As we reflect on our travels in 2016, we are digging through the archives and reviewing the past year via our JetSetting Fools Instagram account (@JSFtravel). In an effort to wrap the past 365 days of travel into one post, we’ve picked our 20 best Instagram photos of 2016 that reflect our travel experiences this year.
In 2016, we explored new countries and revisited a few that we love. We rang in 2016 in the Netherlands, got a real dose of winter on a quick jaunt to Iceland in February and then completely thawed out with a five-month stint in Costa Rica. After a quick visit to the States, we took off for Europe in the middle of the summer…and have yet to leave. For five months, we’ve ventured through the countries of the former Yugoslavia (including Slovenia, Croatia, Serbia, Kosovo and Macedonia) before landing in London for Christmas and New Year’s Eve.
We invite you to review the year with us and take a look at our 20 best Instagram photos of 2016.
Note: Our 20 Best Instagram Photos of 2016 are not the ones that garnered the most ‘likes,’ but are ones that best depict our travel experiences throughout the year.
20 Best Instagram Photos of 2016
#1 Winter with Berus in Beek, Netherlands
House and pet sitting is what brought us to the small village of Beek, Netherlands, which is located just to the west of the German border, near the city of Nijmegen. While we loved discovering Dutch cuisine and exploring the city, we most enjoyed our crisp morning walks through the forest and fields with Mr. B.
#2 Wintery landscpes in Vik, Iceland
The landscapes of Iceland in wintertime blew us away (as did the fierce, cold wind, at times). We toured the naturally beautiful sights on the Golden Circle and the Southern Coast. Although our toes and fingers were numb, we were captivated by sights – especially of the basalt rock sea stacks covered in white snow just off the shore of the black sand beach in Vik.
#3 Icelandic Horses in Snow
The beautiful Icelandic Horses are a symbol of the island nation. As we traversed the land to waterfalls and glaciers, we glimpsed the hardy horses, known for their five-gaits, in fields across the countryside.
#4 Secluded Playa Zancudo, Costa Rica
In the secluded, one-road town of Zancudo, Costa Rica, the six-mile stretch of beach is the main attraction. Every day, in the late afternoon, a light breeze would pick up across the Gulfo Dulce and we would carry our chairs out to the beach to watch the sun sink behind the Osa Peninsula.
#5 Bridge Crossing in Pavones, Costa Rica
In our remote location in southwest Costa Rica, the daily lives of the local citizens never ceased to amaze us. Fresh vegetables are sold from a truck that rolls through town twice a week. Fishermen stand knee-high in the river tossing scraps of fish to snapping crocodiles. And, old yellow school buses are used to transport people from town to town, down dirt roads and over narrow, rail-less, wooden-planked bridges.
#6 Picture-Pefect Lake Bohinj, Slovenia
We were in awe of the natural beauty at Lake Bohinj in Slovenia. Looking west from the stone arched bridge at the east end of the lake, the scene was like a painting. With such intense colors and dramatic mountains, we wouldn’t have believed it was real had we not seen it with our own eyes.
#7 Kranj, Slovenia Skyline
The city of Kranj, Slovenia is overshadowed by the nearby capital, Ljubljana – making it little known to most tourists who visit the country. In the month that we were in Kranj house and pet sitting Sir Charles, however, we discovered a city full of history, nature and a flair for the arts. It was also well-connected for day trips to Ljubljana, Skofja Loka, Vintgar Gorge and Celje.
Would you want to live here? Well, since the 5th Century people have and today Kranj is Slovenia’s 4th largest city. Built at the confluence of the Sava and Kokra rivers, the city is well connected by rail, bus and is actually closer to the country’s international airport (LJU) than Ljubljana. It’s been a fantastic home base for us with it’s cafes, well preserved historical sites, thriving art scene and convenient access to nature. Check it out! 👌 . . . #Kranj #Slovenia #VisitKranj #EnjoyKranj #ulicekranja #takeoverkranj #ifeelslovenia #igslovenia #OneLifeOneWorld #wanderlustwednesday #travel #aroundtheworld #traveltheworld #🇸🇮
#8 Predjama Castle in Slovenia
We visited many castles in Slovenia, but none quite like Predjama Castle. The medieval castle was built 800 years ago, concealing and incorporating a natural cave. As we toured the inside, we noted how the structure was integrated into the cave. Beyond the man-made castle walls, we explored the cave that provided secret passageways, a natural water source and hidden rooms.
