activities

Italian Summer Vacation Series: Intro

Buongiorno!! I am so excited to share this next series with you as traveling through Italy was my favorite summer trip last year. It was so amazing, that we are going back this year for double the time and road tripping through all new cities! But to start off, over the next eight weeks I’m going to get you all ready for your own Italian vacation. From planning and prepping, to destinations, delicious dishes, sightseeing and adventure activities, we’ve got it all! Italy is perfect for a summer destination, a place to show off a bit of your beach bikini style as well as fashion city style! It is also a very relaxed country in general which makes travel easy to enjoy.

Here is a preview of whats to come in the next weeks:

Venice
veniceBurano, Murano
burano italianMilan
Milan Italian adventureAmalfi Coast
Amalfi coast italian adventurePositano
Positano italian adventureCapri
Capri Italian adventuresPompeii
pompeii italian adventureRome
Rome italian adventure

So get excited! We’ll also be sharing favorite summer travel accessories, must have items for your Italian trip, plus amazing photos to inspire some serious wanderlust 🙂 And as a bonus we have created a Perfect Packing List specifically for Italy for you to download and use. Look for it in the travel prep article coming out Wednesday. But the best part, at the end of the series, we’ll be doing a GIVEAWAY that will include the Italian Summer Vacation Series: Part 1 Ebook! Then later this summer we’ll be jetting off (or rather driving the German Autobahn) towards that next Italian Roadtrip to create Italian Vacation Series Part 2 just for you!!

Stay tuned on Mondays and Wednesdays! The adventure is about to begin 🙂

And don’t forget to share this article to get your girls or man in on a summer vacay to Italy!

 

The Fairytale Towns in the Harz of Germany

Happy Monday! Today I want to share just a short intro to the Harz region and why its one of my favorite areas in all of Germany!! All of the quaint little towns throughout the area remind me of something straight out of a storybook 🙂 And considering many of our childhood fairy tales originate  in Germany (Cinderella, Rapunzel, Sleeping Beauty) I imagine these towns to be the setting for most of them. Beautiful castles set high up on the hill sides and the houses down in the villages full of character are the main attractions for all of these towns.

WERNIGERODE

My personal favorite for castles to tour and explore is in Wernigerode. This one has been there since the 12th century and if seeing the hundreds of years old tower isn’t enough, the view from it will make all landscape and panorama enthusiasts smile with delight.

castle harz germanycastle harz germany

QUEDLINBURGHarz Germanycheesecake harz germany

The next town over in the Harz, Quedlinburg, also has a large castle on the hill top but, my favorite part was actually Vincent’s Cheesecake Cafe. This was by far, the best I have tried yet while in Germany. I would plan a visit back to this city just to eat more cheesecake (Doesn’t help that I happen to be a cheesecake fanatic). But besides the yummy desserts, the town is picture perfect and an excellent spot for a spring or summer afternoon stroll to see all the traditional German architecture and laid back city center.

Cheesecake Harz Germany

 GOSLAR
Goslar Harz panorama view

Goslar’s charm is undeniable. This quaint town is hard not to love. Just take a walk through all the streets to experience the relaxed lifestyle here. And like most towns here, Goslar also has a unique castle to explore.

Goslar Harz castle

Ok one Castle Selfie 😉

Goslar castleThe city center is also a great place to grab an ice cream or cappuccino and sit outdoors. You’ll feel just like one of the locals enjoying the perks of small town living in one of the most beautiful regions of Germany.
Goslar city center

Have you visited any other towns in the Harz? Share below!

