It’s time to say goodbye to 2016 and highlight the best and most important events of what was yet another busy travel year for us. We still call London home and work full-time jobs, the balance and base we need in order to afford to travel around one-third of the year. And we’re quite happy about it!
Almost impossible to narrow it down, but here are five experiences that we thoroughly enjoyed this year:
- Learning about the history of the Balkans during our road trip in the region
- The Dinaric Alps and their stunning landscapes across the Balkans
- Plitvice Lakes National Park, Croatia’s stunning cascaded lakes
- Puffin watching in Iceland
- Hiking Ben Nevis, the highest point in Scotland and the United Kingdom
Check out the archives for previous editions of “a year in review”.
What happened in 2016
In similar fashion to 2015, we managed to keep ourselves busy and traveled quite a lot bearing in mind we’re not full-time travelers. We spent 123 days on the road, taking 39 flights and exploring 10 new countries in the process. The year also took us to 8 countries that we have been in the past and travel to regularly, including to visit family and work.
As of right now, we’re spending our Christmas break in Paris, France. We look forward to enjoying some days off, rest, and a bit of sightseeing in the region.
Our main and longer trips this year were to Iceland and the Balkans. We dedicated over 1 month of our travels to visit 8 Balkan countries over two different trips, a shorter one in May and a longer one in September. What a beautiful region!
Other smaller and weekend breaks include Scotland, Italy, Portugal, and France. Work took us multiple times to Spain, Sweden, and the USA.
A travel year is not complete without a trip to Iceland and 2016 was no exception. The focus of this year’s visit to the land of fire and ice was to explore more of the Westfjords, the central Highlands, and þórsmörk. These are some of the best bits of the country and still get a small number of visitors. Oh, and we ended up inside a volcano as well, but that’s a story for another time.
2017 will probably see us return to Iceland. There are still a few things to see and do there, including hiking at the Hornstrandir Nature Reserve and the Laugavegur trail.
This year we spent the majority of our travel time in the Balkans, a region that encompasses many countries in south-eastern Europe and one that is slowly showing up on the tourist radar after years of conflicts.
We visited 8 countries, Croatia and now Slovenia being the most popular ones yet still far from the numbers the rest of Europe gets. The others further south, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Kosovo, Montenegro, Albania, and Macedonia are still very much off the beaten path, but don’t let this fool you, the Balkans are a beautiful and historical region well worth visiting. Plus, it’s perfectly safe.
There are many interesting places to visit in the Balkans but as a summary, here are a few places that caught our attention from each country:
- Croatia – Plitvice Lakes National Park and the Adriatic coast
- Slovenia – Bled and Bohinj lakes, Škocjan Caves, and Triglav National Park
- Macedonia – Matka Canyon and Lake Ohrid
- Kosovo – Prizren and the Orthodox Monasteries
- Serbia – Studenica and the Tara Mountain (we only visited the Southwest of Serbia – need to return!)
- Albania – The Albanian Alps, Lake Koman, and Berat
- Bosnia and Herzegovina – Mostar, Jajce, and Sarajevo
- Montenegro – Durmitor National Park, Kotor Bay, and Cetinje
We’ll leave you with a couple of photos as a teaser for what’s coming soon.
Where 2017 will lead us
It seems that we’re having a harder time each year picking our travel destinations. Our goal is to travel to interesting places that are not as visited as the most popular ones and where culture and nature play a big role. This has proven to be quite difficult to do when we consider our schedule constraints, budget, etc. We do have a long list of place we want to visit, we just need to select carefully every year.
What we are discussing so far:
- The Caucasus: Georgia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan
- Africa: Tanzania or Namibia
- The Baltics: Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania
Any suggestions? Let us know!
Not long ago, we celebrated two years of blogging and shared our experience and how much effort it takes to run a blog. Truth is, we have loads more coming and barely have written about this year’s travels. Our main focus will be to put out there all about our trips to the Balkans.
The 5 most popular articles of 2016 were:
- Iceland road trip: the ultimate guide
- All about driving in Cuba
- Fjaðrárgljúfur canyon
- 3 days in Yosemite during the Summer
- Best views in Copenhagen
Speaking of Instagram, here are the best 9 photos of the year.
Videos! We’re trying to do more and aim to release once a month if our busy schedule permits. If you have some time, you can see more of our videos here on the blog and on our YouTube page.
In the meanwhile, here’s one of our favorites of the year, featuring Iceland, of course.