Inspiration, Travel

10 Most Popular Instagram Photos of 2015

December 28, 2015

2015 has been an unbelievably huge year of travel for me and I loved nothing more than keeping you guys updated with my adventures on Instagram. I’ve been working hard to develop my photography skills this year and really feel like I’ve come a long way, although I have so much still to learn. I’m also blown away by how many of you guys are following along on Instagram: this time last year I had less than 1,000 followers and today it numbers over 12,800+ (I wrote a post about How to Grow your Instagram Following Fast)!

I’ve had so much fun sharing my photos on this platform, but I do feel like I need to preface this post with the reminder that Instagram is a carefully curated, edited portfolio of the BEST moments of my travels. All the photos I have posted on Instagram this year were taken with either my Nikon D750 or my Sony DSC-RX100M2, not my phone and all of them were edited in Lightroom or Photoshop before posting. Some of these shots were impromptu snaps and others were the result of a multiple takes! Instagram is the highlights reel and most of the time, travel is not as glamorous as an Instagram feed makes it out to be. Nevertheless, Instagram is without a doubt the source of much inspiration so to celebrate an incredible year of travels in 2015, here’s a roundup of my top 10 most popular Instagram posts of the year:

10. Potsdam, Germany

Berlin is painted head to toe in rich tones of yellow, orange and red in autumn, making it one of my most favourite seasons here. Strolling through the beautiful Sanssouci Park in Potsdam, about 45 minutes by train from central Berlin, I couldn’t help but take a seat under the pretty golden leaves that were drifting down all around me. I felt like I was in a painting!

How are these autumn colors even real? 💛🍂

A photo posted by Rachel Bale (@departmentofwandering) on

9. Dubrovnik, Croatia

This photo was actually taken last year when I travelled through Croatia in the summer. I re-posted this snap of this table full of fresh berries in Dubrovnik’s Old Town to promote a post I had written on The Best Healthy Travel Snacks to Keep you Energised on the blog.

8. London, United Kingdom

I fell in love with Notting Hill’s cuteness when I visited London in September. I spent hours wandering around this delightful, colourful neighbourhood filling up my memory card with pretty doors and quaint townhouses. I posted this photo of a cute pink door I stumbled on to promote the post I’d just written on Exploring Notting Hill: London’s Prettiest Neighbourhood.

My heart skipped a beat when I passed by this little door in Notting Hill. 💕 See more on the blog (link in profile 👆)

A photo posted by Rachel Bale (@departmentofwandering) on

7. Val d’Isere, France

Earlier this month, I went on a press trip to Val d’Isere, a ski village in the French alps, on behalf of World of Wanderlust, where I’m the Europe contributor. I had such a blast — it was seriously one of the best trips I’ve ever been on! I learnt how to ski, drank far too much wine and partied it up with a great bunch of other bloggers. I just had to capture my glass of rosé against the bright, white, snowy background.

6. Paris, France

I posted this photo of the Eiffel Tower the morning after the terror attacks in Paris happened. I had taken this photo almost two years earlier when I spent my first European Christmas in Paris. As my all-time favourite city in Europe, I wanted to spread the message of peace, like so many others around the world did on social media.

5. Paris, France

I was scheduled to travel to Paris a few days after the attacks, but I delayed my visit for a week. I was determined to still travel and show defiance in the face of the fear the terrorists wanted to instil. I ended up having a wonderful time (I stayed at the luxurious Special Apartments Paris), falling in love with the city’s prettiness at every turn. I couldn’t visit Paris without stopping in at Shakespeare & Co. for  a little browse, one of the most famous English bookstores in the city.

I can’t ever go to Paris without visiting this iconic bookstore on the Left Bank. 💚

A photo posted by Rachel Bale (@departmentofwandering) on

4. Potsdam, Germany

This shot was taken on the same day as no. 10 above and in the same park in Potsdam. My friends and I stumbled on the most picturesque, fairytale-like setting we could have imagined. At the end of this golden, tree-lined path stood a magnificent palace and we had the whole place to ourselves. We couldn’t help ourselves to a little photoshoot!

Princess dreams 👑

A photo posted by Rachel Bale (@departmentofwandering) on

3. Berlin, Germany

I posted this photo when the first snowfall happened in Berlin this year. Late November was super early for snow to be falling and I was at once excited and slightly terrified at the prospect of a harsh winter on the horizon! This December has actually been exceptionally warm, so I didn’t have anything to worry about funnily enough! This photo was actually taken last year when I awoke one morning to a winter wonderland and went out to play.

2. Paris, France

I love Paris and Instagram loves Paris, that’s for sure! Paris has got lots of love this year. I had choux à la crème pastries at gorgeous Odette in Saint Germain and almost died from the cuteness.

Prettiest pâtisserie in Paris? 💕

A photo posted by Rachel Bale (@departmentofwandering) on

1. Saas Fee, Switzerland

Hot chocolate on top of a mountain? It doesn’t get much better than that! When I was in Saas Fee in Switzerland a few weeks ago, I took the gondola up to the world’s highest revolving restaurant at 3,500m and sipped on a hot chocolate overlooking this view. While the freezing temperature turned my hot chocolate cold pretty quickly, there was no option but to drink it outside against this backdrop. You guys who follow along on Instagram loved this shot and it became the number one most popular Instagram post of the year!

Hot chocolate at 3500m + some of the most breathtaking views I’ve ever seen. Yep, Saturday was pretty darn great. 💫

A photo posted by Rachel Bale (@departmentofwandering) on


I can’t wait to bring you around the world with me in 2016! Where should I head next year?

Disclosure: some of the links in this post are affiliates which earns me a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thanks for supporting The Department of Wandering!

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  • Reply Darina December 28, 2015 at 7:04 am

    Beautiful photos! I love Paris and I’ve never been in Berlin yet, so that’s on my travellist. I can recommend Prague. It’s a beautiful historic city!

    • Reply The Department of Wandering December 28, 2015 at 12:16 pm

      Thanks Darina! I adore Paris too. I’ve been to Prague a couple of times and really love it there! You must get to Berlin soon x

  • Reply 'Lara December 28, 2015 at 11:47 am

    Beautiful pictures.

    Happy holidays

    • Reply The Department of Wandering December 28, 2015 at 12:16 pm

      Thanks Lara and same to you! x

  • Reply Vicki Bale December 28, 2015 at 12:02 pm

    This is a fantastic post Rach! With such beautiful photos, you certainly deserve all of those “likes”

    • Reply The Department of Wandering December 28, 2015 at 12:17 pm

      Haha numbers aren’t everything but I did love capturing all these beautiful moments! x

  • Reply Claire @ TallGirlBigWorld December 31, 2015 at 2:58 pm

    Woah! That’s a huge growth rate! I think I discovered your blog when you had a little over one thousand followers-I had no idea how much Dept. of Wandering has grown :) Congrats on a great year, I can’t wait to follow your adventures in 2016!

    • Reply The Department of Wandering January 3, 2016 at 4:42 pm

      I love that you’re such a loyal reader, Claire, following from the beginning! It means so much! xx

  • Reply Jordan January 2, 2016 at 10:57 pm

    I love all these photos but especially love the ones from Potsdam. Such a charming city and the weather looked amazing!

    • Reply The Department of Wandering January 3, 2016 at 4:42 pm

      Thanks Jordan! Potsdam was so gorgeous and autumn was such a magical time to visit :)

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