As if anyone needs 5 reasons to visit Italy, right? Lago di Garda is one of the most magical regions in Northern Italy. A 45-minute scenic drive from Verona, we share why this area needs to be put at the top of your Italy bucket list this summer.
Its easier to get here than you think
Lago di Garda is a summer vacation fav for European sun seekers wanting to slow down the pace of life with a limoncello in hand. It almost feels like the rest of the world overlooks this lake for the more popular, and in my opinion less impressive, Lake Como. Anyone see John Legend's All of Me music video? Looks awesome, right? In my humble opinion, Como has nothing on Lake Garda.
It's a 5 hour drive from Munich, and has become a popular holiday spot for Germans and Austrians looking for the easier pace that comes with Italian lake life. We typically fly into Germany to visit family, so for us, it just makes sense to take the scenic road trip south. And since moving to Germany, we have made long weekends out of this area several times. You can also fly into Verona (45 minutes away) or even Venice (1.5 hours) and drive over. If you decide to make a road trip out of it, you'll experience the beauty of Southern Bavaria, and Austria, not to mention driving through the Dolomites to get here will blow your mind. Don't forget that you must have a toll pass to travel through Austria, and you can get this at any of the gas stations near the German/Austrian border.
You can explore dozens of Italian villages around the lake in one trip
Once you're at Lake Garda, there's a ferry that can take you to all the little villages on both sides of the lake, giving you lots of options while you're here. You can get ferry timetables and drop-off points here. We like to stay in and around Bardolino and take day trips from there. I would recommend you definitely get a car while you're here so you can also take a beautiful drive around the lake, and even head to Verona if you wish. You're also adjacent to some of the most famous wine regions in Northern Italy including on my favorites from Valpolicella. Even though Tuscany and Piedmont steal the headlines when it comes to Italian wines, you'll love the hilly countryside of Valpolicella, seated just above Verona.
Our best experiences in staying in Lake Garda have been finding a nice Airbnb or getting a hotel on the water with a pool. I also find that if you're going during peak summer months (July, August), and you're picky about where you want to stay, you must book early, because a lot of the European (German) travelers are obsessive schedulers and planners, and we all know they'll book their hotel a year in advanced-#truthbomb-Sorry! And I love you, hubby. :)
My favorite town to visit on Lake Garda includes Bardolino for its clean and massive boardwalk, and endless dining options right on the waterfront. They even have a private beach club called Lido Mirabello Beach that is a lot of fun.
My second favorite town to visit on Lago di Garda is Malcesine. Garda is pretty flat, and you can only see the mountains in the distance. As you approach Malcesine, the mountains grow, and get so large you feel like they're dwarfing you. Malcesine is on the end of lake garda and it takes about 45 minutes to drive there at a slow leisurely pace. But the drive alone is just breathtaking. You also have the option of taking the ferry here, too. Unlike Bardolino, Malcesine is built into the mountains, so you're not seeing the waterfront everywhere. It a circuit of small cobbled streets, windy roads, amazing wine bars, and some hilly areas, too. A piece of my heart remains in Malcesine because it was my first trip with my now husband, and we both fell in love with the town together.
Beaches, Beaches, Beaches
The beaches around Lago di Garda range from larger and busier to the smaller coves. You will find people who pull over to the side of the road, to find a small beach and set up there for the day. There's dozens of these all around the lake, so if you are driving, you'll have lots of options. Most of the beaches are made of stone, and the lake is so refreshing to swim in. I literally feel like I'm swimming in my own private bowl of Avian bottled water, especially in that summer Italian heat. The bottom is rocky, especially near Bardolino, so I recommend you bring water shoes here.
If you are craving a bit more adventure, you can even camp on the beach and rent kayaks, and paddle boats. The gentle summer breeze of the lake and the high mountains, make this a perfect area for wind surfing, and you'll see a ton of people here in the summertime taking it up. As always, you're in Italy so negotiation is expected and welcomed ;).
It's a Hiking and Cycling Paradise
One of my favorite developments on Lago di Garda is the new €7 million "Bike Path" that stretches about 2km around Lake Garda. This is a perfect path to explore the lake at a leisurely pace. For people looking for more serious cylcing, there's tons of road biking and mountain biking paths and even groups around the lake.
