The Perfect Sardinia Road Trip: Best Sardinia Beaches and Scenic Routes

The Perfect Sardinia Road Trip: Best Sardinia Beaches and Scenic Routes

Sardinia island is overshadowed by the other more popular Italian destinations and took me about 10 years of traveling to Italy to finally visit. My Sardinia road trip blew me away and surprised me in so many different ways. Sardinia is a lot bigger than I thought and there is SO much to see!

Sardinia is the 2nd largest island in the Mediterranean behind Sicily. One week was not nearly enough to see all the highlights and I barely scratched the surface of the amazing-ness of this island.

Sardinia (aka Sardegna) is an agricultural island and very mountainous. It’s rough around the edges and perfect for those who want to see more off-the-beaten path beaches. Most the Sardinia beaches were a little hard to get to honestly, but all SO worth it.

For this 8 day trip, I focused on the East Coast of Sardinia and part of the Northern tip and I think it was a perfect introduction to Sardinia. But if you want to see most of the island highlights, you will need at least 2 weeks, or multiple trips. 

How to Get to Sardinia 

There are many daily flights to Sardinia from the mainland of Italy for very cheap, if you don’t mind the budget airlines. 

My ticket from Milan to Olbia, Sardinia (on the Northeast of the island) cost $40 flying on EasyJet. It was less than a 1-hour flight. On the way back I flew to Rome on Meridiana for $88 on a direct flight. 

Note: I went in the off-season in April. Expect much higher prices during peak season.

As Always, I used Skyscanner to find my tickets (9 out of 10 times it results in the cheapest tickets for me).

Renting a Car in Sardinia 

Let me start by saying that having your own car is a MUST to explore the hidden spots and places that aren’t on the map. I have never rented a car on my own because it’s usually too expensive (and more so because I can’t drive stick shift). But through much research I realized that most of the best beaches in Sardinia can only be reached by car (or foot).

The public transportation is lacking on the island, especially outside of July and August. After spending a week there, I realized I definitely couldn’t have seen half of what I saw without a car and it was great being able to go at my own pace. I did LOTS of stopping at random cliffs to take pictures and I was loving it! 

Note: the road conditions were not good in Sardinia, so drive carefully so you do not get a flat. There were a lot of potholes, even on the freeway. So just make sure to stay alert to avoid them.

Sardinia road trip

It was also great not having to lug around all my camera equipment on my shoulder all day like I usually do when exploring a new place.

I went with Sicily by Car and paid $180 for an 8-day automatic car rental (which is SUPER cheap for an automatic in Europe). Prices were half that if I only knew how to drive a manual car! One day I’ll learn, damnit!

The company had mixed reviews and I initially had my concerns and said “oh hell no”. But I spoke with my host in Sardegna beforehand and she assured me she had used the company many times without any mishaps so I trusted that! In the end, Everything went smoothly and I don’t have any complaints.

I booked this car on RentalCars.com, which I love to use when renting cars in Europe.

PRO TIP: if you want to avoid a large deposit on your card, get the extra full coverage insurance (it’s worth it if only to avoid the 800 euro deposit). I paid a 250 Euro deposit. Also, make sure you walk around your rental and check for scratches that weren’t marked on the rental agreement. I saw 4 extra scratches that weren’t marked and had them added on the agreement so I wouldn’t get charged for them later! They happily agreed to sign off on it and I was on my way! Simple. Quick. Efficient. Bam!

(PS: this is before I had the Chase Sapphire Reserve credit card, which I always use for car insurance overseas so that I don’t have to pay for extra coverage).


Sardinia Road Trip: Where to Visit in Sardinia


Best Beaches in Sardinia (North East)

Let me start by saying this list is my personal opinion. In one week I was only able to visit a handful of Sardinia beaches and wasn’t able to see all of the most popular beaches on the island as they are all spread out. I will say that Sardinia has the most consistently breathtaking beaches out of any country I’ve been. Every little beach I saw was spectacular, even the random little ones I saw while driving. Here is a list of the best beaches in Sardinia on the North East coast of the island. 

My Top 5 Favorite Sardinia Beaches

1. Cala Goloritze

Cala Goloritze requires a 2-hour hike but is so worth it! This beach alone is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, that’s how special it is. It’s a rocky beach with huge boulders in the water with the most crystal blue/green waters.

 

Sardinia road trip

The photos I took do NOT do it justice as it was super overcast and about to rain. Even so, it’s still gorgeous!

Tip: Drive to Brainei and then look for signs for Golgo. From there it’s about 20 minutes. Follow signs for Golgo restaurant/bar.

2. Capriccioli

Capriccioli is one of the famous beaches of the ritzy Costa Smeralda region and was my second favorite beach in Sardinia.

It is made up of 4 small half crescent shaped beaches. There are 2 on the East and 2 on the West about 5 minutes walking distance from each other. The 2 small beaches on the East are prettier and less windy.

Sardinia road trip

The 2 East beaches are separated by huge boulders and green vegetation. It’s absolutely breathtaking. You can drive right up to it and one of the easiest beaches to access on Sardinia, yet one of the prettiest.

Sardinia road trip

3. Spalmatore

This stunning beach was on the Island of La Maddalena. I stopped at this beach randomly on my road trip and it ended up being the nicest blue/green contrasted water on the island. It was one of the clearest waters I’ve ever seen and I was in a daze just staring out at it.

No filter whatsoever on the below photo. How freaking pretty is that water?
Sardinia road trip

4. Capo Coda Cavillo

As you drive to it, you will be greeted with a beautiful panoramic view and private beach on the way. You will need to drive down a dirt road with lots of pot holes to get to it but it is worth well it.

Sardinia road trip

There was a private little beach on the way to Capo Coda Cavillo that I just had to stop at and climb down to. There wasn’t a single soul there besides myself. Just the way I like it!

Sardinia road trip

5. Cala Luna

Located in the gulf of Orosei, Cala Luna (“Moon Cove”) is a spectacular beach that has caves you can go into and get away from the sun. You can take a €12 boat ride from from Cala Gonone and get dropped off at this beach. You can also reach this beach by hiking from Cala Fuili about 1.5 hours and I heard it’s a difficult hike (proper shoes required!)


If you’re also interested in doing a Sicily road trip, check out my detailed itinerary: Sicily Road Trip: 9 day Sicily Itinerary 


Other Awesome Places to Visit in Sardinia

Cala Brandinchi

A sandy beach known as the “Tahiti of Sardinia” by the locals. The crystal waters are very shallow and you can walk out pretty far. 

Sardinia Road Trip

Cala Lunga Di Porto Massimo

A tiny private beach on La Maddalena with cascading colors from light blue green to rich blue and turquoise hues. 

Porto Cervo

Puerto Cervo is a beautiful colorful village that reminded me of Arizona with the sand blast orange on the streets and buildings. For the best panoramic viewpoint, head to Stella Maris Church. 

Best Scenic Routes in Sardinia 

There were so many beautiful stops along the coastline during my road trip in Sardinia, so I thought I would mention a few here. 

1. Road from Cannigione to Palau. On my way to catch the ferry to Maddalena I was slapped in the face with numerous turquoise waters that lined the coastline making this a great drive for photo ops. 

Sardinia road trip

2. Road from La Maddalena port to Cala Francesca. Blue, blue, and more blue. 

3. Road from Caprera to Cala Coticcio (on Caprera Island). This drive is through a pine forest and up into the nature where you will have a great panoramic view over the island.

Sardinia road trip

4. Northeast on Maddalena Island passing Spalmatore and “panoramica“. This stretch of coast took me awhile to pass since I kept stopping for photos of jaw-dropping waters. 

Sardinia road trip

Where to Visit in Sardinia: La Maddalena and Caprera Islands 

La Maddalena and Caprera islands are part of the Sardinia archipelago and you can cover them both in a day if you start early. They are both gorgeous and should not be skipped, especially La Maddalena.

La Maddalena Island

La Maddalena is a small island off the Northeast of Sardinia. It is a short 20 minute ferry from Palau (€23,80 for 1 person plus car roundtrip) and I highly recommend you make a trip here while in Sardinia. 

Sardinia road trip

La Maddalena had the most consistently pretty waters in all of Sardinia. I would have liked to stay one or 2 more days. The island is very small, but there is a lot to see. You can drive the whole island in half a day.

