So once again lets get down to it with a quick summary of the second part of the years travels.
One of our favourite beach holidays happened in August last year – Nice, France, which is such a beautiful place and perfectly placed to visit the whole French Riviera! A few months later we travelled to the Berlin, such an amazing place with so much to do and see and our year ended with my surprise Christmas present – a trip to Tallinn, Estonia.
So as I wrote in Pt 1 our 2016 looked a little like this:
- Reykjavik, Iceland (February) – Read here
- Rome, Italy (March) – Read here
- Vatican city (Day trip)
- Nice, France (August) – Read here
- Monte Carlo, Monaco (Day trip) – Read here
- Berlin, Germany (October) – Pt 1 read here & Pt 2 here
- Tallinn, Estonia (December) – Pt 1 read here & Pt 2 here
- Helsinki, Finland (Day trip) – Read here
At the bottom of this blog you will find my simple rating for each place we visited.
Any holiday where you can sunbathe, explore, have great food and visit Monte Carlo is a winner in our book. Nick had already travelled to Nice for the Euros and so already knew he would happily go back and even suggested it as our next adventure.
We chose the Aston la Scala hotel which in hindsight made planning a trip to the beach front a little harder as it was just a little far if you forgot anything or wanted to quickly pop back. Other than this minor location issue, the hotel itself was well presented and walking through the fountains everyday was a great way to start the day.
Nice is truly such a beautiful place, despite the beaches being pebble ones and so slightly uncomfortable without adjusting the odd stone, the sea is clear and perfectly blue.
I think the main reason Nick ‘I-don’t-like-beach-holidays’ loves Nice so much is the fact that there are so many other things to do than sunbathe. I on the other hand treat sunbathing as the way to get some colour to my British white skin, which I sure achieved while we were there for our four days.
Now, we HAVE to talk about Monte Carlo and the obligatory gambling. Monte Carlo is only 40/45 mins on the bus which takes you all along the coast with spectacular views. Arriving in Monaco you will be greeted by high end shops, casinos, yachts and sports cars galore.
It is well worth making the trip for the bank breaking 1.50 euros each way!
Back in Nice we made the trip up Parc de la Colline du Château and was greeted with spectacular views across the harbour as well as down the promenade. Up at the top you can get some great photos of the view and the man made waterfall a perfect end to our trip.
Our hotel was shamelessly a big draw to finally booking our Berlin trip as we chose the Radisson Blu hotel with the giant aquarium through the centre above the bar.
Waking up each morning and instead of opening the curtains to see the days weather and seeing fish swimming around was just so surreal but great.
We tried so hard to fit everything we wanted to do into our short four days without the common scenario of not seeing anything at all.
We even spent one of our mornings leisurely sat high up in the TV tower with our cocktails looking down at all of Berlin before coming back down to further explore.
Food was in abundance, from stalls to restaurants there was so much choice. So when we found the Berlin Hackescher Markt station just round the corner from us it was perfect as there were many restaurants all in one place to easily make a snap decision when hunger strikes.
We were also lucky enough to visit during the Festival of lights which if you can plan it I would highly recommend. You can just walk around the city and find fantastic and intricate light shows.
Just what can I say about Tallinn, other than it was one of the most Christmassy places I have been along with its ferry links into Helsinki easily available to book. It was truly one of the best Christmas presents I have ever had and to spend New years in another country was just great.
Between the Christmas tree, Christmas markets and winter feeling there was no better place to spend four days in December. We spent our time walking around the markets stalls and the cute shops of Old town before our day trip to Helsinki.
Helsinki was so cold and with some sights being outside regular hot chocolate stops were a must. We visit both the Natural history museum and the large shopping centres in the centre of the main town before heading to the Hard Rock Cafe for lunch.
Arriving back in Tallinn we made our way to Labor, a lab themed bar which was so much fun. Shots from a test tube and cocktails from a beaker? So unusual and a great idea.
New Years eve came and went in a flash with a big music DJ show until the main countdown where by fireworks lit the skies being set off from everywhere and anywhere!
Overall cost – How expensive was it to travel there? How expensive was the hotel? Cost of food? – 1/10 cheap as chips to 10/10 needing to remortgage.
Hotel – Was it good value for money? Was it clean? View from the window? Quality? Look of the room? Friendliness of staff? – 1/10 awful to 10/10 perfect.
Attractions/Museums – Quality of the museum? Interesting? Quantity of places to see? Entry price? – 1/10 Bored to tears to 10/10 couldn’t pack more in if we tried.
Overall cost – 8/10 Flights were a good price and as the hotel was further back from the beach meant it was slightly cheaper. Plus it turned out the majority of our money went on food that we ended up spending our money on as well as 3 euros each for the bus to Monaco – hardly pricey.
Hotel – 8.5/10 Our hotel was finished to such a high standard however I had to take a few points off for the slightly back from the beach location and strange window between the room and shower.
Attractions / Museums – 7/10 Being a beach holiday there wasn’t as many museums as it is not that type of holiday, however it does however have so many other aspects which are so worth seeing and doing.
Overall cost – 8/10 Overall the cost of food was the main expense as with most city breaks. Most sights were free outdoor exhibits such as the East side gallery.
Hotel – 8/10 The aquarium was the main draw to picking this hotel over others but it was also a great location as it was just round the corner from the main central station. Meaning travelling to and from the airport was easy.
Attractions / Museums – 9/10 There are soo many sights and museums that it could only be a high score.
Overall cost – 7/10 Being over new years it was always going to be more expensive. However we got a good price for our hotel as it was slightly out of town and all museums and transport were reasonable prices.
Hotel – 7.5/10 The inside of our hotel was so much better than it looked on the outside. The room looked straight over Old Town perfect for watching fireworks.
Attractions / Museums – 8/10 Where else can you go for a day trip to Helsinki before heading back to a lab themed bar?!