Travel trends are fascinating, aren’t they? It seems like travelers today are searching more than ever before to discover places that are not overrun by tourists. Even destinations themselves, are looking for ways to limit the number of tourists visiting their cities.
So, as we say goodbye to the 2010s and hello to the 2020s, travelers are in search of visiting places that are special and authentic, those hidden gems that are still full of character and charm.
I decided to reach out to my travel blogging community and ask what is a special place that is worth visiting right now? That led me to collaborate with 17 other travel content writers (please be sure to check out their websites) to develop The 20 Best Travel Places in 2020, listed in alphabetical order by country.
A big thank you to those amazing, professional and inspiring travel bloggers who collaborated with me on this special post. I hope some of these hidden gems inspire your 2020 travel plans! And, don’t forget your travel insurance, click here for your free quote.
(Photo credit for cover photo: Julia Bocchese of Through Julia’s Lens).
Travel Blogger The Holidaymaker (aka me, Renee) of Dream Plan Experience
If you are looking for the postcard-perfect European town that is steeped in old-world charm look no further than the hidden gem of Dinant. It simply has one of the most striking settings – as it sits on a narrow stretch of land between steep cliffs and the Meuse River.
Dinant, a historic fortress town in Belgium’s French-speaking Wallonia region, is just over an hour’s drive south of Brussels. Due to its close proximity and small compact size, it makes for the perfect day trip destination when in Belgium’s capital.
The impressive Citadel, built in 1051 and rebuilt in the 14th and 18th centuries was to control the Meuse valley. To visit it, you can either climb the 408 rock-hewn steps, my recommendation, or take the funicular. Once you arrive to the top you will be awarded with the lovely countryside views of the sweeping valley and river below. After WWII, the Citadel has turned into a war and history museum, and no longer acts as a fortress.
The Cathedral of Notre Dame was originally built as a Romanesque church in the 10th century. After a rock-slide in 1228, it was destroyed completely except an entryway on the north side. It was then rebuilt in Baroque and Gothic style later in that century. The pear-shaped bell tower was added in the 1600s.
Dinant is the birthplace for Leffe beer and the saxophone. Belgian beer connoisseurs would be interested in knowing that Leffe beer, was named after Notre-Dame de Leffe, the local abbey where monks began brewing in the 13th century. As well, Adolphe Sax, the inventor of the saxophone, was born in Dinant in 1814. Several saxophone sculptures are found all around the town’s center paying homage to this musical invention.
While most people who visit Belgium are likely to spend most of their time in Brussels, there are many more wonderful places to visit that are just as spectacular and a bit more authentic. Click here to read about 4 more hidden gems like Dinant.
Quebec City, Canada
Attache Ta Tuque! is a French Canadian expression, loosely translated as ‘hold onto your hats!’ (a tuque is a winter ski hat) you are going to learn to love the winter just as they do in Québec City. With average January temperatures of -13 degrees C (9°F) and lots of snow, people in Québec City could choose to hide indoors for the winter. Instead, they embrace the cold and make cold weather cool.
When life gives you snow—dance!
Québec City’s famous Carnaval (February 7-16, 2020) is the grand-daddy of winter festivals. Carnaval has multi-age appeal – think winter festival crossed with bar-hopping, dancing, skating and sledding.
On Carnaval’s opening night I joined a fireworks display and outdoor dance party. Dancing is an inclusive sport in Québec, I learned, as I joined the celebratory crowds of families with children, groups of teenagers, seniors, locals, and visitors. And these dance parties are held throughout the three weeks of the festival.
Quebec is famous for its food – think French-rooted food with an aboriginal or locally-grown or foraged food twist. At Carnaval I sampled la tire—fresh maple syrup that has been cooked to a gooey thickness, which is then poured onto fresh snow and hardened into taffy. Another Québeçois winter specialty is Caribou—a cold-weather drink (served hot!) that mixes brandy, vodka, sherry and port. Not for the faint-of-heart!
I’m always cold (despite having grown up in Canada), but I still was eager to try dog-sledding, snowshoeing, tobogganing and the apres-snow winter spas (it’s a tough job, but someone has to check out the spas!). I watched ice canoeing on the St. Lawrence River (seriously?? In February??) and the World Snowshoe Championships.
