🇦🇷SOUTHERN ARGENTINA

Bariloche, ArgentinaFrom the cultural buzz of Buenos Aires to the mountainous view from the Seven Lakes drive, from the whales of Peninsula Valdez to the magnificent hiking in El Chalten – this vast area of Argentina is one of the most photogenic places you’ll ever see. Click for Luxury, Mid-range or Budget. Here’s your Southern Argentina itinerary:

Luxury Buenos Aires, Argentina
1 ✈To Buenos Aires (Book >) Dep: Evening   🏨 In flight!  
2   Arr: Morning 🏨Alvear Palace (Book >) All hotels >
Have a relaxing first day recuperating from jet lag. I suggest you find a cool café in Palermo and enjoy a delicious medialuna.
3 Visit Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, grab lunch at Mercado del Progreso and admire the city architecture on a walking tour. Extend your trip with a couple of days in Uruguay, a short ferry ride away.
4 ✈Buenos Aires to Puerto Madryn flight (Book >)
🚌Puerto Madryn to Puerto Pirámides bus
Dep: Morning
Dep: 17:00
Arr: Afternoon
Arr: 18:30
🏨Hotel Las Restingas (Book >) All hotels >
Take a taxi to the bus station in Puerto Madryn and catch the 17:00 bus to Peninsula Valdez.  You’ll need to pay an entry fee to the peninsula – someone will board the bus to collect the fee.
5 Whales. So many whales. You can see them on a boat trip from Puerto Pirámides, or even from the shoreline. If you want to see orca then you’ll need to take a tour to Punta Norte. Take motion sickness tables for the whale watching trip.
6 🚌Puerto Pirámides to San Antonio Oeste bus
🚌San Antonio Oeste to Puerto Madryn bus (Book >)
🚄San Antonio Oeste to Bariloche train (Book >)
Dep: 11:00
Dep: 17:35
Dep: 22:20
12:30
Arr: 21:10
🏨Train  
Return to Puerto Madryn and pay a visit to the wonderful Museo Oceanográfico. If you’ve a couple of hours to spare walk along the beach to Punta Cuevas, where Welsh pioneers first settled. Take the bus to San Antonio Oeste and wait to board the train (which only departs on Friday nights). Get your Tren Patagonico ticket as soon as possible – up to 2 months before departure – on the Plataforma 10 website. For sleeper cabins select ‘Camarote’. 
7 🚗Bariloche to Villa La Angostura drive (Hire car >) Dep: 14:00 Arr: 12:28
Arr: 15:50
🏨Luma Casa de Montaña (Book >) All hotels >
In the morning sit back and watch the vast landscapes of Patagonia roll by. Hire a car in Bariloche and enjoy the start of the spectacular Seven Lakes road to Villa La Angostura. Once you’ve arrived drive a little way on to the shores of Lago Correntoso. You may want to allow more time to drive the Seven Lakes road as there are many scenic spots to stop at.
8 There are many incredible hikes to enjoy here, my favourite was to Cajon Negro.  The ViewRanger app was really useful for hiking in Argentina.
9 🚗Villa La Angostura to San Martín de los Andes drive Dep: 16:00 Arr: 18:30 🏨Río Hermoso (Book >) All hotels >
For a more sedate hike drive down to Puerto Angostura and get a ferry to Bosque De Arrayanes Embarcadero for the glorious walk through the Los Arrayanes National Park back to the dock. The first ferry leaves at 11am and the journey takes about one hour.
10 San Martín also has a number of enjoyable hikes in the vicinity, including the unmissable walk to Mirador Bandurrias and La Islita. Take some cash because you’ll pay a small fee to pass through Mapuche territory.
11 🚗San Martín de los Andes to Bariloche drive Dep: 10:00 Arr: 13:00 🏨Hotel Charming Luxury Lodge & Private Spa (Book >) All hotels >
Return to Bariloche and then drive on to Villa Llao Llao for a great walk along the lake before returning the car and taking a taxi to your hotel. Not a hiker? No problem. Your hotel is in a spectacular location so why not just enjoy the views from the luxury of your own spa room.
12 Board either bus 50 or 51 to Villa Catedral. Here you can enjoy a number of hikes or even a cable car ride. My favourite hike here is to Refugio Frey. Take a filter water bottle with you so that you can top up from streams along the way.
13 ✈Bariloche to El Calafate flight (Book >) Dep: Afternoon Arr: Afternoon 🏨Xelena Hotel & Suites (Book >) All hotels >
Another few hours in which to enjoy your luxurious hotel before departing for El Calafate. Arrange tomorrow’s trip to the glacier in advance.
14 Take a day trip to the Perito Moreno glacier, where a boat will take you up close to the face of the glacier. There are also some excellent walkways from which to admire the glacier from various angles. It can be expensive to get cash out of ATMs in Argentina.
15 🚌El Calafate to El Chalten bus (Book >) Dep: 08:00 Arr: 11:00 🏨Destino Sur Hotel & Spa (Book >) All hotels >
Welcome to one of the best places for hiking in the world. Start with a relatively easy walk to Lago Torre – about 4 hours round trip. When you arrive into El Chalten the bus will stop at the park visitor centre where you can figure out which walks you want to do.
16 Devote today to walking to Lago de los Tres. This is a truly spectacular route that ends with a steep incline (so be sure to have some spare energy!) When you arrive you’ll be surrounded by immense, photogenic mountains and lakes. The final climb on today’s hike can be very busy and you may be stuck behind slower walkers – be patient and give yourself plenty of time.
17 🚌El Chalten to El Calafate bus (Book >)
✈El Calafate to Buenos Aires flight (Book >)
Dep: 08:00
Dep: Afternoon
Arr: 11:00
Arr: Afternoon
🏨Alvear Palace (Book >) All hotels >
If you happen to be in Buenos Aires on a Sunday then you can get some great souvenirs at the San Telmo Feria. Bus tickets are usually only available to buy up to 2 months before departure.
18-19 ✈Buenos Aires to home Dep: Morning Arr: Morning (next day) Connect this Southern Argentina itinerary with the Northern Argentina, Brazil, Northern Chile or Southern Chile itinerary
Book your transfer to the airport.
Mid-range Tren Patagonico, Bariloche, Argentina
1 ✈To Buenos Aires (Book >) Dep: Evening   🏨 In flight!  
2   Arr: Morning 🏨Carles (Book >) All hotels >
Have a relaxing first day recuperating from jet lag. We suggest you find a cool café in Palermo and enjoy a delicious medialuna.
3 Visit Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, grab lunch at Mercado del Progreso and admire the city architecture on a walking tour. Extend your trip with a couple of days in Uruguay, a short ferry ride away.
4 ✈Buenos Aires to Bariloche flight (Book >) Dep: Morning Arr: Afternoon 🏨Bungalows Buena Vista (Book >) All hotels >
Once in Bariloche spend some time in the many chocolate shops, or maybe take a trip up to Cerro Otto, using bus 50 or 51. Take those same buses or a taxi on to Villa Llao Llao and your hotel. It can be expensive to get cash out of ATMs in Argentina.
5 Board either bus 50 or 51 to Villa Catedral. Here you can enjoy a number of hikes or even a cable car ride. My favourite hike here is to Refugio Frey. Not a hiker? No problem. Your hotel is in a spectacular location so why not just enjoy the views from the luxury of your own spa room.
6 🚗Bariloche to Villa La Angostura drive (Hire car >) Dep: 15:00 Arr: 16:30 🏨Hotel Alma Andina (Book >) All hotels >
On your last day here enjoy a great walk along the lake from Villa Llao Llao. Take the bus to Bariloche, hire a car and enjoy the start of the spectacular Seven Lakes’ road to Villa La Angostura. Once you’ve arrived drive a little way on to the shores of Lago Correntoso. You may want to allow more time to drive the Seven Lakes’ road as there are many scenic spots to stop at.
7 There are many incredible hikes to enjoy here, my favourite was to Cajon Negro.  The ViewRanger app was really useful for hiking in Argentina.
8 🚗Villa La Angostura to San Martín de los Andes drive Dep: 16:00 Arr: 18:30 🏨Monte Verde (Book >) All hotels >
For a more sedate hike drive down to Puerto Angostura and get a ferry to Bosque De Arrayanes Embarcadero for the glorious walk through the Los Arrayanes National Park back to the dock. The first ferry leaves at 11am and the journey takes about one hour.
9 San Martín also has a number of enjoyable hikes in the vicinity, including the unmissable walk to Mirador Bandurrias and La Islita. You’ll need to take some cash because you’ll pay a small fee to pass through Mapuche territory.
10 🚗San Martín de los Andes to Bariloche drive
🚄Bariloche to San Antonio Oeste train (Book >)
Dep: 12:00
Dep: 17:00
Arr: 15:00 🏨Train  
Return to Bariloche and then board the train for San Antonio Oeste. Once on board sit back and watch the vast landscapes of Patagonia roll by. Get your Tren Patagonico ticket as soon as possible – up to 2 months before departure – on the Plataforma 10 website. For sleeper cabins select ‘Camarote’. 
11 🚄Bariloche to San Antonio Oeste train
🚌San Antonio Oeste to Puerto Madryn bus (Book >)
🚌Puerto Madryn to Puerto Pirámides bus
Dep: 09:40
Dep: 17:00
Arr: 07:14
Arr: 13:05
Arr: 18:30
🏨Hotel Las Restingas (Book >) All hotels >
Transfer to the bus to Puerto Madryn where you can grab lunch whilst waiting for the bus to Peninsula Valdez. You’ll need to pay an entry fee to the peninsula – someone will board the bus to collect the fee. Tren Patagonico only departs on Sundays. The bus to Puerto Madryn departs a few blocks north of the train station – ask for directions.
12 Whales. So many whales. You can see them on a boat trip from Puerto Pirámides, or even from the shoreline. If you want to see orca then you’ll need to take a tour to Punta Norte. Take motion sickness tables for the whale watching trip.
13 🚌Puerto Pirámides to Puerto Madryn bus
🚌Puerto Madryn to Esquel bus (Book >)
Dep: 11:00
Dep: 20:15
Arr: 12:30 🏨Bus  
Pay a visit to the wonderful Museo Oceanográfico in Puerto Madryn. If you’ve a couple of hours to spare walk along the beach to Punta Cuevas, where Welsh pioneers first settled. Pack ear plugs and an eye mask for the overnight bus journeys.
14 🚌Puerto Madryn to Esquel bus
🚌Esquel to El Chalten bus (Book >)
Dep: 16:00 Arr: 06:30

 

🏨Bus  
With your almost 12 hours in Esquel take a ride on La Trochita – the old Patagonian Express. Walk to Laguna La Zeta or in Parque Nacional Los Alerces. Bus tickets are usually only available to buy up to 2 months before departure.
15 🚌Esquel to El Chalten bus   Arr: 10:00 🏨Latitud 49º (Book >) All hotels >
Welcome to one of the best places for hiking in the world. Start with a relatively easy walk to Lago Torre – about 4 hours round trip. When you arrive into El Chalten the bus will stop at the park visitor centre where you can figure out which walks you want to do.
16 Devote today to walking to Lago de los Tres. This is a truly spectacular route that ends with a steep incline (so be sure to have some spare energy!) When you arrive you’ll be surrounded by immense, photogenic mountains and lakes. The final climb on today’s hike can be very busy and you may be stuck behind slower walkers – be patient and give yourself plenty of time.
17 🚌El Chalten to El Calafate bus (Book >) Dep: 17:00 Arr: 20:00 🏨MadreTierra Patagonia (Book >) All hotels >
Several more hours during which you can hike to Chorrillo del Salto and/or to Los Condores. Take a filter water bottle with you so that you can top up from streams along the way.
18 Take a day trip to the Perito Moreno glacier, where a boat will take you up close to the face of the glacier. There are also some excellent walkways from which to admire the glacier from various angles. Arrange your trip to the glacier in advance.
19 ✈El Calafate to Buenos Aires flight (Book >) Dep: Afternoon Arr: Afternoon 🏨Carles (Book >) All hotels >
Relax before the flight to Buenos Aires. Enjoy one last evening in the Argentine capital. If you happen to be in Buenos Aires on a Sunday then you can get some great souvenirs at the San Telmo Feria.
20-21 ✈Buenos Aires to home Dep: Morning Arr: Morning (next day) Connect this Southern Argentina itinerary with the Northern Argentina, Brazil, Northern Chile or Southern Chile itinerary
Book your transfer to the airport.
Budget Whale
1 ✈To Buenos Aires (Book >) Dep: Evening   🏨 In flight!  
2   Arr: Morning 🏨Selina Palermo Soho (Book >) All hotels >
Have a relaxing first day recuperating from jet lag. We suggest you find a cool café in Palermo and enjoy a delicious medialuna.
3 Visit Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, grab lunch at Mercado del Progreso and admire the city architecture on a walking tour. Extend your trip with a couple of days in Uruguay, a short ferry ride away.
4 ✈Buenos Aires to Bariloche flight (Book >) Dep: Morning Arr: Afternoon 🏨Hospedaje Penthouse 1004 (Book >) All hotels >
Once in Bariloche spend some time in the many chocolate shops, or maybe take a trip up to Cerro Otto, using bus 50 or 51. It can be expensive to get cash out of ATMs in Argentina.
5 Board either bus 50 or 51 to Villa Catedral. Here you can enjoy a number of hikes or even a cable car ride. My favourite hike here is to Refugio Frey. After all that hiking enjoy the incredible views across lake and mountains from the hostel.
6 🚌Bariloche to Villa La Angostura bus(Book >) Dep: 14:30 Arr: 15:45 🏨Hostel La Angostura (Book >) All hotels >
On your last day in Bariloche take the bus to Villa Llao Llao for a great walk along the lake. Take the bus along the spectacular Seven Lakes road to Villa La Angostura. Once you’ve arrived walk a little way on to the shores of Lago Correntoso. Bus routes along the Seven Lakes road are weather dependent.
7 There are many incredible hikes to enjoy here, my favourite was to Cajon Negro.  The ViewRanger app was really useful for hiking in Argentina.
8 🚌Villa La Angostura to San Martín de los Andes bus (Book >) Dep: 14:45 Arr: 17:00 🏨Rukalhue Hostel (Book >) All hotels >
For a more sedate hike walk down to Puerto Angostura and get a ferry to Bosque De Arrayanes Embarcadero for the glorious walk through the Los Arrayanes National Park back to the dock. The first ferry leaves at 11am and the journey takes about one hour.
9 San Martín also has a number of enjoyable hikes in the vicinity, including the unmissable walk to Mirador Bandurrias and La Islita. You’ll need to take some cash because you’ll pay a small fee to pass through Mapuche territory.
10 🚌San Martín de los Andes to Bariloche bus (Book >)
🚄Bariloche to San Antonio Oeste train (Book >)
Dep: 09:45
Dep: 17:00
Arr: 13:15 🏨Train  
Return to Bariloche and then board the train for San Antonio Oeste. Once on board sit back and watch the vast landscapes of Patagonia roll by. Get your Tren Patagonico ticket as soon as possible – up to 2 months before departure – on the Plataforma 10 website. For sleeper cabins select ‘Camarote’. 
11 🚄Bariloche to San Antonio Oeste train
🚌San Antonio Oeste to Puerto Madryn bus (Book >)
🚌Puerto Madryn to Puerto Pirámides bus
Dep: 09:40
Dep: 17:00
Arr: 07:14
Arr: 13:05
Arr: 18:30
🏨Hospedaje La Posta (Book >) All hotels >
Transfer to the bus to Puerto Madryn where you can grab lunch whilst waiting for the bus to Peninsula Valdez. You’ll need to pay an entry fee to the peninsula – someone will board the bus to collect the fee. Tren Patagonico only departs on Sundays. The bus to Puerto Madryn departs a few blocks north of the train station – ask for directions.
12 Whales. So many whales. You can see them on a boat trip from Puerto Pirámides, or even from the shoreline. If you want to see orca then you’ll need to take a tour to Punta Norte. Take motion sickness tables for the whale watching trip.
13 🚌Puerto Pirámides to Puerto Madryn bus
🚌Puerto Madryn to Esquel bus (Book >)
Dep: 11:00
Dep: 20:15
Arr: 12:30 🏨Bus  
Pay a visit to the wonderful Museo Oceanográfico in Puerto Madryn. If you’ve a couple of hours to spare walk along the beach to Punta Cuevas, where Welsh pioneers first settled. Pack ear plugs and an eye mask for the overnight bus journeys.
14 🚌Puerto Madryn to Esquel bus
🚌Esquel to El Chalten bus (Book >)
Dep: 16:00 Arr: 06:30

 

🏨Bus  
With your almost 12 hours in Esquel take a ride on La Trochita – the old Patagonian Express. Walk to Laguna La Zeta or in Parque Nacional Los Alerces. Bus tickets are usually only available to buy up to 2 months before departure.
15 🚌Esquel to El Chalten bus   Arr: 10:00 🏨Hospedaje Mi Rincon (Book >) All hotels >
Welcome to one of the best places for hiking in the world. Start with a relatively easy walk to Lago Torre – about 4 hours round trip. When you arrive into El Chalten the bus will stop at the park visitor centre where you can figure out which walks you want to do.
16 Devote today to walking to Lago de los Tres. This is a truly spectacular route that ends with a steep incline (so be sure to have some spare energy!) When you arrive you’ll be surrounded by immense, photogenic mountains and lakes. The final climb on today’s hike can be very busy and you may be stuck behind slower walkers – be patient and give yourself plenty of time.
17 🚌El Chalten to El Calafate bus (Book >) Dep: 17:00 Arr: 20:00 🏨Folk Hostel (Book >) All hotels >
Several more hours during which you can hike to Chorrillo del Salto and/or to Los Condores. Take a filter water bottle with you so that you can top up from streams along the way.
18 Take a day trip to the Perito Moreno glacier, where a boat will take you up close to the face of the glacier. There are also some excellent walkways from which to admire the glacier from various angles. Arrange your trip to the glacier in advance (your hostel can help).
19 ✈El Calafate to Buenos Aires flight (Book >) Dep: Afternoon Arr: Afternoon 🏨Selina Palermo Soho (Book >) All hotels >
Relax before the flight to Buenos Aires. Enjoy one last evening in the Argentine capital. If you happen to be in Buenos Aires on a Sunday then you can get some great souvenirs at the San Telmo Feria.
20-21 ✈Buenos Aires to home Dep: Morning Arr: Morning (next day) Connect this Southern Argentina itinerary with the Northern Argentina, Brazil, Northern Chile or Southern Chile itinerary
Book your transfer to the airport.

