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24 hours in Venice - canals

Back in June 2019 I visited Venice for just 24 hours! This may sound like a very short time to some, but I did my research and asked the excellent travel folk of Twitter who assured me this would be plenty of time to soak up the culture and see the beautiful canals. It turns out they were completely right and I genuinely fell in love with the city and had a wonderful time with just a day to explore.

With recent flooding leading to tourism in Venice down 40%, I really wanted to share my wonderful trip to this city to encourage people to support the city as they build their tourism back up.

24 hours in Venice- rialto square

You might be expecting a guide on the top things to do in Venice in 24 hours, but we weren't there to try and pack in lots of sight-seeing. It was one of those trips where you just want to relax and embrace a new place without a specific plan.

They seem to be the best kind of trips for me these days! I've broken the trip down into categories so you can skip through if there is a particular part you are interested in. Here is a summary of our wonderful 24 hours in Venice and how it is so worth it even if you only have a day.

24 hours in Venice- main area

24 hours in Venice - The Accommodation

This was very much a budget trip, and you will find when researching a short stay in Venice, budget  travel and this city do not really go together. I spent a long time searching and found most of the cheaper accommodation was a little further out or actually on the mainland - not ideal when you don't have very long to explore. 

Eventually we settled on Hotel Santa Lucia. It was very basic, with a shared bathroom, but the location was excellent and the owner was really friendly which made it totally the right choice. If you do stay here, expect no frills, but if you have just 24 hours to get to know Venice you won't be spending long in the room anyway!

The hotel was in an absolutely ideal location as it wasn't very far from the bus stop where we got the bus to and from the airport. There is also a gorgeous bar and restaurant a few doors down in the same alley-way: highly recommended for drinks on your way in or out to explore the city.

24 hours in Venice- canals

24 hours in Venice - The Food

Oh, the most important part! I would be lying if I said I didn't come back to Italy mainly for the food. It's just fantastic, isn't it, and Venice is no exception. We didn't eat in any fancy places and instead chose to create our very own 'mini' food tour, tasting small chichetti in various different bars and cafes in the heart of Venice.

It was such a romantic day just aimlessly wandering in the sun and stopping for cheap prosecco (sometimes €3 a glass!) and a bite to eat whenever we fancied it. If you go a little further out from the centre you will find cheaper prices and more authentic cuisine. We had such a nice time tasting different food. I don't have any specific recommendations, just follow your eyes and nose and try different places. So much fun!

The dish on the right photo is a must-try local dish for your day in Venice: it's called Baccala Mantecato. Local cod,creamed with olive oil, herbs and garlic which is spread on crisp bread.

24 hours in Venice- chichetti, aperol spritz, pasta and baccala mantecato

Of course the gelato is a massive highlight and I just wish I had extra stomachs so I could have sampled more flavours. There seemed  to be a gelato shop on every corner but my favourite was just near our hotel, as you leave the alley way and turn left. Bear this in mind if you decide to stay at Hotel Santa Lucia.

Having a drink in St Mark's Square whilst listening to live music is a huge must-do on many tourists' lists, and I have to be honest and say I really didn't want to pay a fortune to do this. However my boyfriend insisted we stopped for some prosecco and music, and he was so right. Whilst definitely not something to do on a budget, it did feel very nice as a one-off experience to enjoy the music and people watch in the sun. Just be warned you are charged for any snacks or water they bring to you, so if you decide to do this then go without too much of a budget restriction in mind!

It was €12 for a glass of coke or prosecco. On top of that the orchestra fee was €6 each so please be aware of these costs before deciding whether you want to blow the budget on a drink here. I think with us only having 24 hours in Venice I can see why it was good to do this as a one-off bucket list drink, but the accountant in me was crying inside!

Expensive snacks in Rialto square, venice

24 hours in Venice - Activities

We didn't do much in the way of tourist activities in Venice as we both just wanted to casually explore. We toyed with the prospect of a gondola ride, but with a cost of €80 for the pleasure we decided to skip it and watch other people's rides instead. Not all the gondoliers sing but it did look like a nice experience if it is on your bucket list. Instead we took the vaporetto, a gondola shared with other tourists for a very brief ride across the canal at a cost of €2 each - this felt enough for me as I still briefly got a taster of the experience! Of course it comes down to individual budget and preference.

24 hours in Venice- canals and gondolas

We decided to pay €8 (price valid as at June 2019) to go up the Campanile di San Marco in St Mark's Square and take in the views as the queue was small and I love a good bird's eye view! I really loved this experience and I would say it is definitely worthwhile squeezing it in if you have 24 hours in Venice, depending how long the queue is when you visit. St Mark's Basilica, the cathedral just next to the tower, looked amazing. This would definitely have been added to the list if we had more time - on this occasion the queue was just a little too long.

24 hours in Venice- St Mark's Square from above

The main activity I loved was just wandering the streets with no maps, stumbling into little shops selling authentic Venetian masks and topping up with ice-cold prosecco every few steps. I can't think of a better way to spend a sunny afternoon in Italy!

24 hours in Venice- prosecco by the canal

Make sure you check out some of the shops as you meander around Venice for the day as they are really lovely. I could have looked at the stunning Venetian masks for hours as they were such high quality. I bought a little one but it definitely was more of a tourist souvenir than a traditional, hand-painted mask.

We also found the cutest little book shop called Libreria Acqua Alta which is popular with tourists as it is so quirky. The books are displayed inside old gondolas, and their gorgeous resident cat also adds to the appeal. I didn't buy anything but there were many lovely books as well as pictures, postcards and other small souvenirs to buy. Don't miss the huge pile of books outside for a memorable holiday snap or two!

24 hours in Venice- book shop with a resident cat

24 hours in Venice - Preconceptions

I thought I would touch on a few ideas people have about Venice before they visit as I must admit the negative press the city gets did make me question if it would be as good as I imagined in my head. I am always honest on this blog and I was slightly nervous about Venice being a let-down after wanting to go for years. I can honestly say I loved every second of our 24 hours in Venice and none of the following negative preconceptions about the city were an issue on our short trip.

Venice smells bad

I don't know if we just got lucky at the time of the year we visited, but I can say hand on heart the city did not smell bad to me. There was one occasion where we had a drink right near the water and I got a very slight damp whiff, but it was really mild and it never happened again. I don't know if someone said this once and it became a rumour that circulated, but don't let this put you off visiting!

24 hours in Venice- canals

Venice is too busy

Find me a European tourist city in summer which isn't busy! It wasn't that bad for us, I really found the crowds just added to the atmosphere. We visited mid-June so of course this is probably more a problem in the middle of summer when families have their holidays. It certainly isn't quiet, but if you enjoy touristy places and are happy with quite a few people then this won't be a big issue for your short break.

I have just got back from Prague at Christmas time and found that so much busier and more difficult to navigate. Venice was absolutely fine to walk around in June and we quickly found streets completely to ourselves if we walked away from the centre.

24 hours in Venice- quiet streets

Venice is too expensive

As I mentioned near the start, the accommodation in Venice was not cheap. I found it hard to get a good hotel for a price we were willing to pay, but we didn't mind staying somewhere a little more basic in order to be able to visit this bucket list destination. This is partly why we kept our Venice trip to just 24 hours!

