your guide to Europe off the beaten path

Category: Nature & Outdoors

5 Most Beautiful Botanical Gardens In Europe

If you’re someone with a dynamic imagination and a curious mind, planning a vacation can be tricky. The concrete streets and important landmarks of big cities have a lot of…

If you’re someone with a dynamic imagination and a curious mind, planning a vacation can be tricky.

The concrete streets and important landmarks of big cities have a lot of unique charm as well as nature.

Finding a perfect combination of everything you want to experience can be challenging, to say the least.

We have a suggestion.

Spend the day enveloped in the wilderness, and have a drink in your favorite cafe a few hours later.

Sounds weird?

Well, this seemingly impossible combination is yours if you choose to visit some of the most beautiful botanical gardens in Europe. 

Here’s a couple of the absolute best ones! 

Most Beautiful Botanical Gardens in Europe

Berlin-Dahlem Botanical Garden and Botanical Museum, Germany

This one is, without a doubt, absolutely unmissable.

The complex covers an area of 43 hectares and it consists of 16 greenhouses.

With around 22,000 plant species, you will be able to explore the entire world in a single (although enormous) garden.

Believe it or not, it evolved from just a kitchen garden, used for growing vegetables and herbs.

Today, it’s almost impossible to see everything it has to offer in a day. It’s also very significant for scientific purposes, since it’s part of the Free University of Berlin.

Make sure you check out the giant water lilies and insectivorous plants, as well as the Fragrance and Touch Garden. It was built so that visually disabled people could enjoy the diversity of plants. Therefore, the plants are grown in large groups on raised beds.

Many outdoor installations make it possible for visitors to sit down, relax and soak in the nature.

If you want to wind down and enjoy yourself, this oasis in the middle of the lively capital is perfect for you!

Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, England

most beautiful botanical gardens in europe

This extensive property is home to one of the largest gardens in the whole world.

It includes around 30,000 plant species and over 30 buildings.

Make sure you sign up for a guided tour, so that you could make the best of your time there.

Some of the attractions are also architecturally impressive.

The examples are the Palm House, the Great Pagoda, but also the Hive and the Treetop Walkway.

The Hive is something you’ve certainly never seen before.

It’s a unique, multi-sensory simulation of what it would feel like to live as a bee. So, every sound you hear is triggered by bee activity in an actual beehive in the complex. Impressive, right?

The Walkway, on the other hand, allows you to walk through the branches of Kew’s forest. It’s 18m above the ground and it lets you into a part of the forest that would usually be off limits to you. A change of perspective will definitely be interesting!

The botanical garden’s collection of plants and documents even brought it to UNESCO’s World Heritage Site list. As if you needed another reason to visit.

If you plan on going any time soon, keep in mind that it’s only 30 minutes away from the center of London!

Orto Botanico di Padova, Padua, Italy

To see how the world of botanical gardens even got started, visit Padua.

It is home to the oldest surviving university botanical garden, functioning since 1545.

This garden aided the development of botanical sciences in general, as well as medicine and pharmaceuticals.

It was the inspiration and example for all the botanical gardens in the world.

What’s interesting is that the layout you see today is pretty much the same as it was in the 16th century.

The main building is circle-shaped, which represents the world, and it’s surrounded by a ring of water.

Some of the interesting collections are its poisonous and carnivorous plants, as well as the rare plants first introduced to Italy by the Garden itself!

It may not be the richest in species, but they are all carefully selected.

However, one of the most impressive things about it is its document collection.

The library contains more than 50,000 manuscripts that are of immense value for the botanical world. That, among other historical and scientific significance, puts it on the UNESCO World Heritage Site list as well.

If you’re a bit of a history geek and if you happen to be in Padua, you have to stop by the first ever botanical garden!

Copenhagen Botanical Garden, Denmark

most beautiful botanical gardens in europe

Considering the fact that Northern Europe is very expensive in general, this is a perfect way to spend quality time without splurging.

The entrance to the Copenhagen Botanical Garden is free!

It’s famous for its 27 spectacular glasshouses from the 1800s, which contain around 13,000 species in total.

The most impressive one is the glass and cast-iron Palm House.

Make sure you climb up the spiral stairs to get a nice view from the top!

This is the perfect place for a peaceful day in the nature.

You can visit the herbarium, the museum or perhaps buy some plants or seeds in one of the shops. Also, the whole of the Garden is accessible to wheelchair users!

