Ironically, for a travel writer, blogger and Instagrammer, I’m usually the first person to raise my hand and complain about travel-media saturation. In fact, it’s a firehose of doctored visuals and innocuous words out there. Be careful. That said, when consumed in moderation, Instagram provides me with a healthy dose of armchair-travel inspiration. From restaurants and hotels to beaches and towns, I’ve “discovered” dozens of cool people, places and experiences using Instagram.
And I have to say, the more I use the platform, the more I gravitate toward niche accounts who eschew Instagram’s normally vapid aesthetic for richly captured and intimately shared moments. They are indeed out there. For example, check out some of my favorite European-travel Instagrammers below.
Wine lovers, foodies, Francophiles. You have arrived. Allow me to introduce you to Vancouver, Washington-based culinary adventurers, Lisa and Francois de Mélogue, the couple behind the Instagram account, Pistou and Pastis.
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A trained chef who grew up in Chicago to French parents, Francois de Mélogue, with wife Lisa, runs insider culinary tours of Burgundy/Lyon, Provence and the Pacific Northwest. And the key word here is “insider.” That is to say, chef Francois knows his way around a kitchen, how to talk his way into the private reserve and where to leave the tourist groups behind. Certainly, this is a drool-worthy account. Come with an appetite.
What is this account? I’m not sure! I don’t speak Turkish! But it continually publishes mind-blowing pictures from nine Turkey-based photographers. Now, although they travel the world, much of their imagery focuses on rural life in Turkey. Or, workaday images in cities and towns. Above all, it doesn’t really matter where they’re shooting because the end result is the same: Stunning. Beauty.
Eat your heart out American Pickers. The account name says it all. Quite literally. Larry Licata leads legendary loot-finding missions in Hungary. In other words, this Hungarian native knows exactly where to score the goods. Consequently, his Instagram account overflows with dreamy shots of entire rooms stuffed with “farm-fresh” dining tables, cabinets, luggage, kitchen utensils, hand-blown glass vessels and much, much more. I doubt that I’ll ever be able to afford a buying trip with Larry. Therefore, I shall continue living vicariously through his Insta. You can, too.
Four kiddos, two adults and one mega-happy pooch take followers on outdoor adventures throughout Europe. And they do it bilingually, captioning all of their posts in both French and English. Hurrah! So, you can learn about all the best hiking, skiing, biking and road-tripping locales in Europe. Simultaneously, you can brush up on your Français. Gagner-gagner! Also, is this a handsome and delightful family or what?
Italian mountain-bike guide, father and one helluva photographer, Ivan captures Italy’s gritty allure as well as anyone I follow on Insta. He’s especially adept at scouring his country for little hidden treasures like doorways, old bicycles, clocks, light posts and other seemingly inane objects. You know, stuff that you and I would probably walk right past.
You’d think that a professional tour guide in Prague would know all the ins and outs of the City of a Hundred Spires. And you’d be absolutely right. Marketa leads tours in-person (she’s popular — book well in advance). But she also leads virtual tours via her Instagram. For example, check out the shot above from the roof of the National Theater. Or, the one below of an antique alchemist set. In short, Marketa’s Instagram shines a light on corners of Prague you never knew existed.
UK-based travel blogger Maria Belfort journeys about Europe with her family in-tow. This family’s constantly on-the-go, spending weekends in big cities, taking weeklong trips to out-of-the-way destinations and documenting it all on Instagram. I’m always stoked to support fellow traveling families, hoping to inspire my fellow moms and dads out there to plan a trip abroad. But even if I can’t, then maybe One Tiny Leap can.
You needn’t understand a word of Italian to fall in love with this account. I barely do! From her home in Northern Italy, Eleonora Lanzetti travels throughout Central Europe. As the account implies, she likes pretty things. And she likes photographing them. Luckily, Italy, Switzerland and nearby environs host many a-pretty thing. In fact, for candid village scenes, adorable restaurants and bakeries and wonderfully plated meals, she’s tops.
Environmental journalist Bob Berwyn is based in Krems, Austria. But he travels the Continent documenting its surprisingly pristine natural beauty. And the chilling effects climate change is wreaking. This account will present some hard truths about ecological degradation. Yet, Berwyn punctuates his feed with plenty of eye candy as well. All we can say is: Bob, please post more often!