Five Destinations I’d Return To In A Heartbeat

If I had to pick five places to return to, where would I go? It’s not something I’ve thought about much in the past. I always try to travel to new destinations whenever I have the chance. But there are a few places that really captured my heart and left me wanting more.

Kan over at Kan Walk Will Travel kindly nominated me to enter a competition currently being run by Booked.net, who are challenging us bloggers to name five places we’d go back to in the future. So where would I travel back to in a heartbeat?

1. Cinque Terre

Colours of Manarola

Situated on the Ligurian coast of Italy, the Cinque Terre must be one of the most stunning places on earth. Incredible, impossibly placed towns nestled amongst the romance of local vineyards is a combination that’s hard to beat.

My previous visit was too fleeting and I didn’t have the opportunity to walk the famous cliffside paths between the five towns. I’d love to return and take a few days slowly hiking the route, making the most of every opportunity for a good photograph along the way.

2. Bangkok

Dusk, Bangkok, Thailand

My first (and to date only) visit to Asia began in Bangkok, and what an introduction! I enjoyed every minute despite being oppressed by the heat, throngs of people and the smell of street food in every direction. My senses were on fire for the entire trip.

I have never felt more alive than I did exploring this city, and whilst I know that feeling would be hard to replicate on a second visit there are so many things drawing me back. The food, the people, the longtail boats, the rooftop bars, the markets – I could go on. I just know that one day I have to head back to Bangkok and do it all again.

3. Scottish Highlands

Boat, Loch Leven, Scotland

Scotland really took me by surprise, in no small part thanks to the subtle beauty of the Highlands. Driving through the rolling hills, along lochs and under the shadows of mountains was fantastic. The light was incredible and really made the landscape sing.

As someone who likes to photograph landscapes, I’m often on the look out for water and if I’m lucky some kind of reflection. The Scottish Highlands delivered shots like this one so many times I’d be crazy to not want to go back!

4. The Matterhorn

Matterhorn, Switzerland

Probably the most famous peak in Switzerland, the Matterhorn needs little introduction. My last visit was far too short, just a day trip from the nearby town of Visp. Unfortunately I only had time to take the long cable car to the Klein Matterhorn, capture the views and then head back to the hotel.

This area really needs hiking, and if I were to return I would definitely make a long weekend of it. There must be so many great spots from which to photograph the Matterhorn, and I can’t think of a better way to spend a few days than discovering them for myself.

5. Tuscany

Montepulciano, Tuscany, Italy

Driving amongst the exquisite landscape of Tuscany I couldn’t help but look at every single hilltop town and think “I want to visit that one!”. I’d visit every single one if I had the time! And that’s why I must return to this picture perfect corner of the world.

I have fantastic memories of the wine, the food and the landscape. The only thing I regret about my last trip is that it didn’t last longer! On my next visit I’ll endeavour to stay in the Val d’Orcia region, and spend more time out in the fields taking photographs and getting lost in the beauty of it all.

If you’re interested in finding out more about the competition you can visit Booked.netTop Destinations to Go There. Anybody can enter, but here are my five nominations: Travel Words, Visual Venturing, A Scot In Norway, On The Luce and Retiree Diary. I’m looking forward to seeing your entries! If you accept the challenge of course πŸ™‚

Where would you return to? Maybe you’ve visited some of the places I’ve chosen above? I’ve love to hear from you!

34 thoughts on “Five Destinations I’d Return To In A Heartbeat

  1. Kan

    Fantastic post Ben! I have always wanted to go to Cinque Terre… looks like a photo-op-a-second kind of a place. I totally agree on the Scottish Highlands… and Tuscany… I start swooning whenever I think of the food, the wine and the landscapes!

    Reply
    1. Ben Post author

      Thanks Kan. Yeah it’s hard to put your camera down in Cinque Terre, everywhere you look there is an incredible scene! Thanks again for the nomination, I really enjoyed putting this post together πŸ™‚ I think Tuscany and Cinque Terre were the easiest two picks for my list!

