Cervera del Maestre streets stone flowers
Cervera del Maestre Spain views
Cervera del Maestre Spain Travel & Culture Guide

Cervera del Maestre: a beautiful inspiration to artists

Perched on a hilltop of the Cervera mountain range complete with a Moorish castle to greet visitors as they arrive is the hidden gem of Cervera del Maestre. Out of a population of around 600 inhabitants, around 25% are foreigners from a range of twenty or so different countries. With its steep narrow winding streets, whitewashed and terracotta houses and a feeling of being in a maze that even the GPS can’t navigate, Cervera del Maestre has something special about it that you can feel even as you approach it.

My name is Fred de Souza and I have been living here since 2004. In 2020, inspired by the area and some of the artists living here, I set up the Fred De Souza Gallery. In conjunction with Casa del Drac, we have regular exhibitions and artists in residence here in Cervera del Maestre. Let me introduce you to this gorgeous village.

Cervera del Maestre Spain aerial views

Cervera del Maestre location

Located on the northern part of the east coast of Spain, midway between Valencia and Barcelona, in an area known as the Orange Blossom Coast.

The region is relatively unspoilt with an economy based on agriculture, mainly orange, almond and olive groves and carob trees.

Development has been restricted by the coast and thus Cervera sits unspoilt 18km inland, in the foothills of the Maestrazgo ( Baix Maestrazgo) mountain range. The name means ’masters’ and is derived from the Grand Masters of the military orders of the Knights Templar who administered this region.

The mountains of the Maestrazgo rise to over 1800 metres and now form the Maestrazgo Cultural Park which covers 2700km2.

Half an hour to the north of the village, on the border with Cataluña is the Ebro River and its journey ends in the Mediterranean Sea where it forms the vast Ebro Delta. To the south are the regional and provincial capitals of Castellon and Valencia.

Cervera del Maestre Spain views

Cervera del Maestre …where the people are shaped by the land

Cervera del Maestre is one of three historic locations in the region on a line stretching some 55km NW from the coast at Peniscola to the fortified town of Morella at 1200 metres above sea level. All three towns boast a castle and those of Peniscola and Morella were featured in the film El Cid. The houses of Cervera huddle beneath the walls of the Moorish castle, 313 metres above sea level.

The municipality of Cervera is one of the largest in the Castellon region measuring 93 km2, but in terms of population, it is the smallest (575 inhabitants).

It’s location, people and their heritage have been shaped by the land. The Iberians and later the Moors created thousands of terraced parcels of land for the growing of Olives, Almonds, Carobs, Oranges & Lemons. These terraced plots provided the means to exist.

Cervera del Maetre shaped by the land

Fiestas and traditions

Traditions still run parallel with modern life. Fiestas and the running of the bulls through the streets still continue. Numerous parades through the narrow streets and dances in the village square, to celebrate the saints or La Faram (the Dragon).

La Faram (the Dragon) was a mythical dragon which lived in the castle and would devour small children. An annual play is enacted to celebrate the slaying of the dragon which breaths fireworks which are somewhat of a fire hazard for the gathered crowd in the main square, Fortunately, the bomberos (firemen) are on standby.

Alternatively, one can pass the time sitting outside in the street or in the village square with friendly fun-loving neighbours and a nice bottle of wine.

Cervera del Maetre House of the Dragon (Casa del Drac)

Discover cultural events in Cervera del Maestre

Edinburgh Royal Mile
Edinburgh Arthur's Seat
Edinburgh food

By Chloe Flood

There is nothing better than a weekend trip away from the normal hustle and bustle of life. With the vast destination options across mainland Europe, it can be difficult to drop a pin on where you should rendezvous. One of my own top-spot weekend destinations is the Scottish capital city, Edinburgh. Edinburgh is one of the most fascinating and beautiful cities in the world. The city has a thriving café culture, emerging food scene, great shopping, contemporary art scene and vibrant landscape. With a history rich foundation and spell-binding culture, the city is one that offers something for all ages.

Edinburgh street-performers-Fringe Festival

Edinburgh offers something all year round. From the renowned International Fringe Festival, Christmas, Hogmanay, Film, Jazz, Science and Literature festivals there is never an off season in this city. If you are looking for a solo or romantic getaway Edinburgh city is the perfect choice for you to explore all year round!

edinburgh at Christmas

What to do & where to explore in Edinburgh

1. Edinburgh Castle

Dominating the capital skyline, Edinburgh Castle perches itself upon the rigged Castle Rock. The iconic site is enriched with history and breath-taking scenery. Visitors can explore the castle’s grounds with a guided or audio tour. Visitors get to walk the great halls, admire the Crown Jewels and witness the firing of the One o’clock gun! It is best to book your tour tickets in advance to avoid disappointment! The castle opens 9.30 am daily and adult tickets start at £17.50.

Visit https://www.edinburghcastle.scot/ to plan your trip.

edinburgh-castle-
2. The Edinburgh Dungeons

The Edinburgh Dungeons offers something fun for all. Transport yourself back in time to a much darker and sinister Edinburgh city, riddled with plague and murderers. The tour brings you deep into the history of your destination in a fun and interactive way. The dungeons are open 7 days a week, 10 am-5 pm. Tours operate every 15 minutes and run for 70 minutes.

Tickets start at £15 online at https://www.thedungeons.com/.

Edinburgh Dungeons
3. Arthur’s Seat and Holyrood Park Walk

One of the city’s most impressive views can be stolen from the top of an extinct volcano! If the excessive uphill walks around the city grounds haven’t exhausted you completely, a walk-up Arthur’s Seat is well worth the visit. The view from the peak offers sensational views of the whole city and beyond. Best to look ahead at weather conditions before venturing up as visitors who dare attempt the walk-in rainy conditions risk a disappointing view.

edinburgh Arthur's Seat Scotland
4. The National Museum of Scotland

The National Museum of Scotland houses a stunning collection of worldly treasures of nature, art, science and technology. Meet ‘Dolly’ the first cloned mammal and brush up on your body snatching techniques with a visit to the darker side of the Scottish exhibits. The museum operates between 10 am-5 pm with free admission all year round. Plan your visit on https://www.nms.ac.uk/

5. Edinburgh Hop On, Hop Off Bus

One of the better (or lazier) ways to see the city is by splashing out on a Hop-On, Hop-Off bus pass. Get chauffeured around the Old and New Town and miss nothing from the top deck of the bus. Jump from significant place to place and hear all the tales and facts of your location as you recline. The bus operates 9 am-4 pm every day and tickets are valid for 24-hours.

Prices start from £16 and are available https://city-sightseeing.com/en/home.

dinburgh Sightseeing Bus Royal Mile
Top Edinburgh Travel Money-Saving Tips

For best value across the board, I highly recommend opting for an Edinburgh City Pass. You can pick a one, two or three-day city pass depending on the length of your visit. The pass grants you entry into 23 of the city’s attractions such as Edinburgh Zoo, The Edinburgh Dungeons, Hop-on Hop-off Bus, Harry Potter Tour, Edinburgh Vaults, Glenkinchie Distillery and many more.

The passes start at £45 for an adult one-day pass, £55 for an adult two-day and £65 for an adult three-day pass.

Check out the full list of attractions here: https://www.edinburghcitypass.com/attractions/ and depending on the things you want to do, these passes can work out the best value!

breakfast Edinburgh Deacons House Cafe

Photo above courtesy of Deacon’s House Café

What to eat and drink in Edinburgh

Breakfast in Edinburgh

What better way to start your day off than with a delicious and hearty breakfast. It will definitely be needed ahead of all your excursions in the city! Here are a few of my favourite launching pads:

1. Deacon’s House Café

Located on the Royal Mile, this café offers a wide variety of breakfast treats. From homemade scones and wild smoked salmon to a full Scottish breakfast with all the trimming, Deacon’s has something for everyone on their menu. Grab a seat in the café’s courtyard and relish in the pretty historical setting.

Discovre more: http://deaconshouse1788.co.uk/

2. Urban Angel

If you are looking for high quality and exciting food, then look no further as Urban Angel prides itself on providing locally sourced organic fair-trade food and drink. The menu has something for everyone ranging from Eggs Benedict and French Toast to healthier options like smoothie bowls and fresh juices. And for those coffee lovers out their Urban Angel have their own bespoke blend of coffee which is served all day.

Website: http://www.urban-angel.co.uk/

3. Zebra Coffee Co.

If you’re in the get-up and go mood, Zebra Coffee Co. might just be the perfect choice for you! Wake yourself up and waste no time exploring with freshly brewed coffee-to-go and something sweet or savoury packaged up for your travels. The cosy corners opened 9 am -5-30 pm daily welcome you to stay but the adventure of the city and the kicking coffee may encourage you otherwise.

Learn more: http://zebracoffeeco.co.uk

Photo below courtesy of Zebra Coffee Company

Zebra Coffee Company Edinburgh breakfasts
Lunch & Dinner in Edinburgh

Keep yourself fuelled throughout your fun-packed day with some of these fun lunchtime or dinner hot spots:

1. Oink

Looking for a quick and fun lunch option, look no further than OINK! Yes, you’ve guessed it Oink specialise in pork and offers you a full hog roast lunch without the mess! Pulled pork under a brioche bun topped with your choice of herb stuffing or classic Scottish Haggis! Add a dollop of house special apple, BBQ, Chilli Jam or mustard sauce and you’ve got yourself a lunch fit for a king!

Website: https://www.oinkhogroast.co.uk/

2. Wings

Retro games and movies, wings and amazing cocktails. I’m sold! Just a few steps down Royal Mile you may stumble upon this gem hidden down one of Edinburgh’s many closes. Wings is a blast from the past with each table set up with as a theme from pop culture history. Enjoy a wide and varied selection of wings and delicious sides from their menu and even treat yourself to a tasty cocktail.

Website: http://wingsedinburgh.com/

3. Bertie’s Restaurant and Bar

A sophisticated approach to fun food and probably the best fish and chips you’ll get in the city! Looking for a casual evening meal Bertie’s menu has something for everyone. From their classic fish and chips to their hearty pies and burgers, something is bound to set your taste buds watering. Sink it all back with a playful classic cocktail. Enjoy Bertie’s menu daily from 12 pm-10 pm.

Website: https://www.bertiesfishandchips.com/

Photo below courtesy of Wings Edinburgh

Wings Edinburgh
Where to stay in Edinburgh

Deciding where to stay is all about personal preference. Whether you want absolute luxury, something different and quirky or somewhere you can just retreat to for a quick rest before hitting the cobbled streets again. Edinburgh city has accommodation to suit your needs.

1. 5 Star Luxury at the Radisson Collection, Royal Mile (£140+ Per Night)

The Radisson Collection is the only 5-star hotel located on the iconic Royal Mile. The hotel’s interior is designed and enhanced with art from local Scottish artists such as Hatti Pattison, Timorous Beasties and Judy R, Clark. Each room is elegantly furnished with art and comfort.

The rooms give views of the enriched Edinburgh skyline, views of the ancient Edinburgh Castle, Arthurs Seat and Victoria Street. With an award-winning restaurant, bar and spa, a stay here offers guests an exceptional experience well worth the price per night! Be warned you may not want to venture out of the opulence!

where to stay edinburgh-radisson collection hotel royal mile

Photo courtesy of the Radisson Collection Edinburgh

2. Best Value at the Mercure Edinburgh City Princes Street Hotel (£81 Per Night)

The Mercure Hotel is situated on the city’s main shopping street, Princes Street. The hotel’s rooms offer Instagramable views of the Princes Gardens, Scotts Monument, the Old Town skyline and Edinburgh Castle. The hotel is central to everything the city has to offer. If the view from your room doesn’t entice you out and about, the shops, restaurants and bars right on your doorstep might just!

3. Dwell as one of Edinburgh’s Notorious Criminals at The Court Hostel, Parliament Square (£45 Per Night in Private Cell)

Stories of Edinburgh’s infamous criminals can bring out the dark tourist in us all. One way to step a little further down the rabbit hole of Edinburgh’s unjust is to plan a stay in one of their cells! At the Court Hostel, that’s exactly what’s on offer.

Although the private rooms (cells) are equipped with all today’s necessary amenities, the rooms retain the simplicity, round ceiling, iron gated doors and small windows that it had when it housed criminals. As far as hostels go, this one is an experience. One can only hope the cells are not home to those criminals today!

4. A vibrant and friendly stay at St. Christopher’s Hostel, Market Street (£33.50 Per Night in a Private room, £6.80 Per Bed in a Shared Dorm)

For a fun and easy-going place to stay, St. Christopher’s Hostel is the best option. The hostel offers private and shared accommodation in a perfectly central location. The hostel has its own vibrant bar, perfect for meeting new people exploring the city too. The hostel has free breakfast, great discount in the bar (25% off food and drink), free walking tours and pub crawl tours available as well. A comfortable and affordable stay offered here in a prime location!

Parting words for your trip to the Scottish capital…

When embarking for Edinburgh be prepared to get those steps in! The city is built upon an extinct volcano so of course, you can expect some ups and downs during your stay. Always be prepared for rain and shine in Edinburgh, the weather is a bit like Ireland – maybe a little colder!

All in all, I don’t think I have ever come across someone who hasn’t loved this beautiful city. Edinburgh is a place full of exploration, celebration and something a little magical. The only way to experience this city is to immerse yourself in every nook and cranny, every hill and close!

Edinburgh Scotland travel guide

How to get there to Edinburgh

Flights to this destination are very affordable and operate with leading airlines such as Ryanair and Aer Lingus, from Ireland, and a number of European destinations. You’ll not be long flying high until you set your gaze upon the vibrant city landscape as flights out of Dublin Airport to Edinburgh Airport usually take about 40-50 minutes.

Edinburgh Airport is situated about 30 minutes from the city centre. One way to get into the city is to catch the Airlink 100 bus which operates 24/7. The bus fare is set at the price of £4.50 (€5.50) single adult and £7.50 (€9) for an open return ticket. This bus is located outside the main entrance of the airport and runs every 10 minutes into the city.

Alternatively, you can hop on a City Tram for £6.50 (€8) single adult and £9.00 (€11) open return. Trams run from 06:15 to 22:45 every day. Black cab taxis are also available at the airport, prices for your fare may reach up to £20 (€23).

Top Edinburgh Travel Money-Saving Tips

Travel via Airlink 100 bus! The bus is cheap (£4.50 adult single, £7.50 return9 and gets you into the city just as promptly as the other options. When jumping on the double-decker bus take a window seat upstairs.

This is one of the best ways to get an introduction to the city as it takes the main route to the city and even passes by attractions such as Murrayfield Stadium and Edinburgh Zoo. The view of Edinburgh Castle from your seat will mean you have reached your destination. The bus will drop you slap bang in the middle of the city on Waverly Bridge. This is also where the bus will depart for your return journey to the airport-that is if you don’t fall in love with the city and decide to stay!

Chloe Flood, Author

Chloe Flood Travel Inpires authorMy name is Chloe Flood and I am currently in my final year of studies in Ireland’s beautiful west hot spot: Galway. Through my four years of studying Hotel and Tourism Management, I have been given a great opportunity to travel on a local, national and international scale. During the journey for my degree, I ventured to the Scottish capital for a placement and found nothing short of a second home in the captivating city of Edinburgh

Lisbon Portugal Alfama Lisbon skyline
Lisbon Portugal travel guide vintage tram
Lisbon Portugal at sunset panorama

The Lisbon Travel Guide: A Collaborative Work By GMIT Tourism Students

Lisbon: The City of Light

Introduction By Róisín Corrigan

Lisbon can only really be explained as a full-body experience, from bumping into people while distracted by the quaint cobblestones or the intricately decorated tiles on the sidewalks, in the Alfama district. At least if you’re having a bad day and your head is held low, you’ve got something to hold your attention or a reason to lift it up!

It’s easy to understand why Lisbon is commonly known as the City of Light, as you are surrounded by bold and vibrant colours that sing out to all the people. But the colour doesn’t stop there… the blue from the Tagus river is emphasised by the sun’s rays that escaped and are now dancing on its surface. The terracotta tiles that adorn the roofs generously lend warmth, even on a grim January’s morning.

On a rainy day you might find yourself gliding (or falling!) down one of the city’s seven hills but, at least you’ll have plenty of scenery to enjoy on your way. The vibrant yellow trams coming from all angles, the blend of pastel houses in the spindling alleyways harmonise with the pop of colour from the flower pots that hang off most house window sills – it’s a pretty good silver lining, in my humble opinion.

Lisbon old town Alfama church

Lisbon’s Colourful, Characterful Districts

Lisbon is divided into different districts and while it makes up one city, each segment distinctively stands out through its own unique characteristics. A palette of colour is on offer in nearly all creeks and corners of the city. After visiting the city I’ve noticed how it speaks to all ages, all visitors. All people. It is a city of depth and knowledge. In each district a different perspective, a different light and feeling will reveal itself. Giving Lisbon an authentic edge yet also offering a contemporary twist all in one bite.

Lisbon Rossio square at sunset

The LX factory and district oozes with art, creativity and all that is cool! The Alfama district combines culture and history, standing almost as an artefact that portals us back in time through the streets that date back to before the 8th century- one could say it is the essence of Lisbon. To the glamour that can be found from the shopping district of Baixa. To Belem, that exemplifies a strong presence, as it houses the Jerónimos Monastery and Belém Tower in all their glory, not to mention if you follow your nose you will come to find the cafe pastéis de Belém where you will enjoy the mouth-watering, tear jerking best Portuguese tart (or pastéis de nata) of your taste buds’ life.

Lisbon food to try pasteis de nata

Not to mention Pink Street, which snatches the attention of all the good people looking for a shindig, reeling them in for what can only be an exhilarating night out. And so many more districts that can be best found by leaving your google maps at home and stumbling across them yourself. All of these areas add such different dimensions to the city yet, they are all tied together through the common thread of colour. Although beauty is in the eye of the beholder… Lisbon really helps people out by offering a lot to behold.

Lisbon Portugal Travel guide Pink Street

Check out these
Great Events in Lisbon

With an array of viewpoints to be seen, it may be overwhelming to choose if only on a short stay, but the one that stands alone in my memory is the Santa Justa Elevatator (a close second being Castelo de Sao Jorge) we managed to catch the sun set.

Luckily it was a clear sky allowing the pinks, oranges and reds to light it up. Highlighting the red roof tops, soft pastel colours and tracing the silhouettes of shapes from the serene city below. It illustrated a postcard picture (which I’m sure already features in one of the hustling bustling souvenir shops). With the soft melody coming from the acoustic guitar played by a local in the corner, anyone could while away time in this romantic backdrop.

Lisbon Portugal Santa Justa Elevator at night
Is Lisbon a sustainable city?

P.S. For all you travellers who are looking to eco up your travelling conscious; Lisbon is the destination for you. Green stood out in bold to me whilst walking around the city, not in relation to the colour but more in the sense of how sustainability was incorporated through all aspects of the city.

Although I was transfixed by the aesthetic and colour of this beautiful city, I couldn’t help but take the time out to notice the emphasis that was placed on the environment. It was the little things… I barely noticed anyone walking around with coffee cups – locals naturally tended to buy their coffee and sit down and enjoy it (I know shock horror for all you busy bees out there!), this reflected the slower pace and more mindful approach to living that the Lisbon locals seemed to have.

It was only when I realised, we were spending a lot of time walking on the cobbled streets and roads instead of the paths that the lack of cars compared to other cities like Dublin was very obvious. This is definitely because of all the amazing forms of public transport available – the trams, metro, amazing bike initiatives and scooters (which are as practical as they are fun!). I also noticed, there was an abundance of electric vehicle charging points. One of our walking tour guides told us that Lisbon had achieved 50% reduction in C02 emissions since 2002. And, later after arriving home, I found out Lisbon is the 2020 European Green Capital Award winner – absolutely no surprise there!

As the topic of sustainability is so important, you may be interested to learn more about Why Lisbon Is A Top Sustainable Destination by Eduardo Lera Latorre

Lisbon sustainable city

Food & Tipples In Lisbon

By Ryan Henehan

Pick a street in Lisbon, take a stroll down and take in your surroundings, from its ancient quarters, beautifully tiled buildings and gorgeous food you will feel as though you have taken a step back in time. A lack of dreary, grey office buildings, modern technology and hectic city traffic seems to create an otherworldly sense, as if living in a romance novel where time stands still and everything you‘ve ever wanted is at your fingertips. In a big city that feels like a small, sleepy town you will be welcomed with open arms and leave with full stomachs

Lisbon bar terrace at sunset

Lisbon is a city that has been making waves in the culinary world as of late and for good reason. There is a certain joy of discovery in the capital in that it is often outshined by the more prevalent cities throughout Europe such as Rome, Paris and Madrid. Many of us ventured to this somewhat more elusive city having not experienced all Portugal had to offer previously and not knowing much about the hidden gastronomic gems to be discovered.

Each cobbled sidestreet appeared to host some unqiue culinary experience and to truly immerse oneself in the city I would recommend talking a wander and discovering flavours and scents the likes of which you have never known before.

On a cool, calm morning in January what better way to wake up and warm up than with a coffee. Take a short trip to the Madragoa district, an area that once was home to some of the city’s finests convents and architecture is now a haven for coffee and pastry lovers alike. Boasting some of Lisbon’s oldest producers, the aroma is incredible. The smell of rich, fragrant beans fill the streets and excite the nostrils as the scent pours over the vast roasters, wood-fired as they were once upon a time.

Lisbon food and drink

Photo credit: Bulgarian on the Go

It would be a crime not to pair your morning macchiato with one of the Lisbon’s beloved Pastels de Nata, a multi-layered crisp pastry containing custard in a state between liquid and set. A crispy crunch with a warm, sweet custard filling perfectly offsets the dark, bitter goodness that is the coffee. It truly is amazing how some ground beans accompanied by eggs, cream, custard and sugar can kick start your day in the best way possible.

A definite bucket list item for anyone slightly food-obsessed, like myself, is the Time Out Market, or to call it its full title, Time Out Mercado da Ribeira in Cais do Sodre. Perfect for tourists with limited time, Time Out plays host to an assembly of Lisbon’s finest gastronomic delights. Many of the city’s celebrated chefs such as Henrique Sa Pessoa, Susana Felicidade and Jose Avillez have concessions in the market.

Top Places To Eat In Lisbon Timeout Market

Like a year round food festival, Time Out offers every possible culinary concoction from foie gras tartare, fresh fish and crustaceans and sweet treats post dinner such as hand-made chocolates filled with pistachio, almonds or dried fruit. Wash it all down with a glass of aromatic Duoro white wine, or a pint of the locally brewed beer, Sagres, or the nations favourite liquor, the herbal remedy that is Beirao, or all three, you are on holidays!

Dont forget to pick up a can of tinned horse mackerel or sardines in tomato on your way out. While canned fish may be considered a cheap, convenient alternative in most places, in Portugal it is an artform and the ultimate foodie souvenir.

