From a dream to a plan in just 7 days. Start planning your trip now! 


Europe

How to Visit Mont Saint Michel from Paris (by Train, Car or Tour)

Posted by on Jan 24, 2020 | 0 comments

How to Visit Mont Saint Michel from Paris (by Train, Car or Tour)

Last Updated on

Set against the sprawling bay where Brittany and Normandy meet, Mont Saint Michel is easily one of France’s most spectacular sights. In fact, the surrounding terrain is so flat for miles around that when you first spot the castle-like fortification from a distance, it seems almost like a gravity-defying mirage.

Perched high on a rocky islet, this tidal island is crowned by a Benedictine abbey erected in 708 at the bidding of Archangel Michael. Because of its strategic position, battlements and fortifications were added in the fourteenth century. During the Hundred Years War, monks defended the abbey so effectively it was dubbed, “the Impregnable Fortress.”

Read More

The Best of Croatia in 7 Perfect Days

Posted by on Jan 16, 2020 | 0 comments

The Best of Croatia in 7 Perfect Days

Last Updated on

Let’s face it, Croatia is just one of those incredible destinations that leaves travelers wanting more after their first visit. If you’ve visited, you know.

I have visited Croatia twice before, but both trips were primarily limited to Dubrovnik. I knew there was so much more to see. To be totally honest, it was probably the spectacular Adriatic vistas showcased in Bravo’s “Below Deck” a few seasons ago that had me dreaming of a trip back to Croatia’s sunny shores.

My husband, Dave, also had Croatia high on his must-see list. And thanks to our current home base near Munich, Germany, all of Europe is practically on our doorstep these days. So there seemed no better time to dive into a more in-depth exploration of the best that Croatia has to offer.

Our plan was to start our 7-day trip in the northern part of the country and work our way south to Dubrovnik, hitting as many Croatian highlights as we could squeeze in along the way.  

Read More

Germany’s Best Christmas Markets – Nuremberg Christkindlesmarkt

Posted by on Dec 8, 2019 | 0 comments

Germany’s Best Christmas Markets – Nuremberg Christkindlesmarkt

Last Updated on

The holiday season is upon us and a crisp chill is in the air, which can mean only one thing here in Germany…it’s Christmas Market season!

While there are hundreds of Christmas markets taking place in European cities large and small this month, there’s no better place to get the true holiday market experience than at one of Germany’s best Christmas markets. And with a 400-year history, Bavaria’s 2nd largest city of Nuremberg hosts one of the best on the continent.

Read More

Lovely Lindau Island, Germany

Posted by on Aug 8, 2019 | Comments Off on Lovely Lindau Island, Germany

Lovely Lindau Island, Germany

Last Updated on

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

Cheers to České Budějovice!

Posted by on Jul 31, 2019 | 0 comments

Cheers to České Budějovice!

Last Updated on

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

The Czech Charms of Český Krumlov

Posted by on Jul 25, 2019 | 0 comments

The Czech Charms of Český Krumlov

Last Updated on

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

A Spa Getaway to Karlovy Vary, Czech Republic

Posted by on Jul 17, 2019 | 0 comments

A Spa Getaway to Karlovy Vary, Czech Republic

Last Updated on

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

Rothenburg ob der Tauber: Germany’s Fairy Tale Village

Posted by on Jul 7, 2019 | 1 comment

Rothenburg ob der Tauber: Germany’s Fairy Tale Village

Last Updated on

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

Portugal on Points: How to Maximize Your Travel Rewards

Posted by on Jul 12, 2018 | 2 comments

Portugal on Points: How to Maximize Your Travel Rewards

Last Updated on

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

The Algarve Portugal in 3 Perfect Days

Posted by on Jun 22, 2018 | 0 comments

The Algarve Portugal in 3 Perfect Days

Last Updated on

It’s the southernmost region of continental Portugal and one of the most sought-after holiday destinations in all of Europe…with good reason. In 2017, the Algarve region saw an estimated 7.1 million tourists and recent studies have named it one of the best places in the world to retire.

Nicknamed the “sunshine region,” this relaxed, Mediterranean retreat is known for year-round sunshine, sandy coves, azure waters and stunning golden cliffs. It was from these shores in the 15th century that Portuguese explorers set off on an epic journey to discover other lands. And today, it is on this same coastline that Portugal welcomes the majority of its annual visitors.

Not surprisingly, no trip to Portugal would be complete without a visit to the Algarve. So, after beginning our Portuguese holiday in Porto and then hopping over to the Azores for a few days, it was time to fly back to the mainland and hit the beach!

