So you want to see all of Europe, but you can't afford to drive there and eat all the food you want while still seeing every site! Well CAMPING is the answer!!! Buy a tent, blow up mattress, sleeping bag and maybe some other essentials and you are all set. We have been doing it all summer and have been able to see so much on such a little budget.
Our trip started off great, we found a perfect camping site in Austria called Weinland Camping. It was perfect for a quick night stay and only cost us 20 euros. There was a nice pizza place on the pond and a waterslide into the water for a quick dip. Perfect for the kids and the adults.
Driving through Slovenia was a slow process. We did have to stop and purchase a vinette before entering the country. Most of the road had construction going on but it never came to a stop. Once we reached Croatia the speed picked up. There are lots of mountains along this path and few roads to choose from in this country. We took the Autobahn heading straight south. Be prepared for lots of tunnels where the speed limit slows down to 100 k/h. They did have tolls along the way but they take credit card. Remeber they use a different currency than euros. You normally take a ticket when you enter the road and pay when you exit, so you didn't have to stop that much.
Before we reached the wonderful campsite, we had to drive through a small sliver of Bosnia. All it requires is a quick passport check and then you are on your way. Keep in mind you go through two checkpoints, entering and leaving. We spent a total of 15 minutes driving through it.
We stayed just outside the town of Orebic, in a campsite called Adriatic Holiday Resort. It was a perfect paradise to relax, camp, swim, snorkel, scuba dive, and eat great food. The resort had a restaurant that was open for lunch and dinner. The staff was amazing! Just next to it was a small beach, perfect for everyone! Be sure to bring good water shoes; pebbles line the water in all shapes and sizes. There was also a breakfast area for a small price. We normally made eggs and sausage every morning on our small camping skillet.
Just a short drive into town, there was a harbor with a few shops and lots of restaurants. We often went to the grocery store and cooked at our tent. The resort has a large fridge where you can rent a locked shelf. We even took the ferry over to the island of Peljesac, home town of Marco Polo. This town was great for visiting. Lots of history, food, picturesque streets and more. If would have been nice to stay there as well, but we didn't know how easy it was to get over to the island. The ferry leaves numerous times during the day and the tickets were very easy to purchase. Almost all signs were in English and every one spoke it.
The resort offers scuba diving. There is a wrecked ship just a few hundred meters from the campsite that allows those with a license to check out. For those of you without a license you may do a dive just in the blocked off area. Still a fun time and see through the clear waters.
Bring your goggles so you can go swimming, even in some deep water just close to shore! We had our kayaks with us so we were able to venture the coast line as well as some small islands in the area. The resort has them there if you want to rent some. I would say take a day and just venture out. We found some great coves to jump off rocks and sunbathe.
In all, it was a very relaxing trip. We spent 9 nights here and only spent 250 euros total! That would have normally lasted us maybe 2 nights for a hotel. There are tons of campsites along the Croatian coastline and they are all affordable and family-friendly.
Things to do: Swim, kayak, wine tasting, boat day trips, scuba dive, snorkel, ferry to Peljesac, Marco Polo Museum, submarine ride.
What to eat: Homemade macaroni(pictured below), olives, smoked ham, caprese, WINE, Beer, fish, shrimp, calamari, anything from the sea!
What to Bring: Sunscreen, large thick blanket for beach, floaty, water shoes, bug spray (if camping), umbrella, be ready for lots of heat in the summer. Cash for tolls, they do take credit card.
Here are some of our photos from the trip!
Have any questions, comment below!!
We started the day by heading downtown, checking out all the Christmas stalls. There was lots of food, souvenirs and a great atmosphere all around. Once again it was amazing to view all the architecture down every street. We decided we wanted to take a cozy ride to the castle. We could have easily walked there, but the tour guide said he would show us a few different locations along the way. It was very worth it. He pointed out the Jewish quarter, shopping area, older buildings, and the house where a musician lived long ago. It was a sweet ride with a heater at our feet and blanket over our legs. Even on the cold day, the blanket and heater were enough to keep us warm. It was awesome to get our own little tour in style (picture below). We ended on top of the huge hill in the city where the castle sits on and the President of Prague resides.
Opting out of going inside of all the buildings there, we decided to just stroll around the area. It was very crowded with tourist and we got a later start. Try and go early to get a place in line. If I were to go again, I would head inside. The views from the top were phenomenal.
We walked down to the river and found a place to eat. It was a boat right on the river called Grosseto Marina. They had tasty pizza, salads and homemade ravioli. The food choices here were very similar to Germany. Try the beer! Be sure to cross the big Charles Bridge for the best experience of Prague. Artists, venders and performers line the bridge.
Later that night we decided to take a pub crawl. Ours was a great experience but a little rushed. You walk and take busses to bars and clubs. Just make sure before signing up you know there are a lot of people in the one we took and it was hard to keep with the group. We had 8 of us and lost 4 along the way. Maybe try a different company for a smaller group and less rushed experience. All in all we had a blast and even got a bottle of champagne since it was New Years Eve!
