Being constantly faced with unexpected is probably one of the most electrifying aspects of travelling, and that’s why we love it so much. Travel is a purposeful act that sets in motion our personal transformation as we become immersed in new cultural experiences.
Some days you challenge yourself past your perceived limitations and some days you can barely get out of bed. You learn to trust your gut, push past the fear and master the art of budgeting.
Nearly 7 months ago I boarded an aeroplane at Dublin Airport bound for Germanies second-largest city Munich and set out on one of the most memorable journeys that took me through some of Europe’s most fascinating countries.
It’s been 7 months now, but my memories are still fresh, and I didn’t think that exploring Europe by train can put me in such a different mindset. My trip was exceedingly eventful, I stumbled upon cool finds along the way and met incredible people – travelling proved, yet again, to be an ideal way to rejuvenate my mind.
As the first days of my trip unfolded, I couldn’t be happier by everything that lay ahead. Although a storm had moved in overnight and the following day was cold, I had a memorable time walking along the old walls of the city with sunbeams forming beautiful shadows.
Eurotrip details & Essentials
This blog post covers a trip where I flew to Munich and travelled further to Slovenia and Venice using local transport. If you have never been to Europe it can be a little bit daunting where to go and what to do, so we wanted to share a simple itinerary taking in some of the beautiful cities and National Parks.
I travelled for 10 full days but the number of days spent in each place can be easily altered to suit your needs and budget. Before you even book a flight to Europe, you need to plan a budget. How much the trip costs will depend on your travel style and what you wish to do.
- Budgeting | Do your research about accommodation and food costs before you go. Add in little more for attractions, souvenirs and the occasional splurge. We, as per usual, opted to use public transport, sleep in family-friendly hostels and cook our own meals. Packing light and catching early flights helps to reduce your overall spending too.
- Transport | For this particular trip, I only opted to travel with trains, buses, boats and bikes. Travelling between European countries can be easily done inexpensively, you just have to be smart about it and plan everything ahead.
- When to go | Deciding when to holiday in Europe can be one of the challenging decisions as each of seasons have pros and cons. Summer month is a great time to explore Europe if you are looking for sunny weather and warm beaches, but it is also the busiest season with crowded spaces. Shoulder season can be the best time due to smaller crowds and more reasonable accommodation prices. Winter is perfect for skiing and snowboarding.
- Duration | Seven to ten days
- Start | Munich, Germany
- Stops | Munich, Lake Bled, Triglav National Park, Venice
- Finish | Venice, Italy
Day 1-2 Start your trip by exploring Munich, Germany
Much of the magical city of Munich, located at the river Isar in the south of Bavaria, was destroyed in WWII. In spite of that, the Bavarian capital is full of beautiful historical buildings and numerous museums waiting to be explored, including one of the world’s oldest art galleries.
The Frauenkirche, with its beautiful twin towers, is a Munich’s landmark that is considered as a symbol of the city and you can climb all the way to the tower.
My first days were spent slowly wandering around the city, climbing towers to savour views from St Peters church and browsing market stalls.
One of the reasons why I decided to start my trip here is because of the Munich Train Station, built in the 1950s. It is a bustling hub for international express trains to and from Vienna, Salzburg, Paris, Rome, Venice, Slovenia, Budapest and many more.
Top things to do in Munich
Eat traditional cuisine | If you are looking to sample traditional Bavarian foods in Munich then be ready for hearty dishes with lots of pork. All the beer gardens and breweries in the city serve traditional foods sauerkraut and Wienerschnitzel, including. But if you wish to skip a beer hall, and feast on seasonal vegetables, salmon and chocolate cake then settle in one of the Upscale Bavarian restaurants such as Landersdorfer & Innerhofer.
Visit Olympiaturm | To see across the whole city from the observation deck located at 190 meters or 623 feet, head over to the Olympic Park and take a quick elevator ride to the Olympic Tower. To make your visit, even more special, book a table in the revolving restaurant, which is one of the towers biggest attractions and wait for the city lights to twinkle under your feet as you are enjoying the 360-degree-view while sitting at the table.
Explore museums | Munich is home to some incredible museums, including the oldest and largest science museum in the world. If you love art exhibitions and history, you’ll feel at home in Munich. The Long Night of Museums takes place in October when Munich’s art galleries and cultural institutions stay open past midnight offering film screenings, readings and concerts.
Bavaria Film Studios | To experience some movie magic, a visit to Bavaria Film Studios is a must. You might not be familiar with many of the movies as many of the sets are from German films, but it’s still fun to see how they are made. One of the most famous sets is of 1984 fantasy film Never Ending Story, written by Wolfgang Petersen. If you are lucky, you might even get a chance to ride a Falcor.
