March 23, 2020
7-day Switzerland Itinerary: Everything You Need For Your Trip

7-day Switzerland Itinerary: Everything You Need For Your Trip

March 23, 2020
swiss switzerland architecture
With its idyllic landscapes and quaint towns, Switzerland is one of the dreamiest destinations in Europe. In this 7-day Switzerland itinerary you are going to find great places to visit plus everything you need for your trip. As you can imagine, there are endless breathtaking spots in this picture-perfect destination.

We are going to cover the German speaking area of Switzerland and get deep into these beautiful must-see cities: Zurich, Luzern, Bern, Basel, Schaffhausen and Stein am Rhein. Let's take a look at this 7-day Switzerland Itinerary.
basel market town hall

7 DAYS IN SWITZERLAND ITINERARY

Switzerland Itinerary Days 1 and 2: Zurich

In my opinion, the most beautiful part of Switzerland is the countryside but the big cities can be charming as well. We devoted two days to visiting Zurich, the Swiss capital. We stayed at the modest Bristol Hotel but if you aren't one a budget, the Dolder Grand Hotel is the dreamiest place to stay.

These are the places you must visit in Zurich:
  • Walk around lake Zurich and see the beautiful swans.
  • Altstadt (Old Town), this is one of the most lively areas in Zurich. Altstadt is where much of the city’s culture, nightlife and shopping is concentrated. St Peter, one of the oldest churches in Zurich, is located in this area.
  • Grossmünster “large cathedral” in German, is a Romanesque church
  • Fraumünster, "women’s church" in German, is the other main church in Zurich
  • Uetliberg mountain. A train from the centre of the city takes you to the summit to see the most spectacular views.
  • Bahnhofstrasse, the best shopping street in Zurich. Here you can find all the luxury brands.
  • FIFA World Football Museum. Even if you are not a football fan it's worth visiting! 
  • Dolderbahn, this vintage single coach train takes you up to the magnificent Dolder Grand Hotel. If you can't afford staying, at least visit it.
  • Chinese garden, one of the most beautiful and best preserved Chinese gardens in the world.
swiss house zurich
chinese garden zurich
Dolder Grand Hotel Zurich
Altstadt Zurich old town

Switzerland Itinerary Day 3: Luzern

The charming city of Luzern is one of the most beautiful in the country. Due to its location on the shore of Lake Lucerne within sight of Mount Pilatus and Rigi in the Swiss Alps, Luzern has long been a destination for tourists. One of the city's famous landmarks is the Chapel Bridge (Kapellbrücke), a wooden bridge first erected in the 14th century, the oldest covered bridge in Europe.

These are the best things to do in Luzern:
  • Old Town, full of beautifully painted houses and linked by cobblestone shopping streets, it doesn't get much dreamier than that.
  • Lake Lucerne, take a deep breath of fresh air at this wonderful natural spot.
  • Kapellbrücke, the world famous Chapel Bridge.
  • The Lion Monument: the lion carved on a mountain commemorates the hundreds of Swiss Guards who were massacred in 1792 during the French Revolution.
  • Weggis-Rigi: take a boat from Luzern to Weggis in the northern shore of Lake Lucerne. From there you can take an aerial tramway up to mount Rigi. I can assure you that the sights in this trip are the most beautiful I've ever seen.
Kapellbrücke Luzern
architecture luzern
Kapellbrücke Luzern

Switzerland Itinerary Day 4: Bern

With its UNESCO listed old town, Bern is a Swiss city you can't miss. Note down these places which you cannot to miss in Bern:
  • Old Town, obviously. It has become an icon because of the extraordinary clock that was installed there in 1530. If you get there on the stroke of the hour you will see a little show performed by mechanical figures. 
  • Bern Cathedral. This example of Gothic architecture, is Switzerland’s tallest cathedral.
  • Einsteinhaus. Visit the flat where Einstein lived from 1903 to 1905. 
  • BärenPark. Bears have been the emblem of Bern for ages. In the city you will find two enclosures linked by a tunnel were three lovely brown bears live.
  • Rosengarten. Not only a rose garden. Because of it's high location, it offers magnificent views of Bern.
bern clock old town
bern architecture

Switzerland Itinerary Day 5: Basel

Basel is Switzerland's third most populous city (behind Zürich and Geneva). Located where the Swiss, French and German borders meet, Basel also has suburbs in France and Germany. These are Basel's main attractions.
  • Altstadt. Basel’s old town has many national heritage sites such as Münsterplatz, the townhouses on Petersgasse and the monkey fountain on Andreasplatz.
  • The Medieval Basel Minster church
  • City Hall: the red sandstone building on the Market Square is one of the most beautiful buildings I've ever seen. Apart from the bold color that makes it so unique, there are many symbols on the facade that make it special as well.
basel market town hall
basel house

