Munich

The capital of Bavaria is a charming city and the perfect base for exploring southern Germany. The city offers the chance to experience traditional Bavarian culture through its renowned museums, beautiful gardens, restaurants and, of course, the classic beer halls

When to travel? If you are looking for the traditional Oktoberfest (Wiesn) experience, check the official dates here. The world’s most famous beer festival typically takes place over three weeks between mid-September to early October. Book a table in advance or arrive early to obtain a spot. Our favourite tents are Hacker-Pschorr and Armbrustschützenzelt!

Munich is well connected to other European cities and arriving via train places you directly in the city center. If arriving by plane, the Munich airport is located approximately 30 kilometers from the city. We recommend taking the S-Bahn train which is the fastest and cheapest option at €12. A taxi will take over an hour and cost about €45.

EAT

While visiting Bavaria try some of the local specialities: sausage (wurst), sauerkraut, freshly baked pretzels, Schweinshaxe and Knödel. The food is heavy food but worth trying for at least one meal, guten appetit!

Most of the big beer halls listed below also have on-site restaurants serving traditional dishes.

Sophia's Restaurant & Bar Upscale lunch spot near the botanical gardens. A nice break from the heavy Bavarian dishes.

Viktualienmarkt Stroll around the city's largest and most famous outdoor marketplace. Grab a beer and sample some traditional German bites

DRINK

Munich is known for its long-standing beer culture. The city has no shortage of beer halls and gardens with lively atmospheres. Explore the city in the mornings and head to the beer gardens in the afternoon to kick off happy hour. Prost!

Augistiner Keller This noteworthy beer garden and Bavarian restaurant is one of our favourites with its authentic feel and delicious food. It is located near the main München Hauptbahnhof train station.

Hofbräuhaus München The most recognizable of them all, this 16th century beer hall is the ultimate German experience with dirndls, lederhosen and steins (maß) of beer. If time permits, we suggest visiting during the week to avoid long wait times as this location can be a touristy and crowded during the weekend. Reservations are not taken for the Beer garden and the Haus has a strict no seat, no service policy.

Paulaner Bräuhaus Excellent beer and a modern take on traditional Bavarian dishes.

Schumanns Over the beer? Head to this spot for an upscale cocktail bar experience. Recommended by a friend.

PLAY

Englischer Garten A large beautiful park in the center of the city. Plenty to see and do as the area spans over 900 acres. Check out the surfers near the south side of the park and the Chinese Tower/ Biergarten.

Frauenkirche One of the most notable sites in Munich, this Cathedral distinctively marks the Munich skyline. Climb the tower for unbeatable views of the city.

Leopoldstrasse Less touristy, this cool street offers cafes, restaurants and boutique shopping.

Marienplatz The largest public square in Munich, this Platz is the heart of the city. Plenty of restaurants, cafes, shops, and people watching opportunities. Check out the Glockenspiel cuckoo clock.

Day Trips

Dachau Concentration Camp Memorial Dachau opened in 1933 and was the first of the Nazi concentration camps. It is not a light hearted stop but this memorial is very powerful and the history is well documented. Plan to spend 3-4 hours here. Open daily.

Hohenschwangau and Neuschwanstein Castles Not to be missed if you are in the area and have time for this fairytale visit. Tickets for both castles are not needed to wander the grounds, but if you are looking for the full experience we recommend booking tickets in advance to tour the castles! Make sure to visit the MarienBrücke suspension bridge for the best views of the Neuschwanstein castle. Trains depart hourly from München Hauptbahnhof and arrive at Füssen train station via a two hour journey. From here take a bus to the castle (20 minutes). Going by car is the most direct and should take approximately 1.5 hours.

STAY

If you are only visiting for a weekend, we recommend staying in the Altstadt (Old Town) for easy access to all the sites. Looking for something less touristy? Try an Airbnb or hotel in the Schwabinger Tor neighbourhood, which is home to many cafes, bar, and restaurants found on Leopoldstrasse.

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Budapest

The capital of Hungary is the perfect destination for a weekend getaway with friends. The city is split by the Danube River and offers plenty to see and do between the hilly Buda and Pest neighborhoods. This Eastern European city is known for its spa and wellness culture, rich history and Ruin bars. It is a fairly cost-friendly option compared to most Western European cities.

The most efficient way into the city from the airport is via taxi. There is no Uber in Budapest, but you can use an app called Bolt to ensure fair prices and traceable rides in the city.

EAT

Traditional Hungarian food is über heavy. While visiting be sure to try the national dish, Goulash soup, or Lángos, a deep fried flatbread topped with cheese and garlic butter! 

Central Market Built in 1897, this grand hall houses everything and anything you may want to eat, drink or buy. Have a stroll around lunch, try some local bites and admire the impressive architecture (closed on Sundays).

DRINK

Budapest is known for its Ruin pubs, derelict industrial style bars found in the Jewish quarter of the city. Our advice is to explore the 7th district and find your favorite, here are a few of ours:

Instant The largest ruin pub in Budapest with 8 different bars inside. You will find a variety of music, vibes, and unique styles throughout the club.

