Fresh Eire Blog
Why not visit Berlin before or after your Prague to Vienna Bike Tour?
Here are our Top Attraction, Hotel & Restaurant Recommendations in Berlin.
Adlon Kempinski Hotel
Adlon Kempinski Hotel 5* is our favourite luxury hotel in Berlin, only one-minute walk from the Reichstag and close to the Mall; the hotel also sports a spa service and is wiling to welcome you in its two stylish bars or in its three refined restaurants. The “Suite Breakfast” is highly recommended.
From the moment you pull up at this neo-Classical hotel building on the edge of Tiergarten park, you could tell you have arrived somewhere remarkable. You are assured that your second floor room has a "very special view" - and they deliver; floor to ceiling windows look out over Berlin Zoo, with antelope and zebra grazing, almost up to your window. Staff are attentive to your every need, from the delicious snack of cured meats on arrival and helpful tips on the local area, to the porter who runs after you with complementary umbrellas because it will rain later. The atmosphere is friendly, yet discreet and your room is luxurious. Apple desktops are provided in each room, another example of the thought that has been put into every detail at Das Stue.
The Ellington Hotel
A stylish bolthole in the heart of the city, this grand building immediately grabs your attention between the busy, modern shops that surround it. A converted 1931 hotel, striking stone and brick facade once housed the Berliner Theatre, graced by such illustrious stars as Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald and Duke Ellington. This musical tradition is honoured today with a radio station broadcasting directly from its stylish bar and lounge. After a swift and easy check-in you can enjoy a delicious cocktail in their summer garden, where they also serve delicious French cuisine, the perfect way to start a night out on the town, just a short journey from Berlin's many evening attractions. Minimalist decor throughout keeps the place simple and tasteful, although serious design fans may find some attention in detail lacking. The rooms are stylish and functional. All in all, a perfect base from which to explore the city.
Adina Apartment Hotel 4*
The Adina Apartment Hotel is a really good value for money deal that offers a combination between hotel services and the comfort of an apartment. Fully specc’d with the latest entertainment technology, a fitness park, a dining room and safe parking, the Adina aims to make you feel at home. Furthermore, situated in the city centre, this excellent 4 star property is perfectly located to visit some of Berlin’s main landmarks as the TV Tower, Checkpoint Charlie & Museum or even the famous Reichstag (around 2.5 miles from the hotel).
Casa Camper Hotel 3*
Also located in the city centre, we recommend this great 3 star hotel, which offers all the comforts you need to have a delightful night in Berlin. All the 51 rooms are modern, freshly designed and ready to give you a quality experience. The hotel also offers a snacks and drinks service open 24/7.
This is one of our most highly recommended restaurants! The Unsicht promises an amazing blind dining experience. The main menu is basically composed of seafood, beef, chicken or vegetarian food. Cell phones are forbidden, and without any light around, you will have all your senses awakened to enjoy the taste of their delicious creations.
Located in the city centre, Facil is, perhaps, Berlin’s most refined. The restaurant knows perfectly how to combine elegance, charm and luxury. The Chef Kempf only uses fresh and mostly local products to produce an incomparable flavour in all his meals. The restaurant continues to collect prestigious awards such as “Best Refined Restaurant” on Trip Advisor and “Pâtissier of the year 2016” for Thomas Yoshida.
This is another excellent restaurant that we recommend during your adventure in Germany. The Bieberbau Restaurant, awarded a Michelin star in 2015, offers 3 luscious menus made with high quality fresh products (one is vegetarian). The Bieberbau uses its personal gardens (located in Barnim Nature Park) to cultivate the majority of its greens. The stunning modern decor and the delicate pleasant atmosphere will ensure a fabulous dining experience.
Located on “Platz der Republik” (Republic Place) in the centre of Berlin, the Reichstag is a German icon. The monument was built between 1884 and 1894 by Paul Wallot and was opened to house the Reichstag (Reich Assembly). The motto “Dem Deutschen Volke” (the German people) was written in 1916 during the first World War as a sign of resistance and a call to battle.
