6 Best Things to do in Lake Bled

Lake Bled is one of the most known places in Slovenia and one of the most visited ones. This magical, magnificent lake has one lone island where a charming church is located. There is no doubt that this is a Slovenia must-see. I had the chance to spend one day around and this is a once-in-a-life experience.

What to do in Lake Bled?

Ring the Wishing Bell

There is a legend dated from more that 500 years ago, that says that whoever rings the bell will have their wish come true.

To spend some time in the church there are two options:

  • To rent a boat and paddle around the lake – You do not need prior experience to do this but be ready to feel a bit unstable at the beginning. The drive takes around 10-15 minutes and it costs €20 per hour.
  • To rent a Pletna boat – This is a traditional wooden boat. You just need to sit down and enjoy the ride. It costs around €15 per person.

Traditionally visitors should walk the 99 steps leading to the Assumption of Mary Church, where you can ring the Wishing Bell.

Visit Lake Bled Castle

To enjoy one of the best views of Lake Bled you should visit this 1000 years old castle.

This is the oldest castle in Slovenia, dating to the year 1011. On a visit there, sept onto the lake-facing terraces and enjoy the spectacular view. The castle includes a museum detailing the history of Bled, and a restaurant with a wine cellar.

Bled Castle Opening Hours:

08:00 – 18:00: From January to March + November and December

08:00 – 20:00: From April to June + September & October

08:00 – 21:00: July & August

Take a Stroll around Lake Bled

Ready for a walk around a magical lake? In this case Lake Bled is the perfect place. It takes around 1 hour to walk the 6km distance, depending on how many times you stop to take pictures, and the views are stunning.

Personal tip: Do it at sunset… 😊

Hike to Mala Osojnica

If you are a hiking person, the walk to Mala Osojnica is the perfect plan for you. It is a quick hike, a little bit tough sometimes but the reward is a unique view of Lake Bled.

During the climb you will spend most of the time under the cover of trees. You know you are getting close to the top when you see the metal staircase. The main viewpoint – Mala Osojnica – is five minutes away from the stairs.

The entire hike takes one hour and you do not need hiking shoes, although I would recommend you to use them. Some running shoes could also be a good option in this case.

Visit Vintgar Gorge

Nearby you can visit Vintgar Gorge, one of the most amazing nature spot in the country. To access the gorge just walk the wooden boardwalk that follows the river to a waterfall.

Try Bled Cream Cake

Although every café in Slovenia serves it, the original source of Bled Cream Cake is Park Hotel.

This delicious dessert is one of the most popular ones in the country. It is said that the hotel is serving up Bled Cream Cake since 1953, shortly after the arrival of pastry chef Ištvan Lukačević following the Second World War. Hope you like it!! 😊

 

Your turn

Have you ever been to Lake Bled? What did you like the most? Is there any other recommendation you would like to do?

In case you want to share your experience, feel free to leave a comment below or to contact me via social networks. I am always thrilled to read your adventures!

 

 

 

*Please, note that I am not an English native speaker. Therefore, you may find some spelling mistakes in this post. Feel free to let me know it and help me improve my English skills.

Predjama Castle and The Caves

In one day, you can easily visit three of Slovenia’s most stunning destinations: the Postojna Cave, Predjama Castle and Škocjan Caves.

Postojna Cave is a 24 kilometers long cave system, made up of four caves interconnected through an underground river. This cave is the longest one in Slovenia and one of the longest in all Europe. As interesting fact, German forces used the cave to store 1,000 barrels of aircraft fuel during World War II.

Predjama Castle is one of Europe’s most dramatic castles. This Renaissance castle,  was built in the mouth of a cave halfway up 123-meter cliff around year 1200, but most of what we can see today is from the 16th century.

Škocjan Caves are a unique natural phenomenon included in the UNESCO list in 1986. These caves, one of the largest underground canyons in the world, are truly amazing. They have beautiful stalactites, stalagmites and other rocks formations, but what makes this place so unique is the underground river (Reka River) which disappears into the underground beneath a rock wall.

Postojna Cave and Predjama Castle are near to each other (like 5-10 minutes’ walk), however, from the castle to Škocjan Caves you have around 30 minutes’ drive. To reach them I highly recommend you to rent a car and drive there. It is a one hour drive from Ljubljana and around a 45 minutes drive from the coastal towns.

Postojna Cave

Some important information

To visit the cave you need to book a tour. The price per adult varies from €25,80 to €27,90, depending on the season of the year you visit the cave.

Before the tour starts, a guide will group you according to the language you chose. Guides speak many languages; Italian, English, German… If you speak different languages I highly recommend you to avoid the English group because it is usually the most crowded one.

Inside the cave

Inside the cave there is a constant temperature of 10 degrees. It is damp and chilly, so I suggest you to wear pants and to bring a jacket to avoid cold. If you get cold easily, you may also want to bring gloves and a hat.

The tour of Postojna Cave starts off with a train ride. The journey is around 4km long and it last less than 15 minutes.