Botanical Garden of Brussels

The Brussels Botanical Garden is a botanical garden with a spin.

It’s more of an urban park than it is a classical greenhouse complex.

Until 1939, it was actually only dedicated to botanical studies, like the majority of botanical gardens. Now, its main building, Le Botanique, has stolen the spotlight, but for different reasons.

Le Botanique is a cultural complex and a music venue which hosts more than 280 concerts each year.

This previous orangery has become one of the most visited cultural centers in all of Belgium.

Le Botanique is famous for its annual Les Nuits Botanique (‘Botanique nights’) festival, held during the spring, which attracts a lot of performers and visitors.

You can still enjoy the 6 hectare property and the stunning glasshouses, but if you’re interested in seeing more variety and wildlife, visit Meise. That’s where the National Botanical Garden of Belgium is located, with its 16,000 plant species.

Even the great writer Victor Hugo spoke about the Botanique.

He said: “Brussels possesses two unique wonders of the world, its Grand-Place and the panorama of the Jardin Botanique”.

Why wouldn’t you come and see for yourself? Check our top travel resources, that will help you plan your next trip. 

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15 Natural Attractions in Europe You Must See

The travel industry caters to everyone’s needs. Some of us seek out cultural monuments. Some wish to try out different cuisines while others need a change of scenery. If you’re same…

The travel industry caters to everyone’s needs. Some of us seek out cultural monuments. Some wish to try out different cuisines while others need a change of scenery. If you’re same as me, then sometimes you need the opposite from the bustling city life. Almost nothing restores my well being as nature and quietness. These are some of the natural attractions in Europe you must see.

Preikestolen, Norway


Photo: Preikestolen (CC BY 2.0) by TimOve

Pulpit Rock is one of the most famous cliffs in the world. It’s located near the city of Stavanger- a rather popular day trip for locals and tourists. If you love hiking with rewarding views, it will be hard to top Preikestolen. It was formed 10,000 years ago by the expansion of ice. The main hiking season is from April to October. You can either admire the cliff from a boat cruise or maybe even combine it with a hike. If you want something more off the beaten path, then also try hiking at the neighboring Kjerag mountain.

Accommodation – Stavanger

Plitvice Lakes, Croatia


Photo: Plitvice (CC BY 2.0) by zolakoma

This UNESCO World Heritage Site is one of the most magical places in Europe. The complex consists of much as 16 cascade lakes that are all interconnected. Surrounding forests have hiking paths which offer fantastic views of these turquoise-colored lakes. In the winter, the lakes are no less amazing as they get frozen, hence creating a dream like scenery.

Accommodation – Plitvice Lakes

Cliffs of Moher, Ireland

Cliffs of Moher

Photo: Cliffs of Moher (CC BY 2.0) by lennox_mcdough

The cliffs of Moher are one of the most recognizable natural attractions in the world. Consequently, one of the best scenes in the legendary ‘The Princess Bride’ movie (admit it, we’ve all watched it!) took place here. Also look beyond the Cliffs of Moher. There is a 20 km coastal walking trail. Take in the quietness and enjoy the breathtaking views of the Irish landscape. In addition, you can also hit the beach and try kayaking or diving. If you’re not that adventurous take a relaxing boat cruise and admire the surrounding beauty.

Accommodation – Clare county

Matterhorn, Switzerland & Italy

Matterhorn 2

Photo: Matterhorn 2 (CC BY 2.0) by Jan-Christof Telford

Alps always awaken the imagination of adventurers and climbers. Most noteworthy mountain is the Matterhorn. The first ascent was a deadly one and even today this peak is considered as one of the deadliest in the world. Yet its rather unusual shape, of a steep pyramid, flocks people from all over the world. As a result, it’s the most photographed mountain ever. Zermatt, the famous winter sports center is located at the base of Matterhorn.

Accommodation – Zermatt

Dunes of Pilat, France


Photo: France-001797 (CC BY 2.0) by archer10 (Dennis) 97M Views

You don’t have to leave Europe to get a taste of Africa! Just head to France and visit the tallest sand dune in Europe. From here you’ll get a fantastic view of dense forests. If that won’t be enough, you can also opt for a scenic helicopter tour. A small seaside resort Pyla-ser-Mer seems as a good home base for exploring the area.

