Ever wish you could just jump on a train and spend a day in Paris? Well, from London you can! We’d never taken a ride on the Eurostar before, and when we finally did we wished we’d done it sooner. We’ve discovered an easy way to spend a day in this romantic place, whether it’s cold, windy, wet or sunny.
How to spend a day in Paris
Easy, accessible … 24 hours in Paris is sure to enliven anyone’s spirit. We visited during the colder months, and the city is just as charming, if not more so than in summer. Like Amsterdam, it’s easy to get to Paris from London for a day trip, city break and 24 or 48 hour adventure.
Highlights for our day spent in Paris include a Sienne river cruise on Batobus Paris, Montparnasse Tower, wandering the Latin Quarter and visiting the very gorgeous Notre Dame Cathedral. Have a read of our travel guide and vlog, linked in the feature below.
Click ‘read more’ or the arrow in the top right hand corner to scroll the photo story.
Paris is a huge city with quite a bit of craziness going on. We like this helpful guide by NTripping on how to avoid havoc. We’d love your tips and questions too – drop us a line in the comments or on social media.
Get lost in paradise on a Santorini Greece vacation!
Keep an eye on here for more Santorini Greece vacation stories, on the way soon (plus plenty of other summer Euro inspiration).
Santorini Greece vacation
In the meantime, here’s a sneak peek of what we saw…
Summer love in Santorini
A Santorini Greece vacation is something most people want to tick off their travel bucket-list in a lifetime. We stayed in an amazing place called Manos Small World, overlooking the spectacular bay, volcanic structures and plenty of cruise ships coming in and out of the port.
This lovely spot was set on Caldera cliff and just a ten minute walk from plenty of shops and restaurants. The walk into town is along the cliff with extraordinary views at any time of day. There’s also a few cool bars along the way that serve delicious cocktails, perfect for sunset.
The area was very central and easy to get on a day tour coach (as we did) that explores the island. I’d recommend it for your Santorini Greece vacation, as it’s an easy way to see the whole island, its pockets, beach bars and views. Just Google ‘Santorini coach day trips’ for options.
An obligatory trip to Oia, Santorini, for the sunset was in order too. Oia is a town brimming with whitewashed houses that are carved into rugged clifftops. It overlooks a vast caldera filled with water, and is a famous sunset spot. Oia gets very very busy coming into the sunset hours, so if you are there for the spectacle, you’ll want to find a spot earlier in the afternoon and wait there.
Santorini is almost too beautiful, and is full of Grecian charm, like Athens is. I think we definitely have a thing for islands, because this trip is up there with some of our favourites like Ibiza or Mallorca. Santorini Greece is absolutely worth a visit and adding to your Greece vacation list.
A note on animal rights
I rarely preach on this blog, but PLEASE do respect animal rights on your trip. Consider how you can support the many stray dogs that are here, as well as promote a better attitude towards looking after dogs.
To be honest, I saw some things here that did not impress me in this respect.
Additionally, rethink donkey rides – this is unnecessary and goes against animal rights as far as many are concerned. They are not there for amusement, or at least, shouldn’t be. Enjoy your Santorini Greece vacation responsibly.
Travel responsibly. We do not support riding animals for fun, here, Thailand or anywhere else for that matter.
Let us know your thoughts or questions on any of this – drop us a line in the comments.
Siena – it’s more charming than you can imagine, possibly my favourite city in Tuscany, over Florence (I know!) … what are the best things to do in Siena when you visit? Here’s an itinerary of how we spent our day. Although, I can’t wait to go back and spend longer in Siena.
The best things to do in Siena
Siena is one of those cities that you can easily wander around in. One of the best things you can do in Siena is give yourself time to get lost.
There’s plenty of little alleyways you’ll come across, walk up and down hills; around corners and discover magical old churches and homes.
Of course, the city boasts several highlights such as its cathedral and towers that rival those of its once-enemy, Florence.
You can sign up for a walking tour in Siena if time permits. Take in museums, galleries and history – there’s so much to do in Siena in a small space. I really did long for more time here.
Siena is pretty and oh-so-Instagrammable so take your time. Wear comfortable shoes and take water though, as it gets hot here in summer.
Find your way back
It’s fine to get lost but at some point you’ll want to find your way out of the old town again.
Before ticking off your own ‘things I want to do in Siena’ list, we strongly suggest that you arrange reliable roaming data for your trip here (and across all of Tuscany) because you can access Google Maps for directions.
Even then we found that we often landed up against a wall – unable to walk through, we combined tech with tips from locals to make our way.
In old cities, Google Maps can get a little confused, but it’s better than having no guide at all.
Food with a view
The old town centres on the extraordinary Piazza del Campo where people-watching becomes the thing to do in Siena.
There are over-priced restaurants selling mostly pizza and pasta that surround this area and you’re really only paying for the view.
Cooper discovered a one-off though, a pub called San Paolo which sells yummy toasted paninis, beer and boasts a small balcony overlooking the spectacle.
If you’re swift, you too can indulge for less! This pub opened just after midday when we were there. It was a great base to settle, grab a snack and figure out what we wanted to do to cover off other things to do in Siena before the end of the day.
For other options off the expensive tourist trail, keep an eye out for little bars and restaurants in the back streets, or even away from the old town and on the way towards where street traffic is allowed.
How to get to Siena
We’ve already mentioned in our clips and blogs that you are better off with a car in Tuscany.
Siena, like in Florence, strictly limits traffic in the old town so you need to park outside.
