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Take the AK 2019 Survey and Win a Postcard from Kate!

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Four photos of Kate with the text "Win a postcard from Kate! Take the 2019 reader survey."Four photos of Kate with the text "Win a postcard from Kate! Take the 2019 reader survey."

It’s time for my annual reader survey! I would LOVE to hear from you!

I’ve put together my 2019 reader survey. I’m doing this so I can have an updated audience profile for my marketing materials — and also decide what content to bring to you in 2020 and beyond.

The survey is 100% anonymous and should take around 5-10 minutes.

Click here to take the AK 2019 Reader Survey.

Bright pink and red wildflowers with a backdrop of the white houses of Santorini in front of the ocean.Bright pink and red wildflowers with a backdrop of the white houses of Santorini in front of the ocean.
Why are you doing a survey, Kate?

Surveys are important in every business. They help you figure out who your customers are, how they use your business, and what they like and dislike about it. Here is what I’m specifically looking for in this survey:

Who my current readers are. Age, gender, and nationality are huge factors when it comes to working on campaigns. This helps me put together an audience profile of my business.

What you like and don’t like about the site. Specifically, the kinds of posts you enjoy the most and least. This helps me write content that you actually want to read.

Where you’ve traveled because of me. This helps me build a list of “where I’ve sent the most readers” destinations and is especially valuable for doing repeated campaigns with destinations.

What new businesses I should start next. I’ve got four options that I’m weighing and I want to hear your feedback on each of them.

Bright white daisies with yellow center spilling over a bridge in Strasbourg, France, a still canal and pale houses in the background.Bright white daisies with yellow center spilling over a bridge in Strasbourg, France, a still canal and pale houses in the background.

Wait, you’re starting new businesses?

Yes! It’s very exciting! Honestly, I’m in the various stages of starting four different businesses, but each of them take a LOT of time and energy. I can only fully commit to one at a time, and it’s time to pick one.

So I thought I would ask which ones you would be interested in the most.

There may be clear results from the survey; there may not be. Either way, it will give me good direction and help keep me serving you.

Yellow and pink flowers blooming from a blow in the foreground; a tiny church and river in the background. In Trento, Italy.Yellow and pink flowers blooming from a blow in the foreground; a tiny church and river in the background. In Trento, Italy.

I’m giving away five postcards!

Five survey participants will receive postcards from me on my travels. It’s my way of saying thanks.

Don’t worry, even if you enter for a postcard, your survey will remain completely anonymous! The last page of the survey will give you a link to a different page on my site with a password. You can add your email address in a comment.

I will choose five winners by using a random number generator and will notify the winners by November 20, 2019. The postcards will be sent out by April 1, 2020.

Click here to take the AK 2019 Reader Survey.

 Thank you so much!
 

The post Take the AK 2019 Survey and Win a Postcard from Kate! appeared first on Adventurous Kate.


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Introducing Crete

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Walking with the fashion kings of the Congo — Lonely Planet travel videos

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When to go to the Azores

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How to Explore Berkeley on the Cheap – Travel Channel

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How to Plan a Day Trip from London to Paris by Train

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A day trip to Paris from London is the perfect addition to a trip to England! Thanks to the fast and efficient Eurostar train, it’s never been easier to visit Paris for a day.

Honestly, one day isn’t enough for Paris — ideally, you should spend as much time there as you can. But not everyone has lots of extra time to spend. So is it worth it if you only have one day to spare?

Absolutely — taking the train from London to Paris is always worth it. Even if all you have is one day, you can still make it the best day ever. But if you’re only visiting Paris for one day, it’s best to plan your trip carefully so that you get as much out of it as you can.

This post was updated in October 2019.

Taking a trip from London to Paris by train, a yellow train prepares to leave the station.

(Image: Steve Cadman)

Take the train from London to Paris.

The train is far and away the best way to visit Paris for a day. Eurostar trains depart from London’s St. Pancras station, arrive at Paris’s Gare du Nord, and take about two hours and 20 minutes each way. This is the Chunnel train to Paris that goes underwater, beneath the English Channel. You go from the center of London to the center of Paris, plus the train journey is exceedingly pleasant.

The bus from London to Paris, by comparison, takes more than seven hours. Not worth it. Driving takes just under six hours if you don’t hit traffic.

You could fly from London to Paris, but I wouldn’t recommend it for a day trip. The flight only takes about one hour and 10 minutes, but you have to factor in getting to the airport 90 minutes before your flight, plus nearly all of the London airports and all Paris airports are located significantly outside the city and take a long time to get there.
(If you insist on flying to Paris for the day, I recommend either flying from London City Airport, which is centrally located though often very expensive, or flying from Heathrow and taking Heathrow Express from Paddington Station, which takes just 15 minutes.)

Book a day trip to Paris via train here.

Be realistic about how much you can see on a Paris day trip from London.

One day is not enough for Paris, nor is it enough for everything you will personally want to see on a day trip to Paris from London. You can’t see the Louvre and the Musée d’Orsay and go to the Eiffel Tower and climb the towers at Notre-Dame and walk around Montmartre and see the show at the Moulin Rouge. In fact, I wouldn’t advise visiting more than one museum on a day trip to Paris.

I encourage you to choose one or two activities that are absolute musts and to plan your day around them. Supplement your day with activities that are close to your main priorities.

For example, if seeing Notre-Dame is a priority, you can easily fit in nearby destinations like Saint-Chappelle, Île Saint-Louis, Shakespeare and Company bookstore, and the Marais.

If you want to spend part of your day in Montmartre, visit the Sacré Coeur, take a long walk down Rue Lepic, see Amélie’s Café des Deux Moulins, and walk down to the Opéra before checking out the rooftop terrace at Galeries-Lafayette.

And if you absolutely must visit the Louvre on your Paris day trip, take time to wander the Tuileries Gardens, visit the Palais Royal, and grab a hot chocolate at Angelina before window-shopping at the jewelry shops of Place Vendôme.

Include downtime in your itinerary.

It’s easy to spend a Paris day trip going from attraction to attraction, but I think the magic of Paris is found in the in-between moments. Sitting in a cafe with a coffee or a glass of red wine. Wandering cheese and pastry shops. Crossing the Seine over and over again with no destination in mind.

It doesn’t take a lot of effort to get of the beaten path — just go to a new neighborhood and wander in whatever destination pleases you. I wrote a whole post about it.

What to Do on a Day Trip to Paris

I always tell people to travel to the destination that makes their pulse race. And that goes for Paris, too. Prioritize the things that make you excited — the things that are most important to you personally, not the things that you think you should do. If you’re not into art, you don’t have to go to any museums! You can have a day trip to Paris from London without seeing the Mona Lisa.

If your favorite movie in high school was Moulin Rouge! or Amélie, spend time walking around Montmartre.

If you love Monet, Van Gogh, and Degas, go to the Musée d’Orsay for the best collection of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist paintings in the world.

If you’re a die-hard Doors fan, go see Jim Morrison’s grave at Père Lachaise Cemetery.

READ MORE: 100 Travel Tips for Paris

Beyond that, I think how you should explore Paris depends on your travel experience level. If you’re an experienced traveler, you can handle exploring by metro on your own. If you’d like something a bit easier, or if you or your companion have limited mobility, I recommend a hop-on-hop-off Paris bus tour. It takes you from attraction to attraction and lets Paris unfold in front of you.

Bonus: if you book this day trip from London to Paris by train, they include a hop-on hop-off bus tour for free.

Perfect Itinerary for One Day in Paris

Book an early train from London to Paris and a late train back to London. You can book the train independently; you can also book a package that includes train tickets and a hop-on-hop-off bus tour here.

Morning: Notre-Dame and vicinity. Arrive at Gare du Nord and transfer to the metro line 4 toward Mairie de Montrouge. Get off at Saint Michel Notre-Dame. Stop for a quick coffee if you’d like and head up to Notre-Dame. Visit the towers if you’d like for photos of the gargoyles. Next, walk east to Île Saint-Louis and wander the streets. If you’re feeling really indulgent, get an ice cream at Berthillon!

Head north toward the Hotel de Ville and explore the streets of the Marais, heading further upward. Stop by Pierre Hermé for macarons — they’re the best in the city. Just be sure to eat them the same day.

12:00 PM: Lunch at Breizh Cafe in the Marais. This restaurant is home to outstanding Brittany-style buckwheat galettes and sumptuous crepes. I usually get a galette with egg, cheese, and artichoke followed by a salted caramel crepe for dessert, along with their delicious cider. Make a reservation in advance if possible (it helps massively if you speak French); if you’re uncomfortable doing that, try showing up when they open at 12:00 PM.
Alternative lunch: walk up to Rue des Roisiers and wait in line at L’As du Falafel, one of the best cheap lunches in Paris. Order your falafel and walk a few streets away to Place des Vosges, where you can enjoy your falafel “sur l’herbe” or sitting on a bench.

Afternoon: Art and the Tower. Visit one of Paris’s world-class museums in the afternoon. Since you’re visiting Paris on a day trip and have limited time, I urge you to buy skip-the-line tickets in advance, and be sure to double-check which museums are open that day.

The Centre Pompidou (Beaubourg) is close by; if you’re a fan of modern art and architecture, this is a great choice. There’s a fabulous view of the Eiffel Tower from the top, too. Buy Centre Pompidou priority access tickets here. Another option? Head to the Louvre and see the Mona Lisa (La Joconde) for yourself! The Louvre can be overwhelming; I recommend limiting yourself to two or three sections of the museum (I happen to love the golden Gallerie d’Appolon). Buy skip-the-line tickets at the Louvre here. My favorite Paris museum is the Musée d’Orsay, which is home to incredible Impressionist paintings in a fantastic old train station. Buy skip-the-line tickets to the Musée d’Orsay here.

Finally: see the Eiffel Tower up close. How you see it depends on how much time you have. You can take a hop-on-hop-off Seine River cruise if you have time; I recommend taking the Metro Line 9 to Trocadéro for the most stunning surprise view of the tower when you turn the corner. From there you can take all the photos you want.

