Exploring Berlin – 2-day city guide

After my quick visit to Hamburg, I finally headed to the incredible Berlin. I’ve always felt like I needed to visit Berlin as soon as possible, as it is such an important city filled with history and culture!

Here’s a little sum up of what I’ve done in 2 days and feel like it was enough to make me fall in love with the city:

 

Berliner Fernsehturm – TV Tower

View from Hostel Wombats

This huge TV tower (368 meters), located in Alexanderplatz , was built by GDR and it’s one of the symbols of the city. This is not, by far, the most important thing in the city but you can see it from literally anywhere!

 

Reichstag and the Dom

The Reichtag (parliament) is already a pretty impressive building by itself but the dome on top adds something else to it.

You can (and should!) visit the dome for free, however, do book it online it advance (here). It has this incredible 360º view over the city and the architecture is brilliant!

 

Bradenburg Gate

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Bradenburg Gate

This is probably the most famous touristic site of Berlin, the one that appears on post cards and it has “seen” lots of history. It was once the main entrance of Berlin, and it was rebuilt by the reunited Germany , after being destroyed during WWII.

 

Memorial to the Murdered Jews in Europe

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Memorial to the Murdered Jews in Europe

This place was built to honor the memory of the murdered jews during the holocaust. Besides the memorial statues, this venue has a museum below, where you can learn about the reality of the Holocaust and see some true stories about the victims  .

Emotion wise, the museum has pretty strong content and it’s a huge reality slap, however I think it’s worth to see what happened back then.

 

Tiergaten

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Tiergaten

Visiting parks is always something that I like to do, so obviously I had to take a look to the Berlin’s green”lung”. It is the biggest and most famous in the city and it goes along a big avenue that ends in the huge Victory Column.

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It was originally a hunting area and now it’s a park is huge re creative area where you can run, have a pick-nick or just relax.

 

Checkpoint Charlie

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Checkpoint Charlie used to be the crossing point in Berlin Wall between east and west Berlin during the cold war. It’s was often the place where people tried to escape from the east side. This place stands literally on the middle of the street, with some actors pretending to be the guards, so it kind of looks like you traveled back in time.

 

Terror topography

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Outdoors area of Topography of Terrors

Located in the former GESTAPO headquarters area, this museum shows everything there is to know about the horrible Nazi regime, the timeline of the happenings, people involved and photos of what happened.

It also used to be in the border between the soviet and american sector, and here, you can still see a bit of Berlin wall and an exhibit outdoors.

 

Gendarmenmarket

Opera house at Gendarmenmarkt

This square is composed by beautiful buildings of incredible architecture and it usually has a typical market – specially on Christmas. Sadly for me, there wasn’t a market on the day and it was empty with locals passing around, however is always nice to take a sit and check out the buildings.

 

Museum island

This place is mandatory visit! It has some incredible museums and the well known Berlin’s cathedral.

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Berlin Cathedral
Berlin Dome

This probably one of the most popular sights you’ll see in Berlin – truly postcard material!  I didn’t get in because I didn’t had a lot of time and I’m not a church fan, but the view from outside is definitely worthy.

 

Pergamon Museum
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Altar Pergamon by turistando.in

This amazing museum is filled with archaeological pieces of art. The most impressive things to see at this museums are (undoubtedly) the Pergamon Altar, the Ishtar Gate and the Market gate of Miletus.

Unfortunately, Pergamon was under construction (almost cried when I saw it) so I didn’t get in, but I promise: I will be back and step on this historical treasure!

 

East Side Gallery

 

East side gallery is the longest piece of Berlin wall standing and is basically an open air street art museum. It has tons of urban art pieces criticizing important political and cultural matters that keep changing – which is kind of the “magic” of urban art.

The most known piece would be the “the kiss”.

As long as you walk around this area you’ll see that is pretty trendy, lots of concept coffee shops and nice places to chill.

 

Where and what to eat in Berlin?

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When you visit Berlin, keep in mind that they love the concept of street food, so usually what you find on the streets is good!

