It’s 2021, Another Year of Pandemic: So What to Do When You Want to Travel?

It’s 2021, Another Year of Pandemic: So What to Do When You Want to Travel?

It’s 2021, the year after the corona pandemic started. Ok, you may argue that Corona actually started in the end of 2019, but I’m talking about the pandemic situation which only began in 2020.

I have avoided writing about the Corona pandemic altogether on my blog even though I have been pretty vocal about things on my social media

One of the main reasons that I didn’t want to write about the pandemic on my website is that it felt unreal. Heck, it still does. It is so unreal that it never felt like it would stay for so long. It’s like a horrible science fiction kind of a nightmare that went on for so long. 

Pandemic has been hard for everyone, especially for those who have lost a loved one. It has been hard for the health workers too because they have often seen people dying in front of them. Too many lives have been lost already and yet the story still continues.

Let’s not forget those who have lost their means of earning because of the pandemic. The small business owners, minimum wage laborers, folks in the travel industry, theaters, performing artists and the list goes on. 

Thinking about all these “bigger” problems, the need to travel doesn’t feel so important anymore, no? I feel you.

Let’s clear this, I’m NOT encouraging you to travel. This post isn’t about that. The idea is to address a small number of people who have always felt the need to be on the move to see a new place but they can’t anymore.

So if you’re a traveler by heart, what should you do when you want to travel?

Recreate Travel at Home with Food

Khao Suay at home during the pandemic

Khao Suay at home during the pandemic

Food is a very important aspect of traveling. It helps us get a taste of the local culture in the best way possible. Some of my best memories are based around food. So why not recreate that same food to relive the moment? It doesn’t have to be something complicated but can be super simple like a cocktail. Or if you’re adventurous then go all out with street food, cocktails and then a restaurant like meal. 

With the abundance of cooking videos on YouTube, culinary skills aren’t really that hard to acquire if you try hard enough (and if you are really interested to do it). I wasn’t at all into cooking but things changed when I moved to a small German town with hardly any international cuisine options around. I started experimenting and I realized after some trial and error that it isn’t so hard to recreate some of the most memorable meals.

 

Consider Booking a House in the Nature for a Weekend

Have you noticed over the past year and a half that there are certain times when the situation suddenly becomes somewhat safe? It did in the summer of 2020 in Europe and February 2021 in Asia. I did travel within Germany on two super small weekend-like trips in the first instance, but I missed out traveling in Asia in February 2021. 

Make sure you read WHO’s travel advice and the corona virus situation in your region before traveling out even for a weekend. When the number of infections in your region is on a rise then you should absolutely restrict all non essential travel.

Look out for a time like that. When that happens, don’t make things complicated by flying BUT limit your contact by booking a nearby getaway and driving to it instead. Big cities are crowded so are a big no-no, but look for booking a place to stay somewhere that’s far away from the masses but also offers natural beauty.

We’re nature lovers so we highly recommend Nature.House. Each time someone makes a booking on this website, they donate €1 to local nature projects. We are actually eying this website constantly so that we can book something in the Netherlands or Bavaria whenever we can. 

It seems to be the ONLY way to actually travel during the pandemic responsibly. 

 

Get Out for Walks and Look at Your Surroundings Like a Traveler

Did you pull a face while reading this heading? Well, I’d like you to still give this a try. I did too and it worked. It worked for some other friends too.

Exploring my little town during the pandemic

Exploring my little town during the pandemic

Yes there may be a lockdown from time to time but I’m sure you can go for a walk or a run from time to time. When you do, try to walk further and explore as many corners as you can, maybe you will find something new? It could be a narrow alley or a viewpoint but try to see it with fresh eyes to make the most of it. (Because honey, you don’t have any other option).

This works well for me because I’m living in a country that’s not my home country. I’ve been living in Germany since 2017. Although that’s a small town and I have seen it over and over, it never fails to wow me with its seasonal beauty. I found a new love for it during the pandemic and I hope you do too with your city / town. 

If you do decide to go out during the pandemic, do it only after you read the regional news and ensure that you are obeying all the restrictions. Wear a mask in public places and maintain distance from the other people.

 

Bury Your Nose in a Travel Book

Life is slow while the pandemic is on, so why not ditch the screen to get back to your books? Travel themed books are so many that picking one can be confusing enough. I highly recommend picking up a copy of City of Djinns, it is about New Delhi and is surprisingly good. Another book that I want to mention is Red Dust: A Path Through China, I am eying it and I’d like to start it sometime.

 

Watch A Few Travel Movies

Watching a travel movie may be one of the easiest things to do on the list and it is mentioned at the end. Some of the most famous travel movies are Midnight in Paris, In Bruges, The Beach, Vicky Christina Barcelona, the Hangover series, Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara and Eat, Pray, Love – but most likely you have seen them already. 

Here are some of the travel movies that I highly recommend the Jungle, Budapest, most of the Spy movies. Do you have a few travel movies to recommend? I’m all ears.

 

Plan Your Next Adventure 

Guess what, when I didn’t have enough money to travel in my early 20s, then I spent my wanderlust itch planning my Euro Trip, Himalayan Hikes and South East Asia Asia adventures. 

No, the idea isn’t to plan something restrictive and stick to it, but research go crazy daydreaming to plan a crazy dream trip. Who knows, it may just come true. 

How to start? If you have a general idea about where you’d like to go then think of how you will get there. Research about some truly mind blowing places on the way that aren’t so popular. Or read about the culture of your dream destination and if you’re anything like me, you’d also read about the food.

 

Closing Thoughts

Friends and fellow travel lovers, I understand that the pandemic time isn’t the best one for anyone (except maybe Netflix or Amazon). It is normal to feel a little down during recent times. Forgive yourself for feeling the way you do and communicate with your loved ones. 

You aren’t alone. This won’t last forever and the only thing you can do in this time is to be patient. So why not entertain yourself during this time? Go crazy with imagination and do what makes you happy.

 

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Most Beautiful Lakes in Europe – that aren’t Grada or Bled or Camo

Most Beautiful Lakes in Europe – that aren’t Grada or Bled or Camo

Ever seen a list of the most visited destinations in the world? Most of them in the top 10 are in Europe. Yep, Europe is one of the most touristy continents. Why do I even mention it? Read on.

When a destination becomes even mildly famous in Europe, it kind of turns into Disneyland. It is not just with destinations that have been famous for decades – such as Amsterdam, Paris or Prague – but also newly famous destinations thanks to the power of Instagram such as Bucharest.

Same happened with the most famous lakes in Europe too. Yes, I’m talking about the ever famous Lake Grada of Italy, Lake Bled of Slovenia and Lake Camo of Italy again. Yes, they are definitely lovely but it is hard to enjoy the raw natural beauty of these lakes when the area all around is so developed and busy.

If you’re anything like me, then you seek peace and raw natural beauty of a lake destination instead of the hustle bustle of an overly developed town. Moreover, you would want to see the lake without too many boats in or around it.

For me, a stunning lake is the one that’s in the wilderness – or even better mountains. It is not surrounded by developed towns but you can only see empty areas if you sit next to the water. An absence of commercial boats is definitely an added advantage because it adds to the peace element. Calm and clear water so that you can see inside. Yes, that’s what it takes for a lake to be truly stunning.

Maybe I sound like a nature snob, but the thing is exploring natural landscapes is our thing. San and I are living in Germany and we often travel within the Europe on our campervan. We avoid bit cities and instead head to National Parks. And guess what, some of the most beautiful lakes in Europe are found in National Parks. Yes, we have seem many European lakes and we’d like to tell you about the most beautiful ones.

