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Fresh Eire Blog

Barcelona recommendations: More attractions, hotels and restaurants!

As it would not be fair to limit the description of this beautiful city to a single blog post, here is our second article filled with other complementary recommendations.

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Hotels

- Hotel Omm:
Hotel Omm is a modern 5 star establishment of Barcelona. The hotel adopts an approach where every details are taken care of. A minimalist style preserving a strong personality is what make the identity of this sublime hotel. At Hotel Omm you can enjoy the Michelin one star restaurant, the outstanding Spa as well as an outdoor rooftop pool and terrace with a unique view on Gaudi’s Casa Milla.

- Mercer Hotel:
This 5 star hotel is at the heart of Barcelona’s historical Gothic barrio (quarter) allowing you to reach some well-known locations with a pleasant walk. Mercer Hotel offers a subliminal contrast between its state-of-the-art interiors and its impressive historical architecture.

- Hotel Claris:
The luxurious 5 star Hotel Claris is settled in a a former nineteenth century palace at the centre of a quarter with several cultural and tourist attractions. The hotel has a very close link with the arts as multiple fascinating art works are exhibited throughout the hotel and rooms. A Spa and an inviting restaurant, as popular with locals, are at your disposal to make your stay more enjoyable and authentic.

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Restaurants

- Disfrutar:
Disfrutar, meaning enjoy in English, is a Michelin one star restaurant run by three chefs who have already been collaborating together for a long time. This experienced and innovative top-team is considered to be the heir of the molecular gastronomy movement. Eating at Disfrutar is discovering a surreal culinary universe based on sophisticated products and strong Mediterranean origins.

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- Perellò 1898:     
Perellò 1898 is, as its name indicates, a place where the tapas tradition has been fostered since the nineteenth century. This is a tapas bar without any extravagant detail - it is a place you go to for a taste sensation. Only the best quality ingredients are served and even if their speciality is tapas made of cod (bacallà in Catalan), you will also have a good range of tapas with meat.

PERELLO2PERELLO

- Tragaluz:
Tragaluz is a modern looking restaurant although it has been providing Barcelona tasty meals for more than 25 years. The contemporary design mainly due to the glass ceiling letting the sun light spread into the dining room and the open kitchen allows the customer to watch the professionals in action and gives a dynamic look to the place. Besides the cool and trendy atmosphere, you will spoiled for choice as the menu card is very complete.

 

Attractions

- Torre Bellesguard:
Torre Bellesguard is a less known though not less significant masterpiece of the Catalan architect Antonio Gaudí. It is a former manor house which belonged to Martin, King of Aragon. Torre Bellesguard is a little bit different from the usual Gaudí style, but it is wonderful. It can be visited with organized guided tours.


- Fundació Joan Miró:
Located on the hill called Montjuic, Fundació Joan Miró is a museum of modern arts named after and dedicated to Barcelona’s born painter Joan Miró. Many of the works were donated by the artist himself. Here you will have the chance to discover Miró's creative mind through several of its sculptures and paintings. In the museum there is also an area called 'Espai 13' where you will find the works of some young experimental artists.

 

barcelona 1181780 480- Plaça de Catalunya:
Plaça de Catalunya is the beating heart of Barcelona where all of its most famous avenues converge. It is the oldest part of the city and well-known for its outstanding fountains and sculptures. While visiting Barcelona, it is almost impossible not to have a walk around this square, a very good way to experience the Catalan culture.

Porto - Bike tour: Attractions, Hotels & Restaurants

We are currently working with the Portugese Tourism Commission and will be offering a new tour in Portugal in 2018/19.  Stand by for more information.

