A Guide to Visiting Moorea

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Guide to Tahiti | World of Wanderlust

Arriving in Mo’orea

After landing in Tahiti, we made our way by plane over to Mo’orea – just a short 7 minute flight or alternatively 30 minutes by ferry (and much cheaper as I learned on the return!) From the ferry terminal or airport you can catch a taxi to your accommodation.

With limited hotels and guesthouses available on the island, I would strongly recommend booking in advance to secure your accommodation. We checked in to the Sofitel Mo’orea which was beautiful if you’re after beach bungalows or overwater bungalows.

Guide to Tahiti | World of Wanderlust Guide to Tahiti | World of Wanderlust

Discovering Local Way of Life

On the first day arriving in Mo’orea, I was already claiming to everyone that it was my favourite island in Tahiti – based purely on the warmth of the people and the laid back atmosphere (or what I would call the “real” Tahiti I was in search of!) Everyone we met was so eager to share their culture with us and I before we knew it we were weaving baskets, making flower crowns, dancing (Tahiti style!) and feeling more and more welcome the more we travelled around.

Guide to Tahiti | World of Wanderlust Guide to Tahiti | World of Wanderlust

On-Island Activities

There’s another reason I loved Mo’orea quite a bit more than other islands, which you might have already guessed from the heading is because of all the activities! As someone who likes to take it easy when looking around (rather than hopping from one attraction to the next), I really enjoyed our day quad-biking through the mountains without anywhere to be or a time slot to fit in to. Unfortunately we were also planning to go horseback riding in the mountains, however with crazy storms that grounded all flights for two days, it is little wonder that we were not able to do so!

One thing I would have liked more time to do is to venture off on hikes around the island (there are heaps on offer!) Unfortunately the rain delayed our arrival to the island and made our time here really limited, so if I could make one last suggestion it would be to definitely book at least a week to discover Mo’orea!

Guide to Tahiti | World of Wanderlust

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With thanks to Tahiti Tourism for making my visit to Tahiti possible and so memorable!

Brooke Saward

Brooke founded World of Wanderlust as a place to share inspiration from her travels and to inspire others to see our world. She now divides her time between adventures abroad and adventures in the kitchen!

A Guide to Bora Bora, Tahiti!

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Somewhere that has long been on my bucket list, I finally got the chance to escape to paradise this week by visiting Bora Bora in French Polynesia. Now some of my reality-tv-show loving readers will known this of course as one of the Kardashian holiday destinations (myself included – I do love a good reality show binge), but for most of you Bora Bora is one of the few idyllic locations around the world home to the iconic water bungalows. Below you’ll find all this and more in my complete guide to Bora Bora, Tahiti!

Bora Bora, Tahiti | World of Wanderlust Chasing Waterfalls in Tahiti | World of Wanderlust

Arriving in Bora Bora

After spending a couple of nights on the main island of Tahiti (a great way to catch up on jetlag if you’re arriving from the Europe), I hopped on a quick 45 minute flight to Bora Bora. Upon landing I was (not so) warmly welcomed by rain and lots of it, but the idea of stepping off a plane and straight on to a boat to my resort was too lovely to let a little storm get in the way of my happiness.

On the subject of weather, I would highly recommend you visiting Tahiti in January as rain is almost a guarantee (there wasn’t a day it didn’t rain on my trip and most days we didn’t see sunshine). Bad weather patterns aside, Bora Bora is too beautiful not to still enjoy – especially for honeymooners and couples looking for an island escape.

Bora Bora, Tahiti | World of Wanderlust Bora Bora, Tahiti | World of Wanderlust

Check In: Bora Bora Pearl Beach Resort

The hotel boat transported us from the airport straight to check-in, where I happily snagged the keys for my overwater bungalow. The images speak for themselves and despite the miserable weather, it was a beautiful few days in paradise (despite the in-room cock roaches you might have read about on twitter!!!)

Prices are sky high in Bora Bora and although this resort is rated as four stars, you’ll need to save your pennies before coming here. Once at the resort be sure to keep in mind that all of your food and activities are an additional cost and will soon blow your budget if you’re anything like me and can’t say no to dessert at every meal.

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Resort Activities

Around the resort there were plenty of activities to keep one busy: jet skis for rent, stand up paddle-boarding, kayaking… you name it. In a way this reminded me of the Maldives and the endless activities my boyfriend and I got up to there, however with the storms continually rolling in, much of my time was spent indoors or running through the rain from one eatery to another (when you have no options left, food is always a good idea).

Bora Bora, Tahiti | World of Wanderlust Chasing Waterfalls in Tahiti | World of Wanderlust

Around Bora Bora

One thing I would strongly suggest you do when visiting Bora Bora is to escape your resort. Although it is easy to stay in one place and eat your favourites off the menu three times a day, I promise you there is so much more to discover when you venture in to “town”.

My absolute favourite experience of my entire stay was at Villa Mahana – a new addition to my list of favourite restaurants around the globe. Not only was this a lovely dining experience with a gastronomic menu, but it also gave me the chance to try local Polynesian foods with a modern, French twist. Safe to say I left nothing on my plate(s) that night.

Another great restaurant I escaped to was Lagoon by Jean Georges, found at the St Regis hotel in Bora Bora. This dinner was a little more fancy (requiring more of a dress code) and delicious as well.

Bora Bora, Tahiti | World of Wanderlust

Getting There

I flew to Tahiti with Air Tahiti Nui from Australia. While this did involve a transit in Auckland, it was a pretty seamless flight path and if you live in one of the major cities (unlike me from Tasmania!), then you will reach Tahiti within the same day you begin flying.

Beyond Bora Bora

Although it is tempting to arrive in Bora Bora and beach yourself at one resort, I would strongly recommend you venture beyond this island to explore other parts of Tahiti. Personally my favourite island was Moorea, full of dramatic scenery and less outside influence. You can read about my guide to the top islands to visit in Tahiti here.

Special thanks to Tahiti Tourisme for making my visit possible and going above and beyond to provide an incredible experience for my first time in Tahiti! I’ll be back!

Brooke Saward

Brooke founded World of Wanderlust as a place to share inspiration from her travels and to inspire others to see our world. She now divides her time between adventures abroad and adventures in the kitchen!

Island Hopping in Tahiti: The best islands to visit in Tahiti

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Tahiti is to me a place so exotic that I never would have imagined I would step foot on the iconic black sand beaches. Made up of many islands, I soon discovered that the best way to experience Tahiti is to see and do as much as you can on your visit, as each island has its own unique offerings. To help you plan your own visit (which I highly recommend you do, this place is incredible), here’s a guide to the best islands to visit in Tahiti… you’re welcome!

