Luxembourg City Man Painting Cute Street "What is there to do in Luxembourg City?" "Is it worth visiting?" "How long do we need in the City?" were all questions that rattled around my brain after spontaneously booking £20 flights to Luxembourg in the Summer. During my research, I ended up getting pretty damn distracted (typical) by the possible day trips from the city. I fell in love with the idea of visiting Vianden and the Moselle Valley which left us with one day to explore Luxembourg City. Luckily, one day in the City is a perfect amount of time as it's very small and easily walkable.

9am

As with the rest of our days in Luxembourg, we made sure to stock up on a huge hotel breakfast at the Double Tree Hilton before hopping on a bus into the city centre. Normally I like to be up and out before 9am on a short city-break but we noticed that most things didn't open until around 10am, so enjoyed the lie-in! Luxembourg City Notre Dame Entrance Luxembourg City Notre Dame Stain Glass Windows

10am

Our first stop was to admire the Palais Grand-Ducal (or Palace of the Grand Dukes) for a quick photo session and look around. We quickly learnt that if you are visiting in the Summer months, you are able to book guided tours inside the Palace, so we made sure to book a tour for later on in the day! The Cathedrale Notre Dame opened at 10 and we swiftly entered before a large tour group to admire the very impressive stain glass windows. While the Luxembourg "Notre Dame" may not be be the most famous "Notre Dame" in the world, it's definitely worth peaking inside (don't miss the crypt also!)

RELATED: If city sightseeing isn't for you, don't worry, Luxembourg still has so much to offer! Maybe head to the Moselle Valley for wine tasting instead?

Luxembourg City Place De La Constitution Statue Luxembourg City Girl Looking at View Luxembourg Place De La Constitition Gardens

11am

After stumbling around the Palace and Cathedral, we headed to the Place de la Constitution for that postcard shot of the gardens from above. If there's one thing that Luxembourg City isn't short of, it's gorgeous viewpoints! When travelling, I seem to forget that I have a completely irrational fear of heights and tend to find myself in situations that scare the living daylights out of me. This obviously happened in Luxembourg when we stumbled across "Sky Village". Before we knew it, we were in a glass 360 rotating elevator heading skywards for better views of the city! Unfortunately Sky Village was only open for 8 weeks in 2017 and has now been dismantled - but if you're visiting in Summer in future years, keep an eye out to see if it will be making a come back! Luxembourg City Judiciary Buildings Luxembourg City Colour Vases Luxembourg City Le Chemin De La Corniche View Luxembourg City Couple View

12pm

With us in the mood for more beautiful viewpoints, we set off in the general direction of Le Chemin de la Corniche but got mightily distracted (and/or lost) along the way. First up on the list of distractions was Cité judiciaire (Judiciary City) which is the home of the judiciary and governmental buildings in Luxembourg. Of course, you can't enter these buildings (unless you're an important person), but the area is gorgeous and lovely to have a walk around. Now, Le Chemin de la Corniche is referred to as "The Balcony of Europe" and is supposed to have the most spectacular views of the city but I was just as impressed with the walk there! We stopped regularly to take photos of the dramatic city scenery (preferably under trees/various other shade giving obstacles as our day in the city was BLIMMIN' BOILING). Luxembourg City Cute Streets

1pm

Lunchtime! After a morning of wandering around in the boiling hot sun, we hobbled over to the closest food establishment that we could see (hopping and skipping through the shadiest areas as best as possible - almost acting as if the non-shaded floor was lava). Unfortunately this means that we ended up in a pub/bar type place with London themed decor - as I am in London on a daily basis, this wouldn't be my usual choice of restaurant when abroad but hey, it did the job!

RELATED: Not all of our days in Luxembourg were quite so warm! Read about our day trip to Vianden which was absolutely beautiful despite the drizzly weather!

Luxembourg City Map Luxembourg City Casmates du Bock Canon

2pm

Next up on our list of hot-spots was the ever-popular Casemates du Bock, a series of tunnels and look out points weaving through the city's fortified walls. While the tunnels aren't as extensive as I first thought they would be, this certainly isn't something that you should miss on a trip to Luxembourg! The fortifications were built in the year 963 (which is pretty damn impressive in itself) and give a good insight to the history of the country. The Casemates are free to enter if you have the Luxembourg Card (which I highly recommend for any trip to Luxembourg)! Luxembourg City Grund Viewpoint

3pm

We had some time to spare before our tour of the Palace and after spotting many gorgeous Instagram shots of the "Grund" area, obviously this was my next place of choice. As you can see, this day was adopting a bit of an "Instagram worthy viewpoints" theme and I am TOTALLY okay with this. At this point, the relentless sun still wasn't easing up. The obvious solution to this was to enjoy the view with an ice-cream and a drink! Grund can be accessed via a long walk down from the main city centre or a few elevators down to the lower level. We decided to be lazy and take the elevator down from the Cité judiciaire and back up again to make sure that we could get back to the Palace in time for our tour! Luxembourg City Grand Palace Luxembourg City Grand Palace Hot Chocolate House

4pm

It was finally time for us to take our tour of the Royal Palace. Unfortunately photos aren't allowed inside, so I can't show you just how lovely the Palace is - but that means you just have to visit it for yourself! The Palace is only open to the public during the Summer months and I definitely recommend visiting if you are able to! Never fear, if you are visiting in Winter instead, apparently the City has fabulous Christmas markets, so you won't be missing out! Opposite the Palace is the famous Chocolate House! If the day was cooler, we would have definitely been popping in for a luxurious hot chocolate. Instead, we just had a look around and took some photos - the cake also looks incredible!

5pm

And with that, we grabbed some food and headed to the airport for our evening flight home! While Luxembourg City is small, you won't run out of things to do if you are only spending a day or two here. We decided to skip all of the museums because of our limited time frame. As it was such a hot day, we were travelling at a snails pace compared to normal; taking time to sit and drink/spend some time in the shade was very much needed during the day - you may be able to fit much more into a day than we did! Have you ever been to Luxembourg City? How did you spend your time there?

Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post and all thoughts are my own. However, I was kindly gifted a Luxembourg Card by the tourism board. Danielle1

   

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Ouzoud FallsIf you are heading to Marrakech and you are looking for a great day trip, Ouzoud Falls would be my first recommendation. Marrakech is an incredible city, but many find it overwhelming. Ouzoud provides the perfect peaceful retreat from the hustle and bustle of the city.

Booking

Plenty of stalls in the Medina, hostels and hotels offer the opportunity to book excursions from Marrakech. However, we decided to book in advance through IGoMorrocco which I would highly recommend! The total cost of the tour through IGoMorocco is 25 euros per person (which is cheaper than I saw advertised on stalls in the Medina) and they take a small deposit at the time of booking. 25 euros for an entire day trip to Ouzoud Falls is an absolute steal and completely worth the money.

RELATED: Are you looking for other trips to do from Marrakech city? Check out everything you need to know about a trip to the Sahara Desert here!

