Germany has Islands! | We visited Norderney

Did you know that Germany has beaches? In fact, they have more than 10 islands located on the North shore that you probably haven’t heard of. We took the boat to one of the larger islands; Norderney.

Norderney is quite a popular island amongst Germans that are looking for that seaside breeze. But for many Europeans, this island still remains pretty lowkey. Although I had never heard of the German islands before, I was pleased to receive an invitation to discover Norderney.

How to get there

From Amsterdam, you drive up to Norddeich which takes around 3,5 hours. You can park your car at one of three parking-lots that will cost you 5 euro per day. From here you take the ferry. Tickets are available online and for a return ticket you pay €22,-. You can also bring your car, but you won’t really need it on Norderney. The journey only takes 50 minutes, and there is plenty of space to sit or buy something at the ferry café.

Ferry to Norderney

Norderney will surprise you

In all fairness, once you set foot on the island, you will notice that 80% of Norderney visitors are above the age of 50 plus. Although this may be true (and there is nothing wrong with that). Therefore I expected the island to be a bit dull and outdated. Boy, I was wrong. To beging with, the architecture looks amazing. For example, you’ll notice the many white stylish buildings and houses. Not to mention the chique hotels and café’s and the many amazing restaurants for you to try out.

Norderney Beach chairs

Where to stay

In general, there are plenty of guesthouses and hotels to choose from, but I stayed at one of the coolest boutique hotels on the island. In fact, Hotel Inselloft is more like a modern style apartment complex that includes a restaurant (Esszimmer), bakery/café, shop and spa. Even the reception area isn’t what you would normally see. The vibe here is lowkey, even though everything looks neat and stylish thanks to high-quality materials, cool brands and fine fabrics. I was lucky enough to stay in one of their lofts, a room with an equipped kitchen, large bathroom, outside terrace and 2 bedrooms, one of which was located up the stairs.

Hotel Inselloft Norderney
Loft room at Inselloft Norderney

Inselloft Norderney

Food & Drink

If you stay here, you must try to have dinner at Esszimmer, the hotel’s restaurant. Chef Felix Wessler, that cooks everything from the open style kitchen, changes the menu per season. Most of the ingredients are local, which you can definitely taste. In the morning, the restaurants operates as the breakfast room where cooking is done at the stove in the evening, guests can help themselves to a rich buffet in the morning. The bakery next door is great for a barista-style coffee and people from the whole island literally stand in line for their freshly baked bread.

Inselloft

Breakfast Inselloft, Norderney
Breakfast

Esszimmer, Norderney
Restaurant Esszimmer

Things to do

During the summer months, Norderney has plenty of events, including a music festival. But there are a few things the island is famous for which we listed down here.

Enjoy the 14 km stretch beaches

The best way to discover Norderney’s beaches is by bicycle. Cycle past the Northern beach and continue through the beautiful dunes. In between, stop at several beach houses and café’s for a drink or delicious lunch. If you like skinny dipping, you can do this at the Oase beach, which is also one of the nicer beaches. If you feel more comfortable with your clothes on, you should try Weisse Duene (hence the name) or the far East beach on Norderney. The only way to get there is by foot and is quite a nice walk for 7km that ends at a shipwreck.

Norderney beach
Nordstrand

Norderney beach
Oase Beach

Relax at the Badehaus

There is no place like it. This infamous pool & spa is known for its diversity in bath temperatures and the natural salt water. From sauna’s and dark salt baths, to ice-cold rain showers and jacuzzi’s. I enjoyed a signature schlick body wrap, which is basically mud from the sea that smells like a fish market but is great for your skin! Next to that, there is also a family swimming pool with a laser light waterslide that I couldn’t get enough of. Check www.norderney.de/badehaus-norderney to book an appointment.

Watch the sunset at Milchbar

If the weather is nice, Milchbar is packed with people that sip on cocktails and watch the sun set in the North sea. We don’t blame them because it really is the best spot on the island to do so. Milchbar also offers cakes, salads and more.

Sunset
Sunset at the Milchbar

Have lunch at one of the many beach bars

Funny enough, Norderney has many café and restaurants that are stylish and trendy. Some of my favourites are the lowkey Surfcafé,and Weisse Düne, upscale Strandpieper and of course the chill Milchbar for the best Aperol Spritze.

Beach chairs Weisse Duene
Weisse Düne

Surfcafe Norderney
Lunch at Surfcafé

Shopping

Although Norderney isn’t comparable to a city, there are surprisingly plenty of cobblestone streets with boutiques stores plus small eateries. Must try: Matjes fish on a bread roll.

cycling Norderney
Explore the island! Bicycles are available for rent at Hotel Inselloft

My verdict:

All things considered, Norderney is probably one of the biggest surprises of 2019 for me. The Frisian island is for suitable for families, pensioners but also couples will love this island if you are looking for an easy going vibe, long stretch beaches and great food options. I’m curious to see the rest of Germany’s islands!

Exclusive Offer!

If you book a stay of at least two nights at Hotel Inselloft and enter the code WANDERLUST when making your reservation, you will receive a 30 EUR voucher for Restaurant Marienhöhe directly opposite the hotel on arrival. Valid for reservations between 1. October 2019 and 31. March 2020. Please Note: Restaurant Marienhöhe is closed between 1. and 26. December and a voucher for this period is excluded.

Happy travels.

Elke

Konstanz City Guide

Berlin, Hamburg or München. All cities that you have heard of. But today we want to introduce you a lesser known German city that deserves a mention; Konstanz.

Located next to Lake Constance (Bodensee) and near the border of Switzerland, Konstanz is a great option if you want to combine more destinations in a short period. It has the charm of a German city, yet it feels more like a southern holiday destination, especially during summer. The easiest way to get here is by train or car because it doesn’t have an airport. That saying, it depends on the destination you’re traveling from of course.