 

Porto


Portugal was born in the North and the rich cultural heritage of the region doesn't ignore so noble and ancient origins. Tradition, culture, history, architecture, gastronomy and wine, landscape, hospitality and the joy of their people are the attributes to a unique region. It has a peculiar charm. Porto is the second largest city in Portugal and one of the oldest European centres, its historical centre is listed as a UNESCO world heritage site. It is a unique experience to stroll through its streets and feel the pulse of the city. Take the tram to the mouth of the river Douro and get to know the excellent beaches, where you can sunbathe, and the outdoor cafés or slow down and enjoy some local wines such as the Vinho Verde and the famous Port Wine. Porto, thanks to its outstanding beauty and its richness in history, was elected the best European destination of 2017.  Anticipate warm weather throughout the year, but do not forget your umbrella, Porto is also one of the wettest cities of Europe. Thanks to its history, Porto has a huge variety of architectural styles which will make you feel like travelling through different eras of time. 

Board on a medieval journey and pound the historical centre, passing by the Cathedral or the Clérigos tower.  Take a cruise on the river Douro with a Rabelo boat or visit the six bridges.  Visit the Casa do Infante Museum, the São Fransisco Church, the Stock Exchange Palace, the pleasant riverfront and the well preserved Ribeira and Miragaia streets.  Or pick a destination to see and enjoy in our recommendations below.

The Historical Centre, the Lello bookshop, the Café Majestic, the Monastery of Nossa Senhora do Pilar, the Guindais Funicular, Miguel Bombarda Sreet, Galeria de Paris Street, Cândid dos Reis street and the São Bento Train station are all unmissable attractions.

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Hotels

- River House 1872:
Located in the centre of Porto's Old Quarter, River House 1872 is the perfect place to enjoy the beautiful city of Porto. Its spacious and comfortable rooms all have balconies offering amazing views over the Douro river or over the city's historical centre. Each room is decorated differently so you will never get tired of staying at this hotel.


- Flores Village Hotel & Spa:
Surrounded by monuments and museums, the 4 star Flores Village is a perfect place to stay to fully enjoy marvellous Porto. You can choose 5 different kinds of rooms, all of them are spacious and tastefully decorated. While staying at this hotel you cannot miss the gardens and the indoor places which are unusual areas, perfect for a reading day, although. The Spa and the Gym are both equipped with cutting-edge technologies offering the best services which will satisfy even the most demanding guests.

GRANDHOTEL- Grande Hotel do Porto:
Grande Hotel do Porto is a 3 star hotel located at the heart of the historical city centre, a few steps away from all of Porto's most famous attractions. This nineteenth century hotel has a stunning and timeless design. Rooms are cosy, elegant and well-equipped. To ensure the well-being of its customers, the hotel has several appreciable services such as massages in its wellness room or a gym.


Restaurants


- Ode Porto Wine House:
Located at the heart of Porto, a few steps away from the Douro River, Ode Porto Wine House is a magical place which will make you discover flavourful, tasty meals cooked with fresh and seasonal ingredients. The atmosphere is warm and friendly, and the waiters will give you the best assistance to choose the right wine.


- Restaurante 'O Paparico':
Located on the upper section of the city, Restaurante 'O Paparico', serves traditional Portuguese dishes in a rustic-style environment. Here you will taste some of the most tasty traditional dishes all prepared with fresh products. The staff are friendly and happy to guide you through the Portuguese culinary tradition.


- Essência - Restaurante Vegetariano:
As the name indicates, this restaurant is a vegetarian restaurant with succulent dishes that will please every tastes and preferences. Its variety of choices allows you to taste Mediterranean, European or Portuguese savoury and healthy meals. Located a few steps away from the city centre, this place is perfect to enjoy some vegetarian dishes in a cosy and welcoming environment.

 

porto view

 

Attractions

 

PALACIO

- Palácio de Bolsa:


Located in the UNESCO world heritage site centre, the Palácio de Bolsa was built in the 19th century in a Neoclassical style. The most beautiful parts of this building are, without a shadow of doubt, its interiors where you will find magnificently decorated walls and furniture.

 

 

CASADEMUSICA

- Casa da Música:

Casa da Música (meaning the house of music) is a concert hall located right in the centre of Porto. It hosts the most important concerts in the town and is one of the most iconic elements of the city. The Casa da Música is the only concert hall in the world with two walls made entirely of glass. You can visit this impressive institution with their English guided tour which will give an outstanding insight into its background.

