The Margarethenschlucht: The waterfall spectacle in the Odenwald

I don’t know about you, but I’m usually drawn to distant countries for which I feel (and sometimes actually) have to fly halfway around the globe. Now it’s spring 2020 and we’re all forced to rediscover more of the things in nature that are on our doorstep. The Margarethenschlucht in the Odenwald impressively proves that sometimes it doesn’t have to be that bad.

I had never heard of Margarethenschlucht before and I really wonder how I could miss such an incredible natural spectacle right in front of my nose. Today I will show you why a hike to the Margarethenschlucht is worthwhile and what to expect there.

The Margarethenschlucht: 110 meter cascades of waterfalls in the middle of the Odenwald

The Margarethenschlucht (sometimes also ‘Margaretenschlucht’ written without an h) is located in the municipality of Neckargerach in the Odenwald between Mosbach and Eberbach, embedded in the grandiose landscape of the Neckar Valley. The gorge is not just a gorge, it is home to the highest waterfall in the Odenwald and one of the highest in Germany: at a total height of 110 meters, the small Flursbach cascades down the gorge in several cascades, the highest being 10 m.

Margaretenschlucht in the Odenwald

And the best thing is: the hike to the Margarethenschlucht not only leads you to the gorge, but also through the gorge. Yep – right in the middle of the waterfall and over the cascades. The hiking route is neither particularly demanding nor particularly long and, from my point of view, easy to manage for everyone (including children) if you follow a few safety rules.

Key facts at a glance:

  • Starting point: Neckargerach train station
  • Length: 4.1 kilometers (circular hike)
  • Altitude difference: 143 meters
  • Duration: 2-3 hours, depending on how much time you take
  • Difficulty level: medium

From Neckargerach to the Margarethenschlucht

The starting point of the hike is Neckargerach train station. So you can either arrive by car (just enter Neckargerach train station in Google Maps in the navigation) or conveniently by train. There are enough free parking spaces available at the train station.

There the way to the Margarethenschlucht is already signposted. First it goes over a bridge to the other side of the train station, then to the right and past residential buildings for a while before the path narrows and becomes a dirt road.

Start of the hiking trail to the gorge

It doesn’t take long until we can enjoy the first view of the fantastic landscape of the Neckar Valley. The path runs without any major incline and it feels more like a walk than a hike – which suits me (not … haha). Only a few minutes later we are already standing in front of the entrance to the gorge, which, according to the sign, is only 800m away.

Neckar view

The sign also tells us that we are doing this fun here at our own risk, and that there is also a risk of slipping and generally dangerous and such … that is the moment when I get a bit of a whack when looking at my sneakers on my feet. But I can say it beforehand: there is nothing to worry about. With a little grip on the sole and normal surefootedness, the Margarethenschlucht can be done without any problems.

So we go on and after a few meters we have a first view of the beginning or a ‘branch’ of the gorge. We are immediately blown away by this fantastic landscape and have no idea that the actual gorge is even more spectacular and impressive.

Entrance to the Margarethenschlucht

From here the path leads over the water for the first time. Since the Flursbach does not have a lot of water during our visit, crossing it without getting your feet wet is no problem. It goes up the mountain slopes on a narrow path, some of the route sections are secured by wire ropes.

Margarethenschlucht hike in the Odenwald

Basically, you can’t miss the right path, because everything is well signposted and secured. You are faster in the middle of the gorge than you can see and the route leads you almost automatically over the waterfall cascades up through the Margarethenschlucht. You gain steadily in height and cross the Flursbach again and again.

The path can of course be slippery, especially if it has rained before, always carefully test the stones and wooden steps in the water before stepping on them. Now that sounds more dangerous than it is and I admit there have been places where the altitude made me feel a little queasy – but with common sense and reasonably decent shoes, the whole thing is nothing more than a pretty cool one , adventurous walk.

At this point some more information for those who are interested: The Margarethenschlucht consists of the red sandstone typical of the Odenwald and has been a nature reserve since 1940. Due to the humid climate, a particularly large number of ferns are at home here and fire salamanders are probably darting around (at least that’s what a sign said, but unfortunately I didn’t see any).

And before you ask: I have no idea whether you can bathe in the water. To me the small stream looked very shallow and the current was only slight, I don’t know whether there are deeper basins below the cascades. In any case, the water was brown, the Flursbach collects the forest along the way.

After we have crossed the Margarethenschlucht and reach its end on a hill, the route now leads us to the left on a dirt road a little further uphill before it goes downhill again towards the starting point. On the way we come across a small wildlife enclosure, where we have the last photo stop of the day, because from here the route back through the forest is relatively unspectacular until we come out again at the small refuge at the entrance to the gorge.

View of Neckargerach

Practical tips & information about the hike

Parking & starting point

The starting point of the hike is Neckargerach train station, where you can park for free. From here the way to the Margarethenschlucht is well signposted.

Equipment & camera equipment

Normal sports or hiking clothing is suitable for the hike. In my opinion, a pair of sneakers with a relatively non-slip sole is sufficient for the shoes. In the gorge you have to pass some damp and possibly muddy places where you definitely need enough support. If sneakers are too tricky for you, you can also wear hiking boots. I have these hiking boots * and can highly recommend them.

There are no toilets and no places to stop for refreshments on the short circular hike, so take enough water and provisions with you.

The camera should also be on board, because the Margarethenschlucht is really a wonderful photo backdrop. I take photos with the Sony Alpha 6500 * , a lightweight system camera, and I am super happy with it. It is well known that waterfalls are also ideal for long exposures, so you should of course pack a tripod . This is a light, not too expensive, entry-level tripod * , I’ve been using a more professional tripod myself for some time * that is stable even in wind and weather (which is not necessary in the gorge). By the way, my long exposures here were shot out of hand without a tripod – the image stabilizer in the Sony Alpha 6500 actually did it. Did I say I love this camera? <3

More excursion tips for the region

I already mentioned it at the beginning, I myself am only just about to discover my home region around the Odenwald, Spessart, Frankfurt, etc. and gradually more tips will be added here. Until then, I have made a few book recommendations for further hikes and excursions in the Odenwald:

  • Hiking guide Odenwald: the 40 most beautiful tours *
  • Odenwald travel guide with Bergstrasse, Darmstadt, Heidelberg *
  • Odenwald: The most beautiful valley and mountain hikes *

Do you want more holiday ideas for Germany? Then get the Germany travel guide with 47 great destinations and micro-adventures for only € 8.90:

To the travel guide *

Waterfall in the Margarethenschlucht

The Olpererhütte: a hike to the craziest photo spot in the Zillertal

One of the most scenic photo spots in Austria awaits you deep in the Eastern Alps in the Tyrolean Zillertal: a suspension bridge that seems to float at a dizzying height in front of a fabulous mountain backdrop with a turquoise-blue lake in the background. In recent years this photo has haunted my Instagram feed so often that at some point I couldn’t help myself and planned a stopover in the Zillertal on my way to South Tyrol. This breathtaking spot high in the mountains can be reached via a short but very strenuous hike to the Olpererhütte , which is very worthwhile during the ascent, if only because of its amazing views.

In this article, I’ll tell you how to get to the Olpererhütte and the adjacent suspension bridge, what to watch out for on the hike and what to expect at the famous photo spot.

The suspension bridge at the Olpererhütte in the Zillertal

The suspension bridge, which you can find on Google Maps under Kebema Panorama Bridge , is located at an altitude of 2389m in the Zillertal Alps, only a few meters from the Olpererhütte. It can be reached via an ascent of 600 meters from the Schlegeis Reservoir – the Schlegeis Reservoir is accordingly also the turquoise-blue shining lake that you can see wedged between the mountain slopes from the suspension bridge and which makes this panorama so unique during the ascent.

Olpererhütte hike

You cover the 600 meters in altitude on a very short distance of only 3 km, so be prepared that the hike to the Olpererhütte will not be a Sunday walk.

The most important things at a glance (tracked by GPS):

  • Distance: 3.7 km (one way)
  • Duration: 2 hours, 45 minutes
  • Average speed: 1.3 km / h
  • Minimum altitude: 1791 m
  • Maximum altitude: 2389 m
  • Ascent (total): 598 m

Schlegeisspeicher: Approach from Mayrhofen and starting point of the hike

The ascent to the Olpererhütte starts at the Schlegeis reservoir (also called Schlegeis reservoir), which is already at an altitude of almost 1800 meters. You reach the Schlegeisspeicher via the B169, the last larger town with numerous overnight accommodations on the B169 is Mayrhofen. The best way to get from Mayrhofen to the Schlegeis warehouse is by car via the Schlegeis Alpine Road, which is subject to a toll shortly after the village of Ginzling. The toll costs € 14 per car (as of 2020). Since the road is partly single-lane from here, the access is regulated by a barrier, so there may be waiting times at the toll booth. Alternatively, you can take the bus from Mayrhofen to the Schlegeisspeicher (approx. 1 hour from Mayrhofen).

The hike to the Olpererhütte

It starts at the Schlegeisspeicher parking lot, where the way to the Olpererhütte is well signposted. The ascent is said to take 1.5 to 2 hours, but this probably only applies to experienced hikers. We needed a good 2.5 hours with breaks and photo stops.

The entry starts relatively leisurely through wooded sections of the route, but then quickly becomes steeper and more uncomfortable. It goes up like a serpentine over scree and rocks and you will work up a sweat. Basically the route is safe, there are no via ferratas or the risk of falling, but you should be sure-footed due to the scree and wear suitable footwear. By the way, you can’t get lost, because there is only one way – up!

Olpererhütte hike

On the way, we repeatedly pass places that already offer a breathtaking view of the Schlegeis reservoir. We regularly take short breaks to enjoy the wonderful panorama of the Zillertal and to shoot tons of photos.

For a long time we walk next to an almost raging mountain stream, which, fed by the snowmelt, plunges steeply downwards. The water is crystal clear and we use it to cool ourselves both inside and out.

Hike to the Olpererhütte

At some point you can discover the Olpererhütte far away on the horizon and from there it is not far anymore. Admittedly, the last few meters are dragging on, because the steep ascent is really tough, but finally it’s done and we reach the Olpererhütte.

