Baltic Sea Cycle Route Experiences

Baltic Sea Cycle Route Experiences

Basic about the baltic sea cycle route

The Baltic Sea Cycle Route or Baltic Sea Coastal Cycle Route was the result of a very brief discussion about Corona and safe and enjoyable holidays. We always wanted to go on a cycling holiday anyway and so it was obvious to take this beautiful cycle path from Flensburg to Travemünde on the coastline of Schleswig-Holstein in the north of Germany. You can read on this blog post about the different sections of the Baltic Sea Coastal Cycle Route along the Schleswig-Holstein coast and also our recommendation for stopovers and places of interest. Spoiler: after just about 360 kilometres on the bike, we can already say in advance that it was one of our greatest holidays. The Baltic Sea Cycle Route is, by the way, part of the European Cycle Route EV10, which leads you once around the Baltic Sea with a total distance of almost 8000 kilometres. If you already like this short part, you can of course extend the route around the Baltic Sea much further.

Preparations for the cycle tour on the Baltic Sea Cycle Route

Before we talk about the individual sections, we would like to tell you a little bit about the preparations. We have planned the route in advance using Google Maps and Naviki. Google Maps already has a great navigation for cyclists. The app Naviki (Playstore Link / iOs Link) is especially designed for route planning by bike. The combination of both apps has really helped us a lot.

 

Bicycles, e-bikes and pedelecs on the Baltic Sea Coast Cycle Route

On the way it will be very hilly and probably more hilly than you would imagine Schleswig-Holstein and the Baltic Sea coast. We are travelling with pedelecs ourselves. There was a small, pleasant advantage with the pedelecs in the form of electrical support. In contrast to other tours, the advantages of the motors were particularly evident here. Especially during the first stages we were at the upper end of the battery range of our bikes. So in flat sections we usually rode with less assistance to save battery power. Only on the hilly sections we used the full support. In all accommodations it was possible to charge the battery in the evening without problems. An anecdote by the way: an accommodation listed by the ADFC wanted to charge 3 Euro each for charging the battery. Sorry, but that is going too far.

Booking.com

 Hotels and guesthouses – Accommodation at the Baltic Sea cycle track

Due to Corona and limited hotel capacity, we recommend that you plan your route in advance. Our initial idea was to book the hotels or guesthouses spontaneously along the Baltic Sea Cycle Route, which did not make sense after a short check 2-3 weeks in advance. Without a booking, the offers are limited and expensive. With a tent in your backpack, you will certainly be much more flexible with the many campsites along the Baltic Sea Cycle Route.

Our journey to the Ostseeradweg

We travelled to Flensburg by train, which worked very easily so far. Make sure that you have enough time to change trains at the stations. Especially on weekends with a lot of traffic, 20 – 30 minutes with a packed bike and the available lifts at the stations are not a long time. With the “Quer durchs Land” ticket for two persons and two bicycle day tickets the journey cost 62€. Unbeatable cheap compared to travelling by car and the related parking fees etc.

Bicycle and luggage – one week Baltic Sea coast cycle track

About the luggage: we took our stuff in two medium sized bags (Affiliate Link to Amazon: Ortlieb and Vaude bags ). In retrospect, we honestly had too much luggage for the one week on the Baltic Sea cycle route. The weights were 11 and 14 kilos, which was already packed relatively luxuriously. With the next tours we would reduce the weight again substantially. In all accommodations we could have also washed the bike clothes in order to save more weight. Let us consider it as part of the learning curve 😉

Panoramabild Ostseeradweg

Our seections on the Baltic Sea Cycle Route

Section 1 from Flensburg to Maasholm – approx. 65 km

After a trip of almost three hours we reach Flensburg by train. From the train station we first go quite directly into the city centre towards Hafendamm and then on the right side of the harbour directly onto the Baltic Sea cycle route. A small sign with the inscription “Ostseeküstenradweg Schleswig-Holstein” should always (mostly) show you the way. After a short start at the waterfront we ride relatively fast through the city again until we reach Glücksburg after a few kilometers. In Glücksburg the first stop is at the water castle. Alternatively, and just as we did: directly at the promenade with a view of the Flensburg Fjord. Our motivation was high and so we continued quickly through the Pirner See nature reserve towards Bockholm, Langballigholz and then on towards Niby.

On these first kilometers you don’t get in contact with the Baltic Sea very often, but fortunately this changes much on the further way. The way leads via Norgaardholz passing the Steinberg Haff and then follows the Baltic Sea directly. In the truest sense of the word: the Baltic Sea cycle path. After just about 65 kilometres we reached our guesthouse near the village of Gut Oehe near Maasholm, satisfied and happy. The conclusion of the first day: Schleswig-Holstein is a very hilly state and the Baltic Sea coast cycle route is already a very great experience. For your planning, we recommend accommodation in Maasholm (Affiliate Link – Booking – Maasholm). Maasholm is located directly on the Schlei and is an old fishing village with beautiful alleys. Especially in the evening hours a great place to relax on the waterfront.

