Heading to see the magnificent beauty of the Alps
If you are not a big fan of the winter season, we have something just for you. A carefully selected overview of the most beautiful places for you to visit this spring.
Austria is one of the countries where you can discover a little bit of everything. Whether it’s history and culture in the capital city Vienna, walking through the alleys of fairy tale looking villages or hiking in the mountains.
Let’s see what’s there.
Schönbrunn Palace, Belvedere, St. Stephen’s Cathedral and the Vienna State Opera are undoubtedly among the most remarkable sights that everyone should visit. Less known, but no less remarkable, is the Österreichische Nationalbibliothek (Austrian National Library). With more than 2.5 million books, it is one of the largest libraries in the world and is really worth your time.
When traveling through the Austrian countryside, you should not forget the Salzkammergut region, which stretches from the city of Salzburg to the Alpine Dachstein Massif. Here you will see lakes with crystal clear water and breath-taking views from the tops of the mountains that looks almost as if the village was a painted postcard. This is an ideal area for all outdoor enthusiasts who want to enjoy mountain hiking, cycling, climbing or kayaking on one of the 76 lakes. Among the most remarkable of them would be Offensee, Langbathsee or Traunsee lakes.
If you continue further west in Austria, you will reach the town of Alpbach. This town has won the award for the most beautiful city in Austria thanks to its typical mountain style features – the predominant building material is wood and the tallest building is a 14th century church. All these aspects here will help relax your body and mind.
Not far away from here is the town of Kufstein, famous for the Kufstein Fortress, which offers magnificent views of the town’s medieval buildings.
And from here, we are gradually moving to another destination, that is Switzerland.
When planning a trip around Europe, you shouldn’t forget to visit Switzerland. It is equally a very diverse and interesting country, with no shortage of beautiful cities and breath-taking nature.
To make your planning easier, we have prepared our selection of the most interesting places. We think these are worth stopping for on your visit to this country known for its abundance of high-quality chocolate and very accurate watches.
We set out on our journey from the most northern tip of the country, from the canton of Schaffhausen. The first stop is the Rhine Falls, the largest and the most powerful waterfall in Europe. Near the waterfall (about 2 minutes’ walk) there is parking available for your caravan and you’ll get to spend a peaceful night here with the sound of falling water in the background.
If your schedule allows it, stop by in the world-famous town of Schaffhausen, widely known as the base for the famous IWC Schaffhausen watch making company.
From this small town we move further south, about 50 km, where the largest Swiss city of Zurich lies.
Zurich is also home to the 13th largest stock exchange in the world, the SIX Swiss Exchange and the international football federation FIFA. The western part of the city includes the most prestigious shopping boulevard in Europe and in addition to luxury shops, the world-famous Sprüngli patisserie can be found on Bahnhofstrasse.
For the history lovers – in Zurich you can see for example the largest church clock face in Europe, at the Church of St. Peter from the 13th century. Despite the impression of this city being full of wealth and luxury, the city centre is full of green spaces.
For parking, it is possible to park around Zurich and we recommend using the https://park4night.com app to find your best spot.
Another 45 minutes are enough to drive to a completely different landscape around the historic city of Lucerne. If you only have a limited time to see the beauty of Switzerland, we recommend visiting this medieval city, which boasts well-preserved historic buildings. As you walk through the streets, you will be greeted by the atmosphere of historic times, and can easily imagine the time when knights rode on their horses through the streets.
You should definitely not miss a walk along the picturesque wooden bridge with the chapel called The Chapel Bridge, which was built on Lake Lucerne. The paintings on the roof of this chapel date all the way back to the 17th century.
The peaks of the Rigi Mountains (which can be reached by the oldest mountain railway in Europe) and Pilatus, will take care of another breath-taking view of the surroundings.
When now go a little further south, and it’s as if we have entered through a magical wardrobe to Narnia. The valley of six tiny villages between the Alpine mountains would make even the toughest man feel a little bit romantic. The most famous of these is Lauterbrunnen, known for the view of the second largest waterfall (one of the 72 smaller ones) located in the valley.
Free parking is available in this village, but be mindful as other villages and tourist places are only accessible to hikers, either by foot or with the help of a cable car.
What would be a stone’s throw away is a very unique project – the first revolving restaurant in the world Schilthorn – Piz Gloria. Fans of the famous James Bond movie will already know that On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969) was shot here, and even the toilets in this restaurant received prestigious awards.
South of France
Once again, we will smoothly move to the borders of our next destination, South of France. You can spend a pleasant night in one of the countless car parks on Geneva Lake. The half-Swiss and half-French lake is lined with picturesque terraced vineyards, built between the 18th and 19th century.
We head south again towards some more nature. We have a choice of many beautiful mountains and hills, but we would mainly like to draw your attention to the mountain range of the South-eastern Alps, Chartreuse. This one is not the most famous one, even though it is close to the Olympic city of Grenoble. However, it offers a large number of trails along grassy ridges and stunning limestone massifs worth seeing.
Similar activities are also possible in the regional park Geopark Ardèche, which in 2014 received the UNESCO designation. It is located near the city of Lyon, the birthplace of the author of the Little Prince – Antoine de Saint-Exupéry.
The hill of Fourviere is definitely worth a visit, as you will have a view of Lyon in the palm of your hand. On the hill you can also see the Roman amphitheatre from 15 BC. and the magnificent Basilica of Notre Dame de Fourviere.
Now, we are slowly moving towards the shores of the Mediterranean Sea. On the way, we recommend a short stop between the city borders of Nimes, where the famous Perrier mineral water is bottled. It is possible to book a tour in advance, where you will see how the sparkling water is made. When visiting this area, be sure not to miss another UNESCO sighting, the Pont de Gard – an ancient Roman aqueduct bridge with 3 arcades and 35 arches.
In the nearby town of Salin-de-Giraud, another unique thing can be found – the so-called pink lake, which is actually a man-made work used to evaporate sea water and extract salt. These places are not always pink, so it is good to check (for example on Instagram) whether the salt plains are coloured pink at the time.
If you have ever played the board game Carcassonne, you will definitely remember the walls with typical round towers with pointed rooftops. The city after which this game has been named, and where our next journey leads, is located in the far south of France and is one of the best-preserved medieval fortified cities in Europe. Definitely worth a visit.
Our expedition to the south of France is coming to an end and the last stop is the medieval commune of Rocamadour. The city is dedicated to St. Amaour and only one street passes through it, Rue de la Couronnerie, through which pilgrims and keen tourists reach the Chapelle Notre-Dame. Inside the chapel is a statuette of the famous 12th century Black Madonna. Occasionally, you may come across a devout pilgrim who often climb the 216 stairs to the church on their knees.
The places above are just a small list of the many beautiful places in southern France. Don’t forget to taste their excellent French wines or typical blue cheese Roquefort from this area along the way. And it goes without saying that we’d recommend to wait until the caravan is parked in a suitable place for the night with the wine tasting 😉
For the best choices of overnight places to park use the platform https://park4night.com/.