Olpererhütte Zillertal

The Olpererhütte is one of the oldest mountaineering huts in the Eastern Alps and is located at an altitude of 2389 meters. It used to be a typical mountain hut, today it has been expanded into a real hut with overnight accommodation and sanitary facilities. There is also a restaurant there that probably has a delicious Kaiserschmarrn on the menu, but even if you don’t like to eat, it is worth taking a short break with a cyclist just for the fantastic view.

The famous suspension bridge in the Zillertal: 600m above the Schlegeis reservoir

When we arrived at the Olpererhütte, to our confusion, nothing can be seen far and wide of our actual destination, the suspension bridge with the crazy view of the Schlegeisspeicher. But the puzzle solves quickly, the panorama bridge is only about 100-200m slightly to the right above the Olpererhütte.

The mountain stream that we already passed on the ascent is in fact a small raging river up here that has dug deep into the mountain slope and the suspension bridge is the only way to cross this river. In the pictures it looks like the bridge is floating at a dizzying height over an abyss, but in reality it only hangs a few meters above a comparatively small abyss. It’s all a question of perspective 😉

Suspension bridge Zillertal Olpererhütte

In any case, this perspective made the Zillertal suspension bridge at the Olpererhütte famous and so, as expected, we are not the only hikers who have found our way here today. At the entrances to the bridge small queues form from time to time, because of course everyone wants to take this one fabulous photo. We wait a while and wait for a while before we finally have the bridge to ourselves for a few minutes (which is surprisingly shaky despite its small span).

Olpererhütte suspension bridge Zillertal

Tips for taking photos of the suspension bridge

So that you can take a few nice photos home with you as a reward for the arduous walk to the Olpererhütte, I would like to give you a few more tips, we give you exactly this perspective that makes the combination of the suspension bridge with the blue mountain lake so special in photos , can achieve.

First of all: you won’t be able to do this with your smartphone. The magic word at this point is the compression effect . In photography, the compression effect describes the physical phenomenon that objects in the background appear larger the larger the focal length used. A higher focal length not only changes the image section, but also how the objects in the image appear in relation to one another.

For your photos of the suspension bridge with the mountain range in the background, this means: the lake and the mountains appear larger (and the person on the bridge smaller), the larger your focal length. Therefore, you cannot create this perspective with a smartphone that works in the wide-angle range and with optical zoom. Take a real camera with a lens that covers a focal length of at least 50mm.

We took our photos standing at the edge of the river bed from a little distance, with focal lengths between approx. 40-70mm (camera with APSC sensor, this is important for converting the required focal length if you use full format, for example).

Here you can see in comparison how the whole thing works when you take photos with a small focal length, i.e. in the wide-angle range. Completely different, right? 😉

Panorama bridge Olpererhütte Zillertal

The right time to visit the suspension bridge

The right time is also important for the perfect photo. I mentioned it before, the Olpererhütte with the suspension bridge is a popular photo spot and there is a lot going on here at lunchtime and on the weekends. If you want to take photos in peace, then use the off-peak times until early morning or from late afternoon. Then the light falls much nicer and the Schlegeis reservoir shines in its great shades of blue.

Practical tips & information about the hike

The hike to the Olpererhütte is not a circular hike, ie it goes back down the same way. Accordingly, the descent is just as steep as the ascent, it is neat on your knees and requires good surefootedness. So give yourself enough time, we needed almost 2 hours for the descent.

Equipment & definitely pack

Normal sports or hiking clothing is suitable for the hike. When it comes to shoes, a pair of sneakers that have a lot of grip will do, but it’s not optimal. I have these hiking shoes * and can highly recommend them (unfortunately I haven’t had them in the Zillertal yet, so you can see me with sneakers in the photos).

In the summer months you walk the entire hiking trail in the blazing sun, there is no shade. The mountain sun is particularly aggressive, so use sun protection with a high SPF. Also take enough water with you, at least 1 liter. You can fill up the bottle on the way by the river and finally there is food, drinks and toilets up at the Opererhütte.

Camera equipment

Photos …. that’s what we’re here for, right? 🙂 I take photos with the Sony Alpha 6500 * . For the correct perspective, as described above, I take a lens with me in my backpack that covers a focal length range of at least 50mm. My standard lens is the Sigma 17-70mm * (in my opinion one of the best travel lenses and available for many camera systems) that I have attached to my Sony Alpha using an adapter * .

By the way, I was traveling with Jens from Overlandtour.de , so we could take photos of each other. You can find his report on the hike here .

Opening of the Olpererhütte & the route

The access to the Schlegeisspeicher via the toll road is open approx. From May to October , depending on the weather . The Olpererhütte can only be reached during this time via the normal hiking route and is only managed during this time. You can also spend the night in the Olpererhütte, e.g. if you want it to be part of a multi-day hike.

More information about the Olpererhütte and booking a room can be found here .

Hotels in the area

The hike to the Olpererhütte is an exhausting all-day activity, just getting to the starting point from Mayrhofen, which is already deep in the Zillertal, takes about 1 hour. So you should plan at least one night in the vicinity either before or after. We decided on Mayrhofen because there are a large number of hotels there and you can find something reasonably cheap.

We slept in the Hotel Garni Glückauf * . Not a luxury hotel, but perfectly fine >>> View rooms and prices here * (we paid 80 € / night)

The closer you get to the Schlegeis reservoir, the more expensive it gets. So I definitely recommend Mayrhofen as a starting point, you won’t go wrong with that.

>>> See more hotels in Mayrhofen here *

Nothing included or too expensive? Then an AirbnB might be an alternative. If you register via my link, there is a discount of up to € 25 for the first booking:

Get your Airbnb discount now *

Further hikes in the Zillertal

The Olpererhütte is part of the Berliner Höhenweg , a multi-day tour in the high alpine Zillertal Alps. The Zillertal itself offers almost endless possibilities for hiking, here you will find an overview of the hiking trails in the Zillertal .

Recommended hiking guides for the Zillertal:

  • Zillertal with Gerlos and Tux valleys *
  • Compass hiking guide Zillertal *

If you feel like hiking to extraordinary photo spots and perhaps planning a journey from Austria to South Tyrol, then the hike to the bright blue Lago di Sorapis could also be something for you.

Zillertal suspension bridge Schlegeisspeicher

Hiking in the Odenwald: On the Romerweg around Miltenberg

If the corona crisis had one good thing, it is that we all have the opportunity to rediscover much more of our own home in Germany . My home region is located in the middle of Germany in the Churfranken am Main region, somewhere between the Odenwald and Spessart – an area that is known as a pleasure region, for its wine-growing and numerous hiking opportunities.

At the foot of the Odenwald lies the small town of Miltenberg, about 70 km southeast of Frankfurt am Main, which then, as now, is more a holiday destination for retirees. But Miltenberg can do more than a boat trip on the Main and coffee in a jug – it is also the starting point for many hiking trails that allow you to discover the beauty of the region on foot.

One of them is the Römerweg (M1) , which leads you on a circular hike over the roofs of Miltenberg into the tranquility of the Odenwald.

Miltenberg

The Römerweg: The best view of Miltenberg

The Römerweg is an approx. 14 km long hiking trail that runs above the Miltenberg old town once around the city through the Odenwald. The route offers wonderful views of the city below as well as many kilometers of cool and shady forest paths, which is why it is ideal for really hot midsummer days. But why is the Römerweg actually called the Römerweg? To be honest, this didn’t become so clear to me during the hike, as I expected visible fragments of Roman buildings that somehow didn’t show up (or maybe I just overlooked them). In any case, the Römerweg runs in parts along the ring wall and partly also over the Limesweg, hence its name.

Information board Römerweg

In total, you cover a good 450 meters in altitude, which is bearable over 14 km. Nevertheless, large parts of the route are steadily uphill, so a certain basic level of fitness should be there.

Key facts at a glance:

  • Starting point: Miltenberg market square (Schnatterloch)
  • Distance: approx. 14 km
  • Duration: approx. 6 hours, depending on how many breaks you take
  • Minimum height: 126 m
  • Maximum height: 454 m
  • Ascent (total): 461 m
  • Difficulty: easy to medium

From Miltenberg’s old town in the middle of the Odenwald

The hike starts at Miltenberg’s historic market square, the so-called Schnatterloch, on which there are a number of old half-timbered houses with beautiful facades. You can park directly opposite on the Main in the Pfarrkirche car park (free of charge).

Miltenberg Schnatterloch

From the market square, it first goes a few hundred meters along the Main promenade to the west before going up a small stone staircase on the other side of the street into Bismarckweg. Halfway there is a photo spot waiting for you, from which you have a fantastic view over the Mainschleife and the Miltenberg old town.

Römerweg View of Miltenberg

Then it goes further up and soon you are high above the roofs of the city, which finally disappears from view the further the path leads you into the forest. You will stay in the forest for a while, because the Römerweg leads you in a large loop through the Odenwald around Miltenberg. It goes steadily upwards. We take our time, take photos, take small breaks and just enjoy the peace and quiet. We don’t meet many people on the way, maybe 2-3 in total.

Roman path Odenwald Miltenberg

Do you fancy nice photos? Here I show you all my equipment. Light, reduced to the essentials and perfect for beginners:

My photo equipment *

Roman path hike

Signpost madness: As I said … Miltenberg is the starting point for many hiking trails 😉

We finally reach a hill on which the forest thins out and we walk a short stretch across flat fields and meadows before returning to the cool forest.

Roman path hike Miltenberg

Roman path hike

Haagsaussicht: The most beautiful view of Miltenberg

Almost at the end of the route you finally reach the highlight of the hike on the Römerweg: From the Haagsaussicht you have another wonderful view of the Mainschleife near Miltenberg in clear weather. In the past, sandstone was mined here from 1900 to 1980 and some of it was transported down to the city by a braking train. To commemorate this time, you can find a small cart there today.

Haagsaussicht Miltenberg

Otherwise, it is worth taking a short break at the Haagsblick, there are a few wooden loungers and a hut that serves as protection in bad weather. We enjoy the last warm rays of sunshine of the day before we continue our hike and start the way back towards Miltenberg.

At the very end, another small highlight of the route awaits you with the Mildenburg – unfortunately the castle was closed for us (and we were also too broken, but we have firmly decided to come back on another day).