Some car parks charge around €35 per day!
The car park at the Siena train station is a bargain – we were only charged €2.50 for around eight hours.
To get to the old town from here though is about 25 minutes’ walk – usually not a problem for us but it’s up a very, very steep hill that’s also busy with traffic.
Jump on bus no. 3 or 10. The bus station is underneath the shopping centre (which conveniently, also has a big supermarket).
You need to buy a ticket from the transit machine that will cost about €1.20 (one way). It’s a bit tricky as it’s in Italian so aim for an ‘urban’ pass that comes to about this amount, or ask a local – they were so helpful, quite often walking us a distance to ensure we were on the right track!
Get off at the last stop or one closest to the old city centre – about five minutes bus ride from the train station.
Coming back, you need to find the bus station which is in a different place from where you get off the bus. Again, don’t forget to buy a ticket that will be zoned as ‘urban A’ for around €1.20 for a single.
Siena is a truly wonderful Italian find, and another example of the many lovely places in Italy we want to visit.
I somehow knew the word, but not the destination until now.
Highly recommended on your Italian travel itinerary.
Do you have questions or tips? Let us know in the comments.
London is truly one of the best cities in the world, and for that reason plenty of people want to visit. As a visitor it’s easy to fall into the trap of paying to go to the top of buildings to see this lovely cityscape. There are free options though!
It can be expensive – but we’re here to share money-saving travel tips.
St Paul’s Cathedral is a top pick for visitors and opposite is a shopping centre called One New Change where you can get some of the best free London views!
It seems no matter where you look in London a crane isn’t too far from sight. Construction is cranking at a frenetic pace, with new skyscrapers and tower blocks quickly altering the cityscape. Contemporary architecture boasting eccentric names means unique structures like the Shard, ‘Gherkin’ and ‘Walkie Talkie’ now rub shoulders with older smaller cousins like St Paul’s Cathedral, Monument and London Eye.
There is one thing most of these structures have in common – they’re expensive if you want to enjoy their views! So, here we have presented some of our fave alternatives that are free or inexpensive to enter.
6 of the best London views free or under £5
Walkie-Talkie building (20 Fenchurch Street)
The Walkie-Talkie is one of our ultimate go-to destinations when family or friends arrive in London. The viewing platform is called the Sky Garden and it’s set over three storeys of elegantly landscaped public gardens.
As you exit the lift you’re greeted by a spacious and airy cafe/bar which connects seamlessly to the outside viewing platform. The Sky Garden boasts wonderful uninterrupted views across London, plus three restaurants if you fancy a meal. Entry is free BUT you need to book your place in advance.
Nearest tubes to the Sky Garden: Monument, Bank, Tower Hill, Cannon Street
The Great Fire of 1666 blazed for three days and destroyed much of medieval London. To commemorate this significant tragedy, Sir Christopher Wren designed the world’s tallest stone column, the Monument.
Monument is 202ft (61.5m) high and is situated 202ft away from the house of Thomas Farynor, who was the king’s baker in Pudding Lane (where the fire started). Climbing the 311 steps won’t you leave breathless but it will surprise with great views of the ‘Cheese Grater’ (122 Leadenhall Street) and Tower Bridge.
Dating back to Roman times, the former hunting park of Greenwich offers the best views of Docklands, Canary Wharf and the city of London. Additionally, it is home to the historic National Maritime Museum, the Queen’s House and the Royal Observatory perched on top of the hill. The world-famous prime meridian and home of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) is only a stone’s throw away. Pack a picnic basket and make a day of it in one of London’s best and most beautiful Royal parks. There’s much to see and do in Greenwich, so we’d suggest setting a day aside to explore. Park entry is free.
Nearest tube: Cutty Sark or Greenwich (or catch a Thames ferry)
We first discovered the lovely view from Tate’s restaurant when our friend, Nicole, invited us up there for a catch-up drink when we were visiting London as tourists in 2009. We now take our own guests here!
Aside from housing an amazing art collection dating back to the 16th Century, Tate’s positioned on the Thames, and you can make your way to the cafe/bar for free to check out the amazing river view, Millennium Bridge and St Paul’s Cathedral. It’s worth splashing out on a beer or glass of bubbles (like Sarah does) when you’re visiting, and head up at nightfall to see the city sparkle. Entry is free (although special exhibits do have a separate charge).
Nearest tube: London Bridge, Blackfriars, St Pauls, Southwark
Emirates Cable Car
If you don’t mind being suspended by a thin cable 90m (300ft) above the River Thames, then the Emirates cable car is a truly memorable experience.
The journey between the Greenwich Peninsula and Royal Dock lasts an unforgettable ten minutes and provides a spectacular setting against the glass and steel of London’s skyscrapers. From the comfort of your cabin, you’re presented with bird’s eye views of the O2 arena, Canary Wharf, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and the Thames Barrier. Use your Oyster Card (London transport card) and receive a 25% discount.
Heron Tower (officially 110 Bishopsgate) is a commercial skyscraper near Liverpool Street station in the city and is home to two of London’s finest restaurants, the acclaimed Sushi Samba and the Duck and Waffle.
Sarah and I have indulged in many a cocktail at Sushi Samba while enjoying the 360-degree views of the city. You can almost touch my favourite building, the ‘Gherkin’. The elevator ride to the top is both terrifying and exciting as it shoots up the side of the building like a bullet train. Entry is free.
Nearest tube: Liverpool Street
Have other tips or a comment to share on the best London views? Drop us a line below…
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