travel guide

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 ­čÖé 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 ­čÖé

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

 

Wanderlust Wednesday: Best of Germany

Welcome to the first Wanderlust Wednesday! The first Wednesday of every month, I am going to be posting a Wanderlust Wednesday article to inspire you to travel somewhere new and as a way for us all to grow our travel bucket lists. ­čÖé
This week, I’m starting off with an easy one for me. I have been living in Germany for the past year and a half now, and have discovered so many wonderful places! While I still feel like I have so many more to visit, here are the “best of” photos from each city or event in Germany that you won’t want to miss when planning that next Euro Trip!

Idar-Oberstein

Idar Oberstein Germany

In the very west of Germany is Idar Oberstein, a lesser known and smaller German  town but, with so much charm and character. It is not very touristy which makes a visit there quite relaxing. The best sight of all, the church built into the rocks.  The legend goes that there were once two brothers who lived in the castle above the rock. They both fell for the same girl but she only loved one of them. The other learned of this and threw his brother out the window where he plummeted to his death on the rocks below. Immediately filled with remorse, he confessed what he had done, and to have this forgiven, he was to build a church at the site of where his brother had died.
Today, you can still visit the church and the castle above. The castle is well worth it if you want to get the best view over the city.
Idar Oberstein is also known for its gemstones. If you are looking for something to take back with you, a gemstone souvenir would be just the thing. Idar Oberstein Germany

Heidelberg

HeidelbergHeidelberg lies in the southwest side of Germany and is known for its unique and very large Renaissance era castle that stands up on the hilltop and looks down over the colorful buildings within the city.
Heidelberg GermanyHeidelberg Germany

Bremen
Bremen germany

Towards the north is the city of Bremen. Last year we visited for a fall festival. In Germany, that means lots of grilled meat, sweets and treats, and festival rides galore!
Bremen germany

Hamburg
Hamburg Germany

Right on the North Sea coast is Hamburg, a thriving and large city full of tourism. The Town Hall (Rathaus) is the most spectacular looking building in my opinion and the best thing to do on a sunny day is take a boat tour to see the whole city from the water!

Hamburg

L├╝beck
Lubeck Germany

Also in the north but over on the East Sea coast, is the beautiful city of Lübeck. This is the perfect summer vacation spot. White sand beaches spread far and wide with the iconic wicker beach chairs all along the way only 15 minutes from the city center. Even in August the water tends to be a bit chilly but, if the weather is warm enough, its perfect for a quick dip and then relaxing on shore. The biggest and best sight in the city is the Holstentor which is a large gate that marked the city border after it was built in 1464.
Lubeck Germany

Berlin
Berlin Germany

To the east we have Berlin, the largest and capital city of Germany. Berlin has some amazing sights such as the world clock (above) and the Brandenburg Gate (below). It is also the best place to learn about the history of Germany with so many museums, monuments, and memorials throughout the city.

See my full Berlin Itinerary here: Berlin Complete Travel Guide
Berlin GermanyBerlin Germany

Christmas Markets
Braunschweig Christmas Markets

The Christmas markets are found all throughout Germany from the end of November until Christmas. It is worth booking your trip during this time just to see them! Drink some hot chocolate with amaretto or hot mulled wine and walk through all of the pretty lights and stands!

See more sparkly photos here: Germany’s Christmas Markets

Neuschwanstein Castle
Neuschwanstein Germany

The Neuschwanstein castle is about an hour outside of Munich and makes for a great day trip. This is the real castle that the Disney castle was designed after!! So its like being a real disney princess when visiting ;).

Read more here: Germany’s Neuschwanstein Castle

Munich
Munich Germany

In the heart of Bavaria is Munich. Good beer, meat, and tradition is everywhere here. The best sight is in Marienplatz in the city center. At 11am, as well as 12pm and 5pm in summer, the Rathaus-Glockenspiel, or Town Hall Clock performance, occurs while the bells ring and the puppets come out to perform. This is one of the top tourist attractions in all of Munich.

Oktoberfest
Oktoberfest Germany

The very top attraction in Munich in September and October however, is Oktoberfest. Three weeks of drinking liters of beer, consuming a lifetimes worth of soft pretzels, and dancing around in Lederhosen or a Dirndl is what Oktoberfest is all about.

Read more about Oktoberfest in my other article here: Cheers to Oktoberfest!
Oktoberfest pretzel OktoberfestOktoberfest GermanyOktoberfest Germany

Already been to Germany?? Where was your favorite place? Share below!