Mildenburg Miltenberg

Practical tips & information about the hike

The hike on the Römerweg is a circular hike mostly on forest trails. There are no climbing passages or the like, so no particular surefootedness is required. Since the hike is quite long and you also have to overcome a few meters in altitude, a little basic fitness doesn’t hurt. The start and end point is Miltenberg’s historic market square.

Equipment & definitely pack

Normal sports or hiking clothing is suitable for the hike, you do not need hiking sticks or other equipment. A pair of normal sneakers is enough for the shoes, but if you still want to wear hiking shoes I can recommend these hiking shoes * .

There are no places to stop for refreshments and no toilets on the way, so pack enough provisions yourself. There are of course cafes and restaurants in Miltenberg’s old town – but if you want to eat there after the hike, pay attention to the opening times and don’t plan your return too late. Most restaurants only have hot meals until around 9 p.m.

Recommended is the Gasthaus Zum Riesen , for example , which has been serving guests since the 12th century and is therefore the oldest inn in Germany . The restaurant also has a hotel, so you can stay overnight in the historic building.

>>> View the rooms and prices of the Hotel Zum Riesen *

Camera equipment

As always, I had my beloved Sony Alpha 6500 * with me for the hike on the Römerweg . If, like me, you occasionally travel alone and still want to have pictures with yourself on it, then I can recommend this affordable entry- level tripod * . But now I use a higher quality and more stable tripod from Rollei * . Otherwise no major photographic challenges await you on the Römerweg, so that you can just enjoy the hike and the rest for most of the time.

If you are interested in further hikes, you can find all my hiking articles here . Here you can find more ideas and destinations for a vacation in Germany.

Haagsaussicht Miltenberg

Karersee – The Regenbogensee in the heart of the Dolomites

One of the most beautiful mountain lakes in South Tyrol is located in the heart of the Dolomites at an altitude of 1500m: the Karersee. With a length of only approx. 300m and a width of 140m, Lago di Carezza is more of one of the smaller mountain lakes, but thanks to the incredible mountain scenery and its bright water colors, it is also one of the most impressive. Surrounded by the gray mountain peaks of the Latemar massif and green fir trees, it shimmers from deep blue to emerald green in all colors of the rainbow and is rightly a protected natural monument.

Where the play of colors in the water comes from, which can also be observed underwater, it is still not known exactly – it is probably due to the underground springs and tributaries of the Latemar Mountains that feed the Karersee. According to legend, however, a water fairy is responsible for this: she is said to have lived on Lake Karersee hundreds of years ago. A sorcerer is said to have tried to capture them, he conjured up a rainbow over Lake Karersee to attract the water mermaid. He forgot to dress up, however, the fairy recognized the trap and disappeared back into the lake. Out of anger about the unsuccessful action, the sorcerer smashed the rainbow, which disintegrated into many individual parts and sank into the lake – which is why the Karersee still shines in all rainbow colors today.

Karersee Dolomites

Whether you want to believe the story with the mermaid or prefer the rational variant with the underwater tributaries – I was so fascinated by the mystique of Lake Carezza that I really wanted to see it with my own eyes.

In this article I will tell you what to expect when you visit and how you can best plan your trip.

Karersee: Worth knowing for the visit

The Karersee is a popular excursion destination and an obligatory stop on every pensioner coffee trip through the Dolomites – which unfortunately means that it can get quite crowded there during the day. Therefore, here are the most important tips for your visit:

Directions & parking

The Karersee is located about 20 km southeast of Bolzano and can be reached via the state road 241, also simply called the Dolomite Road. Just enter it as the destination on Google Maps and you will be safely navigated there. There is a large parking lot on site, where you can quickly find a place even during busy visiting hours, because most visitors do not stay long.

The best time to visit

The best time to visit Lake Carezza is during off-peak times, preferably in the morning before 9/10 or in the late afternoon. So you can enjoy the magic of this extraordinary place in peace without the crowds of tourists and also have even better light for photos.

As far as the seasons are concerned, summer is of course the better choice, because the charm of the Karersee lies in its colors and the reflection of the majestic Latemar mountains in its water surface. In winter it is frozen over and the lake doesn’t look very spectacular, but see for yourself:

Karersee in winter

What you should know: In autumn 2018 a storm devastated large parts of South Tyrol, the region around Eggental and Karersee was particularly hard hit. When I visited Lake Karersee in December 2018, I came across a picture of devastation that made my heart bleed – for miles there was nothing to be seen except bent, meter-high fir trees. In the meantime, nature is slowly recovering, but it will be decades before the region is completely reforested.

Can you swim in the Karersee?

No. Theoretically, of course, that works, but the lake is a nature reserve and bathing or swimming is prohibited. The bank is therefore also demarcated by a fence. Instead, there is a circular path around the lake and also a viewing platform and a suspension bridge, which allow a wonderful view of Lake Carezza.

Lake Carezza

 

Photography tips for the Karersee

Karer See South Tyrol

I already mentioned that it is best to choose the off-peak times for your visit, because then you have less to contend with the crowds that are out and about on Karersee during the day. But there is another reason for this: the nicer photos can also be taken during off-peak times, because this is how you avoid the harsh light of the midday sun.

In addition, the wind also plays a decisive role when photographing Lake Karersee: The wonderfully reflective surface of the water is of course only visible when there is no wind. This is especially the case early in the morning, so the same applies to Lake Karersee as to Lake Braies : the early bird catches the worm.

Alternatively, the late afternoon is also possible, but then you may have to wait a little for calm moments.

The polarizing filter is particularly important if you aim to reflect the surface of the water in your photos. With a polarizing filter you can either increase or reduce this so that you can achieve interesting effects. With my focal length of 17mm (on an APSC camera) I just got there, but an ultra-wide angle lens would definitely have been the better choice.

Karer See

Hiking on the Karersee

A narrow hiking trail leads around Lake Karersee, on which you can walk around the lake in about 30 minutes. If you really want to go hiking, there are countless opportunities in the region around Karersee, Latemar and Eggental, the hike from Karerpass to Karersee is particularly popular. An overview of the hiking opportunities is available here .

Hotels near the Karersee – my tips

The closest place to Karersee is Welschnofen. Here are some recommended and rustic, modern accommodations:

  • Hotel Rosengarten *
  • Gasthof Loewen *
  • Hotel Moseralm *

My personal recommendation: The Gasthof zur Traube in Montan * is still a long way away from Lake Karersee, but very rustic . We didn’t stay there because we had unfortunately already booked another accommodation, but by chance, while looking for something to eat, we came across what is by far (!) Perhaps the best pizza in northern Italy in the restaurant. An absolute lucky find and the most delicious pizza I’ve eaten in years. Absolute heart recommendation <3

Nothing included or too expensive? Then an AirbnB might be an alternative. If you register via my link, there is a discount of up to € 25 for the first booking:

Get your Airbnb discount now *

Lake Carezza

For me, Lake Karersee is one of the most beautiful spots in the Dolomites and rightly a must on every round trip through South Tyrol. Other highlights in South Tyrol that might also interest you:

  • The Lago di Sorapis – on a hike to Italy’s bluest lake
  • The Pragser Wildsee
  • Merano – highlights & tips for a mini city trip

Rakotzbrücke – The mystical Devil’s Bridge deep in Germany’s east

Deep in the east of Germany on the border with Poland lies a bridge that has become famous in recent years thanks to Instagram: the Rakotzbrücke. The pictures show a semicircular bridge over a lake, surrounded by a densely tree-covered bank, which together with its reflection in the water surface forms a perfect round circle. The small but imposing bridge from the 19th century looks gloomy and mystical – a real devil’s bridge. However, the Rakotzbrücke is not as remote as the pictures suggest – it is located in a landscape park, the Rhododendron Park Kromlau, a district of the municipality of Gablenz in the district of Görlitz.

For me it is unfortunately not necessarily on the doorstep and that’s why it took me some time to finally see the Rakotzbrücke live, but in combination with a short trip to Saxon Switzerland it finally worked.

In this article I will tell you where you can find the Rakotzbrücke, what to expect there and what you have to consider when visiting.

The Rakotz Bridge

The Rakotzbrücke was built from 1863 to 1882, among other things from basalt stones. It spans the 35m wide Rakotzsee in a semicircle, which is reflected in the lake and thus optically becomes a circle. Due to this special construction, the bridge has become a popular motif, especially with photographers, and has become a little celebrity thanks to social media in recent years. A short tour around the surrounding lake is also worthwhile, because there are some other constructions made of basalt stones, such as organ-shaped basalt columns, which give the mystical overall picture of the Rakotzsee the finishing touch.

Rakotzbrücke with Rakotzsee

Location & directions to the Rakotzbrücke

The Rakotzbrücke is located in the Kromlauer Rhododendron Park in the municipality of Gablenz. Just enter your destination in your GPS and you will arrive there safely. There is a paid visitor car park at reasonable prices where you can park comfortably. From there, a short path leads directly to the park and to the Rakotzsee. The park is open 24/7 and entry is free.

Tips for your visit

The Rakotzbrücke is a popular excursion destination, but not overcrowded on normal days. Still, a little planning is necessary, especially if you want to take nice photos on site.

The best time to visit

The Rakotzbrücke is most beautiful in autumn, because then the trees and bushes that surround the Rakotzsee bear colorful foliage and offer a backdrop like from an old Grimm fairy tale. In addition, the lake is filled with more water than, for example, in midsummer, which makes the mirror image of the bridge particularly effective, especially when there is no wind.

Landscape Park Kromlau | Rakotz Bridge

Photography tips for the Rakotzbrücke

When you come to the Rakotzbrücke to take photos, not only the season of the year plays a role, but also the time of day. The light is particularly beautiful in the mornings and evenings, and there are fewer people around the lake at this time. Since the lake can be circled on a small path, it can happen that you always have people in your pictures. If you don’t want that, you should choose the off-peak times for your visit.

If you come in the morning in autumn, you might also be lucky enough to find the Rakotz Bridge and the lake embedded in thick clouds of fog or to experience a fantastic sunrise. In addition, there is usually less wind in the morning than during the day, so the chance of a perfect reflection is greater here too.