Accommodation > Pyla-ser-Mer

Blue Grotto, Italy

Inside the Blue Grotto

Photo: Inside the Blue Grotto (CC BY 2.0) by brad.coy

Blue Grotto is a natural sea cave located near the island of Capri in Italy. The light comes from another two sources to this sea cave. The water colored by the light, is incredibly blue. Tourists can enter the cave on a tiny rowboat as the cave’s mouth is roughly two meters wide and one meter high.

Accommodation > Capri

Devil’s Town, Serbia

Devil’s Town is located on the Radan mountain, Serbia. Home to 202 unusual rock formations also known as earth pyramids. This complex was a nominee for the New Seven Wonders of Nature campaign. The nearby springs, Wheat Spring and Devil’s water, are known for its healing properties. When here, visit the surrounding famous spas. Prolom, Lukovska and Kursumlijska spas are known for its water’s therapeutic properties.

Accommodation > Kursumlija

Glacier Ice Caves, Iceland

Ice caving under the Vatnajökull Glacier (Iceland)

Photo: Ice caving under the Vatnajökull Glacier (Iceland) (CC BY 2.0) by _davidphan

What better place to visit mesmerizing ice caves than Iceland? The country offers numerous tours where you get to experience an almost whole different world. When deep inside the famous glaciers you feel as you entered another realm. Another thing you can do is hiking on top of glaciers. But if you desire an adrenaline rush- snowmobiling tours are the right choice.

Skocjan Caves, Slovenia

Skocjan caves Slovenia

Listed on UNESCO’s world heritage list right alongside the Grand Canyon and the Great Barrier Reef. When you’re done ogling at its remarkableness, closely observe its unique ecosystem. It is definitely recommended to book a tour. There is so much more to this cave than it meets the eye. During your exploration, it’s very likely you’ll encounter several species of bats, endangered bird species and rare cave fauna.

Accommodation > Skocjan

Durmitor National Park, Montenegro


Photo: Durmitor (CC BY 2.0) by Aleksandr Zykov

Not many are familiar with Montenegro. As a result, only real nature lovers have heard of the Durmitor National Park. In addition that it was formed by glaciers, it’s also traversed by rivers and underground streams. So in conclusion, if you’re not already enamored with its dark pine forests and diverse flora, it’s good to know that Durmitor has yet more to offer. Durmitor is rather popular among adrenaline junkies. So choose your past time activity: hiking, climbing, mountaineering or canoeing?

Accommodation > Zabljak

Black Forest, Germany

beautiful creek in the Black Forest

Photo: beautiful creek in the Black Forest (CC BY 2.0) by Rafa Win

Schwarzwald (Black Forest) got its name from dense concentration of evergreens. Forest seems magical and out of this era. So it comes as no surprise that it inspired many fairy tales of Brothers Grimm. Most noteworthy being Hansel and Gretel, Rapunzel and Sleeping Beauty.

To make the most out of it, I’d suggest staying in this region for seven to ten days. Due to very well developed cycling paths anyone will convert to a cyclist. Take refuge in one of many luxury spas and indulge yourself with the delicacies of the traditional German cuisine. At the end of the day, open up the wine bottle from one of many local vineyards and enjoy the panoramic views.

The Northern Lights

northern lights, norway

Photo: northern lights, norway (CC BY 2.0) by Claudia Regina CC

The Northern Lights or Aurora Borealis, are especially relevant to me. It is something I personally am fascinated by. Basically, the Northern Lights are maybe the most beautiful thing you’ll ever encounter during your lifetime. Well unless you get to see Earth from outer space. The contrast between the night sky and the bright dancing lights is something you won’t forget. The most common colors being pale green and pink. The tricky thing is that it’s not a common phenomenon.  Therefore if you decide to visit a country because you’d like to see the lights, do some research beforehand. It depends on the season when you’re visiting, sky clarity etc.

Corsica, France

Corsica 2011

Photo: Corsica 2011 (CC BY 2.0) by Josef Grunig 

First of all, Corsica is blessed with amazing weather, therefore it has 300 days of sunshine a year. Due to the climate and the sole geography of the island (a mountainous region), as a result allows its inhabitants to enjoy a wide spectrum of activities. That includes not only sandy beaches but mountain climbing, mountain biking , deep sea diving and sailing. One of its benefits is that it’s the closest faraway island, easily accessible from major European capitals.