Europe’s Most beautiful Lakes

Lake Bohinj, Slovenia (Triglav National Park)

The spectacular Bohinjsko jezero - Lake Bohinj in Slovenia

The spectacular Bohinjsko jezero – Lake Bohinj in Slovenia

Slovenian’s Lake Bled gets all the attention, but Lake Bohinj is the one that will truly take your breath away. This lake has all it takes to be on top of our list. Bohinj is the highlight of Triglav National Park so you can rest assured that the natural beauty of the area around the lake is preserved. 

So what makes Lake Bohinj so special? The water is insanely clear, it is away from the main towns and is surrounded by big mountains.  Mount Triglav is the highest peak of the Julien Alps. Yep, so Lake Bohinj is one of the most beautiful lakes in the Alps. Bonus point – Lake Bohinj has some ridiculously stunning beaches.  

Mountains, clear lake and pretty beaches - Lake Bohinj, Slovenia

Mountains, clear lake and pretty beaches – Lake Bohinj, Slovenia

You can not just sit on the side of Lake Bohinj on one of its beaches and not get stunned by the jaw dropping beauty of the mountains around it. They are so high! I wasn’t even able to capture the complete height of the mountains even with a wide angle camera except only at one spot where I walked way far back.

One of the many beaches along Lake Bohinj - Bohinjsko Jezero - Slovenia

One of the many beaches along Lake Bohinj – Bohinjsko Jezero – Slovenia

There are definitely many stunning lakes around the world but not many that you can camp right next to. Yes, you can actually put up your tent or park your camper van next to the lake in  Camp Zlatorog Bohinj. For all these reasons, Lake Bohinj is one of the most beautiful lakes in Europe.

For more information, read my post about Slovenia’s Lake Bohinj.

Black Lake, Montenegro (Durmitor National Park)

Black Lake - Durmitor National Park near Žabljak, Montenegro

Black Lake – Durmitor National Park near Žabljak, Montenegro

Many visit Montenegro for its beaches but in our experience this country’s mountains is so much better. Montenegro’s Durmitor Mountain range within the Dinaric Alps is a destination that will wow you over.

Within the Dinaric Alps, there’s a protected area called Durmitor National Park which has many glacier lakes. One of the most famous glacier lakes here is called Crno jezero (the Black Lake) near Zabljak, which should actually be called the Blue Lake. The water is extremely clear and is blue-green in color. 

Crno jezero or Black Lake entry area, Durmitor National Park, Montenegro

Crno jezero or Black Lake entry area, Durmitor National Park, Montenegro

Black Lake is actually a set of twin lakes that is joined by strait. There are trees and mountains around most of the lake so the resulting landscape is super stunning. There is also a walking path around the twin lakes with many benches. You can walk around both the lakes in 1,5 hours if you make a few resting stops.

You can’t swim in the Black Lake or Camp right next to it. For more information on Black Lake, read my post about Durmitor National Park.

Lake Zaovine, Serbia (Tara National Park) 

I was 4 to 5 months pregnant when San and I went to Serbia

Swimming in Lake Zaovine in Tara National Park, Serbia

A lot of the lakes in this list are surrounded by high mountains and pine trees but Serbia’s Lake Zaovine is a bit different. Yes, there are mountains but they aren’t as high on all the sides and we definitely did not see pine trees. As a result, there is a high visibility of the landscape around Lake Zaovine. 

Lake Zaovine is in Serbia’s Tara National Park, which is literally on the border of Serbia and Bosnia-Herzegovina. It is situated in Tara National Park which is known for its mind-blowing viewpoints. 

Lake Zaovine in Tara National Park, Mokra Gora, Serbia

Lake Zaovine in Tara National Park, Mokra Gora, Serbia

Talking about touristy, this place definitely isn’t. It is perhaps the least touristy destinations that are mentioned on this list. As a result, you can have the gorgeousness of this lake to yourself like we did. You can swim in it, spend a few hours around it, click endless photos without bothering about other tourists. For us, Zaovine is one of the best lakes in Europe for swimming.

For more information about Lake Zaovine, read my post about Tara National Park, Serbia.

Lago di Tovel, Italy

Lago di Tovel in Trentino, Italy

Lago di Tovel in Trentino, Italy

Yes, Italy’s lakes are super famous and touristy, but Lago di Tovel isn’t. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t gorgeous. It has the bluest water and was semi frozen when we visited in spring. It is surrounded by snowy mountains and has everything you imagine in a typical alpine lake. The best part, you can usually see a reflection of the snowy mountains on the surface. 

Lake Tovel is in Italy’s Trentino region which is known for the Dolomites. As with most of the lakes on this list, it is in a protected area – Adamello-Brenta nature park. As per the legends, this lake was once red in color. Spooky!

Lago do Tovel - the stunning lake in Val di Non, Trentino - Italy

Lago do Tovel – the stunning lake in Val di Non, Trentino – Italy

It is possible to walk al around Lago di Tovel in 1.5 – 2 hours to discovered other scenic spots. We couldn’t because I was pregnant when we visited and I wasn’t in a mood for so much exercise. The lake is triangular in shape. No, you can not swim in Lake Tovel.

In order to get to Lago di Tovel, you need to visit Italy’s Trentino region. Stay in Val di Non to enjoy its romantic beauty and drive to Lago di Tovel. 

For more information about Lake Tovel, read my post – Lago di Tovel, Italy or read about Val di Non.

Plitvice Lakes, Croatia (Plitvice Lakes National Park)

Crystal Clear Water - Plitvice Lakes Croatia

Water so clear that you can see the bottom of the lake – Plitvice Lakes Croatia

How can I write a post about the most beautiful lakes in Europe and not mention the Plitvice Lakes? It is a National Park in Croatia with 16 lakes that are formed on different levels that are interconnected. They are on different levels and as a result there are waterfalls and cascades. These lakes are stunning with insanely clear water.  This area is truly a natural wonderland.

The 16 lakes of the Plitvice Lakes complex are divided in two segments – the Upper Lakes and the Lower Lakes. Some of the lakes are really big but in my experience the smaller lakes were better than the bigger ones because you could really see the clarity. 

Plitvice Lakes National Park has 7 hiking routes that vary in length. Because of the size of the national park, not all trails cover all the lakes but just 1 of them does. That’s the hiking route we took but it took us all day and we ended up walking for 15-20 kilometers in total. You can also pick one of the smaller trails. I mention all of the Plitvice Lakes’ hiking routes in detail in my post. Be sure to read it before you go. 

San and I in Plitvice Lakes National Park, Croatia

San and I in Plitvice Lakes National Park, Croatia

Maybe you were only looking for Europe’s most beautiful lakes but for me it is an added bonus when you get to enjoy the beauty of the waterfalls too. Yes, you will find a lot of them in this national park.

Sadly you can not swim in the Plitvice Lakes but it is really a good thing because that’s how the water is so clean and the biodiversity is truly protected. These lakes collectively are some of the cleanest lakes in Europe. The water is so clean that you can actually see the bottom of the smaller lakes.

Perhaps the Plitvice Lakes are the most touristy lakes on this list and the crowd peaks in the months of August and July. But you can visit them in other months and that will help you avoid crowds.

For more information, read my post about the Plitvice Lakes where I also mention how to avoid crowds.

Seealpsee, Switzerland

Recommended by Continent Hop

Seealpsee Switzerland - Most Beautiful Lakes in Europe

Seealpsee Switzerland – Most Beautiful Lakes in Europe

Switzerland’s Seealpsee that’s sat at an altitude of 1141 meters above sea level, is one of the prettiest lakes in Europe. The lake is located amongst the Appenzell Alps in Switzerland and reflects the nearby surroundings like a glass mirror.

To add to the magic, this alpine lake doesn’t get a lot of visitors. The only ones to be found here are ones that head off on the Wasserauen -Seealpsee hike.

You could take a picnic here and in summer possibly go for a boat ride; however, the postcard-perfect location is best enjoyed by taking a walk around it and admiring the dense trees and the glass reflections in the lake while the cows lazily graze around. On some days, the clouds almost descend on the lake, making it look unbelievably stunning.