Make sure to stop at Porto Massimo, a tiny private beach with cascading colors from light blue green to rich blue and turquoise hues. 

Caprera Island

Caprera island is a 10 minute drive from La Maddalena which is connected by a bridge. Caprera is uninhabited so it’s perfect for nature enthusiasts. There are endless walking/hiking trails to explore.

The drive around the tiny island will mostly be through a beautiful pine forest. It’s a very quiet and peaceful place and I really enjoyed it. 

Prettiest Regions in North East Sardinia 

Orosei-way more rugged and untouched than the rest of the island. Mot of it is part of huge national park with lots of hiking and hidden beaches. This was my favorite area on Sardinia. 

Costa Smeralda-more polished than the rest of the island kn own as being the playground of the rich and famous. It has beautiful beaches but they are more crowded.

Budoni-gorgeous beaches that are made of white sand and less crowded.

Where to Stay in Sardinia

L’essenza Luxury Huts

L’essenza eco friendly luxury huts (aka tipis) are set in a beautiful natural environment surrounded by lush greens and great views. Also, the kindest and most helpful hosts! This is truly a unique experience and if you go to Sardinia, you have to try it out

L’essenza Sardinia

You can ready my detailed post about it here: Ecofriendly Luxury Huts at L’essenza, Sardinia

Su Gologone Boutique Hotel

Su Gologone is a GORGEOUS art hotel secluded in the mountains the perfect place to get off the grid and relax. What really impressed me is that the owner hand-painted all the designs by herself!

Su Gologone

You can ready my detailed post about it here: Su Gologone: A Secluded Oasis Igniting the Inner Creative in You

Airbnb in Azeachnea (Costa Smeralda)

I stayed in a cute Airbnb up in the hills with the most spectacular view over the surroundings. The host was super kind and attentive. She even came with her car a few times to bring me back as I got lost (my sense of direction sucks). She served a filling breakfast and we had wine together each night. I wold highly recommend this place. It was only 20 minutes from Costa Smeralda and 30 minutes from the airport.

I paid $45 per night for this Airbnb. You can check out the listing on Airbnb HERE. And if you’re new to Airbnb, you can use my $40 OFF coupon HERE.

Travel Insurance for Italian Islands 

I would never travel without travel insurance anymore. I learned my lesson. Too many bad things can happen (and they have unfortunately). Travel insurance is especially important when traveling to islands, as you may need to be air-lifted to the mainland in the worst case scenario. Do you know how much air-lifting costs? Think at least 5 digits (I.e. Expensive AF!).

My favorite travel insurance that I have been using for the past 4 years is World Nomads. I have made 3 claims so far and have been fully reimbursed for all 3 without any hassle. I highly recommend them.

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Ninh Binh Vietnam: The Incredible Day Trip You MUST Take from Hanoi

Ninh Binh Vietnam: The Incredible Day Trip You MUST Take from Hanoi

Day Trip to Ninh Binh Vietnam

If there is ONE day trip you take from Hanoi, make sure it is to the serene Vietnamese countryside to an area called Ninh Binh. It was such a nice escape from the insanely hectic city of Hanoi and it ended up being my favorite place in all of Vietnam!

It’s an easy stress-free day trip from Hanoi and is 100% worth doing, especially if you love nature, mountains, and epic panoramic views. Here is a quick guide on how to do an easy day trip to Ninh Binh, Vietnam.

How to Get to Ninh Binh from Hanoi

Train

Hanoi to Ninh Binh:

The earliest train to Ninh Binh leaves at 6 am and takes about 2 hours.

Ninh Binh to Hanoi

The last train leaves Ninh Binh at 5:27pm and takes 2 hours to get back to Hanoi.

The cost of the round-trip train from Hanoi to Ninh Binh is 216,000 dong ($9.50). To get your ticket, go to the tourist info center in the train station. You will see someone behind a desk and you sit on a chair and wait for them to process your ticket. I waited 10-15 minutes and they wrote me a paper ticket. You must bring your passport to purchase a ticket (a photo of your passport works too).

Note: I went the day before to get my ticket because I wasn’t sure what time they opened and I didn’t want to miss the first train. I’m glad I did because they were very slow in processing the ticket! Apparently you can book on the official site of Vietnam Railways but when I checked the online prices were way higher than the in-person prices.

Bus

There is also a bus that runs from Hanoi to Ninh Binh and takes about 2.5 hours. The cost is around $7. But honestly, when it comes to public transportation in Southeast (SE) Asia, I would definitely trust the train over the bus as bus safety is a big issue in a lot of SE Asian countries.

What to Do In Ninh Binh Vietnam

Hang Mua (Mua caves)

Hang Mua is the crown jewel of Ninh Binh in my opinion. I went here first because I wanted to beat the crowds and the heat. I went right when they opened and was the first person there so I had it to myself for a bit which was really nice.

Ninh Binh Vietnam

You must climb almost 500 steps to reach the top of the Hang Mua Peak and the views from the top will blow your mind! The entrance fee is 100,000 dong ($4), cash only!

Ninh Binh Vietnam

At the top of what the locals call, “dragon mountain” is a HUGE carved out dragon that is said to be watching over the valley.

On the other side you will have a sweeping panoramic view over the Tam Coc Valley, and the BEST view I saw in all of Vietnam.

Ninh Binh Vietnam

Tam Coc Boat Tour

You can take a quick taxi from Hang Mua to Tam Coc for 50,000 dong ($2). Tam Coc is part of the Tràng An Scenic Landscape Complex which is a UNESCO World Heritage site.

The Tam Coc Boat tour costs 270,000 ($12) dong per boat (2 ppl max). The trip is 1.5 hrs long and goes through the gorgeous valley, passing under some caves and past some rice fields. You also randomly stop to feed some hangry goats, which was fun!

Ninh Binh Vietnam

The fun thing about this boat trip is that one of the locals pedals the oars with their feet for the entire ride. They work really hard so make sure to give them a good tip at the end!

Rent a Bike in the Tam Coc Valley

One of my favorite things I did in Ninh Binh was rent a bike and wind through the gorgeous rice fields with the river on one side and the mountains on the other. There were many different paths to take and I had such a blast exploring the peaceful countryside.

You can rent a bike from across the street from the Tam Coc Boat tours at one of the shops for 50,000 dong ($2).

Get a Famous Vietnamese Egg Coffee

Brick coffee shop was only a 5 minute bike ride away from the boats. It had the most amazing egg coffee and was a super cute/trendy coffee shop. This was a great way to end my day trip in Ninh Binh before returning my bike and heading back to the train station.

Taxis in Ninh Binh Vietnam

I took taxis the whole time I was in Ninh Binh and it was super cheap and convenient. The taxi from Ninh Binh train station to Mua caves cost 100,000 dong ($4). The taxi from Mua caves to Tam Coc cost 50,000 dong ($2). The taxi from Tam Coc back to the train station cost 100,000 ($4). So in total it costs 250,000 for the entire day of taxis ($10).

Grab App

The Grab app is like the local version of Uber. But you can see messages through the app, good for when you have WiFi but not a local phone number to call. You can also add a quick note to the driver when you book (ex: I’m right outside the train station). You pay them in cash. You can set up to pay by card but you have to buy credits in increments of 100,000 dong so if you don’t use them all you waste money.

Tours in Ninh Binh

If you don’t really want to lift a finger and have everything planned out for you, I would recommend the tour company Get Your Guide. I usually like to do thing on my own, but when I do a tour, I usually choose this company. You can check the Ninh Binh tours HERE.

 

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Why You Need to Add Cyprus to Your Travel Radar: Cyprus 5 Day Itinerary

Why You Need to Add Cyprus to Your Travel Radar: Cyprus 5 Day Itinerary

Cyprus is an often overlooked destination in Europe as it’s kinda hidden under the radar and overshadowed by the other beautiful islands on the continent. I also think that it may frighten people to see it on a map how close it is to Syria and they question the safety. But let me tell you, Cyprus is SO underrated and actually quite safe! It’s one of those place I kicked myself for not visiting sooner.

Cyprus is a small island, but it really has it all: mountains, hiking, beaches, Ancient ruins, lots of cats, amazing food, and the only divided capital in the entire world (more on that later). Mix that in with a flare of Greek and Turkish culture and you have the magical island of Cyprus!

I rented a car and spent 5 days on the island packing as much stuff as I could in that small amount of time. My only regret is not spending longer there. This article highlights the best places to visit in Cyprus on a 5 day self-drive road trip.


Best Places to Visit in Cyprus

Cyprus 5 Day Itinerary

 

Day 1: Arrive in Cyprus and Explore Nicosia

Day 2: Cape Greko | Stone Arch | Konnos Beach | Fig Tree Bay | Nissi Beach

Day 3: Troodos Mountains | Kakopetria | Omodos | Agios Nikolaos Stegis 

Day 4: Baths of Aphrodite | Akamas Peninsula | Blue lagoon | Lara Beach | Avakas Gorge | Coral Bay

Day 5: Paphos | Tomb of the Kings | Ruins of Ancient Kourion | Commanderia Wine Route


Day 1: Arrive in Cyprus and Explore Nicosia

I didn’t arrive to Cyprus until around 3pm so I only had a few hours to explore Nicosia by the time I picked up my car and got to the city from the airport. I really regret not adding an extra here day because Nicosia was such a cool city!

Nicosia is one of the most interesting cities i’ve ever visited mainly due to it’s complicated history.

Best Places to Visit in Cyprus

Nicosia is the world’s ONLY divided capital city. The capital city has been separated into a northern Turkish section and a southern Greek section by a “Green Line” created by the United Nations. You will need a passport to cross over from the Greek to Turkish side, and vice versa.

Once you cross from one side to the other it’s a world of difference instantly. I stayed in the southern Greek part and once I crossed the line into the norther part, it was as if I stepped into Turkey. I have never experienced anything like it! I was able to buy some yummy Turkish delights and admire the gorgeous mosques as I walked through the ornate alleyways. Being able to experience 2 different culture by just stepping over the boundary line was something unique that I will never forget.

IMPORTANT NOTE: if you rent a car in Cyprus, you will NOT be covered by insurance if you drive into the norther Turkish part. I was told you may be able to purchase an additional insurance at the border, but it’s not widely known. This is precisely why I decided to walk over the border instead. Plus, it was more fun that way anyway!

Day 2: Cape Greko | Stone Arch | Konnos Beach | Fig Tree Bay | Nissi Beach

Cape Greko National Park-the most beautiful area of Cyprus that you could spend days exploring. The Cape Greko National Park is filled with nature trails, coastal walks, gorgeous turquoise waters, sea caves, and the best Cyprus beaches.

Ayia Napa Sea Caves-one of the best places to visit in Cyprus and definitely the most picturesque thing I saw in all of Cyprus.Best Places to Visit in Cyprus

The Sea Caves are a natural phenomenon on the east of Cyprus. It’s a popular place to cliff jump, dive, and snorkel. The water is super warm and clear and you could really spend all day swimming and sunbathing on the rocks. Make sure to look for the arched cove to take some epic photos. You have to climb down a few rocks to get to it, but it’s pretty easy. 

Best Places to Visit in Cyprus

Konnos Beach-a gorgeous bay with soft golden sand and lined with lounge chairs. It has some of the deepest blue/green waters on the island. The beach area is small and get get really busy, so get there early if you want to lounge. 

Kamara Tou Koraka Stone Arch-a natural stone arch formed from erosion. You can quickly stop here as to see it as it’s on the way to Konnos Bay. (Please DO NOT ignore the warning signs and try to take a pic on the arch, it looks likes it’s going to crumble into the sea).

Fig Tree Bay-a busy (but very pretty) sandy beach with lots of water sports and activities. There are some good areas for snorkeling in the coral and the water is pretty crystal clear. There is free parking on the side of Silver Sands Beach Hotel. This is rated as one of the top Cyprus beaches. 

Nissi Beach-during low tide there is a sand bar that splits the beach in 2 crescent shapes. There is a little hill you can climb up to get the best views. Unfortunately I was there during high tide so the sand bar was under water. The water at Nissi Beach was incredibly clear and gorgeous and probably the prettiest waters I saw after the sea caves. It’s a very busy beach with many people, restaurants and bars lining the beach, and lots of beach chairs. It’s definitely not a place to go to relax, but it’s still worth a visit because it’s so damn pretty! It’s also a good place to drink a cocktail right on the beach. 

Day 3: Troodos Mountains | Kakopetria | Omodos | Agios Nikolaos Stegis 

Troodos-There are several hikes you can do in this mountainous region. Also in this area is Caledonia waterfalls, one of the highest water falls in Cyprus. (it started storming when I got to the mountains so I didn’t get to complete any of the hikes unfortunately. 

Kakopetria-a small little village at the foothills of the Troodos Mountains where I stopped to get coffee at the Old Mill Restaurant, a family run restaurant. The Old Mill has an amazing view over the village and mountains and is also a hotel you can stay in. 

Omodos-the cutest little village with tiny alleys, lots of local music, a pretty monastery, restaurants, and many wine tastings around town. They even have an old wine press you can go see. This was the most adorable and charming little town I saw in all of Cyprus. 

Agios Nikolaos Stegis– One of the 10 UNESCO churches in Cyprus located close to Kakopetria. It is surrounded by a beautiful peaceful setting with the mountains in the background. Best Places to Visit in Cyprus

Stop in Vavla, a tiny traditional Cypriot village with narrow streets and cute little alleys. But make sure you have a small car to go through the narrow streets!

Best Places to Visit in Cyprus

Day 4: Baths of Aphrodite | Akamas Peninsula | Blue lagoon | Lara Beach | Avakas Gorge | Coral Bay

Baths of Aphrodite-you can go see the baths where Aphrodite supposedly met Adonis. It’s a little mystical cove with a small spring and vine and a fig tree adorning it. It’s fun to use your imagine and open your mind to what happened many many years ago at this same spot. If you’re into Greek mythology, it’s cool to see.

Best Places to Visit in Cyprus

Akamas Peninsula-a rugged National Park on the north west of Cyprus accessible by 4-wheel drive or by boat only. There are gorgeous bays and beaches to swim in and admire in a natural area. 

Blue Lagoon-a gorgeous bay with crystal waters and popular with boat and snorkeling tours. DO NOT try to attempt to drive this road with a regular car. An off road vehicle is necessary. The road is on the cliffside with no railing and is very steep in some areas. There are huge potholes and rocks on the road so make sure to have experience driving in places like this as it can be very dangerous.

Best Places to Visit in Cyprus

There is a company called Aphrodite Safari Bus Tours that has a little kiosk before the entry that will take you there in a big 4-wheel drive safari keep. It takes 30 minutes to get there and the driver drives very slow and safely. The cost is €15 roundtrip per 2 people. 

Best Places to Visit in Cyprus

Exploring the rugged landscape near the Blue Lagoon. No people in sight!

Lara beach-contains protected areas for turtle nesting. If you’re lucky enough to be there when they hatch, you can watch the newborn turtles make their way to the sea. Unfortunately I didn’t see any turtles while I was there but this would have been awesome to experience. The road leading to Lara beach is very rugged so drive very slow so you don’t damage your car. 

Avakas Gorge-on the way to Lara beach is an impressive canyon/gorge that requires a 15 minute walk. It’s a beautiful walk through the limestone cliffs where you will pass numerous fauna and flora as well as some streams. The gorge is huge and very nice to photograph and is definitely worth a stop. It’s also a nice cool place to escape the Cyprus heat. I would rank this as one of the best places to visit in Cyprus. 

Note: when you see the sign for the gorge, make sure not to park in that lot and go up the hill with your car. You can actually ride all the way down to the footpath and then walk the 15 mins from there. I didn’t know this and ended up waking the whole way which took 35 minutes each way. 

Coral bay-a sandy crescent-shaped beach that is great for water sports and sunbathing on sunbeds. 

