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!!
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.
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.