Travel is the spice of life. It is indescribable happiness bottled up into a foreign city, new friends and unforgettable moments. Planning, time and money are factors that prevent people from becoming the nomad traveler they are at heart– but it’s easier (and cheaper) than you think! I studied abroad in Spring 2019 and between being frugal and prioritizing, I by far made the most out of my time there. Let me share with you some of the cities I think are worth a visit.
LONDON – Biasly I am going to name this city because I studied abroad there. But, it truly is one of the best cities to travel to. London is jam-packed with culture. No matter what time of year you go, I recommend saving some extra funds specifically for this worldly city. Some of my recommendations on what to do are obviously see the famous sites. You know what they are, so why not get out of tourist trapped sections?
Noteworthy Things – Go to Notting Hill, Regents Park, Borough Market, Camden Town and a football game at Wembley stadium.
Budget – Although this tends to be a more expensive city, museums are free and you can save money by taking the scenic route and walking through the city. Save some extra $$ for clubbing.
VENICE – Let me preface this, anywhere you go in Italy WILL not disappoint. Italy is one of the most incredible places I have ever been to, between the food, culture, people, and art it is a breeding ground for beauty. I chose Venice because this is where I started my Italian adventure, and I recommend it because it’s actually sinking (so go now while you still have the chance). If you plan on going to other places in Italy, their train system is stellar and the ride between cities is very scenic (with lots of mountains, that I failed to know Italy had) and cheap.
Noteworthy Things – Gondola ride, WINE, the off-beaten path (like any city, but getting away from the touristy areas in Venice is worth it) and a moped tour (if you venture further south into Italy).
Budget – I would say you could ball on a budget in Italy, especially in Venice if you don’t stay on the island!
INTERLAKEN – Let’s talk about Interlaken. Adrenaline junkies are drawn to Switzerland to hike, ski, paraglide or whatever else sets their pulse past 100. Interlaken
is the right place to do that. Let me forewarn you about Switzerland. In general, it’s pricey, by far more expensive than any other place I’ve been to. Nonetheless, Interlaken is a gorgeous town and there are always people paragliding in the midst of Jungfraujoch mountain. However, it is in the middle of nowhere and you will need to take a train from Geneva but the journey is breathtaking.
Noteworthy Things – Harder Kulm (overlooks the entire city of Interlaken), paragliding, cycling on the bike paths throughout the town (gorgeously scenic), FONDUE!!
Budget – Prepare your wallets because the Francs hurt.
BUDAPEST – “My house in Budapest, my hidden treasure chest…” as the famous George Ezra’s lyrics flow, gives a small hint of what a magical city Budapest is. Although I have never visited this city, many people rave about it! It’s one of the cheapest cities to travel to and it looks stunning. Things to do in the Hungary capital include soaking in the thermal baths, admire Castle Hill (which is a Unesco World Heritage site) lit up at night, visit the famous Parliament building and indulge in the popular pub scene.
Noteworthy Things – Castle Hill, Parliament Buildings, thermal baths!
Budget – Luckily Budapest is fairly cheap now, but it will only continue to get more expensive with the high influx of tourists!
EDINBURGH – What a wonderful little Scottish city! Edinburgh is a historically beautiful city at the foot of the highlands and a great starting place in Scotland. I recommend this city if you love Harry Potter (J.K. Rowling grew up in this city). I didn’t spend much time here, but I did I climb Arthurs Seat, an inactive volcano that overlooks the city. From here, my family and I took a 3-day tour of the highlands, Inverness and a few other locations which was phenomenal (if you have extra funds, DO THIS).
Noteworthy Things – Greyfriars Kirkyard (see the real Tom Riddle grave), Arthurs seat, Haggis (a traditional Scottish dish… look it up…) and Edinburgh Castle (gorgeous city views).
Budget – There are a lot of cheap, free things to do in Edinburgh, but save some money for pubs and not-to-miss tourist sites.
LISBON – A cheaper alternative to many other places! One place I never had the pleasure of going while abroad was Lisbon. Through other people, I heard this city is fairly cheap and full of culture and beauty. Lisbon is on my bucket list because of its
bright colored buildings, a renowned tram system, cliffside location and it’s originality compared to other cities. Another place I would find myself going is Sintra, Portugal for similar architectural beauty.
Noteworthy Things – Torre de Belém (a gorgeous tower), ride tram 28, all of the beaches and Basílica da Estrela!!
Budget – Generally speaking, Lisbon is one of the most cost-efficient cities to go to in Europe!
COPENHAGEN – One of the most underrated European cities. I went to this Scandanavian city with no expectations in mind. It was definitely a culture shock because the Danes are a little shy (but rowdy when drinking), and the language is insanely different from English, no indication of any words at all. However, it was a very scenic city and I would recommend going to pubs and walking along Nyhaven to see colored houses dotted along the marina. Copenhagen is stunning and a lot less touristy than a lot of other European cities!
Noteworthy Things – Nyhaven, Rosenborg Castle, Christiansborg Palace, the original Little Mermaid statue (or see the fake one in the airport, just as cool).
Budget – On the pricier side, save some money for beer!