After a long weekend in Hvar we took the ferry back to Split and rented a car to drive up to Istria, the largest (and a super beautiful!) peninsula in the Adriatic Sea. We decided to break up the 6h way from Split to Pula by visiting the waterfalls in the Krka National Park that is located approx. 70 mins from Split.
Bring your bikini…
The Krka National Park offers a range of sights from beautiful waterfalls to a tiny island (Visovac) in the Krka river that was settled by Franciscan monks in 1445. If the weather is hot you can also swim in some parts of the waterfalls :) We didn’t have enough time to visit the island as we had to continue our drive up to Pula so there are no photos of it in this post. The Visovac island is supposed to be very pretty and quaint though, so if you have a bit more time in the Krka National Park, make sure to check it out.
.. and comfy shoes!
It takes around 20-30 mins to walk from the visitor centre to the waterfalls. It’s a hiking path though, so you’d need some comfy shoes. There is also a shuttle bus that takes you from the visitor centre to the waterfalls and back. We decided to hike to the waterfalls and take the bus back :)
There is a pathway that leads through all the different little and bigger waterfalls in this part of the Krka National Park. It took us around one hour for the whole way but we stopped a lot of times and we also had a break for swimming.
Aren’t the Krka waterfalls super stunning? The entire area looks like an enchanted forest from a fairytale! To see for yourself, book your trip to Croatia! It’s such a beautiful country with extremely friendly people. I will post more about my Croatia trip soon! X
There is not always a ‘real’ summer in Northern & Western Europe, so sometimes you just have to do deal with rain. I personally like summer rain but only if the temperature stays hot like in tropical destinations. This generally is not the case in Europe. Quite the opposite. A rainy day usually means that it’s a good idea to bring that jumper or light jacket with you. And an umbrella, of course.
Yet, rain doesn’t mean that the day is not beautiful. I spent a rainy summer day in Ghent and it was gorgeous. I love sitting in cafes, having a cappuccino or a glass of wine and reading in my kindle. What else is there to do when it’s raining haha. If you are not a fan of wine, did you know that Belgium has some really amazing beer?!
Ghent makes a great weekend trip if you are based in Europe. Here are some of the must-see sights in Ghent: Gravensteen Castle, Saint Nicholas Church, Graslei and Korenlei, St. Michael’s Bridge, St. Bavo’s Cathedral, The Belfry, Vismarkt. Check out the Ghent tourism website for much more info and more suggestions for things to do in Ghent: Visit Ghent
Saint Nicholas Church
Graslei and Korenlei & St. Michael’s Bridge
The Belfry & Vismarkt
12th Century castle Gravensteen
Ghent City Centre
There is so much to see in the city centre! Don’t forget to walk through a few of the quaint streets that will lead you to lots of hidden sights :)
.. and if you are lucky, after rain, there will be sun :)
So after all, the sun did decide to make an appearance. Perfect to walk through Ghent’s beautiful alleys and see the city’s stunning historic architecture. And if you like, hop on and have a little tour on the coach. FYI, I’m just pretending – I’m super allergic against horses. This kind of city tour would be such a nightmare for me haha
Ghent is such a beautiful city with lots of stunning historic architecture and quaint little alleys and shops. If you are doing an extended Western Europe trip, make sure to add a couple of days in Ghent to your agenda. And if you are a fan of little coastal towns, check out these 7 reasons why you should visit Belgium’s Ostend.
If you are looking for a quiet and peaceful retreat in Mallorca, the boutique hotel Sa Franquesa Nova might be exactly what you are searching for. We stayed in this charming hotel for a weekend and absolutely fell in love with it.
Peace and luxury surrounded by Mallorca’s countryside
Sa Franquesa Nova is a luxurious finca boutique hotel located near Vilafranca de Bonany in the countryside of Mallorca. It takes around 25 mins by car to get to Palma de Mallorca and around 30 to 45 mins to get to the beautiful beaches in the east and south of Mallorca.
The benefit that comes with the hotel’s remote location is the approximately 4,000 sqm large outdoor space which ensures a peaceful and quiet stay. The finca hotel itself is surrounded by a large garden with plenty of majestic palm trees, a beautiful pond and lots of remote little spots to enjoy the tranquility of the hotel.