Don’t forget to pin this post for later and follow along on Pinterest!

First Time European Hostel Guide

Ever since I moved to Europe, I have found the best way to budget travel is to take advantage of all the amazing hostels every city has to offer. There are so┬ámany reasons why I now love hostels! Of course there are always a few minuses but overall, if you have been putting off European travel because you think it is too expensive or aren’t sure about staying at a hostel by yourself, let me tell you they are completely worth it! The best place to find a plethora of Hostel options is hostelworld.com.┬áThe reviews are awesome for helping to choose the right one. It’s easy to get a good idea of what people liked and didn’t like about each place. Here is a list of all the hostels we’ve already tried out in Europe and the pros and cons for each!
Plus BONUS!!! Download our Perfect Packing Checklist at the end of this article so you can be perfectly prepped for your first hostel stay ­čÖé

Hostel Brikette, Positanoitaly hostel

PROS:┬áThat view. Its amazing. It is truly one of those moments that you look down and feel your breath being taken away. The hosts are also super helpful and will even book tours for you. But the best thing was┬áthey┬ásent me a 60 page pdf before our trip with of all sorts of things to do in Positano including hiking tours, restaurants, and beaches! Talk about service. The homemade breakfast is also something to brag about. It only costed a few euros for a delicious cappuccino and the owner’s famous pancakes and jam.
CONS: The only downside, which was relatively small, is the 10 person room is right off the lobby so it was hard to get to sleep when lots of people were still awake socializing in there. Just pick a different smaller room if you want to get to bed a bit earlier. If you plan to go out all night to the clubs, this room will do just fine ­čÖé

Downtown Hostel Copenhagencopenhagen hostel

PROS: This hostel has one of the most fun atmospheres with a bar which makes it perfect for meeting other travelers. They also have bike rentals, free city walking tours, and pub crawls!
CON: The bathrooms were a bit dirty but thats why I have flip flops on the packing list!!

Check out more on what to do and see in this article: A Weekend in Copenhagen

Adam & Eva Hostel Pragueprague hostelprague hostelprague hostel

PROS: Adam & Eva hostel is so relaxed! It looked just like our living room and bedroom at home (they even had the same IKEA bedding as we have!) A private room was the perfect choice for quiet evenings. It is also in a nice location by two great brunch restaurants and only a 15 min walk to the city center.

I truly don’t have a con for this hostel!! ­čÖé They don’t offer breakfast but, they do have a kitchen and like I said the best brunch restaurants in all of Prague (in my opinion) are right around the corner.

Read more on The Best Sights in Prague and The best Eats in Prague (Those brunch spots)

Hostel Alessandro Palace & Bar Hostel, RomeRome Hostel

PROS: To be honest we didn’t spend much time here because well, we were in Rome. Just there long enough to sleep and shower. But, even in an 8 person room the atmosphere was very easy going. They did offer social events such as cocktail night on the rooftop bar as a way to meet other travelers which if traveling alone or in a small group that can be a great way to meet some friendly people. There is also a nice restaurant right next door if you are hungry when you get back from all that sight seeing.
CONS: The beds are a bit small in the 8 person rooms. If you want a bit more space between you and the person above you, I’d choose a private or 4 person room here.

St. Christophers Inn Gare Du Nord Hostel, ParisParis Hostelparis hostel

PROS: This hostel is great for solo travelers! I met a great friend here and traveled the whole week with her! The beds are also great for a bit of privacy and have their own light and power outlet ­čÖé The best part was the amazing restaurant where we ate every night after traveling and also watched a bit of karaoke. Plus the┬á20% all meals because we were hostel guests made eating there totally worth it. It was also great to wind down with a drink at the bar before heading to bed. The free breakfasts made it easy to get a bit of energy too before going out to explore Paris!
CONS: This is more of a general hostel con when staying in an 8 person room, but was experienced here. There is always the chance that others will come back later at night and will be loud or will turn the light on while you are trying to sleep. I tried to ignore it for a while but just quickly and nicely asking to turn the light off again worked out just fine. This is why the ear plugs and sleep mask are on the packing list! ­čÖé

Check out my 3 Day Paris Itinerary and 10 Beautiful Photos of Paris at Night.

