A mountain view on how to get to Landmannalaugar

How to get to Landmannalaugar

There are some places in the world where you can find endless views of nothing and yet everything at the same time. Landmannalaugar in the Iceland Highlands is one of those places and though the journey here may not be the easiest, we promise it’s worth the endeavour. Read on to discover how to get to Landmannalaugar by bus, car or tour. 

— Visited in July, 2021


Man hiking in Landmannalaugar

Landmannalaugar is an area of surreal beauty located deep in the Iceland Highlands. Most famous for its spectacularly coloured mountains, the area is no short of an adventure for those willing to make the testing trek into these inhabitable lands. 

Getting to Landmannalaugar involves embarking on an expedition away from the famous ring road. With the requirement of a 4×4, be ready for a drive through endless lava fields, pebbled rivers and scenes that can only be described as Mars on Earth. 

Fortunately for us travellers, due to the reasonable distance from Reykjavik, there are several options for reaching this wondrous area of Iceland as a day trip. For those who started feeling a little nervy at the sound of needing a 4×4, let us ease your mind as there are options to keep you from driving.

If you’re looking for more detail on other stops you must not miss in Iceland, then check out our Guide to the Ring Road. But for now, read on and discover how to get to Landmannalaugar by bus, car or tour. 


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How to get to Landmannalaugar by bus, car or tour

Landmannalaugar can only be accessed via Iceland’s infamous mountain roads, otherwise referred to as f-roads. These f-roads come in varying conditions and difficulty but as a standard, they are unpaved gravel tracks that require a 4×4 vehicle to pass.

As with all f-roads, understanding the route you are taking is the most important step before setting off. Every route differs immensely with the inclusion of river crossings, long planes of sand and steep rocky sections. If you aren’t experienced in off-road driving we would recommend one of the non-driving options detailed later in this blog. It’s also worth noting that a lot of cars in Iceland aren’t insured for f-roads so check your contract. 

The roads to Landmannalaugar, and all f-road in Iceland, close throughout the winter months from late October to late June (this can vary depending on the season). This is due to the extreme conditions, snow cover and high water levels in the rivers. Super Jeeps, which are specially modified 4×4 vehicles, are an exemption to this and will be discussed later in this blog. 

Bus to Landmannalaugar

Whether you decide not to hire a car or like us only hire a 2wd, then it is likely you will be googling “how to get to Landmannalaugar?”. While a self-drive adventure to Landmannalaugar may be off the cards, reaching the coloured peaks with Iceland’s public buses is not, making for a stress-free and convenient alternative.

There are two companies that make the expedition, TREX and Reykjavik Excursions. The bus to Landmannalaugar starts in Reykjavik at around 7:30 am and arrives in Landmannalaugar a bumpy 4-hours later. There is also a second bus leaving Reykjavik at 12:30 pm during the longest days of summer. The returning buses leave in the afternoon with times depending on the company and month, so be sure to check the timetables before booking.

If you’ve set out on a 2wd adventure around Iceland’s ring road, then we’re happy to advise that the bus from Reykjavik makes a stop at Hella and the Rjupnavellir Campsite en route to Landmannalaugar. This means you can start your adventure around the island, cut out some of the required bus time and also get a good sleep in before your big day of hiking! We recommend staying the night at the Rjupnavellir Campsite as this is the closest point to Landmannalaugar before the f-road begins and also the location of the bus stop. The campsite also has cabins for those looking for a cosy night.

A return ticket from Reykjavik will cost you 17,300 ISK while a pick up in Hella or Rjupnavellir is a reduced 11,100 ISK. To check the timetables and book tickets head on over to the websites of TREX or Reykjavik Excursions. Book in advance as these buses do sell out.

The bus service to Landmannalaugar is only available during the summer months from late June to early September. Outside this period the f-roads of Iceland are closed.

Driving to Landmannalaugar

On this particular adventure, we actually didn’t take on a self-drive to Landmannalaugar. However, as soon as the off-road bus reached the outskirt f-roads we knew we would be back another day to tackle it ourselves. 

While the hiring of a 4×4 purely for a single day trip to Landmannalaugar was hard to justify pre-trip, we questioned this decision once we reached the barren lands of Landmannalaugar. The freedom to stop at will and marvel in the magnificent scenes taking place before our eyes were all we could think of as the big bus slowly bounced from bend to bend making full use of its suspension.

The f-roads of Iceland are infamously known for their difficult nature to navigate and questionable conditions, so the roads to Landmannalaugar are no different. Fortunately for those of us not overly experienced in off-road driving, there are a number of routes to reach Landmannalaugar varying from easy to difficult. With the freedom and flexibility of time that a self-drive to Landmannalaugar can bring, we hope to give you the information you need to decide whether you wish to take the plunge and drive to Landmannalaugar yourself.

Note: As is the case when driving anywhere in Iceland, the conditions can have a big impact on your safety driving. This impact is enhanced when it comes to F-roads so be sure to check the road condition updates as provided by Safe Travel Iceland. It is also worth advising that there is a significant river crossing just before reaching the campsite in Landmannalaugar which can become relatively deep after rainfall. If you are not comfortable making the crossing, as a majority of visitors do not, there is parking just before it. From this parking area, it is only a pedestrian bridge and a short walk to the Landmannalaugar Campsite. 

Route 1: The Easiest Drive to Landmannalaugar 

After discussions with other travellers about the drive to Landmannalaugar, the evidence was overwhelming that this is the easiest route to Landmannalaugar. This route comes from the north first heading on the F26 before turning south down the F208. The drive involves no river crossings or steep sections of road and the condition of the road was relatively good for an f-road. 

A positive to choosing this route, other than a potential reduction in stress levels, is that you will pass the canyon Sigöldugljùfur. Considered one of the hidden gems of Iceland, the canyon, also known as the ‘valley of tears’, is home to many waterfalls of vivid blue water and there is every chance you will have this spot all to yourself.

Difficulty // Easy

Distance from Reykjavik // 200km

Driving Time // 3 hours

Route 2: The Most Scenic Drive to Landmannalaugar 

Luckily for us, the public bus to Landmannalaugar shares this route allowing us to experience arguably the most scenic drive to Landmannalaugar. Setting off from the west on the F225, the path embarks on a journey through regions of green valleys before reaching the deserted fields of black rock and sand. The path is ever encapsulated by views of towering mountains which are eclipsed by Hekla to the south, the most active volcano in Iceland. 

There are several (around 4) small river crossings on the drive to Landmannalaugar when taking the F225. Based on the smaller 4×4 vehicles we saw crossing, these were not too difficult, but always be sure to check the conditions in advance as this can always change. The road was predominantly sand and manageable for most drivers when taken slow. 

Difficulty // Medium

Distance from Reykjavik // 180km

Driving Time // 3.5 hours

Route 3: The Most Difficult Drive to Landmannalaugar 

Identified as a challenging mountain road with uneven surfaces, large rocky sections and difficult river crossings, the route from the south utilises the F208 and is known as the most difficult drive to Landmannalaugar. This drive should only be attempted by those with a large 4×4 and good experience in off-road driving.

This drive to Landmannalaugar is known to have over 15 river crossings with some of these becoming impassable during heavy rain. For those with experience looking for an adventure, be sure to check conditions before setting off. 

Difficulty // Hard

Distance from Reykjavik // 310km

Driving Time // 6 hours

Map / How to Get to Landmannalaugar

For those who take more detail from an image than words, the map below details Route 1, 2 and 3 above. The map shows where the start of the connecting f-road begins when looking for how to get to Landmannalaugar. Open the map key for a clearer display of the different routes.

As mentioned before, be sure to check the road conditions before setting out on any adventure.

Day Tours to Landmannalaugar

If you’re looking for a way to explore Landmannalaugar without the need for any planning, then one of the several day tours that depart from Reykjavik can be the perfect option. This is great for those looking for a stress-free guided approach to experience the wonderful landscapes that Landmannalaugar has to offer. 

While tours can sometimes limit your time in a place, the tours to Landmannalaugar cover a lot of ground giving time to explore the wonderful colourful mountains, the lava fields of Laugahraun and have a dip in the hot springs to finish the day. Most tours also include a drive by the base of the Hekla Volcano which makes for an added bonus over the public bus.

As it is a day tour, be prepared for a considerable bus journey in each direction. Fortunately, due to the increased daylight hours of summer, you’ll have plenty of time to explore Landmannalaugar making it a great option. These tours only run through the summer months.

The Landmannalaugar 4-Hour Hiking Experience and Landmannalaugar Hiking Day Trip are two tours that are highly reviewed with travellers saying it was their favourite day in Iceland!

Super Jeep Tour to Landmannalaugar

A Super Jeep is a modified 4×4 vehicle that is specially built to handle the extreme conditions that a trip into the Iceland highlands demands. In fact, one of the biggest appeals to a Super-Jeep tour is that they are not limited to the summer months making tours to Landmannalaugar all year round. 

If visiting in the summer, the Super Jeep tour gives the ability to cover a lot of ground including visits along the ridge of the Hekla Volcano at 3000 feet, the Ljótipollur Crater, the Hjálparfoss Waterfall and of course all that Landmannalaugar has to offer. While the tour is still limited to a day, you’ll cover a lot more than a standard 4×4 would in a day. 

The biggest appeal to most who take the Super Jeep tour is the ability to visit in Winter and experience Landmannalaugar in its most dramatic of forms. This type of tour is the only way to explore Landmannalaugar during the winter months. 

For a truly unique experience try this Landmannalaugar & Hekla Private Super Jeep Tour which runs all year round.


Thanks For Reading

Thank you for reading our blog post, we hope it gave you that little motivation to book your next adventure!

If you are looking for a little more information on Iceland why not check out our guide to the ring road.

If you have any questions then let us know in the comments below or contact us via the contact page. Want to keep up with our adventures? Then follow us on our Instagram.


A view of the Essaouira Medina at sunset

Places to Visit in Essaouira

Well known as the Windy City amongst the rest of Morocco, Essaouria's charismatic people and calm nature left quite the mark on us. In fact, after 8 weeks of travelling, it was our favourite city in Morocco. Looking for things to do and places to visit in Essaouira? Read on and discover why we fell in love.

— Visited in November, 2021


A girl walks within the Essaouira Medina

Within the first moments of walking through the ancient medina gate, we could tell we were going to love this place.

We found Essaouira to function as if it has a different culture to other Moroccan cities. While still having all the features that make the ancient Moroccan medinas ever-intriguing, there is an adscititious haze of calm that accompanies the day to day making the place feel (dare we say…) manageable for a traveller not used to the normal hustle that is evoked while in Morocco.

After 8 weeks of travelling through a bountiful of Moroccan cities and landscapes, we looked back very fondly on our time in Essaouira. It’s the type of city one plans to visit for a couple of days and ends up never leaving. It’s a part of Morocco we will definitely visit again and recommend you include it as part of your Moroccan adventure.

To give you a head start on your planning, we’ve put together a guide on the places to visit in Essaouira. This should give you a good mix of things to do amidst the cups of mint tea we know you’ll be enjoying in the sun.


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Explore the Medina

Essaouira’s Medina is a lot smaller than those of other Moroccan cities. But what it lacks in size, it makes up for in charm and is the perfect place to start your time in Essaouira. The Medina of Essaouira, formally known as Mogador, is quite modern in comparison to the other cities. Founded by Sultan Sidi Muhammad ibn Abd Allah in the late 18th-century, the city reflects a more contemporary European look.