The alcohol was cheap, the food prices were OK, and you can shop around quite easily to keep prices low. I wouldn't pick this destination if my number one priority was to have a budget weekend away, but it was worth it and the prices weren't as high as I expected.

24 hours in Venice- prosecco in the sun


The main thing to bear in mind is that you don't need a huge amount of time in Venice if you are happy to just wander around. It is the absolute ideal romantic weekend break for a couple of nights. I would love to go back and add on a visit to the colourful island of Burano, but 24 hours in Venice was great for a first visit.

I hope this post has given you a taster of what to expect from 24 hours in Venice. It is certainly somewhere I would return to and I definitely think a short layover or weekend break is plenty of time to soak up the city. To see more highlights from Venice including videos behind the pictures above check out my 24 hours in Venice Instagram highlight. Is Venice on your 2020 travel bucket list?

24 hours in Venice- pin to pinterest

24 hours in Venice

24 hours in Venice - canals

Back in June 2019 I visited Venice for just 24 hours! This may sound like a very short time to some, but I did my research and asked the excellent travel folk of Twitter who assured me this would be plenty of time to soak up the culture and see the beautiful canals. It turns out they were completely right and I genuinely fell in love with the city and had a wonderful time with just a day to explore.

With recent flooding leading to tourism in Venice down 40%, I really wanted to share my wonderful trip to this city to encourage people to support the city as they build their tourism back up.

24 hours in Venice- rialto square

You might be expecting a guide on the top things to do in Venice in 24 hours, but we weren't there to try and pack in lots of sight-seeing. It was one of those trips where you just want to relax and embrace a new place without a specific plan.

They seem to be the best kind of trips for me these days! I've broken the trip down into categories so you can skip through if there is a particular part you are interested in. Here is a summary of our wonderful 24 hours in Venice and how it is so worth it even if you only have a day.

24 hours in Venice- main area

24 hours in Venice - The Accommodation

This was very much a budget trip, and you will find when researching a short stay in Venice, budget  travel and this city do not really go together. I spent a long time searching and found most of the cheaper accommodation was a little further out or actually on the mainland - not ideal when you don't have very long to explore. 

Eventually we settled on Hotel Santa Lucia. It was very basic, with a shared bathroom, but the location was excellent and the owner was really friendly which made it totally the right choice. If you do stay here, expect no frills, but if you have just 24 hours to get to know Venice you won't be spending long in the room anyway!

The hotel was in an absolutely ideal location as it wasn't very far from the bus stop where we got the bus to and from the airport. There is also a gorgeous bar and restaurant a few doors down in the same alley-way: highly recommended for drinks on your way in or out to explore the city.

24 hours in Venice- canals

24 hours in Venice - The Food

Oh, the most important part! I would be lying if I said I didn't come back to Italy mainly for the food. It's just fantastic, isn't it, and Venice is no exception. We didn't eat in any fancy places and instead chose to create our very own 'mini' food tour, tasting small chichetti in various different bars and cafes in the heart of Venice.

It was such a romantic day just aimlessly wandering in the sun and stopping for cheap prosecco (sometimes €3 a glass!) and a bite to eat whenever we fancied it. If you go a little further out from the centre you will find cheaper prices and more authentic cuisine. We had such a nice time tasting different food. I don't have any specific recommendations, just follow your eyes and nose and try different places. So much fun!

The dish on the right photo is a must-try local dish for your day in Venice: it's called Baccala Mantecato. Local cod,creamed with olive oil, herbs and garlic which is spread on crisp bread.

24 hours in Venice- chichetti, aperol spritz, pasta and baccala mantecato

Of course the gelato is a massive highlight and I just wish I had extra stomachs so I could have sampled more flavours. There seemed  to be a gelato shop on every corner but my favourite was just near our hotel, as you leave the alley way and turn left. Bear this in mind if you decide to stay at Hotel Santa Lucia.

Having a drink in St Mark's Square whilst listening to live music is a huge must-do on many tourists' lists, and I have to be honest and say I really didn't want to pay a fortune to do this. However my boyfriend insisted we stopped for some prosecco and music, and he was so right. Whilst definitely not something to do on a budget, it did feel very nice as a one-off experience to enjoy the music and people watch in the sun. Just be warned you are charged for any snacks or water they bring to you, so if you decide to do this then go without too much of a budget restriction in mind!

It was €12 for a glass of coke or prosecco. On top of that the orchestra fee was €6 each so please be aware of these costs before deciding whether you want to blow the budget on a drink here. I think with us only having 24 hours in Venice I can see why it was good to do this as a one-off bucket list drink, but the accountant in me was crying inside!

Expensive snacks in Rialto square, venice

24 hours in Venice - Activities

We didn't do much in the way of tourist activities in Venice as we both just wanted to casually explore. We toyed with the prospect of a gondola ride, but with a cost of €80 for the pleasure we decided to skip it and watch other people's rides instead. Not all the gondoliers sing but it did look like a nice experience if it is on your bucket list. Instead we took the vaporetto, a gondola shared with other tourists for a very brief ride across the canal at a cost of €2 each - this felt enough for me as I still briefly got a taster of the experience! Of course it comes down to individual budget and preference.

24 hours in Venice- canals and gondolas

We decided to pay €8 (price valid as at June 2019) to go up the Campanile di San Marco in St Mark's Square and take in the views as the queue was small and I love a good bird's eye view! I really loved this experience and I would say it is definitely worthwhile squeezing it in if you have 24 hours in Venice, depending how long the queue is when you visit. St Mark's Basilica, the cathedral just next to the tower, looked amazing. This would definitely have been added to the list if we had more time - on this occasion the queue was just a little too long.

24 hours in Venice- St Mark's Square from above

The main activity I loved was just wandering the streets with no maps, stumbling into little shops selling authentic Venetian masks and topping up with ice-cold prosecco every few steps. I can't think of a better way to spend a sunny afternoon in Italy!

24 hours in Venice- prosecco by the canal

Make sure you check out some of the shops as you meander around Venice for the day as they are really lovely. I could have looked at the stunning Venetian masks for hours as they were such high quality. I bought a little one but it definitely was more of a tourist souvenir than a traditional, hand-painted mask.

We also found the cutest little book shop called Libreria Acqua Alta which is popular with tourists as it is so quirky. The books are displayed inside old gondolas, and their gorgeous resident cat also adds to the appeal. I didn't buy anything but there were many lovely books as well as pictures, postcards and other small souvenirs to buy. Don't miss the huge pile of books outside for a memorable holiday snap or two!

24 hours in Venice- book shop with a resident cat

24 hours in Venice - Preconceptions

I thought I would touch on a few ideas people have about Venice before they visit as I must admit the negative press the city gets did make me question if it would be as good as I imagined in my head. I am always honest on this blog and I was slightly nervous about Venice being a let-down after wanting to go for years. I can honestly say I loved every second of our 24 hours in Venice and none of the following negative preconceptions about the city were an issue on our short trip.

Venice smells bad

I don't know if we just got lucky at the time of the year we visited, but I can say hand on heart the city did not smell bad to me. There was one occasion where we had a drink right near the water and I got a very slight damp whiff, but it was really mild and it never happened again. I don't know if someone said this once and it became a rumour that circulated, but don't let this put you off visiting!

