Casey

Casey

DestinationsSouth America

Travel Guide To Machu Picchu Peru

Travel Guide to Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu Peru Travel Guide

Visiting Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu! One of the New Seven Wonders of the World, Machu Picchu easily lives up to the hype that it generates. Even after 600 years of it resting in the Andes, it’s still such an awe-inspiring site that it’s become one of my most recommended places to visit. Honestly, much of our trip to Peru was centered around getting to, and touring Machu Picchu.

So, what exactly does Machu Picchu entail and what makes it so great?

The site itself has been around for roughly six centuries and survived the Spanish conquest, mostly due to its well-hidden location. The small town, believed to be a place for Incan rulers to rest and get closer to their gods, is still very well preserved and maintained. It consists of numerous stone houses, places of worship, and a very sophisticated water dispersion system. If it wasn’t obvious enough that the Incan’s were skilled engineers and builders, Machu Picchu stands as a monument to show just how innovative and genius of a people they were.

But enough of the history lesson, lets get into how to get there!

Travel Guide to Machu Picchu

How to get to Machu Picchu

I’ll go into more specific detail below, but the overview of our trip was to:

  1. Fly int Lima, Peru
  2. Connecting flight to Cuzco, Peru
  3. Train to Agua Calientes (town at the base of Machu Picchu)

So, as far as the details go, the best way to get to Machu Picchu is by flying into Peru’s capital city, Lima, and then taking a connecting flight to Cuzco (Cusco). The airport is small at Cusco so navigating it won’t be difficult, but I strongly encourage you to have some transportation setup in advance, or at least have an address of where to go next. If you don’t have a car coming to get you, no worries, there are usually plenty of taxi’s out-front offering rides.

We stayed in Cusco for a few nights just to experience the city, but it can be scheduled to land and immediately ride to one of the train stations to disembark for Aguas Calientes.

Pictures of Machu Picchu

Getting from Cusco to Machu Picchu

There are 3 main ways to get from Cuzco to Machu Picchu.

  1. Hike the Inca Trail
  2. Car/Bus
  3. Train

Hiking to Machu Picchu via the Inca Trail

Many people take up the option to hike the Inca Trail to Aguas Calientes from Cuzco. The Inca Trail consists of a few separate trails that have different scenery and altitudes, but all end up at Machu Picchu. There’s the Classic Trail, Mollepata Trail, and the One Day Trail, that make up what is know as the Inca Trail.

I have yet to hear negative reviews about taking the trail and everyone seems to report that it’s a phenomenal trip (I’ll still be taking the train). If the hike is something you’re interested in, be sure to book out far in advance, as there is a limit on how many tourists are allowed on the trail each day.

Taking a Car/Bus

This is obviously an option, but I don’t recommend it. Renting a car will cost more than a train ride, the bus will be inconvenient and eat up a good part of your day, and a taxi will be way to expensive. If this is the only option, then take it, but be aware there are better options.

Train from Cusco to Machu Picchu

Taking a train was the option we chose, and it was nice and relaxing. One warning though, we had an issue purchasing online where the payment was submitted twice, and it double charged us (we used Inca Rail). We did get a refund on the second charge, but just make sure if you purchase online, don’t hit submit again if it’s loading slow!

As far as options for trains, the two main competitors are Inca Rail and Peru Rail. Depending on what you want out of the train ride, each company offers a few different selections. Some packages are simple train rides while others seem to be luxury rides. We went with the simplest and if you’re looking to budget, the most affordable options we found were with Inca Rail. Regardless of the company you choose, they all end up at Aguas Calientes and I encourage booking at least 1 to 2 nights in Aguas Calientes as it makes the traveling easier and walking around the town at night was relaxing.

Aguas Calientes Machu Picchu

Getting to Machu Picchu from Aguas Calientes

We stayed overnight in Aguas Calientes so we were able to get a good nights rest prior to ascending the mountain. Be prepared to see a lot of people while you’re up there too, Machu Picchu is a very popular destination. Our tickets into the ruins were for 0800, and it was fairly crowded that early. So, the best time we figured to go was earlier if you’re able, or even around noon.

The options to get to the peak include almost constant bus departures or hiking up. If you take a bus it will only be around a 20-minute ride before you reach the entrance. We decided to hike as we wanted to stretch our legs and enjoy the mountain. We didn’t regret it either, as it only took about an hour and it was a great workout! Also, if you’re like me and want to hike but might be concerned with the safety, don’t be. The hike was very safe and there wasn’t a single part of the ascent that looked sketchy or off putting. I do recommend taking a hiking bag for a few snacks as food at the top can be pricy.

Aguas Calientes

Where to stay in Machu Picchu

The closest lodge to Machu Picchu is the Belmond Sanctuary Lodge, all other options are down the hill in Aguas Calientes. This was actually preferred for us as there were plenty of places to eat in Aguas Calientes and some nice nightlife.

We ended up staying in the Hotel Ferre since it was very affordable and comfortable. We like to find a middle ground between budget and still having hot water.

There are multiple other options in the town though, but I suggest going with a hotel as it’s not that expensive. If you are really looking for a budget option though, Airbnb does have some cheap offers. 

Where to eat in Machu Picchu

On the mountain itself, there are two main restaurants. I don’t need to show a map to them as you won’t miss them, they make up 2 of the 4 buildings at the entrance. That being said, TAKE SNACKS from Aguas Calientes for your trip up, as the food at the top will cost more (no surprise there). You can eat while you’re up there, but I suggest having a decent breakfast and carrying small snacks for your time at Mach Picchu. Once you get back to Aguas Calientes, then you can hit the local restaurants and have a few pisco sours!

Machu Picchu Map

Don’t forget your map of Machu Picchu! You’ll be surprised how big the ruins are and how much walking there is to do, a map will come in handy!

Map of Machu Picchu Peru

Sites to See in Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu has a lot to offer once you get up there, as you probably guessed from the map. While I recommend walking through the entire site, including the terraces, below are some great options that pack some history.

The Watchmans Hut

You’ll see the Watchmans Hut not long after entering the ruins. It’s also a perfect place to get a view over Machu Picchu.

Funerary Stone

Funerary Stone Machu Picchu

Next to the Watchman’s Hut is the funerary stone. There are still multiple theories onto what the rock was used for, but some believe it was meant for sacrificial purposes.

