Where to stay in Hamburg: a review of Hotel Baseler Hof

Where to stay in Hamburg: a review of Hotel Baseler Hof | PACK THE SUITCASES

If you’re frantically googling where to stay in Hamburg, hopefully this review will help you out. I stayed at the rather lovely Hotel Baseler Hof on my recent trip to Hamburg, which worked out really well as a cosy base for exploring this brilliant and underrated German city.

I very rarely stay in hotels these days, usually going for apartments to save a bit of money. However, my time in Hamburg was limited and the weather was freezing, so I needed to be a) in a reliable hotel and b) really central. Hotel Baseler Hof ticked the boxes with a very big fat tick and I loved every minute of my time there. This is the first hotel review I’ve EVER written, by the way. Does that make me a proper travel blogger now?!

While you’re here and clearly doing a bit of Hamburg research, allow me to not-so-subtly shove you towards my post about how to spend 2 days in Hamburg, which covers all the things to do, see, eat and drink that I enjoyed there. It features a lot of cocktails and model railways. A classic combination.

If you’re just after a very honest review of a hotel that I genuinely would recommend for a city break in Hamburg, keep reading…

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2 days in Hamburg, Germany: things to do, see and eat

2 days in Hamburg, Germany | PACK THE SUITCASES

Spending 2 days in Hamburg, Germany is a perfect city break, with loads of things to do, places to visit, and of course (most importantly) amazing places to eat and drink. Although I’m calling this 2 days in Hamburg, it was sort of 3 days really – one being a day trip. More on that further down.

This was the second part of a multi-destination week-long trip, beginning in Copenhagen and then getting a train that goes onto a ferry to Hamburg. HOW exciting is that? A train going ONTO a ferry! Obviously I’ll be writing a massive blog post about that soon…

Hamburg is like Berlin’s less pretentious seafaring cousin. It has loads of history, a gritty industrial edge, amazing places to eat and drink, and a vibe that’s uniquely its own.

Here’s what I recommend doing, seeing, eating and drinking over 2 days in Hamburg…

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20 things to do in Southport, UK

20 things to do in Southport, UK | PACK THE SUITCASES

After a gorgeous autumnal day out there, I decided to write up some of the best things to do in Southport. I grew up in a village near to Southport, so I spent a lot of time there when I was younger and used to know it really well. But since I moved away over 10 years ago, SO much has changed. I’ve only ever been back on flying visits rather than for a full day out (usually just drunken evenings to be honest). So returning for a day in Southport this autumn was like visiting an entirely new town for me.

If you don’t know it, Southport (or ‘Sowie’ as locals used to call it – possibly still do) is a seaside town in the North West. It was a popular Victorian holiday destination and like most coastal towns, has had its fair share of shops closing down and an air of faded grandeur. That’s why I was pleasantly surprised to return, sober and in the cold light of day, to find it’s actually a really nice day out now. Southport even has pockets of real brilliance in the form of art, craft beer and food.

Anyway, onto 20 things to do in Southport – in no particular order…

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The Isle of Man by public transport: a 3-day itinerary

The Isle of Man by public transport: a 3-day itinerary | PACK THE SUITCASES

It’s surprisingly easy to do the Isle of Man by public transport – much easier than other weekend getaway destinations like the Lake District. As an added bonus, the Isle of Man’s public transport isn’t just boring buses. Oh no. You’ve got horse trams, the electric railway and the steam train – so the transport is as much a part of the experience as the places you’re using it to get to.

I thought I’d share my 3-day itinerary for doing the Isle of Man by public transport, which I made for a long weekend this summer (using only one day of annual leave because of desperate times).

Get the kettle on – wait no, get a G&T because you’re not driving – and read on…

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20 things to do in Brașov, Romania: a city of cobblestones and colour

Things to do in Brasov, Romania | PACK THE SUITCASES

Here’s 20 things to do in Brașov, Romania – a list I’ve put together after enjoying two days there in summer. Brașov (pronounced Bra-shov) is incredibly pretty, with lots of photogenic pastel-coloured cobbled streets and a busy square where you can sit and people-watch against the impressive backdrop of mountains. It’s absolutely full of history (and of course the whole Dracula tale), and something that really struck me was the huge German influence from when it was a Saxon city. The buildings look really German and it’s very popular with German tourists (we even found a bar serving Munich’s Augustiner beer!) but it also has a very unique feel to it that is absolutely Romanian.

Like Bucharest, Brașov was very affordable for us Western European tourists. However, in contrast to Bucharest, it was very clean and well maintained, with neat and tidy parks and freshly painted shops. The café culture is equally thriving, but the bar culture possibly even more so. It may look like a sleepy little medieval city on the surface but it really comes alive at night. Some of the main streets become one long terrace full of both locals and tourists sampling the local alcoholic beverages.

Anyway, here’s what I enjoyed seeing, doing and of course eating in Brașov…

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3 days in Bucharest, Romania: things to do, see and eat

3 days in Bucharest, Romania: things to do | PACK THE SUITCASES

We spent 3 days in Bucharest while visiting Romania and this was my itinerary, covering all the eating, sight-seeing and things to do in Bucharest that I particularly enjoyed. I’d never been to Romania before but I’d read that a lot of people seem to just use Bucharest as somewhere to fly into and immediately leave to head for the countryside. But I found that it’s very much a city worth spending a few days in in its own right, which is what we did before going to Brasov.

Often heralded as ‘the new Berlin’, Bucharest full of gritty architecture, surprising green spaces, and hip places to eat and drink. It has a real ‘alternative’ vibe to it. Like most of Eastern Europe, it’s very affordable for British/Western European tourists, which is always a big draw: we had three-course meals for <£20. Not going to lie, it's also pretty grubby and the train stations especially are dilapidated AF. But if you look past that, it has grand Parisian-style architecture lining wide boulevards, a thriving café culture, and a fascinating, unique history. I should also point out that our 3 days there were intensely hot. It was August and temperatures ranged from 33 to 38 degrees Celsius. I cease being able to function as a human at about 30, so that's why we both look on the shiny side in all our Romania photos. So here's how we spent 3 days in Bucharest, Romania...

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