Bialowieza National Park, Poland

Białowieża National Park, Poland

Photo: Białowieża National Park, Poland (CC BY 2.0) by Frank.Vassen

The National Park is situated in Poland, covering the central part of Białowieża Forest. It’s the only Polish natural property designated by UNESCO. Bialowieza is one of the primeval forest which once covered most of Europe. It still fosters several species of fauna which were once native throughout Europe. The main characteristic of the park is its biological diversity.  The park is the only place in Europe where you can still encounter an European bison! While doing a tour might be on a pricier side – I think it’s def worth the money. You’ll not only wander through this mesmerizing forest but also learn about its long history and see fauna like no where else in the world.


Svalbard mountain tops in the clouds seen from the sky

Photo: Svalbard mountain tops in the clouds seen from the sky (CC BY 2.0) by Kitty Terwolbeck

The archipelago was first discovered by Norse explorers in the 12th century.  Svalbard, meaning “cold coasts”, is one of the few places that look in real life as they appear in photographs. It is truly an awe inspiring moment to stare out at snow covered peaks of glaciers and icebergs. To gaze at what seems as a never ending vastness of the Arctic ocean.

This is more of a polar bear’s turf than human’s due to polar bears being the majority. The main settlement is Longyearbyen with a population of merely 2,000 people. The possibilities to explore its rich wildlife are endless. Take a boat trip, embark on glacier hiking or maybe you’d rather be led by a team of huskies. Here are 10 ways to successfully plan a trip to Svalbard.

Accommodation > Longyearbyen

Where would your getaway place be?

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10 Ways To Successfully Plan a Trip to Svalbard

Do you want to plan a trip to Svalbard in Norway and don’t know where to start? Well, you’ve come to the right place! Cez and Agness of eTramping are…

Do you want to plan a trip to Svalbard in Norway and don’t know where to start? Well, you’ve come to the right place! Cez and Agness of eTramping are here with their invaluable travel experience and are ready to share it with everyone. Fix up a cup of cocoa for the right mood, and get ready for a good and informative read.

#1 Prepare Mentally, Physically, and Financially

Planning a Svalbard expedition is not as easy as packing for a trip to say, a local forest or resort. There’s more to it than knowing what to pack and what sights to see. As much as anyone would like this, you can’t make an impromptu visit to Svalbard.

Our best advice before the trip? Go camping and hiking as much as you can. It’s a great way to stay in shape for when you’re at the Arctic Circle. Here are some tips for hiking in the cold weather. Next – save up. Prices are as steep as one might expect from Norway (maybe even more). Finally – be mentally prepared for how many “wow” moments you’ll have!

#2 Get the Best Ship for the Job

plan a trip to svalbard

Ortelius at Torellneset © Christophe Gouraud-Oceanwide Expeditions

Not everyone has the funds to organize their own private boat trip. As such, you’ll most likely join many other polar adventurers on a Svalbard cruise. However, don’t just look at the ship amenities, as tempting as they may be.

What you’re looking for is a highly maneuverable vessel. You wouldn’t want to skip out on a whale sighting just because the ship can’t turn around in due time. Keep this in mind when you plan a trip to Svalbard and don’t want to miss a thing!

#3 Keep Your Feet Protected

plan a trip to svalbard

A so called ‘wet’ landing at Diskobukta © Arjen Drost-Oceanwide Expeditions

When you plan a trip to Svalbard, you have to remember the extreme weather conditions you’ll be facing. Wool socks are a must, with plenty of replacements in case of emergencies. By the way, don’t try to wear more than one pair thinking it’ll provide extra protection. More often than not it just stifles blood flow to your feet, negating any protection.

Also, bring a pair of rubber waterproof boots along with your warm pair. On your Svalbard trip, you may need to debark using an inflatable boat. Since there are not many docks, you might need to get your feet wet in shallow waters to get ashore.

#4 Waterproof, Cold-proof… Sun-proof?

There are people brave (or crazy?) enough to swim in the area. You, on the other hand, probably won’t set out on your Svalbard expeditions wearing nothing but socks. Besides the blistering cold winds and melted snow getting everywhere, you need to protect against the Arctic sun as well. Who would have thought you need to bring sunscreen to the Arctic, eh?

#5 Don’t Forget Your Medicine

Not every traveler going on a Spitsbergen trip will be in peak physical condition. After all, we don’t spend our time training for our holidays like it’s a military expedition. 🙂 In any case, if you know you have some kind of condition – don’t forget your medication.

