Helsinki Photo Diary

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Casual and unassumingly cool, the capital of Finland serves as a great pit stop to begin your Euro adventures, particularly if you’re looking for a glimpse in to Scandinavian life. With a heavy focus on old meets new, Helsinki has a strong design-focus in the present day, whilst managing to preserve and celebrate its architectural history that has stood the test of time.

Although once at the hands of the Swedes and later the Russian Empire, the Finnish capital retains its own identity with distinctively German architecture (the city was largely designed by Carl Engel). So with just 48 hours to snap happy my way around the city, here’s a complete photo diary of my time here!

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The cafe scene in Helsinki is slowly emerging and gaining popularity. Though not as progressed as other Scandinavian city, the few hipster haunts I did manage to find were really innovate and unique.

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Outdoor entertaining is seasonal at best, and visiting in Spring still meant 0 degrees much of the time! Hot chocolates are a must.

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Architecture in Helsinki.

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The cities’ attractions are mostly dominated by churches of different beliefs. Other than Helsinki Cathedral, be sure to check out Uspenski Cathedral and the “rock church”, a church quite literally built in to a rock!

 

Camera Information:

All images created with my Olympus OMD EM5 Mark II

Lens #1: 12-40mm PRO

Lens #2: 25mm PRO

more of my photography tips here.

Brooke Saward

Brooke founded World of Wanderlust as a place to share inspiration from her travels and to inspire others to see our world. She now divides her time between adventures abroad and adventures in the kitchen!

The Top 10 Things to do in Tallinn, Estonia

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Inviting and mysterious, the medieval old town of Tallinn is a welcoming balance of intrigue and a picture perfect postcard. The old town is so well preserved that you’d be forgiven for pinching yourself and questioning reality – it really is too cute! Whether you’re spending a few days in the city or visiting on a day trip from Helsinki, here are the absolute best 10 things to do in Tallinn!

1. Start in the Market Square (Raekoja Plats)

As the central point of the old town, the Market Square is a great place to commence your meanderings through the cobblestone streets. From here you can already get a great idea of the vibrancy this city offers and within a 360 degree turn you will see the set of Game of Thrones come to life (minus the tourists, of course).

Tallinn Photo Diary | World of Wanderlust

2. Check out the view from Toompea

Many will tell you that the best view of Tallinn is found on top of Toompea. While this is a beautiful view, sure, it isn’t quite the best view of the city from above (read on to find out where you’ll find the very best view!) Toompea is a neighbourhood overlooking the old town and it is here where you will also find the St Alexander Nevsky Cathedral.

Tallinn Photo Diary | World of Wanderlust

3. Step inside St Alexander Nevsky Cathedral

Located high on the hill of Toompea, St Alexander Nevsky Cathedral is a beautiful church of the traditional Orthodox faith. The cathedral was built in 1900, when Estonia was still a part of the Russian Empire. Although photographs aren’t allowed inside, you should take the time to step inside the cathedral and look around to marvel at the ornate architecture, mosaics and gold candelabras (besides, entrance is free!)

Tallinn Photo Diary | World of Wanderlust

4. Take in the view from St Olav’s Church

It surprises me how many visitors to Tallinn don’t make their way up the 258 stairs to the top of St Olav’s Church, which arguably has the best view of the old town. The tower dates back to 1267 and has previously been used to beacon approaching ships and as a KGB watch tower, though nowadays it is one of the must do tourist attractions in the city. It will cost you 3 euros to enter – a small price to pay for those picture perfect photographs!

Tallinn Photo Diary | World of Wanderlust

5. Stroll the cobblestone Streets 

One of Tallinn’s greatest pleasures is just to wander for hours through the winding cobblestone streets. The old streets are incredibly photogenic with their pastel coloured buildings, unique shapes and my personal favourite: the colourful doors of Tallinn! The prettiest streets I stumbled upon were Pikk (the longest street in the old town) and Katariina käik.

