I have now been lucky enough to travel to 11 different European countries… it sounds like so much and too little at the same time! I quite often get asked for travel tips now and while it’s been so fun, I thought it would be good to also have some fun information all in one place about every country outside of the US that I have visited!! I have really made the most amazing memories through my experiences and I hope to always encourage others to get out there and see the world!

Pictured above:

  • Top left – Balcón de Europa, Nerja, Spain
  • Top right – Albufeira, Portugal
  • Bottom left – Eiffel Tower, Paris, France
  • Bottom right – Cave swimming, Lagos, Portugal

Austria

Location: Austria is a landlocked country located in the southern part of Central Europe. It has borders with Slovakia, Hungary, Slovenia, Italy, Switzerland, Germany, Czech Republic & Liechtenstein

Cost: Around €106 ($115) per day, per person.

Currency: Euro ($1 ≈ 0.92€)

Official Language: German

Top Attractions: The Vienna Hofburg, Salzburg Altstadt, The Spanish Riding School & Schönbrunn Palace

Cities I’ve Explored: Vienna

My Thoughts: Austria truly had me by surprise. I mean to be honest it wasn’t a country I knew anything about before I moved to the Balkan region and it was never a country on my ‘visit’ list… but now I recommend it as a place to visit for anyone who asks. The amount of major historic events that took place in the region and shaped not only Europe, but the world, is truly mind-boggling. A few examples include the Habsburg Monarchy (one of the most powerful families in the history of the world), Austrian composers Johann Strauss Sr & Jr (you might have heard of dance style The Waltz?), Ludwig van Beethoven (spending the last of his years in Vienna where he composed “Für Elise”), Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (do I need to explain?), Julius Meinl (world renowned coffee and tea company founded in Vienna in 1862), and military commander Prince Eugene Francis of Savoy… DO I NEED TO CONTINUE. The list is endless and while you might be someone like me, who never found history to be a topic of interest, wow how this country changed my mind.

Vienna is quite large to take on by foot so I highly recommend purchasing the ‘hop on hop off’ bus passes. I think we probably got on and off at least six times so it was definitely worth it. Also get a map with a list of the main attractions because online look ups like ‘top 10 attractions in Vienna’ just won’t get you all you need to see! Also interests are so personal that when you really have the map in front of you it’s far easier to plan your day. We chose to pay for two main events during our time there and those were Schönbrunn Palace and the House of Music. Totally different from each other and each worth it. Schönbrunn Palace is a popular destination and rightfully so. It’s hard to imagine that this was a home for Europe’s most powerful family and it’s even harder to fathom that it was only dispersed in 1918… We had such a wonderful and knowledgeable tour guide (which definitely made a difference) and although it’s three hours long, it felt like it was 30 minutes. 

Of course not everyone wants or has money to spend on attractions and honestly, all the same, still make the trip over. You don’t need to pay for anything to be wowed by this city. Look up some facts on your own and take in all the incredible architecture and historical greatness in your own way! 10/10 – will go again!

Check out my photo album here!

adventure awaits

Schönbrunn Palace, Vienna, Austria

Croatia

Location: Croatia is located in Central & Southeast Europe. It is on the coast of the Adriatic Sea and has borders with Hungary, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina & Montenegro.

Cost: Around 523 kn ($75) per day, per person.

Currency: Croatian Kuna ($1 ≈ 6.95 kn)

Official Language: Croatian

Top Attractions: Dubrovnik Old Town Walls, Diocletian’s Palace, Hvar Town & Plitvice Lakes National Park

Cities I’ve Explored: Plitvice Lakes National Park

My Thoughts: I didn’t Photoshop or edit a SINGLE one of the photos that you can view in my photo album from Croatia (see below for link). I mean the national park was easily the most beautiful natural phenomenon that I have ever seen in my life and I would without a second thought go again if the chance comes up. We were there in late August and were lucky enough to have beautiful weather, which is quite important because it’s a lot of walking! There are a few trail options that you can take but the one we chose was about a total of four hours. Although that might seem like a lot, it felt like nothing and you’re concentrating far more on the breath-taking scenery rather than if you wore the proper foot attire (which I also recommend).