You would be surprised how many travelers forget this in the heat of the moment, so to speak. Similarly, it might be a good idea to get some preventive medicine (such as for seasickness, or a sneaky cold) even if you’re in tip top shape.

#6 Bring Binoculars!

plan a trip to svalbard

Hiking on Spitzbergen © Sandra Petrowitz-Oceanwide Expeditions

Spitsbergen cruises are excellent occasions to spot some of the most amazing wildlife this world has to offer. Unfortunately, your cruise ship might not always get the best angles on whales, walruses, or other giants. Even if your eyesight is 20/20, nobody should plan a trip to Svalbard without packing a pair of binoculars along. Don’t rely solely on your camera’s zoom function.

#7 Plan Your Accommodation Accordingly

Remember what we said in the beginning – that when you plan a trip to Svalbard, you should be financially prepared. Mainland Norway is expensive in its own right, but the extreme conditions in the Arctic means there will be extra fees.

Sure, most of your time will be spent on a Spitsbergen cruise or some well-equipped museum in Longyearbyen. (You can really lose yourself in those museums!) But what then? Your options are expensive full-service hotels, budget guesthouses – or camping and self-catering if you’re feeling adventurous. Whatever your choice, budget properly or you’ll be left in the cold (quite literally).

#8 Establish an Itinerary

Don’t head blindly into your Spitsbergen expeditions without a clear-cut plan in mind. Not only will you miss out on tons of fun activities, but you might go over-budget. Especially when you realize there’s something you just HAVE to see.

Our primary recommendations include the Svalbard and North Pole Expedition museums in Longyearbyen. You might want to bring an English guidebook along as well. Most of the information will be in Norwegian, even though everyone on the island speaks English fluently. Otherwise, the jaw-dropping Magdalenfjord, the haunting Soviet city of Pyramiden, and the Nordvest-Spitsbergen National Park should be included in your visit.

Of course, you can also let someone do the planning for you if you’re not sure where to start. Oceanwide Expeditions, for example, have step-by-step guides to minimize downtime and maximize the fun. Must keep that blood flowing in the cold North!

#9 Know How to Get Around

When you’re not making the rounds on Svalbard cruises or boat rides, you’ll mostly spend time in Longyearbyen, the abandoned Soviet city of Pyramiden, and other such fantastic places. What you should know is that there aren’t that many paved roads in the area, so car travel will be minimal or non-existent.

Fortunately, a Spitsbergen expedition will give you the chance for some dog-sledding or snowmobile rides. Those will be your primary methods of transport; aside from your own two feet, that is.

#10 Have a Backup Plan

Never plan a trip to Svalbard without having a plan B (maybe even a plan C) in your itinerary. It’s not uncommon for touristy Spitsbergen trips to get canceled while you’re already there. The weather in the Arctic is unpredictable, so you shouldn’t be disappointed if something doesn’t go as planned. Fortunately, if you’ve followed our advice thus far you should have no problems braving the North like many polar explorers before you.

What other tips do you have to plan a trip to Svalbard?

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11 Inspiring Travel and Adventure TED Talks

TED is one of the most popular educational websites on the internet with talks covering many scientific, cultural and sociological topics. And the best of all, these talks are free…

TED is one of the most popular educational websites on the internet with talks covering many scientific, cultural and sociological topics. And the best of all, these talks are free and open to anyone to watch and listen. Whenever you’re in need of some inspiration or if you just want to spend some quality time on the internet away of social media – I recommend TED.

Here I’ve compiled a list of 11 fantastic travel and adventure TED talks. They’re covering social topics and some of the most amazing adventures, i.e photographing world’s hidden and less known sites. Let us know in the comments below which one of these adventure TED talks was your favorite.

For more tolerance, we need… more tourism?

The journey across the high wire

How I swam the North Pole

Drawings that show the beauty and fragility of Earth

Why bother leaving the house?

Why I’m rowing across the Pacific

The joy of surfing in ice-cold water

This is what LGBT life is like around the world

What I learned from going blind in space

Photographs of secret sites

The power of time off

Featured photo: TED / James Duncan Davidson

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Five Underrated Ski Resorts in Europe

Winter is slowly approaching so if you’re looking for a snowy holiday and a chance to do some skiing on a budget read on! Travelers usually rely on travel agents…

Winter is slowly approaching so if you’re looking for a snowy holiday and a chance to do some skiing on a budget read on!

