Stay connected with unlimited data in EuropeKollecting Koordinate s- unlimited data in Europe 1

Regardless of how expensive data plans are in Canada we can’t not have them, even if it means a measly 4GB a month.  Don’t even get me started on roaming charges! We usually bum WiFi off restaurants and hotel lobbies when we’re traveling but Mickey D’s and Starbucks aren’t always around. When we found out we could have unlimited data in Europe we were alllll over it.

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HIPPOCKETWIFI delivered the pocket-sized device to our hotel in London. It came in a cute pouch along with an emergency SIM card, charging cable, instructions card, and prepaid return envelope. We loved our Hippo so much we even sang a jingle whenever we pulled it out! It saved our butts so many times that we owe our flawless trip to this little guy:

  • Staying in touch with our families 24/7
  • Never getting lost with Google Maps while on our road trip
  • Making dinner reservations at hard-to-book restaurants
  • Booking ferry and train tickets on the go (barely made it back to Salzburg from Halltstatt)
  • Posting on social media to stay in the loop
  • Checking operating hours for attractions and restaurants
  • Emailing and calling brands for travel arrangements
  • Sending our #1 biggest fan (Mama Ko!) daily photos and videos so she can live vicariously through them
  • Checking bus, train, and ferry schedules
  • And the most important of all… researching the best spots for food!
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almost got stranded in Hallstatt.. barely made the last ferry/train back to Salzburg

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one of many yummy dessert cafes/restaurants we researched thanks to Hippo

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not once did we get lost on our Montenegro road trip!

Unlimited data in Europe with HIPPOCKETWIFI

What’s included in the plan?

You’ll get unlimited high-speed 4G LTE network in Europe, express delivery, prepaid return envelope from an European country, 24/7 support, and no hidden fees. Up to 10 devices can be connected simultaneously.

Note: Hippo works in 40 European countries; see this page for the complete list.

How do I rent one?

Place an online order before you go. You can have your pocket WiFi mailed to your first stop in Europe or delivered to your home (if you live in the US or Canada). Alternatively, you can pick it up from over 25,000 stores and post offices in Europe.

How much does it cost?

Prices start at 11.90€/day for 3-5 days, 10.90€/day for 6-9 days, 9.90€/day for 10-13 days, and 8.90€/day for 14+ days. Refer to this page for current pricing.

What’s the battery life?

When it’s fully charged the batter will last 6 hours of usage. It automatically turns off when it’s not in use to conserve battery.

Tip: We had it plugged in our solar backpack at all times which means we never had to worry about it running out!

More tips & info

  • If you don’t need unlimited data you can opt for 1GB/day plans
  • Rentals are available from 3-360 days
  • For more information and current promotions, visit their official website, Facebook, and Instagram pages


Disclaimer: Many thanks to HIPPOCKETWIFI for providing us with a complimentary unlimited data in Europe and for making our trip flawless! All experiences and opinions are honest and our own. We wouldn’t recommend something if we didn’t love it ourselves!

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Skip the lines at David and Duomo in Florence!Kollecting Koordinates - best tour in Florence

Did you really go to Florence if you didn’t see Michelangelo’s David and climb the Duomo? Because they’re the most sought-out attractions in this iconic Renaissance city, you can imagine how crowded these sites get. Why not avoid crowds and skip lines with the best tour in Florence?

Read more: Where to stay in Florence

Kollecting Koordinates - best tour in Florence

VIP David & Duomo Tour – Best tour in Florence

We signed up for the VIP David & Duomo Tour with Walks of Italy, highly recommended especially for first time visitors. Small groups of no more than 15 people are led by an expert local guide who will whisk you back to the Renaissance era. The headset allows you to hear your guide even if you stray a little from your group.

What will you see?

  • Accademia Gallery
  • Baptistery
  • Duomo Museum
  • Duomo
  • Duomo Terraces
  • Dome of the Duomo

Tip: Make sure you keep your ticket stub so you can climb Giotto’s Campanile in your own time

Kollecting Koordinates - best tour in Florence Kollecting Koordinates - best tour in FlorenceKollecting Koordinates - best tour in Florence

What does the 3hr tour look like?

  • Meet with your guide and the rest of your group at 7:45am
  • Skip the line and enter the Accademia Gallery by 8am
  • Tour the Gallery and see Michelangelo’s ‘David’ in relative peace
  • Skip the line at the Baptistery and Duomo Museum
  • Skip the line at the Duomo
  • Get exclusive access to the Duomo terraces
  • Bypass all other tourists and climb the Duomo
  • Say goodbye to your guide and enjoy free time on the dome

Ishmael was our guide and he was fantastic. He painted history with such depth and passion, chaining each story and masterpiece with a great narrative arc. Each tile in the mosaic ceiling, each stroke in paintings, each curve in sculptures- they were all brought to life with his explanations. If only we had him as our history teacher back in school we would’ve aced the class!

The coolest part was being on the Duomo Terrace with no one else! We had incredible views of Florence and far into Tuscany without elbows jabbing us or selfie sticks poking our eyes. This is where we got an up-close view of Brunelleschi’s humongous brick dome (the largest in the world!).

We visited in early June, the beginning of the peak season. Lines snaked and wrapped around each attraction. Unlike AS I have 0 patience. I don’t know about you but I wouldn’t want to wait for extended periods of time under the blistering sun- or anywhere, really! It felt sooooo good to cross multiple velvet ropes throughout the day, bypassing massive crowds.

Read more: How to see Rome in 3 days

Kollecting Koordinates - best tour in FlorenceKollecting Koordinates - best tour in Florence Kollecting Koordinates - best tour in Florence

How much does it cost and how do I book?

You can book online. Prices start at $145.79CAD per person for adults, $141.18CAD for students (ages 13-22), and $136.58CAD for children (ages 4-12). Kids under 4 don’t have to pay! The meticulous timing, special access, and knowledgeable guides are why this is the best tour in Florence.

About Walks of Italy

Walks of Italy offers tours not only in Florence, but also Rome, Venice, and Paris. For more information and current promotions, check out their official website, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram pages.

Kollecting Koordinates - best tour in FlorenceDisclaimer: Many thanks to Walks of Italy for hosting our VIP David & Duomo Tour in Florence.  All opinions and experiences are honest and our own; we wouldn’t recommend something if we didn’t love it ourselves!

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24 hours in Ljubljana with the Ljubljana CardKollecting Koordinates - 24 hours in Ljubljana

If you like canal cities with friendly locals, compelling architecture, and a laidback vibe, you’ll fall in love with Slovenia’s capital like we did. Ljubljana, pronounced lyoo-BLYAH-nah, is the perfect marriage of historical heritage and modern living. With the Ljubljana Card, you can make the most of your time with only 24 hours in Ljubljana.

Read more: Where to stay in Ljubljana

Itinerary – 24 hours in Ljubljana

 

– Morning –

Self-guided bike tour around the city

Visit the information booth (by the Triple Bridge) to pick up a Ljubljana Card and digital guide, then walk towards the castle funicular where you can rent a bike. Both are complimentary with the card for up to 4 hours. With the digital guide you will learn about the city’s history and attractions- pretty much everything you need to know about Ljubljana.

Guided City Tour

If you prefer a guided tour, a regular city tour is also included in your Ljubljana Card. Meet in front of the Town Hall where a guide will show you around the historical city centre and hit up Ljubljana’s major attractions. You’ll also have an opportunity to try traditional Slovene dishes as part of a brief tasting session.

Note: Tours are available daily at 11AM from October – March and at 10AM from April to September. Allow 2 hours.

Kollecting Koordinates - 24 hours in Ljubljana

 

– Afternoon –

Museums and Galleries

Cardholders get free access to numerous museums and galleries, such as the National Gallery and Museum of Modern Art. Simply hand your Ljubljana Card to the ticketing representative to be swiped upon entering an establishment.

Ljubljana Castle

Whether you toured the city on your own or with a guide, you’ll end up at Ljubljana Castle. Take the funicular up the hill and explore this 900 year-old beauty. Climb the Outlook Tower which offers breathtaking panoramic views of the city and surrounding areas.

 

– Evening –

Ljubljana River Cruise

See the city from a different perspective as you cruise down the Ljubljanica River. Boats depart from the Ribji trg pier every day at 10AM, 11AM, 1PM, 2PM, 5PM, 6PM, 7PM, and 8PM from April to September.

Tip: Allow 1 hour for the cruise. Arrive early to get front row seats for the best views!

Read more: Predjama Castle and Postojna Cave – Unmissable spots in Slovenia

Museum of Illusions

End your day at the Museum of Illusions; this is the only attraction that is open until late (9am-10pm). With over 40 exhibits, optical illusions, holograms, and interactive installations, both kids and adults will have a ton of fun. We almost missed our dinner reservation because we wanted to finish all the puzzles!

24 hours in Ljubljana with the Ljubljana Card

What the Ljubljana Card includes:

  • Unlimited free travel on city buses
  • Free WiFi in the city
  • Ljubljana city tour
  • Digital guide for self-sightseeing
  • Free bike rental for up to 4 hours
  • Ljubljana Castle and funicular
  • Ljubljana Zoo
  • Volčji Potok Arboretum
  • Over 15 museums and galleries
  • Union Experience – brewery tour

Where can I purchase it?

