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If you are dreaming of a Tuscany road trip this summer, then look no further. Here is a 5 day Tuscany itinerary which will showcase all the best places to see in Tuscany from the vineyards to the ancient towns and cities. By following this Tuscany road trip itinerary, you will get to experience the best of Tuscany in 5 days…
What you can expect from this article…
Why Visit Tuscany?
If you’ve seen postcards and travel brochures for Itlay, you can’t have missed the pictures of rolling hills, charming ramshackle villages, vineyards for miles and field of blazing red poppies?! The scenery is unlike anywhere else and is deserving of a spot on the front cover of any Italy guidebook.
The culture here is more laid back than you’ll find in the big cities or the coastal towns. Life is altogether slower and more peaceful in Tuscany. I stopped in a few villages in June where I barely saw anyone at all.
A Tuscany road trip is a perfect way to experience the beauty and charm of this well-known rural region of Central Italy.
Where is Tuscany?
As you’ll see on the map below, Tuscany is in the North/Central region of Italy and includes the cities of Florence, Siena and Pisa. Elba Island is also included, just off the coast of East Italy.
It’s actually quite a large region and you may be surprised that it reaches as far as the coast as people do not often associate Tuscany with beaches!
How to get to Tuscany
Florence is the largest city in Tuscany and is also the most central so it would make sense to start your road trip here. You could do a loop and end here too but this particular 5 day Tuscany itinerary focusses on the central, most scenic, rural part of Tuscany.
From the Val D’ Orcia, your final stop along this Tuscany road trip itinerary, you are 2 hours away from both Florence and Rome so you can choose to fly out of either airport. Since there are more flights leaving Rome, you may find flights from here are cheaper.
Are 5 days in Tuscany long enough?
As with anywhere in Italy, you could easily enjoy long lazy days enjoying Italian food, drinking wine and taking long country strolls for many weeks at a time…
But if you only have 5 days in Tuscany then yes, this Tuscany itinerary will showcase many of Tuscany’s highlights from the city charm of Florence to the vineyards of the Chianti region to the jaw-dropping scenery of the Val d’Orcia.
If you have longer than 5 days in Tuscany then I would suggest allocating extra time to explore Siena, Pisa, Lucca or pop across to Elba island for some beautiful beach scenery.
An Overview of this 5 day Tuscany Itinerary
Day 1 – Florence
Day 2 – Florence – San Gimignano
Day 3 – Monteriggioni and wine tasting in the Chianti region
Day 4 – Siena to the Val D’Orcia
Day 5 – Val d’Orcia then back to Florence or Rome to fly home.
A Map of this Tuscany Road Trip Itinerary
Your 5 day Tuscany Itinerary
Day 1 of your Tuscany itinerary
Florence is one of the most beautiful, most popular cities to visit in Italy for good reason. Everywhere you look is like something straight out of a travel brochure. It’s absolutely deserving of a place on your Italy bucket list!
Whilst the beautiful Duomo dominates the old town, there is plenty more to see in Florence and much of it’s charm lies in the little cobbled alleys, away from the busy piazzas.
Make sure you end your day in Florence by watching the sunset at Piazzale Michelangelo which overlooks the whole city. It’s beautiful.
If there’s one thing you need to know before booking your trip to Florence, it’s that it gets busy, especially at the Duomo so you need to book well in advance for activities like the dome climb. It was sold out when I was there! Also, get up early to enjoy the city before the crowds arrive.
Things to do on day 1
- Walk over the Ponte Vecchio bridge. This extremely old bridge is lined with jewellers, galleries and gifts shops along either side and is a popular tourist attraction in Florence.
- Climb the tower at the Palazzo Vecchio. This is actually my favourite viewpoint as you can see the Dumo in its entirety frames by the copper coloured roofs of houses and buildings in the old town.
- Visit the Uffizi Palace and Art galleries – one of the most important art museums in the whole of Italy.
- Enjoy a walk through the serene Boboli Gardens, home to a beautiful palace and many fountains and sculptures. This will lead you towards Piazzale Michelangelo, where you will find the prettiest viewpoint overlooking the whole city.
Where to stay on day 1
Since you don’t have long in Florence on this 5 days Tuscany itinerary, I would recommend you stay as central and near to the old town as possible to save on travel time. Though you may not find many hotels in the old town with a car park, you don’t really need it until Day two so I recommend hiring it for when you leave Florence, headed for Chianti.
Florence is expensive so you may save money by getting an Airbnb. I stayed at Panzani 14 through Airbnb and it was extremely central, clean and the hosts very friendly. The room decor and furnishings were okay but nothing to write home about but for the cost, I felt it was reasonable value for money.
Alternatively, here are a few other options which look really lovely and are very centrally located with excellent reviews. Camerepontevechio and B&B My Way are great budget options. If you are looking for something a little more luxury, check out Ponte Vecchio Suites and Spa.
Day 2 of your Tuscany itinerary
Start your day by exploring Florence’s highlight, the beautiful Duomo cathedral and the surrounding old buildings such as St Johns Baptistery.
After your fill of cathedrals and viewpoints, head out of Florence into the Tuscan countryside and the Chianti region, known for its medieval villages and wineries. Your Tuscany road trip really begins here as you explore the town of San Gimignano in the afternoon before staying in the heart of the countryside at a beautiful agriturismo.
Things to do on day 2
- Get up early and use your queue-jump pass (purchased well in advance) to explore Florence’s Duomo before the crowds arrive. The queues for this place get absolutely insane, wrapping around the whole cathedral by mid-morning. I wouldn’t even attempt to visit without a queue jump ticket or you may be queueing for an hour or two in the hot sun!
- Climb either the dome or the tower. The view is better from the tower as the dome is in view. But the view is obstructed by wire mesh so you’ll get better photos from the dome climb. The dome climb must be booked well in advance and was sold out when I was there in Spring.
- Explore one of the oldest buildings in Florence, the Baptistery of St John.
- In the afternoon head out of Florence to San Gimignano, a charming walled city perched on a hill. It’s home to the worlds best gelato shop (it’s official, they have awards!) But the best thing about San Gimignano is just relaxing and leisurely strolling the old cobbled streets adorned with flags, visiting the many shops and restaurants before heading to the old castle ruins for stunning views onto the Tuscan countryside.
Where to stay on day 2
I stayed at Borgo Gallinaio, an absolutely beautiful agriturismo. An agriturismo is a guest house within a farmhouse and you’ll find them throughout Italy. This is one of the nicest I have stayed in. With the most charming little courtyard filled with bright flowers and rooms with sloping ceilings and timber beams. There was even a swimming pool and I could happily have spent a full day just relaxing here. The food was also divine – one of the best meals I had in Italy!
If you would prefer to stay an extra night in Florence, you can also arrange many day trips into the Chianti region. Though I personally wouldn’t miss the chance to stay at a lovely agriturismo which is all part of the Tuscany experience!
Day 3 of your 5 Tuscany itinerary
Start your day exploring the beautiful Monteriggioni. A tiny medieval walled village perched atop a hill. If you happen to travel with a drone, like I do, here is a great spot for ariel photography. Otherwise, just spend an hour or so strolling the little courtyards and gifts shops, stop for a coffee or for some lunch and enjoy the countryside views.
In the afternoon, I would suggest you take a wine tour and enjoy some wine tasting at some of the wineries that make this region famous. You can often arrange a wine tour or tastings with a winery directly or you can take a tour meaning that no one has to drive and you can experience several wineries in one afternoon.
Alternative things to do on day 3
Day 4 of your Tuscany itinerary
Today, start early as there is lots to see. Start by driving to Siena, the largest of the towns in the Chianti Region and the one you are most likely to have heard of. Visit the ornate Duomo di Siena, climb the city tower and have lunch in Il Campo – the main piazza.
You’ll then start your journey from Siena to the Val d’Orcia, home to some of the most stunning scenery in Tuscany.
This part of this 5 day Tuscany itinerary, is not about ticking off big towns and attractions but more about enjoying the stunning scenery. I’ve listed below some of the prettiest viewpoints and best places to stop along the way.
However, the beauty of a Tuscany road trip is that you can stop wherever you like, whenever a beautiful view opens up in front of you. Just make sure it’s safe to stop – there are plenty of laybys along the road for this very purpose.
I’d recommend stopping off in sleepy Montalcino for a delicious lunch at Alle Logge Di Piazza.
Best photo stops and places to visit on Day 4
- Cypress Tree Viewpoint 43.286258, 11.433042
- Agriturismo Baccoleno where a winding road of cypress trees leads to a perfectly situated farmhouse (great for sunset.) 43°12’2.9755″N11°35’22.0863″E
- The Abbey of Sant Antimo is an ancient abbey which is a great photo spot. But make sure you explore inside the old church too! 42°59’46.572″ N 11°31’12.48″ E
- Bagno Vignoni is a little village set around a thermal spring. It is adorable. Just outside of the village you’ll find more hot springs where you can swim. 43°1’41.5488″N11°37’4.8739″E
Where to stay on day 4
I stayed at Agriturismo Lunadora and it was yet again one of those places that I wish I could stay longer. Not only was there a swimming pool with views for miles across the Tuscan countryside but there was even a mini spa room with jacuzzi and relaxation area. The breakfast, after I returned from my sunrise photoshoot, was incredible.