🇳🇵NEPAL

Poon Hill, NepalYou’ll need to be somewhat fit to tackle the magnificent treks in Nepal, but the reward for all that effort is a front-row view of the world’s highest mountains. Back where the oxygen is less thin are fascinating cities and incredible wildlife-spotting opportunities Click for Luxury, Mid-range or Budget. Here’s your Nepal itinerary:

Luxury Chitwan National Park, Nepal
1 ✈To Kathmandu (Book >) Dep: Evening 🏨 In flight!
2 Arr: Afternoon 🏨Hotel The Dwarika’s (Book >) All hotels >
Relax in your beautiful hotel and go for a stroll around the old city.
3 Explore the Thamel District, visit the Pashupatinath Temple, famous Boudhanath Stupa, beautiful Taleju Temple, the Patan Museum and, if time, climb up to up to the ancient Swayambhu temple for breathtaking views. Mid-afternoon head over to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Bhaktapur. Visitors from most countries can obtain a visa on arrival.
4 ✈Kathmandu to Pokhara flight (Book >) Dep: Afternoon Arr: Afternoon 🏨The Pavilions Himalayas (Book >) All hotels >
You have a little more time this morning to see any sights you missed out on yesterday before the breathtaking flight to Pokhara. Once you’ve arrived, dropped off your bags and got your trekking permit, head to the lake for a serene paddle over the water. You will need to get a trekking permit (details here) – head straight to the Nepal Tourism Board office when you arrive in Pokhara or ask your hotel for help.
5 🚕Pokhara to Nayapul taxi
🚶Nayapul to Ulleri hike
Dep: 07:00
Dep: 09:00
Arr: 08:45
Arr: 16:00
🏨Super View Guest House
From Nayapul walk to the Birethani checkpoint and get your permit checked. Then onwards and upwards, through valleys and past rivers. Along the way you’ll pass tea houses where you can stop off for food and drink. It isn’t necessary to book guest houses in advance – if those I’ve recommended aren’t available then be assured that standards don’t vary much.
6 🚶Ulleri to Ghorepani hike Dep: 07:00 Arr: 15:00 🏨Super View Lodge
3,767 stairs to Ghorepani, stopping at beautiful Ulleri village. About halfway through the walk you’ll start getting glimpses of Annapurna and Dhaulagiri. Once in Ghorepani leave your bags at the teahouse and take a couple of hours to rest, before ascending Poon Hill (about 45 mins away). From the top is one of the best views you’re ever likely to see. These trekking times allow for a slow pace and many rest stops!
7 🚶Ghorepani to Tadapani hike Dep: 08:30 Arr: 17:30 🏨Fishtail Lodge
Awake at 04:00 and trek back up Poon Hill for a spectacular sunrise. Return for breakfast then enjoy today’s walk through forests, over rivers, up to the highest point on the trek (about 10,000 ft) and yes, more steps. Tadapani has amazing views – including of the fishtail peak of Machhapuchhre – which you can admire over a recuperating drink. Plastic water bottles can’t be bought on the trek – buy a filter water bottle. You’ll also need to bring your own sleeping bag, liner and towel.
8 🚶Tadapani to Birethanti hike
🚕Birethanti to Pokhara taxi
Dep: 08:00
Dep: 15:00
Arr: 14:30
Arr: 17:00
🏨The Pavilions Himalayas (Book >) All hotels >
A relatively easy walk, descending to Birethanti and stopping off at Ghandrung village. Back in Pokhara treat yourself to a well-earned massage. Do you need a guide for your trek? I don’t think so, at least not for this one which is a pretty obvious route.
9 🚗Pokhara to Bandipur drive (Book >) Dep: 11:00 Arr: 13:30 🏨Depche Hotel (Book >) All hotels >
Meet your guide and enjoy the drive to Bandipur. This well-preserved medieval town boasts old temples and shrines, as well as superb views of the Himalaya from Tudikhel hill. Be wary of the signs of altitude sickness.
10 🚗Bandipur to Andrauli drive Dep: 08:00 Arr: 11:00 🏨Barahi Jungle Lodge(Book >) All hotels >
Drive on to Chitwan National Park where you will spend today and tomorrow seeking out tigers, rhinos and wild elephants. Take a power bank with you on treks and safaris.
11 More time to see wildlife, including deer, monkeys, crocodiles, wild boars and many species of birds. Do not ride elephants! They are often mistreated.
12 🚗Andrauli to Kathmandu drive Dep: 09:00 Arr: 14:00 🏨Hotel The Dwarika’s (Book >) All hotels >
Back in Kathmandu you’ll have plenty of time to see any sights you missed on days 2-4. In need of souvenirs? Pick them up at Mangal Bazaar. You can’t take Nepalese rupees out of the country; exchange before you leave.
13 Today you’re going on a flight to see Mount Everest. The flight starts early and has you back on the ground in an hour, during which time you’ll see the world’s highest peak from your guaranteed window seat. If you want to extend your trip then consider travelling to Lukla on day 13 for a ground view of Everest.
14 ✈Kathmandu to Home (Book >) Dep: Morning Arr: Evening Connect this Nepal itinerary with the China or India (Rajasthan) itinerary
Book your transfer to the airport.
Mid-range Kathmandu, Nepal
1 ✈To Kathmandu (Book >) Dep: Evening 🏨 In flight!
2 Arr: Afternoon 🏨Tibet International (Book >) All hotels >
Relax in your beautiful hotel and go for a stroll around the old city.
3 Explore the Thamel District, visit the Pashupatinath Temple, famous Boudhanath Stupa, beautiful Taleju Temple, the Patan Museum and, if time, climb up to up to the ancient Swayambhu temple for breathtaking views. Mid-afternoon head over to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Bhaktapur. Visitors from most countries can obtain a visa on arrival.
4 ✈Kathmandu to Pokhara flight (Book >) Dep: Afternoon Arr: Afternoon 🏨Tiger Mountain Pokhara Lodge (Book >) All hotels >
You have a little more time this morning to see any sights you missed out on yesterday before the breathtaking flight to Pokhara. Once you’ve arrived, dropped off your bags and got your trekking permit, head to the lake for a serene paddle over the water. You will need to get a trekking permit (details here) – head straight to the Nepal Tourism Board office when you arrive in Pokhara or ask your hotel for help.
5 🚕Pokhara to Nayapul taxi
🚶Nayapul to Ulleri hike
Dep: 07:00
Dep: 09:00
Arr: 08:45
Arr: 16:00
🏨Super View Guest House
From Nayapul walk to the Birethani checkpoint and get your permit checked. Then onwards and upwards, through valleys and past rivers. Along the way you’ll pass tea houses where you can stop off for food and drink. It isn’t necessary to book guest houses in advance – if those I’ve recommended aren’t available then be assured that standards don’t vary much.
6 🚶Ulleri to Ghorepani hike Dep: 07:00 Arr: 15:00 🏨Super View Lodge
3,767 stairs to Ghorepani, stopping at beautiful Ulleri village. About halfway through the walk you’ll start getting glimpses of Annapurna and Dhaulagiri. Once in Ghorepani leave your bags at the teahouse and take a couple of hours to rest, before ascending Poon Hill (about 45 mins away). From the top is one of the best views you’re ever likely to see. These trekking times allow for a slow pace and many rest stops!
7 🚶Ghorepani to Tadapani hike Dep: 08:30 Arr: 17:30 🏨Fishtail Lodge
Awake at 04:00 and trek back up Poon Hill for a spectacular sunrise. Return for breakfast then enjoy today’s walk through forests, over rivers, up to the highest point on the trek (about 10,000 ft) and yes, more steps. Tadapani has amazing views – including of the fishtail peak of Machhapuchhre – which you can admire over a recuperating drink. Plastic water bottles can’t be bought on the trek – buy a filter water bottle. You’ll also need to bring your own sleeping bag, liner and towel.
8 🚶Tadapani to Naya Pul hike
🚌Naya Pul to Pokhara bus
Dep: 08:00
Dep: 15:15
Arr: 14:45
Arr: 17:15
🏨Tiger Mountain Pokhara Lodge (Book >) All hotels >
A relatively easy walk, descending to Naya Pul and stopping off at Ghandrung village. At the end of the trek you’ll need to wait for a passing bus back to Pokhara. Back in the city treat yourself to a well-earned massage. Do you need a guide for your trek? I don’t think so, at least not for this one which is a pretty obvious route.
9 🚌Pokhara to Dumre Bazaar bus
🚌Dumre Bazaar to Bandipur bus
Dep: 10:30
Dep: 13:30
Arr: 13:00
Arr: 14:30
🏨Gaun Ghar (Book >) All hotels >
The well-preserved medieval town of Bandipur boasts old temples and shrines, as well as superb views of the Himalaya from Tudikhel hill. Ask your hotel about transport from Dumre and to book your bus ticket to Sauraha.
10 🚌Bandipur to Dumre Bazaar bus
🚌Dumre Bazaar  to Sauraha bus
Dep: 08:30
Dep: 10:30
Arr: 09:30
Arr: 13:30
🏨Green Park Chitwan (Book >) All hotels >
Drive on to Chitwan National Park where you will spend today and tomorrow seeking out tigers, rhinos and wild elephants. Ask your Chitwan hotel to collect you from the bus stop.
11 More time to see wildlife, including deer, monkeys, crocodiles, wild boars and many species of birds. Do not ride elephants! They are often mistreated.
12 🚌Sauraha to Kathmandu bus (Book >) Dep: 09:00 Arr: 14:00 🏨Tibet International (Book >) All hotels >
Back in Kathmandu you’ll have plenty of time to see any sights you missed on days 2-4. In need of souvenirs? Pick them up at Mangal Bazaar. You can’t take Nepalese rupees out of the country; exchange before you leave.
13 Today you’re going on a flight to see Mount Everest. The flight starts early and has you back on the ground in an hour, during which time you’ll see the world’s highest peak from your guaranteed window seat. If you want to extend your trip then consider travelling to Lukla on day 13 for a ground view of Everest.
14 ✈Kathmandu to Home (Book >) Dep: Morning Arr: Evening Connect this Nepal itinerary with the China or India (Rajasthan) itinerary
Book your transfer to the airport.
Budget Mount Everest
1 ✈To Kathmandu (Book >) Dep: Evening 🏨 In flight!
2 Arr: Afternoon 🏨WanderThirst Hostel (Book >) All hotels >
Relax in your beautiful hotel and go for a stroll around the old city.
3 Explore the Thamel District, visit the Pashupatinath Temple, famous Boudhanath Stupa, beautiful Taleju Temple, the Patan Museum and, if time, climb up to up to the ancient Swayambhu temple for breathtaking views. Mid-afternoon head over to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Bhaktapur. Visitors from most countries can obtain a visa on arrival.
4 🚌Kathmandu to Pokhara bus (Book >) Dep: 07:30 Arr: 15:00 🏨The Mountain House (Book >) All hotels >
Once you’ve arrived in Pokhara, dropped off your bags and got your trekking permit, head to the lake for a serene paddle over the water. You will need to get a trekking permit (details here) – head straight to the Nepal Tourism Board office when you arrive in Pokhara or ask your hostel for help.
5 🚌Pokhara to Nayapul bus
🚶Nayapul to Ulleri hike
Dep: 07:00
Dep: 09:00
Arr: 09:00
Arr: 16:00
🏨Super View Guest House
From Nayapul walk to the Birethani checkpoint and get your permit checked. Then onwards and upwards, through valleys and past rivers. Along the way you’ll pass tea houses where you can stop off for food and drink. It isn’t necessary to book guest houses in advance – if those I’ve recommended aren’t available then be assured that standards don’t vary much.
6 🚶Ulleri to Ghorepani hike Dep: 07:00 Arr: 15:00 🏨Super View Lodge
3,767 stairs to Ghorepani, stopping at beautiful Ulleri village. About halfway through the walk you’ll start getting glimpses of Annapurna and Dhaulagiri. Once in Ghorepani leave your bags at the teahouse and take a couple of hours to rest, before ascending Poon Hill (about 45 mins away). From the top is one of the best views you’re ever likely to see. These trekking times allow for a slow pace and many rest stops!
7 🚶Ghorepani to Tadapani hike Dep: 08:30 Arr: 17:30 🏨Fishtail Lodge
Awake at 04:00 and trek back up Poon Hill for a spectacular sunrise. Return for breakfast then enjoy today’s walk through forests, over rivers, up to the highest point on the trek (about 10,000 ft) and yes, more steps. Tadapani has amazing views – including of the fishtail peak of Machhapuchhre – which you can admire over a recuperating drink. Plastic water bottles can’t be bought on the trek – buy a filter water bottle. You’ll also need to bring your own sleeping bag, liner and towel.
8 🚶Tadapani to Naya Pul hike
🚌Syauli Bazaar to Naya Pul bus
Dep: 08:00
Dep: 15:15
Arr: 14:45
Arr: 17:15
🏨The Mountain House (Book >) All hotels >
A relatively easy walk, descending to Naya Pul and stopping off at Ghandrung village. At the end of the trek you’ll need to wait for a passing bus back to Pokhara. Back in Pokhara treat yourself to a well-earned massage. Do you need a guide for your trek? I don’t think so, at least not for this one which is a pretty obvious route.
9 🚌Pokhara to Dumre Bazaar bus
🚌Dumre Bazaar to Bandipur bus
Dep: 10:30
Dep: 13:30
Arr: 13:00
Arr: 14:30
🏨Hotel The North Face (Book >) All hotels >
Meet your guide and enjoy the drive to Bandipur. This well-preserved medieval town boasts old temples and shrines, as well as superb views of the Himalaya from Tudikhel hill. Ask your hotel about transport from Dumre and to book your bus ticket to Sauraha.
10 🚌Bandipur to Dumre Bazaar bus
🚌Dumre Bazaar  to Sauraha bus
Dep: 08:30
Dep: 10:30
Arr: 09:30
Arr: 13:30
🏨Hotel Rhino Land (Book >) All hotels >
Drive on to Chitwan National Park where you will spend today and tomorrow seeking out tigers, rhinos and wild elephants. Ask your hostel to collect you from the bus stop.
11 More time to see wildlife, including deer, monkeys, crocodiles, wild boars and many species of birds. Do not ride elephants! They are often mistreated.
12 🚌Sauraha to Kathmandu bus (Book >) Dep: 09:00 Arr: 14:00 🏨WanderThirst Hostel (Book >) All hotels >
Back in Kathmandu you’ll have plenty of time to see any sights you missed on days 2-4. In need of souvenirs? Pick them up at Mangal Bazaar. You can’t take Nepalese rupees out of the country; exchange before you leave.
13 Today you’re going on a flight to see Mount Everest. The flight starts early and has you back on the ground in an hour, during which time you’ll see the world’s highest peak from your guaranteed window seat. If you want to extend your trip then consider travelling to Lukla on day 13 for a ground view of Everest.
14 ✈Kathmandu to Home (Book >) Dep: Morning Arr: Evening Connect this Nepal itinerary with the China or India (Rajasthan) itinerary
Ask your hostel for help flagging a meter taxi to the airport.

