The Yogi’s Guide to Athens, Greece

This blog post was originally intended as a simple guide for my Greek Island Yoga Retreat attendees, but why not share the love. I’ve been to Athens a handful of times and each time I visit I discover a new gem. In this post, I’ll be sharing my favorite restaurants, yoga shops, Athens yoga studios among favorite wine bars, sights to see and places to shop.

Photo by Simply Greenhttps://www.simplygreen.gr/travel-mat-poio-na-dialekso/

Where to Buy Yoga Pants and Yoga Mats in Athens

Yoga students and yoga teachers… if you managed to lose or forget your yoga mat, block, incense or mala beads head over to Simply Green. Simply Green is actually an online shop, BUT they do open their doors Monday to Friday from 10 am to 6 pm. They carry great brands… think Manduka and Jade, they have plenty of travel mats in all colors, and tons of other bits and bobs you may have forgotten at home (like a refillable water bottle, yoga towel, mat cleaner, etc.). It’s amazing and it’s located pretty centrally, so it’s a win-win! Location: Simply Green 73 Ermou Str. Monastiraki

If your yoga pants have blown away then check out the Nike store at 1 Ermou, this is probably your best bet for finding a variety of suitable leggings. Simply Green has a few leggings styles as well. Athens Yoga on Louizis Riankour 65, would be a bit of an expedition to get to, but if you’re in a bind or feeling adventurous you could head out to their location. There are also two H&M stores on Ermou. H&M stores in the states typically have fitness wear… just check that your leggings are opaque!

Niyamas Yoga Mat would be another option for picking up a yoga mat. Their mats are known for being nice and sturdy. They’re a local brand and they’re located a little north of the city center on Leof. Konstantinoupoleos 78-80 in Peristari.

The Best Yoga Studios in Athens

If you’re arriving in Athens a few days before your yoga retreat you may be seeking out a yoga studio in Athens to get moving and breathing after sitting on a plane for a dozen hours.

There are a surprisingly large number of yoga studios in Athens. Here are a few to check out:

Abhaya Yoga offers classes in English. At the moment, they have the following types of classes on their schedule: Bhakti, Anusara, Abhaya hatha, Alignment based yoga and Yin-Yang. Check out their website for their current schedule and pricing www.nysystudios.gr or give them a call +30 210 3232004. Location: Aiolou 43

Enjoy a class at Spa-like Anahatashuddhi yoga studio in Peristeri, Athens

Anahatashuddi Yoga Studio is a little further away from the center, but it’s gorgeous and well worth the effort. They offer floor yoga, aerial yoga and pilates in Peristeri. Reach out to Eva via email at eva@anahatashuddhi.com or give them a call at +30 210 5744162 or +30 694 6941126. Location: Emiliou Veaki 36

Swaha Yoga Kallisperi has super friendly staff and a large range of class offerings, including: ballet, pilates, aerial, and floor yoga. Check out their site www.swaha.gr or shoot them an email at om@swaha.gr Their phone number is +30 210 9229251. Location: Kallisperi 11

Other Yoga Class Options:

Where to Eat: Vegan, Vegetarian, Organic and Sustainable Restaurants in Athens

Okay, there are loads of great places to eat in Athens, but when you’ve had enough of the meat, cheese, bread combo give these restaurants a try.

Avocado Vegetarian Cafe Photo credit: Avocado Cafe

Avocado

So Amazing!!! Loads of delicious vegetarian meals from falafel, to crispy tofu to veggie burgers. This restaurant has a surprisingly large menu. They even have a few gluten-free and vegan options — which let’s be honest… Greece is not super friendly to vegans… not that the Greeks are mean, because they’re definitely not, but because the options for vegan food are seriously lacking. Definitely check out Avocado for your veggie and smoothie fix. It’s one of my favorite vegetarian restaurants in Athens. Location: Nikis 30, Syntagma

Indian Haveli near the Acropolis metrohttp://www.indianhaveli.gr/en/

Indian Haveli

I might be biased. I love Indian food and it is one of my comfort foods. AND there are usually plenty of vegetarian options on the menu, which I love. Indian Haveli is conveniently located near Syntagma Square (2 minutes from the Acropolis metro) and it’s affordably priced.