And don’t forget to pin this article for later 🙂
pinterest harz

Enjoying a Wellness and Sauna weekend in Germany

The wellness and sauna culture in Germany is a very popular way to relax, regroup, and refresh your mind and body. I had always heard the German stereotype of all work and no play so when I discovered not only how popular wellness is here but, also how unique and extravagant these saunas are, I was blown away! Nowhere else in Europe or the US have I seen such places dedicated to relaxation. Here are my favorite saunas and wellness spas in Germany that you should definitely consider adding to your next Germany visit:

Euskirchen SaunaEuskirchen Sauna

About 30 minutes outside of the awesome western German city of Cologne is where you’ll find this first sauna. Brand new and enormous, this wellness center is designed to be a mini vacation in itself. Leave the stresses of everything behind and enter your own paradise of warm pools, unique saunas, and meditation. The saunas here include a Greek sauna, a koi pond sauna with actual Koi fish, a tropical plant sauna, coffee house sauna, Taj Mahal sauna, a movie theater sauna with a full screen of soothing nature films, and many more! I could spend an entire weekend here and enjoy every minute. And if that is your decision, they do have a hotel and restaurants as well! Like I said, its basically a vacation zone inside. Combine this with a few day trip to Cologne and you’ve got yourself an amazing week in Germany.

Tropical Islandstropical islands sauna germany

tropical islands sauna germanytropical islands sauna germanyTropical Islands is a HUGE dome about an hour south of Berlin. What used to be an expo center for blimps is now a full tropical paradise away from the cold German weather. I recommend heading here when the weather is still a bit colder and you need a tropical escape. Inside, the weather is a balmy 73 degrees with real palm trees, flamingos, waterfalls, and an entire area dedicated to relaxation. My favorite sauna here is the salt grotto! Its amazing for the skin :). For a visit to Tropical Islands, you could just get a day ticket but my favorite time here was at night. Everything lights up and the ambience is perfect for a late night swim or sauna visit. You will probably forget you are not actually in Costa Rica or the Caribbean. The best overnight options include bungalows directly over the pools, tents for glamping (fancy camping) or a regular hotel room just outside the pool area.

tropical islands sauna germanytropical islands sauna germanytropical islands sauna germanytropical islands sauna germanytropical islands sauna germanyThale Sauna
Thale Sauna

The Thale sauna is in the heart of the Harz region, a beautiful nature region of Germany. The exciting national park with many hiking routes is right next door. This pool also has a full panoramic view of the hilly landscapes and a wonderful outdoor area made for  relaxation and meditation. Also, what could be better than a swim up bar?? Pina coladas anyone?

DĂźnen Therme St. Peters Ording

Up on the northern coast of Germany near the beach in the town of St. Peters Ording is a wonderful Sauna with full spa. This location is perfect for a relaxed beach vacation. Beaches in Germany remind me of the New England coastline in the US. They are not quite tropical with palm trees but, make for the perfect coastal excursion. It is a good idea to go in July or August otherwise you might be risking a bit of cold weather. But, when combined with a day in the warm sauna and topped of with a massage and bath treatment, you’ll find it hard not to feel at your best.

Notes about Saunas in Germany:
Saunas here are nude (you’ll notice I didn’t take any photos of the actual saunas and this is why). It is a good idea to either bring or rent a bath robe for walking around the relaxation areas and a towel to lay on inside the sauna. I will admit I was a bit shocked at first, all different people, co-ed naked together but, you quickly realize everyone is here just to enjoy the sauna and you’ll have the best experience if you just tune it out and focus on your own wellness. 🙂

Looking for more articles about Germany??

Give these a read:
Winter Vacations in the Harz Region of Germany
Germany’s Neuschwanstein Castle
Christmas Markets in Germany
Berlin Complete Travel Guide

Have you been to any other saunas in Germany or Europe that I should check out? Share below!!

The Best Sights in Prague

Prague is such a charming city and is in my top favorites for European cities. The sights are stunning, the food fantastic, and the atmosphere is always up beat and fun. When planning your first trip, give 3 full days on your Itinerary for this gem. You won’t want to miss out on anything.

Charles bridge prague night view

night view prague

PRACTICAL INFORMATION

First, we all need to know a few basics about a new destination to make travel as stress free and pleasant as possible. So I’m sharing a few things that will help on your first trip to Prague.

