European Destinations

About My Trips to Europe

Europe stole my heart with its charming cities and epic adventures! From iconic landmarks like the Colosseum in Rome and St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City, to breathtaking scenery – Iceland’s glaciers and Croatia’s snow-covered Plitvice Lakes – I explored it all. Winter wonderlands in Croatia and Norway were magical escapes, while historic cities whispered tales of the past.

Each place offered something special: Amsterdam’s artistic vibe, Barcelona’s energy, and Munich’s blend of cultural immersion and unexpected delights, like surfers riding the Eisbach River! Even detours became adventures, like my whirlwind tour of Copenhagen during a layover.

From the gondolas in Venice to the funicular up Salzburg’s Hohensalzburg Fortress, Europe’s history unfolded around every corner. I marveled at Sagrada Familia’s unique design in Barcelona, conquered the thrilling Charles Kuonen Suspension Bridge in Switzerland, and even climbed the Warsaw Observation Tower for a breathtaking view. Andorra’s unique mix of charm, tax-free shopping, and mountain beauty left me wanting to explore more. This continent truly surprised me at every turn, leaving me with a collection of unforgettable memories.

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Nestled in the Pyrenees, Andorra surprised me with its charm in just two days. Exploring the capital, Andorra La Vella, I marveled at the Dali clock statue and the giant, church-like Caldea Thermal Spa. As a tax haven, shopping is king, and I wandered the pedestrian-only Meritxell Avenue, browsing stores overflowing with everything from clothing to electronics.

Though a thunderstorm thwarted my mountain hike, a delicious restaurant with cook-your-own steak saved the day. Andorra’s unique blend of history, tax-free shopping, and scenic beauty left me wanting more.

Salzburg, Mozart’s birthplace, enchanted me with its charm. Despite cloudy skies, I strolled across the scenic Makartsteg Bridge and wandered the colorful Old Town, marveling at the majestic cathedral and imposing fortress. While museums were skipped due to time constraints, getting lost amidst the aroma of fresh pastries and the watchful gaze of the Clock Tower was a delightful reward. 

My exploration extended to the mighty Hohensalzburg Fortress, where I ascended by funicular and delved into its history, including the opulent Golden Hall and the fascinating Salzburg Bull. The city’s festive spirit truly came alive at the Christmas Markets, a captivating experience filled with decorations, delicious treats, and carols.

Croatia in December offered a winter wonderland escape. Wandering the historic streets of Dubrovnik and Split felt like stepping back in time, with towering fortresses whispering tales of the past. Craving a snowy escape, Plitvice Lakes National Park awaited with cascading waterfalls framed by snow-covered trees, offering a peaceful serenity unlike the usual summer crowds. 

Finally, Zagreb pulsated with vibrant energy for New Year’s, the perfect way to ring in the new year.

France’s charm cast a spell on me. Paris, the City of Lights, lived up to its reputation with iconic landmarks like the Eiffel Tower and Louvre whispering tales of history. The opulent Palace of Versailles transported me to a bygone era. 
Beyond the bustling city, the French Riviera offered a contrasting experience. Nice’s relaxed pace was perfect for strolling along the Promenade des Anglais, while Monte Carlo’s glitz and glamour provided a peek into a world of luxury. France’s diverse experiences make it a country that I will hopefully return to many times.

Munich offered more than just cultural immersion and grand architecture. Exploring the English Garden, I stumbled upon surfers riding waves on the Eisbach River, a man-made marvel showcasing the city’s innovative spirit. Beyond these unexpected discoveries, Munich’s heart lies in its Marienplatz, the central square that boasts architectural gems like the New Town Hall and Frauenkirche, testaments to the city’s rich history.

Italy charmed me city by city. In Rome, the iconic Colosseum whispered stories of gladiators, while Ostia Antica’s ruins offered a glimpse into daily Roman life. Vatican City’s St. Peter’s Basilica left me speechless. Years later, Venice’s canals stole my heart. 

