SEEING AUSTRIA

Day 1 & 2 in Vienna

Vienna is such an amazing city and was much bigger than I was expecting. With its elegant gardens and rich history, you will for sure need two days to see everything. I would suggest breaking the city up in half when planning. We split our exploring days by the northern and southern parts of the city. This makes it more manageable, as it is a very large city.

We booked our stay just outside of the city center in the neighborhood of Josefstadt. This kept costs down and it was still walking distance to everything we needed. Be sure that you book a hotel with its own parking because city parking can get expensive.

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Vienna Day 1

This is the day we chose to explore the southern part of the city.

Things to See & Do

  • Morning Visit To Schöbrunn Palace:Start the day out with this attraction as it is one of the city’s most popular sites and can get overcrowded as the day goes on. You can take the U4 subway line and it will stop right outside the palace. You can purchase your tickets before hand or purchase tickets at the kiosk once you arrive. There are a few different options for tours so choose which one you are most interested in. We took the shorter tour with an audio guide and I thought it was very thorough (We even walked through the room where Mozart gave his first concert). Be sure to explore the grounds of the palace and walk up to the Gloriette to enjoy the view. It is well worth the hike!
  • Lunch at Nachstmarkt: After visiting the Schönbrunn Palace jump back on the U4 subway line and exit at the “Kettenbruckeng” This will be right in the heart of the famous Nachstmarkt. Here you will find numerous vendors selling fresh produce, meats, cheeses, and bread. If it’s a nice day, buy a few things and have a picnic! If the weather isn’t working with you that is no problem. There are tons of great restaurants right there as well. Stop and have a bite!
  • Afternoon of Museums or Shopping:Jump back on the U4 line and head towards the city center for your afternoon activities. This is where you can decide what most interests you. Kevin and I decided to do a bit of shopping. There are a few brands I just adore, and I can’t get them as easily at home. I know not everyone likes to shop while traveling, and if that’s you, pick a Museum to visit in Vienna’s Museum quarter. If you don’t make it into a museum, a stroll through the grounds is exquisite as well.
  • Evening Classical Music Concert: Austria is well known for its classical music. Being that Mozart is from Austria, they pay a big tribute to that by having what seems like an opera house on every corner! The most famous of them being The State Opera House. There are multiple musical events going on everyday so it’s easy to get into one and have it be fairly affordable. Go ahead and book a concert. It doesn’t even have to be Mozart, there are several contemporary composers that will be playing from time to time as well. We booked our tickets with The Vienna Mozart Symphony at the Golden Hall. It was touristy, which was expected, but it was a reasonable price for two hours of fabulous live classical music. Concerts usually start around 8pm

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Vienna Day 2

This is the day to explore the Northern part of the city.

Things to See & Do

  • Morning Bike Ride: They have made it easy to rent a bike in Vienna. A company called Citybike has bike “stations” placed all over the city and you can rent them just by stepping up to the automated kiosk and entering your information. Note that you can only rent one bike per credit card. The best part is that the first hour is free!! I would recommend biking around the famous “Ring Street” which is the street that circles all the way around the old city center.
  • Catch A Birds-Eye View of Vienna: At the very northern part of the city is the iconic Reisenrad. This giant ferris wheel has been around for more than 100 years and is an icon of the city. I will admit it was rather touristy, however the view was spectacular and in my opinion it was worth the 9 Euros to ride.
  • Stop for Cake: Jump back on the U1 Subway back to center of the city. Take a break and recharge with some cake and coffee at the famous Central Café.
  • Afternoon Visit to St. Stephens Cathedral: This is an absolutely stunning church in the center of Vienna. I would suggest taking a tour of the church. There are private guided tours and also audio guides available. Also, if you are interested, there are tours of the catacombs under the church!
  • Evening Drinks at Dochboden: This is a lovely rooftop bar located just outside of the center of the city. It is a little hard to find as it is on top of the 25 Hours Hotel, but follow the signs and they will lead you to the elevator that takes you up. The view is spectacular and the drinks are amazing! Stop by and watch the sun go down while sipping a fabulous cocktail. The city is absolutely beautiful at night!
  • Pack and Rest Up: It’s a beautiful city and you may feel like you never want to leave, however in the morning begins the trek to Berchtesgaden.

Extra Tip: Vienna sells a city pass that you can purchase online that gets you unlimited city commuting (bus, tram, subway ext.) it also gets your entrance to many of the attractions in the city. Take a look at everything you want to see, it could save you a few bucks! We all love saving buck.

