stations you need. 

10- Avoid being out too late

Now that's the most obvious one, but you will be surprised on how many people don't do it. If you really want to do something out at night then make sure that you know how you are getting back and taking a taxi. I usually don't stay out later than 8 unless I am with other people or attending a show. Also, avoid inside streets and short cuts in late hours of the night. 

 

Over to you: do you have any special advice on staying safe while travelling?  

Surfing in Portugal (Ericeira)

Bus from Sintra to  Ericeira

If you have been reading this blog for a while, then you know that I don't really do extreme sports or adrenaline pumping activities. I usually go visit castles and go on city walks. This time on my trip to Portugal, B and I decided to do something very sporty especially after we got a great recommendation by our host at the Lanui Guesthouse. We went SURFING!!!! I was playing with the idea for a while especially when I went to Sri Lanka and was told that surfing is becoming big there, but time wasn't enough so I didn't. Surfing was completely unplanned for this trip, but we are extremely glad we tried it! We were even due to fly that same night. We woke up early, went for some shopping in Sintra then we packed and headed to the Bus station. We took the 12:25 bus from Sintra Train/bus station to Ericeira. The bus took longer than expected and we were late for the lesson, but thankfully we made it there a few minutes after everyone else. 

Surfing in Portugal

The lesson started at 1:30pm. We started with learning the three main moves on land and then we were taken to the water to try them. There was a small class of us of eight and two instructors. We queued up in the water with our boards and it was go go, but exactly what we needed to get on with it and used to the moves. By half way, we were able to stand on the board and even have full surf moments (yes I just made that name up!). I know how to swim, but I am usually scared when I go deeper into the sea, but this beach was PERFECT! The ground of it was great for standing. After a while, I got used to the water and was just floating with my board. Everyone else was a beginner too, which was fun for us all to try and encourage each other.  

The wet suite was the right size, but the gripe on the neck felt so weird, but I forgot about it once I was in the water. The beach was COLD but thankfully with the movement and the suit I couldn't feel it. I got back with hands and feet tan lines. That beach was busy with surfers but I would have loved to spend a few extra hours just chilling there too. 

I would highly recommend that you try it! 

Company: Activity Surf Centre Ericeira
Price: Two Hours Surfing Lesson: 1pm to 3pm for 30 euros each including wet suite and equipments. 
Bookings: directly on their website

Over to you: Have you been surfing before? Where did you do it and what did you think!!

Recommended Eats in Sintra 

I don't usually write extensively about food on this blog, but since I found that the food in Lisbon and Sintra was a hit and miss, I thought I will share the hits. In the six days I was there, I got a couple of mouth watering meals and a couple of really bad meals that I couldn't even finish. Be warned this post will make you hungry! I am already craving them and it's only been a day since I left! 

The same pointers I mentioned in the recommended eats in Lisbon applies, so if you haven't read that post, it might be a good to do so! 

Lunch in Sintra

We had a few lunches that were just sandwiches and pastries. All were nice but nothing special to report back expect for one place below! 

Ekvilibro: Vegan Restaurant in Sintra

After all the indulging above, we thought, we will go for a healthier option. We saw Ekvilibro, a vegan place on the road and we were intrigued. They also had a good offer of wrap + salad + a hot drink and a cold drink all for 5 euros. They were all very delicious. They only had four tables urging the lunch service, but you can grab it and eat it wherever if it's too busy. 

Ps. This place offers yoga lessons, massages and vegan and organic products. 

Dinner in Sintra

Tasca de Xico

This was a recommendation from one of the nice shop keepers that we met in Sintra. It was a good place that served fresh fish and a few other options. They served traditional desserts that were OK. The cod on toast starter and the main were worth the trip and the price though. 

Incomum by Luis Santos

I left the best for last! The food in Incomum by Luis Santos was so good we wanted to cry. I am just glad the people next to us left by the time we got our mains because some ahs and ohs must have escaped us! The starter was sautéed shrimp in the best sauce ever. It took some self restraint not to lick the plate. Then I had the shrimp linguine, which was excellent and ended with a gorgeous dessert of pineapple cake with lychee ice cream and some sort of yummy orange cake. If I was staying longer in Sintra, I would have loved to eat there again!

Sintra has a must try pastry as well, Queijadas Finas. It's like a smaller pastel de nata made of sweet cheese and sprinkled with cinnamon. It was so yum! You get like eight in that roll of paper that finished in half a day! 

Queijadas Finas - Sintra's special treat

Hope you find these recommendations useful and I really hope they remain as good by the time you try them! 

Over to you: What were your favourite places that you have tried and absolutely loved in Sintra and the areas around? 

The Guesthouse I stayed in in Sintra: Lanui Guesthouse

La Nui means have a good trip in Hawaiian and it is the name of the guesthouse I spent three nights in in Sintra! Lanui is a family run guesthouse by Daniel and his wife. She is the creative brain and visionary of the place and he is the force that made it all possible while working another full time job! It took them a year to get the permit for this guesthouse to start working on it and making it liveable. Everything you see in there, they did it themselves. This family team have transferred the house into a stylish escape. You can see the work in progress images on their Facebook page. They are still working to transfer the back garden to a fairytale like space with beds and cushions under fruit trees and shades. 

I know most websites recommend a day trip to Sintra but staying there for two full days was a great way to see the city without rush. We woke up and just took our time. We started the days by making our own breakfast and eating in the guesthouse's garden then taking off to explore a different part. I would have easily stayed there for a couple extra days. 

The guesthouse is a shared space with shared bathrooms, but there are a three of them, so we didn't have to wait on anyone. We can just go to the other available ones. Each room is named after a famous place in Sintra, which was a cute idea and it even gave us some ideas of places to visit that we haven't considered! Having a fully equipped kitchen was nice to prepare light things in the morning. I liked the living room as well. We got to meet other travellers and chat to them.  

Overall, we loved the atmosphere and the space. In addition, Daniel did his absolute best to make our visit as comfortable as possible! He was very kind and helpful. He even arranged some surfing lessons for us in the nearby fishing village. 

Alongside the clam and well maintained Sintra guesthouse, Lanui has three other properties around Portugal that you might be interested in:

To book your stay with Lanui, you can contact them directly through their website or on booking.com

Disclaimer: This was a press stay, but all opinions are my own.