Day 5 of your Tuscany Itinerary
Day 5 on this Tuscany itinerary is again, a laid back day, stopping off wherever you fancy.
Today we will be focussing on the best-known parts of the Val d’Orcia. The scenery is stunning so if you are into landscape photography; get excited!
If you are a photographer then I would highly recommend getting up before sunrise to get some epic shots. Start with Podere Belvedere, a farmhouse surrounded by a cluster of trees set amidst rolling hills. The rising sun bounces off the house and if you visit in early spring, you may even get lucky with some mist to add atmosphere.
Once you’ve finished taking your photos at all the iconic photo locations along this route (see below for suggestions and coordinates,) spend your time stopping off exploring all the beautiful towns and villages along the route. My favourite town was Pienza which was utterly charming especially with all the bright flowers decorating most of the houses.
Places to stop on day 5
- Podere Belvedere (pictured above) can be found here; 43°3’50.3319″N11°36’38.8138″E
- Capella di Vitaleta a little abandoned chapel. You have to park your car and walk for 10-15 minutes to get here. 43°4’14.3907″N11°38’7.1896″E
- House near San Quirico d’Orcia – a lovely country farmhouse with a long row of cypress trees leading up t it, perched on a hill. 43°3’55.6229″N11°36’43.5053″E
- A lonely cluster of cypress trees – makes for a slightly quirky photo composition 43°3’34.947″N11°36’13.6588″E
Towns and villages to explore
- San Quirico d’Orcia – a great spot for breakfast or a mid-morning coffee as it’s very near all the above-listed photography locations.
- Pienza – stunning views from the walls which circle the town. The cobbled alleys and pretty streets are usually highly decorated with flower arrangements and there are many pretty courtyards with some great restaurants for lunch.
- Montepulciano – make sure you visit the little church of San Biagio just outside the main town. Views from the road here are really pretty!
Where to stay on day 5
If you’re flying out the next day from Rome as I did, then look for a hotel near the airport – Fiumicino airport is actually quite far out of the city centre.
I stayed at Ostia Antica Park Hotel and spa. It was cheap as chips and close to the airport but the rooms were quite dated and the bed not particularly comfortable. However, I’ve still included it as an option as it’s so close and budget-friendly. If you’re arriving late and leaving early, you probably won’t care about much else!
B&B L’Ulivo Fiumicino is another budget option for under €50/night but looks pretty nice. Rome Airport Inn is a little more expensive but still very affordable and looks like a lovely place to spend your last night in Italy.
Planning a Tuscany Rad Trip Itinerary
When is the best time to take a Tuscany road trip?
Italy can get both hot and crowded in the summer months. Whilst you might not notice many crowds in the smaller towns in Tuscany, cities like Florence and towns like Siena can become very busy.
Therefore the best time to visit Tuscany will be in the shoulder seasons Spring and Autumn. Visiting In April-May and September-October will allow you to explore without the crowds and without risking sunstroke!
How to plan a 5 day Tuscany road trip
Tips for hiring a car in Tuscany
I have hired many cars in Italy (I’m a little obsessed with Italian road trips) and not all have been great experiences! The best car hire company I have found so far is Europcar. Hiring a car was straight forward, there were no hidden extras and I even got a free upgrade.
To keep costs down, I recommend getting car hire insurance with an external provider. I get an annual Europe policy with ICarHireInsurance.com which costs a fraction of the price that you would expect to pay through the car hire company.
Another way to save money on your Tuscany road trip is by avoiding GPS hire charges by downloading maps.me on your phone and getting an air vent phone holder to use it handsfree.
Tips for driving in Tuscany
This 5 day Tuscany itinerary does involve a lot of diving but do not worry, it’s nowhere near as tricky driving in Tuscany as it is in other parts of Italy. The roads are much quieter and in good condition.
However, if at any point you go on a motorway (such as when driving back to Rome’s airport) you should be aware that there are many toll bridges which require you to pay cash so make sure you keep some on your person.
Not sure you want to hire a car to explore Tuscany? Whilst public transport probably isn’t going to cut it in rural Tuscany, you can opt to take a group tour with G Adventures, a company I trust and have travelled with many times.
I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this 5 day Tuscany itinerary and feel more comfortable about planning your Tuscany road trip!
By following this itinerary, you’ll get to see many of Tuscany’s countryside highlights as well as have the opportunity to explore one of Italy’s most beautiful cities. So make sure you remember to pin this article with the pins below so that you can refer to it later!
Any questions? Pop them in the comments section below…
Hop aboard, buckle up, hang on and prepare to scream because, whether you’re a hard-core risk taker or you approach thrill rides with some trepidation, there’s a roller coaster for you.
Roller coasters give you the opportunity to spend a sunny summer day staring death in the face. They come in all sizes, speeds, types, layouts, and track materials. With some, the ride experience is profoundly terrifying, leaving you shell shocked.
Others induce an exhilarating sense of panic that’s addictive. What all coasters have in common, however, is that they assault the senses, sending your adrenaline levels off the charts. And once you walk away, you can say you survived a brush with death. No wonder coasters provoke such infatuation.
Millennium Force – Cedar Point, Ohio
Riders shoot through tunnels, crest hills, and veer past lagoons on this steel coaster that’s for those who crave speed, lots of airtime and heights. The first ascent offers panoramic views of the park as well as Lake Erie, which might be enjoyable if it weren’t for that slight feeling of doom. This initial climb leaves riders shaking as they ascend at an impressive 45-degree angle.
Once at the top, all that’s left to do is gape straight down from a more than 300-foot perch. Then riders are catapulted down at close to a 90-degree angle at an astounding 93 mph. Coaster devotees are particularly keen on the sustained G force on a turn that’s banked at a max of 100-some degrees.
Kingda Ka – Six Flags Great Adventure, New Jersey
This steel coaster was made for those who want to be scared silly, starting before they even board. After all, the coaster’s enormous U-shaped track can be seen from just about anywhere in the park, towering some 45 stories above the ground, and making it one of only two coasters in the world that plunge at least 400 feet.
In a dumbfounding 3.5 seconds, the train accelerates from 0 to 128 mph, rocketing up at a 90-degree angle. And then, it swoops down in a brain-scrambling 270-degree spiral. The terrifying ride is intense but short, over in a mere 28 seconds.
Image courtesy of Knoebels Amusement Resort
Phoenix – Knoebels Amusement Resort, Pennsylvania
It’s not the tallest, fastest, scariest or newest, but this is a much loved, thrilling, old-school coaster with a storied history. When an amusement park closed in San Antonio, Texas, the 1940s wood coaster was dismantled, moved cross country via almost three dozen tractor trailers and, piece by piece, resurrected as the aptly named Phoenix.
With a top speed of 45 mph, the Phoenix sweeps riders through a long, dark tunnel, also inducing plenty of giddiness on 12 airtime-filled hills, where the lap bar lets riders readily bounce out of their seats.
Montu – Busch Gardens Tampa Bay, Florida
Named for the hawk-headed ancient Egyptian god of war, this steel, inverted coaster boasting a top speed of 65 mph gives aficionados what they yearn for: a feeling that they’re careening out of control. The close to 4,000-foot-long track is rife with surprises, including high-speed dives, underground trenches, and tight curves, as well as seven inversions.
Among these multiple inversions is the Immelmann, a horseshoe-shaped diving loop that’s ominously named for a World War I German fighter pilot; a pair of 45-degree vertical loops, one that’s 60-feet high; and a Zero-G Roll. With all this dizzying action, it’s no wonder that coaster fans keep coming back for more.
Image courtesy of Carowinds
Copperhead Strike – Carowinds, North Carolina
On this double launch coaster — the first in the Carolinas — the shocks start as soon as the train leaves the station with a jojo roll that treats riders to an upside-down twist. Then, in a 2.5-second flash, the train is launched from 0 to 42 mph, propelling it into a 360-degree inversion.
Perhaps the most heart-pounding experience is after the second launch with an 82-foot hang-time loop, the coaster’s highest point. This winding ride boasts five complete gut-flipping inversions, more than any other double launch coaster in North America. Coaster enthusiasts are also wild about the airtime hills aplenty, and the tight, close-to-the-ground twists and turns.
Lightning Rod – Dollywood, Tennessee
This coaster will cure anyone of the idea that wood coasters are tame. As the world’s fastest wood coaster, Lightning Rod rockets at a top speed of 73 mph. It throttles from 0 to 45 mph, speeding up the 20-story lift hill. This launch is the equivalent of a whopping 1,500 horsepower, making the coaster’s name and 1950s hot rod theme apt.
Riders get impressive views of the surrounding verdant hills and valleys from the lift hill’s twin summits. But there’s little time to relish in the scenery, given the subsequent daring, almost vertical, 16-story dive. With the ride’s astounding 20 seconds of airtime, as well as a four-part element with twists, banks and plunges, serious screaming is warranted.
