How to Road Trip Through Europe
There are many times where people hear about what we do for work and say, “Wow, you’re so lucky! That must be so much fun!”
It’s true that many times our work is totally fun! I’d say at least half the time we’re having fun, and then the other half is less fun but necessary. “Work” for us is not doing yoga or posting on social media all day; it’s much, much more and most of it is behind the scenes, so it’s tough to describe how much we really do on a daily basis. While we 100% love it and wouldn’t trade it for anything else, that amount of work, little sleep, stress, and long to-do lists will wear on you over time and you MUST be disciplined enough to carve out some down time… which we generally suck at, haha.
So this trip was meant to be a mental decompression and we were actually successful! We kept it 100% stress-free and only worked minimally most days. It was the perfect little break.
I shared a few pictures on social but I know a lot of you wanted to know more. So here it is: where we ate and where we went– only the most crucial info 😉 I just included the best stuff, but it’s still quite long. Props if you read the whole thing, haha!
This is our adventure. 11 Days & 9 Cities.
Rule #1: No over-thinking. Just let things happen.
1) L’Isle sur la Sorgue.
The Good: This was such an incredibly charming little town! It’s actually a massive hub for antique shopping which I’m generally not into at all, but this changed my mind. So many beautiful finds for every budget. Definitely worth a stop!
The meh: We only stayed for a couple hours to hang out and have lunch (at a place that wasn’t worth mentioning).
2) Lyon, France.
The Good: Close your eyes and picture what France looks like in your head. Lyon is the kind of city that looks exactly like THAT. Plus, there is SO. MUCH. GOOD. FOOD! Just don’t go in the middle of August because every top-notch restaurant closes for vacation, so our choices were more limited. We had a nice meal at Fiston which I’d totally go back to. Eat upstairs, it’s cozy 🙂 Also, whatever you do, do NOT miss ice cream at Terre Adelice. Insanely wonderful flavor, massive variety, and it’s organic. The lines are long, so get there early. We also did a super short river boat ride (pictured above, 1 hour, 8 euros!) which was a cool way to get to know the city since we were short on time.
Go to the Basilica of Notre Dame de Fourviere. Look up. Then go outside and see Lyon from the highest, most beautiful view point.
The meh: If you’re sensitive to cream and dairy, be cautious: cream and creme fraiche are highly prevalent in almost EVERYTHING in Lyonnais cooking.
3) Geneva, Switzerland.
The Good: This city is so quiet and so clean which I personally LOVE. The old town is gorgeous and great for lounging in a cafe in the shade with a book. Go to the top of St. Pierre’s Cathedral. It’s about 4 euros and you can walk through this incredible ancient staircase to the top where you can go outside and get panoramic views of the city which is pictured above. AMAZING.
If you see a place to rent a little boat and cruise along Lake Geneva, JUST DO IT. This was a trip highlight for sure and was surprisingly affordable at about 35 euros for a half hour. The nightlife is equally awesome. We had a delicious dinner at Le Grill that was a bit overpriced but still delicious, and even though Geneva is an expensive city, there’s no shortage of cheap places AND Michelin star experiences to go around.
The meh: Basically nothing! We loved it here!
4) Bern, Switzerland.
The Good: While we only spent a few hours here, it didn’t take long to see that this was a gorgeous city. Incredible views and architecture and charm and we only heard of all the awesome stuff to do after we left! Apparently there’s a Bear Sanctuary (!!!), some awesome ice cream and incredible trails around here, but we didn’t have the time to experience any of that. We definitely want to come back!
The meh: It’s pretty full of tourists and incredibly hot in the summer. We ended up eating a meal that was positively BLAH because we forgot to ask for recommendations in time, so do your research before sitting down to eat!
5) Lucern, Switzerland.
The Good: How gorgeous is this place? When we first got here, it seriously took my breath away. There’s something about how fast this water moves and how it contrasts with the colors of the buildings which blend into the mountains… it’s GORGEOUS.