I haven’t tried many restaurants in Berlin but, if you like burgers, do not miss BURGERMEISTER! It’s a super small place – literally a balcony with a tent (only in the winter I guess) below a bridge, in which you eat standing the yummiest, juiciest, most delicious burger EVER! And it’s super cheap.

Talking about traditional food, obviously you have to try the curry wurst – a sausage with ketchup and curry. Pretty simple, pretty german, pretty good! It’s sold all over the city.

Another interesting place that might be worth to check out (and that I ran in by coincidence!) is Ramones Museum and Coffeeshop , a true altar to the band and where you can visit the museum or just have a beer at the coffee place.

 

Where to stay in Berlin?

I’ve stayed at Wombats Berlin Hostel which was amazing! Perfectly located, really comfortable bed and spacious room and amazing breakfast for a cheap price!

 

Other places that might interest you:

Tempelholf – an abandoned airport turned into a huge park where people can hang out.

Charlottenburg – The biggest palace in Berlin and one of the main atractions.

Berlin brought me mixed feeling, because it’s a confusing city: it’s not pretty and it has so much going on, but it makes up for its culture and all the history that it bares. It’s a crucial city to visit for any traveler!

 

Don’t forget to follow me on my Instagram and Facebook to see what I’m up to! Either for Portugal related content or all about my travels !

Happy travels, always! 

Catarina

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Visiting Hamburg: One day travel guide

Hello fellow travelers!

I originally went to Hamburg kind of unintended because the flight was way cheaper than to my original destination: Berlin. So, I  decided to make the most out of this stop  and see it!

Since my flight arrived to the city pretty late I stayed for the night and then explored for the next day – until my evening bus to Berlin.

Due to the limited amount of time, and in order to see as much as possible, we took a Free Walking Tour (more info about this concept here) , which is definitely the best way to get to know a new city – then moved on to other things I wanted to see.

Based on my tiny one day experience, here are the route I did in Hamburg and advise you to do:

 

Rathaus

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The city hall is located in the center of the city, on Rathausmarkt square, and it it was reconstructed after the great fire of Hamburg. It was also where our tour started.

 

Chilehaus

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This building is famous for being shaped as a ship’s prow,  it was designed by Hoger and now it is filled with offices.  Do check the inner courtyard, it’s really different than the regular buildings.

 

Deichstrasse

Deichstrasse

Coming to this street immediately made me think of  Amsterdam or Copenhagen. It’s one of the oldest streets in the district, even tho the majority of the buildings was restored after the fire.

 

St. Nikolai Church

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These are the remains of the church bombed on the world war II . One of the most impressive things I’ve ever seen. They also have a pretty interesting museum close by worth to take a look.

 

Speicherstadt 

Speicherstadt

The neighborhood of warehouses is a total must see and I think I can risk saying one of the most taken photos in the city!

 

Elbphilharmonie and the view to Landungsbrucken

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This stunning building is one of the best concert halls in the world, its acoustic is unique and so is its design! According to our guide, it took way more time to be built than it was originally planned and it’s was absurdly expensive , so they made the entrance free to the visitors.

On the top you get the most beautiful view to Landungsbrucken port.

Tip: the tickets are free if you get them at the venue, there’s a big line but it’s relatively fast.

Stadtpark

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If you’ve read my posts, you know I’m a sucker for parks, so obviously I had to come here and take a walk around. This park is huge and the snow  on the floor made it even more beautiful . Don’t miss the planetarium!

 

Where to stay: A&O hostels

Since I arrived pretty late to the hostel, I just spend the night and left the hotel in the morning, but it was pretty good. Clean, confy and cheap – everything one wants! Totally recommend!

Where to eat: Gasthaus Heimathafen 

I literally found this place by miracle! After leaving the Elbphilharmonie, I was starving and bumped into this place near the metro station. I tried the burger which it was really good, the staff was super cool and it was relatively cheap! Totally recommend!

