So thanks to the likes of Pinterest & Instagram my wanderlust list (much like my ‘restaurants I need to eat at’ list) seems to be growing and growing and growing.
There are just way too many cool and beautiful places in this world that I need to visit and, oh woe is fucking me…never enough time or money to do it!
*brb just off to play the lottery*
That said, I’m trying to create a priority list of places that are at least doable in the next couple of years. So after a bit of umming and ahhhing I’ve narrowed my hit list down to five places for this year.
I don’t, by any means, imagine I’ll get to visit all of these places in a year…
(unless my boss decides that instead of sitting in our Soho office replying to client emails I need to fly around the world on his time & money?! A girl can dream eh!)
…but, regardless, let’s cross our fingers, toes, legs, arms and any other limbs we may have that at least two or even three of these places get a nice big fat tick next to it come December 2016, eh?
So here you have it gang – my 2016 Wanderlust List – complete with itineraries because I’m nothing if not thorough and a bit of a holiday planning dork…seriously I shoulda been a travel agent!
Lake Bled – Slovenia
For some reason Slovenia hadn’t even registered on my travel hit-list until I spotted a picture of Lake Bled.
As soon as I did, it pretty much went straight to the top of the list and I went into over-drive researching everything about that fairytale place.
I mean doesn’t it look like something out of a Disney film, like a scene from Tangled or Beauty & the Beast. Swoon! And much like an actual Disney film, it’s so beautiful and picturesque, that it makes me want to burst into spontaneous (yet perfectly choreographed) song & dance every time I see it.
“Beauty & Lake Ble-ed!”.
But I promise I won’t…not just yet anyway.
The other beauty about Lake Bled is that it looks like a place you can visit almost any time of the year.
I mean yeah, sure, it’s probably feckin’ freezing in winter but the snowy tree tops and frozen lake (*starts humming the tune to ‘Let it Go’*) must make quite the picture postcard and apparently you’re not far from the mountains either, so you could squeeze a day of skiing if you’re keen.
As for Autumn, well, don’t even get me started on the absolute cacophony of colour on the trees at that time of year! And then there’s the beautiful blossoms come Spring. Yup, it’s pretty obvious Lake Bled is a real looker all year round!
As for me, I’d be hoping to visit for a long weekend sometime in May or June, not quite peak summer but not when there’s snow on the ground.
I’d fly into Ljubljana – no idea how you actually pronounce that? – which is the capital of Slovenia. I stay here for a night or two, taking in the sites and eating as much food as possible (it is me we’re talking about after all)…
(I’ve been looking at Romina’s place on Airbnb and dreaming of cold glass of wine in the garden!)
…before heading over to Lake Bled for a couple nights of glamping – check out Travel with Kat’s post here about glamping in Lake Bled, and tell me you don’t want to stay in one of the cute huts with a hot-tub eh?!
While there, I’d obviously take a dip in the Lake and then catch a boat across it to the island in the middle. Here I could admire the view from the Castle (read Have Blog Will Travel’s post on how to see it for freeeeee!) and then I’d round things off by scoffing one Lake Bled’s famous cream slices.
I’d also make sure I took a trip to the nearby Vintgar Gorge which looks just as striking as the lake. Oh Mother Nature you absolute dreamboat.
Well unless I was able to spend seven days in Slovenia.
Yup, money & holiday time permitting, I would preferably book a 7 day trip instead of a long weekend. That way, after my stay in Lake Bled, I could head down to the coast and stay in Piran or Portorož – visiting the castle & caves on the journey down.
Situated right on the sea-front, Piran & Portorož are known as Slovenia’s riviera. The towns are steeped in history, Piran being the quainter of the two. Portorož is for the more flash traveller, boasting lots of luxury hotels & spas as well as three casinos!
Regardless of which one is more your bag, every blog post I’ve read on the two positively rave about their beauty, so nothing to worry about there.
Slovenia sure is starting to sound like one of the best looking places, to visit, in Europe!
For me personally, I would stay at Hobit’s Place in Piran which has a balcony overlooking the ocean. It just looks so adorable I mean…imagine having your breakfast looking at that view!