Besides the incredible views, the park is super clean and clearly well maintained. For the amount of people visiting each day, it’s extremely well organized. You have to choose your park entrance time (and they do check!) so I recommend choosing one that is earlier rather than later because the later in the afternoon it is, the more crowded are the trails. You’ll still end up waiting in a line of all the other people with your park entrance time, I think we waited about 45 min – 1 hour, but once we got off at the top it felt like no big deal, the first walking trail is already worth it.

Once you leave the park, you cannot re-enter, but I suggest leaving the park to get the local, and more reasonably priced food, then what is offered on the inside. Also don’t you DARE get anything that is not a typical food of the Balkan region. These people know how to make some amazing food and whether it’s pljeskavica, cevapi, pasulj, home made bread, pita or kajmak, you will be impressed and eat until you are stuffed! You’ll also see plenty of local villagers selling ‘med’, or honey in their language, along the side of the road… stop to get some. It just beats anything you can buy in the store and while you might think it’s expensive to buy home-made, it’s quite the opposite. It’ll cost you significantly less than in any supermarket and it’s twice the flavor. Other popular road-side sales include rakija, wine and other alcohols, and jam! Any are good, just take your pick.

Check out my photo album here!

adventure awaits

Plitvice Lakes National Park, Croatia

England

Location: England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. The UK is made up of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. England shares land borders with Wales and Scotland. To the west is the Irish Sea and to the southwest is the Celtic Sea. England is separated from continental Europe by the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south.

Cost: Around 117£ ($141) per day, per person.

Currency: Pound Sterling ($1 ≈ 0.82£)

Official Language: English

Top Attractions: Stonehenge, Tower of London, the Roman baths and Georgian City of Bath, the British Museum

Cities I’ve Explored: London

My Thoughts: Really and truly I need another trip to England to really experience the country again, and honestly, improve my first impressions. I’d really like to give it another shot because I think my trip was tainted by my awful travel partner who ended up hating me but we already bought the tickets so we still had to go together… yes it was as horrible as it sounds lol. However, I’d really like to make it clear that our hosts were absolutely wonderful and I think it’s such a shame I lost touch with them!

Let me rewind just a bit… I was in a bar in Portugal with people from my study abroad group and we met the nicest group of guys visiting from London. They extended an invitation, we stayed in touch, and two months later we actually went to see them and even stayed with one of them, Matt, who is just the nicest guy. Honestly it sounds a bit insane now, but at the time it seemed very reasonable and I swear they were such normal guys it didn’t feel weird or wrong at all… anyways, I’m not sure I recommend making the same choice but it did work out for me!

Besides my awful travel partner, I think I would have had a really nice time and definitely had a more exciting trip! This was a trip that was more about spending time with our new friends then it was being a tourist and I think that in that sense, it wasn’t a typical travel trip and it’s harder to give my thoughts from a ‘tourist’ perspective. I think that it was honestly exactly like I imagined it to be. All the photos of London are just so accurate.

The line for the London Eye was quite long, like an hour of waiting, and for me it didn’t seem to be worth it but maybe it would have been, I’m not sure! I will say that we went to a few absolutely awesome clubs and the nightlife there was extremely fun. The weather is almost always overcast so be prepared for that because we all know how much weather affects our moods. So that was something else for me that was really different. Most of the other cities I travel to at least have one sunny day in them, and that wasn’t the case here. I do think it would have made a difference… as much as it could with my awful travel partner. Okay now I’m just being funny, but she was awful lololol.

