15. January 2021 • Katja Laurien
Last summer I started exploring my own tiny, but beautiful country, the Netherlands, a little bit more. The past years I’ve traveled extensively, but those days seem to be gone now. Not only because of the travel restrictions, but also due to a more stable job and two adorable cat companions who are part of my life now. I’ve already discovered throughout the past years that the Netherlands has quite some nice spots, but don’t we all get lazy when it’s all too nearby?
12. November 2020 • Katja Laurien
This is just another short post on my favourite hiking country: Switzerland! The hike I want to present to you is a short roundhike (approximately 2.5 hours) starting from Bettmeralp hiking towards Fiescheralp, finishing off with a refreshing dip into the Bettmer Lake/ Bettmersee. Both alps are more or less on the same height, which makes this hike also a relatively easy one. I’d recommend starting at Bettmeralp, since the cable car to Fiescheralp is a lot more expensive.
25. October 2020 • Katja Laurien
Gérardmer is one of the main towns from where to explore the Vosges Mountains. It’s a lovely small town next to a beautiful lake which is perfect for all kinds of watersports. There’s a path leading around the lake, but there are also many more wonderful hiking spots in the area. In this post I want to introduce you to two wonderful hikes which I can both highly recommend!
Perles de la Vologne This is probably the most famous hike in the area, for good reasons.
12. October 2020 • Katja Laurien
Actually, this was supposed to be a post about the magnificent mountains in Georgia, but unfortunately I had to cancel this trip due to the travel restrictions. So, my mum (my travel companion for this trip) and I spontaneously decided to grab the car and drive to La Belle France! Coming from the Netherlands, we didn’t want to go all the way to the South, so we decided to go to Brittany which was a really good decision!
13. September 2020 • Katja Laurien
Voilà, la Crème de la Crème de la Bretagne: Crozon Peninsula! To me, this peninsula was really the highlight in Brittany. Even though the peninsula is not very big, it offers a variety of natural landscapes, such as a stunning coastline, sandy dunes, dramatic cliffs, heavenly smelling pine forests and bright heather in different colours (when you come in the right season which we luckily did!). In between this wonderful landscape there are beautiful, small villages with cute stone houses.
9. August 2020 • Katja Laurien
Étretat is probably the tourist attraction in the Normandy, and that for a good reason. The view from the two famous cliffs, Falaise d’Amont and Falaise d’Aval, are indeed well worth a visit. Obviously, this is what thousands of other people think, especially when you go in the middle of the summer. But despite the crowds, I have to say, I enjoyed myself (and so did my mum who was my travel companion for this Tour de France).
26. July 2020 • Katja Laurien
In terms of nature Switzerland is definitely one of my favourite countries. It’s not only insanely beautiful, but it’s also pretty versatile. Mostly known for the magnificent alpine landscape, it has so much more to offer though. Such as for example the beautiful canyon Creux du Van near to Neuchâtel.
Before going I searched the internet for hiking trails. For some reason there was only one hiking trail I consistently kept finding, which is a round trip from Noiraigue to Le Soliat which leads alongside the canyon and seems to take about 4.
25. June 2020 • Katja Laurien
I had introduced the Lake Oeschinen (Oeschinensee) briefly in my post about the Jungfrau region, but at that time I had only managed to hike to the lake from Kandersteg and go back again. Since I liked this lake so much, I decided to go back to the lake to discover more of it. With its beautiful blue colour surrounded by a dramatic scenery, this lake is definitely one of my favourite mountain lakes in Switzerland.
16. June 2020 • Katja Laurien
Are you looking for an easy, accessible hike with a great view over the lake of Thun? Then the round hike at Heiligenschwendi is a great option. The hike starts at an elevation of 1125 m at the Rehazentrum Heiligenschwendi and takes about 2-2.5 hours. The highest point is the view tower Blueme at 1392 m from where you can enjoy a 360 degree view over the area.
From the Rehazentrum start following the signs to Niesenbänkli.
28. March 2020 • Katja Laurien
The Aphrodite Trail is probably by far the most famous hiking trail in the Akamas Peninsula, (maybe even in all of Cyprus) and that for a good reason. The trail is relatively easy, very accessible and offers some wonderful views over the peninsula.
Next to offering pretty views over the landscape from above, the trail also partially leads next to the coast, from where you can enjoy the view over the many small rock bays and the crystal clear water.
