Portsmouth

Portsmouth is located on the southern coast of England. It was historically a naval base, and tourist hot spot and has a population of about 200 000. 

The city has beautiful views of the sea, beaches and lots of history. 

Lighthouse by the Sea:


Beaches with the historic walls:

An old building left as a monument:

Portsmouth has two piers, similar to many other cities by the sea. One is home to a small amusement park. 

One of the piers in Portsmouth: 

Portsmouth has recently struggled economically. Commuting out of Portsmouth, less tourism and less industry are contributing factors. One key redevelopment is GunWharf Quays, a shopping and restaurants on the water, complete with an observation deck. The development is very well designed and an inviting place to visit. 

An example of the boardwalks and patios along Gunwharf Quays:

Portsmouth is a lovely English city along the sea, and parts of it even feel tropical. I would definitely recommend it for a visit! 

Bath

Bath is a beautiful old town located in southwest England and is well known for its Roman baths. 

The Bath Abbey is located in the heart of the town. It is a former monestary and is now an Anglican Parish church. The building dominates the town centre and contains beautiful vaulted ceilings, and stained glass and seats approximately 1200 people.  The Abbey was majorly restored in the 1860s. It is still an active place of worship.  It’s free to visit, a donation is recommended but it is definitely worth even a brief visit.

Bath Abbey:


The Stained Glass in the Abbey:

Bath Circus was another beautiful space to visit. It has beautiful Georgian architecture, with now very expensive flats. The central area is complete with large trees and most flats have lovely gardens. There is also a nice view of Bath from this location. 
Bath Circus:

The Roman Baths

The Roman Baths are the most well known site in Bath. It includes the bath, hot springs and cold springs that were used for both bathing purposes, recreation, and healing and wellness purposes. The hot spring bubbles and reaches a temperature of 46 degrees Celsius. 


The water is greenish in colour because of the limestone.
The site contains a museum full of facts, artifacts and restoration works. There was so much more to it than a Roman Bath and the museum really makes you understand that. We spent about an hour in the museum but could have spent a bit more time.

The kind of thing you’ll find in the museum:

 

The history of the site dates back to 60-70 AD and is definitely worth visiting! There is so much more to learn than I expected!

Vienna

The capital city of Austria known to be a great spot for art and history.

Time in Vienna: 5 nights 

Highlights: Beautiful old buildings, great public transportation 

Vienna is absolutely one of the most beautiful cities I’ve visited. My background is part Austrian so it was great to spend time with family and see where I’m from. When my cousins said the weather in April could anything, I didn’t really understand what she meant. We had very cool weather, it even snowed on our first full day! We made the most of it and visiting with family meant being kept busy. But as for the weather, I wouldn’t go in April again! 

It’s even beautiful in awful weather:


Vienna is known for its beautiful palaces, museums and history. The first two days were the coolest and wettest, so they were perfect days for indoor exploring. Day one we visited the Natural History Museum which is in a lovely building. It had a range of excellent exhibits, including dinosaurs, archaeological topics and even a planetarium. It’s located in the Museums Quarter nearby many other museums and close to shops. 

The Natural History Museum:


On day two, we decided to visit Hofburg, also known as the Imperial Palace. I would absolutely recommend this to anyone interested in history. The surrounding buildings are also lovely to explore and the nearby gardens are stunning. Vienna boasts several other palaces, however this one is very central and easy to visit in just a couple of hours. It’s walking distance to Stephensplatz, the city’s central square with St. Stephens cathedral, shops, hotels, and cafes. 

The kind of things you’ll see in Hofburg:


St. Stephens Cathedral:


The public transportation in Vienna was excellent. From where we stayed in an Air BnB, we could take one 20 minute tram right to the inner ring of the city. The underground was also a great way to get around. The city offers 24, 48 and 72 hour transport tickets that are good for all forms of transportation at a reasonable cost. We paid about €20 each for a 72 hour pass. Its also very convenient and affordable to travel by train to the airport. 

The Danube Canal and River were beautiful parts of the city, especially at night. The canal offered numerous bars and restaurants and a lovely walkway. The nightlife was great and there are lots of places to try. The food in Vienna was also fantastic. Classics like Wiener Schnitzel are a must. I would also suggest trying a typical Viennese coffeehaus where they sit and enjoy a coffee and sweets for hours.

A beautiful old boat turned into a bar and running club:


One thing I didn’t know is that Vienna has a lot of park space and also wineries. A trip to the 19th district offered stunning views of the city, wineries and a local market. It is definitely worth the drive. I would also recommend CityStadt park in the inner city. 

Views of Vienna:


Next time I visit Vienna I would plan more day trips. Schonbrunn Palace and a cruise to Bratislava are two I would plan for my next trip if the weather was better. Otherwise, simply exploring this city on foot and admiring all it has to offer is lovely.