Chasing Waterfalls in Tahiti | World of Wanderlust

First stop: Tahiti

International flights in to Tahiti arrive at Faa’a International Airport, a short drive from the main city of Papeete (pronounced: Papy – et – tay). As all of the flights land here first, I would suggest taking a short one or two night stopover to enjoy what the main island of Tahiti has to offer.

Arriving on a late flight from New Zealand, my first point of call was to check-in, sleep, and awake refreshed for a full day of adventuring by 4WD, way up in the mountains in search of waterfalls. I took this tour with Iaorana Tahiti Expeditions, which included local guides, a full day of sightseeing, lunch and discovering hidden waterfalls (something I would not have been able to do on my own!)

Guide to Tahiti | World of Wanderlust Guide to Tahiti | World of Wanderlust Guide to Tahiti | World of Wanderlust

Moorea

From Tahiti, the islands are plentiful and many travellers choose different combinations based on their personal interests, as I soon found that each island has its own attitude and way of life. My absolute favourite island of the trip was Moorea, just a 7 minute flight from Tahiti or a 30 minute ferry ride. While the ferry ride was much cheaper, you will need to factor in the price of a taxi to the terminal (thus I would recommend flying if you do not stay overnight in Tahiti; ferry if you do stay overnight in Tahiti, as you’ll need a taxi regardless of the transportation you choose).

This island is best for outdoor adventures, dramatic landscapes and authentic local culture (by which I mean there is much less build up/outside influence on this island). As soon as you approach Moorea by land or sea, you will immediately notice the shift in the way of life here. Unlike the accommodation areas of Tahiti, Moorea offers a much more laid back way of life… evident mostly in what you will soon come to learn as “island time”.

My favourite day in Moorea was filled with adventure – driving up in to the mountains and to pineapple farms on ATV’s (we call them four-wheelers in Australia). On this day we were meant to go horse-riding which would have also been really fun, but due to torrential rain we had limited options by way of activities. If you enjoy hikes I would strongly recommend spending at least a week here, as there is so much of this island to discover on foot – I definitely feel as if I only scratched the surface!

Bora Bora, Tahiti | World of Wanderlust Bora Bora, Tahiti | World of Wanderlust

Bora Bora

Many travellers coming to Tahiti only intend to visit Bora Bora, known for its’ overwater bungalows and luxury resorts. While Bora Bora is beautiful (crystal blue waters, incredible cuisine, loads of reefs to discover), it is still just one “side” to Tahiti. Whilst in Bora Bora we spent much of our time enjoying resort activities, however many of our options were significantly limited with torrential rains again during our entire stay (for which reason I would never suggest you visit in January!!!)

There are a number of luxury hotels in Bora Bora so you won’t struggle for choice. For a more local experience, we checked in to the Bora Bora Pearl Beach Resort, which offers a very Polynesian experience, although certain aspects were a real let down (the day time food was anything but local and cockroaches in the bungalows were a bit of a downer!) Alternative options are International brands such as the Four Seasons Bora Bora or St Regis Bora Bora… depending on your taste (and how badly you despise creepy crawlies!)

Chasing Waterfalls in Tahiti | World of Wanderlust Guide to Tahiti | World of Wanderlust

Rangiroa

While there are still many more choices of islands to visit in French Polynesia (The Marquesas, Society Islands, Huahine to name a few), the last island I will mention in terms of top experiences is one that I myself missed out on, but having heard such great things from a group of friends who travelled there, I feel as if it cannot go without mention! This island is also packed with adventure like Moorea and is notoriously good for diving. Thus if you are someone who likes more of an active vacation, then this would be the perfect island to add to your trifecta (Moorea, Bora Bora, Rangiroa) of islands to visit away from the main island of Tahiti.

Guide to Tahiti | World of Wanderlust

Getting there

I flew to Tahiti with Air Tahiti Nui from Australia. While this did involve a transit in Auckland, it was a pretty seamless flight path and if you live in one of the major cities (unlike me from Tasmania!), then you will reach Tahiti within the same day you begin flying.

When to Go

As mentioned throughout this post, my visit to Tahiti was during rainy season in January. If you find yourself on a budget then you can certainly save some dollars by visiting at this time, however I would highly advise against it if you have sunshine and outdoor activities on your mind! While the whole trip was still amazing, continuous rain certainly put a dampener (pun intended) on the trip and reduced selection of activities. May-October is winter in Tahiti, meaning that with a tropical climate this is the best time to go!

Thanks to Tahiti Tourism for making my visit to Tahiti possible and so memorable!

Brooke Saward

Brooke founded World of Wanderlust as a place to share inspiration from her travels and to inspire others to see our world. She now divides her time between adventures abroad and adventures in the kitchen!

French Hot Chocolate Recipe

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There’s a recipe I’ve been wanting to recreate & share with you guys since my first visit to Paris solo, some five years ago. It was the middle of winter when I landed at Charles de Gaulle, stepped off a red-eye flight from Hong Kong and hit the ground running. The 13-hour flight time should have left me weary, but my love of Paris and all things French fuelled the adrenaline in me to hit the ground running for my few days in the city of light.

On my first day in Paris I stopped at Angelina Tea House, a pastry-lovers dream ideally located on Rue de Rivoli. If I’m to be completely honest it wasn’t the sweets that lured me in, but the ice-cold air outside the drove me to seek refuge in the beaming ray of light that has become one of the world’s most renowned tea houses.

Angelina_Paris_Exterior Angelina_Hot_Chocolate

I vaguely recalled reading in a guidebook that the chocolat chaud was an experience in itself. A rich, thick, and quite notably overpowering concoction of melted chocolate, served with whipped cream on the side to sweeten your brew.

Boy oh boy, was the first taste a moment I will never forget.

French Hot Chocolate Recipe

Since that visit I have had the pleasure of  visiting Paris countless times, each time returning to the very same location to order myself another chocolat chaud. In more recent times I have also opened a dessert house, which prompted me to seek out the recipe and recreate it for my store.

And yep, you guessed it, I’m going to share that recipe with you right here, right now!

French Hot Chocolate Recipe

Author: 

Recipe type: Dessert

Cuisine: French

Prep time: 

Cook time: 

Total time: 

Serves: 2

  • 1½ cups whole milk
  • 1/ 2cup heavy cream
  • 2 tsp brown sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 220 grams high quality chocolate (at least 70%), chopped
  • whipped cream, to serve
  1. Place the milk, cream, sugar and vanilla in a pot over medium heat.
  2. Stir until small bubbles form on the outside of the pot (do not boil).
  3. Remove the saucepan from the heat and stir in chopped chocolate.
  4. Return to low-medium heat to melt chocolate completely.
  5. Serve warm, topped with whipped cream.

