Highlight on Denmark’s west coast: the Rudbjerg Knude lighthouse

The white lighthouse Rudbjerg Knude has gained international fame in 2019. The angular tower was moved 70 meters to protect it from falling over the next few years. We spent a few days in the north of Denmark between Hirtshals and Løkken and we were quickly certain: the area around the lighthouse and Lønstrup is one of the most spectacular landscapes in Denmark.

Sunset at the lighthouse

We definitely recommend visiting the lighthouse in the evening. The light of the evening sun illuminates the lighthouse of Rudbjerg Knude and the view of the sea at sunset is very beautiful. We parked the car in the “Rudbjerg Knude Fyr” car park and after about 10 minutes on foot you will arrive at the lighthouse. The path is easy to find and the lighthouse can be seen from afar. Shortly before the lighthouse we turned onto a smaller hiking trail to get to the lighthouse from the sea side. The lighthouse is on top of the cliff and the view is really spectacular! To the north you can see Lønstrup, to the south you can see kilometers of beaches and cliffs. We haven’t found a way to the water – and you should definitely not just climb down, because the cliff is constantly moving and there is a risk of falling.

Hikes around Rudbjerg Knude Fyr

We really wanted to explore the area on foot. So, the next day we parked our van in the parking lot on the “Kongestenen ved Mårup Kirke” near Lønstrup and followed the signs for Hærvej, a long-distance hiking trail that leads through Jylland (Jutland). The path goes high above the sea through dunes and sandy hollows. You always have a great view of the Rudbjerg Knude lighthouse and of course the blue sea. You can climb the lighthouse for free and from there you have an even better view of the coast and the surrounding area. We then walked a bit through the dunes, which are really impressive. We were able to take a break in a sheltered place before we went back to the parking lot with very sanded shoes. This time through windswept, gnarled pine forests.

Furthermore, the village of Lønstrup is also worth a visit. On the steep coast you can follow a path into the village. You can see pretty well how dangerously close some holiday homes are to the abyss and every now and then you can see that houses have crashed in recent years and only the pipes peep out of the sand. The place is nestled in the landscape and we could somehow really imagine how the Vikings must have looked at the sea here. Lønstrup is a great place to eat ice cream, go for a stroll and buy groceries.

If you want to go to the water and take a walk right by the sea, it is best to look at the many maps where there are accesses to the sea. In any case, you can get to the water from Lønstrup and Nr Lyngby.

Conclusion

We have lived in Denmark for several years and have seen many places – but we particularly liked the Rudbjerg Knude lighthouse on the North Sea. The landscape is really impressive, and it is definitely highly recommended and worth a visit!

Beautiful two-day hike at Walensee in Switzerland

Weekend tours are our favorite tours – and it is the best time to start on a Friday. Then, the trip always feels like a short vacation and the weekend is particularly long. After the hike in Flumserberg, we chose a two-day hike at Walensee in Switzerland. From Walenstadtberg we hiked to Alp Tschingla and from there, we continued the next day via Lüsis back to Walenstadt.

Always a lake view: from Walenstadtberg to Alp Tschingla

The public transport network in Switzerland is excellent – we notice that again and again. During this hike, it is also practical to take the yellow “Postbus”, ie the bus. From the train station in Walenstadt, it only takes 15 minutes to Walenstadtberg. We get off at the end station (Reha Klinik) and from there, our hike continues uphill on a paved road. We hike about 800 vertical meters up to Alp Tschingla.

On the way, there is also the Paxmal, a peace monument, where we take a short break.

Although it is cloudy, the colors of the flowers and the Walensee glow wonderfully. The view of the valley and the snow-covered Swiss mountains is beautiful.

