The Aussie Flashpacker Travel Blog & Magazine brings you the best in luxury and adventure travel.
Bursting with Wanderlust, Luxury, Adventure, Travel tips & Inspiration it aims to inspire you to travel and see the world.

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

An Unforgettable Dinner at Nautika, Dubrovnik's Finest Restaurant

Nautika Restaurant lies on the very edge of the sea at Pile, alongside the western entrance to Dubrovnik's Old City and during our time in this incredible city we were lucky enough to experience Dubrovnik's finest and most romantic restaurant. From Nautika's unique terraces we had an unforgettable view of the Adriatic, Lovrijenac and Bokar fortresses and the city walls. The restaurant's chef, Mario Bunda, leads a team whose varied, delicious offerings include lobster from the Dalmatian island of Vis, delicacies from the local waters and many fish species which are pulled straight from the Adriatic ensuring they are always fresh and healthy. Nautika only uses fresh seafood and they source all their ingredients locally which is something they are renowned for. Nautika is a place that combines tradition, quality and creativity. It offers an innovative and refined style of Mediterranean cuisine. Nautika is a truly special, one of a kind restaurant in one of the most beautiful cities on Earth and it was a highlight of our time in Dubrovnik and a dining experience we will never forget.



Sunday, May 29, 2016

A Stylish Stay at MirO Studio Apartments in Dubrovnik

Regular readers will know that whilst we love indulging in luxury hotels whilst we travel we also love staying in apartments during longer trips. We've been on the road for just over two months now and whilst we wouldn't change a thing, we still find that we have the occasional craving for normality. We love the freedom, privacy and independence that apartments offer and we particularly love that we can cook for ourselves which not only saves money but means we can get some much needed healthy food into our bodies. MirO Studio Apartments are comprised of seven stylish, newly renovated and furnished modern studio apartments in Dubrovnik. We chose MirO because of their fantastic location only 20 metres from the sea and a few minutes walk from Pile Gate, the main entrance to the Old Town in Dubrovnik. Our apartment was fantastic, the staff were amazing and the location unbeatable which ensured we had an unforgettable stay in Dubrovnik.



Saturday, May 28, 2016

Our Dubrovnik Photo Diary

When George Bernard Shaw first visited the magical city of Dubrovnik he said "those who seek paradise on Earth should come to Dubrovnik" as well as famously describing it as "the pearl of the Adriatic". Dubrovnik is an incredible city located in southern Croatia which is known for its beautiful, well-preserved Old Town which is encircled by massive stone walls and which became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1979. Dubrovnik has particularly risen into the spotlight in recent years due to the fact it is one of the major filming locations of the popular TV show Game of Thrones. We spent our days climbing the city walls, strolling the marble streets of the Old Town, marvelling at the endless shimmer of the Adriatic, soaking in the warmth of the Mediterranean climate and escaping the crowds to the nearby Elafiti Islands. Dubrovnik is now one of the most popular cities in Europe so just keep in mind you will be discovering its beauty with a lot of other tourists, but don't let that affect your time in this incredible, ancient city. A lot of the visitors to Dubrovnik are in fact visiting on cruise ships so if you spend a few days in Dubrovnik you'll find the early mornings, late afternoons and evenings to be much quieter and relaxed. Whether you are visiting as a Game of Thrones fan, to explore the well-preserved Old Town or to simply enjoy the warm climate and beautiful azure Adriatic sea then you're guaranteed to fall for Dubrovnik's charm.



Friday, May 27, 2016

Kayaking the Elafiti Islands with Adriatic Kayak Tours

Touring by kayak gives you an intimate view of the stunning, dramatic Dalmatian coastline and its many islands! During our recent visit to beautiful Dubrovnik we booked a kayak tour with Adriatic Kayak Tours in order to escape the crowds in the city and explore the gorgeous nearby Elafiti Islands. We had an incredible day exploring Lopud and Sipan Islands by kayak which allowed us to see a great deal in a single day! In addition to our amazing sea kayaking experience we also visited a beautiful cave, a charming fisherman village, hiked on Sipan island, swam in the crystal clear waters and had a delicious, authentic lunch with a wonderful local family. It was an unbeatable day and an incredible way to experience beautiful Croatia.