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The secret to recreating a typical “French” hot chocolate is to use high quality chocolate with a high cocoa % (more than 70%). For the shop we import Belgian chocolate which creates a really creamy, beautiful flavour that can’t be matched with store bought chocolate. If you have a local speciality store be sure to keep an eye out for Belgian chocolate as it is by far the superior chocolate to make this delicious treat as best as it can be!

French Hot Chocolate Recipe French_Hot_Chocolate_Recipe

Brooke Saward

Brooke founded World of Wanderlust as a place to share inspiration from her travels and to inspire others to see our world. She now divides her time between adventures abroad and adventures in the kitchen!

How to Make the Most of 2017!

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Every year I like to wipe the slate clean and start again with new goals and an adjusted focus. I wouldn’t go so far as to call it a New Year’s Resolution (besides, I’m about 12 days too late for that), however I do believe it is important to pause, reflect, and rebuild our goals – what better time to do that than the beginning of a new year? I truly believe all of us have more than one passion point in life, so this year I’m taking the time to put some of my projects aside to give rise to new ones + reinvigorate old passions I haven’t focused on for a while.

So if you’re with me, here are 5 steps to make the most of 2017!

Identify your area of focus

The best way to identify where your current passion lies is to pin point what you have been spending most of your energy on over the past year or so. For me, that almost always spreads across a few fields of interests… and that’s okay too!

For the past few years I have been doing a lot of travelling and suffice it to say that in 2017 this will not be changing. For me, this is my greatest passion and the one thing that intrigues me most. Different places, cultures, foods, languages… you name it. Thus my biggest area of focus has been travel for the past few years and if I’m honest with myself about what makes me happiest, travel is still the answer.

But don’t be afraid to choose other passion points and pursue them too. Last year I opened a dessert shop in my hometown (which functions by itself with a full time pastry chef, full time manager and full team of minions), but this year I’d like to spend more time honing in on why I began the shop: my love of pastry. This year I’d like to spend more time refining my skills in the kitchen and continually learning from it.

This year I’d also like to focus on writing. I don’t know exactly what about or in which style, but I do have a burning desire to move abroad for an amount of time (Paris? New York?) and write about my experience.

Define your goals

The job is only half done if you identify what you would like to focus on without identifying how you will ensure you are successful in that area. After you have identified what you will focus on this year, take some time to refine your approach. For me:

Travel – visit new places as much as possible (if returning to an old place, try something drastically new).

In the kitchen – try new dishes and learn new skills. Plus learn loads of French along the way!

Writing – write something of substance that connects with people.

Quotes to Inspire you | World of Wanderlust

Create a positive mantra

All you need is a few words – printed out or written on a piece of paper and stuck up somewhere in your bedroom or office. For me the mantra is always the same: “be fearless in the pursuit of what sets your soul on fire.”

World of Wanderlust Book - How I published a book

Make a bucket list

As a blogger I’m sure it doesn’t surprise any of you that I’m a lists kinda girl. A list for the supermarket, a list for my jobs for the days, lists and lists and lists of my favourite places… you name it, I’ve listed it. Here’s my “bucket list” for this year (which, as you’ll see, could do with a little refining…)

Go somewhere new (more like a few places!)

Learn a new language (I’m still struggling through French + Russian)

Live in a foreign city for at least 6 weeks (Paris or New York)

Learn new pastry skills (French pastries eat your heart out)

Grow a garden (underway)

Try more outdoor sports (and stop being a computer geek/vampire)

Write (I don’t care what about)

Check-in with yourself regularly

With your passions identified, goals set and a check-list ready to put in to action, don’t forget to take time to yourself, for yourself, to look back at how you are progressing. Ups and downs aside, so long as you continue to put one foot in front of the other, you will eventually move forward in the right direction. Own it!

Over to you! What are your goals for making the most of 2017!?

Brooke Saward

Brooke founded World of Wanderlust as a place to share inspiration from her travels and to inspire others to see our world. She now divides her time between adventures abroad and adventures in the kitchen!

The 20 Most Breathtaking Places to Visit in Europe

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I dunno about you guys but for me, there’s something exciting about a new year of adventures… the endless possibilities of where I might end up, who I’ll meet along the way and what will come of another year globetrotting. Because I’m absolutely certain I am European in another lifetime (aside from eating dinner after 8:00pm – ever), I’ve put together a comprehensive list of 20 places that will absolutely take your breath away Europe. These are the “bucket list” cities and towns, the “once in a lifetime” experiences and for sure, they’re all honeymoon approved. So here they are… the most breathtaking places to visit in Europe!

Most_Breathtaking_in_Europe Positano_Amalfi_Coast Positano_World_of_Wanderlust

1. Positano, Italy

We’ll start with an obvious choice and a place I have been harping on about since the first time I laid eyes on it; Positano, a coastal town on the idyllic Amalfi Coast in Italy. Positano is nestled in the cliffside of the jaw-dropping Amalfi coast, far enough away that you’ll find it an effort to reach but close enough to make the area a whole trip in itself. Surrounding Positano you have the Isle of Capri, nearby Sorrento (which I’d also highly recommend), Ravello and Amalfi itself. Each of these towns deserve a couple of days attention, but suffice it to say Positano is the one that will take your heart hook, line and sinker.

Read more: Where to Honeymoon in Italy

Read more: The Amalfi Coast Map & Towns to Visit

2. Bruges, Belgium

Its no secret that I adore Belgium and still believe it is one of the most underrated, overlooked countries to visit in Western Europe. Before travelling to Belgium for the first time I was warned it would be “boring”, “expensive” and “not worth my while”. Wrong, wrong, wrong again. Belgium is full of quaint little charming cities/towns and that is most evident in the city of Bruges.

Read more: 5 Things you Must do in Bruges

3. Lake Como, Italy

If it is good enough for Clooney, it has sure got my interest.  Lake Como in the Northern lakes region of Italy feels like a world away from reality. Small towns, ferry transport, impressive villas and incredible regional cuisine are just the beginning. If ever you feel like you just want to “get away from it all”, here is your opportunity to pass the days lakeside, surrounded by colourful blooms and even more colourful locals.

Read more: 10 Lakes in Europe you Must Visit

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4. Bosnia & Herzegovina

As a whole the country of Bosnia & Herzegovina is often overlooked. While many travellers pass by to visit Mostar on a day trip from nearby Dubrovnik (in Croatia), I can say with absolute certainty that this country deserves much more than a day trip. A few years ago I spent a week with a local family in Blagaj, a small town outside of Mostar. Sure, it was Mostar that first caught my attention but after road tripping around the small country in the Balkan Peninsula, I realised that the beauty lie far beyond the scenery. The hospitality, food, culture and overload of friendship is what made this country so worth visiting. Do yourself a favour and stay a while.