Image courtesy of Six Flags Magic Mountain
Twisted Colossus – Six Flags Magic Mountain, California
The original wooden Colossus coaster was given a makeover with steel tracks, converting it into this hybrid, one of the world’s longest, with nearly a mile of track.
The four-minute ride gives riders a wild time with rapid rolls and spirals, 18 airtime hills, and steep banked turns. The brief time spent hanging upside down when the train slows in the Top Gun Stall element seems like an eternity. And the Western Hemisphere’s first High Five element gives riders in two trains the illusion that they are high fiving each other when they extend their arms.
If you’re looking for the perfect Da Nang itinerary, this guest post by Adam and Gabby will help to show you how to spend an awesome 3 days in Da Nang, Vietnam’s 3rd largest city and gateway to the infamous Golden Bridge. Da Nang is an under-rated city in Vietnam, often skipped by many visitors. But there are so many things to do in Da Nang that you should try and incorporate at least a few days in Da Nang into your wider Vietnam itinerary.
I’ll hand you over to them now to tell you all about their 3 day Da Nang itinerary…
Da Nang, Vietnam, is one of the fastest-growing and dramatically changing cities in Southeast Asia. We’ve spent more than 6 months living in Da Nang, and it’s hard to believe a place could grow so quickly. Every week new shops, cafes, and restaurants open up, and the constant thrumming of construction sets the backdrop for this developing metropolis.
This 3 day Da Nang itinerary will take you through some of Da Nang’s must-see spots, have you tasting local specialities, and searching for elusive monkeys by motorbike…
Thankfully, most tourists skip right over Da Nang and head straight to Hoi An. We’ll never understand, but that means there will be fewer of them clogging up your photos. And speaking of photos, you better take a bunch now, because when you come back to Da Nang, everything will be different!
By spending 3 days in Da Nang, you’ll begin to understand the ordered chaos of central Vietnam. You might even be able to safely cross the street by the time you leave here!
What you can expect from this article…
An Overview of this 3 day Da Nang itinerary
Day 1: Get to know the An Thuong area, enjoy high tea at Avatar, walk the beach, seafood dinner.
Day 2: Sunrise at the beach, Mi Quong breakfast, Marble Mountain, Lunch Tam’s Pub, Cong Cafe, walk the riverfront, Banh Xeo dinner, drinks at 7 bridges
Day 3: Bo Ne Breakfast, Son Tra Peninsula, lady Buddha, Pagoda, Lighthouse, Macrobiotic restaurant, An Thuong Nightlife
Bonus Day: Bana Hills
Things to know about visiting Da Nang
Reasons you should visit Da Nang
1/ Da Nang is actually one of the most laid back cities in Vietnam.
However, if this is your first stop in Vietnam you’d never know it. The streets in Da Nang are much wider and less trafficked than those in Hanoi or Saigon, and the pace is much more relaxed.
2/ It’s changing…fast
This point can not be reiterated enough. Many Da Nang expats love to complain about how the city they came here for is long gone now. To that point, I say, “leave.” Why stay somewhere you don’t like? For the rest of us, who can embrace change, we’ll go on appreciating all the new things to love about the Da Nang of today.
3/ Da Nang has one of the most famous beaches in Asia
My Khe beach in Da Nang was a popular destination for American GIs on R&R during the Vietnam war. Perhaps you remember the famous surfing scene in Apocalypse Now? Well that was based on My Khe beach, known to some as China beach back in the day.
Today, thousands of tourists visit My Khe beach every day to enjoy the waves, soak up some sun, and take selfies in their bikinis. If you get up early enough you’ll see hundreds of locals exercising on the beach during sunrise.
4/ You can Walk the Golden Bridge
Da Nang broke the internet in 2018 with the opening of the “Golden Hands Bridge” at its mountaintop amusement park, Ba Na Hills. You’re going to score some serious jealousy from your friends back home when these pics hit your IG feed.
When is the best time of year to visit Da Nang?
The best time to visit Da Nang is from February to May when temperatures are coolest. It’s best to avoid the rainy season from September-January.
How to get to Da Nang
Da Nang has its own international airport, so you can book flights directly from most major cities in Asia. If you’re coming in from outside of Asia you’ll likely have to connect through HCMC or Hanoi first. If you’re connecting through HCMC or Hanoi, you’ll have to pass through customs before you can get on your connecting flight. Be sure to leave a long enough layover time for visa processing.
How to get around Da Nang
Da Nang certainly isn’t the most walkable city we’ve ever lived in. The sidewalks are not for walking, rather for parking motorbikes, and walking in the street doesn’t often elicit feelings of calmness and security. Also, taxi drivers will constantly honk at you, hoping you’re dumb enough to get in with them.
Here in Da Nang, your best bet for getting around effectively, and without getting ripped off is GRAB. Grab is Asia’s version of Uber with one nifty twist, motorbikes. That’s right, here in Da Nang you can order a motorbike taxi on your phone one minute, and be whizzing across the Dragon Bridge shooting selfies from the back of your personal crotch rocket the next.
Or perhaps you’ll find yourself clutching the driver for your life…don’t say we didn’t warn you. For couples…or less adventurous travellers, grab does also offer a regular car service like UBER, with air conditioning! Most grab rides cost less than $3, so go for it!
Where to base yourself for 3 days in Da Nang
There are lots of great neighbourhoods in Da Nang. When we first moved here, the An Thuong area was just starting to become popular with a few cafes and restaurants gaining momentum. Today, An Thuong is a multicultural wonderland with lots of cafes, amazing Vietnamese food, international cuisine, and cool beach town vibes.
If you’re looking for a social hostel run by cool locals go meet our friends at Light House Hostel
For something a little more unique, check out Airbnb, you’re sure to find something interesting on there.
3 Days in Da Nang itinerary
Day 1 in Da Nang
Have Breakfast on day 1 at…
Let’s face it, you’re not getting up for sunrise at the beach today, we’ll save that for tomorrow morning. Today it’s all about getting acclimated. By the time you roll out of bed, the locals will have been up for hours already.
If you’re like me, then your first conscious thought of the day will have something to do with which food item will be first to pass your lips. The traditional Da Nang breakfast is noodles, most often the local speciality Mi Quang. There’s a good chance all of the noodle shops will have already stopped serving breakfast by this hour, but fear not…remember that sunrise we’re planning for tomorrow?
If Western-style breakfast with pancakes and eggs is more of what you’re craving then we recommend Urban Square.
In the morning, get out and familiarize yourself with the neighbourhood.
The An Thouongs are some of the most walkable blocks in Da Nang. Start one block in from the Holiday Beach hotel and zig-zag your way in. Back and forth past the shops, hotels, seafood restaurants, cafes, fruit stands, nail salons, massage parlours… Pick any cafe that catches your eye and sit down for a cup of Vietnamese coffee.
Vietnamese coffee is an addiction waiting to happen. If you’ve never experienced this before, proceed with caution. We fell hard and fast for this bittersweet brew. And you will too.
Lunch on day 1…
Finding a place to eat lunch won’t be as difficult as choosing which place to eat at. So many great foods, such little time. We’re planning something exciting for afternoon tea though, so don’t stuff yourself too much at lunchtime.
It’s time for Banh Mi, Baby! Banh Mi is the traditional sandwich of Vietnam. Just the mention of it has me drooling on my keyboard over here. You can fill them up with a variety of toppings, our favourites are thit nuong which is barbecued pork, or Heo Quay, which is crispy roasted pork. For us, no Banh Mi is complete without the egg (trung) on top. They’ll probably also add a schmear of pate, some chilli jam, and a bit of flossy pork for good measure.
In the afternoon on day 1 enjoy high tea with a view before hitting the beach
It’s hot, and I know you’re dying to get to the beach, but trust me…you don’t want to get there too early. The best time to hit the beach is in the later afternoon once the shadows of the hotels and palm trees begin to creep out.
In the meantime, we recommend checking out the high tea on the 18th floor of the Avatar Hotel. For about $4 you can enjoy all you can eat cakes and tea while taking in the spectacular views of the entire city. How many bridges can you spot from here? This perspective will help you to get a much clearer understanding of the layout of this big city. That’s why we’re up here on day 1 of this D a Nang itinerary. Tea is served from 3 pm to 6 pm, be sure to bring your camera.
Have a Seafood Dinner on day 1
A trip to Da Nang would be wasted without experiencing one of Da Nang’s beach-side seafood restaurants. It doesn’t get any fresher than this! Walk in and browse the many tanks housing different varieties of live fish, eels, crabs, prawns, and who knows what else. Once you’re ready to make a decision, flag down one of the attendants and begin to order.
You’ll need to tell them what kind of seafood you want, how much of it (in grams or kilograms), and how you’d like it cooked. Grilled, fried, steamed, etc. This meal may push you out of your comfort zone a bit, but don’t worry, it’s all part of the adventure.