24 hours in Venice- canals

Venice is too busy

Find me a European tourist city in summer which isn't busy! It wasn't that bad for us, I really found the crowds just added to the atmosphere. We visited mid-June so of course this is probably more a problem in the middle of summer when families have their holidays. It certainly isn't quiet, but if you enjoy touristy places and are happy with quite a few people then this won't be a big issue for your short break.

I have just got back from Prague at Christmas time and found that so much busier and more difficult to navigate. Venice was absolutely fine to walk around in June and we quickly found streets completely to ourselves if we walked away from the centre.

24 hours in Venice- quiet streets

Venice is too expensive

As I mentioned near the start, the accommodation in Venice was not cheap. I found it hard to get a good hotel for a price we were willing to pay, but we didn't mind staying somewhere a little more basic in order to be able to visit this bucket list destination. This is partly why we kept our Venice trip to just 24 hours!

The alcohol was cheap, the food prices were OK, and you can shop around quite easily to keep prices low. I wouldn't pick this destination if my number one priority was to have a budget weekend away, but it was worth it and the prices weren't as high as I expected.

24 hours in Venice- prosecco in the sun


The main thing to bear in mind is that you don't need a huge amount of time in Venice if you are happy to just wander around. It is the absolute ideal romantic weekend break for a couple of nights. I would love to go back and add on a visit to the colourful island of Burano, but 24 hours in Venice was great for a first visit.

I hope this post has given you a taster of what to expect from 24 hours in Venice. It is certainly somewhere I would return to and I definitely think a short layover or weekend break is plenty of time to soak up the city. To see more highlights from Venice including videos behind the pictures above check out my 24 hours in Venice Instagram highlight. Is Venice on your 2020 travel bucket list?

24 hours in Venice- pin to pinterest
3 days in Prague at Christmas: Old Town Square

Prague at Christmas: a trip which has been on my bucket list for what seems like forever! Finally in 2019 we took the plunge and booked a three day trip to this magical festive city. I really didn't know what to expect at Christmas and the blog posts I read tended to focus on which markets to visit and things to do in Prague.

I wanted to share what we got up to but also my honest experience and impressions. Whilst we had an amazing time there are a few important things to consider before booking a Prague Christmas trip in 2020, and I wish I'd read more posts like this when I was planning my trip.

Prague at Christmas: First Impressions

When we landed at the airport we decided to get the public bus to the city. I highly recommend this as it only cost a couple of quid and was right outside the terminal - just look for platform G. You can buy tickets on the bus and I would recommend this as we bought a ticket from a machine only to be told it wasn't valid. You could also easily get a taxi outside the terminal if this is your preference but the bus was an express service which let us have a mini tour of the city on the way to our hotel, so this was good for me.

3 days in Prague at Christmas: Wenceslas square tree

When we got off the bus we had a 10 minute walk to our hotel, and we passed through Wenceslas Square which is one of the main markets in Prague. It wasn't too busy and delicious smells hit my nose before I even saw the colourful stalls. There seemed to be a nice mix of food and souvenirs, and seeing this got me so excited to dump our bags and get out to explore!

3 days in Prague at Christmas: wenceslas square

When we got back out to actually explore the Wenceslas Square market properly, I was actually quite surprised at how small it was for a main Christmas market in Prague. As the weekend went on I started to realise that the markets are actually spread out and not just concentrated in one area. This surprised me, I expected a huge Christmas market which would be bigger than any I have seen in the UK but it was very different. This isn't a negative observation, just something to be aware of when you are visualising what the Christmas markets will be like.

Prague at Christmas: Old Town Square

Old Town Square in Prague holds the main Christmas market. This means it has the largest crowds as well and I think this photo taken from the tower shows just how busy it was! On a side note, I'd really recommend heading up for the view as this was my favourite thing we did in Prague. I loved seeing the crowds from above and we played a good few games of iSpy up here! Top tip: head up just before sunset so you get to see the view both in day and at night when all the beautiful lights come on.

3 days in Prague at Christmas: views of old town square from above

The astronomical clock is a main sight in Old Town Square but it was slight let-down. It is worth having a look if you happen to visit on the hour but don't expect anything big! The crowds were absolutely huge when we visited the clock late at night, to the point people were bundling along in one huge wave of bodies. I didn't feel unsafe but I was careful to clutch my bag close to me just in case.

I really loved this market as it had some nice food and souvenirs, and a really lovely atmosphere. The tree is absolutely huge and like no other I have ever seen! This got me very much into the festive spirit and I would recommend trying to see this market first if you can and make sure you visit both at day and night. Look how beautiful it was when the tree was all lit up!

3 days in Prague at Christmas: Old town square at night

Prague at Christmas: Charles Bridge

We decided to head over Charles Bridge on our second day as this is one of the main sights to see and we wanted to check out a few Christmas markets over on the other side of Prague. Again it was busy but offered some nice views of Prague. 

There is a beautiful church just on the right of the bridge before you cross which offers some concerts, one thing I wish we had done is been organised and booked in for a carol concert - I would recommend doing this as soon as you arrive if it is something that interests you and you only have 3 days in Prague, as I think it would be a magical experience to squeeze in!

3 days in Prague at Christmas: charles bridge

Prague at Christmas: The Castle

We headed for the castle next with no real plan, but it turned out the castle was really big and actually had different Christmas market stalls in the grounds which are free to explore. We had some nice (lethal) hot honey wine from the stalls as you just get to the castle, and this was a nice small Christmas market which I recommend for a pit stop on your way around the city.

3 days in Prague at Christmas: honey wine

Within the castle was one of my favourite markets which mainly focused on food. It is located just in front of St. George's Basilica and you can't miss it as you walk round the castle grounds. In general, the food at Prague Christmas markets wasn't exactly what I expected as there was less variety than you would find in the UK. However, this market had a large selection of delicious food including local gnocchi and we really enjoyed sampling a few dishes. We visited at night and it had a lovely atmosphere.

3 days in Prague at Christmas: castle markets

One thing to bear in mind is that the prices quoted on the stalls is per 100 grams and they will try and fill the dish massively to charge you a fortune! Don't be nervous about asking them to stop after it is full enough. At first we thought they were being kind just giving us an extra-large portion but we soon realised it was going to cost us a fortune.

Prague at Christmas: Kampa Island

Kampa island is located in Malá Strana in Prague, not too far from Charles Bridge, and has its own Christmas market. We got some nice souvenirs here as it felt a little more authentic than some other markets, despite being quite small.

3 days in Prague at Christmas: kampa island

We managed to find a very festive restaurant called Velkopřevorský Mlýn on Kampa Island which definitely deserves its own mention as it was lovely! Think festive decorations, Christmas tunes and even a huge sleigh to pose in for your holiday snaps. The food was really hearty and warming. I would definitely recommend adding this place to your itinerary if you visit Prague. Reviews online are mixed about the service, which we decided to ignore (I say we, how could I not visit as soon as I saw that sleigh?) We both really enjoyed it, devouring delicious local goulash and apple strudel. The pictures don't do it justice at all so please visit for yourself to see how lovely it is.