Two characteristics stand to mind when considering Essaouira, preservation and space. Due to its more recent construction, in comparison to some other Moroccan cities, Essaouira’s medina has not been tested to as many years of hardship. For this reason, a lot more of the traditional buildings are preserved as they always have been, giving a true glimpse into the past. The streets of the medina are also a lot wider than other medinas and have a fitting seaside style in shades of blue and white. All of these features give a feeling of openness to the place, removing the common claustrophobic feeling that spending a lot of time in a Medina can bring on.

While getting lost in a medina is not usually a difficult task, the layout of Essaouira actually brings some ease to finding your way. There are two main streets within the medina, Avenue Sidi Mohamed Ben Abdellah and Avenue Mohamed Zerktouni. Everything else in one way or another connects to these streets giving you a quick sense of direction.

Another major positive when it comes to exploring the medina of Essaouira is the people. While we definitely cannot say this about every city in Morocco, in Essaouira meaningful and genuine conversations were not hard to come by. With locals always open to a chat, we found them to be more intrigued in conversing stories as opposed to pushing for a sale. This can really have a big impact on a city and think it’s a big reason we loved our time here.

The medina of Essaouira can easily be discovered solo. But as we have found during our time in Morocco, a local tour really gives a better understanding of the city. Whether it’s a better understanding of its quirks or a corner of the medina you would not have found by yourself, there is always more to be discovered. This 4-hour tour is a highly reviewed option for discovering Essaouira.


Shop in the Souks

Essaouira is a great place for buying souvenirs! Especially for those who don’t enjoy haggling.

Lots of the stalls within the medina have fixed labelled prices. The prices may not be as cheap as what you could haggle down to in other cities, but after our time we can honestly say they weren’t far off. After some of the haggling experiences we had across our trip, we would have more than happily paid a few euros more if it meant zero back & forth.

Having fixed prices really suits the mood of the city and may in some ways be a big reason it is the way it is. It’s common to wander the souks without a single seller calling you into their shop, and if they do it may only be for a friendly mint tea. This experience personally gave us the time to enjoy the experience of souk shopping and converse with the sellers knowing there were no secret tactics going on.


Catch the Fish Market at First Light

In many ways, the harbour market is as it always has been. With the smell of salt in the air, the sailors present their fresh catch of fish in preparation for the days market. This is a process that has been the case for a long time and wandering its activities gives a true glimpse into the local lifestyle in Essaouira.

If you’re a fan of fish then there is no place to get a fresher catch. Of what we can only detail as a local tip, it’s possible to purchase your pick of the day from the market and take it straight to a restaurant to be grilled for a small fee.

For those not wishing to make a purchase then the location is still not to be missed. Whether you have an eye for photography or purely enjoy people watching, this place will present you with a new scene wherever you look. A heated haggle between local and sailor or a cheeky cat sneaking away with a stray catch from the cart, take the time and observe as you’ll never know what incredible display may just bechance.

The fish market by the harbour is one of the places to visit in Essaouira at any time of day. But in our opinion, it’s best to get there for sunrise.

As first light starts to rise, the fishermen return with their daily catch. While the boats get unloaded, the market stalls start to populate their tables ready for the daily process to begin. The soft light gives a different perspective to the scenes unfolding and you’ll find yourself amongst a spectacle of only locals.


Check the View from the Ramparts

From our time in Morocco, we found that walking the medina walls is quite a rarity. But Essaouira is one place where it is possible at the site of the old city ramparts.

Built-in 1760 by the French military architect, Theodore Cornut, the ramparts were constructed to protect the port from raiders. Based on the sheer size of the walls and the unblemished condition of the city, they seemed to do the job.

The ramparts are a beautiful piece of history providing both a wonderful view over the medina and along the rugged windy coastline of Essaouira. As an added bonus, the walls still consist of the original cannons!

As is the case with a lot of newly found tourist hotspots. Essaouira is featured in the ever-telling list of Game of Thrones locations. The ramparts were the main feature in the show so if you’re a fan then this is definitely one of the places to visit in Essaouira. Take your time and walk in the footsteps of Daenerys as you ponder both the beautiful and imposing feel to this place.


Stroll the Skala du Port

Unfortunately during our time in Essaouira, the Skala du Port was closed for renovation. Based on reviews, it’s one of the best places to visit in Essaouira for incredible views over the city.

Fortunately for us, the Skala du Port was just as impressive to view from the port where the fish market takes place. With its grand walkway, it makes for quite the backdrop to the famous blue boats of Essaouira.


Take a Stroll Along the Promenade

If you’re visiting in summer then it is likely that unless you’re an avid kite surfer, you’re not going to spend a lot of time at the beach. Known as the Windy City for a reason, sunbathing on the sands doesn’t quite go as planned here.

Luckily the modern city has been well thought out and a long concrete promenade spans for miles along the oceanfront. On a bright sunny day, take a stroll from the medina and enjoy the view out towards the hundreds of kites that scatter the chopped ocean. There is a number of little cafes and pop up ice cream carts to help you make the most of your day.

If you’re looking for a bit of an adventure along the beach and through the dunes located slightly south, then you may want to consider some of the alternate transportations in the area. Some well-recommended tours include the one hour horseback riding tour and the half-day quad bike tour.


Take a day trip to Sidi Kouki

If you’re overlooking wild camels, never-ending beaches and rolling waves, then it’s likely you’ve made it to Sidi Kouki. Just half an hour from Essaouira sits the sleepy little surf village that’s perfect for both beginners and pros.

A trip out to Sidi Kouki makes for a great day trip from Essaouira for both surfers and the rest. If you’re not looking to get salty, then there are a number of quaint restaurants to sit back at and enjoy the view.

Looking for a little adventure in Sidi Kouki? Then we recommend checking out one of the popular horse riding tours or extreme quad bike experiences that are available in town.


Visit the Sidi Mohamed Ben Abdellah Museum

Though we didn’t find the time, from fellow travellers recommendations the Sidi Mohamed Ben Abdellah Museum was seen as a great way of escaping the sunny streets during your time in Essaouira.

Perhaps not one of the top-tier places to visit in Essaouira, especially if you don’t speak French, as none of the information is in English. However, the display of traditional dresses, old musical instruments and weapons is well enjoyed and can be that museum fix that a lot of us look for in a city trip. There is also a fantastic blue staircase for those looking for a good snap!


Get Salty in the Ocean

While writing the “ocean” may be a stretch when it comes to listing the “places” to see in Essaouria, it’s enticing enough that we are going to allow it. Plus the range of water activities available means you must give at least one a try during a visit to Essaouira.

If you’re visiting in summer, the windy season, then you’ve no doubt spotted the many specks of kite surfers shooting across the chopped ocean. If there is one place in the world that you should try this sport, then it’s definitely Essaouira. For the convenience of avoiding the haggle, this kite surfing lesson is a great option for giving it a try.

Through the months of October to March, the Windy City becomes less true to its name. With the winds calming, the ocean swells start to show face and provide arguably some of the best waves we have ever ridden… and this is coming from an Australian! So if you visit during these months, it’s best to ditch the idea of kite surfing and try the original form. This 2-hour surf lesson is a great start for beginners.

While it’s possible to try both sports all year round, it’s definitely best to come in the right season to get the best out of your time. With the small price tag, it’s definitely worth taking on a bit of water activity during your time in Morocco.


Where to Stay in Essaouira

With our eyes set on a Riad in Marrakech, we desired the charm and social aspect that comes with hostel life while in Essaouira. We ended up going with The Chill Art Hostel and it certainly lived up to the reviews. Featuring many open social spaces, spacious and comfortable rooms, a necessary rooftop terrace and to our surprise, a Riad layout. It really was perfect for our time in Essaouira.

If Essaouira is the only city you’re visiting in Morocco and you want to tick off that necessary luxury Riad experience, then fortunately for you there are several to choose from. These are amongst some of the best-reviewed and still budget-friendly Riads in the city: Riad Maison Du Sud, Dar Ness and Riad Lyon-Mogador.


How to Get to Essaouira

How to Get to Essaouira from Marrakech

There are two bus companies (CTM and Supratours) that travel between Marrakech and Essaouira. The journey takes around 2.5 hours and cost us 70 dirhams per person with a little extra for stored luggage (about 10 dirhams).

Both companies are very good. However, for this journey, we recommend taking Supratours. The Supratours bus stop is at the entrance to the medina allowing you to walk while the CTM station requires a 20-30 dirham taxi (after some good haggling of course) to reach the city entrance.

Find the bus timetables on the websites linked above.

Getting from the Airport to Essaouira

Essaouira has a fantastic airport approx. 30 minutes from the city. We did a lot of research on public transport before arriving and it seems there is a public bus available but the frequency and location is very unpredictable. We tried locating it when we arrived but had no luck in this venture. Fortunately, the taxi to the city won’t break the bank and cost us only 100 dirhams.

Other airport options are Agadir to the south which requires a 3.5-hour bus to reach Essaouira or Marrakech with the bus journey described above. Timetables and prices for these routes can be found on the CTM and Supratours websites.


Thanks For Reading

Thank you for reading our blog post, we hope it gave you that little motivation to book your next adventure!

Any questions then let us know in the comments below or contact us via the contact page. Want to keep up with our adventures? Then follow us on our Instagram.


View inside the Bahia Palace which is one of the fun things to visit in Marrakech Morocco

10 fun things to do in Marrakech

Whether you’re on an adventure across the entirety of Morocco or flying in for an extended city break, Marrakech is likely on your itinerary. Let us guide you on a fun few days exploring all this vibrant city has to offer. 

— Visited in November, 2021


The souks in Marrakech Morocco

Marrakech is a city where everything is in top gear no matter the time of day. While it is a city that provides a clear cultural and historic experience, it is the sensorial journey that is going to have the biggest impact on your time in Marrakech. Within the Medina itself, you are going to find choreographed chaos, zipping motorcycles an inch from your side, shop sellers using every tactic possible to attain your attention, friendly faces with scheming advice and a world that seems to be stuck somewhere between the modern and the old.

While this all may sound exotic and appealing, we want to be clear that not everyone is going to love their time in Marrakech. While you can read ahead and be well prepared for the city’s downfalls in hope of avoiding them, at its heart, Marrakech is a city of the unexpected and anything can happen. We found ourselves both loving and hating the city and left it unsure whether we could handle coming back one day. But despite this, one thing we can say with no hesitation is that Marrakech is a city you must visit. The experience as a whole is something special and there just is something about Marrakech.

For this reason and to get the most out of your time in this charismatic city, we have put together a list of 10 fun things to do in Marrakech. We hope these activities help you experience the city as we have.


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Explore the palaces of Marrakech

The palaces of Marrakech are a true representation of both the power and glamour the city once had. While the conditions vary a lot between the two sites, they are both equally impressive due to their own characteristics.

El Badi Palace

Built in the 16th century by Saadian sultan Ahmed el Mansour, the El Badi Palace translates to ‘The Incomparable’. The palace was originally decorated with materials from numerous countries and purposed as a reception to the Sultan’s wealth and power. 

Unfortunately for us, the palace was neglected after the Sultan’s death. The valuable materials were stripped and reused in buildings across Morocco, with the palace later falling to ruin after the decline of the Saadian dynasty. 

