Best Places To Visit – Guide 2017
I used to like watching TV with the remote fixed on travel channel. It was a nice feeling of comfort (in my own living room) but still full of adventure (because of Bear Grylls mostly).
So one day I decided to travel the world and see what there is to be seen with my own eyes since the TV screen wasn’t enough by far. That was a great choice.
After each trip I documented the best way to get from Destination 1 to Destination 2, the best places to eat and to sleep, the most important touristic attractions and fun things to do in general.
Here is the overview list of the best places to visit(which is updated regularly with new information):
1) Stockholm – Sweden
2) Barcelona – Spain
3) Tokyo – Japan
4) Berlin – Germany
5) Budapest – Hungary
6) Prague – Czech Republic
7) Rome – Italy
So without any further ado lets get into our Best Places To Visit picks.
1) Stockholm – Sweden
Since we just came from Stockholm yesterday and still have fresh in my mind what I saw and did, I will begin with the capital of Sweden.
I would start with some fun and not so fun facts about the city, for example the Vasa (a huge wooden boat constructed in 17th century) was supposed to be the pride of the empire and strike fear in the hearts of the enemies. Unfortunately due to last minute modifications (the king asked for more cannons on board) it sank just 1Km from the dock taking the lives of around 30 people.
It is very interesting to know that since 1628 the boat was at the bottom of the sea for 300 years until the technology was advanced enough to bring it back to the surface.
Spotting the actual location was a hard thing in itself without special tools. Anyway in the middle of 20th century specialist managed to pick it up and since that moment even greater work started in maintaining it and preserving it for the future. Because it was in the water for three centuries the wood was very fragile so for 17 years swedes had to spray it continuously with a substance otherwise the wood would degrade. It is actually in the same exposition (where the Vasa is exposed) a wonderful explanation for why Vasa and living things degrade in time: Oxygen.
There is exposed as well a peace of breat from year 2000 in a airless bag and it looks in perfect condition when the external factors are removed… anyway interesting to think about.
Moving from the Vasa Museum, I would not get into the overwritten topics like : Abba, IKEA or Roxette. I would prefer to speak about relatively unknown “gems” from Stockholm.
Next is Fotografiska. It is so nice to spend the Saturday between artwork and Fotografiska art gallery is a great place to watch photo’s from famous artists or featured ones.
For example we were last weekend where it was exposed a horse exposition, people who love horses, or beautiful images of the horses themselves as heroes. These beautiful animals look so powerful but also fragile in different poses and colors. The bond between horse and person riding it is very special and through those portraits you can clearly see the friendship and partnership.
Another artist was featured for the South Korean trip to a cloning clinic. The story goes like this: police was looking for a body of a person for almost two weeks and didn’t succeeded until the police dog “Rex” came along and sniffed the location in 20 minutes. The government decided to clone Rex because of it’s skills and create more copies of him to be used in police work.
The artist pictured the whole process of cloning and the people involved in this creation. Very interesting topic.
We were as well to the Globe Arena which is considered to be the largest building in northern hemisphere. Unfortunately we came too late (5PM) and the place was closed, not sure if because the Celine Dion concert right next door. And no, we weren’t at the concert because we wanted to spend time more in the city than in a concert hall. (no regrets 😀 )
Unknown fact is that swedes have the longest life expectancy in Europe. Maybe is the food, or the lifestyle, I really don’t know, but it is very possible the good quality food (bio, organic) that I saw in supermarkets contribute to this factor.
Some of the metro stations in Stockholm are very beautiful , it is actually considered the Stockholm metro to be the longest art museum in the world. So expect to have colorful staircases, mosaics and paintings all over 🙂
2) Barcelona – Spain
Ah Barcelona…. Every time I think about it I get a warm feeling. Literally everyone I know who went there was impressed and came home with thousands of pictures.
If you ask me: What to do in Barcelona? I could speak for hours. There are probably tons of touristic guides about Barcelona but we haven’t read one single one when we decided to take a plane.
It is good for families , for couples and even school trips. (good for everyone)
We had a hotel in center on the famous street La Rambla, which goes through all city and beyond. Plenty of shops, souvenirs, restaurants and people. In this way it is not different from other touristic overcrowded places but the vibe is totally different. The streets look like there is a permanent party or celebration. Maybe it is the warmer temperature but the relaxed locals that can be seen chatting, smoking or just enjoying the sun on the beach is contributing to the layback attitude that is so easy to emulate.
You can see people on the grass near the sea, seagulls and marine animals near the shore. In the afternoon you can eat paelas and drink Sangria while listening to wonderful music in a local restaurant. From all points of view it looks like a corner of paradise.
