SURF | SNOW | SUN
Editor’s Note: In light of the COVID crisis, The Trek is committed to following all CDC and trail organization recommendations. As trails open up and longer hikes become possible, it’s important to modify plans for self-sufficiency. The NPS and governing trail organizations have been sending out updates as they become available. Stay up to date here.
The John Muir Trail (JMT) is a 211-mile trail that undulates across numerous high passes in the Sierra Nevada. ...
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Germany's greenest city invites you to enjoy a city break in close touch with nature: with its countless Hamburg parks, nature reserves, beaches, open-air food stands and its unique urban shore, Hamburg ensures a relaxing and yet highly diverse holiday experience.
In Hamburg, inspiring urban environments and soothing greenery go hand in hand – sustainable hotels, retail shopping and gastronomic venues included.
No need for lengthy journeys, complex planning, or rushing. With its 31 nature reserves, Hamburg is one of the greenest cities in all of Europe, allowing visitors to enjoy urban flair combined with beautiful nature experiences.
So why not venture out for a hiking trip in the nearby Harburg Hills, followed by a refreshing shandy at the legendary Strandperle with a view of passing container ships. Or take a leisurely walk around the 200-year-old Planten un Blomen Hamburg park and pop over to the adjacent Karolinenviertel afterwards for fair fashion and natural cosmetics. Or how about an extended bike tour along Hamburg’s urban shore?
With a fresh tailwind, you can cycle alongside giant container ships, from the stairs quarter of Blankenese via the Oevelgönne beaches and past the St Pauli Fischmarkt all the way to the city centre. You can stop over at the Landungsbrücken for a fresh fish roll, or enjoy a cool drink on the Elbphilharmonie’s Plaza at sunset.
Hamburg is a thriving green pearl, with numerous bodies of water, a continuous fresh breeze, tree-lined streets, and residents who love their city just as much as Hamburg’s guests do. Hamburg offers an excellent climate especially in the summer months – and not just in terms of temperatures, but also in terms of street food locations, outdoor cafés, and lush green getaway destinations within easy reach.
Hamburg parks and outdoor spaces – a world of outdoor experiences
Hamburg has actually more bridges than Venice and Amsterdam. Little wonder though when you consider the countless canals and tributaries of the Alster Lake and the Elbe River. In Hamburg's urban ecosystem, water and nature are embedded in a unique way. If you feel like discovering the city from an entirely new angle, you can rent a stand-up paddle board or a canoe at the Alster Lake in the city centre.
From there, you can make your way along the Alster canals that will take you to green residential areas and to Stadtpark Hamburg, the city’s green lung and a much-loved location for open-air events – and all this while enjoying summery temperatures and a refreshing breeze.
Hamburg provides a laid-back holiday experience – not only on the water, but also on land.
A relaxing summer in the city can also take the shape of browsing around the city centre, strolling through the countless inner-city parks, or chilling out on Hamburg’s waterfront. That’s because Hamburg’s retail opportunities go well beyond shopping centres, and because Hamburg parks includes Europe’s largest Japanese garden as well as Europe’s most extensive park cemetery. And because Hamburg is one of the few cities that has its very own urban beaches.
The city’s cultural life is being rebooted cautiously and, due to current circumstances, Hamburg’s cultural venues will not be overcrowded this summer.
But that’s just fine, because Hamburg’s locals have their own way of enjoying a long summer’s night: in the countless street cafés, or at one of the beach clubs, beer gardens and open-air restaurant terraces – some of these with a maritime view of the Elbe, and others with a view of lush greenery on the banks of the Alster.
Day trips from Hamburg
And all those wishing to get away from the urban environment can simply get a train from the central station to the countryside just on Hamburg’s doorstep.
In the matter of one hour, you can reach the seaside resorts on the Baltic Sea as well as the national parks and the Wadden Sea on the North Sea. The unspoilt nature around the Lauenburg Lakes to the east is also worth a day trip, as are the extensive hiking areas of the Lüneburg Heath in the south of Hamburg.
