Top destinations to visit

Gerla de Boer Langkawi

Where to travel to in 2023. From quaint villages in the Netherlands to Italy and a bounty island in Malaysia. I suggest taking the path less trodden to get away from the big crowds, which I love to do. Of course, it can be challenging, but let’s give it a try! Here are my picks.

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Terschelling in the Netherlands – image via Unsplash ( Wim van Teinde)

Quaint Dutch cities and car-free islands

Often referred to as Holland and known as the country of the vast fields of tulips, it has more to offer than just Amsterdam, canals and tulips. Did you know that Holland covers only two provinces of the eleven Dutch provinces of the Netherlands? The confusion started when the Dutch Tourist Board decided to market the Netherlands as Holland, which is the most visited part of the Netherlands by tourists, covering Amsterdam, Delft, Den Haag and Rotterdam, which are only 2 out of the 11 provinces.

Keen to explore more of the Netherlands? Here are a few suggestions.

One of the canals in Gouda

Gouda – a hidden gem in the green heart

Only a stone’s throw away from Rotterdam and Den Haag, this lovely city with canals and lakes is best known for its traditional Dutch cheese, Gouda. It’s a perfect base to explore the Netherlands and Gouda, with only 30 minutes by train to Amsterdam, Utrecht, Den Haag and Rotterdam. Gouda also offers a lot, from restaurants, cafes, bustling terraces on the market square and exploring its countryside by bike.

Harlingen and Terschelling on the Wadden Sea

Friesland is one of the Northern provinces in the Netherlands on the coast of the Wadden Sea, which makes it a popular destination for sailing holidays due to its many lakes, islands and shallow body of water with tidal flats. Terschelling is one of the largest and most popular islands and is a perfect holiday destination to enjoy its stunning beaches and quaint villages and for cycle holidays to explore this more or less car-free island.

Maastricht – foodie paradise

As the Dutch would say, “Maastricht is in the south, and that is where they know how to enjoy life’. In this part of the Netherlands, they enjoy a Burgundian lifestyle. The pace of life is slower here because it is close to Belgium and France, enjoying a more lavish lifestyle than the Dutch. So if you’re a foodie, Maastricht has to be on your cards if you visit this part of the world. Enjoy touring the many vineyards in the rolling hills of Limburg and award-winning restaurants in Maastricht and the nearby vicinity, and delve into the food festivals held throughout the year here.

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La Spezia on the Ligurian coast via Unsplash Kirsten Velghe

North Italy, the Ligurian coast and Puglia

I am a big fan of Italy; there is much more to this stunning country than the main attractions. Of course, Tuscany, Florence, Portofino, Rome and Naples are amazing places to explore, but what about North Italy and Puglia? Have you been? Both areas have a rich food tradition. I have been fortunate to have visited the lesser-known part of Puglia, Matinatta, a few years ago. I loved the food, people and vibe and wouldn’t mind returning one day.

Not long before I start exploring Northern Italy and its fantastic food. Parmesan, truffles, Balsamic vinegar from Modena, dining at Masimo and exploring the Ligurian coast. What is there not to like? Keep an eye on my social media for my travel stories.

What about Australasia? Have you been? Let me share two of my favourite islands.

gerla timan
Returning from cocktail hour on Tioman Island

Pulau Tioman – the perfect escape

Have you been to Singapore? It didn’t wow me on my first visit in 1993, but I fell in love when I returned a few years ago. Singapore can be pretty overwhelming as there is so much to do. Once you’re there, you want to tick off that bucket list of things to do. So what’s next? Escape to a quiet island? I have just the perfect place for you!

Tioman island is perfectly located just off Peninsular Malaysia’s east coast and is acclaimed to be a geological wonder, ecological paradise and one of Southeast Asia’s most beautiful travel destinations. This island continues to enchant visitors with its warm beaches, lovely seas and lush greenery. It’s ideal for scuba diving and snorkelling, but if you want to sit back and relax, you’re in the right place too. Book one of the boutique hotels here, sip cocktails at the bar on the jetty and take life easy under the palm trees. Life couldn’t be any better!

Let’s finish with a culture and foodie escape in Australia.

MONA in Hobart, Tasmania

Tasmania – the food basket of Australia and MONA’s art collection

You can’t come to Australia and not visit Sydney and Melbourne! I fully agree, but let’s add Tasmania, too, for a good dose of nature, beach life, award-winning wine and food, and remember not to forget to schedule enough time for Hobart, home to one of the most mind-blowing museums in the world, MONA. There is so much to see and do in Tasmania that 2 weeks is not enough to enjoy this amazing destination. You need at least a full day at MONA, and if your budget allows it, book one of their stunning residences for an overnight stay. Hobart deserves at least 3 nights to get the most out of this beautiful city. Make sure you move away from the harbour area, as there are some quirky upcoming areas where it is great to hang out. Sometimes you wish time never was an issue. 

“The bad news is time flies. The good news is you’re the pilot.”

Quote by – Michael Altshuler

Have a great time away, and I love to hear from you. You can follow me on Instagram or Facebook


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