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.

If you’ve enjoyed this post, please PIN it for later!

 

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

 

 

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.

If you’ve enjoyed this post, please PIN it (just hover over the pic below).♥

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♥

 

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?

 

What to Do in Rhodes, Greece (The Perfect 5 Day Rhodes Itinerary)

What to Do in Rhodes, Greece (The Perfect 5 Day Rhodes Itinerary)

Rhodes was a place that I only had mediocre expectations for and it blew them all out of the water! Rhodes was absolutely awesome and I’m kicking myself for not going sooner. 

Rhodes’ appeal lies in their spectacular turquoise beaches, beautifully preserved medieval towns, gorgeous mountains, awesome food, and more cats than I have ever seen anywhere! Basically, Rhodes was complete bliss!

When to Visit Rhodes 

Rhodes stays unbelievably warm even through the fall! I went in mid October and it was sunny and 75-78 degrees every day! The “season” in Rhodes ends October 31st (a little longer than most Greek islands). That means a lot of the day tours and ferries are still running daily.

This was a great time to visit because it was at the tail end of the season and the crowds had gone and the prices had dropped tremendously, yet everything was still open.

I would avoid July and August due to high crowds, prices, and intense heat. 


Rhodes, Greece 5 day Itinerary 

Day 1: Anthony Quinn bay, Lakido beach, Tsambiki beachKalithea springs. 

Day 2: Symi day trip 

Day 3: Lindos, St. Paul’s bay 

Day 4: Kritinia, Monolithos, Prasonisi, Glystra

Day 5: Rhodes town 


What to do in Rhodes, Greece

Day 1: Anthony Quinn bay, Lakido beach,Tsambiki, Kalithea Springs

Tsambiki beach: long sandy beach with many bars and restaurants. It’s framed by the mountains on each end. If you want a beach with a lot going on, this is the beach for you! In terms of beautiful beaches, the others I visited while on Rhodes were much more impressive.

Kalithea Springs: Gorgeous Italian architecture that’s a great place for weddings. There are sun beds and a little cafe on the water to just relax. It’s less than 15 minutes from Rhodes.  While the hot springs are no longer in use, I still really enjoyed my time here.

There is a 3€ entrance fee, but i think it’s definitely worth it. 

Anthony Quinn Bay: tied for prettiest beach on Rhodes island, this is an absolute must! As you can see below, Anthony Quinn Bay is a small coved bay that has the most beautiful clear blue/green waters. I can imagine this place being super popular in the summer, but it was very calm and unpopulated when I went. I LOVED this place.

There is a little cafe overlooking the bay with the best view that you must go and experience, not for the food but for the view!

Lakido Bay: a gorgeous bay right across the parking lot from Anthony Quinn Bay. If you have time, definitely stop here for a bit also.

What to Do in Rhodes, Greece


Day 2: Day Trip To Symi Island

Symi is a short 50 minute catamaran ride away (or 1.5 hours by ferry) and definitely the one day trip you should take when visiting Rhodes.

I read online that you could take a taxi boat to the beaches, which was my plan when I arrived. But I soon realized that the taxi is more like a bus in that it has a schedule so you can’t just randomly arrive and get a taxi boat (which is what I thought). The taxi boats cost about €10-12 each way. 

There was only one taxi boat that leaves in the morning, hits up all the popular beaches, and then returns at around 4 or 5pm, but it wouldn’t give me much time to see the beautiful port of Symi or walk up to Chorio so I decided to pass and hope to get a taxi at Pedi Bay.

What to Do in Symi

Walk up the 400+ steps to Chorio

Chorio is the main town that sits perched up on top of a hill overlooking  the gorgeous marina and surroundings. From Chorio you can walk another 20 minutes to Pedi Bay, and then to 2 other beaches from there.

Stop at Olive Tree Cafe for a healthy brekkie/brunch of Greek yogurt, honey, and fresh fruits. The setting is super cute as well with a view of the town below.

Visit the Beautiful Beaches

The 2 beaches I was able to visit were Agia Marina and Agios Nikolaos.

Agia Marina has gorgeous turquoise waters and a little island with a monastery you can visit.

What to do in Rhodes, Greece

Agia Nikolaos has is a small pebbled beach with a few beach shacks selling food and drinks but it’s pretty secluded. 

How I got to these beaches:

I missed the morning taxi but I got really lucky and met these amazing locals who offered to take me for free! They first took me to Agia Marina just for pictures and then dropped me off at Agia Nikolaos. They even picked me up later to bring me back! The Greek hospitality is unmatched. So you could try your luck in Pedi Bay or make sure to get on the morning taxi boats when you arrive in Symi harbor.

