It is always nice to fantasize about far away places and that is never more prevalent than just before leaving on a big trip. This post will be used as a looking-back point after all is finished to compare; which cities I thought would be the best (of which I’m planning to visit) to which cities actually were my favourite. Here are my pre-travel top 10 cities that I am excited about. *I am only including Europe, Russia and China. South and Central America will have their own separate list*
10. Belgrade, Serbia- Belgrade starts off the list as my 10th most anticipated city. I don’t know what it is, but I am just really pumped to have the chance to check out Serbia. Maybe it’s the book I just read about the Serbia Kosovo war. Whatever it is, something has intrigued me and I’m looking forward to checking out this capital city!
9. Vilnius, Lithuania- Vilnius cracks my top 10 and again, I can’t really explain why. I know little to nothing about Lithuania other than my favourite basketball team having a Lithuanian centre (my boy Valanciunas). However, everything I’ve read about Lithuania seems to point to it being quite beautiful, so here’s hoping Vilnius fits that bill! And it doesn’t hurt that the old town in Vilnius is considered a UNESCO world heritage site ; )
8. Xi’An, China- While I am very pumped to be checking out both Beijing and Shanghai (not to mention Hong Kong), Xi’An appeals to my pre-trip senses the most. Known for being the home of the Terracotta Warriors, Xi’an will definitely provide a different sort of feel from the rest of China. I will also be heading further west near the Tibetan mountains so that should also be quite a unique experience!
7. Stockholm, Sweden- Many people hold Stockholm in very high regard and I’m interested to see what all the fuss is about. The city itself consists of 14 islands so that should be pretty remarkable to see. The only thing keeping Stockholm out of the top 5 for me is the cost of living. It looks like I’ll be living on street meat and pasta for a few days ; )
6. Freiburg, Germany- In having visited Germany prior to this trip, I am already aware of its beauty and charm. However, my previous time was only focused on larger cities throughout the country and it’ll be nice to tour around some of the smaller municipalities. One of the areas that excites me the most is Freiburg. Known as having some of the nicest weather in Germany, it is also located next to the black forest which will be incredible to see!
5. Kotor, Montenegro- I have recently come across quite a few iconic looking photos of Kotor and the place just looks incredible! Combining that with my favourite travel podcast (Extra pack of peanuts) claiming that Kotor is a must visit, has me extremely excited to check out Montenegro as a whole. I’m expecting some sweet mountains and pretty cool castles!
4. Warsaw, Poland- Four years ago I had the good fortune to dip my toes into Poland as I checked out the beautiful and extremely cheap city of Krakow (6$ hostels, extremely cheap and delicious food etc). This time around, I plan on spending more time throughout different areas of Poland. Warsaw is the capital city and it’s also supposed to be quite nice. I’m sure it’ll be less touristed than Krakow (due to it being further east and somewhat out of the way) as well. Everywhere in Poland should be fantastic so I’ll let Warsaw represent the country as a whole!
3. Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina- Simply type this place into google images and you’ll understand why it is in the top 3 on my list of cities to be excited about. Mostar looks incredible and it is only home to just over 100,000 people. There seems to be so many different styles of architecture throughout the city, I just think it’ll be a cool and different place to visit!
2. Istanbul, Turkey- Another city that many seasoned travellers seem to love. I’ve heard Istanbul being compared to Buenos Aires and if that’s the case, sign me up! One of the most significant cities in the world, Istanbul is home to over 14 million people. It might be a bit crowded and a little crazy at times, but it should be an incredible experience nevertheless. Plus, after I’ll be rolling through Kosovo, Macedonia and Bulgaria, perhaps 14 million people will be a welcome shock to the system!
1. St.Petersburg, Russia- Coming in at number 1, St.Petersburg. The history, the architecture, the complete difference in world perspectives, …..the vodka. What isn’t there to be excited about with Russia! I am super pumped to walk around the streets of St.Petersburg for days, taking it all in. This has been near the top of my bucket list for years and I hope it doesn’t disappoint!