Ranking My Top 9 Favorite Trips Abroad

By: Emily Margolis

9th: Andorra

Andorra is such a beautiful place, but it is small, and there is not a ton to do. However, what it lacks in size and activities, Andorra makes up for with its breathtaking natural landscapes and charming architecture. The tranquil atmosphere and the opportunity to indulge in outdoor adventures like hiking or skiing make it a perfect destination for those seeking relaxation and a connection with nature. There is no metro, which was inconvenient, but there is a bus straight from Barcelona to Andorra, which made arriving there easy. The lack of a metro system in Andorra may be seen as inconvenient, but the availability of a direct bus from Barcelona to Andorra makes it a hassle-free destination to reach. Additionally, the journey itself offers stunning views of the surrounding mountains, further adding to the allure of visiting this picturesque country. Although it was not my favorite trip, I loved Caldea Spa, and it made the trip so worth it. The Caldea Spa in Andorra was a highlight of my trip, providing the perfect opportunity for relaxation and rejuvenation. The spa's thermal waters and luxurious facilities made it a truly memorable experience. Despite Andorra not being my favorite destination, the visit to Caldea Spa made the entire trip worthwhile. 

8th: Edinburgh, Scotland

Edinburgh is a walkable city, which I liked, but it rained the whole time. Despite the constant rain, Edinburgh's walkability remained one of its most appealing features. The city's charming streets and historic landmarks were easily accessible on foot, allowing me to explore its rich history and vibrant culture despite the weather. But if the rain ever did get to be too much, I could always jump on a bus. There were lots of fun activities. There was never a shortage of things to do in the city. Whether it was going to Edinburgh Castle, exploring the street that inspired Diagon Alley in Harry Potter, getting to hold a real owl, or experiencing the lively pub scene, Edinburgh offered a diverse range of experiences that kept me entertained throughout my stay. 

7th: Stockholm, Sweden 

Stockholm is good for a touristy vibe. I personally enjoyed the ABBA museum. Stockholm, the capital city of Sweden, offers a vibrant and lively atmosphere that is perfect for tourists. Apart from the ABBA museum, there are numerous other attractions to explore, such as the historic Gamla Stan district with its charming cobblestone streets and colorful buildings. Additionally, visitors can enjoy a breathtaking visit to the Royal Palace or take a leisurely boat tour around the archipelago to experience Stockholm's unique island scenery. Stockholm was really pretty, with its picturesque waterfront views and stunning architecture. The city's clean and well-maintained streets make it a pleasure to explore on foot or by bike. Whether you're interested in history, culture, or simply enjoying the Scandinavian lifestyle, Stockholm has something for everyone to enjoy. Stockholm felt very similar to Copenhagen to me. Both cities have a rich history and offer a wide range of cultural attractions, such as world-class museums and beautiful parks. However, Stockholm has its own distinct character. Overall, both cities are worth visiting for their unique blend of old-world charm and modern sophistication. 

6th: Copenhagen, Denmark

Copenhagen had the cutest Christmas markets when I visited. The city was adorned with beautiful lights and decorations, creating a magical atmosphere. The markets offered a wide variety of traditional Danish treats and handmade crafts, making it a perfect place to immerse oneself in the holiday spirit. The city had a combination of fun nightlife and daytime activities. During the day, I enjoyed exploring the historical landmarks, such as the iconic Tivoli Gardens and Nyhavn. At night, Copenhagen came alive with vibrancy, offering a lively atmosphere for those seeking entertainment. Overall, Copenhagen proved to be a city that catered to all interests and provided a memorable experience both day and night. 

5th: Switzerland

The best way to describe Switzerland is breathtaking. It is a beautiful country, actually so stunning. Switzerland's natural landscapes are truly awe-inspiring, with majestic snow-capped mountains, crystal-clear lakes, and picturesque valleys. Moreover, its charming cities and well-preserved architecture add to the country's overall beauty, making it a truly enchanting destination for travelers. But Switzerland is also very expensive. The high cost of living in Switzerland is something that travelers should be prepared for. From accommodation to dining out, prices can be significantly higher compared to other countries. Although, for those who can afford it, it is worth the splurge. Switzerland is great for excursions such as hiking, skiing, and exploring the stunning landscapes. The country offers a plethora of outdoor activities, from glacier trekking in the Alps to taking scenic train rides through breathtaking valleys. Additionally, thanks to the trains, it is easy for travelers to navigate and explore different regions of the country. My favorite city in Switzerland was definitely Interlaken. It is nestled between two beautiful lakes and surrounded by mountains, making it a perfect base for outdoor adventures. The city also offers a range of adrenaline-pumping activities like paragliding and skydiving, adding an extra thrill to your trip. Overall, Switzerland is a must-visit destination for nature lovers and adventure enthusiasts alike. 

