10 Foods You Must Eat in Europe

Pasta, pizza, pastries…Hungry? Why wait? Don’t grab a Snickers, hop on a plane to Europe. Read on for 10 foods you must eat in Europe.

1. Tapas in Seville

I know, I know…tapas, such a general term. Well, I said tapas because I couldn’t narrow it down to just one. Tapas are more of an experience than a food. Eslava in Seville serves award-winning tapas. Go hungry and taste as many tapas as you can!

Tapas | Marissa's Teachable Moments

2. Dutch pancakes in Amsterdam

I had no clue what to expect when I saw a pancake burger on the menu. I was skeptical, but I’m so glad I took the plunge. If you’re in Amsterdam, head over to De Vier Pilaren for some sweet and savory pancakes. I didn’t get a chance to try the poffertjes because I was stuffed, but they looked equally delicious.

Dutch Pancake | Marissa's Teachable Moments

3. Baba in the Amalfi Coast

Baba au Rhum, or Rum Baba, is best described as a spongy dessert topped with rum. Instead of a bakery, I ordered this at a bar one night and the generous bartender poured two shots of rum on top. No complaints over here. It was hard to find this tasty treat outside of the Amalfi Coast, so if you’re there, make sure you drink eat up!

Baba | Marissa's Teachable Moments

4. Mushrooms in La Rioja

Garlic-infused mushrooms, topped with shrimp, all stacked on top of a piece of bread. To date, these are the best mushrooms I’ve tasted! I came across these mushrooms when I decided to embark on a self-guided tapa crawl in Rioja. If you’re in the area, visit Bar Angel where they specialize in mushrooms. Thank me later!

Mushrooms | Marissa's Teachable Moments

5. Pastel de Nata in Lisbon

Usually, I’m not a fan of anything with a custard consistency. These pastries, however, won me over; I’m still bummed I only ordered one. When in Lisbon, you can enjoy these tasty treats at Pastéis de Belém…be prepared to play musical chairs as you search for a table. Trust me, the scramble will be worth it…plus you might work up an appetite.

Pastel de Nata | Marissa's Teachable Moments

6. Pasta in Florence

In Florence, I spent a day making pasta, tossing pizza, and drinking tons of wine. This brings me to the best pasta I had in Italy, which was hand made by me; I really thought I was Chef Curry with the pasta. Having a hand in preparing the pasta made it taste even better! Check out a class and start cooking.

Pasta | Marissa's Teachable Moments

7. Salmon in Porto

The fish in Porto is so fresh! For this particular dish, I visited Antigua Casa Ze da Guida, which is located near the water. The fish comes with a delicious side salad and of course I had to top it off with a glass of sangria. I went to this restaurant 3 times in 5 days…clearly I was a fan!

Salmon | Marissa's Teachable Moments

8. Dutch Apple Pie in Amsterdam

Okay, Amsterdam tops the list again. It’s called Dutch apple pie for a reason. For a good slice of pie, head to Winkel 43. The only thing that would’ve made this better is having it served hot. Still, my mouth is watering just looking at this picture.

Dutch Apple Pie | Marissa's Teachable Moments

9. Churros con Chocolate in Madrid

When I think of churros, I think of fried dough covered in cinnamon and sugar. In Spain, they take away the cinnamon and replace it with chocolate. The jury’s still out on the best place to grab churros in Madrid. When in doubt, try them all!

Churros con Chocolate | Marissa's Teachable Moments

10. Francesinha in Porto

Last but not least, Porto’s signature dish. A sandwich with layers of meat (yes, layers), topped with an egg, cheese, and special sauce. Admittedly, I was not mentally prepared to tackle this sandwich. Francesinha – 1, Marissa – 0.

Francesinha | Marissa's Teachable Moments

Hungry yet? I know I am! I’d consider going back just to taste these dishes again, yum! Hope you’re able to try these 10 foods the next time you’re in Europe.

