May 23, 2017

Epicurean’s Guide to Europe: Delicious Dishes You Have To Try!

As I mentioned in German Food Traditional & Tasty, food may not be a reason I visit a city but it is definitely something I look forward to!  Here is a guest post exploring more of Europe’s cuisine.  Enjoy!

 

Epicureans will travel the world to experience masterfully created flavors. When visiting Europe, epicureans simply must put these countries at the top of their lists.

 

Spain 

Tapas in Spain

Tapas by Ben Sutherland, on Flickr

Spain has many wonderful regions that foodies will want to explore. If you have to focus on one area, though, make it Basque Country where you will find a lot of variety to satisfy all of your cravings!

The Basque Country has earned a reputation for serving some of the best tapas in Spain. In this region, though, they usually serve tapas on bread with a “spike” through the ingredients so it all holds together. They call it pinxto, which takes its name from the word for “spike.” Expect to find pinxtos containing olives, cured meats, cod, stuffed peppers and regional cheeses.

Turkey

Turkish cuisine can vary significantly depending on where you travel. The region near the Black Sea, for instance, uses a local anchovy that offers a distinctive flavor. No matter where you go, though, you will find homemade recipes that have been in families for generations.

When in Turkey, look for dishes carefully built around grilled meats, dates, pistachios, lentils and eggplant.

If you have recently been in other parts of Europe when you visit Turkey, you will immediately notice that Turkish cooks use spices more sparingly than those in other countries. As an epicurean, you need to experience how wonderful this simplicity can taste. It will show you that amazing food doesn’t necessarily need a complex recipe.

France 

Pot de Creme Dessert France

Pot de Creme by arnold | inuyaki, on Flickr

One could argue that excellent European cuisine began in France. The country’s chefs maintain a long tradition of technical skill and innovative flavors that should put it right at the top of your list.

When visiting France, pay careful attention to two things – dessert and wine. Some desserts to include are:

  • Tart tatin (an upside-down tart with apples)
  • Flaugnarde (a large pancake filled with various fruits)
  • Pot de crème (a potted custard)
  • Koign-amann (a kind of puffed pastry)

If you find a really good restaurant (which is easy considering that Paris alone has about 100 Michelin-rated restaurants), then a sommelier can pair your dessert with the perfect wine.

Italy 

Branzino all'acqua pazza Cuisine Italy

Branzino all'acqua pazza by 10Rosso, on Flickr

You probably think of pasta when you think of Italy. You can certainly find plenty of pasta dishes throughout Italy, but the country really excels when it comes to seafood. Only an Alaskan cruise excursion could give you access to fresher seafood!

Some dishes to look for include:

  • Cappon magro (a large seafood salad with a thick sauce)
  • Acqua pazza (poached white fish)
  • Cacciucco (a fish stew)
  • Scampi in the shell

To really get a thrill, visit an open-air market in the morning. You will see gigantic fish that still have their heads attached but don’t let this have a ruin your afternoon meal! In Italy, every part of the fish gets used to make some of the most delicious soups and sauces you will ever taste.

Germany

Germany’s epicurean fame typically comes from its commitment to excellent beers and processed meats. It has that reputation for some very good reasons. In fact, breweries around the world still use the Bavarian Purity Law from 1487 to make high-quality beer with only the most essential ingredients.

When you venture into Germany expect to find plenty of meat dishes including those made of: lamb, goat, duck, turkey, pork and beef.

You’ll swear that you can live off sausage alone once you’ve toured through Germany.


Europe has diverse cuisine that not only varies from country to country, but city to city. For the true epicurean, every European destination lies somewhere on the list of must-visit places.

 

What is your favorite European cuisine or food?

 

This guest post was brought to you by Miles Young,  a freelance travel writer who specializes in all things outdoors. Whether it’s biking, vacations, cruising or just exploring the city, Miles has done it all. When he’s not out conquering the world he’s geeking out on tech or attempting to play the piano. You can reach Miles at mrmilesyoung@gmail.com.

German Food Traditional & Tasty!

Food. While it might not be the reason I choose to visit a city it definitely is something I look forward to enjoying while traveling.

When I travel I look forward to sampling specialties of the area including both food and drink! I am so focused on finding traditional foods that I found myself surprised at all the non-German restaurants I ran into during my recent trip. I remember thinking to myself, “Why would anyone want to eat Italian while in Germany?” “Duh” Debbie, the people who live there might just want a variety of cuisine just like you do at home 🙂

So even though there were many different types of foods available, I was looking for traditional German fare Fortunately I was able to find and enjoy many fantastic meals that fit this bill!

Although my foray into the cuisine in Freiburg started off simply with soup and beer, I continued searching for culinary traditions that Freiburg is known for. You really can’t start off better than at Oberkirchs Weinstuben. Sitting in this cozy historic restaurant sipping a wonderful glass of local wine while feasting on veal and spatzle (yah!) made me feel glad to be in Germany!

Oberkirchs Weinstuben and Wine Freiburg Germany

Oberkirchs Weinstuben and Wine Freiburg Germany

Since Freiburg is the center of a German wine region, I started my last evening with a little wine tasting at Alte Wache – Haus der Badischen Weine. The wine shop is located in an historic building that was once a guard house during Austrian rule. The shop offers a huge selection of regional wines and is a fabulous place to learn about local wines, enjoy a glass or even take a bottle or two with you! After enjoying wine I was off in search of Flammkuchen, one of Freiburg’s specialties! Continuing along the Domplatz I noticed a restaurant advertising Flammkuchen so into the Goldene Engel I went to nosh on salad, Flammkuchen and more wine 🙂 I really liked the old-fashioned décor even though it was overtaken by cherubs or as my friend calls them “winged babies”. The Goldene Engel is small, warm, traditional and full of people, which is usually a good sign! Oh, the Flammkuchen was excellent too.

Flammkuchen at Goldene Engel Freiburg Germany

Flammkuchen at Goldene Engel Freiburg Germany

Mainz is the wine capital of the Rhine Valley and wine is everywhere! There are wine booths dotting the Old Town and it was at one of these that I tasted a new and unusual drink, Federweisser which is a young wine made from just picked grapes that are slightly fermented. This slightly sweet juice only lasts a day, so you have to enjoy it while you can and it is wonderful. My guide treated me to my first ever Federweisser and I liked it so much that I stopped to have another later that afternoon before meeting up again for dinner!

Federweisser Booth Mainz Germany

Federweisser Booth Mainz Germany

Now its time for dinner in Mainz which ended up being one of my favorite of the entire trip. Weinstube Hottum is one of the oldest taverns in Mainz dating back to 1791. This cozy, traditional and family owned restaurant was charming and full of convivial people! The menu is handed to you on a small chalkboard and is full of wonderful options. The restaurant only has about 8-10 tables which helps create a very social atmosphere. The food was excellent but I think I enjoyed the quaint atmosphere and friendly people most! If you’re in Mainz, be sure to check out Weinstube Hottum.

Weinstube Hottum and Federweisser Mainz Germany

Weinstube Hottum and Federweisser Mainz Germany

Lovely Erfurt is full of dining options that fit my perfect type of restaurant including Zum Güldenen Rade and Zum Goldenen Schwan. Add in weather that was so nice I was able to eat outside and you’ve got a winning combination! The beer was good, pork exceptional as was the Beef Roulade, a traditional cuisine of Erfurt, but there were two things I couldn’t get enough of – potato dumplings and red cabbage. I had so many that I was lucky I didn’t come home looking like a dumpling 🙂 These Thüringen specialties are something you definitely need to enjoy when you visit Erfurt!

Roulade, Red Cabbage & Dumplings by JaBB, on Flickr

Roulade, Red Cabbage & Dumplings by JaBB, on Flickr

What local specialties do you enjoy?

 


Many thanks to Historic Highlights of Germany for organizing this trip and to the wonderful people at the Erfurt Tourist Office, Mainz Tourist Bureau and Freiburg Tourist Bureau!  For more information please contact either organization or visit their websites.  Even though most of my meals were paid for by these organizations, all opinions are my own.

A Little Friday Fun in Freiburg Germany

Welcome to Sunny Freiburg! Freiburg is the sunniest and warmest city in Germany, right?

Well not today!!

It rained. . . make that poured!More Rainy Freiburg Germany

So what to do when the weather isn’t cooperating?  This is what I did!

