Every January I tell myself that I will travel more, I don’t seem to ever be as happy as when I’m exploring a new place, whether that’s a city, mountain, ocean or island. I love doing the research before I go, often searching Instagram and Pinterest for the places others have been, seeking out the best local cafés and restaurants. I don’t plan everything though, I also love to wander aimlessly around little streets just to see what I might find, that’s when I always find a true gem.
I’ve found so many beautiful places to include in my travel bucket list this year. I know it won’t be possible to make all these trips but it’s good to have some ideas.
Last year I noticed that a lot of the bloggers I follow on Instagram had been to Ubud. Their photos were beautiful and a switch was flicked somewhere in the back of mind that I must travel there. So, when I started to put together my bucket list Ubud was there in first place. I’ve only travelled around South East Asia a little; Koh Samui, Koh Tao, Koh Pha Ngan, Koh Bulon Leh and Trang in Thailand; Kuala Lumpur and the Perhentian Islands in Malaysia; with stop overs in Singapore, Hong Kong and Bangkok. It’s been a few years and I’m keen to head back over to this exotic and inspiring part of the world.
Also on this side of the world is Palau, a tiny archipelago of some 500 plus volcanic islands, east of the Philippines. It’s impossible to take in the magnificence of Palau without seeing it from above, taking a helicopter ride over the islands would be a must. I would also like to swim in the stunning turquoise lagoons. I love to dive and snorkel, there’s something very calming about exploring the underwater world and this is one of the best places to do so with its well-preserved marine environment. It’s also one of the few places you can swim with jellyfish, landlocked in a lake around 12,000 years ago these jellyfish have evolved without stingers, making them safe to swim with.
Palua Pacific Resort
San Vito Lo Capo & Palermo In Sicily, Italy
I recently met and got talking to top hairdresser Angelo Seminara, we talked for ages about travel and he mentioned how beautiful his home town is, San Vito Lo Capo in the north of Sicily. Looking at photos, I found it hard to believe that it’s in the Mediterranean, some of the beaches wouldn’t look out-of-place in the Caribbean, with their white sands and shallow turquoise waters. It’s not a major tourist destination for those outside of Sicily but for me it would be a chance to experience an authentic Italian beachside town.
And, if I’m going to be visiting Sicily, a stop in Palermo would be unavoidable. The Arabic, Cathedral of Monreale with its many arches and gardens would be perfect for a morning stroll. A visit to the Mercato di Ballarò, a busy street market or La Vucciria, a 700 year old food market, would liven things up after a quiet morning. If we were to go in late-July there’s a chance of seeing the colourful parade that celebrates Saint Rosalia.
San Sebastián, Spain
Every foodies heaven, San Sebastián in Northern Spain’s Basque country, is the land of pintxos! It’s the Old Town I’m keen to head to, where it’s possible to casually drift from one pinxtos bar to another sampling the best of the local produce. In preparation for a night of nibbles, San Sebastián’s is perfect for a walk in the late afternoon.
Although I’ve visited many of the Greek islands, and they come in all shapes and sizes, Santorini is how I think of Greece, with its whitewashed walls, blue domed churches and narrow lanes. With not a drop of rain and 14 hours of sunshine a day, July is the perfect time to visit. Days spent lying in the sun reading books, dipping in and out of cave pools and eating my way around the crescent shaped island would be blissful, no wonder so many choose to honeymoon here.