Guest Post by Our Family Passport: The Best Things to do in Munich in 5 Days

I have loved connecting with other traveling families via blogging and Instagram. One of the most inspirational families I’ve come across is the Smith Family from Our Family Passport. They are a multi-generational family that travels together all over the world. I just love how they make it a priority to travel together. They know a lot about keeping many different personalities and ages happy and fulfilled through their adventures. Enjoy reading below about their favorite things to do in Munich!

After first arriving in Munich or München as the Germans say (Beckham loved to try and say “München”) we immediately knew we were going to love it! It quickly turned into a favorite family European destination, and we know we will have to get back to Bavaria soon! While most people think of Munich and “Oktoberfest” as synonymous, we found it to be extremely family-friendly and we had a wonderful time participating in all of the family-oriented activities  Munich has to offer. To help with your Munich vacation planning, we put together our family-friendly itinerary for our favorite things to do in Munich in 5 days!

The Best Things to do in Munich in 5 Days

DAY 1 – ALSTADT, VIKTUALIENMARKET, MARIENPLATZ, AND THE BEST GERMAN PRETZELS 

We had a wonderful private tour by Big Hat Tours of the Altstadt (Old Town). This is a great way to get a layout and overview of the city. The starting point should be the top of the Oberammergau street and end at the super adorable and picturesque Viktualienmarkt for some Bavarian treats. On the first day of your trip, we suggest taking your time and enjoying the relaxed atmosphere of the old town. To us, it is a fairytale and there is something adorable and charming on every corner.

Our Old Town Munich Walking Tour Recommendations:

Marienplatz

Munich’s Neo-Gothic Square is home to the famous Glockenspiel. This square is DARLING! It was partially rebuilt and reconstructed after the bombing in WWII which explains the new architecture adjacent to the old. However, today this visual history adds to the charm and allure of this square. There are often street musicians and a crowd of people eager to see the clock built in 1908 chime and retell a Bavarian story at 11:00 AM and 5:00 PM every day. Honestly, the only person who was impressed by the chiming of the Glockenspiel was the 4-year-old (he thought it was the coolest haha). It may be overrated, but we think it is worth doing one time.

Frauenkirche

This cathedral is impressive in scale and the little onion-shaped domes can be seen from various points in the city. It isn’t our most favorite interior. However, the panorama from the top of the towers is fabulous! On a clear day, there is a beautiful view of the Bavarian Alps.

Hofbrauhaus

This is the beer house of all beer houses-and this is coming from people who don’t drink beer! HAHA. Historically it is steeped in importance and infamy. Vladimir Lenin was once a regular and this is where some of the first National German Workers Party (Nazi) meetings were held. Today it teems with tourists and locals alike. When you go, don’t forget to sneak back to see the lockers where the locals can clean, and lock up their own unique beer mugs. It is a classic!

Viktualienmarkt

Okay, CUTEST STREET MARKET EVER! Like, ever! And guys, the food here. Think fresh pesto, divine cheeses, and soft pretzels the size of your face. We could have wandered this market endlessly. Make sure to try the Baerlauch Pesto and don’t forget to stop at Karnoll’s Back Und Kaffeestandl and have one of their pretzels. We were told by several people that these were the best pretzels in Munich and we were not disappointed! Go early, they often sell out later in the day.

 

best pretzel in Munich

Other fantastic places to see in the Altstadt

  • Asam Church
  • Saint Peters
  • Ohel Jakob Synagogue

DAY 2 – NEUE PINAKOTHEK AND DACHAU 

This is a mood swing of a day here, but no matter what you do, Dachau is going to be heavy. So we suggest pairing the horrific remnants of the Nazi’s first concentration camp with a morning of pleasant easy going viewing of world-class 19th-century art.

Neue Pinakothek (New Picture Gallery)

Out of all of the museums in Munich, this was our favorite! If you are going to go to any museum in Munich, in our opinion, this is the best. While we enjoyed the Alte Pinakothek (Old Picture Gallery) I thought the overall works in Neue were superior. However, the Dürers in the Alte are out of this world! But, if you only have time for one museum, we would suggest the Neue.

