I don’t know how it happens but every year I look back at all the wonderful adventures I’ve had (particularly since starting blogging four years ago) and can’t believe how quickly the year has passed + how many places I have been fortunate enough to visit! It seems like just yesterday I was photographing lions on safari in Tanzania or snorkelling around the crystal clear waters of the Maldives. Another year is about to come to a close and with that I would like to share my favourite adventures of 2016!
My Best Travel Experiences of 2016
1. Positano, Italy
I’m sure it comes as no surprise to most to see the seaside village of Positano as number one on my list! Not only my favourite photograph of the year comes from here, but also my favourite “first view” (pictured on the right) of any city, taken quite literally as I stepped off the bus from Sorrento. This trip through the Amalfi Coast and more of Europe was one of the most memorable I have enjoyed on the continent. I would highly recommend travelling through Europe in the Spring if you want the best weather without the crowds!
Read more: 14 Fairytale Towns in Europe you Must Visit
2. The Maldives with My Love!
Another trip I’m sure come as no surprise to see on this list is my trip to the Maldives with my boyfriend earlier this year…. what a dream! I’ll never forget snorkelling in the crystal clear waters (the bluest water I have seen around the world), renting a jet ski for the day and finding an island all to ourselves, eating incredible food, some of the friendliest service I have experience in the entire world and those gorgeous purple sunsets.
Read more: 29 Things to do in the Maldives
3. Safari in Tanzania
There is no experience more grounding than a photographic safari in Africa and since my first safari in South Africa I have been jumping at any and every opportunity to go back explore more of the continent. This year I visited Tanzania and I’ve got to say it was one of my favourite safari experiences yet. Whilst in Tanzania we were experiencing the great migration in its early days, as well as having the opportunity to view baby giraffes and zebras at that time of year. I also met Brooke and Hermione for the first time!
4. Norfolk Island, Australia
After taking my boyfriend to the Maldives early in the year I was convinced any other trip we took after that one would never compare. Fast forward a few months to the end of our Europe trip and the place that stuck with me most was a short stay in Norfolk Island on the way home. This little island off the coast of Australia would have to be my best find for the year – incredibly underrated and remarkably authentic… there’s no place that has surprised me more!
5. Cruising through Norway
This year I took my mum on a cruise through Norway’s fjords and coastal towns, visiting Bergen, Geiranger, Flam, Alesund and Stavanger. The cruise itself was incredibly fun (who doesn’t love a buffet!?) and my time with mum away from home was even more fun. It was just a bonus we had the gorgeous surrounds of Norway around us each day!
6. Colmar, France
Another trip with my boyfriend this year took us to Colmar, France, a town that has been on my radar for a very long time (thanks Pinterest!) Not only was the town as gorgeous as it appears in photos, but it was also home to incredible fine dining (French food is incredible no matter what) and surrounded by bike trails to surrounding towns (don’t miss out on visiting Egusheim!)
7. Paris in the Spring
I’d strongly argue that there is no better time to visit Paris than visiting Paris in the Spring. I’d also back that up with the claim that there is no bad time to visit Paris! As the one city in the world I never (ever, ever) tire of, I’m always up for a trip to Paris when visiting Europe. This year we stayed in Le Marais, one of my favourite neighbourhoods and were directly across from Place des Vosges, my favourite square in Paris. I’d strongly urge you to visit the neighbourhood and make a pit stop at Carette, my new favourite cafe in the city!
Read more: A Walking Tour of Paris
8. Japan with my Father
It was at 17 years of age that I first travelled overseas with my father, after winning a bet that i could save up enough cash to buy a plane ticket to Kiev, Ukraine, to visit my cousin who was living there at the time. The agreement was that he would join the trip to Europe if I could save the money within a year, however I don’t think he realised I would save up the cash within a few months! This year was the first trip we have taken together since and I took him completely out of his comfort zone by visiting Japan (my first time too!) We both loved the country in an instant and especially enjoyed the craziness of Tokyo and Osaka. Dad tried his first “real” sushi (not covered in Western sauces – ha) and soon realised his diet over the coming 10 days would solely consist of rice, fish, and broths. He didn’t complain once!
