This is the second post in my European destination series. I also will be writing 7 Timeless destinations which will be posted soon! There are tons of places that I think are a young backpackers paradise. They can be cheap or walkable or party cities. This list is not that. These are the cities that I think you need more age or experience to enjoy. Overall, all of these destinations are significantly more expensive than my average backpacking budget. Just because they make this list doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy them. On the contrary, I just wish I waited to explore them. So let’s jump right in to the 7 European Destinations that are better with age or experience.
- Norway – Norway is stunning. There’s no doubt about it. With it’s graceful cities and spectacular nature. The fjords are unbelievable. The nature is breathtaking. So what’s my hold up? I have the same problem with Norway as a few places on this list. It is so expensive. Like a basic cheeseburger at McDonalds is like $5. A pizza is like $40. Visiting museums wasn’t terrible but going on a tour of a fjord was wildly pricey. One night in a pension in Oslo was like $60. Scandinavia in general is expensive but Norway really takes the cake. I suggest waiting a little bit until you can afford to have the lifechanging experience that this destination demands.
- London – Like many places on this list, London is expensive. However, it made it on this list for a different reason. When I first went to London, I did all the basics sites. I didn’t have the knowledge that I do now that all the public museums are free. Plus, there’s so much tucked away in London. I think London is a place better seen with lots of knowledge and context. Next time I go, I’m definitely going to branch out from Central London and explore some places that I’ve read about in literature.
- Ireland – Ireland is just one of those places that I think can give you a ton of inner peace. Sure – the Irish can drink. But once you get into the technicolor green countryside, it’s just a place for reflection. I may be biased, since this is a place I went with my parents. We had a blast – driving from place to place. I think there’s just something so Tolkien about this country that you can appreciate with a little age. I’m going to go back one of these days – but I’m not in a rush.
- Madrid – there’s just something about Madrid. It’s a little bit more Classic than the rest of Spain. Maybe I’m thinking about the Prado and it’s expansive art collection. Maybe it’s the neaoclassical buildings spattered around the city. The first time I went to Madrd, I was not a fan. However, in the past year I’ve spent more and more time there for my program. I definitely am growing to like it. Part of the reason is that I’m moving past the party scene and instead seeing the graceful charm of the outer neighborhoods. I think Madrid is a city that the more you see of, the more you enjoy it. That’s why I put it on this list – I think you need to keep going back to fully appreciate it.
- Rome – I feel like this is another one that I can just say “expensive” and move on. It’s more than that, I think it’s better to go when you have more time to explore everything. I think as you get older, you’re a little more likely to slow down and do a city justice. I am a Classics major – obviously I wanted to go to Rome as soon as possible. However, as an inexperienced traveler, I don’t think I did this tremendous city any justice the first time I went. Sure – I saw some of the places I studied. But I don’t think I got a feeling for the overall story of Rome – from then to now. I think if I have more time and money, I will delve more into the complete picture of Rome.
- Switzerland – Switzerland is much like Norway. You have the Alps. You have gorgeous lakes. The cities are charming. The trains are on time. But shit – it’s expensive. One day, when I am not poor, I want to go and rent a chalet to hike and explore the country fully.
- Brussels – Lastly, the Capital of Europe. Brussels is a dynamic city. It’s full of foreigners. I just think it’s really hard to have an immersive experience in Brussels as a backpacker. Since its a diplomats city, like every other destination on this list, it’s expensive. Plus the average age of people around seems to be older. I think I was too young to get to know a lot of home-towners. I would say – wait a bit and then maybe you can find a bar or two for young professionals.
So there we have it – my 7 European destinations that my overall advice on is: wait. I would be interested to see if anyone has had similar or different experiences to me in these cities. Definitely let me know below in the comments.