4th: London, England

London, I truly do love it here. The vibrant cityscape, rich history, and diverse culture make London an unparalleled destination. From iconic landmarks like Big Ben to beautiful neighborhoods like Notting Hill, there is always something new to discover and explore in this magnificent city. There is so much to do and see. Whether you're visiting Buckingham Palace or enjoying a leisurely stroll through one of their many parks, London offers endless opportunities for entertainment and enrichment. Additionally, the city's bustling markets, such as Camden Market and Borough Market, provide a sensory overload of delicious food and unique shopping experiences. With its constant buzz of energy and countless hidden gems waiting to be found, London truly captures the essence of a cosmopolitan metropolis. It is a really big city, but it is too big for just a weekend trip. To fully explore and appreciate all that London has to offer, it is recommended to plan a longer stay. The city's vast size and diverse attractions make it impossible to see everything in just a weekend. For example, winter or spring break would be the perfect opportunity to go.

3rd: Vienna, Austria

Vienna is such a beautiful city with plenty of good sightseeing and lots of activities. One of the most captivating aspects of Vienna is its rich history, reflected in its stunning architecture and grand palaces. From the majestic Sch√∂nbrunn Palace to the iconic St. Stephen's Cathedral, visitors can immerse themselves in the city's fascinating past while exploring its charming streets. Additionally, Vienna offers a vibrant cultural scene with world-class museums, renowned opera houses, and delightful cafes where one can indulge in traditional Viennese pastries. My weekend in Vienna was filled with museums and historical sites. I spent hours wandering through the halls of the Kunsthistorisches Museum, admiring its vast collection of art and artifacts from around the world. The Austrian National Library and Innere Stadt were more highlights of my visit. The library's stunning architecture and extensive collection of books left me in awe, while the Innere Stadt's narrow streets and beautiful architecture transported me back in time. Overall, Vienna's rich history and cultural offerings made for an unforgettable weekend getaway. Vienna truly exceeded my expectations as a destination for history and culture enthusiasts. 

2nd: Amsterdam, Netherlands

Amsterdam is such a fun and lively city. It is known for its picturesque canals, vibrant nightlife, and rich cultural heritage. With its charming architecture and diverse range of attractions, Amsterdam offers something for everyone to enjoy. There are lots of activities to do, like visiting world-class museums such as the Van Gogh Museum and the Rijksmuseum, where you can admire famous masterpieces. Additionally, exploring the city by bike is a popular activity among locals and tourists alike, allowing you to soak in the beautiful scenery while immersing yourself in the city's cycling culture. Another amazing way to see the city is by water. A canal tour is the perfect opportunity to experience Amsterdam's unique canal system and see the city from a different perspective. Amsterdam has something for everyone and guarantees an unforgettable experience. Amsterdam is definitely a city that I wish I had more time to fully explore all its attractions and hidden gems. The city overall just had really good vibes and a vibrant atmosphere.

1st: Barcelona, Spain

Saving the best for last with an honorable mention of Barcelona. Although Barcelona being my home base makes me biased, it is undoubtedly an amazing city. From its beautiful architecture to its beaches, Barcelona has the best of both worlds. Barcelona has the best nightlife and amazing food. The city comes alive at night with vibrant clubs and bars that cater to every taste. Additionally, Barcelona's culinary scene is a true delight, offering a wide array of delicious traditional dishes and innovative gastronomic experiences. Although everyone raves about tapas, I came to have an appreciation for empanadas. The weather was overall warm the whole semester, which I definitely appreciated. This city has a million things to do, and you can never get bored. It is even on the more affordable side! One of the highlights of Barcelona is its rich cultural heritage, with iconic landmarks such as the breathtaking Sagrada Familia and the historic Gothic Quarter. Additionally, the city offers a vibrant arts scene, with numerous museums and galleries showcasing both traditional and contemporary works. Whether you're exploring the bustling streets or relaxing on the sandy shores, Barcelona truly has something for everyone to enjoy. I cannot recommend studying in Barcelona enough, but even if you study elsewhere, you cannot miss the opportunity to visit.