5 Safety Tips to Know When Traveling By Sea

5 Safety Tips to Know When Traveling By Sea

Who doesn’t love the sea? A fun way of experiencing its beauty is by traveling by ship. It can be thrilling and adventurous, but it comes with intense risks.

Maritime accidents are surprisingly common and could often be avoided if proper safety measures were adhered to right from the start. To minimize the risk of injuries and similar dangers during sea journeys, it’s important to know about what kind of precautions are necessary.

In addition to the compulsory safety rules set forth by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) for all vessels, which also encompass safety equipment for personnel protection, there are additional safety practices that seafarers must adhere to ensure their safety aboard the ship.

Maritime safety is about safeguarding passengers and crew members on ships and those who work or reside near water bodies. It covers various risks and hazards, including potential injuries or fatalities.

Suitable Attire and Shoes

Hamburg night boat tour - sitting on the deck
Hamburg night boat tour – sitting on the deck

Appropriate attire and shoes are indispensable for safe boating, hence their inclusion in our top ten boating safety guidelines. So what is a suitable attire if you’re traveling by sea? Let me make it easy for you.

Non-slip soled shoes are particularly critical for docking operations. Beyond the boat’s movement, elements such as ropes, cleats, and other equipment can present tripping hazards.

Ensure you pack waterproof attire, including items like raincoats or oilskins. Waterproof cellphone cases are recommended too.

If the weather is sunny, wear a lightweight T-shirt with sun protection. In addition, remember to bring sunscreen and a hat to protect yourself from sunburns and heat strokes. See my beach packing list for inspiration.

Do Not Overload

A frequent mistake made by marine travelers is packing their ships too heavily. Exceeding the recommended load can risk the stability of your ship, increasing the chances of an overturn.

Before starting your voyage, verify your ship’s maximum capacity and avoid exceeding it, even if this means leaving some possessions behind.

Ensure that the weight of your cargo is evenly distributed to keep balance and steadiness. Overburdening can also lead to mechanical issues like engine failure, which can be disastrous when you’re in the middle of the ocean.

Always be mindful of your weight to ensure a safe and enjoyable sea journey. You can also learn how to tie up a boat to a dock properly to prevent accidents while docking particularly during tide change.

Carry Some Money With You

Venturing out without cash can be inconvenient, especially when exploring various locations.

If you stop by a local island to buy food, it’s not guaranteed that there will be an ATM in every place you visit.

Not all islands may have robust network coverage, making bank transfers a challenge. This could make it difficult for you to buy the essentials if you’re without cash. Therefore, it’s advisable to always have some cash on hand wherever you go.

Moderate Your Alcohol Consumption

I know that alcohol consumption can be a fun thing if on a holiday but please be careful.

Being under the influence of alcohol can significantly impact your safety. While taking full advantage of sunny weather and drink packages may be tempting, exercise restraint and avoid excessive drinking.

Incidents driven by alcohol are fairly common and they can not only cause embarrassment but also disturb other passengers.

Additionally, it is wise to follow basic guidelines for handling alcohol. This includes never leaving your drink unattended and avoiding accepting beverages from people you do not know.

Appropriate Positioning and Utilization of Tools

Always use both hands when transporting portable equipment and tools. Use a tool belt, if on hand, when climbing or descending stairs with the equipment. Alternatively, you can strap the equipment across your body to keep your hands free and ensure a secure hold.

Before using portable power tools such as welding machines and drills, a thorough inspection is necessary; their operation should be left to trained professionals. Before any work begins, it’s essential to have safety guards in place where needed. This prevents shocks or sparks from exposed wires that could ignite fires onboard.

Final Thoughts

Embarking on a sea journey can offer an exhilarating and memorable adventure, but putting safety first and taking necessary measures is vital. Adhering to the safety guidelines mentioned will ensure your voyage is not only secure but also pleasurable.

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Is Brussels Worth Visiting? Discovering Belgium’s Capital

Is Brussels Worth Visiting? Discovering Belgium’s Capital

Discovering Brussels: Unveiling the Allure of Belgium’s Capital

You may not know this but I live just 4 hours drive away from Brussels. It took me seven years of living in Germany and I finally decided to visit this Belgian capital. I had no idea what this city was like, except I knew of just Belgian chocolate, Belgian Waffles, and Belgian beer.

I mean, when we talk about the beauty of iconic European cities, people mention Paris, Amsterdam, Prague, or Rome – but hardly anyone ever mentions Brussels, right? So, is Brussels worth visiting? Let me introduce the city and I will talk about it from a traveler’s perspective based on my experience.

Introducing Brussels

A Pretty Street in Brussels
A Pretty Street in Brussels

Nestled at the heart of Europe, Brussels, Belgium’s capital, is a city that effortlessly blends rich history, modernity, and cultural diversity. After all, it’s also considered the capital of the EU. Yes, the European Commission, the European Council, the Council of the European Union, and the European Parliament are all headquartered in Brussels.

Brussels is a city of many different languages with a multi-lingual population. French and Flemish Dutch are the official languages and of course, people speak English too.

If you look at the map, you will notice that Belgium is surrounded by the Netherlands, Germany, France, and Luxembourg on the sides and one part faces the North Sea. That’s also one of the reasons why Belgium has a multicultural population. The city is called “Bruxelles” in French and “Brussel” in Dutch.

1) Brussels’ Iconic Square – Grand Place

Yes, all European capitals and even not-so-iconic cities have beautiful town squares, but the one in Brussels is often considered to be the grandest of them all. Brussels’ city center is called the Grand Place.

Brussels Grand Place - the iconic center
Brussels Town Hall at Grand-Place – the iconic center via Unsplash

Grand Place is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the central square of Brussels, the Grand Place, or Grote Markt, stands as a testament to the city’s medieval grandeur. Surrounded by opulent guildhalls, the Town Hall, and the King’s House (Maison du Roi), this square is a mesmerizing blend of Gothic and Baroque architecture.

Dominating one side of the square is the Brussels Town Hall. This Gothic masterpiece dates back to the 15th century and features a 96-meter tall tower with a statue of Saint Michael, the city’s patron saint, perched at the top. You will see the spire of Brussels town hall from some of the nearby streets as a nice backdrop.

Visitors can explore the interior of the Town Hall and marvel at its opulent rooms, including the Gothic Room and the Maximilian Hall.

Brussels Main Square - Grand-Place
Brussels Main Square – Grand-Place

The ornate facades of the guildhalls, adorned with gold leaf and intricate sculptures, create a visual spectacle. Each guildhall has its own unique design, representing the prosperity and craftsmanship of the various guilds that once dominated Brussels.

Opposite the Town Hall stands Maison du Roi or the King’s House, also known as the Breadhouse (Broodhuis in Dutch). The building’s facade is an outstanding example of Neo-Gothic architecture. Today, the King’s House houses the Brussels City Museum, where visitors can delve into the city’s history through various exhibits and artifacts.