Day 5: Paphos | Tomb of the Kings | Ruins of Ancient Kourion | Commanderia Wine Route 

Paphos Archeological Site-this park is still under excavation and contains ancient Greek and Roman ruins as well as beautiful mosaic floors. It was added to the UNESCO World Heritage list in 1980. Entrance fee is €4.50

Best Places to Visit in Cyprus

Tomb of the Kings-a huge necropolis that is part of the Archaeological Park of Paphos. It is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Tomb of Kings are actually tombs of the rich aristocrats and high ranking officials, but not actually of kings. They gained the name due to their grandiose appearance. Nonetheless, the tombs are worth a visit. Entrance fee is €2.50.

Ruins of Ancient Kourion-I actually thought these were much more impressive than Paphos with the dramatic ocean cliffs in the backdrop. I would definitely stop here if you have time! Entrance fee is €4.50.

Commanderia Wine Route-driving this route you will pass through beautiful tiny little local villages and green hills. I passed through 14 villages and 4 wineries on the route and the drive was breathtaking.  

Karseras Winerya small family winery that I highly recommend. One of the family members gave me the presentation and then let me loose for my own free tasting. He literally left me all the bottles and said that I could have as much as I wanted. That could have been dangerous if I wasn’t driving!

Best Places to Visit in Cyprus

How to Get to Cyprus

There are 3 airports you have the option of flying into: Larnaca, Paphos, and Ercan (North Cyprus). Most of the cheapest flights fly in and out of Larnaca (LCA) and secondly Paphos (PFO).

If you’re already in Europe or the Middle East, its pretty easy and inexpensive due to its strategic location.

From Athens, Greece you can fly direct to Larnaca for around $35. The flight is about 1 hour and 40 minutes.

From Amman, Jordan you can fly direct to Paphos for as little as $17. The flight is about 1 hour and 15 minutes.

From Beirut, Lebanon you can fly direct to Larnaca for about $75. The flight is about 45 minutes.

From London, England you can fly direct to Larnaca for about $65. The flight is about 5 hours.

I always use Skyscanner to find my tickets because they are usually the cheapest and it’s super easy to use. I use Skyscanner for about 95% of the flights I book.

Where to Stay in Cyprus

I stayed in the best Airbnb in a small town called Tala right outside of Paphos. It was a little one bedroom apartment on the bottom of my host’s house and had the best views over the coast. The host is an expat form the US and super accommodating and kind. She rescues cats so you will see many on the property. The location was great as you could reach all the great sites in the area in less than 45 minutes maximum. It was only $30/night so you can’t beat that!

Best Places to Visit in Cyprus

View from my lovely Airbnb in Tala, Cyprus. Only $30 per night!

You can check out the listing HERE. And if you’re new to Airbnb, you can use by coupon for $40 OFF HERE.

I also stayed briefly in Nicosia to explore the Cape Greko area and just rented a basic room for $28 in an Airbnb. You can check the listing HERE.

How to Get Around in Cyprus

Renting a Car in Cyprus

Fun Fact: They drive on the LEFT side of the road in Cyprus! I’m an idiot and almost drove off the lot on the right side until the rental dude said “you know we drive on the left here?”.

I rented an automatic car from a local company called Stevens Car Rentals. I really liked this company because you can either rent from the airport or they will pick you up and drop you off from your location at no extra charge! And even when you rent from the airport, you don’t have to take a shuttle or anything. They send someone there to personally escort you to the car. I loved it! The prices were super affordable and they were very responsive over chat. I highly recommend them!

I paid $175 for 5 days for an automatic car. It’s definitely cheaper if you can drive a manual (as is most of Europe). Note: I have NO affiliation with this company, I just really liked them!

Travel Insurance for Cyprus Island 

I would never travel without travel insurance anymore. I learned my lesson. Too many bad things can happen (and they have unfortunately). Travel insurance is especially important when traveling to islands, as you may need to be air-lifted to the mainland in the worst case scenario. Do you know how much air-lifting costs? Think at least 5 digits (I.e. Expensive AF!).

My favorite travel insurance that I have been using for the past 4 years is World Nomads. I have made 3 claims so far and have been fully reimbursed for all 3 without any hassle. I highly recommend them. They might not be the cheapest, but they have the BEST coverage, especially for emergency medical!

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Sicily Road Trip: The Perfect 9-Day Sicily Itinerary

Sicily Road Trip: The Perfect 9-Day Sicily Itinerary

Sicily Road Trip

Sicily is the largest island in Italy and the largest island in the Mediterranean Sea, surrounded by the Ionian, Mediterranean, and Tyrrhenian seas. Sicily is more rugged and raw than the mainland, which is one thing really I loved about it! 

Sicily is quite big so you can’t really see it all in one trip (unless you stay 3+ weeks minimum). During my Sicily road trip, I decided to stick to the south east of the island (with a few day trips elsewhere) and I saw so many incredible places. 

Food in Sicily 

One of my Favorite parts about Sicily is the food. I stopped in Sicily on a Mediterranean cruise back in 2007 and had the best pizza of my life (that still stands til this day). I personally think they have better pizza than Naples, but hey, that’s just my opinion! 

Foods you must try in Sicily: pizza (obviously), cannoli (Sicily is where cannoli originated), granita (flavored slushy ice drinks), Arancini (fried rice balls), and anything with ricotta cheese and/or pistachios. I think I gained 5 lbs from that trip alone…and I’m not even sorry about it. 

Gluten free food in Sicily

Sicily was gluten free heaven and probably the most gluten free friendly place in Italy that I have ever been. Almost every restaurant had gluten free options and most pizzerias had gluten free dough. I wasn’t used to all the choices!

Here are a few places I visited on my trip to Sicily:

Licchios bar (Taormina)-gluten free cannoli and fried rice balls. They also had soy milk for coffee. 

Mastrociliegia-gluten free canolis in Ragusa.

Gran Caffe del Duomo (Ortigia island in Syracusa) had an entire gluten free menu and gluten free cannoli. The pasta with mussels was really good.

La Perla (Modica)-all types of GF pizza.

Duomo pizzeria ristorante (Cefalú)-gluten free pizza right in the main square.

Driving in Sicily 

Italians drive fast, that’s a given. The more south you go, the wilder it gets. That being said, I didn’t think the driving in Sicily was half as bad as so many people say it is. If you stay in the right lane (slow lane) on the highway no one will bother you, they will just go around you.

renting a car in Sicily

However on the country roads where there is one lane, just about everyone will be passing you. They pass pretty close to your car so just know what to expect and maybe scooch over a little bit to make room and you will be fine. Oh, and Sicilians don’t stop at stop signs so keep that in mind and use caution. 

I would also recommend a mini car as some of the cities have tiny streets and it would be tough getting through with a regular size car. It’s also much easier to park a mini car also!

I rented a car for $200 for 10 days with Rentalcars.com (through Sicily by car). The company has terrible reviews online but it was my second time using them and it was fine. The big complaint people make is that if you decline their insurance they will take a deposit of 800€ so just know what to expect. 

The total I spent on gas for 10 days was 122€ ($145).


If you’re interested in exploring the other famous Italian island, here is a detailed  9 day road trip of Sicily blog post I wrote.


*Make sure you do a walk around to see if there are any additional scratches or dents on the car that haven’t been marked (every time I’ve rented a car in Italy, I ALWAYS find additional scratches and that’s how they get you). If you don’t do this, they may charge you for the scratches later so please don’t forget! (Especially if you are declining their insurance…which I did because I have awesome car insurance through my Chase Sapphire Reserve credit card). 

*Please note: my credit card insurance does NOT include 3rd party liability insurance (damage to the OTHER car or bodily harm to the other driver). Most credit card companies do not offer this so you either have to purchase this separately (usually at $15/day) or reserve a car that already has that included. My rental car already had 3rd party liability insurance included so I didn’t need to purchase anything extra. (I always choose the package on Priceline.com that includes the 3rd party liability insurance in the price if there’s an option). 


Sicily Road Trip: 9-Day Itinerary


Day 1: Arrive Catania in the evening

Day 2: Taormina 

Day 3: Caltagirone/Enna

Day 4:Cefalù 

Day 5: Scalia di Turchi/Valley of the Temples 

Day 6: Ragusa/Modica 

Day 7: Marzamemi/Noto

Day 8: Syracuse/Ortigia

Day 9: Necropolis of Pantalica/Fontane Bianche Beach

*I arrived to Catania in the evening on my first day and then went to Taormina all the next day so I really didn’t get to experience much of Catania. But from what I did see, I don’t think I was missing much as there were SO many other beautiful place to see in Sicily.

