Top 20

Top 20 European Destinations

Manarola1

Out of all the continents, Europe is the one that I have travelled the most (living in Scotland helps!  What doesn’t help is the fact I have to take at least 2 planes to get anywhere…).  I’ve decided to make a list of my Top 20 European Destinations.  Some of these I’ve been to, some I’m desperate to visit but I hope you enjoy my list!

Just a head’s up, this list isn’t in order of how much I like the destinations, as they’re too amazing to put in order!

                                                                                                       20. Dubrovnik, Croatia                                                                            telegraph.co.uk

If you wanna pretend you’re in Game of Thrones (although, you’ll probably end up killed off like the rest of the characters…), then this is the destination for you!  Dubrovnik is a beautiful, old town, full of amazing history and museums.

Picture 02619. Saas-Fee, Switzerland

I need to go back here.  Saas-Fee is amazing for skiing.  Only electric cars are allowed in the town, which is full of cute buildings and amazing shops (and hot chocolate!)

                                                                                                                18. Monaco                                                                                              hotel-r.net

The world’s second smallest country (after the Vatican), Monaco is one of the glitziest places in the world and I badly want to visit it.  It’s very expensive, though!

                                                                                                          17. Barcelona, Spain                                                 timeout.com

I’m desperate to visit Barcelona and see the Sagrada Familia, get lost in the alleys, and enjoy everything Gaudi!

DSC_025216. Prague, Czech Republic

One of the most beautiful places I’ve visited, Prague is full of amazing architecture, history and everything is so cheap!  And you need to try a trdelnik – they’re so good!

                                                                                                      15. Amsterdam, Netherlands                                                           digital.fespa.com

Full of brilliant museums, Amsterdam is also famous for its biking, culture and history.

Edinburgh114. Edinburgh, Scotland

I lived here for 4 years, so Edinburgh will always have a special place in my heart.  Make sure you visit the many museums and the castle (and palace!).  And you must get lost in the small back streets! (The above photo is the street I lived on – isn’t it gorgeous?!)

                                                                                                       13. Budapest, Hungary                                                                            lvs.luxury

Budapest is probably up there for culture and architecture.  And I’ve heard it’s a good place to travel to if you’re on a budget.

DSC_073212. Verona, Italy

I love Verona.  It’s so small, cute, rustic and full of history – and it’s so easy to get away from the crowds as well!

                                                                                                     11. Cesky Krumlov, Czech Republic                                               czechtourism.com

Another small, cute town, Cesky Krumlov reminds me of The Grand Budapest Hotel (one of my favourite films!)

                                                                                                             10. Athens, Greece                                                                   lonelyplanet.com

I love anything to do with Ancient Greece, so what better place than Athens?

                                                                                                             9. Lisbon, Portugal                                                           worldwanderista.com

Lisbon is up there as one of the places I’m probably going to visit soon (fingers crossed!).  This beautiful city is full of amazing culture, great food, and gorgeous, tiny streets.

                                                                                                                8. Colmar, France                                                              thousandwonders.net

Probably the cutest town in France – how can you resist all of those gorgeous, brightly coloured houses!  And they’re next to a river!  Can’t go wrong there 🙂

                                                                                                             7. Ronda, Spain                                                                    malagatogo.com

I badly want to visit this cliffside village – imagine the views!  And the history of the place is amazing.

Picture 0046. Paris, France

The romantic City of Lights, there’s so much to do in Paris – amazing nightlife, culture and food, to name a few!

                                                                                                          5. Dordogne Region, France                                                       leseyzies-tourist.info

So many castles!  I need to go here!

                                                                                                         4. Santorini, Greece                                                                                   foundtheworld.com

You’ll recognise the pictures – the gorgeous, white buildings with blue roofs.  I’ve also heard the sunsets are amazing.

DSC_00053. Venice, Italy

I love Venice.  It’s so unique and unlike anywhere I’ve ever been before.  It’s impossible to walk over a bridge and not take a photo of the canals.

                                                                                                            2. Seville, Spain                                telegraph.co.uk

As well as the history and the amazing architecture, Seville is also famous for tapas, flamenco and sangria.

DSC_00681. Cinque Terre, Italy

Five gorgeous, small towns by the coast.  Hike or catch the train between each town.  Be prepared, though – there’s not a flat area anywhere.  It’s all hills or stairs.

Top 20 Things to do in Venice

Venice is definitely one of my favourite cities in the world.  It’s unlike any city I have ever visited and I need to go back (sooner rather than later!).  I still have so much left to explore – including the Lido – but I have compiled a list of my 20 favourite things to do in Venice (so far!)

Rialto (4)20. Wander along the Grand Canal

Every visitor to Venice needs to do this.  It’s not the quietest of areas but it’s stunning!