O Kostas

This may be the best gyro and souvlaki in Athens. A favorite among locals for its simplicity and full flavor. But you must go early, when they run out they close up shop! Pentelis 5, Syntagma

Nice n Easy Organic Bistro in Kolonaki, Athens

Nice n Easy

An organic bistro with locally sourced Greek food ie. loads of organic produce, fresh pasta and sustainably sourced meats. Nice n Easy is worth a visit. I would definitely recommend a reservation. This restaurant has a few other locations out on the islands, so if you can’t get in in Athens, check out one of the island locations (if that’s where you’re headed). Location: Omirou 60, Athens

Athens Central Market

If you’re on a budget check out the Athens Central Market. It’s been in operation for over 100 years and offers plenty of veggies, meats, and grocery items.

Seycheles

This may be the best meal I have had in Athens. Seycheles’ menu has lots of small-ish plates and a handful of entree style plates and they’re all delicious. I recommend the octopus, the tomato fritters and the smoked eggplant! Go with a friend so you can try more things! If you want to eat during prime time definitely make a reservation. The restaurant is out of the tourist zone in an up and coming, hipster-ish neighborhood called Metaxourgeio. Address: 49 Kerameikou street

Couleur Locale

Cocktails, wine, and coffee with a rooftop view of the Acropolis and Plaka. Not a bad way to spend an evening. Location: Normanou 3, Monastiraki

Kiki de Grace

A beautiful wine bar near Syntagma Square. They have about 30 different glasses of wine to choose from. Location: Voulis 38

Favorite places for Coffee

Tailor Made Microroastery

Tailor Made Microroastery is located at Agias Irinis 2. Great coffee, awesome outdoor seating that is perfect for people watching and a fun, social scene. Location: Agias Irinis 2 in Monastiraki. Word on the street is that they have closed. Sad face!

Peek a Bloom

Peek a Bloom is another great spot for caffeine, this little cafe is near Syntagma Square and it’s a perfect spot to tuck out of the sun for a cup of coffee. While I haven’t tried their breakfast, I do enjoy their coffee. It’s down the alley at Lekka 14.

Athinaika Galatompoureko Triantafillou

Okay, there are literally hundreds, probably thousands of places to try baklava in Athens, but trust me, when I say that Athinaika Galatompoureko Triantafillou has the best baklava ever! Hike up the hill to Pagrati and get yourself some baklava. It’s worth it. I promise. Location: Eftichidou 2 in Pagrati

Ohh Boy

This is the best cafe to stuff yourself with sweets and get hyped up on sugar and caffeine while cranking out a days work. Did I say they have super fast wifi??? Because they do. Thank you. Thank you! Location: Archelaou 32

Shopping: Where to Buy Gemstones and Crystals in Athens

Alright yogis, you might love gemstones and crystals just as much as I do, so here are a few spots to check out while you’re in Athens.

Michael Hatzmihail near Syntagma Square at Perikleous 56

Stonestories by Albandakis at Perikleous 44

One of my girlfriends bought a gorgeous Byzantine inspired ring from one of the Konstantinos or Kostas stores (I can’t remember the name, but there are a few of them in the Monastiraki and Plaka area).

Shopping: Best Clothing, Shoe, Vintage and Secondhand Shops in Athens

Simply the best! Closet to Closet

Closet to Closet

Closet to Closet is super cute. They have lightly used high end brands like Laboutin and Manolo Blahnik at a fraction on the cost. And it’s next to the National Gardens… picnic + shopping sounds like a lovely afternoon to me. Location: Eratosthenous 4

Preloved

Preloved is another great secondhand shop between the National Gardens and Monastiraki. Location: Asklipiou 20

Kilo Shop

If you don’t have time to make it over to Closet to Closet and Preloved you can check out the Kilo Shop located right in the heart of the tourist district. The last time I was in Athens one of my friends found an amazing pair of Levis… so jealous! Location: Ermou 120

