Now I’m not saying I’m the queen of travel or anything, but I’ve got enough experience under my belt to know pretty quickly whether the destination I’ve arrived at has been overly hyped up. You know what I mean, you see these drop-dead gorgeous photos on Pinterest and Instagram but when you turn up are a little bit disappointed. Turns out those images had been Photoshopped to death, your expectations were too high and everything just seems a little bit mediocre…
Don’t worry, not everywhere is like that!
There are some destinations in the world where no matter how many perfected edited photos I’ve seen or how many rave reviews I’ve read on my favourite travel blogs, it’s still bloody amazing.
So if you’re looking for your next travel spot and want to be blown away, here are my favourite places in the world that totally live up to the hype…
New York City, USA.
Go big or go home, right? New York City is on most people’s bucket lists for a reason. It is 1246732% one of the best cities in the world and despite visiting three times I’ve barely scratched the surface. I mean yeah in terms of activities there are like a million things to do and see but the beauty of New York City is just being there. Being surrounded by skyscrapers, feeling the buzz of people everywhere, and generally feeling like you’re in every film and TV show you’ve ever seen. Trust me, you can’t not love New York.
The Gili Islands, Indonesia.
My trip to Bali this year was an absolute dream. FACT. But it was the Gili Islands that I had pinned to death and I was aware that the dreamy photos could quite possibly be too good to be true. Well, it wasn’t. The sea really is that blue, the beach really is that perfect, the food really is that delicious and the sunset really is that amazing. Throw in lovely people and a laid back culture and you’ve pretty much got paradise. Oh and everything is totally affordable there. Score.
Cinque Terre, Italy.
The pretty rows of colourful houses in Cinque Terre are an Insta fave and it is just as pretty in the flesh. What you can’t see in the photos though is the sounds of fisherman, the smell of flowers and the taste of the awesome gelato. Wait for the day trippers to leave to really experience Cinque Terre’s authentic gorgeousness. And try the ravioli… Oh god, take me back already.
Sydney is the dream for a lot of backpackers. And although I think the Australian Dream doesn’t always live up to the gap year hype, Sydney itself is an amazing city. I lived and worked there for 4 months and no matter how many times I saw the harbour, I couldn’t help but smile. Being on a ferry surrounded by the Harbour Bridge and the Sydney Opera House is awesome no matter how many times you’ve seen it on TV. I mean the kickass weather helps a lot.
Ok I’ve put Reykjavik here, but actually it’s the whole of Iceland. It’s so different to anywhere I’ve been before and photos do NOT do it justice. Lava fields, geysers, waterfalls, mountains and volcanoes, it’s such an adventure! Reykjavik itself is also a lot cooler than I expected it to be with vintage shops, cool restaurants and hipster coffee shops. It’s a winner.
San Francisco, USA.
What is not to love about San Francisco? The city is gorgeous, the Golden Gate Bridge is iconic, the vintage shopping on Haight Ashbury is next level, Chinatown is cool, the nightlife is awesome and there’s so much to explore and experience. And the best part is that what you see of this city on Pinterest or on 90’s TV shows hardly reveals how amazing this city really is. If you like cable cars, seals and clam chowder, this one is for you.
There you have it, 6 awesome travel destinations that really do live up to expectations, and exceed them if anything! I would go back to any of these in a heartbeat and massively recommend all of them!
What do you think of these destinations? Any others you’d recommend? Let me know in the comments below or tweet me @HeelsInBackpack!