Europe offers travelers a unique opportunity to travel with ease, from country to country, and discover an entirely new culture in doing so. All it takes is a train, a road trip, or even a day of cycling if that’s your cup of tea. Where you decide to go depends on your interests, what part of Europe you feel epitomizes the perfect European holiday, and if you’re already based in Europe, how far you’re willing to travel – or cycle.
Although it’s one of the smallest capitals in Europe, it’s also one of the greenest you could visit. In 2007, Ljubljana’s Mayor at the time introduced the ‘Vision for Ljubljana 2025’ to work towards a greener, more sustainable city which prioritized its people and the environment. Since then, the city center has been completely pedestrianized and in 2016 it was named the European Green Capital by the European Commission.
As you wander the historic streets, admiring the art nouveau architecture and the city’s penchant for dragons – don’t forget to take a selfie in front of them on the capital’s Dragon Bridge – you’ll find free fountains and a nearly litter-less capital city. Once you’ve finished sightseeing, take a page out of the local’s books and explore some of the 230km worth of cycling routes that begin in the heart of the city. Alternatively, follow the advice of worldoffemale.com and fill your days with other fun activities which won’t break the bank.
Whether it’s strolling along river banks, shopping, or eating your way around France that you’re after, this quaint northern French city has a little bit of something for everyone throughout the year. Your first stop should be the gothic Notre-Dame cathedral, built in the 13th century. Once you’ve had your fill of history, go for a coffee break and sample macaroons, or a Gâteau battu, a local delicacy.
If you’re on the hunt for something one of a kind, and well-loved, Amiens’ spring and autumn flea markets are beloved by visitors from across Europe. Expect crowds in April and October as tourists mill around the stalls on the lookout for a bargain. By the end of your trip, shopping bags in hand, if you’re struggling to find the will to leave the picturesque water channels in the past, why not look into your options? English Teaching Programs in France are a great way to stick around for an extra year or two. All that’s left to do is to dust off your high school French and learn to live like the locals.
Built thousands of years ago, this ancient city is the largest metropolis in Turkey, and home to a melting pot of cultures. Alongside Turkish and English, don’t be surprised to hear Kurdish, Arabic, German, French, Spanish, Russian, and even Italian as you make your way to the Grand Bazaar. Be sure to set aside an entire day to explore the world’s oldest and largest covered market, constructed in the 15th Century, and boasting over 4000 shops across the 30,700m² space.
For a cheaper day out, or post-shopping spree, don’t miss out on visiting the Blue Mosque, where entry is free. Aptly named for its striking, blue-tiled interior, the mosque dates back to the 1600s and is visited by almost 5 million people every year. To avoid the chaos of crowds, aim to visit between December and February, and remember to read up on the appropriate procedures you should follow when you plan on visiting any of Istanbul’s iconic mosques.
It’s hard to know where to start when heading to this UNESCO World Heritage Site, which spans 13 towns. What should go without saying is that, regardless of which town you find yourself in, the most important thing you need to do whilst there is to eat. In Cetara, a fishing village along the Amalfi Coast, try its specialty: the salted anchovy sauce. The sauce, itself, pays homage to the ancient garum fish sauce, which was used by Romans to flavor their dishes.
For a classic Amalfi Coast holiday, make your way to Positano where steep cliffside terraces offer stunning views of the Tyrrhenian Sea. If views aren’t enough, there are plenty of boat tours available, fit for any travel budget. For dinner, book a table at the family-run Osteria Le Tre Sorelle, to have your fill of fresh seafood. Having been around since the 1950s, this Osteria has the locals’ seal of approval, which is as good of a recommendation as any.
Despite being known as one of the more expensive countries in Europe, don’t let the cost put you off by visiting the natural beauty of this central Swiss city. Lucerne is a city for outdoor lovers, with promising panoramic views of the towering Rigi, Pilatus, and Stanserhorn mountains. Start your trip by finding out what all the fuss is about and take a ride on the world’s steepest cog railway, which has a maximum gradient of 48%. From Alpnachstad, which you can reach from Lucerne by boat, you’ll pass forests and rock faces until you reach Pilatus Kulm.
Once you’re back from your adventures in the mountains, wander and marvel at the medieval roots of the city, specifically the covered, wooden Chapel Bridge. Built in 1332, it stretches on for 200m from the New Town to the Old Town. Panels later added in the 17th century depict scenes of Swiss history, as well as that of the city, itself, so you can stroll and admire the Lucerne that once was, which continues to enrich what it is today.
Cost, activities, and languages aside, visiting these destinations will always be a deeply personal and individual experience. Much in the same way that no two people are the same, it’s impossible to expect one place or city to elicit the same reaction from every person. What these destinations have in common, however, is that despite this, people continue to flock to them. Why exactly that is, is for you to discover.