After about 4 hours, we finally reach Alp Tschingla (1528 m). We had to cross a few snow fields on the way, but that made the tour a bit more varied. On Alp Tschingla, we drink an icecold beer and then we hop into the hot water tub of Alp Tschingla. This is a real highlight – you can take a bath in the fire-heated hot pot with a fantastic view of Walensee and the mighty Churfirsten mountains. We stay in the water until our skin becomes wrinkled and then we have dinner and eat a huge portion of maccheroni with lots and lots of mountain cheese. The meal tastes twice as good after a strenuous hike and the bath.

In the evening, a thunderstorm comes up. Mountain thunderstorms are always impressive and the crack of thunder makes the hut vibrate. We play card games in the cozy living room, drink a schnapps with the hut owner and then we fall dead tired into bed.

Crossing some snow fields
Finally arrived at Alp Tschingla
Enjoying the hot bath at Alp Tschingla
Rain is on its way
Alp Tschingla

From Alp Tschingla via Lüsis to Walenstadt

The alarm clock rings early the next morning. When we are in the mountains, we always want to be outside on time for sunrise, because then, the mountains are always bathed in a beautiful light. We are lucky: the rain from the previous evening has cleared and mystical clouds lie over Walensee and the rest of the valley. The silence around us and in the mountains is particularly beautiful and we simply enjoy the breathtaking view.

After a hearty breakfast and a hot cup of coffee, it’s time to go. We hike through sparse forests and on a broad paths from Alp Tschingla towards Lüsis. When we look back, we can see that the Alp Tschingla and the Churfirsten mountains are in the sun now.

After a short hike, we arrive in Lüsis, where we stop for a hot chocolate at the Lüsis Gasthaus. From there we start with the descent: through forests and past rushing streams, we return to the valley to Walenstadt.

The tour around Alp Tschingla is a great two-day hike for late spring. Thanks to the good public transport connections, the tour can be shortened or extended as desired.

Do you have a recommendation for us which tour we shouldn’t miss in Switzerland? Then we look forward to your suggestions.

Via ferrata course in the Montafon

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We have enjoyed hiking for many years – however, we have never tried a via ferrata. We heard so many good things about it. This has to finally change this year! That’s why we decided to do an introductory via ferrata course in the Montafon.

Introduction to climbing

Johnny is our teacher for the day. We meet him in Latschau at the reservoir – the via ferratas higher up in the mountain are still too snowy. The course starts proper climbing exercises – not with the via ferrata. This in another first for us. The most difficult part to find a way to the top. From the bottom it seems so much easier than it really is when you are in the wall. Moritz and I learn how to secure each other and one thing that very quickly is clear to us: trust plays a major role when climbing. We really enjoy climbing the rock, but we also want to learn how to behave on the via ferrata.

Via ferrata for beginners in Latschau

Johnny gives us our equipment and then we start with the course after a short theoretical introduction to the via ferrata. It goes up the rock at an angle and in contrast to the climbing part, you are responsible for securing yourself. We have to get out of our comfort zone and trust the equipment when you sit down in the belt. But we also have a lot of fun climbing safely along the rock. From the top we have a wonderful view of the shimmering turquoise reservoir water and the snow-covered summit of the Zimba. At the end of the via ferrata we whiz down a zip line and then our course comes to an end. Johnny takes the time to recommend a few via ferratas to get you started like the Via ferrata Röbischlucht. We are definitely looking forward to our first real via ferrata and are happy that we have clarified all important questions with a mountain guide. 

You can find more information here. Unfortunately, only in German.

Herbs, bees, wild meadows – beekeeping hike in the Montafon

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We usually do tours that are high up in the mountains. The rockier and more rugged the trail, the better. Since the snow remains stubbornly on the peaks this year, many hiking trails are not yet accessible. But we definitely did not get disappointed.

Herbs, plants and flowers

For this reason, we decided to go on a beekeeping hike in the Montafon. The hike leads from the Baroque church Bartholomäberg to Schruns and leads through wildflower meadows and past quaint houses. 

Another very interesting hike that brings you to the Baroque church Bartholomäberg is the miners’ hike.

