loader image
Best Valencia restaurants: travel guide

Best Valencia restaurants: travel guide

Best Valencia restaurants: travel guide

It’s a foodie dream and a city you want to wander – discover our picks for the best Valencia restaurants. Though smaller than Barcelona and Madrid, it is quickly establishing itself as a culinary destination with a thriving restaurant scene.
The Valencian region has 22 Michelin-star restaurants under its belt, acknowledging its gastronomical prowess.
Aside from fine-dining, you are spoilt for choice for restaurants in the city of Valencia.  

Best Valencia restaurants for Paella

No trip to Valencia is complete without trying the traditional dish: paella.
Although paella has become synonymous with Spanish cuisine, the dish originates from Valencia where the rice is grown.
Despite its different variations, the traditional paella valenciana is made with chicken, rabbit, green beans and garrófo (butter beans).

Borja Azcutia
Not a touristy place but classy, authentic and beloved by locals. They serve a perfectly executed paella Valenciana, also with duck. 
Arrocería Duna
If you want to get back to the roots and eat paella in its birthplace, take a trip to Albufera. A short bus ride out of the city, you will find the wild beach of El Saler and this dreamy restaurant.
Restaurante Canela
For something reasonably priced located in the city centre try this restaurant right next to the historic Torres de Quart. 
Find best paella restaurants in Valencia Spain

Best Valencia restaurants for Tapas

When visiting Spain, tapas is a must!
The term “tapas” actually refers to any small appetizer.
Valencian culture is largely about sharing food so tapas is perfect as you can get many dishes to share as a table. Practice your Spanish as you delve into these delicious spots 👇
Central Bar
This tapas bar is probably the best well-known in Valencia.
Run by valencian-born michelin-star chef Ricard Camarena, the bar is located in the heart of Mercado Central. It has an unmatchable ambiance and is always busy. It is the perfect place for a mid-morning glass of wine and the roast chicken croquettes are exceptional.
Bar Rausell
Bar Rausell is known for being one of the most classic establishments in Valencia with a barra – the traditional way of displaying the tapas at the bar.
Their most loved dishes are their patatas bravas and sepia con mayonesa (cuttlefish with mayonnaise).
Bar Ricardo
Like Rausell, Bar Ricardo has been around for decades.
Though not a fancy place, the extraordinary quality of the tapas makes up for the rustic interior. Try the patatas bravas and the montaditos (small sandwiches).
Find the best tapas restaurants in Valencia Spain

Best for fusion food

Valencian has gained recognition for its innovative chefs and creative dishes, establishing it as more than just paella! 
Canalla Bistro
A dinner at this trendy Ruzafa bistro is one of the best restaurants for understanding how Valencian gastronomy has flourished in recent years.
The informal downtown restaurant of Michelin-star chef Ricard Camarena, the tasting menu focuses on local ingredients inspired by international street food. 
Gallina Negra
Located in one of the main streets of El Carmen, Gallina Negra offers an innovative menu with creative twists on classic dishes.
The restaurant has a fresh feel with stylish and minimalist design. They also serve what has been nicknamed the best cheesecake in Valencia!
Karak
This restaurant is highly acclaimed for its chef, Rakel Cernicharo, former winner of Top Chef. Cernicharo made her fame thanks to her creative and fusion recipes. She plays with textures and international inspiration. The restaurant is located inside Hotel One Shot Mercat 09, a classy hotel in the city center. 

Best Valencia restaurants travel and foodie guide

Best Valencia restaurants based on product

Spain is lucky to be able to produce a lot of its own ingredients. Certain restaurants in Valencia showcase the highest calibre of different local ingredients. 
Askua
This restaurant is Michelin-star quality due to the level of product. Though not as innovative as Michelin-star winners, it has the best steak tartare in all of Spain. It also is known for its extensive wine menu. 
Bocamada
Fish lovers need look no further than Bocamada.
This classy restaurant situated in the Ruzafa district of Valencia has an extensive fish menu. The must-try dish here is the lubina al sal (salted sea bass). 
Civera Marisquerías
This restaurant is the best option for all things shellfish and seafood. They are known for their spectacular crab and lobster dishes in particular.

