24 hours in BANGKOK

(Updated December 2019)

After my stopover in Bangkok on the way back from my travels through Cambodia, I’m now ready to share my best tips in this brand-new “24 hours in…”-post. As usual, it’s meant for just a layover or a very short break on a trip through Thailand.

Wat Phra Keo that can be easily visited during 24 hours in Bangkok
Bangkok’s most important sight Wat Phra Keo, part of the Royal Palace, is a must-see – whether rain or shine.

Of course, in 24 hours you’ll see just a fraction of all the attractions this bustling mega-city has to offer. So if you’re staying longer or want to try out more, check out the Bangkok-section in my Thailand-post.

this way to read the whole story >>>

24 hours in AMSTERDAM

(Update March 2020)

This category 24 hours in… is designated to transform a – maybe forced – stay like a layover into a short extra-vacation. You’ll see that my itinerary is so attractive and fun that you might postpone your connecting flight just to enjoy 24 hours in Amsterdam.

Boat on a Gracht in Amsterdam
Life takes place on the waters in Amsterdam – located about 40 centimeters below sea level.

And if you’re not on a layover at the capital of the Netherlands – well, you also can come visiting on purpose; even if it’s only for…24 hours!

this way to read the whole story >>>

24 hours in MIAMI

I know it must sound totally out of line putting together an itinerary for only 24 hours for a city as big’n’busy as Miami.

Palmtree on South Beach Miami, a spot to be visited during 24 hours in Miami
Welcome to Miami – bienvenidos en Miami.

The fact is that Miami is a pivot point when it comes to travelling to Central and South America as well as the Caribbean Islands. Therefore, chances are that you have to spend a couple of hours or even one night her.

This is where my guide – for a sunny and for a rainy day – comes into the picture.

this way to read the whole story >>>

24 hours in DUSSELDORF

It was not really surprising that on my way to Japan, I had a stopover in Düsseldorf. After all, it’s Germany’s third-largest airport – after Frankfurt and Munich. Also, Düsseldorf has the largest Japanese community in all of Germany.

The Greek god Triton at the northern end of the city moat in Dusseldorf.
The Greek god Triton at the northern end of the city moat. The sculpture was made in 1902 by Friedrich Coubillier.

The international airport is located only about 9 kilometers respectively 6 miles from the city center, so that it can be easily reached by public transport.

this way to read the whole story >>>

24 hours in MUNICH

(Updated January 2020)

Munich, capital of the federal state of Bavaria, stands, of course, for the famous beer and the Oktoberfest and is practically the epitome of Germany.

Marienplatz in Munich. A must see during 24 hours in Munich.
Mary overlooking the Marienplatz from her column. In the backdrop Munich’s most iconic symbol, the Frauenkirche, Church of Our Lady – it cannot get more Bavarian.
(Photo: Nicknicknick97, München Marienplatz , CC BY-SA 4.0

Since Munich also has Germany’s second-largest airport – after Frankfurt – chances are that you have a stopover here.

However, this guide comes also handy on another occasion when you stay for 24 hours in Munich.

this way to read the whole story >>>

24 hours in…VIENNA

On my last flight to Vienna, I was surprised how many passengers were on their way to farther destinations, i.e. in Austria’s capital only on a layover. Therefore, after having already published an extended article on my stay, I put together my best tips in this “24 hours in…”-post.

Majestic Vienna: At the Imperial Apartments of the “Albertina”

As usual, it’s meant as an itinerary for just a layover or a short stop on a road-trip through Europe: Austria has eight(!) neighboring countries*!

If you have more time to enjoy Vienna, don’t miss my recent post!

?   Local Currency:

Euro (EUR) / 1 EUR = 1,14 US$ (November 2018) / current rate



?    Emergency Hotline:

Police: 133

Ambulance: 144

 

?    National Airline:

Austrian Airlines

 

?    Airport:

Vienna International Airport, IATA Code: VIA

 

?    Tourist Info online and onsite:

The official Vienna Website is excellent and very informative.

At the airport are dispenser with free maps – albeit only showing the very center.

You get information and help either right away at the airport

Tourist Info Vienna Airport 
at the arrival hall
Open daily from 7 a. m. to 10 p. m.

or at the info point downtown

Tourist-Info Vienna
Albertinaplatz/Maysedergasse
1010 Vienna
Open daily from 7 a. m. to 7 p. m.

Furthermore, all the hotels can supply you with info material, tourist cards and more.

 

?    Getting Downtown and Back

 

Taking the streetcar is the fastest and cheapest way to visit Vienna. (@ WienTourismus/Peter Rigaud)
Taking the streetcar is the fastest and cheapest way to visit Vienna.
(@ WienTourismus/Peter Rigaud)

To get from the airport to the city center, your best option is to take the S7 (‘S-Bahn’) towards Floridsdorf and get off at Landstraße/Mitte. This train takes only about two minutes longer than the CAT (City Airport Train)  and costs a fraction: If you just buy one way, it’s 3,90 €uro. If you get a 24 hours ticket – for 7,60 €uro highly recommendable since a single ride costs 2,20 €uro – you only have to pay an additional 1,70  €uro for the trip from the airport – while the CAT costs 12 €uro (and the shuttle bus 8 €uro).

There are so many different tickets and options – you might want to check for yourself. There even is a Queer City Pass and although I did some research online, I don’t get what’s the difference and what makes it queer; if you get, give me a hint, please.

 

?    Morning Activities

Inside Saint Steven’s Cathedral
(©Wien Tourismus/Daniela Stallinger)

Even on a sunny day a visit to the Stephansdom, Saint Steven’s Cathedral is Vienna’s most important landmark and within walking distance from the hotel resp. the Schwedenplatz. Built in the early 12th century, it is the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Vienna and the seat of Vienna’s Archbishop. It has four towers, the highest, southern tower is 136 meters / 446 feet high. There are 343 steps to be climbed to get to the tower chamber from where you have an incredible view of Vienna. Besides precious altars and chapels, there are also the treasury and the catacombs to be visited.

Domkirche St. Stephan
Stephansplatz 3
1010 Vienna
Phone: + 43 – 1 – 515 52 3054
Open daily from 6 a. m. to 10 p. m. (Sunday from 7 a. m.)

 

 

At Christmas time there even is an
entire Manner streetcar!
(Photo: © Manner)

You’ll probably will enjoy strolling a little around the Stephansplatz, watching some street artists performing, listening to the hoofs of the horses pulling the ancient carriages and stock up on traditional wafers and other delicious sweets at Manner.

Manner Flagship-Store
Stephansplatz 7
1010 Vienna
Phone: + 43 – 1 – 513 70 18
Open daily from 10 a. m. to 9 p. m.

 

01589-Pestsäule Barockengel, Am Graben©WienTourismus-MAXUM
This little golden Cherub on top of the baroque
plague column is watching over Vienna’s shoppers.
(Photo: ©WienTourismus/MAXUM)

Still in the mood to saunter? You’re at the perfect location: The Stephansdom is facing the Graben, Vienna’s most important, pedestrian shopping street with the flashy plague column in its center.

Although most of the stores and cafés are more or less like stores and cafés in any other city center, I’d like to point out – believe it or not – H&M: In 2004, this chain opened its 50st store in Vienna and chose the beautiful building of the former ritzy department store Braun & Co.

Even though you are at H&M, in the antique furnishing and decoration you’ll feel like shopping at a posh boutique.
Don’t miss out on a ride with the ancient wooden elevator!

H&M
Spiegelgasse 1
1010 Vienna
Phone: + 43 – 810 – 90 90 90

 

Vienna's elegant promenade is called "Graben" - which means trench. Well, sometimes shopping can be war. (Photo: ©WienTourismus/Christian Stemper)
Vienna’s elegant promenade is called “Graben” –
which means trench. Well, sometimes shopping can be war.
(Photo: ©WienTourismus/Christian Stemper)

Walking down the Graben away from the Stephansdom, you’ll reach another Viennese institution, the coffee roaster and deli Meinl am Graben. Here you’ll find all sorts of wonderful Austrian delicacies – i. a. of course Meinl’s famous coffees – to sample on the spot or take with you home. This is also a good place for a short break. Get a light snack on Meinl’s terrace while you watch people.

Meinl am Graben
Graben 19
1010 Vienna
Phone: +43 – 1 – 532 33 34
Open weekdays from 8 a. m. to 7.30 p. m. and Saturday vom 9 a. m. to 6 p. m.

 HeldenplatzFotograf © WienTourismus-Christian Stemper
The Heldenplatz, the hero’s square, was not
always a place for the better men.
(Photo: © WienTourismus/Christian Stemper)

Ready to go on? Walking up the Habsburgergasse, you’ll get to the Hofburg, the Royal Castle, that today is the Austrian President’s official seat.

Admiring the magnificent architecture, cross the Hofburg to the huge Heldenplatz, the hero’s square, with the equestrian statue of Prince Eugen.

At the Burgring, turn left and walk a couple of minutes to the gate that opens to the Burggarten, the castle garden with the prominent Mozart statue.

50133-Im Burggarten@ WienTourismus-Peter Rigaud
The Burggarten is a great place to chill –
and the Palmenhaus in the backdrop a great place to eat.
(Photo: ©Wien Tourismus/Peter Rigaud)

The Burggarten with its huge trees and the little lake is a perfect place to just hang out a bit on a hot day. If you get thirsty, there’s the Palmenhaus serving light snacks or hearty Austrian food. It’s located next to the Hofburg, so it’s not exactly cheap, but it’s really beautiful and if you’re not on a budget, absolutely worth the visit.

Palmenhaus
Burggarten 1
1010 Vienna
Phone: + 43 – 1 – 533 10 33
Open weekdays 10 a. m. till midnight, Saturday 9 a. m. till midnight and Sunday 10 a. m. till 11 p. m.

Bitzinger's sausages with all the fixings. (©Wien Tourismus/Peter Rigaud)
Bitzinger’s sausages with all the fixings.
(©Wien Tourismus/Peter Rigaud)

Don’t worry, even if you’re not up for a fancy lunch, you won’t spend the day hungry: Leave the Burggarten on the right side of the Palmenhaus and you find yourself at the Albertinaplatz. Here is Vienna’s most famous sausage stand, Bitzinger Würstelstand.