Harry accompanies us on this tour and explains what the flower is called, what the surrounding mountains are called, which plants are edible and how to make the most delicious nettle soup. We are amazed at how much there is to see along the way. If you look closely, you can see how lively the meadows are. These are the little things, close around you that you take for granted and do not see any more. It was very nice to have someone point them out to one again – and that with so much enthusiasm that you get completely hooked. 

Beekeeping in Montafon

At the end of the tour we visit Harry’s beehives. We put on a beekeeper’s hat and examine the honeycombs in the beehives – Moritz is even allowed to hold a honeycomb. Harry tells us that about 50,000 bees live in a beehive and that bees are actually very clever little animals. Time flies and after 4 hours the beekeeping hike is already over. Harry patiently answers all of our questions about the flora and fauna of the Montafon. After the tour, we were pleasantly surprised at how interesting such a hike through meadows can be – it certainly wasn’t our last “easy” hike.

You can find a detailed description of our hike with Harry here.

Damüls Mellau – skiing fun on over 100 kilometers of slopes

About the ski area:

Damüls-Mellau is the largest ski area in the Bregenzerwald and the scope of the 3TälerPass. Here you can experience skiing at its best on a total of 109 km of slopes and ski routes. The Damüls-Mellau ski area offers runs for sporty skiers, easy slopes for beginners, powder snow slopes, a snow park for snowboarders and free skiers and two unique ski tunnels. So, skiing fun is guaranteed for everyone.

About us:

We are Moritz and Christiane from Bregenz and this year we will explore the different ski areas of the 3TälerPass. Christiane only started skiing last year and will start her second skiing season in 2018/2019. This will give you an insight into the ski areas from a beginner’s perspective. Since Moritz has been on skis for a while, he also feels comfortable on steep slopes. He will describe his impressions for more advanced skier.

Our day in the Damüls-Mellau ski area:

Finally, weekend, finally skiing again! The weather was very good – blue sky – and since we had friends (both snowboarders) to visit, we wanted to go skiing all day. So, we decided to go to the Damüls-Mellau ski area.

The Mellaubahn brought us quickly up to the slopes. Since the valley run was open again, our first run was down the valley run all the way back to the valley. The slope was hardly used – pure skiing fun!

After a few more descents on the Mellau side, we skied to Damüls – the sunny side. The view when you come out of the Gipfelbahn is simply breath-taking! The panorama of the surrounding peaks is terrific. In Damüls, we enjoyed the sunny slopes – both we, the skiers, and the two snowboarders were enthusiastic about the good runs.

In the Berggasthof Elsenalpstube, directly at the Uga chairlift, we strengthened ourselves and then we continued the day. The ski area is so big that we have actually only skied most of the slopes once. In the early afternoon, we went back to the Mellau slopes, which were still in very good conditions in the afternoon.

Both sides have wonderful slopes to offer and even after repeated visits it never gets boring. Damüls-Mellau is a great ski area, which we always like to visit with friends.

Favourite slope Moritz:

My favourite slope in the Damüls-Mellau ski area is red slope 12, which starts at the top station of the Elsenkopf lift and ends at the bottom station. Due to the north-facing slope, the rather steep first and last part of the descent is always a challenge.

Favourite slope Christiane:

I have two runs in the Damüls-Mellau ski area that I really like. Both of my favourite slopes are on the Mellau side of the ski area and start at the mountain station of the Wildgunten lift. One is a combination of red and blue slopes. First, you drive from the Wildgunten lift on red slope 25 and then turn left onto blue slope 31. This is where the really nice part of the descent begins, which now leads completely through the forest to the valley station of the Suttis lift. The second descent is the red slope 29, which also leads a lot through forest and also has many changes in incline, which makes the descent very varied.