Check out my photo album here!

adventure awaits

London, England

France

Location: France is located in Western Europe. The bodies of water around it include the Mediterranean Sea, the North Sea, the Atlantic Ocean, the Rhine River and the English Channel. It has borders with Belgium, Luxembourg, Germany, Switzerland, Italy & Spain.

Cost: Around 182€ ($197) per day, per person.

Currency: Euro ($1 ≈ 0.92€)

Official Language: French

Top Attractions: Eiffel Tower, Louvre Museum, Palace of Versailles & Côte d’Azur

Cities I’ve Explored: Paris

My Thoughts: I just had the best trip ever to Paris. I want to go back but I’m also scared because I don’t want to ruin the amazing memories in my head from spending time in this magical city. I think so much of travel experiences depend on things like the weather, time of year, who you traveled with, where you stay and all these other factors that come together to make it absolutely perfect or just the worst trip ever lol.

Paris seems to be a controversial city. I’ve heard plenty of people say they had bad experiences with the locals, it was dirty, they weren’t impressed, and all these other things that I just cannot relate to. I went over the Christmas holiday so while it was a colder time of the year, I don’t think spring would have been better. In the winter you get to experience hot wine while walking up and down the Parisian Christmas markets, bargaining with sellers and sampling 10 different cheeses. You get to walk around a city lit up like a Christmas tree on every street and sit in the window of a beautifully decorated restaurant drinking wine and trying your first crème brûlée while observing the Eiffel Tower… sounds like a fake movie does it not? Now you can see I mean the word ‘magical’ in every possible way.

To be honest I’d heard that the locals weren’t too fond of the Americans so my company and I actually (embarrassingly) used British accents most of the time when we were out. It was a good laugh but also people DO respond to the British better than Americans. We bought some fresh macaroons and a bottle of champagne and went to sit on a park bench next to the Eiffel Tower and I swear we asked the only ACTUAL British person in the whole park (with a painfully bad accent) to take our picture. Oh the memories and mostly embarrassment of that moment lol I can still feel it.

Paris was one of my only trips that wasn’t planned in the slightest. My company was just as easy going as myself and we decided to wing each of our days there! Just do what we felt was fun, no stress, no running late, none of that. Among the attractions we ended up at were the Moulin Rouge, Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Paris, Notre Dam, Arc de Triomphe, Louvre Museum, an art festival in a hidden neighborhood, countless churches and parks… and more than I’m sure I can even remember.

Of course be careful, it is a hot spot for tourist pick pocketing but you should be careful anywhere you go! Don’t draw attention to yourself, be polite, watch your stuff, stay in a nice location – the basic rules. I didn’t find Paris to be any more dangerous than anywhere else I went. I’m sure I don’t need to tell you to go, it’s a popular tourist destination, but I will say I loved every second of my trip.

Check out my photo album here!

adventure awaits

Art show in Paris, France

Germany

Location: Germany is located in Western Europe and touches the Baltic Sea and the North Sea. It has borders with Denmark, Poland, Czech Republic, Austria, Switzerland, France, Luxembourg, Belgium & the Netherlands.

Cost: Around 107€ ($115) per day, per person.

Currency: Euro ($1 ≈ 0.92€)

Official Language: German

Top Attractions: Berlin’s Brandenburg Gate, Cologne Cathedral, The Black Forest, Neuschwanstein Castle

Cities I’ve Explored: Frankfurt, Munich, Schwangau

My Thoughts: Firstly, I love the German language. I completely disagree that it sounds angry and I think people who say that have probably picked up on that stereotype and so repeated it themselves. If you actually listen to German it’s a beautiful language. Of course it sounds angry when someone is yelling but doesn’t any language? It’s fascinating to watch my friend Charlotte speak because the way they control their tongue movement is so different from the English language. It’s almost like they’re using 50% capacity … I mean her mouth barely opens more than an inch whereas us native English speakers have sore jaws at the end of a full day of speaking.