If you can’t get there in February….
Winter lasts a long time in Québec! The dogsledding, skiing, skating and fun happen from December to March! Click here to follow Québec Original on social media, or peruse their website for winter trip ideas.
If you or your child are studying French, visiting Québec City is the opportunity to bring real-world practice into play! If your French is rusty, let your child take the lead and translate and communicate for your family.
As a travel writer specializing in sustainable travel, I often recommend Americans and Canadians swap out a short trip to Europe with an overland journey to Québec where you can experience a European-style ambiance without the jet lag and the carbon footprint. Québec City is easily reached by train from many parts of northeastern US and Canada (Via Rail or Amtrack) or the airport.
Jane Snyder, based in Canada, specializes in local, environmental and family travel writing.
Adding Hvar, Croatia to your 2020 travel itinerary is an absolute must. Having been to many Croatian cities, Hvar is my favorite: full of natural beauty, friendly locals, and amazing nightlife. Located on an island not far from Split, it’s easy to access by ferry. When you unload from the ferry you will be greeted by sunshine and if you look to your left, views of the fortress that sits atop a hill. I definitely recommend hiking to the top for some spectacular panoramic views of the city and sea. Also, make sure to take a dip in the Adriatic Sea! If the shelly beaches aren’t for you, you can book a sailing tour that will take you out to sea and you can swim off the boat. Moreover, you can find a tour that allows for snorkeling or scuba diving if you’re interested in the sea-life. Or, if you’d rather stick to land rather than swim, you can take a sail or ferry to the other surrounding islands which have stunning parks and atmospheres as well! After, a day in the sunshine and water make sure to make your way downtown to experience the lively nightlife. I recommend Kiva bar for great drinks, music, and plenty of friendly locals and travelers alike! Just be ready for it to be shoulder to shoulder and a little sweaty! With Croatia being a growing travel destination, I recommend getting to Hvar sooner rather than later before this beauty gets overrun with tourism!
Click here for Stop, Drop, and Trek’s website.
Český Krumlov, Czech Republic
Prague might be first on your mind when you hear Czech Republic, but Český Krumlov will capture your imagination and your heart. Narrow cobblestone streets lined by picture perfect period houses, meandering S-shaped river, dimly lit taverns serving medieval feast, bears playing in the castle moat and imposing 13th century castle perched high up on the rock. With first settlements dating back to the Stone Age, for centuries Český Krumlov managed to avoid all major natural and man-made disasters. The result is one of the best preserved medieval towns in Europe and UNESCO World Heritage status to boot.
Just roaming around the fairy-tale old town, you will feel like you have stepped back to times when knights could be seen riding their horses through the very same streets you are walking on, merchants loudly bartering with their customers in the square market, children playing skip rope by the river and the family of Rosenberg overlooking it all from their majestic castle. Now add to it Europe’s best preserved baroque theater, unique revolving theater set in castle gardens, brewery, monastery, several museums and art galleries, period photo atelier and of course, the spectacular annual Five-Petaled Rose Festival, and you will never want to leave. Unless it is to hop upstream to catch a raft and float down the river Vltava admiring the picturesque countryside and sampling the copious river-side pubs and bars, before arriving bang in the middle of Český Krumlov’s old town.
Faroe Islands, Denmark
You know how Iceland was pretty unknown a few years ago, and now everyone you know is raving about it and the country is overrun with tourists? That could be what happens with the Faroe Islands in a few years, so you should visit now! The Faroe Islands are part of Denmark, and they sit in the Atlantic Ocean about halfway between Iceland and Denmark. Right now, not many countries fly directly to the Faroes, so the country isn’t overwhelmed with tourists yet.
So why visit the Faroes? The landscape is AMAZING! Of all the places I’ve photographed, the Faroe Islands is my favorite. You can see waterfalls, black sand beaches, incredible cliffsides, and the famous Hanging Lake optical illusion. The Faroes even have the oldest wooden house in the world!
If you like to get off-the-beaten-path and explore places without many people around, the Faroes are for you (and most of the hikes are pretty easy, so you don’t have to be an expert hiker). Many of the towns are small, and in most towns, I didn’t see a single person! But I did see a ton of sheep, which was a perk.
