How to Spend 2 Days in Istanbul

two days in instanbul itinerary topkapi palace

Istanbul: The City where East meets West

For years now I’ve been dying to go to Istanbul, the city where East meets West. Its cultural heritage spans from an ancient Greek civilization through Persian, Greek, Byzantine, and Ottoman empires to the modern nation-state. This convergence of civilizations has shaped Istanbul into one of the world’s most culturally rich cities and I was eager to experience it first-hand. Although we only had one weekend to explore Istanbul, we were able to see most of the city’s highlights with the help of our Turkish friend. If you only have two days in Istanbul and want to make the best of your time there, this guide is for you…

hagia sophia two days in instanbul itinerary

Getting to Istanbul

Istanbul has two airports, the Ataturk Airport on the European side of the city and the Sabiha Gokcen Airport on the Asian side of the city. Though we were staying on the European side (where the main tourist attractions are), we flew into Sabiha Gokcen Airport because the tickets were much cheaper. The only downside was the long cab ride to our hotel which took over an hour in traffic. Weigh the pros and cons before choosing which airport to fly into.

DwD Tip: Before going, make sure to check whether or not your country requires a visa to visit Turkey. For Americans, a visa is required but it’s just a matter of paying $30 upon arrival.

airport map two days in instanbul itinerary

How to Spend 2 Days (and 2 nights) in Istanbul

Night 1:

Check in to hotel

If you want to stay somewhere special while in Istanbul, choose a hotel along the beautiful Bosphorus Strait. With the recent turndown in tourism, hotels are cheaper than ever and rooms that normally would’ve been out of our price range were surprisingly affordable.

We stayed at the Shangri-La Bosphorus largely because of its great location and view of the Bosphorus. The Shangri-La is conveniently located in the financial and entertainment district of Besiktas. This was the perfect area for us because it’s very close to the trendy neighborhood of Bebek and only a tram ride away to the historic Old City.

*Click here to see current prices at the Shangri-La Bosphorus.

Shangri-La Bosphorus hotel two days in instanbul itinerary

Luxe lobby of the Shangri-La Bosphorus

Experience the city’s nightlife in Bebek

Begin your night with dinner at Lucca, a local hotspot in the hip neighborhood of Bebek. The cool thing about Lucca is it’s a cafe by day and one of the hottest bars in Istanbul by night. Around midnight the last plates are cleared and the party starts. The music is fantastic with a DJ who has everyone singing and dancing. It’s the perfect way to kick off your trip and dive straight into the local culture.

lucca cafe and bar two days in instanbul itinerary

Day 1 Itinerary:

  • Blue Mosque
  • Hagia Sophia
  • Topkapi Palace

Touring the Old City

The Blue Mosque

The beautiful Blue Mosque is an absolute must-do while in Istanbul. Today, the Blue Mosque still functions as a place of worship and Muslims from around the world come here to pray. I was struck by the serenity and beauty of this grand mosque. I especially loved the stained glass windows and immense, intricately tiled domes.

two days in instanbul itinerary blue mosque

DwD Tip: When visiting mosques in Istanbul make sure to dress somewhat conservatively out of respect. The Blue Mosque asks that both men and women cover their legs and shoulders and that women cover their hair. However, a long robe and an attached headscarf are provided for those who, like me, did not bring their own. Also, all visitors must take off their shoes upon entrance in keeping with Islamic tradition. 

istanbul blue mosque two days in instanbul itinerary

Admiring the mosque’s stained glass windows in the robe and head scarf provided for visitors

istanbul blue mosque two days in instanbul itinerary

two days in instanbul itinerary blue mosque

Photo of the Blue Mosque taken from a window in the Hagia Sophia

Hagia Sophia

Directly across from the Blue Mosque is the great Hagia Sophia. The history of Hagia Sophia (whose name means “holy wisdom” in Greek) is extremely interesting and reflects the many drastic changes Istanbul has undergone over the last millennia. If you have some time, read up on it! If not, here’s the short version: Built in 537 by a Byzantine emperor, it served as the focal point of the Greek Orthodox Church for nearly one thousand years. In 1453, the city was conquered by the Ottomans and it was converted into a mosque. Then in 1935, Ataturk, the first Turkish President and founder of the Republic of Turkey, transformed the it into a museum.

