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Travel

Euro Summer Finale: Barcelona, Spain

Claudia Di Capua

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All good things must come to an end, including my summer travels. June through August has been filled with several Euro trips to locations I have never been before. I'm happy to be crossing four more places off my list including Croatia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Azores Islands and Spain. While this blog entry will cover my most recent trip to Barcelona, you can find details on all of my other trips in previous travel posts (click the travel tab on the menu bar above)! Now, without further adieu, I give you all of the sites, locations and recommendations I have from our trip to Spain! Shoutout to my Barce crew (Emily, Alston and Amanda + honorary guest Calsi). 

Hotel

  • Ohla Eixample Hotel: This hotel was a true God sent. Originally, we planned to stay in an Airbnb, which ended up looking nothing like the photos, was out of the way and had no air conditioning. Three strikes and we were out of there. I know a lot of Europe doesn't use air conditioning units, but during the warmest summer months in Spain, it was important to us to be comfortable and have an enjoyable trip. We found the Ohla Hotel on the Hotel Tonight app and never looked back! It was truly like night and day when comparing the two. The Hotel has an amazing rooftop pool and bar with views of the city, gorgeous rooms and great food. It's in the middle of the city and close to the beach. Were able to to get around very easily from there as well.

Wearing: TJ Swim Leila Top & Gigi Bottoms // Fae Swim Gypsy Top & Bella Bottoms

Sites

  • Montserrat: This was easily my favorite site out all of the locations we went to. It take about an hour and a half to actually get there, but it's so worth it! Everything from the cable car to get top the top of the mountain to the trails and actual building structures, there is something to see every way you turn. The views alone are reason enough to go!
  • Catedral De Barcelona: This Cathedral is probably the most ornate and grand in design that I've ever seen. Sitting right off of the Gothic Quarter, you get to walk through narrow alley ways that make up the outdoor corridors of the church. With so much history (spooky history at that) and intricacies in design, it makes the list as a must see!
  • La Sagrada Familia: Unfortunately, we arrived to this church too late in the day to actually go inside, but the fact that we only saw the outside and this is on the list of must sees speaks volumes! This cathedral is not even completed yet, They are constantly adding to this church in Guadi's honor (the architect behind much of Barcelona's famous structures).

 

  • Gothic Quarter: I found it interesting to simply look up and see the Gargoyles or to get lost in the narrow alley ways. Everything is so old aside from the shops (which are fun too haha). 
  • Park Guell: Believe me when I say I hate myself for saying this, but I never actually got to go to Park Guell. I know. Too many sites and not enough time! I'll be back though. This park is tiled to perfection and full of color and greenery. Definitely worth a stroll! Buy tickets in advance. 
  • La Rambla: For those out there looking for the Time Square of Spain, hit up La Rambla. This is where you'll find tons of shops and peopl.

Beaches

  • Barcelona Beach: This was the first beach we went to and a fun way/easy way to jump right into things. It's one of the most popular beaches in Barcelona, thus bringing in the crowds. It's great if you want to be right next to the city making it easy to grab food or shop. Also, there are tons of beach bars right on the sand!
  • Platja de la Nova Icaria: Still a little crowded during high season, this beach is a more relaxed version of Barcelona Beach. It's farther North of the city center with calmer waters. There are cute restaurants around the perimeter and less people trying to sell you tapestries and massages while you tan. 
  • Bogatelle: We never ended up at this beach, but were told that it's one of the quieter options. It's clean and chill, what more can you ask for?!

Wearing: TJ Swim Cindy Top & Cindy Bottoms

Restaurants & Bars

  • Sensi: Hands down my favorite meal of the entire trip. This was a recommendation to us by someone we met on the beach, so it wasn't a super tourist trap. We loved it so much we went back twice! The prices are unbeatable for how amazing the food is!
  • Bar Mut: This was a Vogue recommendation, so a little pricier, but the food was immaculate. We pretty much had the restaurant to ourselves during siesta hours and the actual venue is 100% Instagrammable (IMPORTANT). 
  • Cecconi's: We planned to have one bougie dinner excursion and Cecconi's at the Soho House, Barcelona was our pick. While this meal wasn't full of tapas, we had some amazing cheese plates, vegetables, meat and pasta dishes! The drinks were to die for as well! Again, a completely Instagram worthy location. 
  • Opium: One of the most popular nightclubs in Barcelona where you should definitely equip yourself with a promoter before going in. It's a tad expensive, but if you go in with a group it's pretty reasonable. Can't complain about a table and bottle service at a busy club!
  • La Terrazza: While it's a little out of the way, it supposedly has one of the best sound systems in all of Europe. Set in what looks like an old castle town, you'll be dancing and (probably) drinking under the stars to edm music. 

