Time for another epic travel guide to something. This time, keeping this super close to our experience by talking about our beloved city of Barcelona with some cool, unusual and quirky hotels and places to stay in Barcelona, a popular destination for weekends away from Europe and for backpackers and travellers from around the world. Although geographically part of Spain, Barcelona sits as the capital of Catalyuna and are very proud of their Catalan culture and language, which is distinctively different to Central Spain. There are currently political disputes between Spain and Catalyuna, as the region fights for it’s independence, it’s very complicated so we’d recommend doing your own research if you’re interested or worried about how it may change your travel experience. We have been in Barcelona during the Ramblas attack and the recent conflict with Spain, it hasn’t personally put us in danger, but as with any travel to a new city, do your own research and always act with respect and caution as required at the time of travel.
If you’re looking for sunshine, Art History, incredible independent businesses across every category and delicious fresh food, you’re going to dig Barcelona. Like many cities by the sea, Barcelona benefits from a more laid back vibe than a city like London or Paris. Subcultures and alternative fashions such as skate-boarding, street art, punk and metal music are popular and add to the rich, colourful layers of the city. Barcelona is also incredibly multi-cultural, with not many countries going unrepresented somewhere in the city, this makes wandering extra interesting and means that you’re likely to find any type of cuisine you can imagine somewhere. From our experience so far, you can find excellent Indian, Spanish, Japanese, Thai, Vietnamese, Chinese, Catalan as well as every Latin American culture represented too, which in itself is incredibly diverse. Being by the sea, you’ll find super fresh seafood and with the wonderful weather fruits and vegetables that are packed with so much more flavour and variety than you’d find in colder climates like England. And don’t even get us started on the quality and limitless options of pastries and bread products.
Flights to Barcelona are usually very affordably, making it a great choice for a short getaway, budget holiday or longer stay. If you’d like to learn more about Barcelona, you can read more posts on CMK and Food Scouts. We hope to keep this page updated with new finds as we discover them, so be sure to pop back when you’re ready to book your next trip to Barcelona. We’ve broken down our edit into three different price brackets, naturally there are cheaper ways to stay in Barcelona, but we wanted to focus on places that ticked all of our essentials in terms of comfort, location and design.
Looking for more holiday inspiration? Try these articles too:
Budget Hotels in Barcelona
Barcelona Urbany Hostel – rooms from £34
If you’re looking to be more central, Barcelona Urbany Hostel is walking distance of Sagrada Familia, expect crowds in peak season, but for convenience combined with low price, this could be a good option. Rooms are simple, but with the added benefit of great WiFi, cheap bar and a rooftop terrace in an iconic location, this is ideal for budget travellers. Private rooms and shared dorms are available.
Yeah Hostel – rooms from £49
Well located in walking distance to plenty of awesome Barcelona stuff, Yeah Hostel offers a simple but cosy hostel environment with added bonuses including games consoles, WiFi and a variety of tour options. This is a great choice for the more social traveller, who is looking for a traditional hostel experience combined with modern comforts and style.
The Rock Palace Hostel – rooms from £52
Part of the Sant Jordi Hostels chain, The Rock Palace Hostel is exactly what it sounds like. If you stay here you can genuinely expect to see drum kits, guitars and skate ramps in the hostel. So you can enjoy the full rock star experience in your hostel, there’s also a rooftop pool and a rock idols themed bar. Be sure to include a trip to Nevermind on Carrer Tallers to compliment your stay.
Vincci Bit – rooms from £81
Located in the Poble Nou district of the city, the Vincci Bit Hotel is a four star hotel walking distance to the quiet side of the beach. A little bit out of the way in terms of the obvious tourist attractions, but well connected by the affordable Metro. Enjoy the style and comfort of a four star hotel without the silly price tag.
The Generator Hostel – rooms from £91
The famous Generator Hostel has a gorgeous design-led venue in Barcelona, offering dorm rooms, private rooms and even a penthouse suite. If you want a vibrant, colourful, modern design with all the comforts you’d expect from a four star hotel with a one star price, this is for you. Easy walking distance to Sagrada Familia and the Metro.
Chic & Basic Born – room from £81
Fans of traditional architecture, stunning independent fashion boutiques and some of the best food in the city, we’d recommend staying in Born. Conveniently located in easy walking distance of Las Ramblas, a main train station, Metro and the beach, you can enjoy a bit of everything for an affordable price. The decor is elegant and modern, with the feeling of a high class hotel for a much lower price tag. The Chic & Basic Born Hotel has rooms with coloured mood lighting and are part of a larger Barcelona hotel chain should you prefer another location.
Affordable Hotels in Barcelona
Retrome Hotel – rooms from £94
For a homey hotel with bags of Mid-Century style without breaking the bank, check out Retrome Hotel and it’s pretty garden terrace. There’s a variety of rooms on offer, each a bit different with aparthotel vibes and traditional hotel room options. Located in Exiample, there’s plenty of architecture eye candy as you wander, with easy access to the rest of the city.
Hotel Acta Mimic – rooms from £98
Sleek, modern and with bags of character the Hotel Acta Mimic is located a short walk to Las Ramblas and the beach, making this the perfect sightseers location. Close to Barrio Gotico, expect nightlife long into the early hours with plenty of iconic and amazing Barcelona things to discover close by. The hotel also boasts a restaurant with a terrace.
Hotel Praktik Bakery – rooms from £100
Maybe the world’s first hotel in a bakery, we couldn’t miss this one off our list for our love of good quality, handmade bread products. The hotel and rooms are simple, stylish and cosy with breakfast provided by the connected bakery. So, if you like us love a great breakfast in a stunning, unusual location to start the day, the Hotel Pratik Bakery could be perfect for you. The hotel is located in the north of the city near Diagonal station, so ideal for exploring the Gracia region of the city in a more peaceful central location.
Hotel Market – rooms from £70
Located close to Sant Antoni station close to the El Raval area of Barcelona, Hotel Market is ideal for visitors looking for a classy hotel on a budget. Hotel Market, offers a range of suites and room options as well as a on site cocktail bar and restaurant.
Luxury Hotels in Barcelona
Room Mate Pau – rooms from £159
Room Mate Pau, is part of a Barcelona chain offering cheerful, modern and colourful design in awesome Barcelona locations. Room Mate Pau also offer suites and rooms with stunning decked balconies and terraces so you can enjoy the Barcelona sunshine in the privacy of your own space and avoid the crowds!
Hotel Pulitzer – rooms from £164
Close to Placa Catalyuna, Hotel Pulitzer is super central and ideally located to those visiting for shopping trips or bar hopping with plenty of public transport options on the doorstep. For your extra spend you’ll have access to a sports centre, pool, spa facilities and in room food and massage services. The rooms are elegant and spacious and the extra facilities make this a great place to unwind after a busy day of sightseeing.
Casa Camper – rooms from £264
Did you know that the Portuguese shoe company, Camper also have hotels? Casa Camper is just that, the Barcelona branch of this iconic, high end hotel. Around the corner from MACBA and walking distance to much of the city, Casa Camper gives guests access to a 24/7 open buffet and mini bar included in the price. There’s also a room terrace with honesty bar and some rooms have hammocks! Pricey, but worth it for the mega design, location and added features.
Margot House – rooms from £164
Named after Margot Tenebaum of the Wes Anderson movie, The Royal Tenebaums, Margot House is a newbie to the Barcelona hotel scene. The clean, modern Scandinavian style design is ideal for it’s trendy Passeig de Gracia location, sitting close by to Barcelona’s luxury fashion stores and trendy Gracia region. Rooms are minimal but cosy and full of character and light. Lovely and very Instagram friendly!
Gran Hotel La Florida – rooms from £149
If you want to get out of the city slightly and enjoy some of the best panoramic views of Barcelona, head to Tibidado in the north of the city. There’s not much up there other than Gran Hotel La Florida and a vintage style fair ground and church, but the facilities at this hotel will keep you entertained. Enjoy huge rooms with walk in showers, bathtubs and balconies and the many communal areas of the hotel for drinks, snuggling up with a book or enjoying a meal on the terrace overlooking the city, like we did. High price tags, but a totally unforgettable experience, even just for one night.
