After traveling to twenty six countries in Europe I still find it difficult to asnwer the question ‘what’s your favorite country?’. Over the years I fell in love with many of the places I visited and I can’t chose only one. What I can do is share with you the list of places I love the most in Europe and that’s what this post is all about.
On this post I will share with you my 10 favorite places I visited in Europe, in no particular order, mentioning nine countries I absolutely love and all the reasons why these places made it to the top of my list.
MY 10 FAVORITE PLACES IN EUROPE
GRANADA | SPAIN
I visited Granada during my two weeks trip in Spain, back in 2015. Out of all the places I visited in Spain, the city of Granada is the one I keep in my heart. I traveled to Toledo, Madrid, Granada, Cordoba and Seville during these two weeks, but for some reason Granada was the city I found the magic and where I had the best time and where I was able to really appreciate the beauty of Spain.
Granada has something for all kinds of travelers but I found it to be a perfect place for budget backpackers and specially for a solo female traveler. I felt incredibly safe in Granada and I was able to truly aprecciate being alone on another adventure.
I stayed in a hostel right in the heart of Granada that was extremely affordable and allowed me to explore the entire city by foot. The food in Granada, besides being really good, an overal quality of Spain, and I found many restaurants offered 10€ deals for a complete meal of entrance, main dish and dessert. Granada is also known for its fantastic deal in which you ask for a drink and you’re offered a free plate of tapas.
In Granada I also went on my first ever tour. In a twist turn of events, I joined a Night Adventure tour that completely changed my time in the city and it was one of the best things I ever did on my travels. It started as a typical walking tour in the most beautiful neighborhood of Granada, the Albayzin, and we kept on walking up the hill until we watched the most beautiful sunset in Sacramonte.
Then the adventure began going down the hill thorught the illegal caves in the dark with only a flashlight in our heads and ending the tour by going inside a crazy forest on a path right next to a big cliff and going inside a hole on the ground – yes a hole -, that forced me to face many of my fears of tiny places, not being able to see anything in the total dark as I crawled down this scary hole, and my huge fear of bugs that I’m sure lived down there but I was just lucky I didn’t manage to see any due to how dar it was down there. I ended the tour by going out for dinner with some of the people from the tour and I had an amazing dinner of spanish tapas.
Besides the obvious beauty of Granada, this city made me realize how good it feels to get out of my comfort zone and that if I challenge myself and do new things I might end up having the best time.
CINQUE TERRE | ITALY
Italy has been one of my favorite countries for many years now and every time I plan a longer solo trip in Europe I always feel drawn to go back. In 2016 I went on another solo trip and once again I decided to start it in Italy. I had already spent a month in the country the year before but there was still so much to see that I just had to go back.
In order to visit the Cinque Terre, because I was on a budget I couldn’t really afford to spend the night there so I stayed in Pisa and I visited as a day trip. This day trip turned out to be one of my favorite travel days ever. Before visiting I already knew this place would be beautiful if it would match the photos I had seen but it turned out to be so much better than I expected and it really filled up my entire heart.
As the name suggests, the Cinque Terre is a National Park that includes five fishing villages: Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza and Monterosso al Mare. You can travel the Park by train as well as hike the trails between the towns. I got the train in La Spezia got off at my first town, Corniglia, and I hiked the trail all the way to Vernazza and to visit the rest of the villages I used to train because I didn’t have enough time to hike another trail and I really didn’t want to end the day without visiting all the villages.
Even though The Cinque Terre are one of the most touristic places in Italy and the villages are a bit too overcrowded, it’s a place you must visit once in your lifetime. Ignore all the people around you and soak in the beauty of a place that has its own magic. Hike the trails for some peace and quiet and to get amazing views of the villages from further away and marvel at the ocean that surrounds these coastal fishing villages. I cannot say it enough times. If you are in Italy, you MUST visit the Cinque Terre.
Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza e Monterosso al mare
ROME | ITALY
I know seeing Rome on this list just seems like a total cliche but my love for Rome was undeniable from the very first time I visited the city and it really belongs on this list.
Rome was the first place I ever felt in love with. I visited the first time in 2013 after living in Switzerland for three months to study abroad. Italy had been in my bucket list for a while and if there was a place I was curious to visit was Rome. From the very first day in Rome I fell in love with the city but mostly I fell in love with travel. Rome was the very first place I had visited that made me want to jump out of bed in the early morning and explore every corner until the sun went down again.