Best Valencia restaurants travel guide

Valencia foodie experiences 


If you are looking for a unique dining experience, try a Sea Saffron tour.
This young company’s experiences are the top-rated activity on TripAdvisor for a reason. They combine a cultural walking tour with a tasting menu of local gastronomy paired with regional wines: all in an unforgettable setting.
The menus are changed seasonally to showcase the best of local produce alongside a wine selection chosen to surprise and delight. 
Choose between two emblematic venues of Valencia.
Discover the modern side of the city and the futuristic City of Arts and Sciences complex before ascending to the highest rooftop in Valencia for panoramic views.
Or for something steeped in history and culture, opt for a tour of Valencia Old Town before dining in an intimate venue set in the original 11th Century city walls!
Whichever you choose, you will enjoy the finest of Valencian flavours with a focus on local providers and regional winemakers. Sea Saffron invites you to discover the best of what the Valencian region has to offer, in a truly unique way.

Coronavirus Italy lock-down: personal experience

Coronavirus Italy lock-down: personal experience

Have you ever wanted to go home after a holiday? Nah, us either, except for this past week when the Coronavirus Italy lock-down was announced without warning. We had legitimate fears we’d be stuck in Sicily for the month to come. Maybe longer, the way things are looking now! Things have been anxious and stressful, to say the least. And as I reflect on the events that unfolded, I’m sad to say things have only gotten worse.

Just a year ago, we were on one of the best trips of our lives. We enjoyed a train journey across the country, taking in Milan, Lake Como, Verona and Venice.

It was magical, and I hope to return again soon.

 

Coronavirus Italy lock-down

For now, Italy has been hit HARD by the Coronavirus (COVID-19), and the country is a no-go zone. Usually it’s teeming with tourists. On the morning of 10 March, we woke up in our Airbnb in Catania, Sicily, at 6am to discover that late the evening before, the government had announced extreme measures – all of Italy was on lock-down. A terrible way to start your day!

Coronavirus – an infectious disease that attacks lungs and airways as well as other vital organs if you’re suffering from underlining health conditions – had been sweeping through the north of Italy. When we chose to continue with our trip to the south of Italy – Sicily – that area was clear. Several major centres in the north had already been quarantined which had been the strategy for China where COVID-19 originated. But just a few days before when we stepped onto a plane, our destination was fine.

Certainly, there were signs of trouble on 8 March. Our flight was only about a quarter full. But we had nowhere else to be that week, and figured we would go catch up with some friends who were also headed to Catania – a few ‘TBEX survivors’ who still turned up for a travel media conference that has been (at time of publishing) postponed.

Coronavirus lock-down in Italy and around the world

Panic response vs managing a crisis

If we’d only seen the messaging the evening before, we might have got out on a flight to the UK easily on Tuesday 10 March. It had been our back-up plan – if things escalated, we’d just get on a flight straight away. But from 6am until 6pm both Cooper and I were on our computers and on phones, trying to get out.

Things looked bright around 8am when we finally got a flight from Catania to neighbouring Malta. We figured Malta was a good choice, we know the place well. I transferred our Easyjet flight from Catania (set for Saturday 14 March) to take us from Malta to London the next day. We incurred some hefty fees but that was ok, it was time to leave.

Something told me to keep an eye on the Catania airport departures board. It felt like the response from our accommodation on the ground in Malta was fearful. Malta is close to Italy, and it’s a small island. If Coronavirus infiltrates, they’d find it hard to manage. I was liaising with the manager of the airport accommodation on WhatsApp when I spotted about 9.30am: our flight status had gone from grey (‘scheduled’) to red – cancelled.

Distress kicked in from that point. Everything was cancelled, more and more as the minutes went by. We love travel. But the feeling of being trapped is unnerving. Our family in Australia were getting worried too. They called and tried to help – which was appreciated, but added to our anxiety.

In my view, with so many people trying to urgently get back to their country of residence, governments and airlines in the area made bad decisions – panicked choices that amplified the problems and the region’s collective fears.

Bad practice by airlines in a time of heightened anxiety

After this, we spent the day trying to book flights on numerous airlines to many different destinations. The threats from the media and government warnings kept mounting: we would be locked in and all flights grounded within 48 hours. Although, many, many flights were simply cancelled that same day. Countries were closing their borders to anyone coming from Italy. It felt like we didn’t have a chance!

