Belgium is SUCH an underrated and unique country! I wish I’d had more time to explore – lots of beautiful scenery and lovely architecture. If you do make it over to Belgium, promise me you’ll try to put more in your itinerary than just Brussels!! (I wasn’t the bigggggest fan of Brussels – but then again, I’m not a huge city person, so…).
Admittedly, I don’t think I really went to the “off-the-beaten track” destinations in Belgium, but maybe I did compared to the average tourist? I’d love to go back and explore more of the countryside – my train rides to Dinant and Durbuy were absolutely beautiful. And I did do some unusual and unique things (read below!!).
And the food is GOOD. Between the chocolate, waffles, fries, pastries, and sandwiches (they have so many specific types of sandwiches there! They’re usually in long baguettes, and have a very specific yummy flavor – one of the chains is Panos, and their sandwiches are actually pretty good quality), I was happy happy happy.
Ahhhh Stockholm. To be honest, it wasn’t really on my radar of “dying-to-see” destinations like Abisko and Copenhagen were. And I kind of only went because we found cheap tickets (about $440 USD round trip from Oakland, CA to Stockholm!! Would’ve been more like $300 USD if we’d bought in advance and hadn’t insisted on picking our seats, for you wanderlusters who are considering checking it out next winter).
But I came away loving Stockholm! I’ll be honest, I liked Copenhagen a bit better, but I also feel like we didn’t get to see as much of Stockholm as we did Copenhagen. Stockholm was at the beginning and end of our trip, so at first we were too jetlagged to do much (we were there for a day and a half before heading to Abisko), and then at the end we were pretty tired from a week and a half of non-stop (cold) travel. But, I did enjoy it, and would love to see it in the summer (especially to explore the Archipelago!!!).
So the answer is a resounding YES. I could actually live in Copenhagen. And I could totally deal with the winters!
Like I actually, really could and might someday in the future. Who knows! My friend actually wants to move there now so I might just hop on board (literally) with her and make it easier. Especially because I thought I would die in the winter, but I didn’t, and it actually really wasn’t that bad, sooooo I have no excuse now!
I didn’t have to use my giant puffy jacket like I did in Stockholm, and I think it stayed in the 40’s Fahrenheit (about 4.5 Celsius). It also only rained a little bit – not sure if we just got lucky, but we had a great time! I don’t even remember being cold walking to bars at night (and trust me, I am not one of those people that stays warm from drinking).
Okay, so – WHY exactly would I want to go to Sweden in the dead of winter (with minimal daylight) and call it a “vacation”?
Well, the main reason: stupid stupid cheap tickets. Like $440 round trip cheap from San Francisco to Stockholm. Not too bad, eh?
So, we went in January, and I was real worried that the lack of light would leave us bored to tears (when I looked online, it said it would only be light out from like 10AM-1PM), but I thought it was fine! It actually ended up being light from more like 9-2ish, and I had blog stuff to work on, so it wasn’t a huge deal. Plus we just had so much fun hanging out in our hostel, and met so many cool people!
It’s also not that bad walking around in the dark though, as long as you have a head lamp. However, if you still want to see the northern lights but want longer days, go during February!
This’ll be my last Greece post…BUT OH MAN you should 10000000% go to Meteora if you’re in Greece.
I don’t care how out of the way it is for you (It’s about a 5 hour bus/train ride from Athens), or how little time you have – YOU. NEED. TO. GO. Like stop what you’re doing right now, buy a ticket to Greece, and go to Meteora. Then probably an island, because it wouldn’t be a trip to Greece without going to one.
Okay, actually, maybe read this guide first – THEN buy your ticket.
Santorini is a lovely island, but maybe not what you expected! At least it wasn’t for me. I thought it would be all sandy beaches and annoyingly romantic and gross.
BUT surprise, surprise – the beaches were not all that great! If you want beautiful beaches and whatnot, get your ass to Paros or Naxos.
Santorini does have beaches, don’t get me wrong – I went to the red beach, which was cool and all, but it didn’t have that super soft sand that you may picture. It was more like fiber-y chunks of tree bark.
The black beach and white beach are supposedly cool, too (I didn’t go) – but again, not what you expect. Santorini is a raised island, so it’s up on a platform. Hence the not so great beaches and rockiness.
I cannot talk about Paros enough. I loved loved L-O-V-E-D Paros. Did I tell you how much I loved Paros? No? Okay well get ready to sit and listen to me for about 10 hours. Yay so much fun!
We asked the guy at the front desk in my friend Andrew’s hostel which islands we should go to – we knew we wanted to do Santorini (I know, I know – super touristy…But it’s like one of those places I think everyone HAS to see) and one other.
Apparently Santorini doesn’t have great beaches and we wanted that, so he suggested Paros or Naxos. According to him, Naxos was more known for families, so Paros it was!
[As seen from the Howth Cliff Walk – yes, you should definitely go]
So I didn’t want to include this in myYou Should Probably Get Your Ass to Irelandguide because that would be really long. (But you should probably read that, too, because it’s chock full of information and hilariousness.)
OKAY. So let’s talk logistics and other super duper fun things.
Ireland is soooo much more than Dublin! When I hear that people only went there it literally pains me (especially because I was not the biggest fan of Dublin).
I’d say spend like 2-3 days in Dublin (depending on what you want to do) and after that get the heck out of there! IMO it’s overpriced and overcrowded with tourists (especially Temple Bar area – avoid at night at all costs!!!!).
And also – yessss I’m that girl that went to Ireland a year ago and is STILL talking about it. Ugh. But if you read on, you’ll understand why…And also, why not start off with a bang with one of my favorite places ever?
Want to learn more about the logistics of getting around, currency, where to stay, etc.? Go here.