THE BALI SWING
PLAYGROUND FOR ADULTS
Before I jumped on a plane to Bali I’d already seen pictures of the Bali Swing on Instagram. However when I asked about it while in Ubud, it turned out that The Bali Swing was not known by everyone. You can use a swing in Bali on various spots, yet my aim was to swing above the gorge as seen on pictures, not just somewhere in the middle of the rice fields. And so I jumped into a taxi that took me to The Bali Swing, located just about a 30 minute drive from Ubud. Upon arrival I found out that it had only been opened a few months earlier, so it wasn’t a coincidence that not everyone yet knew about it.
MUST DO IN GERMANY
Looking for a something fun to do in the German Hunsrück region? Then definitely consider the Geierlay suspension bridge. This suspension bridge in Germany is located in the Hunsrück just a three-hour drive from the Dutch-German border. I visited the bridge three times in recent years, the last time I even was completely alone. Below you will first find my original report and photos from August 2016, followed by updates and tips that I added following my second and most recent visit in May 2019. Enjoy reading!
10 TIPS FOR FIRST TIMERS
TRAVELING IN NEW-ZEALAND
For nature that is. Most of us come to New Zealand because of the amazing landscapes and I will never forget what was written in the guestbook of the hostel I stayed in Auckland after arrival in my first trip. It said ‘please go to the South Island as soon as you can!’. Of course, we had unfortunately booked a return trip from AKL meaning we had to return up north and leave the South Island behind at some point, which made me ache to go back. The second time I went to New Zealand, I flew out of Christchurch, so your trip definitely ends with a bang of truly stunning nature.
Did you know that we have a new national park in development? Van Gogh National Park spreads out over the places in Brabant where Vincent van Gogh found inspiration during his time in The Netherlands. The special thing about this national park is that it’s a large contiguous area, in which you will find nature reserves, cities and villages. In collaboration with Dutch National Parks, I visited some special places and followed in the footsteps of the greatest painter in Dutch art history. The most famous person from Brabant Vincent van Gogh is internationally known and probably the most famous person from Brabant, a province in the south of The Netherlands. He was born in Brabant and has lived there for more than half of his life. He made a quarter of his total oeuvre there and painted his well-known work The Potato Eaters here. Even when he lived in France, the Brabant landscape continued to inspire Vincent van Gogh for his artworks. Nearly 40 heritage sites can be found in Brabant that are reminiscent of his Brabant past. The landscape that inspired him can still be found in many places. In Van Gogh’s footsteps During my one day visit to Van Gogh National Park in The Netherlands, I’ve selected four different places to go. They can all be combined and visited by bike if you’d like, or alternatively by car or by public transport. I’m visiting the city of Den Bosch, then the Moerputten nature reserve, Kampina nature reserve and the town of Nuenen, also known as Van Gogh village. Bossche Bol at Jan de Groot My adventure starts in beautiful Den Bosch, also known as ‘s-Hertogenbosch. Here I decide to start my day with the local delicacy: the Bossche Bol. I’ve been told that Jan de Groot’s on Stationsstraat are the very best and so I stand in line for fifteen minutes before I can take a seat and feast on a huge sugar bomb. A Bossche Bol is a piece of chocolate filled with whipped cream and basically will fill up your tummy for the rest of the day. With a full stomach I briefly explore the city and go to my next destination: De Moerputten nature reserve. De Moerputten Just outside Den Bosch is the nature reserve De Moerputten. Although I often walked in the Den Bosch area in the past, I have never been here before. However, I’ve seen the Moerputtenbrug (brug = bridge) regularly on Instagram lately, so I’m curious what it looks like in real life. It is a former railway bridge over the peat lake Lange Putten and was part of the Langstraat railway. Since the turn of the century, the bridge has been a pedestrian bridge that is part of the Halve Zolen trail. From the parking lot it is about a ten minute walk until you reach the bridge. Because it’s in the middle of the summer, it is relatively busy, but I still manage to take a photo (almost) without people. The lookout point on the side of the bridge is unfortunately closed, but the boardwalks are accessible. Here I take a short walk but have to continue because of the mosquitoes that have transformed the wet area into their habitat. Unfortunately I don’t have time to make the long hike that’s signposted, but I certainly hope to come back here in the future. Fifty shades of purple in Kampina My next stop is nature reserve De Kampina. You truly want to experience de Kampina when the heather is in full bloom. I looked up the marked hiking routes online in advance and decided to hike the 6 kilometer long Huisvennen trail. This one comes over the moors and also along most of the fens, which de Kampina is famous for. If you want to do a shorter route then the 5 kilometer long Belversven route is recommended, but this one starts from a different parking