 

Section 2 from Gut Oehe to Altenholz close to Kiel – approx. 80 kilometres

With charged batteries we started on day 2 after an extensive breakfast on the Baltic Sea cycle route again. First break: the small town of Kappeln on the Schlei. It was still too early for a coffee stop and so we went directly on towards Olpenitz village. Our first stopover after a few beautiful kilometers along the Baltic Sea was the holiday resort Damp. Apart from a big ugly hotel complex there are also some nice cafés in Damp at the harbour, which are very good for a stopover. Highly motivated we went on towards Eckernförde (about 40 kilometres). We were told that many cyclists on the Baltic Sea cycle route also stop over in Eckernförde for an overnight stay. (Affiliate Link – Booking Hotels in Eckernförde) On the other side of the Eckernförde bay we continued via Grünwold, Schwedeneck and Dänisch Nienhof towards Altholz in front of Kiel.

Section 3 from Altholz to Lütjenburg on the Baltic Sea cycle path – approx. 75 kilometres

After the first two great sections we hadn’t thought that we would see any further improvements on the Baltic Sea cycle route. Section 3 convinced us then completely. Directly after our start we crossed the Kiel Canal on the Holtenauer high bridge. Alternatively, you could also cross the canal directly by ferry, which starts in Holtenau. Surprisingly, on one of the most frequented channels worldwide there was absolutely no operation at all this morning. The detour to the viewing point at the eastern part of the channel was therefore not worth it. From the Kiel canal we headed along the Kieler Fjord towards Kiel city centre. If you orientate yourself at the waterside you can cycle directly along the “Kiellinie“, a kind of promenade, into the city centre.
From the distance you can already see the ferries to the Baltic and Scandinavia, which leave directly from the piers in the city centre. On the other side of the Kieler Fjord you will discover large shipyards and industrial areas, which also characterize the cityscape of Kiel.

Via Heikendorf and a short stop at the submarine memorial Möltenort we continued our journey in direction to Laboe. Also in Laboe there is a navy memorial and an exhibited submarine, which you can visit. The route now leads you from Heikendorf only in the direct surroundings of the Baltic Sea so that the Baltic Sea cycle track lives up to its name. In some places the official cycle route will lead you back inland. At these places we often continued on the way directly at the water, which was also good to cycle in most cases.

Along the coast via Wenndorfer Strand the cycle path also leads along the small towns of California and Brazil. After a few more beautiful kilometres along the Baltic Sea, the cycle path near Hohenfelde takes us back inland. With a last view of the Baltic Sea at Hohwacht we headed towards Lütjenburg to complete the third day. This section of the tour from Flensburg to Travemünde on the Baltic Sea cycle route is certainly one of the most beautiful sections for us.

Section 4 from Lütjenburg to Burg on Fehmarn – approx. 65 km

The hilly end of section 3 also meant a hilly start in section 4, and we wanted to finally tie up directly at our exit point at the Baltic Sea in Hohwacht in the morning. Said and done, and so we went in Hohwacht through the Sehlendorfer Binnensee nature reserve and directly back onto the Baltic Sea cycle route. This section should also be as exciting as the previous sections with the Baltic Sea, hills and forests. After a few kilometres we reach Weißenhäuser Strand, a resort that certainly has seen its best days a couple of years ago. Immediately after Weißenhäuser Strand, the cycle path turns inland for a short while due to an area of the German Armed Forces, so that we could only reach the Baltic Sea again via Holstein in East Holstein and Teschendorf. You will notice that the towns on this section are already much bigger and more touristic than the small fishing villages on the first two sections.

After a short break directly at the Baltic Sea, you will head directly to Heiligenhafen. Our first impression of Heiligenhafen was quite sobering, as we have been welcomed directly by a building complex from the 70s at the entrance of the village. This is supposed to be a great holiday resort? It’s best to continue directly at the coast. You will quickly reach the newer and much more beautiful Heiligenhafen, which shows a completely different picture.Take your time for the pier Heiligenhafen and the small pedestrian zone and then ride to the port of Heiligenhafen. You will see many small restaurants and cafés where you can stop for a break. Our recommendation in Heiligenhafen is the Imbiss Ostsee-Fischer, which serves super delicious fried fish. Well refreshed we made our way from Heiligenhafen to Großenbrode on the Fehmarnbelt.