 

Unfortunately, I didn’t have the chance to see everything I wanted, so I’ll definitely be back one day to explore the city a bit better. So, if you have time, I recommend you going as well to: Planten un Blomen and to the Soviet Submarine. 

 

Don’t forget to follow me on my instagram to see what I’m up to! I post lots of throwbacks on my trips and Portugal related content.

 

Happy Travels,

Catarina

Madrid in 2 days: Ultimate Travel Guide

I’ve had the chance to go to Madrid a few times now and I would say it’s a pretty cool city to visit. People are nice, the food is great and there are plenty amazing things to explore.

The three times I’ve been there, I was in Madrid for 2 days and, unless you want to visit museums, it’s a reasonable amount of time to check all the “must-go” properly and still enjoy some “chill” time.

 

Wander through Plaza mayor

Plaza mayor during NYE

This square is the center of Madrid and it’s definitely a pretty sight.

However,  I was there in New Years eve (aka super crowded), so this was only photo I could take.  It was built under the Philip III – who is represented  in the statue in the center – reign and it’s super close to Puerta del Sol, another super famous site in Madrid.

 

Pass by Puerta del Sol

Puerta del Sol - photo in mywowo.com
Puerta del Sol – photo in mywowo.com

This square is the “center of Madrid”! Always crowded with people running around, it is one of the most famous landmarks of the city.

 

Explore Parque del Retiro

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El Retiro – Cristal Palace

My absolute favorite place in Madrid. Retiro is a huge park with a lot to explore! Unfortunately, it was under construction, when I visited.

There’s plenty you can’t miss, inside: The mesmerizing Crystal house, in which you can get into; the impressive Monument in honor to Afonso XII, fountains, statues and much more!

 

Taste typical food at Mercado de San Miguel

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Mercado San Miguel

Not only is this market super cool to take photos but you also get the chance to taste some typical food in here! From tapas, desserts and sausages, this is a true food heaven for the madrileños.

 

Admire Debod Temple

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Temple of Debod

This magnificent temple was brought all the way from Egypt, stone by stone, and rebuilt in Madrid. It’s, obviously, different from everything in Madrid and totally worth to stop by and admire it!

Discover the Royal Palace

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Royal Palace – View from the gardens

Don’t miss the chance to see what once was the home for the royal family! This place has incredible history and it’s worth for you to at least see it from the outside! Its gardens are beautiful as well. Find the Almodena Cathedral right in front of  the palace

 

Pass under Puerta de Alcalá

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Puerta de Alcalá | Photo by @tania_fernandez

This gate passes a certain vibe of Arc du Thriumph, right?  Ordered by Carlos III, it was built by Sabatini to refurbish the city and it’s now one of the most remarkable monuments in the city. It’s really close to Park del Retiro.

 

Try the typical tapas

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Cidreria El Tigre

You know what I think about food! You don’t know a country’s culture if you don’t try the food! To try the tapas, I totally recommend you “Cidreria el tigre”, a local restaurant in which you can find spanish people drinking by the end of the day.  You order the drink an they give you tapas. A pint is around 6€ and you get lots of food, as you order some drinks.

 

Accomodation

If you’re wondering where to stay, I would recommend airbnb for sure! There’s lot of apartments in Madrid, and they’re usually cheaper (and better) than the typical hostel/hotel.

If you’re booking for the first time you can use my code here for 35€ credit!

 

Transportation

All the monuments are in a pretty walkable distance, however if you’re feeling lazy or short on time, I would recommend the subway. It’s pretty effective and it gets everywhere !

 

This is pretty much what I gotta say about Madrid, but probably there’s much more! Is there any tip you would like to share?

Don't forget to follow me on Instagram to see what I'm up to! 

 

Happy travels, 

Catarina

Paris: ultimate travel guide

Being the dream trip of many, Paris is one of the most visited cities ever! It’s a cliché for sure, but any given traveler will have to go there at least once. It’s a big city with much to see, so your route should be carefully planned if you want to make your trip worth it! One thing that I can promise you is that this city is an open sky museum!

