ActiveTravels | get up & go!  
 subscribe to ActiveTravels
 Subscribe by RSS By RSS Feed or Email
 
Follow ActiveTravels on Twitter Like ActiveTravels on Facebook View the ActiveTravels YouTube channel
 
ActiveTravels - Travel Agents You Can Trust
   
     
 

Monday, August 14, 2017

Top 25 Bike Sharing Programs

I’ve been a big fan of Hubway, Boston’s bike-sharing program since it started in 2011. I also love the opportunity to jump on a bike in other cities, especially after taking a bike tour with a local. So I was pleased to see Biking Expert’s list of top 25 bike sharing programs, where Boston ranks 4th, the top city in America. Surprised to see Moscow so high at number three. Not surprised to see Montreal on the list since they implemented one of the first bike sharing programs in a city. 

 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 08/14/17 at 06:00 AM
Biking • (0) CommentsPermalink Bookmark and Share


Friday, August 11, 2017

Don’t Overlook Bern When Traveling to Switzerland

We adored our three days in Bern so much that I’m going to write a much larger story on Switzerland’s capital city for Everett Potter’s Travel Report. You can easily spend 3 to 4 days in Bern. We went inside the famous Medieval Clock Tower to see how it works, spent a day on an electronic bike in neighboring Emmental Valley, visited the apartment Albert Einstein lived when proving his Theory of Relativity, and checked out the sinuous building Renzo Piano built to house the works of local talent Paul Klee. Our favorite activity, however, was swimming in the Aare River. Every afternoon, we would walk down the hillside from our wonderful hotel, the Bellevue Palace, to a park where hundreds of people lined the river catching rays. Then we would head down a paved path upriver with a long line of folks who dragged their tubes, rafts, and dry bags. Pick a spot to jump in the cool water and off you go with the strong current. The hardest part is finding a place on the shores to stop and pull yourself out. 

 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 08/11/17 at 06:00 AM
Urban Adventure • (0) CommentsPermalink Bookmark and Share


Thursday, August 10, 2017

Taking the Golden Pass from Montreux

After a necessary stop on the French side of Switzerland to dine on patisserie in Montreux at Confiserie Zurcher, visit that glorious castle on the waters of Lake Geneva, Chateau de Chillon, and peer out at the awe-inspiring Mont Blanc from the balcony of my hotel, Eurotel Montreux, we took one of the classic Switzerland train rides on the Golden Pass. Throughout our entire trip, the Swiss Rail system was a breeze to use. All trains were on time (of course, this is the home of Rolex), comfortable, and easy to use thanks to an 8-day Swiss Travel Pass that allows you to jump on and off the rail system at your leisure. Complimentary admission to museums and sights like the Chillon Castle was an added perk for getting the pass. Along with the Chocolate Train and the Glacier Express, the Golden Pass is one of the signature train rides in Switzerland. We boarded the classic train in Montreux in the morning and soon were riding far above the shores of Lake Geneva, making stops in small mountain villages as hikers and bikers wandered off into the hillside. We stopped in the glamorous skiing resort town of Gstaad, before switching trains in Zweisimmen and taking the far more modern train to Bern. Trying one of these historic trains is a must when visiting the country. 

 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 08/10/17 at 06:00 AM
Routes • (0) CommentsPermalink Bookmark and Share


Wednesday, August 09, 2017

Grabbing Drinks in Zurich West at Frau Gerolds Garten

After dropping our bags off at our boutique hotel, Marktgasse, in Old Town, we went on a wonderful walking tour of Zurich’s historic core before grabbing lunch at Kaiser’s Reblaube, a wood-paneled restaurant locaed in a house that dates from 1260. Both hotel and restaurant, I would highly recommend. We checked out the vast chocolate selection at the resplendant Globus food court before getting on a train to visit the burgeoning Zurich West neighborhood, a favorite local hangout after work. Nestled under the train tracks behind the container tower that is the corporate headquarters of Freitag bags, we found Frau Gerolds Garten, an oasis in a former industrial park. Craft shops, a restaurant, large outdoor beer garden, even a surfing pool, are now situated outside the confines of old factory buildings. We ordered mojitos and grabbed a seat at the picnic table, taking in the ambience. Then wandered over to Freitag to walk up the tower of shipping containers and see their innovative bags made of truck tarps, inner tubes and seat belts. A fun outing with the locals. 