Read more: 10 Reasons to Visit Bosnia & Herzegovina

5. Cesky Krumlov, Czech Republic

Cesky Krumlov takes centre stage as the Czech Republic’s most charming town and certainly one of Europe’s all-time most loved small town destinations. In the summer time this little town, a short bus ride from Prague, is bursting with travellers from all corners of the globe. However the story is much different in winter when the crowds are long gone, snow often lands on the town and creates a magical winter getaway. Regardless of the season, this town is so charming that it will without a doubt take your breath away.

Read more: The 20 Most Charming Places you Must Visit in Europe!

6. The Cotswolds, England

The Cotswolds were on my bucket list for so long that when I actually got there, I felt like I knew the places already. The area itself is in rural England and named after the collection of small towns and estates, built mostly with distinctive local yellow limestone. The area is best enjoyed over a week of road tripping from town to town through the summer, so be sure to plan on staying a while!

Read more: Visiting the Cotswolds, England

Finland | World of Wanderlust Finland | World of Wanderlust

7. Oulanka National Park, Finland

Years ago I had the pleasure of visiting Finland, which had long been on my radar thanks to inspiration from the Chronicles of Narnia and my undying desire to find a place so magical in real life. I found just that in Oulanka National Park in the early winter, covered in a layer of snow and slippery ice (I learnt the hard way!) If you are more of an outdoors traveller and looking to go off the grid, Lapland is the perfect setting to do so and a great introduction to typical Finnish culture when you begin to venture more North.

Read more: These photos prove Finland should be your next travel destination!

Read more: Visiting a Reindeer Park in Finland!

A Guide to Colmar France | World of Wanderlust A Guide to Colmar France | World of Wanderlust

8. Colmar, France

When you think of picture-perfect towns in Europe, Colmar is often one of the first to come to mind. Located on the Eastern border of France to Germany, Colmar has a unique blend of Franco-German architecture, culture and culinary delights. Whilst here be sure to hire a bike and hit the open road – you will find you have endless vineyards and bike trails at your disposal.

Read more: 14 Fairy tale Towns in Europe you Must Visit

9. Neuschwanstein Castle, Germany

As far as fairytales go, visiting the one and only “Disney castle” in real life is about as fantastically pinch-yourself as moments come. Europe is full of beautifully restored castles and many of those can be found in Germany. Check out these fairytale castles to visit in Germany if you’re looking to tick a handful off your bucket list!

Read more: The Best Castles to Visit in Europe

Budapest_Hungary

10. Budapest, Hungary

Budapest is by far one of my all time favourite cities in Europe and has been for the past five years of periodical visits. Although relatively “discovered” nowadays (thanks to a huge influx of expats and tourism boost), I still think Budapest is somewhat underrated. This city has it all – a fascinating history, incredible architecture to rival the likes of Paris, beautiful stately interiors and some of the friendliest locals you will find in a capital city. Believe me when I say this city will steal your heart.

Read more: 20 Places you Must Visit in Budapest

Read more: The Central Europe Trifecta: Visiting Prague, Vienna & Budapest

11. Road Trip in Ireland

Starting from Dublin, I made my way to the West Coast of Ireland by rental car on my first ever visit to the country and have not stopped singing its’ praises ever since. Ireland is everything you imagined it would be – green, rainy, full of charming locals (who, yes, love the pub!) and so much more. One of the best things I have ever done is take a solo road trip through Ireland and suffice it to say it was one of the most jaw-dropping places I have seen in Europe, particularly when reaching the wild, rugged West Coast.

Read more: 8 Places you Must Visit in Ireland

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12. The Algarve, Portugal

I don’t think I ever made it a secret that Portugal’s Algarve is one of my favourite “vacation” destinations in Europe. Somehow the South of Portugal has kept all of its charm in the past couple of decades of globalization and despite being a hot spot for tourists, it still has a strong influx of Portuguese holidaymakers that make it feel like a more authentic coastal getaway (as opposed to say, the likes of Ibiza?) So if you find yourself looking for a summer vacay in Europe I would highly recommend Portugal and its prize possession: The Algarve.

Read more: 8 Places you Must Visit in Portugal

Annecy_France Annecy_France

13. Annecy, France

After visiting Annecy with my boyfriend last year we both became convinced that there is perhaps no other city or town in Europe quite as charming, picturesque and absolutely breath-taking. This city is full of charm at every turn and to put the icing on the cake, is surrounded by water and water activities every which way you look (hell-o peddle boating!)

Read more: 14 Fairy tale towns in Europe you Must Visit

Must_Visit_in_Romania Brasov_Romania

14. Brasov, Romania

If you’re a sucker (like me) for the “off-the-beaten-path” description of a place, you will fall head over heels for this small city at the centre of Transylvania, Romania. The town of Brasov is one of my must visit places in Romania thanks to its proximity to the charming towns and castles nearby, all giving first-timers to Romania an insight into just how beautiful this country is.

Read more: Four Days in Transylvania

Read more: Visiting Dracula’s Castle in Transylvania

15. Scottish Highlands

There’s one trip I would love to live over and over again and that’s my short time in the Scottish Highlands. For some reason (unbeknownst to me), I am obsessed with the culture of Scotland. The traditions, intriguing food and endless history immediately had me wrapped up in a time warp. Plus, you can ride on the Hogwarts Express. YES, you read correct. The real Hogwarts Express.

Read more: 10 Places you Must Visit in Scotland

16. St Petersburg, Russia

Everyone knows I’m obsessed with St Petersburg (or at least, everyone who has been reading World of Wanderlust for any decent amount of time). Following my obsession with Russian History, I booked a trip to Russia to see everything I studied first hand. I’ve got to say The Hermitage Museum is handsdown the most impressive building I have ever stepped foor it, let alone the myriad of collections that line the endless hallways (you could spend weeks in that place and still not see it all). Peterhof was another highlight, particularly in the summertime as the weather allows for a walk through Peter the Great’s mischevious gardens (with “trick” fountains – what a cool guy). If ever there were a city that deserves more recognition as a “must visit” city in Europe, this is it. St Petersburg is up there with Paris and London for me, as one of the all time greats (and Peter would be oh so agreeable).

Read more: St Petersburg Bucket list

Read more: Moscow Bucket list

17. Stockholm, Sweden

I never thought that I would visit Stockholm after hearing from friends about how expensive it is to visit. “Beautiful, but expensive” they would all say in a similar fashion. Then one day when my mum booked a trip to visit me whilst I was living in Berlin, I decided to take her to this very city (splitting the costs) and because ABBA are her all-time life obssession. This city surprised me with its old world charm and yes, the expense was still a rude shock (!!) But all in all I would never take those few days back for anything – this city is a true gem of Scandinavia.