15. March 2020 • Katja Laurien
The Akamas Peninsula is a beautiful national park in the northwest of Cyprus. Even before coming to Cyprus I knew this was the place where I’d spend most of my time. For some reason most tourists seem to skip this part of the island, even though it’s the most beautiful part in my opinion. It might be due to the fact that there’s no “big city” near, only two small towns, Latchi and Polis.
5. March 2020 • Katja Laurien
When I first started researching the “to-do’s” in Cyprus, I quickly abandoned the idea of going to Ayia Napa. All I read gave me the impression that this is thé place to be for mass tourism, especially the partying people. That’s definitely not the kind of place I’d want to find myself during my precious holidays, so I thought I’d better skip it. Until I found a blog post about Cape Greco, the beautiful national park not even 15 minutes away from bustling Ayia Napa.
17. February 2020 • Katja Laurien
Indonesia is truly a wonderful country which has loads to offer. Being prepared on what to expect before you visit the country might even help you getting more out of the experience, which is why I wrote this post. Since my grandparents are from Indonesia, Java, I always grew up with the idea of visiting this country one day, creating a lot of expectations around it. Once I was there, I realized I had designed a complete wrong idea about Indonesia throughout the years which is one of the reasons why I took me so long to go.
9. February 2020 • Katja Laurien
Flores is a rather small island which has not yet been fully discovered by tourists, but has many beautiful things to offer. The island is mainly known for Komodo National Park, the only place on earth where you can find wild Komodo dragons. But the park has even more to offer, such as some amazing diving spots and incredibly beautiful surroundings. Many tourists actually only come for the diving, maybe squeeze in a visit to the Komodo dragons between the dives, but skip the rest of the island which I think is a big mistake.
15. January 2020 • Katja Laurien
Komodo National Park is famous for two things: the Komodo dragons and the superb underwater world. The park is what the Indonesian island Flores is known for and it definitely deserves the attention. All over Labuan Bajo, the gateway to the park, you’ll be offered different tours to the park. Most tours offer the standard sights which are all amazing and very much worth the trip. I personally did the 2-day tour which I can highly recommend!
11. January 2020 • Katja Laurien
Komodo National Park is the main thing the Indonesian island Flores is known for. In fact, many tourists only go to Labuan Bajo, the gateway to the park, and skip the rest of the island (which I wouldn’t recommend). Komodo is indeed a magical place and has so many amazing things to offer, I found it difficult to find appropriate information on the Komodo tours and pricing a la little bit confusing, so I planned an extra day in Labuan Bajo, just to make sure I could do everything I wanted to.
9. December 2019 • Katja Laurien
The 17 Islands just in front of the tiny village Riung is probably one of the most beautiful spots I’ve seen on Flores. The unspoiled and empty beaches on the 17 islands are a true paradise, to say the least. But I guess many people still skip it because it’s a bit off the tourist route. It’s maybe a bit of a hassle coming there (especially due to lack of information) and there’s not much more to do apart from the day tour to the 17 Islands, but it’s worth it.
28. November 2019 • Katja Laurien
Karimunjawa was the unexpected highlight of my trip to Java. Actually it was not part of my itinerary, but ended up being the place I spent most of my time on Java. This tiny island in the north of central Java is a true paradise! I actually only wanted to stay a couple of days but ended up staying more than a week and I could have easily stayed another week, just enjoying the pristine beaches, soaking up the relaxed atmosphere and chit chatting with the friendly locals.
9. November 2019 • Katja Laurien
For many people Borobudur is the main highlight of their trip to Java. It’s the biggest Buddhist temple built around 750-850, about 40 km from Yogyakarta. The temple can be visited anywhere between sunset and sunrise, but watching the sunrise is what most people do. The entrance fee of 350 000 IDR is already pretty hefty for Indonesian standards, but be prepared to pay an extra 125 000 just to see the sunset (which does include a pretty big breakfast buffet).
2. November 2019 • Katja Laurien
One of the things I enjoy most about travelling is the fact that it makes me value my own country a lot more. As a nature lover I always used to consider myself to be very unfortunate to be born in the Netherlands. It’s one of the few countries people would definitely not travel to just for the nature. We don’t have the azure blue waters of the Mediterranean countries, we don’t even come close to the mountains the Alps (let alone any mountain) and our forests have nothing more to offer than any other European forest.