Frankfurt is a city I’ve been to three times now and each time I love it more than the last. Although technically quite large, and home to one of Europe’s busiest airports, it doesn’t feel overwhelmingly big. There is a huge diversity in food available and they have the BEST Thai food that I’ve ever had, I swear it. The nightlife is pretty awesome with plenty of popular bars and clubs to visit. I feel very safe in this city and since it’s estimated that about 56% of the German population fluently speaks English, you have no problem getting around. Munich was one of those cities where you feel a buzz of energy in the air. This was a city where I had the best beer and pretzels I will probably ever have in my life! … & in Schwangau, that’s where I visited the Neuschwanstein Castle, which was actually a huge inspiration for Walt Disney. All three times I’ve been to Germany were either in November or December and unfortunately for me, it wasn’t snowing in Schwangau the year that I went to see the castle.

That being said, if you could choose I would probably go in the spring because you know that colors will be back on the horizon again and the view will be stunning no matter what. It was still breath-taking, but I can’t imagine what it would have been should it have been covered in white. Also it’s proper cold if you go in the winter so bring gloves because it’s a bit of a walk up to it and my hands were freezing off!

Check out my photo album here!

adventure awaits

Neuschwanstein Castle, Schwangau, Germany

Hungary

Location: Hungary is located in Central Europe. It has borders with Slovenia, Ukraine, Austria, Croatia, Romania, Serbia & Slovakia.

Cost: Around 20,823 Ft ($63) per day, per person.

Currency: Hungarian Forint ($1 ≈ 321 ft)

Official Language: Hungarian

Top Attractions: Buda Castle, Turkish Baths, Esztergom Basilica, Hungarian Parliament Building

Cities I’ve Explored: Budapest

My Thoughts: Another country I never imagined I’d want to visit, let alone live next to! Budapest is only a few hours of a drive from where I live now in Serbia and I think that I could go 8 weekends in a row and see maybe 50% of the city. Like Vienna, I was just blown away with the rich history that the city had to offer. I heard so much about the beauty of Budapest and it was quite funny because when we arrived over the bridge into the city my boyfriend was ooing and awing and my mom and I were just thinking that he was easily impressed… until we turned our heads the other direction and felt as equally stunned by its beauty!

While Budapest is technically larger than Vienna in size, I think it’s more manageable to walk and we didn’t use a bus or any sort of transportation except our own two feet! I won’t lie, I was exhausted by the end of the day, but it was so worth it because there is so much beauty in the little side streets of culture centers like this. Little known fact (or so I think) is that Buda and Pest are actually two separate areas, with each having their side of the river and together forming the whole city! Pest is on the side of the Hungarian Parliament building and Buda with the Citadella.

I wrote about this over on my Instagram, but definitely be sure to book tickets in advance to the parliament building. It truly is worth your time and among all the amazing historical facts you’ll learn, you’ll also be in the same room as the Holy Crown of Hungary, which was the coronation crown used by the Kingdom of Hungary for most of its existence… wow right? If you’re really lucky (like we were, eeek!) you’ll get to see the changing of the guards, which is a special experience and clearly valued by the Hungarian government.

I try to book at least one fun event in every city I visit and for Budapest I booked a Danube river night cruise! We were there in August, so not only was it a beautiful evening, but you see the city from a whole other perspective. It was an hour long and packed with information, but not so much you couldn’t keep up. More like you’re thinking ‘wow this is special’ with everything you’re looking at and viewing.

Speaking of views, my goodness looking down on the city from the Citadella is something else. Let’s be honest when we went I was fat and out of shape so I was just about done with the stairs and uphill hike to get there… but if you go to the gym even once a month you’d probably be fine lol. If not, start training or plan on taking breaks! It’s a good hike but around every corner you’re going ‘wooooow’… all the way to the top. Of course we had to have a refreshing alcoholic beverage when we arrived and I would be lying if I said it wasn’t special doing a big cheers and enjoying the sunset over the river and city.

