Asia, Europe, France, Italy, Sri Lanka, Travel

Hidden Gems Found While Traveling

March 1, 2017

Hidden Gems Found While Traveling

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Every once and while when I travel I run across the unexpected and the surprising. Many times these are hidden gems. They could be lesser known destinations, an unexpected hotel or a travel experience. Many times they may only be a hidden gem to you and not necessarily to others.


Slovenia – Slovenia is a hidden gem to most people even those who know of the famous Lake Bled and its church. What struck me the most was the beauty of Slovenia. It hits you right as you walk out of the doors of the airport where snowy peaks greet you with green pastures below.

Dropped into a Fairytale in Slovenia

Driving from Ljubliana to Radenci, the green pastures and mountains continued, but I also saw lots of fields filled with yellow flowers. Cows grazed at angles on the sides of hills. Church steeples shot up from the valley floors and called to your with their bells to come see their beauty.

Hidden Gems Found While Traveling

Florence – Florence – is definitely a hidden gem to me. It took me three trips to Italy to finally go there. This was only after my Mom spent hours extolling the greatness that is Florence. Don’t ask me why I didn’t want to go. I was more into Rome and Venice, and now Florence is my heart in Italy. So much so I went three times last year! I think it is the fact that the city is a museum and there are over 70 museums to visit. I have only seen about nine of these even though I have been there three times. Guess I will have to go back!

Hidden Gems Found While Traveling

Giverny – Many people know Giverny because Claude Monet painted many of his paintings there. What some people don’t realize is that he painted his famous Water Lilies pieces based off a pond on his property there. You can visit both his house and his gardens. As a Monet fan, I had to do this when I went to Paris. Most travel sites talk about to go from Paris to Giverny as a day trip. However, there is more to Giverny than Monet.

Hidden Gems Found While Traveling

Monet must have inspired gardens in Giverny.  The whole town is one long garden. Many people that live here have gardens in their front yard that line the main street, and they are lovely. There is a small area where shops and restaurants can be found. I had this “salad” there that was one of the best things I have ever eaten. Salad is in quotes because while there were vegetables, there was no lettuce of any kind.

Hidden Travel Gems Found While Traveling

While I can’t be sure, as it is the only small French town I have been to, it was the classic French country village. I walked from one end to the other several times and rarely saw another person until I reached Monet’s house. It has the added benefit of Monet’s house and the Giverny Museum of Impressionism.

Hidden Travel Gems Found While Traveling


Nun Assisi Relais & Spa Museum – Booking a hotel hours before staying there is not usually my style, but I would happily do it again if it led to hotels like this. Not having tons of time to research the hotel, I didn’t realize it used to be a monastery that was built in 1275! There are only 18 rooms in this hidden gem. Each one is unique.

Nun Assisi Relais & Spa Museum

That isn’t all! The ancient Roman baths are below and have been transformed into a spa. I had one of the best massages of my life in this spa. The space is gorgeous, and you can relax the underground pool.

Heritance Kandalama – Hidden in the jungle is a hotel that is probably the longest hotel in the world. The hotel was built by famous Sri Lankan architect, Geoffrey Bawa. The hotel was built into nature with open air hallways so that rain and animals could move around and under the hotel unobstructed. There was a warning on the balcony door to keep it closed, so monkeys won’t come inside!

Hidden Gems Found While Traveling

Never in my life have I wanted to stay a hotel one more day so I could take pictures of it. It sits on a reservoir that imitates a lake. Birds, monkeys, elephants and giant squirrels can be seen on the property. The views over the reservoir are also stunning. There will be a full review of the hotel coming soon, but this is a sneak preview!

Hidden Gems Found While Traveling

Want to share your hidden travel gems? See how below.

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  • Reply Ngaire March 1, 2017 at 9:45 am

    I loved Slovenia when I studied and travelled there! Sounds like you’ve got some real unique gems here!

    • Reply Tiffany March 1, 2017 at 10:16 am

      Isn’t Slovenia great?! Thanks for stopping by!

