The article of Lonely Planet – 10 essential stops for Europe first-timers (See link at bottom of the blog) made me think what would be my picks if I had to help a friend decide what are must-see places when travelling through Europe. I concur with all of Lonely Planets’ but I have a couple less unfamiliar ones of my own that I have a soft spot for and want to add to the list. Mostly probably because of the personal memories I treasure.
I was blessed to have been travelling since I was really young. I have fond memories of all the places we visited and it is difficult but if I have to pick only 10 it would be the following and the reason why:
This place is probably one of my absolute favourites. I have visited it 3 times already and would always go back if I were given the chance. I believe it’s because of the beautiful architecture and bridges, stunning history and the lovely life-footprints of Michelangelo, a big inspiration of mine, that keeps on beckoning me back.
This is the city of love and style. No matter how loveless you feel you will feel a twitch of romanticism when setting foot in this place. Strolling down the Champ Elysees towards the majestic Arc de Triomphe, standing on top of the Eiffel Tower or just relaxing French style at a street cafe will turn you into an instant romantic.
Being quite a chocolate fan I find it hard not to like one of the Belgium cities! The amount of good quality chocolate you can find there is fantastic and you cannot resist. Besides from adding to your waistline, this city is also beautifully clean, friendly and the Flemish architecture. The houses are squashed in next to each other as if fitted in a matchbox.
I have been skiing here since I was 4 and after all these years it is like a second home to me. Skiing is very addictive. Add to it a skiing town like this one you are in heaven. Besides from all the childhood memories I have, this town is one of the best located skiing spots you will find. There are so many ski slopes options here; you can literally ski the whole day without the need to ski one slope twice.
I sometimes feel Portugal is handled like the stepchild of Europe. Or it’s just much underestimated. When we went there we were combining it with a trip to Spain. Looking forward more to see Spain, I was blown away by the country and Lisbon’s friendliness and the stunning scenery. Also the seafood! I was fascinated by the countries innovation for world discovery indicated by monuments, like the famous Monument to the Discoveries.
We had friends that lived here for a long time and my first encounter with this city was when I was 6. My favourite place to visit still is the absolute breath-taking Schonbrunn Palace- home of the former and very popular Empress Elizabeth. I also love the various markets presented all over the city.
Yes, I know. The moment you hear the name you want to break into song, singing” The hills are alive with the sound of music!” Even though this is the town where this beautiful story played off, there is so much more to it. This city, with the old monastery guarding over it from the mountain top has a soft charm to it that will always make you like it instantly, even though you cannot put your finger on why. It’s got a beautiful history (including the former home of Mozart), stunning architecture and the horse drawn carriages in the streets add to the historic feel.
I always get the feeling we are still among the Gladiators when I visit Rome. The amount of historic buildings, ruins and sites will insure you need more than one day in this place! Containing the Vatican City, which is a country on its own, makes it even more attractive for sightseeing. This, the Coliseum and Roman Emporium is each worth almost at least a day’s visit.
This city, located in the shadow of mount Pilatus, with a view onto Jungfraujoch in the distance, is a great taste of what Switzerland has to offer. With a rich history varying from a dying lion monument in memory of the Swiss Guards to the stunning Chapel Bridge (built in 1333) across Ruess River it is truly a little jewel in the Swiss Alps.
My first introduction to Europe. I always felt I haven’t visited Europe if I haven’t been to Munich. House of the Hoffbrau House—best place to get your first beer—and to various markets, “platzes” (plains) and beautiful old architecture, this city is alive with activity in an all-day-live-like-the-locals manner. Something not to be missed.