I recently wrote posts about some European destinations that I think you should visit when you are young and some that you may appreciate more with age or experience. So it only makes sense to write one more post to round out the series about the places I’ve gone that I feel are the most timeless.
- Berlin – there is this one quote that I love so much about Berlin. It goes: “Paris is always Paris but Berlin is always becoming Berlin.” I feel like this quote digs into the absolute core of why everyone can appreciate Berlin. It’s a city which has so many different cultural scenes. Take art, for example. Berlin is home to one of the most magnificent Classical art collections in the world in the Neues Museum and the Alte Nationalgalerie. But it also has a magnificent modern art gallery scene. Plus there’s the incredible street art that Berlin is famous for. It’s incredible. You could do the same breakdown for music or food or architecture. There is plenty of history to explore and even though it’s a huge city – it’s not cumbersome. Berlin is one of those places that has something for everyone.
- Croatia – Ah, Croatia. Land that almost stole my heart. Croatia has been on the up and up in the last 10 years. Partially because of Game of Thrones shooting in Dubrovnik. Partially because of how instagram-able the natural parks are. Croatia is wonderful in that it has some terrific cities, exquisite nature and unique culture. It has lovely, pebbley beaches all up and down its 1,100 miles of coast which includes some 1000 islands (that’s really impressive when you write it out). I feel like it has the kind of classic beauty that can appeal to me now and me in 50 years.
- The Basque Country – I think I audibly sigh whenever I even think about the Basque Country. While most of it lies within Northern Spain, it stretches into the Atlantic Coast of France with some truly lovely additions. From the largest city, Bilbao which houses the Guggenheim Museum, to one of the most beautiful cities I’ve ever been to, San Sebastian, to the quaintest fishing town you could dream of, in Saint Jean de Luz – it’s just stunning. While picking an entire region seems a little bit like cheating – it’s just has so much incredible culture, nature, sport. Surfers flock to this region for it’s lovely coast and foodies come for the amazing Pincho culture. In Spain you can get a chance to hear the fascinating Basque language as well. It’s beauty and charm are timeless and anyone who goes will surely be dying for a trip back.
- Porto – Porto was honestly such a surprise to me. I booked a ticket there for Easter this year and was taken aback by how much I enjoyed it. It sort of reminds me of a Portuguese version of Edinburgh – with it’s tall hills and (admittedly much larger) river valley. The amazing thing about Porto is that it’s reasonably priced so anyone young or old could afford it but it’s diverse and dynamic as a city. There are traditional Port cellars on one side of the river and swanky cocktail lounges on the other side. I know that I will love visiting for years to come.
- Vienna – Vienna is one of the most visually beautiful cities I’ve ever been in. It’s hard to find a genuinely ugly area. It’s absolutely bursting with incredible sights, festivals and museums in the summer. I particularly love the Hofburg and Kaisers Apartments because they lead you through the fascinating life of Empress Elisabeth. Vienna is a city of Classical Music but there are plenty of more alternative scenes as well to be found. Then there’s the coffee which is world famous. And the Reisenrad – Vienna’s famous antique ferris wheel. It’s just one of those cities that the more you look, the more there is. There’s never a dull moment in Vienna and it’s a place that I never stop enjoying – no matter how many times I visit.
- Iceland – Iceland is one of the most recent travel crazes. There are plenty of good reasons for that. It’s only about 3 hours from mainland Europe and 5 from the States or Canada. IcelandAir started running free week long stop overs maybe 6 years ago and they have been extremely successful. Then there’s the fact that Iceland is completely volcanic island formed from the tectonic plate divide. Because of this, there are many famous natural wonders to delight in. The long winter with little light ensures a short growing season so the landscape is otherworldly. Then there’s the natural geothermic heated baths like the Blue Lagoon. While the actual pool is man-made, the water and algea that live in it are frankly medicinal. In the winter there’s the Aurora Borealis and in the summer the puffins are nearby. Here’s the thing – there’s no age limit to marvel at nature. That’s why Iceland is so popular. It’s a place that you can’t help but be humbled by our amazing planet.
- Stockholm – When I went to Stockholm, I got a lot of Paris vibes from it’s grand buildings. Stockholm is so much more than that. Situated on an archipelago begging to be explored – there is really something for everyone. There’s stunning nature that you can hike, kayak, swim and otherwise explore. The city itself is stunning – with the island of Gamla Stan full of twisting cobbled streets and the avenues of Ostermalm ripe for a summer stroll. Plus there’s the Abba Museum (fun for all ages – I promise) and the Vasa Museum ready for kids to explore the previously sunken ship. It’s just fascinating
So there you have it – the places that just keep giving, no matter your age. As I’ve gotten older, my travel style is a different from when I was young an full of energy. I know my limits, what I like and how much I should expect to spend. But destinations, they stay pretty consistent.
Where are some of your favorite places to visit? Let me know in the comments below.