Our Dream Destinations for 2016

Our Dream Destinations for 2016

I never stop dreaming about my next destination, but there is something about the end of a year to really get those thoughts organized.  I don’t know about you, but each month creeps up on me so suddenly, and ofttimes I’m making last minute reservations when there really is no excuse for it.  As a teacher, I know all of my days off for the whole year.  Maybe the one resolution I should make is to be a better planner.

Anyway, I was thinking…Depending on your resource (because somehow they are all different), I only have a few countries left to visit on the European continent.  I haven’t been to: Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Estonia, Finland, Georgia, Kosovo, Russia, San Marino or Ukraine.  Granted, some of these are not so easy to get to, because of visas or you know…unrest.  But, a girl’s got to have goals.

As I start to plan where to go, I asked some travel bloggers to chime in with their thoughts.  I’m not sure how much it has helped, because they all make great arguments for the places they have written about.  Can I ask you a favor?  Can you help me out?  Read the posts and look at the amazing photos below.  Then in the comments tell me which countries I should go to, and which ones I need to get to first.  Please!

Where would you go in 2016?

Our Dream Destinations for 2016

Albania – Giulia from Blocal Travel Blog

The thing I liked the most about Albania is the genuineness of the place: secluded beaches, unspoiled nature, fresh food and easy-going people. I especially loved the crystal blue sea and the abandoned stone houses scattered throughout the country. It is the perfect place to relax and step outside from our hectic routines.

 Guilia has tons on her blog about Albania.  Check it out! : http://www.blocal-travel.com/category/albania/
KachArmenia

Armenia  – Kach from Two Monkeys Travel

 My first ever backpacking experience was a week in Armenia and it will always be a memorable trip for me! During the trip, my 4 travel buddies at that time agreed that we would go to different tourist attractions including Karahunj which is called the Stonehenge of Armenia!
Our Dream Destinations for 2016

Azerbaijan – Edna from Expat Edna

 Azerbaijan is an intriguing mix of East and West, modern and ancient. Its capital of Baku is a booming city along the Caspian Sea, while a visit to the countryside feels like stepping back in time. The cuisine is delectable, with specialities of the region including tea with jam and piti soup, a hearty mix of chickpeas, bread, and lamb.
Check out Edna’s blog with more on this fascinating country! http://expatedna.com/2012/11/29/introduction-to-azerbaijan/
JubBelarus2

 Belarus – Jub from Tiki Touring Kiwi

As the last dictatorship in Europe, acquiring a Belarus visa is not straightforward making you appreciate your time that little bit more. I really liked how there were no touts asking me anything due to the lack of tourism, though this did make it harder to accomplish basic things from time to time.

Check out what else Jub has to say about this mysterious country! http://www.tikitouringkiwi.com/sensational-guide-getting-started-belarus/

Our Dream Destinations for 2016

Belarus from Kamila of Kami and the Rest of the World

 Belarus seems like the place we know nothing about and due to difficult visa situation not many travelers visit it. Too bad as it’s one of the most pleasant countries I’ve ever been to! I didn’t know what to expect from Belarus and it took me by surprise! Cities are really clean and villages neat, Grodno is a great example of beautiful Eastern European architecture and Minsk is a mix of Soviet and modern style. But most of all people are super friendly and helpful and are just happy to welcome travelers brave enough to visit their country. Belarus is a true off the path experience, so worth the effort! Do your best to go there before it changes!
You can find out much more about this wonderful place and others at Kamila’s website: http://www.mywanderlust.pl/

Our Dream Destinations for 2016

Estonia – Sharon from Where’s Sharon

Estonia This tiny country tucked away in Northern Europe is full of surprises – the main one being just how gorgeous the Old Town of Tallinn is. This medieval Old Town is definitely one of the most beautiful in Europe and worth a visit to Estonia in itself. There’s also Estonia’s Soviet past to explore, lots of natural attractions and an interesting culture.