Switzerland Itinerary Day 6: Schaffhausen

This Swiss town on the upper Rhine River is included in the itinerary for good reason. It's home to beautiful typical Swiss spots and is close to a wonder of nature: the Rhine Falls. Here's what you can see in Schaffhausen:
  • The beautiful Medieval Old Town with its cobblestone streets and fountains. 
  • Munot Fortress: this 16th century round fortress is a great vantage point to see the Old Town from the top.
  • Rhine Falls. The cherry on top. The Rhine Falls are the largest waterfall in Europe which are only a short train ride from Schaffhausen's old town.
  • Stein am Rhein. If you have time, you can see the following destination on the same day. But if you don't be sure to go another day because you can't leave Switzerland without seeing this place. Trust me, you are going to love it. Read on to find out why.
schaffhausen architecture balcony
schaffhausen flower market

Switzerland Itinerary Day 7: Stein am Rhein

Welcome to Switzerland’s best preserved medieval town. Stein am Rhein is the dreamiest little town. This idyllic place represents all of Switzerland's charm. The half-timbered houses and their elaborately painted facades will make you feel as if you were in a fairy tale.
stein am rhein
stein am rhein
stein am rhein architecture

7 DAYS IN SWITZERLAND: EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW

SWITZERLAND ITINERARY MAP
This map includes all the spots covered in this blog post. To take this map with you, simply click on the star next to the name and it will be saved to your Google maps.

WEATHER IN SWITZERLAND
The climate is moderate with no excessive heat, cold or humidity. From July to August the daytime temperature range is 18 to 28 °C (65° - 82° F). From January to February the range is -2 to 7 °C (28° - 45° F). In spring and autumn, the daytime temperature range is 8 to 15 °C (46° - 59° F).However, depending on the altitude the temperature range may vary.
WHAT TO WEAR IN SWITZERLAND
Even if you are planning to go in summer, layers are your best friends!

MONEY IN SWITZERLAND
Unlike most European countries, Switzerland's currency is not the Euro, even though Euros may be admitted in many places. The Swiss franc (CHF) is the only official currency in Switzerland. Switzerland is rated the most expensive country in the world to visit.

LANGUAGE IN SWITZERLAND
The four official languages are German, French, Italian, and Romansh. Each of them is spoken in different regions. The area covered in this itinerary is German speaking but you can easily get by speaking English.

TRANSPORT IN SWITZERLAND
The best way to move around Switzerland is by train: they are new, fast and always on time. You also have the option of renting a car.

WHERE TO EAT IN SWITZERLAND
As we have seen, Switzerland is a very expensive country. If you are traveling on a budget as we were at the time, supermarkets are your best option. Most big supermarkets have buffet restaurants on the top floor. The food is good and much cheaper than restaurants. Even McDonald's is expensive here!

WHAT TO BUY IN SWITZERLAND
These are the products that Switzerland is best known for:
  • A watch or a clock
  • Cheese melter for raclette: thesedelicious melted cheese recipe is something you are probably going to miss when you come back.
  • Cheese
  • Chocolate
  • Sweets from Sprüngli: this "confiserie" makes their own very special type of macaron called "luxemburgerli".
sprungli confiserie macarons luxemburgerli
sprungli confiserie macarons luxemburgerli

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switzerland cities destinations

March 9, 2020
Two Weeks in Australia: The Best Itinerary

Two Weeks in Australia: The Best Itinerary

March 9, 2020
uluru ayers rock australia
The first thing that my husband and I decided when we got engaged is that we were going to do an itinerary around Australia for our honeymoon. It had been a dream destinations for ages for both of us so we booked a trip to tour Australia's East Coast for 2 weeks that included 5 important places:
  • Melbourne
  • Cairns
  • Uluru
  • Sydney
  • Adelaide
Needless to say, the tour around Australia was unforgettable. We spent 15 amazing days Down Under. We planned our trip carefully so we saw almost everything we wanted to see but we arrived to the hotel every night exhausted from so much walking. However, despite the exhaustion, we felt very happy after each sight-seeing day.

Our itinerary started in Melbourne and we flew from one place to another to save time instead of going on a road trip.
Let's take a look at the best 15-day Australia east coast itinerary.