City Guide Konstanz

Konstanz can be described as a peaceful city where people enjoy the outdoors and enjoy long summer evenings with friends.

Where to stay

Hotel prices can be quite expensive in Konstanz so it’s great to have an option that is reasonably affordable plus comfortable. We stayed at ibis Styles, which is playful, stylish and low key. You’ll find all sorts of travellers here. Families, couples, old & young and even business travellers. Every ibis Styles hotel is unique and has its own style and theme. Because Konstanz is located next to the water, it was no surprise that the hotel played into that.

ibis styles Konstanz
The bar at ibis Styles Konstanz

Our Room

We stayed in a family room on the top floor which was perfect because it had 2 separate parts but could also be transformed into one large area. This meant our little boy could sleep peacefully while we watched our favourite series. It includes a small kitchen with a fridge and a bar.

Ibis Styles Konstanz
ibis Styles Konstanz

Breakfast was actually surprisingly good! Croissants, crunchy bread rolls, fruit and healthy oats could be found at the morning buffet. Nice to know: they are currently refurbishing their garden that will feature a Jeu de Boules area and plenty of space for outdoor seating.

WIN WIN WIN

Because we are this years ibis Styles ambassadors, we can make ONE lucky person happy with a free night for 2 people at an ibis Styles Hotel of choice, located in the Benelux! Your free stay will include free wifi and a good breakfast of course. All you need to do is, comment below or below our Facebook post about Konstanz and tag the person you want to take with you! *Please note, that travel cost are not included.

Konstanz City Guide
Yes, that’s me swimming in the river of Konstanz

What to do

  • Schänzle
    Locals enjoy the sunset here and socialise with friends. Locals come here to relax, eat and drink.
  • Bodensee Therme Pool
    If you have kids, you should visit this fun and beautiful outdoor swimming pool. Next door is a therma bath which you need to pay extra for if you want to use it, but you can also swim in the lake. Plenty of slides and a kiddies pool fo the little ones.
  • Strandbad Horn
    Right next to the pool, there is a free sunbathing spot that is lovely. You can swim in Lake Constance and there is a sandy area, plus enough space.
  • Mainau flower island
    Just offshore from Lake Constance you’ll find this very special island with greenhouses, rose gardens, and acres of other beautiful flowers. Because of Konstanz semitropical climate, some of the most stunning flowers grow here.

Swimmingpool Konstanz

Konstanz, Germany
Shopping at Das Voglhaus

Where to Eat

The most important thing about a travel guide is the food right? Konstanz has plenty of choice, but there are some that stand out from the bunch.

  • Holly’s
    Such a nice place by the water with friendly staff and plenty of food choices! The interior is funky stylish, plus they have a huge outside terrace. Oh, and they also have an ice-cream bar that is just too good to skip. hollys.de
  • Wohnzimmer
    Translated to living room and that is exactly what the vibe is. Comfy chairs and sofa’s make it feel like you are stepping into your mothers living room. They mainly serve meat but also veggie burgers. Facebook
  • Das Voglhaus
    This all vegetarian and mostly vegan spot has been around for over 20 years! You can get healthy juices, good coffee, homemade cake and lunch here. Sustainability and animal wellbeing is key here, but they mannaged to combine that with a modern style which turned Das Voglhaus the hotspot of Konstanz. If you walk to the downstairs toilet, you end up in their next door gift shop which is also worth a visit! www.das-voglhaus.de
  • Hafenhalle
    Next to the harbour of Konstanz, you’ll find this traditional Biergarten, bar and restaurant. The food is local and mostly homemade. Come here and stay until the stars appear. www.hafenhalle.com

Hollys Konstanz
Holly’s Konstanz

food and drink at Kon
Veggie hotspot Das Voglhaus

Das Voglhaus Konstanz
Vitamins at Das Voglhaus

In short, Konstanz is a great alternative for a city trip if you are planning to travel through Germany or Switzerland!

Love,

Elke

*This article was written in collaboration with ibis Styles

 

Switzerland Guide 2019 by Wander-Lust

Switzerland is simply one of the most beautiful places in the world! We never received so many direct messages on social media as we did on Elke’s last trip to the Swiss Bern region. So here it is, the Switzerland Guide 2019 with all those amazing places you so loved on Instagram.

Getting There

If you live in Europe, Switzerland is perfectly set in the middle and pretty easy to get to. We decided to make it a car roadtrip because of the many places we wanted to visit, plus it’s a better option for the environment too! Tip: get yourself a Swiss vignette for on your car window so you can use the toll roads. It will cost you about €35,- and it will be valid for 1 year. Notably, Diesel in Switzerland is more expensive compared to normal fuel so keep that in mind. Also, speeding tickets are extremely high, so keep your foot off the gas a little and watch out for those speeding camera’s.

Switzerland roads
Stunning roads in Switzerland


Jungfrau Region

I started my trip in Meiringen / Hasliberg, where you will find mountains and cute villages.If you can, try to bring your GoPro camera to film your driving route because it is really amazing. This route is also very popular with motorcyclist because of the many corners and pretty surroundings. I checked in at Hotel Wetterhorn, just 40 minutes from Luzerne. Waking up here is a dream. The hotel used to be a lush holiday home back in 1907 and was recently turned into a modern style Swiss hotel.

Hotel Wetterhorn
Spritze up your life!

The hotel has a large garden area where you can relax on the wooden swing, or enjoy an Apérol Spritze on the terrace which is connected to the Wetterhorn restaurant. The restaurant serves a great buffet breakfast (appreciated by those who love healthy food), and a 4-course set dinner which is ever changing. Nice to know: Underneath the restaurant you will find a club where concerts and performances are held during special occasions. I stayed in a Wetterhorn Suite which has a balcony, equipped kitchen and lounge area. Great for families!