Online, hotels, or at one of the Tourist Information Centres.

What are my options and how much does it cost?

You can choose from 3 options: 24, 48, or 72 hours at €23.00, €30.00 and €35.00 respectively. Validity period starts from the moment when the card is first used.

Tip: Save 10% when you purchase online in advance.

For more information on the Ljubljana Card and to purchase in advance, please visit their official website.

Disclaimer: Many thanks to the Slovenian Tourist Board and Ljubljana Tourism for hosting us in Ljubljana. All opinions and experiences are honest and our own- we wouldn’t recommend something if we didn’t love it ourselves!

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Kollecting Koordinates - 24 hours in Ljubljana

Day trip to Predjama Castle and Postojna CaveKollecting Koordinates - Postojna Cave and Predjama Castle

Have you ever seen the ‘human fish’ or explored a cave castle? We checked both off our list during our time in one of our favourite countries: Slovenia. Postojna Cave and Predjama Castle are two historic sites not to be missed!

About Postojna

Located on the Pivka River, Postojna is a town in southwestern Slovenia that was once a part of the Holy Roman Empire. Today, it is home to two world famous sites brimming with history: Postojna Cave and Predjama Castle. Their cave systems are where the first research on karst topography took place, which are characterized by eroded limestone structures and underground streams.

Read more: Stay in Hotel Jama at Postojna Cave Park

Getting there

By train: The Vienna-Venice line runs through Postojna, with connections to Zagreb, Rijeka, Salzburg, and Koper.

By car: You can reach Postojna in less than an hour from Ljubljana, Koper, or Trieste. Allow 2 hours for Venice and Zagreb.

By bus: Intercity buses from Ljubljana, Koper, Rijeka and Nova Gorica will take you to the bus station in front of Postojna Cave. Check the current bus schedule for exact connections and times.

Note: Visitors with combined tickets can use the free shuttle transfer between Postojna Cave and Predjama Castle from July to September. 

Postojna Cave and Predjama Castle

Postojna Cave

Coined ‘The Queen of All Caves’, Postojna Cave was first discovered in 1818. It receives 5-7,500 visitors per day, reaching more than 37 million visitors over the past 2 centuries. While visitors can only explore the first 5km, the entire cave system stretches more than 24km.

An electric train transports you along a railway that has been around since 1872 for the first 2km. Continue your visit on foot through paths, tunnels, and bridges that are decorated with stalactites and stalagmites. Postojna Cave is the only underground landscape in the world that can be explored using an electric train!

At the end of the journey you’ll find an aquarium containing the proteus anguinus, also known as the olm or ‘human fish’. This blind creature is the largest cave-dwelling vertebrate in Europe, growing up to 40cm long. Its heart beats twice a minute and it can live up to 100 years old. With a diet consisting of small snails and crabs, the olm can go 10 years without eating.

Note: Please listen to the guide and TURN OFF FLASH PHOTOGRAPHY!! Some people just don’t care- I wish there was a way to fine these scums.

Image courtesy of Postojnska Jama

Image courtesy of Postojnska Jama

Image courtesy of Postojnska Jama

Image courtesy of Postojnska Jama

Image courtesy of Postojnska Jama

Predjama Castle

Located 9km from Postojna Cave is the Predjama Castle. As the largest cave castle in the world according to the Guinness World Records, it has been perched up in the middle of a 123m cliff for more than 800 years. 

Half cave and half castle, Predjam Castle was home to Erazem Lueger, a Robin Hood-like knight in the 15th century. His castle was besieged but through a secret passage Erazem was still able to get fresh food and continue his daring deeds. Erazem’s fate was finally sealed when one of his servants betrayed him, revealing the castle’s only weak spot: Erazem’s washroom. A cannonball struck Erazem while he was on the toilet- what a shitty way to die, eh?

Live the life of Erazem as you walk through his bedroom, dining room, knight room, soldiers’ and servants’ quarters, dungeon, and torture chamber. A self-guided tour can easily be done with the informative audio guide that’s included in your ticket.

Tip: Allow 60-90 minutes to explore Predjama Castle.

Kollecting Koordinates - Postojna Cave and Predjama Castle

Image courtesy of Postojnska Jama

Image courtesy of Postojnska Jama

Useful tips & info

  • Prices vary depending on activities and attractions, check current prices and packages here.
  • You can visit both Postojna Cave and Predjama Castle in one day.
  • Make sure you’re the first group in Postojna Cave; it only gets busier as the day goes by.
  • Wear comfortable shoes and bring layers. It gets chilly inside the caves!
  • I can’t stress this enough- do NOT use flash photography as this damages the caves.
  • For more information and current promos, visit their official website, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram pages.

