Must visit places in Sri Lanka: everything you can expect from the island!

There is an island in the Indian Ocean that promises the perfect adventure: Sri Lanka! I’ve visited this relatively undiscovered country twice and love to come here to surf, but also because of the amazing nature and wild animals. In addition, there’s one cool adventure after another waiting for you: whether night safaris, jungle trekking, white water rafting, or beautiful train rides – a backpacking trip through Sri Lanka is never boring!

However, there are still frenzied buses that almost kill you, and monsoons that bring heavy rain throughout the year at various locations. Also, extreme moisture in Sri Lanka can make you feel pretty tired and cause damage to your camera!

Nevertheless, Sri Lanka is really cool and will inspire you for sure, just like me! Which adventures you can go on exactly, the things I love about the island and things I don’t, I’ll tell you in this Sri Lanka backpacking guide!

Adventure island Sri Lanka

Must visit places in Sri Lanka

The most important information about Sri Lanka

The small island state, which houses just around 20.3 million residents, you reach best by plane. With Sri Lankan Airlines you can even fly directly to the capital Colombo from Frankfurt several times a week. Compared to home, the public transport, such as taxis, trains, buses and domestic flights are as good as anywhere. Although Sri Lanka has two official languages, Sinhala and Tamil, the locals speak English pretty well.

The Sri Lankans are very open and colorful people, especially in terms of religion. Although about 70% of the population belongs to Buddhism, you will also find many Hindus, Muslims, and even Christians. What may perhaps be a little unusual at first over time conveys a really cool image; the sacred Hindu cows actually roam freely everywhere! Have you ever seen cows sunbathing on the beach? In Sri Lanka, this is part of the agenda!

The currency on the island is the Sri Lankan Rupee (LKR) and it’s worth quite a bit more compared to other Asian currencies. Which, of course, again means that the price levels are also generally slightly higher than you’re perhaps used to in many neighboring countries of Sri Lanka. But even so, it’s still far below our western prices! Thus, Sri Lanka offers as a travel destination and a really good price to performance ratio.

Colombo: Your start to Sri Lanka

With roughly 650,000 inhabitants Colombo is the capital of Sri Lanka. All international airlines fly in and out from Colombo, no matter if coming from Asia or Europe. Sri Lankan Arlines offers several direct flights from major airports such as Frankfurt daily, starting at a price as low as 225 Euros. Other major airlines like Emirates, Etihad, Singapore Airlines or Cathay Pacific also fly from Europe to Colombo, however including a stop over at their hubs. Just check Skyscanner for the best flight options for you and then head over to the airline’s website to book your flight directly with the airline.

Must visit places in Sri Lanka - Sir Lankan Airlines approach Colombo

Colombo accommodation: Colombo Hotel by Ceilao Villas

If you’re looking for a really cool and somewhat different accommodation, Colombo Hotel by Ceilao Villas is just right for you! This former architect villa offers 6 rooms in total, all being individually decorated. You also find some comfy sofa corners around the villa or you can simply relax in the garden or at one of the villa’s two small pools – the perfect place to leave the buzzing streets of Colombo behind! But what’s best about the Colombo Hotel by Ceilao Villas is the super friendly stuff, making you feel welcomed and at home instantly.

The 5 things I love about Sri Lanka!

1. The indescribable landscape

First of course I have to mention the really amazing, unique landscape. It is waiting to be discovered by us adventurers – you and me!

Sri Lanka is a truly diverse country that welcomes you on your journey not only with white sand beaches, palm trees and the Indian Ocean, but also climbing in the central highlands; up to 2,500 meter high mountains and the very special biodiversity rainforest.

Pilgrimage to Adam’s Peak

Perhaps you’ve heard of the butterfly mountain or the so-called Adam’s Peak? With its 2,243 meter high peak, it is not the highest mountain on the island, but certainly the most famous. Just below the summit there is a depression which is called in Sinhalese Sri Pada (Holy Feet). This depression is the reason why the mountain is considered a sacred place in all four major religions in the country.

The buddhists believe Sri Pada is the footprint of the Buddha and the Hindus see it as Shiva’s footprint, while Muslims worship the recess as the footprint of Adam and the Christians as the Apostle Thomas. It is now probably not much of a surprise to you that the mountain is a popular pilgrimage site. It’s usually scaled on a 7-kilometer long staircase at night, which of course is an absolutely unique experience that you will certainly never forget for your entire life!

After several hours, in which you have climbed along with hundreds of pilgrims one step after another, you finish in time for sunrise at the summit! An awesome view awaits you: every centimeter of the land among you is illuminated by the rising sun, and you can look for kilometers – amazing and for sure one of the must visit places in Sri Lanka!

The lion rock Sigiriya

You can get a bit of the mystic history of Sri Lanka at Sigiriya, also known as Lion Rock. On the magma block of an eroded volcano, there’s a monolith which rises about 200 meters above the surrounding flat land. Once this stood on the fortress of King Kassapa. Today, however, it’s only the foundation walls you’re able to see, but there are some other things to discover around Sigiriya: for example, the murals of topless girl clouds and even graffiti poetry from the 7th century!

Tea plantations in the central highlands

But what would a trip through the central highlands of Sri Lanka be without a visit to the tea plantations, which lie like a thick, green carpet over the countryside? The tea pickers, who engage with their brightly colored saris and hand woven baskets between the bushes of their work, give the endless green of the vast tea fields some cool splashes of color.

Pretty cool: In some plantations you can even lend a hand and pick your own tea, which, by the way, is not as easy as it looks for travelers!

Endless waterfalls

Another highlight in the mountains of Sri Lanka are the many waterfalls that tumble down from the dizzying heights of the steep slopes. With a height of 241 meters, the Bambarakanda, formed from the Kudu Oya River, is the highest waterfall in the island nation. Here, coincidentally, is also a cool adventure waiting for you: you can climb the waterfall! And to see the power of this elemental force up close ensures absolute goose bumps!

Dense rainforest

As if that were not enough variety, on the island there are vast amounts of rainforest! A particularly challenging adventure is a walk through the Sinharaja Forest, the last lowland rainforest of the country. Once you enter the jungle, it’s like you’re in another world: The daylight barely penetrates through the dense treetops and the sounds of the jungle sound loud and shrill above, below and beside you! You quickly get an impression of what untouched nature really looks like!

Additionally, of course, there are some cool jungle creatures like monkeys, snakes, exotic birds and insects, but also other kinds of plants for you – a whole other world!

Tropical Beaches

What’s better than a lazy afternoon at a tropical beach where you can simply quite safely unwind after a sweltering jungle adventure? At last, when you feel the white, fine sand under your feet, you feel like you’re in paradise! You can also dip into the turquoise sea, which provides a necessary refreshment, and you’ll wonder why you’d ever book a return ticket home …

Must visit places in Sri Lanka

2. Exotic wildlife experience

It’s clear that when there are places with a jungle, you can discover a diverse and exotic wildlife! How close you can really get to these animals in Sri Lanka, is awesome!

Leopard in Yala National Park

In terms of wildlife the Yala National Park in the south of the island is certainly far ahead of many other destinations. The park, with its 35 leopards, has the world’s densest population of these rare big cats! However, you can also observe other animals in the wild, such as elephants, crocodiles and an incredible number of different species of monkeys. This park is one of the must visit places in Sri Lanka!

Must visit places in Sri Lanka - leopard yala

Elephant migration in Minneriya National Park

If you’re a fan of the grey pachyderms, then you won’t want to miss the elephant migration in Minneriya National Park! Here, every year, up to 400 elephants simultaneously gather in August and September to eat the juicy grass, which at that time grows in the dried up Minneriya fields. To see so many of these vast, yet gentle animals, in one place is an experience that you will not soon forget! Do not miss this amazing spectacle!

Must visit places in Sri Lanka - Elephant Migration

Whales, whales and more whales!

If you are not satisfied by the elephants in the jungle, no problem! In Sri Lanka you have the possibility to see a ton of different whales! For several years, the large marine mammals have frolicked every year from December to April off the southern tip of Sri Lanka. The Port of Mirissa is the starting point for many whale-watching tours that bring you close to these giants of the sea. Here you will meet not only sperm whales, killer whales, dolphins and sea turtles, but also have the unique opportunity to observe the largest mammal in the world: the blue whale!