AbAC Barcelona – from £234
If you’re coming to Barcelona for the Michelin star restaurants and the food, AbAC Hotel & Restaurant is a brilliant choice for a luxury budget. Located on the way up to Tibidabo, you’ll enjoy a little peace and quiet at this stunning resort. The onsite restaurant has 3 Michelin stars and there’s also a spa with a pool, sauna and much more. Absolutely stunning place to celebrate something special or for an indulgent break.
Barcelo Raval Hotel – from £130
Located in El Raval, the Barcelo is a popular location for it’s 360 degree rooftop bar open to the public. It’s modern, colourful design and central location makes it a great choice for sightseers or bar hoppers. It’s decor might be considered a little kitsch for some with a mainly black and pink combo, but for Instagram snaps and mood lighting we’re not complaining. There’s also a tiny rooftop pool and a wellness centre.
Let us know if you find somewhere else amazing to stay in Barcelona, we’ll try to update this regularly so you have a go-to list of unusual and quirky hotels in this awesome city. Want to be featured or collaborate on something? Get in touch via social media @JayneKitsch of visit the Contact page for more information.
I’m going to start using my blog more to document projects that I’ve worked on, you may have already seen my first illustration themed post. Today, I’m talking photography and photo editing, which I’m delighted to be getting back involved with since Miz and I launched Food Scouts. I studied Cinema, Photography and Television at Leeds University and have always used photography as a source of research, inspiration and end product in both professional and personal projects.
Last month, we did our first batch of tie-dye limited edition tees and they turned out so nice! These were hand screenprinted and hand tie-dyed by Miz and myself. Here’s just a few some snaps I took and edited of Miz in our local area of Hospitalet de Llobregat.
I’m writing this post because I have had SO many people ask for Barcelona recommendations since we moved. I’ve not had time (or motivation) to write lots of blogs since we made the move as there’s been so much more going on with our business, future plans and just generally settling into a new culture and way of life. Anyway, I’m going to update this post when I can, but for anyone planning a trip soon here’s my brain dump of cool stuff in Barcelona so that I don’t have to keep tweeting lists to people.
If you have a specific question tweet me @JayneKitsch or comment below and I’ll update this post when I can with any new worthwhile information.
There are two airports that can be labelled as Barcelona, but only one is actually IN Barcelona. El Prat is about 35-50 mins from the centre of the city and there’s lots of transport routes to get to where you’re staying. The other airport in over an hour away near Girona, there are coaches to Barcelona from there but it’ll add time and distance that isn’t needed! Transport is simple, very similar to London, but cheaper and less chaotic.
TAXI: Taxi drivers here are very friendly and helpful in our experience, especially if you’ve learnt some Spanish and make an effort, although most will speak English too. A taxi from the Airport to a Central place like Catalyuna is about 35 Euros. For the rest of your journey, you can catch a cab in designated areas and flag them down and they aren’t too expensive.
TRAIN: Alternatively, you can get the orange metro from the Airport, to Torrassa (on the red L1 line) and change to get Central via another train route, this is the cheapest route. You need a special ticket to and from the airport, but the rest of your journey is super cheap. We’d recommend the T-10 ticket for just about 9 Euros, which is 10 journeys with little restriction. If you are going to travel around more to sight-see, there are other tickets that might be more economical. But generally, it’s cheap, clean and easy to use the trains.
WALK: Don’t forget that Barcelona is on a hill, so in certain areas you’re going to suffer if you walk too much! However, if you’re visiting walking is by far the best option as there is SO much to discover down side streets, lots of hidden squares and some amazing indie shops, bars and restaurants. If you just want to see the main areas of the city & you have the energy, you can definitely do a majority of the trip on foot.
We love finding new craft beer flavours and brands, it’s such an exciting industry right now with some genius creativity and branding going on. It’s massive in England and in the past few years has picked up quite a arsenal of kick-ass brewers and bars for Barcelona too. There’s even a whole block between Universtat & Rocafort metro that seems to have evolved into Craft Beer Town. It’s pretty epic and exciting for a branding nerd like me and a beer geek like Miz and I’m sure many of you will agree. If you’re new to Craft Beer, there’s SO much variety and most of the time the staff in craft beer bars are ready to help give suggestions based on your preferences and allow you to sample before you buy, so it’s a bit more of a flavour experience than just a pint at ‘Spoons. Here’s some of our faves.
Mikkeller, 202 Carrer de Valencia: Beer nerds will know the Mikkeller brand, a very slick brand from Copenhagen with their own chain of bars a la Brewdog. The Barcelona branch has a special place in our heart and we spent most of our free time here on one of our house-hunting holidays. It’s has cool Scandinavian themed decor and they play chilled rock music and always has a vast selection of beers from their own breweries, local ones and other interesting brands. They also serve food.
BierCaB, 55 Carrer de Muntaner: Not too far from Mikkeller, in that region of craft beer bars I mentioned earlier. This place has a VAST array of beers on tap and in bottles as well as a bottle shop next door for taking beer home. It’s a little more expensive than other places, but if you’re a beer fan it’s worth a visit. They also serve a great selection of food, but also a little pricey for the area, yet still cheaper than London!
Brewdog, 69 Carrer de Casanova: What an address! Hehe. Anyway, if you live in England you know Brewdog, this is the Barcelona version and it’s what you’d hope for. They serve food also, including a mix of traditional Spanish & British inspired dishes too. Cool vibe, a bit out of the way, but worth it if you’re a fan.
Garage, 261 Carrer Counsell d’Cent: This microbrewery allows you to sip your brewskies right next to the barrels, it’s pretty amazing. A modern, concrete minimalist design is less cosy than other places, but with flavours like Mojito Berliner Weisse and their new Imperial Chocolate Stout, you will want to check out their latest creations. If you don’t make it to the bar, you’ll find their IPA and a few others in various bars and restaurants around the city.
Napar, 223 Carrer de la Diputació: Super close to the lively Universtat area, this place looks a little intimidating from the outside, particularly at night as it looks like a really fancy restaurant at a glance. However, if you walk to the back there’s a large bar area next to their microbrewery. The food here is amazing, they do traditional Spanish bar snack (potatoes, croquettes and tapas) which are little more expensive than other places in the area, but a very high quality. Ace range of beers from all over the place and something for every price point & taste. Feels like you’re in a fancy cocktail bar, but with epic craft beer instead. Very cool.
See also Cat Bar, Ca La Merce, Mosquito and below…
COCKTAILS & BARS
We haven’t been to as many cocktail/bar type places as of yet, it’s not been long enough yet! But here’s a few places that we frequent that are useful if you’re looking for some good atmosphere, a few drinks and some music. These bars are in some of our favourite areas of the city, so great places to head for discovering indie shops, bars, restaurants and spotting some pretty epic street art along the way. Skate and rock music culture (although they are about 10 years behind us in some musical tastes) is very popular in Barcelona so you can see this influence in a lot of these places, which suits us perfectly.
Betty Ford’s, 56 Carrer de Joaquín Costa: This street has a lot of interesting things on it and slightly off it, very interesting to explore. This little cocktail bar and burger joint is very popular and tourist friendly. It’s a higher price point than elsewhere but their almond based, dairy free Pina Colada is the most amazing cocktail I’ve ever tried.
