Every traveler’s go-to spot for the newest and trendiest fashion pieces, delicious artisan ice cream, and beautiful views at typical Italian cafeterias overlooking the Duomo di Milano.
Magical mornings in Milan
Waking up in Milan is magical. You wake up, go outside, stop by a small Italian bar, order a latte macchiato and a croissant con Nutella and you start your day. After jumping on a local bus, be sure to look around you and enjoy the sun coming through the romantic, vintage styled buildings of the Milanese suburbs.
Milan is known to be a modern, trendy city, but I experiences that it holds a strong authentic, Italian vibe. You can move through the city using the old trams and the city architecture is beautifully antique. The vintage, romantic Italian style is without a doubt well present in this major fashion hub.
One of the reasons for me to go back to Milan would be the delicious gastronomy. Spaghetti Carbonara, Risotto alla Milanesa, Cotoletta alla Milanesa, … the list of mouthwatering Milanese dishes is endless. After a delicious Mediterranean meal, be sure to drop by an ice cream shop for some homemade gelato – con tiramisu, Ferrero, Nutella, this ice cream doesn’t even match your wildest fantasies. It is safe to say Milan is a mekka for fashion lovers as well as for foodies.
Fear not: the history-, architecture- and even religion-lovers will not be left in the cold. The stunning piece of architecture il Duomo and the fantastic fountains and churches in the city will provide you Instagram-worthy material all year long. Even inside the iconic mall Galleria Vittorio Emanuele has a magical point which you have to pass: the bull’s balls. IN the middle of the hallway, you will find a mozaïc of a bull and on the place where his testicles should be, there is a hole – made especially for your heel. Tradition says that if you rotate backwards around three times, you will have good luck for the rest of your life. Look at that, another advantage of this amazing city!
You will leave with a full stomach, an Instagram feed for the rest of the year, and good luck for the rest of your life. What else would one want?
That summer breeze, that endless ocean, that lagoon blue ocean that is so clear you can see every little fish and sea shell floating on the sand… is there anything better than a good ol’ tropical beach?
Having Greek and Italian roots, my parents used to take me to the most beautiful Mediterranean hidden treasures – small and cozy, yet beautiful villages, relaxed beaches, gorgeous viewpoints and impressing castles – nothing escaped our family vacations.
Now that I am an adult and I travel by myself, it is less evident to find such places – until I ended up in Sardegna last year to visit my Italian family. It was the first time I was there and it is clear that my blood relatives still have this influence on me.
In North-Eastern Sardegna, the most known place is Olbia, a lovely, vivid city that connects the small island Sardegna to the outside world.
Further away from the city, you will cross Maiorca. Basically, Maiorca’s nightlife is of another level. It’s not so much about the clubbing and going out, but more about the social and outside life that is highlighted in this authentic area. The biggest public street is closed down every night just so people can put up their market stalls and walk in peace during the whole evening and night. Restaurants, bars, stores, ice cream shops: everything is open until late night.
In the morning, be sure to get up early and get in your car or jump on your bike, because it is time to explore the most beautiful beach, or – as my Italian grandfather calls it – the Maldives of Europe: Budoni.
Budoni is a hidden pearl, only known to the locals of this small yet charming village. Not only is the water as blue as a lagoon and as clear as the cloudless sky, the sand is extremely soft and a walk on the beach will relax you in the deepest ways. The tropical vibes will hit you while you’re being surrounded by hammocks, sandbanks, little stalls at the beach and, not to forget: coconuts.
If you ever get tired of swimming in the Mediterranean ocean and laying in the hot Italian sun (it’s hard to believe but at some point, you will) you can take a break and walk to one of the local fresh seafood restaurants. Since we’re at the Italian coast, be sure to try the best of the best in this region, which is: any combination of pasta and fish.
At night, you can eat some more of the Italian “la dolce far niente” and take a stroll in the crowded promenade in the center of mesmerizing Maiorca.
Solo female travelers have seen a lot of revolutionary changes the past years. It is now more accessible and more acceptable to travel alone as a woman, even if it is at the other end of our dear world. Something that used to be not done, is now a must do in every woman’s life.