Thursday, May 26, 2016

Berkeley Hotel: A Boutique Hotel in Gruz Harbour, Dubrovnik

Located in one of the most beautiful cities in the world, Dubrovnik, the Berkeley Hotel offers a beautiful boutique hotel with a collection of modern and elegantly furnished rooms and apartments. The hotel is conveniently located in Dubrovnik's Gruz Harbour which provides guests with a quiet, cosy atmosphere away from the business of the Old Town yet the convenience of being close to everything in this wonderful city. The Berkeley Hotel is family owned and operated and it is evident their passion for warm, friendly and professional service and hospitality to ensure guests find their 'home away from home' in beautiful Dubrovnik.



Wednesday, May 25, 2016

An Eye Opening 24 Hours Discovering Mostar

The historic town of Mostar, nested in a deep valley of the Neretva River was developed in the 15th and 16th centuries as an Ottoman frontier town and it is known as where the "East meets West" in terms of people, history and culture. Mostar is known for its iconic Stari Most (Old Bridge) which is a reconstructed medieval arched bridge that local boys jump from as a right of passage, today to cheers of tourists. During the 1990s conflict Mostar served as the front line and much of the historic town along with the Old Bridge was destroyed. The Old Bridge and much of the Old Town have since been restored or rebuilt with the contribution of an international committee established by UNESCO. However when you walk a few minutes outside the attractively restored cobbled lanes of the Old Town you'll come face to face with the vivid scars of the conflict, especially around Spanski Trg. Mostar was a surprising destination, it was nothing like we imagined but was one of the most interesting places we've visited in our European travels. It was eye opening to see the juxtaposition of the beautiful Old Town with its iconic Stari Most and gorgeous emerald green river with the very real remnants of the conflict which serve as a reminder of the terrible atrocities that happened here during our lifetime. We didn't know a great deal about Mostar when we arrived but couldn't believe the wealth of information we learnt during our 24 hours in this enchanting town which has both very old and very recent histories.



Tuesday, May 24, 2016

An Incredible Day Hiking the Five Villages of the Cinque Terre

If you follow us on Instagram then you'll know that during our recent visit to Italy's Cinque Terre we absolutely fell in love with this gorgeous destination. One of the highlights for us and many other people to the region is hiking the Sentiero Azzurro, the path along the coast that connects all five villages of the Cinque Terre. Unfortunately a few years ago terrible landslides closed the world-famous Via dell'Amore which is the path that connects the villages of Riomaggiore and Manarola. However, it is still possible to hike between the five villages it now just involves a much more strenuous hike! These ancient trails are rough but manageable and the charm of the area is that it is natural and unspoiled so don't expect nice even steps or safety rails along the path. We undertook the hike between Riomaggiore and Monterosso al Mare, taking the time to stop at each of the villages on our way and it was without a doubt a highlight of our time in Italy!



Monday, May 23, 2016

Our Cinque Terre Photo Diary

I don't know when I first fell in love with the Cinque Terre but I do know that it has been on my bucket list for as long as I can remember. A few weeks ago we finally got to visit and spent four magical days exploring these gorgeous, colourful, enchanting villages built into the cliffs of this amazing part of the Italian coastline. We rented a small room in Riomaggiore on booking.com and we were blown away when it turned out to be an incredible apartment with a kitchen and amazing terrace overlooking all of Riomaggiore. On one of our days we completed the hike through the five villages and spent a few hours exploring them all. Whilst Riomaggiore was certainly our favourite, every village in the Cinque Terre is magical and has its own unique & charming features and so I don't think it matters which village you stay in because you're guaranteed to love it. I'm so glad we stayed on the actual Cinque Terre rather than travelling in each day because it meant we had the place all to ourselves in the mornings before the day trippers arrived and the evenings once everyone left where we caught the most majestic sunsets on the rocks every night. The photo below is from when Dan very bravely climbed out on very slippery & uneven rocks on the rocky break wall of Riomaggiore for this magical shot of this town which we've fallen head over heels in love with. It is truly one of the most enchanting places we've ever visited!