The yellow train drives you through a hall with Murano-glass chandeliers. I couldn’t stop taking pictures since I was amazed at what I was seeing. However, I didn’t know that this was not even the best of what the cave had to offer.

After stepping off the train a guide will lead you through the cave, sharing interesting scientific and historical information. You will follow a well lit path and you will see enormous stalactites and stalagmites, the oldest one – open to the public – is 150,000 years old.

I have read many blogs where people say that taking photographs is not allowed. Well, we could take photos (no flash of course) during the whole tour, so I assume it depends on the guide. Therefore, if you want to take photos of this amazing place, ask your guide before starting the tour.

Predjama Castle

Some information

Less than 10 minutes’ walk from Postojna Cave you will find Predjama Castle.

The entrance fee for adults is €11,90 and the opening hours vary depending on the season of the year. If you plan to visit the castle between May and October, the first tour starts at 9:00 am, otherwise you have to wait until 10:00am to enter the place.

If you are planning to visit both the castle and Postoja Cave you can purchase a joint ticket for €31,90.

Inside the castle

The entrance fee includes an informative audio guide with 29 points of interest throughout the castle detailing its history.

During the visit you will find many original items, as well as replicas in the rooms and halls. Thanks to the audio guide you will learn several interesting facts as you walk among them.

The castle itself is easy to visit, although some areas are very narrow and cobbled, so I recommend you to wear compact trainers.

The audio guide tour lasts around one hour. You can also walk through the castle without the audio guide, in this case inform yourself about its history before visiting it, otherwise you will wander through the rooms without knowing what you are seeing.

Once you finish the visit it can be a good idea to drive 30 minutes to Škocjan Caves

Škocjan Caves

Some important information

To visit the caves, you will need to book a tour. There are three different tours:

Through the underground canyon: The first tour takes places at 10:00am every day of the year. The price per adult varies from €16 to €20 depending on the season of the year you visit the cave.

Following the Reka River underground: This route is only available from April to October. The timetable varies depending on the season of the year but the price per adult  remains constant to €12,50. A combined ticket of both tours (1 + 2) costs €24.

Along the Škocjan Education Trails: This tour allows the visitor to learn more about the geology, relief forms and hydrological characteristics of the area. This is also a guided tour and costs €6 every day of the year.

Before the tour starts, a guide will group you according to the language you chose. Guides speak many languages; English, German, Chinese…

In a group of maximum 25 people, you will enter the Škocjan Caves.

Inside the caves

Inside the cave there is a constant temperature of 12 degrees, so it is advisable to bring a jacket and hiking boots or compact trainers to avoid cold and to prevent yourself from the slippery floor.

For an hour and a half, a guide will lead you through the caves, sharing interesting historical and scientific information. You will see enormous stalactites and stalagmites, you will walk across a bridge that sits 50 meters over the river, you will see the largest underground canyon in Europe and you will enjoy a unique uphill, downhill walk.

The tour ends at the natural opening of the cave.

 

Your turn

Have you ever been to Predjama Castle and the caves? What did you like the most? Is there any other recommendation you would like to do?

In case you want to share your experience, feel free to leave a comment below or to contact me via social networks. I am always thrilled to read your adventures!

 

 

 

*Please, note that I am not an English native speaker. Therefore, you may find some spelling mistakes in this post. Feel free to let me know it and help me improve my English skills.

Visit Slovenia: Piran & Izola

Slovenia is mostly landlocked, with the exception of a small part of land that stretches out the Adratic Sea. In this part of the country there are three small coastal towns: Koper, Izola and Piran, which are worth a visit.

Since I was not really sure what to do, my Slovenian colleagues recommended me to visit Izola and Piran, two beautiful towns with incredible views and great seafood restaurants.

Let’s start our visit to the coast of Slovenia in Piran!

Some information about Piran

The colourful town of Piran was part of the Republic of Venice until 1797, then it bounced between Austria, France and Italy until 1991, when it became part of Slovenia (What a mix of cultures! 😊).

Much of the food and architecture in Piran have Italian influences, since this village is located not far away from Trieste. In fact, until the middle of the 20th century, Italian was the official language.

Best things to do in Piran

Tartini Square

Until the end of the 19th century Tartini Square, named after the violinist Giuseppe Tartini, was filled with water. It was not until 1895 when some platforms were added and buildings were constructed forming the square we can see today.

Medieval Walls of Piran

You can walk the medieval walls of Piran to get a unique view over the city.

These walls were built during the times when the village was part of the Republic of Venice to protect it from Turkish invasions.

The Church of St.George

To get another spectacular view of Piran and the coast, climb up the hill to visit the Church of St.George. From the yard, in a sunny day, you can even see the Italian and Croatian coastlines.

The Old Town

The old town is a stunning mix of cobblestone streets and colorful houses.

Wander through the old town, eat some seafood in a restaurant in front of the sea and take a walk until the beach.

Some information about Izola

Izola is a hidden gem located between Piran and Koper. I did not know anything about this town before I visited it. In fact, I planned to visit Koper until my Slovenian colleagues stopped me and recommended me to visit Izola. And thanks God!