It is definitely worthwhile here to compare prices and to ask for a money back guarantee, which some tours already offer in the case of an unsuccessful boat tour (which at peak times hardly occurs).

Balu, the sloth bear

Another animal highlight of the island is the Indian sloth bear, who was still quite widespread not long ago in India. You find him almost only in Sri Lanka. If you opt for the only bear style that lives on the island, then your best bet is the night tour. Incidentally, the way the sloth bear gets his name is by his strange way of eating; he sucks his food through a big gap in his front teeth in the mouth by pursing his lips and uses them as a kind of sucker – pretty wicked, right?

3. The train – an experience in itself!

I have already mentioned that you can often be unsafe by taking public transport to the island state. While I have frequently dreaded the buses (more on that later), I could not get enough of the trains! You go by really brilliant landscapes time and again, and, moreover, the ticket prices are really cheap.

Trains in Sri Lanka are divided, as almost everywhere in the world, into different classes. Some of these are equipped with air conditioning (priceless at these temperatures!), which makes the entire stay in the compartments of course a lot more pleasant. In addition, at every station there are dealers that offer you freshly prepared snacks for sale, from juicy pineapple pieces, to mango with cinnamon and rice with curry.

The most popular and most scenic routes are the connections between Ella and Kandy, and between Polonnaruwa and Colombo. However, the route between Ella and Kandy is clearly still the nicer of the two! Due to their popularity you should book your ticket for this route in advance. You can book either directly at the station or through private railway companies online.

4. Incredible adventures!

Sri Lanka has a lot to offer for its rather small size and can fully complete your adventure and satisfy your adrenaline addiction!

Night Safaris and multi-day safari hikes

A very special experience is the Night Safari! You’ll discover a completely different and unknown side of the jungle in the dark! Many of the popular bush camps or Glamping sites offer all sorts of day and night tours and the best thing about the camps is the journey in itself is already worth it!

Because really, what’s more exciting than sleeping in the middle of nature, especially in a country like Sri Lanka? You might just wonder what Glamping is. The word is derived from “glamorous camping” and simply means that while you are sleeping in a tent, you don’t necessarily have to give up a comfortable setting. In many Glamp tents there is next to a real bed often a washing area, and in some cases even a proper toilet. Real luxury when you go camping!

In addition, you can also participate in a multi-day safari trek through the country’s jungle! You have the chance here to experience a unique place: in the morning you’ll wake to the cries of monkeys and at night go to sleep to the buzzing of insects that might even crawl in your sleeping bag! On a jungle trek you not only get an incredible number of exotic animals to see, but also learn to know places that certainly very few travelers to Sri Lanka discover! For example, hidden waterfalls, ancient temple ruins or simply the thicket of the rainforest!

If that is not enough of a thrill, then you should try rock climbing! This adventure is especially worthwhile on the aforementioned Bambarakanda Falls. Here you can watch the falls come crashing down while you climb higher and higher even at the steep edge on one of the three routes. It’s a real challenge in this sweltering jungle climate! The feeling when you have finally made it to the top, of course, is absolutely outrageous!

Whitewater rafting, kayaking and diving

On an island, it’s not exactly surprising that almost any sport in and on the water are offered. You can go whitewater rafting in Sri Lanka on the raging rivers, such as the Kelani River. Whether you want to throw yourself in the water for only an hour or spend half a day on the water is entirely up to you and your hunger for adventure!

What you should definitely schedule during your trip to Sri Lanka is a kayak tour! You definitely get to see a unique part of the country from a completely different perspective, and at the same time it does something for your arms! The coolest one is a kayak tour on the Kalu Ganga River, which extends from the interior to the West Coast.

Speaking of water, I have to also mention the diving. Whether you’re at a complete professional diving level or it’s your very first dive, the small island in the Indian Ocean with its numerous dive sites certainly has the right course available for you! The most popular diving spots can be found in Bentota, Negombo, Trincomalee, and Hikkaduwa. You can venture into the depths of the sea yourself to discover hidden reefs and watch exotic fish species, or explore one of the shipwrecks that lie off the coast – with an average visibility of 15 to 20 meters and a water temperature of about 27 degrees, your dive becomes a brilliant experience for sure!

Surfing swell – all year round !

If you’ve ever stood on a surfboard and (even if only little bit) ridden on a wave, then you already know that it’s addictive! The feeling that grabs at you in every moment, when you jump on your board after paddling and then actually hold your balance can often feel like nothing else in the world!

In Sri Lanka there is a surf season that lasts almost all year! The reason for this is the special weather conditions and climate situation on the island (more on that later), that make (depending on the season) the best surfing conditions possible on either the south coast at Ahangama or on the east coast at Arungam Bay. Even if you’ve never ridden on a wave, the surf of the Indian Ocean here in Sri Lanka is ideally suited to make it easy to try out – I bet if you did it once, you’d want to do it again and again! Read through our review of one week at a surfcamp in Sri Lanka here.

Must visit places in Sri Lanka

5. Incredibly nice people!

Ultimately, it is always the people that make a trip a memorable one. And Sri Lankans are super friendly, helpful and open people! Mostly you’re not up here alone for very long and you’re always going by the locals with a nice “Hello!”. No wonder that the people on the island, which incidentally is just as big as Bayern, are always in a good mood – they are always surrounded by beautiful scenery, enjoy year round warm weather and have, above all, the most holidays around the world! And if that is not a reason to start each day with a smile, then I don’t know what is!

5 small downsides of Sri Lanka

1. Buses

I’ve already mentioned that I dread the buses in Sri Lanka and I don’t exaggerate! The drivers on the island are either the bravest people in the world, or they are simply convinced they’re transporting people while sitting in a Formula 1 car instead of a bus! No, in all honesty, the speed at which the buses move on the island is really outrageous, and it is a wonder that pedestrians still dare crossing the street.

My tip: Attempt to avoid highways as much as possible and always look out for the buses!

2. Weather – or rather, monsoons

In many countries there are rain and monsoons, which is not so bad, but in Sri Lanka the monsoons just seem to never stop. Between May and September there’s a monsoon on the southwest of the island, and the monsoon season in the northeast falls from October to January. But that is not enough, because there is also a so-called “inter-monsoon” that rages on the island between October and mid-November. Naturally, this sounds complicated and can be really hard during your trip, so you should look up the exact information before your trip. The 12-month surf season owes itself to the abundant monsoons of Sri Lanka!

3. The incredible moisture!

Another side effect of the climate, which is not as enjoyable as the endless surf season, is the high humidity that makes you not only incredibly tired and worn out, but can sometimes lead to fractured bones. Yes, you read it correctly! The moisture that deposits itself everywhere, ensures that tile floors are smooth as a mirror within a short time, and you can easily slip on them! If you don’t want to spend your trip nursing a sprained ankle, stay aware of the surfaces you’re walking on and especially pay attention to tiled floors.

The moisture also creeps into your clothes and your bedding, which is really uncomfortable at the beginning of your trip. Moreover, this high level of humidity can be particularly dangerous for your travel gadgets such as your camera or your laptop.

4. Elephants in chains

In Sri Lanka many elephants live in the wild, but unfortunately quite a lot of elephants live in captivity. Most baby elephants are already tamed from their flock (mostly from the elephant orphanage in Pinnawela) and used for private uses. After bringing good money to safaris every month, elephants are captured for “public purposes”. For example, they’re used for appearances in parades. That may all be normal there, but seeing an elephant living his existence in chains, is anything but “normal” to me. It must be remembered that an elephant, once kept in captivity, can never again live in whatever wild world they came from.

5. Food

Perhaps this point surprises you. I realize that maybe I’m alone in my opinion, but the food in Sri Lanka and I are simply not friends. I’m just not a fan of curry and unfortunately that’s exactly what the national dish of Sri Lanka is. However, I must admit that the offerings are really very versatile, and the food in most cases is freshly prepared. There are also meals especially for vegetarians and vegans and there is, surprisingly, a wide range of different dishes. Unfortunately that doesn’t help a steak and burger fan too much!

