Hey everyone, how has your week started off? Well, today I have decided to do another ‘list’ post. It was brought to my attention by my lovely commenters that in my post a couple of weeks back ‘Six Countries to Visit Before You Die’ that not ONE of those countries was in Europe, which hadn’t really occurred to me until it was pointed out.
I mean Europe right – so many amazing countries, perhaps none stand out so much on their own? I don’t know why I didn’t put a single European country in there, as I was trying to cover different parts of the world, but I still stand by my calls. Having said that, the idea of the post really was to highlight countries that really make you stop and think, that make you question a little bit your life and the world we live in.
Europe perhaps offers something different. Certainly it’s full of history, it’s been the seat of power or where power has spread from for millennium, and for the tourist it really does provide the best in touristic experiences. And I definitely recommend visiting Europe before you die – but recommending one country over another is somewhat difficult because it will depend on your tastes and perhaps in life we see something about a country and that draws us to it. And what that is will no doubt depend on the individual. So here’s a list of five that attract me and I would return to in a heartbeat. In no particular order too.
1/ United Kingdom
So in the case of this post I am considering the UK as one country, which it supposedly is depending on the circumstance. Anyways, it is probably my favourite country in Europe for a wide variety of reasons. London is just a mad and brilliant city, historic, atmospheric, expensive (ok so NOT a good reason) and more.
The number of iconic landmarks is high, it’s famous through pop culture too – remembering I am a mad Doctor Who fan and all – and well, there’s so much to see and do. And then there are beautiful university towns such as Cambridge and Oxford, there’s Brighton Pier and so much more. Oh and then there’s Scotland and Wales (and Northern Ireland, which I haven’t visited). Edinburg and Glasgow I both loved and I really want to get further north one day, and Cardiff is a great city too. On top of all of that across the UK the little towns are picturesque and lovely. I find people in the UK as friendly as anywhere in Europe (albeit outside London) and I just adore visiting the place.
Okay so if you want something quite different from the rest of Europe, you can’t go past Iceland and it WILL provide you with a very unique experience without a doubt! And that’s why this island country, quite away from the rest of Europe with a touch over 300,000 people living on it has made my list.
Visit for peace and quiet. It’s not crowded, it’s got uniqueness running through its veins. In summer the sun doesn’t go down, in the winter you can see the Northern Lights. It’s a place to experience nature – hot springs, waterfalls and more. Amazing horses, only found in Iceland. Have a game of golf in the middle of the night. Just you know, make sure you bring plenty of layers. And for those who love Game of Thrones, a fair amount of it was shot in Iceland. So why not check out the locations used for this incredible franchise!
3/ Czechia/Czech Republic
This is the only Eastern European country I have thrown in today. It’s wonderfully positioned in the centre of Europe – and they like to think of themselves as ‘Central Europe’. Prague is an outstanding city with gothic churches, places to party, and landmarks such as the Charles Bridge and the Astronomic Clock.
As awesome as Prague is, it’s undoubtedly an incredibly popular place to visit and you won’t be alone. Kalory Vary is a town not too far away with hot springs and a delightful air about it, and then there is the Ossuary full of bones in the town of Kutna Hora, another easy day trip from Prague. Yes it’s creepy but one of the main tourist attractions in Czechia.
IF you are prepared though to travel further from the capital you can still find places which don’t see so many visitors. One such place is Olomouc, again with a real gothic feel, beautiful town square, churches and a bar in an aeroplane thrown in for good measure.
With connections to all parts and all sides of Europe, Czechia is beautiful, artistic and rewarding.
It HAS to be Italy. Although not a place I have spent a lot of time in, the country with the most well-known history in all of Europe, the seat of power for hundreds of years, is an amazing country with so many beautiful cities it just can’t be ignored. And hey, who doesn’t love exploring Roman ruins?
Rome itself is an impressive place, with so many famous sights from the Trevi Fountain to the Colosseum and everything in between. And wherever you walk you will find ruins in and around the more ‘modern’ version of Rome.
But outside Rome there are cities like Florence, and Venice, which although immensely touristy, are beautiful. Italy comes with the caveat of being expensive and crowded, there’s no doubt. But it does have some of the best weather in Europe, some of the best beaches, and yet there are Alps in the north as well. I have never really explored Italy, but I sure plan to one day!
As my final choice I have somewhat reluctantly gone for Spain. Why reluctantly? Well only because I have been agonising whether to choose Spain or Portugal. Both are amazing countries I discovered on my most recent visit to Europe in 2019, and I loved them both.
I went with Spain because although I adored Barcelona with its Gaudi influences, the Picasso Museum, the mountains nearby reached by cable car, the grandeur oh the Palau de la Musica Catalana where we saw a show and marvelled at the interior, I totally fell in love with Seville in the south.
This city is just so beautiful, and I thoroughly recommend visiting in the off season (we were there at the very start of December), it was 15-18 degrees each day and SUNNY (bar one day) which was just terribly pleasant. The old town is certainly special, with its passages, old houses, squares, and more. To visit the Bull Ring was special too, the cathedral is the largest in the world I think, and the life and soul of the place is heart-warming. It’s brilliant!
And I know that there are other similar towns all around Spain, especially in the south such as Malaga. And I hear San Sebastian in the north is brilliant too. Spain also not as expensive as some of the other Western European countries – France, Italy and Switzerland for example. Or indeed Austria or Germany. It’s no bargain either, but we stayed in very nice 3 star places (surely would be four star if they were in Australia) and it didn’t cost too much and we were very happy.
And that’s my list today. There are so many other countries I’m sure you all have your opinions – so please express them respectfully in the comments! I know there’s someone out there furious that I didn’t include Belgium in there!
Thanks for popping by! May the Journey Never End!