Temple of the Sun

Temple of the Sun Machu Picchu

The Temple of the Sun represents some of Machu Picchu’s best craftsmanship. The temple was most likely a place used for astronomical observations and gives a great view of the surrounding Andes.

Temple of Three Windows

Temple of Three Windows Machu Picchu

Located in the Royal Sector, the temple of three windows perfectly frame the 3 facing mountains. You’ll also notice that the stones are much larger than many of the surrounding building materials, another testament to the Incan’s ingenuity.

Sun Gate

Located off site of Machu Picchu, the sun gate offers an amazing view slightly above Machu Picchu and the surrounding Andes. It’s a somewhat steep climb up so it may be tiring, but the views are well worth it.

Huayna Picchu

Huayna Picchu or “Young Peak” is the mountain that sits directly behind Machu Picchu. This is a more difficult trek to get through due to the altitude, but the views give a perfect site of Machu Picchu from above.

Central Plaza

Central Plaza Machu Picchu

Undoubtedly, you’ll find yourself here as you walk around Machu Picchu. The central plaza is the main open area in the center of the ruins and is usually populated with a few alpacas grazing on the grass.

FAQ’s and Tips about Machu Picchu

  1. Best times to visit Machu Picchu – The best time to visit Machu Picchu is between June and August, which is also it’s peak travel season. Between June and August, Peru reaches its coolest and driest months, making it easier to climb and experience Machu Picchu.
  2. Adjusting to the altitude – Altitude sickness is common among Peru tourists. Many of the local shops offer coca-based medicine to help with the headaches and fatigue. Also, make sure to drink plenty of water as your body will be using more adjusting to the altitude.
  3. Currency – The Peruvian Sol is the currency used and it’s best to carry cash on you as not everywhere will take card.
  4. Language – The language used throughout Peru is Spanish and it’s very similar to what’s taught in most schools as formal Spanish.
DestinationsMiddle East

9 Things To Do In Tel Aviv, Israel

Things to do in Tel Aviv Israel

Travel Guide To Tel Aviv, Israel

There is a plethora of things to do in Tel Aviv, from relaxing by the Mediterranean, seeing some of the rich history the city has to offer, and experiencing some amazing night life! Tel Aviv overall is a great place to start any adventure in Israel as it has a little taste of everything for anyone’s interests. Personally, I wasn’t too much for the nightlife but did enjoy an awesome escape room! Most of my time there was more focused on sightseeing and getting to see some of the historical sites in the city. Considering Israel has been a center point for many of the world’s greatest historical moments, it seemed silly to not see and touch a piece of that antiquity.

TIP: If this is your first time in Tel Aviv, try to brush up on your customs for the area and especially if you’re visiting religious sites.

We’ll get to that in a bit though, first let’s get started with some nice places to relax and take it easy in Tel Aviv.

Relaxing in Tel Aviv

Beaches in Tel Aviv

Beaches in Tel Aviv

There are quite a few beaches to visit in Tel Aviv, but all are obviously connected as there is only one side of Tel Aviv that connects to the coast. So, the Tel Aviv beach will have multiple “sections” as you go down the beach and they will have separate names. The area we went to was between Bograshov Beach and Jerusalem Beach. Going early mornings and during the weekdays was the best times for low traffic and true relaxing! Like most beaches around the world, they also have numerous volleyball nets setup along the beach and other activities if you’re into “actively” relaxing. If you want more in depth information on the beaches of Tel Aviv, I recommend reading through this to get the best feel for what is there and when to go.

Tel Aviv Spa!

If you’re really looking for some nice relaxation, then a spa can get rid of a lot of tension. The Shizen Hotel is one of the best in Tel Aviv with plenty to offer. They have packages for the ladies, couples, and even ones specifically for men! If you’re looking for something in particular, the variety offered goes further than that, including deep tissue, aromatherapy, and even pregnant massages.

Netanya, Israel

Netanya is just North of Tel Aviv and is easily one of the most beautiful cities in Israel. The city is decorated in rich green scenery and fountains, while having very relaxing beaches. In a sense, it’s similar to spending a day at a Tel Aviv beach, but there is much more to see inland, and the entire area is much more picturesque.

Tel Aviv Sightseeing & Tourism

Sightseeing in Tel Aviv Israel

Museum of Art, Israel

I’m not sure about you, but I’m a huge museum fan and love to learn about other cultures! The Tel Aviv Museum of Art is a perfect place to do just that, with numerous collections and exhibitions happening all the time. While there is plenty to see on the topic of Israeli Art, there are also collections from the Old Masters and in all different forms of media.

Lod, Israel

Slightly south of Tel Aviv is the small city of Lod. A large attraction of the city is the Church of St George due to its history and role it’s played. Most of the attractions in Lod will be of some religious significance (big surprise as you’re in Israel), but even if you’re not religious, the sites are still powerful, and you can feel the history.

Old Jaffa!

Jaffa is a place that can’t be missed for tourists. Having the oldest seaport in the world and a former stop for people making a pilgrimage to Jerusalem, Jaffa has many interesting stories to tell. More specifically, we’re looking at the Old City, where the cobblestone streets lead to many archaeological sites and underground churches. Just being in the city feels like you’ve been teleported back in time.

Tel Aviv Nightlife & Fun

Tel Aviv Nightlife

Tel Aviv isn’t just a place to learn about history or spend time relaxing on a beach, it also has a vibrant nightlife and plenty of fun things to do. Also, if you’re looking to find a decent club or bar, expect them to be fairly dead until midnight, as most Israeli’s start the party later and continue until morning.

Rothschild 12

If you’re looking for a chill but still active night scene, the Rothschild 12 is a great place to start your evening. During the day it’s a peaceful café until nighttime when it turns into a bar to start your crawl. Enjoy a drink on their terrace or catch a live band playing around back!

The Block

Looking for a dancing scene and somewhere with more action? The Block is an exciting dance club with something always happening. From my experience, most of the music I’ve come across being played there is house, dance, EDM, and music along those genres. So, if you’re into bumpin’ music and great vibes, definitely try it out!

Questomania

I always recommend escape rooms as they are one of my favorite things to do in a new city with friends (plus I love puzzles). Questomania is a short walk from Rothschild Boulevard if you decided to grab a drink from the area first. They offer 5 separate rooms and are English friendly!

Stuff to do in Tel Aviv Israel

What Else?

There’s so much to do in Tel Aviv finding something to do can be overwhelming. Hopefully the options above helped and at least led you in the right direction. If you still want more ideas, I recommend checking out Culture Trips list!

 

DestinationsMiddle East

Best Places To Visit In Jordan – 2019 Travel Guide

Best Places To Visit In Jordan

Things to do in Jordan

Jordan is a beautiful country with so much history that it can be overwhelming to decide what to see. I’ve narrowed it down to my top 5 recommendations that should fit any travelers’ preferences. Partially to make it easier to see only the best sites, and because usually people don’t have loads of time to travel to every destination on those “top 15” lists. So, the top 5 are…

1. Petra

2. Wadi Rum

3. Dead Sea

4. Aqaba

5. Amman

These sites encompass much of the exciting destinations you could go to in Jordan and are also the most popular. While popularity means more tourists will be there, I notice it also makes it feel a little safer as there are plenty of people around. So overall, these sites are full of history, there’s tons of navigating information on them, and they are probably some of the safest places to visit.

Also, be sure to read the end of the article if you’re curious about miscellaneous travel information to Jordan, such as obtaining visa’s and the best time to travel there!

On to the list!

Petra, Jordan

Visiting Petra Jordan

What is Petra?

Believed to have been inhabited as early as 9,000 BC, Petra is near the cradle of civilization and holds plenty of history from that period. However, the site of Petra itself was built around the 4th century BC as the capital of the Nabatean civilization. The Nabateans were skilled craftsman and were well situated along trade routes which allowed them to prosper so well, despite being in the middle of nowhere.

All this good fortune mixed with talented sculptors, led to it being a must-see destination today for it’s awe-inspiring structures and rich architecture.

Things to see in Petra, Jordan

When most people think of Petra, they picture Al-Khazned. Al-Khaxned is the treasury that stands famously with unique pillars and very intricate designs. It’s also the “temple” that Indian Jones enters in the The Last Crusade, despite the inside not really looking like that.

But Al-Khazned isn’t the only thing to see at Petra. In fact, Petra is an all-day excursion and there is so much to see that you may be too exhausted to experience it all if you don’t prepare. To show just how many sites there are, see the map below for the sites in Petra. It was after all an entire city, so of course there are plenty of things to see such as the A’Deir, the Nabatean Theatre, and even walking the Siq is an amazing experience.

Map of Petra Jordan

What does it cost?

A one-day ticket into Petra costs 50 JD which is roughly $70. This also depends on if you purchase the Jordan Pass, which is sold by Jordan’s Ministry of Tourism and allows access to most sites and saves money on purchasing a visa. I’ll mention that in the extra info at the end of this post.

Wadi Rum, Jordan
Wadi Rum Jordan

What is Wadi Rum?

Wadi Rum is the largest valley in Jordan and translated means “Valley of Sand”, not surprising as it’s a desert. It’s also the filming location for the movie The Martian and it’s easy to see why they chose it when you get there. It has a very foreign and an out of this world look to it that is just amazing!

Things to see in Wadi Rum

We started our trip glamping at a small camp in the desert. The camp in itself was a site to see and a wonderful experience.

Aside from just having a nice place to stay, there are also plenty of famous sites around the wadi that are great places to see. We went to Khazali Canyon and climbed through the rock scrambles, walked across the Burdah Rock Bridge, and stopped by Lawrence’s House! Also make sure you find your way to any small rock plateau to watch the sunset. A Wadi Rum sunset is something that I’ve only seen mentioned a few times, but it’s such an amazing site.

What does it cost?

So, lodging is obviously a cost of staying in Wadi Rum but that is something that should be arranged beforehand. As far as costs to get into the Wadi Rum protected area, it’s 5 JD for international visitors and free for children under 12.

Exploring the Dead Sea

Dead Sea Jordan

What is the Dead Sea?

The Dead Sea is a salt lake that lies on the border of Jordan and Israel. The Dead Sea has a salinity of roughly 34%, making it impossible for plants and animals to live near it, hence its name. While the formation is still debated, it may have once been a part of the Red Sea until it was separated by a land mass in between.

Reasons to go

The Dead Sea is a unique destination and there’s no place like it. Swimming in the salt lake is essentially just floating around as it’s near impossible to sink.

The sea is also frequented because of its positive health effects on human skin and is used as a cleanser. If you wanted to take some home with you don’t worry, there are multiple vendors around the sea that sell package sand/mud that comes from it.

What does it cost?

Going to the Dead Sea is free like most beaches you’ll find. However, there are private areas around it that you may have to pay for access. But, if you’re looking for a free spot, they do exist and are public property.

Visiting Aqaba Jordan

Aqaba Jordan

What is Aqaba?

The only coastal city in Jordan, Aqaba is a popular vacation destination not just for tourists but other Jordanians as well. Even more convenient is that it’s placed near Petra and Wadi Rum, making it a great place to tack onto your trip if you’re visiting the other two.

Things to do in Aqaba

Aqaba is a great place to just relax and enjoy the scenery of the Red Sea. So, if you’re looking for a place to relax and spend some time not walking, hiking, or exploring, then sit by a beach as Aqaba has some great spots.

With such great beaches, Aqaba is also a great place to go snorkeling or diving. There are plenty of options for underwater excursions in the region. If you’re looking more for historical sites, there is the Mamluk castle and the archaeological museum as well.

Amman Jordan

Amman Jordan

What is Amman?

Amman is Jordan’s capital city that is situated in the northern part of the country. It has been occupied since 7,000 BC and because of that has plenty of history to offer in the architecture and outside of the city.

Things to do in Amman

If you’re a history buff, Jebel al-Qala’a is a must-see experience. There is also a plethora of restaurants such as Kan Zaman, Hashem, or the Jabri restaurant. Making it a great place to take in some historical sites, learn of Jordanian culture, and taste delectable Arab cuisine.