Bitzinger Würstelstand Albertina
Phone: + 43 – 660 815 24 13
Email: wurst@bitzinger.at

⛈    Morning Activities

Of course, every place looks much nicer in bright sunlight, but if there’s a city ready for liquid sunshine than it’s Vienna with its many, many exhibitions of world-famous paintings and sculptures, but also rather unusual museums like e. g. the Museum of Heating, the Third Man Museum or the Museum of Contraception and Abortion.

Vienna’s public transportation is excellent and if you stay at the recommended hotel or at another one in that neighborhood, you’re centrally hence perfectly located.
Since in the rain you cannot explore Vienna itself, let’s do the next best thing: Explore Vienna’s culture and all the quirky stories around it.

 

The breathtaking architecture of the Upper Belvedere.
(Photo:© WienTourismus/Christian Stemper)

One of the best places is the Belvedere, which consists of the ‘Lower Belvedere’, the garden palace, built around 1714 for Prince Eugen, and the ‘Upper Belvedere’, which was added a couple of years later (from 1720 on) and is even more luxurious. Both are connected by a manicured garden. While the Lower Belvedere houses temporary exhibitions, the permanent collection at the Upper Belvedere is indisputably a must-see since it shows some of the most important works of mainly Austrian painters like the masterpieces by Gustav Klimt and Egon Schiele.

Catch the streetcar #2 towards Dornbach at Schwedenplatz and go to Schwarzenbergplatz where you can take a quick look at the Soviet War Memorial. If it’s not raining too hard, you can enter the Belvedere complex here and walk through the garden to its upper building. If that’s not an option, you can also change at Schwarzenbergplatz to streetcar #D towards Alfred-Adler-Strasse and get off at the Schloss Belvedere stop right next to the gallery.

Österreichische Galerie Belvedere 
Prinz Eugen-Straße 27
1030 Vienna
Phone: + 43 – 1 – 795 57 – 0
Email: info@belvedere.at
Open daily from 9 a. m. till 6 p. m. (Friday till 9 p. m.)

The good thing about bad weather is, it’s a great excuse to take the tram instead of walking – like you do now back at the Schloss Belvedere stop: #D towards Nussdorf will take you in ten minutes to the stop Burgring, located between the Hofburg, the Royal Castle, and two magnificent buildings housing the Natural History Museum to the left and the Art History Museum to the right; and between them is sitting monarch Maria Theresia.

 

Pieter Bruegel's 'Tower of Babel' - certainly one of world's most famous paintings. (©Wien Tourismus/Peter Rigaud)
Pieter Bruegel’s ‘Tower of Babel’ –
certainly one of the world’s most famous paintings.
(©Wien Tourismus/Peter Rigaud)

Your destination should be the Art History Museum, which houses an incredibly rich collection from any art epoch and every region: the Cranachs, Raffael and Tizian, Caravaggio’s ‘Madonna of the Rosary’ – and of course the masterpieces by the Bruegels like the ‘Tower of Babel’. Besides the paintings, they also show art from Egypt as well as Greek and Roman statues, a coin collection and much more.

Kunsthistorisches Museum
Burgring 5
1010 Vienna
Phone: + 43 – 1 – 525 24- 0
Email: info@khm.at

 

?     Lunch

Your lunch options on a sunny day are a couple of snack stops along the way described in the morning itinerary.

What would be Vienna without a Schnitzel?!
To the right a pot roast with a dumpling.
These are of course two separate meals…

On a rainy day, you’ll probably won’t be up for a quick bite on your way, but will enjoy a hearty hot meal at a cozy restaurant, so it’s good that you’re just a five minutes walk away from a typical Beils, a pub, serving authentic Austrian food.

Cross the Museumsquartier west of the Kunsthistorisches Museum (were our first afternoon stop will be, anyway) and you’re practically there.

Glacis Beisl
Breite Gasse 4
1070 Vienna
Phone: + 43 – 1 – 526 56 60
Open daily from 11 a. p. to 2 a. m. (Sunday to 1 a. m.)

 

?    Afternoon Activities

It’s possible to walk from the Bitzinger sausage stand to the Belvedere; but it’s not exactly close by. If you choose to walk, go down the Walfischgasse and turn right into Schwarzenbergstraße. Continue till you get to the Soviet War Memorial – you cannot miss it. The Belvedere complex begins right behind this very socialist piece of art. If you prefer not to walk, just take either tram #1 (towards Prater) or tram #2 (towards Friedrich-Engels-Platz) at Opernring/Karlsplatz and get off at Schwarzenbergplatz.
Designed for walking solemnly, not for pacing:
The Belvedere Garden.
(Photo: © WienTourismus/Christian Stemper)

Like I explained in the itinerary for a rainy day above, the Belvedere consists of two main buildings that are connected by a very elegant park with fountains and statues. You can just stroll along the gravel paths, rest on the many park benches and be enchanted by the beauty and majesty of the place.

If you choose to visit the buildings, that today house museums, please check the rainy weather part above for details.

 

He’s golden – that’s how much Vienna
honors the ‘King of the Valse’
Johann Strauß
(©Wien Tourismus/Willfried Gredler-Oxenbauer)

Right next to the Belvedere is another elegant yet cool park that’s worth a visit, the Stadtpark, the city park. Besides its shady paths and lush trees, there are many romantic statues of Vienna’s great artists – the most famous among them is the Johann Strauß statue, made by Franz Metzner and Edmund von Hellmer in the symbolist style of the Vienna Secession.

 

⛈    Afternoon Activities

The Leopold Museum is not only worth the visit for the art,
it also opens to Vienna’s most beautiful views.

The Glacis Beisl is three minutes from the next great museum focusing mainly on Austrian art from the turn of the last century – a truly exciting era with many ingenious, daring artists such as Egon Schiele, Gustav Klimt, Oskar Kokoschka, Albin Egger-Lienz, Anton Kolig, Richard Gerstl, and many others. Since not only the paintings of these gentlemen are colorful, but also their lives, it’s worth it to get an audio guide telling you about their shenanigans.

Leopold Museum 
Museumsplatz 1
1070 Vienna
Phone: + 43 – 1 – 525 70
Email: office@leopoldmuseum.org
Open from Wednesday to Monday from 10 a. m. to 6 p. m. (Thursday to 9 p. m.)

The Michaelertor, the Michaeler gate - entrance to the palatial Hofburg complex. (Photo: ©Wien Tourismus MAXUM)
The Michaelertor, the Michaeler gate –
entrance to the palatial Hofburg complex.
(Photo: ©Wien Tourismus MAXUM)

No Vienna-sojourn is complete without a visit of the Hofburg,
the Royal Castle, that was the Habsburg’s residence between the 13th century till the end of WWI in 1918. After WWII in 1945, it became the Austrian President’s official seat. Besides the official apartments, the Hofburg houses Austria’s National Library and a couple of museums like the Sisi-museum, focusing on the beloved Empress, the ancient State Apartments and the Silver Chamber.

Hofburg
Michaelerkuppel
1010 Vienna
Phone: + 43 – 1-  533 75 70
Email: info@hofburg-wien.at
Open daily from 9 a. m. to 5.30 p. m. (in July and August till 6 p. m.)

?    Dinner

Tafelspitz, beef in its broth, one of Austria’s delicacies.
Nope, Austrian cuisine is not very light.

If after all the snacks or hearty lunches you’re still hungry, there’s one of Vienna’s most rustic and traditional restaurants just a few steps from your hotel.
If you are coming – on a sunny day – from the Stadtpark, you can actually walk there along the Bäckerstraße from which the Sonnenfeldgasse deviates.
Coming on a rainy day from the Hofburg, you walk back to the tram stop Burgring and take either #1 (towards Prater) or #2 (towards Friedrich-Engels-Platz) back to Schwedenplatz.

Zwölf-Apostelkeller
Sonnenfelsgasse 3
1010 Vienna
Phone: + 43 – 1 – 512 67 77
Email: office@zwoelf-apostelkeller.at

 

?   Nightcap

41028-© WienTourismus-Christian Stemper - motto
Sundowner on the river front: Motto am Fluss
(Photo: © WienTourismus/Christian Stemper)

Vienna might be historical and traditional, but it’s of course also trendy and hip and there are many clubs and bars.

The Motto am Fluss is a pleasant place for a nightcap – especially since it gives you the opportunity to say Good Night to the city: It’s located on the bank of river Danube and there is a fantastic view over Vienna.

Motto am Fluss Cafe
Franz Josefs Kai 2
1010 Vienna
Phone: + 43 – 1 – 252 55 11
Open daily 8 a. m. till midnight

?    Accomodation

Even if you have a very early flight, it’s not necessary to stay at an airport hotel: A trip from downtown Vienna to Schwechat, where the airport is located, takes 45 minutes max – and you have the a. m. four options to get there. Only if you intend to take the S7-train you might have to adjust your schedule since these trains are running only every 30 minutes.
A walk from your hotel to the train station Mitte should take about 10 to 15 minutes.

 

Ruby Lissi Hotel & Bar 
Fleischmarkt 19 / Laurenzerberg 2
1010 Vienna
Phone: + 49 – 89 – 12 50 95 210 (note: this is a Germany phone-no at their central office in Munich)
Email: info@ruby-hotels.com

 

Need more ideas and inspiration for Vienna? 

Check out this post.

Need assistance planning this or other trips? Check my service pages

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And as always I’m happy to answer all your questions and share further information. To get in touch, please follow my blog (check also facebook and twitter) and send me a message, I’ll get back to you as soon as possible.


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* In case you’re curious: Austria adjoins to Germany, Italy, Liechtenstein, Switzerland, Slovakia, Slovenia, Czech Republic, and Hungary.

 

 

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24 hours in…MILAN

After my stopover in Milan on the occasion of my trip to Venice for the 57th Biennale, I’m now ready to share my best bits of advice in this brand-new “24 hours in…”-post. As usual, writing it I had a layover in mind or a short break on a road trip down South. If you’re staying longer or want to try out more, check out my recent post on an entire weekend in this North Italian city of art and fashion and get inspiration and information.

View of the cathedral from the museo del novecento
Here you can kill two birds with one stone (actually that’s a quite disturbing idiom): Best view at the Duomo, Milan’s cathedral, from the Museo Novecento (the spiral on the ceiling is by Lucio Fontana, just so you know)

 

Of course you won’t be able to see all that there is in only 24 hours. But since Milan has much less touristy sights to offer than most other Italian cities, a day will definitely allow you to see the major part of the city’s touristy sights; unless you lose yourself somewhere between the posh designer stores….