3 days in Prague at Christmas: favourite restaurant

Prague at Christmas: Havelske trziste

I thought I'd save my absolute favourite Christmas market until last. What. a. place! I felt like I didn't completely get the magical Christmas feeling at all the markets, I'm not even sure why, but when I got to Havelske Trziste, or Havel's Market, I was in awe. It is only small but the souvenirs were extremely cheap and so cute!

3 days in Prague at Christmas: markets

I absolutely loved this toy shop just next to the market: the place of my childhood dreams. Around the edge of the market there are other cute souvenir shops with some gorgeous wooden toys and general souvenirs. I highly recommend a visit to this market for a more local taste of Prague which is just how I imagined it would be. An absolute must-visit if you have 3 days in Prague at Christmas.

3 days in Prague at Christmas: souvenir shop

Prague at Christmas: Food and drink

As I mentioned earlier there wasn't a huge array of food to try at the Christmas markets but definitely enough if you have 3 days in Prague. I had to try the local hot dog, Pražská klobása, which is similar to Bratwurst which you find at German markets. Very delicious with ketchup and mustard!

3 days in Prague at Christmas: hot dog

We enjoyed some tasty palačinky, which are very similar to French crepes and come with a variety of toppings - nutella and cookies was the best! There are a variety of hot wine options on offer at the markets but obviously being in Prague for the first time we wanted to have lots of beer. There was beer on offer at the Old Town Square market for £2 for a large cup - very nice and made my time in Prague quite hazy to be honest!

3 days in Prague at Christmas: £2 beer

If you visit in late December like we did, be prepared for bars and restaurants to be absolutely packed. We tried to visit some nice cocktail bars on our first night and got turned away from three before we gave up. We made a reservation for the next night and I would highly recommend doing this if you want to sample Prague's nightlife in your 3 day trip. The restaurants weren't quite so difficult to get into, I guess because many people will eat at Christmas markets this dilutes the crowds a little, but it is still worth booking if you see somewhere you would like to try.

Prague at Christmas: Considerations for 2020

If you are looking to book your own 3 day trip to Prague at Christmas for 2020 and beyond, I'd recommend going early in December if possible. We visited right before Christmas and the crowds were very intense, but I have heard it is a little lighter earlier in the month. The markets usually start late November and continue until the end of the first week of January, so there is plenty of time to schedule in a visit.

3 days in Prague at Christmas: crowds

We stayed at the K&K Fenix Hotel just off Wenceslas Square. It was fine but I think with hindsight I'd have rather been nearer to Old Town Square or the other side of Prague near the castle as we didn't spend much time in Wenceslas Square which held most of the main high street shops.

Make sure you make reservations for any bars or restaurants you really want to try as they will definitely get full in December and unlike other destinations, it was tricky to just turn up to bars and get a table.

I'd suggest shopping around a little for souvenirs. There was a wide range of products on offer in Prague, and I am glad I didn't just buy the first items I saw. If you take in all the markets before buying any Christmas decorations or presents for family and friends you will be able to work out where the best prices are and which products you like best. It isn't the same as UK markets where it's the same products repeated on each stall and imported from other countries, Prague souvenirs are local, hadmade and beautiful.

3 days in Prague at Christmas

Consider carefully how long you need in Prague when visiting for Christmas. We found three days was plenty of time to enjoy all the Christmas markets, in fact we could probably have seen everything we wanted in two days. It depends on your travel style and if you mind having long days, but there weren't a huge amount of touristy things we wanted to do. Two days would be absolutely fine to take in all the Christmas markets in Prague.

I hope this post helps those of you looking to book your own short trip to Prague at Christmas, please let me know if you end up booking! Feel free to pin this post for later and please share it if you enjoyed reading about my trip to Prague.

Prague at Christmas: Pinterest

3 days in Prague at Christmas

3 days in Prague at Christmas: Old Town Square

Prague at Christmas: a trip which has been on my bucket list for what seems like forever! Finally in 2019 we took the plunge and booked a three day trip to this magical festive city. I really didn't know what to expect at Christmas and the blog posts I read tended to focus on which markets to visit and things to do in Prague.

I wanted to share what we got up to but also my honest experience and impressions. Whilst we had an amazing time there are a few important things to consider before booking a Prague Christmas trip in 2020, and I wish I'd read more posts like this when I was planning my trip.

Prague at Christmas: First Impressions

When we landed at the airport we decided to get the public bus to the city. I highly recommend this as it only cost a couple of quid and was right outside the terminal - just look for platform G. You can buy tickets on the bus and I would recommend this as we bought a ticket from a machine only to be told it wasn't valid. You could also easily get a taxi outside the terminal if this is your preference but the bus was an express service which let us have a mini tour of the city on the way to our hotel, so this was good for me.

3 days in Prague at Christmas: Wenceslas square tree

When we got off the bus we had a 10 minute walk to our hotel, and we passed through Wenceslas Square which is one of the main markets in Prague. It wasn't too busy and delicious smells hit my nose before I even saw the colourful stalls. There seemed to be a nice mix of food and souvenirs, and seeing this got me so excited to dump our bags and get out to explore!

3 days in Prague at Christmas: wenceslas square

When we got back out to actually explore the Wenceslas Square market properly, I was actually quite surprised at how small it was for a main Christmas market in Prague. As the weekend went on I started to realise that the markets are actually spread out and not just concentrated in one area. This surprised me, I expected a huge Christmas market which would be bigger than any I have seen in the UK but it was very different. This isn't a negative observation, just something to be aware of when you are visualising what the Christmas markets will be like.

Prague at Christmas: Old Town Square

Old Town Square in Prague holds the main Christmas market. This means it has the largest crowds as well and I think this photo taken from the tower shows just how busy it was! On a side note, I'd really recommend heading up for the view as this was my favourite thing we did in Prague. I loved seeing the crowds from above and we played a good few games of iSpy up here! Top tip: head up just before sunset so you get to see the view both in day and at night when all the beautiful lights come on.

3 days in Prague at Christmas: views of old town square from above

The astronomical clock is a main sight in Old Town Square but it was slight let-down. It is worth having a look if you happen to visit on the hour but don't expect anything big! The crowds were absolutely huge when we visited the clock late at night, to the point people were bundling along in one huge wave of bodies. I didn't feel unsafe but I was careful to clutch my bag close to me just in case.

I really loved this market as it had some nice food and souvenirs, and a really lovely atmosphere. The tree is absolutely huge and like no other I have ever seen! This got me very much into the festive spirit and I would recommend trying to see this market first if you can and make sure you visit both at day and night. Look how beautiful it was when the tree was all lit up!

3 days in Prague at Christmas: Old town square at night

Prague at Christmas: Charles Bridge

We decided to head over Charles Bridge on our second day as this is one of the main sights to see and we wanted to check out a few Christmas markets over on the other side of Prague. Again it was busy but offered some nice views of Prague. 

There is a beautiful church just on the right of the bridge before you cross which offers some concerts, one thing I wish we had done is been organised and booked in for a carol concert - I would recommend doing this as soon as you arrive if it is something that interests you and you only have 3 days in Prague, as I think it would be a magical experience to squeeze in!

