Getting there: By bus Assen (NS station), but we got there by car
Scenery: Trail into the forest, dunes like desserts and a beautiful small town
After a lot of months without our hiking getaways (thanks to COVID-19), we finally did our first dutch adventure of the year. This time, we decided to visit the beautiful province of Friesland by doing a road trip. Our main intention was to visit Leeuwarden (Awarded cultural capital 2018), but also we wanted to do a hike in a National park of that province. Luckily, we found on google maps the Drents-Friese Wold National Park, that actually is a national park that is shared by two provinces, Friesland and Drenthe.
Appelscha looked like a nice option for starting our hike, especially because we found the perfect Airbnb in there, completely recommended! Amazing huge breakfast, it was so much that they even gave sandwich bags, so we could prepare our lunch with the leftovers, of course, we did it and we saved on lunch for two days! After breakfast, we started our hiking trip from a desolated Appelscha. This little town is lovely by its own, and since it is so close to the national park is very quiet.
Just after the first kilometer south, we immersed ourselves in the first forest. The trees were so tall and the trail was noiseless, perfect for some relaxing moment in the morning. We walked in here for around 1 km more before getting to the road.
Once we got to the road, there were many farms with amazing horses. One of them was a famous Friesian horse, these types of horses are originally from Friesland and they are impressive. Some of their characteristics are the black color and the size, they are huge!!! Also, they have a lot of presence and elegance.
Then, we immersed ourselves in the national park, where there is a huge dune area that looked like a desert. This was the hardest part of the trail because it was really hot. Anyways, it was a different experience in our dutch hikes.
After walking in the desert, we reached a lovely lake in Canada! Yes, Canada is the name of this lake just in the middle of our hike. In here, we had a lovely sandwich made from the leftovers of the breakfast. The lake was full of families enjoying the nice weather. So, it was a nice lunch watching all the locals swimming and relaxing.
Our last stop of the journey was to reach the visitor center of the national park. Here, there were many beautiful wood sculptures of animals. We rested for a couple of minutes here and started walking to our accommodation.
In total, we did around 24km around this amazing national park. We crossed from one province to the other one, and that is always nice to say 🙂 The hardest part was the dune one, well, and the end as well, since we were already very tired.
Once we got to our Airbnb, we enjoyed a quiet and nice evening in the room.
Getting there: All is connected by train or buses between each other and from Vienna
Scenery: Trail with forest, vineyards, Danube river and many types of fruit trees
Just a few hours from fancy Vienna, there is a land where you can immerse in nature and enjoy magical culinary adventures. Wachau Valley gives you the experience of walking from the river shores to vineyards trail, and just a few steps further from the Austrian forest.
We did a 4-day hiking tour around this area, and I think is one of the most beautiful hiking we had ever done. We went at the beginning of September, so it was still summer and there was the beginning of fall festivals (When they collect all the grapes). Stay tuned to read more about it:
Day 1: Vienna to Melk
We took from a train from Wien Hauptbahnhof (train station) to Melk (Direction Salsburg), with a transfer in St.Pollen (it was around 32 euros one way). The journey was about one hour long, and it was amazing how comfortable were the trains in Austria. The economy class felt like a business one.
We arrived at Melk around 3 pm. Just in time to check-in in our accommodation, Pension Babenberger. Here we got a comfy room with included Austrian breakfast (boiled eggs, all types of bread, tomatoes, cucumbers, ham, and cheese). Enough for our first day of hiking.
This day we went to check out the beautiful little town and we saw the sunset reflected on the Stift Melk (Melk Abbey). Finally, we closed our day with a good burger and refreshing beer at Koloman.
Day 2: Melk to Spitz (29km)
Our first stop was Melk Abbey, we didn’t enter but we want to look around. Just the entrance was beautiful, and we decided to go back one day and stay for a long time inside. Then, we started walking throughout the fields. I think there chamomile and corn. Finally, we started our way up through the forest. All the trail had useful signs and places to rest.
Once we got to the top of the mountain, the scenery is surreal. We had lunch just before entering a field full of pine trees (the smell was amazing!). Then on our way down, we had this magical view of the valley.
Finally, we arrived at Spitz around noon. The views in the last kilometers were fields full of vineyards and nice houses. We stayed that night in a historical hotel called Mariandl. Apparently it was important due to an old movie filmed there, so the hotel includes a museum of the movie.