Disclaimer: Many thanks to the Slovenia Tourist Board and Postojnska Jama for hosting us. All opinions and experiences are honest and our own- we wouldn’t recommend something if we didn’t love it ourselves!

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Kollecting Koordinates - Postojna Cave and Predjama Castle

Hotel Jama in Postojna Cave Park

Predjama Castle and Postojna Cave are two historic sites that cannot be missed in Slovenia. Rated one of the best hotels in Slovenia, Hotel Jama is the best option for travelers visiting this region. First opened in 1971, renovations were completed in spring 2016 with brand spanking new guestrooms and facilities.

Read more: Visiting the Predjama Castle and Postojna Cave

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Hotel Jama – one of the best hotels in Slovenia

Location & Space

Feel like VIPs as you walk on a red carpet to the hotel’s entrance. A spacious and inviting lobby sits behind the main doors with two large seating areas. Surrounded by nature, every window boasts stunning views of the forest or the park.

Hotel Jama is a mere 100 meters from Postojna Cave, and only 10 minutes away from another world-famous attraction: Predjama Castle. Day trips to Ljubljana and Bled are also totally doable; both are less than an hour’s drive. If you want to hop over the border to Italy, Trieste is only 30 minutes away.

Guestrooms

All 80 guestrooms are equipped with LCD TVs with cable and satellite channels, free Wi-Fi, air conditioning, a minibar and an in-room safe. We loved how sophisticated and modern the rooms have been redesigned.

Tip: The superior rooms have balconies facing the front of the hotel. These rooms have the best views!

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Read more: Itinerary – 24 hours in Ljubljana

Staff & Service

Hotel Jama takes the cake for the best service we received in Slovenia, hands down! The lovely front desk agents were all smiles and knew us by name.

Andrej, one of the waiters at the onsite restaurant, blew us away with his charm and humour. His presence made up for the mediocre dining experience we had the previous night in Ljubljana.

Dining

Enjoy a hearty buffet-style breakfast at Magical Garden, the onsite restaurant. Choose from a variety of fresh pastries, cured meats, cheeses, and hot foods. Who says you can’t have the famous Bled cream cake first thing in the morning?!

Kollecting Koordinates - best hotels in Slovenia

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For dinner, let the master chefs pamper your taste buds with the finest cuisine. We celebrated AS’s birthday with a perfectly cooked steak and flavourful squid ink ravioli. To top it all off, Andrej surprised us with cakes at the end of the meal.

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Other tips & Info

  • Rates start at 130€+ for double rooms, 140€+ for superior double rooms with a view, and 170€+ for superior family rooms.
  • All hotel guests get free access to the Postojna Cave Park, regardless of room type!
  • Parking is free for guests staying at the hotel.
  • Pets are welcome!
  • For more information and current promos, visit their official website, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram pages.

Image courtesy of Postojnska Jama

Disclaimer: Many thanks to the Slovenia Tourist Board and Postojnska Jama for hosting us. All opinions and experiences are honest and our own- we wouldn’t recommend something if we didn’t love it ourselves!

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Kollecting Koordinates - best hotels in Slovenia

Bled Castle Restaurant – A magical meal in a fairytale-like setting

Food is such an integral part of our travel experience. We’ve noticed that taste is usually sub par when it comes to restaurants with a view, but this is not the case at Bled Castle Restaurant. Whether it’s the food, service, or the ambiance, it is without a doubt the best restaurant in Slovenia.

Read more: The best rated hotel in Slovenia

Imagine indulging in delicious food and drinks in a real castle overlooking a gorgeous lake as the sun sets. I’m being dead serious when I say ourculinary experience at Bled Castle Restaurant was far superior than some of the Michelin starred restaurants we’ve dined at. There’s really nothing to fault!

The Best Restaurant in Slovenia – Bled Castle Restaurant

Space & Ambiance

Located in Bled Castle, the restaurant has an indoor space seating 96 guests, with an additional outdoor terrace that can accommodate up to 100 guests. The window and terrace seats offer an unbeatable view of the turquoise Bled Lake.

Note: If you book your lunch or dinner in advance, you receive a free entrance to Bled Castle.

Tip: Book faaaar in advance if you want the best table in the house- the corner table right on the edge of the castle wall.