Astor Victoria, Londonhostel london

PROS: LONDON LONDON! It is an easy walk from here to Buckingham Palace and pretty much all of the main sights. The breakfast for only 1 euro donation to charity is a delicious start to your day of exploring and the rooms were clean and comfortable.
CONS: There was a shortage of outlets in the rooms so a portable charger will come in handy here. I had also forgotten that in England the outlets are not the same as the rest of western Europe but luckily you could rent one for a 5 pound deposit.

Read more about The 10 Best Experiences to have in London.

Shelter City, AmsterdamAmsterdam Hostel

PROS: This hostel has a great little outdoor area to relax in on a bit of down time or to enjoy your breakfast alfresco. Speaking of which, the breakfast here was also quite delicious :). I stayed here as a solo traveler and felt so comfortable there! It turned out to be a great hostel to meet other female travelers and to check out the city with them.
CONS: The location is actually quite great for getting everywhere by foot, however if you have never been to Amsterdam and you show up at 11pm alone as I did, finding out that your hostel is in the middle of the Red Light District can be a bit overwhelming. However, now that you know that and are aware, its really not too bad and is actually quite a fun area (just maybe not so much when you are lost for five minutes).

Read more about Enjoying Solo Travel in Amsterdam.

As promised here is your Perfect Packing checklist for first time Hostel stay! You can download and print it out to use for later.

What were your favorite European hostels and why? Share below!

Next week we’ll have our first ever Wanderlust Wednesday! Check back then for more ­čÖé

Summer Vacation on the East Coast of Germany

Summer is almost here!! You are probably starting to get anxious for those poolside vibes and sitting on the beach with a drink in your hand. I am already starting to stock up on new summer accessories which I can’t wait to share ­čÖé But where to go this year for that sunny getaway? When you are thinking beach vacation your first thoughts may not be to head to Germany but, I bet you also would have never guessed this view is one of the beautiful white sand beaches along the East Sea coast in Germany.Lubeck GermanyNear the coast in northern Germany are the cities of┬áL├╝beck, Travem├╝nde, Niendorf, and Timmendorfer Strand which are all┬áperfect for a relaxed beach summer getaway! If you are traveling through Europe this summer and need a break from all the hustle and bustle of the big cities, this is where to go. The best time to go is late July through August when the weather is at its best and the water has warmed up just enough to take a refreshing dip. Here are all the awesome things to do and where to stay when visiting this awesome coastline!

BEACHESLubeck Germany

Travem├╝nde Beachbeach chairs L├╝beck germany

Take a walk along the promenade right along the coast of Travem├╝nde Beach (about 20 min from L├╝beck city center) for awesome views of the sea and beach with its iconic wicker beach chairs. Rent your own for only a few Euros and chill in the shade of its canopy with your toes in the sand.

L├╝beck Pier

Timmendorfer BeachTimmendorfer beach

Timmendorfer Beach has spectacular turquoise waters with lots of sandy space to lay out and work on your tan. This one is the most popular among the tourists who want to relax and live the resort lifestyle with everything right on the beach. Beach volleyball and paddle boating are two of the top activities to try out here. A lot of the paddle boats even had slides on them!!paddle boating timmendorfer strandbeaches germany

Niendorf Beach

Niendorf beach is a bit smaller than the others but has the option for kitesurfing and a great pier to enjoy the view from.

kitesurfing germany

BIKINGBiking Germany

Our favorite activity was biking the coastal path that goes through all the beach towns. It will take about 45 min or a bit longer if you stop to take photos of the beautiful views :).

coastline L├╝beck Germany

L├ťBECKcity center L├╝beck

You will find the larger city of Lübeck about 20 minutes from the coast full of amazing sights and things to do in summer. The top attraction is the Holstentor which, when built in 1464, was a large city gate marking the western boundary of the city. The city hall is also a sight to see with its candy colored details and multiple spires.
Holstentor city gate L├╝beckrathaus l├╝beckIf you happen to be a marzipan fan, this is what L├╝beck is famous for. The Niederegger Marzipan flagship store is in L├╝beck and is always full of tourists stocking up on fun chocolate marzipan treats! If you are in need of some delicious and unique souvenirs, this would be where to head.Niederegger Marzipan GermanySummer time is also quite festive here and there is a good chance you’ll find an outdoor concert to enjoy andconcerts L├╝beck Germany

SEAFOOD AND CAFES

Cafe Bar

We made an afternoon coffee break at Cafe Bar in Lübeck which was a chic and relaxed little cafe with delicious drinks. It was a great place to regain a bit of energy before continuing our tour through the city. Cafe Lübeck Germany

Fish

You can be sure along the coast that the seafood is exceptional. There are multiple fish fry restaurants but the best ones we found are between Timmendorfer Strand and Niendorf on our bike ride. The delicious fried fish above is from Kl├╝vers Fish. This restaurant is nautically decorated, has a great area to sit outside, and is right next to the marina for a great view. Amazing!

