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The Four Most Picturesque Stops Along the Riviera

If you’re a travel junkie like myself, the word “riviera” probably calls to mind some stunningly picturesque images: aqua blue glistening waters, lush green landscapes, and little fishmens’ boats tied up along shore. After visiting the riveras along the Mediterranean coast this past summer, I can tell you that those quaint coastal towns live up to the hype!

There was something unique to love about each town that we visited, but I’d be lying if I told you that I didn’t have my FAVORITE! So in countdown fashion, here are my top four most picturesque stops along the rivera. You’re sure to fall in love with them too!

No. 4 Cassis, France

The Four Most Picturesque Stops Along the Riviera

The Count of Monte Cristo ruined my visit to Marseille, France. Where I expected to see cobble stone streets, active fisher’s markets, and family-owned bakeries, I found industrial shipping yards and shopping complexes. The once picturesquely historic city had been modernized. Thankfully, we took a short half-hour drive along the coast to Cassis, and our day was saved!

The Four Most Picturesque Stops Along the Riviera

Cassis had everything I was hoping to find in a quaint town in the South of France: bakeries, brightly colored store fronts, and a castle looming over the city through a thin layer of clouds.

The Four Most Picturesque Stops Along the Riviera

Breathtaking to say the least!

No. 3 Monaco

The Four Most Picturesque Stops Along the Riviera

If you’ve seen Casino Royale, then you’re familiar with the beauty of Monaco! Although it is the second smallest country in world (only 2 square miles in size) it’s home to the world renowned Grand Prix and Monte Carlo Casino.

The Four Most Picturesque Stops Along the Riviera

We paid homage to the great casino where I shocked my Adventureman by winning a round of roulette! (For your reference, I’d never played the game or even gambled before!)

The Four Most Picturesque Stops Along the Riviera

No. 2 Cinque Terre

Cinque Terre was my most highly anticipated stop on our trip! I mean, who wouldn’t fall in love with vineyard-studded hillsides colliding perfectly with turquoise water and faded pastel-colored buildings!

The Four Most Picturesque Stops Along the Riviera

Cinque Terre is comprised of five villages, connected by trails and a rail. We visited four of the five towns: Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, and Vernazza. I highly recommend taking time to disembark in each village to truly appreciate the beauty of each one.

The Four Most Picturesque Stops Along the Riviera

No. 1 Portifino

Nothing prepared me for Portifino. It was a city I had never heard of. We almost skipped visiting it entirely to relax on our cruise. Man, am I glad we jumped off the boat!

The Four Most Picturesque Stops Along the Riviera

Portifino is a port city whose harbor is so small, we had to travel by taxi to reach it from our cruise ship. The city is literally a coastal jewel! The contrast in colors between the lush green landscape, blue water, pastel-colored buildings, and brilliant flowers is just dreamy!

Unlike Cinque Terre, this coastal jewel is relatively unknown. The minimal foot traffic gave the town an idyllic vibe.

The Four Most Picturesque Stops Along the Riviera

The Four Most Picturesque Stops Along the Riviera

The Four Most Picturesque Stops Along the Riviera

The best place to stay in Portifino is the historic Hotel Splendido. It’s a gorgeous cliffside marvel with sparkling black and white tiles, elegant staircases, and long patios bedecked with greenery overlooking the blue harbor. In the hotel lobby next to the bar, there are autographed portraits of the old Hollywood stars who have stayed there over the years.

The Four Most Picturesque Stops Along the Riviera

The Four Most Picturesque Stops Along the Riviera

We sat on the porch and enjoyed the BEST peach bellini I have ever had!

We also stumbled upon Brown’s Castle. Let’s just say if we were millionaires, we’d have ourselves a new home! 😉

The Four Most Picturesque Stops Along the Riviera

More to Love in the Rivieras

There are so many incredible stops along the Mediterranean rivieras! I still want to visit…

…and the…

How about you? Where have you been or wish to go along the rivera?

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The Top Reasons Why Barcelona Should Be Your Next Adventure

I’m not going to lie to you. Barcelona NEVER made it onto any of my adventure lists.

When I found out that our Mediterranean cruise launched from Barcelona, I had to jump onto Google to confirm that yes, indeed – Barcelona is a city in Spain! I’ll admit that I was initially disappointed when I learned that we’d be spending five days in a city that I had hardly even heard of.

But Barcelona took me by COMPLETE surprise! It was nothing like what I expected and everything I could have hoped for in an adventure-rich destination. Here are the reasons why I think you’ll fall in love with Barcelona too.

1. THE FOOD

Oh the food – by far my favorite reason to adventure to Barcelona! Since it is a port city, Barcelona has adopted many different flavors throughout the years. Whether you’re eating at a steak house, a French-inspired cafe, or an authentic Spanish restaurant – fresh seafood is always on the menu!

Spain is known for it’s tapas, or small plate meals. You’d think that serving small plate sizes would be considered a downside, but it’s actually an ingenious way to feast!

