My 20 Best Travel Experiences of 2016


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!

Norfolk_Island_South_Pacific Norfolk_Island_South_Pacific

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!

Flam Norway | World of Wanderlust Guide to Alesund Norway | World of Wanderlust

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!

Read more: These photos of Norway are so pretty it hurts

A Guide to Colmar France | World of Wanderlust

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!)

Paris in Spring | World of Wanderlust Il_Carpaccio_Pierre_Herme_Dessert

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

New York | World of Wanderlust New York City Guide | World of Wanderlust

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!!!)

The Farm House at Cape Kidnappers | World of Wanderlust Postcards from New Zealand | World of Wanderlust

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!)

Amazon Jungle

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!

Guide to Siena, Italy | World of Wanderlust Guide_To_Tuscany

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.

Annecy_France Annecy_France

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!

48 Hours in Vancouver | World of Wanderlust

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!

A Quick Guide to San Antonio | World of Wanderlust Hotel Emma San Antonio | World of Wanderlust

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!)

Best Bakeries in London | World of Wanderlust

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.


Over to you! Where were your favourite travels in 2016? Where do you hope to be in 2017?

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    Natalie Redman
    January 10, 2017 at 12:21 am

    Wow what an incredible year you’ve had!

    January 4, 2017 at 12:44 am

    You are such an inspiration Ms. Brooke, having to travel in different parts of the world, capturing great photos, writing a book, having your own bakeshop, all! We wish you all the best of 2017. Continue to be an inspiration 🙂

    • Brooke Saward
      January 4, 2017 at 3:11 pm

      Aww thank you so so much Joanna 🙂 All the best for you too – lets make it a good one! 😀

    January 1, 2017 at 3:10 pm

    Just discovered your blog and I love it! Your photos are fantastic! And I love that you travel solo! Curious about how you took a few of the photos on here, there’s two in Paris one where you have your hands in a heart with the Effie’s tower, the other is holding a crepe with both hands. How did you take this style of photo?

    Miss Pippi
    December 30, 2016 at 9:13 am

    Amazing list. All these trips must have been fantastic experiences an the best part is that you could share them with people you love.

    Marie - Miles of Happiness
    December 29, 2016 at 10:08 am

    That’s all?!
    Just kidding, your year was incredibly full of adventures and very inspiring for us travelers of the world 🙂

    Linda Langes
    December 27, 2016 at 1:31 pm

    Love that list. As a fellow Aussie I have put off going to Norfolk Island for too long obviously – must do it soon! Happy New Year Brooke and here’s to many more wonderful travels.

    Glai De Leon
    December 27, 2016 at 11:06 am

    Your travel experiences are amazing! Those places are on my bucketlist now. This year is my biggest travel year so far and I thank my job assignment in Switzerland for that. My top 5 travel experiences would be: 1. Our trip around Switzerland for 8 days with my husband and closest friends where we toured around the French speaking region of Switzerland, Zermatt, Interlaken, Jungfrau and cities of Bern and Lucerne. It is still my favorite country in Europe. 2. London which is my favorite European city ever and where I watched the Harry Potter and the Cursed Child play. Loved the architecture and the accent hahaha.
    3. Paris which I visited for the second time but the first time for my husband. We celebrated our 2nd anniversary here because it’s the perfect romantic city for an ocassion like that. 4. Prague which is truly beautiful. I always say that if there’s a beauty contest for cities, it would definitely be one of the finalists. 5. Vienna is another pretty city. Fell in love with the classical music and operas, the royal palaces, the architecture and of course, the pastries. I hope one day, I could visit the places in your list. And thanks for all the travel inspirations. 🙂

    December 22, 2016 at 1:58 am

    Amazing places and beautiful pictures! Makes me excited to visit all of these places myself. Thanks for the inspiration 🙂

    Full Movies Free Download
    December 20, 2016 at 6:30 pm

    How lucky you are to travel around the world and what an impressive photography…. Which camera did you used for it? I am Blogger too and wish i can travel like you do….But now i am motivated by your blog and will soon get some time to visit few places around my country…

    December 20, 2016 at 8:49 am

    WOW! Amazing photos! I really love your blog

    the adventurer
    December 19, 2016 at 9:32 am

    What a beautiful collection of places you visited this past year =o)

    Mima Isono
    December 18, 2016 at 1:02 pm

    What a great year of travelling! I’m grateful you share these experiences with us. Reading your tips now.

    Mima – From Tokyo

    Robin Lensi
    December 18, 2016 at 3:27 am

    Was so lucky to travel for the third time to the Amalfi Coast then onto Matera and Puglia. Was blown away by how beautiful the Puglia region was. We stopped in Lecce, Alberobello and Martina Franca while staying at the gorgeous Borgo Egnazia Resort. Thanks for sharing! Already have my trip to Venice, Tuscany, Florence and Cinque Terre booked for June. Can’t wait!

    December 18, 2016 at 2:36 am

    Wow, what an incredible year!! Here’s to many more exciting travel adventures in 2017 🙂

    Heather van der Ven
    December 17, 2016 at 3:51 am

    This post has me craving a trip!! I can’t wait to go somewhere new. Thanks for the inspiration, Brooke!

    December 16, 2016 at 11:12 pm

    This post has made me veeeeeery jealous, haha! I went to London three times this year (still my favourite city) and visited Berlin and Ghent. Hoping to go to Czech and South-Africa next year!