  • Bring your walking shoes! Your 5 inch stilettos won’t help you much over the cobblestone roads. Plus Prague is the perfect size city to see everything by foot.
  • Signs with WC on them are your friend. That means bathroom 😉
  • Prague can be known to be party city at night. If you go to the center at night, just know there might be some rowdy party folks. If this is your scene, just remember to always use the buddy system.
  • Prague has amazing beer. Try it.
  • Do not leave without eating a Trdelnik (Where to find the best eats in Prague)
  • 1 US dollar is about 25.7 Czech Krones
  • Prague is an inexpensive city. That means you don’t have to make it rain dolla’ bills to have a good time(unless of course that is your plan) making it the perfect European city for the student or broke graduate 🙂

As for what to see and do in Prague, here are all the musts you can add to your Itinerary.

OLD TOWN SQUAREOld town square prague

old town square prague

The Old Town Square is a great place to start your tour because it puts you right in the heart of the city. From there, everything is easy to reach. The best and most colorful buildings surround the square and it is usually filled with people, food stands, and entertainment.


ASTRONOMICAL CLOCK

Astronommical clock prague

Astrnomical clock prague

The sight you may have heard the most about is the Astronomical clock directly in the Old Town Square. People hover around it every hour to hear it chime and watch it perform its 600 year old tradition. The history of the clock is pretty interesting and Czech Tourism gives more info about it here

JOHN LENNON WALLJon Lennon wall prague

john lennon wall prague

The John Lennon wall is not only amazing because of its message and history but, it also looks awesome and is so colorful, its the perfect spot for your Instagram photo op.

CHARLES BRIDGECharles bridge prague

The Charles bridge is a massive pedestrian bridge. Normally filled with tourists, caricature artists, musicians, and street performers, it is one of the most lively bridges you’ll ever encounter.

charles bridge prague

charles bridge

PRAGUE CASTLEprague castle

Once you cross over the bridge coming from the Old Town Square, you can start to make your way up to where the Prague castle stands. The cool thing about this castle is that they do the changing of the guards ceremony every day just like in London. It is also completely free to walk around it.

Prague castle

Oh and it is probably not a bad idea to pack an umbrella for Prauge, one day we had sunshine and blue skies, the next on and off rain. Checking out the Basilica at the castle was a good way escape the rain drops for a few minutes.

PADDLE BOATS IN THE VLTAVA RIVERvltava river prague

And when it is sunny, my absolute FAVORITE activity while in Prague was paddle boating along the Vltava river. You can paddle boat right up to the Charles Bridge and see it from a whole different perspective. Its also a great way to just relax on a summers day after walking the last 6 hours and take in the sights along the banks. You may even get to ride around in one of the nifty car paddle boats!

paddle boating Vltava river

 THE PETRIN TOWER


And if you like to see cities from above, the Petrin Tower should be number one on your list. You can get a full 360 view of all the red tin roofs and the river between from the highest lookout point in Prague. Check out my article on the Petrin Tower to find out more if this is a must for your itinerary!

HOSTELS
hostel prague

If you are looking for a budget place to stay in Prague, there are a ton of great hostels all over the city. We chose a very relaxed one a little outside of the city center but still right next to lots of great cafes, close access to the Petrin Tower, and just a short walk to paddle boating.

Adam and Eva hostel felt just like home, they even had the same bedding as we have! The atmosphere was very relaxed and the staff was always there to help, plus it was securely locked. Just check out Hostelworld and you’ll find tons of great budget hostels to stay in no matter if you’re looking for the party vibe or private relaxed vibe.

prague hostel

Prague Hostel

Want to know more about traveling to Prague? Check out these other articles on the blog:
Where to find the best eats in Prague
Where to find the best view of Prague

Save this post for later when you are planning your own trip!

best sights prague pinterest

What else did you see or do on a trip to Prague? Leave a comment below! Can’t wait to share with you next weeks article, we’re jetting off from Prague to LONDON!!

