Loading...

Follow Lenise Calleja Travel Photography on Feedspot

Continue with Google
Continue with Facebook
or

Valid

As soon as we arrived at our first accommodation, the hotel manager asked me why did you choose this destination? I replied because I love mountains and open spaces. I had been researching on which destination to travel to for ages. After all this was our first trip with our little Nyana who is now 4 months old. After hours and days of research I concluded that Slovakia was going to be our next destination. Here are the reasons why:

  • I wanted to go somewhere in Eastern Europe for the first time
  • I try to avoid places where everyone seems to travel to and Slovakia doesn’t seem to be high on everyone’s bucket lists
  • It is a family friendly destination; this was our first trip with a baby and we wanted somewhere safe
  • Great options for trekking and outdoor activities including family friendly activities
  • Tranquil and peaceful
  • Delicious food with excellent value for money

We spent 3 nights in total in the area and below are some of the places we visited during our stay in the High Tatras National Park.

Štrbské Pleso

Štrbské Pleso is the most chic destination in Slovakia and the most iconic mountain location in the Tatras. It is selected as a base for several travellers who choose the region for outdoor activities that can be done both in winter (skiing, snowboarding, snow shoeing etc.) and summer (hiking, biking, trekking, mountain climbing). Staying by the lake, though may sound appealing, can prove to be quite expensive as these are the most luxurious hotels of the country. We visited for half a day enjoying some relaxing time walking around this magical lake with the backdrop of the Tatras mountains. This walk apart from being relaxing is also push chair and wheel chair friendly. Moreover if you wish to buy some souvenirs near the parking there are several stalls selling local products as well. Štrbské Pleso is the perfect place to detach yourself from everything in a relaxing manner.

Popradské Pleso

This lake is also very popular however it is not as easy to reach like Štrbské Pleso. There are several options to reach Popradské pleso, either trek directly through the forest or walk along the asphalted path (making this route again push chair and wheel chair friendly). Reaching this lake takes around 1.5/2 hours uphill but the walk is very pleasant (depending on your level of fitness). Look out for wildlife as the area is populated by bears, deer, squirrels and several species of birds (we saw a lot of squirrels and birds but no deer or bears). After reaching the lake, which is more raw than Štrbské Pleso (no luxurious hotels here), you can enjoy a warm cup of coffee or a beer at one of the two huts by the lake. Or else if you have enough stamina you can continue to trek to reach the top of the mountain. Popradské Pleso is the place for nature lovers with an adventure spirit.

Tatranská Lomnica and Skalnaté Pleso

From the village of Tatranská Lomnica you can get the cable car up to Skalnaté Pleso. Apart from the wonderful scenery there is a magnificent glacial lake at 1,700m. During the month of October the level of water is quite low (you need to visit during late spring/early summer for the highest levels of water), but the scenery is absolutely awesome. You can try out some warm goulash at the restaurant or else sunbathe and relax enjoying the views. Moreover there are several options available such as walking down towards Hrebienok or reach the summit of Lomnický štít with another cable car.

Starý Smokovec

Starý Smokovec is the most popular skiing resort in the area. The highlight of our visit to this village (also because it was raining very heavily) was the divine food we ate. I do not usually mention any restaurants but I was amazed at the delicious dishes we tried at Koliba Kamzík! Apart from the cosy and stylish ambience, this restaurant was the best we ate at during our stay in Slovakia. We had a full meal with starters consisting of soups, main courses consisting of venison and veal steak and also dessert based on strawberries. The staff will also serve you in traditional Slovak costumes. This town is also nice to walk around as there are some cute souvenir shops and cafes. I also suggest going up the funicular from Hrebienok and walk to the stream (we did not do this as it was raining too heavily).

Salaš Krajinkas in Ružemborok
Read Full Article
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

When you think of a beach holiday you usually think about Maldives, Mauritius, the Caribbean or some islands in Southeast Asia. Only a few considers the African coast facing the Indian Ocean. Yet this area offers some of the last few unspoiled beaches that are the closest thing to heaven that I have experienced. Starting from the eastern coast of Mozambique to the island of Zanzibar on Tanzania, the Seychelles and several spots on the coast of Madagascar. When I was planning my trip to Madagascar I was going to travel south initially travelling to Ranomafana to Isalo all the way to Toliara, which is  also home to beautiful beaches. However one day a photo popped up showing Nosy Iranja, an island off the North West coast of Madagascar. This island was so beautiful that I changed all my plans in order to get to it! Travelling to the North of Madagascar is much more difficult; less infrastructure, less touristic, less options for accommodation, etc. Yet I was determined to go there anyway and make my way to the beaches in the area. These are the places we visited while in the North:

Nosy Komba

This was our base for the beach part of our trip in Madagascar. Why we chose Nosy Komba instead of the more popular Nosy Be? Nosy Komba is less touristic of course, it felt like having a private beach without paying for it. As soon as we got here I could not stop smiling. I couldn’t believe we were actually here. The colours of the sea are so incredible that I felt that I was in a dream! Moreover our accommodation was a bungalow facing the ocean. We had the choice of two beaches, either a small one to the right of our bungalow or a bigger one to the left where sometimes we met some locals. On the beach to the right we never met anyone else. On this island we went exploring by foot and we went snorkeling in the coral reef. You do not need to book any excursions here to dive in the coral reef as it is located at around 10m from the shore. Simply the perfect ending to our trip in Madagascar!

Nosy Iranja

The most awaited part of our trip to Madagascar was finally here! This is the reason why we modified our itinerary. Getting to Nosy Komba was not easy at all and most of all it was expensive (compared to local standards). Usually the trips to Nosy Iranja depart from Nosy Be which is more touristic so we had to book a transfer by boat to Nosy Be first. Nosy Iranja consists of two islands connected by a sand bank that disappears with the tide. The island is not completely deserted because some locals live here and you can choose to spend the night in huts (obviously very basic yet expensive accommodation). The entire day costed us around €125 for two people including the private transfer to Nosy Be, the boat ride to Nosy Iranja (around 2 hrs away) and an awesome lunch on the beach. I would have even paid double the price for this experience as this island was the most beautiful place on Earth I have ever been to!

Nosy Be

Nosy Be is the main island of the area. You have to get here in order to catch your flight since this is the only airport in the area. The airport is an international one since there are some charter flights to Paris and Rome (the only tourists that seem to visit Madagascar are French and Italian). As we were here there was a strike and we were risking of remaining here as the Malgasy were protesting against the blacklisting of their national airline which is forbidden to fly to Europe. Well to be honest given the security at their airports I do not blame the European authorities. While we were at the Nosy Be airport we practically had no security checks as the man who was supposed to check our bags (they do it manually here of course) got carried away while talking to a young blonde European,  as the people were lining at the gate. It was funny how this guy did not seem to care at all as the metal detector kept on beeping as people were accessing the gate.

Should I go back I would spend at least two nights on Nosy Be as well to explore well the island, as we only had one afternoon to go around and of course we did not see a lot of the island. It is busier than the nearby Nosy Komba and you can visit the local markets and go on a tour around the island (maybe hire a bicycle or a scooter).

The post Beaches of Northern Madagascar appeared first on Lenise Calleja Travel Photography.

Read Full Article
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

Paris is the city of love, the city of lights, the city of art, the city of elegance…. a lot of nicknames are attributed to the French capital and they are all truthful. I love France in general, but Paris has no equals. Here are some reasons why Paris is my favourite

Perfection in Architecture

Symmetry, elegant decor, style, attention to detail … the architecture in Paris is simply sublime and I love it. Up to now I haven’t seen anything that is quite similar. For a perfectionist like me this is the model to follow and when I visit a city I tend to compare it to Paris in terms of architecture. Up till now no other city can compare to Paris in terms of the stylish architecture.

Fall in love with street artists in Montmartre

This is my favourite area of Paris. Apart from the beautiful basilica of Sacré Cœur the roads behind the cathedral are full of life. Cafes and restaurants, but most of all artists. This is the ideal place to buy a souvenir to take home. I bought a set of paintings that are now hanging in my living room. I am not the type of person who buys mugs or keychains to take home, but I try to find something more meaningful. This is the perfect place if you want something meaningful to take home with you.

Everything shines and sparkles at night

If you have seen the movie The Devil wears Prada you will remember the scene when Meryl Streep and Anne Hathaway arrive in Paris for the fashion week. I always get emotional during this part of the movie and I also got emotional the first time I saw the Eiffel tower sparkle at night. This is the part of the day where the city is at its best; the lights make the details in the buildings stand out. I had difficulty in choosing locations to photograph during the blue hour while in Paris!

The most romantic sunsets

Sunsets are romantic everywhere..let alone in Paris! My favourite spot to watch sunset while in Paris is Tour Montparnasse. It is one of the highest spots you get aerial views of the city. Make sure to visit when there is the Eiffel Tower sparkling show to add more magic to your sunset. Simply irresistible!