    December 16, 2016 at 7:51 pm

    Craaazy, how many you’ve visited! A few new ones on the bucket list now.

    Alexandra Brosens-Doy
    December 16, 2016 at 7:36 pm

    All of these places sound absolutely incredible! I hope that one day I will be able to visit all of them – i’m actually living in Florence now and moving to Paris at the end of December so at least I will have those two ticked off the list! xxx

    One Day Itinerary
    December 16, 2016 at 6:45 pm

    Wow, so many beautiful places in only one year and a lot of travel inspiration from your photos. We’ve visited Positano this year as well and we must say we were blown away by its beauty too.

    December 16, 2016 at 4:03 pm

    Ahh I love this post – reminded me of some of the places I’d said I needed to put on my bucket list! 2016 has been such a good year of travels for me! Spent 2 weeks in NZ in January, a month in Europe over the summer (my first solo trip!) and now in Central America & the Caribbean for 2 months. I just spent 2 weeks in Cuba and it was incredible – such an amazing country to visit, it feels very foreign yet so welcoming
    In 2017, I’m hoping for another Europe trip over my uni break, then hopefully returning to Nepal at the end of the year to trek & explore more!

    • Brooke Saward
      December 16, 2016 at 6:00 pm

      How amazing is New Zealand!!! Loved it. Hope you keep enjoying solo adventures 🙂 Even though I have a partner now I still crave solo travel and can’t wait to take off on more solo adventures in the New Year!!! xx

    December 16, 2016 at 11:58 am

    Great post – thanks for sharing!

    My favorite place in 2016 was Cinque Terre in the north of Italy. Beautiful coastline, authentic seafood, and plenty of hiking! I could stay there forever

    • Brooke Saward
      December 16, 2016 at 6:02 pm

      Hey Pat, lucky you! I didn’t get to make it to Cinque Terre this year but it is still on my list!!!

    LisaLDN // Fjords & Beaches
    December 16, 2016 at 7:45 am

    Wow, WHAT a year! It seems like you’re enjoying every minute of it, and I’m so happy my hometown of Flåm made the list! I hope you get to come back on a sunny day, I promise it’s 10 times more beautiful (yes, it’s possible)! 🙂 Keep loving what you do 🙂

    • Brooke Saward
      December 16, 2016 at 7:14 pm

      I sooooo hope to come back to Norway very soon! Really keen to do a road trip further North – fingers crossed I get back next year!! xx

    December 16, 2016 at 6:34 am

    You’ve been to so many awesome places this year, Brooke! I also went to Positano and it was magical 🙂

    • Brooke Saward
      December 16, 2016 at 7:15 pm

      It was such a year! <3 Hope you enjoyed Positano as much as I did - I couldn't fault our trip there it was incredible!!

    Tripty J
    December 16, 2016 at 2:53 am

    Loved this list, amazing!!

    Bella WW
    December 15, 2016 at 10:52 pm

    You definitely had a wonderful year!!! I love all your trips, and I wish you Happy Holidays! 😀

    • Brooke Saward
      December 16, 2016 at 7:16 pm

      Thanks Bella – Happy New Year to you too! <3

    Alan Roberts
    December 15, 2016 at 10:05 pm

    You’ve had one hell of a year ! Didn’t travel as much as I wanted but managed Singapore and bits of east coast Australia
    Need to start planning for next year, not done South America or south east Asia so need to get them ticked off, but difficult trying to cram stuff into three weeks in the summer

    December 15, 2016 at 8:32 pm

    What a fantastic year of adventures! Can’t wait to see what 2017 has in store!

    Kate |

    Tanja (the Red phone box travels)
    December 15, 2016 at 8:09 pm

    lucky you!:)

    December 15, 2016 at 7:56 pm

    Wow! You had a really great year of traveling. Awesome pictures.

    December 15, 2016 at 7:37 pm

    Thanks for sharing. I am feasting with my eyes.
    Roof top of which building did you take the pics in Amafi coast?

    December 15, 2016 at 6:22 pm

    Oh wow, what lovely travels you went through this year! I mean, a birthday in London?! I would love to celebrate my birthday there once in my life. x

    Alina Donnell
    December 15, 2016 at 4:41 pm

    Loved it all Brooke – thanks for the year’s recap. Curious to know what month you were in Tanzania ?

    Edith & Juan
    December 15, 2016 at 4:06 pm

    Such great adventures! Can’t wait to see some of these places. My favorite this year was Costa Rica. Such a beautiful and peaceful place. -E

    Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog
    December 15, 2016 at 2:41 pm

    All your travel adventures sound so exciting! My favourite from this list is the safari. 🙂

    Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog

    Kate Newman
    December 15, 2016 at 2:34 pm

    So many amazing places! My favourite from my travels was a road trip around Iceland

    December 15, 2016 at 2:24 pm

    Absolutely love your pictures and experiences! Great website!

    December 15, 2016 at 1:33 pm

    So beautiful! Thanks for the inspiration xoxo

    December 15, 2016 at 1:16 pm

    I absolutely loved visiting France, Holland, Germany and Belgium this year. And also a little vacation in mexico! 2017 will possibly be a trip to Portugal, and definitely a volunteer trip to Ecuador (the amazon jungle!)

    Taste of France
    December 15, 2016 at 6:59 am

    What a great list. Enjoy your opportunities to travel before work and family keep you close to home!

    December 15, 2016 at 6:53 am

    Absolutely loved this! You have been on so many amazing adventures this year! I can’t wait to get started on some of mine 🙂