Berlin: The European Capital of History

Berlin is known for its history and culture around the world. The city only reunified in 1990 and it still has distinct features from its past. Berlin is almost two cities mixed into one. After visiting Berlin on two occasions, and visiting most of its landmarks and attractions, its easy to say that Berlin is one of the funnest cities to visit!

For travellers who are interested in history and culture then Berlin is a great city to visit. Of course, there are many places that have both great history and culture, but for us, Berlin is on a new level. As someone who studies History and Politics at University, it is easy to see why Berlin is one of my favourite cities. Historically, one of the most interesting things in Berlin that we visited was Sachsenhausen concentration camp. Whilst here, you can take a tour around the camp and experience first-hand the horrors people had to endure if they were unfortunate enough to become imprisoned here. The camp itself is designed in an arc so that a soldier in a tower at the front of the camp, armed with a machine gun, can shoot almost anywhere in the complex. Personally, the tale that shocked us the most was that prisoners would receive a severe beating for wearing the incorrect uniform, and a common “trick” from the guards would be to take off a prisoner’s hat and throw it onto the gravel border. If you didn’t retrieve your hat, you’d receive the beating. However, if you entered the gravel border, you’d be on the grounds of trying to escape. There were many other brutalities committed within the camp, such as suspending prisoners from bindings around their wrists, and experiments using mustard gas were trialled on prisoners.

Whilst in Berlin, obviously one activity that you have to do is visit the Berlin Wall. The Berlin Wall led to thirty years of Berliners being cut off from one another. Since the fall of the Berlin Wall, many famous artists from around the world have come and created art pieces on it. I think the reason why the Berlin Wall is so fascinating to go and visit, is because it’s a structure like no other. The history behind the Wall speaks for itself, and it’s something I would recommend seeing if you’re planning a trip to Berlin.

Berlin is one of the great democracies of the world. A tour of the Reichstag allows you to learn and educate yourself on how German democracy has developed since the Second World War. And if you choose to go to the top of the glass dome you will also get a spectacular view of the city. As someone who has now done this twice, I can say with confidence that it is a really enjoyable thing to do as its a great landmark that symbolises so much.

Another fun and interesting activity that we enjoyed and would would recommend doing is visiting the DDR museum. In fact, we enjoyed it so much we visited it twice. If you want to get a true experience of what life was like in East Germany, then look no further than visiting the DDR museum. The museum is dedicated to the GDR and is very interactive. It gives you an insight into so many various aspects, such as, housing, fashion, and industry. A highlight was being able to virtually drive the Trabant – the most famous car in the GDR.

Whilst visiting Berlin for the first time, I was lucky enough to watch the 2014 World Cup Final which Germany won. The fan zone was absolutely packed and the atmosphere immense. This is one of the best experiences of Berlin as it was so different to anything that I have ever been a part of. It’s not every day you get to watch a country win the World Cup in their own capital city.

After visiting Berlin a couple of times the Olympic Stadium never fails to disappoint. The mega structure built by the Nazis for the 1936 Olympic Games is now used as a football stadium by Hertha Berlin. The stadium used to host over 100,000 people but has been modified and reduced to around 70,000. The impressive modification allows the structure of the old venue to be mixed with a modern look. The entry fee was around 10 euros as we were students.

Inevitably, if you are visiting Berlin you will end up visiting the Brandenburg Gate. One of the most famous landmarks in Europe, it is a must see! Although the area is usually packed it’s worth getting a snap. There are also numerous other monuments, such as the Soviet War Memorial and the huge Angel of Germany, both situated on the road to the Brandenburg Gate. In this area, there are quite a few attractions for travellers to visit. However, be careful about stopping to eat in this area if you are on a budget!

The nightlife in Berlin is quite simply incredible. Berlin is known for its love of techno and Berlin certainly doesn’t disappoint. Although we didn’t experience much of Berlin’s nightlife, when we go back we will definitely be hitting the clubs a lot harder than what we did.

If you decide to visit Berlin. You will realise that Berlin has so much to offer that it is just impossible to mention everything. But this only makes Berlin a perfect place for travellers to travel too. What makes Berlin such a great city to go and visit, is that it has enough to do for people who wish to visit for a couple of days and also enough for people wishing to spend longer.

View the rest of our Berlin pictures here.


Lisbon: A Capital With It All

Lisbon has everything travellers could want from a place. There are so many different aspects of the city for you to explore. For us, what made this city so unique was how they all play such an integral part in making Lisbon one of the best places we have visited. We don’t say this lightly, as we have been to some amazing places around the world. But Lisbon has that spark that some places just don’t have.

