The year 2017 is almost over and I want to share my best memories and particularly my favorite places 2017 with you. Because I was working in the first half of the year and started to study again in the second half I was limited to short-term travels the most of the time. However, some of them turned out to amazing experiences which I won’t forget. Some cities fascinated me from the beginning and were so incredible that I definitely have to go back one day. Whilst my city trips were logically located in Europe I also had the chance to travel through Brazil in July – and had an astonishing time. For me, it is also key to connect my trips with friends that I’ve met or a special feeling. Sometimes I fell in love with a city, sometimes I don’t. Every city offers different aspects for everybody so this is probably not a list that will match with your own opinion – but it’s my honest list of my 6 favorite places 2017.
Actually, I loved Lisbon, which is the capital of Portugal, a lot and it is a huge surprise that I only put it in the sixth place. To be honest I just expanded the list to fit it in here because the city means a lot to me. In Lisbon we explored most of the city without a plan – we just walked through the charming city, its hills and found our self in many beautiful spots. The views from the different viewpoints, the “Sao Jorge Castle” or any other random hill peak are just compelling. Lisbon is not a huge city, however, it combines interesting architecture, history, different traditions and last but not least tasty food. I already told that Lisbon means much to me – and there is a reason behind that: While strolling through Lisbon I captured all my pictures with my smartphone and posted them on my Instagram account, which I started some months before. I felt limited and was wondering how my images would have looked with a proper camera. So Lisbon was basically the starting point of my career as a photographer. “Muito Obrigado!” for that Lisbon.
5. Foz do Iguacu
If I would rate my favorite places 2017 on how spectacular they are Foz do Iguacu would without a doubt be in the first place in this list. Located in the border triangle of Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay the two Iguazu National Parks on the Brazilian and Argentinan side with its Iguazu Falls offered me the most impressive piece of nature I’ve ever witnessed in my life. As the world’s largest waterfall system the Iguazu Falls did not only impress me with their raw power but also with some smaller side spots that were absolutely lovely. There is even a spot where you can swim in the water – which you can also find in my article about Foz do Iguacu. So why is this place not in the first place? There are two reasons: Firstly, there were just some places that I liked even more! Secondly, I didn’t like the atmosphere in Iguacu that much. You don’t feel like you are in South America. It was more like a runway for tourists from all around the world. Still, this is a place I will never forget and recommend visiting for every traveler.
Let’s come to the latest addition to this list. And to add Venice to this list is even more special because I spent some days there already before. Though, this time Venice just went by like a dream. Admittedly, I just spent two days there. Additionally, I was permanently running around to get the next picture – from the early morning till late in the night. On my second day, I felt like a zombie that had just survived an apocalypse. Still, I managed to go out again and see some more corners of this magic city in the Northeast of Italy. To me, Venice is not only the perfect city for every photographer but also a perfect place for everybody that is interested in history or just wants to enjoy a unique, beautiful city. If you get up really early you can have the whole city for yourself and feel like you are still in a little dream. After my short stay there I was sure that I have to put Venice in my favorite places in 2017 and will definitely visit it again in the future. But this time not just for a few days – because there is so much to explore.
3. Lencois Maranhenses
Is it possible to name a destination one of your favorite places 2017 if you just stayed there for a couple of hours? Looks like! While I stayed in Sao Luis, which is located in the Northeast of Brazil, we made a day-trip to the Lencois Maranhenses National Park. I have to admit that this place looked absolutely amazing on the pictures I’ve found on the internet – I expected a lot! Somehow Lencois Maranhenses managed to even excel my expectations and even though I just spent a short time there, I enjoyed it so much. The ride from Sao Luis was quite long and was not even the end of the journey. Once you arrive in Barreirinhas you will move into a huge “beach truck”. After another hour I finally reached the famous dunes of Lencois Maranhenses – with its crystal clear water. But wait, there was something! Before you get rewarded with the amazing water you will have to hike (I mean it!) the huge dunes like you are in a mountain area. This might sound horrible, even more because it was extremely hot. AMAZING! The feeling when I relaxed in the refreshing water and just enjoyed the moment is something I will never forget. (Until we decided to make some pictures and acted like a bond girl coming out of the water… another story)
There we go, already the second place of my favorite places 2017: Istanbul. Some of you might have noticed that I went there for three times this year. Especially since Erdoğan became president of Turkey in 2014 many tourists suspect Turkey and, surprisingly, Istanbul as a travel destination. For me, this made not much sense even before I visited Istanbul in August this year. Sure, there are always risks of visiting a huge city – but this also applies to western European metropolis like London or Paris. In my opinion even more. However, my first stay of 2017 in Istanbul made me fell in love with this city, its architecture, its people, its food (the list is almost endless) and foremost with its history and charm. I don’t think that there is any other place in the world that you can compare to Istanbul. Just like Venice it is totally unique and grown over centuries under different rulers. If you find one please let me know, it must be amazing! Of course, I also see the crucial changes Erdoğan is planning to do – and I don’t like him and his ideas at all, however, Istanbul has earned a spot in my traveler’s heart and is, as long as nothing changes dramatically always worth a trip.
1. Rio de Janeiro
Istanbul was absolutely amazing and still, there is one place that was even more special to me. Let’s do a little throwback first: In 2016 I spent three months in San Diego, California and met many amazing people from all around the world. Some of them were from Brazil and some of them became great friends. I planned my trip to Brazil early in 2017 and finally, in July, I was there. A little group met together with me in Rio de Janeiro. For me, Rio de Janeiro has always been a dream destination – even though I knew almost nothing about it. Maybe it’s just me but I have the feeling that Brazil has some kind of magic for people from Europe – it’s just completely different from what we know. So what made it so special? I can’t even tell you that. I spent 12 days in Rio de Janeiro and enjoyed every second there. Whether we explored the city’s main attractions, had a drink at one of the many famous beaches or I was doing some stupid stuff alone (for example fighting against a monkey) – I always had a good feeling while doing it. Sometimes this is all I need to make a stay unforgettable. Let’s just be honest: Rio de Janeiro was a dream destination in my imagination and turned out to be the most amazing city I’ve ever been to. And I can hardly imagine finding a better place. Rio, you always meet twice in life!
What was your favorite place of 2017? Let me know in the comments.
If you are already looking for some inspiration for 2018 check out the goals of undtoldwanderlust – full of great places to see.