If you like culture and art you will not be disappointed. Architect Gaudi is present in every artwork ( La Pedrera, Parc Güell , Casa Batlló or La Sagrada Familia) to name a few famous ones.
On the shore there is a big rollerblade street where people are walking up to the center. Sand and warm air relax you almost instantly and beach juice sellers will delight you with something cool.
A funny thing about Barcelona is that a large part of the house windows are decorated with football flags even in small narrow streets between buildings.
The mornings are the best when the weather is a little chilly (if you can call it that) and a run is perfect for starting a new day.
Also while you are at it, go for market called La Boqueria. I have to admit I didn’t know fruits until I saw them all laying on the shelves in perfect arrangement. So many colors and smells and tastes it is unbelievable. I wanted to buy everything. 🙂
3) Tokyo – Japan
I have another cool article just about Tokyo trip we made in April so you can read it here (10 Top Things to do in Tokyo)
But for the sake of it I will mention a few things about this unreal city. You will need a Wi-Fi rented router to move around and be data independent. Japan is in Zone 2 (roaming plan) so it may cost you a lot if you are taking just your normal LTE phone. Another thing to keep is mind is that everyone is very polite so it is paramount to act like it (don’t be rude or unconsiderate with the nature)
While everything in Tokyo is very nice the amount of people can be very stressful especially for Europeans. A good way to release the stress was mentioned in this cool article
Speaking of the nature, the japanese people are very integrated into it from an early age. If you just walk on the streets anywhere in Tokyo you will notice the amount of energy and resources are put into maintaining the environment, trees, bushes and flowers (+ ponds). There is nothing left to chance, everything is taken care of and a pleasure to see.
You can travel from Europe to Tokyo in around 12 hours (direct flight) with Alitalia. About eating you can eat ramen, udon or sushi , to name a few of dishes awaiting you in Japan.
It really doesn’t matter where you choose to eat because all the food is extremely good in taste and in design.
In spring (april) to be more specific there is the Sakura tree blossom which gathers people from all around the world to see the event. Everything is pink, both in the trees and on the grown or water. Ah, it is very special to eat Sakura tree icecream from the flowers, it is a wonderful and tasty specialty only here you can find.
So if you have accommodation assured you are good to go out exploring. TripAdvisor is your friend so create an account there and generate your trip.
4) Berlin – Germany
Center of Europe, Berlin was on our 2017 beginning of the year trip. From Prague to Berlin by plane you make around 50 minutes so the plane will go up and down in notime.
Take a coach to city center, coffee in hand and lets begin our German Best Places To Visit pick.
Museum Island could be very well your first destination since it is also one of the most impressive things to see in Berlin.
It is actually a cluster of 5 museums also listed as UNESCO World Heritage Site. Next is Jüdisches Museum, which looks very interesting. Basically from top looks like a star of David but when you are inside (it is open air) you will be between different shapes that look like coffins, it is a maze basically with the walls of different sizes so from outside looks like waves and when you are inside you have this claustrophobic feeling. It is very scary in a way but also wondrous.
Just a fun fact Berlin has a long history of discoveries in medicine and innovations in medical technology. The modern history of medicine has been significantly influenced by scientists from Berlin. Rudolf Virchow was the founder of cellular pathology, while Robert Koch developed vaccines for anthrax, cholera, and tuberculosis.
Berlin has two international airports , one is Tegel Airport (TXL) is situated within the city limits and Schönefeld Airport (SXF) is located just outside Berlin’s south-eastern border in the state of Brandenburg.
The Berlin wall doesn’t need any introduction, it is the symbol of the Cold War and for Berlin it is frozen in time even though it is down.
There are still lines on the floor throughout the city as a reminder where it was the Wall in the past so you can stay on the line and look at the east and west sides.
In fact at Checkpoint Charlie you can buy peaces of the actual Berlin Wall in the souvenir shop across the street.
By the way take the Hop-On-Hop-Off tour of both red and green lines , with live speaker if possible instead of headset, for a better explanation and a little personality.
5) Budapest – Hungary
Lets jump right in and mention a few of the cool things Hungarians are known for.
Erno Rubik was the creator of the famous Rubik’s Cube, a toy every child is (or should) be aware of. It is so fun and addictive that there are even world competitions for “How fast can a person make a rubik cube?” In Prague I saw in a game shop even harder level cubes with 9 or even 12 layers and combinations. That’s just crazy.
Other inventions are the noiseless match by János Irinyi and the krypton electric bulb by Imre Bródy.
Language is very interesting coming from the Huns which settled in year 1000 in Panonnia and the closest language relative is the Finnish and Estonian.
If you look at the education it is a known fact that the literacy degree is 99%.