lot. Natuurmonumenten (the Dutch nature organisation) calls De Kampina Brabant as it once was back in the old days. I thoroughly enjoy the fens, the moors and the quiet woods. Quiet yes, because despite the fact that it is ‘high season’, everyone seems to be walking over the heath but not through the woods. And I just take the few hikers I meet on the heath for granted. Vincentre in Nuenen The last stop of today I make in Nuenen, also known as ‘Van Gogh Village’. Although I’m not normally into museums, I do think that a visit to Vincentre should not be missing on my journey of discovery. In Vincentre you can read and hear stories about the life of Vincent van Gogh. It’s a small museum in the heart of the village and well worth a visit. Opposite the museum is the house where he once lived, next to it is the house where one of his loved ones lived, now called Nune Ville. You can also take a walk through the village, following even further in Van Gogh’s footsteps, but given the time, I can no longer do that today. An information brochure about this walk is for sale at the Vincentre information desk. What else is to see in Van Gogh National Park? This is only a small part of the Van Gogh National Park and there is much more to do and experience. For example, you can take a canoe trip on the Dommel, a beautiful meandering river that is ideal for active exploration. Another beautiful place is Het Groene Woud near Liempde. You will also find the remains of the German Line, an old railway that was in use from 1887 to 2005. It connected Wesel in Germany with Boxtel in Brabant and was once intended to provide transport to Berlin and even further to St. Petersburg. The line is now no longer in use and you can walk on (or next to) the railway. Conclusion and disclaimer In short: Van Gogh National Park calls out to be explored and I look forward to continuing to follow the development of this new national park. Do you already want to know more? Then visit the Dutch National Parks website for more information and things that you can do here. I made visit to Van Gogh National Park in collaboration with Dutch National Parks. All opinions expressed are of course only my own. In total I explored six national parks in The Netherlands, the other articles I wrote about this can be found here.
Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve been deeply in love with the mountains. Every time I see them appear in front of me, whether it’s from a car or the plane, my heart is skipping a beat. I immediately want to put on my hiking boots, put my backpack on my back and get out and explore. This blog is about my favorite and best day hikes in the world in the mountains, in random order. Enjoy! Note that this article was first published in January 2017 and has been fully updated in August 2021 Harding Icefield Trail, Alaska The trail to Harding Icefield is a 6-8 hour trek through the Alaskan wilderness. I hiked it twice, the first time in June when there was too much snow left to make it all the way to the ice field. The second time I had a bruised ankle but I made it all the way to the trail end. Even though the weather was poor, I was extremely happy about reaching the ice field because I had been dreaming about this forever. It was especially important to me because it was my first solo-hike in bear country Alaska and I had injured my ankle severely during a cycling accident the week before. Below you fill find a picture of a sunny hike in 2007 and a cloudy hike in 2015. More reading: – Solo hiking as a female in bear country Alaska – Hiking wish: Harding Icefield Trail in Alaska Laguna de los Tres, Argentina From the village of El Chaltén in Argentinean Patagonia the hike up to Laguna de los Tres will take you roughly 4-5 hours one way. Ik was lucky because the weather was stunning but as I was up early in the season, the lagoon was still frozen. The hike isn’t too hard, the only part where you have to work a bit is the last bit up, it’s about a half hour climb up to the lagoon. If you’re not an experienced hiker, you may not really enjoy this last part. It’s worth the effort though. When the weather isn’t too good, you can also hike to Laguna Torre instead. The good thing about both hikes is that it goes back the same way so you can always turn around when you don’t feel like walking anymore. More reading: – Hiking to Laguna de los Tres – Mountainous Monday: Cerro Fitz Roy Aurlandsdalen, Norway Described as one of Norway’s Classic Hikes, the Aurlandsdalen hike was high up on our list when booking a trip to Norway. We were here in the first week in June, pretty early in the trekking season, meaning quiet trails but lots of snow and mostly closed tracks. Luckily the lowest part of this 40 km hike was possible to do, and left us speechless from start to end. Enjoy this post about Aurlandsdalen, hiking in Norway’s Grand Canyon! More reading: – The Aurlandsdalen hike – The best unknown Norway hiking trails Brennisteinsalda, Iceland One of the most magical places in the world are the Icelandic highlands, at least to me. I’ve been hiking in Landmannalaugar for three times and never get bored of its colored mountains, the hot springs and boiling mud pools. All three times I was here, I climbed Brennisteinsalda, also known as the Red Mountain. Your hike starts with a trek through an ancient lava field. Then you will pass some boiling hotpots and eventually you will start your climb towards the top of