Why it’s great: Skyscrapers and boat taxis
When you should go: Spring
What you should do: Rotterdam as a ton of museums some of which focus on German occupation during WWII. Also, The Euromast is a great place to get a wonderful view of the town! From the top you can see all of the canals, the various structures, and layout of the city. The Cubed Houses are WILD! People actually live in those square homes. I enjoyed spending time resting by the canals. I created me a space in the grass and on a bench watching people walk by and soaking up the sun.
Belfast, Northern Ireland
Why it’s great: So. Much. History.
When you should go: Year-round! The only time I would recommend exercising caution would be in the summer months. July and August can be a little difficult for the people of Belfast for political reasons. I visited Belfast for the first time in July and it was great! Just remember that this is a city overcoming a very recent history. Be respectful.
What you should do: Black Taxi Cab Tour and Titanic Museum. Outside of Belfast is the beauty of Northern Ireland. The Morne Mountains, Giant’s Causeway, and so many other natural beauties. It’s arguable that Ulster (the northern county) is the most beautiful county in all of Ireland. At least, I think it is!
Why it’s great: Small town with winding roads and a giant castle on a rock. Does it get much better than that?
When you should go: The summer! It’s beautiful and warm! And the students are away (it’s a college town).
What you should do: The Wallace Monument, the University of Stirling, Battle of Bannockburn site, Stirling Bridge, and Stirling Castle. I cannot speak highly enough of Stirling Castle. It’s not as big as the Edinburgh Castle, but it may be a better layout and presentation. The staff has labored away to recreate as much of the ancient castle to its original setting as possible. They have even replaced the stucco (basically) on the outside of the castle!! Oh it’s incredible. The staff answered all of my nosy questions with a smile and wore traditional clothing, which always helps to make for a better experience!
Why it’s great: Adventure town at the foothills of the Alps
When you should go: Depends on what type of activities you like! Great for year-round travel! They have snow stuff for the winter and canyoning in the river in the summer. It really is perfect year-round!
What you should do: Skiing, paragliding, canyoning, hiking, yodeling, exploring, snow boarding, etc. Interlaken is an outdoorsy person’s dream come true! You can do just about any kind of activity you put your mind to. When my friends and I visited, it was July. We canyoned in the river. I’m terrified of heights, but I was able to force myself off a 20ft cliff! We also did a ropes coarse. Again, I’m afraid of heights, but I willed myself to walk high ropes and climb in and out of trees and sail on zip lines.
The Schilthorn is a viewing platform at the top of the Alps. You’ll take a train through mountain villages and cable cars to the top, but the journey is absolutely worth it. I remember having my breath taken away, and if you have learned anything about me reading my blog, it’s that I can talk a lot. The Swiss Alps are amazing.
Why it’s great: Um, it’s in the Arctic Circle? Soooo.. Literally the top of the world.
When you should go: December-February (high season) for the Northern Lights and June-July for the Midnight Sun
What you should do: Winter – dog sledding, chase the Northern Lights, ski, snow board. Summer – Midnight Sun Marathon, hiking, boating. I visited Tromsø in February, and the weather actually wasn’t all that cold! Granted, the girl I met told me it hadn’t snowed in two months which was strange for them, but I’m not one to complain. Wandering around town was my favorite. I was able to see a reindeer race, walk onto a massive yacht, and ski. At night, I joined a Northern Lights tour and rode a dog sledge.
Why it’s great: Right across the bay from Copenhagen, has the tallest building in Sweden, and the biggest mall in Northern Europe
When you should go: Summer is nice and warm while winter is nice and cold. It’s a toss up.
What you should do: The Emporia is the largest mall in northern Europe. I remember walking around with Matilda in awe at the number of floors and stoors in it. It’s very easy to get lost, so be careful! The beach is relaxing but has very cold water. And Copenhagen is right across the bay! There’s a tunnel that goes underneath the water for cars and the train to make transport between the cities easy.