Olgianna Melissinos Sandals

Get a pair of custom made leather sandals. Olgianna and her husband make fantastic footwear and leather bags!!! All at affordable prices too. Every time I am in Europe I treat myself to a pair of shoes or an article or two of clothing… the quality is always amazing. This year I will be getting my own custom made sandals. Location: Normanou 7

Athens National Gardens

Free Things To Do in Athens

  1. Watch the changing of the guards at the Parliament building. The changing of the guards happens every hour on the hour. On Sundays there is an even more elaborate changing of the guards. On our first trip to Athens we stumbled upon the changing of the guards. It’s cool. It’s free. And you can stand in the shade while you watch.
  2. Have a Picnic in the National Garden. The National Garden is massive and beautifully landscaped. Stop by a market on your way and grab a few snacks and maybe a bottle of wine (I have no idea if you can drink wine in Athens’ parks — might be worth looking into).
  3. Check out Anafiotika. Anafiotika is a super cute mini neighborhood in the Plaka area. The architecture is reminiscent of the Cyclades… narrow lanes, white buildings, flowering bougainvilla, and sunbathing cats are the norm. To get there from the Acropolos metro station, take Vyronos St. pass Lycicrates monument and turn left to Thespidos St until you arrive at Stratonos. Turn right on Stratonos and walk straight ahead. You have arrived! There is also some nearby street art.
  4. Wander through Athens’ Central Market. The Central Market is massive, impressively clean, and fairly priced. You’ll find meats, cheeses, veggies, and grocery items. Everything you need for a picnic in the park.
  5. Wander the historic center. Start at Hadrian’s Arch, wander through Plaka, stop and aww at the archeological sites that seem to pop up out of nowhere.
The Acropolis

7 Must See Sites in Athens

If you plan on visiting multiple sites you should buy the multi-site ticket. The ticket to the Acropolis only is 20 euros. The multi-site ticket is 30 euros… and I would take a wild guess that you’ll be visiting at least one or two more sites. Don’t bother booking ahead, just go early in the day before the tour buses show up. The multi-site pass is valid at the following sites: Acropolis of Athens, Ancient Agora of Athens, Archaeological Museum of Kerameikos, Archaeological Site of Lykeion, Hadrian’s Library, Kerameikos, Museum of the Ancient Agora, North slope of the Acropolis, Olympieio, Roman Agora of Athens, South Slope of Acropolis.

  1. The Acropolis
  2. The Acropolis Museum
  3. National Archeological Museum
  4. Varvakeios Central Market
  5. Ancient Agora
  6. Hadrian’s Arch
  7. Temple of Zeus

Travel to and from Athens City Center

Athens by Metro

Transportation to/from the airport via the metro is 10 euros each way and takes about 40 minutes.

Athens by Bus

Transportation to/from the airport via the bus is about 6 euros each way. The X95 drops off and picks up at Syntagma Square. The bus takes 40-60 minutes depending on where you’re headed.

Athens by Taxi

A taxi from the airport to the city is a flat rate of 38 euros during the day and 54 euros between midnight and 5 am. A taxi takes approximately 35 minutes.

Travel to and from Lefkada

There are four buses a day going to Lefkada from Athens. The first departure is at 7 am. The KTEL bus is 36.80 euros one way or 67 euros roundtrip. If you book online you can save 10%. The bus runs from Kifissou in Athens to Lefkada Town on Lefkada.

LEFKADA– filosofon & Tzeveleki, .31 100
President- 26450 26086
Account Office- 26450 22795  Φαξ. 26450 21827
Information/ Ticket Office- 26450 22364
Store/ Parcels- 26450 26085

ATHENS– Leoforos Kifissou 100, 104 42
Information/ Ticket Office – 210 5150108 fax. 210 5151544
Store/ Parcels- 210 5150108
Ticket Office Omonoias – Vilara (near Ag. Konstantinou)Tel. 210 5246803, 210 5233810

Travel to and from Piraeus

The 040 bus will take you to the city center of Athens in 50 minutes, and costs 1.40€. The express buses X80 or X96 take you to the city center in 30 minutes and the tickets cost 4€.

