explore Archives - Elysian Moment Personal Travel Blog

Tag: explore

The best things to do in vivid Sydney, Australia

The incredible state Sydney is the capital of New South Wales and not of the whole sunny Australia, like many people wrongly assume. It’s the most populous city in Down Under and also Oceania. Once you visit the metropolis you will be charmed and absolutely overwhelmed by it’s magnitude, majestic skyscrapers and unforgettable beaches. Loved by backpackers, travelers and business people, Sydney is an international city with numerous forms of entertaining to fulfill you heart’s desire. You will definitely have fun from dusk till dawn. But before you plan to visit Down Under check the essential packing list for Australia so you will be prepared for everything!

View from Royal Botanical Garden, Sydney

This magnificent city has plenty of things to offer from a rich cultural scene to delicious food, amazing nature and world-class shopping. So in the beginning you can be engulfed by options for what to do. But don’t worry, Kate will guide you through the urban jungle of Sydney. I will introduce you to the main suburbs and places, so you will be immersed into the beauty of the modern world of Down Under.

Some info about public transport

If you want to use public transport in Sydney, the most efficient decision would be to buy an Opal card, which you can use for train, bus, ferry and the light rail. Of course you can buy single tickets as well, but it would be more expensive. Opal cards can be found in the 7/11 shops, there you can also charge them. If you want to travel in backpacker-lifestyle, then you can just pretend using it by entering the bus.

There are also free options, like the CBD shuttle (Route 555), which will get you around the city. Furthermore every Sunday all public transport is gratis, so plan your weekend wisely!

Australia’s icon, Opera House

Opera House, Sydney

Yes, the exploration will start with the iconic landmark of Sydney, Opera House. Even if it sounds like a typical touristic cliché, you will enjoy the walk along the Circular Quay. Furthermore it took 16 years to finish the construction and you flew all the way to Australia, so it is a must see place. The design of the building has been internationally acclaimed as an architectural masterpiece of the 20th century and it’s located in the perfect spot, the remarkable waterscape of Sydney Harbour. Additionally you can not only appreciate this pinnacle of modern architecture, but also enjoy the vast range of entertainment that it offers.

Tip: if you visit Sydney in June, you might experience the Vivid Sydney Festival, the time when the city transforms Sydney Opera House into a light spectacle, accomplished with music and a show.

My favorite B&R Ice Cream

The Opera House is located next to the sumptuous but relaxed dining district, where you may sip on sophisticated beverages and cocktails. The hungry ones don’t need to worry either, there is enough delightful food for everyone! I’ve found one of my childhood addictions, Baskin Robin’s ice cream! We don’t have any in Europe, only in England, so you can imagine how over the moon I was with this unexpected discovery!

Tip: Do you want to see a million-dollar view and enjoy an exquisite drink? Then you should definitely visit O Bar. The sophisticated ambience on the 47th floor with an impressive view of the whole city through a glass wall, will make your evening memorable. And hold your breath, the whole floor is slowly moving around, so you can observe panoramic 360-degree Sydney! Hope you are not afraid of heights.

Must visit in Sydney, Australia: Revolving “O Bar”

Escape the chaos in the Royal Botanical Garden

Royal Botanical Garden, Sydney

No trip to the Sydney Opera House will be complete without visiting the botanical oasis in the heart of the metropolis. Just follow the path along the waterfront, from where you can also view all different facets of the Opera House. Finally you will land in the tremendous Royal Botanic Garden. It’s the most important historic botanical institution in the world and the perfect place to escape the noisy and busy city life. It’s open every day of the year and the access to this quixotic greenland is free. You should doubtlessly take your time and seize an opportunity to absorb the gorgeous surroundings filled with an outstanding collection of plants from Australia and overseas.

Close to the Botanical Garden you can find Australia’s leading art museum with collections of Australia, Aboriginal, European, Asian and contemporary art works, the Art Gallery of NSW. And guess what, it’s free to enter this beautiful art museum!