They say when in Lisbon, do as the Lisboetas do, at least i think that’s the phrase. What could be considered more Portugese than sitting in one of the many historic squares such as Praca do Comercio, sipping a glass of port and listening to the sounds of the melancholic Portugese blues known as Fado, watching the world meander by.

To know Lisbon is to eat and drink Lisbon, to live like the locals. Venture to the same spots they do and eat and drink what they suggest, dont be afraid to introduce yourself or ask questions as they are a warm and inviting nation who encourage the culturally curious.

Digress from the tourist recommended routes and amble into crammed little shops with walls filled with tawny and ruby ports and taste the aged goodness and feel as tho time has stood still for a moment. Experience the local version of tapas, petiscos and never miss an opportunity to raise a glass and toast to good health by proclaiming Saude!

Lisbon Alfama food stall

There is something familiar about Lisbon, something that made me feel as tho I had been there before and at the same time never want to leave. A warmth and hospitality which radiates from the locals as if they want to share their home with the world rather than keep it to themselves.

Cant skip Portugal, a mantra the Lisboetas take very seriously, Lisbon’s charm is undeniable. It is a city that is easy to fall in love with from the The Castelo de São Jorge in the sky right down to the limestone mosaic footpaths and cobbled streets.

The Portugese introduced tempura to Japan, Chillies to India and coffee to Brazil. They boast beaches like Barcelona, squares like Rome, corner store coffee shops like Paris and the homely welcome like us Irish.

The Portugese are a nation of explorers, influencers, entertainers, lovers and very few fighters. They celebrate their surroundings and arent afraid to do things a little different than their European neighbours. So as we celebrate this perfectly preserved slice of the past lets keep it as is, lets not change a thing and consider Lisbon a step back in to a simpler time and a slower pace of life. An often overlooked capital city, they say Can’t Skip Lisbon, but why would anyone want to!

Discover 6 Local Dishes To Try In Lisbon & 10 Top Places To Eat In Lisbon by Amy Creighton.

Lisbon Portugal during saints fesitival

Lisbon’s Superb Architecture

This sustainable, cultural city is full of centuries-old architecture and monumental statues along with its hilly winding streets and vibrant captivating yellow trams. Lisbon has a rich history dating back to the Roman Empire which is captured through the city’s architecture. The story of Lisbon truly lies within its architecture and winding streets of the city.

Here you can discover 9 of Lisbon’s iconic architectural landmarks by Tara Smollen

And also, why not discover 10 favourite Instagrammable places in Lisbon by Emer Mc Hugh

Lisbon Portugal Rossio Square

The 1755 Earthquake

The force of nature has long played havoc with human lives. In Lisbon, on 1st November (All Souls Day in the Catholic religion), the city’s people were at church to worship that day. At 9.30 am, suddenly, an earthquake struck the city. It was as if Lisbon had been shaken by a type of invisible gravity, according to survivors.

Discover how glorious Lisbon was before the earthquake and how the city rose up once again afterwards in an interesting read with a focus on architecture and history, by Xijie Zhang.

Lisbon Portugal from Tajo River

City of Ceramics and Azulejos (Tiles)

If you enjoy beautiful things and have even the slightest interest in architecture, then you will love the role that tiles and ceramics play throughout Lisbon. Known in Portuguese as azulejos, these vibrant tiles can be seen everywhere. Colourful ceramic tiles adorn numerous facades throughout Lisbon.

This tradition is a Moorish one, and believe it or not, it comes from a fear of empty spaces.

Find out more about: Lisbon’s Ceramics, Tiles and Azulejos by Ciara Enright

Lisbon ceramics and tiles

Understanding Fado music

It would be a shame not to experience Fado, the melancholic soulful Portuguese music that is said to have begun in the early part of the 19th century, around Lisbon and Coimbra. Fado singers can send shivers down your spine if you are attuned to music. It is beautiful and sad at the same time.

Fado features a feeling that can only be explained properly by a native Portuguese. The feeling, Saudade, is a deep, intense feeling of longing, of missing someone or something terribly. There is actually a Museum of Fado in Lisbon, where you can discover lots about this music genre that is an integral part of Portuguese culture.

A funny coincidence is that the word Fado in Irish means a long time ago! The only tiny difference is that in Irish it has an accent (fada) – Fadó.

This feature explains Fado in more detail, plus it tells you about some of the best places in Lisbon to experience Fado by Peter McGrath.

Fado Museum Lisbon Portugal

Reminders of Royalty in Lisbon

After the double assassination of the King of Portugal and his son, on a cold day in February 1908, the dead King’s younger son took the throne. However, the Portuguese monarchy never made a full recovery from that fateful day in 1908. The rise of the Republican movement, a weak monarch and a revolution led to the fall of Portuguese Royalty, the House of Braganza, in 1910.

Regardless of this, in 21st century Lisbon the days of the Royalty are still evident. This article explores 4 Beautiful Reminders of Royalty in Lisbon Portugal by Gerard Ronan Keane….coming soon

Lisbon Palace of Pena in Sintra

Sports Tourism in Lisbon

It might not surprise you to know that Lisbon is also an exciting sports tourism destination. Of course with Portugal being the country of one of the world’s most famous footballers, Cristiano Ronaldo, this gives it a bit of an edge. That said it isn’t only soccer related sports tourism that visitors to Lisbon can enjoy, there is also great golf and spectacular surfing available.

Follow James Dempsey as he highlights some of the main reasons that Lisbon Is A Spectacular Sports Tourism Destination.

sports tourism Lisbon West Cliffs Golf Course

Coastal and Marine Tourism

Cruise ships stop off to let their guests enjoy the day in Lisbon, where they can bask on the beach and swim, and enjoy some absolutely delicious seafood for their lunch. Or some may decide to take part in the wide range of watersports on offer. For those visitors who are in Lisbon of an evening, the sunset over the river Tagus and the Atlantic Ocean is postcard perfect.

