A visit to Alsace is a trip back to your childhood.
You know, those long nights spent under a blanket with only a flashlight to guide you through the crumbling pages of a well-worn, well-loved book, its pages filled with beautiful princesses, dashing men, and eloquent animals. While the heroes and heroines would eventually find their way to enchanted forests and abandoned castles, their adventures would always begin in a tiny town, with pastel houses and wooden beams, a stork’s nest on a lookout tower, rickety bridges over quiet waterways, and glistening emerald hills in the distance.
That picture right there – the one in your mind right now – that’s precisely what Alsace looks like. Well, sans the magical animals, but it’s pretty close.
If you’ve ever wondered if the places in the storybooks are real, check out these real-life pictures of Alsace and relive your childhood adventures. Continue reading “10 best things to do in Alsace, France – a real-life storybook destination”
From the moment you step into Strasbourg, you’ll feel it. A pleasant, welcoming vibe that’s a lot more than the friendliness of locals, the ease of getting around, or the odd familiarity of the storybook houses. Even on your first hour in the city, you’ll feel a sense of belonging – that you’re not a tourist to be scrutinized or a stranger to be wary of. In a city that’s a mix of a lot of things, it’s just natural to fit in.
Strasbourg is known for many things – as the capital of the historic wine-growing region, Alsace; as the seat of the European Parliament; as the setting of one of the world’s biggest and oldest Christmas markets; and as a border city that derives from both French and German cultures – an intoxicating mix of countryside hospitality and multicultural charm.
Whether you’re here for the wine, the history and culture, or just to relax for a little holiday, there’s a lot to love in Strasbourg.
Continue reading “2 days in Strasbourg, France – best things to do in Alsace’s storybook capital”
Ready for wine, history, and great food? Buckle up – we’re going to Strasbourg!
Strasbourg is the capital and largest city of the Grand Est region of France, and is the official seat of the European Parliament. Being near the border of Germany, you’ll find a mix of Franco-German culture. If you’re a linguaphile, you’ll particularly love the thrill of being able to practice both your French and German during your stay.
Travelers who love exploring cities will bask in everything Strasbourg has to offer – a slew of Michelin-starred restaurants, cafes at every turn, endless shopping choices – all within a network of extensive cycling paths and convenient public transportation.
Even if you’re not a big city person, it’s worth spending a couple of days in Strasbourg. It’s a great base to explore the Bas-Rhin department of the historic region of Alsace, and you’ll find lots of green spaces within – the most notable being the Parc de l’Orangerie and the Jardin des Deux Rives.
To make your holiday as fun as possible, read on for my top recommendations on where to stay in Strasbourg.
Continue reading “Where to stay in Strasbourg, France – a guide to the city’s best districts and hotels”
Step into any of the world’s most exciting cities and you’re sure to find elements of the old and new.
The timeline begins in the historical center, showcasing the city’s oldest buildings and earliest traditions, perhaps the city’s oldest pub or a piece of cryptic medieval art. You hear the collective buzz of a hundred languages converged in one square, and make your way through people all looking for that perfect shot. As you walk outwards, a narrative unfolds. The buildings change gradually according to the city’s history – an era of opulence there, the dawn of a new artistic movement here. You fall in step with smartly-dressed locals all in a hurry to get somewhere – you’re the only one looking up at the buildings. You eventually reach a district that screams of the present – trendy restaurants, concept cafes, and brightly-lit shops with attractive displays of the latest styles, all punctuated by young people in pastels and bright colors, their faces hiding behind a laptop, a cup of coffee, or a phone.
In Tallinn, Estonia, the passage of time is not so linear. It’s as loopy and twisty as the streets of the city itself, winding through trees and buildings and time itself.
Continue reading “Where to stay in Tallinn, Estonia – neighborhood guide and best hotels”
Lying in the center of Prague, Vienna, and Budapest, it’s easy to miss Brno. For most travelers, it’s a train stop between Central Europe’s most popular destinations. But if you’re looking for a break from the ultra-touristy (looking at you, Prague) and expensive (ahem, Vienna) cities, Brno is the perfect layover.
In Brno, you’ll get to enjoy magnificent architecture, a vibrant food and drinks scene, and a couple of quirky attractions – minus the crowds and hefty price tags. Plus, you’ll be a short train ride away from Czech Republic’s best wineries housed in castle towns and charming villages, making this the perfect laidback city break.
Take a break from your hectic Central European bucket list. Add a couple of days in Brno to your itinerary and recharge in its artsy cafes, cool wine cellars, and sprawling green spaces. Here’s where to stay in Brno.
Continue reading “Where to stay in Brno, Czech Republic – best hotels in South Moravia’s exciting capital”
Get to know France beyond the glitz and glamor of its cities! Go for a road trip and get acquainted with its fragrant fields, cliffside castles, and vibrant vineyards. Here are 5 amazing road trips to take in France.
Continue reading “5 amazing road trips in France”
“Prague won’t let you go, the little mother has claws,” so said Franz Kafka, the capital’s most famous son.
And while Franz Kafka obviously had a deeper connection with the city, once you’ve been to Prague, it doesn’t quite let you go. One moment you’re walking to work, running through your never-ending to-do list in your mind, when a sight of an old rusty street lamp brings you back to Prague’s narrow and dimly-lit cobbled streets, the smell of roasted duck intermingling with the sweet aroma of cinnamon, strains of classical music and that unmistakable sound of clinking beer mugs spilling out onto the streets.
There’s much to love about Prague. While it is certainly a grand example of an old medieval city, with centuries’ worth of Gothic, Romantic, and Baroque architectures splendidly preserved and standing proudly after world wars, fires, and natural calamities failed to bring them down, there’s also always something new going on in the city. It could be a new row of restaurants, a new edgy café in an up-and-coming neighborhood, or a new quirky art installation.
All these led to the Prague of today: a city that goes from medieval to modern, conventional to quirky, historic to hipster, and sacred to scandalous in a few blocks.
So it goes that your experiences in Prague can depend heavily on which neighborhood you choose to spend your days and nights. Whether you’re up for a crash course in European history and arts, a romantic holiday peppered with food and shopping trips, or you’re here for the beer, there’s a lovely Prague district that won’t let you go. Continue reading “Where to stay in Prague – a complete guide to the city’s best neighborhoods and hotels”
Picturesque villages, spectacular coasts, and delectable cuisine – these are just a few reasons why France is one of the world’s favorite destinations! Go beyond the cities and inject joie de vivre to your next French adventure by hitting the road and exploring the country, one amazing stopover at a time. Here’s everything you need to know about driving in France.
Continue reading “Driving in France – everything you need to know for your road trip”
When you’re on holiday, you get to have the most indulgent dilemmas of all.
Like: “Should we wake up early tomorrow to catch the sunrise and take gorgeous morning pictures of the lakeside? Or sleep in and cuddle on our impossibly snug and cozy queen bed?”
If you’re in the Czech Republic or planning to visit soon, you’re probably agonizing: “Where should I go after Prague?”
While the popular answer may be the medieval town of Cesky Krumlov or the spa town of Karlovy Vary, let me invite you to a cool alternative city break: Brno, the capital of South Moravia.
Continue reading “Best things to do in Brno – essential sights and where to eat, drink, and stay”
In a word, Vienna is awesome. Not in the way that everything seems to be “awesome” these days, so much so that is has lost its meaning. Vienna is awesome in the truest sense of the word – inducing awe and inspiring an overwhelming feeling of reverence and admiration.
Continue reading “3 days in Vienna, Austria – the perfect mix of classic landmarks and local gems”