Posted on Leave a comment

Hiking Europe | Exploring world-class hiking trails in 3 countries

Peneda-Gerês National Park | Portugal | Image by Chantelle Flores
Peneda-Gerês National Park | Portugal | Image by Chantelle Flores |

Hiking trails in Portugal, Switzerland, and Luxembourg

There’s nothing like getting out and getting some fresh air on a gorgeous hike. No matter if your idea of a hike is a leisurely stroll along the shores of a picturesque lake or climbing the highest mountain in Switzerland, we’ve got you covered. Below are some of our favorite hikes around three countries in Europe.

Portugal – Peneda-Geres National Park

Peneda-Gerês National Park | Portugal | Image by Chantelle Flores
Peneda-Gerês National Park | Portugal | Image by Chantelle Flores |

Peneda-Gerês National Park can be found in Northern Portugal 100km away from Porto. It is Portugal’s only National Park and just so happens to run through Spain. It covers a total area of 72 290 hectares.


The region experiences rainfall for 130 days a year, attributed to its lush vegetation in all shades of green and rich flora and fauna. Similarly, water characterizes the region, so you can appreciate its many cascading waterfalls, rivers, small lakes, and natural swimming pools.

Peneda-Gerês National Park | Portugal | Image by Chantelle Flores
Peneda-Gerês National Park | Portugal | Image by Chantelle Flores |

The landscapes are breathtaking, flaunting rolling hills, oak woodlands, and deep valleys. The wildlife epidemic in the region is Roebuck, the Park’s symbolic animal, the  Iberian wolf, deer, golden eagles, bears, and otters. Wild horses can also be found roaming the region’s mountainscapes.

Peneda-Gerês National Park | Portugal | Image by Chantelle Flores
Peneda-Gerês National Park | Portugal | Image by Chantelle Flores |

Ancient Villages

Hiking in this region is unique in that a few of the trails intercept with some of the country’s oldest villages built on deep granite blocks. Villages where the life of traditional Portuguese inhabitants has been frozen in time. Most of which, have preserved their ancient values and agricultural practices.

Peneda-Gerês National Park | Portugal | Image by Chantelle Flores
Peneda-Gerês National Park | Portugal | Image by Chantelle Flores |

One such village that will dazzle you with its authenticity and beauty is Soajo.  Here you can see an impressive group of twenty-four stone espigueiros (granaries) dotting its rugged landscapes. These date back to the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries and were traditionally used to store maize and corn which is abundant in the region.


Peneda-Gerês National Park | Portugal | Image by Chantelle Flores
Peneda-Gerês National Park | Portugal | Image by Chantelle Flores |

You can get an “Adventure Map” of the park at the Parque de Cerdeira campsite or at the tourist office Geres. Many of the trails are also listed on the Wikiloc app.

Many of these trails boast impressive sceneries, from Roman trails to multilayered waterfalls to Stonehenge-like formations. As a matter of fact,  Lonely Planet devotes ten whole pages to this.

Here are a few of our favorites.

Megalithic Tombs

Peneda-Gerês National Park | Portugal | Image by Chantelle Flores
Peneda-Gerês National Park | Portugal | Image by Chantelle Flores |

The Megalithic Tombs trail is a must! It starts at the village of Rodeiro a few kilometers from Castro Laboreiro and is approximately 15km long. These group of tombs were constructed 5000 years BC and are impressive.  They are situated on a range of high rolling hills and some even boast cave paintings.

Geira Roman Road

Peneda-Gerês National Park | Portugal | Image by Chantelle Flores
Peneda-Gerês National Park | Portugal | Image by Chantelle Flores |

Following the Geira Roman Road is a beautiful way to see the Peneda Geres National Park. This ancient road ran for 300km between the Roman cities of Braga in Portugal, and Astorga in Spain.

Most of the trail is marked by glass boards reflecting memorial sites every Roman mile and takes you through beautiful oak woods along the paving slabs left by the Romans. The signposted infrastructure only runs as far as the Spanish border so be careful not to get lost after this point.