We had already crossed the Fehmarnsund bridge several times by car but never by bike. The arquitect of the Fehmarnsund-Bridge probably did not have a bicycle and therefore, he did not plan to cross the bridge by bike. So you go on a service track to the bridge and there on a rudimentary bicycle path over the bridge. After crossing the Fehmarnsund we were already very close to our destination Burgstaarken on Fehmarn and the last kilometres cycled on their own.

Stopover in Burg on Fehmarn

We used day 4 for a stopover in Burg on Fehmarn. From the port of Burgstaarke it is about 2 km to the city centre of Burg and about one and a half km to the south beach. The village of Burgtiefe can easily be identified even from a distance by the three “beautiful” hotel complexes, which are now even listed as protected buildings. In the seventies, this complex was an architectural masterpiece. From the beach with a view to the Fehmarnsund, these ugly buildings fortunately do not block the view. We spent the day very relaxed in Burg and at the south beach. If you are highly motivated, the official Baltic Sea cycle route takes you another hundred kilometres along the coast of Fehmarn. We have saved this bonus round for a future holiday. 😊

Section 5 from Burg to Pelzerhaken – approx. 63 kilometres

Crossing the Fehmarnsund Bridge did not change on the return trip. There was no major cycle path built overnight. South of Großenbrode we keep along the Baltic Sea and pass the holiday resort Dahme via small villages like Sanaa and Süßau, pass the villages Kellenhusen and Grömitz before we arrive via Rettin in Pelzerhaken. On this section you will already see the much larger and well-known holiday resorts. The Baltic Sea cycle route often passes these places by completely without notice. Nevertheless take your time and get off your bike to have a look at the promenades of the villages.

Section 6 from Pelzerhaken to Travemünde – about 30 kilometres

The last section of our tour along the Baltic Sea Cycle Route should also be the shortest section. The route led along the Lübeck bay from Pelzerhaken via Neustadt, Sierksdorf, Haffkrug, Scharbeutz, Timmendorfer Strand, Niendorf and the Brodtener cliffs to Travemünde. The cycle path along the bay is very well prepared. The holiday resorts along the bay are strung together like a string of pearls and are directly connected to each other.

The last stage is characterised by the image of the large holiday resorts and their wide beaches. The Brodtener steep coast offers a natural contrast here. After nearly 360 kilometres we have reached our destination on the wide promenade of Travemünde. The place is a great ending for this holiday. You can certainly make a good stopover here before continuing eastwards on the other side of the Trave on the Baltic Sea cycle path.

From Travemünde station, which is only a few hundred meters away from the beach, we went back the next day by train with no problems. In the Lübeck Bay it is also much easier to find accommodation than on the first stages. Just look for hotels in Travemünde via the following link (affiliate link to Booking.com – no extra costs for you)

One week holiday on the bike – Review Baltic Sea Cycle Route

If you are considering a cycling vacation, we can warmly recommend the Baltic Sea cycle route from Flensburg to Travemünde. We have been surprised in a very positive way. On the first sections you will cycle through incredibly beautiful landscapes and see many small villages. On the last sections, the scenery will be much more touristic, which will also guarantee a lot of variety. The Baltic Sea cycle route is relatively well signposted and on most routes well prepared. If we would ride the tour again we would set the stops a little bit different. For overnight stay we would then consider bigger places like Eckernförde or Kiel. After a week on the bike, we are convinced that we will be able to enjoy a cycling holiday in the future and are looking forward to the next tours, about which you can certainly read here. Maybe the Weser cycle path is also something for you? Just have a look here…

Which cycling holidays have you done and what can you recommend? Just tell us about it in the comments!

 

We like to recommend you following items for your time on the Baltic Sea route, which will help you for sure.

Sunscreen. The constant light wind hides the sun’s power.

Bicycle repair kit. There is nothing more annoying than standing in the middle of nowhere with a flat tire.

Brackets for mobile phones. This will make navigation easy and even snapshots on the road can be taken quickly.

Lanzarote in January

Lanzarote in January

Lanzarote in January – a great volcanic island

Lanzarote – the barren volcanic island in the Atlantic Ocean with its incredibly exciting landscape. Our destination in January 2020 and a great recommendation for all sun lovers, who would like to take a few warm days in winter. Lanzarote in January is a really beautiful holiday destination. The island belongs to the Canary Islands and is the fourth largest island in the archipelago after Tenerife, Fuerteventura and Gran Canaria. In total, we had one week on the spot in order to get to know Lanzarote in January. By the way, did you know that the whole island was declared a biosphere reserve by UNESCO in 1993?

​Is one week enough to explore the island?