Rakotzbrücke warning sign

Otherwise, wonderful shots are also possible away from this photo motif. You don’t need any special camera equipment, with a normal wide-angle lens you are well equipped.

Rehabilitation of the Rakotz Bridge

The renovation of the Kromlau Landscape Park including the so-called Rakotzensemble (basalt organs, Rakotzbrücke and grotto next to the bridge) has been in full swing since mid-2018. This also applies to the Rakotzbrücke. The Rakotzsee was drained for the purpose of restoration work, the bridge is currently in scaffolding and unfortunately does not provide a good photo opportunity. The renovation will probably be fully completed by the end of 2020 / beginning of 2021, until then you will have to be patient. You can see the current status of the work here .

My pictures were taken in autumn 2017, so you can see the Rakotz Bridge in its original state before the restoration.

Access to the Rakotzbrücke

Devil’s Bridges – what is it all about?

Devil’s bridges can be found all over Germany. These are bridges that have such a special construction that they actually could not have been built by human hands. According to legend, the devil helped build these bridges, in return he received the soul of whoever was the first to cross the newly built bridge. In most cases this should have turned out well for the population, because they simply sent an animal such as a goat or a sheep across the bridge. In the case of the Rakotzbrücke it should have been different, because here the bridge builder accidentally went over it first after completion. In Germany and the neighboring European countries there are a total of over 30 bridges known as the Devil’s Bridges.

More tips for excursions in Upper Lusatia

As described at the beginning, I combined my visit to the Rakotzbrücke in Kromlau with a long weekend in Saxon Switzerland. Saxon Switzerland is admittedly not really around the corner, but if you plan an extra day for the journey and the visit to the Rakotzbrücke, then the two can be easily combined. Other beautiful excursion destinations near the Rakotzbrücke are:

  • The Fürst-Pückler-Park in Bad Muskau with the Muskau Castle
  • Muzakowski Park (already in Poland)
  • The Muskau Forest Railway: You can travel on various sections of the route in Upper Lusatia in a steam locomotive that is more than 100 years old, e.g. from / to Kromlau. You can find more information here

Are you still looking for a hotel near the Rakotzbrücke? Here you will find an overview of the accommodations in the region *.

Nothing included or too expensive? Then an Airbnb might be an alternative. If you register via my link, you will get a discount of up to € 25 for the first booking: Get your Airbnb discount now *

The Edersee – The most beautiful highlights and excursions to Hesse’s largest reservoir

Admittedly, the Edersee was not necessarily high on my travel bucket list. But as is well known, the year 2020 went a little differently for all of us than planned and so I (like probably most of us) went on many small trips and excursions in Germany in this strange year . Since the Edersee is only a good 2 hours drive from me, I spontaneously decided to take a short break at Hesse’s largest reservoir on a hot late summer weekend. And what can I say – despite the somewhat dusty 80s flair of the Edersee, I really liked it there!

The Ederstausee is not a naturally grown lake, but was created with the construction of a dam, the Edertalsperre, in the Eder river of the same name at the beginning of the 20th century. It is located in the middle of one of Germany’s largest nature reserves, the Kellerwald-Edersee National Park, and is the second largest reservoir in Germany in terms of area. And that means: There is a lot to discover here. You can now find out which highlights, sights and excursions on the Edersee you shouldn’t miss out on. Be curious!

The Edersee dam – the Edertalsperre

The Edersee dam, the Edertalsperre, was built in the years 1908 to 1914, which is what made the Ederstausee possible in the first place. It is still used today to regulate the water level of the Weser and the Mittelland Canal, primarily to ensure the water supply and thus the navigation on these waters in the summer months.

With its 400 meters length, the dam is a really impressive structure, which you can walk like a bridge and simply use to cross the Edersee. There are numerous hotels, restaurants and cafés around the dam, and some boat rental companies have also set up shop there.

 

 

Edersee dam in the evening

My tip: Visiting the Edersee dam is particularly worthwhile in the evening, because after dark the dam is illuminated and you can enjoy a wonderful light show for free (in the summer months this is the case from around 9 p.m.). The perfect spot for this is on the side of the Edersee car park, where there is even a small viewing platform. In addition to your daytime visit, you should definitely make a short detour to the Edertalsperre in the evening, it’s worth it!

Edersee dam illuminated

 

With the Waldecker Bergbahn up to Waldeck Castle

One of the most famous sights on Edersee is Waldeck Castle , a castle from the 11th century. It towers 120m high above the Edersee on the edge of the village of Waldeck and offers one of the most beautiful views of the entire Edersee. You can either drive up to Waldeck by car or – and that is definitely the funnier alternative – with the Waldecker Bergbahn.

Waldecker Bergbahn

“Yeah, a cable car… not sooooo exciting” you will think now, and you are right: The adrenaline thrill will most likely not be there when you ride the Waldecker Bergbahn (at least for those without fear of heights. And there is no great view either However, the mountain railway first elicited an incredulous shake of the head and then quite a flash of laughter, because what you can experience here is history live: The Waldecker Bergbahn was put into operation in 1961 and has not really changed since then. So you climb into a brightly colored egg-shaped gondola, which only offers space for two people, then someone turns on the engine and you rattle upstairs in your retro time capsule.

 

Once at the top, Waldeck Castle is just a few minutes’ walk away. Today it houses a hotel and restaurant as well as a museum and you can visit parts of the complex and learn a lot about the sometimes gruesome history. Due to time constraints, we limited ourselves to the wonderful view of the Edersee.

Waldeck Castle

My tip: A short walk through the village of Waldeck is also worthwhile. Get yourself an ice cream and discover the great viewpoints at Waldeck Castle and take a look at the cute half-timbered houses. In one of them, the old city fountain has even been exposed.

Waldeck on the Edersee

A boat trip on the Edersee

If the Waldecker Bergbahn has already given you a good dose of retro feeling, here’s the next highlight that will instantly transport you back to the 80s: with coffee in a pot, biscuit rolls and an average age of around 65 of the other passengers relaxed on a small 2-hour boat trip across the Edersee.

And I don’t mean that in a cynical way: a boat trip across the Edersee is really relaxing and you will learn a lot about its origins and the submerged villages that are known today as Edersee Atlantis. These had to be flooded over 110 years ago in the course of the construction of the Edertalsperre and the newly emerging lake. However, they reappear every summer at low tide and reveal fragments of the history of the Edersee. Some of these otherwise submerged places are particularly easy to see from the ship, which alone is worth the tour. And the cake is delicious too 😉

Schifffahrt Edersee boat tour
Two passenger ships operate regularly on the Edersee
Waldeck Castle can also be seen clearly from the water

Edersee shipping

Edersee Atlantis: The sunken villages in the Edersee

In the course of the construction of the dam, the villages of Asel, Berich and Bringhausen , which were on the banks of the Eder, had to give way to the newly emerging Edersee. Most of them were relocated, but some buildings were simply sunk because relocation would not have made sense. These buildings become visible again every summer when the water is low and are known as Edersee Atlantis – an absolute highlight and one of the most famous sights of the Edersee.

Before my visit, I thought that the water level of the Edersee would drop so much due to the sun’s rays, but that is not the case: During the summer months, water from the reservoir is directed via the Edertalsperre into the Weser to raise the water level there and secure shipping. The level in the Edersee continues to fall and gradually exposes the old buildings. You can find out the current water level and which parts of Edersee Atlantis are already visible here . Here is a small overview of the ruins of Edersee Atlantis:

The Aseler Bridge

The old 4-arch bridge of Asel was built between 1887 and 1890 and is the best preserved structure in the old Edertal. Today it is a listed building and can be walked on. It becomes visible from a water level of 235m above sea level. NN.

Aseler Bridge Edersee Atlantis
The old bridge of Asel is the best preserved structure of Edersee Atlantis

 

The village of Bringhausen

At the village Alt-Bringhausen are from a water level of 231 m above sea level. NN you can still see some foundation walls, grave fields and the Bringhausen bridge, which used to connect the places Bringhausen and Nieder-Werbe. The Love Island, which is otherwise not accessible on foot, is also fully visible. Admittedly, for some of the ruins you need a lot of imagination to have an idea of ​​what it might have looked like here in the past.

Love Island Edersee
The love island at Bringhausen is exposed when the water is low

Incidentally, over the summer the areas that are otherwise covered with water are wonderfully green and blooming, we unexpectedly discovered a really nice photo spot here near Alt-Bringhausen, but see for yourself <3

 

 

 

 

 

The Bericher Hut and the barrier wall model

At the entrance to Werber Bay was the Bericher Hut, which was abandoned in 1875 and was already in ruins at the time the barrier was built. The barrier wall model was a 1:40 scale device for testing the water drainage of the newly constructed barrier wall. Both ruins are from a water level of 223 or 221m above sea level. NN visible. During our visit, the model of the barrier was not yet visible.

 

The Berich village and the Berich burial ground

At the place of the village Berich is today from 232m above sea level. NN can still be seen a cemetery. Originally there was also a rich nunnery and the church of Berich, but this was demolished by the residents and rebuilt in Neu-Berich.

 

Gut Vornhagen

Gut Vornhagen was at the foot of Waldeck’s Schlossberg. The remains are visible from 218m above sea level. NN, which is why nothing was to be seen during our visit.

The Stollmühle

At the time of the construction of the dam, the mill was already neglected and allegedly the former owner was not unhappy about the expropriation and the related compensation payments. The ruins are visible from 219m above sea level. NN, we couldn’t see anything yet.

The church in the Edersee

Another attraction on the Edersee is the so-called Kirche im See, a steeple that protrudes from a reservoir of the Edersee in Nieder-Werbe. Contrary to the assumption, this is not another part of Edersee Atlantis, but a reconstruction. The church of Nieder-Werbe actually had to give way to the construction of the holding basin in 1912, but it was simply removed and not flooded. In memory of the former location of the church, a replica of the church tower was built in its previous position in 2014.

Church in the lake Edersee

Church in the lake Edersee

Edertal Edersee in late summer
The view of the Edertal near Nieder-Werbe is wonderful

Hiking on the Edersee: a mini hike to two fantastic viewpoints

Hiking on the Edersee? Yeah, that works. After all, we are in one of the largest forest areas in Germany, the Kellerwald-Edersee Nature Park. If you really want to go hiking extensively, then around the Edersee there is the 68km long Urwaldsteig , which you can walk in several daily stages. For the short vacationers among you, however, there is a less time-consuming and more relaxing way of not having to forego a little hiking pleasure and great views.