It would be impossible to visit Berlin without taking a look at the giant Berlin wall (155kms). Officially, the wall was built in 1961 to “protect” the Germans against a potential new fascism rising. In reality, it was built to prohibit the people from the East (RDA) to join the West (RFA). Finally, the weakening of the Russian system and the determination of the Eastern block to join the West led to the Wall’s destruction in 1989. Today, the wall’s remains attracts thousands of tourists every year.
Located in the western part of the city centre of Berlin, the Brandenburg Gate is one of the most famous German landmarks. A historical site for important events, the Brandenburg Gate is today considered a peace symbol of European unity. This 18th century monument, built in a neoclassical style has survived through the first and second World Wars and despite its location in the middle of the Berlin Wall escaped any significant damage when the Wall felt in 1989.
After the collapse of the 3rd Reich, Berlin was divided between the RFA (western: US, France, UK) and RDA (eastern: Soviet Union). These two sides were separated by the Berlin Wall and Checkpoint Charlie (Checkpoint “C”) was the name given by the Western Allies to the best-known crossing point in the Wall between the West Berlin and the East Berlin during the Cold War. The museum tells many different stories of daring escapes and documents “the best border security system in the world” despite the many breaches from East to West; the place still gives chills today.
Rich in history and tradition yet increasingly urbane and sophisticated, the ever evolving city of Cork is a vibrant place with a unique blend of contemporary style and old world charm.
Pedestrian laneways and narrow streets, small boutiques, galleries, gourmet food shops and a host of interesting pubs and clubs fan out across the city. Cork is renowned for its culinary flair, vibrant and edgy cultural scene and was the European Capital of Culture in 2005. It was listed by the Lonely Planet Guide as one of their top ten cities for 'Best in travel in 2010'. A strong festival programme attracts the best of film, jazz, folk, literary and musical talent year round. You certainly won't be short of things to do!
As Cork City is surrounded by water, the area is awash with activities such as cruising, whale watching and sailing. If the pastime of people watching appeals, a host of waterfront cafés and bars afford the perfect vantage point. And should you be in the mood for a little pampering, most hotels offer revitalising spa and beauty treatments or perhaps you'd prefer to tee off at one of the famous parkland or links golf courses in the area.
After dark, the range of attractions in Cork never dims. Greyhound racing, a night of theatre, a relaxed dinner in one of the city's superb restaurants followed by a traditional music session are just some of the options on offer to make the perfect end to you perfect day.
Here are our Top Attraction, Hotel & Restaurant Recommendations in Cork, as prepared by intern Mathieu.
Hayfield Manor hotel :
Located near the city center, Hayfield Manor Hotel is a fabulous 5 star hotel set within a wonderful walled garden. Rooms of the manor are spacious and each of them are unique and warmly decorated in a traditional irish manor style. Their luxurious spa is a paradise in which to relax and unwind. Orchids restaurant offers a gourmet menu in a sumptuous setting.
The River Lee Hotel :
The 4-star River Lee Hotel is a luxury modern building on the banks of the River Lee. 5 minutes walk to the city center, this establishment is the ideal way to enjoy a night in Cork before relaxing in the Spa or or keeping up your fitness in the gym.
Jurys hotel :
Jurys 3 star hotel is an affordable option which offers you all the comforts you will need during your city centre stay. The location is excellent and offers great value for money.
Restaurants & Bars
Isaacs restaurant :
Located on McCurtain street near the Everyman Palace Theatre, Isaacs restaurant offers you seasonal ingredients on a refined menu for over 20 years. Described as one of the most original and authentic restaurants because of its 18th century warehouse setting, Isaacs restaurant is an affordable fine dining experience in the heart of the city.
Café Paradiso :
Café Paradiso is a vegetarian restaurant, a must for Corkonians as well as for those from all over the world. It has been named the best restaurant in Ireland according to Tripadvisor’s viewers. Even if you’re not especially a lover of vegetarian food, this cuisine is an explosion of pure taste which enlivens the senses.