Nevermind, Carrer dels Tallers 68: There is another one of this bar chain in Barrio Gotico but this is the better one and the must visit! It’s a grunge, skate themed bar with a skate bowl inside! The interior is decorated with wrecked skateboards, stickers, street art and projectors playing skate video, it basically looks like a 16 year old punk kids dream. It is. They play rock, punk and alternative music and the drinks are very cheap. If you go at happy hour you can get a basic beer for 1 Euro and a extremely alcoholic cocktail for about 3.50. They don’t measure alcohol the same in Spain, so when you get a glass and mixer, it can quite often be almost half a pint of spirit in there. Bear this in mind when ordering and it’s quite easy to drink more than you think! This place has lots of atmosphere, can get very busy late on but worth a visit at anytime. They sometimes put gigs on here too. Oh, and if you ask when you order, you can get a free bowl of popcorn which is always a bonus!
Sin Copa, 35 Carrer d’Avinyó: A rock bar across the way from Ca La Merce, it looks a bit grungy and have rock music playlist. A nice place to chill between other things and has cheap drinks and a few great offers on craft beer and cocktails.
Ca La Merce, 54 Carrer d’Avinyó: This place is advertised as a craft beer bar but really it’s a cocktail bar with Brewdog on tap and a few good bottles. They have a good array of craft beer bottles including Flying Dog, but mostly ones that are easily available elsewhere. The cocktail menu here includes a speciality in Mojito alongside lots of classic and creative flavours. Nice atmosphere, good location and affordable.
Bollocks Bar, 46 Carrer Ample: This is owned by the same peeps as Nevermind and the less good version of Nevermind is on this same street. It’s a similar vibe as above but metal music themed instead. They also serve burgers. Metal music is very popular in Barcelona, so there’s quite a few rock bars in the city.
Notes on cocktails on the Beach: If you’re here on a sunny day you HAVE to get a cocktail on the beach because it’s just the most epic holiday treat. In peak season there are lots of pop up bars on the sand, where you can sit on a terrace or take a plastic cup and sit on the sand. It’s way more expensive than in town, but such a treat. There’s also random street vendors trying to sell you cocktails too, along with a gazillion other things, they will annoy you but if you’re polite they shouldn’t hassle you. If you’re on a budget, go to a corner shop and pick up some can or a box of Sangria! Yes, really. A can can cost as little as 50 cents and alcohol is generally very cheap, 5 euros will get you a big bottle or Rum and a bottle of Cava for about 2 euros.
Bacoa: This is a Barcelona based burger chain so there’s quite a few branches. Our favourite is the one just off Placa Reial in Barrio Gotico, but there’s loads and the food is solid everytime. They do EPIC burgers made with ethically and locally sourced ingredients, a little more expensive than a meal elsewhere but a brilliant, tasty, fresh meal that kick the ass of anything like Meat Mission or Five Guys.
Taco Alto, 62 Carrer del Portal Nou: Another one in the El Born district and super close to Arc de Triomf if you’re visiting that area. A perfect lunch spot with a casual canteen vibe. They specialise in tacos (including a vegan option) you purchase per taco so can mix and match flavours. Fresh, delicious and a cheap meal that you can eat quickly.
Mosquito, 46 Carrer dels Carders: This is such a random combination of things, this place specialises in dim sum and craft beer. Not the most obvious pairing but it works. Very cheap and tasty food and you can eat ALOT for very little. They have a big choice of craft beer bottles and taps, including fruit beers which I really love with this type of Asian food. Can get really busy, so if you are keen on this place plan ahead!
Marmalade, 4-6 Carrer de la Riera Alta: This place is owned by the same people as the famous Milk Bistro (and new Firebug bar) it’s a bit hidden away down some pretty back streets in El Raval but inside is beautiful and sumptuous. They have a lovely brunch menu with generous portions, which you can enjoy with epic Hershey’s hot chocolates or a Kir Royale. They also have a very good cocktail menu, as they evolve into a bar in the evenings. Fair price for the experience, but not the cheapest place, totally worth it though.
OM India, 130 Carrer de Floridablanca: This is a great location if you fancy going to the cinema, as it’s just across the road from the Renoir which shows English films. Amazing traditional Indian restaurant with a vast menu including lots of veggie and vegan options. Fairly priced and so tasty.
See also, Napar (above) and the section below…
VEGAN & VEGETARIAN
Neither Miz or I are vegetarian or vegan, but a lot of our friends are so we’ve had to get very good at learning where is good for our vegan and veggie mates when they come to visit. Traditional Spanish food it not generally veggie or vegan friendly and there is not always a clear definition between the two here. However, in Barcelona there is a large community of veggie & vegans, with a very trendy array of choices popping up in the centre, so you can still eat well in this Spanish city. Here’s some of the places we’ve been or that our friends enjoyed:
Cat Bar, 17 Carrer de la Boria: 100% Vegan Craft Beer & Burgers, close to Jaume I metro station and the edge of the beautiful El Born area. Quirky, small cat themed decor with a piano you can play. Menu of various flavours of vegan burgers and chips, big portions and affordable and awesome beers, all vegan! Cosy, near lots of interesting stuff but is open strange opening times, so check online first.
Gopal, 42 Carrer dels Escudellers: 100% Vegan deli style take out burger places that also does vegan donuts and cakes. Close to Placa Reial in Barrio Gotico. There are benches to stand at to eat inside, otherwise best to takeaway. Very affordable and filling.
Rosa Del Raval, 6 Carrer dels Angels: Mexican themed restaurant that serves meat, but many dishes are veggie or can be made veggie or vegan easily. One of our favourite places, also serves very strong cocktails & have a wonderful, colourful decor. Perfect if you want a sit down meal and a couple of drinks.
Biocenter, 25 Pintor Fortuny: Very chic bistro style restaurant in one of our favourite areas of Barcelona, we haven’t been to this one yet but a friend says it’s great for vegans.
Flax & Kale, 74B Carrer dels Tallers: Very fancy and famous “flexiterian” restaurant by chef Teresa Carles, so can cater to all but towards a veggie/vegan angle. New York style vibe with lots of healthy dishes and a juice bar. Very beautiful building at the top of one of our favourite shopping streets. Haven’t eaten here yet but a friend liked it a lot.
Last night in Barcelona was a strange one, we spent some time with our friend Bryan who is from South America and met a whole bunch of new people from all over the world, happily living here in Spain. Last night was the Feast of Sant Joan, Catalonia’s celebration of Summer Solstice and their patron saint. The streets of the entire city were flooded with bonfires, firecrackers and fireworks for most of the day and into the early hours, with children happily dancing over fires and setting light to small explosives. There are still fireworks going off now, 11am the day after. It felt apocalyptic, especially when combined with the EU referendum results that we were so anxiously waiting, whilst we watched the fire brigade extinguish a blazing fire over the entrance of a block of flats across the road. Bizarre.
When we lived in London one of our favourite things to do was to go for a burger. We went to pretty much all of the places that made it onto any best burger in London list and generally our top 3 include MEATMission, Burger Bear and Dirty Burger. A few weeks ago we were in Barcelona and we found a burger that may just rival our London top three, The Bacoa Burger at Bacoa.
This is a long overdue blog post, as we went to Barcelona almost a month ago now! Which has totally flown by with us being so busy. Anyway, wanted to do a little blog post about our trip as it was a first for me. First time in Spain, first time not working towards a strict tourist must see list, first time cycling in another country (and second time since being a kid), first time drinking cocktails on a beach and many more.
To get things started, that’s me sat on the beach drinking the best cocktail I’ve ever had, a Pina Colada the size of my head. Perfect. Read more
I was researching something for a KITSCH.inc client about popular past times and hobbies for people in the UK. As with much of marketing, the focus is increasingly driven by statistics so I had to base my research on data. I couldn’t just pop up a Twitter poll or ask my mates. In comes Statista, telling me that top ways that adults like to spend their free in the UK includes:
- Watching TV
- Spending time with friends and family (vague but let’s say that’s potentially code for drinking)
- Listening to music
- Eating out at restaurants
- Browsing the internet
Is anyone else feeling a little sad for humanity? Sure, we’re busy and we’ve got limited funds, but with over 80% polled adults participating in shopping as a spare time activity, it got me wondering about our flawed priorities. Even if this stat includes shopping for essentials (like food) it seems a bit superficial to be ranked higher than reading and any kind of sports or physical activity, which could be considered genuinely enriching ways to spend time. No wonder we’re all feeling a bit meh! If we’re spending the majority of our time buying stuff or browsing mediums that spend a big chunk of their time trying to sell us stuff. Also, hilarious that so many people enjoy listening to music, yet so many live music venues and grassroots music projects are struggling to exist! But, that’s for another rant.