Walk: from Pedi Bay you can walk 30 minutes to Agia Nikolaos or about 50 or so minutes to Agia Marina. To be honest, the path to Agia Marina looked extremely rocky and like there wasn’t a distinct path. Good sturdy hiking shoes would be required. 

Some Symi day tours take you to Panormitis Monastery on the south side of the island. However, I decided to skip this because they leave you there for about 1.5 hours which is so long. I decided to go to the beaches instead of the monastery because you won’t really have time for both.

The other beach I didn’t have time for but was on my shortlist is Nanou beach (I heard random goats come on the beach and try to steal your food here so beware).

If you don’t care to go to the beaches the day tours offer plenty of time to see the monastery and then around 3 hours in Symi to explore (which is plenty). 

Visit Nos Beach Near the Port

There is a beach called Nos beach in Symi and is only a 7-8 minute walk from the harbor (where the ferry drops you off). It’s gorgeous and there are many cute cafes along the water in that area. 

What to do in Rhodes, Greece

There are also many cute little boutique shops with unique things to buy in Symi. 

They are also famous for Symi shrimp, but I didn’t have time to sit down to try them. 

Play with the cute little kitties swarming the island

How to Get to Symi Island

The catamaran from Rhodes to Sými took 50 minutes and costs 30€ round trip with Dodecanese pride. I bought the tickets the day before online and then picked up the tickets at the little booth in front of the boats. Make sure to arrive early to get your paper tickets and find your boat!

Tip: They had some day tours they were selling at Mandraki port that were as cheap as 15€, however, they all had a stop at Panormitis Monastery, which like I mentioned above, I didn’t have that much interest in visiting. 


You may also enjoy: Why Milos Should Be on Your Greece Bucket List | The Perfect 4 Day Milos Itinerary


Day 3: Day Trip to Lindos & St. Paul’s bay 

St Paul’s Bay: this is the other prettiest beach I saw in Rhodes and you cant beat the view of the Lindos Acropolis in the backdrop.

As a bonus, the summer crowds had long gone and it was pretty empty when I went. I could have spent all day relaxing here lounging and sipping drinks.

What to do in Rhodes, Greece

Lindos Acropolis– while the 12 € entrance fee is pretty steep compared to most ancient ruin sites I’ve been to, you can get the best aerial view of St. Paul’s Bay and Lindos Beach on each side. You can also see the beautiful white Lindos town below (although I flew my drone there and had the same view honestly).

It takes about 20 minutes to walk uphill from St. Paul’s Bay to the entrance of the acropolis. There is free parking right next to St. Paul’s bay. 

There is one restaurant at St. Paul’s Bay that’s pricey but you can’t beat the views! There are also hanging day beds and lounge chairs available to relax all day. 

On your way up to the acropolis, stop at Lindian Apollo bar for a nice rooftop view of the acropolis. And make sure to order a cappuccino freddo! Yum.


Day 4: Kritinia, Monolithos, Prasonisi, Glystra

Day 4 will bring you to the west and south of Rhodes Island, the less busy part of the island. 

Stop in Kritinia castle (free entrance) for amazing views over the sea. Also stop by the little cafe at the bottom of the castle. It’s super cozy and cute. They also do free wine, honey, and oil tastings.

Kritinia is 1 hour from Rhodes by car.

Leave Kritinia and drive 35 minute to Monolithos Castle. It’s a beautiful windy drive through the mountains, so take your time and enjoy the scenery. 

Monolithos castle (free entrance) is perched upon a steep hill overlooking the coastline and it is stunning!

What to do in Rhodes, Greece

There are many unique openings in the ruins in which you can take some cool pictures (see below). 

Prasonisi is at the very tip of the south of Rhodes island. It is very unique in that it is where the Mediterranean Sea and Aegean see meet and makes up a double beach in the summer (a peninsula). In the winter when the waters rise, Prasonisi becomes an island

Prasonisi is a also very popular spot for wind surfing due to the winds. 

Definitely stop at Glystra beach on the way back, which has golden sands and turquoise waters. It’s a little coved beach off the coastal road. There is a little beach shack for drinks 

Glystra Beach from above


Day 5: Rhodes Town

There are SO many things to see in Rhodes town so if you only have a day, get an early start!

Inside the old city walls of Rhodes

In case you don’t know, Rhodes is surrounded by a walled city, with many grand entrances to this Medieval town. You will also notice many Turkish mosques throughout the city that are interesting to see and beautiful to photograph.