Sunday, May 22, 2016

Our Top 10 Summer Travel Essentials

Summer is well and truly here in Europe and by the time we get back to Australia later this year we'll be lucky enough to be heading back into summer! I mean, who doesn't love an endless summer? We've been lucky enough to spend our last two months travelling along the European coastline from Portugal to Croatia and as we head further into summer we're heading over to Greece and Turkey! We love everything about summer: the sunshine, the hot weather, beautiful turquoise seas, sandy beaches, BBQ's, sailing, cute summer clothes and so much more! Today we're sharing our top 10 Summer Travel Essentials that we either rely on or use for enjoyment in summer both at home and whilst travelling!


Friday, May 20, 2016

Salvezani Apartments: An Authentic Stay in the Heart of Split

We've recently entered Croatia, a country that has been on our bucket list for a long time and have happily fallen in love with its beauty, charm, history, friendly people and scenery. After a short but sweet visit in Zagreb we headed south to beautiful seaside Split! Here we booked the three nights leading up to our MedSailors cruise at Salvezani Apartments which were located in the centre of Split. Our apartment was gorgeous, comfortable, luxurious, stylish, cosy and had everything we could want or need to make it feel like a home as well as being super affordable! We particularly also loved its amazing history as it was located in the Old Town in the very heart of Diocletian's palace! The 16th century building was respectfully restored and all the unique, authentic features were kept to create this beautiful apartment which we loved so much that we booked an extra night after our cruise there too! Split has a wonderful atmosphere and it was an incredible experience to stay in the very heart of this amazing city.



Thursday, May 19, 2016

Hotel Dubrovnik: Your Hotel in the Heart of Zagreb

Hotel Dubrovnik is the perfect choice of hotel for visitors to Zagreb. It is ideally located on Ban Jelačić Square, the main city square in the heart of Zagreb and is only moments from the main attractions in the city! Hotel Dubrovnik has been serving guests to Zagreb for over eighty years and has truly perfected the art of superior service, elegance and extreme comfort! We only had one night in Zagreb as we travelled between Lake Bled in Slovenia and Split in Croatia but were so happy with our choice to stay at beautiful Hotel Dubrovnik which we truly think is the best hotel in all of Zagreb.


Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Lake Bled Photo Diary

We recently spent a week in Slovenia where we fell in love with Ljubljana, nicknamed the most liveable city in Europe which we completely agree with! We also spent four nights in beautiful Lake Bled which is only an hour north of Ljubljana and is truly one of the most breathtakingly beautiful places we've ever visited. The Lake is surrounded by tall snow capped mountains and endless greenery with beautiful castles and cottages dotted around the landscape, it is a truly magical destination! We spent our days relaxing at beautiful Garden Village Bled in our glamping tent complete with a hot tub, being pampered at Grand Hotel Toplice, the most luxurious hotel in Lake Bled and exploring the local region! We cycled to nearby Vintgar Gorge which was stunning with emerald green water, steep depths, vertical walls, a winding wooden platform over the rapid river below and the largest waterfall in Slovenia! We also hired row boats and leisurely rowed around Lake Bled, with a stop on the island in the middle to visit the church which was a wonderfully romantic experience. In order to see the lake from all angles we walked around the entire lake stopping to enjoy the beauty around us and watch the ridiculously cute spring ducklings learning to swim on the lake! Our stay in Bled was nothing short of perfect and it is without a doubt one of the most naturally beautiful places in all of Europe!



Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Traditional Luxury at Grand Hotel Toplice on Lake Bled

Grand Hotel Toplice boasts a rich history, a magical location, gorgeous alpine and lake views and sumptuously comfortable, elegantly styled rooms. Each of the rooms and suites at Grand Hotel Toplice has its own unique character and are traditionally styled with beautiful parquet floors, rich furniture and beautiful paintings with many of the rooms benefiting from breathtakingly beautiful lake views. The hotel has been recently renovated and restored to its former glory and is one of the best hotels in Slovenia as well as being a proud member of the Small Luxury Hotels of the World collection. It has hosted many eminent guests and is frequented by guests who are seeking the very best in luxurious accommodation by Lake Bled. We had a truly magical stay in Bled at Grand Hotel Toplice. In addition to the magical location and views, the elegance and luxury it was the staff who truly made our stay unforgettable. They went above and beyond to ensure our stay was perfect in every single way and are a true asset to the hotel.