3 days in Prague at Christmas: charles bridge

Prague at Christmas: The Castle

We headed for the castle next with no real plan, but it turned out the castle was really big and actually had different Christmas market stalls in the grounds which are free to explore. We had some nice (lethal) hot honey wine from the stalls as you just get to the castle, and this was a nice small Christmas market which I recommend for a pit stop on your way around the city.

3 days in Prague at Christmas: honey wine

Within the castle was one of my favourite markets which mainly focused on food. It is located just in front of St. George's Basilica and you can't miss it as you walk round the castle grounds. In general, the food at Prague Christmas markets wasn't exactly what I expected as there was less variety than you would find in the UK. However, this market had a large selection of delicious food including local gnocchi and we really enjoyed sampling a few dishes. We visited at night and it had a lovely atmosphere.

3 days in Prague at Christmas: castle markets

One thing to bear in mind is that the prices quoted on the stalls is per 100 grams and they will try and fill the dish massively to charge you a fortune! Don't be nervous about asking them to stop after it is full enough. At first we thought they were being kind just giving us an extra-large portion but we soon realised it was going to cost us a fortune.

Prague at Christmas: Kampa Island

Kampa island is located in Malá Strana in Prague, not too far from Charles Bridge, and has its own Christmas market. We got some nice souvenirs here as it felt a little more authentic than some other markets, despite being quite small.

3 days in Prague at Christmas: kampa island

We managed to find a very festive restaurant called Velkopřevorský Mlýn on Kampa Island which definitely deserves its own mention as it was lovely! Think festive decorations, Christmas tunes and even a huge sleigh to pose in for your holiday snaps. The food was really hearty and warming. I would definitely recommend adding this place to your itinerary if you visit Prague. Reviews online are mixed about the service, which we decided to ignore (I say we, how could I not visit as soon as I saw that sleigh?) We both really enjoyed it, devouring delicious local goulash and apple strudel. The pictures don't do it justice at all so please visit for yourself to see how lovely it is.

3 days in Prague at Christmas: favourite restaurant

Prague at Christmas: Havelske trziste

I thought I'd save my absolute favourite Christmas market until last. What. a. place! I felt like I didn't completely get the magical Christmas feeling at all the markets, I'm not even sure why, but when I got to Havelske Trziste, or Havel's Market, I was in awe. It is only small but the souvenirs were extremely cheap and so cute!

3 days in Prague at Christmas: markets

I absolutely loved this toy shop just next to the market: the place of my childhood dreams. Around the edge of the market there are other cute souvenir shops with some gorgeous wooden toys and general souvenirs. I highly recommend a visit to this market for a more local taste of Prague which is just how I imagined it would be. An absolute must-visit if you have 3 days in Prague at Christmas.

3 days in Prague at Christmas: souvenir shop

Prague at Christmas: Food and drink

As I mentioned earlier there wasn't a huge array of food to try at the Christmas markets but definitely enough if you have 3 days in Prague. I had to try the local hot dog, Pražská klobása, which is similar to Bratwurst which you find at German markets. Very delicious with ketchup and mustard!

3 days in Prague at Christmas: hot dog

We enjoyed some tasty palačinky, which are very similar to French crepes and come with a variety of toppings - nutella and cookies was the best! There are a variety of hot wine options on offer at the markets but obviously being in Prague for the first time we wanted to have lots of beer. There was beer on offer at the Old Town Square market for £2 for a large cup - very nice and made my time in Prague quite hazy to be honest!

3 days in Prague at Christmas: £2 beer

If you visit in late December like we did, be prepared for bars and restaurants to be absolutely packed. We tried to visit some nice cocktail bars on our first night and got turned away from three before we gave up. We made a reservation for the next night and I would highly recommend doing this if you want to sample Prague's nightlife in your 3 day trip. The restaurants weren't quite so difficult to get into, I guess because many people will eat at Christmas markets this dilutes the crowds a little, but it is still worth booking if you see somewhere you would like to try.

Prague at Christmas: Considerations for 2020

If you are looking to book your own 3 day trip to Prague at Christmas for 2020 and beyond, I'd recommend going early in December if possible. We visited right before Christmas and the crowds were very intense, but I have heard it is a little lighter earlier in the month. The markets usually start late November and continue until the end of the first week of January, so there is plenty of time to schedule in a visit.

3 days in Prague at Christmas: crowds

We stayed at the K&K Fenix Hotel just off Wenceslas Square. It was fine but I think with hindsight I'd have rather been nearer to Old Town Square or the other side of Prague near the castle as we didn't spend much time in Wenceslas Square which held most of the main high street shops.

Make sure you make reservations for any bars or restaurants you really want to try as they will definitely get full in December and unlike other destinations, it was tricky to just turn up to bars and get a table.

I'd suggest shopping around a little for souvenirs. There was a wide range of products on offer in Prague, and I am glad I didn't just buy the first items I saw. If you take in all the markets before buying any Christmas decorations or presents for family and friends you will be able to work out where the best prices are and which products you like best. It isn't the same as UK markets where it's the same products repeated on each stall and imported from other countries, Prague souvenirs are local, hadmade and beautiful.

3 days in Prague at Christmas

Consider carefully how long you need in Prague when visiting for Christmas. We found three days was plenty of time to enjoy all the Christmas markets, in fact we could probably have seen everything we wanted in two days. It depends on your travel style and if you mind having long days, but there weren't a huge amount of touristy things we wanted to do. Two days would be absolutely fine to take in all the Christmas markets in Prague.

I hope this post helps those of you looking to book your own short trip to Prague at Christmas, please let me know if you end up booking! Feel free to pin this post for later and please share it if you enjoyed reading about my trip to Prague.

Prague at Christmas: Pinterest


Ah, the last week of the year. All you see splashed over your Instagram is 'my best bits of 2019'... or 'the best places I visited this year' (guilty as charged!). It's actually quite nice to have a bit of positivity and I am a nosy sod so I do enjoy seeing people's summaries... to an extent. I have generally had a more happy year than some other recent years, so at the moment I can enjoy these posts. It makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside seeing the fantastic places people have travelled to, or the new babies or marriages of the year.

However, I haven't always felt happy and settled at this time of year. I don't talk about everything online despite how detailed my Instagram stories are some days, and I generally keep it to myself when I am feeling negative or sad. However I really wanted to write a balanced end-of-year summary. Imagine if everyone talked about exactly how their year went? I have memories of feeling very low and taking other people's Instagram and Facebook posts as evidence that they were happy and I was not. Oh how miserable I have been at times aimlessly scrolling and comparing. 

Now I know that we should view people's social media feeds as the highlights reel they are, and nobody shows their worst bits, but anyone reading this who has had some low points in their life will really know what I mean when I say that it can sometimes be very hard to appreciate other people's achievements. I don't want this to come across as a gloomy post as I've genuinely had a pretty good year in 2019! However if you asked me that question at the end of the year three years or even possibly two years ago you'd have had a very different answer and I will never forget how that felt. Without further ado, here is my real summary of 2019: behind the highlight reel.


