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Schladming-Dachstein – Ski & Yoga Weekend with Ski Amadé

Austria in February – what better weekend plan than to spend an amazing time with friends in the mountains of Schladming-Dachstein, enjoy some delicious traditional Austrian food, go skiing while having the perfect snow conditions and relax in between with some yoga – for sure including some epic views.

Skiing weekend at Schladming-Dachstein

We spent the last weekend in the region of Schladming-Dachstein. It was already our second time there in this season. This skiing region is located at the Eastern area of the Austrian alps, next to the famous Dachstein glacier.

Schladming-Dachstein is by far the most modern and biggest skiing region within Styria. And as you probably have already guessed it – our favorite one.

We just love it there, as it is the perfect place for ski lovers. Skiing at Schladming-Dachstein gives you amazing panoramic views of the surrounding snowy mountain caps. The region just leaves you speechless.

We were therefore super happy to be invited by Schladming-Dachstein and the ski circus Ski amadé to spend a whole day there filled with a ton of activities.

Ski amadé – made my day

Apart from being a great ski circus, Ski amadé offers various “made my day” packages, which combine skiing with different other activities such as snow shoeing, yoga or food tastings.

We decided to go for the “ski & yoga” package, which includes a full-day ski guide – that tells you everything you want to know and shows you the best areas to ski, a ton of delicious food and as the title already tells you – yoga at the mountain summit.

Every few hours on this tour, a different activity awaits you. The best thing about the tour is that you get to see all the four mountains that are included in the Schladming-Dachstein ski pass: Reiteralm, Hochwurzen, Planai and Hauser Kaibling.

08:00 am: Meeting our ski guide Hans

The day started super early. We already left Graz at around 5:30 am to make it in time to the meeting point. We meet our ski guide at the valley station of Reiteralm. Hans is super motivated to guide us through the day, and we could not be more excited for the day ahead.

We took the first ski lift up to the top of Reiteralm, and are welcomed with a super gorgeous mountain panorama. We are all alone at the top and left in awe. Hans told us a lot about all the surrounding mountain caps, before we went skiing all the way down to our second stop – Schnepfn Alm.

09:00 am: Breakfast buffet with prosecco at Schnepfn Alm (Reiteralm)

After an hour of skiing (which was super cool, since we had the slopes almost for ourselves), we arrived at Schnepfn Alm for breakfast. This traditional Austrian hut has a stunning view of the Dachstein glacier.

After indulging into the delicious and big breakfast buffet, we spent another hour racing down the skiing slopes. We slowly made our way from Reiteralm to the next mountain Hochwurzen.

11:00 am: Mountain yoga at Hochwurzen

We arrived at Hochwurzen, where our yoga teacher already expected us. We were excited, because we had no idea what would await us. If you for the first time hear that you are supposed to do yoga in skiing shoes, it might sound a bit weird.

In reality, it was really cool. We did some slightly modified positions, which you can easily do with the skiing shoes on. Some positions we even did with our skis still on. It was relaxing to take in the mountain panorama, breathe deeply and just take it all in. Exactly what we needed.

13:00 pm: Lunch break at Kessleralm (Planai)

After yoga, we again had some time to explore the skiing slopes of Hochwurzen, but also Planai. We spent around 90 minutes racing downwards and stopping in between to get some guidance from Hans.

We then arrived at the mountain hut Kessleralm, where a delicious vegetarian lunch waited for us. YUM! It was – hands down – the best food we have ever had on a skiing hut. As a vegetarian it is sometimes hard to find something besides the obligatory spaghetti with tomato sauce, so we were surprised when they served us the most delicious and healthy meal.

16:00 pm: Après ski at AlmArenA (Hauser Kaibling)

Already a bit tired from all the skiing and fun, we arrived at the valley of Hauser Kaibling. There we made our way to the famous après ski bar and restaurant AlmArenA. Besides having a lot of fun with our skiing guide there, we ended the day with the most famous Austrian dessert, which is typical for all the skiing regions: Germknödel.

Fully stuffed and super happy, we later took the skiing bus back to Reiteralm, where we parked our car. As you can imagine, after such an exciting day, we were also happy to make it to our hotel, where we feel asleep very early.

Thank you Ski amadé, thank you Schladming-Dachstein – you really made our day. We can highly recommend this package to any ski and food lovers. It’s also the perfect idea for any present.

Collaboration with Ski amadé (sponsored trip)

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Hotel Höflehner – Winter spa holiday next to Hauser Kaibling

Naturhotel Höflehner – if you have ever considered going for a luxury mountain spa holiday while having the opportunity to jump into your alpine skis directly from the hotel door, you have found the place to go.

The wellness Hotel Höflehner is located directly on the east end of the four mountain ski circuit Schladming-Dachstein in Styria. This region is by the way the biggest and most marvellous skiing region of the eastern end of the Austrian Alps.

To reach the hotel you have to drive up the first section of the mountain Hauser Kaibling until you reach the ski slope. The drive is definitely worth it since from the hotel you will have a spectacular view over the region of Ennstal and it’s surrounding mountains.

But if you plan to visit the 4 star superior wellness Hotel Höflehner in winter, you still should make enough time for what the hotel is most famous and even rewarded for.

Luxury wellness and spa

The wellness and spa area is 3700 m² big and separated between a few luxurious mountain huts. The main spa hut is directly connected to the hotel and encompasses most of the saunas and steam rooms. Directly in front of this area you can find a whirlpool as well as the regions first Olympic sport pool with 25 meters length.

The great thing about Höflehner’s spa area is that not everything is directly at one place. The hotel has built many new unique spa huts, which all-together now almost seem like a small wellness and spa village.

Some of the huts are purely for relaxation where you can find really cosy and relaxing beds. At one big hut, directly next to the main spa hut, you will find the event sauna. Twice a day there is a guided sauna infusion that is a must-do when staying at the Hotel Höflehner. It’s a really unique experience when sauna master “Kurt“ sings with an almost mediative voice locally known songs. Magical moments.

Straight after visiting this special sauna infusion, we loved to check out the second whirlpool which is almost a bit hidden behind the event sauna and therefore much more private. Another great sauna is located in a hut more up the hill, and therefore called the panorama sauna. Obviously due to its magnific view over the region. But see for yourself.

Nature as a key element for well being and sleeping

One of the hotels core statements is that nature itself offers everything that you need for recovery and relaxation. As soon as you arrive, you recognise that nature is the inspiration for numerous wellness offers and its essence is captured in all areas and in the luxurious rooms.

The Hotel Höflehner offers a big variety of rooms and suites as well as serval romantic chalets. The chalets are purely made of wood and have terraces to the north and south. We stayed in a family suite, which has two separate bedrooms with two big terraces. Wonderful view included.

The main theme of every room is luxury combined with wood, whereas Zirbe (Swiss StonePine) and cicada are mostly used. The wood is natural and untreated, so its scent fills the whole chamber. This creates an atmosphere of relaxation that stimulates your mind and senses.

What we enjoyed most besides a deep relaxing sleep was the stunning terrace. Every morning we walked out while breathing in fresh cold air with an amazing view of the mountains.

(Organic) food heaven

Since nature plays the key role in all aspects, it’s no surprise that also the food is organic. Hotel Höflehner solely serves organic, pure food from biological producers that live nearby. Mountain farmers of the region directly supply produces like herbs and milk.

The breakfast buffet was plentiful and offered a great variety from all sorts of products. We also loved creating our own smoothie from fresh fruits and greens.