12. September 2019 • Katja Laurien
For many, the Simplon Pass is no more than just a beautiful gateway between Switzerland and Italy, but there’s more to it. The pass actually has many hiking trails to offer. Finding a suitable day hike was not as easy, due to the huge choice. Eventually, I did get to make my decision: The round-way up to Spitzhörli (2737 m) it was going to be! The hike takes about 4.5 hours without breaks and leads up to the top of the Spitzhörli from where you can enjoy a wonderful view.
30. August 2019 • Katja Laurien
Most people know the Swiss canton Valais for the Matterhorn, but believe me, there is so much more out there. One of my favourite highlights is the Aletsch Glacier. It’s the largest glacier in the Alps which of course promises some spectacular views! It’s 23 km long, situated partially in the canton of Bern, the other side being in Valais. In Bern you can see the glacier from the Jungfraujoch. I’ve seen the glacier from both sides, but to be honest with you, I much preferred the Valais view.
17. August 2019 • Katja Laurien
Today I want to introduce to you the hike between Ernen and Mühlebach. In fact, it’s only a short 30 min walk (one way), but it has quite a bit to offer: wonderful mountain views, two charming authentic Swiss villages and a suspension bridge.
The suspension bridge between Mühlebach and Fürgangen Ernen and Mühlebach are both two picturesque villages which make you feel like travelling back in time.
10. August 2019 • Katja Laurien
If you ever have to travel between the Swiss cantons Bern and Valais, consider not taking the “quick” car transport at Lötschberg, but the slightly longer, ever so beautiful route over the Grimselpass. Not only can you enjoy the wonderful view, but you might even decide to take a detour and hike around while you’re already there.
View from the top of the Grimsel pass I can highly recommend hiking to the Oberaar glacier (Oberaargletscher).
3. August 2019 • Katja Laurien
Who says a beautiful hike with breathtaking views has to be difficult? Sure, in most cases hard work gets rewarded with the best views, but there are some exceptions, such as the loop walk from Fafleralp in the Lötschen valley (Lötschental).
The hike takes about 3-4 hours with a minimal elevation of around 300 m. Most parts of the hike are straight and very easily accessible. There is a possibility to continue the hike to the Anenhütte, which we didn’t do as we had a 2-year old hiking along with us (I guess that’s proof enough how easy the hike actually is).
30. July 2019 • Katja Laurien
The Binn valley in the Swiss canton Valais is beautiful but rather unknown. But only because the crowds don’t flock into the valley doesn’t mean it’s not a wonderful place which offers some great hikes - especially if you’re a fan of rivers, streams and waterfalls.
One of the many streams you'll pass on the way to the Mässersee The most common hike is the one to the Binntalhütte.
3. July 2019 • Katja Laurien
Skadar Lake is one of Montenegro’s five national parks and only 30 minutes away from the capital Podgorica. Many people come for a day trip to the lake, do a boat trip, walk around the tiny village and go back again. In my opinion, the lake has more to offer. It’s worth spending a couple of days around the lake to explore more of it. You can take Virpazar as starting point, as it’s easiest to reach and has most of the tourist facilities (but please, don’t expect too much, it’s tiny).
25. June 2019 • Katja Laurien
If you don’t intend to walk the Peaks of the Balkans you might wonder where Vusanje is and what you should do there. In fact, it’s a bit of the same story as with the entire country, Montenegro. When I told my friends and family I was going to Montenegro nearly everyone looked at me puzzled, wondering what the heck I was going to do there.
This is more or less the look I get when I tell people I go to Montenegro The same happened when I told the lady working in the hostel in Kotor that I was heading towards Vusanje.
22. June 2019 • Katja Laurien
While travelling in Montenegro I was told by a local that Kotor is referred to as the Gateway to Montenegro. I didn’t even need an explanation, I immediately saw why people would say this. Kotor is the “jewel” of Montenegro, the one place you have to have seen when visiting the country. For many people, myself included, it’s the reason to visit the country in the first place.
When I first decided to visit Montenegro in 2015 I based my decision on one single picture of the view over the Bay of Kotor.
3. May 2019 • Katja Laurien
You’ve never heard of Raron? This might be Switzerlands newest place to be! Well… For some maybe. It’s small, it’s beautiful and far away from where all the other tourists are. If you’re looking for the most jaw-dropping views, the highest peaks and the best after-ski bars, don’t waste your time and stop reading. Raron is not yours. But if you’re looking for an authentic and charming Swiss mountain village, Raron is your place to be.