Australia Itinerary: Weather in August

We were in Australia in August which means it's winter Down Under. Fortunately, this season is mild over there so you don't get harsh winter weather or temperatures. We wore our coats in Melbourne, Sydney and Adelaide but we wore summer clothes in Cairns. In Uluru the temperature varies a lot during the day. In the mornings and evenings it's very cold but warm during the day.
WHAT TO PACK

15-day Australia Itinerary: MELBOURNE (3 nights)

Hotel: Causeway 353
DAY 1
Our hotel was close to Flinders Street Railway Station so we pretty much walked everywhere. Walking city tours are our favorite! The best transport option in Melbourne is the tram which is free around the city centre. The first place we visited was St. Paul's Cathedral, then we walked into the cobbled Hosier Lane famous for its edgy graffiti. Out next stop was Fitzroy Gardens where you can find Cook's Cottage. This is actually the oldest house in Australia, it was moved brick by brick all the way from England! We ended our day seeing the Melbourne Cricket Ground and all the stadiums along Olympic Boulevard. It was getting dark so it was time to call it a day. On our way back to the hotel we got to see the city lights and the skyline along the Yarra river.
hosier lane melbourne australia graffiti
cook cottage melbourne australia

DAY 2
After getting a good night sleep we caught and early train to Brighton Beach. This beach is famous for the colorful bathing boxes lined up opposite the ocean. Half a day is enough to visit Brighton Beach. We spent the rest of the day back in Melbourne visiting city landmarks such as Parliament House, the iconic Princess Theatre, the Old Treasury Building and Carlton Gardens. We arrived at Saint Patrick's Cathedral right in time for mass.
brighton beach bathing houses melbourne australia

DAY 3
It was the last day before we had to say goodbye and board a plane to Cairns so we did a little shopping. We enjoyed a wonderful morning at the impressive Queen Victoria Market. Here you can find one of the most amazing food markets in the world. We also visited the arcades which are little shopping centres from the 19th century with unique architecture. Our favorites were The Block Arcade with its mosaic tiled floor and Royal Arcade with its one-of-a-kind shops. They are a must if you are looking for special gifts or craftsmanship to take home like I do. We spent the last hours of the day in the Botanic Gardens and visiting the unforgettable Shrine of Remembrance, a memorial to all Australians who have served in war. It's hard to describe with words how we felt after the visit, it made a great impact on us.
queen victoria market melbourne australia

WHERE TO EAT IN MELBOURNE

  • Pilgrim Bar
  • Betty's Burgers
  • Chuckle Park
  • Hopetoun Tea Rooms
  • Queen Victoria Market 

Read more about Melbourne here

Australia Itinerary: MELBOURNE MAP

Here you can find all the stops in the itinerary including what to do, where to eat, stay and shop. To take this map with you simply click on the star next to the name to add it to your Google maps.

2 week Australia Itinerary: CAIRNS (3 nights)

Hotel: Novotel Cairns Oasis Resort
DAY 1
Cairns was not our favorite city, not much to do there. However, there are some amazing places to see in the area. So we rented a car and drove north of Captain Cook Highway to the gorgeous Mossman Gorge at Daintree forest. On the way back we made a couple of stops to see the beautiful coastal towns of Port Douglas and Palm Cove.
port douglas australia
daintree rainforest mossman gorge australia

DAY 2
Cairn's main attraction is the world-famous Great Barrier Reef. So we couldn't miss the opportunity to see this wonder of nature with our own eyes. The boat trip was rough but the experience made it worth it. We put on our snorkel gear, ready to see one of the most spectacular sights in the world. The wide variety of reef -all so colorful and different- and the diversity of fish left us speechless. Everything so close that you could almost touch it!

Australia Itineray: CAIRNS MAP

Here you can find all the stops in the itinerary. To take this map with you simply click on the star next to the name to add it to your Google maps.

2 week Australia Itinerary: ULURU (2 nights)

Hotel: Desert Gardens
DAY 1
After unpacking we had lunch at the Mangata Bristro which was the restaurant in our hotel. Desert Gardens was our favorite hotel from the whole trip. It is located in a service village called Yulara. Lying just outside the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park (20km from Uluru and 53km from Kata Tjuta) this is the closest base for exploring the park so that's where most tourists stay. We checked out the other hotels, the town square and went as far as Imalung, a vantage point from which you can see Uluru. When the sun started to set we went back to the hotel.

