Hiking

Cascais | Portugal

ELEGANT SEASIDE RESORT WITH MARITIME FLAIR

→ Because it is close to Lisbon, Cascais, that has great beaches and breathtaking cliffs along the shore, is the perfect weekend escape for the people of Lisbon. So we decide to do the same and take a few days to relax by the sea.

After visiting the old town of Cascais, we rent some single-speed beach bikes and ride to Guincho Beach – not so easy with heavy headwinds on the single-speed bike. It is extremely windy on the beach and the waves seem to be huge, but these are apparently best conditions for the local kitesurfers and windsurfers. As it would be impossible to surf, we take a hike through the dunes right behind the beach.

On the next day, we explore the region around Cascais: “Cabo da Roca” – the most western point of Europe – and the impressive “Palacio Nacionla da Pena” in Sintra, which is considered the Castle Neuschwanstein of Portugal.

Highly recommended is a visit to “Casa da Guia Cascais” at the exit of the town toward Guincho Beach. On the quiet premises of this antique villa, you will find a number of small shops, boutiques, bars and restaurants. We have a delicious lunch in a very comfortable atmosphere and great views of the ocean at the restaurant “Grelhas” (the fish soup is just awesome).

We need to move on and, unfortunately, won’t have enough time to see everything such as the famous surf paradise “Ericeira” and the walk to the magnificent beach “Praia da Ursa”. Cascais, we will be back!

→ Check out our next stop: Porto & Douro Valley

→ Check out our next stop: Porto & Douro Valley

Saint-Tropez | France

GLAMPING” – WE ARE PART OF A TREND

→ We arrive the region of Saint-Tropez in the South of France and stay on one of the nicest camping sites in Europe – “Camp du Domaine” right at the ocean in the small village Bormes-les-Mimosas – 5-star deluxe camping right at the ocean (“Glamping” = glamorous camping). Since it is low season, we are lucky to get a first-row spot right at the beach with a view over a scenic bay. Our first experience sleeping in our VW California in between many hardcore campers is nicer than expected and we even decide to extend our stay at this spotless and cozy campsite.

We take a few days to explore the region and because it is low season, we see everything from its true and authentic side without any mass-tourism – Saint-Tropez is just adorable at this time of year. We walk along the harbor, drink espresso in the traditional and prominent café “Senequier” and gaze at the people walking by and the super expensive Yachts that lie along the harbor. If you are lucky, you may see the famous French actress Brigitte Bardot. We then walk through the beautiful streets and old-town with numerous boutiques. You can find really nice bikinis, men’s swimming shorts and beach towels in my favorite shop “Kiwi”. We allow ourselves some calories and have a super delicious “Tarte Tropizienne” that we enjoy at twilight on a bench on the central marketplace, where old and young locals meet to play Boule.

Jet Set not required

Our next trip takes us to the small but picturesque villages Grimaud and Ramatuelle that lie on small hills surrounded by a scenic landscape just behind Saint-Tropez. The villages are just lovely and we spend hours walking through the small streets with cozy restaurants, cafés and art galleries. On the way back, we take a short stop at the famous Vineyard “Minuty” and buy a few bottles of Rosé for comfortable evenings that lie ahead.

One unforgettable experience is our coastal hike just outside Saint-Tropez from “Plage de L’Escalet” going south-west to “Plage de Gigaro”. The path takes us along the coast through a green and rocky landscape, past white dunes and sandy beaches in small bays – it is just spectacular. After a few hours hiking, we get a well-deserved dinner at “Couleurs Jardin”, a comfortable restaurant right on the beach with superb kitchen.

→ Check out our next stop: Barcelona

→ Check out our next stop: Barcelona

ZURICH | Switzerland

BIG CITY IDYLL WITH PANORAMIC ALPS

→ Our first stop takes us to Zurich, Switzerland. On a sunny day and mild temperatures around 25 degrees, we decide to enjoy the Swiss “Gemütlichkeit” (coziness) and enjoy some days to relax at the beautiful Lake Zurich. We start the day to meet some friends for a long and tasty breakfast and several cups of coffee at “Mühle Tiefenbrunn” and continue straight to lunch at “Fischers Fritz” right on the other side of the lake with breathtaking views over the water and surrounding Alps with snow-covered peaks. You need to try out: Fried “Eglis” (fish) fresh from the Lake Zurich and french fries with truffles.

We end the day on the “Zürichberg” (Zurich hill) and take a sundowner on the terraces of “Bar 21” with a beautiful view over the city, the lake and the Alps in the background. Relaxing and watching the sun set, Jan gets inspired by the cool bartender and his beard to grow his own. Let’s see how far he gets toward the end of our journey…

The next day we take a gondola up to the “Rigi-Alm“, a small mountain next to the Lake of Zug – already the ride alone is astonishing even if it’s not the cheapest experience. We take a moment to hike around the mountain and then have coffee and cake with a 360° view of various mountain peaks in the distance, the lake of Zug and the “Vierwaldstättersee” also known as the lake of Lucerne. Although it is tempting to go on hiking in the stunning scenery, we decide to save some energy for the next day when we meet our friend Oli for wakeboarding and wakesurfing on the Lake of Zurich. Despite being in the middle of the alps, it suddenly seems we are on a boat in turquoise tropical waters – apart from the water temperature! While doing water sports and riding on the lake, we see a number of peers alike on sport boats, swimmers, people on stand-up paddle boards and sailing boats cruising along the shores. After doing some activity, we all get hungry and decide to have lunch at the harbor of the small lake-town “Rapperswill” that offers a number of restaurants, cafes and places for snacks and ice cream right by the harbor. At the end of the 3 days, we ask ourselves, why would you go on holiday when you have all of this in front of your doorstep!?

→ Check out our next stop: Uzès – Provence

→ Check out our next stop: Uzès – Provence