The Drive Atlas Mountain Scenery We were picked up at 8am and quickly within the gorgeous Moroccan countryside. This was our first taster of life outside the city and boy was it gorgeous (little did we know that we were in for even more of a scenery treat the next day on the way to the Sahara Desert). I loved passing through tiny rural villages and seeing how the Moroccan people lived their life in the countryside. Tiny villages would appear every so often, miles away from the last with no apparent infrastructure. We passed people (sometimes children) walking along the side of the road in the middle of nowhere. For much of the journey, I wanted to pull over and ask these people where they were going, what they were doing with their life, where they live. I found myself wanting to know everything about people who were simply getting on with their daily routines. Lets be honest, if you saw someone walking along the side of the M25, you'd question their sanity, but these people appeared to be so content.

RELATED: On our way to the Sahara Desert the next day, we were treated to even more stunning scenery, read all about our road trip through the Atlas Mountains here

Arrival at Ouzoud Falls

Ouzoud Waterfall From Above Ouzoud Waterfall Landscape After 2.5 hours driving, we arrived at a Berber Village and were handed over to a local Berber guide who would be showing us around for the day. We paid around 2 euros per person for the guide's services and while this isn't included in the cost of the entire day trip, I never begrudge providing local businesses and people with extra cash when they provide such an excellent service. Our guide was funny and informative and kept us entertained for the duration of the day. We were first taken to see the edge of the falls to see the thundering water beating down below us - while impressive, we knew this wouldn't be the best view of the falls and were excited for the rest of the day. After a steep downward hike with impressive views of Ouzoud Falls (side note: be sure to wear proper shoes for this tour - while one girl did complete the hike in flip flops, it didn't look particularly comfortable!), we stopped at a little stall for fresh orange juice and (of course) incredible views of the falls. After a quick break from the relentless heat, we were back on our feet again and tackling a potentially steeper cliff side decent before reaching the base of the falls!

Journey Behind The Falls

Ouzoud Waterfall Ariel Shot Ouzoud Waterfall Raft Boats Ouzoud Waterfall Posing Girl Boy We were quickly split into smaller groups to enjoy a boat ride around the falls themselves - be warned, you will get a bit wet - but even in March, the spray from the falls was a welcome treat from the heat. The journey cost around an extra £2 and is completely optional but I would definitely recommend it - it may have even been the highlight of the day (other than the outstanding beauty of the area in general). We were one of the first boats to enjoy the trip, so we got plenty of time after wards to take pictures while waiting for the rest of our group.

Lunch

Ouzoud Waterfall Lunch Ouzoud Waterfall Couple After lots of walking, we had definitely worked up an appetite for lunch! The restaurant was on the cliff side with an incredible view. There were a few options to choose from on the set menu including tagines and chicken skewers. After the main course, we were provided with piles of fruit for each table - so much that we ended taking some away with us for the bus journey back to Marrakech! 5 months after my trip and I'm still upset that oranges in the UK don't taste half as good as oranges in Morrocco!

Monkeys!

Ouzoud Falls Monkeys Ouzoud Falls Monkeys Cliff Scenery After lunch, we took a much less strenuous walk on the other side of the falls back up to the top where we would meet our minibus. This walk takes you through a tree-covered area and cliff side filled with wild monkeys! The monkeys are very friendly and not phased by human presence - be careful, if you have any food on you, they will try and steal it! The whole group was left laughing when one jumped onto Callum's back causing him to scream (he would probably call it a "startled manly grunt", but we all know it was a scream). And with that, our amazing day trip was over and we were back in the bus and heading back to the bright lights of the city.

Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post and all thoughts are my own. Danielle1

      If you are in Marrakech (Morocco) and you're looking for a day trip, travelling to Ouzoud Falls should definitely be considered! Beautiful waterfalls and summer sunshine, what could be better?
Tresco - Isles of Scilly - Beach View On our recent trip to the Isles of Scilly, we stayed on Tresco Island and it was the perfect little retreat! Tresco is the second largest of the islands and the only island to be privately owned. The island has a little something for everyone and really shouldn't be missed on your trip to the Isles of Scilly. Here's just a sample of what you could get up to...

Get Lost In Tresco Abbey Gardens

Tresco - Isles of Scilly - Abbey Gardens Views Tresco - Isles of Scilly - Abbey Gardens Friends It goes without saying that you should visit Tresco Abbey Gardens during your time on the island. These renowned gardens are absolutely stunning and will feel like you’ve been transported to a tropical paradise –  I refused to believe that we were only a matter of miles from Cornwall. I mean, where else in the UK do you get palm trees? In fact, the gardens are home to more than 20,000 exotic plants (many of which can not be found elsewhere in the UK). Make sure that you have time to wander. You will want to get lost in the maze of colours and smells. Make sure you take every little hidden path and walkway – everywhere is so beautiful that you won’t want to miss a thing! Also keep your eyes open for the golden pheasant! They are like a normal pheasant’s flashier, more beautiful big sister. Tresco Abbey Gardens is also home to the Valhalla collection which is a colourful, interesting display of figurines salvaged from local shipwrecks.

Explore Cromwell’s Castle

Tresco - Isles of Scilly - Cromwells Castle Beach I don’t think I really need to reiterate on my blog how much I love castles (If you're new here – I blimmin’ love them), so naturally, my only request for the trip was to visit Cromwell's Castle! We actually visited twice as the first visit was on a very foggy afternoon and the photos simply weren't up to scratch #bloggerproblems. On a sunny day, the coastal walk to the castle is really gorgeous and definitely worth your time - however it's not paved, so be careful or choose a more main-land route on a rainy day!

RELATED: Want to see more of my castle adventures? Click here

Climb to King Charles' Castle

Tresco - Isles of Scilly - King Charles Cromwells CastleTresco - Isles of Scilly - Charles Castle Right by Cromwell's Castle is another ancient ruin, King Charles' Castle. A steep climb to the castle will give you great views across the island as well as a chance to explore! It was ridiculously windy at the time of our visit, so we chose not to spend long on the top of the hill!

Old Blockhouse

Tresco - Isles of Scilly - Old Block House On the subject of ruins and old fortifications, we finally have the Old Blockhouse which arguably, of the three fortifications, has the best views - although the island is so picturesque that the view from every angle is great and I'll probably change my mind on which is the "best" in 5 minutes.

Eat ALL the Food!

Tresco - Isles of Scilly - Burger New Inn Tresco has some great options for food - while unfortunately I didn't have the chance to sample every restaurant's offerings, my favourite of the food we did try was brunch in the Flying Boat Bar & Bistro. Luckily, I have a friend who lives on the island who would recommend the New Inn for high-end pub food (his particular favourite is the burger pictured above), the Flying Boat Bar & Bistro for brunch and the Ruin Beach Cafe for pizzas.

Wander To Your Heart's Content

Tresco - Isles of Scilly - Cute House I think I've mentioned enough times that the island is extremely picturesque, but this lends itself to the fact that it is a great place to walk and explore. On our first day on the island, our friend and new found guide took us on a long walk of the island and I think the words "it's so pretty" escaped all of our mouths one too many times. If you want more pace, you can hire bikes to travel around the island. Cars are not allowed on the island so that is not an option!