Hotel Wetterhorn Switzerland
Comfy bed at Hotel Wetterhorn

The Gelmerbahn

If you have a fear of heights, I would normally tell you not to even think about doing this, but having experienced this myself, I highly recommend the Gelmerbahn to anyone! So what is it? It’s basically a cable train which takes you all the way up Handegg mountain and Gelmersee lake. With an incline of 106%, it’s the 2nd steepest train ride in Europe! Tickets are 32CHF and you need to book a time as the train only has space for 24 people. At the top you can wander around the Gelmersee (lake) and wait for the train to come up again.

Gelmersee | Switzerland Guide
At the top of the Gelmerbahn you find Gelmersee

Off the Beaten Track

When you drive back, you must stop by the Rosenlaui Glacier. The drive there is impressive enough if you decide not to climb up the 5-km glacier after all. The walk up the glacier takes about 1 hour (back and forth). Nearby the entrance is a nice restaurant that serves soup, salads and decent coffee. Notably, getting here by car is possible but quite narrow. We did it with our Peugeot 508 and it worked fine. (plus you can stop where ever you want to take photo’s!) I was there during high season and it wasn’t busy at all!

Rosenlaui Glacier Switzerland
Coming up to the Glacier, you’ll find this stunning backdrop


Lauterbrunnen

From the Rosenlaui Glacier it’s only an hour drive to your next stop; Lauterbrunnen. Oh yes, this picturesque Swiss town is not to be missed. First of all, you are welcomed by massive mountains as you drive through the valley. Secondly, the waterfalls! fairytales really do exist and you’ll realize it here. Read more here about the fairytale guide to Lauterbrunnen. On the contrary, it is not the cheapest of places. We stayed in a fantastic Airbnb, but you can also opt for a day trip.

Lauterbrunen village


Mänlichen / Junfraujong

From Lauterbrunnen you can go up the mountain by train. This is a must do because the train ride itself is super nice! Buy your tickets at the train station which is located near the COOP supermarket. You can park your car for 24 hours or less which will cost you a maximum of €17,-. The train passes Wengen for nice photo opportunities but we continued all the way up to Kleine Scheidegg. There you can have lunch in one of the café’s on the hill and enjoy the sunshine before heading back down.

Train Lauterbrunnen Switzerland
The train ride takes about 40 minutes

Kleine Scheidegg Switzerland

Kandersteg

Our next stop was Kandersteg. This time I stayed in a traditional Swiss hotel named Hotel Alfa Soleil which is family owned. The hotel has been around for years but a located at a great spot for those that want to hike the next day. Secondly, our room had the best balcony view! The hotel’s restaurant Nico’s, is known for their great set courses and wonderful outside seating area. Most of their veggies and herbs come from the Hotel’s garden and you can taste that! 

Switzerland Guide 2019
The village of Kandersteg

But the main reason people stay in this hotel is because from here you can easily visit the famous and beautiful Oeschinnen lake. Nice to know: The hotel includes a free gondola ride up to Oeschinen valley, together with many discounts around the area. The village of Kandersteg is nice to walk around with a view shops and café’s, plus there is a public pool to cool off during summer.

Switzerland Guide 2019
Hotel Alfa Soleil balcony view

Oeschinen Lake

One of Switzerland’s most famous lakes, yet I needed to see it. From our hotel, it was only a 10 minute walk to the gondola that takes you up in about 7 minutes. Upon arrival you will see a Swiss Rodelnbahn that you must try! For just €4,- you can enjoy a ride overlooking the Swiss Alps. If you do this before 11am, it’s not so busy.

Switzerland Guide 2019
This was fun!

To begin with, the walk to Oeschinen Lake is beautiful. Tip: wear a pair of good walking shoes and bring enough water! If you are traveling with kids, make sure you take the easy route. Not all paths are suitable for strollers. At the lake itself you can relax in the shade and enjoy a picnic. Many people bring their own food and make a controlled fire which is allowed. At the same time, there are about 3 restaurants nearby, but prices are very high due to the popularity of this spot.

Switzerland Guide 2019
Stunning colours at Oeschinen Lake

Another popular lake is Blausee. It is stunning but very touristic which made it less enjoyable for me though. For example, hurdles of people trying to take a good photo and “influencers” that see the lake through their screen instead of enjoying the nature around them. However, if you are near, you could take a peek as the entrance is only 8CHF. There is a restaurant located overlooking the lake and playground for kids. If you do decide to go, walk around the forest area just behind the lake. Not many people go there, so it’s quiet and serene.

Blausee Switzerland
Blausee, stunning but too many people


Adelboden

For the last part of my Switzerland trip, we decided to treat ourselves to some luxury. From Kandersteg we drove to Adelboden, located on the other side of the mountain which is about a 35 minutes drive. The best hotel in Adelboden is definitely The Cambrian. This boutique modern style hotel is high class and offers wonderful rooms with comfortable beds and stunning views. Their pool is so popular on Instagram, that they have restricted photo times so other guests won’t be bothered. Good on them! With this in mind, I also made the cheesy pool shot when I was allowed of course.

Switzerland guide 2019
Cheesy shots at The Cambrian.

The Cambrian bed

The restaurant and breakfast area is wonderful with great service from the staff. I was surprised to see such a diversity of guests at the hotel. From the Chinese tourists to young couples and families. Our little guy enjoyed the large playroom that offers games, toys and Disney movies. From The Cambrian you walk straight into Adelboden’s town center and the gondola that takes you up the mountain. You can buy return tickets for 24CHF at the tourist office which is located across the gondola.

Coffee in Switzerland

Restaurant Tschentenalp

One reason to go up is restaurant Tschentenalp. If you are here on a Sunday, you must check out this restaurant. They offer a special Sunday lunch with unlimited salad, grilled meat and veggies. The views, again, are stunning. We relaxed here for a bit before walking around and checking out the newest edition to Adelboden; The Giant Swing. This brand new summer attraction just opened a few weeks ago and its already such a hit, that travelers take a de-tour just to try it.

