Copenhagen

Copenhagen was the final stop on our trip, and it certainly did not disappoint. Between the Christmas Markets, Christmas stores, shopping, food, and people, Copenhagen was absolutely charming.

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Image credit: blogger

We had nothing planned for this part of our trip, but Nyhavn, The Little Mermaid, and Tivoli Gardens all came highly recommended.

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Image credit: blogger; Pictured: Nyhavn

Nyhavn was unbelievably charming. On our walk to find this part of town, we passed along the river and spotted trampolines in the ground. Completely in awe of this feature, we excitedly took a 5-minute travel break to jump on trampolines like we were 7-years-old again!

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Image credit: blogger; Pictured: trampolines by river

After finding Nyhavn, we wondered along to find The Litter Mermaid and make our 5-year-old selves very proud and happy (20-year-old us were pretty happy too!).

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Image credit: blogger; Pictured: The Little Mermaid

Shortly after finding the statue, we only had a couple hours to continue meandering until we had to leave for the airport and catch our flight back to Dublin. We happened upon Fredrik’s Church, a massively beautiful building nestled between shops and homes.

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We ended our day with continued strolling around Nyhavn, peering into restaurants and enjoying the Christmas Stands and ships stacked along the canal.

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Between the generously kind people and the quaint and humble charm of this city, Copenhagen has found a special place in my heart, and will likely always be one of my favorite cities.

Prague

Prague isn’t a city you can put into words or pictures. Every building has detail, every sculpture, something unique, so you don’t see the city as individual, beautiful pieces, but as a completely whole and breathtaking scene.

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Image credit: blogger; Pictured: view from Charles Bridge

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Image credit: blogger; Pictured: Charles Bridge

Prague had some of the kindest people and best food I’ve ever had. We stayed at the Dahlia Inn and it was one of the loveliest places I have ever stayed – perfect location, perfect accommodation, and perfectly priced.

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Sarah and I did a three hour Castle tour, which helped us both learn a lot about the history of the city, and learn our way around the city in general.

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Image credit: blogger; Pictured: Prague Castle & St. Vitus Cathedral

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Image credit: blogger; Pictured: St. Vitus Cathedral

Otherwise, we mostly walked around the city and ate our weight in food.

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Image credit: blogger; Pictured: Czech pastries

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Image credit: blogger; Pictured: Trdlo & Chimney 

Not only is Prague beautiful, it’s very easy to get around the city and it is very affordable.

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Image credit: blogger; Pictured: Charles Bridge

We spent the majority of our time simply walking around, talking to people, eating, and enjoying ourselves. Walking around Paris Street, the most expensive street in Prague, was certainly fun, as was walking around the Clock Tower in the Old Town Square.

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Image credit: blogger; Pictured: Clock Tower

You don’t need a plan to see Prague – simply follow the floods of people to find the sights, ask locals for recommendations, and enjoy the elegant charm and beauty the city is famous for.

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Image credit: blogger; Pictured: view from Charles Bridge

Long-Flight Tips

If you have a long flight ahead, it’s best to make yourself over-prepared. Sometimes the flights take longer than expected, the plane might be freezing, or you might be horribly uncomfortable the entire time.

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This video by Zoella can certainly help to prepare you for the long trip ahead!

If you need extra tips on how to survive a long flight, check out this post on The Hairpin, which gives some brilliant tips to help you enjoy the long flight, rather than just survive it.

If you struggle with what to wear to the airport, check out WhoWhatWear‘s blog post, inspired by professional blogger Chiara Ferragni, about The Most Comfortable Clothes to Wear to the Airport. It’ll give you a starting point, plus, it doesn’t hurt to get some advice from the professionals, does it?

Stay Organized!

I know how difficult it can be to stay organized while traveling – especially if it’s more than just a few days, and everything starts to accumulate! For some extra tips that I have certainly found useful, watch this video by Ingrid Nilsen on how to NOT overpack and how to keep everything well organized and easy to reach!

Miyajima

One of my fellow study abroad students, Sarah Mills, recounts her experience traveling in one of her favorite cities in Asia: Miyajima.