DAY 2
It was still dark outside when the SEIT van picked us up. SEIT is the tour company that was taking us to see the national park. The tour was divided in two parts: first Kata-Tjuta and later in the day Uluru. First of all, we saw the sun rise next to Uluru from a viewpoint, at -1ºC we were freezing but the spectacular views made it worthwhile. Then, they had arranged an amazing picnic breakfast before starting to explore the Kata-Tjuta. Those warm drinks and toast with butter were a blessing!
Kata Tjuta (which means 'many heads') is a striking group of domed rocks with deep valley and steep-sided gorges in between. It may be less known than Uluru but we found it even more impressive.
uluru ayers rock australia
uluru ayers rock australia
After that they dropped us back at the hotel where we had lunch and a very much needed Spanish "siesta" before they picked us up again. This time to see the crown Jewel: Uluru. The guide told us amazing stories about the place and the Aboriginal people. It is hard to believe that they used to live there!
Read more about Uluru here

2 week Australia Itinerary: SYDNEY (4 nights)

Hotel: Seasons Harbour Plaza
DAY 1
We started exploring Sydney by going to the Queen Victoria Building, the most amazing mall which was close to our hotel. The beautiful building has great shops so retail therapy here is a must.
After the QVB we continued our way north visiting the Town Hall, Hyde Park, St Mary's Cathedral, the State Library and the Royal Botanic Gardens before arriving to the crown Jewel: the Sydney Opera House. It's one of those places that you've seen a million times on photos or TV but still impresses you when you see it in real life. This magnificent structure has always fascinated me. I've heard different stories about its shape, some say it looks like conquistador helmets, other say they are nun habits or even orange wedges.
By evening time we were at Darling Harbour, a great place to wander around, grab a bite and see amazing street performers.
opera house circular quay sydney
circular quay sydney australia

DAY 2
I had been dreaming of this day for a really long time. A few years ago I had seen on a blog an amazing place called The Grounds of Alexandria and I promised my self that if I ever went to Australia I was going there. On our second day in Sydney we woke up early and set off to find The Grounds and have what turned out to be one of the most amazing breakfasts we've ever had.
grounds alexandria sydney australia
grounds alexandria sydney australia
After a delicious breakfast and exploring the breathtaking Grounds, we headed back and visited the charming neighborhood of Paddington. There are beautiful Victorian houses and high fashion shops. Here you can also find the Reservoir Gardens, a water reservoir converted into a sunken garden.
paddington sydney australia

DAY 3
On our last day we visited Watson's Bay and the world famous Bondi beach. At Watson's Bay you get amazing views of Sydney on one side, and breathtaking views of the ocean on the other. Stopping at the Watson's Bay hotel for drinks with a view is a must.

I'm sure you've all heard of the iconic Bondi Beach. It's one of the most famous beaches in Australia for good reason!
bondi beach sydney australia

WHERE TO EAT IN SYDNEY
  • The Grounds of Alexandria
  • The Gorunds of the City
  • Glenmore at the Rocks
  • Jet (Queen Victoria Building)
  • Hotel Ravesis at Bondi Beach
Read more about Sydney here

Australia Itinerary: SYDNEY MAP

Here you can find all the stops in the itinerary including what to do, where to eat, stay and shop. To take this map with you simply click on the star next to the name to add it to your Google maps.

2 week Australia Itinerary: ADELAIDE & KANGAROO ISLAND (2 nights)

Hotel: Stamford Plaza
DAY 1
Our last walking city tour took place in Adelaide. The main city landmarks to explore are Victoria Square, Saint Francis Xavier cathedral and Rundle Mall, Adelaide's shopping street. Another place to take a lovely stroll is around Adelaide's riverbank. The University of Adelaide is also worth a visit. The buildings are located along North Terrace, one of the main streets, and you can find beautiful buildings full of history and knowledge. Nestled in the heart of the city, you can't miss the Botanic Gardens where we found the National Wine Centre of Australia. It's a must for wine lovers.
haighs chocolate adelaide australia

DAY 2
We took the ferry to the magnificent Kangaroo Island. Once in the island we took a bus to Seal Bay Conservation Park where we had a guided beach walk and learnt so much about these wonderful animals. Then we went to Vivonne Bay Bistro for a buffet lunch full of yummy traditional Australian food.

We hopped on the bus once again this time to see adorable koalas at Hanson Bay Wildlife Sanctuary. This was one of the most exciting moments of the Honeymoon. Koalas are one of my favorite animals and I had been waiting for this moment for a long time.

The following stop was Flinders Chase National Park where we saw the breathtaking Remarkable Rocks and Admirals Arch.And just like that the day had ended and it was time to board the ferry back to Adelaide. It had been an unforgettable experience.