hagia sophia two days in instanbul itinerary

Today, Arabic calligraphic panes hang next to 6th century murals of Mary, Christ, and the Saints, resulting in a fascinating confluence of Christian and Islamic iconography. Although it’s currently undergoing extensive repairs, don’t let this deter you from visiting. Standing under Hagia Sophia’s 55 meter dome is a humbling experience unlike any other.

hagia sophia two days in instanbul itinerary

Topkapi Palace

Our final site for the day was Topkapi Palace, the residence of the Ottoman sultans for almost 400 years. Perched on a hill overlooking the Golden Horn, Topkapi Palace was strategically built to have the best view of the Bosphorus and surrounding city. Allow some time here because there are four courtyards, a harem, mosques, a hospital, bakeries, a mint, and beautiful gardens to see. There are also several museums where you will find elaborate Ottoman weaponry, an extensive collection of Japanese, Chinese, and European porcelain, and many other imperial treasures.

topkapi palace two days in instanbul itinerary

Entrance to the palace

topkapi palace two days in instanbul itinerary

For a blue and white lover like me, Topkapi Palace was a dream. The palace is covered in blue and white Iznik tiles with the most beautiful designs and I left with major design inspiration!

We visited Topkapi  in late afternoon and stayed until sunset. At golden hour, the palace was bathed in the most magnificent light, illuminating its tiled walls and the city below. Watching the sunset from the palace balcony, I couldn’t help but feel like an Ottoman princess. 😀

Night 2:

Dinner at Sunset

Saturday night have dinner at Sunset Grill & Bar in the posh neighborhood of Ulus. This classy restaurant sits on a hill with a fantastic view of the Bosphorus. In addition to Turkish dishes, Sunset serves international and Japanese cuisine and everything is delicious.

sunset restaurant two days in instanbul itinerary

Day 2 Itinerary: 

  • Brunch along the Bosphorus 
  • Dolmabahce Palace
  • Spice Bazaar
  • The Golden Horn
  • Galata Tower

Brunch along the Bosphorus 

Begin your second day in Istanbul with brunch at Lokma, a local favorite along the Bosphorus. Request a window table in order to enjoy the view. Then settle in for a knock-your-socks-off traditional Turkish breakfast. Feast on countless varieties of cheese, eggs, savory Turkish pastries, fresh vegetables and juices. Make sure to try simit (the Turkish equivalent to a bagel) with honey, kaymak (Turkish clotted cream), and jam. I could eat that all day!

two days in instanbul itinerary bosphorus

View of the Bosphorus from our table

Dolmabahce Palace

After a stroll along the Bosphorus, set off for Dolmabahce Palace. In 1856, the Ottomans abandoned Topkaki for Dolmabahce, a palace modeled after the great palaces of Europe. Dolmabahce is a clear example of the confluence of East and West in Istanbul. While the palace contains Baroque, Rococo and Neoclassical elements, it also retains elements of traditional Ottoman palace life such as having separate living quarters for the men and women.

Dolmabahce Palace two days in instanbul itinerary

Dolmabahce Palace two days in instanbul itinerary

One of the palace’s ornate gates to the Bosphorus

Both Topkaki and Dolmabahce Palace are worth seeing because they are completely different stylistically and reflect very different eras. With 285 rooms, 46 halls, 6 baths, and 68 toilets, Dolmabahce is extravagance personified. In fact, the exorbitant expense incurred by its construction contributed to the deteriorating financial situation of the Ottoman Empire and eventually its demise.

Dolmabahce Palace two days in instanbul itinerary

You’re not allowed to take photos in the palace but I managed to snag a few 😉 But to get a real sense of the opulence of this palace you must see it for yourself!

Dolmabahce Palace two days in instanbul itinerary

The Ceremonial Hall with a 36 m (118 ft) high dome and a chandelier weighing 4.5 tons!!

