Food Guide: Basel, Switzerland

Fondue, pretzels, flammkuchen, leckerli, beer… there is no shortage of deliciousness in Basel! Along with Swiss specialties like fondue, there’s also great international food in this diverse culinary hotspot. Of course, you’ll taste influences from nearby Germany and France, but the result is a unique type of quality Swiss food that you can only find in Basel.

I ate my way around this city, from breakfast, to lunch to dinner, to many sweets, pretzels, cocktails and beer in between. Trust me–bring your appetite and check out this video for suggestions of Basel’s best, before you go.
Featured: Confiserie Bachmann, Berower Park, Kunsthalle Basel, Walliser Kanne, Ueli Brewery

24 Hours in the Valais, Switzerland

Glaciers, ziplines, mountain peaks and stunning views–Valais is one of Switzerland’s most gorgeous regions. I explore the best things to do in one full day from the Matterhorn to Gornergrat, fat biking in Crans Montana to dining on the best food ever. Oh and don’t forget apres ski. You will love your 24 hours in Valais.

travel guide to switzerland

My Travel Guide to Switzerland

This is my ultimate guide to an incredible country: Switzerland! I spend two weeks on a road trip, and I take you with me–showing you where to eat, stay, what to drink and see and how to experience the best of the best!
Starting in the posh Geneva where I visited markets, ate amazing Michelin cuisine, took a steamship cruise and river ferry and saw the UN. Next we cruised along the coast of Lake Geneva, stopping at adorable villages like Saint Saphorin, sampling wines of Lavaux, staying over in fun cities of Vevey and Lausanne and heading into the hills on a vintage train to make cheese and roam the alps in Chateaux D’Oex.

Lake Geneva Luxury Guide

 

From the most fabulous hotels to homemade menus at gourmet restaurants, hand crafted wines to Belle Epoque vintage trains, the Lake Geneva region offers so much in the way of luxury.

Featured: The Royal Savoy Hotel, The Grand Hotel Du Lac, L’Auberge de l’Onde, Saint Saphorin, GoldenPass Panoramic Train, GoldenPass Classic train, Chaplin’s World

24 hour travel guide to geneva switzerland

24 Hours in Geneva, Switzerland

    A mix of culture, history, luxury, great food, iconic sites and lakeside views–it’s not too hard to have a perfect day ins Geneva. I toured through this charming city, which feels more like a village, in order to share my favorite spots with you. The Old Town, or Vieille Ville, the Carouge neighborhood, […]

The 5 Best Experiences at Barceló Bávaro Beach

Give me a beach, a sunset, a pool, some palm trees or any combination of those things, and I’m all set. With that being said, clearly the Caribbean is one of my favorite destinations of all time. Each island has it’s own personality and culture, with one common denominator– crystalline beaches with shimmering aqua waters. Well, the Dominican Republic was no exception.

Travel is as much about who you are with as where you are going. I was lucky enough to be able to snag my good friend and cameraman CJ, to embark on a Caribbean adventure with me. We also were joining a group of other talented vloggers from around the globe–so much creativity on one island. In total 26 vloggers were invited to three of the Barceló resorts in Latin America and the Caribbean, and each of us produced our own interpretation of the resort experience, through our own lens.

CJ & I tackling the DR

CJ & I tackling the DR

Our mission: Visit the Barceló Bávaro Beach Resort, an all-inclusive, adults-only resort in Punta Cana, and document what made this place special. Often all-inclusives are thought of as places for families or for those that just want to drink endless margaritas in the pool. They work for both those types of travelers, but I felt this resort in particular was offering a lot more in the way of the local experiences, variety of food and general level of quality. Only one way to find out–CJ and I packed our cameras, our swim gear and hopped down the Dominican Republic to discover Barceló Bávaro Beach Resort.

Our Plan: Capturing this huge resort and its many experiences was no easy feat. As you know, filming hotels is one of my specialities, but this was an exception based on the sheer size of this resort. It had to be go go go from dawn till (much after) dusk. We had a lot of activities, restaurants, pools and beaches to check out and limited time. However, CJ and I share similar travel styles in that we are up for everything and we say yes to every adventure, tiredness be damned. So we filmed at break-neck pace– eating, drinking, dancing, sailing, swimming, golfing, water-sliding, beaching and of course, laughing, all day, every day.