Palace of the Knights

What not to miss in Rhodes town:

  • Palace of the knights/Grandmaster’s Palace (6€ entrance)
  • Knight street 
  • Walk the ancient city walls (2€ entrance)
  • Discover all the epic entrances to to the walled city 
  • Church of the Virgin of the Burgh (pictured below)

What to do in Rhodes, Greece

  • Mondraki port
  • Windmills of Rhodes (there is a kitty sanctuary near the windmills, an added bonus!)

Windmills of Rhodes

  • Shopping! The street shopping was pretty good inside the city walls.
  • Acropolis of Rhodes has amazing view of the coastline just across the street (free entrance) 
  • Elli beach is only 6-7 minute walk from the old town and a nice way to cool off during the day 
  • Ronda Rhodes is a swanky beachside cafe on Elli beach with amazing decor and view. It’s pricey but well worth the view!
What to do in Rhodes, Greece

Ronda at Elli Beach

  • Mama Sofia Rhodes has awesome food! The dolmades were the best I ever had and also the lamb kleftiko was bomb.com (i.e. good AF). This was the best restaurant I found in all of Rhodes. 

How to Get Around Rhodes Island

Rent a car and ATV from Zeus cars. The owner is super chill and nice and very helpful. The prices are pretty good. A 50cc ATV was 25€ per day and an automatic car (on the spot) was 30€ per day. They won’t rent you a scooter without a motorcycle license but you can rent a 50cc ATV with a regular US license. An international license is not required. 

How to Get to Rhodes 

Rhodes is one of the furthest Greek islands in the east, near the coastline of Turkey. 

Fly 

The direct flight was 50 minutes from Athens and cost $75 2 months in advance or $90 the night before.

Ferry 

The ferry from Athens takes 11-24 hours (depending on the company) so you might as well fly. The water tends to be choppy on Greek ferries so being on that thing for 11+ hours sounds like hell to me. Just fly.

Where to Stay in Rhodes 

7 Palms Hotel

My plan was to take a bunch of day trips from Rhodes town so I stayed in the new town (which was a 20 minute walk from the  old city). This location provided a better starting point for all my day trips. 

The hotel had the best host who was super positive, energetic, and helpful! She gave me good restaurant recommendations and helped me add some secret spots to my itinerary that I would have never known about. 

I stayed in a studio apartment at the hotel, which had a little stove and refrigerator. It also had an outdoor pool (seasonal). The hotel was spacious, comfy, quiet, and I highly recommend it! They also provide free bikes which came in handy. 

I booked this place for $267 for an entire week on booking.com. You can view the listing here. It got a review score of 9.2!  And if you’re new to Booking.com, you can use my $20 OFF coupon here (I will get $20 off too, so it’s a win-win, thank you!)

Rhodes Tours

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 and have been pretty satisfied. You can check the Rhodes Tours below.

 

MY TOP RECOMMENDATIONS FOR TRAVEL GEAR

1.Sony Alpha 6000 Mirrorless Camera: I made the switch from my huge DSLR and I wouldn’t go back. It’s light, compact, and takes amazing photos!

2. Sony 10-18mm Wide Angle Zoom Lens: this wide angle lens is the key to landscape shots. I use this lens more than the original and am super happy with it. It’s not cheap, but super worth it if you want to get those special nature shots. Honestly, I would purchase the Sony alpha 6000 camera body only and save up for this lens to go with it.

3. E Bags Packing Cubes: the biggest life changer to keep me packing light! This is my biggest travel gear obsession and I have NO idea how I traveled without them before.

4. LifeProof NUUD Waterproof Case (iPhone 8): this helps protect my phone from water, sand, dirt, and the numerous drops that incur while I travel. I love it!

5. GoPro Hero 6 Black: I am a proud GoPro ambassador and obsessed with GoPro selfie pics if you didn’t notice! It’s super small, compact, and easy to travel with. Plus it’s so much fun to use! 🙂

6. Jackery Power Bank: This is hands-down the best external battery charger I’ve ever used. It has dual charger capability and I can charge my phone 3 times or more. It’s awesome!

Travel Insurance for Greek 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.

If you’ve enjoyed this post, please PIN it (just hover over the photo)♥

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 🙂

 

Why Milos Should Be on Your Greece Bucket List | The Perfect 4 Day Milos Itinerary

Why Milos Should Be on Your Greece Bucket List | The Perfect 4 Day Milos Itinerary

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!

4 Day Milos Itinerary

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?).


