There are a whole bunch of amazing places to see out there in this great big world, and you may not know where to begin. All the choices at your fingertips sure seem a little overwhelming, and we all know that indecision can sometimes lead to inaction. Your stress over choosing your next adventure to a great destination might keep you from even beginning to plan one in the first place.
We don’t want that at all, so I’ll make it easy for you. I’ve picked out five of my all time favorite cities. Some are pretty well-known, while others are gems I’ve found along the way.
The birthplace of the Renaissance, this city in the center of Tuscany is everything you could ever want and more in a vacation destination. You can lose yourself in the glorious art of the masters, with Michelangelo’s David at the Galleria dell’Accademia or admire Botticelli’s La Primavera in the Galleria degli Uffizi (amongst so many other great works) — but that’s just in museums.
The city of Florence itself is a work of art as well. Its churches, piazzas and buildings are like stepping back into the 15th and 16th centuries. And then there’s the food and the wine! This locale is a veritable triple-threat when it comes to all the things you are looking for in a destination.
An added bonus to this city is that it’s easy to plan day trips to the surrounding towns in the Tuscan countryside. These picturesque villages offer typical Tuscan dishes and delicious Chianti for you to try (and try again) and take home. Two favorite stops for me: Castello Vicchiomaggio for wine and the village of Panzano for some amazing Tuscan food.
Okay, so maybe you’ve already done Paris, and maybe you weren’t really impressed. You just didn’t see the allure of the place, as you were being constantly bumped into by other tourists and spoken to rudely by your server. I’m telling you to give it another shot. Paris is best experienced after your first trip there.
The reason is pretty simple, really. You aren’t running around trying to check off the list of tourist must-sees like the Eiffel Tower, Louvre, Grand Palais etc. While you absolutely should see these amazing museums and monuments, it’s all rather exhausting and can take the fun out of your vacation. By the second trip, you’ll have gotten the hang of getting around — and the sooner you move like a local, the sooner you lose that “tourist” label.
My advice is when you go back, take afternoons to explore the many parks or have a caffe’ crème while you people watch at a café. Wander the ever-changing streets in less well-known arrondissements to find amazing haute-cuisine bistros like Au Passage that are affordable or Epicerie’s like my personal favorite, Chez Babo — with a very local and unique vibe. There is so much to discover in this city. I guarantee a return trip won’t disappoint you.
When they think about visiting Ireland, most people usually think of the capital city of Dublin. This is, indeed, a fantastic place to see and experience. However, I prefer the southwestern city of Cork. It has a similar vibe to Dublin, but what makes it unique is also is small-town feel. It’s a city whose inhabitants behave as if they live in a small village. They are so friendly and welcoming, you’ll feel at home the instant you step foot in the place.
Added bonus: It is the perfect location to have as home base while you go out and explore the Irish countryside by car. You’ll be close enough to drive the famous Ring of Kerry, check out the beautiful coastal village of Kinsale for a pint and even plan an overnighter on the unbelievably beautiful Dingle Peninsula.
This is really only the tip of the iceberg too. Ireland is a treasure trove of amazing vistas, beautiful scenery and rich cultural heritage. You don’t want to miss it!
If you want a more exotic locale, then you need to check out Fez, Morocco. Located in Northern Africa, this ancient city is so full of life and culture, you will literally be overloaded with sensory experiences. You can visit the Old Medina in the historic center of the city, which is also UNESCO World Heritage. Here you’ll find local food, textile and leather goods, as well as abundant amounts of spices. You will seriously want to buy everything.
Fez is known for its leather tanneries, silver and other artisanal crafts, which are a huge part of the Moroccan culture. You can even visit some these historic tanneries, and then head to Café Clock — a restored courtyard house — for some of the famous mint tea (I could drink that stuff all day every day). The food there won’t disappoint, either.
To top it all off, the hospitality of the people is something I’ve never experienced anywhere else. It is both amazing and humbling all at the same time.
San Francisco, CA
Ever heard the phrase “San Francisco treat”? I bet so, and there is a reason for it. This city in California is one of the most eclectic and beautiful out there. One of the really awesome things about this city is that each area is so different from the other. You can grab the best burritos of your life in the Mission, have some authentic Italian the North Beach part of town or stop for some of the famous dim sum in Chinatown. This place is paradise for your stomach!
On top of good eats, there is also plenty to see and do. You can check out the shops along Fisherman’s Wharf and Pier 39, where you can grab a cable car to traverse the unique hilly streets of the city. Then at the close of the day, you can book a charter cruise of the bay to watch the sunset over the iconic Golden Gate Bridge.
In reality, this is just to get you started exploring this amazing city. Give yourself at least a few more days here so you can walk the Golden Gate, check the museums and even head out to Alcatraz. It’s definitely worth a trip.
So there you have it — my top five. If that doesn’t have your wanderlust revved up, then I don’t know what will. Happy travels!
About the author: Kacey Mya Bradley is a lifestyle blogger for The Drifter Collective. Throughout her life, she has found excitement in the world around her. Kacey graduated with a degree in Communications while working for a lifestyle magazine. She has been able to fully embrace herself with the knowledge of nature, the power of exploring other locations, cultures, and styles, while communicating these endeavors through her passion for writing and expression. Her love for the world around her is portrayed through her visually pleasing, culturally embracing and inspiring posts. Find & Follow her on Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest!
Want FREE Travel Resources?
I've put together all my favourite travel planning resources to help you make the most of your next trip!