Ranking the Top 5 Cities I Visited This Semester

One of the great things about studying abroad in Europe is the easy accessibility of travel to other European countries. When deciding to study abroad, I wanted to study in Europe for that reason, and I am so grateful to have been able to do that this semester. The number of places I traveled to and the experiences I have had in each respective city have exceeded my expectations. While I enjoyed all my respective trips for their own reasons, there were a few places that stood out to me and that I particularly liked a lot. Here is the list of my top 5 cities in Europe that I visited over the past few months.

5. Gothenburg

Gothenburg, Sweden.

Perhaps this is a surprise, but I really enjoyed my time in Gothenburg with my core course. I admit that a reason for that was that we were able to bond and have fun together for the time as a core course, but the city was very pretty, relaxed, and a nice change of pace from the busier Stockholm. I would compare Gothenburg to Stockholm as Boston to New York City, as Gothenburg felt like a smaller version of Sweden’s capital and had a more relaxed and open atmosphere. The canals all over the city were a signature look, and I really enjoyed the walking tour we went on which allowed us to explore most of the city and learn about its history. Our trip also came right when Covid restrictions were lifted in Sweden, so the night scene was a lot of fun, as Gothenburg has the most amount of university students in any city in Sweden.

4. Aegina

Aegina, Greece.

Another place that I went to with my core course, the island of Aegina was about as picturesque as it gets. The magnificent blue water with the mountains in the distance complemented the small-town feel. Because we went before tourist season, most of the island was empty, and we were able to explore the harbor, and streets, and have our fair share of pistachio ice cream and snacks, a signature food of Aegina. After a fun time soaking in the sun at a small beach, we had a class lunch on the water with fish as fresh as it gets. I definitely wish we got to spend more time in Aegina.

3. Vienna

Vienna, Austria.

I have always said that if I was not studying abroad in Stockholm, I would have wanted to study in Vienna. Austria’s capital was one of the prettiest cities I have seen, and just walking around the city highlighted the beauty of the architecture and rich history of the buildings. Since psychology is one of my majors, the trip to the Sigmund Freud Museum and being able to see where arguably one of the most well-known individuals in the field of psychology lived and did his work was a very cool experience. The funny thing about my time in Vienna was that I only did activities that kids would do, which were going to the Prater amusement park and the Schönbrunn Zoo, the world’s oldest zoo. The only reason why Vienna is not higher on my list is that I did not see any of the city’s main tourist attractions and was unable to acknowledge its true beauty and history. This is definitely a city that I want to go back to and spend more time in.

2. Venice

Venice, Italy.

Venice was the city that I was looking forward to visiting, and it did not disappoint. There is nothing quite like a city that uses canals and bridges to get around and experiencing that in person was such a cool experience. It was also the Carnival of Venice when we went, so the city was bustling with excitement and tourists. My one knock against my time in “La Serenissima” was the number of tourists and how crowded all of the streets and bridges were. I am somebody who prefers the smaller cities that are less touristy, so it was a little overwhelming at times. Eating pizza on the edge of a dock on the Grand Canal with some friends at 3 am was a memorable moment, as we were the only ones on the water and could really take in the true tranquility of the water and the city.

1. London

London, England.

London was a fairly last-minute trip, but I am glad I went because it was my favorite visited city. While it was the city that felt most like the United States, there is just so much to do at every turn and so much history to learn about. The coolest part of London was how integrated world-famous landmarks like Big Ben and the Tower Bridge were with new high-rise skyscrapers and housing complexes. The city was easy to get around in, and I found myself stopping frequently to take pictures of the many amazing sights and views. London is by far the most versatile city regarding things to do, from relaxing in parks to visiting museums to taking advantage of the city’s amazing and diverse food scene. On top of that, the weather was amazing and made the entire trip that much more enjoyable and fun.

There are definitely cities and countries that I wanted to travel to but did not make it to, but I am grateful that I was able to visit all of the places that I did. Traveling so frequently helped me learn how to navigate different airports and prepare for trips. From core course trips to weekend trips to longer trips, I made a lot of memories that are a staple of my study abroad experience. I will say that weather did play a big factor in how enjoyable a trip was and how easy it was to get around, so the trips I went on later in the semester had an advantage. Regardless, I had so much fun with friends traveling to new places and experiencing so many different cultures.

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