As for activities well I’d spend my time just walking around the teeny weeny streets of both towns, scoping out the sights and enjoying all different cultural influences. Being sandwiched between Austria & Italy means that these towns are a melting pot of food, architecture and people!
Finally after a few nights living it up on the Slovenian riviera, I’d round off my trip by heading across the boarder to Italy for a night in Trieste which is only 45 minutes away from Piran by car.
And this guys, is where my trip would end. I’d fly from Trieste back to London and pat myself on the back for a trip well done. – I mean it sure sounds like a pretty incredible itinerary right?
Easyjet fly to Ljubljana for around £170 rtn and Airbnb has so many gorgeous places to rent for between £30-£100 p/n depending on how luxurious you like your accommodation to be.
One way flights from Trieste to London start from a shockingly cheap £20 one way but it is with Ryanair so there’s that.
In terms of getting around Slovenia and over to Trieste I found a website called GoOpti which offers private car transfer for £40 per person or shared car transfers from around £15.75. You can in fact travel around most of Europe with them so definitely worth a look if you don’t fancy hiring a car which can be costly and a bit of a headache!
Have any of you lot been to Slovenia? Did you realise it was a hidden travel gem? I’m really hoping this is one place I visit this year.
Ubud / Seminyak – Bali
OK so I’ve got a *little* confession to make. I’ve actually already booked my trip to Bali for this year! So there’s a big tick on this list for Ubud & Seminyak already. A wooo to the muddafuckin’ hoo.
I’ll be heading over there in September with my feller and we’ll be stopping off in Singapore, on the way, to spend a few days with my pal Michelle who moved there a year or so ago.
She’ll be showing us the sights of Singapore and in fact, she actually sent me a spreadsheet (yup she’s as organised and as dorky as me) detailing the plans for our time there. Think Marina Bay Sands hotel, Gardens by the Bay and a night safari at Singapore Zoo.
I actually heart her.
After Singapore, Michelle and her fiancé will then hop over to Bali for the weekend with my boyfriend and I. They’ll show us their favourite haunts (having visited many times before) and then head back to Singapore on Monday, leaving us to fend for ourselves for the remainder of our trip.
I literally CANNOT WAIT!!!
With only seven months to go I’ve already planned as much as I can and it all looks so bloody amazing I actually feel like crying with happiness, every time I think about it.
We’ll be spending the first weekend in Seminyak, the more up market part of southern Bali rather than the ‘Australian Malia’ part I’ve been told so much about (I think that part is called Kuta?).
That said, Seminyak does have a very healthy tourism industry and we’ll be indulging fully. I plan to spend the days enjoying their breathtakingly beautiful beaches and the nights stuffing my face in one of the many top quality restaurants (particularly keen to enjoy a bit of suckling pig at Barbecoa).
There are also cocktails with my name on them at the Potato Head beach club and if I don’t pose for a picture under the bamboo tunnel entrance to the W-hotel, well I may as well give up social media now.
If I’m feeling really wild, I may even partake in a few surf lessons as I’ve heard the waves are pretty epic…when in Bali, after all?
Accommodation wise my jaw has hit the floor on numerous occasions whilst searching Airbnb for places to stay. Seminyak has so many gorgeous luxury villas with private pools that cost the same price as a night in a pokey B&B in London it’s RIDONC.
Go and have a butchers over on Airbnb at what I mean. Oh Bali ya beauty!! Get me there now.
After a few days beaching it up & kicking back in Seminyak we’re going to head up to Ubud which is further north and known as the creative hub of Bali – basically a hippies paradise. *peace sign emojis*
Here you can walk or cycle (hmmm maybe not, knowing my history with bikes) around the rice paddies, visit some of the gorgeous temples, maybe dabble in some yoga babez, make a stop off at Money forest…and top of my list…do a sunrise hike up Mount Batur.
Being a ‘pretty sky’ obsessive (seriously I can’t not take a picture of a good one) the idea of watching the sunrise from the top of a mountain in Bali is like hashtag top of this gals bucket list. Someone pass me a tissue, I think I’m welling up again.
For our Ubud digs, Namaste here: Jungle Retreat
(nah, Im a stay – geddit??? You’ve gotta love a good dad-pun!)
Although I haven’t booked yet because other hotels keep catching my eye. Just like Seminyak the standard of places to in stay in Ubud, are unreal.
