New York is such an iconic place, when I was younger I always dreamed about visiting and last year I finally got to go. It was my first ever trip to America and I loved it! My boyfriend and I visited all the main attractions like the Empire State building, Statue of Liberty and Times Square. Everywhere we visited reminded us of TV shows and movies we had watched. We had some incredible food there, I did end up putting a lot of weight on but it was worth it.
The reason this holiday was so special was that I got to spend time with my parents as I hadn’t been away with them for a while. There was a festival going on when we visited which was a lot of fun, lots of street performances and dancing. I really enjoyed relaxing by the beach and feasting on Spanish tapas in the evening. We went on a boat trip where we saw dolphins, this was amazing! You can find out more about Gran Canaria here
This was my first ever trip with Sam and before heading to Florence we spent a day at the leaning tower of Pisa. When we got to the top of the tower Sam asked me to be his girlfriend! It was such a memorable trip for both of us and we had so much fun exploring Florence. I’m also obsessed with Italy – the food architecture and weather are all amazing.
This was my first stop on a solo trip around Asia, I’d booked a one way ticket to Thailand and had no clue what to expect. I booked a tour for the first week, so I met a group of people whilst we explored Thailand. We started off in Bangkok and also visited Ko Phangan then after the tour I continued to travel with some of the people I’d met there. Thailand was absolutely amazing, I loved exploring the beautiful beaches, markets and feasting on Thai food, it was really cheap there too! It was my first trip to Asia so it was completely different to anywhere I’d visited. Thailand was such a memorable trip that I’ll never forget.
It’s technically not a holiday as I interned here but I wanted to include this as Austria is one of my favourite places. It was my first ever solo trip, spending 4 months interning in Gmunden, a small town in upper Austria. During this trip I also visited Budapest, Prague and Bratislava. It’s actually when I caught the travel bug, before this trip I’d been on a few holidays but hadn’t spent that much time abroad. Living in a different country was so exciting as there were always new places to explore. Hopefully at some point in the future I’ll be able to live abroad again. I loved Austria, it’s such a scenic country with beautiful lakes and mountains and I also met some amazing people there!
What are your favourite holiday moments?
*Disclaimer – this is a collaborative post with Holiday Gems but all opinions remain my own*
Vienna is the capital and largest city of Austria, it’s a city full of gorgeous architecture and imperial palaces. Known as the ‘city of music’ Vienna was once home to Mozart, Beethoven and many other famous composers. Coffee houses are a big thing here so make sure you stop off for some Kaffee and Kuchen (coffee and cake) on your visit.
Looking for things to do in Vienna? Read on for my picks of the city’s best attractions, cafes drinking spots and more!
Top things to do in Vienna
Go on the Ferris wheel at Prater amusement park
See a show at the opera house
Enjoy the view from the Danube tower
Learn about the famous Viennese composers at the house of music
Find the best wurstelstand in Vienna
Take a look around museums quarter
Visit Vienna zoo, the oldest running zoo in the world!
Relax with a coffee and cake in a traditional Viennese coffeehouse
Watch the sunset or sunrise at the top of St Stephens Cathedral – For a small fee you can climb up to the top platform for spectacular views over the city. If your feeling less energetic just have a look around the beautiful architecture inside the Cathedral.
Spend a day exploring Schönbrunn Palace and gardens – The palace is absolutely beautiful and if you don’t fancy looking inside the palace then it’s free to look around the gardens. The palace used to be the Imperial Summer Residence for the Habsburg emperors. If yo’ure feeling super fancy you can even spend the night in one of the palace suites.
Vienna Sightseeing Bus
A bus tour is the perfect way to see more of Vienna as some places are quite spread out and would take time to walk to. When you hop on the bus grab some headphones so you can listen to the tour and find out more about the history of Vienna. The bus has different lines, you can hop on each taking you around different attractions. During the tour you’ll find out about different historical sites around the city. Some of my favourite attractions the bus takes you to are the Schönbrunn Palace, Prater Amusement Park and the Danube Tower. You can book the bus tour here.