Hike to the clock head pulpit

The clock head pulpit is located directly above the Edersee dam wall and offers a really impressive view of the imposing structure and the lake. If you look closely, you can see the pulpit from below high up in the mountainside above the dam – but don’t worry, the hike is really uncomplicated. The starting point is directly on the road opposite the Hotel Ederseeblick * , there is a small path into the forest. Just follow the signs or the paths marked on Google Maps.

 

The route is quite steep, but really not long, after about 15 minutes you will already reach the Uhrenkopfkanzel. Once at the top, you have what is probably the most beautiful view of the dam wall that the Edersee has to offer.

Uhrenkopfkanzel Edersee hike

Uhrenkopfkanzel Edersee hike

My tip: Do you remember the illuminated dam wall in the evening? Grab a flashlight, a pair of sturdy shoes and go on a short night hike to the Uhrenkopfkanzel. The view of the illuminated wall from up here must be breathtaking (unfortunately I couldn’t test it myself, as we only discovered this great view spot on the last day).

Hike to the lookout point Kanzel am Edersee

If you just continue to follow the signposted Kanzel-Rundweg from the Uhrenkopfkanzel, after another 25 minutes you will come to the lookout point Kanzel am Edersee. This is a little further away from the dam towards Waldeck, but also offers a great view of the Edersee.

Edersee hike Kanzelrundweg

Pulpit at the Edersee lookout point
A hike takes you to the Kanzel lookout on the Edersee

Then you can simply start the way back, the signs will lead you safely back to the starting point. We needed about 2 hours for this mini hike at a leisurely pace and with a lot of photo time.

If you fancy extensive hikes on the Edersee, then I can recommend a look at the Urwaldsteig & Edersee * hiking guide .

Even more view: the treetop path on the Edersee

For a few years now, the Edersee has had another attraction, the TreeTopWalk canopy walk directly on the edge of the Edersee. It goes through the forest at treetop height on footbridges, along the way there are always display boards and small interactive stations that illustrate the life of the forest dwellers. This is of course particularly exciting for children, but the treetop path is quite entertaining for adults.

TreeTopWalk Edersee

 

Various forest dwellers can be discovered in the treetops

 

 

At the end you will reach a viewing platform with a view over the Edersee. Unfortunately the picture is quite disturbed by the ugly (sorry) campsite on the opposite side. All in all, the TreeTopWalk is very cute and educational, but personally I would have expected more from it.

Parts of Edersee Atlantis can also be seen from the viewing platform of the Baumkronenweg – I’ll spare you a view of the campsite 😉

Admission for adults costs € 8.50 (as of 2020), but there are combination tickets and discounts for seniors, students and families. If treetop trails are generally your thing, here is an overview of all treetop trails in Germany .

The great house on the Edersee

I have to admit – the point of this sight on the Edersee did not fully open up to me. The Tolle Haus is a house that was built upside down, including all furnishings. So table and sofa on the ceiling, ceiling lamps on the floor, etc. This is probably another thing that is particularly interesting for families with children, a quick look from the outside was enough for me.

 

Entry costs € 5 and the Tolle Haus is open all year round. The Eder draisine also starts at the Tollen Haus . For € 15 (as of 2020) you can rent a trolley for up to 4 people and thus jet along a section of the old railway line (unfortunately no circular route).

Restaurants and hotels on the Edersee – my tips

When it comes to hotels and restaurants on the Edersee, you have to – you already guessed it – be content with 80s charm. You won’t find any fancy boutique hotels or vegan restaurants here. That doesn’t bother me personally, but I would like to give you a few recommendations that offer more than rustic oak and schnitzel with fries.

As the name suggests, all variations of pancakes are on the menu at the Pfannkuchenhaus restaurant. The restaurant is located in the old train station in the village of Netze and is really nicely decorated, the pancakes are also very tasty. Definitely something that at least I don’t eat every day since I no longer live with mom and that’s why it’s worth a recommendation for me.

 

No pizza, but a pancake in the pancake house on the Edersee. Nom!

 

Another unusual location is Zündstoff City * , a not quite classic biker meeting place in the style of an American western town, right near the Edersee dam. There is not only a restaurant (with a very tasty pastrami sandwich), but also a motel with smart and clean rooms at reasonable prices.

 

Edersee Hotel Zündstoff City

Edersee Hotel Zündstoff City

>>> View rooms & prices of Motel Zündstoff City here *

Otherwise, you should pay attention to a central location near the Edersee when choosing your accommodation. Here are some recommended hotels (some not really modern, but central and well-kept):

  • Hotel Ederseeblick * – located directly on the Edersee and the Edertalsperre
  • Bio-Hotel Belvedere * – rustic organic hotel in the hills of Waldeck
  • Hotel Seeschlösschen * – located in the hills of Waldeck, with pool and sauna
  • Waldhotel Wiesemann * – directly on the Edersee with a view of the lake

Nothing included or too expensive? Then an Airbnb might be an alternative. If you register via my link, there is a discount of up to € 25 for the first booking:

Get your Airbnb discount now *

More tips for the Edersee and the surrounding area

I was surprised how many excursions and attractions the Edersee has to offer and unfortunately we didn’t have enough time for everything on our short Edersee vacation. For the sake of completeness, here are a few more tips that I would have liked to have looked at with more time:

The Edersee Wildlife Park: It is right near the TreeTopWalk and is particularly interesting for children. There are many different wild animals and a bird of prey show to marvel at. As a combined ticket together with the Baumkronenweg, entry is cheaper.

The funicular to the Peterskopf: It goes up to the Peterskopf, a 500m high mountain in the Edertal. From above you have a phenomenal view of the Edersee and the Edertal, and a hike should also be very nice. Unfortunately, the funicular was closed for us and there wasn’t enough time to hike up.

The maize labyrinth in Vöhl am Edersee: A labyrinth in a maize field – actually self-explanatory, right? That sounds like a lot of fun to me (and one or two ticks: p), but time was too short for that too. Next time. The maize maze is only open in the summer months (logical).

Finally, a practical tip for parking at the Edersee : There is sufficient parking space along the lake. These are signposted and chargeable, the prices are okay. The best thing: you can continue to use the parking ticket you have started (you pay every hour, two-hourly, four-hourly) in one of the other public parking spaces and don’t have to take a new ticket every time you change parking spaces. So you don’t waste parking time that has already been paid for. That’s a nice move – thank you Edersee! 🙂

Edersee view from Waldeck Castle

LA in 1 Day: The travel guide for all must sees in Los Angeles

Admittedly, creating Los Angeles with all its sights in one day is utopian. Or should we say better – a challenge. We were confronted with exactly this challenge and experience has shown that most people actually do not take more than 1-2 days for Los Angeles. The mega-metropolis, at least among us Germans, has a reputation for being particularly ugly and completely unexciting. So first of all: We don’t see it that way! But if you hardly have time, you shouldn’t go to the “wrong” places and sights in order not to get this impression.

That is why we have put together a small Los Angeles Travel Guide with all the must sees and sights in Los Angeles that, in our completely subjective opinion, should be seen and that can realistically be done in one day.

But first things first: The prerequisites for this are

  1. You have to get up very early. Those who still have jet lag have a clear advantage!
  2. You have a car. Nothing works in LA without a car. Generally not, and certainly not if you have a tight schedule. We always book in advance from Germany at billiger-mietwagen.de *

Here we go!

Go to the Griffith Observatory for sunrise

The Griffith Observatoryis THE viewpoint in Los Angeles. From there you have a perfect view of the whole of LA and the Hollywood Sign. It is accordingly popular, especially at sunset it gets packed here. Double on the weekend. If there is an event in the Greek Theater, you can multiply the number of visitors by 3 again. Hence our tip: don’t even try. You won’t find a parking space in the evening, get stuck in traffic and most likely miss the sunset. That’s why we’re just turning the tables: very early in the morning at sunrise, the Griffith Observatory is still empty and the atmosphere is really magical. If the parking lot is still closed, you can park on the roadside and walk the little way up. The exhibition in the observatory itself is still closed at this time. Parking is free.

The Hollywood Sign up close // Best Hollywood Sign Viewpoint

Whole books have probably already been written about how to get as close as possible to the famous Hollywood Sign in the most sensible / best / closest way. The fact is: Google Maps does not provide any useful information for this, only the Hollywod Sign itself or a place called Hollywood Sign Hike Parking are stored. The latter, i.e. approaching the sign by mini hike, can be done, but it actually eats up too much time for a day trip in Los Angeles.

Hence our (maybe even) insider tip: The best place to get as close as possible to the Hollywood Sign is Lake Hollywood Park . Enter Lake Hollywood Park as the destination address on Google Maps , drive on Canyon Lake Dr. there and look for a parking space on the side of the road and walk a little further up. Canyon Lake Drive turns into Mulholland Hwy after the curveover, here you continuously get closer to the Hollywood Sign. Theoretically, you can also park here (after driving past the nice law enforcement officer who is not supposed to let Hinz and Kunz through). In practice, however, the residents here get mega grumpy if you snatch the parking spaces away from them, so parking is prohibited here before 6 p.m. (if we have understood the sign correctly). If you are unsure about the right path, enter Strategic Perception as the destination address (this is a company that simply serves as a point of reference for Google for your purposes).

Hollywood Sign

Hollywood Sign

 

So. Is that close or is that close ?! Unfortunately, the selfie only worked so well because of personal stupidity.

Mulholland Drive through the Hollywood Hills

Basically you are now almost in the famous Hollywood Hills, you get the full roar when you drive west on Mulholland Drive. Mulholland Drive is THE scenic road of Los Angeles and offers an amazing view of the whole city along the whole route. The drive through the Hollywood Hills is particularly spectacular and if you have the time, you can make a stop in Runyon Canyon Park along the way. Runyon Canyon offers a great view over the whole of LA and is very popular with hikers and joggers. Tourists and locals meet here, and anyone who is somehow fame on Instagram and (therefore of course) in LA MUST take a picture of themselves in sports clothes. Otherwise that was probably the fame.