The northern Lake Garda area is one of the best mountain biking locations in the world. You can hit up the steep and challenging Val del Diaol, and Seicentouno (602) down Monte Altissimo, but you can also find easier options, too. I saw a group of people riding up the hills once near our hotel, and I'm telling you, I'll never complain about my 60 minute cycling class at Lifetime Fitness again.
Perched high above Malcesine, and sitting at 1780 meters is Monte Baldo, There's a cable car that takes you to the top which is open 10 months of the year. It's such a beautiful area to just take in for pictures but the hiking options here are endless. You'll even see sheep herders walking around, and the sounds of cow bells ringing like Christmas. We even found a small hut that sold local farm cheese and bread so we enjoyed that for lunch during one of our hikes. It's totally worth spending the day up here exploring Lake Garda from above.
It's a Foodie Paradise
Seriously, when you think it cannot get any better, you stop to eat, and even just grab a snack, and you're literally transported to a different time. We absolutely love the Italian hospitality. Anywhere you go, even for just a drink, they'll offer you a bowl of olives, chips and crackers. One of our favorite restaurants in Bardolino is Osteria due Nani. The food is designed from the local region, and doesn't feel so touristy as some other places.
And of course, our trip to Bardolino would not be complete without going to get gelato from Yacht Bar Pizzeria Gelateria. We grab a cone and go sit on the water to watch the sunset by the yachts and fishing boats.
Whatever you do while you're in Lago di Garda, you'll realize something amazing. Life is simple here. People are happy. They pause to enjoy life. It's what keeps us coming back year after year.
Are you visiting Lago di Garda for the first time? Tag Unbound_Travelers on Instagram to share your experience with us!
Where to go? What to do? Places to eat? We share our experience and insider tips for the most epic road trip across the coast of Portugal from Algarve to Lisbon. Pack your bags and get ready for an unforgettable experience.
Algarve, Portugal's southernmost region is a great place to start your road trip as you travel north along the western coast toward Lisbon. If you live in Europe, you'll find quick and affordable flights into Faro (FAO). We've seen direct flights from Frankfurt to Faro on RyanAir for less than 100EUR round, even in peak summer months. If you're flying into Lisbon, just follow this guide in reverse.
Along Algarve, you'll discover one small beach after the next. Views go on for days and the hikes are incredible. Along some of the smaller central and eastern Algarve region, you can find beaches with calm waters; perfect for an afternoon on a Kayak or SUP.
East of Faro you'll find one of the most beautiful beach towns in all of Algarve, Tavira. It straddles the Gilão River, and reaches the sea via lagoons of Ria Formosa Natural Park. Tavira Island is known for its long sandy beaches, and salt pans that attract wild birds. One of the more local spots is Ilha de Tavira, a small island with 11 kilometers of sandy beaches, small food stalls, bars and camping sites. It's a quiet place to enjoy your holiday for a day or two, with minimal international tourism. This area is also known for its nude beaches, so take caution if you're coming with children, or are uncomfortable with that sort of thing.
Algarve's amazing rugged coastline is full of sandy beaches, caves, cliffs and unique rock formations. The Benagil caves are one of the most beautiful caves in the world, and only accessible by boat, SUP, or Kayak. If you have an experienced guide, you can ask about cave diving. Be careful, because tides rise quickly in this area, and currents below the surface can be strong. But if the conditions are right, it will be an unforgettable experience. Always follow the safety recommendations of your guides when attempting any cave exploration. We were exploring the coast via SUP and while cave diving, got hit with an earthquake, that quickly changed the sea conditions. Super scary stuff!
Stay near Porches, Carvoeiro, or Albufeira. For luxury accommodations, considering getting a room at Vila Vita Parc. For budget friendly lodging, try out an Airbnb apartment near the beach.
After a day of hiking, kayaking, cave diving, and lounging around the beach, you have an endless list of restaurants to enjoy, with some of the freshest seafood you'll ever eat. We'd be remiss if we didn't mention Ocean, led by Austrian Executive Chef Hans Neuner and named Portugal's Chef of the Year 2009 & 2012. Two Michelin Stars, breathtaking views over the Atlantic, and an amazing tasting menu, makes this the perfect night if you're looking for a once in a lifetime find dining experience. Each course of I'd say 16-18 course/'snacks' has a story, and feels warmly familiar. It's an intimate venue, with maybe 12 tables at most. Reservations are hard to come by, so book early!
