This past summer we decided to take a back to back trip through central Europe, with the goal of hitting 8 cities across 5 countries within 9 days. It was crazy when we were planning it, and it was crazy living it. It was unlike my study abroads in Madrid and Toulouse, and vastly different than my solo trips to Tokyo or Macau. Not only did we have to have every accommodation planned for, but we were planning on visiting a few key sites, and were staying in a variety of airbnbs, hotels, and hostels.
We began our Europe trip in Cologne. My parents were flying in from Chicago, while I was flying in from San Francisco. Once we’d landed, we rented a car, checked into our Airbnb, and explored Cologne. With it’s variety of museums, fine examples of modern architecture, and gothic churches, it’s definitely a city with a lot of culture and plenty to see.
The next day, we drove over to Brussels and followed an itinerary put together by my good friend Andy, who lived in Brussels for a little bit. From visiting Le pain Quotidien for breakfast, making our way to Fritland for some Belgian fries, and checking out Manneken Pis, we had a packed day. Brussels definitely did not disappoint.
Following Brussels, we made a quick pit stop in Luxembourg, a small country surrounded by Belgium, France, and Germany, with a population less than that of Chicago. We took a stroll around Luxembourg City and checked out Cathedrale Notre-Dame.
We then decided to spend a night in Eastern France, in a small city known for its german influence, including architecture with french and german influences. The following morning I went for a quick run around the canal surrounding the city. Below is a quick aerial video I took on our way to Strasbourg, just outside of the city limits.
Five days in, and we finally got to Interlaken, Switzerland, the Miami of Switzerland. It’s the traditional resort town in the mountains of central Switzerland with stunning views, forests, and glaciers. We ended up checking into a hostel not too far from the train station, cooked a home cooked meal, and did some more flying. Check it out below.
The next day, we bought train tickets on the GoldenPass Line to western Switzerland, to a small town called Montreux that lies on Lake Geneva. We ventured up to Rochers de Naye during off peak season and were able to capture some spectacular views from the top of the mountain. Check out the video below.
Next up was Lucerne, a medieval city in eastern Switzerland that surrounded by the snow capped mountains on Lake Lucerne. You can still see remnants of medieval times in the Kapellbrucke Bridge, Lion Monument, and the Spreur Bridge.
On our way out of Switzerland, we made a quick stop in Stuttgart, one of the big manufacturing hubs in Germany, and home to Mercedes-Benz and Porsche. While on our way to the city, we stopped by Hohenzollern Castle, home to the Price of Prussia. We even lucked out and got to meet him and his family. Check out the video of the castle below.
Back to Cologne
After 9 days, we had finally made it back to Cologne. While this was a whirlwind of a Europe trip, we had the opportunity to travel through 5 different countries, eat some amazing food, and capture some beautiful landscapes. If you’re looking to head to Europe, or are looking to venture out to any of these cities, feel free to reach out or leave a message in the comments below.