The island of Vaeroy - a part of Lofoten Islands - was our first stop in this indescribable archipelago. Because of the warm waters of the Gulf Stream, although located within the Arctic Circle, Lofoten's climate is pretty mild. And Vaeroy, detached from the other, tightly squeezed islands and completely surrounded by the sea, is even warmer - snow rarely stays on the ground for long. It's unbelievable how beautiful and diverse the island is considering its tiny size. It has everything - a cozy town, the mountains, cliffs and paradise beaches - it's a tiny, concentrated mini version of the entire Lofoten archipelago - a perfect starter before exploring the rest of Lofoten.
One more year has passed and made us all richer in new experiences. Just like in 2015 and 2016, based on our trips and journeys, I'd like to present yet another list of the exciting and adventurous destinations to see in 2017. It was tempting to feature some of the places from the previous two lists because I believe they are so awesome that should be visited anytime, but somehow I managed to include only new destinations. Do see, however, the lists from 2015 and 2016 as well and get inspired to discover amazing and off the beaten path places!
Armenia is a country of hot sun and delicious juicy fruits. Each summer here are held various funny festivals dedicated to different fruits. We advise all the guests of the country to take part in one of these colorful events during the visit to Armenia. You will definitely have a lot of fun!
Vibrant buildings, a rich history and pulsing salsa rhythms blasting through the streets, there’s no doubt Cuba is one of the most exciting places in the world to enjoy an adventure holiday. But, with so much to discover and experience it can be hard to choose the best places to explore. From the buzz of driving a sultry Cadillac through the busy Havana streets, to the bliss of swimming in crystal clear waters and strolling along powder white sand beaches, here’s the best places to explore in Cuba.
It's hard to believe how much Dubrovnik has changed over the years. As recently as in 1991, it suffered an enormous damage during the horrific war in the Balkans - at that time it would have been the last place on Earth you would have thought of visiting. Today, not even 30 years after those dramatic events, the city has regained its grandeur - Dubrovnik is one of the most popular walled cities in the world, especially within the past few years when it has been featured in the extremely popular "Game of Thrones". But what can you expect from visiting it? Is it really as spectacular as in the famous show?
Many of the visitors coming to southern Poland and Krakow region end up in Zakopane - the little town located at the foot of the Tatra Mountains. Some hike (or take a horse cart ride) up the easy and quite boring trail to the most famous landmark in Polish mountains - Morskie Oko lake which is undoubtedly picturesque and beautiful, but so overcrowded that it can get really irritating.
In this post, I'll try to encourage you to leave Morskie Oko behind and venture into the real, wild beauty of the area. As usual, the most attractive and stunning views are awaiting those who are brave enough to take a risk and explore something beyond the beaten path. I've already described the trek to Dolina Pieciu Stawow which is way nicer than the one to Morskie Oko and now it's time to write about my favorite trail in the Tatras - to Swinica peak via the less known Dolina Gasienicowa (Gasienicowa Valley) and Zawrat saddle. This trail features not one but several crystal clear lakes of different shapes and colors, spectacular views - incomparable with those on the way to Morskie Oko and it's perfect for those who love adventure and adrenaline rush!
Having spent a day in controversial Johannesburg, we decided to use the final 3 days of our journey for venturing into the unknown kingdom of Lesotho which is entirely surrounded by South Africa. Although located literally within such a popular destination, Lesotho remains a black spot on the tourist map of the world. And, for us, that was a good reason why we wanted to see it. From our experience, usually, the less visited and less popular the place is, the more excitement of discovering its authentic and unique culture awaits for the visitors - still unspoiled by cheap souvenir stands and hordes of tourists. It was the case with places like Kazakhstan, Turkemnistan or Albania. And after all, we hadn't been mistaken about Lesotho either - it turned out to be an amazing, beautiful and inspiring country.
The unique and beautiful region of Cappadocia in Turkey is known for its original rock formations, balloon flights and cave towns where people have lived for millennia. The soft sandstone made it easy for the locals to carve out caves large enough to create their own homes inside. Some of the ancient settlements are located in cliff walls, others in the mountains and some are even composed of a complex network of underground tunnels resembling a termite mound! In this post I'll describe the most spectacular as well as easy to reach ancient cave towns that we visited near Goreme - don't miss them while exploring the region!
A few months ago we had a chance to visit the famous all over the world French Riviera. I usually prefer way more off the beaten path places (like my favorite Balkans or Caucasus) but the winter sale of airplane tickets to Nice (I'll also share my thoughts on Nice soon) was so tempting that only a fool wouldn't have taken advantage of it. Also, the winter was coming to an end and the only way to escape the cold, grey and gloomy landscapes of Northern Europe was to head south. During the few days along the French Riviera, we decided to skip the most popular cities - Cannes and St. Tropez and look for something more quiet, local and charming. We came across the little, beautiful towns of Antibes and Eze. In this part I'll show you Antibes and in the second, the magnificent Eze - a hill town which was my favorite in the entire French Riviera.
A combination of a fascinating history and stellar casinos have made the Chinese territory of Macau one of the world’s premier tourist destinations for those seeking both culture and entertainment in equal measure. With tourism in Macau booming and looking set to continue doing so, we take a look at some of the top things to do there.
I just came across a tripadvisor article about the most popular summer destinations. Again and again, the same places are being featured mercilessly: Paris, Las Vegas, Miami etc. This makes me think, is there no sense of wonder in us anymore? Do we just blindly follow the masses to stay in the fenced resorts or overcrowded cities just because they are trendy?
Based on my own amazing travel experiences, I have prepared a list of 10 unique summer destinations that possess everything in order to offer a great vacation: the sea, beach, amazing cuisine and local traditions. They are 100% authentic, beautiful and perfectly safe yet have little or virtually zero exposure in the media. Why is that? Probably not enough western corporations.