Mazel Tov This outdoor courtyard boasts the perfect atmosphere to start any evening. It also serves Mediterranean food for those who come hungry.

Szimpla Kert Original Ruin bar, not to be missed.

PLAY

Buda Castle Stroll around and admire this historical palace. The inside of the castle houses the Hungarian National Museum (open daily).

Castle Hill With views overlooking the Danube, this entire area is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Don’t miss the Matthias Church and the Fishermans Bastion. Arrive via the funicular or take one of the many paths leading up to the Hill.

Chain Bridge Connects the western and eastern sides of the city, Buda and Pest. A beautiful (short) walk at any time of the day, views from both directions are picture-worthy.

Hungarian Parliament Building An iconic symbol of the city, this building is the third largest in the world and worth visiting for its unique architecture.

St. Stephens Basilica A beautiful Roman Catholic Church. Take the stairs for a rewarding view at the top!

Széchenyi Thermal Bath Budapest is known for its thermals, and this is one of the most famous. A relaxing way to spend an afternoon.

Vaci Street Main street with shopping, cafes and restaurants. The street starts at Vörösmarty Square.

STAY

Stay on the Pest side of the Danube. This is the heart of the city from an eating and drinking point of view, while the Buda side is more residential. We recommend Airbnb as there are loads of options available. We stayed near the Jewish Quarter.

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Prague

Prague is a fairy tale. The City of a Hundred Spires is home to an ancient castle on a hill, a magical clock tower, absinthe and a storied history of famous astronomers.

From the airport, one option is to take the Airport Express bus to the Prague Main Station and then walk 10-15 minutes into the Old Town. The bus takes about 35 minutes and runs from 6:30am to 10:00pm every 30 minutes. Alternatively, a cab or Uber will take 20-25 minutes.

The euro is not widely used in the Czech Republic. Upon arrival take out Czech crowns (also known as krones).

EAT

Ferdinanda Traditional Czech cuisine and beer in a cozy setting in Mala Strana. Recommended by a friend

Mansson’s Bakery Delicious Danish bakery just north of Old Town.

Piknik Park An Italian enoteca located on a quiet side street in Mala Strana. Outdoor seating, live music, great pizza and wine!

DRINK

The Czechs invented the Pilsner in 1842 and there is no better spot to try this light, golden-colored beer than straight from the source. Ask for a Pilsner Urquell, the original Bohemian beer. If you needed any more convincing, beer is literally cheaper than water here.

Double Trouble This cassic “cave-bar” and underground nightclub is a great spot to start the night.

Fat Cat Brewery & Pub Hip, contemporary bar and restaurant serving local brews in Old Town.

Hemingway Bar Cocktails.

Mecca Dance club for deep-house and techno lovers.

Strahov Monastery Brewery Beer has been brewed on this site near the Prague Castle since the medieval ages, but the current building dates back to the 17th century. Recommended by a friend.

PLAY

Charles Bridge This 15th century bridge connects the heart of the city and is lined with statutes of saints, artists, performers and musicians.

John Lennon Wall This colorful memorial pays homage to John Lennon and his ideals of peace and free speech.

Karlstejn Castle This beautiful, gothic castle was founded in 1348 by the Holy Roman Emperor, Charles IV. It is an easy half day trip by train from Prague, and one of the most admired castles in Bohemia.

Mala Strana Prague’s Lesser Town is slightly less touristy than Old Town but just as magical. This neighborhood lines the left river bank and is just south of the Castle. Several good pubs and restaurants are located here.

Old Town Square A must visit.

The Powder Tower One of the original city gates to the Old Town, this gothic tower’s construction began in the fifteenth century.

Prague Castle largest castle (area) in the world dating back to the 9th century.

Prague Astronomical Clock This 600 year old clock face is the heart and soul of the Old Town and puts on a show every hour.

Day trips

Terezín Take a day trip one hour outside the city to this former ghetto, concentration camp and Gestapo prison. A sobering but education experience to learn about the Czech-Jewish history, World War II, and the Holocaust.

STAY

Stay near the Old Town or Mala Strana to be within walking distance of the main sites and nightlife. Mala Strana is perhaps a bit less touristy and quieter in the evening. We, however, enjoyed the four star Hotel Caruso, just north of the Old Town Square.

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Vienna

Vienna has repeatedly captured the hearts of travelers with its rich history, food scene and amazing architecture (bonus points for also being an über clean city). 

Vienna is charming any time of year and always a good stop when in central Europe.  

Vienna’s Christmas markets are some of the most intriguing in Europe, and open from mid-November through Christmas. The local vendors and winter scene at the Rathaus is one of best markets in Europe and should be a top attraction on your list if visiting during the holidays.

The City Airport Train (CAT) connects the airport to Wien Mitte Station near the city center in 15 minutes. Alternatively, taxis are available and the trip to city center is 18 kilometers.

EAT

Cafe Sacher Wien While touristy, this cafe offers the classic Austrian experience with fine coffee and the local sacher-torte. We recommend going for the Apfel-Strudel instead! 