🇮🇩INDONESIA

Borobudur, IndonesiaThis busy 18-day itinerary gives travellers an amazing journey through the islands of Java, Bali and Lombok. Got some spare days? Spend longer at the beach in Lombok and Bali. Click for Luxury, Mid-range or Budget. Here’s your Indonesia itinerary:

Luxury Mount Bromo, Indonesia
1 ✈To Yogyakarta (Book >) Dep: Morning 🏨 In flight!
2 Arr: Morning 🏨The Phoenix Hotel Yogyakarta (Book >) All hotels >
You’ll have most of the day to relax by the pool in your hotel, if you’re feeling refreshed in the afternoon then visit some local Batik makers, the Taman Sari water castle and the opulent Kraton Palace.
3 Arrange a driver for with your hotel, because it’s all about the temples today, starting with Prambanan and ending with incredible Borobudur. Visitors from most countries can get a visa on arrival or are exempt.
4 🚄Yogyakarta to Surabaya (Book >) Dep: 09:56 Arr: 15:27 🏨Hotel Majapahit (Book >) See all hotels >
Built in 1910, your hotel is a part of the history of this city. But make time to get out and see the out-of-place submarine monument. Seat 61 has excellent tips for buying Indonesian train tickets (I recommend paying a little more for first class AC).
5 🚄Surabaya to Probolinggo train (Book >)
🚕Probolinggo to Cemoro Lawang taxi
Dep: 15:27
Dep: 18:15
Arr: 18:14
Arr: 19:15
🏨Bromo Terrace (Book >) All hotels >
Spend a couple of hours in Surabaya’s fascinating House of Sampoerna before travelling to Cemoro Lawang. Keep small denominations of cash on you for food, taxis, drinks etc.
6 Awake before dawn to witness sunrise over the incredible Mount Bromo landscape. Then go on a guided hike over this barren terrain and get close to the volcano itself. You’ll need to pack for the cold – it’s freezing before sunrise!
7 🚕Bromo to Probolinggo taxi
🚄Probolinggo to Banyuwangi train
(Book >)
⛴️Banyuwangi (Ketapang) to Gilimanuk ferry (Book >)
🚕Gilimanuk to Pemuteran taxi
Dep: 10:00
Dep: 11:04
Dep: 16:00
Dep: 17:00
Arr: 11:00
Arr: 15:20
Arr: 16:45
Arr: 17:30
🏨Matahari Beach (Book >) All hotels >
Descend the Bromo area and take the train on to the end of Java. At Banyuwangi hop in a taxi to the docks at Ketapang. Be prepared for departure times to be unreliable.
8 See Bali Barat National Park, which is full of forests, mangroves and rare wild animals. The Tegal Bunder Trail is highly recommended, as is a visit to Menjangan Island if you want to see some amazing marine life. Save the environment by using a filter water bottle.
9 🚐Pemuteran to Gunung Batur drive (Book >) Dep: 12:00 Arr: 15:00 🏨Volcano Terrace Bali (Book >) All hotels >
After a relaxing morning in your hotel, meet your guide who will drive you through northern Bali to the rim of Gunung Batur volcano. Dress conservatively when visiting temples.
10 🚐Gunung Batur to Ubud drive Dep: 10:00 Arr: 11:30 🏨The Chedi Club at Tanah Gajah (Book >) All hotels >
Another early start for another stunning sunrise, before driving on to the vibrant town of Ubud The Ubud Art Market is a great place to pick up souvenirs – bargain hard!
11-12 Meet the animals at the Ubud Monkey Forest, walk through the Tegallalang Rice Terraces, visit the Goa Gajah temple complex, Pura Taman Saraswati temple and Puri Saren, take in the air along the Campuhan Ridge Walk. Bluebird taxis are the recommended way of making short trips. Download the app on Google Play or Apple.
13 🚐Ubud to Padangbai minibus
⛴️Padangbai to Lembar ferry
🚐Lembar to Mataram minibus (Book >)
Dep: 07:00
Dep: 08:30
Dep: 11:00
Arr: 08:00
Arr: 10:35
Arr: 11:45
🏨Hotel Oberoi Lombok (Book >) All hotels >
This is a day on which to enjoy the journey. From the greenery and bustle of Bali, to crossing the Bali Sea, to driving along the verdant hills of Lombok. Arrive in time for sunset at the beach. You may want to get a taxi to Denpasar and fly to Lombok, which could be faster but much less enjoyable.
14-15 Snorkel with giant sea turtles, walk beside Mount Rinjani, take a horse and cart to Tanjung Village and enjoy the exquisite beach. Protect the reef and wildlife by using an eco-friendly sunscreen.
16 🚕Mataram to airport taxi (Book >)
✈Lombok to Denpasar flight (Book >)
Dep: 13:00
Dep: Afternoon
Arr: 15:00
Arr: Evening
🏨The Samaya Seminyak Bali (Book >) All hotels >
Fly back to Bali and relax on the beach when you arrive. If red flags are flown on the beach do not swim – there are dangerous undercurrents here.
17-18 ✈Denpasar to Home (Book >) Dep: Evening Arr: Morning (next day) Connect this Indonesia itinerary with the Malaysia & Borneo or Australia itinerary
Soak up the sun before returning home.
Mid-range Ubud, Indonesia
1 ✈To Yogyakarta (Book >) Dep: Morning 🏨 In flight!
2 Arr: Morning 🏨The Phoenix Hotel Yogyakarta (Book >) All hotels >
You’ll have most of the day to relax by the pool in your hotel, if you’re feeling refreshed in the afternoon then visit some local Batik makers, the Taman Sari water castle and the opulent Kraton Palace.
3 Arrange a driver for with your hotel, because it’s all about the temples today, starting with Prambanan and ending with incredible Borobudur. Visitors from most countries can get a visa on arrival or are exempt.
4 🚄Yogyakarta to Surabaya train (Book >) Dep: 09:56 Arr: 15:27 🏨Hotel Majapahit (Book >) All hotels >
Built in 1910, your hotel is a part of the history of this city. Spend a couple of hours in Surabaya’s fascinating House of Sampoerna. Seat 61 has excellent tips for buying Indonesian train tickets (I recommend paying a little more for first class AC).
5 🚄Surabaya to Probolinggo train (Book >)
🚌Probolinggo bus station to Cemoro Lawang bus
Dep: 09:00
Dep: 11:30
Arr: 10:56
Arr: 13:30
🏨Bromo Terrace (Book >) All hotels >
Go on a guided hike over the barren Mount Bromo terrain and get close to the volcano itself. You’ll need to take a bemo to Probolinggo bus station (Banyuangga).
7 🚌Bromo to Probolinggo bus station
🚄Probolinggo to Banyuwangi train
(Book >)
⛴️Banyuwangi (Ketapang) to Gilimanuk ferry (Book >)
🚕Gilimanuk to Pemuteran taxi
Dep: 08:30
Dep: 11:04
Dep: 16:00
Dep: 17:00
Arr: 10:30
Arr: 15:20
Arr: 16:45
Arr: 17:30
🏨Amertha Bali Villas (Book >) All hotels >
Rise early for sunset, then descend the Bromo area and take the train on to the end of Java. At Banyuwangi hop in a taxi to the docks at Ketapang. You’ll need to pack for the cold – it’s freezing before sunrise!.
8 See Bali Barat National Park, which is full of forests, mangroves and rare wild animals. The Tegal Bunder Trail is highly recommended, as is a visit to Menjangan Island if you want to see some amazing marine life. Save the environment by using a filter water bottle.
9 🚌Pemuteran to Gunung Batur bus (Book >) Dep: 11:00 Arr: 15:30 🏨Volcano Terrace Bali (Book >) All hotels >
After a relaxing morning in your hotel, wait for a passing bemo to take you through northern Bali to the rim of Gunung Batur volcano. Dress conservatively when visiting temples.
10 🚌Gunung Batur to Ubud bus Dep: 09:30 Arr: 11:30 🏨The Chedi Club at Tanah Gajah (Book >) All hotels >
Another early start for another stunning sunrise, before taking a bemo to the vibrant town of Ubud The Ubud Art Market is a great place to pick up souvenirs – bargain hard!
11-12 Meet the animals at the Ubud Monkey Forest, walk through the Tegallalang Rice Terraces, visit the Goa Gajah temple complex, Pura Taman Saraswati temple and Puri Saren, take in the air along the Campuhan Ridge Walk. Bluebird taxis are the recommended way of making short trips. Download the app on Google Play or Apple.
13 🚐Ubud to Padangbai bus
⛴️Padangbai to Lembar ferry
🚐Lembar to Senggigi bus (Book >)
Dep: 07:00
Dep: 08:30
Dep: 11:00
Arr: 08:00
Arr: 10:35
Arr: 12:00
🏨Puri Mas Boutique(Book >) All hotels >
This is a day on which to enjoy the journey. From the greenery and bustle of Bali, to crossing the Bali Sea, to driving along the verdant hills of Lombok. Arrive in time for sunset at the beach. You may want to get a taxi to Denpasar and fly to Lombok, which could be faster but much less enjoyable.
14-15 Snorkel with giant sea turtles, walk beside Mount Rinjani, take a horse and cart to Tanjung Village and enjoy the exquisite beach. Protect the reef and wildlife by using an eco-friendly sunscreen.
16 🚐Sengiggi to airport transfer (Book >)
✈Lombok to Denpasar flight (Book >)
Dep: 10:00
Dep: Afternoon
Arr: 10:30
Arr: Afternoon
🏨Villa Bali Asri Batubelig (Book >) All hotels >
Fly back to Bali and relax on the beach when you arrive. If red flags are flown on the beach do not swim – there are dangerous undercurrents here.
17-18 ✈Denpasar to Home (Book >) Dep: Evening Arr: Morning (next day) Connect this Indonesia itinerary with the Malaysia & Borneo or Australia itinerary
Soak up the sun before returning home.
Budget Lombok, Indonesia
1 ✈To Yogyakarta (Book >) Dep: Morning 🏨 In flight!
2 Arr: Morning 🏨Snooze Guesthouse (Book >) All hotels >
You’ll have most of the day to relax in your hostel and, if you’re feeling refreshed in the afternoon, visit some local Batik makers, the Taman Sari water castle and the opulent Kraton Palace.
3 Arrange a driver for with your hotel, because it’s all about the temples today, starting with Prambanan and ending with incredible Borobudur. Visitors from most countries can get a visa on arrival or are exempt.
4 🚄Yogyakarta to Surabaya train (Book >) Dep: 09:56 Arr: 15:27 🏨Krowi Inn (Book >) All hotels >
Spend a couple of hours in Surabaya’s fascinating House of Sampoerna. Seat 61 has excellent tips for buying Indonesian train tickets (I recommend paying a little more for first class AC).
5 🚄Surabaya to Probolinggo train (Book >)
🚌Probolinggo bus station to Cemoro Lawang bus
Dep: 09:00
Dep: 11:30
Arr: 10:56
Arr: 13:30
🏨Cafe Lava Hostel (Book >) All hotels >
Go on a guided hike over the barren Mount Bromo terrain and get close to the volcano itself. You’ll need to take a bemo to Probolinggo bus station (Banyuangga).
7 🚌Bromo to Probolinggo bus station
🚄Probolinggo to Banyuwangi train
(Book >)
⛴️Banyuwangi (Ketapang) to Gilimanuk ferry (Book >)
🚌Gilimanuk to Pemuteran bus
Dep: 08:30
Dep: 11:04
Dep: 16:00
Dep: 17:30
Arr: 10:30
Arr: 15:20
Arr: 16:45
Arr: 18:30
🏨Bananaleaf (Book >) All hotels >
Rise early for sunset, then descend the Bromo area and take the train on to the end of Java. At Banyuwangi hop in a taxi to the docks at Ketapang. In Gilimanuk wait for a bemo going to Pemuteran. You’ll need to pack for the cold – it’s freezing before sunrise!.
8 See Bali Barat National Park, which is full of forests, mangroves and rare wild animals. The Tegal Bunder Trail is highly recommended, as is a visit to Menjangan Island if you want to see some amazing marine life. Save the environment by using a filter water bottle.
9 🚌Pemuteran to Gunung Batur bus (Book >) Dep: 11:00 Arr: 15:30 🏨BlackLava Hostel (Book >) All hotels >
Wait for a passing bemo to take you through northern Bali to the rim of Gunung Batur volcano. Dress conservatively when visiting temples.
10 🚌Gunung Batur to Ubud bus Dep: 09:30 Arr: 11:30 🏨Green Paddy Hostel Villa (Book >) All hotels >
Another early start for another stunning sunrise, before taking a bemo to the vibrant town of Ubud The Ubud Art Market is a great place to pick up souvenirs – bargain hard!
11-12 Meet the animals at the Ubud Monkey Forest, walk through the Tegallalang Rice Terraces, visit the Goa Gajah temple complex, Pura Taman Saraswati temple and Puri Saren, take in the air along the Campuhan Ridge Walk. Bluebird taxis are the recommended way of making short trips. Download the app on Google Play or Apple.
13 🚐Ubud to Padangbai bus (Book >)
⛴️Padangbai to Lembar ferry (Book >)
🚌Lembar to
Kuta Lombok bus
Dep: 07:00
Dep: 08:30
Dep: 11:30
Arr: 08:00
Arr: 10:35
Arr: 13:00
🏨Pipes Hostel (Book >) All hotels >
This is a day on which to enjoy the journey. From the greenery and bustle of Bali, to crossing the Bali Sea, to driving along the verdant hills of Lombok. You’ll need to wait for a bemo in Lembar port and negotiate the price to Kuta Lombok.
14-15 Snorkel with giant sea turtles, walk beside Mount Rinjani, go surfing and enjoy the exquisite nearby beaches. Protect the reef and wildlife by using an eco-friendly sunscreen.
16 🚐Kuta Lombok to airport transfer (Book >)
✈Lombok to Denpasar flight (Book >)
Dep: 10:00
Dep: Afternoon
Arr: 10:30
Arr: Afternoon
🏨Pudak Sari Unizou Hostel (Book >) All hotels >
Fly back to Bali and relax on the beach when you arrive. If red flags are flown on the beach do not swim – there are dangerous undercurrents here.
17-18 ✈Denpasar to Home (Book >) Dep: Evening Arr: Morning (next day) Connect this Indonesia itinerary with the Malaysia & Borneo or Australia itinerary
Soak up the sun before returning home.

🇨🇷COSTA RICA

Arenal, Costa RicaBursting with wildlife, volcanoes and gorgeous beaches, Costa Rica’s size makes it easy to get around and full of incredible sights. As with many itineraries, so as to optimise the journey the Mid-range version borrows some of the better hotels from the Luxury version and makes savings elsewhere to bring the cost down. Click for Luxury, Mid-range or Budget. Here’s your Costa Rica itinerary:

Luxury Tortuguero National Park, Costa Rica
1 ✈To San Jose (Book >) Dep: Morning Arr: Evening 🏨Barceló San José (Book >) All hotels >
Settle in to your hotel and rest after your journey. Visitors from many countries do not require a visa for entry.
2 The Museo del Oro Precolombino contains many fascinating Pre-Colombian gold exhibits. Stop by the Catedral Metropolitana and admire the ornate interior. You’ll find plenty of things to buy in the Mercado Centrale. ‘Sodas’ are family-run restaurants that serve local food.
3 ✈San Jose to Tortuguero flight (Book >) Dep: Morning Arr: Afternoon 🏨Hotel Manatus Lodge (Book >) All hotels >
Once in Tortuguero National Park enjoy a boat tours along the waterways and then, in the evening, go on a guided tour through the hotel grounds. You’ll need to pay a fee before entering the park.
4 Visit Tortuguero Village for a taste of Afro-Caribbean culture, take to the water in a kayak. A canopy tour is a must for thrill seekers and a night-time turtle hatching tour is a must for everyone. Tap water is safe in Costa Rica, but if you’re really worried about stomach problems buy a filter water bottle and top up from taps.
5 ⛴️🚐Tortuguero to Arenal transfer  (Book >) Dep: 12:00 Arr: 17:00 🏨Hotel Nayara Spa & Gardens (Book >) All hotels >
Use your last few hours in Tortuguero to see anything you may have missed out on days 3 and 4. From your beautiful hotel in La Fortuna you can often see the lava flows from Arenal volcano. Roads in Costa Rica can be unpaved – be prepared for bumpy rides
6 Go on hikes long or short in Volcano Arenal National Park. When you’ve exhausted yourself visit one of the many thermal spas in the area (I recommend Tabacon Hot Springs) Do you need a guide for hiking here? Not really – park rangers will close trails if they’re unsafe.
7 🚕⛴️🚕Arenal to Monteverde transfer (Book >) Dep: 08:30 Arr: 11:30 🏨Hotel Belmar (Book >) All hotels >
Spend the afternoon relaxing after the journey from La Fortuna. In the evening go on a guided night walk to meet the areas many nocturnal critters. It can rain even in dry season here – bring good waterproofs. It can also get cold at night.
8 Experience the tree tops via zipline or canopy walk, visit the cloud forest, ride on a very sedate aerial tramway, or see the wildlife from the ground on a guided walk. The Certificate of Sustainable Tourism ranks businesses from 1 to 5 based on their commitment to carbon neutrality.
9 🚐Monteverde to Playa Panama bus (Book >) Dep: 09:30 Arr: 13:30 🏨Hotel Andaz Peninsula Papagayo Resort (Book >) All hotels >
Playa Panama is one of the best beaches in the region and is perfect for swimming. Many businesses close down for the month of October.
10-12 See sea turtles at Playa Grande, visit nearby national parks, go sea kayaking, diving or snorkelling, have a surfing lesson or white water rafting experience…or just do nothing at all on the beach. Protect the environment and buy an eco-friendly sunscreen.
13-14 🚕Playa Panama to Liberia transfer (Book >)
✈Liberia to San Jose flight (Book >)
✈San Jose to Home (Book >)
Dep: 08:00
Dep: Morning
Dep: Afternoon
Arr: 08:45
Morning
Arr: Afternoon (next day)
Connect this Costa Rica itinerary with the Ecuador & Galapagos or Cuba itinerary
Ensure you leave a few hours between the time your flight from Libera lands and your flight home departs.
Mid-range Monteverde, Costa Rica
1 ✈To San Jose (Book >) Dep: Morning Arr: Evening 🏨Hotel Terrazas De Golf (Book >) All hotels >
Settle in to your hotel and rest after your journey. Visitors from many countries do not require a visa for entry.
2 The Museo del Oro Precolombino contains many fascinating Pre-Colombian gold exhibits. Stop by the Catedral Metropolitana and admire the ornate interior. You’ll find plenty of things to buy in the Mercado Centrale. ‘Sodas’ are family-run restaurants that serve local food.
3 ✈San Jose to Tortuguero flight (Book >) Dep: Morning Arr: Afternoon 🏨Hotel Manatus Lodge (Book >) All hotels >
Once in Tortuguero National Park enjoy a boat tours along the waterways and then, in the evening, go on a guided tour through the hotel grounds. You’ll need to pay a fee before entering the park.
4 Visit Tortuguero Village for a taste of Afro-Caribbean culture, take to the water in a kayak. A canopy tour is a must for thrill seekers and a night-time turtle hatching tour is a must for everyone. Tap water is safe in Costa Rica, but if you’re really worried about stomach problems buy a filter water bottle and top up from taps.
5 ⛴️🚐Tortuguero to Arenal transfer (Book >) Dep: 12:00 Arr: 17:00 🏨Hotel El Silencio del Campo (Book >) All hotels >
Use your last few hours in Tortuguero to see anything you may have missed out on days 3 and 4. From your hotel you can often see the glow of lava from Arenal volcano. Roads in Costa Rica can be unpaved – be prepared for bumpy rides
6 Go on hikes long or short in Volcano Arenal National Park. When you’ve exhausted yourself visit one of the many thermal spas in the area (I recommend Tabacon Hot Springs) Do you need a guide for hiking here? Not really – park rangers will close trails if they’re unsafe.
7 🚕⛴️🚕Arenal to Monteverde transfer (Book >) Dep: 08:30 Arr: 11:30 🏨Casa Batsu (Book >) All hotels >
Spend the afternoon relaxing after the journey from La Fortuna. In the evening go on a guided night walk to meet the areas many nocturnal critters. It can rain even in dry season here – bring good waterproofs. It can also get cold at night.
8 Experience the tree tops via zipline or canopy walk, visit the cloud forest, ride on a very sedate aerial tramway, or see the wildlife from the ground on a guided walk. The Certificate of Sustainable Tourism ranks businesses from 1 to 5 based on their commitment to carbon neutrality.
9 🚐Monteverde to Playa Tamarindo bus (Book >) Dep: 09:00 Arr: 12:30 🏨Tamarindo Bay Boutique (Book >) All hotels >
As well as having a beautiful beach, Tamarindo is also a pretty town with excellent restaurants. Many businesses close down for the month of October.
10-12 See sea turtles at Playa Grande, visit nearby national parks, go sea kayaking, diving or snorkelling, have a surfing lesson or white water rafting experience…or just do nothing at all on the beach. Protect the environment and buy an eco-friendly sunscreen.
13-14 🚕Playa Tamarindo to Liberia transfer (Book >)
✈Liberia to San Jose flight (Book >)
✈San Jose to Home (Book >)
Dep: 07:00
Dep: Morning
Dep: Afternoon
Arr: 09:00
Morning
Arr: Afternoon (next day)
Connect this Costa Rica itinerary with the Ecuador & Galapagos or Cuba itinerary
Ensure you leave a few hours between the time your flight from Libera lands and your flight home departs.
Budget Montezuma Beach, Costa Rica
1 ✈To San Jose (Book >) Dep: Morning Arr: Evening 🏨Hostel Urbano (Book >) All hotels >
Settle in to your hotel and rest after your journey. Visitors from many countries do not require a visa for entry.
2 The Museo del Oro Precolombino contains many fascinating Pre-Colombian gold exhibits. Stop by the Catedral Metropolitana and admire the ornate interior. You’ll find plenty of things to buy in the Mercado Centrale. ‘Sodas’ are family-run restaurants that serve great value local food.
3 🚌San Jose to Cariari bus
🚌Cariari to La Pavona bus
⛴️La Pavona to Toruguero ferry
Dep: 09:00
Dep: 15:00
Dep: 16:30
Arr: 12:00
Arr: 16:15
Arr: 17:45
🏨Aracari Garden Hostel (Book >) All hotels >
This bus schedule assumes that you’ll miss the 11:30 Cariara to La Pavona departure (although that bus should wait), but if not then boats to Tortuguero will be waiting at earlier times. Once in Tortuguero National Park go on a guided night tour to see the wildlife. Tap water is safe in Costa Rica, but if you’re really worried about stomach problems buy a filter water bottle and top up from taps.
4 Visit Tortuguero Village for a taste of Afro-Caribbean culture, take to the water in a kayak. A canopy tour is a must for thrill seekers and a night-time turtle hatching tour is a must for everyone. You’ll need to pay a fee before entering the park.
5 ⛴️🚐Tortuguero to La Fortuna transfer (Book >) Dep: 12:00 Arr: 17:00 🏨Howler Monkey Hostel (Book >) All hotels >
Use your last few hours in Tortuguero to see anything you may have missed out on days 3 and 4. At night in La Fortuna you can often see the lava glow from Arenal volcano. Roads in Costa Rica can be unpaved – be prepared for bumpy rides (especially between
6 Go on hikes long or short in Volcano Arenal National Park. Exhausted? Treat yourself to one of the many thermal spas in the area (I recommend Tabacon Hot Springs) Do you need a guide for hiking here? Not really – park rangers will close trails if they’re unsafe.
7 🚌La Fortuna to Tilarán bus
🚌Tilarán to Santa Elena bus (Info >)
Dep: 07:30
Dep: 12:30
Arr: 11:00
Arr: 15:00
🏨OutBox Inn (Book >) All hotels >
Spend the rest of the afternoon relaxing after the journey from La Fortuna. In the evening go on a guided night walk to meet the areas many nocturnal critters. For several dollars more you can shave 5 hrs off your journey with a shuttle-boat-shuttle combination.
8 Experience the tree tops via zipline or canopy walk, visit the cloud forest, ride on a very sedate aerial tramway, or see the wildlife from the ground on a guided walk. It can rain even in dry season here – bring good waterproofs. It can also get cold at night.
9 🚌Monteverde to Puntarenas bus (Info >)
⛴️Puntarenas to Paquera ferry (Info >)
🚌Paquera to Montezuma bus (Info >)
Dep: 06:00
Dep: 11:00
Dep: 14:00
Arr: 09:30
Arr: 12:10
Arr: 16:00
🏨Proyecto Montezuma Hostel (Book >) All hotels >
Situated right on the beach and with plenty of hammocks, the hostel is the perfect place to chill out after that journey. It’s cheaper to bring snorkel equipment from home than to join a tour.
10-12 Visit the nearby waterfall, go sea kayaking, diving or snorkelling, have a surfing lesson…or just do nothing at all on the beach. Protect the environment and buy an eco-friendly sunscreen.
13 🚌Montezuma to Paquera bus (Info >)
⛴️Paquera to Puntarenas ferry  (Info >)
🚌Puntarenas to San Jose bus (Info >)
Dep: 12:00
Dep: 14:00
Dep: 16:00
Arr: 14:00
Arr: 15:15
Arr: 17:30
🏨Hostel Urbano (Book >) All hotels >
Make the most of your last morning on the beach before returning to the capital. Many businesses close down for the month of October.
14-15 ✈San Jose to Home (Book >) Dep: Afternoon Arr: Afternoon (next day) Connect this Costa Rica itinerary with the Ecuador & Galapagos or Cuba itinerary
An exit tax is applied to many airline tickets (check the list here).

🇸🇪SWEDEN

Stockholm, SwedenFrom the vast, open landscapes of Lapland, to the sunny beaches of Gotland, Sweden offers many amazing sights for visitors. Click for Luxury, Mid-range or Budget. Here’s your Sweden itinerary:

Luxury Treehotel, Sweden
1 ✈To Luleå (Book >) Dep: Morning Arr: Afternoon 🏨Treehotel (Book >) All hotels >
Take a taxi for the 1 hr 15 mins drive to your hotel from the airport. The fastest flight times involve leaving in the afternoon and arriving into Luleå in the evening.
2 Go hiking in Lapland, get some white water rafting thrills, glide along calm waters in a canoe, go on a moose safari and, at the end of the day, relax in the tree sauna. You may want to add on some extra days… Book activities well in advance.
3 🚄Boden to Orebro train (Book >) Dep: 17:49 🏨Train
You’ll have most of today to enjoy more of this beautiful part of Sweden. Arrange a transfer to the train station (which should take about 35 mins) then relax in a comfy couchette for the overnight journey to Orebro. Buying an Interrail pass (Eurail pass if you don’t live in Europe) can save you money.
4 🚄Boden to Orebro train Arr: 07:31 🏨Clarion Hotel Örebro (Book >) All hotels >
A day on which to soak in the sights of ancient Örebro, the most impressive which is the immense Örebro castle. The city park is one of the most beautiful in Sweden and the Wadköping open-air museum is also well worth a visit. Tap water is good and tasty in Sweden – remember to bring a refillable bottle.
5 🚄Örebro to Gothenburg train (Book >) Dep: 09:12 Arr: 12:10 🏨Upper House (Book >) All hotels >
Head up Gothenburg’s 17th century Skansen Kronan, then take a look at the picturesque wooden houses in nearby Haga. Buy a travel card for Gothenburg, which will save you hassle and money – it also includes ferry journeys.
6 Slottsskogen is a free-to-enter park and mini-zoo in the city centre. If you’re in need of some culture, the Gothenburg Museum of Art comes highly recommended. Like fish? Then a visit to the Fish Market Feskekörka is a must, or go to the trendy shopping district of Magasinsgatan instead. The well-preserved Älvsborg Fortress is a fun excursion. Got some spare time? The four-day cycle ride from Helsingborg to Båstad comes highly recommended.
7 🚄Gothenburg to Mariestad train (Book >)
⛴️Mariestad to Vassbacken cruise (Book >)
Dep: 08:25
Dep: 11:30
Arr: 11:08
Arr: 22:15
🏨M/S Wilhelm Tham All hotels >
Transfer to Mariestad where you’ll join the M/S Wilhelm Tham and cruise along the Göta Canal over Lake Vänern to the locks at Sjötorp and Hajstorp. Apart from the two honeymoon suites, most cabins on the historic M/S Wilhelm Tham  have bunk beds.
8 ⛴️Vassbacken to Ljung cruise Dep: 11:17
Dep: 12:46
Arr: 12:07
Arr: 13:25
🏨M/S Wilhelm Tham All hotels >
Continuing along the Göta Canal you’ll reach the highest point at the obelisk, pass through the Tåtorp locks and along beautiful Lake Viken. Next comes Forsvik Lock and the historic Forsviks Bruk village. Lake Vättern is Sweden’s second largest in Sweden, beyond which is the lock staircase at Borenshul, beautiful Borensburg village and the berth at Ljung. You can also hire your own boat to cruise along the Göta Canal.
9 ⛴️Borensberg to Norsholm cruise
(Book >)
🚄Norsholm to Stockholm (Book >)
Dep: 11:17
Dep: 12:46
Arr: 12:07
Arr: 13:25
🏨Grand Hôtel Stockholm (Book >) All hotels >
Into the longest lock staircase on the canal at Berg, then Lake Roxen and ending at Norsholm Lock. In Stockholm take in the magnificent sight of an almost fully intact 17th century war ship at the Vasa Museum. Nearby is the equally…impressive ABBA Museum. The Downtown Camper hotel has great views from its rooftop bar.
9-10 Visit the royal family’s palace, head out to the open-air museum of Skansen, wander around the streets of Gamla Stan, look at the amazing photography at Fotografiska Museet, learn about the Nobel Price at the Nobelmuseet. Stockholm is quickly becoming a cash-free city and so you may not want to bring too much.
11 Stockholm to Home
(✈Book >)
Dep: Afternoon Arr: Evening Connect this Sweden itinerary with the Germany or Estonia itinerary
Want to extend your trip? Take a look at the Gotland journey at the end of the Mid-range itinerary.
Mid-range Örebro castle, Sweden
1 ✈To Kiruna (Book >)
🚄Kiruna to Abisko Östra train (Book >)
Dep: Morning
Dep: 14:49
Arr: Afternoon
Arr: 15:54
🏨Hotel Abisko Mountain Lodge (Book >) All hotels >
Arriving late Oct to mid-March? You’ll get here after sunset and in time to hopefully see the Northern Lights. To make this journey in one day you’ll need to catch a very early flight.
2 There are a number of excellent hiking trails in Abisko National Park, you can also visit the Sámi village of Rávttas. If you’re here outside of warmer months then skiing, dog sledding, Arctic reindeer sledding and chasing the Northern Lights are all popular things to do. If you’re really into hiking then Abisko is the start of the famous 400km King’s Trail, or Kungsleden.
3 🚄Abisko Östra – Gävle C train
(Book >)
Dep: 16:44 🏨Train
You’ll have most of today to enjoy more of this beautiful part of Sweden. Relax in a comfy couchette for the overnight journey to Gävle C. Buying an Interrail pass (Eurail pass if you don’t live in Europe) can save you money.
4 🚄Abisko Östra to Gävle C train
🚄Gävle C to Orebro train (Book >)
Dep: 08:24 Arr: 07:35
Arr: 10:55
🏨Clarion Hotel Örebro (Book >) All hotels >
A day on which to soak in the sights of ancient Örebro, the most impressive which is the immense Örebro castle. The city park is one of the most beautiful in Sweden and the Wadköping open-air museum is also well worth a visit. Tap water is good and tasty in Sweden – remember to bring a refillable bottle.
5 🚄Örebro to  Motala train (Book >)
🚄Motala to Hallsberg train
🚄Hallsberg to Gothenburg train (Book >)
Dep: 08:11
Dep: 09:12
Dep: 17:43
Arr: 09:26
Arr: 17:06
Arr: 20:05
🏨Hotel Pigalle (Book >) All hotels >
Divert your journey to Gothenburg with a stop at Motala and a boat trip along the Göta Canal, departing at 10:30 and returning at 15:30 (May to Sep only). Buy a travel card for Gothenburg, which will save you hassle and money – it also includes ferry journeys.
6 Head up Gothenburg’s 17th century Skansen Kronan, then take a look at the picturesque wooden houses in nearby Haga. Like fish? Then a visit to the Fish Market Feskekörka is a must, or go to the trendy shopping district of Magasinsgatan instead. The well-preserved Älvsborg Fortress is a fun excursion. Got some spare time? The four-day cycle ride from Helsingborg to Båstad comes highly recommended.
7 🚄Gothenburg to Stockholm train (Book >) Dep: 16:19 Arr: 19:43 🏨Radisson Blu Waterfront Hotel (Book >) All hotels >
Gothenburg’s Slottsskogen is a free-to-enter park and mini-zoo in the city centre. If you’re in need of some culture, the Gothenburg Museum of Art comes highly recommended. Stockholm’s Downtown Camper hotel has great views from its rooftop bar.
8-9 Take in the magnificent sight of an almost fully intact 17th century war ship at the Vasa Museum. Nearby is the equally…impressive ABBA Museum. Visit the royal family’s palace, head out to the open-air museum of Skansen, wander around the streets of Gamla Stan, look at the amazing photography at Fotografiska Museet, learn about the Nobel Price at the Nobelmuseet. Stockholm is quickly becoming a cash-free city and so you may not want to bring too much.
10 🚌Stockholm to Nynäshamn bus
⛴️Nynäshamn to Visby ferry (Book >)
Dep: 11:30
Dep: 13:15
Arr: 12:30
Arr: 16:30
🏨Clarion Hotel Visby (Book >) All hotels >
Gaze out to sea as you glide over the Baltic Sea to the island of Gotland The ferry journey is usually smooth, but you may wish to take motion sickness tablets just in case.
11-12 Over the next couple of days be sure to take in Visby’s Burmeister House, walk along the city wall and the views from Klinten. Visby is full of church ruins – see if you can get to all 15 within the city walls. The Gotlands Museum makes for a fascinating visit. Hire a bicycle and explore the coast in either direction from Visby. Stockholm is quickly becoming a cash-free city and so you may not want to bring too much.
13 Visby to Home (✈Book >) Dep: Morning Arr: Afternoon Connect this Sweden itinerary with the Germany or Estonia itinerary
In the summer take Flygbussarna coach to the airport, at other times of year you can take bus route 61 or a short taxi ride.
Budget Abisko National Park, Sweden
1 ✈To Kiruna (Book >)
🚄Kiruna to Abisko Östra train (Book >)
Dep: Morning
Dep: 14:49
Arr: Afternoon
Arr: 15:59
🏨Abisko Turiststation (Book >) All hotels >
Arriving late Oct to mid-March? You’ll get here after sunset and in time to hopefully see the Northern Lights. To make this journey in one day you’ll need to catch a very early flight.
2 There are a number of excellent hiking trails in Abisko National Park, you can also visit a Sámi camp, take the chair lift to Nuolja and go in search of the Northern Lights, If you’re really into hiking then Abisko is the start of the famous 400km King’s Trail, or Kungsleden.
3 🚄Abisko Östra – Gävle C train
(Book >)
Dep: 16:38 🏨Train
You’ll have most of today to enjoy more of this beautiful part of Sweden. Settle into your seat for the overnight journey to Gävle C. Buying an Interrail pass (Eurail pass if you don’t live in Europe) can save you money.
4 🚄Abisko Östra to Gävle C train
🚄Gävle C to Orebro train (Book >)
🚄Örebro to Gothenburg train (Book >)
Dep: 08:24
Dep: 17:19
Arr: 07:35
Arr: 10:55
Arr: 19:55
🏨Linnéplatsens Hotel & Hostel (Book >) All hotels >
A day in which to soak in the sights of ancient Örebro, the most impressive which is the immense Örebro castle. The city park is one of the most beautiful in Sweden and the Wadköping open-air museum is also well worth a visit. Örebro station has a left luggage facility.
5-6 Head up Gothenburg’s 17th century Skansen Kronan, then take a look at the picturesque wooden houses in nearby Haga. Like fish? Then a visit to the Fish Market Feskekörka is a must, or go to the trendy shopping district of Magasinsgatan instead. The well-preserved Älvsborg Fortress is a fun excursion. Buy a travel card for Gothenburg, which will save you hassle and money – it also includes ferry journeys.
7 🚄Gothenburg to Hallsberg train
🚄Hallsberg to Motala train  (Book >)
🚄Motala to Linköping train
🚄Linköping to Stockholm train (Book >)
Dep: 06:04
Dep: 08:46
Dep: 16:05
Dep: 17:00
Arr: 08:25
Arr: 09:26
Arr: 16:44
Arr: 18:41
🏨City Backpackers Hostel (Book >) All hotels >
Divert your journey to Stockholm with a stop at Motala and a boat trip along the Göta Canal, departing at 10:30 and returning at 15:30 (May to Sep only). Stockholm’s Downtown Camper hotel has great views from its rooftop bar.
8-9 Take in the magnificent sight of an almost fully intact 17th century war ship at the Vasa Museum. Nearby is the equally…impressive ABBA Museum. Visit the royal family’s palace, head out to the open-air museum of Skansen, wander around the streets of Gamla Stan, look at the amazing photography at Fotografiska Museet, learn about the Nobel Price at the Nobelmuseet. Stockholm is quickly becoming a cash-free city and so you may not want to bring too much.
10 🚌Stockholm to Nynäshamn bus
⛴️Nynäshamn to Visby ferry (Book >)
Dep: 11:30
Dep: 13:15
Arr: 12:30
Arr: 16:30
🏨Visby home rental (Book >) All hotels >
Gaze out to sea as you glide over the Baltic Sea to the island of Gotland The ferry journey is usually smooth, but you may wish to take motion sickness tablets just in case.
11-12 Over the next couple of days be sure to take in Visby’s Burmeister House, walk along the city wall and the views from Klinten. Visby is full of church ruins – see if you can get to all 15 within the city walls. The Gotlands Museum makes for a fascinating visit. Hire a bicycle and explore the coast in either direction from Visby. Stockholm is quickly becoming a cash-free city and so you may not want to bring too much.
13 Visby to Home (✈Book >) Dep: Morning Arr: Afternoon Connect this Sweden itinerary with the Germany or Estonia itinerary
In the summer take Flygbussarna coach to the airport, at other times of year you can take bus route 61 or a short taxi ride.

