Cuba travel tips: everything you need to know to travel on a budget (part 1)

For what I had read before going to Cuba I was expecting that a month there would be quite expensive, and definitely can be, but you can also travel on a tight budget.

I spent an average of 23ā‚¬ a day, but I travelled with another person, so for solo travellers, this amount would be higher for sure, and of course,Ā everyone travels differently, Ā so no one ever has the same travel budget. I just put mine here as a reference, so you know that’s possible.

The first tip, never take a no for an answer, it’s important to negotiate, and it’s normal to ‘argue’ and ‘get upset’, always always speak out, if the situation is not fair or reasonable. Otherwise you will be paying more than in Switzerland or Norway.

Be prepared to sometimes be ignored in a Cuban shop and to be always the last one to be served (but not in a touristic place) šŸ˜‰

šŸ‘‰šŸ½Ā Money

Cuba has 2 different currencies –Ā Cuban PesoĀ (CUP)Ā also known as moneda nacional MNĀ andĀ Cuban Convertible PesoĀ (CUC) Ā (25CUP = $1 USD =1CUC).Ā Foreigners CAN (and should) use CUP it is not illegal,Ā soĀ don’tĀ believe if someone tells you theĀ opposite.

Probably the best tip I can give is NEVER ask the prices in Cuba, expect Cubans to give you always the prices in CUCs and to see other tourists using onlyĀ this currency. When you ask they know you are not sure…Ā Assume alwaysĀ that the prices are inĀ Pesos Cubanos (CUP), and pay for it straight away, the only exceptions are the touristic restaurants and bars, long-distance taxis, hotels/casas and tour operators, but you’llĀ realise thatĀ they always write CUCĀ in frontĀ of the price.Ā So if you see a menu (carta) with coffee – 1, it means that the price is 1CUP (about 4 cents) and not 1CUC ($1 dollar).

You only need CUCs to pay for: long distanceĀ transports, accommodation, museums, touristic spots and water. (0.5L – 45CUC; Ā  1.5L – 0.70CUC; Ā 5L – 1.90CUC) for everything else use CUPs. We came across some upsetting situations in Trinidad and Havana when buying water, the staff from the supermarket didn’t have the prices in the water and despite the fact that we knew the price and gave the correct amount they asked for much more. Step your foot down and argue loudly so everybody know what they are doing, Ā they don’t just ask for a few more cents, they ask for a 1,5L 3 o 4 CUC.. what they are doing is illegal and you can ask to speak with the manager or even call the number that is on the wall for the customer service. Demand that they scan your product and give you a receipt like they do when serving a Cuban.

Always choose places that have the prices displayed, it’s current practice, so when they don’t have it, they will probably create a new price just for you. (check out the pictures below they all have prices displayed in CUPs and keep in mind that $1=25CUP)

The prices don’t change much around the island, so having the average food prices in mind should help (all prices in CUPs):

  • sandwich Ā 2-12 CUP
  • pizza Ā 5-10Ā CUP
  • natural juice/milkshake 3-5Ā CUP
  • coffee 1-2Ā CUP
  • chocolate bar 5-10Ā CUP (depended on size)
  • small sweets 1-2Ā CUP
  • peanut bars / seed bars 5-7Ā CUP
  • ice cream 1-5Ā CUP
  • popcorn 5CUP
  • one paper cone with peanuts 1Ā CUP
  • 1 big avocado 5-10CUP
  • 3 big mangos 5-10CUP
  • 1 hot dish (rice with beans and salad) Ā – 10-25CUP
  • fried banana 5CUP
  • All snack varies from 3-10CUP
  • PiƱa colada 5-10CUP
  • Mojito 10-12Ā CUP
  • pasta 10 CUP
  • beer (CervejaĀ dispensed is the cheapest one) 5-25 CUP
  • soda in a cup 1-2Ā CUP
  • hot chocolateĀ 5 CUP
  • churros 3-5 CUP
  • malt beverage 10-25 CUP

The average price for local transports in CUPs:

  • bus – 1CUP (they call it guagua)
  • bici taxi – 5CUP – 10CUP

I brought cash to fund my whole trip so don’t really know how reliable are the ATM, but saw a couple in each capital district.