After a few days of finding ourselves in Ubud and being cultural as fuck, we’ll head back to Seminyak…feeling totally zen…(and maybe do a trip to Gili Island?)…for a few more beach days before catching our flight back to Singapore and finally, back to the UK.
We booked flights with Emirates for around £500 each. They aren’t direct so we’ll be stopping off in Dubai for an hour or so each way before carrying on for another seven hours to Singapore. Yawn. (not really, I LOVE and in-flight movie fest.)
Flights from Singapore to Bali are working out to be roughly £80 each and this is flying with Air Asia.
If anyone has any Bali tips or hints, please chuck them my way so I can add them to my own snazzy spreadsheet.
(still chucklingly to myself about my Namaste pun. lol. I’m hilarious aren’t I.)
After outing myself as a ‘pretty sky’ addict above, I didn’t really have a choice whether or not to include Iceland on my Wanderlust list.
You see, Iceland is a perfect location to see the Aurora Borealis. Or as it’s better known, The Northern Lights…aka The prettiest sky in the world.
So really, if I wanna see those gorgeous green and pink hues that magically appear in the sky it’s less of a case of ‘wanting’ to go and more a case of NEEDING to visit Iceland. Ugh, if I really have too!
I’d visit in winter as the best time to see the Northern Lights is between October & March. Be warned though, sightings are sporadic (<<< shoutout to the film Clueless for teaching me that word) so count yourself lucky if you do manage to see them.
Thankfully there are loads of other fun things to in Iceland when you’re not sitting around waiting for the northern lights to show up…even if it is bloody freezing.
You can ride a sleigh pulled by Huskies, take a dip in the Blue Lagoon (a hot natural spring) and try some Icelandic delicacies like puffin or whale…orrrrr maybe not.
I’d also probs get a car and drive around the mad, snowy, Star Wars style landscape. And I’d go to the Gullfoss waterfall because I love the name of it and it looks pretty cool.
I’d also go to that place where the water fires out of the earth (it’s called Geyser, just googled it) and then I’d go and take pics of that cool looking cathedral for ultimate Instagram grid goals (I talk about Instagram an awful lot don’t I?).
See there’s loads to do!
Because of the sub-zero temperatures I would definitely only visit for a long weekend. I legit don’t think my puny body could handle more than four days in weather that cold. Unless Canada Goose are willing to do me a custom-made onesie for the trip?
(If Canada Goose PR team happen to be reading this, feel free to holla atcha gal. *winky face*)
Hotel wise? I would LOVE to stay Kakslauttanen (check it out here – hubba, hubba) as it’s a perfect spot for northern lights viewing. Sadly it isn’t exactly cheap. Although, if I win the lottery this week, we’re hunny percent booking the presidential suite*!
(*disclaimer: not even sure if they do suites, let alone presidential ones but that’s what rich people say isn’t it?.)
Flights to Reykjavik start from £130 but that’s flying with WOW air and I’m not sure how reliable they are? I’ve also read that the baggage options with them isn’t the greatest (I think you have to even pay for a small, normally, hang-luggage size bag) – If you’ve flown with them before, let me know what you thought.
Ice, Ice baby!!!
Cappadocia – Turkey
Whenever I used to think of Turkey I’d get awful visions of brits abroad, cheap package holidays and a strip of road with loud bars blaring out David Guetta and offering ten shots for ten euros. Not exactly my idea of a holiday. Well not since I was 17 anyway!
Then I saw the above picture of Cappadocia and everything changed.
I fell head over heels with the idea of visiting and consequently dove head first into another manic researching bubble, finding out everything I could about Cappadocia, balloon rides and the lesser known parts of Turkey.
Once again I ended up planning a full trip, travelling around as much of Turkey as a week would allow. So here you go guys, my little Turkish itinerary…
I decided that return flights to Antalya on the coast was the best place to start as you can get them for dirt cheap from the UK and you can’t fly direct to Cappadocia (the best airports for Cappadocia are either Nevsehir or Göreme).
Antalya is slap bang on the Turquoise Coast, a beautiful stretch of sunshine, sand and…you guessed it…turquoise blue sea!