The Perfect 4 Day Milos Itinerary


 

 

 

Day 1: (1-5 on map)

→ Sarakiniko, Mandrakia, Firopotamus, Plathiena, Fourkovouni

Day 2: (6-10 on map)

→Plaka, Klima, Catacombs/Roman Theatre, Adamantas, Thiorichio (Paliorema sulphur mines)

Day 3: (11-13 on map)

→Papafragas, Pollonia, Kimolos Island

Day 4: (14-16 on map)

→ 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. 

4 Day Milos Itinerary

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. 

4 Day Milos Itinerary

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

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.

4 Day Milos Itinerary

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). 

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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. 

4 Day Milos Itinerary

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. 

4 Day Milos Itinerary

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. 

4 Day Milos Itinerary

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. 

4 Day Milos Itinerary

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?

4 Day Milos Itinerary

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. 

4 Day Milos Itinerary

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). 4 Day Milos Itinerary

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

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! 

4 Day Milos Itinerary

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.4 Day Milos Itinerary 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. 

4 Day Milos Itinerary

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. 

4 Day Milos Itinerary

How To Get Around Milos

Rent an ATV from Moto Christos.

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. 

4 Day Milos Itinerary

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

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

Ferry 

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. 

Travel Insurance for Greek 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.

If you’ve enjoyed this article, please PIN it for later (just hover over the photo below).♥

4 Day Milos Itinerary

 

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

 

Most Unique Things to Do in Lapland, Finland

Most Unique Things to Do in Lapland, Finland

Honestly, I never had any desire to go to Finland before, let alone to the very north in Lapland. But as usual, I was enticed by some awesome snowy pics of this beautiful country and I knew I had to experience it for myself. Plus, I really wanted to see Santa! Can you blame me?

I had no idea there were so many awesome and unique things to do in Lapland, Finland. I was overwhelmed by all the choices as I was deciding which ones to choose! My wish list included seeing the northern lights, doing an animal safari (aka sleigh rides), and something super traditional and completely out of my comfort zone (you’ll see).

So if you’re heading that way and need help deciding, let me highlight all the kick-ass things to do in Lapland, Finland below:


Most Unique Things to Do in Lapland, Finland


Go On a Photo Expedition

Take an all day photo expedition that includes some trekking through the nature and photographing some epic views over the land. This is a must do for photography lovers. No professional experience is needed! They basically take you to all the best photo spots in a winter wonderland and help you take some awesome photos. It was really better than I expected. 

Most Unique Things to Do in Lapland, Finland

I wrote a separate post on this so I won’t get into too much detail here. But honestly, this was one of my favorite things I did in Finland! You can read about my tour in more detail here.

Santa Claus Village

If you’re in Rovaniemi you kinda have to go see Santa! Ok honestly, the village won’t wow you or anything but it’s one of those things that’s cool to say you did. Where else can you visit the city Santa is from?

Most Unique Things to Do in Lapland, Finland

In Santa’s Village, you can send a postcard postmarked from Santa’s Village and get an official stamp on your passport. They also offer shorter reindeer and husky rides. Although it’s more commercial here, it’s still an option of you don’t want to fork out a huge lump of cash for the longer animal safaris.

Most Unique Things to Do in Lapland, Finland

Cross the Arctic Circle

While at Santa’s Village you can actually cross the arctic circle! How cool is that? This is one of the few places in the world where you can actually stand with one foot on each sides of the arctic circle. If you want, you can even get an official certificate proving you actually did it!

Reindeer Safari

I couldn’t go to Lapland and NOT ride a reindeer! I mean, how many other places can you do that? Not many. The ride was very slow and kinda “kiddie” so definitely something for small children to enjoy, but still kinda cool to do as an adult. 

Most Unique Things to Do in Lapland, Finland

The ride itself is about 25-30 minutes through the snowy forest. It’s a great opportunity for photos. We then visited the reindeer farm and got to see all the cared for reindeer, even some cute baby ones! To get warm, we huddled by the fire and roasted sausages and sipped on berry juice.

It was a nice and quick tour and the company was great, but honestly for the price I don’t think it was worth it. I say this because they off reindeer rides at Santa’s Village for a small fraction of the price. Unless you really love reindeers and want to spend a little extra time with them, I would do the ride at Santa’s Village instead!

(Disclaimer: I received a small media discount for this tour. While I greatly appreciate this, I need to be completely honest with my readers and tell it like it is). 

Snowmobile to the Northern Lights

I’ts always a smart idea to book a northern lights tour that also combines another activity, just in case you don’t get to see them. Seeing the northern lights is never guaranteed and they are very unpredictable.

The perfect example of this is the Snowmobile Safari/Northern lights tour I did with Wild Nordic. The snowmobiling really got my adrenaline pumping riding out to a frozen lake to chase the lights. The ride was a bit bumpy with all the ice, so you probably shouldn’t do this is you have any spine issues or recent injuries.