From 3 pm to 5 pm, just when you think about something sweet and you might come back from skiing, a really awesome cake buffet is awaiting you. One day they offered even sweet dumplings, which of course we couldn’t resist.

The evening dinner starts from 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm and is a four-course dinner with big salat buffet. Depending on the day, either the first course or the dessert is also available on the buffet. Especially when this was the case for the dessert, we found ourselves in paradise made out of chocolate fountains and a ton of desserts inspired from all around the world.

The main menu and the soup was always served and you could choose between several options. The vegetarian choice, which we always went for, was excellent and always a dish we have never tried before.

Activities and offers besides Wellness & Skiing

There are several guided activities such as snowshoe hiking. One activity you should not miss out is yoga since there is probably no better place to practice it than on a mountain view a great view.

The hotel has built its own yoga hut with views over the whole region. Hotel Höflehner offers a lot of activities in summer as well, so it hasn’t necessarily to be winter when you visit this place. The region is perfect for mountain biking and hiking which is both offered by the hotel as well.

For families there is even a nanny who takes care of children between 3 and 12 years at the Bambi Club and the new Kids Fun Park. There are also a lot of offerings for a romantic time with your loved one such as a private hot tube outside.

We have seen and experienced a lot of the hotel, but it still kind of feels that it was only a glimpse of what it could offer. We would really love to come back once in summer, when there are so many other great things to do and enjoy in the region.

Sometimes when you stay in such an amazing hotel it is even hard to decide whether to go skiing or staying at the amazing spa area, but fortunately, the days were long enough to enjoy both.

Paid collaboration with Hotel Höflehner

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Skiing at Hauser Kaibling – part of the ski circuit Schladming-Dachstein and Ski Amadé

Hauser-Kaibling – one of our favourite skiing areas in Styria, Austria. Only a two hour drive away from our home in Graz. Part of the big skiing region Schladming-Dachstein and Ski Amadé.

Located at the Eastern area of the Alps, just next to the Dachstein glacier, you will find a mountain region perfect for winter sports. Schladming-Dachstein. It is by far the biggest and most modern skiing region within Styria. It’s therefore the go-to skiing place for a ton of winter sport and mountain lovers.

Schladming-Dachstein – Styria’s biggest and most modern ski region

Hauser Kaibling is the first of four mountains of the region Schladming-Dachstein. All four mountains are perfectly connected to each other with lots of skiing lifts and gondolas.

You can easily spend a day or two just skiing at Hauser Kaibling’s perfectly prepared slopes or having fun at the other attractions the mountain has the offer.

Hauser Kaibling – with an altitude of 2015m – is the highest of the four mountains of the region Schladming-Dachstein. It has a beautiful summit cross, which you can reach just by walking a few meters uphill from the exit of a skiing lift.

The various ski slopes with a total length of 123 kilometres allow a fun and thrilled ride for all levels and from young to old. 

For the ambitious skier, Hauser Kaibling has the perfect offer: ski slopes, moguls, and powder runs in the wild terrain. A true challenge is the ski-route on Hauser Kaibling’s east-slope. Ski routes are terrains that are not prepared, hence the terrain is natural as it is. If you are one of the first entering after fresh snow, you will for sure have a marvellous experience creating the first tracks in the powder.

From the Kaiblingalm you can pass over to the neighbouring mountain Planai in Schladming, which is also famous for the annually FIS world cup night race.

Perfectly located close to the eastern end of the Alps

Only two hours away from the Graz and less than three hours away from Vienna makes this place easily accessible from the two biggest cities of Austria, as well as all eastern parts of the country.

The region around Dachstein glacier is the most eastern end of the central European alps, so Hauser Kaibling is the first big skiing hotspot. Moreover, it’s part of Ski Amadé, which is Austria’s biggest ski area organization, allowing access to 25 skiing areas with 760 kilometres of ski slopes with the same ski ticket. 

There are two valley runs, the WM-downhill FIS-Abfahrt and Prennerabfahrt, that bring you directly down to the base station of the 8-seater gondola and the large car park. If you stay at the 4 star wellness resort Höflehner, you can take a valley run, which directly ends at the hotel and the chair lift Höfli Express.

Sunbathing with gorgeous mountain views

One thing we like the most about being on Austria’s mountains during winter is that all the foggy weather stays down in the valleys, but in most of the cases you have blue skies and sunshine on the  mountain summits.This is when winter shows itself from the most possible beautiful side.

Hauser Kaibling has a lot of spots to enjoy these perfect winter days such as the pleasure island. At an altitude of 1800m sunbeds and sunchairs await you with panoramic views of all surrounding mountain peaks such as Dachstein Glacier, Hochkönig or Grimming.

Moreover, there is Wi-Fi available, so you will always stay connected and can share the momentinstantly with friends and family.Another great place to take a sunbath is to take a rest at one of the ski huts since most of them have a really nice outside terrace. And of course, you should not miss out on traditional Austrian food and desserts. YUUUM!

Fun activities in the snow

If there is still space for even more variety and fun you might as well check out the XXL Funslope, with lot’s of attractions such as a policeman monitoring your speed and high five hands. If you want to get of the skies for a minute, there is another really nice attraction for animal lovers. Close to the hotel Höflehner, even possible to see from the chair lift “Höfi Express 1” there is the Höflehner deer park. You can go there and watch the animals from the fence and if you’re lucky you might even observe animal feeding.

We had an amazing time at the skiing region of Hauser Kaibling and are already looking forward to coming back soon. If you are looking for an epic place to stay, recharge after skiing with some amazing spa time, check out Hotel Höflehner.

Paid collaboration with Hauser Kaibling

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Almwellness Resort Tuffbad, Austria – the secret gateway to paradise

Spending a wonderful weekend at Tuffbad in Carinthia, Austria – moments full of happiness, amazing views of snow covered mountains and true relaxation

Located in between scenic mountains, only reachable after an adventures drive through the still rural valley of Lesachtal, where time seems to pass a bit slower.

It was shortly after Christmas when we arrived at Tuffbad. Usually only mountains and skiing areas have decent amounts of snow during this time any more – climate change has hit Austria too.

But here in Lesachtal, as soon as you take the crossing from the main valley road (which is already a small and pretty turning road), it seems like somewhere there is a secret entrance gate. And once you pass it, you find yourself driving in a landscape surrounded by untouched nature and tons of snow. And when you think, you have no idea where this magical scenery will bring you to, you finally see it. A resort build in the most magical winter wonderland we have ever seen. Tuffbad.

We have to admit we were wondering a bit how the superior 4 star Almwellness resort Tuffbad has become so popular and well known, even though it is pretty far away from cities and skiing hot spots. Seeing this scenery already gave us a first glance of reasons and after having spent three days here, we could fill many pages of these reasons. So here goes our comprehended summary about Tuffbad:

Regionality meets a top-notch Spa area

Whether it’s the entrance hall, the luxury charlets or the spa area. The combination between modern luxury and regionality of Almwellness Resort Tuffbad is found everywhere.

The spa area encompasses around 2000 m² and is separated in two areas: On the first floor, you will find the luxurious infinity pool and a beautiful wintergarden with sunbeds. It’s truly a special place to get a sunbath with such a stunning view. The pool is warm and offers spectacular views throughout the valley. Just next door, with a view of the Lienzer Dolomites, you can find the newly build Dolomites Sauna. The flower of life, a spiritual sign known for 1000 of years, which stands for harmony and order, is the beautiful centrepiece of the room.