We have seen quite a lot of Lanzarote. One week simply passes much too fast and Lanzarote offers a lot for such a “small” island. With two or three days more, surely one or two more relaxing beach days would have been added. Bathing in Lanzarote in January is really possible with some effort, whereby you should always pay attention to the local advice for your own safety. The currents at the coast are partly very dangerous and from time to time there are reports of serious accidents. By considering these tips, you can spend some very nice days on the beach. The sun is warm in the midday hours. A small tip: buy sun cream before you go to Lanzarote (even in January). As it is the case in many other holiday regions, when buying it during the holiday, you feel like “robbed”.

How big is big?

Lanzarote is relatively small with a length of approximately 58 km (north-south) and a width of approximately 34 km (east-west). Nevertheless we decided to book a rental car for the whole week. The really low price of about EUR 75,- made our decision very easy. By the way, we made the booking in advance via internet in Germany, which was the right decision according to the local prices of the rental car companies on the island. Important for us: because of only small price differences, we chose the fully comprehensive insurance without excess as a criterion.

Where to in Lanzarote in January?

In principle there are three bigger touristic places, which also offer good possibilities in the evenings with promenades, bars and restaurants. The biggest place is Playa Blanca at the south, then Puerto del Carmen at the south of Arrecife and Costa Teguise slightly at the north of the island capital. By the way, the only airport of the island is located relatively centrally at Arrecife. Of course, there are much more places that offer rather small accommodations.

Driving on Lanzarote

Those who get along well in small villagesl and also have no problems in cities like Hamburg or Berlin will not find a challenge in Lanzarote. It might be advisable to save an offline map of the island on your mobile phone at Google Maps before your holiday (check here my article, which I wrote for you: how to create Google maps offline maps). With offline maps you save your data volume. The Canary Islands belong to Spain and therefore to the European Union. For you (with an EU sim card) it means that you will have no problems with data roaming.

What to do on Lanzarote?

Even though Lanzarote is not a very big island, it can be felt to do many things. If you are sporty and like surfing, you will surely find great waves in many places. In the air you can paraglide. You like nature and you are interested in volcanoes? Then you are in good hands on Lanzarote. The Timanfaya National Park will surely be one of your highlights. You love art and culture? Then you will have a few places to go on Lanzarote with the many architectural treasures and works of art of the artist César Manrique. The good Mr. Manrique has shaped the island during his lifetime and has achieved, for example, that a moderate tourism is consistently implemented and that the development may only be in the traditional style.

The north of Lanzarote

In January on Lanzarote the focus will certainly be more on culture than on beach. In the north of the island you will find some interesting places – mainly buildings by the same Cesar Manrique, which really fit into the landscape very well.

Only half an hour north of Teguise you will find the cactus park “Jardin del Cactus”. Here you will find a very, very big cactus park. This is certainly not everybody’s cup of tea but for “on the way” it is a nice stopover. A small tip: there is a kind of combi-ticket in different versions, with which you can see up to six attractions.

Save a little money – buy a combo ticket

If you are interested in all attractions, you can save some money and time with the ticket. Especially in the morning there can be (short) queues at some points. The bonus cardholders were then usually preferred to be let in, because you only had to “stamp” the ticket.

From the Jardin del Cactus you go to the “Jameos del Agua”. Here an easy descent into a lava tunnel awaits you. In the depression a lake has formed in which albino crabs live. Nice to look at, but also very quickly beautiful to look at. The cafe on the other side of the tunnel with a view to the lava tube was a bigger attraction for us. The highlight for us after the cafe was the incredibly great pool in the huge lava bubble (swimming not possible!) and the concert hall, which was built into another lava tunnel. The contrast of the dark lava and the white pool with the almost unnatural blue water was surely one of the most outstanding impressions.

Going to the centre of the earth. At least under Lanzarote.

At nearly the same height to the Jameos del Agua there is the “Cuvea de los Verdes”. If you come from the south, you can visit almost all of these destinations comfortably in one day. The Cueva de los Verdes is a public section of a several kilometres long lava tunnel and cave system. The cave can only be visited with a guided tour. We strongly recommend a visit – especially because of the great surprise effect at the end of the tour! There are also regular concerts in the cave. Maybe also an exciting location.

From earth to sky

The three locations are in the north of the island, as well as the “Mirador del Rio”, which is a panoramic viewpoint over the offshore island of La Graciosa. As if by a miracle, the Mirador del Rio was also created by a famous artist of the island. You may guess who it was. As a tip in the truest sense of the word “on the edge”: while returning from the Mirador del Rio, drive back from the parking place at the upper end via the LZ-202. The small road, enclosed in stone walls, leads more or less directly at the steep slopes back to the inland. The view is definitely very nice.

Big view for little money?

For those who want to save money, it is also possible to look over from the road directly to La Graciosa without paying any entrance fee for the panorama point. Alternatively, but much less beautiful: the Mirador de Guinate, free of charge and six kilometres west of the Mirador del Rio. Via the LZ-202 you will pass this point almost automatically.