In the Neue, there are some fantastic works by van Gogh, Degas, Turner, and a lovely gallery upstairs that was empty. We took our time and went through the whole museum.  It is definitely worth a visit!

*Note that the layout of the museum is a little confusing. It is almost organized by rectangles within rectangles. If you are not sure where you are going, ask a docent or a museum employee. In our experience, they were all very helpful and accommodating.

* Also, in almost all of the museums in Munich you have to check your bags and some of the bag checks require several euros in coins.

Dachau

There is so much information about visiting Dachau that we decided to write about it in a separate post. We cover the best way to see it, our reactions, and answer the question if you should/could take young children to Dachau. See our Parents Guide to Dachau here

DAY 3 – DAY TRIP TO THE ROMANTIC ROAD

Rothenburg de Tauber and Dinkelsbuhl

Day trip to the Romantic Road with stops at Rothenburg de Tauber and Dinkelsbuhl. You could go to the Harburg Castle as it is an easy stop combined with the two, but we would suggest skipping Harburg Castle altogether and spending more time in Rothenburg and Dinkelsbuhl.  These are two of the cutest, fairytale German towns! While both are touristy, if you get off into the back roads there are some amazing shops and sights.  I don’t think two villages could be any more picturesque. Allow time to stroll, get a snack, and enjoy the charms.

DAY 4 – NYMPHENBURG PALACE, MUNICH RESIDENZ, AND THE ODEONSPLATZ

Nymphenburg Palace

Nymphenburg Palace is a really quick taxi ride out of the main city center of Munich and it is splendid and grand. It is a great place to be able to get some background on the Bavarian kings and the history of Munich. We had read that spending a whole day there was a must and while we thought it was super cool, we were ready to leave before lunch.

Our favorite things about the palace were exploring the riding stables (this requires an additional ticket – and it is SO worth the couple extra euros), the palace grounds and gardens, the main ballroom, and the delivery room of the “mad” King Ludwig II.  You can also pay extra to visit the Porcelain Museum, but in our opinion, it was a snoozer. If we could do it again we would bypass it.

Interior of Nymphenburg Palace, one of the many things to see in Munich

Munich Residenz

Okay, so the Munich Residenz is SERIOUSLY cool but be prepared for opulent overload. Like almost on the level of Versailles, overload. We honestly didn’t have many expectations for this (I am not sure why) but totally ended up thinking it was so awesome.

This palace is the largest palace in Germany and it makes the interior of Nymphenburg Palace look … eh. Expect some crowds but once you get through the coat check and ticket area the crowds seem to thin a little. About halfway through the palace, you will have an option to take the long way through the palace or the short way. We chose the short way and still spent over 2 hours visiting the complex. So, if you have a little one with you when visiting the Residenz bring plenty of snacks and point out all of the cool details. There is a whole room made out of seashells, unexpected hidden pathways and tunnels, and some cool swords.

Munich Residenz Extras

Like Nymphenburg, you can pay extra to see additional things at the Residenz. In our opinion the additions of the Opera House and Wittelsbach Crown Jewels should not to be missed. The crown jewels are housed right in the palace and you can walk two seconds from the crown jewels to the beginning of the palace tour. To visit the Opera House you must walk about 5 minutes to it’s location in the palace complex. When we visited, there was NOBODY there!  We had the whole theater to ourselves and it was exceptionally lovely.

interior shot of the Munich Opera House

THE WITTELSBACH CROWN JEWELS

We thought the crown jewels here were more impressive than … are you ready for this… the British Crown Jewels. The diamonds weren’t actually bigger but the collection on display was really impressive and some of the pieces dated back nearly a thousand years. I usually hate audio guides but the audio guide for the crown jewels was wonderful and even Beckham loved it.