Schnentenalp Switzerland
Swiss restaurant with a view

Schnentenalp Switzerland Guide

The Giant Swing Adelboden
The Giant Swing

On the whole, it was the perfect ending to a wonderful week in Switzerland, and I highly recommend that everybody should go. Grab your car in order to be mobile enough, and don’t hesitate to bring your kid(s).

Switzerland is for anyone that loves stunning nature, great food and is willing to trade the beach for some mountains. This beach girl didn’t miss the beach at all this summer.

Happy travels,

Elke

Glamping 3.0 » Sleeping in a Wine Barrel!

I’m always open to new things when it comes to travel so when I heard about this camping in Germany where you could sleep in a wine barrel, I got pretty exited. It all started when I planned a visit to my sister, who lives in the south of Germany. It takes about 7 hours to drive there as she lives near the black forest, close to Switzerland. So why not make a stopover? Germany is a beautiful country full of hills, cute towns and nature parks. But when I stay somewhere, I want it to be something special, something I haven’t done before. This is when Camping Rissbach caught my eye.

The Camping
You love it or you hate it. Campings. I use to camp with my parents since the age of 3 but we did it in Greece which is nothing compare to a Dutch camping where everything is well organized. No, we did it back to basic style so I don’t have a lot to compare with. My boyfriend loves camping so I thought it would be nice to surprise him with something special. The camping I choose was perfectly situated between Amsterdam and my sisters house in Germany. After a 4 hours drive we arrived at Camping Rissbach, situated perfectly next to the Moselle river which flows through France, Luxembourg, and Germany. The camping exist 10 years and is run by a Dutch family. The atmosphere is relax and laid back. Like all campings, you can bring your own caravan, tent or camper. But this camping is extra special because of their luxe glamping options. Sleeping in a Wine Barrel.

Sleeping in a Wine Barrel
I booked a XXL Wine Barrel to sleep in and it was so cool! The Wine Barrel has everything you need. A fully functional toilet, washing sink, table, refrigerator, a 2 persons bed and the possibility to make 2 extra beds. I felt like a total gypsy sleeping in here! There are 4 XXL Wine Barrels available and 6 normal size. The normal size barrels don’t have a toilet and only one entrance instead of 2. The Wine Barrels are all stationed alongside the river which is a great way to wake up! You can get freshly baked bread at the campings bakery and have breakfast in front of your accommodation. 

Sleeping in a Wine Barrel
There are 4 XXL accommodations available to rent and 6 normal size

Inside of the Wine Barrel
Sleep tight..how romantic!

The Area
Traben-Trabach is a great area for cycling and walking. I really don’t think hiking is just for “older” people. Raised in a country without hills or mountains, I love hiking! Moselsteig is the area’s most lover hiking trail. At 365 km, it’s voted as the most beautiful long distance route in Germany. I only managed to walk a very short part of it due to lake of time but I did walk up to the old fortress (which was a pretty steep climb!) From here you have a beautiful view of the Moselle river and area. You can book a walking tour via camping Rissbach. Pauze for a coffee and enjoy the view of the many wineries. Yes, Traben-Tribach is full of them! This place is renowned for the steepest wineries in the whole of Europe. There are many wine cellars and wine tastings all year round and I was so lucky to witness such an event during my stay. All the wine farmers around the area showcasing their best wines and I got to taste it? Sleeping in a wine barrel fits quite well don’t you think? If you want something traditional you should eat at Zunft Shüne restaurant. It’s like walking into a museum with hundreds of attributes and different rooms. Walk towards the village past the Moselle river to get there in 15-20 minutes.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Restaurant Zunft Shune

Sleeping in a wine barrel in Traben-Trabach
Tasting wine, dinner at Zunft Shune and the view of the Moselle river

Sleeping in a wine barrel at Camping Rissbach
Stop at the fortress for a coffee

View over the Moselle River
After a steep walk you are rewarded with this view (with the wineries on the right)

Curious to see what this part of Germany has to offer? Book your stay in a Wine Barrel here!

Love,

Elke

7 x Amazing Accommodations in The Black Forest!

The black forest is a huge forest located in the South of Germany, which is well known by many outdoor fanatics. I’ve been coming here for years, because my sister lives in the area. After all these years, it was about time that I wrote something about it. Planning to visit? These are 8 unusual but must visit accommodations in or near the Black Forest.

Black Forest Accommodations
The Black Forest is stunning and yet not known by everyone

black forest
Waterfalls and green at the Black Forest

Bubble Tent at Furtwangen

Sleep underneath the stars and wake up my the morning skies. The bubble tent is equipped with a bed, a small table, 2 chairs and a fridge with free drinks and a separate bathroom with free towels. Mind you, when it’s hot, it can be quite steamy inside the bubble during the day. However, this stay would definitely be a memorable one with a view like this! www.bubble-tent.de

accommodations in the black forest
Source

Hotel Liberty at Offenburg

If you love pretty boutique hotels, this is a must visit. This former prison that dates back from the 1800’s turned into a beautiful design hotel with 38 rooms. They’ve kept some of the original prison doors and steel windows to add some details. The rooms are incredible! The beds are huge and there is a separate bathtub standing in the room, which makes it such a treat to jump in straight away. Guests can use the swimming pool & spa down the road (5 minute walk) for free. www.hotel-liberty.de

Black forest accommodations
The old prison doors

Bedroom shot
Waking up in a prison, has never felt so good

Schwarzwald Camp

This campsite is located about 45 minutes from Freiburg. Sleep in a Tipi Tent, normal tent, in a tree or in a gondola! The outdoor options are endless here and it’s certainly special! www.schwarzwaldcamp.com

Schwarzwaldcamp Black Forest
Source

Black Forest Lodge at Feldberg

Recently opened back in December, this huge wooden lodge, offers guest apartments throughout the seasons. During the winter you can ski down the Feldberg and during the sunny season, you can stay here while exploring the beautiful surroundings of the Black Forest. All apartments are equipped with a kitchen, bedroom, a very modern and spacious bathroom, and living area. All guests can use the sauna and relaxing area, and there are many villages nearby for supermarkets or restaurants. The best thing? Your own porch with a view of the Feldberg. www.black-forest-lodge.com

Black Forest Germany
My view from the Black Forest Lodge

Sleep in a Wine Barrel at Titisee

I haven’t stayed at this particular one, but I have stayed in a wine barrel before! It’s a must do if you love to snuggle up to your loved one, because it’s very romantic and cozy. My advise is to book between June and September as it can get quite chilly otherwise.