Foods you need to try
Spätzle – similar to Mac’n’Cheese
Sacher torte – famous Viennese chocolate cake
Some fun rooftop bars to visit are:
The Ritz Carlton
Dachboden at the 25hours hotel
There are plenty of these cafes dotted around Vienna serving a large range of cakes and drinks. The pretty pink interior in these cafes make them very Instagrammable.
This coffee shop is probably the most famous in Vienna. The architecture inside is very beautiful and they serve a large range of cakes and pastries. We didn’t have the best experience there as the hot chocolate was average and overpriced and our waiter was quite rude too. The building looks really nice and the cakes all looked delicious, but we thought it was a bit overrated.
Tenerife is the largest of Spain’s Canary Islands, the island is subtropical making it popular destination for Europeans wanting to catch some sun.
1.Mount Teide Volcano
The island is home to El Teide a large volcano and the highest point in Spain. Jump on the cable car from the parking lot to the top of Mount Teide, the views from the top are amazing. Alternatively there are lots of hiking routes and trails you can take. Unfortunately the final few hundred yards leading to the summit is not open to the public.
The National Park is not only home to a dormant volcano but also a solar telescope. A great deal of Astrophysics research is performed here.
3.Los Gigantes Cliffs
Sunshine, scenery and the sea are Los Gigantes main attractions. These cliffs are located in a resort town on the west coast of Tenerife.
The best spot for photos is at the Mirador Archipenque on the approach road to the town. Head here at sunset where the suns rays bathe the cliffs in a golden glow.
This Thai themed adventure water park has won many awards including best water park in the world according to Tripadvisor. This is definitely worth a refreshing visit in the hot summer months.
The Masca hike is one of the most popular hikes in Tenerife, the length of the trail is about seven kilometres. Many local companies provide guides to lead the way and tell you more about the area.
6.Whale and Dolphin watching
The waters surrounding Tenerife are home to more than 28 species of Whales and Dolphins. There are boat tours daily, departing from Los Gigantes or Los Cristianos. The trips tend to last around 3 hours with some including food and drink.
7.Go crazy at carnival
Enjoy the colourful, flamboyant and loud carnivals in Tenerife. They take place in February or March, the date changes yearly and the biggest carnival takes place in Santa Cruz. Many other towns celebrate their own carnival, when you go be sure to dress up to join in the local traditions.
8.Enjoy the beauty of Masca
Masca is a small mountain village with rural stone houses and magnificent views. Part of the charm of Masca is getting there snaking along the steep narrow mountain roads whilst witnessing some of the islands best views. The easiest way to get here is to go with a tour group.
9.Pyramids of Güímar
Güímar is a town located in Southern Tenerife where six of the Pyramids are found. There is still a mystery as to who built the pyramids and why they are there.
This zoo is famous for its parrots but it’s also a sanctuary for many endangered species from around the world. The zoo is massive so you can easily spend all day here. To find out more read my blog post on the zoo here
This guide will show you where to go, eat and stay in the city. It’s an expensive place so I’ve included some tips on how to spend less.
I visited with my Boyfriend before Christmas, its a great time to visit as it’s so festive with all the lights, decorations and Christmas markets around.
Nyhavn is the picture perfect area you see when you Google Copenhagen or look on Instagram. This beautiful area is located by the canal and is full of colourful houses, it was lit up with Christmas lights and decorations. There are also many stalls selling drinks and Christmas gifts.
The enchanting Tivoli Garden amusement park was actually inspired by Walt Disney. It’s home to one of the oldest running wooden roller coasters in the world and many food stalls. At Christmas it is absolutely magical as it’s full of festive lights, decorations and trees.
Entrance to the park is 120DKK/£14.40. For 230DKK £27.60 you can get an unlimited ride ticket. If you don’t want to go on all the rides you can buy individual tickets for around £3 each.