Taormina

Taormina is one of the prettiest cities in Sicily and one place you don’t want to miss on your Sicily road trip! There is a lot to see and so much history in Taormina.

I didn’t rent my car until the 3rd day because I wanted to take a train to Taormina. The train from Catania to Taormina costs 8.60€ return and takes about 45 minutes. You must then take a bus from the train station in Taormina up to the Taormina center (3€ return ticket).  

What To Do in Taormina:

Teatro Antico di Taormina– the famous Greek theatre built in the 3rd century with epic views over Sicily and the surroundings. Entrance fee is 10€. 

Sicily Road Trip

Piazza IX Aprile-the main square in Taormina with incredible views, cute cafes, and restaurants. It’s a popular gathering place with musicians playing throughout the day. 

Isola Bella (“beautiful island”) -the prettiest beach in Taormina that was purchased by the Department of Cultural Heritage in 1990 and declared a Nature Reserve and remains protected.

Isola Bella, Sicily

Villa Communale-a public garden with spectacular views of the coastline. It’s a peaceful place to get away from the crowds.

Mt. Etna-you can climb to the top of one of the most active volcanos in the entire world! I didn’t have time for this and it remains on my bucket list! Mt. Etna is also a UNESCO site!

Caltagirone

Caltagirone is a beautiful town with a famous 142-step staircase made from ceramic tiles, each with their own unique design. It’s an artistic masterpiece and has often been used as a backdrop for festivals and cultural events, decorated in flowers, candles, and colorful lights.  

Sicily Road Trip

The Staircase of Santa María del Monte connects the upper old town to the newer lower town. There are some cute shops along the steps. It’s very picturesque and great to photograph. It was a nice stopover on my drive to Agriturismo Bannata, (see below for where I stayed).   

Enna

From Catania to Agriturismo Bannata stop in Enna for amazing views of the countryside and hilltop towns. The best view is from the Rock of Ceres (free entrance) where you can see the castle and countryside with 360 degree views 

Sicily Road Trip

Enna from afar

Cefalú

Cefalù is a cute seaside town located in northern Sicily. It took me about 2 hours to drive there from Piazza Armenia (which is where I stayed at Agriturismo Bannata).

One thing you must do in Cefalú is climb Rocca di Cefalu. It takes about 40 minutes to reach the top and the cost is 4€ cash only. 

Sicily Road Trip

The top of Rocca di Cefalu gives you a panoramic view over the gorgeous Sicilian coastlines on both sides. 

Sicily Road Trip

Cefalù has a wonderful promontory near the sea where you can sit and enjoy the view of the “rock” in the backdrop.

Sicily Road Trip

*Parking in Cefalù is a bitch, to be frank. But there is a paid lot near the beach for 7€ per 12 hours which is where I parked. 

Scala dei Turchi

Scala dei Turchi (“Stairs of the Turks”) is a spectacular site to see in Sicily. You can walk on these ascending stair-like formations composed of soft white limestone marl (it feels like a hardened clay). The dramatic bright blue water contrasting the pure white rock is a natural phenomenon you should definitely add to your itinerary.

Sicily Road Trip

Valley of the Temples 

The Valley of the Temples consists of 8 well-preserved Greek temples and other historical remains perched atop a hill overlooking the valley and sea.

Sicily Road Trip

The Valley of the temples is the most famous archeological site in all of Sicily and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Just outside the city of Agrigento, it can easily be combined with a day trip to Scala Dei Turchi. 

Tip: Take a taxi from the car park up to the temple then walk down (2.5km) when you’re finished. The taxi costs 3€ and it saves an uphill walk. The entrance fee is3€. They do take credit cards.

Ragusa

The massive earthquake of 1693-destroyed 8 towns in of southeastern Sicily and they all had to be rebuilt. Caltagirone, Militello Val di Catania, Catania, Modica, Noto, Palazzolo, Ragusa and Scicli were all rebuilt in late baroque architecture of the times. The area is known as Val di Noto, and has been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Ragusa is a GORGEOUS baroque town with upper and lower cities. This was my favorite city in all of Sicily and I just loved the old world feel. 

Sicily Road Trip

Ragusa Ibla is the older lower city and more stunning part IMO. 

Ragusa Superiore is the upper town and the more modern of the two. The 2 parts are separated by a deep ravine called Valle dei Ponti.Sicily Road Trip

Some of the best views over the old city below are from the upper town at Chiesa Santa Maria (where I took the photo below). Sicily Road Trip

Duomo San Giorgio is a beautiful cathedral in the center of a square with lots of restaurants and shops. It’s a good place to people watch and enjoy a cannoli. 

Modica

Modica is another baroque town rebuilt after the earthquake that is known for its chocolate. There are many places where you can go in for a chocolate tasting. It had a weird texture and wasn’t my favorite honestly but the town is very beautiful and definitely worth a stop. 

Sicily Road Trip

The center of Modica is at the bottom and Modica Alta is at the top, where you will get the best view.  

Marzamemi

Marzamemi is a cute little seaside town with a Greek vibe. It’s right on the sea and very quiet. There’s not much to do besides eat at one of the seaside cafes or go shopping in one of the little boutiques. It’s great for an afternoon of relaxation and eating seafood. Parking is 3€ in a designated lot.   

Sicily Road Trip

Noto

Noto is a beautiful town with baroque architecture (and also one of the towns rebuilt after the 1693 earthquake). Go shopping in one of the cute artisan shops and pick up a painting or hand painted sculpture.

Go up Chiesa Santa Chiara for views over Noto (2€ entrance fee). There is easy parking at central Noto parking lot. Stroll down Vittorio Emanuel street and stop for a coffee with a view of the many baroque churches. It’s a great place to people watch. 

Sicily Road Trip

Syracuse/Ortigia

Ortigia is the beautiful island connecting to Syracusa. You can walk around the outside along the sea. The water is crystal blue green and gorgeous. There are many cute shops with handmade stuff like leather bags and shoes. It’s a really nice place to just roam around and relax with a view. 

Sicily Road Trip

Parking in Ortigia is an absolute nightmare, to be honest. I found an underground garage with the most confusing directions. I would definitely ask a local to see if you can actually park where you think you can (I got a ticket mailed to the USA 4 months later ugh). 

Sicily Road Trip

Necropolis of Pantalica

Necropolis of Pantalica is home to  more than 5,000 ancient tombs carved right into the rocks. This important archeological site is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The rocky tombs are surrounded by a deep gorge with gorgeous views all around. 

Sicily Road Trip

You can also take a hike down to the beautiful grotto water below. It might take you 2-3 hours to complete the circuit, so make sure to make some time for it.

*Beware of snakes! I had one slither by me like 3 inches from my foot and it scared the living shit out of me. So watch where you’re stepping! I don’t think it was poisonous, but still.  

It takes about 40 minutes to reachNecropolis of Pantalica from both Avila and Catania.  

Fontane Bianche Beach

If it’s warm enough, I highly recommend stopping at Fontane Bianche Beach. It’s a gorgeous beach with soft white sand and swirly patterns of deep blue sea.


Where to Stay in Sicily


Staying in an Agriturismo 

I’ve always wanted to stay in an agriturismo in Italy but for some reason it took me so long to do it. An agriturismo is a farmhouse that has been converted into accommodation. It’s kinda like a homestay where you rent a room out (usually you will have your own en suite bathroom). They serve the local wine and food from the farm animals and it is a really authentic experience. 

Where to stay in Sicily

Agriturismo Bannata

My first agriturismo stay set the bar really high! Agriturismo Bannata was a secluded piece of paradise with a cozy and homely feel set in the Sicilian countryside. It’s a great place to sit by the pool (seasonal) or lounge on the balcony with a book in hand. There are also some trails you can walk nearby.

My room was spacious and had an amazing round tub in the middle of the room, as well as an ensuite bathroom.

I had dinner there one night cooked with the local ingredients and it was very delicious. I LOVED this place.

Price: $57/night (in April, shoulder season), including breakfast.

Where to Book: I used booking.com and you can check the listing HERE. If you’re new to booking.com, you can use my $20 OFF coupon here.

