2020 has been a year of new normals — and that includes how (and if) we choose to travel. At GetYourGuide, we believe there are countless experiences you can enjoy right on your doorstep, no matter where you call home. In the spirit of welcoming a new season (hello, fall!) and the unique things to love about the places our team around the world call home, we sat down for virtual chats with 8 travel-loving team members to learn what makes their home countries so special.
- 1. Make a break for Berlin’s beautiful surrounds
- 2. Get your foodie fix in California
- 3. See Switzerland’s alpine peaks
- 4. Explore sea and mountains in Hong Kong
- 5. Hike along historic paths in Portugal
- 6. Soak up northern Italy’s natural beauty
- 7. Trek through the English countryside
- 8. Go Dutch in the Netherlands
1. Make a break for Berlin’s beautiful surrounds
There’s more to the German capital than amazing museums, historic landmarks, and bold personalities. Just outside of the city, nature abounds! GetYourGuide’s social media lead, Rachel, tells us her favorite autumn activities:
“I love watching Berlin change into her autumn colors. We’ll do an at-home Oktoberfest this year, by renting a little cabin on a lake in the Uckermark area (about 60 miles northeast of Berlin) in the state of Brandenburg. My husband and I will enjoy the wildlife and nature, with a cold beer in hand.
Closer to Berlin, a must-visit is Potsdam. You can tour the magnificent Sanssouci Palace or take a boat trip on the Wannsee lake. My favorite recent discovery has been the Babelsberg Film Studio, where iconic films like “The Grand Budapest Hotel” and “The Hunger Games” were created. I never knew Berlin had its own Hollywood!“
2. Get your foodie fix in California
For an epicurean autumn experience, we knew who to go to. Jennifer, area manager for the western US and Canada, is a food and drink aficionado. Though the regions she loves best (Napa and Sonoma) have suffered some devastating wildfires over the past few weeks, putting these destinations on your bucket list is a great way to support the areas (and businesses) in the future. Read on to learn more about the experiences Jennifer can’t get enough of.
“We’re so lucky when it comes to California‘s fall weather. It’s a great time to head outdoors and enjoy nature. I’ve recently visited the wine country, which has just a hint of fall foliage as the grape leaves start to change colors. And a weekend getaway to Napa or Sonoma to go wine tasting is always on my list this time of year. It’s also the end of harvest season, so there’s a real buzz in the vineyards.
San Francisco also offers great ways to enjoy the city and the outdoors, including hiking Land’s End, riding bikes across the Golden Gate Bridge, and kayaking in Mission Bay. Take a bike tour to explore the city, you’ll get a real local’s perspective! If you’re visiting the city for the first time, I highly recommend taking a walking tour of the incredible Mission Murals in the Mission District. Exploring San Francisco’s small eateries, bars, wineries, and shops is a great way to get a sense of the city and support local businesses.”
3. See Switzerland’s alpine peaks
If slopes and snow are on your radar, read on for senior product designer Craig’s top tips on how to enjoy the great outdoors in Switzerland. Hint: it’s so much more than après-ski.
“Switzerland is great for hiking any time of year, but I especially enjoy venturing out in the fall because the colors are amazing. You also start to see some snow on the mountain peaks. My wife and I love doing casual day-hikes around Zurich, getting exercise and seeing amazing natural beauty — something Switzerland never fails to deliver.
I love exploring close to home because it reminds me that the Swiss Alps are literally on our doorstep. There is an abundance of natural wonders within the region, and other landmarks in Switzerland are within easy reach on day trips. Also, if you plan on visiting Zurich, I always recommend a walking tour of the Old Town. Head up to Lindenhof for a great view of the city overlooking the river. Or you can do a ferry tour, too.”
4. Explore sea and mountains in Hong Kong
If you have your sights set on a future trip to Hong Kong, regional manager for Greater China, Korea and Philippines, Alvin, has the inside scoop. There’s more to the bustling metropolis than meets the eye. Find out below!