I do not recommend actually climbing the Eiffel Tower. Why? Because you won’t be able to see it in your photos! But if you insist, once again I recommend buying skip-the-line tickets due to your limited time. Make sure it includes the summit.

Instead, I recommend getting a good view from the nearby Arc de Triomphe. It’s a 20-minute metro ride on the 6 from Bir-Hakeim/Champs de Mars Tour Eiffel to Charles de Gaulle Étoile, five-minute cab ride, or 30-minute walk. Climb the Arc (once again…yep, skip-the-line tickets are best here) and enjoy views of the Eiffel Tower as well as down the Champs-Elysées to Place de la Concorde.

A cheaper alternative is to go to the rooftop of the Galeries Lafayette department store in the 9th. It’s not quite as close as the Arc, but it’s free to visit with a fabulous view.
One hour before your train: arrive at Gare du Nord, preferably by metro. You have to go through immigration here, so it’s wise to arrive one hour before your departure.
Enjoy that train ride back to London, awash in your Paris memories. Now would be an excellent time to dive into those macarons you procured earlier.

Solo Female Travel in Paris: Is it Safe?

Do’s and Don’t’s For a Day Trip to Paris from London

I’m not going to begrudge you for doing what you think is best for yourself, but here are some tips:

Do keep track of the time change. Paris is one hour ahead of London.

Do research opening times in advance. Especially so for museums. The Louvre and Centre Pompidou are closed Tuesdays, while the Musée d’Orsay and Musée Rodin are closed Mondays, to start.

Don’t leave central Paris. This tacks on a lot of time to what is already too short of a trip. Versailles, for example, is just outside Paris but can easily eat up half a day. That also goes for Chartres, Giverny, Reims, the Loire Valley, the beaches of Normandy, EuroDisney, and other day trips from Paris.

Do guard against pickpockets. If you use a purse, I recommend using a black crossbody purse that zips shut, preferably made of leather or faux leather. Keep your hand on it. You can also keep valuables in the hidden pocket in a Speakeasy Travel Supply scarf — I guarantee nobody will pickpocket you there!

Don’t leave love locks anywhere. They’re damaging to structures and your lock will be removed anyway. Just enjoy the city of love without vandalizing it in the process.

Do bring a digital guidebook. Guidebooks aren’t dead — they’re actually super helpful. I recommend buying a digital copy of Lonely Planet Paris and keeping it on your phone for reference.

Don’t go to the top of the Eiffel Tower. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. This may seem like shocking advice, but when you’re on top of the Eiffel Tower you can’t see the Eiffel Tower. It’s like going to the top of the Empire State Building in New York — the most iconic building will be missing from your photos. Definitely go to the base of the Eiffel Tower and the Trocadero Gardens for the best views, but if you want a good view from a building, I recommend the top of the Arc de Triomphe (close proximity), the rooftop of Galeries Lafayette department store in the 9th (a bit further away), or the top of the Sacré Coeur in Montmartre (furthest away but sweeping views over the whole city).

Do not, under any circumstances, forget an umbrella! Paris’s weather is similar to London’s, but only London gets the overcast weather fame. The weather changes quickly in Paris and rain can come out of nowhere, even on an otherwise sunny day. I’m a fan of the LifeTek travel umbrella, which is small enough to pack away but strong enough to hold its shape on a windy day.

What to Wear on a Day Trip to Paris

Parisians have a well-earned reputation for being among the best dressed in Europe. So what should you wear on a day trip to Paris?

It depends on the season, but my go-to outfit is a nice top or sweater, slim or skinny dark jeans, a faux leather moto jacket (this one from Zara is similar to mine) or sleek winter coat, and a beautiful scarf or pashmina (Speakeasy Travel Supply makes gorgeous scarves with a secret hidden pocket — perfect for Paris!).

For shoes, I recommend a pair of black flats with good arch support (I swear by black Abeo flats from the Walking Company). If it’s cold, you might prefer a pair of black boots; if it’s hot, you might prefer these chic but comfortable black sandals. Or stylish sneakers like these white leather Cole Haan sneaks. Top your look off with tasteful makeup, nice jewelry, and a pair of dark sunglasses.

You might enjoy dressing up a bit, especially if it’s warmer out. Wearing a nice dress makes for better photos and could earn you more cordial treatment from locals or even get you mistaken for being local.

What not to wear: Shorts, athletic sneakers, baseball caps, and t-shirts will immediately brand you as a foreigner anywhere in Europe, but especially so in Paris. I recommend leaving these items at home.

 Ready to go? Book your day trip to Paris by train here!


Have you done a day trip to Paris from London? Share away!

The post How to Plan a Day Trip from London to Paris by Train appeared first on Adventurous Kate.


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Things No One Tells You About the Blue Lagoon, Iceland

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The milky Blue Lagoon in Iceland, edged by rocky gray coastline, underneath a blue sky.

Going to the Blue Lagoon is a must for anyone traveling to Iceland! It’s the most popular tourist attraction in Iceland — it seems like nearly everyone who visits Iceland works a trip to the Blue Lagoon into their itinerary.

And being the most popular destination, there are plenty of guides and how-tos for the Blue Lagoon Iceland. But to be honest, I was surprised by how many things I didn’t know.

I’ve visited the Iceland Blue Lagoon several times, in different kinds of weather. As you can see by my photos, I’ve seen the Blue Lagoon on a gorgeous day in May; I’ve also visited the Blue Lagoon on a cold and rainy August day. It wasn’t ideal, but it was still worth visiting the Blue Lagoon in the rain.

Before you go to the Blue Lagoon, here’s what you should know.

This post was updated in October 2019.

Table of Contents

Blue Lagoon IcelandIs the Blue Lagoon in Reykjavik?Is the Blue Lagoon a natural spring?Best Time to Go to Blue LagoonBlue Lagoon at NightIceland Blue Lagoon Hours:How Deep is the Blue Lagoon?Blue Lagoon TemperatureDo you have to shower before going into the Blue Lagoon?Should you book the Blue Lagoon before or after your flight to Iceland?Should you combine a Blue Lagoon visit with another tour in Iceland?Your hair will get DESTROYED at the Blue Lagoon.Iceland Blue Lagoon PricingBlue Lagoon ExperienceBlue Lagoon Iceland AddressWhere to Stay In Iceland

Book the Blue Lagoon with Transportation from Reykjavik

In Iceland, the Blue Lagoon -- pale turquoise milky water with people swimming in it, underneath a bright blue sky with clouds.

Blue Lagoon Iceland

Is the Blue Lagoon in Reykjavik?

The Blue Lagoon is not in Reykjavik. It’s in Grindavík, close to the airport and about 45 minutes from Reykjavik.

Two-thirds of Iceland’s population may live in Reykjavik, but the Blue Lagoon is quite a distance away. If you haven’t rented a car, you’ll need to book a transfer with a tour company. You can book Blue Lagoon tickets with round-trip transportation from Reykjavik here. The drive takes about 45 minutes each way.

That said, Reykjavik is a fabulous city and being based here is the best option for visiting the Blue Lagoon and exploring the nearby region. See below for where to stay in Reykjavik.

Is the Blue Lagoon a natural spring?

The Iceland Blue Lagoon is not a natural spring. While Iceland is a country brimming with natural hot springs, the Blue Lagoon isn’t one of them. The land is natural, as is the lava that shapes the pool, but the water is actually the result of runoff from the geothermal plant next door.

The plant was built first, and it uses Iceland’s volcanic landscape to produce heat power. The runoff is filtered straight into the Blue Lagoon, which is what heats the water.

That doesn’t mean it’s dangerous or toxic — far from it! It’s just not the natural phenomenon that many people believe it to be.

Kate takes a selfie in the Blue Lagoon in Iceland, steaming bright blue water behind her with people in the water.

Best Time to Go to Blue Lagoon

When is the best time to go to the Blue Lagoon? If you want to have the space to yourselves, I recommend going as soon as it opens, first thing in the morning. If you’re waiting at the Blue Lagoon right as they open and you rush in the locker room, you could be one of the first people in it! (This is also the best option if you want to get photos without other people in them.)

If you want to be a bit of an overachiever, you could check the flight schedule at Reykjavik airport and plan your trip when the fewest flights are arriving and departing. Personally, I think this is a bit overkill, but some people who live for data enjoy doing this.

In terms of the best time to visit Iceland, you have options. While Iceland is very popular throughout the year, there are the fewest tourists during the winter months. If you want to experience a quieter Iceland, I highly recommend visiting during the winter. Keep in mind that it’s a cheaper time to visit, flights will likely be less expensive, and fewer tours and activities will be available. 

The Northern Lights are most likely to be seen during the winter months and around the vernal and autumnal equinoxes (March 21 and September 21). You are extremely unlikely to see them in the summer. As always, you can plan to see the Northern Lights, but they are finicky and unpredictable and many an Iceland tourist has been disappointed at missing their chance. 

My advice? Don’t make your trip all about the Northern Lights. (Frankly, there are places much more reliable than Iceland to see the Northern Lights, like Alaska and northern Norway.) Go in with cautious optimism. If you see them, great! If you don’t, you’ve still had a fun trip to Iceland.

Most tourists choose to travel to Iceland during the busy summer months. This is when you’ll have the best (and warmest) weather, though keep in mind Iceland weather can be brutal and ever-changing! You’ll also have the greatest amount of sunlight. This is when Iceland will be at its most crowded and expensive, but most activities should be available.

If you choose to visit Iceland during the summer, be sure to book as much as you can ahead of time. Many hotels, flights, and activities will sell out in advance.

Book the Blue Lagoon with Transportation from Reykjavik

 

People swimming in Iceland's Blue Lagoon at dusk, steam rising up from the milky blue waters.

Blue Lagoon at Night, via Pixabay

Blue Lagoon at Night

Can you visit the Blue Lagoon at night? Yes — but the opening hours vary based on the time of year. From June through mid-August, the Blue Lagoon is open until 11:00 PM or midnight.

Iceland Blue Lagoon Hours:

1 January – 30 May: 8:00 AM-9:00 PM

31 May – 27 June: 7:00 AM – 11:00 PM

28 June – 18 August: 7:00 AM – 12:00 AM

19 August – 31 December: 8:00 AM – 9:00 PM

One advantage of visiting the Iceland Blue Lagoon at night is that it has a peaceful, dusky, almost spooky atmosphere. Most of the visiting children will have left by night.