We went with Clock Tower Pub Crawl
There is a huge mall (where we parked) with tons of stores and then a walking street near by with lots of chain restaurants and stores. Even if you just come here for the shopping, you won’t be disappointed. We had Mexican food there and it was amazing. Later in the day we ate at a Czech restaurant called, VKolkovně. I got a bread bowel with potato soup and others got snitzels and bratwursts .Later that night we walked around the shopping street. We stopped by the bar Harley and spent our time at a huge table making memories. It was a sweet biker bar with a great atmosphere. Most bars there allow smoking. Just be prepared for smokey clothes! (they had a coat check, which was nice!)
Harley’s Bar- Dlouhá 18,110 00 Praha 1,Tschechische Republik
George and Dragon - Staroměstské nám. 606/11,110 00 Praha 1-Staré Město,Tschechische Republik
The Dubliner Irish Pub – sweet cellar bar, curved brick walls - I want to try there food. Just went for a few beers
The running joke throughout our trip, check please! I mean can we get our bill. If your looking for an amazing trip with lots to see, tons of history and great food, Prague is the place for you. I'm already planning my next trip there. Every single building is unique, with there baroque style wrapping around every doorway and window. The breathtaking view from the top of the castle shows off just how large the city is. It goes on for quite some distance. The Vltava River runs through the center of the city. It also sports numerous bridges that give the city a picturesque-look. It is a must see!
The drive is short and easy with one road to stay on. We pulled off just as we got to the Germany and Czech boarder to purchase our vinette. It only cost us 16 Euros and I was glad they did take Euros as well as the Czech Crown. You can also exchange your money there, but we opted to just pull out money from the ATM once we got to the city. The streets arn't too intimidating, I hate driving in cities, but it all worked out. We parked downtown to retrieve our keys for our apartment. We used airbnb.com to find a great place downtown on Dlouhá street. It was perfect. It was way cheaper than the hotels and it had two rooms, pull out couch, balcony, kitchen and bathroom. We couldn't have been closer to all the resturants and bars. We went during New Years Eve, so it was important for us to not have to take public transportation to get to places.
Our First Night there we at Hard Rock Cafe just within the Old Town square, It was amazing and we were craving some American food. We watched the Astronomical Clock change, which consistied of it ringing some bells and moving around. That happens every hour on the hour. There was was christmas market still going on with lots of vendors, food stands and lights up. Very cool to see at this time of year. Lots of cobble stone everywhere so be prepared for bumpy roads and sidewalks. We ended the night with some bars. You can see the list of them below. All within the the old town area. Easy walking and navigating.
We went out to a few different bars the first night:
Hard Rock Cafe: We had to, Amazing food!
George and Dragon: English Bar (good food and drinks)
Beer Museum Bar: We did the beer tasting with 10 different samples. They had 30 on tap
NoD: Art Gallery bar, very smokey in the bar area and weird video room with lounge chairs. Very odd bar but cool to see.
Roxy: This was a club that has multiple levels, dance floors, and odd hallways/spaces. Neat vibes here.
NOTE: Every place that had dancing or larger bar (not the pubs) offered a coat check
Day 2: blog coming soon!
Apartment Info (Amazing 2BD Old Town Square flat)
Parking - Palladium (shopping Mall with parking garage in basement)
Nám. Republiky 1,110 00 Praha 1,Tschechische Republik
After traveling to a few different countries this year I found the best option for not having a working phone but still needing to use my maps function. It's a great FREE App called City Maps 2Go Offline Maps. It's offered for both Apple and Android. It allows you to download all major city maps before you get there. Once it's downloaded to your phone, you can view a working GPS that shows where you are, pin your hotel/attractions before you get there so you know your plan of travel. It shows you how far away something is from where you are standing. There is also a working search bar, just type in the attraction/place/bar/street that you want and it will find it for you! I'm in love with the app and it saves us from buying data in a new country.
Castle 1. Fortress Ehrenbreitstein
After a long day of traveling up and down the Rhine, we decided to start in the city of Koblenz for a few hours. Koblenz is a fairly large city with lots to do and see. It is located right where the Rhine and Mosel connect, also known as Deutsches Eck (German Corner). It has spectacular views of the river and Fortress Ehrenbreitstein. Lots of statues to see and large walking area along the river.
We started off the day by just parking the car downtown. There are plenty of parking houses to choose from. The Koblenz cable cable car was top on my list to do in order to see both the city and the fortress. Head towards the Rhine River and walk to where the two rivers meet. There will be a ticket office where you can purchase both your fortress ticket and cable car ticket together as one. Next head to onto the cable car. Enjoy the easy ride to the top of the fortress. We went when it was almost a downpour, so we lugged umbrellas around all day. About half of the fortress is outside half inside. The inside portion is a museum filled with knowlege about the fortress, worth a look around.
We ate lunch at a small little restaruant along the river, Maximilians Altes Kaufhaus. I'm sure there were more to choose from but this was the first one we saw since it was cold and rainy. I had the gulash and it was amazing. After luch, we strolled down to where all the shops were. At least half the day was spent in Koblenz.