Read more: Top 10 Things to do in Stockholm

18. Lake Bled, Slovenia

I read about Lake Bled for years before ever thinking I would visit. It has often been described as the most romantic lake in Europe and to that I would have to agree – picturesque, quiet, serene. If you find yourself travelling with a loved one through central Europe, Lake Bled is a must visit.

19. Skiing in Zermatt, Switzerland

Being a beginner skiier at best, I never imaged I would find myself on the slopes of Zermatt – known to be one of Europe’s most impressive ski slopes that crosses from the Swiss Alps in to the Italian Alps. Yup, its that big! But when I did make my way to Zermatt last year with my boyfriend, I was determined to give it a crack and improve my skills (or lack thereof), simultaneously exploring some of the most beautiful surrounds in Switzerland. This trip quite literally took my breath away (as in I ran out of breath, fell over more times than I could count and very nearly camped the night on the mountain to avoid any more bruises) and I would say for any skiiers or ski enthusiasts, this is a must visit location.

Read more: The 10 Best Cities & Towns in Switzerland 

20. Road Trip in Wales

When I told my Brittish friends I would be road tripping from England through to the South of Wales to explore the coastline, they all asked me one thing: “why?” To them Wales was so completely off their radar that it might as well have been on another continent all together but for me, the isolation was precisely what I was after. It turns out Wales had a similar effect on me as did Ireland – complete and total calmness. I urge you to rent a car, hit the open road and venture off without care or regard for where you end up.

Read more: Enjoying the Journey in Wales

Most_Breathtaking_in_Europe

In Search of the Best Croissant in Paris

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Eating a croissant in Paris is one of life’s great pleasures. Some might even say (myself included) that it is up there with graduating school forever, winning the lottery or a long shower after a camping trip. Yup, they are that good.

When in Paris this year I set myself the task of eating my way around Paris’ best bakeries and patisseries in search of the best croissant in Paris. A task I was more than happy to undergo in the name of research marketing. So to save yourself the trouble (though really I’m sure you’d happily do the same), here are the winners of where you will find the best croissants in Paris!

Where to find the Best Croissant in Paris

There are actually awards for the best buttery croissants in Paris each year and for pastry chefs of Paris, it is kinda a big deal. With the list slightly changing each year and a few newcomers popping up on the scene, here are the best croissants in Paris right now: 

1. Boulangerie Schou

96 rue de la Faisanderie, 75016

2. Eric Kayser

14 Rue Monge, 19 Rue Valette and 16 Rue des Petits Carreaux

3. 134 RdT

134 rue de Turenne, 75003 and Yohann Gressent of Boulangerie-Pâtisserie Colbert, 49 rue de Houdan, 92330 (Sceaux)

4. L’Artisan des Gourmands

60 rue de la Convention, 75015 and Nelly Julien of Douceurs et Traditions, 85 rue St Dominique, 75007

5. Le Grenier à Pain des Abbesses

38 rue des Abbesses, 75018 and Benoît Castel of Liberté, 39 rue des Vinaigriers, 75010

6. Boulangerie Pichard

88 rue Cambronne, 75015

Cover image by Faye Bullock for World of Wanderlust

Brooke Saward

Brooke founded World of Wanderlust as a place to share inspiration from her travels and to inspire others to see our world. She now divides her time between adventures abroad and adventures in the kitchen!

Travel Lessons from the year passed

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With 2016 behind me, I’d be lying if I said I could look back without regret, knowing that I made mistakes and continued to learn lessons whilst on the road. The beauty of retrospect is that nothing feels as bad as it did at the time, but when you wind up without any option but to pay a $300 cab fare from one town to another in order to catch your train on time, you know first hand how much it sucks to be underprepared or have over planned. So here are the travel lessons I learned in 2016 (some are really, really stupid!)

Travel_Lessons

Always pack an outfit in your carry-on

The first lesson came on a safari trip to Tanzania. I arrived to meet my friends Brooke and Hermione, who were also travelling from Australia but taking an alternative route through Kenya. Having lost my bags previously on the continent of Africa (somewhere in Ghana I am lead to believe – they eventually made their way to Johannesburg and caught up with me), I should have known better and packed an emergency fresh set of clothes in my carry-on. Luckily for me but not so lucky for my friends, my bags arrived on time at every stop. Unfortunately for them, their bags went missing and arrive on the second last day of our trip. And so the lesson struck a cord with me: always, always, always pack a toothbrush and spare set of clothes in your carry-on.

Never book a flight last minute (cha ching!)

Early in the year I asked my dad if he would like to travel with me through Japan. It would be our first trip together since our tour of Europe when I was 17, so I was excited to show him another completely new experience in a country he never dreamed of travelling (other than the trip with me through Europe, he has only visited Thailand).

We had so much to look forward to – sushi, sitting on the floor for meals, ancient traditions, crazy cities like Tokyo and Osaka, and of course more sushi. What I did forget to do until five days before the trip was to book his airfare! I know it sounds silly and typing it publicly makes me feel pretty vague, but I got so caught up in planning all the fun activities that I forgot to book his flight (mine I had already booked some months earlier). So when I went to book his flight from Australia to Tokyo and back, I found that prices were at least triple what I had paid for my airfare some time ago. Suffice it say he didn’t get much for Christmas this year (a wheelbarrow), ha!

Some destinations are better enjoyed with others

Another trip taken early in the year has been a dream destination for me, for a very long time. I have always dreamt of visiting the Maldives – snorkelling in crystal clear waters, travelling to different islands, sipping with a straw flung in to a coconut for breakfast… believe me when I say the Maldives was all that and more! But this is a destination I knew I would not enjoy as much solo.

The Maldives is a honeymoon destination, mostly filled with couples on their honeymoon or enjoying an escape away from it all. If I were by myself I would have needed a whole library of books to keep myself entertained and I most likely wouldn’t have navigated rough waters on a jet-ski, gone couples kayaking (duh!), or perhaps even left the sanctuary of a private pool villa on stilts at all! Lesson learned: some destinations are to be saved and better enjoyed with others.

Learn to trust others (even with your life!)

Another destination I took my partner to last year was a trip through Switzerland, Italy and France. Each of these countries I have visited in the past but we were on a mission to visit new cities + towns neither of us had travelled to and make memories of our own.

One such location was the Amalfi Coast in Italy, where we decided to rent a vespa and drive the coastline from town to town. Now for anyone who has been to the Amalfi coast, you will know this is a little crazier than it sounds: the streets are narrow and experienced drivers fly around corners like it is nobodies. Despite the romanticism of riding a vespa around the coastline, it can be a little (okay, a lot!) hair-raising at the best of times. Luckily for me I was not in control of the vespa, or else I’m sure we would have been travelling at 10km per hour, glued to the centre of our lane. My partner has ridden motorbikes his whole life so I put myself in his hands and let the rest take care of itself. Looking back it is one of the most incredible memories I have from Italy and all of Europe!