There’s numerous options for stay here if you’d rather not spend just a single day at the lake.

 

Xhema’s Lake, Valbonë, Albania

Valbona Lake in Albania - Travel the Balkans - by Robert Figgen

Xhema’s Lake in Valbona, Albania – Travel the Balkans – by Robert Figgen

Albania’s Valbonë River and the Albanian Alps create a stunning natural landscape in Valbonë Valley National Park. The most famous lake in national park is Shkodër (Lake Skadar) and that’s massive. But there is a smaller lake in Valbonë village called Xhema’s Lake which is stunning. 

It is easy to reach Xhema’s Lake from Valbona village. You will see the signboards in the village itself and from there it is a 30 minute walk. The lake is super clear and blue. The water is icy cold. It is surrounded by limestone cliffs that adds to a strange rugged beauty to this spot.

Please keep in mind that Xhema’s Lake dries up in late summer heat and it is a better idea to see it in spring or early summer. The above picture was clicked in late June. The locals say that the lake is at it’s best in spring because that’s when the winter ice freshly melts and as a result the water is clear blue.

Here’s more information about Valbona Valley National Park.

 

Eibsee, Bavaria, Germany

Recommended by Happy to Wander

Eibsee =, Bavaria, Germany by Happy to Wander

Eibsee, Bavaria, Germany by Happy to Wander

When it comes to lakes, Germany doesn’t have a shortage of them and some of the best ones are in Bavaria. While Bavaria’s Königssee is definitely a more famous one, we’d like to mention Eibsee on this list, which is smaller.

Eibsee is special because not only it has crystal clear water but you can also see the Zugspitze (the highest mountain peak in Germany). It is said to be one of the purest and most beautiful lakes in Bavarian Alps.

You can visit Eibsee in all the seasons, each has something unique to offer. This lovely alpine lake freezes in winter and the water starts melting in spring. Summer is a very good time to visit with a family because the weather is warm. Bonus: you can swim in Eibsee in summer. Autumn can be a really interesting time to visit because of the contrast of warm red leaves against the cold blue water. 

Autumn Foliage around Eibsee, Germany

Autumn Foliage around Eibsee, Germany [Pixabay]

The landscape around Eibsee is rocky and you should take some time out to walk around the lake. You can reach Eibsee from Munich. We suggest you read Bayern Ticket Guide by Germany’s travel specialist – Happy to Wander.

 

Lago di Braies, Italy

Lago di Braies or The Pragser Wildsee, or Lake Prags, Lake Braies in north Italy

Lago di Braies or The Pragser Wildsee, or Lake Prags, Lake Braies in North Italy

Did we save the best for the last? Maybe. Yes, it is the second one from Italy on our list and totally deserves to be here because Lago di Braies is one of most beautiful lakes in the Alps. It is also called the Pragser Wildsee.  

Lago di Braies is often called the “pearl among the Dolomite lakes”. As with most of the alpine lakes on this list, you can enjoy a surreal landscape of mountains too.

Lago di Braies suddenly became extremely famous because of Instagram. This resulted in a massive spike of visitors and traffic jams. Thankfully there is now a restriction on the number of visitors from 10 am to 3 pm. If you arrive by car, you can only visit if you get a parking place in one of the valley car parks in Fanes-Senes-Braies Nature Park. Another way of visiting would be by booking a bus ticket to the lake in advance from Dobbiaco or Monguelfo. Another option would be to hike from Ferrara to the lake.

During your visit to Lago di Braies, you can take some time out to walk around the lake. The walking path is 4 kms and this way you can get to enjoy the surreal beauty of this lake from different perspectives.

Did something catch your eye? Let us know which one of the above mentioned European lakes you have visited already or are planning on visiting next. Comment and let us know.

What’s it Like to Live in Germany – the Good, Bad and the FUN

What’s it Like to Live in Germany – the Good, Bad and the FUN

It has now been close to five years that I have been living in Germany. The last five years have been extremely eventful. I have learned a new language, lived with Germans, made many friends, traveled within the country, celebrated many festivals, taught Yoga in a studio here and done much more than what can even be put on a list like this.

There have been moments when I have been bewildered by German rules, excited at the start of spring or snow season, hated everything when I missed my home country too much – but most of my moments were spent enjoying  the joy of living in this country.

If you’re on this page, then most likely you are considering moving to another country. Is Germany the country for you? Read on to see my experience of living in Germany. 

Germany is a Country Full of Rules

Every country has rules for everything, but not everyone follows them. In many cases, the people aren’t even aware of the rules in the first place. Things run very differently in Germany. In fact, things run exactly the way they should. 

There is a reason why public systems or many other processes run very efficiently in Germany. It is because the people have a very high regard for the rules and hardly ever break them. There is a process for everything and it is black and white hence highly efficient. If only every other country functioned like this, the world would have been very different. 

If you break a rule in Germany, then it is very likely that a fellow resident will point it out to you instead of turning a blind eye. Take it with a smile because they are just trying to help you.

Trash Management is Insane but Awesome

Yeah so almost every developed country and some developing countries have a trash management system that starts with people segregating their trash, but things are a little too extreme in Germany. 

Broadly speaking, all households need to sort out their trash into bio, plastic, paper, diaper, glass, old batteries, old electronics, paint, and drink bottles. Yes, you need to segregate trash in these categories in your house.  This is a very broad bifurcation because there are many “if”s and “but”s to this segregation in terms of rules. 

There are recycling boxes for old clothes and shoes in many parts of the city so you can get rid of everything that you don’t use as long as you plan accordingly.

I don’t know if there’s any country that beats Germany in terms of trash management but I have heard that the Scandinavian countries are pretty good too.

Clean Air and Forest Reserves

Germany is so green

Germany is so green

I love how Germany as a country protects and preserves the environment. The country is full of forests. There are plenty of nature reserves and they aren’t just close to small towns but also big cities. Yes, you could be living in a busy city on some 4th floor of an apartment building but you may still be able to find a small forest reserve nearby where you can go for a run and feel alive in the nature. 

Everything is Closed on Sundays (+ Holidays)

In most of the countries, offices are closed on Sundays but the big shopping areas are open because that’s when a lot of people finally get the time to step out and buy things. Of course, the things are very different in Germany. Here everything is shut on Sundays. Really, everything.

It took me some time to get used to the fact that there is one day in a week where almost all the shops are closed. Sometimes there is a holiday that’s on Monday or Saturday, so one has to be prepared for two days of supermarket closure and buy the important things from before.

This required a bit of planning from me in the beginning because in India the stores are open literally everyday. Even on Diwali. Yes, this is one of the things that I miss about living in India.

Drinking in Public is Normal 

Drinking in Public in Germany is very normal

Drinking in Public in Germany is very normal

Yes, shockingly you can drink beer in many public areas in Germany, including trains. No, that doesn’t mean you see wasted people everywhere.

Germans know how to handle their alcohol well because beer is a very important part of their culture. They seem to respect the social decorum and you’d hardly ever seen anyone overdoing it unless it is a special occasion. But yes, occasionally you will see people who are drunk as hell. 

No Work After Hours: Work Life Balance is Super

Do you have a 9-5 job? It is highly likely that you don’t leave your workplace at exactly 5 everyday. It can be 5:15 on some days or 4:50 on the others. Even after you leave work, it is likely that on some days your team or colleagues will call you or email you about some important work. It is very normal to work after the hours in most countries. It sucks!

Having experienced corporate life in India and the US, the German way of working came as a pleasant surprise to me. If someone’s work ends at 5 pm here, the person WILL leave at 5 pm, and not a minute after that. No boss will call or email after the work hours or on a weekend. That just doesn’t happen in Germany, unless it is a highly exceptional case. 