Check out my photo album here!

adventure awaits

Top of the Citadella, Budapest, Hungary

Italy

Location: Italy is located in southern Europe, with a long Mediterranean coastline. It has borders with France, Switzerland, Austria & Slovenia.

Cost: Around 124€ ($134) per day, per person.

Currency: Euro ($1 ≈ 0.92€)

Official Language: Italian

Top Attractions: The Roman Colosseum, Venice Canals, Pompeii, Leaning Tower of Pisa

Cities I’ve Explored: Rome, Florence, Venice

My Thoughts: Oh Italy… a trip special to my heart for a few reasons. Firstly, because I convinced my Dad to come visit me across the world and we traveled Italy and Spain together over a two week period, and secondly, because that was his first time ever leaving the United States and I wanted to make it so special for him. We packed three cities into the week that we spent there!

We traveled city to city by train. The train stations were easily accessible, the ride itself had beautiful scenery, the seats were comfortable, I mean it was a joy as far as traveling city to city goes. We went from Rome, to Florence, over to Venice, and then took a plane back to Spain.

One of my favorite things about Rome was just that there seemed to be an endless amount of activities available. I mean the city is massive, with over 2 million residents, and it definitely feels that way. There was so much energy and excitement around every corner. We stayed there 4 days but I really think we could of stayed another 4 and it would have been nowhere near enough time. While the Roman Colosseum is the usual star of the show, I really think the Roman Forums across the street were far more special! I mean you can stand a few meters away from where the ashes of Julius Cesar were buried… need I go on? Let’s not forget the Trevi Fountain, an icon for us Lizzie McGuire fan girls back in the day. That monument is every bit as beautiful as it seems in the movies. My dad and I sat down and just observed its beauty for a solid 30 minutes. Although it’s a packed location, it felt so calm and peaceful at the same time. Definitely watch out for the scammers who are giving you ‘free’ bracelets and roses and then once you take it ask for money… just don’t take it and definitely don’t be afraid to be a bit aggressive about your ‘no’ because when you turn to walk off without taking the item, they’ll start yelling and screaming you stole from them anyways.

Rome was an all around amazing city as far as being a ‘tourist’ city, but it didn’t give me that authentic Italian way of life to be honest. No, the city for that is Florence. Frankly, it’s not my favorite city of all time. I felt like it was too mundane in it’s energy and I didn’t think there was that much to do. Still absolutely beautiful, but just didn’t wow me as much. Maybe my mistake was going after a city like Rome… However it’s still lovely and we actually rented bikes to ride around! You can pretty much ride around the main parts of the city in a few hours and it was such a fun way to see the different views. We watched the sunset from the river and of course rode up to the famous Piazzale Michelangelo lookout point over the city. For me, the star of this show is Michelangelo’s statue of David. You don’t have to be into art to be thoroughly impressed by this masterpiece. Standing 5.17 m (or 16.9 ft) tall, you will be memorized by the detail of such a large piece of marble. Pictures truly do it no justice and in the time crunch that we were in to catch our next train, we actually ended up sitting and admiring this one piece for the full 30 minutes we had available.

Off to Venice we went and the best piece of advice I can give to anyone going is to not stay more than two days/one night. Truly, 24 hours is all you need. I was told this after booking our two night stay but I really found it to be true and now recommend it to you all! It’s a city on water… while it’s beautiful there is only so much you can do. Make a list of the few attractions you want to see and I guarantee you can get to them all in a few hours. Now if you’re looking for a laid back, relax and do nothing kind of trip – then this city might be perfect for you! It’s not that it wasn’t captivating, it’s just that options are so limited for tourists. Also I do not suggest paying 80 euros for a gondola ride. That ish is a rip off and you can walk next to the water of anywhere that they might take you. Spend that money getting dinner with a view or put it towards your Airbnb because they are expensive out there.