Exchanging money it’s easy but like everything in Cuba takes time and queuing outside. Ask for the CADECAĀ the official place to exchange money and of course, don’t do it in the street.Ā It is possible to exchange U.S. Dollars, Euros, British Pounds, and a few others. But U.S. Dollar is by far the worst one because it gets charged a 10% fee in addition to the exchange rate.

Exchange your money to Convertible Cuban Pesos (CUC) first and then some Convertibles(CUC) toĀ Cuban Pesos (CUP). (Don’t forget to take yourĀ passport).

Paying in convertibles (CUC) and getting change in CUPs is the most popular trick so familiarize yourself with the money and always check your change.

šŸ‘‰šŸ½Where to stayĀ 

The cheapest options are theĀ casas particulares, a kind of AirbnbĀ or guest house.Ā Finding a casa is extremely easy, there are plenty available everywhere, we didn’t book any house in advance and was always easy and quick to find one.Ā Simply walk around the area you want,Ā knock on the door of a house with the blue sign and ask to see a room, then decide if you want to stay there or see the next one.

We always negotiate our price to fit our budget that was ā‚¬20 per night and we found always a house that was willing to do that price for us, even in the more touristic areas like Havana, or Trinidad, so don’t get afraid when they start saying that is the high season, all the cases are full, etc.. Cuba truly has a huge offer.

Breakfast is normally not included and the price is between 5-6CUC, but to be fair you will eat exactly the same out for a fraction of that price, so we never ate at the casas.

šŸ‘‰šŸ½Eating and drinkingĀ 

Someone that I met there told me “we are not here to eat” when I was complaining about the food, and lack of options…. and that really needs to be the attitude because Cuban food is by far the worst I ever came across. Ā In the other hand it’s ridiculouslyĀ cheap and why to worry about eating when you can drink šŸ™‚ natural fruit juice of course šŸ˜‰

The lowest-cost options areĀ at street-side stores they normally have sandwiches, pizza, rice with beans, pasta, natural fruit juice and coffee, but not all the options at the same time.

They have two types of places, the state-run restaurants and the particulares, the last one is a bit more expensive than the other one but not really a big difference, it’s like instead of paying 1 dollar for your meal you will pay 2, only if that private restaurants (particular) serves locals.

Cooking your own food it’s not an option at all, but what we did to complement our meals was to buy fruits like avocado and mango and ask at the restaurants to cut it for us.

Fresh juices are amazing and very cheap, if you have an empty water bottle with you, ask them to refill it with juice (1,2,3.. cups) it’s a normal practice between locals.

We never got sick from the food or drinks (only feed upšŸ˜‚)

šŸ‘‰šŸ½Being Vegan (or)Ā VegetarianĀ 

Well, where to start… to say the truth, being vegan in Cuba can be very hard when you are travelling on a budget, and off the beaten path.

While you always have the option of eating at theĀ casas particulares, that with your guide will be able to cook something for you, Ā it’s not the cheapest option or any different from the things you can eat outside.Ā Cooking is also not an option, because theyĀ will not allow you to use their kitchens.

Carrying a knife is truly a life saver, you can just eat some salad or fruit when you want. Cubans sell seasonal fruit and vegetables using street carts, it is more likely to find them during the morning.Ā Fresh fruit is by far one of the top foods you can eat, the most common are guavas, papayas, pineapples, bananas, mangoes, avocados, mamoncilloĀ and coconuts.

Here are some names of the most common food, if you don’t speak Spanish it would be important to get familiarised with them:

  • arrozĀ (rice)
  • ensaladaĀ (salad)
  • frijolesĀ (beans)
  • arroz morro or moros y cristianosĀ Ā (black beans + rice)
  • frutaĀ (fruit)
  • madurosĀ (fried sweet plantains)
  • tostonesĀ (fried green plantains)
  • Yuca frita or cassava (a root vegetable)
  • panĀ (bread)
  • papasĀ (potatoes)
  • Batido (milkshake)Ā  *not vegan
  • jugo natural (natural fruit juice)
  • Cucurucho (desert with coconut and pineapple)
  • pudin or flan (pudding flan) *not vegan
  • PastelesĀ dulces (bakery)
  • mani (peanuts)

More touristic places, like Havana, Trinidad or ViƱales will have a better option than the rest of the country, but not much..

