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.
I stand on the plateau and look into the depth below me. 1-2-3 go! The two people in front of me whiz down a cable like some kind of superman, far away to the other side of the reservoir. My knees are weak and I feel I have to go to the toilet. A standard thing when I’m nervous about something. Why again did I say ‘that I wanted to do the Mega Zipline in the Harz? A trip to the Harz Mountains It is a sunny day at the end of September when I drive to the German Harz Mountain region. I was here for the Deutsche Blogger Wandertag four years ago and I was introduced to the Harzer Hexenstieg back then. I was impressed by this area and when the German Tourist Office asked if I wanted to travel to the Harz again, I immediately said yes. Not the least because the longest suspension bridge of its kind, Titan RT, can be found here, which I figured would be cool, especially after visiting and writing about the super cool Geierlay suspension bridge in the Hunsrück, until recently the longest suspension bridge in Germany. The Mega Zipline in the Harz But … next to (or better said: above) the suspension bridge is something much cooler: the Mega Zipline over the Rappbodetalsperre. This zipline has a length of more than a kilometer and transfers you in just under a minute to the reservoir. When I arrive at the Harzdrenaline Center I report to the desk. My flight (I call it that) is booked for 4.30 pm and I have to report half an hour in advance. From the parking lot it is a five minute walk to the mountain ridge from where you have a view of the bridge and where the tower is where you leave from. Just as I walk up, someone starts their flight screaming. My stomach turns. OMG – I’m going to do this soon. I take a deep breath and give myself some courage. The last time I did a mega zipline was from the Euromast and that was, in hindsight, really cool. So this ought to be awesome too eventually, right? High up! Not much later I walk back to my car where I leave my backpack with stuff I’m carrying. You can take some small things along the way in a pocket in your harness, but not a whole bag. I put a hair-tie and my iPhone in my pocket and also take the car key with me. At exactly 16.15 I can go through the gates with my ticket and I am welcomed by a guy with a big grin who asks me to fill in and sign the form. In the meantime I send a text message home with “it’s that time, love you in case I die” and after I have submitted the form, I’m weighed, I’m outfitted with a helmet and glasses and I can walk upstairs. Once upstairs on the tower, the employees are still attaching the people in front of me. I try to look cheerful in my selfie cam but almost shit in my pants because of the altitude. The things I wanted to take with me go into the pocket in the harness. During the flight I am not allowed to hold any stuff and therefore I cannot take pictures. On my helmet there is a camera for the video that will be made of the flight. Here we goooo! I may come forward and be attached and secured. You are lying in some kind of harness, so your head goes down first. You keep your hands behind you as a kind of “superman”. The most anxious moment is really just letting go of control. In other words, take your feet off the ground, bend over and let the harness support your weight. The lady shouts “we start in 3-2-1 – bye bye!” And there I go. The adrenaline rushes through my body during the first few meters. I feel the cold wind in my face and … I feel like I’m flying! How cool is this! The beauty of this Mega Zipline in the Harz is that it lasts almost a minute, giving you ample opportunity to enjoy it. With spectacular things that last a short time (such as bungy jumping) it is often the case that you completely forget to enjoy, now my fear gives way to a wonderful feeling of freedom and I arrive at the end with a broad smile on my face. Here I am released and I still tremble like crazy. This was SO cool, can I go again? Back to the car If you wish, you can walk back to the car yourself (approx. 25 minutes), but there is also a shuttle service available when there are enough people. I decide to wait for the shuttle. Once back at the car, I’m still intensely stuffed with adrenaline. What a great job I have! Curious? Unfortunately I couldn’t take pictures during my flight, but the headcam on my helmet captured everything. Enjoy watching: Conclusion en disclaimer More information, rates and conditions can be found on the HarzDrenalin Center website. I made this trip at the invitation of the German Tourist Board. All opinions given are only my own.