Spice Bazaar

From Dolmabahce, hop on the tram and head to the famous Spice Bazaar in the Old City. The Spice Market was once the last stop for the camel caravans that travelled the Silk Road from China. Stepping into the covered market, you’ll feel as though you’ve walked into Ottoman-era Istanbul. There are hundreds of vendors selling fragrant, vividly colored spices alongside countless varieties of lokum, or Turkish Delight, and dried fruits. 

two days in instanbul itinerary spice market

Warning: The Spice Bazaar can be a bit overwhelming with countless vendors competing for your attention.

two days in instanbul itinerary spice market

DwD Tip: The vendors are happy to give you a pinch of their spices or a piece of lokum so don’t be shy to ask! 

two days in instanbul itinerary spice market

The Spice Bazaar is the perfect place to pick up treats for your friends and family.

two days in instanbul itinerary spice market

two days in instanbul itinerary turkish towel shop

I bought two bright-colored Turkish towels here which I absolutely love.

The Golden Horn

From the Spice Market, walk along the Golden Horn, the primary inlet of the Bosphorus. In the early evening, the docks are teeming with activity. Stop for a few minutes to watch the fisherman and enjoy the warm, salty air. Afterwards, make your way across Galata Bridge to Galata Tower.

two days in instanbul itinerary fishing golden horn

Galata Tower

Built by a Byzantine emperor in 528, Galata Tower is one of the oldest surviving towers in the world. Over the years, the tower has served many purposes and has witnessed even more changes. Originally built as a lighthouse, the tower later became a military stronghold, an astronomical observation point, and prison. An early aviator even used it as his launching pad to fly over the Bosphorus! Today, Galata Tower offers visitors a spectacular 360 degree view of the city and is definitely a tourist trap worth going to. To grasp Istanbul’s immense size and beauty, you really must see it from the sky.

two days in instanbul itinerary galata tower

Hope you enjoyed this two-day Istanbul itinerary! If you found it useful, please let me know in the comments below!

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Top Things to do in Baja California

balandra Things to do in Baja California

If you want to see a wild and virtually untouched part of Mexico, explore the Sea of Cortez in Baja California. The Sea of Cortez is one of the richest and most extraordinary marine environments on earth. It is a dazzling sea in the midst of the desert, surrounded by staggering mountains covered with enormous cacti. As you sail from one cove to another, the sea changes from shades of crystal clear blue, to aquamarine, turquoise, and emerald green. I’ve now visited Baja three times and each time I have fallen more in love with this magical part of Mexico. Below you will find my favorite things to do in Baja California:

map Things to do in Baja California

Also known as the Gulf of California, the Sea of Cortez separates the Baja California peninsula from the Mexican mainland.

Things to do in Baja California

Swim with Whale Sharks

From early winter until late spring whale sharks can be found feeding in the Sea of Cortez. Whale sharks are as big as some species of whale and, like whales, are filter feeders. They are the largest species of fish, growing up to 40 feet (12 meters) and weighing as much as 47,000 pounds (21.5 tons). In Baja, you can swim alongside these gentle giants in the presence of an authorized tour operator. It is a humbling and truly unforgettable experience. 

Things to do in Baja California whale shark

Photo courtesy of The Telegraph

*P.S. This experience reinforced my belief that sharks are misunderstood creatures who often get an undeserved bad rep. If you’re still skeptical, check out the Misunderstood Predators episode of the Netflix show “Tales by Light.” I guarantee you it will change the way you think about sharks.

Go Whale Watching

Baja California is one of the best places in the world to see whales. Grey whales travel more than 10,000 miles from their summer feeding grounds in the Arctic to the southern Baja peninsula. They spend the months of December to April mating in the warm waters, giving birth and feeding their calves. If you’re in Baja during these months, book a marine safari. If you’re lucky, you might see mothers with their young spouting and splashing right next to your boat.

Things to do in Baja California whale tail

Interact with Sea Lions

25 miles from the shores of La Paz is a cluster of small isles home to hundreds of sea lions. Arrange an expedition to Los Islotes to interact with these playful creatures in their natural environment. Above the sea you can watch them engage in their favorite activities–defending their personal rock, playing in the water with their friends, and sunbathing their hefty bodies. But below the surface it’s a whole other world. With snorkeling or diving equipment you can spend a few hours playing with the curious pups and living as the sea lions do.