the mountain. From here, you have a stunning view over the surrounding mountains. I even got lost here last summer, which I can not really recommend you. The picture on top of this blog was made from the top of Brennisteinsalda. Nice, right? More reading: – About solo hiking in Landmannalaugar and getting lost – Hiking the Laugavegur trail in Iceland Tongariro Alpine Crossing, New Zealand Although I didn’t officially hike the Tongariro Alpine Crossing as such, I did fully hike it, but then in the opposite direction and as a part of the Tongariro Northern Circuit. You’re surrounded by volcanoes and the highlight of the hike is definitely seeing the emerald lakes down below you when coming down from Red Crater. It’s an alpine hike though so be careful, people who think it’s just a walk in the park need to be rescued occasionally. The weather can be pretty unrelenting, but when you have a good day, it’s pure magic up there! More reading: – Hiking the Tongariro Alpine Crossing – All you want to know about Tongariro National Park From Kaiser-Frans-Josefs-Höhe to Heiligenblut The best day hike in Austria if you ask me! This is officially section one of the Alpe Adria Trail, but due to public transportation options you can easily do it as a day hike. This track takes you from the base of the highest mountain in Austria to Heiligenblut, one of the most scenic villages in all of Austria. Make sure to take all day as the views will be stunning. More reading: – Section one of the Alpe Adria Trail – All my Alpe Adria Trail blogs Lost Valley, Scotland It’s an understatement that walking in the Scottish Highlands is a pure pleasure. It was a hard decision to pick my favorite hike but eventually I picked Lost Valley near Glen Coe. This hike isn’t too easy and you will have to grab some ropes occasionally when hiking up. Yet when you have made it into the valley, it’s truly stunning. I made this hike early in the season, at the end of May, so it was fairly quiet, I expect it to be quite a bit busier in the summer though. More reading: Sorry, no blogs about this yet. Maybe one day… Conclusion and disclaimer of best one day hikes in the world These are my favorite day hikes in the world. Many of my other favorite ones are in a multi-day trek, so I did not include them. My blog about the best multi-day treks in the world can be found here. Have you ever done any of these? What are your most beautiful day hikes in the world? Let me know below! This article may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase or reservation through any of those links, we may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.
About a year ago I went on a two week solo trip through Sweden. On this trip I went as far north as Sälen, Sweden’s southernmost fjäll. Here someone told me about Grövelsjön: a mountain area on the border with Norway, a little further north than Sälen. He also told me that he had made the most beautiful hike in Scandinavia here: the Sylen hike. With a boat you’ll sail across the lake from Sweden to Norway and you hike back through the mountains. We were curious about that and so we decided to visit Grövelsjön this year during our summer vacation. We spent a few days here in collaboration with Visit Dalarna and I can definitely say that Grövelsjön pleasantly surprised us. Drive to Grövelsjön We’ve arrived by ferry from Kiel in Germany in Göteborg that morning and drive to Grövelsjön in one go. Normally the quickest route is through Norway, but due to closed borders this is not possible for us. We therefore take the route up along Lake Väner, the E45, and eventually drive further north via Mora and Sälen. On the way the rain is pouring down on us and the weather doesn’t look good for the next few days either. But you can’t change it, so that’s part of the package when you decide to travel in Sweden or any nordic destination. Once past Idre, it becomes quiet on the winding road, which takes us straight into the Swedish wilderness. I was told that Grövelsjön is the southernmost place in Sweden where reindeer live. Immediately after leaving Idre, they are already on the road ahead. Reindeer on the road means slowing down and waiting for them to clear the way for you. Honking or accelerating makes no sense, after all, you are a guest in their habitat. Seeing reindeer on the road always makes driving in Sweden a joy for me. The nordic feeling that I love so much always immediately reappears when seeing them. It’s simply amazing to be back in Sweden after a strange year. Staying at STF Grövelsjön We overnight at STF Grövelsjön – or the mountain station of the Swedish Tourist Association. A room has been booked for us here. Although there are also ‘normal’ hotels and cottages in Grövelsjön, we always find the atmosphere in the mountain stations very pleasant. The people who stay there are very likeminded: they enjoy the outdoors. As soon as we drive into the parking lot we notice that it is bizarrely busy. It’s packed with people and check-in is also chaotic. We have to get used to the crowds and the Swedes don’t seem to care about the one and a half meter rule as much as back home. But it’s fine really, we’re happy to be on the road again! The mountain station is old and creaky, which is what makes it so charming. Our room is tiny: a bunk bed, a sink and just enough space to store a bag. We do not need more space, this is fine for the first few nights of our holiday. We share the shower and toilet with the other guests. Hiking in Grövelsjön The next day I decide to hit the trail after breakfast. David would like to rest a bit after the long journey (to be honest, we underestimated the drive to Grövelsjön a bit and he drove most of it). I decide to put on my hiking boots for the first time on this trip and ask the reception about the hiking trails in Grövelsjön. As the boat to Norway is not going because of the pandemic, I ask them ‘if I only have one day here, which walk should I do?’ The answer is the walk to the Silverfallet. The booklet I buy says it’s a three hour walk, but that’s from the parking lot by the lake. The fjällstation is about half an hour’s walk away which makes it about a 4 hour hike in total. On the way to Silverfallet It’s still dark weather outside and I might expect a shower. Rain arrives earlier than expected though and while I’m still walking on the main road to the lake, I’m already getting soaked. Once at the lake I cross the suspension bridge over the river and I’ve arrived at the fjäll. The great thing about Grövelsjön is that its location is relatively high, almost on the tree line. This ensures that you immediately have beautiful views in good weather and don’t have a lot of forest hiking to do before the views come into sight. The trail to Silverfallet is clearly marked and not difficult. I climb steadily, sometimes on a path, sometimes on steps. It’s relatively busy on the trail but that’s OK. There are only Swedes out and about, mainly families. All with the same goal: being outside and with plenty of respect for nature. After about an hour I reach the emergency shelter. Some Swedes have made a fire here. Everyone is sitting here with a net around their head and that is not without reason: it’s a favorite place for mosquitoes. I descended slightly and entered a narrow valley where there is a forest. The mosquitoes love it here, I don’t. Not much later I climb above the tree line again and the path becomes narrower. Then I suddenly come face to face with a reindeer and her young. And I’m loving it! A little further on is the Silverfallet. I had confused fallet (waterfall) with fjället (mountains) so I didn’t realize the destination for this hike was a waterfall at first. Once at the waterfall, it starts to rain again. The waterfall is not big, I take some pictures and then continue walking. I come to a fork without a signpost but choose the wrong side, a moment later I’m in the swamp up to my ankles. I should have chosen the left fork, I see the other hikers in the distance. They walk along the border with Norway, which is marked with a huge fence. I walk between the reindeer, who sometimes don’t even realize I’m so nearby. Behind the clouds the sun always shines And then suddenly the sun shows herself. She carefully pokes through the clouds and as fast as I can blink my eyes, it seems to clear up and I finally see the special landscape I’m surrounded by. I’m in the mountains, see the lake below me and can even see the snow-capped peaks in Norway. The mountain station is across the valley showing off in the sun. I decide to take a long break in the sun and think that it is quite bizarre that, using the ferry between Kiel and Gothenburg, you are already in the middle of the Swedish mountains within 36 hours of travel. The rest of the hike takes me mainly across boardwalks through the swamp. A little later I reach the shores of the lake, where I have a quick look. It’s such a shame that the boat to Norway doesn’t go, but we’ll just save that hike for another time, it’s a good reason to come back here some day. Back at the Fjällstation Eventually I stroll back to the Fjällstation. Arriving here, the sun is now shining and I enthusiastically tell David about my great hike. It appears that he has already bought a hiking map of the area and the decision is quickly made: tomorrow we’ll pack our backpacks and go on a real adventure! It’s too beautiful to be here for just one day. But first we settle down on the terrace of the fjällstation. By now most of the clouds have disappeared and we can actually sit outside in our t-shirt. We stare at the other side of the valley while enjoying a beer and a reindeer sausage. At mountains, the wind, the downpours in the distance and the wilderness that awaits us there. Our well deserved vacation has started! About Grövelsjön in Sweden Grövelsjön is a lake on the border of Norway and Sweden. “Sjön” means lake. It is a touristic spot about half an hour’s drive from Idre, in the far northwest of the Dalarna province. The surrounding mountains belong to the Långfjället Nature Reserve. The area is popular with hikers and winter sports enthusiasts in both summer and winter. Except for a few hotels and cottages there are no facilities, you can do your grocery shopping and refueling in Idre. About the STF Fjällstation The STF Fjällstation is your perfect base for your visit to Grövelsjön. It’s a hotel and hostel in one: in other words, you have dorm rooms and private rooms. There is a kitchen but you can also eat in the (excellent) restaurant. There is a small shop, a sauna (closed during the pandemic) and there are hiking maps, tips and other things everywhere that will make your heart beat faster as a lover of the outdoors. The atmosphere in mountain stations is very relaxed. If you are a member of STF you will receive a discount on your stay. Prefer to stay somewhere else? There are some hotels