December Afternoon in Grand Place, Brussels
Maison du Roi in Grand Place with a Christmas tree on a December Afternoon

Both Brussels City Museum (Maison du Roi) and Brussels Town Hall (Hôtel de Ville de Bruxelles) are the two most striking buildings and they look like they are competing against each other because they are on opposite sides of the square.

The Grand Place is not just a picturesque square; it’s the beating heart of Brussels, hosting vibrant events and festivals throughout the year. It takes on a magical aura in the evening when the buildings are beautifully illuminated. The play of light accentuates the architectural details, creating a romantic and enchanting atmosphere.

Honestly, if you do nothing in Brussels but just explore the Grand Place, you will be fully satisfied for your first visit.

Grand Place, Brussels, Belgium
Grand Place, Brussels, Belgium via Unsplash

2) Brussels is Weird: Manneken Pis & Jeanneke Pis

Brussels is somewhat weird. Weird doesn’t mean bad but is usually funny. Let’s talk about the Manneken Pis & Jeanneke Pis statues.

Manneken Pis statue in Brussels dressed up for Christmas
Manneken Pis statue in Brussels dressed up for Christmas via Unsplash

The Manneken Pis statue isn’t big but is funny. It is near the Grand Place, the 55 cm Manneken Pis statue captures the whimsical spirit of Brussels. It is just a statue of a child peeing in a pool and represents the “irreverent spirit” of Brussels.

This diminutive bronze sculpture has become a beloved symbol of the city, with its wardrobe changed regularly in homage to various themes and occasions.

There are many funny stories about the origin of the Manneken Pis statue and for me, the best one is that a man lost his son and he declared that when he finds him, he will donate a statue of him to the city doing whatever the kid was doing at that time.

Jeanneke Pis bronze statue in Brussels
Jeanneke Pis bronze statue in Brussels via Unsplash

Jeanneke Pis is also a pissing statue but is newer and was made as a counterpoint for Manneken Pis. It is a 50 cm bronze statue of a little girl with pigtails peeing in a pool. Brussels, how weird are you?

The locals toss coins into the basin of Jeanneke Pis that get collected by a non-profit organization called Horizon-Espoir ASBL.

3) The Hill of the Arts: Mont des Arts

Mont des Arts in Brussels
Mont des Arts in Brussels via Unsplash

Mont des Arts, or the “Hill of the Arts,” is a cultural and artistic complex located in the heart of Brussels, Belgium.

It is situated between the historic town center and the uptown neighborhoods of Brussels, offering stunning views of the city. The Mont des Arts is not only a beautiful green space but also a hub for museums, exhibitions, and cultural activities.

One of the highlights of Mont des Arts is the panoramic view it offers of Brussels. Visitors can climb the stairs to the elevated platform and enjoy breathtaking vistas of the cityscape, including the iconic Atomium in the distance.

The view from Mont de Arts in Brussels
The view from Mont des Arts in Brussels via Unsplash

The Mont des Arts is home to the Royal Library of Belgium, a significant cultural institution. The library houses an extensive collection of books, manuscripts, and documents, making it a valuable resource for researchers and scholars. The library building itself is an architectural masterpiece.

Apart from the library, the Mont des Arts is known for its well-maintained gardens and green spaces. Visitors can stroll through the landscaped lawns, and flower beds, and enjoy a peaceful retreat from the bustling city life. The gardens provide a scenic setting for relaxation, picnics, and outdoor activities.

4) Belgian Waffles, Chocolate, and Beer

Eating a waffle in Brussels
Eating a waffle in Brussels

No visit to Brussels is complete without indulging in its world-famous Belgian waffles. From street vendors to quaint cafes, the aroma of freshly baked waffles wafts through the city streets, inviting you to savor this delightful treat.

What I like about the Belgian waffles is that they are light and airy, yet crispy. The ones that I’m used to eating in Germany feel more cake-ish.

If you don’t have a sweet tooth, you can also try the savory waffles that are with cheese, kind of like sandwiches. My husband ordered one with cheese, chicken, and chili and it was yummy. Mine was with dark chocolate and my daughter had a plain one. I found mine to be the tastiest.

La Belgique Gourmande chocolatier in Brussels
La Belgique Gourmande chocolatier in Brussels via Unsplash

If you are a chocoholic, then you would love Belgian Chocolate. Brussels is a chocolate paradise with dozens of shops scattered across the city.

For a full-on immersive experience, consider visiting a chocolate factory or doing a chocolate-making workshop. Here are two that I recommend:

To find the best chocolatier in Brussels, you don’t have to go out of your way because when you visit Grand-Place, you will see some chocolate shops right there. Check out:

  • Elisabeth Chocolatier near Manneken Pis statue,
  • Neuhaus Chocolates Bruxelles Grand Place,
  • La Belgique Gourmande, and
  • Chocolate Mary.

Of course, the world-famous Godiva Chocolatier is also here at Grand-Place but why eat something that you will anyway find all over the world? (My first taste of Godiva was in the USA). Discover the artistry of Belgian chocolatiers and treat your taste buds to exquisite pralines.

Brussels has an amazing beer scene - Belgian Beer
Brussels has an amazing beer scene – Belgian Beer via Unsplash

Enough about chocolates, let’s talk about the famous Belgium beer. I particularly enjoy the brown ales and Flemish red ales.

If you’d like an extraordinary beer experience, then I recommend you book a 2.5-hour-long beer-tasting experience. It is actually a very nice way for solo travelers to meet a group of people and enjoy the nightlife in Brussels because beer is the perfect icebreaker, and you can continue drinking together after the beer-tasting session ends.

Here are some places where you could possibly find the best beer in Brussels:

  • La Porte Noire,
  • Little Delirium,
  • Brussels Beer Project,
  • Moeder Lambic Fontainas, and
  • Beer Capital Brussels.

Try an array of Belgian beers, each with its unique flavor profile, in a beer hall or a bar to discover the one that you love the most.

5) Brussels has Interesting Landmarks

Palais Royal, the Royal Palace of Brussels Brussels
Palais Royal, the Royal Palace of Brussels Brussels via Unsplash

Brussels is a treasure trove of Art Nouveau architecture, with buildings like Victor Horta’s Hôtel Tassel and Hôtel Solvay showcasing the city’s architectural prowess. Take a walking tour through the neighborhoods of Ixelles and Saint-Gilles to immerse yourself in this artistic movement.

Many historical buildings in Brussels were destroyed when it became the capital city of a new country in the 19th century. This was done to make way for new buildings that were built between 1880 and 1980.

Palais Royal or Royal Palace of Brussels is a stunning building. Marvel at the neoclassical splendor of the Royal Palace, the official residence of the Belgian monarch. While the interior is only open to the public during some summer days, the exterior and surrounding park are worth a visit.

