Girlswanderlust’s Travel Overview 2020
The travel industry took a huge step backward in 2020 due to the covid19 pandemic. Unfortunately we traveled less abroad than we actually had planned. Today we will take you to the destinations we have visited in the past year. They are quite a few! Enjoy s travel overview of 2020!
February: road trip to Cochem, Luxembourg City, and Valkenburg
At the end of February, just before the Corona crisis ‘started’, author Tamara went on a weekend road trip through The Netherlands, Germany, and Luxembourg.
Cochem is a lovely town in Germany. It’s especially lively during the wine festivals in June and late August. Cochem really is a summer destination. In Summer time you can find lots of tourists walking around town, but in winter time it is so quiet! There are not many accommodations booked and several attractions are closed. It’s good to keep this in mind before you’re planning your trip to Cochem. The most compelling attraction in Cochem is the Cochem Castle! The best time to visit Cochem would probably be in Spring or Autumn. At this time of the year, it’s not that crowded yet, but it’s a beautiful time to visit the sights Cochem has to offer.
The Eltz Castle (Germany)
Close to Cochem you can find the magnificent Eltz Castle. Of course Tamara couldn’t resist a visit to this castle! It’s only a 30-minute drive from Cochem and it’s a beautiful route, as it follows the Moselle River. From the parking place of Eltz Castle, it’s only around a 15-minute walk to the castle. It was such a magnificent building surrounded by beautiful nature. Absolutely worth a visit when you’re visiting this region. Not only for a visit to the castle, but also for having a nice hike.
Luxembourg city (Luxembourg)
After visiting Eltz Castle, author Tamara drove further to Luxembourg city. The city isn’t that big, but features some beautiful places. She drank tea and ate a delicious macaron (they’re really tasty!!) at bakery PAUL. Her favorite place in the city probably is around the Casemates du Bock. Here you have some nice views over the Alzette River and its surroundings.
Valkenburg (The Netherlands)
After exploring Luxembourg city, author Tamara drove back to the Netherlands (through Belgium) to explore Valkenburg. She made a pit stop at Castle Hoensbroek and at the American Cemetery in Margraten.
Valkenburg is a beautiful historical and natural town that’s located in the southern part of the Netherlands in the Dutch province of Limburg. Here, author Tamara had a delicious lunch and tried out the toboggan run of Valkenburg, which was so much fun! Via an aerial lift you go uphill from where the toboggan runs start. This is much fun for all ages!
Click here to explore 15 exciting things you can do in Valkenburg!
March: spending a weekend in Groningen (The Netherlands)
In March, Daphne visited one of the most beautiful and offbeat places in The Netherlands: Groningen! Groningen is a charming Dutch university town and a lively town that has much to offer in terms of culture and events, beautiful historic monuments like the Martini Tower, great shopping districts, and excellent restaurants. Daphne wrote a complete two days itinerary of things to do, where to eat, and where to stay in Groningen. Really worth a visit!
April: a 3 days trip to the Betuwe (The Netherlands)
In April author Daphne visited the Betuwe, a municipality in the Dutch province of Gelderland. All over the Betuwe you can find beautiful blossoms of fruit trees and historical villages like Culemborg, Buren and Amerongen.
The first day Daphne visited Culemborg and Buren. Culemborg is a city that’s situated just south of the Lek river. Daphne started her trip in Culemborg with some fresh baked bread from Culemborgs Bakhuis. The bakery offers various traditional delicacies, including the great pride of Culemborg: the Culemborg cheese sticks. After breakfast she explored Culemborg by foot and enjoyed watching the impressive historic buildings and charming picturesque streets.
After exploring Culemborg, Daphne traveled to the small and historic town of Buren. Make sure to go for a stroll in the city centre of Buren and explore the city gate, the church tower, the orphanage, and the mill. If you are interested in visiting a museum and learning more about the history of Buren, you can explore Museum Buren & Oranje. After exploring Buren, Daphne cycled back to Culemborg and overnight at Landgoed de Geer.
Close to Culemborg and Buren you can find a great water paradise and island: Island of Maurik. Daphne relaxed at the beach and rented an electric boat to explore the lake and tiny islands. That was really fun! In the afternoon, Daphne rented a bicycle and cycled to Amerongen.
Amerongen is a small village on the border of the Utrecht Hill Ridge. The picturesque village of Amerongen is about 1,000 years old and one of the gems of the Netherlands. Daphne first stopped at the famous Amerongen Castle, a beautiful ‘Huys’ from the seventeenth century. Amerongen Castle is surrounded by historic gardens and is an absolute must-see of Dutch Heritage.