Wine barrel

Zeitraum at Elzach-Yach

If you’re into sustainability like me, you’re going to love this hotel. This holiday home in the middle of nature with ecological structureBuild from wood and other natural materials, gently support the Feng Shui of the house. The outside jacuzzi and spa, complete your visit. It’s located 30 minutes away from Freiburg city. www.imzeitraum.de

NaturTräume in Schiltach

This is for brave and free from giddiness people! Sleep in a tent that hangs from a zipeline, over the trees of the Black Forest. Would you dare?  www.de/uebernachtung.com

naturtraume black forest

So, where would you stay?

Love,

Elke

 

 

Europa-Park » Fun for the young and old

If you have kids and you’re looking for an awesome day out, we have a weekend tip your child(ren) will love! Oh, and we think you are going to like it too! We sent Elke’s sister Miriba and her family to Germany’s Europa-Park in Germany.

Europa-Park

Europa-Park is located next to the amazing Black Forest in Germany near the border of Switzerland and France. The first thing you see when you enter the parking-lot of Europe Park is the Silver Star rollercoaster. You can hear people scream and see hands up in the sky as they feel the 4G that pushes their bodies into their seats even more…. This will give you a thrilling feeling from the first moment you entered the park and it’s a feeling that won’t leave you for the rest of the day. The Europa-Park is, as the name suggest, divided into the different countries of Europe. Lots of people walk through the park country by country but we got a good inside tip; visit your most wanted attraction first. In the morning the waiting times are not that long as in the afternoon. It also helps to download the Europa-Park app, you can see exactly what the waiting times at the various attractions are and how long it will take you to get there.

Wander-Lust in Europa-Park
Miriba and her children walk though Europa-Park

It took 9 months to build this ride and more than a thousand people worked on the project.

The Rides

At Europa-Park there are enough rides to keep you going for a whole weekend but the first ride me and my family tried was the new “Voletarium“. It’s located near the entrance and is officially the biggest flying theater in Europe. If you can’t make it first thing in the morning, it is possible to get a so called “time-ticket“ which gives you a time slot to which you can come back have almost no waiting time. The Voletarium is the most expensive attraction in the park and we already got a taste of that while waiting. The hallways were magnificently decorated and as we arrived at the starting point, we didn’t have the feeling to have waited very long. When you take your seat in front of the 425 m² screen, you see a short film shot from a bird’s-eye perspective and because the seats are moving and the screen is so close you really have the feeling you’re flying! The shots are all filmed by drones or helicopters and all in high definition quality.

Volitarium Europa-Park

Europa-Park for younger kids

After that we tried “Arthur“, a ride which is not only great for kids but also for their parents. The waiting area is not as nice as at the Voletarium but they have a great locker system so you don’t have to worry about your belongings while enjoying the fun. You fly over the Minimoys world that is related to the movie “Arthur and the Minimoys“.


Arthur at Europa-Park
In the Arthur ride

 

Frau Holle. Europa-Park

Water fun

A lot of rides have water involved and are great fun if it’s hot, such a the Tiroler Wildwasserbahn, Fjort Rafting or the Altantica Supersplash. All three rides are worth waiting but you can get really wet. Therefore it is always useful to bring some towels (or even a rain jacket believe it or not). Not everything in the park is fast and bumpy, there are also a lot of spots that are magical and calm such as the fairytail forest. There are even some countries that have attractions especially designed for smaller kids such as the bumper cars in Holland or almost every ride in Ireland that includes a nice playground with big slides.

wildwasserbahn Europa-Park

Unlike many other attraction parks it’s also allowed to bring your own food & drinks

Food & Drink

For lunch you can stop at one of the various eating spots the park has on offer. A lot of  the countries offer country specific food such as poffertjes in Holland or a crusty pizza in Italy. Unlike many other attraction parks it’s also allowed to bring your own food & drinks so there are a lot of picknick spots around the park to enjoy your lunch. If you want to give your feet some rest, you can opt for one of the various theater shows they offer in the park. We went to the dark night, a theatrical show with horses, acrobatics and even some magic. There are many more shows on offer but if you only have one day to spent, there is no chance to see them all.

Top 5 tips for a fun day at Europa-park:

  1. Go to your favorite attraction or ride as soon as you enter
  2. Download the Europa-Park App and prepare for your visit
  3. Pay your parking ticket right at the beginning (there are machines in the entrance area) so you don’t have to queue when you leave.
  4. If you can, visit the park for 2 days total. If you only have one day, you will miss out on the nice little playgrounds, smaller attractions and wonderful shows. You can stay in the park hotel
  5. During summer, bring some towels and dry clothes for the kids. There are also some lovely water playgrounds around the park.

We had an amazing day and it won’t be the last time that we visited Europa-Park!

Love,

Miriba

Europa-Park
Europa-Park-Straße 2, Germany

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Kitzbühel » The Metropolis in Winter Wonderland

Maybe it’s because of the Hahnenkamm-Rennen, the luxurious and colorful city center or cause it kind of feels like the Manhattan of Austria. Kitzbühel is one of the most distinct ski destinations of the Alps and she wears it with pride.