Read more: 20 Reasons to Visit Japan
9. New York with The Bestie
I’m torn between two cities: Paris and New York. Force me to choose just one and I promise you, I won’t be able to give a solid answer! In the middle of this year I found myself back in New York, but this time visiting one of my best friends Emma whilst she was living there. Emma had moved to the West Village so we spent much of our time exploring the villages and touristing our way to the Flat Iron Building and Times Square (much to Emma’s dismay – I still love a night on Broadway!!!)
10. Road Tripping through New Zealand
I can’t believe it has taken me so long, but this year I finally visited New Zealand for the first time in my life! I landed in Queenstown to explore some of the South Island and later flew to the North Island to explore the coast and spend a day in Auckland – all stops were incredible! My few days in the South Island were nowhere near enough, so this is a country I’m itching to get back to (with plans to return next year!)
11. Cruising the Amazon
After experiencing safaris in South Africa and Tanzania, i have been dying to go somewhere new to experience different wildlife close up… and so it made sense to jump at the chance to board a plane bound for the Amazon jungle! I spent five nights on the Amazon river, cruising through small villages and meeting communities along the way. This was just as magical as seeing a sloth for the first time (eeeeep!) and all the wonderful wildlife we saw along the way.
12. Lake Como, Italy
Another pitstop on our European adventure was my first (and my boyfriend’s first) time visiting Lake Como in the North of Italy. We stayed at a gorgeous villa along the lake and made daily commutes by ferry to nearby towns (my favourite by far being Bellagio!) This was one of the highlights of our time in Italy and we both agreed it would have to be one of the most romantic places to visit in the country.
Read more: 10 Lakes to Visit in Europe
13. Skiing in Zermatt
On the same trip we had a more adventurous few days in the Swiss Alps, skiing some of the best slopes in Europe when we visited Zermatt! With only a few days here we both agreed we would have to return one day as not only was the town itself beautiful but there was so much terrain to cover on skis that we only scratched the surface! You can even ski across in to Italy – talk about bucket list!
14. Pangkor Laut Resort, Malaysia
One of the most beautiful resorts I have visited this year was Pangkor Laut Resort in Malaysia. Travelling solo through Malaysia, I found this trip to be a great time to switch off, read (way too many) books and spend some time unwinding before the year got underway. If I could recommend just one honeymoon destination that flies under the radar, this would be it!
15. Being back in Florence, Tuscany
Another city I will always love travelling back to is Florence, Italy. Although I only had a few days in the city this year, I adored my time here and it was another chance to dig deeper in to the endless history of this city that has stood still with time. For the first time I visited the Statue of David and Boboli Gardens, both giving me a chance to discover something new in a city that presents so much to visitors.
16. Annecy, France
Seeing these photos again, I am fighting the urge not to jump on a plane bound straight for France! The city of Annecy, France, deserves to be number one on this list for it is easily the prettiest and most charming place I visited this year (there are too many #1s to choose from!) If you find yourself travelling through France in the new year, be sure not to miss Annecy as it is undeniably the most gorgeous city in all of France (though that could be contested – everywhere in France is stunning!)
17. Experiencing the True North, Canada
Just recently I found myself in the true North of Canada visiting the small town of Churchill, also known as the “Polar Bear Capital of the World”. Not only did I see countless polar bears in the wild, but also had the chance to go dog sledding, see the Northern Lights and immerse myself in local cultures and customs. The whole trip was one of a lifetime and one I would strongly endorse for adventure seekers!
18. Vancouver, Canada
On the same trip to Canada I had the chance to stop in to Vancouver, a city I have been longing to visit since I met the lovely Sisley (who lives in Vancouver) when living in Berlin at the same time. This city quickly became one of my favourite cities I have visited this year – full of great eateries, adventure close to the city and some of the friendliest people – though that is to be expected for Canadians!
19. Hotel Emma, San Antonio, Texas
Another one of my favourite cities I visited this year and home to the only hotel that makes the list is San Antonio and the gorgeous (seriously, one of the best hotels I have ever stepped foot in), Hotel Emma. This city has been through a revival of sorts with incredible eateries popping up in every neighbourhood, making this a great stop for foodies (and coffee lovers!)
20. My Birthday in London
And last but not least, my time in London with my mummy for my 25th Birthday (you can read all about it here!) This was also my mum’s first time in London so she was giddy with excitement, reminding me of all the reasons I adore this city.