DSC_014719. Visit the Giudecca

This has to be the quietest area of Venice.  It’s the bit at the south of Venice, and there’s a super short boat ride required to reach there.  Admittedly, there’s not really anything to do here (it’s mainly residential and hotels – there’s a hideous Hilton hotel here.  Seriously, it does not fit in with Venice at all) but it’s a nice area to relax and get away from the crowds.

Gondola Ride (5) Edited18. Gondola Ride

This is sort of a ‘must-do’ thing in Venice.  Everyone knows about gondolas.  My recommendation would be to find as many people as the gondola will allow, as it is 80 Euro per gondola, not per person.  I went on a gondola with my Mum and we found an American family to share with – it saved us heaps!

IMG_113417. Bovolo Staircase

I wish this had been open when I went to visit but, alas, I had to make do with looking through the gates.  This staircase is gorgeous and surprisingly difficult to find (I think I wandered around the area for a good half hour before I found it – I was determined!)

Rialto (12)16. Ponte di Rialto

I’m glad I saw this the first time I visited Venice, as it was covered in scaffolding the second time I went!  Fortunately, this meant it wasn’t so busy, so I got a proper look at all of the little shops on the bridge – all the super expensive little shops!

San Barnaba15. San Barnaba

I know this as the Indiana Jones church.  It was featured in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (which made me happy) and now is home to a da Vinci museum (which made me even happier!)

San Marco (8)14. St Mark’s Square

Everyone who visits Venice has to visit St Mark’s Square at some point – even though it’s packed.  And, true to what I’d heard, there are a lot of pigeons (tourists in Venice seem to love pigeons – and seagulls – which baffles me.  Pigeons are so common in Scotland and seagulls are the spawn of Satan – I’m not even kidding…).

Ca d'oro (3)13. Ca D’oro

This is a stunning palace in Venice.  It got its name, as it used to have a lot of gilt all over its walls.  It’s a bit more subdued nowadays but the mosaic flooring at the entrance took my breath away.

DSC_089312. Have a Spritz

My favourite drink ever.  I fell in love with this drink the first time I visited Venice.  I have tried (and failed) to make it at home – I’ve tried all sorts of recipes (I even succumbed and bought one in Verona) but no Spritz can hold a candle to those in Venice.  Personally, I prefer Aperol to Campari, as it has a sweeter taste, but I wouldn’t say no to either!

DSC_061611. Isola di San Michele

This whole island is a cemetery and it’s completely unique to any cemetery that I’ve ever visited before.  There are graves in the walls, as well as tombs.  I think the thing that surprised me the most was that they even had ground burials, which I wouldn’t have thought they’d do, with the frequency that Venice floods.  Igor Stravinsky (the famous violinist) is buried here, too!

DSC_041510. St Mark’s Basilica

I didn’t go inside St Mark’s Basilica the first time around but I’m glad I went back and went in the second time.  The mosaics are super detailed!  I paid to to upstairs and around the outside, which was lovely as well – people had taken books up with them and were just chilling on the roof!  I wish I’d thought to take a book up with me but I wanted to explore Venice more!

DSC_03369. St Mark’s Campanile

This gives you an amazing view of Venice and the gorgeous orange rooftops – try and aim to be up there for the bells!  That was an amazing experience!

Palazzo Ducale (3)8. Doge’s Palace

I would definitely recommend splurging on the tour where you can visit everything – the palace is pretty and all, but I enjoyed seeing the prisons – and Casanova’s cell(s) – and going over the Bridge of Sighs more!

Venetian Masks7. Buy a Venetian Mask in Venice, some Murano glass in Murano, and some lace in Burano

Because I said so 🙂

IMG_11646. Visit Libreria Acqua Alta

The best bookshop in Venice, there are books everywhere.  I mean everywhere – they are in bathtubs, in gondolas, even staircases have been made out of books.  I love the fire escape as well.  It’s basically an arrow pointing out into the canal – I hope you can swim!

IMG_10865. Visit Paolo Olbi’s shop next to the Ca Foscari university

One of the true masters left in Venice, Paolo Olbi makes all of his work by hand.  Watch him make a notebook and definitely buy at least one (I may have bought three…) – the price is definitely worth it!

Venice4. Visit San Giorgio Maggiore and go up the belltower

I personally think that this is the best view of Venice.  You can pretty much see all of Venice from here – and it’s so quiet that you’re allowed to operate the lift to the top by yourself!

Murano Glass Museum3. Murano

Murano is similar to Venice but there are glass shops everywhere.  And not tacky glass shops – the work is beautiful!  I watched someone make a glass flower and I loved it so much that I got 20 Euro off the price, as the man was really pleased that I liked his work.  I’d also recommend visiting the glass museum and also gawk at the amazingly over-the-top chandeliers that are in pretty much every shop.

Leaning Campanile Burano2. Burano

Burano is my favourite of the islands.  It’s pretty small but the colours are amazing!  The lace museum and the leaning belltower are must-see’s (although you can’t actually go inside the tower).

DSC_03111. Get lost

What better way is there to see Venice?