Winter in Australia just doesn’t have the same magic as winter in Europe.
I crave the snow, and for Christmas to be actually cold. Don’t get me wrong – there’s nothing wrong with a classic Aussie BBQ for Christmas get-together, but I really do feel like we’re missing out on that traditional wintery Christmas spirit (just a little).
This year, Rob and I will be heading over to Europe in my uni break, hopefully catching the last touches of autumn before embracing a European Christmas and skiing in the Julian Alps over New Year.
We’ll spend a total of 2 months abroad, and will be working remotely for 5 of the 8 weeks. This means that this digital nomad trip itinerary is a fairly slow one as most of our sightseeing will be done on weekday evenings and weekends.
If you wanted to plan something similar but at a faster pace, the itinerary could be completed in 3-4 weeks. Also, if this is your first time to Europe (or just to Germany) it might be worth swapping out Leipzig with Berlin. I absolutely love Berlin but wanted to visit somewhere new in eastern Germany for this trip!
This winter Eurotrip itinerary was influenced largely by the flight options that I could get from Australia with only one stopover each way (I really hate flight connections and try to minimise them wherever possible). I ended up going with Qatar, a Middle-Eastern airline based in Doha, from Sydney to Amsterdam and then from Zagreb back to Sydney.
This kind of ticket is called an open-jaw ticket as it has a gap between the final destinations. You can search for these kinds of flights on booking websites like JustFly – select the ‘Multiple City’ option when searching and it will give you the ability to enter two different destinations.
Within Europe, Rob and I will be travelling overland with a travel time of about 3-6 hours between most destinations. I find it much easier to depart from the main transport station in the city centre and get a somewhat comfy train/bus seat with a bit of legroom than to fuss around with airports and uncomfortable flights (also, travelling via train or bus is much better for the environment).
Amsterdam is somewhere that I have been to before but can’t wait to revisit! The Netherlands just feels like such as easy place to hang out (probably because the Dutch all speak impeccable English).
Seeing as we’ve already done most of the main tourist sites, Rob and I have booked an apartment in the trendy suburb of De Pijp and will spend our week in Amsterdam drinking tons of coffee and eating stroopwafel and cheese at every possible moment.
We also plan to see a gig featuring one of our favourite bands – Vampire Weekend – and catch up with one of our good friends who used to live in Sydney but now lives in Utrecht!
Even though Rob and I spent about a month in Germany during our 2013/2014 backpacking trip, we didn’t get around to visiting Hamburg. Apparently this city is a hotspot for alternative culture and has some of the best Christmas markets around.
We’ll hop on an intercity bus from Amsterdam then spend two weeks in Hamburg staying in an Airbnb apartment around the hip area of St Pauli. On our weekends we’ll do some sightseeing around the city, including seeking out some historic Jugendstil (German art nouveau) architecture and finding the colossal Hochbunker – a concrete air-raid bunker from WWII that is now an event space.
I’d never even heard of Leipzig until a few months ago when one of our American friends went there on a family vacay. After doing some research, I found out that it’s one of the few remaining German cities with an old town filled with historic pre-war buildings (other cities decided to replace their old buildings with new ones after the war).
Rob and I will jump on the ICE high-speed train from Hamburg then spend a week staying in an apartment near Leipzig’s city centre. I’ve heard that the Museum of Musical Instruments is worth visiting, and that there’s a cat cafe nearby complete with a vegan menu – I suspect I will spend a significant amount of time there!
Munich is another place that I have been to before, but I’m really looking forward to a second visit. This city stole my heart the first time around with its numerous beer halls and Bavarian charm.
We’ll jump on the ICE again for a speedy 3-hour train trip from Leipzig, then check in to our hotel near Munich Central Station. We won’t spend loads of time sightseeing in Munich – mostly just checking out some of the cool neighbourhoods while working remotely. Of course, we’ll also try to find some veggie curry wurst sausages and drink a ton of weissbier.
The weekend before Christmas is when our real vacation starts… with a mini week-long road trip through Slovenia and northern Croatia! We’ll hop on an intercity bus to get from Munich to Slovenia’s capital, Ljubljana, where we’ll pick up a hire car for the drive south.
I’ve planned a rough route from Ljubljana, looping down into Croatia to see Plitvice Lakes National Park (which is apparently much less crowded in the winter) and Rovinj on the Mediterranean coast. We’ll then head back up into Slovenia stopping in at Piran, Predjama Castle, and the spectacular Lake Bohinj.
Rob and I visited Bled on a day trip from Ljubljana 5 years ago. I found the town to be unbelievably gorgeous! I later discovered that there are a handful of ski resorts in the Julian Alps only an hour’s drive from Bled, so I knew that we had to go back for a ski trip. Also, lift passes at the ski resorts are about half the price of the ski resorts in Australia! Total bargain!
Somehow I managed to convince a few of our friends from America to hop on over to Slovenia for New Year, so we’re going to have a blast watching fireworks over the lake at midnight. We’ll be spending a week here, with most of our days on the slopes and our nights in a Slovenian-style Airbnb vacation home near the town centre. I also discovered that there is a sauna park at a nearby hotel, so that’s definitely high up on our list of activities!
Ljubljana is one of my favourite destinations of all time. The whole city has a super relaxed vibe, is adorably weird, and has a variety of colourful facades. A few days here will be a great way to wind down after a week of skiing.
We don’t have many plans yet (except for gazing at the castle from our top-floor room at Barbo Palace!), but I’m sure they will involve city views, markets, and possibly a few glasses of wine at a rooftop bar.
I’ve heard really great things about Zagreb. We were originally going to spend a few weeks working in the city, but it just didn’t work out for our itinerary. Instead, we’ll jump on a bus from Ljubljana then spend a few nights in Palace Hotel Zagreb before flying back to Australia.
My cousin recommended the Museum of Broken Relationships which sounds totally wacky and amusing. I’m also interested in checking out the pretty grounds of Mirogoj Cemetery and the Uspinjača funicular in the old town.
*This post is sponsored by JustFly. Every opinion expressed on AGWT is an honest reflection of my values – I will only recommend products and services that I would use myself.