Emtalks | Beauty, Fashion, Travel, Fitness and Lifestyle Blog


Friday, 30 October 2015

Top/Favourite Travel Destinations So Far & Travel Bucketlist!

I recently read an article called 'how to have more birthdays than the Queen' discussing travel routes that allow you to celebrate your birthday more than once by manipulating time zones and travelling. I got a little bit excited. It gave me a few ideas in terms of travelling, do I fly to Australia and celebrate my birthday and then have another one elsewhere?! Think of all the cake. This got me thinking about my love for travel (if you read EmTalks or follow me on Instagram you'll know that I am forever suffering from wanderlust) and this article has made me want to discuss my favourite travel destinations (so far). Over the past year I've been fortunate enough to travel a lot so I decided to write about my top 10 destinations (so far) out of the places I've visited...I've never really done a travel round up so here we go! 

Saying somewhere is my 'favourite destination' is quite a difficult concept though; is it my favourite because of the person I was with? Is it my favourite because of the time of year I visited? Or is it just my favourite because of the things I saw? Is it my favourite place because of the people I met there? The things I ate? So many things can make a trip heroic or, tragic. So many people have different opinions about places they've visited for example England could be my favourite place in the world but it could equally be someone else's most hated place. I'm going to try and really 'rank' (it's going to be so difficult because I actually love most of these places equally for so many different reasons) my favourite destinations based on the actual location itself and culture, rather than the person I was with and those memories because sometimes memories can really over-shadow the place. You could go to the worst place in the world with the best person for example! Let's start...

10. Boston - Boston is an amazing city. Don't see this as number 10 and think it's a low one on my list because to even make it to number 10 is good! I visited Boston randomly and honestly had no expectations which is probably why I adored it so much. I was blown away by this amazing, easy-going city. Whilst I love New York, it hasn't made it onto my list of fave destinations - I love it so so much but for me, Boston was more special purely because I didn't expect it to be as amazing. Everyone talks about New York, everyone knows it's an amazing place but for me, Boston was just so special. I went with no plan and left totally in love. Boston is clean, fresh and not as 'Americanised' as New York. It doesn't seem as touristy and flashy. I spoke to the locals in Little Italy and just loved every minute of it. Cambridge is the most gorgeous little area too. It's a real 'lived in' place and the vibes here are so different to New York. I'd highly recommend visiting them both and you'll see what I mean. You can read my Boston posts here and my New York ones here

Must Eat: A cupcake from Georgetown Cupcakes 

Must Visit: Little Italy for the most amazing American/Italian food ever!

9. Barcelona - When talking about European favourites, Greece and Barcelona rank very high. First up, Barcelona. I've visited Barcelona twice and even after my first time there I fell in love and said it was one of my favourite places. I arrived and just fell in love with the city. Barcelona is beautiful, the streets are those kind of streets you can just get lost on. I'd highly recommend just walking and getting lost in Barcelona. I personally haven't seen any danger in Barcelona (there's a lot of talk about pick pockets but just be careful). Barcelona did something to me and I feel like I left my heart there a little bit. It's really easy going, friendly and there is so much to do there. Not only is there the most beautiful (crazily long) stretch of beach (I walked 10 miles along it!!!) but also the city is really cool. From amazing designer stores, to winding Gothic streets, to gorgeous churches, to cute little tapas restaurants. For me, Barcelona is perfect because you can have a beach break and a city break rolled into one. One minute you can be walking past Hermes and Chanel and the next minute you can be cycling along the beach with an ice cream in one hand after eating more paella than your tummy can handle. I've also had some of the best meals of my life whilst in Barcelona. The food can be really really bad or really good so make sure you do your research first. I ended up finding some unreal restaurants which I'll never forget. See my Barcelona blog posts here. I've visited a lot of other places in 'Spain' but Barcelona wins for me every.single.time. I'd like to do more of Spain though because it is such a beautiful place. Madrid anyone? 

Must Eat: Tapas - try finding the thinly cut patas bravas with fried egg on top! 

