At the beginning of 2015 I wrote a wishlist of the places that I wanted to travel to that year. Hilariously, I didn't manage to make it to any of them! This year I'm making a new travel bucket list, which may be unrealistically extensive, but I am going to make a real effort to visit at least a couple of these destinations over the next year, sticking to my resolution to visit a new place every month. So, without further ado, here is my travel bucket list for 2016.
Iceland has been on my bucket list for a good couple of years now. I'd love to explore the paint-box hued houses of Reykjavik, wandering around the small city discovering photogenic street art and cute little cafes, before setting off on a road trip around the infamous ring road. During our trip we'd alternate nights sleeping in the back of our hired jeep with stays in secluded cabins in the wilderness. There'd be little chance for star gazing or spotting the northern lights, as I plan to visit during June when the sun is permanently above the horizon to maximise the daylight hours and ensure that we see as much as possible. I want to run along black volcanic beaches, soak in undiscovered hot springs, encounter Icelandic ponies, and trek through the wilderness on the hunt for the mythical elves of Icelandic folklore. Key destinations on our trip would include the otherwordly geothermal area of Hverarond, the glacial lagoon Jokulsarlon, the watercolour mountains of Landmannalauger, and a whale watching expedition from Husavik.
After falling head over heels in love with Copenhagen, I'm adamant that I want to tick off every inch of the Nordic countries. After Iceland, Norway is next on my list, alluring me with intriguing cities and awe-inspiring landscapes. I'm aware that I would get a completely different experience travelling in either summer or winter, and would love to visit Norway as the foliage turns rust and autumn flourishes, to have both the opportunity to explore without worrying about snow fall and the chance of glimpsing the elusive northern lights. I've been dreaming of strolling around the streets of Oslo, admiring the fusion of modern and traditional architecture and sipping takeaway coffee from Tim Wendelboe to warm my hands. A trip to Ekebergparken sculpture park and the Norwegian folk museum would be highlights of my stay in the city, but I would soon grow restless and yearn to explore the fjords, mountains, forests and archipelagos that make up the rest of the country.
I'm currently planning a trip to this tiny village on the East Coast of England for my boyfriend's birthday weekend. I'm craving a quiet weekend by the sea, just the two of us and the puppy. We'll stay in a snug little room above a traditional inn, retreating downstairs for home cooked meals and pints of ale by the open fire in the evenings. During the day, we'll walk along the cliffs and run on the beach with the dog, the salty sea air coating our skin. Whitby is only a hop, skip and a jump away, so I'll finally get to visit this traditional seaside town where we'll explore the streets and share fish and chips on the beach.
Two of my best friends have Polish heritage, and their family owns a delightful retreat deep in the woods where we are planning to visit en masse this summer. The plan is to head there by train, stopping en route to sample one or two Polish cities, before reaching our woodland retreat. We'll cook huge feasts to be enjoyed outdoors with copious amounts of cava, laze around all day on blankets and in hammocks reading books and playing cards, and venture out into the woods to explore to our heart's content. This trip would all be about relaxing and recuperating, although there would more than likely be a steady flow of alcohol throughout.
I've been thinking a lot about travelling all around the world, and visiting far flung destinations, then realised that this is far beyond my current means, and started to instead consider places closer to home that I could visit on a shoestring budget. The Baltic countries of Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania have so much to offer in terms of beautiful old cities, stunning national parks and exciting nightlife, and are remarkably affordable due to being virtually undiscovered compared to other European hot spots. I'd love to visit them all, and it does seem like it would be quite simple to combine the three countries into one trip. I would split my time between exploring the bohemian streets and vibrant nightlife (the fusion of art and music at Fluxus Ministerija sounds incredible!) of Vilnius, navigating the remote and wild landscape of Estonia's island-dotted coastline, and discovering the medieval town of Tallinn. A trip to the Curonian Spit world heritage site to view the impressive sand dune peninsula and traditional fishing villages would be the ideal way to conclude my journey.
West Coast USA
What is the point of creating a bucket list if I missed out my absolutely dream trip! There's next to no chance of this actually happening this year, but I'm still dreaming of taking a road trip up the entire West Coast of America. We'd visit all of the places that I constantly drool over on Instagram, including Big Sur, Yosemite, Lake Tahoe, Salvation Mountain, Joshua Tree, and a whole host of desolate beaches on the PNW coast. En route, we would spend a couple of days in LA, San Fran, Portland, Seattle and Vancouver, drinking coffee and browsing all of the amazing looking independent shops and coffee houses that I've added to my wishlist. We'd spend most nights sleeping in a camper van in the wilderness, parking up next to beaches and in the middle of forests. Occasionally, we'd seek out secluded cabins and hip hotels to enjoy the odd night of luxury. I don't think I would ever want to come home.
Wild Atlantic Way
Ireland has never really been on my radar, but after discovering the wild beauty of Scotland last summer, I've been reading up on what Ireland has to offer. With chances to spot a whole host of sea life including several species of whales, seals and dolphins, epic landscapes and a whole host of sights to spot en route, this is my backup road trip for the year if Iceland isn't feasible. We'd drive the whole way from Malin Head down to the Old Head of Kinsale, stopping to walk along the edge of cliffs, experience a traditional relaxing seaweed bath, forage for our own mussels, and take a boat out to explore Skellig Michael. This trip would be all about hiking, exploring and taking in the striking scenery.
Where is on your travel wish list this year?
First image by @helloemilie. All other images via Pinterest.