?   Local Currency:

Euro (EUR) / 1 EUR = 1.17 US$ (October2017) / current rate



?    Emergency Hotline:

Carabinieri (Police) 112

Fire Department 115

?    National Airline:

Alitalia

?    Airports:

Malpensa Airport, IATA Code: MXP

Linate Airport, IATA Code: LIN

 

?    Tourist Info online and onsite:

TurismoMilano
Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II  (corner piazza della Scala)
Phone: + 39 – 02 – 88 45 55 55

Opening times: Monday to Friday 9 a. m. to 7 p. m., Saturday 9 a. m. to 6 p. m., Sunday and holidays  10 a. m. to 6 p. m.

Following either of the itineraries, you should consider getting a Museum Card. It’s good for three days which you probably don’t need, but it costs only 12 €uro which you already pay for a visit to the museums at the Castello.

?    Getting Downtown and Back

No matter what people say about Italy, I’ve been there so often and I really like their public transport system that brings you to almost everywhere at a reasonably price.

The joy starts with the airport shuttles: From Malpensa airport there are two options – you either take a bus (a little slower (traffic!) and a little cheaper, i. e. 8 €uro one way and 14 €uro round trip – there is a little booth with a very unfriendly man right at the arrival door) or the train (a faster and a little more expensive, i. e. 13 €uro one way, 20 €uro round trip within 30 days – to be booked online if you want this price).

From Linate airport you have to take a coach, there is no train connection.
There is also a bus connecting both airports. So getting to the city center and back is really a piece of cake.

Tram in Milan
My favorite means of public transportation are the old trams.
Unfortunately they cover only a small part of the city.

Note: If you want to follow the sunny day itinerary, you better go to Cadorna station (only possible by train from Malpensa) instead of Milano Centrale. There you can leave your luggage at the ‘Deposito Bagagli’, the luggage deposit, and head straight to the fun.

Public transport in Milan costs 1,50 €uro one trip, if you buy a card with ten rides on it, you pay 13,80 €uro, but honestly I don’t think that you will use them – at least not on a sunny day.

 

?    Morning Activities

Parco Sempione
View of the Castello Sforzesco from the Parco Sempione.

Milan is a relatively green metropolis – compared to other Italian cities – so you could spend a sunny day just strolling through one of the many parks. But then of course you’d miss out on a lot, so let’s level it out; which is easy since the largest and most beautiful park, the Parco Sempione, is adjacent to the Castello Sforzesco.

If you arrive at Cadorna station (like I suggested above), you just walk down Via Marco Minghetti to the castle – five minutes. If you’re coming from Centrale, take Metro M2 to Cadorna (5 stops).

The castle was built from 1450 by Francesco I. Sforza on the remnants of the destroyed Visconti family’s castle. Over the centuries many architects – i. a. Leonardo da Vinci and Bramante – have built and altered it. The former systems of bastions was transformed and is today part of the park.

Pietà Rondanini
This Pietà is rather interesting than
beautiful, I give you that.

Besides admiring the old structures, you should absolutely visit the Museo Pietà Rondanini located to the left as you enter from Via Marco Minghetti. The Pietà Rondanini is a marble statue by Michelangelo depicting Mary and Jesus taken from the cross. Although many of Michelangelo’s sculptures remained unfinished, this one is special since it was his very last work.

Museo Pietà Rondanini
Castello Sforzesco
Piazza Castello
20121 Milano
Phone: + 39 – 02 – 88 46 37 03

Inside the castle are two other museum complexes, the collection of ancient art including many archeological treasures as well as paintings and sculptures.

Civiche Raccolte d’Arte Antica 
Phone: + 39 – 02 – 88 46 37 34

A large variety of antique instruments is to be seen at the

Museo dei Strumenti musicali 
Phone: + 39 – 02 – 88 46 37 03

All the museums at the Castello are open Tuesday to Sunday 9 a. m. to 5.30 p. m.

If you intend to visit these three museums, you should consider the museum card (which i. a. grants you also access to Milan’s aquarium mentioned below).

 

Scultura di sedie Parco Sempione
My favorite spot at the Parco is this mini-colosseo.

Once you walk through the backgate into the park, you can buy a gelato and stroll along the trails in the shade of the majestic trees, sit on one of the benches or just on the thick and soft meadows.
If you get bored, there is more to see like for instance the Acquario Civico di Milano, Milan’s aquarium, or the Palazzina Appiani, a small neoclassic villa by Luigi Canonica which was used as a podium for the French royal family during games and events.

If you wanna find out, how the French royals watched the game – the villa can be visited.

I know that especially in the US Italians have a reputation…for having a thing for food. You’ll appreciate it as it now comes to lunch. Walk back to the castle and get to the other side, take a selfie at the Fontana di Piazza Castello, the castle’s square, and then continue down Via Luca Beltrami to the traffic circle Cairoli. On the opposite side of the circle begins Via Menfredo Camperio, and that’s the first step to your special lunch.

⛈    Morning Activities

Although Milan does not overwhelm its visitor with statues and facades and museums like Rome, Florence or Venice, there a some visitable venues; whereby the really great art here is rather modern to contemporary.However, two of my favorite galleries are not far from the station Palestro (M1 – when at Cadorna, just take the metro towards Sesto 1 Maggio, coming from Centrale, you take M2 to Loreto and change there into M1 towards Bisceglie) and right next to each other. That makes them the perfect spot for a rainy morning.

GAM Milano
The ceremonial hall with Alessandro Puttinati’s
sculpture of Paolo e Francesca

The GAM – Gallery of Modern Art, which are approximately the years from 1800 to 1900, is housed in a neo-classicist villa, built at the end of the 18th century as Count Ludovico Barbiano di Belgiojoso’s home. Besides the wonderful symbolism paintings by Giovanni Segantini and the post-impressionism, realism paintings by Angelo Morbelli and late neoclassicism sculptures another very interesting part are the ancient decorations and furniture of the majestic rooms and halls.

Galleria D’Arte Moderna di Milano
Via Palestro 16
20121 Milano
Phone: + 39 – 02 – 88 44 59 43
E-mail: c.gam@comune.milano.it

Open from Tuesday to Sunday from 9 a. m. to 5.30 p. m.

PAC Milano
From the PAC’s exhibition “Africa. Raccontare un mondo/
Africa. Telling a World”: Barthélémy Toguo Road to Exile

The PAC – Gallery of Contemporary Art, which does not show any permanent collection, but invites the public to see outstanding contemporary pieces from all over the world, is the GAM’s modest neighbor: It’s housed in the former stables and the space is much smaller. However, the art isn’t: Every exhibition I’ve seen here got me all enthusiastic!

Padiglione d’Arte Contemporanea (PAC)
Via Palestro 14
20122 Milano
Phone: + 39 – 02 – 88 44 63 59

Open Tuesday to Sunday from 9.30 a. m. to 7.30 p. m. (Tuesday and Thursday to 10.30 p. m.)

By the way – if the rain stops for a while, you are also in the perfect spot to enjoy one of Milan’s many parks: The Giardini Pubblici Indro Montanelli are just across the Via Palestro, and although this public garden as significantly smaller than the Parco Sempione, it’s just as beautiful and ‘entertaining’.

Hungry for lunch yet? Although on a nice day you could walk the 2,5 km / 1.5 miles to the restaurant, you might not wanna do it in the rain. No problem, hop on the M1 at Palestro (towards Bisceglie) and get off at Cairoli. Via Manfredo Camperio, where the restaurant is located, starts just at the Cairoli traffic circle.

?     Lunch

Riso e latte on bye:myself
Benvenuti nella casa della nonna : At Riso e latte you’ll
feel at your Italian grandma’s house
(even if you’ve never had one)

Of course you can get a slice of pizza or a piece of focaccia at every corner. But if you want to combine typical Italian food with a really fun environment, make reservation at the “Riso e latte” (rice and milk), a tiny family style restaurant decorated in the fashion of the 1960s.

Riso e latte 
Via Manfredo Camperio 6
20123 Milano
Phone: + 39 – 02 – 398 310 40
Email: ristorante@risoelatte.it



They are open every day, but Mediterranean style, i. e. for lunch from 12.30 p. m. to 2 p. m. and fro dinner from 7.30 p. m. to 10.30 p. m.

Reservation is highly recommended.

?    Afternoon Activities

Via dei Mercanti MIlano
Palazzo dei Giureconsulti on the Via dei
Mercanti to the left – and straight ahead
you can already spot the Duomo.

Riso e latte is not only a great place, it’s also very conveniently located between the castello and the must-see Duomo and adjacent Galleria Vittoria Emmanuele in the very heart of Milan. To get there, make sure to turn into Via dei Mercanti once you get to Piazza Cordusio. This street is smaller than the Via Orefici, one of Milan’s main shopping streets, but much more picturesque and ‘Italian’. It leads you straight to the Piazza del Duomo where you can see Vittorio Emanuele II on his high horse; and he doesn’t get off it…

View from the Duomo
View from the Duomo’s roof.

Since lines can be very long, I strongly recommend to make online reservation, otherwise you risk to spend too much of your precious time in Milan in a queue. There are different parts that you can visit and various packages, so you better consult their website.

Duomo Info Point 
Piazza Duomo 14/a
20122 Milano
Phone: + 39 – 02 – 72 02 33 75
Email: info@duomomilano.it

The Info Point is open daily from 9.30 a. m. to 5.30 p. m.

The Duomo is open daily, but the individual parts have different opening hours, so check out what you want to see and which package is suitable for you.

Galleria Vittorio Emanuele
Galleria Vittorio Emanuele

Honestly, since everybody makes such a fuss about the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele, I don’t like it. Yes, it is very posh and elegant, but it’s also full tu the brim with tourists; and exclusively tourists, no Milanese would go shopping or take selfies at the Galleria. But suite yourself, it’s certainly an important sight and to be found in each and every guide book on Milan.

Built in 1864, the building is lavishly decorated in marble, with stucco and frescos, covered by a posh glass roof which highest point reaches 47 meters / 154 feet. It’s obvious that this construction is a celebration of the declaration of the Italian state in 1859.

The Galleria is accessible every day from 9 a. m. to 11 p. m.