Peneda-Gerês National Park | Portugal | Image by Chantelle Flores
Peneda-Gerês National Park | Portugal | Image by Chantelle Flores |

If you would like to do only a section of the Geira Roman road, the circular hike – Pequena Rota 9 caters to this. You can access more information in English here.

The PR 14

Peneda-Gerês National Park | Portugal | Image by Chantelle Flores
Peneda-Gerês National Park | Portugal | Image by Chantelle Flores |

The PR 14 route is a 13-kilometer circular route that starts and ends in Ermida. Highlights of this trail include one of Portugal’s most impressive waterfalls;  the Cascata do Arado and the impressive Stone Age rock formations. You can also experience striking mountain views and natural pools along the way.

Peneda-Gerês National Park | Portugal | Image by Chantelle Flores
Peneda-Gerês National Park | Portugal | Image by Chantelle Flores |

Portela do Homem

This trail is relatively difficult to walk as you will be crossing over boulders for the most part of the journey. It is impossible to get lost: the trail follows the river Homem and does not have any side trails.

Peneda-Gerês National Park | Portugal | Image by Chantelle Flores
Peneda-Gerês National Park | Portugal | Image by Chantelle Flores |

Highlights of this hike are the ruins of the old abandoned mines of Carris and the lake of Carris.


Switzerland | Image by Joshua Earle
Switzerland | Image by Joshua Earle |

Switzerland, as you can imagine, is a hiker’s paradise!

Granted, most of the hikes have some serious inclines that require more effort and physical fitness, but they are some of the most beautiful in the world.

Switzerland | Image by Chantelle Flores
Switzerland, Image by Chantelle Flores |

What’s more, is that you are not spoilt for choice. There are tons of signposted trails to choose from spanning over 65 000km.

Here, we’ve brought together the best places for immediate-level hikes, most of which cover a wide range of themes; from picturesque lakes to the famed mountain peaks of Zermatt.

Switzerland | Image by Andrea Ledda
Switzerland, Image by Andrea Ledda |

Iseltwald to Giessbach – Lakes and Waterfalls

This 9km odd hiking trail takes you from Iseltwald to Giessbach and is suitable for all skill levels. You will love this one, not only because it is considered Switzerland’s most beautiful riverside path, but also because it has no great differences in altitude, and follows a path along the shores of Lake Brienz.

You will pass by mighty rock formations and have splendid vantage points and shady forests before arriving at the impressive Giessbach waterfall.

Just like most trails in Switzerland, getting to the starting point requires a little bit of effort and a few means of transport. It is best to start at the Iseltwald ferry terminal where you will take a Ferry to Seeblick. From here you will walk for about 5,7km through Grillplatz, before arriving at Bootsanleger Giessbach where you will catch a funicular to the Grand Hotel.

Insiders Tip: Once you arrive at the waterfall, follow the signboards for route 9.  This spectacular route passes behind the waterfall which you can’t afford to miss.

Alpbach MIB loop to Reichenbachfallbahn

Switzerland | Image by My Switzerland
Switzerland, Image by My Switzerland |

The Aareschlucht Loop is a 10km trail and will take you through the Haslital Valley in the central Alps. The flat valley floor of the lower Haslital is separated from the upper valley by an impressive transverse rock formation that has been eroded away through the course of the millennia.

Switzerland | Image by My Switzerland
Switzerland, Image by My Switzerland |

It is simply breathtaking and the size of the gorge will amaze you. It is 1400 meters long and up to 200 meters deep.

The paths, bridges, and tunnels in the gorge have made it accessible for over 100 years and can be effortlessly hiked on foot.

Switzerland | Image by Joshua Fuller
Switzerland | Image by Joshua Fuller |

Zermatt – Mountain Peaks and Lakes

The resort town of Zermatt has been dubbed the ski capital of the world, but its hiking trails are something to be desired as well. It’s a world on its own, and a haven for mountain lovers. There are 400 km worth of trails that you can choose from that spans the 38 4000meter high mountain peaks.