Spitz is a cute little town, full of picturesque tiny streets and great views of the river. We had dinner in a restaurant called Gasthaus Spitzerl. Obviously, we want some regional cuisine and this place did not disappoint at all. Our dish was a Spitzerl’s Herrengröstl, a combination of roast potatoes with roast pork, bacon, onions, fried eggs served with cabbage-salad paired of course with some local wine, RieslingFederspiel. The perfect way to recover from a long hike. Our dessert was a regional dish called Marmeladepalatschinken, and it is basically 2 crepes with Wachauer apricot jam and ice cream.
Day 3: Spitz to Krems (19km)
On the third day we were already a little bit tired, not only because of the hiking from the before, but also because before coming to Wachau we spent a full week in Vienna. so we decided that we were going to walk until we felt it was enough. For that, we had an enormous and delicious breakfast in the hotel. The best eggs we had in all our days in Austria, and a pretty good selection of different kinds of bread. The hotel has a small vineyard that you can visit, and from there you had a beautiful view of the river.
Our next stop was Weißenkirchen in der Wachau. For getting there we immersed again into the forest. But first, we reached a nice spot to view Spitz from a mountain. Once we got to our destination, we realized there was a festival called Erntedankfest (fall festival). It was so full of locals enjoying the good wine and some delicious pastries because well is Austria. We grab two homemade cakes, one with amaretto and the other one was a black forest, both were delish!
After spending some good time at the festival, we started our last part of the hike. We walked to Dürnstein, but this time we did not follow the trail. Instead, we walk along the river. We did this because we want to have that view and also because we were already a little bit tired. Dürnstein is a beautiful and touristy town. We had lunch just the moment we arrived, and then we walked around the city. It was crowded with tourist and actually we barely feel that people live there. From there we decided to grab a bus to Krems, where we were going to rest that day before going back to Vienna the day after.
Once we arrived at Krem by bus, we relaxed in the Hotel Klinglhuber. The room was very comfy and it was very near the train station, so was perfect for the next day. We went for dinner at a restaurant called Schreiberhaus. This place was very near our accommodation and it was one of the few places open on a Sunday (that is difficult to find in Austria). For dinner, we had local wine and baked fish with vegetables and potatoes: Amazing! Glenn had fried chicken and local beer. The plate portions of this place were huge, so we were fully satisfied.
Day 3: Krems to Vienna
The final day, we decided we want to checkout Krems downtown. It is very small but full of life. We were pleasantly surprised to see all the cafés and nice architecture. On our way back to Vienna, we saw fields full of local produce, like this pumpkin field.
That was our full hiking trip our the Wachau Valley. Our budget for this trip was:
Transport (from Vienna and bus in Wachau): 84 euros
Last June, we finished our 2 weeks Norwegian trip. One part of this journey was a road trip from Trondheim to Bergen, making some strategic stop in places we want to do some hikes or we want to see some attractions. Some here is all the info, including our accommodation, meals, and budget.
We rented the car at Trondheim Airport. From there took us around 5 hours to get to Eide, where we were going to spend the night. As the main objective of this stop was to pass through the Atlantic Ocean Road, we first put on our GPS a supermarket in Kristiansund. So, after there, we had to get the popular road to get to our destination. This route has a ferry that cost around 15 euros for the car and an extra passenger.
Eide to Stranda, vía Trollstingen
After having a local breakfast at our Airbnb (Some barley porridge), we headed the road to Trollstingen. We were super lucky that the road was already open (it’s closed until the beginning of summer). The road by itself is beautiful and somehow magical. We reached the parking spot on the top, and from there we did some short hikes (Around 1 hour, since there was still some snow on the top). We had lunch here, and then we continue our journey to Stranda. where we spend two nights.
Stranda was a strategic stop for two reasons: the amazing Airbnb that was like staying with friends, plus the proximity to Geirangerfjord and other hiking trails. The next day, we drive until Hellesylt, where we took the tourist ferry to Geiranger. It is cheaper to get on the ferry without the car, it was around 93 euros return ticket. I think it is expensive but completely worthy since you can see the waterfall and learn some story behind the fjord. The ride is about 1 hour each way, so as we did it early, we had the whole afternoon to do a hike around Stranda.
Our Airbnb host recommended a hike near her place. Just a few minutes away by car we reached Livarden starting point. This hike is around 10km up and the view is outstanding, from here you can see have a spectacular view of the connection between Geirangerfjord and Tafjord, resulting in a big river that ended up in the ocean.