In the evening on day 1…
Walking the beach at night is a classic Da Nang activity for locals and tourists alike. Watch for romantic couples hanging out on motorbikes, take in the colourful light shows from the hotels, and breathe in the fresh sea air as the ocean breeze rearranges your perfect hair into an elegant rat’s nest. Take note of the illuminated Lady Buddha who watches over all from her perch on the peninsula. We’ll be going out there on Day 3!
Get to bed early tonight.
We’re getting our asses up for sunrise tomorrow!
Day 2 in Da Nang
In the morning on day 2 – Sunrise Baby!
Don’t bother trying to remember when the last time you saw sunrise was, it’s too painful. Just get yourself some coffee, and get yourself down to the beach. If you really want, you can catch a few zzz’s on the sand once you get there.
Sunrise is the best time of day to experience the beach in Da Nang. Locals come out in full force for meditation, exercise, and general merriment. You’ll be inspired to do more with your mornings after seeing this. Expect that feeling to last a few hours before you’re back to never getting up for sunrise again.
Breakfast on day 2
Look at that, you got your butt up for sunrise and now all the early morning noodle spots are open, just like I promised. Don’t be afraid to branch out of the An Thuongs to find the more authentic local noodle stands. If you’re paying more than 30,000 dongs for a bowl of Mi Quang, you’re in the wrong spot.
Mi Quang is the local noodle speciality in central Vietnam. Mi Quang noodles are broader and firmer than their cousin, the Pho noodle. Unlike pho, Mi Quang is more about the noodle than the broth. Popular ways to order Mi Quang is with beef, pork, or the famous combination tom, thit and trung which comes with meat, shrimp, and quail eggs.
In the morning, head to Marble Mountains
Get a GRAB out to Marble Mountains, it should cost you less than $4 to get there. Marble Mountains is one of the most popular sites in the area, and for good reason. You can get amazing 360-degree views of Da Nang and the coastline all the way down to Hoi An. You can spend hours here walking the trails, exploring the various caves and temples, admiring the beautiful sculptures, or you can just pop in for an hour, ride the elevator to the top, get your photos and get out of there. Whatever your style.
We thought this was going to be just another over-hyped tourist spot. We were wrong.
Have Lunch on day 2 at Tam’s Pub
Tam’s Pub is a Da Nang institution. Come in for a burger, stay for the stories. The first thing you’ll notice is all of the photos and military memorabilia lining the walls. If you’re lucky enough, Tam herself will point herself out to you in some of the photos.
All of the food here is prepared with special care. Tam sees that the meat is sourced from quality and she even raises her own pigs. That being said, the thing that we always end up coming back for is the magical veggie burger. You really just have to try it. There is no equal to it.
By now you’re probably feeling like a nap. We won’t blame you for that. You were up for sunrise and we’re still proud of you.
After your nap, head across the dragon bridge for a cup of coffee before the rest of the night happens.
In the afternoon, try Coconut Coffee / Cong Ca Phe
This will certainly be an interesting contrast from your time at Tam’s pub.
Cong Ca Phe is a North Vietnamese themed coffee shop with a great view of the river, so try to get a seat upstairs by the window. Their menu has a lot of interesting choices, we fell in love with their “coconut caphe” and watched as it quickly popped up in cafe menus everywhere.
Walk along the riverfront
With caffeine in your veins, you’ll be ready to take on the city. Start with the waterfront, take notice of the boats on the water. They’ll look different by night time. Once you feel comfortable, start exploring the area. Take a few random lefts and rights, see where you end up. This is where the best experiences hide.
Have dinner on day 2 at Banh Xeo – Banh Xeo Ba Duong
For dinner tonight, we’re having an experience. Banh Xeo are “Vietnamese pancakes” though they look nothing like any pancakes I’ve ever seen. Search for “Ban Xeo Ba Duong.” This place is the real deal. The restaurant is at the far end of a long corridor that brings you past many little shops. This place is famous among locals and is always packed. For more info, check out this article on the best Banh Xeo in Danang
Enjoy After Dinner Drinks at 7 Bridges Brewery
Da Nang really comes to life in the evening. The city illuminates with millions of LEDs. The 5th-floor rooftop at 7 Bridges Brewery is the perfect place to suck down a few craft beers (the best in town,) and take in the colourful light show that is Da Nang. If you’re lucky enough to be here on a weekend night, you’ll be able to watch the fire breathing dragon bridge at 9 pm.
You’ve had a busy day. Head back to the hotel and get some much-needed rest.
Day 3 in Da Nang
If you’re feeling it, sleep late today. You deserve it. But not too late…we’re going on an adventure!
For breakfast on day 3 try Bo Ne
You’re going to need a good breakfast before we take off on today’s adventure.
We’ve been saving something special for today. There’s a lady not far from the An Thuong area who makes the best Bo Ne, Vietnamese steak and eggs. Search for Bo Ne Phuong Anh. The sister dish, Bo Ko, is like a thin beef stew, also with egg. Both dishes are served with a baguette on the side and the method of getting it all into your mouth is up to you. I usually end up crafting some kind of sandwich, while my partner rips up the bread and dunks it bite by bite. There’s no wrong way.
Bo Ne and Bo Ko are both amazing dishes, and this was the most difficult decision I had to make on a lot of days living here. This is the kind of place where you’ll be sitting on metal stools at a metal table under an umbrella. Lavish it. This is the real Vietnam life.
In the morning on day 3, visit Son Tra Peninsula
Our adventure today will take us out onto the magnificent Son Tra peninsula, home of the Lady Buddha, and Monkey Mountain. We always prefer to rent a motorbike and take off with the wind in our hair.
But if motorbikes aren’t your thing, you can always hire a car to take you out onto Son Tra. Whichever mode of transportation you choose, be sure to make frequent stops for photos. You may find yourself wanting to come back out here at night to see the illuminated Da Nang skyline.
If you’re planning on spending a while exploring on your own, be sure to bring some snacks and water. There are no places to buy ANYTHING on the peninsula.
Admire the Lady Buddha | Linh Ung Pagoda
You really can’t appreciate the size of the Lady Buddha from the beach. You have to come to see her up close to really appreciate her magnitude. There are beautiful temples here to walk through, and the gardens are some of the most beautiful we’ve seen anywhere. This is a wonderful, peaceful place to relax, walk around, meditate, and get away from the chaos of the city. Don’t be afraid to spend a little time soaking up the moment.
Take in the views
The backside of the Peninsula hides mind-blowing views of Da Nang’s coastal cliffs. Pull off and park on the side of the road for a closer look. Find a big rock to sit on and spend as much time as you want just staring into the sea. Feel the power of the massive waves as they crash against the rocks below you.
Visit Monkey Mountain
If you’re fortunate enough, you may have the opportunity to see the residents who give Monkey Mountain its name. They are very elusive but pay close attention and you may see one (or many) swinging through the trees, or simply resting on a signpost on the side of the road. If you do see one, don’t approach them. They can be aggressive if threatened.
Exploring Monkey Mountain by motorbike is really your only option. A car will take you part of the way, but there are many roads that can only be accessed by bike. Try to make it all the way to the top for an amazing view of the area! Be sure to bring a phone with google maps in case you get lost.
Have a Super Food Lunch on day 3
I’m sure all of that adventuring has left you with an appetite. Conveniently, one of our favourite restaurants is on the way back from Son Tra.
Bao An Macrobiotic restaurant is the perfect place to eat amazing fresh food, and chill out with relaxing vibes. What keeps us coming back is the way their menu changes every day, and how healthy we feel after we eat there. If vegetarian miracle food isn’t your thing there are hundreds of other restaurants to choose from along the way. Find something that looks interesting, and see what happens!
In the evening, sample An Thuong Nightlife
The An Thuong area is great for a night out with dinner and drinks. There are so many great local restaurants to choose from offering regional Vietnamese food and plenty of international cravings as well.
After dinner, we recommend browsing the local bars to see if anything suits your fancy. We often enjoy a couple of mojitos and live music at Crazy Cat’s Bar, or maybe share a nice bottle of Spanish wine at Oasis Tapas Bar… You really can’t go wrong either way. If you’re looking for the club scene, you’ll probably have to take a car across the bridge.
Bonus Day – if you have longer than 3 days in Da Nang – Day trip to Ba Na Hills
You’ve probably already seen pictures of the Golden Bridge at Ba Na Hills in your Instagram feed. Last year’s unveiling made quite a splash on social media, and millions have already come to get their iconic selfies on the bridge. Now you can too.
The Golden Bridge is part of Ba Na Hills, so in order to access it, you’ll first need to buy tickets to the park. Once inside you’ll have access to the golden bridge, the gardens, arcades, rides, and so much more. We spent an entire day here and had a wonderful experience, although we were a bit tired at the end of the day from taking so many selfies…
Tips for visiting Ba Na Hills
- Bring extra memory cards and batteries for your camera.
- Get there early to beat the crowds
- Check the weather online before you go, the weather on top of the mountain may be very different from Da Nang weather
- Bring an extra layer for warmth, it can get a little chilly if the clouds come
- Wear comfortable shoes, you’ll be doing a lot of walking around the park.