Postcards from Italy

There’s a fine line between under-planning & over-planning

On the same trip through the Amalfi Coast, I learned first hand that there is a fine line between under-planning and over-planning. As someone who tosses between one approach and the next, I found myself completely overestimating public transport when I believed we could travel from Positano to Naples seamlessly, finding that it would in fact take at least half a day to do so and multiple transfers (which would have been fine if we weren’t glued to a train ticket time to reach Milan by that afternoon!)

Lesson learned: don’t look at a map and judge the distance as an indication of how long it will actually take to travel when relying on public transport. It is not worth the $300 cab ride to make it to your train on time.

Norfolk_Island_South_Pacific

The best kept secrets are the ones you’ve never heard about

I’ve made it no secret that my favourite discovery last year was an island off the coast of Australia known as Norfolk Island. Before visiting the destination I had no idea the place even existed (blame my Southerly location in Aus), nor had I read about it in travel guides or heard about it from anyone who had visited. And yet despite it being completely off the grid to me, when I arrived I fell head over heels in love with the place. Untouched, unspoiled and a world away from reality.

Lesson learned: the best kept travel secrets are those you haven’t ever heard of.

South_Boulevard_Houston Texas | World of Wanderlust

Don’t walk everywhere in the Texas summer

Last year I ticked another all-time bucket list destination off my list: Texas. For what feels like forever I have wanted to visit Texas and travel around the Lone Star State. Unfortunately for me (ever the optimist), I discovered a little late in the piece that the weather here is excruciatingly hot in the summer – way too hot for walking everywhere.

I learned this lesson about 2 kilometres in to my walk from a shopping centre back to my hotel, when I had no other way of getting back and no data to book an uber. Thankfully I saw light at the end of the tunnel about half way through my endeavours. It came in the form of a Starbucks sign, free wi-fi, and a stinkin’ hot uber ride back to my hotel (ha!)

Never skimp out on Travel Insurance

Over the past year I have also been working as an advocate for travel insurance with Southern Cross Travel Insurance. After numerous claims (flight delays, cancellations, hospital in South Africa, hospital in North America), I knew I had “made the most” out of having travel insurance and should make sure my readers have the same peace of mind.

This past year I enjoyed a pretty carefree ride on that front, but having racked up tens of thousands of dollars in hospital bills in previous years, I still stand by the claim that if you travel, you absolutely must have travel insurance. I learned my lesson with burn out, a kidney infection, missing flights and smashing my laptop screen when travelling. All have been covered through my insurance policy, no questions asked. #winning

Birthday_In_London

London is still expensive

For my 25th birthday I wanted to not only do something special, but to also be somewhere special. Thus when a trip to Norway fell around the time of my birthday, I made plans to visit London either side of the trip and invite my mum along on the trip, for she has a slight obsession with Scandinavian architecture and design, so I believed she would also love this trip as much as I would.

Upon arriving in London I was reminded in a matter of hours just how expensive London is. Our first order of business was to jump on the “Hop on Hop off” Sightseeing bus, as my mum had never visited London before and I still believe this is a quintessential London experience for first timers. With the conversion back to Aussie dollars, I was up for about $100 for our tickets – at least double what you would pay in other cities! Despite the reminder that London is still one of the most expensive cities to visit in the world, it is still one of my faves!

The more you try, the better you become

I have a confession to make: I am the world’s worst skier. That may be a slight exaggeration, but for my snow-loving boyfriend I’m sure he would almost certainly agree. Last year we travelled to Zermatt, Switzerland, for a few days of skiing amidst our Europe trip. I hadn’t really told him how bad I was, thinking that in some way my over-confidence might lead me to be a few ranks better than I was the year before when I had first stepped on skis in Arosa, Switzerland. Turns out this wasn’t the case.

The first day was filled with stumbles, tears, and walking down the mountain for fear of flying off (in my defence we were on a red slope – not entirely beginner friendly!) The following day I awoke with a kick of adrenaline, determination and fearlessness. By the end of the day I was flying down the red slopes (okay, maybe more like rigidly navigating my way down), but enjoyed it nonetheless. If you never try, you never know.

Over to you! What travel lessons did you learn in 2016!? 

The 20 Best Cities to Travel Solo in Europe

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So you want to travel solo in Europe? These cities are great for solo travellers!

After recently catching up with a friend over coffee to plan her 2017 solo European summer journey, I realised it must be time for a refresher on the blog of the best cities to travel solo in Europe. After travelling solo through most of Europe over the past four years blogging and a solo trip to Europe at 20 years of age before that, I have seen first hand how rewarding and life changing solo travel in Europe can be.

The beauty of Europe is that you can fall asleep in one city and wake up in another, crossing over borders and cultures simultaneously in a matter of hours. With so much to see and do in the region it can often be difficult knowing where to start. So I present to you my favourite cities in Europe for solo travel!

Budapest_Solo_Travel

1. Budapest

Although Budapest has built a reputation over the past decade as a must-visit city in Europe, the capital of Hungary remains one of the cheapest capital cities to visit in Europe, making it a great destination for solo travellers on a budget. Budapest is also a city full of attractions, monuments and unique neighbourhoods to discover, giving solo travellers plenty of activities to keep busy and intrigued.

Best for: Lively nightlife, Expats, History, Low cost

Cost: $15-$90 for a 3 star hotel room // $2-$4 for a local budget lunch

2. Vienna

When I first travelled to Vienna solo five years ago I had no idea just how sprawling this city would be. Imperial and imposing, Vienna is full of history, art culture, cafe culture and museums galore. You certainly won’t run out of things to do here!

Best for: History & Art culture

Cost:  $43-$175 for a 3 star hotel // $5-$9 for a local budget lunch

3. Prague

Although rapidly increasing in terms of visitors and cost, Prague is still one of those quintessential cities you must visit on a solo trip through Europe. With plenty of travellers passing through the city you won’t find any shortage of new friends, making this a great city to escape day through night!

Best for: Lively nightlife, History

Cost: $20-$165 for a 3 star hotel // $4-$7 for a local budget lunch

4. Ljubljana

Not only is Ljubljana one of the most underrated capital cities in all of Europe but it is also a great city to visit solo as a base to explore Slovenia. As a country filled with natural beauty, Slovenia and its capital city are a great choice for the more active solo traveller.

Best for: Off the beaten path

Cost: $36-$151 for a 3 star hotel // $4-$8 for a local budget lunch

5. Amsterdam

As one of my first cities I visited solo on my year of adventures, Amsterdam will always hold a special place for me as one of the most beautiful, surreal cities to travel to solo and particularly so in winter (without the summer crowds!) Given this is such a hot spot destination for young travellers you are bound to meet plenty of fellow solo travellers, making this a great city to meet people and enjoy the historic sites around the city.