View of Los Angeles

Viewpoint on Mulholland Drive

Hollywood Walk of Fame

After that is done, with or without a stop at Runyon Canyon, you head straight for the next stop: Hollywood Boulevard or Hollywood Walk of Fame. The Hollywood Walk of Fame is probably the tourist center of Los Angeles and you should take your time here. Not because it is so great here, but because it is so crowded that you cannot rush through quickly. Walking speed = city stroll. Along the Hollywood Walk of Fame you will find the Chinese Theater and the Dolby Theater, where the Academy Awards take place every year. Don’t let all the people talk to you who want to sell you some nonsense or any tour, you don’t have time for that anyway and you are already on your personal sightseeing tour 🙂

 

 

 

Hollywood Walk of Fame

Rodeo Drive

Head west to Beverly Hills to Rodeo Drive. The famous luxury shopping street should be familiar to everyone since Pretty Woman at the latest (ok … maybe mainly the women among us). Parking around Rodeo Drive is chargeable, but quite affordable. Most of them have a parking meter with a time limit, but the time is usually easy – unless you want to escalate Pretty Woman like on Rodeo Drive. What else is there to do here? Walk through and be amazed!

Rodeo Drive

 

Rodeo Drive

 

Rodeo Drive

 

Bel Air

The same, in other words, amazement, also applies to Bel Air. Basically there is not much to say about the Los Angeles district, it is the district where the beautiful and rich finally live. Walking is not intended here, which is why there are no sidewalks at all in many places and the properties are protected from prying eyes by meter-high fences and hedges. You won’t see celebrities here, the only people on the street are the gardeners and housemaids. Nevertheless, we found Bel Air worth seeing and fascinating for a short detour by car, because it corresponds exactly to the idea that many of us have of Los Angeles.

Santa Monica and Venice Beach

When the day is slowly coming to an end, you can head to Santa Monica and Venice Beach . Strictly speaking, the two small towns no longer belong to Los Angeles, but the transitions are seamless in the mega-agglomeration of LA County anyway. Most of us associate Santa Monica with the world-famous Santa Monica Pier , which is the end of Historic Route 66. And this is really a must for everyone who is in and around Los Angeles!

Santa Monica Pier

 

Depending on how much time you have left, you can still pass a little time on the pier … but you have to be at Venice Beach by sunset at the latest . Don’t do that at the last minute, but stroll a little on the boardwalk (or rent a beach cruiser right away), watch the freaks, but don’t let yourself be talked to for any freakshow … what you get to see on the boardwalk is free and sufficient. Just soak up the atmosphere of Venice Beach and don’t forget to take photos as the sun slowly goes down. There is no other place in the world like it.

Beach cruiser on Venice Beach

Venice Beach at night

 

Strasbourg: sights and Christmas markets in the Winter Wonderland

Before we visited New York in the run-up to Christmas last year, we could never have imagined that the Christmas season could be happy instead of grumpy despite overcrowded city centers and a lot of stress (bad mood in the run-up to Christmas actually seems to be a purely German thing …) . Infected by this positive mood and unwilling to endure the Christmas Grinch mood in Germany, we went straight to the capital of Christmas markets: Strasbourg! Because if there is a real winter wonderland anywhere in Europe, it is Strasbourg. At Christmas time, the city with all its sights and insane Christmas decorations is so incredibly beautiful than at any other time of the year.

After we have already tried to convince you of London at Christmas time, we now have a real trump card up our sleeve with all the Christmas markets in Strasbourg: Strasbourg is not a world metropolis, but it beats every other city in Europe in terms of Christmas spirit! Why you have to visit the city in Alsace at Christmas time and which sights in Strasbourg you shouldn’t miss? Here is a brief overview.

La Petite France

The district of La Petite France (in German: Little France) is the oldest district in Strasbourg. It is from here that the city has developed since the Middle Ages and for a long time was the quarter of butchers and tanners, which can still be seen today from the architecture of the buildings. The narrow streets and the crooked flare houses are decorated over and over with Christmas decorations. Even if you think you’ve already seen all the variants of European medieval inner cities – a stroll through Petite France will enchant you.

Winter in Strasbourg

The Strasbourg Cathedral

The Strasbourg Cathedral is a gothic building of the Catholic Church as it could not be more imposing. To see the top of the 140m high tower, you have to put your head neatly back – you can actually leave the attempt to photograph the building the same Straß The Strasbourg Cathedral stands in the middle of the city center, surrounded by old half-timbered and narrow Alleys. We don’t want to bore you with the architectural details, but simply recommend you, despite the many people with the same idea, to look at the cathedral from the inside. If you are lucky, a Christmas service is taking place there – the atmosphere is really unique. By the way, at Christmas time you will find what is probably the largest Christmas market in Strasbourg on the square around the cathedral.

Winter in Strasbourg

Bateaux Mouches: A boat trip on the Ill

Don’t worry, you won’t freeze to death on a boat trip through Strasbourg, even in winter. The Bateaux Mouches, as the typical French tour boats are called, are covered and heated in winter and that is really cozy. If you walk towards the river in the city center at the level of the Strasbourg Cathedral, you basically cannot miss the landing and dropping off point. The (as far as we know only) tour operator Batorama offers two tours, a shorter and a longer one: We recommend the longer one (which is about 1:15 hours, which is not really long), because besides Petite France and the Inner city area can also be seen the European Parliament. The boat trips are around € 12 per personcheap. It is not necessary to buy or reserve tickets in advance, you can simply queue up for the next trip spontaneously.

La Petite France | Strasbourg

Christmas markets in Strasbourg

At this point we would like to save you a list of where you can find which Christmas market in Strasbourg. That is A) superfluous because the city is not so big anyway that you have to go to the individual squares with the Christmas markets, you can find them automatically when walking around and B) the whole of Strasbourg is simply one big Christmas market. Believe us, Strasbourg is one big Christmas village! It is hard to put into words what decorations the city and the Strasbourg shopkeepers get at Christmas time. All of Strasbourg flashes, glitters, glows and tinkles. There is no free meter on the house facades that is not adorned with Christmas decorations. The Christmas stalls are everywhere on the streets, the whole city smells of freshly roasted chestnuts and roasted almonds. It’s just lovely. However, you have to keep your nerve a little, because the crowds that push through the narrow streets of Strasbourg’s old town on a weekend before Christmas are really enormous. Take a deep breath, eat a bratwurst, don’t smear it with ketchup and let yourself be pushed with the flow, then everything is relaxed.

Strasbourg Christmas Market

Alsatian tarte flambée

Eating an Alsatian tarte flambée is compulsory in Alsace, we don’t accept any excuses! Regardless of whether you’ve been stuffing yourself full of crepes, bratwurst, gingerbread and mulled wine at the Christmas markets in Strasbourg all day – a tarte flambée has to be nice. And actually not necessarily the standard variant with onions and bacon, but preferably one with really nice, smelly, Alsatian Munster cheese (also called Munster cheese or simply Munster). Hmmm! In downtown Strasbourg you will of course find plenty of restaurants, all of which offer Alsatian tarte flambée at very similar prices, but a tarte flambée with Munster cheese is not on every menu. We have the most delicious tarte flambée for us at really moderate prices in the restaurant Au Vieux Strasbourgfound that is also incredibly rustic. It’s loud, sociable and in winter there is sure to be a crackling fireplace here somewhere (which unfortunately we couldn’t see … but the whole atmosphere feels like a fireplace, that’s why we just say so) and the guests come from all over the world. Have you ever seen a group of Asians eating Schäufele, sauerkraut and Munster cheese? No? I tell you it’s a festival.

Strasbourg Christmas Market


Tips for Strasbourg

Hotels in Strasbourg: With only a good 270,000 inhabitants, Strasbourg is not a big city and can actually be reached on foot within a day. Depending on how long your journey takes, you may not even need an overnight stay. Hotel prices in Strasbourg at Christmas time are quite high and the hotels near the old town are often fully booked on weekends. But don’t panic: In Strasbourg you can also choose a hotel that at first glance is a bit out of the way. There is a very modern tram and many routes are shorter than you might think, so you can do it on foot.

San Francisco in 2 days: All the highlights and sights

It should be clear to all of you that a stay of only two days cannot do justice to a city like San Francisco. We don’t need to talk about that. Unfortunately, sometimes you don’t have unlimited time to travel and have to make decisions. When we had to leave San Francisco after such a short time, our hearts were bleeding a little: Despite its many hills and its rather rudimentary network of public transport, the city is simply wonderful. And we have never met anyone seriously who did not do so too. Everyone loves San Francisco! And that although, or maybe because, San Francisco is so different from other major American cities.

We’ll tell you which highlights and sights you should definitely plan for on a tight time budget, what you need more time for and what we think are overrated.

MUST DO – Highlights in San Francisco

The Golden Gate Bridge: by bike over the most famous bridge in the world

The Golden Gate Bridge is a must when visiting San Francisco. The world-famous bridge towers over the San Francisco Bay at the north end of the city and is THE landmark of the city. If you want to see the Golden Gate Bridge close enough to take photos, there are two options without a rental car: 1. On foot or 2. By bike (public transport is a bit difficult in San Francisco).

It takes forever to walk. If you also want to go to the bridge, you can safely plan a whole day for it. The distances are really enormous! We therefore strongly recommend variant 2: Rent a bike and explore the Golden Gate Bridge and the city with it.

Golden Gate Bridge

You can rent a bike anywhere in San Francisco for about $ 35 per day , the most sensible starting point for this is Fisherman’s Wharf , where you will also find most bike rentals. We drove to the Golden Gate Bridge, over the bridge to Sausalito (an incredibly pretty place! Make sure to check it out if you have the opportunity!) And from there by ferry + bike back to Fisherman’s Wharf ( costs for the ferry: $ 10 ). Of course, you can also go back by bike if you still have time.

But be careful, the Golden Gate Bridge is only accessible to cyclists at certain times:

opening-hours-golden-gate-bridge

The route is 10 kilometers long oneway, here you can see it in detail:

The big advantage is that by bike you have the means of transport at hand with which you can visit Fisherman’s Wharf, the Golden Gate Bridge and the area around the harbor and the bay in San Francisco the fastest. You also get to see Sausalito and have another great view of the Golden Gate Bridge, Downtown and Alcatraz from the ferry.