This completes your Da Nang itinerary. Hopefully, by now, you have a much better idea about how to get the most out of 3 days in Da Nang.
Let’s learn a little more about the authors of this 3 day Day Nang Itinerary…
Other articles you may like…
Have you been to Da Nang? What was your favourite thing to do? Any tips? If so, share them with us in the comments box below! In the meantime, here is a pin for your Pinterest boards…
An elite few of America’s top schools have top attractions to match, combining architecture, landscapes and activities that are worth a visit.
Back to school season is almost upon us, but that doesn’t mean you have to give up your travel plans as you head back to class or send your beloved students off to school. Some of America’s college and university campuses are destinations unto themselves.
We’ve rounded up the most notable campuses across the US, highlighting features like stunning architecture, diverse landscapes, and culture and activities for the whole family. Because, let’s face it, studying isn’t everything.
Flagler College, St. Augustine, FL
Imagine attending college in a luxury hotel? This opulent campus centers around the original Ponce de Leon Hotel and was built in 1867 by a New York oil tycoon in the Spanish Renaissance Revival style. The school is a National Historic Landmark once visited by distinguished guests like Theodore Roosevelt, Mark Twain and Babe Ruth. Thomas Edison personally wired it for electricity and the world’s largest collection of Tiffany stained glass works resides inside.
In 2018, Flagler celebrated its 50th anniversary and Flagler Legacy Tours are offered from May to August.
Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson, NY
This National Historic Landmark overlooks the Hudson River and the Catskill Mountains – spreading out over 540 acres. And though it dates to 1860, its architecture swings wildly from neoclassical to modern. With sweeping mansions now used as dorms, students and their families will appreciate the beauty of the Georgian revival Blithewood, the Collegiate Gothic Stine Row and Tudor revival Ward Manor.
But it’s the cutting-edge Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts, Frank Gehry’s first building constructed in the Northeast and open since 2003, which provides this campus a solid home for theater, music and adventurous performing arts, with over 200 events open to the public every year.
The main building of Rice University from inside the campus © Christian Offenberg / Dreamstime.com
Rice University, Houston, TX
Nestled in the museum district of this busy city, Rice University consists of about 50 buildings spread across 285 acres and boasts an oasis of green space – including the over 4000 trees and shrubs in the Lynn R. Lowrey Arboretum. Of course, this is Texas, so football is a big part of campus life, and Rice Stadium, the site of Super Bowl VIII, can seat 47,000 fans and up to 70,000 people for other events.
Most of the architecture is uniform in its Mediterranean Revival-style, though older buildings like Lovett Hall, named after the university’s first president, preserves medieval elements and welcomes students and families alike with its iconic Sallyport arch. The more modern Twilight Epiphany Skyspace is also a draw, and the light show is open to the public six days a week.
De Pauw University, Greencastle, IN
Listed in the National Register of Historic Places, this Midwestern campus combines old world charm with a naturalist bent, boasting nine miles of trails in its 520-acre nature park – which encompasses fields, forests, waterfalls and even an abandoned limestone quarry.
It’s also closely integrated with the lively town of Greencastle, which offers a rotating roster of performing arts and community events as well as a safe, fun space to socialize. The university’s celebrated Joyce Green Center for the Performing Arts hosts everything from musicals and theater productions to ensembles and chamber music concerts.
A small Japanese style bridge on the campus of College and William and Mary © Brian Cherry / Dreamstime.com
College of William & Mary, Williamsburg, VA
This campus is a bastion of history, housing the oldest collegiate building in the US, the Sir Christopher Wren Building. Named after the English royalty which chartered it in 1693, William III and Mary II, the college’s 1200 acres accommodates several other historic buildings used as both dorms and academic spaces, and the grassy Sunken Garden, best to visit in spring and fall, is a haven for students to relax, study and socialize.
The Duke of Gloucester Street also links the campus to Colonial Williamsburg’s reconstructed capital – allowing for a unique relationship to the past while retaining the student body’s robust modernity.
Lewis & Clark College, Portland, OR
This Pacific Northwestern campus is named after renowned explorers Lewis and Clark and more importantly, is contiguous to the Tryon Creek State Natural Area. Though just over 130 acres, its location atop Portland’s Palatine Hill allows for stunning views of Mt. Hood and the over 100 types of trees that surround it.
Though beautiful to look at and explore, the college’s location also inspired its LEED-certified buildings, which uses 100 percent wind power to provide electricity. The Tudor-style Frank Manor House presides over the campus architecture and includes a conservatory, a rose garden and reflection pool.
Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles, CA
Proudly towering over the City of Angels atop the Del Ray Hills bluffs, you’ll be bowled over by the striking views of the Pacific Ocean as well as the proximity of Los Angeles proper. Because of its Catholic roots, there are six chapels dotted inside campus, four of which are operated by its ministry.
The Spanish Gothic–style Sacred Heart Chapel is known for its intriguing and colorful stained-glass windows, while the post-modern Chapel of the Advocate designed by Frank Gehry includes a sunken entrance and an igloo-like structure with more impressionistic stained glass.
The travelling blues are more common than you’d imagine and it’s time we started talking openly about how travel can affect mental health – both positively and negatively.
You see depression, anxiety and low mood don’t just affect us when the cards are turned. In my other job as a GP doctor, I see people every day who are suffering from mental health problems despite life being pretty damn good in just about every other department. This can leave them feeling frustrated, sometimes even guilty, as well as low.
Similarly, being on the trip of a lifetime doesn’t necessarily protect you from experiencing the travelling blues. Depression, low mood and anxiety can affect you at any time, in any country and sometimes being away from home can make it seem even more overwhelming.
Since I am passionate about travel health, I wanted to start a discussion about the travel blues. What are they? Why do we get them? How can we avoid them? How can we treat the travelling blues if they do occur?
I will also be touching upon the post-travel blues and also how travel can actually help cure depression and help us cope with trauma.
We’ll also hear from some other travellers about their own experiences with the traveller’s blues.
What you can expect from this article…
What are the travelling Blues?
We all have good and bad days regardless of our mental well being, regardless of our activities. There will always be days where we roll out of bed the wrong side and it seems like luck is just not on our side. That’s normal.
However, someone experiencing the travelling blues will find the bad days start to outweigh the good ones. Getting dressed and leaving their hotel room becomes a real effort. They may feel lonely, isolated, anxious… They may find themselves feeling sad despite being somewhere they’ve dreamt of visiting for many years. They should be jumping for joy but instead, they feel flat and apathetic.
What is the difference between the travelling blues and the post-travel blues?
More people are familiar with the post-travel blues. This post-travel depression occurs after you return home from a trip. Life back home has lost its gleam and readjusting to normal life can be a challenge.
The travelling blues by comparison occur whilst the person is away from home. They are more unexpected as most people imagine they will feel really happy whilst they are travelling. They are having once-in-a-lifetime experiences every day so the person may not understand why they feel so low.
But as you’ll see below, there are many reasons why a person might experience the traveller’s blues…
Why do we get the Travellers blues?
The most common reason for people experiencing traveller’s depression is loneliness. Sometimes travelling solo can actually help us make lots of new friends especially if you are staying in a hostel or taking lots of day trips. But if you are staying in hotels or are somewhere off the beaten track, you may feel isolated, especially if you don’t speak the local lingo.
“I regularly get the travel blues. I’m single and although I’m quite used to travelling alone, it can be really hard when I find myself in some stunning location with no one to share it with. It’s even worse when I’m somewhere incredibly romantic, surrounded by loved-up couples. In Santorini I must have seen about six weddings in a single day, while in Uganda I stayed in the most impossibly romantic luxury safari lodge where I sat on the veranda overlooking this incredible view and cried. But when this happens, all I can do is let it pass, remind myself how lucky I am to be there, and then find something to do to distract myself until the blues go away again.“ By Bella from Passport & Pixels
“Although travel has always been something that makes me feel happy and fulfilled, once my husband and I started travelling full-time I started to realize that I needed certain things in order to stay happy. We both work from home teaching English online, which has made our life of travel possible but also started to trigger my depression. It became difficult to leave the house except for grocery shopping when we were travelling long-term in Turkey. I didn’t have much of a link to the local community and felt pretty isolated and without much of a reason to go outside. After a while, I realized that in order to stay happy I needed friends and something to get me out of the house since that wasn’t required for work. Now when we travel to a new place, I have a personal list of things that help me avoid depression. This list includes things like joining a gym, going to a local church on Sundays, making sure to shower every other day, etc. Having a list like this has made travel so much more enjoyable and makes it possible for me to stay happy even while travelling for long periods of time.” By Dayna from Happily Ever Travels
Another super common reason is exhaustion. I’ve felt this myself. I have to fit my travel in and around my job as a doctor often meaning I’m short on time and have to travel quickly. I am very prone to trying to cram too much and moving too quickly between places. Constantly packing and unpacking and rushing between places makes me feel jaded and the gleam starts to wear off. Every time I tell myself I’ll travel slower next time. Yet it never happens…
“Everyone has their travel breaking point, it might be after 2 weeks, 3 months, or even a year, but everyone will get travel fatigue at some point! For me it came a couple of months after beginning long term travel. I suddenly wanted to do nothing more than stay in and watch Netflix, eat comfort food and Skype friends and family back home.