Top 10 Things to Do In Tallinn | World of Wanderlust

6. Purchase yourself some powdered unicorn horn

The beauty of Tallinn is often found in its ability to remain in another era. Located in the market square, the town hall pharmacy is where you will find powdered unicorn horn, mummy juice, and all kinds of quirkiness. The pharmacy is believed to be Europe’s longest running pharmacy and was once a favourite of the Russian tsars. Keep in mind the pharmacy is unfortunately closed on Sundays.

Top 10 Things to Do In Tallinn | World of Wanderlust

7. Walk the Town Walls

Another great view over the city is found when wandering along the medieval walls surrounding the old town. Once you have finished walking the walls, make your way over to kiek in de kök to learn about Tallinn’s defence history. To this day you can view the cannonballs left behind by Ivan the Terrible during the Livonian War.

Tallinn Photo Diary | World of Wanderlust

8. Indulge at the cutest pastry shop in town

After a long day of wandering the streets of the old town, make your way to the cutest (and tastiest) pastry shop in town, Rukis. Located on Viru Street, this pastry shop is full of temptations and at 2 and 3 euros a piece, its difficult to say no!

Top 10 Things to Do In Tallinn | World of Wanderlust

9. Toompea Castle

Located opposite St Alexander Nevsky Cathedral is Toompea Castle, which now houses the Parliament of Estonia but was once an ancient stronghold, used since the 9th century.

Helsinki Photo Diary | World of Wanderlust

10. Take the Day Ferry to Helsinki

If you’re visiting more of Estonia and haven’t arrived by ferry from Helsinki, then be sure to make a day trip two hours north to Finland! Helsinki is the complete opposite to Tallinn and offers a more urban experience, particularly appealing to design lovers and cafe hunters.

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I flew to Europe with Finnair, arriving in Helsinki (capital of Finland) at 6:00am, before taking the two hour morning ferry to Tallinn. Purchasing a ticket at the ferry port cost me 35 euros return on the Viking Line, which is the easiest/most accessible port if you are staying in the centre of Helsinki. The ferry offers free wi-fi and affordable food options (though they do leave a little to be desired!)

Brooke Saward

Brooke founded World of Wanderlust as a place to share inspiration from her travels and to inspire others to see our world. She now divides her time between adventures abroad and adventures in the kitchen!

48 Hours in Helsinki

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I didn’t fall in love with Helsinki on my first visit two years ago, but my second visit to the city has convinced me this city has much to offer for a 48 hour stopover. Flying to Europe with Finnair for the second time, I decided to spend two days in Helsinki before embarking on the rest of my European adventure. Not only did the cold force me to shake my jetlag, but it also made for quite the comedic day out with friends as we saw snow falling in Spring!

Helsinki Photo Diary | World of Wanderlust

Helsinki Cathedral

Visiting Helsinki usually starts with the Helsinki Cathedral, located smack bang in the centre of town and offering great insight in to architecture in Helsinki: imperial, imposing, and when you look closely, very intricate. I found the cathedral was best visited in the early hours of the morning, when the rest of the city was sleeping and you could enjoy the impressive church to yourself.

Helsinki Photo Diary | World of Wanderlust

Cafe o’ clock

Helsinki has a strong emerging coffee and cafe scene, so I didn’t waste any time testing them out! Scandinavia has built a really strong reputation for drip coffee, which is best found at Paulig Kulma and Fratello Torrefazione. Other great coffee shops in own include Johan & Nystrom (hipster haunt), Cafe Fazer (chocolate, chocoalte, chocolate!!!) and Strindberg for great coffee in a casual setting.

Helsinki Photo Diary | World of Wanderlust

Helsinki Harbour 

The harbour of Helsinki is one of the cities’ most central points and places of business. Here you can visit the local markets, wandering along the waterfront or even take in the view from the ferris wheel.

Helsinki Photo Diary | World of Wanderlust

Market Hall

Located down on the waterfront is one of my favourite finds from my second visit to Helsinki, that I somehow overlook on my first visit two years ago! Inside the market hall you will find a variety of local produce, farm to table products, local delicacies and some traditional giftware.

