When it comes to relaxing holidays, there’s no town like a wine town. One: you have the perfect weather that helps create the perfect grapes. Two: these grapes create amazing wine that inspires delicious food. And three: this makes everyone giddy happy and friendly!
But too much of a good thing can be oh-so-wonderful, so we add one more ingredient to this perfect holiday recipe: the open road. And that’s exactly how we spent our holiday in Alsace, France’s northeastern wine-growing region: a road trip through beautiful towns, lush vineyards, and breathtaking mountain roads, all while filling up on good food, great wine, and amazing sights.
Continue reading “Driving in Alsace – a road trip in the gorgeous French wine region”
If you’re in need of a holiday, you can’t go wrong with a trip to Alsace. With gentle weather, amazing gastronomy, and unbelievably friendly folks everywhere, a trip to Alsace is exactly what a holiday should be. And after several months of going from one wine region to the next, I pretty much have a solid rule of thumb: if the place is good enough for the grapes, it’s good enough for you.
Now you may be tempted to make Strasbourg your home while in Alsace. While Strasbourg is an amazing city (and not to be missed!), it’s a good 1-2 hours’ drive away from the best of Alsace’s historic wine route and natural landscapes. Rather than spending your precious holiday time driving back and forth, break up your stay into two bases: Strasbourg to the north and Colmar to the south. Here’s where to stay in Colmar.
Continue reading “Where to stay in Colmar, France – the perfect base for a holiday in Alsace”
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 “Best things to do in Strasbourg, France”
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 – a guide to the city’s best districts and hotels”
Here’s a place that’s NOT in most Central European itineraries: South Moravia. In fact, you may not even have heard of it.
But if you’re planning a holiday to the Prague-Vienna-Budapest triad, you’ll want to check out this beautiful region that’s right smack in the middle of your Central European itinerary. Take 5 minutes to check out the 10 best things to do in South Moravia here – and you might just have to make room for it in your holiday. Continue reading “10 best things to do in South Moravia, Czech Republic’s wine region”
From its medieval castle to its meandering cobbled alleys, Cesky Krumlov is the stuff of fairytales. Until now, it remains one of my favorite destinations in the world – and definitely worth more than a day trip from Prague.
You can easily spend two to three days in Cesky Krumlov. The first day will most likely be spent staring at the beautiful town square from the castle tower, pinching yourself in disbelief at just how amazingly gorgeous the old town is. Visiting the town’s top sights will take a day or two, while the enchanting Blansky forest surrounding the old town is worth a couple of days of short, relatively easy hikes.
If you’re still thinking if an overnight trip to Cesky Krumlov is worth it, you should definitely go for it. On my first visit, I originally planned to stay just for 3 days. I ended up extending my stay – and still I wished I stayed longer.
So skip the day trip and go for at least an overnight trip. Once you get there, you’ll know what I mean. In the meantime, here’s where to stay in Cesky Krumlov. Book early – Cesky Krumlov’s not quite Prague yet in terms of tourist density, but it’s getting pretty close now that this romantic medieval town’s “secret” is out.
Continue reading “Where to stay in Cesky Krumlov – the best hotels for a magical stay”
On our last night in Cesky Krumlov, we came back from hiking around the Blansky Forest to an empty old town. Having hiked more than 20 kilometers, we were in need of some food but found most of the establishments were already closed and few people were out walking along the lamppost-lit cobblestone streets.
We checked the time – barely 8 PM. What was wrong with people? Granted, it was a Sunday, but still, this was Cesky Krumlov! How can they be sleeping?
Continue reading “What’s Your Travel Superpower?”
My most vivid travel memories always involve food.
I first visited the Czech Republic in 2014. I went around the old town and the castle complex, took a hundred photos along Charles Bridge, and waited for the astronomical clock’s hourly Apostles’ march. But of all these wonderful and historic things in Prague, there’s one thing I remember the most: the smell of cinnamon.
I remember watching the rows of trdelnik grilling in a little stall to the side of the old town square, the crystals of sugar caramelizing further with each turn of the rolled dough, letting out that irresistible smell of burnt sugar. I remember getting my hands on one that was indulgently topped with vanilla ice cream despite the cool weather. I remember biting into the doughy exterior, the cinnamon flavor and caramel mixing perfectly with the soft ice cream.
Continue reading “Cooking Czech cuisine at home”
Here’s how the typical Central European travel itinerary goes: you spend a few days in Prague with several early morning attempts to take pictures at the Charles Bridge, board a train to Vienna where you blitz through the many historical churches and museums, maybe even spend an evening at the opera and have a slice of sachertorte, then take another train to Budapest, where you fill your camera with more crowded pictures of the Fisherman’s Bastion. By the end of this trip, you hardly remember anything and you just want to collapse in bed and take another vacation.
I get it. For most of us non-European travelers, Europe is this shiny, star-studded continent filled with some of the world’s best, most romantic, most historical – most superlative – cities in the world that we just want to cram our itineraries and see ALL. OF. THEM. The lack of borders and ease of movement is also mind-blowing for most of us that we get a little bit (or a lot) trigger-happy when planning our trips.
But here’s a radical suggestion: take it slow. Instead of rushing from one country to the next, take some time to really explore a place. While capital cities like Prague and Vienna are, of course, must-visits for first-time travelers, you can make your trip a lot more interesting with stop-overs to the little towns in between. You’ll establish a deeper connection with the places you visit, gain a better understanding of the culture, and have a more fulfilling holiday experience.
Continue reading “Driving from Prague to Vienna, slowly through Czech Republic’s scenic south”
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”