When you´re living in Europe, you´re very close to other countries and this gives you a great opportunity to easily explore.
After searching the internet for cheap last minute travels, we got anxious and decided to start our tiny Peugout 206 and go for a road trip.
Summer in Northern Europe can be really frustrating. I don´t think Denmark has had a single week with nice sun and pleasant temperatures this summer.
We only had one week vacation where we were able to travel, but because of the bad weather every last minute travel was gone or really expensive – but we had to get out of the house. Therefore we packed our tiny AJ (yes, we named our car) and started our very spontaneous road trip.
With no plans and no accommodation pre-booked – we started our little adventure.
Across Denmark we planned our first stop – and I booked the hotel at booking.com
We had our first stay in Kiel after 400 kilometers. We had booked Hotel Am Segelhafen, which was a fine hotel, all in all, compared to the prize. The location of this hotel was not near the city center but on the other side of the fjord. We had chosen to skip the city and instead focus on Laboe.
You can find a very fine and cool submarine in Laboe by the beach, which is open for tourists. U-995 is the name of the submarine and was on active duty during World War II.
We entered into the stern compartment and walked all the way through the U-boat. We saw the different control rooms, a small kitchen, a few bed bunks and we ended in the bow with the huge torpedos. If you are interested in the history, U-995 is definitely worth a visit. It cost 5 EUR pr. adult and they only accepted cash.
We had a wonderful stay at Martini Hotel in the center of Groningen. It is a vibrant university town with plenty of cafes, restaurants, and bars. After an early morning run around the inner canals, we enjoyed a really nice breakfast with a wonderful coffee. This stay was only to visit some old friends in Lieveren.
Next stop was Amsterdam. Amsterdam is a truly wonderful city. We parked AJ in the parking house by the harbor and took a nice long sunny walk in the streets of Amsterdam. We grabbed some late lunch at a small Mexican Restaurant located on one of the many bridges. While we enjoyed the sun, we watched the many boats in the canal and enjoyed our Quesadillas – while dreaming of the Mexican warmth.
After 5 hours walking around Amsterdam, we picked up AJ, paid 20 EUR for the parking (credit card or cash) and drove to a funny hotel in a small city named Zeist, just southeast of Amsterdam.
When we arrived at Corona Hotel in Zeist, everything was dark and closed. Many thoughts ran through my head, but my calm and down-to-earth boyfriend called the hotel number – and the receptionist came 3 minutes later. It was a small funny hotel with extremely steep stairs, but the breakfast was reasonable.
The only reason we had chosen a night in the small city Zeist, was that we wanted to get more south – we wanted to go to Belgium next.
Namur and La Roche, Belgium.
After a 3 hours drive, we arrived Namur in Belgium. Do you know Namur? Well, actually it is a beautiful city, with a lot of history. Our mission was to climb the mighty Citadelle Namur or Castle of Namur. The fortress dates back to 937. It is located right next to the rivers Sambre and Meuse. We walked all the way up to the top to a wonderful view and a fantastic lunch at the cafe.
Since we were in Belgium, we absolutely had to try a famous Belgium waffle with ice cream and hot chocolate sauce. Yummy!
We headed up into the Ardennes which is a beautiful, lush and hilly region in southeast Belgium, bordering Luxembourg and France. We had booked a really nice and cozy hotel in the small authentic town of La-Roche-en-Ardennes. Hotel Les Genets is situated on a hill side with the most fantastic view of the valley below. This was a really nice hotel, great location, a nice welcoming, good, clean rooms and an authentic breakfast.
Small beautiful La-Roche-en-Ardennes has an amazing history. It played a central role in WWII during Battle of the Bulge where the brave 101st US Airborne ended up. Utterly surrounded, they bravely defending the region during a harsh winter until they were finally relieved. The small village was one of many who suffered greatly during the war.
The village has a large WWII museum with very interesting displays. You can see plenty of historical items, stories, and salutes to the allied troops. There is also a respectful display of German items and troops. The entry fee was 8 EUR per person.
Caves of Hotton
After a nice walk in La Roche, we drove 10 mins to the Caves near Hotton. A huge cave with the wondrous stalagmites and stalactites. The accessible cave is 70 meters deep but not even today fully explored. We got a nice tour by a well-informed guide and we saw the stream in the bottom called Syphon. The caves were well lit and the group size was decent.
The guided tour, which for security reasons is the only way you can get into the cave, took around an hours time. It was adequate and there was no rush. The cave is not suitable if you have walking disabilities, but there is an elevator you can perhaps use. Watch the steps and stairs, due to the moist they can be slippery. Also, bring a sweater, the temperature is only 10-12 degrees C down there so it gets chilly after a while.
Tour was 9,50 EUR per adult (credit cards accepted).
Luxembourg surprised me in so many ways. I had no idea how pretty the city is, not to mention rich in both history and architecture. We checked in at the Best Western Plus, Grand Hotel Victor Hugo. A fine standard city hotel with nice beds and good service.
We went on a nice walk about in the beautiful city which is not all big banks and high street shops. Luxembourg has numerous pretty churches, interesting historical buildings, and fascinating viaducts and views. Make sure you take a walk along the amazing balcony – by some called Europe’s prettiest.
Watch my 60 sec of Luxembourg right here!
Luxembourg city is a bit expensive however and be aware that restaurants add tax to the final bill. To summarize, we had a very good impression of the small country and city.
After our stay in Luxembourg, we headed home to Denmark with a night along the way in Bielefeld, Germany.
TIPS for a road trip in Denmark, Germany, and Benelux:
- Be prepared that gasoline can be expensive – especially in Belgium and Luxembourg
- Outside the major cities, only a few take VISA- or MASTER card.
- Germany is generally speaking a cash-only country.
- Music is important, so remember to bring some CD’s or device to play from as chasing that truly nice radio station can be a bit annoying 🙂
- Invest in a small 12V charger, suitable to connect to the lighter plug. We used our phones and Google maps for GPS navigation and without power, the phone runs out of power quickly.
- You can save a lot on the food budget if you visit an IKEA along the way. They are often situated along freeways and offer a nice meal for a cheap price 😉
- Buy supplies in super markets instead of the more expensive gas stations. We really enjoyed juices, nuts and of course the necessary wine gums.
- Book your stays for your road trip or similar adventures right here and earn a nice 15 EUR after your stay.