Top tip: if you don’t get the unlimited ticket make sure you check entrance for the rides you want to go on as some rides are 2 or 3 tickets per person so can get expensive.
The Little Mermaid
This famous sculpture is displayed on a rock by the water side. It’s a bit out of the centre, about a 20 minute walk from Nyhavn. The mermaid sculpture is pretty small and the area will be full of tourists taking photos but its worth visting. If you look at my Instagram posts then you can read about the fascinating old story of the two mermaids in Warsaw and Copenhagen.
See the Changing of the Guard
The Danish royal guards march from Rosenborg Castle to Amalienborg Palace, where the changing of the guards takes place, this happens every day at 12pm. Whilst in the area go and check out Frederick’s church.
This impressive church stands out in Copenhagen, with its beautiful architecture and copper green dome. Be sure to stop by here to take a photo or have a look inside.What to eat
1. Danish pastries
2. Smorrebrod – open faced sandwiches, usually on rye bread with a wide variety of toppings
3. Hot dogs
4. Frikadeller – Danish meatballs
5. Krebinetter – pan fried pork patties normally served with potatoes
6. Flæskesteg – roasted pork baked with spices and bay leaves, it’s normally served at Christmas markets
7. Salmon – Danes usually add a slice of cold smoked salmon to rye bread
8. Brot (bread) – rye bread is commonly eaten here
Hotel Chocolat cafe is the ideal place for chocolate lovers. They have a selection of hot chocolates to choose from, I went for the Christmas edition clementine and salted caramel with chocolate whipped cream. It’s very thick and creamy, so make sure you drink it with a straw otherwise the liquid will ooze out and go everywhere.
Mulled wine (Glogg)
This warm sweet wine is served at the Christmas markets and Tivoli Gardens.
Copenhagen has plenty of trendy coffee shops, why not try one with a delicious Danish pastry.
Where to eat
Copenhagen is pretty expensive but if you avoid eating at Nyhavn and walk a bit further away from the centre you can find cheaper restaurants there. Most restaurants had some outdoor seating with soft blankets and a heater to keep you warm and cosy.
We went at the end of November so there was a lot of Christmas market stalls which you could grab food from. Hot dogs are also a good choice if you want to grab something in the go – the sausages are amazing!
Street Food Market ‘Papiroen’
Located across the bridge from Nyhavn, this area has a huge variety of street food to choose from. The venue was bustling with people and the food we had was delicious. Unfortunately it’s closed now, with a new market opening in May 2018.
Where to stay
Sam and I stayed at the Wakeup Copenhagen hotel. This hotel is very central, close to shops and not very far from Nyhavn. This hotel was a lot cheaper than the others we found but was still a great hotel.
There’s underfloor heating in the bathroom, which is brilliant after a long day exploring in the cold and the room is quite cosy. The lobby had lots of seats to relax in and computers to use along with a restaurant.
You will have to pay to check in luggage if you arrive before check in at 3pm. There’s also no tea or coffee making facilities in the room which we would have liked.
What I liked/disliked
I’d definitely recommend going to Copenhagen at least once. My favourite part was the magical Tivoli Gardens. I also loved that everything was walkable and it was easy to get to from the airport. With all the Christmas lights up it felt very festive and romantic.
The main downside is that it’s expensive but if you want to save money, bring some snacks with you. Eat at street vendors and try go down side alleys or further away from centre for cheaper restaurants.
How to get here
We managed to get return tickets with Ryanair for £20, such a bargain! This was travelling from London Stansted.
When you arrive at Copenhagen Airport you can get the train or metro. We got the metro to Nørreport, as this was the closest stop to our hotel. Tickets cost about £4 per person and the journey only took 15 minutes.
Where to go next
We took a trip to Malmo in Sweden, the drive was very easy and only took 45 minutes. The bridge crossing is pretty expensive though at £45 each way. For a cheaper option you could always get the train instead.
Ischia is a volcanic island in the Bay of Naples filled with mineral rich thermal waters, sandy beaches and stunning scenery. I explored Ischia with the help of Imperatore Travel, here is a list of great things to do on the island.
We went on a 3 hour private boat tour around the island, giving us an insight to Ischia’s history and culture. Whilst taking in views of the castle and pretty pastel buildings.Giardini La Mortella
These botanical gardens are a great place to relax, admire the beautiful flowers and get a drink in the lovely tea room.Thermal Baths
We went to Poiseden the largest thermal park on the island, here you can relax in over 20 pools with varying temperatures.
Tip: bring towels, robes, swimming hat and flip flops with you or you’ll have to purchase them there, also bring a Euro for the lockers
Hike up Mount Epomeo
There are several routes you can take the shortest being half on hour to the longest of 5 hours. Ours lasted about 2.5 hours, it wasn’t very difficult but some areas are quite steep. When we started the hike it was quite cold and cloudy but once we reached the top luckily the sun had come out again. At the top there’s a lovely restaurant serving lunch and drinks.
Tip: Bring a jacket as it can be chilly at the top
Visit this medieval castle to learn more about the history of Ischia and for spectacular views over the island.The Food
La Bussola – located in front of Forio harbour and close to the town centre, this place has a variety of local Ischian dishes and fresh fish.
Montecorvo – My favourite dish from the trip was “the Rabbit in the style of Ischia” which we had at this restaurant. All the courses we had here were incredible and I’d highly recommend going! This place is quite hard to find so I’d recommend getting a taxi there.
Casa Celestino Restaurant – this is a great place to enjoy fresh seafood whilst overlooking the Sant’Angel coast.
Starter from La Bussola Restaurant
When to go
I went in October and it was still sunny and warm, around 21-25 degrees and since most of the tourists are gone you can enjoy cheaper hotels and emptier beaches. Peak season is June to August which will be nice and hot but a lot busier.
In order to get to the island you need to fly to Naples then get a ferry to Ischia. We flew from London Gatwick around 2pm and arrived at the hotel at 9.30 so it is quite time consuming. When choosing how long to stay in Ischia bear in mind the commuting time. We spent 4 days in Ischia and had a packed itinerary so you could easily spread this over 5-7 days.
The East side gallery is an international memorial for freedom, the wall separated the East and West sides of the city during the Cold War. The gallery is a monument of the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. Since the fall artists have been invited to come and paint murals with various political statements. At 1316 metres long and located along the Spree river, it is the longest continually standing outdoor gallery in the world. One of the most recognised images on the wall is that of fellow communists Erich Honecker and Leonid Brezhnev kissing each other.
The gallery attracts 2-3 million visitors each year, so expect a lot of people posing for photos when you go there. It doesn’t take that long to walk the stretch and there are a couple of food stalls and tourist shops where you can stop to pick up some currywurst or souvenirs.
The Berliner Dom is the largest cathedral in the city, the interior is a mix of Renaissance and Baroque design featuring mosaics and stained glass windows. Climb to the top dome for breath taking views across the city and river Spree. Afterwards head to one of nearby restaurants to enjoy dinner whilst admiring the beautiful architecture. In the summer relax and watch the world go by on the grass area by the cathedral and Altes Museum home to many historical artefacts.
Address: Am Lustgarten, 10178 Berlin, Germany
Public transport: S-Bhf Hackescher Markt or U-Bhf Alexanderplatz
Berlin Fernsehturm also known as the TV Tower is one of the city’s most iconic landmarks. You can always spot it towering above you in the city skyline. The tower has an observation deck for spectacular views over Berlin. The revolving restaurant rotates a full 360° every hour so you get to see all the attractions whilst enjoying a delicious meal. They have a range of offers for the restaurant, we opted for the 2 course lunch for €34.50 per person. The only downside when booking the offers is that you aren’t guaranteed a window seat however the view and food is still worth it though.
Address: Panoramastraße 1A, 10178 Berlin, Germany
Price: Observation deck tickets start from €14, check website for restaurant offers here
Public transport: Alexanderplatz Station
4.Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe
The memorial is designed by Peter Eisenman and dedicated to the Jewish victims of the holocaust. As you walk through the concrete blocks you may feel disorientated as the floor sinks and rises. Make sure you visit the museum under the memorial which is free to enter but tends to have a queue especially at weekends.
Public Transport: U-Bahn: Mohrenstraβe, U6; Französische Staβe
5.Get a taste of Istanbul at the Turkish Market
This vibrant outdoor Turkish market is situated in the multicultural neighbourhood of Kreuzberg. Street vendors sell traditional Turkish street foods, fresh produce and an assortment of knick-knacks. The lively atmosphere attracts plenty of locals and tourists, head to the end of the strip and you’ll probably find an impromptu musical performance. Don’t leave without picking up one of the gözlemes which is a traditional Turkish flatbread dish.
Dates & Time: Tues & Fri from 11am to 6.30pm
Adress: Maybachufer 1-13, 12047 Berlin
Public Transport: U-Bhf Schönleinstraße
6.Cruise along the river
Stern + Kreis offer a range of river cruises ranging from 1 hour to 3, we opted for the 3 hour evening cruise. It’s a great way to see Berlin and relax with a drink or two. They also offer a range of snacks which you can buy on board, or they have main meals which you can order when booking. Our tour guide gave us information about the building and attractions we passed in German and then in English. Remember to bring a jacket if opting for the evening cruise as it can get quite chilly. I’d recommend doing the 1 hour cruise as 3 was a bit too long for us. If booking online you have the option to choose from different starting locations.
In the summer Bearpit karaoke is the best way to entertain yourself on a Sunday afternoon. Once you’ve finished searching for treasures at the flea market sit down and be captivated by the amazing and awful singers, whilst you and the audience sing along with them. Joe the warm up guy does a great job of adding in some humour and revving up the crowd to create an electric atmosphere. I’d recommend getting here early to get a seat with a good view as it gets packed.
Time & Date: Sundays it starts around 3-4pm and admission is free
Address: Mauerpark Berlin (located next to the market by the basketball court) Gleimstraße 55, 10437 Berlin
8.Visit street art heaven
The buildings in Berlin are very grey but the graffiti and street art help inject some colour in the mix. For a particularly concentrated area of graffiti go to the courtyard near Cinema Cafe, where impressive street art covers every inch of the walls. Down this alley is the Anne Frank centre an exhibition about the history and present. Directly opposite this is the Otto Weidt’s Museum Workshop for the Blind, a small workshop where Weidt employed deaf and blind Jews to protect them from persecution and entry to this is free. To find the most famous street art pieces you should go on a street art tour.
Address: Rosenthaler Str. 39, 10178 Berlin, Germany
9.Explore the Zoo
The zoo is huge with over 19,400 animals to see,you can easily spend the whole day here. The zoo is home to the only Pandas in Germany Meng Meng & Jiao Qing. Some other highlights are the Polar Bear, Giraffe, Lion, Zebra and Elephant. Download the app so you don’t miss the animal feeding times.
Address: Zoologischer Garten Berlin AG, Hardenbergplatz 8, 10787 Berlin
Public Transport: Zoologischer Garten
Prices for adults start from 15.50
10. Eat at Burgermeister
Burgermiester is located under the U-Bahn tracks in an ornate 100 year old structure that used to be a toilet, now transformed into a popular burger joint.Burgermiester is located under the U-Bahn tracks in an ornate 100 year old structure that used to be a toilet, now transformed into a popular burger joint. There is usually a line of tourists and locals, but it’s well worth the wait. Try the Meisterburger with bacon, bbq sauce and fried onions paired with cheese fries.
The Berlin Welcome Card
Free public transport in Berlin
Free city guidebook
Discount to 200 attractions including the Zoo, Berliner Dom, Museums & TV Tower