Refreshments:

Our favourite stop in the Damüls-Mellau ski area is clearly the Berggasthof Elsenalpe. When the weather is nice, you can enjoy lunch on the sun terrace in front of a wonderful mountain panorama or you can just lie down in one of the many deck chairs and enjoy the weather and the view.

What is special about Damüls-Mellau:

The special thing about the Damüls-Mellau ski area is definitely the size. Here everyone really gets their money’s worth, no matter whether beginner or advanced skier. If you do not like a slope so much or have driven it too often, you have countless alternatives here, so no one will get bored here.


Laterns is another amazing ski area included in the 3TälerPass, you can find more here.

Ascona – Mediterranean flair at Lago Maggiore

Ascona is a little city at the northern part of Lago Maggiore. Asconas main highlights are its very beautiful promenade right at the lake with traditionally painted houses as well as the historical city center. The lake side promenade simply invites you to stroll around and to relax in one of the plenty cafés and enjoy the sunset over the lake.

 

Wine & Dine at Romantic Hotel – Castello Seeschloss

The Romantic Hotel Castello Seeschloss is located at the end of the beautiful promenade. The hotel is located in a little castle from the 13th century, which was built by the de’Ghiriglino family, a rich family from Milano. Next to the little castle two more buildings belong to the hotel, which all together surround a Mediterranean garden with swimming pool. The restaurant ‘Ristorante di Lago’, which is located on the other side of the castle right next to the lake, also belongs to the hotel.

The romantic hotel ‘Castello Seeschloss’ is regularly hosting Wine & Dines, where vineyards present their wines and the houses top chef serves culinary delights. In May the theme of the Wine & Dine was ‘Africa meets Ticino’. In the beginning we were served an apperativ on the terrace in amazing weather. Afterwards, we moved to the Mediterranean courtyard of the old castle for the Wine & Dine. A really suitable surrounding for such an event. Today, Bernhard Hess from Mimosa served different red and white wines from South Africa to an super delicious South African inspired 5 course menu. 

 

Day trips from Ascona

Ascona is located perfectly for day trips in whole Ticino. Especially the Maggia Valley and the Verzasca Valley with its traditional villages, waterfalls and roaring rivers in the north of Ascona are easily reachable. But also trips to Lugano and its surroundings are easily possible.

 

Small but gorgeous – The Bavona Valley in Ticino

When searching for the most beautiful places in Ticino, we came across the relatively small Bavona Valley. The Bavona Valley is a side valley of the famous Maggia Valley with the Maggia River but for unknown reasons the Bavona Valley is less known. We stopped over and over again at beautiful bridges to look at the river, which again had an amazing colour. The huge rocks at the river simply invited to climb on them.

 

Waterfall Foroglio

One of the most beautiful places of the Bavona Valley is definitely the waterfall Foroglio with its 110 meters. Beneath the waterfall, the water runs through massive stones, which make it possible to climb up closer to the waterfall, but very soon it got rather windy and you will be soaked by the spray of the waterfall. The closer you get to the waterfall, the wetter and more slippery the rocks will get. So we rather watched the waterfall from a distance. After our trip, we saw pictures that during different times of the year, it is possible to easily climb up all the way to the waterfall, when it does not have so much water. 

Afterwards, we strolled through the narrow streets of Frogolio and were once again amazed by the  old stone houses. How must life have been here back in the days?

From Foroglio, we continued further up the Bavona Valley towards S. Carlo. During summer time you can take a cable car from there to the Robièi glacier. Just below the cable car station, we found a perfect lunch spot next to a little river. 