30. April 2019 • Katja Laurien
Gosh, wouldn’t it be awesome to be the only tourist on earth? Even better: the only person on earth? But only while travelling. Whenever I travel, I just want all the beauty to myself, especially when it comes to nature. For some reason I feel disturbed whenever I have to “share” nature with other people.
Unfortunately, this is pretty impossible. Especially when you’re enjoying nature in the midst of a city.
18. April 2019 • Katja Laurien
Montreux has been on my bucket list for quite a while now and finally I made my way to this wonderful city. I had high expectations of the city with its amazing view over the lake and surrounding mountains. In order to make sure I could enjoy the city as much as possible, I choose a rather sunny day.
On my way to Montreux I was excited. The sun was shining, the weather was sweet.
12. January 2019 • Katja Laurien
Switzerland is so small, but so packed with breathtaking nature and beautiful cities. Most people seem to come to Switzerland for Zürich, Luzern, Genève, Zermatt or the Jungfrau Region. These are already a lot of destinations for such a small country. But still there are some hidden gems, such as Ticino. Ticino is an Italian speaking Swiss canton, along the Italian border. The Italian influence gives this Swiss canton a pleasant Mediterranean flavor.
11. January 2019 • Katja Laurien
The Jungfrau Region is probably Switzerland’s most popular hike and ski region. Therefore, it is kind of difficult to find out where to go, the options seem to be endless. I was fortunate enough to spend seven months in the midst of this breathtaking region, in the charismatic village Grindelwald. In those seven months I intensively explored the region and found out the most beautiful hikes. In this post I made a quick overview of the highlights and popular hikes.
20. April 2018 • Katja Laurien
My holiday to Colombia was a rather spontaneous decision. Two weeks prior to boarding I had no clue I would end up there! So, what made me decide to visit this country? First of all, Colombia has a huge biodiversity (second biggest to be precise) which greatly appealed to my nature loving heart! Secondly, March is just outside the high season, but not yet in the rainy season. Third, it’s a relatively cheap country.
14. February 2018 • Katja Laurien
During my stay in Nepal I did not only fulfill one wish (doing my yoga teacher training) I also fulfilled another long held wish: hiking the Annapurna Circuit. I wasn’t sure what to expect as many people say that mass tourism has destroyed its charm. And I do have to admit that the circuit is a lot busier than expected, not only with tourists, but also with locals. There are many villages (which make this circuit so convenient, because there is accommodation all along the trail) and unfortunately also many jeep roads.
29. October 2017 • Katja Laurien
Macedonia: To go or not to go? Before going I was a bit in doubt. I had already spent a week in Albania and the locals kept asking why I was going to Macedonia if I already had been in Albania. According to them everything was more beautiful on their side. The only thing they admitted to be equally beautiful was lake Ohrid, which they share. Knowing that the ties between Albania and Macedonia are not particularly strong, I supposed their opinion was biased.
16. October 2017 • Katja Laurien
When I told people I was going to Albania almost everyone asked me what the heck I was going to do there. Unfortunately, most people still associate Albania with a rather unattractive and dangerous country somewhere near the Balkans. Nothing could be less true! Albania is one of the most beautiful countries I have ever been to and the people are among the friendliest I have experienced.
This is the reason why I decided to come back to Albania.
20. September 2017 • Katja Laurien
Malta. Doesn’t the sound of it immediately make you think of azure blue water, sunny weather and dazzling cliffs? That is exactly what it is! In July I spent a week on Malta. Since I was visiting a girl I had met in Mexico, I didn’t do any research before arriving. I expected her to tell me where to go and what to do and she did a great job. But truth to be told: Malta is so incredibly small, you don’t need to be fully organized in order to see the most important spots.
14. May 2017 • Katja Laurien
Oaxaca was not part of my initial travel itinerary. But due to the busy Semana Santa (Easter week), I had to change my plans. Picking a new destination was not very difficult. I had heard a lot about Oaxacas laid back atmosphere and beautiful architecture. Somewhat spontaneous, I booked a ticket and without any preparation, I dove into the colorful city.
Oaxaca City Oaxaca is a relatively small city with a beautiful historic center, colorful houses and majestic cathedrals.
5. May 2017 • Katja Laurien
It’s time for my first travel post and I am so happy to kick off with this beautiful destination: Baja California Sur in Mexico. Two months before I set foot on Mexican ground, I didn’t even have a clue I would end up in this paradise. I had no idea I would go to Mexico and I didn’t even know Baja existed. It must have been destiny that brought me here and I couldn’t be more grateful!