Life along the Seine

You will never get bored of walking along the river banks in Paris. A lot of attractions are located here, like Notre Dame and Ile de la Cite and the numerous bridges. The atmosphere here is always lively and during the summer months a lot of Parisians transform the banks of the Seine as their meeting place for a bottle of wine and some nibbles. If you want to make the most of your experience in Paris, make sure to take a short cruise on a bateau mouche along the Seine. Although they are not on the cheap side the views are to die for!

The post Why Paris is my favourite city in Europe appeared first on Lenise Calleja Travel Photography.

Read Full Article
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

Sicily apart from beautiful beaches and beautiful hilltop villages offers infinite opportunities for nature lovers. In fact it boasts 5 regional parks and 77 nature reserves! Sicily is in fact a huge region and d.istances from one place to another are remarkable. Although I visited the island over 10 times I can never say that I have explored well.  I would like to return to each of the natural parks and spend at least 3/4 days to be able to do more trekking and visit them well.

Below is some information on the natural parks I have visited. Of course this list is far from being exhaustive. Clicking on each image will enable you to see the camera settings as well as the location of each shot.

Parco dell’Etna

View over Valle del Bove from Schiena dell’asino trekking trail on Etna in Sicily, Italy | Nikon D5100 Sigma 17-70 f2.8, 1/400, f6.3, ISO 100

Etna is maybe the most popular destination visited in Sicily. The volcano is one of the most active in the world yet one of the most accessible. It is is the second largest park in Sicily with an area covering over 58 hectares; that is already 1,800 times the size of my tiny island of Malta. The activities possible here are endless and include trekking, skiing, donkey rides, adventure parks, exploring lava tubes and craters and most of all the volcano itself! The park is a place that offers different activities to its visitors during the four seasons and unlike the other parks you can enjoy the cool air even during the hottest of summer days. It is the highest peak in Sicily reaching a maximum altitude of 3,50m.

The main touristic areas are two. On the southern side there is Rifugio Sapienza which lies between Nicolosi and Zafferana Etnea. This area is more popular as there are several souvenir shops, restaurants and you can easily visit Cratere Silvestri. From here you can also catch a cable car to reach the higher peaks of the mountain. To the north from Linguaglossa you can reach Piano Provenzana which is the main area for skiing. Here you find less shops however you can get skiing lessons as well go for donkey rides. Some of the activities mentioned above can be done on your own, however others require a guide like trekking closer to the craters and visiting lava tubes. For more information like trekking trails you can visit the official website from the link below.

Practical Infornation:
  • Area: 58 095 km2
  • Province: Catania
  • Activities: Trekking, Skiing, Lava tubes,
  • Best time to visit: All year
  • Website: http://www.parcoetna.it/
Places to photograph:
  • Valle del Bove
  • Cratere Silvestri
  • Volcanic Landscape
Parco delle Madonie

Madonie Park in Sicily, Italy | Nikon D750 Nikkor 24-85 f.3.5, 1/320, f11, ISO 200

The Madonie is more to the west, forming part of the Palermo province. Its landscape features the Madonie Mountains that form part of the Appennini range. In the Madonie mountains you can practice skiing in Piano Battaglia (possible only a few days during the year due to low levels of snow) and also go for wildlife spotting. Some of the wildlife that inhabit the park include foxes, weasels, rabbits but also deers. The park is also home to over half of all the flora found on the island. Several villages that lie on the borders of the park are also worth visiting and most of them are located on hills. Check out my previous blog post on the villages of the Madonie for more information.

Practical Infornation:
  • Area: 39 941 km2
  • Province: Palermo
  • Activities: Trekking, Skiing, Wildlife Spotting
  • Best time to visit: Winter or Spring
  • Website: http://www.parcodellemadonie.it/
Places to photograph:
  • Piano Battaglia
  • Laghetto Mandria del Conte
  • Piano Zucchi
Parco dei Nebrodi

Views of Etna from the southern part of the Nebrodi Park in Sicily, Italy | Nikon D750 Nikkor 24-85 f.3.5, 1/250, f11, ISO 200

This is the largest park in Sicily with an area covering over 85 hectares. I haven’t had yet time enough to explore well this park and when I visited I was not able to reach the lakes and waterfalls of this park. The ideal time to visit the park is in Winter or Spring since in summer it is too hot to go for trekking. You will surely encounter the numerous wild bores that populate the park. There are plenty of them and you must be careful since they can become quite aggressive. This park apart from trekking offers various spots for picnics. This park is huge and driving involves long winding roads; so allow enough time to stop often especially if you suffer from motion sickness.