Things to do in Baja California sea lions

They swam in circles around us and our instructor even put his hand out for them to playfully nibble on; they’re just like puppies!

Dive

If you are scuba-dive certified, don’t skip the chance to explore the depths of the Sea of Cortez. Depending on the time of year, you could encounter groups of giant manta rays, humpback and sperm whales, hammerheads, sea lions, or whale sharks, not to mention colorful starfish, corals, and fish. Near the beautiful Isla Espiritu Santo is the Fang Ming Wreck, a ship sunk to create an artificial reef. Today it is a flourishing underwater ecosystem and a diver’s dream.

Things to do in Baja California diving

Excited to explore the Fang Ming Wreck

Hike Isla San Francisco

The hike up Isla San Francisco is not too strenuous and the view from the top is unbeatable. On one side, you have the calm aquamarine waters of the inlet and on the other, the rough waves of the open sea. The terrain looks almost extraterrestrial with its red, jagged rocks, hundreds of different species of cactus, and arid soil. After your hike, cool off in the refreshing sea.

Things to do in Baja California Sur isla san francisco

baja california sur isla san francisco

Kayak or Stand-Up Paddle Board

Rent a kayak or stand-up paddle board and get up close and personal with the creatures who call the Sea of Cortez home. You may encounter a pod of dolphins with their young, manta rays jumping through the air, playful sea lions, or even a grey whale. It is also a great workout and a wonderful way to explore the coves throughout Baja California.

Things to do in Baja California kayaking

Things to do in Baja California manta ray

Explore Isla San Jose

Out of all of the starkly beautiful islands in Baja California Sur, San Jose may be my favorite. Isla San Jose is a nature-lover’s paradise swarming with life. It is an incredibly diverse island with everything from giant cactus covered beaches to mangroves and salt flats. At one point in the cove, there is a salt-water river accessible by kayak or small boat. After a short ride, the canal opens to a large bay with a narrow strip of beach. Walking the shell-strewn beach you’ll feel as though you’ve stumbled upon an untouched utopia.

san jose Things to do in Baja California Sur

Things to do in Baja California Sur saguaro cactus

Things to do in Baja California Sur san jose

Visit Coyote Island

Not far from Isla San Jose is a tiny fishing village called Isla Coyote. This island is home to a grand total of 15 inhabitants and they are literally in the middle of nowhere. They make weekly trips to La Paz, over 2 hours away by boat, for fresh water, food and other necessities. I was blown away by the friendly fishermen’s decision to live in a nearly inhospitable environment disconnected from the rest of the world. It served as an important reminder that many live with far, far less, and without the modern conveniences we take for granted, and yet are happy with what they have.

coyote island Things to do in Baja California Sur

coyote island Things to do in Baja California Sur

For more helpful information for your trip to Baja, visit:

Baja California in Photos:

balandra Things to do in Baja California Sur

Things to do in Baja California Sur balandra

Things to do in Baja California Sur isla san francisco

Things to do in Baja California Sur isla san francisco

Things to do in Baja California Sur saguaro cactus

Things to do in Baja California sur salt flats

Things to do in Baja California Sur explorer girl

Things to do in Baja California Sur mangroves

Things to do in Baja California Sur san jose

Things to do in Baja California Sur isla espiritu santo

Things to do in Baja California Sur jet ski

Things to do in Baja California Sur isla san francisco isla san francisco Things to do in Baja California Sur

Things to do in Baja California Sur balandra  Things to do in Baja California Sur balandra

Things to do in Baja California Sur seashells  Things to do in Baja California Sur sunset


For more of my favorite places in Mexico click here.

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top things to do in baja california sur

top things to do in baja california sur

What are your favorite things to do in Baja California? Let me know in the comments below!

