I simply love travel and often offer my friends and family unsolicited advice on where to go when they embark on an overseas adventure from Australia. Here are some of my favourite travel destinations that are great holiday options and offer everything in the way of culture, nature, culinary heaven, friendly locals and rich history.
Lush green rolling pastures, fresh air, pubs in the middle of nowhere offering prime live and local music; you will have all this and more when you visit Europe’s emerald haven of Ireland. The best way to see the country is to hire a car and complete a loop, making time to experience the highlights of both Northern Ireland and the Republic. Everwhere you go you will discover friendly locals willing to go out of their way to enhance your stay. For an unforgettable experience don’t miss a tour of the haunting murals in Belfast, the breathtaking Giant’s Causeway, Kylemore Abbey, the Ring of Kerry and of course, the vibrant and lively city of Dublin. But, don’t be afraid to get off the beaten path to stumble across ancient castle ruins and silent lakes.If you’re a passionate trekker, walk the spectacular Wicklow Way in County Wicklow (featured above), a 7 day walk that will linger in your memory long after you return.
Plan for at least 2 – 3 weeks to see the highlights of the country and be ready to immerse yourself in a mythic wonderland with green, green everywhere.
Anyone looking to awaken their senses and feel alive will simply adore Vietnam. I often say that this South East Asian country offers total sensory overload and has some of the best food in the world. If it’s your first visit be sure to stop by the alluring coastal town of Hoi An to encounter one of the world’s most beautiful ancient towns or the chaos of Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi. To escape the hustle and bustle of Vietnamese life, take a tour down the peaceful Mekong River, trek amongst the rice fields in Sapa or stay at one of the popular resorts in Nha Trang. Eat as much as you can and drink in the beautiful chaos that is Vietnam. You will return home feeling refreshed, informed and ready to return.
Hola! This popular South America destination is at the top of my list of favourite countries. It is the home to the sacred ruins of Machu Picchu, the jaw-dropping Colca Canyon and Puno, a great place to view Lake Titicaca at an impressive surface elevation of 3,812 metres. Peru is one of the easiest places to visit in South America (along with Argentina and Chile) and has a convenient luxury bus system to deliver you safely from destination to destination. If you’re on a budget but desperate to hike to Machu Picchu, choose the Salkantay Trek over the Inca Trail as it has better availability and is less than a quarter of the price at around $180 USD for a five day trek.
Maybe it’s because I studied German for 8 years, but there is something alluring about this country. It’s full of fairytalesque castles, culture-packed cities, picture-perfect towns and mouth-watering carbohydrate-packed foods. Budget for at least 2 -4 weeks in this diverse country and don’t miss a visit to the cultured metropolis of Berlin, traditional Munich, picture-perfect and romantic Rottenburg Ob Der Tauber or laidback Cologne. Food wise, don’t miss a Bretzel or two and the traditional Weiss Bier. Take a sobering insight into the past at the concentration camp, Dachau, located just a short drive from Munich.
Before I flew into Mexico from the UK, I was terrified – imagining streets packed with gun-carrying, drug crazy locals. I was wrong (thanks to the media). The country has a thriving heartbeat and no shortage of mouth-watering cuisine and colourful, vibrant towns and cities. If you want beach, culture and food then you will find it all here. Don’t miss out on a visit to Oaxaca, Mexico City, Puebla and the spectacular coastal town of Tulum with iconic Mayan ruins perched on the cliff (featured above).
Those who read my blog will know that the Great Wall of China is perhaps one of the most awe inspiring sights that I ever did see. A visit to this country can cause a slight culture shock at first but once you overcome this you will be blown away by its fascinating culture, bustling cities and unique history. Highlights of China include the charming town of Lijiang in Yunan Province and the nearby Tiger Leaping Gorge as well as Xian and Beijing. If you’re visiting China over the winter months (as I did) don’t hesitate to head to the border of Russia where you will find the town of Harbin: a true winter wonderland home to the ice festival (don’t forget to pack your thermals!)
Over to you! What’s your favourite country in the world?