Check out my photo album here!

adventure awaits

Basilica Papale di Santa Maria Maggiore, Rome, Italy

Portugal

Location: Portugal is a southern European country that is on the Iberian Peninsula! It’s coastline goes along the Atlantic Ocean and Spain is the only country to have a border with Portugal.

Cost: Around 100€ ($108) per day, per person.

Currency: Euro ($1 ≈ 0.92€)

Official Language: Portuguese

Top Attractions: Jerónimos Monastery, Lisbon Oceanarium,

Cities I’ve Explored: Albufeira, Cabo San Vicente, Sagres, Lagos, Lisbon, Sintra National Palace, Belém Tower

My Thoughts: I went to Portugal at a point in time where I wasn’t sober very often so I’m not sure that my experience would have been the same if the alcohol levels in my body were different… because I had a GREAT time in Portugal. Up to this point in my life, the beaches are still the most beautiful beaches I have ever seen (I think Croatia will win once I experience those!) and I have very fond memories of my time there!

The first time I went was with a travel group called “We Love Spain”. During this time I was studying abroad in Spain so all the 30+ people on the trip were also young students like myself! I wouldn’t say it was so different from any other beach city, I mean that’s what it was! But it was wonderful. The weather was good, the water warm, the beer cold – I mean no complaints over here.

The second time I was in Portugal was with my mom when she came over to visit! We went to Lisbon together and I think weather just played a huge role for me and my disappointments. It was really gloomy and dark the whole time we were there and this is the thing I’ve found about a lot of cities I’ve seen – when it’s nice weather you look at the run-down buildings and think about how long they’ve been standing there and the people that have walked through them, built them, designed them, etc. When it’s poor weather you look at a run down building and see a run-down city.  That’s how I felt about Lisbon unfortunately. Of course I had an amazing time with my mom but the city itself didn’t knock me off my feet. I know it’s quite popular so I think the sunshine must really make a difference!

Important piece of advice – if you’re in Lisbon and want to see the Sintra National Palace, PLEASE make sure it’s good weather… on good days the palace view is absolutely incredible. We took the trip up to it and couldn’t see 1 meter past the edge lol it was soooooo foggy up there we were cracking up at how silly it was for us not to check! Well… lesson learned.

Check out my photo album here!

adventure awaits

Albufeira, Portugal

Romania

Location: Romania is located in southeastern Europe! It has borders with Serbia, Bulgaria, Hungary, Moldova & Ukraine. It also has coastline with the Black Sea.

Cost: Around 308 lei ($69) per day, per person.

Currency: Romanian Leu ($1 ≈ 4.44 lei )

Official Language: Romanian

Top Attractions: Bran Castle, Sighisoara Historic Center, Palace of Parliament, Peles Castle

Cities I’ve Explored: Timișoara

My Thoughts: Timisoara reminded me a lot of the city that I currently live in, Novi Sad. It’s a few hours drive from me so we went up to get away for a weekend earlier this year! One of the really cool things about it was that parking for foreigners is free. Nobody really thinks about parking as an expense but really, if you go on a two week trip and add up all the parking you paid for, I’d be shocked if you were looking at anything less than 150 eur. Parking around large European cities tends to be about 20 eur a day from what I’ve seen, so to have a city that goes about tourism a different way was really appreciated.

To me personally, this wasn’t a city where I could spend more than a weekend. While it was a relaxing getaway, I didn’t get the sense that their was that much to do there. Of course there are your standard museums or churches, but the city center wasn’t screaming “I’m alive!” to me like so many others do. For me it was a great destination because it’s close to home, cheap to visit, and just a change in scenery – but if I traveled out of my way to see Timisoara I think I would have been a bit disappointed.