Saint Michael and St. Gudula Cathedral, Place Sainte-Gudule, Brussels, Belgium
Saint Michael and St. Gudula Cathedral, Place Sainte-Gudule, Brussels, Belgium via Unsplash

St. Michael and St. Gudula Cathedral is a beautiful Gothic cathedral. It is named after the patron saints of Brussels and dates back to the 11th century. The intricate stained glass windows, detailed sculptures, and imposing spires contribute to the cathedral’s architectural significance.

Brussels also has its own arch – the Cinquantenaire Arch. It is a triumphal arch built to commemorate Belgium’s 50th anniversary of independence. Situated in Cinquantenaire Park, the arch is a stunning example of neoclassical architecture and features a central arch flanked by colonnades and sculptures.

European Parliament building is worth a visit too. Brussels serves as the de facto capital of the European Union, hosting the European Parliament. Take a guided tour to gain insights into the workings of this vital institution shaping the future of Europe.

Congress Column in Brussels
Congress Column in Brussels

Another notable landmark in Brussels is the Congress Column or Colonne du Congrès. It is a 47-meter column that was built from 1850 to 1859. It was created to commemorate the 1830 National Congress that created Belgium’s first constitution.

How can I not mention Atomium, a futuristic structure in Brussels? It is an iconic landmark representing an iron crystal magnified 165 billion times.

Atomium in Heysel Park symbolizes Belgium’s post-war industrial prowess and is an unmissable stop on your Brussels itinerary. It offers panoramic views of the city from its spheres and houses intriguing exhibitions about its history.

6) Marvels of Comic Culture

Comic Mural in Brussels
Comic Mural in Brussels via Unsplash

Believe it or not, Brussels is the comic strip capital of the world. Walk around here and you will see many murals and graffiti featuring comic heroes. My favorite comic “Tintin” originated in Belgium’s weekly “Le Petit Vingtième”.

Surprisingly enough, I saw a place right next to my lunch restaurant which was just just dedicated to comic exchange and tradeoffs. I felt like that’s something that the characters of Big Bang Theory would approve of.

Brussels also has a Comics Art Museum where you can dive into the vibrant world of comic books. From Tintin to The Smurfs, this museum celebrates Belgium’s significant contribution to the world of comics.

If you’d like to attend a comic festival, then look out for BD Comic Strip Festival, Made in Asia, and Comic Con Brussels.

7) Place du Jeu de Balle Flea Market

If you’re a fan of antiques and quirky finds, head to the Place du Jeu de Balle, home to a famous flea market. Explore the stalls brimming with vintage treasures, adding a unique touch to your Brussels experience.

Situated in Brussels’ Marolles district, the Place du Jeu de Balle Flea Market is like a vintage treasure hunt waiting to unfold. Dating back to the late 19th century, this market has an irresistible charm that draws both locals and tourists into its labyrinth of stalls and curiosities. Picture cobblestone streets, a mishmash of eclectic goods, and a buzzing atmosphere that’s as lively as Brussels itself.

Here, you can unearth a trove of treasures—antique furniture with stories to tell, quirky collectibles, and funky second-hand threads that could make your wardrobe pop. The market’s semi-casual vibe encourages strolls, letting you strike up conversations with passionate vendors who know the ins and outs of their trade.

What makes the Place du Jeu de Balle Flea Market truly special is its blend of history and contemporary flair. It’s a place where you can snag a piece of the past while savoring the dynamic energy of the present.

Whether you’re a vintage enthusiast or just out for a casual browse, this market promises a delightful experience, turning every visit into a charming escapade through Brussels’ cultural kaleidoscope.

8) Brussels Christmas Market is Magical

Christmas Time in Brussels
Christmas Time in Brussels – Galeries Royales Saint-Hubert

If you are visiting Brussels when the Christmas Markets are on, then you are going to love it. I visited Brussels in December when the Christmas Markets were on. I was pretty impressed with the city at that time because even the trams were Christmas-themed.

Brussels transforms into a winter wonderland during the festive season. The Christmas market at the Grand Place, adorned with lights and decorations, offers a magical atmosphere and the chance to sample seasonal treats.

Christmas Lights on the street in Brussels
Christmas Lights on the street in Brussels

Arrive at Grand-Place and see the Christmas decor. The best time would be to come here right before it gets dark and see how the lights are turned on one by one, and everything sparkles.

I also saw a Christmas tree that was hanging from one of the historical buildings here next to the Brussels City Museum (Maison du Roi).

Grand-Place at Christmas Time, Brussels
Grand-Place at Christmas Time, Brussels

During Christmas time, there is a hidden gem in Brussels. It is a small spot called Christmas Fairies, where you can see a view of the Grand-Place. You can also buy a drink here and meet Santa and his elves.

9) Summer in Brussels is Fun

Parc du Cinquantenaire in Brussels
Parc du Cinquantenaire in Brussels via Unsplash

In the summer months, you can escape the bustling city center and unwind in Parc du Cinquantenaire or Josaphat Parc. Both these parks are scenic, well kept and are perfect for picnics, and leisurely walks.

Parc du Cinquantenaire is nice for exploring the impressive arch that dominates its center. Josaphat Parc has a nice brunch restaurant inside called La Laiterie. You can sit outside in the summer months and drink mimosas with your brunch. I visited it in winter and noticed that it is cozy and they make the perfect winter cocktails with gin, caramelized orange, and Cointreau.

10) Getting Around Brussels is Easy

Tram in Brussels
Tram in Brussels

I visited Brussels with my little girl and husband, and we all found the public transportation super simple. Navigating Brussels is a breeze with its efficient metro system and well-connected train stations.

It is cheaper to purchase a Brussels Card for free entry to numerous museums and unlimited public transportation. But even if you don’t, you can use your European bank card on the machines that are inside the trams or buses.

Brussels Nord train station
Brussels Nord train station

We used all sorts of Public transport in Brussels – trams, buses and trains. Additionally, we traveled a lot using app-based bike or e-scooter rental services like Tier and Bolt. We did walk a lot but I’d say the entire city isn’t as tiny as Amsterdam so you can’t rely on just waking.

If you are landing at Brussels Airport, know that is an international hub. It is easy to reach the city from the Airport with an intercity train. Plan your arrival and departure with ease, setting the stage for a seamless journey.

11) Perfect Base for Exploring Bruges, Ghent, and Antwerp

If you are spending a few days in Brussels, why not make a day trip to the nearby places to see in Belgium? I’m talking about the stunning Bruges, Ghent, and Antwerp.

Brussels to Bruges is a one-hour trip one way on InterCity train, 40 minutes to Antwerp, and 35 minutes to Ghent.

Of course, it is possible to do it yourself but for an easier experience, you may want to consider booking a day trip where you don’t have to make much effort but just go with a group of people on a tour bus.

Drawbacks of Visiting Brussels

Sunset view from Mont des Arts in Brussels, Belgium
Sunset view from Mont des Arts in Brussels, Belgium via Unsplash

While Brussels has its unique charm and attractions, like any destination, it’s important to be aware of potential drawbacks.

If you are looking for a “party” city, then please know that Brussels isn’t for you, you’d be better off in Berlin, Amsterdam, Barcelona, Belgrade, London, Prague, Lisbon, Hamburg, Bucharest, or Budapest. Brussels has bars and clubs but they are a bit subdued.

Brussels is known to be relatively more expensive compared to some other European cities. Accommodations and dining can be pricey, especially in the central areas. But if you go to Paris or Hamburg or Amsterdam or Rome, they aren’t at all cheaper than Belgium. But places like Budapest, Lisbon, or Bucharest will be.

If warm weather is your high priority, then Brussels may not be a fun destination for you because the weather is unpredictable – just like Amsterdam, Paris, London, or Berlin. For warm weather, pick something in Portugal, Spain, Italy, Greece, Cyperus or Turkey. I live in Germany and I can now handle bad weather pretty well so it didn’t bother me.

Where to Stay in Brussels?

I had booked an entire apartment during my stay in Brussels. It is called Living Home Brussels and is conveniently located in Schaerbeek. It was right next to the Princess Elisabeth tram station. Note that Schaerbeek isn’t in the center but is just an 8-minute tram ride away.

Living Home Brussels - apartment stay
Living Home Brussels – apartment stay

What I didn’t like about our accommodation at Living Home Brussels was that the toilet was outside the apartment near the staircase. The shower was inside the bedroom but was a completely see-through glass cubicle. Everything else was ok about this accommodation.

This place was otherwise pretty comfortable but I’m just so used to having an en suite toilet and bath, and it came as a total shock to me that I had to step out of the room to go to the toilet.

If you want to stay in the center, then I recommend “Motel One” – it is pretty, more affordable than many others, and very conveniently located.

Due to its amazing location, decent price, and lovely rooms, the rooms at Motel One sell out pretty fast, so if you are heading to Brussels then you might want to book a room here as soon as possible.

Conclusion: Is Brussels for You?

Is Brussels Worth Visiting - Pin it
Is Brussels Worth Visiting – Pin it via Unsplash

If you are looking for a European city that effortlessly blends its historic charm with modern vibrancy then you will enjoy your time in Brussels. Whether you’re captivated by the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Grand Place, indulging in delectable Belgian chocolates and waffles, or navigating the halls of the European Parliament, Brussels has something to offer every traveler.

So, is Brussels worth visiting? Without a doubt, yes. This underrated city stands as a testament to the richness of European destinations, providing a unique blend of history, culture, and culinary delights that will leave a lasting impression on any visitor. Plan your Brussels adventure, explore its hidden gems, and unravel the layers of this enchanting Belgian capital.

PS: Drifter Planet contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase through these links, we will earn a little commission at no extra cost to you.  We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.

Istanbul Instagram Spots: 21 Photo Spots in Istanbul + MAP

Istanbul Instagram Spots: 21 Photo Spots in Istanbul + MAP

Unveiling the Ultimate Guide: 21 Must-Visit Instagram Spots in Istanbul for Stunning Photos

Heading to Istanbul anytime soon? You will be delighted to know that this historical city is breathtakingly pretty and as a result, the photos turn out amazing. (Yes, it is 2024, and everyone loves clicking pictures with their smartphones for Instagram).

Istanbul is built on seven hills and as a result, there are multiple viewpoints and stunning photo opportunities (just like Lisbon). Moreover, the backdrop of imperial mosques all over the city, especially along the water and on top of the hills results in a breathtaking cityscape.

A Random Pretty Street in Istanbul
A Random Pretty Street in Istanbul

Waterbodies like the Bosphorus Strait and the Golden Horn make the images even better. Bonus points for cats, because Istanbul has many of them and they turn a normal picture into an extraordinary one.

The magical city of Istanbul is where history, culture, and beauty collide. If you’re a travel enthusiast or an Instagram addict, you’re in for a treat. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll take you on a virtual tour of some of the absolute best Instagram spots in Istanbul. From historic landmarks to hidden gems, prepare to capture the essence of this mesmerizing city in every frame.

For your convenience, I have included Google Map links at the end of each point so that you can mark them on your map and download an offline version before your trip to Istanbul.

1) Hagia Sophia: Where History Meets Elegance

Hagia Sophia - 3 days in Istanbul Itinerary
Hagia Sophia – 3 days in Istanbul Itinerary

Our journey begins with the iconic Hagia Sophia, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that has stood the test of time. Hagia Sophia is in Sultanahmet Square, a place where you will find some of the most Instagrammable places in Istanbul. Yes, Sultan Ahmet Square is touristy, but it is worth it.

Hagia Sofia in Istanbul - Top Instagram Spots
Hagia Sofia in Istanbul – Top Instagram Spots

Marvel at the grandeur of its architecture, capturing the intricate details of its domes and the interplay of light within its sacred walls. Hagia Sophia is a timeless backdrop for your Istanbul Instagram feed.

Yes this is perhaps the most photographed mosque of Istanbul but is worth the hype. I did mention it as the first spot in my 3-day Istanbul itinerary and also my 10-day Turkey itinerary.

Fun fact: Originally Hagia Sofia was built as a cathedral in 537 AD during the Byzantine era. It was converted into an imperial mosque under the Ottomans. It also functioned as a museum for a few years but as of 2023, it is again a mosque.

Click here for Google Maps location.

2) Blue Mosque (Sultan Ahmed Mosque): A Serene Masterpiece

Inside the Blue Mosque, Istanbul's Sultan Ahmet Mosque
Inside the Blue Mosque, Istanbul’s Sultan Ahmet Mosque

Adjacent to Hagia Sophia, the Blue Mosque enchants with its six minarets and a sea of blue tiles. Visit during the golden hour to witness the mosque bathed in a soft, golden glow. Frame the mosque against the canvas of the sky for ethereal Istanbul Instagram photos.

You can’t go inside the mosque during the prayer time but enjoy the stunning courtyard where you will click some of the most interesting photos. If you do get a chance to go inside, you will see a lovely blue tilework on the ceiling and low-hanging lamps.

Inside the Sultan Ahmed Mosque (the Blue Mosque) in Istanbul
Inside the Sultan Ahmed Mosque (the Blue Mosque) in Istanbul

For a unique perspective, click a selfie with the backdrop of the blue ceiling behind you. I tried but I had a bad camera but I’m sure you will do a better job.

Be mindful of what you wear because you’re entering a religious building. Cover your legs, shoulders, and stomach before you enter any mosque.

Click here for Google Maps location.

3) Istiklal Avenue (+Red Tram): Bustling Street Life

Taksim Square and Istiklal Street
Taksim Square and Istiklal Street

I have a thing for lively streets and for me, Istanbul’s Istiklal Street checked all the boxes. It is right next to Taksim Square, which is like the Istanbul city center.

Experience the vibrant energy of Istanbul on Istiklal Avenue, the city’s bustling pedestrian street. Document the eclectic street life, from historic tram rides to street performers. Bonus points if you can also capture the vintage red tram as it moves at a slow pace on Istiklal Street.

