It’s that time of the year again- time to satisfy our wanderlust needs 😉 Life is short, time is valuable so go ahead and BOOK THAT TRIP! We were craving NATURE and thought what is the one place in the world that’s lush and green? IRELAND! It’s known as the Emerald Isle-from rolling hills, resplendent greenery and rich landscape, it is the most healing and unparalleled scenery.

This itinerary is specifically for those looking for a relaxing, small town vibe getaway. Personally, we are not city people- cars with smog, tall skyscrapers, hustle and bustle= no thank you! We needed to immerse ourselves in nature to recharge so if that is the kind of vacation you are looking for, this is the itinerary for you! Special shoutout to my childhood friend, Ruby, for providing soooo many authentic recommendations

Here’s Some Advice…


This is the exact loop we did. Keep on reading below to find the exact spots we visited.


Land in Dublin bright and early! Arriving early to a country is such a plus- TSA security, car rentals, money exchange will not be crowded and you can breeze through the process! I urge everyone to rent their own vehicle for convenience & I’ve listed the rental options above. From the airport, grab your first authentic Irish breakfast in Dublin at Lemon Jelly Cafe to fuel up for your first day road tripping. 

Now that your belly is full, make your way through Wicklow National Park to get to Glendalough. Throughout the national park, you will find your first sheep spotting! They’re happily grazing on grass and roaming wildly free so be mindful of the road and give them the right of way when you see them crossing. The Wicklow mountains is an impressive 54,000 acres and offers plenty of attractions along the scenic drive. From nature walks to epic waterfalls to ancient ruins, there is an activity for everyone. P.S the weather here is changeable so plan and dress accordingly- it can get pretty windy!


You will only need 1-3 hours to stroll through this town. That will give you plenty of time to explore the iconic roundtower, church ruins and visitor center. There are a ton of walking trails to choose from- Glendalough Spinc Walk, Upper/Lower Lake Circular, The Woodland Road and The Derrybawn Woodland Trail. St. Kevin’s Kitchen is a snack truck parked right outside Glendalough Cathedral’s entrance and there’s outdoor seating along the river- it’s a lovely spot to drink some coffee & rest! Once you’re done exploring Glendalough, make your way to Kilkenny!


Head over to Kilkenny in the early afternoon to give yourself plenty of time to check in and explore the town because there is plenty to do here. We stayed at the Kilkenny Rivercourt Hotel. They surprised us with a complimentary upgrade to a castle view room & I couldn’t be more grateful because I honestly couldn’t stop staring at the insane view! The downside to this hotel is the bathroom and carpet. For a 4 star hotel, I don’t think it’s up to its standards and could use some remodeling/deep cleaning, but maybe I’m just being too nit-picky. There are plenty of accommodations to choose from in Kilkenny, but I can promise you, none of them will beat this balcony view!

Kilkenny is the former medieval capital of Ireland. This town dates back to the 6th century. Spend your day strolling through the city center. Walk through The Butter Slip Alley– a quirky little alley built in 1616. This alley was used by butter merchants to sell their products because the space was so small it kept a low temperature. There is also a store called Butterslip with locally made products where you can buy gifts. Didn’t pack enough clothes? Visit Market Cross Shopping Center. There’s reasonably priced shops or stop by Penneys- it’s got everything you need at an extremely affordable price.

As for food, you’re in luck! Kilkenny has a ton of options! Grab dinner at Campagne / FoodWorks / Lady Helen for luxurious Michelin star meals, Petronella Cafe for a delicious, moderately priced meal (amazing & extensive vegan/ vegetarian options) or The Fig Tree for a casual cafe vibe with traditional Irish dishes. Craving a pint? How could you not in Ireland? Grab a pint at Kytler’s Inn. It was established in 1324 & this pub is filled with history and charm! You must grab dessert at Cakeface Patisserie– this little shop has homemade soup, bread, and best of all, fancy cakes that are works of art. The dessert presentation and flavor deserves a Michelin star! I recommended the Passionfruit Nut and Miss Lemony Rose- I wish I ordered one of everything.


Jetlag can be a bitch, but I’m telling you it is worth waking up early to get your day started here in Kilkenny!  The good thing about traveling during Fall/Winter is that sunrise is much later in the day and that will give you time to sleep in (just a little bit). Our hotel accommodation came with complimentary breakfast with a view of the castle. It did not feel real to eat and stare out at that view and you guessed it, I indulged in another full Irish breakfast!

Spend the early morning at Kilkenny Castle to avoid the crowds. The current admission price is €8 adults / €4 child (both are for self guided visits) Check this website for admission updates. If you’re not keen on spending money to enter the castle, you can opt to stroll the exterior for free! Kilkenny Castle dates all the back to 1172 AD. There is plenty of space on the grounds for families with kids to play and run around. We had a lovely time sitting on the benches admiring the architecture. For history lovers, head across the road to Kilkenny Medieval Mile Museum located inside St. Mary’s Church to dig deeper into the history. The museum is quite small, however there are original artifacts, renaissance tombs and medieval sculptures inside. You can opt for expert tour guides or do your own interactive audio tour. The entrance fee is extremely affordable- 5€ per adult, 2€ Child. Visit St. Canice Cathedral to see the gothic 13th century cathedral. It is the oldest standing structure in Kilkenny and you can actually climb the round tower.

Rock of Cashel 

Once you’ve fully explored Kilkenny, hop back on the road to your new destination! As you make your way to a new town, stop by Rock of Cashel- do not skip it!! It’s worth the pitstop. Rock of Cashel admission is free, however you will need an online reservation. There is free street parking right below the uphill climb to the site. It’s a magnificent site & I HIGHLY recommend this attraction. Fun fact: Two of the most famous people of Irish legend and history are associated with the Rock of Cashel. They are St. Patrick whom according to legend, arrived in Cashel in AD 432 and baptized King Aengus who became Ireland’s first Christian ruler.