What would be better than soup on a cold blustery day? Not much. The beer was pretty good too 🙂Beer and Soup in Freiburg Germany

Then there was the famous grilled sausage with onions. I was told I had to have this and I always follow orders!Freiburg Sausage and onions in Freiburg Germany

I topped off the afternoon with a little cake and coffee. Hey I’m in Freiburg so I had to go with the Schwartzwald Kirsche Kuchen, right??!Cake and Coffee in Freiburg Germany

I really didn’t eat my way through Freiburg but those stories will have to wait till later. I’m on my way out to taste a little wine 🙂

 

What do you do when weather interferes with your travels?

Many thanks to Historic Highlights of Germany for organizing this trip and to the wonderful people with the Freiburg Tourist Office!

 

 

I’m Off to Explore Historic Germany!

I’m not indecisive but I have a hard time naming my favorite European travel destination, it just feels wrong to all the other wonderful places I’ve visited.  But if pressed, I would name Germany as my favorite destination in Europe and by that I would actually mean Bavaria.

Even though I’m bewitched with Bavaria, I’ve been feeling the need (and desire) to spread my wings and discover more of  Germany.  Now I’m being given the chance to explore more of the Historic Highlights of Germany!

Beginning Thursday morning, I’ll be spending 12 days criss crossing Germany.  Once again I’ll be using the very efficient German rail system to get me north, south, east and west in this Central European country.  Get ready for a fast paced trip in the land of my fore-fathers!

Freiburg Minster Germany

Freiburg Minster by Joachim Messerschmidt Deutsche Zentrale fur Tourismus

First off will be a wonderful excursion in the heart of a German wine region and the gateway to the Black Forest, Freiburg. Known as the sunniest and warmest city in Germany, Freiburg also boasts a lovely medieval center, inviting cafes and taverns and a varied history that is all wrapped up in a laid back atmosphere!

Mainz Town Hall Germany

Mainz Town Hall by Rainer Kiedrowski Deutsche Zentrale fur Tourismus

After exploring Freiburg, I’ll be whisked by Deutsche Bahn up to Mainz who sits alongside the lovely Rhine river.  I’ve been to Mainz before but there is much more to this city than I previously explored including Chagall blue stained glass windows, a Gutenberg printing press, Roman ruins and wine!

Erfurt Cathedral & St Severus Church Erfurt Germany

Erfurt Cathedral & St Severus Church by Toma Babovic Thuringer Tourismus

Then I’ll be going east to Erfurt where Martin Luther studied and lived.  This city of towers and spires has enough churches to be called “The Rome of Thuringia.”  Erfurt is home to one of the best preserved medieval Old Towns around and Europe’s longest inhabited bridge!

Sanssouci Palace Potsdam Germany

Sanssouci Palace Potsdam by Torsten Kruger Deutsche Zentrale fur Tourismus

Continuing east, my next stop will be Potsdam.  You know how much I love palaces and castles; well Potsdam is home to some of the most beautiful and famous castles and palaces!  Add in the amazing history and I am excited to visit this city!

Old Quarter Rostock Germany

Old Quarter Rostock by Joachim Messerschmidt

Next, I’ll be zipping up north to the Baltic Coast where I’ll spend time exploring Rostock!  Ever since I wrote “Off the Beaten Path in Rostock Germany” I have wanted to see the unique brick architecture and now I’ll get to!  I’ve never been to the northern coast of Germany so one of my goals is putting my tootsies in the Baltic!

Wiesbaden Fountain Germany

Wiesbaden Fountain by Torsten Druger Deutsche Zentrale fur Tourismus

The last leg of my trip takes me south to Wiesbaden where I’ll spend my last few days.  As I mentioned in “Wiesbaden- Worth A Second Look?I’ve spent a short amount of time here but now I will get that second look!  So I’m looking forward to wandering this elegant spa town enjoying its architecture, museums, shopping, and Viennese style cafes.  Maybe there will also be more wine in my future 🙂

Keep reading, as I’ll be sharing all my adventures with you all!  Follow along using the #exploregermany hashtag or watch our Facebook page!

By the way, I’m not cheating on you Bavaria, just seeing more of your wonderful country.  I’m sure I’ll be back but for now I’m off to explore different corners.  I hope you understand. .  .

 

Let me know any “must sees” I shouldn’t miss while in Germany!

 

Many thanks to Historic Highlights of Germany for organizing this trip and to all the sponsors!

 

Miltenberg Calling!

As I’ve said in Gengenbach Calling and Hallstatt Calling, pictures speak to me.

Now I can add Miltenberg Germany to this list! I recently saw this picture of Miltenberg and it is one of the reasons I keep coming back to Bavaria and Germany!

Miltenberg Bavaria Germany river Main

Miltenberg by Bundesarchiv_B_145_Bild-F079086-0035

Located on the banks of the Main River in the German state of Bavaria, Miltenberg is at a minimum one of the most beautiful locations in the area!

This medieval town was first mentioned in 1237 but it was around 155 AD that the Roman’s built a fortress and limes in the area.  In fact, it is these Roman Limes and the Main River that formed the Roman Empire’s border with Germania.

Marktplatz in Miltenberg am Main Bavaria Germany

Marktplatz in Miltenberg am Main by Bytfisch

Miltenberg still has many timbered buildings which help keep the feeling of medieval times.  Wander the old town center and medieval marketplace or discover the lovely St. Lawrence chapel and cemetery dating back to the 14th century.  Or visit the castle Mildenberg which has helped protect the village since 1230.

Miltenberg river Main Bavaria Germany

Miltenberg, river Main by reinholdbehringer, on Flickr

The hotel Zum Riesen, in Miltenberg’s Old Town, has laid claim to being one of Germany’s oldest Inns if not the oldest. It seems that way back in 1314 Ludwig from Bavaria stayed here not long after his coronation!  Now I’m not sure if this is the oldest inn in Germany but it sure has been around a long time and seen its share of history including witch trials which took place in the square out front of the inn.

Miltenberg Hotel Riesen Bavaria Germany rive Main

Miltenberg Hotel Riesen by Matthia Schussler

Miltenberg is in the middle of a wine producing region in Germany. There a many options to taste wine from the region including hiking through the vineyards sampling wine at local wine makers taverns!

Visitors may also enjoy hiking or biking along the trails on the Main River.   A popular hike is to Closter Engelberg for bread and beer!  Even though Miltenberg is in the middle of wine country, there are two breweries in town including one at the hotel Riesen.

Miltenberg Main river Bavaria Germany

Miltenberg 27 by Myrddin Pendragon, on Flickr

This peaceful serene village also makes a great base for seeing some of Germany’s other amazing villages including Rothenberg ob der Tauber, Wurzburg and Heidelberg.

Yes pictures inspire me and Miltenberg is definitely calling.


What pictures have inspired you to visit?

Catalonia – Spain’s Best Kept Secret?

Sitting in the north east corner of Spain is Catalonia. Home to a varied landscape that offers many surprises, Catalonia is a well kept secret that is waiting to enthrall you with all its charm.

Barcelona is the capital and most well known city of the region but there is so much more to be found.  A land of contrasts, Catalonia offers a rugged coastline, mountain peaks, lakes, rivers, forests, and surprises around every corner.  The villages are as lovely as the natural environment. Sights range from Romanesque architecture to Arab remnants and from prehistoric relics to avant-garde art.

San Mauricio Lake Catalonia Spain

San Mauricio Lake by Gligan


Here are 5 reasons to visit Catalonia!


Natural Wonders

You are surrounded by nature in Catalonia. The countryside varies from coastline to mountains and includes wetlands, rivers, valleys, lakes, plateau, forests and even volcanoes.  All of this beauty combines to offer a multitude of options for outdoor activities.  You can find something to do whether your time is spent on the snow-capped peaks or on one of the majestic beaches. In one trip you can enjoy the Pyrenees and then find yourself lounging by the Mediterranean!

Boi Valley Catalonia Spain

Vall de Boi: Boi and the valley by David Domingo, on Flickr

Outdoor Activities

The options for outdoor activities are as vast as the landscape.  Ranging from gentle easy hikes to canyoning or enjoy an easy glide down a river or the intensity of white water rafting!  Your days can be spent on horseback or quads.  You may choose to explore the region from the heights of a hot air balloon or from a seat on a horse-drawn carriage.  You could even visit a Natural Park made of salt to feast your eyes on salt stalagmites and stalactites!

