My ultimate goal is to inspire others to travel more. I love solo travel and love empowering women to do so. I also LOVE the camaraderie and friendships made from going on group trips. Which is why I have decided to make 2018 the year I open up some adventurous group trips and have a small (mini) group of adventurous souls join me.
What Sets Crazy Travelista’s Mini Group Trips Apart from Other Group Trips?
First off, the group size will be capped at 8 people max to focus on a more intimate feel. (The 1st trip will only be 5 people, including me!)
These group trips are designed for the lone woman who is scared to travel alone, who has no one to go with, or who just loves connecting with new fun travellers around the world.
The tours would be heavily photography based, so a love for taking awesome shots is a must! Although I’m not a professional photographer by any means, I do have a knack for finding the best viewpoints and framing the shots.
I will share all my tips on how I get all my solo shots when I travel alone and help everyone get their own awesome shots on the trip.
The trips will have a rough itinerary but also leave some room for unplanned adventures (because those are always the best adventures, right?).
I will also start a private Facebook group to introduce everyone as soon as possible. They did this on one of my previous group trips and it was awesome because it was like we knew each other by the time we actually met in person.
I have been on 5 group trips so far and the best part about these trips is the life long friendships that develop from them.
Are CrazyTravelista’s Mini Group Tours for You?
be into hiking and discovering off the beaten path places
love photography and don’t get bored of photo shoots (there will be many)
have a sense of humor
have an open mind and love meeting new people
love adventure activities
loving wine is a plus (but not a requirement)
These Trip are NOT for you if:
If you love drama, drugs, or getting black out wasted every night, this trip is not for you. This is for the more mature traveler who doesn’t mind long days of adventure and photo taking. There will definitely be some wine drinking as well (but no pressure at all to participate if you don’t like wine).
These trips are probably not for you if you are a budget traveler. These trips will mimic my traveler style, which I describe as “Ballin on a Budget” (I heard it on a rap song and thought it described my style perfectly). This means not budget, but not luxury. Basically, I like nice places, but I find awesome deals to make them cheaper. I am a 30 something career woman, no need to stay in hostels at this age. I don’t wish to compromise my comfort at this age.
1st CrazyTravelista Group Trip: Lofoten Islands, Norway
(March 1-5th, 2018)
The Lofoten islands are an archipelago off of Northeast Norway known for their cute little traditional fishing villages, epic mountain peaks, stunning fjords, and breathtaking panoramic views.
The Lofoten islands aren’t the easiest (or cheapest) to get to, which is why they aren’t on the main tourist track (another reason they are so intriguing to me). The good news is I took all the stress out of planning this trip for you!
The Lofoten Islands are a photographer’s dream, especially because they are a good place to see the Northern Lights. And there is nothing prettier than seeing these cute little seaside towns all covered in snow.
4 nights accommodation in double occupancy (you will have your own twin bed in a room shared with another female traveler..possibly your new BFF)
Return flight from Bodø to Lofoten islands and back
Private transport around the islands
Photos from the trip I will make available
Lifelong memories and friendships!
What’s NOT Included:
International flights to Norway
Food (however, there will be a kitchen where we stay and I will be making grocery store runs…restaurants are limited on the islands so this is a good option to eat cheap).
Optional activities (i.e. sea kayaking)
Accommodation the night before the trip starts
⇒IMPORTANT: **the flight from Bodø to Svolvear, Lofoten will be very early in the morning on March 1st so you WILL need to arrive to Bodø by February 28th (If you are coming from the USA, the flights are overnight so you will have to leave by February 27th the latest). The reason I did not include the one night before the trips starts is to leave room for you to save money by booking a hostel or room in an Airbnb (as the trip is not cheap). But if you don’t want to deal with that, I can book the one night before the trip for you at an additional cost (ask me).
On the Agenda
We will meet in the town of Bodo, Norway, which is like the gateway to the Lofotens. The next morning we will take a short 20 minute flight to the islands.