This system really works well in Germany because Germans are highly efficient during their work hours. They really do work like machines because being efficient is in their blood. 

Silence on Buses or Trains

Berlin Train Station

Berlin Train Station

Things may be different in bigger cities that are international, but when you travel within a smaller city or a town, you will notice how silent the public places are. Coming from India, this was a big change because on a train in India, you’d normally hear a few people talking excitedly and loudly, a group laughing, somewhere a kid whining and his mother yelling.

Most of the Germans don’t talk loudly and if they are in a public place, they observe an unwritten but mutually understood rule that they’d lower their voices to a level that no one else can hear them. 

I do remember traveling with a group of blogger friends on a train in Berlin and all of us were from different countries. Someone from the USA, someone else from the UK, a couple from Spain, and me from India. Yes, all from the countries where people talk loudly. Of course we were the loudest group on the train but we weren’t even talking loudly.

Getting a Doctors Appointment Isn’t Always Easy

This isn’t always the case but  it happens a lot. Don’t be surprised if it takes you 6 months to get an appointment with a doctor. Because it is 6 months away, you are highly likely going to forget it and miss it. Good luck getting another appointment within the next few months. 

Lovely Old Towns with Fachwerkhäuser

Typical Old Town in Germany with Old Towns with Fachwerkhäuser

Typical Old Town in Germany with Old Towns with Fachwerkhäuser

Most of the people who travel to Germany end up visiting the most expensive and touristy cities like Munich, Frankfurt, Heidelberg, Hamburg or Cologne. No doubt these cities are lovely but so are the smaller towns. 

No matter where you live in Germany, you are never going to be far from old town areas and traditional timber framed houses a.k.a. Fachwerkhäuser. Even my completely under the radar boring town has two breathtaking old town areas with some historical houses. Some of the houses are from as early as 1300 AD.

The old town areas are super dreamy and they will make you feel like you’re starring in your own romantic movie. You will most likely find old buildings, small shops with lovely but expensive handmade things, benches strategically places in scenic spots and an amazing atmosphere.

Talking about the timber framed houses, yes – they exist in other countries too. BUT, as per wikipedia, the country that’s most known for these kind of houses is (drumroll) – Germany.

The Language

If you’re traveling within Germany then you will not really face a lot of language barriers. It is only when you start living in the country, you will realize that you will need to learn more than just the basic level German to do things here. I’m talking about paperwork, visiting different government offices like the town hall, tax office, etc.

In order to live in Germany, most of the visas have a prerequisite of basic German language skills. Trust me, you NEED to learn the basic level German, else you will feel stuck.

If you know English, then learning basic German isn’t that difficult because many nouns and verbs are same. What’s different is how the verbs are used and the endless articles. The good thing is, that German words sound exactly how they are written, which can’t be said about a lot of English words. The bad thing is that German language is highly complicated if you compare it to English.

Honestly, it doesn’t matter if you slightly mess up the grammar. If you make an effort to speak a few sentences in German then the locals will highly appreciate it and help you.

Paperwork Never Ends

Get ready to drown in a lot of paperwork if you end up living in Germany. Yes, paperwork exists in every country but in Germany it seems to never get over.

If you live in Germany, you will notice that there’s something new that comes up every month that needs immediate attention. Hence, more paperwork. Thankfully, the paperwork in Germany is pretty straightforward because all the rules and procedures are always black or white. 

The Food in Germany

Food in Germany - Schnitzel

Food in Germany – Schnitzel

Potatoes, meat, eggs, bread and dairy are things that truly rule the German food scene. If you eat in a restaurant in Germany, you will find very limited vegan food options unless it is an Asian restaurant.

In India and many other Asian countries you will find an entire section of vegetarian and vegan dishes, even if it is burgers. I have spent 3 months in the USA and I always noticed a lot of veggie items in the menu too. In comparison, here in Germany you will notice barely 1-2 dishes in the entire menu that are vegetarian and just one out of that would be vegan. 

However, when it comes to the availability of vegetables and fruits in the supermarkets, then Germany is awesome. Even the smaller super markets in small towns have German as well as a lot of international produce so you can find almost anything. If you love vegetables as much as I do, you are going to really enjoy cooking while you live in Germany. I didn’t know I could cook before I arrived in Germany!

Trains are Good BUT Expensive

German trains are awesome. They are clean, comfortable, 98% on time and extremely fast. You can travel very easily within Germany and nearby countries on trains. But they aren’t cheap.

It is sometimes cheaper to take a flight than travel by train. In many cases, if you’re looking for an affordable train ticket, you may have to change trains a few times in your journey.

Bicycle Will be Your Best Friend

Cycling in Germany

Cycling in Germany in Spring

Forget driving, or buses but the best way of getting around in Germany is on a bicycle. The bike lanes are everywhere and in many cases you can take an inside “walking / cycle only” path that’s more scenic. You can also take your bicycle on a train and travel to other places within Europe. San and I once also traveled to Amsterdam from our town in Germany on our bicycles.

Carry a lock, learn how to take care of your bicycle and enjoy riding one. 

You Can Travel all Over Europe 

Us three with van and our camping spot - traveling with a baby

Us three with van in Croatia – we drove all over Europe with our camper van

I’m sure other Europeans who are reading this would just say – “yeah of course”, but for a non European the ease of traveling within Europe is unbelievable. Yes, one of the best things about living in Germany is the possibly of reaching a new country in just a couple of hours. Not just by air but very easily by road or train without any need for visa paperwork. 

Depending on where you live in Germany, a few hours of driving can take you to Austria, Switzerland, Belgium, France, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Poland, or the Czechia. If you take a flight, you can reach most of the European countries in just 2 hours. How awesome is that? San and I ended up traveling in most of Europe on our camper van while living in Germany. Check out our post about the most beautiful lakes in Europe.

Tap Water is Safe for Drinking

The tap water in Germany is safe for drinking even in big cities. It is the most controlled beverage in Germany and it should be. I wish it was the same all over the world. Everyone should have the access to clean and safe drinking water from their taps.

Strangely enough, not many Germans that I know drink tap water. They buy bottled water or carbonated drinks and choose to drink that over tap water despite its consequences on the planet (and their health).

Tap water gets tested periodically to check the quality and as per many reports it is as good and sometimes even better than the bottled mineral water. 

BUT You Can Never Order Tap Water in Restaurants. Never.

For a country where the tap water is safe for drinking, it is super strange that you can never ask for a glass of it in a restaurant. You are expected to order drinks with your meal and water isn’t always cheap. Also, bottled water creates unnecessary plastic waste. 

If You Ask for Water, You Will Most Likely Get Soda

For non-Europeans, water means just water. But that’s not the case with most of the Europeans. If you order water in a restaurant or ask for it somewhere, you will get a glass or a bottle of soda. In some places, they’re nice enough to ask if you want your water with or without bubbles. No, plain water doesn’t have bubbles, that’s soda. 

Highways have no toll.. and no speed limit

German highways are awesome. They are very well maintained, have resting stops after every few kilometers and are toll free. The only time we remember ever paying toll was when we used a bridge that connected Germany’s mainland to Rugen island.

Guess what, Germany’s highways are world famous and some people come come here from surrounding countries with their fancy cars. All because the highways (Autobahns) have no speed limit.

School System is Very Weird

There are just a few things that I dislike about Germany and one of them is the school system. It is very weird and it feels wrong. There are separate schools based on the intelligence level. There is a school for very bright kids and only those who finish this school can go to college. Rest others have to go to a school that’s not for the smartest kids. If they fail, they get thrown into a school that’s for below average kids. 

I understand that this may be an efficient system for managing education but it is a horrible system for developing smarter all rounded children. In real life, everyone has something to learn from the other. When children aren’t given the opportunity to study with those who are smarter than or not as smart as them, then they will miss out on some important life lessons.

