Often travel articles or blogs try to put forward an objective account of places to go in different countries. The truth is this is in many ways a lie… as everything in travel, as in life, is subjective. We all have our own specific reasons for favouring one place over others. With that idea in mind, I want to discuss my favourite places in Europe and why they are.
There is a bit of bias here as I lived in London for a year, but I get saddened to hear many travelers malign the place. Sure it can be expensive, especially if you are new there, and it does appeal to the “big city” kind of person, but what London has is an amazing overall atmosphere. Unlike the major cities in other countries that attract mainly their citizens from other parts of their own country, London attracts people from all over Europe. The result is a cosmopolitan allure unmatched anywhere else that I have been.
Get beyond the stereotypes of this city, of which there are many, and what you have left is one of the most attractive cities of Europe. Built literally on thousands of mini islands this canalled city is truly a marvel of architecture and design. Much of the city core, in particular the inner canal rings, has been land marked as UNESCO world heritage sites. Beyond the buildings Amsterdam has a peaceful, easy going nature that is mystifying to the minds of a Canadian like me… coming from a country that in comparison is so over controlled.
Barcelona is a Mediterranean locale that has literally found the Holy Grail sunshine, architecture, and culture. When I spent a week here back in 2008 I did not want to leave. Each day there were interesting cultural things to do, tapas to be found Las Ramblas street – the main street of Barcelona, and bars that closed at sun rise. In my mind’s eye Barcelona is the perfect warm weather city.
Never was there a city that has so much alternative and bohemian energy. Everywhere in the city are different squat houses and artistic studios. My first walks around Berlin showed me that this was a city where people were unafraid to completely be themselves. To compare, in Amsterdam there is an effortless chill, but still somehow a little less overt artistic freedom in dress and persona than Berlin. Always a city that I later felt I should have spent more time Berlin still exists to me as a place I will go back and explore more.