Your Favorites. Best Travel Destinations of 2016

I decided to make it official: 2016 was an amazing year for Holiday on my Mind. The blog was launched on 7 September and it already reached over 4000 readers from across the globe – that means around 1000 views per month (if you are a blogger yourself you know this is a big deal for a new blog). It is an honor knowing that 4000 people chose to read MY blog when there are millions, millions of other travel blogs out there. I remember I felt drunk when I reached over 100 shares for the first time, when my Switzerland’s Top Christmas Markets blog post was repined 600 times, or when my Facbeook and Twitter pages got 1000 followers each. This wouldn’t have been possible without your help – yes the reader’s help because when you love writing, the only thing that will give you more satisfaction than writing itself is knowing that other people enjoy reading your work and find it helpful. Before I get too emotional, I would like to share my top 10 pieces of the year (judged after the amount of views they received).

10. 8 Reasons to Visit Paris. The City of Love – 89 views

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Paris, is one of the most popular travel destinations in the world, and it is also said to be the city of light and the city of love. Paris is the capital of France and the largest city of the country. It is known for its charming streets, for the museums, for the cathedrals, for the good food, art, architecture, music and more. For example…Read more.

9. Medieval Adventures at Dover Castle – 97 views

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Dover Castle was built in the 11th Century and because it was on the coast,  right opposite Calais, France, it had great defensive importance. For this reason, it can also be described as the “Key to England”. According to the book “Catellarium Anglicanum: An Index and Bibliography of the Castles in England, Wales and the Islands” published in 1983, Dover Castle is the largest castle in England. Read more.

8. 6 Things Travel Addicts Are Sick of Hearing – 103 views

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Aren’t we all lucky to be born in a century when travel is accessible to more and more people? I moved away from home, away from all the dear ones, to the other corner of the continent at age 18 with one purpose: to travel the world. I can’t imagine living in a single corner of the universe anymore and it is weird to me when people don’t understand why. Check out the list below. Do you feel the same way? Read more.

7. Bran Castle: The Home of Dracula – 129 views

home-of-dracula-2Photo credit: Kyle Taylor/Flickr/Creative Commons (licence here)

The myth of Dracula is based on something more than just stories. It is inspired by the real life figure, Vlad Țepeș of House Drăculești, a 15 century ruler. To understand where the legend comes from, you need to understand the reality behind, who Vlad Tepes was and the meaning of his name. In Romania, Tepes comes from the word Teapa which means spike. The ruler got his name after his favourite torture and killing method: on the spike, which is said to be one of the slowest and most painful deaths. Another component of the story was given by the fact that Vlad Tepes’ father, Vlad II, was awarded the Order of the Dragon, for heroic fighting against the Turks. This was a monarchical and chivalric order, given to Vlad II by the Holy Roman Emperor Sigismund of Luxembourg. The emblem of the order was a dragon, a symbol for the devil. These historic facts were easily developed into legends due to the XX century fascination towards myth, fantasy and mystery and with the help of literary and cinematographic productions such as Bram Stoker’s novel Dracula and the movie Interview with a Vampire which was partially filmed in Bran  Castle. Read more.

 

6. Belgium’s Top Christmas Markets – 199 views

belgiums-top-christmas-marketsCover Photo: Alasdair/Flickr/Creative Commons (licence here) and Richard Barrett – Small/Flickr/Creative Commons (licence here).

Belgians somehow manage to succeed at everything they do and make us jealous of their beers, chocolate, fries and Christmas markets. From the traditional Christmas market of Bruges, to the unique underground Christmas market of les Grottes de Wonck, Belgium doesn’t stop surprising us at how many things she can impress us with. Read more.

5. About Holiday on my Mind – It’s Not Just a Holiday, It’s Holiday on my Mind – 213 views

About Holiday on my Mind - It's Not Just a Holiday, It's Holiday on my Mind

I want to be the voice which tells my readers you can, you deserve better, don’t sell yourself cheap, you can do whatever you want, chaise that dream job but don’t forget to relax. I used to stress so much over every single thing and I got white hairs at age 22 and only now I have learned my lesson: yes, work hard, but good things take time. If you don’t get immediate results don’t despair, don’t lose trust, if results don’t come so what? Start over, you can do anything while you are alive and well but you need to take a break once in a while and do something for yourself. Go on a nice family vacation, go on a romantic trip with your significant other, go on a city break with friends, go on a one-day trip by yourself. And this is where my travel guides come in handy. They are written for millennials by a millennial. Easy reads (because you don’t need anything complex when your lifestyle is complex enough anyway) which teach you how to make the most out of your time and budget. I want other people to learn from my mistakes and to benefit from the lessons I have learned. Read more.

4. Switzerland’s Top Christmas Markets – 214 views

Featured Image -- 5318Photo Credit: Marcus Povey/Flickr/Creative Commons (licence here)

While Christmas is becoming more and more commercial in many countries, luckily Switzerland is staying loyal to tradition. Swiss Christmas usually lasts from the beginning of Advent to the end of Epiphany (so from around the end of November until the beginning of January). On the 1st of December children will open the first window of their Advent calendar to find a yummy treat, each week families will light one candle on the Advent wreath until Christmas Day and on Christmas Eve they will ornate the Christmas tree with lit candles, a tradition which dates back to the 16th Century. Let’s see what happens in terms of Christmas markets. Read more.

3. Germany’s Top Christmas Markets – 223 views

Germany's Top Christmas MarketsCover Photo Credit: Graham Campbell/Flickr/Creative Commons (licence here)

Christmas markets, also knows as ChristkindlmarktMarché de NoëlChristkindlesmarktChristkindlmarket, and Weihnachtsmarkt originated in Germany in the Late Middle Ages. They quickly spread to other German-speaking countries such as Switzerland and Austria but also in other parts of Europe such as the northern part of Italy and easter part of France. They are now popular all around the world and nothing feels cosier than buying Christmas food and hot drinks from the wooden chalets in the cold months of November and December when you listen to “let it snow, let it snow, let it snow” on repeat. Let’s see what are some of the best Christmas Markets you should visit this winter! Read more.

2. Chicago. The Ultimate Guide to the Windy City – 232 views

cover picture explore chicagoPhoto Credit: Andrew Taylor

Did you know that Chicago is the third biggest city in the United States after New York and Los Angeles? It has a population of 2,719 million and enough attractions to satisfy the 50.2 million tourists who come here every year.If you will soon be one of those tourists bear in mind that when travelling to the Windy City, there are certain things you are not allowed to miss. Here are some of the things you must do if you are around: Read more.

1. France’s Top Christmas Markets – 267 views

france-christmas-marketCover photo credit: Casper Moller/Flick/Creative Commons (licence here)

How can the Christmas markets hosted by a country which has some of the best food and wines in the world, be less than superb? But wait, the good news don’t stop here! There are some French Christmas markets that are even better than the average (which is quite high anyway). Now close your eyes and dream of roaming around the stylish Parisian streets, feeling the cinnamon in the air while you are drinking vin chaud (mulled wine) in the sound of Christmas songs. What a beautiful dream…but have a look at the list below and hopefully the dream will turn into reality. Read more.

The list starts with a France related blog post and it ends with another France related blog post – it seems quite circular to me. I was a bit bummed that my favorite blog post – 54 Reasons to Visit Provence didn’t make it into the top 10. 8 Reasons to Visit Paris took its place with 89 views versus 81. Thank you all for reading and please keep an eye on my blog to keep in touch and have another adventure-packed-fun-year together.

Happy New Year!

Irina 

 

 

 

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