Odeonsplatz and Surrounding Area

Just a couple of steps away from the entrance to the palace is the gorgeous and picturesque Odeonsplatz square which houses the exceptional Feldherrnhalle (Field Marshall’s Hall) and the famous lions of Munich.  What was so gripping about this square was that while we were in Berlin we visited the Topography of Terror Museum and they had a huge image of a massive Nazi rally right on the Feldherrnhalle and today it is a peaceful and charming area where children and other tourists rub the feet of the lions and snap selfies.

For me, it was a strange dichotomy to see what a span of 70 years can do. This is so cheesy, but I found myself wishing that I could listen to the stories that those lions have to tell.

This area was one of my favorites in Munich. I could have wandered the streets for hours and thought the pastel facades of the buildings and the view of the onion domes of the Frauenkirche in the background made for a perfect evening.

Image of a mom and child in odeonsplatz to show best things to do in Munich

DAY 5 – NEUSCHWANSTEIN AND THE BAVARIAN ALPS

The Bavarian Alps and Neuschwanstein

By far, and I mean BY FAR, our favorite thing was visiting the Bavarian Alps! I don’t think it gets more stunning than the exterior of Neuschwanstein juxtaposed with the background of the alps, tall pines, alpine lakes and foggy clouds. This was a place that we had been dreaming about for a decade, and it totally measured up to our expectations. Even the drive there was so beautiful!  Be ready for the crowds and be prepared to fight your way onto the bridge to snap some good photos. Trust us, it’s worth it.

neuschwanstein castle in the fall foliage to show best things to do in Munich

Neuschwanstein Interior

However, that being said don’t expect too much from the interior. It is largely unfinished and the areas that are finished are strange and feel inauthentic. We anticipated it being totally over the top and kitschy, and that was exactly what it was. But, it gives a fantastic glimpse into poor Ludwig II’s life and some of the best views are from the inside of the actual castle.

TIPS FOR VISITING NEUSCHWANSTEIN CASTLE
  • Expect crowds, just do.
  • There is a driver that comes to the base of the hill and will take you to the top for 2 euros p/person. Do it.
  • Have a ticket beforehand. If you miss your ticket time, you are out of luck.
  • Allow at least an hour before and after the tour of the castle to wander around and view the castle from different vantage points.
  • Go to the bridge adjacent from the castle – OUT OF THIS WORLD beautiful!
  • Following the conclusion of the tour, walk down to the cafeteria and go out to the balcony and you will get a stunning view of Hohenschwangau castle and the Alpsee and Swansea lakes. Most people don’t even know you can go out on the balcony and get pictures.

Other things near Neuschwanstein that should not be missed

  • Linderhof Palace (absolutely beautiful) and the grounds are SO much fun! Beckham could have played here for ages.
  • Oberammergau village
  • Hohenschwangau Castle
  • If warm weather permits visit either the Alpsee or Swansea lake

MUNICH FOR KIDS-BECKHAM’S FAVORITE EXPERIENCES 

Our little man LOVED Germany! We found it to be so kid friendly and there were so many things that captured his imagination and attention.

  • Visiting the toy shops in Rottenburg de Tauber
  • Feeding the ducks and swans at Nymphenburg Palace
  • Running and playing on the grounds of Linderhof Palace
  • Throwing sticks off the bridge at Neuschwanstein (Dude was obsessed!)
  • Rubbing the feet of the huge lions at Odeonsplatz square
  • Eating pretzels and feeding the birds at Viktualienmarkt
  • Listening to the performers at Hofbrauhaus
  • Waiting for and watching the Glockenspiel

Back shot of Nymphenburg Palace and Gardens to show a place for little kids to play

OUR MUNICH RECOMMENDATIONS

Where to Stay In Munich

We stayed at the Charles Hotel and it was family friendly, ideally located, and had wonderful amenities. It was perfect for us and our little horde. The restaurant there is also fabulous as is the indoor swimming pool and spa area.

Our Favorite Schnitzel in Munich (as recommended by Big Hat Tours)

Schnitzel, oh how I need you in my life!! The turkey schnitzel salad at Opatija is what dreams are made of. This place deserves a visit .. or two .. or three haha.

