Our Cities As Emojis

Sam Blurton

Here at SANDEMANs NEW Europe, we run a mind-boggling number of walking tours in 20 cities across Europe, the Middle East and the USA. Since it’s World Emoji Day (July 17th), we’re giving each of them an appropriate, thoroughly-researched (and slightly unexpected) emoji!


1. Amsterdam

Amsterdam is special for many reasons: it has more canals than Venice, bikes outnumber people, and the city’s famously alternative and liberal reputation precedes it. But with some 178 different ethnicities being represented in the ‘Dam, it’s the very definition of a melting pot.


2. Barcelona

Barcelona is a city that wouldn’t look out of place in a fantasy novel. Be it the fairytale architecture of Antoni Gaudí, a drinking tradition straight out of The Hobbit…. They even have their own answer to Valentine’s Day, the festival of Sant Jordi, where women traditionally present books to their loved ones, whilst men gift their intendeds a rose. Sickeningly romantic.


3. Berlin

You thought we were going to do beer, didn’t you? Well, there’s plenty of that here, but you might want to soak it up with Berlin’s most popular snack: the venerable döner kebab. With 4,000 kebab shops in the capital alone, walking off those tasty calories on a free walking tour could be a fruitless endeavour.


4. Brussels

You know you have a culinary powerhouse of a city on your hands when chocolate and beer miss the top spot. If you’re in Brussels for August 1st, you can even celebrate the International Day of Belgian Fries. Just ask our guides for the best friteries around!


5. Copenhagen

For a harbor capital boasting 92km of coastline, Copenhagen is surprisingly more green than blue nowadays. With a robust, 250km cycle network winning world’s best, and a commitment to making its entire public transport network carbon neutral by 2025, Copenhagen is certainly cleaning up its act. Walking is a great way to keep your emissions down, so why not join us on a tour?


6. Dublin

Ireland’s main cultural export – beyond Guinness – is stories. How could writers such as James Joyce, Jonathan Swift and Oscar Wilde not be inspired by a city so steeped in folklore and pub craic, all whilst being surrounded by landscapes as breathtaking as they come?


7. Edinburgh

Birthplace of the Encyclopaedia Britannica, cradle of the Scottish Enlightenment and home to one of the world’s most prestigious universities, it’s no coincidence that Edinburgh is an intellectual’s paradise. Those in search of knowledge will delight in wandering the city, not only to take in its iconic architecture, but also to learn about its magical and macabre sides.


8. Hamburg

Hamburg is a city that’s good at building bridges. Not just the metaphorical ones between the wealthy center and the red light district of the Reeperbahn (or between Germany and the world) but real, legit bridges. Hamburg has more of them than any other city in the world: roughly 2,500!


9. Jerusalem

“You don’t look 5,000 years old, Jerusalem! Well, maybe you do… but it looks good on you!” – Jerusalem is a truly ancient city with an enduring significance to billions outside its walls. It has seen more of life than any of us could possibly imagine. Gotta respect the classics.


10. Lisbon

What do you mean there’s no pastel de nata emoji?! This is unacceptable! Well, lucky for us, there’s plenty more to do in Lisbon, such as hearing the melancholic beauty of Alfama’s Fado, or marveling at the historic heart of Portugal’s imperial seafarers in Belém. I’m still not over the omission of my beloved pastel de Belém though. Inconsolable.


11. Liverpool

Liverpool has its own soundtrack, and it’s the sound of a city full of contrasts: a port town built from the riches of the British Empire, nowadays a left-wing stronghold; home to Britain’s largest Anglican cathedral, but the nation’s only majority catholic city. We think you need to see it for yourself to understand (maybe).


12. London

“If you’re tired of London, you’re tired of Life”, to paraphrase Samuel Johnson, the scholar behind the most prolific dictionary of English (until Oxford University came along). From pristine museums and a monumental centre, to vibrant backstreets and a dark history, there’s plenty to keep you awake from sunrise to sunset (and after nightfall!)


13. Madrid

Though not many bears roam Spain’s meseta (central plateau) nowadays, the brown beasts certainly left a lasting impression on Madrid. The bear has been a mainstay of the city’s heraldry since the early 13th century! I can’t think how to cleverly weave our tours into this fact, so here’s a link to all of our tours in Madrid! #marketingexcellence


14. Munich

Beer isn’t just related to the hullabaloo of Oktoberfest, it’s a central part of Munich’s history. Benedictine Monks (to whom the name Munich refers) were supposedly the first settlers of the area, and their successors run a lucrative brewing business at Andechs Monastery to this day! Oh, and there was the small matter of the Beer Hall Putsch, too…


15. New York

If Amsterdam holds the crown for most ethnically diverse city in the world, then New Amsterdam – sorry, New York –  can at least claim to be the most linguistically diverse; over 800 languages are spoken in the Big Apple! Luckily, we run a range of tours here in the two most popular, English and Spanish!


16. Paris

Paris, the city of lights, is picture perfect. From the manicured gardens of the Palace at Versailles to the abundant life of the Latin Quarter, you’ll kick yourself if you don’t have a camera. Fitting, too, that one of France’s most picturesque cities is also the birthplace of modern cinema. Thanks, Frères Lumière.


17. Porto

Porto is a city with fans all over the world, but nowhere more so than in the UK (and not just for the city’s fortified wine). When João I of Portugal married Phillipa of Lancaster in 1387, their union in Porto secured the Treaty of Windsor, which is still in effect – making the Anglo-Portuguese alliance the oldest in existence!


18. Prague

(It’s a phoenix, just squint your eyes). Prague has an indomitable ‘rise-from-the-ashes’ spirit. From Nazi occupation to a communist government, nothing seems to be able to keep Praguers down. But what the Bohemian capital’s residents can keep down is beer – Czechia consumes more of it than any other country in the world! Maybe you should czech it out with our guides.


19. Seville

Walking around the sunny capital of Flamenco and tapas you might come across the phrase ‘No8do’ dotted on everything from lampposts to public buildings. It was a title given by King Alfonso X who, after being defended from his own son, Sancho IV, by the people of the city, declared ‘No me ha dejado’ – the city stayed with me. The 8 is actually a skein of wool – in Spanish, a madeja. Nomadejado… get it?


20. Tel Aviv

Building houses? What’s that got to do with Tel Aviv? Well, you might be more familiar with the German term: Bauhaus. Tel Aviv’s white city has the largest number of Bauhaus-school buildings anywhere in the world! Expect Bauhaus and (13) beaches in the day, and a thriving nightlife scene to keep you going in the evening!


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