If at any time you’ve had enough of the curries, I can still give you a burger tip: In The Original Rocket Burger in Galle you can get really good burgers and delicious homemade ice tea!

Sri Lanka Backpacking means adventure!

Of course, the must visit places in Sri Lanka by far outweigh the small shortcomings should and don’t stop you in any way from starting your Sri Lanka backpacking adventure! The really beautiful scenery, the unique flora and fauna, the nerve-racking activities, the nice folk of Sri Lanka, and especially the memorable train journeys, definitely make Sri Lanka worth a visit!

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The best places to eat, surf and hang around in Canggu!

There are a few rare places on this earth where I immediately feel at home and cannot help but run around with a huge grin on my face. Canggu on Bali is one of these special places. Here, you have everything you need to be happy: the sea, cool Canggu beach bars, delicious restaurants and the most beautiful sunsets ever.

Canggu beach style: The Best places to eat, surf and hang around in Canggu, Bali!

Sebastian and I lived on Bali for three months, first in Ubud and then in Canggu. After a while in Ubud it felt too crowded for us and honestly, a little too spiritual. Not being ultra Yogis and also eating meat we really felt like outlaws there. Luckily, Canggu is very different: home of surfers, it offers ultra hipster cafes and most places will have real burgers on the menus, even with bacon.

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Kids surfing Canggu Beach

During the time we spent in Canggu we also found some of our favourite places, here they are!

The best places to stay in Canggu

Apartments and Villas

If you want to stay in Canggu for longer you should rent an apartment through AirBnB, there are a few wonderful villas and rooms available! Especially if you are traveling with friends get a whole mansion with pool, it is really not expensive if you split the costs. These are some of the nicest AirBnB places in Canggu:

Cozy Pool Bungalow 3 @ Echo Beach

A really comfortable bungalow with wooden interiors, wifi, a garden and pool which you share with other guests. The owner rents out 3 bungalows all of which are located on his property and vary in size. Number 3 is the largest!

airbnb canggu bali

Rooms 4 rent in shared Villa

This mansion offers five double bedrooms, two of which have their own ensuite bathrooms. All rooms are bright and have modern furnishing. You have your own garden with a small pool, an open living and dining room, wifi and from the upper story even a view of the surrounding rice fields.

airbnb canggu bali

JATI apartment with pool view

A super stylish, modern villa with an own pool, beautiful hardwood floors, three bedrooms and wifi. You are only 15 minutes away from Eco Beach and you can rent bikes, yoga mats and of course surfboards.

airbnb canggu bali

EchoBeachVilla 2BR on the beach

This is a complex of 4 villas which all have pools and are very modern and bright. The whole thing is also close to Eco Beach and offers free wifi.

airbnb canggu bali

Villa Kazz 5 min from surfing 6 pax

Kazz also is a complex of 4 villas and although it is bright and modern the brick walls keep it nice and cool. Every villa has its private pool and and open living and dining room as well as wifi.

airbnb canggu bali

Hotels und Hostels

Frii Hotel

Sebastian and I spent almost 10 days in this hotel and really felt at home there! The rooms are small but very modern and clean. The hotel is well located between Batu Bolong and Echo Beach, it has wifi and a little pool. All rooms above the ground level have a balcony with view of the sea. The ground level rooms don’t have balconies, but offer direct access to the pool.

The Oshan Villas Bali

This is a pretty fancy mansion style hotel with large swimming pool and spacious bright rooms. You can join yoga sessions here or rent a bike to get around.

The best cafés and restaurants

Crate Café: the hipster hangout

We pretty much went to Crate Café every morning for breakfast. Crate Café really is the ultimate hipster place: here surfers come together for coffee or pink, super healthy juices. For breakfast there are different Müslis and granola as well as more hearty options like sourdough bread with egg, bacon and avocado.

My favourite was porridge with strawberries, apple and cinnamon and a freshly squeezed orange juice. You can also get a great lunch here, such as the salad with chicken and Halloumi cheese which is really delicious! Crate Café also serves fantastic coffee and the three guys at the bar are amazing – real hipsters. And of course, to fit in with the crowd, you can buy the latest sunglass fad right at Crate.

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Betelnut: something for every time of the day

Betelnut is almost a Canggu institution and you will always finde something great to eat there, be it breakfast, lunch or dinner. The smoothies and salads are particularly good and there are a few Mexican favourites like Burritos and Tacos. And if you are feeling like having something sweet definitely try the cheesecake with raspberries, it’s really good!

Canteen: good sandwiches and salads

We loved Canteen for lunch. The place is rather small but the surfboards on the wall make it really cozy. We generally went for the sandwiches, try the ones with steak or chicken, they are really big and fill you up well. And if you are not in a sandwich mood, the salads are super tasty and breakfast is great as well!

Grocer and Grind: modern and a little pricier

Grocer and Grind is a larger, stylish place with fantastic food but slightly more expensive than other places in Canggu. We would sometimes sit here all day to work as the Grocer and Grind has fast internet, good air conditioning and wonderful coffee. The salads and Pizzas here are delicious!

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Rice Field Canggu Bali

Deus Ex Machina

The ultimate surfer place with simply the best burgers on Bali! Deus Ex Machina is a restaurant with a separate shop. They serve up a little of everything: Asian, Italian, Salads and amazing burgers. I think we went here pretty much every other night for the beef burger with extra bacon and cheese – it’s incredibly tasty!

Best to leave your credit card at home when going there because the shop next door has really cool surf apparel, hats, shades, surfboards and of course the motorbikes they are known for. And the shop itself is worth a visit, make sure to check out the cool interiors and the little art exhibition in the back room with beautifl portraits of Balinese people.

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The best Canggu beach bars

Old Man’s

Old Man’s really was our second home in Canggu. We would come here almost every day and often sit from morning till evening working and watching the surfers. The place is very relaxing and thanks to the really good flat whites, reliable internet and ocean view it makes one of the best offices you could ask for!

If the waves were really good, we took a break and went down to the beach to surf. Old Man’s is located right on Batu Bolong Beach so all the surfers hang out here before and after going into the water. The bar is open and colourfully decorated. Starting from around six thirty in the evenings there is live music by Balinesian bands and on the weekends a DJ heats up the crowd. The food here is good but rather greasy, probably not the healthiest choice in the long run.

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Le Pirate Canggu Beach Bar

Le Pirate is the more high end version of Old Man’s. Situated one beach further, on Echo Beach, it also offers a great view of the sea. The food is more expensive here and the portions smaller, but it definitely is healthier and tastier as well. Also, it is a little more quiet than the constant bustle of Batu Bolong Beach.

In the evenings we sometimes eased into the long chairs here to watch the sunset which was always super relaxing and somewhat romantic because Le Pirate is right next to one of the bigger tempels. Oh and of course, it is a great place for surfer gazing as well!

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707 Beachbern

There is another beach bar you definitely have to check out: the 707 Beachbern. It offers exactly what you need, no less, no more. There are comfortable bean bag seats, simple wooden chairs and tables, a small boarded bar, cold drinks and sand to dig your feet into. 707 Beachbern is a little farther away from Canggu’s center towards Seminyak along Batu Beling Beach.

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Even more favourite places

Surf locations and schools

There are many surf schools in Canggu so we simply went to the next best one on Batu Bolong Beach, right by Old Man’s. You will recognize the school by the many colourful boards, there is no sign or anything like that. If you are greeted by the guy named Paris or the other guy named YesNo, you found it!

Sebastian always rented a board for 2 hours, while I took a couple of lessons with Ayo. The beach is really good for beginners because you have easy access to the water and one side of the beach is entirely free of dangerous cliffs. 2 hours of surf instruction will cost you around 15 Euros, surfboards are available for as little as 5 Euros!

Surfing Canggu Bali

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Goldust: the best massage

After all the surfing our shoulders and armes really ached all the way to our necks. Luckily, Bali has massage places on every other corner. It is nice to know that you can absolutely rely on this rule of thumb: every other house is a temple, every other corner has a massage parlor. Body and soul are well taken care of on Bali.

