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.

What to Do in Rhodes, Greece

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.

What to Do in Rhodes, Greece

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!

What to Do in Rhodes, Greece

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.

What to Do in Rhodes, Greece

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

What to Do in Rhodes, Greece

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. 

What to Do in Rhodes, Greece

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

What to Do in Rhodes, Greece

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).

What to Do in Rhodes, Greece

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.

What to Do in Rhodes, Greece

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). 

What to Do in Rhodes, Greece

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 

What to Do in Rhodes, Greece

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!

What to Do in Rhodes, Greece

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!)

 

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.

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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.

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4 Day Milos Itinerary

 

Have You Been To Milos? What Was Your Favorite Beach?

 

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?

 

Photographing the Stunning Arctic Landscapes of Lapland, Finland

Photographing the Stunning Arctic Landscapes of Lapland, Finland

In the famous words of Ned Stark: WINTER IS COMING! So I thought this would be the perfect time to highlight some winter destinations, specifically Lapland, Finland. During my time in Lapland I was able to partake in my 1st photo expedition, and it was a blast!

What is a Photography Expedition?

As someone who loves photography, I have always wanted to do a photo expedition. But honestly, I didn’t really even know what that meant. Is it like an on-site photography class? Well, yes and no.

This was my first (and hopefully first of many) photo expeditions, and from my experience it was more like a fun venture out to a photography lover’s dream landscape, and they help you with taking the photos when it comes to settings, technique, position, etc.

You have to have a basic knowledge of photography I think. I consider myself super amateur, and when people start talking about aperture and shutter speed I get a little anxiety. But this trip was perfect and because of the small group size, we got personalized attention, which was key!

Most the photos I featured in this article were shot with my Sony Alpha6000 with my 10-18mm wide angle lens that I’m obsessed with. I  also used my GoPro Hero 5 and iPhone 6 for a few shots.

Note: battery life is severely decreased in freezing weather so make sure to bring some extra batteries along!

Beyond Arctic Photography Expeditions

Beyond Arctic is a tiny Finnish company ran by 2 awesome guys, both named Juho! They personally lead all the expeditions themselves and work their butts off!

With Beyond Arctic, no 2 expeditions are the same! That’s because they have several different areas around which they can visit and tailor make the tour based on the groups wishes (& also based on weather).

Photographing the Stunning Arctic Landscapes of Lapland, Finland

Juho photographing me photographing him 🙂

Their expeditions have a max of 8 people, so the group always stays small and intimate. I had 2 others on my tour and we really got to know each other and it was really nice not having to be herded around in a large group.

Photographing the Stunning Arctic Landscapes of Lapland, Finland; Beyond Arctic

Beyond Arctic also offer Northern Lights photography tours, ice fishing, skiing, and wilderness snowshoe adventures. They also offer summer and autumn expeditions, where you can experience and photograph the midnight sun!

What Kind of Clothes/Equipment Do You Need to Go on this Expedition?

Honestly, you can basically show up naked and they will dress you from head to toe. But please, if you do, wear underwear! But really, even if you don’t have the proper winter gear, it’s no problem at all, they will provide everything you need. They gave us hats, ski gloves, overall ski suit, waterproof boots, and a backpack to store all our stuff.

Photographing the Stunning Arctic Landscapes of Lapland, Finland: Where We Visited

We drove for about 2 hours to Riisitunturi National Park. We began our trek through the park up hill for about 1 hour, through the snowy forest, stopping frequently to take pictures and take in the views. The trek is 4.5 km and requires a moderate level of physical fitness.

Photographing the Stunning Arctic Landscapes of Lapland, Finland; crazy travelista

The views from the top of the fell were incredible. You get a stunning 360-degree view of the national park and the nearby lake which was frozen, adding to the dramatic arctic landscape.

Photographing the Stunning Arctic Landscapes of Lapland, Finland

GoPro shot of me fighting the arctic wind

If you’re dreaming of a winter wonderland (which I was) this will for sure satisfy your needs!

Photographing the Stunning Arctic Landscapes of Lapland, Finland

We stopped at this cute little cabin base camp where we started a small fire and began to grill some lunch. We were provided with some yummy sausages and a grilled cheese sandwich.


You May Also EnjoyChasing the Northern Lights in Tromsø (+Beginner Northern Lights Photography Tips)


 

I alerted them ahead of time of my allergy and they even made mine with gluten free bread. Oh, and they even had a gluten free apple cake made for me for dessert! I’m so not used to getting such goodies (with my past luck, the tour “forgets” about my allergy and I end up starving half the time).

Photographing the Stunning Arctic Landscapes of Lapland, Finland

The trek back down was a lot easier and quicker and the lighting was a bit better. The sun was starting to fall so there wasn’t any more glare or brightness blinding you.

Sunset caught on my iPhone 6

It was very cold, but I felt bundled up enough. Overall, the trek wasn’t as bad as I thought, mainly because we kept stopping for photo ops.