One floor beneath this you can find the second spa area with 10 different saunas and steam rooms, as well as an indoor pool and heated outdoor whirlpool.

Especially the saunas at Almwellness Resort Tuffbad are truly one of a kind. We have been to many spa hotels already, but haven’t seen anything like this before.

Tuffbad for example has a 55° C warm “Brechelbad”, which is equipped with branches of fir on the floor, creating a deeply relaxing smell and atmosphere. There is a hay bath, blowing steam through regional hay.

At the “Brotbad” you will find a real bread cooking oven which was used a long time in history for curing rheumatic pain and releasing bad thoughts. It´s only 35°C and occasionally blows bread enzymes in the air. All the saunas and steam rooms made of natural materials such as wood and stone. It creates a truly special atmosphere that will releases stress immediately and transforms it to a feeling of well being and harmony.

Awesome activities in a magical surrounding

As already mentioned, we were blown away by the incredible winter wonderland that even seems kind of magical to us. The fact that there are many stories and fairy tales about this region fit our impression just perfectly. There was even a small book in our room with lots of interesting and funny fairy tales.

Even though it’s hard to leave the spa area, we decided to discover the area around the resort the second day. It felt almost like a crime not spending time out there. Cory was super excited since for the first time she tried snow shoe hiking. As soon as we managed to mount the shoes, she ran off the path to bullet proof them in the deep snow. We made a short hike around the resort and enjoyed the warm sun while embracing the whole scenery. It feels like time can stand still here for a moment.

Additionally to snow shoes, you can also borrow a sledge to take a ride from the house owned toboggan runway – everything is included during your stay.

Since sledging is one of our favourite winter activities, we had to give it a go. We went up the perfectly prepared toboggan runway, which is a forest street during summer. It was a pretty cool combination going for a beautiful walk uphill and then having fun by sledging down.

If you feel like doing even more winter sports, you will find lots of great opportunities for cross country skiing as well as alpine ski tours. In summer, you can even rent e-bikes and go for the more straining mountain hikes, which are too dangerous in winter. Moreover, there is a daily course program you can attend for free which includes things like yoga and pilates.

Ancient luxury for a deep relaxing sleep

It is interesting that the charlets of Almwellness Resort Tuffbad are built in the same way that houses in the region historically looked like. Of course, combined with luxury amendments. We are certain that the combination of natural materials like wood and stone leads to this incredible great feeling of relaxation and well-being.

In a world where everything goes on faster and faster, Tuffbad takes you back to the roots, where life was a lot simpler and more connected to nature. The charlets and also hotel rooms are equipped with wonderful details and are very spacious. We had a wonderful stay there and loved to wake up while seeing the first sunrays shining at the surrounding mountains.

Culinary highlights with regional natural products

Honestly, being a natural wellness resort in the mountains and not using regional products would almost be a crime. The way the Wellness Resort Tuffbad manages its food supply truly exceeded our expectations. So many of the regional suppliers even have a personal relation to resort, managed by Eva Maria and Egon Oberluggauer.

Most of the products come from the regional farmers and whenever possible fresh from the field or grain mill. The region is one of the most natural and environmentally friendly valleys within Europe; hence keeping also its products to the highest standards is a top priority. The resort also supports and fosters the so called “slow food travel”, which enables visitors to see, learn and experience how natural products are made since a long time ago in Lesachtal.

This mindset is all over the region. Us being much attached to preserving nature and its treasures like they are, really loved that part a lot. But it doesn´t mean that you have to resign on anything. The breakfast was just amazing with an incredible variety of things even for us – eating mostly vegan. But knowing things are handmade from regional farmers, we also tried the regional butter, cheese and eggs.

Even though you might still be overwhelmed from the breakfast, there is an afternoon snack from 1pm to 4:30pm. It´s again a buffet with two different soups, a huge variety of salads and desserts to choose from.

The dinner is a delicious 5 course menu. You can choose between meat, fish and vegetarian options, but can also combine various courses as you please. We always opted for the vegetarian menu.

The most amazing hotel team, making you feel at home

One of the things that touched us the most was the incredible warm and friendly hotel stuff. Especially the owners Eva-Maria and Egon have such a great spirit that Tuffbad soon will feel like your second home.

We could feel in every corner that the wellbeing of their guests is their top priority. Whether it was Eva-Maria personally vaporizing special herbs for relaxation and stress release, or Egon kindly asking for feedback, or the fact that all guests could choose a Christmas present under the Christmas tree. Everything felt like being right at home.

It’s truly a magical place with an incredible amount of warmth and happiness. We would love to come back soon. 🙂

Paid collaboration with Tuffbad Almwellness Resort

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Schmittenhöhe – skiing in the winter wonderland of Zell am See – Kaprun

Why you definitely need to add Schmittenhöhe to your bucketlist of awesome skiing areas in the world and how you can use the Ski Alpin Card to take benefits of three epic skiing regions in Austria

„The blue of the sky is reflected in the gorgeous Zeller Lake. Surrounded by forests and snowy mountain caps. That’s how true paradise must look like.”

Ever heard of this description? It was said by Emir of Abu Dhabi back in the 60ies, and is one of the many reasons why the region Zell am See became famous worldwide. Well-deserved in our opinion.

Unforgettable memories of Schmittenhöhe

Already as a child, my family and I (Andi) spent countless of our skiing holidays in the region Zell am See. I can still remember my first skiing and snowboarding days on one of the coolest mountains of Zell am See called Schmittenhöhe. Having fun in the snow and just enjoying being free and out in nature. Good times.

Some years later, when I was already a bit older and more experienced, we went skiing at the 3203m high glacier Kitzsteinhorn. There I discovered my passion of skiing offside the main slopes. Back then there was so much snow; it was the most epic winter wonderland you can ever imagine.

As you can imagine, I was super excited. It was definitely one of my best childhood memories.

Almost 20 years have passed since those memories, but still today my excitement for this particular skiing region – Schmittenhöhe – remains.

Especially if you have been travelling a lot around the globe and have already seen things like the insanely gorgeous mountain lakes in New Zealand, you truly start to see your own home country in a different light. You start loving it more and more, and seeing things that you have not noticed before.

Pinch me – is this even real? – Panoramic views from Schmittenhöhe

When Cory and I stood at the summit of Schmittenhöhe we were both simply blown away by the beauty of Austria. It was one of those “pinch me – is this even real?” moments. From the summit of Schmittenhöhe you can see a gorgeous mountain lake and numerous snow-covered mountain caps. It truly is the most stunning mountain view we have seen in a long time and it will be one that we will remember for a long time.

Schmittenhöhe, one of the many mountains around Zell am See, is a beautiful and super big skiing region. Whether you are a beginner or a winter sport professional, Schmittenhöhe is the perfect choice for a fun day in the snow. It is perfectly suited for beginners with its family slopes, but also true paradise for professionals, who want to ski offside the main slopes or want to race down one of the many black slopes.

The hardest part of being at Schmittenhöhe? Not being too distracted from the actual reason you are there – skiing, since you are surrounded by this epic mountain panorama and probably feel the urge to just stop and take some photos … As you can see, we had a pretty hard time to focus. 😉

If you ever get tired from skiing in the afternoon, there is no need to go home yet. Just head to the summit of Schmittenhöhe, order some drinks and enjoy the sunset with a beautiful panoramic view, while listening and dancing to Austrian Aprés Ski songs.