The pool is located near the alfresco dining area and has comfy sun loungers with a stunning view of the pretty landscape around the hotel.
Wonderful welcome and lovely staff
We arrived very late on Friday night and had such a lovely welcome. The check-in was super quick and within 10 mins we found ourselves relaxing on our balcony with a glass of cava in our hand. Overall the staff was great and very eager to help and make the stay perfect for the hotel’s guests.
Cava and night sky sparkle
… and that’s what sold me on this hotel. I live in London which means that having a sky full of stars is just something I never experience at home. When I read about the magical night sky in some of the hotel’s reviews, I couldn’t wait for our weekend trip to start! So it didn’t take long for us to move over from the chairs on our balcony to the sun loungers for a session of star gazing. And what did we hear while enjoying our cava and the beautiful night sky? Ha! Nada! Sweet nothingness except the tranquil and calming nocturnal sounds that come with a night in the countryside. Exactly what I wanted :)
The perfect spot for yoga during sunrise
In the morning, just after sunrise, I went for a little walk to explore the hotel’s garden. I was greeted by a few chickens and then continued my walk along the breakfast and pool area further towards the immense countryside that surrounds the finca. Soon I arrived at a gorgeous spot with an amazing view. At that moment I wished I had my yoga mat with me! It would have been such a peaceful and calm place for yoga or meditation.
Making new friends
Near my new perfect yoga spot I came across this little striped fellow below. In fact, except my new friend here and the few chickens earlier I didn’t come across anyone. So much for overcrowded Mallorca… it turns out you just need to know where to go :)
Breakfast by the pool
When I came back from my morning walk I went to our room and picked up Michael for breakfast. We had a really relaxing breakfast and then hopped into the pool before heading out to explore some beaches.
Dinner during the most beautiful sunset
We arrived back in the hotel around 7 pm and then got ready for dinner. I hadn’t had paella for such a long time so I was excited to find it on the dinner menu. We started with an amuse-bouche and then had a large fresh salad before we were served very yummy paella. After a panna cotta dessert and another glass of cava we enjoyed the picture-perfect sunset right from our dinner table.
After dinner we decided to finish our bottle of cava in the jacuzzi. As you can see we managed to get the perfect bubble bath :) After the little SPA session I slipped into my bath robe and curled up in bed with a book :)
How to book your stay at Sa Franquesa Nova
Convinced yet? :) Sa Franquesa Nova can be booked via all major hotel booking websites and via the hotel’s website directly. Click here to get to the website.
I have partnered with Sa Franquesa Nova for this post. All opinions are my own.
Last week I went to see Alice Adventures Underground. After a successful sell-out run in 2015, the show is on again at The Vaults in London. As a big fan of Alice in Wonderland, immersive theatres, and all things surreal, I obviously HAD to watch this one :)
If you are wondering what an immersive theatre is, it’s a show where the audience takes an active role in the story line! Yes, you!
After being led into a room full of dusty old books, antique-style furniture and lots of mirrors (of course!), we see Alice for the first time. She speaks to us through the mirror, seemingly a bit lost and unable to remember her name. Also she doesn’t really look like the Disney version of Alice. She much rather looks like an Alice after a zombie apocalypse. At that moment, if not earlier, you realise that you are not in for the cute Alice in Wonderland story but instead for some sort of strange and bizarre adventure.
Soon after that, we meet the bunny. I understand that also he is supposed to look like the ‘zombiefied’ version of the traditional bunny in Alice in Wonderland but I, personally, thought he was super cute. Yes, that’s probably just me.
Eat Me… or Drink me….?
‘Eat Me’ or ‘Drink Me’ is the decision you have to make upon entering Alice’s underground world through the rabbit hole. We opt for ‘Drink Me’ and seal our fate.
Next we are issued our entry / ID cards (called SUITs) for this surreal world that we are about to enter. We all receive Spades and thereby, unknowingly, join the movement against the Queen of Hearts. That said, there are lots of parallel stories happening at the same time. So even if you come to watch the show twice, each experience will be a bit different for you.
If you are a fan of immersive theatres you will LOVE Alice Adventures Underground!
And that’s it. I won’t tell you more because one of the most exciting parts of this show, and in general of immersive theatres, is not knowing what happens next. The only thing I say is, that the Alice Underground world is bizarre, sometimes a bit creepy, but absolutely magical and intoxicating.