From Rock of Cashel, we quickly drove through Cork- you can even opt to stay the night here because Cork is the second largest city in Ireland and there’s so much to explore here. We were short on time and could only pick one attraction and ended up choosing Black Rock Castle Observatory (photo above) It’s a great place to bring lunch and admire the scenery from a picnic bench. Here are some top attractions in Cork that were on the top of my list: Blarney Castle , The English Market, Gleview Garden & Fairy Trail and St. Fin Barre Cathedral


Killarney is the next town we stayed overnight. It is a long trek from Kilkenny so you will most likely arrive late afternoon/night. We checked into a quaint airbnb listing and was greeted by a very warm host! The location of the home is a short 10 minute drive to town center and the host even provides a lovely breakfast. Take the night to explore Killarney town center, shop for goodies (there is a Primark/ Penneys), feast on fresh seafood and grab ice cream at Murphy’s . This ice cream company uses all real, fresh ingredients straight from the farm, free range eggs, and organic sugar! Our favorite flavors were gin and soda bread. Killarney is a town on the shores so I highly recommended choosing a seafood spot. We went with our host’s recommendation and had dinner at Kitty O’Se’s Seafood and Grill

We spontaneously decided to visit Ross Castle VERY late at night… Ross Castle is open to the public, free of admission. It 100% feels like you’re in a horror film at night… don’t go alone and be cautious of your surroundings if you do decide to visit at night.

P.S While you’re in Killarney, give Murphy’s Irish Stout a try! It was our very first time trying it and oh my, it is the best beer I’ve ever tasted! & I am NOT a fan of any kind of beer- it truly reminds me of fraternity houses, but Murphy’s Irish Stout was so well made and the flavor was delicious.


Killarney National Park

Top of the morning to ya! Killarney is known for their beautifully lush national park so start your day off in nature! I highly recommend visiting Torc waterfall. There are 2 ways to reach it- the easy way & not so easy way… for Torc Waterfall, park at the lower lot (Ring of Kerry Rd / N71) for a short 5 min stroll to the waterfall or park at the upper lot for the trail we went on! The upper car park can be accessed by leaving the N71 about 1km earlier and following the road as it steadily ascends through the woods. Google maps brought us to this parking lot so we ended up having to hike 1.5 hours each way to reach this waterfall! The trail is long and strenuous, but extremely rewarding so if you’re up for a medium-strenuous hike, this is for you! FYI the lower car park is quite small and gets filled up quickly- I recommend going early in the morning.

Storytime… I was told this was a 5 minute stroll so I got dressed up in a cashmere sweater + tulle maxi skirt with a huge peacoat to get some cute content. However, we ended up parking at the wrong lot and was stuck doing a 4 hour hike. By the time we reached the waterfall, I was a sweaty mess and had no desire to get the instagrammable shot, ha!

Although we went on the wrong trail, I have no regrets because I discovered so many cool gems throughout the hike. Hikes in LA are SO bland, but this hike was filled up with abundance! The trees here are mossy, there’s a variety of cool looking mushrooms and every tree root, branch all holds a unique story. I couldn’t get enough of Mother Nature!

After all the huffin and puffin, you’ll want to fuel up so head back to Killarney town center for some food. I tasted the most decadent & scrumptious shepard’s pie from The Laurel’s Pub

For those spending more time in Killarney, the Ring of Kerry is a beautiful coastal loop that you can do in one afternoon. I recommend this guide here to plan out your Ring of Kerry adventures! From here, go along the Wild Atlantic Way up to your next iconic destination, Cliffs of Moher.

Cliffs of Moher

Cliffs of Moher attract more than 1 million tourists each year. It is located right off the R478 & free to enter! But, parking is $10€ per person, NOT per vehicle so it’s basically your entrance fee because there’s no where else to park there. These cliffs are estimated to have formed 320 million years ago- mindblown! We went for sunset on a very gloomy day, which kinda added to the whole Irelend mood. It gets extremely windy so bring a large coat when you visit! The photos above sums up our visit- those are the only photos we got because everything was getting blown over!

Fun fact: The makers of Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince used Cliffs of Moher as inspiration for the scene where Dumbledore and Harry are off to find one of the Horocrux in the cave.

Right after sunset, we headed to the town of Doolin to get our grub on at Gus O’Connor’s Pub! It was a delicious 5 star meal-ordered the fresh Atlantic Mussels soaked in white wine & cream sauce, prime Hereford Sirloin steak with peppercorn sauce and a classic Guinness.



Doolin is the perfect town to stop at after you visit Cliffs of Moher (only 12 minutes away) We stayed the night in a lovely airbnb linked HERE.  Doolin itself is a quaint little village, extremely small & you only really need 15 minutes to stroll through or even just do a quick drive by so I suggest grabbing a cup of coffee here in the morning and head out early for a fun filled day.

Poulnabrone Dolmen

Poulnabrone Dolmen is one of the most famous portal tombs in Ireland! This archeological site is a relic of the Neolithic Age. “Neolithic” means “New Stone Age,” when agriculture emerged in Ireland. It’s also the period of the megaliths, the great stone monuments that dot the landscape of Western Europe. The dolmen itself is made of limestone slabs. A pair of portal stones– the large upright stones at the dolmen’s entrance and two smaller standing stones support the capstone, which slants downward from the front to the rear to create a chamber. We know the dolmen was a tomb, because archaeological excavations have uncovered the remains of at least thirty individuals and from the bone fragments we can tell that the dead bodies were already decomposed when they were moved into the chamber around 3000 BC.

There is a spacious parking lot for visitors and only requires a short 5 minute stroll to this site. There is a rope barrier that prevents anyone from getting too close to the monument. Please be respectful and stay behind it. I recommend wearing hiking shoes with good traction when visiting- the limestone rocks jut out the ground and the terrain is very rugged.