 

Hiking up Monte Gambarogno for the sunset

In the afternoon we decided to hike up to Monte Gambarogno from where you have a beautiful view on Lago Maggiore. After a nice and quiet dinner, we drove through what felt like a thousand serpentines up to Alpe Neggia from where one of the hiking trails to the top of Monte Gambarogno starts. When we left the Alpe Neggia by foot, we could already hear the beginning of an thunderstorm behind us but we really wanted to make it to the top. First, it also seemed that the thunderstorm got stuck behind a mountain range but then as we got further the thunderstorm grew stronger and stronger und it started to get rather windy. And then, suddenly we saw an animal sitting on the trail. Our first thought was “that has to be a wolf” as it looked very similar to one. We cannot imagine that it was a big dog because there were no other cars in the car park down at Alpe Neggia. But of course, it could have been a dog on the run or another animal. For a while we hesitated if we should continue our hike or turn around. In the end, we decided to turn around – not only because of the (possible) wolf but also because the thunderstorm came closer and closer. 

When we came home we did some research whether wolves have been seen at Monte Gambarogno before but one has only found wolf marks but no proof of a wolf at Monte Gambarogno was ever found. So it most likely wasn’t a wolf!

 

That is why you should visit the Verzasca Valley

The Verzasca Valley is well-known for its crystal clear and emerald green water of the Verzasca River. 

There is a hiking trail along the river, which shows you the complete beauty of the Verzasca Valley and River. The hike can be adjusted for each level because on the way you will pass several villages where you can stopp and take the bus.

 

First stop: Cascata La Froda in Sonogno

We took the bus from our hotel in Vogorno to Sonogno. As a hotel or camping guest in Ticino, you can ask for the Ticino ticket, which allows you to use the public transport in Ticino for free, as well as it grants you a discount for many different tourist attractions. Really convenient!

From Vogorno it took around 45 minutes to Sonogno, the final destination of bus line 321. We left Sonogno, towards the waterfall La Froda. We immediately liked Sonogno. It is a very small and quiet village with many old historical houses and an absolutely astonishing church. It feels like you arrived in a different time when strolling through this little village.

From Sonogno, it takes about 10 minutes to the waterfall La Froda. Already from a distance, you can hear the roaring of the waterfall. Wow! The waterfall is really impressive – one reason for this is probably the snowmelt. We spent about an hour at the waterfall and took pictures from every possible angle. The amazing thing about the waterfall La Froda is not just its size, but also that there is a little bridge in front of the waterfalls, which allows an incredible view on the waterfall. If you walk over the bridge you can climb up a little hill from where you also have an extraordinary view on the waterfall. If you continue the same same way, you will get to hiking trail 74, which follows the Verzasca River.

 

Following the Verzasca River through the Verzasca Valley.

Verzasca means ‘green water’ and that is a perfect fitting. The colour of the river is simply amazing! We had to stop over and over again to look at the colour of the river. Sometimes, it was emerald green and then again dark blue! Absolutely fascinating. Shortly before Gerra we made a short lunch break on some big rock in the shades. Lunch breaks are definitely one of the best things when you hike.

Our destination for today is Lavertezzo, the walking time is about 3:45 hours. On the way from Sonogno to Lavertezzo the river is changing over and over. Sometimes it is a wide and slow running river, then again it is a narrow and wild river which runs through some huge rocks. Again, we made too many photo stops and started to run out of time to catch the last bus in Lavertezzo.

On the way, we passed beautiful little, historical villages, hiked over old stone bridges, hiked through old ruins and beautiful forests. At one point, we even had to take of our shoes to cross a river because the water level had risen due to the snowmelt.

All these little things, made this relatively easy and short hike absolutely incredible.

 

Postcard motive in Lavertezzo

After a couple of hours, we finally arrived in Lavertezzo. If you want, you can also follow the trail further on towards Locarno at the Lago Maggiore. But for us the hike ended in Lavertezzo because we heard that after Laverezzo the hike shouldn’t be as beautiful as before.

Lavertezzo is very famous for its old double arch bridge. Furthermore, this village is famous for the deep pools of the Verzasca river. This is a really special place! Sadly the weather had turn bad, so we weren’t in the mood to take a swim. But I can just imagine how amazing it has to be during summer to swim in the cold crystal clear water. 

 

Why should you visit the Verzasca Valley?

