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

The Oman Travel Guide 2019

 Oman was voted as one of the top destinations for 2018 and since then we knew we had to visit. Oman is extremely divers and has many route possibilities. We’ve created the ultimate Oman Travel Guide for 2019 so you can get off the beaten track.

There are a few things that you need know about the Sultanate of Oman.

  • Oman is a safe country
    Yes, there are still some misconceptions about this. Oman is in fact one of the safest countries is the middle east and the crime rate is low. We advise you to check your local travel advise agency, but there wasn’t a moment that I felt unsafe. The people of Oman are extremely generous and welcoming.
  • You need to apply for a visa
    A 10 day visa will cost you about 12 Euro, and is available online. Print it and bring it with you. Your passport needs to be valid for at least 6 months. Other visa’s are also available.
  • Warm weather is guaranteed
    Oman is warm throughout the year with the hottest season between June and August. October up to April are the most pleasant.
  • Respect the Omani culture
    Oman is an islamic country, therefore it’s wise to bring a kaftan and head scarf when visiting the Grand Mosque and some public area’s. In most hotels and Wadi’s, you can wear summer clothes, but bikini’s are not always accepted everywhere. Bring a shirt and long trousers just in case.
  • Oman is a rich country
    For this reason is also not the most affordable one, and you can compare prices with western Europe.
  • Rent a car, or get someone to drive you around
    Because Oman is so widely spread open, that the distances between the highlights are far. Sometimes you need to drive for 2 hours to get somewhere. Public transport and taxi’s are used in the capital.

Where to start and stay
The capital of Oman is Muscat and the perfect place to start your trip from. You can choose between different hotels, both luxury and the more standard ones. We stayed in the Chedi Muscat, which is top range, but well worth it if you want to go all out for your first night. Hotel rooms vary between 300 and 1000 euro per night.

The Chedi Muscat in Oman
The longest pool in the middle east

Chedi Muscat Oman
My condo in the Chedi Muscat

From Muscat you’ll start your trip though Oman. Along the way we tip you the best accommodations with links and details. 


The Route
Oman is widely spread out so the best way to get around is by car. If you are with a group of friends you can hire a 4×4 car, but you can also book a tour guide that will show the the best of Oman. We were driven around by Desert Flower Tours which we highly recommend. It’s run by locals who know Oman like the back of their hand. They have previously worked with magazines, photographers and travel TV crews, so they know what they’re doing :-). Different routes and tours are available and they can be tailor-made. The route we took took 5 days and looks like this:

Get ready to go off the beaten track

Day 1: Muscat
Muscat is full of beautiful architecture and culture. Don’t miss the Grand Mosque which is very impressive. TIP: dress accordingly; Pants or an abaya that cover all body parts. They do have traditional clothing for rent before you enter, and we advise you to bring your own head scarf. The Grand Mosque is home to the second largest carpet in the world (until Abu Dhabi’s Grand Mosque stole that title). It took 600 women, 4 years to wave!

Grand Mosque Oman
The impressive Grand Mosque of Muscat

The Mosque can hold up to 20.000 people praying, and there are tours available. We prefer just to walk around and discover the many photogenic corners of the all white Mosque. Prayers are held 5 times a day, which makes the experience even more special. 

Grand Mosque Muscat

Visit the Royal Opera House for a quick look around and take a look at their impressive instrument collection. If you can, visit the Al Alam Palace of the Sultan. It’s a modern and colourful building, overlooking the waters of Oman. If you like to buy a souvenir you can make a stop at the Souq van Mutrah here you can buy spices, jewellery and clothes. This market is a bit touristic, but nevertheless nice to walk around.

Royal Opera House Muscat
In front of the Royal Opera House


Day 2: Hajar Mountains
From Muscat you can drive towards the mountains of Hajar. Stop for lunch at  the Muscat Hills Resort, which is a wonderful beach club/boutique hotel with an Ibiza kinda vibe. They offer a Mediterranean menu, overlooking the private bay of Al Jissah . If you can, stay the night in one of their beach houses with outdoor showers!