Bon appétit,

Marissa

10 Foods to Eat in Europe

4 Days, 3 Nights In Paris

Paris attractions on a budget

GETTING THERE

I took an overnight bus from Amsterdam to Paris, France.  In spite of being excited about all of the Paris attractions that I was about to embark on, I was able to get some sleep.  Plus, I saved on one night of accommodations, for the win.  If you’re traveling around Europe, Flixbus really is the way to go!

WHERE TO LAY YOUR HEAD ON A PILLOW

My friends and I stayed at Inter-Hotel Parisiana.  Equipped with three twin beds, the room was like a scene from “I Love Lucy.”  The hotel was conveniently located near a metro and bus stop, which made getting around simple.

GETTING AROUND PARIS

The bus and metro systems make it pretty easy to get around Paris.  Tickets are 1.90 € , just keep track of the number of trips you’re taking because that can add up quickly.  With that said, don’t be alarmed by the transportation line in my budget; I opted for Uber here and there.  

WHERE TO EAT

One of the major Paris attractions is the food.  Treat yourself to a macaron, cheese, wine, escargot…wander around and eat until your heart’s content.  One night, we indulged in a nice dinner at Le Hide.  It was pricey but worth it.  

THINGS TO DO

Paris attractions on a budgetParis offers tons of things to see and do.  Interested in free activities?  Explore Montmartre, relax in le Jardin du Luxembourg, spend some time at the Notre Dame Cathedral.  Willing to pay a fee?  Climb to the top of the Arc de Triomphe, be wowed by the beauty of Sainte Chapelle, tour the Catacombs, visit the Louvre, journey to the top of the Eiffel Tower.  Whatever you decide to do, you won’t be disappointed.

Paris attractions on a budgetSainte Chapelle was one of my favorite Paris attractions.  It wasn’t at the top of my list until a friend told me it was a must-see.  Luckily, I decided to spend 10 € and check it out for myself.  The story telling on the painted glass windows was breathtaking!

Paris attractions on a budgetOf course I can’t forget about the Eiffel Tower.  A ticket, including a lift to the top was 17 €. Tickets were sold out online, so we went to the tower and stood in an actual queue. Between security and purchasing the tickets, we waited for about 45 minutes.  Not too bad, but it was pretty cold…so bundle up, buttercup.  Minus the temperature, I enjoyed visiting at night to see the light show.

Paris attractions

Paris nights in September.

BUDGET

Here’s a breakdown of my budget for four days in Paris.  

Item Cost
Amsterdam → Paris 40 € = 48 USD
Accommodations 112 € = 134 USD
Getting Around 25 € = 30 USD
Food and Drinks 110 € = 132 USD
Activities 27 € = 32 USD
Total 314  € =  377 USD

*I used an exchange rate of 1 € = 1.2 USD

Looking at the activity line, I’m realizing that it might have been wise to invest in a Paris Museum Pass.  The pass allows you to gain access to various museums without waiting in line.  I decided not to partake in some activities because I was deterred by the line and/or the price.  Think about what you want to see in Paris and do the math; purchasing a pass might allow you to see more Paris attractions while helping you save a bit of time and money.

Ciao for now,

Marissa

Paris attractions on a Budget

3 DAYS, 2 NIGHTS IN AMSTERDAM

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GETTING THERE

To get from Barcelona to Amsterdam, I hopped on a Vueling flight.  Unlike Ryanair, I didn’t have to pay ridiculous baggage fees, so I was already a happy camper.

WHERE TO LAY YOUR HEAD ON A PILLOW

My friends and I stayed at Hotel Europa 92, which was centrally located to the things we chose to do during our time in Amsterdam.  While the location was cool, that’s where the buck stopped.  Personally, I would not choose to stay here again.  Lack of heat (Amsterdam was cold and rainy…I had to breakdown and buy a coat, bah humbug), not-so-friendly staff, rotten cheese for breakfast…no bueno.  This was not my cup of tea.

GETTING AROUND AMSTERDAM

It was fairly easy to get around Amsterdam, especially with a tram stop right across the street from our hotel.  When we weren’t hopping on the tram, we opted for Uber or a taxi instead.  We did this when we got caught in the rain, which happened several times during our trip.  A heads up, there’s a night tax for taxis.  I can’t recall the exact price, but I remember it was disrespectful!  I didn’t rent a bike, but I plan to do that the next time I visit Amsterdam (speaking it into existence).

