When someone asks you, ‘If you could travel anywhere in Europe, where would you go,’ how would you reply? The most common answer is Paris. I am here to help you reconsider the Paris dream destination through my personal experience.
Paris is rated the most visited city in Europe, and the Eiffel tower is the top tourist attraction. Over 30 million people visit Paris each year, resulting in an overload of trash and people. Personally, Paris was one of my least favorite places I have ever visited in Europe. Due to the lack of cleanliness throughout the city, the number of people that overcrowd the sidewalks and the traffic jammed into the streets. The sidewalks were filthy, and the grass was brown, trampled down and unsightly. Paris had few outstanding ice cream shops, obviously lowering it on my top places to visit.
On the other hand, my favorite city to visit in Europe has been Munich, Germany. Of all the cities I have visited in Europe, Munich is one of the cleanest, and also has the best ice cream. Victuals Market, in Munich, is a small hometown market with many options for souvenirs, food and of course, the best ice cream stands. Marienplatz, or the town square, contains abstract architecture and is one of the main tourist attractions.
Another overlooked city is Criccieth, Wales. This small town offers cozy bed and breakfasts only a block away from the beach, possessing a beautiful view of the Atlantic Ocean from your doorstep. Castle Criccieth, an old but historic castle, sits on the top of a central hill overlooking the town and the beach.
Vienna, Austria is another beautiful, historic city that brings in fewer visitors than Paris. The Schonbrunn Palace is the most popular place to visit in Vienna and was one of my favorite parts of the city. This palace contains massive outdoor gardens and the world’s oldest zoo. At the time, pandas were my favorite animal, making the zoo one of my favorite parts of my trip. There are only twenty-seven zoos outside of China containing pandas, and Vienna happens to be one of them! If you want to see a panda, visit Vienna. This city also contains many grand and intricate cathedrals encompassing lots of historical content.
The final place I would recommend is Budapest, Hungary. When you look up what to do in Budapest, the list may seem to only contain churches and historical buildings. However, I am here to assure you there is more to the city than you may think. My favorite activity that my family did in Budapest was going to the Szechenyi Thermal Baths. The Baths consisted of nine different pools, each containing a unique mineral dissolved into the water.
From my personal experience in these cities, each of them offers a far better experience than Paris. The markets and town square in Munich offer an eventful vacation, while the small town of Criccieth provides a hometown experience. Vienna has many large and ornate buildings, and Budapest contains many unique experiences. On your next visit to Europe, make sure to consider the road less traveled and tour these new and lesser-known destinations.