 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 08/09/17 at 06:00 AM
Urban Adventure • (0) CommentsPermalink Bookmark and Share


Tuesday, August 08, 2017

Backroads Family Trip to Switzerland, Biking Along the Shoreline of Lake Brienz

As much as I savored being nestled in the Alps at Grindelwald, spending the last two nights at the classic Grandhotel Giessbach was the perfect way to end the trip. Close to Interlaken but far away from the crowds, we were nestled on the serene shores of this glacially carved lake hemmed in by the mountains. As if the scenery wasn’t exquisite enough, the balcony of our room overlooked a powerful waterfall that tumbled down the hillside. We would spend the day biking on a bike path that led to the town of Meringen, known for their meringue cookies (which, of course, we sampled at a bakery) and the town where Sherlock Holmes was staying when Professor Moriarty finally caught up with him at nearby Reichenbach Falls. We cooled off in the frigid waters of the lake at lunch before making our way around the southern shoreline passing small towns as we peered down at the cobalt waters or up one last time at those majestic peaks. We exchanged bikes for kayaks and played games on the lake like tag and water polo before returning to the hotel for one last caipirinha on the deck with the family and a farewell dinner with our new friends. Backroads did an excellent job from start to finish and this is one trip I will happily recommend to others

 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 08/08/17 at 06:00 AM
Biking • (0) CommentsPermalink Bookmark and Share


Monday, August 07, 2017

Backroads Family Trip to Switzerland, Hiking the Classic Eiger Trail

Day Four of our Backroads family trip to the Bernese Oberland was the most strenuous and arguably the most memorable day. We took a short train ride from Grindelwald to Alpiglen to start our long uphill climb, over 3,000 feet on the well-trodden Eiger Trail. As we made our ascent, we could see the town of Grindelwald in the valley below. Lofty Eiger Peak, standing 13,020 feet, was socked in with clouds, until we were practically beside her near the trailhead to mountaineering’s epic climb, the North Face. Then the clouds started to part and we were treated to magical views of Eiger and Jungfrau and the hanging glaciers that snaked down the hillside in between. For the next hour, we walked alongside these craggy snow-topped peaks before reaching the village of Kleine Scheidegg, home to the highest major train station in Switzerland and thus a tourism hub in the middle of the Alps. After lunch, we left the crowds behind as we made our way on relatively level ground to the Männlichen Gondola. The only obstacle was a herd of cows we met up with on the narrow path. One cow came straight toward me and I wisely ran into the grass above the trail to avoid being trampled. My legs weren’t working too well at that point but I’m happy to see my brain was. 

 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 08/07/17 at 06:00 AM
Hiking • (0) CommentsPermalink Bookmark and Share


Friday, August 04, 2017

Backroads Family Trip to Switzerland, Ya, Trotti Bike

Grindelwald is one of the gateway towns to the heart of the Swiss Alps. Grab breakfast at your hotel, wander over to the gondola, take it to the third stop, First Peak, and suddenly you’re at 7100 feet staring at a massive rock wall of 13,000-foot high peaks wearing a crown of fresh snow. Or you can’t see anything, which was the case the moment our Backroads group arrived at First Peak, completely socked in with clouds. We strolled around the Cliff Walk, a metal bridge created by Tissot that hugs the precipitous cliffs as you look down and are thankful for Swiss engineering. Nearing the end of this little walk, the clouds lifted and we were witness to this magical disrobing, like a curtain opening at the start of a Broadway play. To the east was mighty Wetterhorn wearing a toupee of whipped clouds, while straight across from me was the mighty north face of Eiger. Stunning. Absolutely stunning. 
 
