In August 2018 I finally took a trip I had on my mind for a few years, following the route on the map above. The drive took us through parts of the famous German Alpine Route, past castle Neuschwanstein, along Lake Constance, through Liechtenstein with its tiny capital Vaduz, into the Swiss Alps, for a stop at Lake Como and onwards to Genoa, and finally the coastal beauty of the French Riviera with Monaco, Nice, Antibes, Cannes and St Tropez. Aside from driving a lot, we also walked and hiked quite a bit as my trusty Pedometer app showed.
It was all worth it though and I can definitely recommend the trip. Below is a selection of photos taken along the route.
One of the most famous sights in Germany, the palace was built by Ludwig II of Bavaria as a retreat - unfortunately it was never fully finished, but nevertheless attracts over a million visitors a year.
Neuschwanstein overlooks two lakes, the Alpsee and Schwansee. After a very hot and dry summer, you can clearly see how little water the lake had in late August.
A second and less famous castle is located just a few hundred meters away. Hohenschwangau Castle was built by Ludwig's father and served as the family's summer residence.
Lookign down into the gorge from the Marienbrücke, arguably providing the best view of the castle.
It's been confirmed that the castle served as Walt Disney's inspiration for his famous Disney castle, inspiring countless childhood dreams. The king himself viewed the building as representative of a romantic interpretation of the Middle Ages, as well as the musical mythology of his friend Richard Wagner.
Sheer luck meant we were able to attend the annual meeting of the regional alphornists (yes, that's how you call them) in Wengen.
The Alpine Horn used to be a method of communication in the Alps - nowadays it's a musical instrument.
Up the Hill
The musicians getting ready for the grand finale...
... which consisted of 300 Alphornists playing at the same time. Impressive sight and sound.
Onwards to Lake Constance, this is the Lindau City Hall.
The view over the island of Lindau, part of the city on the Bavarian side of the lake (the shores of which cover Germany, Austria and Switzerland). Taken from the lighthouse.
The statue on the entrance of the Lindau harbour.
The town centre of Lindau island with its typical south German atmosphere.
We arrived in Liechtenstein in the evening, just before the moon rose looking westwards over the Alps.
A clear night and the full moon made this shot possible.
The Alps at Night
A view over the Rhine towards Switzerland.
While parts of it date back to the 12th century, the Liechtenstein princely family still lives in the castle. Today it is one of the few countries in the world that maintain no military.
Church of Balzers
The church in the city of Balzers, sitting on the foot of the Gutenberg castle hill.
The church was completely empty when we entered - except for the organist practising, which was both eerie and amazing at the same time.
Found these two when we stopped in a small mountain village in the Swiss Alps.
The small town of Nufenen, where we stopped briefly on our way to Lake Como. Population: 150. Unemployment: 0%.
The village is located in the Swiss canton of Graubünden.
The view into the valley towards the south.
Our next destination was Lake Como, specifically the namesake city.
You can cross the lake with the "flying" ferry.
Como Cathedral Interior
The roof of the Como Cathedral, construction of which began in 1396 but didn't finish until 1770.
Found this concrete post in the city centre.
The Como Gate Tower
The building was part of the former city walls, 40 meters high and built in 1192. Weirdly, the lower arch is off-axis from the 8 upper ones. The tower is empty on the inside, even the floors are no longer present.
A museum on the shores of the lake dedicated to Alessandro Volta, the inventor of the electrical battery.
Our hotel in Genoa occupies a building from 1905.
It's main feature is the grand central staircase, looking upwards from the lobby in this photo.
St Andrew Monastery
St. Andrew's Cloister are the remains of an ancient monastery from the 12th century in the middle of the city right next to the childhood home of Christopher Columbus.
While Genoa doesn't enjoy the same reputation as Milan or Rome, it does have beautiful spots in the town centre.
Church of Santa Maria in Passione
Destroyed during the second world war, some areas of the ruins are now closed off, while other parts of the complex have been re-built and are in use by various organisations today.
Santa Maria di Castello
In close proximity to the Santa Maria in Passione is this church, definitely in a better condition and full of frescos from the 16th and 19th century.
The church is probably the most famous in Genoa, located on the Castello hill of the city and flanked by the large Tower of the Embriaci.
Our next stop on the way to Monaco was Ventimiglia, on the border to France.
Old City Centre
One of the buildings in the ancient medieval city centre, perched on a hill overlooking the new town
The typical Italian streets - Ventimiglia's old city is no different in this respect.
Got to have a few in each album.
A few over the Monaco and Monte Carlo districts of the Principality of Monaco, seen from the Palace du Palais square.
The infamous Formula 1 Hairpin curve just in front of the Fairmont Hotel.
