Vilnius is a small city full of friendly people, great nightlife, and interesting sites. It’s a small city, everything is easily done within a day, but the nightlife and cheap accommodation makes staying a few extra nights worth it. Because Lithuania is so small, Vilnius serves as a great central hub to explore the countryside from.
Bordeaux city is the central hub of the wine region of Bordeaux and France’s sixth largest city. The region is packed with thousands of vineyards of all different sizes and production levels. The city itself offers a chance to dive into the wine culture and sample selections from wineries throughout the region in one of the many wine bars. The city is centered around wine, but there are still plenty of non-wine related activities. I didn’t do any of them, but I’m sure they’re great.
Just under an hour Northwest from Paris in the small town of Giverny is the home of one of the greatest artists of all time, Claude Monet. I’ve been a fan of his for as long as I can remember. My parents hung prints of his work in my nursery and I’ve made a point to see his work in every country I visit. After seeing everything I wanted to see in Paris, I escaped the city for a day to discover more about the father of impressionism.
Officially “born” in February of 2008, Kosovo is still a relatively new country. After the wars in 1999, it was governed under transitional UN leadership until it formally declared independence. It is now recognized by 112 countries including most of its neighbors, but not Serbia. Things are still a bit tense between Kosovo and Serbia, at the border and within the country. Not everyone in Kosovo supported independence and groups of ethnic Serbs still remain in the country. Although tensions remain, all the people I met were friendly, helpful, and excited to have tourists in their country. Kosovo is safe and primed for tourism, as long as know what to expect.
Not long ago, Mostar was the front line, split in half with Croatian forces on one side and Serbian forces on the other. Since then, it has become an international city. The first people I met who live in Mostar were two high school students, one from California, and one from Mozambique, attending the international high school. Every year tourists from all over the world flock to the city for the Red Bull Cliff Diving Competition, where competitors leap of the UNESCO protected bridge. Despite its new found international appeal, when you walk down the street you can still see the scars of the war. Bullet holes riddle old buildings and plants grow free. To understand Mostar is to experience all of its history, both painful and joyful.
Prague is a city with something for everyone. Budget friendly beer, family friendly museums, and a skyline for everyone. Whether you have a few days or a few weeks, there is always something to do in the world renowned Czech capital. We visited this city coming off our Oktoberfest high, and were exhausted. Prague rejuvenated us and stimulated our senses. The smell of warm street food fills your nose in the center square and every crevasse of every building is decorative and visually interesting.
Neuschwanstein is world famous for its fairy-tale like architecture. This stunning castle, tucked into the mountains of Bavaria, inspired Disney’s Cinderella castle. The castle is about a 2 hour train ride from Munich right outside Füssen. There are several day tours you can take from Munich to the castle, but it’s cheaper and easy to go on your own. We planned our trip with help from this article by The Wallet Diet. Check out Christine’s article for detailed information.