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Kollecting Koordinates - best restaurant in Slovenia 21

Read more: Day trip to Predjama Castle and Postojna Cave

Food

Led by a team of culinary professionals from Jezeršek catering, Bled Castle Restaurant offers traditional Slovene dishes with an innovative and sophisticated twist. The menu changes every season using only fresh ingredients. Flavours are bold and you can taste each ingredient for what they really are.

Staff & Service

One word: top-notch; the entire team is extremely kind and professional. We were greeted with a warm welcome the moment we set foot in the restaurant. An added bonus? Every single staff is eye candy (even AS thinks so).

Our lovely waiter for the night was Matic who took great care of us, making our evening truly unforgettable. He’s knowledgeable not only in wines, but also the ingredients used in each dish. Timing is everything when it comes to fine-dining. Our guy knew exactly when to take away an empty plate and when to introduce the next course.

Tasting Menu

After a glass of sparkling wine and amuse bouche, we were whisked away to an evening of culinary delights: the tasting menu with wine pairings. We found the portions to be very generous; neither quality nor quantity was compromised. Each dish was beautifully presented with flavour profiles that complement one another.

– Amuse Bouche and Soup –

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  • Deep fried meatball: Bite-sized meaty goodness with just the right amount of seasoning.
  • Carrot soup with scallop: Scallop is firm on the exterior and soft on the inside, with an explosion of flavour as you bite into it. Soup is creamy and light. The parsley oil drizzle is genius!

– Cold Starters –

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Kollecting Koordinates - best restaurant in Slovenia 6
  • Marinated red trout fillet in yogurt mousse with horseradish, green apple and radish: Fresh, tangy, and slightly spicy with a nice kick.
  • Smoked beef tongue with crispy courgettes, sour red onion and mustard dressing: Who can say no to melt-in-your-mouth beef? The courgette complemented the smokiness of the meat and added a nice crunch.

 – Main Course –

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  • Angler’s tail on mashed vegetables, saffron sauce and green bean salad: Perfectly cooked fish that has a lobster-like texture. If you like monkfish you’ll love this.
  • Slow cooked beef cheeks with spring vegetables and parmesan croquettes: So, so tender. Our teeth sunk into it as if it were butter.

– Dessert – 

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Kollecting Koordinates - best restaurant in Slovenia 13
  • Strawberry trifle with panna cotta and tarragon macaron: We usually aren’t big fans of panna cotta or macarons but we wanted more of this! Who knew tarragon could work so well in a dessert?
  • Chocolate mousse with forest fruit ice cream: Rich in cocoa yet light in texture. Chocolately sweet with a balanced nicely with tartness from the berries.

Read more: Where to stay in Ljubljana, Slovenia

Bled Castle Restaurant – The Best restaurant in Slovenia

  • Hours of operation: Daily from 11am-10pm
  • Reservations: Email meta@jezersek.si or call +386 (0)4 620 34 44. They do not take same-day reservations.
  • Location: In Bled Castle! If you’re walking from the lake keep in mind the uphill trail has lots of stairs.
  • For more information and current menus, please visit Jezeršek Catering’s official website, Instagram, and Facebook pages.

Disclaimer: Many thanks to Jezeršek Catering for hosting our meal at Bled Castle Restaurant, hands down the best restaurant in Slovenia we’ve dined at during our time there. As always, our opinions and experiences are honest and our own- we wouldn’t recommend something if we didn’t love it ourselves!

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Kollecting Koordinates - best restaurant in Slovenia

Exploring the City of Mozart with the Salzburg Card

So you’re planning your Salzburg adventure and want to make the most of out of your visit given only a few days. You might be wondering the same thing we did, “is the Salzburg Card worth it?” The short answer is- YES!

Salzburg, or “salt castle”, was once a powerful, independent country in the Roman Age. It was once referred to as the “Rome of the North”, given its wealth and affluence from the salt trade. Today, this baroque city is a UNESCO World Heritage Site characterized by its art and culture, historic center, and scenic surroundings.

Is the Salzburg Card worth it?

What is the Salzburg Card?

This card is your key to the City of Mozart. Available for 24, 48, or 72 hours, card holders receive free admission to every city tourist attraction and museum. You can also ride all public transportation for free! This includes the Festungsbahn furnicular, Monchsberg lift, Untersbergbahn lift, and Salzach River Tour. Additional discounts on cultural events, concerts, and a handful of excursions also apply.

Which card should I get? 

Because most attractions are open around 9 or 10am and close by 5 or 6pm , we recommend getting the 72hr card so you can see as much as possible. We were only able to tick off 9 of 29 freebies with a 48-hour window. The validity of your card begins with the first time it is used (i.e. 11am until 10:59am the the next day for the 24hr card).

Tip: You’ll get a handy brochure that details everything about the Salzburg Card at the time of purchase. Check the hours of operation and plan your routes and visiting times ahead!

