Deciding where to spend your hard-earned vacation time can be difficult. The problem of choosing a destination is usually a matter of picking from among many attractive options rather than coming up with anyplace at all. Some countries, however, take precedence over others because of the sheer beauty of their cities, culture, and cuisine. Here are the top five places you should visit at least once.
The City of Light has been hailed as the height of civilization due to its long history, beautiful architecture, and cozy cafes. If you could take only one more trip during your lifetime, you would be smart to make it to Paris.
The three must-see attractions in Paris are the Louvre, the Eiffel Tower, and Notre Dame. You could fit all three sights into one day, but you really ought to designate one entire day to explore the wonders of the vast Louvre Museum. Don’t forget to start your day with a pain au chocolat and to relax at the end of the day by enjoying one of Paris’s famed brasseries. Taking cruises from San Diego is also fun.
2. Rome, Italy
The Eternal City is at once the capital of Italy and also the seat of the Roman Catholic Church. Rome has a history going back almost three millennia and has been led by emperors, barbarians, and popes. As you walk through the streets, modern apartment buildings are interspersed with ruins from the first century. The sense of time is palpable.
Make time to visit the Vatican with Saint Peter’s Basilica and the Sistine Chapel. The Colosseum and the Pantheon should also be on your agenda. In between visiting historic sights, sample one of Rome’s signature pastas such as carbonara or cacio e pepe.
3. Budapest, Hungary
Budapest is made up of two communities on either side of the Danube river, Buda and Pest. Together they form a modern city with a rich past. On the Buda side of the river, you will find Buda Castle and the Budapest History Museum.
Both of these sights are at the top of a hill, and if you’re feeling strong, work your way up through narrow staircases and hidden walkways to get to the Old town. You’ll be rewarded with an incredible view of the city.
On the Pest side, dodge students and explore the boulevards that have been compared to Paris in the 1950s. For an authentic taste of Hungary, indulge in a savory goulash and a glass of sweet tokaji wine.
4. London, England
Once the capital of the British Empire, London is still one of the most powerful cities in the world due to being a financial center. All of this wealth has made London a glamorous and expensive place to visit. Don’t be discouraged, however, because there are plenty of things to do for every budget.
Start your day with a true English breakfast of eggs, sausage, beans, bacon, mushrooms, and tomatoes. This hearty meal gives you the energy to make your way from the British Museum to the Tower of London to Buckingham Palace to Big Ben.
Don’t forget to take a break for tea time, during which you can contemplate all the history that this small island in the North Atlantic has witnessed.
5. Dublin, Ireland
Dublin is beautiful, known for its parks, bridges, and colorful doors. The Irish capital is also known for the literary giants of James Joyce, Oscar Wilde, and Samuel Beckett. Walking tours are available that take you through the locations described by these great authors.
The top sights to see are Dublin Castle, St Patrick’s Cathedral, and Trinity College, where you can see the Book of Kells, an impressive illuminated manuscript. After a long day getting to know the city, sit down in a pub, raise a pint of Guinness and toast yourself for your travels.
You only have so much time away from work, so you should make it count. If you’re willing, trust the advice of those who have gone before you on where to go. You won’t be disappointed.
Santhi is an avid traveler and primary contributor to the blogs at Trawell.in. She has explored most of the states in India and gained vast knowledge on tourist destinations in India and abroad. She also contributes content to other travel websites.