Helsinki Photo Diary | World of Wanderlust

The Esplanade

Not far from the waterfront is perhaps my favourite area of Helsinki to wander around: The Esplanade. This is where you will find the cities’ most luxurious hotel; Hotel Kamp. Nearby are a range of upmarket restaurants and cafes, as well as upscale boutiques both local and international. Kappeli is a great place to grab lunch, especially in the warmer months when you can enjoy the outdoor seating. Don’t forget to look up when walking through this part of town – the architecture is amazing!

Experience the Finnish Sauna

One experience you absolutely must have in Finland is to enjoy a traditional Finnish Sauna. Many of the hotels in the city will have a sauna for you to use, but if not check out Helsinki Day Spa for the full experience. The more traditional way to spa (found outside of the cities) is to follow a hot sauna with an ice cold plunge in the lake (have tried it once, will never again!)

Helsinki Photo Diary | World of Wanderlust Helsinki Photo Diary | World of Wanderlust

Pastry shops to visit for a pick-me-up

After all your wandering, head to one of these great pastry shops for a sugary treat: Paulig Kulma, Fazer Cafe or the very cute Frangipani Bakery Boutique.

Helsinki Photo Diary | World of Wanderlust

Uspenski Cathedral

Another impressive church in Helsinki from the Orthodox faith is Uspenski Cathedral, located near to the harbour. The church was but in the mid-late 19th Century and is the largest orthodox church in Western Europe.

Tallinn Photo Diary | World of Wanderlust

Take a Day Trip to Tallinn

As beautiful as Helsinki is, there’s an absolute gem of a city located just a two hour ferry ride away. You guessed it: Tallinn, Estonia! Ferries run very frequently every day and it is a great way to spend 6-8 hours of your day in Tallinn, before returning to Helsinki in the late afternoon or early evening.

Helsinki Photo Diary | World of Wanderlust

Useful Information:

Arriving in Helsinki Airport

Helsinki International Airport is located a 30 minute drive from the city. The most affordable and convenient way to the city is with one of the public buses or the Finnair city bus (both around the same price).

Arriving in Helsinki City

The buses will drop you off in the centre of town at the main train station. For convenience I would recommend booking a hotel within the Kluuvi area, especially if you are only in town for a couple of days.

Early arrivals

Arriving early in Helsinki? There are luggage storage lockers below the main train station, costing 4-6 euros for 24 hours (depending on the size of the locker required).

Ferries to Tallinn

Catching the ferry is extremely simple and affordable. Purchasing a ticket at the ferry dock cost me 35 euros. To reach the port, it is around 20-30 minutes walk from the main train station.

Money matters

Finland is on the Euro and ATMs are widely available both at the airport and in the city centre. Most places will take card payment.

Brooke Saward

Brooke founded World of Wanderlust as a place to share inspiration from her travels and to inspire others to see our world. She now divides her time between adventures abroad and adventures in the kitchen!

How to make Fluffy Pancakes (The Fluffiest!)

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My childhood memories are riddled with pancakes for breakfast: be that making the batter, eating the batter raw, cooking and eating a stack the size of my head or getting creative with lavish toppings (anything that was in the pantry at the time). As I’ve grown older my love for pancakes has only strengthened, so when I opened Charlie’s Dessert House I knew we had to have my homemade fluffy pancakes recipe on the menu. What makes a great pancake to me is a plump, fluffy pancake that tastes as good as it looks. I’m confident to say we’ve got the fluffiest pancake recipe on offer and I’m proud to share it with you on the blog!

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Pancakes are one of our top sellers off the breakfast menu and its not hard to see why: they’re a fail proof choice, every time!

The trick to a beautifully plump pancake is the generous addition of baking powder, which will help puff up your pancakes rather than leaving them flat and lacklustre. We serve two pancakes at a time and the recipe below will make around 4 pancakes (enough to serve two people). Enjoy!

How to make Fluffy Pancakes | World of Wanderlust How to make Fluffy Pancakes | World of Wanderlust

Ingredients

2 cups flour

5 tsp baking powder

pinch of salt

3 tsp sugar

1 1/2 cups milk

1 egg

60 grams butter

Toppings

Top your pancakes as desired – there’s no limit to your creativity! I like to add:

Mixed berries

Maple Syrup

Vanilla Ice Cream

Icing Sugar Sprinkle

Method

  1. Melt the butter in the microwave briefly and set aside.
  2. Whisk together the dry ingredients: flour, baking powder, salt and sugar.