Darling Harbour

Darling Harbour, Sydney

I used to stay close to Darling Harbour in Sydney and I really adore this lively and interactive area. It’s the city’s largest dining and entertaining spot with a view to leave you speechless. There is a bridge connecting residential Pyrmont, with Sydney’s CBD, from where a spectacular panoramic view of the city skyline will take your breath away. Especially at night when the city is lit up with a vivid color scheme. The scene that can’t be captured by any camera, you need to see it with your own lenses.

Tip: The fabulous fireworks light up the night sky of the Darling Harbour for it’s visitors every Saturday at 8:30 p.m. Don’t miss the show for free! 

Amazing Sushi in Darling Harbour

Sydney in general is famous for it’s delightful cheap sushi rolls to go. You can purchase 1 or 2 or 3 of them, it’s up to you, in the Harbourside shopping center and savor them on the stairs of the harbour. Caution: hungry Aussie Seagulls are notorious for stealing food from naive citizens. Protect your little roll from their snapping beaks!

Cheeky Seagulls, Darling Harbour

By day you can also visit various attractions like the largest cinema in the world, IMax, Chinese Garden of Friendship, Sea Life Aquarium, Australian National Maritime Museum and many other activities. Unfortunately there is hefty price tag on all of these pleasures, which are by the way very touristy, so be careful not to spend your whole budget in one day. You still need money to experience this dynamic spot by night: trendy bars, funky nightclubs and nice party vibes.

Insider: If you love clubbing all night long, the Sydney CBD will ruin your expectations. First of all you need to be 18 years old and be able to present your passport or ID in combination with a driving license. The bouncers are very strict, so if you show only for ex. your European ID, they will send you back home. Additionally no alcohol is served after 1:30 a.m. and at 3 a.m. is time to find a place to rest your shaky dance legs. 

Another great happening in the whole city of Sydney is the celebration of the Chinese New year. It’s in February and it’s one of the most anticipated events in the whole city. There are always spectacular parades, huge food markets and astonishing fireworks in Darling Harbour by night.

Beach, please!

Bondi Beach, Sydney

The chocolate side of Sydney is it’s glorious beach sides with incredible views of the vast Pacific Ocean. The iconic Bondi Beach is attracting locals and tourists at any time of the year with it’s picturesque sandy beach and cute town. There are many places to enjoy a tasty coffee and some breakfast before you go to catch a perfect wave. Careful of the strong current, which can drag you towards the razor sharp rocks. If you still want to submerge yourself into safe waters, then go to the amazing Iceberg swimming pool, just next to the ocean. Bondi is also known for it’s obsession for perfect bodies and beautiful people.

Bondi Beach, Sydney

It doesn’t matter how tired you are or if you hate walking, you should absolutely do the most spectacular 6 kilometre walk from Bondi to Coogee. It’s a coastal route, which will lead you to Sydney’s most iconic beaches, like Tamarama, Bronte and Clovelly Beach. My favorite is idyllic Bronte Beach, the seaside gem of the eastern suburbs. It’s a less populated spot with a terrific natural champagne ocean pool and saltwater lap pool. Perfect place to relax and get a sexy tan.

There is another splendid beach in Sydney, Manly Beach, which you can reach by ferry from Circular Quay near Harbour Bridge. The price of the ticket is around 15$ including both ways, so it’s more clever to go there on Sunday. Manly’s tranquil inner-harbor beach filled with sophisticated dining and shopping streets, attracts all kind of visitors. Most of the people that I met in Australia, said that Manly Beach is their favorite.

Manly Beach, Sydney

P.S.

The Soda Factory, Sydney (Credit: lynesandco.com)

The Soda Factory, Sydney (Credit: lynesandco.com)

It’s impossible to write about all the amazing things, that wonderful Sydney offers to it’s citizens and visitors. You need to explore the metropolis by yourself. But there is one more place that I would love to suggest. The Soda Factory, a place where retro quirky meets underground modern times. There is a hidden door that leads you straight into one of Tarantino’s movies. You will be served with American-inspired food, fancy hot dogs and alcoholic milkshakes topped with cream. You need to know this place, not to miss the entrance. So let’s say, it’s a marvelous insider!