Get lost in other parts of the world:

Azores Islands: Hidden Gem

Claudia Di Capua

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I’ve never been to a country (or set of islands) that I didn’t know existed shortly before booking the flight, until I went to the Azores. A set of nine islands off the coast of Portugal makes up the picturesque, nature filled and lush landscapes. The pictures couldn’t prepare me for the views and intrigue that drew me in more and more each day! Only a short 4 hour direct flight landed me on the islands of Pico and shortly after, São Miguel. This post is meant to share everything we did, share some advice, and provide a glimpse into this untouched, un-commercialized hidden gem called the Azores. I included links to my looks as well, so shop away!


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Stop Number 1: Pico Island

I didn’t know what to expect, but the island surprised me in so many ways. It seemed almost uninhabited, which was of course not true seeing as there are villages every few miles. Although, we didn’t see many people walking through the towns as we drove around. This was perfect for us! It was almost like having a private island. We rarely had to share whatever coastal space we camped out at for the day. It was almost too good to be true that we could drive around the island and basically have it to ourselves!

The best pieces of advice I have for Pico is to rent a car and just drive. There are so many landscapes and cool coastlines to see. You can get around the entire island in under an hour and driving up into the mountains makes for a great photo op! The views are unreal. Below are some of the specific places that were are memorable for us.

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Sites

  • EN3 Road: We found the entrance to this road while exploring the mountains further inland. It looks like. Never-ending road surrounded by rolling hills and cattle. It almost looks cinematic or photoshopped in a way. Highly recommend a drive through here (and pics of course). Photos 1-4 below.
  • Mount Pico: This is the site of the active Volcano on Pico. We gave it our all trying to get to the top, but the clouds were too thick and we were not properly dressed. This is not a hike for wimps, so be ready to climb and reap the rewards in amazing views. Photo 5 below. 
  • Ribeira: While driving around the coast, we came across curbside pools! These pools are either next to the ocean or actually meet the ocean. It’s a great concept and are open to everyone for free in many towns. Photo 6 below. 

Activities

  • Turispico Horseback Riding: This was definitely a top 3 activity in my book. For $40pp, we got a 2 hour private tour by horse through the surrounding towns and a wine/cheese tasting afterwards. You can opt to do a longer or shorter tour, which changes cost. All photos below.
  • Pico Sport dolphin/whale watching: If you want to swim with Wild dolphins in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, and see whales surfacing even further from shore, check out Pico Sport. Let it be known that the water is not very warm especially on a cloudy day like we had!

Beaches

  • All coastal locations and beaches we found were places we saw that looked interesting. We just pulled over from our exploratory drives and camped out at beaches, rock formations and cliff sides that are near the water. They are all over the coast, so definitely take a drive and stop at anything that grabs your attention! All photos of various coastal stops below. 

Food

  • Petipe: Amazing place for dessert with a pretty view of the mountains as well as the ocean. All photos below.
  • Restaurante Ponta da Ilha: Cute Seafood restaurant with good food. 
  • Cella Bar: One of the more upscale restaurants we visited. Very cool exterior with amazing sunset views.
  • Bar Esplanada: Great for a quick bite in the capital of Pico, Madalena (next to Pico Sport).

Stop Number 2: São Miguel

This island is definitely a bit more commercialized than Pico given the stores and number of people. It’s a little more fast paced, but the views and sites are just as amazing as in Pico. It took a bit longer than it did in Pico to get around so having a car is super important. It’s pretty easy to find a beach on both islands, but São Miguel had more sand beaches that were more upbeat. There are so many sites to see and activities to do including getting to Sete Cidades, visiting waterfalls and sinking into hot springs. Get all the details below.

