The Cliffs of Moher
Probably the most iconic landmark in Ireland, I would be surprised if the Cliffs wasn’t on anyone’s must-do list for their adventures in Ireland. The Cliffs of Moher are on the west coast of Ireland and are a dramatic 8.7 miles long (14 km) and 509 ft (155 m) drop to the icy Atlantic Ocean below. There are two different paths you can take on the Cliffs and you will see people on both – a fenced off path and a path beyond the fence that people hop to go right up to edge. Both times I went to the Cliffs I walked on the path beyond the fence on the edge of the Cliffs and they are safe if you are (basically, don’t be that person hanging off the edge or taking unsafe selfies for the gram. Have fun but be safe and responsible because it is dangerous.)
As far as major cities go, Dublin is rather small for a big city making it easy to see almost all of it in a short amount of time. There is so much to do and the city is very accessible by either car or public transportation. If you are on a budget, the Dublin Bus is the way to go from the moment you step off the plane. The Luis is a faster form of transportation in city, but a bit pricier than the buses. And you can always hail a taxi if you are in a rush (there is no Uber or Lyft in Ireland). Another budget friendly option to see as much of the city as possible is one of the free walking tours the city offers or the “Yellow Bus” bus tour that is usually 10 euros in the summer versus other bus tours that range from 20-30 euros per person. Some of the top attractions in the city worth visiting are Molly Malone’s Statue, Ha’Penney Bridge, Guinness Factory Tour and/or Jameson Factory Tour, or Temple Bar.
The third largest city in Ireland and one of my favorites. The city is full of life, pubs, and music making it a highlight for college students – after all, it is known as the college city in Ireland and has the youngest population living in the city. In Galway you can learn the origin story of the Claddagh ring, do walking tours of the city, or pub crawls at night. From Galway, it is an easy day trip to either the Cliffs of Moher or the Aran Islands.
Staying in the west of Ireland where the grass is greener, Connemara is a must if you are seeking that true Irish experience of sheep running wild - or in front of your vehicle while you are driving. Out in Connemara you will find Kylemore Abbey, bogs and mountains, and a coastline full of coves and tiny fishing villages. It is a perfect nature getaway into the heart of Ireland and away from touristy cities.
About a thirty-minute bus ride outside of Cork, is the coastal town of Cobh (it is Irish, so it is pronounced live Cove. The BH in Ireland makes a v-sound, as I learned the hard way). Formally known as Queenstown, Cobh was the last destination for the Titanic on April 11, 1912 before it’s fateful departure for sea. 123 passengers boarded in Cobh and only 44 survived. The town original dock that the passengers used to board small boats to ride out to the Titanic is still standing and is right in front of the Titanic Museum in Cobh. The town is a must visit for any Titanic or history enthusiast, but is an also just a beautiful, small coastal Irish city to visit and get away from larger crowds like in Galway, Cork, and Dublin.
I decided to group all of the destinations in Northern Ireland together and count it as one “destination” because whether you decided to do it on your own or with tour companies, you could do all of the major highlights in a weekend. I initially did not know much about Northern Ireland before going there, but found myself constantly going back because the countryside was beyond beautiful. In the north, Giant’s Causeway and Carrick-a-Rede are a must for any Ireland tour – and so much so I did them twice. Giant’s Causeway is a crazy formation of hexagon columns formed by a volcanic eruption a LONG time ago. AT Carrrick-a-Rede you hike for about fifteen minutes on a coastal trail out to this massive rope bridge that you can cross to get a better view of Scotland that is about 98 feet high (or 30 meters). Some other top destinations in Northern Ireland that should not be missed are Gracehill House (The Dark Hedges for Game of Thrones Fans), Bushmills and Dunluce Castle, Belfast, and especially the Titanic Museum in Belfast.
Blarney is another iconic and charming place is Ireland. The Blarney Castle is famous for none other than the Blarney Stone and its great myth of the gift of the gab if you kiss the stone. Of course, the family decided the stone was a prized possession and built it into the structure of the roof of the castle in 1446, where it has remained ever since. You can hike up the twisted staircases and tour the medievalrooms to the top (it is a narrow hike so if you get claustrophobic be warned it is very, very tight) and then hang upside down, holding on to a metal bar while a very encouraging staff member holds your legs and you kiss the Blarney Stone.
