10 Countries on my Bucket List
It's been a while since I've taken a trip anywhere and I'm definitely feeling up for an adventure. While I work on saving up my travel fund, I figured that I should start writing out a list of the top 10 places I want to visit.
- Reason: Growing up, I dreamed that my life would be like Lena's from the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. Even though I'm not artistic like Lena and have yet to find my Kostos, Greece has been my top destination since the movie was released and my desire to travel there has only grown stronger in recent years. I even took an ancient Greek language course in my first year of university.
- Sights to see: Santorini caldera, Acropolis of Athens, Parthenon and Mykonos island
- Foods to try: Spanakopita, feta cheese, tiganita, souvlaki and tzatziki
- Things to do: Go island hopping, check out museums, take in the costal views and enjoy cocktails and dancing at local bars
- Reason: Ireland is another destination that has been on my list for as long as I can remember. Aside from being a sucker for an Irish accent, I'm also drawn to the scenic views and friendly locals.
- Sights to see: Cliffs of Moher, Dingle Peninsula, Blarney Castle, Chester Beatty Library, National Botanic Gardens, Dublin Writers Museum, Guinness Storehouse and Hook Lighthouse
- Foods and drinks to try: Irish stews, boxty potato pancakes, soda bread and Guinness stout
- Things to do: Hike along the cliffs, explore castles, hang out in a local pub and do a brewery tour
3. South Africa
- Reason: I never really though about South Africa as a travel destination until I watched Blue Crush 2 (yes, they made a second film and yes, I watched it and loved it). What is amazing about South Africa is that you can find a great balance of scenic nature and busy cities.
- Sights to see: Kruger National Park, Table Mountain National Park, Lion's Head, Mandela House and the Johannesburg Botanical Garden
- Foods and drinks to try: Hertzoggie, boeber and wine from Cape Town
- Things to do: Go on a safari, surf the coast, climb Table Mountain and check out local artwork
- Reason: As the home of the macaron, France already has a place in my heart. Visiting Paris specifically is also a dream of mine, as I've had my room decorated in a Paris theme for the past few years.
- Sights to see: Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, Arc de Triomphe, Versailles Palace, Loire Valley, French Riviera and the Luxembourg Garden
- Foods and drinks to try: Macarons, coq au vin, lobster bisque, crêpes, crème brûlée, eclairs and Bordeaux wine
- Things to do: Grab some wine from a local vineyard, explore cathedrals, visit museums, people-watch while sipping coffee at a cafe and indulge in fresh pastries and baguettes
- Reason: I would love to have the opportunity to visit my German friends from my semester abroad. I find travelling is always more interesting when you can get a local perspective!
- Sights to see: Berlin Wall, Cologne Cathedral, Nuremberg and Heidelberg Castles, Marienplatz and the English Garden
- Foods and drinks to try: Döner, streusels, schnitzel, bratkartoffeln and local beers
- Things to do: Take part in Oktoberfest in Munich and Kölner Karneval (Cologne Carnival), check out the Christmas Market in Nuremberg and enjoy a beer in each city
6. New Zealand
- Reason: Not only am I interested in checking out architecture and trying new food, but my adventurous spirit draws me to somewhere where I can do outdoor activities and spend some time in nature. Between waterfalls, lakes, glaciers and mountains, New Zealand is a great spot to check out gorgeous scenery and try new activities.
- Sights to see: Tangariro National Park, Fox Glacier, Christchurch Botanic Gardens, Waitomo Glowworm Caves and Huka Falls
- Foods and drinks to try: Pavlova, lolly cake, fish and chips and local wines
- Things to do: Kayaking, ziplining, rafting, hiking and checking out museums and art galleries
- Reason: I've always been fascinated by the architecture in the Netherlands, the canals that run through Amsterdam and the unique culture. Biking alongside the canal sounds like an ideal way to spend the day to me.
- Sights to see: Heineken brewery, Rijksmuseum, Keukenhof, the Anne Frank House, Royal Palace of Amsterdam and Museum Speelklok
- Foods and drinks to try: Appeltaart, stroopwafels, hagelslag on bread and Heineken beer
- Things to do: Bike along the canals, stroll through flower gardens, visit the Anne Frank House, explore museums and grab a beer at the Heineken brewery
- Reason: Every one of my friends who has visited Iceland has only had amazing things to say about the country. I've always wanted to see the geysers and glaciers in real life and relax in the hot springs there.
- Sights to see: Blue Lagoon, Golden Circle, the National Museum of Iceland, Dynjandi Walking Trails and waterfalls and the National Gallery of Iceland
- Foods and drinks to try: Skyr, pönnukökur, fresh fish, skúffukaka and brennivín schnapps
- Things to do: Watch the geysers erupt, explore glaciers and ice caves, chill out in a geothermal spa and keep an eye out for the Northern Lights
- Reason: When I came back from my semester abroad, so many people asked me how my time in Switzerland was (because they mixed it up with Sweden - where I actually went). While I didn't actually get a chance to visit, it's always been on my list. I feel like Switzerland is a very underrated country for travellers, but it offers so much for visitors such as gorgeous scenery like the Alps, delicious food and outdoor activities. And if that's not enough, it was also rated as the happiest country on the planet in 2015!
- Sights to see: The Swiss Alps, Jungfrau mountain, Chillon Castle, Lake Geneva, Rhine Falls, Kunsthaus Zürich (art gallery) and the Ballenberg museum
- Foods and drinks to try: Cheese fondue, Swiss chocolate, rösti, saffron risotto, zopf bread and fruit brandy
- Things to do: Take the Bernina Express train across the Alps, go skiing on one of the many mountains, take a scenic hike and chow down on cheese and chocolate
- Reason: While this is the only Asian country on my list, there are many more that I would like to visit including South Korea and Thailand. Japan is just somewhere I've always wanted to visit because of it's rich culture, gorgeous flowers and unique architecture. It would also be lovely to visit my Japanese friends from my semester abroad as they were the sweetest people who shared their culture with us and one night they even taught us how to make tempura.
- Sights to see: Kinkaku-ji temple, Mount Fuji, Himeji Castle, Osaka Castle and the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building
- Foods and drinks to try: Tempura, ramen, udon noodles, miso soup, sake and green tea
- Things to do: Explore the gardens, go for a ride on a bullet train, visit temples and castles, go hiking, sing karaoke and do plenty of taste testing
While this is far from an extensive list of activities to do and food to try in each country, these are just a few of the things I want to try when I get the opportunity to travel to any of these 10 countries.
Which countries have you been to? What do you recommend seeing, eating or doing while there? What other countries do you recommend travelling to? Let me know in the comments below!
Until next time,