Kayaking in Catalonia Spain

kayak by miuina, on Flickr

Culture

The historical and artistic heritage of Catalonia is also very diverse. Catalonia’s cultural treasures include cave paintings, ruins of great civilizations both Greek and Roman, Romanesque architecture, medieval castles, Gothic cathedrals, Jewish quarters, modern buildings and great art.  This is the land of great artists such as Dali, Miro, Picasso, Gaudi and Pau Casals.  A visit to the museums, houses and scenes that inspired their works can be enlightening!  If this isn’t enough, enjoy one of the many concerts, performances or local festivals the region offers.

Village of Cruïlles Catalonia Spain

Village of Cruïlles by Vincent van Zeijst

Cuisine

The world famous cuisine of Catalonia uses all the resources of the region from the mountain, sea and farm. In fact, people travel to this destination solely for the cuisine.  Traditional favorites include Pa amb Tomaquet (bread smeared with tomato and drizzled with olive oil), Escudella (a meat and vegetable stew) and Bacalla amb Samfaina (Cod with a ratatouille).  But also of importance is the modern cuisine found by renowned chefs and Michelin rated restaurants.  Learn about local cuisine by enjoying a cooking class, visiting a local fresh market, gastronomic museum or at one of the many festivals and fairs.  Catalonia also produces great wine and Cava.  The wine production in this area dates back to Roman times and has been growing since.  Visit museums related to the wine industry or enjoy tastings at the vineyard.

Barcelona Cuisine Catalonia Spain

Barcelona by George M. Groutas, on Flickr

Wellness

Spas seem to have grown in popularity lately but wellness has been important to Catalonia since the Roman era! In Catalonia there are 18 thermal baths found in natural surroundings including at least one Natural park.  The spa towns can be found spread throughout the region.  Other wellness centers can be found in resorts near the coast and other inland areas.  Each offers a variety of treatments including mud treatments, paraffin baths, massage as well as facial and beauty treatments.

Tossa de Mar Catalonia Spain

Tossa de Mar by Gordito1869

 

Whether you want to spend your time on a bike, at a spa, on the golf course, touring the historic sites of a city or on the sea, you’ll find an abundance of options in Catalonia!

 

Why would you visit Catalonia?

Bucket List – European Style

Ah, the infamous Bucket List.  When Michael from EasyHiker asked me to share my “Bucket List” I was, honestly, a little overwhelmed.  Yes, overwhelmed because my list is quite large and I’m sure you don’t want to spend that much time reading this post.  How to cut it down?  Instead of sharing countries or cities I’d most like to visit I whittled it down to some European adventures I’d most like to enjoy.

In no particular order, here is a sampling of my Bucket List – European Style!

While thinking about my Bucket List, I realized I’ve actually shared quite a few of these already.  In Springtime Yearnings I shared my desire to Hike in Black Forest, Canoe along the Dordogne plus bike and taste wine near the Moselle River in Germany.  Italy’s South Tirol is still one of the places I would most like to visit.  The Dolomites are just too dramatic and picturesque to not see in person.

Here are more European adventures I’d most like to enjoy:

Bastille Day in Paris

Sharing this day of celebration with the Parisians would be fabulous.  I can only imagine the pageantry of the military parade down the Champs Elysees and the beauty of the fireworks with the Eiffel Tower as their back drop.

Bastille Day Fireworks Eiffel Tower Paris France

Bastille Day Fireworks by Lauren

Oktoberfest

Let’s see, I love Bavaria, Munich is one of my favorite cities and, in my opinion, beer is a food group.  So why wouldn’t I need to experience the Granddaddy of all beer festivals?  One thing I wouldn’t miss is the opening day parade. I hope they still roll barrels of beer down the street!

Cruising the Greek Isles

A lot of folks cruise the Greek Isles and while I want to join their ranks, I want to rent my own sail boat so we can steer our ship around the Aegean as we wish!  Enjoying the blue water, culture, sunsets and ruins while reliving mythology from the bows of our own little boat seems quite luxurious.

Samos Greece in Aegean Sea

Samos Pe-Sa

German Christmas Markets

About 2 months ago I shared one of my fondest birthday wishes in All I Want For My Birthday.  At this point in time, I can’t imagine a better way to celebrate my birthday than being in Germany visiting some of the magical Christmas markets!  Gluhwein, German trinkets and beer. . . need I say more?