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Day 3 Berchtesgaden Area 

Morning Drive from Vienna to Berchtesgaden

Today you will drive from Vienna to the Berchtesgaden area. This drive should take around 3 hours. Yes, I know this is actually in Germany, but it’s such a beautiful and important area that it would be a crime to miss it. Since the drive is a bit long and there is much to see I would suggest getting and early start. When arriving to the area there are two major sites that you can choose to explore. Pick the one that interests you.

Things to See & Do

  • Lake Königsee: If the weather is good, I would suggest you visit the lake. Boats come and go about every 20 minutes and it is pretty inexpensive to ride. There are two different routes that you can take, one is just a bit longer. At either destination you can take a hike and explore the beautiful scenery. Keep in mind that the shortest hike is about a three hour hike roundtrip. If you are not feeling like a long hike there are restaurants to sit and eat while enjoying the Mountainous backdrop. Absolutely beautiful!
  • The Eagle’s Nest: For the history buff, I would spend the day visiting Hitler’s Eagles Nest. As it stands today, it acts as a restaurant. However, if you do visit, you should book a tour because there is so much information that you don’t get if you just visit on your own. We took a short 30 minute tour that was only $5 and I thought it was a great deal. This tour cannot be booked ahead of time and you just pay when you get to the site. Otherwise, there are several other tours that you can book online ahead of time.

Extra Tip: After your tour, I would strongly recommend going to see the old WW2 bunkers under Hotel zum Turken (wear closed toes shoes as it is cold and VERY wet).

Drive up to Salzburg

After your day in Berchtesgaden make your way to Salzburg. The drive should only be about 30 minutes. Again make sure you book a hotel that has parking because it is quite difficult to find parking and city parking structures can be very expensive. Stay the night in Salzburg and enjoy dinner at one of their many fabulous restaurants.

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Day 4 Salzburg

Things to See & Do

  • Visit the Salt Mines: There are several tours that will leave from Salzburg. You can choose to book a tour or you can catch a bus on your own. You will most likely pay a bit extra for the convenience of transportation to and from, however it might be worth it because sometimes parking can be difficult. If you arrive early this won’t be as much of an issue. The first tours start at 9am in the summer months.
  • Explore the city of Salzburg: After returning from the salt mines head to The Salzburg city center. Salzburg is actually much smaller than I expected and can be explored very easily by foot. The downtown area is strictly a pedestrian area so you will either need to park your car at your hotel or along the street. You can purchase street parking vouchers for three hours at a time. Spend the rest of the afternoon strolling around the cobblestone streets of Salzburg. Here are a few attractions that are notable:
  • The Salzburg Fortress: This is probably the most famous attraction in Salzburg and rightfully so! It is a beautiful white washed building up on a hill looking over the city. You cannot drive up to the fortress and it is a bit of a walk so bring your comfy walking shoes!

  • Mozart’s Birth House: This is another popular attraction in Salzburg. Kevin and I did not actually go in as we felt it was a bit touristy but it was fun to walk up and take a picture in front of the building.
  • Dinner in Salzburg: This city is buzzing with fabulous restaurants and cafes. Pick one that looks good to you!! Rest up for your travels to Innsbruck.

Extra Tip: for more on Salzburg visit The Trusted Travellers guide to Salzburg.

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Day 5 Innsbruck 

Drive to Innsbruck

This drive should take you about 2-3 hours. This city is most well-known for skiing and winter attractions. However, there is plenty to do in the city itself if you are visiting in the summer or if you are like me and don’t ski! The city is rather small and can be done by foot in a day.

Things to See & Do

  • Take In The View: One of my favorite sites in this city is the cable car ride up the Nordkette. The ride is a bit expensive, but to me, the views at the top make it well worth it. There is a ski lodge up at the top of the mountain and you can sit and have a beer and a bite while taking in the views.

Saint Jacob Cathedral: This little gem was one of my favorite churches in Austria. I think I loved it most because of its element of surprise. From the outside, it looks rather plain, but step inside and prepare to be blown away! It’s a must see!

  • Stroll around Old Town: Innsbruck has an absolutely charming city center. With its specialty shops and old medieval gothic arches it’s guaranteed to impress. As you explore be sure to stop for cake and coffee at Café Krö

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This concludes your 5 day tour around Austria! This country remains one of my favorite in Europe. There is so much beauty and charm that every time I come I am even more blown away.