      Reply
  2. Tim and Joanne Joseph

    Ben, love your pictures. Cinque Terre is still on my wish list and I am in Scotland at the moment praying for some better weather for my venture to the highlands in a few days. On my list for places to return would be Bled, Slovenia and Santorini.

    Reply
    1. Ben Post author

      Thank you! My fingers are crossed for you as well. I was really lucky the week I was in Scotland, you just can’t rely on the British weather at all! But I think you can enjoy the highlands even with a bit of rain πŸ™‚ Whereabouts are you heading on your trip?

      Would love to visit both Bled and Santorini, I haven’t been to either but all the pictures of seen look fantastic. A week (or two!) island hopping around Greece is near the top of my list!

      Reply
  3. Jess Carey

    So glad there’s someone else out there who loves Bangkok as much as I do!! And Italy – I might be a bit biased because my family is Italian, but clearly your photos show it’s amazing anyway!

    Reply
    1. Ben Post author

      Yeah Bangkok seems to have a less than great reputation for some reason, but I love it! I’m glad you agree πŸ™‚ Haha, well I don’t think I know anyone who would argue against Italy, whether they are Italian or not! Whereabouts in Italy does your family come from?

      Reply
      1. Jess Carey

        That’s true too, I’m yet to meet anyone who doesn’t love Italy, and I was a travel agent for a few years! Mums family is from the north and dads family is from the south πŸ™‚

        Reply
        1. Ben Post author

          Haha, well that’s proof if ever you needed any! That’s cool, so you have the best of both then. Although I guess you don’t get to visit much from Australia? (I just re-read your About Me section).

        2. Jess Carey

          Haha absolutely best of both worlds! No sadly I’ve only been twice, but trip #3 is already in the planning! Pity everywhere is so far away from Australia! How many times have you visited??

        3. Ben Post author

          That’s great you’re planning another trip! Yeah you are a little isolated over in that corner of the world. I’ve been a couple of times too, one trip to Cinque Terre and another to Rome & Tuscany. I’ll have to try and get back some time next year, even if it’s just for a weekend!

    1. Ben Post author

      I think September would be the perfect time to to visit! A little jealous here πŸ™‚ Have you hiked the trails? On my first visit we took the trains and while they were completely unreliable they did allow us to see each of the five towns in just a couple of days.

      Reply
  4. suej

    Great post, Ben…I’m with you on the Scottish Highlands and Tuscany…and I want to go to Cinque Terre (I’ll get there one day!)

    Reply
    1. Ben Post author

      Thanks Sue, Cinque Terre is definitely worth a trip. I hope you make it there one day! And perhaps you can return to Tuscany at the same time πŸ˜‰ Italy has so much to offer!

      Reply
    1. Ben Post author

      Thank you! I guess Bangkok is not for everyone. Tiring, hot, humid, busy and smelly. But the chaos is beautiful and I’ve never been anywhere more exhilarating. I’m glad you agree! πŸ™‚

      Reply
  5. twoblackdoggies

    Wonderful destinations, have only been to Cinque Terre and a couple of towns in Tuscany but would return in a heartbeat. Other places I would return to are Wanaka in NZ, Venice and Amsterdam.

    Reply
    1. Ben Post author

      I would love to visit both NZ and Venice. Lake Wanaka is right up there as a dream destination to photograph for me. What was it about Amsterdam that makes you want to return? I’ve been a couple of times and have to say it’s not in my top 5 European cities, although there is certainly a unique feeling about the place I’ve not experienced anywhere else. Would be interesting to hear you point of view! πŸ™‚

      Reply
      1. twoblackdoggies

        Wanaka and Venice are a photographers dream for very different reasons and I hope visiting those places aren’t too far away for you. For me Amsterdam’s architecture and the ease with which you can walk from one side of the city to the other is extremely appealing. I loved seeing rows of bikes chained to bridges and watching the boats on the canals. I have to admit that I didn’t like the city much on my first visit but the second time I loved it πŸ™‚

        Reply
        1. Ben Post author

          Thanks, I hope so too! Actually I agree with both your points on Amsterdam, it’s certainly a great walking city. And a great place to watch the world go by. I also much preferred it on my second visit, although the weather being much better may have had something to do with that!