Skiing at Glacier Kitzsteinhorn

On our second day in Zell am See we headed to the next skiing highlight – the glacier Kitzsteinhorn. Since the start of the 2019/2020 skiing season the Kitzsteinhorn skiing area got connected with the family skiing region Maiskogel with the 3K (K)onnection Gondola.

With the connection, it is now possible to head to Kitzsteinhorn directly from Kaprun, enjoy the most insane mountain views in the gondola and ski home to the valley via the Maiskogel slopes.

The Kitzsteinhorn offers beautiful slopes, but also spectacular slopes offside the main ones, which are usually covered by several meters of snow.

Two days, two gorgeous skiing regions. Together those two regions cover more than 150 km of slopes. And still that is not everything the region around Zell am See – Kaprun has to offer.  

Benefits of buying the Ski Alpin Card in Zell am See – Kaprun

When you purchase the skiing pass “Ski Alpin Card” you can choose if you want to go to Schmittenhöhe, Kitzsteinhorn or the third skiing area – Skicircus Saalbach Hinterglemm – Fieberbrunn. Those three skiing regions are located very closely to each other, so it is super easy to move between them using the local ski busses. Also, when you have already been skiing in the Skicircus Saalbach Hinterglemm, you can even just jump into one of the gondolas and in that way make your way to Schmittenhöhe.

Perfect offer – if you ask us. This region will leave you speechless. Even after a week of skiing, you will still discover new spots in this region.

Zell am See – Kaprun – paradise for winter sport lovers

The idyllic mountain region Zell am See – Kaprun is also the perfect go-to-spot for cross-country skiers, ski mountaineers and snow hikers. There are countless cute mountain huts and restaurants, but also the small towns around Zell am See all have a super cozy and welcoming vibe.

It is definitely not the last time that we have been in this region. The charm of Zell am See and the countless winter attractions will definitely bring us back sooner than later.

Blog article written as part of a paid collaboration with Schmittenhöhe

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Luxury Spa Hotel Nesslerhof in Großarl, Austria

Austria – our home – and a country which is super multifarious and beautiful. Introducing you to one of the best luxury spa hotels in Austria – Hotel Nesslerhof.

We have to confess: We are absolute spa lovers. And we have been to a lot of spa resorts all over the world already. We have seen affordable luxury hotels and we have seen day spas for pretty cheap prices. How does this fit together with being adventure travel lovers as well?

For us it’s the perfect match. Going on a multiday hike while sleeping in a tent to fill the thirst for adventure and the next trip going for a spa hotel and fully recover and chill out. Sounds like our dream weekend.

Speaking of Spa hotels: There are several things Austria is famous for. Such as the incredible Alps, skiing, classical music and all the clichés you might know from the movie Sound of Music.

But speaking of the incredibly beautiful Alps… one thing the world should finally draw attention to is the following:

Austria is THE PARADISE for spa lovers. From resorts next to hot springs to luxury mountain resorts – Austria has it all. The awesome thing about Austria: Luxury in Austria almost every time means affordable luxury, meaning that you get an incredible amount of value for what you pay.

The luxury spa hotel Nesslerhof in Großarl, Salzburg suits this description perfectly. Thanks again to the family Neudegger and their team; we had an amazing time.

Here are our top 5 reasons why hotel Nesslerhof is one of the best Luxury Spa Hotels we have ever been to:

1. Luxury Spa Hotel – 1.800m² of pure enjoyment

Whether it’s the infinity pool, the indoor swimming pool or sole outdoor pool. Every single one is equipped with massage jets and has a nice warm temperature.

Outdoors there is beautiful natural swimming pond as well as a cold-water pond. Depending on the season and weather you just walk out of one of the amazing saunas – it’s the perfect way to get refreshed. We haven’t felt more alive, while being fully present in the here and now, than after a nice cold water “shock”.

The great thing if you just come out of one of the two steam rooms or plenty of saunas, your body is so overheated that cold water feels like a blessing.

If that’s still not enough wellbeing there is also vast offer of spa treatments and complementary fitness or yoga sessions.

2. The most epic suites and mountain views

Usually when you stay at a nice spa resorts you stay in a a fancy room. Nevertheless, you basically only use it for sleeping, active night time and getting ready for breakfast and dinner.

But at hotel Nesslerhof we were blessed with the most epic room we have ever stayed in. So leaving the room was not even needed since our spa experience already started here.

The first day we loved to try out our very private sauna and infrared cabin. The coolest part was definitely jumping into the role of a sauna master, who usually pours water over the heated rocks.

The second day we decided to heat up the wood-fired oven and to having a romantic night together. We watched the flames and enjoyed a nice bath. Of course, followed by another private sauna session.

And what could have been a better refreshment afterwards, than walking out of our suite onto our massive private terrace, lay on the sunbeds and watching the mountains turning all kinds of colours during sunset. This is what we could call the perfect honeymoon suite.

3. Heaven for foodies

Well isn’t the perfect holiday a lot about enjoying the most amazing food? Let’s just say it’s a pretty important part of it.

At hotel Nesslerhof there isn’t any culinary expectation that is not met on the highest level. The breakfast buffet is equipped with several fresh smoothies and pretty everything Austria’s finest breakfast selection has to offer. Everything you will find is biological and offered as naturally as possible.

Not that it would be necessary after mostly overeating at breakfast, simply since you just can’t stop. But there is a lunch snack starting at 2:30pm, offering a salad and cake buffet as well as a soup and one main warm dish. Soft drinks, coffee and tea is included during lunch, which is usually not the case at other spa resorts we have been to. Truly the lunch is far more than a snack, it’s a complete meal and it’s just ready when you feel like having an afternoon snack & coffee break.

The 4-course evening dinner is just another stunning highlight for food lovers. All courses are served to the table and there are several options to choose from, including vegetarian options. Additionally, there is a big salad buffet as well as an ice cream and cheese buffet to take from. Overall, it´s a 7-course high-class dinner that is offered, but frankly spoken we never made it to the ice cream, even though it looked delicious.

4. Major interior design inspiration

Seriously we haven’t been to a place which inspired us the way hotel Nesslerhof did. The combination of wood, plants and natural elements did really blow our mind. The moss pictures, natural wood walls and wooden tables just won our personal price for the most amazing design.

And since it’s all natural elements the design is one part of the exceptional feeling of well-being. Since we haven’t seen this perfect mixture of nature and design anywhere else, it’s no surprise that parts of hotel Nesslerhof where just newly build in 2016.  After our stay we came home with lots of ideas how to style our own flat to just get a slice of the hotel Nesslerhof feeling.

5. One of Austria’s top ski resorts is just around the corner

Well no matter where this hotel would be, it would definitely pay off to make the effort and come for a spa holiday. But it’s not located in the nowhere. It’s actually just on the foot of one of Austria’s top ski regions. Literally the cable car is just a few meters away.

The skiing region Dorfgastein – Großarl offers 68 km of ski slopes for all experience levels. But even if you are not a skier or snowboarder, there are plenty of activities in the mountains such as snowshoe walking or cross country skiing. If you visit the hotel Nesslerhof outside the skiing season, there are all kind of activities around the beautiful mountains of Hohe Tauern. Besides there is the city of Salzburg as well as famous Hallstatt just about an hour away from the resort.

Anyways it will be hard to leave such a place for any kind of activity outside the hotel. Hence we were not particularly sad about the fact that winter season hasn’t started yet, when we visited the place.

