My list is better than theirs (I think)
I woke up to an email from TripAdvisor with the subject “2020’s top things to do worldwide”. Excellent I thought, sitting down with my morning coffee to read the email and get some inspiration for future trips. That wasn’t quite how it turned out. Sorry TripAdvisor, you need to do way better! These are the five recommended places to visit in 2020 according to TA:
- The Colosseum
- The Louvre Museum
- The Vatican Museum
- The Statue of Liberty
- The Eiffel Tower
For the “top things to do….worldwide” you haven’t really travelled far. Two places in France, two in Italy and one in the US.
What kind of lazy arse research is that?! Now I know I’ve been lucky and have been to all of those places, and they are all amazing places to go and see if you haven’t done already. But seriously, those are the best they could come up with? I was surprised because it just isn’t a very imaginative list. I expect that most people who are interested in travel have either seen these places or at least already have them on their list of “must do’s”. Not feeling impressed with TripAdvisor and certainly not feeling inspired I decided to come up with my own list! Let’s see if I can do any better.
- The Southern Lights
- Gorilla Trekking in Uganda
- Bolivian Salt Flats
- German Christmas Markets
- Paragliding in Ölüdeniz
1. Aurora Australis
Everyone knows about the Northern Lights, the Aurora Borealis, but did you know about the Southern Lights? There is no difference between the two. Apart from the location. The Northern Lights can be seen near the North Pole in the Arctic Circle (think Iceland, northern Norway, Greenland, Alaska) whereas the Southern Lights can be found near the South Pole in the Antarctic Circle.
So where can you see the Southern Lights? You can see them in certain parts of Australia, New Zealand, Argentina, Falkland Islands and various cruises that explore the Antarctic. You will need to go during the winter time, so anytime between March to September is best, but research before you choose where you want to go. As if I needed another reason to go to New Zealand or Australia.
2. Gorilla Trekking in Uganda
Uganda has something for everyone. Culture, nightlife, water sports such as kayaking and water rafting, bungee jumping for the adrenaline junkees, beautiful national parks, lots of mountains for hiking and of course wild animals. You can also find beaches along the shores of Lake Victoria, pictured below.
You can go and find Chimpanzees (permit required), or take a Gorilla Trekking tour to see these magnificent animals in their natural habitat. The equator runs through Uganda too so make sure to get a photo with one foot in the northern hemisphere and one in the southern.
3. Bolivian Salt Flats
After seeing a photo of what looked like people walking on water I had to find out how they did it! It turned out that they weren’t walking on water at all and it wasn’t clever photo processing, but it was the Salt Flats in Bolivia.
You can visit these stunning salt flats any time of the year of course, but if you really want that mirror effect (caused by a layer of rain on top of the surface) then you need to go in the rainy season – between January and April. Out of the rainy season they will be dry and just as beautiful, plus you will be able to see the crystal like formations.
4. European Christmas Markets
If you are looking for something different to do at Christmas then I can personally recommend going to one or two (or more) Christmas markets in Europe. Even if you are not of the Christmas spirit I can pretty much guarantee that you will be enchanted by the lights and the atmosphere, and if that isn’t enough for you, then the mulled wine should do it.
I have been to Cologne and Düsseldorf markets, but pretty much every European destination has their own markets every year – just check the dates before you book anything because some finish before Christmas. Book early – accommodation in the popular locations gets booked up.
5. Paragliding in Ölüdeniz
Last, but not least on the list of five things to do is to visit Ölüdeniz. On the southwest coast of Turkey, Ölüdeniz is the beautiful resort town known for its breathtaking scenery. Take a paragliding flight overlooking the Blue Lagoon and then relax in the blue waters afterwards. My plan (one day) is to start by spending two or three nights in Istanbul before heading over to Cappadocia for a stay in a cave hotel where I can see the fairy chimneys and take a balloon ride, and then finish off with a trip down to Ölüdeniz for a paraglide. Sounds like a perfect trip to me, a little bit of everything – culture, scenery, adrenaline and relaxation.
So there we have it.
I have put some costly destinations on the list (if you live in the UK for example), but then that depends on where you are coming from in the first place. You need to think big sometimes and find that inspiration to save the pennies!
It was really, really hard to only pick five locations. I could come up with so many more places that I think would be amazingly worthwhile and fulfilling to visit. However, I hope these five meet with your approval. I think my list is better than TripAdvisor’s list, but then of course I am totally biased – but do you agree?!