Budapest is a very wonderful city and here are a few things you can see, one of them is the Parliament building (3rd largest building in the world).
The Chain Bridge is an old monument with lions in each side. It is used for transportation of cars and people. In Buda (Budapest was split in Buda and Pesta in the past) there is the so called Fisherman’s Bastion ( a 17th century fortress). It is so well managed that it looks new. Also it looks like it is made of sand. At the top there is a elevator that puts you there so you can enjoy it together with your family.
Random fun fact about Hungary is that Hungarians have the highest tax in the world at 38.3% of their annual income.
If you are interested in what exactly to do in Budapest check out my other article in more detail Things To Do In Budapest
6) Prague – Czech Republic
Prague is a magical city. I am not saying this just because I live here and I decided to spend the rest of my life here. Whoever takes the time to explore it , will be rewarded with hundreds of interesting places and feelings.
Personally I came first to Prague when I was 15-16 (just passing through) and I immediately said to myself “This is a place where I want to live” , even though I didn’t know much about it at the time.
I will later write an article about Prague itself and Brno (second largest city in Czech Republic) but for now let me tell you a little about the things one can do in the capital.
Go to NaPlavka : in summer is the best since a lot of food festivals are entertaining the people who drink usually bear on the edge of River Vltava. There is a small beach on the second part of Vltava close to Smichov (and where you can see swans), but generally majority of people are having fun on the Karlovo Namesty side of the river.
If you just follow the street you will eventually end up on Charles Bridge (the most important bridge in Prague and world famous). Tourists are crawling all day no matter the weather but it is still charming, especially in Winter. The statues that flank the left and right of it are under spotlights and that gives a cool feeling of mystery.
Moving along with the people you will enter the Old Town filled with restaurants and souvenir shops from where you can buy wooden toys, sweets or other goodies.
If you like shopping in general there are options like Paladium (multi level mall) or Van Graff (just with clothes). I usually go there but again, it is filled with tourists so maybe sometimes is better to choose the hour.
Prague castle is a very nice place to spend your weekend, the view (day or night) is amazing, cannot get tired of taking pictures from up, where you can see the whole city.
Speaking about heights Petrin is for you, it looks like a mini Eiffel Tower , it even lights in the evening.
For restaurants there are plenty of Asian, Indian or Czech to choose from and the prices are really good (smaller than in majority of western capitals). So good news here 🙂
Large crowds are gathered in the old town’s astronomical clock that sings every hour and has a few decorations including a skeleton which reminds people of passing time.
Enough about Prague for now. Lets continue with the south of Europe. Rome.
7) Rome – Italy
The home of the Colloseum, the Pantheon and Roman Forum, Rome is an authentic gate to history. Both modern and ancient, the capital or Italy is one of the top European destinations, which I strongly encourage to visit.
The hotels are very good, service as well and my advice, take a city center one so you won’t lose time moving around from the outscurts , especially if you stay for 3 days.
Eat pizza, icecream or drink wine. This was my mottoo all the way and it worked. I feel like I really tasted Rome by going to good restaurants, taking site seeing tours and walking (like we always do) tens of Km’s everyday. So another advice would be to take some good shoes , comfortable as well because you will surely need it.
Italians have excellent icecream so we experimented with a couple, one in particular stuck out, it is a Magnum icecream shop near the Trevi Fountain. It was one of the tastiest sweets I ever had plus it looked amazing with the topping and sprinkles 😀
If you are in Rome, go to Vatican, enter the St. Peter’s Basilica , I cannot express how huge it is (church in church really). One tip is to buy the skip the line ticket from the sellers in front of the 300 meters queue. Don’t be afraid that they’ll run with your money, it saved us lots of time and trouble.
Near to Vatican there is Castel Sant’Angelo, a very interesting building where you can explore the in’s and out’s of roman life. Very cool place was Altare della Patria, a very imposing building with a great view and big birds (live ones) that guard it. I took lots of pictures in the evening from the top of the stairs.
No matter where you go in Rome there is always lots of car traffic (be careful with the semaphores and without) because the cars and motorcycles are crazy. Maybe there is an unspoken traffic rule between drivers and pedestrians but it looked like chaos to me. So I feel lucky that I survived this experience 🙂
That is the roundup of the first chapter of our Ultimate Traveling The World Guide 2017.
It is so exciting to speak about new places and to really really explore them in depth. I feel that this article will become EPIC and will help travelers who haven’t decided on where to go next.
If you have any questions or tips please leave them in the comment section and lets have a chat about what should I add or what should I improve so it will benefit all who seek travel advice.
Also it would be very nice if you could share this article about Best Places To Visit with as many people as you think.
Thank you all and see you next time