Best for: Lively nightlife, charm, friendly locals

Cost: $588-$218 for a 3 star hotel // $4-$8 for a local budget lunch

Birthday_In_London Birthday_In_London

6. London

While certainly not a budget destination by any means, London remains one of the greatest cities to travel solo thanks to the endless amount of activities on offer. Once you’ve worked your way through Central London (Big Ben, Westminster, St Paul’s, etc.) be sure to check out other neighbourhoods with more grungy, old school appeal. Shoreditch is a great starting point!

Best for: Activities, sightseeing, nightlife

Cost: $54-$323 for a 3 star hotel // $7-$12 for a budget local lunch

Berlin, Prenzlauer Berg

7. Berlin

This list would certainly not be complete without mention of my old stomping grounds: Berlin. This city is brimming with fabulous nightlife, cheap eats, and plenty of expats from all corners of the globe.

Best for: Expats, Central location

Cost: $25-$155 for a 3 star hotel // $4-$10 for a local budget lunch

Paris is always a good idea

8. Paris

Almost any list containing the best cities in Europe no matter what the classification, would be incomplete without mention of Paris! Although an expensive city to visit in terms of accommodation, Paris is relatively affordable if you’re in the know. Be sure to check out the Latin Quarter for cheap eats, don’t be afraid of the language barrier and remember the best way to see this city is free (on foot!)

Best for: Culture, Sightseeing, Charm

Cost: $70-$372 for a 3 star hotel // $6-$10 for a local budget lunch

9. Barcelona

When you think of Spain you’ll be forgiven for thinking straight to Barcelona – one of Europe’s most trending cities for young travellers, especially if you’re riding solo! You will be thrilled by the generosity, kindness and hospitality of residents here and believe me when I say this is a difficult city not to enjoy!

Best for: Lively nightlife, Expats, Food

Cost: $38-$323 for a 3 star hotel // $5-$9 for a local budget lunch

alfama_neighbourhood_guide

10. Lisbon

Although much more discovered today than it was five or six years ago, Lisbon still retains a lot of hidden charm to be discovered. Visiting this solo is great due to the low cost, charm and colour of the city that has a way of bringing a smile to your face.

Best for: Charm, Low cost

Cost: $27-$151 for a 3 star hotel // $4-$8 for a local budget lunch

Guide_To_Tuscany

11. Florence

As one of the prettiest cities in Italy and absolutely full of history and art culture, there is no way that any solo traveller would not enjoy Florence. With plenty of expat students studying in the city you won’t have any trouble meeting people, which is also a great way to explore the city with someone in the know!

Best for: History, Art, Culture

Cost: $41-$209 for a 3 star hotel // $5-$10 for a local budget lunch

12. Rome

Ahhh Rome… the eternal city! If you happen to be a solo traveller that needs to keep busy, you’ll be sure to find endless options of things to see and do in Rome. This is a bucket list city that every traveller should be able to experience at least once in their life, so be sure to allow yourself a decent amount of time to explore it.

Best for: History (lots of it!)

Cost: $30-$317 for a 3 star hotel // $5-$10 for a local budget lunch

Positano_Amalfi_Coast

13. Naples

Another great city to find yourself in in Italy is Naples – even if it is only for the pizza!!! Naples is of course where pizza began, but it is also the gateway to the Amalfi coast – my absolute favourite area to explore in Italy (though in all honesty there are many!)

Best for: Gateway to the Amalfi, Pizza

Cost: $23-$126 for a 3 star hotel // $4-$7 for a local budget lunch

Antwerp_Belgium

14. Antwerp

Although Belgium is not often a first choice in Europe, I can promise you from first hand experience it is a destination you will not regret visiting. Belgium is full of charming towns and cities, none that surprised me more than Antwerp – a fashion forward city full of young people, great coffee and a great downtown area to explore solo.

Best for: Nightlife, coffee scene, city explorations

Cost: $43-$177 for a 3 star hotel // $6-$10 for a local budget lunch

15. Gent

Another city I adored travelling solo through is Gent, just a short train ride from the better known nearby city of Brugges (which is of course gorgeous too!) Gent is a great choice for solo travellers as it has a huge student population, making it a fun city to go out in of a night time and meet the local crowds.

Best for: Student nightlife, charm

Cost: $52-$168 for a 3 star hotel // $5-$8 for a local budget lunch

16. Warsaw

The capital of Poland, Warsaw, was a city I managed to overlook on my first visit to Poland but on my second visit I am so glad I made the decision to visit the capital. Warsaw is a paradox at every turn, with various architecture styles taking you through various points in history.

Best for: Modern world history, Low cost

Cost: $28-$95 for a 3 star hotel // $2-$4 for a local budget lunch

17. Krakow

Another city I thoroughly enjoyed visiting in Poland is Krakow, located in the South of Poland and also with a lot of history to discover. If you’re a history buff like me you will already have this city on your must visit list, especially if interested in modern world history in the region. Krakow also has a huge student population, giving it a great nightlife and plenty of friendly locals to meet!

Best for: Modern world history, student nightlife, charm

Cost: $27-$108 for a 3 star hotel // $2-$5 for a local budget lunch

18. Dubrovnik

One destination that has truly flung itself on to solo travellers in the past few years is Croatia and in particular, Dubrovnik. This coastal town is anything but sleepy, attracting young travellers from all over the globe by the droves. This is a great place to meet fellow travellers or begin a new adventure, sailing the coast in a Northerly direction towards Split.

Best for: Scenery, Charm, Coastal town

Cost: $33-$250 for a 3 star hotel // $4-$8 for a local budget lunch

19. Riga

Although less talked about, Riga is one of Europe’s most underrated capital cities. Full of charm and not nearly as full of tourists as other capital cities, Riga is a true gem to stopover for a couple of days exploring. If you plan to venture even further away from the crowds, you will find Latvia a great place to do so beyond the capital.

Best for: Meeting locals, Charm

Cost: $19-$72 for a 3 star hotel // $3-$6 for a local budget lunch

20. Tallinn

Last but not least – Tallinn! This gorgeous little capital took my heart in just a day as it often does for many visitors who make their way here on a ferry day trip from nearby Helsinki. I adored this city for its old world charm, friendly locals and al fresco dining culture in the summer.

Best for: Meeting locals, Charm

Cost: $38-$102 for a 3 star hotel // $3-$8 for a local budget lunch

21 Trending Destinations to Visit in 2017

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With a new year upon us and adventure in the midst, I present to you the top 21 trending destinations to visit in 2017! Many of these destinations have sprung to international spotlight recently and many have undergone revamped tourism initiatives to draw back the crowds, though the one thing each destination shares in common is how unique an experience they offer. From Kyoto to Madagascar, these are the destinations you will want on your bucket list this year!

