My Top Vacation Spots

This was actually an incredibly difficult post to write.  It’s hard to narrow down the places I’ve been to.  There are some places where I don’t feel the need to go back to (I’m looking at you Rome #sorrynotsorry), but there are others that I could visit again and again.  I have a hard time when anyone asks me my favourite place.  I have lots of favourite places for lots of different reasons.

I’ve done my best and I’ve tried to narrow this down to my top 5 spots, but honestly this list could change each time I visit a new destination (and I already have few new travel spots penciled in for this year…) so let’s call this my March 2020 list, and keep an eye out for updated versions 😛


Nice, France

aerial photography of city

Nice will always and forever hold a special place in my heart.  My hubs and I travelled to Nice for the first time together in August 2012 and the night before our flight he proposed!  We spent the first two weeks of our engagement in Nice and it was amazing.  Nice is “our” place and is a city I could visit every year.

Nice is a great place to visit.  Although it’s incredibly busy in the summer months, it’s a popular destination spot for vacationing Europeans, it’s definitely worth it.  The beaches are fantastic and that Mediterranean Sea just can’t be beat.  The one thing you’ll notice about the beach is that the swimmers are pretty close to shore.  That’s because the sea floor dips down quickly, so you don’t need to head out that far to get to water that’s over your head.  The other thing about the beaches are the pebbles.  There’s no sandy beaches in Nice, so water shoes are a must.  You’ll quickly learn to navigate the pebbles, and if you’re like me, you’ll soon develop a strong dislike for sandy beaches (no more sand stuck to your wet feet when you’re trying to put your sandals back on).

The restaurant scene in Nice is also amazing.  It’s mainly Italian-based and that’s because Nice has a long and complicated history with the kingdom that eventually became what we now call Italy (and Nice didn’t actually become a part of France until 1860).  You’ll find fresh made pastas and sea food bars aplenty.

If you’re looking to vacation in Nice be sure to check out my city guide.


Munich, Germany

aerial view of a cityscape

The first time I visited Munich was when I was backpacking across Europe with one of my best friends.  We had split up for a couple nights (we needed some breathing room) and we were planning to meet back up in Munich.  I walked out of the train station and proceed to walk about 35 minutes in the wrong direction.  Keep in mind, this was in 2006 and smartphones weren’t the norm.  If fact, most cellphones didn’t work outside of your own country.  I eventually found my way and met up with my bestie at our hostel.  The second time I visited Munich was with Contiki and my now husband (then boyfriend).

There was never any doubt either time I was there on how much I loved this city.  The people of Munich were some of the friendliest I had ever encountered.  The history of this city is undeniable and you’ll find no shortage of tours dedicated to its WWII history.

And let’s not forget about the beer and pretzels!!  The Hofbräuhaus is a must for a traditional German dinner, beer by the stein and some German folk songs.   You’ll also find biergartens all over Munich with picnic table seating and friendly locals.

If precision German engineering is more your thing, be sure to check out the BMW Welt.  It’s a showroom and museum dedicated to all things BMW.  You’ll learn the history of the brand, you can walk through the showroom and even rent a car for your stay in Munich.  I don’t know much about cars but I do know that I loved the BMW Welt.


Venice, Italy

body of water with people rowring on boat beside tall building

I’ve only visited Venice once and only for a couple days but it quickly became my favourite city in Italy (granted I haven’t been to that many cities in Italy, but still).  I was in Venice in mid-November and they were setting up for the acqua alta (translated to high water).  Venice technically floods every year so they set up raised platforms for everyone to walk on.

Venice is a beautiful city full of water canals and small and narrow pedestrian passageways.  Wandering through them is half the fun, heading over bridges and thinking you’re in the movie Labyrinth.  Shopping in Venice is excellent, and some of the most popular items are Murano blown glass and lace from the island of Burano.  Of course there’s the traditional gondola ride (and I’d recommend bringing a bottle of Prosecco along for the ride).

As with any city, the further you go from the main tourist spots the more authentic the food and the food in Venice is delicious (but I’d say that about any Italian city.  I mean, you just can’t beat a bowl of perfectly cooked al dente pasta).  I also had the BEST nougat ever in Venice, and I stand by that statement to this day.  It had dark chocolate, almonds and freeze dried raspberries.  I still think about that nougat.  It was delicious.


New York, USA

aerial architecture blue sky buildings

Fun fact: growing up I was obsessed with the show Friends and when I was high school I told myself I would move to New York for a year.  I had dreams of living like Rachel and Monica.  This was of course when I had zero concept of work visas or the stipulations on moving to another country.

I’ve actually only been to New York three times but it’s a place I could return to again and again.  There’s always so much to do and so much to see.  You could easily do something different each time you went, with all the different museums and experiences available.  And let’s not forget to mention the restaurant scene!  NYC has some of the finest restaurants in the world plus the best midnight pizza joint.

I couldn’t mention NYC without mentioning the fashion.  And while I stick to window shopping on 5th Avenue, if you’re up for it, you can certainly pick up an outfit that any fashionista would be envious of.

On my most recent trip (just last year) my hubs and I were walking through Greenwich Village early in the morning and I was reminded why I love NYC.  It’s hard to put into words, but the slow pace we were walking with coffee in hand was just so peaceful and lovely.

If you’re planning on heading to NYC make sure you check out my weekend guide and city guide.


Edinburgh, Scotland

peter-cordes-H-Qx6KAyuJQ-unsplash

By far one of the coolest places I’ve ever been to.  Edinburgh is said to be one of the most haunted cities in Europe and you’ll find no shortage of nightly ghost tours.  Each pub near the castle comes with its own history and ghost story – I’d recommend The Last Drop or The World’s End.

Edinburgh is a university town so anyplace near the university is going to be slightly overrun with students Friday and Saturday nights but don’t let that stop you from having a good time.  The Grassmarket is where you’ll want to head for a drink.  It’s located in the city’s Old Town and was once where public executions took place.  You’ll find a history lesson at almost every turn in Edinburgh.

With Edinburgh Castle sitting high above the city (on an extinct volcano), Edinburgh has to be one of the most picturesque places I’ve been to.  No matter where you are, you’ll be able to find your bearings by locating the castle.  One of my favourite things about Edinburgh (aside from the ghost stories) is that it’s a layered city in the Old Town.  You think you’re on ground level, but then look down from a bridge and see an entire neighbourhood below you.

As with any Scottish city, be prepared for rain.  You could be wandering around the city, pop in somewhere for a quick lunch and when you step back outside there could be puddles everywhere but a sunny sky.


 

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