Switzerland | Image by Philipp Wuthrich
Switzerland | Image by Philipp Wuthrich

The local tourism board has a few resources available that will allow you to customize your own hiking experience. Firstly, you mark out your starting point on the map, secondly, the point you would like to end. The route planner then automatically works out the route for you along the path network. What’s more is that they have an “On the way “ mobile app, that will help you with your navigation.

Here are a few hikes worth considering:


This 6,2km trail is a really special one for rejuvenating your mind and soul and will take you one hour and forty minutes to complete. You will love this for its forest filled with ancient Swiss stone pine trees, and sweeping landscape views that extend all the way to Matterhorn as well as many other views of 4,000-metre peaks.


Switzerland | Image by Gabriel Garcia Marengo
Switzerland | Image by Gabriel Garcia Marengo

The varied trail called the 5-Seenweg takes you to 5 mountain lakes whereby Matterhorn is perfectly reflected in three of them. The trail is 9,3km and should take you two and a half hours to complete. You will love this one because each of the covered lakes (Stellisee, Grindjisee, Grünsee, Moosjisee, and Leisee) are distinctly different in terms of shape, color, character, and size.

Breithorn Ascent

Switzerland | Image by Sven Scheuermeier
Switzerland | Image by Sven Scheuermeier

The Breithorn trail covers a distance of 5,4km and will take you, depending on your fitness level, three and a half hours to complete. Climbing any mountain is difficult, but the local tourism board refers to this one as one of the easiest climbing routes for a four-thousand-meter glacier mountain crest.

Despite it being “easier” they do still recommend that only experienced mountain hikers do it, along with a mountain guide.

Insiders Tip: Get your hands on the Peak Pass. This will give you unlimited travel on all of the mountain lifts that will take you to the highest points in the Alps up to 3,883m, as well as all the buses in Zermatt.

Information about the hiking area can be found here on the Zermatt Tourism website. For hours of operation and information about the mountain lifts, you can click here.

Switzerland | Image by Chantelle Flores
Mullerthal Trail | Luxembourg | Image by Chantelle Flores |

Luxembourg – Mullerthal Trail

Mullerthal Trail | Luxembourg | Image by Chantelle Flores
Mullerthal Trail | Luxembourg | Image by Chantelle Flores |

If you love hiking through forests that have hidden gems like unique rock formations once buried under the sea, then hiking Luxembourg’s Mullerthal Region will be an unforgettable experience for you.

These lesser-known European long-distance range of hiking trails lie on the border of both Luxembourg and Germany.

Locals like to refer to this region as the “Little Switzerland” for its impressive canyon and gorges, primeval forests, bizarre rock formations, and picturesque streams.

Mullerthal Trail | Luxembourg | Image by Chantelle Flores
Mullerthal Trail | Luxembourg | Image by Chantelle Flores |

At the beginning of 2014, the Mullerthal Trail received the label “Leading Quality Trails – Best of Europe” which has since captured the hearts of hiking enthusiasts.

There are three main trails spanning over 112km and are divided into three main routes. (Route 1, Route 2, Route 3). What’s nice about hiking here, is that you can pick up the trail just about anywhere in the region, and can walk smaller sections of it at any given time.

Route 1 & 2 shows the typical landscape of the area covering the spectacular rock formations (our favorites), as well as forests and pastures. Route 3 is all about romantic castles and many stream-filled valleys.

Mullerthal Trail | Luxembourg | Image by Chantelle Flores
Mullerthal Trail | Luxembourg | Image by Chantelle Flores |

In addition, all three of these trails cover the cultural highlights of the region.

You can get your hands on the walking maps, available for purchase at the main tourist centers and at your accommodation.  

Let’s explore a few of the highlights of the region.

Echternach – Berdorf

This E1 trail is dubbed as an expert hiker trail, however, our “not so fit” insiders hiked this effortlessly. The trail is 11,7km in length and will take you 4 hours to complete.

You will love this trail for its many hidden gems that are waiting for you to experience.

Mullerthal Trail | Luxembourg | Image by Chantelle Flores
Mullerthal Trail | Luxembourg | Image by Chantelle Flores |

The Wolves Canyon called the “Gorge Du Loup” will definitely not disappoint you. It was formed by a split in a huge rock which you can walk through. Wolves were known once to be hiding beneath the rocks, giving way to their name.

The “Hohllay” and the amphitheater is something special too. From the Middle Ages until the 19th century, the millstones for the numerous mills in the region were cut from these impressive caves, leaving traces and bizarre patterns on the rocks.

Mullerthal Trail | Luxembourg | Image by Chantelle Flores
Mullerthal Trail | Luxembourg | Image by Chantelle Flores |

Beaufort – B1

The Beaufort B1 10km trail starts at the idyllic Beaufort Castle and takes you through some romantic brooks and other rock formations. The views are spectacular.

Mullerthal Trail | Luxembourg | Image by Chantelle Flores
Mullerthal Trail | Luxembourg | Image by Chantelle Flores |

The castle, now a ruin, is spectacular to see. Similarly, the Saueruecht Forest offers incredible viewpoints of the Sûre Valley.

Schiessentumpel Trail

Mullerthal Trail | Luxembourg | Image by Chantelle Flores
Mullerthal Trail | Luxembourg | Image by Chantelle Flores |

The Schiessentumpel Trail is what everyone coming here is talking about.

Whilst, it is not a very grand waterfall, the scene is very picturesque and makes for a popular excursion. A lovely stone bridge crosses over the Black Ernz River and is surrounded by impressive rock formations.

Insider’s tip: When exploring the region, it is a good idea to base yourself in Echternach as Routes 1 & 2 pass through this town.  What’s more, is that The Youth Hostel in the area has its own set of hiking trails you can follow that is well marked with signboards featuring its international logo.

Article commissioned by Travel Start South Africa.

Have you heard?

All images from Chantelle Flores | 51 Countries and Counting are for sale as print products on our online store.

Give a shout-out on Instagram!

Related Images:

Posted on Leave a comment

The Ultimate Guide to Skiing in Switzerland

Switzerland | Image by Chantelle Flores, Kzara Visual.

When dreaming of taking a ski trip, Switzerland is usually the country that first comes to mind.

Why wouldn’t it? It is where the big boys like to play.

Some of the world’s top snowboarders, freestyles, and skiers frequently head to Switzerland to take part in International winter competitions, like the Ski World Cup and the Freestyle Championships. Competitions that, we have all gotten to know and love.

With guaranteed snow during the winter months at each of its top premier ski resorts, it is no wonder why Switzerland ranks as the world’s number one ski destination.

It doesn’t matter if you are a newbie or a near pro, these resorts have some incredible ski schools, offering professional and accredited coaches that will show you the ropes. Before you know it, you could just be gliding down the slopes just like a pro.

So pack up those woollies and thermals, buy yourself that uber-cute ski outfit you have always wanted, and let’s help you start planning your trip.

Insiders Guide to saving money in Switzerland

Before we can list our favorite ski resorts, we would like to offer you some budget-friendly tips.

It’s no secret that Switzerland is expensive, but there are a few ways you can make it easier on the pocket.

When to go
If we have learned one thing from traveling the world, it is this – travel during the low session will save you a penny or two. Switzerland is no different. Not only, are the ski slopes less crowded, but the hotels make them more affordable too. Usually, the prices are lower during December (except during the Christmas and New Year periods) and in January.

During some December however, there has been little or no snowfall, so carefully look into this as it could not be the most ideal time to ski. The last two weeks of March offer a good alternative and are, friendly on the budget. Skiing over Easter is something to consider as well.

Book online

Some ski resorts offer you a 20% discount when booking your ski passes online, usually one to two weeks in advance. The same rule applies to ski equipment rental and ski lessons.

Guest Cards
Most hotels in Switzerland will give you a tourist card for the duration of your stay. It is usually issued by a local tourist office and gives you all kinds of advantages, like discounts at the local stores or restaurants, public transport, free access to a swimming pool or ice skating rinks, etc.

Types of Accommodation
Eating out in Switzerland can literally eat into your budget, so booking a half-board package at your hotel or a self-catering chalet, that will allow you to cook your meals, can save you a ton of money.