Watch a soccer game | For football fans, watching a top-class soccer game in the Allianz Arena is one of the top experiences in Munich. You can also opt for a guided tour of the stadium and visit Bayern’s dressing room and backstage areas as well as the arena’s lower-tier area and a museum.
Day 2-7 Take in the sights of Slovenia’s famous Lake Bled
Get ready for the next chapter of your journey and catch a train from Munich to Lesce Bled, Slovenia. The average journey time is up to 6 hours, and there are around three trains per day.
Slovenia is known for its beautiful scenery and natural surroundings, and as an avid wilderness lover, I was excited to finally see everything in person. If you love spending time in nature, in particular, going for a walk in the woods, listening to the birds, stumbling upon incredible waterfalls, take in the natural smells then you gonna love Slovenia.
The best way to get from Munich to Slovenia is to drive, but I decided to use the train and travel to Lesce-Bled, situated 4 kilometres from the Lake. It takes 6 hours and one connection in Austria to reach it, but you can also travel by bus directly to Bled Central Bus Station station, a journey that takes approximately 5h 30m.
Once in Slovenia, you’ve got lots of options of what to see and do. If you wish to follow the typical tourist trail, a week would be just enough time to discover the most popular attraction. Lake Bled, Soča Valley, Ljubljana, Postojna Cave, Celje and Maribor are just a few stopping points for an amazing trip.
Top places to visit in Slovenia:
Lake Bled | Lake Bled is Slovenia’s most popular tourist attraction with plenty to see and do! You can hike up to the Ostrijc point, sit down, hold your breath and wait up for sunset or sunrise! You can visit Bled Castle, hire a bike, explore Lake Bled island or simply enjoy the surroundings.
Ljubljana | Slovenia’s capital Ljubljana is a clean ad gorgeous looking city with lots to see and do. The main tourist attraction, reachable by a cable car, is Ljubjana castle. You can also see the Dragon Bridge, visit Tivoli Park, explore its museums and admire its beautiful Town Hall. In 2016 Ljubjana was the European Green Capital, and its city centre is mostly a car-free area.
Piran | Situated on Slovenia’s Adriatic coast, Piran is a beautiful resort city with incredible views, colourful houses and beautiful, Venetian inspired, architecture. It’s easy to visit Piran as a day trip from Ljubjana or even Lake Bled both individually and on an organised tour. Once in town, explore its charming cobblestone streets, stock up on sea salt and head to one of the viewpoints.
Koper | One of the earliest coastal towns in Slovenia, Koper, is a lesser-known destination yet equally beautiful with several enjoyable attractions. You can visit the refurbished Praetorian Palace, climb the bell tower of Campanile for amazing views or wander around the heart of the city -Tito Square.
Day 7-9 Explore Venice and enjoy getting lost in its beautiful alleys
Say goodbye to beautiful Slovenia and catch a bus to Italy’s most amazing city.
Anyone who knows anything about Venice, aka the Floating City, will not be in the least bit surprised to find many world-famous attractions and spectacular scenery. It’s a city built on mud and sand where treasures of colours tucked into crumbling facades are full of history and full of story.
If you are looking for a beautiful place to visit in Italy, that’s rich with history and incredible views, add Venice to your list. Although the city is fairly small, there are lots to see and do.
Italy is a repeated travel destination for us. One of the goals while travelling for us is to connect with the country and local life on our own terms and sometimes that can be achieved by return visits. Getting to experience Venice again was beyond exciting.
Top things to do in Venice
Burano Island | Technically a separate island, Burano is located a short boat ride away and makes for a great side trip when visiting Venice. It takes about an hour to reach and once on the island you can explore the colourful streets, check out the Leaning Tower of Burano and visit the Burano Lace Museum.
Visit San Giorgio Maggiore | To enjoy the quieter side of Venice, head out to San Giorgio Maggiore island and immerse yourself in history. Here you can take an elevator up to the tower of the San Giorgio Maggiore church and see Venice from a different perspective. You can also visit one of the most prestigious international cultural institutions, the Fondazione Giorgio Cini, and stop by the glass museum, Le Stanze del Vetro.
Look out for world-famous bridges | It is said that there are exactly 391 bridges in Venice, each of them beautiful in its own way and some of them privately owned. In the beginning, they were flat and made of wood, but later on, in the XVI century, the bridges were built out of stone. The most famous bridges are the Rialto Bridge, Bridge of Sighs, the Academy Bridge and Calatrava Bridge.
San Marco Campanile |One of the Venice’s top landmarks San Marco Campanile was originally built as a lighthouse, but nowadays visitors can use an elevator to reach the viewing platform for truly fantastic views of Venice and surrounding islands. As with all the other tourist attractions, you have to be prepared to wait in line as the queue can be very long.
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Now, over to you!
Have you ever been on a similar trip? Let us know in the comments!
Let us know if you are plotting a visit to Europe and have travel-related questions!