European Treasures

Here’s a list of Taragh Bracken’s favourite European treasure travel adventures! Portugal is amongst Bracken’s ultimate go-to space, although Greece and Italy are also up there. You must also not forget the the far West of Europe. Keep coming back for the newest additions to the treasure list!

PORTO, PORTUGAL

When you’re an explorer of the world, every new country is like a brand-new palette of discovery. Whenever lists concerning the hottest travel destinations for the year are published, Bracken takes a look at them and provides her constructive criticism in perfect journalistic fashion. Portugal was a hot-spot in 2017, and a country that was often undervalued in the past. Bracken took this assertion in her own hands and spent a full two months in the country, making her way by bus, car and train from north to south in this beautiful gem.

World Heritage and Art

Porto is a city that is hard to beat, despite the glimmering beaches that line the country’s south. A UNESCO World-Heritage via the city’s landmark city line alone, it’s no surprise that this spot is so heavily enamored. Due to a repressive dictatorship that ended recently in 1974, Porto was late to the Renaissance. However, the artisans of Porto are more prominent than ever as shown via the street markets are covered with paintings and sculptures to bring back home as souvenirs.

Harry Potter Lovers Beware!

If you love the literary work of J.K. Rowling, then Porto will flaunt hidden secrets as one of the birthplaces of Harry Potter. The esteemed writer spent much time writing her novels in both the intricately-designed Majestic Café, and the Livraria Lello. In Bracken’s own personal experience, Majestic Café didn’t have a crazy line compared to Livraria Lello. Enjoy a delicious cup of cappuccino or a morning breakfast treat, and take in the ornate deco interior that goes back to the earlier political years. It’s not uncommon for the Livraria Lello to have a line that spins around the building, however the sight of books and spindling staircase that was said to inspire the changing staircases in Hogwarts.

Sugar Cravings – Portuguese Tartes!

Taragh loves savoury and sweet delicacies, and if you haven’t tried pastel de nata before, no matter which side you swing you will fall in love upon first bite. Other sweet stories are birthed here, with the Jesuita pastry, which is simply a layer of wafer upon another, that tops off with a bright sugar glaze. Finally, be sure to take a visit to the porto breweries, where you can take a tour and enjoy a tasting at the end.

MADRID, SPAIN

For all the glitz and glamour that encompass the cobblestone streets of Rome or Paris, Madrid is a city that is often overlooked. The capital of Spain is privy to an assortment of historic remnants, artistic brilliance and simple elegance. There are gardens to peruse, museums to investigate, Salamanca shows to admire, and many, many shopping sprees that can come out of a visit to Madrid.

 

Green Spaces in a Bustling City

Five times larger than New York City’s Central Park, Casa de Campo offers a beautiful green expanse of land where visitors can rent a small boat or kayak on the lake, have a picnic, attend a concert or sporting event, go to a youth hostel or simply go on a walk or jog. Other green gardens are closer to the city-centre, such as the Parque del Buen Retiro. Here you can find statues, ponds, fountains and monuments. You can even bring your children there to see a puppet show, as there’s a specific area just for this sort of entertainment.

 

A Palace to Remember

Adorn in the graceful splendour of the Royal Palace of Madrid. This palace, one where photographs and videography are strictly prohibited, will leave a leaving impression on you as it did with Taragh. Here you’ll find luxurious chandeliers every few inches in the Banquet Hall, fit enough to dine a group of close to 100 individuals. Crystal goblets and candelabras, as well as roses, line the table. Carefully-painted frescoes, lush velvet carpets and walls and fine jewels can be viewed from every corner. The intense opulence is nothing like you’ve ever before seen.