WHERE TO STAYHotel Arosa L├╝beck

Here you can find everything from 5-star resort living to cozy beach AirBnb to budget camping options. Hotel A-rosa (above) is right on Travem├╝nde’s Beach and comes with the works. Spa, restaurants, and live entertainment daily are just a few of the perks you’ll find here.
For something a little more budget friendly, check out AirBnb for great options and many of which have the beach right out the front door!
Camping can also be a great option and is the perfect budget saver option. Try Ivendorf Campsites with an Italian restaurant right on site. It was seriously delicious! And it is also only a 20 minute bike ride from the beach or 10 with a car!AirBnb L├╝beck Germany

Have you visited any other beaches in Germany? Share below!!

And pin this article to come back to when planning that European summer vacation ­čÖé

 

The Beautiful Sights of Lyon, France

Happy Monday! This week I want to share my favorite photos of the best spots in Lyon, France. Last summer I was there for three days and this beautiful UNESCO World Heritage city that was never before on my radar, quickly became one of my top choices for sightseeing in France. It has the perfect combination of old world European charm and modern amenities. The colors, relaxed atmosphere, food, and not to mention great shopping make this city worthy of any European travel bucket list. So, to start your Monday off right, or to give you a reason to procrastinate starting your week, here are some of the amazing sights in Lyon ­čÖé

Basilica of Notre-Dame de Fourvi├Ęre
Lyon CathedralLyon Old Town

Lyon is nestled between two rivers, the┬áSa├┤ne and the┬áRh├┤ne. In the middle is the main hub and city center where all the shopping is, and on the opposite side of the┬áSa├┤ne is where the Old Town UNESCO site is. This is where you’ll find the Basilica of Notre-Dame de Fourviere. Although with its pristine positioning up atop the hill side, you’ll be able to see it still from the opposite side of the river.

Vieux Lyon (Old Town)
Lyon old townLyon France RestaurantLyon France Goat cheese Salad restaurantmussels lyoncreme br├╗l├ęe lyon

A walk through the Old Town quarters of Lyon, also known as Vieux Lyon, will give you a great feel for just how much character this city truly has. The area dates back to the Renaissance times and is now protected as a UNESCO World Heritage site. Sights to see here include Saint┬áJohns Catherdral, the Exchange Square, and Rue Saint Jean which is the main and most popular street in the old town. Its also the perfect area to sit back and enjoy a drink or a nice dinner. If you love seafood, France is known for its Mussels and fries (Moules et Frites) which was my favorite dinner. An entire pot of mussels in a delicious white wine sauce just for me! And no trip to Lyon or any city in France for that matter is complete without Creme Br├╗l├ęe :).

City Hall Lyon town hall

Can we just take a minute to talk about the architecture here!? It is stunning! I don’t know about you but growing up, our city halls were usually ugly square brown brick buildings from the 60’s or 70’s. This is what you get when you come to Lyon. The most intricate of details you’ll find throughout this and every building there. Place de Jacobins (below) is also a great spot to admire the traditional European style buildings and architecture.

Lyon city center fountainNational Opera HouseLyon Theater

Place Bellecour
Place Bellecour Lyon

If you are looking for a great location to stay in while visiting Lyon, Place Bellecour is the perfect central location to get everywhere you would like easily by foot. The shopping district, city center, and Old Town are all only with 15-20 min walking from there.

Have other suggestions for what to see in Lyon or more beautiful photos? Share below!!

Save this post for later when its time to plan that dream trip ­čśë

Pinterest Lyon France

 

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┬átowns throughout the area remind me of something straight out of a storybook ­čÖé And considering many of our childhood fairy tales originate ┬áin 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┬áto 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.┬áThis was by far, the best I have tried┬áyet 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┬áto see all┬áthe 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 ­čśë

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 ­čÖé
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?

D├╝nen 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┬ábut, 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. ­čÖé

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!!

Latest from Instagram

Copyright © 2017 · Theme by 17th Avenue