However, don’t plan to get images of the Blue Lagoon at night underneath a dark sky. If you visit during the summer months, midnight in July will only be a bit dusky; frankly, it will be a lot darker in late December at 9:00 PM.

Is it possible to see the Northern Lights at the Blue Lagoon Iceland? Don’t plan on it. Most of the images you’ve seen of the Northern Lights have been in places with little to no light pollution. The Blue Lagoon is full of light. Proper Northern Lights tours will take you far outside the city to see them.

Snorkeling Silfra: The Coolest Thing I Did in Iceland

How Deep is the Blue Lagoon?

The Blue Lagoon is a maximum of 1.7 meters (4.7 feet) deep. For this reason, all children are required to have a guardian while in the Blue Lagoon.

Blue Lagoon Temperature

The Blue Lagoon has a temperature usually ranging between 37 and 40 degrees Celsius (98 and 104 degrees Fahrenheit). It feels like a nice warm bath. However, keep in mind that the outdoor temperature and weather mean that the temperature can fluctuate a bit higher and lower.

Do you have to shower before going into the Blue Lagoon?

Not unlike spas in Europe and around the world, you must take a shower before going into the pool. The Iceland Blue Lagoon goes one step further and requires you to shower naked. Don’t worry if you don’t want to be naked in public: while some showers are out in the open, there are now several shower stalls that lock for privacy.

Once you’re rinsed and your hair is conditioned, you can put your bathing suit back on and head on into the Blue Lagoon.

Should you book the Blue Lagoon before or after your flight to Iceland?

Try to time your visit to the Blue Lagoon to your flight to Iceland. If you have super early flights to Iceland, you may not be able to do this — but if you have a morning or afternoon arrival or an afternoon or evening departure, you should take advantage of hitting up the Blue Lagoon on the way to the airport.

The Blue Lagoon is much closer to the airport than Reykjavik. Going to the Blue Lagoon en route to the airport will save you time.

If that’s the case, I recommend booking a private airport transfer via the Blue Lagoon. This will give you two hours to enjoy the lagoon on the way to the airport, giving yourself more time to spend doing other things in Iceland, plus you won’t have to worry about getting onto a bus with strangers.

If you’re visiting Iceland as a stopover between North America and Europe, you’ll find much more convenient times for visiting the Blue Lagoon from North America to Iceland to Europe than if you are flying from Europe to Iceland to North America.

Did you book the cheapest flight to Iceland?
Skyscanner usually has the best deals.

Should you combine a Blue Lagoon visit with another tour in Iceland?

If you’re only visiting Iceland for a few days, you can save time and money by booking tours that include multiple activities in a day. Here are some suggestions:

1) Visit the Blue Lagoon and tour the Golden Circle.

2) Visit the Blue Lagoon, tour the Golden Circle, and visit Kerid volcano crater.

3) Visit the Blue Lagoon and go on a whale watching cruise.

4) Visit the Blue Lagoon and go on a cultural sightseeing tour of Reykjavik.

All four of these tours include admission to the Blue Lagoon in the price.

Your hair will get DESTROYED at the Blue Lagoon.

The one thing that everyone says is, “Use lots of leave-in conditioner.” The locker rooms at the Iceland Blue Lagoon offer lots of conditioner, so that made it easy.

The water at the Blue Lagoon is not good for your hair. I would especially be cautious if you have natural, curly, or color-treated hair.

I thought my curly hair would be okay. Well, after covering my hair in conditioner, twisting it up in a French twist, leaving the conditioner in, and going into the Blue Lagoon, then coming out, rinsing my hair, conditioning it like crazy, and leaving it in again — my hair was destroyed for the next five days.

Take my advice — even if you condition your hair, don’t let it touch the water. You’re not missing out on much if you don’t.

Iceland Blue Lagoon Pricing

The Blue Lagoon doesn’t make it easy to find out how much they charge. They don’t have a list of prices; you can only see the prices on specific days, five to six months in advance. Adult tickets are sold to those who are age 14 and older.

Tickets are sold in tiers: Comfort, Premium, and Retreat Spa. Comfort and Premium just vary in terms of amenities, but the much more expensive Retreat Spa tier gives you access to a private spa and private area of the Blue Lagoon Iceland.

Comfort tickets at the Blue Lagoon cost 76 EUR to 86 EUR ($84-94), depending on the time of year. Comfort tickets include entrance to the Blue Lagoon, silica mud mask, use of towel, and first free drink of your choice.

Premium tickets at the Blue Lagoon cost 98 EUR to 107 ($108-118), depending on the time of year. Premium tickets include entrance to the Blue Lagoon, silica mud mask, use of towel, first free drink of your choice, second mask of your choice, dining reservation (optional), and sparkling wine with your dining reservation.

Retreat Spa tickets at the Blue Lagoon cost 565 EUR ($621). Retreat spa tickets include entrance to the Blue Lagoon, access to the private Retreat Spa (four hours), access to a private changing room, The Blue Lagoon Ritual, Retreat Lagoon, skin care amenities, access to the Spa Restaurant, and first free drink of your choice.

Which tier is best at the Iceland Blue Lagoon? Personally, I think that Comfort is more than fine — there’s no real point to Premium. But if you want to go all out and have the cash to spend, go ahead and do the Retreat Spa.

Iceland’s Phallological Museum: A Strange Must-See

Blue Lagoon Experience

I enjoyed my time at the Blue Lagoon. Being the kind of girl who loves extreme heat, I thought the water wouldn’t be hot enough for me, but it turns out that there is a super-hot section just for cold-blooded ones like myself! You can see it in the above picture — it’s where the steam is coming out.

It never gets too hot in Iceland — in my spring and summer trips, temperatures hovered in mid-40s Fahrenheit (about 10 C), which made the pool nice and toasty, and not so cold that walking outside was like Nordic torture. It felt just fine.

If you visit the Blue Lagoon in winter, it will be colder, but that just means you should get in the water a little bit faster. It’s nice and cozy year-round.

The Blue Lagoon gives you wristbands that you can use for purchases while in the water. This is a brilliant way of paying for items without having to keep an eye on your purse or wallet. The wristband system also prevents people from buying more than three alcoholic drinks.

The Blue Lagoon has a sauna and steam room, as well as an exclusive section. You can get a variety of spa treatments, including a massage on a float right in the Blue Lagoon! There are cocktails at the swim-up bar, but I prefer the smoothies instead, which you can conveniently pay for with your wristband.

Overall, if you’re going to Iceland, the Blue Lagoon is one of those experiences that you just have to try. But if you can, I recommend you do it on the way to or from the airport — and I beg you, don’t let that water touch your hair!

Blue Lagoon Iceland Address

Visit the Blue Lagoon in Iceland at:
Blue Lagoon Iceland
Norðurljósavegur 9, 240 Grindavík
+354 420 8800

Colorful roofs and houses on the gridded streets of Reykjavik, Iceland, shot from above.

Reykjavik, Iceland — image via Pixabay.

Where to Stay In Iceland

Where’s the best place to stay in Iceland? If you’re only staying in Iceland for a few days, Reykjavik makes an excellent base for exploring western Iceland. Here are my recommendations for Reykjavik accommodation:

Luxury: 41 — A Townhouse Hotel
Mid-range: Hotel Odinsve
Budget: Igdlo Guesthouse
Hostel: KEX Hostel
Check out more hotels in Reykjavik here.

READ NEXT:
Why Iceland is Perfect for First-Time Solo Female Travelers

Pinterest Graphic: What's it like to travel to the Blue Lagoon, Iceland?

Essential Info: The Blue Lagoon Iceland has several different tiers of pricing: Comfort, Premium, and Retreat  Spa, with entry as cheap as 76 EUR ($84 USD) in the colder months. Ticket prices vary based on the date and time of booking. Book tickets to the Blue Lagoon including a transfer from Reykjavik here.

Iceland is full of awesome tours, from ice climbing to whale watching to snorkeling between the techtonic plates. Check out some of the best tours here.

For flights to Iceland, I find the best rates on Skyscanner. Double-check here to make sure you got a good rate.

Looking for a group tour to Iceland? G Adventures has several Iceland tours, all with small groups.

The best way to get from the airport to downtown Reykjavik is the Flybus. It’s cheap, easy, and runs frequently.

While Iceland is one of the safest countries in the world, it’s vital to get travel insurance before your trip. If you get seriously injured and require an air ambulance home, it could save you literally hundreds of thousands of dollars. I don’t travel anywhere without insurance, and I use and recommend World Nomads.

Many thanks to the Iceland Tourism Board and the Blue Lagoon Iceland for hosting my first visit in 2012. I’ve since returned and have paid my own way. All opinions, as always, are my own.

The post Things No One Tells You About the Blue Lagoon, Iceland appeared first on Adventurous Kate.


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AK Monthly Recap: September 2019

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Kate wears overalls and jumps in the air, holding skewers of lamb in each hand, mountains and blue sky behind her, in Gran Sasso National Park.

Sometimes a moment makes your month. That’s what happened in September.

At Traverse in Trentino in June, the closing keynote included blogger Sassy Wyatt, who writes about travel and disability and is visually impaired. She pointed out that bloggers should be writing descriptions of their photos in the alt text field, because that’s what visually impaired people use to understand the photos.

At that point I had been blogging for seventeen years, professionally for nine years, and had no clue that alt text was for this purpose. I didn’t know it was even a thing. And that shows how little people with disabilities are given consideration in the blogging/online publishing world.

“Whenever I write my alt text,” my friend Alistair said as he moderated the keynote panel, “I pretend that I’m writing directly to Sassy.”

I started writing image descriptions in my alt text immediately — and I, too, pretended I was writing directly to Sassy. That top photo reads, “Kate wears overalls and jumps in the air, holding skewers of lamb in each hand, mountains and blue sky behind her, in Gran Sasso National Park.” It takes a bit more time, but it’s not complicated, and it makes a huge difference. Sometimes I’ll put jokes in the descriptions.

That’s not all I’m doing, though. If you follow me on Instagram at @adventurouskate, you may have noticed that whenever I talk in my Stories, there is now a transcription underneath. And that’s something I should have known better about — I have friends who are deaf, including friends in the travel blogging community. I should have been doing this all along.

It’s not perfect, and I know I have a long way to go — but I hope that this is making my site more accessible to more people. And this month I found out that yes, it is.

I saw Sassy at Borderless Live in London this month and got a chance to talk to her in between sessions.

“I just wanted to let you know that since your talk at Traverse, I’ve started using descriptions in my alt text,” I told her.

“I know you did! I read your blog,” she said with a grin.

That didn’t just make my day — it made my month. Sometimes it can feel like the behind-the-scenes work is screaming into the void — but knowing that someone is now directly benefiting from the alt text made me SO happy.

Bloggers, start writing descriptions in your alt text. You probably already have visually impaired readers reading your site, and this will make it much more enjoyable for them!

A view over two of the Tremiti Islands -- a rocky, uninhabited island, covered with sand and grass, rising out of the bright blue sea. Rowboats in the water in front of the island.

Destinations Visited

New York, NY
London, UK
Bologna, Ostuni, Lecce, Monopoli, Bari, Matera, Altamura, Turi, Alberobello, Locorotondo, Foggia, San Domino, San Nicola, Termoli, Gran Sasso National Park, Cupra Marittima, Porto San Giorgio, Porto Recanati, Loreto, Urbino, Ravenna, Quattro Castella, Reggio Emilia, Basilicagoiano, Polesine Parmense, and Parma, Italy
Prague, Czech Republic

A street scene with old-fashioned stores with moss-green paint in Parma, Italy. Three motorbikes are parked in front of the stores and pedestrians are walking behind them.
Favorite Destinations

Lecce. A low-key city in many ways, filled with beautiful and sometimes perplexing architecture. Hot year-round, cheap year-round, and not too discovered by tourist hordes just yet.

Monopoli. The perfect base for a week of Puglia exploration. A small but oh-so-beautiful town perched on the beach, with lots of good restaurants and perhaps Italy’s best gelato.

Parma. Man, I thought I liked it before, but now I REALLY love Parma! So much joy and color, so many cool shops, interesting and artsy and cheap, cheap, cheap.

Kate wears a red dress with an asymmetrical hemline and poses in front of the city of Matera: stone towers and homes built on top of a row of sassi (caves).

Highlights

A great Borderless Live conference in London. This was the first Borderless Live conference ever, and I loved listening to inspiring creators talk about how they work. I also gave a talk on the current state of blogging, ethical issues, and writing for your existing, faithful audience rather than catering 100% to newcomers from SEO.

Spending extended time in Puglia. I’ve been to Puglia once before, a brief trip to Gargano and Alberobello, but this time I spent nearly two weeks and got to see a ton of the region. Puglia is amazing — great weather, gorgeous coastline, and excellent food, especially if you don’t eat meat.

I revisited Alberobello but enjoyed so many places, especially Lecce, which was interesting and low-key in all the right ways; the coastal town of Monopoli, which was such a beautiful and perfect base; and the inland town of Locorotondo, which may be one of the prettiest small towns in Italy I’ve ever visited. It ended with a VERY Italian trip to the Tremiti Islands, which it turns out are quite pretty but quite dead in September!

Visiting four new Italian regions. My goal to visit all 20 Italian regions is coming along nicely, as I visited Basilicata, Termoli, Abruzzo, and Le Marche for the first time ever! I made sure to have a memorable experience in each region.

First up was Basilicata, and I visited the stunning city of Matera, built on sassi (caves) where people were still living as late as the 1960s. I’ve wanted to visit Matera for well over a decade and was happy to finally get there. Also, it was my 150th UNESCO World Heritage Site! Hopefully next time in Basilicata I’ll head to the west coast to see Maratea.

Molise is the least visited region in Italy, but we dropped by the seaside town of Termoli and had a local Molise specialty: a pampanella sandwich (peppery, vinegary ribs on a bun). It was tasty. Molise is a small region and doesn’t have much for attractions, so I doubt I’ll make it a priority to return — but you never know…

A butcher shop with smoking grills in front of it, in the middle of nowhere in Abruzzo, Italy. Incredible mountains rise in the background underneath a blue sky.

Next up was Abruzzo, and we drove through Gran Sasso National Park, which is astounding in its beauty. Best of all was stopping at Ristoro Giuliani, a butcher shop in the middle of absolute nowhere, surrounded by mountains. You buy your meat — including arrosticini, the local specialty, or little skewers of lamb — and cook it on one of the grills in front of the shop! It was such a special experience, the kind of place that you can’t believe exists. I want to go back to Abruzzo and see more of the national park!

After that, we had a few days in Le Marche, staying at an agriturismo near the coast. Le Marche doesn’t get the fame of its neighbors like Tucany and Umbria, but there’s a lot to love here. There was a food festival, a Porsche festival, and two hilltop towns: Loreto and Urbino. Urbino was a highlight of the trip — such a beautiful town. They have a local pasta called passatelli, made from bread crumbs, parmigiano, and egg.

A return to Emilia-Romagna. You guys have been listening to me rave about Emilia-Romagna for eight years now, so there’s nothing new there. I think Emilia-Romagna is like Italy in miniature, with cool cities and incredible cuisine. It was fun to return to old favorites, like Parma and Ravenna, and have some new experiences, too — like learning all about culatello, one of the world’s finest meats. I actually bought half a culatello to bring back to Prague.

A great STS conference in Ravenna. I always have a good time at STS and it was great to see friends, pick up tips, and spend time discussing how we can best influence people in our industry to do better, more ethical work.

Arriving in Prague for the first time in 15 years! Can you believe it’s been that long? Last night I was here, I was a 20-year-old college student, drinking Bailey’s and hot chocolate on the street and dancing all night long at the five-floor club.

This time is different — my boyfriend has lived in Prague for the past 18 years and is fluent in Czech, so I’m experiencing the local side of the city. A lot of people complain about how touristy the Old Town is — but the Old Town is such a tiny part of Prague. You see almost no tourists outside the city center.

Lots of good times with friends. Good times with friends up and down Italy, especially in Emilia-Romagna. Probably my favorite moments was in Bologna when I briefly dropped out of sight and my friends’ three-year-old daughter said, “Hey, where’d that little guy go?”

Kate stands on a cobblestone street in Ravenna, Italy, in front of boutique shops in yellow buildings. She wears black and white patterned pants and a sleeveless black blouse.

Challenges

An illness that snowballed into horrific insomnia. I felt like I was getting sick on the flight to Europe, and the cold hit in full force once I arrived in Bologna. I went to the farmacia for my usual pills (you know you spend a lot of time in Italy when you have a go-to brand of Italian decongestant pills). They didn’t work very well.

And suddenly, the night before my presentation in London — just like the night before my last presentation in Trentino — I was up ALL NIGHT and could not sleep. It just could not happen. Melatonin had no impact. Then the same thing happened two nights later. I was an exhausted mess and wanted to cry.

It turns out it was the medication — pseudoephedrine can cause insomnia. Who knew?! My mom told me she can’t take Sudafed for that same reason. As soon as I got off it, I was sleeping well again.

Just keep that in mind — if you are taking pseudoephedrine and can’t sleep, that’s probably the reason.

A pinched nerve — just to start. I had a sore neck, blamed it on crappy Italian pillows, then the pain began to shoot down my arm a few days later. Most likely a pinched nerve — and a physio visit in Prague showed me that my body really needs some alignment work. I guess this happens when I’m on the road and out of the gym for a few months. It will take some work getting back to normal.

A street in the white city of Locorotondo in Puglia: all white and green. White city walls, green chairs next to a wall, green plants everywhere, black iron streetlamp. A perfect Italian town.

Blog Posts of the Month

Reasons to Travel to the Îles-de-la-Madeleine, Canada — This was my favorite stop on my 10-day OneOcean Eastern Canada expedition this July. Here’s what made it so special.

What’s It REALLY Like to Travel to Baku, Azerbaijan? — Baku was a strange, offbeat city, and while I had a good time, I doubt I’d go back. Here’s why.

Kate wears a brightly colored and patterned one-piece bathing suit and throws her hands in the air in joy. She's standing on a rocky formation with the bright blue ocean behind her. In Monopoli, Puglia.

Most Popular Photo on Instagram

This is the first full-length bathing suit photo that I’ve published since 2011. Up until now, I’ve only done bathing suit photos from the waist up. It feels GOOD. For more updates from my travels, follow me on Instagram at @adventurouskate.

A glass of sparkling white wine next to a tangliere (plate of meat and cheese) in Lecce, Italy: topped with several kinds of ham, burrata mozzarella, and other hams and cheeses.

What I Read This Month

Four books read this month and I am up to 64 in 2019, which means that I will most likely exceed my record of 72. I guess I can officially say goodbye to reading 100 in 2019…that’s not going to happen!

There There by Tommy Orange (2018) — This novel is told from the point of view of several American Indians living in and around Oakland, California, in the days leading up to the Big Oakland Powwow. There’s the teenager who knows nothing of his heritage and teaches himself how to dance from YouTube, the woman fleeing her abusive husband in Oklahoma, the documentary filmmaker eager to tell Indian stories. They all converge on the powwow, which erupts in conflict.

This book painted such a different view of Indians. (First off, learning that the “Don’t say Indian — say Native American or American Indian!” drilled into me from childhood is wrong.) I never knew anything about Indians living in urban areas today. This tells the story of people trying to survive after having their culture, family, and meaning torn away from them. Some people believe that PTSD can be passed down generation by generation — this shows that it’s the case. Generational poverty and substance abuse continue to harm Indian communities today. But even as it’s an “important” book, it’s also a beautiful, engrossing, and entertaining novel. Highly recommended.

Finish: Give Yourself the Gift of Done by Jon Acuff (2017) — Why do so many people struggle with finishing what they start? This book sets to figure out why. Jon Acuff ran a course helping people achieve their goals, he was surprised to learn what actually got people across the finish line. In a nutshell, it wasn’t getting people to work harder — it was taking the pressure off. The greatest obstacle to us achieving our goals is perfectionism, and that’s what keeps people from finishing.

This book was a really great read, and highly recommended for self-employed creatives. Acuff has a great sense of humor, too, and I chuckled throughout the book. A lot of these examples make a lot of sense. But the truth is that reading books like these is all for naught unless you put what you learn into practice.

Kate stands in front of shelves of parmigiana reggiano wheels. She wears a protective robe and leans in with her hand to her ear, as if listening to the cheese.

When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing by Daniel H. Pink (2019) — Timing is a lot more scientific than we think. There are different “chronotypes” that people fall into — the times that we work best as humans. Most people work best in the morning, fade in the afternoon, then rally back in the evening. But not everyone is like that. This book breaks down how timing affects how we work, and how we can best organize our days to get our work done.

Well, I’m now terrified of ever having to see a doctor in the afternoon thanks to this book. In all seriousness, though, I found it to be a fascinating read. I’m not quite sure where I lie — there have been times when I’ve gotten so much work done between midnight and 3 AM, but I feel a lot better about myself when I get a day’s worth of work done by 7 PM. Maybe I should keep experimenting. But the single best tip I got from this book is the “nappuccino” — drink a coffee, then take a short nap. Caffeine takes about 25 minutes to kick in, so once you wake up, you’ll feel amazingly refreshed and ready to work again.

A Spark of Light by Jodi Picoult (2018) — This novel, told backwards in time, describes the day a terrorist murders several people at an abortion clinic in Jackson, Mississippi, and takes several others hostage. It’s told from several points of view: the cop talking the terrorist through the situation from the outside; his teenage daughter, who was in the clinic to get birth control; an undercover anti-choice protestor pretending to be a patient; the doctor, whom I knew immediately was based on Dr. Willie Parker; and some other characters.

Typical Jodi Picoult novel — you know exactly what you’re going to get. Morality issue. Legal-medical drama. Surprise twist ending. Cop or firefighter husband talking about how much he loves his wife even though she’s put on weight in recent years (though this book tended to be more about him gushing about his daughter). Gay characters with perfect romantic relationships without a single blemish. But damn if they’re not engrossing books. This one was an easy read that kept me enthralled until the end — and I actually didn’t guess the ending this time. And the book is a sobering reminder of how difficult red states make it for women to access abortion care: one clinic serving an entire huge state, mandatory two-day procedures, court orders that can be delayed simply by a judge going on vacation. We need to work to make it easier for low-income and disadvantaged women to access these services.

A scene from Old Town Square in Prague: a statue of soldiers in front of a cream-colored building with an orange roof and two church towers. Shot from below because THIS SQUARE IS FULL OF THOUSANDS OF TOURISTS.

Coming Up in October 2019

My original late September plan was to drive north from Emilia-Romagna into Friuli-Venezia Giulia then drive to Prague via Slovenia and Austria — but we had to be in Prague a little earlier than expected, so we switched it around. I’ll be in Prague for a little over two weeks, including a weekend getaway to Olomouc, which I hear is a lovely city. It will be nice to discover a bit more of the Czech Republic, a country that is too often overlooked.

After that, I’m flying to Venice, not visiting Venice, but driving east into Friuli, visiting Trieste, Aquileia, and staying at another agriturismo. Italian region #17! What can I say about Italy at this point that I haven’t yet?

After that, I head back to Bologna briefly to catch my flight, then I fly back to New York and will remain there the rest of the month. After being on the road more or less constantly since June 1, I’ll be glad to be back in one place. Halloween in Harlem is INSANE — Broadway swarms with thousands upon thousands of kids, no joke — but this year I hope to finally make it to the Village’s Halloween parade.

Any suggestions for Prague? Share away!

The post AK Monthly Recap: September 2019 appeared first on Adventurous Kate.


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On the wine trail in Mendoza, Argentina – Lonely Planet vlog

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Travel to Newfoundland, Canada, and You’ll Never Want to Leave

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Kate stands in front of the a colorful village on a grassy peninsula surrounded by a bright blue bay.

How can I even begin to describe traveling in Newfoundland? How do I describe the beauty of the landscapes, the kindness of the people, the moments that I will treasure forever?

When I got back from my trip to Newfoundland, I would tell people, “Newfoundland is a lot like Ireland, but more colorful and with fewer tourists.”

What does “like Ireland” mean, anyway? Is it that the locals welcome you like family, speak with borderline incomprehensible accents, and tell the most wonderful stories? Is it that the weather’s nothing to write home about and you could be in a winter jacket in July, but rain or shine, the place reverberates with spectacular beauty? Is it that folk music fills the air, not as an act put on for visitors, but as part of the cultural fabric of the society?

Because that’s Newfoundland!

Many Newfoundlanders are of Irish origin — a big reason why the Newfoundland accent has Irish undertones and the pub scene of St. John’s could rival that of Galway.

But there’s a huge difference. Ireland is swamped with tourists; you could argue that certain parts of Ireland, like the Ring of Kerry, are victims of severe overtourism. Newfoundland, by contrast, has far less tourism. Here, you will never worry about Trinity or Twillingate being packed to the gills with tour buses and umbrella-toting guides. Even in the highest of high season, I was one of few tourists everywhere I went.

Newfoundland is the kind of place that makes you say, “Why isn’t everyone traveling here?!”

Red and yellow cottages on the water's edge, a Canadian flag flying.

Travel to Newfoundland

In some ways, my travels to Newfoundland began last summer. I went to see Come From Away on Broadway with my mom and sister. It tells the story of Gander, Newfoundland, the tiny town that welcomed 6,700 stranded airline passengers on 9/11. 

I went in with no expectations and I was blown away. That show is magical.

Normally, I avoid any entertainment related to 9/11. I lived through that day; I think of it constantly. It still upsets me so much that it’s not my choice of subject matter for entertainment.

Come From Away is different, though. It avoids the horrific details of 9/11 and instead focuses on a unique, uplifting story. Gander was a small town with an airport and their population nearly doubled overnight. But the locals opened their homes and hearts to the stranded passengers, introducing them to the quirks of Newfoundland life and showing them kindness at a time when everyone was scared. It was about friendship and generosity — but also folk music, and Screech, and kissing the cod.

I had to visit this place for myself.

I came home from the show that night and started looking up flights to Newfoundland for September. “I’m finally coming!” I wrote to my friend Candice, a proud Newfoundlander, frequent travel buddy, and one of my fellow OG travel bloggers.

Sadly, that trip didn’t end up happening; I had too much going on in September 2018. But when I attended an industry event with lots of Canadian tourism folks the following January, I made sure to schedule a meeting with Newfoundland and Labrador Tourism.

It paid off. We had our meeting, we talked Come From Away, and they invited me to visit for a campaign in August.

Table of Contents

Travel to NewfoundlandNewfoundland MapSt. John’s, the City of ColorFishing in Newfoundland and Kissing the CodDildo, NewfoundlandTrinityBonavista Art BiennaleTwillingateNewfoundland QuirksBecoming a Local in NewfoundlandGetting Screeched InHiking Signal HillBest Time to Travel to NewfoundlandSolo Female Travel in NewfoundlandThe Takeaway

Newfoundland Map

First, know the terminology: Newfoundland and Labrador refers to the province, which is made up of Newfoundland (the island) and Labrador (the region on the mainland northwest of Newfoundland, adjacent to Quebec). The province has a population of 519,000, 92% of which lives in Newfoundland.

I was shocked to hear that Newfoundland and Labrador didn’t join Canada until 1949! Before then it was a British colony, flying a green, white and pale pink flag. You still see the flag around the island: some fly it as a celebration of their history and culture, while some fly it in the hopes that Newfoundland will to be independent again.

On your trip to Newfoundland, you’ll most likely fly into St. John’s, which is on the east coast of the island. From there, you can pick up a car and head out.

(Keep in mind that St. John’s lost many of its international airline connections abroad after 737 Max planes were grounded in March 2019. Today they have nonstop flights from Toronto, Montreal, Halifax, St. Pierre, and other destinations in Newfoundland and Labrador.)

Candice's tattoo of Newfoundland on her wrist, next to a promotional sign for the musical Come From Away.

Alternatively, you can navigate by Candice’s Newfoundland tattoo. (Seriously. Don’t underestimate the value of being able to flip your wrist over and say, “See, we’re here now, and you’re going here next.)

Kate dances in the street in front of a row of brightly painted houses in St. John's.

St. John’s, the City of Color

St. John’s stuns you the moment you see it. Nestled against the craggy coast are brightly colored houses in turquoise, orange, purple, sky-blue, and every color you can imagine. My first activity was a photography tour of the city with Far East Photography Tours. Owner Maurice “Mo” Fitzgerald took me to see various photo spots throughout the city.

“You’re shooting with a Fuji,” Mo said as we started. “The film simulation modes are the best thing about Fuji. Do you ever shoot on Velvia?”

Velvia is a kind of Fuji film that gives you bright saturated colors, especially blues. On Fuji cameras, you can change the film simulation settings to Velvia, which makes the JPEG files come out extra bright and colorful.

“Not really,” I confessed. “I tried it once in the Caribbean. I liked it. But I shoot in RAW — what’s the point if the Velvia disappears once I upload them to Lightroom?”

But I switched the settings to Velvia anyway and took a photo. Check out the difference:

A shot of cottages on the harbor, but faded and dark.

Original photo

The same cottages on the harbor, but bright neon and full of life.

Same photo, with Velvia simulation.

 

Well.

“That looks…really good,” I told Mo. “I think I’ll try Velvia today.”

Sure, it would mean more work, but I could always add a Velvia preset to Lightroom, or just edit them with a heavier hand on the saturation. The important part was getting to see the saturation in the first place as I took the photo — that would guide my photography.

A shot of St. John's from a distance. You can see all the colorful homes on Jelly Bean Row, and a bright yellow ship in front.

St. John’s is famous for its brightly colored houses, which keep the neighborhoods looking cheerful during the long, dreary winters. They call the neighborhood Jelly Bean Row, even though it doesn’t refer to any specific row in particular.

A row of brightly colored square houses in St. John's: yellowfins, blue, sea green, burgundy, and navy.A blue house with two bright yellow doors side by side, surrounded by turquoise trim, in St. John's.Victoria Street in Jelly Bean Row, with a bright purple, dark blue-green, plum, and pea-green set of houses.A mailbox shaped and painted like the houses of Jelly Bean Row, attached to a yellow house.Kate stands in front of a mauve house with a pale blue house on the left and a mustard yellow house on the right.

Don’t come to St. John’s looking for a specific set of houses like the Painted Ladies in San Francisco — there isn’t any one row of houses more famous than the others. Just walk around and find the corner that looks good to you.

I was particularly amused to find that Victoria Street was steep, colorful, and filled with hanging flower pots — just like Victoria Street in Edinburgh, my favorite street in that city!

“What’s your favorite color?” Mo asked me.

“Hot pink,” I replied without hesitation.

Mo knew exactly where to find a hot pink house for me. “I try to find a house for everyone’s favorite color.”

A bright pink house with a tiny porch and bushes and pink plants hanging, in St. John's, Newfoundland.

“That is my dream home,” I told him.

I am so glad I got the Velvia tip from Mo on the first day, because it changed how I took photos the whole trip. Velvia is MADE for Newfoundland. Whether you’re shooting the brightly colored homes of Jelly Bean Row or the cliffs, bays, and cottages of Trinity, or one of the best sunsets of your life in Twillingate, it all looks SO much better in Velvia.

A fisherman holds up a cod for Kate and she leans in and kisses it.

Fishing in Newfoundland and Kissing the Cod

I’ve done a lot of crazy things on my travels. Swimming in Antarctica. Volcano-boarding in Nicaragua. Dancing until dawn with Vikings. Getting shipwrecked in Indonesia.

But until Newfoundland, I had never gone fishing. (How?! I have no idea.)

That changed when I went out on a fishing trip with Quidi Vidi Fishing Charters. We would be fishing for cod, the fish that has been the lifeblood for Newfoundlanders for so long.

The Beothuk, the indigenous people of Newfoundland, were the original people to fish for cod. Later, the British, French, Spanish, Portuguese, and even Basques traveled to Newfoundland to fish the rich waters. However, over the course of several centuries, the fishing was extensive and in the early 1990s, it was estimated that waters only contained 1% of the cod they once had.

In 1992, a moratorium was placed on cod fishing in Newfoundland. More than thirty thousand people lost their jobs and it severely damaged the economy.

While the moratorium has since been lifted, today there are a lot of rules and regulations around cod fishing in Newfoundland. On the day I went fishing, we were only allowed to catch and release. Which was fine! It was still a lot of fun.

Soon I caught my first fish ever. I was giddy with joy.

“Now you have to kiss it,” the men told me. “It’s what we do in Newfoundland.”

I puckered up and gave my fish a big smooch on its back. It responded by defecating.

Kate holds up a fish roughly from her chest to her knees and gives a thumbs up.

Later that day, I caught the biggest fish of the day! Look at the size of that guy!

We had a nice group on the boat — me, a guy from New Hampshire (we quickly figured out we grew up an hour apart), and a family from Toronto with two parents and three kids. The family had recently done a 180 on their travels, the father told me, giving up their usual beach vacations for interesting adventure trips, and finding that this was both cheaper and more fun.

The weather turned, as it often does in Newfoundland, and soon we were fishing in a cold drizzle. And soon after that I realized I was fishing in the rain with a big grin on my face. I barely noticed. I was having too much fun catching fish.

Whether it was out on the fishing boat in the rain, or sitting in a shed drinking beer afterward, that’s when I first felt at home in this unique part of the world. 

Kate stands next to a sign that reads "Welcome to the community of Dildo" and "Dildo Cove" with an arrow pointing to her face.

Dildo, Newfoundland

Newfoundland is filled with quirkily named towns — Heart’s Desire, Come by Chance, Tickle Cove. But let’s be real — the town that everyone wants to know about is DILDO.

Yes, it’s real. There is a town called Dildo, Newfoundland. Jimmy Kimmel did a whole special about it. He was named the honorary mayor.

I was driving from St. John’s to Trinity and Dildo was just a short detour off the highway — I HAD to do it. Fourteen minutes later I was parking by the “Welcome to Dildo” sign, taking the best selfie of my trip.

It was incredibly foggy in Dildo — in fact, one of the first things I learned about Newfoundland was that the weather there is CRAZY. It goes from foggy to clear and back so fast!

The fog made it really hard to photograph, but I did my best.

In he foreground, purple flowers on green stems; in the background fishing boats on a gray foggy harbor.A sign that reads "Open! Our lower level. Dildo's Art Market on the Pier."Rowboats in a foggy gray harbor. A flagpole with the green, white and pink Newfoundland independence flag on top.A yellow little library built on a white picket fence with books behind the glass door. In the background, a matching yellow cottage.A Hollywood-style sign reading "Dildo" in the hills above the fishing village of Dildo, Newfoundland.

Dildo’s Hollywood-style sign made me laugh so hard!

Hell yes, Dildo is worth a detour for the selfie alone. Oh, and if you’re into beer, be sure to swing by the Dildo Brewing Company. Yes, they sell t-shirts, and if even if you don’t make the drive to Dildo, you can buy their merchandise in St. John’s, too.

Brightly colored cottages on a grassy peninsula in the distance, surrounded by bright blue water.

Trinity

I had high hopes for Trinity. I knew that it was one of Candice’s favorite places in Newfoundland, and considering how much I trust her, I knew that it had to be somewhere special.

Then I drove into Trinity and gasped.

That was one of the best views I had ever seen. A tiny village filled with brightly painted houses. Rocky cliffs around the edges; a soft cloud wrapping around islands in the background. It felt like something out of Neverland.

Trinity has a few attractions — some historic homes, and I visited a few sites for the Bonavista Biennale (more on that below). But this is a great place just to relax, an important component of Newfoundland travel. And even if you’re a busy traveler who doesn’t want to slow down, the Bonavista Peninsula is full of places to visit.

If you’re staying close by, Trinity has gorgeous surrounding towns, like Port Rexton (don’t miss Two Whales Coffee Shop and its delicious vegetarian sandwiches) and Champney’s West. Both are incredibly photogenic.

A white church with a green roof and steeple underneath a bright blue sky.Red fishing cottages perched on the glassy blue bay next to lobster traps in Newfoundland.A bright yellow cottage reading "Old Post Office" in front of a field of white wildflowers, next to a white church.Red fishing cottages on a still bay with islands and cloud-wrapped cliffs in the background in Newfoundland.Cottages perched in front of a field of bright purple flowers underneath a cloudy blue and white sky.Kate holds a cup of purple partridgeberry ice cream in front of a panorama of the town of Trinity, still with brightly colored cottages but now under a cloudy sy.

I stayed at the Artisan Inn and was quickly welcomed to Trinity and shown what makes the region so special. I was delighted to meet Marieke Gow, whose family owns and runs the inn. I don’t know what I expected in a town with a year-round population of approximately 17, but Marieke is a dynamic woman my age who travels almost as much as I do! (With no winter tourists in Trinity, she wisely spends the cold months in warm places.)

The Artisan Inn has both rooms and cottages for rent, and they have an acclaimed restaurant called the Twine Loft. I set up shop for the night in the Blueberry Cottage, the whole house to myself.

A deep blue cottage perched on the edge of the bay in Trinity, NewfoundlandA bright white, modern kitchen leading backward into a sitting room.A white queen bed in a white and blue-decorated bedroom at the Artisan Inn.

Forgive the hyperbole, but seriously — this cottage was perfect. The decor was perfect. The amenities were so modern. The village was out of a storybook. There was an ice cream shop next door with local Newfoundland flavors — including partridgeberry! I could not get enough out of this place.

Oh, and let me add that this was probably the third time in my career that I had a three-bedroom house to myself as a solo traveler, and choosing your bedroom is pretty weird and fun.

A roasted duck breast on a plate of roasted vegetables.Pancakes studded with partridgeberries and a swirl of syrup on top.

Oh, and the food? OUTSTANDING. As I enjoyed a roasted duck breast with Marieke and her fiancé Jon, I regretted only having one night here and wished I could stay for longer. 

And as I ate my partridgeberry pancakes for breakfast the next morning, I strategized about how I could come back. Maybe for a writing retreat? Maybe in the fall so it would be cheaper and quieter?

(Since then, Candice told me that she and the Newfoundland travel blogger girls love to go to Trinity for few days in the fall and stay at the Artisan Inn — they’re all friends with Marieke. Candice wrote about it here; Melissa wrote about it here.)

Two houses, one turquoise and one pea green, on a grassy landscape in Bonavista, Newfoundland.

Bonavista Art Biennale

Every other year, the Bonavista Biennale takes place on the Bonavista Peninsula: it’s a collection of themed art installations. Their mission is “to make a positive cultural, economic and social impact on the Bonavista Peninsula through curatorial excellence in the presentation of contemporary visual art.”

This year the themes were connectivity, floe, and art, with art by indigenous, Canadian, and international artists. There were 21 art exhibitions throughout the peninsula, clockwise from Duntara to Trinity. I was to do it in reverse.

Consequently, this is where I became frustrated.

I had a brochure with all the exhibition sites listed. And the first two were easy to find. But then it became nearly impossible to find the rest of them. “Champney’s Cove”? That was an entire body of water! “Fisherman’s Protective Union Store”? Google Maps hadn’t even heard of it!

I drove around in confusion, thinking to myself that I would tell the organizers to make the places easier to find next year.

And then it hit me.

You’re not supposed to use Google Maps.

This exhibition is a way to explore Newfoundland. The point is to drive to a town with an exhibition, then drive around until you see the little red Biennale signs. Don’t see any? Talk to a local.

A bright blue building with a red "Bonavista Biennale" sign to the right of the door.

That was the biggest moment of my trip. It was like a massive shift took place in my brain. Newfoundland isn’t built for modern technology — it’s built on the assertion that you can find your way, and the people will get you to where you need to go.

“Every set of directions in Newfoundland includes a color of a house, a church, and ‘You can’t miss it,’” Marieke told me.

And with that, I was no longer a visitor looking to check off 21 sites. I was an explorer of Newfoundland’s villages, searching for artistic treasures.

Brown, beige, and white chains made from clay hang in a white room,

At 2 Rooms Contemporary Art Exhibitions in Duntara, I walked among the clay chains of Jason Holley, the material symbolizing their weakness, not their strength.

Above low bookshelves, four of Meghan Price's works of art, with the 3d layers of rubber from sneakers symbolizing layers of the Earth's crust.

At the Old Post Office in Port Rexton, I gazed upon the artwork Meghan Price made out of the layers of colorful materials in athletic shoes. “New Balance” represents the Earth’s crust and is a profound statement on the state of the environment and the economic and social factors that put it in danger.

A church with a pointed nave, covered with a row of paper flowers.

At St. Mary’s Church in Elliston, a Gothic-style wooden church, Barb Hunt and Jane Walker covered it with rows of paper flowers symbolizing the death and decline of Newfoundland’s rural communities. It ends on a hopeful note and it made me think of my time in the Îles-de-la-Madeleine and the woman who told me that young people were finally coming back.

A screen with a woman in white African costume and a turban, standing on the edge of a cliff in Newfoundland.

And my favorite exhibition — at the Fish Store on the Mockbeggar Plantation of Bonavista, artist Camille Turner reckoned with Newfoundland’s role in the slave trade in The Afronautic Research Lab through video and a collection of primary sources.

Hiking trails through the woods leading to cliffs dropping into the ocean.

Twillingate

As I drove north to Twillingate, I sighed with happiness. After days of uneven weather, the sky had turned solid blue and it looked like it was going to stay nice. No more rogue Dildo fog! (Wow, there’s a sentence I never thought I’d write…)

Twillingate. Isn’t that a romantic name? Perched on a northern peninsula, it feels like the end of the world. Every spring, giant icebergs float down from the Arctic and settle around Twillingate’s harbor, earning it the moniker “Iceberg Capital of the World.”

In many other countries, Twillingate would be swarming with tourists. But this is Newfoundland, so there were very few, even in late August. But that may change soon due to the efforts of Twillingate and Beyond, an effort of two sisters looking to grow the tourism industry in their hometown.

A road dips down and leads to a hilly green landscape with brightly colored houses on each side.A white bowl of bright red seafood chowder -- it looks like tomato sauce with mussel shells and springs of dill poking out.A patio in front of the pay with turquoise chairs and a wooden table.Rows of handmade mittens on a rack at the Artisan Market.Hands holding up a partially woven fabric fish on a loom in Twillingate.A bright blue teapot and dark blue teacup with the outline of Newfoundland on it, served on a slab of wood.

Mandi Young and Joelle Blandford are thoughtful entrepreneurs and proud Twillingate residents passionate about sharing their town with the world. And they’re doing that by offering a variety of services on a small scale.

There’s the Artisan Market, a shop featuring handmade crafts by 80 artists from Newfoundland and Labrador: hand-knitted mittens, photography, indigenous artwork. I fell in love with the brightly colored patchwork quilts! The market also has a cafe with coffee, pastries, and a beautiful tea setup.

A white bed in a white room with a brightly colored patchwork quilt at the foot of the bed in Twillingate, Newfoundland.

And they’ve opened three different kinds of accommodation in Twillingate. A four-star mid-range hotel (Sunshine Inn, where I stayed, pictured above), a luxury apartment with a jacuzzi called the Drift Away Suite, and a hostel called Hi Tides Hostel. All are located on the same block, along with the Artisan Market.

Sunshine Inn was lovely and cozy and quiet, with great sea views, and I appreciated how the doors all opened by keycode so I didn’t have to carry keys. You can buy that quilt and the decorative pillow at the Artisan Market.

Mandy and Joelle have their sights on the next steps of tourism in Twillingate. They’re thinking about putting together winter travel packages with activities like snowshoeing. And there are businesses that Twillingate needs, like a bakery and a barbershop (“We get our hair cut in people’s basements”). But they know that the most critical aspect is bringing in young people — to visit, but also to live here.

I feel like these women are the future of Newfoundland travel. Twillingate is just waking up to tourism on a major scale, and while so many Newfoundlanders are bemused that tourists are interested in their island, Mandy and Joelle understand tourism clearly and see what needs to happen next.

Chef Crystal tends a campfire on the beach, with cottages in the background.

And then came the best single activity of my time in Newfoundland — dinner on the beach with Experience Twillingate. Chef Crystal Antsey brings visitors to the beach and cooks over a campfire, serving fresh local produce.

I expected a typical seafood boil on the beach. I’ve done that a few times before — but this one went so far beyond anything I’ve ever experienced.

A campfire with a grill on top: cod tongues cooking in a skillet on one side, berries cooking in a dish on the other.Kate and her three new friends pose for a smiling selfie on the beach.

Crystal is a chef at the Canvas Cove Bistro in Twillingate, cooking up outstanding cod tacos and tomato-based seafood chowder. (Side note: getting a native New Englander to willingly eat tomato-based chowder is about as likely as a Red Sox fan cheering for the Yankees. Yet I ordered that chowder and LOVED that chowder. That’s how good Crystal’s food is.)

We started with a walk to the beach as Crystal foraged for plants along the way, showing us what grew nearby and what was edible. Joining me were Melinda and Steve, a recently retired couple from Vancouver who were traveling all over Canada with their dog.

We picked blueberries off the bushes, told stories, laughed, and walked to the beach. Crystal set up a campfire and got started on dinner, throwing slabs of butter into cast-iron skillets.

A hand holds up a scallop shell with a cooked scallop inside it, topped with a purple flower. In the background is the bright blue sea.

We started with scallops, served in their own shells and topped with edible flowers.

Kate holds a tiny cast iron skillet filled with chanterelle mushrooms and a spring of fresh green herbs. Beneath her you can see the sand and her purple hiking shoes,

Next up, chanterelles, cooked in teeny tiny cast iron pans with fresh herbs.

Crab legs, cooked and on a wooden serving platter on the beach.

We dined on buttery crab legs — so tough to get the meat out (at least for me) but SO deliciously worth the effort.

And finally, cod and COD TONGUES! Cod tongues have long been a staple of Newfoundland cuisine. And they’re not as bad as they sound. If you cook them in a lot of pork fat, like Crystal does, of COURSE they are amazing!

You can see footage from the night and watch me eat a cod tongue in the video above.

Crystal holds a wooden slab topped with six tiny tartlets filled with partridgeberries and topped with cream.

And finally, we finished with “small pies” — NOT tarts, Crystal pointed out, but small pies — filled with partridgeberries and topped with cream. The perfect finale to a dinner on the beach I’ll never forget.

Cottages on the beach in Twillingate at dusk, the sky light purple, the cliffs bright green.A sunset with a light purple sky and pink and dark purple clouds, in front of a red fishing hut and a sailboatSunset on the beach, most of the sky purple, a bit of orange and yellow at the water's edge.

The night ended with perhaps one of the top five sunsets of my life.

I loved this evening so much. I definitely lucked out with the weather and the company, but it was as close to a perfect night as I’ve had while traveling. If you’re visiting Twillingate, please promise me that you’ll drop a line to Experience Twillingate. Tell Crystal I sent you.

Kate does a split on a bed with a headboard that looks like the front of a ship. Nautical lights, red and green, glow behind her. She wears a captain's hat and blazer.

Newfoundland Quirks

It seemed like the quirks never ended in Newfoundland! Some of my favorite moments? Definitely staying at the Round da Bay Inn in the Captain’s Quarters — a nautical-themed room that was a sailor’s dream. There were model ships on the walls, the headboard was shaped like the front of a boat, green and red lights twinkled in the back, antique maps were on the wall. But hilarously, it came with a captain’s hat and blazer for photos!

Also, the town of Elliston calls itself “the root cellar capital of the world.” It also has the largest puffin colony in the world that you could see from land, but still! Root cellars! The expression that flew through my head was, So I got that goin’ for me, which is nice.

I ordered toutons for breakfast one day, hearing they were a Newfoundland specialty. What did I get? Round slabs of fried dough, topped with maple syrup and served with a plate of potatoes. Carbs on carbs on carbs? Why not!

There’s a beer here made from ice chipped off icebergs. It’s called Iceberg Beer and it’s as delicious as its cobalt bottles are beautiful. (Incidentally, beer in Newfoundland can be shockingly expensive, to the chagrin of locals. I paid $26 CAD ($20 USD) for a six-pack of Iceberg near Gros Morne on my OneOcean expedition back in July.)

I bought wine made from blueberries and blackberries at Auk Island Winery in Twillingate. It was called Fifty Shades of Bay. I took it on six flights (St. John’s to Montreal, Montreal to New York, New York to London, London to Bologna, Bologna to London, London to Bari) — and eventually opened it on a balcony in Lecce, Italy. It tasted…bizarre. Like fizzy berry juice. Worth tasting? Sure…I just wouldn’t be so quick to call it wine.

And in the town of Gander — which, somewhat disappointingly, looked more like an average landlocked town in Massachusetts than part of Newfoundland — I grabbed a coffee, sat in Tim Horton’s, and people-watched as locals greeted each other with cherished familiarity. I wondered who of them welcomed the Come From Aways into their home in 2001.

Kate and Candice pose for a selfie with beers and nachos.

Becoming a Local in Newfoundland

After my road trip ended, I decided to spend a few extra days hanging out in St. John’s. I would be working wherever I would be; why not just spend a little longer in Newfoundland?

That’s when the real Newfoundland magic began to happen.

It started while I worked on my computer at Rocket Bakery. I looked up and recognized a red-haired man across the room. We had both worked at the Jumping Bean the day before, and in that instant, smiled and nodded at each other in recognition.

I got up to grab another coffee and ran into someone I actually knew — a friend of Candice’s whom I had met briefly at the bar a few days ago. We greeted each other and I filled her in on the past week.

I went out to dinner with Candice and her friend Leila, who works in television, and before the meal was finished, she booked me an appearance on NTV to talk about my travels in Newfoundland.