Regarding the cultural presence of the city, it was part of the Austrian-Hungarian empire and that really showed in it’s architecture, different churches, and all around vibe. It’s always been a progressive city in history and that really shows through. It was actually the first European city to have electric lights on the streets and one of the first to have trams as well! I had no idea about it’s history before visiting and if you don’t have a walking history book of a boyfriend like I do, then I definitely advise looking it up. Romania is in the EU so that helps a lot with the funding modern day, but they had more basic things that other countries in the region don’t, like Uber and Starbucks. The Airbnb was also even a more modern system with almost every one having electric locks with codes so no contact with the owner was necessary. There is also no smoking inside any public places (part of being in the EU) and in the grocery store we went to they scan all of your items and then give you a receipt to go self-pay by the exit so they can keep the lines moving.

Romanian sounds very similar to Italian, which pretty much makes sense when you consider the history there but I didn’t put two and two together so I was pleasantly surprised! It was very refreshing from the more harsh Slavic language I’m used to hearing! Also, I heard from an Italian friend that she can speak to them and they understand, whether they can respond back in Italian or not and I’m always so fascinated by how that’s possible with so many language combinations.

All in all the city is beautiful and a lot of renovating was going on to the buildings while we were there. I can only image how it looks now that it’s summer and they’re done. The tourist season has begun and the fact that we went in February I’m sure played a huge part in how ‘lively’ the city was.

Check out my photo album here!

adventure awaits

Timisoara, Romania

Serbia

Location: Serbia is a landlocked country in Southeast Europe. Serbia shares borders with Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Hungary, North Macedonia, Montenegro, Romania & Albania through the disputed territory of Kosovo.

Cost: Around 2,204 rsd ($20) per day, per person.

Currency: Serbian Dinar ($1 ≈ 107.80 rsd)

Official Language: Serbian

Top Attractions: Church of St. Sava, Uvac Canyon, Golubac Fortress, Petrovaradin Fortress

Cities I’ve Explored: Novi Sad, Belgrade, Tara National Park, Perućac, Bajina Bašta, Užice, Golubac, Lisine, Despotovac, Breznica, Jelovac, Zrenjanin, Niš, Leskovac

My Thoughts: It’s so different to talk about a country when you’re living in it versus just visiting. Serbia and Spain (up next) have just stolen my heart in so many different ways. I’ve been to cities all over each of them so my thoughts are more general and less specific like the other countries I’m writing about that I just visited for a few days. If you’re more interested in the way of life in Serbia or in ways Serbia has changed me, then you can read about those in my other blogs.

The one word that I always use when describing Serbia to friends or family is ‘unbothered’. For a country that has been through multiple wars and periods of unrest, it’s amazing to see the way the people have come together to choose love and happiness. Especially when just over 20 years ago they were in a period of bombings. I linked my blog on the 1999 NATO bombing if you’re interested! Basically, the country as a whole is just so under-rated and it’s made my heart happy to see the Balkan region steadily increase more and more as a popular tourist destination.

Belgrade is the capital of Serbia and honestly it’s not my jam. So many people who have been are going to read this and be like “HOW?!” but it really just reminded me of San Francisco in a lot of ways. Not that I don’t like SF, but I travel to experience new places so it was kind of more of the same if that makes sense? You cross a bridge to get into it, the people are a bit more cold, the traffic is absolutely ridiculous, it’s population is flooded, there’s a lot of tourists, it’s expensive and everything is just more hectic. I’ve never been there for the nightlife but I do hear it’s great and I’d be willing to give it a shot!

Other things I love about Serbia is how cheap it is to be a tourist here. It would cost you and one other person about $40 to get a few drinks, an appetizer, main dish, and dessert… EACH. Of course that’s great for the people who come in to take a vacation but keep in mind that the countries minimum salary required is around $330 a month. When you have a family and maybe only one parent working, you can see that there are problems here for the people.

Another thing I love is the nature here… I didn’t know that it held so much beauty but truly, Tara National Park gave views that no photo could capture. It’s probably the most beautiful place I’ve been while living in Serbia and I’d really like to make another trip south to do the white water rafting and zip lining that it offers! The thing about traveling Serbia is that it’s really hard to get to all these great places without a car. Buses or trains have their routes that are best for going city to city, but to see the really splendid displays of nature, you need to be able to get off the main road and take a detour!