Catch The Sunset

Tresco - Isles of Scilly - Sunset Orange Tresco - Isles of Scilly - Sunset Girl I know that I already raved about the sunset in my "Why You Should Visit The Isles of Scilly" blog post - but they really deserve to be mentioned twice. The above photos are taken from the veranda of the Flying Boat Cottages overlooking Bryher Island.

Get Adventurous

Tresco - Isles of Scilly - Landscape If you are feeling adventurous, Tresco Sailing Club offer the chance for you to borrow a bike, windsurf or kayak - something we didn't do because I can barely walk in a straight line successfully let alone windsurf... Let's just say I wouldn't have made it home with all of my limbs in tact.

Just Relax

Tresco - Isles of Scilly - Flying Boat Cottages When you're on an island this beautiful, sometimes the best thing to do is just sit back, relax and enjoy the view. Especially when you're staying in top-notch accommodation like we were in the Flying Boat Cottages. Lie-ins and naps featured in abundance in our schedule! To aid your relaxation even further, check out the Flying Boat Club Spa or head to one of the many beaches to stroll along the sand. Even just writing about the island made me feel relaxed! Have you ever been? What was your favourite thing to do?

Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post and all thoughts are my own. Danielle1

      TRESCO ISLAND ITINERARY - A complete guide to Tresco Island in the Isles of Scilly (UK). A perfect picturesque beach filled island with plenty to do and see!
Before I arrived in Morrocco, I was worried that I hadn’t given us enough time to explore the city of Marrakech. I’d become so fixated with our three days of excursions that I couldn’t possibly give any of them up! More worry set in when it took us HOURS to get through security at Marrakech airport. I mean hours. The security queues were so long, officers examined everyone’s entry cards and passports in the greatest detail (for a moment, we thought that we weren’t going to be allowed into the country because the security officer didn’t believe that Callum was the same person as the photo in his passport)! So in the end, we got into Marrakech at about midday and we were left with closer to 1.5 days to explore the city. Thankfully, (almost) two days in the city was absolutely perfect for us and I wouldn’t have structured our trip any other way! Here’s what we got up to in our two days in the city (with some bonus options if you have 3 days in the city)!

Day One 

Check into your riad and enjoy some mint tea Marrakech Riad More kerfuffle arose as we couldn’t find the man that was meant to pick us up from the airport. Luckily, a lot of the men doing hotel pickups know each other and when I questioned where he was, another man phoned him and told him to come back  (that’s how long it took us to get through airport security – our pick up man had left)! At this point, I was already in love with the welcoming hospitality of the Moroccans. Once we were in the riad, we certainly weren’t disappointed. The staff sat down with us and drew all over a map to make sure that we knew where we wanted to go and how to get back to the riad – Marrakech is a crazy maze of winding roads after all! After this, we were shown around the riad and treated to complimentary mint tea on the roof terrace. I quickly became obsessed with the mint tea in Morocco and if you visit, you’ll definitely be offered some during your stay! After finishing our tea and dumping our belongings into our room, we set out to explore! Jemaa el-Fnaa (The Main Square) Marrakech Doorway Medina WallMarrakech Souk El Kessabia Our first port of call was to have a wander and get our bearings - I had intended to do a guided walking tour, but with the delays of the morning, we had well and truly missed the start time! So instead, we took some time to weave our way round the back alleys of markets and shops around our hotel to the main square of Marrakech. The square comes alive at night, whereas in the day the square was mainly filled with orange juice carts. But we stopped off for lunch at Cafe France (a very popular restaurant in the square for tourists. Not the most authentic Moroccan cuisine, but it was quick and easy). Koutoubia Mosque Marrakech Koutoubia Mosque We continued our self guided tour of the square with a trip to the nearby Koutoubia Mosque. We didn’t enter the mosque  (it isn't open to tourists) but we definitely took the time to admire the architecture. I am a huge fan of Moroccan style architecture apparently! Jardin Marjorelle Marakech Jardin Marjorelle Cat Marakech Jardin Marjorelle Girl Marakech Jardin Marjorelle Mural Marakech Jardin Marjorelle Fountain Marakech Jardin Marjorelle Cacti Our riad was in the perfect position to visit Jardin Marjorelle  as it was only a 20-ish minute walk away (the garden is outside of the Medina walls and we were staying by one of the exits closest to the garden). The garden is famous for its bright blue and yellow building which was once home to the incredible designer Yves Saint Laurent. We overheard a fellow tourist sum up the area perfectly - "looks like this bloke had a shit tonne of money but bloody good taste". It was beautiful and an oasis of calm in the bustling city. This is the perfect place for photos and we saw a few professional photo-shoots during our time here – that’s how pretty the area is! Entry is 70 MAD which is much more expensive than many of the other attractions in Marrakech but it was well worth it. Callum would say that it was worth it purely based on the free WiFi and amazing Pokémon Go spawns... Dinner at Latitude 31 Marrakech Latitude 31 Chocolate Sphere After heading back to our Riad to freshen up, we spent a lot of time on TripAdvisor deciding where to eat. Our Riad wasn’t located directly off the main square and we were absolutely exhausted after a day of travelling and exploring, we wanted somewhere close and easy... alas, we stumbled across latitude 31. This is a pricey restaurant by Moroccan standards however, we had 3 courses with soft drinks and it came to 520 MAD (about 41 GBP) for both of us, which isn’t bad at all by English standards! The restaurant menu is filled with traditional Moroccan foods with a modern twist and all of our courses were out of this world. We were first presented with a complimentary amuse-bouche. The three appetisers were a small creme brulee, a chicken dish and a fish dish. The two I ate were amazing (I gave my fishy one to Callum as I don’t eat fish). Next up, I had a dish that at first looked like a tagine but was a refreshing twist on the traditional tagine.  The chicken was layered with caramelised tomatoes which were so sweet and delicious! Callum had the mixed grill platter and raved about it for the rest of the trip! Finally we both had a “chocolate sphere” (pictured above) which consisted of a hollow ball of chocolate filled with fruits which were then covered in warm chocolate sauce – yum! After successfully filling our stomachs, the restaurant owner treated us to a complimentary cocktail which were also gorgeous.

