Our favourite things that we’ve paid to do this year
What is travel about if it’s not experiencing new things that you probably can’t do or find elsewhere? Over the past 12 months we have been able to try so many fantastic activities and experiences, all over Europe. Here’s a list of our favourites:
Tobotronc, Andorra: The longest nature slide in the world. Find the 5.3km toboggan run at Naturlandia adventure park in Andorra. The Tobotronc “offers a unique journey through the forest”. The sleds are made for two people but Callum and I were lucky to have one each. You are winched up the mountain, through the forest, in the sled until you reach the top where you speed down the rails with only the hand brakes to slow you down. Very cool and lots of fun. Children under 1.20m are not permitted. Children over 1.2m tall, up to 13 years old must be accompanied by an adult over 18 years old. You can see our video here.
Treetop Walk and Forest Tower, Bad Wildbad, Germany: The Baumwipfelpfad Schwarzwald was one of the first stops on our travel adventure. A wooden treetop walk through the forest with a total length of 1,250 metres and a height of 20 metres culminating in the spectacular 40 metre high observation tower. Apart from having the coolest place name, we initially visited Bad Wildbad to cycle through the Black Forest and discovered this awesome place. You can take a funicular railway from Bad Wildbad, up the mountain to Wildbader Sommerberg. Seasonal opening times apply. Wheelchair and pram accessible. See website for full details.
NEMO Science Museum, Amsterdam, Netherlands: We love a good museum and this one is fun for all ages! The museum contains five floors of hands on experiments, interactive exhibits and loads of fun facts that make for a great day out. Exhibits include DNA and the human body, water cycles, the human mind, memory and optical illusions. Perfect for a rainy day and suitable for all ages. Wheelchair and pram friendly (except the rooftop Energetica exhibition), accessible for people with disabilities or visual impairments.
Caldea, Andorra: Caldea is a huge swimming pool and relaxation complex in the Andorran capital of Andorra la Vella. It has a HUGE swimming pool, a variety of suanas, a grotto with hot and cold pools, jacuzzis that rise above the main pool on various levels with angled jets to ease specific muscle groups, an outside area with more jets another hot tub and a lazy river. It even has a 5 minute fountain and music show every hour in the main pool. It was included in our hotel package but usually costs €28.50 per adult, which seems a lot for a swimming pool but it is a SUPER swimming pool and you could stay there all day.
Efteling Theme Park, Kaatsheuval, Netherlands: A fantasy-themed park based on elements from myths and legends, fairy tales, fables and folklore. It opened in 1952 and is now the largest theme park in the Netherlands, twice the size of the original Disneyland park in California. In 2018, it was the third most visited theme park in Europe after Disneyland Paris & Europa-Park. We hadn’t planned to go but were invited by some friends, on a wet, cold day in September and are so glad we agreed to join them! There are rides for everyone from toddler friendly swings and merry-go-rounds to huge roller coasters, from crazy water rides to slow paced Gondoletta boats. The restaurants are excellent too (try the pancake restaurant) and don’t miss the evening water fountain and fire show!
WONDR Experience, Amsterdam, Netherlands: A late entry onto our list, we revisited Amsterdam at the beginning of September 2020 to join our friend from Jersey to celebrate her birthday. One of the activities she chose was the WONDR Experience and we are very glad that she did! In a converted warehouse you make your way through 12 themed rooms to explore “Amsterdam’s first experience playground” inviting you to “play and explore regardless of your age”. It was so much fun to interact with the props and room set ups, especially with friends who are equally enthusiastic. Complete heaven for taking interesting and unusual photographs including swings, confetti showers and a giant ball pit. There are also professional cameras set up throughout to capture high quality photos which you can download after your visit. Finish your day off in the cafe with a giant cupcake or sugar overload on a freakshake. If you’re just big kids like us you will love it too!
Quad bikes in Gozo: Our visit to Malta was extended from three weeks to four due to storms in the Mediterranean so we took the opportunity to pop across to Gozo. The ferry between Gozo & Malta deserves a mention itself. We left the motorhome in Malta and went to Gozo as foot passengers. No need to book the ferry, just turn up at the harbour and jump on the next ferry. Tickets are paid for from Gozo to Malta and were just €4.65 each! We booked the quad bikes through Gozo Quad Hire. It was €113 for the two bikes for 5 hours, which included pick up from and drop off back to the harbour. Our most memorable paid activity of the year. We highly recommend it if you ever visit Gozo! You can check out our video here.
Viking Valley, Gudvangen, Vestland, Norway: One of the last things that we have done this year and part of an epic 3 weeks spent exploring Norway turned out to be our absolute favourite experience. We cannot emphasise just how awesome Viking Valley is, but I’ll try. The village itself has been built as a real Viking village would have been, from the grass topped roofs to the layout of the buildings down to even using wooden pegs instead of nails to hold them all together. There’s a real blacksmith & rope maker. They even make their own fabric and glass beads and everything else that is available for sale in the shop is handmade. There’s also a restaurant on site serving Viking inspired food. Included in your ticket price of 200 NOK (about €18.84) per adult (98NOK for children aged 4-15yrs) is a guided tour, archery and axe throwing. The staff were so welcoming and knowledgable about absolutely every part of Viking life and more than happy to talk to us about it all. Viking Valley makes the top of our list because it was enjoyable, informative and most of all FUN!