My Top 5 European Destinations

One of the most frequently asked questions I’ve been asked is, “What has been your favorite place so far?,” to which, I usually reply, “Don’t open that door.” All the places I’ve been lucky enough to visit have been great in their own way, but I obviously do have favorites, so here they are as of now:

Nice, France

Nice is a change of pace from a lot of other European cities: there isn’t particularly a whole lot to do, but who needs to get out when you can lie on the beach in the year-round mild weather? Nice is characterized by its colorful buildings, blue water and amazing views from Castle Hill. Not to mention, it’s a short bus ride away from Monaco, a small country with a big personality, known for its casino and grand prix.

What to do: walk up Castle Hill, get lost in Old Town and hop on a bus to Monaco.

You can read about my time in Nice here.

Budapest, Hungary

I was pleasantly surprised with how much there is to do in Budapest and although I didn’t stay long enough to do everything I wanted, I hope you don’t make the same mistake I did. Budapest is relatively cheap compared to other countries, with a one-way public transit ticket costing about $1 and most full meals costing well under $10. The night life is buzzing thanks to its historical ruin bars and pubs. The two different sides of the city have their own unique identities worth exploring individually.

What to do: walking tour where you major highlights like the castle district, St. Stephen’s Basilica and Chain Bridge, visit a ruin bar in the Jewish quarter and take a dip in one of the thermal baths.

You can read about my time in Budapest here.

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Germany

Over the last ten days, I’ve been traveling throughout Germany, part of which was with my grandfather (mom’s dad) who was stationed near Wurzburg for eighteen months.
Thursday, 21 January: After my grandpa’s long flight from Los Angeles earlier that day, neither of us were in any mood to go out the evening of my arrival. However, the next day, we took a drive to the south of Munich, where our first stop was a little town called Garmisch-Partenkirchen. After that, we went on to the Zugspitze, the tallest mountain in Germany, where we took a tram to the summit. It was cold (about -15°C/ 5°F) and windy, but the views were breathtaking. Our final stop of the day on the way back was Oberammergau, a small tourist town in the shadow of a grand mountain. That night, we had our best meal of the week, at least in my opinion. We went to a large (I mean, really large, with several different floors and rooms, this place never seemed to end, but even with its vast size it was crowded) Bavarian restaurant where we enjoyed smorgasbord of sausages with sauerkraut and potatoes.
Friday, 22 January: The next day, we took another drive to the south to explore a few castles. First was the Hohenschwangau Castle, a smaller castle  with intricate bedroom designs. Then, we visited the nearby Neuschwanstein Castle. This castle supposedly inspired the Disney castle and righteously so, it has a gorgeous exterior and a grand interior. I enjoyed visiting both castles (as the Hohenschwangau Castle gave us some background on the history of the family who lived there, particularly the son that went on to build the Neuschwanstein Castle), but the Neuschwanstein was my favorite of the two castles.

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