After traveling to 14 countries, I wanted to share the top 4 best places to travel to! Read until the end to find some travel hacks!
There are so many beautiful places out there that have so much to offer and I love every place I’ve been to. But, I’m going to break this down into 4 categories that are specific to my experiences. The categories I came up with are favorite architecture, favorite activities, favorite food, and most unique experience. All of these should be on your bucket list as they are the best places to travel to!
- Crete, Greece
- Prague, Czech Republic
- Muscat, Oman
- Lake Como, Italy
Now can you guess which city/country matches which category?
This was pretty easy to choose because the moment I walked over Charles Bridge, I fell in love with Prague, Czech Republic. Ever since I was a sophomore in college in 2018, I wanted to travel to Prague. And I had that chance when my brother and I backpacked Europe in 2021.
If you need ideas for how to pack for a backpacking trip, check this out!
The architecture was different than anything I’ve ever seen as it was built in the Gothic and Renaissance era. Even though I haven’t seen all of the Harry Potter movies (we’re on number 3), I just felt like I was in a character in the movie. It was so beautiful, so magical, and super easy to navigate!
We took the Lime scooters all around town and saw all the main attractions. Within two days of being there, we did a total of 7+ miles on the lime scooters. For my Beatles fans, John Lennon has a wall that surrounds the seat of Maltese Order and in the 1960s, messages appeared here as he was perceived as a symbol of freedom during the regime.
HACK: Czech people are super friendly and welcoming! Check out Hostel Downtown for the perfect location of being in the heart of the city. Remember, it’s cheaper to book a dorm room than it is to book a private room. Always worth a shot to look at both!
Now, this is hard… So many places have tons of things to do and it really depends on what you’re in the mood for. I decided to choose a place where most of our adventures were spontaneous.
And the place I’m choosing is Chania, Crete, Greece!
Honestly, when I think of Greece, I think of the whitewashed buildings in Santorini. As you probably do to. However, that is not the case in Chania, Crete. We had a girls weekend at this location because it was one of the more affordable places for us to go. We booked the flight and hostel, and found places to go to via this video on YouTube. Thanks to That Greek Guy!
One of my favorite things was take a day trip to visit Balos Beach. Now, this isn’t any old beach. This was an ADVENTURE.
First of all, we had to drive along the coast (not a paved road) and pay to get in. There were goats along the way and we had to drive maybe 15 minutes to get to the parking lot. Once we were at the parking lot, so many more goats showed up!
We didn’t know the extent of the hiking so, if you go to Balos Beach, bring sneakers! Us four girls were walking in flip flops down the mountain to get to the beach. But, the views and water was absolutely worth it.
The next thing we did was visit Kourtaliotis waterfall. Again, more hiking as you had to go down a stairway, but the views and journey to get there was so fun. The water was freezing, but of course we had to go in!
Once you get to the swimming pool area, there’s a cave you can swim through to see the waterfall.
After this, we went to Kalypso beach where you can actually stay in the hotel, but we just went for a few hours.
After these adventurous days, we decided to stay more in the downtown area and got some tattoos, yummy food, and some shopping! It was a quick weekend, but filled with so much adventure. Definitely one of my favorite trips.
HACK: Some people were surprised we chose to travel here because again when people want to visit Greece, they choose the more popular cities like Santorini, Athens, etc. Nothing is wrong with tha, but this is just a great city to try out if you want to get away from the crowds of people, and experience a quieter island.
Okay, I lied. I said my favorite activity spot was hard to choose. Nope, favorite food is hard to pick because I love food and there’s TONS of options.
The winner for this will probably have to be Lake Como, Italy. Traveling here for a quick 2 day trip was nowhere near enough time! One day it was rainy and gloomy, but we still walked around, checked out the churches, and shops.
However, there’s this train called the Como- Brunate Funicular Railway that takes passengers from the bottom of the lake, up the hill to a town that has an amazing restaurant that overlooks the lake. Apparently, you can hike down instead of returning back down the mountain on the railway. This is something I want to try next time I visit!
We went up in the evening for dinner so we didn’t see much of the views of the lake, but the food was delicious. We ate at the Trattoria Dei Bracconieri Brunate and we started with a tasty meat plate and got two pasta dishes. Of course we had a wine, and if I remember correctly it was a fizzy red wine. The whole experience, meal, and service was 10 out of 10.
My advice, go during the day to see the amazing views.
HACK: Stay at Ostello Bello for another amazing hostel experience!
Most Unique experience
This is an easy one because it’s a place that a lot of people questioned me about. “Are you sureeee you want to go there?” “Why there?”
Let me tell you why…
In the Western world, Islam is not talked about very often so I have had limited exposure to it. And when it is talked about, it’s usually negative.
However, I don’t have any negative experiences after visiting Oman. My perspective grew and I appreciated their culture more than ever.
To dive into it, we visited Muscat, Oman freshman year of college for a week long “preview” trip. This is what my college did to get a taste of study abroad. Quite, genius actually. The week we (my class and I) had spent was definitely a trip of a lifetime and just like anywhere, you have to be aware of what’s happening in your surroundings.
So, to start this week-long trip we flew into Muscat, and then moved to the coast for a couple days, then the sand desert, and finished in the mountains. We had an amazing tour guide and native from Oman, Said, who taught us all about the culture and took us around his beautiful country. We were also led by Jeff Rose, an archaeologist who dedicated most of his career to find human migration out of Africa and Arabia. My eyes have never been wider and ears have never listened more.
Being an outsider in a new country, it is crucial to have respect for the people and culture. We were lucky enough to go inside the Grand Mosque where we had to take off our shoes, cover our hair, and wear long pants and shirts.
Before prayer, there is a purification ritual that includes washing the face, hands, arms and feet. Said also sang the Quran which was so beautiful to listen to even though I didn’t understand what he was saying.
Did I forget to mention we went dune bashing, swam in caves, and rode camels?? When I say this was a trip of a lifetime, it was just that. A TRIP OF A LIFETIME.
Shout out to my professors and classmates who was along with me on this trip. Comment your favorite part about it <3
I think all trips are the trip of a lifetime because it’s all so different and unique in it’s own way. Whether you’re going to a new restaurant, traveling a few hours away, or going to the opposite side of the world.. It’s all so special and should never be taken for granted!
Okay, to summarize… Remember to always look at hostels. The community within hostels is so fun and you meet so many amazing people. Enjoy the journey because traveling can be stressful but enjoy the time as it’s just as important. Don’t be afraid to go somewhere that’s a more quiet street (or city) because there is just as much beauty, probably better food, and better prices. (cough, cough, side streets in Venice.) Continue your search on google flights and skyscanner. I hope you find the best deals.
Talk to the local people, they’re the best ones to meet!
P.S. You didn’t say Australia?!
If you know me, you know I studied abroad in Australia in 2021. And yes, you’re right… that is definitely one of the best places to travel to.
But, that’s a story for another time. <3