Viennese Ball

Gliding and twirling across a dance floor at one of the amazing balls during Imperial Ball season in Vienna is one of things this girl dreams of.   Of course, I’ll be dressed to the nines in a full length formal gown complete with gloves and I will float across the dance floor thanks to those dance lessons I desperately need to take!

Ball Vienna Austria

Ball by moritz.schmaltz, on Flickr

Live in Europe
One of my fondest dreams is to live in Europe for at least 3 months.  I want to experience the culture and history that Europe offers.  I haven’t figured out where I would spend my time but I have a feeling a lot of it would be spent in some little Bavarian village!

Wachau Valley Danube River Austria

Wachau by jay8085, on Flickr

Somewhere along the way I will also stay in a Castle or Chateaux, enjoy a Tapas Crawl in Spain and wine taste in the Wachau Valley!

Well those are a few of the items that have made it to my European Bucket List.

 

Tell us a few of the items that have made it to your list!

Cahors ~ A French Gem

I’m sure when you think of France grand and romantic images pop in your mind!  There is a large part of France that is relatively unvisited, at least by US travelers.  I have had the fortune to visit some these less discovered areas. The French Basque region, Biarritz and St. Jean de Luz come to mind.

Today for Travel Photo Thursday I’m sharing a few pictures I took while visiting another undiscovered French gem, the Lot department in Southwest France.  We were specifically in and near medieval Cahors which is the capital of the region.  Cahors history dates back to Celtic times and besides the remains of a Roman Amphitheater offers a cathedral, wine museum and markets.Valentre Bridge Cahors France

The symbol of the town is the Valentre Bridge which dates back to 1308.  This bridge is a well used part of the Santiago de Compostela pilgrim trail.  Other villages in the area that are part of this trail include Rocamadour.

But today Cahors is possibly best known for its wine known as “The Black Wine”.Chateau de Mercues Lot region Cahors France

Since wine is an important part of the region you may want to stop for some wine tasting.  One wine estate that offers tasting is Chateau de Haute-Serre which is in the 13th century Chateau de Mercues. Besides wine the chateau is also a luxury hotel.Chateau de Mercues view Cahors France

Even in the haze, the surroundings are impressive!Lot region Cahors France

Truffles and walnuts are two items Cahors is also known for.  The walnuts make a great liqueur and you may want to enjoy Fenelon, a local aperitif made from local red wine, cassis and the wonderful local walnut liqueur!

The Lot and Cahors are a small part of the Midi-Pyrenees region in France and one of the areas I would like to explore in much more detail.

 

These photo’s are shared as part of Travel Photo Thursday.  For more great pictures, make sure to look into Budget Travelers Sandbox.

Maybe I’ll see you there.

Moravia: Exploring the Czech Republic

In recent years, the Czech Republic has become a major tourist destination and rightly so!  Prague has become the number one stop for tourists to the republic but should you stop there?  That answer is No, there are many other areas to discover of equal interest.

One of these regions is Moravia.

Located in the eastern part of the country, Moravia is known as the quieter and more “real” Czech Republic.  The region is full of quaint villages, lush green vineyards, history, outdoor activities and has held on to its traditions.

Brno Cathedral of Saint Peter and Paul Moravia Czech Republic

Brno Cathedral of Saint Peter and Paul by Millenium187

Below are 5 reasons to include Moravia in your itinerary of the Czech Republic:

  • Castles & Chateaux

There are more than 2,000 Castles and Chateaux in the Czech Republic and Moravia has more than its fair share.  Among these are medieval Helfstyn Castle with its imposing walls and setting above the Becva river; gothic Buchlov Castle; lavish baroque Kromeriz Castle was built in 17th century and includes must see gardens ;  Slavkov Chateau was the site of a famous victory for Napoleon at Austerlitz; and gothic Lednice Chateau whose grounds include an English style park and a Temple of Apollo.