Be there or be square..
Alice Adventures Underground runs several times a day from Tuesdays to Sundays. The play takes around 90 min, so make sure to arrive a bit in advance to sit down, have a drink and use the toilet before you dive into Alice’s Wonderland.
Isla Mujeres is a beautiful little island just 13 km off the coast of Cancun. The island is super easy to reach: There is a ferry from Cancun to Isla Mujeres that just takes 15 min and runs each 30 min (from 5 am to 9 pm). The ferry leaves from Puerto Juarez, just a few minutes away from downtown Cancun. Once you arrive on the island it is just a 20 min walk from the Ferry Terminal of Isla Mujeres to the Playa Norte – the part of the island with the most beautiful beaches.
White sand and crystal clear water
The two photos above show the beach area around 5 min away from the ferry terminal. These beaches already look super beautiful and you can get massages on the beach (yeyy!). However, when we arrived the beaches were quite crowded that close to the terminal, so we just grabbed a coffee and continued walking north to Playa del Norte.
And ta-dah, the beaches in Playa del Norte are less crowded, the water is crystal blue and the sand is white. EXACTLY my type of beach! There are a number of beach bars that range from less fancy to fancy. They usually charge you for a sun bed and if you are not Mexican, they will charge you more. So negotiate anyway. We opted for a rather relaxed and laid back bar and got the sun beds in return for a few drinks which we were planning to order anyway, of course :)
I didn’t see a massage / SPA place on that part of Isla Mujeres but there was a lovely lady who wrapped my hair with lots of pretty colours. Finally I was turning into a little hippie :) I look a bit bored in the photo but hellooo, the wrapping session took like 25 min.. Oh and yes, it’s not the best idea if you plan to go on a surfing trip afterwards. After Cancun we headed to Sayulita for almost 3 weeks. Because of the wrap I almost had dreadlocks at the end of that :)
By the way, you can also bring your own food and drinks and have a little picnic like the guys are doing in the photo below. So also for savy backpackers, Isla Mujeres is a fun trip to do! And even if you are not a beach bum, there is much more to see and do in Isla Mujeres. There are maya ruins in the south and lots of underwater activities. We just stayed on the beach until the evening and enjoyed the amazing water and the margaritas, of course :)
The most beautiful sunsets..
If you are not planning to spend the night in Isla Mujeres, try to get the penultimate ferry rather than rushing to make the last one. I recall we had to wait in a queue to get the last one so it seems that on some days the last ferry is quite crowded and potentially will leave some people stranded on the island. Which, then again, would not be the worst thing in the world haha.
For more travel hacks and ideas in Mexico read this one and for a one-month-long-itinerary, read this one. Oh, and for the most perfect honeymoon hotel, check out this one :)
Haleakala (Haleakalā), also referred to as the East Maui Volcano, is an immense shield volcano that actually makes up 75% of the Maui island. The tallest peak of the volcano is 3,055 metres high – you will literally be standing above the clouds!
It’s easy to visit the volcano’s summit as it’s part of the Haleakala National Park: Simply rent a car in town and drive up the gorgeous mountain until you reach the top. The roads are entirely paved and it’s super safe to drive (not like the Road to Hana..). It’s quite cold up there though (between 5 and 15°C). So make sure to bring some warmer clothes with you. And, as for any road trip through a national park, come with a full tank, bring lots of water and food. As you can see in the photos, I obviously had forgotten the extra clothes haha
And not only the peak of the volcano is absolutely breathtaking, also the road up has its fair share of stunning spots for taking little breaks or having picnics.
Haleakala was home to demigod Maui’s granny..
There is a beautiful legend to the Haleakala volcano which says that the crater at summit of Haleakala was home to the grandmother of the demigod Maui. It is said that Maui’s grandmother helped him to capture the sun, forcing it to slow down in order to lengthen the day. Have you seen the Disney movie Moana? It’s so beautiful – make sure to watch it before you head to Hawaii!
Convinced yet? It’s really such a beautiful place and makes a perfect day trip in Maui. Read more info about the volcano and how to get there here on the official Haleakala National Park website. And for more tips for Maui, check out the Road to Hana here, Lahaina here and the Maui Hyatt Regency here. For lots of beautiful photos of Maui, click over to this one and this one.