Extra Information on Jordan Travel

Visa Information For Jordan Travel

Jordan does require a visa to visit the country and the costs can be dependent on what you plan to do. A single entry visa will cost 40 JD if you only plan on getting a visa to get into the country. However, the Jordan Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities offers a “Jordan Pass” that gives access to many historical sites throughout Jordan and if you purchase the Jordan Pass, the cost of your visa is included in the pass. This is a perfect offer if you plan on visiting places like Petra or other historical sites while in Jordan and the costs of the Jordan Pass can be found here for you to compare.

It’s also recommended to get your visa stamped in your passport before entering the country. While they do offer visa’s on entry to Jordan (except the bridge crossing from Eilat, Israel), it’s better to get them in advance.

What is the Jordan Currency?

The currency for Jordan is the Jordanian Dinar. It’s more valuable than USD so don’t get worried when you get fewer JD for your USD. I also recommend getting plenty in advance and plan for the activities you have in mind.

Language

The official language of Jordan is Arabic. Thankfully, many of the people we came across could speak decent English, but it helps tremendously to learn the local customs and common phrases in Arabic.

Overall

I hope your trip to Jordan is as exciting and enjoyable as ours was, it was an experience I’ll never forget. If you have any questions or comments please leave them below!

DestinationsUnited States

Where To Stay In Yosemite National Park – 2019

Where To Stay In Yosemite

Where to stay in yosemite national park

Yosemite is a gorgeous place to see and should be experienced at least once in a lifetime! Especially if you’re an outdoors person or love hiking. There’s nothing better than getting a few blisters from a long day of hiking. Ok, the blisters part isn’t fun… but hopefully you have good boots and that’s not a problem.

Regardless of blisters or not, after a day at Yosemite and all the outdoor adventure, it’s nice to have a comfy place to lay down and relax. That’s what this article is for! I’ll help you find the best lodging for you and give you and introduction to what’s accommodations are available in Yosemite Valley.

To start, what kind of lodging are you looking for? Luxury hotel? Budget Airbnb? Maybe a campsite? Lodging depends on what you prefer and thankfully Yosemite has plenty of diverse options on where to stay.

Hotels in Yosemite

Mammoth Mountain Inn

Mammoth Mountain Inn

This is a great option if you’re on a budget but can still afford a decent place. They have lower priced rooms and all the amenities are still there. Depending on your reason for being in Yosemite, Mammoth Mountain Inn also offers packages for weddings and events. It’s also conveniently located near a ski and snowboard area.

Tenaya Lodge Yosemite

Tenaya Lodge

A slightly more pricey option, the Tenaya Lodge is a beautiful place to stay if you can afford it. It’s also a good place if you’re looking for a one stop shop for exploring Yosemite, as they also offer tour packages and other outdoor activities!

AirBnb’s in Yosemite

There are TONS of options for AirBnb places in Yosemite, so I won’t go into any specific here. I just want to point out that the average seems to hover around $230/night for houses or cabin type lodging. The first hotel mentioned earlier is cheaper so if you’re trying to save money I recommend that and not going with AirBnb.

Cabin Rentals in Yosemite

Evergreen Loge Yosemite

Evergreen Lodge

A slightly more costly option, the Evergreen Lodge has a very comfortable setting and wonderful amenities. There are also plenty of cabins to rent so it should be easy to find an open time.

Evergreen Lodge is really the main place where there are a collection of cabins to rent. There are still more options than the one provided, so if you’re deadest on a cabin but want more options, you’ll need to use search engines for finding them such as Glamping Hub or going to Yosemites website.

Camping in Yosemite

Camping in Yosemite

Yosemite has a total of 13 possible campsites to choose from, these include tent camping and RV’s. Also depending on where you want to be in the valley, there are campsites north of the valley, south, and right in the valley.

If you want to make a reservation, the contact information and instructions are provided here. If you want to see the individual campgrounds in the valley, they’re listed here .

Recap

There are plenty of options for lodging in Yosemite for all budgets and preferences. Just make sure you make reservations in advance for whatever your preference and also be aware of the time of the year you’re going and pack accordingly! If you’re looking for hikes to do while you’re out there, check my list of Yosemites best hikes here!

DestinationsEurope

[Itinerary] – Things to do in Athens Greece

Things to do in Athens Greece

There are tons of things to do in Athens Greece! And Linn and I took advantage of as many of them as possible. Don’t stay too long though, we ended up spending more time in Athens even though we had seen everything we wanted to see, much faster than expected. Below is a nice list of our trip, summarizing the main points. If you’re just interested in things to do and sites to see, then feel free to skip the “Arriving to Athens” and “Lodging and AirBnb” sections.

Things To Do In Athens Greece:

  1. Arriving to Athens
  2. Lodging and AirBnb
  3. Local Transportation
  4. Sites (Things to do)
    1. Map of all sites
    2. Theater of Dionysus
    3. Acropolis and Parthenon
    4. Ancient Agora
    5. Temple of Zeus
    6. National Garden
    7. Panathenaic Stadium
    8. Mount Lycabettus
    9. Hadrians Library

Arriving to Athens

Getting to Athens Greece is really a matter of preference. It’s not a secluded city that is hard to reach, so there are plenty of options to choose from based on your preferences. We personally try to settle for something budget friendly, but not so inexpensive that it takes us days to get there. That perfect in between for us was to fly into the Athens International Airport or “Eleftherios Venizelos”. As with most flights from anywhere, try to book early with at least one to two months in advance.

After flying in, we had some trouble getting around the airport since there was construction and the detours weren’t the easiest to navigate. Thankfully, we eventually reached the taxi area and took a taxi to our Airbnb as it was the fastest. Like most foreign countries, there may be a language barrier (if you’re American like us) between you and the driver, so it’s best to be prepared with the address and map to show the driver.

Also! Don’t fret too much about how they drive in Athens. Yes, they fit 4 cars into 2 lane roads, but it seems to work for them. Personally, I was on the edge of my seat, but we never had any issues with any taxi drivers.

Lodging and Airbnb

Once you get to Athens, it’s obviously best to have a place to stay. Linn and I have pretty much fully converted to staying at Airbnb’s instead of hotels. We’ve found you have a much wider range of options regarding our budget, proximity to the sites we want to see, and proximity to cheaper public transportation. We managed to find a perfect place that wasn’t exactly city center but did overlook the city, and it was right up the street from the local tram station. That was perfect as we’ve come to notice that trains and tramways are the cheapest option for local travel.