BUT, airfares continued to sell. Oh, and many airlines simply shut off their customer service call lines and social media messaging function too. No contact, many charges and much stress. We’d get to the payment section and the bill would tally on our credit card – our flight tickets wouldn’t process though. We encountered ‘errors’. Only to try again and discover the flight prices had been hiked up significantly. Very bad practice in a time of much stress. Some university students we met later on told us stories of how they simply had no more credit to keep booking under these circumstances, and they’re still in Italy.

It seems that if you continued to book, you eventually won a lottery seat on a flight out – but he/she who paid the highest price won a spot on the escape route. By 5pm I was in tears, Cooper was stressed (he’s NEVER stressed), and we didn’t know what to do.

Small gestures and good people

Through all of this though, our encounters with kindness were amplified. The manager of this small airport hotel in Malta was ever so kind, assuring me he’d not hesitate to issue a refund, despite booking.com stating the fee was non-refundable. He stuck to his word, and the money came back.

Similarly, our Catania Airbnb host made us feel safe and offered help to contact embassies and get food. He also told us that he’d help us with accommodation if we got stuck.

These gestures – from operators who will suffer financially as part of this global disaster – were really appreciated in stressful times.

We were also in contact with our house sit in England – one we were returning to after sitting for them in Bedfordshire last year. (They run a beautiful B&B here too, if you want to visit when things are back to normal!) 👇

Due to the unprecedented situation, we suggested they might want to look for last-minute sitters. Instead of doing this though, our host spent time looking for flights that might just get us out of Italy and back to the UK via a European destination.

We’d tried a few of these routes, but Andy at our house sit found one on Ryanair via a cool city in the Netherlands that we’d never heard of, Eindhoven.

As it turned out, Andy’s suggestion that we chose to book (despite the stress of mounting credit card fees and the necessity of an overnight connection stay) totally saved us. This flight was one of the last two flights out of Sicily on 12 March. Nothing is set to leave until mid-April, or beyond. When we landed in Eindhoven, everyone cheered!

Coronavirus Italy lock-down experience - just up the road from where we were in Sicily

Lock-down in Catania

We were really lucky to get out after a couple of days. Wow, were those days fraught with anxiety. To get groceries or necessities, we had to line up one at a time outside stores. Lock-down got crazy and scary. Masks and gloves were essential. The image above is from an area near us in Catania – deserted. The feature image at the top is from Catania’s famous and usually thriving fish markets. Again, now all closed indefinitely.

One shop after another gradually closed, store-owners aware they were shutting their doors indefinitely. How will they pay the bills? Can this country recover? Life’s already tough for many.

Sleep was hard because each hour the rules changed, not just in Italy but around Europe and the world. Borders closed, transport was restricted and people started hoarding food.

The aftermath

There was no guarantee our flight would depart. Every half hour on the 12th, we obsessively checked but it remained green: good to go at 5:15pm.

Travellers in Catania worried about whether they should try to leave and risk potentially spreading the virus at home or passing on to ‘at risk’ relatives. We would face a 14 day self quarantine if we got into the UK, but that was ok by us – we were headed to a regional area anyway. As residents in England, we chose to pursue a location where we can access healthcare (although perhaps a dubious notion now that hospitals are overwhelmed).

We worried for friends (like Jason and his mum 👇) who appeared to be entirely stuck in Catania. They were even asked to leave their Airbnb with nowhere to go!

I had transferred our original Easyjet tickets back to the Saturday flight out (at more expense), but it was cancelled too.

We felt sick, despite the sunny days in Catania which would otherwise be a joy. Our time was spent indoors except for going out to get a bit of food. The streets were dead. A few cafes were open, but not for many more days, I’d guess. The experience took me to the height of anxiety. We’re still waiting for refunds from airlines that I’m not sure will come – perhaps they’ll go into receivership before processing. I never imagined I’d want to leave Italy, ever! But during those days, we very much did want to get out, back to a ‘home’ base.

The future?

Since we left Italy, thousands of people have died due to COVID-19, and thousands more are ill, without access to oxygen or healthcare. The situation there is now worse than it is in China. The system in Italy is not coping. Other European nations are in a similar situation, and the UK harbours legitimate concerns about the future too.

Conversations have moved from ‘this is just a flu’, to, ‘you really should talk about final arrangements with your family should the worst happen’.