Though the palace is not what it was, it does not take much to fantasise about the true scale of grandeur that once stood here. This was our favourite visit in Marrakech, the sheer size of the ruins was enough to impress but the one-room still tiled within the walls was the icing on the cake. It was a true representation of how beautiful the palace once was. 

Another intriguing part of the visit, which may only be to our personal humour, was the presence of the storks. There was something very entertaining about the cackle the birds made and its uncanny resemblance to the predator (the famous sci-fi alien). Within the ancient site, we couldn’t help but imagine the hunt for us was on.

Price // 70dh

Open // 9am-5pm

Location // Rue Touareg, Medina or here on the map

Bahia Palace

Built by the Grand Vizier Si Moussa in the 1860s and further expanded by his son in the early 1900s, the Bahia Palace still holds the glamour that was first intended. With an abundance of pristine Italian marble and intricate wooden decor, the Bahia Palace without a doubt makes for the most prolific attraction in Marrakech and maybe even Morocco.

Despite the palace covering a whopping eight hectares, only a portion of the 150 rooms is open to the public. What is open provides the perfect preview of the elegance that is present. Imagine elaborately carved cedar ceilings, multicoloured stained-glass windows, detailed woven-silk panels and substantial areas of marble-tiled surfaces, now put all this in one open symmetrical courtyard. This is what the Bahia, translated to beautiful, palace provides. 

Amongst all the appeal, our favourite area had to be the Large Riad. This area is the oldest part of the Palace of Bahia completed in 1867. The beautiful detail accompanied by the Moorish gardens of orange trees, cypress, daturas and jasmines bring a feeling of true peace to the space. 

Exploring this grand palace is certainly one of the fun things to do in Marrakech. It is one of the most popular sites so an early start to allow you to enjoy these courtyards in tranquillity really makes the experience that little bit more special.

Price // 70dh

Open // 9am-5pm

Location // Rue Riad Zitoun el Jdid, Medina or here on the map


Ben Youssef Madrasa

Unfortunately during our trip to Marrakech, the Madrasa was closed for refurbishment. It has been closed since 2018 with no clear timeline on the pending reopening. Despite not getting the opportunity to visit, based on the history and pictures from this place there was no way we could write a list of the fun things to do in Marrakech without including it. Here’s hoping it reopens for your adventure.

The building itself is a fantastically preserved 14th-century Islamic school. Based on the reviews of others and our pre-trip evenings dreaming over the photos, the location is an ideal representation of the picturesque Moroccan design and architecture. Tranquil courtyard pools, delicately detailed archways, and an abundance of colourfully pieced tiles, this spot has it all and in its grandest of forms. Previously home to around 900 students, the school is a marvel on the eye and may just be the most beautiful spot in Marrakech.

Understandably when reopened this spot is going to have waves of tourists once again. To enjoy the place in its purest, a morning visit is recommended giving you time to soak in the skilled craft that was used in creating this masterpiece.

Open // Indefinitely Closed for Refurbishment

Location // Rue Azbezt, Medina or here on the map


Visit a Museum

Whether it’s to escape the heat or to find a space of calm amongst the hustle and bustle, a visit to one of the museums of Marrakech is a great use of your time while exploring the city. 

Maison De La Photographie

The Maison de la Photographie is used as an archive of Moroccan life over the last century. It uses a collection of photographs, glass plates, postcards, newspapers and much more to depict how life was between 1870 and 1950. If you have an inclination towards photography or Morocco’s traditions, then you must visit while in Marrakech. Sitting down for a mint tea on the rooftop cafe also provides a wonderful view over the city. 

Price // 50dh

Open // 9.30am-7pm

Location // Rue Bin Lafnadek, Medina or here on the map

Musée de Marrakech

While its main purpose is as a museum, the historic Dar Menebhi Palace which the Museum of Marrakech is set in is also of notable appeal. Showing off the splendour of Moroccan architecture while also featuring various historic art objects and contemporary art, the Museum of Marrakech definitely makes for one of the fun things to do in Marrakech. 

Price // 70dh

Open // 9am-12pm then 3pm-6pm

Location // Rue Azbezt, Medina or here on the map

Dar Si Said Museum

The Dar Si Said Museum is the oldest museum in Marrakech and features the greatest number of works of art. For those who are looking for antiques, arms, instruments and some of the oldest objects in Marrakech, then this is the museum for you. As with all museums in Marrakech, the palace setting is of wonder to explore as well. 

Price // 70dh

Open // 9am-12pm then 3pm-6pm

Location // Derb Si Said, Medina or here on the map


Get lost in the Medina

The medina is the heart of Marrakech and it is beating at a pace that most other cities could not keep up with. Full of both mayhem and wonder, the city’s walled centre is where you should spend the majority of your time.

Whilst the term ‘to get lost’ on a city trip is loosely used in the modern world of travel, when it comes to Marrakech we mean this in its truest of meanings. Like all of Morocco’s medinas, the streets can only be described as a maze and we can tell you now, you will get lost. Whether it’s a street that magically turns you in the wrong direction or a gate that is no longer open come a certain hour, it’s a part of the city you have to embrace and be ready to figure things out as you go. 

As it is with blindly walking the streets of an unknown city, there is risk and reward to where your feet can take you. Whether you come across a memorable moment that will forever print on your memory or a shady part of town that will leave you wanting to turn around. That is the thrill of getting lost in a city, and when it comes to Marrakech, the reward tends to be heightened as you stumble across intriguing local behaviour or a dreamy souvenir shop.

Plunging into the winding medina streets is both free and the best way to understand the city. This is why it’s a must-do during your time in Marrakech. 

While it truly shouldn’t matter what part of the Medina you explore, there are some areas we definitely recommend checking out:

Rue Errachidia / Just south of the medina, near the Saadian Tombs, was one of our favourite areas as we felt it was where we could experience the true local side of Marrakech. As our Riad was in this area, we started every morning walking through meat & vegetable stands and then in the evenings were present to mass local cook ups. The area was also less used to tourists so it was a nice place to escape the constant sales pitches.

Mellah / Created in the 16th century, Mellah is the old Jewish Quarter of Marrakech. It was created during the Saadian dynasty to provide protection to Jews escaping persecution in the Iberian Peninsula. This area is a lot calmer than the main Medina and as it has been restored several times over the years it has a different and more structured charm to the neighbourhood. Don’t forget to visit the Slat Al Azama synagogue, Cimetière Juif de Miaara (Jewish Cemetery) and Place des Ferblantiers while in the area. 


Barter in the Souks

The souks (markets) of Marrakech are not made for those faint at heart. The salesmen* here are seasoned veterans and if they sense a potential extra dollar, it’s likely they will get it out of you. But for those who enjoy a barter and the search for a true bargain, you’re in for a good time.

*we say men as it is very rare for women to be seen in the shops.

The souks of Marrakech may not be the cheapest souks in the country but are probably the best in terms of variety. The Souk Semmarine is the main souk from which all others branch off, here you can find a wide variety of items with no specific speciality.

There are actually areas where it’s best to purchase certain items. So if you’re looking for a perfect-fitting pair of Moroccan shoes, a nice piece of jewellery or some spices to mix it up back home, we recommend taking on a tour of the Marrakech souks. This is the best way to get your head around the labyrinth of stalls and find that bargain you deserve!

A highly recommended tour is the ‘Marrakech: 3-Hour Colorful Souks Tour’.


Have a hammam

A hammam is, in brief, a naked soapy and slightly aggressive body scrub. But in long, it’s a true pleasure and will leave you feeling cleaner than you’ve felt in a long time. 

It may come across as a tourist made experience, but in truth, the hammam is a very traditional part of the Moroccan life. It’s both an important way of staying clean but also an important social gathering for the female population. Because of this, it’s an essential experience as part of your Moroccan adventure and one of the important fun things do while in Marrakech.

Picking your hammam of choice is going to depend very much on your budget. For those who want the true local experience, small hammams can be found through the medina and will only cost a few euros. For those who are looking for a more luxurious experience, which is the more common hammam experience for tourists, there are a number of options throughout the city. Some of the well-reviewed hammams include Hammam de la RoseLes Bains de Marrakech and La Mamounia. Just be sure to book at the hammams in advance as they do book out early. 

It’s also possible to book at this highly rated hammam online if you want to be sure you have the experience booked in before you arrive in Marrakech.


Soak in the Tannery Process

First of all, getting to the tanneries was one of the worst experiences we had in Marrakech. You’ll know you’re heading in the right direction as you’ll start to feel as if you’re being herded like cattle. Mystery guides around every corner and following scooters that despite the best efforts of aversion, will always be hot on the tail. By the end of the walk, you’ll be holding back more heated words as you confidently repeat the phrase “no thank you”.

When you reach the entrance to the tanneries you’ll be paused by a local and advised that a ‘guide’ is necessary. This scam is well noted on blogs but from our experience, we honestly don’t know if there is any other option. After some standard bartering, the cost was 20dh each and in fairness to the fella, the tour and detail on the process he went through was worth the minimal cost.

Once in, the tanneries are small but give you that insight into the interesting traditional art form. If Marrakech is the only city you are visiting, then the visit is worth the hassle for the educational experience. However, if you are visiting Fes then we recommend holding off until then. The tanneries there are larger and the whole experience is more pleasant.

Price // 20dh

Open // Daylight Hours

Location // Derb El Arsa, Medina or here on the map


Enjoy your Riad

We want to start with this point, a Riad in Marrakech is a must! 

There is no question that a big part of Marrakech’s intrigue is its buzzing atmosphere. But having a comfortable base to recharge, both during the evenings and intervals of the day, is essential!

Though there are a number of beautiful resorts to choose from, the Riad experience is something uniquely Moroccan. Other than the clear aesthetic beauty, they are an oasis of peace, a place that brings an aurora of calm. We were fortunate to stay at the stunning Riad Kasbah during our time in Marrakech. Situated in one of our favourite areas of Marrakech while also for a reasonable price, it’s a Riad experience we know ticks all the boxes.


Take on the Plaza Jemaa el-Fnaa

In a lot of ways, the Plaza Jemaa el-Fnaa is a centre piece of all the things that are wrong in Marrakech. Pushy salesmen, scamming restaurants, unwanted henna tattoos and worst of all, mistreated animals (monkeys on chains, poorly cared horses and snakes). 

But before you completely disregard the plaza, there are a few tactics you can take to enjoy and control the energy of the place:

A bike rider in the the Plaza Jemaa el Fnaa in Marrakech

1 / The plaza is truly central to the medina, it’s inevitable that you are going to pass through it a number of times during your stay in Marrakech. To avoid the chaos during the day to day, stick to the edge of the plaza and walk around it. In doing this it’s quite easy to avoid the hassle and save your energy to take it on later. As an extra detail, avoid the entrance from the Koutoubia Mosque, this open area had a high concentration of the negatives listed above and also seemed to be the only area where the mistreated animals were observed.

2 / Enjoy the plaza from above. There are a number of (overpriced) cafes situated around the plaza which won’t break the bank for a mint tea. Set yourself up with a view and enjoy as the craziness of the Plaza Jemaa el-Fnaa goes on before your eyes. Best enjoyed at sunset/evening when the energy of the place can physically be seen as smoke rises up into the night sky.