January: trying to get over Singapore

As you know if you've read my blog before I spent most of 2018 living in Singapore. We came back in September so by the time it got to January I was still very much trying to find my feet back in the UK and work out if I was going to stay for a while or move abroad again. It was a mixed up time and I had some very low points in January. I think it is a difficult month at times if you love Christmas as much as I do, and I felt a little unsettled at this point. We carried on house-hunting after finding nothing before Christmas... little did we know it would take nearly 9 months to move into one we liked!

February: Copenhagen and Seaham Hall

February was a lovely month. We had a relaxing overnight stay and spa at Seaham Hall for Valentine's weekend which you can read about here. I really recommend it for a spa break, or I'd suggest going for one of their twilight evenings if you're short on time or want to spend a little less. The food is amazing and I love the variety of thermal rooms they have.

I visited my first overseas destination of the year in February: wonderful, beautiful Copenhagen! If you missed my blog post with tips of things to do in this fabulous city you can read it here. I would say this was potentially the best few days of the year as I just fell in love with the city and I would really recommend it for your 2020 travel list.


March: Crufts and Istanbul!

March was another canny month for travel. One of my surprise Christmas presents from my partner was a trip to Birmingham to Crufts which was so much fun! I was desperate for a dog at this point... little did I know some other furry friends would enter my life later in the year. We visited Cadbury World as well. I'd say it was around this time my blogging mojo really slowed down and I am yet to blog about any of these trips other than Copenhagen! Running a blog website sounds fun and it really, genuinely is, but one thing I've struggled with in 2019 is finding time for everything. I've had a few meltdowns this year but I am getting better at prioritising different aspects of my life!

I had a lovely trip to Istanbul in March to visit my dad and other family who live there. I am half Turkish and lived in Istanbul for the first few years of my life, so heading back there really feels like my second or even joint home. The weather was cold but dry (it's not hot all year round!) so I had a lovely time exploring the neighbourhood of Balat with my dad and heading out for a drive in his camper van.

As much as I loved my trip, saying goodbye breaks my heart every time so as usual I had a few days / weeks of feeling quite sad after this trip as I adjusted back to life without my dad close by. I wrote a post about what home means to me which is useful to read if you have homes in different places.


April: House-hunting and Centre Parcs

April was the month we finally viewed the house which we ended up buying! We had seen the same house design back in October and made an offer but got out-bid quite considerably. This had been a  disappointing time as we thought we were going to get it, so to get the same house type but with a nicer garden and for a lower price was amazing. I remember feeling really happy when I took this selfie! It's actually really good to scroll through your own camera roll and see the best bits of your year - I am not always the best at focusing on the positives.

April was my auntie's 50th Birthday so we headed to Centre Parcs which was nice. There were some family politics and some of the weekend was hard but overall we had a nice time celebrating with my auntie (I told you this was a 'behind the highlights reel'!)

I also attended some blog events in April at Inflatanation and Banyan, so I started to get my blogging mojo back a little, but I wouldn't say it has ever come back properly. One of my favourite days in April was seeing the beautiful cherry blossom in Alnwick Garden!

May: Family time and food

In May my mum turned 60 and we went for a really nice weekend away close to home in Sleights which included a trip on the NYMR railway with a three course meal. It was a lovely, relaxing weekend, made even better with having the dog for company. It really made me even more pet broody than ever before, and the fact we were moving into our house later in the month felt so exciting... except we didn't. The house move date kept getting pushed back and it was really frustrating! I started overthinking everything and worrying that it wasn't meant to be. This was a very anxious and low month for me, I just wanted to feel settled!

It was a pretty quiet month as we were trying to save every penny for the house move and when I look at my camera roll it hardly shows anything for May. At this point I'd been working from home far too much and I started to realise that working alone for an extended period is terrible for my mind. If you feel down unexpectedly for a period of time it is worth considering lifestyle factors: I don't think I'd realised how hard it had been and I am so glad I work full-time again now.


June: Exercise, holidays, house move

June was unexpectedly manic! I got a little bit into exercise after I'd been feeling low the month before and this really seemed to help. We also got a house move date for later in the month which was great and made me feel less in limbo.

We had a week off in June packed with sightseeing in Edinburgh, Venice and Malta. I managed to find flights which were dirt cheap if we flew Edinburgh - Venice - Malta - Newcastle so we had a great time seeing different places. I must get round to finally blogging about all three but there are detailed highlights saved on my Instagram if you would like any tips for now. Sadly I still didn't feel too happy. I never know whether to discuss low points as I really don't want to seem ungrateful, but you can fly to the most exotic destination in the world but your state of mind still flies with you... I did feel quite sad in Edinburgh but by the time we got to Venice it was so busy and wonderful that it took my mind off things somewhat.

June ended with the big house move! Looking back I reckon it was one of the most stressful periods of my life and if I'd have been working full time I have no idea how I would have dealt with it all. I think it's only writing it down now that makes me connect the dots and realise why I had a low few weeks / months - we just packed too much in. It was good stress in the end of course as we got our lovely home and we have been enjoying decorating it all to our taste, I really appreciate being able to have my own place.

July: New job and DIY

In July I started my new job which I am so happy with. I want to spend a few sentences talking about this as it has been a really key part of this year for me. Being utterly miserable in a job absolutely sucks and if you are going through that then I feel for you. I previously kept changing jobs within the same career as each time I thought the job wasn't quite right, but after a few years I realised it was the career which wasn't working. 

If you are in this position going into the new year, then I strongly urge you to take some time out whether it's in the house, alone, on a walk, or in a nice coffee shop. Try to think really hard about your values and the aspects you want from a job / career and get it all down on paper. Once you have done that think about career options which might fit into those dream aspects you are looking for, or ask friends and family for their help as they might have suggestions you may have missed. Please try and make a change, just don't stay miserable for years like I did!

Other than settling into my new job, my camera roll is just packed with furniture and DIY pics for July. It was very much a month of getting our new home sorted!

August: More DIY, day trips and sad news

August had some lovely weather and we made the most of it by heading to Druridge Bay for a lovely picnic. We got to enjoy some nice days in the garden and have our first (and last) BBQ as the weather didn't seem to stick around too long.

At the end of August we had booked to go to Greece for a week's all-inclusive package holiday. We were also going to take a boat over to Bodrum to see my dad and we were so excited after a busy few weeks with the new house. Unfortunately due to a family illness we didn't get to go on the holiday and instead had a last minute weekend in the Lakes. This was a really lovely trip, although we were both pretty down about the illness and not getting to go on the holiday. I guess it made me realise that travel doesn't always have to be far away from home and sometimes a local trip can be good to unwind, but it was a really hard and sad month.


September: First ever solo and press trip

September was exciting as I got invited on my first ever press trip, which would be my first proper solo holiday as well! You can read all about my trip to Aberdeenshire here, and my honest thoughts on my first solo travel experience in my 30's here

I was really worried about this trip as I just didn't know how my mind would behave being all alone for a long weekend, but turns out I honestly had the best time! It felt massively liberating getting out of my comfort zone. You can read more in the post but I definitely plan to do more solo trips in the future. Doing a press trip is hard though. I found it pretty draining and stressful trying to get the best content I could, but I think the pictures turned out quite well.