Stranda to Vikøyri, Lovatnet Lake stop
The following day, we started our long drive to Vikøyri. It was around five hours of driving since we want to get to know Lovatnet lake. We had a lovely lunch in front of the lake. This road has many types of breathtaking sceneries, as the view of the fjord from the mountain.
We decided to sleep at Vikøyri due to the convenient location, nothing more. But for our surprise, there is an old Stave Church called Hopperstad stavkyrkje. The structure is amazing and the whole ambiance made me feel I was in a mystical place. We arrived late, so we couldn’t get inside, so I will have to return to check it out.
Vikøyri to Segelgjerd, Viking village stop
Our next stop was Segelgjerd, a town near Trolltunga. To get there the trip is around 2 hours, but it took us more than because we want to visit the Viking village at Gudvangen. The entrance ticket is around 20 euros each adult and includes a small tour with some explanations on the Viking life. It was nice to see that the people working there actually live there, only for the 3 or months that the village is open. Apparently, there is a nice summer Festival in July, so visit around those days to have the full Viking experience.
The rest of the road was agreeable, with some nice views and tiny towns. Once we got to Segelgjerd, we were impressed by the landscape. Apart from Trolltunga, the surrounders are beautiful and you can have a nice view from the fjord along the highway. We were going to stay here because we bolled a two-day tour to climb Trolltunga the next morning.
Our Trolltunga experience was completely different from what we thought was going to be. Especially because we didn’t have the best weather, it was snowing at the end of May, so our equipped wasn’t the appropriate one but we survive! Luckily, besides the snow and some clouds, we achieve to saw the troll tongue (Trolltunga).
We booked a tour with Trolltunga adventures, it included the accommodation on tents on the top, all the meals, and local hiking snacks. I think it was worthy, so if you want the whole Norwegian hiking experience you should check them out!
Segelgjerd to Øystese
Since our two-days Trolltunga experience finished around 2 pm, we chose a near town where to spend that night closed to Hardangerfjord. This town was Øystese, near the ferry stop and the intersection for Bergen.
The view from this little town is amazing and our Airbnb was cozy and convenient. We just relaxed after all the walking and prepare for the following day drive.
Øystese to Bergen, via scenic route 49 & 48
This scenic route was recommended by our Airbnb hosts. It took us one hour more to reach Bergen but it was worthy. Although it was raining that day, we appreciated the numerous waterfalls, tunnels, and islands. We left the car at Bergen so that concludes our road trip.
Norway is an enormous country that we could see only a small part of it. Definitely, it has so many things to see and it is a great place to do any kind of outdoors activities.
This small road trip gave us a taste of the most popular attractions on the road, so if you want to replicate this trip let me know and tag us on Instagram.
Scenery: Trail with castle views, forests, limestone mines, mountains, and suburbs.
On our Prague Holiday, we decided to take a day to escape the craziness of the city and deep into the magical Czech forest. One option for this was Bohemian Paradise, but since it is far (around 2 hours by train) and we only had one day for this, we chose another closer hike.
We started our hike from Karlštejn train station, an hour train (route S7) journey from Hlavní nádraží station, in Prague city center. After walking with all the tourists going to the castle through the small picturesque town, we turned right just in the main entrance of the castle to start the trail on the forest.
A few meters later, we reached the entrance of the national park. This national park is hiker friendly, giving you many benches and tables to rest along the trail. Also, all the signs and maps are very clear, so it easy to follow. On the way, there are many types of scenarios, from old houses to crops and deep forests.
After discovering one of the many caves present in the trail, we found a nice roof with benches where we had our local produce sandwich (Moravian ham, Parenica cheese, and bakery bread). Later, we went to the limestone mines (Solvayovy Lomy), where there were numerous types of old machinery and a café.
The trail after the mines had amazing views of the mountains, especially from Vyhlídka Mramor scenic spot. From there you can see the little town of Svatý Jan pod Skalou, where there are a huge monastery and the tomb of St. John under the rock. You can go to the cave where he lived for several years, it is kinda creepy but interesting at the same time.
Finally, our last trail to reach Srbsko was mainly on the road until the last 2 km that we turned right and enter some forests. This little town is full of new houses, it is more like a suburban town. From here we reached the train station and took the train back to Prague.
Czech forests are just magical and I like the fact that there are hills and a lot of interesting archeological rocks. I think we only saw a little bit of what the Czech Republic could offer to the hikers. I would love to come back and discover more from this tiny but diverse country.