When I was planning my first solo trip where I ended up traveling to thirteen countries in Europe, I knew exactly where I wanted to start my trip and obviously I chose Rome and bought my one way ticket to start my adventure. I loved being back in the city I had fallen in love and I was much happier to get to explore it alone this time, at my own pace, and being able to enjoy it in my own way.
Rome is on this list of my favorite places in Europe because it truly is a place with a lot of meaning for me. It was the first place I fell in love with and where I found my love for travel. It was also the place where I traveled solo for the first time and the starting point to the best trip of my life so far. I’ve now been to Rome three times and I have every intention to go back.
BLED | SLOVENIA
If you are looking for a little peace of Heaven in Europe, Lake Bled in Slovenia is where you need to go. I have been to Slovenia two times and it’s easily one of my favorite countries in Europe. I still believe Slovenia is one of the biggest gems in Europe but for some reason it doesn’t get a lot of attention from travelers unless for those backpacking Europe for a longer period of time that tend to make a spot in this beautiful country.
The first time I visited Slovenia I only visited its capital, Ljubljana. So, when I was planning another solo trip, I knew I had to return to Slovenia and make all the plans to visit lake Bled where I ended up spending two nights.
Lake Bled is total dream. Imagine a huge lake with a little island and castle in the middle of it, surrounded by green paths for you to hike up to incredible viewpoints. This place really took my heart the second I got out of the bus and having only two days to explore it wasn’t enough.
PLITVICE LAKES | CROATIA
If you evern start searching for places to visit in Croatia, Plitvice Lakes National Park will be on every ‘must do/must see’ and at the very top. The reason for this is because this place is not something you can miss out when traveling in Croatia and I promise you won’t be disappointed as this is by far one of the most beautiful places in Europe.
I visited Plitvice Lakes National Park back in 2015 when I was solo backpacking Europe for three months. It was one of those places I knew I had to see with my own eyes. So, I got on a train from Slovenia to Croatia and stayed in Zagreb for three nights just to take the day trip to Plitvice Lakes.
The day after arriving in Zagreb I was going to take the day trip this National Park, but unfortunately I didn’t wake up as early as I wanted to even after sprinting to the bus station I missed the early morning bus. Glad I had another day in Zagreb, the next morning I woke up with the sun and I got a very early bus to Plitvice Lakes.
I had no idea the journey to reach the lakes was so long but it took me 2h30 to get to the National Park. Happy I took that early bus so I would have enough time to explore the park.
At this point I had been traveling for a little over a month and I had been eager to watch some snow. To my surprise I got off the bus at the National Park and everywhere I looked was covered in snow. This day was magical. The Lakes were slighly frozen as well as part of the waterfalls, though there was still water running from them, and the mountains surrounding the lakes were beautifully covered in white. I felt like a child at disneyland and for me this was a winter paradise. Even though it was a really long day visiting the park as a day trip, it’s absolutely worth it and I would do it again. In fact, I would love to visit in the summer just so that I could have the contrast on both seasons.
MOSTAR | BOSNIA & HERZEGOVINA
Ok, I’m going to start this by saying I love Bosnia & Herzegovina with all my heart. I visited this country in 2016. I wanted to visit the year before as I stayed in Croatia and I was right next to Bosnia & Herzegovina, but it was the first time I was traveling alone and for some stupid reason I felt scared and decided not to do it. Well when I planned the next europe trip in 2016 I knew I was not going to miss out on this country again, and in fact I pretty much built my itinerary around Bosnia & Herzegovina.
I spent a total of ten days in Bosnia & Herzegovina, a long time to stay in a country that most poeple don’t even dare to visit, while others only visit as a day trip from Croatia. I stayed in Mostar and Sarajevo, but it was Mostar that won it all.
During six days in Mostar I fell in love with a country that was different from everywhere else I had visited before. I stayed at a hostel owned by a bosnian family where a mother and daughter took care of me like I was part of their family. I remember I would always wake up early and go straight to the patio to write on the blog, and these two ladies would see that I was up and they would come out of their home and make me fresh bosnian coffee every morning.
In Mostar I felt more curious than ever to understand a very recent tragic history that I had never even heard before. I watched documentaries, I talked to my hosts, I walked to the not so pretty part of the city, outside of the old town, where I was able to witness the memories of the war with buildings totally destroyed, abandoned and full of bullet holes. I remember being in shock as it was the first time I was seeing signs of a war and I couldn’t understand how something that horrible happened after I was born and I had never heard anything about it. It was a really hard reality but one that I needed to see and it was what made me look at people in Bosnia & Herzegovina with different eyes. Suddenly I was watching the locals on their daily nomal lives and I noticed how these people always had a huge smile on their face. I saw people who seemed genuinely happy and who had the biggest hearts.