The people who live in the Faroes are proud of their country’s beauty and are putting a lot of effort into preserving it. They even shut down tourism for a few days each year to repair paths and fences (and they allow people from other countries to help if you want to volunteer).
The Faroe Islands are starting to gain in popularity, so if you want to see it before it gets crowded with tourists like Iceland, get your trip booked this year!
Saint Malo, France
France has so many nice places to visit it can be hard to choose just one! If you like history, the seaside and good food, one destination you wouldn’t want to miss is Saint Malo, in Brittany.
This is the perfect place to spend a romantic weekend, and it is an easy reach from Paris, with a 2h30 train ride. What I love about Saint Malo is that the city and its surroundings look so different depending of the hour of the day! This is due not only to the changing weather – causing fascinating variations of blue in the sea – but also to the tides. They give the coast different patterns, showing rocks, roads and even a hidden pool on the beach.
At low tide, you can walk to an island called le Grand-Bé, where the famous French writer Chateaubriand is buried. You have a great view on the old city skyline from there. But beware of the sea level, as you might spend a few hours stuck on this rock if the high tide catches you!
For droners like me, you will enjoy flying near the walled city to admire its beautiful landscape with the noticeable steeple of St Vincent Cathedral. Being able to fly so close from an urban area is quite rare in France, so enjoy!
You have to be aware that an ever changing weather is part of the charm of the region. So don’t forget to pack your K-Way and umbrella, and don’t let a little rain ruin all the fun as you walk along the long beaches or discover the lovely little streets in the old city.
And don’t worry, in case of bad weather, you have a lot to do, like singing in the rain, explore the many little shops or eat delicious oysters with a glass of white wine. My favorite of all? Give yourself a nice treat at the Thermal center, with Aquatonic spa. Depending on your budget, you might even consider a thermal therapy for one day or more!
Last but not least, don’t miss the local culinary specialties: start with French crepes and apple cider, and have a delicious kouign-amann for dessert!
Click here for French Touch Travel’s website.
Hamburg is a hidden treasure in Germany. When you say “Germany” abroad, people think of Berlin or Frankfurt. Not me. I was lucky to find this city, explore it, fall in love with it, and now call it home. To me, Hamburg is the best city. The city is so alive. Whether it be special events, parties, festivals or fairs there is always something to do for everyone. The charm, the architecture (those red bricks are everywhere) and the lovely people are what make Hamburg so special.
If you were to wander around the St. Pauli neighbourhood, known as the heart of Hamburg, you will find a large variety of bars, cafes, restaurants and parks. It is very close to the Port of Hamburg where almost all of the events take place. You could stroll the Planten un Blomen Park, a great place to enjoy breakfast at the café and take in the peaceful beauty of this park. And, in the winter, you can go ice skating.
If you love photography as much as I do, explore the Sternschanze and Rote Flora areas, it is full of amazing graffiti. The Port and the Portuguese quarter have plenty of small, local restaurants, cafés, bars and stores to enjoy. For nightlife, choose between this Sternschanze area (alternative, trendy) or Reeperbahn (wild and exquisite). At Reeperbahn, you can find the famous red-light and party districts of St Pauli. Bars for all genres make this area so fun and memorable. In the Rote Flora area there is a musical theater that has been hosting artists for 30 years making this also another option for a great night out in St. Pauli.
Some interesting facts about Hamburg… it has the largest Japanese garden in the Planten un Blomen park in all of Europe, it is where The Beatles started their career, playing at Reeperbahn; and it has been added to the UNESCO World Heritage Site list. Also, be sure to check out the historic Town Hall and Concert Hall some of Hamburg’s most iconic architecture. The list goes on and on; and for that reason it is what makes Hamburg one of the top places you should visit in 2020!
Click here for July’s The Urge to Discover website.
Nafplio is a beautiful town on the Peloponnese peninsula about 2 hours west of Athens. It was, in fact, the first capital of modern day Greece after the war of independence ended in 1832.
The town is located in a region called Argolis at the top of the Argolic Gulf on Nafplio Bay. It is nestled around the magnificent Palamidi Fort, a formidable Venetian fortress that is still in good repair in parts.