Thanks to family Neudegger and their team to making this an unforgettable trip. We will be back. 🙂

Blog article written as part of a paid collaboration with Hotel Nesslerhof

If you want to get a deeper understanding why Austria is paradise for Spa lovers, take a look at one of our other recent luxury spa hotel reviews:

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Why you should spend your next weekend trip at Hotel “Die Wasnerin” in Styria, Austria

Autumn in Austria, especially in the region of Salzkammergut, is incredibly beautiful. Colourful forests and the white glacier of Dachstein and all other surrounding summits turn the landscape into a magnifique painting, which we would directly put on our bedroom wall. The surrounding around the hotel Die Wasnerin is simply breath-taking.

Mid October is usually a time you only spent outside with a jacket and where foggy and cold days tend to create this urge for your next holiday, or at least just a break from stressful working days. But since most people spend their holidays during summer, there is this long-lasting holiday break until Christmas.

Since we are holiday and especially spa lovers, we decided to spend a short holiday in the beautiful region of Bad Aussee at the hotel Die Wasnerin. Here is why this was the perfect choice to take a break from work:

1. Specialised on Yoga retreats – this holiday will bring you back to yourself

Die Waserin is really a heaven for a yoga lovers and all those who every wanted to try it out or get started with it. Yoga – well known as a physical, mental and spiritual practice – aims to unite body, mind and soul. The goal is to find a way to reconnect with your inner-self.

Since the hotel is all about taking a time out, this practice fits just perfectly into your relaxing holiday. We can’t imagine a better place to take some time for yourself than surrounding yourself with beautiful mountains and having the chance to practice yoga at the beautiful lakes of Salzkammergut during summer.

Everything at this hotel aims at you taking time for yourself and letting go of all outside stress factors. The offer reaches from several daily yoga classes with different focus to aerial yoga classes.

2. Offering relaxing alternative medicine spa treatments

Since I (Andi) used to be a workaholic years ago, I know exactly what it means not being able to unwind and relax. Your body and mind are permanently in tension, which makes relaxation and letting go the hardest possible “task”. Die Wasnerin therefore offeres special spa treatments called tranquillity; helping you let go finally and fully relax.

Tranquillity treatments work on different levels: First of all, it´s a massage technique, also triggering special acupoints, which are especially known from Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). The massage is supported by essential oils that reach your limbic system and thereby support your calm and inner wellbeing. Thirdly, the massage is partly conducted with a special jade stone also helping you to centre yourself and finding inner calm.

Cory on the other hand, who has a lot of experience with alternative medicine practices, got the opportunity to try out something very special, a lomi lomi nui treatment.

Lomi lomi is a beautiful, powerful, transformational healing art from Hawaii. The 7 Principles of Huna are the centrepiece of the practice, which are as follows:

IKE – The world is what you think it is.
KALA – There are no limits, everything is possible.
MAKIA – Energy flows where attention goes.
MANAWA – Now is the moment of power.
ALOHA – To love is to be happy with. (Meaning much more than just saying “hi”.)
MANA – All power comes from within.

3. The place to go for spa lovers

No matter which season you are in, going to a spa is something that’s always high up on our favourite things to do list. It´s probably one of the main reasons why most hotel guests come here and also why the hotel Die Wasnerin was awarded with three lilies and lists among the top wellness resorts within Austria.     

The 2400 m² SPA & wellness area, designed in a natural style, offers a variety of comforts and extras, plus breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains. The whole concept until the very last detail is there for you to fully relax and to feel the harmony between yourself and nature. The spa offers a variety of saunas, a steam room, an indoor and outdoor pool as well as luxury whirlpools and lounge areas with epic views.

We loved to chill out at the roof terrace where we could take a nice sun bath while looking at the snow-covered mountain of Dachstein glacier. We could also appreciate the natural tee selection, juices as well as dry fruits a lot as a refreshment after every sauna session.

4. It’s the place to go for literature lovers

The hotel Die Wasnerin has a long-lasting history going back even to the 15th century. Especially the region around Salzkammergut used to be a hotspot for writers and literature. Embracing this wonderful piece of history, the hotel created lot’s of creative spaces. For example, it has a open bar area with an own small library on the first floor.

There is also the “Alpen-Worte-Garten” which is a beautiful oasis of piece and calmness outside the hotel. Several readings and literature events are held there on a regular basis.

Some of the well-known writers might also stay in the beautiful “Seufzer Suite.” The whole room is lovely equipped with famous classic comic books and lots of interesting furniture. They called it “Seufzer” since among writers, comics are probably the more light and easy form of literature. But even they can be witty and some of them where translated into sublime language including phrases of Faust and Shakespeare.

5. Check out the breathtaking views over the Salzkammergut lakes

It was a beautiful autumn day and we couldn´t stop staring into the mirror lake of Grundlsee. Since the surrounding mountains are all covered with red coloured leaves, the colourful forest was reflected in the deep blue water of the lake.

At the end of Grundlsee we parked our car and walked further to Toplitzsee. This pretty deep lake is also famous for it’s myth that treasures from 2nd world war can be found somewhere on the bottom of the lake. But even if you are not a deep diver, the really nice traditional Austrian restaurant at the lake is worth a visit.

Additionally, you just walk along a massive stone wall, when walking from one lake to another. If you’d find the same landscape in New Zealand, tons of tourists would flood the area to get a glance of this spectacular view. But fortunately lots of gems are still not that well known in Austria, even for our own citizens.

So don’t miss this amazing place and take your time to really embrace it’s energy. Stunning places like this can only be reveal it’s magic when your fully there, with all your presence and thoughts.

Massive thanks again to hotel Die Wasnerin; we really had an amazing time and will surely come back. 🙂 If you want to get a better feeling why Austria for us is a true PARADISE for Spa lovers; make sure to check out below recent blog posts:

Blog article written as part of a paid collaboration with Die Wasnerin

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Hotel Edelweiss in Wagrain, Salzburg Top Wellness Resort in Austria |

Introducing you to one of our favourite ways to spend an epic, super relaxing, summer weekend in our beautiful home country Austria. A way where you can connect with nature, focus on things that truly matter to you, and come back super recharged and ready to take on the world. Spending time in a top wellness resort in Austria – Hotel Edelweiss in Wagrain, Salzburg.

If you live in Austria or Germany, have you ever had this amazing weekend plan, where you plan to drive from Central Europe a few hours either to Croatia or Italy to have a relaxing weekend near the sea? Well, it might turn out, that you find yourself stuck in a massive traffic jam, enjoying a wonderful and hot summer on the blocked highway. And when you finally arrive at your dream destination, you find yourself laying next to hundreds of other tourists in a row at the beach, sleeping in an overpriced hotel. And if you finally realize that this wasn’t as relaxing as you have initially wished for, you are already on your way back figuring out that the traffic jam is now even worse.

Since we have been through this scenario a lot, we were looking for another way to spend a relaxing summer weekend. Far away from mass tourism, connecting with beautiful nature, re-aligning and focusing on our inner true values, eating regional delicatessens, taking in breath-taking views of the mountains, while still enjoying the warmth of the summer sun on our skin.

On the edge of the Austrian alps, we have found an oasis for relaxation, and in our view one of top wellness resorts in Austria – Hotel Edelweiss in Wagrain, Salzburg. Here are our top 5 reasons why should choose to spend your summer weekends at this wellness resort in Austria over a beach holiday near the sea.