A taxi between Piraeus and Athens city center will take about 25 minutes and will cost approximately 25€ under normal traffic conditions.

The Yogis Guide to Lisbon

yoga in lisbon

Hey beautiful yogis. I’ve just returned from an amazing work/yoga holiday in Portugal and I wanted to share a bit more about my trip to Lisbon in what will hopefully be an awesome and useful guide to help you enjoy your trip. Topics included will be: yoga in Lisbon, awesome vegan restaurants in Lisbon (and some seriously delicious regular restaurants), and where to find yoga clothes while you’re in the city. I only spent a few days in Lisbon and I can’t wait to go back and visit again after our June 2019 yoga retreat in Portugal.

Where to Practice Yoga in Lisbon, Portugal

Alright yogis, who has practiced yoga in a foreign language? I have! And it’s super fun. Obviously, it has its challenges too. When I’m traveling I usually seek out bilingual classes because it helps me learn the native language… in this case Portuguese, but sometimes I just want to be told what to do without thinking about it. LOL.

yoga studio in Lisbon

Little Yoga Space in Baixa is my favorite spot for yoga in Lisbon. The yoga studio is conveniently located, the space is beautiful, and there are many classes throughout the day. Little Yoga Space offers English & Portuguese classes, English only classes, and Portuguese only classes, which is an absolute win in my book! I also love that they offer everything from Vinyasa to Kundalini to Yin to Laughter Yoga. There is literally something for everyone. The studio has an extensive workshop calendar for yogis that want to deepen their yoga practice or are around a bit longer.

Little Yoga Space Rua da Assunção 42, 1. floor, room 3, 1100-044 Lisboa, Baixa
Drop in rate: 10 euros

yoga studio in Lisbon

Ministry of Yoga is another great option to practice yoga in Lisbon. Ministry of yoga is also conveniently located to many tourist sights and will likely be at least close-ish to where you’re staying. The studio has wonderful, knowledgeable teachers with a wide range of classes including: Rocket Yoga, Ashtanga (led), Vinyasa, Forrest, Yin, and Kundalini. Owner Zoe, is also incredibly responsive to inquiries and questions.

Ministry of Yoga Rua das Portas San Antao 27 Level 1 Lisboa
Drop in rate: 10 euros

And there are even more yoga options in Lisbon. Yogana Lisboa offers rooftop yoga and yoga in the park. The amazing and delicious Foodprintz Vegan Cafe offers Jivamukti and Hatha Yoga. And there is a rumor that there is an occasional pop-up yoga class at one of the museums. There seem to be a large number of yoga meetups in Lisbon as well. There are many ways to get your yoga on!

Where to Eat in Lisbon (Vegan, Vegetarian, Pescatarian, and More)

Many of you know that I am more flexitarian than strictly vegetarian or vegan or any other label. At home I eat 95% vegetarian, in Bali I eat nearly 100% vegan, and in Europe and Central America I’m a bit more flexible. We ate some amazing food in Lisbon… and after a yoga class or afternoon of sightseeing, I’m usually pretty hungry!

best pea soup lisbon

One of my favorite meals of the entire trip was a gorgeous pea soup from the TimeOut Market. So fresh, so wholesome and nutritious. I’d honestly never had pea soup like it. The TimeOut Market is essentially a fancy food court near the water. There were so many great looking things to eat.

TimeOut Market, Av. 24 de Julho 49, 1200-479 Lisboa, Portugal

We also tried to eat at Ramiro a famous family-owned seafood restaurant and cerveceria, but we didn’t have a reservation… nor did they pick up their phone earlier when we tried to call and make a reservation. Anyway, when we arrived the wait was so massively long… I think there were 50+ people milling about outside the restaurant. We didn’t want to wait, so we searched out another seafood restaurant and we found a gem! We ended up at Marisqueira do Lis (no website) which to our surprise was full of locals instead of tourists. The prices were fair and portions large. We had an octopus salad and a platter of mussels. Both dishes were fresh and flavorful.