After exploring the castle, Daphne cycled to the village center and explored the village further by foot. Walking through the village, you see ancient streets, lovely restaurants, galleries and shops. The glorious history around the tobacco culture is seen all around the village.
Daphne spent the night in one of the beach cabins at Isle of Maurik.
The last day, Daphne visited Tricht, a small town famous for its old apple trees and delicious fruits. It was really fun to walk along the Appeldijk and to enjoy the beautiful views. Daphne also visited Landgoed Heerlijkheid Marienwardt, where she did some canoeing over the river.
May: hiking in the Biesbosch National Park (The Netherlands)
At approximately an hour driving distance (southwards) from Amsterdam, you can find the Biesbosch National Park. Author Tamara visited this park in May 2020 and also stayed overnight just outside the park, in a former water tower! The Biesbosch National Park is the perfect place for hiking, biking and kayaking.
She decided to hike the nature trail Nieuwe Merwede, a trail of five kilometers long. This trail didn’t include paved paths, what made it an exciting trail. The path went along the Nieuwe Merwede river, along creeks and through willow forests. A beautiful trail!
She also hiked the Hooge hof & Deeneplaat trails, two separated trails, both of seven kilometers long. During the trails, she walked along shallow lagoons, creeks, reed marsh, and across willow forests. These are really nice and diverse hiking trails.
Of course there are many other trails and activities that the Biesbosch National Park has to offer. Click here to find out more!
July: a midweek in the Belgian Ardennes (Belgium)
In July, author Tamara spent a midweek in the Belgian Ardennes. The Belgian Ardennes, located at the East side of Belgium, is the perfect place for outdoor lovers. Here you’ll find beautiful nature and cosy towns where you can do all kinds of sports and activities. She visited Castle Reinhardstein, the La Couffe brewery, Durbuy, and the Caves of Han.
Castle Reinhardstein (Robertville)
Tamara visited Castle Reinhardstein, a castle built in 1354 which is located near Robertville. She only visited the castle outside and went for a hike in the surrounding. You can visit the castle itself through a guided tour. The direct environment of the castle has some magnificent nature and therefore it’s the perfect place for a hike!
La Chouffe brewery (Achouffe)
Tamara also visited the La Chouffe Brewery, exciting! After signing up at the desk, she got a guided tour through the brewery and enjoyed a beer tasting afterwards. It definitely was a nice visit and she would recommend it to all beer lovers. Tamara wrote more about her visit to the La Chouffe brewery in this article.
In Achouffe you can also find nice hiking trails. Tamara hiked the “In the Fairies Valley” trail, which is a popular, and a great trail. It took approximately two hours to hike the trail.
Durbuy is an old, picturesque little city where you can wander through the small streets and enjoy a drink at one of the many terraces. Although this place can be quite touristic and crowded, Tamara still enjoyed visiting it. Tip: in Winter time, there’s a really nice Christmas market in Durbuy which is worth a visit.
The Caves of Han
Located in the middle of the Belgian Ardennes you can find the Caves of Han or ‘Grottes de Han’, a site where you can pay a visit to the Cave of Han and a wildlife park. Since the weather wasn’t that great when visiting, Tamara decided to only pay a visit to the cave. A visit to the Cave of Han is a must when you’re interested in geological places.
There is also a possibility to stay at the site of the Caves of Han. How nice is that? Ideal when you’re staying at the site and would like to visit the Wildlife Park one day and the cave of Han the other day.
August: a 2 Weeks holiday inTthe Netherlands and Germany
In August Daphne spent a 2 weeks holiday in the Netherlands and Germany. She spent most of her time in the Dutch province of Limburg, the southernmost of the 12 provinces of the Netherlands. In Limburg you can find plenty of vineyards, asparagus fields, heartlands, fens, river dunes, forests and a stunning national park: Maasduinen National Park. Instead of visiting the historic cities like Roermond, Maastricht, or Valkenburg, Daphne decided to visit the smaller towns and enjoy nature to the fullest. Below you can read the highlights of her trip!
Maasduinen National Park (The Netherlands)
Maasduinen National Park lies between the river Maas and the German border in the north of Limburg. It’s an elongated ridge of sand and about three kilometers wide and twenty kilometers long. Pretty big! You can find all kinds of different landscapes like forests, heathlands, fens, lakes and shifting sands. The park is also home to many special animals and plants. Daphne did some cycling at the national park, which really is a recommendation!
Fort Pannerden (The Netherlands)
During her holiday, Daphne also visited the exciting, surprising and beautifully restored fort Pannerden. The fort of the Nieuwe Hollandse Waterlinie is hidden under the earth, but is five stories high. Can you imagine!? From the roof you have a spectacular view over the Waal river, Rhine river and Pannerdensch Canal. If you’re planning to visit Arnhem, make sure you don’t forget to visit this fort! Daphne really enjoyed it.