The old town is made up of charming, bougainvillea draped, cobblestone streets with many excellent shops and cafes as well as a number of upmarket boutique hotels and bars. One of those shops is in fact a Komboloi (worry beads) museum.
Other points of interest are the War Museum, housed in the former Military Academy, the prestigious Peloponnesian Folk Art Museum and the Town Hall in Trion Navarhon Square. There is a lovely pedestrian boulevard along the waterfront which is perfect for sunset drinks or a romantic stroll. The most photographed icon of the town is the small fort in the bay, the ‘Bourtzi’ which can also be visited by a small ferry.
One of the other wonderful things about Naflpio is its central proximity to many other amazing points of interest in the area. The ancient sites of Mycanae and Tiryns are a short drive away as is the famous sanctuary and amphitheatre of Epidavros. The Nemea wine region nearby is producing some of the most interesting, and awarded, wines in Europe. There are many excellent nearby beaches and beach bars including the resort town of Tolos where it is possible to visit the island of Spetses as a day trip.
Many people consider Nafplio one of the most beautiful towns in Europe and it is very easy to see why. It has certainly earnt a place in our hearts and we will be returning as soon as possible!
Click here for Greece Travel Secrets website.
Trim is a town in the historic county of Meath, in the Heart of “Ireland’s Ancient East” and where you can find Europe’s largest Norman Castle dating back to the 1170’s. Just 45 km and 1 hour from Dublin, this charming town is easily accessible by car and public transport via bus from Bus Eireann, Route 111.
Some of its notable former residents include the former British Prime Minister the Duke of Wellington, Sir Arthur Wellesley, and the author of the world renowned Gulliver’s Travels Jonathon Swift. So steeped in history, this town was once considered by Queen Elizabeth I as the site for Trinity College.
The Jewel in its crown is King John’s Castle or Trim Castle, situated in the center of the town. Fans of the blockbuster film, Braveheart will be surprised to discover that the ‘City of York’ was indeed Trim Castle and ‘London Square’ was just on the other side of the castle. Other filming locations in the area include Bective Abbey (where William Wallace was imprisoned). A guided tour of the castle grounds and keep is well worth the hour it takes to discover this imposing structure. For the best view in Trim, walk up the hill behind the castle to its complimenting steeple, the abbey’s bell tower – known as the Yellow Steeple. This is the perfect spot for a posh picnic with a view or to take spectacular photos of the Castle and St Patrick’s Church.
Trim has made CNN’S list of 10 places that can change your child’s life and was chosen as a destination town as part of Ireland’s tourism development for 2019. Perfect to visit at any time of the year, Trim has numerous festivals all year round, most notably the “PUCA Festival” which started this year to celebrate the surrounding areas association with the origins of Halloween. This is a town not to be missed if you are seeking a ‘local Irish’ experience not too far from Dublin.
Some other options for activities for the whole family to enjoy includes kayaking on the River Boyne or popping into the Bailey Bar located in Trim Castle Hotel which has one of the best views in the country to have a spot of lunch. Make sure and check out the James Griffin traditional pub for a pint of the black stuff!
The beauty of Trim as a destination is the fact that you can see all of its attractions in one day but it is also a fantastic base to explore the Boyne valley as a whole with the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Newgrange and the ancient Hill of Tara also located in the county. Step back in time and experience one of Ireland’s best kept secrets!
Click here for Flight O’Fancee’s website.
One of the gems of the Puglia region in Italy is the town of Alberobello. What makes Alberobello so special is the odd little homes you will find here. They are called – trulli. Trulli are traditional Puglian stone huts with recognizable conical stone roofs. These homes are only found in the Itria Valley, known as the Murge Region of Puglia. Alberobello is a UNESCO World Heritage site and is one of the 54 UNESCO sites in Italy.
Folklore – When the Kingdom of Napolas which controlled this region put a heavy tax on all houses
constructed, the local Counts of Conversano decreed that all new houses will be built in this Trulli fashion. Because the roof was made from loosely stacked stones and could be removed when the tax collector came through the town, trulli were not taxable. Even back then, there was a way around bureaucracy!