After the tour, Beyond Arctic sent us some photos they took during the expedition, which was cool to see some candid shots. Here are a few Jugo took below:


There’s me trying to get some good iPhone pics.

The view from the top of the fell where you can see the frozen lake.

Me looking satisfied (and bundled up) at the end of the tour. Can we do that again?♥

Camera Gear I Used on this Expedition (and all my travels really):

 

Tips: The one thing I will recommend if you do this tour is to bring sunglasses (wait, what, on a winter tour?). It’s actually really sunny and the wind at the top is no joke. My eyes were watering for like 30 minutes straight and I could barely see. Also, staring at the bleach white snow for hours on end can put a little strain on the eyes. Oh, and bring tissues. Your nose will be running.

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Disclaimer: I was a guest of Beyond Arctic; however, my opinions are my own and I am in no way obligated to write a positive review. This small company was awesome and I would highly recommend them to my family, friends, and fellow travellers. ♥

*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 wouldn’t recommend anything I didn’t already use and love! ♥

 

How to Spend 3 Days in the Nusa Islands (Lembongan, Ceningan, & Penida)

How to Spend 3 Days in the Nusa Islands (Lembongan, Ceningan, & Penida)

The Nusas consist of 3 gorgeous islands off the coast of Bali, Nusa Lembongan, Nusa Ceningan, and Nusa Penida.

All 3 islands have something special to offer so if you have time, I highly recommend checking out all three!

I based myself in Lembongan for 3 days and was able to visit all 3 islands during my time there.

You can see Ceningan in a half day as it is the smallest of the three. It is accessed by a bright yellow bridge from Lembongan.

Penida is the largest and most rugged of the 3. It is completely devoid of mass tourism and has so many awesome things to see!

*I want to especially thank Jackie from @getlostwithjackie for introducing me to Lembongan and Christina from @jetsetchristina for introducing me to Penida. These girls’ amazing Instagram photos really enticed/inspired me to visit these places that I had never heard of before! ♥


If you’re short on time and want to see all 3 islands in 3 days it’s totally doable.

This was my 3 day itinerary in the Nusa Islands (see below for all the details on each place):

Day 1: Nusa Lembongan (Mushroom Bay, Dream Beach, Devil’s Tear, The Deck)

Day 2: Nusa Penida full day

Day 3: Nusa Lembongan private tour to Manta Point + half day in Nusa Ceningan

 


What to Do on the Nusa Islands


Nusa Lembongan

What to do on the Nusa Islands

What to Do and See in Nusa Lembongan

Dream beach– beautiful beach where Dream Beach Huts overlooks. The waves are huge and you can’t really swim in it as it’s dangerous. You can pay a small fee to use their pool and facilities if you want to spend the day there.

Devil’s Tear-a 5-10 minute walk from dream beach (to the right if you’re looking at the water) will bring you to Devil’s Tear. Watch as the waves crash into the crescent shaped rocks leaving a huge cloud of mist behind. It’s a petty cool site! Be careful as the waves come up on the rocks so don’t try to be that person to get the perfect selfie on the edge.

What to do on the Nusa Islands

Mushroom Bay-a gorgeous blue/green bay with cute little restaurants and some water activities nearby.

What to do on the Nusa Islands

The Deck-a cute little spot overlooking Nusa Lembongan Beach and probably the best place to view the sunset on the island. It’s a bit more expensive than other places and serves a bunch of Western food. I didn’t even care as the view was well worth it. They have sunset sessions with a live DJ in the evenings as well, so it’ a great place to mingle.

The Deck, Nusa Lembongan

Swim with Manta Rays-one of the main attractions of the Nusas is swimming with Manta Rays! You can take a group tour that will take you to Manta Point and a few other snorkelling spots. Or you can do what I did and get a private tour and make up your own schedule with the stops of your choice.

This obviously isn’t the cheapest option, but I liked the idea of a tailored tour! I negotiated a rate of 400k for 3 stops (about $30 USD), including swimming with manta rays, and snorkelling in Crystal Bay and Secret Beach. It was also great because I started early and was back by 11am, which gave me enough time to eat lunch and then head to Ceningan for the rest of the day to explore.

What to do on the Nusa Islands

Note: you aren’t guaranteed to see manta rays, but I got lucky and saw a huge one! My captain told me to jump in, and honestly I was scared sh*tless when I saw the huge shadow of the creature on the surface. The only bad part about being alone on a tour. Another boat showed up and I waited until they jumped in to go in (I’m such a chicken). It swam within a foot of me! I scrambled to turn on my GoPro but it had already passed so i don’t have the best pictures to show for it. Manta rays are massive! Yet so angelic and graceful. It was such a once-in-a-lifetime experience to be up close and personal with these amazing creatures! Don’t miss out on this!

Nusa Penida

Nusa Penida was my favorite of the 3 islands as it was the most rugged and untouched. I only saw a handful of tourists the entire day. To explore, you need to take a tour or rent a scooter and do it on your own (which is what I did).