For normal, everyday meals, seafood, and great atmospheres, head to Armação de Pêra, a beautiful beach in central Algarve. Every Sunday, Praia Dourada has a beach party with a live DJ, and fresh made bottomless seafood Paella that is to die for! Their Tuna Poke bowls are also amazing. If you don't want to eat in the actual restaurant, they have daybeds on the beach where you can enjoy your food, drinks and chill.
Try the Xarém and Chocos com tinta at Chocos. It's absolutely amazing.
I was also surprised to learn about the delicious Portuguese wines and vineyards. Visit Rolha Wine Bar for a tasting and tapas.
The coast west of Lagos, leading up toward Sagres is one of the most unspoiled parts of Algarve thanks to the national park. Western Algarve is a surfer's paradise, where the coastline meets the fierce waters of the Atlantic. As you travel northwest up the coast, you can explore Parque Natural do Sudoeste Alentejano e Costa Vicentina. If surfing isn't your thing, you'll find the most incredible views along hiking trails that will leave you breathless. Also known as the ‘Trail of Tides’, the Pontal da Carrapateira trail along the Vicentine Coast is a good one to do for a leisurely hike with costal views. If you are getting in the water, be forewarned that this coast is rough, and can be dangerous for less experienced swimmers/surfers. Nevertheless, it's probably one of our favorite spots along Algarve, with lots of camping options as well.
Estoril-Cascais, & Sintra
As you make your way north toward Lisbon, consider staying in one of these beautiful resort and historic towns about 30-45 minutes driving from Lisbon's center.
Cascais is a charming marina town, that has a more developed, yet blissfully sleepy feeling about it. The main sights to take in include Boca do Inferno, Cresmina Beach, and Santa Marta Lighthouse. You'll definitely want a car around here because you can enjoy a beautiful, wild costal/mountain road trip to Sintra. If you dont have a car, and don't mind a beautiful walk, step outside of the center of Cascais. Driving or walking past Boca do Inferno will amaze you. This area is a surfers paradise, with lots of well maintained and protected dunes, that have boardwalks for exploring and hiking. You may get lucky to also catch the brave local fishermen hanging on the cliff edges, doing what they do best. It's a sight to behold, truly.
We found that after leaving the resorts in Algarve, we had a hard time finding traditional western breakfasts, with all the fixings (eggs, bacon, fruit, etc.). In Cascais, you'll enjoy snacking at Pauls. Although its a chain, they have a good location, great coffee and tasty pastries. It's also great for an afternoon coffee, too, siting in a beautiful square in the center of town adjacent to the beach. If you have a car, and want to venture into the neighborhoods of Estoril, have breakfast at Zenith Cafe. This was my favorite place in the Cascais area to eat breakfast, and they have eggs! They serve the best pastel de nata, a regional specialty made of custard, and warm gooey goodness! It's amazing, and something to savor while in the area.
If you're looking for good shopping, you will not find it in Cascais. Instead, head to Lisbon.
If you're thinking of overlooking Lisbon for the seaside experience, reconsider! We almost totally overlooked the center, and I'm so glad made our way into town. At a first glance, you'll notice a ton of Graffiti art all over the city. It's historic for sure, but has a touch of trendiness, that I was surprised to find. In the smallest streets, you'll find lively restaurants. And the next amazing restaurant is just around the corner. It's a hilly city, reminiscent of San Francisco. Bring your walking shoes, and be prepared to spend a lot of time on your feet.
Our favorite finds?
If you're not up for walking, pick up a street car taxi. For 20 euro, we enjoyed a 45 minute tour of the city. It was spontaneous, and you can just ask your driver to show you around their favorite spots.
An Epic Adventure
Overall, Portugal is an incredible adventure, for the elite foodies, and backpackers alike. It's still much cheaper than similar costal areas in Europe (Amalfi, Greek Islands, etc.). Everyone speaks great English, and its easy to get around. Overall, its a country rich in culture, history and amazing food!