The very best but also most expensive massage we had in Canggu was at Goldust. Already from the outside you can sense that Goldust is fancier than most other massage places, and it is located right on Jalan Batu Bolong. Look out for a large golden sign and the little clothes store that belongs to it.

We opted for the ‘back booster’ massage which was developed specifically for surfers and people who spend a lot of time in front of their laptops – perfect for us! And I have to say, the massage really is amazing! We went almost every day because it did us so well. Best to go straight for the 60 minute massage, the 30 minute version is over way too fast. 60 minutes of ‘back booster’ cost around 15 Euros.

Yoga studios in Canggu

Of course there are also yoga studios in Canggu, though not as many as in Ubud. Samadi Bali is super nice with its open yoga room, garden and use of wood. They also organize an organic farmers’ market here every Sunday from 9 am to 2 pm where local farmers and artists come together to sell their products and crafts.

As an alternative you can also try the open yoga lessons at Desai Seni Village Resort or Serenity Eco Guesthouse. There are classes for beginners and more advanced Yogis alike.

Horseback riding in Canggu

If you love horseback riding like we do you have two options in Canggu: the Bali Equestrian Center with super fancy riding hall and stables, pool, restaurant and bar as well as their own shop. The have very well trained horses and internationally renowned riding teachers. This of course comes with a price tag, lessons and excursions are expensive and unfortunately the horses spend most of their time in the stable.

Luckily, cruising around Canggu we also coincidentally found another stable, the Kuda Bahagia. It is not as fancy but here the horses get to stay outdoors in groups. The owner is a Swiss woman but all the teachers and workers are Indonesians, many from Bali itself. I went riding at the facilities a couple of times and also was able to see a bit more of Canggu on a longer ride through the village, the rice fields and at the Canggu beach. The stable has horses for beginners and advanced riders and the staff is really nice.

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Canggu, we will be back!!

One thing is for sure: Sebastian and I will be coming back to Canggu! We already booked our next trip and will be flying to Bali in October. We are both pretty excited already and knowing that we will return is like the excitement of Christmas morning to us!

Do you also have these places that you just love and that make you feel right at home? Or have you been to Canggu yourself and have a few favourite spots to share? Tell us!

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Winter escapes: 23 sunny places to feel good! 

You are tired of the cold, the rain and the sleet and only getting a few hours of sunshine in a day? Now that Christmas and the nice atmosphere around it are over winter depression is not far. But why freeze and be in a shitty mood when you can also get away for a few days or even weeks and seek refuge in the sun?

We found a few of the coolest winter escapes for you because luckily the European winter is the best time to travel to some of these places!

Winter escapes: 23 sunny places to feel good!


This paradise island is part of East Africa, it lies off of Tanzania’s coast. Since it is a Muslim country you find yourself immersed in a dream of 1001 nights: impressive palaces, narrow alleyways and the scent of cinnamon and vanilla. And the beaches and the turquoise water really are paradise!

Zanzibar’s historic center is part of the world cultural heritage, most of the old buildings are made of sandstone. When heading North definitely stop at ‘The Rock’ in Bwejuu. This bar is built on a lonely cliff in the middle of the ocean – pretty cool!

Nowadays getting to Zanzibar is super easy. Not long ago Quatar Airways started offering a direct flight from Doha and Condor takes you directly from Frankfurt/Main. Temperatures range from over 30 degrees during the day to 23 degrees at night November through March. The cool breeze from the ocean keeps you from swetting too much.

Zanzibar really is worth a visit, not only for a short stopover on the way home from a safari in South Africa. You can spend several days here and go on some great adventures!

Sansibar / Winter escapes

(c) kjorgen


The Lakkadives in India’s Southwest still are a real secret and totally secluded from the rest of the world. Of the 36 islands only 10 are inhabited! There is neither airconditioning nor TV, phone or emails, just quiet and relaxation. And a veritable diving and snorkeling paradise awaits you here, it is considered one of the most beautiful in the world.

The number of people allowed to immigrate is limited because it is important to the locals that nature there is not destroyed by tourism and too many visitors. Additionally to the visa for India you need another visa for the Lakkadives.

To get there you have to take a domestic flight (around 90 minutes) from one of the Indian cities Bombay, Goa or Kochi, these don’t go every day.

The best time to travel is October through May. Temperatures during the day are around 30 degrees, nights are around 23 degrees.


India definitely has more to offer than ashrams and yoga. It is enticing with its very special culture and the many historic palaces and temples. Finding the perfect route takes some time because India is a huge country, the seventh largest in the world, in fact. Depending on how much time you have choose one region and stay there. Everything else will just turn to stress.

The adequate means of transportation for India is the train. You get almost anywhere cheaply on the second largest railway system in the world.

The best time to travel to most regions is October through March. Daytime temperatures are around 30 degrees, nights can get pretty cool in some regions. So pack a warm sweater!

Indien / Winter escapes

(c) DmitryRukhlenko


Australia – the country of wide open spaces, of kangaroos and koalas and boundless freedom. If you don’t have several months to spend then you should definitely limit yourself to one region in this huge country. Most people pick between the East and the West coast.

The West coast is often referred to as the ‘real Australia’ in part because it is less populated and most of the attractions are on the East coast. We find that both have their charms! So either stay for a few months and explore both coasts or come again! And then of course there is Ayers Rock in the middle of nowhere which you really should have seen once in your life!

Summer in Australia is from December to February. Perfect for a roadtrip. Conditions are wonderful around Sydney, Melbourne and the East coast, as well as the South around Adelaide and Perth in the West.

New Zealand

New Zealand simply is an adventure country and will wow you with incredibly beautiful and diverse landscapes! Here you get pretty much everything apart from 35 degrees maybe: mountains, volcanos, gushing springs, coasts, fjords, rainforest…

To visit both islands you should plan at least 3 weeks and even then you will not ba able to see everything. There simply is too much and the distances are massive. We travelled the South Island and North Island and loved it! If you enjoy hiking you can find useful tips for routes and preparation here.

In New Zealand too the climate is opposite to the climate in Europe, so summer there is from November through April. We were even able to take out the bikini in February, in the mountain valleys however, temperatures still sink down to hit 0 degrees.


(c) sunsinger


Tasmania is great for a stop when visiting Australia and New Zealand, but also a trip of its own. This island below Australia presents itself remote, natural and almost a little mystical. Untouched beaches, diverse fauna, huge national parks with great hiking trails, this island is a bit like small New Zealand, only even quieter.

December through March is the ideal time to travel to Tasmania. The fastest way to get there is with Singapore Airlines or Quantas via Sydney or Melbourne to Hobar. Check Skyscanner for the best and cheapest route!

Tasmania / Winter escapes

(c) Nyker

New Caledonia

Another island paradise that you maybe never heard of before? Where is New Caledonia anyway? The answer: around 1500 km East of Australia in the Southern Pacific. New Caledonia consists of 4 main islands and is part of France. Yes, France!

The capital Nouméa in the Southwest is reminiscent of the Cote d’Azur with its street cafes and luxury boutiques, the Westcoast however sports beautiful beaches and Broussards (local cowboys).

You can go diving in crystal clear water in one of the most beautiful coral reefs, kitesurfing, hiking or if you dare go riding with the cowboys!

The best time to travel there is April through November. But with winters in Europe being a lot later now it is probably a good idea to get away in April or May.


If you don’t want to go quite as far, Morocco is one of the best winter escapes. You can submgerge yourself in the oriental world and enjoy beautiful nature in this very diverse country. Deserts, mountains, valleys, ocean, whatever you want from a trip, Morocco has it. Be it for great adventures or relaxing hours at the beach, you will love Morocco!

At the coast in Agadir you still have around 20 degrees in January, February and March so you can even lay on the beach in wind-sheltered areas. There is hardly any rain, but all the more sunshine. Marakkesh and Essaouira are similar. Note that temperatures do drop significantly at night, sometimes down to 7 degrees.