Shopping Addiction is a Real Thing
I mean, we’re not messing around here, Shopping Addiction is a genuine thing! Healthline reports that the condition is estimated to impact over 18 million adults in the US alone and that’s just counting the ones they diagnosed! It makes sense that purchasing items makes us feel good, there’s research proving that shopping causes us to release more serotonin. However, since most of us are living in a capitalist reality, is stopping excessive spending (to deal with addictions) really high on the agenda of the most powerful? Probably not, money does of course, make the world go round.
“The person with a shopping addiction gets the same rush or high from making purchases as someone who misuses drugs gets from using. Once the brain associates shopping with this pleasure or high, the person with a shopping addiction will try to recreate it again and again.” – Healthline
The Age of Extreme Consumerism
We’re living in a time of peak stuff, it’s virtually impossible to spend a single hour without being even at least subtly advertised to at some level. Unless you live in Sao Paulo (Brazil) where they banned billboards from 2007 and are only recently looking at their return, but with a social difference. Whether you’re scrolling Instagram and seeing #ad or just waiting for a bus you’re gonna be filled with temptation even on a subconscious level. As well as being in the time of peak stuff, we’re also living in the time of peak environmental damage and we have knowledge about how our excessive consuming is injuring the planet and future generations.
In a recent podcast episode with best-selling author and Business Consultant, Jonathan MacDonald, Misael discussed with Jonathan the importance of individual action in order to make a real impact on the future. We can see in the politics and in the conversations online, change will not happen fast enough through policy change or any kind of politics, their agendas are skewed. If we want to make real change to the future, we must commit to making changes on a small and potentially imperfect personal scale first.
In need of some mid-week #motivation? Check out the awesome chat I had on the #podcast with @jmacdonald. We chat about change, #futurethinking, #selfimprovement, #failure, fear & lots more!
Also available on @YouTube, @Spotify, @AppleMusic, etc.https://t.co/3lzkD4VYUF pic.twitter.com/cQ7FrOCvWA
— Misael Trujillo (@Miz_Trujillo) June 12, 2019
So, how do we go about refocusing our priorities and minimising our spending in order to have a brighter, healthier and more sustainable future? And remember, we’re not talking about a change for only yourself, we’re talking about change for the greater good, your friends, your family and the generations that will (hopefully) follow in our footsteps.
What Matters the Most to You?
You cannot put anything into action until you set yourself goals, realistic and honest goals. What makes you genuinely happy? What items can you REALLY not live without? Sure, the honest answer might be as simple as food, water and soap, but then again it might also include art supplies if you’re creative or musical equipment if you’re in a band. I’m not talking things you just like or things that you think you need because society has conditioned us to think that everyone female identifying person should own AT LEAST one pair of high heels, no matter your height or build or personal taste. I’m talking, genuine, true to the core values. What REALLY makes you happy?
There’s been a lot of hype around Marie Kondo in the past few years, culminating in her (quite frankly cringe) Netflix show. Whether you’re a fan or not, her twee but true concept of “Does it spark joy?” does make a lot of sense to a lot of people when considering whether or not to toss or keep something, as well as being a deciding factor in whether or not you really needed to purchase your 100th red lipstick or 50th pair of Nike Air trainers.
GIF from GIPHY
Practising or Trailing Minimalism
I would never have considered myself a minimalist or thought it would be an even remotely achievable goal for myself, until I tried it to enable us to go travelling for 9 months. I would definitely have been described as a hoarder as a kid, always working on some kind of arts and crafts project, I couldn’t throw anything away in case it became useful for a project in the future. (Sorry Mum for not helping you sort out that childhood stronghold!)
The closest I’ve gotten to a Marie Kondo moment before travel was a routine clear-out the few times I’ve moved house between the ages of 16 and 29. Going through the usual steps of Gumtree, eBay, Depop and charity shops. Oh and let’s not forget the time I grew by 3 dress sizes, decided that was where I’d be for the rest of my life, sold my entire (beautiful, sustainable) wardrobe and then reverted back to my original size just a few months later, turned out a prescription just really hated me. Regret and still waiting to fill those many gaps in my wardrobe. Except this time it’s more difficult, because I’m not willing to buy into crap anymore.
The Power of Influencers
During my time as a beauty blogger in London, minimalism definitely wasn’t going to happen. Sure, I wasn’t having to buy much myself, but the excess still hurt me (and no doubt the planet too!). Going from feast to famine (with stuff) when I started to wind down blogging was weird, I didn’t want to get rid of the hoard of stuff, but I didn’t want to see it go to waste either. I’d see stuff I thought I desperately wanted on my influencer friend’s streams, only to look up the price and realise it was vastly outside of my real world budget. It’s easy to look good when the majority of the contributing stuff didn’t cost you anything. It’s also easy to ‘sell’ a product or a lifestyle when you’re getting paid to do so or are in some way being ‘sponsored’ to say such things via the marketing methods of gifting, press trips or complimentary experiences. Sure, content creation takes skill and takes time to do properly, but when you’ve received many of the tools for no cost to yourself, you’re starting out in a privileged position.
No matter how unbiased a person claims to be, we’ve got to admit that humans do like free stuff, they like money and it’s evident that even the most ethical of people would struggle to stay neutral with the right enticing package for them, at the right time. What I’m trying to get at is, individually we need to be more aware of when we’re being advertised to and influencers (of any level) need to take more responsibility for the types of lifestyles and products they promise to support and promote. You can’t always trust what you’re reading on the label, on social media or on a press release, you need to do some of your own research and thinking. Are you being thoughtful? Is what you’re doing a sustainable life choice? How are you influencing others and does that make you happy?
Social Media and Intelligent Ads
In addition to the influencer world, we also have highly powered advertising campaigns to attempt to avoid. Facebook Ads, Google (and other platforms like them) know exactly who to target, who will most likely buy the thing, whether or not you have a family…etc. and there’s no escaping this super targeted advertising when you’re scrolling online for work or for play. Whereas pre-internet (yes I’m old enough to remember that time) you could avoid ads by switching off the TV or radio, not reading magazines or newspapers or by escaping to the countryside for a day.
We’re now in a state of constant communication, where those advertising messages don’t give us much of a break.
It’s not so easy to ignore that advert telling you that you’re the exact right demographic and age to be having children (thanks for the empathy, internet!), when it follows your digital footprint, everywhere.
It’s not easy to realise that buying those shoes/that fake tan/that plastic jewellery won’t make you happier, that perhaps this constant purchasing might be about something else.
But perhaps, it’s worth thinking outside of those algorithms and to get back to basics, what makes you personally tick? What purchases are essential? What purchases are totally worth it because they genuinely improve your life? And if you still don’t think you’re being influenced by your time on social media, please watch the Netflix documentary, ‘The Great Hack’ to get acquainted with more than the basics on the power of social advertising and influence.
Consuming Less to Help the Greater Good
The world is changing, it’s clear that our over consumption is doing more harm than good. Systems are broken and it’s going to take an awful lot of people caring enough to make a difference. Whilst the Amazon Rainforest burns, many are advising we should eat less meat (especially beef, in this scenario), our oceans are riddled with plastic (and worse) waste so we should be using less plastics and the fast fashion industry is burning resources and abusing workers for the sake of superficial, ever-growing profits. It’s overwhelming to know where to start on a personal journey to help, because we are only human, we can’t do everything and we’re going to fuck up sometimes.
Naturally, every single product that we consume (product, food or service) has an environmental or ethical cost associated with it. Of course, those profiting from unsustainable practises aren’t going to be open with communicating this, but with a little research and personal thought you can dig up some reliable science to support your ponderings, so you can make a smart choice for you.