Are you visiting Portugal for the first time? Tag Unbound_Travelers on Instagram to share your experience with us!
Laguna Beach is a small coastal city in Orange County, California. It’s known for its many art galleries, coves and beaches. I could spend a week in Laguna, and I have! But if you only have 24 hours to visit, this guide will help you get the most of your trip!
Stay Near the Beach
I have been coming to Laguna Beach for years, and was so excited to bring my husband here for the first time. Of course, he fell in love with the landscape, intimate beach, and laid back vibes, of this sleepy yet energetic town. We baby mooned here in 2016 and came across Laguna Beach House. It's an old motel totally gutted and converted into this surfer inn. In fact, I was so in love with the feeling this hotel gave me, that I asked to purchase the owner's childhood surfboard for my son. It's now decorating his beach themed baby room, and reminds me of the fond memories we always make each time we visit Laguna. I digress...
The staff are all so nice, and the rooms bright, airy and clean. They serve a simple granola and yogurt breakfast, and the fire pit, hot tub and pool are the best ways to wind down after a day at the beach. Here's the best part: Free wine during a happy hour from 5-6. And wait for it... Fresh baked cookies and milk from 6-7. All complimentary. People, this is not a paid ad, and I vouch that Laguna Beach House is in my top 5 hotels I have ever stayed in anywhere. It's simplicity and warmth, lets you forget any worries, and slips you right into vacation mode.
Bottom line, regardless of where you stay, I think it's key to be close to the main boardwalk and beach. It is a small town and relatively easy to get around, but my enjoyment has always come from walking around the city and exploring by foot. There are high end hotels I looked at that are into the canyons, but it was just too far away from the energy of the town.
If you don't fancy the idea of walking everywhere, the city even has a free trolly that will take you up and down Ocean blvd.
#PROTIP: Guests of Laguna Beach House can also go to The Inn at Laguna Beach for the complimentary happy hour from 5-6, and cookies and milk from 6-7 pm. They have an amazing roof top terrace with panoramic beach and ocean views.
There are so many amazing places to grab a bit to eat in Laguna Beach, from ultra casual to exclusive fine dining. If I had 24 hours to kill, I'd start with breakfast at our hotel hotel at the Laguna Beach House, keeping it simple. I'd work up an appetite for an early lunch at Cliff Restaurant, which has great views and good cocktails and food. I personally loved their ahi tuna tacos.
Finally, hands down, the best dinner and views in town is at Mozambique, an upscale eatery & lounge serving South African-inspired cuisine plus wine in a colonial setting. I think its 3 or 4 floors, and their panoramic rooftop terrace seats maybe 100 people, with incredible views of the ocean. Mozambique is a bit further south. You can walk it; and will take you about 20-25 minutes. Or you can catch the trolly or an Uber. If you opt for driving, they do have valet for $5, which is actually required.
A Tiki Happy Hour
My friend Bridget and I were staycationing in Laguna this spring, and walked by an unassuming tiki bar/restaurant near our hotel, the Royal Hawaiian. Their happy hour sign drew us into a quiet restaurant, that quickly filled up after an hour. Reminiscent of 1990 North Shore Hawaii, their cocktails and tiki drinks are S.T.R.O.N.G. I mean, two will put me on my behind, but in a glorious, island, no worries kind of way. Stop here for happy hour which usually begins around 3:30, a bit early, but hey, it's island time! Their food also looks great and I'm told you need reservations for dinner during peak times. PSA - babies are not allowed directly at the bar, but you can snag a table behind the bar. ;)
I mentioned this earlier, but if you do stay at Laguna Beach House or The Inn at Laguna Beach, they have a complimentary happy hour from 5-6 for hotel guests.
If you want a break from the beach, surfing, food and galleries, the hiking options are abundant, with varying degrees of difficulty. My favorite is hiking through Laguna Coast Wilderness Park, a recreational area within the costal canyons. You definitely want to drive and park at the trailhead. I did this hike at 7 months pregnant, and it was very hot, unlike the beach which tends to get a nice cool breeze. It was beautiful, wild and dry. You saw warning signs for rattle snakes and mountain lions. We have never come across either!