Muscat Hills resort
Relaxing at Muscat Hills Resort

You can decide to relax at the beach club a little bit longer (bikini’s allowed), or head into the mountains before evening falls. Anyhow, there is so much more waiting for you along the way..

Oman Mountains

Nature in Oman is not to be compared to anything else. 

Oman Mountains

Driving through the mountains is something special. You see the landscape changing as you go up. Stop at several viewing points and local eateries like Bimah Guesthouse where you can enjoy a local Omani style buffet. TIP: bring some travel sickness tablets, the hairpins in the mountains can make you feel a bit nauseous.

Driving though the mountains on Oman

One of the highlights is Jebel Shams, the grand canyon of Oman. The view is stunning! To get here, you drive past local villages like Balad Sayt and Al Hamra. If you like to hike, this is the place for you. There are short or longer hikes available (W4 and W6 pathways) that will take you past waterfalls and local villages such as the ancient village of Al Khateem.

Lunch break in Oman
Having a break at Bimah Guesthouse

Jebel Shams Oman
The amazing view over Jebel Shams

We slept at mountain eco camp Sama Heights, located in Jebel Shams.This fully-fledged eco resort is the first of its kind in the Sultanate. They offer mountain view private villas made from Omani stone and recycled materials and you can also sleep in Bedouin style tents. When you wake up, the sunrise behind the mountains make it worth your while. We also enjoyed the dinner buffet, with lot’s of vegetarian options!

Sama Heights Resort, Oman
Sama Heights


Day 3: Nizwa & Wahabi Sands
Nizwa one of Oman’s ancient cities and used to be Oman’s capital city. It remains a popular stop for shopping. You can visit the traditional goat market where they auction livestock. It may be a bit daunting at first, but to be fair, I prefer the traditional way compared to the livestock factories back home. Nizwa is also known for the ancient fort, that overlooks the old city.

Nizwa Fort
Nizwa Fort

Nizwa Oman
Nizwa Market

If you have time, grab lunch at Al Aqr Traditional Restaurant and order a mint/lime juice to cool off on their rooftop. They serve delicious homemade humus and baba ganoush, plus other traditional Omani dishes.

Mint juice Nizwa, Oman

Wahabi Sands
After a stroll around Nizwa, you drive towards the Omani desert named Wahabi Sands. As you drive towards the red sand, turn up the Arabian radio to get the real desert vibe! If your tour guide drives a good 4×4 car, he will drift across the sand, and slide sidewards off the sand dunes. Pretty awesome!

Sand driting 4x4 in Oman
Dune bashing

Oryx Arabian Camp Oman from above
Overlooking the camp

Wahabi Sands Oman
Photo by @inhetvliegtuig

In the desert are several camps where you can spend the night. We stayed at the Arabian Oryx Camp, with cute stone houses, and a perfect location. From here you can book several activities such as sand boarding, quad or camel riding, and safari’s though the desert. We advise you to stay for one night.

Oryx Arabian camp

Oryx desert camp Oman
How cute is my room!


Day 4: Wadi Bani Khalid
Take your time and enjoy the morning sun in the desert before heading towards the next adventure. Wadi Bani Khalid is not from the desert and the perfect spot to cool off when it’s hot. Mind you, during the weekend a lot of locals will also come here, so it can get quite busy. If you want to swim in this valley, you need to dress accordingly, No bikini’s allowed!

Wadi Bani Khalid Oman

Wadi bani Khalid

You can also have lunch here, but reserve a table as soon as you arrive during lunchtime. This way you’ll get the best view and saves you waiting for a table. From the restaurant you can walk all the way past the water stream and you can also find the ropes in the water if you feel like playing around.

Oman’s lush northern coast lies between the sea and inland mountains.


