16 Weeks in Europe Recap: My “Best of” List

“Julie… where was your favorite place in Europe?”

I’m not a mom, but I reckon it’s kind of like choosing your favorite child: each place I visited is unique and special in its own way, so I literally cannot pick a favorite!

So, instead… how about I do superlatives, high school-yearbook-style?

Note: There are no constants in this study, it is not scientific at all, and I am totally biased. Not only is every city/place different in its essence, there are external factors that have affected my outlook: weather, my mood, and the people I met and shared travels with. And P.S. You don’t have to agree with me. 

[I do have one rule for my list: despite my long and wide traveling career, I’m only giving superlatives to the cities I’ve visited on this 16-week trip. I want to keep some semblance of comparison and contrast — so recent memory it is!]

But first, some top-line stats

  • Days: 112
  • Countries: 13 (Slovenia, Austria, Germany, Slovakia, Hungary, Serbia, Bulgaria, Turkey, Greece, Albania, Montenegro, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Croatia)
  • Dollars spent (in USD): approximately $8,600* or $77*/day
  • Average run/walk per day: 5.8 mi (9.3 km)
  • Weight lost/gained: 0 (somehow I didn’t gain or lose!)
  • Longest single stretch in one city: 17 nights (Split, Croatia)
  • Longest stretch in one country: 15 nights (Greece)
  • Shortest: one night

*I’m a full-time nomad. Because travel is literally my life, what I spent over this time period includes life and bills spending, IE): auto registration and insurance, website domain registration, expat/global health insurance, and other miscellaneous stuff.

Superlatives for my 112 days in Europe

  • Most jaw-droppingly beautiful city: Vienna, Austria
  • Best former-Communist city: Sofia, Bulgaria
  • Country I skipped but regretted it: Romania
  • Country I can’t wait to spend more time in: (tie) Slovakia, Turkey, and Montenegro
  • Country that felt the most foreign: Turkey
  • Most breathtaking church: Serbian Orthodox Church of Saint Sava in Belgrade
  • Prettiest old town: Kotor, Montenegro and (runner-up) Mostar, Bosnia
  • Foodiest city: Budapest, Hungary
  • Best beer: Munich, Germany
  • Best food: Turkish
  • Best for outdoor activities: Salzburg and surrounding areas
  • Most affordable countries: Albania, Bulgaria and Serbia
  • Favorite big city: (tie) Athens and Budapest
  • Tourist trap that was worth it: Neuschwanstein Castle, Germany
  • Tourist trap that wasn’t worth it: pretty much every excursion in Dubrovnik, Croatia
  • Most unique museum: Museum of Broken Relationships, Zagreb
  • Favorite Greek island: Naxos, Greece
  • Prettiest weekend destination: Bled, Slovenia
  • Best ethnic meal: kebab/gyro and burek
  • Best dessert: Turkish baklava (sorry Greece, it just hits different) and kaiserschmarrn
  • Best wine: Slovakian, Hungarian, and Croatian
  • Nicest people: Austria
  • Not the nicest people: Serbia 
  • Most skippable city: Novi Sad, Serbia
  • Most unimpressive food: Ksamil, Albania 
  • Smokiest cities: Sarajevo and Zagreb 

My most memorable experiences from my 16-week trip across the pond

  1. 7 days sailing the Marmaris coastline in Turkey with some truly awesome people ⛵
  2. A surprise birthday celebration in Salzburg with lovely friends I haven’t seen in 4 to 5 years (plus, touring the city by Vespa, and a cold water plunge in the Almkanal!) 🎂
  3. Touching the relics of Saint Ioan of Rilski in Rila, Bulgaria ☦️
  4. Orgasmic baklava and a photo shoot in Istanbul 📷
  5. Summer tobogganing in Bled, Slovenia 🛷
  6. House party-hopping in Munich with the coolest hosts ever 🍻
  7. Taking part in a poker tournament in Vienna (not a winner, but I lasted about halfway through the game with some pretty experienced players!) 🃏
  8. Wine-tasting from the barrel and a tour of an authentic and very local (as in, no English spoken) Serbian winery 🍷
  9. Visiting an abandoned fortress and watching the sunset in Kotor, Montenegro 🏰
  10. Singing karaoke in about a dozen cities 🎤
  11. Trying local Balkan favorites like rakija and burek (various spellings) throughout the Balkans 🥃
  12. Travel romance ❤️❤️❤️

What’s next for me on the nomad life? You’ll have to stay tuned. In the meantime, I’m recharging with my family and working on a few exciting things. Comments/questions, let me know!

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One thought on “16 Weeks in Europe Recap: My “Best of” List

  1. Love the videos! I haven’t spent any time in Europe, but it is on the bucket list. Germany is top on the list, and I’ve heard great things about Austria as well. Thanks for sharing this! Safe Travels

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