So far, for me, Cuba was the hardest country to eat well as a vegan (sorry to say that if you are planning a trip to Cuba šŸ˜†) You will definitely not to starve but you will get sick of the same food every day, specially if you are travelling like me for a long time, by the end I couldn’t think about eating more of the same againĀ šŸ˜«Ā the smile in my face holding the food was just for the photos Ā hahaĀ šŸ˜‚

photography ā€“Ā all rights reserved ā€“ Ana Rocha

šŸšŒĀ Read Part 2 šŸšŒ

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A vegan in Singapores

Being a vegan inĀ Singapore is just pure heaven, you can find lots of great options anywhere.

In December 2016 Peta named Singapore the second most friendly vegan city in Asia, so that should mean something Ā šŸ˜€

Singapore’s food combines Chinese, Malay, Indian, Western influences,Ā Japanese and Thai,Ā Ā andĀ is rich in vegetarian options.Ā For me the best places were theĀ hawker centres (food-courts), they are easy to find and have a bit of everything from fruit juices, smoothies made with local and exotic fruit, desserts, pure vegan meals and even raw vegan.Ā You will be able to taste all cuisines, from 4$-12$ per meal. You can also look forĀ Indian andĀ vegetarianĀ Chinese restaurantsĀ often serving up amazingĀ vegan options.

If you eat in a non-vegetarian restaurantĀ be aware that dishes that appear vegetarian on the menu may contain oyster sauce, salted fish, etc. justĀ check withĀ the staff first.

Here are some places that I recommendĀ for having great delicious and affordableĀ food. Remember that healthy dishes that require a lot of efforts and innovation often come with large bills šŸ™‚

hawker centres:

  • Circuit Road Food Centre has manyĀ vegetarian food stalls;Ā here you can try theĀ vegan versions of local dishes such as tahu goreng, satay, briyani rice, nasi lemak (coconut rice), hor fun, chicken rice, laksa, etc.
  • Fortune Centre at BugisĀ has manyĀ great vegan eateries and more options outside the centre.
  • Redhill Market and Food CentreĀ – vegetarian cuisine is popular at this food centre, try theĀ Bee Hoon withĀ mockĀ Char SiewĀ from the Ru Yi Yuan Vegetarian Food.
  • Kim San Leng Food Centre
  • Bendemeer Market and Food Centre

(many veg food stalls tend to be closed on Monday)

restaurants / eateries:

  • Gokul Vegetarian RestaurantĀ (Little India) has a very extensive menu (about 400 items of which three-quarters are listed as vegan) and you can sample Indian, Chinese, international and local dishes and desserts all under one roof.
  • Divine Realm Vegetarian Restaurant –Ā Ā Chinese vegetarian
  • Nature Vegetarian DelightsĀ –Ā Chinese vegetarian restaurant
  • Xing Hua Vegetarian Restaurant.Ā It’s a Chinese restaurant serving mainly mock-meats
  • Yi xin vegetarianĀ – the best in china town
  • Zen Fut Sai Kai Vegetarian RestaurantĀ 
  • Genesis vegan RestaurantĀ 
  • Ā Vegandeli SGĀ 
  • Green Leaf Cafe –Ā Little India.
  • Veggie King International Buffet
  • Steamboat RestaurantĀ for international, regional (Japanese, Korean, Thai) and local buffet dishes which include desserts.
  • Fill-a-Pita -Middle Eastern vegetarian food.
  • Ā vegetarians from West-side:Ā Hua Jin Vegetarian Family Restaurant andĀ Tanaka Vegetarian Food
  • Japanese vegetarian food (a bit pricey)Ā Bespoke Japanese Vegetarian DiningĀ andĀ HerbivoreĀ 
  • For vegan burgers you have:Ā Vegan BurgĀ and theĀ nomVnom
  • Buddha Tooth Relic Temple, theĀ Singapore Buddhist Lodge and theĀ Kong Meng San Phor Kark See MonasteryĀ serveĀ vegetarianĀ food.