A Marisqueira do Lis, Av. Alm. Reis 27B, 1150-019 Lisboa, Portugal

Ao 26 Vegan Restaurant in Lisbon was conveniently located right next to where we stayed. The restaurant was busy with both locals and tourists and had a menu that could convert a meat eater into a vegan real quick! Lots of options from curries to burgers to chocolate cake (get the chocolate cake). The vibe is pretty cool too. I will definitely be dropping in again before next summer’s yoga retreat in Columbeira.

Ao 26 Vegan Food Project, R. Vítor Cordon 26, 1200-484 Lisboa, Portugal

Where to Buy Yoga Clothes and A Yoga Mat in Lisbon

where to buy yoga clothes in LisbonDid you forget to bring your yoga mat or leggings? No worries. There are a handful of Oysho shops in Lisbon. Oysho is a lingerie company, but they also sell activewear… and it’s actually cute. The quality seems pretty decent and it’s definitely on trend. When I was there last month they had some gorgeous leggings and super cute sports bras in beautiful Autumn colors.

Oysho does sell yoga mats too… although they might not have much of a selection. Your best bet is to bring a yoga mat from home or borrow one from a studio. If you’re attending a yoga retreat in Portugal and you need to buy a yoga mat in Lisbon I would check Oysho first. There is an Oysho shop on Rua Garret, which is not too far from Rossio Square. There is a Nike store nearby too.

There is a big sports chain in Lisbon called Sport Zone. The most central location is at the Amoreiras Shopping Center, but there are many locations throughout the city. They also sell activewear and yoga mats.

Oysho, 14-18 Rua Garret, Lisbon

Sport Zone, Av. Eng. Duarte Pacheco, Lisbon

Yoga Events in Lisbon

And finally, we’re to yoga events. I recently found out that Wanderlust Festivals hosts a Wanderlust 108 festival in Lisbon. I still haven’t been to a Wanderlust festival… sigh. Anyway, they had one at the end of September in Lisbon and I’m sure they will host another one next year. Lisbon has a great yoga community.

yoga event in Lisbon, Portugal Wanderlust 108

Wanderlust 108 Lisbon, Portugal

The Lisbon Yoga Festival takes place in November. This affordable festival has been going on for over 6 years! If you’re in Lisbon in November I recommend checking it out.

yoga and surf retreat portugal

Back to Nature Yoga Retreat is an affordable yoga, surf, and hiking retreat offered just 45 minutes outside of Lisbon. The next scheduled dates are June 15-22, 2019. This is a great opportunity for yogis ready to deepen their yoga practice and learn more about the chakras.

Portugal Spirit Festival, although not in Lisbon, is another event that is taking off in Portugal. This yoga, dance, spirit, music, and healing festival is held in Cascais in September.

Yogis, let me know your favorite place to practice yoga in Lisbon. Don’t be afraid to share your favorite restaurants, sights, etc. too. I’d be happy to add them to the list. Comment below or just send me an email!

Love and Light,

Autumn

Five Fantastic Outdoor Yoga Classes in Bend, Oregon You Should Try This Summer!

Summer is finally here! Which means it’s time for outdoor yoga classes. This is the first summer that I have seen tons of outdoor yoga classes in Bend… seriously, you can practice yoga outside every day of the week. How do you even choose which ones to attend?

free yoga class Bend Oregon at Deschutes Brewery

1. Deschutes Brewery Yoga on the Lawn with Wild Thing Yoga; FREE

Every Sunday 10:30-11: 30 am (rain or shine) NEW TIME: 9:30 – 10:30 am

This is my favorite class of the outdoor yoga classes in Bend. Every Sunday, tons of Bend yogis gather for a yoga session on the lawn. Helen, owner of Wild Thing Yoga, teaches a super fun, truly all levels vinyasa yoga class. There are plenty of opportunities to play on your hands or simply stretch it out. The lawn is also surrounded by a wildflower-covered hill (perfect for those Instagram pics!). After class, you can hang out on the hill with a can of Deschutes beer and chillout with Bend’s awesome yoga community. It’s pretty rad. You can usually catch me here on a Sunday morning– usually practicing, but occasionally teaching.

