Just do it, buy that ticket, get on that plane and travel. This world is way too amazing not to be explored. And you know what if you don’t like it you can always come home, at least you tried
I love writing wrap-up posts not only because it gets me thinking of all the amazing memories I’ve created over the past 12 months but it gets the juices flowing for my new hit-list for 2016. So for all you travellers or wannabe travellers I’ve compiled a list of my top 15 places of 2015 in the hope that it will inspire you to visit at least one of them in the new year. Make 2016 the year of you – travel, explore, create adventures, make friends of different ages and nationalities, eat unique food and above all Go.Have.Fun.
And so, here we go (in no particular order) –
1. Cinque Terre, Italy
2. El Tunco, El Salvador
3. Lake Bacalar, Mexico
4. Hoi An, Vietnam
6. Florence, Italy
Florence is one of those cities that has you saying ‘wow’ every 10 steps. We are both in agreement that Florence was our favourite city of 2015. Not only because we got incredibly lucky when we were upgraded to a gigantic suite in our hotel (it was seriously ah-mazing) but because everything about the city from it’s history as the centre of art in Europe to the food to the shopping was spot-on. Michaelangelo’s statue of David is located here and well-worth a visit. I also highly recommend climbing to the top of the Duomo for an epic panorama across the city.
7. Lake Como, Italy
If it’s good enough for George Clooney it’s good enough for us. As you probably already know Mr Clooney famously owns a house here. The largest village on the lakeis Como and it’s less than an hour’s train ride from Milan. From Como grab the slow ferry to Belaggio which stops at every village along the way, you can hop off wherever you like and hop back on the next ferry. The scenery is incredible, but it does get pretty chilly on the ferry so be sure to wrap up well. Belaggio was our favourite village on the lake but it’s very touristy. Varenna is also well worth a look.
8. Cotswolds, England
The Cotswolds is a fascinating part of England, it seems like its been frozen in time. Filled with limestone cottages and cute cafes, it was our favourite part of our trip across the UK. We stayed at the Wyck Hill House Hotel – pure luxury, with the cosiest hotel bar you could imagine complete with full library and a massive fireplace. The breakfast here was also the best I’ve ever had at a hotel ever.
9. Palenque, Mexico
Shrouded in thick lush jungle with howler monkey’s as your alarm clock, Palenque is like something from an Indiana Jones movie. We stayed in a tiny wooden cabin in the midst of the jungle right next to Palenque’s Mayan ruins. A day trip to these ruins is a must, they are extraordinary and sort of awe-inspiring. We ate every night at Don Mucho’s a yummy restaurant literally in the middle of the jungle – the walk there is interesting (you might just spot a howler monkey or three).
10. Valencia, Spain
A smaller less-touristy Barcelona but a great destination in its own right. The third largest city in Spain and perceived by some to be the ‘ugly sister’ of both Barcelona and Madrid. Completely inaccurate in my opinion. Beautiful churches and pretty roman architecture line the streets of the old town. Orange trees are everywhere as well as massive open squares filled with cafes that stay busy until 3am – what’s not to love. Sorry Barcelona, but Valencia holds my heart in Spain.
11. Siem Reap, Cambodia
Or more accurately perhaps Angkor Wat – one of the Seven Wonders of the World and a must-see if you’re visiting Cambodia. Siem Reap still maintains its Cambodian roots but it has been very westernized, on account of the sheer amount of tourists that pass through here every week. If you visit here – be sure to get to Angkor Wat for sunrise, it’s outstanding and pure magic.
12. El Remate, Guatemala
A teeny-tiny town built along the edge of Lake Petén Itzá. With less backpackers than its neighbour Flores. El Remate was where we based ourselves for the magnificent Tikal. Tikal is a must must-do, it’s the most impressive Mayan ruins we saw on our trip (and we saw a lot believe me). We spent the rest of our days lounging by the lake, chatting with the super-friendly locals and enjoying the luxury of our treehouse above the lake.
13. Gili Air, Bali
Picture three miniscule desert islands, fringed by white-sand beaches and coconut palms, sitting in a turquoise sea: the Gilis are a vision of paradise. These islands have exploded in popularity, and are booming like nowhere else in Indonesia – speedboats now zip visitors direct from Bali. We stayed at Gili Air which is the more ‘couple-friendly’ of the three islands. It’s still rustic enough to feel like a tropical island experience, but I foresee that in 10 years time it will be developed beyond recognition unfortunately
14. El Tortuga Verde, El Salvador
Not an actual town or village, but I class it as a destination in its own right. This was our accommodation in El Cuco, El Salvador and it sidelines as a turtle sanctuary during turtle hatching season. You can learn to surf here, practice yoga, or enjoy a fresh coconut drink at the restaurant looking out to the sea. Before the sun goes down grab a beer and sit on the beach to witness the best sunset of your life!
15. Whistler, Canada
Where we live at the moment 🙂 And home for the next two years and honestly, it’s the prettiest place we’ve ever lived. I have to pinch myself sometimes, because I can’t believe I live here. Our life at the moment involves steaming hot chocolate in a cosy cafe, a glass of red wine in front of a fireplace and skiing!
Thanks for reading,
Aimee & Paul x