They say there’s reasons to find hope within this chaos. This is how things unfolded in Sicily and elsewhere 👇🙌

😪

Now we are on lock-down in the UK (but so far virus free 🤞). We’re trying our best to deal with the anxiety associated with an uncertain future – here’s our personal tips on that.

I don’t know if things are ok though, or what’s around the corner.

No one really does.

 

 

Lessons on how to rehome a dog

Lessons on how to rehome a dog

Before Cooper and I set off on this house and pet sitting adventure, our intention was to be surrounded by dogs. Humbled by our experiences along the way, we have learnt eye-opening facts on how to properly rehome a dog. Our biggest lessons came in Malta, and we want to share with you here.

 

A family of rehomed dogs

In Malta we cared for nine dogs on our house sit. Geoff and Theresa initiated us into their family as Cooper and I each took hold of our own set of pooches. We got to understand their routines and personalities, and a highlight of each day was, of course, walk time!

Each morning in a flurry of excitement, fur babies of all shapes and sizes danced around the kitchen. Collars and leads were attached, although I can’t say patience is a strength of these cheeky dogs.

I took 12 year old Smudge – food lover, Dalmatian cross, big personality. In my other hand I had little Spike, the dog with nine lives, and old soul Eliza, mum to the fox terriers Cooper was handling, Christa and Giselle.

Geoff and Theresa showed us the ropes before they went away. Fearful giant Zula went with Geoff. We likened her to the lion who had lost courage. He also had ‘the Queen’, Amy, a type of woolly Sicilian sheep dog.

Our ‘dog whisperer’ Theresa, would wait behind and bring her two special rescued dogs. Rusty is just a pup, simply terrified; and Percy, a Dachshund mix, won’t look at anyone but Theresa.

We’d need to get to understand their characters before tackling these walks on our own. I’m pleased to say we did master it.

Smudge and Sarah on our Malta house sit

 

Navigating ‘Cat Alley’

Geoff and Theresa led the charge on the first few days we were all together. Determined to learn, we followed their instructions. Each day our dogs would go to the field behind their home, to play together and with other rehomed dogs.

Getting to the field meant navigating Cat Alley. Now that’s an adventure.

 

We’d all leave the house, one set of pups at a time, keeping an eye out for cars coming past the front door on the narrow road outside.

Spike doesn’t like motorbikes – he tries to attack them.

I had to learn quickly:

  • That a dog on a lead chasing motorbikes means all dogs I am holding onto will get tangled up!
  • If you’ve got a strong pup you need to be careful they don’t get away and run in front of a car. Use your good arm 👍
  • I also learned the hard way that my finger kept slipping on the ‘release’ button on the lead. This meant my leads would extend at exactly the time I didn’t want my dogs running away from me! Rookie errors.

👉Read: 6 lessons learnt as pet sitters, and things YOU need to know

 

Out the door: under 20 seconds ’til we’d turn the corner.

The Malta sun blazed upon us, even at this early hour. I’d see Cooper and Geoff ahead, core strength at work as they held onto their sets for dear life.

Welcome to Cat Alley, where the dogs go crazy. Christa and Giselle especially, their little frames finding tiger-like strength each day, as they dragged forth, onward towards their nemesis.

Cats on car tops glaring down, or scaling trees, scoffing at our spectacle. Then we’d spot them on the road ahead, taunting the dogs! Cat Alley. A dog’s worst nightmare? Or dog owner’s?

 

The strategy for getting through here was to be quick and strong. As a team, we’d managing our yelping, excited pack, quietly hoping a lead wouldn’t snap, and doing our utmost to prevent the dogs from tangling and running into each other.

Old Smudge would always stop at the most inconvenient time to do his business here too. Honestly if he wasn’t so damn cute… !

Sarah Blinco and Cooper Dawson on house sit with 9 dogs in Malta

 

Field of dreams

After undoubtedly the most active four minutes of the day, our double-gate entry to the field is in sight!

There’s two gates here for a special reason. Many of the dogs are anxious or hyper-sensitive. So, we bring them into a holding area and shut the outside gate so no-one disappears down Cat Alley and onto the street. Second gate opens, and our group flies into their freedom field.

Theresa, Geoff, Cooper and I put down our leads, fill up water bowls and lead the dogs around the field to play.

A friend of the field, Caroline, gave us a tip:

Always keep walking, don’t let a group of dogs congregate while owners chat and gossip – it can lead to ‘too much excitement’ (or a brawl).