Must Drink: Sangria
Must Visit: Cervecería Catalana for the best tapas in Barcelona

8. Washington D.C - I applied to study in Washington D.C so really had my heart set on living there right up until about a month before when I was told I couldn't, because I did so much research about D.C and honestly thought I'd be moving there, I felt so emotional when I eventually arrived there to visit a year later. I could definitely imagine myself living there. D.C is beautiful, particularly Georgetown - a gorgeous kind of typically American little town. The houses and the streets are pristine and the shops are cute yet amazing. It's like something from a film and it made me feel so sad that I didn't get to move there. Maybe one day. You can read my D.C posts here - the Fairmont in D.C which I stayed at (most amazing hotel ever) has just had a huge refurbishment so it's definitely worth checking out. I cannot recommend Fairmont hotels enough. 

Must Eat: Mac and Cheese of course but D.C is home to the amazing Old Ebbitts Grill, head there for one of the best American meals I've ever had! 

Must Visit: The monuments at sunset!

7. Greece (Santorini) - Greece is easily my favourite European country (so far). I've visited Greece a lot of times with my family and would always be happy to go back there. I've never had a bad experience, the country is just stunning. Greek food is delicious too, I live on fresh Greek salads whilst there and I think the beauty of Greece is so under-rated, it really is a stunning country and I actually wish I could explore more of it. The most amazing place I've ever visited in Greece? and actually one of the most amazing places I've visited (so crazy that it's really not that far from the UK) is Santorini. You can read my Greece blog posts here and my Santorini ones here. I'd love to do Mykonos next! 

Must Eat: Greek Salad! Tzatziki too!

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6. The Bahamas - The Bahamas is as amazing as I thought it would be. I'm a beach bum. I feel like I should have been born in Australia on a beach. I'm definitely happiest when I'm sat on a beach, feeling really warm, with salty hair and sandy toes. The fish fry in the Bahamas is possibly the most amazing place I've visited. We were told we must go to a carnival and do this because they're quite traditional. You sit with the locals and eat local comfort food whilst sipping on amazing cocktails. Trust me, it's so good. The beaches? Heavenly. The Bahamas is such an easy going place with gorgeous little islands dotted everywhere. If you get the chance, you have to visit the Exumas islands - think bright white, untouched sand, gorgeous fish, even sharks. I've never seen so many untouched islands - the Bahamas is full of them. You can read my Bahamas posts here.

Must Eat: Conch Fritters

Must Drink: Bahama Mama 

5. Paris - Paris is such a cliched place to visit (for bloggers anyway it seems) but come on, nothing is more magical, particularly during Christmas time. I will forever be in love with this wonderful city. I'm embarrassed and upset to say I've never visited Disney but there is just so much to do in Paris itself that I've never even had the chance to visit Disney too. I've visited Paris a few times and would jump at the chance of going back. I feel like it's somewhere that needs visiting every year as it's just amazing. I studied French for A-level so have always adored the French culture, language and food which could be why I adore Paris so much. It's just so sparkly, pretty and romantic. I'm a hopeless romantic so I just adore the romance of Paris, even if I am yet to put a love lock on the bridge and am yet to be proposed to there. It's romantic and beautiful and I wouldn't have it any other way. I would highly recommend visiting during Christmas time, nothing beats a Wintery walk around the Eiffel Tower. Who fancies taking me this Christmas?! You can read my Paris posts here

4. Canada (Montreal) - As most of you will know if you've read EmTalks for a while, I lived in Canada for a year! I was mainly based between Montreal and Toronto so got to explore these a lot and the surrounding areas. Montreal has such a small town feel to it, I honestly always bumped into the same people and went to the same places so many times. It's an amazing place because there's such a community feel to it and Canadians are really friendly. There are quite a lot of issues between Quebecois (French-born Canadians I think) and those who don't speak French - I found they were often quite rude to me which his why I preferred Toronto a lot of the time - it's a lot more 'Canadian' and I know a lot of my Canadian friends who lived in Montreal for University explained that Montreal/Quebec would prefer to be its own kind of country (there are lots of historical reasons for this so do Google it if you're interested) but sometimes you can tell that this is the case. I absolutely love Canada though, the coffee shops (Tim Hortons is the best),  how acceptable daily brunch is, the amazing 'fall' or Autumn that they have and their love for the outdoors plus all the amazing ice rinks! Canada to me is one of the most amazing places. I could talk about it forever as I feel like Canada is and always will be my second home. You can read my Canada posts here and my Montreal specific ones here