If you're looking for something more leisurely, you can stick to a casual stroll on the boardwalk. You find lovely views of the ocean, and the best spots to catch the epic sunset. Depending on the waves, you can even enjoy watching the surfers all day. There's lots of opportunities to explore the tide pools in the morning and early afternoons, with staircases to the water up and down the boardwalk. You might even run into the Laughter Club. My first time coming across this group was odd, because they were all hysterically laughing, in uniformed motion. But laughter is truly contagious, so I joined in.
Mind your safety anytime you're directly on the water or walking across the tide pools. You are on the Pacific, and the waves can be strong and rise quickly. As always, pay attention to posted warning signs.
#ProTip: Bring lots of water and sunblock for the Canyon hikes. Expect it to be 10-20 degrees hotter in the canyons than on the beach.
Art & Galleries
Laguna is home to more than 100 art galleries and studios. This art colony will daze and amaze you with the abundance of talent and beautiful work you can find here. You can even discover the artist in you and take an art class taught by Laguna's most elite instructors. More info at Mystic Arts Gallery.
My favorite gallery is the Art of Dr. Seuss Gallery. The nostalgia alone will delight your inner child. My son even loved walking through, recognizing some of his favorite characters. Generally, I love Laguna art.com, which is great site that shares everything fine art in Laguna Beach, including key work for sale.
There you have it. My guide to Laguna Beach, one of my favorite beach in the world.
Explore, enjoy and live.
A city known for hosting the annual Rose Bowl, Pasadena is a charming town conveniently located in the San Gabriel Valley. If you have 24 hours, and want to venture away from the usual beach towns for a day, here's my take on all things Pasadena, and why it should be on the top of your list of cities to visit in Los Angeles.
Stroll Old Town for the Small Boutiques & Shopping
Old Town is the business district of Pasadena. It's an area that is laced with shopping and restaurant galore, making it one of the best areas to visit in Pasadena. Check out Gold Bug for quirky jewelry and offbeat art. The General Store is a cute little boutique with clothes, sunglasses, shoes and high end personal care products. Loved Mohawk for its minimalist clothing, shoes and home goods. Pretty much, if you head to Old Town, you'll enjoy strolling up and down West Colorado Blvd, enjoying the shopping and food.
Savor the Tastes of this Foodie Paradise
There is no shortage of amazing foodie finds in Pasadena. If you're into dim sum, try Lunasia. It's incredible. The famous and delicious Union is a cosy gastropub serving Italian-influenced farm-to-table fares. For airy healthy eating, go to True Food. They have an amazing outdoor space and with indoor options too and the menu will not disappoint you. We came here for lunch and had their hummus and poke bowl. In the evening, you have to stop by the bustling 21 Choices for some of the best frozen yogurt you'll have in California. It feels a little like Cold Stone with how they custom create your mix on a frozen stone, but definitely a healthier option.
#protip: Street parking is limited in space and to two hours in Old Town, so if you plan to spend the day here, you'll either have to refeed the meter every couple hours or go to a local garage where you can find daily parking rates.
Get Your Culture On
The weather is almost always amazing in Pasadena. But if you have a rainy day, or want to explore an area outside of the walkable downtown, you can hit up the city's institutions. There's no shortage of lectures, art and music events. Check out paintings by Eduardo Carrillo at the Pasadena Museum of California Art or support community music and arts by going to the Pasadena Showcase House of Design. Hear the sound of the stars at The NASA Orbit Pavilion. You can find a full event calendar at visitpasadena.com.
Go for a Hike or Nature Walk
One of my favorite things about Pasadena is just how close you are to the mountains. They are beautifully visible from just about anywhere you go in the city. If you want to spend part of your day immersed in nature, go to Eaton Canyon Natural Area. It's a 190-acre zoological, botanical, and geological nature preserve situated at the base of the beautiful San Gabriel Mountains. Visitors can enjoy its hiking trails, equestrian trails with a staging area, picnic areas, seasonal stream, rocks and minerals. Check out Pasadena Charm's blog for more info on the best hiking trails in the region.