Loneley bays and helpful stone circles – it is pretty windy on Lanzarote in January

By the way, you will drive northwards through a great volcanic landscape directly along the coast. On the way you will also see a few beautiful bays. Interesting and really helpful at the beaches of the bays are the small stone circles, which are a good wind protection with the permanent wind. Contrary to the tourist beaches in the south you can find really lonely bays here. Insider tip for sunbathing – Caleta del Mojon on the LZ-1 direction Órzola. There is a very small parking lot for about 15 cars on the left side of the road. When full it is full! Swimming will not work because of the lava rocks and current.

From Órzola, a more or less dozy fishing village with a few rustic (fish) restaurants in the north, there is also the only regular ferry connection to La Graciosa. According to other travellers, La Graciosa is a place where you really have to love solitude. There is not much to see on the island.

There is much more to see in the little village Haria. The place in the valley of the “1000 palms” looks amazingly green in contrast to the many other places. Here you will also find the first house of Cesar Manrique and above all a great handicraft market, which really lives up to its name. The market is always on Saturday mornings.

Arrecife and Teguise – the centre of the island

Almost in the middle of the island Arrecife is located on the east coast. The islands capital has almost 50.000 inhabitants and is also the destination port for the big cruise ships. We found Arrecife rather unspectacular. There is a small pedestrian zone where you can get a coffee in one of the street cafés. At the end of the pedestrian zone, one can walk over to the old fortification “Castillo de San Gabriel”, which today accommodates the local history / island museum. (entrance fee 3 Euro). The view from the museum towards the city is beautiful. In the museum all descriptions are only in Spanish – this is just for information.

From the fortress you can walk along the promenade to the small fishing port, where there is also a lot of activity in the evening. There are a lot of bars where you can enjoy the evening in a nice atmosphere. A few metres further away but still within walking distance is the new marina of Arrecife. Architecturally interesting but less visited, this corner of the city seems very sterile.

By the way, modern art also has a centre in Arrecife – the “Castillo de San Jose”. The museum visit is also included in the “Bonoticket”. With the car, you can also park relatively central in Arrecife at the marina or the bigger parking place in front of it. From Arrecife you can drive perfectly to Teguise, where the biggest market on the island is (Saturdays).

Even without the market, Teguise is an exciting place where you can find an “old town” and several small shops. From Arrecife you drive only 20 minutes to Teguise. On the way there in Tahiche you will also find the Cesar Manrique Foundation, which is certainly one of the architectural highlights of the island. The building was one of the artist’s residences, which was so perfectly integrated into nature. You walk through lava bubbles that have been transformed into living rooms. Note: the building complex has to be paid separately (adults 8 Euro) and is not included in the “Bonoticket”. In January on Lanzarote as in the rest of the year nevertheless a clear recommendation!

South of Lanzarote

The south of Lanzarote is fully developed for tourism. Playa Blanca is the centre here, from where you can also take the ferry to Fuerteventura. There is a promenade with many restaurants, bars, etc. Beautiful is the Marina Rubicon, where also regularly a big market takes place. At the marina you can also enjoy an ice cream in January.

Our destination in the south was after a short visit of Playa Blanca then the Costa de Pagagayo with a total of seven beaches. All bays are relatively easy to reach. By car, you drive on a gravel road through the national park (toll 3 euros) to the beaches that are so wide that you will definitely find a place in January. We spent one day here (Playa Blanca and beaches).

The west of Lanzarote and the highlight of the island – the Timanfaya (volcano) National Park

For the real highlight of the island you should plan at least half a day. Before our visit to Timanfaya National Park we visited the (free) cliffs of “Los Hervideros”. If the weather is good or the sea is calm it is rather less spectacular there. Really impressive is this point with strong sea waves, when the surf of the Atlantic Ocean hits the coast of Lanzarote with full power. Independent from the waves, by looking to the north-east, you can already see the national park. At this point you still have the possibility to take the LZ-703 a few kilometers further north to the village “El Golfo”, where you can also visit the green lagoon “El lago Verde”. We have left out these places. If you should go there, write us what we missed! Our focus that day was clearly on the national park, which is also only 20 minutes away from Los Hervideros.

The Timanfaya National Park and the volcano chicken

The visit of the national park is divided into at least two parts. Right next to the parking lot and below the restaurant, employees of the national park demonstrate again and again which kind of energy is still in the ground today. After the demonstrations you will experience the real highlight. With a bus (starting right in front of the souvenir shop), you will be driven on a nearly 14 kilometres long way through the national park. There are repeatedely some stops where you can get a lot of information about the origin and the last volcanic eruptions. Fortunately, the last eruption from the year 1824 is already a blink of an eye in the history of the earth time. The explanations are in Spanish, French, English and German.