Baglio Occhipinti

This place was a little more upscale than the other one, but it was nice to try the different styles! I had a single room in the attic with a spectacular view of the land from my window.

Where to stay in Sicily

There was a pool and lounge chairs as well as huge comfy couches inside for when it was raining. It was a really relaxing environment and was a great spot to explore Ragusa.

Price: $116/night (in April, shoulder season).

Where to Book: I used booking.com and you can check the listing HERE.

Airbnb in Avola

For my last few days on the islands I stayed at a lovely Airbnb in Avola, a great location to explore the southern jewels of Sicily. I rented a room for $26/night but when I arrived the host upgraded me to the private little detached house with a private bathroom right next to the main house. It was such a great place to stay and the veranda at the main house was super cozy and pretty. The host was amazing and I felt instantly at home!

Where to book: You can check the listing HERE. And if you’re new to Airbnb you can use my $30 OFF coupon HERE.

Travel Insurance for Italy 

I would never travel without travel insurance anymore. I learned my lesson. Too many bad things can happen (and they have unfortunately). Travel insurance is especially important when traveling to islands, as you may need to be air-lifted to the mainland in the worst case scenario. Do you know how much air-lifting costs? Think at least 5 digits (I.e. Expensive AF!).

My favorite travel insurance that I have been using for the past 4 years is World Nomads. I have made 3 claims so far and have been fully reimbursed for all 3 without any hassle. I highly recommend them.

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Sicly Road T

Disclaimer: this post contains affiliate links, which means I receive a super small commission if you make a purchase using these links, at no extra cost to you. I only recommend products that I have used before on my own and that I truly love♥

 

Norway 10 Day Itinerary: What to Do and See on an Epic Norway Road Trip

Norway 10 Day Itinerary: What to Do and See on an Epic Norway Road Trip

Ahhh Norway, one of my favorite places on earth! This was my 4th visit to Norway, and my second in 6 months. I think it’s safe to safe I am absolutely obsessed with Norway. The natural beauty and outdoor activities on offer are hard to beat. The reason I’ve been back so many times is because everything I wanted to see and do is very spread out. Norway is a long, skinny country and everything is very far away away from each other.

So I decided to rent a car and do an epic 10 day Norway road trip. The one place that didn’t really make sense itinerary-wise was Trolltunga. But hell, it was at the top of my Norway bucket list and I was gonna do it in even if it required a ton of driving!

During my 10 day road trip, there were 2 days that required about 8-9 hours of driving. However, the scenery on the way was half the fun. Renting a car is the best way to explore this beautiful country and saves a lot of time and stress trying to use public transportation.

Driving in Norway

Driving in Norway was so much fun because I could stop anywhere I wanted and take in the view. I didn’t notice any aggressive driving there so it was pretty stress free overall. The only thing you need to keep an eye out is the one-way tunnels. There were only a few of them on my trip and they weren’t too bad (probably because I was used to them after all the one way tunnels in Lofoten islands and Faroe islands).

Norway 10 day itinerary

I rented a car from Sixt in Bergen and returned it to Trondheim. When booking your car, make sure you check the one-way fees because I saw some companies that charged $800 for the one way fee! Sixt charged $250 which was the cheapest I found.

I had also used Sixt before a few times and absolutely loved them. Their customer service is great and I never have to wait in any line when picking up the car. This was a godsend at LAX airport!

Also, I’ve gotten upgrades for free 3 out of the 5 times I’ve rented with them. They really are no hassle and the cars are always shiny and new. And no this is NOT sponsored and I’m not getting paid to say this! I just really like the company.

Norway 10 day itinerary

TIP: Get the smallest car possible for those single-lane roads and narrow driveways. You won’t be able to pass some places with a big car

VERY IMPORTANT TIP: A lot of the drives in Norway require a ferry crossing at some point. For this reason, you can’t plan to drive in the middle of the night because you might get stranded and never make it to your final destination until the next day. All the ferry times are different depending on the route, but when I was looking at the schedules it appeared that the last one was usually around 10pm or 10:30pm. You definitely need to keep this in mind when driving in Norway.

If you use Google Maps and put the address is, you will see if there is a ferry crossing or not on the route. Just look for the little ship symbol (below).

Norway 10 day itinerary

Extra Transport Costs

There are a bunch of automatic tolls (mostly when you go into a tunnel) that you will pass while driving in Norway. Check with your car company because I was told not to stop and pay and that they would be automatically added to my bill in the end (way easier). Otherwise, there is a pay station before or right after the tunnel.

I ended up paying $108 in tolls for my long 10 day journey (ouch). The good news is I got upgraded to a Hybrid car and the total for gas was just $105 for 10 days. And that’s with 2 days of 8+ hours of driving.

I also paid a total of $50 in ferry crossings as well (4 ferries total).

National Scenic Routes in Norway

There are 18 national scenic routes in Norway offering stunning scenery with several viewpoints to stop at and have photo shoot or a picnic. You will see glaciers, fjords, coastlines, stunning architecture, waterfalls, and more. These are some of the most gorgeous drives in all of Norway, so make sure to drive at least a few of them on your Norway road trip!

I drove on a few of them throughout my 10 day Norway road trip including Atlanterhavsvegan (the Atlantic Ocean Road),Sognefjellet (on the way to Geiranger), and Geiranger-Trollstigen.

The Sognefjellet passes through Jotunheimen National Park, with towering mountains and some glaciers as well, it was spectacular.


Norway 10 Day Itinerary 


Day 1-2: Bergen

Day 3-4: Odda + Trolltunga hike

Day 5-6: Geiranger

Day 7-8: Trollstigen + Ålesund 

Day 9-10Atlantic Ocean Road +Trondheim

Bergen

Bergen is the most adorable little city and a great introduction to Norway. It is also known as the gateway to the fjords since many of the boat trips out to the fjords start in Bergen.
Norway 10 day itinerary

For all the best things to do in Bergen, I will redirect you to an article I wrote for Eurail HERE.

Where to stay in Bergen

More affordable: I stayed in an Airbnb that was a 15 minute walk to town. It was on top of a hill so the walk had beautiful views most of the way. It was a 2 bedroom apartment on the bottom of the host’s house. It doesn’t have a kitchen or stove but it does have a fridge so you can make sandwiches and such. It was super cute and the host was super warm and welcoming. She even leaves a mug of hot coffee outside your door in the morning. It was only $48/night and for the price, it can’t be beat in Norway! It can sleep 3 people. You can check the listing HERE

*PS: I was supposed to be on this trip with 2 other friends but they cancelled last minute so I had 2 bedroom places the whole trip because of this…not because I’m ballin’ or anything haha.

More luxurious: on my first trip to Bergen I stayed at Hotel Oleana and LOVED it. You can read my review of the hotel HERE.

Drive from Bergen to Odda 

Driving time: about 3 hours

Ferry crossing: there is a ferry crossing from Tørvikbygd to Jondal to get to Odda . It costs 53 NOK ($6) and takes about 20 minutes. (The ferry leaves about every hour). You can pay by credit card. They will come to your car with a card machine while you’re in line and it’s a super easy process. FYI: I didn’t need cash at all on this entire trip!

Odda

Odda is a gorgeous little town set in a fjord and is sort of like the gateway to Trolltunga. This is where you will want to look for accommodations if you plan on doing the Trolltunga hike.

Where to Stay in Odda

Airbnb: I stayed in a 2 bedroom apartment on the top of my host’s house that had the BEST views of the whole city in my opinion! The stairs to get up there were brutal and extra steep, but that’s the small price to pay for incredible views like that. There were sweet views from the main bedroom, the living room, and the kitchen.

The host was just incredible and like your mother greeting you with a big hug like you know each other. She even came and helped me with all my bags up those evil steps. She also brings up a basket of hiking gear that you can borrow like wool sweaters, hats, gloves and gives great tips about the hike and where to park/when to go, etc.

It was also one of the most affordable place to stay in all of Norway at $78/night for an entire 2 bedroom apartment. You can check out the listing HERE. You can also use my $40 OFF coupon here if you’re new to Airbnb.

Trolltunga Hike

Trolltunga is definitely one of the best hikes in Norway and the longest hike I have ever completed. My body was sore for days afterwards and I could barely even walk, but it was definitely worth it!