Shortly after that, Marieke from the Artisan Inn in Trinity came to St. John’s, and we gabbed like crazy, catching up on every moment I had spent since leaving Trinity.

Candice and I showed up at Bannerman Brewing Company for the second day in a row and the same waiter welcomed us back warmly.

Getting to feel those connections over and over again was what really made me feel like a real Newfoundlander.

Kate stands in a bar holding a certificate that says "SCREECHERS".

Getting Screeched In

But the strangest and best Newfoundland tradition, in my opinion, is to get “screeched in.” If you’ve seen Come From Away, you know about this — it’s a baptism of sorts that indoctrinates visitors, making them honorary Newfoundlanders.

You can get screeched in privately with locals, or do it with part of a group at one of the many pubs on George Street in St. John’s. We went to Christian’s Pub, Candice’s favorite bar for screeching in visitors.

While getting screeched in, Kate, kneeling with the others in a circle, kisses a frozen cod on the lips.

The process is simple. Everyone gets on their knees and recites an oath. (Honestly, the hardest part is figuring out what he’s saying in his Newfoundland accent and repeating it.) Then you eat a chunk of bologna, also known as “Newfoundland steak.” Then you kiss a frozen cod on the lips. Then you down a shot of “screech,” or local rum.

My fellow tourists and I cheered each other on as we pressed our lips to the frigid fish. It was official — by getting screeched in, we were “real proper Newfoundlanders” now!

If you travel to Newfoundland, you absolutely must get screeched in. It’s a special experience.

A hiking trail with wooden stairs leading up rocky cliffs in front of the bright blue bay in St. John's, Newfoundland.

Hiking Signal Hill

And finally, on my last day, the trip finished with some of the most beautiful scenery yet. Candice and I hiked Signal Hill, right from the steps of her house to the top of the hill. At times St. John’s feels like it’s built in the most ridiculous location — why on top of all those hills?! — but that leads to some scenic hiking as well.

Signal Hill is a short hike. It takes as little as 45 minutes from the base to the top, and you can walk there from downtown St. John’s. With our extra distance, it took us 90 minutes altogether, surrounded by craggy rocks and soft green grass.

This was St. John’s. This was Newfoundland.

And frankly, I barely took any photos. I didn’t care. By this point, it was all about feeling Newfoundland.

Candice and I got to the top, then decided to head back to town for beer and cod tacos.

Boats sitting on a glassy teal harbor in Newfoundland.

Best Time to Travel to Newfoundland

The best time for Newfoundland travel is during the summer months: June through September. July and August will have the warmest weather, and because Newfoundland doesn’t get overwhelmed with tourists, you don’t have to worry about peak season being too crowded.

The only issues from traveling during the summer are that flights can get expensive and rental cars can sometimes be all booked out. Book at least a few months in advance. I recommend checking flights on Skyscanner and making sure rental cars are available.

If you want to see icebergs in Twillingate, your best chances are from mid-May through mid-July. If you want something much quieter, the fall can be gorgeous, though keep in mind many places won’t be open.

All that being said, know that Newfoundland has unpredictable weather. It changes constantly and could be worse than you expect. You could visit for a week in August and it could be cold and rainy the whole time. I was in St. John’s for seven days total and they were all gray and rainy except for one. The weather was much nicer in Trinity, the Bonavista Peninsula and Twillingate.

My recommendation? Newfoundland travel is best during the warmest months, but don’t plan on having great weather. It’s like Ireland that way. Go in with low expectations (and a windbreaker and umbrella), and if you have sunny skies, enjoy every minute of it.

Kate stands on a cliff in Newfoundland in front of the bay and the colorful homes of St. John's behind her.

Solo Female Travel in Newfoundland

Newfoundland is an excellent destination for solo female travelers, as long as you’re happy to drive. Newfoundland is an extremely safe destination and you will be warmly welcomed by everyone you meet. Some will be used to seeing travelers; others will welcome you with curiosity and perhaps even incredulity.

You’ll be spending a lot of hours in your car, driving from place to place, so be sure to come armed with audiobooks. I recommend The Shipping News by E. Annie Proulx, a Pulitzer Prize-winning novel that takes place in Newfoundland. There’s just something magical about hearing her gorgeous descriptions of the cliffs and mountains and forests as you drive through Newfoundland’s spectacular landscapes.

The one drawback of traveling alone in Newfoundland is that it will be hard to get photos of yourself in remote, gorgeous places. You may want to bring a tripod and self-timer and get comfortable with them before your Newfoundland vacation.

Additionally, be sure not to get too complacent about safety. Yes, Newfoundland might be the kind of place where people leave their doors unlocked, but that doesn’t mean you should do the same thing. There are bad apples even in the most phenomenally safe places. Take the same precautions you would anywhere else: Keep your valuables on you while in transit. Don’t get too drunk. Get travel insurance (I use and recommend World Nomads).

Finally, brake for moose. I saw one moose on the road in Newfoundland — an adolescent on the smaller side — but you must NEVER hit a moose. Hitting a moose will usually kill you, as they are tall and will fall through the windshield and crush you. It’s not like hitting a deer. Always brake for moose.

READ MORE:
Top 10 Travel Safety Tips for Women

Cottages on the edge of a peninsula in front of the bright blue bay.
The Takeaway

I feel like this is just the beginning of my love affair with Newfoundland. I need to come back. There’s so much more I want to see, but there’s so much temptation to revisit the same places, enjoying them a second time and seeing all my Newfoundland friends again!

I feel that now is the time to travel to Newfoundland, before the rest of the world realizes what a treasure it is. You may argue that that time is years away — but I’ve seen it play out in a similar destination.

In 2012 I was the first travel blogger invited to the Faroe Islands, back when most people hadn’t heard of them. It was the height of high season and I was one of half a dozen tourists, max, almost everywhere I went. Seven years later, dozens more travel bloggers have visited and one blogger friend told me about being one of 30 people on the ferry to Mykines. THIRTY.

I could see Newfoundland travel taking a similar route. All the ingredients are there for it to become a major destination. All it needs is the attention. And while that will bring economic opportunity to the island, it won’t always be as it is now. I feel lucky to have had the opportunity to discover Newfoundland as an undertouristed destination.

You should take that opportunity, too. It’s a little too easy to fall in love with Newfoundland.

READ NEXT:
The Cabot Trail: Nova Scotia’s Most Beautiful Road Trip

Pinterest image: Traveling to Newfoundland, Canada.

Essential Info: Plan ahead for your trip to Newfoundland — flights can get expensive and there aren’t always enough rental cars on the island. I recommend checking flights on Skyscanner and making sure rental cars are available.

Definitely get a SIM card for Newfoundland, but keep in mind that lots of areas have no service. I got my SIM card from Lucky Mobile. You may want to download offline maps for your driving. 

In St. John’s I stayed at the Alt Hotel St. John’s for the first two days, a comfortable, beautiful design hotel with a great lobby in a perfect downtown location. Terre Restaurant downstairs is outstanding. Rates from $134 USD. Book the Alt Hotel here or check out more St. John’s hotels here.

Later, when I stayed in St. John’s on my own dime, I stayed in a private bedroom at my friend Melissa’s house, a short walk from downtown, which she rents out on Airbnb for a very reasonable $55 CAD ($42 USD) per night. Great budget option. You can see it here.

Far East Photography offers private photography tours for 1-3 people. Rates range from $200 CAD ($151 USD) for two hours to $400 CAD ($302 USD) for four hours.

Quidi Vidi Fishing Charters offers a variety of fishing tours. I did the QV Tour, which included a few hours fishing and fried fish afterward, and cost $150 CAD ($113 USD). Your experience may be catch and release depending on the day of the week; if you get to keep your catch, you can learn how to gut and clean a fish.

I got screeched in at Christian’s Pub in St. John’s. You need to register at least 30 minutes in advance; the pub doesn’t have much of an online presence, so drop in during the day to check the times and sign up. Getting screeched in costs $20 CAD ($15 USD).

If you plan on working remotely in St. John’s, I recommend setting up shop at Rocket Bakery (check their schedule to avoid daytime events first), the Jumping Bean on Duckworth St. (closes at 5 PM), Coffee Matters, or the Alt Hotel lobby. There’s a Starbucks if you’re in a pinch.

In Trinity I stayed at the Artisan Inn. You can rent individual rooms or whole houses. My house was the Blueberry Cottage, a beautifully decorated three-bedroom house with water views. Twine Loft is a fabulous restaurant; be sure to order your meal ahead of time. Room rates from $145 CAD ($109 USD); Blueberry Cottage rates from $325 CAD ($245 USD). Book the Artisan Inn here or check out more Trinity hotels here.

The Bonavista Biennale takes place bi-annually and will next take place in August-September 2021. I highly recommend making the Biennale a priority if you’re visiting at that time.

In Plate Cove West I stayed at the Round da Bay Inn, a motel with quirky themed rooms like my Captain’s Quarters. Rates from $125 CAD ($94 USD). Book the Round da Bay Inn here.

In Twillingate I stayed at the Sunshine Inn, a lovely, modern, and comfortable four-star hotel with a great common area. Rates from $135 CAD ($102 USD). The Sunshine Inn is affiliated with Twillingate and Beyond, which also has a hostel and a luxury Drift Away Suite next door. Book the Sunshine Inn here or check out more hotels in Twillingate here.

Experience Twillingate offers dinner on the beach in Twillingate, usually a 4-5 course feast. Contact them directly for the current specials and pricing.

Be sure to have travel insurance for your trip to Newfoundland. Whether you’re in a car accident or you get appendicitis or bad weather cancels your flights, travel insurance will help you in your moment of need. I use and recommend World Nomads for trips to Canada.

Many thanks to Newfoundland and Labrador for hosting me in Newfoundland, covering flights and my travels from St. John’s through Twillingate and back. I stayed in St. John’s an extra five days at my own expense. All opinions, as always, are my own.

I’d like to give a special thanks to the Newfoundlanders who welcomed me with open arms and made my trip so special. I can’t wait to return.

The post Travel to Newfoundland, Canada, and You’ll Never Want to Leave appeared first on Adventurous Kate.


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