August 27, 2018
Secret Places in Madrid You Need to Know About

Secret Places in Madrid You Need to Know About

August 27, 2018
casita pescador fisherman house parque park retiro madrid spain
The first time you are in a new city you are bound to visit the main attractions but if you are anything like me, you also want to find those non touristy places that only locals know about. Every city provides an array of hidden gems waiting to be found. So, this is not just another what to do in Madrid post. Today, I uncover best-kept secrets of the capital of Spain for those of you who are looking for treasures off the beaten path. From under-the-radar museums to cozy cafes, I've got you covered. Let's dig into it.

LA CASITA DEL PESCADOR
Everybody has heard of the lake and the Crystal Palace in Madrid's most famous park: El Retiro. However, not many people know about this little gem: the Fisherman's Little House. Located in the northeast of the park, king Fernando VII used to fish here back in the 19th century. Nowadays it's an animal adoption center. Retiro is a beautiful park by itself but wandering its paths and finding charming romantic fairy-tale spots like this one always brings a smile to my face. 
casita pescador fisherman house parque park retiro madrid spain
casita pescador fisherman house parque park retiro madrid spain
casita pescador fisherman house parque park retiro madrid spain
CALLE PUIGCERDA
In the heart of Madrid's most luxurious neighborhood, Barrio de Salamanca, you can find an alley where the cutest restaurants line up. One of them is Taberna Los Gallos (TripAdvisor), I met there some friends for tea and we had a wonderful quiet and relaxing time there. We didn't try the food but from what I've heard a true foodie can't miss this place.Los Gallos Taberna restaurante calle Puigcerda Madrid barrio Salamanca
Los Gallos Taberna restaurante calle Puigcerda Madrid barrio Salamanca
Los Gallos Taberna restaurante calle Puigcerda Madrid barrio Salamanca
Los Gallos Taberna restaurante calle Puigcerda Madrid barrio Salamanca
Los Gallos Taberna restaurante calle Puigcerda Madrid barrio Salamanca
ROYAL BOTANIC GARDENS
Ok, maybe the Royal Botanic Gardens are not so secret but the little cute cafe there is. La Catedra, located in Pabellon Villanueva, is a coffee place + store -not your average museum store, totally worth checking out- with a lovely outdoor area in the Garden. Picture yourself having breakfast among plants and flowers from all around the world. A pleasure for the senses.
Entrance to the Gardens is 4€. Downside is you still have to pay even if you are just going to the cafeteria.
La Catedra cafe shop Royal Botanic Gardens Madrid Spain
Royal Botanic Gardens Madrid Spain
Royal Botanic Gardens Madrid Spain
Royal Botanic Gardens Madrid Spain
MUSEUM OF ROMANTICISM
This museum is devoted to the Romantic period of the 19th century and it houses paintings, furniture, porcelain, books and much more from that time. The best-kept secret of this place is a -very romantic- tearoom: El Cafe del Jardin. They serve tea, coffee and a variety of homemade cakes at reasonable prices (tea is just 1,50€). Next time I'm in this place I'll bring a book to read by the fountain. It's such a peaceful place, only soft music and the water pouring can be heard. The high walls and trees create a micro-climate which makes this place a blessing in summer.
Entrance to the museum is 3€ (it's free on weekends from 2 pm), but you don't have to pay if you are only going to the cafe.
Cafe Jardin Museum of Romanticism Madrid
Cafe Jardin Museum of Romanticism Madrid
Cafe Jardin Museum of Romanticism Madrid
SOROLLA MUSEUM
Sorolla is one of my favorite Spanish painters, he depicted light and the Spanish coast -especially his hometown Valencia- like no other. The building that houses the museum was originally the impressionist painter's home. The delightful garden that leads to the house is a beautiful oasis in the city. This place is away from the touristy masses in the center of Madrid, but easily accessible by metro.
Entrance to the garden is free. If you want to visit the museum you have to pay 3€ (it's free on Saturdays from 2pm and on Sundays).
Sorolla Museum Garden Madrid
Now, these 4 are new never-published-before on the blog secret places. However, Madrid has much more to offer. Check out these hidden gems from previous posts:

EL CAPRICHO PARK
This is one of those places off the beaten track that needs to be on your Madrid must-see list. You won't find many tourists here, only locals. This 18th century park houses many interesting places including a labyrinth, flower beds, beautiful buildings and surprising nooks. Read more about it on this post.
El Capricho Park Madrid
EL JARDIN DE ORFILA
If you follow the blog, you probably remember this place. This is where we celebrated our first wedding anniversary this summer and it's considered one of the best brunch spots in Madrid with a menu designed by a 2 Michelin star chef . Find all the details here.
jardin garden hotel orfila brunch madrid spain
CERRALBO MUSEUM
The Marquis of Cerralbo donated to the city of Madrid an impressive collection that holds more than 50,000 pieces, including paintings, sculptures, tapestries, furniture, weapons and the list goes on. I still cannot believe this is one of the least known museums in Madrid because it certainly is a very important one. Feeling intrigued? Read more here.
Cerralbo Museum Madrid
LA QUINTA DE LOS MOLINOS
This place is the Spanish equivalent of the cherry blossom festival in spring. Long walking paths and charming spots await. See how beautiful it looks during fall here.
Quinta de los Molinos Madrid flower cherry blossom almond tree

GET THE LOOKS
Look 1

Look 2
Look 3
Like this post? Pin and share it!

August 20, 2018
The Most Instagrammable Places in Menorca, Spain

The Most Instagrammable Places in Menorca, Spain

August 20, 2018
Instagrammable Places Menorca Spain
Menorca has many Instagram worthy locations. In fact, every single corner of this Spanish island is highly instagrammeable. This third and last post of the Menorca series (I recommend reading our itinerary and where we stayed) will convince you that this Balearic Island is the perfect holiday destination. On today's post you will find what to do in Menorca, experiences that you need to have and, of course, record on your camera. Bonus! I'm throwing in some photography tips too.

THE BEACHES AND COVES
Menorca is a little piece of paradise in the Mediterranean. You've probably heard of its big sisters: Majorca and Ibiza. This one is said to be more calm than the others. Menorca's #1 attraction are its beaches and coves, so beautiful you even wonder if it's all just a dream. The photo below was taken on the way from Cala Macarella to Macarelleta. If you can only visit two coves in the island, make it those two.

Photography tip: we all know the best time to take photos is early in the morning or in the evening but what happens when you get there in the middle of the day? Well, you've got to make the most of it. Landscapes are usually fine, people are different. At those times when the light is too hard on your face, try channeling your inner #dametraveler and turn your back to the camera.cala Macarella Instagrammable Places Menorca Spain

WHITE WASHED TOWNS
They've always been a favorite of mine to photograph. Binibequer Vell is the prettiest in Menorca and one of the most photographed ones

Photography tip: these days there's a lot of inspiration online and that's great, but we all end up with the same holiday photos. Think outside the box. Walk, walk, walk until you find that corner, that angle that will make your photo more original than everyone else's. Some trespassing had to be done to take the photo below 😳(don't tell anyone, it will be our little secret).
Binibequer vell Instagrammable Places Menorca Spain
Binibequer vell Instagrammable Places Menorca Spain

MEDITERRANEAN CITIES
Historical cities with cobbled streets will forever be eye candy and therefore Instagram worthy. Never been to Cuba but that building below certainly has a Cuban vibe, don't you think? Imagine yourself twirling in front of it wearing a colorful dress, picture perfect.
Ciutadella Instagrammable Places Menorca Spain