There are tons of other amazing and noteworthy places in Ireland like Wicklow, Rock of Cashel, Cork, Adare, Dingle, Killarney National Park, Aran Islands, Malahide & Howth, and so many other postcard perfect places.
xx, A Traveler's Bliss | Grace Anne
London is without a doubt one of the most photogenic cities in the world – the city is rich with historic beauty, architectural features, and colorful details on every corner making it the perfect destination for any photographer. So, while you are in London and either trying to capture that perfect street photography shoot or just trying to up your “gram” game, you cannot go wrong in London.
I’ve highlighted a few of the top locations to take photos at in London. Some places I didn’t make it to on my last few trips since they were quick trips so I also made a quick list of places that are also worthy in London to visit or drop by if you want to photography for the insta.
Tower bridge is an iconic staple of London and famous around the world. It is confused with the London Bridge occasionally, which is the next bridge about a half mile upstream. From the south side (from where the above photographs are take) you can see The Tower Bridge on the other side. It is also an ideal spot to stop for lunch with a little grassy area to eat outside and do a bit of people watching.
What could be a more ideal spot for photographs for the insta than pics outside of Buckingham Palace? During the day it is pack with tourist jamming their way to the front of the gates to catch a glimpse of the changing of the guards and anything else they might be able to spot. Early morning or around sunset are ideal times to check out Buckingham. No one will be up super early so you won’t have to fight people off just to get a decent picture and at sunset most people are just trying to find a place to eat. We went at sunset in the peak season of the summer and basically has the place to ourselves.
Red Telephone Booths
London Calling! The red telephone booths are EVERYWHERE in London and you can’t go wrong here. From the telephone booth by St Paul’s Cathedral, the telephone booths by Westminster Abbey, to just about anywhere in the city (and the UK in general) these iconic gems make for a postcard perfect picture – but be forward, there is the occasional line and crowd to get your photo with one. So be patient and scout around the city to find different ones.
By now, you have probably seen these crazy pods on Instagram by now. Of all things, this is actually the bathroom to a place called Sketch that serves high tea. Now, this is an experience itself as the tea starts at £59 a person (and were those people that wanted to do a high tea experience and did that – yes, also for the bathroom too).
Notting Hill is probably one of the most photographed neighborhoods in London (thank you, Julia and Hugh) and it does have a lot of character. Most of the house are painted bright colors, the doors are painted vibrant colors, and there is a ton of murals around the neighborhood as well that are just as imaginative. The best tube stop to get off at is Ladbroke Grove on the Pink or Yellow Line of the Tube. It will give you easy access to Notting Hill and you will be right next to Portobello Road/Market.
Natural History Museum
Or the Museum of Dead Things - if you so choose - is personally just very ascetically pleasing and a very cool building that is just full of photography possibilities.
St Paul's Cathedral
St Paul's Cathedral, especially from the top of the dome, is my personal favorite view in London. After you climb the 526 stairs to see that view, it is completely worth it for the panoramic views above the city and to see just how dynamic London really is. There is an entrance fee to get into the cathedral, however the fee does include the trip up to the dome if you so choose to hike up to the top.
Big Ben is further down on the list currently due to being boxed off for renovations. It is still a worthy sight to see, like the arch way under Westminster Bridge, all the taxis and double decker buses cross the Westminster bridge and - of course - the view from the bridge is hard to beat with the London Eye being so close. From this point you are within walking distance to so many iconic locations in London - Westminster Abbey, Parliament, The London Eye, Southbank, and even Trafalgar Square.
Other Worthy, Key Places & Things To Photograph in London:
xx, A Traveler's Bliss | Grace Anne
Even in the beginning of April in Greece, which happened to be a very raining and less touristy time to be in Greece, the country is just a stunning as ever. The wildflowers were blooming like crazy, the streets weren't as busy in Athens, and there wasn't a soul to be seen on the islands (which turned out to be both a good a not so good thing). Greece is one of those countries that is beyond picturesque everywhere you go - with the ancient architecture, wildlife, food, and bright colors you will not be disappointed with what you discover on this beautiful Mediterranean country by the sea.
