DUBLIN : Budget-friendly long weekend

I want to tell you guys how I did a pocket friendly long weekend in one of my favourite cities in the world – Dublin.

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We booked this out of school holiday time which is always a money saver if you are able to do it! Our flights were booked with Ryanair which I find offer amazing discounts when booking in advance however make sure to use sites such as Kayak and Expedia to find the best deal for your time and airport. Dublin is such an easy trip from the U.K. only around 50mins on the plane. Also with a bus from the airport for €7 it’s easy to get right into the city within about 30mins.

We booked with Hotel St. George,  which cost us around £90 for one room over two nights – a great price for Dublin especially as we could divide it between the two of us. The hotel exceeded my expectations – Dublin is an expensive city to visit and so for this price I didn’t expect much. However the Hotel St. George is lovely and quiet with cosy, well decorated, clean rooms including room service, free tea and coffee, TV, WiFi and toiletries. The staff are super friendly and are there to help with any problems, including printing of boarding cards should you need it. The one downside is that breakfast isn’t included, however you can pay £10 per day for this which isn’t a bad price. We opted to go to Bewley’s instead, which I’ll go on to later in the post!

Dublin is an absolutely fantastic destination for culture and history and also for its great nightlife including live music sessions at many of the Pubs throughout Temple Bar and beyond.

Now onto our trip and how you can make this a pocket friendly getaway!

Things to do in the day:

As the no.1 tourist attraction in Dublin, we thought it was only right to go the Guinness Storehouse! For any Guinness fans out there this is well worth the visit, however for €17, it is quite a pricey attraction. However this does include a free pint, poured by yourself, that you can drink in their Sky Bar with a fantastic view of Dublin. I would recommend checking out what time sunset is and booking your tour about an hour before, this way you can view the sunset over the city! Definitely book online to ensure availability and a good price – https://www.guinness-storehouse.com/en.

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Dublin has a wealth of history to explore. For those interested in the history and culture of Ireland I would recommend visiting GPO Witness History and Kilmainham Gaol. First of all GPO Witness History is one of the best museums I’ve ever visited. Built within the General Post Office, occupied in the Easter Rising of 1916 , this is an incredible historic venue as well as a highly interactive and informative museum. As with all of my recommendations ensure to book online in advance to save money! Kilmainham Gaol is a budget friendly day out: tickets online for the jail tour are only 8 euro for adults and €4 for students, and the museum is FREE! Another incredible historic visit – sadly the tours of the jail were booked out however that is definitely on my list for the next time I visit! However the free museum is not worth missing, it’s brilliantly detailed, with raw, harrowing accounts of the jail when it was open. It is however a bit out of town, but just catch the bus from the centre which will only cost you under €3!

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Food, drink and night-life:

Now I won’t lie to you, Dublin is a huge tourist destination and therefore food and drink in the centre are pricey! Temple bar is definitely worth visiting to experience great pubs and live music, however to make your visit pocket friendly I would say find restaurants and pubs a bit outside of this central area for better prices! On our first night we went to The Lott’s Cafe Bar, a good restaurant for reasonably priced Irish food. Not an incredible eat but perfect if you want some wholesome food in your belly. One great find I found in Temple Bar was Pho Ta, a tiny little gem serving great Vietnamese food at an affordable price! Definitely a great spot for Lunch or dinner if you’re looking for something tasty and pocket friendly. My no.1 recommendation for food is Bewley’s. We went here for breakfast twice. Although it is slightly more pricey than other cafe options, it is so worth it for the great quality food and impeccable service you receive! Eat beautifully crafted food by a cosy fire and see the cooks make fresh pastries downstairs – the perfect breakfast location. And finally, for the a great evening atmosphere there are plenty of bars with live music sessions in the centre. Dublin has an amazing night-life which you shouldn’t miss.

no.1 tip: buy a packet of taytos

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If you live in the UK or elsewhere around the world, Dublin is great for a short break. You can definitely save money by using the sites I recommended and booking in ADVANCE! All the places I visited are linked throughout the post. Dublin is so rich in it’s history and culture that you can spend days walking around the city completely free of charge and still have an incredible trip. Top recommendations: Trinity College, O’Connell Street, Temple Bar and the docks.

Let me know if you’ve visited Dublin, have any recommendations, or any questions down below in the comments! Make sure to subscribe on WordPress or via email using the links in my sidebar if you like my posts!

Eléna 

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MARRAKECH

 I kicked off my 2018 travels with 4 nights in Marrakech! We landed during the most amazing sunset and already I could tell this was going to be quite the adventure. We stayed in the RED Hotel Marrakech which was the perfect place to relax after our busy days out, especially with the poolside bar from day to night.

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Our first day was spent at one of the most popular tourist destinations in the city, The Jardin Majorelle – Yves Saint Laurent museum. Queues are long to get in so I would suggest planning to get their a bit before your preferred time, or booking tickets in advance. However, it is so worth the wait to see inside such an incredible building, containing some of the best clothing from Yves Saint Laurent over the years, as well as brilliant artwork, sketches and architecture. A great cultural visit if you’re interested in art, history and most importantly fashion! Furthermore make sure you take a break in the outdoor cafe ‘Le Studio’ for an iced tea before heading on to the gardens.

The Jarden Majorelle (Majorelle Garden) is certainly not worth missing! Created by French artist Jacques Majorelle the garden contains a maze of plants, palm trees, cacti, and a stunning villa painted with vibrant blues and yellows – keep your camera to hand for the great photo opportunities! The garden was restored by Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Berge and is now a hugely popular public attraction and well worth a visit.

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After breakfast, the morning of our second day was spent at the famous Jemaa el-Fnaa market! We had visited a night before however going at the time of evening prayers was definitely too crazy for us! However during the day this is a wonderful market to visit. Be prepared to haggle your way to better prices and look at lots of different stalls before making a final decision. We were lucky to find a lovely man who took us to watch the dyeing process of fabrics for scarfs, using all natural dye there on site. You will most likely get lost here, it seems like the stalls and alleyways are endless, but eventually you will find your way out. Make sure to stop off and get some freshly squeezed orange juice – only 30p.

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A great destination to visit is Le Grande Cafe de la Poste. This is an incredible historic cafe set up in the old post office of Marrakech. The interior architecture is beautiful, very low lit and calm, perfect for a midday coffee or a special dinner. I would recommend going for dinner, the food is gorgeous and you are seated in the top floor of the post office with comfy sofas, a burning fire and great views of Marrakech. It is a bit more pricey than other restaurants in the city however it’s well worth the money, and still cheaper than what you would pay back in the UK. 

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And finally, a very special moment of our trip was a camel ride! This was out of the city in a rural area, and we were able to watch the sunset over the palm trees during our ride! It was a very surreal and scary experience, one I would not recommend if you’re scared of heights. However it was also so incredible to travel around the countryside with these amazing animals. One concern I had was with treatment of animals in tourist attractions, as bought to attention in the media with Thai elephant rides. However all I could see was a very positive environment in which the camels took part in two 1hr rides a day, and the rest of the time were relaxing. If you would like info on who we booked through then let me know!

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So overall an amazing trip to Marrakech. We did this in four days, and I would say this is the right amount of time for this city, with more time I would say explore the rest of Morocco such as Casa Blanca. My one recommendation is to just immerse yourself in the culture! It is so brilliantly different to our culture in the UK so enjoy it – walk around the streets, go to the markets, talk to locals and explore every part of the city. Also, there are plenty of rooftop bars and great restaurants to visit if you want to capture the beautiful African sunset.

Eléna