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My Top 5 Travel Destinations to Date
I have been fortunate enough to see some great places on my travels so far in my life, and I am by no means finished with travelling yet, not by a long way. As I while away the time before my next adventure it is nice to look back on past trips and reminisce. Currently I am thinking about my top 5 travel destinations, and why they mean so much to me.
It has been nearly 10 months now since I returned from Australia, and I am missing the feeling of being care free, and free of commitment, so I often think back to times of unconditional joy. Below is a current list of my top 5, although this is subject to change in the future I am sure. So, counting down from five to one:
5. Perranporth, England
OK, so my first entry is a location in the UK – Cornwall to be exact – which contradicts the topic of travelling, being as it is just a few hours drive away, but it is a lovely place to be during the summer months, and a regular haunt of mine. I try most years to get a week or two in Perranporth, camping under the stars. I find the whole seaside atmosphere unbeatable when the weather is right, and there are few places in the UK that can match the atmosphere. It has the right blend of beach, shopping, cafes and evening entertainment without being too much of either.
Its noisier neighbour Newquay is just a short drive away, allowing for the odd day of extreme hustle and bustle followed by an all out assault on the town in the evening, if that is what you crave. Me, on the other hand, not so much. I like being close enough to visit, but far enough away to avoid being engulfed in it. I like Newquay, but I much prefer the quieter – yet still pleasantly busy – Perranporth.
Being just a stone throw away from the beautiful St. Agnes is also a huge plus. The Tin Mines are a great alternative to beach life and offer an interesting day or two of discovery. The cliffs and beaches along this stretch of coastline are devastatingly beautiful, especially when caught on a clear night with the moon sending beams of light that dance across the surface of the calm sea. I could sit for hours on the grass, looking out into the great ocean on a warm night. With its bounty of characteristic cafes and small novelty shops, this is the perfect place to shake off the shackles of reality, and to exhale the smog of city life.
4. Noosa, Australia
In at number four is one of my favourite places in Australia, and another perfectly balanced seaside town. I place Noosa above Perranporth for many reasons, the weather being the most obvious. In England you are lucky if you see the sunshine for more than a week in any given year, whereas in Australia you can more or less guarantee great weather for most of the time. The beaches in Noosa are lovely and the general atmosphere is chilled and fun.
The difference in the temperature of the ocean is a huge factor, as is the possibility of surfing without the need of a wet suit. I love everything about Noosa and could very easily spend most of the year soaking up the sun, sea and sensational sights.
3. Sintra, Portugal
Sintra was one of those places that literally fell into my lap. I had never heard of the place, and had not factored it in to my itinerary, yet it turned out to be one of the greatest places I have ever been to. It was only during a conversation with a lovely French family in a quiet, rain-soaked campsite in Northern Portugal that Sintra was brought to my attention. The father of the family explained briefly a day that they had in Sintra, and said how I must go if I get the chance. I often get recommendations from people, yet seldom get the opportunity to add these places to my list, but in this case, I did.
The down side to the day was the realisation that my car had been broken into, and being my own car from home, it made it all the more frustrating. The evening and following days were spent dealing with the aftermath, yet the day still remains one of my greatest, and this has everything to do with the abundance of fascinating and hostorical buildings there to be explored. It is a place in which you can fully immerse yourself in the stories of old, and run around like a child in the vast plots of land associated with the Grand Palaces and Castle around Sintra. Sintra is among the most interesting places I have had the pleasure of visiting, and to think I almost passed it by unknowingly.
Second spot belongs to Andorra, and given its relatively small size, I include the entire country in these paragraphs. The main city centre is the heart of the country, and it is where most of the action is, and where the rich and the beautiful hang out. I felt entirely out of place in my shorts and T-shirt, but I cared not. The backdrop of mountains upon mountains is very easy on the eye, as is the abundance of stunning lakes and rivers across the whole country.
My favourite day included a trek up to and around the Tristaina Lakes. This was a day not to forget as the scenery took my breath away, as did the hike up the winding paths. I stood in awe on many occasions, and felt as free as I have ever felt in my life. The winding roads produced hours of exciting driving in the few days I was in Andorra, and the people I met here were unforgettable for many reasons. I enjoyed it in Andorra and would love to be here in the ski season as I imagine it to be even more stunningly beautiful. I couldn’t live in Andorra, but the place is lovely.
1. Taupo, New Zealand
Finally, top spot belongs to Taupo in New Zealand, home to a plethora of fun and activity, as well as a landscape scarred by the ever-present volcanic activity. The ground expels constant plumes of sulphuric smoke, and the lake cloaks an invisible menace. The water boils on the surface of the lake, and the very lake itself exists solely due to past volcanic activity.
Taupo is home to extreme sports aplenty. There is not a lot you can’t do here. Be it sky-diving, white water rafting, bungee jumping, jet boating etc, this is the place to be. Neighbouring Rotorua offers even more activities for those who cannot satisfy their hunger for adrenaline in Taupo.
The people here couldn’t be more friendly, and there is everything you need in and around the town centre. As an adrenaline junkie myself, I had a whole lot of fun in Taupo, and spent a good week here. It is one place I am sure to revisit in the future, and deserves my award for best place visited so far. I am sure this will change in time though.
I have loved and disliked many places on my travels to date, and my reasons for liking or disliking a place may differ greatly from other people’s opinions, but one thing that every place has given me is a memory and an experience. Life for me is about the memories and experiences, and the people that you share these times with. I am lucky to have many of each.
Written by Daniel Stevens,
Founder of Roundtheworldtrip.org.
Find out more about the author
in my About page.