Tips: Ā Keep an eye out for the Singapore Food Festival, held every year in July.

photography ā€“Ā all rights reserved ā€“ Ana Rocha

šŸšŒ Ā Tips on how to travel inĀ Singapore on aĀ budget Ā šŸšŒ

Singapore on a Budget

Singapore is a city-state in Southeast Asia, with a tropical climate, great food, busy vibe whereĀ its always something happening IĀ stumble in many cultural activitiesĀ likeĀ concerts, performances, multimedia and water projections, so try to be aware and look at all theĀ billboards and posters that came across to you.Ā As youĀ know Singapore is not the cheapest place to visit when you have a tight budget, but it’s possible, andĀ definitely worths a visit even ifĀ short.Ā 

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I travel by bus from Malacca to Singapore (24RM),Ā tookĀ 4hours to the border, then weĀ left the bus twice to show ourĀ passports. If you do the same be prepared to run… because the second time you leave the bus, they will give you 20 minutes, so take all your belongings with you and if you lose the bus don’t worry you just need to wait an hour for the next one.

Once in Singapore it’s easy toĀ travel around, they have a good and easy publicĀ transport system and almost everyone speaks English šŸ™‚ when using the bus just make sure you have always the correct amount because they don’t give change.

Here is a list of my favorite places, that you should visit and tips to save money:

Places to explore:

  • Marina Bay – very cosmopolitan, great views, includes The Merlion Square
  • Botanic gardens – is aĀ Unesco World Heritage Site, It’s more natural than Gardens by the Bay which seems to be more man-made (although very beautiful in its way) – free entry – they have frequentĀ concerts from theĀ SingaporeĀ Symphony Orchestra come early and bring a picnic.
  • Gardens by the Bay – Ā this futuristic garden deserves aĀ visit during the day-light and another visit during the night betweenĀ 7.45pm and 8.45 pm, when the trees twinkle and glow with music –Ā free entry
  • Marina Bay Sands – greatĀ viewsĀ 
  • Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay,Ā greatĀ place near The Merlion Square. Has always lots going on (some are free).Ā The shape on the outside was inspired on theĀ famousĀ durianĀ fruit.
  • Baba House – (Peranakan home) located nearĀ ChinatownĀ has aĀ free hour-long tour but booking is required

  • Sri Mariamman TempleĀ – Ā oldest Hindu temple –free entry

  • Thian Hock KengĀ  – Singaporeā€™s oldest ChineseĀ temple –free entry
  • Clark Quay – busy nightlifeĀ 

  • Southern Ridges trailĀ –Ā greatĀ walking trailsĀ through 10km of forest and canopy walks.

  • China town
  • Little India
  • Arab district (great walkĀ early morning before the crowds arrive) don’t miss theĀ Haji Lane –Ā it’sĀ Ā heaven for art and culture lovers.Ā 
  • Orchard Road

Museums:

  • Art Museum (freeĀ on Fridays after 6pm), incredible good
  • Peranakan Museum (1/2 price after 7pm – $5)
  • Asian Civilisation MuseumĀ (1/2 price after 7pm – $5)
  • National Museum ($10) –Ā check the website forĀ free guided toursĀ – offered daily

If you have time:

  • Movie Mob –Ā Ā freeĀ outdoor movie with drive-in concept and picnic events. Ā Happens around Singapore (check their page)
  • Haw Par Villa (founder of Tiger Balm) outdoor exhibitions of Ā Chinese mythology and legends.Ā –Ā free entry
  • East Coast Park – 15km stretch of beach (can getĀ busy during theĀ weekend)

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Accommodation:Ā Ā it will be your biggest expense in Singapore, so you must do yourĀ research with time and book before your arrival.Ā Backpacking is by far the cheapest option you can get somethingĀ forĀ $20-30 p/night. If you want moreĀ privacy and be in contact with local people airbnb would be a good option.

Eating:Ā  hawkerĀ centersĀ are by far the cheapest and bestĀ option you haveĀ toĀ taste Singaporeā€™s multi-cultural food.Ā I haveĀ tried many different ones and they were allĀ a complete delight for every foodie,a main can cost fromĀ $3-7. Remember that in Singapore you canĀ drink tap water it is safe and clean.