Airbnb Athens Greece
The view from our AirBnb

That’s my opinion on lodging, as there are options for hotels, they were a bit too pricey considering we were only going to be in them to sleep. But it’s all a matter of preference and if you’d prefer a hotel closer to syntagma square, then there are a few nearby.

Local Transportation

Options for transportation in Athens are similar to most places, there are taxis, ubers, metro, trams, and buses. While the buses did reach a few places we wanted to see, the trams usually got us there with only an extra 5 minutes of walking. So it was our preferred way to get around the city as we were able to get week long tickets (ahead of time online) that were very affordable and all major sites are near a station.

If there are specific sites that you want to go that are a bit too far for your walking distance, the taxis are easy to call and aren’t expensive for short rides.

 

Things To Do

Now we get to the meat of the trip, the reasons we went. I’ll show a map below of all the sites we visited on where they are in relation to each other. You’ll notice that they are all close in proximity and that’s why we were able to see so much and had days to spare. The places are also listed in chronological order that we visited them but we didn’t see them in this order for any particular reason, so feel free to explore in what every order you prefer.

Things to do in Athens Greece

Map Legend:

Dark blue – Ancient Agora

Pink – Hadrians Library

Orange – Acropolis, Parthenon, and Theater of Dionysus

Green – Mount Lycabettus

Light Blue – National Garden

Red – Temple of Zeus

Yellow – Panathenaic Stadium

White – Syntagma Square

Map of Athens Greece

1. Theater of Dionysus

Theater of Dionysus

This was a part of the Acropolis, so we were able to see it before walking up the acropolis to the Parthenon. I highly recommend booking your tickets in advance, as we didn’t and were stuck waiting in a long line on a hot day for roughly an hour! The theater itself is a short walk around as are the grounds around it. It’s a nice place to snap a few shots and prepare for the short trek up the hill.

2. Acropolis and Parthenon

Parthenon

Acropolis

The main site of Athens, the central point with so much history and such a beautiful site! The Parthenon was a perfect start to our trip in Athens as we’re serious buff’s when it comes to historical sites and this is one of the best. Sadly it was a bit cloudy when we went, but that didn’t stop us from taking it all in and enjoying a 2,400 year old architectural relic! It was also pretty crowded even for what was supposed to be the low time, but thankfully there is plenty of room on top of the Acropolis, so it wasn’t cramped while we were up there.

There are also plenty of smaller sites scattered around the Parthenon with their own rich history and placards oh what their significance is.

3. Ancient Agora of Athens

Ancient Agora of Athens

Ancient Agora of Athens

Ancient Agora of Athens

The agora was the gathering place in Athens and later became a commercial place (marketplace basically). It’s also very well preserved so you get a much better sense of the architecture. On top of that, it was very spacious and much less crowded, we walked around the agora and barely ran into anyone and weren’t rushed at all while we were trying to take photos.

Also, there was a small museum and rest area located in the Agora. It was a large building with pillars lining the front and inside containing relics from multiple time periods.

4. Temple of Zeus

Temple of Zeus

Temple of Zeus

The temple of zeus was a mix of astonishment and slight disappointment. Looking back I would still go see it and still highly recommend it, but it’s a little upsetting how much is left. I can’t complain as it’s been standing for over 2,000 years, but quite a few pillars are missing as it has taken a beating over that time.

That being said, there are still smaller ruins around the site and even the 10 or so pillars of the main structure are still standing and still have such amazing craftsmanship.

INTERMISSION:

I want to stop and take a second to mention that after all of the sites I’ve listed so far, it only took about 2 days to visit them (including lunch breaks and taking it slow). These historical sites in Athens are very close together, which makes sense as 2,000 years ago people didn’t really have cars to “get to the other side of town”, so it helped making the main points close together. I just wanted to point that out though so you know that to visit all of the sites in here will only take 4-5 days MAX.

 

5. National Garden

National Garden Athens Greece

National Garden Athens Greece

We decided to visit the national garden in Athens as a spur of the moment thing. It actually wasn’t on our list on the way there but I’m glad we decided to go. It wasn’t as extravagant as the Acropolis or Ancient Agora, but we’re both avid lovers of hiking and nature walks so it was a nice break and there was no stress in getting around.

6. Panathenaic Stadium

Panathenaic Stadium

Panathenaic Stadium

This was a happy accident we stumbled on. We were actually just walking around outside the national garden and saw a large stadium. We kind of decided to check it out and see what it was. As we got closer it got bigger, and not only was it a stadium, but we got a quick intro to its rich history and how it once hosted the Olympic games.

I think one of the best parts was that you were allowed to walk around the track, in the stands, and even go underground where the athletes were (which was now converted into a small museum of sorts).

7. Mount Lycabettus

This was another spur of the moment decision. We had a day left in Athens with no plans so we decided to go for a hike to get a nice view of the city from a different angle. Honestly it was a great hike and I loved the view, but if you’re not into hiking then this isn’t something that you have to see.

8. Hadrians Library

Hadrians Library Athens Greece

Hadrians Library Athens Greece

This was our last destination but it was interesting to walk through and experience. I’d recommend doing this one during your Acropolis trip as it’s not too far from there. It’s also a quick visit with some nice history and would be a great site to see to end a day.

Athens Overall

Athens was a phenomenal trip! The only thing I think we could’ve improved about our trip is if it wasn’t as long. Not because Athens wasn’t a great city, but because we were still going to two other places and it would’ve been better to have more time in those places since we were able to see everything in Athens in the first few days.

Overall though, I highly recommend you visit Athens at least once and especially if you’re into rich historical sites!

Travel Tips

What is Glamping and How Do I Do It?

What is glamping

What is Glamping

What is Glamping?

So, exactly what is glamping? Glamping is simply the combination of camping and glamour. Sounds like a weird word, but it’s a simple concept of camping but in a more luxurious manner. So if you’re interested in camping and being outdoors but don’t want to go through the hassle of getting incredibly dirty and leaves in all your stuff, then maybe try glamping?

How does Glamping work?

It’s simple and easy to start, you find a campsite or campground that offers higher end services but still allows you to experience the beauty of nature. There are plenty of campsites around the world and most of the aspects of your trip can be taken care of by a single facility.

There are a variety of places and things you can do while glamping that will vary depending on what campsite you go to. It’s like any other travel, the possibilities and adventures depend on where you go and what you’re interested in.

How to go glamping

Where to start?

There are numerous places to search for glamping camp sites. My personal recommendation is to go onto glamping.com as you’re able to find campsites based off of location and other options.

Additionally pack for the climate you intend to visit. That’s pretty much it. It’s like a normal camping trip but without a lot of the stress. Plenty of the location specific information can be learned from contacting a representative at the place you intend to go. That being said, it doesn’t hurt to do personal research either.

Happy glamping!

Want to share this post? Feel free to use the images below!

What is Glamping how to glamp Glamping Spots

DestinationsUnited States

Best Hikes In Yosemite National Park [HIKING GUIDE]

Best Hikes In Yosemite National Park

Yosemite is a beautiful outdoors travel destination for any hiker, camper, or anyone who just loves the outdoors. That’s why I wanted to create a guide for the best hikes in Yosemite and make it easier for you to find a great adventure that fits your abilities.

There are quite a few ways to rank the trails in Yosemite but most people I talk to about hiking are concerned with the difficulty. Many trails have great scenery and give awesome views of nature, but it’s a bit of a deal breaker if the trail will have you crawling half way through. In addition, we’re going to focus on the Yosemite Valley area for trails.

So here are the best hikes in Yosemite ranked by difficulty!

Mirror Lake Trail

Mirror Lake Trail Yosemite

Distance: 2.3 (3.2km) miles round trip to lake and back. 5 (8km) miles if you go around the lake

Elevation Gain: 100 feet

Difficulty: Easy

Time: 1 hour round trip; 2-3 hours if you loop around the lake.

This is a simple trail that takes you to a wonderful view of the lake. It has great foliage and atmosphere! It’s not difficult and has very low elevation gain as well. Getting to the trailhead is also simple as you can take the valley shuttle service and the trailhead for Mirror Lake starts at stop #17.

Conveniently, this trail is also open year round as it’s a fairly simple trail and is safe as long as you don’t wander off trail.

Below is a view of the trail and notice that reaching mirror lake doesn’t require you to hike the entire trail.

Mirror Lake Trail Map

Sentinel/Cooks Meadow Loop

Sentinel Cooks Meadow Loop Trail

Distance: 1 (1.6km) miles round trip

Elevation Gain: None, trail is flat

Difficulty: Easy

Time: 30 minutes

This is a very easy trail that offers great views of the valley and some of Yosemites notable landmarks. Getting there is similar to Mirror Lake as it can be accessed by the shuttle that runs through Yosemite Valley. Simply take the shuttle to stop 5 or 9 and you’ll find yourself at the trailhead!

Overall this trail is fairly easy to manage and is open year round (may be snow covered in the winter though) and is welcoming to pets, bicycles, and strollers.

Sentinel Cooks Meadow Loop Trail Yosemite

Lower Yosemite Falls

Yosemite Falls

Distance: 1 (1.6km) miles round trip

Elevation Gain: About 15ft

Difficulty: Easy

Time: 30 minutes

This hike is more of a scenic walk aimed at viewing the awesome 320 foot waterfall that is awe inspiring and a beautiful roaring monster in the spring.

The trail can be accessed by walking from the visitor center, or to save energy, you can reach it by taking the shuttle to stop 6 and getting off there. It’s recommended to walk the trail clockwise so you can get the best views as you hike and not have to turn around.

The Lower Yosemite Falls trail is also open year round but it’s definitely better to see in the spring and early summer when all the ice and snow melts.

Lower Yosemite Falls

Columbia Rock

Columbia Rock Yosemite

Distance: 1.3 miles round trip

Elevation Gain: 950ft

Difficulty: Moderate

Time: 1.5 – 2.5 hours

Now we get into the meat of hiking with a slightly more challenging hike. Columbia Rock isn’t the hardest of hikes but it is in the middle of our list concerning difficulty. That being said, there is a risk/reward take away. The hike is more difficult than the previous but the views are that much more rewarding.

The trailhead is located at the Sunnyside campground and can be reached by taking the valley shuttle to stop 7 and taking a short quarter mile hike to the trailhead.

Columbia Rock Yosemite

For more information, check out this guide!

The Mist Trail

Mist Trail Yosemite

Distance: 3 (4.8km) miles round trip

Elevation Gain: 1,000ft

Difficulty: Moderate

Time: 12 – 5 hours (depends on how far you hike)

Moving along, we’re getting to the better known trails in Yosemite. They’re more widely known since most of those beautiful pictures you see of Yosemite are taken on these trails. The views you get to experience the higher you hike are phenomenal! But, with more time on a trail, comes more time needed for preparation. Make sure you’re fit enough for a 5 hours hike and able to carry necessary water to finish.

To start, you can get to the trailhead at Happle Isles near shuttle stop 16. There is a little bit more to it obviously so I’ll leave it to this guide to better explain the journey and a trail map below!

Mist Trail Map

4 Mile Trail

Four Mile Trail Yosemite

Distance: 4.8 (7.7km) to Glacier Point. 9.6 mi round trip

Elevation Gain: 3,200ft

Difficulty: Very Difficult

Time: 3 – 4 hours one way; 6 – 8 hours round trip

If you’re well acquainted to difficult hikes and aren’t new to outdoors trekking, I highly recommend this trail. It combines quite a few of Yosemites best scenic areas all on one trail. By the time you reach the top, you’ll have an amazing view of Yosemite Falls, Sentinel Dome, El Capitan, and Half Dome.

The trail starts at the base of Sentinel Rock and even more conveniently, if the hike wore you out and you don’t want to get noodle legs and hurt your knees going down, then there’s a shuttle that can take you back down!

There is a bit of information on this trail so please check out this resource for more information and see the trail map below!

Four Mile Trail Map

Half Dome

Half Dome Yosemite

Distance: 17 miles

Elevation Gain: 8,842ft

Difficulty: Very Difficult

Time: 10 – 14 hours

Half Dome is one of the most iconic sites in Yosemite National Park. Thankfully you don’t have to take the same way up Alex Honnold would and there’s a trail that you can reserve a spot on that is strenuous, but worth the hike. It also makes a lot of Yosemite Valley visible and offers some of the best scenic views in the park.