3 / The salesmen for the plaza restaurants are truly the worst salesmen of Marrakech. They are pushy, don’t comprehend no and are going to try and scam you with the bill. However, if you go in knowing all this, then you can have fun with it. We played a little game, starting at one end of the stalls we tried to see how far we could get and the best deal we could haggle. There are probably 10 rows and in true respect to the constant persuasion, we only made it past 3! If you go in light-hearted and as a laugh, it can be a little fun, but to repeat on the bill scamming, you will be charged for everything put on the table so be sure you only get what you asked for.

With these tactics in mind, while we don’t recommend spending a lot of time at the Plaza Jemaa el-Fnaa, we hope you can make the most of the time you do. If done right, visiting the plaza is one of the fun things to do in Marrakech. 

Location // Avenue Jamaa El Fnaa, Medina or here on the map


Visit the main mosque Koutoubia

Due to an ancient city ordinance that states that no building within the medina can be higher than a palm tree, the 77 metre tall Koutoubia mosque can be spotted from most places across the city.

Erected back in the 12th century, today the mosque is both the largest mosque in Marrakech and the most famous landmark in the city. Though you can’t visit inside the mosque, as is with all mosques in Morocco, the tower is still to be enjoyed as a perfect representation of Moorish ornament with its keystone arches and merlon crenelations. 

We recommend visiting at sunset when the golden light glows off the brick exterior.  

Open // No Entrance to non-Muslims

Location // Arset El Bilk or here on the map


Other things to visit

With a city as grand as Marrakech, there is always going to be an endless list of places to see making it impossible to explore them all in one trip. For this reason, we have composed our top 10 fun things to do in Marrakech above. If you’re looking for some more fun things to do in Marrakech, then keep the following in mind:

Saadian tombs 

After the completion of the Badia Palace, Saadian sultan Ahmed el Mansour took to transforming an existing necropolis into a lavish tomb complex. With no expense spared using his favoured Italian marble and even pure gold trimming, the sultan took to laying rest in arguably the most beautiful site in Marrakech.

With sultan Ahmed el Mansour in the glorious Chamber of the 12 Pillars, the alpha princes were buried in the surrounding Chamber of Three Niches. In total there is over 66 princes and other prominent figures, and 100 chancellors and wives resting in the Sultan Tombs.

Price // 70dh

Open // 9am-4.30pm

Location // Rue de La Kasbah, Medina or here on the map

Visit a garden oasis

For a moment of calm away from the medina, take some time to explore one of the gardens in the city.

Le Jardin Secret

A literal oasis located inside the medina walls, the garden of the restored 19th-century palace is one of the few green spaces to be found within the walls. Le Jardin Secret may be just what you’re looking for come mid-afternoon as an escape from the energy of the city.

Price // 70dh

Open // 9.30am-6pm

Location // Rue Mouassine, Medina or here on the map

Jardin Majorelle & Yves Saint Laurent Mansion

The former home of Yves Saint Laurent is one of the most popular tourist sites in Marrakech. For this reason it’s kind of scandalous that we did not visit it. 

Occupied as a museum to his work, a Berber museum and the main highlight, the beautiful Majorelle garden, this spot is well reviews as an intriguing spot to visit.

The Majorelle garden was originally made in the 1920s by the French painter Jacques Majorelle. Unsurprisingly as being built by a painter, the garden features are painted in a dark blue colour, with the colour actually known as ‘Majorelle Blue’. After a time of neglect, the garden was purchased by the fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent (and his partner Pierre Berge) and restored. 

The lines to enter can be very busy so we recommend buying tickets online to skip the queue. 

Price // 120dh for Majorelle Gardens & 100dh for Museum of Yves Saint Laurent

Open // 11am-5pm

Location // Rue Yves St Laurent or here on the map


Thanks For Reading

Thank you for reading our blog post, we hope it gave you that little motivation to book your next adventure!

Any questions then let us know in the comments below or contact us via the contact page. Want to keep up with our adventures? Then follow us on our Instagram.


The colours of Landmannalaugar one of best hikes in Iceland

Iceland Itinerary: 10 Days on the Ring Road

If you are an outdoorsy person, Iceland is your paradise. The variety of scenery across such a small country is mind-blowing. Discover the must-visit locations of Iceland on our Iceland Ring Road Itinerary.

— Visited in July, 2021


A guy standing below the Skogafoss waterfall in Iceland during an Iceland Ring Road Itinerary

Iceland was a country that had been on our bucket list for a long time. So when we finally got to visit in the summer of 2021, we were more than excited. Our expectations were high as so many of our friends had said it was one of their favourite trips ever. And from the photos we had seen, we were anticipating big things! Fast forward to the end of our trip and we can say these expectations were well met.

In one day you get to visit waterfalls, active volcanoes, black beaches, geysers, ice lagoons, glaciers, canyons, hot springs, and more! Every day was so different and we fell in love with the country in no time. Read on and let us guide you to the must-visit locations of Iceland and the trip of a lifetime.

I hope you enjoy… Iceland Itinerary: 10 Days on the Ring Road.


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About This Iceland Itinerary

This itinerary is based on visiting during Iceland’s summer months from May to September. During this period, the days are long and the roads are clear of snow. This allows you to visit more highlights and access areas that cannot be visited during winter. If you are planning a visit during the winter months, a longer duration would be required to follow this itinerary.

The trip takes an anti-clockwise direction as a big part of the highlights are in the south of Iceland. Our plan was to start the trip with busy days of sightseeing while we knew we had plenty of energy. We slowed down towards the end of the trip so that we would return home refreshed. This approach worked well for us so we recommend taking on the ring road in a non-clockwise direction.

We stayed clear of any F-roads during our adventure meaning a 4×4 is not required in this itinerary. Visiting Landmannalaugar requires a 4×4 but we used public transport as an alternative. More details are within the post.

Iceland driving view taken during an Iceland Ring Road Itinerary

10 Day Iceland Ring Road Itinerary

Iceland’s Ring Road (Route 1) is 1322km long and is the main road that loops around the entire island. This itinerary includes locations all over the ring road with busy days exploring a lot of highlights. As the sun was up for around 20 hours a day, we found ourselves travelling between campsites from around 9 am until 9 pm. This allowed us to make the most of the days and ensured we saw as much as possible.

Day 1: Strokkur/Geysir, Gullfoss, Haifoss
Day 2: Landmannalaugar, Seljalandsfoss, Gljufrabui
Day 3: Seljavallalaug Swimming Pool, Skogafoss, Kvernufoss, Sólheimasandur Plane Wreck, Dyrhólaey Viewpoint
Day 4: Vik, Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon, Skaftafell, Diamond Beach, Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon
Day 5: Stokksnes, Borgarfjörður Eystri
Day 6: Stuðlagil Canyon, Krafla Lava Fields, Mývatn Nature Baths
Day 7: Mývatn, Goðafoss, Hvitserkur
Day 8: Kirkjufell, Búðakirkja, Thingvellir National Park, Reykjadalur Thermal River
Day 9: Fagradalsfjall Volcano
Day 10: Reykjavík


Day 1 of Iceland Ring Road Itinerary

Total Driving Time // 3 Hours (220km)

Camping Site // Rjúpnavellir Camping & Cottages

Hotel in Area // Rjúpnavellir or Kaldbakur Guesthouse

We arrived at the airport around 9 AM and transferred to our van hire location. After a quick run-through of the vehicle and a supermarket stop, we were off on the road and ready for adventure! We started our trip with a couple of spots along the golden circle before heading out towards some of the less-occupied spots.

Strokkur / Geysir

Pardon the pun, but what an explosive start to our trip. Visiting ‘The Great Geysir’ and ‘Strokkur’ was a fascinating start to the trip. This phenomenon is definitely worthy of a pitstop. Though ‘The Great Geysir’ is dormant with its last burst in 2016, its neighbour ‘Strokkur’ is still very active with an eruption every 15 minutes or so. Word of warning, a raincoat may come in use, even on a sunny day.

Strokkur the Geysir exploding during our Iceland Ring Road Itinerary on the Golden Circle

Gullfoss

Due to its location on the Golden Circle and proximity to Reykjavik, Gullfoss is one of the most popular waterfalls in Iceland. Sit back and enjoy as the water plunges 32 metres into the lower canyon. You can also get nice and close sitting in the middle section of this dual step waterfall.

Haifoss

Though Haifoss was one of the earlier waterfalls we visited, it lingered in our mind long after. Even after the trip, it stuck as one of our favourites. Haifoss is a waterfall in the Fossárdalur valley. It is 122 metres tall and the third highest waterfall in Iceland. There is a second waterfall ‘Granni’ next to Haifoss which adds to the incredible views of this spot.

This road is not an F-road but the access track (route 332) used to get to the car park was rough. If you aren’t in a 4×4, we recommend taking it slow and mind the potholes. You’ll get there eventually!


Day 2 of Iceland Ring Road Itinerary

Total Driving Time // 1 Hour (80km)

Camping Site // Hamragarðar

Hotel in Area // Lindartún Guesthouse or South Iceland Guesthouse

Landmannalaugar

On our second day in Iceland, we decided to take a day trip to Landmannalaugar. Landmannalaugar is well known as one of the best hiking spots in Iceland and we couldn’t agree more. This place easily entered our top three favourite hiking trails around the world.

Landmannalaugar is accessed via an F-road meaning you need a 4×4. Lucky for us and those of you who are also travelling the ring road in a van, there is public transport available. Overland buses can be organised with Reykjavik Excursions or Trex. These buses leave Reykjavik and stop at many spots en route to Landmannalaugar. The schedules can be found on their websites linked above.

If you plan on spending a single day here like us. You will have 4.5 hours to explore Landmannalaugar before having to take the bus back. This is plenty of time to see the highlights and a good introduction to the area. With so many hiking options in the area, you can also choose to camp overnight at Landmannalaugar or stay in one of the lodges. These are very popular so make sure to book in advance.

If you opt for the day trip, we recommended taking the hike up Brennisteinsalda via the lava fields. This hike is around 7km and takes approximately 3 hours. This route takes you through the sulphuric mountains and the ever-impressive lava fields. It’s a great introduction to the area and gives you a glimpse into the wonders of Landmannalaugar.

This route also leaves some time at the end of your hike to enjoy the geothermal hot springs. People’s Pool is located near the central hub. These hot springs are as natural as it gets. A perfect way to relax those muscles and enjoy the wonderful surroundings after a day of hiking.

Seljalandsfoss

Seljalandsfoss is breathtaking. For this reason, we have no doubt you have seen many photos from this iconic Iceland waterfall. One of the great features is that you can walk behind the waterfall. This lets you enjoy the 60-metre drop from a different perspective. But make sure you are prepared to get wet from the spray!

This waterfall is a short walk from the nearby campsite so why not visit after dinner to miss the crowds. If you pick a good camping spot you can also enjoy a view over this waterfall as you get ready for a comfy night in the van.

A girl standing at the waterfall Seljalandsfoss in Iceland

Gljufrabui

Gljufrabui is a unique waterfall as it’s situated within a cave. Tucked away in the small chamber, you can walk up to the waterfall and enjoy the mystical views up close.

Gljufrabui is also right near the campsite, in fact, it’s basically within the campsite. We got to the campsite early and were lucky enough to reverse the van in front of it. This meant we listened to the falling water all night as it soothed us to sleep.