Day two  

Saadian tombs Marrakech Tombs Girl Marrakech Tombs InteriorOur first port of call was the Saadian tombs which I’m quite aware sounds a bit depressing, but I promise it wasn't! The area is really beautiful. A common theme in Marrakech attractions is that information is given in Arabic and French with no English translation, so it might be worth researching the attractions that you want to see before you visit. The mausoleum houses around 60 members of the Saudi Dynasty and has become popular with tourists due to the pure beauty of the site. This isn’t a huge area, so you won’t need TOO long to explore it. Even though we arrived fairly early, queues were already forming to see into the different rooms – however the queues were definitely worse as we were leaving, so this is probably a good place to see early in the day! El Badi Palace Marrakech El Badi Stairs Marrakech El Badi Landscape Next stop was El Badi Palace which I’d read to be very run down ruins and nothing in comparison to Bahia Palace (see below). In true Danielle fashion, I actually preferred El Badi Palace! We struggled to find the entrance for quite a while but it was definitely worth the wait. For the most part, this is a ruined palace, however it’s absolutely huge and I can only imagine how grand it would have been in its prime. There are plenty of corners, underground tunnels, nooks and crannies to explore. This is one of the fee places that appeared to have English translations on most of their information boards too! My love for Moroccan architecture has been strengthened once more! Bahia Palace Marrakech El Bahia Palace Marrakech El Bahia Palace Fountain Marrakech El Bahia Palace Tiles Now for the much more built up and stereotypically beautiful palace. If you’re a big fan of Moroccan tiles and colour, this is the place for you. Once again, the palace is much bigger than you think it will be – I’m sure Moroccans have mastered the art of making buildings 10 times bigger on the inside than they look from the outside (it definitely puts Doctor Who's Tardis to shame)! This is an undeniably beautiful palace and will be the background of many Instagram photos if you are that way inclined! Lunch in the square As we headed back up north, we stopped once again for lunch in the square, this time opting to eat at Zeitoun Cafe  where we had the most delicious Moroccan style sandwiches with a view over the square for a spot of people watching! Explore the Souks Marrakech Spices Marrakech Souks Trinkets Our Riad staff had told us that we would most definitely get lost in the Souks but I think we did quite well! Before arriving in Morocco, I had downloaded the app “City maps to go” which you can use offline and whilst no GPS companies have mapped out the winding alleyways of the Souks, it was a good way of seeing whether you were coming closer to the exit or not! We didn’t pick up anything during our time shopping – I’m not one for bartering! But I was obsessed with their hand painted beautiful plates. Once I’ve bought a house, maybe I’ll think about buying plates! Ben Youseff Madrasa Ben Youseff Madrasa Marrakech Marrakech Ben Youseff Madrasa Couple This is definitely another attraction that you will want to read about before visiting if English is your only language! Alternatively, I know many people have hired guides for the day and completed similar itineraries  to the above without the need for research. This was the most prominent Islamic College in the Marrakech area and led to many great scholars. This was one of the largest theological colleges in North Africa and housed up to 900 students - it's hard to believe that 900 students stayed in the small dormitories (many of which had no windows) but that's a small price to pay for apparently one of the best religious teachings in North Africa! If any universities looked like this in the UK, then maybe I’d have gone to uni!  This is another attraction for the instagram-holics! Dinner and exploring the main square at night  As mentioned previously, the main square comes alive at night time, so on our last night, we opted to eat slightly closer to the main square so that we could check out the square in all its glory of an evening. As we had been on 3 days worth of excursions prior to this day in which we had no choice when it comes to food and had been served repetitive tagine / chicken meals for the duration, we were most definitely "tagined"-out. So instead wee opted for a restaurant that was popular on TripAdvisor and served a menu of varied cuisines (if you're also getting sick of tagines, be sure to check out Kui-Zin). Unfortunately at our time of visit (March 2017), a large part of the main square was under construction, so I don’t think we got the full impact of the area. With a positive outlook, the square is beautiful - stalls selling mainly handcrafted Moroccan souvenirs, beautiful women offering henna tattoos, bustling restaurants, street music. However, there is a dark side to this square; Morocco do use animals in the tourism trade extensively. I was saddened by the monkeys on chains and kept in small boxes – hopefully the world will learn!

If I had one more day  

While I think my 2 days in Marrakech were perfect, if I were to spend one day longer in the city, here's what I would do! Spa day Morocco is famed for its Hammam style of massage/bath and if we had an extra day, I would have loved to try one! We decided to skip this activity as we have both had Turkish baths previously (which are ever so slightly different - you can learn about the difference here), so we felt more inclined to go out and explore what Morocco had to offer! Cooking class Another thing that Morocco is famed for is it's food! We loved the food on our trip (despite getting a bit "tagined"-out towards the end) and it would have been so interesting to see the pros at work/learn how it's done! Guided Souk Tour The souks are a mess of colour, winding alleyways, stalls and activity. We didn't purchase anything whilst we were there on the basis that a) nothing caught our eye and b) we weren't actually sure what was worth buying and for what price! You can hire guides to take you around the souks and get all of the top tips and tricks! Overall, our time in Marrakech was amazing and I would recommend it to anyone who is looking for a trip to experience a culture that is completely different from their own, eat great food, meet incredibly friendly and helpful people and generally have a great time! Have you been to Marrakech? What was your experience like?

Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post and all thoughts are my own. Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Danielle1

Two Days in Marrakech Pinterest

After dipping my toes into the realm of UK travel last year and discovering two of my favourite cities (Edinburgh and York, you are beauties), this year I have vowed that I will see more of our glorious little nation. My first port of call in 2017 was the "Island City" of Portsmouth - did you know Portsmouth is technically an island? I didn't - you learn something new every day! Myself and my buddy Alex jumped in the car early one Saturday morning to visit our uni-going friend Graceybum (who would probably prefer to be referred to by the name Grace but that's boring) and we had the BEST weekend. I am now very concious of the fact that Grace has shown my blog to her uni buddies and they are probably sniggering at the fact that someone could write a travel blog post about Portsmouth... shut up guys, I promise I have super exciting posts about Morocco and Canada coming up. When I returned to work, all I heard was "what is there to do in Portsmouth!? That must have been boring" - oh how wrong they are! When you live somewhere, you don't tend to truly explore the area like a tourist would, so we decided to make Grace visit all of the touristy areas! Get ready for the ultimate tourist-fest!

Day One

Drive!  First job of the day was to jump in the car and drive our ass' to Portsmouth - it takes us around 2 hours to get to Portsmouth from our near-coastal towns in Essex, so it's the perfect journey for a weekend! Alternatively, Portsmouth has great train connections to London and the surrounding areas. Grab an Amazing Late Breakfast / Brunch IMG_4841 v2IMG_4843 v2 Before arriving in Portsmouth, Grace had expressed that she wanted to visit The Tenth Hole for breakfast/cake/both. We obviously happily obliged and I shouted from the rooftops to anybody at work who would listen about how amazing the cake in this cafe looked, so obviously this was our first stop. I opted for the the breakfast bruschetta followed by a GIANT slab of chocolate fudge cake and they were both incredible! (If you're reading this The Tenth Hole, please have your bakewell in stock next time I visit - the photo on your website looks TOO good to be true)! Play a Round of Crazy Golf (... or two) IMG_4858 v2 The Tenth Hole is situated on a golf course, which lead to the revelation that Alex had never played golf of any kind before (not even crazy golf), which obviously meant we had to enlighten her on the sport of champions. So we headed down to Treasure Island Mini Golf and completed both crazy golf courses like the absolute cool kids that we are. If crazy golf isn't your thing (I refuse to believe that you visited the sea-side if you didn't play a spot of crazy golf), there are fairground rides and Clarence Pier in this general area - or you can skip to the next stage of the journey... Enjoy the Beach!  IMG_4855 v2IMG_4867 v2 A beach? In England? In February? Yep, you're right, we were blessed with some freaky weather during this weekend and a stroll across the beach was just what the doctor ordered. Splash The Cash at Gunwharf Quay A few years ago, you could count on me for a shopping trip, I'd have been recently and I'd know exactly what each shop is selling at that present moment  right now, I couldn't care less. So it's very strange for me to really enjoy a little shopping area! Gunwharf Quay is an outlet designer shopping centre right in the middle of the city - it's sleek, it's modern and it's surrounded by loads of fab looking restaurants - perfect! Take a Trip Up the Spinnaker Tower IMG_4945 v2IMG_4905 v2IMG_4894 v2Tile 2Now, for perhaps the most touristy item of all - if you're only in Portsmouth for a short period of time, it would be rude not to visit the Spinnaker Tower really! This led to lots of freaking out on my part while trying to get onto the glass floor section of the viewing area - note to self: you don't like heights. Annoyingly, the Spinnaker Tower's windows are tinted blue and whilst the view is fab, taking photos is an absolute nightmare!

