5 Reasons For A Ski Trip To Europe!

If you are a skier or snowboarder, there are at least 5 reasons for a ski trip to Europe. The glitz, glamour and après ski of the Alps are calling. And some of the great ski destinations of the world are calling – Austria, Switzerland, Italy, France, and more.Olympiaregion SeefeldOlympiaregion Seefeld

A European Ski Vacation is as much about experiencing culture, history and alpine scenery as it is about skiing. The full European alpine experience is hard to beat – après ski thermal baths to soothe sore muscles; Italian cappuccino in Italy (after skiing in from Switzerland); drinking beer in Munich after a day of skiing on nearby mountains. A European ski vacation offers a unique experience on another continent with different cultures —and world class skiing!

Here’s 5 points to ponder if you are thinking it’s time for a ski trip to Europe:

  1. Why Europe?

Why not? If you haven’t been to Europe, you have to go (ski season or any season). Almost everything is different – language, cuisine, money, electrical outlets, time zone. And now add the ski specific differences in Europe – over 4,000 ski areas; huge terrain; great snow; incredible lift systems and super long top-to-bottom runs.

Skiing in St. Moritz, Switzerland

  1. When To Go?

Generally speaking, most mountains in Europe open at the end of November and close mid to late April, with a few exceptions.

January tends to hold the best deals for European ski resorts and is less busy than peak holiday times. Most resorts are quiet and more peaceful. Fewer skiers on the slopes means that there are of course shorter lift lines! Prices can be almost double at peak times such as Christmas and New Year, and during the school holidays of Christmas, Easter, and particularly February Reading Week.

If you are going on your skiing holiday during late March-April (with longer and sunnier days), you’ll greatly reduce the risk of poor skiing conditions by skiing at a resort with a higher altitude. Val Thorens, France; Zermatt, Switzerland; Livigno, Italy all fit the bill. As a glacier, Zugspitze is skiable from early autumn until late spring, the highest (2,100m) and most snow-sure mountain in Bavaria, and just 90km from Munich.

Skiing in Val D'Isere, France

  1. Where To Stay?

Choices for accommodation range from traditional Alpine chalets and guestrooms in charming historic hotels to fully equipped apartments. Deluxe and moderate accommodations are available at most ski resorts in Europe. Austria and Italy are known in particular for their great value. If you’re after luxury, there’s no shortage of first-class transportation, five-star boutique hotels and world-class experiences! A few top Europe luxury ski resorts include Courchevel, France; St. Moritz, Switzerland and Cortina, Italy.

Modern ski resorts, (purpose-built ski resorts) are of course perfect for skiers and boarders. Purpose-built ski resorts are situated at higher elevations and have consistent snow conditions. They offer ski in, ski out and true slope side lodging. Think Val D’isère, and Les Trois Vallées, France.

Historic Alpine villages provide both true alpine ambiance and the quintessential Europe experience with skiing. Walk cobblestone streets; eat traditional local cuisine and stay in centuries old chalets. The nearby slopes are typically a short shuttle, train or cable-car ride away. Think Zermatt, Switzerland; Chamonix, France; and St. Anton, Austria.

  1. What To Do? (When You Are Not Skiing)

Many European resorts offer spas, boutiques, bars, restaurants and other off-mountain activities. Resorts near major cities offer city shopping, dining and sightseeing—perfect for a day away from the slopes. For example, skiers in Seefeld, Austria can take a quick 20 minute train ride down the mountain to Innsbruck. Or do it in reverse- stay in the city and travel up to the slopes. Munich can be a perfect springboard to the nearby mountains of Garmisch-Partenkirchen. Nearby Wallberg or Alpspitze are great options too. You can ride all day, and then enjoy Munich by night.

SkiEurope- munich2

  1. Ski Terrain, Passes and Guides

Europe is home to thousands of miles of groomed and off-piste terrain, and several resorts are interconnected by lifts and trails. A multi-resort ski pass like the Dolomiti Superski Pass offers 700 miles of Italian Alpine terrain spread over a dozen resorts. The world’s largest ski area, Les Trois Vallees in France, includes Meribel, Courchevel, Val Thorens and 5 more resorts. The Milky Way Ski Area straddles France and Italy and offers the opportunity to ski across actual country borders (and have a croissant in France or espresso in Italy).

