A perfect sunset on a perfect island
2013 became the Year of Europe
At the beginning of 2013 I had no travel plans. I had just moved to an expensive apartment in Stockholm and expected a light travel year similar to 2012. But, as is often the case for me, it turned out very differently and I ended up travelling more this year than I did in 2011 when I travelled around South America.

For me 2013 became the Year of Europe. I visited 16 countries: 8 new ones and 8 revisited. I went to 15 new cities, and went back to 4 previously visited ones. To celebrate the end of what has been a very successful travel year, I bring you 5 highlights of 2013.

Isle of Skye, Scotland

The Skye bridge at sunset

The Skye Bridge at Sunset

I was amazed by the wild beauty of Scotland. The Isle of Skye captivated me instantly, and not just because we were blessed with the best weather possible. Spring was fast approaching; flowers appeared through the frost, cracks formed across glazed ice revealing the musical sound of trickling water, and for the first time in months I felt warmth in the sun. Driving through the Glencoe mountain range I felt an elated sense of joy and freedom that often eludes me in Stockholm. Skye is a place for reflection and meditation. It is a photographer’s paradise. It has become one of my most highly recommended destinations, not just of this year but of all time.

Read More About the Isle of Skye

 Istanbul, Turkey

The Blue Mosque, Sultanahmet

The Blue Mosque, Sultanahmet

My next recommendation is Istanbul, a city pulsing with life and energy. Despite heavy rioting occurring right up until the day I left for Turkey, I didn’t see any sign of the upheaval that had been so highly publicised in the months preceding my trip. Gezi Park was cordoned off, but Taksim Square had returned to business as usual.

Walking along the river on the Asian side of the city, and the eerie Basilica Cisterns were my favourite parts of the trip.

Read More About Istanbul

Mostar, Bosnia

Mostar's Stari Most Bridge.

Stari Most Bridge, Mostar

Bosnia quickly worked its way into my heart after a few days in Sarajevo, but it was Mostar that made the biggest impression. Not just because of the dilapidated buildings, the bullet holes in the walls, or the Stari Most Bridge, but because of the warm hospitality of our wonderful hostess. Never have I met a guesthouse owner so generous, warm, kind, and welcoming. The beauty of a place is often in its people and Bosnia is hard to beat.

Read More About Mostar

Looe, Cornwall

The entrance to Looe harbour.

Looe Harbour

The UK makes it onto this list twice—yes, that surprises me too! This time it is the tiny fishing village of Looe in Cornwall. Looe fired my imagination with romantic stories of old: ghosts, pirates and smugglers; rugged moorland and tempestuous seas. Looe is the perfect place to get lost in a good book, or to walk the coastal path overlooking wild seas that have remained the same for centuries.

Read More About Looe

Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon, Iceland

Ice on the beach

Ice on Beach, Jokulsarlon

The scenery in Iceland is spectacular everywhere you go, but the sight of a lake full of icebergs reflecting in the cold, clear waters was the most awe-inspiring sight of all. And if that’s not hard to beat, you can also see huge chunks of ice glistening on the black volcanic sand of the beach as the waves of the sea pound upon them until they melt away to nothing. Nature at her very best!

Read More About Jökulsárlón

With 2013 drawing to a close, I should start planning for 2014.

Planning.

Planning

Did you manage to travel much in 2013? What has been your travel highlight of 2013? What are your plans for 2014? As ever, I don’t have anything definitive yet, and would appreciate some tips!

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