Instagram vs. Reality - Europe edition

Steffanie van Twuijver


April 24, 2022 8:55 PM

I'm sure you have seen photos of the real-life situation of some of the prettiest spots in the world pass by on TikTok and Instagram - and I can tell you most of them are very true. I just wanted to write a little bit about my insta vs. reality moments, and whether it was worth the hassle or not.

Lago Di Braies and the Dolomites, Italy

In August 2021 Will and I decided to head to the Dolomites for my 30th birthday, it was my biggest wish, I saw all the pictures, I just had to go. We arrived way before sunrise at Lago Di Braies, and it was already SWAMPED. All the parking lots were filled, people were waiting for the sun to come up, it was definitely not what I expected at 3 at night. When we headed over to the lake we already saw people setting up their cameras on the docks, so instead of waiting amongst the groups of influencers and photographers, we decided to walk around the lake. And that part was definitely worth it. It was an easy hike, but completely empty apart from a few illegal campers that were just waking up. The lake was stunning, the mountain backdrop even prettier, and I loved every bit of it. When we arrived back at the docks we got swarmed by illegal drones and there must have been around 50 people still taking photos of the famous little boats. We ended up taking a few Olive shots, but quickly moved on to Tre Cime di Lavaredo.

The hike to Tre Cime di Lavaredo was even busier when we arrived, honestly, I have never seen a hike this busy. There was a train of people heading up the trail, one after an other. Only 10 minutes in we found a side road towards the longer trail, and 5 minutes into the longer trail the trail was empty. And stunning. And so difficult. But so worth it. By the time we arrived back on the main trail, we were wrecked, but so happy! And it was quite entertaining to see all the other tourists scrambling for a picture with 100 other people in the background, while a completely empty mountain trail was so close by (with even prettier views imo!)

Was it worth it?

Lago di Braies was not worth it for me, way too hyped, pretty pictures though! Tre Cime di Lavaredo was definitely worth it, as long as you head off the beaten path and take the long hike. The Dolomites in general were pricey, but worth the views. It's so so so pretty! My biggest tip though - do not go in high season like we did, BIG mistake!

Lake Bled, Slovenia

We went to Lake Bled right after the Dolomites, and it was HOT! Around 30 degrees Celsius, so all three of us definitely had a hard time walking around the lake. Now, I have to be honest here - we literally only went to the lake for Instagram pictures and lunch, and headed on from there quite quickly. The lake was stunning, Will jumped in for a swim as we wandered around and enjoyed the sun, and although I didn't get the pictures I wanted (damn direct sunlight) it was definitely worth our time. It wasn't overly crowded, there were plenty of photo opportunities, and people were genuinely so nice!

Was it worth it?

Yes! For sure, it was definitely touristy but not overly crowded, not overly busy, I'd love to go back and explore more!

Kandersteg, Switzerland

Our little car was packed to the brim when we headed into the Swiss Alps for a hike in Kandersteg. We were unprepared, didn't bring the right clothing or shoes, but didn't care. I wanted to see the alps, so off we went. We headed up to oeschinen lake early morning, the hike was steep and hard, and it was a lot colder than I expected. But the views! Wild cows walking around with their bells, the stunning blue lake, the cute restaurants with delish food, and how incredibly quiet it was!

Was it worth it?

Heck yes! Barely any people, gorgeous views, great photo ops!

Golden Circle, Iceland

I still count myself so lucky that I got to live in Iceland for a little while. It's one of the few places I would head back to in a heartbeat, the small city of Reykjavík, the hikes, the people... It just warms my heart enough to deal with the cold! However - the golden circle was definitely very overhyped for me. It's an easy drive from Reykjavík and easy to do in a day, so for tourists it definitely is a great route, however! The busloads of tourists, one after another, make it hard to maneuver. A lot of the sights you have in the Golden Circle also appear in other parts of the country but without the business, so if you have the time: I'd hit up the glaciers, and then drive down south or up north for some quieter views!

Was it worth it?

Happy I've seen it, however there are way more stunning places to discover in Iceland, in my opinion!

Mont St. Michel, France

It is quite a sight to be seen - the castle. A stunning structure out in the middle of the sea. On a mountain. In a completely flat area of France. But I do not think I will ever go here again. The outside offers some amazing photo ops, and it's easy to stop at the Mont when travelling past, however the inside is just... Too much. So many people, merely tourist shops with no actual French stuff, it's just... A no for me.

Was it worth it?

No. Definitely not. The outside is awesome, the inside is just silly. Too many people, too little space, not as much to see as you'd expect.

Burg Eltz and Neuschwanstein caste, Germany

The last two on this list! Quite far apart, both in distance and in opinion. Let's start with Burg Eltz! At a stones throw away from the Dutch border, it is so easy to visit when we lived there. And my heart warms just to think about it. Eltz is one of the prettiest castles I have ever seen, so well taken care off, and so amazingly beautifully hidden in the middle of the forest. Neuschwanstein however, was a different story. Impressively perking above the city on a big hill, it definitely takes your breath away. However - the closer you get, the less you'll be impressed. There has just been too much renovation done, so much that by now it resembles more of a Disney castle rather than an actual one. So if I could pick - Eltz every time!

Was it worth it?

Eltz yes - for sure - I'd go every day if I could! Neuschwanstein I would not go again, overrated, busy, and so fake looking!

Written by:

Steffanie van Twuijver

Just your quintessential dog mom millennial trying to make a living while travelling the world with her dog.

© Copyright by Dingo ate my Ticket 2022

Made with love by Orange Eclipse