In 2016, I slowed down considerably from the 35 countries I visited in 2015. Now I’m at it again. After having my home base in Thailand for the first four months of the year where I taught English and had all sorts of adventures, I’ve returned to Europe with a big itinerary.
My plan is to visit my remaining 15 countries in Europe before the end of the year. These include Iceland, Norway, Portugal, Switzerland, Slovenia, Luxembourg, Liechtenstein, Andorra, Monaco, San Marino, Malta, Cyprus, Moldova, Ukraine and Belarus.
Man of those countries are quite small. I probably won’t end up spending more than a day or so in Monaco. San Marino and Andorra are also tiny, but I hear there is still a lot to do there. Moldova and Ukraine are quite a bit larger, although I don’t know how much they have to offer in terms of unique experiences. Sometimes I’m not the best when it comes to researching ahead.
Then there are the countries which I’ve been putting off due to them being the most expensive countries in the world to visit. Those are Iceland, Norway, Switzerland and Luxembourg. Monaco might also fit into that list. Unfortunately, those four countries have some of the most gorgeous locations I’ve seen pictures of, and I really want to spend more time there. A cruise through the Norwegian fjords would be divine. A train trip through Switzerland might be unrealistic, but I grew up thinking my Grandmother was Swiss (don’t know where that came from), and I’ve always dreamed of skiing in the alps.
Currently I’m in Bucharest, the capital of Romania. I flew back to Europe on May 4th to take my dad to the Isle of Skye, and then came to Romania at the invitation of Experience Bucharest to get familiar with the city. I had decided back in 2016 to make this my home base after Thailand. So far, I’m thoroughly happy with my choice. I might have just found an apartment here for a whopping $130 a month! Thailand was $200, plus nearly $100 for the AC!
But Bucharest is just my base – a place to leave my extra baggage while I travel around Europe. I’ve already booked my first two trips! On June 20th, I’m headed to Cyprus for a week! Once again, I don’t know a lot about the country, but Paphos was just listed by Lonely Planet as one of the top 10 destinations to visit in Europe in 2017! I even have a travel partner to go with – Iulia from Julia Something. We can split costs on Airbnbs and adventures, but in general I’ve just come to appreciate having an adventure buddy so much more.
Then in July, I’m headed to Portugal with Visit Portugal to explore the beaches and (re)learn surfing. If you’re not interested in seeing the southwestern-most country of Europe yet, I’ll bet I’ll have you drooling by the end of that week. Don’t worry, I’ll also give you all the tips and tricks to plan your trip.
After that, I don’t have anything really set in stone. There are tentative plans to help at a yoga retreat in Romania at the end of July, a full tour around Romania at the end of August, and a tour on the Greek islands at the end of September. I’m looking at where I want to spend my birthday on September 23rd, and I’ve also got several invitations from friends in countries I’ve already visited all around Europe (particularly Sweden, Hungary, Czech and Italy).
At some point, I will plan a road trip through Moldova, Ukraine and Belarus. That last country is also the only country in Europe I need a visa to enter, and I hear it can get a little tricky. But that’s all part of the adventure.
The real question is when I’m going to get to Iceland. Should I go in the summer when I can see the beautiful waterfalls and midnight sun, or should I attempt to see the northern lights in the winter? I do love snow!
So that’s 2017. I’ve already traveled over 12,000 miles this year, and I’m sure that will multiply several times before 2018. Speaking of which, I do have a great announcement. I’ve booked my tickets to TBEX Zimbabwe in July 2018! TBEX is the Travel Blogger Exchange, where we all get together to hobnob with the travel industry and catch up with each other. Not only will this be my first trip to Africa, it will also get me to South Africa where half my family lives. My dad was born and bred in South Africa, and I’ve spent my entire life researching and dreaming of visiting. Well, one more year to go!
What do you think? Are there any places in those countries I can’t miss? Would you like to meet up with me in my travels? Where should I have my home base next year? I always love hearing your input. Bring it on!
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I think it was a smart choice to choose Bucharest ar your “headquarters”. The accomodation is affordable and it’s easy to travel to different European locations from here.
I’m loving the cheap flights with Wizz air. Unfortunately, while I’ve found apartments for as little as 50 Euro a month, I’ve yet to get any of them to respond to my inquiries. But I have another opportunity which has come up. Looks like I’ll be using Trusted House Sitters again.
I’ve been thinking about heading over to South Africa too… TBEX seems like a pretty good excuse.
Do it! Would be great to see you there, although it’d be nicer to see you before that!
Great travel plans! Good luck in ticking them off!
Malta is a stunning little country and so much to see and do, despite its small size! Unlike you, I am tremendous at researching before I go anywhere and always find tons to see and do, no matter where I go! Make sure you spend time in Valletta and Mdina while in Malta, and if you want to see the UNESCO prehistoric underground temples/burial site, you need to book as soon as you know you’re going, as they only let about 80 people a day in…you have to book months in advance! Enjoy when you get there!
Wow, thanks for the advice. I’ll definitely do that with Malta. I’m so bummed that I’ve missed their landmark arch. 🙁 Hopefully I can work with the tourism association there before I arrive.