  • Reply luckilylenny March 1, 2017 at 10:00 am

    Love the hotel, plus a live show of animals! Looks great! What an adventure this could be!

    • Reply Tiffany March 1, 2017 at 10:16 am

      It was a live show of animals!

  • Reply Wandermust mummy March 1, 2017 at 11:17 am

    I love hotels that surprise you. I’m at bab al shams in Dubai right now and this is. Hidden gem

    • Reply Tiffany March 1, 2017 at 6:10 pm

      I already love staying in hotels so it’s nice when something surprises you about it. That’s sounds intriguing.

  • Reply Frankie The Mayfairy March 1, 2017 at 11:48 am

    I would love to visit Giverny – it just looks so beautiful. And I love little hidden away French villages

    • Reply Tiffany March 1, 2017 at 6:11 pm

      And it was quiet and the people were nice!

  • Reply Jo March 1, 2017 at 12:21 pm

    Thanks so much fir sharing your hidden gems and fantastic photos. Slovenia is a place I would love to go. Thanks too for hosting #travellinkup

    • Reply Tiffany March 1, 2017 at 6:11 pm

      Thank you for stopping by. So happy to be cohosting this month!

  • Reply Sarah March 1, 2017 at 1:19 pm

    Wow, these all look so wonderful to visit. I would love to get to Giverny and especially Lake Bled in Slovenia. I’ve already made an Airbnb wishlist hahaha, now just have to sort the rest of my life out!

    • Reply Tiffany March 1, 2017 at 6:12 pm

      I do those all the time! My Airbnb is well stocked.

  • Reply Jishma March 1, 2017 at 2:29 pm

    I am looking at Florence …. I have been reading about it a lot and want to visit some time sooner

    • Reply Tiffany March 1, 2017 at 6:12 pm

      It really is my favorite European city. And the food is great and the people are so friendly.

  • Reply How to Fall in Love with Slovenia - Amy and the Great World March 1, 2017 at 10:45 pm

    […] Linking up with Emma, Angie, Polly and Tiffany!  […]

  • Reply Jasmin Charlotte March 2, 2017 at 12:47 am

    Slovenia was my total fave! It is such an under rated country!

    • Reply Tiffany March 2, 2017 at 6:29 am

      It is definitely underrated!!

  • Reply Lynn Caldwell March 2, 2017 at 7:20 am

    Really lovely post! It’s so great that we can still be surprised and delighted in these days of Tripadvisor, Lonely Planet and all kinds of social media. I had an impromptu visit to Snowdonia in Wales last autumn and I was amazed that it was so gorgeous: beautiful barren mountains, rivers, and charming villages with stone cottages. How did I not know Wales was like that? I must keep Slovenia in mind for another trip!

    • Reply Tiffany March 2, 2017 at 8:22 am

      Thank you! That is so true. Sometimes it feels like everything has been seen and written about. Wales is on my list for this year!!

  • Reply Amy March 2, 2017 at 4:16 pm

    Hey I wrote about Slovenia too! I think Slovenia is in danger of “being discovered” and for complete good reason :).

    • Reply Tiffany March 2, 2017 at 4:26 pm

      Awesome! I haven’t made it through all the posts yet, but I am going go look at yours now. I agree! The coast also looks amazing in the photos I have seen.

  • Reply Clare (Suitcases and Sandcastles) March 3, 2017 at 12:24 am

    Love the sound of these hidden gems, Tiffany, particularly that place in Sri Lanka! Great post.

    • Reply Tiffany March 3, 2017 at 7:48 am

      I wish I had at least one more day there. Thanks!

  • Reply Liesbet March 3, 2017 at 3:45 am

    I have been hearing a lot about Slovenia lately. While I drove through Ljubljana once, I really would like to go back and explore the country side. Nice list – Florence is great, but not quite hidden. 🙂 A French country town sounds very relaxing, especially when it involves Monet scenery!

    • Reply Tiffany March 3, 2017 at 7:49 am

      I want to go back to Slovenia too! Thanks.

  • Reply Ayla March 3, 2017 at 12:23 pm

    I so want to visit Slovenia. Looks beautiful!