Eis Greisler Cute spot for ice cream.

Erich Awesome brunch menu. If nothing else, go for the terrace and enjoy a drink.

Neni Middle Eastern restaurant located inside Naschmarkt. Great lunch spot.

Skopik & Lohn Upscale Schnitzel restaurant.

Steirereck Reservations recommended.

Ulrich Great patio and brunch menu.

DRINK

Das Loft Skybar at the Sofitel hotel. Go for a sun-downer and enjoy the amazing views!

Naschmarkt Wide variety of food and drink vendors and the perfect spot to grab a quick bite and afternoon spritz when the sun is out. Closed on Sundays.

O`Boufes This is a bistro but go for a wine tasting. They specailize in natural, locally grown organic wines. Different tastes but we loved trying something new.

PLAY

Belvedere Museum beautiful gardens surround the Palace which is now home to an art museum that showcases Austrian artworks and various exhibitions in the Lower Belvedere.

Innere Stadt (First District) Wander through Vienna’s charming Old Town in the evening or, to beat the crowds, on Sunday morning.

Hofburg Palace Former imperial palace of the Habsburg dynasty and today the official residence of the President of Austria. Be sure to check out the Spanish Riding School, dating back to 1562.

Leopoldstadt Rent bikes to cruise around this area, and making a stop at Prater, Vienna’s playground and one of the world’s oldest amusement parks.

Museumsquartier This area is touristy, but it is a must to check out the Kunsthistorisches and Naturhistorisches Musuem, and take stroll through the nearby Volksgarten. This area is home to a variety of art musuems and the cultural centersansplatz. After taking in the sites, get lost in the small side streets.

Schloss Schoenbrunn Buy tickets in advance to avoid the queues, and don’t forget to check out the beautiful surrounding gardens. Combine this stop with the Naschmarkt for lunch.

Staatsoper (Vienna State Opera House) Go for a tour or purchase tickets for an evening show. Note that the main, classic Opera performances are traditionally closed in July and August

STAY

Choose a hotel or AirBnb in the Innere Stadt city center. We recommend the Sofitel Vienna Stephansdom.

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Zermatt

One of the most well-known resorts in the Swiss Alps, Zermatt’s car free mountain village sits at the base of the iconic Matterhorn. With stunning views and slopes that pass into Italy, this spot should be high on your list!

Taking the train is the easiest option as it is just three hours from Zürich. It is also possible to drive to Täsch, park and take the regional shuttle train to the village.

EAT

Chez Heini Traditional Swiss restaurant in the village.

Chez Vrony No better place on mountain. This chic alpine hut can be reached by skiing or via the winter hiking trails near Findeln. The views are incredible and the food is to die for! Try the tart flambée. Booking needed.

Findlerhof This rustic mountain restaurant near Chez Vrony is right off the Sunegga/Findeln lift. It has unmatched views of the Matterhorn, excellent service and a variety of go-to mountain dishes. Try the rösti. Booking needed. 

Giuseppe A change of pace from the traditional Swiss menus, this Italian eatery will not disappoint!

Schäferstube Alpine chalet restaurant with huge cowbells and a traditional menu. Go for the fondue or the raclette.

DRINK

Drink like a local and order a Schümli Plümli, the perfect way to warm up while skiing in the Swiss Alps!

Cervo Alpine-chic chalet at the bottom of Sunnega with live music and local beers

Champagne bar As the name states, this little champagne hut is the perfect apreski stop for views of the matterhorn and flutes of champagne. Located on the ski slope down from Sunnega.

Gee's Bar Nice cocktails and live music nightly. One of the few spots in the village open late

Hennu Stall Cosy drinks at the bottom of Furi-Zermatt slope.

Papperla Pub Mix with the locals with listening to live music and DJs.

PLAY

Zermat offers year-round mountain activities, and the mountain is accessible from the village by multiple lifts: Rothhorn, Gornergrat and Matterhorn Glacier Paradise. If you are not keen on mountain sports, the village also offers other activities like wellness spas and shopping.  

Hiking (summer season) With a 400 kilometer network of hiking trails, Zermatt is famous for views at every stop. Our local favorite is the Five Lakes Trail (4-6 hours).

Mountain biking, climbing, etc.

Ski or snowboard Zermatt has over 360 kilometers of the most amazing ski slopes at affordable prices. The average price per lift pass is CHF 75. Here for a few days? Opt for the International pass which includes access to Breuil-Cervinia and Valtournenche in Italy.

Snowshoe or winter hiking 70 kilometers of prepared winter hiking trails for non-skiers. Hike up to Findeln (1.5 hours) and enjoy a lunch or coffee break in the small mountain village.

STAY

Chalet Castor This chalet sleeps a large group of up to eight friends. Book through Mountain Exposure Zermatt.

Hotel Bellerive One of our first experiences in Zermatt and still one of our favorites. Book early!  

Panorama Ski Lodge Chic and modern alpine flats with Matterhorn views. Dog friendly =)

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