The Conical Roofs – The conical roofs also tell a story about the inhabitants who lived there. Three or more roofs meant you were wealthy. They were also painted with a symbol. These symbols were either a sign of the zodiac, religious, or primitive symbols of the region. Each trulli has a spire which was also used as an identification of the people living there.
A Unique Experience – Many of the trulli have a “holiday sign” on them indicating that you can stay in one like a hotel or rent it as an apartment. In fact. we have friends that stayed twice in one and said they truly enjoyed the experience.
You cannot appreciate its true beauty until you see these odd homes for yourself. Several residents will let you enter their home as we experienced. They are proud of their town and appreciate the curiosity of the visitors who come to explore. If you are in the Puglia region of Italy, which is located on the “heel” of this peninsula, it is a must-see place. You will never forget it!
Click here for Our Italian Journey’s website.
Playing host to some of the Rugby World Cup in 2019 put Fukuoka in Kyushu, western Japan on more people’s radar. But it’s still not on the must-see list for most western tourists travelling to the country – and that’s why it should be on yours. After all, this year’s Olympics hit Tokyo pushing up prices, and Kyoto has become a victim of its own beauty with people everywhere. Fukuoka offers a little of both, without the crowds.
Let’s start with shrines and temples – like Kyoto, the town is full of them. The absolute must-sees include Tochoji with its pretty pagoda and a short train ride brings you to Nanzoin, home to the world’s largest reclining Buddha. And that’s mind-blowing.
Like Tokyo, Fukuoka has a great food culture. Don’t leave without trying its famous pork-broth based tokotsu ramen or one of the unique small open-air restaurants called yatai which mix local food and great company in fun surroundings.
A nearby island full of cats, a hospital-themed café and the most fantastic evening light show where you use your phone to protect the city from Godzilla, offer those quirky experiences Japan is famous for.
I spent three days walking miles around Fukuoka and was blown away with how much there was to do and see – it also had an entire nightlife area I didn’t even get to touch! If you do run out of things to do (unlikely) Fukuoka is also a great hopping off spot to many of Kyushu’s other attractions – Nagasaki is an easy day trip away as is Beppu with its multi-coloured volcanic pools. Trust me, you won’t get bored.
Travel Blogger The Holidaymaker (aka me, Renee) of Dream Plan Experience
Charming would be the one word I would use to describe this quintessential Dutch town just outside of Amsterdam. The town’s historic center is small and compact, making it very possible to experience all of its attractions easily within one day. It’s definitely one of the most enchanting and photogenic places I have ever visited, falling instantly in love.
This town has a rich and interesting history dating back to the Middle Ages, or even before that. Historians believe that the first inhabitants date all the way back to the Stone Age, earlier than 2000 BC. For many, many centuries, Utrecht was considered the heart of the Netherlands. It was the top city and it wasn’t until the 17th century, during the Dutch Golden Age, that it was replaced by Amsterdam.
The town’s (and the Netherlands) most notable landmark is the 14th century Dom Tower that sits in the middle of the historic town center. It’s the highest and oldest church tower in all of the Netherland; and if you were to climb the 465 steps to the top you will be awarded with unbeatable views. Right next to the Dom square is the peaceful medieval monastery garden called Pandhof. It is one of the most idyllic spots to sit and relax. East of the Dom Quarter is a lovely place for a stroll with its little alleyways, pretty houses, tiny little shops.
Definitely what sets this city apart is the beautiful Oudegracht (or old canal) that flows right through the city’s center. This historic canal dates back well before the 13th century when warehouses were built on either side of it. Today, they are now boutique shops, galleries, restaurants and cafes. I spent hours just strolling along the picturesque double level canal and to me, this is what made Utrecht so special.
Click here for the full blog post “Utrecht – A Day Trip to a Quintessential Dutch Town.”
Palawan, one of the Philippines’ largest islands, is one of our favorite places in the entire world – and after visiting over 80 countries to date, that’s really saying something. Turquoise waters, limestone rock cliffs, idyllic beaches, and amazing culture are just a few things that describe Palawan. The adventures on this providence are endless! Our two favorite regions of Palawan are El Nido and Coron.
El Nido is a cluster of islands located right on the tip of Palawan and is an enchanting place. The best way to explore all of El Nido, including the lagoons, beaches, and islands, is to take a day trip with the local guides. Additionally, El Nido is known for its diving, home to over 30 dive sites.
