I hope you celebrated the New Year’s Eve with a bang. We did, mostly thanks to our dear neighbors, shooting fireworks under our balcony from 4 pm to 2 am. Have you made any New Year’s resolutions? One of ours is to visit 10 new countries in the upcoming year. Do you have similar plans? If yes, we are here to help – and prepared for you 10 travel ideas for 2017!
I know this pain. It comes unexpectedly, maybe while you are shopping, maybe in the queue at the doctor’s office. I usually get this feeling usually at work after lunch. This intrusive thought: I have to go somewhere. I start calculating in panic my vacation days left, while searching Skyscanner and Google Maps at the same time. But the hardest decision to make is always where this somewhere is. We have been here twice already, in the other place there are crowds, and there is the wet season… I hope that our guide will help you in coming up with little less popular holiday plans!
After last year’s nuclear agreement with Iran, doing business and traveling to this country is easier than ever – unless you have American citizenship (sorry guys!). This country started to be perceived as safe, trustworthy and got a lot of interest, also among tourists who used to look at these regions of the world rather suspiciously. 2017 is the perfect time to visit Iran – it is still not a popular holiday destination, on the other hand, nobody knows what decisions new US president Donald Trump will take towards Iran, as he repeatedly called for the sanctions snapback. So, enjoy charms of this country and hospitality of its people while you can!
In Iran you can admire old Persian culture and world-famous “Pink Mosque” in Shiraz in the southern part of the country (you can find absolutely spectacular photos of it here). Another advantage? Low prices! We bought our plane tickets for 100 euros, hotels are available within 20-30 euro. Our posts about Iran soon – stay tuned!
“Poorer” neighbor of United Arab Emirates. But are you sure? Oman offers a stunning wildlife – something you may lack in the UAE, which of course, have a piece of ‘unspoiled nature’ without skyscrapers – a desert. You will find the most interesting parts of Al Hajjar Mountains with Jebel Shams and as well as extraordinary fjords. Yes, yes this formation isn’t exclusive for Norway. You should start your voyage from Khasab town (which, incidentally, is exclave of Oman in the UAE – well-played Omani!), you will have the opportunity to enjoy majestic landscapes of Musandam peninsula. Pretty impressive! And it is also warmer than in Norway 🙂
You should also pay a visit to Muscat – the capital city of Oman, which has preserved its oriental character and is not as commercialized as Dubai. With some surprise, I discovered lately that many travel agencies have started offering trips to this extraordinary place – maybe you should consider it?
Supposedly, you can experience all the climatic zones of the world here. Next to Namibian border, it is dry and desert-boiling hot, but in the Drakensberg Mountains it may be snowing. South Africa offers so many diverse attractions you won’t be bored – Table Mountain in Cape Town, the penguins at Boulders Beach, Cape of Good Hope, Stellenbosch vineyards, beaches of Durban and safari in the Kruger National Park. While in South Africa, you can also consider visiting neighbor countries – the deserts of Namibia, Botswana national parks or…
It used to be the country of billionaires. In 2008, the world looked with astonishment at photos of Zimbabweans going for daily shopping with bags full of banknotes. In November 2008, inflation reached a record of 89 triliards percent (89 and 21 zeros!). Prices in stores doubled every 31 hours. Even denomination helped only a little – before it the highest banknote equaled to 100 billions Zimbabwe dollars, then they cut out 10 zeros (to make it 10 Zimbabwe dollars), but just after one week, the highest banknote was 50 000! Finally, in 2015 they withdrew the Zimbabwe dollar from the market in favor of the US dollar.
Although currently you have rather small chances to become a billionaire in Zimbabwe, it is still worth visiting this country. This is where you can admire the most beautiful waterfall in the world – Victoria Falls. Its discoverer, David Livingstone once said: Scenes so lovely must have been gazed upon by angels in their flight. If you want to check out on your own what angels see exactly, choose the helicopter flight over the The Smoke That Thunders as the waterfall is called by Kololo tribe.