Crane Lane Theatre :
Located in the center of Cork, the Crane Lane Theatre is a welcoming bar, where locals congregate to spend some memorable times drinking wines, beers while dancing and singing with friends, and listening to musical acts.
The Oval Bar :
Like The Crane Lane Theatre, The Oval, also located in the heart of Cork, in the historic South Main Street directly across the street from the tudor-inspired Beamish & Crawford brewery. Still in its original condition, this traditional Irish bar combines good music and Irish beers.
Cork City Gaol :
Cork City Goal was one of the most terrifying prisons in Ireland. From now on, you can enter and visit this spectacular structure in the heart of Cork to feel how strange this place is and was. This prison is also famous because it welcomed only women from 1870 to 1923. Judged unhealthy, Cork City Gaol prison closed in 1923. Since 1993, this museum is an unmissable attraction in Cork.
Blackrock Castle Observatory :
Located near Cork, 2 km from the center, Blackrock Castle is a fortification on the banks of the River Lee. Elizabeth 1st decided to build a castle to protect and reassure Cork citizens from potential invaders from the sea. Nowadays, this castle is an Astronomy Observation Center open every day 10 to 5 (except Sunday) where you can discover the stars and talk about the universe with amateurs and passionate astronomers.
English Market :
Since 1788, every day, the English Market is a meeting place where producers and consumers exchange local products, from fresh fish, oysters and others shellfish to irish spiced beef, bread, vegetables, cheese, and other typical irish treats. Do not leave this market without visiting the second floor where you will find many restaurants worthy of a visit. When you do drag yourself away be sure to leave by Mutton Lane and drop in to the atmospheric pub of the same name and reward yourself with a refreshing local and delicious alternative to Guinness ; either Beamish or Murphys.
University College Cork (UCC) :
The University College of Cork is a world class university and the alma mater of Fresh Eire Adventures founder Padraic. Some 17,000 students take its undergraduate and postgraduate programmes. Founded in 1849, under the Queen’s Charter which established similarely designed Universities in Belfast, Galway and Dublin, the University is now a center of excellence in fields such as Law, Marine Research, Linguistics and Engineering.
Lewis Glucksman Gallery :
Inside the University College of Cork, the Glucksman Gallery is an institution that promotes the visual arts. The gallery was created to increase interactivity between artists and the public. The Glucksman Gallery was honoured to receive « Best Public Building of Ireland » architectural award in 2005.
The Butter Museum :
This quirky attraction invites you to turn back time to understand how the city of Cork was the biggest butter exchange in the World. In the heart of Cork, learn about butter-making and the evolution of Kerrygold butter, the most famous in Ireland, and perhaps the world.
Beamish Brewery :
Established in 1792 by William Beamish, the Brewery produced an exclusive stout for 400 years until 2009, « Beamish ». Really appreciated by consumers, and not unlike Guinness, this beer in now produced inside the nearby state-of-the-art Heineken Brewery.
The old brewery, currently a museum, open its gates (8€) where you can learn about the evolution of Beamish in relation to Guinness Beer and also show you all the materials they used in the manufacturing process.
Here are our Top Attraction, Hotel & Restaurant Recommendations in Barcelona.
Mandarin Oriental Hotel
Located on the Passeig de Gracia Avenue, the Mandarin Oriental is one of the most prized Hotels of the city. It offers wonderful views on its gardens or in front of the modern architecture of the Casa Batllo. This 5 star hotel is a perfect mix between elegance and luxury. I suggest you enjoy the 2 star restaurant of the hotel for lunch or dinner before or after your Fresh Eire Adventure in Costa Brava.
Located in the North of El Raval neighbour, the Axel is the most famous “Heterofriendly” Hotel of Barcelona. Loyal to the Axel concept (design, comfort, cosmopolitan atmosphere and good value for money), the hotel offers 105 rooms that combines modernism, comfort and warmth. Thanks to its luminosity, soundproofing, air conditioning and art-deco design, the Axel hotel is a perfect place to spend a few days in Barcelona.
Padraic, owner of Fresh Eire Adventures, stayed here to evaluate it for future guests. Here is his review from TripAdvisor :
‘’I have stayed at another Axel (Buenos Aires) and was not terribly impressed but tried my best to come with an open mind to their property in Barcelona. I was suitably impressed. Firstly, the level of professionalism of the staff is far and away in another league to what I was anticipating. Secondly, the cleanliness of the communal areas such as pool etc was far greater. I won't say immaculate but very very clean and certainly presentable. Thirdly the rooms were immaculate and followed the style ethos of "less is more". I loved the glass wall shower in my room, the wonderful bed and crisp white sheets and top quality pillows. My room had a balcony overlooking the street but noise was not a problem owing to the soundproofing. Minibar charges not out of this world either. Fourthly, the roof top bar is lots of fun in the evening with a great party atmosphere if that's what you're after...its big enough however to have a quiet drink if that's your preference. Finally i had dinner in the restaurant one night; great food, great wine; fantastic service and outlandishly stylish (think Barbarella) furnishings and decor. Top marks. I did not have breakfast however so I can't comment on this. This is a beautiful old 19th century building lovingly restored with few original interior features so don't be expecting that. The exterior is wonderful however and the location is hard to beat. Top drawer! I loved it and will certainly go back. I have no hesitation in recommending this.’’
Located in the Gothic neighbourhood of Barcelona, the Serras is one of the best luxury hotels in the city. The balconies offer a stunning view in front of the new Port Vell along the Mediterranean Sea. The Serras has a wonderful roof terrace. The 30 rooms are exceptionally spacious and you will want for nothing during your stay.
Established in 2013, this 1 star Michelin restaurant offers excellent value for money in a wonderful location (Cram Hotel). The Chef – Jordi Cruz – native to the region (Manresa) is the youngest chef ever in the world to receive a star in the Michelin Guide at only 26. The Angle offers a stunning gastronomic experience with exquisite attention to detail while delivering a customer service which is second to none.
Already awarded 2 Michelin stars, Chef Ruscalleda and her son Raül Balarm continue to seduce their guests with healthy, creative and refined food. The Ruscalleda success is unquestionable thanks to her 7 stars throughout her gastronomic empire which includes different restaurants in Spain and in Japan. Today, in a relaxed and comfortable atmosphere, MOments rewards both the novice and experienced gourmande with a creative feast of the senses using a global interpretation of Catalan flavours, textures and culture. Be sure to check out Raul's Instagram.
Located in the Eixample neighbourhood, one minutes walk from the Museum Egipci de Barcelona, the Cerveceria Catalana is a delicious brewery and an excellent Tapas restaurant. It’s considered one of the best places where we can savour Tapas in the city. The Cerveseria also serves excellent beers (local and international). You might need to wait for a table but if you are happy to eat at the bar, you will be rewarded by the spectacle on display there. The restaurant is always full thanks to its excellent value for money and frenetic atmosphere.
Located in the El Raval neighbourhood (midway between the Illusions Museum, the Contemporary Culture Centre and the Contemporary Arts Museum), the Dospalillos restaurant is a wonderful place to enjoy an original Asian take on “Tapas” like never seen before. Each course is a taste and texture sensation – we recommend that you take the Chef's menu as the 19 courses are perfectly manageable and offer exceptional value for money. Dospalillos restaurant received it’s first Michelin star in 2012.
Located in the Eixample neighbourhood, only 50 meters from Axel hotel (on the street corner), La Flauta is a rustic restaurant that offers a wonderful menu composed of local Catalan products. The restaurant is spacious and the decor completely authentic. The feedback of this restaurant is especially great and it’s a perfect casual dining option if staying at The Axel Hotel.
Padraic, founder andMmanaging Director of Fresh Eire Adventures, tried this restaurant and reviewed it on TripAdvisor :
‘’Excellent casual lunch in this authentic and competent restuarant in Barcelona's trendy Eixample neighbourhood. A casual lunch which was truly wonderful - gambas cooked to perfection, spicy patatas bravas and a delicious glass of vina sol. Great value for money. Recommended.’’
Located in the heart of the Gothic quarter, the Sagrada Familia is the most visited monument in Spain followed by the Alhambra (Granada) and the Prado Museum (Madrid). In 2012, more than 3.2 million tourists visited the temple, an icon of the city. This unfinished Antoni Gaudi’s artwork whose the construction started in 1882 is considered as one of the most famous examples of Catalan modernism.
Considered as one of the most prestigious theatres in the world, the Liceu is also the oldest theatres in Barcelona. Located on “La Rambla” and opened in 1847, the Liceu has welcomed the best singers, actors and Opera singers for more than 150 years. The theatre offers around 2.300 seats spread over 6 floors. The theatre was rebuilt twice in 1862 and in 1999 because of fires in 1861 and in 1994.
As the Sagrada Familia, the Park Güell is one of the famous Antoni Gaudi’s creations. Built between 1900 and 1914, this beautiful Park has a natural originality due to the important relief of the region that Antoni Gaudi tried to preserve by allowing his imagination and his creativity run wild. Every year, the Park receives visits from a massive number of tourists.
Located in the street Montcada in the Born neighbourhood, the Picasso Museum attracts more than 1 million of visitors every year. Indeed, with 4.251 of Picasso’s artworks exhibited throughout its 11.000 m2, the Picasso Museum is one of the most complete permanent collection of his works. The Museum opened in 1935 thank to Jaime Sabartes (Pablo Picasso’s secretary). The majority of the art exhibited dates from the period 1890 to 1917.
- Chill the Martini glass by placing ice cubes in it for 5 minutes.
- Place some ice cubes in the shaker with two measure of vodka.
- Shake vigorously for 3 minutes.
- Remove the ice cubes from the Martini glass.
- Rinse the cold glass with dry vermouth (eg Martini Extra Dry or Cinzano) and discard (the vermouth should really only glance at the glass!).
- Pour the iced vodka from the shaker to the cold glass.
- Now, you have a choice, you can make :
- a Martini with a twist of lemon
- a Dirty Martini
To make a Martini with a twist :
- Pell a long piece of lemon zest of a fresh, unwaxed lemon.
- Twist the zest so some of the oils are released.
- Rub the lemon zest around the rim of the glass.
- Place the lemon zest inside the Vodka Martini and serve.
To make a Dirty Martini :
- Add a teaspoon of olive brine directly into the glass.
- Place 3 olives onto a cocktail stick.
- Place into the glass and serve.
Our Classic Connemara Bike tour is on sale until November 30th 2018. Quote "Blog Offer" in your enquiry email and receive $200 off per person on our May 6-112018 trip. #pedalon
Here are our Top Day Trips Recommendations in Dublin, as prepared by intern Mathieu.
Day 1 :
The Irish National Stud in Tully is not only an institution in County Kildare, but also a must visit for all horse industry enthusiasts. The only stud farm opened to the public in Ireland, you will admire some of the most beautiful and prestigious horses in the world. For instance, Queen Elizabeth II spent time in this farm to see where family’s best horses were produced.
The nearby Japanese Gardens give you the opportunity to fully relax by walking through this unique park. The Gardens symbolise the meeting between Eastern and Western cultures. This is really a tour worth doing for family with children.
After your visit to the Irish National Stud and walking in the Japanese Gardens, it’s time to expand your own closet in Kildare Village. Kildare Village located around 59 Km far from Dublin, is known as Ireland’s most elegant outlet shopping centre, with up to 60 % off. This is a great opportunity to wear fashion and luxury brands from Calvin Klein to Hackett or Hugo Boss. Plus they offer Tax Back shopping to non EU residents. Even for the lunch, you can enjoy cultural different cuisine, from a French Creperie, l’Officina to an Italian restaurant, l’Officina. The best way to discover all those chic, adorable but affordable brands is to take a look on your own. “Your visit, your style” as they say in Kildare Village.