Day 3 of Iceland Ring Road Itinerary

Total Driving Time // 1 Hour (65km)

Camping Site // Vík tjaldsvæði

Hotel in Area // Guesthouse Carina

Seljavallalaug Swimming Pool

Seljavallalaug Swimming Pool was built back in 1923 and is the oldest pool in Iceland. We visited this spot in the morning sharing a very peaceful moment with only one other couple. The pool is a comfortable temperature and the views of the green valley make this place a must-visit. We spent a good hour soaking it all in and absolutely loved this spot.

To visit you’ll need to park up at the Seljavallalaug parking lot. It’s a 20-minutes walk from here following the dry river bed into the mountains. The walk is easy but good shoes are recommended as it is rocky. There are some very basic changing rooms at the pool but no bathroom facilities. The pool and parking were free when we visited.

Skogafoss

Skogafoss is one of the biggest waterfalls in Iceland with a width of 25 metres and a height of 60 metres. Made famous by Game of Thrones, this site lives up to the hype and was our favourite waterfall in Iceland. The sheer size of the waterfall accompanied by the beautiful scenery really is a sight to behold.

You can walk right up to the waterfall and appreciate the power from up close. But be prepared to get soaked as the spray can be quite wild once you get there. You can also climb the stairs up to a viewing platform over the waterfall. If you don’t want your photo to feature a bunch of people in the background then visit this site early in the morning. Outside of the golden circle, this was one of the busiest places we came across in Iceland.

Kvernufoss

Kvernufoss is the less-visited sister of Skogafoss and is deserving of your time. Located in a beautiful green gorge, this spot is a treat on the eye and is yet to be discovered by large crowds. The short 10-minute walk starts at the Skógasafn museum and is clearly marked so you won’t get lost.

A view of one of the less visited waterfalls in Iceland Kvernufoss

Sólheimasandur Plane Wreck

Visiting the Sólheimasandur Plane Wreck was always high on our bucket list. The unique nature of the site and the spectacular photos we had seen drew us in. In-person the plane wreck is just as apocalyptic as the pictures make out. With nothing but the shell of an abandoned plane wreck in a desert of black sand, this spot is special.

The plane cannot be seen from the road. But, there is a parking lot (the only one along the long road in the area) where you start the walk from. The walk is a 7km round-trip taking approximately 45 minutes to walk each way. There’s no one around monitoring the site so you can walk up to the wreck and explore inside the craft.

Dyrhólaey Viewpoint

For an incredible view down the ‘Endless Black Beach’, the viewpoint at Dyrhólaey lighthouse is a must. It’s a popular stop on anyone’s itinerary and the view over the Dyrhólaey archway is an added bonus.

We also got to spot our first puffins here, nesting along the steep cliffs. Though you can’t get as close to the puffins as a spot we will mention later on. It’s quite the backdrop for viewing these little wonders.

When we visited, the road up to the Dyrhólaey lighthouse had been removed. The parking was now at the Dyrhólaey View Parking Lot. It is approximately 30 minutes walk from here to the Dyrhólaey lighthouse.


Day 4 of Iceland Ring Road Itinerary

Total Driving Time // 3.5 Hours (280km)

Camping Site // Vestrahorn Camping

Hotel in Area // Vikingcafe or Hotel Edda Höfn

Vik

Vik was mainly the city where we camped for the night. Yet, it has a few spots to visit first thing in the morning before starting the day. We started the day with a visit to Black Sand Beach. This beach provides a mystical view out towards the Reynisdrangar. The Reynisdrangar is a jagged rock formation off the coast. We then explored the Vik i Myrdal Church. This was also our opportunity to get nice and close to the Icelandic horses when visiting the church.

It is also worth noting that a lot of people will visit Reynisfjara Beach from Vik. This is the famous location of the beach columns ‘Columnes Reynisfjara’. We decided to skip this as we had a busy day ahead, but if you find time definitely go there.

Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon

The Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon is about 100m deep and 2km long formed from glacial melt thousands of years ago. This was one of the most fascinating landscapes we came across during our time in Iceland. We spent quite a bit of time here appreciating the soaring towers of stone and serpent-like river. Easy to see why this canyon inspired so many writers and movie directors.

Skaftafell

Skaftafell is an area in Iceland’s Vatnajökull National Park. It includes several waterfalls, glaciers, and mountains. It is a fantastic place to spend some time hiking and includes a few highlights worth seeing.

Two of these highlights include Svartifoss and the Sjónarnípa lookout. Svartifoss is a waterfall in the Vatnajökull National Park with unique hexagonal basalt columns formed by very fast cooling lava. The Sjónarnípa lookout boasts amazing views over the glacier Skaftafellsjökull.

There are a lot of different hikes in this area that vary in difficulty and length. These can all be found on the Vatnajokull national park website. We recommend taking the S6 route which covers both Svartifoss and the Sjónarnípa lookout. This is route is an easy 7.4km long and well worth the venture.

Diamond Beach

Another unreal-looking place in Iceland was Diamond Beach. We had heard of this beach before so we knew what to expect but had never seen any photos. So when we walked onto the black sand to find rows of icebergs parked up on the sand, it really was a jaw-dropping moment.

The contrast between the massive white icebergs and the black sand definitely adds to the amazement that is Diamond Beach. If you’re lucky you’ll also spot a few playful seals as they swim around the ice platforms.

Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon

This glacial lagoon is dotted with icebergs from the Breiðamerkurjökull Glacier. It is a place of pure beauty that is hard to understand without seeing yourself. We visited in the late afternoon so the soft setting sun would cast a calming light across the lagoon. We definitely recommend this time of the day. It was also a lot let less crowded compared to the middle of the day which always adds to an experience.

If you’re feeling adventurous then there is a bunch of activities to explore the Glacier Lagoon. Why not book a boat tour of the lagoon with Glacier Lagoon? Or if you’re feeling more adventurous you can organise a kayak tour with Ice Guide. Be sure to book your tours in advance as they do get busy.


Day 5 of Iceland Ring Road Itinerary

Total Driving Time // 3.5 Hours (250km)

Camping Site // Borgarfjörður eystra tjaldsvæði

Hotel in Area // Blabjorg Guesthouse

Stokksnes

Stokksnes was one of the spots we were most excited about before visiting Iceland. We’d seen the epic photos of the black beach, dramatic mountain background, and even the perfect reflection from the water on certain days. Unfortunately, the weather was not on our side this day and a low-hanging cloud stayed around from the night before to block the view.

For scale, the actual mountain is about 4 times the height of the two little rock peaks you can see In the photos below. If you get a clear day at this location you are in for a treat!

Borgarfjörður Eystri

Every year, from May to early September, Iceland gets a little bit cuter when it becomes home to 8-10 million Atlantic Puffins. Borgarfjörður Eystri is one of the easiest and best spots to see puffins in Iceland. Located within the local marina, you can get nice and close to the nesting puffins on the wooden platforms.

As this location is a bit of a detour off the main ring road, it does not tend to get too busy which lets you enjoy your time with the thousands of puffins in peace. Though it’s a detour, we promise it’s worth the trip. Not only is it one of the best spots for puffins, but the fantastic drive through the mountain range to get there is one to remember.


Day 6 of Iceland Ring Road Itinerary

Total Driving Time // 2.5 Hours (200km)

Camping Site // Bjarg

Hotel in Area // Dimmuborgir Guesthouse or Vogar Travel Service

Stuðlagil Canyon

Stuðlagil Canyon is a must-see for its exceptional and fascinating display of basalt columns. The formations are pretty impressive as they form their way around the beautiful blue coloured river Jökla. This place isn’t fully appreciated until you find yourself amongst these giant columns.

There is a viewing platform on the western side of the river which is accessible from the road. However, the view from here is oddly positioned meaning you really don’t get to see the canyon very well. We recommend crossing to the east side of the river and driving down the dirt road. From the car park it is an 8km return hike to get to the canyon.

Krafla Lava Fields

The Krafla Lava Fields are a large volcanic system in the North of Iceland. It’s a fascinating area full of sulphuric pits and set lava. The best way to see all of this is by walking the short hike around the Leirhnjúkur Lava Field to view the colourful sulphuric pits and feel the heat from the surrounding lava fields. The main highlight in this area is the Víti Crater Lake. When the sun comes out, the lake’s turquoise colours really stand out and display an unusual scene.

Mývatn Nature Baths

The Mývatn Nature Baths are a set of geothermal pools found in the Lake Mývatn area. You may have heard of the Blue Lagoon near Reykjavik? Well, this is the more peaceful and affordable version in the north of Iceland. The baths are the perfect way to end the day soaking in the blue waters while also enjoying a beautiful view over the volcanic area. We spent about 3 hours in the pools and even got some beers whilst here. This was the only ‘living it up’ part of our trip and totally worth it.


Day 7 of Iceland Ring Road Itinerary

Total Driving Time // 6 Hours (450km)

Camping Site // Campground Grundarfjörður

Hotel in Area // Kirkjufell Guesthouse and Apartments or Skjólsteinar

Mývatn

Mývatn is a beautiful lake area that holds a unique landscape, different again from any other site in Iceland. As a result of a large basaltic lava fissure eruption 2300 years ago, the area is dominated by little pseudocraters that look as if they have exploded out of the lake itself. This combined with the still blue waters and large mass of local birdlife makes for a great piece of nature in the north of Iceland. A lot of these craters are out in the lake itself and unreachable by foot. However, for the most accessible location head to the south of the lake at ‘Skútustaðagígar’ to walk amongst a series of these craters.

Goðafoss

Goðafoss is a waterfall located in the north of Iceland and is probably one of the most accessible waterfalls we visited. Located basically on the ring road itself, it’s a spot that’s definitely worth the stop and a great way to break up a day of driving.

View of the waterfall Godafoss in Iceland which is just off the Ring Road

Hvitserkur

Some 50 metres off the shore of the north coast of Iceland sits Hvitserkur. This large 15m high volcanic structure is what remains of the erosion in the area leaving a structure that looks a bit like an elephant or a rhino.

It’s quite the detour to visit Hvitserkur, needing a 45 minute drive each way off the ring road. We visited this location as a way of breaking up a big driving day. But in all honesty, if you are more pressed for time we would recommend skipping. This was one of the only places in Iceland where we thought that the pictures were more impressive than the location.


Day 8 of Iceland Ring Road Itinerary

Total Driving Time // 3.25 Hours (250km)

Camping Site // Reykjamörk Hveragerði Campsite

Hotel in Area // Hotel Hjardarbol or Varmi Guesthouse Apartments

Kirkjufell

Kirkjufell is another iconic location in Iceland that most of you have probably seen before. With its uniquely-shaped peak and the foreground waterfalls, it is quite the panoramic view. Not only is the mountain wonderful, but the drive through this whole area was something else. Surrounded by open bays and mountains in every direction, you are going to love exploring this part of the country.

Girl looking out at Kirkjufell from the waterfall in Iceland

Búðakirkja

A view of Icelands black church Búðakirkja

The Búðakirkja church is all that remains of the Búðir’s former community that lived in these parts. The church was actually dismissed by orders of the Danish King Christian VIII in 1819, but the locals fought for the construction of a new church. It wasn’t until 1849 the priest’s council allowed for the construction of a new house of worship. The only condition was that the church had to be funded by the community. Therefore, the door latch on this church was engraved by the locals and translates to something similar to “This church was rebuilt without the assistance of the holy fathers”.