Customer Service Doesn’t Normally Exist

You know what’s the only word that comes to my mind when I think of German customer service? It’s non-existent. Unlike Asia or Americas where the service mantra is that the customer is the king, in Germany it is completely different. Apart from the Deutsche Post and DHL, if you seek help from anyone at any office at any time, they will act as if they are doing YOU a big favor or they will just say no.

You Get to Enjoy All the Seasons

Snowy Winter in Germany

Snowy Winter in Germany

You’re probably thinking – huh, so that’s in many other places. Yes it is but I felt a need to add this here because this is a very big deal for me. You see, while living in New Delhi (India), I thought I was experiencing every season but I realized what I was missing after moving to Germany. 

Because Germany is in the Northern Hemisphere, the winter is really cold with shorter days. It doesn’t snow throughout the winter but it does snow at least once or twice per season. When it does, the world turns absolutely magical and white. Because of the extreme winter, spring feels more alive and the sudden burst of color because of the flowers is eye-popping.

Spring in Germany - Rapeseed Flower Field

Spring in Germany – Rapeseed Flower Field

The summer is warm in Germany and sometimes the temperature can go till 35-40 degree celsius. Those are the times I miss an air conditioner but I made do with a fan here. Right after summer, the autumn season is pretty intense.

Honestly, my first Autumn experience was in Germany. I never realized I was missing out on Autumn beauty in India till the time I moved to Germany. Autumn in Germany is beautiful because there are so many trees everywhere. They all turn yellow, then red and then brown. It is insanely beautiful to see autumn foliage in Germany.

When it Snows, You Gotta Shovel the Sidewalk next to your House

No, I’m not talking about shoveling the driveway – that’s something you will need to do anyway if you want to take out your car after it snows. If you live in a house then most likely it would have a sidewalk for bicycles or pedestrians. In Germany, if anyone walks on the sidewalk next to your house and hurt themself bad if they slip on the snow then it is your responsibility. So, enjoy the snow but keep shoveling the sidewalk. 

Don’t get me wrong – this isn’t a rant about Germany but just an observation about how life is different here than my own country. I like the fact that the residents are accountable for the area around their house in the immediate vicinity.

Celebrations and Festivals

Carnival in Germany

Carnival in Germany

I thought India had too many festivals and celebrations but Germany isn’t any different. There’s something that happens every month in Germany. Everyone knows about the Oktoberfest? Well that’s just one of many. There’s the Carnival that’s crazier than anything you can imagine. It is like a psychedelic festival where everyone dresses up crazy and participates.

My First German Christmas Market - Christkindlmarkt Wiedenbrück

My First German Christmas Market – Christkindlmarkt Wiedenbrück

Christmas time in Germany is like no other. Guess what, many famous international Christmas traditions actually came out of Germany., Santa Claus is from Germany too! Christmas festivities start in Germany at the end of November and last till Christmas.

There’s St Martin where children walk with the lanterns. Apart from this, there are so many smaller monthly celebrations and some are region specific. In my area we celebrate Kirmes, Schützenfest, Medieval Fest, Plum festival and many wine festivals to name a few.

The only time of the year when I haven’t seen any celebrations is between the New Years Eve to Carnival and that’s just one month. Carnival occurs in mid February every year.

Germany Has Bad Internet

You will find it unbelievable but you will find better internet in most places in Asia as compared to Germany. This comes as a shock because Germany is a highly advanced and developed country but the internet situation has evolved in a strange manner.

You see, Germany has an Oligopoly market situation when it comes to the internal. That means, there are just a handful of providers that rule the market. The speed is slow, service is horrible and faster internet is obscenely overprices as compared to many other countries.

Conclusion – Life in Germany – Yay or Nay?

I didn’t particularly love every aspect of living in Germany right away. It took me some time to adjust, and I kept comparing it to life in India. I missed the food, the color, the sensory overload and my people from India. I don’t know how it happened but two years after living in Germany, I started to miss it while I was traveling in India. When I was at the airport, I felt an odd connection to people who were talking in German. This is how I usually felt when I saw Indians talking in India. 

So, for me life in Germany is definitely YAY.

Places to Visit in Nuwara Eliya – Sri Lanka’s Misty Waterfall Paradise

Places to Visit in Nuwara Eliya – Sri Lanka’s Misty Waterfall Paradise

Travel guide for Nuwara Eliya – Sri Lanka’s misty gem of the Hill Country. This post has information about the waterfalls around Nuwara Eliya as well as the list of places to see in Nuwara Eliya town.

Did you think Sri Lanka was only about beaches? Yes, it is a small island country, but it has so much packed into it. No doubt the country’s coast line is stunning but in our opinion, the middle part of Sri Lanka is truly spectacular. This area is called the Hill Country of Sri Lanka.

If you’re wondering what Sri Lanka’s Hill Country is all about, then let me refresh your memory – do you remember my epic train ride pictures? Yes, that stunning train route goes through the Hill Country with waterfalls, tea estates and lush green little hills. You can find all of this (and even more) if you visit Nuwara Eliya..

Plucking Tea Leaves in Nuwara Eliya, Sri Lanka

Plucking Tea Leaves in Nuwara Eliya, Sri Lanka

There are two kinds of people – those who hate the rain and those who love rain so much that they would want to dance in it. Even those who fall in the first category will love Nuwara Eliya’s rains, because everything just comes to life. 

If it isn’t raining, Nuwara Eliya is usually surrounded by clouds and is misty. As a result, there’s a feeling of walking on the clouds when here. The fact that Nuwara Eliya is surrounded by so many waterfalls surely helps. Now isn’t that something? 

One of the many Nuwara Eliya Waterfalls, Sri Lanka

Nuwara Eliya is often called Sri Lanka’s “Little England” because of the rains and its colonial buildings. It feels a little different than the rest of Sri Lanka. I enjoyed my stay in Nuwara Eliya so much that I visited it twice on two different visits to Sri Lanka.

Nuwara Eliya isn’t the only stunning destination in Sri Lanka. There’s the lovely Sigiriya that’s famous for its Lion Rock fortress, there are many national parks where you can see wild elephants, stunning beaches that are perfect for surfing, and many other laidback destinations. So, have I convinced you to book your tickets for Sri Lanka?

How to Reach Nuwara Eliya

Look how lovely the background is - train ride in Sri Lanka

Look how lovely the background is – train ride from Kandy to Ella in Sri Lanka

One of the best ways to reach Nuwara Eliya is by getting on a train from Colombo (or even Kandy, or Ella or Badulla). In fact, the train route that runs from Kandy to Ella is often said to be one of the most scenic train rides in the world. The train station in Nuwara Eliya is called Nanu Oya and is towards the end of the journey, before Haputale. 

Nanu Oya train station - for Nuwara Eliya, Sri Lanka

Nanu Oya train station – for Nuwara Eliya, Sri Lanka

Another way to reach Nuwara Eliya is by hopping on to bus. Bus system in Sri Lanka isn’t as complicated as many websites claim. We pretty much arrived at most of the bus stations and asked for bus tickets. Often we had to change the buses multiple times but we didn’t mind. Yes, we did get confronted by taxi mafia who claimed that buses don’t go where we need to go but thankfully we didn’t fall for that. 

For my second visit, I did not travel by buses but we had a coach to ourselves. It was pretty easy and fast to travel between Colombo and Nuwara Eliya in a van. If you’re a group of 4 people then renting a car or getting a taxi to reach Nuwara Eliya from Colombo is a smart thing to do since you can split the fare.

Traveling Around in Nuwara Eliya

The easiest way to travel within Nuwara Eliya is by tuk tuk. That’s how we moved around and loved it. You can also consider getting a taxi or renting a car and driving on your own. Yes, I did use buses to travel within Sri Lanka but I wouldn’t recommend them within Nuwara Eliya. 