I hope you don’tĀ miss Singapore from yourĀ travel list.

photography ā€“Ā all rights reserved ā€“ Ana Rocha

šŸœ More about vegan food in SingaporeĀ šŸœ

Cuba travel tips: everything you need to know to travel on a budget (part 2)

šŸ‘‰šŸ½Transports

Getting around in Cuba is probably the most difficult thing you’ll need to deal in the country.

From the airport there’s no public bus, just taxis and tour buses, just ask around, negotiate prices, but is not easy to get a good deal, due to the lack of options. We got a place in a transfer minivan that was going to an all inclusive in Varadero that left us in Matanzas (our first stop) for $30CUC each. The taxis were asking forĀ $80CUC each :O

To go from city to city, most tourists catch Viazul buses. They have schedules but get fully booked very quickly. Booking andĀ get your tickets at least the day before is highly advisable.Ā We haven’t done that so that means we were only able to catch 2 Viazul buses during the whole month.

We end up travelling by taxi (taxiĀ collectivo), and truck (camiones), most of the time.

Travelling by taxi collectivoĀ involves always lots of negotiation, but we always stick to the price of theĀ Viazul tickets and said no to any other prices. A couple of times we paid less than the Viazul ticket.Ā Locking in a specific price is the key. A collectivo isĀ a shared private car.

The truck charges everyone on board a set price in MN (moeda nacional – Cuban Peso CUP).Ā It is extremely crowded, hot and uncomfortable, but its an absolute bargain, just as a reference fromĀ Guantanamo to Barracoa (a 5h trip- around 150km) is 30 CUP (around $1.10 pp)

Inside the localities, using the guaguas (public bus) is a great option (1CUP /pp is the price across the country and doesn’t matter where you’re going) and again don’t ask for the price just give the 1CUP and keep walking.

Bicycle Taxis are another option, they normally have two fares, around 5 CUP for short distances and 10 CUP for long distances, but expect to be asked a price in CUC, especially in the more touristic cities.

When using Cuban public transports don’t ask many questions, observe the locals and do what they do, and also works better if you always have change.

Renting a bike is also a great option in some places like Barracoa and Trinidad, it costs 3-5CUC. Ā Boat, horseback riding andĀ horse cart are also incredibly common and popular among locals.

Renting a car in Cuba is possible, and probably the best optionĀ to discover Cuba. With your own transport, you can easily get off the beaten path and visit places that see no other tourists. Ā But unfortunately isn’t cheap. When I looked up the prices for renting an economy car for a minimum period of 14 days was 60 CUC per day. So you will be always lookingĀ at a minimum of $50 CUC per day.

šŸ‘‰šŸ½Internet

Just forget about it, that’s the best thing to do, but if you are like me that likes to have internet at least any other day, you can have it but it will challenge your patience.Ā Internet isnā€™t available everywhere, wifi spots are normally available in the large public parks.

To get online you need to buy an internet scratch-card from ETECSA (1.50CUC for one hour). In the more touristic places, we came across some scams, when you go to theĀ ETECSA and the security person at the door will say that they run off internet cards (tarjetas) and there are people selling cards in the street for 3CUC (the double). When this happens, you know you can’t really win, so we just didn’t buy the internet cards there. It’s always a good solution toĀ stock up some cards when you find them at the correct price.

TheĀ ETECSAĀ office, is normally a blue building near the plazas that have Wi-Fi, they will have definitely a queue were you will wait in lineĀ for at least 20 minutes. Always ask who is the last person in the line because they don’t put themselves in order (quĆ© es lo ultimo?) and wait for your turn. Cubans always queue outside.

šŸ‘‰šŸ½Challenges andĀ Scams

Lack of internetĀ = no Google Maps = no reviews from places = no answer to any questions

So do your research in advance, have an app with offline maps like Galileo Maps or Maps.me (both have offline maps of Cuba) and a small guide with maps.

If you donā€™t speak Spanish, your journey will be incredibly more difficult, so start learning some basics and if take a small dictionary if you don’t speak any Spanish.