October: Birthdays and Fur Babies

October was an absolutely brilliant month (reading this back, this year was a rollercoaster)! It was both mine and my partner's birthdays which we celebrated with lots of food and drink. We would have got away for one or both of our birthdays (they are three days apart) but we didn't, for a VERY VERY good reason. We adopted this beautiful pair of fur babies!

Now Instagram gets a bad rep' sometimes, and I agree that it has its problems whether you are using it for social reasons or your business. However, it is thanks to that platform that the previous owner of this gorgeous pair of British Shorthairs got in touch with me to see if I knew anyone who would be interested in adopting them. Within about two days of speaking to her we were round to see them and they came home with us a few days later! 

They mean so much to me and they have settled in well. Since we got them, I can say hand on heart I haven't had any miserable days like I had previously in the year. They have absolutely changed my life. I must say I never saw myself being a cat lady but I am fully embracing it. A dog is still on the cards, but probably in a few years once I am a bit less desperate to travel everywhere.


November: Eating my way round Newcastle

As we didn't want to leave the cats alone very much in their first few weeks at home, November became a very lethargic month of eating lots of good lunches in town and spending evenings and weekends cuddling the cats. By this point I don't think I had exercised at all since June and writing this now on December 30th I think it has actually been 6 months since I did any running or workouts! 

I feel like people only ever share those gym selfies when they are working out once in a blue moon, and don't always discuss the reality of longer periods doing absolutely nothing. I do feel a bit 'ugh' and I am hoping that I can start off the new year with a bit less cheese and a bit more running as it's very good for my mind!

December: Festive fun and Prague

December was a really busy month for work, but that aside I had the loveliest month of festive fun. It was technically the last day of November, but making my own wreath with my mum was a huge highlight of Christmas. I had lots of good food and drink in December and tried to do my shopping and wrapping for people slowly which was nice and relaxed.

Later in the month we headed off to Prague for a long weekend which I will be blogging about very soon. Prague was great and we continued the theme of eating and drinking everything in sight! Reality check though: it was extre-e-e-mely busy, so please bear this in mind if you plant to visit next December. Hopefully my Instagram stories showed the reality - you can check the story highlight out here if you missed it.


Heading into 2020

I am ending the year (and the decade!) sitting on the plane to Istanbul to see my family. It feels like the right place to end this decade and start the new year. I am so excited as I have never had a new year's eve in Istanbul before.

Before I wrote this post my memories of 2019 were quite mixed with some low points clearly stuck in my mind but actually it was an excellent year overall. Some great destinations visited, probably the most calories I have eaten in a year ever (with no guilt at all), and most importantly my family are well and happy. And by family I am including the newest furry members too, of course. I am still unable to start a family which is my biggest heartache, but in this next decade I should be getting a kidney transplant and starting a family, or adopting a baby if not, so I am trying to stay positive on that front. Here's to achieving my ONE AND ONLY goal for 2020: HAPPINESS!

2019: Behind the highlight reel


Ah, the last week of the year. All you see splashed over your Instagram is 'my best bits of 2019'... or 'the best places I visited this year' (guilty as charged!). It's actually quite nice to have a bit of positivity and I am a nosy sod so I do enjoy seeing people's summaries... to an extent. I have generally had a more happy year than some other recent years, so at the moment I can enjoy these posts. It makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside seeing the fantastic places people have travelled to, or the new babies or marriages of the year.

However, I haven't always felt happy and settled at this time of year. I don't talk about everything online despite how detailed my Instagram stories are some days, and I generally keep it to myself when I am feeling negative or sad. However I really wanted to write a balanced end-of-year summary. Imagine if everyone talked about exactly how their year went? I have memories of feeling very low and taking other people's Instagram and Facebook posts as evidence that they were happy and I was not. Oh how miserable I have been at times aimlessly scrolling and comparing. 

Now I know that we should view people's social media feeds as the highlights reel they are, and nobody shows their worst bits, but anyone reading this who has had some low points in their life will really know what I mean when I say that it can sometimes be very hard to appreciate other people's achievements. I don't want this to come across as a gloomy post as I've genuinely had a pretty good year in 2019! However if you asked me that question at the end of the year three years or even possibly two years ago you'd have had a very different answer and I will never forget how that felt. Without further ado, here is my real summary of 2019: behind the highlight reel.


January: trying to get over Singapore

As you know if you've read my blog before I spent most of 2018 living in Singapore. We came back in September so by the time it got to January I was still very much trying to find my feet back in the UK and work out if I was going to stay for a while or move abroad again. It was a mixed up time and I had some very low points in January. I think it is a difficult month at times if you love Christmas as much as I do, and I felt a little unsettled at this point. We carried on house-hunting after finding nothing before Christmas... little did we know it would take nearly 9 months to move into one we liked!

February: Copenhagen and Seaham Hall

February was a lovely month. We had a relaxing overnight stay and spa at Seaham Hall for Valentine's weekend which you can read about here. I really recommend it for a spa break, or I'd suggest going for one of their twilight evenings if you're short on time or want to spend a little less. The food is amazing and I love the variety of thermal rooms they have.

I visited my first overseas destination of the year in February: wonderful, beautiful Copenhagen! If you missed my blog post with tips of things to do in this fabulous city you can read it here. I would say this was potentially the best few days of the year as I just fell in love with the city and I would really recommend it for your 2020 travel list.


March: Crufts and Istanbul!

March was another canny month for travel. One of my surprise Christmas presents from my partner was a trip to Birmingham to Crufts which was so much fun! I was desperate for a dog at this point... little did I know some other furry friends would enter my life later in the year. We visited Cadbury World as well. I'd say it was around this time my blogging mojo really slowed down and I am yet to blog about any of these trips other than Copenhagen! Running a blog website sounds fun and it really, genuinely is, but one thing I've struggled with in 2019 is finding time for everything. I've had a few meltdowns this year but I am getting better at prioritising different aspects of my life!

I had a lovely trip to Istanbul in March to visit my dad and other family who live there. I am half Turkish and lived in Istanbul for the first few years of my life, so heading back there really feels like my second or even joint home. The weather was cold but dry (it's not hot all year round!) so I had a lovely time exploring the neighbourhood of Balat with my dad and heading out for a drive in his camper van.

As much as I loved my trip, saying goodbye breaks my heart every time so as usual I had a few days / weeks of feeling quite sad after this trip as I adjusted back to life without my dad close by. I wrote a post about what home means to me which is useful to read if you have homes in different places.


April: House-hunting and Centre Parcs

April was the month we finally viewed the house which we ended up buying! We had seen the same house design back in October and made an offer but got out-bid quite considerably. This had been a  disappointing time as we thought we were going to get it, so to get the same house type but with a nicer garden and for a lower price was amazing. I remember feeling really happy when I took this selfie! It's actually really good to scroll through your own camera roll and see the best bits of your year - I am not always the best at focusing on the positives.

April was my auntie's 50th Birthday so we headed to Centre Parcs which was nice. There were some family politics and some of the weekend was hard but overall we had a nice time celebrating with my auntie (I told you this was a 'behind the highlights reel'!)

I also attended some blog events in April at Inflatanation and Banyan, so I started to get my blogging mojo back a little, but I wouldn't say it has ever come back properly. One of my favourite days in April was seeing the beautiful cherry blossom in Alnwick Garden!