But what is so special and fulfilling about traveling by yourself as a woman?
Maybe it is the courage and strength you show yourself and others in your close environment. Maybe it is the connections you make, the unforgettable experiences you go through, or the realization how much this world has to offer. I find this Spanish saying summarizing solo female travel perfectly: “Todo lo bueno en la vida nace de un salto al vácio.” All the good things in life are born out of a jump in the unknown.
Going on a solo trip is the most terrifying, liberating and eye-opening experience anybody can ever have. Why? Because the best, wildest and most beautiful version of you comes out during this time. You have that “je m’en fou” attitude and you take more risks than you normally would. You can do what you want, not what your friend of family member wants to do. This is time for yourself. Time to ignite your soul and make the jump.
The most used reason to not go on a solo trip as a woman probably is the following: because it is not safe.
Of course, a very important aspect of a solo female trip is to do research. What country do you want to go to? What city? Which neighborhood will you stay in? Be careful and always be safe. Also: respect the local rules and norms. Make connections, talk to people and hear what they have to say about where not to go (alone) or how to act/ dress in certain areas.
If you did proper research and you don’t go looking up danger, or entering a church wearing just a bikini, you should be totally fine.
So go on. Make that jump, accept that frightening challenge, take your salto al vácio. Because I, together with all other solo female travelers, promise you: it is worth it.
That deep state of relaxation, that immense thrill of expanding your boundaries, that exciting feeling of strolling around in unknown streets and that spontaneous, wild version of you being outside your comfort zone and away from the daily life; going on a holiday is something we all cherish. It has become an essential part of our lives. But how do you book your dream holiday while being on a budget?
Personally, 2018 and 2019 – so far – were two years full of traveling and adventures. Some were unplanned, some were solo, some were in another continent, some ended in me celebrating my seventh month of being an expat in a foreign on this day.
One question I frequently hear is: “Where do you get all the money from for your travels?”
Prioritise your dream holiday
Let me make one thing clear. If you want something, really want something, you make it a priority. This is applicable on all things in life. With traveling, it’s the same. There is no magical, hidden treasure for people who want to go on holiday – unfortunately. You make money for it, like you make time for it.
However, I have one golden rule when it comes to planning and booking a holiday, and that is the following:
Set up a budget.
Wherever you want to go on holiday to, whenever you want to go, with whomever you want to go; you will need to set a budget for all your costs and keep some “emergency money” extra. Because while you’re traveling, anything can happen – don’t be scared, I’m not talking about medical emergencies, I’m talking about ordering too many of those delicious cocktails, planning another trip in your trip,… life happens, you know?
A for Effort
Next up is the planning part. My best experience is putting a trip together by yourself. That means you have to do all the work, like: checking multiple websites, OTA’s, apps, and online searching tools. It sounds exhausting and you probably want to click away this tab and look for package deals, but trust me, it is worth the effort.
Here are some tools I recommend: Skyscanner and Google Flights helped me out a lot during my quests to the best flights with my preferred airlines and dates. Google Flights even lets you choose your stop (which airport, how many hours, etc). Booking.com has a Genius reward program which allows you to get extra benefits out of your booking. And lastly, websites of hostels always guarantee you the lowest price.
Here’s a tip for when you have no clue where in this beautiful world you want to go to: on Skyscanner, you can put as destination ‘anywhere’ and they will provide you the cheapest flights for periods of whole months. That rule applies as well for known destinations: just click on ‘entire month’ when selecting the date.
When you have set your budget, you can start filtering on this, the date you had in mind for your ideal holiday, and/or the destination. The more information you possess, the merrier; it will be a lot easier to find your perfect holiday combination.
Sidenote: are you still doubting about certain flights? Create a price alarm so you get a notification you when there has been a price change in your selected flights. On some websites you can also reserve your flights: KLM lets you reserve your flight prices for €15.
So you already have your flights reserved or booked. Now it is time to book your accommodation before the prices go up – the disadvantage of checking everything by yourself (make sure to always clean up your cookies too).