Location: 901 SW Simpson Ave, Bend, OR 97702 (this is the address to the Brewery) — Yoga class is on the lawn behind the brewery off of Shevlin-Hixon Road.

outdoor yoga classes in Bend Oregon

2. Lara House Bed & Breakfast with Wild Thing Yoga‘s instructors; $5-$10

Every day of the week except Wednesdays from 9:30-10: 30 am

Lara House is a super cute B&B owned by a mother-daughter team. It was built in the early 1900s and still has that original charm. Lara House has a giant lawn surrounded by huge, gorgeous trees and rhododendrons… it’s also right across from Drake Park and the Deschutes River. It’s a new favorite of Bend downtown locals and tourists alike. After your outdoor yoga class, you can head over to Drake Park or walk back downtown and grab a coffee at Crows Feet Commons or the Looney Bean. On July 6th there will be a FREE yoga class at 5:30 pm taught by myself and Helen for First Friday. Happy hour to follow.

Location: 640 NW Congress St, Bend, OR 97703

silent disco yoga classes Bend Oregon

3. Silent Disco Outdoor Yoga at Millers Landing; $20-$25

Sundays 9:00-10:30 am

Leanna Schweitzer and Wren and Wild have paired up to offer a fun Sunday morning flow at Millers Landing. Noise canceling headphones + groovy jams and sunshine by the river. It’s a great opportunity to try Silent Disco yoga in a beautiful low key setting. I loved the DJ’s playlist and Leanne’s class was awesome, as always. After class, go grab brunch at Jackson’s Corner… get their Portobello breakfast and a bloody mary. YUM!

Location: 80 NW Riverside Blvd, Bend, OR 97701

outdoor yoga classes Bend Oregon

4. Loge Entrada; $5-$10

Fridays at 5:30 pm; Saturdays and Sundays from 9:00-10:00am

If you remember the old school Entrada Lodge and it’s old school vibe you will love that the new owners are keeping that old school nostalgic vibe, but making it super cool! They’ve added fire pits, string lights, daily yoga, bike rentals and more. Loge Entrada offers yoga every day of the week for guests and locals alike. Their outdoor yoga class is on their side lawn near the stage. Grab a yoga class and then hang out for a beer, movie, or live music. Occasionally there are even beginner friendly mountain bike rides after the Wednesday evening classes… contact Loge Entrada or Wild Thing Yoga for the details.

Location: 19221 SW Century Dr, Bend, OR 97702

outdoor yoga classes bend, oregon

5. Yoga On The Pond at Bend Brewing Company; FREE

Sundays 10-11am (2 x month June-August)

Another great outdoor yoga class offered by the Deschutes River. Bend Brewing Company, or BBC as the locals call it, opens right after class, so you can grab a beer or a bite and chill by the river and enjoy your post-yoga glow. Class is taught by Kayla Heuton. Kayla teaches an all-levels vinyasa style class… well-behaved dogs and children are welcome!

Location: 1019 NW Brooks St, Bend, OR 97701

 

Outdoor Yoga Events

Athleta | Free Yoga With An Athleta Ambassador | July 7, 2018

Athleta offers free yoga classes… sometimes in the store and sometimes outdoors. Here is a link to their July 7th class.

Bend Beer Yoga | Saving Grace Fundraiser | July 8, 2018

Bend Beer Yoga offers outdoor classes in Bend at local breweries, Crows Feet Commons, local guesthouses and hostels. Check out their website for upcoming events… this is a great opportunity to convince your non-yogi friends to give yoga a shot!

Yoga + Beer Bend, Oregon Retreat | August 15-19, 2018

Mikki Trowbridge leads a yoga and beer retreat here in Bend. She gets a great turn out and I can only imagine it’s a ton of fun.

End of Summer FREE Yoga at Les Schwab Amphitheater | August 30, 2018

Helen Cloots of Wild Thing Yoga will be packing the lawn at Les Schwab. Don’t miss out!

Top Five Things To Do in Matagalpa, Nicaragua

Are you planning a trip to Nicaragua’s mountainous north? Awesome! You will be rewarded with cooler temps, green jungle, brilliant coffee and friendly locals. I’ve visited Matagalpa twice now, each time for about a week and both visits have been great. Make your time in the north memorable with our top five favorite things to do in and around Matagalpa, Nicaragua.

things to do in matagalpa nicaragua hiking

Here is the view of Matagalpa from Cerro Apante.

1. Finca Esperanza Verde

yoga-retreat-best-view-nicaragua-yoga-holiday

The view from the lounge at Finca Esperanza Verde.

If you’ve done any research about Matagalpa you’ve probably heard of Finca Esperanza Verde. Finca Esperanza Verde is a beautiful organic coffee farm set high on a hill with some of Nicaragua’s most breathtaking sunsets. Vivianne and her team of local staff are gracious hosts and will happily guide you on one of the many well-maintained hiking trails that criss-cross the property. The guides are excellent and will help you spot parrots, birds, monkeys, sloths, etc that you would miss on your own. It’s possible to enjoy the property  for the day or better yet stay a couple of days to take full advantage of the miles of trails, delicious organic food, and the cool crisp morning air (you’ll crave it after a week or two on the coast.) Book one of the Colibri Cabins for the best views.

You may be lucky enough to join a workshop or yoga retreat at Finca Esperanza Verde. The yoga experience at Finca Esperanza Verde is absolutely unique. During practice you may see toucans fly by or spot a sloth up high in the treetops.

The Finca offers guided hikes, organic coffee and meals, coffee tours, birdwatching tours, yoga and more.

2. Castillo del Cacao in Matagalpa, Nicaragua

chocolate in matagalpa nicaragua

My heaven!!!

If you’re a chocolate lover then a visit to Castillo del Cacao is a must (when I checked last they were closed on Saturdays). It’s possible to tour the facilities before stocking up on the best chocolate in Nicaragua. Their coffee chocolate bar with whole roasted espresso beans is seriously divine and is nothing like anything Hershey’s makes.

Castillo del Cacao is located just outside of Matagalpa on the way to Finca Esperanza Verde.

3. Mujeres del Plomo in San Ramon

nicaragua yoga retreats april 2018

Happy group after our jewelry making workshop with the women of Artesanias Mujeres del Plomo.

Looking for a fun workshop to do with kids or your girlfriends (my husband actually loved the jewelry making workshop too)? Mujeres del Plomo is a local women’s jewelry cooperative in San Ramon, Nicaragua. The group consists of about 4 women and their children. The ladies create jewelry out of seeds collected in the local countryside. You can stop in and buy a piece of jewelry or for $5-10 join for a short jewelry making workshop. Gain inspiration from the pieces they’ve already created and then create your own. The ladies are excellent teachers and will guide you along the way. Check out the pieces our group made!

4. Hike to Las Cruces and Cerro Apante

things to do in Matagalpa, Nicaragua

Virgin Mary statue.

If you’re like me, it’s hard to be still for too long. I recommend hiking up the trail to Las Cruces. The loop trail was moderately challenging and well maintained. You can park your car in Matagalpa and then begin up the hill. You will come to a “ranger station” of sorts. Pay your entrance fee here and continue up the path. You will come to an awesome viewpoint overlooking the city of Matagalpa, Nicaragua. Shortly after the viewpoint you will climb the stairs up to the statue overlooking the city for another view. There may be a couple of musicians playing up top and there will most certainly be couples and families enjoying this popular outing. Here is a funny little blog post about a couple that went the “wrong way” up to Las Cruces… don’t do what they did.

5. Visit Cascada Santa Emilia just outside of Matagalpa, Nicaragua

what to do in matagalpa nicaragua

Steve happily checking out the waterfall… and perhaps debating a swim.