As we live fairly close to Germany, just about a ten minute drive, we occasionally head over for a weekend to go hiking or for other outdoor activities. After doing so for more than a decade, we have discovered quite a few unknown places that take you further than regions such as Eifel or Sauerland, where the majority of tourists for hiking usually ends up. In this blog I’ll tell you about our favorite unknown places for hiking in Germany. I bet you had never heard of most of them! Kellerwald Just a bit further than the famous Sauerland is the Kellerwald-Edersee National Park. This extended piece of nature is often overseen by visitors. As the name implies, most of the land is covered by woods and this especially makes it a very pretty place to be during the fall. The leaves are changing to every single shade of orange and yellow you can possibly imagine and it’s usually a very quiet place to wander through the woods. We were here twice and once we hiked a part of the Kellerwaldsteig, which we truly enjoyed! German-Dutch Nature Park Veenland I wrote about this place earlier just after my recent visit, but the German-Dutch Nature Park Veenland really deserves more visitors than it gets at this moment. The park is located on the border of the Drenthe in Holland and Emsland in Germany and mostly exists of Moorland. In fact, this region used to be the largest Moorland in Central Europe. In some places you can actually witness the work going on here. The best hikes can be found in Twist, where you can literally walk on the border of The Netherlands and Germany. You can read more about this park in one of my previous posts and how to find the best places for hiking on abandoned railway tracks. The Rothaargebirge The Rothaargebirge actually is more famous than you think, as it’s a part of the famous Sauerland, which attracts thousands of tourists each year for summer activities and skiing. Busy places such as Willingen and Winterberg are in the Rothaargebirge but once you head off the beaten track, you will most likely find yourself alone without running into other tourists. As we like to escape for the holidays, we spent our last Christmas in Bad Fredeburg, a small village on the opposite side of the mountain than Willingen. You can walk a part of the Rothaarsteig here for example, but there is a large network of other hikes as well. With a bit of luck you will even encounter some snow, like we did during Easter in 2015. Hunsrück For the Dutch, the Hunsrück is a fairly unknown region. It’s a lower mountain range part in the Rhineland-Palatinate region. In this region, where tourism has only been seen as a meaning of income since some twenty years now, you can find the so-called ‘Traumschleifen’. This is a selection of the region’s finest walks, varying from 6 to 15 kilometer in distance. I have been to the Hunsrück region twice over the past months, one time being during a visit to the longest swingbridge in Germany, the Hängeseilbrücke Geierlay. We also hiked a part of the Saar-Hunsrück Steig, another great long distance trail in Germany! Teutoburgerwald The first time I heard of Teutoburgerwald I had to smile. Those Germans can definitely think of some pretty names for their regions. This region can be find just across the border from Holland near Enschede and we can be found there every now and then for rock climbing. Last time we were there, I didn’t really feel like climbing so I decided to hike a part of the Hermannsweg, one of the prettiest long distance walks in Germany. Eventually I ended up in Tecklenburg and I was rather sad I couldn’t stay there behind any longer because it was by far one of the most charming little towns I had come across in a long time. Conclusion and disclaimer These were our favorite unknown places for hiking in Germany. I often hear people say they hike in Eifel or Harz Mountains for example, but there is so much more to be explored, you just have to know where to find it. Germany has ample hiking areas even we have never explored and it is a true paradise for hikers. I hope I inspired you to consider Germany for your next hiking trip as it’s well worth spending some time there. You will love it for sure! Note that this post was first published in 2016 and updated and republished in 2020.