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Sites

  • Sete Cidades: Also known as the Seven Cities located at the bottom of a crater. Amazing views of this from Boca do Inferno!
  • Boca do Inferno Viewpoint: This was easily in my top three favorite moments of this trip! Boca do iInferno translates to Hell’s Mouth, which is a viewpoint overlooking Sete Cidades. While it’s a little tricky to find and you need to be lucky with the weather, this view is worth the struggle!
  • Salto do Cabrito: This is a fun waterfall (also tricky to find) where you can go for a quick dip and get a few photos! 

Activities

  • Azores Surf Center: Potentially my favorite activity from the entire trip! For just 30 Euros pp, you get an hour and a half instructional surf lesson. I’ve wanted to do this for the longest time and I can’t wait to go again!
  • Hot Spring Baths: This is a great cloudy day activity. There were five baths with varying temperatures and the location is super serene. 
  • Ponta da Ferraria Natural Thermal-Water Pool: While you need to go to this heated pool in the ocean during low tide, it’s a cute hangout and a nice dip. Get there right at the beginning at low tide to avoid crowds. 

Beaches

  • Praia de Santa Barbara: This beach is the only one we visited while on São Miguel since we were so busy running around the island. It was definitely the best choice for us. The waves were perfect for body boarding, floating and even surf lessons. It’s a huge stretch of beach with a restaurant and great views. 

Food

  • Tukà Tulà Bar: This restaurant is on Praia de Santa Barbara and we ended up going there twice. They serve great drinks (love the frozen mango mojito) and it’s a great place to leave the beach and watch the sunset over dinner. 

Tips

  1. bring windbreakers, good shoes and a backpack as it gets a little chilly and rocks can be hard to walk on at times. 
  2. Everything is pretty cheap! We stayed in Airbnbs and we only ended up paying $15 per day each. 
  3. Groceries are super cheap
  4. Bring a lot of underwear, bathing suits and socks. Since the clouds sit very low, clothing doesn’t dry very quickly. 
  5. Airbnb's are perfect if you rent a car (which you should)

Last Minute Trip to Croatia

Claudia Di Capua

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Long story short, a friend of mine invited two friends (me being one of them) on a celebratory vacation as she has just graduated from grad school. about two weeks before the actual trip, we booked everything and it was one of the most fun spur of the moment trips I've taken! Below, I will talk about what we did, what we saw and a few insider takeaways for you to have should you ever decide to go to Croatia!

Our home base in Croatia was Split. This is where our Airbnb was (shoutout to Lovre who is a great host)! The apartment was spacious, had great amenities and was a 5 minute walk from town. We did a lot of eating, shopping and connecting with our tours in this area. More on each island and shop my looks below!

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The Riva

The main attraction of Split is the Riva. You can access Diocletian's Palace, which is amazing in architecture and has so many cute vendors inside. It's like walking through history (and a maze).

One of the main streets is Marmontova Street, which has all of the stores and a view of the Riva. Also, we found our go-to candy store of the trip as well! It takes about 8 minutes to get from the top of the street to the bottom.

Marjan Forest Park Biking

On one of our first days, we walked to Marjan Forest Park and rented bikes right at the entrance. This helped us learn the lay of the land a bit. We followed the park bike path until we got to Kasjuni Beach where we camped out for the day and had a few drinks at the beach bar. 

The Port

The port and bus station sits right on the Riva, giving easy access to get to other islands. We used Pelican tours to do a 5 island tour and excursion to Krka Waterfalls + wine tasting, but I'll do an entire section on tours below! Jadrolinija was the ferry company that we took to get to most islands without tours. 

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Food & Nightlife:

For breakfast, there are tons of random bakeries throughout town, but our number one stop was the juice stand called “Juice Bar” right on the Riva. 

For Lunch, Pikanterija for on the go sandwiches is the move (open until 12 so great for late night food too)!

For dinner, we loved Chops Grill (meat and seafood). The Bass, Bruschetta and Burrata are amazing (3 Bs). We truly went there 4 times in 7 days. So good!