Spend the afternoon in Galway! Galway is a bustling Irish city filled with so much to do- it’s the place to be! First stop is the Latin Quarter– the lively city center is packed with quirky shops, cobblestone roads, traditional pubs and street performers- you can really feel the Irish spirit here. Grab breakfast or mid afternoon tea at Cupan Tae or Coffeewerk + Press. Looking to eat at a Traveler’s Choice Award? Eat at Ard Bia at Nimmo’s. For a more down to earth family owned restaurant, check out McCambridge’s. For authentic pubs, hit up Tigh Neachtain or Tig Coili.

Salthill Promenade is a short drive outside the city center and here you will discover the beautiful seaside. It is the perfect place to take a stroll beside the ocean, stop by the amusement park for some thrill or take a dip in the ocean.

If you have time to explore the surrounding area, visit or stay the night at Ballynahinch Castle– super dreamy, luxurious setting with a lake. Another destination nearby is Dog’s Lake which is known as the most beautiful beach in Ireland There are amazing shades of blue (only when the sun is shining brightly) so if you’re looking to take a dip in the ocean this is where you should go!


We headed to Clifden Ruins for a scenic sunset walk and this was by far my FAVORITE activity in Ireland! Make sure to park out on Sky Road located right before the castle’s entrance gate. You will need proper footwear for this trail as it gets extremely muddy when it rains.

As you walk on the muddy trail, there are private farm lands all around you with sheep, cows, and horses! What made this trail so unique is the wildlife, view of the sea, and ancient castle all combined within a short distance. The ruin is worth a visit- the outside walls are still intact with vines taking over however, I’d say it is pretty unsafe to wander inside the ruin because it has been abandoned for so long. Be a daredevil and carefully roam inside or if you’re like me, just admire it from the exterior.


Spent the night in Westport- a charming seaside town. In 1767 Westport became the first planned town in Ireland so you’ll find stone bridges, and tree-lined promenades on the banks of the Carrowbeg River. Many visit this town to do the Croagh Patrick trek. This is a pilgrimage for many- Croagh Patrick is considered to be Ireland’s holiest mountain, and renowned for its Patrician Pilgrimage in honor of Saint Patrick, Ireland’s patron Saint. For those spending more time here, stop by the Westport House, which is a heritage home museum, amusement park, campground, and train ride rolled all into one. 



When in Ireland… You MUST stay overnight in a castle and live out your fairytale dreams. After a ton of research, we went with Cabra Castle and you can read more about our experience HERE! And yes, I packed a whole gown in my carry on luggage just so I can capture my princess moment.



Our last stop, Dublin, the capital city bursting with awesome things to see and do. Go to Guinness Storehouse Factory to learn how to pour the perfect pint. Built in 1759, the Guinness Storehouse has been producing stout beer for its patrons. Step back in time at Dublin Castle. Dating back to the early 13th century, the Vikings established their headquarters in this medieval structure. Visit Trinity College Library– the largest library in all of Ireland. Its most famous section, known as The Long Room, has been known to resemble the Jedi Archives in Star Wars. See St. Patrick’s Cathedral, founded in 1191, it is known as the largest church in all of Ireland. Take a selfie at one of the easiest monuments to spot from afar, The Spire stands approximately 120 meters above ground. Walk across Ha’Penny Bridge, a cast iron bridge built in 1816 that carried a lot of history and people across Liffey River.

There are endless pubs and restaurants to choose from in Dublin. I recommend The Boxty House or Brother Hubbard– both featured on Netflix’s Somebody Feed Phil S2. E2. episode. Some local pub favorites are Kehoe’s Bar, The Palace Bar, and The Long Hall.

I hope you found this guide helpful and please let me know down below your favorite spots in Ireland!

XO, Soph


Cabra Castle Hotel

Growing up, I was raised on Disney films! I’d get dressed up in princess gowns & dreamed of staying in a castle one day. Well… that dream came to life in IRELAND! It took me 20 years to realize that these real historical castles are the original inspiration to all those films I watched. I can promise you that it is truly a bucket list worthy experience at Cabra Castle! The next time you visit Ireland, treat yourself & indulge in a majestical castle experience.  

Cabra Castle History

Cabra Castle is one of the best known 4 star castle hotels in Ireland! It dates back to 1699 with 100 acres of beautifully manicured gardens and parkland to the magnificent 19th century. You will be taken back to a castle only seen in fairytales as you enter the long sweeping drive inside the grounds. From the outside, you will admire the grandeur and design of the castle. The English Ivy that climbs the wall was a plus (especially during Fall peak season) When you step inside, it’s like you’re walking back hundreds of years with all the historical artifacts and history seeping through the walls. A perk to this hotel is that you will most certainly be greeted and surrounded by the 2 Irish Wolfhounds that roam freely on property.

I fully lived out my princess dreams here at Cabra Castle and here is my review!


Cabra Castle is situated in the north-east of Ireland. Located only 1 hour from Dublin, the castle stands on the borders of County Monaghan, County Meath and County Cavan.

Address: Carrickmacross Rd, Cormey, Kingscourt, Co. Cavan, A82 EC64, Ireland


Cabra rates are on the affordable end (for a 4 star castle…) It ranges from 150€ to 350€ per night. The price of the room will depend on the accommodation options- main rooms in the castle, courtyard lodges, or cottages. All 3 types of rooms are located inside the property, however courtyard lodges and cottages are NOT inside the main castle. We booked directly on their website, chose a night in the castle and the total was 260€. Click here to book a night!


You do not get the option to choose which room you stay in, but from what I could see on the map of the grounds, we lucked out with a luxurious corner suite. Room 35 was tucked away in the corner with a separate mini staircase that leads up to the entrance. You get the privacy and seclusion you need, all while staying inside a magnificent castle.

Personally, I love that the bedroom was a blend of modern and royalty decor. There was a couch, desk, dining table, The bedroom had a cal king mattress and the sheets were unbelievably soft. There was a little walk in closet that reminded me of Harry Potter’s cupboard- it was a bit creepy in there.

Bathroom was shockingly spacious with a bathtub and waterfall shower. I treated myself to a bubble bath and it was a night of bliss!

The Courtroom Restaurant

At Cabra Castle, you can easily have the royal dining experience. You have 2 options for the dinner menu: 2 course (37.50 € ) or 5 course meal (46 € )

To be 100% honest with you, the meal was decent. Don’t expect Michelin stars, unique plating, quirky flavors in the dishes. You will get well cooked, traditional recipes that cater towards the older generations that stick to what they know and are comfortable with. Every single dish was appetizing and filling, bu my tastebuds weren’t impressed. The portion is very generous- my steak came in 2 huge pieces. It’s definitely an indulgence to book a meal here but personally, if I were to stay at the castle again, I’d be happy eating a cup ramen in my bedroom! 

Money Saving Tip: If you are on a tight budget or just want to be more money conscious, pack your own food to eat in the bedroom- instant noodles, oatmeal packet, etc


Firenze! One of the most beautiful and historically significant cities in the world. Founded in the first century BCE, the birthplace of Renaissance, this Italian city has an abundance of historical aesthetics and attractions, rich in culture, food, people and well preserved monuments. This quaint city attracts around 10 million tourists a year is a UNESCO World Heritage site and every inch of this city has a rustic aesthetic etched in the walls and cobblestone streets. Florence is a MUST when you are visiting Italy & I’ve got the perfect guide for you.


Located in the heart of Tuscany, Florence sits in north central Italy right in between Rome and Venice. It is a 1 hour and 30 min train ride from Rome and 2 hour train ride from Venice.


Florence is a relatively easy destination to get to. Because it is the most populous city in Tuscany, there are many ways to get here! 


Amerigo Vespucci Airport is located directly in Florence- how convenient! From the airport, you can reach the main central station within 15 minutes by taking the T1 Tram. Average one-way ticket costs 1.5 EUR ($1.80) 

Galileo Galilei International Airport is located in Pisa. Flights into Pisa are less expensive, so this could be an option if you’re on a tight budget. A high speed train takes around 50 minutes from Pisa to get to Florence. 


Personally, it is the best form of transportation in Europe- comfortable & cost-effective! Opt for the train if you’re coming from other parts of Italy. The train will take you directly to the Firenze Santa Maria Novella Train Station, which is located in downtown Florence. It’s only a 2 hour ride from Rome or Venice. Book through Trenitalia or Italo for the best deals.


Driving into historic center Florence is a bit tricky for tourists. Not only are you driving on the opposite side of the car, but also there are restricted traffic zones, which means the center is closed to car traffic and ONLY residents, buses, & taxis can use the streets. Without a special permit, you could be fined for driving into zona a traffico limitato (ZTL) One option is to inform your hotel in advance so they can arrange a special permit for you!


Easiest way is to walk! I promise you will easily get your 10,000 steps in by noon everyday. The cobblestone streets make it a bit more difficult, so wear a solid pair of walking shoes. There are buses that you can take, but Florence is truly a work of art in every corner- by walking  you’ll discover so much more in every little corners and streets. 

Avoid driving in Florence. Parking is hard to come by. Leave your car parked at the hotel and get your lazy butt up!  



Address: Piazzale Michelangelo, 50125 Firenze FI, Italy

Ohhhhh you will want to come here every single day because the panoramic skyline of Florence is unreal! Highly recommend coming during sunrise to have the whole place to yourself & watch this historic city glow up! Check out the photoshoot we did here (if you recreate the same pose, be sure to tag me so I can give it some love on Instagram!)

It is around a 25 minute walk from city center. There is a steep hill you’ll have to climb (great butt exercise) If you’re feeling lazy, you can take a bus or drive to the top. Click here to find the right bus line that takes you here.

Giardino Delle Rose

Stop and smell the roses- take a moment to yourself & appreciate how lucky you are to be in Italy! This gorgeous rose garden is located right below Piazzale Michelangelo & it’s completely free! Who doesn’t love a free attraction? This garden was created in 1865 with over 400 varieties of roses.  


Address: Piazza del Duomo, 50122 Firenze FI, Italy

Did you really visit Florence if you didn’t get a photo in front of the Duomo? Hands down the most iconic landmark in Florence. The Duomo is part of the Cathedral of Santa Maria Del Fiore and dates all the way back to the 13th century. The dome is an architectural feat and built without scaffolding! Now take in the grandness here because it is considered one of the world’s marvel! 

Cathedral of Santa Maria Del Fiore:

Free entrance. I highly recommend going in and exploring the underground area called The Crypt of Santa Reparata.

The Duomo

There is always a huge line that wraps around the corner so make sure to buy the Grande Museo Del Duomo ticket, which allows you to climb up the dome, bell tower, museum & Baptistery. You will get admission to all 5 monuments in Piazza Duomo. This must be reserved in advance online with a specific time slot. Time slot cannot be changed so choose wisely. Click here to buy your ticket- the pricing is 20 EUR ($24) for adults

Personally, I do not think it is worth paying a fee to climb up to the top of the Duomo. All you see from the top are terra cotta rooftops of the whole town, while Piazzale Micahengelo gives you a much better view for FREE. FYI there’s 463 steps… each way..


Address: Ponte Vecchio, 50125 Firenze FI, Italy

Ponte Vecchio, translation means the old bridge and actually the very first bridge to cross the Arno River. The bridge was once filled with butcher shops and they’d toss the unwanted  leftover meat into the river, but nowadays, it is home to souvenir/jewelry shops.


Address: della Signoria, 50122 Firenze FI, Italy

This L-shaped square in Florence has a reputation of being the center of political focus of the city since the 14th century! There are important buildings in this palazza- a fortress like city hall that dominates the square, the David statue by Michaelangelo was placed outside here as a symbol of the Republic’s defiance of the tyrannical Medici and Loggia Dei Lanzi, an open-air museum showcasing famou Renaissance sculptures. You will be sure to find lively events going on every night from beautiful orchestras, fashion shows, art installations or street performances. 