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Buying less in general is going to make a positive impact. When you’ve recognised where your morals and priorities lie, you can then identify specific areas you can make a change in such as using less single use packaging, avoiding buying new fast fashion or choosing to go vegetarian/vegan. It could also be all of the above or a completely different mix, depends on you.
Finding the Satisfying Balance
As with most things in life, a balance is key. We’re all looking for harmony and happiness. So, stopping purchasing completely is an unrealistic goal, like I said, we live in capitalism, you have to spend money and there’s a lot of fun and joy to be spread when spent wisely.
One of the best exercises for me were those 9 months in Asia with just a backpack each. It taught me it was possible to get stuff done, be comfortable and happy with hardly any material items. It also taught me which of those home comforts, luxuries and personal items really mattered because I knew specifically what I missed. That’s why we’re currently travelling around with a PS4 and our very decent gaming collection, it’s a good way to unwind and it simplifies access to watching YouTube, Netflix and the like.
The other huge thing that I missed was having creative space and my arts supplies around me. I do still miss this and I cannot wait to one day have some kind of studio space, all set-up and ready to go when I’ve got an idea. We almost had this set up in Barcelona, so close, thanks for ruining that for us, Brexit! If you’re travelling like me, these things are bit trickier to fit in, but things like focusing on digital art (instead of traditional mediums) and having a small space dedicated to my sketchbook and pens is a satisfactory stop gap, which is also teaching me patience and new techniques.
I can’t tell you how to find that satisfying balance, because it will be different for every single person. Probably a good place to start would be to acknowledge your core values and ethics, once you know what you care about the most, you’ll know which purchases to cut back, which to shop more wisely with and which to prioritise. For me, one of the things was that I wanted to create less product waste, so I stopped using conventional haircare and I continue to shop smarter when I do have to buy new things, like choosing a reusable/recyclable glass contained coconut oil over one in a plastic tub or by swapping liquid shampoos and soaps with solid ones because they last longer, cost less and cause less waste. You can read about my Shampoo Free journey here.
Anyway, I hope some people read this and I hope it makes you think. It is difficult to change any habit but personal growth is part of life and we should embrace any opportunity we have to start being better. Better at communicating, better at doing our own research, better at caring about more than the basics in life.
If you liked this article, you can find more of my classic rants through the 10+ years archive of this site. For something to listen to instead, check out Miz’s podcast, Promote the Hell Out of It! for a variety of interesting discussions about causes, concepts, creators and businesses worth promoting!
Singapore is a mesmerising city, there’s absolutely no denying it. From the moment you get a glimpse out of the plane window you’re bombarded with green foliage and once you set foot in the airport it continues to amaze by being modern, clean and efficient. All this pretty much carries over to the rest of the city too, making it an unforgettable experience that merges the old and the new ALMOST seamlessly, however, there are a few things we need to get out of the way first.
- It’s an expensive city – There’s absolutely no getting away from that and although we’ll help you enjoy it in the most affordable way possible, it still costs way more than the rest of South East Asia. If you’re extremely picky with your accommodation, have specific restaurants in mind, don’t plan your route well or if you want to visit for the theme parks and shopping centres, you might just get a shock and end up going home penniless.
- It takes ages to get anywhere – Singapore is a tiny country and even a small island by most accounts, however, walking takes forever, mainly because you have to zig zag endlessly around busy roads and shopping centres that seem to want you to go off route. This isn’t too much of a problem if you’re staying for a while, but if you’re on a budget and can only afford to stay in the city a few nights it can become quite a tiring experience trying to fit everything in.
- It feels like Europe or America – This might seem like a bit of an odd one and might not even be too noticeable if you’re heading straight here from either Europe, Canada or America, but if you’ve already been travelling to other countries in S.E. Asia walking around Singapore can be a bit of a culture shock, maybe even a tad depressing. We’d come straight from Thailand; also known as “the land of a thousand smiles”, where strangers will nod and say hello as you walk past and where you purposefully have to go out of your way to get a dose of western culture. Singapore is not like that, the way people interact on the streets, the cars that go past and the endless sea of shopping centres (and every chain you can think of) make it feel extremely Western. That’s not to say Singaporeans are at all unfriendly, far from it, as soon as we arrived the people we dealt were courteous and service at every single establishment we went to was polite and in excellent English, you just won’t leave feeling warm and fuzzy and wanting to be kinder towards random strangers on the street.
The first hurdle – Transport in Singapore
Singapore airport is incredible, by far the smoothest service I have ever witnessed and that absolutely carries over when trying to get transport into the city. As soon as you exit passport control (where they scan your fingerprints like in some futuristic movie) you are given clear travel options and directions to buses, the metro and taxis. We’d planned on catching the metro as it was an affordable option that left us a 15 minute walk from our hotel, however, we were tired from the flight, were carrying our heavy backpacks and only had two days to see the city so we decided to splurge and catch a taxi.
The price for a taxi into the city is around 20 SGD (€12.50), by no means cheap when compared to the surrounding countries, but we got an incredibly friendly driver who gave us lots of advice about the city. It was actually the best and only conversation we managed to spark up with locals, it also meant we got to see the clean and green streets of Singapore en route and were directly outside our hotel within 20 minutes, so, although it kind of ate into our budget, I’d consider it a bargain. You don’t have to worry about taxi drivers ripping you off, they know where they’re going or have satnav and you don’t have to haggle a price or remind them to put the meter on, which makes the whole experience extremely stress free, just don’t make catching them a habit or you’ll not have any money left over for food!
We were lucky enough to arrive in Bangkok on National Day, not only was the weather perfect for taking some photos, but the whole atmosphere was absolutely buzzing! We walked quite a long way to get to Gardens By The Bay and I loved every second, especially getting to grab this snap. So many things getting ticked of my bucket list on this trip <3 . . . . . . . . . . . . #killyourcity #citykillerz #illgramers #way2ill #agameoftones #urbex #createexplore #exploretocreate #streetactivityteam #streetdreamsmag #neverstopexploring #featuremeinstagood #igersone #shoot2kill #streetshared #streetmobs #urbanphotography #streetphotography #streetexploration #urbanandstreet #imaginatones #streettogether #streetmagazine #streetmobs #peopleinsquare #moodygrams #illgrammers #instamagazine #twgrammers #shotaroundmag
Metros are the best way to get around the city without absolutely rinsing your wallet, journeys are priced based how far you go and roughly come to 1.40 – 2 SGD (€1ish) per single journey, this puts it right alongside Barcelona metro prices which I think is completely acceptable considering the type of city and how well the service works, but it can start adding up if you want to see a lot of things and especially if you’re a couple so a bit of planning and a shit load of walking can cut down on costs and mean you fit more into a short trip. When purchasing your first train ticket you will pay 10 cents extra, this means you get a ticket you can top up multiple times, but don’t fret, you actually get that 10 cents discounted once you purchase three separate journeys and on your sixth journey you actually get an extra 10 cent discount, making it completely worthwhile. There are various other tourist cards you can purchase, these might be worthwhile if you’re taking a slightly longer trip or plan on catching a whole load of metro journeys. You can purchases these from the kiosks as opposed to the automatic machines, so someone will be able to advise you on what will fit your needs best. Everything is available in English as well (it’s one of the national languages in Singapore so shouldn’t be a problem in most cases) as many other languages, so that simplifies things too.
Odd Tip – The automatic metro machines often don’t accept any bills larger than 5 SGD, so you may need change ready or head to a kiosk to get a note broken down, no problem.
We didn’t actually get any buses on our trip, but the bus stops were easy to spot and none of them seemed uncomfortable or crazy full. A quick Google search shows that they often cost less than a dollar and that routes are incredibly convenient. If you’ve personally had any experience with them we’d love to hear about it!