A local ski guide is also worth your consideration. An experienced local can take you through little known ski terrain, keep you safe and will have the inside scoop on local lunch spots and après ski parties. A ski guide in Europe packs a ton of value and can go for as little as 250 euros per day.

And at the end of your European ski holiday, you can still have more Europe! Add on a trip extension to an iconic city like Paris, Berlin and Rome, rich in history and culture. Europe ski vacation anyone?

Best Museums in Amsterdam

Amsterdam Museums

Amsterdam is known for many things, but one thing you may not think of when dreaming of this Dutch city is Museums. Few people realize that Amsterdam is actually home to over 50 museums, many of which are very interesting and thought provoking. Some of them are strange. Here is a list of some of the interesting ones you might want to check out the next time (or first time) you travel to Amsterdam.


BEST MUSEUMS IN AMSTERDAM

Het Grachtenhuis Museum
This is a special museum located on one of the most beautiful and upmarket Herengracht canal. It explores the history of the canal district (a world heritage site) with 3D animation, models, projections and an interactive multimedia exhibition. A very modern look at Amsterdam’s history and a great way to start to your visit.

Tulip Museum
The tulip is often used as a symbol of the Netherlands, so this museum is quite popular with locals and tourists alike. If you love botany, history, or tulips in general, this is the museum for you.

Anne Frank House
The hiding place where Anne Frank wrote her famous diary during World War II is now a museum and is one of the biggest attractions in Amsterdam. See how hard it was and view the original diary on display while at this location. Book a rental car at Schiphol Airport and take the 20 minute drive to the historic museum. This is a must do but get there early because the lines can be long.

Amsterdam Museums - The Anne Frank House

NEMO Science Museum
A hands on museum, NEMO is very popular among children. Science and technology are the themes here, so it’s a must visit if you’re with kids on vacation. Get a Museumkaart or I Amsterdam City Card for free admission. Ask about discounted group rates!

Torture Museum
This place brings out the macabre in everyone. View a collection and learn about some of the oldest cruellest torture methods of the past. Thankfully most of these methods are no longer in use. The fact that most of what’s on display are actual artifacts is particularly disturbing.

Museum of Bags and Purses 
To me, being surrounded by this many handbags and purses seems like a scene from the previous museum!

National Maritime Museum
The museum is dedicated to maritime history and contains many artefacts associated with shipping and sailing. The collection contains, paintings, scale models, weapons and world maps. Moored directly outside the museum is a replica of the Amsterdam, an 18th-century ship which sailed between the Netherlands and the East Indies.

Van Gogh Museum
One of the most popular tourist attractions in Amsterdam, explore the world’s largest collection of Van Gogh work. A must-see for any traveling virtuoso, see his work and learn about his life story. You won’t be disappointed!

The Rijksmuseum
This is the Dutch national museum dedicated to arts and history in Amsterdam. It showcases national treasurers and artifacts from over 800 years of Dutch history. The museum is located at the Museum Square in the borough Amsterdam South, close to the Van Gogh Museum. Again, a must visit!

There are of course more museums, including the Museum of The Canals, the Costume Museum, the Heineken Experience, the Houseboat Museum and more. They make for an interesting day and a way to quickly immerse yourself in Dutch culture and history.

Can you think of any interesting or strange museums that are in Amsterdam?

Texas Finest – A Franklin Barbecue Review

Texas BBQ

There are just so many great places in the world where you can eat. But if you’re a true culinary fan, you know that it doesn’t do to go to Italy, for example, and try ramen, or eat fish in Germany. Each part of the world has a specific cuisine that you should try. If you’re a barbecue lover, then you probably know that the “best of the best” is located in the United States. With the size of the U.S., there are differences in barbecue styles by region. This time, though, we are reviewing Franklin Barbecue in Austin, Texas. According to many, this is the best barbecue joint in this part of America. So, is it worth checking out?