Address: Piazza del Mercato Centrale, Via dell’Ariento, 50123 Firenze FI, Italy

Can’t decide what to eat? This is the place to go to! This central market has options galore! The first floor is an open marketplace where you can buy all your groceries. They have fresh meat, cheese, truffle, seasonings, anything you can think of! The second floor has SO many vendors that can whip up a quick bite for you. There’s sandwiches, pasta, ice cream, juices, salads, etc. Mercato Centrale can feel a bit overwhelming if I’m being completely honest. Sometimes when there’s too many options, it’s tough to make a decision. Avoid coming here right at peak lunch/dinner time!


Address: Piazza della Stazione 56r Florence, ITA 50123 or Via dell’Agnolo & Via Giuseppe Verdi

You’ll see some old school photobooths spread out all over Florence (see if you can find all 5!) Hop in one to capture some silly memories with each other. B&W, 4 per strip, €2.00


Address: Piazza de’ Pitti, 1, 50125 Firenze FI, Italy

Pitti Palace

This palace was the symbol of the Medici Family’s power over Tuscany. Originally built in 1457, the famous Medici Family purchased it in 1549. This palace is divided into 4 museums: the Treasury of the Grand Dukes (ground floor), the Palatine Gallery and the Imperial and Royal Apartments (first floor), the Gallery of Modern Art and the Museum of Costume and Fashion (second floor) 

Regular Ticket Fee: 16 € /  Closed on Mondays 

Boboli Garden

This garden sits behind the palace. It is a historical open air museum with tons of statues, fountains and lush landscaping. It has been said that Boboli is what inspired the gardens at Versailles Palace. As you explore, there is a space that houses a little pink building- from there, you can see a panoramic view of Florence and the countryside. You can also stop by the Grottos, which has sculptures and fresco painting amongst stalactites. It’s the perfect space to roam around and get lost in! 

Regular Ticket Fee: 10 €


Address: Piazzale degli Uffizi, 6, 50122 Firenze FI, Italy

This gallery is home to priceless works of art! It is the second largest museum in Italy and houses a large collection Renaissance art gifted by the Medici family on the condition that these pieces never leave Florence. The name Uffizi translates into ‘offices’ and the museum is actually housed in a 16th century government office. Buy tickets ahead of time to skip the long lines. Click here to buy your tickets online!

Regular Ticket Fee: 20 €


All’Antico Vinaio ($): craving a panini? Check this palace out! Those on a tight budget, this spot is for you- SO cheap. No seating-  I recommend taking it to your airbnb or find a bench and have a picnic!

Il Nutino ($): Cozy, 1950s venue with frescoed decor & wooden beams. I had the BEST Linguine Vongole (Spaghetti with clams) and I still crave this dish soooo much.

Trattoria Toscana Gozzi Sergio ($): a local’s favorite! If you want an inexpensive, authentic Tuscan meal, this place is for you! There is outdoor seating along the side of San Lorenzo Basilica. The pasta with ragu, Pepeso- slow cooked beef with pepper and red wine sauce here is unreal. They are only open for 3-5 hours everyday so I recommend getting there before opening to get a seat before it fills up.

La Prosciutteria Firenze ($): who doesn’t love wine and an epic cheese plate? Come here for an impressive charcuterie board and a cute vintage sidewalk set up.

 Trattoria Mario ($$): family run eatery with unique handwritten menu on the wall. Get in here before noon and be prepared to share a table with other parties. Popular order here is the Florentine Steak & you can always ask what they’d recommend or look around to see what other people are ordering

Trattoria Sostanza ($$$): The history of the Florentine steak is as old as the Italian city of Florence. The steak is cut from the veal loin and in Tuscany, the animal has to be a Chianina breed- the oldest breed used for heavy work by the Romans. Food here may be pricy, but cooked to perfection!

La Terrazza Rooftop Bar ($$$): I don’t think there is any other bar that can top this location- rooftop floor of the medieval Consorti tower surrounded by impeccable Tuscan views. You’re def paying for the view… its steep in prices

GROM – Il Gelato ($): One of the best chain gelaterias in the world. Endless mouthwatering flavors to choose from and high quality ingredients.


Florence has an abundance of Airbnbs AND hotels to choose from. Luckily, a couple of the Airbnb’s even have epic rooftop views of The Duomo from the living room! I’ve listed the ones that are on my bucketlist for the next visit . There is a huge range in prices- you can easily find budget places for $50/ night to $500 luxury hotels. Depending on your budget, there is a space for everyone!







Florence is an excellent city to use as a homebase. Feel free to go on epic day trips/ weekend getaways! Trains are so accessible in Italy and is the perfect transportation to take for day trips. Check out the list of day trip ideas!

PISA : Read my A Day In Pisa guide here!

CINQUE TERRE– I’ve got a whole guide on the 5 coastal towns here! You MUST visit here on your trip!! Click here!

TUSCANY: SO many Tuscan towns to choose from- I’ve listed my favorites that stand out!

  • SAN GIMIGNANO: the postcard village of the Tuscan hill towns! Whole town is surrounded by 13th century walls and in the heart of San Gimignano is filled with museums, churches, small local shops. Honestly, we came here for the world famous, award winning gelato shop: Gelateria Dondoli. It tasted like any other gelato in Italy… haha still very delicious! However, we stumbled upon the cutest meat and cheese shop with created by the most passionate & kind butcher! Despite the language barrier, he gave us an interactive one on one experience that was unforgettable!

Dine at Da I’ Mariani ( Address: Via di Quercecchio, 19, 53037 San Gimignano SI, Italy) The charcuterie board is absolute perfection here! Also, buy a bottle of Truffle Honey- it’s soooo worth it!