and some cabins that you can rent. You can camp on the STF campsite or at the lake. Prices and availability of the Fjällstation can be found here. Other hikes in Grövelsjön The hike to Silverfallet is, after Sylen, the most beautiful hike you can take in Grövelsjön. This hike takes about 3/4 hours and is relatively easy. Many people also choose to go up the Långfjället, the mountain range ‘behind’ the fjällstation. Here are countless hiking trails to mountain peaks, lakes and mountain huts. We visited this area during an overnight hike, I’ll tell more about that in a later article. If you go hiking in Grövelsjön, it is smart to buy a topographical map (fjällkartan), because I did not find the trails very well marked. Or at least, well marked but without signposts. The southern Kungsleden also crosses the area. Conclusion and disclaimer We had a great time in Grövelsjön! I’d already heard that it was super beautiful, but I did not expect that we would have such a good time here. The blog about the trek we made here will be online soon. Do you want to read more about Sweden in the meantime? Be sure to check all our Sweden blogs here. Our visit to Grövelsjön was made possible in collaboration with Visit Dalarna. All opinions given are, of course, entirely our own. This article contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase or make a reservation through such links, we will receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.
Let me start by saying that both treks are tough and should not be underestimated. If you have no experience in trekking, you will have to carry lots of stamina and willpower in order to make it to either basecamp. It’s not easy but not impossible either. Which of the two is the most difficult is hard to say and really depends on various factors. If we look at altitude, Everest Base Camp Trek is definitely the most challenging reaching 5.364 meters above sea level. If you decide to trek via Gokyo, which I strongly recommend so you won’t have to hike the same route twice, you will have to cross Cho-La Pass which is even higher and reaches as high as 5.420 meters. Annapurna Base Camp is located at 4.130 meters above sea level, meaning you need less time to acclimatize.
Iregularly have discussions with friends about whether you have to travel far away (= outside of Europe for me) every year. Not only because of the flying embarrassment that seems to be on the rise, but also because there are plenty of nice walks in Europe. You don’t always have to go far to see beautiful landscapes. Need inspiration? Then read on in this article with the beste places to hike in Europe, from north to south. All trails have been made by myself so I only advise you from my own experience, as you are used to from me. Enjoy reading and hiking!
The good thing about hiking in New Zealand is that it can be done from anywhere as there are numerous of trails all over the country, whether it’s close to the city or far away from civilization. In addition to my old post, I will also add more information about the best multi-day hikes in New Zealand as well as shorter hikes that can be done by anyone. Enjoy this list with the best hikes in New Zealand!
When planning to hike a long(ish) track, it’s wise to figure out as much as you can about the trail. What the distance is, how to get to the start and end and what the current trail situation is. Many of these things can be found online nowadays and by doing some research beforehand you can avoid unpleasant surprises along the way. Such as not carrying enough drinking water or having to make a river crossing. But also there may be ferries that are not running on certain days or the bus service you may need could be limited on certain days. All these things can be found out well in advance.
We found another hiking paradise and it’s called Tasmania. Located on the opposite part of the world for us, we spent a month here, exploring what Australians call ‘the Apple Island’ by foot and by bike. We knew that Tasmania had some pretty spectacular scenery to offer but we kept on being surprised over and over again by the diversity of this place. One day we’d stand with our feet in the sand on some stunning beach and the next day we’d be in a rain forrest discovering the prettiest little waterfalls. When you are going hiking here, there is no way you will get disappointed. Here is our selection of the best hikes in Tasmania!
For me, a visit to Crater Lake National Park had been on my bucketlist for many years. Being from The Netherlands it’s not nearly as well known and popular as other US National Parks such as The Grand Canyon or Yellowstone National Park. However, after hearing about this place from a friend, I knew I wanted to go here one day. I kept on googling Crater Lake National Park year after year, at some point I knew it was my time to head on another trip to the US and go for it. And so I finally got to visit Crater Lake National Park after wanting to go for such a long time.
On We12travel you will find everything you want to know about outdoor traveling, nature and hiking. From the best outdoor clothing to the greatest multi-day treks in the world, and everything in between. I’ve been inspiring readers from all across the globe since 2011 and am the leading Dutch outdoor and hiking blog ever since. I help you in your search for beautiful hiking destinations, preparing for your trek and planning your trip in nature.