One Day in Brussels: The Perfect Itinerary for First-Time Visitors

One Day in Brussels: The Perfect Itinerary for First-Time Visitors

Brussels in One Day

One day in Brussels is enough to see the best of it. As you probably know Brussels is the capital not only of Belgium but also of the European Union. Brussels is Belgium’s main economic and educational spot, what let to define it as a cosmopolitan city full of contrasts. Nevertheless it attracts tourists with it’s historical monuments and various world-class museums.

Interesting to mention is that the city is bilingual, all signs and the name of the streets are written in French and Dutch. The majority speaks French though, so they don’t even understand Dutch. Curious and sad at the same time, the country is divided into two parts, so many of it’s citizens can’t communicate with each other. But let’s talk about beautiful parts of Brussels because there are plenty of them!

If you are planning your day trip to Brussels the best choice to start it from Brussels-Midi train station. From here you will easily reach the city centre within a walking distance. 

10 Things To Do in One Day in Brussels

1. Grand Place

Grand Place Brussels, Belgium
Grand Place Brussels, Belgium

The main touristic spot and Brussels attraction is the city’s main plaza Grand Place and it’s right in the heart of Brussels’ Old Town. The square is full with magnificent architecture in barock style. Moreover it’s considered as one of the most beautiful places in the world. No wonder, the square is surrounded by outstanding buildings decorated with rich gold ornates and gables. The most recongizible architectural masterpiece is the Town Hall, built in the 15th century. The architecture of the beautiful Grand Place reflects the diverse culture and society of Belgium, presenting the influences of different artistic styles. Here you also have a possibility to visit various museums, the prices for the tickets are mostly around 7-9€. If you need a map of the city, don’t buy it in the Info Hall, just go to the little chocolate museum and take one for free.

Manneken Pis Brussels, Belgium

2. Manneken Pis

You’ve probably heard that one of the top things to see in Brussels is the famous urinating little boy of Brussels: “Manneken Pis”. I did it too. My expectations to see the symbol of the rebellious spirit of the City of Brussels were not so high, because what other country would actually use a pissing little boy as a symbol of the city? Moreover my hope to understand the meaning of Belgium’s most famous statue were immediately gone when I saw the microscopic bronze sculpture: 61cm.

3. Waffles

waffles_in_belgium
Waffles in Belgium

Best things to do in Brussels is doubtlessly to eat Belgian waffles. Next to the marvelous “monument” is a street full of delicious Belgian waffles. The tempting aroma will lead you to the right direction, where you can find a huge variety of these sugary baked goods from 1 to 10 Euros. The price doesn’t play a major role, all Belgian waffles taste delightful. It’s like Belgian chocolate, the taste will never disappoint you. You can get waffles either hot or cold and even with different toppings like fruits, chocolate, caramel, nuts and more and more of other exquisite extras.

4. Beer Cafe Delirium

Delirium Café in Brussels – World’s Biggest Beer Selection

Belgium is famous all over the world for it’s tremendous beer culture. Since the Middle Ages Belgian folk take it’s reputation seriously, they even designed customized shapes of the glasses for each beer to enhance the flavor. Belgians brew with love and passion numerous variety of beer tastes. Nevertheless if you have an affinity for beers, you should definitely visit Delirium Café in Brussels. It’s one of the main places to visit in Brussels because it has over 3.000 different brands of beer from over 60 countries. This unbelievable record found it’s place even in The Guinness Book of Records.

5. Visit Museums in Brussels

Brussels is hiding a diverse amount of historical treasures, I could write an infinite number of pages describing it’s breathtaking beauty. I will introduce you to a few, that left an impression on me. The Mont des Artes is an architecturally imposing complex of monuments with a wide gorgeous garden. From there you can enjoy a great view on the Grand Place and the historic City of Brussels. Close to this magical  garden you can find the influential achievements of the great Belgian architect Victor Horta. His unique design now regarded as iconic examples of the Art Nouveau style. Horta’s architectural masterpieces with borrowed motifs from nature are even featured on UNESCO’s World Heritage List. You can also visit the Horta museum, which remains a magnificent scene of a fairytale.

If you have a bit more time definitely visit Museum of Natural Sciences.