When I went to Japan, my favorite place was Miyajima. It’s a tiny island off the coast of Hiroshima that’s overrun with deer that will just walk up to you.

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Image credit: Sarah Mills

The island also has amazing food. There are oyster stalls that sell massive oysters for just a couple of dollars. There are also a couple of really amazing free shrines.

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Image credit: Sarah Mills

I had an amazing experience on this island and would absolutely recommend traveling there.

Dublin

I’ve been living in Dublin for nearly 3.5 months now, and I could not say a single, genuinely bad thing about this country as a whole. I can’t speak highly enough of Dublin, its food, restaurants, and people, or of my experiences here.

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Image credit: blogger; Pictured: St. Stephen’s Green

You can easily walk around most of Dublin, but if you’re feeling tired, you can always hop on one of the buses, a city bike, or a grab a taxi. The city has some wonderful attractions year round, but mostly, it’s best to just enjoy the city as you discover it.

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When you visit Dublin, you absolutely have to go for a stroll in St. Stephen’s Green, window shop on Grafton Street, and go to a pub in Temple Bar.

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If you have a weekend in Dublin, you must go to a pub – final story. My favorites have become The Bleeding Horse, Hogan’s, Cassidy’s, The Stag’s Head, and The Quays. At any of these given pubs, and on any given night, you can find a pint, live music, and plenty of people to talk to. In the basement of The Stag’s Head, they have free comedy nights on Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday – a surefire way to have some awesome entertainment and enjoy a night out with your friends.

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Image credit: blogger; Pictured: The Temple Bar

Shopping in Dublin has also become a favorite way to pass the time, and I wouldn’t recommend any place higher than Grafton Street, which has stores like TopShop, Brown Thomas, and much more. You can also visit O’Connell Street for shopping, and to visit the Spire and the historical General Post Office, although it tends to be much more busy and bustling. Grafton is also decorated beautifully during the holidays!

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Image credit: blogger; Pictured: Grafton Street

If you’d like a more relaxed day, I’d recommend grabbing a hot chocolate from Butlers and walking around St. Stephen’s Green.

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Image credit: blogger; Pictured: St. Stephen’s Green & Butlers hot chocolate

Another must is Trinity College. You can visit the Book of Kells and their magnificent old library, as well as stroll around the beautiful campus while enjoying a cup of coffee.

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Restaurants in Dublin

For restaurants, any pub will generally have wonderful food, but The Merchant’s Arch, Hatch & Sons, Bibi’s Cafe, and Queen of Tarts have all provided some of the best meals I have ever eaten. The Merchant’s Arch has brilliant traditional Irish food upstairs and a lively bar, generally with live music, downstairs. Hatch & Sons makes a wonderful Irish breakfast and also does brilliant sandwiches (called blaas on their menu). You can order literally anything on Bibi’s menu and it will not disappoint – I’ve tried. Queen of Tarts has wonderful teas and scones, although I have to say their Lemon Aubergine sandwich is one of the best things I have ever tasted, if not the best. All of these restaurants are extremely charming, and all of them will give you a memorable experience.

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Image credit: blogger; Pictured: Bibi’s Cafe

Howth

If you have the time, while in Dublin, I would highly recommend taking some time to go to Howth.

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I am fortunate to have a lot of family living in Howth, who have all shown me around the town very thoroughly.

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The village is nothing short of beautiful between the harbors and the land, and you’ll surely enjoy talking to the people and grabbing fresh fish and chips for a light meal.

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Howth is easily accessed when you’re in Dublin – simply take the DART from any Irish rail station, Pearse, Tara Street, or Connolly Station, and enjoy a scenic 25 minute ride to Howth for 6.00€ round-trip.

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Walk around the harbor, enjoy the islands off the coast, and go for a hike to see the Lighthouse and an amazing view across the water to Greystones, the Wicklow Mountains, Dublin, and Dún Laoghaire.

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Sights

The Cliffs of Moher

The Cliffs are well known by most and definitely worth a visit. While in the area, make sure to stop by Doolin – an adorable village about 20 minutes away from the Cliffs, whose original Irish pubs inspired those in Temple Bar today.

