Why when the opportunity arises to choose a new destination are we pulled back to the same places? Why do us travellers often forfeit exploring a new country for a place we’ve already been?
One advantage of returning to those countries we love again and again and maybe even again. Means we gain a deeper understanding of a country and it’s people, culture and quirks. I asked some fellow travel bloggers which countries they are obsessed with and why? And what insider tips can they share with you on the best things to see and do there. It turns out so many of us are obssessed with certain places I had to divide this post into two parts. This is ‘Part 2’.
For me personally there are several countries that I love so much they just keep pulling me back, drawing me in like a kid to candy via pricey plane tickets. I have an ongoing love affair with three countries. In no particular order the threesome includes Thailand, Spain and The Netherlands. All completely different countries. Not really any obvious similarities. But when I arrive I get that “I’m home” feeling. For crying out loud I’ve been to Thailand over 20 times but I keep returning for more… I may or may not…. be in Phuket right now… My pro tip for Phuket which I have spent many many months in over the years would be to get yourself out of Patong Beach as soon as humanly possible. Visit the much prettier Freedom Beach or Nai Harn Beach. Explore the Sino-Portuguese buildings in old Phuket Town and visit the monkeys and some local restaurants with a view at the top of Rang Hill.
Let’s see what countries other travel bloggers keep returning to and what tips they have for you!
Greece by Jori from Dutched Pinay Travels
Greece is one of Europe’s stunning countries that has managed to preserve its authentic beauty, culture, architecture and way of life. The Greek Islands are one holiday destination that my partner and I go back to every summer. Every year we pick a new island to enjoy and explore. We come for the lovely beaches and the reliable sun, the culture, a little bit of adventure, the down-to-earth food and the slow island life.
Here are a few tips from me: Make the most of the holiday by exploring the island, visiting beaches and villages with a (rental) scooter. There are island hopping opportunities abound, be it with a tour or do-it-yourself arrangement. Many tavernas on the beaches offer free sunbeds for their customers. Eating out is also unbelievably affordable! Dinner will set you back approximately €25-30 for 2 pax (1x shared starter, 2x main courses, 2x drinks) and most tavernas lavish guests with a free dessert which is their way of showing Greek hospitality. Try impressing the locals with your Greek: Efcharisto (Thank you), Para kalo (Your welcome), Kalimera (Good morning/Good day).
The Philippines by Ruben from Gamin Traveler
After traveling the world for 6 years, there is one country that I keep returning to – The Philippines. I’ve been to the Philippines 8 times already (and currently living and traveling here).
Turkey by Alina from Pet Travel Tales
Turkey is that beacon that keeps calling to me whenever I am considering a new trip. I’ve been to Turkey four times so far, once spending three whole weeks on their seaside. The other three times? Istanbul! Same time of the year, same city, same amazing cultural and historic sights to explore. And the food is to die for! I’ve been to Istanbul enough times that I have perfected the art of visiting as much of what I want to see in as little time as possible. I always promise I’ll focus on new sights, but the Blue Mosque, the Galata Tower, and the less known Kiz Kulesi (Maiden Tower) always call to me.
A few tips for those thinking of visiting Turkey: driving in Istanbul can be a little scary, but everyone is helpful and they’ll even drop what they are doing to come with you and show you the way. If you want to try delicious lokum (Turkish delight) don’t buy a box from the store. Go to the lokum stores (I’ve ran across a few in Taksim) where you can choose from dozens of various types and flavors. And if you’re going to the seaside, skip Bodrum, Analya and the other well-known resorts. Try Oludeniz where it’s quieter, everyone seems to speak English, and you can take a jeep up Babadag Mountain and then paraglide down to the beach!
The first time I visited Sweden was in 2013. I arrived in Copenhagen Airport and crossed the Oresund Bridge from Denmark to Malmo, Sweden. I must confess I cried when I saw that amazing view and this was the moment I fell in love with the country. During that first visit, I went to three different cities: Malmo, Gothenburg and Stockholm. I haven’t stopped visiting Stockholm since then…
I’ve now been to Europe three times and each time I have been to Stockholm because the city completely captured my heart from day one. I totally love the cosmopolitan vibe the city has and how warm it can be, even in the coolest winter. I have seen the city in the middle of the summer and winter, it doesn’t matter how hot or cold it is I feel like a piece of me lives there. That is why I always need to go back, even if it’s only to walk around Gamla Stan (the Old City.)
Brazil by Emily from Travel & Film
I would love to visit all the countries in the world and I always like to discover new places but there are other countries that just keep pulling me back. One of my favorite countries in the world is Brazil. The first time I went to Brazil was for carnival in 2009 and I felt like I had arrived in paradise! What I love most about Brazil is the people and how friendly and warm they are. Brazilians seem to be so happy no matter how they live and enjoy life to the fullest and always appreciate the moment! Also, Brazil is a very beautiful country! I am in love with Rio de Janeiro, every time I go there I have such a hard time leaving! I came back to Brazil for the World Cup and for the Olympic Games. And guess what? I am still in Rio right now writing this.
If you go to Brazil, you can’t miss Rio de Janeiro, it’s the most beautiful city in the world, that’s why it’s called “A cidade maravilhosa”. Go up the Vidigal favela on Mount Dois Irmaos to see a panoramic view of Rio. Brazil is a huge country with lots of interesting places to visit so you’ll have to make choices. My favorite natural beauty is the “Lençois Maranhenses”, a desert of white sand dunes and clear blue water lagoons in the north east of the country. Enjoy Brazil!
Sandy & Vyjay from IM Voyager
A country which first entices you and then mesmerizes you with its charm so you are enslaved forever by its beauty is Switzerland. Every nook and corner of the country seems to have been designed with meticulous care by God himself. Wherever you go in Switzerland, you are always at an arms length of a picture postcard view. You cannot help but fall head over heels in love with this beautiful country and if you are not blessed enough to live there, you are sure to return again and again. This is what Switzerland has done to me, and I return again and again to marvel at its beauty. Switzerland has been and still is an ideal muse for countless painters, musicians, writers, poets and other artists.
The lush green meadows and the snow peaks of the Alps have been ensnaring and pulling people to Switzerland for many years. Places like Mt. Titlis, Jungfraujoch, Zermatt, Gornergrat, Lucerne etc are the well-known hotspots of Switzerland, however there are so many unknown gems in the country that you can spend a lifetime and still not be able to uncover all of them. One such hidden treasure where the silence of nature will whisper in your ears, where a picturesque lake will make you wonder whether you are awake or lost in a dream, where the only sound that you hear are that of your footsteps and the chirping of the birds, is a place called Rapperswil. A day in this picturesque town will take you far away from reality, beyond the realms of imagination.
Indonesia by Tara from Shatara Travel
I have lost count of the times I have visited Indonesia. Bali has always been the draw for us and the obvious hotspots like Uluwatu, Tanah Lot, and the Ubud rice-fields were throughly explored years ago. We find the people to be friendly and open and have made Indonesian friends that we will have for life.
This year we took time to find new places to visit and we are so glad we did. A highlight of this trip was definitely Tibumana Waterfalls in Gianyar, Bali. These falls are about half an hour from Ubud, but they are much quieter than nearby Tegenungan Falls. They also sit within a local village with beautifully carved stone walls. It was a delight just travelling there on our scooter.
The second place we highly recommend in Indonesia is Flores Island. Labuan Bajo is the centre of diving in the Komodo National park and is genuinely THE BEST place we have dived in the world. I have over 30 dives under my belt so I am not just saying that either! On the other side of Flores Island you will find Moni. This town is at the base of Kelimutu Volcano which is home to the crater lakes that change colour throughout the year. These lakes are extraordinarily beautiful, and the sunrise over the mountains is spectacular.
And how about yourself? Which places keep pulling you back again and again?