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Puerto Rico’s West Coast: The Beaches of Isabela and Aguadilla

In the 80s, my dad and his friends discovered Porta del Sol, the west coast of Puerto Rico, and fell in love with the area’s great waves and beautiful uncrowded beaches. Over the years, they returned time and time again to this little slice of paradise. Though west coast beaches such as Isabela and nearby Aguadilla have become more well known over the years, they remain one of the island’s best kept secrets.

wilderness surf puerto rico west coast

Waves at famous surf spot Wilderness

coconut puerto rico flag west coast

The best place for cold, fresh coconuts!

I have been going to Isabela and Aguadilla for as long as I can remember. Unfortunately, I’ve either been working or in school for the past three years and wasn’t able to make my favorite family vacation. This year, however, the stars aligned and I made my much-anticipated return to this enchanting island.

puerto rico west coast beach

surf puerto rico west coast

Family surf session

Puerto Rico’s West Coast: A Hassle-Free Destination

If you’re coming from the East Coast of the US, the trip to Puerto Rico’s west coast is quick, easy, and nearly hassle-free. We leave from Newark Airport and fly directly into Rafael Hernández Airport in Aguadilla. Then we rent a car and drive about 10 minutes to Shacks Beach, our favorite place to stay in Isabela.

puerto rico west coast beach

Enjoying the crystal clear water at Shacks Beach

puerto rico west coast shacks beach

Where to Stay

Shacks is our favorite place to stay on Puerto Rico’s west coast because it’s an absolutely gorgeous beach and on any given day you’ll find, at most, a handful of people on it. Contrary to its name, there are some first-rate houses for rent and oceanfront apartments. This year, we stayed at Casa Bonita and it truly lived up to its name. I’d also highly recommend Villa Montaña, a romantic boutique resort on the beach with a fantastic restaurant.

puerto rico west coast shacks beach

Shacks Beach (notice no one’s on it!)

puerto rico west coast shacks beach

Walking the wall at Shacks

puerto rico west coast casa bonita

Soaking up life between the palms at Casa Bonita

For additional accommodations in Isabela, click here. And for accommodations in Aguadilla, click here.

The Beaches of Isabela and Aguadilla

The adjacent towns of Isabela and Aguadilla are home to some of the west coast’s best beaches. Whether you’re a surfer or a sunbather, the beaches of Isabela and Aguadilla have something for everyone. At Playa Crash Boat, hang with the friendly pelicans, snorkel, and jump off the pier. On the way to famous surf spot Wilderness, stop by the ruins for the perfect photo op. Then watch (or join!) seriously skilled surfers ride world-class waves. At Shacks Beach, explore the Blue Hole coral reef and enjoy horseback riding on the beach. On windy days, watch the kitesurfers zip through the surf and fly through the air. Local favorite Jobos is a busier scene with multiple restaurants to choose from and a powerful blowholeMiddles Beach has a long, walkable beach and tide pools that are fun for the whole family. Visit them all and find out which you like best!

wilderness ruins puerto rico west coast

The picturesque ruins at Wilderness

surfer girl wilderness puerto rico west coast

Catching a wave at Wilderness

surfer girl puerto rico west coast

Heading out at Surfers Beach

jobos blowhole puerto rico west coast

Blowhole at Jobos

puerto rico west coast beach middles

Wading through the tide pools at Middles

Once you’ve hit all the beaches listed above, just drive around and you’ll stumble upon more tranquil, sandy beaches up and down Puerto Rico’s west coast. Many of them won’t have a soul on them! We discovered the beaches below by doing just that. After all, every vacation needs a little adventure!

puerto rico west coast beach

puerto rico west coast beach

Sunset on the West Coast

When it’s time for sunset, make sure you’re beachfront as you won’t want to miss it. And if it rains, don’t fret because there just may be a rainbow!

puerto rico west coast sunset

sunset puerto rico west coast

puerto rico west coast beach rainbow

Day Trips from the West Coast

After all of that beach time, you may want a change of scenery. If so, do a day trip to colorful Old San Juan, the Camuy caverns, or the Gozalandia Waterfalls in the rainforest. But if you don’t feel like leaving the blissful beaches of Puerto Rico’s west coast, I certainly won’t blame you!

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Have you been to the beaches of Puerto Rico?? Comment below!