Another important detail to remember is your included luggage when booking a light. For example, Lufthansa included my checked-in luggage in the flight prices, while Turkish Airlines didn’t, and my flight prices went up with €140. It may seen unimportant and just a small detail you can ‘arrange later’, but it is an essential part to not get caught in the flight deals. Always read the conditions of the flight fares.
Booking your stay on a certain location is more a question of personal preferences. Some would prefer the budget hotel, others see themselves being in a surf hostel, you may prefer an Airbnb: the cost may be the same, but of course, you aren’t the same as your fellow travellers.
If it is the first time you are using Booking.com, Airbnb, or another OTA, make sure to use your leverage as being part of the late majority and get extra discounts on your very first booking.
Livin’ la vida loca
Finally, you got your flights and accommodation all set up. Next up is planning your activities and discovering the city or country you will visit. My personal favourite guide is Lonely Planet’s “Guides”. They have offline city guides for a collection of cities worldwide. You can filter on different categories like food, attractions, etc. and within those categories you can filter on degree of popularity, price, etc. Culture Trip offers you a wide variation of blogs about different fields of interests for your next destination.
To summarise my collection of tips: always set up a budget, use the right sources to check your flights and accommodation options, use those online advantages such as discounts and never forget to read the small letters. Hopefully, these tips will facilitate the booking of your next holiday so you can enjoy it even more. I wish you happy travels and lots of eye-opening adventures.
In 6 days I accomplished something I never thought I could.
I ate something I never thought I would and I laid my eyes on things I never thought I would.
South-Africa, that’s all because of you.
There are a few sides to visiting Cape Town. Firstly, there is the historical and cultural side -District Six Museum educates you about the history of the South-African capital, while Robben Island takes you back to the prison where Nelson Mandela once was held.
Secondly, you have the natural and wild side of Kaapstad. Hiking Table Mountain might be the most challenging and exciting goal I ever accomplished.
Strolling down the botanical gardens of Kirstenborsch during a lovely (free) walking tour opened up my eyes and made me realize how diverse and magical Mother Nature really is.
Not to be missed: a safari tour in one of South Africa’s many private wild reserves. To check off “seeing the Big Five” on your bucket list is a goal, I believe, we all have in common.
Next, let me show you some real South-African vibes. Enjoy some biltong while waiting for your braai to get started, or finding yourself in a state of relaxation while enjoying the warm sunset on Signal Hill. How about hiking up the Cape of Good Hope? It is a challenge, but the views are more than rewarding.
Or you can bring a visit to Boulders Beach, where you will not only find a beautiful beach by see through water, but also expect to be surrounded by the cutest little visitors – African penguins.
The main goal of my travels to South-Africa was to visit my best friend. But boy, did that turned out to be one of the best trips I ever made. If you ever visit this warm, vivid and exciting country, make sure to get the best out of it and take you time to do so.
Buenos Aires. It would be an understatement to say that you surprised me. You know that feeling when you have a certain image in your head, and it turns out to be even better than that? Yeah. That happened.
Astonishing artsy alleys
I started off my first day in Palermo Soho. In contrary to Palermo Hollywood, this sparkly and colorful barrio is full of hip, cool and modern restaurants, bars, clubs and stores- it most certainly deserves it’s second name, Soho. Strolling around in these graffiti-filled streets keeps you fascinated, since your attention keeps going from one cute store to another astonishing artsy alley.
Fill your boca with La Boca’s empanadas
You can’t have been to Buenos Aires without visiting La Boca. One of Argentina’s most popular football clubs is based in the capital and runs through the veins of los porteños (the locals of Buenos Aires).
Nonetheless, if you are not really into football, you can skip visiting the stadium and continue your voyage to the most fun street in BA: el Caminito! When walking through this street and admiring the tango dancers, vivid architecture and positive vibes you can just feel the passion of this South-American metropolitan.
There’s two sides to every cup
While on one side you have the authentic and warm Argentinian barrios, on the other side you have a more modern and fancy neighbourhood (a.k.a. my future home), ladies and gentlemen I present to you: Puerto Madero!
One moment you are walking through skycrapers and business offices, and before you know it you find yourself standing in front of a lagoon, surrounded by food markets and vendors on the street.
All these barrios have one thing in common: parks. So many gorgeous, spaceous, blossoming parks. Speaking about blossoming: be sure to make a drop by Floreria Atlantico. This flowershop may look ordinary at first, but hidden you will find one of world’s best 50 bars.
No costa nada!
Have I mentioned that a lot of things are free in Buenos Aires? To be correct, you will find almost every activity or event to be free of any charge.
My best experiences with cosas gratis were:
Centro Cultural Recoleta
This cultural center offers not only art exhibitions, you can also hang out on maybe the most gorgeous terrace of BA. Later on, grabe a drink or a bite at the romantic and cozy fair just at the exit of the cultural center.
Even though it may not sound so appealing, you should visit this cemetary during your trip. It has gravestones higher than your goals. It has temples, little roundabouts, and a housecat wandering around. It has remembrances of all kind of important figures of the Argentinian history, and thus of all kinds of different cultures and backgrounds.
Yoga in the park
If you want some balancing of your mind, body and spirit after dancing all that reggaeton and drinking all those cerveza’s, you might want to check out your nearest park – there’s a great chance you can drop in to a free yoga class there.
Reservado la Costañera
Remember the lagoon I mentioned in the barrio Puerto Madero? Exactly, you will find it in La Costañera. Put on your running shoes and get ready to breathe in some fresh air and take in some beautiful nature portraits.
El Rio de la Plata
Unfortunately, Buenos Aires does not have a beach. Wait. Don’t pull back from your idea of this trip. I know it is a big step to take (going to a destination without a beach), but you can do it. I believe in you, okay?
Besides, you can always cool off at the river side. Stay around until the evening and catch one of the free festivals. Get ready to party all night long at the rio!
Long story short: Buenos Aires’ diversity and passion surprised me in a good way. This may sound cliché, but this vivid city really has a lot to offer. Hasta la próxima, Buenos Aires!
To me, traveling is not about getting to new countries as much or soon as possible.
It’s about the entire journey. Traveling is about the smell of that sweet coffee of the place around the corner you never planned on going to, but is now your favourite place to have breakfast and plan your day.
It’s about that bar two blocks from your residence, where you see all the people you’ve met so far on the trip gathered together, all on one spot, and you are the glue connecting them all together.
It’s about long waiting periods at the airport, but enjoying them and making the best out of it. In the end, you did want to meet new people and be in an international surrounding, so why should an airport be less than your destination?
It’s about that boat ride you took because you wanted to visit another island. That ride that you secretly regret, because all you have been is nauseous. But it doesn’t matter, because you are on a boat. You have the entire ocean ahead of you. Feel the freedom. Watch the boat hitting the waves and creating that endless, bright white foam. Watch out for some sea creatured you might see passing by. Look at the sparkling water and the shining sun and just take it all in.
That’s what traveling is about for me. The small moments, as we call them. The moments you didn’t plan on having or seeing as “big” moments. That fraction of time where you have absolutely no worry in the entire world. That moment where you enjoy. Your journey. That sweet coffee. The vibrant atmosphere in the bar. The waiting at the airport. The boat ride. Enjoy it, every second of it.
Lisbon, you are like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get. But, in case you do want to be somewhat prepared, I’ve listed the most beautiful, chill and delicious spots in this surprising city.
Wether if you’re visiting Lisbon or living there: let me save you some time and serve you upon a plate right now: the most fine spots in the Portugese capital.
If you read my previous blog, you already know Lisbon offers a lot of beautiful miradouros – also kown as viewing points.
Miradouro Santa Luzia consists of a few chill spots: there’s the lower deck, as I like to call it, and a higher deck. Both offer a sort of garden-ish feeling, where you can chill out sitting on the colourful walls covered with flowers and plants. Here’s the catch: if you walk to the upper deck part and keep on walking towards the end, you may find a pitoresque stairway that leads to… a small, cozy, cash-and toiletless cafetaria. This cafetaria de Santa Luzia offers the best view in town, if you ask me. Um café com leite e um pastel de nata, por favor!
Cristo Rei Rocks
Another must-see when in Lisbon is the Cristo Rei statue. It may look like it’s at the other end of the world, but it is easily (and cheap) to reach by ferry and bus.
When you arrive at the bottom of the statue, you are already blessed with an amazing overview of the river and Lisbon itself. I recommend to take the elevator towards the statue. Even though you may think you will have the same view, trust me, you will not. The mighty Christ statue, sunset vibes and an overview of the bridge, river and city will give you some serious chills (and make you feel like you´re in Rio de janeiro!)
The Cristo Rei Statue
A delicious meal that won’t cost you a thing
I don’t know about you, but I’m getting hungry over here. Although there are some tourist traps in each city, in Lisbon you have some more chance to find a really good restaurant that’ll give you the best meal of your life. Yes, I’m giving some credits to the underrated Portugese food. Farinheira, bacalhau a bras, salmao grelhado,… you will not regret skipping out on Mc Donald´s for one of these delicious dishes.
Rockin’ rooftop bars
Last but not least, I’m taking you a level higher right now – literally. Although Lisbon has a lot of ups and downs, hills and stairs, steep streets and elevators – and other synonyms for a hilly landscape – there are some benefits attached to this. i am talking rooftop bars and restaurants. Wether they’re expensive, touristy, local, cheap or hidden: if you look properly, you can find one on almost every building.
TOPO bar has the best view ánd vibes. Hiphop, house, rnb: whenever you get at this cozy yet modern bar, you won’t be sitting around much for long. Visit during sunset and you’ll be surrounded by a wall of golden/ pink Portugese residences.
PARK bar may be the most popular rooftop bar in Lisbon. Owing its name to the real life parking this bar is built on, be ready to get dancing whilst holding a (pricy) drink in your hand. Their style of music is a mix of hiphop, trap and oldschool hiphop. Offerng a view over the city with the bridge and Cristo Rei statue in the distance, be sure to pass by this bruising piece of nightlife.
These were a couple of the many goregous and relaxing spots Lisbon has to offer. I would like to share more of them with you, but now I’m craving some farinheira, a glass of red wine and some city views during sunset. I’ll see you at the next blog for some more inspo. Até a vista.
It’s been three and a half months since I’ve moved to sunny Lisboa. Okay, I admit, it’s not always sunny here. But winter is packing its bags and spring is just around the corner.
A lot of people ask me: do you sometimes have regrets about moving to Lisbon? My answer is: I miss my family, friends, and familiar surroundings, but that doesn’t mean I regret this decision. I knew that travelling and moving around places requires some gut and courage. I am making the best out of my time here and that’s all that matters now.
So, let’s move on from the boring chitchat and move on to the real purpose of this blog: Lisbon city.
Lisbon really surprised me. The authentic city has not only a coffee place on every corner, but also hidden rooftop bars and gems of (cheap) restaurants that will leave you rollin’ right out of the door.
Besides the delicious food and bruising bars, Lisbon has a cool and chill nightlife too. There is a neighbourhood called Bairro Alto where all the youngsters come together at night on the colourfully decorated streets to celebrate life.
What I love most about this modest city, is the views. Wether it’s out of your own window, the famous Castelo de Sao Jorge, or one of the beautiful miradouro’s, Lisbon has some really relaxing and cool views to show you.
Another thing I learned about Lisbon is: don’t be afraid to go out there and explore things on your own. The city has tourists of course, but also a lot of locals and expats. Who knows who you will meet and have a greattime with!
Furthermore, I’d like to show you my favourite spots in this city – but that will be for my next blog.
One of the main reasons I booked a trip to Curacao were the pearlwhite beaches covered by the lagoon blue waves and the deepblue, endless ocean.
Those aspects did not disappoint me.
What everybody should know before heading to Curacao, is that in the touristic parts, you almost feel like you’re on a set up beach in Holland. I did expect Dutch people there, but not so many.
However, if you go to the less touristy areas and decide to blend in between the locals, you may find yourself between a mixture of Latinos and Antilleans. Party guaranteed!
