What to do in summer in Alta Badia in the Italian Dolomites

When you hear about the Dolomites you immediately think about mountain skiing in winter. I got lucky to visit a wonderful region called Alta Badia in summer and I am going to tell you why you have to go too. 

The first thing I noticed - how clean and pretty everything is. All the houses are freshly painted, there are flower pots everywhere and the roads are freshly paved too. Alta Badia hosts some of the most interesting cycling events in the Dolomites throughout summer.

Sass de Stria Alta Badia

Stunning views

You may say that mountains covered with snow look beautiful and I would agree but when else would you see so much greenery and all the mountain flowers in bloom?

The pictures above were taken from Sass de Stria over San Cassiano.

Chair and gondola lifts are working throughout the summer so you can enjoy wonderful views over the Dolomites or go hiking.

Colfosco Alta Badia
Alta Badia

The food

Local food was another pleasant surprise. Most of the restaurants offer some regional specialities and European dishes with locally sourced ingredients. Pictured below is a restaurant at Col Pradat Lodge.

The people

Alta Badia has its own language called Ladin but you will be surprised to find out that most of the locals speak Italian, German and English as well. People are very friendly and are always happy to talk about their traditions and regional food specialities. Below is a restaurant owner in a traditional leather outfit and a local cheese and meat plate.

The most picturesque churches

Each town or village has its own church and some of them are really high up in the mountains. We went on a little church hunt and were amazed by the gorgeous views. Pictured below is Santa Barbara in La Valle.

La Val Alta Badia
La Valle South Tyrol

During the trip I was a guest of Alta Badia and I have stayed in hotel Col Alto in Corvara that I can highly recommend. All opinions are my own.

Where to see lavender fields in the UK

It's this time of year again when all the Instagram feeds are turning purple and all the photographers are rushing to photograph lavender fields.

The good news is that you don't have to go to Provance as there are a few lavender fields in the UK!

British lavender field

Last week I visited The Hop Shop at Castle Farm in Kent. It's a working farm and lavender harvest has already started but you can still catch the blooms on a guided tour on the 26th, 29th and 30th July. On a tour you will also learn about different varieties of lavender and visit the distillery where aromatic oils are made. They also offer aromatherapy massages and picnics in the lavender fields. Sadly this years season is coming to an end but you can already start planning for next year! 

UK Lavender
lavender harvest
lavender harvesting UK
lavender picnic UK

All the items used for the picnic are available to buy in the farm shop (it's open all year round). I am planning to go back for pick your own apples and to stock on lavender honey that is absolutely delicious!

Another place I visited a few times over the years is Mayfield lavender farm in Surrey. This one is much more touristy (very little chances of being alone in the field) but is a bit easier to visit as there are no guided tours - you just pay the entry fee and can stay as much as you like. It is also available to visit later in August - best to check their website for details.

Mayfield lavender UK

Last year they installed a red phone booth on the field so it became an even bigger tourist attraction.

lavender phone booth
buy lavender

Other fields I have not yet visited but have heard of are Cotsfold LavenderHitchin Lavender, Somerset Lavender, Norfolk Lavender and Yorkshire Lavender.

Exploring Barcelona with the new SEAT Arona

Barcelona is one of my favourite cities in Europe and I am always happy to come back. This time I was invited by SEAT to attend the launch of their new urban SUV SEAT Arona. It was my first time at a press launch of a car and I have to say that I really enjoyed it, being in sunny Barcelona obviously contributed to it a lot.

Fira Barcelona

The event took place at The Italian Pavilion in Montjuic, and we had some time to explore the area too.

Fira Barcelona
Barcelona Montjuic
Fira Barcelona
Seat Arona

Next day we started early to explore Barcelona as SEAT is a car from Barcelona and is inspired by the city's art, architecture, colours and street art. First stop was a 55m wall at Primavera Sound music festival that was created by street artists as a collaboration between SEAT and TheCreativeNet.

Barcelona Forum
Barcelona view
La Carboneria Barcelona
Barcelona street art
Barcelona street art
Barcelona street art
Seat Arona

It's always a pleasure to visit Barcelona and I'm really happy I had an opportunity to explore more of it's urban culture and street art.


Fun times in PortAventura

Last week I spent a few days in PortAventura, the most visited theme park in Spain. It is a perfect place for a family holiday or for a fun trip with a group of friends. Of course, kids are the ones having the most fun!                                                                                                    

The park consists of a few areas, each dedicated to a different part of the world: Mediterranea, Mexico, China, Polynesia, Far West, SesamoAventura and the newly opened Ferrari Land.

PortAventura Spain
PortAventura Spain

Mediterranea was the area I liked the most as it looks a coastal town in Catalonia with little fishing boats and lots of flowers everywhere.

Mediterranea PortAventura
Mediterranea Portaventura
Portaventura salou
Portaventura tarragona

SesamoAventura is themed to the Sesame Street characters and is aimed at the younger visitors of the park. It's so much fun to watch the little ones taking the rides with their parents or the more fearless ones doing it by themselves.

Sesamo aventura

Polynesia area is the most green and great for having a break with an ice cream in the shadow.

Ferrari Land is a new addition to the park (opened in April 2017) with its main attraction - the highest and fastest roller coaster in Europe! After an overwhelming ride don't miss out Formula One racing simulators and an interactive gallery of Ferrari history.


After all the rainy days I really needed those few days to soak up the sun and enjoy relaxing evenings after days of active fun. Many thanks to PortAventura for having me!