After the über-touristy part of the itinerary let’s get to the fresh, young and hip part of town, the neighborhood around Porta Genova South of the center.

⛈    Afternoon Activities

I admit that the afternoon activities do not differ that much from those on a sunny day. That’s because even on a sunny day, you have to see the Duomo; otherwise it’s like visiting Paris without…you know what.
Only that on a rainy day you probable do not want to walk from the lunch place to the Piazza. You don’t have to: M1 stops at Cairoli circle and takes you straight to Duomo station (2 stops towards Sesto 1 Maggio).
MIlan's Duomo inside
Inside the Duomo, Milan’s iconic cathedral

Visiting the cathedral on a rainy day, you’ll probably miss the opportunity to climb around on their roof. Never mind, you get a good view of the Duomo and its surroundings from an neighboring building that houses another great museum, too, it’s the Museo del Novecento which shows art from the last century (it’s very confusing in Italian that they don’t number the centuries as we do: for us the past century is the 20st, for Italians it’s the (1)900st).

Museo Novecento Milan
The Spatial Ceiling was created by Luciano Fontana
for the dining room of the Hotel del Golfo
on Procchio (Elba) in 1956.

The museum has an interesting permanent exhibition of all the famous Italian futurists and constructivists, but they also organize inspiring special exhibitions. Already the building itself is very intriguing since they basically pulled a modern glass construction over the old structures so these are still visible – and the view from the museum towards the cathedral, the piazza and the adjacent streets is priceless.

900 Museo del Novecento 
Via Marconi 1
Milano
Phone: +39 – 02 -88 44 40 61
Email: c.museo900@comune.milano.it

?    Dinner

You’re in Italy, you have to have a pizza at least once a day and “I Capatosta” does not only make some of the best pizza in town, it is also ideally located in the currently hippest district of town, in the area around the Navigli. The Navigli (singular Naviglio) were waterways to facilitate the transportation of goods to and through the city; practically like the Grachten in Amsterdam or the Fleete at Hamburg. Today this area full of shops, bars and restaurants – partly on the water – attract mosquitos and crowds of nighthawks alike.

To get from the centre to the restaurant, take the M1 at Duomo and go back to Cadorna where you change trains and continue on the M2 to Porta Genova.

Pizzeria I Capatosta
Alzaia Naviglio Grande 56
20144 Milano
Phone: + 39 – 02 – 89 41 59 10

Open daily for lunch from noon to 2.30 p. m. (weekends till 3 p. m.)and for dinner fom 7 p. m. till midnight.

?   Nightcap

Navigli MIlano
Very determined shopping advice at the Navigli
neighborhood.

You’re already in the best neighborhood for food and drinks and joy and fun – just cross the Ponte di Ferro, the iron bridge and turn right. Walk along the Naviglio for less than three minutes before you turn left into Via Angelo Fumagalli and on the left side you’ll see Rita’s bar.

Rita
Via Angelo Fumagalli 1
20143 Milano
Phone: + 39 – 02 – 837 28 65

Rita’s bar is open daily from 7.30 p. m. (aperitivo!) till 2 a. m.

To get back to your accommodation  at Milano Centrale, walk back towards the pizzeria and continue on Via Casale to the end. There you turn right into Via Valenza that takes you to the metrostation Porta Genova. The train M2 towards Cascina Gobba takes you straight to the main station Centrale.

?    Accomodation

Especially if you are on a layover and need to get back to the airport in the early morning, staying close to either Milano Centrale station (or Cadorna) is the best option, and the Marconi Hotel is a pleasant place at a reasonable price and a less than 10 minutes walk from the mail station (where also the airport bus station is located).Marconi Hotel 
Via Fabio Filzi 3
20124 Milan
Phone: + 39 – 02 – 66 98 55 61
Email: info@marconihotel.it

Need more ideas for what to do in Milan? Check my recent post – also on a visit to Leonardo da Vinci’s famous Cenacolo = 15 minutes staring.

Note: If you have a couple of days in Milan – or if you don’t want to see the city center at all – you can easily go to one of the lakes North of Milan like Lago di Como (my favorite) or Lago di Garda (everybody else’s favorite). Since the train ride takes about an hour and you don’t even have to go do downtown to take it, but can hop on right at Malpensa, it’s a great alternative, especially during the hot summer months.

Need assistance planning this or other trips? Check my service pages

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24 hours in…LISBON

(Last Update Mai 2019)

Yet here comes another issue of my “24 hours in…” category – this time we are spending a day in Lisbon. If you are going e. g. to Cape Verde, chances are that you have to fly TAP, according to my experience a pretty flighty – no pun intended – airline. Hence you better be prepared for a stopover in Lisbon.

I’ve started this series because flying at cheap prices often requires longer stopovers in different cities, and instead of thinking of this involuntary stay as a drag, you can transform it into a short extra-vacation. Of course these itineraries – one for a sunny and an alternative for a rainy day – are great not only for layovers but for any kind of a brief stay, e. g. when you’re on your way to one of Portugal’s fantastic beaches or on a road trip through Europe.

 

View from the top of Arco da Rua Augusta on the Praça do Comércio.

 

Like almost any other city Lisbon has far more to offer than you can squeeze in 24 hours, hence, of course, these itineraries are always just a ‘filler’ – although a pleasant and quite complete one.

I was keen to find as many sights as possible located in one spot so that you don’t have to travel crisscross town, and the hotel is right next to Rossio station where a shuttle bus and the metro connects the city with the airport.

?  Local Currency:

 

Euro (EUR) / 1 EUR = 1.12 US$ (May 2019) / current rate

 

?    Emergency Hotline:

Police 112
(At this number you also reach a service center that can redirect you to other help centers)

 

?    National Airline:

TAP Portugal

 

?    Airports:

Lisbon Airport / IATA-Code: LIS

 

?    Tourist Info online and onsite:

Turismo de Lisboa Visitors & Convention Bureau
Rua do Arsenal, 21
1100-038 Lisboa
Phone: + 351 – 210 – 312 700
Email: atl@visitlisboa.com 

 

?    Getting Downtown and Back

I am a frequent traveller, therefore I do hang out at different airports a lot, and the airport of Lisbon is among my favorites. It’s comfortable, there is a lot to see and to do – and if you still get bored, you can access the city center easily: Just take Aerobus Line 1 straight to Rossio station. If you don’t stay the night, you can buy a ticket for € 3,60 which is good for 24 hours, but only on the Aerobus, not on other transport like buses or the metro. If you stay overnight and want to follow my itinerary, you better get the Via Viagem for € 6,15. Then you can take the metro from the airport to Alameda station and change to the green line down to Rossio station.

Once you’re in the center, it’s still very easy to get around: The cheapest way is to get a Lisboa Card for 24 hours for 20 € (Yeyii – finally a city where you can get a tourist card for only 24 hours. But if you are staying longer, it’s also available for 48 hours for 34 € and for 72 hours for only € 42). With this card, you can use all public transport for free and you have free or discounted access to many museums and landmarks. It’s definitely worth it if you are following the rainy day itinerary. If you need just a ticket because you won’t go to so many museums, the Via Viagem card (see above) is your best option. For 24 hours of unlimited rides on public transport – airport included – you pay only € 6,40.

 

?    Morning Activities

 

I think Lisbon likes its visitors and wants them to feel comfortable – what other reason could there be for the super-easy getting around?! Not only is there the fast and convenient bus from the airport going downtown along many places of interest – at a really cheap price; there is also the legendary tram #28 taking the visitor to many landmarks – for even not a hand full of Euros.

Feeling like the proverbial King of the hill…overlooking
one of Europe’s most vibrant cities.
(Photo: © Turismo de Lisboa)

But as a matter of fact, you can walk in about 20 minutes from the below suggested hotel – or any other accommodation in the Rossio district – to one of the most iconic places, the Castelo de São Jorge, interestingly built by the Moors in the mid of the 11th century. In 1147 Dom Afonso Henriques conquered Lisbon to become the first king of Portugal. From then on the castle experienced glamorous and colorful times being home to Portuguese royalties. Today there is the archeological site along with galleries showing exhibits from great epochs. Actually visiting this landmark is a good plan whether rain or shine since there is so much to see in- and outside.

Castelo de São Jorge
1100 129 Lisboa
Phone:  + 351 – 218 – 80 06 20
Email:  info@castelodesaojorge.pt

 

The citadel is open November to February from 9 a. m. to 6 p. m. and March to October from 9 a. m. to 9 p. m.

 

View from the Largo do São Vicente over Lisbon to river Tejo.

Visiting the Castelo de São Jorge is only one of many great opportunities to have a breathtaking view of the city.

Want more views?
Easy peasy: There are the Miradouro de Santa Luzia or the Largo do São Vicente located even a bit closer to the Tejo river – hence the perfect photo spot!

 

 

The legendary tram #28 rattling across Largo do São Vicente.

After all this walking and climbing you should take a break and see the city from the famous tram #28.

Riding one of these beautiful old carts will make you feel like being on an old-fashioned roller coaster. Although today mainly tourist use these trams, it’s great fun going up and down the seven hills the city was built on and and awe at how the vehicle squeezes through narrow alleys.

If you take the tram at the Miradouro, just sit down, lean back and relax – if you find a seat, that is. You are going to the very last stop, Campo Ourique.
And just in case: Here you find the schedule and here you can follow the route on a map.

 

Way to go – the Cemitério dos Prazeres is one of the most
beautiful graveyards I’ve seen.

The last stop of the morning program was the last stop of many – it’s the Cemitério dos Prazeres, literally translated the ‘cemetery of joy’.

Like many South European cemeteries, the Cemitério almost resembles a small town with little ‘houses’ along straight alleys; very much like for instance the Père Lachaise cemetery in Paris. Especially on a hot day, it’s a…joy to walk in the shade under the big trees and admire the elaborated architecture and decoration of the tombs.

Due to its size, you can hardly miss Pedro de Sousa Holstein’s family grave which is said to be the largest of its kind in Europe. Inspired i. a. by the Egyptian pyramids it houses more than 200 family members.

Cemitério dos Prazeres
Praça São João Bosco
1350-297 Lisboa
Phone: + 351 -213 -96 15 11
Email: cemiterio.prazeres@cm-lisboa.pt 

 

⛈    Morning Activities

At a city like Lisbon with its colorful and rich past, you certainly won’t get bored on a rainy day. 

