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

Shenzhen

Shenzhen is a major city in Guangdong Province, China; it forms part of the Pearl River Delta megalopolis, bordering Hong Kong to the south, Huizhou to the northeast, and Dongguan to the northwest.

So if your a planning a short trip to Shenzhen (no need more than a week unless planning to move around), I’d recommend you visit these particular places:

1. Walk in Shenzhen Bay Park 深圳湾公园

Shenzhen Bay Park 深圳湾公园 is the longest coastal park of Shenzhen (China). If you really love cycling or long walks this place will be perfect with great views of Hong Kong New Territories on the other side of the bay and Nanshan & Futian districts. Ideal for night!

To get there take metro Line 9 at Shenzhen Bay Park station (深圳湾公园站) exit C.

2. Explore Shenzhen Central Park 深圳中心公园

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Central Park 深圳中心公园 is located in the heart of the Commercial Business District (CBD) of Futian, Shenzhen (China). It is free entry and considered one of the most underrated parks of the city

To get there take the subway to Huaqiang North Station and Exit A on the orange line and then straight ahead for almost 400 meters

3. Walk & chill at OCT Loft

OCT Loft 华侨城创意园 offers a different side of Shenzhen with its green paths, areas and parks. In additional, OCT Loft is one of the main points of interest for art and photography lovers, yet for coffee lovers as this place offers plenty of cafeshops

To get there take metro Line 1 to Windows of the World 世界之窗 and then transfer to Line 2 to Qiaocheng North Station 侨城北 and take exit B. The easiest way is following the OCT Hospital indications, since is near to the area.

4. Visit the Phoenix Mountain 凤凰山公园

Phoenix Mountain (凤凰山公园)  is located in Bao’an district of Shenzhen (China). This place is a great option for a walk and see a small nature side of Shenzhen with its lake surrounded of mountains and trees. A walk to the top you’ll have views of Bao’an district and a temple with its little pagoda

To get there can take Didi, the bus M433 or metro to 塘尾 Tangwei and walk or grab taxi from here to the mountain

5. Explore Nantou Village 南头

Nantou Ancient Village 南头 is a historical monument in Shenzhen, China. It was the former administrative centre of Xin’an County. This place is perfect if you want to see the traditional side of China within a small neighborhood despite this places has been renewed and became commercial. Stroll through its narrow streets gives you the chance to see how the locals are living here.

To get there take metro to Taoyuan exit B and walk for 10-15 minutes or grab a taxi

6. Drop by Tulip Streets 荷兰花卉小镇

Tulip streets or Netherlands Flower Town 荷兰花卉小镇 is an European-styled town located at Nanshan district in Shenzhen (China) which has been re-opened on 2011.

This little town offers a strange combination of plants, flowers, pets & cafe shops near a park, which makes it a good place to visit if you want to spend few hours of chilling

To get there you can walk for about 10 minutes from Nantou Village or by bus. The bus station is Xinghai Mingcheng (星海名城站), many buses can take you there, such as 42, 201, 223, 324, b623, b688, b699, b702, b813, m364, m370, m375.

The nearest metro station is Daxin Station at Line 1, take exit B and walk for few minutes to the north.

Alternatively, can grab a taxi/didi. By typing in Didi app (English version) “flower”, you may see that the first option is this little town to select

Address: 3008, Yueliangwan Avenue, Nanshan, Shenzhen

地址: 南山区月亮湾大道3008号

7. Walk through Shenzhen Bay Park promenade 

Shenzhen Bay Park Bridge may be an alternative to Shenzhen Bay Park. Both places are connected through the same promenade but the starting point are located in different sides. Through this walk you can see a little port in Sea World, the bridge that connects to Hong Kong and Talent Park. The walk takes roughly more than an hour

To get there take metro to Sea World and walk towards the sea passing by Nanhai Rose Garden, keep walking to Shekou Fishing Harbor and keep coasting to Shenzhen Bay Park Bridge or Talent Park farther ahead. Then you can come back by metro in Wanxia or Haiyue Stations

8. Visit Dafen Painting Village 大芬

Dafen Painting Village 大芬 is a suburb of Buji in Shenzhen, China. The area is an artist village for the production of replicas of masterworks and outsourcing of original art creation. Great place for a stroll and enjoy the traditional art of China