Morocco / Winter escapes

(c) antonel

South Africa

Cape Town alone is considered one of the most beautiful cities in the world and everyone we spoke to so far has fallen in love with it. To have some flexibility when getting to know this country it is best to rent a car or camper and drive from Johannesburg to Cape Town or vice versa. Definitely plan enough time for the famous Garden Route. It is not known as one of the most beautiful coastal routes for nothing!

The best time to travel to the Cape Region is October through March. Away from the coast it can get very hot and humid so best to stay by the coast. The best time for safaris is July through October, this is the dry season and the animals come to water holes during that time. But there are also safaris after that, so you will be able to encounter lions, elephants and other game all year round.

We especially recommend walking safaris where you hike through the bush and past wild animals on foot. It gets even more adventurous if you gallop alongside giraffes on a riding safari!

Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka is a tropical island nation which lies off of the Indian main land and means ‘happy country’. So if you don’t have a good time here, where will you?

On a trip to Sri Lanka you will be able to regenerate, you find piece and quiet, as well as religious and cultural places that are just waiting to be discovered. You can also do great excursions to the rainforests, mountains or kilometers of cliff plateaus. Or try to find leopards on a safari at Yala national park, relax on picturesque beaches in the South or go surfing at Arugam Bay. There really is something for everyone here!

To travel the South and West December through April are best, whereas January through March are better for the mountains. You can do the North all year round but it rains a lot in November and December.

Sri Lanka

(c) Hackman


The sultanate of Oman is the Orient the way you imagine it. Unlike Dubai there still is culture and authenticity here. The capital Muscat is enchanting with its alleyways that look like a tale from 1001 nights and the cool exotic market, a so-called Souk. You can go hiking in the Grand Canyon of Jebel Shams and you should definitely treat yourself to at least one night in the desert. The view of the stars there is phenomenal!

And to add to that the Omanis are a very friendly and helpful people that will make it easy for you to love this country!

The best time to travel to Oman is in Winter which is from September to April. Temperatures during the day are nice 25 degrees then and it hardly rains. This is also the main tourist season in Oman so make sure to book accommodations in time!


(c) Byelikova


On the Philippines you instantly feel welcome! The people are incredibly open and warm and always have a smile for you. Maybe because this simply is a great country! If it is beaches and ocean you are looking for, then you have come to the right place. The best way to take it all in is islandhopping from one paradise to another. And for divers there are some of the best reefs in the world here. Or you make a trip to the jungle, explore active volcanos or hike through green rice terraces.

And another plus: almost everyone speaks English here. So you shouldn’t have any trouble communicating here. The best place to start your ventures from is Cebu City in the South.

December through February is the dry season here which makes temperatures tolerable, there is little rain then and the risk for typhoons is very low. In Donsol bay you can see whale sharks, the largest fish in the world, between December and May. Really a great experience!


You should plan at least two weeks for Malaysia, just as for any other country around Asia. The country offers everything you need for a great trip: beautiful beaches, amazing underwater world which is among the top 3 in Southeast Asia, as well as mountains, jungle and tea plantations for hiking.

Culturally Malaysia is super interesting too. Kuala Lumpur is a melting pot of various religions and cultures, you will find mosques right next to Catholic churches here. The Petronas Towers are very impressive but you don’t need to plan more than a few days for the capitol. Better to get out and enjoy the nature and great beaches!

The climate is tropical and depends largely on the Monsun. Malaysia’s West coast is especially good for a visit in winter.

Domenican Republic

White beaches, beautiful national parks with karst and mongrove landscapes, big mountain ranges and the fascinating capital Santo Domingo. Its historical center is part of the world cultural heritage and really a highlight! The oldest cathedral of America also stands here, it was built in 1540.

You will definitely notice the Caribbean vibe, especially in the bars and restaurants. You can shake it to Merengue, Raggaeton and Hip Hop there and the cheerfullness of the people is contagious. You simply have to join, you will have loads of fun!

The Domenican Republic can be travelled all year but between December and May is the best time. You can go swimming all year round here, water temperatures are always between 25 and 27 degrees. A particular highlight is watching humpback whales which can be spotted end of January to late March!

Domenikanische Republik

(c) pashapixel


Boundless joy of living and hospitality, amazing landscapes and lonely dreamy beaches. And then there is the music that will immediately sway you! Cuba is great for going out and exploring on your own and the island has quite something to offer: in the North you will find colourful flamingo colonies and under water there are over 900 different kinds of fish, in the South you can go hiking in the mongrove forests.

Cuba is dry November through April but temperatures can drop down to 10 degrees at night in the North. Since this is the main season you should make sure to book accommodation in time. Surfers find great conditions all year round!


The sunshine state really honors its name: more than 300 days of sunshine a year! Sounds good, doesn’t it? And Florida is not only about Miami, there is much more to discover, the Florida Keys with its 200 islands for instance or the Everglades where you can see alligators – at a safe distance – from a boat. Or you can bury your feet in snowwhite sand in places like Clearwater Beach in the West.

Only 8 hours from Germany and you are there. You should definitely go to the South during the European winter. This is also the main season for travelling there, it lasts till end of April but at least you will definitely be able to go swimming then!


Hawaii makes beach dreams come true: palm beaches, blue sea, volcanos and tropical plants. You can just hang out in the sun here or hike along the beautiful Napali Coast in the North, watch fantastic sunrises by the Haleakala volcano, go snorkeling in Hanauma Bay (the number of people that can go is limited and admissions cost 7,50 €) and not to forget: surfing! Aloha!

You can travel to Hawaii all year round. It can get a little crowded between mid December and mid January but after that you practically have the island to yourself again.

Between January and April is the perfect time for whale watching. And if you want to put your surfing skills to the test then the best time to do so is November through February on the North coast.

Hawaii / Winter escapes

(c) EpicStockMedia


Nicaragua really is a fascinating country where the locals are very open, with impressive volcanos and green rainforests and due to its positioning between the Atlantic and the Pacific you have to decide whether you want to dive into wonderful Caribbean beaches or the Pacific or both of course.

The colonial towns of León and Granada should definitely be on your list as well as climbing one of the volcanos. If you don’t want the hike to be too demanding then choose the Cerro Negro close to León, if you are looking for a challenge then try volcano San Cristobal. For surfing check out San Juan Del Sur.

The dry season between November and April offers perfect conditions for a trip. Excursions to the rainforest should be planned for February to April, that is when it is dryest there.

Nicaragua / Winter escapes

(c) attiarndt


Oh, how beautiful is Panama! Small and seemingly unconspicuous at first but incredibly diverse really. Untouched nature, lonely beaches, lively towns like Panama City and not to forget the Panama Canal. You should definitely make a trip on the canal! The ride on the historical train from Panama City to Colón in a original train will surely be one of the highlights of your travel.

You can visit the Emberá indians and get authentic insights into their culture and traditions and a sailing cruise through the San Blas islands will finish up your trip nicely!

The Pacific as well as the Caribbean North coast will be dry between December and March. But prices then also are a little higher than in the off season.


Thailand is a classic for winter. Gorgeous beaches, fascinating culture and super friendly people. And then there are also the incredibly cheap massages, delicious fruit and adventurous rides on a scooter.

You should definitely plan a stop in Bangkok. You could then move on to the Ko Tao island if you want to go diving or even obtain a license for diving. In Chiang Mai in the heart of the country you will find Thailand’s creative scene and great co-working spaces as well as dozy mountain villages.

Due to the tropical monsunal climate temperatures are around 30 degrees all year round. The dry season is November through March, so you will have the least rainy days then.


You have read this so often now but Chile really is one of the most diverse countries in the world: desert, lakes, wine regions and the eternal ice of Antarctica. The country spans three continents: America, Oceania and Antarctica.

Highlights you should not miss out on: the moon valley Salat de Atacama (Chile’s largest salt lake), the desert village of San Pedro and the Carretera Austral which might well be one of the most beautiful routes in the world! Definitely look up to the stars at night, the sky in the North is the clearest in all of the Southern Hemisphere!

The weather in Northern and Central Chile is nice October through April, the further South you go however, the more temperatures drop. December through February are best for a trip to Patagonia.


