12ish Feelings Lifestyle

My European Travel Guide

Katie Sturino / The 12ish Style

Booking travel can be really tough. I find myself reading reviews on Trip Advisor and wondering if I have anything in common with this person and why on earth I should listen to their opinion!?

Since I just got back from an amazing 10 day trip through Europe (that I packed for entirely in a carry-on), I wanted to share my favorite hotels, restaurants and activities for any other Trip Advisor-skeptics out there.

I will tell you flat out that a nice hotel is very important to me. So is food (especially a free lavish hotel breakfast!) and shopping. I’m not your girl for culture tours…I prefer to recreate how a local would spend their Saturday. And guess what? I love a bus tour. Preferably a hop on hop off bus tour just like your aunt from Milwaukee would do. I’m not big on museums so for me, this is an easy way to see a city without standing in a long line just to check a box.

If you think we’re travel compatible, keep reading! And don’t forget to enter today’s giveaway over on my insta feed for a chance to win the Reebok sneakers that I wore all over Europe! They’re amazing, and no this giveaway isn’t sponsored, but for a comfy, cute pair of wear-anywhere white sneakers, they’re my favs and I want you to have them 🙂

 

Paris

I loved our stay at the Grand Palais Du Royale. The balcony was adorable, the bed was super comfortable, and the shower and bathroom were great (plus good product, which is nice when traveling light). There was no free breakfast but we ended up down the street at Senoble every morning —  I don’t know why, but it was the best croissants we had…and we had a lot.

Katie Sturino / The 12ish Style

The Iro stores in Paris are so much more friendly than in NYC. This is the third time I have shopped Iro in Paris and I find it so interesting that the French are the ones who are leaping up and down the stairs to find more sizes and celebrating when I find something that fits that I love. The opposite seems to be true for me in NYC where every time I’m at Iro I seem to be a burden.

Katie Sturino / The 12ish Style

For food, Pain, Vin and Formage had amazing fondue and a goat cheese that will put you to bed. And that’s coming from someone who doesn’t usually care about either! HolyBelly is one of those places everyone said I HAD to go to, so of course I went. I wanted to hate it, but I LOVED it. As a vegetarian I have been served a lot of shitty mushrooms, but the side of potatoes and mushrooms I had here was magical and totally worth the hype. Also I always love going to La Grand Epicerie because it’s like Whole Foods on steroids!

 

Amsterdam

We stayed at The Sir Albert Hotel, a cute hotel with a cute name. The room was tiny but nice and breakfast wasn’t free but it was good. I love a cool lobby and this one did not let me down. The bar was popping if that is your thing!

The neighborhood was cool and fun to explore. I don’t know anything about anything when it comes to an Amsterdam “Coffee Shop,” but I was pleasantly surprised by Boerjongs. If goop ever designed a weed dispensary, this would be it. It was light years away from the typical grungy magic mushroom shops filled with college kids studying abroad. For shopping, I loved Store Rauw!

I don’t think we nailed the food scene in Ams so I will send you back to Trip Advisor for that, lol.

 

Munich

We weren’t in Munich long, but I wanted to give a shout out to the train. It’s EASY and clean and is the only city where we took it everywhere.

For a quintessential German lunch, we loved this place. Get the apple doughnuts!

 

Lake Como

We had a great stay at CastaDiva, a classic Italian villa style hotel. The hotel was very grand and luxe, like you are stepping back in time, but the room was refreshingly modern and nice. The spa was a big surprise, with a variety of dipping pools, saunas and steam rooms. And you can’t miss the hotel’s signature floating pool — it feels like being on a boat because it’s actually floating!

Katie Sturino / The 12ish Style

For food, we had an amazing meal at Gatto Nero. I loved the Nancy-Meyers-Meets-Lake-Como vibe.

Katie Sturino / The 12ish Style

Listen to me. Everyone will tell you that you must go to Bellagio, the small town at the intersection of the lakes. It is a lie! Total tourist trap. Packed. I wish we hadn’t gone and instead had explored the town of Como, which has real shops and an amazing bakery called Beretta.

During my next trip here I would love to check out Il Sereno which felt like it was straight out of the Big Little Lies set.

 

On to Capri!

This was my first time to Capri despite many summer visits to Italy. During a visit to mainland Positano last summer, I was struck by the beauty but annoyed that the town was full of what seemed to be families from Long Island…. so Capri hasn’t really appealed to me, but shoulder season Capri was perfect. It was way less crowded but the weather was still stunning!! We stayed at a few different hotels to experience both Anacapri and Capri town. One thing to know about Capri in October is that it is fly season!!! That means when you are laying by the pool you will be swarmed with flies. Consider yourself warned.

First up, Capri Palace in Anacapri. This place had serious modern art vibes and a super nautical room with a view. The bathroom needed help, though. The service was excellent, along with the ravioli at the pool bar. The classic Italian breakfast was fine (as long as there’s cappuccino I’m happy). The shuttle to and from the port was easy.

The pizza shop next door, Al Buco, was amazing. A man from Naples shovels pizza in and out of this unassuming hole in the wall place, yet it was the best pizza we had in Italy. And for 7 euros a pie, it was a nice break for our very tired wallets.

Anacapri is high up and away from the main town (where Gucci and Chanel are). It has amazing views and nice walking paths, but be prepared to pay 20 euros for a taxi into town OR risk your life on the packed bus.

We checked out the pool at Cesar Augustus hotel and the view can’t be topped. I would definitely stay there for a day or two next time.

And of course never rent a boat from your hotel. Go haggle at the port!

Katie Sturino / The 12ish Style

Next up was Tiberio Palace. This hotel had great energy and great vibes (very Jonathan Adler). I love the dual shower head, bathroom products, private balcony (no view though), free bar & snacks and lemonade upon arrival.

The spa was decent but the pool was a little small (and half inside/half out).

The food and service at the restaurant were excellent – get the squash blossoms!! This was our only stay right in town. The energy was so amazing in this hotel and we loved it here.

We spent our last night in Capri at the famed JK Place, and it was definitely the most expensive night of our trip. The decor did not disappoint! The room was smaller than the other rooms but the view and details made up for it: ocean views, two terraces, long curtains blowing in the breeze. Heaven!!

But the staff seemed a little over it, like the last week of summer camp. I would like to see what it’s like a little closer to season there as the pool was giant and the interior was so gorgeous.

Katie Sturino / The 12ish Style

The food at the pool was not great, but the breakfast was beautiful. We ate at the lemon restaurant which I think might be great for families or large groups consuming a lot of vino but for sober little me, I found the food to be meh.

That’s it! If you’re planning a Europe trip and have any questions about any of these towns or hotels (or recos I should try on my next visit?), DM me 🙂

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