Another main reason I went to Curacao was to scuba dive. I got my PADI Open Water Certificate there. Yay me! I wasn’t the only one, and how could you even blame us? The coral riffs, the special species of underwater organisms, all together with a ocean so blue and warm it’s almost unreal.
I recommend to take diving lessons or diving trips at diving center Pietermaai, I am really satisfied on all aspects and I am sure the crew will welcome you with open arms and you will have amazing dives.
Now, let’s talk about beaches. All the beautiful beaches are at the West Coast, but just before the centre of Punda you will find a small piece of beach with a dock, if you don’t feel like traveling far for a swim.
If you didn’t rent a car like I did, it is pretty hard to go to the West Coast. So unless you know somebody with a car, your best option is to do a West Coast Tour. See all the beaches in one day. The lagoon beach, the pig beach, Cas Abao, Grote Knip, Kleine Knip, Porto Mari, the turtle beach, etc. A must see is the blue room. There is a funny and crazy captain who is happy to welcome you on board of hi ship to the blue room, an underwater shipwreck and underwater Buddha statue. As I said, really worth it!
“So what is there to do at night?”
“Well, it depends on what you want and what night of the week you want to do something. You see, every day there is something else to do on the island.”
That answer was the one I got at least three times. And it’s true. You have beach bars, beach clubs, music bars, dance clubs, festivals,… I can suggest you some places like Mambo Beach and City Beach 88, but it’s best if you check Facebook while you’re there or just ask around.
You can have two types of vacations in Curacao: you can book a luxury vacation and don’t come out of your hotel or resort, or book a hostel and meet new people and build a social life in no time. I choose the second option. Claro.
So we have the beautiful nature, different areas and a nice social life. What else could you want?
The city centre’s colourful and picturesque architecture definitely left a fun impression behind. You find cute stories and even bank offices around ever corners, and the locals have an amazing sense of decorational styles.
I had to admit that I didn’t have high hopes when visiting Venice. When I asked others about their experiences, the top three answers I got were: too touristy, too hot and too expensive. In other words; Venice didn’t sound to charming. Still, I went on a solo trip to the small island and I have to admit, I’m pleasantly surprised.
What I do recommend, if you’re on a budget, is to stay in Mestre. Mestre is not located in Venice itself, but on the mainland of Italy, at the other side of the bridge that connects Venice to the mainland. From Mestre, you can easily take the train for €1,30 single ride and you’ll be in Venice in 10 minutes.
Venice is a surreal city. Imagine hopping on and off bridges all the time, wandering your way through the very small streets in the charming city. Once in a while you interrupt your wanderings with a stop in a local bar for a glass of homemade prosecco, or you treat yourself a delicious Italian spaghetti carbonara in a restaurant at the waterside.
I got seduced by the smell of fresh pizza and made a stop at a local yet popular pizza place where they let their pizza dough rise for at least 24 hours. The current count when I was there was 32 hours. You can only imagine what the pizza tasted like.
Okay, now I’m wandering off too much to the food-side. Views-side, there is a lot to see in Venice. I was afraid I couldn’t see everything in two days, so I booked a Tripadvisor-tour. Unfortunately, I am a free spirit. A free bird. And you can’t lock a free bird in a cage. So, when people started to approach me asking if I was the tour guide, a little alarm bell rang in my head. I’m so different from these people, why am I here?
When the tour began, we all had our headset on and the tour guide had a stick with a flag (yes, really) and, at that moment, another alarm bell rang in my head. Should I turn around and leave right away? I actually want to explore this city on my own and freedom calls me!
I stuck around a little but more and then I escaped the tour. I told the tour guide I was sick, gave the headset back and took off.
Freedom never tasted so good.
I ran into the little streets and where tourists went right, I went left.
I decided for myself that was the way I was going to explore Venice. Just as I did in Malta.
When sunset fell, I fell too. For Venice. Piazza San Marco lights up with magical colourful gradients of light as the night fell.
The vivid nightlife of Venice charms the floating city. At night, when most of the tourists went back to their accommodation, all the locals come outside, and go to bars and restaurants. Many little shops are still open and the atmosphere is so much different than during the day – Venice during the night has a calm vibe, yet it’s vivid, and so authentic.