 

The field, rented by Theresa and Geoff, is an important space that helps dogs socialise and get into a happier frame of mind.

Sicily is about two hours’ ferry ride from Malta, and there’s a terrible homeless dog problem there.

Sarah and my family of pups in Malta

 

Rescue dogs and their families

Cooper and I have met many beautiful rescue pups over the past year. Their families shared with us meticulous details on any anxiety or behaviour to care for in their rehomed dogs. It’s a privilege to have been able to get to know so many beautiful personalities. In Malta, we were followed around, up and down stairs; The dogs snuggled with us in the lounge at TV time, demanded cheese at meal time, and lapped up love at bedtime. We love them!

Parents of all of the rescue dogs we’ve met care deeply about their fur family, and have been matched with their furever pups. But there are heartbreaking stories of terribly high ‘return’ rates to shelters that we have heard of too.

 

How to rehome a dog – things we can learn

If you’re reading this, chances are you’re a dog person and/or you are looking to rehome a dog too. All dogs, like people, have unique personalities. To effectively place a dog in its furever home, a proper match needs to be made.

Theresa and Geoff explained more about this to us when we spent time with them, and in the video above ☝

The dogs they’ve rescued have been through TRAUMA: neglect, serious abuse, abandonment.

It’s why some of our babies on the house sit were reticent to be too near to us.

Theresa and Geoff have a really low ‘return’ rate. They put in the time to match families and dogs though, as you’ll see in the video above.

 

Adoption and rehoming tips

Details we garnered to help you find your perfect pooch:

  1. See what you can find out about the dog’s personality and background. Does he/she need to run around, are they best with a family, or a couple/single?
  2. Will the breed/personality be right for your circumstances – do you have young kids?
  3. How active is your dog going to need to be, and can you cater for this?
  4. Have you considered an older dog, not just a puppy? There are so many benefits to rehoming older dogs who have just been down on their luck. Puppies are NOT right for everyone.
  5. Are you willing to socialise your dog – take them to a dog park and to learn to play with others?
  6. A dog deserves love for life, and you should be able to pay for vet bills if required.

 

Theresa and Geoff are always on the lookout for good homes for dogs they rescue. Show your support and get in contact via their Facebook page, Adopt a Sicilian Stray.

 

 

Tourism trends 2020: wellness and fitness

Tourism trends 2020: wellness and fitness

With greater numbers of Brits embracing a healthy lifestyle, it’s no surprise the tourism trends for 2020 and beyond are all about wellness tourism. Wellness retreats and fitness-based trips are an increasingly popular choice for holiday-goers looking to de-stress, rejuvenate, get inspired or achieve weight loss.

Experts from the diverse range of travel companies exhibiting and some of the expert speakers from Destinations: The Holiday & Travel Show, the UK’s leading and longest-running travel event, have shared their recommendations.

Here’s their pick of what’s happening across tourism trends now.

 

Tourism trends 2020 means more of us are hiking the world's most beautiful rainforests like here in South America

 

Talking tourism trends 2020

Lares and Inca Trail Trek

Michael Witt from Kusa Treks, tells us that as far as tourism trends go:

“We offer a variety of fitness-based itineraries that enable our clients to improve their physical strength while also giving back to the communities of Peru.

An example of this is our Lares and Inca Trail Trek, which combines two incredible hikes into one. The Lares Trek takes visitors to remote villages in the Andes where they will hike 15 miles over two days, reaching an altitude of 15,000 ft!

You’ll then have the opportunity to donate school supplies and toys to local villages where they will share meals and play games.

The third day is spent hiking 8 miles on the world-famous Inca Trail, during the hike, our guide leads everyone on a trail restoration project.

Finally, on Day 4, the group will reach Machu Picchu, where holidaymakers will have a professionally guided tour of one of the World Wonders.”

Go hiking in Peru and boost your physical and spiritual wellness

Sacred Valley Yoga Retreat

Michael Witt continues:

“This trip offers an escape to a beautiful lodge deep in the Sacred Valley of the Incas. At the lodge visitors are led by professional instructors through various yoga and fitness classes during their stay. In between classes clients can choose from various “volunteer” activities that benefit the surrounding area and communities, or they can choose to take short tours of the surrounding area.