Day 4/5: Ras Al Jinz Turtle Reserve
From Wadi Bani Khalid, you need to drive for about 2 to 3 hours until you reach this special place. If you have never seen sea turtles before, it’s a must do! This turtle reserve is located next to the … coast where many sea turtles lay their eggs during a certain period. Ras Al Jinz Turtle Reserve protects the turtles by organising controlled tourists visits that are done with professional guides.

It’s so magical to see these animals walk into the water, knowing they will return to the same beach in a few years

If you book the night here you have 2 options to see the turtles. One in the evening around 9pm, and one at 5am, when the sun comes up. I opted for the evening watch and it didn’t disappoint! We saw at least 8 turtles coming out of the water, returning, and we saw one female laying her eggs! Turtles are deaf, so they don’t hear you, but they can be sensitive to light. Therefore, the guide provides a special torch so you can watch the turtle without interfering them. It was stunning!

Luxury Tent Oman

Luxury view from tent Oman
Not a bad way to wake up!

We advise you to book one of the luxury tents to make your experience even better. Tents are equipped with a bathroom, airconditioning, TV and a comfortable bed. Book your visit here.


Day 5: Wadi Tiwi & Wadi Shab & Bimmah Sinkhole
On this last day you’ll slowly make your way back to Muscat. There is no time for sleeping in the car, because the landscape you are about to see is out of this world, really.

Lighthouse Sur, Oman
The Sur lighthouse

You can stop at various locations such as coastal town Sur, where they still make the traditional wooden ships that Oman used up until the early 70’s. Here you can also find the lighthouse overlooking Sur and the water which is also full of sea turtles!

The Bimmah Sinkhole will be the highlight of this day. I expected it to be extremely busy, but funny enough, I didn’t see that many tourists. I even got a great photo opportunity 😉

Sinkhole Oman

Oman Sinkhole
Bimmah Sinkhole

Oman
The roadtrip of a lifetime

Verdict: Oman is safe, welcoming and for those who like adventure. Oman even has beaches, but it’s not the Mediterranean of course. If you decide to visit Oman, it’s more likely to be an active holiday, with long (stunning) car rides, great food, interesting culture and nature you cannot compare to anything else. If you want to bring your kids I say, do it, but from the age of 5 years or older.

In one sentence; Oman should be on your bucketlist!

Love,

Elke

The Wanderlust Barcelona Guide!

Barcelona is one of those cities that you keep coming back to. As much as we both love exploring new places, this Spanish delight keeps pulling us back every 2 years or so.

It might has something to do with the fact that Barcelona has a wonderful beach combined with a vibrant nightlife that includes one of the best cuisines in Europe. We booked a weekend away and checked out the newest and best spots so you can relax and enjoy your citytrip. Here’s our Wanderlust Barcelona Guide!

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retrome-hotel
Hotel Retrome

Where to stay

Our hotel was a retro style boutique hotel named Retrome in the lovely area Eixample, close to pretty much everything including the beach. Even though we arrived during high season, the area we stayed in was peaceful yet full of local cafe’s and restaurants. The reception knew our names which made it feel very personal. Something you don’t see everyday. But let’s be real, they already had us when they offered us a free glass of cava ;-). The whole trip was just so well organized. All we did was book and go. And that’s pretty much all you want to do when you’re enjoying a weekend away right?

wanderlust Barcelona Guide

WHERE TO EAT & DRINK

It’s one of the first things that comes to mind when you arrive. Food. Food. And more food. Barcelona is a city with many “hotspots” and these are our favorite ones!

