The Ultimate Bucket List When Traveling Europe

1.) Take a gondola ride in Venice, Italy

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Whether they chat with you in their beautiful accents, or sing to you the music of their culture, you are bound to feel like you’re in a movie.

2.) Swim in the Mediterranean in Positano, Italypositano

The view seems breathtaking in this picture, but I can assure you this does it no justice. This was by far my favorite place that I visited (besides my home city, Florence). With a stone beach and beautiful water, small shops and incredible Italian seafood, you are never going to want to leave. You can rent beach chairs and in some areas, if you pay a little extra, they will massage you right on the beach.

Spread my ashes in Positano!

3.) Ski in the Swiss Alps in Interlaken, Switzerlandimg_2511

I had skied a few times growing up when my family and I would go to local mountains nearby. I would typically practice on the bunny hill to remind myself each time, then head for the greens! Well let me just tell you–there are no bunny slopes in the Swiss Alps. That being said, if you love to ski, this is something you can not go abroad without experiencing. Plus, the view will without a doubt take your breath away!

4.) Visit Platform 9/3 at Kings Cross Station in London, EnglandProcessed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

Yes…..this actually does exist. For all of you wizards and Harry Potter fans out there, Hogwarts is waiting for you! They will take your picture and you have the option to buy it in the store next to the platform or you can take your own for free.

My childhood dreams actually came true!

5.) Tour the Atlas Mountains in Marrakech, Moroccoimg_4763img_4671img_4686

With an ATV that drove us through the mountains to multiple different destinations, it was one of the best cultural experiences and insights I gained while abroad. We made a few stops along the way: a Berber village where the women were making Argon oil, a Moroccan market, rode camels with an incredible view and saw many villages along the mountains. At the top, we were served a traditional Moroccan style meal with couscous, chicken Tajine, and a Moroccan soup. We were treated like royalty and witnessed breathtaking views and unforgettable, once in a lifetime experiences.

6.) Go to an Ice bar–anywhere! This one is in Rome, Italyimg_1479

Although ice bars are not just a European thing, I have never seen one quite like the one I saw in Rome. Everything was made of ice, the walls, bar, furniture and even the drinking glasses. It was cold, but we were brrrrrrrave! This was one of my favorite things we did while abroad.

7.) See Carnevale in Viareggio, ItalyProcessed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

Carnevale is a festival of the Italian culture known for their political floats and elaborate masks. They also have a Carnevale festival in Venice each year. It is a celebration for Italians and an experience that really helps gain insight into a part of their culture.

Leave a comment if you know why Italians celebrate Carnevale 🙂

8.) Late night eats in Budapest, Hungaryimg_3700

Okay. So, after a thermal bath party (which is basically a night club in one of Budapest’s world famous thermal baths), we found ourselves hungry in Hungary. At 4:00am we found a place that made gyros. With fresh ingredients, they even shaved the chicken off right before putting it into your food. I am not a fan of the gyros at my local state fair, but this was one of the best things I have ever eaten. There are many hidden gems open late at night in Budapest, and if you look hard enough you are bound to find both great food and an experience in itself!

9.) Walk across Abbey Road in London, EnglandProcessed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

The famous Abbey Road and Abbey Road Studios are only a short ride away on what Londoners call, “The Tube.” Bottom line–once you have a picture walking across Abbey Road, you’ve peaked.

10.) Take a boat tour into the Blue Grotto in Capri, Italy6

The Blue Grotto is one of the seven wonders of the world, as you can see why from the picture. The light that comes in through the tunnel reflects off of the water giving it a blue, glowing effect. While you’re in there, all of the boat guides sing songs of their culture in Italian. Between the glowing blue water and the beautiful sounds of Italian song, the Blue Grotto is something that you can only understand when experiencing it first hand.

