The New Zealand star’s favorite vacation memories

Nicolas Tian, ​​who appears in TVNZ 2’s Travel Guides NZ, photographed in Portugal. Photo / Supplied

Nicolas Tian will travel the country as part of the new Travel Guides NZ TV show. Before the borders closed, he traveled regularly around the world. Here are his memories of some of his favorite countries.


My advice for visiting Morocco is to spend with a hired driver or guide to be safe. It is such a mysterious country and I did a lot of research before the trip. We hired an SUV and a driver so we could get around easily as few Moroccans speak English and the price was affordable.

Highlights included a visit to Rick’s Cafe, where parts of Casablanca were filmed, a visit to the Hassan II Mosque, built over the ocean and spectacular, and the Majorelle Garden, one of the most beautiful gardens I have ever seen. have never seen them. We also headed to Chefchaouen which is located in the north of Morocco – God seems to have given all shades of blue to this charming town.

We started our trip to the Sahara Desert from Marrakech and went to Fez. Riding a camel is the only way to cross the desert instead of walking, and sometimes it was wide and scary. You can hear the sound of silence – the sand, the wind and the breath of the camels.

We stayed in a tent on this trip and sitting outside watching the night sky at night was breathtaking.

The last day of this Sahara Desert trip was horrible because we were unexpectedly kidnapped – our captors didn’t hold us back, but they didn’t give us food and water in temperatures of 44 ° C. We managed to negotiate with them and managed to get out of the desert. Even though we were kidnapped Morocco was still an amazing adventure and I would go back. Natural beauty is one of a kind.

<a class=Travel Guides NZ Nicolas Tian loved his visit to the Sahara Desert, despite being kidnapped along the way. Photo / Nicolas Tian, ​​Fourni” class=”article-media__image responsively-lazy” data-test-ui=”article-media__image”/>
Travel Guides NZ Nicolas Tian loved his visit to the Sahara Desert, despite being kidnapped along the way. Photo / Nicolas Tian, ​​Fourni


Belarus took me by surprise when I arrived. Most of the countries that broke away and became independent from the Soviet Union often do not have a thriving economy, but Belarus has such a modern and tidy capital, Minsk. Everything is convenient and the locals are very friendly and helpful.

My accommodation was next to the old town of Troiz, with many Orthodox churches nearby. The Island of Tears is another nice place for sightseeing, as is Grodno, the border town between Belarus, Lithuania and Poland. The Mir Castle complex is a World Cultural Heritage Site, and the design is a beautiful blend of Gothic, Baroque, and Renaissance. I then drove to Nesvizh Castle, which was built in the Radziwill dynasty, and booked a room inside the castle. The price is incredibly cheap and I was lucky because they upgraded my room to the castle master bedroom for free.


The capital, Oslo, is creative with many great design ideas, including the Oslo Lakeside Opera House – the views are amazing.

I took a flight to Stavanger, then drove to Kjerag, where I climbed Kjeragbolten, a rock stuck in a gap in the mountain. Some people are afraid to step on the stone to take pictures because it is so high, but I jumped up and down on the stone and then got a well-deserved massage after getting back down to the bottom.

The fish market in Bergen, Norway’s second largest city, is a good place to taste delicious seafood at a reasonable price … as long as you barter. Norway is an amazing place but can be very expensive for a vacation.

Nicolas Tian jumps on Norway's Kjeragbolten, a rock stuck in a breach in Kjerag Mountain.  Photo / Supplied
Nicolas Tian jumps on Norway’s Kjeragbolten, a rock stuck in a breach in Kjerag Mountain. Photo / Supplied


Portugal is a riot of color, but the roads are often a bit risky. Make sure to try a pasteis de nata – a Portuguese egg tart. The most famous place to get them is Pasteis de Belem, a Lisbon bakery that has been operating since 1837. Other Portugal must-sees include a visit to Cabo de Roca, the westernmost point in mainland Europe; Aveiro, a town on a lagoon with canals and colorful boats that was one of the quietest towns I have seen; and Livaria Lello from Porto, one of the oldest bookstores in Portugal and often voted one of the best in the world.


Santorini is a place that I dreamed of seeing since my childhood. I made a reservation for an Airbnb located on a cliff and my room even had a cave and an amazing view of the Aegean Sea. All of the buildings in Oia are white and blue in color and exude a relaxed and romantic atmosphere. I also loved visiting Athens and Meteora, with its six monasteries built into the cliff. I was traveling alone in Greece and although one day I would like to go back there to share these sweet moments with my future Mr Right, I would say that Greece is still fabulous to visit solo.

New Zealand <a class=travel guide Nicolas Tian made his lifelong dream come true when he visited Santorini, Greece. Photo / Nicolas Tian, ​​Fourni” class=”article-media__image responsively-lazy” data-test-ui=”article-media__image”/>
New Zealand travel guide Nicolas Tian made his lifelong dream come true when he visited Santorini, Greece. Photo / Nicolas Tian, ​​Fourni


Brasov is the best place to visit in Romania. All heritage buildings are located in the city center, including the Black Church, one of the most famous historical places in Brasov. It was white but was burnt down in 1689 and turned black.

Bran Castle is 30 km from Brasov and well worth a trip for vampire fans. I also visited Bucharest, the capital of Romania, where I enjoyed the National History Museum, the University of Bucharest and the Cismigiu Gardens. Romania is a big country, so I chose Sibiu, Timisoara, Reghin and Yasi as stops on my road trip. I was invited to attend a local wedding when I was in Reghin because they saw that I was alone on my trip. What conviviality!

The Black Church in Brasov, Romania.  Photo / Nicolas Tian, ​​Fourni
The Black Church in Brasov, Romania. Photo / Nicolas Tian, ​​Fourni

Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka is a strongly religious island nation located in the Indian Ocean. I hired a car with a local driver because the price was so cheap, and I also wanted to understand the native culture as much as possible. While we were traveling, the driver prayed three times before each meal and he also stopped on the road and prayed whenever he saw a temple.

I traveled by train from Colombo to Galle, and the journey takes you along a beautiful coastline. Galle was settled by the Netherlands, Portugal and the United Kingdom before its independence in 1972, so the diversity of architecture and multiculturalism made the city vibrant and attractive. I hope to return to Sri Lanka one day – it’s a great place to go on an adventure.

Nicolas Tian stars in Travel Guides NZ, premiering Thursday February 18 at 8 p.m. on TVNZ 2

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