Types of Ski Resorts
Luxury mountain resorts like Zermatt, Verbier, and Gstaad can be costly, however, smaller, lesser-known village resorts can offer more affordable alternatives. We have included a few of our budget-friendly resorts in the list below.

Budget Travelling with children
Traveling with children in Switzerland doesn’t have to be expensive. In fact, Switzerland is a country that caters more to children than to adults. Don’t be surprised to find that most hotels allow children to stay for free when booking a family room.

What’s more, is that ski passes for children under the age of 6 or 9 are free, with older children enjoying big discounts too. Similarly, ski rental companies provide children’s ski equipment free of charge when renting equipment for yourself.

World Class Resorts


If you are looking for a premier ski resort, famous worldwide, then Zermatt is your place. Its outer-worldly beauty will leave you in awe. Aside from its famous Matterhorn mountain that everyone is talking about, the views from its 37 other 4000-meter peaks are just as incredible.

It’s high altitude and glacier make this a possible ski destination all year round.

There is 360km worth of trails waiting for you to explore it. These trails cater to almost every skill level.
For experts, the 36km black track will get you the most excited and ensure your adrenaline will be pumping. Whilst it is marked, it is not a groomed track and will take you all the way down to the village.

Switzerland | Image by Chantelle Flores, Kzara Visual.

Davos – Klosters

Did skiing at Europe’s highest city make it onto your bucket list? If so, then the Davos-Klosters ski area is your place. It is the highest city in Europe and a real delight, appreciated by the “Upper Class”. Here you could just run into your celebrity crush or the likes of Prince Charles.

Not only is the region incredibly picturesque, but it also offers 300 km of slopes across its six mountains, peaking at 2,844 meters. It has been dubbed as the biggest snow sports region of the Alps.

The Parsenn ski area above Lake Davos is a favorite, offering runs of up to 12 kilometers and catering to various skill levels. If you prefer snowboarding then you will appreciate the Jakobshorn Fun Park, geared for the freestyle snowboarder.

Snowboarding and skiing are not the only things that this region is famous for.

The area is also amazing for cross-country skiing, which you can do completely for free. Tobogganing is also famous here, having started in 1883. There are nine toboggan runs, each promising fun, and diversity. More so, Davos is home to Europe’s largest natural ice rink, where you can practice your ice-hockey skills, speed skating, or just a regular ice skate.

Snowshoeing is a must here too. You can venture into deep snowy forests and enjoy the untouched winter landscapes. Night hikes are the in thing, where along with a mountain guide, you can appreciate the landscapes under the full moon and opt to spend a night in a traditional mountain hut.

Laax Resort

If you are traveling as a family, then the Laax Resort is for you. The Laax for Beginners ski school finds “little” ski enthusiasts coming here each year to learn how to ski. What’s nice about this one is, you can leave your children in the hands of trusted professionals while you enjoy a few of the 224km ski runs of your own.

What’s more, is that the resort town has retained its traditional charm, boasting a rich history and Swiss architecture.


Grindelwald can be found in the Canton of Berne and is surrounded by the world-famous alpine peaks of Eiger, Wetterhorn, Faulhorn, and Fiescherhörner. It is also home to the famous UNESCO Jungfrau Railway which takes you to the Top of Europe.

It is 3,453 meters above sea level, making it the highest railway station in Europe. The journey up is incredible offering spectacular close-up views of the towering Eiger North face and views of the Grindelwald Valley.
The Ice Palace boasting a range of artificial ice sculptures is something special to see, and while you are there, visit the highest chocolate shop in the world – The Lindt Swiss Chocolate Heaven.

Skiing at Grindelwald is world-class. The resort town offers over 60 kilometers of sun-kissed groomed slopes with magnificent panoramic views.

Switzerland | Image by Chantelle Flores, Kzara Visual.

Mürren Resort

53 km of prepared ski and snowboard pistes, toboggan runs and a network of winter walking trails are what await you at the Ski Resort of Mürren.

Adrenaline is guaranteed on piste No. 9; the steepest slope in the Jungfrau area. It offers an incline of 88% and breathtaking panorama views can be enjoyed on its long descent.