Odd Tip – If you are struggling to plan a trip a great website to use is www.mytransport.sg, it helps you calculate routes, mode of transport and fare cost, not just for buses but also for the metro.
Where to eat in Singapore
Singapore is bustling with good food, eye-catching restaurants and good food hygiene, so it definitely seems like a foodie’s paradise. Unfortunately, if you don’t know where you’re heading it can once again become an expensive outing which in itself can throw a damper on the whole trip, especially if you’ve been eating like a king in one of the surrounding countries previously. That being said, it 100% doesn’t have to be this way! Hawker centres are the go-to to place for affordable eating, although, bizarrely enough I didn’t come across a single place that used that phrasing. Instead, just look out for food courts, they’re pretty much in every single shopping centre and as you will soon notice, there’s no lack of those in Singapore. This might not seem like the most luxurious meal option, but once you’ve given them a visit you will be spoilt for choice and your taste buds will be going bonkers! They offer pretty much every option conceivable for between 5 – 10 SGD, which compared to any of the sit down restaurants you’re likely to come across is pretty freaking cheap, not to mention the portions are huge and the food is delicious! I ate a lot of noodles and ramen whilst there and there’s no chance you will hear me complaining!
If that’s not what you fancy you can always head to Chinatown, there’s a whole street dedicated to affordable eats which will leave you drooling and wanting more. Or you could take a trip down to Little India and get some curry for half the price you’d be paying in Europe, although, if you’re heading to Malaysia next you may want to wait a while and get it for a fraction of the cost (blog post coming up)! If you get really stuck and want some European food, you’ll be spoilt for choice, pretty much every European and American chain conceivable is available, we actually gave in and had a McDonalds on one night because Jayne wasn’t feeling well, we were tired and it seemed like a good option at the time… although I can’t really recommend that because, well, there’s so much better food around and you’re in Asia silly!
What to see and do in Singapore
There’s really no lack of things to do and see in this city, the only thing that will determine how much fun you have are the dollars in your pocket, but even if you’re on a tight budget that doesn’t allow for paid attractions, you’ll have an incredible time and will be spoilt for things to snap with your camera and capture your imagination.
The first thing we wanted to see was Gardens by the Bay so we headed straight there, fortunately this involved getting a metro to a huge shopping center where we ate the before mentioned ramen, walking through a built up part of the city with incredible architecture and catching a load of shots of the incredible Marina Sands Bay building which I’d really been looking forward to. If your budget allows you could even go get a cocktail at the top of Marina Sands and overlook the city, but that would definitely have bankrupted us, so we decided to walk through the gardens instead! It’s by far the most impressive park I’ve ever been to, the electric trees they’ve build are breathtaking, but the whole park in general will leave your head spinning! It’s absolutely huge and you could definitely spend half a day getting great photos, exploring the beautiful surrounding and maybe even having a picnic (which would absolutely save you some pennies in the long run). At 7:45pm and 8:45pm the trees light up and you get a free light show, it’s pretty mesmerising, although the music of choice also gives it a bit of a gloomy feel, still absolutely worthwhile! We actually got really lucky and arrived on Singapore’s National Day which meant we saw all sorts of cool stuff going on, including an arena full of people singing the national anthem, fighter planes flying over, a helicopter carrying a huge Singapore flag and fireworks that illuminated the night sky on our walk out of the park, if you want to catch that too, it was on July the 14th, although it might be worth checking if it’s the same date every year!
Odd Tip – We’d planned on doing the skywalk, but in all honesty, it didn’t seem worthwhile as the queue was horrendous and we arrived a tad late so there’s a chance we’d be queuing for hours just to have it close on us! The majority of the gardens are free entry, so there’s no need to pay extra unless you have the budget and the desire.
Bizzare and beautiful temple in Singapore that holds Buddha’s tooth. Definitely not what I expected to find in a built up city like this. We had an awesome time visiting Singapore and will definitely be back to do Sentosa Island and all the other bits we missed once we’ve saved up a small fortune … it’s rather expensive ? . . . . . . . . . . . #streetmobs #urbanphotography #streetphotography #streetexploration #urbanandstreet #imaginatones #streettogether #streetmagazine #streetmobs #peopleinsquare #moodygrams #illgrammers #instamagazine #twgrammers #shotaroundmag #illkillers #killergrams #superhubs #urbanromantix #livefolk #shotaward #_heater #yngkillers #shotzdelight #1stinstinct #heatercentral #workfromanywhere #remotework #freelancelife
From Gardens By The Bay it’s probably worth the short trip to Chinatown, here you can eat amazing food for dead cheap as previously mentioned, but there’s also a bunch of temples to visit that are absolutely gorgeous, including the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple which holds, you guessed it Buddha’s tooth! On that same road there’s the breathtaking Sri Mariamman Temple with it’s incredible decorations, all this makes going to Chinatown unforgettable, but also a real cheap way of seeing some cool stuff without having to splash out on entrance fees or lots of transport.
Can’t even imagine how long this took to finish, it’s so incredibly detailed. Walking along China Town in Singapore was one of my favourite bits of the city, theirs great street food, the atmosphere is buzzing and you get to see some incredible looking temples. It’s pretty difficult to take a good snap of this though as it’s right by a main and very busy street. . . . . . . . . . . . . . #hindutemple #backpacking #traveltheworld #workfromanywhere #main_vision #master_shots #exclusive_shots #hubs_united #jaw_dropping_shotz #worldshotz #theworldshotz #pixel_ig #photographyislifee #photographyislife #photographysouls #photographyeveryday #photographylover #worldbestgram #iglobal_photographers #ig_great_pics #ig_myshot #shotwithlove #justgoshoot #xposuremag #icatching #collectivelycreate #wanderlust #heatercentral #highsnobiety #shotzdelight
Odd Tip – If you want to take in your DSLR and grab some snaps at Sri Mariamman Temple it requires purchasing a camera pass, but this didn’t seem to apply to taking photos on your phone; either that, or we just got away with it!
Sentosa Island is another one of Singapore’s main attractions and one I’m sure lots of people plan their trip around. It’s a bizarre island off Singapore that seems to have been built up with only fun and big spending in mind, in fact it’s also known as “The State of Fun”, which kind of made me cringe and for some reason it reminds me of Pleasure Island from Pinocchio. Although there’s lots of things that appeal to me on the island, I was rather put off the idea of travelling half way across the world to experience something that seems extremely Western and available elsewhere. That being said, if theme park rides, sea life centers, trampoline parks and thrill filled days out are the reason you go on holiday, this may just be the perfect fit for you, as long as you have the bank balance to handle it. I won’t go into prices of things there because there would just be way too much to cover, fortunately, you can get all the info you need of the official Sentosa Island website.
Getting to the island is pretty simple, there’s a ton of access routes from a shopping centre called VivoCity which is right across from it, meaning if you don’t actually want to go, you can still see it from afar. As we didn’t venture onto it I can give much detail on how to get around and what the best attractions to visit are, but the previously mentioned websites will help you determine a route, fair, attraction prices and itinerary. We would love to visit on another trip, with a bigger budget!
We actually spent a fair amount of time in VivoCity as it had great food, an awesome rooftop garden and the best arcade we’ve ever visited (so far), we spent quite a bit of time playing arcade games, winning tokens and swapping them in for sweets, so if that’s your kind of thing, we’d definitely recommend checking it out! The prices aren’t cheap, but they’re also not extortionate and if you go during a quiet period you can get an hours unlimited play for around 30 SGD, which might seem a bit much, but once you realise how many of the games give tokens that you can swap in for goodies it becomes pretty worthwhile. Right next door to the arcade is also a great sweet shop, so we kind of made up for not going to Sentosa Island by getting our sugar rush on.
