By Ashleigh Farrar and Marlee Newman
Prague is the perfect balance of romantic and gothic. You can’t help but dream about your childhood fantasy, Disney movie prince… but at the same time, if you had to pick a city to slay a giant dragon in, Prague would be it. Not into princes or dragon slaying? (c’mon…) You can still jam out at a 5 story club, eat delicious Trdelník dessert in the streets or walk across one of the most beautiful bridges in the world, Saint Charles bridge.
Prague is surprisingly cool because it has it all: Magnificent architecture, unreal night life, great food and rich history. So what if every word in Czech is 8 syllables with no vowels? A visit to Prague is well worth the journey and butchered pronunciation attempts.
Greece is to Kim Kardashian as Croatia is to Kendall Jenner. Greece is a little more famous… but Croatia is younger and hotter! Split brings so much to the table, and the best thing about it? Not many are at the table yet! Split isn’t overrun by tourists, and every corner is even more shockingly beautiful than the last. Another surprise? The seafood in Split! Croatia offers some of the best seafood around. You have not experienced calamari until you have it grilled on a giant platter in Split, Croatia. This isn’t your local Red Lobster. Fisherman go out early in the morning off the coast, and whatever they catch for the day is what is served at restaurants that night. Whether you’re walking through a beautiful palace, rafting down the Cetina River, or eating fresh seafood, Split has surprises around every corner.
- Interlaken: Switzerland
You’re probably thinking Swiss cheese, everyone walking around with skis, and unbelievable chocolate. Not far off… but Interlaken offers so much more. Imagine diving into one of those little Christmas, gingerbread house villages. Everything is cozy and charming but at the same time, Interlaken is the adventure capital of Europe (curveball?!). You can go skydiving, paragliding, canyoning, or of course, you can casually ski down the Swiss Alps. Between the picturesque mountain views and emerald green lakes, Interlaken is a hidden gem.
- Bruges and Brussels, Belgium
Brussels and Bruges do not get nearly enough attention. Beer, chocolate, waffles and French fries are delicacies. What more could we want? One of the biggest surprises in Brussels is Grand Place (grand platz), or the main square. It is stunningly beautiful and, at night, the whole square lights up as if the buildings are giant lanterns. Not impressed? Have a beer right around the corner at Delirium Bar with over 2000 different beers! Another great surprise is the fact that Brussels’s main monument is a tiny man pissing and no one knows why he’s famous. Instead of visiting it, you can spend all of your time drinking beer and eating waffles and write home to ma and pa about it guilt free.
And, waffles. This deserves its own section. Most people visit Brussels and order their fantasy Belgium waffle. Heaps of Nutella dripping over the sides, giant strawberries, walnuts, and bananas piled to the ceiling. BRACE YOURSELF: Brussels waffles are best completely plain. No hooplah needed. You think I’m crazy? I’m a “Nutella on everything” kinda girl but take my word on this one. About 30 minutes outside of Brussels you’ll find Bruges. Picture the most romantic city you’ve ever been to. It has the scenic canals of Venice and the charming beauty of Northern Europe. The best part? You can still grab greasy fries in a cone and a famous Leffe beer.
You probably have some preconceived notions about Amsterdam. Throw them out the window, and get ready for surprises on every street corner. Great shopping, amazing food, and beautiful parks.
Ah, the lifestyles of the rich and the famous. You’d probably expect to see celebrities and paparazzi on every corner, limos, and movie premiers in the most talked about city in The French Riviera. Sure, there is the occasional celebrity sighting and plenty of yachts cruising by, but there is also a lot of unexpected artsy-charm in Nice. The charming streets of “Old Nice” are lined with cute stores selling pastries, perfumes, and other knickknacks. At night the city lights up, and the streets fill with like-minded wine connoisseurs. The most unexpected thing about Nice is the people. I’m sure they have their handful of snooty residents, but the majority of the people you encounter in Nice are shockingly “nice.” It’s a breath of nice, French air in comparison to Paris.
History. Tons and tons of history. That’s what you’d expect in Berlin, right? Well you’re right. Berlin is filled with it. With all the WWII history centered in Berlin, you’d expect to see informational signs and museums on every corner. Shockingly, you have to dig a little deeper to really understand Berlin’s history. If you think about it, it makes sense. All these terrible, awful things happened in Berlin, do the residents really want to be reminded of that everyday? In no way is the city of Berlin attempting erase their history, they just aren’t screaming it at the top of their lungs. You’ll definitely be surprised when you’re standing in an apartment complex parking lot, learning that just below it was where Hitler’s bunker once stood. Besides the understated history in Berlin, there is also an up-and-coming alternative scene that is catching the eyes of young backpackers more and more each year. Because of the devastation Berlin underwent during WWII, a lot of the city is being rebuilt and is nearly all new. Its nothing like what you’d expect.