The town of Izola was established on a small island by refugees from Aquileia in the 7th century. Its name originates from the Italian word “Isola”, which means Island. It became part of the Republic of Venice in 1267. It was in 1954, when it was first incorporated into Slovenia.

Izola still preserves the fisherman’s traditions. The small harbor is the belly of the town and there you can find nice bars and restaurants. The point where all streets meet is consider the center of the town.

Best things to do in Izola

Church of Mary of Haljaetum

The Church of Mary of Haljaetum dates from the 11th century and it is considered the oldest building in Izola, consecrated to protect fishermen.

This ancient building is generally open during daylight hours.

Church of St. Maurus and The Bell Tower

At the top of Izola stands the Church of St. Maurus, patron saint of the town.

The legend says that when praying to the patron to save Izola people from the Genoese navy, a white dove appeared and drew the nave away from the town.

The church was originally built in 1356 and reconstructed several times in the past centuries, but the original Renaissance design and later Baroque modifications were preserved.

You will find a Gothic bell tower standing beside the church. This bell was built in 1585 and is more than 30 meters high. You can visit and climb the almost 100 steps leading to the top of it.

The Besenghi Degli Ughi Palace

This palace, built in 1781, is one of the most well-preserved Late Baroque monuments in Slovenia.

Nowadays, the palace hosts the Izola Music School and it is used as a venue for wedding ceremonies.

Parenzana bike trail

Enjoy some biking in Parenzana Bike Trail. A trail that connects the three countries of Italy, Croatia and Slovenia.

Your turn

Have you ever been to Slovenia? Is there any hidden gem that I forgot to mention?

In case you want to share your experience, feel free to leave a comment below or to contact me via social networks. I am always thrilled to read your adventures!

 

 

 

 

*Please, note that I am not an English native speaker. Therefore, you may find some spelling mistakes in this post. Feel free to let me know it and help me improve my English skills.

Best things to do in Slovenia

Some months ago I had the good fortune of being able to visit Slovenia. But to be honest, apart from my business meetings I had no idea what to do in Slovenia or even if there were any interesting things to do!

Slovenia has hardly ever been on my list of places to visit. What a mistake! The moment I landed in this country I realized how beautiful it is full of towering mountains and crystal clear rivers.

There are so many things to do and visit in Slovenia, that I think I will have to revisit 😊

I hope by the end of this article you also fall in love with this stunning country and even have booked a trip to visit it.

Best things to do in Slovenia

Visit fairytale city Ljubljana

One of the most obvious things to do in Slovenia is to visit the capital Ljubljana. It is colorful, it is lively and it is packed with interesting museums, architectural gems and gorgeous parks.

More than anything, Ljubljana is incredible pleasant to explore. While you are here stroll the colorful streets, enjoy the unique Slovenian food, observe the many bridges and contemplate the sunset from Ljubljana Castle.

Visit Piran and Izola

These small, colorful coastal towns are considered by locals Slovenia’s gems.

Established in the 7th century, these towns were strategical for fishing. This led to many disputes among neighbors making both towns public enemies during the 13th and the 14th century, when there were “town wars” among them.

When visiting Piran and Izola stroll the streets, enjoy fresh fish or seafood and walk along the sea to enjoy some fresh, Adriatic air.

Here more about these stunning places 

Visit Predjama Castle

Built more than 800 years ago directly into a cliffside, Predjama Castle is the largest cave castle in the world. This castle was run by Erazem of Predjama and when it was under siege, the cave system was used both to get food inside and to get people out safely.

Visiting Predajma Castle is a quick day trip from Ljubljana and can be combined with Postojna Cave, the largest cave system in Slovenia.

Visit Postojna Cave

The Postojna Cave system is a jaw dropping experience. It is a series of 2 million years old caves and halls, some around 24km long. The cave has a constant temperature of 8-10° and with the regular tour you can visit around 5km of the cave (3 of them covered by electric train).

My personal recommendation is that you visit both Predjama Castle and Postojna Cave the same day, since they are not far away.

Visit Lake Bled

One of Slovenia’s most popular destinations.

Sure, Lake Bled is touristy but there are many reasons for visitors to pay a visit to this stunning place. With a castle on the hill, a unique island and hiking trails, Bled is a nice place to visit all year long.

When visiting Lake Bled cycle around the lake, ring the bell of The Church of the Assumption, hike to a viewing point and try Bled cream cake.

Other things to do in Slovenia

Slovenia is an amazing country. Sadly I did not have enough time to visit everything I wanted.

Here you can find other interesting places in Slovenia my Slovenian colleagues recommended me:

Hike Vintgar Gorge

Vintgar Gorge is a short but spectacular hike located just few kilometers away from Lake Bled. Locals come to this picturesque area to escape from the bustling city.

Visiting Lake Bled and Vintgar Gorge is a spectacular, quick trip from Ljubljana.