“Fall is the best season in Hong Kong: it’s not too hot, the air is clear, and you can see the skyline. Taking a boat cruise in the harbor is a great way to see the sights. I enjoy exploring the hills around the city and usually go hiking in Hong Kong Island South, where one of the world’s best trails, the Dragon’s Back, is located.
If I feel like water activities, Sai Kung is the place to go. If you like to kayak (I do!), you can paddle to a beautiful UNESCO Geopark for some incredible scenery. Even for a local like me, a walking tour to the Big Buddha on Lantau Island taught me about the city I live in. Then, there’s Tai O fishing village. A trip here is a charming cultural excursion that shows visitors what Hong Kong looked like before it turned into a big city.”
5. Hike along historic paths in Portugal
If you’re like us, it’s not a question of if you should take a trip to Portugal, but when (and for how long). Ricardo, destination manager for Spain and Portugal, shares hot tips on the cool country below:
“I’m staying in Portugal at the moment, and fall is my favorite season of the year. I like to get close to nature by hiking, so I can admire the beauty and colors that this season brings. When in Porto, visiting the Douro Valley is definitely a must for me. The vineyards change colors, and it’s a scenic day trip destination.
In Lisbon, there’s a lot of nature around the city, including Sintra, the first European site listed by UNESCO as a cultural landscape. Hiking over the walls of the Moorish Castle, getting lost in the idyllic Parque da Pena, or exploring the exotic Monserrate Park, make it a perfect getaway.”
6. Soak up northern Italy’s natural beauty
A classic destination beloved by tourists around the world, northern Italy has it all — views, food, and a whole lot of history. We caught up with brand designer Giorgia on what makes spending time in her home special in the fall.
“This autumn, I have the opportunity to discover my home all over again. I did it a lot with my family when I was a child, but then I got older and lost interest. As an adult, I realize how special my home in northern Italy is and that a staycation can be wonderful.
At the beginning of fall, I love spending time in Veneto and the surrounding areas. You can watch the grape harvest and stop for a traditional lunch or aperitivo. If you’re traveling from Venice, a day trip to the Prosecco valleys is worth it. This area is full of quaint villages (check out Cison di Valmarino to see Castel Brando). If you’d like to glide instead of walk, I recommend a boat tour along the Brenta Riviera. It’s perfect for spotting beautiful old villas.”
7. Trek through the English countryside
Always a dreamy destination, London-based tour and operations manager Yvonne tells us how she and her husband have enjoyed a break from city life over the past few weeks. Read on to discover what the Swiss native loves about her adopted home.
“I moved to London four years ago and had a long bucket list of things I wanted to see and do in my new home. But whenever I got time off, I found myself traveling abroad. While I’m sad to ‘rain check’ my international trips, I’ve really enjoyed getting to explore close to home and discover the hidden gems on my doorstep!
For me, the true beauty of autumn in Britain shines through spending time outdoors and taking long walks in the countryside. My husband and I are planning on taking a day trip to the Seven Sisters, a stunning coastal resort. The freshness of the sea breeze, the birds on the cliffs, and the vastness of the sea makes me feel calm and centered.
Another real treat of a destination is the Cotswolds. Imagine quaint villages, sparkling brooks, quirky shops, and breathtaking scenery. That’s the Cotswolds in a nutshell. The rolling hills are perfect for long, colorful autumn walks.”
8. Go Dutch in the Netherlands
Fall in Amsterdam is something else. Tree-lined canals burst with color, cyclists swap summer duds for autumn scarves, and the Dutch capital’s residents head for the hills. Malou, area manager for Benelux, told us the many ways she makes the most out of autumn in the Netherlands.
“My boyfriend and I love trips where we can be active. This fall, we’ll head outside of the city to Hoge Veluwe National Park. It is probably one of the most beautiful natural areas of the Netherlands. With its many trees, the best time to visit is autumn because the colors are magnificent! We plan on waking up early and spot some wildlife in the area — like wild boar and deer.
Another fun fall activity is a boat tour at the Kagerplassen in my home of Leiden. The area has a very Dutch feeling to it with the many windmills and ‘polders’. It’s definitely a ‘must’ if you’re planning a trip to the Netherlands in the future.”