Monday, May 16, 2016

Glamping in Slovenia at Garden Village Bled

During our recent visit to Lake Bled in Slovenia we were lucky enough to stay at Garden Village in one of their incredible Glamping Tents. We fell in love with glamping last year when we glamped in Cornwall in the UK. Garden Village is incredible, it is an entirely ecological and innovatively designed complex, built over an abandoned gardening space that is the perfect destination for eco-conscious travellers! The resort is relaxing and blends in perfectly with its natural surroundings with fruit trees planted throughout the resort, herb and vegetable gardens and a peaceful stream running through the resort along with each glamping tent having it's own garden! Our stay at Garden Village was absolutely perfect and we loved everything about our incredibly relaxing, stylish and unique glamping tent which even came equipped with its own wood-fired hot tub!



Sunday, May 15, 2016

Sampling Slovenian Cuisine with Top Ljubjana Foods

Whenever we visit a new country we love to get to know the local cuisine and taste some local wines and so when we came across Top Ljubljana Food tours we immediately booked. The tour is created to enable you to get to know Ljubljana in under 4 hours, to find out where to go, what to do, what and where to eat as well as learning about Ljubljana and Slovenia's history! It was the perfect mixture of a guided city tour as well as a food tour and we had a fantastic evening learning all about Slovenian cuisine and the history of this incredible country! The tour was fantastic as we not only learnt about and tried dishes from Ljubljana but from all over Slovenia! 


Saturday, May 14, 2016

Falling in love with Europe's Most Liveable City, Ljubljana

After three incredible weeks in Italy we were incredibly exciting to be crossing the border into a new country! Slovenia was the next country on our list and whilst we'd heard fantastic things, we didn't really know what to expect. I'm not going to lie, I only found out the correct way to pronounce Ljubljana about an hour before our GoOpti transfer picked us up in Venice (it's pronounced like lublana if you're interested, not looby-jooby-jana as I'd affectionately been calling it). Lubljana is one of Europe's greenest and most liveable cities and has been awarded the coveted Green Capital of Europe title for 2016! The majority of the centre of Ljubljana is a pedestrian zone with restricted car traffic which leaves the leafy banks of the emerald-green Ljubljanica River which flows through the heart of the city, free for pedestrians and cyclists. We loved the restaurants, cafes and bars set up all along the river which gave the city a very sociable and friendly feel. We spent three nights in Ljubljana in an amazing apartment and in the elegant Antiq Palace Hotel & Spa and even though the weather wasn't fantastic we loved exploring the beautiful streets and green areas of Ljubljana. We also took a food tour of the city which was fantastic and a half day tour to Postojna Cave and Predjama Castle which is certainly worth a visit! Ljubljana was a very refreshing city to visit, it was clean, there was countless green spaces, everyone was friendly and spoke perfect English, it wasn't too busy, it was extremely affordable and everyone is really passionate about the environment and sustainability. A lot of countries could learn a lot from Slovenia and it is one of our favourite countries we've visited in Europe and Ljubljana is without a doubt the city in Europe that we'd choose to live in!



Friday, May 13, 2016

Antiq Palace Hotel & Spa: A 16th Century Palace in Ljubljana

Antiq Palace Hotel & Spa in Ljubljana, Slovenia is located in a gorgeous 16th century palatial city residence, originally built for nobility, in the very heart of the centre of Ljubljana, boasting one of the most prestigious addresses in the city. The hotel is elegant, luxurious and romantic and the staff at the hotel go above and beyond to ensure your stay in this magnificent residence is nothing short of perfect. The hotel is also ideally located just a block from the banks of the Ljubljanica River and opposite the beautiful Ljubljana Castle. All the sites of Ljubljana are within walking distance and it is a fantastic hotel to base yourself in to explore beautiful Slovenia.



Thursday, May 12, 2016

Postojna Cave and Predjama Castle Tour with Roundabout Travel

Slovenia is truly an undiscovered gem in Europe and despite its small size, it has so much to offer! Throughout our week we spent in Slovenia we were amazed by the diversity, the beautiful scenery, the nature, the cleanliness and the very kind people. We booked a half day tour with Roundabout Travel from Ljubljana which would take us to the world famous underground world of Postojna Caves and also to the magnificent Predjama Castle.



Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Ljubljana as a Local with Central Apartments Tour As

Central Apartments Tour As are a company in Ljubljana which manage over 40 apartments throughout the city in various locations through the old town, the city centre and in its immediate vicinity. They have a wide range of apartments ranging from Studio apartments to one, two and three bedroom apartments all with fully equipped kitchens and offer you a comfortable stay and the opportunity to experience Ljubljana as the locals do! We love staying in apartments when we travel as we love the freedom and privacy it offers along with the chance to cook for ourselves, have separate living and sleeping areas and experience a new destination as a local!



Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Getting from Venice to Ljubljana with GoOpti

After an amazing 24 hours in Venice we were finally heading to a new country after three weeks in Italy! Slovenia was our next port of call and we have an amazing week lined up full of adventures in the Green Capital of Europe! We'll be visiting Ljubljana and Lake Bled during our time in Slovenia and as much as we'd love to spend more than a week we've got a fairly jam packed schedule and can't wait to see and do as much as possible while we are here. Having travelled across six continents for more than a decade we'd like to think we're fairly good with transport and logistics but when it came to working out how we would get from Venice to Ljubljana it was giving us a bit of a headache until we found GoOpti!



Monday, May 9, 2016

24 Hours in Venice

Venice is one of those unique, ridiculously beautiful destinations which truly has to be experienced at least once during your lifetime. I've been lucky enough to visit twice before but this visit was Dan's first and I'm happy to say that my third visit to Venice was my most spectacular and memorable! It's difficult to explain the grandeur, beauty and charm of Venice with its 100 small islands, car-less streets, endless beautiful canals and spectacular marble palaces which seemingly rise out of the water and so I think that this quote perfectly describes the magic of Venice:

"Venice is the consummate magician. It makes marble palaces vanish into silent fogs, labyrinthine calli (streets) disappear at the whim of moody tides, and can even turn the most pedestrian of people into fantastical, masked creatures. Just like its world-famous Carnevale, Venice thrives on mystery and awe, from the secret passageways that riddle Gothic Palazzo Ducale, to the esoteric powers of the Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute, to the inexplicable radiance of Titian's Assunta altarpiece. After countless sojourns, I am yet to tire of the place. Some spells are simply too hard to break" - Cristian Bonetto.



Sunday, May 8, 2016

A Heavenly Stay at The Westin Europa & Regina, Venice

Located a few steps from the iconic Piazza San Marco and just in front of the church of Santa Maria della Salute, the most beautiful church of the Italian Baroque, The Westin Europa & Regina has an incredible, unrivalled position in Venice. It is located on the final and most magnificent stretch of the Grand Canal where it widens to become the Bacino di San Marco. The Westin Europa & Regina is a stunning hotel that oozes history, elegance and luxury and choosing to stay here ensures you will have a pampering, unforgettable experience in what we believe is the most wonderful hotel in all of Venice.



Saturday, May 7, 2016

A Private Gondola Tour & Romantic Dinner with SIT Italy

Venice is an incredible destination which entices visitors from all around the world to travel and experience its magic for themselves. Venice is a charming mixture of tradition and prestige and is known and loved for its charm and its beautiful sights. The city is best explored on foot and from the water and a visit to Venice would not be complete without a gondola ride! We booked a Private Gondola Tour with Dinner through SIT Italy, a company who are experts in Italian holidays and have been organising travel in Italy since 1999! Our evening was romantic, relaxing and luxurious and we loved our private gondola tour followed by a romantic, indulgent three course meal. It really was the perfect night in Venice!



Friday, May 6, 2016

The Best of Tuscany Tour with Walkabout Florence

During our recent four days in Florence we booked a full day Best of Tuscany Tour with Walkabout Florence. Our exciting, jam packed day was the perfect introduction to beautiful Tuscany and included visits to the iconic Medieval town of Siena, the enchanting town of San Gimignano, an incredible Tuscan lunch in an organic farm and winery, a scenic drive through the Tuscan countryside and a visit to Pisa to get that "must have" photo with the leaning tower! Tuscany is without a doubt one of the most beautiful parts of Italy and has an incredible history, beautiful countrysides, a wealth of art, delicious food and superb wines! Our day trip was the perfect way to experience as much of this beautiful region as possible during a short period of time and we loved every moment!



