PHOTOGRAPHY | TRAVEL

Visited Countries Placeholder
Visited Countries

Dark Grey: Countries I’ve Visited + Photo Essays | Grey: Visited | White: Not visited

STOCKHOLM

Stockholm, the capital of Sweden, a picturesque city composed of 14 islands. Stockholm is one of the most beautiful, calm and vibrant cities in Europe. One of the highlights of my trip is when I visited Gamla-Stan, also known as the “Old City”. The architecture is simply overwhelming, with narrow cobbled streets and colorful buildings that looked straight out of a fairytale.

HELSINKI

A short couple of days was all it took for Helsinki to steal my heart. The city’s innovative urban culture–meshing tradition and trends in its own special way and seamlessly combining cityscape with nature. The diverse landscapes of The Suomenlinna Fortress has many opportunities for exploration, while mainland Helsinki houses beautiful architecture gems.

DUBAI

Dubai is one of the seven emirates that make up the United Arab Emirates. The country has become symbolic for its man-made islands, architectural marvels, largest shopping malls in the world and sky-rise buildings such as the Burj Khalifa and the Burj al Arab.

ABU DHABI

The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is without a doubt a must-see when you visit Abu Dhabi. This iconic mosque was built in memory of Sheikh Zayed, the man who brought the United Arab Emirates together, spearheading its creation into the majestic nation it is today. The result is the largest and grandest mosque in the United Arab Emirates today. It’s a stunning building, one of the most beautiful I have seen in my life.

NEW YORK

Senses are ablaze as my feet pound through Manhattan’s bustling mass of skyscrapers and sidewalks. I could spend weeks on this island and still not see all there is to see. Getting around New York City by foot, subway, yellow cab and helicopter made me discover what makes this concrete jungle truly astounding.

COPENHAGEN

Copenhagen is a compact city packed with historic buildings lining its narrow cobbled streets. Colourful waterside townhouses, boats on the canals and Scandinavian design everywhere, it’s no wonder this port city has consistently been known as one of the happiest places in the world.

MOSCOW

I spent a midweek in Moscow just wandering around, trying to get a sense of the city. It took me almost four days, but I think I’ve got it. I became fascinated by the unique mix of Renaissance Russian architecture and Soviet era Stalinist architecture. There’s still so much to explore—I wish I had an infinite supply of time here.

SAINT PETERSBURG

Saint Petersburg is chock full of palaces, canals, classical architecture and pastel colors. I find myself constantly walking backwards, bumping into fur-wrapped locals, as I try to get some perspective on the cultural jewels of Russia’s cultural heart.

CHERNOBYL

A visit to Chernobyl and the radioactive ghost town of Pripyat offers a glimpse into a world locked far behind the Iron Curtain that no longer exists. The scenery on the dusty road from Kiev to Chernobyl morphs from industrial skyline to the overgrown forest that surrounds the nuclear disaster zone. When arrived at the site I felt like I’ve landed in a fabled place that most will only ever see in history books.

BELARUS

Belarus is often called ‘Europe’s last dictatorship’ and promised to be a different world from the rest of Europe. In Belarus, the Soviet heritage is still visible and wandering around the country truly felt like a Soviet time warp. Memorials to the Great Patriotic War are everywhere, with Soviet flags, symbols and prominent Lenin statues all over the country. The allotted five-day entry period gave me just enough time to visit the highlights of this fascinating country: Minsk, Nesvizh, Mir & Brest.

BALI

Bali is magical. As probably the most famous island in Indonesia, Bali blends spectacular mountain scenery and beautiful sandy white beaches with warm and friendly people, a vibrant culture and filled with over 1000 temples. It is no wonder the island is often called ‘The Island of the Gods’.

PARIS

Visiting Paris is always a good idea, even when you only have one day to bask in its charms. Its rich history, architectural wonders, remarkable museums, and picturesque landscapes are sure to make it every traveler’s dream destination.

TALLINN

Tallinn Old Town is one of the best preserved Hanseatic town centres in the world, and one of the oldest cities on the Baltic Sea. At the historical and medieval heart of the city is the hill of Toompea, covered in cobbled streets and filled with medieval limestone houses and alleyways. The best way to explore Tallinn was to get lost, finding myself drifting through centuries of history.

RIGA

Riga is the capital of Latvia, it is located on the Baltic Sea at the mouth of the river Daugava and is also the largest city of the Baltic Republics. You can sense Riga’s history while wandering the city, which is bounded by the river Daugava, the city canal and in its breathtaking range of architecture styles. Riga’s old town gives it its fairy tale appeal, with Gothic spires that dominate Rīga’s cityscape.

VILNIUS

Lithuania’s capital has an Old Town of rare authenticity: marvellously intact, its cobbled streets are lined with weather-worn period buildings that hide cafes, boutiques and dainty guesthouses. The historic Old Town is filled with Baroque, Gothic, and Renaissance architecture, and an abundance of green space.

BUDAPEST

Budapest is one of my favourite cities in Eastern Europe. The Hungarian capital is in fact two cities, Buda and Pest, divided by the Danube river. The best way to enjoy the city is a walk along the Danube, with views of Castle Hill, Fisherman’s Bastion, and home to the parliament of Hungary.

SOFIA

Sofia is a city packed with eclectic monuments and buildings. The Bulgarian capital is built upon ancient foundations of culture and history. Standing among the striking Stalinist-era architecture are ancient Byzantine masterpieces, built during the 500 years of Ottoman rule, as well as ruins of a Roman metropolis from nearly 2000 years ago, when the city was called ‘Serdika’.

SLOVENIA

Ljubljana’s Old Town at the foot of the hill, overlooked by Ljubljana Castle, is punctuated by Secessionist and Baroque buildings, connected by legend-laden bridges along the Ljubljanica River. A one-hour scenic drive from the Slovenian capital brings you to the crystal clear waters of Lake Bled, hidden away amongst the snow-capped Julian Alps.

BELGRADE

The Serbian capital in the heart of the Balkans is proudly standing between the East and West, with its unique mixture of the both. Contemporary Belgrade is pretty picturesque. The white marble walls of the St. Sava Temple can be seen all over Belgrade, while the monumental Kalemegdan Fortress rises above the city on a ridge overlooking the confluence of the Sava and the Danube Rivers.

BRUTALIST BELGRADE

While cycling through the concrete district for a day, Novi Beograd felt unreal. The enormous scale of “Blokovi”, the fitting name given to the urban neighbourhoods of Novi Beograd, is difficult to exaggerate. Blokovi is a programmatic communist construction effort to provide housing, and create a showcase of mass-produced large scale brutal communist architecture.

MOROCCO

Marrakech, a heady blend of labyrinthal souks, colourful Medina streets, mysterious snake charmers performing at the Djemma El Fna and the enchanting sound of the call to prayer echoing around the medina. We continued our journey, through the High Atlas Region towards to the gateway of the Sahara: The ancient fortified ksar of Aït Ben Haddou.

PLOVDIV

Plovdiv is Europe’s oldest continuously inhabited city and it is best loved for its enchanting old town, packed with cobbled streets and colourful 19th-century mansions. Plovdiv has a fair number of well-preserved Roman ruins, the most important of which is the Roman amphi theatre, built in the saddle between two hills overlooking the ancient city.

All content copyright 2019 Matthijs Kok
For further information or commercial / editorial enquiries, get in touch via the contact button below.
Enquiries will be responded to as quickly as possible.