  • BOLOGNA: Only half an hour from Florence by train, Bologna is one of the most underrated cities in Italy. The cuisine is one of the main reasons to visit Bologna, and it’s well worth taking a food tour  here. You can even tour a Gelato Museum and MAKE your own!!! HOW COOL. Piazza Maggiore is the main square and one of the top Bologna attractions. Here you’ll find the Basilica di San Petronio and a 16th-century Neptune Fountain built by Flemish sculptor Giambologna.
  • SIENA: This city is well known for its gorgeous architecture and beautiful main square – the Piazza del Campo. Explore the medieval streets and admire the premier examples of Gothic churches and palaces. You must see the magnificent Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta that was constructed in the 13th century, Palazzo Pubblico, & Biblioteca Piccolomini. I personally had a blast at the Torture Museum ( Opening hours: everyday from 10 to 7om / Tickets: 10 € )

Dine at Ristorante Tar- Tufo- restaurant that specializes in TRUFFLE. Need I say more? If you’re going to splurge on one meal in Italy, this is the place to go for luxury dining. They put a lot of effort into the presentation of the dish, the flavors are on point and the lovely outdoor terrace has a beautiful view of Siena.

  • MODENA: Modena is the home of balsamic vinegar! Visit Acetaia di Giorgio, a family run business that’s been making vinegar for the past 130 years and the tradition is passed down each generation.

Dine at three-Michelin-star Osteria Francescana– owned and run by chef Massimo Bottura. It has been named as one of the world’s best 50 restaurants! This restaurant has been featured in Chef’s Table and Somebody Feed Phil for those interested in seeing what they serve before making a reservation (Netflix shows!)

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XO, Soph


Did you know the Leaning Tower of Pisa is in Italy? That’s why it is italicized! And aren’t you surprised the tower of Pisa hasn’t fallen over during the pandemic… without all those tourists helping hold it up! Ok all jokes aside, Pisa is one of the most famous cities in Tuscany. Being less than 1 hour away from Florence, the city is a must-stop on your Italian itinerary. It was once a major seaport, but nowadays Pisa is known for the Leaning Tower. I would say 4-5 hours in Pisa is the perfect amount of time to spend here. Keep on reading to learn more about my recommendations!


The train is the best way to get to Pisa. Train ticket from Florence is 8.70 € ($10) one way, with trains traveling every 20 minutes.

Fly into Galileo Galilei International Airport of Pisa– located only 1 kilometer southwards from the center of the city. The train between Pisa Airport and Pisa Centrale station takes just 5 mins. 

Buses are the cheapest of all transport options and many link the main Italian and Tuscan cities and towns to Pisa. There are three bus operators servicing the tourist platform of Pisa- Autolinee Lazzi, Compagnia Pisana Trasporti, CLAP.


Your best bet is to simply walk. Get your daily steps in! Another fun way to discover Pisa is by bike. Bikes are available for rent at Pisa Centrale where you also find a good luggage deposit service. There are buses available that takes you around the city- individual tickets are very affordable and can be bought from newsstands and ticket offices



Realistically, we are all only stopping in Pisa to see the leaning tower. The famous Leaning Tower of Pisa is a short walk away from the station and the route will take you directly through the city centre. Many tourists are surprised to see that the Leaning Tower is actually a part of a larger religious complex on the Square of Miracles (Campo dei Miracoli). Right next to the Tower, you’ll find an impressive cathedral and baptistery. Access to the square is FREE, but access to specific attractions is ticketed. Visit the inside of the tower and go all the way to the top to enjoy the view over Pisa. The climb is 251 steps up FYI. Book your ticket in advance here!

A bit of history… Construction began in August 1173 and eventually completed in the mid-1300s. It was originally built as a freestanding tower bell for the nearby cathedral 850 years ago and is now an attraction on its own. WHY does the tower lean? Thanks to the soft ground, it had begun to lean by the time its builders got to the third story in 1178. Shifting soil had destabilized the tower’s foundations. Over the next 800 years, it became clear the 55-metre tower wasn’t just leaning, but was actually falling at a rate of one to two millimeters per year. Today, the Leaning Tower of Pisa is more than five meters off perpendicular. Due to this flaw, it’s the reason why the city is so famous.

TIP: the large crowds here can be so overwhelming. Get here in the early mornings to have the place to yourself! Don’t forget to do a CHEESY, stereotypical tourist pose here!


Construction on the cathedral started in 1063 and it boasts fascinating Pisan Romanesque architecture. It encapsulates diverse styles and highlights the international influence on the city- classical, Lombard-Emilian, Byzantine and Islamic. The Duomo di Pisa is the largest building of the religious complex on this square and like the tower, has clearly sunken into the ground. The most impressive thing is the gold plated ceiling inside!The cathedral is FREE to visit IF you have bought a ticket to any of the other buildings of the complex (Leaning Tower or Baptistery and Camposanto)


The Arno River, which also flows through the nearby city of Florence, cuts through Pisa and offers an incredibly stunning view. Lugarno are the roads along the banks of the river and this is a wonderful road to stroll along to bring you past some iconic sights in Pisa. Take some time to pop into charming cafes, bars or have a picnic alongside the river.


Piazza dei Cavalieri is a landmark in Pisa, Italy, and the second main square of the city. It was once used to be the heart of the city where everybody would gather around to discuss political/ everyday matters. The square was known as the Square of the seven streets (Piazza delle sette vie).

On the square, you’ll see the beautiful Palazzo della Carovana and the Church of Santo Stefano dei Cavalieri. The Order of the Knights of St. Stephen used the palace as headquarters. Cosimo I de’ Medici, the first Grand Duke of Tuscany, founded this order to fight the pirates in the Mediterranean Sea in the 16th century.


Chiesa di Santa Maria della Spina is a small 14th-century church in a Pisan Gothic style. The church’s name has a special history: ‘spina’ means ‘thorn’ and the church is said to have hosted one of the thorn of Jesus’ crown


Filter Coffee Lab: industrial style cafe with outdoor courtyard. Grab some delicious espresso and pastries in the morning before you start your exploration around Pisa!

