I may be a backpacking newbie, but travelling itself is nothing new to me. I suppose I have my parents to thank for showing me the world is big and taking me to places like Italy or Austria since a very young age and waking up this wanderlust in me. Which of my all-time favourite travel destinations do I recommend?
First, a little background: I spent the first 19 years of my life living in the Czech Republic – a country right in the heart of Europe, making it super easy to travel around Europe. And so by the time I left for university, I’d probably seen more countries than most people get to see in a lifetime. (I’m really not here to brag but you need to understand it’s much more affordable and accessible to travel abroad as a European, compared to living in the US, for example.)
Outside of Europe, I’ve only been to a handful of places. New York City and Florida in America and Tunisia in Africa (but that one barely counts). And naturally, my next steps will be to continents I’ve never travelled to before: Asia and Australia.
But which of the visited destinations have I absolutely loved??
All of it. OK, this is a big one because as I mentioned above, it was a destination of many family holidays and a place I’ll always happily come back to. We’ve driven north to south several times, visited all the big cities and swam in all the seas. Italy is beautiful, the people are friendly, food is delicious and language a pleasure to listen to.
Tip: If you want to see the real Italy, not just the touristy parts, don’t be afraid to explore the very south, the Calabria region.
- Porto, Portugal
Porto was love at first sight. I don’t know if it was the breathtaking views everywhere you go, old buildings, iconic bridges, river Douro or beaches, Porto is simply one of the most beautiful cities I have ever been to. (Even though the weather isn’t amazing compared to sunny Lisbon. Come to think of it, Lisbon should be on this list too. Or all of Portugal, for that matter.)
The landscape is so flat you won’t get any views from above (which I always enjoy) but I was smitten anyway! It’s so green, with windmills, water canals and cows everywhere… Cycling around the country should be on your bucket list!
Slovenia may be a relatively small country but it offers everything you could ask for – mountains, lakes, cities, beaches. Bonus points if you’re staying in a forest cabin in the middle of nowhere with absolutely no phone reception, waking up to the sound of chirping birds and bubbling creek. (One of the best trips of my life!)
I still have to go and explore more of Switzerland but one thing I know for sure – you cannot NOT love it. What could be better than driving through the Alps with fairytale views all around you?
- Cornwall, England
Often considered the most beautiful part of England and it’s not hard to see why. Who’d have thought England could be so warm you need to apply sunscreen several times a day and have beaches where you can actually swim without freezing to death? Not to mention the seaside towns are the cutest!
- Helsinki, Finland
I’ve only been to Helsinki once for a short time but it was enough to make it to this list. I went in winter (yep, it’s cold!) and even though you don’t get as many hours of daylight as you may be used to, the sun stays low all day. What does it mean? Golden hour ALL DAY LONG! If you’ve ever taken photos just after sunrise or before sunset, you know what I’m talking about. Maybe I just got lucky as it was sunny the whole time and everything looked magical in the golden light, but it was one of the most beautiful things I’ve seen in my life.
London was my home for over six years so it barely counts as a travel destination anymore but it will forever remain my favourite city in the world. It has so much to offer, I wouldn’t even know where to begin. Let’s just say, if you’ve never been to London, go. Go now.
To be honest, I could go on and on because there are very few places I didn’t like… 😉
What’s the best place you’ve ever been to? Let me know your favourite destinations in the comments!