It might just be absolutely impossible to create a definitive list of our favourite places in the world. First off, there’s just so many beautiful spots we would want to add, but then there are also the very hard (and maybe – for you – very uninteresting) questions about what constitutes a favourite place.
Is it somewhere we want to live, or does one good memory count for enough? Well, I don’t know, but I think I’m just not going to overthink this too much.
So what are we trying here? To make a list of places on the globe we think you really need to go, like, tomorrow. Places that have stayed with us the entire journey, and places we’d go back to in a heartbeat.
Without further ado, these are our favourite places (for now.)
To be honest, we could just throw a dart at a map of Northern Norway and be pretty happy to spend a year wherever it lands. Nature-wise this is it. From awe-inspiring glaciers, to soothing brooks running through green rolling hills; Norway has it all.
In the end, however, we’re going to have to choose Traena, because it was the reason we went to these parts.
Traena is a small island of the coast of the Northern Norway (though, it’s about halfway) where they host a yearly festival. Ellis has been lucky enough to get invited to come and take pictures of all the bands playing there and in 2018 I tagged along.
Boy, was I glad that I did. An old fishing village perched on a lush green island, looking out on two beautiful mountains in the distance. This place is so special Ellis even has it tattooed.
(You know, all of it)
We houden van verrassingen en dan ben je in Albanië aan het juiste adres. Prachtige natuur, van bergen tot stranden en de absurd vriendelijke inwoners.
The best thing is, we hadn’t really expected any of that, because Albania can sometimes get a bit of a bad rep. I mean, one of its nicknames is ‘the North Korea of Europe,’ though that’s no longer the case it still kinda sticks.
Don’t let that mislead you, because in Albania they have everything from snowy hilltops to sandy beaches, and it’s all inhabited by the Albanians, a people who are thankful for everyone visiting their country.
‘The Smiling Coast of Africa’ is a nickname they didn’t just get, The Gambia earned it! The beaches here are beautiful, but the people are so much better still.
True, we were a little taken aback when we found out this place is frequented by so much Dutch people, but we tried not to let that distract us from the fact that coming into The Gambia we finally had entered the African continent properly. We weren’t disappointed!
The Gambia is a small country, and you could drive through it in a couple of hours (although the quality of the roads might now allow that), but it’s packed to the brim with nice people who are excited to have you enjoy their country.
Rhotia Valley, Tanzania
The stars aligned, good cards were dealt, or we were just really blessed in our visit; however you want to say it, this was an amazing place. In true Ellis & Me fashion we came so close to visiting the ‘true’ gem (in this case the Serengeti), but ended up not going there. However, we weren’t sad about it, because instead we went to Rhotia Valley.
Both a tented lodge and a children’s home this is an absolutely amazing place, set up by two old doctors from the Netherlands who now live here to make life for the locals a little (or actually, a lot) more wonderful.
The lodge, which is top notch, brings in money that they use to facilitate programs like an orphanage and a small business, among others. We ended up at Rhotia, because two of our best friends worked here for five months a few years back, and they really wanted us to visit, seeing we were in Tanzania.
At the start, we were planning to just stay for lunch, because the accommodation is slightly over our budget, but it ended up a little different. The managers – such great people – gave us a big, big discount and we ended up staying a full week, even helping them with some stuff.
Going out in a rickety old wooden boat for five hours to a small island in the middle of nowhere, then count me out. However, Ellis wouldn’t be Ellis if she didn’t get me to agree to take the chance, put on a life vest (oh, God) and take the journey from Bissau to Bubaque. I’m so glad she did.
Aside from praying for our safety the entire boat ride, it was pretty…okay. However, Bubaque is worth it! This little fishing island is full of friendly people, beautiful scenery and cashew trees (did you guys know they make wine with the fruit? Did you know cashews have fruit?)
We staid there for two days with two amiable Scandinavian guys who joined us on a day to our own private beach, where we spend an amazing afternoon.
(And the Village of Hope)
We were supposed to stay in Estonia for four days, and ended up being there for three weeks. In the end we only left because we really had to. If we wouldn’t have had to move on I think we might still be there.
You know how there’s a lot of cities in Europe where there’s a lot to see and you need one of those silly hop on buses to see everything? Not in Tallinn. There they just packed all the good bits into a walkable piece of the city, so you can see everything you want to by just walking everywhere.
Next to Tallinn being nice, Estonians are also very friendly, which makes the place even better.
Having traveled through Africa for a little over three months coming to Rwanda felt like a treat. Although our travels don’t really show it, but we can be creatures of comfort who love to have a good shower, or a soft bed. And as far as the countries we visited in Africa go, Rwanda really had their stuff together.
After the atrocious events over 20 years ago this country really jumped back up and decided to make something of the place. Public transport is taken good care of, accommodations are all pretty nice, and the people are amazing.
And luckily for Rwanda they have scenic diamonds to spare, from jungle with gorilla’s, beautiful mountains to hills covered with tea plantations that look gorgeous in the setting sun.
We could go on for hours, and one day we will. Now is not that day, but we hope you have some new inspiration for your next trip. These destinations are real gems and we advice you to go, before the tourist take over.
Ellis & me