I Porci Comodi: offer really awesome appetizer platters with a great local selection of meat, ham, sausages, cheese and bread. A popular spot so be ready for long queue and long waiting time

Il Ristoro della Pe’ : Authentic atmosphere, Italian cuisine food is cooked right in front of you , off the main tourist route

Ristorante Alle Bandierine:  very popular with the locals which is always a good sign! Portion size are quite large, fresh pasta & house wine that will leave you wanting more

L’ Ostellino: a tiny hole in the wall spot away from the tourist traps! Has a wide range of paninis prepared freshly and quickly. Also very reasonably priced!

Pasticceria Cioccorocolato : endless desserts and pastries!

Gelateria De’ Coltelli : Come here for gelato- they offer different flavors everyday and is an award winning place!

Looking for daily content? You can find me on Instagram @sophcation


 When you hear the word Belgium, you think beer, waffles, chocolate, and frites? Well, Belgium is so much more than that. The country is filled with medieval historical sites, festive Christmas spirit, and a relaxed atmosphere in which to enjoy it all. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still dreaming about the scrumptious Begian waffles and frites dipped in curry ketchup. Though the winter time can get pretty chilly (we went during Christmas time), it truly is the most festive and coziest time to visit. The whole country transforms into a real life Hallmark Christmas movie and it feels so surreal. All in all, we spent 5 nights in Belgium-4 nights in Brussels, 1 night in Bruges and we can’t wait for our next trip back to Belgium because there is still so much to see. I think it’s one of the most underrated countries in Europe and I have a feeling more and more people will begin to discover its beauty. I will break down each city so continue down below to dig deeper into Antwerp!


Option 1 , Option 2, Option 3, Option 4, Option 5


My Instagrammable travel series is where I dive straight to the point and list out the most photogenic & memorable spots in each city I visit.


Enchanting, magical, the ultimate photogenic Italian dream. I don’t know about you, but I have been dreaming to see these picturesque villages all my life! These colorful coastal backdrops are all over social media, but did you know they’re actually located in different towns? 

Cinque Terre consists of 5 coastal villages: Corniglia, Manarola, Monterosso, Riomaggiore, & Vernazza. All 5 villages are part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site and there is a train that runs from La Spezia that can drop you off in each town or if you like a challenge, you can spend the day hiking the trail that connects you to all 5 of them. Although each town has similarities, they have personalities of its own that make them stand out. I’ve listed them from the southernmost town to the northernmost town.


Riomaggiore has a cascade of multi colored houses right on the mediteranean sea. We chose to stay in this town because of an INSANE airbnb location we discovered. Book this AIRBNB NOW. There’s no other place to stay- nothing beats it and the pictures don’t do it justice!! The airbnb is a 5 minute walk from the train station, located smack-dab on the port, yet with just enough privacy away from the crowds.

Another location to shoot is down by the rock waves. You can also capture an epic view from the fisherman’s port by walking along some rocks located at the bottom. Rocks do get slippery and waves can get intense so please go with caution. 


Come to this town just so you can dine at Nessun Dorma. Sip on some yummy Aperol Spritz with a view of the picturesque cliffside homes. Make a reservation ahead of time and request for a spot with a view. Another photo spot here is down by the stone pier. Cross the ropes and wander onto the rocks. Please be careful if the tides are high!

Nessun Dorma Address: Localita Punta Bonfiglio, 19017, 19017 Manarola SP, Italy


One of the more quiet villages. The only town that cannot be accessed from the sea because it’s elevated. From the train station, you will have to take 377 steps up a steep stairway just to get to the center of the town… To be completely honest, this town does not really stand out compared to the rest because it’s one of the oldest and there’s not much development… If you’re short on time, I’d suggest skipping this town.


This town is known to be the most photographed village out of all of them. This is the spot where you see the classic #postcardgoals backdrop all over IG. If you are stopping by for a quick day trip to Cinque Terre and have to choose, I would say to choose this instagrammable spot over all the other ones! Take the hike from Vernazza to Monterosso, follow the signs, and within 5-10 minutes into the hike, you’ll see a wired fence to your left with this epic view. Please be safe and do not get too close to the edge.

Follow the blue dots! This is the path we took from the train station to the entrance of the hike! That sharp right off the main road is when you want to start timing the hike to get to the specific spot.


It is the largest town out of the 5 and the only one with a sandy beach where you can lounge. When you’re here, make sure to visit the 14th century Church of San Giovanni Battista. The black and white striped church contrast is stunning and the gothic architecture makes it look like an ancient chic Sephora.

Church of San Giovanni Battista Address: Via Roma, 12, 19016 Monterosso al Mare SP, Italy

I hope this Cinque Terre guide will help shorten your planning process and that you’re able to find these instagrammable spots the next time you visit. If you have any ideas for future blog posts, please leave a comment down below!



Instagrammable Rome

Welcome to my first travel series, where I will dive straight to the point and list out all of my top instagrammable spots in each city I visit. I know, I know, it sounds so cliche/vain and I’m well aware that traveling is NOT not about getting the most perfect shots or creating a false illusion on social media, but I truly enjoy the process and experience of capturing these shots. It’s my passion and the photos are not just for the world to see, but for my memories and keepsake. If you enjoy capturing some killer angles and views, keep on reading!

Disclaimer: Please be respectful. Be polite. Be educated. Be safe. Act with manners. Every city is special, ancient, historical, etc. So please do NOT climb on a monument, dress appropriately, don’t hog a spot if you see a bunch of people waiting to have a turn, don’t ride an elephant (harms the animal/not an industry you should support), trespass into private property, etc. You get the point…?

Ok.. The first city I will tackle is Rome. There’s really no place like Rome… So much historical architecture confined in a small space. Everything within Rome is walking distance, so you’re able to access all these places by foot so I suggest wearing comfy walking shoes and change when you get there.