To be honest, there are plenty of reasons to visit the Verzasca Valley.

  • The waterfall La Froda alone is already worth a visit.
  • The plenty little villages which make you feel like you are travelling back in time.
  • The hiking trail 74 is a very easy and diversified hike.
  • The Verzasca River with it emerald green water itself is absolutely worth visiting.

You can find more details about the hike here.

 

Ticino – Landscape, tours and how to get there

Why did it take us so long to finally go to Ticino in the very south of Switzerland? Well, that really is a question, we cannot answer. We already have heard a lot about Ticino – about beautiful hiking trails, emerald green rivers and raging waterfalls. Now, it was time to see it for ourselves!

 

Ticino – A short introduction

We stayed for one week in Ticino, the only canton of Switzerland, which is completely on the south side of the alps. The official language in Ticino is Italian and also the cities have a very Mediterranean and Italian flair. Ticino has about 2100 hours of sunshine each year, which you can also notice due to the palm trees you see often. 

The diversity is one of Ticino specialities. In the north you can find the high mountains of the alps (in May many are still covered with snow) and in the south you can find a very Mediterranean landscape. In between there are also countless valleys with beautiful rivers and lakes. The most popular lakes are Lago Maggiore and Lago di Lugano. But not only the variety of landscapes show the beauty of Ticino, but also the beautiful cities are worth a visit. We were especially thrilled by Ascona with its beautiful promenade at the lake and Lugano with its narrow and winding streets. In short: The beautiful landscape paired with beautiful cities make Ticino worth a visit for everyone.

 

How to get there

There are plenty of ways how to get to Ticino. If you travel from far away, the most convenient way is to take a plain to Lugano-Agno airport. A little bigger is the airport in Milano, which is only an hour drive away from Ticino. Another option would be to take the train. There are many daily direct connections to Basel, Zurich and Milano.

We decided to take the car, because for us it is only a three hours drive and it allows us to be very flexible about where we go. From the north you can either take the Gotthard Base Tunnel, the San Bernardino Tunnel or the Lukmanier pass. From the south you can take both the A9 motorway from Milano and the A8 motorway to Ticino. We took the San Bernardino Tunnel and it was obvious why there are always traffic jams during summer time, as the roads have mostly only a single lane. But luckily, we didn’t had any problems as it was first May and early in the morning.

 

Our tours

During our week in Ticino, we hiked along the Verzasca river, explored the Bavona Valley (a side valley of the Maggia Valley), hiked on top of Monte Gambarogno, strolled in the cities of Ascano and Lugano, enjoyed the view from Monte Bré and discovered amazing waterfalls.

After one week in Ticino, we can surely say: Ticino you are beautiful!

 

Finally the hiking season starts again: Spring tour to the Seealpsee

The ski season is over, it is getting warmer in the valley and we cannot wait to go hiking again. But where? Unfortunately, there is still too much snow in the mountains. After some research for hikes that are not so high up in the mountains, we have found a small tour to Seealpsee in eastern Switzerland.

 

Hiking around the Seealpsee

The hike starts in Wasserauen, where we have parked in the free parking lot. The tour can be done very easily and without much condition – however, on the steep climb to Seealpsee we really started sweating.

After about 300 meters altitude we arrived at the lake. We are surprised how little water there was in the lake, but the view of the surrounding mountains, especially the Säntis, was simply wonderful. And the clear water was just awesome!

We went to the end of the lake and a bit further to get a better view of the Seealpsee. Unfortunately, the trail was relatively quickly inaccessible because there was too much snow, but the view was still wonderful.

Then, we explored a small waterfall, before we decided to go back. This time on the other side of the lake. We took a short rest and then we started the steep descent and went back to the parking lot.

The hike was very nice and with some great views. But because the walk is so easy and the lake so popular, it was pretty crowded on all ways.

But no matter, we are glad that the hiking season is finally starting again. Were you already hiking this year? If yes, where?