Practical..
Read Full Article
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

Sicily apart from beautiful beaches and beautiful hilltop villages offers infinite opportunities for nature lovers. In fact it boasts 5 regional parks and 77 nature reserves! Sicily is in fact a huge region and d.istances from one place to another are remarkable. Although I visited the island over 10 times I can never say that I have explored well.  I would like to return to each of the natural parks and spend at least 3/4 days to be able to do more trekking and visit them well.

Below is some information on the natural parks I have visited. Of course this list is far from being exhaustive. Clicking on each image will enable you to see the camera settings as well as the location of each shot.

Parco dell’Etna

View over Valle del Bove from Schiena dell’asino trekking trail on Etna in Sicily, Italy | Nikon D5100 Sigma 17-70 f2.8, 1/400, f6.3, ISO 100

Etna is maybe the most popular destination visited in Sicily. The volcano is one of the most active in the world yet one of the most accessible. It is is the second largest park in Sicily with an area covering over 58 hectares; that is already 1,800 times the size of my tiny island of Malta. The activities possible here are endless and include trekking, skiing, donkey rides, adventure parks, exploring lava tubes and craters and most of all the volcano itself! The park is a place that offers different activities to its visitors during the four seasons and unlike the other parks you can enjoy the cool air even during the hottest of summer days. It is the highest peak in Sicily reaching a maximum altitude of 3,50m.

The main touristic areas are two. On the southern side there is Rifugio Sapienza which lies between Nicolosi and Zafferana Etnea. This area is more popular as there are several souvenir shops, restaurants and you can easily visit Cratere Silvestri. From here you can also catch a cable car to reach the higher peaks of the mountain. To the north from Linguaglossa you can reach Piano Provenzana which is the main area for skiing. Here you find less shops however you can get skiing lessons as well go for donkey rides. Some of the activities mentioned above can be done on your own, however others require a guide like trekking closer to the craters and visiting lava tubes. For more information like trekking trails you can visit the official website from the link below.

Practical Infornation:
  • Area: 58 095 km2
  • Province: Catania
  • Activities: Trekking, Skiing, Lava tubes,
  • Best time to visit: All year
  • Website: http://www.parcoetna.it/
Places to photograph:
  • Valle del Bove
  • Cratere Silvestri
  • Volcanic Landscape
Parco delle Madonie

Madonie Park in Sicily, Italy | Nikon D750 Nikkor 24-85 f.3.5, 1/320, f11, ISO 200

The Madonie is more to the west, forming part of the Palermo province. Its landscape features the Madonie Mountains that form part of the Appennini range. In the Madonie mountains you can practice skiing in Piano Battaglia (possible only a few days during the year due to low levels of snow) and also go for wildlife spotting. Some of the wildlife that inhabit the park include foxes, weasels, rabbits but also deers. The park is also home to over half of all the flora found on the island. Several villages that lie on the borders of the park are also worth visiting and most of them are located on hills. Check out my previous blog post on the villages of the Madonie for more information.

Practical Infornation:
  • Area: 39 941 km2
  • Province: Palermo
  • Activities: Trekking, Skiing, Wildlife Spotting
  • Best time to visit: Winter or Spring
  • Website: http://www.parcodellemadonie.it/
Places to photograph:
  • Piano Battaglia
  • Laghetto Mandria del Conte
  • Piano Zucchi
Parco dei Nebrodi

Views of Etna from the southern part of the Nebrodi Park in Sicily, Italy | Nikon D750 Nikkor 24-85 f.3.5, 1/250, f11, ISO 200

This is the largest park in Sicily with an area covering over 85 hectares. I haven’t had yet time enough to explore well this park and when I visited I was not able to reach the lakes and waterfalls of this park. The ideal time to visit the park is in Winter or Spring since in summer it is too hot to go for trekking. You will surely encounter the numerous wild bores that populate the park. There are plenty of them and you must be careful since they can become quite aggressive. This park apart from trekking offers various spots for picnics. This park is huge and driving involves long winding roads; so allow enough time to stop often especially if you suffer from motion sickness.

Practical..
Read Full Article
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

Separate tags by commas
To access this feature, please upgrade your account.
Start your free month
Free Preview