Volcano – bbq – chicken

After the tour you have time to enjoy the breathtaking landscape around the restaurant. You can also eat a chicken grilled by volcanic heat in the restaurant. You can see how it looks like at the entrance of the restaurant. The taste is ok, but nothing special. The way of preparation is the interesting thing about this dish. Insider tip: below the restaurant on the right side is a small (public?) grill. On our next visit we will simply take our own sausages with us. It is worth to try it. Do not forget mustard! 😉

Side note: at the exit of the national park you could take a camel tour into the park. We spared ourselves and the camels this tour.

You can complement your visit to Timanfaya National Park with a visit to the Timanfaya Visitor Centre, where you will learn many more interesting details about volcanism in Lanzarote. Fortunately, the descriptions are in several languages. Unfortunately the outdoor area was closed during our time. For our next holiday on Lanzarote we will definitely go for a hike in a volcano – park here and start walking. The visit of the national park was really the highlight for us. Somehow we seem to have a tendency to volcanoes – after Etna in Sicily and Teide in Tenerife.

 

Finally….

On the way back from Timanfaya National Park back towards Costa Teguise there is (with a small detour) the tiny place La Geria. On the surrounding slopes of the village wine is grown, which you can also buy in the wineries of the village. Due to the wind, the vines are placed in stone walls in basins. Extremely elaborate!

We would be pleased if the article has given you a first small insight and impression of Lanzarote. We were very positively impressed by the great, unique nature and landscape. Sometime we will surely visit this really extraordinary place again, just to relax for a few days.

One week Lanzarote – not only in January – we can really recommend it!

The following travel guides have also been very helpful offline. If you buy through the following affiliate links you support our hobby. The price at Amazon is not affected by this.

 

And this was one of our offline tour guides that we can recommend with a good conscience:

Andalusia with Marbella, Málaga and Alhambra

Andalusia with Marbella, Málaga and Alhambra

Málaga, Alhambra and also Marbella

Málaga, Alhambra and also Marbella were the declared destinations in Andalusia for the second week of our vacation after starting at the Algarve. And so, well rested we started early on Saturday in Albufeira. Get on the A22 and head east. After just after 80 kilometres on the motorway, we went via the Puente Internacional del Guadiana to Spain. Our goal that day at 38 °C was Torrox on the Costa del Sol near Malaga.

On the way to Torrox we had a short break in Seville at the best time of the day. Except for a few tourists, who were also on their way or had no sensible sense of temperature, there were hardly any people on the streets. The 38°C were in fact a good challenge and really not an invitation to longer explorations of the city. Thus, we have limited ourselves to giving our car directly in the center of the parking garage above the famous Torro del Oro in Av. Paseo de Cristina and only take a short trip to the centre.

From the Av. Paseo Cristina you can also quickly reach the Plaza de Espana, which we still visited. The cathedral, the bullfighting arena, the palace, theater, university etc. etc. are also in the immediate vicinity. With our short stopover, the city has already impressed in the centre. Unfortunately, the big (but to be expected) realisation was that Seville is not the best destination on a 20 August in bright sunshine. And so we drove straight on towards Málaga and Torrox. Fortunately, the motorways have also been very empty in Spain.
Plaza de Espana, Sevilla, Andalusien

Andalusia, there’s much to see…

The next adventure should not be long in coming. Arriving in Torrox we were greeted by the friendly property manager who showed us the way up into the mountains near Torrox to our house. After five kilometres or initially 20 minutes driving time with an interesting road we arrived at our holiday home, the “Villa Vista“.

Lonely at the mountain and surprisingly equipped with electricity and running water! It was to be a very relaxing week in the house; only the trip to the bakery had to be cancelled in the morning.

With a breathtaking view over Torrox Costa, we were well compensated for the lack of fresh bread in the morning. The house really had everything to offer to recover very well for one week. Beside the pool there was also a great roof terrace where you could grill and chill out on a wonderful barbecue. Next to the house there was a small vineyard and the fruits of the trees from the garden could have been eaten.

A well-considered shopping list was also the prerequisite for the great recovery, because the coffee milk forgotten in the supermarket was already very annoying due to the longer driveway to the house. The next bigger shops were about 30 minutes away.

And so we always used the excursions to the valley for a day’s shopping.

 

Speaking about day trips: Torrox and Torrox Costa are located east of Málaga . After a first quick look at the map also a good program on the list: the Alhambra, Gibraltar, Málaga , Seville (was already ticked off), Marbella, Nerja and an aquapark in the region. Enough for seven days with a few days of rest at the pool.

