It’s time to say ciao ciao to 2018. I hate this funny period between Christmas and the New Year. I usually feel quite heavy (even though I don’t eat much for Christmas), a bit under the weather and I’ve got this nasty feeling of … time passing by. It is also my birthday on the 30th of December, which means I will teoreticaly be two years older in two days, on the 1st of January. Isn’t that great?
2018 was a good year. It was better than 2017. I got engaged to my best friend (the dziad of my life), and we got our very own apartment. I also scored some really great campaigns with the brands I had always admired, and started my ‘Wedding Destinations‘ column. I visited 13 countries on 3 continents, been on 19 trips, 3 great conferences , 4 fashion weeks and met a lot of inspiring people. I also bought 3 beautiful dream bags and 2 pairs of ‘I’ve always wanted...’ shoes. Well done, me and 2018!
I come with a travel post today. As I mentioned, I have been to 13 countries this year. Some of them were a new experience, and some of them were a second-timer.
The way I see it, it is impossible to name a few ‘favourite’ destinations. How could one compare a few extremes? Every country is different, and each place offers a unique experience you won’t find anywhere else. I will never be able to name ‘my favourite country‘ but I will definitely state ‘my favourite cousine’. It’s Italian. I did, however, my own 2018 list. A list of experience. It is about what I enjoyed the most and what I haven’t. I created the list in a purpose of saying a proper ‘goodbye’ to a great year, and in order to show my readers where you could consider traveling in 2019.
So here is my 2018.
The Best Overall Impression : DUBAI
I wasn’t expecting much from this trip and it ended up being the most memorable journey. Mainly because it was a winter escape (from -20 to +20) and because Dziad proposed in Dubai. I visted UAE twice this year (January and April). In fact, Dubai could do as my favorite winter escape from Europe. We’ve got inspired by the architecture, culture, people, food. The desert was magical and the cruise along the shore breathtaking. I am glad it is only a 6-hour flight away as I feel like coming back as soon as I can. Read about our Dubai trip HERE and about 10 coolest Dubai beaches HERE.
The Best Hotel Stay: Marrakech, RIYAD EL CADI
It was my dream to stay at the traditional riad, especially in Marrakech. Riyad El Cadi is a real ‘pearl’ in my hotel findings. Formally, a riad was a home of Moroccan aristocracy. The opulent interior could not be detected from the exterior and many examples show, even the entrances were hidden – in some cases I almost had to bend to cross the door. Islamic architecture features a modest exterior in order to detract the jealousy from the neighbours. Inside these riads, however, the aristocracy had the freedom to decorate as they wanted – mostly in the so-called bohemian chic style, which is exactly what you will see at the Riyad El Cadi. It is a luxurious place with a touch of oriental culture. The food is remarkably great and the wine is delicious. I am sure your guests would be enchanted by the hospitality of the staff as well!
The Most Beautiful Beach : CRETE
Despite the fact Balos Beach is way too touristy to be called ‘the best experience’, it was the most wonderful beach I have seen in 2018. This place is simply idyllic, Maldives-like and … quite hard to reach. Flat shoes are recommended!
Read about my Crete experience HERE.
The Best Food: Thraki, GREECE
Thraki might not be the most picturesquare corner of Greece, but it is worth to visit this place. It offers a unique culinary experience. Thraki is less touristy than Halkidiki or Peloponese, which means… the food is fresher, better and tastes ‘real’. I have been to so many places but Thraki scored a top place in my culinary list! ‘Saint George’s Tavern’, at the village of Makri near Alexandroupolis was the first ‘Food Destination’. The place does not only make a lovely impression, has a great and posh Mediterranean vibe, but the food itself is great. What I would definitely recommend ordering is the ‘Greek caviar’ Taramas, Psari imeras carpaccio (fish carpaccio), Garides Saganaki (delicious shrimps in tomato sauce), Kritharoto me Garides (Greek-style risotto) and, of course, the red wine from the local winery. The average price per lunch is 40 € per person, which is around 15 € less than the same lunch in Santorini. Another really great place on the culinary map of Thraki is Nisiotiko Fish Tavern in Alexandropoulis. I have never had better mussels! Read more about it HERE.
The Best Wine: Tuscany, ITALIA
This one was actually easy to foreseen. I have always wanted to visit Tuscany – mainly because of the wine-reasons. Let me tell you – the wine is magical. I haven’t had anything better than the rich red wine from the local wineries of Montefollonico. It is obviously not the only reason to visit Tuscany! Read about our lovely experience HERE.
The Best Sunset View : Positano, ITALIA
Positano has probably won ‘the most Instagrammable’ destination this year. Well – the views are breath taking, there is no deny. It has won my and my mother’s heart as well. The sunset here is a must-see! Read about Positano HERE.
The Worst Experience: Marrakech, MOROCCO
My overall impression from Morocco is not great. It is not what I hadn’t heard before my trip but still…It was not the nicest trip. Oh no. The people weren’t really friendly and I did not feel safe on the streets of Medina. We were stopped by several so-to-say dangerous looking people asking for a tip (for nothing), we were misled by many so-called ‘guides’. Also, our drone was taken from us at the airport, which is, in fact, my fault but it doesn’t make feel it any less annoying. I feel like those are the kind of things you need to expect before travelling to a Muslim country but again – I am writing about my own impressions and my personal experience, not the vain complaint. Morocco is, in fact, a beautiful country with a lot of charm. Medina is something you have to experience once in a lifetime. Marrakech is also a perfect destination for interior shopping and interior inspiration. You just have to know what to expect.
The Funniest Experience: Dead Sea, ISRAEL
Dead Sea had been on our bucket list for a very long time. For this reason we were really excited about our Israeli experience not only because we would get to see all the historical sights but specifically for this unique experience. Drifting on the waters of the Dead Sea with the views of Jordan and a magnificent desert while reading a newspaper was such a great involvement 🙂 Dead Sea should land on your bucket list, no matter whether you prefer to visit Israel or Jordan! Read about our trip HERE
The Most Active Trip : Val di Sole, ITALIA
The trip to Trentino was my last 2018 journey. We were invited to Val di Sole in order to experience the famous slopes. There are over 150 lifts and a total of…. 380km of slopes in Val do Sole area – it is a lot to choose from. The view of the famous Italian Dolomiti is breath taking, the conditions and the weather are perfect 🗻❄️…and bombardino (winter drink) is delizioso 🎄 I would definitely recommend to #visittrentino.
See some of my Instagram Stories and photos on my profile HERE.
The Most Sentimental Trip: Brenno, POLSKA
Brenno is a small village in the South-West of Poland. Nothing particularly ‘fancy’ – a lake, an old windmill, forest and… my childhood memories. My granny used to take me there when I was little, and in 2018 I decided to take her to our ‘down the memory lane trip’. It was an emotional therapy and very relaxing for both of us. It made me realise how important my family is to me, and also made me think people should really stop and breath in from time to time. The countryside holiday could be equally great as the exotic journey!
I am wishing you a great start to 2019 and a lot of great travels!