As we enter a new decade we have been looking back on our favourite travel experiences of the 2010s! We have been fortunate to have travelled a lot in the past decade. Each year within that our trips have taken us further off the beaten path and we have been travelling for longer periods of time.
Here are our top 10 travel experiences of the 2010s.
1 – Engaged in San Francisco
We had some big life milestones in the last decade the biggest arguably being getting married! Our wedding journey began with getting engaged in San Francisco on our West Coast Road Trip.
Getting engaged in San Francisco made an already epic adventure even more memorable. It firmly embedded the USA as our favourite travel destination. So much so we returned for our six week honeymoon in 2018!
2 – Hiking the Path of the Gods
Richard surprised me for my 30th birthday by booking us a 6 night stay in my favourite Italian city – Naples. I hadn’t visited Naples in such a long time and was excited to show Richard why I love this area of Italy.
As well as visiting some of my favourite places, Pompeii, Herculaneum and Capri! We found a new area for us to experience near Naples which we now rate as our favourite hike ever – the Path of the Gods from Bomerano to Nocelle along the Amalfi Coast.
I am not an experienced hiker. I definitely found some of the trail difficult, including a few scrambles one of which was almost a rock climb! However the views along the trail were beautiful. There was definitely a sense of achievement when we arrived in Nocelle.
3 – Seeing Wild Orcas
I’ve wanted to see orcas/killer whales in the wild since I was little – could be the influence of the Free Willy films. I got the opportunity to fulfil this dream while we were in the San Juan Islands in Washington State.
We booked onto a whale watching trip knowing that this area is one of the best areas in the world to see wild orca. I didn’t have my expectations set too high. We had been disappointed previously when we went whale watching in Monterey Bay. On that occasion we only saw one lone humpback whale for about 10 minutes.
Well we didn’t just get to see one orca we got to see two pods including babies. Our guide found these orca pods within 20 minutes of leaving the dock in Friday Harbour. We got to stay with them for well over an hour. They started hunting at one point and then things got very interesting. The orca started spy hopping and being a lot more active. Seeing the orca pods would have been enough for me but to top it off we also got to see bald eagles and two humpback whales!
4 – Our First Big Road Trip
Our favourite method of travel is definitely to road trip. You get to see so much more when you self drive. Our love of road tripping was confirmed with our first big road trip – a circuit of Germany.
Our first big road trip took in some of the best places and roads Germany has to offer over 15 nights. The route was a round trip from Frankfurt heading north up the Fairy Tale Route to check out the stomping grounds of the Brothers Grimm. We headed to our favourite Germany city next – Hamburg and from there we headed to our favourite metal festival – Wacken! We continued our road trip through Berlin, Dresden, Munich and headed back to Frankfurt via the Romantic Road.
This road trip was definitely responsible for ensuring we had the travel bug.
5 – Cycling Vienna to Budapest
Something I never thought I’d ever do was take a cycling tour. But that’s exactly what we did! A bicycle was our only form of transport to travel through three countries – Austria, Slovakia and Hungary.
We booked onto a tour with Wheels2Wheels Holidays after seeing them at the bike show in Manchester (Richard loves cycling). After looking through their itineraries one caught our eye – Vienna to Budapest.
We cycled from Vienna to Budapest over 6 days stopping in Bratislava, as well as Mosonmagyaróvár, Győr, Komárom and Esztergom before arriving in Budapest.
I am not a cyclist so completing this tour really felt like an achievement for me and Richard just loved every minute of it. I enjoyed it that much in the end as we got to see so much of Hungary we wouldn’t have otherwise, I would definitely go on another cycling tour.
6 – Seeing Wild Bears
We found another place we love in the USA and that place is the Smoky Mountains of Eastern Tennessee! It is one place where we’ve visited where we have truly been able to just relax. We had a log cabin for a week and it was perfect. What topped it off though was the amount of wildlife in the mountains.
We spent a couple of hours one morning in Cades Cove. Getting there pretty early in the hopes of seeing some black bears in the wild. This was at the top of my list for what I wanted to see while we were in Tennessee and I was not disappointed! Within the first 20 minutes of driving the Cades Cove Loop we came across a mother bear with two cubs! We stayed well back and were very quiet. We were able to watch them for a decent amount of time while the cubs practiced climbing a nearby tree.
7 – Seeing the Sun Rise Over the Grand Canyon
Some places seem to be on everyones bucket list and one of those places is the Grand Canyon National Park. We wanted to see the Grand Canyon and we also wanted to make sure we experienced the sun rise over the Grand Canyon. Our opportunity came while on our West Coast Road Trip.
We camped at the south rim of the Grand Canyon within the Grand Canyon National Park. This allowed us to experience both sun set and sun rise over the Grand Canyon. Both experiences were spectacular but I think I did prefer sun rise. We were so engrossed we didn’t even notice bus loads of people arriving behind us until the cheering started as the sun peaked over the horizon.
8 – Seeing The Geysers of Yellowstone
Ever since hearing about Yellowstone in school I’ve wanted to visit. Yellowstone National Park is the oldest National Park in the USA and it’s also a UNESCO World Heritage site. The draw for me was both the wildlife and the geysers but while we were there I found the geysers to be the most spectacular sight in the park.
There are several geyser basins in Yellowstone, mostly concentrated in the southern half of the park where the caldera is. Walking through the Norris Geyser Basin in particular was like walking through the set of Jurassic Park!
9 – Our First RV Road Trip
Have we mentioned our love of road tripping?! Well we had the opportunity to road trip in the ultimate vehicle for the job – an RV. We planned a huge loop road trip out of Seattle covering four States and three National Parks.
We loved our RV road trip and would definitely do it again, perhaps in a bigger RV as we booked the smallest having never driven one before. The C19 is about the smallest RV you can get and sleeps 3 people with the main bed being over the cab – it’s pretty cramped! It worked a treat when visiting National Parks and off the beaten path locations though. We loved being able to pull off the side of the road and make food while taking in the views.
10 – New Years Eve In Prague
We tend to stay at home for the holidays from Christmas through new year. However we did have the opportunity to spend New Years Eve in another country once in the 2010s and we spent it in Prague.
Prague has a love of fireworks and they put on a spectacular show that everyone likes to take part in. As well as huge organised fireworks displays over the river many people let off rockets in the streets, launching them from anything from bottles to their own bare hands!
If you’re looking for a memorable new years eve destination we can definitely recommend you give Prague a chance – bring the new year in with a bang!
Let us know what your highlights of the past decade were in the comments! What are you looking forward to in 2020?