  3. Create a well and add the milk, egg, and melted butter.

  4. Whisk together until smooth and no lumps remain.

  5. Heat your pan for 3-5 minutes, until the pan is hot and better sizzles when placed in the pan.

  6. Portion our your batter and cook until golden brown.

  7. Serve with maple syrup, mixed berries, vanilla ice cream and a sprinkle of icing sugar!

How to make Fluffy Pancakes | World of Wanderlust How to make Fluffy Pancakes | World of Wanderlust How to make Fluffy Pancakes | World of Wanderlust

This recipe is from Charlie’s Dessert House, my bakery in Tasmania.

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Tasmanian Mountain Bike Trails: Blue Derby Pods Ride

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Guided trails, cheese platters and cooked breakfasts… mountain bike riding has never looked so glamorous! Since finding out about the newly opened Blue Derby Pods Ride in Tasmania, my partner and I vouched to make the trek one hour north of our home (Launceston) and experience the new three day trip that covers muddy trails by day and delicious dinners by night.

Blue Derby Pods Ride

Checking in to Our Pod

For the three days, two nights adventure, we were far from slumming it in the wild. Our accommodation included a luxurious “pod”, sustainably built with minimal environmental impact, nestled deep in the hills of Derby. Each pod comes with a mattress, linens and pillows… lush! There’s no heating inside the pod so be sure to pack your winter woollies and on that note, aside from a few changes of clothes for each day riding, there really isn’t much more you will need. The creators of the Derby Pods Ride have thought of everything: towels, endless food that is proudly sourced locally, a wood fire heater, board gams and even a library study nook in the main house!

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The accommodation was just fancy enough to make you feel comfortable in your surrounds without taking anything away from the natural beauty of Derby. You’ll enjoy hot showers (after a long day on the bike this is pure decadence), three meals daily, endless snacks and of course, endless trails to explore!

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The Trails

Over the three days exploring Derby you’ll be riding on adrenaline, as each trail presents different challenges and terrain. Day one begins at the top of the Atlas Trail, which predominantly descends downwards to the town, stopping at the pods for lunch and to unwind after your first day on the bike.

After each day’s first ride, the guides employ an “as much as you like or as little as you like” policy, which is a great way to split the group between serious riders who want to take on as many trails as possible in three days, and those who are here to combine an active getaway with a little relaxation.

Day two saw us make our way up Flickety Sticks trail, an uphill battle if ever there were one! After a long climb to the top it is an exhilarating downhill descent that makes the climb worth your while. From there the group split on different paths, however some strong recommendations from our ride are Krushka’s and Dam Busters.

Day three was the grand finale we had all been waiting for: a chance to ride the Blue Tiers Trails, which are located a short drive out of Derby. Riders are shuttled to the top and make their descent in anywhere between 1-4 hours time to the finishing point. This was hands down my favourite ride of the trip and I’m sure the one I’ll be racing to go back to!

Blue Derby Pods Ride | World of Wanderlust

Bottom Line

The Blue Derby Trails are best enjoyed with some mountain biking experience, so be sure to do a little training before you take off!

The price through high season is $2150 per person (includes 2 nights accommodation, shuttle from your Launceston hotel, all food, all wine, guides, bikes and helmets).

Whilst in Launceston be sure to check out Cataract Gorge, the Tamar Valley wine region, and of course visit my shop, Charlie’s Dessert House!

Thanks to Tara and Steve from Blue Derby Pods Ride who invited us to experience the ride! We would highly recommend this tour for anyone looking to experience the area with dedicated guides, local produce and comfy accommodation!

Brooke Saward

Brooke founded World of Wanderlust as a place to share inspiration from her travels and to inspire others to see our world. She now divides her time between adventures abroad and adventures in the kitchen!