We definitely recommend visiting this site first thing in the morning. What the photos aren’t showing you is that the car park is directly in front of the church and tour buses from cruise ships make a regular stop here being close to Reykjavik.

Thingvellir National Park

We’ve made our way back on the golden circle, meaning we also have to accept the larger crowds at most sites. Luckily Thingvellir National Park is a large site so this shouldn’t bother you too much.

Thingvellir National Park is a UNESCO world heritage site and its geological traits make this place fascinating. Iceland is on two continental plates, the North American tectonic plate, and the Eurasian tectonic plate. Thingvellir National Park is where you can see the split between these two tectonic plates. It is also the only place in the world where the rift between two tectonic plates can be seen above sea level.

If you are after something a little different, you can snorkel or dive between the tectonic plates to see the rift in more detail. Book your tour well in advance using the following links: Snorkelling or Diving.

Reykjadalur Thermal River

Reykjadalur Thermal River was our favourite hot spring in all of Iceland. Situated in a beautiful valley, this heated river flows naturally and is an absolute gem. The section for bathing is around 250 metres long and the temperature varies from top to bottom allowing everyone to find their perfect spot. The temperature at the top is REALLY hot, so we do recommend finding a place around the middle.

As we found this site last minute, we were ill-prepared and definitely underestimated the hike. It’s a good 45-60 minute hike to the hot spring and relatively steep. We recommend bringing plenty of water and snacks because once you reach the spring, you are going to want to stay for a while. To avoid the crowds, come in the late afternoon and enjoy sunset in this pristine location.


Day 9 of Iceland Ring Road Itinerary

Total Driving Time // 1.25 Hours (100km)

Camping Site // Vogar Campsite

Hotel in Area // Reykjanes Guesthouse or iStay Cottages

Fagradalsfjall Volcano

Fagradalsfjall Volcano is Iceland’s newest and fully active volcano. It started erupting on the 19th of March 2021 and has continued to grow in size. If you weren’t already convinced to visit Iceland, then this spot will be the final incentive to book that ticket!

We devoted a whole day to visiting the Fagradalsfjall Volcano and once you get here you’ll understand why. It is a good 1.5-hour hike in either direction to get to the best viewing spot, a lot of people stop hiking once they reach the mountain peak but the trick is to keep walking so that you can get nice and close to the lava.

This volcano is predicted to continue erupting for two more years, but how long it will actually last is not known. For this reason, we recommend visiting as soon as you can. The volcano does not erupt every day, so be sure to check the live webcam before starting the hike up. As the volcano is close to Reykjavik planning your trip around the erupting volcano would be recommended, making sure you have enough spare time to come back if you’re unlucky at first. Hopefully, you can either start or finish your trip at this amazing place. The webcam can be found below or at the following link.


Day 10 of Iceland Ring Road Itinerary

Total Driving Time // 0.5 Hours (35km)

Hotel in Area // Eric the Red Guesthouse or 101 Guesthouse

Reykjavik

We had to drop off our van in the morning, leaving us a full day to explore the capital city of Iceland, Reykjavik. Though our trip was focused on the outdoors, we enjoyed our day in the city and got a really good vibe from the place.

Highlights in the city are limited, the main sight is the Hallgrimskirkja Church. We also recommend having a stroll down Skólavörðustígur (the rainbow street) and the surrounding streets boasting the funky architecture that Reykjavik has to offer. For lunch, we got an affordable hot dog from the famous Bæjarins Beztu Pylsur, which literally translates to ‘Best Hotdog in Town’. In the afternoon we mainly just enjoyed a few beers during happy hour, the only way to get yourself a more reasonably priced pint!


Thanks For Reading

Thank you for reading our blog post, we hope it gave you that little motivation to book your next adventure!

Any questions then let us know in the comments below or contact us via the contact page. Want to keep up with our adventures? Then follow us on our Instagram.


A back street within Venice leading towards a Venice Canal showing the colourful architecture an clothes hanging between the houses

Our guide on what to see in Venice

Venice is a place of fascination. Unique in so many ways and with a charm unmatched anywhere else in the world. Read our guide to find all of the must-see places in Venice.

— Visited in August, 2019


A back street within Venice leading towards a Venice Canal showing the colourful architecture an clothes hanging between the houses

Venice for me is a place of fascination that I dreamt of visiting since I was a child. The concept of canals as streets and the typical gondolas being the main form of transport sounded like a fairytale. With the whole place being completely different from any lifestyle I had known or witnessed, you could say I was a little excited when we finally booked tickets to visit Venice.

Despite my expectations of visiting this place being extremely high, Venice surpassed all of them. I fell in love with this destination and look forward to walking you through all of the marvels that Venice has to offer.

I hope you enjoy… Our guide on what to see in Venice.


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A Brief History of Venice

Venice (Venezia) was first founded in 421. The Veneti were expelled by the Ostrogoths and the Lombards, leaving them to take refuge in the marshlands forming the city of Venice. In the 6th Century, Flavius Belisarius (a general of the Byzantine Empire) conquered Venice bringing it under the Eastern Roman Empire and a part of the Exarchate of Ravenna.

In 641, the mainland Byzantine city of Oderzo fell to the Lombards and the political authority was shifted to one of the islands within Venice. Continuing in 697, the powerful families of Venice placed the first doge Anafestus Paulicius in power dramatically increasing the importance of Venice.

An important part of history occurred in 829 when the relics of Saint Mark the Evangelist were stolen from Alexandria in Egypt and smuggled to Venice. San Marco would then become the city’s patron saint with the relics held in St Mark’s Basilica.

The true strength of Venice started in the 11th Century when the Byzantine emperor Alexius I Comnenus granted Venice unrestricted trade throughout the Byzantine Empire. This privilege marked the beginning of Venetian activity in the East allowing Venice to become an imperial power through their trade of fish, iron, silk, spices, slaves and wood. This led to the development of the Latin Empire.


What to See in Venice

Venice is made up of 118 small islands connected through a series of bridges and canals, so there is a lot to see. This city holds so much character and history, you’ll need a minimum few days to even scratch the surface. To truly experience Venice and all it has to offer, a lifetime is required. So instead of trying to see everything, make the most of your time here and be ready to want to return.

For your first trip to Venice, let us guide you through its must-see spots. Let this be the first taste of what this magical city has to offer.

St Mark’s Basilica

The most famous building in Venice,  St. Mark’s Basilica (Basilica di San Marco) is an outstanding piece of architecture and one that must be witnessed in person to truly appreciate. It is recognised as one of the most important religious buildings in Northern Italy and sits the Patriarch of Venice, archbishop of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Venice.

Dating back to the 11th Century, the building has been known by the nickname Chiesa d’Oro (Church of gold). This is because of the lavish design of gold ground mosaics that cover the magnificent structure. The design was used as a symbol of Venetian wealth and power and there is no doubting this after witnessing its beauty.

Piazza San Marco

Widely known as the most famous square in Venice. The sheer size of Piazza San Marco (St Mark’s Square) trumps all other squares, making it the largest square in Venice. Located on the grand canal, the square is home to St. Mark’s Basilica, St Mark’s Campanile, Doge’s Palace and Torre dell’Orologio. Other than these famous landmarks, the square is surrounded by a series of arched walkways which truly fit the vibe of the place.

Tip: We do not recommend eating or even having a coffee on this square. The extravagant prices, which must allow a surcharge for the view, are likely to dig deep into your travel budget.

Canale Grande

Though Venice has hundreds of canals, it is hard to miss the largest, the Canale Grande (Grand Canal). This canal is equivalent to a river in comparison to the stream like channels through the city’s streets. It is impressive to behold as it passes from one side of Venice through to the other.

Only four bridges span the grand canal leaving it generally open to hustling traffic and larger boats. Though this may not be the quaint and hidden canals that you came to Venice to see, we recommend spending some time along these waters. This is where you can appreciate the grand scale of the city as it sits only centimetres above the surrounding sea.

St Mark's Campanile

Standing at 98.6m, St Mark’s Campanile (Campanile di San Marco) is the tallest building in Venice. Created in the 9th century, the structure was damaged by fire, earthquakes and even lightning, resulting in its collapse in 1902. The structure that now stands here is a reconstruction completed in 1912.

The tower is located in St Mark’s Square near the mouth of the Grand Canal. It was originally intended as a watchtower to protect the city from approaching ships. However, it also served as a landmark to guide Venetian ships back home to safety.

Though a simple red brick design for most of the structure, the upper stoned archways and the golden statue of Angel Gabriel on top allows the tower to stand out. The true appeal of the tower is once you reach the top of it. Providing panoramic views of Venice, it’s a fantastic way to appreciate the city and the best views you’ll find in Venice.

Rialto Bridge

Connecting the San Marco and San Polo districts of Venice over the grand canal, the Rialto Bridge (Ponte di Rialto) is both one of the most famous views of Venice and one of the most important functionally. While its perfectly symmetrical design will forever catch your eye, you will also find yourself on this bridge without even meaning to be as it is one of the key pedestrian routes of the islands.

The first bridge in this location was a pontoon bridge back in 1173. It was rebuilt several times in many forms until the collapse of a wooden bridge in 1524. After this event, it was replaced with the stone bridge that still sits here now.

Doge’s Palace

Serving as the main government building during the Venetian Republic and the residence of the Doge, this palace (Palazzo Ducale) is one of the most recognised buildings in Europe. With its distinct Gothic architecture, it’s fascinating to look upon the sheer size of the pink Verona marble structure as its weight bears down on the slender arched columns.

One of the most fascinating things about Doge’s Palace, which is now a museum, is that, unlike most museums, the paintings inside are the originals used to decorate the Doge’s Palace. This means that though you may be witnessing magnificent art, you are also able to appreciate the fact that you are walking through this magnificent palace as it always has been.

While the exterior is obvious to marvel upon, we definitely recommend a visit inside to learn the history behind this place. To avoid the lines, which are significant with this being one of the most popular places to visit in Venice, we recommend checking out the tours below:

Bridge of Sighs

Connecting the Doge’s Palace with the first floor of the prison is the Bridge of Sighs (Ponte dei Sospiri). A delicate stone Baroque style arched bridge. The name gives a clear feeling to the stories behind this bridge. As the sentences given by Venetian judges were known to be unmerciful, regularly the view through the stone grillwork of this bridge provided prisoners with their last glimpse of Venice before being taken to prison or even a death sentence.

Rumour has it that if a couple sails under the bridge on a gondola and kiss, they will enjoy eternal love. An alternative take on why it’s called the Bridge of Sighs.

The view of the canal below the Bridge of Sighs in Venice, one of the must see places

Santa Maria della Salute

With its Baroque design, the Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute (Church of the Saint Mary of Health) was completed in 1687 and is identified as a minor basilica of the Roman Catholic Church. Located facing out towards the grand canal, it makes for a grand vision from the other side of the water. Though the detail may not match that of other churches in Italy, the symmetrical nature of the design and bright white marble provides a lot of fancy on the eye.

Get Lost in the Back Streets

A lot of people might say that Venice is overcrowded which ruined their trip. If you stay on the main path around this group of islands, then this could be true and is often of many cities in Europe. The magic of Venice is found when you take an unexpected left or right turn and end up in a quiet part of the neighbourhood with a hidden gem all to yourself. The great part about Venice is that every wrong turn you take leads to a spot like this.