FOOD AND DRINK
Foodie stuff is my favorite thing to post on the gram. Our favorite spots in Menorca were:
  • Jardi de Ses Bruixes (first pic) is one of those secret places I love so much. It's hidden inside a hotel so only people who know about this place go there, it's not a touristy spot.
  • Bodegas Binifadet this place screams Instagram the moment you cross the gates. There's no question that this winery has been decorated by a someone who pays a lot of attention to detail and looks for beauty everywhere. Warning! Check your device's storage before going, you will want to take a photo in every single corner. 
Binifadet Instagrammable Places Menorca Spain
Bodega Binifadet Instagrammable Places Menorca Spain
Bodega Binifadet Instagrammable Places Menorca Spain
  •  Restaurante S'amarador: here's where we tried Menorca's typical dish, soupy rice, and some of the most instagrammable desserts I've ever seen. I ordered the one with the red fruit because I saw it on the table next too us, I didn't care what it was it was just so pretty I needed to have it. The restaurant has a little patio inside and looks a bit like a fishing house plus it's by the port, another place to take great shots.
restaurant s'amarador Instagrammable Places Menorca Spain
  • Cova d'en Xoroi: a bar built within the rocks and natural caves. Sip a cocktail while you watch the sun set. Sounds great right? The typical drink of Menorca is called Pomada and consists of gin made in the island and lemon soda.
Cova Xoroi Instagrammable Places Menorca Spain
Photography tip: food photography can be tricky because only natural light will make the food look as good as it should on a photo. Book a table by the window if possible.

THE SUNSETS
Please don't be mad at me but I think sunsets are kind of overrated. Yes, they are beautiful but we see them every.single.day. However, if you insist on taking a photo this is my tip for you...

Photography tip: wait for the sun to be low enough to get those beautiful warm hues and no lens flare. You have to be fast! That moment doesn't last very long. Needless to say location scouting should be done ahead of time. Expect tons of people to be there, another reason to be early and patient.
sunset cavallaria lighthouse Instagrammable Places Menorca Spain
sunset cavallaria lighthouse Instagrammable Places Menorca Spain

IF I WERE GOING TO MENORCA NOW I'D PACK...

Like this post? Pin and share it!
Instagrammable Places Menorca Spain
August 13, 2018
Sol Beach House Menorca

Sol Beach House Menorca

August 13, 2018
Santo Tomas beach Menorca Spain
Sol Beach House was our "base camp" in Menorca. It belongs to the prestigious Melia Hotels International group. We are members of their rewards program so when we travel we always check out Melia hotels first. In today's post I'm going to tell you why we chose this hotel and why you should choose it too.

Let me tell you about the characteristics of this hotel first: 
  • It's not big for a beach hotel, it only has 180 rooms.
  • It's adults only, just guests 16+ can check in.
  • It's located on the beach front of Santo Tomas and at walking distance from the town's bars and shops.
  • The rooms have a private balcony with stunning views of the sea.
  • They offer half-board with buffet for breakfast and dinner.
  • They focus on health and fitness. They offer activities like Pilates and yoga and serve organic healthy food.
  • Parking is 8€/day but you can always find free parking close by.

Sol Beach House Menorca Spain Melia Hotel rooms sea view swimming pool
As soon as we arrived we fell in love with its laid-back, chilled atmosphere. I've always been a fan of the art deco buildings in Miami and this place reminded me so much of them. Minimalist decoration characterizes the rooms and that turquoise color everywhere made me think of the crystal-clear water of Menorca all the time. I'm not going to lie, the fact that this place is highly instagrammable influenced our decision to book it.

Positivity is all around at Sol Beach House, only good vibes are allowed. There are quotes framed in the corridors to remind you of that. Tranquility is also present in every single corner, the fact that it's a small hotel and adults only makes it a perfect place to relax. Our favorite spots were the pool -there's a 50cm deep area where you can just sit and cool down- and the beach beds where we spent hours reading undisturbed.