The plan was set! Said, done and off we went. We had forgotten in the plan the sun of Andalusia, which made some changes. In the end, however, we have seen so much that we were able to gain at least a first impression of this great region.

Andalusia in August is especially suitable for one thing: relaxing by the pool. Or the beach.

Culture, and even more culture

If you are looking for culture, Andalusia is a great destination. Clearly Cordoba and Ronda west of Málaga were missing on our list. All in all, of course, a huge area that requires more than a week’s holiday. We’ll be back.

We started according to our plan with Marbella and Málaga. Known as the favourite place of the rich and beautiful, Marbella also attracts ordinary mortals to see what you can do with too much money.

The beautiful Marbella can be seen at the small harbour, which is also adjacent to the old town. The decadent Marbella can be seen at the marina about 5 km away, where the superyachts of the super-rich line up like a pearl necklace. It’s easy to see who has the money and who just wants to be there with the little cutter.

And it not worth to mention that this marina is the perfect place for super-rapid sailing. A little hint – you can also rent the cars for a stylish visit. At the end of the street Conjuta Banabola you only have to decide whether to turn right towards Cartier (approx. 110 m) or turn left past the restaurants. I recommend turning to the left. The distance is at least 170 m long and you can drive along the parallel road behind the houses always beautifully in a circle and thus also create routes. If only the tourists wouldn’t stand in the way!

If you like it, you can eat a nice ice cream at the harbour after an extensive round. Price per scoop in a cup costs 3,5 Euro. For the sake of fairness, there is a quantity discount from the second scoop onwards.

Nowhere in Andalusia is the density of superlatives higher than at the marina of Marbella and it resembles a zoo visit in the figurative sense. On the one hand, the supposedly proud yacht owners boasting of the largest yacht and on the other hand, the normal tourist. Whoever looks at whom more may be left standing. But here too, as in the zoo: Don’t grab and feed through the bars!

From Marbella to Málaga in Andalusia

On the way back to Marbella, we reached Málaga , another destination on our way.

In the centre of Málaga is a very beautiful city with an infinite number of tapas bars and restaurants, all of which are very inviting. With a friendly greeting from the sun (“the pool calls!”) we drove back to Torrox after a short walk through the city centre.

Kathedrala Malaga
malaga-innenstadt
Even if the stop was short and compact – we would come back again for a visit. At that time, we had already took Gibraltar from the list because of its distance, our pool and the sun.
The highlight of the week for me was a visit to the legendary Alhambra near Granada, which is also a World Heritage Site.

The Alhambra near Granada is one of the most visited destinations in Europe and so it is advisable to order your tickets in advance on the internet (www.alhambra-tickets.es / only Spanish / English). With the ordered tickets you have a guaranteed entrance to the Nasrid palace in the centre of the wide complex. It is important to keep the time window, which is determined by the order: outside of these times you can “only” look at the gardens.

The tickets are available in different versions. The ticket with full access to the Nasrid palaces and the Generalife costs just under 14, – Euro / adult.

We had ordered the tickets for the morning visit, which is also recommended for summer visits. After we printed the online tickets directly at the ticket printers next to the souvenir shop in front of the main entrance, we were ready to go.

There is a signposted tour of the Alhambra, which you can easily follow (external link: Alhambra map for iOS / Android). You should at least book an audio guide on site. Unfortunately, we missed this opportunity. In the gardens the crowds of people get very lost. Only in the Nasrid palace it gets a little bit fuller.

I’m sure you can write a lot of pages about the Alhambra. I want to be brief at this point. The visit is definitely worthwhile and surely belongs to the obligatory program during a holiday in Andalusia.

If the temperatures are cooler, a stroll through the old town of Granada is recommended before or after visiting the Alhambra.

After a long stay in the Alhambra we decided to go back to the pool. And so we made a detour through the Sierra Nevada parallel to the highway back towards Torrox.

Near Torrox Costa is also Nerja, which is clearly the most beautiful place to visit on the Costa del Sol. Nerja with the Balcon de Europa (a viewpoint on the pedestrian precinct) offers just about everything you would expect from a holiday resort. The beauty of Nerja is that the inner city area was hardly disfigured with functional buildings. The variety of restaurants and bars offer a wide choice. If you don’t have a great holiday home on an unpaved road in the mountains, Nerja would be an alternative destination for a holiday.
Frigiliana II
Nerja Balcon de Europa
Nerja Strand
Frigiliana
At the end of this beautiful and very relaxing week we spent in Frigiliana at a city festival (XI Festival Frigiliana 3 Culturas). On the tapas route you can walk from one restaurant to the next and try many different tapas. And wine. And beer. With Spanish music in the background and the music groups on the main stage, it’s great to celebrate!