Pretty big cable car with lots of room!
On our ride to the top! Just a little rain!
We obviously couldn't see everything in this trip, but we did see a lot. Make sure to make this trip a few days long, you will be glad you did! I also forgot to mention all the vinyards EVERYWHERE!! Try some local wine with your meal. Bring your hiking shoes, lots of hiking up and down from the castles. You can also take the train on both sides of the Rhine River but there will be even extra walking from the stops, but each little town had a stop. I felt better having the car just because everything was very spaced out. I feel like with the train you would need way more time to see everything.
We were finally able to make it to the Rhine River. With its rolling hills covered in vineyards and barges passing through, it was a beautiful scene. We stayed in a nice hotel in the town of Bad Bresig, just north of Koblenz by 20 minutes. It was a beautiful hotel with a great breakfast buffet. The only problem we encountered was that the water was too low. The day cruise ships weren’t stopping at our dock, unless we stood out there and waved them down. (that didn’t seem like something I wanted to do)
We drove there, so it was perfectly fine to not take the boat system. There was also a train that rain right alongside the river. If you wanted to venture to Cologne and Koblenz, we stayed in the perfect location. If you want to only see the castles along the river, I would recommend staying south of Koblenz or even in Koblenz. We made it work though.
Our main objective was to see castles. We were able to make it to six castles all together and more from just driving around. Four the first day and two the second day. The upside to driving was we could park much closer to the castles than if we took the train or boat. If you are with people who do not like to walk up steep grades, a car is the better choice.
We also stopped by the Maria Laach Abbey. It was a beautiful Abbey and is still used today by monks. When we were there, they were begining a ceremony. We got a little nervous because we thought we were locked in for the whole ritual but they just locked one of the entrance doors. Just be aware that they are actually using the Abbey daily and be courteous to their space. There were beautiful gardens, hotel and shops. Park across the street.
We ended the night with dinner by our hotel. There were a long line of amazing restaurants just beside the river. Hotel Ankler was the name of where we ate and we had Jagar snitzel, steak and cordon bleu.
We almost are to the end here!
We took the train to the top of the Zugspitze mountain peak. We decided we should take the cable car down. The above video is out adventure down. It looks pretty scary while getting on, but once we were inside, it got a lot better. The rocking of the car was the only thing that worried me. The cable car dropped us off right next to the Eibsee Lake.
We then waited at the train station and it took us back to where we started. The train station was only a 7 minute walk from out hotel. It was a cozy hotel just minutes from downtown. This was ideal since there wasn't too much parking downtown. The hassle of finding a space is not too fun when you could just walk there. We enjoyed lots of new food while we were here. A small quiet steakhouse was the perfect place for our thanksgiving dinner. Everyone tried something new, including kangaroo steak.
Our hotel was Treff Hotel. The staff was amazing and we made some friends at the bar. There was even a pool and hot tub in the center of the hotel with a great view of the mountains.
An old Cable car that is sitting on display at the top of the mountain.
To say the least, I was intimidated by the alps. Have you seen them lately? They are HUGE! Not really knowing what we were getting ourselves into, we just jumped into it without looking. We first arrived at the Hausbergbahn where we found a place to rent ski equipment and take lessons. We opted out of the lessons but maybe next time we will look into it. The staff was exceptionally friendly and spoke English which is always a plus. They had it all, from boots to helmets all the way to jackets and snow pants. Everything was covered if you don’t ski regularly. We grabbed our gear, purchased our all day lift ticket and headed up the mountain.
Once we got to the top we were blown away. Not only did we feel like the tiniest form of life on the mountain, we were also getting passed left and right by both young kids and older folks. How the heck are they able to ski so well? We headed straight for the “kiddy” slopes. We slowly begin to gain our confidence. After numerous runs down the short slopes, we decide to head down the mountain on one of the longer trails. Without realizing what trail we were on, we head down trail marked 1. (see figure one)
THAT WAS A TERRIBLE MISTAKE! We didn’t know it was labeled a red/intermediate trail. Apparently we were not ready for that just quite yet. The first little run went okay. We flew down it without any flaws. Then a few more goes and it got extremely harder. Every next drop seemed steeper than the one before. After I fell twice I decided that I would be safer if I scooted down the side for a bit. With my husband next to my side he encouraged me to try it again. Almost in tears I put my skis back on and finished the mountain. It was the hardest trail I’ve ever done. I’m glad that Eric was there to push me. Without his help, who knows, I may still be sitting on the side of that mountain.
All in all I realized a few things on that mountain. 1. Always read the map first and know what it means to be a red sign. 2. Never give up 3. Believe in your spouse.
With those three rules in mind, you too will be able to accomplish the Alps. Start with what you know you can do. Staying on the beginner/easy trails are not all that bad. Build your confidence. Know what you can and can’t do. Our only regreat was that we didn’t go higher that the first lift. There we numerous blue/easy trails that were higher. Our goal for next time is to make it to all the blue trails.
Tips on what to bring up the mountain:
Trails of Garmisch Classic
The Travelin' Jones
My journey in life.