Coron is also located in northern Palawan, and it’s easy to travel from El Nido to Coron and vice versa. Just like El Nido, Coron is a truly majestic destination, home to some of the most photographed spots in all of the Philippines like Kayangan Lake and Maquinit Springs. Diving is also popular on this cluster of islands, as you can see sunken Japanese warships at the bottom of the sea in Coron.
People ask us which one they should visit – El Nido or Coron and we seriously think it’s necessary to visit both. Their both destinations travelers need to see to believe the true beauty and adventure.
Travel Blogger The Holidaymaker (aka me, Renee) of Dream Plan Experience
Évora, a beautifully preserved medieval town, is only a 90-minute car or train ride away from Lisbon. It has been declared an UNESCO World Heritage site due to its well-preserved old town center, still partially enclosed by medieval walls, and a large number of monuments dating from various historical periods, including a Roman Temple, an elaborate medieval cathedral and cloisters, a picturesque town square; and endless narrow winding alleyways to other architectural works.
Évora, the capital of the Alentejo region in Portugal, has been shaped by more than 20 centuries of history, going as far back as Celtic times when it fell under Roman domination in 57 BC and expanded into a walled town. The city walls and ruins of Roman baths still remain. You will notice the Moorish influences, when they ruled in 715 to 1165, when you find the fortified gate and the Se Cathedral with its asymmetrical towers. The town really began to flourish in the 15th century, when convents, churches and royal palaces began to sprung up everywhere, as well as, the building of the Adqueduto da Agua de Prata (or Aqueduct of Silver Water), just outside the city walls.
Around the walled center runs a ring road, built in the 20th century, from which you can enter the town on one of the several spoke roads. What you will immediately notice is the stunning architecture of the low whitewash houses, decorated with painted tiles, mustard-yellow trim, wrought-iron balconies and red tile rooftops. All of these features make Évora the best example of a historic city, as it remained undamaged by the great earthquake of 1755 which destroyed many towns in Portugal, including Lisbon.
Get lost inside the walls of the old city. Don’t follow a map – just simply wander and discover every hidden corner of it. You will instantly fall in love with its history and charm.
Click here to read the full blog post “Evora – More Than Just a Day Trip!”
Lake Bohinj, Slovenia
Lake Bohinj is just 1 hour by bus from Lake Bled but feels like a lifetime away. Forget about hordes of tourists and traffic, you’ll be able to enjoy this alpine lake almost to yourself. Situated just inside Triglav National Park, this is a great place to base yourself for hiking, climbing, cycling and watersports. While I recommend visiting in the summer to have the most things to do, there is a ski resort if you visit during the winter.
Ribčev Laz is the main town on the eastern end of the lake. This is where you will find the most hotels and restaurants for your stay. Or you can choose to camp at one of the campgrounds along the southern shore.
What makes Lake Bohinj special is its natural beauty. The clear teal water is set against a 700m high mountain backdrop that climbs straight up behind the water’s edge.
A week would be the perfect amount of time to spend here to experience as much of the lake as possible. My favourite picks for things to do around Bohinj are:
1. Hike to the Black Lake (Crno Jezero). From lake level, you ascend quickly up the 684m daunting mountain wall. However, only 2.4km later you are rewarded with the first stunning lake in the Julian Alps
2. Spend half a day exploring Mostnica Gorge
3. View Savica waterfall
4. Get a new perspective by kayaking or paddle-boarding
5. Find the best lake views at Vogel Mountain
Click here for Curiously Erin’s website.
Seville is alive with history and culture and as I wandered through the cobbled streets, I could feel the passion beneath my feet. The home to tapas, flamenco and fiestas I was really impressed with its charm and energy. Being the capital heritage centre of Andalusia means there are so many unique things to do in Seville which is why I thought it would be a great place to take a city break.
I headed to Seville’s medieval Alcazar, the oldest continually used palace in Europe and wandered in the gardens whilst enjoying the centuries old Moorish architecture. Across from the Alcazar I was rewarded with the splendour of the largest gothic cathedral in the world and the final resting place of Christopher Columbus, seeped in history it was a great place for me to explore.