Road to Hana is a must-see in Maui and makes a perfect day tour away from the beaches into the more tropical part of the island. And as the name probably already suggests, this day trip is not to visit Hana, it’s about driving the beautiful ROAD to Hana. There are endless beautiful spots for having picnics and taking photos. So make sure you reserve a whole day for your Road to Hana trip and start in the morning.
Rise and shine early
We left the hotel in West Maui at around 10 am in the morning and started our road trip along the Road to Hana. I think the usual tours already start around 8 am and also a lot of individual travellers start much earlier than 10 am. This is because it takes a while to drive along the Road to Hana and back. You don’t want to RUSH the Road to Hana as (1) there are so many beautiful spots to discover and get out of your car and (2) driving fast on the Road to Hana will make it rather a Road to Death as the streets become really narrow and non-paved. That said, one of the reasons why you should start your trip early is to prevent ending up on such a narrow mountain road after dark.
The Real Surfers..
Once you have made your way to start the start of the official back-road of the Road to Hana, the beauty begins. Just being a few mins on the Road to Hana we passed by massive waves. The waves you associate Hawaii with after seeing some surfer movies. And yes, there were surfers actually surfing these huge waves. OMG. Obviously we had to stay there a for a little while to watch them. That’s when I realised for real that I will NEVER become one of them. That train has left the station and it probably had done so many years before haha. Life is all about focusing on the realistic dreams haha..
Anyway, after seeing how these surfers were being washed away by the waves I decided to happily stick to the longer end of the mini malibu surf boards and much smaller waves :)
Nature at its best!
Continuing driving along the Road to Hana you will come across literally countless spots to have a little break and take in the gorgeous views and beauty of nature. It’s really so beautiful that you wish you had left much earlier in the morning to have longer and more frequent breaks along the road.
Don’t get stuck under a tree…
Some parts of the Road to Hana are quite deserted and others have places where you can grab coffee, barbecue or coconuts. You do have to watch out at the deserted parts though: We stopped at a lovely, peaceful rocky beach and suddenly a huge wave came towards us and smashed over the stones where we were standing.
I fell down and had to run on bare feet through the rocks to grab back my flip flops.. Then I heard screams and looked over to the three girls who were sitting on a fallen tree enjoying the view when we arrived. Apparently the wave had washed over them and one of the girls got stuck UNDER that tree. The wave must have been so powerful that it lifted up the tree and buried one girl underneath. The girls were panicking and screaming as there were more waves coming and washing over her friend. Thank goodness, Michael was already making his way to help lift up that tree and free the poor girl. She was lucky as nothing really bad happened. She just injured her knee a bit but was able to walk slowly again after a little break.
50 Shades of Green and Waterfalls
A dozens of super gorgeous waterfalls and an impressive variety of plants later we arrived at paved roads again surrounded by a countryside type landscape and direct view of the ocean – just in time for sunset. We were one of the only cars still driving there (so much for starting the Road to Hana late!) and decided to still take another break to enjoy the sunset. At least we made it back to the paved roads again, so driving there in the dark was fine for us.
We arrived back at the hotel late at night. I don’t think we went for an evening swim in the pool that night anymore. Instead we went straight to bed to rise and shine early again the next morning :)
See here for a more detailed overview of the different must-see spots on the Road to Hana. Read this post for a day trip to Maui’s volcano and this one for more things to do in Maui.
Voted one of the Top 10 Most Popular Honeymoon Resort in Hawaii by Conde Nast Traveler, the Hyatt Regency Maui Resort & Spa is a great choice for travellers who enjoy good food, luxurious interior and a paradise style beach.
Hyatt Regency Maui
Though the Hyatt Maui offers 800 beautiful rooms that are spread over eight floors and three buildings, it never felt crowded when I was there. That’s due to the variety of different facilities in the hotel. These include, for instance, a half-acre pool with waterfalls, 10 onsite restaurants and lounges, an area with exotic wildlife including penguins, and a lots of of cultural activities. The hotel is also known for one of Maui’s best rated lu’au, Drums of the Pacific. Depending which room you have in the hotel you might even be able to see the show from the balcony.
