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51+ Things to Do in Berlin

Berlin is a huge city that has a tonne to offer. When I was researching for my trip, I was astounded by how many museums Berlin has, nevermind all the places to eat, hang out, and shop. So it was easy to compile a list of 51+ things to do in the German capital.

Note that many museums cost money – and a decent amount of money. I highly recommend looking into the Berlin Welcome Card and the Berlin Museum Pass, and calculate which one will give you the most savings. Be sure to read the inclusions and exclusions carefully!

Places to See

Museums

Museum Island Museums:

History Museums:

Art Museums:

Misc Museums:

Activities

I usually put a section here about the different areas in each city to see, but honestly Berlin is so spread out and aside from some places I mentioned above, I wasn’t able to grasp an area/neighbourhood in the amount of time I was there.

So that’s an exhaustive list of 51+ things to do in Berlin, Germany. How many have you done?

Posted on Tuesday, June 18, 2019 in Destinations
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A Tale of Two Free Cities: London and Paris

A lot of people like to experience London and Paris in the same trip due to the proximity of the capital cities, and both cities are known for being quite expensive. However, that’s not always the case. Both cities also have a tonne of things to do that are absolutely free, so you can enjoy your vacation on a budget and not sacrifice the quality of your visit.

Please note that the lists below include free entry fees, not anything that you would walk by and see. Walking around a city and seeing its sights are great ways to explore and get to know a place, but there’d be way too much to list if this article included those walk-bys.

London

Even though London is considered one of the most expensive cities in the world, there’s a sizable amount to do for free, and a lot of the great attractions don’t have a charge. You can easily make your vacation completely free of event charges by visiting the places below.

Get your tour fix with a free* walking tour group, many of which have fun themes such as Harry Potter and Jack the Ripper tours. *Free tours usually expect a little bit of payment so as not to be rude. Expect to donate about £4 per person, which is still much cheaper than any other tour you would get.

Get your art fix with one of London’s many free art museums:

Get your museum fix with one of London’s many free museums on other topics:

Get your culture fix with different free activities the city has to offer:

Paris

Paris is filled with lots of things to do, and many are available at no cost to you if you know when to go. Though it may be less free than London, many of Paris’s main attractions are on the list below. Of course, the biggest appeal to Paris is its several sights, which can all be seen by walking by.

Get your tour fix with a free* tour of Paris. *Note that many free tours expect a tip so as not to be rude, and 2€ per person should be enough. This is still drastically cheaper than other tours.

The city is absolutely filled with art museums that are always or often free.

Sounds like a good time to get your calendars out and plan your trip accordingly!

You can also get in more of Paris by visiting these free sights:

There is also a page on Paris’s tourist website dedicated to free cultural events in Paris, which was very helpful when I studied abroad there.

I hope this guide helped you discover the free things to do in two of Europe’s top cities, and it makes your vacation budget a lot.

What’s your favourite free thing to do in London/Paris?

Posted on Thursday, June 13, 2019 in Destinations
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Highlight: Kyoto

Kyoto used to be the capital of Japan and now it’s one of the country’s largest and most visited cities. Since it wasn’t destroyed during WWII, it still retains a lot of its historic Japanese character, which draws people in from around the world. It’s a great city to visit in Japan and it is huge, with a tonne of things to see and do.

Kyoto

A little about Kyoto: Even though Tokyo is now the capital of Japan, it’s only been that way since 1868. For over a thousand years before, it was Kyoto, starting in 794. Yes, Kyoto’s history goes back very far. The shrines and temples there today were built at various points in time and today, Kyoto is still one of Japan’s largest cities.

Kyoto

Kyoto has a tonne of different shrines to see. I have a very full list of things to see in Kyoto. However there are some highlights, and many of them are grouped together in the Gion (old town) district. Kiyomizu-dera is a beautiful temple with fantastic views of Kyoto. You can then head up to the beautiful Kodai-ji temple and further north to Maruyama park. Then you can head up to Chion-in temple and further to Shoren-in. I recommend taking this path (south to north or north to south) because Kyoto has so many shrines, and this makes it much easier to navigate. You can spend hours walking around each area and seeing numerous shrines and temples.

Kyoto

And there’s more! The Heian Shrine is somewhat nearby if you keep going north from Shoren-in. It’s very large and colourful and worth checking out. The most popular temple in Kyoto is Kinkaku-ji, which is otherwise known as the Golden Pavilion. It’s very crowded but a unique place. I also recommend the somewhat hidden gem of Sanjusangendo Temple, which has 1000 statues of canons. They’re carved from wood and gilt with gold leaf. It is so amazing!

Kyoto

You will need to take a short train ride but Fushimi Inari Taisha is also worth checking out – it’s the shrine with all the torrii gates that you’ve probably seen in photographs. Those gates actually extend up a 2-hour climb up a mountain, but many people take a shot for Instagram and leave. When you get closer to the top, it’s less crowded and more beautiful, what with all the gates leading you through the woods.

Kyoto

Kyoto

Kyoto has a lot more than shrines and temples. I really enjoyed visiting Nijo Castle, which is a 17th-century shogun residence. The Kyoto Imperial Palace is also a popular destination but I found it super boring – Nijo Castle is way better. You can also check out the Nishijin Textile Museum to see some small exhibits on textile creation, a staple of Japanese culture. We spent our time looking at sites rather than visiting museums but Kyoto does have a few more museums you can visit as well.

Kyoto

You can also head to Arashiyama and go to the bamboo forest and monkey park. My brother and I felt the bamboo forest was a let-down. The monkey park requires a lot of walking up a mountain but it was a super unique thing to do, plus you get great views of the city. Seeing the monkeys was great, and be sure to buy some snacks there to feed them. You’ll probably cross the Togetsukyo Bridge to get there, which is a centuries-old bridge that’s a significant Kyoto landmark.

Kyoto

Some tips for Kyoto: Kyoto is huge! It’s so much bigger than it looks on a map. I recommend taking advantage of public transport. There’s also a JR bus that runs through parts of the city, but you need to look for it. I couldn’t find any information online.

I also recommend renting a kimono at some point in your trip to Japan. It’s another staple of Japanese culture and kimonos are so pretty, so why not?

Kyoto

I had a great time in Kyoto and there’s no way you can miss it if you’re a history buff in Japan. It’s such a great city with a lot of history and a large selection of things to see and do.

Have you ever been to Kyoto? What did you think?

Posted on Sunday, June 9, 2019 in Destinations
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