Cuba is a safe place to travel, but full with scammers (jineteros) šŸ™‚ Especially around the more tourist spots, please, please do some research and make sure you read about the most commonĀ scams. Fortunately, we didn’t end up in any, but I can’t count how many tourists we saw being tricked. Even though not much harm comes from them (despite losing some money) they can impact negatively your whole experience.

The disparity between the CUP (the Cuban peso) and the CUC (the tourist currency) is so big, that means that who makes money in CUC have a lot more compared with the others.Ā Taxi drivers and casa owners make more money in a day than a doctor (the highest paid government position in Cuba). In the more touristic areas, you will beĀ approached constantly by people who want to offer you something, like taxi, restaurant,Ā cigars, cases (rooms), drugs, tours, souvenirs, internet cards or lead you to a supposed good, authentic and cheap place for music, food or drinks. Ignoring is an option or say “no” politely, which can be annoying and time-consuming because they don’t give up easily. Remember thatĀ doesn’t matter how friendly they are it will be a scam.

Something else can be a challenge mostly for solo female travellers,Ā catcalling looks like a ‘national sport’ in Cuba and I found it quite bothersome. Ā It’sĀ overwhelming theĀ harassment and (bad) attention women canĀ get from Cuban men.Ā If you don’t want company you have to be firm when you answer them, or just ignore and keep walking, (I know that sounds rude, but there are a lot of scam artists approaching women).

šŸ‘‰šŸ½When to visit Havana

In my personal opinion, it’s better to visit Havana at the end of your trip, and two-three days are enough,Ā out of the capital you can explore other less crowded, cheaper and more authentic towns. And also you will be prepared for all the tourist harassment.

šŸ‘‰šŸ½Ā Packing:

Apart from the basics, like money, passport,Ā light clothes, flip-flops, bathing suit, etc.. Ā a few other things you can’t miss, because they will be practically impossible to find and even if you do they are extremely expensive:

  • shampoo
  • Sunscreen (plenty of it)
  • moisturizer and/or after sun
  • basicĀ First Aid Kit
  • medicines
  • Toothpaste, Toothbrush
  • feminine hygiene products
  • wet wipes and/or tissues
  • hand sanitiser
  • Plug adaptor
šŸ‘‰šŸ½ Entertainment:

If you understand Spanish going to the Cinema or Theatre can be a great plan for an evening. Ā Out of Havana a ticket costs between 5 to 10 CUP.Ā Concerts and performances are also a must see, and they do happen everywhere all the time.

Art galleries and Art studios are also not to be missed, there are many artists in Cuba, and they are happy to welcome you to their space and talk about their work. There is also a museum but nothing memorable.

Cuba can be a frustrating, confusing and a challenging country to visit, but also aĀ wonderful place at the same time.

If you’re planning a trip to Cuba I hope you find this post useful, Ā If you have visited Cuba already I would love to hear your experiences and stories, and let me know if you have any other tips that I missed šŸ™‚ happy travels everyone šŸ™Ā Lots of Love Ana šŸ’š

photography ā€“Ā all rights reserved ā€“ Ana Rocha

šŸšŒĀ Read – Part 1šŸšŒ

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Exploring Glasgow for free, Scotland

GlasgowĀ is Scotlandā€™s largest city, and a great place to start a trip to Scotland. Despite overshadowed byĀ the famous Edinburgh, this city is at least equally amazing. I need to say that in the end of my visitĀ I was totally in love withĀ this city, that once was aĀ former industrial powerhouse, but now is a cultural hub, with lots of interesting things do do and see.

Glasgow is today aĀ cosmopolitan city, with a rich history, Ā and a national cultural hub, home to many greatĀ museums (most of them free). The museums andĀ art galleries haveĀ superb collections, that will surprise youĀ as much as surprised me.

We landed atĀ Glasgow’s airport and got the connection to theĀ city center, using theĀ bus 500, that takes 30 minutes to beĀ on the Queen Street, close toĀ George Square, in this short trip it’s already visible theĀ historic sandstone buildings and modern architecture.

For my surprise Glasgow serves very weird food from deep-fried piza or even fried Mars, butĀ the vegan options justĀ kept surprising me. I need to say that theĀ claims that Glasgow is theĀ mecca in Scotland for vegan food lovers may be very true!