Thursday, May 5, 2016

An Unforgettable Stay in Florence at Antica Torre di Via Tornabuoni 1

Antica Torre di Via Tornabuoni is a thirteenth century historical residence in Florence ideally located at the beginning of the street of the same name and only a few steps from the Santa Trinita Bridge. It is one of the city's best preserved Medieval tower residences which has been skillfully and respectfully restored and transformed into a stunning, elegant and welcoming residence where guests are warmly welcomed and invited to be a part of the history of this incredible place. The central location, spacious rooms, beautiful marble bathrooms, excellent staff, great rates and marvellous city views make it without a doubt the best boutique hotel in all of Florence.


Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Four Magical Days Under The Tuscan Sun

My love for Tuscany first began when I saw the film Under The Tuscan Sun for the first time many, many years ago. Tuscany has always seemed a magical land of rolling hills, sunshine, fields of sunflowers and of course, incredible wine! I'd been lucky enough to visit Florence twice previously but for some reason I didn't love it as much as other cities in Italy such as Rome. This trip however changed everything. We spent four incredible days in Florence exploring the city, watching the city from above from our incredible rooftop terrace at Antica Torre di Via Tornabuoni 1 and of course exploring gorgeous Tuscan towns, villages and wineries. It was a truly magical four days and we fell in love with both Florence and Tuscany, and we've now added to our incredibly long bucket list the need for an extended stay in a Tuscan villa in the beautiful countryside. Tuscany was every bit as beautiful and romantic as I imagined and I am so excited to come back one day and explore further, relax in the magical countryside and indulge in more incredible Chianti wine! x



Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Timeless Luxury at Hotel Regency Florence

Elegant Hotel Regency overlooks one of the most prestigious and beautiful squares in Florence, Piazza Massimo D'Azeglio, which served as a retreat to high government officials and ministers of the State when the city of Florence was the Italian capital. Today the 19th century Florentine villa is a five star hotel and proud member of the Small Luxury Hotels of the World collection. Our stay at Hotel Regency was perfect and we loved having the opportunity to stay in a gorgeous 19th century villa in the heart of Florence.


Monday, May 2, 2016

An Elegant Stay at Hotel Lord Byron, Rome

Located only moments from the beautiful Villa Borghese Gardens is Hotel Lord Byron, a Small Luxury Hotel of the World and beautiful Art Deco styled hotel in Rome. Hotel Lord Byron is located in one of the most chic residential neighbourhoods in Rome and boasts a vast collection of impressive original Art Deco masterpieces, paintings and sculptures. The hotel offers its guests a glamorous, luxurious and unforgettable stay in the Eternal City. 



Sunday, May 1, 2016

Escaping the Crowds on our Roman Holiday

Rome, The Eternal City is one of the most majestic cities in the world and without a doubt one of my favourites! We visited Rome together in 2014 and both loved every moment exploring the ancient sites, strolling the cobblestoned streets and indulging in incredible Italian cuisine and fine wine! On our recent visit, Rome was without a doubt the busiest I have ever seen it in all my times to the city and so whilst we still ticked some of the sites off our list including the Colosseum & Vatican, the Trevi Fountain which is now reopened after its restoration and the historical centre, we spent a lot of our time in the city trying to get off the beaten tourist trail. We took an incredible evening food tour with Secret Food Tours where we indulged in incredible Italian cuisine and had a tour of the historical centre which included the Jewish Quarter and Trastevere.

One of the highlights of our visit to Rome this time was discovering the beauty of Villa Borghese. Villa Borghese is a huge park that it literally only minutes from Piazza del Popolo and you are guaranteed to find secret little spots with no one else around. We stumbled across a gorgeous lake with a fountain the middle where you could hire row boats for €3 per person for 20 minutes which was a very romantic and relaxing experience! We also hired little bike cars which are battery assisted which makes peddling uphill really easy! It was only €12 for an hour and we had an amazing time cruising around the park and finished with a delicious picnic in a little secluded part of the park! If you're on limited time in Rome then there are certainly enough sites to keep you busy but we loved that we had the opportunity to be able to visit world famous sites in the morning and then also be able to escape the crowds and relax in the tranquil Villa Borghese park that very same afternoon. Our visit to Rome was much different to any other visit we've had but we absolutely loved every minute of our incredible five nights in the city.