To get there take metro to Dafen Station exit A1 and walk straight away until finding the neighborhood

9. Hike up to Nanshan Mountain

Nanshan mountain also known as Nanshan Park, is one of the most popular mountains in Shenzhen. Great place for an amazing cityscape of Shenzhen. From the top of the mountain you will see mostly all Shenzhen. Highly recommended to visit or stay at night. The “hike” is paved with stairs and lights so is basically a walk to the top and safe to visit or back at night

To get there take metro yo Sea World exit D and head towards the mountain and then follow the indications to Nanshan Park.

10. Day/Night Hike to TanglangShan 塘朗山 郊野公园

Tanglang Mountain 塘朗山 郊野公园 is located in Nanshan District, Shenzhen (China). With an elevation of 430m, Tanglang Mountain is the third highest peak in Shenzhen.

This mountain has two routes to reach the summit: road and paved stones trail. The climbing takes about 1-2 hours in relax rate or 45 minutes in good rate.

The hike is pretty easy and safe what makes it is perfect for a night hike by following the road. The night views from the top are pretty amazing

To get there take metro to Taoyuancun Line 7 and Exit D. Walk forward until seeing the mountain in the right side. Then walk towards the mountain and will be visible the Trail starting point

11. Watch the Lights Night Show at Lianhuashan Park 莲花山公园

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Lianhuashan Park 莲花山公园 is a hill and urban park in Shenzhen, China. It is located at the northern end of the Futian Central Business District and covers an area of 150 hectares. Atop the 106-metre hill is a large bronze statue of Deng Xiaoping and views of Futian Central Business District. This park is very popular for its night lights shows, so is highly recommended to come before night and find a spot at the top to have a look to the night show. It usually starts at 8pm and last about one hour

To get there take metro to Children’s Palace exit F2, cross the park until finding the stairs up to the top

12. Hike at Yangtaishan 羊台山

Located in Bao’an district of Shenzhen (China), Yangtaishan 羊台山 is a mountain of about 587 meters in height. It’s not as high as Wutong mountain but the summit will surprise you with its stunning views of Bao’an, Nanshan & Longgang districts.

To get there take the bus 769 or 635. If you take the bus 635, you may transfer bus at Shiyan Bus General Station and grab the bus 769 to Yangtai Mountain Station.

Otherwise, you may take Didi or taxi to get there. We grabbed a taxi from Shenzhen North Station to Shiyan entrance and costs 45RMB

13. Escape to Dapeng Old Town 

is a well-preserved town located at the east of Longgang District in Shenzhen (China). Through its narrow streets can get to the Fortress and at 5-10 minutes driving distance can get easily to Dongshan temple. By walking distance should be about 30-40 minutes though

To get there:

CAR

This is the way how I got there since is the easiest and recommended way. The journey takes about one hour departing from Louhu/Longgang district. Find a friend with car or rent it totally worth it.

BUS

This is the slowest and the last alternative. Usually takes about 2 hours or more

-From Yinghu Bus Station: Bus E11 to Dapeng -> Bus B756 to Dapeng Suocheng

-From Futian Bus Station: Bus H92 to Dapeng -> Bus B756 to Dapeng Suocheng

-From Longgang: Bus 833 to Dapeng -> Bus B756 to Dapeng Suocheng

-From Longgang Bus Terminal: Bus 818 to Dapeng -> Bus B756 to Dapeng Suocheng

 

Hong Kong

As a Special Administrative Region of China, Hong Kong is situated on the southeast coast of China and offers plenty of places to visit inland and city outskirts

For nature & hiker lovers, Hong Kong is surprisingly amazing for these purposes despite is really an overcrowded city.

