as catedrais, galicia, spain

cathedral beach, spain

PLACE: Playa de las Catedrales or Beach of the Cathedrals
LOCATION: Spain
NOTORIOUS: Rock formations on the beach
NEAREST AIRPORT: you’ve got options
COORDINATES: 43.5539° N, 7.1572° W
CURRENCY: Euro

I’d probably do this trip if I was going to go to Bilbao and I’d also probably visit this place I posted about at the same time. I try not to post about a country twice, but Spain is filled with little gems that I can’t deny. I mean, this beach was apparently awarded the best beach in Europe because of its stunning rock formations and quirky little twists and turns.

To have the full experience, make sure you plan your visit around attending at low tide. The beach is only about 300 meters so the best thing to bring is your camera. See you there in 2015?

cathedral beach, spain\ cathedral beach, spain

cinque terre, italy

cinque terre, italy

PLACE: Cinque Terre
LOCATION: Italy
NOTORIOUS: five oceanside towns in the Italian Riviera (“fiat-free Italy”)
NEAREST AIRPORT: MXP, Milano Malpensa airport (then take the train)
COORDINATES: 44.1000° N, 9.7500° E
CURRENCY: Euro

So I’ve now heard about this place more than twice which means I absolutely need to feature it. Five towns all in a row: Riomaggiore (the colourful and most substantial town), Manarola (tiny town with amazing pesto), Corniglia (small and not directly on the water), Monterosso (only resort town, has a decent night life, and a big beach) and Vernazza (the jewel of Cinque Terre — featured last in my pictures!).

Not only should we eat (olive oil!) and drink (dry white wine!)… it’s apparently essential that we check out the the trail from Vernazza to Monterosso. Apparently it’s a steep climb but taking the day to do it is well worth the effort. I’m headed to Italy this year – I hope it will be a pit stop!

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guilin (桂林市), china

guilin, china
PLACE: Guilin/Yangshuo
LOCATION: China
NOTORIOUS: fable-making mountains
NEAREST AIRPORT: KWL, Guilin Liangjiang International Airport
COORDINATES: 25.2667° N, 110.2833° E
CURRENCY: Chinese Yuan (¥)

You guys. This is Guilin. It is not a fairy tale – I’ve been. Had to share it with you all. This is a well-known Chinese destination – so much so that a scene from the Lijiang River is featured on the 20¥ note. Introduced to me by my friend Charlie Wu, I visited in 2011 with my dad’s friend from Shanghai. Together we toured Guilin and Yangshuo for four days and I literally couldn’t believe my eyes.

I knew it was famous but… I have never seen such a landscape again in my life. Highlights: Take a river tour on bamboo rafts and meet the local fisherman and their families. Visit the vast, beautiful Reed Flute caves – they are completely lit up and magical.

guilin, chinaguilin, china

goa, india

goa, india
PLACE: Palolem Beach, Goa
LOCATION: India
NOTORIOUS: beach-side escape
NEAREST AIRPORT: GOI, Darbolim Airport
COORDINATES15°00′36″N 74°01′24″E
CURRENCY: Indian Rupee

Goa. 63 miles of coastline along the Arabian Sea. India. You might think hippies, hedonism and all-night dance parties – I think yoga retreats, quaint beaches, lush jungle and concealed ancient temples. We’d both agree: magic.

The best way to get here is to fly into Mumbai and switch to a domestic airline. Apparently the hardest part of trip planning is deciding to go North or South. I say South, because it’s less developed (obviously). Either way, Palolem, Agonda and Patnem in the south, and Arambol, Mandrem and Anjuna in the north, are the hubs for yoga and Ayurveda retreats. This one in Patnem made The Guardian’s top 10 yoga retreats in the world. Although, this one on the Mandrem river in the North looks pretty epic as well.Can’t wait to visit.

colva beach, goa, indiagoa, india, yab yum resort
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iguaçu falls, brazil

iguazu falls, brazil

PLACE: Iguazu Falls / Iguaçu Falls
LOCATION: Border of Brazil, Paraguay, and Argentina
NOTORIOUS: waterfalls
NEAREST AIRPORT: IGU, Foz do Iguaçu International Airport
COORDINATES25° 41′ 12″ S54° 26′ 41″ W
CURRENCY: US Dollar

These are some serious waterfalls you guys. There are 275 individual falls in one place – the most on the planet! This means they are taller and twice as wide as the Niagara Falls. Kind of like Niagara, there are two countries bordering them – the Brazilian and the Argentinian side.

The blogs are saying it’s good to spend a day on each side. There are a few hotels in the area, including a Sheraton. I saw of picture of my French friend in front of them years ago and couldn’t believe my eyes. When I came across these photos I knew I needed to highlight them!

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iguazu falls, brazil

white pocket, vermilion cliffs , arizona

White Pocket Vermilion Cliffs, Arizona

PLACE: White Pocket Vermilion Cliffs National Monument
LOCATION: Arizona
NOTORIOUS: rock formations
NEAREST AIRPORT: PHX, Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport
COORDINATES: 36° 48′ 23″ N, 111° 44′ 28″ W
CURRENCY: US Dollar

Come on! Look at that red! These cliffs are located right below the Utah state line North East of the Grand Canyon. I love that there’s more to this area than most of us get to see in the Vegas brochures. So, apparently the White Pocket is a notoriously hard-to-reach area of sandstone hidden within the desert expanse of the Vermilion Cliffs. It was made famous when National Geographic ran a spread on it attracting hikers everywhere, and I don’t blame ’em.

The rock formations are primarily made of sandstone, siltstone, limestone, and shale. They rise as much as 3,000 feet (910 m) above their bases and are millions of years old. Bring your binoculars, apparently this area is a serious hawk- and eagle-spotting zone. Be sure to see all three of these while you’re there: Vermilion Cliffs, Coyote Buttes, and Paria Canyon.

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Hiked it? Any tips? We need ’em!

gaztelugatxe, spain

gastelugatxe spain
PLACE: Gastelugatxe, Coast of Biscany
LOCATION: Basque Country, Spain
NOTORIOUS: man-made bridge
NEAREST AIRPORT: BIO, Bilbao Airport
COORDINATES: 43° 26′ 49.2″ N, 2° 47′ 6″ W
CURRENCY: Euro

Dude. Upon discovering the incredible landscape work of Alex Stohl (some of his photos featured here), I stumbled upon this magical little island off the coast of Spain. Gastelugatxe holds a church built in the 10th century called Gaztelugatxeko Doniene (in Basque) or San Juan de Gaztelugatxe (in Spanish).

Everyone seems to be talking about the church but when I saw this bridge I couldn’t believe my eyes. It is completely man made and takes 231 steps to get over to the island – so come hydrated. Seems like a romantic little getaway to Basque country. I’ve always wanted to visit that Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao as well.

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Been? Tell us about it!