Drink a glass of wine in Gorica

This beautiful wine regions, close to the Italian border, has medieval cities and stunning vineyards.

Locals consider it as a quiet place everybody should visit once in life.

Visit Maribor

The second biggest city in Slovenia was founded in the 12th century in the east of the country and it is full of interesting monuments.

This beautiful city is also known due to its wine. Vineyards are located just outside the downtown. In fact, you can see them on the surrounding hills. Isn’t it a dream for wine lovers?

Visit Triglav National Park

Triglav National Park is one of the most beautiful areas in Slovenia. Here you can hike, bike, swim, fish or just relax in nature and enjoy the stunning views.

 

This month I will be sharing more experiences about Slovenia. I will create various posts to share more information about the different places I visited.

In the meantime, I hope I aroused your interesting to find out more about this stunning country.

 

Your turn

Have you ever been to Slovenia? Is there any hidden gem that I forgot to mention?

In case you want to share your experience, feel free to leave a comment below or to contact me via social networks. I am always thrilled to read your adventures!

 

*Please, note that I am not an English native speaker. Therefore, you may find some spelling mistakes in this post. Feel free to let me know it and help me improve my English skills.

 

Mosel Valley: More than Wine

 

After reading all your questions and posting some nice pictures in my IG account, it is time to explore the German Mosel region also in the blog.

Are you ready for a weekend trip in the picturesque Mosel Valley in western Germany?

The Mosel river valley is one of the most stunning, beautiful landscapes in Germany, including steep slope vineyards, kilometers of hiking trails, fairy tale castles and cute wine villages. As you may know, the Mosel valley creates the ideal conditions for wine culture, therefore its wine is recognized due to its high quality. Did you know that these vineyards were first cultivated by the Romans more than 2,000 years ago?

In fact, the Mosel river begins in France and flows into Germany where it twist sharply for around 250 kilometers. It is along this winding river gorge (see photo above) that we can find Riesling vineyards. Riesling is a floral, aromatic grape – first recorded in Germany in 1435 – with a high level of frost resistance. From this grape variety comes one of the world’s finest white wines in a vast variety of styles.

But did you know that spending a weekend in the Mosel valley is not only a highlight for wine connoisseurs? It’s actually a great opportunity to discover stunning landscapes and fairy tale cities.

Let’s start our trip!

 

Cochem

Pressed against the Mosel by the valley walls you can find Cochem’s charming old town, dated from the 18th century. Under the gaze of the romantic Reichsburg castle you can find ancient, half-timbered houses and stunning medieval gates all around the old town. Do not forget to walk around the medieval Markplatz and to comtemplate the baroque town hall from 1739.

Another emblematic building is the Klosterberg, a capuchin monastery built on top of a mountain around 1630 and used as a monastery until 1802. Nowadays it serves as the city’s cultural center.

Last but not least, do not forget to visit the Enderttor, the largest of Cochem’s three Medieval city gates, which provides the old town with lots of Medieval charm.

Bremm

Strolling through a vineyard with a 60 degree slope can be a great adventure if you like hiking. At the end of the climb you can find Gipfelkreuz, a viewpoint from which you can enjoy a dramatic view from the Mosel valley and, at the same time, savor a glass of fresh Riesling wine.

To climb this path I highly recommend you to wear suitable shoes, since it is a quite dangerous and steep hiking trail.

Briedel

The small town of Briedel is the ideal place to enjoy some peaceful days with your friends and/or relatives. To be honest, this is not the most tourist town of the Mosel valley, however, it is a special one.

If you want to taste wine from the town’s viticulturists while you enjoy a ride in a carriage among the steep vineyards, Briedel is the right place for you.

This is a worthwhile idea to learn more about the production process, the type of grapes cultivated by each producer and to enjoy some stunning views of the valley from the Aussichtsturm Prinzenkopf observation deck.

By the way, if you are lucky enough you may have the chance to taste the grapes directly from the vineyards.

The wine

Today’s vineyards cover around 9,000 hectares of steep hillsides, most facing the south or southwest. Half of the vines grow on steep slopes turning this valley into Germany’s most spectacular wine region.

Some facts about Mosel’s wine:

  • 60% of the vines growing in this area are Riesling, followed by Elbling (produced only in this region) and Müller-Thurgau.
  • Around 90% of Mosel’s wines are white ones.
  • The Calmont vineyard at Bremm with it 68% gradient is the steepest vineyard in Europe.
  • Winemakers mainly produce high quality Riesling.
  • Most winemakers offer tastings at their wine cellars.

Cycling paths

Although Mosel is known for its steep slope vineyards, this region is really well prepared for people who love biking. If you want to enjoy fantastic panoramic views of the river, the small villages and the vineyards, I recommend you to travel the Mosel valley by bicycle.

Luckily, the Mosel area is surrounded by kilometers of cycling paths and, moreover, each village and city in the valley has different guest houses where you can stop, enjoy tasty german food and take a rest.

