Inspiration for your 2024 Euro trip incoming…
Like every man and his dog, I willingly subjected myself to 24 hours of travel in order to indulge myself in a little bit of a European summer. Leaving in the middle of the #Eurosummer hype on TikTok, I knew what to prepare myself for once I was over there: heat, crowds, and for “attenzione pickpocket” to be in my head 24/7. Luckily for me, I had an entirely swell time with little to no issues (thank you travel gods!) and so I wanted to share my little jaunt with you, to inspire your travel plans for 2024 and beyond.
We travelled to three Italian locations at the beginning of our trip. First off was Rome, and we already knew it was going to be sweltering. Forty degree heat is not ideal when you are inland, and so we took advantage of our jet lag and got up at 6am to see all the sites in the coolest part of the day. Hitting all the key monuments in the first five hours of our day and racking up 30,000 steps in the first day meant we had earned a good feed. Notable places we loved to eat in Rome included Trecaffe for great breakfast and coffee on the go, All’Antico Vinaio for great focaccia sandwiches, and Pancrazio for great Roman food (i.e Cacio e Pepe).
Next we headed to Manarola, one of the five towns in Cinque Terre. This was one of the highlights for me, and was a welcome break from the bustle of Rome. Greeted with fresh sea air and a sunset to die for, this is a place that I really recommend everyone visit. Honestly, if you had to choose, scrap the Amalfi coast and head here. The public transport is divine (an air conditioned train takes you between all five towns on a regular schedule), there are infinite swim spots to explore, and views that equal if not rival those of the over-hyped Positano. Seafood is abundant in Cinque Terre, and I loved the lobster pasta at Trattoria dal Billy in Manarola. For bruschetta, burratta and a grazing plate with a view, try Nessun Dorma.
Last on the Italian leg of the trip was Venice. A pleasant surprise: I really enjoyed Venice and its unique and sprawling canals. Not opting to pay $200AUD to ride a gondola, I spent my days on walking tours of the city, learning about its past and all the famous Venetians who had lived there and walked these streets (Vivaldi, Marco Polo, Titian to name a few). A perk for me was trying a Select Spritz, a Venetian take on the Aperol Spritz that went nicely after a long day walking.
Rainier weather in Amsterdam didn’t stop the good Euro times from rolling, and only forced me to appreciate the cultural offerings Amsterdam had to offer. Visiting museums is my favourite things to do in Amsterdam, and after hitting the typical Rijksmuseum, Van Gogh Museum and Anne Frank House, there were a tonne of other niche galleries and museums, such as the Haus Marseille that welcomed us in from a storm. The greatest lunch of Fabel Friet truffle fries was followed by a degustation dinner at 101 Gowrie – perfection.
In the most cliché way possible, Paris was my favourite part of the trip. It helps that I stayed in what I revere as the best suburb, Le Marais in the 4th arrondissement, and that it was August and so all the locals were gone and it felt like I had Paris to myself (and all the other tourists). All I want in life is to walk down the streets of Paris, a chocolate croissant in one hand, my chihuahua in the other, on my way to a park to sit and people watch, or to a gallery to take in world-class art. And while my dog couldn’t make it to this trip, the rest of the dream was ticked off the bucket list. A pilgrimage to the Palace of Versailles to see the set of Sofia Coppola’s Marie Antoinette IRL was also needed, and led to the discovery of the cutest antique shops. Only thing I’ll say about food – don’t be misled to try the TikTok famous L'Entrecôte de Paris restaurant… try a local place like Chez Janou instead.
Getting to the pointy end of the trip, naturally my body was tired; but conjunctivitis didn’t stop me from seeing Barcelona. I ticked off Gaudi buildings like bingo, and enjoyed the fact that there is a beach to cool down in the heat of August summer. The best tacos of my life were had here, and I recommend Taquería Tamarindo to anyone who will listen!
Last stop before the perilous trip home was Mallorca, and I can see why it became the place to be this summer. Exploring Palma and surrounding towns was the perfect European send off. Swim spots surrounded by mountain ranges and friendly beach goats that loved to stop and take a selfie with the tourists, Mallorca felt like the gift that kept on giving. The island was so diverse, another trip is needed to truly explore and appreciate all that Mallorca provides!