We have been asked by lots of people over the past year what our favorite places have been on this trip. One thing that we have struggled to do is rank these in order, maybe we should but we find it so difficult as we really love all of these places! So, here is a round up of our Top 10 ...
Stockholm - Sweden
Stockholm is one of the top contenders for our favourite capital city which we have visited so far. Sweden on a whole is very clean, but even more so in the capital Stockholm. It is a mixed bag as during the day the lifestyle is very laid back and has a café culture about the place, by night it is a lively, vibrant city. At one end of the city lies the colourful architecture, old and new, with the most dominant building being the Royal Palace. We were surprised to find that just around the corner is a large park which leads up to the TV Tower, a lovely afternoon stroll can be found here.
Lofotens - Norway
Ok, so we are slightly cheating with this one as it is an Archipelago, but the scenery is just fascinating. The E10 takes you from the mainland and steadily winds its way through some spectacular fishing villages for some 200km’s before you reach the small but picturesque village of Å, the last stop at the end of the Lofotens. You won’t be able to drive for long, as at every turn you will want to stop to admire and take in the mountain views.
Vilnius - Lithuania
Vilnius was our 3rd Capital of the Baltic States and we were admittedly looking forward to visiting. Only in 1990 did Vilnius announce its secession from the Soviet Union to restore its independence. Vilnius is clean and colourful and has been rapidly transformed into a modern European city. The historical centre has been restored but some old buildings still exist. There are countless astounding viewpoints above the city such as the Hill of Crosses and the Gediminas Tower. There is a strong sense of café culture in Vilnius with a friendly attitude to go with it.
High & Low Tatras - Slovakia
The Tatras in Slovakia are a paradise for walkers and ski lovers. We visited for the first time in July 2011 and were mesmerised by their charm. New facilities at the bottom of the High Tatras made all of the amazing walks on offer very accessible. The trails are well marked and the maps are in abundance with different scale options to match your requirements. We stayed in the Tatras for two weeks and whilst we were there we met all different types of nationalities who were there to explore the alluring landscape.
Meteora - Greece
Meteora, the Unesco World Heritage Site seems to be suspended in the air on very small rock pillars which on first impressions astounded us, and still does. The first people to inhabit Meteora were Hermit Monks back in the 9th Century and only 6 of the monasteries remain today. It is one of the biggest tourist attractions in Greece so can get very busy especially at peak times. As we stayed at nearby Pension Arsenis
we got up early to visit. When we look back at our photos of Meteora we still cannot believe how extraordinary and totally breath-taking the monasteries are.
Erg Chebbi - Morocco
Erg Chebbi was by far our favourite place in Morocco. The dunes seemed to have some kind of hold over us and although really, there isn’t anything in the Sahara as such, Erg Chebbi did it for us. As of yet we haven’t been anywhere like this and we definitely plan on going back on our next trip to Morocco. The colours are just magnificent; the seemingly endless dunes change from bright orange at sunrise to a rose gold at sunset. The people who we were with really made our trip and we enjoyed every second of Erg Chebbi and its charming ways.
St Petersburg - Russia
St Petersburg is a crazy place and was a whirlwind adventure for us. We visited on the Visa Free overnight ferry crossing from Helsinki
and stayed overnight right in the centre of St Petersburg. Russia is like no other place that we have visited, the mixture of new and old is visible and a sense of mayhem during the day leads to a calmer more sociable city in the evening. However, the wacky city never seems to sleep with its traditional and extremely tasty 24 hour cake and coffee shops. One of the main attractions in St Petersburg is the Hermitage Museum of art and culture which is the largest museum in the world and definitely surpassed any of our expectations. Add St Petersburg to your list!
Veliko Tarnovo - Bulgaria
Veliko Tarnovo is situated on 3 hills and is based around a medieval stronghold called the Tsarevets, it is surrounded by thick walls and the main attraction is the patriarchate at the top of the hill which recently had its frescoes repainted in 1985. The magnificent drawbridge still exists today but unfortunately has a ticket office just before the gate! If you are stopping in Veliko Tarnovo be sure to visit Camping Veliko Tarnovo
which is owned by a lovely English couple, Nick & Nicky.
Papigo / Vikos - Greece
Papigo, also known as Papigko and Mikro Papigko is just stunning. It is located up in the mountains of the Vikos National Park and has an attractive and delightful feel about it. We visited in October 2011 when it was still relatively warm so set out to go walking in the gorge. Back up in the small villages there were little terraces and cafes, overlooked by the huge sculptured mountains which towered above. The Vikos Gorge just up the road has a lot to offer for walkers and along the route has a collection of small brick built arched bridges that vary in size.
Cesis - Latvia
Cesis is a small but quaint village in Latvia which is centred on the medieval castle. We were won over by its romantic characteristics and overall allure. For an inexpensive sum of £1.20 you can enter the castle which also includes the grounds and are accompanied by a candle lit lantern for the ancient staircases. The attractive Cesis Castle Park is a delight to wander around with its well-marked footpaths and exotic plants, together with its additional residents; some black swans and signets when we visited in 2011.