About Me

I’m Carolyn Schönafinger, an Australian with a passion for European travel.  My love affair with Europe started in 1988 on my first visit and it continues, just as strong, today. 

On more than a dozen trips to Europe I’ve been fortunate to visit many wonderful cities but it’s the small villages and rural landscapes that resonate with me the most. 

I never tire of looking at views of the majestic alps, sparkling lakes and houses that look like they have been plucked from the pages of a child’s story book.  

Carolyn at Lake Bled
Carolyn at Bled in Slovenia

About Holidays to Europe

Holidays to Europe started back in 2007 when I saw a gap in the market for a comprehensive European travel directory that featured (mostly) Australian-owned accommodation, small group tours and other travel services in Europe.

After consistent requests to share my own European travel tips and experiences, Holidays to Europe is now an online travel guide. It features hundreds of blog articles in which I share my tips, experiences and inspiration from over a dozen trips to Europe to help my readers plan the perfect European holiday.

My goal: If, by reading Holidays to Europe, I can inspire you to visit a particular destination or provide a tip that makes your European holiday go more smoothly, then it’s mission accomplished for me!

I want you to experience a European holiday you’ll never forget.

Timeline of my European travels

  • April 1988 – My boyfriend (now husband of 30 years) and I set off for a 6 week holiday in Europe (my first visit). As well as visiting his family, we spent time in London, did a 14 day Contiki tour through six countries, took a 40 hour train ride from Bern to Athens (ugh!) and cruised the Greek islands for 7 days.  I fell madly in love with Europe and the passion is still as strong as ever.
  • May 1999 – A 10 day whirlwind trip to Athens and the Greek islands to attend a conference with my husband was a well overdue return to Europe – and made us realise how desperate we were to return to visit again. As it can do, marriage, kids and careers had got in the way of overseas travel.
  • May 2000 –  After our brief liaison with Europe in 1999, we set off for our first family holiday to Europe.  For most of the trip we leased a car and stayed in pre-erected tents which was fantastic with the kids (who were 8 and 5 at the time). We spent 8 weeks rekindling the passion with our long lost love.
  • May 2005 – Back to Europe we went to re-visit some favourite haunts and make our acquaintance with others.   We were joined by friends for three weeks out of eight and enjoyed introducing them to the wonders of Europe.
  • May 2008 – With the boys’ schooling now getting more serious, six weeks was as long as we could manage in Europe but it was enough to cure our European wanderlust – temporarily!
  • November 2010 – Whilst we didn’t spend Christmas day in Europe, we did enjoy all the magical pre-Christmassy things that Europe has to offer.  It even snowed for us on our 4-week trip through France, Switzerland and Germany.
  • July 2011 – After organising and guiding a Supporters Club tour for a friend who was competing in the World Rally Championship in Finland, my husband and I then made a quick dash to Norway where we visited Bergen, Flam and Oslo.
  • May 2012 – I was a guest of Switzerland Tourism at their Asia Pacific Workshop in Zurich, followed by a couple of days in Interlaken. Following that, I enjoyed a Trafalgar Tour around Switzerland and got to have my photo taken with a St. Bernard in front of the Matterhorn.
  • June 2013 – This was a special trip as I had finally convinced my parents (well, Dad, Mum was always keen!) to visit Europe. We spent 5 weeks visiting England, Wales and France and Switzerland before Mum and Dad flew home and we continued on to visit friends and family in northern Italy and then did an 8 day cycling tour in Austria.
  • June 2014 – We ticked off a few new countries on our two month trip in 2014.  We enjoyed Barcelona, loved Annecy and Bled and added Rothenburg ob der Tauber and Riquewihr to our ‘favourites’ list.  The Normandy region of France was also a highlight.
  • June 2015 – Colourful villages and water featured heavily in 2015.  Whilst we only visited France, Italy and Greece (the island of Kos) on this trip, we were charmed by the stunning towns and villages that featured on our itinerary. ‘Must visit’ places like Lake Como and the Cinque Terre bewitched us with their beauty, but it was The Dolomites that took our breath away.
  • July 2017 – After flying into Frankfurt, we spent four relaxing nights on the Rhine River at Boppard before heading to the south of France. Toulouse, the Tarn region and Albi were new destinations for us which we thoroughly enjoyed.  Then we headed to Switzerland for a long overdue visit, spending a week in Lauterbrunnen and a couple of nights in Zurich.
  • June 2018 – We started with a week in England, mostly around Oxford and the Cotswolds before flying to Iceland for an incredible week.  Then it was on to Prague, where we collected a hire car and drove via the Austrian Lakes, Kitzbuhel, Sud Tirol in Italy before spending a few days in Piran on Slovenia’s coast.  We then flew to Zurich and spent 10 days in Switzerland at Brunnen (on Lake Lucerne), Zermatt and Lauterbrunnen.
  • June 2019 – A week in London was a great way to start our trip before spending 10 days visiting Paris and Provence with close friends. We then visited Lyon, and Gstaad and Adelboden in Switzerland before heading to Germany for three weeks.  Freiburg, Lake Constance, Rothenburg ob der Tauber and Chiemsee were our destinations, and we then travelled south to picturesque Brissago on the Swiss shores of Lake Maggiore for 5 days. Our final week was a relaxing one spent on the Greek island of Corfu.
  • Next trip – June to August 2020 : Switzerland, Germany, northern Italy and the Greek island of Crete. (Trip temporarily on hold 🙁)

Get in touch:

If you’d like to share your feedback and comments about the website, or you’d like more information on how you can work with me, please send an email to hello (at) holidaystoeurope (dot) com (dot) au and I will get back to you as soon as possible.