Just like that, it was time to say goodbye to Australia. We really hope we can come back some day to relive these wonderful memories.
remarkable rocks kangaroo island australia
australia animal sign post kangaroo koala emu echidna
remarkable rocks kangaroo island australia

WHERE TO EAT IN ADELAIDE
  • Jamie's Italian
  • Treasury 1860
Read more about Adelaide and Kangaroo Island here

Australia Itinerary: ADELAIDE MAP

Here you can find all the stops in the itinerary including what to do, where to eat, stay and shop. To take this map with you simply click on the star next to the name to add it to your Google maps.
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australia itinerary
February 17, 2020
20 Incredible Parador Hotels to Travel to in 2020

20 Incredible Parador Hotels to Travel to in 2020

February 17, 2020
parador hotel sigüenza
I've talked about Parador hotels countless of times on the blog. It's a topic that gets me really excited because I consider it a genius business model. Turning historical landmarks and religious heritage into hotels is one of the best ideas ever!

My husband and I are Paradores biggest fans and whenever we can we eat or stay at one. There are almost 100 Parador hotels in Spain and our aim is to visit every one of them. To share my love for Paradores I've put together a list of 20 incredible Parador hotels to travel to in 2020 which are absolutely bucket-list-worthy.

Here’s a look at 20 Parador hotels you should have your eye on for 2020.
parador hotel sigüenza

20 Incredible Parador Hotels to Travel to in 2020

  1. Parador de Gredos: surrounded by mountains and hiking trails, this hotel is one of the best ways to fill your lungs with fresh air and unwind.
    parador hotel gredos
  2. Parador de Oropesa: this 14th-century castle used to belong to the counts of Oropesa and now you can feel like royalty by staying there.
    parador hotel oropesa
  3. Parador de Almagro: a former convent located in a beautiful village where you can enjoy 16th century open air theater. The summer theater festival is a must.
    parador hotel almagro
  4. Parador de Cuenca: it overlooks the quaint hanging houses, one of the best known sites in Spain.
    parador hotel cuenca
  5. Parador de Fuente De: get lost in the Spanish mountains at this hotel. The views of the mountain range from the room are breathtaking. In the mornings cattle grazes in the area and you will feel like beloved cartoon character Heidi, Girl of the Alps.
    parador fuente de
  6. Parador de los Reyes Catolicos: this hotel in Santiago de Compostela is the only 5-star Parador open at the moment. The other one is in Leon but it's currently closed for renovations.
    parador hotel reyes catolicos santiago compostela
  7. Parador de Hondarribia: located in a charming town near San Sebastian, this hotel makes you feel as if you were back in Medieval times.
    parador hotel hondarribia
  8. Parador de Jarandilla de la Vera: it has one of the most spectacular patios we've seen at a Parador. I recommend visiting in summer so you can dine out al fresco.
    parador hotel jarandilla
  9. Parador de Guadalupe: located on the site of the Royal Monastery of Guadalupe, its lovely interior courtyard filled with lemon and orange trees will make you fall in love with it.
    Parador hotel guadalupe
  10. Parador de La Granja: it is housed in the Casa de los Infantes, built by king Charles III in the 18th century as a home for the infantes Gabriel and Antonio.
    parador hotel granja san ildefonso
  11. Parador de Chinchon: it's located in one of the most beautiful villages in Madrid. It's a must day trip if you are visiting the capital of Spain.
    parador hotel chinchon
  12. Parador de Santillana del Mar: it's located in one of the most beautiful villages in the region of Cantabria. If you like charming cobblestone streets, this is the place to be.
    parador hotel santillana mar gil blas
  13. Parador de Nerja: located in this coastal town near Malaga, this is a great option for your beach holidays in summer. the views from it are jaw-dropping.
    parador nerja hotel
  14. Parador de Ávila: with its spectacular rampart, the small city of Avila is one of the most famous in Spain. This hotel is strategically located and your best option to visit the city.
    parador hotel avila
  15. Parador de Toledo: this hotel is outside of Toledo but thanks to that it offers the best views of this beautiful city.
    parador hotel toledo
  16. Parador de Lerma: located in the region of Burgos, this former Ducal Palace of Lerma is a beautiful example of 17th century architecture.
    parador hotel lerma
  17. Parador de Sigüenza: being able to sleep in a castle is one of the best traveling experiences to add to your bucket list.
    parador hotel sigüenza
  18. Parador Castillo de Monterrei: located on the top of a hill in the region of Galicia, this charming hotel is small and secluded, perfect for a relaxing getaway.
    parador hotel monterrei
  19. Parador de Soria: it's not a historical building like most of these but it still has the essence that makes Paradores so unique.
    parador hotel soria
  20. Parador de Olite: this hotel is located in a wing of the Royal Palace of Olite which was once one of the most impressive castles in Europe.
    parador hotel castle olite
I hope you enjoyed this list of 20 Parador Hotels to travel to this year. If you want to find more Paradores check out their website.

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