Franklin Barbecue – What do you need to know?

Before you head off to Austin to check out this great barbecue joint, you have to know certain things about Texas-style barbecue. As mentioned, there are different American barbecue styles by region, but the Texas-style comes with beef as their meat of choice and a spicy, tomato-based sauce with some sweetness.  Now, as you’re coming close to Franklin Barbecue, you will notice the tremendous line that’s always happening in front of the restaurant. Waiting for at least 2 hours (sometimes even longer) to get a taste of their dishes is a common thing, with many people waiting from early morning to be the first in line at 5 am. This is a BBQ joint that received two stars according to The New York Times and was featured in a TV show by the amazing Anthony Bourdain.

Texas BBQ

Why do they do this? Well, basically – once something is gone for the day, it means it’s gone, so it’s always best to come early and have a wide range of options to choose from. If you want the best case scenario, you should come during a weekday as the lines grow faster on weekends and during the South by Southwest festival in March.

Franklin Barbecue – What do you need to try?

Well, this is probably the most difficult question of them all, because no matter what you try at Franklin Barbecue – it’s worth it. Of course, everything depends on what will be left once you have your turn. Probably the most important things to try are the brisket and the pork ribs which are simply delicious. As far as the brisket goes, you have plenty of time to figure out just how much brisket you need. Don’t skip this, since it’s the foundation that Franklin Barbecue was built on. (The owner of the joint, even has a book called “Franklin Barbecue – A Meat-Smoking Manifesto” that you can read if you want to know something more about the history of this place and its brisket).

Texas BBQ

Their meat is wrapped midway through smoking so that it doesn’t dry out, and helps to give it that special taste that you will literally die for. Apart from that, you really want the pork candy, known as pork ribs, which are probably the best in Texas, and perhaps in the States. You can also try sausages and even smoked turkey – everything here is super tasty and good, but make sure to have your essentials first!

Texas BBQ

Franklin Barbecue – What to do afterwards?

After waiting for at least 2 hours to eat one of the world’s best barbecues, there’s no lingering – you should hit the road and let somebody else take your place and enjoy this once-in-a-lifetime experience (if you’re not from the USA). Now that you’re probably full to the max, it would be a great idea to head a bit further down to the Zilker Brewing Company and enjoy a pint of their amazing beer. They work every day except Mondays, but you can check on their website for the exact working hours because they differ each day.

Texas BBQ

Hopefully, you will get the chance to spend at least one day in your life eating at Franklin Barbecue and to drink beer at Zilker’s afterwards. It is definitely something that you will  remember for the rest of your life.

Visiting the Lakes? Here are the Walking Routes with the Best Pubs

Lake District

When you think of the Lake District, you probably think of long walks, huge lakes, epic views and a nice cold pint at the end of a long walk. But with so much choice, it can be overwhelming deciding which walks to go on.

To help guide you, the Lake District hotel, Craig Manor have mapped out the best walking routes featuring beer gardens for the ultimate pint pick-me-up.

Craig Manor, Bowness-On-Windermere

 Craig Manor itself offers the perfect start to any Lake District holiday. Situated in Bowness, there is a 4.5-mile circular walk around Bowness-on-Windermere that explores the countryside nearby and visits some great photo hotspots. If you want to extend the walk there is the option to, or circle back for a spot of lunch and a pint in the gardens at Craig Manor.

This walk is nice and flat so is suitable for all, although as with all the walks we would advise wearing sturdy boots!

The Bridge, Buttermere

 One of the lesser known but possibly most beautiful lakes in the Lake District, is Buttermere.

This beautiful lake is on the smaller side so offers a walk right around its edge and you could even spot some highland cows. In April to June the far side of the lake is closed for nesting Sandpipers, but half of the walk is still open.

Head to The Bridge for a delicious pub lunch or a drink in the Beer Garden – and rumour has it they do a good Sunday lunch too!

The Crown Inn, Pooley Bridge

 Next, Pooley Bridge offers another lakeside walk and this one is for the more advanced walker. At 6.5 miles it will take approximately 3 hours to walk and does have some rougher terrain.

However, with views over the water and a visit to Aira Force it is well worth the effort. And starting and finishing at The Crown Inn, we’re certain you’ll find a way to rest up after the walk.

Lake District

The Britannia Inn, Elterwater

 For a central location, rustic dining and amazing views, head to Elterwater for a pub lunch in The Britannia Inn before heading out on your walk. This walk is a great option for those wanting a longer walk (this will take at least two hours) but without the harder going terrain.

Start from the Inn and head along passed Elter Water where the views are amazing. Head through Crag Head and over Skelwith Bridge, another beautiful spot.

You’ll head back in a circle through Little Langdale before returning to the Inn.

The Outgate Inn, Ambleside

 Our final Pub Garden recommendation is the Outgate Inn in Ambleside. This four-and-a-half-mile walk offers mixed terrain but will be suitable for most walkers.

It circles around Blelham Tarn and then round passed Wray Castle which is a great place to visit for all the family. Return to the Outgate Inn for a well-deserved break.

Feeling inspired? Check out Craig Manor’s beer garden map of the Lake District.

Lake District

Plan The Perfect German Road Trip

Munich is a city known for Germany’s traditional Bavarian culture and the ideal starting point for the perfect German Road trip. It’s new and spirited population have filled the old city with modern technologies and exciting new cultures. Before you drive off, spend some time getting to know one of Germany’s great cities. Explore the bustling beer halls, historic buildings, and enthralling museums.

When you have had your fill of Munich’s exceptional sights, why not explore the surrounding region by jumping in a rental car and going on some adventurous Munich day trips. By driving through the brilliant Bavarian countryside, you’ll experience some of the German towns, villages, memorials, and castles that many travelers don’t get to see when they visit Munich. You also get to explore the locations in your own time – taking as little or as long as you want.

Get planning with our Munich day trip guide as you follow Neuschwanstein Castle tours from Munich:


MUNICH

Munich Downtown

Start your journey in the thriving city – with its lush green city parks and regular festivals, there’s always something to do in Munich. Lined with buildings that are centuries old, Munich is ideal for history buffs who love tasty beer and delicious local food. What’s more, the large cosmopolitan city is also a modern mecca with a world-famous nightlife and plenty of modern art galleries to explore, as well as a connection to its surrounding Alpine landscape. Try to visit the city around its most famous festival, Oktoberfest, the beer-toasting super festival that consumes that city and fills it with fun and games! (Honestly, everyday is Oktoberfest in Munich – head to Marienplatz in the centre of Munich and grab a beer or 2 and a sausage).

DACHAU CONCENTRATION CAMP MEMORIAL SITE

Dachau Concentration Camp

The concentration camp at Dachau was Nazi Germany’s first ever concentration camp. The prison held over 200,000 people during its 12 years, but since 1965 the site has been a memorial to the devastation of that era and the lives that were lost. Dachau is located close to the city and 30-minute long or two-and-a-half-hour long walking tours are available as well as audio guides. (It’s not an easy tour but well worthwhile).

LANDSHUT

Landshut Day Trip

The picture-perfect town of Landshut is bright and beautiful – with stunning multi-colored houses and a very famous castle. It hosts the Royal Wedding Festival every four years to celebrate the companionship of Bavaria and Poland. Discover the town’s differing architecture, from the Middle Ages to Renaissance-Baroque. There are Bavarian beer halls, delicious local restaurants, and Trauznitz Castle, which dates back to 1204.

HERRENCHIEMSEE NEW PALACE

Herrenchiemsee New Palace

This impressive palace was the incredible vision of King Ludwig – precisely his idea to build an exact replica of Versailles Palace in Paris. The stunning complex of royal buildings is located on an island in the region’s large lake – the Chiemsee. Explore the majestic interior of this fairytale palace, which features marquetry floors, carved panels, stucco marble, and ceiling frescoes. (King Ludwig is also responsible for the ultra famous Neuschwanstein Castle- below).