Day Two

More Amazing Breakfast... Duh IMG_4919 v2 After yesterday's amazing breakfast, we knew that day two's breakfast would have to be pretty damn good to top it. We headed to Feed and the food was unreal - I opted for the Eggs Benedict (apparently I had an fixation with eggs this weekend) but all of the full English options looked amazing! The Historic Dockyard IMG_4926 v2 Another big "must" if you want to be the ultimate Portsmouth tourist is a trip to the Historic Dockyard to see the likes of the likes of the Mary Rose and the HMS Victory. Tickets looked pretty pricey, but as we were entering,  a nice security man told us that there's a free ticket available if you just want to wander around and not actually enter any of the ships - so we opted for that! Portsdown Hill  IMG_4953 v2Slowly running out of ideas for things to do in Portsmouth, we turned to trusty old TripAdvisor and decided to take a drive up Portsdown Hill for pretty views of the city and the opportunity to play with horses! Grace says that the view from Portsdown Hill is even prettier at night when the city is all lit-up and pretty! Fort Nelson IMG_4987 v2IMG_5001 v2 On the way up to the viewpoint on Portsdown Hill, we drove past Fort Nelson and were sold at the "FREE ADMISSIONS" sign glaring in our faces, so on our way back down the hill, we decided to make a pit-stop. The fort was MUCH bigger than we had expected and is the perfect activity to fill a few hours without breaking the bank (although you would need to drive there). Take a Trip to Southampton Tile 1 On the weekend of our visit, Southampton's Westquay was having a "Festival of Light", so we decided to head down in the evening to check it out and attempt to take some nice photos (emphasis on the word "attempt"). Eat More Food We tried so hard to find Bills, only to be turned away at the door (apparently everyone else at the festival also wanted to eat in Bills) but we stumbled across Thaikhun and fell in love with their Thai food - I'm very upset that they don't have any Essex / London branches! With very full stomachs, we jumped back in the car to start our 2 hour journey back to Essex. After a surprisingly good weekend (tourist attraction-wise, I knew the company would be good!), I'm looking for more UK cities to explore for the weekend - where would you recommend? Have you been a tourist in your own city recently? I'd love to hear about it!

Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post and all thoughts are my own. Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Danielle1

Malta St Julians Bay October Prague Castle River Foggy Lake Bled Hallstatt fog St Jovan Kaneo Ohrid Macedonia Shoulder season travel is something I recommend to everyone. What could be better than cheap flights, cheap accommodation and best of all, having a destination all to yourself away from hoards of tourists? When it comes to shoulder season travel, I am the Queen. From soaking up 30 degrees sunshine in Malta in October to avoiding the crowds in Prague in May (my friend went in August and said it was unbearable), I’ve done it all. But there is a slight downside... the weather likes to mess with me. You know those glorious photos of Lake Bled that everyone and their dog are currently posting? Yep. My experience involved being stuck in a car for the day with no ability to see Lake Bohinj or Vintgar Gorge due to extreme fog and dangerous weather conditions. When we could exit the car at Lake Bled, we almost got stuck on the island due to a torrential thunderstorm. It’s all fun and games! The next day, a girl from the hostel went and was greeted by a big beaming sun!

RELATED: Read all about my foggy storm-filled day at Lake Bled here

Lake Como? Same thing happened. Luckily I wasn’t a photo obsessive travel blogger back then! But I can assure you that my old photos look nothing like the sunny Italian scenery you’re used to seeing! Halstatt? Forget being able to see those gorgeous mountains, here comes the fog! That was the luckiest experience of the three however as it did brighten up eventually!

RELATED: Find out exactly what there is to do in Hallstatt here!

Should the weather affect your experience, I hear you say? No, it shouldn’t. All three times I was with great people and still had a great time. On the even brighter side, it gives me an excuse to go back (although that’s a scary prospect – I’m not sure my life is long enough to see everywhere that I want to see)! Last year when I was planning an September trip to Bergen and the Norwegian fjords, I was told by so many sources that I was stupid for even thinking about planning a trip to Bergen outside of May – August as even some of Bergen’s biggest tourist attractions close in that time! So, I cancelled the trip. 2 weeks later on the weekend I was meant to be exploring the magical land of the fjords, Planet D post photos of Bergen on their Instagram page looking gorgeous – the caption even saying how they were experiencing freak good weather! Do I regret it? Life’s too short or regrets, but I would I have had more fun in Norway that weekend than I did sitting at home studying? Most definitely. Moral of the story & a message to future Danielle – don’t cancel a trip because it might not be “perfect” at that time of year. You never know what might happen. You know you’re too addicted to finding cheap flights to give it up! What are your thoughts on travelling in shoulder season? Has the weather ever ruined your trip?

Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post and all thoughts are my own. Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Danielle1