I have a feeling some of the resorts in this region would be full of those lovely aforementioned ‘brits abroad’ – there are a lot of big luxury hotels and the nightlife scene is pretty hectic – so to avoid them I’d only spend one night in Antalya itself, before catching another flight up to Nevsehir.
From Nevsehir I would either get a taxi or organise a private transfer with my hotel / accommodation to Göreme where I’d stay for a few days.
The hotels and guest houses in Göreme are built into the rocky landscape and are completely and utterly charming. Check out the Cappadocia Cave Suites to see what I mean. Amazing huh?
My main reason for visiting Göreme & Cappadocia would be to get my arse on one of those hot air balloon rides a la the picture at the top^^^. I mean OBVIOUSLY.
From a bit of initial digging on the internet, it seems like Butterfly Balloons are a solid tour operator to book with and the flight really looks like a once in a lifetime thing to do.
After I’ve ticked the balloon ride off my bucket list and got my fill of the regions kababs, I’d fly back to Antalya and go straight onto Çirali, a small village right on the coast and just over an hour from Antalya airport.
Here you can stay in THE cutest beach huts and escape it all. Check out these I found on Airbnb. The perfect holiday hideout.
As Çirali is a protected natural area it’s fairly unspoilt by tourism, meaning you can fully relax and enjoy a peaceful break. I’d spend my time devouring books on the beach whilst soaking up the sun and searching for loggerhead sea turtles which nest in the area!
Return Flights from London to Antalya start from around £130 with Easyjet. Flights from Antalya to Nevsehir are roughly £60 return with Turkish Airlines.
Balloon flights are anywhere from £130-£250 depending on the package you book but the memories from this trip would be absolutely priceless.
Let’s get booking eh?
Edinburgh – Scotland
After my staycation last year in the Lake District, I’m now seriously up for seeing a bit more of my own Great Britain.
Couple this with the fact that I’ve never been to Scotland and a glowing recommendation from my sister that Edinburgh was ‘one of her favourite cities ever’ and really, it would have been rude not to include it on my Wanderlust list.
So yes, I want to go to the Scottish city of Edinburgh.
I’d fly up from London, coz ain’t nobody got time or patience to take the train or drive.
In addition trains to Scotland are also always normally pricier than flying and driving up would mean that you can’t down all the prosecco at the same time like say…you could if you were on a plane.
And really everyone should be downing prosecs when they’re off on a jolly holiday, shouldn’t they?
Obvious points of interest include Arthur’s seat which truth be told, I only know about from reading the book / watching the film One Day. (oh lord what a sob-fest that one is).
It does look pretty impressive though! So, no matter how bad my fitness levels are I’d make sure I hiked up and admired the view from the top. I’d then let out a sigh of relief (or is it achievement?) as I looked down on just how far I’d come.
*shortly followed by an Arthur’s Seat selfie*
Afterwards I’d probably get a cocktail from Bon Vivant before strolling around the city admiring all the beautiful old buildings. And later in the evening I’d go to any one of the incredible restaurants bonny wee Edinburgh has to offer to sample a bit of haggis, down an Irn Bru and have a battered Mars bar – see a list of top 10 restaurants here – tbh I don’t think any of them do Irn Bru or battered Mars bars. Doh.
As a massive Harry Potter geek I’d get to live out some HP fantasies (Edinburgh is where JK Rowling thought him up, after all) and I’d also get to live out my Gin fantasies by partaking in a Gin cruise. Yes you heard me right. A Gin Cruise.
As a place to rest my head at night, I’d be very keen to stay at Malmaison and as I happen to be friends with almost the entire ex-staff of Malmaison Leeds (random I know) I’m aware that the standard of these hotels is very high indeed even if they used to have a bunch of absolute nutters working for them.
Flights to Edinburgh start from £30 from London…and at that cost it would be batshit not to book almost immediately. Wouldn’t it?
…And I would walk 500 mile and I would walk 500 more!!!
Come on gang, let’s go to Edinburgh!
So there you have it guys, my 2016 wanderlust list.
I’m beyond excited at the prospect of visiting some of these places over the next year or so which you can obviously looking forward to hearing all about right here on the blog.
Have you been any to any of these places? What would you recommend doing / staying / eating?
What’s on your wanderlust list for 2016? Take me with you?
Thanks for reading!