 

 

Museo Serralves

- Serralves Museum:


Serralves Museum is a contemporary art museum that attracts millions of visitors per year. It hosts both Portuguese and international masterpieces making it one of the most visited contemporary art museums of Europe. After visiting the museum you can relax and enjoy the marvellous gardens which surround the building.

 

 

 

Bayonne - Bike tour: Hotels & Restaurants

Bayonne is a famous city of the South West of France which is at the crossroads of the Atlantic sea, Pyrénées Mountains and Spanish border. This unique geographical situation has led to its economical and demographical expansion. Indeed Bayonne has successfully evolved from a fortified medieval town to a dynamic city which attracts more and more investors. Nonetheless, Bayonne has managed to keep its Basque cultural and historic identity which is still omnipresent, especially in the small charming city centre where the architecture of the building translates its singularity. 

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Hotels

BASSESPYRENEES

Hôtel Les Basses Pyrénées

This newly renovated 4 star hotel is located in the historical centre of Bayonne and surrounded by ramparts. This is an atypical hotel because its exterior façade has an authentic medieval appearance contrasting with its brand new well-designed interior.

Le Bayonne

The highly reputed Le Bayonne hotel has been fully renovated and has earned 4 stars because of the luxurious services provided such as the sauna, hammam or the heated outdoor swimming pool. Le Bayonne is situated 5 minutes walk away from the city centre. You can also enjoy the restaurant in the hotel and the very nice terrace giving you a perfect view of the river La Nive. Le Bayonne offers a tranquil stay and it is our top hotel recommendation for the city.

Ibis Styles

This three star hotel is perfectly situated if you arrive by train as it is located just a few steps away from the train station. Most of the rooms have a view on the river L’ Adour as well as on the town hall. If you want to discover the historical city centre you just have to cross the bridge in front of the entrance. Although not typical of a Fresh Eire Adventures hotel recommendation this is a fine budget choice.

Restaurants

A Table

A Table is a small convivial and familial restaurant with a a few tables, so it is imperative to reserve before coming. This lovely restaurant, situated in front of the river (La Nive) has become a victim of its own success. The owners, Wilfried and Claire have seduced a whole town not only because of the affordable prices but also the local, fresh and delicious products that they serve.

Le Pavé

Le Pavé is situated in the heart of the historical centre of Bayonne next to the the Gothic cathedral. Besides its ideal location, you will find a fine cuisine with a charming atmosphere combining modernity and tradition. You will be surprised how reasonable the prices are, it is great value for money.

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Auberge du Cheval Blanc

The Auberge du Cheval Blanc is a true gastronomic institution providing a service of higher quality as the restaurant received a Michelin Star in 1995. The chef Jean-Claude Tellecha is the heir of a prestigious family of Chefs which has allowed him, from a young age, to develop a unique know-how which will take you on a true culinary journey.

Belfast - Bike tour: Attractions, Hotels & Restaurants

Belfast

 

The capital and largest city of Northern Ireland, Belfast in Ulster province is a city mainly famous for conflicts between Catholics and Protestants during The Troubles. The ship Titanic was built in Belfast by Harland and Wolff. Nowadays, the city is a centre for industry.  This blog post was written by Mathieu from La Rochelle Business School (ESC) during his internship with Fresh Eire Adventures.

 

Hotels:

- The Europa Hotel:

The 4-star Europa Hotel is an institution in Belfast. The Hotel is famous to be the Europe’s most bombed hotel during The Troubles. Close to the Grand Opera House, this luxurious establishment is now very well known to host prestigious events. Rooms are spacious and designed with style. They offer stunning views on Victoria Street. Enjoy the Piano Lounge with a cocktail to combine glamour and pleasure. The Europa Hotel is surrounded by all Belfast’s attractions.

- Malmaison:

Malmaison 4-star Hotel is a luxurious Boutique Hotel in Victoria Street near all Belfast’s attractions. Rooms are spacious and modern. With its personal style, the rooms will surprise you, in a good way. To fully appreciate your stay, visit the Spa after a visiting Belfast day. The wine bar of the Hotel is also a real opportunity to discover a selection of tasty earthy, robust or fruity wine in a welcoming atmosphere surrounded by Belfast’s stylish locals.

