Near the Bamboo Grove in Arashiyama, you'll come across the entrance to the Ōkōchi Sansō Villa Gardens. After traipsing through the groves and narrowly escaping peak tourist hour, we were in need of a break from the selfie sticks and loud tour groups. Before entering we poked ours heads in the front gate. From there, it looked like there wasn't a soul inside. Immediately as we passed through the gate and started to walk up the hill, the noise from the tourists below disappeared. We could hear our footsteps on the stones below and the sound of the wind in the trees. It wasn't until the very end of the tour that we ran into another person. It was the perfect escape from the crowds below and more beautiful that we could have imagined.
One of the most iconic images of Japan has to be the bright, vermillion coloured torii gates of Fushimi Inari Taisha in Kyoto. Many people come to Fushimi Inari Taisha not knowing the scope of it. They see the images online and think it's just a few small alleyways - this is far from the whole picture. The main shrine sits at the base of the Inari mountains, but a path of thousands of torii gates behind the building leads visitors up 233 meters above sea level to visit 4 kilometres of sub-shrines finally ending at the magnificent mountain top shrine.
Arashiyama Village is more than the Bamboo Grove and monkey forest which surround it. Taking a walk down the busy streets and quiet laneways of the small town is an excellent way to experience Japanese culinary treats, see traditional Japanese architecture and explore some lovely shops selling souvenirs and hand made crafts.
The Philosopher's Path (or Tetsugaku-no-Michi as it is known in Japan) is one of the greatest exploratory walks you can experience in Kyoto. The Path is located in the northern area of Higashiyama at the base of Kyoto's East Mountain. It is a place to wander, to find yourself, to embrace peace and quiet and to see what makes Kyoto so unique as a city. The path follows the Lake Biwa Canal for around 29 kilometres at the base of the mountain. The trail is lined with cherry trees on either side. During the cherry blossom season, this is one of the most popular spots to come and view the spectacle.
Golden Lane is one of Prague's most picturesque streets. Located inside Prague Castle, this fairytale like laneway of pastel coloured homes was built in the castle's fortifications at the end of the 16th century. To access the Golden Lane, you need to purchase a ticket for Prague Castle. Almost every different circuit ticket includes the Golden Lane and for a good reason, since no visit to Prague castle is complete without visiting Golden Lane.
One of Prague’s most visited sites is the Old Town Square, in the centre of town. In this one square, you’ll find some of Bohemia’s most famous buildings. There is something here for art lovers, historians and foodies alike. The plaza is over 1.7 hectares large with a sprawling history detailing Prague's gruesome and glorious past. Rotating minstrels still entertain on-lookers, and the square often continues to serve as a place of political protest for locals to give voice to their concerns. Standing in the centre of the square, make a 360° spin to get your bearings and decide on which buildings you might want to take a closer look at or even head inside.
If you're looking for a peaceful day trip from Tokyo, Enoshima is the ticket. This tiny little island off the coast is one of the most serene and beautiful places I had the chance to visit on my last trip to Japan. It was so perfect and quaint it felt like a cartoon seaside village from a Miyazaki film. Hiking up and down the island you'll be able to see stunning shrines, perfectly manicured parks, a secret garden, and if you're VERY VERY lucky, a wonderful view of Mount Fuji. Mount Fuji is known as the shy mountain so don't expect to see anything but feel lucky if you do. The island itself is inaccessible to vehicles, making it an incredibly quiet location, and walking up the hills, sometimes the only sounds which can be heard the birds and wind through the trees.
High atop the rooftops of Prague, there is a secret pathway with one of the best views you can find across the entire city. This hidden gem is called ‘Petrin Hill’. Locals like to call it Peaceful Petrin and for good reason. From here you can look out not only across Prague itself but far off to the countryside as well. Compared to the packed streets of Old Town Prague, this park high above is so quiet, and sometimes you’ll be the only one walking its paths.
Venice is a veritable maze of stunning old canals, crumbling gothic bricks and some of the most incredible architecture you can find anywhere in Europe. Finding beautiful places to take photos isn't too much of a challenge in Venice but there are some unmissable locations that you'll want to check off your list if you want the perfect Instagram feed of your trip to Venice.
Salzburg being such a small city is the perfect place to explore on foot. Due to the fact that the city's tourist popularity only took off in the late 19th century, the magnificent baroque architecture and the incredible natural environment was left preserved and without huge areas of modernization. This makes it a dream for photographers and Instagrammers alike. I've provided a google map to all the different locations and put them in an easy to follow sequence so you can actually use this guide as a walking tour as well as Instagram guide.
Les Baux-de-Provence is situated at the top of the picturesque Alpilles mountains. It is less than an hour away from many of the major cities in Provence, making it an easy day trip, or even a great place to stay overnight on your way to your next destination.
Hakone is one of the most beautiful day trips you can take from Tokyo. It’s only a short 2-hour train ride away and transports you from the out of the metal metropolis of the city, into the lush green landscape of the Japanese countryside. Hakone is famous for their hot spring onsens, stunning view of Mount Fuji across Lake Ashinoko and unparalleled natural scenery.
Vienna is the capital and largest city in Austria, and as of 2001, the entire town was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It has been named the "City of Music" or the "The City of Dreams" and for good reason. Vienna is home to some of the most interesting architectural masterpieces in Europe.
Vincent Willem van Gogh, better known to the world as just Van Gogh, is one of the most prolific (if not THE most) artists of all time. A tall order but for anyone who has ever had the chance to view his work, especially in person, can tell you; his painting are more than painting, they are expressions. Emotionally compelling images of pain and suffering mixed with astonishing beauty.
If there one thing I like to do more than anything else it's to explore locals marketplaces. Whether it's a rural farmer's market no bigger than a few tables of tomatoes or a giant European market hall, there is something so exciting about being surrounded by a myriad of colours, aromas and flavours local to that city.
L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue's Sunday market is one of the largest and most impressive outdoor flea markets in Provence. Walking along the picturesque Sorgue River, you can buy everything from food to antiques, vintage clothing, fine art, fresh cut flowers and even some of the best handmade goods the country has to offer.
Dresden was so heavily bombed during WWII that almost nothing remained of the baroque city. Huge restoration projects took shape after the war was over and now visitors can walk through the city without ever knowing that only 60 years ago, it was all but rubble. On this guided tour we take you to all the most popular sites in Dresden's Historic Old Town.
The Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister (or Old Masters Gallery) is honestly the best art gallery I ever had the pleasure of visiting. It doesn't feel too big nor too small. It's like a grand old home that someone has decorated with exquisite pieces of arts — a stellar collection that's lovingly curated.
One our first day in Prague we set out with our fantastic tour guide Barbora, from Prague Guides, who met us at our hotel and took us on a comprehensive tour of Prague from local's perspective. Prague Guides were so affordable and gave you an intimate and personalised experience that is unmatchable.
The walk takes about 30 minutes; it's a bit steep but walking through the woods and trees as you climb is a pleasantly quiet experience. We chose to walk down the hill and very much could see the appeal of wanting to take the stroll up and avoid the lines for the funicular. But it was rather rainy, and we figured it would be best to go with the funicular option.