Top travel moments in 2016

2016 was a really busy year for me with several exciting trips to Europe and the US. In this blog I have tried to document some travel experiences because it is always fun to share some travel tips.

Here are my top travel moments and travel destinations of the year, in no particular order.

Giant’s Causeway, Northern Ireland

The Giant’s Causeway north of Belfast is a true natural wonder. It is an area of about 40,000 interlocking basalt columns, the result of an ancient volcanic eruption. The area is located by the sea about an 1-1,5 hour drive from Belfast and I promise you will be amazed by these peculiar octagon shaped stones and the surrounding magnificent cliffs.

Giants Causeway

 

Plitvice Lakes National Park, Croatia

Plitvice Lakes in Croatia is a unique natural park with 16 terraced crystal clear lakes and some 90 waterfalls. We visited the park during the summer and despite spending several hours walking the area, we probably didn’t even cover half of it. The park is a beautiful travel destination near the Adriatic Coast and if you plan to visit, don’t miss the climb up to the vantage point next to the largest water fall “Veliki slap”.

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City of Arts and Sciences, Valencia

If you like modern architecture, I can really recommend a trip to Valencia, which is a new favourite of mine. Tourism in the city is on the rise and I think it is an excellent alternative to the more crowded Barcelona nearby.

In the dried river bed that runs through Valencia, a number of astonishing buildings have been built in recent years. The City of Arts and Sciences, or Ciutat de les Arts i les Ciències, is a complex of spectacular buildings, many of them designed by the famous architect Santiago Calatrava who was born in Valencia.

Museu de les Ciències Príncipe Felipe
Museu de les Ciències Príncipe Felipe

 

Naples, Florida

Like most people, I’m a big fan of white sandy beaches and sunsets, and few places are better positioned for this than the west coast of Florida. During our latest trip to Florida, we combined a few days on Miami Beach with a week in Naples. It was a cosy town with beautiful beaches and dolphins swam round the Pier all day, which was a fun sight.

Naples Pier, Florida

La Sagrada Familia, Barcelona

Barcelona and London are probably the foreign cities I’ve visited most times. The Catalan capital is a favourite destination and the pinnacle of a visit is of course a tour of Gaudí ‘s La Sagrada Familia. The church is moving closer to being finished and don’t miss the walk up one of the towers. The view is quite spectacular.

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Thanks for following the blog during 2016. Looking forward to new travel experiences in 2017.

Day trip to Plitvice Lakes National Park

The main reason we booked our trip to Croatia this summer was because we wanted to experience the wonder of Plitvice Lakes ( Plitvička Jezera in Croatian). It’s the largest national park in Croatia and a UNESCO World Heritage site, located near the border to Bosnia and Herzegovina.

It’s a four hour drive from Pula where we spent the first few days. That was about an hour longer than what we had expected but on the other hand we got some spectacular views along the winding roads up and down the mountains. We started off early in the morning from Pula and drove up to the national park via a lunch break with stunning views in the coastal town Senj.

Where to enter the park

The park is so vast that it’s probably not possible to see all of it during one day. We chose Entrance 2 since we had read that the lines were shorter there, and they were. We parked the car and bought tickets at the entrance without having to wait at all.

The lakes have absolutely crystal clear water but you are not allowed to swim in it because it would disturb the delicate balance in the sensitive ecosystem.

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Lower Lakes at Plitvice Lakes National Park

From Entrance 2 we took two boat rides and then walked along the lakes and waterfalls of the middle and lower parts of the water system. Our goal was to reach Veliki Slap, the Big Waterfall, which with it’s 78 meters is the largest waterfall in the park.

How to get the best photo of Plitvice Lakes

Once there you want to climb up to the vantage point where you can take some fantastic photos, like the one that is on the entrance ticket. To do that you need to climb up the path that is located to the left of the big waterfall and climb it all the way to the top. Keep right and you will eventually reach a paved road. Keep going to the right passed a small bridge and then immediately take the path to the right and you will soon see the lookout with views of most of the lower lakes. Don’t miss this, it’s quite breathtaking.

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View from the vantage point above the Big Waterfall

We spent several hours at the park and only managed to see half of it. But after a four hour drive and a long day at the park, we had to leave for our rented Airbnb place in the nearby town of Korenica. (Don’t forget, if you sign up to Airbnb via this link we both get a coupon worth 35 USD off our next stay.)

I would have loved to stay another day but we had to get back to Pula and our flight back to Sweden the next day.

Although there are both tram cars and boats (included in the entrance fee) to take you between the different spots, be prepared to walk a great deal. That way you will also get the best views from this magnificent place.

Here are some more photos from our visit.

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