What to Do and See in Nusa Penida

Atuh BeachThis beach took a steep hike to get down, but was totally worth it. It’s absolutely breathtaking! The plunging cliffs are freakishly tall and provides a beautiful setting. It takes about an hour drive from the port of Penida, then about a 10-15 minute hike down onto super steep steps/rocks.

What to do on the Nusa Islands

There are a few little shacks serving drinks and fried rice or noodles. It’s pretty secluded and a great place to relax.
There is no parking fee.

Kelingking T-Rex (aka the money shot)This is probably the most popular beach in Penida and it’s shaped like a T-Rex! You can walk down the vey steep steps/rocks down to the beach, bit it may take you awhile. You must go very slow as it is very steep! I made it 1/3 way down and didn’t have time to go all the way as it took way longer than I imagined!
Parking is 5k (~$0.30).

Angel’s Billabong (Gambar Untuk)a natural infinity pool of blue and green hues that plunges into the ocean. You can swim in it, but be careful when the tide is high as the huge waves will come crashing down and could take you out to sea.

What to do on the Nusa Islands

It’s about a 5-10 minute walk from Broken Beach (on the right). You’ll see the signs.

Broken beach (Pasih Uug)-the ride down to this place is the worst road conditions I’ve ever experienced on a motorbike. It’s extremely rocky and bumpy with many potholes so just go very slow! The epic view over the top of Broken Beach is spectacular. And the color of the water is stunning! Parking is 5k.

How to Get to Nusa Penida

  • By public ferry from Lembongan (near the yellow bridge).
  • The ferry goes at 7am. Be there at 6:30am to assure a spot. Costs for tourists is 50k (~$3.76).
  • To get back, you may need to hire a private transfer that costs 200k (~$15).
  • If you can find more people, you can split the cost. I had to wait about 10-15 minutes and 3 other people joined so it was only 50k each, the same as the public ferry!
  • It takes less than 15 minutes for the crossing.
  • There are also ferries from Bali(Sanur) that go to Penida.
  • The public boat will drop you in the port of Toyapakeh in Penida.

How to get around Nusa Penida

Rent a motorbike for around 50k (~$3.76). The vendors will start at 80k but make sure to negotiate. You can also rent a car, but I enjoyed the adventure on a motorbike.

Note: the roads are VERY bumpy and unfinished with many potholes, especially going to Broken Beach and Angel’s Billabong. If you feel confident on a motorbike and have good balance, you should be fine! However, if you’ve never driven a motorbike before (or on the left side), this isn’t a good place to start! And remember, they drive on the LEFT side in Indonesia!

Nusa Ceningan

Nusa Ceningan is the smallest of the Nusas, but it thoroughly surprised me with its sheer beauty!

What to Do and See in Nusa Ceningan

Blue Lagoon-a natural cliffside lagoon with super vibrant turquoise waters that will leave you in awe.

Secret Beach– a secluded beach overlooked by Villa Travally Resort. There were only a few people there and it was a great place to relax. You must buy something to stay.

What to do on the Nusa Islands

Mahana point for cliff jumping- there is a place to go cliff jumping a few minutes from the Blue Lagoon (although they charge 25k per jump!)

Last Stop Bar and Cafe-cutest little spot on the water with bean bags and a super chill vibe. They also have a great selection of fruit drinks. You can go right in the water from the steps and cool off. I loved this place!

What to do on the Nusa Islands

Ceningan cliffs-a restaurant/viewpoint overlooking Penida island. There are swings overlooking the viewpoint. It’s a little bumpy to get there, so if you don’t have time, it wouldn’t kill you to skip it.

Where to Stay in Nusa Lembongan

D’mas Huts-this family run place was absolutely fantastic. It’s composed of only 5 private huts and has a spectacular view over Nusa Ceningan and the gorgeous blue water in between. Oh, and it was only $18 per night!

Where to Stay in Nusa Lembongan

The owner Nyoman was the best host and catered to just about anything I needed. He always had a smile on his face  and really made my stay more enjoyable.

They also have a nice restaurant which serves a big varieties of foods at a super reasonable price. Plus the views over the pool and landscape below are fantastic! The food was super delicious as well!

I got a special deal on hotels.com and paid only $18/night. It was half off, but even at full price it’s super affordable. The value for money is incomparable and I cannot recommend this place enough! And no, it was NOT sponsored in any way!

They also have onsite scooter renewals for 50k/day. D’mas Huts was such a great find!

Have you Been to the Nusa Islands? Which one was Your Favorite?

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What to do on the Nusa Islands

 


MY TOP 5 RECOMMENDED TRAVEL GEAR FOR BALI:

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 6): this helps protect my phone from water, sand, dirt, and the numerous drops that incur while I travel. I love it!

5. GoPro Hero 5 Black: I am a proud GoPro ambassador and obsessed with GoPro selfie pics if you didn’t notice! The Gopro cameras are the best for action and underwater shots, and of course for taking those selfies when you’re traveling solo.  It’s super small, compact, and easy to travel with. Plus it’s so much fun to use! 🙂

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 🙂