6. Les Galeries Royales Saint-Hubert

Les Galeries Royales Saint-Hubert Brussels, Belgium
Les Galeries Royales Saint-Hubert Brussels, Belgium

In a one day tour to Brussels you can’t miss this place! Close to Grand Place you can find a famous and beautiful shopping arcade Les Galeries Royales Saint-Hubert. There are numerous luxury stores, lovely cafes and a theatre. It’s the perfect place to do window shopping and buy some souvenirs.

7. Comic book murals

Belgium is famous for it’s comic books and protagonists like the Smurfs, Lucky Luke, Tintin and many others. Throughout the city, you will find colourful murals dedicated to them. You can also buy a map of the city just for 1€ which will show you where all comic book murals are. 

8. Brussels Coffee Scene

Brussels Coffee Scene
Brussels Coffee Scene

If you need a break from all walking just visit one of the amazing coffee shops in Brussels. Cafes like L’Atelier en Ville or Cafe Du Sablon take their coffee very seriously. These are ideal spots to have a break with delicious pastry.

9. Visit Parc De Brussels

If you are visiting Brussels during the summer don’t hesitate to explore the beautiful parks of Brussels. It’s a wonderful place to immerse into the peaceful vibes of the vibrant city. I would also suggest to visit Jardin Du Petit Sablon and Parc du Cinquantenaire.

10. Try Traditional Belgian Dishes

What to do in Brussels for a day? Of course try the traditional Belgian cuisine. There are two wonderful places where you can eat in Brussels that I would recommend: Mokafe and Peck 47. These are wonderful options for brunch or lunch. Mokafe will spoil you with wide range of traditional Belgian dishes on their menu. At Peck 47 you can taste savoury waffles with poached eggs.

Other beautiful cities in Belgium that you can’t miss are Bruges and Ghent.

Brussels in a Day The Perfect Itinerary for FirstTime Visitors
Brussels in a Day

Perfect Weekend in Antwerp itinerary to Have a Memorable Time

Antwerp is a compact and cozy city and it means in one weekend you will see most of it. It’s also one of the most commonly visited cities in Belgium and the second largest city in the Kingdom of waffles. The city has plenty of things to be proud of and in this weekend in Antwerp itinerary I will introduce you to the most significant ones. 

 If you are planning to visit Antwerp check out my tips and tricks how to travel light!

2 Days in Antwerp: What to See on the 1st Day

This itinerary is also ideal for a one day trip to Antwerp. Anyway it’s better to come to Antwerp by train and not only because of the costs but also because you will arrive in one of the most beautiful train stations worldwide. I promise you, you will be magnified by the extraordinary architecture of the 19th century. 

It’s also beneficial to get an Antwerp City Card if you stay for the whole weekend in Antwerp. You will be able to enjoy public transport and various museums for free. You can also get some great discounts with this City Card. 

Place to visit: Grote Markt Antwerp, Belgium

 

Romantic Things to Do in Antwerp: Visit the Diamond District

One of the main things to do in Antwerp is to visit the legendary Diamond district. Antwerp is “The World’s Capital of Diamonds”. It has a decent district with diamond dealers, merchants and brokers, who are by the way mostly Jewish. Since a long time diamond trading is ruled by jewish people. After all if you found the love of your life and you feel that your relationship is going to another level, don’t hesitate to go to the city of diamonds. Undoubtedly you will find the perfect ring and she won’t even think to say “no” to you! We all know, diamonds are a girl’s best friends! My advice before you walk around, go to Diamond Land and get closer information about the gems there, but be aware, the prices outside of that store are lower, much lower.

Ice Caramel Latte at Pelican Rouge, Antwerp

You were probably asking yourself why Antwerp is the city of diamonds? What is so special about it is that almost 80% of all diamonds all over the world are shipped to Belgium? So, here is the answer: Antwerp just got lucky! It has second biggest harbor in Europe and furthermore the position of the port is ideal: it’s in the heart of Europe. Since 15th century all trading including the diamond trading were happening here.

Antwerp Tourists Attractions: Ruben’s House

If you travel to Antwerp you should know the city is famous for it’s artists. Great artists like Rubens, who is famous for his affinity for voluptuous nudes, and other renowned painters include Weyden and Van Eyck were born in this inspiring city. A typical touristic place is Rubens House, built in 17th century architectural style containing a modest collection of his work. Worth to see it. My advice, if you don’t want to waste all your money on museums, then visit Antwerp in the last week of the month. On the last Wednesday all museum are gratis, so you will have more money to enjoy Belgian beer.