WHERE TO EAT

Dutch pancakes and dutch apple pie…both definitely make my top ten list of foods I enjoyed in Europe.  Head to Wikel 43 for dutch apple pie.  It was packed, so be prepared to wait.  Trust me though, it is worth the wait!

Now onto these pancakes.  Looking at De Vier Pilaren’s menu, I was both excited and skeptical.  I eventually settled on a pancake burger and had no clue what to expect.  Y’all, it changed my life!  We were all stuffed from the savory pancakes, so we didn’t have room to try the sweet poffertjes.  Looking at them, I can only imagine that they taste like mini-funnel cakes.  I’m still bummed I didn’t get to try the poffertjes.  If you dine at De Vier Pilaren, consider going dutch on the bill and the bites.  Perfect way to cut down on the costs and try multiple things on the menu.  

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Finally, if you want a bunch of options, head to Food Hallen.  Similar to Time Out in Lisbon, it’s a lively market with an array of food, a dj, and the perfect social atmosphere.

THINGS TO DO

If it floats your boat, visit a coffee shop.  Notice I didn’t include this in the section on food (hint hint).  It’s my understanding that a café is a casual restaurant/bar, a koffiehuis (coffee house) serves coffee, and a coffee shop specializes in recreational activities.  #WhenInAmsterdam

Okay, now for the activities.  Minus a few exceptions, I’m not a huge fan of museums or historic sites.  Nonetheless, I thoroughly enjoyed visiting the Anne Frank House.  Grab your headphones, comfortable attire, and get lost in the history for a few hours.  I could’ve stayed longer; the best 9 € I ever spent.  I’d recommend purchasing tickets at least a day in advance to be on the safe side.  

After you’ve had your history fix, enjoy the more chill things that Amsterdam has to offer.  Walk around the Red Light District, check out the canals in the Jordaan District, take a picture in front of the I Amsterdam sign.  Whatever you decide to do, you won’t be disappointed.  I can’t wait to get back to Amsterdam.  Even in the dreary weather, I had a great time!

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BUDGET

Here’s a breakdown of my budget for three days in Amsterdam.  

Item Cost
Barcelona → Amsterdam 74 € = 89 USD
Accommodations 133 € = 160 USD
Getting Around 30 € = 36 USD
Food and Drinks 61 € = 73 USD
Activities 22 € = 26 USD
Total 320  € =  384 USD

*I used an exchange rate of 1 € = 1.2 USD

Until next time, Amsterdam! Ciao for now,

Marissa

 

6 DAYS, 5 NIGHTS IN BARCELONA

GETTING THERE

After less than 48 hours in La Rioja, my friends and I headed to Barcelona.  We arrived in about four hours on the Renfe train, which is apparently the mode of transportation to use when exploring Spain.

WHERE TO LAY YOUR HEAD ON A PILLOW

We stayed at an Airbnb in Catalonia.  The Airbnb was nice, but definitely pricey compared to my pre-Spain accommodations.  It was located in a safe neighborhood, spacious, modern technology, so I guess a splurge is nice every now and then…I say that now, but wait until I get to the budget section.

GETTING AROUND BARCELONA

Up to this point, I’ve relied heavily on my own two feet to get around — good for my wallet and my waistline.  When traveling with others, majority rules.  So in Barcelona, I found myself in quite a few taxis.  At times, we found it difficult to find open cabs in Catalonia.  So if this is your transportation of choice, be prepared to wait.  One day I insisted we walk and we stumbled upon Park Güell.  Great views, architecture by Gaudí, a quick workout…what’s not to like?

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WHERE TO EAT

Do yourself a favor and make your way to La Boqueria.  You won’t be disappointed!  Located in Las Ramblas, you can eat until your heart’s content then explore the area.  You can snack on fresh fruits, nuts, enjoy a smoothie, or sit down for a larger meal.  I was super hungry when I visited La Boqueria, so I did the latter.  I ate at El Quim de La Boqueria.  I waited for a seat at the bar for at least 30 minutes, but it was well worth the wait.  I had the salmon, second only to the salmon I had in Porto (I swear I still think about that salmon from time to time).  As I ate my food, I eyed all of the other options, which looked equally delicious.  If I return, I’ll definitely eat there again.