Where can I get the Salzburg Card?

You can obtain the card from all hotels in Salzburg, tourist information offices in the vicinity, as well as the airport and HBF (main railway/bus station). Booking online doesn’t save you any money so just wait until you’re actually there.

READ MORE: Which hotel to stay in Salzburg

What are the must-see’s and must-do’s?

1. DomQuartier Salzburg: Due to its Roman Catholic influence, Salzburg was ruled by prince archbishops instead of kings. History comes alive at the former center of the prince-archbishops’ secular power, where you can tour the Cathedral and Residenz with a comprehensive audio guide.

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2. Mönchsberg Lift: The elevator takes you straight up Mönchsberg to a terrace offering the most beautiful panoramic view of Salzburg. This is a great vantage point to see Kapuzinerberg, Hohensalzburg Fortress, and Salzach (Salzburg River) altogether. There’s a also path through the forest that’ll take you to the fortress.

3. Hohensalzburg Fortress: You can either take the furnicular up (included in the Salzburg Card) or walk here from the Mönchsberg terrace. Apart from the stunning views, highlights include a fortress museum and medieval chambers, where you can get a glimpse of the courtly lifestyle of prince-archbishops. This 900-year old fortress also hosts the famous Salzburg Fortress concerts.

4 & 5: Mozart’s Birthplace and Mozart’s Residence: We’re usually not big on museums but Mozart’s Birthplace was meaningful to AS and I because of our background in classical piano (how our relationship blossomed in the first place!). The Mozart family lived here for 26 years from 1747 to 1773, when they moved to what we know today as the Mozart Residence in Makartplatz Square.

You’ll see a collection of portraits, original certificates and letters, sheet music, and items of everyday life from the 18th century. Mozart’s own violin and clavichord are also on display. The exhibition transports you back to the days of this child prodigy- it’s a must for all music and history buffs!

Note: No photography is allowed in the museum!

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6. Salzburg City Cruise: Hop on a speed boat and check out Salzburg from the river. Starting from the Makart Bridge, cruise down the river for 8km before you arrive at Hellbrunn landing. Once there, a shuttle will take you to Hellbrunn Palace within 4 minutes.

7. Hellbrunn Palace and Trick Fountains: Marvel at the summer residence of Salzburg prince-archbishops, get soaked by the trick fountains, and snap a photo at the famous gazebo from the Sound of Music. The palace courtyard and old driveway turn into a festive Advent market during the Christmas holidays!

8. Stiegl-Brauwelt: Check out Austria’s biggest private brewery, learn how Stiegl beers are made, and pick up fascinating tidbits about the world of beer. At the end of the tour, you’ll get to sample 3 different beers and walk away with a goodie bag (a canned beer, crackers, and a Stiegl beer mug).

Tip: Come just before lunch or dinner and enjoy your complimentary tasting flight with their delicious food!

Kollecting Koordinates - is the Salzburg Card worth it 17Disclaimer: Many thanks to Tourism Salzburg for providing us with Salzburg Cards and a city tour with Salzburg Experience. Our experiences are opinions are honest and our own- we wouldn’t recommend something if we didn’t love it ourselves!

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Unbeatable location in Ljubljana – Grand Hotel Union Business

Opened in 1905, Grand Hotel Union was the first modern hotel in Slovenia’s capital. In supporting Ljubljana’s political and social ties with the the world, the hotel has hosted many important figures over the last century including Dalai Lama, Bill Clinton, and Queen Elizabeth. After an expansion and renovations, the Grand Hotel Union Business was born. Its amenities, culinary offerings, and central location are why we think it’s the best place to stay in Ljubljana.

Read more: Itinerary – 24 hours in Ljubljana

Best place to stay in Ljubljana – Location and Space

Located only 5 minutes on foot from Plečnik’s picturesque Triple Bridge, guests have front-of-the-line access to the old city. Ljubljana’s major attractions, restaurants, shops, and nightlife are all at your fingertips once you walk over this architectural gem from Prešeren Square.

As a modern business hotel, the space is clean, large, and inviting. The hotel can also host up to 800 guests in its 20 halls and rooms intended for cultural and social events, weddings, and business meetings.

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Best place to stay in Ljubljana – Guestrooms

Each of the 127 rooms and 6 suites are equipped with complimentary Wi-Fi, large working spaces, coffee makers, and LED satellite TVs. Housekeeping takes cleanliness to the next level with disinfected remote controls.

Our Studio Double Plus had a large balcony with a view of the Ljubljana Castle. The best part? The Keyton massage chair right next to our bed- perfect after a long day of exploring.

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Dining at Grand Hotel Union Business

We can’t do without yummy breakfast spreads while on the road, and Grand Hotel Union Business didn’t disappoint with its luxury self-service breakfast! With what seemed like an endless choice of both hot and cold foods to choose from, we wish we had bigger stomachs!

Treat yourself to meals prepared by an award-winning team of chefs at three fine dining restaurants: Restaurant Union, Restaurant and Bar Atelje, and the Union Cellar. Guests can also indulge in fine coffees, aperitifs, and snacks at the Union Cafe or Aperitif Bar.

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Read more: Predjama Castle and Postojna Cave – Unmissable beauties in Slovenia

Best place to stay in Ljubljana – Wellness and Fitness

Guests can enjoy a little R&R from Sense Wellness. The 8th floor swimming pool offers an amazing view of the Ljubljana Castle. Sun tan on the open terrace, revitalize in the Finnish sauna, or unwind with a massage ritual.

Tip: Those looking for more intimacy can book the VIP suite, which includes an infrared sauna, whirlpool bath, and couple massage treatments.

The newly opened fitness center is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Multi-functional training sessions, consisting of a dynamic high-intensity workout, are offered daily at 5PM, 6PM and 7PM.

Other Tips & Info

  • Rates start at 135€+ for double rooms and 155€+ for studios.
  • Breakfast buffet is included in the nightly rate.
  • Small pets are welcomed for a cleaning fee of 30€/night.
  • Parking at the secured underground lot is 20€/night with in-and-out privileges.
  • Check out their official website for more information and current promotions.


Disclaimer: Many thanks to the Slovenian Tourist Board and Ljubljana Tourism for hosting us in the Ljubljana region of Slovenia. All opinions and experiences are honest and our own- we wouldn’t recommend something if we didn’t love it ourselves!

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Feel the extraordinary at the oldest hotel in Italy: NH Collection Firenze Porta Rossa

In search of the best luxury hotel in Florence we were on the hunt for a place that’s different- a place that’s extraordinary. With a real medieval tower and original frescos from the 13th century, NH Collection Firenze Porta Rossa Hotel is considered the oldest hotel not only in Florence, but also Italy. We felt like VIPs while staying here, right in the center of this iconic Renaissance city.

The best luxury hotel in Florence – NH Collection Porta Rossa Firenze

Location and Space

Located only minutes from Piazza del Duomo and Uffizi Gallery, NH Collection Firenze Porta Rossa is right in the center of it all. It takes no more than a 10-minute walk to access all major attractions. We’re talking 6 minutes to the Duomo, 5 minutes to Ponte Vecchio, and 2 minutes to Piazza della Repubblica.

A stunning stained-glass ceiling graces the lobby of this historic establishment. The main hall and the lounge are tastefully decorated with antique furniture and neo-Renaissance architectural fittings. The vaulted ceiling makes this space even grander than it already is.

Staff and Service

From the front desk reps to the breakfast team, the entire staff is friendly and helpful without losing professionalism. We were surprised by tea and treats upon checking in, and were spoiled with hazelnut chocolates every evening.

Guestrooms

72 guestrooms are spread across 5 floors. Each room is different and unique in their own way; some contain original frescos like the famous Room 121. Using natural wood and warm tones, rooms are laid out in an elegant yet minimal style.

Tip: Guests staying in the Torre Monalda Suite are spoiled with a 360-degree view of the city from the medieval tower.

Our humongous suite came with a comfortable queen-sized bed with lots of natural lighting. The entire space is squeaky clean without a speck of dust! There’s a separate powder room attached to the large washroom, where we enjoyed relaxing baths and rain showers after long days of walking around Florence.

Each room is equipped with a kettle, coffee machine, slippers and plush bath robes. Luxury NH Collection bathroom amenities are restocked every day.

Note: Instead of those weak, wall mount hair dryers, I was most impressed with them providing a real hair dryer! I’m sure all you ladies (and gentlemen) with long hair would appreciate this.

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Dining

Indulge in an extravagant breakfast spread very morning at the buffet, with a wide variety of fresh pastries, fruits and juices, savoury bites, meats and cheeses, and made-to-order hot dishes. Have you ever had Prosecco and truffles for breakfast? Well you can, at the best luxury hotel in Florence!

If you want to take luxury dining to the next level, try the exclusive truffle-based menu for lunch or dinner. NH Collection Porta Rossa Firenze, in partnership with Savini Tartufi’s Truffles Experience, is the first hotel in Italy to offer this one of a kind gastronomic experience.