I stayed at the Hotel Nani Mocenigo Palace and navigated the city by gondola, vaporetto, and traghetto. Stepping into the legendary Teatro La Fenice was like entering a time capsule, and St. Mark’s Square pulsed with the city’s vibrant energy. From Rome’s grandeur to Venice’s charm, Italy offers something unforgettable for every traveler.

Iceland’s magic unfolded perfectly. The Blue Lagoon soothed me after my flight, setting the tone for an unforgettable adventure. Exploring the Golden Circle, I marveled at Þingvellir National Park’s rift valley and Geysir’s geothermal wonders. Conquering Hallgrímskirkja Church’s observation deck rewarded me with panoramic city views.

 Venturing out, a South Coast tour ticked all the boxes: climbing the ever-changing Sólheimajokull Glacier, refreshing glacial water, and the power of Skógafoss and Seljalandsfoss waterfalls. This nine-hour adventure, packed with stunning scenery and unforgettable experiences, perfectly balanced relaxation, exploration, and adventure. Iceland exceeded expectations on every level.

Liechtenstein in five hours? Easy! My whirlwind tour charmed me. In Vaduz, I grabbed a bite in the Central Plaza before a scenic walk to the Red House. The climb offered stunning views, and a taste of Liechtenstein’s beauty. 
With Vaduz Castle closed, I opted for a different vantage point, a rewarding trek with panoramic vistas. I even snuck a peek inside the St.Florin Cathedral before strolling back to Switzerland across the iconic Old Rhine Bridge, the border literally under my feet.

Amsterdam’s charm surprised me. My budget-friendly trip began with a smooth arrival at Schiphol Airport and a comfortable stay near the airport at the CitizenM Hotel. Exploring the city was a delight, with hours spent wandering the charming canals, both on foot and by relaxing cruise. The renowned Museum Quarter, reached by canal boat for an extra touch of Dutch flair, offered a chance to delve into art at the famed Van Gogh Museum. 

Adding a brush of the unexpected, my second day brought a chance encounter with history as I witnessed the President of Argentina’s state visit alongside King Willem-Alexander. Canals, art, and a taste of history – Amsterdam truly impressed.

Tromsø, Norway, packed an unforgettable adventure into my trip. Easy flights whisked me there, and I hit the ground running with experiences like a breathtaking hike to the Fjellheisen Cable Car and a land-based fjord tour that showcased reindeer and colorful villages. Back in the city, I captured stunning cityscapes from the historic Tromsø Bridge. While the Northern Lights remained elusive, the vast night sky, the camaraderie of fellow aurora hunters, and the thrill of the chase made it a highlight anyway. 
Fueling my adventures was Tromsø’s diverse food scene, from the world’s northernmost Burger King to delicious deep-dish pizza. The vibrant main street, Storgata, offered colorful shops, cozy cafes, and even whimsical troll statues. Tromsø’s architectural gem, the Arctic Cathedral, with its modern design and stunning stained glass interior, was another surprise. From breathtaking scenery to cultural experiences and quirky encounters, Tromsø offers everything that makes travel special.

A long Warsaw layover turned into a delightful surprise! The compact Chopin Airport made catching my connection easy.After stashing my luggage at Central Station, I set off to explore the eminently walkable city. The lively cafes and restaurants lining the Vistula River were a perfect starting point. 

From there, I delved into the charming maze of colorful buildings that is Warsaw’s Old Town. Despite limited time, I conquered the Warsaw Observation Tower, rewarded with breathtaking panoramic views that maximized my short visit to Warsaw.

Barcelona charmed with its architectural magic and sporty spirit. I marveled at the Sagrada Familia’s unique design from every angle, even if a peek inside had to wait for next time. A sightseeing cruise provided a fantastic perspective of the city, showcasing the Sagrada Familia, Montjuïc Castle, and Barceloneta’s beaches along the Mediterranean. Plaça d’Espanya, a historic square from the 1929 World’s Fair, impressed with its Venetian Towers and Palau Nacional Palace. 

Although not a soccer fan, a visit to Camp Nou, the FC Barcelona stadium, was still a must. The €26 tour was well worth it, offering a glimpse into the Hall of Fame, the Olympic torch, the locker room, and even a chance to stand on the field itself. From breathtaking architecture to historical grandeur and a touch of sporty obsession, Barcelona truly has something for everyone.

An unexpected detour to Slovenia turned into a delightful discovery! Originally set for India, illness forced a change of plans, and Slovenia emerged as a fantastic last-minute choice. Despite knowing little beyond its former Yugoslavian ties, Slovenia quickly climbed the ranks to become one of my favorite destinations.

A week in this under-the-radar country allowed me to experience its charm. Ljubljana, the capital city, served as my hub for exploring the scenic coastal town of Piran, the captivating Lake Bled, and the majestic Postojna Cave. Slovenia’s efficient and affordable train network made getting around a breeze. Stay tuned for summaries and video highlights of my favorite Slovenian discoveries!

Unveiling Switzerland’s beauty is a breeze with the Swiss Rail Pass! This magical country beckons with charming cities like Bern and Lucerne. Adventure awaits as you conquer breathtaking peaks like Harder Kulm, Schynige Platte, and Jungfraujoch. Feeling bold? 

Hike across the thrilling Charles Kuonen Suspension Bridge. And the best part? The Swiss Rail Pass grants you unlimited train travel, making exploration seamless!

Stockholm’s charm unfolded on a luxurious SAS Business Class flight from Chicago. Exploring by foot, I fell for Gamla Stan’s cobblestone streets and unique shops. While the Royal Palace remained untoured, its grandeur along with the Parliament Building and Kungsträdgården’s serenity filled my history fix. 

The walk culminated in Strandvägen’s waterfront beauty and the Vasa Museum’s fascinating shipwreck story. Though Drottningholm Palace stayed closed, a scenic bus ride out of the city capped off a memorable trip.

Despite a rough start with long lines at Chicago O’Hare, my London trip soared thanks to an unexpected upgrade to Premium Economy on British Airways. I explored at my own pace, taking in iconic landmarks like Big Ben and Buckingham Palace during a scenic walk along the Thames. Breathtaking views from The Shard offered a unique perspective of the sprawling city. 

A self-guided tour of the British Museum focused on must-sees like the Rosetta Stone, while witnessing the Changing of the Guard ceremony added a touch of history and pageantry. My trip culminated in a unique “Song Service” at Westminster Abbey, a moving experience filled with beautiful choral music and steeped in tradition.

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My 7.5-hour layover in Copenhagen turned into a whirlwind tour of the city! I walked and used public transportation to see as much as possible. Starting with Nyhavn, the colorful waterfront district, I strolled across the Inderhavnsbroen Bridge for a unique perspective. Langelinie Park offered a chance to relax and see the Little Mermaid statue, while a glimpse of a float plane and windmills added a touch of surprise. In just a few hours, I got a taste of Copenhagen’s charm!
During a day trip to Monaco, I discovered the best way to get there is by train, but be sure to check the schedule beforehand! Since Monaco is so tiny, packing in all the sights in a day is totally doable. The must-sees include the iconic Monte Carlo Casino, the Royal Palace of Monaco, and the harbor, Port Hercule. Just be prepared for the crowds, especially if you’re visiting during the Formula One Grand Prix!

St. Peter’s Basilica was even more awe-inspiring than I’d imagined! The line to enter snaked around the square forever, but it was absolutely worth the wait. Stepping inside was like entering another world – the massive scale, the soaring dome, and the incredible sculptures and artwork everywhere overwhelmed me in the best way possible. Climbing the dome was an adventure in itself – I opted for the stairs (burning legs and all!), and the view from the top was unforgettable, showcasing sprawling Rome and the distant Italian countryside. If you’re in Rome, don’t miss the Vatican City’s St.Peter’s Basilica – it’s a stunning basilica brimming with history and art, but be prepared for the crowds!