Snowboarders and freeskiers can appreciate the runs at the Skyline Snowpark.

St. Moritz

St Moritz ranks high up there as one of Switzerland’s premier alpine resort towns. Celebrities are bustling here, for its modern alpine lifestyle which is characterized by top-class restaurants offering gastronomic variety, glamorous hotels, and high streets filled with big-named designer boutiques.

Despite all of this, the town’s real riches lie outdoors, in the mountains. It has 88 snow-covered slopes, sparkling in the sun, waiting to be explored. There are four large and varied ski areas, namely, Corviglia/Piz Nair, Corvatsch, Diavolezza/Lagalb, and Zuoz, as well as five smaller ones, equally as beautiful. Collectively, these areas offer runs of up to 330km.

The town is also the birthplace of alpine winter tourism, which started 150 years ago. It has hosted the Winter Olympics twice as well as the world-championship Cresta Run (a bobsled run made of natural ice) and has an outdoor Olympic ice rink. Its frozen lake hosts polo, cricket, and even horse racing on ice.

Budget-Friendly Resorts

Les Diablerets

In the heart of the Vaud Alps, Les Diablerets offers exceptional skiing at a fraction of the cost, especially during the months of October to May.

The 112 km worth of slopes is perfect for the whole family and offers spectacular scenery. Children under the age of 9 can take advantage of free ski passes and can learn how to ski in the resort’s snow gardens. Advanced skiers can appreciate the fantastic snowpark; Glacier3000 which offers the highest slopes in the region.

In addition, you can find many self-catering units, and restaurants offering budget meals, specifically the L’Ormonan’s, where you can enjoy a Chinese meal from 5CHF.

The lakeside town of Interlaken has become a favorite amongst backpackers. Whilst there is no local ski area, it is a great base when wanting to access the ski areas of Wengen, Grindelwald, and Murren.

Apartment rentals here are wallet-friendly and trains and buses around the region are usually offered free of charge when you have a ski pass.

Coop, Migros, and Aldi will save you a pretty penny when it comes to nosh – pick up a sandwich at one of the delis for a mountain-packed lunch.


Nendaz lets you ski Verbier’s terrain since it shares the same 4 Valley ski area. When it comes to prices, this alternative tends to be much cheaper.

If you are just starting to learn how to ski or snowboard, then you can appreciate the free access given to Park Tracouet. The idea behind the access is to give beginners the to learn all the basics.

What’s more, the resort offers additional canny ways to save. Instead of purchasing a pass that covers the full 412km of slopes, you will be able to purchase the Printze Pass. This pass only covers 220km worth of trails but will save you 60CHF in the long run.

There are budget-friendly accommodation options on offer here too. That said, catered chalets in the area offer packages that include both food and wine in the overall price.


You won’t be disappointed with the slopes at Saas-Fee. They offer some of the best ski conditions in the Alps, thanks to the Allalin Glacier. There are 145km of pistes to be discovered and you would be surprised at the number of deals this resort town has on offer.

Children under the age of 9 can ski for free when purchasing a 6-day adult pass. Similarly, groups of 10 people can benefit from the lift passes that are also thrown in for free.

Local restaurants like Bar No 1 are making it easier to have an easy-on-the-pocket trip as well. For example, you can enjoy their meal of the day for as little as 10CHF, saving you at least 60% on dining out.

Moreso, nights out in the town don’t have to break the bank either. Gletcher Grotte offers the cheapest beer and glühwein around.

Article commissioned by Travel Start, South Africa

All information on this blog page was correct at the time of publishing and may change at any time without prior notice. 51 Countries and Counting will not be held liable for loss or inconvenience resulting from the use of outdated or incorrectly noted information.

Related Images:

Posted on Leave a comment

20 Weird & Wonderful Facts about Iceland

There is just something so mystical about Iceland, an unspoken force that grabs a hold of your travel soul and refuses to let go. The allure is just so strong. It is a country with a unique personality that I am yet to come across in other parts of the world.