When you say Sweden, you mainly say nature. Sweden is filled with crystal clear lakes, forests, tiny red houses and endless landscapes. I first visited Sweden in 2007, when I went on a city trip to Stockholm. 13 years later, I’m madly in love with Sweden and have traveled there 10 times over the past decade. We are even considering buying a house there so we can spend our summers up north, far from the hustle and bustle here in the Netherlands and the hectic everyday life. In recent years we regularly drove by car to Sweden via the bridge from Denmark to Sweden. Sometimes in winter, but usually in summer. In this article I’ll share the most beautiful places in Sweden with you, from south to north. Be inspired and who knows, maybe we’ll see each other in Sweden! The islands at the Göteborg coastline During my city trip to Gothenburg during the Easter weekend of 2017, I went out with a Swedish friend who lives here. She took me to the islet of Styrsö, located in the southern part of the Gothenburg archipelago. We took a hike here to Stora Rös, the highest point on the island and enjoyed a hot chocolate in one of the cafes. In summer it is a wonderful place to walk, swim or moor with your boat or canoe. Småland The Småland region is a relatively short drive away from the Netherlands. This is Sweden as you see Sweden on television. Red houses with white shutters, endless forests and numerous super smooth lakes. In Småland you can get lost on the endless hiking trails, go canoeing and wild camping on your own island, enjoy delicious food and visit the town of Växjö. Småland is actually Sweden for beginners, if you like it here, then you will undoubtedly enjoy the rest of Sweden too! The Vänervatten An area that I only recently got to know was that around Lake Väner (the Vänervatten). With an area of over 5,000 square kilometers, this is the largest lake in Sweden. We spent some time here in the vicinity of Trolhättan and Vänersborg, which can easily be done from the Netherlands in one day driving via the bridge between Denmark and Sweden. Next to the Vänervatten are the Halleberg and the Huneberg, a nature reserve where you have a great chance of seeing moose late at night. Sometimes even right next to the car, as the photo below shows … Stockholm Although busy, I still think Stockholm is a great city. Grand, modern, charming and lovely at the same time. I visited Stockholm several times in both summer and winter. In the summer you can stroll through the narrow streets of Gamla Stan and enjoy the long days and many terraces. It is often very busy there, so it’s more fun to visit Stockholm in winter, when it is much quieter. The old town is nice too, but this period is also perfect for visiting one of the many museums (for example the Vasa Museum or the Abba Museum) or taking a winter walk through Djurgården. Also read my article with the best cities in Sweden! Fulufjället National Park My favorite part of Sweden actually only starts further north, there where the mountains are. One of the most beautiful national parks that you can easily visit is Fulufjället National Park. With the highest waterfall in Sweden and the oldest tree in the world, Fulufjället is a real attraction for travelers visiting the province of Dalarna. Read all our tips for Fulufjället National Park here. Sonfjället National Park The Sonfjället National Park is a lot more inaccessible and therefore considerably quieter. This mountain (fjället) is known to be one of the best places to see bears in Sweden without them being lured with food. Sonfjället is also located in Dalarna but receives far fewer visitors to Fulufjället because it is smaller and there are hardly any tourist facilities. We saw a bear, a lot of reindeer and some moose during our wild safari, here you can read all about it. Vålådalen Nature Reserve A little further north, at the very end of the road towards Norway, you will find the Vålådalen Nature Reserve. Few foreign people know this area and that’s nice, because you will encounter very few people other than Swedes. We made a four-day trek here and almost only encountered Swedes who were on the road here. If you do not want to go trekking, there are several short walks that you can take here to still enjoy the beautiful nature. Tärnaby and Hemavan The small towns of Tärnaby and Hemavan are popular places with the Swedes themselves to spend their summer holidays. These villages in Swedish Lapland are on the border with Norway, near Mo i Rana. In summer you go here for fishing and hiking, in winter for skiing. The famous Kungsleden Trail ends here and hikers can indulge themselves on the countless beautiful hiking trails. For a good impression of the area, check out the video of the Kungsleden trek we made: Sarek National Park One of the most beautiful wilderness areas in Sweden is Sarek National Park. This national park is only accessible on foot or by boat and you will find braided rivers, glaciers, high mountains and lots of wildlife. We visited Sarek National Park during the second part of our Kungsleden hike and made a trip to the Skierfe Klippan, a well-known viewpoint in Sweden. From here you have a beautiful view of the wilderness and ruggedness of the area. Note: to get here you have to walk (and back) for at least two days, so it’s not a trip for the faint hearted! The artic cirle area near Jokkmokk And the last on this list of most beautiful places in Sweden is the Arctic Circle area around Jokkmokk. Although it is of course only an imaginary line, it is still special to cross the Arctic Circle. Especially for us because we had such very hot weather that we walked in shorts and flip flops. When you drive to Lapland via the E45, you pass the Arctic Circle at the town of Jokkmokk. The village itself is little, but the surroundings are beautiful. We camped on a peninsula on the water at Camping Skabram, which is run by Dutch people. Here we enjoyed the beauty of this area, the peace, we fished, read books and enjoyed the Midsummer Night Sun. Conclusion and disclaimer of the most beautiful places in Sweden Hopefully you enjoyed reading this article with the most beautiful places in Sweden. Of course we have not been everywhere, but I think we have given you a nice picture of one of our favorite holiday destinations. If you have any tips for our next visit to Sweden, be sure to leave them in the comments. This article contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase via such a link, we may receive a modest commission and of course 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.