The Perfectly Quintessential European Bucket list

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I don’t know about you but I love a cliché. When I think of Europe I think about sipping an aperol spritz in the summer sunshine, riding a donkey through the hills of a remote Greek island or eating so many warm, flaky croissants that I almost turn in to one. Europe is full to the brim with clichés and I for one cannot wait to be a part of them with each and every annual quest to my all-time favourite continent. If you’re anything like me then you have arrived at the right place for a perfectly quintessential European bucket list. Here we go!

Ride on a gondola in Venice

When you think of Venice you think of canals, water, and singing gondoliers. Sure, there’s more to Venice than initially meets the eye, but the first time visitor need only come with one goal in mind: see and experience as much of the city as possible from the water. Begin with a gondola ride for the quintessential Venetian experience, later upgrading to the (much) less expensive water taxis or even more local ferry network. With so much to see and history practically staring you in the face, Venice is a city that deserves a bucket list in itself!

Read more: Postcards from Venice

Drink beer in Belgium

Although there are many reasons to visit Belgium, drinking beer has got to be in the top 10. Along with waffles and frites, Belgium has a few claims to fame worth taste testing and there could be no better way to wash them down than with a local brew!

Read more: 12 Reasons to Visit Belgium

Ride a bike through Amsterdam

If there’s one thing I remember most from my first trip to Amsterdam at twenty years of age, it is the amount of close calls I had walking in to, away from, around, and waiting for cyclists. This city is a death trap waiting to happen for anyone who pauses for a moment and stops paying attention! But as they say, if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em! Be sure to hop on a bike and see the city from the streets, meandering through small alleyways and through neighbourhoods on the cusp of the city.

Read more: Amsterdam Bucket List

Eat churros

Is there anything more Spanish than a decent portion of street stall churros!? These deep fried goodies are best lathered in sauce (you can’t go past dulce de leche). You’ll find them all over Europe at street stalls luring you in with their sugary aroma!

Read more: Barcelona Tapas Tour

Make friends with a stranger(s)

One thing I never thought would be easy when travelling solo was to make friends and meet people from all walks of life. I soon discovered that not only was it easy, but also one of the greatest rewards travel brings. Now having friends in all corners of the globe – from different races, religion, cultures, beliefs… I have learned to shape my own. Now that’s something they can’t teach you in school!

Read more: How blogging gave me thousands of friends around the world

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Visit a castle or twenty

One castle, two castles, three castles, floor. While I won’t say the same for churches, somehow the fascination with castles just never seems to rub off on me and I could keep exploring the myths and legends of each castle for as long as I live. Luckily for me, Europe is an absolute mecca when it comes to castles (and LOTS of them!)

Read more: In search of Europe’s Best Castles to Visit

A Walking Guide to Prague | World of Wanderlust

Get gloriously lost in Prague

Ask anyone where they would recommend you visit in Europe and I can assure you 9 times out of 10 you will be told not to miss out on Prague. The Czech capital brings together many eras, ideas, and most noticeably, architecture. Look one way for gothic influence, look another for medieval marvels and before you know it you have walked through centuries of history in one compact Old Town.

Read more: A Walking Tour of Prague

Eat Gelato in Italy

This list would never be complete without mention of gelato (and a photo of one of my favourite stores on the Amalfi Coast, for good measure!) Eataly, as I’d prefer to call it, is full of great gelato no matter where you find yourself in the country and I’d almost say with certainty that this is a time honoured tradition itself (eating the stuff, that is!)

Read more: Where to find the best gelato in Italy

Get Artsy in Vienna

Vienna is hands down one of Europe’s prettiest city, if not THE most. Imperial and imposing, Vienna has so elegantly stood the test of time. One of the major highlights of this city is the expansive art collections on offer from the ages, particularly for attendees of the Belvedere. You also can’t miss the chance to see living art in the flesh at Hundertwasserhaus.

Read more: Vienna Bucket list

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Realise how cool Budapest is

“Europe” and “cool” are often two words you will read together, but none more so than in reference to the capital of Hungary. Although Budapest is well and truly discovered by every sense of the word, there’s still an under the radar appeal that never seems to leave this city. If I could choose anywhere to live as an expat in all of Europe, Budapest would be an obvious first choice.

Read more: Budapest Bucket list

Go to Poland

If what’s cooler than being cool is ice cold, then Poland, you are daaaaaamn frosty (literally and figuratively). This country is one of the “must visit” Eastern European destinations for a number of reasons, but especially for its ability to capture, freeze, and honour its history. I first visited Poland eight years ago, travelling only to Krakow. Since then I have been back to visit the capital, Warsaw, which I think flies totally under the radar (and provides a realistic glimpse in to communism in Eastern Europe).

Read more: Spotlight on Warsaw, Poland

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Go further east than Poland

The only thing cooler than going East is going more East, and by that I mean discovering the likes of Romania, Ukraine, Russia, and many more! So many of my favourite places in Europe are in the East and the more isolated they are, the more interesting they become. If you haven’t yet visited Romania, this should be near the top of your list, especially if you love vampire myths, mysteries, and spooky castles!

Read more: 8 Places you Must visit in Romania

Complain about the price of Copenhagen

As much as I love Copenhagen, I love to complain about the price of it more. I’m almost certain this would have to be the most expensive city to visit in Europe (no research to back my claim but an empty wallet to show for it). This should by no means stop you from visiting, but you will thank me later if you go by the “less is more” mantra and visit for just a couple of days.

Read more: Copenhagen Bucket list

Go yachting in Croatia

Yachting the length of Croatia in the summer time has become a right of passage in itself. The success of “yacht week” and seasonal yacht trips throughout the season are a combined result of the beauty of Croatia, affordability and luxe approach to a European summer. Does it get any better!?

Read more: 10 Things you Must Do in Croatia

Attend Oktoberfest

As surprising as it is, Oktoberfest in the South of Germany begins mid-September and runs through to the beginning of October… and for beer lovers, there really is no better time to visit Munich! Be sure to allow a few days in the South of Germany whilst you are here, especially if you’d like to make a day trip to the likes of Neuschwanstein Castle (arguably the prettiest castle in all of Europe!)

Get ripped off at least once

If there’s one thing you can’t always avoid when travelling throughout Europe its a rip off (or four!) Whether it be paying too much, being short changed or the old “you’re so beautiful, take this red rose” trick… don’t be afraid to be fooled at least once!

Stand in the Red Square

Perhaps the single most impressive architectural display in Europe is Saint Basil’s Cathedral in the Red Square, Moscow. The mid-16th century basilica is symbolic of a visit to the Russian capital and can’t be missed!

Read more: Moscow Bucket list

Get more Stylish in Stockholm

If there’s one thing I knew about Stockholm before my arrival it was that this is one of the most (if not THE most) stylish cities in the entire world. Street style could said to have been invented here, so do yourself a favour and dress to impress.

Read more: Top 10 Things to do in Stockholm, Sweden

Row a boat on a lake

Another quintessential experience in Europe and one of my favourite memories from my time in Slovenia is to row a boat on a lake and make a lunch trip out of it. Lake Bled in Slovenia would have to be one of my top picks, but the ethereal appeal of Hallstatt in Austria is also hard to pass up!

Read more: This may be the most romantic lake in the world

Rent a vespa in Italy

ABSOLUTE. MUST. DO. The most Italian I have ever felt in my life was our day riding a vespa along the Amalfi coast, stopping in at every town we passed for gelato, pizza, and an espresso before we hit the road.

Read more: Renting a vespa on the Amalfi Coast

Eat carbs in Italy

Speaking of, you really can’t go to Europe without visiting Eataly. Think gelato, pizza, pasta, and all of the good things you can only get away with eating in excess as a teenager (baaaahumbug!)

Read more: 15 Foods you Must try in Italy

Bike ride from Vineyard to Vineyard in France

One of my favourite cities in France pitched itself as the centre of wine country, offering vineyard – to vineyard bike rides (yes, I’m talking about Beaune!) Since then I have also ridden through the vineyards of Alsace and I’m convinced this is a sure way to feel instantly French!

Take photos of someone’s washing (at least once)

I could make a photo album with the amount of “washing” photos I snapped on my first few trips to Europe (the novelty has since worn off – sigh).