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Bernese Oberland Weekend Itinerary

Saturday morning, Julian and I set off bright and early for a weekend of exploring the Bernese Oberland region of the Swiss AlpsThe Berner Oberland (“oberland” means highlands in German) is the higher part of the canton of Bern, Switzerland. While you may not have heard of the Bernese Oberland before, I bet you have heard of Interlaken. Visiting the famous lake town of Interlaken was high on our list of must-dos while living in Switzerland. While in the area, we decided to check out the neighboring Alpine village of Adelboden and the glam resort town of Gstaad as well. Below you’ll find our 2-day itinerary in this breathtaking region.

Bernese Oberland Itinerary:

Day 1- Intlerlaken & Adelboden

Day 2- Gstaad & Feutersoey

Day 1

Interlaken

Interlaken is a traditional resort town known for its emerald-colored lakes and numerous hiking and skiing trailsFrom Basel (our home for five months), the drive is a little under two hours. You can also take the train for just a tad bit longer. But if you want to explore the small towns outside of Interlaken, a car is essential.

After an extremely scenic drive, we arrived to Interlaken just after noon. The first thing we did was walk around, admiring the snow-capped Alps and watching paragliders descend from the sky. Someday I would love to try paragliding in a place like Interlaken! A paraglider’s view of the mountains, lakes, and town in between them must be unparalleled.  

interlaken paraglide Bernese Oberland Itinerary

interlaken Bernese Oberland Itinerary

Snow-capped Alps blending into the clouds

History of Interlaken

Interlaken has been a popular tourist destination since the early 1800s when people would come for the fresh mountain air and spas. The completion of the Bernese Oberland Railway in 1890 and the Jungfrau Railway in 1912 caused the town to really take off. Today, luxurious 19th century hotels like the Victoria-Jungfrau Grand Hotel & Spa and the Lindner Grandhotel Beau Rivage still offer guests the best of Swiss luxury.  

The Victoria-Jungfrau Grand Hotel & Spa interlaken Bernese Oberland Itinerary

The Victoria-Jungfrau Grand Hotel & Spa. Click here for current prices.

Lindner Grandhotel Beau Rivage interlaken Bernese Oberland Itinerary

The Lindner Grandhotel Beau Rivage. Click here for current prices.

Harder Kulm Mountain

After grabbing a bite to eat at the Hotel Interlaken, we set off for Harder Kulm, Interlaken’s local mountain. At 1322 meters (4337 feet) above sea level, Harder Kulm offers the best views of Interlaken as well as the three mammoth mountains of Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau.

A ride on the panorama funicular will set you back 32 francs (32 USD) but it only takes 10 minutes to reach the top. Otherwise, it’s about a two and a half hour hike. We would’ve preferred to hike but since we were on a tight time frame we opted for the easy way up.

harder kulm interlaken funicular Bernese Oberland Itinerary

harder kulm interlaken Bernese Oberland Itinerary

Lake Thun and Lake Brienz

Upon exiting the funicular, I was immediately struck by the brilliant blue color of the lakes. The turquoise and emerald hues of Lake Thun and Lake Brienz are so vivid they almost don’t look natural. I had never seen that exact shade of blue before, not even in the tropics. I later learned the color results from glacial particles that reflect the blue-green sector of the light spectrum. Unfortunately, it was a bit cloudy when we were there but luckily the sun came out briefly, illuminating the icy blue water.  

harder kulm interlaken Bernese Oberland Itinerary

The suspended lookout boasts the best view. From it, you can see both lakes and the Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau mountains. This is the place to take your selfies, panoramas, and photos. Surprisingly enough, Harder Klum was not packed with tourists and we were able to get all the shots we wanted. Perhaps the predicted thunderstorms scared people away but we were glad we didn’t let the forecasted weather deter us!

harder kulm interlaken lookout bridge Bernese Oberland Itinerary

harder kulm interlaken panorama Bernese Oberland Itinerary

harder kulm interlaken Bernese Oberland Itinerary

After taking loads of photos, we sat for a drink at the Harder Kulm Panoramic Restaurant. Although it’s a tourist trap, we enjoyed sipping on our drinks with such an incredible view.

harder kulm Bernese Oberland Itinerary

gstaad Bernese Oberland Itinerary

After about an hour at the top, we headed back down the mountain to our next destination.