The time we spent in the backstreets of Venice is where we truly grew to love the city. Sitting by a quaint junction between two canals. Watching a gondola slowly paddle away from us through the mazed city of water. These are the moments when we really absorbed the city and appreciated just how amazing and unique this place is.

Because of this, our biggest tip is to get lost in the city’s maze. It’s not hard to do, as Google Maps does not work very well in Venice. Enjoy those moments when you are away from the crowds and not sure where you are. This is when the place starts to feel like the Venice of old and becomes that fairytale of the mind.

Burano and Murano

Burano and Murano are two isolated sets of islands about 30-minutes from Venice by boat. Though Murano and Burano aren’t technically Venice anymore, a list of the must-visit places of Venice isn’t complete without including them.

Burano and Murano are two very small fishing villages. Though they may be small in stature, they are grand in charisma. The villages on these islands are special as all of the houses are painted in bright pastel colours. If you think of the houses you used to paint as a child, colouring the walls with the brightest crayons you could find. Then Burano and Murano are a real-life version of those drawings.

The story behind the colours is that the fishermen painted their houses in bright hues so that they could find their way home during the thick fogs that blanket this area. Another reason was so that the fishermen could distinguish their home from the property of their neighbour. This is why each house is painted in a different colour.

The major difference between Burano and Murano is the skill that they are most renowned for. Burano is most famous for the beautiful lace that is used to produce wonderful garments, while Murano is more famous for its creation of Venetian glass. The art of glassmaking can still be witnessed here today.


Where to Stay in Venice

Choosing where to stay in Venice can be challenging but wherever you choose, you’re a short distance from the fascination that is Venice. To make it easier for you, we’ve provided a bunch of budget options in the main neighbourhoods of Venice and the advantages of staying in those neighbourhoods.

San Marco

San Marco is the tourist hot-stop of Venice. It is where most of the iconic must-see locations are like St Mark’s Square and the Rialto Bridge. We recommend staying here if you want to be close to the sites or have a short time in Venice. However, there are cheaper options elsewhere.

Budget Option: Sweet Venice – locazione turistica

Cannaregio

Stay in Cannaregio if you want the authentic Venetian experience. This is home to where most of the local Venetians live and features some beautiful back streets and tranquillity. This is where we stayed and we cannot recommend it enough.

Budget Option: Casa Martini

Santa Croc

Santa Croc is Venice’s transportation hub and home to the Venice Bus Station (Piazzale Roma). As this location is away from the tourist spots, it’s a lot cheaper to stay! However, it is still only a 20-minute walk from the heart of Venice. If you like staying cheap and close to transportation hubs, then this is the place for you.

Budget Option: Casa Margherita

Mestre

Mestre is “mainland” Venice. A perfect option for those on a very tight budget, wanting more than a couple of days in the city and don’t mind the extra travel time. To get to the heart of Venice, you have to catch a 30-minute bus for around €3.

Budget Option: Nightstars B&B


Thanks For Reading

Thank you for reading our blog post, we hope it gave you that little motivation to book your next adventure!

Any questions then let us know in the comments below or contact us via the contact page. Want to keep up with our adventures? Then follow us on our Instagram.


Day-trip-to-the-berlenga-islands-2

Berlengas Islands - Day Trip to Berlenga Grande

The Berlengas Islands are a hidden gem off the coast of Portugal. Not well known by travellers, find all the details you need to add this magnificent spot to your itinerary in the guide below.

— Visited July, 2019


A view of the São João Baptista Fortress from on top of the cliff with people walking on the water passage and fishing boats on the Portugal island Berlenga Grande

Ten kilometres off the coast of Portugal you’ll find a Portuguese Archipelago called the Berlengas Islands. Being just a small group of islands, their history is intriguing having had many different occupiers over the years. Nowadays, they are home to a few sleepy fishermen who brave the dramatic weather conditions. If you are into history and dramatic views, you must visit the Berlengas Islands on your next trip to Portugal.

We hope you enjoy… The Berlengas Islands – Day Trip to Berlenga Grande.


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History of the Berlengas Islands

History records of Berlenga Grande date back to the early middle ages. However, modern history is recorded from the 15th century when under the support of Queen Eleanor of Viseu, Monks from the order of Sao Jeronimo established a monastery. This was to provide aid to seafaring people and victims of frequent shipwrecks in the archipelago. The Monastery of Misericordia da Berlenga remained until the 16th Century. However, due to frequent attacks on the monks, it was later abandoned…

Soon enough, the island was inhabited by the Portuguese army as a strategic point of defence. During the reign of King John IV (17th Century), the monastery was demolished and replaced with the Fort of São João Baptista das Berlengas which is still hidden away in one of the bays today. The position proved to be very beneficial stopping a number of attacks on the mainland.


What to see on Berlenga Grande

The Berlengas Natural Reserve is a unique part of the world with incredible landscapes and wonderful fauna & flora. Whether you are here for the historic sites, landscapes or bird watching, you are in for a good time!

The São João Baptista Fortress

The São João Baptista Fortress is the obvious highlight of the island and probably the main reason you want to visit the Berlengas Islands. Believe me, soon as you see this spot for yourself, you’ll pat yourself on the back for making the trip happen!

Looking down at the winding arched path as it sits raised above the ocean leading towards the 17th Century fortress, you’ll be in awe that places like this can still be witnessed. Especially considering the strong crashing waves that the island is known for.

Did you know you can spend the night in the fortress? More information on this further on in the blog.

Praia do Carreiro do Mosteiro

The Praia do Carreiro do Mosteiro (Praia da Berlenga) is the only accessible spot for a bit of swimming on Berlenga Grande. Nestled between two large dramatic cliffs at the end of the fishing harbour, it’s a beautiful place to witness. The stone walkway, turquoise water and fishing boats also make for a fantastic photo opportunity.

If you are feeling confident, you can rent kayaks and stand-up paddleboards to go explore the island from the Berlenga beach. To do this, you might want to stay the night to ensure you have enough time to see all of the sights.

Glass Bottom Boat Tour

Small tour boats, leaving from the fishing harbour that you arrive in, provide an informative tour of the island. But they also provide a unique way to see the island as you get up close to the dramatic cliff faces and explore the secret caves.

The boat cost us €5.00 for a 30-minute tour and we visited the blue cave, Furado Grande (a natural 70m tunnel through the cliff), Elephant Rock (we won’t ruin the surprise for you) and the Ponta da Franca headland. The boat tour also gives you stunning views of the São João Baptista Fortress from the ocean. If you do this tour as soon as you arrive, you’ll have more time to explore the island en-route back to the fishing harbour.

Go Birdwatching!

You will quickly realise when you reach the island that birds greatly outnumber the humans here. The Berlengas Islands are actually a nature reserve (Reserva Natural das Berlengas) and are home to breeding sites for puffins, seagulls and cormorants. If you can time your trip well, you will get to enjoy watching baby birds test out their wings for the first time.

The Berlenga Islands are a must visit location when venturing on a Portugal road trip

How to visit the Berlengas Islands

Ferry to the Berlengas Islands

The only way to get to the Berlengas Islands is by ferry and the only island accessible to tourists is Berlenga Grande. All of the ferries leave from Peniche harbour. You can readily buy your ticket from one of the many ticket office operators on the docks. If you want to check out your options online prior to arriving, then here are a few of the tour operators:

viamar-berlenga.com
feelingberlenga.pt
ulius-berlenga.com.pt

The standard ferries take around 45 minutes. But some of the operators run a faster option on speedboats which take approximately 20 minutes. Return tickets to Berlenga Grande start at €20 but this increases during the high season. The time schedules are very strict. So make sure you confirm the return time or you might risk getting stuck for the night.

Tip: During the summer months, the ferries are very popular so it is recommended to book tickets in advance. In autumn and spring, many trips are cancelled due to the weather and rough sea conditions. We recommend checking the weather prior to your trip. In the winter, most of the tour companies shut down completely.

A girl walking the wall at the São João Baptista Fortress

How to get to the Berlengas Islands from Lisbon?

To get to the Berlengas Islands you need to head in the direction of Peniche. The drive is just over one hour from Lisbon to Peniche city centre. The best way to take on this adventure would be to hire a car or van and combine the Berlengas with a road trip of the country. We have some great details on our road trip through Portugal in our blog ‘Portugal Road Trip – Our Complete Guide to the Coastline‘. The other option would be to catch a bus from Lisbon, one of the big providers in Portugal is Rede Expressos.


Where to Stay on the Berlengas Islands

If you want to stay overnight so that you can enjoy the morning with little to no crowds, then you have three options:


Questions & Answers

  • Where to eat on the Berlengas Islands?
    There is only one restaurant on the island called the ‘Mar e Sol’ located at the fishing harbour. The options are quite limited so we recommend packing a lunch for the day.
  • Are there bathrooms on Berlenga Grande?
    There are public toilets located at the fishing harbour. There is also a single public bathroom located in the Sao Joao Baptista Fort.


Thanks For Reading

Thank you for reading our blog post, we hope it gave you that little motivation to book your next adventure! If you are looking for more details on Portugal, including the best road trip route, then feel free to have a look at our blog ‘Portugal Roadtrip – Our Complete Guide to the Coastline‘.

Any questions then let us know in the comments below or contact us via the contact page. Want to keep up with our adventures? Then follow us on our Instagram.


finding-the-best-beaches-in-Milos-2

Finding the Best Beaches in Milos

With so much variance across the island of Milos, there is a beach to suit everyone. Read on to find out the best beaches in Milos.

— Visited September, 2016 & September, 2020


finding-the-best-beaches-in-Milos-2

The island of Milos is, without doubt, our favourite island in the Greek Archipelago (so far). There is just so much to love, with its wonderful landscapes and a feeling of pride amongst the locals. One of the highlights of the island has to be its beaches with so much variety across the island, there is a beach to suit everyone. Let us guide you through the best beaches in Milos and give you a look into your next summer adventure!

With this blog focusing on the best beaches in Milos. We recommend checking out our other blog ‘A Complete Guide to Exploring Milos‘ for any other information you may need.

We hope you enjoy… Finding the Best Beaches in Milos.


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Best Beaches in Milos

As the beaches of the island vary in many different ways, it is worth noting that the order of beaches is completely subjective. What may not have been our favourite beach on the island could be your favourite. So the best thing to do is test them all out and let us know which one is your favourite after your trip!

#7 Ammoudaraki Beach

Ammoudaraki Beach Milos is a secluded beach on the west side of the island. This beach is best reached by boat unless you are up for the bumpy and rocky drive-in (advised to use a quad, not a car). Due to the reduced access to this beach, you are likely to have it all to yourself. The reason this beach made our list is that this is where we experienced the warmest waters of the whole island. Playing in the shallows genuinely felt like a warm bath and it was nothing but bliss.

#6 Firopotamos

Being a traditional fishing village, Firopotamos is a spot which combines the touch of crystal blue waters and bright colourful fishing huts perfectly. We could have laid there all day and enjoyed the peaceful surroundings. Firopotamos would feature in a list of both the best beaches and best villages in Milos. So it is definitely worth a visit while exploring the Greek island Milos.