6 reasons why you should spend a summer weekend at Hotel Edelweiss – a top wellness resort in Austria

#1 Perfect temperatures

Actually most people rather avoid boiling hot summer sun. The percentage of people worshiping extreme temperatures and sun at the beach without any shade, especially in Central Europe, is fairly low. (Although, Cory is one of those people. ;-)) So one might ask himself the question: why do I drive for so many hours or even flying to the sea to actually find myself hiding from the sun, while in most cases paying a lot for it?

Wagrain in Austria has perfectly warm summer temperatures, so you can enjoy the summer sun without the need of hiding until the evening comes. We have been there in late August and enjoyed the sunrays all day. The sunbeds at Hotel Edelweiss have a mesmerizing view of the mountains and are surrounded by an idyllic natural swimming pond. The area is spacious and open, but still the sun beds are completely private, hiding behind the reed of the swimming pond.

#2 Super relaxing, recharging and cleansing nature around Hotel Edelweiss

As you make your way up to the wellness resort Hotel Edelweiss in the mountains, you can start to feel its energy. Everything feels super relaxed, calm and cleansing. You immediately feel the energy of this beautiful place on planet earth.

As we are very spiritual people, we are very sensitive to the energy of places we travel to. And from our heart we can tell you that there is a huge difference between the energy you receive on this particular mountain resort and its environment, and the energy you feel when you are on a crowded beach.

Even if you don’t have many touchpoints to the energy of places or spiritualism in general, you will be able to tell the difference in a second. The view of the wellness resort Hotel Edelweiss in Austria is also breathtaking, since you can see the beautiful valley of Wagrain and the surrounding mountains from over 1200m of altitude.

#4 Green Spa in the mountains

We have to admit, we are absolutely spa lovers. And the best thing about this is that we live in a country that really knows “how to spa”. Since we have been in a lot of spa hotels or day spas around the globe, we can really tell from experience, that Hotel Edelweiss offers a truly incredible spa area. They offer different saunas, a steam room, and even a heated, quiet room where you are treated with alpha waves that truly bring your relaxation to a different sphere.

The heated indoor swimming pool offers amazing views of the area, as well as a whirlpool area to get an intense, free back massage as well. In terms of messages and treatments, the hotel offers a lot of holistic treatments and activity for the well-being of your body and soul. Aryuveda Gentle Touch, herbal messages or Qi Qong are only a few examples of the broad offer you get to reconnect with your true self and nature.

Since we both are highly aware and concerned of the resources modern lifestyle consume, we love the fact that Hotel Edelweiss has an incredible low energy consumption due to geothermal heat. It is built with the highest standards of natural materials from the surrounding areas. Frankly spoken, we were blown away as soon as we entered the hotel lobby. Walls, doors, our bed, everything is made with love and covered with natural wood from the region. You can feel it, you can smell it and you will appreciate it even more after your first super relaxing night there. Personally, for us, this is the highest amount of comfort and atmosphere a hotel can offer.

#5 Heaven for food lovers

Every booking at Hotel Edelweiss includes a full board. They offer an amazing, high-qualty breakfast with a ton of fresh fruit juices, vegetables and all kinds of biological products from nearby farmers. They also offer gluten-free products and vegan choices. In the afternoon you are treated to a light snack with a soup, a warm dish and a whole variety of desserts and fruits. Dinner is always a five-meal course – all dishes are served except the salad and starter.

#6 Perfect place for an active holiday

Every person reacts differently to stress and therefore needs their own way to fully recharge after a stressful working period or the routine of everyday’s life. Some might just want to do nothing, expect relaxing in the spa or reading a book, others get super bored after a couple of hours doing so and need some activities in between.

The area around Hotel Edelweiss offers so many activities, that it is super hard to choose. Since we only had two full days after a super stressful week at work, we decided to just relax at the hotel and get spoiled by all the offerings. It was super needed by our bodies. The third day we decided to visit a nearby natural beauty – the Jägersee. After a slow-paced walk around the idyllic lake, we made a stop at what we cherish so much about our home country Austria – a real country-side restaurant. Having delicious traditional food and drinks, while watching a whole family of swans and ducks fooling around some meters away.

Since Cory brought a cold from home, we decided to keep it easy that day. Even though we would have loved to do the famous hike from Jägersee to the incredible viewpoint of a second lake 1762m up in the mountains called Tappenkarsee. Check out the route here if you are interested.

Besides amazing hikes, climbing routes and all kinds of adventure sports like canyoning, paragliding or rafting, there is another thing Wagrain is really the perfect place for. They have a really cool bike park and a massive variety of bike trails. Check it out here.

When to visit Wagrain in Salzburg, Austria?

Places like Wagrain in Austria are pretty crowded during winter, since tourism is mainly focused on skiing and other winter sports. However, the best time to visit jewels like the wellness resort Edelweiss is in our opinion from late spring to early autumn. When you are skiing all day long, you are hardly able to make use of the amazing offer of the hotel. Plus during this season it’s far less crowded and a bit cheaper too.

We can highly recommend spending your next summer holiday in the mountains of Salzburg. Hence, it is no surprise that this wellness resort in Austria – Hotel Edelweiss in Wagrain – just jumped directly into our favourite short holiday destinations list.

Let us know if you have any questions regarding your next summer holiday in Austria. We are happy to help. Check out our other spa hotel reviews for Austria:

Blog article written as part of a paid collaboration with Hotel Edelweiss

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5 reasons why diving in Cozumel should be on your bucket list

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When it comes to the most amazing diving locations worldwide, Cozumel in Mexico should definitely be high up on your diving bucket list.

The great thing about the island of Cozumel is that it offers so many additional reasons to visit besides diving. If you want to take a break from the underwater wonderland, you can rent a scooter, explore the island and its paradise beaches and resorts, or just simply relax while enjoying authentic Mexican cuisine. Can’t say no to tacos, right?

We have been diving at lots of places around the world such as Egypt, Fiji, Lombok, Belize, South Africa and even at the cenotes in Tulum. Still diving in Cozumel blew our minds. Here are the reasons why:

  1. Marine life is flourishing since Mexico declared the reef around Cozumel as a protected marine park. We have never seen so many turtles, octopus (go for a night dive), sea horses and many colorful fish. We also found a ton of reef sharks and stingrays. For the first time, we saw giant lobsters hiding in the middle of the reef. These creatures really seem like they do not belong onto this planet and once you have seen their beauty in nature, you might think twice before supporting the fishing industry and having them served on your plate.

  2. We have seen many barrier reefs, but the one around Cozumel definitely is our favorite in terms of coral formations. The reef creates fascinating underwater labyrinths and lots of stunning swim throughs. Get your buoyancy under control and enjoy diving in one Cozumel’s many cave formations, while spotting gorgeous corals and a ton of marine life.

  3. Diving in Cozumel is easy, but super fun. The island is known for its currents, and almost each dive is a slow drift dive. Pretty amazing as you just have to keep your buoyancy in check and float along the reef while enjoying the underwater show.

  4. The reef is relatively shallow; we mostly stayed at around 12-20 meters of depth. If you plan to dive for a couple of days, it definitely helps you to feel less exhausted after two daily dives and still ready to hit one of the many gorgeous beaches.

  5. The city of Playa del Carmen on the mainland is only a 30 mins boat ride away. There you can find many activities, such as bull shark diving in winter, snorkeling with whale sharks in summer, and also cavern diving in one of the many cenotes in Yucatan.