  6. annainternational

    Great choices! Lived in Tuscany for three years and visited as many of those tiny towns as I could, and they are every bit as perfect as you’d expect, with none of the commercial tourist taint of the famous cities like Florence and Siena. And Cinque Terre was a regular weekend hiking trip, every corner there’s a new and more beautiful vista. I hope you win the contest!

    Reply
    1. Ben Post author

      Thanks Anna! That’s so kind of you to say so, I hope I win too πŸ˜‰ Wow living in Tuscany must have been like a dream! I really enjoyed both Siena and Florence (excluding the parking experience!), more so when we just wondered some of the emptier streets. But the smaller towns were certainly more charming and less crowded. Do you have a favourite from your time there?

      Reply
    1. Ben Post author

      Thanks Lucy, as always it’s a case of too many places and too little time! And you’re welcome, I’m looking forward to reading your entry πŸ™‚

      Reply
  7. Pingback: My top five destinations to return to | On the Luce

  8. Passports And Paperplanes

    It’s like you’ve read my mind with this post! I’ve been everywhere except Bangkok and that is definitely on my list. I lived in Prato in Tuscany for 3 months last year but would still return to Tuscany in a heart beat. I managed to get to quite a few small towns but I really think you need a car to get to a lot. A reason to go back! I had to get to the 5T even though I was there in winter so I choose a sunny day & hiked all of it which was just amazing! And then Zermatt…. What can I say? Nye favourite place in the whole world and going up Klien Matterhorn was the best experience of my life. Whenever I come to write another post I always want to just keep writing on the Matterhorn & Italy! Amazing! I hope you get back to everywhere πŸ™‚

    Reply
    1. Ben Post author

      Wow! Living in Tuscany must have been amazing! Yeah you definitely need a car to explore the countryside and towns, we hired one for a few days and the freedom it gave us was fantastic. But there is no substitute for living there! Which was your favourite town?

      Visiting 5T in winter sounds lovely, I thought the hiking paths were closed outside of peak season but if not then it must surely be one of the best times to visit. Few tourists and beautiful crisp air (on a sunny day!), I can’t think of much better πŸ™‚

      The only problem with the Matterhorn & Zermatt – it is such a pain to get to! This is my only complaint. I guess it’s the price you pay for such natural beauty in a serene environment.

      Reply
  9. Karen Hewell

    I loved Bangkok as well, and I’m lucky, because I live only a two hour flight away. Did you get to go to the Railway Market? Was absolutely my favorite, and topped even markets in Vietnam (which is saying something).

    Reply
    1. Ben Post author

      Unfortunately we didn’t make it to any of the markets outside of the city on our first visit. But for next time the Railway Market is definitely top of the agenda after your glowing recommendation πŸ™‚ It looks like an amazing experience, and great for photography too!

      Reply
      1. Ben Post author

        Oh and I forgot to ask, whereabouts are you living then? I’ve often thought living in that part of the world must be great for travel. We looked into moving to Singapore but couldn’t pull the trigger as we really like it here in Geneva.

        Reply
  10. pdjpix

    I have been fortunate to experience love four of your five. I’ve only ever seen Bangkok airport so no comment there, but the others are all beautiful experiences and so photogenic. Regards Peet

    Reply
    1. Ben Post author

      Thanks Peet, they’re certainly all great for photos. Which is your favourite of the four you have been to? Do you think you’ll ever make it to Bangkok for a visit?

      Reply

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