TRAVEL LIST: 12 AMAZING COUNTRIES BY MONTH
As the clock strikes 12 on New Year’s Eve, the wanderlust transcends once again as it does each year with hopes, dreams and possibilities of new opportunities! This year, I’m travelling by month with my travel list of places and the inspiration behind my yearning to visit together with a sprinkling of abode envy of course!
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Here are some ideas that will supplement your wanderlust list this year and beyond.
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January : J is for Japan
The East Asian island country of Japan has always been an interesting melting pot of culture, technology and a land of sheer beauty. It’s a perfectly tailored contrast of mysterious yet manicured landscapes complimented by climates, which traverse the country adorning the north west Pacific Ocean. Japan has definitely been one of the places that has been on my travel list the longest!
Greatest Fascinations: Mount Fuji, Geishas, Snow Monkeys and Origami Masters.
Boutique Hotel Envy: Ryokans, traditional Inns where you trade in your clothes for slippers and a Japanese style robe (yukata) and live minimalistically but with a luxurious modernity.
February: F is for Finland
Located in Scandinavia, bordering Sweden, Norway and Russia, Finland is known as being the happiest country in the world, as well as having the world’s best education and cleanest air. It’s draw for me is that I simply do not know much about it so is a complete adventure destination. Known as a Nordic Utopia and referred to as the ‘country of a thousand lakes’ well, it does have an impressive, 187,888.
Greatest Fascinations: Catching a glimpse of the Northern lights from the arctic Lapland province, outdoor Saunas, Reindeer Parks, Nokia and the Moomin Café (if you know you know!).
Boutique Hotel Envy: The quirky Apukka resort in Finnish Lapland has a glad-roofed wagon equipped with a sauna on skis, whisked out into the wilderness for guests to hunt for the Northern Lights in total privacy.
March; M is for Madagascar
The fourth largest island in the world and referred to as the ‘Red Island,’ due to the unique colour of its soil, Madagascar is based on the cultivation of paddy rice, vanilla and cloves and for it’s notable wildlife.
Sometimes Madagascar is referred to as the eighth continent due to its diversity in terms of flora and fauna and melting pot of cultures. For me, the country has made great efforts with eco-tourism and sustainability, boasting more than 100 species of lemur who are considered scared in the country. Much of the plant and wildlife in Madagascar is not found anywhere on earth.
Greatest Fascinations: Hiking amongst the rock formations in Tsingy de Bemaraha National Park, gliding the waterways on traditional boats, scouring the Masoala National Park with its rainforest coastal location and learning more about the unique and wonderful wildlife of this land.
Boutique Hotel Envy: The Ankarana Lodge with its remote but second to none location in Tsingy, which creates an India Jones style adventure, with bridges and one of the best locations to spot lemurs.
April is for Argentina
Having been on my travel list for a while but cancelled and rebooked many a time, it would be a complete dream to make it to Argentina. Having already stepped foot in the country to marvel the force known as Iguazu Falls, I have developed a love for the friendly people, mesmerised by the Tango, the street art scene and the history of the great Eva Peron.
Greatest Fascinations: A road trip around the Argentinian vineyards, notably, Mendoza, the Peroto Moreno Glacier and the vistas of Patagonia call this adventure, loving one!
Boutique Hotel Envy: Seriously with some incredible hotels such as the Awasi (Iguazu Falls), Casa de Uco (Mendoza) and Rio Hermoso (Patagonia) it’s going to be hard to chose. Plus sustainability efforts are incredible in Argentina.
March: M is for Malta
Another destination that has been cancelled for us on a number of occasions but still very much on the list is Malta. Malta is an archipelago in the central Mediterranean between Sicily and the North African coast. It’s a nation known for historic sites related to a succession of rulers including the Romans, Moors, Knights of Saint John, French and British.
Some of the best vistas in Malta are experienced from the sea with views of the historical port and capital city of Valetta!
Greatest Fascinations: It would have to be strolling the cobble stone streets of Mdina, the historical architecture of Valetta, the azure seas of Gozo, the sunset at Senglea harbour front.
Boutique Hotel Envy: Undoubtedly a stay at the Xara Palace Relais & Chateaux would be a complete dream with its country-house looks and high regal ceilings.
June: J is for Jordan
An Arabian country on the east bank of the Jordan River, is defined by ancient monuments, nature reserves and seaside resorts. It’s home to the famed archaeological site of Petra, the Nabatean capital dating to around 300 B.C. Set in a narrow valley with tombs, temples and monuments carved into the surrounding pink sandstone cliffs, Petra earns its nickname, the “Rose City.”
Greatest Fascinations: Walking the sites of Petra discovering tombs and temples and a soak in the healing dead sea would be my top two things to do.