11.) Shop the market in the Old City of Marrakech, Morocco Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

The Old City is surrounded by a wall and kept separate from what the locals call the New City which is much more modernized. There are many things in the Old City that will make your trip much more worth it, though. It is filled with traditional Moroccan restaurants and their huge market. In the market you can buy a variety of handmade things by the Moroccan people. Some places they are making their products in front of you. I helped a women weave part of a large, elegant, Moroccan style rug. The people of Morocco are some of the most generous and welcoming people that I’ve come across throughout my travels. Even if you aren’t there to buy anything, it is beautiful, cultured and simply divine.

12.) The Duomo in Florence, Italyimg_3525

Doing anything in Florence is the best experience you’ll ever have…well maybe I am biased because I lived there.

The Duomo took my breath away every time I saw it. You’d think after 5 months of seeing it every day I’d get used to it but I never did. You can climb to the top of the bell tower, or climb the Baptistry next to it for an incredible view of the city. You’ll find yourself thinking, “how can a structure be this big and so beautifully detailed?”

We don’t know either!

13.) Delirium Café in Brussels, BelgiumProcessed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

With live music, the most beer taps than any bar in the world and a crowd of people from all over the globe, Delirium Café was an environment that you won’t find at your local World of Beer. Inexplainable to say the least–you won’t regret visiting this lively bar!

14.) A canal tour with “Those Damn Boat Guys” in Amsterdam, Netherlandsimg_4151

Not like your typical canal tour in a ferry with windows and crowds of people, Those Damn Boat Guys make you feel exclusive with unimaginable views that you can’t see from the streets. Unlike the tourist boat ride, our tour guide told us all the facts and information about Amsterdam that we wanted to know, rather than a boring informational history lesson. It was an open boat with the option to BYOB, which in our case meant “bring your own bubbly.”

15.) Hike through the cities of Cinque Terre, Italy132

In Italian, ‘cinque terre’ means five lands. You can either hike through the five small cities (which takes a little more advanced hiking skills), or take the train between them. With views you only see in the picture that comes with a frame, it is safe to say that Cinque Terre stole my heart. The colorful houses along the cliffs are quite the sight, and hard to capture through pictures. They are also known for their frozen drinks that come in the size choices of half bucket and whole bucket and you can get them virgin or alcoholic. I chose the margarita flavor and it came with a Corona in it–10 out of 10 recommend!

16.) Capri, Italy. Period.47

Faraglione di Mezzo, on the right.

I have never seen bluer water or greener trees than I did in Capri. Take a boat trip around the island to see incredible pieces of land, including the Faraglione di Mezzo (it is said by Italians that if you kiss your significant other while passing through, it will bring you good luck), and houses of some of the richest and famous people in the world. Ride the lift up to the highest point on the island to see some insane views, and stop by Carlos’ shop for some custom, handmade sandals. Fun fact: Jackie O herself had a pair of sandals made for her by Carlos! There are so many treasures in Capri, but something you really can’t miss out on are the granitas. They are frozen orange or lemon (or a twist of both) drinks made with fresh orange and lemon juices. And….if you give the man making your granita a big smile he may just pour in some vodka for you…..and if it’s a really big smile he might just let you pour it in yourself.

Ahhhhh, Capri how I love you!

17.) Climb up to Piazzale Michelangelo in Florence, ItalyIMG_5771.jpg

With a view of the entire city, steps filled with people talking and laughing, and live music in the evenings, Piazzale Michelangelo was the destination most nights for my friends and I. We would stop at our local market on the way and pick up fresh Brie and baguettes and split a bottle of wine while we watched the sunset over our beautiful home before heading to dinner.

I hope you enjoyed reading about my adventures and crazy experiences and that I helped to add a few more things to your Bucket List. Leave a comment telling me something you’ve crossed off yours that I should add to mine 🙂

Ciao Ciao!

Ten Things You’ll Wish You Had While Traveling Abroad

  1. Converter
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    This will save your life, more than once. Keeping cameras, phones and laptops charged are crucial to capturing your time abroad and keeping your followers happy! Not to mention, keeping your curling iron accessible for your photo-op with the famous Ponte Vecchio in Florence, Italy!
  2. Laptop/Tablet
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    Although you may be thinking, duh! I know. If you’re not going abroad for school then why would you need a laptop? Easy. Netflix! For nights you’re feeling homesick and want to watch your favorite series to remind yourself that America is still there waiting for you, it is easy to find comfort in your favorite shows and movies. It is also great for Skyping with family and friends back home,storing and share the great pictures you’re taking from your camera, and keeping up with your travel blog, of course!
  3. Travel pillow
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    When packing for going abroad I took into consideration where I planned to go and what I planned to do. What I wish I had thought about was packing for the part between–the actual traveling! My travel pillow helped to preserve my sanity along my many encounters with things like 15 hour bus rides, 4am train rides between cities, and 6 hour layovers accompanied by a lack of sleep and desperation. When traveling abroad, you try to get the most out of each city. Often times sleep isn’t an option, so optimizing your travel time for sleeping is key!
  4. Water bottle
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    In America, we take water for granted. One question I have and still do not know the answer to is how are Europeans not dehydrated? I ask this because when I was living in Europe, WINE IS CHEAPER THAN WATER. Water is not free, and often quite expensive. Water is also not as easily accessible as it is here in America. Trust me, you’ll be back to thank me!
  5. American medicine
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    One thing that is certain when traveling the globe, it will take a toll on your body! Nothing major, but more than once you may find yourself wishing you had thing like DayQuil, Melatonin, and Advil. They have similar products but they are often difficult to obtain and a bit costly.
  6. Walking shoes
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    This may seem typical, but shoes that won’t hurt or easily break from extensive walking will save your life. Abroad, walking is extremely convenient and common. Especially as a visitor, it takes time to understand a city’s public transportation system and often times you won’t be in one city for enough time to learn it. Also, with a language barrier it can be confusing and difficult to end up where you want to be. With everything being so close together, walking is a cheaper and more efficient way to get from place to place.
  7. Portable phone charger
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    When you’re constantly using your GPS, social media, and phone camera–simultaneously you are mostly likely watching your battery life depleting. The last thing you want is to be out in a city all day and miss the opportunity for a photo-op because your phone died. A portable phone charger will be helpful not only in the cities themselves but during travel as well.
  8. Carry-on luggage
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    Although flights themselves abroad may be cheaper, they definitely make up for the loss in luggage charges. The cheapest way to travel is with luggage that is carry-on size. You will most likely already be emptying your pockets once you reach your destination, so saving a few bucks along the way can’t hurt. Especially when checking a bag could cost 50-80 euro. Not to mention, you will most likely be sleep deprived and exhausted, so having a bunch of luggage is not ideal anyways. Pack light and carry-on!
  9. American foods you can’t live without
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    Have you ever had a craving for your favorite food and had to run to the store late at night to buy it? Imagine the store being an ocean and a few countries away. You may want to bring a couple of your favorite American snacks. It helps with homesickness and those late night cravings. The food abroad is incredible, but there are some things you just can’t live without!
  10. Personal locks
    locks.jpgWhen you’re traveling, often times the places you stay (AirBnBs, hostiles, etc), are still accessible to others. You are in a foreign place and unfortunately in places like Europe, they won’t hurt you, but they want your stuff. Having a personal lock, or a few, for luggage, hostile cubbies, apartment closest, etc., will not only give you piece of mind, but save you a lot of hassle in case someone gets ahold of your money or passport! Also, maybe an extra one to put on a famous monument or landmark to leave your small mark in a big world!

I hope these tips were helpful and eased your mind a little. The preparation part of traveling is the most stressful part. If you prepare well, you are bound to have a great time! (Eh, you will have an incredible time regardless).

Leave me a comment telling me some of your essentials when it comes to travel 🙂