THINGS TO DO

Barcelona has so much to offer, so deciding what to do depends on your interests.  Explore Catalonia, Las Ramblas, Gothic Quarter…like I said, options.  

My friend and I decided to get tickets to La Sagrada Familia.  We were able to get same-day tickets online, but options were limited, so if you’re interested in going inside try to secure tickets at least a day in advance to be on the safe side.  In my opinion, going inside wasn’t worth the 15 € entry fee.  Don’t get me wrong, when you step inside, it’s breathtaking.  But after that first breath, that’s about it.

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I didn’t make it to a fútbol match (blasphemy).  I just couldn’t bring myself to spend 200 € on a ticket for a sport that I don’t particularly enjoy…or was it $200?  Either way, I didn’t partake.  My friends went and they had a great time.  So if this is your goal (see what I did there), sounds like it’s worth the price tag.

 

BUDGET

Here’s a breakdown of my budget for six days in Barcelona.  I lost track of some expenses (especially transportation) so I just rounded up here and there.  Better to overestimate than under.  Don’t be too alarmed by the cost of food and drinks; a lot of our meals paired well with wine…bottles of wine.  Remember earlier when I said I was fine with an occasional splurge?  After looking at this breakdown, I’m not.

Item Cost
La Rioja → Barcelona 25 € = 30 USD
Accommodations 330 € = 396 USD
Getting Around 30 € = 36 USD
Food and Drinks 200 € = 240 USD
Activities 15 € = 18 USD
Total 600  € =  720 USD

*I used an exchange rate of 1 € = 1.2 USD

Ciao for now,

Marissa

 

2 DAYS, 1 NIGHT IN LA RIOJA

My trip to La Rioja was super quick; I don’t think I was there a full 48 hours.  So, I’ll give a quick recap.  The only hostel with availability had 22 beds, so I chose to stay at FG Logroño Hotel instead.  It was pricey (to me), so I don’t feel guilty about spending that first afternoon in the comfy, queen-size bed.  Highlights (aka pretty much all I did)… a wine tour and I ate the best mushrooms ever! If you find yourself in Rioja, visit Bar Angel and have some mushrooms for me.

BUDGET

Item Cost
Madrid → La Rioja 25 € = 30 USD
Accommodations 65 € = 78 USD
Getting Around 10 € = 12 USD
Food and Drinks 43 € = 52 USD
Activities 38 € = 46 USD
Total 181  € =  218 USD

*I used an exchange rate of 1 € = 1.2 USD.  Considering the fact that I was only there for 2 days, I definitely spent way too much money.  Talk about a financial womp.

Ciao for now,

Marissa

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4 DAYS, 3 NIGHTS IN MADRID

GETTING THERE

It took about 5 hours to get from Granada to Madrid by bus.  If you’re traveling this route, consider Alsa bus.

WHERE TO LAY YOUR HEAD ON A PILLOW

Three words — OK Hostel Madrid.  Definitely one of my favorite hostels to date, top three for sure.  Located in Barrio La Latina, OK Hostel Madrid is the perfect choice for travelers looking for convenience, comfort, and fun.  Grab a drink at the bar, chill in the lounge, save some coins by preparing a meal in the kitchen…whatever floats your boat, I can’t recommend OK Hostel Madrid enough.

 

GETTING AROUND MADRID

One day, I had an option of taking a taxi for about 15 €, or partaking in a 30-minute walk for free.  Well, I wanted to get some steps in for the day, so I decided to walk.  Who am I kidding? I walked because I’m frugal.  I got lost, so that 30-minute walk turned into an hour.  All that to say, you can hop in a taxi or walk. If you walk, I hope your sense of direction is better than mine.