Newbridge Silver Museum of Style Icons in Kildare, Ireland, allows you to turn back time and admire collections and artefacts of the greatest cinema’s figures like Marilyn Monroe, Michael Jackson, Diana, Audrey Hepburn and others icons.
Day 2 :
The Marble city of Kilkenny is only 90 minutes south of the capital. Founded in the 6th century, a monastery and over the years it attracted Ireland's various religious figures. In the 12th century, one Lord decided to built an sumptuous castle in the heart of the city. Kilkenny is also famous for its beers "Smithwhicks" and "Kilkenny", which have been brewed in the oldest brewery in Ireland, the St. Francis Abbey since 1710. It is possible to visit the brewery today. Our favourite store in the city is The Little Green Grocer - a fantastic store which stocks lots of unique Irish gifts. Our favourite restaurant is Campagne - a tour de force of French style gastronomy which was awarded a Michelin star in 2013 ; their lunch menu (Friday, Saturday and Sunday) offers fantastic value for money. The Cathedral Church of St Canice boasts a round tower (one of only two in Ireland which one can climb - weather permitting) is a gothic gem. Kilkenny Castle is one of the most popular attractions in the city; visitors will learn about the past owners the Butler family and their remarkable history, explore the elegant gardens and stroll through the city woodlands on the estate. Jerpoint Abbey, a Cistercian abbey, is located in Thomastown Co Kilkenny and is home to some notable stone carvings and sculptured tombs and its visitor centre is also recommended.
Near Athy in Co. Kildare, Burtown House is a Georgian villa surrounded by flowers, woodland gardens and a park. This house is the home of the well known Photographer James Fennell and here you can admire a surprising gallery space and lifestyle tore. The brand new Green Barn Restaurant, inside a rustic décor, looking out on the vegetable gardens, affords you the opportunity to fully enjoy your relaxing time in Burtown. Their Olive Oils are infused with kitchen garden herbs and for their salts they use a combination of Celtic sea salt and pink himalayan salt. Having had a rocky opening period where they found it difficult to overcome some teething problems, they appear to have found their feet; they now offer a gourmet cafe style menu, well-executed and professionally served.
Waterford is the oldest city of Ireland. Established in 914 AD, the Vikings invaded the region and they created a seaport to facilitate commercial exchange on the island of Ireland. Waterford's international reputation grew when very high quality crystal manufacturing began in 1783. Their work is particularly appreciated by the British royal family and you will find pieces in all the major stately homes in the world including the White House which receives a crystal bowl of Shamrock each St Patricks Day. In Waterford you will also discover Reginald’s Tower, an old defensive tower and the world's oldest mint which now houses the Waterford Museum Of Treasures which tracks the story of vikings. Be careful of swords while you admire all jewellery and ceramics from ancient Ireland!
Day 3 :
Wicklow Mountains National Park is the largest in the country. The landscape is unique and you will find lots of natural beauty spots to make this trip unforgettable. The pink heathers and yellow gorse flowers are stunning in the summer - catch the scent of the gorse flowers and close your eyes; you'll be surprised to find the scent is very similar to that of coconut - in fact, many experimental Irish chefs extract the essence from this prickly flower to create what has become known as "Irish coconut".
Glendalough (the glenn of the two lakes) is one of the most important monastic sites in the country, where many of St Kevin's buildings still survive despite the attacks over the years namely from the Vikings. It’s a real opportunity to understand better Ireland's Ancient East but on a calm and still day be sure to bring some bug spray with you as the midges (or "No-See-Ems") are plentiful owing to the lakeside setting. Even the Secret Service weren't able to contend with this challenge on a recent visit there by the Obama family. With some excellent hiking trails you could easily spend an entire day here and finish with a visit to The Wicklow Heather restaurant for a hearty meal.