Lednice Chateau Moravia Czech Republic

Lednice Chateau by Zp

Kromeriz Castle and Gardens Moravia Czech Republic

Kromeriz Castle and Gardens courtesy of Czech Republic Tourist Bureau

  • Wine

Wine is up and coming in the Czech Republic and Moravia produces the vast majority of it.  Most notably known for its dry white wines the reds are coming up.  There are many wine festivals held during the harvest time with the largest held in Znojmo, Mikulov, Brno and Melnik.  Twelfth century Valtice Castle houses the Czech Republic’s National Wine Center where you can enjoy tasting some of the best wines produced in the country.

Valtice Castle Moravia Czech Republic

Valtice Castle courtesy of Czech Republic

 

  • Towns & Villages

The towns and villages of Moravia include thousand years of history and were once the stomping grounds of the Liechtenstein’s.  Visiting the towns and villages of Moravia will help you understand the long and varied history of the region.  One of the most ancient towns is Znojmo where you can see wall paintings in the Romanesque Chapel of St. Catherine.  Telc is known as one of the most beautiful towns in the Czech Republic and is listed on UNESCO World Heritage Sites.  Olomouc has long been a cultural center and is full of cobblestoned streets, stately cathedrals and grand palaces.  Mikulov offers history, architectural wonders and nature.

Telc Moravia Czech Republic

Telc courtesy of Czech Republic Tourist Bureau

 

  • Tradition

The diverse folk customs can still be found in Moravia, in fact, they have seemed to flourish.  During travels, visitors will come across people in tradition clothing as well as many folk festivals including Easter, music, Gypsy Song and Kings Ride festivals.

Moravian Costumes Czech Republic

Moravian Costumes Czech Republic by Jialiang Gao

 

  • Outdoor Activities

Moravia is full of beautiful and varied natural wonders.  These include many trails for bikers or hikers, parks, gardens, lakes, rivers as well as caves and chasms. The Litovel Morava Natural Park is best explored by bike as its trails are smooth and wide.  In the Jesenik Mountains adventurers will find waterfalls and the eerie Hill of Crosses.  Those wanting to explore the underworld, sights include Javoricko caves and Karst caverns.

Moravian Karst Czech Republic

Moravian Karst courtesy of Czech Republic Tourist Bureau

 

Yes, there are a lot of reasons to visit Moravia! Whether you want history, architecture, wine, nature or castles and chateaux you will find it here.  The one thing you won’t find are the crowds of PragueLife is a little slower in Moravia.

 

Would you visit Moravia while in the Czech Republic?

A Year at European Travelista

Today is the first anniversary for European Travelista!!!

It’s Been a Year and What a Year It’s Been!

As I looked back at the year, I discovered that during this time I’ve written 134 posts which received 2,868 comments.

Together we’ve visited 18 of Europe’s countries!

The countries we’ve visited include France, Germany, Austria and Switzerland.  Along with those we’ve also touched ground in the Czech Republic, Hungary, Holland and even Estonia.Views walking up the hill to Gruyeres Switzerland

We’ve looked at food, aperitifs and experienced European wine beer and beer festivals!

Our journey has been by train, feet, bikes and post bus crossing rivers, bridges and scenic routes. We’ve taken a look at the awesome waterfalls in Europe along with some festivals, even if they are a bit crazy!Budapest and Danube River

Because I had a hard time telling the difference between Baroque, Gothic or Romanesque, we spent some time learning a bit about all that wonderful architecture found in European capitals.

I’ve shared my love for Germany and in particular Bavaria.  Heck one of my first posts was titled “Bavaria, Bavaria How do I Love thee?”.  That should have been your first clue 🙂

Hohenschwangau Bavarian Castle

View from Hohenschwangau

Together we delved into my passion for those small little quaint charming picturesque mountain villages.  Yes you know that I am a mountain girl!

We’ve spent time in castles, feasted our eyes on jewels, taken drives and just dreamed.

Cesky Krumlov Castle Czech Republic

Cesky Krumlov Castle by Docsj

Yup it’s been quite a year!

And it’s not going to stop yet!

I have many more adventures lined up for 2012 but I also want to include some of your interests.

Where do you want to go?

How do you want to get there and what do you want to do once you get there?

Where or where in Europe shall we go during 2012?  Help me out by leaving suggestions in your comment!

 

Before I go, I want to send out a BIG thanks to you all for making 2011 such a great year!

Gracias.Köszi.Merci.Takk.Grazie.Obrigada.Danke.