And even as a stopover on the way to the Baltic Sea, the North Sea or the route to Denmark, Hamburg is the ideal place to enjoy two or three days of urban flair combined with wind, water, and wide green spaces.
For all those who can’t wait to start planning their next Hamburg trip, we have compiled our very own...
Top 10 Hamburg tips revolving around water, wind, and wide green spaces
With an altitude of 75 metres, the Süllberg hill in Blankenese arguably offers the best view over the Elbe River and the North German lowlands – including a star-studded terraced restaurant and a beer garden.
Falkenstein shore (Rissen)
A hearty beach walk within the city boundaries, with some of the world’s largest container ships passing you by.
Jenisch Park (Nienstedten)
On the slopes above the Elbe, Hamburg shows its somewhat stately face: just off the elegant Elbchaussee, this landscaped Hamburg park, which was designed as an English-style country estate, invites you to enjoy a picnic with a view of the Elbe – and to explore the art exhibits of the Jenisch Haus and the Ernst-Barlach-Haus on-site the premises.
Coast by east (HafenCity)
At a prime location in the HafenCity district and with an unobstructed view of the Elbphilharmonie, this restaurant offers Asian-inspired food, with a window front that can be opened and an eye-catching interior wall that is entirely covered by green plants.
Canoeing and kayaking on the Alster
Perhaps the best and most eco-friendly option are the GreenKayak boats as these combine paddling pleasure with environmental protection. Make sure to stop over at the Café Canale, where you can be served coffee and cake through a hatch while remaining in your vessel.
This prominent venue directly on the Alster Lake is all about seeing and being seen. Guests can choose between the indoor café and the wooden jetty.
The ultimate Elbe experience. Look at the ships passing by, dig your feet into the sand and dream away the afternoon with a delicious fish roll in your hand.
Strand Pauli (St Pauli)
This beach club creates the perfect holiday atmosphere, including a St Pauli off-scene flair and a fabulous view of the shipyard on the other side of the Elbe.
A cycle tour along the Elbe and Hamburg’s urban shore
Enjoy the tailwind on your trip from Blankenese in the west to the Elbphilharmonie in the HafenCity, with plenty of opportunities for refreshment along the way. Join this bike tour.
Elbphilharmonie Plaza (HafenCity)
A must for all guests since 2017, the Plaza viewing platform provides a unique panoramic view of Hamburg – with a steady west wind and best enjoyed at sunset.
It's more than parks - Hamburg is a sustainable city
What is one of the main components of a city break in close touch with nature?
Well, nature itself.
Today, metropolitan regions are increasingly taking steps to ensure that nature and natural resources are used in a responsible manner. In Hamburg, a fresh breeze can also be felt when it comes to sustainability, as the city’s ecosystem of fair fashion, regional and seasonal cuisine, as well as sustainable mobility and upcycling projects continues to grow and thrive.
Using the ICE, you can travel to Hamburg in a climate-friendly way, and thanks to Hamburg’s extensive and eco-friendly public transport network, including port ferries and the StadtRAD bike rental system, even families don’t need a car to get around. In fact, Hamburg's local public transport system is entirely CO2 neutral.
Quite aptly, Hamburg Tourismus has launched the digital “Hamburg CARD Green”, which can be easily downloaded to your smartphone. The Hamburg CARD Green offers unlimited mobility, ensuring free travel by underground, suburban rail, buses and port ferries throughout your stay – in addition to countless opportunities to explore the real Hamburg. What is more, the card offers discounts at numerous (mostly sustainable) attractions across Hamburg.
For example, from the Steinstrasse bus stop in the old town, lovers of regional cuisine can walk over to the Hobenköök – a market hall with Hamburg delicacies and an adjacent restaurant.
Even sustainable overnight stays are easy in Hamburg: the Raphael Hotel Wälderhaus at Inselpark Wilhelmsburg, for instance, offers a holistic holiday experience amidst a forest atmosphere.
And all those who would like to spend the night in a super central location will find sustainable accommodation at the Scandic Hamburg Emporio.
The Pacific Crest Trail through Columbia River Gorge has reopened, along with some surrounding trails and day-use sites in Oregon and Washington.
The gorge closed in March because of COVID-19 precautions.
The US Forest Service said in an announcement on May 27 that in addition to the PCT it was reopening Balfour-Klickitat, Bonneville Trailhead, Bridge of the Gods Trailhead, Catherine Creek Recreation Area, Herman Creek Trailhead, Larch Mountain Recreation Area, Lyle Trailhead and the Klickitat Trail, ...
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An overload of zucchini is a summer tradition that I look forward to with gusto every season. I adore both the challenge of creating unique ways to prepare it and revisiting my absolute favorite zucchini recipes, starting with Stuffed Zucchini. These zesty stuffed zucchini are packed with Italian-inspired ingredients like Italian turkey sausage, tomatoes, and […]
When you hear the country's capital city you probably think about stunning architecture, numerous museums and galleries, churches, delicious food in the restaurants, but you probably don't think about hiking.
Well, Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia, is a green gem of Europe offering active and unique opportunities to embark on hiking trips inside the city area.
There is no doubt Ljubljana is one of the greenest cities in the world. The city boasts an astounding per capita green space provision of 542 square metres, some of which can even be found in the heart of the historic city centre. Lush green and wooded areas offer a perfect opportunity for active holidays in the city.
It is a green and active city with a vibrant culinary scene, wealth of museums and galleries to explore, and tours and trips to take within the city or nearby. Time to make you plan for the future travels!
We’ve collected the TOP 10 activities in Ljubljana to have the ultimate active holidays in the city:
First Impressions of the City
When arriving in Ljubljana make sure to stop by Ljubljana Tourist Information Center (Adamič-Lundrovo nabrežje 2, 1000 Ljubljana), take the city map, say hi to the welcoming staff, get all the tourist information you need, buy Ljubljana Card and book a tour to get to know the city.
Purchasing a Ljubljana Card will help you save on entrance prices to over 20 of Ljubljana’s top attractions as well as cover a bicycle hire, access to wi-fi, bus transportation costs around the city and to the airport. All major things to do in Ljubljana will be covered.
To get familiar with the city's streets it is best to book a guided tour in the begining of your trip. Would you rather explore the city on foot, by bike, perhaps by boat? Ljubljana offers many interesting options which are thematically different and tailored to different interests. Check the guided tours here and let the pleasant stroll through the city begin!
Get to Know the City's Main Attractions
The picturesque image of the centre of Ljubljana has been marked by different historic periods and most notably by the works of the world-famous architect Jože Plečnik. Take a walk through the Ljubljana Old Town, be amazed by the Baroque and Art Nouveau buildings and visit Ljubljana Castle, the city's main attraction. You can reach the castle by funicular railway or climb it on foot. The castle's tower and ramparts offer the most beautiful views of the city.
Get your cameras ready while visiting the Prešernov trg Square, the heart of the historic Ljubljana. It includes three of the most recognizable images of Ljubljana: the pink facade of the Franciscan Church, the monument to the Slovenian poet France Prešeren, and the Plečnik`s Triple Bridge.
Another picture perfect spot is the famous Fountain of the Three Carniolan Rivers (Robba Fountain) standing in front of the Town Hall. The baroque masterpiece is the work of the renown sculptor Francesco Robba.
And last, don’t forget to meet the dragons on the Dragon bridge and find out why Ljubljana is also called the Dragon City. It is considered that if you did not take a photo with the dragon, you were not really in Ljubljana.
Cycle Around the City and Chill in Park Tivoli
Ljubljana is the cyclists’ idea of a city. Its' centre is car-free and the network of bike paths and circuits is constantly expanding. No bike? No problem! Bikes can be rented literally all over town. You can join the locals and rent one from Bicikelj, the city's bike sharing system or you can hire one in the Ljubljana Tourist Information Center for a very affordable price. Ljubljana Card holders are entitled to free four-hour bicycle hire.
Make sure to make a stop in the largest city park, Tivoli. Ljubljana’s central park is a popular place for socialising and relaxing. There you will find joggers, walkers, slackliners, yoga practicioners, kids enjoying the playgrounds, mini golfers, and people taking rests on the grass enjoying the parks’ charming tranquillity. You can also sit down in a popular café called Čolnarna next to the park's pleasant green fish pond area.
Tivoli Park is crisscrossed with walking and recreational paths that continue into the slopes of Rožnik hill and allow an escape to nature from the centre of the city.
Hike in the City
There are not many cities where the old town centre offers you a hike through the woods to the top of a hill, but Ljubljana has it all.
The network of hiking trails starts spreading out from the city centre and becomes more and denser as we move outwards. The green hearts of the city are the Rožnik and Šišenski hrib Landscape Park, Golovec, Rašica and the popular Šmarna gora (Mt. Saint Mary), the scenic "roof of Ljubljana" with the city’s favourite viewpoint. At the summit of Šmarna gora you can indulge in a snack or lunch at Gostilna Ledinek, with a menu consisting of traditional Slovene dishes.
Visit Central Market and Have a Picnic
The central market is the heart of any city. This is certainly true of Ljubljana market, which was designed by renowned architect Jože Plečnik. It is more than just a place to shop. Traditionally, it has also been a place for the locals to meet and enjoy themselves together. Taste some seasonal produce from local farmers and growers, have a little chat with them and buy the ingredients for your picnic.
Luckily Ljubljana has plenty of relaxing hidden spots for treating yourself to a picnic. You can relax on the Trnovski pristan embankment, up on the castle hill, in the Tivoli Park or park Špica, etc.
Paddle Through the City Center
The river Ljubljanica, with its interesting bridges and picturesque old city centre embankments, is one of Ljubljana's most notable landmarks. The heart of Ljubljana's social life are the Ljubljanica river embankments, densely scattered with lively cafés offering outdoor seating. A good way to see the old city centre and its famous bridges, picturesque buildings and vibrant embankments from a completely different angle is to join a tourist boat cruise along the river.
However, the Ljubljanica with its bridges is much more than just photogenic. It offers unique experiences which you simply must try. In the summer you can treat yourself to an exciting water session in the very centre of Ljubljana and see the city from a different angle by taking a sup or a kayak tour.
Jog Through the City Center
Believe it or not, SightJogging is a real thing and is getting more popular year by year. Ljubljana with it's wide streets and squares is perfect for a pleasant run.
If you’re a runner you can combine your morning run with exploring the streets of the city. No worries, the lovely Ljubljanica River will show you the way. If you’re in good condition you can also run up to the castle hill. You can also take your run on the Path of Remembrance and Comradeship, which encircles Ljubljana, symbolizes dedication to a healthy lifestyle while at the same time serving as a reminder of the city's history. It runs along the 32.5-kilometre long course of the military barbed-wire fence which surrounded Ljubljana during the Second World War. We assure you that if you complete the whole circuit, you will be ready to participate in Ljubljana Marathon in autumn.
According to our calculations, during a one hour jog you will burn off 803 kilocalories, which equals about two cakes. Speaking of cakes, make sure reward yourself with Stolp cake in Lolita. You deserve it!
Don't Forget to Explore the Ljubljana Region
If you have any time left we suggest you don't just enjoy the city but instead take a trip off the beaten path and discover the surrounding Ljubljana Region. The city of Ljubljana is surrounded by fascinating smaller cities, lush nature and many, many opportunities for unforgetatable adventures.
You’ll wonder if you landed in Hobbit’s kingdom in the truly unique traditional herdsmen’s village on Velika planina. If you're more into adrenaline adventures we suggest you visiting the Geoss Adventure Park in the village of Slivna, which offers treetop climbing adventures, a giant zip line and a unique opportunity to spend a night in the treetops. Cave enthusiasts will be able to admire the beauty of the Mayor's Cave (Županova jama) located near the village of Cerovo. It consists of six chambers and a wealth of marvellous stalagmites, stalactites and other typical karst features. If you like hiking and cycling make sure to visit Polhov Gradec Dolomites as well and embark on exploration of the most photogenic hill in the Ljubljana area - Sveti Jakob or the hill once visited by royalty, Polhograjska Gora. If you're there, make sure to stop by the Polhov Gradec Mansion. You will not return empty-handed as the hosts will not let you leave without a Bundle of Delights from Count Blagaj’s land. If you are interested in history and the pile-dwellers unique culture, Ljubljana Marshes are the place for you. Due to its amazing natural diversity and rich heritage it is listed as UNESCO World Heritage.
Explore the Vibrant Culinary Scene
Ljubljana is full of surprises not the mention their splendid culinary scene. The city's culinary offer is strongly characterised by seasonal, locally produced ingredients. Culinary adventurers can find a rich and diverse range of foods to suit all tastes and all pockets.
We suggest you go for the local flavours and taste traditional dishes with a modern make-over represented by the Taste Ljubljana brand. Renowned Ljubljana chefs such as Igor Jagodic (Strelec), Jorg Zupan (Atelje) and Bine Volčič (Bistro Monstera), among others, have creatively adapted old recipes to contemporary trends.
For trying some local street food we suggest Klobasarna where you will be able to try a a traditional Slovene speciality – Carniolan sausage. Another affordable way of trying Slovenian cuisine is visiting the Moji štruklji Slovenije, where they serve up a daily range of more than 20 different types of štruklji – boiled strudel – with creamy or classic fillings and toppings.
To start your day healthy, we are sure Ljubljana breakfast will get you ready for your long day of exploring the city. Check Bistro EK or Slovenian House and try the most important meal of the day from top quality local and seasonal ingredients.
Take a Look at the City's Top History and Art Museums
Last but not least, mix up your active adventure with visiting at least one museum or if you are more into arts, a gallery. Trust us, you will not regret it.
In the National Museum of Slovenia you will discover the rich heritage of diverse history, and see the 60,000-year-old Neanderthal flute, which is the oldest musical instrument in the world. You can check the permanent exhibition of the City Museum of Ljubljana which shows the development of the city of Ljubljana from the prehistoric period to the present day. In the museum are especially proud of two findings – the world’s oldest wooden wheel and a wooden arrow that is about 40,000 years old. Exceptional collections of technical heritage are on display at the Technical Museum of Slovenia in Bistra plus you can admire Tito's limos there.
Ljubljana is also the city of an exceptional artistic life. Its rich legacy is complemented by a lively contemporary art scene. The National Gallery holds mainly older iconic works of art, such as works of Baroque artists, the Slovenian impressionists, and paintings of Ivana Kobilica and Zoran Mušič. The adjacent Museum of Modern Art represents artistic phenomena of 20th and 21st century, if you like to meet Eastern European avan-garde artists check the Museum of Contemporary Art (MSUM) Metelkova.
There you have them, the top ten activities for the unforgettable adventure in a beautiful city of Ljubljana. The city is maybe one of the smallest capitals of Europe, but it’s huge in terms of the variety of what you can do, see and taste there.
If you are looking for an active holidays combined with rich gastronomic experiences and a thriving cultural scene Ljubljana is with no doubt the right place for you.
The Sitka Mountain Pants are durable and breathable hunting/hiking pants. They are very flexible with a gusseted crotch that provides an excellent range of motion which makes them great for scrambling off-trail in steep or rocky terrain. One feature that was new to me in a hunting pant is a removable kneepad which is meant …