 

After about 45 minutes of zipping through the snow, we ended up on a frozen lake far from the city lights. Our awesome guide Raivis made a small fire and cooked us Finnish sausages and poured us the most amazing hot berry juice.

Unfortunately the conditions didn’t allow us to see the lights; however, bonding with the fellow travelers around the open fire is something I’ll never forget!

The snowmobiling experience was so fun we didn’t even care about seeing the lights (I had seen them a few days earlier in Tromsø so I was content). It was an awesome tour and something you shouldn’t miss!

Sauna/Ice Dip

This might have been the most crazy thing I did in Finland. However, it’s something very popular with the locals, mostly for the health benefits. Going from extreme hot to cold is good for your circulation and makes you feel refreshed (although caution is advised in those with a history of heart issues).

The setting at Immelkartano was absolutely perfect. It’s a small family run company (which you know I love) which operates 2 sauna houses set on a beautiful snowy frozen lake.

Most Unique Things to Do in Lapland, Finland

Set up my tripod and caught the Northern Lights faintly in the distance. This was not visible with the naked eye so an added bonus!

I was told by the attendant that going in the frozen lake up to your next cleanses you of your sins from the neck down. All sinners welcome 🙂

The ice dip was super invigorating to say the least! You start by heating up in a traditional Finnish smoke sauna in a private setting and then jump into an ice hole. You end the dip by drinking a shot of straight up Finnish vodka (trust me, you’ll need it!).

View the Northern Lights from Levi

Most Unique Things to Do in Lapland, Finland

Levi is an adorable little ski town that I had the pleasure of staying in for 2 days while in Lapland. Although I didn’t get to see the northern lights on my snowmobile safari, I was fortunate enough to catch them in the back of a restaurant I was walking to in Levi. I happened to have my tripod on me from before, so I ran behind the restaurant to catch this incredible display of Mother Nature. There is something special about seeing them when you’re least expecting them. It’s pure magic.

Visit a Snow Hotel

The Snow Village is located about a 30-40 minute drive from Levi but is worth the trip. I learned so much about ice hotels and the design and details blew me away. I didn’t know that they rebuild the ice hotel every year, and it never looks the same twice! I really wish I would have stayed one night. The place was amazing! We were able to go inside all the rooms and see what they were like. Every room has a different design with intricate carvings. The artwork is really incredible. There is also an ice bar, ice restaurant, and ice slide! It’s only for children, but I saw some adults breaking the rules (ahem, including me). 

Most Unique Things to Do in Lapland, Finland

Every year, the hotel has a contest for the best designed room. Applicants submit their design online and the winner will have their room brought to life with their design! They even get to come stay in the hotel in their room! How cool?! If only I could draw past stick figures…

Most Unique Things to Do in Lapland, Finland

Husky Safari

One of the most popular activists in Lapland is to go on a husky ride safari. This activity is a lot faster and more exciting than a reindeer ride. The adrenaline kick plus the frigid air smacking you in the face will really wake you up!

Most Unique Things to Do in Lapland, Finland

You will also have time to meet all the huskies and play with them afterwards. I’m a cat person honestly, but these cuddly creatures are so hyper and loveable that I fell in love with them. I’m not going to lie though, in the beginning when they get them all hyped up to ride, they were a bit scary and aggressive!

Most Unique Things to Do in Lapland, Finland

Look at those gorgeous blue eyes!

It wouldn’t be a true Finish activity without ending the day inside a hut roasting sausages over an open fire. God I love Finland!

Dancing with wolves 🐺🐺 #lapland #ourfinland #tundrahuskies #visitlevi #gopro #goplayoutside

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The company was called Tundra Huskies and it costs €75 for the tour. You get to visit husky farm and pet the dogs and then do a 25-30 minute ride. You can also visit some reindeer on the farm. The whole tour takes about 2-3 hours. 

Other Awesome Things to Do in Lapland, Finland

Most Unique Things to Do in Lapland, Finland

  • Get a panorama view from a fell (a fell is basically an epic lookout point over the land).
  • Stay in a hotel with your own sauna (I’ll get to that in the next post).

Other cool things to do in Lapland that I didn’t get a chance to try:

  • Scenic flight to chase the northern lights
  • Iceberg float
  • Ice fishing
  • Stay in a glass igloo hotel (my dream)

*This post was in collaboration with Visit Levi & Wild Nordic; however, my opinions are my own and I had a kick-ass time in Lapland, as you can see!♥

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Have I Convinced You To Want to Visit Lapland? What Activities Would You Like to Do?

 

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