Choosing to break down our videos by what you can do in just one day, we cover our favorite activities, eats, areas from the minute we woke up to when we shut off the light. From all the dining options (including beach pineapples), to what the room really looks like to all the fun that can be had on their breath-taking beach–we fit each theme into a jampacked 24 hours.

Our Videos: We feel these videos capture the vibrant energy of the Barceló Bávaro Beach, and the nonstop attitude of our traveling selves. I’m looking forward to hearing what you think of this island paradise and why you would want to visit (and trust me, you do).
[jwplayer mediaid=”3038″]

Watch the rest of my videos here–> 24 Hours at Barceló Bávaro Beach

The Five Best Experiences at Barceló Bávaro Beach

1. Order a Pineapple on the Beach

PINEAPPLE HAPPY

PINEAPPLE HAPPY

You may have to take a long stroll on the sand to find this tiny shack that is serving fresh coconuts and pineapples filled with delicious juice or a combo of juices and RUM. This photo-worthy treat is perfect on a sunny day in the sand, by the pool or really just anywhere.


2. Find your Private Paradise

Paradise Found

Barceló Bávaro has of course, a very long, very spread out beach and I never felt cramped. However, if you really want a remote, “Castaway” style experience, go out to the beach and walk right. Keep walking till you pass the lounge chairs and come to a narrower stretch of untouched beach. There’s nothing over here besides palms and fallen coconuts. This is a perfect area to plant yourself for a few hours of undisturbed beach bliss.

3. Order Breakfast In

Views with a side of breakfast

Views with a side of breakfast

The breakfast buffet has a lot of fresh options but all that tastes even better when it’s served to you in your own room. My room had a balcony with a DELICIOUS view of the ocean, so I invited CJ over and we ordered the breakfast in, completely with chocolate strawberries and champagne. Shouldn’t every day start like this?

4. Play Golf

Beautiful outdoor course

Beautiful outdoor course

It’s hard to pull me away from the water but I do like golf and the course at Barceló Bávaro Beach Resort was really exciting, with lots of ponds, lakes–even flamingos! I would suggest playing in the early morning or around sunset to minimize the heat and maximize your beach day.

5. Submerge

Pooltime

Pooltime

I love to be in the water–swimming, snorkeling, kayaking–you name it. But there’s something about the underwater lounge chairs that I just couldn’t get over. You can lounge comfortably in these built-in chairs in the adults-only pool. Get an icy beverage if you want to make the good feels last longer.


Did I mention pineapples?

Pina

Piña

Watch the rest of the videos from the #BarceloStories project here–> Barcelo Stories

xo
Kelley

Papua New Guinea: A Country Profile

Explore this remote part of the world with me as I go from Papua New Guinea’s mountainous Highlands to the Karawari River and Sepik in the Lowlands. With few roads, we took a charter plane between locations on the most remote experience of my life!

 

Sponsors: United States Tour Operators Association

Custom tour itinerary provided by Swain Destinations.

Behind the Scenes: On set with CNN in Tohoku, Japan

CNN

Just a few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to travel to Japan, a country that has been on my bucket list ever since I could remember. I worked with CNN crew in Japan where we filmed a 60 second travel feature on an incredible region of Japan: Tohoku. Tohoku is located in the Northern part of Japan and consists of 6 prefectures: Akita, Aomori, Fukushima, Iwate, Miyagi & Yamagata.

We spent one week exploring the rugged landscape, tasting the traditional foods, admiring the local samurai culture at Kakunodate, and marveling at the cherry blossoms. We even had the chance to meet talented artisans perpetuating traditional Tohoku crafts such as Japanese ironware (Nanbu-Tekki) and Kokeshi Dolls.

IMG_1697

This one minute video captures the spirit of the place, but know that it just touches the surface of all the beauty, history and culture in this “treasure land” of a region. I can’t wait to go back. Watch it now. 

Thanks to Japan National Tourist Organization and the CNN crew for such an incredible shoot & video!

Tohoku Japan Ginzan Onsen

The Five Places You Need to See in Tohoku

Before coming to Japan I hadn’t heard of the Tohoku Region and now I’ve been completely charmed by this pastoral, natural part of northern Japan. This is the antithesis of the bright lights and hustle and bustle of Tokyo, and that’s what makes it special. Many retreat up North to enjoy farm fresh foods, breathtaking natural beauty and to take step back into Japan’s traditional roots.