Travelers usually rely on travel agents when looking for a perfect winter getaway. However, with threats facing travel agencies less and less travelers approach an agency for helping them organize a trip.

With so many low-cost carriers in Europe and the rise of sharing economy, especially AirBnb, it’s so easy to plan and organize your trip from the comfort of your home.

And considering there are so many choices on the market, I’ve compiled this list of five underrated ski resorts in Europe.

Bansko, Bulgaria

Pirin Mountains

Photo: Pirin Mountains by Moise Nicu on Flickr under CC

Situated at the foot of Pirin mountain, this ski resort offers fantastic ski and snowboard conditions. The ski season lasts from 15th of December to 15th of May. There are numerous bars, traditional restaurants and accommodation options. Bansko is developing at a high speed and it even offers conditions for night skiing. It’s ideal for beginners and experts. The best way to reach Bansko is by flying to Sofia and then catching a bus. The distance between Sofia and Bansko is 3 hours. If you’re looking for an affordable winter holiday destination with great slopes, good food and fantastic scenery, consider Bansko. Borovets and Pamporovo in Bulgaria are also worth the mention.

Arcalis, Andorra

saliendo del pas

Photo: saliendo del pas by VICTOR VIC on Flickr under CC

With 30 km of slopes available, Arcalis is another great place for beginners and advanced skiers. The season here lasts from late November until mid April. Andorra has 303 km of skiable areas, 109 ski lifts and 6 snowparks. For such a tiny country, Andorra has 32,500 beds at cheaper price than in France for example.

Ischgl, Austria


Photo by Per Olesen on Flickr under CC

Ischgl is located in the Austrian state of Tyrol. The village is connected to the ski area by three ropeways: the Pardatschgratbahn, the Fimbabahn and the Silvrettabahn. Getting to Ischgl is easiest accomplished with a direct flight from Innsbruck, while Friedrichshafen (Germany) and Zurich (Switzerland) offer alternative routes via the Arlberg tunnel.

The season starts from 24th of November till the 1st of May. The skiing conditions are superb at its 238km pistes (served by 45 state-of-the-art lifts) that range from wide ski pistes perfect for beginners to more challenging and adrenaline pumping steep slopes. One unique thing that they offer is a cross border run or as they call it “Smuggler’s Run”. It’s a joint ski pass from Ischgl in Austria and the Swiss duty-free region of Samnaun – so don’t forget your credit card! Together that ski area belongs to the largest skiing resort in the Alps.

Although it offers everything you can imagine when it comes to winter activities, the village night life is not lacking behind. Ischgl is notorious for its party scene and music events that attract some of the biggest names in industry.

Saariselkä, Lapland, Finland

Green lights

Photo: Green lights by Chris on Flickr under CC

Saariselkä is a mythical gem hidden in the deep north of Finland. You might’ve expected that the route to the deep north of Finland is somewhat complicated and tiresome – in the end it is 250km north from the Arctic Circle. Well fortunately it’s actually fairly easy to get there. The most popular way is to board a Finnair flight from Helsinki to Ivalo airport, and afterwards catch a short bus ride to Saariselkä. The cheapest way is a direct bus ride from the south, that is if you don’t mind the strenuous 15 hour long journey.

Saariselkä’s ski season starts in late November and end in the early days of May. The ski resort has 11 pistes which are served by 6 lifts. It has a small downhill route perfect for beginners and early intermediate skiers. If you don’t find the pistes challenging enough you can always have a go at snowboarding. Finland’s largest terrain park offers half pipes and a number of jumps that justify the boarder’s loyalty to Saariselkä. It’s a dream destination for travelers such as I. It offers quiet, views of infinite landscapes and an abundance of outdoor activities such as snowshoeing, reindeer and husky sled rides, cross country skiing, snowmobile safaris, boating/canoeing and hoping to catch a glimpse of the dreamlike Aurora Borealis phenomenon.

And if you’re still unsure, check out these reasons to visit Lapland even if you hate winter.

Tatras, Slovakia

Morskie Oko

Photo: Morskie oko by Kamil Porembiński on Flickr under CC

Slovakia, usually a very popular destination among the Hungarians, Poles and Russians, has had a somewhat recent influx of British tourists, which is attributed to Wizz Air’s new London-Poprad route. Wizz Air also offers flights from Riga and Warsaw to Poprad. There are also train rides from Prague, buses departing from Krakow to Zakopane and from there, transfer to another bus ride to Poprad or Stary Smokovec.