The city center of Kitzbühel
Like a colorful necklace the villages swings around the mountain foot. Each shop has a different colour, forming a bold contrast with the pearl white snow. I have been told that every colour stands for a different house owner. The large colored surfaces already reveal Kitzbühel is far from poor. Actually, in my whole life I’ve never seen a ski area with so many luxurious shops. I only went to Zillertal and Serfaus-Fiss-Ladis but still, it counts. It doesn’t matter if you’re a tough freerider or if you prefer the chic-side-of-life, the stores offer enough diversity to empty your wallets in no time. If that sounds like heaven to you I would recommend staying in Tiefenbrunner Kitzbühel, a beautiful hotel in the shopping street. After a long day of shoppi… uuh skiing you can recharge in the sauna or swimming pool.

relaxing-in-the-hotel
Relaxing at the Tiefenbrunner hotel

Snow on trees in Kitzbühel

We can all thank Franz Reisch for making Kitzbühel a leading destination for winter sports. Applause for you Franz, cause I can surely appreciate it. Let me take you back 120 years when it all started. Franz Reisch, the mayor of Kitzbühel, fell in love with skiing and wanted to share his passion. He imported thousands of skis in order to sell them again to the restless guests in the village. Just as predicted, the visitors were enchanted by the sport and it became a great success. That day, in Kitzbühel, winter sports (and of course après-ski) were born.

Kitzbühel
Kitzbuhel offers amazing mountain views!

Skiing
A small layer of snow is enough for skiing or snowboarding thanks to the grassy slopes at high altitudes. So we can all thank Mother Nature (with a little help from the snow cannons) for making 180 days a year of ski fun in Kitzbühel possible. For me, as a beginner, the area is perfect for skiing. More than 50{8b669be72a7f340f9ef2d6d852585cd40ddf0e79ccf763f3ea93c1234c3d888b} of the slopes are blue (101 km) and it’s even possible to make a few trips without scaring yourself to death because of the steepness.

Skiing in Kitzbuhel

 Kitzbühel offers you a great diversity of relaxation, shopping and skiing

Lunch break in Kitzbuhel
A well deserved Austrian lunch break!

Advanced skiers can try their luck at the Streif. A spectacular descent where the best skiers compete with each other once a year during the Hannenkamm-Rennen. It’s one of the most difficult slopes in the world: ramps up to 85 percent, speeds around 140 kilometers an hour and a 80 meter jump over the so called “mousetrap”. She’s famous, notorious, feared but certainly loved. Every year this event attracts more than 40.000 visitors who watch the skiers flying down the Streif in suspense. Advanced skiers will find plenty of challenge at the Steif so put it on your to-do list (if you got the guts). Next to this try before you die slope you can enjoy beautiful red (61km) and black (17km) slopes in the area. The rebels who like to colour outside the lines can find some adventurous off-piste runs in the area of Kitzbühel – Kirchberg.


Group tours through the mountains of Kitzbühel

My verdict
You won’t find the giant mountains and hundred kilometres of black slopes but Kitzbühel offers you a great diversity of relaxation, shopping and skiing. Talking about relaxation: Kitzbühel is well known for her cozy mountain huts. Two of my favourite huts where the Bei Tomschy and Berggasthof Tirol. Both traditional, but the food and service are of high standard, perfect excuse for a break. Cause after a long day of skiing (or shopping) we can all use a heiße choco mit sahne… und Rum.

Love,

Eva

*Eva is one of our guest bloggers from Amsterdam. She’s a city girl who only leaves her heals at home when wearing a backpack. Living by the urge to be where she’s not, to explore, experience, fall and get up. You can follow her on Instagram.

Private slopes and more in Zillertal, Austria

I can ensure you that I’m not a morning person but while getting up at 5:30 am for the private slope at Hochfügen, Zillertal, I only snoozed once (very proud of that). Leaving my cozy bed at Das PostHotel – Zillerseasons to get ready for the untouched slopes and a heavenly white view.

Hire a Private Piste
The private slope is limited to a maximum of 30 people so take the title ‘private’ very serious. Standing 2.133m high with my head in de clouds, ready to take a jump in the powder snow on our very own red slope. The experience is amazing; nothing can be compared to skiing down the smooth white sheets while the world is still asleep. Creating that very first track, the silence that embraces you and nobody that (in my case) overtakes you. Truly an amazing experience, one of those try-before-you-die things. But, if you are a beginner be sure to check the type of slope before setting your alarm at 5:30 am. To be honest, going down a red slope on the third day of skiing was a little bit too ambitious for me. I have absolutely no regrets but for now I’ll stick to the blue beginner slopes to keep myself from a heart attack. The private piste hire is available from 7.30 – 8.30 am from €40 per person.

Private piste Zillental
Virgin slopes are guaranteed!

Luckily for me, Zillertal offers 132km of Eva-proof blue slopes. The confident skiers out there can take it to the next level with the 238 km of red slopes. Zillertal is also a perfect destination for snowboarders because of the small amount of flat connections between the slopes.
There is another 65km of black slopes for the experienced skiers and snowboarders. The real daredevils can try their luck on the Harakiri. Beware, cause with an average gradient of 78 percent this is the steepest slope in Austria. I kindly turned down the invitation this year, but who knows what the future will bring.

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skiing in Zillental

Those 435 km of slopes Zillertal has to offer will keep you from getting bored for sure. But there is more to Winter sport then stroking the slopes with your skis or snowboard. And no, I’m not talking about après-ski cause we all know how much fun that can be. Zillertal changed my opinion on which ingredients a laid back vacation had to include. Forget lying on the beach all day, working on your tan and following those yoga classes at Bali.