My original plan was to take the 4 hour ferry over; however, I made an executive decision not to do so after talking with the ferry company and tourism boards. Because this trip is in winter, there is only 1 ferry a day (on some days there are 2), but it sometimes gets cancelled due to high winds. I asked what the likelihood of a cancellation are, and they told me that they just had to cancel them the day before so i didn’t want to risk it and be stranded. Therefore, I had to increase the cost of the trip to account for the plane tickets instead of the ferry.
I have rented a car and plan to drive around to some of the best photo spots on the islands like cute little villages, arctic beaches, and viewpoints over the islands.
There are also some EPIC hikes to do in the Lofotens, although only some are accessible during the winter time. But I do plan on doing 1 or 2 of the smaller hikes if the weather gods permit. We will check the avalanche warnings the night before and decide from there. So ya, you kinda should be into hiking and be in moderate shape.
That being said, you will need waterproof boots or hiking shoes. It is still very much snowy this time of year and we will be walking around all day so it would suck to have wet and soggy feet.
There will also be a chance for winter kayaking (optional activity) if that tickles your fancy.
At night, it’s gonna be all about searching for the Northern Lights. There is never a guarantee that they will come out to play (so you have to set your expectations accordingly). However, the Lofoten Islands are 100 km above the Arctic Circle so that gives me lots of hope!
I have also rented a cute little cozy red cabin (just like you see in all the pictures) right on the water in Homnøy, the most photographed village in the Lofotens. There is a deck overlooking the water and mountains, which is the perfect setting if the Northern Lights appear. How cool would that be to just walk outside and see them without having to go anywhere? My dream!
22-38 years old
I’m not trying to be a dick, but I am going to put age limits on my trips, just because it gets very awkward when there is too much of an age gap. It’s such a better vibe and more cohesive when people are closer in age and in more in the same stage in life.
However, if you are a little but outside these age limits and you think you would still be perfect for these trips, send me a message and let me know. I’m more about your age at heart than your actual chronological age :).
So What’s It Gonna Cost Me?
Non-Refundable Deposit: $300 (due by January 10, 2018)
Total Trip Cost: $1275 (due by February 1, 2018)
Payment via Paypal
*IMPORTANT NOTE: if you haven’t paid your deposit by January 10th, the total price may be increased slightly (based on the flight prices from Bodø to Lofoten). So it is in your best interest to pay the deposit earlier than later).
Another important note: As with all group trips, travel insurance WILL be required for this trip. Plus, it’s foolish not to travel without it anyway.
Norway is expensive AF! In fact, Norway is one of the most expensive countries in the world, so this is definitely NOT a budget trip. This is more like a bucket list trip, one that I’ve been wanting to do the past 2 years!
Norway is also one of my top 10 favourite countries in the world (out of 74 that I’ve been). The natural beauty is unmatched and keeps bring me back for more (this will be my 3rd trip). Trust me when I say the steep prices are 100% worth it!
I’ve also taken a look at photography tours of Lofoten Islands and they run anywhere from 2500 EUROS to 4500 EUROS! I am not a professional photographer, hence the lower prices. But I definitely have more skill than the average person, which I will use to help you get some awesome shots!
Where Can I Sign Up?
I am only taking 4 other adventure travellers with me so spots are VERY limited. You can sign up HERE. Please only fill this out if you are super serious about gong.
I am SO excited about this trip and can’t wait to meet my little group. See you in Norway!
Have you ever heard of Milos? I hadn’t until about 1.5 years ago. While there are many heavenly Greek islands to daydream about, Milos is something special.
Milos is not on the radar of most travellers, and for that reason it escapes the hoards of tourists that most Greek islands receive. Milos is small enough to navigate in a few days, yet with over 70+ beaches to explore, you can spend weeks there and never get bored. There are SO many unique places to discover on Milos island, just wait and see!
Beaches with moon-like landscapes, colorful fishing villages, picturesque blue and white towns, and mouthwatering fresh seafood, what’s not to love about Milos? Oh, and of course cats, lots of them (would you expect anything less from Greece?).
→ Firiplaka Beach, Tsigrado Beach, Paliochori Beach
*My Airbnb is #17 on the map (the furthest drive was about 30 minutes from my Airbnb so it was a great location).
4 Day Milos Itinerary | Day 1
Sarakiniko-lunar landscape beach that looks like white sand dunes and also the most popular beach on the island. You can spend some time walking around the moon-like landscape to other areas where you can swim and snorkel.