Why we can highly recommend you to go diving with ScubaTony

There are several companies you can go dive with, but we can highly recommend you to do your diving trip with the guys from ScubaTony. The company has already been in place for 15 years and more than 1500 TripAdvisor recommendations feel the same way as we do. Below you can find all the reasons why for us personally it has been one of the most enjoyable diving trips we have ever had:

  • The dive guides are incredibly uplifting and spreading lots of positive energy, so that really everyone on the boat has a smile on their face.
  • ScubaTony has a small, but comfortable boat, meaning less people will be on your trip. This almost gives you the feeling that you have a personal guide with you that honors all your wishes and even takes into account, which dives site you want to go. Moreover, we got heaps of tips for improving our buoyancy and diving performance in general.

  • We have never had such a personal diving service before. The dive master even sets up your entire equipment, so the only thing you need to do yourself is what you truly came here for – enjoying the gorgeous underwater life of Cozumel. Sure, checking your equipment yourself is necessary to practice, but still this will be a service that you will enjoy.

  • It’s the only company, we have seen so far, that offers a romantic sunset boat ride accompanied with two epic dives. It’s called twilight dive and you do a dive before sunset and one after. You will spend the sunset on the boat or island, whatever you prefer, and just take in all the views. We saw so many turtles on the first dive that we had to stop counting. The night dive was even more epic; lots of octopus came out to greet us and the plankton created a magical underwater lightning that left us in awe.

  • ScubaTony takes the environment and its protection very seriously. You can see that in so many small things. They only use smaller, reef-friendly boats, you will get your own reusable water bottle and a ton of fresh fruits. The owner Adam took over three years ago and puts so much dedication into this company creating the best possible diving experience, but also into the protection of the reef and marine park.

  • If you are lucky enough to meet the ownder Adam or dive master Marc, you will find yourself accompanied with the most amazing diving guides in whole Cozumel, if not in the entire Carribean. You will have some incredible dives, but also an amazing time with people you will definitely remember.

Where to stay in Cozumel

We absolutely love to meet locals, share stories, but also cook for ourselves – something we really learned to appreciate during our worldtrip. We therefore always prefer to book an apartment.

We made the amazing choice and stayed in one of the condos of Fulvio Cozumel Rentals. He has a wide range of apartments for you to choose from. The whole place was incredibly well maintained; a house cleaner service is offered twice per week and you can also wash and dry your clothes – both included in the price.

The kitchen was fully stocked with absolutely everything you could ever need. Something special for us, since most places often lack the most basic utensils. The condo also had a private pool, which we basically at all times had for ourselves.

And probably one of the best things, Fulvio is a truly cool guy, will instantly make you feel at home and spoil you rotten. You are definitely in for a treat!

Conclusion

Including Cozumel in your upcoming trip to Mexico is totally worth it – for so many reasons. Have the best time either chilling out on the paradise beaches, enjoy the crystal clear blue water and one of the most supreme diving sites in the world.

Disclaimer: Our diving trips with ScubaTony and our stay with Fulvio Cozumel Rentals were covered by the individual parties. Nevertheless, we are only promoting hotels and tours where we truly had a great time. It’s super important for us to be authentic and provide you only with the best recommendations.

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Safety in Brazil and important things to know before visiting

Brazil such as most countries in South America have serious issues with all sorts of crime. They are generally safe to visit, if you follow the some basic safety rules, which are mostly common sense. But you should definitely put Brazil high up on your bucketlist, because it is freaking amazing. Check out our article on top 10 things to do in Brazil. We have put together some tips regarding safety in Brazil – here are some specialties of this country you should definitely consider:

Where to stay and how to book hotels

Booking.com is a reliable source for hotel bookings. It is just especially important to check the reviews. If there are none or only a few available, we would advise not to stay there. Just to be double safe.

Don’t make the same mistake as we did, and do not book any motels in Brazil. In contrast to lots of other countries, motel means sex hotel in Brazil and you will find yourself in a room with plastic blankets and a menu where you can order adult toys as room service. It is usually also a place where you find lots of drug use, criminals and people you don’t want to get involved with.

Always check which areas of a city are safe to stay at and avoid non-touristy areas. Be especially aware when booking hotels close to GRU airport in Sao Paolo; this area is not safe as this place is the home of some local gangs. We tried twice to avoid the very expensive hotels directly at the airport, and as a result found ourselves in hotels which weren’t exactly any different than a motel.

How to travel around Brazil safely

Depending where you want to go, the safest way to travel around the country is by plane. Busses in general are prone for all sorts of crime;, reaching from simply thefts to armed robberies or even worse. Fortunately, the government has instated a law as a consequence of this issues, and companies are now responsible for the safety of their passengers and can be sued for it. The big intercity busses are now travelling with armed convoys at night. Hence this has become one of the safest ways to travel in Brazil. Although, these security efforts only apply for touristic bus companies and not the local ones.

Traveling by car in Brazil is relatively safe during daylight apart from driving in the big cities. We have heard that there is a high risk of robbery and car hijacking if you do get tuck in a traffic jam. It is even legal to drive over red lights at night if any danger occurs. We did rent a car, because we like to keep matters in our own hands. It is a bit pricey though – considering you should definitely get a third party insurance.

If you decide to rent a car you should also know that only the main intercity connections have very good road conditions. However, we were surpised how much and how often you pay for tolls. (Note: they only accept cash) The huge majority of the roads in Brazil are either unpaved or in very bad conditions. Especially on the North East Coast (around Lencois Maranhenses), we struggled with massive potholes on the streets.

How to communicate with Brazilian people

Apart from Rio de Janeiro, not a lot people speak English or Spanish. The only officially spoken language is Portuguese. And in combination with their strong dialects, it makes your Spanish skills pretty useless. Therefore make sure you get the offline version of Google Translate or buy a prepaid sim card to have internet access.

Strangest question of our Brazil trip: Gunshots or fireworks?

If you travel in Brazil, we can almost guarantee you, that at one point you will hear something that sounds alarmingly close to gunshots. But we can assure you, it is most certainly fireworks. It is a huge thing in Brazil to shoot fireworks at all sorts of occasions such as sport games, birthdays and all kinds of parties. So you can calm down – everything is okay. Expect if you decide to stay close to GRU airport in Sao Paolo, where gun shots and violence occasionally happen between gangs.

Best way for you to stay safe is not go out at night, except at tourist spots. If you are travelling alone, especially as a woman, make some friends at your hostel and always stay in groups. Being a girl alone in such countries, attracts more attention and makes you an easy target.

In general: listen to your intuition and go with your gut feeling. If you adhere to some basic safety guidelines, there is not much to worry about. We wish you the trip of a lifetime.

PS: If you have any questions regarding safety in Brazil, we are happy to help. Leave us a comment below or send us a DM on one of our social media channels. 🙂

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Travel Belize: Things to know before visiting and basic safety guidelines

Belize is an El Dorado for diving and snorkeling. It is an underwater paradise and is home to the second biggest and in our opinion the most beautiful, barrier reef in the world. Unsurprisingly it is therefore super high on everyone’s bucketlist that loves underwater sports and wants to explore the most gorgeous places on earth. Check out our 5 most favourite things to do in Belize here or see which places we recommend for diving. If you want to travel Belize or backpack through this amazing country, make sure to read further and get our tips for safety in Belize and also on how to travel the country in the best way.

How safe is Belize really?