Winter sports is the new mindful vacation this world has to offer and will surprise you with the diversity of activities. Although I enjoyed skiing to the fullest, it wasn’t exactly a relaxing experience for me as a beginner. I’m not even talking about the muscle pain or bruises on my butt, cause that’s just part of the deal. The blame is to my inner voice who kept on shouting “DON’T DARE to fall in front of this cute ski instructor!” Well, bye bye inner peace… Here are my favorite activities that can clear your mind while still exploring the area and enjoying the nature:

Cross Country Skiing
It’s still quite a workout but that way you can order another plate of Keizerschmarren without any guilt feelings (at least I did). You use different muscles then with skiing, what makes it a perfect alternative if you suffer from muscle pain. Next to that it’s a really calm way to explore the area but way more fun than walking. Pause to take some photos, enjoy the view or to catch your breath. And once you are at the top of the mountain, you only have to slide down again. I took the Gamsstein Cross Country path near Hochfügen. The access to the area is free so grab those skies und gehen!

Langlaufen in Pill, Zillental

Toboggan Run
In Gerlosstein you can find the longest toboggan run in the Zillertal Valley, 7 km of sliding fun. The cable car will take you to an altitude of 1.650 m and after that you actually don’t have to do anything… perfect winter-sports- activity right? Just sit, enjoy and somehow find a way to steer around the corners. The best part; you’ll even find bars along the toboggan run for some Glühwein to warm you up.
Tip: Check the weather condition before planning a toboggan run. If there is too much snow you will loose your speed and will need a lot more Glühwein to stay excited.

Gluhwein in Zillertal

My verdict: Zillertal is a great place to discover and enjoy the diversity of winter sports. It offers a great amount of slopes, modern lifts and Austrian hospitality. Next to skiing there are plenty activities to add some variety to your trip. Choose from snowtubing, funparks, cross country skiing or rent your very own private slope. Whatever you choose, I can ensure you that you won’t get bored. Find more info about the area here.

Read my previous article, A Beginners Guide to Wintersport and find out where I had the best High Tea at 2600m!

Love,

Eva

*Eva is one of our guest bloggers from Amsterdam. She’s a city girl who only leaves her heals at home when wearing a backpack. Living by the urge to be where she’s not, to explore, experience, fall and get up. You can follow her on Instagram.

A Beginner’s Guide to Wintersport

Walking into the unknown to discover a whole new world. It felt like the openings scene of Alice in Wonderland. Except my tour-guide wasn’t the smiling Cheshire cat and I didn’t have to climb down the rabbit hole (just a 1,5 hour flight to Innsbruck) but hé, minor details. A big blanket of snow covers the typical Austrian houses and impressive mountains. Standing in the middle of paradise at Hotel Chesa Monte in Fiss. The perfect place for a good night of pre-ski-sleep, while the 62 ski slopes are waiting to be explored. I was ready for my beginner’s guide to wintersport.

The slopes of Fiss

On the slopes for the first time
With all of my courage in my backpack, I was standing at the top of a real slope for the first time. Fiss is where I started. Although the Slope was next to ‘Berta’s Kinderland’, what probably says a thing about the height, I suddenly felt a lot less confident then I did at the indoor skiing course at Snow World. After 5 lessons of skiing on artificial snow, this was the moment I worked for. The moment to show of my skiing skills and… well, I went down in the biggest pizza shaped vorm you probably have ever seen. It can’t be compared to the training I’ve done indoor and on the dry slopes. It goes a lot faster, the track can be quite uneven and the amazing view will distract you for sure. Still I would recommend taking a few lessons on artificial snow or a dry slopes. You get used to the feeling of skiing, will learn the techniques and it’s actually a pretty fun way to work out (I can ensure you that there is no need for a squad session afterwards). After knowing what you have to do, you only have to keep on trying in the real winter wonderland.

Beginners guide to wintersport in Fiss
Yep, that’s a beginners guide to wintersport! (Gear by Head, outfit by O’Neill.)

A group lesson at Skischule Fiss-Ladis helped me to boost my confidence on the skis. It took away my fear after noticing that falling a few times doesn’t mean the end of the world, especially at my speed. Most of the time it’s just a little laugh for others while diving into the fluffy snow. Of course, you should still be careful.  A lesson with an experienced teacher is also a fun way to discover the area. They usually know a lot about the slopes and cities surrounding it.  The only disadvantage is the waiting on the group, but it gives you a moment to catch your breath.

Serfaus-Fiss-Ladis
For further exploration of the ski area I’ve left my skis at the ski depots at serfaus-fiss-ladis. Wait what, does it make sense to explore the area without ski’s?! Well, it does. You can even do a Segway tour instead of skiing (for sure a bucket-list thing, believe me). While being on the slopes, if you are a beginner like me, you probably stay at the foot of the mountain for your skiing practice. But it truly would be a shame if you miss out on the heads-in-the-clouds feeling.

Segway tour in Fiss, Austria

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As evening falls in Fiss during the Segway Tour

The view high up at Mount Schönjoch (2491m) is like living in a dream so say goodbye to your skis and take a ski lift to the top. The good part about ski lift is; as long as they go up, they can always bring you down again. There are 68 lift facilities in Serfaus-Fiss-Ladis so more than enough to explore, discover and experience. If you’re planning on going to Serfaus-Fiss-Ladis please do yourself a favor and make a reservation at the Crystal Cube. Have a champagne breakfast, luxury lunch or high tea at 2.600m high and with a 360-degree views of the winter mountain panorama. Both the food (I had more than 8 courses with the lunch) and the view is something you won’t easily forget. Check here for more info.

Crystal Cube, Fiss

Lunch at the Crystal Cube in Fiss-Ladis
Lunch with a view!

Eva at the Crystal Cube for Wander-Lust

My verdict as a beginner:
Serfaus-Fiss-Ladis is beginner proof. Beautiful nature, charming villages and many activities to discover. Your ski ticket is valid in all three area’s so take your time to discover the area and find the slopes that match your experience. It’s also a great place to go to if you’re have kids. While they are being enchanted by the charm of Berta the cow in Kinderland, you can enjoy your cold beer at one of the 19 nearby après-ski bars.
P.S: Did you know that Serfaus-Fiss-Ladis is the sunniest place of Tirol? With those 2000 hours a year of sun you don’t even have to choose between tanning and skiing!