IMG_3296 v2 What Is The Essex Pass?  If you follow me on Twitter or Instagram, you may have heard about my love for The Essex Pass. Despite my blog name, I'm not ALWAYS trying to escape Essex, in fact I love finding new things to do in the local area. That's where the Essex Pass comes into play - 12 months membership will cost you a mere £9.99 and will give you loads of discounts in Essex (most of which are 2 people for the price of 1)! If you live in Essex and want to find some new things to do (like me), or you will be in the area for a short period of time and want to do more of the touristy attractions in the area, I couldn't recommend this card enough! I've recently visited the Original Great Maze and also Hazle's Pottery Barn using the pass, but this was the first time we had used it for a FULL day out - so I thought I'd share it all with you because it was a really great day (although it included a very strange mixture of activities - from sports, to history to animals)! Rope Runners IMG_3269 v2IMG_3271 v2IMG_3284 v2
  • Location: Ongar Rd, Kelvedon Hatch, Brentwood, CM15 0LA
  • Normal Price: £28 per person
  • Essex Pass Price: £28 for 2 people = £14 each
  • Website: http://www.roperunners.co.uk/
If you want to complete the full day of activities listed in this post, you'll need to book on to a 10am Rope Runners course. The booking lasts for 2.5 hours and your get to do as many courses as you like in that amount of time as possible! There are 6 rope courses in total, 2 at ground level, 2 at medium height and 2 high up courses. Being completely afraid of heights, the medium levels were quite enough for me but Callum completed all of them (with only a few little moans on the high levels). Each course ends with a zip-wire (there's a brilliant video of me being terrified on the podium and refusing to do it, before doing it, realising it was fun and then falling on my face at the end - not sure that video will ever make it to the internet!). And there's also a huge stand-alone zip-wire which we both also completed. The staff were super helpful and friendly, so if you want a fun activity-based day out, this is the place for you! They also have archery, air rifle, paint balling and water-zorbing to choose from, so there's something for everyone! You can tell I'm not built for sports however.. it's the day after and my legs hurt... Secret Nuclear Bunker IMG_3293 v2IMG_3300 v2IMG_3339 v2
  • Location: Ongar Rd, Kelvedon Hatch, Brentwood CM15 0LA
  • Normal Price: £7 per person
  • Essex Pass Price = £7 for 2 people = £3.50 each
  • Opening Times: 10am - 4pm (5pm on weekends in Summer)
  • Website: http://www.secretnuclearbunker.com/
If you're visiting Rope Runners, it would be wrong not to also visit the Secret Nuclear Bunker as they are located right next door to each other! This photo made it's way round social media a while back as the "secret" bunker is clearly not much of a secret! You enter the bunker through what looks like a normal little house before picking up an audio guide - I think the tour took us about 2 hours but it was great! According to the website, this is the biggest and deepest Cold War bunker that's open to the public in the South East of England. After the heat of the Cold War died down, the bunker was no longer needed and the Government sold it, hence we are now able to visit it as tourists! It's so strange to see something of such historic importance so close to your home! Hopefield Animal Sanctuary IMG_3344 v2IMG_3359 v2IMG_3400 v2IMG_3444 v2
  • Location: Sawyers Hall Farm, Sawyers Hall Ln, Brentwood CM15 9BZ
  • Normal Price: £5 per person
  • Essex Pass Price = £5 for 2 people = £2.50 each
  • Opening Times: 10am - 4pm
  • Website: http://www.hopefield.org.uk/
Located a mere 20 minute drive away, I couldn't help making a quick visit to Hopefield Animal Sanctuary! The sanctuary isn't huge, and it won't take you much longer than an hour to see all of the animals on display. Even so, there's a great range of animals to see including many horses, cows, sheep, goats, pigs, alpacas, raccoons, various reptiles, birds and many more! The sanctuary is a non-profit organisation caring for around 200 unwanted, sick or mistreated animals. They require donations and volunteers to continue their great work - so if you're in the area, make sure you stop by! Even the former X-Factor winner Leona Lewis is a huge supporter of the work they do! There are plenty of other ways you can help out including volunteering and adopting an animal. And for only £20 you can have a full animal experience day - my sister has already asked me to buy her this for her birthday! Highlight of the day: I didn't know that Racoon Dogs exist - but apparently they do, and I love them so much. So god damn cute. And in Conclusion... We had a really great day out! The close proximity for these three activities means that it's easy to do all three in one day (providing you get to Rope Runners early)! The full day out would normally cost £40, but with The Essex Pass, it will cost you a mere £20. For three activities spanning 10am to 4pm, I think that's a pretty great deal! Plus, given The Essex Pass only costs £9.99, you've already made your money back! Apart from the Secret Nuclear Bunker, without The Essex Pass, I wouldn't have known these activities exist and I can't wait to find out about more hidden gems near home! Does your local area have a discount pass? Have you ever used it?

Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post and all thoughts are my own. Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Danielle1

It's no secret, I bloody loved Edinburgh. We booked the trip as a surprise for my friend Grace's 21st birthday and it was one of my favourite trips this year! In total, we spent 4 days in Scotland and here's all the things we recommend you should do! Day One Check Into Hotel and Then Head for Lunch at Deacon Brodie's Tavern We quickly checked into a private 4 bed room at Edinburgh Safestay Hostel and then headed out on the search for food before our first activity! I can't recommend Deacon Brodie's Tavern enough. The food was incredible and definitely set us up for a full day of exploring! Anywhere that does macaroni cheese as a side is a winner! P.s. Everywhere in Edinburgh does macaroni cheese - it's incredible. Become Familiar With the Royal Mile The Royal Mile is the centre of the action in Edinburgh and is where you will find most of the main attractions (or they will be nearby at least)! Our hostel was perfectly situated just off of the Mile, so it was in the prime location for some great restaurants (I can't count the number of hearty pubs and cute cafes on this one road!) as well as shops (it took a lot for me to resist buying complete tartan outfits). Take the Sandeman's Free Europe Walking Tour It wouldn't be an Escaping Essex city guide without a recommendation for a free walking tour really would it? We had Max as our guide and he was brilliant (so much so, that we booked another tour with him the following day). Sandeman's New Europe are one of my favourite tour companies, and as always the tour covers the majority of the free sights you will want to see in the city. The website lists the following sights within the 2.5 hour tour, but it felt like we saw much more!
  • Edinburgh Castle
  • St Giles’ Cathedral
  • Heart of Midlothian
  • The real Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde
  • William Wallace and the Stone of Destiny
  • Greyfriars Kirkyard (cemetery) and Greyfriars Bobby
  • The Royal Mile
  • Edinburgh’s Old Town
  • Mercat Cross
  • National Museum
  • Covenanters’ Prison
  • Martyrs’ Memorial
  • The Scottish Writers Museum
  • Grassmarket
  • The original ‘Hogwarts'
  • The Hub
Grab Some Food and Head For a Drink As we arrived in the city mid-way through the day and were completely exhausted, we wandered around for a while after the tour before heading to a local shop, picking up a pack of cards and heading back to the hostel bar to chill obviously! Even if you're not staying at The Edinburgh Safestay Hostel, you can go to Bar 41 for cheap drinks and good food (they also had events on throughout the week - we respectively failed the pub quiz). If you're more at home in a pub, do not fear, Edinburgh has a pub basically on every corner to fill your needs! Day Two  Browse The Royal Mile Market   Located inside the historic Tron Kirk is a gorgeous market filled with independent crafts, arts and fashion traders. My friend picked up a pretty epic pair of tea-pot earrings and I was almost drawn in by some cute prints (before realising I have no wall space left for more prints!) Make the Most of The Long Walk To The Botanical Gardens We underestimated the long walk to the botanical gardens, it was looooong (made slighly better by the fact that Edinburgh is amazing for Pokemon Go... lol). While the walk is long, there are some good little photo stops along the way! My favourite being the Scott Monument (you can't miss it, it looks like a giant rocket), this is the largest monument dedicated to a Scottish author (Walter Scott), so it's pretty special. With the backdrop of Princes Street Gardens, it's definitely worth a photo stop and if you're feeling a little bit more active, there are 287 steps to the top! Explore the Botanical Gardens There's something so god damn relaxing about being in botanical gardens, I loved my visit to one recently in Cologne and Edinburgh was just as good. As an added bonus, bring a friend who works in horticulture to show you around and pronounce all of the funny plant names. The gardens are pretty huge (especially if you pay to enter the greenhouses too) and with the long walk there, this is easily a half-day trip.