Fun Tip: If you walk across the street from the Acropolis into Filopappou Park and hike to the top, you have the most incredible view of the Parthenon and Athens below it (bonus, the park is free).
Milos is a smaller and less popular of the Greek Islands (not as well known as Santorini or Mykonos) but just as beautiful. Since I went in the beginning of April and tourist season really begins in May, most shops were closed on the island. It was a bummer in the beginning - but a few main restaurants were open and it just persuaded me to rent a car for a day to explore the tiny island.
xx, A Traveler's Bliss | Grace Anne
Only in Lapland, Finland does the snow stick so effortlessly to the branches of the trees, just waiting for the light, when the amber light finally reaches the tops of the trees making the snow sparkle like a thousand individual crystals. And the silence - the silence is almost like entering a whole other world. You can hear each distinctive crunch of the snow underneath your boots as you are walking deeper in the woods, the hushed tones of your own breathing echoes in the isolation, and the pure knowledge that you are all alone with the stars, sky, and moon creates an aurora as loud as the Northern Lights themselves.
But this feeling of isolation, this “alone”, is not loneliness. It is a feeling of contentment, being at peace with everything, everyone around you, and knowing you are exactly where you are meant to be.
This magical retreat into a winter wonderland with some of the most amazing woman I have met. It was led by two curious and creatives mind, Regina and Hanna, with Duende Retreats. If you are looking for a creative escape, unique travel adventure, or just an experience of a lifetime I would strongly recommend Duende.
xx, A Traveler's Bliss | Grace Anne
If your feeds weren't flooded this season with European Christmas markets, decorations, and Christmas lights - I highly suggest hitting up google - like now - to see what all of the hype is about. For the last few years I've lived in Chicago, the Chriskindlmarket were always a must no matter how snowy or ice cold it was. The air always smelled like sugar and warm, baked goods while the tiny square was packed with a hundreds of people just trying to get their hands on anything warm.
So, naturally, when I knew I was going to be spending December and Christmas abroad, I immediately began planning going to some Christmas markets and seeing as much of Christmas in Europe as I could.
I quickly booked a trip to Frankfurt, Germany for the beginning of December, because going to German Christmas markets were just an authentic must. The Frankfurt Christmas Markets are one of the largest markets in Germany, made up of about five different markets across the city, with the main market located in the center of Old Town. I ended up spending a lot of time at this market because it had everything - the food, the glühwein (mulled wine), the sparkling Christmas tree, and the charm of German architecture. Did I mention the GLÜHWEIN?
Some of the highlights for the best treats from the Frankfurt Christmas market included Glühwein - you pay for the wine and the collectable cup up front, but can return the cup for some money back, or return the cup for a clean one to keep, Lebkuchen - traditional German Gingerbread usually in the shape of a heart with message on it, Gebrannte Mandeln - flavored almonds you can smell a mile away, and so many different types of sausages.
Another trip I decided last minute to take was to London to take in all of the Christmas decor and delight. London is one of those places that feels like home, and if you can't actually go home - why not go someplace that feels like it for the holidays?
London is another one of those places in Europe that is decorated over the top for the holidays and it is absolutely picture perfect. You can walk around for hours just looking at all of the different and unique Christmas decorations and lights and never get bored (may be a little cold, but that is what hot chocolate is for).
There are the iconic must sees when in London - Tower Bridge, St Paul's Cathedral, Oxford Street, etc. But at Christmas time, there are some other destinations that are worth the travel time. Every inch of Covent Gardens is decorated, with a giant tree and vintage car ready for the season - with a decent crowd to match to take photographs with it for the insta. South Kennsington, Mayfair, and Chelsea all top the list as some of the most decorated neighborhoods with the best Christmas spirit. And, to top it all of, with nights coming as early as 4pm, you have to hit Regent Street and Oxford Street for some of the most magical lights you will probably ever see.
Well, as you can see from just a *coughs* few of the hundreds of photos I took in both Germany and London, Christmas in Europe is the place to be. Christmas is on a whole different level, from the decorations, to the lights and even the food. It makes the season even more exciting and festive, especially if you are celebrating it away from home.
xx, A Traveler's Bliss | Grace Anne
(hey - hey you. click the bliss above... do it.)