This itinerary obviously does not cover EVERYTHING that there is to see however it is a list of the sites that I feel are the most important and beautiful.

LONDON TRAVEL TIPS

1.Travel around London with a Visitor Oyster card
A Visitor Oyster card is a smartcard with pay as you go credit that allows you to travel on most public transport in London. Buy one online and have it delivered to your home so that it’s ready to use as soon as you arrive in London. That way, you won’t have to queue to get one. 

Pay as you go fares are cheaper than buying paper single tickets. You can also use your contactless debit or credit card to pay as you go on London’s public transport, although overseas transaction fees may apply.

2. Touch in and out on the yellow card readers
Remember to touch your Visitor Oyster card in at the yellow card reader at the start of your journey and to touch out at the end on Tube, DLR, London Overground, TfL Rail and most National Rail services in London. On buses and trams, just touch your card on the yellow reader at the start of your journey – you don’t need to touch out when you get off.

3. Travel outside the busiest times
The busiest times to travel are 08:30 – 09:00 and 17:30 – 18:30, Monday to Friday. If you are able to travel outside these times, you could enjoy a quicker, more comfortable journey, especially if you’re carrying heavy luggage/a rucksack, or travelling in a group.

4. Stand on the right
Always stand on the right when using the escalators at Tube stations, leaving enough space free for passengers in a hurry. Once you get onto the platform, always stand behind the yellow line and move along the platform where more space is available so it’s easier to board the next train.

5. Travel differently
See a different side to London. You can hire a bike for as little as £2 with Santander Cycles, London’s self-service, bike-sharing scheme, take to the air with Emirates Air Line, London’s cable car or take a scenic boat trip along the River Thames. Alternatively, walking in central London is a great way to get around and experience the city. You’ll find that there are plenty of street maps to help you get around and it could be quick than taking the Tube or the bus.

Other travel tips

  • Luggage and rucksacks
    When carrying luggage on the Tube, look out for the raised platform areas to board and, where possible, avoid travelling during the busiest times: you may have an easier journey. Although staff will be present they may not be able to assist you with luggage as a result of carrying out other duties. If you’re carrying a rucksack, remove it when you board a train and place it by your feet
  • Travel by bus
    Try travelling by bus; it’s one of the cheapest and most scenic ways to travel. Use our Central London bus and attractions map to help you plan your way around the city and its landmarks. Remember, you cannot pay for your London bus fare in cash. You will need an Oyster or contactless payment card, or a valid ticket, to pay for your bus journey.
  • Don’t rush for the train
    The Tube operates a very frequent service, so there’s no need to rush for the first train. This allows you time to move down the platform where more space might be available.
  • Get expert advice – go to a visitor centre
    Visit a TfL visitor centre to plan your London visit. There you can buy tickets for travelling around London, getting to the airport or tickets for many of London’s major attractions and shows.

HAIKU STAIRS

It’s called the Haiku Stairs, also known as the Stairway to Heaven Hawaii, and it has one of the most breathtaking views on the entire planet.

However, that view comes with a price because it’s actually illegal to climb. The stairs were originally installed during World War II so military could access a radio station antennae that sat roughly 2,000 feet up in the mountains.

Located on the Hawaiian Island of Oahu, which reaches a peak of nearly 3,000 feet, is forbidden by the Hawaiian government due to liability issues and land access problems. A guard was even present during the day (though many people now say the guard is gone).

Even with all the restrictions, it doesn’t stop the thrill seekers, they say it’s worth the risk of being arrested. There are many parts to the hike that are pretty terrifying, but one of the scariest moments are early on, when you’re forced to climb a ladder vertically up a steep mountain.

The Haiku Stairs

photo credit: Miguel Toralba / See More

You wouldn’t want to look down


photo credit: Miguel Toralba / See More

There’s 4,000 stairs in total

photo credit: Art La Flamme

The view is absolutely worth it

haiku-stairs-hawaii-stairway-to-heaven-11photo credit: Brock Roseberry

Recently a powerful storm damaged most of the stairs making it now almost completely inaccessible in some spots. The entire fate of the stairs is now up in the air unless community organizations come together to fix it—> *Update on this below.

Many people start the hike early in the morning when it’s still dark so they can catch the sunrise

haiku-stairs-hawaii-stairway-to-heaven-13photo credit: Michael Keany

The steps up the steep mountain actually use to be all made of wood, if you can believe it. However, in the mid 1950’s those wooden steps were replaced with sections of metal steps and ramps totaling approximately 3,922.