(c) sunsinger


Brazil does not only have sea and beautiful beaches, there are also amazing mountain and jungle landscapes here, the Amazon rainforest and the world’s largest waterfall Iguazú!

Hiking, survival training, diving or kitesurfing, all these adventures await you in Brazil and all that around jovial people. And in Rio you have the famous carnival in February.

Brazil’s Southern coast is very busy from December to February when it is high season there, this is not only because of the carnival but also due to the Brazilian school holidays. Still this wonderfully diverse country is worth a trip, you will keep finding lonely places there too.


Green fields of rice, delicious Vietnamese food, great beaches, impressive temples – this is what Vietnam has to offer. The best is to discover the country during a roadtrip from North to South or vice versa. Hoi An in central Vietnam probably is one of the most beautiful places there are. You should plan a lot of time for this stop, everyone so far has fallen in love with this city of lanterns! A couple of days are enough for authentic Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. Definitely do a steetfood tour and cooking class!

The perfect time to travel depends on the region you are visiting. If you want to cover all of it in a round trip then choose February. The weather is great in all regions then!

Vietnam / Winter escapes

(c) cristaltran

Sunshine and adventures await you!

Enough of the rain, snow and darkness. There are plenty of winter escapes in this world where you can have warmth and sunshine in winter and that await you with wonderful scenery and lots of adventures!

What country do you suggest to get away from the European winter?

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7 Great Things You Can Do In Hamburg

Hamburg is a city of superlatives. The biggest harbour , the craziest red light district and probably one of the best burgers in Germany! These are just a few things I experienced while exploring this great city in northern Germany!

Hamburg and I

Hamburg has always been one of my favourite cities in Germany. Back when I first moved to Germany many years ago I remember visiting the city for its famous musicals.

Then I visited it with friends to party for a weekend and was amazed by the places we visited. It still has this rough charm from the old days when fishermen were the source of income for the areas around the harbour like St. Pauli.

During my recent visit I got to see the city from a different angle. I decided to see and taste as much as possible from the city that I like so much. We did a harbour tour, walked endless kilometres through the old and new streets of the city, met friends like Backpacker Steve and ate some of the best burgers of Germany. No kidding, best hamburgers are in Hamburg!

No matter if you want to party, enjoy the culture or just do sightseeing, Hamburg has it all and it will welcome you with open arms!

What To Do In Hamburg

1. The old Elbtunnel

Under the river Elbe right next to St. Pauli there is the old Elbtunnel a truly old and architectural masterpiece that was built in 1907 and used since 1911. It has four big elevators that used to bring the cars up and down to cross the river back then. This was the shortest way to get into the city and cross the river! The tunnel is big enough to fit one car, this is why it used to run one way in the morning for all those that needed to get to work into the city and the other way in the afternoon to get all those people back home! Truly amazing what they’ve built there!

What To Do In Hamburg - Elbtunnel What To Do In Hamburg - Elbtunnel

Make sure to check it out. You will find the entrance right at the Landungsbrücken!

2. Explore the harbour of Hamburg

Are you interested in getting to know what the largest harbour in Germany is all about, how many tons they move per day and what it takes to organise the logistics of such a huge organisation?

There are many ways to get a little insight into the harbour of Hamburg. The nicest but probably most expensive way is with a tour that departs from the Landungsbrücken! The price is 18 Euros per Person. For the price you get an hour long tour on a boat with a guide telling you all about the history, some details and fascinating numbers about the harbour!

There are many tours in German but also a few in English!

If you are on a budget, there is also a way to enjoy a harbour tour without paying 18 Euros. The only thing is that there won’t be a guide telling you all the fascinating facts about the harbour. Simply take the ferry from the Landungsbrücken Dock 3 to Finkenwerder. The ride takes about 30 minutes and costs about 4 € per Person!

What To Do In Hamburg - Harbour

3. Check out the Schanzen Viertel

The Sternschanze as it is officially called used to be an outpost of the city. Today it’s home to the alternative scene of Hamburg and less crowded like the very touristy Reeperbahn in St. Pauli.

Come here to relax, eat great food and sit on the many terraces to enjoy the summer sun. In winter all life happens indoors and the cafes turn into cozy meet up places!

Tipp: You’ll find one of the best baked potatoes on the Schanzenstraße 95. Check out Kumpir!

4. Walk around the Alster

The Alster is a side river from the Elbe that created two little lakes right in the center of the city: the Binnen- and the Aussenalter!

There are always events happening around the Alster like the annual Alster Vergnügen, which I attended recently! When there isn’t an event happening, it’s great to just walk around the Alster and enjoy the scenery and the view at the city from different angles!

What To Do In Hamburg - Alster

Also stop at the Alster Pavilion for a coffee and cake inside and enjoy the view over the lake when it is cold outside!

5. Speicherstadt

It is difficult to imagine once you’ve seen the Speicherstadt, but this whole area has been built on oak logs. A whole warehouse district that stands on a timber-pile foundation for more than 100 years. It’s very impressive!

The whole area is the new Hafen City (Harbour City) and is home to many museums, shows and offices!

What To Do In Hamburg - Speicherstadt

One of the most popular museums is probably the Miniatur Wunderland, a model railway attraction and one of the largest of its kind in the world.

6. Skybar in Hamburg: Drinks with a view!

If you are looking for a great skybar in Hamburg you should check out the 20up in the Empire Riverside Hotel in St. Pauli. The bar is in the 20th floor of the hotel overlooking the harbour. You have an incredible view from up there and the cocktails are also very good!

What To Do In Hamburg - Skybar 20up

7. Hamburgers in Hamburg

And now comes the most cliche thing to do in Hamburg, go and try Otto’s burger close to the central station. It will blow your mind away. These were some of the best burgers I’ve had all over Germany.

One of my favourite burgers was the BBQ Burger, which had a very special and self made BBQ sauce and self baked buns!

What To Do In Hamburg - Hamburgers

Yes, I take my burgers very serious. I’ve tasted four different kinds!

Where to stay in Hamburg:

If you are looking for a place to stay I can recommend you a few hotels and hostels where I stayed during recent visits:

Hostel in Hamburg on a Budget

During the Alster Festival I stayed at the Generator Hostel right next to the main train station. A huge hostel in Hamburg with a very central location. To get to the city center you only have to cross the train station!

The prices already start from about 15 €/night in a dorm and go up to 80 €/night for a single room! Book them here!


Hotel in Hamburg with great value

Earlier this year I stayed at the Empire Riverside Hotel in St. Pauli. The hotel has an amazing view over the harbour and the prices start at around 100 € per night. Breakfast costs additional 44 € per day! Book a room here!

Sunrise from our room at the Empire Riverside Hotel

Sunrise from our room at the Empire Riverside Hotel

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Tarifa Spain: the coolest place in southern Europe!

I’ve got a new favorite place: Tarifa by Cadiz in Spain! It might be small, but it surprisingly has a lot to offer! The super beautiful beaches will absolutely blow your mind. The sweet old town has many cozy shops and cafés. Tarifa has the most chilled out atmosphere ever. Seriously. But this is no wonder as Tarifa is the biggest hot spot for kite surfing in all of Europe, and if the wind is good you can rent your own kite and plunge in to the sea! The nightlife here is also bumping with a ton of bars and delicious tapas.

What can you get up to in Tarifa Cadiz? There’s so much!

Awesome food.

Cool drinks at swanky bars.

Adrenaline filled kite surfing.

Cozy accommodations where you can get the best night sleep you’ve ever had.

I’ll let you know about everything that’s possible right here!

A word of warning first: keep your credit card handy! After reading this post you’ll want to book the next flight out of here to check out this fantastic city in Southern Spain for a few days!

My new home!

Traveling Spain: top tips and adventures

Tarifa Spain

Why Tarifa is simply amazing!

I don’t think it’s just me and Line: In Tarifa, most people fall in love with the town immediately! Once you’ve been here it’ll keep you coming back time and time again. Insiders call it the “Tarifa Virus”. I must admit, I am also infected with this virus. I crave this place!

I can’t pinpoint exactly what it is exactly that makes Tarifa so welcoming and addictive. The same thing happens with Canggu in Bali and Cape Town in South Africa. For me, it’s the location. The cool vibes prevail here. But let me show you what it’s all about!