 

Where to find the best view in Prague

I have so much I can say about Prague I can’t fit it all into one article! So for the next two weeks I’m going to share with you everything you need to know to have an awesome experience in Prague, and as always, on a budget. 🙂

To start off, we’re headed up to the top. Thats right, all the way up the hill side and then climbing the Petrin Tower to get to the best view over the entire city of Prague.

GETTING TO THE TOP

To get to the top of the hill where the Petrin Lookout Tower is, you have two options, walk the path the entire way up or take the funicular (Its basically an uphill rail car if you’re not familiar with that). We were there in summer and a lovely stroll up the hill through the gardens sounded like a better (and free) way to get to the top (especially considering the line for the funicular looked about an hour long). There are also benches along the path if you want to relax and take in the view half way up. There is also a restaurant there if you are looking for a spot to grab a coffee or better yet beer. It took us just under an hour from the base of the hill up to the top where the tower stands to casually stroll up there. No rush on a beautiful summers day in Prague.

COST

The tower does cost a few bucks to go up to the lookout deck. $4.80 US dollars for an adult or if you have a student ID its only half the price! And it is a bit taller than than it looks once you start heading up the stairs. But don’t worry, just look ahead and keep going, the top is sooo worth it!

view of prague

prague castle

My best suggestion is to head up to the Petrin tower after an amazing breakfast at a cafe (which will be the topic of next weeks article!) because well 1, after a big meal it always feels good to walk a bit, and 2, the earlier you go the less crowded it will be. Regardless of what time of year you visit, but especially in summer, be sure to bring a water bottle!! We picked one up at a little corner store beforehand and it saved us!

Next week more on one of my favorite European cities and where to get the best eats!!

Save this post to Pinterest for later!

prague view pinterest

5 Favorite things about Miami + FREE Beach Packing List Download!

Mmmmm, the sight of the bright turquoise waters after 9 hours in flight from a gray and gloomy winter was enough to wake me right up and put a big smile on my face. In just a few minutes, I would be landing in Miami for the second time in my life. 

That first step out of the airport and I can already smell the salty water in the warm air. Right after the holidays and all the decor and cheer is gone but the weather is still getting colder and the evenings still dark, we can sometimes fall into a post-holiday slump. I know this happens to me. That means its time to pack up the sunblock and flip flops, throw on a bikini and head south for a bit of  sun therapy. If you’re still looking for reasons to ditch the snow boots for a week and grab a daiquiri in the sunshine state instead, here are my 5 favorite things about Miami Beach (plus bonus… free Beach packing list download at the end of this post!)

1.  The “NO LIFEGUARD ON DUTY” stands

My favorite part about the beaches in Miami are the “NO LIFEGUARD ON DUTY” stands. Each is unique and colorful just like Miami.

2. Morning Beach Walks

Because of my 6 hour time difference going to Miami, getting up at 6:30am was no problem for me. This is the perfect time to head out for a low tide walk along the beach. Check out the runners or fishermen, collect shells, take some photos, or just enjoy the sunrise.

3. Shopping

Sometimes a bit of retail therapy can also help beat the winter blues and Miami is the perfect place for that. Walking up and down Lincoln Blvd and Collins street and you’ll find every store you can think of plus, all the pastel colored buildings

4. Pool time

And if after all that shopping you’re in need of a wind down, just about every hotel on the beach also has a relaxing pool. Grab a chair and lounge away!

5. Palm Tree heaven

Its hard to feel unhappy when walking through a place like this. The tropical feeling follows you everywhere.

If you’re looking for more ideas of what to do in Miami, check out my earlier post, A Trip to the Sunshine State. Heading out to the everglades for some alligator spotting and an air boat tour is another great adventure a bit off the beach.

Check out Gator Park for an awesome everglade experience

What are your favorite things to do in Miami? Or favorite beaches! I love to hear from you 🙂

As promised, here is your free downloadable packing list for a beach vacation!

Beach Vacation packing list

Thanks for reading and don’t forget to share this post!

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