Love,

Eva

*Eva is one of our guest bloggers from Amsterdam. She’s a city girl who only leaves her heals at home when wearing a backpack. Living by the urge to be where she’s not, to explore, experience, fall and get up. You can follow her on Instagram.

Berlin City Guide 2016

When I visited Berlin for the first time in 2005 for the closing parties of the old Tresor club. I immediately fell in love with the vibe of this  amazing city. The never-ending parties at vibrant locations swept me off my feet. Though I am a bit older now and 24-hour party marathons will cost me weeks to recover ;-), Berlin still manages to make me fall in love again every time we meet. The traces of the Berlin wall, its city parks and the alternative and relaxed people. The big old brick buildings, the historical feeling in general and the thriving club scene. It’s museums, shops and great restaurants. And last but not least: how everything is still quite affordable and cheap. This combined makes Berlin an interesting place for everyone. Enjoy this Berlin city guide 2016!

Sleep in Ostkreuz Area (Because it has the best East-Berlin Feeling)
When you ask people where to stay in Berlin, the answer often will be Kreuzberg. And yes, this is a great area, but personally I like to stay a bit more in the North-East in the area between Friedrichshain and Lichtenberg, closer to Ostkreuz station. While this area might be a bit rougher, it is less touristy and embodies that typical East-Berlin feeling that I love so deeply. If you like clubbing, this area is by far the best to stay. Berghain/Panoramabar is only a 10 minute bike ride (or 5 minutes by S-train) and Kosmonaut, Salon zur wilden Renate, Chalet, Club der Visionaere, Watergate and Sisyphos are all just around the corner.

Berghain Berlin
The infamous Berghain Club (source: www.rbb-online.de)

Where to Eat?
In this area its easy to find good places to eat. Have breakfast, lunch or just a coffee at Milja & Schäfa , Zebrano, or Silo . If you like Asian food Berlin is The Place To Be. For dinner I would recommend Transit , it has delicious Asian tapas you can share with your friends. I had an amazing red duck curry at Glory Duck. Other must visits are Haubentaucher, Else (only open during summer), restaurant FAME  and Holzmarkt. The last two are from the owners of the famous Bar25 and Katerholzig. You can find them next to each other and the atmosphere is fantastic. Have a few drinks or a pizza at Holzmarkt and enjoy the view over the river Spree. If you want to have dinner at restaurant Fame its best to make a reservation.

fame Berlin
Lunch at Fame

silo Berlin
Enjoy a lovely breakfast at Silo. Guten Appetit! Source: Silo Coffee’s Facebook

Cycle around! 
Bikes have become more popular over the last couple of years in Berlin. And let’s be real- there is no better way to explore a city! It gives you freedom to go wherever whenever and it makes you feel a resident of the city. On my last visit, luckily my Airbnb came with its own bikes, but you can easily rent them at a bike shop – just ask your host. A rental bike will cost you around 10 euros a day. For me the number one thing to do in Berlin is cycling at Tempelhof Park. This park used to be an airport that closed in 2008. Nowadays it’s a 386-hectare park that almost feels surreal.

Tempelhof Map Berlin
Tempelhof Park

We have all been in airports but when you cycle over the airstrip, the massiveness overwhelms you. There are a few bars and in the summer you can BBQ. But mostly it is a park where people run, kite, skate, cycle, watch the sunset, picknick and take pictures. It is so much fun! This year I cycled my own little tour from Ostkreuz area to Tempelhof and managed to include two city parks – always a win! My route was: Oberbaumbrücke – Skalitzetstrasse – Görlitzer Park – Pannierstrasse – Volkspark and than Tempelhof. After my visit to Tempelhof I cycled north, up to Kreuzberg and enjoyed a great Asian lunch at restaurant Umami at the famous Bergmannstrasse. It’s easy to discover the city by yourself with a little help from Google Maps but you can also book a bike tour with a guide. Visit Berlin on A Bike for three different tours: one with the highlights of Berlin (Berlins Best), a Berlin Wall Tour or choose for the Alternative one. They all seem interesting and fun!

tempelhof Berlin
Enjoy your bike ride at Tempelhof. Photo by Floksor (Flickr)

Shop! (Eat, Drink and Shop again..!)
My favorite shop in Berlin is Overkill. This sneaker shop has a men and a women store next to each other. Welcome to Sneaker Heaven! I always end up buying a new pair every time I visit. Very nearby you can find a cool boathouse on the river where you can enjoy a coffee, lunch or dinner before you hop on your bike again to continue your shopping spree. A good area to shop is the Rosa-Luxemburg Platz/Weinmeisterstrasse area. It’s not overcrowded like Alexanderplatz and not that big. There are some small boutiques with Berlin fashion labels and vintage shops (Pick ‘n Weight and Made in Berlin) but you can also find the bigger brands like American Apparel, Urban Outfitters, Mango and H&M. For lunch I would recommend YamYam, this Korean restaurant is always full but it’s definitely worth the wait. I heard shopping in Kreuzberg is fun as well. You can find a huge vintage shop at the Bergmannstrasse called Colours. It is a bit hidden but when you find it you will be lost there for a few hours.

YamYam Berlin
Enjoy a Korean Bibimbap at Yam Yam

overkill Berlin
An overkill on sneakers!

Feel like going to Berlin yet? I definitely do! Enjoy und viel Spass!

Love,

Kim

*Kim Bosman is one of our guest bloggers from the Netherlands. This gymrat works as a digital creative and loves to travel. Other things she likes: eating, writing and photography. You can expect an article from her once a month. Go check out her Instagram

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