Sharon has written a really great Tallinn guide here, check it out! http://www.wheressharon.com/europe-with-kids/what-to-do-in-tallin-guide/

Our Dream Destinations for 2016

Estonia – Lance and Laura from TravelAddicts

Estonians love nature and Estonia is a natural wonderland.  One of the highlights is the Konnu Suursoo bog, which is part of the Pohja-Korvemaa Nature Reserve.  Many people visit Tallinn or resorts on the coast, but there’s a lot of beauty to explore in Estonia.

Check out Lance and Laura’s post on Estonia:  http://www.traveladdicts.net/2015/07/bog-walking-estonia.html

Our Dream Destinations for 2016

Finland – Inma from A World to Travel

 After visiting Finland three times, I’d recommend everyone to stop in this Nordic country during Winter for a once in a lifetime experience. Either if you are into ice-skating in a wild lake of a remote Kimiton archipelago island, uncovering traditional little shops in Turku or flying in an helicopter over Helsinki and Suomelinna, the unique light and warm Finnish people will blow your mind. Enjoy!
Our Dream Destinations for 2016

Georgia – Kirsty from Kathmandu and Beyond

We were struck by Georgia’s diversity. For a small country, it packs a punch in terms of things to do, from the Black Sea coast to snowy mountains peaks. As well as some great hiking, we loved exploring the ancient Orthodox monasteries we found dotted all over the country. And, last, but not least, the warmth of the people contributed hugely to our happy memories of Georgia.

Check out much more on Kirsty’s site:  www.kathmanduandbeyond.com

Georgia: Georgia has a great variety of activities, whether you like the beach, mountains or would rather drink wine in the wine region. Georgia post link: http://www.tikitouringkiwi.com/georgia-wine/

Georgia from Jub of Tiki Touring Kiwi

Georgia has a great variety of activities, whether you like the beach, mountains or would rather drink wine in the wine region.

Georgia post link: http://www.tikitouringkiwi.com/georgia-wine/

Our Dream Destinations for 2016

Kosovo from Stefania of Every Steph

When I visited Kosovo last summer during a Balkans roadtrip, I didn’t have particular expectations, but it turned out to be my favourite country in the region.

Pristina, the capital, is not the prettiest city, but very interesting from a historical point of view; they say Kosovo is the best country for a macchiato outside of Italy, so just sit down at a cafè for some people watching.
A day-trip to the Mirusha waterfalls is worth it to escape the heat!

It was Prizren though, the second largest city in Kosovo, the place I fell in love with: Prizren retains a delightful village feel, life goes on slowly and the glimpse of the city from the fortress at sunset time is oh so pretty!

Check out much more on Stefania’s blog: Every Steph – Green & Glamourous travel blog

 

Our Dream Destinations for 2016

Russia from Stuart of Am I Nearly There Yet?

The Trans-Siberian… Is there a train journey as epic as this?! Other train adventures can’t compare to this mammoth journey that spans several time zones through Russia! It’s not the most luxurious experience, but where it lacks polish and sparkle, it has heaps of Russian charm, character and ruggedness.
The coal fired samovar, the babushka ladies selling home-made snacks – Combined with the beautiful Siberian tundra, steppe grasslands and endless silver birch forests, the Trans-Siberian should be on everyone’s bucket list!
Stuart has much, much more on his site, check it out: http://aminearlythereyet.com/about-us/
Our Dream Destinations for 2016

 Russia from Stefan of Nomadic Boys

We took the Trans Siberian in June 2014 as a way to get into Asia over land. If you like train travel, this is one of the ultimate experiences for you. We love train travel and in Russia, once you reach deep Siberia around Lake Baikal/Irkutsk, the scenery is just stunning! It’s not for everyone though…after 3 days in a carriage in the peak Russian summer, it does start to smell a bit…!
Find out more about Russia on Stefan’s site: http://nomadicboys.com/trans-siberian-lake-baikal/
Our Dream Destinations for 2016

