Tuesday 9 January 2024

Everywhere we travelled to in 2023

2023 was a great year for travel, both in the UK and abroad, and I couldn't resist putting together a round up of everywhere we visited - where we stayed, what we'd recommend, and so on! Without further ado, let's go...

Kraków and Zakopane, Poland

I absolutely adore Poland, as you might know if you're a regular blog reader, and I was so excited to visit with Kate (my now-fiancée!) in January. It was cold but not too cold, and I didn't think it was super busy either. Kraków is definitely a lot more expensive than it was when I first started travelling to Poland, as it's much more of a tourist destination now, but you can still have a brilliant time without spending a lot. We stayed in the Podgórze area, and it only took a few minutes by tram to reach the old square.

Our highlights from Kraków itself on this trip included the Be Happy Museum, visiting the Salt Mines, our date night dinner at the beautiful Nova in the Jewish Quarter, and for me just being back in Poland! I also enjoyed just really taking it slow, as I've been so many times I didn't feel the need to cram everything in. 

We also took a day trip to Zakopane (on a Flixbus, which as always I highly recommend) which was a brilliant day. Zakopane itself doesn't have tons to do if you're just visiting as a DIY trip but I know you can do excellent organised excursions (like this one) which involve tastings, guided tours, thermal spas and more. I had instead opted for us to just go it alone and booked a cable car up Kasprowy Wierch, which is a beautifully snowy mountain in a gorgeous ski resort. We had to get a taxi from Zakopane to the resort (and back) which was a bit confusing as we couldn't find any on the way back, at first, but otherwise it was an INCREDIBLE experience and one I'd highly recommend.

Sarandë, Albania

When Kate told me she'd seen some gorgeous footage of Albania on TikTok and could we go, my first thought was "yeah, right, absolutely not" because up until now, it's never been somewhere you associate with going on holiday. But the more I looked into it, the more I thought now is the time to go before the boom - and before the price shoots up. So we did.

We travelled via Corfu, getting a ferry across to Sarandë itself, and stayed in a little apartment up approximately 4 million steps. It was gorgeous; we had good weather, incredible food, beautiful days out... everyone we met was charming, friendly, helpful and just so lovely. I'd definitely add it to your to-visit list.

Personal highlights include the Blue Eye and Gjirokaster (both of which we visited on a tour with Albania Minivans Tours, who are amazing) as well as Butrint National Park. Kate would also give a shout out to how good the seafood is in this part of Albania!

Corfu Town, Greece

We tacked a couple of days in Corfu Town onto our Albania trip, on the way home, to celebrate Kate's birthday. We stayed in a sweet little apartment around a 10 minute walk from the old town area, and we just did plenty of chilling and a bit of exploring - we went to the old fortress, walked along the promenade area, and wandered through the beautiful little streets. It was HOT and this was only May, so bear that one in mind...

Llangollen, Wales

What a special trip this was - we absolutely love Llangollen anyway, but we got engaged during this trip so it was even more magical. Especially when all our family & friends were there to meet us! We stayed at the Hand Hotel which we didn't love but certainly isn't a bad option, and we of course ate at the Corn Mill which was absolutely incredible as always. Highly recommend a trip on the steam train, obviously, with afternoon tea if you fancy it.

Copenhagen, Denmark

Last year I won a £500 easyJet voucher, and I couldn't decide where to go with it - we eventually settled on Copenhagen, given that it can be a really expensive place to visit. So with the bulk of the holiday itself paid for by the voucher, it made sense! We really liked Copenhagen, a lot more than I was expecting actually. We missed out on Tivoli Gardens by a day, so definitely check the opening dates for that, but we absolutely loved walking the beautiful streets, seeing Nyhavn, visiting the pandas in the zoo and of course, my sea plane ride. top tip is to take advantage of the 7/11 or street food to really bring the cost of this trip down. Also, their public transport system is incredible!

Malmö, Sweden

In my bid to tick off 30 countries before I turn 30, we decided to do a day trip to Malmö in Sweden during our time in Copenhagen. I'd read plenty of people say it wasn't worth it, but I wanted to decide for myself... and sadly, they were right. We just felt like there was very little to actually see or do, but we did have some amazing Swedish meatballs so it wasn't all bad! And crossing Europe's second longest road-and-rail-combined bridge was a pretty cool experience... PS, we used Flixbus again.

Mallorca, Spain

We booked this all inclusive as a chance to literally do nothing for a week, but we quickly realised that 'doing nothing' isn't really for us. It was nice to relax but we did find ourselves a bit bored, and there were way too many kids for our liking. Also, it was very clearly a budget hotel - watered down drinks, really not very nice food, tired surroundings and so on. But we had decent weather overall, and did a nice little trip to Porto Cristo as well as a trip on the mini tourist train.

Stratford-upon-Avon, England

Our last trip of the year was a UK-mini break to the gorgeous Stratford-upon-Avon. I'd been invited to a review the Indigo Hotel there, and as it's somewhere I've always wanted to go I literally jumped at the chance. It's such a stunning location and we found there was loads to do, especially if (like me) you're into Shakespeare. Really easy to get to by train, too, and just overall a wonderful way to wrap up an amazing year of travels. Highly recommend the gin distillery, the RSC, the butterfly farm and the Woodsman restaurant as well as the Shakespeare walking tour.

What a year of travels! Let me know in the comments the best place you visited this year...

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