“Why would you stay so long in Slovenia?” We’ve actually been asked this quite frequently, and instead of just gushing on and on about how incredible we find it, sometimes it’s best to just let Slovenia show you for itself! . . . #Predjama #Slovenia #ifeelslovenia #igslovenia #travel #aroundtheworld #wanderlust #traveltheworld #OneLifeOneWorld #🇸🇮
#9 Sunset on the Piran Peninsula in Slovenia
We are often drawn to the coast – and in Slovenia it was no different. Although Slovenia only has 29 miles of coastline on the Adriatic Sea, there is ample beauty. The town of Piran, perched on a peninsula, captivated us with its cobblestone lanes, orange-tiled rooftops and dominating church and bell tower.
#10 Shimmering Ljubljana, Slovenia
Ljubljana is an easy city to fall in love with; we certainly did on our first visit in 2015 – and we were reassured of our love when we returned this year. Reminiscent of a fairytale, the pastel-painted city with a hill-topping castle shimmers in the last light of the day.
#11 Waterfalls in Plitvice Lakes NP, Croatia
When travel schedules aligned to bring two of our friends from America on vacation to Slovenia and Croatia, we were eager to introduce them to what has become one of our favorite regions on the planet. We were ecstatic that they wanted to see Plitvice Lakes National Park, which provided an opportunity for us to see the park in autumn rather than winter. Although the paths were familiar and the waterfalls recognizable, the stunning landscapes glowed under golden light.
#12 Peering through Ploce Gate in Dubrovnik, Croatia
We hadn’t planned on escorting our friends all the way to Dubrovnik. After all, we had been to the Pearl of the Adriatic twice before and slightly dreaded going in early autumn when the walled city would still be crowded with tourists. However, traveling with friends changed our perspective…besides, how could we resist one last dip in the Adriatic Sea and a stroll down the Stadun?
#13 The Victor in Belgrade, Serbia
The Victor Monument is a symbol of Belgrade, Serbia that commemorates the Kingdom of Yugoslavia’s triumph in the First Balkan War and World War I. We saw that pride reflected in the citizens of the city. Speaking with locals, we felt their passion for their country and heritage.
The Pobednik: The Victor Monument stands at 14 meters and was constructed in 1928 to commemorate The Kingdom of Yugoslavia’s victories in the First Balkan War and World War I. It’s placed in the Upper Town of Belgrade Fortress above the confluence of the Sava and Danube Rivers and is considered a symbol of Belgrade. Would anyone care to guess why he’s naked? . . . #Belgrade #Serbia #VisitBelgrade #MySerbia #travel #aroundtheworld #wanderlust #traveltheworld #OneLifeOneWorld #🇷🇸
#14 A Man at the Market in Prishtina, Kosovo
Venturing into markets is always a good way to take a peek at local life in the cities we visit. What is for sale? How much is it? How do the vendors interact with customers and each other? At the Green Market in Prishtina, Kosovo, we got more than we bargained for as we were warmly welcomed into the chaos of the ramshackle market – kind words and kind eyes we won’t soon forget.
Humans Of Kosovo: It’s not often (okay never) that we post photos directly of people, but as we strolled through the green market, failing miserably at being discreet, we were actually approached by several people wanting us to take their picture. How could we possibly decline? . . . #Prishtina #Kosovo #travel #aroundtheworld #wanderlust #traveltheworld #OneLifeOneWorld #mybestintravel #🇽🇰
#15 Atop the Fort in Prizren, Kosovo
There are two routes to the hilltop Medieval Fortress that looms over the city of Prizren: short-but-steep or long forest trail. Regardless of which path we took, we were rewarded with astounding views of the city below and mountains in the distance. We tried to count the number of minarets that pierced the sky, but usually lost count somewhere in the 20s.