Check out my photo album here!

adventure awaits

Along the Danube River, Novi Sad, Serbia

Spain

Location: Spain is located in Southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula. It has borders with Portugal, France, Andorra, Morocco and the UK (Gibraltar Territory). Spain borders Morocco due to two exclaves called Ceuta and Melilla on the Moroccan Mediterranean coast. The UK overseas territory of Gibraltar sits near the southern tip of the Iberian peninsula, giving the UK a less than 1 km border with mainland Spain.

Cost: Around 112€ ($121) per day, per person.

Currency: Euro ($1 ≈ 0.92€)

Official Language: Spanish – Castilian dialect (there are 4 dialects spoken across the country – CastilianCatalanGalician and Basque)

Top Attractions: The Alhambra and Generalife Gardens, La Sagrada Familia, Mezquita, the Prado Museum

Cities I’ve Explored: Jaén, Torrox, Málaga, Nerja, Baeza, Úbeda, Cazorla, Sevilla, Granada, Salobreña, Cádiz, Córdoba, Ronda, Madrid, Barcelona

My Thoughts: Spain is so vastly different depending on whether you’re in the north, south, east or west. I mean each region just has it’s own way of life, dialect of language, climate, scenery, all of it! The only region I wasn’t able to go to was the north, which is a bummer because it’s supposedly gorgeous and has won multiple awards for being so lush and green.

The Spanish culture is one that makes you feel alive no matter where you are. The elderly seem to never get old, still out at the bars late, heading over to the clubs, I mean these people don’t quit!

I lived in southern Spain so most of my traveling was done in the lower portion of the country! But no matter where you are, the Spanish way of life is the same. This is just a country that knows how to work hard and relax at the same time – “minimal effort, maximum satisfaction”. They have something called ‘la siesta’ where literally everyday between the afternoon hours of around 2-5 pm everything closes… I mean everything. Even some ATMs wouldn’t be working! While I often heard comments from those back home about how it’s ‘laziness’ or ‘they don’t get anything done’ I just brushed it off because until you experience a culture for yourself, you’ll never really know. My understanding about la siesta was that it was purposefully created during the hottest hours of the day. Those working outside in the fields or elsewhere would be able to go home, eat with their family, take a break and nap, and then go back out from 5 -8 pm to wrap up. They’re not working less, just differently.

Out of all the cities I explored in Spain I’d have to say that Seville really stole my heart. Everything about the city was just memorizing and whether you were in the shopping center, the Fine Arts museum, the Plaza de España or having wine on the rooftop of Las Setas overlooking all of Seville, you really can’t go wrong. I rarely like to visit the same city twice (just personal preference) but I actually ended up in Seville I think four times by the end of my time there.

To be honest there wasn’t a single city listed above that I didn’t like. Every city in Spain was so beautiful and fun in it’s own way and I was just so happy to be on my own exploring for the first time in my life that I truly made the best of every moment. I would caution you to be careful with taxi drivers because they might try to overcharge you or take a longer route when they realize you aren’t from there, but that’s really manageable and it’s never ridiculous – maybe an extra few euros.

Lastly, The Alhambra and Generalife Gardens are located in Granada and it’s actually one of the wonders of the world! Originally constructed in AD 889 on the remains of Roman fortifications, you are literally walking through the halls of a place that has experienced more history than I think comprehend-able…

Check out my photo album here!

adventure awaits

La Plaza de España, Seville, Spain

Well there you have it!! Of course my thoughts go far beyond the little snippets I wrote but I tried to keep them short(er) and what really stood out as important to me. I really do love sharing travel stories, discussing tips, and anything else in between so never hesitate to reach out to me in any form – especially if you want to know more!

THANKS. CHAT SOON!