We visit the city by walking around, without taking any public transports (what was probablyĀ a mistake, at least is what my legs and feet wereĀ saying).

WeĀ started our trip, walking around the city centre without a plan towardsĀ George Square,Ā that is the heart of the city, and hasĀ impressive Victorian buildings and statues paying homage to the Scottish greats. From there we went to theĀ Gallery of Modern Art, Ā where is the famous statue of the DukeĀ of WellingtonĀ wearing a traffic cone as a hat.

While walking around, we just did a stop at Glasgow Central Station, not to take a train but to have a look at the arquitecture and its glass roof. Here you can also join a tour that supposedlyĀ Ā reveals some of the stationā€™s hidden secrets šŸ™‚ I can’t say that’s true, because I haven’t doneĀ it.

From the train station it’s only aĀ couple of minutesā€™ toĀ the Lighthouse,Ā on Buchanan St. This placeĀ can be a bit difficult to find but deserves the effort. TheĀ building was designed by the Scottish architect Charles Mackintosh back in the 19th century, and is an exempleĀ of Art Nouveau.Ā TodayĀ is the centre for Design and Architecture, and has manyĀ different exhibits and galleries. Ā Including aĀ free exhibition on Mackintoshā€™s work.Ā From the lighthouse, you have an incredible skyline view of Glasgow.

We kept walking till we got to the river sideĀ that has a path along theĀ River ClydeĀ great for a walk or even cycle, from where you can seeĀ modern buildings like the Clyde Auditorium (known as the Armadillo) and the titanium-clad Glasgow Science Centre.

Then was time to visitĀ one of the cityā€™s most famous museums, theĀ Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum. This museumĀ is definitely a must see.Ā But not before a lovely man invited us to take a coffee and some biscuits at a local church, the Sandyford Henderson memorial church.

TheĀ Kelvingrove isĀ anĀ immense place with a great a collection, that you will enjoy even if your are not an art person, because part is aĀ art gallery and part history museum. Essentially, it’s an art, life science, and cultural museum rolled into one, withĀ plenty to see,Ā housed in a beautiful historic building.

From here across the park is theĀ Ā University of Glasgow, an imposingĀ gothic-style buildings that reminds vaguelyĀ Harry Potter.

TheĀ Glasgow Botanic GardensĀ areĀ located in the heart of cityā€™s West End by the River Kelvin, and are a short walk from the university, and a must go if you are a nature lover like me. The gardens are lovely and theĀ glasshousesĀ looked like they were straight out of the Victorian EraĀ revealingĀ exotic ferns and tropical plants asĀ youĀ go.

TheĀ Riverside Museum,with its Zaha Hadid-designed sinuous curves, is another must.Ā The museum is dedicated toĀ transport and travel. the exhibitionĀ is very interactive and even has a recreated street taking you back to 1890s Glasgow, where you can pop in into different shops. From here you can take aĀ tour of theĀ Glenlee, a restored tall ship, If you fancy something like that.

Once in the city center we went to visit the the 15th century house,Ā Provandā€™s Lordship, the oldest in Glasgow and the magnificentĀ Cathedral.

TheĀ Ā Necropolis, it’s right behind the Cathedral, and it’s a cemetery with distinctive, decorative tombstones which are works of art in themselves designed by major architects and sculptors of the time. The necropolis is located on top of a hill andĀ has great views to theĀ city and the Cathedral.

TheĀ Peopleā€™s PalaceĀ and the Winter GardensĀ are a greatĀ museum to have an insight about Glasgowā€™s history, andĀ t’sĀ located in southeast Glasgow.

Glasgow’s street art is visibleĀ over the city, Smug One is an Australian born street artist based in Glasgow that has paintedĀ enormous murals.

If you are planning your trip bare in mind that the weather can be very unpredictable so just pack clothes for each of the 4 seasons šŸ™‚ I suggest at least 3 days if you want to visit Glasgow properly but I recommend 4, for the sake of you legs and feet šŸ™‚

If you have the time, away from theĀ cityĀ there are plenty of remote places to explore.. be happy and have fun..

photography ā€“Ā all rights reserved ā€“ Ana Rocha