In the last ten years I have visited many cities. Thinking back to these visits I realize there are so many cities I love for many different reasons – some for the history, some for the culture and art, many for the food and the people.
But there are a few cities that stand out it in my mind. Cities I would love to visit again. Here they are and why:
Prague is one of the most picturesque cities I have visited. Words cannot describe how beautiful the Old Town of Prague is. You can endlessly wander the cobble streets taking in the Old-World charm. The Old Town square has to be one of Europe’s most beautiful sights. We visited Prague a few days after Christmas and the Christmas market’s decorations just enhanced the beauty of the square. The Prague Castle is the largest ancient castle in the world, and to me one of the most gorgeous. But my favourite landmark in Prague must be the Charles Bridge. This 600-year-old bridge is the perfect spot for a romantic stroll. And if a romantic atmosphere is what you are looking for then you will love Kampa Island with its beautiful views and quirky art. I love all the history Prague has to offer, but there are also a great number of modern places of interest. One of my favourites is the Prague Dancing House. This building resembles, and was inspired by, two dancers – the immortally famous duo of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers.
Three must DO’S: What I love most about Prague is the many weird and quirky things to see and to do.
- Stop and watch the fantastic moving display of the Astronomical Clock. The clock dates back to 1410 making it the third oldest astronomical clock in the world and the oldest still in operation.
- If quirky is your thing be sure to take the short train ride to the neighbouring city of Kutná Hora. This quint city is home to the tragically beautiful Sedlec Ossuary. This little church is decorated with the bones of 30 000 plague victims.
- Be sure to spend some time at The Lennon Wall. Since the 1980’s this wall has been filled with John Lennon-inspired graffiti, lyrics from Beatles’songs, and designs concerning local and global causes.
Don’t leave before EATING this: You have to drink beer while in Prague and especially Pilsner Urquell (Praque and the Czech Republic is known for it). Be sure to book a table at restaurant Lokal for great Czech cuisine and beer. Prague is also the perfect place to taste the absinthe. Make sure to visit a good Absintherie while in the city.
Being a history nerd, foodie, and art lover, I loved every minute we spent in Barcelona. To me Barcelona is a very elegant city. It is famous for its impressive history, culture, monuments, fantastic architecture, museums, galleries, and interesting people. I love the city’s vibe and energy. This energy is very tangible on the La Rambla, one of Europe’s most famous and busy streets. The La Rambla is home to one of my favourite places on earth – the colourful Boqueria Market. This is FOODIE HEAVEN. I could have literally spent a whole day there just taking in all the Catalan flavours and smells.
Three must DO’S:
- If you visit only one tourist attraction in Barcelona it has to be the Sagrada Familia. This unfinished cathedral designed by Antoni Gaudí is magnificent. It is difficult to capture it in words – beautiful, sacred, quirky, and a little crazy. I left the Sagrada Familia speechless. I am definitely planning on returning in 2026 to see the finished church.
- Even if you are not a soccer fan a tour of the F.C Barcelona Nou Stadium, home to the Barca’s, is worthwhile.
- Visiting Monserrat was one of my highlights. The mountain is famous for its unusual appearance and the Benedictine monastery of Santa maria de Montserrat. It affords you the most spectacular mountain views of Catalunya. Be sure to enter the basilica to get a glimpse of the famous Black Madonna.
Don’t leave before EATING this: Tapas. Take a long afternoon nap and then about 21:00 head out to a local bar for tapas. Try as many as you can…believe me you won’t be sorry.
It was love at first sight for me. Ever since I stepped out on the Champs Elysées, I knew I was going to love this city. Although Paris is big, busy, and expensive you can’t help but love it. It is beautiful, vibrant, and filled with history. And don’t forget the food. I have visited Paris twice and during both visits I fell into bed with aching feet at night, because without realizing it we had walked between 12 and 20 mesmerizing kilometres every day.
Three must DO’S:
- Pick up a baguette from a local bakery, as well as some cheese and fresh fruit from a local market and have a picnic at one of the city’s beautiful parks. My two favourites are Jardin de Luxembourg and very cool Parc de la Villette.
- When in Paris do the touristy thing and visit the museums, beautiful cathedrals, and sights. You won’t regret it. Make sure to spend some time wandering through Montmartre. While enjoying the interesting art be sure to enjoy a crepe.
- Get the view. Whether it is on top of the Eiffel tower, the Champs Elysées or the Notre Dame (not sure if you can now), make sure you see this amazing city from above.
Don’t leave before EATING this: A bowl of French brown onion soup. I had the best onion soup at a small café right behind the very cool Centre Pompidou. And you can’t leave Paris without eating at least a dozen macarons (be warned you must budget for this).
I promised myself I would visit Salzburg again, as we only spent one day there. It was New Year’s Eve, and it was a day, actually a night, to remember. I found Salzburg very endearing. It is of course the birthplace of W.A. Mozart and the filming location for the ‘The Sound of Music’.
Three must DO’S:
- Just stroll through the streets of the Old Town and enjoy this charming city.
- Visit Mozart’s birthplace.