Please note – some of the most scenic natural places that Nuwara Eliya is famous for are actually outside the city, so you can definitely not walk there easily. You will need to get on a bus or tuk tuk or a taxi.

Places to visit in Nuwara Eliya

Ramboda Falls

Ramboda Falls, Nuwara Eliya, Sri Lanka

Ramboda Falls, Nuwara Eliya, Sri Lanka

Ramboda Falls are pretty big. At 109 meters, Ramboda is the 11 highest waterfall of Sri Lanka. It is very easy to reach here with a tuk tuk or taxi. They will leave you at a point from where you have to hike up for just 1-2 kilometers and from there you can see the beauty of this waterfall at multiple levels. 

One of the levels of Ramboda Falls, Nuwara Eliya, Sri Lanka

One of the levels of Ramboda Falls, Nuwara Eliya, Sri Lanka

Ramboda Falls in Nuwara Eliya, Sri Lanka

Ramboda Falls in Nuwara Eliya, Sri Lanka

Honestly, there are so many waterfalls around Nuwara Eliya but this one stood out because we really enjoyed the little hike. Moreover, the waterfall was very full because it had rained a lot for a week before we visited. 

Hiking to Ramboda Falls, Nuwara Eliya

Hiking to Ramboda Falls, Nuwara Eliya

The entry fee for Ramboda Falls is LKR 50 per person for non Sri Lankans and LKR 20 for Sri Lankans. It is barely 25 cents, so the entry ticket is very affordable. 

Entry Point and ticket for Ramboda Falls, Nuwara Eliya

Entry Point and ticket for Ramboda Falls, Nuwara Eliya

Nuwara Eliya is surrounded by many waterfalls but I totally understand if you don’t want to see all of them. If you want to visit just one then let Ramboda Falls be that one. It is easy to visit, has a small fun hike (1 KM, so 10 – 15 mins) and at 358 feet high, it is stunning. 

Horton Plains National Park – World’s End

World's End at Hotron Plains National Park, Nuwara Eliya

World’s End at Hotron Plains National Park, Nuwara Eliya

Horton Plains National Park is famous for its cliff with a drop of around 4000 feet, called the World’s End. Just like most of the places to visit in Nuwara Eliya, this isn’t actually inside the city. It is 32 KMs south of Nuwara Eliya. 

It is expensive to reach the Horton Plains National Park because you can only arrive here by a taxi or a tuk tuk. The tuk tuk ride costs LKR 2000 and the park ticket is LKR 5800 per person. If you’re lucky to experience the beauty of this national park on a clear day, then it is totally worth the price because it is beautiful and well maintained. 

Start your visit to Horton Plains national park early in the morning so that you are done by 10 am and can avoid the heat. The gate opens at 6:30 am. It can be very cold in the morning but suddenly very hot at 10 – 11 am.

Baker Falls in Hotron Plains National Park, Nuwara Eliya

Baker Falls in Hotron Plains National Park, Nuwara Eliya

Carry enough water with you. When you arrive here, be sure to check out the Baker Falls and Mini World’s End too and don’t just focus on just the main attraction – the world’s end. Even though the World’s End is more famous, the waterfall is more beautiful. Did I mention before that Nuwara Eliya is mostly about misty hills and waterfalls?

Be prepared to walk for 20-25 kilometers inside the national park. It may take around 3 hours but it is totally worth it. If you’re visiting for purely photography purposes then be sure to check the weather forecast beforehand.

Bluefield Tea Gardens

San enjoying the view after our tea factory tour in Nuwara Eliya - Sri Lanka Itinerary

San enjoying the view after our tea factory tour in Nuwara Eliya – Sri Lanka Itinerary

Sri Lankan tea is famous all over the world and a lot of it comes from Nuwara Eliya. You will surely see a lot of tea estates all around Nuwara Eliya but I highly recommend you take out time to visit one. 

One of the most visited tea estates in Nuwara Eliya is Bluefield Tea Gardens. It is free to visit (+ free tour) and is really good. I’m not one to rush at freebies but the tour at Bluefield Tea Estate was actually pretty awesome. Actually, it is right outside the town.

The tour inside the tea factory was short (15 mins max), fun and informative. At the end of the tour, we even got to sit in a lovely spot outside and sip a steaming cup of tea. Before you ask – yes, I did this tour twice because I visited Nuwara Eliya twice year after year. 

Inside Blue Field tea factory, Nuwara Eliya - Sri Lanka Itinerary

Inside Blue Field tea factory, Nuwara Eliya – Sri Lanka Itinerary

Even though the tour inside the tea factory is free, I recommend you tip your tour guide. We actually also ended up buying tea at the tea factory. It is one of those things that you really have to buy when you visit Sri Lanka, and it was a good idea to buy it directly from the source.

A tea estate in Nuwara Eliya, Sri Lanka

Outside Bluefield tea estate in Nuwara Eliya, Sri Lanka

Oh hey, if you are looking for a place to click amazing photos inside a tea plantation then there’s a spot very close to where you’ll park outside the Bluefield Tea Estate. Not only we got to meet and photograph the local women who were plucking tea leaves, but we also clicked some amazing photos of us here. But, beware of leeches, there are plenty. One of my friends had 2 of them on her leg and she was wearing shoes!

Lover’s Leap Falls

Lovers Leap falls - places to visit in Nuwara Eliya

Lovers Leap falls – places to visit in Nuwara Eliya

Our first visit to Nuwara Eliya was in 2017, and we made friends with a tuk tuk driver. We asked him to take us to a few scenic spots around Nuwara Eliya and the first place where he took us was the Lover’s Leap Waterfall. 

Lovers leap falls, Nuwara Eliya

Lovers leap falls, Nuwara Eliya

Actually the tuk tuk doesn’t go exactly to the waterfall but you have to walk for maybe just 5 minutes to reach it. The walk is really a lot of fun because the area around the waterfall is full of boulders and is very green. We visited right after a heavy rainy day so the waterfall was very full.

Even though we arrived to the Lover’s Leap Waterfall by tuk tuk, you can easily walk to this point from the town if the weather is good. It takes around 30 minutes to reach here by hiking from the town centre. The hike goes through some really beautiful tea estates so it’s totally worth it if you’re lucky to witness a sunny day in Nuwara Eliya.

Nuwara Eliya Post Office

Nuwara Eliya Post Office

Nuwara Eliya Post Office

No matter where you stay in Nuwara Eliya or where you go, you will end up visiting the town centre at some point. After all, a lot of amazing local restaurants are situated here in the centre. 

There is a colonial style Post Office building that’s an interesting sight. It is right in the middle of the town centre. You can’t miss it.

Make a trip to the town centre to eat some amazingly flavorful local food. Walk around the post office and click some photos. When you’re done, you can enter the Victoria Park. Victoria Park’s Entry Gate is right next to the Post Office.

Victoria Park

Victoria Park is a good place to visit to get away from Nuwara Eliya’s busy town centre. The park has many walking lanes and some of the lanes are hedged with colorful flowers. You can use Victoria Park as a resting place or as a shortcut to reach one place of the city to another by walking through it. 

There is a food court like restaurant that’s near the entrance of Victoria Park. San and I ended up eating a very delicious lunch here on a rainy day. 

Single Tree Hill

Single Tree Hill isn’t easy to get to because of the bad road condition BUT is totally worth it if you’re a sucker for a good view. You can see the Nuwara Eliya city and Lake Gregory from up here. Don’t expect to see a big tree here, the hill is actually called Single Tree.

If you’re trying to look for it on Google Maps, then you may want to also look for Swarnagiri Wiharaya – a Buddist Temple that’s on the way. You may need to cross through a tea estate and go up to a place where you see a communication tower.