1. Spend a morning at Hirosaki Castle

Though not quite a castle in the “fairytale” sense of the word, the Hirosaki Castle is a lovely Japanese style building, with ornate roof details and impressive silhouette. However, the real reason you visit is for the vast park that surrounds it. We happened to be fortunate enough to be visiting in the spring, when the cherry blossoms were at the height of their bloom. It felt like walking through a sea of pink, every different hue, with delicate petals floating in the breeze. The cherry blossoms created avenues of flowers, and I meandered over bridges that crossed the series of pleasant canals.  Everywhere I turned was worthy of a photo–especially when I got to the viewpoint of the majestic snow capped mountain in the distance.

My Recommendation: Go there early (like 7am) if you want more flowers than people in your photos. Also, next time I go, I am bringing a picnic so I can waste an afternoon under one of the swaying sakura trees.

2. Eat Wanko-Soba

Wanco Soba

Tohoku is famous for its buckwheat noodle, soba. I tasted it in tea, in ice cream and in many variations of the noodle form. However, the best soba experience that I had was Wanko-Soba in Morioka. Here, diners are encouraged not only to eat soba but to eat as much as they can and as fast as they can. An average lunch can turn competitive as the waitresses serve you soba in small “mouthful” sized dishes. The waitresses tower over you, shouting encouragement as you slurp, refilling as fast as you can eat. Of course the other options were delicious as well–I really enjoyed their tuna sashimi and pickled vegetables. But if you plan to nab the record, don’t waste stomach space. You are going to need it since you’ll need to eat over one hundred bowls! Slurp!

My Recommendation: Bring a competitive friend and have a soba eating contest!

3. Stroll through a Samurai Village

Kakunodate

Kakunodate

Tohoku is known for it’s storied Samurai culture and to get as close as you can to it today, visit Kakunodate, a well preserved Samurai town. There is one completely original house dating back 200 years and it’s still in the ownership of its original Samurai family line. There’s another home that also has a museum, just a few steps down. The museum has an impressive display of Samurai gear, with intimidating swords and helmets. Even just wandering down the streets, stopping for an ice cream  and to admire this organized village, makes for a picturesque visit.

My Recommendation: Earlier is better to avoid the crowds!

4. Commune with Nature

Sanriku Fukkuo

The rugged coastline of Tohoku blew me away. It looked like the Mediterranean coast or even New Zealand–but it certainly did not look like Japan. The Sanriku Fukko National Park stretches along a pristine part of the coast, with three steep trails that allow you to walk through old forests and view the majestic cliffs. There are three lookouts with views, number 2 being the best.
My Recommendation: If you want a good workout, hike all the way down to the beach to get up close with the bright blue waters.

5. Visit Teapot Workshop Iwachu Nambu Tekki

IMG_1333

I hadn’t paid much attention to teapots until now. Tea is an extremely important part of Japanese culture and here at the factory, you can witness how some of the finest traditional teapots are made by hand. You can step inside the workshop, watching the craftsman painstaking create the signature dots that cover these iron pots. Each teapot takes about 2 weeks to create so it’s no wonder that they aren’t cheap. I toured the museum but was most taken by the gallery where their finest work is on display. Neon colors and even Hello Kitty tastefully grace some of the newer models of this old brand.

My Recommendation: Visit the workshop first to understand the intense labor and dedication needed to create each teapot. Then go to the shop and buy one for yourself!

BONUS TIP: GINZAN ONSEN

Ginzan

Ginzan-Onsen is a hot spring town, built lining a central spring. Stay at one of the handful of traditional style hotels, from boutique to more contemporary, each with their own onsen experience. The postcard worthy town has charming pedestrian bridges, boutique shops and several eateries. But the real reason to come here is to soak in the geo-thermal waters. I didn’t realize how therapeutic it could be until I tried it for myself. After a few minutes in the healing waters, I felt renewed from the inside out.

My Recommendation: Check out Ginzanso if you want large tatami style rooms with your own private onsen on your deck.  

For more recommendations, leave me a comment! Be sure to tune in to CNN on May 18th to watch the full video of my Tohoku experience!