🇳🇦NAMIBIA

Swakopmund, NamibiaSparsely populated, but crammed with incredible sights, Namibia offers intrepid travellers huge rewards for challenging travel. Click for Luxury, Mid-range or Budget. Here’s your Namibia itinerary:

Luxury Fish River Canyon, Namibia
1 ✈Windhoek (Book >) Dep: Evening 🏨 In flight!
2 Arr: Afternoon 🏨Hotel Hilton Windhoek (Book >) All hotels >
Arrive into Windhoek with time to visit the Namibia Craft Centre.
3 🚗Windhoek to Fish River Canyon drive (Hire car >) Dep: 09:30 Arr: 16:00 🏨Canyon Roadhouse (Book >) All hotels >
This is your longest drive, but you’ll end it at one of the most spectacular, under-rated places in Africa. Driver the 25 minutes to the canyon viewpoint for sunset. You will need to hire a 4×4 vehicle as parts of this journey are on rough tracks.
4 🚗Fish River Canyon to Sossusvlei drive Dep: 12:30 Arr: 18:45 🏨Le Mirage Resort & Spa (Book >) All hotels >
Take a morning hike with a hotel guide into Gondwana Canyon Park before the drive to Sesriem. Marvel at the desert sunset in Sossusvlei. Tap water is safe here – bring re-usable bottles and make sure you keep topped up.
5 Wake up early for a magical hot air balloon ride at sunrise. Then go on a drive to Dune 45, Dead Vlei and Sesriem Canyon. Visiting from South Africa? The Namibian Dollar is kept at parity with the South African Rand.
6 🚗Sossusvlei to Walvis Bay drive Dep: 08:00 Arr: 12:30 🏨Bay View Resort Namibia (Book >) All hotels >
In Walvis Bay book on to the 13:00 tour to Sandwich Harbour, on which you’ll see flamingoes, the Kuiseb River Delta and the Sandwich Harbour Lagoon. Be prepared for expensive fuel prices and remember to fill up before setting out into remote areas.
7 Today you’ll go on an unforgettable flight over the Skeleton Coast from nearby Swakopmund. Vegetarians may struggle here, but the excellent Happy Cow site lists good vegan restaurants.
8 🚗Walvis Bay to Damaraland drive Dep: 08:30 Arr: 14:30 🏨Damaraland Camp (Book >) All hotels >
One of Namibia’s least populated areas, Damaraland offers wild scenery, rock art and wildlife. It gets cold here when the sun goes down – pack layers.
9 Take a guided walk through the amazing scenery of Damaraland, go on guided drives during the day or at night, or visit the local Nama-Damara, Herero and Ovambo communities. I once wrecked a camera here due to the constant dust. Be sure to protect your technology!
10 🚗Damaraland to Etosha drive Dep: 12:00 Arr: 19:30 🏨Emanya@etosha  (Book >) All hotels >
Time in the morning to take part in any activities you missed out on during days 8 and 9. In afternoon drive through Etosha National Park to your luxurious hotel. Any drive through Etosha will involve wildlife spotting, so give yourself plenty of time to take pics.
11 More time today to meet the wildlife of Etosha National Park. Accommodation is limited, book as far in advance as you can.
12 🚗Etosha to Windhoek drive Dep: 13:00 Arr: 18:00 🏨Hotel Hilton Windhoek (Book >) All hotels >
Take one last game drive, then return to Windhoek and drop off your car. Windhoek has a number of excellent beer houses, due to it once being a German colony.
13-14 ✈Windhoek to Home (Book >) Dep: Afternoon Arr: Morning (next day) Connect this Namibia itinerary with the South Africa itinerary
Botswana is just across the border if you wish to continue your adventure.
Mid-range Swakopmund, Namibia
1 ✈Windhoek (Book >) Dep: Evening 🏨 In flight!
2 Arr: Afternoon 🏨Hotel Hilton Windhoek (Book >) All hotels >
Arrive into Windhoek with time to visit the Namibia Craft Centre.
3 🚗Windhoek to Fish River Canyon drive (Hire car >) Dep: 09:30 Arr: 16:00 🏨Canyon Roadhouse (Book >) All hotels >
This is your longest drive, but you’ll end it at one of the most spectacular, under-rated places in Africa. Drive the 25 minutes to the canyon viewpoint for sunset. You will need to hire a 4×4 vehicle as parts of this journey are on rough tracks.
4 🚗Fish River Canyon to Sossusvlei drive Dep: 12:30 Arr: 18:45 🏨Desert Camp (Book >) All hotels >
Take a morning hike with a hotel guide into Gondwana Canyon Park before the drive to Sesriem. Marvel at the desert sunset in Sossusvlei. Tap water is safe here – bring re-usable bottles and make sure you keep topped up.
5 Wake up early and head up Dune 45 for sunrise, then visit Dead Vlei and Sesriem Canyon. Visiting from South Africa? The Namibian Dollar is kept at parity with the South African Rand.
6 🚗Sossusvlei to Walvis Bay drive Dep: 08:00 Arr: 12:30 🏨Bay View Resort Namibia (Book >) All hotels >
In Walvis Bay book on to the 13:00 tour to Sandwich Harbour, on which you’ll see flamingoes, the Kuiseb River Delta and the Sandwich Harbour Lagoon. Be prepared for expensive fuel prices and remember to fill up before setting out into remote areas.
7 Today take an unforgettable flight over the Skeleton Coast from nearby Swakopmund. Vegetarians may struggle here, but the excellent Happy Cow site lists good vegan restaurants.
8 🚗Walvis Bay to Damaraland drive Dep: 08:30 Arr: 15:00 🏨Grootberg Lodge (Book >) All hotels >
One of Namibia’s least populated areas, Damaraland offers wild scenery, rock art and wildlife. It gets cold here when the sun goes down – pack layers.
9 Take a guided walk through the amazing scenery of Damaraland, go on guided drives during the day or at night, or visit the local Nama-Damara, Herero and Ovambo communities. I once wrecked a camera here due to the constant dust. Be sure to protect your technology!
10 🚗Damaraland to Etosha drive Dep: 11:30 Arr: 19:30 🏨Emanya@etosha  (Book >) All hotels >
Time in the morning to take part in any activities you missed out on during days 8 and 9. In afternoon drive through Etosha National Park to your luxurious hotel. Any drive through Etosha will involve wildlife spotting, so give yourself plenty of time to take pics.
11 More time today to meet the wildlife of Etosha National Park. Accommodation is limited, book as far in advance as you can.
12 🚗Etosha to Windhoek drive Dep: 13:00 Arr: 18:00 🏨Hotel Hilton Windhoek (Book >) All hotels >
Take one last game drive, then return to Windhoek and drop off your car. Windhoek has a number of excellent beer houses, due to it once being a German colony.
13-14 ✈Windhoek to Home (Book >) Dep: Afternoon Arr: Morning (next day) What did you think of this Namibia itinerary? Leave your feedback below
Botswana is just across the border if you wish to continue your adventure.
Budget Etosha, Namibia
1 ✈Windhoek (Book >) Dep: Evening 🏨 In flight!
2 Arr: Afternoon 🏨Chameleon Backpackers (Book >) All hotels >
Arrive into Windhoek with time to visit the Namibia Craft Centre.
3 🚌Windhoek to Walvis Bay bus (Book >) Dep: 10:00 Arr: 15:10 🏨Loubser’s B&B Self Catering (Book >) All hotels >
Once you arrive into Walvis Bay take a walk to the lagoon or head to Owambo Beach. Please note that buses do not depart daily.
4 Go dune boarding, enjoy a nature drive, or go kayaking to Pelican Point. Save money by bringing your own tent and sleeping bag.
5 🚗Walvis Bay to Sesriem drive (Hire car >) Dep: 09:30 Arr: 14:00 ⛺Sesriem Campsite (Book >) All hotels >
Drive to Sossussvlei, visit Dead Vlei and Sesriem Canyon then marvel at the desert sunset. You will need to hire a 4×4 vehicle as parts of this journey are on rough tracks.
6 🚗Sesriem to Hobas drive Dep: 08:00 Arr: 15:00 ⛺Hobas Camp (Book >) All hotels >
Wake early and head up Dune 45 for sunrise. Your longest drive of the trip will take you to the spectacular Fish River Canyon Be prepared for expensive fuel prices and remember to fill up before setting out into remote areas.
7 🚗Hobas to Windhoek drive
🚌Windhoek to Tsumeb bus (Book >)
Dep: 08:30
Dep: 18:00
Arr: 15:30
Arr: 23:40
🏨Tsumeb Backpackers (Book >) All hotels >
Another early start to see another incredible sunrise, then drive to Windhoek to drop off the car before catching the bus to Tsumeb, next to Etosha National Park Vegetarians may struggle here, but the excellent Happy Cow site lists good vegan restaurants.
8-10 Contact Tsumeb Bckpackers in advance and ask them to arrange a guided tour to Damaraland and Etosha National Park. Accommodation is limited, book as far in advance as you can.
11 🚌Tsumeb to Windhoek bus (Book >) Dep: 23:59 🏨Chameleon Backpackers (Book >) All hotels >
Another early start to see another incredible sunrise, then drive to Windhoek to drop off the car before catching the bus to Tsumeb, next to Etosha National Park Vegetarians may struggle here, but the excellent Happy Cow site lists good vegan restaurants.
12-13 🚌Tsumeb to Windhoek bus
✈Windhoek to Home (Book >)
Dep: Afternoon Arr: 05:40
Arr: Morning (next day)
Connect this Namibia itinerary with the South Africa itinerary
Botswana is just across the border if you wish to continue your adventure.

🇨🇭SWITZERLAND

Lauterbrunnen Valley, SwitzerlandIf you like mountains, picturesque valleys, cute Alpine scenes, beautiful lakes and excellent public transport, you’re going to love Switzerland. Click for Luxury, Mid-range or Budget. Here’s your Switzerland itinerary:

Luxury Lucerne, Switzerland
1 To Zurich (✈ Book >) Dep: Afternoon Arr: Afternoon 🏨Widder Hotel (Book >) All hotels >
Once you’ve checked in to your hotel in the lovely Lindenhof district, go for an evening stroll along Niederdorfstrasse. Buy a Swiss Travel Pass in advance as this will include the train journey from the airport.
2 Visit historic Grossmünster church and then the Swiss National Museum. Indulge in some shopping along Bahnhofstrasse and then go to the fascinating horology museum Uhrenmuseum Beyer. In the evening go for a drink at the famous Cabaret Voltaire. Public bicycles are free to use in Zurich – put down a small deposit at the Swiss National Museum and remember to bring ID.
3 🚄Zurich to Lucerne train (Book >) Dep: 10:04 Arr: 10:49 🏨Hotel des Balances (Book >) All hotels >
Explore the Old Town then take a trip up Mount Pilatus which, between May and October, can be visited as part of the Golden Round Trip. Back in town a walk across the famous Chapel Bridge is a must, as are the city defences of Musegg Wall. Consider downloading the SBB rail app, for quick and easy reference to the rail system timetable.
4 🚄Lucerne to Interlaken Ost train
🚄Interlaken Ost to Grindelwald train (Book >)
Dep: 12:06
Dep: 14:05
Arr: 13:55
Arr: 14:38
🏨Hotel Belvedere Grindelwald (Book >) All hotels >
Visit the Swiss Museum of Transport in Lucerne, then enjoy the beautiful train ride to Grindelwald. Here you can take the gondola up to First and enjoy hikes long or short in tremendous mountain scenery (my favourites include to Grosse Scheidegg or Bachalpsee). Pack layers – it can be warm in the valleys but cold up the mountains.
5 Today you’ll embark on one of the most incredible journeys on this planet; two steep train journeys to the mountain-top Jungfraujoch. Later in the afternoon visit the dramatic Gletscherschlucht. Go for a short walk to Mönchsjoch Hut when you reach Jungfraujoch
6 🚄Grindelwald to Zweilütschinen train
🚄Zweilütschinen to Lauterbrunnen (Book >) train
🚡Lauterbrunnen to Grütschalp cablecar
🚄Grütschalp to Mürren train (Book >)
Dep: 09:49
Dep: 10:16
Dep: 10:38
Dep: 10:44
Arr: 10:09
Arr: 10:25
Arr: 10:42
Arr: 10:58
🏨Hotel Eiger (Book >) All hotels >
A true test of the perfectly punctual Swiss transport system, this is a journey which you’ll be glued to the window throughout. When you arrive you can enjoy the peaceful alpine village of Mürren before heading on up the remarkable Schilthorn. The Schilthorn restaurant may not have the most refined cuisine, but it does revolve and is the best place to see the views.
7 🚄Mürren to Grütschalp train
🚡Grütschalp to Lauterbrunnen cablecar (Book >)
🚄Lauterbrunnen  to Interlaken Ost train
🚄Interlaken Ost to Spiez train
🚄Spiez to Visp train
🚄Visp to Zermatt train (Book >)
Dep: 09:58
Dep: 10:13
Dep: 10:32
Dep: 11:00
Dep: 11:36
Dep: 12:08
Arr: 10:11
Arr: 10:17
Arr: 10:53
Arr: 11:21
Arr: 12:02
Arr: 13:14
🏨Hotel The Omnia (Book >) All hotels >
Another day of picturesque journeys and another day where you end up in glorious mountain scenery. Zermatt is where you come for views of the famous Matterhorn, best seen from Matterhorn Glacier Paradise. Miss a connection? Not a problem. Trains in Switzerland are frequent.
8 🚄Zermatt to Visp train
🚄Visp to Montreux train (Book >)
Dep: 14:13
Dep: 15:35
Arr: 15:22
Arr: 16:46
🏨Hotel Victoria (Book >) All hotels >
Ride on the Gornergrat Bahn for your last mountain journey and hike, then depart for Montreux where you can stroll along the lake to Chillon Castle. You are now in the French-speaking part of Switzerland.
9 🚄Montreux to Geneva train (Book >) Dep: 11:47 Arr: 12:48 🏨Hotel D’Angleterre (Book >) All hotels >
Time for more promenade strolling before departing to Geneva. In Geneva you can walk down to the waterfront to look at the huge fountain, go to St. Pierre Cathedral and climb the towers, see the muddy and clear rivers meet at La Pointe de la Jonction and visit the United Nations building. Get a free Geneva Transport Card from your hotel.
10 Geneva to Home (✈Book >)
(🚄 Book >)
Dep: Afternoon
Dep: Morning
Arr: Evening
Arr: Afternoon
Connect this Switzerland itinerary with the France, Italy, Germany or Austria & Munich itinerary
Enjoy any sights you missed yesterday before heading to the airport.
Mid-range Matterhorn, Switzerland
1 To Zurich (✈ Book >) Dep: Afternoon Arr: Afternoon 🏨Hotel Plattenhof (Book >) All hotels >
Once you’ve checked in to your hotel in the lovely Lindenhof district, go for an evening stroll along Niederdorfstrasse. Buy a Swiss Travel Pass in advance as this will include the train journey from the airport.
2 Visit historic Grossmünster church and then the Swiss National Museum. Indulge in some shopping along Bahnhofstrasse and then go to the fascinating horology museum Uhrenmuseum Beyer. In the evening go for a drink at the famous Cabaret Voltaire. Public bicycles are free to use in Zurich – put down a small deposit at the Swiss National Museum and remember to bring ID.
3 🚄Zurich to Lucerne train (Book >) Dep: 10:04 Arr: 10:49 🏨Keyforge City Apartments Waldstätter 8 (Book >) All hotels >
Explore the Old Town then take a trip up Mount Pilatus which, between May and October, can be visited as part of the Golden Round Trip. Back in town a walk across the famous Chapel Bridge is a must, as are the city defences of Musegg Wall. Consider downloading the SBB rail app, for quick and easy reference to the rail system timetable.
4 🚄Lucerne to Interlaken Ost train
🚄Interlaken Ost to Grindelwald train (Book >)
Dep: 12:06
Dep: 14:05
Arr: 13:55
Arr: 14:38
🏨Hotel Alpina (Book >) All hotels >
Visit the Swiss Museum of Transport in Lucerne, then enjoy the beautiful train ride to Grindelwald. Here you can take the gondola up to First and enjoy hikes long or short in tremendous mountain scenery (my favourites include to Grosse Scheidegg or Bachalpsee). Pack layers – it can be warm in the valleys but cold up the mountains.
5 Today you’ll embark on one of the most incredible journeys on this planet; two steep train journeys to the mountain-top Jungfraujoch. Later in the afternoon visit the dramatic Gletscherschlucht. Go for a short walk to Mönchsjoch Hut when you reach Jungfraujoch
6 🚄Grindelwald to Zweilütschinen train
🚄Zweilütschinen to Lauterbrunnen train (Book >)
🚡Lauterbrunnen to Grütschalp cablecar
🚄Grütschalp to Mürren train (Book >)
Dep: 09:49
Dep: 10:16
Dep: 10:38
Dep: 10:44
Arr: 10:09
Arr: 10:25
Arr: 10:42
Arr: 10:58
🏨Eiger Guesthouse (Book >) All hotels >
A true test of the perfectly punctual Swiss transport system, this is a journey which you’ll be glued to the window throughout. When you arrive you can enjoy the peaceful alpine village of Mürren before heading on up the remarkable Schilthorn. The Schilthorn restaurant may not have the most refined cuisine, but it does revolve and is the best place to see the views.
7 🚄Mürren to Grütschalp train
🚡Grütschalp to Lauterbrunnen cablecar (Book >)
🚄Lauterbrunnen  to Interlaken Ost train
🚄Interlaken Ost to Spiez train
🚄Spiez to Visp train
🚄Visp to Zermatt train (Book >)
Dep: 09:58
Dep: 10:13
Dep: 10:32
Dep: 11:00
Dep: 11:36
Dep: 12:08
Arr: 10:11
Arr: 10:17
Arr: 10:53
Arr: 11:21
Arr: 12:02
Arr: 13:14
🏨Hotel Bella Vista (Book >) All hotels >
Another day of picturesque journeys and another day where you end up in glorious mountain scenery. Zermatt is where you come for views of the famous Matterhorn, best seen from Matterhorn Glacier Paradise. Miss a connection? Not a problem. Trains in Switzerland are frequent.
8 🚄Zermatt to Visp train
🚄Visp to Montreux train (Book >)
Dep: 14:13
Dep: 15:35
Arr: 15:22
Arr: 16:46
🏨Golf Hotel René Capt (Book >) All hotels >
Ride on the Gornergrat Bahn for your last mountain journey and hike, then depart for Montreux where you can stroll along the lake to Chillon Castle. You are now in the French-speaking part of Switzerland.
9 🚄Montreux to Geneva train (Book >) Dep: 11:47 Arr: 12:48 🏨Starling Residence Genève (Book >) All hotels >
Time for more promenade strolling before departing to Geneva. In Geneva you can walk down to the waterfront to look at the huge fountain, go to St. Pierre Cathedral and climb the towers, see the muddy and clear rivers meet at La Pointe de la Jonction and visit the United Nations building. Get a free Geneva Transport Card from your hotel.
10 Geneva to Home (✈Book >)
(🚄 Book >)
Dep: Afternoon
Dep: Morning
Arr: Evening
Arr: Afternoon
Connect this Switzerland itinerary with the France, Italy, Germany or Austria & Munich itinerary
Enjoy any sights you missed yesterday before heading to the airport.
Budget Chillon Castle, Switzerland
1 To Zurich (✈ Book >) Dep: Afternoon Arr: Afternoon 🏨Youthhostel Zurich (Book >) All hotels >
Once you’ve checked in to your hotel in the lovely Lindenhof district, go for an evening stroll along Niederdorfstrasse. Using buses for some of your journeys means you can get a Swiss Travel Pass for 4 days of train travel and then a single additional train ticket to Geneva on day 9.
2 Visit historic Grossmünster church and then the Swiss National Museum. Indulge in some shopping along Bahnhofstrasse and then go to the fascinating horology museum Uhrenmuseum Beyer. In the evening go for a drink at the famous Cabaret Voltaire. Public bicycles are free to use in Zurich – put down a small deposit at the Swiss National Museum and remember to bring ID.
3 🚌Zurich to Lucerne bus (Book >) Dep: 09:40 Arr: 10:40 🏨Barabas Luzern (Book >) All hotels >
Explore the Old Town then take a trip up Mount Pilatus which, between May and October, can be visited as part of the Golden Round Trip. Back in town a walk across the famous Chapel Bridge is a must, as are the city defences of Musegg Wall. Äss-Bar is a new concept in Switzerland and is a chain of stores that collects bread and pastries just at the end of their sell-buy dates and sells on at low prices.
4 🚄Lucerne to Interlaken Ost train
🚄Interlaken Ost to Grindelwald train (Book >)
Dep: 12:06
Dep: 14:05
Arr: 13:55
Arr: 14:38
🏨Youthhostel Grindelwald (Book >) All hotels >
Visit the Swiss Museum of Transport in Lucerne, then enjoy the beautiful train ride to Grindelwald. Here you can take the gondola up to First and enjoy hikes long or short in tremendous mountain scenery (my favourites include to Grosse Scheidegg or Bachalpsee). Pack layers – it can be warm in the valleys but cold up the mountains.
5 Today you’ll embark on one of the most incredible journeys on this planet; two steep train journeys to the mountain-top Jungfraujoch. Later in the take the 122 bus to the dramatic Gletscherschlucht. Go for a short walk to Mönchsjoch Hut when you reach Jungfraujoch
6 🚄Grindelwald to Zweilütschinen train
🚄Zweilütschinen to Lauterbrunnen train (Book >)
Dep: 09:49
Dep: 10:16
Arr: 10:09
Arr: 10:25
🏨Valley Hostel (Book >) All hotels >
After a beautiful journey hike to Trümmelbach Falls. If you can afford the fare, take the cable car to the lovely village of Mürren and on to the remarkable Schilthorn. Your hostel has a kitchen – save money by buying food in the Coop supermarket in town.
7 🚄Lauterbrunnen  to Interlaken Ost train
🚄Interlaken Ost to Spiez train
🚄Spiez to Visp train
🚄Visp to Zermatt train (Book >)
Dep: 10:32
Dep: 11:00
Dep: 11:36
Dep: 12:08
Arr: 10:53
Arr: 11:21
Arr: 12:02
Arr: 13:14
🏨Youthhostel Zermatt (Book >) All hotels >
Another day of picturesque journeys and another day where you end up in glorious mountain scenery. Zermatt is where you come for views of the famous Matterhorn, best seen from Matterhorn Glacier Paradise. If you’re staying a few nights with Swiss Youth Hostels then consider membership which can save you money.
8 🚄Zermatt to Visp train
🚄Visp to Montreux train (Book >)
Dep: 14:13
Dep: 15:35
Arr: 15:22
Arr: 16:46
🏨Youthhostel Montreux (Book >) All hotels >
Ride on the Gornergrat Bahn for your last mountain journey and hike, then depart for Montreux where you can stroll along the lake to Chillon Castle. You are now in the French-speaking part of Switzerland.
9 🚄Montreux to Geneva train
(Book >)
Dep: 11:47 Arr: 12:48 🏨City Hostel (Book >) All hotels >
Time for more promenade strolling before departing to Geneva. In Geneva you can walk down to the waterfront to look at the huge fountain, go to St. Pierre Cathedral and climb the towers, see the muddy and clear rivers meet at La Pointe de la Jonction and visit the United Nations building. Get a free Geneva Transport Card from your hotel.
10 Geneva to Home (✈Book >)
(🚄 Book >)
Dep: Afternoon
Dep: Morning
Arr: Evening
Arr: Afternoon
Connect this Switzerland itinerary with the France, Italy, Germany or Austria & Munich itinerary
Enjoy any sights you missed yesterday before heading to the airport.

🇰🇪KENYA

Amboseli National Park, KenyaKenya is a classic safari destination. This itinerary takes in two of the best national parks, and ends in idyllic Diani Beach on the Indian Ocean. Click for Luxury, Mid-range or Budget. Here’s your Kenya itinerary:

Luxury Lake Nakuru, Kenya
1 ✈To Nairobi (Book >) Dep: Morning Arr: Evening 🏨Villa Rosa Kempinski (Book >) All hotels >
Settle in to your hotel and rest after your journey. Visitors from most countries can apply for an eVisa.
2 Enjoy a relaxing day in Nairobi, visiting the Nairobi National Museum, the Karen Blixen Museum (author of Out of Africa), the nearby the Kazuri Beads Factory and the collections in the National Archives. Don’t haggle too much when buying souvenirs – it can be seen as rude if you’re too persistent.
3 Take a day trip to Lake Nakuru, located in Africa’s immense Rift Valley. Check out which immunisations you may need.
4 🚁Nairobi to Masai Mara helicopter (Book >) Dep: 08:00
Dep: 10:00
Arr: 09:00
Arr: 13:45
🏨Mara Explorer Tented Camp (Book >) All hotels >
Transfer to Nairobi airport from where you’ll be flown by helicopter over the savannah to the luxurious Mara Explorer camp. This is your base camp for safaris in the Masai Mara. Single-use plastic are banned in Kenya from 2020 – save the environment (and money) by using a filter water bottle and topping up from taps.
5-6 Two more days in which to go on safari and see the incredible wildlife of Kenya. Your accommodation includes three free guided drives a day. Take a look at these wildlife photography tips.
7 🚁Masai Mara to Nairobi helicopter (Book >)
✈Nairobi to Amboseli flight (Book >)
Dep: 10:30
Dep: Afternoon
Arr: 11:30
Arr: Afternoon
🏨Ol Tukai Lodge (Book >) All hotels >
Enjoy another helicopter safari back to Nairobi, then fly on to Amboseli National Park where you’ll arrive in plenty of time for sunset. Helicopter safaris can be bumpy – you may want to take motion sickness tablets.
8 Today you’ll embark on a safari with the magnificent Mt Kilimanjaro as a backdrop. Avoid rainy season (Mar-May) as clouds can obscure the view of Kilimanjaro.
9 ✈Amboseli to Mombasa flight (Book >)
🚕Mombasa to Diani Beach taxi (Book >)
Dep: Afternoon
Dep: 17:00
Arr: Afternoon
Arr: 19:00
🏨The Maji Beach Boutique (Book >) All hotels >
Chill out in your beautiful hotel and on the stunning Diani Beach. Learn some basic Swahili.
10-13 Spend a couple more days on the beach, or use this opportunity to visit the magnificent marine wildlife on a diving or snorkelling trip. Homosexuality is, sadly, against the law in Kenya – be safe and be discreet.
14-15 🚕Diani Beach to Mombasa taxi (Book >)
✈Mombasa to Nairobi flight (Book >)
✈Nairobi to home (Book >)
Dep: 11:00
Dep: Afternoon
Dep: Evening
Arr: 13:00
Arr: Afternoon
Arr: Morning (next day)
Connect this Kenya itinerary with the Tanzania or Ethiopia itinerary
You can also fly low cost, direct to Zanzibar from Mombasa.
Mid-range Masai Mara, Kenya
1 ✈To Nairobi (Book >) Dep: Morning Arr: Evening 🏨Acacia Tree Lodge (Book >) All hotels >
Settle in to your hotel and rest after your journey. Visitors from most countries can apply for an eVisa.
2 Enjoy a relaxing day in Nairobi, visiting the Nairobi National Museum, the Karen Blixen Museum (author of Out of Africa), the nearby the Kazuri Beads Factory and the collections in the National Archives. Check out which immunisations you may need.
3 🚐Nairobi to Lake Nakuru safari (Book >) Dep: 07:30 Arr: 10:30 🏨Ziwa Bush Lodge (Book >) All hotels >
Meet your guide and start your safari with a trip to Lake Nakuru in the Rift Valley. Ask your safari operator to provide transport and guide only – it’s cheaper to book your own accommodation.
4 🚐Lake Nakuru to Masai Mara safari Dep: 08:30 Arr: 14:30 🏨Keekorok Lodge (Book >) All hotels >
A long drive (with some wildlife spotting along the way) to Keekorok Lodge. This is your base camp for safaris in the Masai Mara Single-use plastic are banned in Kenya from 2020 – save the environment (and money) by using a filter water bottle and topping up from taps.
5 Another day on which to go on safari and see the incredible wildlife of Kenya. Take a look at these wildlife photography tips.
6 🚐Masai Mara to  Amboseli safari Dep: 07:30 Arr: 17:30 🏨Kibo Safari Camp (Book >) All hotels >
A long drive (and some safari time) back to Nairobi and on to Amboseli National Park where you’ll arrive in plenty of time for sunset. Roads here can be bumpy – you may want to take motion sickness tablets.
7 Today you’ll embark on a safari with the magnificent Mt Kilimanjaro as a backdrop. Avoid rainy season (Mar-May) as clouds can obscure the view of Kilimanjaro.
8 ✈Amboseli to Mombasa flight (Book >)
🚕Mombasa to Diani Beach taxi  (Info >)
Dep: Afternoon
Dep: 17:00
Arr: Afternoon
Arr: 19:00
🏨Hotel The Sands at Chale Island (Book >) All hotels >
Chill out in your beautiful hotel and on the stunning Diani Beach. Learn some basic Swahili.
9-12 Spend a couple more days on the beach, or use this opportunity to visit the magnificent marine wildlife on a diving or snorkelling trip. Homosexuality is, sadly, against the law in Kenya – be safe and be discreet.
13-14 🚕Diani Beach to Mombasa taxi (Book >)
✈Mombasa to Nairobi flight (Book >)
✈Nairobi to home (Book >)
Dep: 11:00
Dep: Afternoon
Dep: Evening
Arr: 13:00
Arr: Afternoon
Arr: Morning (next day)
Connect this Kenya itinerary with the Tanzania or Ethiopia itinerary
You can also fly low cost, direct to Zanzibar from Mombasa.
Budget Diani Beach, Kenya
1 ✈To Nairobi (Book >) Dep: Morning Arr: Evening 🏨Wildebeest Eco Camp(Book >) All hotels >
Settle in to your hotel and rest after your journey. Visitors from most countries can apply for an eVisa.
2 🚐Nairobi to Masai Mara safari(Book >) Dep: 07:30 Arr: 13:30 🏨Mara Explorers Camp
Meet your guide and drive to the camp. This is your base camp for safaris in the Masai Mara (this safari company has scheduled departures and can arrange cheap accommodation for you – request Mara Explorers Camp). Single-use plastic are banned in Kenya from 2020 – save the environment (and money) by using a filter water bottle and topping up from taps.
3-4 Two more days in which to go on safari and see the incredible wildlife of Kenya. Check out which immunisations you may need.
5 🚐Masai Mara to  Nairobi safari Dep: 08:30 Arr: 15:30 🏨Wildebeest Eco Camp(Book >) All hotels >
Enjoy your last safari in Masai Mara on the way back to Nairobi. You can take a mutatu to and from Nairobi city centre – take a look at the route map here.
6 🚐Nairobi to  Amboseli safari (Book >) Dep: 08:00 Arr: 13:00 🏨Amboseli Eco Camp (Book >) All hotels >
Meet your guide and relax on the drive through the Athi Plains to Amboseli National Park where you’ll arrive in plenty of time for sunset. When booking your safari, ask to be dropped off at Emali train station at the end.
7 Today you’ll embark on a safari with the magnificent Mt Kilimanjaro as a backdrop. Avoid rainy season (Mar-May) as clouds can obscure the view of Kilimanjaro.
8 🚐Amboseli to Emali safari
🚄Emali to Mombasa train (Book >)
🚕Mombasa to Diani Beach transfer (Book >)
Dep: 08:30
Dep: 09:51
Dep: 14:30
Arr: 09:45
Arr: 14:18
Arr: 15:50
🏨Diani Backpackers (Book >) All hotels >
Chill out on the stunning Diani Beach. Book your transfer to and from Diani Beach directly with the hostel.
9-12 Spend a couple more days on the beach, or use this opportunity to visit the magnificent marine wildlife on a diving or snorkelling trip. Homosexuality is, sadly, against the law in Kenya – be safe and be discreet.
13 🚕Diani Beach to Mombasa transfer (Book >)
🚄Mombasa to Nairobi train (Book >)
Dep: 06:15
Dep: 08:00
Arr: 07:35
Arr: 13:42
🏨Wildebeest Eco Camp(Book >) All hotels >
In the afternoon visit the Nairobi National Museum, the Karen Blixen Museum (author of Out of Africa), the nearby the Kazuri Beads Factory and the collections in the National Archives. Tempted by Tanzania? Catch the bus from Mombasa to Dar-es-Salaam.
14-15 ✈Nairobi to home (Book >) Dep: Evening Arr: Morning (next day) Connect this Kenya itinerary with the Tanzania or Ethiopia itinerary
You can also travel on to Kampala in Uganda, book the bus here.