Boutique Hotel Envy: Rahayeb Desert Camp in a tent cabin amidst the Wadi Rum with a perfect opportunity for romantic stargazing or the Feynan Ecolodge, which was designed based on the Middle-Eastern trading route by architect, Ammar Khammash.
July: J is for Jamaica
Jamaica, a lush topography of mountains, rainforests and reef-lined beaches. An abode alongside Montego Bay, with its British-colonial architecture, and Negril, known for its diving and snorkelling sites. Jamaica is famed as the birthplace of reggae music, and its capital Kingston is home to the Bob Marley Museum, which has been somewhere I’ve dreamt of visiting. A legend whose music is iconic in many ways! Who else has Jamaica on their travel list?
Greatest Fascinations: The lush mountains, the history of reggae and the colonial architecture and laid back lifestyle.
Boutique Hotel Envy: The Trident hotel just outside of Port Antonio is on Jamaica’s north eastern coast and consists of 13 dreamy villas with a private terrace, infinity pool, protected lagoon and open-air film screening room. Sheer elegance and sophistication.
August: A is for Azerbaijan
Being a former state of Russia, Azerbaijan has always been a bit of a mysterious and untouched by tourism, kind of country for me. The country is bounded by the Caspian Sea and Caucasus Mountains, which span Asia and Europe. The capital city is Baku, which is known for its medieval wall where encased in an inner wall sits the 15th century royal retreat, Palace of the Shirvanshahs.
Greatest Fascinations: The miniature book museum, featuring some of the world’s tiniest books, Ateshgah fire temple, where Hindu’s, Sikhs and Zoroastrians worshipped, mud volcanoes and Gobustan, a landscape with prehistoric rock engraving.
Boutique Hotel Envy: The Centric Baku hotel is located in the old historic town with contemporary interiors that meet old-world history. Beautiful views over the historic centre too.
September: S is for Samoa
We exchanged visiting Samoa on our around the world trip for Bora Bora but it was no easy decision. Located in the Pacific Ocean with a group of Polynesia islands lies the archipelago of Samoa. Known as the hidden gem of the South pacific, there is an endless supply of palm fringed beaches, a tropical climate and yep your 360 every day is pretty much the same.
Greatest Fascinations: Samoa’s most photogenic location known as To-Sua Ocean Trench (meaning giant swimming hole), diving and discovering Palolo Deep marine Reserve and spending the night at the uninhabited Namua Island.
Boutique Hotel Envy: A traditional family run Polynesian abode the Coconuts Beach Resort & Spa, situated on a pristine stretch of coastline and features the countries only over-water villa.
October: O is for Oman
This desert sultanate offers year-round sunshine but also a dramatic landscape, made up of craters, deserts and incredible mountains. Think ornate mosques and a culture, which is steeped in old-age tradition. Still pretty quiet in terms of tourism, this is somewhere you’ll want to get on your travel list asap!
Greatest Fascinations: Soaking up the culture in the capital, Muscat, visiting unspoilt deserted coves in north Oman, experience a sand dune safari in Wahabi Sands and spot flamingos on Mugsail Beach.
Boutique Hotel Envy: The Chedi Muscat, is the epitome of minimalist luxury and within touching distance of the beach and Gulf of Oman. A real standard bearer of a hotel in Oman.
November is for Namibia
Namibia is sometimes referred to as four different countries with its four different landscapes, each with its own characteristics and attractions. From arid deserts, a central plateau containing many of the villages and homes, the Kalahari Deserts ancient red sands and finally the tropical forests and woodland savannahs.
Greatest Fascinations: desert trekking, adventures experiences in the air, sea and sand, wellness activities, safaris and road trips, there’s lots to be excited about!
Boutique Hotel Envy: The Ongava Lodge, made up of thatched and tented cabins, opposite a bustling watering hole and a grand decked area, which looks out across a 74,000-acre private game reserve on the Southern edge of Etosha National Park.
December: D is for Denmark
Recently we had family and friends move to Denmark, which means visiting is a must. A country made up of around 500 islands with only around a 100 inhabited means there’s plenty to explore. It’s also been named one of the world’s happiest countries with a relaxed vibe and of course the world-famous hygge vibes. Oh and something tells me Denmark would make a lovely little pre-Christmas break too!
Greatest Fascinations: The Little Mermaid, seeing where Hans Christian-Anderson once lived, the world class foodie spots and some stunning beaches with so many islands in the vicinity.
Boutique Hotel Envy: I’ve had my eye on the Nobis Hotel in Copenhagen and was once home to the Royal Danish Academy of Music. Part of the Design Hotels Group, you know this place will create just about the perfect backdrop for any photo shoot based on its seamless design, which tastefully takes old and blends with stylish modernity. Definitely a firm fixture on the travel list with my love of design!