These tours include horseback riding, paragliding, ATV tours, day hikes and more. Throughout the trip, fabulous meals are served with a range of healthy and nutritious snacks and supplements to help aid fitness.”

Tourism trends 2020 will see more people flock to yoga experiences

SwaSwara in Gokarana

Vimal Matthew, Head of Operations at Authentic India Tours, says:

“The SwaSwara in Gokarana wellness retreat is located on the pristine Om Beach.

Crafted in colours of the Earth, and in harmony with the land that nurtures her, SwaSwara is designed for holistic and transformational experiences; a space where the ancient wisdom of Ayurveda and Yoga embrace you to rejuvenate body and spirit.

The programmes here blend the healing powers of Ayurveda, yoga, meditation and art to offer a rejuvenating holiday experience.

The goal is to offer a life plan for the ‘reconstruction’ of mind and body to bring about balance and harmony within.”

 

Kalari Kovilakom

Vimal Matthew continues:

“Kalari Kovilakom is located near Kollangode in the Palghat District of Kerala by the majestic Western Ghat mountain ranges. The 200-year-old palace of Ayurveda is certified and accredited by the National Accreditation Board for Hospitals and Healthcare (NABH) so that history meets natural tranquillity.

The treatments provided are strictly according to the tenets of ancient Ayurveda. CGH Earth took over the reins of this palace and converted it into a traditional Ayurvedic healing facility, while keeping its historic legacy intact.

Kalari Kovilakom is set within the palace grounds of the old Vengunad kingdom and offers 19 well-appointed suites with modern amenities and a clinic with 12 treatment rooms. The living spaces and gardens here complement the healing process, with their nurturing and warm environment.”

Cocooning in the forests of Finland are a big tourism trend for 2020

Arctic Cocooning

Linda Harris at Scott Dunn, says of upcoming tourism trends:

“An increasing demand for alternative and boundary pushing wellness practices sees Scott Dunn offering tailormade tours to lesser-known parts of Finnish and Swedish Lapland.

Arctic Cocooning sees guests become immersed in the Finnish Forests, wrapped in an insulated cocoon and soothed by the gentle swaying of the trees and pure Arctic air. A specialist guide takes guests through mindful breathing practices that leave them feeling de-stressed and motivated.”

Swedish Lapland

Linda Harris adds:

“In Swedish Lapland, Scott Dunn will feature the highly anticipated Arctic Bath hotel.

Set within an extraordinary timber structure, which floats in the middle of the Lule River, guests will experience Arctic Wellness rituals with a giant ice-bath at its core. Guest activities will be tailored to explore the pristine natural surroundings under the Northern Lights.”

Cycling holidays are ever more popular as a wellness travel escape

Exodus Walking and Cycling Holidays

Jenny Cox, Product Manager at Exodus, says:

“Exploring destinations under your own steam, on foot or by pedal power is not only low impact on the environment but it enables you to escape the crowds and reach places where vehicles can’t.

 

 

On a walking holiday you can venture where there are no roads and often limited signs of civilisation. Breathe in the fresh air, disconnect from the modern world, and take in the natural beauty of the landscapes around you. It may sound like an oxymoron but I always find active holidays more restful: think ‘active body, restful mind’.

After burning all those calories in the great outdoors you’ll be sure to have a contented night’s sleep.

At Exodus Travels, we offer walking and trekking holidays across the globe at a range of activity levels, so whatever your budget or fitness level, there’s a trip for you.

Enjoy home-made picnics on our week-long Walking in Mallorca Holiday, sleep under star-strewn skies in Jordan on our Petra & Wadi Rum Desert Trek, camp in Central Asia’s celestial mountains on our Challenging Kyrgyzstan: Tian Shan Gorge Trek, or take on a summit and lay your claim to the ‘roof of Africa’ on one of our Kilimanjaro climbing routes!”

Tourism trends 2020 explore the rainforests in the Carrebean

Caribbean Island Walking – Dominica

Caroline Phillips, Product Manager for Walking & Trekking at Explore Travels, says:

“Discover the rainforests, mountains and hot springs of the Caribbean’s ‘Nature Island’ on this unique trip. Hike to the Boiling Lake, one of the world’s largest hot springs, swim in Middleham Falls and walk the Syndicate nature trail.