🇨🇦WESTERN CANADA

Lake Louise, CanadaIn a country as big as this driving distances can be huge, luckily in Western Canada there is plenty to see and so you’ll only be on the road (or rails) for a few hours before you arrive at yet another breathtaking destination. Click for Luxury, Mid-range or Budget. Here’s your Western Canada itinerary:

Luxury Whistler, Canada
1 ✈To Vancouver (Book >) Dep: Afternoon Arr: Evening 🏨Rosewood Hotel Georgia (Book >) All hotels >
The only thing to do today is enjoy your first meal in Canada and stay awake as long as you can to beat jetlag. Arrange a transfer from the airport.
2 For one of the best views of the city head up Vancouver Lookout, for perhaps the best view catch the cable car up Grouse Mountain. The Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden makes for a very serene visit, as does the 55-acre VanDusen Botanical Garden. Take a taxi over to the spectacular Capilano Suspension Bridge, or to Lynn Canyon for almost the same experience but for free. Gastown, Main Street, or Alexandra Road are good places in which to find somewhere to eat.
3 🚗Vancouver to Whistler drive (Hire car >) Dep: 09:30 Arr: 11:00 🏨Four Seasons (Book >) All hotels >
Not far from Vancouver is the mountain resort of Whistler. The Whistler and Blackcomb Gondolas run all year except October to early November and are great for views and for starting your mountain adventure, be it on snow or track. Like snowsports? visit Whistler between December and March. Into hiking or biking? June to August is the time to come.
4 🚗Whistler to Clearwater drive Dep: 13:30 Arr: 19:00 🏨Alpine Meadows Resort (Book >) All hotels >
Make the most of the clear mountains air before the drive to Clearwater. You may want to plan in frequent stops to take in the view along the road.
5 🚗Clearwater to Jasper drive Dep: 15:00 Arr: 19:00 🏨Alpine Village Jasper (Book >) All hotels >
Wells Gray Provincial Park, adjacent to Clearwater, is a wonderful place to hike or canoe. If, like me, you’re a fan of white water rafting then this is a great place to do it. Fill up on fuel before leaving town – distances between gas stations can be large.
6 Enjoy the famously picturesque cruise on Maligne Lake, which can also be experienced by kayak. The Jasper SkyTram is an easy way to get those unforgettable mountain-top views. After a long and active day, relax in Miette Hot Springs. You’ll need to pay a national park entry fee if you stop off and hike/bike/etc, but if you’re just driving through then you don’t need to pay.
7 🚗Jasper to Banff drive Dep: 08:00
Dep: 12:00
Arr: 09:30
Arr: 14:30
🏨Hotel Fairmont Banff Springs
(Book >)
All hotels >
Another wonderful drive (one of the top drives in the world by Condé Nast Traveller) and another fantastic destination. On the way stop off at the magnificent Athabasca Glacier for a tour of the ice sheet and skywalk. Banff is another place where you come in winter for the snowsports or in summer for every other activity. Again, there are some lovely hot springs in which to luxuriate. Had enough of driving? Banff has a good local bus system which can take you to many trailheads and sights.
8 A full day to choose to explore the trails, the ski runs, the rivers or the lakes. Add another day here if you can’t get enough of the outdoor lifestyle. You can also travel to and from Banff on a Rocky Mountaineer package.
9 🚗Banff to Lake Louise drive Dep: 09:00 Arr: 09:40 🏨Post Hotel & Spa
(Book >)
All hotels >
Plenty of choice for hikes in Lake Louise, whatever your ability. I recommend, if you can, heading up as high as you can for spectacular panoramic views. You may want to set off earlier and arrive before 9 if you want to avoid coach trippers at Lake Louise.
10 🚗Lake Louise to Field drive Dep: 09:00 Arr: 09:30 🏨Cathedral Mountain Lodge
(Book >)
All hotels >
Just down the road from Lake Louise, Field is in Yoho National Park and the Kicking Horse valley (which you’d have already visited if you went rafting from Banff. Points of interest include Emerald Lake, Wapta Falls, Takakkaw Falls and Lake O’Hara Although unlikely to happen, it’s good to know what to do if you encounter a bear. Read the advice here.
11 🚗Field to Kamloops drive Dep: 09:00 Arr: 14:30 🏨Campbell Hills Guest Ranch (Book >) All hotels >
Kamloops is a great stopping off point on your way back west. Here you can enjoy horseriding, mountain biking or, at certain times of year a ride on the fantastic Kamloops Heritage Railway. Accommodation tonight is in a working ranch. Check the weather the night before – you may need more time if it starts snowing. HERE
12 Today you can ride horses, take a kayak out onto the lake, drive ATVs or hike in and around the ranch. Your stay at the ranch includes all meals.
13 🚗Kamloops to Victoria drive Dep: 09:00 Arr: 15:30 🏨Abigail’s Hotel (Book >) All hotels >
Continue the drive out the mountains, around Vancouver, across the ferry and on to Vancouver Island. Have a relaxed afternoon enjoying the sights of Victoria, including the famous Butchart Gardens. Buy the car ferry ticket from Tsawwassen to Swartz Bay (and back) in advance here.
14 Drive the two hours over to Port Renfrew and enjoy the incredible scenery in Pacific Rim National Park Reserve. Or head out to sea from Victoria on a whale watching trip. If you want to extend your trip then a visit to the Nimmo Bay Wilderness Resort is an experience you won’t forget.
15 🚗Victoria to Vancouver drive
✈Vancouver to home (Book >)
Dep: 08:30
Dep: Afternoon
Arr: 11:30
Arr: Morning (next day)
Connect this Western Canada itinerary with the USA (California & Nevada)
Check the ferry times before driving back to Vancouver.
Mid-range Vancouver Island, Canada
1 ✈To Vancouver (Book >) Dep: Afternoon Arr: Evening 🏨O Canada House (Book >) All hotels >
The only thing to do today is enjoy your first meal in Canada and stay awake as long as you can to beat jetlag. Arrange a transfer from the airport.
2 For one of the best views of the city head up Vancouver Lookout, for perhaps the best view catch the cable car up Grouse Mountain. The Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden makes for a very serene visit, as does the 55-acre VanDusen Botanical Garden. Take a taxi over to the spectacular Capilano Suspension Bridge, or to Lynn Canyon for almost the same experience but for free. Gastown, Main Street, or Alexandra Road are good places in which to find somewhere to eat.
3 🚗Vancouver to Whistler drive (Hire car >) Dep: 09:30 Arr: 11:00 🏨First Tracks Lodge (Book >) All hotels >
Not far from Vancouver is the mountain resort of Whistler. The Whistler and Blackcomb Gondolas run all year except October to early November and are great for views and for starting your mountain adventure, be it on snow or track. Like snowsports? visit Whistler between December and March. Into hiking or biking? June to August is the time to come.
4 🚗Whistler to Clearwater drive Dep: 13:30 Arr: 19:00 🏨Alpine Meadows Resort (Book >) All hotels >
Make the most of the clear mountains air before the drive to Clearwater. You may want to plan in frequent stops to take in the view along the road.
5 🚗Clearwater to Jasper drive Dep: 15:00 Arr: 19:00 🏨Alpine Village Jasper (Book >) All hotels >
Wells Gray Provincial Park, adjacent to Clearwater, is a wonderful place to hike or canoe. If, like me, you’re a fan of white water rafting then this is a great place to do it. Fill up on fuel before leaving town – distances between gas stations can be large.
6 Enjoy the famously picturesque cruise on Maligne Lake, which can also be experienced by kayak. The Jasper SkyTram is an easy way to get those unforgettable mountain-top views. After a long and active day, relax in Miette Hot Springs. You’ll need to pay a national park entry fee if you stop off and hike/bike/etc, but if you’re just driving through then you don’t need to pay.
7 🚗Jasper to Banff drive Dep: 08:00
Dep: 12:00
Arr: 09:30
Arr: 14:30
🏨The Rimrock Resort
(Book >)
All hotels >
Another wonderful drive (one of the top drives in the world by Condé Nast Traveller) and another fantastic destination. On the way stop off at the magnificent Athabasca Glacier for a tour of the ice sheet and skywalk. Banff is another place where you come in winter for the snowsports or in summer for every other activity. Again, there are some lovely hot springs in which to luxuriate. Had enough of driving? Banff has a good local bus system which can take you to many trailheads and sights.
8 A full day to choose to explore the trails, the ski runs, the rivers or the lakes. Add another day here if you can’t get enough of the outdoor lifestyle. You can also travel to and from Banff on a Rocky Mountaineer package.
9 🚗Banff to Lake Louise drive Dep: 09:00 Arr: 09:40 🏨Baker Creek Mountain Resort
(Book >)
All hotels >
Plenty of choice for hikes in Lake Louise, whatever your ability. I recommend, if you can, heading up as high as you can for spectacular panoramic views. You may want to set off earlier and arrive before 9 if you want to avoid coach trippers at Lake Louise.
10 🚗Lake Louise to Field drive Dep: 09:00 Arr: 09:30 🏨Emerald Lake Lodge
(Book >)
All hotels >
Just down the road from Lake Louise, Field is in Yoho National Park and the Kicking Horse valley (which you’d have already visited if you went rafting from Banff. Points of interest include Emerald Lake, Wapta Falls, Takakkaw Falls and Lake O’Hara Although unlikely to happen, it’s good to know what to do if you encounter a bear. Read the advice here.
11 🚗Field to Kamloops drive Dep: 09:00 Arr: 14:00 🏨Wingate By Wyndham Kamloops (Book >) All hotels >
Kamloops is a great stopping off point on your way back west. Here you can enjoy horseriding, mountain biking or, at certain times of year a ride on the fantastic Kamloops Heritage Railway. Check the weather the night before – you may need more time if it starts snowing.
12 🚗Kamloops to Victoria drive Dep: 09:00 Arr: 15:30 🏨The Oswego Hotel (Book >) All hotels >
Continue the drive out the mountains, around Vancouver, across the ferry and on to Vancouver Island. Have a relaxed afternoon enjoying the sights of Victoria, including the famous Butchart Gardens. Buy the car ferry ticket from Tsawwassen to Swartz Bay (and back) in advance here.
13 Drive the two hours over to Port Renfrew and enjoy the incredible scenery in Pacific Rim National Park Reserve. Or head out to sea from Victoria on a whale watching trip. If you go on a whale watching trip then you may want to take motion sickness tablets as the sea can be rough.
14 🚗Victoria to Vancouver drive
✈Vancouver to home (Book >)
Dep: 08:30
Dep: Afternoon
Arr: 11:30
Arr: Morning (next day)
Connect this Western Canada itinerary with the USA (California & Nevada)
Check the ferry times before driving back to Vancouver.
Budget Vancouver, Canada
1 ✈To Vancouver (Book >) Dep: Afternoon Arr: Evening 🏨YWCA Vancouver (Book >) All hotels >
The only thing to do today is enjoy your first meal in Canada and stay awake as long as you can to beat jetlag. Take the Canada Line from the airport to Yaletown-Roundhouse station.
2 For one of the best views of the city head up Vancouver Lookout, for perhaps the best view catch the cable car up Grouse Mountain. The Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden makes for a very serene visit, as does the 55-acre VanDusen Botanical Garden. Take a taxi over to the spectacular Capilano Suspension Bridge, or to Lynn Canyon for almost the same experience but for free. Gastown, Main Street, or Alexandra Road are good places in which to find somewhere to eat.
3 🚌Vancouver to Whistler bus (Book >) Dep: 09:00 Arr: 11:00 🏨Fireside Lodge (Book >) All hotels >
Not far from Vancouver is the mountain resort of Whistler. The Whistler and Blackcomb Gondolas run all year except October to early November and are great for views and for starting your mountain adventure, be it on snow or track. Like snowsports? visit Whistler between December and March. Into hiking or biking? June to August is the time to come.
4 🚌Whistler to Vancouver bus (Book >)
🚄Vancouver to Jasper train (Book >)
Dep: 12:00
Dep: 15:00
Arr: 14:00 🏨Train
A couple more hours this morning to enjoy Whistler before departing for Vancouver and your train to Jasper. You are in for a treat; the views on your train journey are spectacular! This bus departure time is only available Fri-Sun, if travelling on other days then take the 10:00.
5 🚄Vancouver to Jasper train (Book >) Arr: 11:00 🏨HI Athabasca Falls (Book >) All hotels >
Wells Gray Provincial Park, adjacent to Clearwater, is a wonderful place to hike or canoe. If, like me, you’re a fan of white water rafting then this is a great place to do it. Jasper is one hour ahead of Vancouver.
6 Enjoy the famously picturesque cruise on Maligne Lake, which can also be experienced by kayak. The Jasper SkyTram is an easy way to get those unforgettable mountain-top views. After a long and active day, relax in Miette Hot Springs. You’ll need to pay a national park entry fee if you stop off and hike/bike/etc, but if you’re just passing through then you don’t need to pay.
7 🚌Jasper to Lake Louise bus (Book >) Dep: 07:00 Arr: 10:45 🏨HI Lake Louise Alpine Centre
(Book >)
All hotels >
Journey along the famous Icefield Parkway. There is plenty of choice for hikes in Lake Louise, whatever your ability. I recommend, if you can, heading up as high as you can for spectacular panoramic views. You can also travel to Lake Louise via the Athabasca Glacier on a tour (which is much more expensive!)
8 Another day for hiking in the Lake Louise area. Consider a Hostelling International membership if you plan to stay in their hostels (it also gets you a discount on the bus from Jasper).
9 🚌Lake Louise to Banff bus (Info >) Dep: 09:35 Arr: 10:20 🏨HI Banff Alpine Centre
(Book >)
All hotels >
Take the bus to the transport hub in Banff, which is another place where you come in winter for the snowsports or in summer for every other activity. Again, there are some lovely hot springs in which to luxuriate. Although unlikely to happen, it’s good to know what to do if you encounter a bear. Read the advice here. HERE
10 A full day to choose to explore the trails, the ski runs, the rivers or the lakes. Add another day here if you can’t get enough of the outdoor lifestyle. You can also travel to and from Banff on a Rocky Mountaineer package.
11 🚌Banff to Kamloops bus (Book >) Dep: 10:05 Arr: 16:15 🏨Pacific Inn & Suites (Book >) All hotels >
Kamloops is a great stopping off point on your way back west. At certain times of year a ride on the fantastic Kamloops Heritage Railway. Consider adding another day here if you enjoy horse riding – Kamloops has excellent ranches.
12 🚌Kamloops to Vancouver bus (Book >)
🚌Vancouver to Victoria bus (Book >)
Dep: 08:15
Dep: 13:30
Arr: 12:45
Arr: 17:20
🏨HI Victoria(Book >) All hotels >
Continue the drive out the mountains, around Vancouver, across the ferry and on to Vancouver Island. Enjoy the sights of Victoria, including the famous Butchart Gardens. Buy the car ferry ticket from Tsawwassen to Swartz Bay (and back) in advance here.
13 Get up early for the 06:45 bus to Port Renfrew and visit Pacific Rim National Park Reserve (returning at 17:45). Or head out to sea from Victoria on a whale watching trip. If you go on a whale watching trip then you may want to take motion sickness tablets as the sea can be rough.
14 🚌Victoria to Vancouver Airport bus (Book >)
✈Vancouver to home (Book >)
Dep: 07:45
Dep: Afternoon
Arr: 11:25
Arr: Morning (next day)
Connect this Western Canada itinerary with the USA (California & Nevada)
Check the ferry times before driving back to Vancouver.