Just imagine walking around on wooden steps, that would be even more terrifying.

I’m not sure I would ever leave this place

Someones even added a swing at the top

Stairway To Heaven

Recently, a nonprofit organization called Friends of Haiku Stairs, laid out a plan to collect revenue from tourists and local hikers.

The money would go towards reconstruction and maintenance costs. They’re proposing a plan that includes a $100 fee for out-of-state visitors, and a $5 to $20 fee for Hawaiian residents.

If you liked the Haiku Stairs, check out the Hamilton Pool Preserve: A secret paradise located in Texas!

TEMPLE BAR

First, some history. Temple Bar has always been a popular spot – the Vikings set up camp here as far back as 795 A.D. Their settlement remains can be seen in Dublin Castle today. Fast forward a few centuries to a time when British diplomat Sir William Temple built his grand residence and gardens on the site, the name stuck and Temple Bar was born.

The Temple Bar area is a square on the south bank of the River Liffey with off-shooting streets and narrow laneways. They’re lined with boutiques, cafes, galleries and pubs, and at any time of year, packed with culture-vultures and party-seekers. It’s the city’s playground, and it has a lot going on.

Culture capital

Temple Bar is the centre of Dublin’s cultural universe. Buskers, street artists, open air markets and exhibitions a create carnival atmosphere. You can catch a show (no less than three theatres on offer), mosey through a gallery, explore a market, go to a gig or just plonk yourself in a café for Dublin’s best people-watching spot.

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Culture squared

Meeting House Square is Temple Bar’s culture HQ. It is lined by The National Photographic Archive and The Gallery of Photography (both free entry), and the Irish Film Institute. It is also a stage for occasional screenings, markets and even a vineyard.

Every Saturday, it erupts with colour with the food market. Huge canopies cover the square making it all-weather. On sale you’ll find fresh fruit and veg, a cheesemongers, even oysters. Around the corner in the main square, the Temple Bar Book Market has a world of literature on its stalls.

Between the squares is Filmbase, a mecca for film fans with a public gallery, tasty café, free lectures and screenings.

Temple Bar tastes

Feeling peckish? Wander the cobbled streets and let your sense of smell guide you. The fare on offer is international, from Indonesian eatery The Chameleon to French bistro Les Fréres Jacques. For traditional Irish, get your boxty on at Gallagher’s Boxty House. For a real treat, try the Tea Room restaurant at The Clarence Hotel, and keep an eye out for owners Bono and The Edge.

Bring on the night

When the sun goes down, the volume goes up. Temple Bar has the highest density of pubs of in Dublin City, so no problems grabbing a pint here. Street musicians play their hearts out for the revellers hopping from pub to pub. The rhythmic sounds of Irish trad music may tempt you in for a pint and a dance. The Oliver St John Gogarty bar has live Irish trad every day and night.

Down Fleet St, is The Porterhouse Bar and brewery pub. One of the bastions of Ireland’s craft beer scene, The Porterhouse’s taps only flow with their brews, and there are bottled wonders from around the world.

Quite like Temple Bar itself: a cultural melting pot with an Irish flavour at its heart.

OUT IN MADRID

Spain is famous the world over for its nightlife and party culture.

With trendy bars, happening nightclubs and so much more, Madrid is the place to be for the ultimate night on the town. And of course, it’s worth keeping in mind that nights go late here. Madrileños will often head out to the clubs around the same time that people in other countries would be calling it a night and heading home! If you can keep up, nightlife in Madrid can be one of the most memorable parts of your trip. Here are our favorite late-night hotspots.

Ready to experience the iconic nightlife in Madrid? Here's where to go and what to do!

Teatro Kapital

Going to Teatro Kapital is practically a rite of passage when it comes to nightlife in Madrid. With seven floors spanning all kinds of musical styles from Latin to funk to R&B and so many more, the mythical nightclub has made a name for itself as one of the most iconic nighttime hotspots in the city. As the largest club in Madrid and one of the largest in Europe, it draws eager visitors from all corners of the globe. It features dozens of bars (including one on the roof), a cozy area for couples complete with a movie screen, a karaoke stage and so much more. It’s a one-stop wonder for the most complete nightlife experience in the city!