- Park Inn by Radisson Belfast:

Located in Clarence street, the 3-star Park Inn hotel is an affordable establishment close to the attractions of the city. Rooms are spotless and quiet. The breakfast is copious and is an ideal start to your busy day in Northern Ireland.

Restaurants:

- Eipic:

Eipic Michelin star restaurant close to the Belfast City Hall allows you to dine in a modern and elegant atmosphere. Chef Danni Barry is the second female chef awarded with a star in Ireland. Her cuisine is refined and composed with only the freshest and most seasonal ingredients and offers delicate dishes beautifully presented. The French sommelier, Didier Nyeceront will ensure a harmonious wine pairing.

- OX restaurant:

Located in Oxford street on the Lagan river bank, OX Michelin star restaurant will first attract you with its large bay window throught which you will discover chic and cosy furnishings. Stephen and Alan will combine their skills to offer the very best seasonal produce accompanied by a carefully selected bottle of wine. Ox restaurant is unquestionably a wonderful dining experience.

- Kathmandu Kitchen Nepalese & Indian Restaurant:

Kathmandu Kitchen Nepalese & Indian Restaurant, close to the Botanical Gardens of Belfast, is simply the best local restaurant according to TripAdvisor reviews. If the outdoor seems to be classic, the Tibetan atmosphere inside combines stunning decor with delicious Indian cuisine. This restaurant is not only a dining experience but an unforgettable journey through Nepalese mountains and Indian flavours. A gastronomic spectacle and great value.

Attractions:

- Titanic Quarter:

The Titanic Quarter is one of the largest urban waterfront regenerations with maritime landmarks and film studios mostly dedicated to the Titanic history comprising The Wee Tram, Titanic’s Dock and Pump-House, Boat and Walking Tours or Titanic Exhibition Centre. No doubt, this place has something special, especially when you discover the origin of the RMS Titanic.

- Queen’s University:

Queen’s University is a centre of public research excellence in Belfast. The Lanyon Building especially is architecturaly wonderful. This world class heritage produced Nobel Laureates and International Leaders like Seamus Heaney (Nobel prize of Literature) and Mary McAleese (President of Ireland 1997-2011). Moreover, this University is also very well known for supporting and claiming Catholicism and Presbyterianism rather than Anglicanism in the 19th Century.

- Black Cab Tours:

The Black Cab Tours company invites you to discover Belfast in an informative but amusing way. An institution, there is no better way to hear all the secrets of the World-Famous Murals. The company offers you others tours just as entertaining and as surprising. Why not opt for the Game of Thrones & Antrim Coast Tour, or even their Post Conflict & Political Studies Tour ?

 

this picture is a shoot of the Titanic in black and white in Belfast this picture is a shoot of Queen's University Belfast on a sunny day  this picture shows you the Ox restaurant Chef cooking

Blois - Bike Tour: Attractions, Hotels & Restaurants

Located in Loire Valley, France, one-hour drive far from Paris, Blois is a beautiful city situated on the Loire river banks between Orleans and Tours. It is especially known for the Royal Castle of Blois which attracts more than 300,000 tourists every year and is also the starting place for our Loire Valley Fresh Eire Adventure. Easily reached by direct train from Paris Austerlitz.

Hotels

Hotel Mercure

Located close to the centre of town, the Mercure Hotel is a welcoming 4-star hotel which allows you to get your trip in the Loire Valley off to a great start. Recently renovated, the establishment offers you spa services such as heated swimming pool, sauna, steam room or Jacuzzi to relax in a peaceful atmosphere. A fitness gym offers you the opportunity to exert yourself.

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Ibis Styles Blois Centre Gare

A few steps away from the main tourist attractions, the 3-star Ibis Hotel is greatl value for money. Rooms are small but comfortable and quiet to fully appreciate your night. The customer service is surprisingly good for a 3-star hotel. The Royal Castleof Blois is only 9 minutes walk away.