In our case we spent the night at Korkenzieher guest house, whose owners are a nice young couple who not only manage this “hotel” but also its restaurant and, at the same time, organize tractor-drawn-wagon tours through the vineyards.

 

Your turn

This valley is a beautiful area with a lot to offer. Cycling, discovering incredible hiking paths, enjoying stunning views and visiting dramatic Medieval cities is a unique opportunity you should not miss. This place is dramatic!

Have you ever been to Mosel valley? Is there any other hidden gem you would like to recommend us?

In this case feel free to leave a comment below or to contact me via social network. I am alway thrilled to read your adventures and suggestions!

 

 

 

 

 

*Please, note that I am not an English native speaker. Therefore, you may find some spelling mistakes in this post. Feel free to let me know it and help me improve my English level.

How to experience the best of Paris like a local

 

While travelling around the globe, understanding local’s customs and way of life is important to feeling like you are connecting with the local culture and community. Paris is a place with deep-rooted traditions and is a city that offers a wide variety of possibilities for both locals and tourists. In 2018 around 40 million people visited Paris area, hitting a new record.

Recently, I asked in IG if you guys wanted to discover what do locals in Paris do. Due to the positive reactions I asked a raised and born Parisian boy to help me writing this post. Loic is a young engineer who is about to show you 10 iconic sights, secret spots and locations you should visit to experience the best of Paris like a local.

1. La butte aux cailles

A hilltop neighbourhood of Paris which was once home to countless windmills and many vineyards.

“It small streets and cozy bars contrast with the noisy, busy areas os Paris” says Loic. “This “oasis” is like a small village inside the city. A haven of peace for those who are looking to experience the real Paris.”

This historically working-class district has become the favourite area for hipsters and artist, providing him with a special charm free of international fashion stores and full of street art.

2. La rue Crémieux

At one time this little cobble street was a “secret place” few people knew about.

This is a colourful residential area which receives its name due to Adolphe Crémieux, a lawyer who defended the human rights of the Jewish people in France. Amid the colourful façades you feel more in Portobello than in Paris. That is the reason why this street is so special” he smiles “However, it is Instagram which is making this street famous”.

He is right, IG is becoming this part of the city the most Instagrammable one irritating its residents. So please, take this into account when you visit this street and avoid being laud and noisy 😉

3. Le parc des Buttes-Chaumont before chilling next to Canal de l’Ourcq

“A green, peaceful oasis in the northeast of Paris. From this park I suggest you to walk until “Canal de L’Ourcq” where you can enjoy a nice aperó at sunset”.

To better understand this park, I would like to share some facts with you.

Before “Le parc des Butter-Chaumont” was opened by Napoleon III, in 1867, it had a sinister reputation. Until 1760, the bodies of hanged criminals were left in this area after their executions. Nowadays, this pleasant spot in the middle of the city has 2.2km of paths, a lake, a suspension bridge and a temple called “Temple de la Sibylle”, a miniature version of the famous ancient Roman Temple of Vesta in Tivoli. A nice place to go for a casual stroll under the sun.

4. Le pavillon de l’Arsenal

A center for information, documentation and exhibition of the urban planning and architecture of Paris.

“Here you can better understand the evolution of the city of Paris throughout its architecture. You can also enjoy their regular temporal exhibitions about new architectural and urban projects. And, it is for free!“.

5. Restaurant “Au dernier metro”

Close to the Eiffel Tower there is a lively, welcoming restaurant where Parisians like to spend some time gathering with friends and relatives while enjoying a nice meal.

“It is an authentic Parisian restaurant. It is located in front of the metro. Here you can meet locals and enjoy a nice beer. My suggestion is to order a “planche de charcuterie” (a plate of cold meats & cheese) and a glass of good french wine”.

6. Have a crepe in “Le petit Josselin” next to Tour Montparnasse

“A small, cozy crêperie with tasty crêpes and galettes. It is located nearby the “Tour Montparnasse”. In fact, my recommendation is to first visit the top of the building Montparnasse and then to come downstairs and to enjoy a delicious “crêpe caramel au beurre salé” :)”.

7. Bar “À bulles”

Located next to Pigalle is a cozy bar/restaurant which offers a wide variety of tapas and local apéritifs.

“This bar is a hidden gem in the middle of Place Pigalle and the area of Moulin Rouge. They open from Tuesday to Sunday until 2 am in the morning, so you can either go for a drink in the evening or have lunch at midday.”

Find more information in the website: Bar à Bulles

8. Le Marais

“If you like to have brunch on Sunday morning this is your place.”

Le Marais is a historical medieval area of Paris converted into a bobo (bourgeois bohème) quartier full of wine shops, fashionable art galleries, fashion boutiques, trendy stores, restaurants and hotels.

“This area is a unique one. I like to meet my friends and go for a drink on Friday evening or a meal on Sunday morning. At the same time, every time I need to buy some clothes, I always walk around Le Marais and check all the stores. Here you can find everything!“.

9. Les Catacombes

The Catacombes are ossuaries located under the streets of Paris which contain the remains of around six million people. These ossuaries were created to provide the overflowed Parisian cemeteries with a solution.

