As our year in Europe wounds down, we took a moment to reflect on things we would recommend to others. Here’s our best-of list!
Best by destination type
Up-and-coming: Lisbon, Portugal
Romantic get-a-way: Bruges, Belgium
Friendliest people: tie Edinburgh, Scotland and Lisbon, Portugal
Budget-friendly: Budapest, Hungary (the currency exchange will test your math abilities, though!)
Best by activity/site
Hike: Chocolate-cheese trail from Broc to Gruyeres (official site and blog)
Food tour: tie Lisbon’s Eat Portugal food tours (site) and Les Pastras truffle hunting in Provence, France (site)
Multi-day tour: Top Desert trip to the Merzouga Dunes in Morocco (site)
Festival: tie Munich’s Oktoberfest and Valencia’s Las Fallas
Market: tie Marrakech, Morocco souks and Portobello Rd Market in London
Street art: Bristol, UK
Park: Gulliver’s Park in the Turia Riverbed in Valencia, Spain (site)
Bike ride: Bruges, Belgium to Damme along the canal (best in Fall)
Hotel: tie Hotel Iglú in Andorra (site) and the Red Rock’s House in Miravet (site)
Castle: tie Carcassonne, France (site) and Pena National Palace in Sintra, Portugal (site)
Bridge: Puento Nuevo in Ronda, Spain (site)
Lake: Lake Como, Italy
Pastry: Nata (Portugal) (eclairs from Fauchon in Paris were a close second)
Best of Barcelona
Lunch: Amelie on the Placa de Vila de Gracia square (site)
Dinner: La Pubilla (site)
Brunch: Flax and Kale (site)
Patatas bravas: Elsa y Fred (site)
Sangria: Casa Lolea (site)
Cava: Can Paixano (site)
Cocktails: La Confitería (site)
Festival: Festa Major de Gracia (site)
Viewpoint: Bunkers of Carmel (site)
Rooftop bar: Majestic Hotel
Beach: Montgat Beach (don’t forget to check out the inflatable water park there – site)
Underrated architecture site: Sant Pau Hospital (site)
Concert venue: Check the La Pedrera website for rooftop concerts offered in the summertime or Classictic for classical concerts in old gothic churches around the city
Neighborhood: Vila de Gracia (metro stop Fontana, walk down Calle Verdi) [also Sarria is a good choice, walk down Carrer Major de Sarria)]
Souvenir shop: Inside College of Architects of Catalonia (site)
Day trip: tie Montserrat and Girona
Medieval village in Catalonia: tie Besalu and Castellfollit de la Roca
Dish to try: Galician Style Octopus
You forgot “Best Cupcakes and home made jam” 🙂
Haha riiiight? That place was my jam. Get it? Get it?
PS – that’s quite an amazing list; what a year!
You two have had so many adventures together. You and Grant are going to be 85 one day in your rocking chairs high-fiving each other about that sweet year abroad you did.
Also, Meg, to ease your transition. I’ve already located you a nata spot in San Francisco. It’s in the Mission (of course). One review says, “The pastel de Nata are comparable to the original from Belem, Portugal, home of the creation.” We’re going to have to add this to the list for when I come to visit next. Exploratorium, Alcatraz, and now Cafe St. Jorge.
Oh my gosh, BEST.FIND.EVER.!!! Also, I feel like a total punk, because that was literally a 10 minute walk from where we used to live and right next to a restaurant I have been to before. Rookie mistake, Meg, rookie mistake.
Man! Every time I read your blog, I kick myself for not uprooting my life immediately and flying abroad! What an awesome year you’ve had and I love the way you’ve captured it on the blog. You guys are doing it right. I can’t wait to see you soon!
Yes, it will be fun to catch up! I highly recommend dropping it all to travel 🙂
I’m glad I got to make some of the “Best of Barcelona” with you! Miss ya’ll! Let’s maybe try to be in the same country at the same time some time in the near future!
Miss you too, sis! Yes, you helped us discover some of the Best of Barcelona! I see a West Coast reunion in our future…