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Wicklow Mountains National Park

Visit Guinness Lake in the Wicklow Mountains, a beautiful, massive lake at the bottom of a valley. The Wicklow Mountains National Park has had many movies filmed in the area, from Braveheart to P.S. I Love You and is well worth a visit.

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Image credit: blogger; Oscar Wilde & Yeats’s Thinking Spot

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Image credit: blogger; Wicklow National Park

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Image credit: blogger; Guinness Lake

Dingle

Dingle is a small fishing village with many restaurants, stores, and beaches. The countryside is nothing short of picturesque, and the people are so kind and polite, you’ll never want to leave. Slea Head Beach is one of the hidden beaches we went to while in Dingle, and it’s one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen.

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Image credit: blogger; Slea Head Beach

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Image credit: blogger; Slea Head Beach

The Boyne Valley

The Boyne Valley is home to a wealth of passage graves predating Stonehenge and the Great Pyramid of Giza. The best way to see these are through the visitor’s center, where you can take a tour, go inside these magnificent structures and, learn all about their history.

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Blarney Castle

A trip to Ireland would not be complete without kissing the Blarney Stone! Blarney Castle is a wonderful place to visit, if only for the massive wool store, the magical forests and lakes, the multiple gardens, and the delicious food.

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Image credit: blogger; Pictured: Blogger kissing the Blarney Stone

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Rock of Cashel

The Rock of Cashel is a beautiful castle in Cashel. The town is adorable and the castle is well worth a visit.

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Ireland in general has some pretty incredible scenery, people, food, and sights, and it will always hold a special place in my heart.

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For more ideas, check out Anthony Bourdian’s videos on Dublin and Ireland:

Bruges

For the second stop on our mini-euro-trip, my roommate and I took a bus from Amsterdam to Brussels and immediately, we didn’t take to the city. We had heard so many good things from so many people about how much they absolutely loved Brussels, and we just couldn’t figure out why. We walked around the city, and while the main square was beautiful, the charm didn’t take long to wear off.

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Image credit: blogger; Pictured: La Grand Place, Brussels

It was surprisingly difficult to find food which always ended up being very expensive, the city was very grimy in comparison to pretty much every other city, and we couldn’t find much to occupy ourselves with. We looked into traveling to Paris or back to Amsterdam, but after hearing recommendations from friends and family, we decided to go to Bruges.

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Bruges is in the northwest part of Belgium, and looks like it has come straight out of a fairytale. It is a small town filled with canals, churches, and (because we were there in November) Christmas shops.

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Bruges very easy to get to – you simply take a train from the Brussels train station to Bruges, which costs 12.00€ round trip, and takes about an hour each way. It’s about a 15 minute walk from the station in Bruges to the center of the town, which has lots of restaurants, shopping, canals, parks, and churches. I would recommend buying the ticket at the Brussels station – everyone working there will kindly help you find your way!

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Image credit: blogger; Pictured: Markt

Needless to say, we spent all of our time in Bruges. It is one of the most charming towns I have ever seen, and we walked around with smiles plastered on our face the entire time.

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We didn’t go there with a plan – we spontaneously went and walked around, and I wouldn’t have changed that at all!

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My parents, who had visited Bruges years ago and gave the initial suggestion to visit, remembered a church that had a Michelangelo sculpture. We did some research, and it turned out we had actually walked into the church that was home to the statue the previous day!

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Image credit: blogger; Pictured: Church of Our Lady

We returned to the Church of Our Lady, bought a ticket for 1€ to see the statue, and wow was it worth it.

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Image credit: blogger; Pictured: Michelangelo’s Madonna and Child

This sculpture, in the middle of the picture above, is one of the few Michelangelo sculptures outside of Italy. The cost of the ticket goes towards the restoration of the church – which has sadly fallen to pieces over time, but is certainly worth a visit none-the-less.

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While we didn’t take to Brussels, Bruges certainly made up for that between its quaint charm and beauty. I would recommend visiting this town over and over, as it’s truly beautiful and timeless.

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