I am soo excited to be writing this post, because this really was the trip of a lifetime for me. It’s something that I’ve ALWAYS wanted to do, and not because backpacking through Europe is the “cool” thing to do, but because I’ve always been fascinated with travelling the world and learning about other cultures. It’s my goal in life to travel to each continent and to as many countries as possible. I wanted to start with Europe because I’ve ALWAYS been fascinated with European culture, and from the photos, it always seemed like the most beautiful and magical place ever!
When my husband and I were planning out this trip, we decided to spend 2 weeks travelling across 3 countries – France, Spain, and Italy – so that we had enough time to explore each place without feeling too rushed. We spent 4 days in Paris, 4 days in Barcelona, and 7 days travelling through Italy. It was the perfect amount of time in each city, and we were able to do SOO much! For the most part, we spent our days walking around the city to see the sites, hanging out at local cafes, and enjoying the culture – we even learned quite a few words and phrases in each language!
– Paris, France –
Paris was the first stop of our trip, and it was beautiful! Our first day was spent mostly catching up on sleep and adjusting to the time change – it’s a 6 hour difference from Toronto, and boy were we tired AF. On our remaining days, we went to see the Eiffel Tower (of course!), other main attractions, and spent the rest of the days wandering around the city and enjoying all of the cafes. The Eiffel Tower was beautiful, although it was far more gorgeous in the nighttime when it was all lit up. ESPECIALLY when they turn on the twinkling lights for 5 minutes every hour after dark. We waited around for about half an hour one evening to see the twinkling lights, and let me tell you those 5 minutes are soo worth the wait! It was absolutely gorgeous!
We also visited other popular sites such as the Château de Versailles, Arc de Triomphe (WOW!), the Notre-Dame de Paris, the Louvre Museum, and the Sacré-Coeur. OK, can I just say that the Sacré-Coeur Basilica is THE MOST stunning church I’ve EVERRR seen, and I’ve seen a lotttt of churches! It was absolutely gorgeous, both inside and out. In short, Paris was gorgeous and I loved that there were cafes literally everywhere! However, if I’m being totally truthful here, I must say that the food and hospitality was a bit underwhelming and my least favourite of the entire trip. In fact, I kind of felt like Paris on a whole is way over hyped for what it actually is. Now, I know some of you guys want to chew my head off right now, and I’m not saying that I didn’t like it because I totally did. I mean, come on, Paris has some pretty amazing things to see! But I don’t think it was quite the experience that I was hoping for. In other words, it wasn’t what all of my European dreams were made of. Those dreams did come to life later on in our trip though, so keep reading below!
– Barcelona, Spain –
From Paris, we took the EuRail to Barcelona. It was a bit of a rough start for me, since the language barrier was A LOT harder to navigate – most people didn’t speak a lick of English, except at tourist attractions which our hotel was nowhere near. However, once we figured out the metro system and bumped into a few kind people who we were able to communicate with effectively, we had an amazing time! I don’t think I’ve ever walked as much as I did in Spain (well, maybe in Rome). We walked for hours on hours on hours and visited everything from the Sagrada Família Church, Casa Milà, Sant Sebastià Beach, La Boqueria (a famous indoor public market which I loooovvvvved!), Camp Nou (aka the reason why my FC-loving husband wanted to come to Barcelona in the first placce) and the Plaça de Catalunya among other places.
My favourite part of Barcelona? La Rambla! It’s a 1.2 kilometer stretch that includes a famous tree-lined pedestrian walkway that is filled with tons of cafes and surrounded by historic buildings and attractions. It was GORGEOUS!! Anddd the very best part was Plaça Reial, which is a square that lies next to La Rambla and is a hot spot for tourists and night life. I could have stayed there ALL night because the vibe was just so relaxed yet fun! Before I wrap up this section on Barcelona, can we just take a second to appreciate Spanish Paella?!?! Just WOW. I swear that’s pretty much all I ate while we were in Barcelona because it was just too delicious not to. Overall, Barcelona was gorgeous and soooo fun!!
– Italy –
Remember when I said that Paris wasn’t what my European dreams were made of? Well Italy was everything plus MORE!! We spent a half day in Venice on our way from Barcelona to the Amalfi Coast and I have to say that Venice completely stole my heart in those short few hours. Everything was just so breathtakingly beautiful! That’s pretty much how I felt about all of the cities that we went to in Italy. We spent 3 days down at the Amalfi Coast in the cutest Bed & Breakfast ever. The host, “Mama”, made THE.MOST.DELICIOUS. Italian croissants everrr (who even knew they had their own version of a croissant?!). While we were there, we did a day trip to the island of Capri, and it was just WOW! In fact, the entire Amalfi Coast and surrounding towns were just so enchanting and magical with their pastel coloured buildings and cobblestoned roads. We took the ferry between all of the towns and it was the perfect way to get around, because let me tell you, driving around those windy roads did a number on my stomach! And the food – oh my goodness the food was incredible. We ate pasta and gelato literally every single day and I don’t regret it at all. It was so worth every single calorie.
From the Amalfi Coast we went to Rome, which was the last leg of our trip and it didn’t disappoint at all. I couldn’t get over how stunning the Colosseum and all of the ancient ruins were – it was like stepping back in time. I was so blown away by all of the architecture and history that was visible in all of the buildings, especially in Vatican City. St. Peter’s Basilica was AH-MAZING!! We climbed to the top of the Cupola (dome) and the view was sensational. But my most favourite part of Rome? The Trevi Fountain! (insert allll the heart-eye emojis) Guys, no kidding, I went back to visit the Trevi Fountain at least 4 times while we were in Rome because it was the most MAGICAL fountain that I’ve ever seen in my life. On our second last day, we did a day trip from Rome to Florence, and let me just say that Florence was just as spectacular as Venice. Those 2 cities combined were exactly what I thought Europe would be like. We went to the top of Forte di Belvedere and the view was SOOOO freaking stunning. On the one side you could see the heart of the city and all of the famous buildings such as the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, and on the other side you could see the beautiful rolling hills and farm lands. Being up there truly felt like we were under the Tuscan Sun!
Out of the three countries that we visited, Italy was BY FAR my favourite – every single city that we visited was absolutely gorgeous and magical in its own unique way and I loved EVERY moment of it. I’ve already told my husband that I want to go back to Italy one day and spend even longer exploring the rest of the country. That being said, I also would love to go back to France and Spain as well, and get a chance to explore more of the country and see other cities. I’m so glad that we splurged and went on this trip and that I finally got to check visiting Europe off of my bucket list. It was such a special trip to me because it was something that I’ve been dying to do forever, and it was filled with so many amazing memories and magical moments!
OK guys, now I want to hear from YOU! Have you been to Europe? What was your favourite place? And which European country should we visit next? Let me know down below!