As my list of countries I’ve visited continues to grow, I find myself thinking where’s next. To be honest, I’m often thinking that. I’ve realised that the number of European countries I’ve not yet been to is shrinking and this means it may be time to return to some countries I’ve already been to. While I generally want to return to every country I’ve been to, there are some in particular that I am keen to revisit. In a way, this is just the top of my very, very long list.
I’ve previously talked about places that I feel deserve a second chance, but that was more about destinations I wanted to redeem in my eyes. This is not that; this is about countries that I’m excited to see more of. Whether it be because I didn’t spend enough time there, because I didn’t know how much it had to offer or just because I loved being there, these are 7 countries I’d love to revisit.
For my big visit to Northern Europe (not Scandinavia, because that technically doesn’t include Finland or Iceland) in 2014, Finland was not my priority. My main focus on that trip was to see Norway, Sweden and Iceland, but I had managed to squeeze a few days of Finland into my itinerary. This was really just to get a taste so to speak and also because it seemed to be a convenient spot to continue on from into Swedish Lapland. During my time there, I got to spend a few days in Helsinki and the northern town of Rovaniemi.
I came away from my short time in Finland with some great memories. From exploring the unusual architecture of Helsinki, to eating moose and reindeer, husky sledding through Finnish Lapland and seeing the Northern Lights for the first time; I had a blast. And yet, I feel like there’s so much of the country I didn’t see. There’s the regional cities like Turku and Vaasa, the country’s thousands of inland lakes, plus all the northern reaches of Finnish Lapland inhabited by the native Sami people. I’ve seen too little of Finland and would love to rectify that.
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Part of the joy of visiting countries that seem less travelled is that you often come to learn that they have so much more to them than you realised. I think my visit to Bosnia and Herzegovina was the first time that I fully realised this. When travelling through the Balkans in June last year, I had been most excited about seeing Montenegro and Dubrovnik. Bosnia and Herzegovina seemed like a convenient place to start my trip but I didn’t really know what there was to see beyond Sarajevo and Mostar. So I did a little research and tacked a week in Bosnia and Herzegovina onto my Balkan trip. Seeing a trend yet?
It wasn’t until I left Sarajevo, heading for the small town of Jajce that I soon began to appreciate how much there was to see in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Even on my bus ride, I passed several places that caught my attention like the town of Travnik and began making mental notes on places for next time. This happened again in Mostar when I started researching day trip options and while I only visited Blagaj, I found at least 3 other places that intrigued me. My visit to Bosnia and Herzegovina showed me that the country has a surprising depth to it, with plenty of smaller destinations that I’m keen to revisit.
There are always certain countries that feel like they’re about to be the next big thing. Colombia definitely seems to be going that way. As an emerging destination, I’ve been a little surprised at how much attention this South American country has been garnering, but I really shouldn’t have. Colombia’s biggest detractor for years has been safety concerns and that appears to be fading into the history books. I know I felt far safer than I had anticipated during my visit in March of 2015.
It seems like the floodgates are bound to open in the coming years, with an ever-increasing surge of backpackers and more visiting this gorgeous country. People often talk about going places before “they change” and I feel a little this way about Colombia. I only saw a snippet of the country but was fascinated by its history, its culture and its people. I particularly enjoyed the fact that we were regularly meeting domestic tourists rather than foreign ones. This is one country I hope to revisit before it’s too late.
I’m pretty happy in saying that Iceland is my favourite country I’ve been to so far. I think it is the most awe-inspiring, otherworldly place I’ve had the good fortune of visiting. So why wouldn’t I want to revisit it? As my last stop on my trip through Northern Europe, it was the place I was the most excited about visiting at the time. That it ended up exceeding my expectations was just fantastic.
During my time in Iceland, I was able to see Reykjavik, the Golden Circle, the South Coast and the Snaefellsness Peninsula. And yet, there’s heaps to still see from the North and East coasts to the West Fjords. There were also parts of the country that were closed due to the time of year, such as Landmannalaugar which is meant to be quite a special place to hike. Unfortunately, what it comes down to with Iceland is money, as it is an expensive country to visit.
My time in Mexico was all too short. As my first stop in the Americas, I spent far too much time there transiting to other places, like Cuba and Belize. To be fair, they were two of the places I was most excited to see, but my stay in Mexico was shorter than I would have liked. I did manage to see quite a bit in the 4-odd days I spent there. Most of my exploring was limited to the Mayan Riviera – Playa del Carmen and Tulum. Beyond the beaches, I was also able to head in land to Chichen Itza, the wonderful Cenote Ik Kil and the town of Valladolid.
But again, I know there is so much of Mexico I managed to miss. While in Mexico, people recommended the city of Merida, just on the other side of the Yucatan Peninsula. Just recently, Merida was named number 4 on Lonely Planet’s Top Cities for 2017. Beyond that, most of the country is a mystery to me, from the nation’s capital in Mexico City, to the pacific coastal spots of Oaxaca and Puerto Vallarta. I do hope I get a chance to head back to Mexico and properly find what the country has to offer.
In a sense, I don’t feel like I’ve really seen Malaysia. I’m of the opinion that it takes more than a couple of days to get a grasp on a place and begin to appreciate it. My 36 hours spent in Kuala Lumpur back in 2012 doesn’t seem to qualify. The visit was mostly a stopover on the way to Thailand and my first overseas travel in almost a decade. Even with the limited time, I was able to see enough sights like the Petronas Towers and Batu Caves to know I wanted to spend some more time in Malaysia.
More recently, my interest in Malaysia has been renewed through reading a number of blogs and the realisation of all the things the country has to offer. Malaysia seems to be generally overshadowed by neighbours like Indonesia, the Philippines and Thailand. However, I have come across quite a few blogs of late that have piqued my interest. From the incredible marine life found near Sipadan, to intriguing street art on the streets of Penang and countless other posts, I’ve been reminded that I know very little about this country and would like to revisit to fix that. When I go back, I really need to take a better camera too.
It may seem silly, but I wasn’t expecting to love Spain as much as I did when I visited last year. I mean, it’s not like Spain is some sort of great secret. The land of tapas, flamenco and bull fighting is pretty much on every traveller’s radar. As it should be. I just didn’t realise how diverse the country was, historically, culturally and geographically. These are just some of the reasons that the country became one of my favourites visited in 2015.
Now, I bounced around quite a bit in Spain last year. I spent a brief amount of time in Madrid, a little more in Barcelona, over a week exploring the city of Vigo in Galicia and several weeks falling in love with Andalusia. And still, there is so much of the country I’ve yet to see. Spain is the kind of country where I’d happily move through each village and town, just soaking in everything I could. I mean, I know there’s plenty of Madrid and Barcelona I failed to see, so Spain is definitely high on my list of countries to revisit.
What countries have you been to and can’t wait to revisit? What about them makes you want to go back? Please share in the comments below.
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