The incredibly gorgeous beach

First of all: the beach! This unbelievably mad, genius, long, wide, huge, white sand beach! Tarifa is situated directly on the sea. To be more precise, it sits at the Strait of Gibraltar where the Atlantic and Mediterranean meet. This makes it an ideal place to see different types of sea life. You can catch glimpses of dolphins, and even whales like the Giant Sperm Whale if you’re lucky. One of my favorite animals is frequently seen here: Orcas!

Tarifa Spain Beach

Cool surfer vibes

Due to the location, strong winds blow through Tarifa all year and create the perfect conditions for kite and windsurfing. From June to August, Tarifa is full of kite surfers that bring the cool surfer lifestyle. They’ve made Tarifa what it is today: a really chill town! Everywhere you’ll meet cool people, visit stylish surfer stores, and drink coffee at cool hipster cafés.

Tarifa Spain Cafés

Tasty tapas and cheap wine

In the restaurants, there are super tasty tapas and house wine that tastes almost as good as the super expensive stuff. It’s usually no more than two or three euros a glass. Just when you thought it couldn’t get any better–you’re in heaven after all–out comes the tuna. It’s caught fresh off the coast of Tarifa every day and it tastes insanely good. Absolute bliss!

Tarifa Spain Tapas


Brilliant views and relaxing nature

Behind Tarifa is the Parque Natural Los Alcornocales, while right on the other side of the sea Morocco is located, with a mountainous landscape as well. All of this comes together in a beautiful image: sea, beach, mountains all packaged together in a single incredible view!

The Parque Natural del Estrecho stretches northeast behind Tarifa. After a few minutes of being in the park you’ll find yourself right in the middle of the countryside with nothing else around. Depending on the season you’ll be running through flowery meadows and past gorgeous trees–almost like in the Alps…..minus a few thousand meters of upward hiking!

A beach further north, Dunes Valdevaqueros, awaits you. Here you’ll find yourself in a wacky bizarre landscape. It’s similar to a small desert, but it’s on the seafront! The same atmosphere exists further in the beaches of Bolonia–just awesome!

Tarifa Spain Views Morocco Valdevaqueros

The beautiful old town

Finally: Old Town Tarifa! The narrow streets, beautiful houses in white, and typical Andalusian courtyards–with bright blue doors and window frames–is just incredible! Even though the old town is not very big, you’ll get lost quickly in the small streets and suddenly be standing in a beautiful square. Calle Sancho IV el Bravo leads to the old beautiful church Iglesia de San Mateo, the Plaza de Santa Maria, and Plaza Miramar.

Tarifa Spain Old Town

Cool accommodations in Tarifa

Just as there are some cool restaurants and cafes in Tarifa, you can also find a lot of wicked accommodation! Be forewarned though, the coolest places fill up really quickly in the summer and can be much more expensive than in the off-season.

Hotel & Spa La Residencia

Our favourite but also one of the most expensive places in Tarifa. The view is spectacular, the rooftop area and pool amazing and the rooms the best ones you will find in town.

You also have a great breakfast menu and the staff is very attentive. If you are looking for THE place, this is it. As a bonus, the old town is just a short walk away and the beach about 5 minutes the other way.

Our Recommendation

Hotel & Spa La Residencia


Best Hotel in Town

Beautiful Rooftop Area and Pool

Book it now: Booking | Agoda

Koala Tarifa

This hotel has several cool furnished apartments and is situated in Tarifa’s old town not far from the Church of San Mateo. Some of the apartments have access to a small garden and places to chill along the roofline. The cheapest apartments usually cost 90 euros a night for two people.

Koala Tarifa | central in old town | 90 € per Night for 2

The 8 Rooms House

As the name The 8 Rooms House suggests, this place has 8 simple but modern rooms. It’s located just outside the old town and offers free wifi! The cost is around 60 euros a night for two people.

The 8 Rooms House| small place | only 8 rooms | 60 € per Night for 2

La Residencia Tarifa

This accommodation is a bit fancier and is located in a really nice old house. It even has a roof top area with a pool and a small sauna! It’s located in the northeastern corner of the city facing the Strait of Gibraltar and Morocco. You can choose between different apartments all of which are a little more classic in style but are really nicely decorated.

La Residencia Tarifa| beautiful place in traditional surrounding| rooftop pool | view at Morocco

La Cocotera Boutique Hostel & Co-working

If you’re looking for a cheap and cool hostel–or like to work online like me and need access to fast WiFi–I can’t recommend this hostel enough! La Cocotera Boutique Hostel & Coworking located in a quiet side street in the old town and has cool furnished, bright rooms. It offers a shared kitchen, a chill place to hang out on the rooftop, and a co-working space on the ground floor. For about 25 euros a night, you can stay here in a 4-bed room.

La Cocotera Boutique Hostel & Coworking | in the old town | start from 25 € per night

The best way to get to Tarifa

Tarifa is actually the southern most point of continental Europe, and belongs to the province of Cadiz, Andalusia on the Costa de la Luz. To get here from Germany or the rest of the world, it makes the most sense to fly directly. Alternatively, you could create a cool road trip experience through southern Europe and make a multi-day stop in Tarifa! I would suggest taking the train but the journey is really complicated.

Nearby airports

Although Tarifa itself has no airport, you can still come out relatively quickly and easily. As for flying, you have several options: the nearest airport is Gibraltar, and then comes Jerez, Malaga, and Sevilla. Best way to get the cheapest flight is through Skyscanner. It’ll find the best airport for you!


One important thing to know first: Gibraltar doesn’t belong to Spain but actually to the UK! Sometimes you have to wait at the border, because the countries are not always good to go to. Gibraltar Airport is only 45 minutes from Tarifa and is mainly served by British Airways. You might be able to come out here with a stopover in London’s Heathrow Airport!


Jerez is a small town 130 kilometers northwest of Tarifa and has its own airport. It’s not served by many airlines which is why there are very few direct flights here. Condor, for example, flies directly from Frankfurt to Jerez. To get from Jerez Airport to Tarifa will take you about half an hour.


The Malaga Airport is 150 kilometers–approximately 1 hour and 45 minutes–drive from Tarifa. Flights from major airlines and many low-cost carriers come through here. Airlines such as Air Berlin, Euro Wings, Iberostar, Norwegian Airlines, Ryanair, and Easyjet offer daily flights from all over Germany to Malaga.

In addition, most car rental companies have an office here and can offer cheap fares for renting vehicles. The only downside: if you’re driving on the highway, you need to pay toll fees. Overall, the fees are about 15 euros one way to Tarifa – which makes 30 euros on a round trip!


Seville Airport is 215 kilometers from Tarifa. You’ll need two and a half hours to make the journey by car. Depending on the route, you’ll also need to pay toll fees along the highway! To get to this airport you can take Ryanair from Berlin, Lufthansa and Transavia from Munich, and also Lufthansa from Frankfurt.

Rental car

Once you arrive at the airport, your best bet is to get a rental car because they’re really cheap in Spain! You can rent a car fully insured for 10 euros a day. Alternatively, you could come to Tarifa through public transportation but it’s not very quick to get from A to B!

Look for Sixt or Europcar for the best deal. We managed to rent a Fiat Cinquecento for a whole month. It only cost us 316 euros and included fully comprehensive insurance!

Tarifa Spain rental car


The best season to visit

Tarifa can get really crowded in the busy season! This usually happens in the summer months from June to August. Many people come for the kite surfing seen from all around the world! The normal population of Tarifa is 18,000 people but in summer the number can skyrocket to 90,000 people! Because of the steep increase of people, we avoid the busy season as best we can.

The best months to visit are in Spring–April and May–as well as the early fall–September and early October. At those times of the year, it’s still nice and warm and there are way fewer people. The best thing is that the prices for lodging are significantly cheaper.

The adventure you’ll experience in and around Tarifa by Cadiz

Thanks to the ingenious location between the sea and mountains, you can really experience a lot in Tarifa! Of course, kite surfing is especially popular but if you’re not a big water sports fan there’s still a lot of adventure awaiting you.