Norway 10 day itinerary

Tips for Hiking Trolltunga

  • Parking costs are RIDICULOUS so the more people in your car the cheaper it will be
  • Trolltunga upper parking only holds 30 cars and opens at 6am. Get there by 5:30am. I arrived at 5:33am on September 4th (end of peak season) and was number 14 in line. It cost is 600 NOK ($72). The cost to park at the bottom lot is 500NOK ($58) so not much difference.
  • Parking at the upper lot will takes off 3 KM each way of your hike so it’s totally worth it. It turns a 28km hike into a 22km hike.
  • The entire hike is on uneven rocks the whole time. There are no bathrooms or trash cans. There are also no bushes or trees to hide behind so if your bladder is weak, you’re going to have to get creative for your privacy. (I held mine for 12 hours like a champ).
  • The hike will take you 8-12 hours round trip, including a break for lunch and waiting in line for pictures. (I heard some people who completed it in 6 hours total, but they must be VERY fast hikers…it took me 11 hours, but I am on the slower side as I had a partially torn ACL on the hike!).
  • Start the hike as early as possible so you won’t have to wait in the LONG line for pictures on the Troll’s Tongue (Trolltunga). You also don’t want to be hiking back in the dark.
  • If you get in line for the picture before noon you won’t have to wait long for your picture. I heard that in the peak summer months it can take up to 3 hours to wait for your picture (Sucky!)
  • Just below Trolltunga on the left is a mini Trolltunga with a spectacular view. You won’t have to wait long for your picture there. You do have to climb down on some slippery rocks so just go slow.
  • The hike is super safe and can be done solo with no problem. There are many people on the trail so you’re never alone. There is no dangerous wildlife either.

Norway 10 day itinerary

Sunrise on the start of the Trolltunga hike.

Drive from Odda to Geiranger

Driving Time: 8-9 hours. This is the longest drive of this whole trip but you can stop at many places for a picnic or for photo ops. You will pass though a windy road through Icelandic landscape and even a glacier.Norway 10 day itinerary

Drive through Jotunheimen National Park via Sognefjellet, home to Norway’s highest mountains (see National Tourist Routes above) to get to Geiranger. This road was absolutely breathtaking and the time passed so quickly driving through here. Although, in reality it took me forever since I kept stopping every 2 feet for photos.

Norway 10 day itinerary

There was a small fee for driving this road but it was SO worth it. It cost 80 NOK($10).

Norway 10 day itinerary

Just a glacier in the background, NBD

Stop at Lom Stave Church on the way to admire the beautiful traditional Norwegian architecture (and also to stretch your legs).

Norway 10 day itinerary

Geiranger

Geiranger is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and I think it’s one of the most beautiful places in all of Norway.

What to Do in Geiranger

Flydalsjuvet viewpoint and rock-to get to the rock you have to step over a 1 foot mini fence behind the men’s bathroom. Then walk straight down the path that curves to the right. It takes 1 minute from the bathroom. It’s roped off because it’s dangerous so please don’t bring your children or dogs out there. Also, make sure you’re not wearing sandals or unsturdy shoes. There are no rails or anything and the drop is several hundred feet. BE CAREFUL!

 

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Norway leaving me speechless again 🇳🇴. I might like this view more than Trolltunga and it only requires a one minute hike 😋. It’s hard to find though and the tourism board doesn’t tell you where it is because apparently there have been some accidents here. So they built a little one foot fence to “block” off the area 😂. So yeah, that didn’t stop me from seeing it for myself. But in all seriousness, there are no barriers to this few hundred foot drop so please be careful and wear sturdy shoes. Your life is not worth a photo ✌🏼#flydalsjuvet #geiranger #geirangerfjord #visitnorway #adventuregirls #choosemountains #natureonly #norwaynature

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Fjordsetet (the Fjord Seat)-be the queen of the fjord and admire the vast beauty of Norway from this epic seat at the top of the lookout point.

Norway 10 day itinerary

Hike-there are many hikes around Geiranger ranging from 30 minutes to multiple hours. I didn’t attempt any hiking as it was raining most the time, and also because I could barely move from Trolltunga.

There are fjord cruises on offer that will take you around the fjords for 90 minutes. The cost is 350NOK ($41) and it leaves 3 times a day.

Fjordnaer Geiranger Sjokolade-this place is heaven for chocolate lovers. This cozy little cafe does chocolate tastings with unique flavors such as blue cheese chocolate and fresh berry chocolates (It sounds weird, but it’s so good).

Norway 10 day itinerary

They also offer a famous hot chocolate with white, dark, milk, or chili chocolate flavors. Oh, and maybe my favorite, coffee chocolate! My mouth is watering just reminiscing about this place.

Ørnesvingen Eagle road-on your way out of Geiranger, take the Eagle Road up the mountain to a gorgeous viewpoint over the fjord and valley. It’s on the 63 road on the way to Trollstigen.

Where to Stay in Geiranger

I stayed in a cute little 2 bedroom cabin apartment at the top of the hill with a magnificent view of the valley below. The views form the restaurant were mind blowing (pictured below).

A lot of the hikes start right from the accommodation so it’s an excellent place to base yourself. It’s so peaceful and quiet up there and I would definitely recommend it.

Norway 10 Day Itinerary
Where to book: I used booking.com for this place. It cost $140/night and fit 4 people. You can check the listing HERE. And if you’re new to booking.com, you can use my $20 OFF coupon!

Drive from Geiranger to Trollstigen 

It takes 2 hours to get from Geiranger to Trollstigen on Road 63. The drive from Geiranger to Trollstigen is a national tourist route, as mentioned above.

Ferry Crossing: there is a ferry crossing from Geirangervegen to Trollstigen at Eidsal. It takes 10 minutes and costs 98 NOK ($12).

Trollstigen

Trollstigen is known as “The Trolls Road” and is probably the most famous National Tourist Route that you can drive in Norway.

Trollstigen is a famous windy road carved into the mountain that consists of 11 hairpin turns going steeply up the mountain with the gorgeous Romsdal Valley below.

The turns are so sharp at some points that I had to honk because I couldn’t see around the corner. It sounds scary, but if you drive slow, it’s more fun than anything.  You’ll also pass some beautiful cascading waterfalls on your way down as well.

NOTE: Trollstigen is usually closed from October/November to mid May due to snow so make sure you plan accordingly (the dates may vary, but you can check the status here on the official page of the Norwegian Scenic Routes.

Drive from Trollstigen to Ålesund

It takes 2 hours to drive from Trollstigen to Ålesund.

Ålesund

A fire in the early 1900s basically burned Ålesund to the ground and they rebuilt it in the art nouveau style. That’s why it looks different than any other city in Norway. It looks like the old town of a Central European city.

What to Do in Ålesund 

Hike up to Aksla viewpoint (Aka Fjellstua), a mere 418 steps to the top. There is a cafe with an awesome view at the top where I sipped cappuccino and had a lovely GF pastry.

The Ålesund harbor is a nice place to grab a drink and people watch.

Norway 10 day itinerary

Kayak-there are kayaks available to rent to take around the harbor if it’s a nice sunny day.

Ålesund can easily be done in one day (or even a day trip from somewhere else), but it was a nice place to relax and unwind after all the driving I had been doing.

Where to Stay in Ålesund

I stayed in a 2 bedroom penthouse apartment with the most amazing views of the city throughout the whole penthouse. It was right in the center of town so it was nice to just walk outside and be around all the restaurants, attractions, and shops. It was also only a few minutes from the walk up to the viewpoint.

Where to book: My 2 bedroom Airbnb was $200/night and could fit 4 people. This was in September so it might be a little more during peak season. You can check the listing HERE.

Drive from Ålesund to Atlantic Ocean Road

It takes a little less than 3 hours to get from Ålesund to the Atlantic Ocean Road.

Ferry Crossing: You must take a ferry from Vestnes to Molde. It costs 152 NOK ($18) and takes about 40 minutes. (The ferry runs about every 45 minutes).

Atlantic Ocean Road

The Atlantic Ocean Road is an epic windy road connected by peninsulas in northern Norway. The road goes over the powerful ocean and on stormy days the waves come crashing onto the road. Google pictures of it, it’s quite scary looking!