Another strong point of this Melia Hotel is their commitment to the environment. You can find recycling baskets where you can throw away glass, plastic containers and paper which is something I always miss when I travel. This is the first hotel I've been to where you can recycle.
Sol Beach House Menorca Spain Melia Hotel swimming pool
Sol Beach House Menorca Spain Melia Hotel
Sol Beach House Menorca Spain Melia Hotel fruit cart buffet
As foodies, a very important part of our vacation is obviously food. We loved the different concept of buffet at Sol Beach House. They explained that it's inspired by food markets and it consists of themed food stalls. For instance, you can find a stall that is a salad bar, another one to make cheese and cold meat platters and another one with hot dishes. They offer mainly Mediterranean cuisine but also international -sushi lovers, there's also a food stall for you. Oh! and there's also show-cooking, you can get fresh meat and fish cooked right away. All you have to do is grab what you like and enjoy your meal with sea views. This activity, my friends, is one of my favorite things in the world.
Sol Beach House Menorca Spain Melia Hotel buffet
Sol Beach House Menorca Spain Melia Hotel buffet
Sol Beach House Menorca Spain Melia Hotel buffet
Sol Beach House Menorca Spain Melia Hotel sea view
Sol Beach House Menorca Spain Melia Hotel
Once you are outside, you have Menorca at your feet. Santo Tomas is located in the south of the island, more or less in the middle and nothing is far away (Google Maps). You don't need to move if you don't want to, the beach of Santo Tomas is considered one of the best in Menorca. White sand, turquoise water and breathtaking sunsets guaranteed.Santo Tomas beach Menorca Spain
Sol Beach House Menorca Spain Melia Hotel
GET THE LOOK
My dress is from Abercrombie and Fitch and you can find it on sale here. You can also find this floral pattern with short sleeves and a front knot.
Shop more Abercrombie mini dresses below...
August 6, 2018
Menorca Itinerary: What to do in 5 Days

Menorca Itinerary: What to do in 5 Days

August 6, 2018
Binibequer Vell Menorca itinerary Spain what to do
I'm Spanish but I had never been to the Balearic islands until now. This summer we decided to spend the holidays in our beautiful country and we thought Menorca was the perfect destination since it's got everything we love: sparkling beaches, delicious food and charming towns. This post is the first installment of the Menorca Series where I will share our latest memories with you. Let's start with the itinerary, this five-day Menorca guide will help you experience everything Menorca has to offer and organize your trip including what to do, where to eat and stay.

WHAT TO DO IN MENORCA: DAY 1
Menorca's airport is in its capital city, Mahon. That's where we landed on Monday morning after an hour and 15 minute flight from Madrid. Even though Menorca is a small island we wanted to make the most of our time so instead of going to our hotel -which was a few kilometers away- we decided to explore Mahon instead.

Mahon is not a big city and can be seen in a few hours. Worth seeing are the old town and the harbor for beautiful bay views. We did a pit stop at Jardi de Ses Bruixes, a cute boutique hotel with the loveliest hidden garden. We arrived at 4pm when they had just opened so we had the place to ourselves. We enjoyed a freshly squeezed fruit juice while listening to acoustic versions and relaxed.

Tip: there's public transport in the island, but the best way to see Menorca is by driving a rental car. We hired our car with ACG Menorca and were really happy with them. We hired it online and when we landed someone from the company was waiting for us at the airport. He took us to the car and did all the paper work and paid in a few minutes. They make things really easy.
Mahon port Menorca Spain what to do itinerary
Mahon old town Menorca Spain what to do itinerary
Jardi de ses Bruixes Mahon Menorca Spain where to eat stay boutique hotel
WHAT TO DO IN MENORCA: DAY 2
Menorca is best known for its turquoise water calas (coves). Cala Macarella is probably the most famous one. The parking closest to it is closed from May to October so your options to visit it are either taking a bus from Ciutadella or parking in Cala Galdana and walking for about 45 minutes through the forest. We chose the latter and even though it was exhausting it was totally worth it. Look at the color of the water, I swear it is real!

Cala Macarelleta is Macarella's little sister and you can access it walking from one to the other. Both have the same transparent, warm Mediterranean water but this one is nudist. Few people were naked when we were there but it's something to have in mind because not everyone is comfortable with that situation. Macarella has a chiringuito (beach bar) where you can eat and drink, in Macarelleta there's no type of service.

Cala Galdana is where we started our day and the town with the same name is a beautiful place to visit and a great "base camp". The cove is less isolated than the previous ones because it's part of an urban area.