For more information, check out the information here to not just learn more about the trail, but also find out how to get a permit.

Half Dome Map

TIPS FOR HIKING IN YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK

  • The best times to visit are spring and early summer, especially if you’re looking to see the waterfalls.
  • Come prepared, even short hikes can still take time and you should always have proper hiking gear, food, water, and a way to contact for help in worse case scenarios.
  • Try to avoid visiting on weekends and holidays. The park can become crowded quickly and going during the low times will alleviate the stress of too many people.
  • Carry a small bag for trash with you! Many people comment on “taking care of our parks in America”, but honestly, take care of everywhere! Don’t leave trash in the wild and never leave with less than you came with.
  • Always research possible wildlife and how to handle it. This article can’t cover all the information to staying safe and you should consult a park ranger or wildlife expert to make sure you’re prepared.

Want to share this post? Feel free to use one of the images below!

Destinations

75 Best Travel and Wanderlust Quotes

Traveling Quotes

Looking for inspirational travel quotes? Sometimes it’s nice to renew your interests and love for traveling. Hopefully these travel quotes will give you that motivation and keep your spirit for travel ignited. If you have more poignant travel quotes you want to share, please leave them in the comments below!

Best Travel Quotes!

1. Man cannot discover new oceans unless he is willing to lose sight of the shore. – Andre Gide

Travel Quotes

2. “There are no foreign lands. It is the traveler only who is foreign” – Robert Louis Stevenson

3. “Traveling’s not something you’re good at. It’s something you do. Like Breathing.” – Gayle Foreman

4. “The world makes way for the man who knows where he is going.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

5. Remember that happiness is a way of travel – not a destination. – Roy M. GoodmanWanderlust Quotes

6. “A person susceptible to “wanderlust” is not so much addicted to movement as committed to transformation.”  – Pico Iyer – a

7. “If we were meant to stay in one place, we’d have roots instead of feet” – Rachel Wolchin

8. “Travel doesn’t become adventure until you leave yourself behind” – Marty Rubin

9. Wanderlust: a strong desire for or impulse to wander or travel and explore the world. Best Travel Quotes

10. “The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes” – Marcel Proust. T

11. “Only those who risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.”

12. “Your imagination is your preview of life’s coming attractions.”

13. “We travel for romance, we travel for architecture, and we travel to be lost.” – Ray Bradbury

14. Because in the end, you won’t remember the time you spent working in the office or mowing your lawn. Climb that goddamn mountain. – Jack Kerouac

Inspirational Travel Quotes

15. “My favorite thing is to go where I’ve never been.”

16. “I’m shaking the dust of this crummy little town off my feet and I’m gonna see the world.”

17. “What you’ve done becomes the judge of what you’re going to do — especially in other people’s minds. When you’re traveling, you are what you are right there and then. People don’t have your past to hold against you. No yesterdays on the road.” – William Least Heat Moon

18. “People don’t take trips, trips take people.” – John Steinbeck

19. “I haven’t been everywhere, but it’s on my list.” – Susan Sontag g

20. Blessed are the curious, for they shall have adventures. – Lovelle Drachman 

Awesome Travel Quotes

21. “Do not go where the path may lead; go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.”

22. “To awaken quite alone in a strange town is one of the pleasantest sensations in the world” – Freya Stark

23. “Perhaps travel cannot prevent bigotry, but by demonstrating that all peoples cry, laugh, eat, worry, and die, it can introduce the idea that if we try and understand each other, we may even become friends” – Maya Angelou g

24. “Don’t count the days. Make the days count.”

25. It feels good to be lost in the right direction. 

Wanderlust and Travel Quotes

26. “The pleasure we derive from journeys is perhaps dependent more on the mindset with which we travel than on the destination we travel to” – Alain de Botton

27. “Collect moments. Not things.”

28. “A journey is best measured in friends rather than miles.” – Tim Cahill

29. “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.”

30. I’m in love with cities I’ve never been to and people I’ve never met. – John Green

World Travel Quotes

31.

32. “We wander for distraction but we travel for fulfillment” – Hilaire Belloc

33. “The gladdest moments, me thinks, is a departure into unknown lands.”

34. “To travel is to discover that everyone is wrong about other countries” – Aldous Huxley

35. “Travel is never a matter of money but of courage.” – Paulo Coelho

36. “Two roads diverged in a wood and I – I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference” – Robert Frost

37. Traveling – It leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller. – Ian Battuta

Wanderlust Quotes

38. “A mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back to its old dimensions.”

39.  “The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.”

40. “Why do you go away? So that you can come back. So that you can see the place you came from with new eyes and extra colors. And the people there see you differently, too. Coming back to where you started is not the same as never leaving.” – Terry Pratchett

41. “The best dreams happen when you’re awake.”

42. Jobs fill your pocket, but adventures fill your soul. – Jamie Lyn Beatty

Travel Quotes

43. “It is better to travel well than to arrive.”

44. “Never get so busy making a living that you forget to make a life.”

45. “Do not dare not to dare.”

46. “Life is short and the world is wide.”

47. Travel makes one modest. You see what a tiny place you occupy in the world. – Gustav Falubert

Quotes About Travel

48. Do you really want to look back on your life and see how wonderful it could have been had you not been afraid to live it?” – Caroline Myss

49. “If you reject the food, ignore the customs, fear the religion and avoid the people, you might better stay at home.” – James Michener

50. “Travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer.” – Anonymous

51. “Never let your memories be greater than your dreams.”