Calouste Gulbenkian Museum
This is the modern part of the Calouste Gulbenkian Museum,
housing mainly Portuguese modern and contemporary art, but
also some international artists.
(Photo: Calouste Gulbenkian Museum)

Let’s get to one of the most complete, interesting, and precious exhibition venues in Lisbon: to the Calouste Gulbenkian Museum close to Praça de Espanha. It’s a huge complex in a lush garden consisting i. a. of the Founder’s collection, the modern collection, and special exhibitions on a regular basis. Thus, there are also other arts and many great activities – it’s a wonderful place.

 

This is from the Calouste Gulbenkian Collection, in the
patron’s honor an Armenian bowl.
(Photo: Calouste Gulbenkian Museum)

When I say that the upbringing and life of the patron Calouste Gulbenkian are even more interesting and varied than his collection, than it’s with all due respect to the fantastic treasures that he brought together. It’s just that his course of life taking place in almost every European and Oriental country is so exciting: born in Istanbul (then Constantinople) in 1869, educated in Marseille, London, and Baku, he considered himself being a “business architect”, consulting and connecting oil companies not only in Europe, but also i. a.  in Iraq, South Africa, and Australia. He acquired the British citizenship, lived also in Paris, and finally moved to Lisbon where he died in 1955 leaving an incredible fortune – both in France and Portugal. Therefore long negotiations took place before all the personal art treasure could be sent to Portugal and are now on display at the museum’s Founder’s Collection.

To get to this fantastic venue take the green metro line from Rossio station to Baixa-Chiado and change there to the purple line going up towards Reboleira and get off at Praça de Espanha.

Calouste Gulbenkian Museum 
Avenida de Berna, 45A
1067-001 Lisboa
Phone: + 351 – 217 . 823 000
Email: info@gulbenkian.pt

The exhibition is open Wednesday to Monday 10 a. m. to 6 p. m.

The iconic tram #28 coming around the
corner at Sé de Lisboa cathedral

If rain or shine – no visit to Lisbon is complete without riding the tram #28.

Just go back by metro from Praça de Espanha to Baixa-Chiado, where you can catch the metro’s less modern but much more charming cousin.

Don’t forget to get off at Estrela station, lunch is waiting.

And just in case: Here you find the schedule and here you can follow the route on a map.

 

?     Lunch

Whether you need a set menu or just a light lunch snack –
you will certainly enjoy a noonish break at the padaria.

Padaria do povo – the people’s bakery – this might not sound like a place where you get a sumptuous meal, but you’ll be surprised: They serve a nice lunch with veggie soups made from scratch, salads, and fish for about 7 €. The most charming part is the setting at this historical padaria that has been there for over a hundred years.

Besides cooking with love, the ‘bakers’ are putting together an attractive show program; keep it in mind for your next stay in Lisbon.

Padaria do Povo
Rua Luís Derouet, 20-A
1250-153 Lisboa
Phone: + 351 – 21 – 362 04 64

The padaria is open Monday to Friday from 12 p. m. to 1 a. m. (Friday 2 a. m.), Weekends 3 p. m. to 1 a. m. (Sunday 2 a. m.)

?    Afternoon Activities

View of the Basilica da Estrela from the Jardim.

A nice way to spend a hot afternoon in Lisbon is at one of the many parks, relaxing in the shade under the trees, watching people walk by.

Now that you’re already in the neighborhood, just walk down Rua Luís Derouet and turn left into Rua Coelho da Rocha. At the traffic circle, you walk down Rua da Estrela that brings you straight to the Jardim, the park.

In the morning, you have the chance to cross the ‘Cemitério Ingles’, the English cemetery, founded only in the early 18th century as the final resting place for non-catholic British nationals (nowadays there are also Catholics buried here), but unfortunately this nice, a bit savage yard is open only till 1 p. m.

But the beautiful, serene Jardim da Estrela is awaiting you with lush meadows, exotic plants, a duck pond and many relaxing places to hang out. It is my favorite park in Lisbon.

If you need even more shade, just cross to the Basilica da Estrela and enjoy the pompousness of its interior. This magnificent basilica, built in baroque and neo classicist style, can be visited daily from 8.45 a. m. to 8 p. m.

 

Idyllic Parque das Amoreiras.

Another atmospheric park is the Jardim das Amoreiras, also known as Jardim Marcelino Mesquita East of Jardim da Estrela.

To get there, go to the Northern tip of the Estrela Park next to the João de Deus museum and just walk down Avenida Álvares Cabral.

This jardim is a paradise for tree lovers (and huggers) because it’s named after the 331 mulberry trees that Marquês de Pombal planted here where his silk factory was to promote the Portuguese silk industry.

Besides the mulberries and many other trees, there are even ginkgos and banana trees at the park. The park’s second name derives from the writer and dramaturg Marcelino Mesquita.

Since you are at the Praça das Amoreiras, you should pay the small Capela de Nossa Senhora de Monserrate church a visit: It stands beneath one of the arches of the aqueducts close to the Mãe d’Água das Amoreiras reservoir (which, by the way, is worth a peek, too).

Phew, enough parks and churches, I bet by now you’re ready for dinner and I’m afraid you might be too tired walking the mile to the Clube de Jornalistas restaurant, so just hop on the bus No. 713 at Jardim de Amoreiras (towards Estação de Campolide) and get off at Rua Buenos Aires. From there it’s a fine minute walk South.

 

⛈    Afternoon Activities

The Museu do Chiado welcomes you with this dramatically
arranged presentation – before you can even buy a ticket.

To get to another Cockaigne of contemporary Portuguese art, the Museu Nacional de Arte Contemporânea / Chiado museum, you simply take the tram #28 at Rua Saraiva de Carvalho again (towards Martim Moniz) and you get off at Rua Vítor Cordon – and you’re right there in the heart of the Chiado district, a few steps away from the venue.

Since 1994, the museum’s temporary exhibitions along with the permanent collection are housed in the former Convent of Sao Francisco which makes the visit to this collection being founded back in 1911 extra-interesting.

Museu Nacional de Arte Contemporânea do Chiado 
Rua Serpa Pinto 4
1200 444 Lisbon
Phone: + 351 – 213 – 43 21 48
Email: museuchiado@mnac.dgpc.pt

 

The Capela de Nossa Senhora de Monserrate at its ‘shelter’
under the old aquadukt.

If it’s not raining too hard, you should at least see one of Lisbon’s many idyllic parks. To get to the Jardim das Amoreiras, walk from the Chiado to Rua do Alecrim station (Rua Serpa Pinto South, then turn right into Rua Ferragial, the stop is at the other end), take the bus No. 758 towards Portas de Benfica and get off at Rato station. From there you walk about five minutes down Calçada Bento da Rocha Cabral to get the mulberry park.

You’ll find some explanations about the park and the adjacent Capela de Nossa Senhora de Monserrate above in the sunny day itinerary, as well as directions to get to the restaurant where dinner’s waiting for you.

 

?    Dinner

Bacalhau in many different variations is Portugal’s
national dish.

Clube de Jornalistas – the journalists’ club, that sounds fancy and expensive; if you are even admitted!? Wrong: It’s a very pleasant place with excellent cuisine, nice service, the slightly pretentious presentation seems to be rather ironic.

However, compared to Portuguese standards, the Clube is more expensive, not in comparison to other cities, though; and the quality is definitely worth every cent.

Clube de Jornalistas

Rua das Trinas 129
1200-857 Lisboa
Phone: + 351 – 21 – 397 71 38 and + 351 – 91 – 330 49 34
Email: info@restauranteclubedejornalistas.com

The restaurant is open from Monday to Saturday 12:30 p. m. to 2:30 p. m. and 7:30 p. m. to 12:30 a. m.

?   Nightcap

No Lisbon visit is complete without
weeping into a glass of vinho verde
over a melancholic Fado.
(Photo: © Turismo de Lisboa)

Now the nightcap I’ve chosen for you is really special: Enjoying a chilled glass of Vinho Verde, the famous, light Portuguese wine, you can listen to some Fado, the intense, melancholic chants – one of the most important national treasures.

After all I’ve heard, Senhor Vinho is famous for its Fado – not for the food…but you had dinner before, so – enjoy the wistful concert.

To get the this joint from the Clube, just walk down Rua das Trinas, turn left into Rua das Praças and right into Rua Meio à Lapa – it’s two minutes!

Senhor Vinho
Rue Meio à Lapa 18
1200-724 Lisboa
Phone: + 351 -21 -397 26 81

Email: reservas@srvinho.com

To get back to your accommodation at Rossio, take bus No. 714 at Santos-o-velho to the final stop Praça da Figueira. From there you can walk to your hotel in about two minutes.

 

?    Accommodation

Lisbon’s central point Praça Dom Pedro IV – aka Praça Rossio

Especially if you are on a layover and need to get back to the airport in the early morning, staying close to Rossio station is really very sensible, especially since here you have more than one option in case something should go wrong with the Airport Bus; even the hotel itself offers a shuttle service to the airport so you definitely won’t miss your flight.

Feels Like Home Rossio Prime Suites
Rua Barros Queiros 47
1110-076 Lisboa
Phone: + 351 – 213 – 42 09 07
Email: rossioprimesuites@feelslikehome.pt

Staying longer in Lisbon or taking a trip to other Portuguese destinations as well?

Get some inspiration and info from these ‘Whistle Stops’ on my railroad trip.

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24 hours in…ISTANBUL

Yet here comes a new issue of the “24 hours in…” series, designated to transform a – maybe forced – stay like a layover into a short extra-vacation. Of course these itineraries – one for a sunny and an alternative for a rainy day – are great not only for layovers but for any kind of a brief stay, e. g. on your way to a beach vacation on the Turkish coast. But since Turkish Airlines often offers the best prices when going to South East Asia (and I heard that sometimes they might even be your best bet going to Colombia), a short stay anywhen soon might be quite probable.

Galata Bridge and Yeni Cami
Istanbul at its best: Fishermen on the Galata bridge in front of the magnificent backdrop of Yeni Cami.

