I’ve been so lucky to visit so many wonderful places but of course the world is vast and there are many places I will never get to see. Sometimes it can be a bit overwhelming trying to choose where to travel to so I asked fellow travellers to share the places that they have loved the most and that they think others should know about. I hope it inspires you when you’re planning your next trip.
Cathedral Cove, New Zealand by Toni of Enchanted Serendipity
When one plans a trip to New Zealand, the usual places are considered: Auckland, Queenstown, Wellington, Rotorua etc; and whilst these places are magnificent, there is one part of the North Island which many travellers overlook: The Coromandel Peninsula.
When I first saw a particular photo on Instagram in mid-2015, I knew I had to visit New Zealand whilst I was back in Australia. This place is called Cathedral Cove (Te Whanganui a Hei Marine Reserve) and is located about a 3 hour drive from Auckland. Hahei beach and Hot Water beach are two beaches worth visiting here; especially Hot Water with natural hot springs right there in the sand. Amazing!
Cathedral Cove, however, is only reachable by boat or kayak or by walking about 45 mins to the cove. It’s a beautiful walk with scenic views, and even some beautiful pit stops along the way – namely Gemstone Bay and Stingray Bay.
If you come to New Zealand but miss this place? You’ll regret it.
Finnish Lapland by Maria of Global Brunch
The Finnish part of Lapland has everything you need for a perfect trip into a peaceful, yet exciting, winter wonderland. Finnish Lapland is located just north of the Arctic Circle and is bursting with natural beauty. The snow-covered wilderness is the ideal place for a snowshoeing adventure or dog sledding to explore the Arctic Tundra.
The evenings in Lapland are best spent wrapped up warm by a camp fire, roasting sausages and marshmallows, whilst you wait for the Aurora Borealis to light up the Northern sky. Lapland also has plenty of cultural appeal; the Sami people are the indigenous people of Scandinavia. Experience their fascinating culture and friendliness on a visit to the northernmost region of the European Union.
Colombia by Chris of One Weird Globe
Colombia hasn’t yet completely escaped from the legacy that is Narcos and Pablo Escobar and cocaine. That said, Escobar is now decades in the past, and phoenix-like Medellin has reborn. The second city now has two subway lines, a great cable car system, and plenty of trendiness best seen in the Poblado and Envigado neighborhoods. There aren’t a lot of must-see destinations here, but head to Bogota for the unique emerald museum, the fancy gold museum, and a few other oddball attractions.
Another good reason to go? The exchange rate is at what some are calling an all-time best right now. What was fairly stable at around 2,000 Colombian pesos (COP) to 1 US dollar is now around 3,300 pesos per dollar.
Český Krumlov by Christabel of Where’s Bel
Stick to fall or winter, when the crowds die down, and you’ll feel as if you have the whole place to yourself. If you’re planning a trip to the Czech Republic, I cannot recommend it enough… there’s truly something magical about this town.
Bulgaria by Jordan of Beer Time with Wagner
One of the top countries on your travel bucket list for 2016 should be Bulgaria! Between the food, landscape, people, culture, and cheap prices, Bulgaria is a steal for its location and offerings. If you like hiking, skiing, and outdoor adventures, make sure to check out Seven Rila Lakes and the Balkan Mountains (one of three major mountain ranges in Bulgaria).
As a lover of culture and religion, I was in awe of Rila Monastery and the peaceful intersection of Christianity, Judaism and Islam in Sofia, the capital city. For those wanting relaxation and a beach vacation, look no further than the Black Sea. Just avoid the touristy Sunny Beach area! Make sure to check out the Rose Festival in early June as well as the ancient cities of Plovdiv and Veliko Tarnovo. Bulgaria’s beauty and culture are hidden European treasures!
Turkey by Elizabeth of Compass & Fork
No matter what your interests, you are sure to find it in Turkey. For history lovers, Turkey boosts some of the oldest and richest history in the world. UNESCO sites abound, spanning ancient Lycian Roman and Ottoman civilizations to name just a few. As the crossroads of Asia and Europe the food is fantastic and features a diverse range of dishes and influences.
For nature lovers, you can head to the mountains, the beaches or explore some of Turkey’s natural wonders, including Pammukale and Cappadocia. If you are there in April, Istanbul hosts the International Tulip Festival and the parks are beautifully planted with all colours and varieties of tulips.
Turkey has good road infrastructure, public transportation and several budget airlines making travelling around easy and affordable. The hardest part is deciding where to go.
Patagonia by Jaclyn of The Globetrotting Teacher
Your eyes will not believe what they’re seeing in spectacular Patagonia! Located in southern Chile and Argentina, its natural beauty is absolutely beyond compare. No Patagonian itinerary is complete without spending time at Perito Moreno Glacier in Argentina and Torres del Paine National Park in Chile. Guided ice trekking tours onto the glacier are well worth the cost and, even if you’re not a serious hiker, set aside a few days to explore and photograph stunning Torres del Paine.
Arctic Canada by Patricia of Ze Wandering Frogs
Dog sledding and winter camping in the Arctic Circle? Who doesn’t like a frozen treat? As part of our week-long Arctic experience, we camped on the tundra at Jimmy Lake (30 miles north of Inuvik), after mushing and leading our own dog teams. Our night turned to wonder as we admired the amazing Northern Lights.These fantastic experiences were a few of our many winter adventures in Inuvik, Canada.
In the search of a herd of reindeer looking for their preferred lichens under the cold tundra, we drove our snowmobiles across frozen rivers and rolling hills. We descended an ice cave carved through the permafrost, drove over the MacKenzie River – turned ice road – up to the Arctic Ocean, and listened to traditional Inuit drumming during the Muskrat Jamboree Festival. The trip of a lifetime, I would do it again in a heartbeat.
Budapest by Eride of Queidue
Eastern Europe is known as the cheapest part of the old continent. One of our favourite destinations in 2015 was, without a doubt, Budapest the capital of Hungary. Besides the beautiful city centre, the historical buildings and the mix between modern and ancient atmosphere, Budapest is full of SPAs and thermal baths with water coming from natural springs containing several beneficial minerals.
Every SPA has many huge pools and every pool has a different water temperature and different levels of sulphur. Fortunately, before entering a pool you can read a plaque to know which characteristics the water has and, more importantly, the temperature! If you visit Budapest, going to a SPA is a must.