If you want to make sure that you get a bike and a place on the ferry on the day you want, you can also book here in advance * .

Fisherman's Wharf

Visit the sea lions at Fisherman’s Wharf

Yes, there are sea lions in the zoo too. We find zoos about as stupid as the circus. At Pier 39, you can see real, wild sea lions. The animals feel right at home here, they stink and make a lot of riot. It is wonderful!

Sea lions at Fisherman's Wharf

Eat a clam chowder in the sourdough bowl

A what in what please eat ?! Exactly. We thought so too and did it anyway. And only then googled what it actually was! A clam chowder is an American mussel soup that is eaten on the west coast around San Francisco as a local specialty along with a special sourdough bread. But don’t we have sourdough here in Germany …? you will be surprised now. Wait. Our sourdough has little in common with the American sourdough. It’s so tasty! You are sure to find a clam chowder at Fisherman’s Wharf, for example at Boudin Bakery and you have to eat something anyway.

Clam Chowder in Sourdough Bowl

Take the cable car

Everyone of you probably knows the cable cars of San Francisco, there is not much to say about that. The locals rarely use them as public transport, they are far too crammed with tourists and simply too slow for that.

Information and tips for taking the cable car:

There are three cable car lines: the Powell-Hyde Line (the most crowded), the Powell-Mason Line, and the California Street Line (the least crowded).

single trip costs $ 7 (no matter how many stations, you can’t get off and on again in between). If you bought the Muni Pass, it is valid for all public transport including cable cars. The ticket for a single ride you can directly with the nice gentleman at the cable car purchase, but here applies cash and it is max. put down on $ 20.

If you cannot pay in cash, you have to go to one of the sales points located at the end or start stops of the respective line. But the sales outlets felt as open as they were funny (that is to say: they were always closed when we were there) and you have to get there first … you better have cash! You can find more information here .

Cable car

Since the journey is comparatively expensive with a single ticket price of $ 7 (there are also no day tickets), you should think about which route you want to travel beforehand. Be there early (queues form from around 8:30 a.m.) and use the cable car wisely to get from A to B. We took it from Market Street Station (our hotel was around the corner) to Lombard Street (Powell-Hyde drives past here) and walked from there to Fisherman’s Wharf.

The steepest and winding street in San Francisco

You’ve all heard of Crookedest Street, the world-famous Lombard Street , haven’t you? Whether the street is a must, one can certainly argue about it, it is always a sight. In any case, from late morning onwards, numerous tourists cavort here, who seem to take more or less good pictures of the street for hours (including us).

Lombard Street San Francisco

What we actually found more interesting: One of the steepest streets in the world is right next door. The relevant section of Filbert Street between Hyde Street and Leavenworth Street has an incline of 31.5%, making it the second steepest street in the world according to the Guinness Book of World Records. In contrast to Lombard Street, we were actually the only onlookers here and there was plenty of room for nonsense: p

Filbert Street San Francisco

Optional San Francisco attractions

Chinatown

San Francisco can be proud to have what is said to be the largest Chinatown outside of Asia. We can’t say whether that’s true, but yes, there are definitely a lot of Asians in San Francisco (it should be around 80k).

Our tip: You can kill three birds with one stone here. Take the cable car (California Street Line) up California Street. Get off on California Street en route, then you will be in the middle of one of the steepest streets of San Francisco and at the same time in the middle of Chinatown. When looking towards the bay you can see the Oakland Bay Bridge and you can take photos of some of the famous scenes of San Francisco (and then stroll through Chinatown).

California Street San Francisco

China Town San Francisco

Alcatraz prison island

Actually a must, but you have to plan a lot of time for Alcatraz. In addition, the tours to the former maximum security prison have to be reserved well in advance, you probably don’t have a chance spontaneously. We decided against Alcatraz due to time constraints and postponed it for the time being.

Here you can, for example, reserve an Alcatraz tour including a catamaran trip * in the San Francisco Bay.

View of Alcatraz

Alternatively, you can also book a combination ticket and save a lot of money. If you have enough time, don’t miss the legendary prison!

 Here you can find combination tours including Alcatraz *

At sunrise or sunset to Twin Peaks

Twin Peaks is a (two to be exact) considerable hill from where you have an incredible view of San Francisco. You can watch both the sunrise and the sunset here, both of which bathe the city in an amazing light. We were lucky enough to be wide awake by 4 a.m., plagued by jetlag, so we ordered an UBER taxi and drove up to sunrise. We were completely alone up there …

Sunrise at Twin Peaks San Francisco

At sunset it will probably get a bit crowded here. If you can do it and don’t have to rush into expenses, try taking Twin Peaks with you.

With the voucher code hf6r21k6ue you will receive a discount of up to $ 20 on your first UBER trip * (just download the app and enter the voucher code via copy + paste. Attention: the taxi service Uber does not exist in Germany, you can only use it abroad, e.g. the USA!)

Overrated San Francisco attractions

The parks of San Francisco

Joa … sitting in the park … you can do it. You can also let it stay. Sure, the parks are nice and really big, especially Golden Gate Park. But you probably don’t have time to waste and parks are everywhere, right?

The painted ladies

We are a little at odds with the Painted Ladies. It’s a series of brightly painted Victorian wooden houses like those built across San Francisco in the 19th century. Unfortunately, many of the buildings fell victim to a major fire in 1906, triggered by the worst earthquake to date in San Francisco. Today the best preserved, nicely restored houses stand on a hill in Alamo Square and provide a wonderful photo opportunity through the lush green meadow of Alamo Park in the foreground and Downtown in the background. Wait a minute … you don’t see a green meadow or downtown …? Please read on, you are neither blind nor stupid …

What you should know: The Alamo Park is currently being redesigned, ie there is currently no meadow there, just construction fences and brown earth. No park in which you can stand on a hill to capture downtown, no lush green meadow for the famous photo motif. Unfortunately, none of the notice boards stated how long they would work here (as of September 2016). If anyone of you knows when the construction work will be finished, please let us know!

UPDATE August 2017 : A dear reader informed us that the construction work on the Painted Ladies has meanwhile been completed and that you will find a lush green meadow there again. Yeehaa! Thanks for the info, dear Clara 🙂

Painted Ladies San Francisco

 

But even without construction work: There are and will only be Victorian houses as you can find them elsewhere in San Francisco. Take the bus to Alamo Square especially for that? Leave it alone, it’s complicated and takes up too much time. If you have a rental car, take the Painted Ladies with you on the way, but don’t drive there.

13 DOs and DON’Ts for Prague: The Prague Sightseeing Guide

When Christian and I left for Prague last week, much too late and really stressed, we honestly had no idea what to expect from Prague. Yes, we had the usual sights in Prague on our screen. In our minds there was otherwise only a wild mix of fragmentary memories of the history lessons in the upper school and regulars’ table knowledge about the Czech Republic in the 90s (Czech Republic = fake branded clothing and cheap beer). So our trip to Prague promised to be semi-exciting, because I don’t like beer, fake branded clothing, or high school history lessons (Christian at least likes beer and has been careful about history, things looked better for him).

But what can I say – Prague completely blew us away! BÄM. And neither beer nor absinthe were involved!

To put it in a nutshell: Prague survived the two world wars completely unscathed. All the buildings, all the cobblestone streets, and even the street lamps, are still in Prague today as they were centuries ago. In other European cities there are no more than individual districts in which the architecture and cityscape of the last centuries have been preserved, mostly there are only individual buildings – but not in Prague. All of Prague is one big open-air museum. In case you’ve been to an amusement park before and were wondering where the hell it looks like the amusement park is in France‘or’ Austria ‘looks like – in Prague it looks like this! It’s hard to believe. The city is full of significant historical moments (just think of the Prague lintel or the Prague Spring) and is surrounded by a very peculiar mystical atmosphere: Prague lives from its centuries-old stories and myths about spirits, alchemists and mythical creatures such as the golem .

If, as a rational German, you just grimaciously smile at the thought of ghost stories: We promise that Prague will cast its spell on you too. What do you absolutely have to do while sightseeing in Prague to immerse yourself in the ‘feeling’ of the city? Here come our DOs and DON’Ts!

Sights Prague – What you shouldn’t miss

Prague Old Town and the Old Town Square

Old towns … you know one, you know all. You hardly dare to admit it, but at some point you are just not so flashed by the 581st European old town. But … wait for it … the old town of Prague will knock your socks off! You will search in vain for half-timbered houses here, the historic center of Prague owes its architecture to centuries of Austrian influence and so you can still find numerous magnificent buildings and winding cobblestone streets from bygone times here. The center of the ‘golden city’ is the Old Town Square – a large square where you will find several churches (Tyn Church and St. Nicholas Church) and also the historic Prague City Hall with the astronomical clock. Prague has many observation towers and it is difficult to decide, but the one about 70m high

The observation tower of the old town hall is a must. From up there you have a great all-round view of the whole city and the entrance fee is bearable at around € 5 .

Old Town Square Prague

Old Town Square Prague

 

 

Josefov (Jewish Quarter)

Prague has a long Jewish history. Josefov, the Jewish quarter in Prague, was built before the 13th century and you can still find the oldest active synagogue in the world and the old Jewish cemetery from the 15th century here. To briefly outline the history of Prague’s Jewish quarter: Since the 13th century, Jews in Prague were forbidden to live outside this quarter. The district lay in a depression and also below the level of the Vltava, which is why it had to struggle with bad floods for centuries. In the middle of the 19th century, Jews in Prague finally received civil rights and were no longer forced to live in Josefov. Most of them moved away and within a very short time Josephstadt almost completely fell into disrepair – Josefov became the worst and most dangerous district in all of Prague. Things have picked up again since the beginning of the 20th century: the district was raised and rebuilt. And so today you can find wonderful magnificent buildings from this time mixed with ancient synagogues and buildings that are full of gruesome stories. The old Jewish cemetery alone leaves you feeling cold: an estimated 100,000 people have been buried here since the 15th century, on a total area of ​​only about one hectare. That means: the corpses pile up. And so today you can find wonderful magnificent buildings from this time mixed with ancient synagogues and buildings that are full of gruesome stories. The old Jewish cemetery alone leaves you feeling cold: an estimated 100,000 people have been buried here since the 15th century, on a total area of ​​only about one hectare. That means: the corpses pile up. And so you can find wonderful magnificent buildings from this time mixed with ancient synagogues and buildings that are full of eerie stories. The old Jewish cemetery alone leaves you feeling cold: an estimated 100,000 people have been buried here since the 15th century, on a total area of ​​only about one hectare. That means: the corpses pile up.

In the Jewish Museum Prague in the Pinkas Synagogue right next to the old Jewish cemetery there is an exhibition that contains, among other things, drawings that were made by children in the Theresienstadt concentration camp between 1942 and 1944. If you have the time, be sure to visit her – she will freeze your blood in your veins.

The entrance fee for the cemetery and the synagogue is around € 12 and you should plan around 3 hours for it. You can find more information here.

Prague old town

Prague Castle – Castle District Hradschin – The Golden Lane

Prague Castle is located on the so-called Lesser Town of Prague, i.e. on the opposite side (or as we Frankfurters would say: hibbdebach). As the largest castle in the world, it sits enthroned on a mountain above the rooftops of Prague and an entire district has formed around the castle. The castle district Hradschin is the largest self-contained castle area in the world, in which you will also find St. Vitus Cathedral and the ‘Golden Lane’. The Golden Lane is a small section with a couple of pretty houses – Franz Kafka lived in house number 22 for a while.

Entrance fees have to be paid for certain areas of the Hradschin, for example, unfortunately, the Golden Lane. The ticket is available from around € 8. We therefore strongly recommend that you visit the Castle District in the evening! From 4 p.m. (in winter) or 6 p.m. (in summer) there is no entry and you can experience everything for free except the premises of the castle. But there is another more important aspect: The tourist masses of the day have disappeared and you can experience the entire area around Prague Castle almost completely deserted. The atmosphere so completely alone between the old walls, which are bathed in the golden light of the old lanterns, is really magical. Here you can find more information about everything you need to know about Prague Castle.

Golden Lane | Prague Castle Hradcany

Eat a Trdelnik

Trdl … what? TR-DEL-NIK. Never heard? We neither. Google says: A Trdelnik (or Trdlo … yes, the Czechs don’t like vowels) is a yeast dough that is rolled up on a stick (on an open flame) and rolled in a sugar-nut mixture. Aha. We say: delicious! How hell! Please definitely try a Trdelnik when you are in Prague, at around 3 € it is more than affordable. In Germany, this pastry can only be found sporadically at Christmas or annual markets and is sold here as Baumkuchen (which is wrong) or Baumstriezel (which we learned from a dear reader on our Facebook page , thank you for that!) .

Eat Trdelnik in Prague

Trdelnik in Prague

 

Take a free walking tour or ghost tour of Prague

In Prague, as in many big cities now, there are Free Walking Tours where you can explore the city on foot together with a city guide. And for free. The tours are no worse than tours that you have to pay for, so don’t be afraid! It should be clear that your guide will be happy about payment in the end 😉 In Prague there are many providers of free walking tours in different languages ​​(including German), all of which start near the Old Town Square so you can confidently make a bow.

Our tip: Use a 2-3 hour free walking tour during the day to get to know Prague and book a ghost tour through Prague * in the evening . The ghost tours through Prague give you a completely different insight and you will hear many gruesome stories from historical Prague.

Powder Tower Prague

Experience the Charles Bridge at sunrise

There is actually not that much to write about the Charles Bridge in Prague, it is THE landmark of Prague. The bridge, built in the 14th century, is one of the oldest stone bridges in Europe and connects Prague’s old town with the Lesser Town. The figures of saints and patrons lining the bridge are particularly striking.

The fact is: the bridge is crammed full of tourists during the day. You want a nice photo of the bridge and maybe also one of yourself on the bridge? You can bend that nicely. Just forget about it. You are being jostled nonstop and a picture without a million people in the background is out of the question. But because you are foxes, you now have the idea to just come by late in the evening to take pictures of the bridge, right? Nope. You can bend that too. The million other people are also still awake and have the same idea. See for yourself:

Prague old town

What you can do in the evening: Go to the bank of the Vltava and take a photo of the Charles Bridge from there. The bridge arches and the bridge are wonderfully illuminated in the evening and create a unique picture.

Charles Bridge Prague at night

For “real” photos of the Charles Bridge, however, here is our pro tip, which surprisingly does not seem to have got around that much among tourists: Come to the Charles Bridge at sunrise! You have to watch the time when the bridge sinks into the darkness and then slowly gets lighter. At dawn there are only a handful of other people on Prague’s Charles Bridge. Originally we had only hoped for a halfway deserted bridge, but the sunrise that then played in front of our eyes and behind the turrets of the old buildings was indescribable! If getting up was ever worth it, it was for this image that has now forever burned into our heads.

Charles Bridge Prague sunrise

Sights of Prague- What you can save yourself

The astronomical clock on Prague City Hall

We haven’t even talked about the famous clock in Prague. Why? Because it’s not worth it. To satisfy your curiosity: The astronomical clock hangs on the old Prague City Hall and a carillon takes place here every hour on the hour, but compared to the carillon at Munich City Hall, it shakes off quite a bit (sorry, Prague). Inexplicably, a huge crowd of people gathers here every hour to witness the extremely brief opposite of a spectacle. That is exactly the time when you should go to the observation tower of the town hall: If everyone is standing outside to look, the queue at the observation tower is nice and short and you can easily save 30 minutes of waiting time (after the carillon everyone rushes up to the Tower).

You will see the clock either way, but for us it is one of the most overrated sights in Prague.

Astronomical Clock Prague

The Petrin mountain

Prague’s Petrin Hill is actually more of a hill, like the ugly brother of the Prague Castle hill. There is an observation tower on top of the Petrin, the ugly little brother of the Eiffel Tower in Paris. You can either climb the mountain on foot or take the cable car that goes up (for the cable car you need a ticket for public transport in Prague; if you have a day ticket, for example, then the trip with the cable car is included, otherwise you have to You buy a single ticket).

On the Petrin Berg itself you can climb the payable observation tower, visit the payable mirror labyrinth or have all sorts of other payable half-fun. In short: we were up there and it was not clear to us, which is why you should visit the Petrin mountain in addition to the castle, which is also on a mountain. The Prague skyline is not known as particularly spectacular and we found the additional entrance fees to be too expensive. There is a pretty garden on the Petrin mountain, but hey, you don’t have to go to Prague to go for a nice walk.

John Lennon Wall

That too is quick: there is nothing to see here except a wall painted in bright colors with graffiti. Originally there was a portrait of John Lennon here, but it has long since disappeared under countless layers of paint. The wall has a more symbolic character and stands for the ideals of freedom of our time. There is a small bridge very close to the John Lennon Wall, which is hung all over with love locks. It’s not really exciting either, but it is definitely more exciting than the usselige wall.

John Lennon Wall Prague

Love padlocks bridge Prague

Wenceslas Square

Although Wenceslas Square has not existed in its current form for long, it was already the scene of a number of events in modern Prague history: in 1969 two Prague students burned themselves here in protest against the crackdown on the Prague Spring, and in 1989 it was the scene of the so-called Velvet Revolution. You should therefore take a look at Wenceslas Square and, above all, read a little about its history , but you should know that ultimately it is only a large square in Prague, which is now mainly lined by the usual chain of shops. Nothing special.

The dancing house

We already saw the dancing house when we drove past and at that moment decided that we would not come here again. Because: Really now? Is that supposed to be one of the main attractions of Prague? It’s just a building that a couple of architects have let off steam on. Hooray. The dancing house houses office space, so there is nothing to see inside either.

Taxi driving in Prague

Just don’t. Taking a taxi in Prague is too expensive compared to the usual price level there. Rumor has it that taxi drivers like to rip you off as a tourist. So we switched directly to UBER in Prague : An UBER taxi is so ridiculously cheap in Prague that it even beats a day ticket for public transport. We drove several routes for the equivalent of € 3-4 per trip!

Hence our tip: Do not buy a ticket for public transport in Prague. You can easily explore the whole old town with the most important Prague sights on foot. If a distance is too far for you, e.g. back to the hotel after a long day, then an UBER taxi will pick you up Just note that in Prague you cannot pay your UBER via Paypal, but only in cash (at least none of the journeys we made via Paypal).

Prague sightseeing by hop-on hop-off bus

We already talked about the Free Walking Tours above, right? (This is a test of whether you have been paying attention) Therefore only briefly as an addition, which is why sightseeing in Prague by hop-on-hop-off bus is completely meaningless: All the main sights of Prague are in Prague’s old town, which is too wide Share is closed to traffic. A bus would only bring you close to the sight, the rest of the way there you have to walk. Do you notice yourself, no….

Prague old town

Christmas lights in Prague

Tips for traveling to Prague: Hotels – Restaurants – Parking

Hotels in Prague:

Restaurants in Prague:

A visit to a restaurant in Prague will in all likelihood not tear a big hole in your wallet. Nevertheless, the rule of thumb is: As always, do not eat in the very present restaurants right next to the sights in Prague such as the Old Town Square or Charles Bridge, here you pay a tourist surcharge. For orientation: a meal or a menu including a starter should not cost more than approx. 250 Czech crowns, a beer not more than a maximum (!) 60 crowns.

Probably the most famous restaurant in Prague is the U Fleku restaurant. There are traditional Czech, heart attack-accelerating dishes at reasonable prices in an ancient atmosphere, which are best washed down with liters of our own lager. The waiters at U Fleku do not give you any choice, you are served beer and schnapps immediately after arrival without being asked 😉 But be careful: the drinks will end up on your bill! The prices are okay, but make a cut if you don’t want to get poor. You are bottled here mercilessly. We thought it was great!

Parking in Prague:

Sucks. It can not be said otherwise. The entire old town of Prague has parking spaces reserved for residents; parking anywhere for free is almost impossible. Therefore, in Prague, there is an alternative to the Mr. Parkit parking garages , in which you can park your car on a relatively cheap basis (approx. € 20 / day). So if you want to drive to Prague by car, you should definitely take these parking costs into account and reserve a parking space in advance (or go straight to a hotel that offers parking spaces).