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.
Welcome to this article filled with car rental tips for Iceland. Renting a car in Iceland is not difficult and I have done it many times. In recent years I traveled to Iceland no less than ten times, both in summer and in winter I regularly explored the country with a rental car. Although you can easily get around in Iceland with a simple and cheap rental car, there are some things you need to know before you make a reservation and whether renting a car in Iceland is for you. So today I’m sharing more than a decade of experiences and car rental tips for Iceland. Enjoy reading and feel free to leave a comment below if you have any questions! The beauty of nature by rental car Exploring Iceland by rental car guarantees a lot of ‘ohhh’ and ‘ahhh’ moments. The regular buses or tours of Reykjavik Excursions take you to the tourist spots, but they don’t stop everywhere and don’t take nice side roads. In addition, with a rental car you can stop wherever you want to take pictures or just enjoy the most amazing landscapes. Renting a car in Iceland is therefore a must to be able to travel around in a relaxed way. Renting a car in Iceland Iceland is ideal for being explored by car. Most of the roads are in good condition and most sights are easily accessible with your own vehicle. The most important thing to know, however, is that there are also quite a few unpaved roads in Iceland. These are the so-called ‘interior routes’ – the best known of these are the Kjölur and the Sprengisandur. These routes cross the island from north to south and are only accessible in summer and with a 4×4. You can find more about this in the 4×4 section later in this article. To rent a car in Iceland you must have a valid driver’s license for at least one year. In addition, a credit card in the name of the main driver is usually necessary. Check the conditions of your rental car company for this. The minimum age is 20 or 21 years, this varies per car rental company. Sometimes there is a surcharge for drivers under the age of 25. Check rates and availability here How does renting a car in Reykjavík work? Most people arrive in Iceland via Keflavík – Reykjavík’s international airport. This is about an hour’s drive from Reykjavík city. Please note that there is also an airport in the city (Reykjavík) but it is only used for domestic flights. So don’t make the mistake of booking a rental car in Reykjavík instead of in Keflavík. However, if you are going on a city trip in Reykjavík for a few days and you don’t need a rental car, you can take the Flybus to Reykjavík and as soon as you start traveling around, pick up your rental car at the city office. The options for this are somewhat more limited because most depots are located at Keflavík airport. Car rental tips Iceland: 4×4 or regular car Techincally, you can get very far with a ‘normal’ car. If you plan to stay on the ring road, you don’t need a 4×4 car at all. This is only necessary if you want to take an unpaved route, a so called F-road. Think of the previously mentioned inland routes, but also some routes in the Westfjords and the routes to the popular Landmannalaugar (the starting point of the famous Iceland Laugavegur Trail) and Thórsmörk. Although more and more bridges are being built, some of these routes still include river crossings. This can lead to exciting situations, especially when it has rained a lot. If you want to make a river crossing, always check whether this is possible. See what others are doing and always do a wade-through (i.e. before crossing) before you decide to drive through the water. Water damage is not covered by most insurance policies, so caution is necessary. What’s also good to know is that most interior roadss do not open until the end of June or the beginning of July. If you travel outside this season, a 4×4 will not be of much use. Renting a car in Iceland in the winter Do you want to rent a car in Iceland in winter? Then winter tires are mandatory. Most car rental companies have packages that already offer this as standard and most tires come with studs. Driving with snow chains is usually not necessary, depending on the snowfall. The times I went to Iceland in the winter there was hardly any snow (yes really) and the roads were in great condition. A 4×4 is therefore not typically necessary in winter. Also read: what to pack for Iceland in winter Cheap car rental in Iceland If you want to rent a cheap car in Iceland, you can compare rates on Rental Cars. There are numerous options here, including cheaper options. However, keep in mind that the cheap rate often pays for itself in high additional costs, such as a limited number of kilometers, a high deductible or limited insurance. So research all options in advance before you choose a budget rental car in Iceland. I usually rent from Alamo or Herz, they are usually a little bit more expensive but have a low deductible and offer good insurance options. I’d rather not have a large own risk in case an accident happens or in case someone else causes damage to my car. Is renting a car and driving in Iceland safe? Yes, driving in Iceland is very safe. The roads are generally quiet and in good condition. Sometimes you have to drive a short distance on an unpaved route, for example to get to your accommodation. This is of course no problem. You can fill up your gas along the ring road and Icelanders are generally very friendly and helpful. When you pick up the rental car you will also receive an overview of the traffic rules in Iceland, read this carefully before you set off. Fines are relatively high and it is better to avoid them. Do you need a GPS or navigation? Renting a navigation system is not really necessary, but can be useful. Of course you can also just use your mobile phone with a navigation app, there are often extra costs for renting a navigation. Once you are on the Ring Road, taking the wrong way is almost impossible, we only used it around Reykjavík and occasionally to see how far we were from a certain destination. Check options for navigations here! Conclusion and disclaimer of car rental tips Iceland I hope you found article with car rental tips in Iceland useful and that it took away any concerns you may have. Please note that the above includes affiliate links. If you make a purchase or reservation through any of those links we may receive a small commission at no extra fee to you.
