As much as I love city breaks, they can be really expensive. There's no beach to laze around on for hours, there's only so much shopping you can do, there's a premium on just about everything because it's a city and for those who visit cities seeking culture and history, museums can chew away a hefty price of your budget. City passes are one of the latest innovations taking European cities by storm and most cities these days have one. These handy little cards give tourists the ultimate sightseeing pass to discover all the wonderful places that these large cities have to offer. CityDiscovery is a online retailer which sells tours, trips and unforgettable experiences at a fraction of the price that you would pay on entry to most attractions and their most popular deals are city cards. CityDiscovery sells city cards for almost every major city in the world, including Dublin where I recently visited. To help me discover more of Dublin and to try out their service, I was given a 48 hour Dublin Pass.
The Dublin Pass is a city card which includes free entry to 25 of Dublin's most loved attractions including fast track entry to all, a free airport transfer, a 24 hour hop on hop off bus service, 20 special offers including 2 for 1 meals and free cocktails at certain bars and a really handy guidebook all for £59 for 48 hours - which isn't bad when the Jameson Distillery and Guinness are nearly €20 each on their own. For those looking to do some initial research before you head off to Dublin, I really recommend this 25 things to do in Dublin post, it really helped me plan out my time in the city.
When we first picked up our card we headed straight to the hop on hop off bus and stayed on until the Jameson Distillery. The bus featured a live commentator who told us all about the history of Dublin and pointed out famous landmarks along the way. You can get off at any stop along the route and get back on at any point during the 24 hour period - personally I would recommend doing the Guinness Storehouse or Jameson first as they are two of Dublin's most popular attractions and even with fast track it can involve some waiting around. Luckily for us when we arrived at the Jameson Distillery there was no queuing and we were able to get on the very next tour which started ten minutes later. The tour guide took us around the old Jameson distillery and told us about the processes that go into making the famous Irish whiskey. At the end of the tour we had a whiskey tasting session comparing an American Bourbon, Scotch whisky and Jameson and then we were taken into the bar so we could have a complimentary Jameson which is served with ginger ale (which is lovely) or neat.
In true Irish fashion, our next stop also involved drinking, but this time it was to sample one of Ireland's biggest exports, Guinness. The Guinness Storehouse is a popular attraction in Dublin, in fact it welcomes more than one million of visitors a year and it has also seen it's fair share of celebrities over the years. The Guinness Storehouse is a self guided experience which tells the story of the history of Guinness, how it is made and why it became so popular. The experience also gives visitors the opportunity to attend a Guinness tasting session with an expert, a chance to pour your own Guinness and at the end of the tour, all visitors are welcomed up to the sky bar for a complimentary drink.
To take a break from all the drinking, the next day we decided to head to St Patricks Cathedral for a quick tour. St Patricks Cathedral is 1,500 year olds and St Patrick himself used to baptise people in Christianity using one of the wells and Jonathan Swift, author of Gullivers Travels is buried there. The cathedral is a must-see in Dublin as it is incredibly beautiful and the grounds, full of fountains and beds of colourful flowers, are lovely to visit on a hot summery day.
Our final stop on the second day was Dublin Zoo. Dublin Zoo is one of the world's oldest and most popular zoos located in Phoenix Park, a park so big that you can fit Hyde Park into it twice and it is according to the website 'one of the largest enclosed recreational spaces within any European capital city'. The Zoo itself attracts over one million visitors a year and houses over 400 animals.
If we didn't have the Dublin Pass our visits would have cost us €98.50 during our time in Dublin, instead the Dublin Pass cost us around €70 taking into account the exchange rate and we also managed to get a free dessert at Wagamamas out of it. My experience with CityDiscovery was great - the passes were easy to pick up, everything worked well and the Dublin Pass made our trip really enjoyable and most importantly it would have saved us a lot of cash.
Have you ever bought any city passes?