With the New Year just around the corner, I thought I’d share with you some of my favourite places to visit in Europe. From urban cities to undiscovered gems, there’s something for everyone to do in these five fab destinations, and no, the weather won’t stop you!
I have always loved travelling and exploring new places, so when my boyfriend and I went interrailling last October, you can imagine I was really in my element. I love how no two places are the same and I love the fact that with new places comes new memories.
So, without further ado, let’s get started on my top five European destinations you should add to your travel list in 2020…
1. BRUGES, BELGIUM:
Our first interrailing stop in Europe was Bruges so it only feels right to start off with this beautiful city. There is something about Bruges’ part history, part fairy-tale nature that will make you want to stay in this popular tourist spot for a long, long time. You really won’t find it hard to fill up your days. Take some time to discover the charming canals that weave in and out of the centre as you make your way to one of the many famous chocolatiers. ‘The Old Chocolate House‘ is definitely not one to miss, and neither is their velvety hot chocolate. If you’re there on the weekend, visit the Saturday market to see everything from plants to food to ducks, and then why not head down to ‘De Halve Maan‘ brewery to discover the process behind one of Bruges’ most famous beers – a perfect, affordable activity to do as a couple or with a group of friends! There are so many different places to stay in Bruges and so many lovely restaurants all for a range of prices so there’s definitely something for everyone, regardless of your price range. Bruges definitely won’t disappoint.
2. BORDEAUX, FRANCE:
I actually can’t think of a better pair of words to use to describe Bordeaux other than simply wonderful. I can assure that you will be left in complete awe after being there only a few days. There is so much to do in this stunning city, from cycling down the impressive riverbank in the day to eating some of the best French cuisine at night. You must visit the ‘Palais de la Bourse‘ where you will find the ‘Miroir D’eau‘ which is a water mirror created by the fountains in the pavement and reflects the elegant lit up city every night. Bordeaux is really one of a kind and I’m sure its effortless charm will make you want to go back year upon year, as it definitely has with me.
3. LJUBLJANA AND LAKE BLED, SLOVENIA:
Okay, so I think this one is my favourite of them all. Visiting Lake Bled was at the top of my bucket list before going interrailling and it definitely lived up to its expectations and more! You may not have really given Slovenia much of a thought when planning trips away in the past but honestly, you really should from now on. Not only does it feel like one of the safest countries in the world, almost everyone there can speak fluent English meaning there are no barriers. They are also up there with some of the friendliest people I have ever met as they are so welcoming and attentive towards tourists of all nationalities. Ljubljana is the capital city of Slovenia, however, it feels more like a big town. There are several parks spotted around the centre of Ljubljana, giving the city a very relaxed feel. You can shop, chill out and explore different museums in the city – the ‘House of Illusions‘ was actually very fun and amusing and a great way to spend time if it’s raining outside. Lake Bled is under an hours drive away from Ljubljana so it would be silly not to visit this romantic Alpine retreat on your visit. You can hire rowing boats from around the lake and row into the island in the middle; this was definitely one of my favourite memories of our trip as it was the perfect ending to a peaceful day in one of the most beautiful and graceful locations on this Earth.
4. BUDAPEST, HUNGARY:
Last year was my first time visiting Budapest. It’s a fun-filled city with a really lively nightlife. However, you do have to be careful where you stay as some neighbourhoods/districts are nicer and a lot safer than others. It’s such a perfect city to visit at any time of the year – the flights are very reasonable and it is very easy to navigate your way through the city on foot. Also, in terms of cost of living and eating out it is very cheap! You get a lot for your money which is always good and means you’ll have more to spend in the well-known ruin bars. The ‘Széchenyi Thermal Baths‘ were definitely a highlight, just make sure you remember your flip flops (as we didn’t!).
5. AMSTERDAM, THE NETHERLANDS:
Last but definitely not least… It is no surprise that the famous Dutch capital has made it on my list of must-see cities. In fact, I will be very surprised if there is anyone reading this who hasn’t already been to this fabulous city at least once in their life! My Auntie and cousins actually live over in Holland so I have visited the country many times. Despite this, the country always offers new experiences whenever I visit. I have always said if I had to live somewhere other than England it would be Holland as the Dutch are so friendly and the way of life over there is super chilled-out. If Amsterdam makes it on your list for 2020, make sure you visit ‘Greenwoods Singel‘, which is only a ten minute walk from the centre, for a brilliant banana bread and white chocolate mascarpone breakfast – it is to die for! The Ice Bar is also such a fun experience to do and something a little bit different to your average evening. Finish your trip by visiting the observational deck at the ‘A’DAM Lookout’ and experience a hair-raising, but thrilling, moment on Europe’s Highest Swing – you really won’t regret it!
Anyway, that wraps up my top five picks for where to visit in 2020. I can guarantee you won’t get bored in any of these places as they all have so much to do and see. Just make sure you do your research and then get booking! Go on, treat yourself!