What to see in HK? I will number some recommended places accordingly to my own criteria and experience. I’m still exploring Hong Kong nowadays and I will continue updating my list

Please note that the list below is not sorted by relevance 🙂

1. The Peak

Victoria Peak is a mountain on the western half of Hong Kong island. Highly recommended for stunning views of Hong Kong, especially at night! To get there take the bus 15C from Central Pier 8 or take the Peak Tram from MTR Central Station exit J2. Alternatives, bus 15 from Exchange Square bus terminus near MTR Hong Kong Station Exit D or Minibus 1 from the public transport interchange at MTR Hong Kong Station Exit E

2. Quarry Bay

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One of the most popular places in Hong Kong for photography lovers, worth to take a look! To get there take the MTR to Quarry Bay Station and walk along King’s road towards Tai Koo until finding Montane Mansion (left side of the road). Further ahead on the road is located the other mansion with the red & yellow colors.

3. Ngong Ping

Ngong Ping is a highland in the western part of Lantau Island. It hosts Po Lin Monastery and Tian Tan Buddha. Besides these 2 popular places, Ngong Ping Village is worthy to see and several meters away The Wisdom Path.

To get to the Big Buddha platform you have to climb its 270 stairs!

To get there take the MTR to Tung Chung Station. Once you reach to Tung Chung Station, take the exit B towards the bus station and grab the Bus 23. You will see some indications along the way to the bus station. The journey will take around 40 minutes and it costs around 17.20HKD (during holidays 27HKD). Alternative is by cable car on the way to the bus station (exit B and walk straight ahead)

More info here

4. Explore Tai O

Located in Lantau Island, Tai O is a fishing village in the western coast of Lantau island. With its unique design and traditional stilt houses, is one of the last authentic places in Hong Kong that still remaining.

To get there take the metro to Tung Chung Station. Once you reach to Tung Chung Station, take the exit B towards the bus station and grab the Bus 11. You will see some indications along the way to the bus station (Tai O direction). The journey will take around 50 minutes

More info here

5. Hike Lantau Peak

Lantau Peak or Fung Wong Shan is the second highest peak in Hong Kong and the highest point on Lantau Island, with a height of 934 meters above sea level.

The hike takes about 5 hours to complete and starts at Pak Kung Au and ends in Ngong Ping. To get there take MTR to Tung Chung Station exit B and grab the bus 3M. The bus station is passing by the cable car station. You have to get off at Pak Kung Au after 15-20 minutes of bus ride.

More info here

6. Hike Sunset Peak

Sunset Peak (Tai Tung Shan 大東山) is the third highest peak in Hong Kong located in Lantau Island and stands at a height of 869 metres (2,851 ft) above the sea level. The second highest peak is Lantau Peak located right in front of this mountain.

The hike takes about 4 hours to complete and starts at Pak Kung Au and ends at Nam Shan. To get there take MTR to Tung Chung Station exit B and grab the bus 3M. The bus station is passing by the cable car station. You have to get off at Pak Kung Au.

More info here

7. Visit Lamma Island

Lamma Island or Pok Liu Chau (博寮洲) is located to the southwest of Hong Kong and it is the third largest island. The main village is Yung Shue Wan with plenty of shops and restaurants. This village is perfect to spend few hours strolling around, to enjoy the local food or just to walk from Pak Kok San Tsuen 北角新村, Pak Kok Kau Tsuen 北角舊村 to Yung Shue Wan crossing by Tai Peng San Chuen. This walk is really pleasant and easy to finish within 1.5h hours

To get there take the MTR to Central pier 4, and grab a boat to Yung Shue Wan. The other side of the island is Sok Kwu Wan which is so far unexplored for me. There is a boat every half an hour and costs about 16HKD. The ride takes about 30 minutes and the approaching views of the island are really nice

More info here

8. Visit Sharp Island

One of the most popular island and famous for the BBQ activities, fishing, swimming and kayaking. There is a hiking trail from Kiu Tsui Port that cross the whole island to Hap Mun Bay Beach

To get there take MTR to Diamond Hill Exit C2 and then take the bus 92 to Sai Kung town. Once arrived, take a boat at the Public Pier to the island. Alternative, from Sha Tin Bus Terminus take the bus 299X to Sai Kung Town and then take a boat. Alternative B, from MTR Choi Hung Exit B take the bus 1 to Sai Kung town and then the boat to the island

9. Visit Cheung Chau island

Little island full of seafood restaurants and a good beach. The streets are packed with little shops, stalls and souvenirs. Worth to have a look and try its famous Mango Mochi!