To evaluate the holiday in Andalusia with the few but meaningful words of a typical Ebay rating, we say,”Everything good!”

Our tour started in Portugal.. you missed it? Take me back: Algarve, Portugal!

What have you done in Andalusia? Where should we have been in any case? Are you interested in Italy or the Canary Islands? Then just read about our experiences at Etna or how we got through the serpentines of Gran Canaria.

 

And here we could always have a good look with an empty battery:

With this app, you are also offline on the right track.

Simply download the right country package to your mobile phone before you travel.

Here 1 x Here for Android and here 1x Here for iOS

sicily italy east coast

sicily italy east coast

Sicily – East Coast! Dancing on the volcano with many beautiful beaches and Italy’s sheltered secret about a great island.

Our impression after two weeks was more than positive and we will surely fly there again for our holidays. Why Sicily? It should not be the typical “touristic vacation”! The largest island in the Mediterranean Sea was still a white spot on our map, which had to be discovered.
Our stay of fourteen days is divided into one week in the east of Catania and one week in the west of Palermo for a good overview – between both regions is a distance of 300 km . And so we flew with Easyjet from Hamburg to Catania and picked up the pre-booked rental car. With the many small alleyways in the Italian city centres, the selection of the rental car company with the small Opel Adam has turned out to be very good. The first destination was our apartment “Casa Carruba” north of Catania, half way to Taormina at the foot of Mount Etna. We had simply booked the apartment via FeWo-direkt. A first relaxing week should begin.

Carruba and Stazzo

The apartment is situated on an old farm with a beautiful garden and its own terraces in the countryside. From the apartment you can see Mount Etna. The house beach was very stony, but the refreshing sea compensated it. To the next bakery it was only two minutes by car.
The disposal of the waste was clearly negatively remembered and in need of getting used to. For Carruba there were various collection points with containers, to which the bags were transported. In the west near Palermo, you often only saw storage places on streets, which in principle were similar to small mountains of garbage. However, this should remain the only negative impression…

Sizilien, Italien
South of Carruba we visited the village of Stazzo on the first evening to try out the first pizza of the holiday in Sicily. Stazzo is really a small, peaceful place with its own harbour and some restaurants.

The location north of Catania at the foot of Mount Etna was ideal for excursions to the region. We started with Catania over Taormina with the Isola Bella, which was really pretty but also very crowded. The many small villages all have their special charm and on the coast there are a few sandy beaches, of which we liked best the beach south of Catania at Villaggio Gabbiano Azzurro.

Etna in Sicily – lava eruptions and tourist attraction

Most important attraction in the east of Sicily is Etna, which we visited in best weather. When you go and visit the Etna you can drive to the lift station at an altitude of 1900 m. Once you arrive at the station, you can then book an additional lift at 2500 m above sea level with an all-terrain bus up to 2900 m. The ticket is not really cheap, but certainly much less strenuous than the walk to the crater, which would of course also be possible as an option. The difference in temperature should not be underestimated. Even in summer, a jacket makes sense, however nice the weather in Sicily is. The volcano is already a mystical place – rubble, sulphurous smell, smoke and steam show you very clearly which uncontrollable forces of nature are lying dormant in the earth.

Update march 2020: if you are interested in volcanos you will probably also enjoy our article about Lanzarote island, which has dozens of inactive volcanos. You may read the article as next one here.

And so we should actually witness a small eruption later in the evening, which we could follow from a safe distance from our terrace.
Near Carruba, the small village of Riposto with the very tasty Pizzaria Le Botti directly at the harbour was to be recommended.

Etnaland – a water park with many water slides

On the east coast, the programme also included a visit to the Etnaland aqua fun park. The park is large and very varied. In principle, all visitors will find the right pools, slides, etc. In addition to the water park there is also an adjacent amusement park, which we didn’t visit.

 

 

Taormina

If you want to jump in the tourist hustle and bustle, you should definitely visit Taormina on Sicily. The town has a beautiful city centre with many small shops and great cafés next to the small Isola Bella. The search for a parking place becomes like in many other places of the island a small gambling game. Parking garages are available – the costs per hour are sometimes incredible high.

And if you are on your way to Taormina, you should also take the chance to go up to the Chiesa Madonna della Rocca. From the small mountain chapel you have a wonderful view of the coast and town.

The city centre is part of the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site and the markets (especially the fish market) are also worth a visit. In addition, Catania has all the well-known local shopping chains for well-known shopping pleasure.

After a week on the east coast, we headed west…[Report follows]

Otherwise have a look at our tour from the Algarve to Andalusia.

Update: Because it fit so well, we flew to Sardinia in September 2017 and spent two great weeks there. Interested? Just look here for our post about Sardinias south west or here about Sardinias north!

 

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