The worst thing I did was try and ignore it and push on! If your body is telling you it needs a break, take one! Sometimes you just need to lay in bed all day watching Netflix” By Ashlea from Dashing Around The World.
“It was after winning a travel award and being overwhelmed by press trips that I first experienced homesickness. I’d been to India, Sri Lanka, Portugal, Spain and France. I had one more invite that I was really looking forward to. A health and fitness gulet cruise around the Mediterranean with just a few other members of the press. The itinerary took us from Rhodes to Marmaris around a stunning coastline, stopping off in deserted coves and small village harbours, kayaking, hiking and swimming in the sea. Idyllic. But, I couldn’t stop crying. It was beautiful and yet I wanted to be home – in my own bed. I understood for the first time that phrase ‘the company of strangers’. And though I’ve made a lifelong friend from that trip I know it just didn’t work for me. Through no fault of the tour company – and through nothing more than inexperience on my part. Now I pace myself and try to avoid overbooking!” By Fiona from London Unattached.
Often going travelling means extended time away from our loved ones. Whether that’s your parents, friends or a partner. Sometimes we don’t realise how much we rely on these people until we can’t lean on them. Even with decent wifi access, we still rely on being in similar timezones to be able to stay in regular contact. As well as our loved ones, we may miss home comforts such as familiar food, a comfy bed, a more comfortable climate…
I experienced homesickness when I was living in Australia for a few years. Although I visited home regularly, it really hit me how far away I was when we lost my grandfather and I couldn’t get back for the funeral. Around the same time, my Mum also had some worrying test results and I couldn’t be there to support her. (Don’t worry, she’s fine now!)
“The first time I travelled overseas was for 6 weeks through France, Germany and Poland with my now husband and his family. While it was the most amazing first international travel experience, with my first time seeing snow and celebrating a white Christmas, it was also my first time away from my own family for Christmas. By this point, we had been away for almost a month and I really felt the distance over those festive days. Sometimes I needed to take time out and read a book or something else on my own when the homesick feelings kicked in. However, I am completely grateful for that trip and we have done many as an extended family since.” By Holly from Four Around The World.
“It was some time in my second year of travelling with my daughters in East Asia, when one morning I woke up with the realisation I cannot do this any more. I cannot have another portion of rice, I cannot have another deep-fried chicken and sleep in another hotel bed. I was living exactly how I wanted to live and it was a strange thing to complain about, but I just simply and suddenly got tired of travelling and had to go back home. I called my husband and in 3 day’s time, I was back home in Muscat. The next day I went to the doctor and it turned out that I had anaemia. Soon enough I was back up and out. Now I’m ok and have been back to travelling for the past three years – but paying more attention to stay well-nourished when we travel.” By Ania from The Travelling Twins.
“My best friend and I once ditched traditional British Christmas to spend Christmas in Lagos in the Algarve, Portugal, eager to escape the mundane reality of family Christmas as single ladies. I’ve been to Lagos a few times and it’s always bustling, but this was late December and it was a ghost town. Many bars and shops had closed for the season and come Christmas Day, although we did get to devour a mouthwatering three-course Portuguese meal, it wasn’t the same as a roast turkey dinner with all the trimmings. Walking back to our hotel, we peered into warmly wit windows to see families huddled around their tables eating Christmas dinner. A wave of sadness came over me and at this moment, I knew I’d never spend Christmas away from home ever again.” By Kacie from The Rare Welshbit
Strain on relationships
If you are travelling with someone, it can feel really intense. You will be in each other’s pockets 24/7. This can put pressure on relationships and you start to worry that means there are cracks beginning to show. This can lead to problems with your mood or anxiety.
I once travelled with a friend who wasn’t an experienced traveller. When things went wrong, she needed to moan and vent. My approach was to laugh it off and cope using humour. We clashed in a way we never clashed back home. When things went wrong like the airline losing our luggage, it was harder to cope with as I was already feeling sad that my friendship was suddenly so precarious.
When I was in Peru, I got really sick. I very narrowly avoided admission to hospital and spent an entire week confined to my hotel room. I was so dehydrated but I was too sick to leave my hotel room to collect water. When I eventually did, I felt like I’d climbed Everest.
I’m usually a really independent person and I cope with sickness without leaning on other people. But when I knew that there was no one to lean on and I had to rely on myself despite being so sick, it was pretty scary. I just wished I was at home being looked after by my Mum like when I was a child!
Unresolved Conflicts back home
Sometime’s we travel to avoid problems back home. Sometimes that can help us gain perspective and improve our mood as we will discuss shortly. But if there is a big problem you are avoiding back home, this can hang over you like a big black cloud. Make sure you are travelling for the right reasons.
When things go wrong on holiday
Travel does not always go smoothly. It may be dealing with lost luggage, dirty accommodation, sickness, problems with tour guides or disagreements with your travel companions. You may even experience something much worse like a natural disaster. Things that you may cope with well at home, may feel a lot harder when you are alone and away from your loved ones.
“You can get the travel blues even when you’re visiting a world wonder. I had dreamed about visiting Machu Picchu in Peru, but my experience was far from being perfect. Getting to the town from which you take the bus to Machu Picchu requires a 7-hour van ride from Cusco and a 3-hour walk, and the same goes for the return on the next day. With such horrible weather on both days, nightmare van rides, and the worst guide in the world, it didn’t matter I was looking at an iconic piece of history. I was completely miserable, and I was so happy to go back to Cusco.“ By Or from My Path in the World
Travelling invariably costs more than you initially budget. There are always unexpected costs involved although there are of course many ways you can save money on travel. But running into money worries on the road is not uncommon and can cause travelling blues and additional anxiety.
In this day and age where social media is an integral part of most people’s daily lives, there can be a lot of additional social pressures. People upload photo’s of them ‘living their best life.’ This can put pressure on people to feel like they need to compete and showcase that they are able to do the same.
Reading about other people’s experiences and seeing their heavily-photoshopped photos can build a certain amount of expectation. It’s possible the trip will not live up to your expectations, leading you to compare your experiences resulting in frustration and the travel blues.
How can we prevent the travel blues?
The travelling blues often strike us when we least expect it but there are ways we can try to prevent them.
Set realistic expectations…
Firstly we need to set realistic expectations. If all we know about a place is from the photos from Instagram, you may have a biased view of a place. Instead, read blog articles, join in forum discussions and speak to friends who’ve been to get an idea of what reality is.
Keep in touch with loved ones…
Find a way to keep in regular touch with friends and family. Work out what the time difference is and let them know when the best times will be to contact you. Make sure you have all your loved one’s numbers and email addresses stored somewhere safe. You could set up a Whatsapp group to keep people updated or get yourself a skype account so you can ring home on the wifi.
Allow yourself rest days…
Allow yourself time to rest and don’t try to travel too fast for too long. Factor in rest days, especially either side of long flights and travel days. Sometimes you need a day to just relax and read a book or watch a film and that’s okay.
Avoid spending too much time on social media. Seeing what’s going on at home can make you feel homesick and lead to travel blues. Instead, focus on ‘being in the moment.’ You can tell all your friends all about it over a pint in the pub when you get back!
Make new travel friends…
Look for ways to meet people when you travel. Stay in the occasional dorm room or hostel, take day tours or join a group tour (I always recommend G Adventures.) You can also use websites like Tourlina and Backpackr.org to find travel buddies or use meetup.com to connect with locals with things in common.
How can we treat the travel blues
If you are unlucky enough to experience the traveller’s blues, there are various ways you can start to feel better, quicker.
Get plenty of exercise
Exercise is a brilliant treatment for any type of depression or anxiety and I recommend this to all my patients regardless of the cause of their low mood. Often it’s easy to incorporate exercise into your travels. You could hire a kayak to explore the coast, hike up a mountain or join a cycle tour around a city. Even just going for a brisk walk can help increase your heart rate which in turn gives you a little serotonin boost.
Learn Mindfulness skills
Try some mindfulness. Based on relaxation, meditation and breathing techniques, Mindfulness can help improve sleep, regulate moods and reduce anxiety. You can access Mindfulness via apps on your phone, websites, youtube videos or you can buy yourself a Mindfulness workbook. This makes it one of the easiest ways to manage depression and anxiety when you are travelling.
Try some online CBT
Another great resource for persistent travel blues, especially for those who are travelling longterm, are CBT websites such as Moodgym or Moodjuice. CBT or cognitive behavioural therapy encourages us to analyze our own patterns of behaviour, identify vicious circles and make changes to improve our wellbeing. You can do this anywhere as long as you have access to the internet.
Get some rest and look after yourself
Get plenty of rest. This might involve taking a break from travelling to stay in one place for a while until you are feeling better. Avoid drinking too much alcohol as it’s actually a depressant and make sure you fill your body with nutritious foods. Take time to enjoy the things you love such as curling up with a good book.