If you dream of the Caribbean, but have no desire to spend your holidays in crowded Dominican Republic, Aruba is waiting for you. This relatively unknown direction for Europeans, is extremely popular among Americans who are happy to come here for romantic escapes. This island has some of the most beautiful beaches in the world, yeah – ahead of even those in Maldives or Seychelles in rankings! Aruba is very well connected with Europe through the airport in Amsterdam – all in all, this island belongs to the Netherlands Antilles, and you can pick up some good promo on flights very often. For more about Aruba, click here. There are such nice views waiting for you:
If you prefer to explore nature instead of relaxing on the beach, choose Alaska. Majority of the state consists of uninhabited, wild regions, mainly taiga and tundra. If you want to get yourself in Alaska mood, you must watch “Into the Wild” movie, directed by Seann Penn. We have been dreaming of expedition to Denali National Park particularly, where there is the highest peak of North America, Denali (formerly known as Mount McKinley, in August 2015 President Obama signed a decree to change the summit name back to the local Athabascan language). We planned a trip already last year, but unfortunately we could take vacation only in the end of September and October – Denali park is closed on 15 September. Maybe this year we will shoot (with a camera) such a beast in Alaska?
Most people visit Indonesia with completely different purpose – to relax in Bali. If you like wild crowds, hundreds of crazy single ladies looking for love like in the movie “Eat, Pray, Love”, inflated prices (some yoga classes in Ubud cost 50 EUR for 45 minutes!) and hordes of hustlers – yes, go to Bali, although I’m not sure if you can still call it relaxation. I have this strange feeling Bali wasn’t ready for the popularity, which experienced after the success of the above-mentioned film. When we were there four years ago, we could already feel this money-oriented attitude and from opinions of our friends who have visited this place a few months ago I know it’s only worse.
Don’t worry – next to Bali there is quite big island Java, which made a huge impression on us. What is waiting for you there? Buddhist temple of Borobudur, Prambanan Hindu temples, Bromo volcano, Kawah Iljen sulfur mine… and after visiting all of these, go for your well-deserved relax, but to Lembongan island instead!
THE BAVARIAN ALPS
Germany is like an unloved neighbor. Holidays in Germany? Errr … what a strange idea. You can drive German cars or drink German beer, but actually going there? Really, really strange. Honestly, I must admit that I shared the same attitude until we moved to Munich. I am amazed by the Bavarian Alps. Mittenwald, Garmisch-Partenkirchen and Berchtesgaden area – you will find varied mountain trails everywhere, perfect for active leisure. I fell in love especially with Königssee – it’s the most beautiful place in Bavaria for me and one of the most beautiful lakes I’ve ever seen. For history-lovers, next to this lake there is famous Kehlsteinhaus, birthday gift from Nazi Party to Adolf Hitler on his 50th birthday, commonly known as the Eagle’s Nest.
I’ve always wondered why Santorini isn’t offered by travel agencies very broadly. Crete, Rhodes, Kos and Zakhyntos are still top destinations in holiday catalogues. Santorini isn’t advertised broadly by travel companies, and even if they do, they usually offer hotels situated in less interesting parts of the island. Santorini is perceived as a landmark of Greece with all these white-cobalt houses built on cliffs, surrounded by volcanic landscape. I would recommend you visiting this place on your own, booking a hotel overlooking the caldera is a must. This is truly memorable experience – relaxing by the infinity pool with a view of the deep blue Aegean Sea and with a glass of fine Assyrtiko wine from Santorini in your hand. A place full of magic – well, that’s why we got married here! 🙂
It’s a Scandinavian Cinderella. Crowds of tourists usually head for Norwegian fjords, geysers in Iceland or Swedish islands, far away from Finnish wonders. If a trip to Alaska is too far for you, choose Finland instead. This is a perfect country for outdoor-lovers. Rent a cottage on the shore of the lake – there are nearly 170,000 lakes and ponds in Finland to choose from, so you will definitely find something which suits you best. There is nothing better than running directly from sauna to icy cold lake – after all, sauna is a Finnish invention. Finland is a perfect place for a quiet holiday and relaxation in nature. I can recommend you especially an area between Jyväskylä and Kuopio. In winter, don’t forget to visit Santa Claus in Rovaniemi far, far away in the north! So, do you feel like taking a sip of Finland? 🙂
WHERE ARE YOU GOING THIS YEAR?
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