You will also see many street food carts and baklava shops. The backdrop of the Taksim Mosque adds a nice touch. The avenue’s dynamic atmosphere provides endless opportunities for candid and lively Instagram shots.

Click here for Google Maps Coordinates.

4) CVK Park Bosphorus Hotel: Room with a View

Sunset view from my bed in CVK Park Bosphorous, Istanbul
Sunset view from my bed in CVK Park Bosphorus, Istanbul

Imagine watching the most amazing sunrise from your bedroom without having to get out of your bed or get ready early in the morning to run to a nice spot. Yes, it is possible!

I stayed at CVK Park Bosphorus Hotel and I was pleasantly surprised when I pressed a button near my bed to open the shutters and saw the sunrise with an amazing view of the Bosphorus. You see, I didn’t even have to get out of bed to open the shutters.

I was alone here and I had a conference to attend for two days, so I could only manage a few quick pictures but imagine if you have a tripod and if you are here with your partner, you can end up clicking the most amazing “in bed” pictures with the view.

Bathtub with a view at CVK Park Bosphorus Istanbul
Bathtub with a view at CVK Park Bosphorus Istanbul

Bonus: even the bathtub has a view and you can sit in the tub with warm bubbly water and enjoy the view.

Click here for Google Maps Coordinates.

5) Feshane Artİstanbul Library: Booklover’s Paradise

I have a thing for stunning bookstores and libraries and the one at Feshane Artİstanbul didn’t disappoint. Feshane was the first textile industry establishment in Turkey, but the building was transformed into a contemporary handicraft museum in 1992. Sadly it unusable due to the rise of the waters on the Golden Horn side

Eyüp Feshane Library - Istanbul Instagram Spots
Feshane Artİstanbul Library – Istanbul Instagram Spots

After the 1998 restoration, the building was revived and has been transformed into a space that can be used for all kinds of organizations, meetings, seminars, concerts, galas, parties, exhibitions, and cultural events. I also attended a press event for influencers that was hosted by the Mayor of Istanbul here and I was awarded the title of Istanbul Tourism Ambassador.

Our spot of interest is a library inside that looks super pretty because of the old walls and the stark contrast of new bookshelves with loads of books. Honestly, this is like a hidden gem and still under the radar because the posts for most Instagrammable spots never mention this place.

Click here for Google Maps Coordinates.

6) View from Bosphorus Bridge

The Stunning Landscape of Istanbul
The Stunning Landscape of Istanbul

There aren’t many bridges in the world that connect continents but the Bosphorus bridge is one of them. Imagine if you cross the bridge and you move from Europe to Asia or vice versa in just minutes.

But the thing is, this isn’t an easy picture to capture because of the horrible traffic situation in Istanbul. If you are crossing this bridge in a car, then forget about even clicking this picture. Even from a normal bus, you won’t manage a good shot, I didn’t also the first time I visited.

The only way I was able to click pictures from Bosphorus Bridge was because we were on top of a bus, on a “Busforus” bus tour. Honestly, I normally hate bus tours but Istanbul is the city to do it because of the traffic situation and you get to sit on top of the bus and see many landmarks all over the city.

View from Bosphorus Bridge
View from Bosphorus Bridge

Another option would be to arrive here on your own by public transport and walk on the bridge. It has a pedestrian lane on each side but the situation does get chaotic due to the traffic.

Click here for Google Maps Coordinates.

7) Topkapi Palace Courtyard: Regal Grandeur Unleashed

View from Topkapi Palace courtyard in Istanbul
View from Topkapi Palace courtyard in Istanbul

Step into the world of Ottoman royalty at Topkapi Palace. The sprawling complex offers a visual feast of opulent courtyards and lush gardens. Explore the palace’s chambers, capturing the richness of its history and the grandeur of its architecture. Topkapi Palace is a regal setting for your Instagram storytelling.

Pro tip: One of the best photo spots inside Topkapi Palace is from one of its courtyards because you can see the Golden Horn, the Marmara Sea, and Galata Tower on the other side. The entry fee for Topkapı Palace in 2024 is 750 Turkish Lira per person.

Click here for Google Maps Coordinates.

8) Galata Tower: Panoramic Views of Istanbul

Galata Tower in Istanbul
Galata Tower in Istanbul

For a panoramic perspective of Istanbul, ascend the historic Galata Tower. Capture the city’s skyline against the changing hues of the sky during sunset. The 360-degree views from the tower make it a prime spot for showcasing the blend of old and new in Istanbul.

View from top of Galata Tower, Istanbul, Turkey
View from the top of Galata Tower, Istanbul, Turkey – CC0 via Pixabay

Galata Tower has 9 floors and the lifts will take you to the 7th floor. You have to climb up two floors yourself. It is worth the time and effort. If you visit in the summer months, there is a queue of people waiting to get on top during the prime golden hours like sunrise and sunset.

The entry for Galata Tower closes at 8 pm and the entrance fee is 650 Turkish Liras per person.

Click here for Google Maps Coordinates.

9) Galata Bridge: Iconic Water Crossing

Galata Bridge with locals fishing
Galata Bridge with locals fishing

Galata Bridge deserves a spot in your Instagram arsenal. Whether it’s the bustling street life, the views of the Golden Horn, or the iconic structure itself, this bridge provides ample opportunities for stunning shots. Visit during sunrise or sunset for a magical atmosphere.

Galata Bridge is less about the views for me but more about the culture because you will see hundreds of locals who gather here for fishing.

Click here for Google Maps Coordinates.

10) Eminönü: Bustling Waterfront Hub

Istanbul Cityscape clicked from Eminönü during sunset
Istanbul Cityscape clicked from Eminönü during sunset via Unsplash

Some of the most popular pictures of Istanbul were clicked right from Eminönü. It is a waterfront area and on the other side are old buildings specifically Galata Tower and mosques with high minarets.

Eminonu, with its lively waterfront, historic landmarks, and vibrant street markets, is a visual feast. There are loads of waterfront eateries and many of them are pickle shops where you can try the Turkish legendary Pickle Juice (which I mentioned in my Istanbul food tour post).

Pickle Shops in Eminönü, Istanbul
Pickle Shops in Eminönü, Istanbul

Capture the energy of the ferries, the silhouette of the New Mosque, and the lively atmosphere of the numerous shops. This dynamic area will add diversity to your Istanbul story.

Click here for Google Maps Coordinates.

11) Basilica Cistern: Subterranean Marvel

Inside basilica Cistern in Istanbul
Inside Basilica Cistern in Istanbul

Now, let’s shine a light on the mysterious Basilica Cistern. It is a unique spot made famous by Dan Brown’s book Inferno, and later the movie. It is the largest surviving cistern from the Byzantine times and is beneath Istanbul city.

I visited Istanbul during the leaner tourism month of November in 2023 and saw a long line outside Basilica Cistern. I highly suggest you buy a skip-the-line entrance ticket so that you don’t waste your time waiting.