Shakespeare put Verona on the map, as one of Italy's most romantic destinations. In the Veneto region of Northeast Italy, Verona is a charming city that needs to be one of your Italy road trip stops. There's no shortage of places to eat and enjoy the sights. Some are better than others. We went on a mission to find the most authentic and unusual foodie finds in the city. We know you might not have a lot of time to try 30 different restaurants and cafes. So, instead of overwhelming you with a list of names, we focused on giving you three place you need to try for an authentic experience in Verona, with amazing food and drinks.
La Tradition: Wine Bar
Just steps from the Arena, this unassuming wine bar will delight you with over the top cheese and meat boards, small bites, local wines, desserts, and coffees. We stopped in for an afternoon feast, drinks and coffees. It's always packed, so be open to taking your wine and standing outside, too.
PROTIP: If you're looking for a quick and easy place to grab a coffee, stop in here. They have some of the best prices I have seen in Verona, with an espresso at only .90 cent EUR!
La Bottega della Gina: Street Food & Pasta-to-go
I'll never forget strolling along in Verona, and getting hit by the smell of truffle. My nose, literally led me to this gem of a pasta joint. If you want to experience Nonna's home cooking, you have to try this pasta shop. They have some seats, but it's also designed so you can take your pasta to go, and even order in bulk for home cooking, too. Their pasta is all hand made daily, and we had the pleasure of enjoying their truffle tortolini, ravioli, and gnocchi.
#PROTIP: Get it to go, and enjoy a lunchtime stroll through the city.
La Romana Verona: The Best Gelato Ever
You can't come to Italy without trying gelato at least once or twice. There's definitely no shortage of places to try in Verona, and it seems like every corner you turn, there's another shop. I have tried a few, and some seem so generic, overly sugary and just generically mass produced. Not Romana. Besides having an amazing ambiance, the gelato is probably the best I have ever tried in Italy. Locals flood this place, and it's always packed, so if you can't find a table, enjoy walking around the city, with your cone or cup of yummy sweet goodness. Staff speaks great English, and they even let you try a few to sample your favorites.
#PROTIP: Don't count calories, and indulge yourself here. It's worth every sweet bite.
Oh, London. We love everything about you. The nightlife. The food scene. The people. The accents (blush and sigh). Seems like you can turn any corner, and find amazing eats and pubs. Here's our list of unusual finds that are a must try during your visit to this iconic city.
Fairuz Lebanese Restaurant
It's a cafe named after a legendary Middle Eastern singer, serving Eastern Mediterranean dishes, grilled meat and kebabs. You could literally order off the hot and cold appetizer menu, and be so satisfied, without even digging into the entrees. It's hand's down the best Lebanese food in London and arguably in the world, outside of the Middle East, of course. Our favorites? You have to try the Lamb Fettah, the Kharoof Mahshei, and Batinjan Kawerma. Easy access from Bond Street Station, and a short walk of about 10 minutes.
Address: 3 Blandford St, Marylebone, London W1U 3DA
#PROTIP: In true Mediterranean form, the owner is selective in his open times, regardless of whats posted. Tables are usually free during the day, but dinner might require reservations.
This intimate contemporary enoteca for regional wines and small-plate dishes, takeaway bottles and deli produce, is a gem in the middle of the city! Stop in for a glass (or bottle) of vino. Enjoy a plate of pasta, or selection of other appetizing Italian dishes. Their pastas are home made, and salads are delightful. Love the olives as well! Grab your girls, and hit the town. Make sure this is on your afternoon list of things to do.
Address: St. Martin's Courtyard, 3 Upper St. Martin’s Lane, Covent Garden, London WC2E 9AB
Tapa Brindisa Soho
We love Soho. It's one of my favorite parts of Central London. We came across this delightful Tapas bar, with a regularly changing menu and regional specials made with carefully sourced ingredients. Be sure to get a glass or two of Cava to start your night. They take tapas to the next level. While it's simple, the tapas are also intricately created. It's unusual for what you'd usually think of for a Tapas bar. Food is not greasy. Flavors are fresh, with lots of healthy options, too. Try their chicken tapa and eggplant carpaccio. We did not order the shrimp, but I wish we did! It smelled and looked amazing.
