They say some places never leave you - for me, Byron Bay is one of them. Located in the state of New South Wales, Byr offers those beaches – you know the ones you picture when you hear “Australia.” Not only does Byr offer some of the most gorgeous beaches, but it’s home to a plethora of activities – from kayaking with dolphins to surfing, from skydiving to paragliding to whale watching – this town has something for nearly everyone.
Byron Bay lives and breathes the Aussie motto of “No Worries.” Everyone does their own thing and frankly, no one cares. All different kinds of music can be heard while walking down the beach or streets – from techno to reggae. Walking barefoot in your bathing suit is the unspoken dress code. You will also be greeted with the sounds and smells of blenders whipping up fresh and fruity smoothies, grills sizzling up burgers, that “pssh” of beers being opened. Sure, you’ll hear that sexy Aussie accent, but Byron is quickly becoming a hot destination for people around the world. So, you’ll be sure to hear Spanish, Portuguese, German, and so on.
Whether you party all night or choose to rise early, there is one thing that brings everyone together – and that is the magnificent sunrise. The lighthouse of Byron Bay offers the most easterly tip of continental Australia. So what’s the big deal? This means that you catch the sunrise before the rest of the country. It’s practically a sacred ritual that locals and tourists alike partake in. The unspoken, but understood silence as people wait for the sun to peak its way over the ocean is only broken with the hoots and hollers when it does finally rise.This routine may seem small in nature, but the idea and practice of celebrating the gift of another day here on earth is humbling and meaningful.
If the beauty and contagiously happy vibe of Byron Bay doesn’t get you there, perhaps the town’s way of reminding you to never take a day for granted will.
P.S. Chris Hemsworth and his family just moved there, so that’s an added bonus.
It is a capital city without the hustle and bustle. Its small streets are decorated with vibrant colored cafes and impressive street art. Perched on top of the city is the architectural masterpiece, Hallgrímskirkja - a cathedral with a tower that can be seen from anywhere in the city. Reykjavik is a small city that is emits and attracts, creativity and spunk.
Hailing from a small mountain town, Reykjavik connected with me. On a winter Tuesday morning before the sun was up, at 9 A.M, locals and tourists assembled into coffee shops and breakfast eateries to chat over coffee whilst the snow danced its way to the ground outside. Everyone was clad in huge scarves and even bigger smiles as they sipped on hot drinks and started their mornings with Iceland’s own renowned rich and creamy yogurt, topped with a mountain of honey, baked granola and a mountain of berries.
Once the winter sun finally rose, the mountains across the peninsula were illuminated and the ocean’s hue transformed from lead into cobalt. The city offers an intense contrast to this monochromatic wintry landscape. Reykjavik’s buildings pop in comparison, with their hues of red, orange, yellow, and even aquamarine.
From cute cafes like Cafe Babulu, which is so popular that it receives postcards from around the world to quirky bars featuring board games and from the simple but mouthwatering hot dog to Icelandic fine dining, Reykjavik has a bit of everyone’s funk.
Iceland’s capital may be cold, but it truly is one hot destination! It is the epitome of city located inside the snowglobe - where everything and nothing happens and all is at peace. Whether you are on a stopover going to or from Europe or you’re intending to solely visit the this trans-continental island nation, Reykjavik is your place. It is the perfect point to kickstart extreme outdoor adventures, and it is most definitely, the spot to end a week of breathtaking Icelandic tourism by soaking in one of the city’s many hot springs.
For a personal travel itinerary for Reykjavik and the rest of Iceland contact us!
When I first visited Cape Town in the warm summer months of December, I had no idea the city would quite literally steal my heart. After getting over the weird sensation of wearing shorts and dresses in what I consider a winter month, the city quickly became one of my favorites in the world. The beautiful views from Sea Point and challenging hikes to Lions Head are only two of the untouched parts of South Africa’s landscape that stun and astound. Whether you walk down the Victoria & Albert Waterfront with its eclectic mix of beautiful restaurants or stroll down Long Street, you won't be able to resist trying everything the local vibrant culture has to offer.
Since I visited in 2016, I've been back three times and I’ve experienced just how different the Cape can be. If you want to relax, there's Stellenbosch - where you can visit vineyard after vineyard. More in the mood to breathe in that fresh Atlantic and Indian ocean air? Go for a hike up and around Table Mountain, visit Kirstenbosch National Garden or one of the many other parks. Even the foodies amongst us (myself included) cannot choose what to eat because there's just so much! If you crave healthy salads and fresh fruit, there are markets along the seaside and more sophisticated cafes in the city. High tea? Check. Fancy dinners to scratch your urges for steak? You're covered.
More interested in assimilating? Visit Insomnia Coffee to try the strongest coffee in the world . . . yes you read that right, the strongest coffee in the world! While you're buzzing, you can visit local indie bookstore, The Book Lounge, and pick up a book by local South African author, Zakes Mda.
Cape Town is one of the world's “in” tourist destinations right now so don't be surprised if the crowds are large. Don't worry - they're all conserving water just like you are (hint: Cape Town might be the world's first city to run out of water so be conscious when using water in your hotel room).
South Africa is well known for its apartheid past so don't miss visiting Robben Island, where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned. Endlessly fascinating, you'll find commemorative museums and statues of this national hero all around the city. For the history buffs in your friend group (aka all of us here at Sub-Stances), it's an illuminating paradise.
Once you've hiked all the trails, walked all of the streets and eaten all of the delicious Cape food, one thing will stick out: the people. Each time I visit this stunning city, I meet the kindest and most generous people who want to share their homes and lives with me. Disclaimer: I did meet my boyfriend here so I may be a bit biased. It gives weight to that old adage - “it's not the place, but the people that make any place truly home.” So whether you’re in search of a party, outdoor adventure or simply to check another city off of your list, you'll find that Cape Town has a way of sneaking into your heart. And don't worry, it's not going anywhere.
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