Where We Ate the Most While in Munich

Aside from the yummy restaurant at the Charles Hotel, we ate several times at L’Osteria near Karls Gate and Karlsplatz. It was Italian and I know eating Italian food in Germany seems pretty stupid, and maybe it was, but we had a little man who was dying for pizza and the food was delicious. It is also really well priced. My recommendation would be the carbonara pasta and the turkey caesar salad.

How to Get Around

We used public transportation with one of our guides and it was clean and efficient. Our German is less than stellar however and the instructions in English are almost nonexistent, so we also used taxis and found them to be reasonably priced and super easy to use. We downloaded the MyTaxi app on our phones and scheduled taxis from our phones. So easy and user-friendly!

OVERALL

Needless to say, we LOVE München and can’t wait to get back!

Don’t forget to pin this and visit Our Family Passport for the full post and more destinations!

 

Guest Post by Our Family Passport-2

 

A Little About Our Family Passport:
“We are an average family living in a crazy busy world, trying to juggle work, school, and family responsibilities. As a multi-generational family, we are always growing and changing. We have found that traveling all together with our family of 10 from the Grandparents on down to the little Grandbaby, provides a “time-out” where we can reconnect with the ones we love the most without daily interruptions or distractions. We have been to 6 continents and over 45 countries together! Our family adventures are tremendously educational and most of all, fun! It is our goal to encourage other families to take a “time out” together and go explore our amazing world!!!”
You can find them and their travel itineraries, tips, and hacks on Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook and of course their blog www.ourfamilypassport.com!

our-family-passport

 

Zagreb

When you find yourself dreaming of a Croatian vacation, Zagreb probably isn’t the top of your list. While it is the capital city, it is inland and removed from the beautiful beaches and islands Croatia has become known for. We found ourselves with a couple days in Zagreb during our long road trip through the Balkans. It is just a couple hours drive from Ljubljana, our first stop on our trip. Here are our favorite things to do in Zagreb!

Ride the Funicular to St. Mark’s Church

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Look at that roof!

When in Europe, there is no shortage of amazing churches. After a while, many of them can run together. But this church will stand out in your memory for its gorgeously tiled roof! The bright colors and interesting design make this church very unique-it has a look all its own. Unfortunately we were unable to tour the inside because there was an event being set up. But the outside alone is worth the trip uphill. You can walk if you want the exercise or for under $1, you can take the world’s shortest funicular ride up the hill. 

If you still want to see some more churches, check out the Cathedral of Zagreb which has a fascinating history and is still under repairs and restoration. 

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Zagreb Cathedral still under reparations.

Ivana Tkalcica

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Colorful buildings and people watching!

This street is full of charm and life. The colorful buildings and cobblestoned street are lined with bars, restaurants, and shops. This is a great place to pick up a souvenir or grab some ice cream on a hot day. We even found a little playground with the cathedral peeking out behind it. This little strip is the perfect place to sit and people watch, many of the cafes have their chairs all facing the street. You can find all different kinds of food-everything from burgers to Indian food!

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Playground with a view!

Technical Museum

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Vehicles galore at the Technical Museum!

If you’re into machines or have kids who are, the Nicola Tesla Technical Museum is the perfect place to spend the morning. Go check out their displays on trains, automobiles, boats, planes, and even rockets. Most of the descriptions were in Croatian, but it is fun to go have a look at everything regardless. There is also a planetarium and some tours are offered in english at certain times through the summer.

Parks 

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Spend some time relaxing by the fountain.

We walked through several parks in Zagreb like the park near the art museum (Fontana kraal Tomislav) and Park Zrinjevac. We were there in early summer and everything was green and in bloom. We spent time here just letting the kids run and play. We would find fruit vendors nearby and pickup a carton of cherries or strawberries to snack on. The kids would go through the whole container in one sitting! With scenery like this, it’s easy to sit down, relax, and take a break!

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For more travel inspiration on Croatia click HERE! Don’t forget to Pin this for later and follow me on Instagram!

Zagreb

 

Top 3 Things to Do in Slovenia

Slovenia was a true gem to visit. We spent a few days here last summer as the first stop on our Balkans adventure. Flying into Slovenia was exciting, we could see green mountains, castles, and beautiful churches. It truly looked like a fairy tale. Our brief time there would only reinforce those feelings. Between exploring the modern yet charming capital city, hiking river carved gorges, and relaxing at picturesque Lake Bled there’s something for everyone. Here’s our top 3 things to do in Slovenia!

Ljubljana

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Ljubljana is the capital of Slovenia. It is a very clean, walkable, charming city to explore. We loved strolling through the old town admiring the candy colored buildings. In the center of the town are three bridges crossing the river. The dreamy pink Franciscan Church of the Annunciation makes a stunning backdrop. There is also a castle looking over the city. Don’t forget to visit Ljubljana’s iconic dragons at the dragon bridge. We were in Ljubljana on a Sunday when there was a flea market going on. It was full of treasures, if you’re able to drive to Ljubljana you may find something special here to take home. Tivoli Park is also a great place to spend some time. There are wide open spaces for kids to roam, gardens, playgrounds, and a lakeside cafe. 

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Vintgar Gorge

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About 45-50 minutes outside of Ljubljana is Vintgar Gorge. It is part of Triglav National Park and a beautiful place for a hike. The hike we did was an easy out and back walk along a beautiful river-carved gorge. The hike was easy enough to do with kids and toddlers. You just have to keep a close hand on them for some portions without protective rails. Once you reach the halfway point, you can stop and buy a snack and a drink from the little snack stand, sit down and enjoy the view. There are also bathrooms at this point. Then you can decide to head back, or keep hiking. We chose to head back because of time constraints but a longer hike would’ve been enjoyable too!

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Lake Bled

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Just about 10-15 minutes away from Vintgar Gorge is Lake Bled. The beautiful turquoise blue lake has a fairytale castle perched above it. Bled Castle has a wonderful view of the lake. Don’t miss their outdoor restaurant where you can dine on gourmet food while taking in the breathtaking view. You can also tour the interior of the castle, which we did not do only because we didn’t have enough time. Once you hike back down to lake level, you can wander the perimeter of the lake or hire a rowboat (or row yourself) to the island. On the island is the Assumption of Mary Church where you will have to climb up 99 steps to visit it! We walked around the lake looking for fish, checking out the shops, and enjoying some gelato.

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We loved our time in Slovenia and would love to return to explore more. Is Slovenia on your travel list? Have you been there before? I would love to hear about what others have enjoyed there!

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Day Out with Thomas the Train

A few weeks we ventured up to Baltimore’s B&O Railroad Museum for their “Day Out with Thomas” event. This was our first visit to the museum, and if you have a train lover in your family, this place would be a must do in the area!

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There were so many different train cars to see and explore. Many of them were set up to let kids go inside, climb around, push buttons, and see what real train cars are really like. Other cars had model train displays set up in them. The Thomas event set up different stamping stations all over the museum where the kids could stamp their paper passports they were given.

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Miniature train display even had Thomas!

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Once it was time for our train ride we got in line and walked up onto the platform to board. It was all open seating and the train had been decorated with little flags. The train ride itself was a little…meh. The train wasn’t in the best condition with some seats being covered by some dingy looking cloth covers. Our window had a big crack in it where it looked like it either was hit by a rock or a bb gun pellet. They played Thomas music which was fun for the kids who knew it and also passed out certificates to all the kids riding. The scenery was bleak at best. The area around the B&O museum was littered with trash and graffiti. I think the ride would’ve been more fun in a more scenic area. It was rather quick at just 25 minutes. I am also comparing this in my mind to the steam train ride we did at Roaring Camp Railroad in California. That train ride was much more enjoyable for me.

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After the train ride, we had a chance to wait in line for one of two photo ops with Thomas, either from the side or right in front of him. We chose the side view. It was nice they had two lines going at once to get as many people photos in a timely manner. Then we had plenty more time for a carousel ride, some bouncy houses, and playing on a playground. It didn’t take long for the kids to spot the ice cream truck so we got a couple cups of soft serve and sat down near the magic show to eat.

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All in all I think this is a great event for kids who are super into Thomas and/or trains. My son was excited to see Thomas, but he’s not *that* into it. We didn’t know the songs, and he didn’t recognize Sir Toppham Hat who was also there for photos. My daughter’s favorite thing about the day was the bouncy houses, lol. So for that reason, if your kids are not die-hard Thomas fans, I might consider skipping this one. At $100 for our family of 4, I found it to be a little much for kids who were probably just as happy to go to the bouncy house as they were to see Thomas. I will say that we went with friends of ours whose kids LOVE Thomas and I think they had a really great time. There were a good variety of other things going on besides just the train ride to keep the kids entertained. We spent about 4 hours total at the event. Have you been to see Thomas before? How was your experience?

Day Out With Thomas

Borjomi, Georgia

Borjomi was our middle stop on our trip through Georgia. Borjomi lies in the mountains and has been a very popular resort town. We went from cool, almost warm weather in Batumi to a dusting of snow in Borjomi. We stayed at the Crown Plaza which was a very nice hotel close to Borjomi Central Park. The hotel had a pool, restaurant, and even a children’s play room that normally staffs caregivers allowing you to drop your child off. The caregivers were not working while we were staying there but they did let me into the room to let my kids play for a little while which was much appreciated when the weather was bad.

BorjomiabroadwifeThe first day we were there it snowed a little. We walked around outside, saw a small street market, played on some outdoor toys, and then went back inside for meals and nap time. In the picture below, the hanging colorful things are called churchkhela. They are strings of nuts that have been dipped in thickened fruit juice. Churchkhela is a very popular Georgian dessert, you will see them for sale all over. It’s a must try item, but in all honesty they weren’t my fave (sorry Georgia)!

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Perusing the market.

Very close to the hotel was Borjomi Central Park. For a small entrance fee you can go inside and enjoy the park which has several playgrounds, carnival type rides during summer, and lots of area to walk and enjoy the outside. There is also a cable car that will take you up to a plateau where there is a ferris wheel. We spent almost a whole day here once the snow melted and we got some nice weather.

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Borjomi Central Park.

The park was wonderful and very empty while we were there likely due to the off season. There were several different playgrounds, little playhouses, and lots of walking paths. There were also a few carnival style rides, they weren’t in operation yet. I think they open the rides up in May for the summer season. I saw what looked like outdoor seating and a beer garden as well. We enjoyed our day in the park, but I can imagine how much more fun it would be in the summer when the weather is warm and there’s many more people out and about.

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Little houses for kids to play in.

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One of the coolest playscapes I’ve seen! It was a huge, two-story pirate ship with these little life boats hanging off the upper level.

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Huge pirate ship playscape right next to a waterfall.

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One of their favorite activities ended up being just watching the river.

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This is not the famous spring water of Borjomi but that didn’t stop them from trying to drink and play in it!

A notable thing about Borjomi is the natural spring water! Many people believe it is healing and good for your health to drink. There is a fountain in the park where you can taste this special water. It is near the turquoise archway pictured above. There is four sided fountain with several spigots dispensing the spring water. You will find vendors outside the park selling empty bottles so you can fill them up and take home some spring water. We tried it, it is warm and has kind of a funky taste to it. One of my husband’s  Georgian co-workers told us his grandmother used to drag him to Borjomi every year just to drink this water (and he always hated it). There is a bottled spring water company called Borjomi, you might be able to find at specialty grocery stores in the U.S. In Georgia and Ukraine, you can find it everywhere. It’s supposedly a good hangover cure. We had cab drivers handing us bottles on New Year’s Day in Kyiv.

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We enjoyed seeing quaint Borjomi. Even in the off season we found enough to keep us entertained for a couple days. I am very curious to see what it’s like in the summer because we were told it has a whole different feel at that time of year. Georgia has something to offer everyone, beaches, mountains, and charming cities. See my post on Batumi to read a little about the beach resort town and my post on Tbilisi to read about the capital city!

Borjomi, Georgia

 

Batumi, Georgia

Last year we had the chance to go to Georgia a week, and were able to visit three cities Batumi, Borjomi, and Tbilisi. Now honestly speaking, I did not know much about Georgia until a couple years ago. But we had a wonderful trip there and would welcome another trip back anytime! As with most of our travels, we only barely scratched the surface and there is so much left to explore and experience there.

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Selfie street art.

Georgia is a Caucus country on the Black Sea. It neighbors Armenia, Azerbaijan, Russia, and Turkey. We started out our trip in the coastal town Batumi. Batumi is about a 6 hour drive from Tbilisi, the capital. Driving in Georgia is not for the faint of heart. One of the Georgian men my husband was working with told us the joke, “In Georgia you will die from 2 things: a car accident, or a Russian sniper.” [Insert wide-eyed, red-faced emoji here.]

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Batumi has such a mix of architecture; modern, European, and lingering Soviet style can all be seen here.

Upon arriving to Batumi, we checked into our hotel and were welcomed with a fabulous room. It was probably once of the nicest we’ve ever stayed in, with an almost panoramic view over the whole city. These are the perks of traveling to countries where your dollar goes far! We had some dinner and started walking around the city. It was March when we visited, and Batumi was feeling much warmer than still freezing Kyiv. We walked out to Europe Square, a square that pulls elements from other well-known European cities.

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Europe Square with a statue of Madea and the golden fleece in the center.

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Look familiar? Inspired by Prague perhaps?

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From there we went out to the beach promenade area. There is a big park that lies along the coast, full of vendors, playgrounds, and a few restaurants. We came across a man with basically some suped up power wheels and decided to let the kids go for a ride. My husband was in tears laughing at them. Neither one of them could steer it, so the guy walked around with them steering the car with a long pole. This was a few bucks well spent, we spent probably 30 minutes watching them cruise around.

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The “Georgia-mobile” was hilarious!

The next morning we walked around Nurigeli Lake. There is a zoo and dolphinarium there but I believe they were both closed when we were there. We opted for carnival rides instead. Even just walking around the city would’ve been entertainment enough. It is a great place to enjoy nice weather, parks, and the beach.

 

 

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Look Ma, no hands!

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Fun on the rides!

We had lunch at the top of the Hilton and had the restaurant to ourselves, which was nice for the kids. No worries about disturbing anyone else. And the view from the top was phenomenal. There’s also an outdoor deck for better viewing. The restaurant is also a club at night, so if you have kids and want to see the view, definitely go earlier in the day.

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Check out that view!

We didn’t have very long to stay in Batumi, about 24 hours in total. It was very quiet while we were there, this is definitely a resort town. We were there in the off season so there wasn’t a whole lot going on. I’m sure in the summer it is bustling! Even though it was short and sweet, we really enjoyed our time in Batumi!

Batumi, Georgia

Tbilisi, Georgia

tbilisiTbilisi is the capital city of Georgia. It had never really been on my radar before moving to Ukraine and once we got there, it seemed like Tbilisi was the hotspot everyone was talking about. We were very excited to see it for ourselves!

Tbilisi was actually the last stop on our week long trip through Georgia. We had also visited Batumi and Borjomi prior to our couple days in the capital. Tbilisi has a character all its own. It’s old world and new world smashed together. It has a lot of charm and interesting architecture that I hadn’t seen in other places. The people we met were so friendly. It seemed like everyone wanted to talk, say hello, and smile at our kids. We even had waiters offering to hold our son and letting our daughter come walk around with them (within our sight, don’t worry). It was very fun and refreshing coming from Ukraine where the culture isn’t typically as outwardly friendly.