Explore Why Lisbon Is A Superb Coastal and Marine Tourism Destination by Declan Foyle….coming soon

Coastal and marine tourism Lisbon

Lisbon For Families

Lisbon is one of those places that appeals to many different types of people, as well as being a city that has the ability to cross over generations. Naturally the city’s hills might seem like a bit of a struggle for those with either younger or older families, but the reality is the transport options are very good and there are number of excellent reasons to visit Lisbon as a family.

Let Rhiannon Hoey help you explore Lisbon For Families-Treacherous Hills But Lots To Do With Children.

lisbon for families

Lisbon For A Girls Weekend

From beautiful boutique hotels to budget accommodation to suit all tastes, warm and hospitable Lisbon has somewhere perfect to stay for all the girls …of all ages. This World’s Leading City Break Destination has all the ingredients you and your girlfriends need to have a wonderful weekend bonding with your close friends and female family.

In this feature, Hannah Smith highlights 15 Reasons Why Lisbon Is A Great Girls Weekend Destination.

lisbon for girls weekends

Is Lisbon LGBTQ+ Friendly?

By Eoghan Kavanagh

Lisbon is one of the most progressive places for LGBTQ+ people(s), with same sex adoption and discrimination against sexual orientation considered to be one of the backbones of the laws.

2010 was a time of celebration for the LGBTQ+ community, with Portugal legalising same sex marriage.The city is trendy and hip. The gay friendly area of Lisbon is in the Bairro Alto area with an abundance of bars and nightclubs.

From my recent to trip to Lisbon, I found it to be accepting of LGBTQ+ culture and the ‘norms’ associated with that, the mix of gay-straight mixed wonderfully, and so it should be. Though controversially, this opinion is divided with some only wanting LGBTQ+ bars and not for there to be a mix both heterosexuals and homosexuals… some feel that the mix is an example of Homonormativity, which is sometimes is the case.

The colourful city of Lisbon is a huge attraction to all tourists and with the acceptance and wonderful approach the Portuguese people and LGBTQ+ culture.

The annual festival of Pride is held during the month of June, the festivities are over a week with a colourful parade and many street parties leading late into the night!

lisbon LGBTQ+

Lisbon For Millennials/Gen Z

“Over the three days, what I loved about the city was the sense of freedom I felt. Every day I found myself wandering down to the water’s edge to simply listen to the talented buskers, to watch the water taxis go by, and to just sit and observe people as they went about their daily lives. There were many young people to be seen chilling on the funky benches living their best life. I tried to imagine what it would be like to be a student studying in Lisbon, possibly coming down to the water’s edge in between classes, just enjoying the warm friendly atmosphere.”

Read more in this article, by Max Reid, about the appeal of Lisbon for Millennials

Galway city Claddagh Galway in Galway, Ireland
moyrus strand carna connemara (2)
GAlway outdoors Connemara

Galway: The City of Tribes

Galway is a county steeped in culture from Connemara in the west to Ballinasloe in the east. You will find it hard to find a town in County Galway where no historical event or celebration has taken place. Each has its own interesting story to tell.

My name is Morgan and I love my home city and county of Galway here in Ireland. Join me and discover more about Galway with a special emphasis on some of its history. I am a Tourism College student in Galway & Roscommon ETB.

In 2016, the city of Galway was designated the European Capital of Culture for 2020 along with Rijeka in Croatia. This will mean that during 2020 the biggest and most exciting events will take place in Galway.

Galway beat off stiff competition from Dublin, Limerick, Kilkenny, Waterford and Wicklow to win this achievement. Galway 2020 launched their plan for the year on the 18 of September 2019  Here you can see the programme of events for Galway 2020.

This will be a big boost to Galway. It will bring in millions of tourists and millions of revenue for the development of Galway’s already fantastic arts, culture and foodie scene. The year got off to a superb start, when on 2nd January 2020, the BBC Good Food Guide.placed Galway in the first position in their list of top destinations for foodies in 2020.

Galway city colourful street By C.Echeveste

Some historical nuggets about Galway

Galway as a town itself was first settled in around the 1100’s by the King of Connacht, Tairrdelbach Ua Conchobair. During this time the oldest part of Galway, The Claddagh was established as a fishing village. The men of the Claddagh all became fishermen while the women mended the nets. (The Claddagh area is in the photo below).

In primary school “the parochial School” which is now an office block, the boys learnt navigation, fishing and the basic rules of the sea, while the girls learnt to mend nets and look after the house.

More than a hundred years later, Galway was captured during the Norman Invasion of Connacht in the 1230’s by Richard Mor de Burgh, This led the locals to push for a defensive wall to be built around Galway and which was completed in 1562. Parts of the Galway Wall are still visible today in the Spanish Arch & Eyre Square Shopping Centre.

During the Middle Ages, Galway was controlled by fourteen families Athy, Blake, Bodkin, Browne, D’Arcy, Deane, Font, Ffrench, Joyce, Kirwan, Lynch, Martin, Morris and Skerritt. These are known as the Tribes of Galway and this is why Galway’s Gaelic Athletic Association teams are called the tribesmen, and of course, why Galway is known as the City of Tribes. The last of the remaining roundabouts in Galway all bear name to one of the fourteen tribes.

Two castles belonging to the tribes still remain to this day. Lynch’s Castle which stands on Shop Street (Galway’s main thoroughfare) and Blake’s Castle which is located close to the Spanish arch.

Claddagh area Galway

Things To See in Galway

The Spanish Arch

The Spanish Arch was the main fishing port in Galway. It is one of the only two places where the Galway wall is remaining. Two remaining arches were part of the extension of the city wall, designed as a measure to protect the city’s quays, which were in the area once known as the Fish Market (now Spanish Parade). It was constructed by Mayor Wylliam Martin in 1584.