Of course, my visit wouldn’t have been complete without feasting on tapas, the traditional food of Seville served in small portions to share with friends and to accompany it I ordered Vino de Naranja, the sweet local orange wine, for a true taste of Seville.
Evenings come alive with the sound of flamenco dancing and guitar-playing and I booked to watch a show at the Flamenco Museum to immerse myself in the Sevillian culture. After a lot of walking I decided to finish my day relaxing in Aire ancient spa baths where I experienced different pool areas and water temperatures whilst candles flickered and the sound of gentle Andalucian music allowed me to drift back to another time and place.
I ended my visit to Seville knowing that one day I would be back, maybe during the springtime when the 40,000 orange blossom trees around the city will have bloomed and the smell would be divine.
Click here for Where Angie Wander’s website.
Known for its snow-capped mountains and majestic views, Switzerland has many enchanting towns worth visiting. Lucerne is especially charming! Lucerne is just 40 minutes southwest of Zurich and easily reachable by train. Located along Lake Lucerne, everywhere you look is a picturesque view. One of the most iconic sights in Lucerne is the Chapel Bridge, or Kapellbrucke, which leads straight into Old Town. Be sure to look up when crossing the oldest covered wooden bridge in all of Europe to admire the historic artwork in the bridge’s rafters.
Lucerne’s Old Town will delight both shoppers and historians as modern day stores and centuryies’ old architecture fill the quaint streets. If you are on the hunt for Swiss chocolates or an army knife, Lucerne has plenty of options. To truly appreciate the history of Lucerne, sign up for the Nightwatchman Walk with Ralf. This delightful tour provides the perfect foundation for understanding Lucerne’s rich history in a way that appeals to travelers of all ages.
For spectacular views of Lucerne, put on your best walking shoes and climb the steep path up the Musegg Wall and the 9 towers that line the city. And don’t miss the Lion Monument carved into a wall of sandstone, which serves as a memorial to hundreds of Swiss soldiers who died at a massacre in Paris during the French Revolution.
Dining out in Lucerne, or anywhere in Switzerland, can be a bit pricey, but there are several terrific restaurants serving up Swiss and other cuisines in an atmosphere that is worth the cost. When you are ready to ascend into the alps, Mt. Pilatus, Mr. Rigi and Mt. Titlis are all easy and enjoyable day trips from Lucerne.
Brecon Beacon, Wales
The national park of Brecon Beacon is one of Wales’ three national parks. This is definitely the place to visit for travelers who seek a mixture of magical nature and charming towns and
villages. Enjoy the dramatic, wild and remote landscape, making the most of the great outdoors. Stay in B&B’s and Guesthouses, eat in local pubs and market halls and get a rental car to give yourselves the freedom to move in your own pace.
In Wales, it’s all about organic and sustainable food and drinks, with local farmers and breweries all around. Do not miss having a bite or two of Welshcake (almost like a flat scone)
along with a cup of tea. I myself had one each day during my visit.
Brecon Beacon has numerous trails and paths to hike or bike. Explore its mountains, caves, lakes, and waterfalls. Pass through the Black Mountains and make sure to drive slow enough
to take in the unbelievable scenery. Make a stop and watch the herds of sheep passing by. I love hiking and can highly recommend hiking up Pan y Fan, 886 meters, which is one of southern Britain’s two highest peaks, with breathtaking views. There is no need to be fit as the hike is easy and only takes roughly an hour one way.
There are two must-visit towns for book and food lovers. First being Hay on Wye, the world’s first book town, with cute cafés and a delicious fudge shop. Second, the market town of Abergavenny and its food festival. Other places to visit include Crickhowell, Talybont Reservoir and Brecon town with its classic market hall and cozy dog-friendly café Coffee #1. Another personal recommendation is to give yourself a pit stop and order an afternoon tea at The Old Barn Tea Room, located right above the Pentwyn Reservoir and Dol y Gaer.
And last but not least, do not forget about the 600 Welsh castles. About 100 of these are still standing, either as ruins or restored buildings. Castles located nearby the eastern part of the national park are White Castle and Raglan Castle. Carreg Cennen is another castle located in the western parts, with a moody and mysterious setting on a hilltop.
Click here for Travels with MK’s website.