Once upon a time, Winter was the season we used to travel the most. As full-time students, we had a whole month between semesters to use for travel! Winter is off-season for most of Europe, making it perfect for the way we travel! We always prefer to avoid the crowds, and our low budget also thanks us for choosing the most affordable time to travel. However, now that both of us are full-time workers (with no vacation time) and still students, we can only travel during the weekends. And traveling during the weekend has nothing budget-friendly about it. Nevertheless, we were able to visit two new places which we are eager to share for some Winter travel inspiration!
Porto is a place we keep going back to as it’s where most of our family and friends are. We started Winter with a trip there to celebrate both Christmas and Rui’s birthday. We had a wonderful time, and are very thankful that we still get the opportunity to spend these special dates with our loved ones.
As we only have time to go back for these very specific celebrations, we haven’t really had the chance to explore more of the city while we’re there. To be honest, we also weren’t very lucky regarding the weather. Most of the days were rainy and gray, in very typical Winter fashion. So we just took all this as a sign and opted to spend most of our time there (which really wasn’t much) indoors: talking, playing games and enjoying never-ending sugary treats.
We have been on-and-off planning an ItaliaRail (as in, a rail trip around Italy), for a couple of years. However, time and money weren’t on our side to fulfill this plan. Did we give up? No. We planned a trip to the Lombardy region for the weekend of the New Year instead. Located in the northwest of the country, this area is mostly known for Milan, stunning nature, and as every part of Italy, delicious food! We chose this apartment in Bergamo as our base. In 2,5 days we got to explore quite a lot! From the dazzling city of Milan, to the amazing Italian alps, and cruising through the charming Como Lake. And let’s not forget, our beautiful and underrated base, Bergamo.
This was absolutely the best way to welcome 2018. Let’s face it, if you too love travel, you know there’s no better way to start a year. Some people say that how you spend your first day of the year determines the remaining. We are not sure how we feel about this… On one hand, we spent the first half of the day exploring and eating some incredibly delicious lasagna. On the other, the other half was all about airport lines and preparation to go back to work. So yes, we have mixed feelings and are not sure of what this means as far as the rest of 2018 is concerned!
Are you planning a trip to Italy? Here are 9 Things to Know Before You Go. Also, if you are considering using AirBnB to book your stays, you may be interested in using our link to sign up. You will get 35€ of credits to spend on the site, and we’ll get 20€ of credits after you complete your first booking.
São Miguel, Azores
The Azores have been on our bucket list for years! We have always heard from our closed ones about its breathtaking nature and we were constantly making plans to visit. Originally, we wanted to visit with some friends. However, the schedule incompatibilities were too many! We finally decided to just go the two of us when we found some great deals for flights on Ryanair. This was one of the best decisions we made recently! Our trip was very short, only 1 day and a half in the island! Still, it was filled with magic that only nature can offer! From the remarkable views to the Lagoa das Sete Cidades, to the warm waters at Poça da Dona Beija, and onwards until the northeast part of the island, which ended up being our favorite! Also, let’s not forget about all the wonderful nameless sights along the way.
Casa Ateneu was our home away from home, and it was the perfect base for such a short trip. You can read all about our stay. The hotel is located right in the centre of Ponta Delgada, the capital city of the Azores archipelago. As our time was short, but we wanted to explore the island from West to East, it was very practical to have such a central location. We rented a car, but Ponta Delgada is also your best bet if you plan to visit without one.
We can’t wait to return and are hopeful in the future we will be able to finally find a time to go with friends! Next time we want to explore other islands, so if you have any recommendations please let us know in the comments below.
Lisbon is our current home and where we spent most of the season. The month of January was all about travel and work, so our free time together in the city was very limited. Our plans for the remaining weekends of the season were to try and do some daytrips from the city. There is a lot to visit, and we prefer to go when the crowds aren’t here yet. However, the weather was fully against our plans! From the never-ending rain to the strong winds, we mostly got out of the house to eat and try to enjoy the short moments when the tempests took a break. So instead of the palaces in Sintra or the beautiful beaches near Lisbon, our weekends in the city ended up being primarily about pancakes, this blog, house cleaning, and Netflix.
Unfortunately we have no trips planned for Spring, which is very rare for us. However, there are no long weekends and no amazing deals were found. Hopefully the weather will be better and we will get to do some of the daytrips we have been planning. Plus, we will be going to Porto a few times for more celebrations and sugary treats that aren’t pancakes. We’ll be here in a couple of months to tell you what happened! If you are curious, we have also written a recap for Summer and for Autumn.
Until then, let us know how you spent your Winter! We would also love to hear about your plans for Spring! If you are looking for some ideas, we have the perfect post for you right here!
Pin this post for ideas for your next trips, whether it’s Winter travel inspiration or not!