Singapore is also famous for its Zoo which apparently has won a shit ton of awards and if Gardens By The Bay is anything to go on, it will be absolutely stunning. I’m generally very against zoos and get pretty uncomfortable the times I’ve been pressured into going to them as an adult, but rumour has it that this particular zoo treats animals well, gives them plenty of space and is generally well regarded. Still, I’m not sure how I’d feel once I was actually there. Either way, we were there on a weekend which means it would have been absolutely rammed, plus, we didn’t have the time or budget to get there anyway, so I wasn’t put in an uncomfortable situation, although I know Jayne would have loved to see some Pandas and there was part of me that liked the idea of the photo opportunities that would have come up.
There is obviously way more to see in Singapore, but those are the bits that stood out to us on our short trip, if there’s anything we missed, let us know, I’m sure we’ll head back once we’ve saved some extra cash, ideally enough for a cocktail at Marina Sands, although, that might take a while!
Where to Stay in Singapore
Accommodation in Singapore is expensive and prices go up pretty quickly if you leave it till last minute, although we could have been affected by National Day happening that weekend, so it’s probably not the best representation of prices and availability. We stayed at Champion Hotel, it was clean and tidy, the staff were nice and it was affordable compared to other parts of the city. It was also on a road where the buildings have been protected so that they keep their traditional look, all in all we had a great stay, although, the room (and the bed) were a tad smaller than what we’d become accustomed to in the rest of South East Asia. If you’re on a medium budget we would absolutely recommend staying there, but it’s always worth having a look at Agoda for some comparison.
Odd Tip – Singapore has cracked down heavily on Airbnb listings, if you search on the app we noticed that a lot of the accommodation that comes up is not in Singapore at all, rather, across the border in Malaysia, which would absolutely ruin any plans you had, add a load of travel time and probably cause some issues having to go back and forth through the border and the accompanying security checks.
Anything we’d missed or anything you would add? Send us an email, we’d love to hear from you! If you want to help us along exist in Asia for a little longer, you can purchase something from the CMK or Food Scouts shop or watch out for our upcoming Patreon scheme. For more Sout East Asia blog posts, browse our Odd Odyssey category and stay tuned to find out about our YouTube channel which is coming soon!
Is there a clothing items as classic as a collared shirt? I think not. Regardless of your shape, size, gender or style preferences a collared shirt comes in handy for smartening up any outfit, whether you’ve got a meeting to go to or just want to feel a little swish. Shirts don’t need to be boring though, there are tons of brilliant brands of all sizes, around Europe designing and selling printed shirts with character. Bright colours, bold prints and heritage brands are on the menu today for my edit of colourful, quirky printed shirts. I’ve tried to present a unisex set of brands, so there should be something for everyone amongst this edit. Let me know if you spot any other brands that you think should be added!
Keren Mualem from Tel Aviv, Israel
Handmade clothes are a treat and I’m absolutely in love with this collection from Keren Mualem from Tel Aviv in Israel. Her clothing collection covers everything from shirts, shoes, jackets and skirts. You can get a complete outfit from Keren Mualem in tasteful colour palettes and interesting prints, the price is a little higher at around £74 for a shirt, but everything is 100% cotton. Definitely one to check out and absolutely ideal for anyone with a more conservative office job to go to, but doesn’t want to loose out on personality in their wardrobe. Shop Keren Mualem’s stunning collection of printed shirts and more.
Annanemone from Prague, Czech Republic
If you’re looking for an eclectic mix of prints that covers anything from dinosaurs and sharks to sloths, brussell sprouts and pretzels, I think you’ll dig Annaenemone from Prague. You can shop their lovely, fun prints in t-shirts, shirts, dresses and more and they even offer matching sets for couples. Super fun! Their fabrics are generally 90% cotton to 10% polyester so you’re getting a nice quality fabric for your spend. They also have a slug as a logo, which signals their not so serious approach. Love it! Shop Annaemone’s fun printed clothing collection.
Cath Kidston from London, United Kingdom
Unless you’ve been living in a cave somewhere, you probably already know the Cath Kidston brand. It’s been a brand close to my heart since I first visited their London shop, many moons ago when there was only one store. I still have my start print oil cloth tote bag from back in the day. I’ve also been lucky enough to work behind the scenes on some epic experiential marketing for Cath Kidston, which was super fun. Some brands don’t last long, but Cath Kidston continue to nail it with their whimsical, traditional English styling that is well loved around the World. Shop Cath Kidston’s range of printed shirts here.
Compañia Fantastica from Madrid, Spain
Similar to Spanish brand KLING, who I’ve mentioned before, Compañia Fantastica is one of the smaller gems on the Spanish high street and online. Their collections flawlessly combine a playful, nostalgic sense of fun with wearable, timeless cuts and styles. As an added bonus, their clothing collections are affordable (shirts are about £32) without compromising on quality or style. Definitely one to watch. Shop Compañia Fantastica printed clothing here.
Brutus from London, United Kingdom
I first learnt about Brutus shirts and their heritage from my pal ReeRee Rockette and instantly fell in love with the 60s mod aesthetic and back story. Founded in 1966, this clothing brand has lived through the real mod era. They offer a range of classic check shirts, polo shirts and jeans. They cut shirts to fit masculine and feminine body shapes, so there’s something for everyone in excellent quality. Shop Brutus shirts and fashion here.
Girae Rigira from Bologna, Italy
For a little vintage flavour with plenty of chic European style influence, check out Girae Rigira. From button down collared shirts, to loose t-shirts in smart fabrics and prints, alongside a wider selection of garments to complete your look, this is a truly lovely brand. Although some items are a little too pretty vintage for my personal taste, there’s lots that I would love to mix and match with my current wardrobe. They use vintage fabrics as well as modern fabrics with a retro look, perfectly curated together. They also have dungarees, which is an added bonus. Shop Girae Rigira’s range of printed clothes.
Brava Fabrics from Barcelona, Spain
One of my favourite fashion discoveries since living in Barcelona has to be Brava Fabrics. Based in a stunning little studio in the city’s Poble Nou area, you’ll find Brava Fabrics in many boutiques and craft fairs across the city and further afield. They specialise in quality printed fabrics with their range of signature ditsy prints featuring anything from tiny avocados and shrimps to tiny animals and plants. Always a joy and top of my clothing wishlist for a long time. Shop Brava Fabrics printed shirts and more here.
Boden from London, United Kingdom
Although historically usually aimed at an older target audience, Boden is always a wonderful stopping point on the hunt for colourful clothes. They’ve been making their Classic Shirt since the start in a variety of colours and prints, from timeless to playful, they’re a great investment piece without spending a fortune. Browse Boden printed shirts and clothing here.
I hope you enjoyed my edit and that I helped you discover some new places to shop. I plan to update this post as I find more great printed shirt companies to share. If you spot something that you think suits the CMK aesthetic and deserves a spot on this list, send me a tweet or Instagram note to @JayneKitsch or visit the Contact page on this site to find out more about collaborating. You can explore more Fashion, Beauty and Indie Love content on this site, with content dating back to 2009! If you have a post request, I welcome your suggestions.
This is an ongoing project for Team CMK, we want to host more travel advise and create a database of information for travellers seeking colour and creativity. To get started, we’ve pulled together a place to store ideas of colourful places to visit in Europe. Our first edit features a handful of obvious suggestions along with some offbeat ones, with some of our personal experience thrown in, but we hope we can help you find some brand new ideas. We’ll be adding to this on a regular basis, so if you have a suggestion for a place to add get in touch! Stay tuned for our edits of colourful places to visit in Asia, America and beyond! We’ll also be pulling together some edits of hotels and places to stay that will appeal to colour lovers and adventurers everywhere. Once we’ve visited a place personally, we’ll come back to this post and add in links to any related posts that will help your travels.
Colourful Places to Visit in Europe
If you’re based close to any European city, travelling within Europe is fairly affordable and simple. Nowhere is insanely far away and it’s easy to visit lots of places in a short space or time. It’s not wonder that Europe has historically been a popular hub for backpackers and digital nomads from all walks of life. With so many places to visit, it’s difficult to make a final choice, so we hope this edit of colourful places alongside some factoids and personal experience will help you find your next destination.