Since the country is majorly depending on tourism, they make great efforts to keep their income sources safe. Hence there is an unwritten law within the country not to cause any kind of trouble with tourists. Penalties for crimes affecting tourists are considerably higher than crimes done to any local inhabitants. We are not sure if we should think that is a good thing or not. Either way, it is probably one of the safer countries within Latin America due to this fact. Nevertheless, unspoken rules like that one wouldn’t be necessary at all if the country wouldn’t have to fight its own battles.

We felt completely safe at tourist hotspots such as Caye Caulker or San Pedro – even at night. From our personal experience, we cannot say the same about the capital Belize City and the less touristy diving place Placencia though. We rather wondered why almost every restaurant closed in the late afternoon. Cory experienced a pretty scary and harassing situation, when I left her alone at a local restaurant for five minutes at around 8pm. We know that such incidents can happy everywhere and anytime, and this does not automatically reflect for the whole country, but also the bar owner told us afterwards that it is not a time for a girl to be out alone. This kept us thinking that this probably was not a single incident.

How expensive is Belize?

Price levels are similar to Central Europe, although comfort and infrastructure are very … lets say different. We normally book basic, but clean and air-conditioned rooms, especially in hot countries like Belize. Unfortunately, our travel budget did not allow us to sleep in a room with the luxury of an air-conditioning. At the places we slept at an AC was an additional 10 USD per night. A private room without a shared bathroom ranked at 40 USD per night.

What we found a bit unfortunate as well is that prices for eating out at tourist hot spots are comparable to Central Europe or even Australia. Grocery shopping stores have a very limited offer while being super expensive as well. We later found out that Belize has very strict import regulations and high import taxes, which in combination with their small number of inhabitants have led to very little competition between shop owners. We even met some locals that are driving to Mexico to pile up on cheap food. Being located next to Central America and Mexico while having a limited supply or incredible high prices on many fresh fruits or vegetables kept us really wondering what are the issues with this country’s economy.

Economy in Belize

Even though the World Bank considers Belize on of the upper middle income countries, poverty is extremely high – 43% of the inhabitants live under the national poverty line. The government has also high debts and is dependent on donors to fight poverty. The tourism industry and all directly related industries account for approximately 1/3 of the country’s GDP as well as employment. The gap between rich and poor is tremendous.

We didn’t find reliable background information that explains why a country, which is surrounded by much cheaper countries, has created themselves an economy where many locals have to live very poorly. Most of the agriculture land is unused in Belize thus the dependency of imports is high. (The main export goods are citrus, bananas and sugar.) Tourism has allowed prices to reach peaks that it seems to us that everyone who is not directly benefiting from tourism or another high income industry is suffering from the consequences. It also appeared to us that there is a very limited number of shop owners that are controlling the market. Bigger suppliers have no interest in going into such a small market, so prices stay at a level which tourists are willing to pay.

What to eat in Belize – especially being vegetarian or even vegan?

As vegetarians and foodies we had a pretty hard time eating out in Belize. Local food is generally heavy loaded with meat. Nevertheless, we always found a vegetarian option, which in 90% of the time was either a taco or burrito filled with rice, beans and onions. If you are travelling on a budget like we do, we highly recommend you to eat the local food trucks for the best value deals.

How to get around and travel Belize?

The most affordable way to get around Belize is by taking the local bus. Due to Belize’s small population, some city connections such as Belize City to Placencia are only operated once or twice per day. Shuttles between tourist hubs such as Belize City to Caye Caulker or San Pedro are operated very frequently during the day. In order to reach your target destination on time, better check the bus schedule a day before.

If you travel from Belize City to Mexico, we can strongly advise you to take the local bus to Chetumal and from there jump into the ADO bus to reach any other cities in Mexico. Do not make the mistake and take the ADO bus directly from Belize City. This way we saved around 50 USD per person, since the ADO boarding crossing is a bit of a tourist scam. They are basically charging you extra money to make your life easier.

Basic facts about Belize

Population:385.854 – July 2018
Offical language:English (super convenient)
Capital:Belmopan
Currency:Belize Dollar (1 USD = 2 BZD)

Disclaimer: This are our experiences with this country, and definitely nothing written in stone. We encourage everyone to see a country on their own and make up their own mind. Belize definitely is a beautiful place to visit – especially for divers.

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Top 5 things to do in Belize

Besides the fact that there is a massive blue hole out in the ocean, Belize has not really made it onto our radar before visiting it as a part of our world trip and travelling through Latin America. Our view on this country changed dramatically after a couple of days as Belize is a true underwater paradise.

1. Go snorkeling in Hol Chan Marine Reserve

Hands down, one of the best snorkeling spots worldwide. You will see more underwater life than on any dives you can possible do. And trust us, we have seen a lot.

Holan Chan is Mayan and means little channel. The 18km2 area and its marine life is heavily protected, hence underwater life is more than flourishing. You will see nurse sharks, manta rayes, big turtles, swarms of huge fishes, and in our opinion the intact coral gardens possible.

Snorkeling tours can either be booked from San Pedro or Caye Caulker, and cost you approximately 60 USD for a full-day trip including 5 different snorkeling spots.

2. Go snorkeling or diving at the Silk Cayes near Placencia

The Silk Cayes are three tiny islands that are surrounded by an incredible colorful reef. And by tiny we mean that you can literally walk around the whole main island in like 15 seconds. From Placencia, the hotspot for all kinds of diving located south of Belize City, it is only 60 minutes away by boat. Read our article here to get more details on the epic diving we did there and how to even get an opportunity to spot whale sharks.

3. Take a sailing trip from Caye Caulker or stay at a remote island resort around the reef

The highlight of Belize is definitely the incredible reef which stretches along the whole coastline of the country. If you want to check out the remote islands, avoid other tourists and basically have no idea what to do else with your money – this is the trip for you. If you got the hint, we did not do it, since prices seem unrealistically high. Like 400 USD for a 3D2N trip including staying in dorms.

4. Go see the Blue Hole

To really get the vast beauty of this place, you either have to take a helicopter flight, which will set your travel budget back by 500 USD, or take a boat there and fly a drone. And if you don’t have a drone, we suggest you make a friend quickly that does.

The blue hole is surrounded by two small islands, where you can have your lunch break on if you go diving or snorkeling. Snorkeling trips leave from Caye Caulker and cost around 260 USD. Diving is double. At the diving trips, you have the amazing experience to see the majestic stalactites and also highly likely to get to see some sharks.

5. Visit the Belizian Maya temples

If you are not into watersport, there is only one inland highlight in this country to visit. Belize is known as the epicenter of the ancient Maya world and was the home of more than 2 million Mayas. Today there are many Mayan temples that you can visit; Caracol is the biggest one and Xunantunich is the second tallest temple in all of Belize.

Nevertheless and important to know, you can also find other beautiful Maya temples in Guatemala and México for cheaper entrance fees. So if you are also visiting those countries, we would probably recommend you to skip it.

To conclude, as the whole article is mainly about snorkeling and diving, you probably get the idea what Belize mainly is about. To be honest, if you are not into these two things or willing to spend your money on it, than we would not recommend you to visit this country after all.

Due to long stretching reef none of the islands have real beaches; they are all man-made and filled up by artificial sand. Belize is also dealing with lots of economic issues and missing infrastructure. For example, there is no mail delivery, places have no address and prices for basic things like groceries are insanely high as the Chinese reign all the markets. Due to those issues and the popularity of the reef, the prices in the country exploded, while still having a fairly low or even lower standard compared to all the other Latin American countries.

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