Countries I’ve visited in Europe

After reading posts by Kristen and Kristin, who wrote about which US states they’d visited, I decided to join in. Now, my map of the US states I’ve visited would be a bit dull, seeing as I haven’t been to any, so I thought I’d write this post about Europe instead.
Here’s my map…

And then I got a bit overexcited and thought I’d tell you a tiny bit about each place I’ve turned pink on the map. In no particular order…

UK ¦¦ I live here!

Germany ¦¦ I visited my friend who lived in Marburg for a bit, taking in Frankfurt along the way. I also visited Munich as part of my German exchange when I was about 14; I feel the wonders of the city were a bit lost to me at that age, but I had a marvellous time nonetheless. Also whilst at school, I played the cello in our orchestra which toured around various locations including Leipzig, which I loved and where I discovered I hate rum. Berlin is top of my city break hitlist now, and I’m certain I’ll love it.

Spain ¦¦ Lovely trips to Madrid to visit a bestie, Malaga and the surrounding coast for a sunshine break with S, and a university field trip to Almeria where I learned awesome ecological field skills and got some serious sunburn.

Portugal ¦¦ A pre-university trip with a friend to her family villa in the Algarve, which contained lots of golf courses, English people, and  some lovely weather but was sadly lacking in culture. I think I’d like to go back to Lisbon – the Algarve really wasn’t for me.

France ¦¦ Numerous family holidays were spent driving, camping and eating blackcurrent sorbet around France as a child. I’ve been a fair few times as an adult, as well; to Paris with S a couple of times and to the South for a friend’s wedding.

Switzerland ¦¦I have family who live near Geneva, so I’ve been a few times. They also have a chalet in Chamonix which is gorgeous although I prefer it in the summer (I’m not really a winter sports gal). I’m counting Chamonix here even though I know it’s in France because I always go in conjunction with my Swiss visits 🙂

Belgium ¦¦ I visited Belgium briefly during a school trip around the battlefields of Northern France and Belgium as part of my history studies. We visited some cemeteries, memorials, still pock-marked battlefields and heard the last post at the Menin Gate in Ypres. A very, very moving trip but I’m so glad I had the opportunity to do it.

Italy ¦¦ S and I went on our honeymoon to Umbria and Tuscany. It was absolutely stunning and the food was out of this world. I am super keen to go back, but S less so which I can’t understand. So we’re negotiating on that one.

Norway ¦¦ S and I’s first trip away together was to Oslo for NYE 2008. Awwwee. We saw real Viking ships and tried to spend as little of our student budget as possible (tricky).

Finland ¦¦ I feel a bit of a cheat saying I’ve been here, but technically I have. S and I took a day trip to Helsinki via ferry from Estonia. It was beautiful and the trip through the harbour was breathtaking. Also, reindeer is quite tasty.

Sweden ¦¦ I’ve been only for work, so I haven’t seen as much as I’d like. Although arguably, having lived and worked there for a few weeks alongside some real Swedes, I’ve probably got a better understanding of the culture than if I’d visited on holiday.

Poland ¦¦ Back to the school orchestra tour – we took in some cities in Poland too, including Gdansk. We also visited a concentration camp which was unbearably sad. Abiding memories include the lovely architecture and that everything was so. cheap. (this was 2002, I don’t think things are quite as cheap nowadays sadly).

Czech Republic ¦¦ Another orchestra tour stopover. We visited Prague and played concerts there, then roamed the streets buying incredibly cheap jewellery and gawping at the buildings. We were too young for beer…! 

Hungary ¦¦ A favourite trip with S; we spent a week in Budapest for my birthday a few years ago and I fell in love with the city. It’s a gorgeous place and the baths were particularly amazing.  I am very keen to go back. 

Greece ¦¦ I’m reluctant to count this as it was only a family holiday when I was about 12 and useless. It was a resort holiday on one of the islands and I basically didn’t leave the hotel complex the entire time. Silly child. I’m now desperate to visit Athens and some of the islands eg Santorini, Mykonos. 

Croatia ¦¦ I adored Croatia, in particular the history. We stayed in Split and I just couldn’t get over walking around an actual Roman palace. Like, that real Romans walked around. Incredible. The weather and scenery were pretty ace too.

Turkey ¦¦ Same situation as Greece. I think I was 13 this time. It’s an awkward age. I passed up the chance to go and see the ruins of Ephesus because it involved a 4h coach journey in 30+degC heat, and I was 13. I still kick myself about that decision.

Estonia ¦¦ Fairytale land; S and I visited for a few days and were just stunned by the old town. It’s incredibly beautiful.

Latvia ¦¦ Our most recent European trip, S and I spent a few days in Riga last year. It’s a lovely place, and I’d like to go to some more Baltic states soon – and travel around the countryside, rather than just sticking to the cities.

I need to give Eastern Europe a bit of a crack, as well as some shocking omissions on my doorstep like Ireland, the Netherlands and Denmark.

Have you seen much of Europe? Where would you like to go next – or where do you recommend I put on my list?

-Rachel



Linking up with Caity, Marcella, Michelle, Amanda & Bonnie for Travel Tuesday

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20 Comments

  1. 14th April 2015 / 13:03

    Love your mini-recaps about each country! You’re very fortunate to have grown up in Europe with parents who took you to really cool places! Holland is AMAZING in the spring (Keukenhof gardens and tulips galore), but quieter and warmer in the fall. Your post pumped me up for Croatia and Poland, and maybe I’ll do one of these maps for either the States or Europe! Great post!

