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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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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Harder Kulm Mountain — Top of Interlaken

After hearing wonderful things, Interlaken has been top on my list of places to visit while in Switzerland. Our only fear was that it would be packed with tourists this time of year. In anticipation of this, we decided to spend just half a day there and then head to nearby Adelboden. Since we only had a morning in Interlaken, we settled on one of the highlights– riding the panorama funicular up Harder Kulm mountain for the best view of the two lakes.

How to get to Interlaken

Interlaken is the largest town in the Bernese Oberland region and from Basel 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

interlaken

History of Interlaken

Interlaken has been a popular tourist destination since the early 1800s when people would come for the 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

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

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

For more places to stay in Interlaken for all budgets, check out this awesome post.

Riding the Funicular up 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, the 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 liked to have done the hike but since we were on a tight time frame we opted for the easy way up.

harder kulm interlaken funicular

harder kulm interlaken

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

The suspended lookout boasts the best view. From it, you can see both lakes, all of Interlaken, and the Alpine triumvirate of the Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau mountains. This is the place to take your selfies, panoramas, and tourist 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

harder kulm interlaken panorama

harder kulm interlaken

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

harder kulm

After about an hour at the top, it started to rain and so we headed back down the mountain. The rain was almost a blessing because it forced us to abandon the gorgeous vista and forge onto our next destination, the Alpine village of Adelboden. Read about our night at The Cambrian Hotel & Spa in Adelboden here.

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


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Top Things to Do in Mexico City

top things to do in mexico city chapultepec castle

After over a year of living in Mexico City, I am more obsessed with this city than ever before. CDMX is a city with unparalleled cultural attractions, a world-renowned gastronomy scene, and expansive parks. I have never once felt unsafe in Mexico City and I’m so glad I didn’t let my preconceived notions, or the misconceptions of others, prevent me from living in this enchanting city. Even now, I still feel as though I’ve barely scratched the surface of this enormous city. There’s a never-ending (and constantly expanding!) list of things to see and do. But if I had to narrow it down to my top things to do, the following would make the cut…

Top Things to Do in Mexico City:

1. Palacio de Bellas Artes

top things to do in mexico city bellas artes

This lavish palace of fine arts is one of the jewels of Mexico City. I’ve been dying to see a concert, ballet, or opera here. But even if you don’t catch a performance, Bellas Artes is definitely worth a visit. It boasts impressive marble interiors and murals by practically every major national muralist, including the famed Diego Rivera. After touring it, walk to the nearby Palacio de Correos, by far the most opulent post office I have ever seen. Fun fact: It was designed by the same Italian architect who designed Bellas Artes.

DwD Tip: Make a day of touring downtown, the historic center of the city. First visit Bellas Artes and Palacio de Correos. Then walk down pedestrian-only Madero Street toward the Zócalo and visit the Cathedral and Palacio Nacional (see #2). Warning: this area is always swarming with people. If you’d prefer a more relaxed outing, explore downtown on a Sunday when the main avenue is closed to cars. Don’t miss the Angel of Independence on your way!

2. Zócalo / Historic Downtown

things to do in mexico city palacio nacional

Even before the Spanish arrived, the Zócalo was Mexico City’s center square. Hundreds of years later it is still buzzing with activity and is full of history. Plan on spending some time here because there’s a lot to see! First stop by the Cathedral. If you’re lucky, you’ll stumble upon a mass and get to hear the impressive organ.

When the Spanish conquistadors arrived in Mexico, they destroyed the “pagan” temples of the Aztecs and used the stones to construct a Cathedral. In the 70s, the ruins of the Aztec’s central temple (Templo Mayor) were unearthed just to the right of the Cathedral. Today, you can visit the open-air archeological site and learn more about its history at the museum.

Next, visit Palacio Nacional (pictured above). Built on the site of the last Aztec emperor’s home, this enormous palace was originally the home of the Spanish conquistador Hernan Cortes. Since gaining independence from Spain, it has served as the seat of the Mexican government. Head up the stairs and you’ll find Diego Rivera’s massive mural representing the entire history of the Mexican people.

DwD Tip: Once you’ve worked up an appetite, go to El Mayor for an amazing view of the Aztec temple ruins or to the magical Azul Histórico for lunch. Dining in the courtyard of a 17th century estate is only fitting after a day of touring palaces!

3. Chapultepec Castle and Park

top things to do in mexico city chapultepec castle

The first time I visited Mexico City, I toured this opulent imperial castle overlooking the city and was absolutely blown away. Did you know Mexico was an empire not once but twice?? The story behind this castle and the emperor who lived there is a fascinating and important part of Mexican history. Perched on a hill in the middle of a forest, the view of the city is also unbeatable.

After touring the castle (or before), stroll the grounds of Chapultepec Park. It is one of the world’s great urban parks and is over twice the size of Central Park! It would take ages to cover it all so I’d suggest wandering through it on your way to the famous Anthropology Museum (see #10) or to contemporary art museum Museo Tamayo.