If you’re visiting for photography purposes, then you may want to check if the weather is good enough or not before visiting. You can reach here on a tuk tuk or even with your own vehicle. If you’re feeling adventurous, then you can also hike to this place for a sunrise. The sunrise view from here is better than the sunset view.

Gregory Lake

Gregory Lake is an artificial lake in Nuwara Eliya and is a bit touristy. You can rent a paddle boat and spend some time here. Or, you can walk around the lake and go over the bridge. 

If you’re not a local, then be careful because the prices for the boat ride can go as high as LKR 4000 per person. The lake complex also has an entry fee but it is only LKR 300. Another way to enjoy the beauty of Gregory Lake is by getting into a lake side restaurant for a meal.  

 

Bomburu Ella Waterfall

Right outside Nuwara Eliya town, there is a very scenic spots where a lot of tuk tuk and taxi drivers stop to show a view of Bomburu Ella Waterfall and Bomburuella reservoir. You can enjoy the view from the road or, if you are adventurous then you can actually visit.

Bomburu Ella Waterfall is situated between Welimada and Nuwara Eliya in Sita Eliya Kandapola Forest Reserve. It isn’t as easy to reach as compared to the Lover’s Leap fall. The tuk tuk or car can only take you 3 KMs away from the waterfall and from there you need to do a slippery hike. 

Bomburu Ella waterfall is actually a group of several waterfalls – 10 or more in number. They are also sometimes called Perawella Falls and collectively known to be the widest waterfall in Sri Lanka.

St. Clair Waterfall and Devon Falls

Devon Falls, Nuwara Eliya, Sri Lanka

Devon Falls, Nuwara Eliya, Sri Lanka

St. Clair Waterfall and Devon Falls are next to each other. Many people see these two waterfalls from the road but I do know of some people who managed to reach very close to them for a better view. You can reach Mlesna Tea Castle St Clair, which is located very close to the viewpoints of both the waterfalls. 

Haputale

San enjoying the view in Haputale - Sri Lanka Itinerary

San enjoying the view in Haputale – Sri Lanka Itinerary

While in Nuwara Eliya, visit the nearby town Haputale on a day trip. Haputale is smaller and has several scenic spots from where you can enjoy the view. One of the most famous places in Haputale is Lipton’s Seat. 

We actually stayed in Haputale overnight and loved it. You can pretty much walk for a few minutes in any direction here and you’re sure to reach an amazing viewpoint because the entire town is surrounded by little rolling hills. 

If you’re visiting Haputale from Nuwara Eliya on a day trip then be sure to visit Lipton’s Seat and then eat lunch in one of the local restaurants in the main town. They are so much cheaper than the ones in Nuwara Eliya. 

 

Where to Stay in Nuwara Eliya?

St Andrews Hotel Nuwara Eliya – Jetwings

My lovely room in St Andrews Hotel Nuwara Eliya, Sri Lanka

My lovely room in St Andrews Hotel Nuwara Eliya, Sri Lanka

St Andrew Hotel in Nuwara Eliya is where I stayed when I visited Nuwara Eliya for the second time and loved it. It is a charming hotel with an old school English feel. You can find a typical Sri Lankan place to stay in the rest of Sri Lanka but Nuwara Eliya is where you need to find a colonial kind of place to really enjoy the vibe. 

St Andrews Hotel Nuwara Eliya, Sri Lanka

St Andrews Hotel Nuwara Eliya, Sri Lanka

The best part about St Andrew Hotel is that the rooms are very cozy and cute. It is a little away from the busy city centre so you can enjoy some peace. We had buffet breakfast and lunch here and it was really good. 

Did follow our recommendations for Nuwara Eliya?

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Triglav National Park Hiking Guide: Top Trails + Tips + Camping Sites [Slovenia]

Triglav National Park Hiking Guide: Top Trails + Tips + Camping Sites [Slovenia]

Slovenia isn’t short of natural beauty, there are mountains, alpine lakes, gorges, clear rivers and waterfalls. During our road trip in Slovenia one place that really stood out was Triglav National Park with its stunning Lake Bohinj and multiple hikes all around.

We’re not sure how it happened but somehow we turned into a National Park couple. Honestly we did not see it coming because we started as a music festival couple. Triglav National Park was our seventh National Park in the Balkans and was Karma’s second National Park. At the time of the visit, she was around 8 months old. 

Hiking Trails in Triglav National Park, Slovenia

The Soča Trail

Soča Trail, Triglav National Park, Slovenia

Soča Trail, Triglav National Park, Slovenia

This 25km trail has a TON of things to see. It is an excellent choice for families or solo hiking enthusiasts alike. The Soča Trail (or Soška pot as it is known locally) follows the picturesque turquoise alpine river of the same name from Trenta to Bovec. 

It takes an estimated seven hours to hike the whole trail but if you are limited on time, you can choose a section of the river that interests you the most and spend the day at the amenities surrounding it. There are maps and information boards sprinkled around the trail to guide you on all of the attractions that are located in your area of the river.

Mostnica Gorge Trail

Mostnica Gorge train, Triglav National Park, Slovenia

Mostnica Gorge train, Triglav National Park, Slovenia

If you are looking for a scenic and relaxing trail, head towards Mostnica Gorge. This relatively short 2 hour hike will take you on a mild trip through Voje Valley to Mostnica Falls. Consider taking this hike in autumn as it is especially beautiful due to the leaves changing colour from green to their warmer hues.

This hike can be started at Stara Fužina near Lake Bohinj and has a handful of detours to customise your visit to the Mostnica Gorge. Voje Valley itself is a glorious example of the natural beauty of Slovenia and you can continue on through to view the 21m waterfall. 

A lot of people also highly recommend a stop at the Voje Waterfall Alpine Hut to have a short rest and refuel on delicious local dishes before retracing your steps back home.

Suggested: The Spectacular Plitvice Lakes National Park in Croatia
 

Triglavska Bistrica Trail 

Triglavska Bistrica River Trail, Triglav National Park

Triglavska Bistrica River Trail, Triglav National Park

The Triglavska Bistrica Trail is another mellow hiking trail that allows you to tour the breathtaking alpine terrain of Triglav National Park. The path lies parallel to the Triglavska Bistrica River and leads you from the Slovenian Alpine Museum to the Vrata Valley.

A trip to the Vrata Valley is not one that you want to miss. The trail up to Triglav from the Vrata Valley is a challenge but that doesn’t mean you have to skip a hike through this magnificent karst plain, which is possibly the most stunning plain in Slovenia.

Tolmin Gorges of Tolminka River

Tolmin Gorge, Triglav National Park Hiking Trails, Slovenia

Tolmin Gorge, Triglav National Park Hiking Trails, Slovenia

While in Triglav National Park, a visit to the natural wonder or the Tolmin Gorges is a must. The short circuit around the canyon allows visitors to safely view some of Trigalv’s most unique sites. Some say that Dante’s Inferno was influenced by a visit to the area around Tolminka River and there is even a cave that you can stop at that is named after him.

Tolmin Gorges Hiking trail, Triglav National Park, Slovenia

Tolmin Gorges Hiking trail, Triglav National Park, Slovenia

Tolmin Gorge is often compared to other canyons such as the Vintgar Gorge near Bled. Much like other sites in Triglav and the charming Lake Bohinj, the Tolmin Gorges are often much less crowded. Giving you and your family more space to discover all the secrets that they hold.

Goreljek Bog Nature Trail

The Pokljuka forests are a protected wetland that is located atop a karst plateau in Triglav. This area draws visitors to it due to its incredible scenery which has resulted in some serious damage to the bog itself. You can now hike the trail that has been made in order to protect the ecosystem in these parts.

