2016 was a great year for me travel-wise and really was the year that accelerated the travel bug within me. Here are my favourite trips from the year gone by…
I started the year with a girl’s weekend in Milan – if you haven’t been to Milan I would definitely recommend that you add it to your list of cities to visit. The city itself is gorgeous, the fashion (well it’s Milan so what do you expect..) and the food is mouth-watering. Piazza Duomo is as breath-taking in real life as it is in photos and a drink on the roof terrace of La Rinascente overlooking Duomo just further accentuates the magic of this beautiful cathedral.
Milan is the perfect city for a weekend break as it is small enough to be able to take in all the sights in a couple of days but big enough to keep you busy wandering through the beautiful streets and stopping off in the numerous cafes and bars along the way.
In March I made the incredible trip to China with my best friend and gorgeous mum. This was a tick off the bucket list for me and China did not disappoint. As soon as we landed in Beijing airport the madness of China hit. Our first introduction to China was a loooong bus journey from the airport to our hotel… Chinese traffic is to put it simply – organised chaos. The rules of the road don’t appear to apply in China and cars were making U-turns left, right and centre yet no one seemed too concerned by this and the traffic kept moving albeit at a rather slow pace.
In our 10 days in China we really crammed in a lot of sightseeing as we wanted to make the most of our time in this incredible country. We visited the well-known tourist spots; the Great Wall, Tiananmen Square, The Forbidden City and the Terracotta Warriors, but some of my personal favourites were the lesser known sights, including;
- The Summer Palace, Beijing – a magical place where you can take in the breath taking views of Beijing from the top of the temple. I would have loved to have been able to spend all day walking through the beautiful gardens but unfortunately we could only pass a couple of hours here
- The Muslim quarter, Xi’an – where there is a spectacular food market to explore with vendors selling everything you can think of and some items you didn’t know existed…
- The Great Mosque, Xi’an – something quite special and a personal highlight of mine from our trip. Step off the bustling streets of Xi’an and into this tranquil and serene place of worship and you are sure to experience just a little bit of magic. A wave of calmness overcame me as we crossed the gates into this sacred sanctuary and this particular part of the trip really was something extraordinary.
At the beginning of December, I made a quick trip to London to visit a friend. I hadn’t been to London in eight years so was really excited to get back to this buzzing city. My trip did not disappoint, mainly down to my lovely friend bringing me to some very nice spots. We sipped on Crème Brulee martinis by the fire in the Kensington, enjoyed a glass of prosecco and dessert in the rooftop restaurant at Selfridges, took in the atmosphere at Winter Wonderland and ate enough cake to give us diabetes. A super trip filled with laughs, sugar and cocktails.
- Cocktails at the Sky Garden overlooking the sights of London, including; Tower bridge and the Shard
- Coffee at Peggy Porschen – if you go to one café in London please please go here it is adorable
- Cakes, oh so many delicious cakes in Dominique Ansel
- A stroll around Harrods. When in London….
San Pedro de Alcántara, Spain
I was lucky enough to grow up in the south of Spain in a small Spanish village called San Pedro de Alcántara.. San Pedro is becoming more and more popular amongst tourists and is situated approximately 10 minutes drive from Marbella town. San Pedro, in my opinion, is really special because it has managed to retain it’s Spanish charm despite the influx of tourists year on year, unlike Puerto Banus and some of the more visited tourist spots along the Costa del Sol. I don’t get back as much as I would like to as I am now based in Madrid, so trips back home usually mean a quick weekend in Dublin – but when I do get down to this seaside village I am always happy to take some time out, relax with a café manchado and enjoy a walk along the paseo. We spent Christmas here this year which was lovely as it meant total relaxation, lots of food and some quality time with the family (we are dotted across Spain and Ireland so it is rare that the four of us are reunited for more than a weekend).
Christmas in San Pedro meant sunshine, relaxation and lots of much needed sleep and I very happily obliged!
I said goodbye to 2016 from the beautiful mountains of Westendorf, Austria. Westendorf is a charming Austrian village nestled at the foothills of the stunning Tyrolean mountains approximately one and a half hours drive from Salzburg. The town is delightful, the locals are friendly, there’s plenty of aprés ski activities, the hot chocolate is delicious and the skiing is fantastic – what more could you want when ringing in the New Year?!
What were your 2016 travel highlights?
I’m always looking for new places to visit so feel free to share your favourites with me