With Portugal’s rich history of quality fresh food and wine, it’s no wonder that it’s a top destination for travellers on a budget. South of Porto, you’ll find the town of Águeda, just in land from the coast. Famous for it’s annual July festival, AgitÁgueda, which floods the town with colour and music for the month. You will recognise this instantly Instagrammable, Rua Luis de Camoes with it’s colourful umbrella canopy from many Wanderlust Pinterest boards. Browse Agueda holidays here.
Photo Credit: Starrynight1 on Flickr
Cinque Terre, Italy
For a little slice of historical, countryside fishing village life on the Italian Riveria, head to Cinque Terre. A cluster of five towns with colourful painted houses, stunning scenery and a slow paced look at Italian Coastal living this is one for the bucket list! With all the old houses squished into the dramatic rock faces around a clear blue sea, you’ll feel like you’ve stumbled into a fairy tale. You can reach the remote villages via train from Genoa, Rome and Pisa or hire a car for a narrow, winding road adventure. Browse holidays to Cinque Terre here.
Photo Credit: Cristina Gottardi on Unsplash
The Austrian capital, Vienna is famous for many creative people during history including Mozart, Beethoven, Sigmund Freud and actor, Christoph Waltz. For art, culture, architecture, history, food and a little confusingly; the Spanish Riding School, there’s plenty to keep you busy in this European capital city. For travellers seeking something a little different there’s more than a healthy handful of museums about human remains, a museum of art fakes and endless free art on the streets too. For the ultimate seeker of colour and oddity, the Hudertwasser buildings are a must-see! Shop Vienna holidays here.
Photo Credit: Virginie on Pixabay
If fairytale castles and magical towns in the foothills of Mountains are your thing, Sintra should be on your travel bucketlist. Close to Portugal’s capital city, Lisbon, Sintra is a popular resort town filled with colour and history. Visit UNESCO World Heritage Site, Pena Palace followed by walks and hikes around many other local palaces and castles. We wonder how many fantasy films have been shot here? Browse holiday to Sintra, Portugal here.
Come for the Gaudi art and beautiful outdoor space in usually sunny weather and stay for the amazing diversity, food, drink and street art. Barcelona is a metropolis with a laid back, creative vibe that attracts people from all around the world. If you think you’ll practise your Spanish here, be prepared as there’s also Catalan language in use alongside hundreds of others. Wander Gracia region for a cool, trendy village feeling in an old part of town or explore El Raval for the alternative culture of Barcelona, with plenty of street art on every corner. Browse Barcelona holidays here.
More CMK articles about Barcelona:
- My Ever-Growing Guide to Barcelona by Jayne Kitsch
- Highlights from our Barcelona Trip by Jayne Kitsch
- Best Burger in Barcelona by Jayne Kitsch
- Food Scouts Barcelona Guides by Jayne Kitsch & Misael Trujillo
We’d love to revisit Wroclaw in the Summer, visiting in Winter is tough if you’re not prepared for snow. Whatever the weather Poland is a super affordable holiday destination within Europe, Wroclaw in particular is full of colourful old buildings and a sprinkling of street art and gnomes. As with any other European city, there’s shopping, museum, nightlife and art to enjoy too. See how many of the gnomes you can find whilst you’re there. If you venture to the nearby mountains you can go skiing and shop gemstones and crystal wares at bargain prices. Browse Wroclaw holidays here.
This is an unusual one, this small town in the Malaga region of the South of Spain wouldn’t have made it if it wasn’t for a Smurfs movie related deal. Yes really, since 2011 Juzcar has been the Official Smurf Village of the World, after the whole town agreed to paint their houses blue as part of a movie publicity stunt orchestrated by Sony Pictures. Anyway, it proved a smart move for the town, which has since enjoyed a tourism boost. Browse Juzccar holidays here, guess what? The hotels are blue too.
Photo Credit: Ramón Ojeda on Flickr
The capital of Iceland and located on the coast, Reykjavik is a popular Scandinavian destination. Notoriously cheap to get to and less cheap once you get there, we’d recommend you have a good budget (or a friend you can stay with!) to make the most of this adventure. A mix of contemporary and traditional adds tons of charm to this small city, many of us will recognise the colourful painted buildings of the Old Harbour. Browse holidays to Reykjavik here.
Photo Credit: Tim Wright on Unsplash
Despite being a tourist traps for stag dos and mischievous lads holidays, Amsterdam is an incredibly beautiful and interesting place to visit. Once you get over the terror of bicycle traffic and you grasp the handy dial shaped layout of the city around the beautiful canals, it won’t take you long to discover something quirky or colourful amongst these Dutch streets. Famous for art, tulips, weed and neon lights Amsterdam is a strange mix of Blackpool and Paris, which has to be seen to be full understood. If you dig the Dutch vibe, wider afield you can find beautiful countryside, coastlines and many charming smaller villages and cities. Browse holidays to Amsterdam here.
It wouldn’t be a proper travel bucket list without a mention for the Northern Lights. For one of the best views of the Aurora Bourealis, the small Arctic town of Longyearbyen in Norway is the place to be. To make the place even more magical, expect to see rainbow coloured cabins, the North Pole Expeditions Museum and if you’re very lucky, you may catch a glimpse of a real Polar Bear. Browse holidays to Longyearbyen here.
The colorful houses of #Longyearbyen, against the backdrop of a beautiful snow-covered mountain. •• Nothing like #winter in Svalbard. Takeover by @losethemap_ . . . . . #igtravel #wanderlust #svalbard #spitsbergen #houses #colorful #travelstoke #traveldeeper #lonelyplanet #globetrekker #nordnorge #norway #norge #mittnordnorge
Procida Island, Italy
Escape to a colourful Mediterrean Island that looks a little bit like someone spilt some paint over a set from Star Wars. One of the Flegrean Islands, Procida can be found off the coast of Naples. Enjoy a slower pace of life in sunny Procida with it’s ancient fishing culture, traditional architecture and of course, delicious fresh food. Browse holidays to Procida Island.
Photo Credit: Erwin Doorn on Unsplash
I’ve spent more time in London than anywhere else in my life so far. I could write a book about awesome stuff you could do in London, in the meantime, you can browse the London tag on this site to find more reviews and recommendations. A hub of European style, entertainment and culture, there’s not much you can’t find in London should you do your research. Head to Soho for neon lights, cocktails and cabaret culture, Carnaby Street and Liberty for the city’s fashion heritage and trendy East London for incredible street art and rows of kick-ass independent businesses, markets, art exhibitions and more. Browse London holidays here.
More CMK Articles about London:
- My Tips for Moving to London by Jayne Kitsch
- My First Experience of Flat Sharing in London by Jayne Kitsch
- Everything Else about London
Costa Nova, Portugal
If you’ve ever dreamt of seeing the traditional beach hut taken to another level, then you might just want to head to Costa Nova in Portugal for their candy striped huts. The beach huts in Costa Nova are known as Palheiros, traditionally used by fishermen to store their equipment, since the rise of tourism in the picturesque town, the huts are now rented out to visitors and bathers. Enjoy soft white san dunes, warm weather and a clear ocean. Beautiful. Browse holidays to Costa Nova here.
If you’ve ever been a vampire fan, you want to visit Transylvania of Bram Stoker’s Dracula fame. Here’s your chance with a splash fo colour with the town of Sighişoara in Romania. What may look like a town of Hansel & Gretel candy coloured houses and pretty rooftops, is actually a UNESCO World Heritage and the origin of Vlad Ţepeş, the real life ruler who inspired the stories of vampires of Dracula. Unexpected and extremely interesting: rainbow colours and vampire souvenirs. Browse trips to Sighişoara here.
Photo Credit: FreeStocks on Unsplash
Stay tuned, more being added all the time…
If you have a suggestion or a PR lead for a new place to visit or add to this list, please get in touch by tagging @JayneKitsch on Twitter or Instagram or visit the Contact page to find out more.