Norway 10 day itinerary

The Atlantic Ocean Toad takes less than 10 minutes to drive and has many stop-off places to park and take pictures. There is a little visitor center with a cafe and toilets. They also built a 360 degree walkway that you can walk full around and see both sides of the road.

Ferry Crossing: from the Atlantic Ocean road to Trondheim takes about 3.5-4 hours and requires a ferry crossing from Halsa to Kanestraum. It costs 106 NOK ($12.50) and takes about 20 minutes. (The ferry runs about every 20 minutes).

Trondheim

Trondheim was founded by the Vikings in 997 and used to be the Viking capital of Norway until 1217. Trondheim is a super colorful town that has lots of things to do so don’t overlook this awesome city. It really surprised me!

What to Do in Trondheim

Go to the old town bridge for the best views of the colorful buildings against the water. The old wooden buildings used to be housing for the working class. They have been beautifully preserved and now house cute cafes, shops, and restaurants.

Norway 10 Day Itinerary

Walk through Bakklandet area for the cutest little neighborhood and cafes. This was my favorite area of the city and I could have gone cafe hopping all day.

Norway 10 Day Itinerary

Walk up to the Kristiansten Fortress for great views over the city. There were many picnic tables and people jogging and working out up there.

Norway 10 Day Itinerary

Go to the famous Bakklandet Skydsstation for fish soup (and GF bread). This is a traditional little restaurant with a homey feel inside.

Where to Stay in Trondheim

I stayed in a 2-bedroom apartment that was about a 15 minute walk to the main part of town. The tram was also right outside so it was very convenient to get around. It was super spacious and cost $120/night and fit 4 people. You can check the listing HERE.

Travel Insurance for Your Norway Road Trip

Shit happens, especially when you’re out being adventurous every day. That’s why I would never travel anymore without travel insurance. Travel insurance doesn’t just cover your delayed/cancelled flights, it also covers medical expenses in case of emergencies, lost or stolen items on your trip, and lost baggage.

My go to travel insurance is World Nomads. I’ve been using them for 4.5 years now and I love them. I have had to file 3 claims so far and I got fully reimbursed for all of them with no hassle. It’s not the cheapest on the market, but they have some of the highest coverage of any travel insurance. For this reason, I will continue to use them!

How to Get World Nomads for Your Next Trip

If you want an idea of how much travel insurance is going to cost, you can get a quick quote below:

If you’ve enjoyed this article, please PIN it for later. ♥

 

Norway 10 Day Itinerary

 

Top 6 Travel Surprises of 2018 (+2019 Travel Inspiration)

Top 6 Travel Surprises of 2018 (+2019 Travel Inspiration)

Wow, each travel year keeps getting better and better and as I reflect on the places that I’ve gone, I still cant believe it! In 2018 I traveled to 7 new countries including Georgia, Armenia, Ukraine, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, UAE, and Vietnam. I also re-visited some of my favorite countries including Greece, Norway, Italy, Croatia, Spain, Denmark, England, Albania, Canada, Iceland, and Northern Ireland. 

In 2018, I visited a total of 18 countries on 3 continents. It was extremely hard to pick my favorites but I’ve narrowed it down to the following 6 places (plus a few more). Hopefully it provides some new travel inspiration for 2019!

Lofoten Islands

The Lofoten Islands were a dream destination for me and high up on my bucket list. Norway is one of my favorite countries in the world and the natural landscapes in Lofoten Islands were just unreal. Lofoten Islands exceeded my expectations and literally took my breathe away. It’s also a photographer’s dream!

This trip was also special because it was my first ever GROUP TRIP that I led and it was so much fun to meet new girls and share the experience with others for a change. We stayed in the coziest cabin right on the lake and were dazzled by the Northern Lights on our last night there. The icing on the cake! I plan on doing another group trip there in 2019 since I loved it so much. Lofoten Islands was probably my favorite place I visited in 2018!

Bagan, Myanmar

Not many people I know go to Bagan…one of the reasons that it really appealed to me! I loved it and it was such a unique place that was different to any other place I had ever been. Riding E-bikes around dirt roads searching for the sunrise or sunset was magical. I was also there during the water festival (“Thingyan”) which was…interesting haha.

It took some work getting all the way over to Bagan, but I’d say it was truly worth it! If you want somewhere different or off the beaten path, Bagan is the place to go in 2019! PS: try to make it during hot air balloon season (I just missed it by like a week or 2).

Faroe Islands

The Faroe Islands (made up of 18 islands) are a self-governing region of Denmark located in the North Atlantic Ocean halfway between Iceland and Norway. It reminded me a lot of the landscape in Iceland, but with NO crowds. The Faroe Islands are the place to go if you love nature, hiking, photography, and isolation.

I spent a total of 5 days there and couldn’t recommend it more. Just beware of car rental prices because they are absurd! Book in advance. Also, if you’re interested in seeing puffins, the season runs from late May to early September! For all of the details and the 5 day itinerary I put together, check out my post about the Faroe Islands here.

Banff, Canada

I had been to Canada several times before but nothing prepared me for what I would see in Banff. The most beautiful blue and crystal clear lakes you will ever see in your life are in Banff. This was also a group trip destination and it was such a fun time. Banff had some of the most gorgeous hiking trails and the scenery is hard to beat! Banff should definitely be at the top of your 2019 travel wish list!

Banff is the perfect place to go if you love hiking in nature and breathing in the fresh mountain air. Make sure to carry bear spray and try not to hike alone because some trails actually require a minimum number of hikers (but you can always join other hikers as well).

PS: some of the trails and roads are closed throughout the year due to snow so to be safe, travel there from June to early September if you want to make it to Moraine Lake, etc.

Ninh Binh, Vietnam 

Vietnam was one of those destinations that really surprised me in 2018, particularly the countryside. I took a day trip to Ninh Binh and Tam Coc and it blew my mind! You can easily take a 2 hour train ride from the crazy bustling Hanoi center to a whole different world filled with epic mountainside views and tranquility.

Make sure to take a boat ride through the valley with the Vietnamese feet rowers for a very cool experience that will take you through some caves and let you feed some goats on the way. And you cannot leave the area without hiking up to the Hang Mua Caves, pictured below.

Not only did I LOVE Vietnam, but I can now honestly say Vietnam has the best coffee in the world! (along with Italy and Colombia). The egg coffee is life changing (and i’m not even being dramatic haha). Oh, and did I mention endless Pho soup for only a few bucks? I was in complete heaven.

Snaefellsnes Peninsula, Iceland

It took my second trip to Iceland (and my last group trip) to finally make it to the lesser visited Snaefellsnes peninsula, and boy was it worth the wait! I had longed to visit Arrowhead Mountain from Game of Thrones and it was absolutely gorgeous.

One of my favorite memories was actually on the way up there stopping at a cute little hot spring in the middle of nowhere. What made it so magical was that we were the only ones there and it felt like a little gnome house or something.

My other favorite destinations from 2018 included Sicily (Italy), Rhodes (Greece), Northern Ireland Game of Thrones trip, Sri Lanka, The Cotswolds (England,  and an epic Norway road trip. 

What’s On My 2019 Travel List

There are SO many places I can’t decide! But i do know I am going back to Asia for a few weeks and also going to try to visit the few countries left in Europe that I haven’t been. And my ultimate destination will be Patagonia (which I have been trying to go to for the last 3 years). I’m hoping 2019 will finally be that year!

I also have a few destination weddings I am going to in North Carolina and Mexico so it’s going to be a busy year!

More Group Trips

I had a BLAST doing group trips last year and I want to continue them in the new year! I will probably host 3-4 trips in 2019, the first being Lofoten islands, Jordan, and Beirut! Check the details here.

Other group trip options for the second half of the year are Azores islands, Peru, GOT Northern Ireland tour, Scotland road trip, Oman, Lapland, and Patagonia!

Crazy Travelista’s wish list for 2019:

7 re-visited countries: Italy, Croatia, Greece, Jordan, Spain, N. Ireland, Scotland 

9 new countries: Luxembourg, Moldova, Monaco, Lebanon, S. Korea, Malaysia, Chile, Argentina, Brazil

Here’s to another awesome year of travels and new adventures! 2019, I’m ready for ya!♥

Where would you like to visit in 2019?

 

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