Adelboden

By car, Adelboden is less than a hour from Interlaken. We left Interlaken mid-afternoon and had a few hours to explore before sun down.

adelboden Bernese Oberland Itinerary

The Cambrian Hotel & Spa

When planning a trip, I usually decide on the destination and then find accommodations. In this case, however, it was the reverse. We’d been having some difficulty finding a reasonably priced place to stay in Interlaken so we expanded our search to the surrounding area. As soon as we discovered The Cambrian, we knew we’d found our hotel.

cambrian hotel adelboden Bernese Oberland Itinerary

The Cambrian is one of the only design hotels in the Swiss Alps and it was built to showcase the natural beauty surrounding it. We later learned Adelboden has much to offer and were so glad The Cambrian led us to this charming village.

the cambrian hotel adelboden Bernese Oberland Itinerary

cambrian hotel adelboden Bernese Oberland Itinerary

View from our room

*Click here for availability and current prices at The Cambrian. For a four-star Swiss design hotel, the prices are quite reasonable!

Engstligen Falls

While Adelboden does not have any lakes, it does have some amazing waterfalls. We were determined to see the Engstligen Falls, the second highest waterfalls in Switzerland, before nightfall. After a ten minute drive from the hotel and a short hike, we had arrived.

Engstligen Falls drone Bernese Oberland Itinerary

From a long way off, you can see the 600 meter (1969 feet) falls. But it’s not until you’re right underneath them that you truly grasp their immense size and force. Next to the thunderous falls and towering rocks, I felt very small. For a long while I stood on the bridge over the base of the falls in awe of their power.
Engstligen Falls Bernese Oberland Itinerary

Unfortunately, we were too late to take the cable car to the top of the falls. However, with Julian’s drone we were able to get the same perspective of the raging falls, expansive meadowlands, and dense pine forest below. Once the sun began to set, we knew it was time to head back. 

drone adelboden Engstligen Falls Bernese Oberland Itinerary

drone adelboden

drone Engstligen Falls Bernese Oberland Itinerary

Until Next Time…

Back at our hotel we enjoyed a delicious, fresh dinner at The Cambrian’s restaurantIf we’d had more time, I would’ve loved to have taken greater advantage of The Cambrian’s amenities. I was dying to take a dip in its gorgeous infinity pool and enjoy the spa. But I guess that’ll just have to wait until next time 🙂

the cambrian hotel switzerland Bernese Oberland Itinerary

This will be me on my next visit! Photo courtesy of The Cambrian

Day 2

Feutersoey

Sunday morning, Julian and I woke up early to visit our friend Linda at her home in the Swiss Alps. Linda grew up in the village of Feutersoey in the mountains outside of Gstaad. Her family owns a dairy farm there, making Linda a real-life cowgirl. If you’d like to read about our morning spent learning how to make cheese, having a farm-to-table lunch in a traditional Swiss chalet, and hiking Gumm mountain, click here!

gumm mountain swiss alps aerial drone chalet Bernese Oberland Itinerary

Linda’s family’s chalet

Bernese Oberland Itinerary alps

Linda and I hiking Gumm mountain

Gstaad is two hours from Adelboden and it’s well worth the trip. But before visiting Gstaad, I’d recommend hiking the magnificent mountains outside of the town.  You’ll enjoy views such as these and get a glimpse of life in the Swiss Alps. And if you’re lucky, you’ll come across local wildlife such as mountain goats and marmots (small animals similar to a groundhog).

gumm mountain swiss alps Bernese Oberland Itinerary

Traditional Alpine chalets dotting the lush, green mountains

gumm mountain swiss alps cows dog Bernese Oberland Itinerary

 