Tip: arrive early to avoid crowds. Also, some coves like Cala Turqueta have limited parking so unless you are early you won't be able to visit it.
hotel Melia Cala Galdana Menorca Spain itinerary
Cala Macarella Menorca Spain kayak itinerary what to do
Cala Macarella Menorca Spain turquoise water itinerary what to do
WHAT TO DO IN MENORCA: DAY 3
On Wednesday we visited the other main city in Menorca, Ciutadella. People say this one is more beautiful than Mahon and I agree. It's also livelier. We had made resevations to eat by the harbor at Restaurante S'amarador to try the most typical dish of Menorca: soupy rice with fish stew and seafood, a true delicacy.

Just like in Mahon, the old town and the harbor are the best places to wander in order to find Ciutadella's hidden gems. I've always been a fan of Mediterranean architecture so in Menorca I enjoyed sightseeing as much as being at the beach.
ciutadella menorca spain itinerary port what to do
arroz caldoso restaurante s'amarador ciutadella menorca
old town Ciutadella Menorca Spain itinerary what to do
WHAT TO DO IN MENORCA: DAY 4
Our itinerary brought us to Bodega Binifadet on Thursday. One of the most important wineries in Menorca. Apart from wine tours, they have a great restaurant that serves healthy food cooked with local ingredients which they call "Km 0".

Apart from loving Mediterranean buildings, I'm a huge fan of white washed villages like those in Andalusia. That's why Binibequer Vell had to be in our itinerary. This place is made up of white houses all linked together through intricate passages. It's as if someone have carved houses in a huge chunk of white stone. The inhabitants of this peculiar place are really concerned about the swarms of tourists disrupting their peace so there are "silence, please" signs all around.

I've just realized that I haven't told you why I wanted to visit Menorca. Well, there are obvious reasons seen so far in this post, but the main one is that I saw a pic of Cova d'en Xoroi on Pinterest that left me speechless. A stone balcony hanging from a cliff with a sitting area that promised magnificent sea views and beautiful sunsets while sipping a cocktail. It's close to Binibequer Vell so we went there afterwards.

Tip: Cova d'en Xoroi is an extremely popular tourist destination and a favorite spot to watch sunsets. We arrived at 7 pm and the place filled up quickly. By 9 pm it was too crowded to be there: tables were full, people sitting on the stairs and blocking the way... When we left we saw a looong queue waiting to go in and a line of cars waiting to park. It takes away all the fun so unless you like overcrowded places leave early and watch the sunset somewhere else. Entrance to the Cova is 14€ and includes a drink (for cocktails you need to pay an extra 3€).
Bodega Binifadet Menorca Spain winery restaurant where to eat itinerary
Bodega Binifadet Menorca Spain restaurant where to eat itinerary
Bodega Binifadet Menorca Spain winery restaurant where to eat itinerary
Binibequer Vell Menorca Spain itinerary what to do
Binibequer Vell Menorca Spain itinerary what to do
Cova d'en Xoroi Menorca Spain itinerary what to do
Cova d'en Xoroi Menorca Spain itinerary what to do
WHAT TO DO IN MENORCA: DAY 5
We had been to the east on Monday, south on Tuesday, west on Wednesday and southeast on Thursday. Only the north was left. There you can find the fishing village of Fornells, in my opinion it's not spectacular but it's a nice place to go for a walk and have a drink outdoors in a terraza.
A short drive from Fornells is Cavallaria lighthouse, another popular spot to watch sunsets. Many people go there, but the space is not as limited as in Cova d'en Xoroi so it's not as stifling.

Tip: if you like lighthouses there's another popular one in Favaritx, however the parking is closed this summer so you can only get there by bus from Mahon.

On the last morning we had been to the beach of Es Grau, a great family place because the water is not deep. You can feel like a child sitting in the water soaking until your fingertips wrinkle. Feels so good!
Es Grau Menorca Spain beach itinerary what to do
Fornells Menorca Spain itinerary what to do
Cavallaria lighthouse Menorca Spain sunset itinerary what to do
Sunset Menorca Spain Cavallaria lighthouse itinerary what to do
GET THE LOOK

Like this post? Pin and share it!