Are you going to Marrakech? Cool! Oh wait… Alone? Why? Are you sure? What are you doing to do there? Aren’t you afraid something might happen?
These reactions might seem familiar to some solo (female) travellers. I can’t really say my friends and family were happy with my decision of going on a holiday to Marrakech by myself. However, this is your life and you should do whatever it is that you want. Of course, a basic thing to do before a trip is research in the culture and ways of the country. So, my message to you is: seas the day, go for it. And so I went. And I didn’t regret it at all.
I only spent four days in Morocco and luckily, I had arranged everything through the Riad I was staying at. I booked three full day tours with them for a bargain (in total €110).
On day 1, I stepped into my first adventure one: a tour by a local through the old centre of Marrakech. This 5- hour tour was completely private and I was accompanied by an old, local tour guide who explained me everything about the palaces, tombs and traditions of Marrakech. The perfect way to start discovering Marrakech.
If I should describe Morocco, and more specifically Marrakech, in a one word, it would be: authentic. I was surprised by how the locals called this city “touristy” since there wasn’t a single shop there wherethe products weren’t handcrafted.
I don’t think any traveler in modern history has successfully went to Marrakesh without buying anything in one of these original shops. You just can resist them! Handmade jewellery, bags, shoes, lamps, carpets,… In the beginning, you don’t think you need these stuff. You are wrong.
One of the things that was definitely on my to-do list when in Morocco was experiencing a camel ride. My dream would be to ride on a camel trough the Sahara desert, but unfortunately, due to my short citytrip, that location got adapted to the palmtree forest just outside Marrakech.
If you feel like escaping the crowded Marrakech, you can get a glimpse of the real Morocco by taking a day trip to Essaouira, a picturesque, little town located at the West coast of Morocco.
During the three-hour car ride to Essaouira, it’s common that you have two stops on the way. The first stop is at an argan oil “factory”, where lovely ladies are handcrafting argan oil and you can buy lots of argan oil based products.
Fun fact: these ladies can explain you everything in English, French, Italian, Arabic, … Moroccan people are very multilingual and, for some reason, this is a quite unknown fact to others. In Morocco, you can learn up to 8 languages during your school career.
The second stop on your way to Essaouira is at argan berry trees. This was the most funniest thing I’ve ever seen. The tradition is all about goats. Goats are literally standing in the trees, on the tranches, and chewing on the berries of the trees. Then, they spit out the berries, and the people collect them and process them in the argan oil. This is what makes argan oil the GOAT of all oil products. – Get it, the goat?
Essaouira basically consists out of a cozy centre with small, crowded, beautiful ornamented streets full of decorated shops. Don’t expect any factory made products: everything is hand crafted; clothing, shoes, cosmetic products, medicines, musical instruments, etc.
When traveling alone, it’s important to be open to meet new people and hang out with them. It makes your journey so special and fun! Don’t get me wrong, you need your time alone as well. But it’s fun to travel in groups now and then and experience new things. Thats what traveling is all about. New places, new feelings, new people, new experiences.
The most memorable thing of my trip to Morocco was definitely visiting the Ouzoud waterfalls. Be prepared for a three to four hour hike through the Atlas mountains, starting from the top of the waterfalls, going to the bottom and ending back at the top. Don’t stress out: you will have some time to rest in between and have a local, freshly prepared tangine with some delicious, sweet moroccan tea.
You’ll also bump into some monkeys on the way. Fear not, they are harmless and won’t do you any harm. Be sure to hide your food, as they are not ashamed to take your morning croissant right out of your hand.
The views of the waterfalls are absolutely amazing. I had the privilege to witness a rainbow covering these waterfalls. It was stunning.
Tip: Book your tours and trips through your hostel, hotel or riad. They can arrange everything for you and often make a good deal when you buy everything from them. Pick-up at your room, a (private) guide, transport, sometimes even meals are included. That way, you are sure of your booked tour.
I can definitely recommend visiting Morocco or certainly Marrakech. If you want to experience another culture than Europe, but don’t want to take your trip too far way, this North-African destination is a perfect choice.