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We began our day at a playground at the Garden of the First Republic of Georgia around the corner from our hotel in Freedom Square. We needed to kill some time before the free walking tour we planned to take. We used to do free tours frequently before we had children and while our daughter was a baby, but attempting it with a toddler and a preschooler was going to be a little different. So we said we’d try it, go as long as we could, and part ways when the kids were done.

The tour took us into a wine shop as one of the first stops. Georgia is one of the oldest wine regions in the world. Their wine is distinctive from European wines because it is stored in clay pots as opposed to oak barrels. The wine shop sounded like they were very informative but honestly I missed much of what they were saying because…kids. My husband and I took turns waiting outside with the kids and going inside the wine shop to listen and taste.

 

We were also able to go see some churches, and then about an hour into the tour it was clear that the kids needed a break. So we tipped our guide and went to lunch. If you have never had Georgian food before, you are missing out! We hadn’t had it until we moved to Ukraine, but in Ukraine Georgian food is everywhere! Some of the most notable dishes are khachapuri (baked bread with cheese, sometimes with an egg on top), khinkhali (large dumplings), and lots of different grilled meats. This is a very simplified summary of some of the food, there are so many dishes to try. If you happen to be in D.C. and want to try Georgian food, Supra is supposed to be wonderful. I’m sure it is triple the price of what you would pay in Georgia or Ukraine, but it is there if you can’t make the trip for the real thing!

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Government building with Mother Georgia (Kartlis Deda) statue in the background.

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Churches here have a very distinct look to them that I haven’t seen elsewhere.

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Our lunch stop, I always like a place where the kids can safely roam a bit.

After lunch we started wandering through the old town and eventually made our way over to the cable car station. The cable car will take you up in between the Narikala Fortress and the Kartlis Deda (Mother Georgia) statue.

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I loved Tbilisi’s architecture, especially the decorative porches.

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Before going up in the cable car, we bought the kids a snack to keep them happy. I think it worked 🙂

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Family selfie in the reflection of the cable car station. Notice the kids are too busy with their popcorn!

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Views over Tbilisi.

When you get to the top it is a short walk over to the fortress or to the Mother Georgia statue. You will also find vendors selling fresh pomegranates, pomegranate juice, daisy crowns, and more.

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The small circles are bullet holes from when Russia invaded in 2008.

Upon heading back down the cable car, we decided to go over to Rike Park. I highly recommend this park, it was modern, clean, and was nice for strolling. If you have children, this is a great place for the kids to burn off some energy.

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Bridge of Peace in the back.

There’s also some good places for photos with the city in the background.

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Gotta love the enthusiasm from our daughter!

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On our second day in Tbilisi, we walked over to the puppet theater because I had seen it on Pinterest and I just had to see it in real life. We didn’t see a show and the tower isn’t an old tower, just built to look this way. But it does make for an interesting picture.Tbilisiabroadwife

From there we went to Dry Bridge Market. This was one of our favorite things about the trip, you have to go there if you get the chance! It’s a giant flea market and art market. There was so much to see, we ended spending much longer there than we originally planned. If you are into antiques or want to find a cool souvenir, go here! I’m sad to say I didn’t take any pictures! I felt awkward taking pictures of the goods people were selling so I kept my camera away. But I’m sure you can Google it and see some pictures of what I’m talking about! It wasn’t the easiest to get around with our double stroller so if you are bringing little kids, a carrier or single umbrella stroller would be best. We ended up bringing home two pieces of art from the market, and if I’d only had more room in the suitcase, I would’ve bought more!

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Something else we would’ve loved to do if we had more time would’ve been a day trip out to Kazbegi. There’s tour companies all over that will have a van bring you out to a number of different destinations. The trip to Kazbegi would’ve been an extremely long day and we had already had a couple long days of driving so we decided not to do it. But the next time we go to Georgia, that will be at the top of our list!

We really enjoyed our few days in Tbilisi. I loved visiting here because it has a totally different feel than the other European countries we’ve visited. We loved the warm culture, delicious food, interesting wine, and charming architecture. I have no doubt we will go back someday!