Bosnia & Herzegovina was the first place I visited that I didn’t feel just a tourist and I wasn’t treated like one. I felt the locals were just happy I was visiting their country and staying for a longer period of time, when many people still believe Bosnia & Herzegovina is dangerous to visit. These people never tried to scam me for being a tourist and were very honest with me the entire time. I felt they didn’t really care about my money, even though they really need it to keep rebuilding their beautiful country, they just wanted to show me their country and give me tips to enjoy it the best way possible.
BUDAPEST | HUNGARY
Budapest is a city I always recommend anyone and a city you must visit at least once in your lifetime. I visited Budapest in 2015 and then again in 2016. This city has its own beautify and there’s so much to explore it’s hard to even know where to begin. I found it really challenging to explore Budapest all on foot but at the end of the day it was always worth it.
I love the vibes this city in Hungary gives and it made me curious and happy the entire time. Budapest might be known for its amazing night life but as a solo traveler I didn’t really get to see that side of it. What I can tell is Budapest is fantastic during the day. The path along the danube river is magical and the architecture of the buildings is very unique and charming.
Truth to be told, I didn’t really do anything out of the ordinary in Budapest to make it stand out from all the other places I visited, but there’s just something about this city that gave me really good memories and every time I think about it it makes me want to return.
PRAGUE | CZECH REPUBLIC
Prague, the capital of Czech Republic, is also a very known place on this list and I don’t think it’s anyone’s surprise that it’s a favorite not only for me but to pretty much every traveler who has visited.
I visited Prague also in 2015, after two amazing nights in another charming little town in Czech Republic called Cesky Krumlov. This small town could easily make this list as well, if I didn’t narrow this list down to ten places. I fell in love with the city of Prague, even though I didn’t really explore it as much as I wanted to. Also, it was also in Prague that I stayed a the worst hostel of my life where I caught bedbugs for the first time.
I don’t think I really need to explain why Prague should be on your bucket list as I’m sure it’s there by now. There’s every reason for this city to be so popular with all the charming streets covered in cobblestone, the colorful buildings, the fantastic Charles Bridge, the nighlife, the food and the great cheap beer.
LONDON | UK
London also has a very special place in my heart since I visited last year. To most travelers out there, I believe London is one of the first places they travel to. For me, it took me twenty-two countries before I finally made it to the UK which was my country twenty-three.
Before traveling to London I was working as a cabin crew based in Frankfurt, Germany. I was in a really bad place and desperately wanted to go anywhere else. That’s when the London based showed up on the radar and I didn’t think twice before applying.
London was the place that changed my year of 2019 around. Until then it had all bit ups and downs, mostly downs, and this city opened my eyes once again and allowed me to enjoy my free time and to fall in love travel once again.
I spent a total of two months based in the UK. I was staying at a hotel in Crawley but I still managed to catch the train and explore London for three days. I love London, I really do! I love how much it has to offer, how big it is but how it seems like it’s devided into very different neighborhoods and all of them with its own style. I loved catching the chaotic underground and jumping from one side of the city to another. Every time I got out of the underground and arrived in a new neighborhood it was like arriving in a new city. I loved the food markets, the path by the river from Westminster all the day to the Tower Bridge. I loved the huge parks and the cute squirrel running around. I think what I loved the most was the energy this city has and the only thing I regret is not catching that train to London more times and not exploring everything I wanted in the city.
LISBON | PORTUGAL
I couldn’t end this list without the city I was lucky to be born in and where I live. I’m blessed to have been born in Portugal, a country that is tiny on the map but that has a lot to offer and one that I find is one of the most beautiful countries in the world.
I know adding my own city to the list seems a bit corny, but if you don’t trust me, trust every traveler that has been visited Lisbon and the fact the city has won many prizes for being one of the most beautiful in the world and one of the top destinations in Europe.
After traveling so much and spending a lot of time away, I’ve come to appreciate my own country more than I did before. I remember when I started traveling all I wanted was to get out of Portugal and see new places and I was actually angry every time I had to return because I didn’t have more money to stay abroad. But now things are different. Every time I return to Portugal my heart is full. I love my city more than ever and I even started to take time to explore it.
I really believe Lisbon is the city that has everything for every kind of traveler and if it’s not on your bucket list it should. I’ve never met a single person who visited Portugal and had something bad to say about it. Everyone I’ve talked to always say they visited Lisbon and they loved it and had the time of their lives, or they tell me they didn’t visit yet but they really want to do it.