Kyoto, Japan

The old city of Kyoto offers visitors a Japanese experience you’ll soon realise is hard to find beyond the ancient capital itself. As if kept in a time capsule, Kyoto best displays old Japan and its many traditions that have stood the test of time and urbanisation.

Read more: 20 Reasons to go to Japan (like, five minutes ago!)

(image via Flickr)

Cork, Ireland

Just a short plane ride from the mainland of Europe is Ireland, a country rich in history, scenery and with one of the most laid back friendly cultures you will find in Western Europe. Down on the southwest coast of Ireland is one of the countries’ most idyllic and picturesque towns: Cork. You’ll find oodles of charm, colour and colourful characters in this part of Ireland!

Read more: 8 Places you must visit in Ireland

(image via Flickr)

Nepal

After the 2015 earthquake shattered tourism in Nepal, now is as good a time as any to continue supporting this adventurous country that is best known for its hiking and outdoor terrains that make this one of the most scenic countries to explore.

Serengeti, Tanzania

Lions, giraffes, zebras – you name it. If a safari is on your bucket list for 2017, you might want to consider taking the authentic route to Serengeti National Park in Tanzania. This has hands down got to be one of the most beautiful countries to get out and explore in the wild!

Read more: My safari in Tanzania

5 things you must experience in Iceland

(image by Emma Kate for World of Wanderlust)

Reykjavik, Iceland

Reykjavik and Iceland more generally have been high on bucket lists for the past few years, but with the magic and beauty of this small country continuing to wow visitors, there really is no reason not to visit Iceland in 2017! The Blue Lagoon and Reykjavik are just the beginning of your adventures.

Read more: 5 Things you must experience in Iceland

(image via Flickr)

Mongolia

I have always wanted to travel to Mongolia but in 2017 I’m hoping to make it happen! The goal would be to travel the Trans-Siberian Railway, though I’d happily take a couple of weeks in the wilderness of this untouched country!

Norfolk_Island_South_Pacific

Norfolk Island, Australia

One of my highlights of 2016 and for sure the best uncovered secret was right in my own backyard. Norfolk Island is just a couple hours flight from Sydney and has got to be one of the most beautiful islands in the whole country. The island is sparsely populated around the coastline, making it a world of adventure in its own right.

Read more: Australia’s best kept secret: Why you must visit Norfolk Island

(Image via Flickr)

Colombia

With the hit series Narcos on Netflix comes a lot of rejuvenated interest in Colombia and its natural beauty. Tourism is rapidly starting to pick up throughout Colombia as the safety and subsequently its’ image have improved since the days of Pablo Escobar. If you find yourself in South America be sure not to overlook Colombia as it appears to be one of those “must visit now” destinations that will gain rapid popularity in the coming years.

(Image via Flickr)

Ethiopia

Off the beaten path on the continent of Africa you will find plenty of serenity throughout the country of Ethiopia. This country first entered my radar when my family visited over a decade ago to adopt, making the trip into an exploration around the country and showcasing its beauty. Since then Ethiopia has really opened up to tourism and this is quickly becoming a must visit destination in Africa.

Saint Petersburg, Russia

One city I vouch to return to in 2017 is the former capital of Russia and one of my favourite cities in Europe (which you’ll know if you’ve read my book!) – Saint Petersburg. This city is brimming with royal history, artefacts to discover and culture to explore.

Read more: A Quick Guide to Saint Petersburg, Russia

(image by Emma Bates for World of Wanderlust)

Kenya

Another popular country on the continent of Africa is Kenya, though with tourism booming I’d say now is the best time to go (as I’m sure popularity will only increase!) Giraffe Manor allows you to even feed giraffes at breakfast – talk about ultimate bucket list!!!

Read more: 6 Things to Know before Visiting Kenya

A Quick Guide to San Antonio | World of Wanderlust

San Antonio, Texas

Another great discovery in 2016 was San Antonio in Texas. The city has a name for being one of the most charming cities in Texas, though this has improved even more so since the opening of Hotel Emma. The hotel and the surrounding neighbourhood is a mecca for great food, local artisans and weekly farmer’s markets.

Read more: A Quick Guide to San Antonio

(Image via Flickr)

Savannah, USA

Another hotspot in the United States that has been on my radar for a while is Savannah. Here you will find ultimate Southern Charm… and I’m not just talking about the gentlemen! The town is full of history, charm and beautiful parks and acts as the perfect representation of what the Southern lifestyle is all about.

Belize

Another hot spot destination that recently hit my radar is Belize – an adventure seekers’ paradise! If tubing down rivers, horseback riding to mayan ruins and endless underwater activities sound like paradise to you, consider it found!

Read more: Weekly Wanderlust – Take me to Belize!

(Image via Flickr)

Myanmar

One destination I refuse to miss this year is Myanmar. Having recently opened up to tourism and quickly gaining popularity as a must visit in Southeast Asia, now is the time to Myanmar!

(Image via Flickr)

Bermuda

If you’re looking for off the beaten path natural beauty, you will find all that and more in Bermuda. The sunsets are to die for, the food incredibly fresh and the people warm and friendly. Just as an added bonus – there are pink sand beaches!!! What more could you ask for!?

Amazon Jungle

Iquitos, Amazon, Peru

Iquitos is the gateway to the Amazon Jungle and as such it must be a top destination for 2017! One of my favourite trips I have ever taken was to cruise the Amazon river and spend 5 days amongst the wildlife, meeting locals and indulging in Peruvian cuisine.

Read more: Cruising the Amazon

(Image via Flickr)

Tahiti

My first trip of 2017 absolutely has to make the list because it is a destination I have long wanted to travel to and now that it is happening I can hardly believe it is almost here! Bora Bora traditionally takes the spotlight in Tahiti but there are many reasons to visit this paradise. Polynesian culture, great food and crystal clear waters are just the beginning.

(image via Frank Vassen / Flickr)

Madagascar

For the past few years Madagascar has been on my radar but in 2017 I really hope to make this trip finally happen! This beautiful country has been gaining popularity over recent years but if you’re after untouched beauty and minimal westernization, you will still (thankfully) find all that and more. Lets make it happen in 2017!

(Image via Flickr)

Portland, Oregon, USA

After many trips to the United States over recent years I have found all of my favourite trips to be beyond Los Angeles and New York (though I do love NYC!) One city that has topped my list as a must visit in 2017 is Portland, located a short drive from Vancouver, Canada, if you fancy a border crossing!

(Image via Flickr)

Banff, Canada

Last but not least – I am dying to visit Banff National Park this year. Later in the year I am planning a trip back to Canada and if a picture tells a thousand words, I need not explain why Banff is on the top of my list!

Read more: Canadian Bucketlist

Over to you! Where will you be headed in 2017?