To get there take the MTR to Central and get a ferry from Central Pier 5. The fast ferry takes about 40 minutes and the slow one takes about 1 hour

10. Sun Yat Sen Memorial Park

Sun Yat Sen Memorial Park 中山紀念公園 is located in Hong Kong Island, facing Victoria Harbour. This Park is one of the main checkpoints for many locals and foreigners to enjoy peacefulness. Great pace to read a book or do outdoor exercises

To get there take the MTR to Sheung Wan Station Exit D. Turn right and walk about 5-10 minutes.

More info here

11. Nan Lian Garden

This garden was designed with hills, water features, trees, rocks and wooden structures and it’s an ideal place for a walk, photography and relax. Its design is really beautiful and well conserved, surrounded of greenery and peace.

To get there take MTR to Diamond Hill exit C1. Then simply follow the indications towards Nan Lian Garden.

More info here

12. Hike to Lion’s Rock Hill

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Lion Rock Hill is a mountain located between Kowloon Tong and Tai Wan of the New Territories in Hong Kong

If you want to have one of the best views of Hong Kong island, can’t miss to hike this mountain! To get there take the MTR to Won Tai Sin Station exit B. From there, you can start the trail towards Sha Tin Pass Rd until reaching to Lion’s Pavilion.

More info here

13. Hike Kowloon Peak

Kowloon Peak or Fei Ngo Shan 飛鵝山 is a mountain in the northeast of New Kowloon, Hong Kong. The height of the mountain is about 600 meters and it’s situated in Ma On Shan Country Park

The ascent is pretty easy and the path is rocky with steps. The hike takes no more than 2-3 hours and from the top you will have stunning views of Hong Kong

To get there take the MTR to Choi Hung Station exit C1/C2. From Choi Hung Station there is a long way to the starting point of the ascent, so you can grab a taxi to Fei Ngo Shan 飛鵝山, which costs about 35HKD and 10 minutes.

More infor here

14. Hike Plover Cove Reservoir

Within this reservoir there is a hiking trail that starts at Wu Kau Tang Village next to Bride’s Pool Nature Trail and ends at Tai Mei Tuk village. There are several sections within Wu Kau Tang but the longest trail is thru Ma Tau Fund > Tai Tung > Luk Wu Tung > Tai Mei with a total duration of 7-8 hours and 18km though uphills & downhills. The last 5km are on road and takes about 2 hours, so basically are 13km of uphills and downhills. So if you are fit, this hiking trail is really great with stunning views of the Reservoir and Sai Kung

To get there take MTR to Tai Po Market and exit B to Tai Po Market Station Public Minibus Terminus. Take minibus 20R for around 20 minutes to Bride’s Pool Nature Trail on Bride’s Pool Road. It is the last stop
Also from Tai Po Market Station Bus Terminus, take 275R to Bride’s Pool Bus Terminus on Sunday and public holidays.

Return: In Tai Mei Tuk can take the minibus 20C or bus 75K to Tai Po Market

More info here

15. Hike Dragon’s Back

The difficulty of this hike is pretty low and may take about 3-4 hours, so is not a bad choice to spend a day in family here and enjoy of one of the most stunning views of Shek O, Tai Long Wan, Stanley, Tai Tam, and the South China Sea.

To get there take the MTR to Shau Kei Wan exit A3. Right in front of the exit there is a bus terminal. Take the bus 9 towards Shek O Road. The cost of the journey is about 7HKD and takes 20 minutes. Once you can see the people alighting, just follow them!

More info here

16. Victoria Harbor

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Victoria Harbor is the most popular attraction in Hong Kong where you can enjoy the views of the harbor, skyscrapers and the avenue of stars. Highly recommended at night with the price of overcrowding.

To get there take MTR to Tsim Sha Tsui exit E and follow the indications to Victoria Harbor

17. Walk up to Gardens Hill

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Located in Shek Kip Mei, the top of this little hills offers you stunning views of this neighborhood as the image above. Highly recommended to walk up during sunset time and wait for night views

To get there take the MTR to Shek Kip Mei exit A or Sham Shio Po exit D1 and find the indications to Gardens Hill

Enjoy your time in Hong Kong! 🙂