Gstaad — Ski Resort of the Rich & Famous 

Since the 60s, Gstaad has been an exclusive ski destination for the rich and famous. Madonna, Kofi Annan, Valentino, Prince Charles and Princess Diana are just a few who have frequented Gstaad over the years. Today, Gstaad is more popular than ever among international jetsetters and it’s easy to see why. In Gstaad, we walked through the charming streets and browsed the high-end boutiques. I couldn’t get over the fact that the banks, restaurants, and stores are all housed in the most adorable chalets. 

gstaad palace hotel Bernese Oberland Itinerary

gstaad louis vuitton chalet Bernese Oberland Itinerary

gstaad church Bernese Oberland Itinerary

While we managed to see quite a lot during our weekend in the Bernese Oberland, there’s still much we didn’t see. In the future, I’d love to visit the hikers’ paradise of Grindelwald, the wood carving town of Brienz, and take a train to the top of JungfrauBut I leave eager to return one day to explore more of this exquisite region of Switzerland.

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weekend bernese oberland itinerary


Have you been to the Bernese Oberland or any other parts of Switzerland?? Let me know in the comments!

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A night in Adelboden at The Cambrian

the cambrian hotel adelboden

When planning a trip, I usually decide on the destination and then find accommodations. For our weekend getaway to the Swiss Alps, however, it was the reverse. We’d been having some difficulty finding a reasonably priced place to stay in Interlaken so we expanded our search to the surrounding area. As soon as we discovered The Cambrian, we knew we’d found our hotel.

The Cambrian Hotel

The Cambrian is one of the only design hotels in the Swiss Alps and it was built to showcase the natural beauty surrounding it. We later learned Adelboden has much to offer and were so glad The Cambrian led us to this charming Alpine village.

cambrian hotel adelboden

cambrian hotel adelboden

View from our room

*Click here for availability and current prices at The Cambrian. For a four-star Swiss design hotel, the prices are quite reasonable!

Interlaken & Adelboden in a day

By car, Adelboden is less than a hour from Interlaken. If you have limited time, it’s definitely possible to see both Interlaken and Adelboden in one day. We set off from Basel early Saturday morning and were in Interlaken by mid-day. Read about our afternoon in Interlaken here. We then left Interlaken mid-afternoon and had a few hours to explore Adelboden before sun down.

adelboden

The town of Adelboden

Engstligen Falls

While Adelboden does not have any lakes, it does have some amazing waterfalls. We were determined to see the Engstligen Falls, the second highest waterfalls in Switzerland, before nightfall. After a ten minute drive from the hotel and a short hike, we had arrived.

Engstligen Falls drone

From a long way off, you can see the 600 meter (1969 feet) falls. But it’s not until you’re right underneath them that you truly grasp their immense size and force. Next to the thunderous falls and towering rocks, I felt very small. For a long while I stood on the bridge over the base of the falls in awe of their power.

Engstligen Falls

Unfortunately, we were too late to take the cable car to the top of the falls. However, with Julian’s drone we were able to get the same perspective of the raging falls, expansive meadowlands, and dense pine forest below.

drone adelboden Engstligen Falls

drone adelboden

Once the sun began to set, we knew it was time to head back. One thing I underestimated was the temperature difference in the mountains. In Interlaken, it was over 32° C (90° F) but once we got high into the Bernese Oberlands, the temperature dropped dramatically. 

drone Engstligen Falls

Until Next Time…

Back at our hotel we enjoyed a delicious, fresh dinner at The Cambrian’s restaurantThe next morning we rose early as we had another full day in front of us. We were off to visit our friend Linda at her home in the mountains outside of Gstaad, Switzerland. Her family owns a dairy farm there and they had promised to show us the wonders of life in the Swiss Alps. Read all about our day spent making cheese, hiking, and exploring the glam resort town of Gstaad here.

If we’d had more time, I would’ve loved to have taken greater advantage of The Cambrian’s amenities. I was dying to take a dip in its gorgeous infinity pool and enjoy the spa. But I guess that’ll just have to wait until next time 🙂

the cambrian hotel switzerland

This will be me on my next visit! Photo courtesy of The Cambrian


For a 2-day itinerary of our weekend in the Bernese Oberland region of the Swiss Alpsincluding Interlaken and the glam resort town of Gstaad, click here.

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the cambrian hotel adelboden switzerland

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