All the links to my European articles are below.
My first trip to Europe was with my mum and sister when I was 18. As my mum describes, I was lucky because my first European trip was more like that of a third visit, thanks to my mum’s extensive knowledge of all the countries and cities we visited in our month-long trip. We skipped tourist hot spots like the Eiffel Tower but I learned how to differentiate between Michelin three- and two-star restaurants. It was on this trip that I caught the travel bug and I haven’t been able to shake it since.
My mum, sister and I spent a couple weeks in Europe — Paris and Barcelona — in February 2015 to celebrate my mum’s birthday. Don’t I have a great mum?!
As in the Caribbean section, I’ve not yet written about much of my European travels, and some of my visits are too old to have much relevance anyway. But if you have questions, please feel free to ask.
I’ve only been to a few coastal towns, but they’re pretty lovely (at least after the monster-of-the-sea cruise ships depart).
CZECH REPUBLIC ((i.e. CZECHIA)
I’ve not yet been to the Czechia (their cool new short name, as of May 2016), but Ivan Ross Vrana has written a guest post about Culinary Prague.
France is the place for food. In addition to some pretty spectacular Michelin-starred meals, I’ve also eaten the best sandwich and tomato of my life in France, and France tied with Seattle for the best peach ever.
I’ll soon be posting my research for my upcoming trip to Paris.
You could explore Italy for the rest of your life and still not see it all. I’ve sailed around the country (once with Star Clippers, once with Windstar) with stops in Venice, Taormina, Capri, Ponza, Civitavecchia, Cinque Terre, and Portofino. But most of my time has been spent in Rome and Venice.
- My first article in print, a one-pager on my favourite culinary treats in Rome for Taste & Travel International magazine.
- Highlights of Rome: if you only have a short visit, these are the five things not to miss.
- My Rome recommendations: Rome field notes.
- You can eat well in Venice; my article on escaping the awful and expensive tourist food in Venice (plus an interview with me where I reveal my ideal travel companions, on Mallory on Travel).
The place for yacht- and car-spotting. And delicious food. Joël Robuchon’s Monte Carlo is on the top of my list.
Sailing through the fjords of Montenegro is stunning (keep your eye out of the hidden submarine tunnels on shore), as are the views above Kotor.
Lisbon is a walking city, my favourite kind. I wish I had been a port drinker when I was there, but now that I’ve discovered the captivating caramel of tawny ports, I need to go back. Plus I’ve only explored one castle in the UNESCO site of Sintra. Lisbon is a port for Windstar’s Atlantic crossing, so you can even get there without suffering the effects of jet lag; take a two-week sail and have the clock change just one hour every day or two.
I’ve only spent three short days in Spain, in the Gaudi-filled city of Barcelona. To help your trip planning:
- A typical day in Spain: An insider’s advice for the traveller. A guest post by my Spanish-Canadian friend Pablo.
- A first trip to Barcelona: Field notes. My planning and reactions to what I did, saw, and ate while in Barcelona in February 2015.
Turkey is one of my very favourite countries and I hope to go back soon.
The Turks are such a hospitable people and they have one of the finest cuisines in the world (thanks to sultans trying to keep their vast courts entertained). The history is fascinating and sites are spectacular (underground cities, phallic towers with houses and hotels carved into them, spooky fire that comes out of the ground, white terraced pools that look as if they’re made of ice, beautiful beaches, more architecture and ruins that you can possibly see …). And any country with a hammam is a country for me.
- An overview, plus why I think Turkey, not Greece, is a better choice for a trip.
- My Turkey field notes.
One of the greatest museums in the world. The Sistine Chapel wasn’t that exciting, but the Raphael Rooms blew me away (as did the bizarre fact that the Vatican supposedly owns 97% of the world’s porphyry). Read my Rome field notes for tips on the best way to see it.
Can I include this on the list? I just took a day trip here whilst visiting friends of my mum who lived near the border, and I can’t remember the name of either town.
And general stuff:
Three of my World Travel Buzz articles also talk about some European deliciousness: