I’ve been traveling for ten years, and the number one question I get is “Where’s your favorite place?”
My answer differs depending on my mood. Some days, it’s the Galapagos. Others, it’s Cambodia or Australia.
But quite frankly, Europe will always have my heart.
These days, I hear more about Southeast Asia and South America as backpacker destinations, and it’s true that these regions are much easier on the budget. Although Europe costs a little bit more, it is still a traveler’s dream.
Because of Europe’s many options, you can tailor your trip to suit your budget and time frame. You can travel by bus, train, budget airline, and even ferry. You can sleep in bare bones hostels, fancy hotels, or seek out a vacation apartment through Go with Oh. You can eat at markets, sidewalk cafés, upscale restaurants, or shop at supermarkets.
I can’t pick my favorite European cities, but I can tell you about five places I’d definitely go back to. They’re not off the beaten track. They might get crowded. You might not agree with me. But they’ve still got that European magic.
I can’t say enough about how gorgeous Croatia is, only that I could have stayed much longer than the eight days I spent there, sailing down the coast. The white cities feel ancient and powerful, and the coastline is craggy with clear, salty water.
I went to two places in Greece: Athens and Mykonos. Somehow I suspect that there’s more to it than a famous capital city and an overrated party island. If I ever get back, I’m heading for the volcanic island of Santorini. And I’m eating way more Greek food. And not drinking any ouzo, because it tastes gross.
Five days in Turkey, regrettably, is not enough. You could easily spend 5 days in Istanbul alone, let alone tackling the rest of the enormous country. I’m tempted by the fairy chimneys of Cappadocia and the Mediterranean coast.
I would happily return to all of Germany, but Berlin really knocked my socks off. I wasn’t expecting it to, but it did. It was one of the first times that I felt history come to life – all that we’d learned about WWII in high school suddenly seemed shockingly relevant, from the remains of the Berlin wall to walking gingerly through Sachsenhausen, a Nazi work camp.
Many people don’t like Paris. That’s okay. I get it.
Okay, I don’t get it. It’s PARIS. The city of love. The city of lights. The Eiffel tower, crepes, baguettes, the Seine. I’ll love Paris until the day I die, all based on my first trip abroad when I was 12. That’s when I learned that the French language was more than just 7th grade French class – it was a door opener to a whole new foreign culture.
What do you think – agree or disagree with my choices?
What European cities most appeal to you?