It’s been a hot minute since I posted on here, as part of the typical cringey new year, new me b******t, I thought I would add a review on a fabulous weekend I had in Donegal and it is definitely one of Ireland’s hidden gems.

My 25th Birthday started with a surprise trip to Donegal, I hate to admit that even though Ireland is so beautiful I have seen so little of it so this trip was a great start of many more in my home country.

The drive from Donegal to Dublin was so picturesque when we headed near Donegal and through all of the smaller towns on the way. Once arrive we drove down some windy whimsical roads covered in trees and we reach a beautiful lake. Following the road I didn’t believe my eyes when we arrive at our destination a full blown castle.

Our home for the weekend was Lough Eske Castle and I couldn’t recommend it enough, from the food, the scenery the staff. The whole experience end to end was marvellous. The weekend was spend indulging in their cosy restaurant chatting away to all hours in the pub. The room we had was a beautiful suite the perfect way to relax in your robe and slippers. This was followed the next day spending the day in their 5 star spa… again spectacular.

The spa was one of the best I’ve been to in Ireland and we have some fancy ass spas. The spa in Lough Eske was nothing but luxury, so many options to choose from with 2 pools, sauna, rain shower, heated loungers and more. The treatments were phenomenal as well I got a full body massage which is my typical go to and I walked out feeling like I was on clouds.

That evening we went into Donegal town for dinner and it was the cutest little town with lots of restaurants which is nice for tourists who are staying for a few nights. The beaches are only a short drive away with Donegal being along the routes for the Wild Atlantic Way in Ireland.

I highly recommend anyone coming to Ireland to add this to your list even for one evening if your travelling around our Emerald Isle. Lough Eske castle hotel’s Instagram can be found here.

Til next time

X

Ok I admit the title of this post is total click-bait but now that your here. The paradise that I am referring to is non other than the spectacular Whitsunday Islands in Australia. I choose to stay in the luxourious Hamilton Island.

This post is going to be a one stop shop on everything Hamilton Island from getting there, making memories to leaving the island and coping with the holiday blues!

Getting There: As I was already in Sydney I flew to Hamilton Island via JetStar which was a breeze. Everything was made so easy for us, we had around a 2 hour flight. The great thing about Hamilton Island is that there is an airport on the island so you can fly direct. The views coming into the island were incredible, it literally was like something from a postcard. Jetstar has some great deals especially if you live in Australia and are interested in travelling to internal destinations.

Where to stay: Its safe to say Hamilton Island as some of the most breathtaking views I’ve ever seen. The hotels are spectacular to say the least. We stayed in the amazing Reef View Hotel, I could not recommend it more! No words would do this place justice, one of the main reasons I choose to stay here is that it had a Tourist Booking desk which was the main one for the island in our hotel. This made booking trips a lot easier for us. The island gets around in golf carts which you can rent across the road from the Reef View Hotel, which I recommend if you want to explore the island yourself. There is lots of accommodation options but another stand out hotel would be the Qualia resort which is a big fans of celebrities worldwide. I can see why the hotel and suites were beyond incredible!

The best spots for food & drink: As it is an Island there is a limit to the number of restaurants and bars available. That being said the variety was fantastic and we were never short of somewhere new to try. I’m going to recommend my top 5 places below:

  1. Tako: This is a Mexican restaurant in more tapas style but the food is mouthwatering good. The margaritas were also fantastic but I will not let that make me bias! The views are also lovely as a lot of the restaurants are on the marina so it nice to have a walk around after to take in the scenery.
  2. Marina Tavern: No booking is required for this place which is great. It has a relaxed atmosphere which is great as a lunch spot if you have kids.
  3. Romano’s This place is definitely a favourite on the island, a stunning Italian restaurant with waterfront views of the marina. I would definitely make a reservation for here.
  4. Bommie: This restaurant is located in the Yacht Club if you would like a night to dine in absolute luxury. The Yacht club is simply stunning.
  5. For Sunset drinks it has   to be One Tree Hill. This viewpoint gets the most spectacular view of the sunset across the island. There is a small bar on this viewpoint so grab a drink and enjoy. This was a big highlight for me for sure!

Tours that I would recommend: I’m that person who enjoys their spare time researching every inch of a destination and scouting the best tours possible. If your like me hopefully this part of the post will help you narrow down your search and see which tours suit you best! 

  1. Great Barrier Reef: There are endless tours for the Great Barrier Reef so I would research well for this one. As I have such a passion for Scuba Diving I choose a tour which was prominently diving. Diving in the Great Barrier Reef was such a dream moment for me, its been on my bucket list for as long as I could remember! I also went snorkeling as you can see more sea life higher up sometimes so I wanted to experience both.
  2. Whitehaven beach: This is another must, I love booking tours where im out all day on a catamaran soaking in my surroundings and being by the water. That’s my ideal day! I found a tour that did snorkeling on Chalkies Beach which is right around the corner from Whitehaven. The coral on Chalkies was great and we got to see some great sea life. A Turtle came swimming beside me and it was a moment I’ll never forget. Our tour included was a wine and dine option so at this point we had lunch and a few beers on the boat while we dried off. Then off to see Whitehaven beach! This was just like it is in the pictures pure white 100% silica sand that melted when you touched it and crystal blue water completely transparent.
  3. If you had some extra disposable money for tours I would recommend a helicopter ride to the Heart Reef. I didn’t have time to do this but it looks incredible so I thought it would be good here to include as an option.
  4. Hill Inlet: The infamous Hill Inlet is another must. The views of this is incredible and such a pinch me moment. The sand changes with the current depending on the season so no patterns are ever the same. It is such a unique experience!