Antwerp Sightseeing: Cathedral of Our Lady

One more important monument of Antwerp: the seven-aisled gothic Cathedral of our Lady. The background story of that cathedral is very dramatic: it took over two centuries to build the magnificent monument and some tragic accidents happened during the constructions. It was damaged a couple of times through fire and different wars, so a high amount of artistic treasures were destroyed. Only by the end of the 19th century the church was finally completely restored. Nowadays the cathedral possesses some meaningful masterpieces of Rubens.

Places to Visit in Antwerp: Grote Markt

Antwerp means “throw the hand” and it’s name comes from an interesting Belgian myth. Once upon a time a giant Antigoon was terrifying the city. A young brave man Brabo defeated the villain by cutting his hand off and throwing it into the river. The imposing statue which captures the moment of glory is standing proudly in front of the Town Hall at the Grote Markt square. At the Grote Markt you will notice that the medieval city impresses with it’s beautiful architecture and splendid art.

If you get hungry read more about Hippe Restaurants in Antwerp that you should definitely visit.

Things to Do in Antwerp in the evening or night

Another attractive and currently hipster area of Antwerp is the South, Zuid. In that young and vivid district you will be always entertained: numerous markets, exhibitions and delightful cafés and restaurants. Great place to visit and to enjoy good weather and fascinating view of the stone monument with the God of the sea, Neptune on top of it, is Marnix Square. Go there to bar Neptune, it’s very cozy pub with a friendly and sociable young service. In the evening the square is crowded with sympathetic and chatty people, occasionally you can even meet Belgian celebrities. Last but not least it’s an amazing spot to get to know new people and have nice conversations.

Perfect Weekend in Antwerp: Day 2

Antwerp Guide: Harbour & MAS Museum

Start your day at Antwerp’s harbor. Here you will find various cafés, restaurants and even a museum. Get some great coffee from Pelican Rouge. After the caffeine energy boost it’s time to visit the MAS museum: a tremendous modern architecture of red brick decorated with little hands. Honestly I’m not fascinated by that building, my personal opinion is it doesn’t fit to the lovely historic harbor of Antwerp. Although inside of the museum you can discover different exhibitions on 9 levels. On the top of the MAS you can experience the panoramic view of the city, which is breathtaking.

Visit Shopping Street Meir & Fashion Museum MoMu

Modest Antwerp is additionally famous for being an international fashion capital. The fashion department at The Royal Academy of Fine Arts laid down the foundation for many talented and creative designers. Belgium is very quiet about communicating the achievements of it’s artists though. At the shopping street Meir you can find numerous amounts of stores and whatever your personal taste or style is, in this city you can always shop till you drop. If you are not interesting in spending money on the designer clothes, you can learn something about fashion: visit MoMu, the museum of fashion.

Check out Graffiti Street & Drink Belgian Beers with locals

Pink Graffiti Street, Antwerp

Graffiti Street, Antwerp

After gathering historical knowledge it’s time to get to know the Belgian beer culture. Moreover the best way to consume some delicious gold drink is at the places where you can find only locals. One of them is charming Zeezicht: it’s located a bit further from the city center in the Zurenborg area on the square surrounded by splendid old buildings. Pay attention to the names of the streets, they are definitely amusing. Close to the cafe you can also discover a long serpentine of colorful graffitis. It’s the perfect location for a new profile picture!

Beer at Zeezicht, Antwerp, Belgium

These are three beers of Antwerp, that you definitely need to try:

  • De Koninck 5,2%, it’s Antwerp in the bottle! It has been launched in 1913 and has quite bitter taste with complex and delicious aroma of toffee, chestnut and caramel.
  • Duvel 6,8%, special golden blond beer. It’s smooth and refreshing transparent beer with citrus notes.
  • Kriek 4-6%, cherry cooling beer, perfect for girls.

 

Don’t miss other beautiful towns in Belgium like Brussels and Ghent!

 

 

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén