Eating Low-Fodmap in Vilamoura, Portugal

Looking for a couple of fodmap friendly options in Vilamoura? I spent a very hot holiday there in July, with lots of sunbathing and reading time! Vilamoura has a lovely marina with loads of restaurants and, like when I was in Croatia, I was lucky to have plenty of fish options. If you eat meat there are loads of options too. For vegetarians following a low-fodmap diet, the few places that had gluten-free pasta and pizza had veggie options and there are lots of omelettes and salads on menus too. I wish I could handle lactose better than I can as there were some fabulous looking ice cream desserts seemingly everywhere we went!

NoSolo Italia

This place is very popular and had long queues from about half eight onwards. I had a GF pizza with pesto and bacon. I love pesto and I discovered last year that it’s also a fab addition on a pizza! We went back a second time and I think I went for a classic yet divisive ham and pineapple. There were also GF lasagne and pasta options available.

Capriccio Italia

It doesn’t seem to be on their website, but they have gluten-free pasta and pizza on the menu. I think this must be a very recent addition as they actually didn’t have any gluten-free pizza bases available yet (I assume because they’re premade and were on order?). I had a very generous portion of GF penne with olive oil and vegetables. There were definitely other fodmap friendly options on the menu, including omelettes and various meat dishes.

Gomes na Praia 

This one isn’t on the marina, it’s on the beach. I thought it’s worth mentioning as it had tasty omelettes and there were also burgers which you could have without the bun if you’d rather have that. You don’t need to bring a packed lunch to the beach- hooray to no sandy sandwiches!

La Fragata

If you’ve read any of my previous travel posts, you might have noticed that sea bass seems to be a bit of a favourite for me. Well, I can recommend yet another in La Fragata Steak House. It’s served with a huge portion of green beans, which is good to know as they’re fodmap friendly too (up until about 17 beans the Monash app says at the time of writing).

Luna Rossa

I branched out from sea bass here and tried cod and gnocchi. I’d recommend it! There were plenty of fish dishes and they also had GF pasta on their menu. They came very highly recommended on Trip Advisor for their GF options. I have to say the pizza looked absolutely delicious but unfortunately isn’t fodmap friendly so it’ll have to be a vicarious eating experience!

Amorino

Amorino is an absolute delight for those of us looking for a fodmap friendly dessert option. They’re an ice cream shop with plenty of delicious sorbets to choose from. I look out for them wherever I go- the raspberry and passion fruit sorbets are my favourites!

I found it fairly easy to eat out in Vilamoura and there was always a salad option I could have. I did find that there was generally a lot more garlic used in the cooking than there had been in Split, Croatia, which I think is what made Split so easy. Having said that, everything I ate was very fresh and armed with peppermint oil capsules I ate very well!

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Sightseeing, Sunbathing and Sea Bass in Split, Croatia

I’m very lucky to have been away four times since finishing uni at the start of June. It’s been very busy and a lot of fun! Craig and I had a fabulous week in Split, Croatia, at the end of June. It was a lovely time to visit as it was busy but not peak tourist season yet. The temperatures were already thirty plus degrees, very toasty even for me (and I’m always cold!)!

We’ve looked at Croatia the past couple of years but never quite managed to find flights cheap enough. This year we were actually planning a central/Eastern European trip for but as circumstances changed we decided to keep it simple and finally see some of Croatia.

It was tricky to decide where in Croatia we wanted to go. Originally we’d thought about spending some time in Split then moving on to Dubrovnik or vice versa, but ended up just opting for a full week in Split with the intention of doing some day trips from there.

Where we stayed

We stayed in a one-bedroom apartment called the Split Ann Apartments. We thought this would be a good base for doing day trips and it worked out well. The host was lovely and the apartment was very clean and exactly as pictured. The location was great and we were right in the city centre. I think we basically walked in a 20 minute radius from where we were staying each day to get to restaurants, shops and the port!

What we ate

This was my longest trip since I went full on low-fodmap last year and I was quite nervous! However, Split turned out to be great food wise for me. Ten points for fodmap friendliness!

Being the over packer and planner that I am, I did take a fair amount of food with me. Since we checked a bag into the hold, my hand luggage was basically a tote bag full of food! For breakfast, I brought oat biscuits and muffins and I bought yogurt and fruit when we arrived. For lunch, I had a loaf of wheat-free bread and rice crackers. I got some cheese, tomatoes and salami in a local shop and made up a sandwich/rice cracker tower every morning. These did get increasingly unappetising as the week went on, but I was fed and my tummy was happy so I can’t complain really!

In the evening, eating out was so much easier than I expected. If you like fish, this is the place for you! Much like Grasmere, I ate a lot of sea bass. There was also a lot of gnocchi on the menus, another good fodmap friendly option. I didn’t find dishes to be particularly garlic or onion heavy either. A couple of places I’d recommend in particular are:

Toto’s Burger Bar – I had chicken and courgetti here one night which was a nice break from fish! Craig had a bit of food envy so we ended up going back later on in the week and I had prawns, also very tasty.

Step by Step – I had delicious sea bass here. I feel like I’ve eaten quite a lot of sea bass recently, and this was the best! However, the service was incredibly slow so go before you get too hungry.

Capo, Trogir – This one isn’t actually in Split, it’s in the nearby town of Trogir but I’ll pop it in anyway because Craig and I had some very tasty supersize salads here. I actually felt like a Kardashian (their salads are always huge!). Salad is often a last resort for me and it’s not often I’m raving about it, but this was genuinely delicious!

One thing we noticed was how popular ice cream was. In the evening, it seemed everyone had a cone in their hand! We found a couple of places which had sorbet including Luka which was brilliant. I love love love ice cream and this was some of the best I’ve had. Their menu changes weekly but it had a couple of sorbets each of the three times we went. If you can handle lactose, you can really go wild! Craig had an apple pie ice cream there and it was just incredible.

What we did

One of our main reasons for choosing Split was because we wanted to see the Krka National Park. It has the biggest waterfalls in Croatia and is the only national park where you can swim. We booked a bus excursion to get there when we arrived in Split with Daluma Travel. This was an air conditioned coach for about 50 people and included a guided tour upon arrival. We then had about three hours to explore by ourselves at our own pace. It suited us perfectly at only 23€ each, but if you’d prefer a smaller excursion there were plenty to choose from too. There were tour companies everywhere around the Palace advertising excursions so you can just have a wander.

Look how beautiful Krka is! I was amazed when we were driving there that there would be waterfalls- it seemed so dry! I was so impressed with how pretty and relaxing it was.

 

We had some beach time too. Split has a small beach near the port called Bavice. It was really crowded, and whilst it was nice it was probably my least favourite. We visited Zlatni Rat in Bol, on the island of Brač and we liked it so much we went back for a second day.

You can get a car ferry to Supetar on Brač, then take a bus to Bol. You can pick up timetables and buy tickets at the port and the buses are very close at the other end so it was actually very easy. I loved Bol and I’d definitely go back.

Another day we walked up the Marjan Hill. This was such a hot day. There were hardly any other people doing the same thing so it was lovely and peaceful, but they were possibly a lot more sensible than us going for a hike in thirty five degree heat!

The views over Split were pretty, once I’d cooled down in the shade enough to appreciate them. When we were walking down again a Segway tour whizzed past us. That seems a much better way to do it in the summer! We were looking for Bene beach to spend the afternoon, but I think it was further away than Craig (the navigator) had anticipated and I was actually getting worried about how little water we had left. We ended up walking down to Kasjuni Beach. It was a lot smaller and quieter than Bavice or Zlatni Rat and I’d definitely recommend it as an alternative to Bavice. I think all the beaches we went to were pebbly. Does anyone else prefer pebbly beaches? I would say to bring or buy some water shoes to look after your feet when you’re going in and out of the sea!

Split is surrounded by islands, and whilst it’s easy to get to Supetar on Brač the others have less frequent ferries. When I was researching things to do in Split I came across lots of speedboat excursions which would give you a chance to see multiple places in a day. We decided to book a trip with Blue Cave Travel as birthday presents to each other. This is the same logic that got us to Berlin last Christmas! I really like an ‘experience’ instead of a gift. I’m so glad we did this trip as we got to see loads which we wouldn’t have managed otherwise. It was a very busy day and I could easily do a whole post about it! We left Split at 8am on a speedboat and headed to the Blue Cave. There were twelve of us on the trip, and our boat looked much comfier than those we saw doing similar trips so I’d definitely recommend looking them up if you’re going. We then visited Stiniva Bay and the Green Cave, then stopped near Palminaza for some swimming and snorkelling. After that we headed to Hvar Town where we spent about three hours.

Plenty of time for exploring the beautiful little streets! Then we visited Milna on the island of Brač where we went for some olive oil and wine tasting before heading back to Split. A holiday highlight for me!

On our last day we took a bus to the nearby town of Trogir. It’s very small- I think I read it takes just fifteen minutes to walk the circumference of it!

It has really beautiful architecture and actually felt a bit like a real life museum. I think we were just there for a couple of hours but I’m glad we visited.