Padraic, owner of Fresh Eire Adventures, stayed here to evaluate it for future guests. Here is his review from TripAdvisor:

"Located on the wrong side of the tracks from the main tourist attractions this Ibis was actually surprisingly good. Bright (if unsurprisingly cheap) decor and cheery competent staff.The room layout was efficient but very small - I was barely able to open my suitcase. Bathroom was especially memorable for its excellent shower and beds were also comfortable. Wi-fi was also strong and overall cleanliness was good. Very little street noise.Unusually I opted to take breakfast at the hotel and was thankful I did. A fine array of cheeses, meats and fruit, breads and pastries, excellent coffee (albeit from a Nespresso machine which they try to keep hidden in an anteroom).Worth the 10 minute walk to the hub. Recommended."

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Hotel Anne de Bretagne

Anne de Bretagne is a unique 2-star establishment with its virginia creeper which allows you to relax in a peaceful but charming atmosphere between The Royal Castle and The Cathedral. Rooms have an old world charm decor and simplicity. The hotel offers strong free Wi-Fi. This hotel is an excellent option for a family trip.

Hotel Louise de Savoie

Located in the heart of the city centre, on the right side of Loire river, between the train station and the Royal Castle of Blois, Louis de Savoie is a basic but charming and cosy 2-star hotel. It offers rooms from 1 to 4 persons, free WI FI, a private parking (€8/day) and a reception service from 7am to 10pm. Louise de Savoie is a very good option for a relaxing or romantic stay in Blois.

Restaurants

L’Orangerie

The Michelin star restaurant L’Orangerie, located at the edge of the Royal Castleof Blois, give you the opportunity to sample divine French cuisine in an exceptional atmosphere. Built in the 15th Century for French monarchs, the building has maintained its original features. Chef Jean-Marc MOLVEAUX offers a selection of 4 delicious menus to extend your unique French experience. We recommend the cheese board (extra €5).

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Au Coin d’table

Located in Blois city centre, on the left side of the Loire riverAu Coin d’table is a basic and cosy restaurant for a pleasant and surprising lunch or dinner time in Loire Valley (closed Tuesday/Wednesday). The restaurant offers a delicious gourmet menu for €56, the St Sylvestre. The restaurant gives you the opportunity to discover an affordable but tasty and copious menu for only €17. Au Coin d’table is an ideal way to enjoy a break after spending time visiting Blois but also surroundings. Sometimes there's a cat on the prowl - be warned!

Padraic, Founder and Managing Director of Fresh Eire Adventures says of this restaurant:

"For dinner I recommend Au Coin D'Table (9, rue Henri Drussy); super friendly staff and unfussy menu. Very nice wine list there too (theres an excellent Cotes des Nuits Burgundy red for around €40). There is often a cat roaming the restaurant - be warned."

Le Petit Honfleur

A few steps from the Ibis Hotel Blois Centre Gare, Le Petit Honfleur is a cosy and charming restaurant using mainly local products and focuses on French regional gastronomy. The menu is efficient and the Bouchée à la reine aux morilles is simply gorgeous. The setting is quaint.

Here’s a review from TripAdvisor of Le Petit Honfleur by Padraic, director and owner of Fresh Eire Adventures

''We stumbled upon this quaint Normandy style restaurant in an atmospheric and authentic building. My friend had already eaten so while I enjoyed a double serving of the (starter sized) Saint Jacques Cassoulet (at €12 a serving) he enjoyed a glass or two of house wine. Excellent - I will certainly return. Recommended.''

Attractions

Château Royal de Blois

While our Loire Valley bike tour begins in Blois it is important to remember that we do not visit the town, nor its chateau as part of the tour. As such we recommend arriving in Blois the day before your tour begins to visit the chateau.

The first remains of the Royal Castle date from the 6th Century with the Castrum Citadel. The Castle offers a wonderful panorama composed by 4 different facades. Each of them correspond to a specific period of the French story. After a visit the Castle you will be an expert in this fabulous and interesting historical time. In all, the Castle housed 10 Queens and 7 French Kings. The Royal Castle is the icon of the city and such a good place to visit during a sunny afternoon in Blois. It’s completely stunning. Remember to charge your camera.

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