Mandrakia-the cutest little fishing village lined with colorful houses and turquoise waters. Eat at Medousa restaurant on the water. They have the best grilled octopus and vinegar dish (best octopus I’ve ever tasted). There are also many kitties around.
Firopotamus-gorgeous blue waters with a white little church in the distance. This area is etremely relaxing and picturesque. Take a hike behind the church for some ruins and awesome plunging cliffs on the other side.
Fourkovouni-another picturesque fishing village near Plathenia beach. Plathenia is a nice beach with large rock formations in the water. It’s definitely worth the stop if you have time.
4 Day Milos Itinerary | Day 2
Plaka-traditional Greek Town up on a hill where you can view a big portion of the island. This is where you go if you want to see the traditional Greek blue and white houses. It also has many lovely restaurants and shops.
The church in Plaka sits atop the highest point on the island and you can see it from a distance (i.e. you can basically use it as a reference point if you ever get lost).
Klima-a traditional fishing village with colorful boat garages on the bottom. This village is very calm and quiet and is a nice place to walk around and take lots of photos. A lot of locals still live here and it’s cool to see them living the simple old way of life.
Catacombs and Roman Theatre-take a little break from the beaches and appreciate some of the history on the island. The Roman theatre has an amazing view over the Aegean sea and is a few minutes from the underground Catacombs. Make sure to stop at the port city of Adamantas on your way out. This is where you will find most of the boat tours leaving from the island.
Paliorema Sulfur Mines-the only place on the East Coast you can go with an ATV.
The sulphur mines were operational until the 1960’s, but have remained abandoned ever since. It’s set on a beach with orange sand (dyed from the sulphur) and is a really cool site to explore. It’s kind of an eerie, spooky feel walking through all the little rooms with the beds and other signs of life that remain.
You must drive down a very rocky dirt road about 20 minutes to get to it. It’s hard to get to but there is no one around and it’s a fun place to photograph.
4 Day Milos Itinerary | Day 3
Papafragas-a hidden little cove on the way to the port city of Pollonia. It has a small caved arch that leads to the sea. Be careful with the descent, the steep cliff has a lot of slippery rocks. Pollonia is a cute port city and where you will catch your short ferry to Kimolos island. Eat at Enalion restaurant in Pollonia. They had some awesome grilled shrimp and fried eggplant with feta and tomatoes sauce.
Kimolos-take the ferry to Kimolos island. It is a 25 minute ride from Pollonia. You can bring your car or scooter, which I highly recommend because there really is no other way to get around the island.
Ferry Cost: €2.10 for passenger, €5 for ATV, and €8. 70 for car. Make sure to bring cash.
Chorio-start off by visiting the adorable little traditional Greek town of Chorio. It has a castle and ruins, as well as some cute little restaurants.
Prassa beach-take a drive to the prettiest beach in Kimolos called Prassa. It’s a rugged drive, but you pass some beautiful scenery on the way. Unfortunately the beach was closed as they were doing some construction on it, but I was able to snap this picture before I left. How pretty is that water?
Goupa-yet another pretty fishing village (are you kinda sensing a theme here?). I saw this on the road and turned around to come see it up close. If you love photography, make sure to stop here.
Abandoned Windmills-if you can find this place its definitely worth a visit. I had to ask a local and he drove his car up there in front of me to show me where to go (talk about Greek hospitality).
Not only is it fun to walk around the abandoned windmills and have a selfie photoshoot, it’s also where you can get the best views of the entire island.
4 Day Milos Itinerary | Day 4
The last and final day will be spent on the South part of the island. The South was definitely the most rugged area and had the most secluded beaches. Naturally, this was my favorite part of the island.
Firiplaka-the prettiest beach in Milos and one of the prettiest beaches in Greece (in my opinion). There is a little beach bar and lounge chairs on the beach. The best views are from the car park so make sure to get a peak before you go down!