Basilica Cistern in Istanbul
Basilica Cistern in Istanbul

With its mesmerizing columns and the famous Medusa heads, it’s a unique spot that adds a touch of mystique to your Instagram feed. Play with shadows and reflections to capture its enigmatic beauty.

When I visited Basilica Cistern, I noticed that they change the lighting inside every few minutes so you can capture different kinds of shots at the same spot. I understand that it would be a nightmare for those who carry around DSLRs because they would have to keep changing the setting.

Click here for Google Maps Coordinates.

12) Bosphorus Cruise: Sail into Instagrammable Beauty

Sunset cruise over Bosphorous, Istanbul itinerary
Sunset cruise over Bosphorus, Istanbul itinerary

One of the ways to find loads of amazing photo opportunities is by embarking on a Bosphorus cruise during sunset time. This way, you have a unique vantage point of Istanbul’s beauty.

Capture the cityscape along the waterfront, with iconic landmarks lining the shores. The gentle waves of the Bosphorus create a picturesque backdrop for your Instagram feed, telling the story of Istanbul’s timeless charm.

I have shortlisted a few tours for you

I did a tour that lasted 2 hours and I clicked lots of photos. It did have a running commentary, which I didn’t listen to. It got very cold right after sunset so I suggest you carry a jacket even during the summer months.

I haven’t mentioned any Google Maps location link here because all these tours have meeting points that are mentioned separately in the tour description.

13) Grand Bazaar & Spice Market: A Kaleidoscope of Colors and Culture

Grand Bazaar Istanbul
Grand Bazaar Istanbul

Do you have a thing for local markets to understand the local culture? I have good news for you: Istanbul has some of the world’s oldest and most interesting bazaars.

Dive into the vibrant tapestry of the Grand Bazaar, one of the world’s most renowned markets. The bustling alleys, adorned with colorful textiles and spices, provide endless photo opportunities. Some of the best-performing photos of the Grand Bazaar of Istanbul were the ones that were clicked outside lamp shops.

Egyptian Spice Bazaar in Istanbul
Egyptian Spice Bazaar in Istanbul

Document the market’s energy and capture candid moments to add authenticity to your Instagram collection.

Don’t miss the nearby Egyptian Bazaar or the Spice Bazaar. I liked it much more than the Grand Bazaar because of its arched ceilings, pillars, and slightly less chaotic vibes. You will find many shops selling not just spices but also aromatic teas, coffee, and Turkish delight among other things.

Click here for Google Maps Coordinates for Grand Bazaar.

Click here for Google Maps Coordinates for the Egyptian Bazaar.

14) Balat: Colorful Houses, Umbrellas, Rainbow Stairs

Colorful houses of Balat - Istanbul photo spots
Colorful houses of Balat – Istanbul photo spots via Unsplash

Venture into the heart of Istanbul’s historic Balat district, a treasure trove of colorful houses and narrow streets. The famous rainbow stairs serve as a whimsical backdrop for your Instagram photos.

One of Balat’s distinctive features is its colorful houses. Narrow cobbled streets are lined with homes painted in a myriad of hues, creating a picturesque and lively atmosphere. The vibrant colors add a unique charm to the neighborhood, making it a popular destination for photographers and visitors seeking an authentic Istanbul experience.

Balat also has an “umbrella street”. Dimitrie Cantemir Museum Café on Sancaktar Yokuşu Sokak has a colorful courtyard with umbrellas that’s now a famous photo spot.

In recent years, Balat has also become a canvas for street artists. Colorful murals and street art can be found adorning walls, adding a contemporary touch to the neighborhood’s historic backdrop. These art installations contribute to the area’s eclectic and bohemian ambiance.

The neighborhood has embraced its artistic side, with many establishments showcasing local art and crafts. Explore the street art and capture the eclectic spirit of this vibrant neighborhood.

Click here for Google Maps Coordinates for Colorful Houses of Balat.

15) Ortakoy Mosque: Elegance by the Bosphorus

Ortaköy Mosque in İstanbul, Türkiye
Ortaköy Mosque in İstanbul, Türkiye via Unsplash

Ortakoy Mosque, gracefully perched on the shores of the Bosphorus in Istanbul, is a visual masterpiece that seamlessly blends Ottoman and Baroque architectural styles.

Constructed in the 19th century, this waterfront gem stands as an elegant testament to Istanbul’s rich cultural heritage. With its intricate details, cascading domes, and a stunning view of the Bosphorus Bridge, Ortakoy Mosque exudes timeless beauty.

The mosque is not only a symbol of religious significance but also a picturesque landmark that captivates both locals and visitors, inviting them to appreciate its harmonious blend of tradition and splendor.

Capture the mosque’s elegance against the backdrop of the Bosphorus Bridge, especially during the evening when the lights transform the scene into pure magic.

Click Here for the Google Maps Coordinates.

16) Suleymaniye Mosque: Majestic Ottoman Architecture

the view from Süleymaniye Mosque, Istanbul
the view from Süleymaniye Mosque, Istanbul

Explore the grandeur of Süleymaniye Mosque, an architectural masterpiece dominating Istanbul’s skyline. The mosque’s domes and minarets create a stunning silhouette, especially against the canvas of a clear blue sky.

With most of the tourists visiting the Blue Mosque or Hagia Sophia, Süleymaniye Mosque somehow maintains its low-key charm and some say that it is the most beautiful mosque in Istanbul.

The best view of the Süleymaniye mosque is from the Bridge near it. Also, this mosque is a bit higher up so prepare to climb up the steps. The view from Süleymaniye mosque is worth all the effort.

Süleymaniye Mosque is close to the Spice Bazaar and Grand Bazaar, so you can combine the visit to all these places together. Visit during different times of the day to capture the changing light.

Click Here for the Google Maps Coordinates.

17) Maiden’s Tower: A Fairytale Setting

Salacak, Maiden's Tower, Üsküdar Salacak Mevkii, Üsküdar:İstanbul, Türkiye
Salacak, Maiden’s Tower, Üsküdar Salacak Mevkii, Üsküdar:İstanbul, Türkiye via Unsplash

Istanbul’s Maiden’s Tower, rising gracefully from the Bosphorus on its own islet, is an iconic subject for photographers. Steeped in legend and history, its silhouette against the vibrant cityscape or the golden hues of a sunset creates an enchanting scene.

The tower’s architectural details, illuminated in the evening, add a touch of mystique, while its reflection in the water enhances the visual allure. Whether capturing the tower in daylight against the blue waters or during the atmospheric glow of night, Maiden’s Tower offers a timeless and captivating photographic subject, encapsulating the romantic essence of Istanbul.

Whether viewed from the European or Asian side, the tower offers enchanting photo opportunities. Experiment with framing to capture the tower against the cityscape or the serene waters.

Now this is one sight that you will enjoy from your Bosphorus cruise. That’s why I am not sharing any Google Maps location since it is in the middle of the water.