?     Local Currency:

Turkish Lira (TRY) / 1 TRY= 0.28 US$ (August 2017) / current rate


?    Emergency Hotline:

Police 155

Emergency/Ambulance 112

?    National Airline: 

Turkish Airlines

?    Airports:

Atatürk Airport / IATA-Code: IST
Sabiha Gökçen Airport / IATA-Code: SAW

?    Tourist Info online and onsite

Atatürk Havalimanı/Atatürk Airport 
Yeşilköy (small desk after passing customs)
Open daily from 8 a. m. to 11 p. m.
Phone: + 90 – 212 – 465 31 51 and  + 90 – 212 – 465 35 47

Sultanahmet
Meydanı – Sultanahmet (on the Hippodrome)
Open daily from 9 a. m. to 5 p. m.
Phone: + 90 – 212 – 518 18 02

?    Getting Downtown and Back

Tünel
The Tünel Train is not only one of Istanbul’s landmarks:
Although it’s the oldest and shortest train line, because
 of the steep ascent its services are highly appreciated.

There is nothing easier than getting from the Atatürk Airport to any place in the greater Istanbul area. Presuming that you’ll stay only 24 hours, the best way is to book yourself in a hotel in the Aksaray area since then you don’t have to change trains: Just take the Métro M1 from Havalimanı to Aksaray.
First you should get an “Istanbulkart“, a sort of credit card that you have to tap up with an amount of your choice and eventually you use your credit on all public transport. One ride will cost you between 1.60 TRY and 2.95 TRY depending on the distance. Following this itinerary – including the rides from and to the airport – you will need about 10 to 15 TRY – this is including the initial amount of 6 TRY that includes 4 TRY fare credit.You can tap up at any time, and fares are significantly cheaper using this card instead of tokens.

?    Morning Activities

If you choose the below stated hotel or another accommodation around Aksaray station, you find yourself in the perfect spot to go to all the places recommended.
So grab your Istanbulkart and off you go to Tophane station by tram T1 (towards Kabataş) – of course leaving at Aksaray.

Dolmabahce Palace
The building, the garden, the views –
everything is romantic at Dolmabahçe 

The foundation Dolmabahçe palace is built on was put there by Sultan Ahmet I. beginning of the 17th century. Before there was a bay. Then in the beginning of the 19th century Sultan Abdülmecit I. ordered to build this palace according to occidental royal architecture like e. g. Versailles. Finished in 1853, it was the Sultan’s main residence till the end of the Ottoman Empire. Turkey’s first president Kemal Atatürk died at Dolmabahçe on November 19, 1938.

Besides the palace there is also the Dolmabahçe Camii, its mosque, to be visited – and then you can relax for while on a bench under the trees next to the Dolmabahçe Saatkulesi, the clock tower.

Dolmabahçe Palace 
Dolmabahçe – Beşiktaş
Phone: + 90 – 212 – 236 90 00

Open daily from 9 a. m. to 4 p. m. except Mondays and Thursdays.

Note: Expect long queues for the tickets and unfortunately they don’t accept the Müzekart. Be aware that you can visit only with a guided tour (which is included in your ticket).

Ready for some more outdoor activities? Then let’s visit the Sultan’s park, the lush and serene Yıldız Parkı. It’s about 2 km / 1.5 mi East of  Dolmabahçe, but you have to walk along big roads with much traffic. So better walk back about five minutes to Kabataş station and take on of the buses like No. 22 or 30D to Yahya Efendi station.

At the park you can just wander along the well-maintained walkways and maybe enjoy a cup of turkish mocha at the Restoran Dahill overlooking the mighty Bosporus. Or you combine your stroll with visits to the traces of the  Ottoman past around the park: The Yıldız Sarayı, the palace with the adjacent mosque, the Yıldız Camii.

Turkish Tea
Enjoy oriental delights: Turkish tea and baklava,
a wedge of cake with nuts and honey.

Then, there are three small pavilions, the Çadır Köşkü, the Malta Köşkü, and the Şale Köşkü, which is actually part of the Yıldız Sarayı. At the Çadır Köşkü as well as the Malta Köşkü are very posh tea salons where you can enjoy refreshments and feel like an Ottoman noble.

Yıldız Parkı

Open daily from October to May from 9 a. m. to 6 p. m. and June to September from 9 a. m. to 8 p. m.
Entrance is free

Dahill Restaurant
Palanga Caddesi
Yıldız Parkı – Beşiktaş
Phone:  + 90 – 212 – 227 49 28

Yıldız Sarayı
Barbaros Bulvarı
Yıldız Parkı – Beşiktaş
Phone: + 90 – 212 – 258 53 44

Open Tuesday to Sunday 9 a. m. to 4.30 p. m.

⛈    Morning Activities


It’s definitely not difficult to spend an inspiring and fun day in Istanbul even though it’s raining. Let’s visit some really cool museums and see some great Turkish contemporary art. We’ll get to the classics later.

Let me lead you to a neighborhood that at the first glance seems not very appealing: Maslak, Istanbul’s financial district up North next to the Technical University.

Proje4 Elgiz Museum
Azade Köker: Exploded Still-Life and
Jan Fabre: The Wall of the Rise of the Angels,
an incredible cockroach dress  – only
two of the many original works at the Elgiz 

After a short walk from Aksaray to Yenikapı station you take the Métro M2 towards Hacıosman. Get off at İtü-Ayazağa station. Walk down Dereboyu 2 Caddesi and turn right into Maslak Meydan Sokak. On the left hand side you’ll get to a big parking lot that you have to cross to reach Istanbul’s first venue of contemporary art – the Projet4/Elgiz.

Dr. Can Elgiz, an architect and building contractor, started to collect modern art in the 1980s and is so kind to present it to the public at his museum – for free! Besides the permanent collection the special sculpture exhibits on the gallery’s rooftop are worth the visit – and the long ride out here.

Elgiz Museum
Beybi Giz Plaza 34398
Maslak – Istanbul
Phone: +90 – 212 – 290 25 25

Open from Wednesday to Saturday 10 a. m. to 5 p. m. (Saturday 4 p. m.)
Entrance is free

Istanbul Modern Inside
Istanbul Modern: Cool, exquisite art inside….
(Photo: Sinan Koçaslan/Istanbul Modern) 

While the Elgiz is definitely a hidden gem worth to be discovered, there’s another gallery introducing a wide range of contemporary Turkish artists, it’s the Istanbul Modern.

To get there from the Elgiz museum ist easy: You take the Métro M2 at İtü-Ayazağa station towards Yenikapı and get off at Şişhane. I hope it’s not raining too hard since now you have to walk about ten minutes down Kumbaracı Yokuşu towards the Bosporus and then turn left on Meclis-i Mebusan Caddesi.

….cool, exquisite appearance outside.
 (Photo: Muhsin Akgün/Istanbul Modern)

The Istanbul Modern houses a fantastic collection of modern and contemporary Turkish artists including painting, sculpture, and video. In addition it’s the main venue of the Istanbul Biennal that is taking place this year from September 16 to November 12, 2017.

Istanbul Museum of Modern Art
Meclis-i Mebusan Caddesi
Liman İşletmeleri Sahası, Antrepo  4
Karaköy – İstanbul

Open from Tuesday to Sunday 10 a. m to 6 p. m. (Thursday to 8 p. m.)

?     Lunch

Time for lunch? What better way of combining one of Istanbul’s most important sights – the Galata bridge with groups of fishing man standing, sitting, and sprawling around while waiting for the fishes to bite – and sampling some of their catch next to the waters of the mighty Bosporus?!
The bridge’s lower part is packed with fish restaurants, but unfortunately I have to warn you that they are all overpriced tourist traps.
Exquisite quality at a good price – this is what you get at Tarihi Karaköy Balikçısı not far from the bridge on the ‘Golden Horn’.

To get there, take bus No. 30D at Yahya Efendi station and get off at Karaköy station. From there you walk all the way down Kürekçiler Kapısı Sokak (about two minutes) and you practically crash into the restaurant. Coming on a rainy day from the Istanbul Modern, you take tram T1 at Tophane and get off at Karaköy.

Tarihi Karaköy Balikçısı
Tersane Cad.
Kardeşim Sok. 30
Phone: + 90 – 212 – 243 40 80

?    Afternoon Activities

After lunch you might want to walk a little and it comes handy that you have to cross Galata bridge, anyway. You can either walk all the way to the Topkapı palace which are about 2,5 km / 1.5 mi so it takes about 30 minutes, or you cross the bridge walking and hop on the tram T1 at Eminönü, or you just take it right away at Karaköy station and save your energy for exploring the palace.

I explicitly don’t recommend the Istanbul Tourist Pass – it costs 120 € including nonsense like a free shuttle from the airport (one way!); that’s absolutely outrages! But I highly recommend you get a museum pass, the ‘Müzekart‘. It’s good for five days, which you might not need. But at a price of 85 TRY it still will pay if you follow this itinerary. And another advantage is absolutely priceless: You don’t have to wait in line, but can walk straight in. Once you see the queue in front of Hagia Sofia and Topkapı Palace, you will thank me for this tip.

Faience at Topkapi palace
There is gold and there are diamonds and pearls, but I think
I love the faience the most.

It was Sultan Mehmet II who began with the construction of the palace right after the conquest of Constantinople in 1453. Over the centuries various significant transformations took place, so that the Topkapı Palace got its present appearance only in the early 18th century. Following Turkish tradition the palace is not one big building, but consists of many individual dwellings and pavilions. The entire complex has a size of 69 hectare / 170 acres and housed up to 5000 people; it was like a town of its own. Besides the beautiful gardens and incredibly decorated buildings there are a couple of fascinating museums showing all the splendor and opulence of the Ottoman royalties. Although I’m a big fan of contemporary art and love the modern galleries at Istanbul, I find that the Topkapı Palace is the most important sight to visit when in Istanbul since for me it’s the cradle of Turkish culture.

Topkapı Palace Museum
Sultanahmet
Fatih – Istanbul
Phone: +90 – 212 – 512 04 80
Email: topkapisarayimuzesi@kulturturizm.gov.tr

Opening hours are from Wednesday to Monday:
October 30th – April 15th 9 a. m. to 4.45 p. m. and
April 15th – October 30th 9 a. m. to 6.45 p. m.

Arkeoloji Parki Sultanahmet
When in Turkey do as the Turkish do – strolling around
the Sultanahmet Arkeolojik Park.

Once you are at Sultanahmet, you should absolutely do what everybody does because in this case everybody is right: Go to see the enormous structures of Ayasofya Camii and the spiritual atmosphere of the Sultan Ahmet Camii; both buildings are just a stone throw from the palace around the Sultanahmet Arkeolojik Park.