#5 Papafragas

One of the less-visited swimming spots across the island is Papafragas. With its fascinating cliff faces and open-top cave systems, this spot had to be included on our list of the best beaches in Milos! The highlight of this place is a large rock archway which we know you will love exploring both in the water and also from the rock edge above.

#4 Kleftiko

Though we do question if Kleftiko can be classified as a beach, due to its beauty, it had to be included on our list of the best beaches in Milos. Infamous as a pirate bay, you will be mesmerised by the views of the surrounding white rock formations that reach up high from the seabed. Unless you are willing to take on a 1.5-hour hike from the island’s monastery, this spot is only accessible by boat. Several sailboats undertake a tour to this spot, and to truly appreciate this part of the island there is no better way to experience it! We embarked on the adventure with Oneiro Milos, being the #1 tour in Adamas on Tripadvisor, you know you have chosen the right captain. Potentially the bluest water we have ever seen, Kleftiko cannot be skipped during a trip to Milos.

#3 Fyriplaka

For the softest sand on the island, Fyriplaka is the place to be. Accompanied by a fascinating pink cliff towards the end of the beach, we have no doubt you will spend a few hours here. Whether you like lounging on beach chairs or simply laying out on a towel, there is an option for both. No matter what you choose, you will fall in love with this beach.

Tip: There is a beach bar which sells drinks and some snacks. However, we recommend you pack lunch as there are no other options nearby.

#2 Tsigrado

Neighbouring Fyriplaka Beach, you’ll find the more adventurous Tsigrado. To reach this beach, you have to climb down a sequence of roped stairwells and rock faces. Once through the obstacle course, you are welcomed with a picturesque secluded beach with crystal clear water, soft sand, high cliffs, cave systems and glistening coral. Don’t forget your snorkel, as this is the best spot for it on the island!

Note: It can be dangerous to reach the beach, so if you aren’t confident in your low-level climbing ability, we would not recommend it. The view from on top is worth a visit if you decide not to head down to the beach. This is a special piece of coastline.

#1 Sarakiniko

Our number one and the best beach in Milos is the famous Sarakiniko. In what can only be described as a moon-like landscape, this is a place that will forever stay in your memory. Whether you like exploring funky rock structures, jumping off tall cliff faces or even just lounging on warm surfaces, this place will leave an impression on you. We have never seen anything like Sarakiniko and this place was a big reason we revisited Milos for a second time.

Tip: If you want Sarakiniko to yourself, get there early as this is the most popular beach on the island.


A Complete Guide to Exploring Milos

We hope you enjoyed finding the best beaches in Milos. If you need any more information for a trip to Milos, like:

  • Where to stay in Milos?
  • Transport in Milos
  • Milos’ Must Visits

We recommend checking out our blog ‘A Complete Guide to Exploring Milos‘ to find all the details for your next adventure.


Thanks For Reading

Thank you for reading our blog. We hope it gave you that little motivation to book your next adventure!

Any questions then let us know in the comments below or contact us via the contact page. Want to keep up with our adventures? Then follow us on our Instagram.


my-authentic-walking-tour-of-bruges

My Authentic Walking Tour of Bruges

Growing up around Bruges, I have regularly wandered around its narrow streets and discovered new places. Here is my walking route of Bruges.

— Visited Regularly


The canal views of Bruges must be explored during a weekend in bruges

Known around the world as a fairy-tale medieval town, Bruges is a hotspot for tourists who admire cobbled lanes and picturesque canals. Growing up around Bruges, I have spent many days wandering around its narrow streets and discovering new places. Whenever international friends come over for a visit, I take them on my preferred route to guarantee they see all the highlights! I also take them to some local spots that the regular visitor won’t find easily while browsing the internet.

Read on and enjoy… My Authentic Walking Tour of Bruges.


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Bruges’ History

Did you know Bruges was founded by Vikings in the 9th century? It used to be surrounded by the sea and served as a great port. Until the 14th century, it was the centre of Europe with different languages spoken on the streets and tradesmen selling the most exotic products.

Starting from the 16th century, Bruges fell into decline as Antwerp (another great Belgian city) dominated the cloth industry with its brand new harbour. In the 1800s, Bruges even turned out to be Belgium’s poorest city. With no money for investments, the city no longer grew and this is the reason it kept its medieval look throughout the years.

In the 20th century, Bruges is now a popular tourist destination for its medieval heritage and is often referred to as the ‘Venice of the North’. Remarkably having survived two world wars, this town has proved to withstand the test of time and is well worth a visit on your next Europe trip!


Where to Stay in Bruges

A trip to Bruges is best enjoyed overnight so that you can enjoy the quaint streets at night and observe its history by moonlight. Some recommended Bruges accommodations are provided below:

Low Budget – Charlie Rockets Youth Hostel or BE House
Medium Budget – Hotel ‘t Putje
Unique Accommodation – Hotel De Orangerie


Walking Route of Bruges

If you have little time in Bruges, I highly recommend this route as it takes up less than two hours and takes you through Bruges’ highlights with a few extra local gems. With more time on your hands, use this tour as a guideline but make sure to wander off into the backstreets and explore to the fullest!

Minnewaterpark and Begijnhof

I usually start my tour at the train station which is the meeting point for all busses, trains, and car parks anyway. From there, I make my way to the Minnewaterpark, a tranquil public green space featuring a lake and the gatehouse of a demolished castle. If you are lucky enough to visit Bruges during the Christmas period, you’ll find an ice-skating ring here built on the lake.

This park will bring you straight to the historic centre of Bruges, with a first popular spot to tick off on your left, the ‘Begijnhof’. The impressive gateway will take you to a wide-open green space with tiny white row houses and massive trees.

Het ‘Begijhof’ or the beguinage is a confined space of solitude for women who wanted to live in a pious way but outside the walls of a convent or monastery. You’ll find these in lots of Belgian and Dutch cities dating back to the 13th century. Nowadays there are no beguines, but this one in Bruges is still home to a few nuns.

Fun Fact: if you visit this place just before noon, you’ll be able to follow the midday mass with these nuns. They still ring the church bells by pulling the ropes with their bare hands. An authentic sight to see, even if the nuns check their iPhone to make sure the timing is right! (haha) Please always remember to dress appropriately, keep your silence and not take pictures.

From Wijngaardplein into the City

As you walk out of the ‘Begijnhof’, you’ll notice a lake with lots of swans flocking together as this is where they get fed. A horse fountain marks the entrance into the centre. Follow along the cobbled lanes and take in the romantic charm of the picturesque buildings. You have now entered Bruges…

You’ll notice plenty of chocolate, fries and souvenir shops as you make your way through Bruges. Make sure to try out a waffle and some ‘frietjes’ with mayonnaise as they are our local speciality. Most chocolate shops even offer free samples to taste.

Now turn left and make your way to the ‘Walplein’, a great spot to devour a beer on a sunny afternoon!

Brewery ‘De Halve Maan’

Located on the Walplein, you’ll find Bruges most popular brewery. Now get ready for my favourite thing about this city.

Fun Fact: as you walk into the brewery, you’ll notice pipelines going out under the cobbled street. This two-mile underground pipeline goes from the brewery to an out-of-town bottling plant with enough beer to fill 12,000 bottles an hour. Indeed my friends, we have a BEER pipeline!

De Halve Maan hosts lots of tours around the brewery which is a great way to learn more about the beer-making process. It’s a popular place to visit so we recommend reserving your tickets online. While you are around, don’t forget to have a taste of their ‘Brugse Zot’, a local beer famous in Bruges.

Stoofstraat

Next to the church on the Walplein, you’ll find a tiny alleyway which leads you to a cute little courtyard. Tiny streets like these used to be booming with brothels back in the day; with this one intriguingly being located right next to a church. Funny enough, priests were a regular customer back then…

Bonifacius Brug

Let me take you to one of the most pictured places in Bruges. Behind the Church of Our Lady, you’ll find a little oasis with lovely bridge and canal views. Surprisingly, this stunning bridge isn’t even a century old. But it got its medieval look being built out of rubble and tomb stones from a nearby site. The building pictured is actually a hotel, probably with the best views in Bruges.

Rozenhoedkaai, Huidenvettersplein and Vismarkt

Follow along the avenue and admire the sites even more, we’re now getting close to the centre of the city. On your left, you’ll recognise a famous view of Bruges, so take your time to get in some selfies.

Once your visit to Bruges is well documented, head to the tiny square of Huidenvettersplein. Translated as ‘Tanners Square’, this place boomed with tanners working their leather in the Middle Ages. Nowadays, it’s another great spot for a beer.

Next to Huidenvettersplein, you’ll find the original fish market (Vismarkt). Fish used to be sold on the Main Square but as the townspeople started complaining about the stench, fishmongers were moved here. Today you can still buy your fresh saltwater fish here every morning from Wednesday to Saturday.

Cityhall and the Basilica of the Holy Blood

Let’s enter the centre of Bruges through the ‘Blinde Ezel Straat’ onto the ‘burg’ square. This isn’t the main square yet, but the view of the city hall and surrounding buildings sure show the richness of Bruges in the 14th century. Bruges’ city administration still occupies the Gothic Town Hall these days.

When you face the city hall, you’ll find a quirky looking building in the right corner of the square. This small basilica claims to have the blood of Jesus Christ and holds an annual parade through the city to worship it. You can visit and see the relic for yourself in exchange for a small donation. Again, always remember to dress appropriately, keep your silence and not take pictures.

The narrow street Blinde Ezel Straat which leads to Bruges City hall
Walking the bruges street on route to the main square and bruges center

De Garre

Before we head on to the main square, it’s time for a quick rest with a beer in De Garre. This tiny traditional pub has three storeys, is filled with locals and tourists and is hidden away in one of the back alleys. Named after its beer, you have to try a Garre, one of my favourite beers in Belgium. Be careful though, it’s a strong one!

Main Square and Belfort

You have made it to the heart of Bruges, what we call the ‘Grote Markt’. The tower soaring up into the sky is called the Belfort (Belfry) which formerly housed a treasury and the municipal archives. It also served as an observation post for spotting fires and other dangers. During the Middle Ages, many cities competed with each other by building the highest tower, so you’ll find these all over Belgium.

If you are into beer tastings and want to enjoy a lovely view over the main square head to Historium Brugge. In the pub on the second floor, you’ll get to enjoy great balcony views with a mix of Belgium’s best beers in small tasting glasses (also accompanied with chocolate!). While in this building you can also register for a virtual tour, to witness Bruges in its high time during the Middle Ages.

Steenstraat

One for those who enjoy some shopping! This street has all the main shops, but do wander off and enjoy the boutique shops in the alleyways as well! I usually make my way back to the station through this street and another large square called t’Zand.

Wollestraat

At the end of this street, you’ll find a place called the Beer Wall. This pub features a window display with most Belgian beers. I say ‘most’ as no one knows exactly how many beers there are in total. Especially as breweries are still inventing new, local beers every day. In the pub, you’ll have the opportunity to do some more beer tasting as well.


Getting to Bruges

By Car

Getting to Bruges by car is quite easy. Bruges is about 30 minutes from Ghent and an hour from Brussels if traffic is alright. Car park nearest to the city centre is by ‘t Zand or the train station.

By Train

Belgium has excellent rail service and it takes only an hour to get to Bruges from Brussels. Tickets start at €6.60 if you’re under 26 and €12 if older.

One of the many Bruges chocolate shops which are a must visit during a short break in Bruges