Explore’s first walking tour in the Caribbean, this trip covers most of the island, taking in coastlines, volcanoes and colourful hillside houses.”

 

House sitting UK: 6 lessons learnt (and ‘must dos’ for YOU)

House sitting UK: 6 lessons learnt (and ‘must dos’ for YOU)

It’s been over six months since we set off on our house sitting UK adventure. We’ve explored terrific destinations in the UK through house sitting, including London, Northampton, the Cotswolds, Bedfordshire and soon Devon and the Sussex coast.

We’ve loved house sitting in the UK, and we’ve also been to Malta, France and Ireland.

House sitting UK: 6 lessons learnt

Leave the toilet seat down!

You hear stories about dogs drinking out of the toilet, right? One night we were sound asleep but awoken at 1am.

“Can you hear a noise, is that an intruder?” I asked panicked (but still tucked into bed)

“I’m not sure… do you think I should check?” asks Cooper, as we hear again… what is that?

“Slurp, slurp, slurp…” 😆

Our beautiful shepherd, Luna, couldn’t be bothered going downstairs to her bowl. Our lesson? Close the toilet lid! It’s true – dogs DO drink from the toilet.

Luna in Northampton on our dog sit where we learnt a house and pet sitting lesson...

Never forget poo bags

We find poo bags in all or pockets now. It’s pretty funny. The bags always come in handy, of course. But what about the one occasion you forget to take them?

In Northampton we had simply popped out to the corner store. When I was inside gathering supplies, Cooper was walking Luna (pictured above) around the block and having a little play with her. You guessed it – she chose this very time to do her business.

And it was no small matter!

Cooper scrounged around to find cardboard and resources to clean up after Luna, but it wasn’t pretty, oh no.

Hence, poo bags in every pocket since that time.

 

Watch what your dog eats

I’m sorry, this seems to have turned into a post about toilets and dogs’ business. You see, we took care of another gorgeous pup, Teal. A Springer Spaniel – about the best behaved and most affectionate creature you’d ever meet. But Teal has a secret.

Teal eats poo. In the depths of fields around the Cotswolds, this innocent pooch will grab a ‘snack’ the second you turn away. At first I thought Cooper was exaggerating because he spotted this, er, behaviour first. I didn’t believe him. Not our lovely Teal.

However, when I turned around after being engaged in conversation with a fellow dog walker, I saw it. Oh Teal. Perhaps he needed some nutrients that are in there?

Whatever the case, we were reminded that dogs are like kids. Keep an eye on them at all times 🐶

 

👉Find out how we got started pet sitting in London

Be mindful of how you’re using treats

We took care of a precious little old man called Monty. He was such a beautiful old soul. A 15 year old Jack Russell, for the most part he was super easy to look after. Except he suffered major senior separation anxiety.

When we arrived he seemed ok, but once his parents left he wouldn’t leave his bed or hid under theirs. It broke our hearts. We kept an eye on him over the 12 hours to come, and we even called TrustedHousesitters pet line for guidance to make sure we were doing all the right things, which we were.

For anxiety, we’ve discovered we need to give dogs in this scenario their space. It’s beneficial for them to be in their own home. If they are not sleeping or eating, then you should contact a vet. One thing we had going for us was that Monty liked his food. We used this to try and coax him to love us 💖 We even got him downstairs by laying out a cheese trail – his favourite treat.

After a while though, we realised we were using treats in the wrong way – we were reinforcing his behaviour to stay in his bed or hide from us. We’d give him treats for it! Instead, we switched it around – gave him treats for coming to us and we got him outside on walks which cheered him right up. Our lesson: consider what kind of behaviour you’re rewarding with treats, or are you giving them to make you feel better?

We’ve shared more on this in our video guides 👇

 

Close doors and check where your pets can go

House sitting in the UK brought many lessons our way. When we took care of Blue, a senior Lurcher doggie in London, we’d been told where in the house he could go. It was pretty much everywhere except the bedrooms. What we didn’t realise is that’s exactly where he’d try to go. Some of the door handles weren’t shut properly and we discovered this after he went missing twice. Blue managed to break into the rooms, have a nap on his siblings’ beds but then got locked in, bless him!

Our Luna in Northampton was known to break into the fridge and eat all the meat, so we had to lock the door to the kitchen if we went out. Luna’s also actually unlocked the front door to go in search of her family 💕 So, we needed to deadbolt it for her own safety from the busy street outside.

