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 “Brno city break – essential sights and where to eat, drink, and stay”
If you’re craving for more of Amsterdam’s Dutch charm and magic but a little less of the crowds and buzz, take a road trip through Flevoland. It’s a region just an hour’s drive northeast of Amsterdam that will take you through the beautiful countryside and to charming canal towns. And yes, Giethoorn – which is every photographer/Instagrammer’s dream – is one of those gorgeous little towns.
While a day trip is doable, I’m pretty sure you’ll want to stay for the night. Check out this road trip itinerary for the best of Flevoland.
Continue reading “Driving from Amsterdam to Giethoorn – a road trip through Flevoland”
If you’ve spent at least several hours on Instagram or Pinterest looking for travel inspiration for a trip to Europe, chances are you’ve come across Hallstatt – a stunningly photogenic town in the middle of the Salzkammergut region of Austria.
Imagine: a calm blue lake mirroring the sky, mountain ranges setting a picture-perfect background, and pastel lakeside houses decked with flowerboxes lending the historic town a storybook vibe. It’s easy to superimpose a vision of yourself enjoying a little holiday in this charming town.
If you’re in for a visual tour or ready to start planning your trip, this Hallstatt travel guide will surely leave you in love with this town. Continue reading “Hallstatt travel guide – visiting Austria’s most photogenic town”
“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, travelers to Prague can’t help but feel the same way to some degree. Prague never gets old and it never goes out of style or season.
There’s always something new going on in Prague – be it a new row of restaurants, a new edgy café in an up-and-coming neighborhood, or a new quirky art installation. But at the same time, the old is splendidly preserved, the centuries’ worth of Gothic, Romantic, and Baroque architecture still standing proudly even after world wars, fires, and natural calamities.
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 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 guide to the city’s neighborhoods and best accommodations”
The Czech Republic is an amazing country with a wealth of culture, history, architecture, and natural beauty. In this 5-day itinerary for first-time visitors, you’ll fall in love with two of Europe’s most beautiful cities and get a taste of the great outdoors that makes hiking one of the Czechs’ favorite past times. By the end of your trip, you’ll realize 5 days is hardly enough. These are the sights that will surely make you come back. Continue reading “5 days in the Czech Republic – the best sights for your first visit”
Driving from Vienna to Salzburg is quick and easy. Salzburg is approximately 300 KM to the west of Vienna, and you can easily reach it via the A1 motorway (West Autobahn) in 3 hours – just about the same time it would take a train ride.
But if you’re up for a scenic road trip across Austria’s gorgeous countryside, don’t take the A1. Stretch out your drive from 3 hours to 3 days or more and visit these beautiful stops. Continue reading “Driving from Vienna to Salzburg – a scenic route through Austria’s countryside”
My train stops on the border town of Mikulov in South Moravia, and as I step out onto the platform, I am treated to the distinctive beauty of a Czech castle town: red terracotta roofs, twisted cobblestone streets, and an imposing 13th-century castle set against the backdrop of rolling hills and the outline of a distant mountain range.
But the normally sleepy town is abuzz this beautiful September weekend. It’s the annual Palavske vinobrani, a weekend-long wine festival that transforms the usually sleepy town into a big wild street party. And even first-time festival-goers like me know: where wine flows, merriment follows. Continue reading “South Moravia – revelry and relaxation in Czech Republic’s wine region”