A few weeks ago I told you about pretty Grövelsjön in Sweden and how we traveled there from the Netherlands. In this blog article I’ll tall you about a trekking we made here, through the mountains and in the midst of the reindeer. We crossed fjälls, crossed fast-flowing rivers and camped in the wild with a view of one of Sweden’s most inaccessible wilderness areas: the Töfsingdalen National Park. Here’s how we enjoyed our mini-trekking in Grövelsjön, Sweden. We’re planning a hike The great thing about Sweden is the Everyman’s Right: in other words, the freedom to roam where you like. During our hikes in Sweden we rarely make use of the possibility to sleep near and/or in a hut, but we often set up our tent in the middle of the wilderness, far away from other people and often with the most fabulous views. In many places in the Swedish fjälls you don’t actually have to walk a fixed route because you can often just pitch your tent anywhere. After we have recovered from the long journey to Sweden in Grövelsjön Fjällstation, we decide that we would like to explore the area further on foot. There is a hiking map at the reception of the mountain hotel and we see that there is a large lake in the valley behind Grövelsjön: Hävlingen. On the shores of the lake is Hävlingensstugorna, a popular destination for hikers. A line is also marked on the map that indicates the area in which you are not allowed to camp in the wild: it is just above the tree line, so there is plenty of room to camp with a view. And so we pack our backpacks and go on an adventure! Across Långfjället The hike we have in mind takes us across the Långfjället, deep into the nature of the extreme northwest of Dalarna. This is also a section of the Södra Kungsleden, or the Southern Kungsleden hiking trail. I still have the GPX files of this on my vacation last year, when I hiked around the Sälen mountain region. Directly from the fjäll station, the trail ascends almost vertically. Sometimes over tundra, sometimes over a rocky patch. As quickly as we ascend, the view expands below and behind us. Although it has rained a lot in recent days, it looks like we are luck with the weather today as it seems to clear up. On top of the mountain It’s quite busy on the trail, most hikers are on their way to the 1.103m high Jakobshöjden. As soon as we get to the mountain pass, we decide to ignore this mountain peak and continue our way, away from the other people. And we succeed, because less than half an hour later the biggest crowds seem to have passed and it feels as if we are alone on the mountain. Meanwhile, the view gets wider and wider. On the left is Pråahta – a long flat mountain on the border with Norway. To our right is the Storvätteshågna, a peak of 1.203 meters high. When we have crossed the ‘mountain pass’, the trail flattens out and we walk over a wide quadbike track on the fjäll. Looking for a place to camp We want to camp just outside the boundaries of the marked area. Although we don’t expect anyone to check, we of course want to stick to the rules and invisible boundaries. Northwest of us, Hävlingen has revealed itself, with snowy peaks in Norway in the background. Here we should soon come across the snowmobile track, this is where we want to camp, preferably with a view of the lake. As soon as we get to the emergency shelter, we leave the trail and start looking for a good wild camping spot. We cross a fast-flowing river in a narrow spot (big jump!) and look for a ledge. Then suddenly we find it: our perfect camping spot. Camping in full light David sets up the tent while I sit down and enjoy the immense view I have from here. Far below me is Hävlingen, beyond snow-capped peaks. Right in front of me lies the wilderness of Töfsingdalen National Park. This nature reserve is not accessible by car and therefore hardly receives any visitors. As soon as the tent is up, we’re going on a micro-adventure: we’re going to look for antlers! David soon finds the first one and that invites us to explore even beyond where we are: we stroll around on the fjäll for hours, always looking for that one piece of white in all the green and brown shades. Eventually we find about six different (pieces of) antlers, scattered here and there in the landscape. Since it doesn’t get dark, the sense of day and night is gone. However, we sense in our bodies that it is time to eat and finally: to go to sleep. We cook a meal and zip up our sleeping bags. It doesn’t get dark that night, but because we are very tired, we sleep like babies in complete peace and silence. In search of the trail The next morning we enjoy a cup of coffee in the full sun. Because there’s quite a bit of wind there are almost no mosquitoes and that’s nice! We decide not to walk back to the trail, but to set course with a map and compass to a hiking trail that should be about a kilometer away from us. David gives me a mini-course on navigation and with our compass in hands, we indeed arrive at the trail not much later. At the foot of Storvätteshågna are some small lakes, which a trail leads past. Our goal is to get on that trail and walk back to Grövelsjön from here. Not all rivers are bridged and here and there we have to cross a waterfall on foot. It doesn’t get more adventurous than this! Back to Grövelsjön We descend into the valley between the lakes. This appears to be a popular destination for tents: we count at least fifteen of them. Families in particular stay here on the waterfront, but we move on quickly. In the meantime our water supply is almost finished and so we set a a fast pace back to Grövelsjön. From the lakes we climb and finally we start the descent to Grövelsjön and the car. It is now a warm day and a pair of shorts would not have been an unnecessary luxury. The trails slowly but surely get busier and just before we get to the parking lot we reach the tree line. A few more steps and we are back at the car. Conclusie en disclaimer Our visit to Grövelsjön was made possible in part by Visit Dalarna. All opinions given are, of course, only our own. This article contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase or make a reservation through such links, we will receive a modest commission at no extra cost to you. Do you want to read more? Here you will find all hiking information about Grövelsjön. Enjoy!
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.
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.