Goreljek bog is now the site of a trail that lets you experience this environment without risking more damage to the rest of the boglands that are in Triglav National Park. The short, 1km, circular trail is equipped with sturdy passages and information boards in order to educate its passengers about the peat boglands and the factors that put them in danger.

 

Planica Tamar

Planica Tamar, Slovenia

Planica Tamar, Slovenia

If you are looking for a breezy hike with sublime views, then you should consider taking the Planica Tamar trail. Expect a pleasant, gravel-laid trail to take you through a remarkable glacial u-shaped valley.

Throughout the trail, you will find information boards depicting the process in which the Planica was created. In the Pleistocene Period; which ended almost 12,000 years ago; they believe that a slow-moving glacier carved out the valley that you can now see today. 

Mount Triglav Hiking Trails

Mount Triglav, Triglav National Park, Slovenia

Mount Triglav, Triglav National Park, Slovenia

There are many ways to go about hiking the highest peak of the Julian Alps and the namesake of Triglav National Park. Each route ranges in difficulty level and offers their own unique journey to the peak of Mt. Triglav. 

Most of these trails can be reached by connecting with a few of the other routes that we have already spoken about. This makes it easy to link your hiking trails and make the most out of your trip to Triglav. 

Climbing Mount Triglav is not a task that should be taken lightly, so please make sure to choose the best trail for your abilities and timeframe. All of these generally include needing to stay the night at a mountain hut or dom, which we speak a bit more about later on.

 

Climbing Triglav from Krma Valley

Krma Valley, Triglav National Park, Slovenia

Krma Valley, Triglav National Park, Slovenia

The trail led from Krma Valley is the most popular trail and arguably the most undemanding way to get to the top of Triglav. It takes an average of 14 hours to reach the summit which should be split into two days. This hike is recommended for travellers wanting to hike with their family or those that are less experienced hikers.

You will need very basic technical equipment which you can rent on site and is used to ensure your safety when traversing the via ferrata to the peak. Climbing Triglav from Krma Valley is also a first choice for those wanting to ascend the mountain in the wintertime due to its low technicality which means that choosing this trail is one of the safest and ideal for any time of year.

Climbing Triglav from Vrata Valley

The Mountains above Vrata Valley, Slovenia

The Mountains above Vrata Valley, Slovenia

From the easiest to the hardest Triglav mountain trail, the route from Vrata Valley is not for the faint of heart. The Vrata Valley trail is deemed the most difficult due to the steep ascension and the task of navigating a 1500 m via ferrata.

Again, it is recommended that you take the hike in two days with a night spent in a comfortable dom to help you regain the energy to take on the second day. The average time that it takes to get to the top of Mount Triglav is approximately 16 hours.

The hard work and stamina that you would put into this trail wouldn’t be for nothing as the Vrata Valley is one of the most impressive and picturesque valleys in Slovenia.

 

Climbing Triglav from Blato Meadow (Seven Lakes)

Most people know this as the Valley of the Seven Lakes and often travel on this route just to see the gorgeous emerald pools. This path extends off of the trail to the Savica Waterfall which we have spoken about in our post about Lake Bohinj.

As far as using this trail to get to the Mount Triglav’s summit, it is great for those wanting a longer, more scenic hike. Many travelers choose to hike through Blato Meadow in order to get those epic views throughout the adventure with a variety of different terrain the more elevated you go.

Climbing Triglav from the Valley of the Seven lakes is no easy feat and takes up to 19 hours to complete. It is recommended to split this hike into two days and even three if you are wanting to really take you time to appreciate the natural wonders that this hiking trail has in store.

Climbing Triglav from Zadnjica Valley

Zadnjica Valley, Slovenia

Zadnjica Valley, Slovenia

Taking the route starting from Zadnjica Valley is considered an excellent choice for beginner hikers. This trail is easy strolling until the last hour which can be a bit intense but safe for any level. It is much shorter than the others, taking only about 10 hours to complete. 

This trail is loaded with some incredible views of the Zadnjica Valley. History buffs however, will also enjoy learning about some of the paths on this trail that were built during the first World War. 

Once again, despite it being such a short journey, it is recommended to rest at one of the mountain huts along your way so that you can have the best possible experience on this hike.

 

Cycling in Triglav National Park

There are numerous epic mountain biking trails around Triglav but very few cycling routes. This might be the result of Triglav being the epicenter of the mountainous Julian Alps but there are a couple of  trips worth checking out for any cycling enthusiasts.

Radovna Cycle Route

The Radovna Cycle Route is proudly named the first route in Triglav National Park. It spans a total of 16km one way and ranges in terrain as you travel through the Radovna Valley. This route also allows you to reach and connect to the Krma Valley. 

Planning a trip on the Radovna Cycle route is a perfect plan for a day during a family vacation. You can stop in Radovna for lunch and effortlessly bike the trail, enjoying the magnificent landscapes around Triglav.

Bohinj Cycle Route

There are many cycling routes around Lake Bohinj but the most popular one takes you from  Bohinjska Bistrica alongside the Sava River to Stara Fužina and furthermore to Srednja vas. This 11km trail offers a diverse track that is easy enough for a family and an enjoyable trail to follow to do some sightseeing around Lake Bohinj.

Camping in Triglav National Park

A caravan parked next to a lake in Slovenia

A caravan parked next to Lake Bohinj in Slovenia

You might think it would be a fun time to camp in the wild while exploring all the trails that Triglav National Park has to offer. Wild camping is actually forbidden in an effort to preserve the natural beauty of the park but you do have a few other options.

Camp Bohinj Zlatorog

Small pier at Camp Zlatorog Bohinj - Lake Bohinj, Slovenia

Small pier at Camp Zlatorog Bohinj – Lake Bohinj, Slovenia

The first option is to camp in a campsite around Lake Bohinj. We camped at Camp Zlatorog Bohinj and had such a great experience there because you get to camp next to one of the most beautiful lakes in Europe. At the site, they have spots set up for trailers and vans like we had or tent camping if you would prefer. They also have clean facilities, a restaurant, and even a park for children to safely play at.

Many of the trails around Lake Bohinj are accessible from Camp Zlatorog Bohinj, specifically being a great starting point for Savica Waterfalls, the Mostnica Gorge, and the Valley of the Seven Lakes Trail. 

 

The Mountain Hut System

While this doesn’t necessarily include camping, it is an option if you find yourself stuck on a trail within the park during sunset. There are multiple huts (or doms) scattered around Triglav National Park where you can stop at to take a break, grab a warm coffee and shower, and even rest for the night.

Some people have reported being able to sleep in their sleeping bag outside the huts but do this at your own discretion. We recommend either pre-booking a bed in one of the huts or staying in a mandated camping area.

Hiking Safety while in Triglav National Park

A lot of these tips are no-brainers but we want to reiterate the importance of safe practices while hiking the incredible trails in and around Triglav National Park. The last thing you want is to have your vacation ruined because you might not have been aware of a few of these things.

Check the weather 

Most of the trails are closed or not recommended to visit during the colder season that occurs from December to February. You also want to be aware of any rain that might create a hazardous hiking experience and pack accordingly to the change in temperatures as you ascend to the peaks.

Be cautious about the trails you are taking

Make sure you are staying on well-known, established trails. Going off the beaten path is fun but in Triglav, it can be incredibly dangerous the more elevated you are. Along with this, ensure you have all the proper equipment you may need for your hike. Climbing shoes are a must but some more advanced trails may also require a specific amount of hiking and climbing gear to assist you.

Think smart about your health

There are numerous exhilarating trails around Triglav National Park with a range of difficulties. Be honest with yourself about how mentally and physically capable you are and choose a trail on par with your capacity. Equip yourself with a sufficient amount of water for yourself, especially in the warmer months.

Did follow our hiking recommendations for Triglav National Park?

Tag @drifterplanet on Instagram and hashtag it #drifterplanet. We will be happy to share your journey with our audience.

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