WHERE TO EAT

Let me start by saying that I did not get churros con chocolate.  So, I will just have to look at pictures from my first trip to Madrid and live vicariously through those.  

churros

I didn’t get churros, but I did visit Mercado de San Miguel.  Steps away from Plaza Mayor, this market has tons of options, from tapas to more substantial dishes.  So, walk around Plaza Mayor, work up an appetite, then head to the market.

 

THINGS TO DO

Madrid was my first international trip years ago.  I was a true tourist at that time, so I decided to chill during this visit.  However, I would be remiss if I didn’t point out some of the major attractions to check out — Puerta del Sol, Museo del Prado, Reina Sofía, and Plaza Mayor, just to name a few.

This time around, I chilled and did things off the beaten path.  I spent quite a bit of time at the Parque del Buen Retiro, also known as El Retiro.  Warm weather, amazing scenery, a big blanket, good reads…just what I needed for nice, relaxing afternoons.

 

One night, I took a break from chilling in the park and ventured to a club.  I went to Sala Juglar in Lavapies to check out Afrojam, which can best be described as an underground jam session.  Shoutout to Melan Madrid (more on that in a future post) for the suggestion.  If you happen to be in Madrid on a Wednesday night and want to hear good music, dance, and be surrounded by good vibes, be sure to check out Afrojam…definitely worth the 6 € entry fee.

BUDGET

Here’s a breakdown of my budget for four days in Madrid.  

Item Cost
Granada → Madrid 21 € = 25 USD
Accommodations 64 € = 77 USD
Getting Around Walked, aimlessly
Food and Drinks 63 € = 76 USD
Activities 6 € = 7 USD
Total 154  € =  185 USD

*I used an exchange rate of 1 € = 1.2 USD

Ciao for now,

Marissa

 

3 Days, 2 Nights in Granada

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GETTING THERE

It was a quick bus ride from Seville to Granada.  I went with Alsa again since it was clean, comfortable, and affordable.  

WHERE TO LAY YOUR HEAD ON A PILLOW

I booked a private room in an Airbnb.   If you’re new to Airbnb, use this link to get $40 in travel credit when you sign up.  If you’re not new…trust me, I’m still looking for a discount code.

GETTING AROUND GRANADA

Safe to say my Fitbit was a great investment, which is my roundabout way of saying I walked everywhere in Granada.

WHERE TO EAT

Anywhere that offers tapas!! Granada is tapas central! It was a quick trip, so I wasn’t able to try as many restaurants as I would have liked.  Of the restaurants I visited, La Sitarilla was my favorite.  Order a few sangrias and/or (and) tinto veranos and the tapas will flow.  Plus, the staff is super friendly.

THINGS TO DO

Can you guess what I did in Granada? A free walking tour, you guessed it!  Walk in Granada offers three free tours.  I did the Sacromonte tour because by the time I arrived that first afternoon, it was the only one still being offered that day.  The views were great, but that hike was disrespectful!  If you partake in this tour, make sure you wear sneakers with good grip.

Another highlight from my quick trip to Granada was meeting up with some people I met at the hostel in Seville.  We did a tapas crawl then caught a flamenco show…in a cave.  La Cueva de La Rocío was a cool setting for the show.  Fun fact, apparently Michelle Obama attended this show when she visited Granada.  I didn’t confirm that until I started writing this post; sitting in a chair with her name on it didn’t tip me off.  I digress, near the end of the performance, I was one of the people pulled up to dance with the performers.  Definitely an entertaining night to say the least.  

I was working with the afternoon that I arrived from Seville, one full day in Granada, then I left the following morning.  Unfortunately, I did not make it to The Alhambra…blasphemy, I know! Sounds like a great excuse to visit Spain again.

BUDGET

Here’s a breakdown of my budget for my time in Granada.  

Item Cost
Seville → Granada 25 € =  30 USD
Accommodations 40 € = 48 USD
Getting Around Walking is Free 🙂 #FinancialWin
Food and Drinks 40 € = 48 USD
Activities 25 € = 30 USD
Total 130 € =  156 USD

*I used an exchange rate of 1 € = 1.2 USD

Next stop, Madrid.  Ciao for now,

Marissa