Overall, Hamilton Island was a dream destination of mine and being there I couldn’t recommend it more! If you are heading to the Whitsundays islands and have any questions comment below as I would love to hear your thoughts 🙂 Read my guide to Sydney here.

X

 

Well where do I start, I just came back from a 4 day trip from the most picturesque island in Greece, I think you know where I’m on about. (If you didn’t gather it from the title) I’m of course talking about the most magical destination, Santorini.

I want to break some myths with this destination. My blog is about making these trips become a reality in a realistic way. I’m 24 years old and by no means do I make a lot of money. This post is to give you an overview and some ways you can visit this idyllic island without taking out a mortgage for it!

Flights

The first thing is to figure out how to get there so let’s start there shall we.

Disclaimer alert🚨 if you want to travel cheap you have to go an awkward route most of the time.

From Ireland I flew to Athens with Ryanair for a 4hr flight. Then I had a 3hr layover for a 50minute flight with Sky Express. (This took a total of 7hrs important to note for choosing how long to stay for). If your from the UK, EasyJet do a direct flight to Santorini which takes 4hrs so that is another option. In total I paid around €200 for my flights.

Accommodation

This is the most important aspect in my opinion I feel like it could make or break your stay on Santorini. My top tip which seems obvious but I’m gunna say it anyways is do your research! Don’t be fooled by the gram and Pinterest. From my research I found that a small town called Imervogili had the exact same view as the infamous town Oia ( the one with the white and blue church domes). You are getting the same beautiful caldera view for half the price and footfall of people!

I chose to stay in the incredible Pegasus Suites & Spa. It was just a dream, I found a great deal on their website for a suite with a private jacuzzi on the balcony. Well I couldn’t say no to that let’s be honest. The price of my stay was roughly €1000 which would be divided between two people. Now I know it’s pricey but if your searches places in Santorini this was a steal in comparison for what you were getting.

Transport

Transport on this island can be funny because you have clusters of towns which is perfectly fine to walk around to shops, restaurants the lot. However, there is also about 20mins distance on dirt roads or cliff side windy roads which is non walkable. There is 30 taxis available on the island which is a flat rate of €25 Euro no matter where you are going or how long you are in the car for. I personally recommend two options for transport. Firstly the public bus there is a great option. The bus is a coach style comes every 30 mins costing €1.80 per person. The second option is to rent a quad or smart car. The bus option is great but you find yourself wasting valuable time when you could be exploring yourself.

We rented a buggie for the day costing us around €60 for the day. I think you could negotiate for less but to us this buggie looked like a lot of fun. The renting option gives you more freedom to visit those hard to reach places. We rented from Jimmys rental in Imervoligi. I need to also mention the obvious and sound like an absolute mam but the island has no traffic lights and not great street lighting in general. Please take huge amount of caution as unfortunately many accidents and more serious incidents happen here due to bike rentals.

Food and drink

This is the aspect of the holiday I feel like you could drop big money unintentionally. One restuarant is around 10-15€ for a meal the next one is €400 for a bottle of wine. Rules for this: ask for a menu before sitting down, if no prices are on it then you can pretty much assume that they don’t want you to know for a reason… expensive! Most hotels on the island include breakfast in your stay avail of that for a start. Second don’t drink alcohol in restaurants it’s extortionate. If you have a hotel with a nice view enjoy the sunset from your balcony, buy some beverages and avoid the crowds.

Tours

 Some of the tours are crazy money especially the boat tours. I feel like you could visit them by road. However, if it’s a special occasion and you want to splurge the options do look incredible. I would recommend the dinner sunset cruise to get the most bang for your buck.

 I’ve included some pictures but I’ve posted a lot on my Instagram in a highlight reel so you have Visit there for more real time.

 I hope this helps to break some myths about the island. If anyone is thinking of going and want to ask any questions comment them below and I’ll get back to you 🙂 Alternatively, if any of you have visited this scenic island comment your best tip below 👌

Till next time

X

ryan-spencer-761603-unsplash

As part of the Jen Travel series, the next European location is Prague. Prague is the perfect city getaway for a weekend or longer. From the beautiful collabalock streets to the history you are guaranteed to have an action packed weekend.

This city is known for its culture and arctitecure from Gothic Churches to the famous astronomical clock. I am going to highlight some key go to places from my short trip to this instagrammable city. I stayed in an area called Nove Mesto which was close enough to the centre but far enough that it wasn’t noisy.