18) Camlica Hill: Skyline Spectacle

View from the Camlica Mosque on Çamlıca Hill
View from the Camlica Mosque via Unsplash

For a panoramic view of Istanbul’s sprawling skyline, head to Camlica Hill. The highest point in the city provides a breathtaking backdrop for your Instagram photos. Capture the city below during different times of the day, showcasing the dynamic beauty of Istanbul.

Camlica Mosque is also an interesting spot for you to see if you are on Camlica Hill. Note that the mosque is not on top of the Camlica Hill.

The stunning Çamlıca Mosque on Camilca Hill in Istanbul
The stunning Çamlıca Mosque on Camilca Hill in Istanbul

Camlica Hill is a panoramic masterpiece, providing an unrivaled view of Istanbul’s iconic skyline, the Bosphorus, and historic landmarks. The changing hues of the sky at sunrise and sunset transform the scene into a canvas of warm tones, making it a prime location for capturing the city’s magical moments.

The hill’s expansive green spaces, paired with the city’s architectural wonders, create an ever-evolving visual spectacle. Photographing Camlica Hill means immortalizing the dynamic beauty of Istanbul from an elevated perspective, promising timeless and awe-inspiring images.

Click Here for Google Maps Location.

19) Mağlova Aqueduct: Ottoman Marvel in Kemerburgaz Forest

Mağlova Su Kemeri - Malov Aquaduct, Istanbul
Mağlova Su Kemeri – Malov Aquaduct, Istanbul

Mağlova Aqueduct is a historical gem that many don’t end up visiting. It is an Ottoman aqueduct bridge dating back to 1563. Turkish Airlines calls it a tranquil masterpiece. It is named Malov Aquaduct or Mağlova Su Kemeri on Google Maps.

The Mağlova Aqueduct is on top of the Alibey River and is within the borders of Sultangazi. This aqueduct is 257 meters long and 36 meters high and is still functional. It carries clean water to Istanbul even today.

Kemerburgaz City Forest and Maglova Aquaduct
Kemerburgaz City Forest and Maglova Aquaduct

I have to admit that it isn’t easy to get here on public transport but if you have a rented car or can hire a taxi, you have to go towards Kemerburgaz City Forest. You can combine this visit with a bit of hiking for 45 minutes from the parking. Alternatively, you can drive directly up to the spot from where you can see the aqueduct, the river, and the hills.

Click Here for the Google Maps location for Maglova Aquaduct.

20) Dolmabahçe Palace

Dolmabahçe Palace in Istanbul
Dolmabahçe Palace in Istanbul

Nestled along the sparkling shores of the Bosphorus, Istanbul’s Dolmabahçe Palace stands as a testament to opulence and architectural splendor. This majestic palace, built in the mid-19th century, served as the administrative center of the Ottoman Empire during its later years.

Adorned with a harmonious blend of European and Ottoman design, Dolmabahce Palace is a marvel of crystal chandeliers, grand staircases, and ornate furnishings that reflect the empire’s transition into a modern era.

If you booked the “Busforus” bus tour, then you will be happy to know that the Dolmabahçe Palace is one of the stops.

Visitors are greeted by the resplendent Ceremonial Hall, boasting the largest Bohemian crystal chandelier in the world. The palace’s sprawling gardens and the Clock Tower add to its allure, offering a tranquil escape with breathtaking views of the Bosphorus.

As you wander through the halls that once hosted statesmen and royalty, Dolmabahçe Palace invites you to step back in time and immerse yourself in the regal legacy of Istanbul.

Click Here for the Google Maps Location.

21) Restaurant with a View: Istanbul has Many

Oligark Restaurant with a view
Oligark Restaurant with a view

Let’s face it, you won’t spend all your time going to every single one of the historical landmarks or viewpoints that I have mentioned on this list, but you will surely at some point go out to eat. Why not make it a visual treat?

I went to Oligark İstanbul, which is along the Bosphorus Strait and we had a full view of the water and the city on three sides because of the glass walls.

Click here for Google Maps coordinates for Oligark.

Another amazing place that one of my friends visited is Henna Hotel Istanbul, with a rooftop restaurant that has a view of the Bosphorus and it is right there in Sultanahmet Square.

Honestly, Istanbul doesn’t have a shortage of restaurants and cafes with a view. I found a list of the top 10 Istanbul restaurants with a view on Tripadvisor, be sure to check it out. Some of them blew up on social media and it takes a while to get a place so those aren’t worth it. I recommend checking out the reviews on not only TripAdvisor but also Google Maps to get the latest information.

Final Thoughts on Istanbul Instagram Spots:

Congratulations! You’ve just explored the crème de la crème of Instagram spots in Istanbul. From ancient landmarks to contemporary art spaces, each location offers a unique perspective on this captivating city.

I know it sounds counterproductive but don’t focus all your energy only on the spots that are mentioned here but go find some more interesting spots of your own. Find cozy cafes, bustling streets, and interesting perspectives. Or just follow the stray cats of Istanbul.

As you embark on your Instagram journey, remember to capture the spirit and diversity of Istanbul, and share the magic with your followers. Happy snapping!

Disclosure: My trip to Istanbul was sponsored as a part of the Istanbul Travel Influencer Summit 2023. However, all the opinions expressed in this article are my own.

PS: Drifter Planet contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase through these links, we will earn a little commission at no extra cost to you.  We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.

7 Exciting Water Sports You Should Try in 2024

7 Exciting Water Sports You Should Try in 2024

2024 has just begun, and it is time to start planning your adventures and apply for paid time off from work. If you’re adventurous, I’m sure you want to try something new, so let me give you some ideas.

Do you know the human body is 60 percent water? And even then, some of us are strangely scared of water activities while others are totally water babies. If you belong to the first group – know that it is completely normal to be scared. Maybe 2024 is the year for facing your fears.

Kitesurfing in Zandvoort, the Netherlands
Kitesurfing in Zandvoort, the Netherlands

Water sports are a fun way to enjoy the water while benefiting your health. Besides strengthening your core muscles and burning some calories, water sports minimize the risk of chronic illnesses.

Water activities like swimming and snorkeling are perfect for those with arthritis. Participating in water sports also enhances bone density. They also minimize stress, depression, and anxiety, enhancing your mental health.

Most beginner water sports include excellent aerobic and anaerobic exercise, boosting endurance and stamina. These sports also work for various body types. Discussed below are four exciting water sports you should try in 2024.

