My #1 tip to everyone studying abroad is to travel as much as you can! Regardless of where you study abroad, there are always many places around you that you should experience while you’re over there. Since I studied abroad in Ireland, there were dozens of countries not too far away! Flights are pretty cheap in Europe, so take advantage!
I am probably biased, but let me start by saying that my favorite place of all was where I studied – Dublin, Ireland! I love the people, the energy, the history, and everything about it. Ireland is a beautiful country to travel all over. From famous sites such as Cliffs of Moher and Giant’s Causeway, to quaint cities such as Galway and Kilkenny, the charm of Ireland is unbeatable.
Here are the top 5 places to travel in Europe that I have been to over the course of my semester.
5. Reykjavik, Iceland
Iceland was just pure awesome. I went in January, which probably wasn’t the best time to go, because it was snowing and freezing cold. But despite the weather, I had a great time. In only a weekend, I hot-tubbed in a geothermal pool, saw the Northern Lights, and drove along the coast and countryside. Every view is amazing. I felt like I was on another planet!
4. Rome, Italy
Rome left me speechless. If you are a history nerd like me, you’ll be in heaven. I saw famous sites such the Colosseum, the Trevi Fountain, St. Peter’s Basilica, and the Sistine Chapel. The ruins of the Roman Empire are fascinating! You could spend an entire day awing at all of the churches and their architecture. And as far as food goes – if you love carbs like me, look no further. I ate nothing but pasta and pizza all week. Don’t worry, you’ll burn it off with the inevitable miles of walking you’ll do exploring this city!
3. Amsterdam, the Netherlands
I loved Amsterdam because there was so much to do. Of course, you have to go to the Anne Frank museum. There are also tons of art museums and even a cheese museum (with lots of free samples)! But if you come here, you have to take a canal cruise and admire the fantastic views around Amsterdam. This city has tons to offer. I could have stayed for a month and never gotten bored!
2. Madrid, Spain
I went to Barcelona and Madrid on my trip to Spain. Even though I thought I would favor Barcelona, I ended up loving Madrid. It is much less touristy, and I felt like here is where I truly experienced Spanish culture. Walking down Gran Via, trying local paella, and watching street performers in Plaza Mayor were some of my favorite experiences. Of course, there are sights and places in Madrid you need to experience here, such as the Prado museum, the Royal Palace, and a Real Madrid game if you’re a soccer fan.
1. Nice, France
I know most people only think of Paris when they think of France, but let me tell you, Nice is not something you want to miss out on! First of all, the beaches are awesome. Nice is located on the Mediterranean and dozens of beaches line the coast. It was just so relaxing and enjoyable to spend a day at one of Nice’s beaches. I also thoroughly enjoyed the flower market, the Matisse museum, and the Place Massena.
Bonus points for Nice: it is only a 20-minute train ride to Monaco!
Besides my top 5 places to travel in Europe, there are a lot more for you to explore!