RELATED: Read about my time in Cologne's Botanical Gardens here

Head Back to the Royal Mile Visit the Castle With my friend's love for horticulture now suitably satisfied, it was my turn to inflict my love of castles on the group! Edinburgh Castle can easily take up another half-of your day as there's plenty to see in the castle (including a graveyard to the army dogs - which melted my stone cold little heart). We visited a few days after The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo and the stage was still in place which blocks the main view of the castle when you are walking towards it - so if you're a photography buff, you might want to avoid Edinburgh at that time!

RELATED: Do you love castles too? Read all about my latest castle jaunts here

Optional Extras Near The Castle The castle is at the far end of the Royal Mile, so when you're in the area you might as well see everything else that the area has to offer. After a long day of gardens and castles, we were shattered and in desperate need of food, but if you have some more energy than us, the main two attractions are:
  • Camera Obscura - A world of optical illusions which sounds like a fun day out for all ages! Apparently there are some epic views of the city from the roof!
  • The Scottish Whisky Experience - Directly opposite Camera Obscura is the ultimate place to try Scottish Whisky! With none of us being big Whisky drinkers and one of us actually being allergic to alcohol, we decided to give this one a miss but I've heard great things!
St Giles Cathedral On our walk back down the Royal Mile to the hostel, we made sure to pop into St Giles Cathedral which is absolutely gorgeous. When we visited (September 2016), a boat used in the current refugee crisis was on view, a really harrowing sight. The Dark Side Tour & Calton Hill  As if we hadn't walked enough today, we decided to take another walking tour. We loved Max so much after our Free Walking Tour in the previous day that we booked onto The Dark Side Tour for the following evening! Edinburgh has a very spooky past and the stories were great (especially when told by Max)! I would highly recommend this tour if you like to hear a little horror story (and if you don't... don't worry, I'm a wuss and I was fine)! During the tour, you'll tick another of Edinburgh's bucket list items off of your list - Calton Hill! What's even better is that you will visit the hill at sunset which is really gorgeous in early September. Day Three  Take A Day Trip Into The Scottish Highlands Whilst Edinburgh is absolutely incredible, sometimes it's nice to head out into the countryside. We decided to take the FREE Scottish Highlands Tour with The Hairy Coo and I couldn't recommend it more. The company were so incredible that they deserve their own blog post and you can read all about our experience here. Learn From Our Mistakes We decided to go for a wander in the evening as one of my favourite times to explore a city is when they are lit up at night... apparently not all that much of Edinburgh is lit up (unlike some of my favourite evening cities such as the view of Parliament from Fisherman's Bastion in Budapest or the view of the Castle in Prague from across the river or the Wesminster area of London). The castle was lit blue but was very hard to photograph! Day Four  National Museum With some time to kill before our flight home that afternoon, and a number of options to chose from in the city, we decided to go to the National Museum (we were mainly swayed by the giant posters of turtles outside telling us that the National Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition was on.... turns out we read the signs wrong and it was next week, oops). I'm not usually a big museum fan, but this one was great! There were plenty of interactive exhibitions and it reminded me of the London Science and Natural History Museums - a good day out! Plus... did you know that a mega sloth once existed?! Eat in The Elephant Cafe I am a huge Harry Potter Fan, so a trip to the Elephant Cafe was an absolute must! This is the cafe that J K Rowling began writing the famous novel series in and for good reason - the food and drinks are great! Make sure you peep into the toilets to see the messages that fans have left scribbled on the walls!

RELATED: Want to find more Harry Potter locations in Edinburgh? Read all about them here!

Shop in Cute Independent Stores Edinburgh is a creative city. It can be felt in the aforementioned memorials to Scottish writers, J K Rowling's inspirational presence, the Scottish Writers Museum, the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and the sheer number of crafty independent stores. The arts are really celebrated in this amazing city and it's amazing. We headed up Victoria Street and the surrounding roads popping into cute shops, my favourites were Miss Katie Cupcake (specialising in handmade jewellery) and Museum Context (a shop for creative unique interiors). The Things We Missed After exploring the shops and getting some food, it was time for us to head to the airport to catch our flight home. Edinburgh is an incredible city and there were a tonne of other things we could have spent our time doing, so to make this post as informative as possible, here's some other really great options to fill your days in Edinburgh! In the City
  • Real Mary King's Close - We tried really to visit this underground city tour on our last day but unfortunately they had a power cut just as we tried to visit!
  • Arthur's Seat - TripAdvisor lists this as the number one thing to do in Edinburgh and it's very unlike me to have not completed one of the best tourist attractions in a city! However, we were restricted for time and the hike to the top of Arthur's Seat wasn't too appealing on our very worn-out legs but I'm sure the views would have been great - there's always next time!
  • Palace of Holyrood House - This is the official residence of the Queen in Scotland and it looks VERY grand! If I ever find myself back in Edinburgh, I will definitely be making a visit!
  • The Edinburgh Dungeon - Having visited the London Dungeon's, we felt like this was an tourist trap we could probably miss!
Seasonal
  • The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo - Annually Edinburgh Castle becomes the stage for military tattoos performed by the British Armed Forces, Commonwealth and International military bands.
  • Edinburgh Fringe Festival - In late September, the city comes alive with the world's largest arts festival!
  • Christmas Markets - As with any European city, supposedly Christmas is a great time to visit!
  • Hogmanay - This is the Scottish word for "New Year's Eve" and the celebrations in Edinburgh are huge! Their fireworks displays are world renowned!
Day Trips/Excursions During our time in Edinburgh, I stumbled across some things on the Edinburgh TripAdvisor page that looked great but on further inspection were nowhere near the city centre - if you're in the area for longer than a few days or have access to a car, these could be the spots for you!
  • Craigmillar Castle
  • Inchcolm Abbey
  • Gilmerton Cove
  • Jupiter Artland
  • Portobello Beach
  • Hopetoun House

Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post and all thoughts are my own. This post does however contain affiliate links which I may earn a small commission from should you purchase from the respective company. Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Danielle1