Tsigrado-the most unique entrance to a beach I’ve ever seen. You have to inch your way down on your butt and climb down a rope, down 2 ladders, and another rope.It opens up to a beautiful secluded beach perfect for relaxing and sunbathing. The descent is at your own risk. I honestly wouldn’t attempt it if you’re not too mobile. Tsigrado is only a few minutes away from Firiplaka Beach so make sure to look for the signs as you’re leaving Firiplaka.
Your reward for braving the scary descent down to Tsigrado.
Paliochori-a stunning coastline of burgundy cliffs and huge boulders in the water. There are a few hotels situated on the beach but it still is less populated than the beaches on the northern part of the island. You can climb across the boulders to get to a more secluded beach on the other side if that’s what you fancy.
My favorite and most recommended way to explore the Greek islands is by ATV. My host dropped me off at Moto Christos and negotiated from €25 down to €20 a day for a 150cc ATV. Go with the 150cc ATV as the 50cc is like a toy vehicle and has trouble making it up steep hills.
I felt pretty safe riding around the island as there were hardly any cars on the road. Parking was also free and readily available everywhere I went.
Note: some places on Milos require either a motorcycle license or international driver’s license to rent a motorbike/ATV. Moto Christos only required my regular US license.
Also, most places do NOT allow you to drive the vehicle on the West part of the island as it is not very developed and there aren’t many paved roads. This means you will NOT be covered by insurance if you disobey this and drive there anyway.
Where to Stay in Milos
I rented a cute little studio Airbnb for only $32 a night. The host was amazing and it included pick up and drop off at the airport. She even dropped me to the ATV place. She wrote out a list of best restaurants and things to see on the island. You really don’t need to plan anything if you stay here.
The studio had a TV, AC, kitchen, and private bath. The host lives right next door. It’s a very quiet and safe area, (except for the bell tower going off every hour until midnight). It also included maid service daily. The location was excellent as it was 5 minutes from the main city of Plaka and close enough to travel to all the main beaches within 30 minutes or less by ATV.
You can check out the listing here. If you are new to Airbnb, you can use my $40 OFF coupon here. Yay!
How to get to Milos
Fly from Athens with Olympic Air or Aegean Airlines. The flight is only a short 25 minutes from Athens and costs around €70. It all depends on the season. During high season, make sure to get your flight months in advance to snag some cheaper flights. I found my flight using Skyscanner.
Take a catamaran from Athens (Piraeus) which costs approximately €38-€58 and takes anywhere from 2.5 hours to 4.5 hours, depending on the company. There is also a slower ferry but it takes 7+ hours, which I would not recommend.
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Have You Been To Milos? What Was Your Favorite Beach?
Can I just start by saying how much I love Finland? It honestly wasn’t somewhere that I was dying to go to before since I am not the biggest fan of cold weather. But after spending a total of 5 days in the northern region of Lapland, I fell in complete love with the country. Now I absolutely crave a winter wonderland vacation at least once a year. Finland is incredible!
Thanks Finland, I’m hooked for life!
Where to Stay in Levi, Finland
The town of Levi is located in the heart of Finnish Lapland, the northernmost region in Finland. Lapland is a great spot to view the northern lights and participate in many awesome outdoor activities unique to this region. More on that later…
Located in the absolute center of the sleepy ski village of Levi, Break Sokos Hotel Levi is for those wanting quality accommodation at a reasonable price. Set across 3 buildings, Break Sokos has more of a homey boutique feel than a large chain hotel.
A cute little log cabin behind the hotel. I wonder who lives here?
The hotel is stylish, spacious, and cozy, and totally walkable to anywhere you needed to go in the city. PS. Levi is such an adorable little ski town.
My favorite parts of the hotel were the onsite coffee house and the in-room sauna. Have you stayed in a hotel with a sauna in your bedroom? It’s. So. Freakin. Cool.
My Cute & Cozy Room (with my own SAUNA!)
My room was located on the 3rd floor with a view directly facing the ski slopes. The room was large for European standards with a distinct feature of a SAUNA in the bathroom. Yes, you have your own sauna!
I can’t tell you how nice it was to get back from a day in the frigid Lapland air and relax my tense muscles in the soothing sauna.