Saint Nicholas Cathedral
The romanesque Catholic cathedral dedicated to Saint Nicholas is the largest in Monaco. Unfortunately it was already closed when we got there.
Palace of Justice
A fisheye shot of the building housing the Monaco Supreme Court.
The construction of the Rainier III Nautical Stadium and its swimming pool forced the Formula 1 track to be adapted in the 1970s.
In 2014, it was noted about 30% of Monaco's population was made up of millionaires.
A City Circuit
Michael Schumacher once said before the 2012 Grand Prix that the additional risk is "justifiable once a year", as the circuit is not quite up to modern Formula 1 safety standards.
Another moon rise, this time seen from the Monaco harbour, looking over one of the ships anchored at its cruise terminals.
The sunrise seen from the Fairmont hotel, which sits just next to a €2 billion operation to reclaim six hectares of land to counter Monaco's notorious shortage of building space.
The Cars Collection of H.S.H. the Prince of Monaco
The collection houses several Formula 1 cars from throghout the history of the race.
The Cars Collection of H.S.H. the Prince of Monaco
The museum includes the Bugatti Type 35 that won the inaugural Monaco Grand Prix in 1929.
Casino de Monte Carlo
The most famous casino in Monte Carlo, owned largely by the ruling family, opened over 150 years ago.
The name of the chapel is used to identify the first corner of the Monaco Grand Prix track.
Eze's medieval town
While the location is beautiful and the city sports a beautiful botanical garden, the rest of the village feels very touristy.
View from the Top
Eze is famous for the view of the sea from its hill top. Walt Disney spent a significant amount of time here, and Nietzsche appearantly walked up the hill path daily from his residence on the coast.
Northerly View from Eze
With the coastal road and its bridge over the canyon.
A spice shop in Eze with local spices from the Côte d'Azur.
The real reason for the trip.
The view from the terrace of the NH hotel, looking along the Boulevard Risso.
The Square Head Building
A habitable sculpture, is 30 metres high, has 7 floors, and accommodates 40 administrative staff members of the administrative office of Bibliothèque Louis Nucéra.
Modern and Contemporary Art Museum
A view from the Traverse Garibaldi road looking upwards.
Ran into this window display in Nice.
Tour de l'Horloge
Looking down one of the roads leading to the tower opposite the Palace of Justice.
The view towards the east with Nice's beautiful beachfront.
Should have taken a few more in hindsight!
Palace of Justice
The aforementioned courthouse with its neoclassical architecture.
The evening atmosphere in Nice was very lively, with lots of busy restaurants and streetlife without seeming too crowded or touristic.
Hold your breath
One of the many narrow alleys in Nice.
A Cigarette on the Balcony
In pleasant late August temperatures.
I was positively surprised by the city, 1 day definitely wasn't enough.
We even got a handshake!
A morning in Hill Park
The castle used to stand on the hill from the 11th to the 18th century, but today just a few ruins remain.
Port of Nice
The port of Nice from the Castle Hill.
Onwards to the west brought us to Antibes, with its markets.
Fort Carre Antibes
With its unique star shape (check it on Google Maps)
Fort Carre Antibes
While star shaped in the outside, the interior features a round open atrium.
The Antibes fort sports several large cacti, which tourists used to inscribe their various messages for future visitors.
Cannes Hand Prints
The hand prints in Cannes in front of Palais des Festivals on Esplanade Pompidou, where famous film actors and directors leave their mark for posterity.
Cannes Old Town
Walking up the old parts of Cannes towards the Église Notre-Dame d'Espérance.
The view from the top towards some of the horizontally challenged houses.
The pipes of the organs in the Église Notre-Dame d'Espérance.
The church features this display, including blinking lights and moving figures. Cheesy or not, I'll let you judge.
The Red Carpet
The famous red carpet of the Cannes film festival - everyone wants to bath in the glory.
The view from the Citadel in our last destination - St Tropez - shows the colourful roof of the Chapelle de la Miséricorde.
The citadel has a few unexpected habitants, such as these peacocks.
St Tropez Homes
Some of the large villas on the eastern side of the citadel.
St Tropez Port
The port of St Tropez, with a few large yachts in the background.
Another view of the port, this time the northerly side with smaller sailing boats.
Sports in the Park
It seems a local sports club uses a sandy park in the city as their practice ground for this Bocce type sport - what's it called?
St Tropez Alleys
The alleys were not particularly busy anymore, the touristy season is coming to an end in late August.
The Local Gang
Ruling the town.
In the Clouds
A church near the Brennerpass over the Alps into Austria on our way back.
Over 2000km later, we were not in the best state of mind anymore.