The entrance to this underground cemetery is located in the Place Denfert-Rochereau, a square known by locals as the place where most demonstrations and protest marches in Paris either start or end.

“The Catacombes are a travel in time. They are a network of underground tunnels that you cannot find in many countries. To visit the Catacombes is a unique opportunity to understand the history of France.”

10. Cine UGC les Gobelins

Have you ever thought about going to the movies in Paris?

“If you ever plan to go to the movies while visiting Paris I highly recommend you to go to Cine UGC. This theater is located at the entrance of Mouffetard street, the party place of the city. So after the movie you can directly go to enjoy a glass of wine and a dance night.”

 

Your turn

Have you ever been to Paris? Is there any other hidden gem you would like to recommend us? In this case feel free to leave a comment below or to contact me via social network. I am alway thrilled to read your adventures and suggestions!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*Please, note that I am not an English native speaker. Therefore, you may find some spelling mistakes in this post. Feel free to let me know it and help me improve my English level.

Discover Kenting

To continue our taiwanese trip we decided to drive to the southern part of the island.

Therefore, after spending a couple of days in the beautiful city of Kaohsiung, we took the Kenting Express bus to go to Kenting.

It took us less than two hours to arrive to this picturesque seaside town, whose lively streets welcome visitors with lights and music.

This part of the island is a tourist attraction for taiwanese and chinese people who want both, to enjoy some peaceful days at the beach and to discover natural parks.

If you are planning to visit Kenting, I highly recommend you to avoid chinese new year and summer season, since the national park can be really crowded and hotels can duplicate their prices.

Ready to find out what to visit in the unique seaside town of Kenting?

Kenting National Park

Kenting National Park (Eluanbi Park) is open from 7 am to 5:30 pm.

This area is a great spot if you are into hiking. I would recommend you to choose a non-rainy day to visit the park, otherwise, the path will be wet and slippery.

If hiking is not for you, you can always either rent a scooter or get a tourist bus to visit the National Park.

A nice spot located at Kenting National Park is the renowned Eluanbi lighthouse, nestled on a green grassy hill. Built during the Qing Dynasty, in 1883, this unique lighthouse suffered serious damages during the World War II and had to be re-built in 1962. Today, this iconic place is still functional and, at the same time, is held as a historical monument admired (and photographed) by tourists who visit the National Park.

Kenting Beach

A nice place to chill and get some sun while practicing different water activities such as kite-surf or snorkel. If you like calm crystal waters where to explore the deep sea, Kenting Beach is the ideal place for you.

Little Bay Beach

A more hidden, quiet place. Little Bay Beach is a small beach located not far away from Kenting Beach, however, this beach is more quiet and familiar than the previous one. Most of people visiting it are just families or couples looking to chill and swim in the warm sea.

This place is also interesting during the night because the snack bar located at the entrance offers live music until midnight.

If you are looking forward to eat chips and finger food while you get a tan, this is your place. Otherwise, you can always enjoy a nice sunset or a drink in the evening.

Sail Rock

Known as Chuanfan Rock is a huge piece of coral reef rock. The name “sail rock” was given to the rock due to its from,because, from a distance, the rock looks like a sailboat protruding out on the sea.

Situated next to the Sail Rock, there is a small sandy beach popular to practice snorkel, since the area is rich of aquatic life and coral reefs. If you are not into snorkeling, you can always lay down and enjoy the warm water.

Kenting Main Street

How many food stands and restaurants can coexist in one street? If you want to get an answer, come to visit Kenting Main Street where delicious traditional taiwanese food stands and occidental restaurants live together among traditional buildings, which turned into modern hotel rooms.

Something that I really liked about this street was the good vibes you could feel in it. Most of the people knew each other already, in fact, many locals owned a food/drinks stand together with other friends, as a way to earn some money during the weekends, and they were super nice with visitors 🙂

Your turn!

Have you ever been to Kenting?

This southern point of Taiwan is a unique place with a lot to offer.

Kenting National Park is the main attraction, however, Kenting beaches and the town itself have some special charm that makes the visitor feel somewhere else.

This part of the island is far from noise and pollution. It is the perfect place to disconnect from daily crazy routine and to re-connect with yourself and with nature. If you plan to visit Taiwan, I highly recommend you to spend a couple of days relaxing in Kenting. Furthermore, locals are super friendly!

Enjoy your time at Kenting and feel free to send me a photo via IG or Twitter. Share this post or comment below if you want to share your experience with us.

Next time we will travel to the north of Taiwan, to the capital of the island: Taipei. Meet you there!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Discover Kaohsiung – in (almost) two days

It took us around 2 hours to travel from Taichung to Kaohsiung in the rapid train. Once we arrived to our destiny we left our packages at the hostel and we started to explore this amazing taiwanese city.

What to visit in Kaohsiung

Kaohsiung 85 building

This dramatic 378 meters high building, called “Tuntex Sky Tower” was constructed from 1994 to 1997 and it had the honor to be the tallest skyscraper in Taiwan until the building of Taipei 101. Its elevator is one of the world´s fastest elevators reaching the 75th floor in only 43 seconds, at 600 meters per minute.

From 75 View Deck, the observation deck, visitors can enjoy spectacular panoramic views over the entire city and harbor. A good idea is to go there in the late evening to enjoy the sunset of Shou Mountain (promised we tried to do it, but we didn´t mange to arrive on time…) or to go early in the morning to admire the vitality of this incredible city.

Love River

Known as Dagou River in Qing Dynasty, this beautiful river gained the title of “Love River” due to its developed green park areas, which makes Kaohsiung Canal one of the most romantic places for lovers to date. At night, visitors can take boats on the east or the west coast to enjoy the charming views among the river.

Good news for bicycle lovers: A very long bicycle way was constructed, to wander on the pathways while admiring the beautiful landscape.

Lotus Lake

One of my favorite parts of the city is the well-known “Lotus Lake“.

Located in the old section of Zuoying district, this lake is surrounded by buildings close related to the ancient Chinese culture.

How is this possible? Easily. Lotus Lake is, as I previously mentioned, located in Zuoying district. This section has always been a historical one because it was established as a military fortress during the Qing Dynasty, to later on become a community of nationalist Chinese who fled to Taiwan when the Communist took over of China.

The lake is surrounded by a 3km path. There is also a road for tour buses, since this place is becoming very popular among tourists. Here it is easy to find visitors enjoying the pretty views of the lake and walking along the different temples in the area.

Starting at the southwest part of the lake, visitors encounter the beautiful Dragon and Tiger Pagodas. Following locals traditions, the dragon’s throat is the entrance and the tiger’s mouth is the exit. It is said that entering a dragon’s throat and coming out a tiger’s mouth symbolizes turning bad luck to good fortune. From the top of the pagodas visitors can enjoy beautiful views of the lake.

A little further down you can visit the Spring and Autumn Pavilions and the Wuli Arbor, which welcomes the visitor with a nice, ancient foot bridge. Spring and Autumn Pavillions, built in 1951, are dedicated to Kuan Kung (the God of War).

Confucius temple

Wandering along the path you will find the beautiful Confucius Temple. This is not 100% the original temple, since the original one was built in 1648 in a different location of the city. In 1960 the government decided to renovated and reopened some old temples around the country (abandoned during Japanese siege). The mayor of Kaohsiung mandated to build the temple next to the beautiful Lotus Lake.

To be honest, the mayor had a great idea! This place is seldom busy – most of the touristic buses do not arrive until here – and it is a great place to sit, relax and enjoy the view.

Rose basilica

This church was established during the Qing Dynasty, when Spanish missionaries arrived to Taiwan. It suffered a reformation in 1860, when it got its current name “Rosa Basilica”. Again in 1928, the basilica was reformed into a Renaissance-style architecture. The current Rose Basilica is the result of another reformation which took place around 1931.

Night Markt

Liuhe

Liuhe is the most touristic night market located in Xinxing District. In fact, this market is one of the most popular ones in the country. 

During the day, Liuhe 2nd Road looks like any normal road with tons of traffic, however, after 18.00pm things change a bit there…

The whole street turns into a crowded pedestrian market full of stands selling crab, shrimp, octopus and squids. Although this market is know due to the quality of its seafood, here you can also find other traditional dishes such as beef, papaya juice or snake meat.

It takes around 30 minutes to visit the whole market (always depending on how hungry you are and how many stands you want to visit 😉 We spent almost one hour there).

Guanghua

Located on GuangHua Road, this local night market is around 60 years old. At that time, street vendors gathered in from of GuangHua theater, where people went to the movies. After years of prospering, this night market expanded and it became the local night market of nowadays.

Over hundred vendors and shops are located here. Known for its cheap price and quality food, this night market is the favorite of locals.

Ruifeng

Doubtlessly the most popular and busiest night market in Kaohsiung. Located in the north part of the city, this night market is the ideal place to find all kind of food and shoppings choices.

Take the subway!

Does the name “The Dome Of Light” sound familiar to you?

This public art is the largest glass work in the world. Its vivid colors and unique design are located at the Kaohsiung MRT transfer station for the Red and the Orange lines (Formosa Boulevard Station). The renowned artist Narcissus Quagliata took four years to complete this piece of art, which tells the story of human life in four themes: Water, Earth, Light and Fire.

The immensity of this design cause tourists and locals to simply stop and to admire this unique monument.

Of course,it is becoming the “selfie place” of Kaohsiung by far.

Your turn!

Have you ever been to Kaohsiung?

This city is a charming place with a lot to offer. Discovering dramatic skyscrapers, cycling/wandering around Lotus Lake or trying taiwanese food at the local markets is an experience I highly recommend. Kaohsiung and its citizens are amazing!

Enjoy your time at Kaoshiung and feel free to send me a photo via IG or Twitter. Share this post or comment below if you want to share your experience with us.

Next time we will travel to the south of Taiwan. Meet you there!

 

Discover Sun Moon Lake Taiwan

Just 64km away from Taichung (2 hours by bus) lies the unique and dramatic Sun Moon Lake.

The largest body water in Taiwan is also home to the Thao tribe, an aboriginal taiwanese tribe, and a tourist hotspot, mostly during Chinese New Year.

This area offers some accommodations for those who want to spend some days discovering this enormous lake and its surroundings. In our case, we spent a whole day enjoying this majestic place before coming back to Taichung.

First thing we did after getting off the bus that drove us to the lake, was to take a plan of the area at the tourism information office and to check which activities we could enjoy.

Following you can find some information about Sun Moon Lake attractions:

What to do in Sun Moon Lake

Sun Moon Lake Circular Walk

After grabbing a coffee at a local cafeteria we decided to explore one of the walking trails at Shueishe Pier (the main pier of the lake). We figured out that we could have a nice walk among nature and take some nice pictures of the clear turquoise waters.

On our way we found some local fishermen and a couple of adventurous who, like us, were enjoying an early morning walk.

 

Sun Moon Lake Shuttle Boat

The quickest way to discover this beautiful lake and its green mountains is to take one of the various ferries that you will find at the Shueishe pier.

Since there are many different ferry companies I recommend you to take a look at this website “Taiwan Sun Moon Lake Boats“. Here you can find all the information related to the different boat operators, their prices and schedules.

If you decide to take a boat tour you will be able to see and visit the following places:

Shueishe Pier

Although Shueishe is the most tourist-oriented part of the lake, it is also a great area to have a nice walk, to enjoy nature and to visit some traditional places such as Longfeld Temple.

Ita Thao Pier

You can get off the boat at Ita Thai Pier and discover the old village of Thao tribe, the aboriginal taiwanese tribe. Here you can get lost among the narrow, colorful street and their food markets. If you want to try some traditional food and buy some souvenirs, this is a nice place to do it.

From the wharf you can enjoy an amazing view to the sun moon lake cable car.

Xuanguang Pier

From my point of view this is, by far, the most interesting spot in Sun Moon Lake.

Once you get off the boat you can enjoy a nice, an maybe crowded, walk until you reach Xuanguang Temple. This beautiful taiwanese temple was built to honor Xauanzang,  a prestigious monk who devoted his whole life to promote Buddhist teachings and it is still one of must-go places for many visitors to Sun Moon Lake.

However, this is not the only temple created to honor Xuanzang. At the top of the mountain, visitors can discover one of the most magnificent temples I have ever seen: Master Xuanzang Memorial Hall.

To be honest, you can reach the temple either by walk or by bus/Car.

I highly recommend you to discover the trail on the mountain, surrounded by nature and wild animals (Do not worry, they are afraid of people, so they tend to hide when you make noise).

We decided to invest some time at Xuanguang and to walk up the mountain until Xuanzang Memorial Hall. Surrounded by nature, we did not find any other tourist on the way – which was a huge surprise for us.

The first image that comes to my mind when I think about the temple is the dramatic views that the visitor can enjoy from its esplanade.

The temple is also really special. On the first floor, it is easy to find solo monks praying on silence. On the second and third floor, the visitor can learn more about Xuanzang story and the importance of this monk  who brought back the original Buddhist sacred texts to translate them himself.  This journey took him twenty years and, since then, his contributions to the Buddhist community were innumerable.

Lalu Island

Located in the middle of the lake, this tiny island was inhabited by Thao people. It is too small and fragile for tourists since it has been half disintegrated due to the building of a dam around 1930, as well as due to the 921-earthquake in 1999. However, you can have a great view of it from the boat.

You can dock the boat at either Shueishe, Xuanguang or Ita Thao Pier and get back when you are done with visiting each part of the lake.

Sun Moon Lake Bikepaths

At the very beginning I talked to you about the Circular Walk. If you prefer to ride a bike instead of having a walk, I recommend you to do not miss out this amazing bikeway that covers half of the lake and allows the visitor to enjoy great views as well as to take beautiful pictures.

Sun Moon Lake Ropeway

Sun Moon Lake Ropeway, with around 1.877 meters length, runs between Ita Thao Pier and Formosan Aboriginal Culture Village. The cable car travels over two mountains with altitudes around 1000 meters.

This ropeway is used as a public transport by locals, as well as a touristic attraction by foreigners ready to enjoy a dramatic view of the lake. The cable cars are designed with three different colors: red, yellow and blue, which represent the sun, the moon and the lake.

Your turn!

Have you ever been to Sun Moon Lake?

This lake is a beautiful area with a lot to offer. Cycling, having a nice walk around the lake, getting ourselves lost among the streets markets and discovering dramatic temples is a unique opportunity you should not miss. This place is stunning!

Enjoy your time at Sun Moon Lake and feel free to send me a photo via IG or Twitter. Share this post or comment below if you want to share your experience with us.

Next time we will travel to the colorful city of Kaohsiung. See you there!