Read More

The Azores: Europe’s Most Extraordinary Islands

Posted by on Jun 13, 2018 | 0 comments

The Azores: Europe’s Most Extraordinary Islands

Last Updated on

Situated in the middle of the North Atlantic, 850 miles off the coast of mainland Portugal, the Azores archipelago is made up of nine lush, volcanic islands. Known for its verdant landscapes and abundant volcanic springs, the Azores are one of the “hottest” (pun intended) island destinations to emerge on the tourism scene since Iceland.

You may not have heard much about this remote island chain yet, but with international flights on the rise and new, hip hotel openings, it’s likely you soon will. My advice? Get there before everyone else does.

The Azores are one of two Autonomous Regions of Portugal (the other is Madeira). The autonomous regions were established to recognize the islands’ distinct geographical, economic and cultural differences from continental Portugal.

Read More

Porto, Portugal: A Travel Guide

Posted by on Jun 6, 2018 | 1 comment

Porto, Portugal: A Travel Guide

Last Updated on

Spring has begun to fade into summer which means it’s time for the annual Europe trip! May is one of my favorite months to visit the continent and with my husband Dave working in Germany last month, I couldn’t resist tagging along and planning a few weeks of travel after his business trip wrapped up.

Last year, you may remember that we tackled a road trip through Ireland and a few new spots in Italy – Procida, Ischia, San Marino, the Amalfi Coast and the Italian Riviera. This year, the destination is Portugal!

I’d been to Portugal once, on Round the World #3, but I’d barely scratched the surface of this diverse country by devoting my time solely to Lisbon (there is so much more to see!). This time, I was determined to spread my Portuguese wings and venture north, south and offshore by visiting Porto, the Algarve region and the Azores during our 10-day journey.

We were also on a tighter budget than usual (due to our recent purchase of a boat in Seattle), so for this trip I would need to maximize my travel rewards points to keep our costs down. Spoiler alert: I was even more successful than I’d hoped in that endeavor, more on that in this post!

Read More

The Best of the Italian Riviera in 3 Days

Posted by on Sep 24, 2017 | 0 comments

The Best of the Italian Riviera in 3 Days

Last Updated on

The shining star of Italy’s Liguria region, the Italian Riviera stretches lazily along the Mediterranean connecting the South of France to Tuscany. Along that crescent-shaped coastline, you’ll find hidden turquoise coves sprinkled between stunning pastel-colored seaside towns.

After visiting Cinque Terre on our honeymoon, Dave and I were excited to head back to this beautiful part of Italy to see more. For this visit to the Italian Riviera, we chose Santa Margherita Ligure as our base of operation. With a central location along the coast and an abundance of reasonably-priced accommodations, it seemed like the perfect choice (and, indeed, it turned out to be).

Read More

Elba Island Italy: Tuscany’s Best Beaches

Posted by on Aug 19, 2017 | 2 comments

Elba Island Italy: Tuscany’s Best Beaches

Last Updated on

After a wonderful stay in the Republic of San Marino, we were so excited to head back to Florence for a visit to the villa where we got married. With our 2nd anniversary right around the corner, a reunion with our Italian family in Tuscany and a few days spent reminiscing about our beautiful wedding week were just what we needed!

The villa was even more magical than we remembered and we could have stayed for a month. But, alas, after a few days it was time to move on to the next stop on our Italian tour, the island of Elba. So, after reluctant farewells to our villa family, we hopped back in the car for the drive to the coast.

Read More

The Republic of San Marino: Italy’s Mountaintop Microstate

Posted by on Aug 14, 2017 | 1 comment

The Republic of San Marino: Italy’s Mountaintop Microstate

Last Updated on

After a glorious week island-hopping from Procida to Ischia and finally to the Amalfi Coast, it was time to head north. We hopped on the train from Sorrento to Naples to pick up the rental car that would be our primary transportation for the remainder of our time in Italy.

First up on the Italian road trip, a destination I’d always wanted to visit – the microstate of San Marino. Also known as the “Most Serene Republic of San Marino,” the world’s fifth smallest nation is an enclaved microstate completely surrounded by Italy.

Founded in A.D. 301 by a Christian stonemason named Marinus, San Marino is the lone survivor of Italy’s ancient city-state network. This tiny, landlocked nation situated at the top of Mount Titano somehow managed to outlast more powerful kingdoms like Genoa and Venice.

Read More