Get in touch with your loved ones
A quick chat with a loved one can make you feel so much better. So send them a message to schedule a time which works for you both with the time difference and have a good chinwag with someone who knows you well. Often they can offer some words of wisdom to help put things in perspective for you.
Make some friends
If loneliness has been one of the triggers for your travelling blues, then get out and meet some people. It can be hard when you are feeling low as you may be lacking motivation. But it will be worth it. Join a group tour – either a day trip or an extended tour – or find a sociable hostel where you can meet new people.
Find a community which will understand
If your friends and family don’t travel much, they may find it hard to understand why you are feeling low when you should be having the time of your life! But remember there are plenty of people out there who will understand. There are lots of online communities which you can look to for advice and support or just to get some reassurance that you’re not alone. Girls Love Travel and The Lonely Planet Traveller’s Group on Facebook are a couple of my favourite places to connect with like-minded people.
Seek professional help
If you’ve tried all the above suggestions and your mood is still not improving, it may be time to seek professional help. Sometimes the traveller’s blues can progress into a full-blown case of depression. Make sure you have travel insurance so that you can always get medical advice when you are abroad if you need it. I recommend World Nomads for insurance.
And finally, just be kind to yourself…
How to cope with Post Travel blues
Let’s take a moment to talk about the post-travel blues. They are even more common than the travelling blues. They can range from mild apathy following a brilliant holiday to full-blown post-travel depression.
It’s common to feel a little lost when you get home. Nothing feels quite as exciting. You’re friends don’t want to chat travel 24/7 like you do. Household chores, food shopping and returning to work replace hiking up mountains and relaxing on beaches. You feel like travel has changed you and yet nothing has changed back home.
There are various ways to cope with the post-travel blues. Here are just a few suggestions to help you get back to normality;
- Keep busy and surround yourself with people you love.
- Explore your local area like a tourist, travel doesn’t always have to involve an international flight…
- Reflect on your trip by building a scrapbook or photo album.
- Start planning the next trip even if it’s just writing out an adventure bucket list and sticking it to your fridge door.
- Take up a new hobby to keep you focussed and excited about life.
- Cook your favourite foods that you missed whilst you were away.
- Write a list of all the things you missed whilst you were away and work your way through the list.
“I’ve never experience the traveller’s blues whilst travelling but certainly coming back from long term travel can be difficult! Travel represents everything I love in life; excitement of meeting new people, seeing new things and experiencing the sites and sounds of a new place! Coming home to the monotony of route and work and household chores can be tough! For me the best way to get over these blues is to book more travel. But if annual leave, bank balances and life gets in the way, I find exploring things closer to home and having home adventures can be a great tonic!” By Leona from Wandermust Family
“When I came home after a year in Australia I was definitely not prepared for all the emotions that came with it. I was excited to see friends and family but somehow I felt like I’m not in the right place. No one seemed to notice how much I had changed in the past year and I couldn’t understand what was going on. Thing is, back home things aren’t moving so fast and often people are jealous of our adventures. Even if they don’t admit it. My journey of getting over this post-travel depression taught me gratitude and acceptance. And I discovered a whole new love for my hometown. Basically, you just want to treat your life back home as if you were still travelling. Having a happy and exciting life does not depend on the place we physically live in, it starts in our head.” By Valerie from Valeries Adventure time.
How travel can actually treat depression
It’s not all doom and gloom. In fact, travel usually lifts the spirits and can in some case help you heal after a personal trauma, recover from a breakup and can even help beat depression.
Travel gives you something to look forward to. Your increased activity levels can help lift your mood. Achieving goals like climbing a mountain at high altitude can give you a sense of purpose.
Two of my extended trips abroad were soon after a breakup. I didn’t exactly fly out the next day to avoid grieving my relationships but I did start planning my trip a month or two afterwards which helped give me something fun to think about rather than dwell on what had happened. Travelling solo built my confidence and made me realise I was okay on my own and that life as a singleton had its perks too.
“In 2012 a close family member passed away and I was left in a state of grief for over a year. During that time my partner decided to do something nice by booking a trip to Belgium for my birthday. Whilst away, I was happy for the first time in a long time. Experiencing a new culture and activities was what I needed to help break out of my depression. I wasn’t ‘cured’ by any means but only weeks later I felt well enough to come off antidepressants. Travelling helped me see the joys in life again and gave me a new sense of enthusiasm for the things I was passionate about.“ By Rio from Opposite tourists
“4 years ago I broke up with my first love. It was a difficult decision but essentially we drifted apart. He wanted to stay home and I wanted to travel. Shortly afterwards, I started to have panic attacks on every subway station I associated with him. Good thing I didn’t forget why we broke up. That summer I went to France and Serbia. Once I was on my way I was very sceptical that I made the right decision – maybe I should have settled down? Once I arrived at the hostel I got to speak to new people who were also traveling solo. We talked about our broken hearts and funny stories and so on. After that, I knew that I will be alright.” By Albi from Ginger Around The Globe.
“When my father passed away suddenly in 2017, I was destroyed and unable to handle the grief so I booked a trip. I had my first taste of healing in a cemetery in Mixquic, just outside of Mexico City, Mexico during Dia de Los Muertos. I watched silently as families all came together washing, repainting, and decorating the tombs with food offerings and bright orange Marigolds. There were some tears but there was joy and laughter as the children ran around as children do, memories were shared, songs were sung and the air was thick with love. Travelling as it had many times in the past, saved me yet again. Bringing me back to myself by showing me the beauty of the Mexican culture’s time-honoured tradition of remembering and cherishing those we have lost and miss so dearly.” By Courtney from Coco Betty.
I hope that if you are reading this whilst suffering from the travelling blues, that you are feeling more positive about ending the cycle of this travel depression. Don’t be too hard on yourself, it happens to all of us from time to time. But you will need to be proactive to get yourself back on track and enjoy your trip in the way you deserve to!
Many tourists visiting Germany often tend to head straight to the capital Berlin, which is, after all, the largest city. The country has a lot more to offer though, so why not choose to visit one of the equally stunning cities peppered throughout the country – a city just like Hamburg.
As Germany’s second largest city, it boasts plenty to see and do. Unusually in a country with only one strip of coastline, it is also is a port, of course on the North Sea Coast. If you’re planning a trip to Germany or simply want to find a little inspiration for where to take your next holiday, check out the tips for visiting Hamburg below.
Let’s Talk Accommodation
In a city romantically filled with canals that really do lend something to the atmosphere, ideally you want to be located close to one. And happily there is a great choice of locations to pick from. The Altstadt area is preferable as it is the oldest part of the city and one of the most picturesque. Accommodation like Fraser Suites Hamburg is ideal, since it is not only located in this charming area, surrounded by canals, but it is also conveniently close to a train station as well as the underground system.
And Getting About
Speaking of getting about the city, thanks to the extensive and efficient public transport system, visiting all of the sights is easy. Boasting buses, trains, the underground and even ferries, you can traverse the whole city without having to worry about taxi fees. Before your trip take a look at the HVV site, which has all the information about transport in Hamburg that you’re going to need for your trip.
What about the Sights
As a port as well as a large historical city, there are plenty of sights to take in during your visit. Hamburg is a charming mix of the old and the new, with large portions of the city having been rebuilt following WWII. For imposing Gothic architecture check out some of the churches or the Rathaus. For more modern German design, there is the Speicherstadt, which translates as ‘the warehouse district’. And don’t forget that Hamburg is often lauded as the Broadway of Germany, so it can be the perfect spot to take in a show too.
And Any Tasty Bites
Like any metropolis, you are always going to be able to find superior dining options, so it is well-worth taking advantage of them. The traditional cuisine of Hamburg tends to feature fish more heavily than elsewhere in Germany, so give Aalsuppe (eel soup) and Pannfisch (pan-fried fish) a try when you’re in the city. If you’re looking for what you know as a hamburger though, prepared to be disappointed – it’s an American invention! For the best restaurants, head to the HafenCity area which offers a great selection of restaurants to suit any tastes.
It’s a city that’s easy to visit and get around in, and boasts lots of things to see and do, so why not consider the vibrant and beautiful city of Hamburg for your next trip!
For some domestic travelers, airport security will soon become a whole lot easier.
Ninety-four per cent of people in the Transportation Security Administration’s PreCheck lanes clear the scanners in under five minutes, and now even more passengers are set to benefit from the agency’s expedited screening program. On Monday, the TSA added five international airlines to its roster of participating carriers: Austrian Airlines, Canada’s Swoop, PAL Express (Philippines Airlines), and the Mexico-based Viva Aerobus and Interjet.
Letting pre-approved fliers skip through security lines without the hassles of separating out their liquids, taking off their shoes, or pulling out their laptops, PreCheck is available for passengers on 72 domestic and international airlines, provided they’re US citizens, nationals, or permanent residents who’ve gotten the all-clear. (Members of the US Armed Forces are also eligible.) After being fingerprinted and passing a background check and an in-person interview, applicants pay US$85 for a five-year membership, gaining access to express lines on US departures and domestic connections after US returns. (For smoother reentry from overseas, Global Entry costs a little bit more, but it streamlines the customs process and includes PreCheck benefits, while SENTRI and NEXUS cover the Mexican and Canadian borders.)