Kite and wind surfing

Line and I have already taken a two-day kite surfing course in South Tryol. We also took a few more hours during a road trip through Northern Germany in Laboe near Kiel. We loved it so much, it was clear for us: kite surfing at the hot spot of Tarifa is a must!

If you, like we were, are a beginner you will be overwhelmed by choices in Tarifa. There are around 60 kite surfing schools there! Our choice was pretty easy since our flatmate leads the school Wave Bandits. On our second day the weather was incredible and we luckily got up on our boards a few times!

Though it’s incredibly fun, learning to kite surf in Tarifa is pretty difficult for beginners. The wind is often very strong and you have to fight the waves. If you are a complete newbie to this sport, better head to places like Dakhla in southern Morocco or to Brazil. In any case, you should take a two- or three-day course to get some kite surfing experience.

Besides kite surfing you can also learn how to windsurf in Tarifa! Again, there are a ton of good schools to learn from, but there are definitely more kite surfing schools.

Tarifa Spain Kitesurfing

Surfing and SUP

Another reason I love Tarifa is you can surf here! If the waves are good, it’s only five minutes from the city center to surf on the best beaches. It’s awesome! You can grab your board and within minutes you’re out paddling and playing in the surf. Yes please! Tarifa has some awesome surf spots outside of the town as well. These include El Palmar and Conil de la Frontera which are both about an hour from Tarifa.

You can also visit some surf schools, rent an SUP board, and paddle the small peninsula around Tarifa. Stay in the nice chill bay next to the port, or even go surfing on your SUP! For example, there’s a small beach cottage next to the beach bar El Chiringuito that have both surfboards and SUP wetsuits. They come in really handy in the colder water temperatures!

Tarifa Spain Surfing

Mountain biking

Thanks to the mountains and hills in the background, you can go mountain biking and choose between tons of different routes around Tarifa! An awesome easy route is the “smuggling route” from Tarifa to Guadalmesi where you ride along the coast and catch brilliant views of the Strait of Gibraltar and Morocco. The bike route is 25 kilometers long and takes about two and a half hours.

More information about routes can be found here!

Horse riding

The Andalusia area is highly known for its horses, so of course you can go riding in Tarifa. There are several stables that offer horseback rides on the beach or in the mountains from one hour to a full day ride. Some recommended places to go that are only a 10-minute drive away from the Tarifa city center are Hurricane Hipica and Aventura Ecuestre.


Since Tarifa is such a small community, you are just a few minutes from being out in the open countryside. For this reason, Tarifa also offers amazing hiking spots! A really nice track goes northeast of the old town right on the coast next to the Strait of Gibraltar. The route takes you on a hike through the Parque Natural del Estrecho. You can either go for a walk along a few kilometers of the route, or take a whole day to go on a massive hike!

Another nice walk goes along the coast from Tarifa to Bolonia. Here you walk about 9 kilometers along the beach, through pine forests and over sand dunes! You should plan to take around 4 hours for this route.

Here‘s a good overview of hiking trails around Tarifa!

Tarifa Spain Hiking Valdevaqueros

Trip to Tangier

Since Tarifa is directly opposite Morocco, you can also take a trip to Africa! The ferry to Tangier departs several times a day every two hours. It starts at 9 am from the Tarifa port, leaves every couple of hours and costs 66.60 euros for a round trip! Once you get there, though, you’re in a completely different world! The city has almost one million people and offers many beautiful sights and sounds, especially the beautiful old town right on the harbor!

The best cafes and restaurants in Tarifa Cadiz

I don’t know of any other place – that’s as small as Tarifa – that offers so many good restaurants and cafes! Here you can go almost anywhere and get really tasty and fresh food. The choice of cafes is amazing even if it doesn’t always have the best third wave coffee and Flat White. An important tip to take note of is that most shops open in the morning at 10 am, but restaurants don’t always serve food until the evening!

Best cafes

Café 10

Café 10 is located in Tarifa’s old town. Here you sit either in a cozy atmosphere indoors or you can watch the bustle on the streets while you sit outside in the sun. One of the best things on the menu is the hot sandwich with ham, cheese, and tomato. The juice selection and Cortado are also very tasty!

Coco Rock Café

This is where I go to buy my smoothies! I always ask for the Chocolate Smoothie, which isn’t always on the menu, but it is absolutely delicious. A smoothie costs around 5 euros and can also make you really full! David, the owner, is a really cool and nice guy and gives awesome service. The Coco Rock Café is also known for its delicious and fresh coconuts! Just the right place to fill you up with vitamins and other healthy stuff!

Café Surla

This café is located just outside the city center not far from the beach. It has a great breakfast selection where you can get tasty toasts, cereals, smoothies, fresh juice, and an array of coffee creations. The atmosphere in the place is down to earth and really cozy, and as a bonus you get free WiFi!

Café Azul

Café Azul is quite popular on the weekends and usually fills up a lot! It’s located at Calla Batalla del Salado, not far from Puerto de Jerez. Here you can feast on a huge breakfast selection. I recommend the crepe with yogurt and fruit. It’s to die for!


In Stoked they serve one of the best Café con Leches in Tarifa. It’s nice, thick, and creamy, and really sets a high standard! Even though the breakfast menu here isn’t too extensive, the salads and burgers at lunch are delicious! Stoked also offers free WiFi, which is why you’ll often find yourself surrounded by people on their laptops! The décor is really tailored to the surfing culture. You can find surfboards hanging on the walls and cool surfer-style furniture!


Wet-Café is five minutes by car from Tarifa on the N-340. Here you sit properly chilled between palm trees and other plants. The furniture is simple but really cool–for example, the pillows are made from old coffee sacks! Again, you can get healthy smoothies and a tasty breakfast, but the prices here can be a little higher than others!

My favorite restaurants and bars

No. 6 Cocina Sencilla

My absolute favorite restaurant is tucked away in a small lane in the middle of Tarifa’s old town. Its name is No. 6 Cocina Sencilla, and is actually under the same ownership as Café 10! The tapas and main dishes are traditional Spanish items with a modern touch. They’re all delicious, especially the grilled Octopus! Equally delicious are the patatas bravas, the vegetarian lasagna, the tapas burgers, and grilled tuna!

Tarifa Spain Restaurants


Lola serves delicious and affordable tapas. My favorites are the tortilla, fried prawns, and croquets with ham! Here you can sit in good weather outside on their cozy patio. It’s also located in the middle of Tarifa’s old town but in a quieter space.

Bar el Frances

This bar is one of the few restaurants where you can get at six o’clock dinner. Here you have the choice to sit inside at the tapas bar, or out on their lovely patio. A particularly awesome dish here is the octopus salad and the baked eggplant with goat cheese. If you decide to eat here you should definitely grab a glass of their house wine!

El Chiringuito

This pretty chic beach bar is the perfect place for a Sundowner! You can sit outside in deck chairs, dig your feet in to the sand, and drink a delicious gin and tonic while you watch the sun disappear over the horizon. Come back on time though, because this place fills up very fast on weekends!

Café del Mar

In the Café del Mar, people meet in the evening to watch the sunset with a drink in hand. The atmosphere here is super relaxed and you get to sit incredibly close to the beach. Again, it fills up very fast on the weekends when the weather is good!


Tarifa Cadiz – Our new home!

So are you ready? Do you want to plan your trip to Tarifa right now?

I promise you’ll love this small town in Southern Spain! Whether you’re looking to learn kite surfing, love hiking or mountain biking, or just want to spend a few days at a really cool place with tasty and healthy food at hip cafes, Tarifa is definitely the right place for you! I guarantee you’ll fall in love with this place and one trip will never be enough once you’re over here.

For Line and me Tarifa feels perfect! It’s so right for us that we’ve even considered pitching our tents to come back again and again between all our awesome travel adventures. It almost feels like home to us and sooner or later I’m sure it will be our new home! I never thought I’d want to come back to Spain so much, but this small town had me falling in love. It just goes to show life and travel doesn’t always go exactly as planned!

So what’s stopping you? Are you ready to fly away to this special place, Tarifa, for an unforgettable adventure?

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