Prague Castle: 

This stunning castle is dating from the 9th Century. From its quirky little stores and glorious gardens, it truly is breathtaking. The castle is a must see for me, the views from the top are spectacular and really give you a different look and feel of the city.

Ice Bar: 

The ice bar is a lot of fun. Granted if you have done one before then you probably will not be interested in another one as they all are very similar. The ice bar is located beside Charles bridge so it’s another location to tick off the list while you’re in the city. The drinks in the Ice Bar were surprisingly good so it could be a fun activity for after dinner before exploring Prague’s nightlife.

Old Town:

The old town was a highlight for me, this old town has so much character. I went in January and at the time it was snowing so the old town was covered in snow. The town boasts some of the most incredible restaurants and adorable cafe’s. I went to the old town most nights for dinner and drinks so it’s definitely a good option to stay close by. The infamous Astronomical Clock is located in the town which is one of the most popular tourist attractions of Prague.

Wenceslas Square: 

Wenceslas Square is central to all of the shopping centres and stores. Most of the main hotel chains are located close to Wenceslas Square. There s also a metro stop there which is handy to walk to the old town and Charles bridge.

I hope this helps you decide on some activities to do while your time in Prague. If you have any questions comment below.

Till next time

x

The land of smiles…. where to start! My trip to Thailand has definitely been a major highlight of my 20’s and I want to share all my knowledge with you all to hopefully make planning a trip to this spectacular country a little easier for you!

Bangkok: 

No matter where you are flying from around the world, most likely you will be arriving in Bangkok. First thing to remember is Bangkok is huge so I would recommend staying in a location that is central especially if you are only in the city for a short space of time. The city has every type of accommodation that any traveller could need from budget to luxury.

However, when I travelled to Thailand I decided to stay in Silom. Silom was close to the airport, central to everywhere where I wanted to visit in the city. Silom also had its own stop (Chong Nonsi) on the BTS line which became extremely helpful to pin point how to get back at any given time. The hotel I went with was the I-Residence Hotel, with its rooftop pool with spectacular views of the city to central location and good prices. The hotel was so accommodating from the moment we arrived, the staff were so friendly and went out of their way to help us. I couldn’t recommend this place enough! Check it out here.

If you want to stay in one of Bangkok’s many Luxurious hotels look no further than the Infamous Lebua State Tower, with its breathtaking roof top bar to the architecture of the hotel itself. It is simply stunning. The hotel is located right beside the river which allows you to avail of boat taxis across the city. Another way to view the sites. This hotel is famous for starring in the Hangover 2 movie. Have a look for yourself here.  If you are looking for more hostel style accommodation I would suggest going to Kho San Road where the heart of the backpackers go. This crazy strip has all kinds of accommodation for you to choose from.

Phuket:

Phuket consists of a more resort tourist vibe compared to the other places I visited in Thailand. This made me choose our hotel more carefully as I didn’t want to be caught in any tourist traps and avoided the party strips as much as possible. Relaxation was key for this part of my travels. After a long time researching, watching YouTube videos and checking reviews, we decided on the Charm Resort Hotel. This hotel was on the Patong beach front but around a 15 min drive from any party areas… ideal. The rooms were just marvellous. There was also a rooftop pool for any sun worshippers. (You will see a common trend in my accommodation choice). The Charm Resort boast great prices for luxury level with a fantastic restaurant and facilities you can’t go wrong.

Phi- Phi Island: 

The infamous Phi Phi island, definitely a highlight of our stay in Thailand. This island is simply breathtaking. Don’t be fooled by the stunning photos this island turns into a crazy party town in the evening so you have been warned. Being Irish I wasn’t too worried 🙂 This island has so so many options from every time of backpacker or holiday goer.

First up, a favourite amongst the backpacker community PP Charlie Resort while your time on the island you’ll be sure to be at a few after parties in this place. The hotel has a gorgeous pool overlooking the sea and the centre of the island is right at your doorstep.

I could write a whole separate blog post on Phi Phi accommodation alone but here is a list on Booking.com that you can use for reference. TOP TIP: When choosing accommodation in Phi Phi, choose somewhere that is walking distance to the pier. the pier is how you arrive/leave the island and in that hot climate you do not want to be trekking your bags far. Remember there is no taxis on Phi Phi!

Koh Tao Island:

My favourite location of them all Koh Tao. Firstly, don’t believe everything you read this island was my favourite by far and honestly if I was to travel back to Thailand it would be to see this island again! Koh Tao is an extremely small island so many backpackers choose to arrive in this island in the early hours and choose a hotel when they arrive. In Thailand it is completely the norm is asking to see a room before making a booking. My top tip for Koh Tao is to stay on Sairee beach. The beach is like something off a postcard white sand and crystal blue waters. Koh Tao is the ultimate diving island so if you are into Scuba Diving I recommend looking for accommodation that links with a diving school for cheap rates!

My top recommendations for Thailand! I mainly booked through Booking.com as I could cancel and change hotels/ time of stay quiet easy. This allowed me to have piece of mind while also having the flexibility for this holiday as I pleased. I hope some of you found this helpful and comment below your recommendations I would love to hear them!