🇳🇿NEW ZEALAND NORTH

Mount Taranaki, New ZealandPicture-perfect volcanoes, boiling geysers, pristine beaches, magical caves and much more awaits you in New Zealand’s awesome North Island. Click for Luxury, Mid-range or Budget. Here’s your New Zealand North itinerary:

Luxury Rotorua, New Zealand
1 ✈To Auckland (Book >) Dep: Evening 🏨 In flight!
2-3 Arr: Morning 🏨Hotel DeBrett (Book >) All hotels >
Once you’ve left your luggage at the hotel, head to the docks and take the ferry to Waiheke Island for a vineyard visit, or Rangitoto island for some excellent hiking or sea kayaking. When you get back head up the Sky Tower. If you’re from a visa waiver country you don’t need to apply until you arrive in New Zealand
4 🚗Auckland to Coromandel Peninsula drive (Hire car >) Dep: 09:30 Arr: 12:00 🏨Driving Creek Villas (Book >) All hotels >
Set off after rush hour and, once you arrive in Coromandel, continue on to Hot Water Beach where you can dig a pool in the sand and luxuriate in the hot water. Nearby is the picturesque Cathedral Cove. Back at the villa, leave the car and walk up the road to embark on the Driving Creek Railway. You must park in the direction of the traffic flow in New Zealand, otherwise you’ll get a fine.
5 🚗Coromandel Peninsula to Rotorua drive
🚗Rotorua to Taupo drive
Dep: 09:00
Dep: 17:30
Arr: 12:00
Arr: 19:30
🏨Tauhara Sunrise Lodge (Book >) All hotels >
Head south to steaming, sulphurous Rotorua. Here you can see geysers and hot mud pools, as well as start getting to know Māori culture. On the drive down to Taupo, stop off at Kerosene Creek where you can bathe in a naturally-heated stream. Get changed into swimming things in one of the Rotorua bathrooms – there aren’t any facilities at Kerosene Creek (which is free to enter).
6 🚗Taupo to Napier drive Dep: 10:00 Arr: 12:15 🏨Mangapapa (Book >) All hotels >
In the morning visit dramatic Huka Falls, then journey to the wine-producing region of Hawke’s Bay. You’ll arrive in time to enjoy a tour of the vineyards. Give yourself plenty of time to get between destinations – you’ll want to stop frequently for beautiful views.
7 🚗Napier to Wellington drive Dep: 09:00 Arr: 13:30 🏨Edgewater Lodge (Book >) All hotels >
Te Papa is worth the drive to Wellington alone. Once you’ve enjoyed a couple of hours at this museum, you have plenty more to see, including a walk along the charming waterfront to Oriental Bay, a Weta Studios tour, a ride on the cable from Lambton Quay up to Kelburn. Cuba Street comes alive at night and is a good place to hunt down a restaurant. Fuel stations are few between towns and cities – fill up before setting off.
8 🚗Wellington to New Plymouth drive Dep: 14:00 Arr: 19:00 🏨Ahu Ahu Beach Villas (Book >) All hotels >
No doubt you ran out of time to see the sights yesterday, so there’s more time to see more of Wellington today before the long drive to the Ahu Ahu Beach Villas near New Plymouth. The Department of Conversation provides a wealth of info on hiking.
9 🚗New Plymouth to Tongariro drive Dep: 15:00 Arr: 19:00 🏨Chateau Tongariro (Book >) All hotels >
Get up early and head for the hiking trails around the breathtaking Mt Taranaki volcano. In the afternoon take Highway 3 to Midhirst, then the Highway 43 through the gorgeous scenery to Tongariro. The Tongariro Visitor Centre can store your luggage for a small fee.
10 Book your shuttle bus from Whakapapa Village to and from the Tongariro Crossing in advance. Considered one of the best hikes in the world, the Tongariro Crossing requires a full day and a decent level of fitness. Keep an eye on the weather before setting out and time your walk accordingly.
11 🚗Tongariro to Waitomo drive Dep: 09:00 Arr: 11:30 🏨Waitomo Boutique Lodge (Book >) All hotels >
You are in for a real treat today. Black Water Rafting isn’t as scary as it sounds, in fact it involves a sedate float on tubes through caves adorned with constellations of glow worms. Invest in a dry bag or waterproof camera to try and capture images of the incredible glow worm caves.
12 🚗Waitomo to Piha drive
🚗Piha to Paihia drive
Dep: 09:00
Dep: 14:00
Arr: 12:30
Arr: 18:00
🏨Chalet Romantica (Book >) All hotels >
Break up the long drive to Kerikeri with a stop at amazing Piha Beach, setting of the film The Piano and a favourite for surfers. You’re likely to encounter some Māori language. Learn a few basic words here.
13 Take to the water in the magnificent Bay of Islands on a kayak tour (where you also have the option of staying overnight, camping by the beach). Make sure that your insurance covers you for the various adventures sports on offer here.
14 🚗Paihia to Cape Reinga drive
🚗Cape Reinga to Waipoua Lodge drive
Dep: 09:00
Dep: 14:00
Arr: 12:00
Arr: 18:00
🏨Waipoua Lodge (Book >) All hotels >
Cape Reinga/Te Rerenga Wairua is at the northernmost tip of New Zealand and is where Maori spirits begin their final journey. It offers incredible views of the crashing sea from the lighthouse. On your way to/from here you may want to have a go at sandboarding at the Te Paki dunes. You can hire boards at the Te Paki dunes, but be sure to shop around for the best price and best condition equipment.
15 🚗Waipoua Lodge to Auckland drive Dep: 10:00 Arr: 13:30 🏨Hotel DeBrett (Book >) All hotels >
Back to where your adventure began and plenty of time today to see anything you missed on days 2-3. The red city circuit bus offers a free hop on hop off service around Auckland city centre every 10 minutes.
16-17 ✈Auckland to home (Book >) Dep: Evening Arr: Morning (next day) Connect this New Zealand North itinerary with the New Zealand South, Australia or Fiji & Samoa itinerary
Book your shuttle to the airport.
Mid-range Auckland, New Zealand
1 ✈To Auckland (Book >) Dep: Evening 🏨 In flight!
2-3 Arr: Morning 🏨Haka Hotel Suites (Book >) All hotels >
Once you’ve left your luggage at the hotel, head to the docks and take the ferry to Waiheke Island for a vineyard visit, or Rangitoto island for some excellent hiking or sea kayaking. When you get back head up the Sky Tower. If you’re from a visa waiver country you don’t need to apply until you arrive in New Zealand
4 🚗Auckland to Coromandel Peninsula drive (Hire car >) Dep: 09:30 Arr: 12:00 🏨Andrea’s (Book >) All hotels >
Set off after rush hour and, once you arrive in Coromandel, continue on to Hot Water Beach where you can dig a pool in the sand and luxuriate in the hot water. Nearby is the picturesque Cathedral Cove. Drive on to Driving Creek for the Driving Creek Railway. You must park in the direction of the traffic flow in New Zealand, otherwise you’ll get a fine.
5 🚗Coromandel Peninsula to Rotorua drive
🚗Rotorua to Taupo drive
Dep: 09:00
Dep: 17:30
Arr: 12:00
Arr: 19:30
🏨The Reef Resort (Book >) All hotels >
Head south to steaming, sulphurous Rotorua. Here you can see geysers and hot mud pools, as well as start getting to know Māori culture. On the drive down to Taupo, stop off at Kerosene Creek where you can bathe in a naturally-heated stream. Get changed into swimming things in one of the Rotorua bathrooms – there aren’t any facilities at Kerosene Creek (which is free to enter).
6 🚗Taupo to Napier drive Dep: 10:00 Arr: 12:15 🏨The Crown Hotel (Book >) All hotels >
In the morning visit dramatic Huka Falls, then journey to the wine-producing region of Hawke’s Bay. You’ll arrive in time to enjoy a tour of the vineyards. Give yourself plenty of time to get between destinations – you’ll want to stop frequently for beautiful views.
7 🚗Napier to Wellington drive Dep: 09:00 Arr: 13:30 🏨U Residence Hotel Wellington (Book >) All hotels >
Te Papa is worth the drive to Wellington alone. Once you’ve enjoyed a couple of hours at this museum, you have plenty more to see, including a walk along the charming waterfront to Oriental Bay, a Weta Studios tour, a ride on the cable from Lambton Quay up to Kelburn. Cuba Street comes alive at night and is a good place to hunt down a restaurant. Fuel stations are few between towns and cities – fill up before setting off.
8 🚗Wellington to New Plymouth drive Dep: 14:00 Arr: 19:00 🏨One Burgess Hill  (Book >) All hotels >
No doubt you ran out of time to see the sights yesterday, so there’s more time to see more of Wellington today before the long drive to the Ahu Ahu Beach Villas near New Plymouth. The Department of Conversation provides a wealth of info on hiking.
9 🚗New Plymouth to Tongariro drive Dep: 15:00 Arr: 18:30 🏨Chateau Tongariro (Book >) All hotels >
Get up early and head for the hiking trails around the breathtaking Mt Taranaki volcano. In the afternoon take Highway 3 to Midhirst, then the Highway 43 through the gorgeous scenery to Tongariro. The Tongariro Visitor Centre can store your luggage for a small fee.
10 Book your shuttle bus from Whakapapa Village to and from the Tongariro Crossing in advance. Considered one of the best hikes in the world, the Tongariro Crossing requires a full day and a decent level of fitness. Keep an eye on the weather before setting out and time your walk accordingly.
11 🚗Tongariro to Waitomo drive Dep: 09:00 Arr: 11:30 🏨Waitomo Caves Guest Lodge (Book >) All hotels >
You are in for a real treat today. Black Water Rafting isn’t as scary as it sounds, in fact it involves a sedate float on tubes through caves adorned with constellations of glow worms. Invest in a dry bag or waterproof camera to try and capture images of the incredible glow worm caves.
12 🚗Waitomo to Piha drive
🚗Piha to Paihia drive
Dep: 09:00
Dep: 14:00
Arr: 12:30
Arr: 18:00
🏨Abri Apartments (Book >) All hotels >
Break up the long drive to Kerikeri with a stop at amazing Piha Beach, setting of the film The Piano and a favourite for surfers. You’re likely to encounter some Māori language. Learn a few basic words here.
13 Take to the water in the magnificent Bay of Islands on a kayak tour (where you also have the option of staying overnight, camping by the beach). Make sure that your insurance covers you for the various adventures sports on offer here.
14 🚗Paihia to Cape Reinga drive
🚗Cape Reinga to Whangarei drive
Dep: 09:00
Dep: 14:00
Arr: 12:00
Arr: 18:00
🏨Lupton Lodge (Book >) All hotels >
Cape Reinga/Te Rerenga Wairua is at the northernmost tip of New Zealand and is where Maori spirits begin their final journey. It offers incredible views of the crashing sea from the lighthouse. On your way to/from here you may want to have a go at sandboarding at the Te Paki dunes. You can hire boards at the Te Paki dunes, but be sure to shop around for the best price and best condition equipment.
15 🚗Waipoua Lodge to Auckland drive Dep: 10:00 Arr: 13:30 🏨Haka Hotel Suites (Book >) All hotels >
Back to where your adventure began and plenty of time today to see anything you missed on days 2-3. The red city circuit bus offers a free hop on hop off service around Auckland city centre every 10 minutes.
16-17 ✈Auckland to home (Book >) Dep: Evening Arr: Morning (next day) Connect this New Zealand North itinerary with the New Zealand South, Australia or Fiji & Samoa itinerary
Book your shuttle to the airport.
Budget Waitomo caves, New Zealand
1 ✈To Auckland (Book >) Dep: Evening 🏨 In flight!
2-3 Arr: Morning 🏨Haka Lodge (Book >) All hotels >
Once you’ve left your luggage at the hotel, head to the docks and take the ferry to Waiheke Island for a vineyard visit, or Rangitoto island for some excellent hiking or sea kayaking. When you get back head up the Sky Tower. If you’re from a visa waiver country you don’t need to apply until you arrive in New Zealand
4 🚌Auckland to Thames bus
🚌Thames to Whitianga bus (Book >)
Dep: 07:50
Dep: 09:55
Arr: 09:40
Arr: 12:10
🏨Turtle Cove (Book >) All hotels >
Once you arrive in Whitianga on the Coromandel Peninsula, take the shuttle to Hot Water Beach where you can dig a pool in the sand and luxuriate in the hot water. Continue on to the picturesque Cathedral Cove. The shuttle service is a small company, so be sure to book in advance (it’s also cheaper when you travel with more people).
5 🚌Whitianga to Thames bus
🚌Thames to Tauranga bus (Book >)
Dep: 12:25
Dep: 14:20
Arr: 14:00
Arr: 16:10
🏨ArtHouse Accommodation(Book >) All hotels >
Journey to the lovely seaside town of Tauranga. There is a bus to Rotorua today at 17:10 if you don’t fancy an early start tomorrow.
6 🚌Tauranga to Rotorua bus (Book >)
🚌Rotorua to Taupo bus (Book >)
Dep: 07:10
Dep: 13:00
Arr: 08:35
Arr: 14:00
🏨Finlay Jacks Backpackers (Book >) All hotels >
Head south to steaming, sulphurous Rotorua. Here you can see geysers and hot mud pools, as well as start getting to know Māori culture. In the afternoon visit dramatic Huka Falls near Taupo. If you don’t want to pay to see the Te Puia hot springs and geysers, there are plenty to see around town for free.
7 🚌Taupo to Napier bus (Book >) Dep: 13:05 Arr: 15:10 🏨Toad Hall Backpackers (Book >) All hotels >
On arrival into Napier hire a bicycle and visit some Hawke’s Bay vineyards. Church Road and Mission Estate wineries are just 16km away.
8 🚌Napier to Wellington bus (Book >) Dep: 07:45 Arr: 13:30 🏨YHA Wellington City (Book >) All hotels >
Te Papa is worth the journey to Wellington alone. Once you’ve enjoyed a couple of hours at this museum, you have plenty more to see, including a walk along the charming waterfront to Oriental Bay, a Weta Studios tour, a ride on the cable from Lambton Quay up to Kelburn. Cuba Street comes alive at night and is a good place to hunt down a restaurant. If you’re in Wellington at the weekend then the food market off of Cuba Street offers great food on a budget.
9 🚌Wellington to National Park  bus (Book >)
🚐National Park to Whakapapa Village transfer  (Book >)
Dep: 07:45
Dep: 14:00
Arr: 13:19
Arr: 14:15
🏨Mangatepopo Hut (Book >)
Once you arrive into National Park leave the bulk of your luggage with your hostel for night 11, then take the shuttle to Whakapapa Village and begin the Tongrariro Crossing, starting with a walk to Mangatepopo. The Tongariro Visitor Centre can store your luggage for a small fee.
11 🚐Ketetahi to National Park transfer (Book >) Dep: 14:30 Arr: 15:00 🏨Plateau Lodge (Book >) All hotels >
Today you’ll continue on the famous Tongariro Crossing. Book your return shuttle in advance. Wear plenty of sunscreen – the sun is strong in NZ.
12 🚌National Park to Waitomo Township bus (Book >) Dep: 13:20 Arr: 15:50 🏨YHA Waitomo Juno Hall (Book >) All hotels >
You are in for a real treat today. Black Water Rafting isn’t as scary as it sounds, in fact it involves a sedate float on tubes through caves adorned with constellations of glow worms. The last tour leaves at 16:00. Consider becoming a YHA member to save 10% on each YHA stay.
13 🚌Waitomo to Auckland bus (Book >)
🚌Auckland to Paihia bus (Book >)
Dep: 11:47
Dep: 17:30
Arr: 14:45
Arr: 21:29
🏨Haka Lodge (Book >) All hotels >
Leave your luggage at the bus station and take in another of Auckland’s sights. You’re likely to encounter some Māori language. Learn a few basic words here.
14 Take to the water in the magnificent Bay of Islands on a kayak tour (where you also have the option of staying overnight, camping by the beach). Make sure that your insurance covers you for the various adventures sports on offer here.
15 Book a day trip to Cape Reinga/Te Rerenga Wairua at the northernmost tip of New Zealand and where Maori spirits begin their final journey. On the way you’ll stop off at Ninety Mile Beach. You can hire boards at the Te Paki dunes, but be sure to shop around for the best price and best condition equipment.
16-17 🚌Paihia to Auckland bus (Book >)
✈Auckland to home (Book >)
Dep: 10:15
Dep: Evening
Arr: 14:40
Arr: Morning (next day)
Connect this New Zealand North itinerary with the New Zealand South, Australia or Fiji & Samoa itinerary
Book your shuttle to the airport.