31 Dec Best Travel Moments in 2016 on Instagram, as Chosen by You
The year is about to end, and while I’m eagerly waiting for 2017 to begin, I’m going through the best travel moments in 2016 that I shared on Instagram. I didn’t manage to make a long trip overseas like the ones in Argentina or in Japan in the recent past, but I traveled quite a bit closer to home. After all, Europe is amazing and I’m in love with it more than ever, and I’m lucky to live in Italy, having an incredible choice of beautiful spots to explore right in my backyard.
Best Travel Moments in 2016, from Instagram.
Last year I fully experienced cat sitting, spending time in Barcelona, Zurich, and Bern. I did my first long-distance hike in Scotland and discovered the wild beauty of Northern Ireland. I went back to the always beautiful Florence and Venice and explored more charming spots near Milan.
November in Venice
Venice is not only a wonderful city: it is unique. That’s the very reason it is so touristy and terribly crowded for the most part of the year. If you want to beat the crowds, do like me and plan your visit in November. With a little luck, you could get a bright blue sky. Venice could as well be shrouded in fog but you’ll soon find out how special it becomes.
Late winter in Valtellina
One of the benefits of living in Milan is being close to many beautiful spots. Both the sea and the mountains are only a couple of hours away, therefore it’s easy to have short escapes to a lot of different places. Valtellina, in the north, with its beautiful peaks at the border with Switzerland, boasts great alpine sceneries. It’s also an area where many centuries old traditions are still alive. The time I spent there was too short to go skiing, but I experienced for the first time dog-sledding and snowshoeing, and loved them both.
I had forgotten how beautiful Lake Como is, and although it’s only about 1 hour from Milan, I hadn’t visited for a long time. A couple of hours were enough to fall in love again, and I ended up going back three times over the year to discover new spots. I spent a weekend in charming Varenna, strolling in the alleys between the colorful houses, and hiking on the steep hills. I went back to lovely Bellagio, enjoying the ride on the boat. I went for the first time to Lecco, wondering why I had never before. And I know I’ll be back soon.
Switzerland: Zurich, Bern and more
Switzerland has a special place in my heart, and I can’t stay away for too long. It’s a beautiful but also very expensive country, and I was very lucky to find two housesitting opportunities, in Zurich and in Bern. From there, I made a few day trips to nearby areas. I went up the Uetliberg – considered the mountain of Zurich -, and spent a day in one of the most beautiful towns I ever saw: Stein am Rhein, and its wonderful painted houses. While in Bern, I enjoyed many walks along the river Aar, I discovered Morat, a charming medieval town on the shores of the lake bearing the same name, and I went back to Kandersteg and the idyllic Oeschinensee.
Milan and Surroundings
In 2016 I worked on several consultancy projects and thus ended up spending more time in Milan and nearby nice spots more than usual. Impossible and useless to compare Milan to Florence or Rome, London or Paris. But in the recent years, also thanks to EXPO in 2015, the city improved a lot and it’s definitely more pleasant and interesting now. It certainly is worth spending at least a couple of days, and there’s much more to do than just shopping 🙂
Scotland: Hiking the West Highland Way
In 2016 I fulfilled a long-time wish: making a long-distance hike in a wild and scenic place. I always thought this would happen in the alps, but this was not meant to be. In a totally unexpected way, I got the chance to hike the popular West Highland Way in Scotland. It’s been an amazing and unforgettable experience, which I hope to repeat in 2017.
Northern Ireland: The Causeway Coastal Route
I still wonder why I never considered Northern Ireland as a top destination on my wish list. Another trip that was not planned, more unforgettable moments. My road trip along the Causeway Coastal Route was short but intense. Northern Ireland caught my heart and I’ll be back soon.
I used to go there many years ago when I was a child, with my father. That’s why Camogli belongs to some of my best memories. I like going there in winter when the lower sun enhances the pastel colors of the houses. I like the almost deserted alleys, meeting now and then a few locals living their life. I like hiking the trails overlooking the sea, enjoying the silence and the crisp air.
I’m grateful for all the magic places and unforgettable moments I experienced in 2016. Looking at those photos (and I have so many more!), I couldn’t tell which one is my favorite. But how about you?