There are tons of bar crawls, but we loved the Crozzies bar crawl (Crazy ozzies). We paid the equivalent of $18 USD for unlimited drinks and pizza from 9-11pm at the first bar and move as a group to following bars. Each night has a theme! We even made it to the Crozzies Facebook page!


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There are tons of activities to do on Brac, which is only a 50 minute Ferry ride from Split. We were on a deadline as we needed to get back to Split to meet up with a friend, but there are tons of restaurants in the boat town and transportation options right off of the ferry. 

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Journey to the Beach: ATV + Views

Naturally, we rented a quad/ATV to get around the island. Word of advice: GET THE STRONGEST ONE! We didn’t and ended up taking longer to get from point A to point B. We motored to the other side of the island to get to Zlatni Rat Beach. The views all the way to the beach are unreal. The entire drive is pretty much on the coast line, so as you drive up the mountains and around the windy turns, it truly feels like an adventure ride! 

Funny story: On our way back, we were running late to make our Ferry, thus missing it by 1 minute! As we sped in to return our ATV, we could literally see the ferry pulling away. Luckily, they leave every 45 minutes, so we sat in town and laughed about it over some gelato and the sunset. 

Activities we didn't get to, but would have liked to

-Landmarks like Blaca (castle type fortress) and St. Peter’s Church among the many

-Museum and a wine tasting excursion

Takeaways 

-Schedule in a full day for Brac

-Rent an ATV or scooter to get around the island

-Be on time for your ferry

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The Sites

We traveled to Hvar on two occasions, both of which were somewhat of a surprise and very mellow. Hvar is what you see in the pictures! A mountainesque terrain with traditional Croatian architecture including the orange roofs and neutral paint job. A castle resides at the top of the mountain with blue skies above it and sail boats in the port below it. 

Hvar is a great place to wander! We found cute shops and restaurants once you start moving into the alleyways and narrow corridors. It almost felt like Italy! There is a sand beach on the opposite side of the island from the ferry drop off, but we couldn’t get our hands on a few bikes to get there. Instead, we walked the perimeter of the island until we found a hidden staircase to the coast line. This is where we set up shop and tanned until we had to go back. There is a ladder to get in and out of the water, which was great! We didn’t do too much eating on the island, but there were a lot of restaurants right off of the ferry. 

Activities we didn't get to, but would have liked to

-Hula Hula Bar: Beach bar

-Sand beach on other side of the island

-Walk all the way up to the castle

Takeaways

-Go to Hvar when in Croatia as it’s one of the prettiest islands

-Be prepared to pay for beach chairs if you do not want to find alternative coastline hangouts

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When to use and when not to use tours

For this trip, we had 3 excursions panned. One to Krka Waterfalls + wine Tasting, one to the Blue Caves + 5 island tour and one to Mostar, Bosnia & Herzegovina. All were great, but some doable on your own.

Krka Waterfall + Wine Tasting

Pelican tours ran our Krka Waterfalls and Blue Cave tours, which were amazing! I will say, when you go with a large group, there will always be lines. I recommend renting a car to get to Krka Waterfalls so that you can be there early and beat most of the rush. We arrived at primetime, so it was a little packed, but the walk through the National Park was gorgeous! There were so many smaller pools of water and greenery around.

The wine tasting was lovely as we were bussed to the location. We tried a local families red, white and rose wine with a side of bread and cheese. It was a long day but nice to see the Waterfalls and get some wine in us! 

Blue Cave + 5 Island Tour

Hands down, our day trip with Pelican Tours to the Blue Caves + 5 other islands was our best day of the trip. Not only did we see the Blue Caves (which are blue due to the reflection of the sky on the white sand ocean floor), we also saw and went into an additional cave on our way to the next island. Each stop after that lasted about an hour and a half. 

From there, we stopped at a small island called Vis with super interesting stone and a beach bar followed by a tiny beach just to see it (got a little too crowded) and an island right off of Hvar, which is home to Carpe Diem Club & Restaurant. Carpe Diem had great lounge areas, easy access to both sides of the island and a lunch spot. The food was not great, but the location, interior decor and vibe made for great pictures and relaxation. We saw several Dolphins on the way and were able to use boat taxi time for tanning! Our last stop was Hvar before heading back to Split. We were a little tired, so we took this opportunity to take a sun nap. We found another staircase to the coast like the one I mentioned above in the Hvar section and camped out there until it was time to go. 