Haven for Foodies
The Hyatt Regency Maui is home to amazing restaurants and cocktail bars: The Japengo restaurant offers Pacific Rim cuisine and sushi and was rated Best Asian and Pacific Rim Cuisine. The Ūmalu Restaurant & Bar serves modern Hawaiian cuisine and Son’z Steakhouse yummy seafood and steaks. There are also lovely and peaceful places for breakfast and coffee. Of course you will also find plenty of pool bars :)
Beautiful Oceanfront Location
Location-wise the Hyatt Regency in Maui ticked three of my four paradise boxes: 1) beautiful beach, 2) waves for surfing, and 3) coral reefs for scuba diving. For 4) mountains and nature, just rent a car and head up to Maui’s breathtaking volcano or drive along the Road to Hana – both are incredibly beautiful and fun day tours.
Private Picture Perfect Beach
The Hyatt Regency Maui is located on Ka’anapali Beach, the signature beach of West Maui. The beach is 3 miles long, has white sand and crystal clear water. And the best thing: the beach is literally just a few seconds walk from the hotel’s impressive pool area. Either just hop into the ocean and then walk back to your lounger on the pool or choose one of the hotel’s comfy loungers on Ka’anapali beach directly. I chose the latter option most of the days. I just loved relaxing on these huge sunbeds with a Bellini in my hand while having the most breathtaking view of the ocean. PARADISE.
If you are up for some surfing, just walk around 200 metres further down the promenade and you will arrive at a surf rental place. I usually went there for 8 am, surfed for an hour and then walked back to our hotel in time for breakfast. The waves are not huge in this part of Maui but are perfect for long boards and a chilled out morning work out.
Say hi to Reef sharks
Maui has some gorgeous scuba diving spots and a couple of them are located in short distance from the Hyatt Maui Hotel. To book a scuba diving trip, just head over to the hotel’s instructors a bit further up on the hotel’s beach. Alternatively, pay a visit to the concierge who is happy to book any trip for you. There are also trial sessions offered in the hotel’s pool.
We even saw three reef sharks during our scuba trip which was super amazing. We also saw giant turtles and so so so many colourful fishies. The marine life is seriously impressive and a must-see for scuba divers.
Swimming in the moon shine
The Hyatt Regency Maui has an incredibly beautiful pool and you can swim in the pool after dinner! I’m not sure whether that’s a normal thing to do in Hawaii. For most of the hotels that I have been to though, the pool closes around 8 pm. The water temperate is surprisingly perfect at night which is either due to the strong and lasting heat of the Hawaiian sun. Well, or due to a little help from the hotel. The pool is not even crowded at night. I guess most of the hotel guests don’t feel like hopping back into their bathing suits after having dressed up for the evening. So, take your sweetheart and go for a little swim at night!
Picture this: You are floating in a beautiful pool in the moon shine. Looking at the stars. And your hear nothing except the waves and the pool’s waterfall :)
Last but not least: the most helpful concierge service
This usually doesn’t make the separate category criteria but the Hyatt Regency concierge personnel was nothing short of amazing. They pretty much planned the whole Road to Hana tour for us. On top of this they gave us plenty of great suggestions for restaurants and coffee places and wouldn’t stop naming little road trips to Maui’s picture perfect nature spots. One time I made the last minute decision that I’d like to get a mani and pedi in the afternoon (as in ‘I’d like get it booked for in the next two hours, pretty please’). The concierge lady immediately called five salons until she was finally able to get me booked in. Little note here: If you’d like to have a treatment in the Hyatt Regency SPA, book a couple of days or so in advance :)
How to Book the Hyatt Regency Maui
To read more about the Hyatt Regency Maui Resort & Spa, click here for the hotel’s website.
What an amazing hot day it was today in London! Finally! I really hope it will stay like this for the next 3 months.. and if it does the only thing we still need is a pretty beach:) If the weather is good at the next weekends we will be heading over to some beaches close to London. I heard Eastbourne and Broadstairs have some nice (UK-nice..) beaches. So we’ll check them out and I’ll let you know if they are worth going to. At the last July weekend we are gonna go on a little beach summer weekend trip somewhere in Europe. Not sure where yet as we haven’t booked it yet haha //If you are after some fun summer venue in London, check out the Summer Festival at London Bridge. I had to pick something up in Bermondsey today and decided to walk back to the tube along the river. That’s when I took the photos.