Below are the spots I visited, in the exact order I did it! Feel free to change/switch up the order depending on how you like to spend your vacation. You can complete all of these places in one morning or split it up between 2 days so you’re not feeling rushed. Because we woke up early and arrived here around 5:30/6am, we were able to capture these shots without anyone in the background during the popular summer season. I suggest spending the early morning capturing the beauty of these places then head back to your hotel/airbnb to rest after lunch to recharge/nap, then head back out late afternoon/night without all the camera equipment.

Spanish Steps (Piazza di Spagna, 00187 Roma RM, Italy)

  • Metro: Spagna (Line A Orange) stop takes you directly here: 3-5 min walking distance from metro to the bottom of the steps
  • No longer allowed to sit/ eat here. The new law states those who don’t follow the rules will be fined 250 Euros/ $280 so be careful! This rule is to preserve the UNESCO heritage site.
  • Scam Alert: You will see people handing out red roses. The moment you take it is when they start asking for money. So don’t reach for the rose. Also, they will shmooze/ smooth talk you and next thing you know they are wrapping a bracelet around your wrist demanding money for it.
  • Tip: Just assertively walk away from the men that approach/follow you with props to avoid these situations
  • Fun Fact: Top of the Spanish Steps is Trinita Dei Monti church (where Lizzie McGuire filmed a scene with Paolo)
  • Surrounded by luxury stores (LV, Gucci, etc) if you like to shop! 

From here, walk to the Trevi (10-15 min walk)

Trevi Fountain (Piazza di Trevi, 00187 Roma RM, Italy)

  • Metro: Barberini (Line A Orange)- Fontana di Trevi stop is 5 minutes from this station
  • Take a photo from 3 different angles- right, center, left. The Trevi Fountain looks unbelievable from every angle
  • Be mindful, this is probably the first location that gets crowded!
  • Toss a coin to make a wish! Every night, the coins are collected (around 3000 Euros) and donated to a charity called Caritas- this charity funds food to feed the homeless 
  • Free entry (literally in the middle of an intersection)
  • Fun Fact: Legend says that if you throw one coin, it ensures a return trip to the Eternal City; two coins are for those seeking love; and three coins symbolize wedding bells 

From here, walk to Pantheon (15-20 min)

Pantheon (Piazza della Rotonda, 00186 Roma RM, Italy)

  • Original Pantheon was built in 27BC, unfortunately burned down and was rebuilt twice after that. The present Pantheon was built in 119A.D
  • By 7am, they start setting up newspaper stands and cafes start bringing out outdoor seating, which could interfere with the photo
  • Free entry: opens at 8:30AM-7:15pm, Sunday 9AM-5:45pm
  • Fun Fact: Queen Margherita is buried in the tomb inside the Pantheon. Her name was the inspiration behind the classic margherita pizza. The royal couple visited Naples in 1889 and a local pizzeria made her a pizza with tomato, mozzarella and basil to symbolize the Italian flag.

From here, walk to Piazza Navona (5 min)

As you walk from Pantheon to Piazza Navona, stop by this corner- you won’t regret it. It was also featured in Lizzie McGuire!
Hidden Gem Address: 61 Piazza dei Caprettari

Piazza Navona (Piazza Navona, 00186 Roma RM, Italy)

  • Open meeting square/plaza with 3 lavish fountain sculptors 
  • Originally built as a stadium for chariot races 
  • Personally, this plaza did not stand out to me. It was a nice and quiet place to sit down and take a break from all the walking

From here, walk to Ponte Sant’ Angelo (10 min)

Ponte Sant’ Angelo (Ponte Sant’Angelo, 00186 Roma RM, Italy)

  • Arc bridge with a view of the castle
  • Take a photo right in the middle of the bridge as if you’re walking towards the castle
  • Throughout the bridge, there are 10 different angel sculptures displayed 
  • Castel Sant’ Angelo has a distinct look to it. Better view from the bridge

From here, head to Vatican City to spend the rest of your day there or loop back to Colosseum/ Roman Forum

Colosseum/ Roman Forum (Piazza del Colosseo, 1, 00184 Roma RM, Italy)

  • Metro: Colosseo Stop (Line B Blue) 
  • The best spot to take a picture of the colosseum is at Via Nicola Salvi- right above the metro station. When you exit the metro station, make a left and you will see steps going up. Follow that path up to the top where you’ll find the perch!
  • Sunset photos here are gorgeous (it makes the colosseum glow)
  • Entrance: If you want to go inside, be mindful you have to make a reservation slot time months in advance. I personally think seeing it from the outside is good enough. Honestly the interior is not as photogenic as the exterior.
  • Roman Forum is located a block away from here. Definitely go check out the views in there! After you enter, head towards the colosseum, all the way past Temple of Venus and Roma. Then you will reach a picture perfect viewpoint of the Colosseum 
  • Roman Forum: Terrace on Palatine Hill overlooks the whole forum

Saint Peter’s Basilica (Vatican City)

Image result for saint peters basilica exterior
  • Metro: Ottaviano- San Pietro (Line A Orange)- few minutes walk to the Basilica/Square
  • No tripods allowed
  • Shoulders and knees MUST be covered to enter. They were pretty strict even in the summer time (90+Fahrenheit/ 100% humidity) I wore a haltered maxi dress from the LC Lauren Conrad collection and they still made me cover my shoulders with a scarf. Bring your own scarf/wrap- they do not provide any to rent

** 1-6: You can complete it all in one morning before people start waking up and starting their day. From here, you can either continue your route towards Vatican city and spend the rest of your day in that area such as the Vatican Museum, etc (which I DO NOT recommend) or you can take the subway/uber/hop on hop off bus back to your hotel/airbnb to relax.

Please leave a comment below and tell me which is your favorite instagrammable spot in Rome or if there’s any hidden gems that I missed!

With Love,