Booking.com

Berlin is the city that sparked my love for European city breaks. The reason I spend every weekend possible in a different city. So, of course, it holds a special place in my stone-cold heart <3. I visited back in 2014, so this is a #throwbacktrip. I recently visited Cologne (see all of my blog posts about Germany here), so it had me thinking a lot about my first trip to Germany and just how much I love Berlin. Without further ado, here are 10 reasons why you need to go to Berlin immediately. 1) The History As a massive history nerd, this is probably one of the biggest draws for me. I very nearly went to university to study history and World War II is one of my favourite eras to study. We went on an amazing walking tour of the city on our first day and seeing the spots where so many events I'd studied actually happened felt so surreal. 2) You'll Never Run Out of Things to Do  Out of all the cities I've visited, I still feel like Berlin maybe has the most to do (excluding maybe London and New York). We were rushing around the city at top speed trying to fit as much as we could into 4 days - there is a photo of me sitting on a bench on the last day almost crying because my legs were in so much pain. #travelgoals 3) The Nightlife Now, I've been reliably informed that Berlin has an epic nightlife scene. Given the fact I sat on a bench crying because my legs hurt, I couldn't stand for any longer and I was on a trip with my (then) boyfriend, it's safe to say that I didn't see much of this nightlife! 4) The Food Not only did Berlin spark my love of city breaks, it also sparks my love of curry wurst. Enough said really. 5) The Amazing Buildings Architecture in Berlin is unreal. I don't even know why I loved it so much. I remember being on our first walk through the city the evening we arrived and just falling in love with everything. From the rough and rugged, to the grand and exciting, to the modern and cool. There's something for everyone. 6) The East West Divide I am so fascinated by the East West divide (that inner history nerd is coming out again). There are subtle differences between the two sides of the city which is unlike anything I've ever seen before. My favourite one is the difference between the men on the zebra crossing lights! In fact, we stumbled across a multi-storey shop dedicated to the cartoon man on the East Side crossings! He's an icon apparently! 7) The Most Captivating Monuments With a city filled with so much history, it's only right that there are some good monuments to back up that history. Sometimes you stumble across displays with no real indication as to what they are about (Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe for example) but taking a free walking tour of the city explained them all and there's some that really got me choked up! 8) Lush Greenery in a City Despite being a big and exciting city, Berlin has plenty of areas to chill out and relax. Our hotel was near Tiergarten which I loved. The park was peaceful but still filled with things to do (the Victory column and Bellevue Palace are must sees)! 9) Plenty of Things To do Nearby If you're staying in Berlin for longer than necessary, there are plenty of things to do outside of the city - a great list of ideas can be found here. 10) Replace My Old Photos! Okay, so this might just be a reason for me. But I asked my ex-boyfriend to send me our photos from Berlin and the ones shown in this post are the only semi-decent ones he could find on his laptop. I know memories are more important than seeing a city through a camera lense. But I love photos and I'm gutted I don't have anything to show for my trip to Berlin! Have you ever been to Berlin, what's your favourite thing to do?

Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post and all thoughts are my own. Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Danielle1

Day One (1/2 Day) Wahoo, after a very early morning, we were off to Germany! After taking a while to check in to the hotel and subsequently falling asleep for much longer than anticipated, we were off to explore the city for the afternoon! The Cathedral Our first stop was obviously the world famous cathedral which is definitely the best place to orientate yourself. There is one word for the cathedral - huge. Like, actually huge. Almost scary huge. I've seen a lot of European cathedrals and this one is definitely up there with the best! I took millions of photos of the cathedral during our time in Cologne and I can't believe how much the lighting affects one building, it looks different in each photo! Botanical Flora Gardens After searching for food, we headed to the Botanical Gardens as we thought it would be on route to our next destination but it was a much longer walk than we expected! Although it wasn't a bad walk by the river in the sunshine. The gardens are beaaaautiful and definitely worth your time if you're in the area on a sunny day! Free Walking Tour After spending some time in the gardens, we headed to the meet point of the Free Walk Cologne tour. I would definitely recommend this company, our guide (who's name now escapes me) was really informative and funny! Cologne has a lot of history and given the fact it was such an important hub in World War II. Among all of the mains sights of the city (including the cathedral), you will see lots of little bits that you may have missed while wandering the streets of the city unguided - including the narrowest house in the city (the 2nd narrowest in Europe!) & underground Roman ruins (actually located in an underground multi-story car park!). Moan A Lot Because You Wore Silly Sandals And Now You Have Blisters My least favourite activity of the trip. Day Two Take a Day Trip! We all know that I was using Cologne as a base to explore a nearby castle (standard Danielle behaviour). So on our second day in Germany, we headed to Burg Eltz and you can read all about our experience here. I'll shortly be writing a post on exactly how to get to the castle because the internet wasn't very helpful during my research, so let me know if there is anything you want to know! If castles aren't your thing, there are plenty of other cities/towns that are an easy train ride away including:
  • Dusseldorf
  • Frankfurt
  • Bonn
  • Aachen
  • Trier
Day Three We were hoping to go on another day trip on day three, but my feet had turned into two giant blisters, so we decided to spend the day in Cologne and try to do as little walking as possible! Chocolate Museum I'm normally a history/nature lover while I'm travelling, choosing to avoid more commercialised tourist traps but we LOVED our time at the chocolate museum! A lot of the reviews on TripAdvisor moaned that there weren't enough free samples - we only got 2 but they were bloody incredible! Eat Yourself Into Oblivion  With it being ridiculously hot, we spent some time in a small beer garden near the Chocolate Museum downing steins of cold drink and of course eating my favourite - CURRY WURST! National Socialism Documentation Centre Yes, that does sound like a really boring building. But I can assure you that it's not! The Documentation Centre was previously used as a Nazi prison and the information inside is a harrowing reminder of the holocaust. The above-ground floors of the building are used as a museum and do a good job of explaining what life in Cologne was like during the war (although I don't think the museum was quite as harrowing as places like Typography of Terror in Berlin and House of Terror in Budapest - both of which I would HIGHLY recommend). Make sure you ask for an English audio guide, many of the displays in the museum are written in German only. The audio guide makes the experience much more poignant with the most memorable aspect for me being the room which explains how minority parties were treated, namely anybody that was gay, disabled or had mental illnesses - really awful stories! The really harrowing aspect of this attraction are the underground prison cells. The wall carvings left my various prisoners have been preserved and notice boards translate the carvings into English - I've never seen anything like it and would highly recommend that you take a visit. Eat More Food and Do Some (Window) Shopping To get back to our hotel, we had to walk through a large shopping area (the mains streets being Schildergasse and Hohe Straße), so we spent some time window shopping (and actual shopping for plasters that would cure my broken feet) as well as getting dinner and exploring some more of the streets in the city centre. Day 4 (1/2 Day) Take A Stroll Across Hohenzollern Bridge Hohenzollern Bridge is the iconic bridge that can be seen in practically all photos of Cologne. The bridge is lined with love locks and it's lovely to stroll across here, taking a look at all of the locks and maybe leaving one of your own! Get a View of The City From Above After exploring all of the city at ground level, the best way to get a birds eye view is to head to Koln Triangle and pay the small 3 euro fee to reach the top of the skyscraper. This is where you will be able to get that iconic shot of the bridge, cathedral and city skyline! Take a Cruise Down The River  Rhine Our last activity of the trip was to take a cruise down the River Rhine. There are loads of different companies which line the Rhine and run at various times during the day, we picked the one that had people queuing up well in advance of the departure time hoping that they knew more about the reputation of these companies than we did! Tickets are cheap and it's a great way to spend an hour. We were a bit stupid however, leaving it to our last day in the city. Our first 3 days were 30 degrees and nothing but sun... our last day was rainy, dark and windy - you win some, you lose some! And with that, our trip to Germany was over and it was time to head back to the airport before flying back to England. See you soon Germany!

RELATED POST: Is Cologne Worth A Visit? 

Looking for some more great things to do in the city? Maybe try visiting during these times:
  • Easter - Cologne Carnival - Each year, Cologne is home to the largest carnival in the German speaking area and it sounds mental! If you take the free walking tour mentioned above, they will tell you all about it!
  • Winter - Christmas Markets - Cologne is known for it's incredible Christmas markets, so there's no better activity to get you in the Christmas spirit!
Have you ever been to Cologne? What was your favourite thing to do?

Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post and all thoughts are my own. Follow my blog with Bloglovin

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