52. “I travel a lot; I hate having my life disrupted by routine.” – Caskie Stinnett

53. “Not all those who wander are lost.” – J.R.R. Tolkien

54. “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step” – Lao Tzu

55. The most beautiful in the world is of course, the world itself. – Wallace Stevens

Quotes About Traveling

56. “Travel far enough, you meet yourself” -David Mitchell

57. “Don’t tell me how educated you are, tell me how much you have traveled.” – Mohammed

58. “Fill your life with experiences, not things. Have stories to tell, not stuff to show.” –Unknown

59. “A good traveler has no fixed plans, and is not intent on arriving.” Lao Tzu

60. Better to see something once than to hear about it a thousand times. 

Quotes on Travel

61. “Actually, the best gift you could have given her was a lifetime of adventures.” –Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

62.  “Travel makes one modest. You see what a tiny place you occupy in the world.” – Gustave Flaubert

63. “I always wonder why birds choose to stay in the same place when they can fly anywhere on earth, then I ask myself the same question.” –Harun Yahya

64. “I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel’s sake. The great affair is to move.” – Robert Louis Stevenson

65. Take only memories, leave only footprints. 

Traveling Quotes

66. “We live in a world that is full of beauty, charm and adventure. There is no end to the adventures we can have if only we seek them with our eyes open.” ― Jawaharial Nehru

67. “Wherever you go becomes a part of you somehow.”  – Anita Desai

68. “This wasn’t a strange place; it was a new one.” – Paulo Coelho

69. “We travel, some of us forever, to seek other states, other lives, other souls.” – Anais Nin

70. The life you have led doesn’t need to be the only life you have. – Anna Quindlen

Best Travel Quotes

71. Live your life by a compass, not a clock. – Stephen Covey

72. “Surely, of all the wonders of the world, the horizon is the greatest.” – Freya Stark

73. “I travel because it makes me realize how much I haven’t seen, how much I’m not going to see, and how much I still need to see.” – Carew Papritz

74. “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness.” –Mark Twain

75. “I am not the same, having seen the moon shine on the other side of the world.” – Mary Anne Radmacher

DestinationsEurope

Visiting Zugspitze – Garmisch Germany [TRAVEL GUIDE]

Visiting Zugspitze Garmisch Partenkirchen Germany


Germany is a phenomenal country to visit and experience their culture! After living there for over 3 years, I grew to love all it had to offer and still go back as often as I can. It’s also where I met Linn so that’s also kind of important to me.

Contents

  1. Introduction!
  2. Getting to Zugspitze
    1. Zugspitze from Germany
    2. Zugspitze from Austria
  3. What’s up there?
    1. Siteseeing
    2. Skiing/Snowboarding
    3. Food and Drink
    4. Gifts

Zugspitze Germany

Intro to Visiting Zugspitze Garmisch-Partenkirchen

I loved every minute of being in Germany (well unless I was working). The whole country is beautiful and a great place to go siteseeing, Zugspitze is no exception. Nestled in the southern part of Bavaria and the highest mountain in Germany, Zugspitze is a towering mountain of awesomeness. Coming in at 2,962m (9,718ft), Zugspitze is not the easiest (but also not the hardest) mountain to climb. No worries though, if you don’t want to climb there’s a cable car that can take you right to the top! We’ll cover that in a bit though, first lets talk about how to even get to a spot to prepare ascending this beast.

Garmisch Partenkirchen Germany Zugspitze

Transportation

Getting to Zugspitze can be done from Germany or Austria as the mountain slices right through both countries. While I recommend driving as it was simple and easier to get around, there are other options depending on the side you choose. But if you can, I strongly recommend renting a vehicle or taking some form of local transportation to get around.

Zugspitze From Germany

Zugspitze Train

Train (Choo choo!)

If you’re coming from the German side, it’s best to reach Garmisch-Partenkirchen to start your journey, as the Zahnradbahn (cogwheel train) connects the city to the mountain and gives a direct train to Zugspitze. NOTE: There is still a short distance to either hike or take a very short cable car ride to get all the way to the top. For more info on ticket prices, check here.

Zugspitze Cable Car

Cable Car From Eibsee To Zugspitze

An alternative to getting to the top is to take the same train mentioned before, but stop at Eibsee (the lake below the mountain), and then take the longer Eibsee cable car all the way to the top of Germany’s highest peak! I recommend this route as it offers the best view and you get a wonderful site of Lake Eibsee below.

Hiking Zugspitze

There are also 5 main hiking trails you can take that are usually split over two days. These hikes take time and while this mountain isn’t the hardest, I highly recommend you be fit and trained for climbing. I chose the cable car personally, so if you want more information on the trails, check this out.

Zugspitze From Austria

Cable Car Again!

In addition to the hiking trails listed previously, there is another cable car on the Austrian side that will get you to Zugspitze. The Tiroler Zugspitzbahn in Ehrwald, Austria offers rides up the mountain in short time and to compare prices, you can check their website.

What’s On Zugspitze To See?

Zugspitze Edelweiss Garmisch Germany

Siteseeing

Once you get to the top of Zugspitze, you can finally relax and take in the view. Look towards Germany and see Lake Eibsee far below, then do a 180 and see the beauty of Austria! There are multiple viewing areas to get to feel the Alps with your eyes, and if you’re feeling adventurous, there is a slight climb (can be dangerous!) to get to the very tip top of the peak.

Zugspitze Sledding and Snowboarding

Skiing/Snowboarding

Thankfully, due to Zugspitze’s altitude, it is covered in snow for over half the year! This is great news if you’re into skiing or snowboarding as they have awesome trails that are commonly covered in fresh powder. Additionally, if you’re not into skiing or snowboarding, there is a sledding area below the summit (same altitude as where the cog train comes to) for some family fun. The slopes weren’t open at the time we went due to maintenance, so we decided to enjoy some sledding 😊.

Zugspitze Food and Drinks

Food & Drinks

It takes time to go up the mountain and time to go down. If it weren’t for the restaurants at the top, I would have been hangry about 80% of the time. There are a few options for restaurants once you get there and it’s fantastic German cuisine! To get more info, check here! Even if you are traveling on a budget, you don’t need to have a sit down meal while you’re up there. Scattered around Zugspitze are smaller eateries and food truck sized stands for snacks and refreshments!

Gifts

If you’re anything like us, mementos and gifts for family are a must to grab on any of our travels. We always visit these places rich in culture that have unique aspects we may never see again, so we always try to take a small piece back with us. If that’s you too, then rejoice since there’s plenty of shops to grab presents from at the top!

Zugspitze Garmisch Partenkirchen

Overall

So is the trip worth it? Should you take the time to travel to Gramisch-Partenkirchen and ascend Zugspitze? Absolutely! I spent 3 years in Germany and loved this place so much I actually ended up going twice. It’s a perfect getaway and will be a place to create memories and enjoy the beauty of Germany!

Want to share this post?

Feel free to use one of the images below!

Visiting Zugspitze Garmisch Visiting Zugspitze Garmisch