- Plan your trip so you can waltz into the New Year! Although it was freezing, we partied with thousands of people on one of the town squares. When the clock struck 12 ‘The Blue Danube’ started playing and we waltzed under a sky lit up by the most beautiful fireworks. It truly was a magical evening.
Don’t leave before EATING this: You must try the Salzburger Nockerl. This lemony Soufflé served on a berry compote is not everyone’s scene, but considering it is an iconic Austrian dish I felt compelled to try it. And I liked a lot (my hubby not so much).
Some cities blast you away, others slowly win you over. It is said that Seville disarms and seduces you – and I couldn’t agree more.
I spent one of the best afternoons of my life in Seville. After spending the morning at the Seville Cathedral, we decided to wander the streets of Seville for the rest of the day. We hadn’t gone very far when we entered a small square with the most beautiful bubbling fountain. We looked around for a place to sit and enjoy the tranquility of the space. On the corner of the square there was a little restaurant. And when I say little, I am not exaggerating. There were three tables and six chairs. Although nobody spoke English, we managed to order the best Paella I have ever eaten. Many hours, and pitchers of Sangria, later we reluctantly left the restaurant sad that this perfect afternoon had come to an end.
Three must DO’S:
- Visit the Seville Cathedral, Santa Maria de la Sede. This Gothic Cathedral is the largest in the world and recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage site. While visiting this stunning building be sure to try and spot the wooden crocodile which hangs from the ceiling in the corner of the Courtyard of the Oranges beside the cathedral.
- The Metropol Parasol, locally known as ‘The Mushrooms’ is one of Seville’s iconic modern landmarks and a must visit when in Seville. It is said to be the world’s largest wooden-framed structure and it affords the most amazing views of the city.
- Our day visit to Córdoba was definitely a highlight of our time in Seville. The city has a rich and interesting history. It was an important Roman city and a major Islamic centre in the Middle Ages. It is best known for La Mezquita, an immense mosque dating from 784 A.D that later became a Catholic church. While in Córdoba also be sure to visit the Alcázar of Córdoba.
Don’t leave before EATING this: Paella, and of course Sangria. This foodie is very disappointed (and a little ashamed) that I missed out on Bull’s tails and Flamenquines while in Seville.
It is difficult to say exactly why Rome is one of my favourite cities. It could be the 280 fountains or the more than 900 churches. Or its history, art, architecture, and beauty. Or perhaps it’s the gelato and pasta. I am not sure – but I love it!
If you love history and food, then Rome is the place for you. Sure, Rome is large, busy, and bursting with tourists, but what big city isn’t?
Three must DO’S:
- When in Rome…do all the touristy things and visit the ancient monuments (Colosseum, The Forum and Palatine Hill). You won’t regret it.
- I absolutely loved our tour of the Vatican Museum and the Sistine Chapel.
- Get yourself a pistachio gelato and stroll through the less touristy areas.
Don’t leave before EATING this: Cacio e Pepe.You have to eat this iconic pasta dish at least once while in Rome. “Cacio” is the local word for Pecorino Romano, a salty, aged sheep’s milk cheese, while “pepe” means black pepper. And don’t forget to wash it down with a few glasses of Italian red wine of course.
I adore Firenze. For me it is one of the most charming cities in Tuscany – if not all of Italy. Florence is a magical city where you can immerse yourself in history, art and architecture. Even though it’s a city, it is calmer than Italy’s other equally touristy spots.
Three must DO’S:
- Visit the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore. Be sure to put enough time aside to climb the 414 steps to the top of the dome. The view of Florence is breath-taking.
- Visit the Uffizi and Accademia galleries (I know it is touristy, but you must see Michelangelo’s David). I remember walking down the hallway towards him feeling quite emotional).
- Give yourself enough time to stroll the piazzas and cross the Ponte Vecchio.
Don’t leave before EATING this: GELATO! While touring through Italy I made a point to eat gelato in every city and town we visited. The gelato I bought opposite the cathedral was some of the best I had in Italy.
8. Cape Town
I can’t say exactly how many times I have been to Cape Town, but it’s in the double digits and I never get bored with this beautiful city. Its natural beauty, people and the relaxed atmosphere always make my visits memorable. Walk along the famous boardwalk along Muizenberg Beach, visit Robben Island where Nelson Mandela spent 27 years behind bars, or just relax on the beach. Cape Town has so much to offer.
Three must DO’S:
- Head up Table Mountain and Lion’s Head to soak up the city’s iconic view.
- Wander through the historic neighbourhood of the Bo-Kaap with its brightly painted houses.
- Visit Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden. Kirstenbosch is acclaimed as one of the great botanical gardens of the world. While you are there be sure to walk along ‘The Boomslang’ – a sculptural raised walkway with the most amazing views of the garden, surrounding mountains and the Cape flats.
Don’t leave before EATING this: Koesisters (Cape Malay doughnuts) and South African wine, a lot of it =)
Now that I have been fully vaccinated, I cannot wait to start traveling again. I am dying to visit my eight favourite cities again, but also explore new cities. What cities would you love to visit again?
Here’s to traveling again…and safely.