I'd love to inspire you so you could open your eyes, see the world beyond what's in the media, set out on a great, adventurous journey, surprise yourself and enjoy discovering a new, different world you probably didn't know exists!
Despite of the increasing popularity of the Sal island among European tourists, the other islands of the Cape Verde archipelago are pretty much unknown to an ordinary traveler. Although Sal is packed with resorts as well as fancy hotels and resembles a typical, ordinary beach destination, Fogo remains quiet, idyllic and perfect for those who love different, off the beaten path places. Not to mention its moon-like landscapes formed by the very recent eruption in 2014 of the volcanic peak overlooking the island. Fogo was by far my favorite island of Cape Verde.
Traveling along the wild Albanian coast, after visiting tropical looking, white sand beaches at Ksamil, old town Himare and the surrounding seaside, I thought it just couldn't get better. Then, we went to see the two beaches a few miles north from Himare - Jala and Gjipe, hidden in picturesque coves and surrounded by the spectacular canyon. The color of water was so unusually clear and the scenery so exotic that this spot could easily pass off as tropical heaven. Why is such a place still virtually unknown despite being right in the middle of Europe, is a mystery to me. But it's a good thing! You can feel as if it's your own, private paradise. And, if you want to still see it this way, hurry up, as unfortunately there has been some new development around - soon it may become as crowded as Albania's famous neighbors - Croatia, Italy and Greece.
There’s no other place like Rio de Janeiro in the world. It’s stunning sunset and ‘samba’ ambiance until dawn are exactly why travellers worldwide keep visiting it year after year. The Rio Carnival itself attracts millions of tourists worldwide, just to experience this one-of-a-kind street party. In fact, the 2015 Rio Carnival was able to welcome as much as 977,000 tourists, while ‘blocos’ or free street parties had a combined attendance of more than 4.7 million last year.
Although Zakynthos villages don't have the spectacular architecture of Santorini or Mykonos (I'll describe them soon), it is quite nice if you want to explore the off the beaten path, local sites. In this article, I'll describe all the places to see on the island of Zakynthos, besides the coast and beaches. To get a bit deeper inland, you'll need to either drive around or take a tour. A tour is a good and cheap option as you'll also find out about the history of the island and its people.
We took a tour called "Back to the roots", however, to be honest, our primary goal was not the interior of the island but to be able to see the view of the most beautiful beach in the world (at least among the beaches I've seen) - the Shipwreck beach from the top of the cliff. Only this tour offered a stop at the viewing platform, all the others went straight to the beach by boat where there's no way to admire that exceptional bird's eye panorama.
Johannesburg, the biggest city in South Africa has its share of bad reputation and, comparing to the extremely famous and attractive Cape Town, receives relatively low numbers of tourists. We would have probably skipped it too if it hadn't been for the super cheap last-minute flights from Europe (500 EUR return!). Johannesburg is nothing like Cape Town - there's no beach, no mountains, no architecture that could stand out, it's a very new city (a bit over a century old) and only looks nice seen from afar. If you come closer, the filth, poverty and chaos prevail in the streets. On the other hand, Johannesburg is an interesting point in the turbulent, recent history. It's the city of gold and the birthday place of Nelson Mandela. And, what most of the visitors come here for - it's a great gateway to the beautiful wild game reserves, natural wonders and... Lesotho - the little, forgotten country completely surrounded by South Africa.
Some cities are so famous and we expect so much from them that when we finally arrive, after the initial moment of joy, the other, less pleasant phase of disappointment comes over us. Yes, the monuments are stunning, the food is good, the weather is perfect, but there is something missing. And it's hard to explain what. On the other hand, there are places pretty ugly, chaotic or completely unknown - we don't even know what to think - and we fall in love with them. That was the case for me with Tbilisi in Georgia, Prishtina in Kosovo or Kiev in Ukraine - although virtually non existent on the tourist world map, they enchanted me beyond imagination. Istanbul, in turn, was the place I had always dreamed of visiting and in the end, although I enjoyed it, I felt that thing that there's something missing. You will surely find the photos in this post absolutely stunning and you might think that what I say is silly. But I'll try my best to explain my point of view below.
Chernobyl in Eastern Ukraine is one of the most infamous places on Earth. It used to be a normal, ordinary town, no different from thousands of others in the Soviet Union. It was quiet, peaceful, had its own theater, cinema and amusement park. People lived their life according to a daily routine until the 26th of April, 1986. In the middle of the night, a disastrous explosion shook Chernobyl. Reactor number 4 failed and ejected radioactive particles high up into the atmosphere. With the clouds and wind, the fallout was subsequently spread all over Europe, reaching as far as Scandinavia. Chernobyl and the surrounding area were evacuated virtually overnight. Only recently more and more people have started to return to their old homes. Three decades after the disaster, I visited Chernobyl and in this post I'll show you the way it is now.
If one excludes the Vatican City, Monaco is the smallest country in the world. It's a popular tourist destination due to its proximity to the French Riviera and tax free status. It's also the place where the rich and famous come - full of luxurious hotels, resorts and casinos. It could be compared to Las Vegas or Dubai, however, on a much smaller scale - the whole area of Monaco is only 2 square km (less than 1 mile)!
Monaco was never a destination I dreamed to visit. Nevertheless, we got a great deal - extremely cheap flights to Nice in winter, so why not also see the surrounding towns (and a completely different country)? On the way from Nice, we stopped in a spectacularly beautiful, although lesser known town of Eze perched on a steep, rocky cliff overlooking the incredible coast, then we continued on to Monaco itself.