Good Day From Prizren! Kosovo’s second city of approximately 180,000 features a well preserved old quarter packed with cafes and shops of every variety. For spectacular views above it all, follow the signs for Kalaja and take a hike to the Fortress. . . . #Prizren #Kosovo #travel #aroundtheworld #wanderlust #traveltheworld #mybestintravel #OneLifeOneWorld #🇽🇰
#16 St. John at Kaneo on Lake Ohrid, Macedonia
There are 365 churches in Lake Ohrid, Macedonia – one for each day of the year, they told us. But, none are as photogenic as the Church of St. John at Kaneo. For the best views of the church and lake, we followed a dirt trail to a secluded spot on the hillside. Although the scene needed no enhancements, the setting sun provided a stunning backdrop.
Farewell Lake Ohrid, you’ve completely amazed us. Our arrival coincided with the end of season here, but there was still plenty to experience. Walking lakeside, hiking around the fortress or just relaxing and taking in the calmness and the beauty that is Lake Ohrid. On now to Skopje and, we reckon, a completely different look of Macedonia! . . . #LakeOhrid #Macedonia #travel #aroundtheworld #wanderlust #traveltheworld #mybestintravel #OneLifeOneWorld #🇲🇰
#17 The Old Bridge in Skopje, Macedonia
Our visit to Skopje – the capital of Macedonia – saw the city under construction as part of the Skopje 2014 project that began in 2010…and will continue well into 2017 (if not longer). Besides the new facades concealing old buildings, a copious number of statues have been erected around the city. Regardless of all the new elements being added to the city, the 15th-century Stone Bridge that connects the main square to the Old Bazaar remains an icon of Skopje.
Stone Bridge spans the Vardar River, connecting Macedonia Square to the Old Bazaar. The Archeological Museum commands the skyline, opened in 2014 as part of the massive remake to the center of Skopje. . . . #Skopje #Macedonia #travel #aroundtheworld #wanderlust #traveltheworld #mybestintravel #OneLifeOneWorld #🇲🇰
#18 Advent in Zagreb, Croatia
We ushered in the holiday season by joining the festivities of Advent in Zagreb, Croatia. On crisp nights, we walked through streets decorated for Christmas and perused the wares for sale from wooden huts as we listened to the sounds of music drift through the markets – most often with a warm, mulled wine in hand.
Guiding Lights: Different designs and colors grace the streets, squares and laneways around Zagreb. Each turn is a delight and we love wandering aimlessly through them all, kuhano vino in hand, of course! What’s your favorite way to explore a city? . . . #Zagreb #Croatia #AdventZagreb #CroatiaFullOfMagic #aroundtheworld #wanderlust #traveltheworld #mybestintravel #OneLifeOneWorld #🇭🇷
#19 Osijek, Croatia in the Fog
Osijek, Croatia turned out to be much more photogenic than we anticipated – even on cold, foggy days. Osijek and the eastern province of Slavonia are often overlooked as travel destinations, but we were impressed by the city’s architecture, the natural landscapes…and the sumptuous culinary treasures!
#20 Angels in London
London lights up at Christmastime with festive decorations illuminating the city; the most beautiful ornamentation being the glowing angels that fly over Regent Street. On New Year’s Eve, fireworks will light up the sky signaling the beginning of 2017.
We hope you’ll continue to follow our adventures in 2017! Happy New Year!
Like what you’re reading? Join the journey!
Subscribe to JetSetting Fools and get new blog posts and our quarterly newsletter direct to your inbox:
We want to know: What are your best Instagram photos of 2016? Share them in the comments!
Pin it! See all of our travel pins on our JetSetting Fools Pinterest Board.