WENDELSTEIN MOUNTAIN

Wendelstein Mountain

Wendelstein Mountain is probably one of the easiest access points for exploring the Alps in Bavaria. Drive to the base of the mountain, before taking the cable car or train to reach the 6,000-foot summit. Revel in the spectacular Alpine views from the top, where you can also enjoy a warming coffee or hot chocolate in a delightful cabin restaurant or cafe. If you are more of an adventurer take the hiking trails to the top – although you might want to allow more time for this option.

LANDSBERG AM LECH

Landsberg am Lech

Just half-an-hour from Munich, Landsberg am Lech is yet another shining example of a stunning and traditional Bavarian city. On a first glance Landsberg am Lech looks as though it hasn’t changed at all since its creation, with buildings dating back to the Medieval period – including the impressive Mother’s Tower and the Schmalzturm Tower. Visitors can trace the ancient lines of the city by walking the old city walls or learning more about its intriguing history at the Herkomer Museum.

NEUSCHWANSTEIN CASTLE

Neuschwanstein Castle Road Trip

The absolutely mesmerizing Neuschwanstein Castle is the moment that those fairytale dreams truly become a reality. The breathtaking 19th century palace is something to behold – and is known for being the real life inspiration for Disney’s fairytale classic “Sleeping Beauty”. Originally built for Ludwig II of Bavaria, the castle has been open to visitors since his death and offers its guests unique views across the Bavarian landscape. Be sure to spend some time exploring the beautifully landscaped gardens here, too. (Allow most of a day for your visit. The parking lot is busy and a 10 minute walk from the base of the mountain. You can walk up to the castle (minimum 30 minutes) or pay to ride in a horse drawn wagon. You’ll also wait and pay an admission to get inside the castle).

Travel Freely and At Your Own Pace

When you are looking to experience the best Germany has to offer, you’ll need a reliable means of transportation. Book an affordable car rental in Munich and you’ll have access to endless touristic opportunities and sites! Compare rates, shop names you recognize and find the best deal. Save time and money with my link to Auto Europe.

 

10 Ways To Prep Before A Trip To Malaysia

There are are at least 10 ways to prep before a trip to Malaysia. Land of food so good you’ll never want to leave, home of beautiful landscapes, Malaysia may well be Southeast Asia’s best kept secret.

10PrepMalaysia_-_Sabah_Borne

While the hordes may head for Bangkok, give the Thai’s a rest and search out another paradise (a better paradise if you ask me). Try one of Malaysia’s exquisite beaches, or perhaps on top of Mount Kinabalu, and everything, everywhere, in between.

But before you head out and pack up, make sure you get a couple of things out of your way before touching down—Malaysia, and anywhere you travel, is always better with a little extra prep. Between dodging the rainy season to figuring out currency exchanges, take my tips to heart and you’ll never find yourself down and out (at least not while taking my advice!).

10PrepMalaysia_-_Longkawi

  1. Pick the right time to go to Malaysia

There are two monsoon seasons in Malaysia, and you certainly don’t want to plan a rainforest trekking, beach lounging, cocktail drinking vacation whenever they’re scheduled to make landfall. Going by the very special names of Southwest Monsoon and Northeast Monsoon, there’s torrential downpours scheduled from May to September, and then again from November to March, making the times you should head to the country very specific. Better to be prepped and not end up wearing a poncho your whole vacation!

2.Multi-ethnicity is a great thing to remember in Malaysia

Outside of speaking great English (seriously, colonization left it’s mark with excellent English speaking skills), a lot of Malaysians can be anything from Chinese to Indian, and even these multiethnicity vary between East and West Malaysia. It means there’s plenty of great food, excellent cultural experiences, and the rich diversity means there’s a lot of languages floating around all at once. All in all, it’s an incredible place to be every way you look at it.