After my third time in Paris, I’ve decided to share some basic must go’s with you! 

Eiffel tower

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OMG , could this one be more obvious? Obviously this huge landmark has to be seen, but the questions here are: where from? And is it worth to go up the tower?

Well, going up is a unique experience for sure! BUT,  in my opinion there’s way better (and free!) views of the city rather than the Eiffel Tower. So, the places I suggest you to go is literally bellow the tower, near the margins of the seine. To see it along with the beautiful french capital, don’t miss Trocadero gardens, it’s a gorgeous viewpoint.

Price: 16 € for adults | Website here

Arc du Triomphe

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To be honest, my first impression of this so called monument was “what a big ass roundabout” . It’s a mess that only the french could deal with! Many cars, many people but you gotta give it to the greatness of the building! It honors the ones who died fighting in the french revolution and it’s located near the Champs Elysées, which you should also check.  If you go up to the top, which you can do only by stairs,  you have an amazing view including the Eiffel.

Price: 12 € for adults | Website here

Louvre

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The Louvre is an incredible and huge museum (I don’t think this word even starts to describe it). Interesting fact: If you would take 1 minute per piece and spend there 8 hours per day, it would take you 75 days to see it all. So yeah, it’s pretty big!

But, if you’re an art lover, you should definitely go inside and spend your day admiring the many pieces included there.

Just in case you don’t know:  the famous Mona Lisa is in there, but don’t be disappointed by the small size of it!

If you don’t have much time to spare here or if you’re simply not a big fan of art, I still advise you take a look at the outside as those stunning pyramids which modern design fits perfectly in the building.

Price: 15€ for adults | Website here

Tuileries Garden

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Located right next to the Louvre, you’ll find the Tuilleries Garden!  It’s a public park used by locals and visitors to relax. So it’s the perfect spot for you to sit near a fountain and have a warm coffee while you chill and admire  nature.

Price: free

Saint Chapelle

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I’m totally not the person that will visit all the churches, when traveling, but this one… oh man! It’s the most beautiful I’ve ever seen! Its inside has amazing color stained glasses and the effect of the lightning on it makes it something you see once in a lifetime. It’s just mind-blowing and so worth it!

Conciergerie 

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I ended up coming to this place because of the deal with saint Chappelle, but this old prison was a total surprise for me! It was part of the royal palace, which had also the Saint Chapelle and Palais de Justice. The building is very well kept and all the signs were very informative, but the most interesting part for me was the cell of Marie Antoinette.

Price (Saint Chapelle and Concergerie) : 15€ for adults | Website here

Notre dame

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Another iconic and unmissable site of Paris. The church itself is huge and beautiful, wether outside or inside. The entrance is free , so don’t miss the chance to check it out! And of course, don’t forget to pay a visit to Quasimodo 😛

Price: free |PS – there’s usually a big line to enter but it walks really fast.

Shakespeare bookstore

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This one goes for the book lovers out there! I could just get lost in this adorable quirky book store. It has existed for almost a century,  it has seen a lot of people to pass by, and you just can see that those walls have a lot of stories to tell. Literally. Definitely worth to stop by.

 Pont des Arts 

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This was the original bridge where love promises were made through lockers. A few years and lockers later, the lockers were removed due to the weight they made on the bridge. However, any bridge over the Seine is beautiful and in any of it you can find love lockers, after all you’re in  Paris, the city of love.

Sacre Coeur

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This church is located in one of the highest points of Paris: Montmatre. This means that you’ll have to take a lot of stairs but it also means that you’ll have a great view. And indeed, it was worth it! The view over the city is just stunning as it’s the church.

Price: Free

Montmatre

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This neighborhood is one of the most typical and known from Paris. It’s narrow streets and cute houses are very worth to see.

Versailles

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As this place is out of Paris, you’ll need at least mid day to visit it, so make sure you plan it accordingly. The village itself is very beautiful and quite different from palace, but of course the main attraction is the Château  de Versailles. It’s just overwhelming how big and rich it looks. Covered in gold and showing the wealthiness of Louis XIV’s time.  The gardens are payed separately but they’re really worth to visit as well. Not only they are extremely beautiful, but there’s a fountain show available, which is basically water “dancing” on the sound of music. It’s truly a unique show and very fun!

Price: 16 € for adults | Website here

Disneyland

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Of course I had to mention Disneyland! I mean, I’m the biggest Disney lover ever so for me it’s unthinkable to go to Paris and not go to this magical world. But for that I have this whole different article here. Check it out 🙂

Some of my tips to help you having a better experience in Paris:

  • Paris is one of the most visited cities of the world, so no matter when you go it will be FULL of tourists and the lines will be huge. So, make sure you booked every entrance in advance,
  • In the majority of monuments, people bellow 25 don’t pay BUT you have to book! Make sure you book it before as well.
  • Even tho the city is very big, it is doable to visit it by walking and, in my humble opinion, it’s the best way to do it and see how things actually are around there.
  • Food can be very expensive, so if you are on a budget follow  this tips to save some money.

Have you visited Paris? Is there any place I’m missing? Let me know everything !

Don’t forget to follow me on Facebook and Instagram to check out what I’m up to ! 

Lots of Love, 

Catarina

 

Disneyland Paris in one day: 6 best rides + hacks

When going to Paris, if you are a inner kid like me, Disneyland is something that you just can’t miss. People usually say you can’t see anything in one day at Disneyland, but I must disagree as I live to prove it!

I went to Paris in October and I just couldn’t skip Disneyland Paris, since I was going to be so close, so I just booked my ticket !

I pretty much got in to every attraction, and this is my top 6 :

 

      Indiana Jones Adventure

This is the craziest and funniest roller coaster I’ve ever been to! The decoration is insane, it really seems you got into an Indiana Jones movie and the ride itself it’s insane! It has a loop in the middle and it’s super fast – totally worth it!

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Star Wars Hyperspace Mountain

This one is so much fun that I did it two times in a row! You basically ride in a cart at the speed of light, as you were inside a spaceship and part of a galactic battle! It’s always all dark so you almost don’t know what’s happening – so cool!

 

New Star Tours – the adventure continues

This attraction is a simulator that tells a story (which I’m obviously not gonna spoil for you), like you were part of it – it’s very good because it all seems real !

Big Thunder Mountain

This one is lighter than the ones I mentioned before, but it’s still worth to try. It passes through the water and it has a nice view, in the middle of the fun. The ride is short for the line it has though.

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It’s a small world

This is a must for us travelers! You basically go on a boat and pass through  a representation of every country on this journey while listening to an adorable song. Very fun !

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Pirates of the Caribbean

I don’t know about you but I just love all about this movies! On this ride you walk into a journey like you were Jack Sparrow! I was hopping for something scary, but it’s not at all, it’s a trip around Pirates of the Caribbean world totally work taking!

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Disneyland is definitely doable in one day, and to make the most out of it here’s a few  hacks I used and actually worked:
  1. Choose one park: it’s sad but it’s true! It’s already hard to see Disneyland Park in one day, imagine the both of them… Don’t book the ticket to both parks in one day, it’s literally mission impossible to see everything.
  2. Play smart with the timings: go during the week, otherwise is going to be packed and get there really early.
  3. Go to your favorite attractions first – the ones you wanna try are probably the ones that will be crowded during the day, so run your ass to those and start the day with the best ones!
  4. Use your map – don’t run from one side to the park to the other,  make sure you saw everything in one side and then move to another
  5. Take your own food – obviously everything there is crazy expensive, but also another thing I noticed is they have lousy service in the restaurants and it’s freaking slow! So bring your own food, not only you’ll save money but you’ll save time and I bet the food will be way better!
  6. Don’t miss the final fireworks show – The show is at 8 PM and it’s a must for Disney lovers, since it’s not only firework it’s a whole show full of songs we all love!

And you, have you visited Disneyland? What’s your favorite ride?