AddressCalle de Atocha, 125

Joy Eslava

Another legendary destination in the heart of Madrid, Joy Eslava stands out due to the fact that it’s open 365 days a year (unlike many clubs which only open on the weekends). The four-story venue opened 150 years ago as a theater, and details of its old-world past can still be seen. It was renovated and inaugurated as a nightclub in the 1980s and the party hasn’t stopped since. Partygoers can enjoy a different theme each night of the week, which keeps things fresh. The club enjoys international renown as a reference point for some of the best nightlife in Madrid.

AddressCalle del Arenal, 11

Joy Eslava is a must when it comes to nightlife in Madrid!
Joy Eslava’s recognizable exterior gives a glimpse into the venue’s past life as a theater. Photo credit: Tnarik Innael

Marula Cafe

If you’re looking for a nightclub with a more intimate, authentic vibe, head to Marula Cafe. This veteran nighttime hotspot in La Latina has been a favorite among locals and visitors alike for years. Their playlist of the hottest international hits provides a pleasantly surprising musical variety. It’s also home to one of Madrid’s best outdoor terraces, making it a particularly excellent option on those warm summer nights. The entrance fee is quite reasonable compared to other clubs in the city and allows you access to a more laid-back atmosphere.

AddressCalle de Caños Viejos, 3

Nightlife in Madrid can be incredibly varied. For great music and an international vibe, check out Marula Cafe!
Good vibes and even better music set the tone at Marula Cafe. Photo credit: Marula Cafe

Cafe Central

For more than 35 years, Cafe Central has been a reference for excellent jazz music in Madrid. If you’re looking to spend a more relaxed evening enjoying smooth sounds in good company, this is the place for you. The building which houses the club dates back to 1908 and has continually been used as a live music venue. Today, Cafe Central enjoys a status as one of the world’s top jazz clubs according to respected jazz publication Down Beat. Despite its renown, it stays true to its humble roots as a place where people from all walks of life can come and enjoy a fantastic show.

AddressPlaza del Ángel, 10

Museo Chicote

Vintage Hollywood glamour meets fun, modern vibes at Museo Chicote, one of the most legendary spots for nightlife in Madrid. Dating back to 1931, its claim to fame is its status as Spain’s first American-style bar. It became such a success that cultural icons such as Ernest Hemingway, Grace Kelly and Frank Sinatra were known to have made appearances here. Today, it retains much of the original art deco design and classic cocktails that made it famous, while adapting to the vibrant modern pace of the city.

AddressCalle Gran Vía, 12

A legendary place to experience nightlife in Madrid: Museo Chicote, home to fabulous cocktails and a long list of famous clientele.
The expertly mixed cocktails at Museo Chicote have kept customers coming back for decades! Photo credit: Emilia Brandão for Museo Chicote

Wurlitzer Ballroom

Calling all rock fans! When it comes to nightlife in Madrid, you can’t get much better than the legendary Wurlitzer Ballroom. With reasonable prices, an unbeatable location near Gran Vía and carefully controlled crowd sizes (get there early to grab a spot!), it includes all the makings of a perfect night out. The industrial space plays host to national and international rock bands of all stylings, including punk, metal, garage and more. This mainstay on Madrid’s live music scene is synonymous with an unforgettable night out.

STYLE

Luxury travel bag.

Maxwell-Scott

The Flero Medium

• Secure twin buckle straps

• Floor to floor wide zip opening

• Adjustable, detachable shoulder strap

• Metal feet to base

• Capacity: 38 Litres (cabin size)

• Dimensions: 51 x 29 x 25 cm (width, height, depth)

• Weight: 2.1 kg

The Flero medium holdall is a practical leather weekend bag designed for the discerning traveller. This high quality leather overnight bag features secure metal zippers, a spacious faux-leather interior, and a small rear zipped compartment in the lining. The detachable, adjustable shoulder strap and sturdy carry handles also provide extra versatility. Ideal for the smart traveller, the Flero is a multipurpose cabin sized overnight bag that can be used both for short business trips and long weekends away. A firm favourite, this style is available in three classic colours: chestnut tan, dark brown and black. It is the quality travel holdall to last years of exploring.

£670.00

wwwmaxwellscottbags.com

SAINT TROPEZ

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Saint-Tropez

Saint-Tropez is a coastal town on the French Riviera, in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region of southeastern France. Long popular with artists, the town attracted the international “jet set” in the 1960s, and remains known for its beaches and nightlife. The cobblestoned La Ponche quarter recalls its past as a fishing village, although yachts now outnumber fishing boats in the Vieux Port (Old Port). Perfect for casual shopping, with elegant bars and breathtaking views St-Tropez caters for everyone.