    • Reply Tiffany March 3, 2017 at 12:29 pm

      You should go! The food was also great!

  • Reply vinneve March 3, 2017 at 12:57 pm

    I wish to go and visit Slovenia as I heard so much about it from some expats here who visited and also like you went to Italy (twice) to visit my cousin in Milan but never venture to go further or visit other areas and cousin told me to see Venice and Florence so perhaps next time!

    • Reply Tiffany March 3, 2017 at 1:21 pm

      You should definitely explore Italy more!

  • Reply Marcella ~ WhatAWonderfulWorld March 3, 2017 at 11:15 pm

    Hidden gems are the best! Slovenia is somewhere that I am just dying to go to, blogging has opened my eyes to the beauty of the country 🙂

    • Reply Tiffany March 4, 2017 at 2:38 am

      Aren’t they! I’m afraid Slovenia won’t be a hidden gem for much longer.

  • Reply Anna Parker March 4, 2017 at 4:34 pm

    Those two hotels are stunning! I would love to visit Slovenia – my husband has just taken it on as a country he will be working with so hoping we get a weekend there soon!

    • Reply Tiffany March 4, 2017 at 6:57 pm

      I hope you get to go to Slovenia. It is so lovely.

  • Reply Maggie March 5, 2017 at 7:18 pm

    I would love to visit Slovenia and Giverny – I’ve heard so many wonderful things about both! You photos capture them beautifully too!

  • Reply Polly (Follow Your Sunshine) March 5, 2017 at 9:12 pm

    Ohh I didn’t realise you’d been to Kandalama! Although we only went for a day, I really loved it there and would love to go back some day. I agree with you about Florence – it’s a magical city…although even I’m impressed by your 3 visits in one year!!!

    Thanks for co-hosting this month’s travel link-up, I’ve loved the theme!

    Polly xx

    • Reply Tiffany March 6, 2017 at 8:38 am

      Oh you definitely need more than a day there!! The rooms are lovely. I will have a post on it soon. Thanks for having me. I have enjoyed it!! #travellinkup

  • Reply Angie Silver March 7, 2017 at 12:21 pm

    I’ve been to Florence twice now! I love it!!

    • Reply Tiffany March 7, 2017 at 2:03 pm

      Isn’t it wonderful!

  • Reply Eppie Shepherd March 7, 2017 at 6:41 pm

    Wow you’ve been to some incredible places and I love your list of beautiful hotels! Slovenia is somewhere I’m seeing more and more of so I’d love to go

    • Reply Tiffany March 7, 2017 at 6:52 pm

      I have been very lucky. Thanks!!

  • Reply Emma @ Adventures of a London Kiwi March 11, 2017 at 11:25 pm

    I was *this* close to visiting Giverny the other week – but unfortunately my timetable just didnt allow for it. Just the excuse I need to go back to Paris!

    • Reply Tiffany March 12, 2017 at 9:52 am

      You definitely need to go back! My advice is to spend the night there. It’s so peaceful.

  • Reply Traci York March 14, 2017 at 5:16 pm

    Ooo, Giverny sounds amazing! Actually all of these do – thanks so much for sharing them!

    • Reply Tiffany March 14, 2017 at 5:22 pm

      I so want to go back to Giverny! Thanks for reading.

  • Reply Francesca Beckett March 17, 2017 at 7:19 am

    Florence is the BEST! I love wandering the streets and getting lost.

    • Reply Tiffany March 17, 2017 at 11:41 am

      Me too! Walking through that city is amazing!

  • Reply Josy A November 23, 2018 at 3:49 pm

    I love this kind of place. I often find the nicest places are the non-famous local spots when you have no expectations about them. 🙂

    • Reply Tiffany November 23, 2018 at 3:51 pm

      I love it too. Always a wonderful surprise.

  • Reply Kirsty November 23, 2018 at 4:37 pm

    elephants on the property? That sounds amazing if they were just hanging out in the nature and you could watch from a distance. Could you hear them too?

    • Reply Tiffany November 23, 2018 at 5:09 pm

      No it couldn’t hear them but I did hear monkeys!

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