Overall, this day was definitely one of our favorites and you get your monies worth with this tour!

Old Bridge in Mostar, Bosnia & Herzegovina

This excursion was a fun little day trip into another country! It took about two hours to get from Split to Mostar and there is enough to see on this excursion for it to be worth it. It was interesting to see the contrast in culture from Croatia and even cooler to learn about the Old Bridge. 

It is proof of manhood for a boy from Mostar to jump off of the 25 meter bridge into the river. People gathered around as tourists volunteered to jump as well (for a mere 35 euros). The town is full of shops and great food with a lot of flavor. I will say that we went with a tour guide, but really didn't need to. It's more cost effective to rent a car and drive yourself. As long as you have gps, you should be good! Resting a car for a day or two is pretty cheap in Europe!


Need More Inspo?! Check Out These Posts:

48 Hours in LA

Claudia Di Capua

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Last week, I decided to take a trip to LA over the weekend. My boyfriend, Marijn and my dad were going to be there for work, so I jumped on the bandwagon. I was apprehensive about taking a trip all the way to the West Coast for just 48 hours, but in doing so, I learned something about myself. I've always loved traveling as many people do, but I realized it is something I need to do regularly like a muscle you need to exercise. Everytime I come back from a trip I find myself more eager to plan my next one! 

Anyhow, I had so much fun (and was actually quite productive) that I am sharing what Marijn and I did, what we ate and what I wore during these two days. Maybe it will inspire you to take a trip there! This short trip taught me that if traveling is what I need to do to reset, then so it shall be! I am vowing to travel more, even if it isn't a very far distance. I am using this as an opportunity to see more of places in the US too as I am starting off with weekend trips. Next on my US wishlist is Montana, Utah, Colorado, Martha's Vineyard.  

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Friday

- Worked from a WeWork Playa Vista (Company I work for)

- Uber to Venice Beach around 5pm with camera in hand

- Randomly came across a skateboard shop on the boardwalk

- Bought a skateboard (not knowing how I would bring it back, but I managed!)

- Watched skateboarders ride in the skatepark while the sun sets over the ocean (photos below)

- Skateboarded down the bike path from Venice Beach to the Santa Monica Pier and back

- Shoped on Abbot Kinney! So many great stores and vintage shops

- Ate at Gjelina near Venice Beach and Abbot Kinney for dinner

Saturday

- Woke up at 7am for photoshoot on Venice Beach (Early start is the trick to short trips)

- Sat on the beach and watch the early morning surfers

- Got acai bowls at Harvest Bowl (or anywhere else that sells acai bowls)

- Drove (or take Uber) to Beverly Hills and shop Rodeo Drive (window shop for me haha)

- Went to Urth Cafe in Santa Monica for a snack and drink

- Parked near Santa Monica Pier to watch this, skate a little and watch the sunset

- Did a little more shopping on Abbot Kinney if time allows

- Ate at Moonshadow in Santa Monica for Dinner

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Shop My Looks

Over the course of two days, I wore two outfits as you may have already guessed plus the look that we shot for my collaboration with NA-KD. Check out all of the pieces from both looks in the carousel to the right!

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Want to see more of my travels?! Check them out below:

St. Lucia: Caribbean Getaway

Claudia Di Capua

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This holiday season, my boyfriend and I took a trip to the island of St. Lucia. We had never been there before and were excited for the views and activities the island had to offer. Nothing could have prepared us for how AMAZING the island would be! This post is meant to share our experience on the island, some activities and info on the activities and hotels we stayed at and of course, the outfits I wore along the way. Take a peek and let me know what you think in the comments! We are looking to break into travel and travel videos, so would love to get your feedback. 

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Bikini: Fae Swim | One Piece: Calzedonia | Shop all swimwear below

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White Bikini: Coulbourne | Velvet Bikini (1st photo below): Triangl | Shop all swimwear below


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