    • 14th April 2015 / 19:05

      I know, I am very fortunate. Europe is so small, really, and easy to travel around. I’m quite spoiled! Thanks for the Holland tips, all going on the list!

  2. 14th April 2015 / 14:29

    What a cool list! Mine would be more gray than pink for Europe! My U.S. list wouldn’t be much more impressive either, although the entire eastern seaboard would be mostly filled in.

    • 14th April 2015 / 19:07

      It’s all relative, isn’t it. I mean most of my visits were pretty glancing, all told, and I do feel the need to repeat some of them properly. It’s not just breadth but depth that counts! I’d love to go to the US east coast (it’s on my 30 before 30 list, as it happens…)

      • 14th April 2015 / 19:09

        Your breadth versus depth point is so true. Spending more time in one place to fully engage the culture is a better experience than just checking off places from the list for quantity’s sake.

        The US east coast will give you plenty of things to do! Most people focus on the Northeast because of NYC, Boston, and DC, but try to visit the South if you can! Charleston, Savannah, and even my hometown of Richmond have a unique feel compared to other parts of the states.

        • 14th April 2015 / 19:16

          Yes, people who travel with a tick list upset me. For me, that’s not what it’s about. I’m definitely a culture vulture in that regard!

          Thanks for the east coast tips, it’s just so hard to choose a place to visit! And my US geography is shocking so I keep being surprised where cities I’ve heard of are actually located… Shameful!

  3. 14th April 2015 / 14:32

    Wow, you’ve really seen an impressive amount of Europe! Any all-time favorite destinations? My hubby and I kind of have a map like that – we always star restaurants/places of interest etc. on Google maps as we prepare for a trip. We realized about a year later that because we do this, we have a map of our own with little pinpoints of all the places we’ve been.

    I would love to see Croatia, Greece, and Turkey – those are definitely on an endless wish-list for me!

    • 14th April 2015 / 19:10

      That’s awesome! Yeah I just found a few stars from our trip to Riga last year, makes me smile 🙂

      My favourites were Split, Budapest, Italy for the food, Paris for Paris, and probably Leipzig for how much fun I had while I was there. It all depends on who you go with and what kind of trip you’re after, but those were my very favourites. Good luck with the endless wish-list, I know how that feels!

      • 15th April 2015 / 10:26

        I love that Leipzig made the list! We went there in December a few years ago – my hubby LOVES Bach and it is definitely one of his favorite places we have been in Europe! (And although I wasn’t as enthusiastic, the Christmas markets were lovely there.)

        • 15th April 2015 / 11:00

          Yeah it is! Although that was about 10 years ago so I imagine it’s changed a little. I played with my school orchestra in Thomaskirche in Leipzig where Bach was the organist. So cool and such a unique thing to experience with my friends.

  4. 14th April 2015 / 14:37

    I love love love love this post! I am so jealous of all your travels!! I have only been to England (twice) and am crossing off a few more countries this June but I doubt I’ll ever cross off as many as you!

    • 14th April 2015 / 19:12

      I loved writing it too! Thanks for inspiring it! Europe is such an easy place to travel around and I’ve lived here for 28 years, so you’d hope I’d have taken full advantage of it by now! Have a super trip in June 🙂

  5. 14th April 2015 / 18:29

    Really enjoyed reading about your experiences and thoughts about each country. I love how lots of European countries are so different from one another. Great post 🙂

    • 14th April 2015 / 19:14

      So different and all so great in their own ways. I really am so lucky to live in Europe; what incredible variety of history, culture, language and food on my doorstep. I’m glad you enjoyed the post!

  6. 15th April 2015 / 02:59

    I love your pink map! My Europe map would be pretty pathetic, actually my US one too… I have lived in quite a few places all over the world but they are all spread out! My husband and I would love to live in Europe one day so we could travel around easily. Everything is so far from Australia.

    • 15th April 2015 / 10:57

      I’ve mentioned in another comment that personally I value depth over breadth, so while the map looks quite pink I’d have preferred fewer pinks but a longer time in each place, if that makes sense. I definitely want to revisit some places and get to know them a bit better. I know what you mean about Australia, but at least Australia is pretty awesome in and of itself!

  7. 15th April 2015 / 10:01

    My map is not as pink as yours… yet. Looks like you’ve made some great memories in those places, though I too was a little shocked that you hadn’t been to the Netherlands… haha. I imagine you’ll get to all those nearby places soon enough.

    • 15th April 2015 / 10:55

      I know, I’m shocked too. It just keeps…. not happening! Making this map has made me realise how ridiculous that is, though. I am endeavouring to fix it asap!

  8. 16th April 2015 / 09:59

    Looks like you’ve been to some pretty great places! I really loved reading your thoughts on each place! I agree about Budapest! I absolutely loved it! More than most people do I think. And Croatia has been on my personal list for a while, even more so after reading what you had to say!

    • 20th April 2015 / 15:50

      I’m glad you enjoyed it! I adored Budapest, too. I’m keen to go back ASAP – must get onto that! Croatia was absolutely amazing, but I’m glad we chose to go to Split rather than Dubrovnik. I don’t think I’d have loved Dubrovnik as much as I loved Split. I heartily encourage you to go, if you can!

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