Ávila: a town for everyone

Ávila is a Spanish fortified city located in the autonomous community of Castile and León, and is the capital of the Province of Ávila.

It is sometimes called the Town of Stones and Saints, and it claims that it is one of the towns with the highest number of Romanesque and Gothic churches per capita in Spain.

If you are in Madrid on holidays and you still have days ahead, this city is highly recommended to visit, as well as its neighboring city Segovia. For these two cities, it does not take more than a day to visit all its secrets.
It is advisable to leave early in the morning and return late at night.
To go to Ávila from Madrid, there are daily buses on this page. Another quick and also economical alternative is to use Blablacar. For less than € 8 you can go to Ávila in 1h30m.

What to see in Ávila? These are the most recommended places to visit in this little city

1. Visit the Cathedral of Ávila

Location: https://goo.gl/maps/h97VpmyUrEWcDshz5

Austere Romanesque-Gothic cathedral built into the city walls, with a striking stone interior.

2. Walk by Plaza de Santa Teresa de Jesus

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Location: https://goo.gl/maps/De2o2xCjLCdJNDQq9

Located in the heart of Avila, it’s just in front of Puerta del Alcazar

3. Walk over the walls of Avila at Puerta de la Adaja (Adaja’s Gate)

Location: https://goo.gl/maps/BWUaeuj4a6eixJb86

There are several entrances to the walls of Ávila so depending on where you are, you can entry to the walls from several points.

SCHEDULE

From October 27 to March from 10.00 to 18.00 31. Closed Monday,
From march 29 to June 30 from 10.00 to 20.00. monday open
From July 1 to August 31 from 10.00 to 21.00. monday open
From September 1 to October 27 from 10.00 to 20.00. monday open
Last access Gate of Álcazar: 30 m. before closing. The house of Las Carnicerías, the gate of El Carmen and the gate of El Puente 45m before closing

PRICES

General Price: €5.00
Reduced Price: €3.50
Free: Tuesdays from 14:00 to 16:00 except public holidays and eve of public holidays. BIC monument

More info here if you want to buy tickets online

4. Visit the Roman bridge of Ávila

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Location: https://goo.gl/maps/Tet7y12itY6iz5qx8

Beautiful bridge located near the walls at the South of the city next to Adaja’s Gate. This Roman bridge was built in the early-1st century A.D

5. Visit the highest Viewpoint of Ávila (4 postes)

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Location: https://goo.gl/maps/UUo438Lgn62Qd7Jm9

Here you will find the best views of Avila and its walls. Perfect for sunset and end the day

Ávila still have few more places to visit so if you have more time ahead do not hesitate to drop by the following places!

6. Palacio de Polentinos

Location: https://goo.gl/maps/9cZv3mhBV9AFxgMF8

7. Plaza Mercado Chico

Location: https://goo.gl/maps/JubjzNFEzoYBFXgN9

8. Basílica de San Vicente

Location: https://goo.gl/maps/CAhJMUjth8tVfeGG9

Guangzhou

Guangzhou is a city in the south of the People’s Republic of China, capital of the province of Guangdong.

It has an international airport and communicates with Hong Kong (at a distance of 120 km) by trains, buses and a ferry service.

Easily accessible if you fly to Shenzhen or Hong Kong since it has trains every 15-20 minutes and it takes about 30-40 minutes from Shenzhen and about 1 hour from Hong Kong

What to see in this overcrowded city?

Although almost all cities in China look similar except for large cities, Guangzhou has its peculiarity. Likewise, I would not recommend staying more than 4 days unless you’re visiting the surroundings. A good area to choose hotel is the Kecun area, since it is central and moving around is not very expensive via taxi or didi

1. Canton Tower

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Location: https://goo.gl/maps/YsLkzyGPgbLKUJ6K6

If you have chosen the Kecun area to spend your nights, Canton Tower is just few minutes walking distance away. Recommended to visit during night time since this tower is the emblem of the city

2. Nightlife at Party Pier Plaza

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Location: https://goo.gl/maps/gvgRdF4Ro244foLm7

Both for nightlife and for enjoying its views or for a walk, this area is highly recommended. Great views of the city from the bars entrance area next to the taxi stops

3. Visit the Sacred Heart Cathedral

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Location: https://goo.gl/maps/vvf9A15bwKtBzb7M9

Soaring 1888 Catholic cathedral, one of only a few in the world constructed completely of granite.

Open from 8.30-11.30 and 14.30-1700 on Tue-Fri. 8.30-17.00 on Sat-Sun. Monday closed

4. Visit the Temple of the Six Banyan Trees

Location: https://goo.gl/maps/dKfo15h2yQFxHVPP6

A few minutes walking distance from the cathedral is this temple. Recommended to stop by!