We also had one of the best meals in the entire trip in a place called Stern Luzerne and not only was it incredibly delicious and inventive without being ridiculous, it was actually quite affordable! And “affordable” is not an adjective you can usually use in Switzerland, so that’s something 😉
The meh: I don’t think I have words to communicate how many tourists were in this city. I grew up going to Disney World in Orlando on Summer vacation, around the holidays, and everywhere in between, and I can honestly say I’ve never seen a place so packed with tourists as Lucern was. To be honest with you, our first day was just OK because it was so suffocating. There were BUSES of people being dropped off all over the place and it was really overwhelming. Our meal was a highlight, the beauty was unforgettable, and the next morning was nice and quiet because we got up early to enjoy the city. But def visit this place in an off season!
6) Zurich, Switzerland.
We only planned a few hours here because we thought this would be the least interesting place we visited. We were SO WRONG.
The Good: There’s SO many incredible places to see, to eat, and things to do, it was awesome. It’s gorgeous, the people are nice, you can SWIM in the river (!!!), there’s free & clean public restrooms everywhere, and we loved it. We ate lunch in AuGust Bistro which was delicious! It was in a cute neighborhood and was indoor/outdoor with a great vibe.
In the summer you can swim in the river which looked super clean, and The Frenchman said it was refreshing 🙂 Also, do not ask questions. Do not pass Go. Walk directly to Spruengli for macarons and chocolate and then live with the satisfaction of knowing you’ve just experienced pure Nirvana. (<– I am not dramatic AT ALL.)
Visiting Switzerland? Here’s a super handy list of 100 Best Things to do in Switzerland.
7) Innsbruck, Austria.
The Good: EVERYTHING. There’s nothing meh here and we spent 5 days in this gorgeous place, so let’s skate right through the highlights: everything here is SO inexpensive, from little trinkets to top-notch meals. The scenery is drop dead GORGEOUS, the people are kind and warm, there’s lots of great shops to bring stuff back, and it’s a great city to be in if you want to travel around the Austrian countryside.
Go immediately to Cafe Central and order yourself an Apfel Strudel mit Vanilla Sauce and wash it down with a tea that came like this! We got a coffee, a fancy tea, and 2 desserts and it only cost 10 euros TOTAL! Everything pictured on the right was for ONE person, too, so the servings are generous.
Either hike up to Hefekelekar on Nordkette or take the the funicular up there for the most breath taking panoramic view of the Alps and good, solid nature time. You’ll definitely breathe a little deeper up here.
We reluctantly went up to the Swarovski museum which was totally “meh” but inexpensive so the experience was salvaged by our incredible experience walking through their garden. It was INSANE! Totally worth it just for this.
We ate TWO standout, delicious meals while we were here: the first at a rustic non-fancy but slightly trendy place called die Wilderin and I don’t have pictures but it was BOMB. Real Austrian food with a “nose to tail” philosophy on all their meat and fantastic local wine and beer to compliment everything. A definite must-do. The second place was about 30 minutes away in a small town called Seefeld at a fellow Bad Yogi’s family restaurant: Dorfkrug. I took this picture from their website– isn’t it gorgeous?! My pics came out terribly because it was darker when we ate, but they were friendly and wonderful and the food was awesome.
8) Lake Como, Italy.
Alright, honestly? This whole place was MEH, to us. It was pretty enough, sure, but it didn’t blow us away. There wasn’t much to do, it was expensive and kinda fell flat from our expectations. We’ll just scrap it for now and maybe make it back for a different experience next time 🙂 If you’re thinking about going to Lake Como, skip it and come to the French Riviera! Similar landscape but WAY more impressive and beautiful, tons more to do, and more affordable.
9) Turin, Italy.
Now THIS place blew us away! We wanted more time here! We only spent a couple days which wasn’t nearly enough time. The architecture will leave you speechless. The entire city looks like a scene from a movie or a video game, and it’s just pure eye candy on every single corner. I’m not even exaggerating.
Then there’s the gelato. We only got to try two places and I highly recommend both. With equal enthusiasm. Two scoops worth. We went to Grom and Piu di un Gelato. You just absolutely must go to both. It’s your duty as a wanderer of the world! It’s only 2 euros per cone like this! How can you not?!
This was our last stop before leaving and it was a bittersweet homecoming. We were looking forward to getting back to our normal routine, but will so miss the pace and adventure of exploring new places. Now I’m already plotting how we can escape back to Austria at some point in the winter 😉
Over to you! What’s the coolest place you’ve ever been to? And how about the most disappointing? Any highlights or travel tips you absolutely MUST share?