Located on the shores of the picturesque Bodensee, (Lake Constance to English speakers), Lindau Island, Germany is a glimmering lakeside jewel overlooking the Alps. Its historic city center is resplendent with medieval buildings and half-timbered houses and situated on its own island connected to the rest of the city by a bridge.
We arrived by car on Lindau Island just as the sun was beginning its early descent on an unseasonably warm late February day. The sun-splashed terraces along the lake overflowed with locals enjoying an early taste of spring warmth while sipping an evening cocktail.
I was instantly smitten with the Venetian-inspired architecture along the waterfront and was reminded of some of my favorite Italian island destinations like Elba Island, Procida or Ischia…or even the town of Chania in Crete. For a moment, I had to remind myself I was still in Germany!Read More
Also known simply as “Budweis,” České Budějovice is the largest town in South Bohemia. Founded in 1265 by Czech King Premsyl Otakar II, the town sits at the scenic confluence of the Vltava and Malse Rivers.
Situated between the popular Czech tourist hot spots of Prague and Cesky Krumlov, České Budějovice makes the perfect stopover to escape the tourist crowds for a bit.
In fact, to get from Prague to Cesky Krumlov, you pretty much have to change buses or trains in České Budějovice so why not hop off that train or bus and explore this charming little bit of Bohemia?Read More
If Rothenburg ob der Tauber is Germany’s fairy tale village, Český Krumlov is definitely the Czech Republic’s ode to storybook fairy tales. Like Prague, Český Krumlov is situated on the Vltava River which curves its way romantically through town in a way almost reminiscent of streets of Venice.
Added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1992, Český Krumlov’s historic old town is a jumble of 750 years of architectural design including Gothic, Baroque and Renaissance-inspired facades. Its most spectacular feature is the castle that towers over it – Český Krumlov Castle – the second largest in the Czech Republic, after Prague Castle.Read More
Also known as Karlsbad, Karlovy Vary translates as “Charles Bath” and was named for Charles IV, King of Bohemia who founded the city in 1370. The town is famed for bubbling hot springs, colorful, whimsical architecture and, most importantly, the Karlovy Vary spa experience!
In the eighteenth century, Karlovy Vary was a popular tourist destination for both elites and creatives. High profile visitors in those days included Beethoven, Tolstoy, Wagner, Brahms, Karl Marx and Tsar Peter the Great. But the start of World War I brought tourism to an abrupt halt and it never fully recovered its former glory.
But thanks to a wealth of Karlovy Vary spas and hot springs, today this charming town has begun a bit of a tourism resurgence. And now is the time to go before the rest of Europe discovers it!Read More
It’s one of the loveliest medieval towns in all of Europe and a charming stop on any visit to Germany. Translated as “Red Fort on the River Tauber,” Rothenburg ob der Tauber is the town you envision when you close your eyes and think of storybook Germany.
In fact, the whole village looks a bit like a movie set. Yet, these narrow, cobbled lanes lined with half-timbered houses are steeped in more than 1,000 years of fascinating history.Read More
Our recent summer trip to Portugal was indeed pretty incredible, but it almost didn’t happen at all.
You see, we recently bought a rather large boat to use as a second home in the Seattle area (my husband’s home town). Due to this new expense, the budget for our annual summer European holiday took a nose dive.
Uh, to pretty much nothing.
Never one to let a lack of adequate funding spoil a great trip to Europe, it was time for me to get creative. I was determined to make the most of my travel rewards – including airline miles, hotel points and credit card rewards – to spend 10 days traveling around Portugal on as tight a budget as possible, while still making it a fabulous vacation for both me and my husband, Dave.
My goal? To do the whole 10-day trip for $1,000 or less. I got pretty close. Here’s how I did it…Read More