Iceland | Photography by Chantelle Flores, www. kzaravisual .com

Iceland | Photography by Chantelle Flores, www. kzaravisual .com

Here are a few weird facts about this North Atlantic Island.
1. 80% of the land is uninhibited with a population of 300 000 people.
2. There are no mosquitos.
3. Beer was only legalized in 1989.

Iceland | Photography by Chantelle Flores, www. kzaravisual .com

4. The Icelandic language remains unchanged over the last 1000 years. A bible found in the
Skogar folk museum from the early 1500s can still be read.
5. The whole country is the size of the American state of Ohio.
6. Iceland has the longest working week in Europe – 43,5 hours per week.

Iceland | Photography by Chantelle Flores, www. kzaravisual .com

7. There are no surnames or family names in Iceland. Their last names are made up of their
father’s or mother’s first name with the addition of –dottir (daughter) or – son. This is still
part of the Nordic naming system.
8. Iceland is home to Europe’s first Parliament.

Iceland | Photography by Chantelle Flores, www. kzaravisual .com

9. It has no strip clubs following a ban in 2010.
10. Iceland had the first democratically elected female and openly gay Prime Minister.
11. It is the last place on earth to be settled by humans.
12. First names not previously used in Iceland must be approved by the Icelandic Naming

Iceland | Photography by Chantelle Flores, www. kzaravisual .com

13. It is illegal to own a pet snake, lizard, or turtle.
14. 10% of Iceland’s population would have published a book in its lifetime. Who wouldn’t feel
inspired in the land of fire and ice?
15. Looking through a telephone directory you will notice that Icelander’s first names are
categorized alphabetically.

Iceland | Photography by Chantelle Flores, www. kzaravisual .com

16. Raw puffin heart is considered a delicacy.
17. You can walk between two continents at Thingvelir National Park.

Iceland | Photography by Chantelle Flores, www. kzaravisual .com

18. Iceland is amongst the safest countries in the world with a very low crime rate.
19. You can go hiking during the midnight sun with 24 hours of daylight.
20. Icelandic horses are direct descendants of the horses brought in by early Viking

Related Images:

Posted on Leave a comment

Top destinations to visit for South Africans in 2018 & a sneak peak into Travel Start’s

South Africa’s version of Sky ScannerTravel Start has continuously prided itself in offering flight deals that are easy on the pockets through all major airlines.

Last year we found this cheerful fun-filled company release its Blue Monday Sales campaign in an effort to help individuals afford to travel to their dream destinations on all popular flight routes. The campaign was a success and left individuals feeling like they were Charlie in the Chocolate Factory who just got their hands on the golden ticket. They took the blue out of a Monday, and I personally couldn’t imagine starting my week any better way. Travel dreams were becoming a reality for South Africans who previously thought that it was unaffordable. Having traveled often, I never seem to lose that excitement that floods over me each time I book a ticket.

This time around they are at it again. To commemorate their upcoming birthday, they are having attractive birthday sales on International, Domestic, and Regional flights with all major airlines between the 27 – 31st of August.

So if you missed out on their previous Blue Monday Sales, be sure to take advantage of this upcoming one. Now you have no excuse to not join me on my country-hopping adventures. You can find out more information here.

So….where are we going to go?

Accordingly, to statistics drawn from more than 800 000 individuals who booked trips through the travel start platform, these are a few of the top travel destinations that South Africans are traveling to. Could it be that these travelers found that traveling to these destinations could stretch our South African Rand? Just maybe!


South Africa | Image by Chantelle Flores |

South Africa | Image by Chantelle Flores |

South Africa | Image by Chantelle Flores |

For the first time, Zimbabwe comes in as the number 1 International destination, pushing London and Namibia down a few slots. It is evident why the World of Wonders has fast become a South African favorite.

Home to the natural world wonder of Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe is a destination that will get you outdoors and immersed in nature.

The diverse landscapes provide wonderful wildlife encounters and its 5 UNESCO World Heritage sights will leave you speechless. It is a world of unrivaled natural beauty and cultural diversity which is evident through its friendly people who speak 16 different official languages.