Must Eat: Poutine (La Banquise does the best)

Must Visit: Mont Royal at sunset 

3. Miami - I cannot believe how much I loved Miami. I was petrified to visit after reading so many shooting horror stories online, but I went for a few days and had the time of my life. South Beach is stunning and so is the boardwalk. I love the love for fitness in Miami, everyone runs along the boardwalk (almost making me feel guilty after stuffing my face with mac and cheese and ice cream) and if you love designer/high-end hotels then you'll love Miami as it has such a clean, cosmopolitan feel to it. Think super cars everywhere. There's some not-so-nice areas of Miami too but for me, it made Miami really different. I love how each street is different. Whilst there's a huge 'showy-off' element of Miami (champagne lifestyle and more money than you've ever seen), I also loved meeting lots of locals, many of whom moved over from Spain or Mexico and now call Miami home. Also, there's a huge Cuban culture there too. I loved Miami because it felt like a mix of America with Mexico, friendly, fun and beautiful. You can read my Miami posts here. I'm desperate to go back and spend another week or two there! 

Must Eat: Cuban food

Must See: Walk along the boardwalk! 

travel blog
2. Mexico - Mexico is such an amazing place once you get out of your resort. Don't get me wrong, the resorts are amazing and well worth staying in - those perfect resorts where you never need to leave because the food is unreal (Mexico is home to some of the best all-inclusive resorts in the world apparently), amazing pools, sea views, entertainment but the real Mexico starts as soon as you leave the resort. We went on day-trips pretty much every day (your hotel usually organises these which is a big bonus) and saw some of the most amazing islands, did the most amazing things and just honestly rammed as much as we could into the week we were there. Mexican food is my favourite too so it was nice to eat my favourite cuisine all day every day. You can read my Mexico posts here

Must Visit: Isla Mujeres

Must Eat: Everything (plus drink a real mojito)

1. Vietnam - Well done you if you guessed Vietnam as my number 1 place so far. All the places on this list are quite different and it's actually incredibly hard to rank them, I could rank them all number 1 for different reasons but this time, Vietnam wins for me. Vietnam is one of the first long-haul flights I've been on, it was so exciting. The whole thing was such an adventure. I'd do anything to go back to Vietnam, when I talk to people about Vietnam I get goosebumps. It feels like I visited so long ago and I'd do anything to go back. Vietnam was my favourite because it's almost, I say almost well, it felt 'almost' untouched by tourists. It felt totally different to any Westernised place I've ever visited before. It's authentic, totally different to anywhere and it made me want to explore more of that side of the world. The food, the people, the crazy drivers and culture made me fall head over heels in love with Vietnam. It would be my dream to get married on Halong Bay, easily the most beautiful place I've ever seen in my life. I've never felt so free in my life as I did that day cycling around the bay and taking in one of the natural wonders of the world. You can read my (very old) Vietnam posts here. 

I really hope you liked my round up! I loved writing this but it's got me wanting to plan my next trips now. I'm craving some Wintery breaks this Christmas (Iceland, Munich and possibly Switzerland!) and I'm shocked that I've never visited Italy so I'd love to do that in the new year. I also have Bali, Australia, Fiji, Mauritius, The Maldives, Thailand, St Lucia and wherever else life throws at me on my list! The world is your oyster and if we were meant to stay in one place for the rest of our lives, we'd have roots instead of feet! I don't think I'd turn down a trip really! 

Make sure you read my top travel tips post too!

Have you ever visited any of these places? Would you like to? Do you like the sound of any of them?
Where is on your bucketlist?

Lots of love, Em x

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