May: Family time and food

In May my mum turned 60 and we went for a really nice weekend away close to home in Sleights which included a trip on the NYMR railway with a three course meal. It was a lovely, relaxing weekend, made even better with having the dog for company. It really made me even more pet broody than ever before, and the fact we were moving into our house later in the month felt so exciting... except we didn't. The house move date kept getting pushed back and it was really frustrating! I started overthinking everything and worrying that it wasn't meant to be. This was a very anxious and low month for me, I just wanted to feel settled!

It was a pretty quiet month as we were trying to save every penny for the house move and when I look at my camera roll it hardly shows anything for May. At this point I'd been working from home far too much and I started to realise that working alone for an extended period is terrible for my mind. If you feel down unexpectedly for a period of time it is worth considering lifestyle factors: I don't think I'd realised how hard it had been and I am so glad I work full-time again now.


June: Exercise, holidays, house move

June was unexpectedly manic! I got a little bit into exercise after I'd been feeling low the month before and this really seemed to help. We also got a house move date for later in the month which was great and made me feel less in limbo.

We had a week off in June packed with sightseeing in Edinburgh, Venice and Malta. I managed to find flights which were dirt cheap if we flew Edinburgh - Venice - Malta - Newcastle so we had a great time seeing different places. I must get round to finally blogging about all three but there are detailed highlights saved on my Instagram if you would like any tips for now. Sadly I still didn't feel too happy. I never know whether to discuss low points as I really don't want to seem ungrateful, but you can fly to the most exotic destination in the world but your state of mind still flies with you... I did feel quite sad in Edinburgh but by the time we got to Venice it was so busy and wonderful that it took my mind off things somewhat.

June ended with the big house move! Looking back I reckon it was one of the most stressful periods of my life and if I'd have been working full time I have no idea how I would have dealt with it all. I think it's only writing it down now that makes me connect the dots and realise why I had a low few weeks / months - we just packed too much in. It was good stress in the end of course as we got our lovely home and we have been enjoying decorating it all to our taste, I really appreciate being able to have my own place.

July: New job and DIY

In July I started my new job which I am so happy with. I want to spend a few sentences talking about this as it has been a really key part of this year for me. Being utterly miserable in a job absolutely sucks and if you are going through that then I feel for you. I previously kept changing jobs within the same career as each time I thought the job wasn't quite right, but after a few years I realised it was the career which wasn't working. 

If you are in this position going into the new year, then I strongly urge you to take some time out whether it's in the house, alone, on a walk, or in a nice coffee shop. Try to think really hard about your values and the aspects you want from a job / career and get it all down on paper. Once you have done that think about career options which might fit into those dream aspects you are looking for, or ask friends and family for their help as they might have suggestions you may have missed. Please try and make a change, just don't stay miserable for years like I did!

Other than settling into my new job, my camera roll is just packed with furniture and DIY pics for July. It was very much a month of getting our new home sorted!

August: More DIY, day trips and sad news

August had some lovely weather and we made the most of it by heading to Druridge Bay for a lovely picnic. We got to enjoy some nice days in the garden and have our first (and last) BBQ as the weather didn't seem to stick around too long.

At the end of August we had booked to go to Greece for a week's all-inclusive package holiday. We were also going to take a boat over to Bodrum to see my dad and we were so excited after a busy few weeks with the new house. Unfortunately due to a family illness we didn't get to go on the holiday and instead had a last minute weekend in the Lakes. This was a really lovely trip, although we were both pretty down about the illness and not getting to go on the holiday. I guess it made me realise that travel doesn't always have to be far away from home and sometimes a local trip can be good to unwind, but it was a really hard and sad month.


September: First ever solo and press trip

September was exciting as I got invited on my first ever press trip, which would be my first proper solo holiday as well! You can read all about my trip to Aberdeenshire here, and my honest thoughts on my first solo travel experience in my 30's here

I was really worried about this trip as I just didn't know how my mind would behave being all alone for a long weekend, but turns out I honestly had the best time! It felt massively liberating getting out of my comfort zone. You can read more in the post but I definitely plan to do more solo trips in the future. Doing a press trip is hard though. I found it pretty draining and stressful trying to get the best content I could, but I think the pictures turned out quite well.


October: Birthdays and Fur Babies

October was an absolutely brilliant month (reading this back, this year was a rollercoaster)! It was both mine and my partner's birthdays which we celebrated with lots of food and drink. We would have got away for one or both of our birthdays (they are three days apart) but we didn't, for a VERY VERY good reason. We adopted this beautiful pair of fur babies!

Now Instagram gets a bad rep' sometimes, and I agree that it has its problems whether you are using it for social reasons or your business. However, it is thanks to that platform that the previous owner of this gorgeous pair of British Shorthairs got in touch with me to see if I knew anyone who would be interested in adopting them. Within about two days of speaking to her we were round to see them and they came home with us a few days later! 

They mean so much to me and they have settled in well. Since we got them, I can say hand on heart I haven't had any miserable days like I had previously in the year. They have absolutely changed my life. I must say I never saw myself being a cat lady but I am fully embracing it. A dog is still on the cards, but probably in a few years once I am a bit less desperate to travel everywhere.


November: Eating my way round Newcastle

As we didn't want to leave the cats alone very much in their first few weeks at home, November became a very lethargic month of eating lots of good lunches in town and spending evenings and weekends cuddling the cats. By this point I don't think I had exercised at all since June and writing this now on December 30th I think it has actually been 6 months since I did any running or workouts! 

I feel like people only ever share those gym selfies when they are working out once in a blue moon, and don't always discuss the reality of longer periods doing absolutely nothing. I do feel a bit 'ugh' and I am hoping that I can start off the new year with a bit less cheese and a bit more running as it's very good for my mind!

December: Festive fun and Prague

December was a really busy month for work, but that aside I had the loveliest month of festive fun. It was technically the last day of November, but making my own wreath with my mum was a huge highlight of Christmas. I had lots of good food and drink in December and tried to do my shopping and wrapping for people slowly which was nice and relaxed.

Later in the month we headed off to Prague for a long weekend which I will be blogging about very soon. Prague was great and we continued the theme of eating and drinking everything in sight! Reality check though: it was extre-e-e-mely busy, so please bear this in mind if you plant to visit next December. Hopefully my Instagram stories showed the reality - you can check the story highlight out here if you missed it.


Heading into 2020

I am ending the year (and the decade!) sitting on the plane to Istanbul to see my family. It feels like the right place to end this decade and start the new year. I am so excited as I have never had a new year's eve in Istanbul before.

Before I wrote this post my memories of 2019 were quite mixed with some low points clearly stuck in my mind but actually it was an excellent year overall. Some great destinations visited, probably the most calories I have eaten in a year ever (with no guilt at all), and most importantly my family are well and happy. And by family I am including the newest furry members too, of course. I am still unable to start a family which is my biggest heartache, but in this next decade I should be getting a kidney transplant and starting a family, or adopting a baby if not, so I am trying to stay positive on that front. Here's to achieving my ONE AND ONLY goal for 2020: HAPPINESS!

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