In the 18th century the Eyre family of Eyrecourt, County Galway, created an extension of the quays called The Long Walk and created the arches to allow access from the town to the new quays. Despite being called ”Spanish arch” the spanish arch has no connection to Spain and was rather called so due to the amount of spanish boats that used to moor here. Until 2006, part of the Arch housed the Galway City Museum. At that time, the museum was moved to a new, dedicated building located just behind the Arch.

Did you know that Christopher Columbus moored here last before setting sail for the “West Indies”?

Here are 15 things to see in Galway.
Galway city things to see

Galway Ethnic Groups

Galway just like any city has thousands of ethnic groups. In schools “independence day” is a big event where all the cultures and nationalities in the school show off their traditions, cultures, food and clothing.

In my primary school which was in the Claddagh from 2005 – 2014 we had an independence day every year. In a school with 44 different nationalities. It was a day not to be missed!

crafts in Galway Irish spinner woman with wheel

Families

Family is very important to Irish people, and that is definitely the case here in Galway. You will see when you come to Ireland that we are very friendly and treat everyone like one of our family. This is just in our nature. We are the friendliest people in the world.

Galway Crafts

Everything is made in Galway from woollen Aran jumpers, to delicious fresh brown bread to handmade rugs…everything can be found in Galway. There is a great history of spinning also. (See the photo above of the Irish woman at her spinning wheel.) There is a pre Christmas Craft Fair in Galway in The Black Box every year during November plus in the summer in Salthill, you can enjoy the Galway Food and Craft Fair in July. 

Galway Markets & Shopping

Galway Has a number of markets and shopping centres. Try not to miss the Galway Market located next St Nicholas Church, which contains lots of natural, local handmade products and takes place every Saturday and Sunday.

The Galway Christmas Market is on every year from the last Friday in November to the 22nd of December. Located in Eyre Square it is sure to be a place to get some nice Christmas presents and there is some delicious food available. Any trip to the Christmas Market must be topped off with a visit to the German Beer Tent with lots of Live Music and some good Craic (Fun).

Galway has two main Shopping Centres, which are Eyre Square Shopping Centre, that has over 70 shops and restaurants
The other one is the Corrib Shopping Centre which is a 5 minute walk from Galway City Centre.

Although there are some tourists based shops in both shopping centres including Aran Jumper Shops and some lovely Irish Craft Shops, most of the shops in the shopping centres are aimed towards locals.

Check out these
Wonderful Festivals

Cultural Highlights of Galway

Of course Galway is renowned for its amazing culture and creativity. One of the must see events in Galway is Trad On The Prom in Leisureland, Galway. This is a collection of Irish dancing and Irish Traditional music in a show that is not to be missed. 

Run and performed by a number of performers who have been involved in Riverdance, the Chieftains and Lord of the Dance. With its excellent performers and musicians, along with a number of world champion Irish dancers, it would make any trip to Galway one to remember. 

Trad on the Prom Galway (2)

Live Music in Galway

Galway and music go hand in hand. Home to such bands including the Stunning, Galway Street Club and Keywest, Galway has been the breeding ground of lots of home grown Irish music talent. Ed Sheeran himself even busked in Galway in his younger years.

Check out the feature on Live Music in Galway

Shop Street is the best place to see live music in the streets. It is a buskers paradise from the Good, the Bad and the Tone Deaf Dreadful – there is a busker in Galway City for everyone. If you get to witness one of Galway’s finest bands “The Galway Street Club” which is a collective of buskers from around Ireland and the world, you’ll understand why they sell out venues around Ireland.

For tourists interested in listening to some trad music, several pubs in Galway have Trad nights where you can listen to some traditional music with a lovely pint of pure Irish Guinness.

Our Canadian W.A.L.K.S writer, Emma Collard, give her own unique perspective on culture and where to drink in Galway.

Check out these
Great Music Pubs

https://travelinspires.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/An-Pucan-Galway-Whiskey-Trail-live-music.jpg

Festivals in Galway

Galway has a number of festivals, many are which are known around the world. It is really a great city for festivals.

The main festival of the cultural calendar in Galway is The Galway Arts Festival. Happening over the last week in July, it is a great event filled with Music, Arts,Comedy and much more. The Galway Arts Festival has events taking place all over Galway and is one of the not to missed festivals in Ireland.

The Galway Races is a week long week of horse racing in The Galway Racecourse in Ballybrit, Galway which happens in the first week in August, Every year. The Galway Races which celebrated 150 Years, in 2019, is a festival for those who enjoy horse racing but is not really attended by locals due to its expensive pricing.

The Macnas Parade a one day parade which happens in October and is the main celebration of Halloween time in Galway, Attracting crowds of up to 50,000, this free to watch show passes through the streets of Galway in what can only be described as a spectacular show.

Galway Races

County Galway Landscapes

Galway is very hilly Coming from the East, Galway is surrounded by an Esker that formed as a result of the last Ice Age. East and North Galway is where are farming is done. The land is a lot better, and it’s easy for cattle to graze on these pastures. Farmers in East Galway may have sheep, beef or dairy cows.

Heading west, Connemara is a very mountainous area with boglands and a lot of wetlands. The landscape is beautiful however travelling beyond Oughterard (40 Minutes North west of Galway) will lead you towards Recess and Maum Cross, two beautiful small towns surrounded by the Twelve Pins mountain range.

However the land in the west is generally not that great for farming. In this area the farmers may have upland sheep that roam around the hills. This is why the woollen Aran Sweater was developed.

Be sure to check out some of our favourite Galway landscapes in this feature.
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Day Trips from Galway 

  1. Cliffs of Moher

The Cliffs of Moher is one of Ireland’s must see tourist attractions. 1 hour and 40 minutes from Galway – a drive to the Cliffs of Moher will bring you through the Burren and along the Wild Atlantic Way. On a sunny day you may even see the Aran Islands.