London (UK)

London | Image by Chantelle Flores |

London | Image by Chantelle Flores |

London | Image by Chantelle Flores |


London | Image by Chantelle Flores |


October in South Africa is going to be an exciting month, as British Airways will be launching direct flights between Durban and London marking the first time that three of South Africa’s largest airports are served with non-stop connections to Heathrow at the same time.

London will always be an important tourism and business air route for South Africans and British Airways, Virgin Atlantic, and SAA have increased their capacity for this route.

One of the world’s most visited cities, London has something for everyone. I have always seen London as a city where you can be whoever you really want to be without judgment. It is an accepting city with a nice fusion of nearly every other culture in the world. It has some of the best sights, attractions, and activities that will get you busy indefinitely.

Windhoek (Namibia)

South Africa | Image by Chantelle Flores |

South Africa | Image by Chantelle Flores |


South Africa | Image by Chantelle Flores |

Namibia has always been one of those places that I have always dreamed of visiting. It’s a photographer’s paradise, yet embarrassingly haven’t found myself there yet. It’s a world of its own and has a true sense of unity in diversity amongst the 11 major ethnic groups. There is no other country in Africa that can match its sheer natural beauty. It is considered as being 4 countries in one because of its 4 natural landscapes each with its own characteristics and its attractions.

The migrating dune belts, dry riverbeds, canyons, and the Kalahari Desert is what has gotten me so excited to visit. There is something so incredibly special about the red sand dunes and having nothing else around.


Image credits: Nicolette Andrews & Angelica Aurel from Picture This Photography.

Image credits: Nicolette Andrews & Angelica Aurel from Picture This Photography.

Image credits: Nicolette Andrews & Angelica Aurel from Picture This Photography.

Image credits: Nicolette Andrews & Angelica Aurel from Picture This Photography.


Image credits: Nicolette Andrews & Angelica Aurel from Picture This Photography.

This high-end tropical island nation has been one of South Africa’s preferred honeymoon destinations for many years and it still ranks top on the flight charts.

In just a little under a 4-hour flight, you can find yourself on the paradise island of Mauritius. It will enchant you and up feed your soul. The locals from the island of peace are friendly and behind each smile that comes your way lies the promise of a unique holiday. The beauty of Mauritius is unsurpassed. It poses a wide range of attractions from calm postcard turquoise seas, unique wildlife, wild waterfalls and white sand beaches, and lush forests.

Hotels are 5* meeting European standards and their beach settings offer couples romance in a fairytale atmosphere.

New York City (U.S.A.)

New York | Image by Chantelle Flores |

New York | Image by Chantelle Flores |


Despite being a 16-hour direct flight away from South Africa, New York has become a top 5 contender for the first time in 2018.

I am excited to see that my favorite city in the world has made it to the list. It is a year-round destination with each season having something special to offer the visitor.

At daybreak, NY’s streets are a wanderer delight with cutting-edge art galleries with myriad exhibition spaces, architectural treasures, trend-setting cafes, enticing boutiques, gourmet food trucks, or posh restaurants serving seasonal cuisine.

NY embraces 200 plus nationalities with every neighborhood offering dramatically different versions of the city.

At nightfall, the buildings illuminate transforming NY into one grand stage. Its arts scene is hip and happening, and Broadway theatre shows a side, it is a city filled with world-class musicians, dancers, opera productions, improv comedy, indie cinema and so much more. If you can imagine it, it is probably happening.

It’s a place you won’t find yourself getting bored in. I have visited 6 times, and I have only scratched the service of what to see.

If traveling abroad is not part of your budget right now why don’t you consider either one of these Top 5 domestic destinations:

 Cape Town

 Durban

 Port Elizabeth

 Johannesburg (O.R. Tambo Airport & Lanseria)

I will be traveling to the Eastern Cape & Cape Town this coming November and for Christmas, I will be in London. I hope that through both of our travels, we are able to bump into each other along the way!

#ORTambo #TravelStart #BlueMondaySales #Zimbabwe #London #UNitedKingdom #VictoriaFalls #UNESCOWorldherigagesite #durban #VirginAtlantic #SAA #Europe #Mauritius #NewYork #Flightroutes #birthdaysale #capetown

Related Images: