1.) Take a gondola ride in Venice, Italy
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, Italy
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, Switzerland
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, England
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, Morocco
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, Italy
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, Italy
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, Hungary
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, England
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, Italy
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
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, Italy
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, Belgium
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, Netherlands
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, Italy
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.
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, Italy
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 🙂