» Lulu’s,  It’s a tiny cafe in El Born where you can eat healthy. There are a few tables outside and they serve Iced Matcha Latte’s!
» Nomads coffee, we passed this hipster coffee house by chance and grabbed a coffee to go. They take it serious, so expect a real tasty cup! nomadcoffee.es
» Brunch & Cake, Hotspot number one at the moment. They serve well known dishes in a very special way. Go for the Blue Acai Bowl, Green Bagel and try one of their juices! if you need to wait for a seat (chances are, you will) grab a lovely coffee at De La Crem right across the street. cupcakesbarcelona.com
» The Green Spot, brand new in Barcelona and already one of the best veggie spots in town. It doesn’t matter whether you are a vegetarian or not, the pretty dishes will make your mouth water. Prices are a bit higher than usual. encompaniadelobos.com
» Flax & Kale, not new but still hot, you need to check it out if you are around. Get your phones out, because this is Instagram worthy food! 80{8b669be72a7f340f9ef2d6d852585cd40ddf0e79ccf763f3ea93c1234c3d888b} of the food they serve is plant based and their slogan is Eat Better, Be Happier, Live Longer. Well, that never hurt anyone, right? teresacarles.com
» Tropico, for the best juices in Barcelona! Inspired by tropical destinations, this hotspot is something you cannot miss out on. tropicobcn.com
» The Surf House, next to the beach you can find this popular joint. The food is healthy, tasty and pretty. The vibe is just like you can imagine from a place like this. Book activities such as paddle surf , beach workouts and surfing of course. Also keep an eye out for their mobile food truck that you will find around Barcelona. surfhousebarcelona.com
» Blai Tonight It’s not big, it might be a bit too popular but we still think you should try it. Blai tonight is located in the Poble Sec area and has been voted as one of the top 10 places to go when it comes to your value for money. Their famous Pinchos only cost €1,50 and if you do it well, you can eat for only 10 euro per person including your drink! Facebook

food-in-barcelona-wander-lust
From left to right: Lulu’s, The Surf House, Brunch & Cake and Nomad Coffee

COCKTAILS & DANCE

Barcelona offers a great nightlife. As a first time visitor you may run to the Las Ramblas but we would advise you to avoid this tourist trap and visit some other places where the cocktails are also flowing and the atmosphere is great.

» Champagneria, the name might ring a bell, Cava galore! Facebook
» The Mint, They say some of the best Mojito’s are made here..That’s enough right?! Facebook
» Yurbban, this hotel has a cool rooftop with one of the best views in Barcelona. You can only use the pool if you are a guest but you are welcome to enjoy a few drinks during the day or night. yurbban.com
» Jamboree, if you like jazz, this is your club! masimas.com
» Zero KM, combine dinner with drinks and stay until they close. They serve tapas with a twist and the food can be described at high end.
» La Terazza, this club and bar is tucked away in the Olympic village, so you must know that it’s there. This outdoor club hosts parties and plays good music until the early hours. laterrrazza.com
» Elrow, If you feel like a real crazy party with confetti, attributes and costumes, you must visit an El Row party. Originated from Barcelona, this infamous techno club is now making waves all over the world with parties in Amsterdam, Dubai and New York. Some of the best DJ’s play at the club and during the summer months there are several events so keep an eye out on the website. elrow.es

Yurbban Hotel Rooftop, Wanderlust Barcelona Guide
The rooftop of the Yurbban hotel

EXTRA TIPS

» Rent a bicycle we can’t say this enough. Really, it’s the best way to see the city. We got ours for 15 euro per 24 hours bit there are many options throughout the city where you can rent one.
» Visit Bunkers del Carmel aka “Bunkers” for the best viewing point. A friend tipped us about this old bunker build on a hill back in the 30’s. Not everybody knows about this special place and it’s worth seeing the sunrise or sunset if you have the time.
» Talk to the locals, we always do this and this trip was no exception. It brought us to a cool graffiti skate park!

Cycling in Barcelona, Wanderlust Barcelona Guide
Cycling had to be a part of our wanderlust Barcelona guide

Wanderlust Barcelona Guide
Cycling through the Parc de les Tres Xemeneies

I don’t think we need to convince you to go to Barcelona but maybe we have convinced you to go back, yet again. 

Love,

Wander-Lust

More tips about other Spanish destinations? Check our Spain section!