#PROTIP: The service is quick, but don't try to make small talk with the servers. While the manager is friendly, the others can be short. Just don't take it personally, and you'll do great!
A Unesco World Heritage Site, Bamberg is home to some of the oldest breweries in Europe. Remnants of the city date back to 400 A.D., with original architecture in tact as fully livable spaces. If you have a few days to explore what I call one of the most poetic cities in Germany, then read on, and check these "off-the-beaten-path" dining spots from your foodie bucket list.
Okay, this isn't technically a restaurant. But I couldn't talk about the best foodie finds in Bamberg, and not mention it. Part cafe, part college hangout, and part bar, this coffeeshop has a young, hipster, down-to-eart vibe that you just can't resist. Looks are deceiving from the outside, but when you walk in, you're transported into this cosy, and edgy cafe. It even has a wood burning fire on the corner, with a selection of books and magazines you can read.
Depending on who's working, you'll hear music ranging from Latin American, to old school hip hop and R&B, to classic rock and blues. They have the best coffee in town, hands down. It's always fresh, never bitter or burned, and served freaky fast. They have some food items, and it varies by the week. Food ranges from fresh soups, to toasted sandwiches, and a selection of baked goods. It's definitely vegan friendly in both food and drinks, with almond and soy milk varieties, too. Everyone speaks great English, and are always very friendly.
It's also one of the few spots in town with wifi. In fact, I am in here now, jamming to Biggie, and writing this blog. (Shades on, head boppin' ensues)
Little Italy was one of the first places we stumbled upon during our "look and see" trip before our official move to Germany. Their pizzas are what I know and love about Italy, full of tangy and savory flavors from the home made tomato sauce, and fresh ingredients. I also love their pastas, always cooked to perfection. Portions are generous, and would highly recommend their beef carpaccio pizza, salmon entree, and seafood risotto. They are vegan and gluten friendly, and can accommodate to many dietary request. The staff knows English and they also have an English menu, so just ask for it if you need one. Bon Appetito!
If you want to experience Bamberg like a local, stop by Cafe Muller for breakfast or lunch. They have an expansive menu that includes breakfast, pastas, crepes, and other hardy traditional entrees. I love their Ottoman's breakfast, which is basically a veggie scramble, with sheep cheese, olives, bread and a warm beverage. Their Turkey Salad is great too, if you're looking for something light, and healthy. They also have their version of käsespätzle, made with goat cheese. Lucas always loves their crepes, and we get it with applesauce (known as apple mouse), but you can pick from a variety of other toppings including Nutella.
Just don't make the mistake of taking the seat of the many Opas (elderly guests) that frequent the cafe, or you'll get an intimidating stare, which is often amusing, but sometimes frightening! You'll see them seated in the corners enjoying a cappuccino, while playing chess, or reading the paper. They have an English menu so just ask for it if you need one! You can make reservations, but never needed. It gets very busy, but also flips quickly.
Can you say Franconian Thai Food? Yes, this little restaurant offers a unique twist to traditional Asian cuisine, by adding seasonal Franconia-inspired flavors. In the fall, the menu is full of pumpkin based dishes. The summer bring fresh fish into the mix. And you'll always find the menu staples which include Duck, potatoes, noodles, curries, and rice dishes.
For gin fans, they also have an extensive gin list, one of the most expansive in all of Bamberg. In the summer, they open their beer garden and it's super rustic, and an amazing spot to enjoy the summer nights, and a meal. They often have live music outside as well. Tables are hard to land, more so inside than out, and usually require reservations. If you don't have reservations, try an earlier dinner around 5 when they open. They have an English menu, so just ask for it if you need one!
If you have a car and can venture about 20 minutes outside of the city center, you'll find one of the best traditional German restaurants in the area. Located in the foothills of the region called Franconian Switzerland, It's a warm, inviting, and cosy restaurant, with a lovely beer garden. They serve all the traditional German fixings from käsespätzle, to grilled meats, knödel, and a variety of pickled salads and cabbages. With amazing views of the rolling hills beyond the horizon, it's also a lovely escape from the hustle of central Bamberg, and a great place to enjoy a beer or wine during the summer months.
We are explorers.
Thrill Seekers. Foodies.