At our favorite restaurant, Cervecería Catalana, the vast variety of pre-prepped tapas were displayed behind a glass counter. As a group of friends we’d order several different platters, fall in love with the selections, then have plenty of room left in our bellies to fill up on more!

Top Reasons Why Barcelona Should Be Your Next Adventure

Tapas bar
Photo source

Delicious tapas like the beef tenderloin montaditos, grilled green peppers, and brie cheese covered in nuts and jam were my favorites!

Top Reasons Why Barcelona Should Be Your Next AdventureTop Reasons Why Barcelona Should Be Your Next AdventureTop Reasons Why Barcelona Should Be Your Next Adventure

 

 

 

 

 

2. THE UNIQUE ARCHITECTURE

Barcelona is particularly known for it’s stunning and unique architecture. Antoni Gaudi was the mastermind behind Barcelona’s most jaw dropping structures. Gaudi’s work is more than unique, it was before his time, other-worldly even!

Top Reasons Why Barcelona Should Be Your Next Adventure

Gaudi’s La Pedrera, Park Güell, and Casa Batlló are all marvels… BUT…

Top Reasons Why Barcelona Should Be Your Next AdventureTop Reasons Why Barcelona Should Be Your Next AdventureTop Reasons Why Barcelona Should Be Your Next Adventure

 

 

 

 

 

…when it comes to being exceptionally unique, La Sagrada Familia Basilica takes the cake! This church has been under construction (and still is) for over 130 years! Our heads were on a constant swivel trying to capture every detail!

Top Reasons Why Barcelona Should Be Your Next Adventure

Top Reasons Why Barcelona Should Be Your Next Adventure

Top Reasons Why Barcelona Should Be Your Next Adventure

3. THE HISTORY

It was a humbling moment when the girl who had to find Barcelona using a map tried to wrap her mind around the long and colorful history of the beautiful city!

What I found to be most impressive about Barcelona’s past was the city’s unrelenting commitment to their unique cultural identity. Barcelona was once part of a region ruled by kings and queens called Catalonia. Despite being conquered, occupied, and even warring with Spain itself, Barcelona has maintained a culture that is unlike the rest of the country. Today, some locals still speak Catalan as their primary language.

Top Reasons Why Barcelona Should Be Your Next Adventure

And oh – if walls could talk! Every building seems to have a story to tell. The Gothic Quarter is especially spell-binding.

Top Reasons Why Barcelona Should Be Your Next Adventure

4. THE CITY IS A WALK-WORTHY OASIS

Barcelona’s city planners deserve a well-earned pat on the back! Despite it’s status as a bustling city, the streets of Barcelona never felt overcrowded or dirty. Every street is lined with a lush collection of trees and plants that make you feel like you are walking through a park.

Top Reasons Why Barcelona Should Be Your Next Adventure

Needless to say, we happily did a lot of walking!

On one such walk, we stumbled upon the famous Mercado de La Boqueria – the market of choice for both locals and tourists.

Top Reasons Why Barcelona Should Be Your Next Adventure

We probably spent all of two hours walking up and down the colorful aisles as vendors sold everything from whole legs of lamb, to fresh eggs, gelato, fish, bread, produce, and culinary spices!

Top Reasons Why Barcelona Should Be Your Next Adventure

Top Reasons Why Barcelona Should Be Your Next Adventure

A City to Remember

So whether you’re in it for the food or the rich history, Barcelona has something for everyone! For a city that was dead last on my list, I would EAGERLY adventure there again! So what are you waiting for?! Book your flight tickets!

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New Years Resolutions and Birthday Cake

I love that my birthday falls in January.

New Years Resolutions and Birthday Cake

I love that each new year of my life coincides with the exact moment when EVERYONE is energized about a fresh start. As New Years resolutions are being made, I find myself taking inventory of my life up to that year. I dream about what the next year holds and create birthday goals.

Today I turn 27. Upon initial reflection, I couldn’t think of a reason to get too excited about the number. But then I realized, I am three short years away from 30! A milestone! I can’t pass up the opportunity to set a massive, turn of the decade goal. So here it goes blogging world – you can keep me accountable!

30 By 30

It should be no secret that my Adventureman and I love to travel. We’ve been to some pretty amazing places, but are itching to explore even more! I want to maintain this passion for adventure, knowing that travel experiences are invaluable and can’t be bought in a store.

So… I will travel to 30 destinations by 30. 

Into this collection of 30 destinations, I will count all trips I have taken up until this year that match the following criteria. ( My birthday, my rules. 🙂 )

My destinations must be…

  1. Trips that have taken place after high school.
  2. Places I have spent a minimum of one day exploring.
  3. Adventures that have been photographed for proof!

I’ve completed 20 destinations so far.

30 by 30

That means I have 10 adventures left to complete! Roughly three new destinations per year – totally doable right?!

Oh the places I hope to go!

Canada…

Peru …

Bora Bora…

Croatia…

So what about you? What destinations are at the top of your travel list?

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