3. It may be surprising, but Malaysia is a Muslim country

While there are a larger number of Christians in East Malaysia, it’s predominantly Muslim, meaning you’ve got to keep yourself on your toes when it comes to what is proper (and frowned up) in terms of politeness. First, public displays of affection are considered very rude if you’re out in public, so refrain from kissing or holding hands while out in the streets. And while you can wear whatever you want, don’t go out topless gents, it’s just not considered good taste!

Another hint: this affects their drinking habits a bit as well, liquor can be expensive if you can find it. But there is some good news: there’s plenty of beer

4. Eat your fill of the cheap, great food in Malaysia

10PrepMalaysia_-_KL_Cuisine

Restaurant service can be spotty and underwhelming at best, but it’s not a problem because the food is excellent, in the shop or on the street. From Filipino to Chinese, Indian to Singaporean, the cuisine is built with many different flavors, and the Nasi Lemak, the national dish of Malaysia, is the greatest thing you can probably order. Outside of the fruit—it’s fresh, perfect, and excellent snack to have absolutely whenever.

5. Stay away from cheap electronics in Malaysia

You may see vendors selling Blueberrys (not to be confused with Blackberrys) or iPhones that look above board, but what you might be purchasing at those tiny shops can range from cheap knockoffs to stolen phones (if it’s got an iCloud lock on it, definitely stolen) so it’s better to skip these stalls and head for handmade arts and crafts. Handmade baskets or Malaysian batik are better alternatives, so just stick to things that don’t require battery power.

6. Public transport is the way to go in Malaysia

Taxis can be astronomically expensive in Malaysia and they don’t have tuk tuks like Thailand, but never fear, the buses are easy to use and will definitely help you get around. Usually the service is pretty quick, the equipment modern, and it’s mostly pretty uncrowded (nothing like Tokyo or Bangkok). The underground in Kuala Lumpur is specifically spectacular, but you can always grab a car if you’re really set on going exactly where you want whenever you want. A word of warning though: Malaysian drivers almost never follow street signs so don’t expect anyone to stop!

7. Internet is going to be a problem in Malaysia

While Kuala Lumpur is generally pretty good with internet, the rest of the country is sadly very, very far behind the city so don’t plan on taking your work on vacation with you, it’s just going to work. To get the best service in the country, try working with Maxis. But even with this company (which to me, is the best in the country) you can expect the service to be stronger and faster in West Malaysia than East Malaysia so plan accordingly!

For the intrepid smartphone traveller, here’s a great list of apps that can make or break your trip, so consider checking them out before heading out.

8. The people are friendly (and honest) in Malaysia

10PrepMalaysia_-_KL_Market

A lot of touristy places can be a little on the seedy side, in that they are actively trying to dupe tourists out of a couple of bucks whenever they can get the chance to. But in Malaysia, that would definitely not be the norm; as a whole, the people are incredibly polite and very honest. No one but the taxi drivers are likely to overcharge you so you can trust that you’re getting the best deal wherever you go. The people are also really laid back in addition to being friendly, so make sure you’re on island time—it means don’t try to be in a hurry.

9. Prepare for the bathrooms in Malaysia

Malaysia has an interesting bathroom situation, sometimes in Kuala Lumpur, and certainly in the rest of the country, and it goes like this: the bathroom amenities can be both squat toilets and Western style toilets, or one or the other. And another note to make is that you can often, like in Europe, pay for access to toilets in malls, high tourist areas, or museums and the like. What does it mean? Not much, except you can practice squatting in your yard with the dog before you leave if it suits you. Only kidding.

10. Learn the exchange rate in Malaysia

Malaysia can be an incredibly affordable place, but it’s still no reason not to make sure you know exactly how many ringgits equal a dollar. It’s constantly changing so my suggestion to stick to a budget (if that’s what you’re trying to do) and keep a currency calculator app that doesn’t require wifi (refer to #7 for further discussion on why). As it is now, it’s a little over 4 ringgit per $1, and you can spend about 10 ringgits on a meal from McDonalds (which is some of the more expensive food available).

If you’re headed to Malaysia for the first time, you’re really in for a treat, and everywhere you turn is another adventure. So don’t waste time on any of these mistakes—take my tips to heart and be prepared early on! It’ll save you a lot of time, money, hassle, and you can get back to what you really want to do—enjoying Malaysia!