1) Wakeboarding

Wakeboarding - watersports to try in 2024
Wakeboarding – watersports to try in 2024 [CCO] via Pixabay

Wakeboarding is a thrilling water sport where a rider stands on a wakeboard and is towed by a wake boat. It integrates elements of waterskiing, snowboarding, and surfing, providing a fun and unique way to enjoy the water. Wakeboarding is done using several pieces of equipment, some of which aren’t the most affordable. They include:

  • Wakeboards: There are four wakeboard types based on rocker design, including continuous, hybrid, three-stage, and five-stage rockers. So, choose based on comfort, your height and weight, and other elements
  • Wakeboarding boat
  • Life vest
  • Wet suit
  • Helmet
  • Wakeboard line

2) Stand Up Paddleboarding (SUP)

Benagil Cave Guided tour: It is a 2-hour kayaking tour that leaves from Benagil Beach. Benagil Kayak Rental: If you have enough kayaking experience, then you can rent the kayak and do it yourself. But be careful of the rocks at the entry of the cave. SUP to Benagil Cave Beach
SUP to Benagil Cave Beach

You know how some sports are automatically regarded as “cool”? SUP is one of them. It’s all about standing on a large, stable board and using a paddle to propel oneself through the water. The paddleboard is similar to a surfboard but is typically larger, wider, and more stable to provide better balance.

The first time I tried Stand-up Paddleboarding (SUP) was on Achill Island in Ireland and then the second time was to reach the Benagil Caves of the Algarve in Portugal. Both experiences were completely different because it is easy to SUP on a lake but difficult on the sea. After this, I visited a nearby lake in Germany to practice a few times.

This is exactly why Stand-up paddleboarding has gained popularity – its accessibility to people of various skill levels and ages. It can be a relaxing activity for those seeking a peaceful paddle on a calm lake or an adventurous experience riding waves in the ocean.

Also, SUP is also used for fitness and yoga, with some enthusiasts incorporating yoga poses onto their paddleboards for an extra challenge. I’m a Yoga teacher but I didn’t have enough confidence to do a Yoga pose on my SUP in Germany.

3) Kayaking

Relaxing on our rented kayak on Lake Bohinj, Slovenia
Relaxing on our rented kayak on Lake Bohinj, Slovenia

How can I make any watersport post without mentioning kayaking? It is easy, relaxing, fun and adventurous. Also, you can do it solo or with a friend.

Kayaking is a popular water sport you can try when on a vacation near a lake or sea. It’s a great form of exercise, and based on your interests and abilities, this water sport can be leisurely or fast-paced and quite physically challenging.

One of the best things about kayaking is that you can bring your drinks and snacks with you on the kayak (preferably in a dry bag) and make a picnic out of it in the middle of the water. That’s why, Kayaking usually results in people developing a great appreciation for the natural spots along the coastline.

Just be mindful of the trash and rubbish and bring everything back with you to the shore. Also, remember to bring comfortable and perfectly fitting life jackets to enhance safety.

4) Surfing

People gathered to see surfers riding the big waves of Nazare
People gathered to see surfers riding the big waves of Nazare

We all know about surfing, and how much fun it looks. Guess what, it isn’t easy at all. But hey, we all have to start somewhere.

Surfing is a dynamic water sport that involves riding waves on a surfboard. Surfers paddle out to the lineup, where waves break, and then catch a wave’s momentum to ride it towards the shore.

Fun Fact: Did you know that surfing sport has ancient roots? Polynesians practiced wave riding centuries ago, but it gained global recognition in the 20th century.

Portugal’s Nazare is a famous surfing destination because the largest wave that was ever surfed was recorded here, and new records get created here every year or so.

5) Flyboarding

Flyboarding - coolest water sports
Flyboarding – coolest water sports [CCO] via Pixabay

This is actually the coolest one – it involves using a water-powered jetpack attached to a personal watercraft, allowing participants to hover above the water and perform acrobatic maneuvers.

Flyboarding is an exhilarating watersport that combines elements of jet skiing, snowboarding, and acrobatics. Invented by French watercraft rider Franky Zapata in 2011, flyboarding has gained popularity worldwide as an extreme and visually spectacular activity.

Here’s how flyboarding works:

  1. Strapping In: Participants wear special boots that are attached to the flyboard. The boots have nozzles underneath that expel pressurized water.
  2. Connection to Watercraft: The flyboard is connected to the watercraft by a long hose. The operator of the watercraft controls the water pressure and directs it to the flyboard.
  3. Taking Off: As water is forced through the boots, the rider experiences upward thrust, lifting them out of the water and into the air.
  4. Maneuvering: The rider can control their movement by shifting their weight and tilting their feet. Skilled flyboarders can perform a variety of tricks, spins, and flips.
  5. Safety: The tether to the watercraft ensures that if the rider falls, they are immediately back in the water, ready to try again.

Flyboarding is known for its combination of excitement and accessibility. While it may seem challenging at first, many people can learn the basics relatively quickly. The sport has also evolved with competitions and events showcasing the skills of professional flyboarders who push the boundaries of what can be done in the air and water.

6) Bodyboarding

Bodyboard - like surfing
Bodyboard – like surfing [CC0] via Pixabay

Bodyboarding is a fun water sport suitable for ocean enthusiasts and adrenaline seekers. It’s among the least costly and simplest water sports and requires the following essential equipment:

  • Bodyboard
  • Fins
  • Bodyboard leash
  • Wetsuit
  • Rash guards

When looking for a bodyboard, it’s important to consider the following factors:

  • Width
  • Length
  • Tail shape
  • Material used

While a wide board offers easy paddling and more stability, a narrow one provides more control and speed. The wave types you’ll be riding are another major consideration when looking for the right bodyboard. To do wave riding with more control and confidence, it’s important to master basic techniques, including catching waves, paddling, turning, and body positioning.

7) Snorkeling

Snorkeling in Coron Island, the Philippines
Snorkeling in Coron Island, the Philippines

We all know about Snorkeling, and chances are that you would have tried it already. If not, then 2024 is the year that you need to go for it.

Just in case you don’t know, snorkeling is an underwater sport, that involves swimming along the water surface while enjoying the underworld. One needs snorkels to ease breathing with your face submerged by water, swim-goggles (for clear vision underwater), and not a “must-have” but swim fins help to move with more control.

Perfect snorkeling areas are temperate, warm seas, with clear water, nearly no currents or waves, and lively marine life. To make the most of your snorkeling experience, consider:

  • Improving your swimming skills to ensure safety in the water
  • Practicing
  • Enhancing your breath hold technique to optimize your time underwater

To conserve your air when snorkeling, take deep breaths to help keep your heart rate down, allowing you to relax while saving energy.

Closing Thoughts about Trying New Water Sports

Not every kind of water sport is fun for all, so pick something that makes you feel good, and don’t push yourself to a point that it becomes stressful. Yes, movement is good for the body but pick something that makes you feel good mentally too. Besides being fun, water sports are great for your physical and mental health.

Remember: it is always better to stay safe. My husband suffered from an injury when he had a cliff-jumping accident in Puglia, Italy. I was also supposed to jump from that spot but my intuition told me not to. Since then I always say that yes, it is good to do something that scares you but don’t push yourself into a situation where you hurt yourself.

PS: Drifter Planet contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase through these links, we will earn a little commission at no extra cost to you.  We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.

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