It’s been a crazy fun adventure the past couple of weeks! We just got back from a 2 week trip to Germany, Austria, Switzerland, and Italy, and it was even better than I could have imagined. Visiting Europe has been on my bucket list for quite some time. I’ve always wanted to visit Germany and Switzerland especially, because of my Swiss-German roots. When our friends Tyler & Margaret told us they were planning to go to Europe and invited us to go with them, we had to say yes!
Here are a few highlights from our trip.
First stop after a long 8 hour flight to Portugal and 3 hour flight to Milan, was Verona, Italy. We spent one night there and explored the city a bit and stopped at Lake Garda on our way to Germany. It was rainy, but beautiful! We were so excited to be there!
We left Italy and had a long drive to our Air Bnb in Bavaria in Germany. It was COLD! We felt like it was suddenly Christmas and played Christmas music on the drive 🙂 We started seeing mountains and beautiful little towns up in the mountains. This church way up in the hills caught my eye. The photo doesn’t even show how far up it was!
We made it to our Air Bnb in Germany! First thing I thought when I arrived here….it looks just like PA where I grew up! I couldn’t believe the similarities. It was SO BEAUTIFUL. These 2 photos were right outside our Air Bnb. Everything was so lush and green, and there are fields and farms everywhere.
The second day we visited Dachau Concentration Camp, which was only 30 minutes from where we were staying. We took a tour and it was extremely sobering. I’ve read countless books on World War 2 but this brought a lot of things to life for me and helped me understand some things about the German people during this time.
Here we are outside our house, on our way to the city of Munich to explore! Also, Steve driving our trusty little rental car, who we affectionately named “The Panda.” 🙂 Renting a car is the way to go if you’re visiting Europe, but the road signs did have us confused several times, as well as the parking meters. LOL
Munich is a beautiful and colorful city, but we were amazed by the amount of people riding bicycles there…not just riding but WHIZZING past, and you better be out of their way 🙂
Let’s talk about the little towns in Bavaria for a sec. I didn’t know little villages like this still existed, but I was in love with them. The window boxes overflowing with flowers on almost every window, and the fact that there are bakeries at every corner with the most amazing bread and pastries and coffee I’ve ever had in my life! I ate fresh croissants almost every day….you can’t exaggerate the deliciousness of German bread 🙂
After a few days in Germany we headed to our next location in Austria. It was amazing how the houses and the scenery subtly changed as we went….we saw more rugged mountains and the houses looked more like little chalets. We stopped to see Linderhof Palace and and a stunningly blue lake near Tirol, Austria.
We arrived in Austria in the little town of Reutte. Our Air Bnb had an incredible view of the mountains! We were here for three days. There was a bakery within walking distance of our house and it was so fun to buy fresh bread for breakfast every day! The guys went golfing the first day, because how many chances do you get to golf in the Alps? Us girls just went along for fun, and we definitely had it 🙂
We hiked to see two more medieval era castles (who knew castles were so common over there?) which was one of my highlights from our time in Austria. There was a bridge hundreds of feet in the air that you could walk across to get from one castle to the other. You could see the highway way down below. Very thrilling, in a dizzying sort of way 🙂
The third castle we went to see was the Neuswhenstein Castle, which is what inspired the Disney Castle! It was cool to see, but an obvious tourist trap and full of people so we didn’t stay long.
Next stop: Interlaken, Switzerland, for 3 days! As we drove deeper into the Alps we couldn’t stop staring! Our Air Bnb, a little Chalet in the village of Beatenberg, which is in the hills above Interlaken. We looked down on the Lakes from our house and the sunsets were always stunning! The first evening we bought food and ate dinner outside enjoying the view.
There are hiking trails everywhere so the next day we went on a hike! Definitely the most beautiful hike I’ve ever done…..the trails went through cow pastures and woods and there were cows everywhere! The mountains were SO blue and it was incredible gorgeous!
The view from our Chalet, morning & evening.
We went into the town of Interlaken the next day….check out all the Chalets with the beautiful window boxes!
Also in Interlaken, we went paragliding! SO VERY COOL. I had photos taken while we were up there but I didn’t buy them and now I just really regret it.
And we had to get dressed up and take a few portraits while we were in Switzerland….we just had to! Ok, I told everyone we had to. But I don’t regret it. Also a photo with “The Panda.” 🙂
There was another stunning sunset that evening!
Staying in Beatenburg was definitely my favorite part of our trip. We said goodbye to Switzerland and drove that little tiny winding road to Italy, for the next three days. We spent our first evening in Arcumeggia Italy and got pizza, and then went to Lake Maggiore and built a campfire just for fun 🙂
I celebrated my 26th birthday in Italy! Sylvia was a sweet Italian woman that we met when we stopped at her family’s vineyard on our way to our final stop, Genova.
We had a beautiful apartment in Genova with this view! Also the pizza and pasta, and gelato we had while we were here was incredibly delicious! Unfortunately I didn’t take as many photos the last couple of days.
Those are the highlights! This trip exceeded my expectations in a lot of ways but one of the best things about it was spending almost 2 weeks of uninterrupted time with my husband. We were so grateful for it!
It was amazing to explore places that I’ve wanted to see since I was a child.
4 things I’d recommend doing if you’re taking a trip to Europe:
1. Rent a car! We loved having our own car and being able to go where we wanted, when we wanted to! (That sounds kind of American doesn’t it? 🙂
2. Air Bnb! The best invention since……ever.
3. Spend more than 1 day at each place.
We spent a good bit of time driving from one city to another, so having multiple days to explore each town we were in helped us to see each place in more depth. We also didn’t pack our schedule each day and didn’t plan more than one or two things for the day, which made them enjoyable and not rushed!
4. Bring some great friends with you 🙂
Tyler & Margaret were the reason we went on this trip, and we enjoyed our time with them so much! So thankful for them!
Thanks for sticking with me as I share about our adventures. Leave a comment below, I’d love to hear if you’ve been to these places, or want to, or what your thoughts are on European travel!