… a unique road trip which can probably only be done in Europe
Once upon a time there was a little girl. This little girl longed to see the world. She saved every penny for adventures both big and small. The little girl got bigger but her plans never changed.
It took her 23 years to visit all the countries bordering her home country. This is the story of a small but mighty fine adventure.
What would big adventures be without the little ones? We wouldn’t have as much appreciate huge moments without all the small moments piecing them together. What would we be without all the stories and dreams that kept us up all night when we were kids?
Today I want to tell you a story about a weekend, four countries and two girlfriends and a red cabriolet.
Two girls, one plan
Visiting Castle Neuschwanstein in Bavaria has always been a dream of mine. Seeing how close it actually is to the Austrian border and never having visited it made me begin to wonder.
I have also always wanted to visit Switzerland. And of course also Liechtenstein. I would then have visited – although for only short visits – all neighbouring countries.
Mona and I – she’s also a contributor on CW – forged out a plan. Our weekend getaway was originally planned for March but due to some unforeseen events, we had to postpone it into June.
The beautiful city of Innsbruck, that’s where Mona lives, was to be our start and finish. We stayed at her place and therefore saved on accommodation also. I drove from Linz via the German Corner to the Tyrolean capital Innsbruck. The route is absolutely gorgeous to drive and to see beautiful Austrian countrysides along the way. But this was only just the start of an amazing weekend.
A gorgeous castle
The sun greeted us early on Saturday morning, with the convertible hood open we started driving on the Inntalautobahn heading west. The weather couldn’t have been any better for a road trip in a cabriolet. The sun was shining, there were hardly any clouds in the blue sky and the air smelled of road trip and adventure.
Soon we left the motorway to drive on countryside roads. We traveled along lush green fields and majestic mountains while making our way towards the Austrian/Bavarian border.
Soon after we crossed the border into Bavaria we reached our first stop: Schwangau with the fairytale castle Neuschwanstein! Just think Cinderella 😉 (German authorities are very strict on having their famous sites photographed and published online – here’s a link to google images.)
Schwangau is a small village in Bavaria and home to not only one but two wonderful castles. The most famous is of course Neuschwanstein but Castle Hohenschwangau is definitely worth a visit too.
What should I say? Neuschwanstein is like a dream, a fairytale and just so much more. The castle is filled with gorgeous art which will enchant you too. I was really impressed by a room that resembled a grotto. I was so impressed by what was achieved so long ago. Architects and builders did an amazing job considering how limited their equipment and resources must have been – maybe a little magic was involed?!
- Reserve your ticket online: you can select the date and time to avoid getting stuck in very long queues (2 hours or more waiting time) or tickets being sold out.
- Don’t miss out on seeing the castle even if tours are sold out. It’s an easy walk or you can take a horse carriage up to the top and the courtyard is stunning too.
- There is only a limited amount of tickets per guided tour available. It is not possible to enter without a tour guide.
- Bear in mind the opening hours: winter 9:00am to 3:30 pm and summer 08:00 am to 5:00 pm
- Parking is €6,–
Setting off to Switzerland
We only just made it back to the car before the skies opened and it started raining. Phew! But I am pretty sure the staff at the parking lot were impressed by our sprint. We got into the car and drove past small Bavarian villages.
We crossed the border back into Austria and reached the Swiss border shortly after. There were no border checks and we made our way towards Zürich without stopping.
The staff at the 25hours Zürich West were very friendly and we were given sauna bags after completing the check in. We had planned to go on a walk but decided to check out the sauna area instead.
The rooms are very modern and artsy. We kept finding funny sayings all over the room. I was busy taking pictures of the room at first but I couldn’t resist the comfortable bed for long. Good night!
Our alarm clock went off early on Sunday morning. Our plan for the day was fairly busy so we didn’t want to waste any time in bed. We made our way down to the restaurant to have breakfast. The breakfast buffet is truly outstanding. We chose Bircher muesli, orange juice, eggs, croissants, dark bread, salmon, bacon and fruits – nomnomnom!
With our bellies filled me made our way to the tram stop. We took the tram to the city centre and started wandering around.
This is how you can expect a Sunday morning in Zürich to be: cosy, quiet and very relaxed.
On the road to Liechtenstein
… our destination is Vaduz. Vaduz is also very sleepy on Sundays – but I cannot imagine it being busier during the week?! The castle is not open to the public so there isn’t exactly much to do there. We made our way to the tourism office to collect our “passport stamp”. Liechtenstein, like for instance San Marino, sells them at Euro 3,– a piece. Woohoo!
Mona und I went for another walk, drank super expensive coffee and tea and decided to start driving back to Innsbruck.
- Switzerland and Liechtenstein aren’t cheap. Do your food shopping in Austria or Germany – it’ll save you a couple of quid.
- Don’t bother changing money – your cards will work everywhere.
- Don’t forget your latest phone or iPod playlists – what’s a road trip without music?
- Don’t forget your passport!
A total of 666km with a travel time of 7:47h. – Sounds a lot but is definitely worth it 😉[googlemaps https://www.google.com/maps/embed?pb=!1m46!1m12!1m3!1d1381692.615893376!2d8.910330326145315!3d47.43888396403708!2m3!1f0!2f0!3f0!3m2!1i1024!2i768!4f13.1!4m31!3e0!4m5!1s0x479d6ecfe1f8ca73%3A0x9d201c7d281d9b0d!2sInnsbruck%2C+%C3%96sterreich!3m2!1d47.2692124!2d11.4041024!4m5!1s0x479c5870dfc7ce7b%3A0x41e48add78c01e0!2sSchwangau%2C+Deutschland!3m2!1d47.577853399999995!2d10.7383052!4m5!1s0x47900b9749bea219%3A0xe66e8df1e71fdc03!2sZ%C3%BCrich%2C+Schweiz!3m2!1d47.3768866!2d8.541694!4m5!1s0x479b31441d472ffd%3A0xb796943ece941697!2sVaduz%2C+Liechtenstein!3m2!1d47.1410353!2d9.520933399999999!4m5!1s0x479d6ecfe1f8ca73%3A0x9d201c7d281d9b0d!2sInnsbruck%2C+%C3%96sterreich!3m2!1d47.2692124!2d11.4041024!5e0!3m2!1sen!2sse!4v1468425543539&w=600&h=450]
About the red speedster
Road triping through Europe in a convertible is a once in a life time dream for many. The beatiful red Mazda MX5 showed me why so many people love driving roadsters. It was so much fun driving the car, even with the drop-top closed!
There is just one flaw: the car boot is tiny and only suitable for shorter trips. There is no way a full sized suitcase would fit. Take a backpack or sportbag.
I think there aren’t enough roadtrips like the one we did and the route is perfect for a (long) weekend.
I crossed the border 9 (!) times between Austria, Germany, Liechtenstein and Switzerland. Amazing, right?
Have you been to Newschwanstein? What did you think? Is it really Cinderellas fairy tale dream come true?
Note: many thanks to Mazda Österreich for the amazing cooperation and the provision of the MX5 – driving has never been more fun! I would also like to thank 25hours Zürich West for the accommodation and the delicious breakfast buffet provided.