If you have a car take the gorgeous drive out to Cascada Santa Emilia, also known as Cascada Blanca. Pay the small fee and begin the hike down the paved path. There is a large cave behind the waterfall. I recommend following the path behind the thundering waterfall and looking out at the river below. I believe you can grab lunch here as well. We ate in town and we weren’t hungry, so I can’t say if the food is good or not.

Enjoy your time in Matagalpa! And as always feel free to reach out if you have specific questions. I’m happy to lend a hand… and if I don’t know the answer I can link you up with someone who does.

Love and Light,

Autumn

The Easiest Travel to Bergerac, France

travel from uk to bergerac

Situated in South-West France, Bergerac is located between Bordeaux and Toulouse in the Dordogne Purple region which makes it the perfect central location from which to explore the ‘Pays de Bergerac’.  The region is rich in vineyards and fortified ‘bastide’ towns, an extraordinary range of natural and historical heritage sites; fabulous, protected countryside; the beauty of the Dordogne River; the renowned gastronomy and wines of Bordeaux and Bergerac; a rich cultural life and numerous leisure and sporting activities.

Traveling to Bergerac for a holiday? Not sure whether you should take a plane or train? Here are the easiest travel options to Bergerac. Hope you enjoy your French holiday or yoga retreat.

monbazillac-vinyard-yoga-wine-retreat-france

Easiest Travel From the United Kingdom to Bergerac

Fly to Bergerac

FLY! Cheap flights from the United Kingdom to Bergerac abound. Ryan Air is available for those who fly from Bristol, Liverpool, London Stansted, East Midlands, and Brussels-Charleroi. Flybe flies from Birmingham, Edinburgh, Exeter, Southampton, and Leeds Bradford to Bergerac.

Fly to Bordeaux (1-1.5 hrs from Bergerac by train or car)

British Airways flies to Bordeaux from London Gatwick and BMI Baby flies from Manchester, East Midlands and Nottingham. From Bordeaux you will take the train or taxi to Bergerac.

Easiest Travel to Bergerac From The UK By Rail

Travel time from Waterloo International (London) to Paris Gare du Nord is 3 hours. Then at Gare Montparnasse in Paris take a train direction Bordeaux, change at Libourne where you can rent a car and you will arrive in Bergerac within another 4 hours. Or from Waterloo Station in London you can change at Lille for Libourne.

Easiest Travel to Bergerac from the UK By Channel Tunnel

You can take the Eurotunnel train from Ashford (near Dover) to Calais and then drive down some 700 miles either in a day or taking a more leisurely pace over a few days.

Easiest Travel to Bergerac from the UK By Ferry

The time it takes to drive from the UK depends very much on which ferry crossing one takes (Caen is the nearest) and how leisurely one’s approach is to touring through France. It is possible to easily drive down in one day – some 300 to 450 miles of motorways.

south-west-france-luxury-yoga-retreat-may-2017

Easiest Travel From Amsterdam to Bergerac

Transavia has flights to Bergerac for those who fly from Amsterdam-Schiphol.

luxury-womens-yoga-retreat-france-bordeaux

Easiest Travel From Paris to Bergerac

Take the train from Paris Montparnasse toward Bordeaux and change at Libourne (approx. 3.5 hours) From Libourne you’ll take another train to Bergerac, which is about another hour more. The total trip time takes about 5 hours.

dordogne-hiking-womens-yoga-retreat-france

Easiest Travel From the United States to Bergerac

From the United States I recommend flying into Bordeaux (easiest) or Paris. From Bordeaux you can take a taxi or train to Bergerac. If you’re flying in to Paris I recommend staying overnight in the city to catch up on sleep, eat great food and be on the first train to Bergerac in the morning to arrive by noon.

There are tons of flights from the USA to France. Vancouver, Montreal, Toronto, NYC, LAX, Miami, Boston, and Washington, DC all offer affordable flights to Paris and sometimes even Bordeaux. Another option is to take one of the LAX/NYC flights to Nice and then a train or flight to Bergerac or Bordeaux. Pro Tip: Start looking for your flight early and consider flying from a hub.

Hire cars are available in Bordeaux and Bergerac either at the station or airport.