I covered eleven countries and countless major cities this year on my adventures and narrowing down the list of my “favorite” places I visited was no easy task. I’m gauging these as my top 6 destinations of 2016 because these cities gave me the biggest itch to return and explore more. These are in no particular order because it was difficult enough compiling the list!
- Nusa Lembongan, Bali, Indonesia
A small island about a 30-minute speedboat ride away from Bali is the secluded island of Nusa Lembongan. I had visited Lembongan on a day trip during my prior trip to Bali in 2013 and I vowed to return to the island to spend more than a few hours there – and this year I did!
The islanders main source of income comes from seaweed farming in the shallow waters that surround the lush island.
Lembongan couldn’t be a better place to come to unwind.
It’s hard not to stare at the crystal blue waters.
Just swinging over an aptly named, “Dream Beach”.
The local bars and restaurants are not only extremely affordable (I’m talking, a whole meal and a few beers or a cocktail for around $10 US) they’re also extremely adorable.
Lembongan showed off with one of the most beautiful sunsets I saw in three weeks in Bali.
- Verona, Italy
Home to the famed tragic love story of Romeo and Juliet, Verona is a city of love – and I fell hard. The architechture in some parts of the city has strong (and gorgeous) Venetian influences due to its location, about halfway between Milan and Venice. Out of all the cities I got lost in this year, Verona may have been the most beautiful.
There’s nothing I love more than a pretty #PinkHour – except when it’s over an old city, in Italy.
Verona is so great that they even serve their strawberries covered in warm, hot chocolate with fresh whipped cream.
Hi, can I move in now?
I stumbled upon cute alleyway after adorable corner.
I mentioned the strawberries, but did I mention the pastries?
When I looked up I felt like I was back in Venice!
- Menton, France.
A smaller, often overlooked, stop a few after Monaco when coming from Nice on the train along the Cote d’Azur – Menton was a pleasant surprise. The pops of color and architechtue reminded me of the Italian Riviera (I mean, it is after all just a stone’s throw away from Italy). With cuteness around every corner I can’t wait to get back to Menton.
Just an average humble abode in Menton.
The fun colors, palm trees and buildings stacked on top of each-other, reminiscint of the Italian Riviera.
This town was so adorable I had to catch myself from falling.
There’s nothing I don’t love about old-town Europe alley-ways.
I don’t trust you if you wouldn’t want to dine here. How friggin’ delightful is this?!
- Budapest, Hungary
I only had about a day and a half to explore Budapest before departing on a river cruise through Austria and Germany but what I was able to see of the city – has me itching to come back for more. The old town charm with modern pops of culture was unexpected – and highly appreciated!
Would it be Budapest without a picture of the parliament building?
Remember that ‘old town charm’ I mentioned? * insert heart eye emoji *
Could the views and hues from Aria Hotel be any more perfect?
NEWS FLASH: BUDAPEST HAS DELICIOUS GELATO AND THEY FORM IT IN THE SHAPE OF A ROSE AND CALL IT GEL-ART-O.
Budapest is also famed for its many thermal baths – a must have experience in the city!
- Auckland, New Zealand
I spent a few days in Auckland on my way to Australia (which I know, makes no sense, but the flights were free – so enter in “sense”) and I was blown away by its beauty! Not only were the city and surrounding areas beautiful but the people were super friendly and I can’t wait to get back to visit not only Auckland again but the entire country of New Zealand!
The city skyline, the blue ocean, even the gloomy clouds are beautiful in New Zealand.
I loved the way the city skyline merged along with the masts of the sailboats in the marina.
Okay, so not only do they have perfect black sand beaches – they also have strawberry Oreos in New Zealand. Do I have to leave?
They also have tons of succulents growing – quite literally – any and everywhere.
Auckland was also home to the best burger I ever had in my life and it didn’t hurt that it was half the size of my head, either.
I also attended the most quaint (not-so-little) market where individual butchers and cheese sellers all had their own stalls surrounding what were “grocery basics” (and some pretty flowers). I want every food shopping experience to be like this!
Exploring Piha – north of Auckland – was soooo fun! The black sand beach is home to some of the best surf in the area and I’d venture a guess that the views were some of the best in the area also!
Departing Auckland was really upsetting but the organic fresh juice sold at the airport made it a little easier. (Seriously, major points for New Zealand.)
- Nuremburg, Germany
I only spent a few hours in Nuremburg as one of the stops on a river cruise but what little I was able to absorb of the city has me yearning to come back for more.
First-of-all, the majority of the architecture in Nuremburg is whimsical half-timbered houses. * swoon *
Actually, there’s no “second of all” – architecture is everything I loved about this city.
Who could get enough of these facades?!
I had very low expectations for Germany (sorry, Germany!) and the entire country blew me away! But quaint views like this are what has Nuremburg at the top of my favorite Germany city list.