Around the world with Leah Naomi
Professional jetsetter Leah Naomi takes us on a tour of her top 10 most ’grammable travel destinations
Vibe: An energetic town with a lot of European history, it’s a great place for meeting other travellers. Stay: Goli & Bosi Design Hostel is modern, clean and spacious. Eat: Homemade pasta at Figa food bar. Do: Krka Falls (about an hour away) is great for swimming. Go: June to August. In July, the Ultra music festival is a must. Pack: Walking shoes for all the cobblestone streets. ’Gram: The top of Split’s bell tower provides the best views over the city.
Vibe: On the edge of the Sahara, Merzouga is one of the most remote places I’ve been. Stay: None of the hotels is exactly 5-star but the location makes up for it. I like Kasbah Hotel Tombouctou. Eat: Tajine, Morocco’s most famous dish. Do: Ride a camel into the desert and camp overnight. The experience never gets old. Go: Most people say not to visit in summer (June to late August) because of Ramadan and because it’s 40 degrees by day. But if you can handle the heat, there are no tourists and everything is super cheap. Pack: A scarf to protect your face from a possible sandstorm. ’Gram: A beautiful sunrise in the desert.
Vibe: Nothing like Cancun with its high-rise apartments and night clubs. There’s a huge focus on health in Tulum. Expect yoga on the beach, juice bars and organic food. Stay: The Papaya Playa hotel. Eat: Smoothie bowls at Raw Love restaurant. Do: Chichen Itza is one of the wonders of the world, so you have to see it to say you’ve been. Go: Try to avoid the American holiday periods, because the accommodation can get pretty expensive. The weather’s warm all year around. Pack: Plenty of mosquito repellent. ’Gram: Underground swimming pool Cenote Ik Kil for sure, but the Tulum ruins are the best for beach photos.
Vibe: A relaxed little town with a lot of history, and a great place for outdoor activities such as horse riding, quad biking and hiking. Stay: Sultan Cave Suites, a good mid-range hotel with lovely staff. Eat: Turkish ravioli at Old Cappadocia Café & Restaurant. Do: A hot-air balloon ride at sunrise. It’s expensive, at around 100 euros per person, but worth every cent. Go: Anytime but winter (December to February). The snow will prevent you doing any outdoor activities. Pack: Energy drinks or caffeine pills to help you wake up at 4:30am to watch the balloons at sunrise. ’Gram: Anything taken from the hot-air balloon is going to be stunning, but if that’s not in your budget, don’t worry, you can also get great photos from the ground.
Vibe: The most romantic Greek island, Santorini is unbelievably beautiful. Stay: Accommodation isn’t cheap, but if you’re looking to treat yourself to a hotel room with sea views, I like Fanari Villas. Eat: Gyros – like a kebab but they put fries inside it too. ‘Nuff said. Do: Rent a quad bike for the day and go beachhopping around the island. Make sure to stop off at Amoudi Bay for some cliff jumping. Go: June to late August bring the most crowds but have the best weather. The island basically shuts down in the winter. Pack: A pretty dress – people tend to dress up in Santorini. ’Gram: Anywhere in Oia. It’s the town at the northernmost point of the island. Sunset is the best time for photos.
Vibe: A nature lover’s paradise, about an hour north of Bali’s crazy beaches. Stay: Most of the hotels are buried deep in the forest – perfect if you are seeking peace and quiet. It doesn’t get much more photogenic than the Ubud Hanging Gardens hotel. Eat: Anything from Moksa, a cheap, plant-based café great for
vegans and vegetarians. Do: A bike tour on Mount Agung (sign up for the tour going down, not up!) and the monkey forest. Go: June to September brings the best weather, while January has the most rainfall. Pack: Mosquito repellent and a loose skirt or pants for covering up before entering the temples. ’Gram: Ubud’s Elephant Safari Park Lodge, where you can ride and swim with elephants.
Vibe: Luxurious and romantic, it’s a popular honeymoon destination. Don’t expect to do any partying here though. Most of the resorts are on their own islands and have only small bars. Stay: Gili Lankanfushi. The rooms are like little wooden treehouses suspended over the water. Sharks often swim right up to your doorstep. Eat: As each hotel is on its own island, you’re restricted to eating hotel food. The sushi was really good at our hotel because the fish was so fresh. Do: Scuba diving with manta rays. Go: November to April. May to October is still warm, but the weather can be a little bit unpredictable. Pack: Sunscreen. The sun is harsh even on cloudy days. ’Gram: Sunset on the beach. Every night the sky was a deep pink colour.
Vibe: A fun, beachside city known for having some of the best nightlife in Europe. Stay: Casa Gracia Barcelona is a super cheap and social hostel, decorated beautifully. Eat: La Boqueria food market has the best fruit and fresh juices. The coconut strawberry juice was my favorite. Do: Visit Parc Guell, a Unesco World Heritage Site, designed by Gaudi, with the most beautiful views of the city. Go: Summer for sure. Don’t visit in winter. The vibe is completely different and not as much fun. Pack: Bikinis. And a handbag or backpack that zips closed, because Barcelona is known for pickpockets. ’Gram: Anything from the W Barcelona hotel. It’s expensive to stay there, but anyone can visit the bar/nightclub.
NEW YORK, USA
Vibe: It’s anything but boring. Stay: The Standard High Line hotel: floor to ceiling windows equal incredible views, and it’s located right in the middle of the clubbing district. Eat: Speakeasy restaurant Beauty & Essex (it looks like a jewellery store from the front). Do: See the city from the Top of the Rock observation deck. Although the Empire State Building is more famous, the awful netting around the observation deck makes it difficult to take good photos. Go: Spring is the ultimate (especially late March to early April). Summer is extremely hot and winter is extremely cold. Pack: An extra suitcase for all the incredible shopping you’re going to do. ’Gram: Top of the Rock.
Vibe: An extremely glamourous town. Stay: Le Sirenuse hotel. It’s expensive but famous and worth the splurge. Eat: I lived off paninis from Delicatessen. Do: A day-trip to Capri by boat, stopping off at all the little caves along the way. Go: Prices skyrocket between June and late August, so plan your trip around the beginning or end of summer. Pack: The main beach is made up of tiny little stones which can be painful on your feet even in jandals. Walking shoes are essential. ’Gram: The colourful houses on the hill, taken from the main beach.