Split itself is lovely, very small and compact! In the evenings we wandered around the old streets near Diocletian’s Palace. One of the bars right next to the palace had live music in the evenings and it was fab just to sit on the steps and enjoy.

So, I think that about covers our trip to Split! I wasn’t really sure what to expect, but I really enjoyed our time there. There was a lovely relaxed atmosphere, people were really friendly and the weather was fab. I’m glad we did what we did using Split as a base, but if I went back I’d like to spend a night or two in Split and then more time on the islands of Brač and Hvar. It definitely made me want to see Dubrovnik too, maybe as a city break in spring time?

My next holiday (and final, for this summer) is in Vilamoura in Portugal. I’m enjoying topping up my tan before getting back to reality!

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Eating low-fodmap in Grasmere, The Lake District

In June I spent a lovely, sunny weekend in the Lake District with my family to celebrate my mum’s birthday.
It was great to have some time to relax. I finished my final placement, had one last week of uni, spent a brilliant and busy couple of days in Barcelona (possibly more on that later!) and then we set off to the Lake District the following day, so I was very appreciative of the change of pace.

Travelling and trying to stay low-fodmap is tricky even within the UK, as eating out is where it can all go horribly wrong! However, I am very pleased to report that I ate very well in Grasmere. There’s going to be a bit of a lack of food pictures in this post- I was just so hungry from all the walking that I obviously devoured whatever was in front of me before thinking I’d better take a photo to share with fellow fodmapers!

We stayed in The Grand at Grasmere Hotel and so we ate breakfast here both mornings. You can see the full menu here. I had avocado and eggs on toast both mornings and it was absolutely delicious. Avocado was fine for me in my reintroductions and I’ve had no problems with sourdough bread, but there was gluten free bread upon request too. There are a couple of options which are either low-fodmap already or easily adapted to be so, always great to see.

We ended up eating at the hotel the first night as well- it turns out that for a small place with hardly any people out and about, the restaurants were very busy! The menu, here, had a few options for me again. I went for sea bass with samphire and tomato and again it was fab. I even managed a chocolate mousse for dessert- less fodmap friendly, but I seem to be able to tolerate lactose in small amounts.

We had lunch at Baldry’s Tea Room both days we were there.


It’s definitely worth a visit if you’re in the Lake District, perfect for a cake after a walk. There’s a fab fodmap-friendly selection, with baked potatoes, salads and sandwiches on gluten-free bread. What was even more impressive was the huge selection of gluten-free cakes, some of which were even dairy free too!


I tried a delicious brownie and a very yummy fruit scone on the second day.

Our second dinner was at Lewis’s where I had sea bass again. It was a starter portion but ample size for me, with crispy rice noodles. There were plenty of GF options marked on the menu and the staff made sure that it was all GF (changing the soy sauce to a GF alternative). I had another chocolate brownie, because why not when you’re on holiday!


Dad’s dessert, pictured below, was also available as GF. We can’t actually remember exactly what it was, but Dad says it was delicious! I think it was some kind of raspberry mousse with shortbread biscuit, which I assume could be substituted for a GF biscuit upon request.

Hopefully these recommendations will come in handy if you’re in the Lake District, whether you’re looking for a fodmap-friendly meal or not. I was really pleasantly surprised by how easy it was to eat out. I had options! Let me know if you know of anywhere else, I always like a recommendation for somewhere new!

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48 hours in Berlin at Christmas

Craig and I are back from a very cold 2 days in Berlin!

Where we stayed:
The EasyHotel in Mitte. This was our second stay here and I wouldn’t hesitate to go back a third time! What you compromise on room size, the location makes up for. I think it’s about a 15 minute walk to Alexanderplatz, or you’re very well linked by the U-bahn and trams just a minute from the hotel.
We actually had a slightly larger room this time- the last time we stayed here we couldn’t both get through the door at the same time as the ‘standing space’ on the other side was so tiny! The bathroom is a little partially frosted cube, so you need to be comfortable with whoever you’re sharing with. Bed was super comfy, but maybe that’s just because we’d done so much walking we’d tired ourselves out!

What we ate:
I was quite nervous about how my tummy would cope while I was away- it definitely wasn’t as placated as it is when I’m eating totally low fodmap, but was actually okay. I took peppermint oil capsules as well as the probiotics I’ve been advised to take by the nutritionist, and I think this helped too.
We headed straight from the airport to a Konnopke’s for some currywurst. We’d been here before as it’s apparently one of the best currywursts in Berlin. I’ve not eaten enough to verify, but it’s certainly very tasty! Since our flight was delayed we ended up here about 4pm I think, so we ended up not eating again that evening.

Continue reading “48 hours in Berlin at Christmas”

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