Photos & Highlights

1. Spain & Balearic Islands

Tapas, flamenco dancers, sangrias, bull riding. How much more exciting can a country get? While there’s still many places to explore and uncover, I certainly enjoyed my time perusing the markets and watching the street performers on Las Ramblas as well as admiring the eccentric architectural designs of Gaudi scattered all over the city of Barcelona. The Balearic islands such as Palma Mallorca and Ibiza offer as many late nights as they do beautiful beaches. Spain will definitely deserve some additional travel time in my book, and will be a place that I can’t wait to return to. My next stop will be to the south, with a stop in Seville and Andalucia before I hop a ferry over to Morocco!

2. French Riviera & Corsica

From the miles of coastline and shopping in Nice to the glamorous ports of Saint Tropez and Cannes, you’re sure to spot someone rich or famous somewhere along the Cote d’Azur. Some of my favorite places were a little off the beaten track, such as the medieval village of Eze, sitting high on a mountain top overlooking the beautiful blue waters of the mediterranean sea. The sheer cliffs of Bonifacio on the island of Corsica were absolutely stunning, and I still wonder how they carved all those stairs in one night! I can understand why so many holidays are spent in the south of France and I still have yet to find a better tasting “pain au chocolat” anywhere else in the world.

3. Monaco

It’s considered part of the French Riviera, has its own principality, and besides the Vatican it is one of the smallest “countries” in the world. Unless you are among the rich and famous, it’s not a place that’s easy on the wallet, but stopping through for a day or two can give you plenty to do, from relaxing in the Japanese gardens inspired by princess Grace, to watching an English movie under the stars near the palace, or trying your luck in one of the casinos and rubbing shoulders with James Bond. There’s quite a lot packed in this little country, but just make sure to ask the locals where the elevators are throughout the city, or you’re going to be climbing quite a few stairs! If you want to make your drinking budget last, Rascasse bar along the port offers a happy hour until 11pm (half price on all drinks!)

4. Islands of Italy

When you think of Italy, you usually think of the Colisium in Rome, the Vatican, shopping in Milan, and of course having the cliché picture taken holding up the tower of Pisa. I experienced Italy a little differently, stopping briefly in glamorous Portofino and finding my way into the Cinque Terre, to the tiny island of Elba (where Napoleon was brieflly imprisoned) on to the rugged and nearly untouched island of Sardinia, and finally to Sicily, where I saw my first erupting volcano ever in my life. A country with so much history couldn’t possibly be experienced in one trip, but the gelato will keep me coming back again and again. I can’t wait to spend some quality time on the mainland and eat my way through Italy!

5. Malta

A tiny diamond that’s sparkles in the southern part of the mediterranean sea (below Sicily and just off the coast of Tunisia Africa.) It is rich in history from WW2 to archeological sites that date further back than the pyramids, medieval villages, and a paradise for divers, with sunken ships scattered around the coastline. Its warm climate and sunny beaches as well as active night life in places like St Julian and Paceville make it an ideal place for a holiday getaway. Highlights for me included a short ferry ride to Gozo where I took a tour to some of the ruins, snorkeled on the red beaches near Marsalforn and sampled some of the wine from the many vineyards. Transportation is extremely inexpensive, costing 50 euro cents to one euro to get nearly anywhere on the island by bus, and private unmarked taxi’s charging between ten and twenty euros. So many things to explore in such a tiny place, and definitely worth a visit!

6. Croatia

7. Montenegro

I can’t even begin to describe the beauty I found in this country where the ocean meets the sea, and yes the rumors are true, there are plenty of tall people there! Situated in the south of Europe just across the boot of Italy, it shares the warm climate of the mediterranean, but some of the culture of Eastern Europe. The hike to the top of the fortress in old town Kotor near the coast will take your breath away (especially if you are a little out of shape.) I feel blessed that I got to experience the country both by land and sea as there is nothing more peaceful than sailing through the fjords in the morning fog. The party town of Budva which sits on the Adriatic is also well-known, and the resort island of Sveti Stefan is quickly becoming a top resort destination of the rich and famous. If I were to make any suggestion, I would say to come here before it becomes too popular (which could ruin the natural beauty and charm.)

8. Holland

9. Belgium

10.Germany

11. Chzech Republic

11. Poland

12. Slovakia

13. Hungary

14. Scotland

15. Ireland

16. Israel

17. Palestine

18. Jordan

19. Egypt (Red Sea)

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