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Other Tips and Info

  • Rates start at 230€+ for Superior Rooms, 250€+ for Premium Rooms, and 315€+ for Junior Suites.
  • Breakfast is included in the nightly rates but you can opt out when booking your stay.
  • Late checkout until 3PM is available upon availability.
  • Off-site parking is €26/day.
  • Small pets are welcomed for €20/night.
  • For more info and current promotions, check out their official website, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram pages.

Disclaimer: Many thanks to NH Collection Porta Rossa Firenze Hotel for hosting our stay. All opinions and experiences are honest and our own- we wouldn’t recommend something if we didn’t love it ourselves!

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Kollecting Koordinates - NH Collection Porta Rossa Firenze

The most centrally located hotel in Salzburg – Hotel StadtkrugKollecting Koordinates - most convenient Salzburg hotel 26

Imagine living in an Austrian house that dates back to the 14th century, long before Mozart was even born. Looking for a place to call home in Salzburg, we came across this charming family-run hotel. Not only is Alstadt Hotel Stadtkrug one of the most characteristic hotels we’ve stayed at, but also the most convenient Salzburg hotel.

1353 marks the year this historic building was first documented on paper. It was originally a brewery in 1492, which later became a bakery before turning into a restaurant towards the beginning of the 20th century. The Lucian family took ownership of the building in 1987 and transformed it into what we know today as Altstadt Hotel Stadtkrug.

The most convenient Salzburg hotel – Hotel Stadtkrug

Location and Space

Situated on the picturesque corridor of Linzer Gasse, Hotel Stadtkrug is steps away from the Salzach River and a stone’s throw from Mount Kapuzinerberg. Everything is within a 20-minute walk, making it the most convenient Salzburg hotel. You can reach HBF (main bus and train terminal) in 18 minutes, Mirabelle Gardens in 6 minutes, Mozart’s Birthplace in 5, Monchsberg elevator in 16, University Square in 7, and the furnicular to the fortress in 12.

Feel immersed in the Middle Ages with warm palettes, stone floors, arches and alcoves.  There’s even a rooftop patio on the fourth floor! The first and second floors carry the most charm and are kept in their original state. There is no central air conditioning because the building is protected by the City. Installing new windows or making breaking down any walls is prohibited by law!

The family also owns a ranch north of the Flachgau county. Proudly on display in the lobby is the mounted head of the owners’ first highland cattle. You can even see their grass-fed cattle roam freely on the Juhu Ranch through a webcam.

READ MORE: Exploring the City of Mozart with the Salzburg Card

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Kollecting Koordinates - most convenient Salzburg hotel

Guestrooms

There are 7 bedroom styles: single rooms, 4 types of double rooms, and 2 types of suites. Each comes with a flat-screen TV, sitting area, and a modern bathroom. The famous Mozartkugel (chocolate pistachio balls) awaits you every day!

Note: 4- and 6-bed fully equipped rooms are also available for large groups.

Our comfort double room was extremely clean with lots of natural sunlight. Similar to many European hotels, the mattresses are separate- which means no fighting for blankets or bed space!

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Staff & Service

You know you’re in good hands at family-run hotels, and Stadtkrug was no exception! Three generations of the Lucian family live in the same building. Jessica and Dominik, daughter-in-law and son of the owners, welcomed us with open arms. That homey feeling is hard to come by when you’re on the road and we were glad to have found it here.

Other staff were friendly and helpful, especially Mohammad who always has a warm smile on his face. We learned much about the history of Hotel Stadtkrug from Günter, the General Manager and family friend of the Lucians. We felt a little sad to say goodbye to these guys!

Dining

Enjoy a variety of cheeses, cured meats, fresh pastries, and our favourite- smoked salmon, at the breakfast buffet! Hot dishes are made to order and are included in your nightly rate.

The roof garden is the perfect place to chill over a glass (or two!) of wine along with some snacks. Don’t forget to make a dinner reservation at the restaurant, where only premium local ingredients are used. Try the beef! They use only certified organic cattle from their own ranch.

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Other Tips & Info about the most convenient Salzburg hotel- Stadtkrug:

  • Rates start at $150CAD+ for single rooms, $230CAD+ for double rooms, and $280CAD+ for suites.
  • Breakfast is served between 7-11am.
  • Non-guests can also enjoy the breakfast buffet for 16€.
  • WiFi is available free of charge.
  • Shuttle service from the train station or airport can be arranged for a fee.
  • For more information and current rates, visit their official website and Facebook page.

Disclaimer: AS and I were invited guests at Alstadt Hotel Stadtkrug. All experiences and opinions are honest and our own- we wouldn’t recommend something if we didn’t love it ourselves!

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Kollecting Koordinates - most convenient Salzburg hotel