We hiked a little over 6 miles that day on the Bachalpsee Route, often on a muddy narrow path though an emerald valley. Lunch was on picnic tables with glorious vistas at Waldspitz before the steep downhill to the Bort gondola. Legs tired from the hike, we then had to jump on scooter bikes called Trottis. Remarkably, I fit both feet and hiking boots on the contraption (there is no seat), pointed the bike downhill on a Trotti paved path, and cruised. I was nervous at first, but once you get the hang of it, it’s like skiing downhill, carving your own line. Once again, you’re peering up at mighty Eiger spewing expletives of joy the whole way. Ya, Trotti, a ride I won’t soon forget. 
 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 08/04/17 at 06:00 AM
Hiking • (0) CommentsPermalink Bookmark and Share


Thursday, August 03, 2017

Backroads Family Trip to Switzerland, Biking from Kandersteg to Thun

If you stared at a map of the Swiss Alps, you could find hikes to do on your own thanks to the wonderful train and gondola system in the country. Where Backroads really excelled on this trip was its design of biking routes, which no rider could possibly emulate. Biking from Kandersteg to Thun took place on an intricate network of narrow backcountry roads and bike trails. We started with an exhilarating downhill run comprised of three hairpin turns. We were soon on a small road that only people who lived on the street could drive. It snaked through a velvety green valley where tall snow-capped peaks stared down from either side. We passed the requisite cows and the jingling of cowbells, and small villages where chalets were lined with colorful dahlias and red geraniums in planters. Soon we were crossing over grated bridges where you could peer down below at the rushing rapids of a river before taking a bike trail through heavy forest into the town of Thun. We dined on pizza at an Italian joint and then strolled the old quarter before taking the train onward to Grindelwald, our home for the next two nights. 

 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 08/03/17 at 06:00 AM
Biking • (0) CommentsPermalink Bookmark and Share


Wednesday, August 02, 2017

Backroads Family Breakaway to Switzerland, First Stop Kandersteg

Having just returned from Switzerland last night, I have to admit that the Backroads trip my family was just on was as close to perfection as it gets in the world of travel. It wasn’t merely the stunning Alps scenery around every bend or the two exceptional group leaders, Agata and Gosia, who led the 6-day jaunt seamlessly with a confident dose of professionalism and buoyant personalities. The families on this trip were wonderful, all yearning for a dose of adventure to celebrate a momentous occasion like a son or daughter soon leaving for their first year of college. After a week of hiking, biking, and kayaking together, swapping anecdotes about our lives, I consider them all friends. But the real reason I think this trip excelled was the itinerary. I’ve been on two other Backroads trips, biking around the Big Island and a multisport trip to Costa Rica, and spent far too much time in shuttles or transfers to the next destination. Switzerland, especially the Swiss Alps, is blessed with an intricate network of trains, gondolas, and ferries that can connect with endless opportunities for high adventure right outside your hotel doorstep. You never have to travel far.

Our first gondola ride took us from the small mountain resort town of Kandersteg up 5,500 feet to Oeschinensee, a glacially carved lake filled with cobalt blue waters. We hiked along the shoreline, passing under countless waterfalls, as we rose some 1,000 feet to a mountain hut. We peered up in awe at 12,000-feet Blümlisalp and its fresh coating of sparkling white snow atop its jagged-edged peak. A worthy introduction to these majestic mountains and their lofty altitudes. I would spend the rest of the week looking up at the staggering beauty every chance I had. 
 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 08/02/17 at 06:00 AM
Hiking • (0) CommentsPermalink Bookmark and Share


Tuesday, July 18, 2017

California, Costa Rica, and Toronto In June/July ActiveTravels Newsletter

Northeasterners who are considering hitting the Caribbean over February or March 2018 school break can now book flights on JetBlue through May 1, 2018. This is the time to make your plans before the airfare jumps. In our June/July ActiveTravels newsletter, we also break down our favorite locales in California, an increasingly popular year-round destination, select our top picks for lodging in Costa Rica, and devote our Quick Escape column to Toronto, where our colleague Amy Perry Basseches lives and can give you the inside scoop. 

We’re off to Switzerland with the family tomorrow to visit Zurich, Montreux, Bern, Lucerne, and go on a 6-day hiking and biking adventure with Backroads in the Swiss Alps. We’ll be back on August 1st to tell you all about our experiences. Enjoy the rest of July!
 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 07/18/17 at 06:00 AM
Announcements • (0) CommentsPermalink Bookmark and Share


Page 8 of 150 pages « First  <  6 7 8 9 10 >  Last »

 

 
 
 

about us
photo of Steve Jermanok
Longtime Boston Globe travel writer, Steve Jermanok, dishes out his favorite travel locales and provides topical travel information that comes across his desk.

ActiveTravels.com is an Austin-Lehman Adventure's Top 125 Best Travel Blog Semi-Finalist

Adventure Travel Trade Association

 

tags