Slovakia has a couple of ski resorts, located in the Low Tatras and High Tatras. The High Tatras are the tallest range in the Carpathian Mountains, smugly towering over most of Eastern Europe. Despite the high altitudes, the skiing in the High Tatras is mostly recommended for beginners. The skiing seasons starts at the 26th of November and lasts to the 23rd of May. The biggest and arguably the best ski resort is Jasna. It’s located in the Low Tatras and is also a part of the national park Napant. It has 29 pistes, ski area is between elevations of 943m – 2004m, 44.5 km of slopes and 4.5km of ski routes available. There are 27 modern lifts available.

It’s not just a skiing heaven – the resort also features a snow park. If you get tired of winter activities you can always go into town of Liptovsky Mikulas, where you can choose from go-karting, bowling, a trip to the cinema – to visiting some of the local bars/restaurants to have a drink or two to warm yourself up. You’ll also be very pleasantly surprised when you realize that the prices are steeper than the Slovakian slopes!

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7 Must Sees on an Icelandic Road Trip

I don’t like bucket lists and I don’t think I ever had one. However, I do like to add certain adventures and destinations to my Pinterest board as ideas for…

I don’t like bucket lists and I don’t think I ever had one. However, I do like to add certain adventures and destinations to my Pinterest board as ideas for future travels. Icelandic road trip is one of them!

Driving itself is enjoyable for me but when you add activities that include seeing active volcanoes, icebergs, waterfalls and other natural beauties, it’s logical why Iceland is a dream trip for many of us.

Of course, to be able to do this you need to rent a car in Iceland. Also, be sure to bring good photography equipment. Here are some tips for mobile photography, if that’s what you prefer.

So here are some highlights that make road trip across Iceland one of the best road trips that you can possibly take;

Thingvellir National Park

This park has a great geological importance and is one of the most popular attractions in the country. It is located in a valley which marks the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. This is a tectonic plate that separates the North American and the Eurasian plates. The largest natural lake in Iceland is also located here and it’s popular as a diving and snorkeling location. You can also see many geysers and amazing Gullfoss waterfall.

Seljalandsfoss and Skógafoss waterfalls

Seljalandsfoss is one of the best known waterfalls in Iceland. It’s located just by the famous Ring Road. It drops from 60 meters and visitors can walk behind it. Skógafoss on the other hand has a width of 25 meters and is famous for a rainbow formation due to the amount of spray the waterfall produces. Amazing photo opportunities await!

Glacier Hiking

Another amazing activity for the adventurous buffs is hiking on the glaciers. This requires a professional guide and equipment but it is well worth it considering that you can walk on ice that formed a thousands a years ago. Sounds awesome to me! 🙂

Ice Caves

If you think that walking on glaciers won’t please your hunger for adventure, well in that case, you can go inside them! Vatna glacier is the largest in Iceland and it covers more than 8% of the territory.  These caves are famous for its atmosphere as the blue light is seeping through the ice giving it a unique feel. It’s another activity that requires a professional guide but you can check out Trip Advisor to help you with the search.

Northern Lights

Iceland is obviously a great place for hunting Aurora Borealis. Driving in the night can increase the chances of seeing them so you can stop anytime and watch this amazing natural phenomena. Dark skies and clear weather are necessary and Northern and Eastern parts of the country offer some good spots.

icelandic road trip

Northern Iceland

Northern parts of the country also offer some amazing natural attractions. One of them is Krafla which is a caldera and Hverir – a geothermal area with boiling mudpools and fumaroles. Krafla had 29 eruptions in its history. Akureyri is the biggest city in the North and a good starting point for hunting Aurora Borealis. The area around Akureyri is also famous for whale watching. The season lasts from June to October.


Reykjavík is the capital city which offers vivacious cultural scene, eclectic architecture and is surrounded by many natural wonders in its vicinity, such as the Blue Lagoon. You can relax, enjoy the warm waters and be in awe of this beautiful setting. The lagoon is famous for its healing activities and attracts visitors from the country and abroad.

icelandic road trip

These are just some out of many beautiful attractions this country offers. For more ideas and suggestions you can visit the official website of the Icelandic Tourism Board.



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