And I didn’t have to worry about bringing a swimsuit because it was my own private sauna! All nudity welcome. 🙂
The room was decorated with local Finnish touches reflective of the area. It had 2 single beds, soft down comforters, a flatscreen TV, mini bar, safe, toiletries, and a hot water maker with coffee, tea, and hot chocolate ready to make. Oh, and there was a bobcat on the curtain. It’s like they knew I was obsessed with cats! #meow
The room also had a heater, which I didn’t need because it was warm inside. Actually a bit too warm at night (I found myself sweating even with a fan I travel with (yes, I’m crazy).
When I saw black out curtains I was super thrilled because light wakes me up instantly. But then I noticed there is a gap in the right side where light seeps through so it wasn’t totally dark.
Wide Variety of Brekkie Choices
Breakfast was served from 7-10:30am and I appreciated the later service. I hate when breakfasts end at 9am, I’m so not an early morning person. The variety was large and included the typical hotel breakfast of cured meats and cheeses, bacon, eggs, bread and butter, cereal, yogurt, granola, and a do-it-yourself waffle maker. All allergens were listed in the dishes which was great. They even had a gluten free section, which I highly appreciated.
Overall, the food was good, but not great (which seems to be the case in a lot of hotel buffet breakfasts). The variety was a plus, and trumped other hotels in that aspect.
The only thing I was disappointed with was the service. There was one attendant clearing dishes and it was really busy in the morning. I sat at a table with a whole bunch of dirty dishes and in 40 minutes of me sitting there, they weren’t cleared. Not a huge deal, but eating breakfast with dirty dishes all around you is not what I expected.
Like I mentioned above, the hotel was smack right in the center of the city of Levi with easy and quick access to everything you could need. Within a 5 minute walk, you could get to the gondola ski lift , a big market, several restaurants and shops, the tourist office, and the bus stop. You do not need a car when visiting Levi.
I’m always hesitant to stay right in the center because it’s usually noisy and I’m the world’s lightest sleeper (seriously, I am), but this was probably the most quiet hotel I’ve ever stayed in. Noise is not a problem at all. Maybe the snow absorbs the sounds? I’m not sure but I’m going with it since I didn’t hear a peep from outside.
What to Do In Levi
Levi is a great city to explore the many unique activities Lapland, Finland has to offer. If you like skiing, this town is perfect for you! In less than a 3 minute walk from the hotel, you are at the ski slopes! Super convenient if you want to come back to rest or heat up between ski sessions.
Just a few minutes from the hotel is the base of the ski lift
Amongst my favorite activities in Levi were a sauna + ice dip in a frozen lake (crazy fun) and a husky safari!
Oh, and Finnish Lapland is one of the best places to view the northern lights. In fact, I happen to see them in the city of Levi on my way to a restaurant. I had my tripod so ran behind the building to snap a couple shots. I never thought I would see the northern lights in the middle of the city! I felt like I was dreaming.
Break Sokos Hotel Levi has an on-site coffee house, a huge plus for coffee lovers like me. I really liked the vibe of this cozy place and went there every day.
They had a bunch of tempting pastries to choose from (and a good variety of gluten free as well!). It was a good chill out spot to take a break from the frigid outside temps. They also had a bunch of board games to play with which I thought was a fun idea.
They also had an onsite restaurant called Kiisa, which serves traditional Finnish dishes, however I didn’t have time to eat here (and also because it was a bit more pricy than other restaurants in the area). But hey, most hotel restaurants are.
Fitness Center and Spa
There was a fitness center right next to the hotel, which offered free access to hotel guests. It was a small but nice gym which I definitely utilized during my time there!
There was also a day spa which I didn’t have time for unfortunately. If you didn’t get a room with a sauna, don’t fret. Break Sokos has a public sauna and jacuzzi complex in the hotel.
Final Impressions of Break Sokos Hotel Levi
Overall, I really enjoyed my stay at Break Sokos Hotel. The hotel was immaculately clean, stylish, located in the perfect spot, and had everything you could need for a fun and relaxing time in Levi. The staff was warm and welcoming and offered great recommendations on what so do around the area, all you have to do is ask!
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*I was hosted by Break Sokos Hotel Levi during my stay. My opinions however remain my own and I am in no way obligated to write a positive review. I wouldn’t sell out like that! ♥