Days tours to here leave from Galway’s Sean Duggan Coach Station. Tours are provided by the Galway Tour Company, departing from Galway at 10:00 and returning at 18:00. Other providers are:

Healy Tours: Departs Galway at 11:00 and Returns At 17:45
Lally Tours: Departs Galway at 10:00

Wild Atlantic Way Day Tours: Departs outside Kinlay Hostel on Merchants Road at 09:30

Cliffs of Moher Ireland-stunning Landscape and Seascape along the wild atlantic way

2. The Aran Islands

A trip to Galway is not complete without a visit to the Aran Islands. A tour to the Islands off the coast of Galway is like walking back in time down the small stone wall lined roads, beautiful cottages and wonderful limestone landscapes.

The Aran Islands consist of three islands, Inis Mhor (Largest Island), Inis Meain( Middle Island and Inis Oirr ( the Smallest Island). Legend says that two giants were fighting and throwing rocks and each other. One of the giants threw a rock that fell into the sea and broke apart to become the Aran Islands.

A journey to the Aran Islands is well worth the time. You can fly from Connemara Airport in inverin, Connemara or sail on the Aran Island Ferry from Rossaveal. Those wishing to fly can get a shuttle bus from Galway City .Those who wish to take the boat can take a shuttle bus from Galway City also.

Day tours are also provided by:
Galway Tour Company
Lallys Tours
Healys Tours
Wild Atlantic Way Day Tours

Galway beautiful places Aran Islands Inishmore Kilronana

3. Connemara

Connemara, The Home of the Irish Language – the Gaeltacht is a must see gem in Country Galway. The views along of the rugged landscape should not be missed along with the traditional simplistic lives of the natives. Connemara is a place not to missed, for these reasons and also for stunning views of South County Clare & The Burren,

Some of the best known sights are The Connemara National Park, Kylemore Abbey, Leenane and so much more besides. Connemara is just a true beauty.

Connemara is best seen in a hired car available to get in Galway in your own time, or else by bus or by day tour provided.

Our W.A.L.K.S writer, Aisling Conneely, guides you wonderfully through some of the highlights of Connemara.

Galway beautiful villages Connemara ponies

4. Cong

Cong is a town straddled between the Galway and Mayo border on the banks of the river Corrib. Cong was made famous for being the filming location of the “Quiet Man” starring John Wayne and Maureen O Hara.

Home to Ashford Castle and the 12th Century Cong Abbey. Cong is a beautiful spot. Cong is a 41 minute drive from Galway City. Day Tours are available from a number of tour Operators.

Cong Galway Ireland john-wayne

Food, Drink & Entertainment 

Cost of living in Galway

Although Galway is a cheap city by Irish standards, there are a lot of items that are quite expensive. Galway is generally cheaper than Dublin.

Guinness & Going Out In Galway

Don’t fall for the Temple Bar trap. If you want to try Guinness, wait until you get to Galway. A Guinness in Temple Bar in Dublin will set you back €9! You can get 2 for that price in Galway. The cheapest pint of Guinness is roughly around €4 and nearly every pub in the city will have???

Galway is not a party mad city. You could easily have a good night out as have many cash struck local students on €30. What does this include roughly?

Food in Galway

Food in Galway is quite cheap. To use the typical guide, the price of a McDonald’s Big MAC is around €8.90

A two course meal in a typical Galway Restaurant would be between €25 – €30. Galway has some very cheap, fantastic restaurants such as Finnegans which is located in one of Galway’s oldest buildings. I suggest the breakfast roll. Its gigantic and lovely.

Galway is not too expensive and like any city, our good friend McDonalds can be found there! It is in three locations in Galway and a large meal is around €10

Galway has a number of different cuisines on offer. The main genres are Spanish, Italian and Irish.

Be sure not to miss this more comprehensive guide by Eimear Birch about some of the best pubs in Galway and her suggestions of Galway’s best restaurants that also offer good value for money.
Spanish

Cava Bodega is a popular Spanish restaurant serving tapas made from local Irish produce, Cava Bodega is part of the Eat Galway group along with Tartare Cafe & Wine Bar & the Michelin star award winning Aniar Restaurant & Cookery School. You can find Cava Bodega at Unit 1, Middle Street Mews, Middle Street, just off Shop Street.

Cava Bodga Galway
Cava Bodga Galway
Italian

Galway has a number of Italian Restaurants, One of the best known is Milano Pizzeria; the Galway branch of the Irish restaurant chain. This Galway restaurant is popular with locals due to the great taste of the pizza and the affordable price. The average pizza is around €20 – €25. Milano is located in the Cornstore, on Middle Street.

Irish

Galway of course has its fine share of Irish restaurants; the best of which is Finnegans. Finnegans is located in one of the oldest buildings in Galway and offers some fine Irish cuisine at very affordable prices.

Entertainment

Live Sports

If you’re interested in sports, catch a game of Connacht Rugby located 14 minutes walk minutes from Eyre Square and close to loads of B&Bs and hotels. Loving the 14 minutes!!!

A Single Adult ticket costs €25

Galway United, Galway’s Soccer team play in Eamonn Deacy Park, located just outside Galway City. A walk from Eyre Square is 20 minutes or you can catch the 407 Bus and take a 5 minute walk.

A single Adult ticket costs €12

Fancy watching Galway GAA (Gealic Athletic Association) – a game of Hurling Or Gaelic Football can be viewed in Pearse Stadium in Salthill, this is a 38 minute walk from Eyre Square or a 16 minute bus journey on the 401.

An Adult single ticket differs between matches but a regular ticket is between €30 – €40.

If you don’t fancy making your way to see some live sport, there are a number of great sports bars in Galway.

Cinema

Galway has 4 Cinemas, the average price of a cinema ticket is €14. An average large drink and popcorn is €10

Check out these
Fun Festivals

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