 Ukraine  from Kirsty of Kathmandu and Beyond

Travellers are avoiding Ukraine right now because of the trouble in the Crimea and the east but two of the country’s most vibrant cities, Kiev and Lviv are perfectly safe to visit and both wonderful in their own right. We loved the cosmopolitan vibe and beautiful architecture in Kiev while Lviv is home to one of the most attractive Old Towns that we have seen. And what’s more, Ukraine is a very cheap destination to travel in!
Check out much more on Kirsty’s site:  www.kathmanduandbeyond.com
Our Dream Destinations for 2016

 Ukraine from Kamila of Kami and the Rest of the World

Many people avoid Ukraine these days, thinking it’s a war zone. Well, it’s true, east of the country deals with a really difficult situation and it should be avoided at all costs but Ukraine is one of the biggest countries in Europe and the majority of it is safe to visit. And there’s plenty to see and do! Lviv is one of the most beautiful cities in Europe and I bet you will fall in love with it too! Kiev, the capital, can show you the best of East: gold-dome churches and impressice Soviet architecture and recent revolution will make you feel history in every step. But there are also smaller towns like Chernivtsi that are just too charming to miss. Ukraine really is one of the most underrated countries in Europe and these days it’s one of the cheapest destinations to go to!
Check out all of Kamila’s travels on her website: http://www.mywanderlust.pl/
Thanks to all the wonderful bloggers that contributed to this post.  I was overwhelmed at how much information is out there!

Weren’t those some great posts, and certainly inspiration for me to get planning!  Tell me in the comments below which stood out to you as must-sees…and soon!

 

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34 Comments

  1. I vote Georgia, but for a purely personal reason: the book I (was) writing takes place at/around Mt Elbrus, near Georgia, and it would be great to see actual photos of the landscape view

  2. Sadly I have not visited any of these yet. While I have been interested in traveling to some of these countries for a while (mostly Finland and Estonia), this post has made me consider some new destinations for my future travels.
    Matilda recently posted…Top Posts of 2015My Profile

  3. Well, you know I am going to tell you to put Russia up there close to the top of your list, and we can help you with the visa. I do not plan on doing the Trans-Siberian railway at all – I am too fond of comfort in my travels. But you can also satisfy your train-craving on the fast train or the overnight train to St. Petersburg.

    We lived in Armenia for three years, and although it is not a place I would necessarily live in again by choice, it is a beautiful country with the friendliest people. I think it is easier to get around now, than it once was, and one thing you could do is to combine it with a trip to Georgia. We used to drive to Tblisi for weekends – the only place you CAN drive to from Yerevan. There are some fabulous old churches in both places, and some really nice places to stay in the most amazing locations. There is a really good travel office in Yerevan. I pulled up the map just to remind myself, and immediately began to list the places I loved visiting – Lake Sevan, Dilidjan, Hor Virap with its unparalleled views of Ararat, concerts in the city, Tufenkian hotel near the Georgian border…it is worth visiting. Just don’t eat the street meat!

    Anthony lived in Belarus for three years, and he loved it. I can ask him for more details if you decide to go there.

    I think Finland should be up there. I’d love to go myself to experience the clean-ness and the mountains. I am not a skiier, but it seems there are many other things to do there.

    I know that whatever you do, there will be fabulous photos. Happy new year to you and Jim!

    1. Anne, Wow! You are always such a wealth of great travel info. I will definitely ask you more questions as we plan. We’re thinking Georgia with a side trip to Yerevan in spring! Moscow is definitely on the list for soon and while you guys are still there. Happy, happy 2016!

  4. All fascinating countries. Only lacking Azerbaijan here – really should make that happen in 2016. All the best for the new year and happy travels 🙂

  5. Corinne, how did it you manage to find the posts about all of these places (some rarely get a visit!). I have been to several on your list (mostly by reason of my birth in one of the Soviet Republics- Moldova- have you actually been???I am impressed!). For me, Finland and Georgia sound most interesting, and Russia if you could manage visa and get sufficiently prepared:)
    Victoria@celebratetheweekend recently posted…Our 2015 Year of Weekend Celebrations in PicturesMy Profile

    1. The Georgian wine growing region is stunning. I ended up at a small wine festival even! And yea, very tasty! Hopefully they start promoting it world wide more and more.

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