With some 2.2 million passengers and crew members passing through TSA checkpoints daily, the agency recommends travelers arrive two hours early for domestic flights and three hours early for international—time that could be better spent on the ground, enjoying a destination, rather than waiting on line. Of course, PreCheck doesn’t completely guarantee expedited service either (the agency reserves the right to implement additional screening measures), but for many frequent fliers, the likelihood of an easier airport experience is worth the risk.
To learn more and to apply, visit tsa.gov.
I have to say I have attended hen dos but I am yet to plan one. Being in my late twenties and most of my friends being in long-term relationships, I’m expecting this to change at some point! I am actually looking forward to organising my first hen do for one of my friends and I have even given it some thought to which destination I would pick. Here are some of my favourites.
I have been to Barcelona on several occasions and always love the laid-back atmosphere of the city. If you’re looking to have a fantastic night out, the city is renowned for its many bars, restaurants and clubs – the perfect place for a hen do! Flying from the UK is pretty easy and depending on when you’re looking to go, the trip can be reasonably priced. I probably would avoid going in the middle of Summer but late Spring or early Autumn would be great times to go for a hen do weekend.
If Dublin hasn’t been on your radar for a weekend away, I would highly recommend you take a closer look at the Irish capital. Whether you’re using the help of a company or organising the weekend yourself, there are many activities you can try. From silent disco to distillery tours or party buses, you’ll be able to have a great day and night out whatever you’re looking for. And if you’re looking to spend some time in a classic Irish pub, many like McGowans pub have spaces to hire so you can fully enjoy the experience.
Paris is a great place for a hen weekend away. Whether you’re looking for that French flair and luxury feeling or expect to have a great night out, Paris has it all (if you’ve seen my recent post, you’ll know that I’m a big Paris fan)! Relaxing spas, chic boutiques, hip bars and clubs, the choice is yours. Paris is also very easy to get to, particularly if you live in London as you’re only a couple of hours away by Eurostar. If you’re flying from anywhere else in the UK, Paris Charles De Gaulle is a major airport so you shouldn’t have issues to find a direct flight.
If Berlin is further North and not everyone’s idea of a sunny weekend, it’s a beautiful city that should not be overlooked. From late Spring to early Autumn (which is the heart of hen party season anyway) the weather can be glorious so you can make the most of the many parks. Berlin is a very welcoming city that has a rich history as well as many food spots and bars, perfect for learning more about history, satisfying your foodie friends or enjoying a good night out! Germans are pretty good at speaking English too, so there’s no need to brush up on your Deutsch too much before leaving.
Why go far when you have the Scottish capital ready for you? Edinburgh is a stunning city with a fabulous atmosphere, lovely small streets to stroll along and a bustling nightlife. Scottish people are well-known to be very welcoming (I should know as I live here!) and the city has many things to do for hen parties. Organise a spooky outing to the Edinburgh Dungeons or satisfy Harry Potter fans with a tour of the different shops of the capital or have a coffee where J.K Rowling wrote part of the books!
I hope this will inspire you for your next weekend away, hen do or not! And if you have any inspiration for other destinations or activities for hen weekends, I’d love to know!
I’ve always been into ‘mindfulness’ as a concept – even though I had never really done anything to put this into practice. However, I recently have been trying to actively reduce my stress levels and improve my quality of sleep. If that’s something you’d like to look into as well, here are a few things you could try.
Usually, the first thing that comes to mind when I mention Yoga is a series of perfectly executed poses that require a lot of flexibility whilst opening all your chakras. Truth is, you don’t have to be flexible or spiritual to try Yoga – you don’t even have to register to a class! If you’re looking to get started, there are plenty of videos on Youtube that are adapted to complete novices. I quite like Yoga With Adriene as she has a simple approach to Yoga and has a few videos for beginners. After a few weeks, you can also try joining a class to see how it feels!
Turn off your screens
Between phones, laptops and tablets, our lives are pretty much surrounded by screens. Most of us work all day on computers then go home to watch TV then browse social media on our phones before going to bed. Sounds like you? Having too much screen time can really affect sleep – which can lead to increased stress and is generally not great for our health. Try reducing your screen time outside of work hours (even better if you can take quick breaks from the screen during the day!): avoid starting your day on your phone and set up a cut off time for all devices at least one hour before going to bed. Since trying this out, I can really notice the difference and feel it’s a lot easier to fall asleep when I haven’t spent so much time on my phone in the evening.
I feel that most of us don’t have an accurate vision of what meditation is. Before trying it out, I just imagined something like a Buddhist Monk clearing his mind of all thoughts to achieve absolute peace. After some research and trying the app Headspace, I realised this wasn’t at all what I thought. Meditation is a great way to get some quiet time during your day, wind down, learn to reduce your stress and even get better sleep. The app makes it really easy, so even if you have no idea what you’re doing, it’s accessible to all.
Find a physical activity you love
Exercise is one of the best remedies against stress – so next time you’re feeling overwhelmed, instead of scoffing a pack of crisps in front of your favourite Netflix show (although there is nothing wrong with that!), try going for a run, a cardio class, or any sport you enjoy practising. After exercise, our ‘happy’ hormone is released, endorphins, giving us that amazing feeling after a workout. If running on a treadmill isn’t your thing, just find something you love so you’re always looking forward to it! My favourites include dancing and kickboxing.
If most people think about Yoga when it comes to relaxing and practising mindfulness, Tai Chi is rarely on the list. I find it a great activity for people who are constantly busy and need to slow down as all movements are made slowly and with extreme mindfulness about how it is executed. You’re likely to find a class in your area so I would recommend giving it a try to see if that’s something that would suit you. I have tried it a few times and found that focusing on slowing down, relaxing and really paying attention to the movements was a very relaxing experience.
Learn something new
Whether that’s a new hobby or a new skill, learning something new through activities or courses is great for mental health and is an important part of mindfulness. I tried a ceramics class a while back and thoroughly enjoyed the experience of learning new things, meeting new people with similar interests and spending a couple of hours focusing on nothing else but the present moment in the class. You could join a crafts class or set to learn something by yourself like a new language! With the abundance of resources online, you can easily get started on your own.
I hope you found these tips useful and that they will help you on your journey to greater mindfulness. Do let me know if you try any of these of if you have any other tips!
I recently went to Paris for 4 days for a work-related event. I had very little time to do any sightseeing – although I have been to Paris before, I never grow tired of a walk along the Quais de la Seine. I did, however, have some time to check on some of my favourites food spots in the French capital.
So whether you’re planning to go soon or if you needed any good reason to visit Paris, here are my top 5 places for food in Paris.
Ok so the first one isn’t a specific spot, but I just couldn’t NOT include french bakeries in this list. From fresh morning croissants to your lunch baguette, tasty pastries and quiches, finding an artisan boulanger or pâtissier is very easy. Whether you’re sticking to big avenues or strolling in smaller streets, you’re bound to find them in pretty much every corner.
If you want to do some research before you go and make sure you’re not missing on anything, you can always look for some of the best bakeries ahead of your trip.
2. Patrick Roger
Again, this isn’t particularly a lunch spot – unless you’re like me and are perfectly content stuffing your face with chocolate for lunch – but Patrick Roger is one of my favourite chocolatiers and every time I’m lucky enough to cross the Channel I make sure to visit to get some of my favourite treats. Their assortments are on the pricier side (but most renowned chocolatiers are over there) but these would make a lovely gift for a special occasion or if you really fancy treating yourself.
3. Les Freres Bretons
A regular feature among the best-rated restaurants in Paris on TripAdvisor, Les Freres Bretons is a traditional crêperie Bretonne where you can eat savoury crepes (galettes) as well as sweet ones as is the tradition in the west part of France. This place is a great choice, not only is it very affordable and with a casual atmosphere, but the service has always been fantastic every time I have visited. As a bonus, it is actually pretty close to the Eiffel Tower so if you’re visiting, this restaurant is a great option.
4. Pierre Hermé
Aside from chocolate, macarons are another favourite of mine! If La Durée is one of the most renowned names when it comes to these colourful treats, my personal favourite are actually from Pierre Hermé. They do have a shop (maybe even 2, I’m not sure but I have definitely seen one in Covent Garden) but I have made a rule never to visit when I’m in London. There something about strutting in Parisian streets with a carefully tied box of macarons that just makes me happy. Macarons are usually present in most bakeries so feel free to try different shops to find your favourite!
5. Le Train Bleu
Le Train Bleu is a fine dining restaurant in Gare de Lyon and as renowned for its food as it is for its name, having featured in several movies including the hilarious – my opinion here! – Mr Bean’s Holidays. Don’t expect adventurous cuisine here, but perfectly executed French classics in a sumptuous decor. It’s not far from the Jardin des Plantes, a lovely botanical garden next to the Seine, so if you fancy treating yourself before or after visiting I would highly recommend the place.
I’m hoping to go back to Paris soon so I can try more food and more places – I would love to hear your recommendations!