Beach fun
Lisbon Beach

What’s great about Lisbon is that it’s a capital city with beaches very close by. As we all like the beach, it just gave us another reason to choose to come to Lisbon. Originally, we wasn’t going to come to Lisbon. However, we had a couple of friends who said that we should definitely go to Lisbon as its such a great city. A couple of weeks later, we were experiencing for our selves just how amazing Lisbon is. If you do want to go to the beach then just take a short trip to the nearest beach via Lisbon’s metro network; I’d recommend Cascais. Lisbon has many incredible beaches nearby with some great beach bars but after visiting some of them, Cascais stood out as the best.

On our way to the beach, we decided to buy a small beach ball to play football and water sports. As you usually do at a beach, we used the time to relax, go for walks and get a tan. If you’re feeling hungry there’s a large selection of top quality beach bars and restaurants that you can visit. As surprising as it may sound, we had one of the best Lasagnes whilst on the beach in Lisbon!

Famous Lasagne
Famous Lisbon Beach Lasagne

If you have adequate time, we would highly recommend spending some of it looking at other cities that are near Lisbon. We decided to visit Estoril but there are many other great Portuguese cities that you could visit. Why we wanted to visit Estoril is because it is just a short train ride from Lisbon. When you get off the train the first thing you will see is the famous Hotel Palacio that inspired Ian Fleming to write Casino Royale – for any Bond fans out there. Whilst in Estoril there are many beaches that you can choose from to relax. Like Lisbon, you have a large variety of bars and restaurants on the beach to choose from should you get peckish. We would have visited Estoril again if we had more time as it was such a fantastic place to relax.


Back in Lisbon, you have many activities to choose from. Personally, Lisbon castle was one of the best that we have ever gone to. However, saying that we must be honest and admit that we haven’t gone to that many. But that being said, from talking to other people it is highly talked about. Although you have to climb a lot of stairs to get there, and we mean a LOT of stairs, when you finally get to the summit the view is worth the effort. Entry to the castle is €10 (with student discount) but it is worth the price. The castle offers magnificent views of the city and offers an interesting walk around the castle grounds. If you go in the summer, there’s also an ice cream van within in the castle walls that we can thoroughly recommend. After climbing 100’s of steps in the boiling heat, sitting down and looking at the spectacular view always goes down well with an ice cream. After the trip to the castle, we would recommend going to Bairro Alto to get a beer. Bairro Alto is a neighbourhood near the castle with lots of pubs and bars which is definitely worth a visit.

Another wonderful place you can choose to visit whilst in Lisbon is the Jeronimos Monastery. The Jeronimos Monastery is an incredible piece of architecture. Just one stop away from Lisbon, the monastery can easily be accessed via train, tram or bus. If you appreciate architecture or religion then the Jeronimos Monastery will appeal to you. The grounds are very big and the Monastery itself is very informative. If you’re a student you get student discount on your entry fee.

If you’re a football fan then you might want to visit Benfica’s stadium – Estadio da Luz. Benfica’s stadium was designed by the same architects that built Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium. Benfica is one of the biggest clubs in Portugal and as former European Champions the stadium tour allows you to experience the stature of the club. Whether you’re a fan of Benfica or just of football in general, the stadium tour was very interesting and it allowed you to sit in the stands as well as the dugout. After paying for a lot of stadium tours around Europe, we have to say this was one of our favourites.

We are the first to admit that we were surprised by Lisbon’s nightlife. It was amazing! Many people might sneer at this suggestion, but if you decide to go to Lisbon, you will see that there isn’t anything to sneer about. If you like signing up to pub crawls whilst you’re away, we would recommend: “”. For just 15 euros you can get free entry into pubs, clubs and an hour unlimited beer or sangria. We’d highly recommend the free beer if you’re stuck on what to choose. This pub crawl really is epic. It attracts hundreds of people every night and is very well organised. We met so many people that we even met a friend for life that eventually moved over to the UK! The reps who organise the crawl are interested in one thing: getting you as drunk as possible. In fact, we enjoyed it so much we went back 3 nights in a row (to different pubs and clubs each night). The great thing about Lisbon is you can drink on the streets. This mean you don’t have to finish or waste your drink.  We wanted to go on their party boat adventure the next day, but unfortunately that was the day we were leaving for Amsterdam. It takes a lot when people are sad for leaving for Amsterdam.  What we can say about this pub crawl is if you like cheap booze and meeting new people then we would highly recommend it.

Overall, Lisbon is an amazing city and somewhere that we would re-visit in a heartbeat. We thoroughly enjoyed the day time activities with the beach, the sun and experiencing the true feel for Lisbon through its history. The nightlife only added to the euphoria of the place. It’s another place everyone should visit.

View the rest of our Lisbon pictures here.