Whilst 2013 and 2014 were big years for travel for me, the ones that followed have been slightly disappointing. After venturing to some absolutely beautiful places, like Sydney, Indonesia, Singapore and Paris, I made the financial commitment to purchase a house all by myself, which meant that any lavish holidays or exploring trips were pushed aside.
2016 picked up slightly, but it mostly cantered around UK adventures. There is totally nothing wrong with venturing around good old Great Britain, but now I feel I’ve covered the entire ground. York, Chester, London, Snowdonia, Leeds, Liverpool, Birmingham… and so it goes on.
I’m not too sure if 2017 will be the year that breaks the mold, but I am potentially planning on sailing off on a luxury cruise, and have a little weekend booked in Benaldemina, Spain. The problem I have is that my travel bucket list is massive. Truly enormous. I literally don’t know where to start to break it down.
In case you’re in the same situation as me, I thought I’d ease into my travel plans by outlining my top 7 destinations. They are made up of place I either a) recommend, or b) need to go to myself, just in case you need some serious inspiration.
This Spanish city has so much to offer, from history, art and architecture, to cosmopolitan bars, restaurants and unique shops. I came here on a hen weekend, therefore missed out on a number of the key tourist attractions, such as the fantastic Sagrada Família church and other modernist landmarks designed by Antoni Gaudí. But I did explore Las Rambla, the hub of all shopping, eating and entertainment. I also nipped over to the beach front, with the W hotel looking super pretty in the background.
However, it’s a must that you visit La Bouqueria, the venue for all food lovers. Tour around stall after stall of street food, fisheries, exotic desserts, smoothies and all kinds of delights.
So many of my favourite bloggers are from Sweden, and I feel it’s a fair comment to mention that they all are totally lucky when it comes to their gene pool. Just how is it possible that so many beautiful people live in just one place? And they live in a truly picturesque place, too. As well as being known for having one of the safest cultures and chilled out lifestyles, they have big Metropolitan cities dotted across the country. And right beside them, you’ll step into the close by incredible countryside filled with nature.
3. Venice, Italy
After avidly flicking through so many travel bloggers Instagram feeds with huge jealousy and wide eyes, Venice is high on my travel list. All of those soft coloured buildings and houses, and those typical Venice-esque canals, it looks like a total dream. How amazing to tour around a city with no roads, just canals. And don’t even get me started on indulging in real Italian cuisine.
4. Ibiza Town, Ibiza
After doing the whole ‘party scene’ in Ibiza when I was younger (and not overly enjoying it), I was introduced to the prettier, quaint side of the island that is Ibiza Town. This stunning place is filled with traditional Spanish backstreets and little white houses with shutters you see in all the old Spanish photography. There are various local markets dotted around, filling the place with that warm, community feel. There’s a slice of history within all the cobbled streets and old castles, but it also comes alive at night with stylish bars and tavernas.
It really does have everything: romantic and intriguing, exciting and vibrant, brash and buzzing, cosmopolitan and classic, all rolled into one eye-catching package. By day, you can shop, boat, beach-bar-hop and historical sightsee, then by night, its alfresco wining and dining followed by dancing ‘til dawn…
5. Sibiu Romania
Sibiu is a pedestrian-friendly city which is made up of two easily accessible levels: the Upper town, home to most of Sibiu’s historic sights, and the Lower town, lined with colorful houses on cobblestone streets, with many imposing city walls and defense towers overlooking the river Cibin. You’ll find the Sibiu Towers, a remarkably well-preserved, best-maintained section of history, alongside many stunning old churches, open air museums and charming squares with medieval properties.
I found this really great guide on how to spend a day in Sibiu Romania here, which talks about all the colourful towns and villages. It’s also known to have the ‘best road in the world’, according to Top Gear, called the Transfagarasan Highway. This high rise route is Romania’s most spectacular and best known road, with tunnels which link the northern and southern sides at Lake Balea (Balea Lac). Another point worth noting is that amongst the many colourful buildings and homes scattered across various secret looking alleyways, you’ll spy lots of random ‘eyes’ etched onto the roofs. It’s kind of like they resemble that they are always watching you… but either way its a quirky and unique touch!
If you need hotel inspiration, I’ve heard Hotel Bliss is a good recommendation, which you can find out more about here.
6. Bruges, Belgium
I had the quickest 48 hours in Bruges, and I’d love to return and spend another weekend here. I arrived at Christmas time, a week before Christmas Eve was approaching, which was completely romantic and had that whole whimsical, wintery wonderland feel. It was bloomin’ freezing, but it all added to the ambiance. I didn’t get chance to check out Brussels but that’s supposed to be an interesting place to spend a day. I produced a whole post on Bruges which you can check out here, which highlights everything from the best Belgium beer drinking haunts, the most fabulous hotel, the attractions worth visiting, and how to travel around. It really is a super cute town to explore, made even better with the constant offering of crepes, Flemish stews and independent eateries lining the cobbled streets.
7. Paris, France
If you haven’t been to Paris – like my boyfriend – then I suggest you cover this place off pronto! I wouldn’t say it’s a magical, once in a lifetime place to visit, but it’s such a key city in Europe which has such an incredible café culture and designer boutique feel. The main tourist attractions are extensive, from the Moulin Rouge and the Eiffel Tower, to the Champs Elysees, The Arc de Triomphe and the Louvre. There’s everything for the history and art lovers, to the wine connoisseurs, shopaholics and those with a love of walking.