Arcen (The Netherlands)
During her trip, Daphne also visited Arcen, a village famous for its historic castle and beautiful gardens. In Arcen Daphne visited the beautiful Arcen Castle Gardens, a distillery located in a water mill, the Arcen thermal baths, the town hall, and did a beer tasting at the Hertog Jan Brewery. Arcen really is a fun and small place to visit!
Anholt Castle (Germany)
In Germany, just about three kilometres across the Dutch border you can find a moated castle in Münsterland: Anholt Castle and Park. It truly is a hidden treasure at the border. Inside the castle, you can find fantastic art works in one of the biggest and oldest museums in Germany. But it’s not only the castle that is worth a visit; its gorgeous garden is too. You can take a walk through the baroque park beckons, stretching far beyond the entire pond landscape. There’s also a maze, which is really fun to get lost in!
For years Anholt Castle (also called Wasserburg Anholt) has been on the list of castles Daphne once wanted to visit. Click here to explore more about the castle.
September: a visit to Breda (The Netherlands) and the Eifel region (Germany)
In September Tamara spent a weekend in Breda, a city in the Southern part of the Netherlands. Breda is a perfect destination for a city trip. Besides its rich history, it’s also a really nice city when it comes to restaurants, terraces and shopping possibilities. Tamara visited the Begijnhof, Valkenburg Park, Church of our Lady, had lunch at the food hall, and walked along the Blind Walls Gallery Route.
At a driving distance of, approximately, 10 minutes from the city center of Breda you can find Bouvigne Castle and the Mastbos. A photogenic castle surrounded by magnificent nature.
At the end of September Tamara continued traveling and visited Eifel, a mountain range in Germany. In Eifel she spent some time in the picturesque town of Monschau, she hiked several trails, went to the city of Cologne and paid a visit to the Wildpark of Hellenthal.
Monschau is a small and idyllic town. It offers narrow alleys, beautiful half-timbered houses and is surrounded by green hills. In Monschau, Tamara visited the castle of Monschau, nowadays a youth hostel, but still worth visiting from the outside and to wander around the courtyard. Not only at the castle of Monschau you can enjoy some magnificent views over the center. All around the town you can hike upwards where you’ll have nice views. Tamara had a beautiful view over the castle of Monschau.
The Eifel region is the perfect place for hikers! There are so many possibilities: from heavy to easy hikes and from long hikes to short hikes. During her time in the Eifel, Tamara hiked three trails of, approximately, two hours. One of them started in Hellenthal, the place she stayed at, and came across the beautiful Oleftalsperre. Another hike went through the Eifel National Park and came across Vogelsang and the last one started in the town of Reiffescheid.
Tamara also paid a visit to the Dreimühlen Wasserfall (near Nohn) and the small lakes located close to Daun. Beautiful places!
The city of Cologne is worth a visit all year round. During Tamara’s time in the city, she visited the chocolate museum, located just outside the city center. A really nice museum where you can learn more about the history and production of chocolate. Furthermore, Tamara wandered around the city and visited the lock bridge, the cathedral and shopped a little. She ended her day with a delicious diner at a sushi restaurant.
Wildpark in Hellenthal
Just outside the town of Hellenthal there is a Wildpark. If you’re crazy about animals, this would definitely be the place for you! The highlights of the park probably are the raptors. There are many of them and during your visit, you can enjoy a flight show. Tamara strolled around the park and enjoyed her time while coming across deers, wild boars, mouflons and more animals.
Tamara will write more about her Eifel experiences soon, so stay tuned!
October: exploring the largest castle in The Netherlands: De Haar Castle
It was a lazy, sunny Wednesday morning when Daphne visited De Haar Castle, said to be the prettiest castle in The Netherlands and only a short drive away from her hometown: Utrecht. De Haar Castle had everything Daphne expected from a castle; towers, turrets, ramparts, moats, gates and suspension drawbridges. Not only was the castle itself stunning, the surrounding gardens and park were also very beautiful. Daphne was completely blown away when visiting this castle. Click here to find out more!
December: enjoying salty sea air in Zeeland, The Netherlands
In December Daphne enjoyed the salty sea air during her stay at a Landal resort in Zeeland. She daily made walks along the sea and went for same day trips to Vlissingen and Breskens. Soon she will share everything about these towns with you. Stay tuned!
These were the destinations we visited in 2020. And actually the United Kingdom, Thailand, and Armenia should have been among them. Hopefully we can visit these countries this year!
Tell us, what does your 2020 travel overview look like?
Where have you been and what did you enjoy the most?
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