4. El Bazar del Sábado (Saturday Bazaar)

top things to do in mexico city bazaar saturday

If you find yourself in Mexico City on a Saturday, make sure you stop by this colorful bazaar. Housed in a grand colonial plaza in the historic neighborhood of San Angel, Bazar del Sábado will give you a real sense of Mexican culture. It also presents an excellent opportunity to pick up some of the country’s best handcrafted jewelry, woodwork, ceramics and textiles. Across the street, you’ll find a market of traditional indigenous products. Along the way you’re bound to discover the perfect regalito, or little gift, for your friends and family back home.

After shopping, you have several dining options: 1) The plaza’s courtyard where you can eat fresh-off-the-pan quesadillas while watching traditional Mexican dancers. 2) A food market full of delicious options just a couple of blocks down from the bazaar. 3) San Angel Inn, a beautiful old hacienda converted into a restaurant serving traditional Mexican cuisine.

5. Floating Gardens of Xochimilco

top things to do in mexico city xochimilco

Although this is a classic tourist activity, it’s still a lot of fun and the perfect activity for a nice afternoon. Xochimilco (meaning “garden of flowers” in Nahuatl, the language of the Aztec’s) is also rooted in history. Fun fact: Mexico City was originally built on a lake. Xochimilco is the last remnant of the vast system of causeways, canals, manmade islands and floating gardens that existed during the time of the Aztecs. Select a colorful trajinera and spend your day cruising these ancient canals. It’s crazy to think that these floating gardens once fed the largest city on Earth (the ancient Aztec capital of Tenochtitlan, present-day Mexico City).

DwD Tip: For a fee, a mariachi trio will float along beside you and play songs at your request. And if you forget to pack a picnic, don’t worry, you can easily hail beer and snacks from your boat.

6. Teotihuacan Pyramids 

top things to do in mexico city teotihuacan pyramids

Although it takes about 1.5 hours to get to Teotihuacan from downtown Mexico City, it’s definitely worth the trip. Teotihuacan is the site of many of the largest pyramids built in pre-Columbian America and they are all well-preserved and climbable. The Pyramid of the Sun is one of the most imposing in the world and, if you’re like me, you’ll be panting by the time you’ve reached the top. The view, however, is vale la pena (worth the pain).

DwD Tip: For a more meaningful experience, visit the Teotihuacan exhibit at the Anthropology Museum (see #10) before you go.

*For tips on navigating Teotihuacan click here

7. Wander around La Roma & La Condesa

top things to do in mexico city la condesa

If you’re over touristy activities and want a little peace and quiet, head to the trendy neighborhoods of La Roma and La Condesa. Roma and Condesa are adjacent neighborhoods full of colorful old buildings, leafy trees, art galleries, an impressive food scene, and hipster vibes. Start by walking through the beautiful Parque Mexico. Then stroll the streets around the park, stopping at cute boutiques and cafes along the way. The best streets to wander are Amsterdam, Colima, and Orizaba. While you’re there, take advantage of some of the city’s best restaurants. Contramar, Maximo Bistro, Rosetta, Lardo, Blanco Colima, and my new favorite, Meroma, are just a few great possibilities.

8. Indulge in the city’s food scene

top things to do in mexico city pujol taco

Taco al pastor from famed Pujol

If you haven’t heard, Mexico City has an incredible food scene that’s currently taking the culinary world by storm. You can get any kind of food you’re looking for, from mouth-watering street tacos to amazing fine dining experiences. Word of advice: go with an open mind (or, rather, stomach). Authentic Mexican food doesn’t taste like your favorite burrito place back home–it tastes much, much better.

Don’t leave Mexico without trying tacos al pastor (tacos with pork fresh off the spit), gringas (quesadilla with meat), chicharrón de queso (grilled, crispy cheese), tostadas (the tuna tostadas at Contramar are the best in the city), sopes (fried tortilla dough with refried beans, cream, lettuce, salsa and cheese), and fresh fruits like mamey, mango, and papaya. For late-night greasy, authentic goodness, go to famous late-night taqueria El Farolito. If you want to eat at one of the best restaurants in the world, go to the renowned Pujol (often described as “elevated street food”). And yes, it’s worth the hype.

9. Frida Kahlo House and Museum

top things to do in mexico city frida kahlo museum house

A visit to Mexico City isn’t complete without visiting the home of Mexico’s most famous icon–Frida Kahlo. Located in the charming colonial neighborhood of Coyoacan, la Casa Azul is the home Frida grew up and ultimately died in. A tribute to her life and work, the blue house showcases some of her most famous paintings. Today, it remains almost exactly as she left it and gives you an intimate look into Frida’s life.

DwD Tip: Buy tickets online in advance here in order to skip the long line. If you haven’t already, I’d also recommend watching Frida, the movie starring Salma Hayek, before you go.

10. Anthropology Museum

top things to do in mexico city anthropology museum

Mexico’s National Museum of Anthropology is an excellent introduction to the country’s pre-Hispanic history and culture. Visiting this museum on my first trip to Mexico City really opened my eyes to the fact that, contrary to the media’s depiction, Mexico is not a homogenous country. It is a country made up of many ancient civilizations, each with its own language and traditions. 

The Anthropology Museum houses thousands of pre-Hispanic treasures and many of the most important findings from archaeological digs across the country. Highlights include the original Aztec calendar unearthed in Mexico City, giant stone heads of the Olmec civilization from Veracruz, a jade mask found in a Mayan ruler’s tomb, and my personal favorite—an Aztec ruler’s exquisite headdress made from vibrant blue and green quetzal feathers.  


*Side note: In the months to come, I’ll be writing blog posts answering all your burning questions about life in Mexico / recommendations for visiting CDMX. But in the mean time, if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me. I love hearing from you! Also, explore more Mexico posts here!

Have you been to Mexico City yet? If so, what was your favorite thing you did? If not, would you like to go? Comment below!

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Weekend in Querétaro

Recently, Julian, a few friends and I took a weekend trip to the nearby state of Querétaro. I’m always looking for an opportunity to visit the many beautiful cities and towns within driving distance from Mexico City. So when a family friend invited us to tour his vineyard in Querétaro, we decided to make a weekend out of it.

Historic Center, Querétaro City

Querétaro is a small state about three hours from Mexico City. Its capital, Querétaro City, is a charming colonial city filled with history. In fact, its historic center is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. We left Mexico City early Saturday morning and spent the day in downtown Querétaro City walking through its cobblestone streets and admiring its many beautiful churches and grand colonial houses. It was a lovely way to spend the day as Querétaro City is very pedestrian friendly, clean, and safe.

I love the grand colonial architecture, just look at this door!

We had a wonderful lunch at Alioli and would highly recommend it

How adorable is this pink elementary school??

Querétaro City is full of beautiful old churches and cathedrals, there seems to be one on every corner!

 

I can never resist a Mexican market!

Templo y Convento de la Santa Cruz- Mexican Emperor Maximilian was jailed here before his execution

Inner courtyard of the Templo y Convento de la Santa Cruz

Bernal

Once the sun went down, we headed for the nearby town of Bernal. Bernal is a designated pueblo magico (“magic town”) and is known for La Peña, the world’s third tallest free-standing rock. We stayed the night at Casa Mateo, a boutique hotel with impressive views of La Peña.

Casa Mateo

La Peña de Bernal

The next morning we rose early to climb the famous monolith. The climb to the top of Bernal is not too strenuous but it is very steep in parts and requires a decent level of physical fitness. On our way up, we saw many Mexicans climbing with their small children and this made me so nervous!! By foot, it takes about 30 minutes to get halfway up. After that point, you can’t go any further without serious rappelling equipment. Tip: Make sure to get there early in order to avoid noon-day sun, bring lots of water, and wear shoes with good traction.

Fun fact: Residents in the tiny town of Bernal insist that la Peña has mystical healing powers. Some say it exudes a magnetic force, others say its energy comes from giant Amethyst crystals buried deep within its core. Interestingly enough, the town is reputed to be home to more centenarians than any other town in Mexico.

Julian showing some curious kids the bird’s-eye perspective of his drone flying over la Pena

Downtown Bernal

After a quick change and shower, we explored the quaint town of Bernal. Unfortunately, we had very little time to see Bernal before we had to leave for a tobacco factory tour. 

Real Fábrica de Tabaco

In 1779, the original Real Fábrica de Tabaco was built and it became the second most important tobacco plant in New Spain. In recent years, entrepreneurs from Querétaro decided to revive this tradition, creating a modern Real Fábrica de Tabaco but maintaining time-honored cigar-making methods. At the factory, visitors are able to see expert cigar-makers in action and learn about the cigar-making process.

At Real Fabrica, they make a cigar called “Black Chazaro” from the best black tobacco of Veracrúz

There’s a beautiful courtyard in the center of the factory where you can enjoy your cigars

De Cote Vineyard

Finally, we made our way to De Cote Vineyard for a delicious lunch, tour of the facilities, and, of course, wine tasting!

Along with its history and colonial architecture, Querétaro is known for its wines and cheese. There is a long wine-making tradition in Querétaro with the Spanish planting the first vines in the 16th century. De Cote opened its doors in 2014 and since then has won many awards for its wines.

Spend an afternoon touring the sprawling vineyard on foot, bike, or on train. Afterwards, grab a bite to eat in the more casual bistro or dine on the terrace for a more sophisticated menu and unbeatable view.

Getting a tour of the very modern facilities from the owner himself

Querétaro was the perfect weekend escape from the hustle and bustle of Mexico City. If you’re looking for somewhere off the beaten path in Mexico, go to Querétaro. I promise you won’t regret it!


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