Open Monday to Sunday from 8am to 5pm

Entry fees: 5RMB

5. Visit the Guangxiao Temple

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Location: https://goo.gl/maps/7ifdUPGCkNyi5Bwq7

Ancient Buddhist temple complex known for its numerous iron towers, statues, gardens & bodhi tree

Also just a few minutes walking distance from the temple mentioned above is this temple. Perfect for families!

Entry fees: 5RMB

6. Stroll at Xiaozhou Ancient Village 霞洲村

Location: https://goo.gl/maps/cNevxeRTM9umwJwR9

This ancient town is located on the outskirts of the city about 40 minutes by car. Highly recommended to spend half a day and enjoy of its traditional alleys and complexes.

To locate this site once arrived to the area, simply enter the market area or follow the signs. It is also easy to find since the difference between modern and old streets is obvious

7. Explore the Huangpu Village 黄埔村

Location: https://goo.gl/maps/P7QMfHuMq5TuG7kX9

One of the most beautiful traditional villages of Guangzhou. Perfect to spend a day among its alleys. Full of markets, restaurants, temples, shops … and is not very popular yet!

The town is located on the outskirts but easily accessible by car. Taxis in Canton are not relatively expensive and will save us a lot of time that could be used to visit new sites

8. Stroll at TIT Creative Industry Zone

Location: https://goo.gl/maps/BMaCK8GJody53hCC8

Industrial zone transformed into business, coffee shops and art. Perfect place to walk, relax, have breakfast, night photography…

9. Walk by Zhujiang River Promenade

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Location: https://goo.gl/maps/u9a2tGph6NrrrAmC6

Great promenade that goes along the river with views of the city. The end of this promenade leads to the party area

10. Hike up to Baiyunshan

Location: https://goo.gl/maps/ZxkbDgbzNth7suKa9

This mountain has several entrances and routes. The roads are usually through the road, so there is no difficulty at all. Within the area there are food stalls and restaurants. The views from the top are decent but unfortunately the pollution usually covers the views a bit.

Along the way there are several points of interest, such as temples and monuments

 

Macau

Macau was formerly a colony of the Portuguese Empire, after Ming China leased the territory as a trading post in 1557. Macau is the gambling capital of the world. Its economy is heavily dependent on gambling and tourism, with the largest gambling revenue since 2006

Since Macau is the gambling capital of the world, the whole place is full of Casinos & Hotels which provide FREE shuttle buses to different destinations. So if you are not in the rush, this transportation system may make you save a lot of money

1. The Venetian

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One of the most popular hotels & casinos, people visit this place especially for The Grand Canal Shoppes

To go there, take The Venetian Shuttle Bus from the Ferry Terminal directly

2. Taipa Village

Taipa Village is a well-preserved non-gaming destination which offers a perfect alternative to the city’s casino resorts. Perfect for dining & souvenirs shopping.

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Through its streets you can easily find a lot of Portuguese restaurants with a really great food quality. Try there bacalhau à brás is a must!

To go there you can walk from The Venetian. The journey takes about 20 minutes and there are indications along the way

3. Taipa Houses-Museum

At the East of Taipa Village is located these colonial houses. Along the path to the south is located Our Lady of Carmel church & the Wetland

4. Senado

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Senado Square is a paved town square in Sé and part of the UNESCO Historic Centre of Macau World Heritage Site. Worth to have a look since it is on the way to the Ruins of St. Paul

To go there walk from Taipa Village to City of Dreams and take a shuttle bus to Grand Emperor Hotel & walk

5. Ruins of St. Paul

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The Ruins of St. Paul are the ruins of a 17th-century complex in Santo António. This place is a must too see but is often packed with thousand of tourists. However, worth to have a look

To go there walk from Senado to the Ruins. The journey takes about 10 minutes and there are a lot of shops along the way

6. Monte Fort

On the right side of the ruins is located the Fort. The top of the fort offers great views of the north of Macau

Mérida: Back to Roman Empire

Mérida is the capital of Extremadura, western central of Spain and has been a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1993.

Mérida is a well-know city by its well preserved Roman monuments which make you feel as if you were back to the past during the Roman Empire.

I have the chance to visit this beautiful city again on May 2018, shooting and walking through its Roman remains and despite it was my third time there, still leaving me stunned

Through its streets you may see the following monuments among others

Roman Theater

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Roman Anphitheater

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Surroundings

My visit here was really short and unfortunately I couldn’t see all the monuments within the city. Temple of Diana, aqueduct of Miracles and the Roman bridge are among the most important monuments in Mérida.

A quick look to Google maps over Mérida shows the vast Roman Empire within the city

In short, Mérida is a perfect city to spend half day with your family or partner to learn a bit about the history of the Roman Empire in Spain