I always thought it would be the most famous cities that would impact me most. While selfies with the Colosseum & Eiffel Tower have made for profile pictures galore though, it has been the the strolls through quiet cobblestone villages and foreign serenading that have truly stolen my heart.
Living abroad has taught me a lot (mostly how to survive on a 1.43 conversion rate) but even more, how to not judge a city by it’s cover. Check out these incredible, often-overlooked, cities & quickly book a ticket to one right now.
Rich in culture and delicious food, Lisbon is one of the most beautiful and close knit cities I’ve ever traveled to. With the Atlantic just blocks away and trams running paths between coastal Belem and urban Baxia, Lisbon is an unexpected haven of rooftop beauty, quaint markets, and the most delicious garlic prawns in the world (although be careful with the secret surcharge for bread & butter!)
City Musts: Portugalia Resturant for a never ending weekend brunch, LX Factory (the Chelsea Market of Lisbon) & Confeitaria Nacional for natas and more.
Ubud, Bali Indonesia
Ubud, the central region of the magical island of Bali, interlaces miles of rice terraces & elephants treks with never ending markets of handmade jewelry and artwork. From the ‘down to earth’ lifestyle to the embedded organic & clean food mindset, Bali highlights with some of the nicest and inspirational people in the world and is truly somewhere I would not only love to visit again, but live permanently someday.
City Musts: Alila Ubud & Locavore Restaurant for the five or seven course tasting dinner.
Venice has always had a special place in my heart. When I first traveled to the sinking city three years ago, I knew instantly that Venice would be more than just a memory of masquerades and gondola rides. While the city greets more than twenty million tourists a year, this bridge speckled island is more small town than it appears (with only 260,000 permanent residents), and takes the rank of my top favorite city in the world.
City Musts: Pomodoro Restaurant for the best margarita pizza, Harry’s Bar for slightly overpriced but well worth it Belinis, & Italy’s Pinterest famous ‘colorful island’ of Burano.
Training west for a weekend away from the London smog, I knew Bath would be something else from the moment I walked into a pub and saw every cider with an adorable hopping bunny logo. Historic in not only it’s Roman roots but also literary prodigies, Bath is a tiny town of ancient proportions, abundant shopping, and both old and modern spa springs.
City Musts: The Bertinet kitchen for a new meaning to butter croissants, the award winning Jane Austen Tea Room, & a day excursion to Avebury to pick up some of England’s best clotted cream.
Last but certainly not least, this Lapland sanctuary is possibly one of the most incredible cities in the world and well worth the trek 250km into the Arctic Circle. While watching the Northern lights through my glass igloo all night and eating authentic Finnish cuisine (which unfortunately including a bit of Rudolf) every evening for dinner was incredible enough, the culture and people of Finland truly made Ivalo one of the most inviting and nostalgic places I’ve ever traveled to.
City Musts: Aurora hunting reindeer adventure & cross country skiing to lose yourself (literally) in the Arctic circle and see wild reindeer if you’re lucky!