There cannot be a visit to Turkey without a visit to one of the many tumultuous markets. So you should end your sightseeing at the Kapalı Çarşı, the big covered market. From Sultanahmet it’s just a mile so you can actually walk there. If you are tired walking, take tram T1 at Sultanahmet station and get off at Çemberlitaş.
You’ll find the exact entrance address below in the afternoon activities for a rainy day.

⛈    Afternoon Activities

Even if it’s raining cats and dogs, you absolutely have to see Topkapı Palace which prides itself to have many beautifully decorated rooms and halls as well as exhibitions of different treasures like weapons, costumes, and precious stones. From the lunch place you walk back to Karaköy station where you take tram T1 to Sultanahmet.

For info to this visit please refer to the sunny afternoon activities above.

Arkeoloji Müzesi Istanbul
The exhibits are found in and outside the museum:
Here some statues and sarcophagus.
(Photo: Schezar,/www.flickr.com/people/rym/)

If after the visit to the Palace you still have time, I recommend a visit to the very nice and interesting İstanbul Arkeoloji Müzesi which was founded in 1891 as the main archeological museum of the Ottoman Empire and is until now Turkey’s largest and most important archological museum. Next to the mesmerizing sights around – like the Topkapı Palace, the Sultan Ahmet Camii, the Ayasofya Camii, and the Yerebatan Sarayı it is highly underrated.

İstanbul Arkeoloji Müzesi
Osman Hamdi Bey Yokusu
Sultanahmet – İstanbul
Phone: + 90 – – 212 520 77 40

The museum is open Tuesday to Sunday from 9 a. m. to 7 p. m.

Kapali Carsi
The blue print for occidental malls:
The Kapalı Çarşı, Istanbul’s covered market.

Everybody knows that the markets are an important part of the oriental culture, and you are lucky since in Istanbul is a huge covered market that you can visit even on a rainy day. It’s not very far from the Arkeoloji Müzesi, so if it’s not raining too hard you can actually walk the mile; otherwise just take tram T1 at Gülhane station and get off at Çemberlitaş.

Mahmutpaşa Bazaar Gate
Taya Hatun Mahallesi
Mahmutpaşa Yokuşu Sokak 4
Fatih – Istanbul

After you’ve shopped – and before you drop – let’s grab some hearty Turkish dinner. To the diner it’s only a short walk of about ten minutes.

?    Dinner

There are many restaurants everywhere – and in the highly touristy Sultanahmet neighborhood you should be careful because the owners tend to add an unexpected tourist surcharge. Anyway, I absolutely love the very Turkish fast food chain Köfteci Ramiz that you’ll find at many locations all around Istanbul – and the rest of Turkey, for that matter.

Not only do they offer delicious Turkish burgers – ‘Köfte’ – the best and most impressive part is their salad bar offering far more than tomato, carrot, and iceberg lettuce: There are all these exotic beets and sprouts and herbs – and everything is arranged with so much abandon and an eye for detail. Go and try it out – it is so good!

Köfteçi Ramiz 
Bab-ı Ali Cad.
Himaye-i Ekfal Sk. 17
Cağaloğlu,
İstanbul
Phone: + 90 – 212 – 527 13 40
Email: cagalogluistanbul@kofteciramiz.com

The diner is open from 9 a. m. to 9 p. m.

?   Nightcap

Instead of a ‘nightcap’ I recommend you see the really mesmerizing ceremony of the whirling dervishes. There are various venues – sometimes combined with a dinner. This touristy show is definitely not the real thing, so I recommend Turkish Cultural Dance Theater & Whirling Dervishes Ceremony. You have to make reservation and only then they supply you with the address. I can tell you it’s behind the Sultanahmet Arkeolojik Park towards the Bosporus.
It’s a ten minutes walk from the diner to the ceremony’s venue.

To get to the Amethyst Hotel after the ceremony, you walk to the Sultanahmet station and take tram T1 to Aksaray station.

?    Accomodation

Especially if you are on a layover and need to get back to the airport in the early morning, staying close to Aksaray station makes things much easier.

Amethyst Hotel Laleli
Aksaray Cad. 6
Istanbul
Phone: + 90 – 212 – 638 60 70
Email: info@amethysthotel.com

Need assistance planning this or other trips? Check my service pages

Plus – I’m happy to answer all your questions and share further information. To get in touch, please follow my blog (check also facebook and twitter) and send me a message, I’ll get back to you as soon as possible.

Note: You know that I am always keen to supply you not only with correct information, but like to add links so you have the chance to re-check. I’m sorry to say that doing this for the Istanbul post was impossible: Many sites are pure scam or impossible to navigate or my computer warned me to open them – it was just pathetic! So I’m terribly sorry that you don’t find as many links to the venues as in my other articles, yet I hope that this post will be useful and help you having a great time in Istanbul – and if it’s only for 24 hours.
Renata Green

Here are more pins with 24 hours itineraries to great destinations for you:

24 hours in…PARIS

This is the latest issue of the new category on my blog which is designated to transform a – maybe forced – stay like a layover into a short extra-vacation. Of course these itineraries – one for a sunny and an alternative for a rainy day – are great not only for layovers but for any kind of a brief stay, e. g. during a road- or interrail trip through Europe.

Eiffel Tower
View of the Eiffel Tower from across the river Seine next to Palais du Trocadéro

Maybe you will think that 24 hours are far too little to explore the “city of lights”. Of course, you are right, but this applies to almost every popular stopover destination. However, if you follow my itineraries, you’ll be surprised how much you get to see and experience of the proverbial ‘savoir vivre’.

Good for – short term – travellers that France has this system of centrality so that basically all important exhibitions and shows are presented rather in Paris than in any other French city. Here the capital is a capital with a capital…P.

I was keen to find as many sights as possible located in one spot so that you don’t have to travel crisscross town, and the hotel is right next to Gare Montparnasse station where shuttles connect the city with both airports. And since Paris airports are not entertaining at all, you should definitely go downtown if you have a couple of hours.


?   Local Currency:


Euro (EUR) / 1 EUR = 1.14 US$ (July 2017) / current rate


?    Emergency Hotline:

Police 17

SOS – all services (recommended when calling from a mobile) 112

?    National Airline: 

Air France

?    Airports:

Charles de Gaulle / IATA-Code: CDG
Orly / IATA-Code: ORY

?    Tourist Info online and onsite:

Paris Tourist Office
Réception du Carrousel du Louvre
99 rue de Rivoli
75001 Paris

?    Getting Downtown and Back

There are many different possibilities to get in a fast and cheap way from the airport to the city center. I spare you the bus since it’s cheap, but not comfortable, and it takes forever. So let’s begin with the second cheapest way which is the RER, the local train. It costs 10€ one way and takes a little over 30 minutes. If you need to go to Gare Montparnasse, and you do if you follow my itinerary, you have to change at Gare du Nord to the Métro No. 4 towards Porte d’Orléans and get off at Montparnasse Bienvenüe, though.
The best bet for you is “Le Bus Direct” for 17$ (or 30€ round trip) which is…direct. It runs from 6 a. m. to 10.30 p. m. from Charles de Gaulle to the city center and from 5.30 a. m. to 10.30 p. m. from Gare Montparnasse every half an hour and takes 60 to 70 minutes depending on the traffic.
If you have a connection to Orly, there is a direct bus from Roissy (this is the name French people call the airport, so don’t let it confuse you).

Metro Entrance
Métro station Grands Boulevards – you’ll need to get here
for dinner.
© Paris Tourist Office. Photo: Henri Garat

No matter which one of the itineraries you follow, you will travel a lot on the Métro. However, since the Métro is really cheap, I cannot recommend the Paris Pass, especially since you can buy it only for at least two days, and with 135€ it’s far too costy.

One trip by Métro with all connections needed during 90 minutes cost you 1,90€. If you buy a ‘carnet’ which is ten tickets, it only costs you 16€ and will cover the day; I recommend that.

If you have luggage and do not spend the night, you can leave your belongings at the train station Montparnasse (“consigne”). It’s one of the very few options in Paris to store your luggage.

?    Morning Activities

Paris is – unless you have to live there – always romantic and nice. Of course it’s more fun to enjoy the city in the sun, so I keep my fingers cross for you and supply you with a helpful itinerary to make the best of your stay.

Cheese at Rue Mouffatard
France is simply cheese heaven – the variety of artisan
delicacies seems to be endless!
© Paris Tourist Office. Photo: Amélie Dupont

We’ll start the day at the most cliché French but also the most beautiful little street in Paris, the Rue Mouffetard. Yes, it’s cheesy, but I guarantee you that you’ll love it; and you’ll get excellent French cheese there, too.

To get there, take the Métro No. 6 (towards Nation) and change to line No. 7 at Place d’Italie (towards La Courneuve 8 Mai 1945) and get off at Censier-Daubenton. Walk down rue Daubenton and turn right into rue Mouffetard and there you are amidst the France you always dreamt of.

One advise if you intend to stock up on cheese and take it with you on a plane: Don’t put soft cheese in your hand luggage, it might be considered “cream” and confiscated! Don’t believe me? Read my earlier post!

Jardin du Luxembourg
Jardin du Luxembourg – a Parisian cliché amidst Parisian
clichés.
© Paris Tourist Office. Photo: David Lefranc

Did you stock up on some baguette and cheese and a little wine? Looking for a place for a light morning picnic? Turn left at Place de la Contrescarpe and stroll down rue de l’Estrapade towards Jardin du Luxembourg where you can either sit on one of the lush, soft meadows or on one of the old, charming chairs around the basin and enjoy some rays of sun. To me this garden (=Jardin), a former royal estate – and there is still the Palais du Luxembourg, is one of the nicest Parisian parks. Between the manicured classicistic flowerbeds and terraces is lots of space for leisure activities, an old puppet theater, a romantic carousel, and more.

Notre Dame
This is what used to be one of the many, many Parisian
landmarks: The Notre-Dame Cathedral that got severely
damaged by a fire in April 2019.
© Paris Tourist Office. Photo: Jacques Bravo

It’s almost lunchtime, so let’s walk down Boulevards Saint-Michel towards river Seine. Cross the Saint-Michel bridge to walk along Boulevard du Palais. Walk on crossing Pont au Change leaving Paris’ most important island – Île de la cité – behind and catch the Métro No. 1 at Châtelet (towards La Defense) and get off at Franklin D. Roosevelt station: You are in the middle of the famous Champs Elysées!

Lunch – some of the best steamed or gratiné mussels at an unbeatable price – is waiting!

⛈    Morning Activities


It shouldn’t surprise you that it’s no biggy to spend an inspiring and fun day in Paris although it’s raining. Let’s visit some really cool museums – and I’m not mentioning the Louvre on purpose since you probably don’t need me to send you there. I’ll quote some others that are a tad bit less famous but absolutely worth a visit.

While I don’t recommend the Paris Pass, I highly recommend to get a Museum Pass. It’s for two days, which you might not need. But at a price of 48€ it still will pay if you follow this itinerary. And another advantage is priceless: You don’t have to wait in line (at least not in the regular, long line), but can walk straight in.

Musée d'Orsey
The beautiful sculpture patio under
one of the antique clocks of
Musée d’Orsay.
© Paris Tourist Office. Photo: Amélie Dupont

The first museum to visit is the Musée d’Orsay on the banks of river Seine. Getting there from Montparnasse-Bienvenüe station is quick and easy, just take Métro No. 12 (towards Front Populaire) and hop off at Solférino.
The Museum is housed in a former train station, the Gare d’Orsay. This station was built for the Paris International Exposition and used till 1939 by the trains going South West. In 1977 on an initiative by former president Valéry Giscard d’Estaing the station was transformed into a museum, that opened in 1986. Today the Musée d’Orsay houses about 4000 paintings from the era 1848 to 1914 on 16.000 square meters/ more than 172,000 square feet.

Musée d’Orsay 
62, rue de Lille
75343 Paris
Phone: +33 – 1 – 40 49 48 14

Monet
The Monet masterpiece in the Orangerie’s basement: just a
tiny snippet of the nymphaeas decorating two entire halls.

I hope you are very much into French impressionism since also this venue houses some of the most important paintings from this art epoch.
But half of the exhibition space is made available for eight huge nymphaea paintings by Claude Monet. They are arranged in two oval halls and make these a “Sistine Chapel of Impressionism” like André Masson called the arrangement.

Musée de l’Orangerie
Jardin des Tuileries
Place de la Concorde
75001 Paris
Phone: +33 – 1 – 44 77 80 07

The museum is open from Wednesday to Monday from 9 a. m. to 6 p. m.

To get to the historic ‘Jeu de Paume’ building that used to house all the impressionist treasures before they’ve found a new home at the Musée d’Orsay you only have to cross the gravel way of Jardin des Tuileries. Today there is no permanent collection at the Jeu de Paume, but they are organizing great photo and movie exhibits.

Galerie du Jeu de Paume
1, Place de la Concorde
75008 Paris
Phone: + 33 – 1 – 47 03 12 50

The gallery is open from Tuesday to Sunday from 11 a. m. to 7 p. m. (Tuesdays to 9 p. m.)

I guess by now you’ll be really hungry. Let’s get a great lunch right on the Champs Elysées. You can either walk there in about 25 minutes; or you take Métro No. 1 (towards La Defense) and get off at Franklin D. Roosevelt station.

?     Lunch

Mussels at Léon
A little Belgian ‘savoir vivre’:  A pot of mussels in broth,
an order of fries and a nice Belgian beer.

This restaurant, popular with the locals and tourists alike, is a chain serving all sorts of mussels, traditionally with a huge side of fries (actually you can order as many fries as you like – “à volonté”).

Léon de Bruxelles 
63 Avenue Des Champs Elysées
75008 Paris
Phone: +33 – 1 – 42 25 96 16

The restaurant is open from Sunday to Thursday vom 11.45 a. m. to midnight and Friday and Saturday to 1 a. m.

?    Afternoon Activities

Arc de Triomphe
Busy Champs Elysée leading to the
Arc de Triomphe – what a triumphant view!
© Paris Tourist Office. Photo: Jacques Lebar

I assume after lunch, and being on the most Parisian shopping street, you’d like to do some (window-)shopping!? Doing so, keep walking towards the Arc de Triomphe. Once you get there, you can either climb up the Arc to have a great view on all of Paris – or you are satisfied with just turning around and look back at the never ending traffic stream on the Champs Elysée.

Now, at Charles de Gaulle – Étoile, hop on the Métro No. 6 (towards Nation) and get off at Trocadéro.
You can see the Eiffel tower from almost every spot in the city – but the unbeatably best view you’ll have from Palais du Trocadéro, an exhibition venue, built in 1878 for the Paris International Exposition.

Enjoy the manicured garden and then cross the Pont d’Iéna towards the Eiffel tower. Depending on your time management you might want to go up the tower or go on a cruise with “Bateaux Parisien” who have a terrible website so I at least found the sightseeing cruise info in English for you.

Of course you can also just stroll across the Champ de Mars and enjoy your wonderful afternoon in Paris.

To get to the traditional restaurant Bouillon Chartier – this one is not to be missed! – you walk back across the Pont de Iéna to the Métro station with the same name and take Métro No. 9 (towards Mairie de Montreuil) and get off at Grands Boulevards station.

⛈    Afternoon Activities

Musee d'art moderne
The masterpiece of the Musée de l’art moderne: Raoul Dufy’s
Electricity Fairy – a mural of 10 x 60 m (33 x 196 feet)
© Paris Tourist Office. Photo: Amélie Dupont

If it’s not raining too hard, you might walk up the Champs Elysées to the Arc de Triomphe and either climb up or take Métro No. 6 at Charles de Gaulle – Étoile  (towards Nation) and go to Boissière.

If you want to skip the Arc and go to the next gallery straight from the restaurant, you take Métro No. 9 at Franklin D. Roosevelt station (towards Pont de Sèvres) and get off at Iéna.

Here are two fantastic art venues in one building – I love Paris! The Palais d’Art Moderne houses a nice permanent collection of modernism and adds temporary exhibitions worth seeing.

Ragnar Kjartansson
Ragnar Kjartansson: Seul Celui qui Connaît le Désir 
Yes, it is unique to show a chamber drama at an exhibition;
usually images are more static.

The Palais de Tokyo has no permanent collection but original and delightful exhibitions of contemporary artists. The Palais de Tokyo is definitely one of my top ten art venues world wide.

If it’s not raining too hard, you can walk a little towards Palais du Trocadéro to have a good view at the Eiffel tower (actually the first picture of this post was taken from there).

To get to the traditional restaurant Bouillon Chartier – this one is not to be missed! – you walk back to Métro station Iéna and go by train No. 9 (towards Mairie de Montreuil) to Grands Boulevards station.

Musée d’Art moderne de la Ville de Paris 
11 avenue du Président Wilson
75116 Paris
Phone: + 33 – 1 – 53 67 40 00

Palais de Tokyo 
13 Avenue du Président Wilson
75116 Paris

?    Dinner

Enjoy some traditional French cuisine.

Chartier has been a Parisian culinary institution for over a hundred years now. Especially since they combine substantial, traditional French cuisine with witty, fast service in a truly original, communicative, fun setting – and all this at more than reasonable prices. I already made (facebook-) friends for life here!

Bouillon Chartier
7 rue du Faubourg Montmartre
75009 Paris
Phone: +33 – 1 – 47 70 86 29
Email: restaurant@bouillon-chartier.com



Good news: They are open every day from 11.30 a. m. to midnight.
Bad news: They are not taking reservations (and sometimes the queues are long…)

?   Nightcap


Why not combining the nightcap with a visit to one of the most important art venues Paris has to offer – why not visit the Centre Pompidou!?

If you’re not too tired, coming from Chartier, you can walk down Rue Montmartre, this will take about twenty minutes. Otherwise you can take Métro No. 9 at Grands Boulevards (towards Mairie de Montreuil) and change to No. 4 at Strasbourg-St. Denis (towards Mairie de Montrouge) and get off at Étienne Marcel.

Centre Georges Pompidou
The unusual facade of the Centre Georges Pompidou.
© Paris Tourist Office. Photo: Fabian Charaffi

This year it’s the Centre George Pompidou’s 40th birthday! Architects Richard Rogers from Britain and Italian Renzo Piano competed against 681 rivals from 49 countries – and won the bid. The center opened on January 31, 1977. This building made of 15 000 tons of steel and 11 000 m² glass might be unusual and probably an work of architectural art – I still don’t like it. But I like a lot what’s in it: Huge galleries housing an extraordinary permanent collection from modernism to contemporary and always a hand full of special exhibits. There is a big book shop and and a cinema and a cool restaurant and bar all the way up overlooking all Paris.
So after you’ve seen the great art, let’s go upstairs for a drink.

Musée National d’Art Moderne
Centre Pompidou Place Georges Pompidou
75004 Paris
Email: contact@centrepompidou.fr

The Galleries are open from Wednesday to Monday 11 a. m. to 9 p. m. (Thursday to 11 p. m.)
They are closed on Tuesday and 1st of May – that’s it, otherwise always open.
This view speaks for itself, right!?
© Le Georges Restaurant

The restaurant – which also has a spacious terrace – is open from noon to 2 a. m.
Kitchen is open until midnight.

To access Le Georges Restaurant between noon and 8:50 p. m., you should use the elevator on the Centre Pompidou Plaza, on the left from the main entrance.  After 8:50 p. m. access is granted at the entrance by the escalator facing 50 rue Rambuteau. (Warning: Their website is very misleading especially regarding the hours; I had to read the French version to get it straight.)

Like the Museum, Le Georges is closed on Tuesdays.

Phone: +33 – 1 – 44 78 47 99
Email: commercial@beaumarly.com 

To get back to your hotel, take Métro No. 4 at Châtelet (towards Mairie de Montrouge) that takes you to Montparnasse-Bienvenüe in less than 10 minutes.

?    Accomodation


Especially if you are on a layover and need to get back to the airport in the early morning, staying close to Gare Montparnasse is highly recommendable. Since everything, and hotels, too, is quite expensive in Paris, this accommodation in a very Parisian style is perfectly located and actually quite a good deal.
To get to Gare Montparnasse from here, you can either walk about

Hotel Transcontinental 
155 avenue du Maine
75014 Paris
Phone: +33 – 1 – 45 39 20 20
Email: info@hoteltranscontinental.com

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