Bon voyage!

 

This post was written by Claire Lovesti; traveler and chief blogger at www.traveltio.com.

All images via shutterstock

GIVE AWAY – FOLLOW THIS BLOG and receive a code for a free full version city walk app – GPSmyCity! The first 20 new sign-ups will receive a code for a free download of GPSmyCity ($4.99 USD in the App Store) and you choose your city. Sign up on the upper right…your IOS or Android code will be e-mailed to you shortly. Contest expires June 27, 2016.

 

See 1K Years of Irish History in a 5-Day Road Trip (Legendary Pubs Included)

There are as many reasons to see Ireland as there are people who travel to the Emerald Isle. History, geology, pub culture, folklore, and breathtaking views are all par for the course for travelers to the island.

If you have a few days to spare, you can soak up nearly all that Ireland has to offer while rolling through the southwestern half of the country. Here’s a road trip itinerary guaranteed to make you “ooh,” “ahh,” and promise to come back.

Day 1: Dublin to Kilkenny

After flying into Dublin and spending the night in Ireland’s capital city, prepare for a cross-country adventure full of historical sites and breathtaking views. Rent a car and set off on a short drive (approximately two hours) to the artsy town of Kilkenny.

Check in at the quaint Kilkenny House Hotel before heading to Kilkenny Castle, which was built in the 1100s. Then venture on to Dunmore Cave, which features some of the finest calcite formations in Ireland. Once you’ve had your fill of history and geology, return to Kilkenny to explore its many arts and crafts shops and downtown restaurants.

Day 2: Kilkenny to Killarney

Buckle up for a day of striking scenery. There are so many sights to choose from on this leg of the journey that you can’t go wrong. If you aren’t off-put by crowds, then don’t miss visiting the popular Blarney Castle or driving part of the gorgeous Ring of Kerry. For a (slightly) less traveled path, stop by King John’s Castle, the historic Swiss Cottage, or the Muckross Friary and traditional grounds.

Arrive in Killarney and check into the quirky and contemporary Ross Hotel. Since you’ll no doubt be tired from the long day’s drive, enjoy food and drink at the hotel’s restaurant before tumbling into bed.

Day 3: Killarney to Ennis

Explore Irish history on the way to the small town of Ennis by stopping by Bunratty Castle, the geologically marvelous Burren, and/or Craggaunowen – The Living Past, where you’ll learn how the Celts lived, farmed, and hunted in Ireland. Enjoy dinner in Ennis before retiring to the upscale Ashford Court Boutique Hotel.

Day 4: Ennis to Galway

Travel to the western edge of the country in order to take in one of the most gorgeous views around at the stunning and popular Cliffs of Moher (Fun fact: These are the so-called “Cliffs of Insanity” from the film The Princess Bride). If you’re still in an adventurous spirit after visiting the cliffs, head to Aillwee Cave, which was formed by glacial melt waters and is situated close to Galway.

Finish the drive to Galway and check in at the luxurious Jury’s Inn, located near the historic Spanish Arch, the Galway City Museum, and Eyre Square (If you’re feeling budget-conscious, consider staying in the friendly Galway City Guesthouseinstead). After dumping your luggage, enjoy dinner and drinks at any of Galway’s many restaurants and pubs.

Day 5: Galway to Dublin

Spend the morning exploring the sites of Galway before hopping back in the car for the three-to-four-hour ride to Dublin. If you fancy some detours on the way back to the capital city, stop at medieval Athenry Castle, the monastic ruins of Clonmacnoise, or Trim Castle, where Braveheart was filmed.

Upon returning to Dublin, settle in at the supremely well located Blooms Hotelbefore enjoying dinner and drinks out on the town. Whether you retire early or partake of the Temple Bar neighborhood’s pubs all night, be sure to contemplate what a wonderful trip it’s been.

This post was posted by The Hipmunk on Hipmunk’s Tailwind Blog on August 25, 2015