A special mention must go to Harley in Dublin who knew how to follow you into the toilet, jump up on the sink and drink water while you wash your hands. His mum said that is entirely his father’s fault for teaching him 🤣

 

Learn to share your personal space

 

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Travel | Blog | Vlog (@cooperdawson1) on

Polly and Darcy ☝ haven’t been the only babies to want in on our private space. Pretty much all dogs and cats, once they get to know you, will want to be with you – or on top of you, in bed with you…

But you know what – that’s the bit we love the most. If you don’t, then this gig probably isn’t for you.

 

 

Find out more practical tips about house and pet sitting as you travel the world: subscribe to our newsletter for a FREE guide on how you can travel the world house and pet sitting. 

And of course – questions/comments are appreciated below 😸

 

 

Top 5: Where to stay in Malta

Top 5: Where to stay in Malta

Malta is an incredible place which offers a lot to practically anyone who wants to stay. But what do you need to think about when it comes to where to stay in Malta? There’s a variety of choices across a wide space, so the choice might be tricky. Luckily there are some absolutely incredible parts of Malta to stay and any one of them can be a great choice for you. Let’s take a look at five of the best places to stay in Malta to help you decide.

Malta or Gozo - where is the best place to stay

 

Our top 5 picks: where to stay in Malta

Mellieħa Bay

The first place that we want to take a look at is Mellieħa Bay. This is a very relaxed locale with beautiful scenery and a palpable sense of chill. Beaches, coastal areas and modern accommodation and dining all await the guests of this choice. I’d recommend it for people who want to have a very chilled out and relaxing holiday, because it’s really something special.

Recommended:

For just a few euro, we spent the day lazing about at Ray’s Lido. Sleep on a day bed, enjoy some bubbles, read a book and watch the world go by.

 

Find out our best tips on where to stay in Malta

 

Valletta

If you’re not interested in a chilled out holiday, then it might be a good idea to invest in Valletta. The old capital city of Malta, this is a wonderful place to visit because there’s so much to do. There’s a lot of great history, shopping opportunities and dining chances. You just have to make sure that you have researched the public transport links because trust me, it can get busy!

Valletta is convenient because it’s central. The island’s buses all head into here, and from here you can reach other areas of Malta on public transport. Find out more about things to do here.

 

 

Sliema/St Julians

This wonderful waterfront promenade is home to our third destination for people to stay in Malta, and it’s the best place to stay in Malta if you want lively nightlife. This is the bar and club area, which is worthwhile for anyone who wants to enjoy themselves in the evenings!

Along the Sliema waterfront you’ll also find a beautiful boardwalk for walking, running, exploring; and there’s great bars along there with afternoon cocktail and meal deals.

 

Where to stay in Malta to discover the best landscapes

 

St Paul’s Bay 

St Paul’s Bay can be looked at more as a resort than anything else. Set around a picturesque bay, find an ocean front apartment to stay in for a chilled-out break. As far as options on where to stay in Malta, this area offers newer accommodation, a bit like Mellieħa Bay further around the coastline. It’s a great option if you’re seeking a beach holiday, rather than a city break, which is what Valletta offers.

 

Gozo Island

Gozo Island is a wonderful location which offers a charm all its own. It’s an island, and has its own city and customs which you can enjoy. It’s still quite near the mainland so you don’t have to worry about whether or not you can enjoy all of Malta. There’s easy transportation on and off the island, which is good for people who want to come back and forth at their leisure.

You can catch a ferry between Malta and Gozo from various points on Malta. Sometimes accommodation deals are cheaper on Gozo, which is why we’ve included it as one of our best options on where to stay in Malta.

 

Find out the best place to stay in Malta

 

These are five areas in Malta I would recommend that you consider basing yourself. They’re all stunning. For another perspective, we like this local’s guide on where to stay in Malta.

It’s so important to have somewhere to stay that works for you as a traveller – what kind of trip to you want (active, chilled), and what are your transport options? These will feed into where to choose. For further tips on the best places to stay in Malta, take a look at this guide, or drop us a line in the comments with your questions.

 

Malta video guides

👉Watch our vlogs on Malta for more travel inspiration. They went viral on Facebook 🌞

 



 

Guest post by writer Anna Mae