Read more: A complete guide to Lisbon, Portugal

Eat street food in Barcelona

I’m convinced La Boqueria is Europe’s best street food market and if you find yourself in Barcelona, you absolutely cannot pass up the opportunity to visit. Think fresh juices, sweets, fruits, and just about anything you feel like in the Mediterranean summer heat.

Read more: Barcelona Bucket List

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Wake up in Positano

These photos say it all. If you visit just one coastal destination in Italy, make it Positano.

Read more: A Quick Guide to Positano 

Stay in a French Chateau

Paris has my heart, but the French countryside is where you’ll find my soul. For the perfectly quintessential French experience, be sure to check in to a French chateau, purchase a bottle of wine, throw out a picnic rug and let sunsets turn to sunrises. Bliss!

Read more: Staying in a French Chateau

Visit more castles in Ireland

If there’s one thing Europe is not running short of, its a castle. Ireland has a lot to offer the countryside lover (two hands in the air over here!) and castles are in abundance.

Read more: 8 Places you must visit in Ireland

Catch the Hogwarts Express

STOP EVERYTHING BECAUSE THIS IS REAL! You read correctly, you can actually ride the Hogwarts Express. Jump on board in the Scottish Highlands and let your imagination run wild.

Read more: All Aboard the Hogwarts Express!

Visit the real Hogwarts Great Hall

Still within the UK (but unfortunately not at the other end of your train journey) is Hogwarts itself. There are oodles of Harry Potter filming locations in the UK, but one of the most realistic filming locations is the Great Hall, located in Christ College, Oxford.

Read more: Oxford Colleges to Visit

Eat nutella on something, everything!

Yep, so, crepes. Crepes, crepes, crepes.

Finland | World of Wanderlust

Play with reindeer in Lapland

Finland isn’t often on a first time visit to Europe, but there’s no reason it shouldn’t be! Imagine feeding reindeer in Lapland, trudging through the snow and living in a real life Chronicles of Narnia!

Top Free Things to Do in Berlin, Museum Island

Rent an apartment in Berlin

As much as I enjoyed Berlin, I enjoyed it much more when I lived there for a few months. Berlin is a great city for expats who want to base themselves in Europe.

Drink vodka in Russia

What could be more Russian!? Besides, this is a great way to meet and mingle with locals who, perhaps unsurprisingly, become a lot more chatty after a vodka or two!

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Swim in the Algarve

One of my favourite Mediterranean locations is Portugal’s Algarve and for shoulder season destinations, you can’t really beat it.

Read more: The Algarve, Portugal’s most loved holiday destination

Ski in Switzerland

Expenses aside, Switzerland is home to some of the most beautiful ski slopes the world over. If the price puts you off, consider cheaper alternatives like Austria or Poland, especially if it means extending your stay on the slopes!

Read more: A Guide to Zermatt Switzerland

Paris in Spring Paris in Spring | World of Wanderlust

Visit Paris in the Spring

Every year I make the annual pilgrimage to Paris in the Spring. Be it for the cherry blossoms in April or the excitement that builds in May heading toward the summer, there really is no better season to visit my all-time favourite city (especially because you can eat both ice cream and hot chocolate in one day without overthinking it!)

Read more: Paris in the Spring

Hermitage Museum St Petersburg | World of Wanderlust

Step inside the Hermitage museum

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Read more: A Quick Guide to St Petersburg, Russia

Eat Pizza in Naples

Naples, the birthplace of pizza, is an unmissable stop en route to the Amalfi Coast (if even for the pizza alone).

Read more: Where to find the best pizza in Naples

Take 1200 photos of the Eiffel Tower

If you hadn’t read this, I dare say you wouldn’t have even realised yourself doing it! There’s just something so magical and moving about the tower which, despite initial controversy, has become the symbol of Paris.

Gain weight from French Pastries

Need I say more? From macarons to mille feuille, there’s a whole world of pastry out there to discover, so you’d better get busy!

Florence | World of Wanderlust Florence | World of Wanderlust

Step back in time in Florence

Before I travelled to Europe at 17 years old, my only friend who had visited before me told me right before I left “you absolutely must go to Florence”. Although I hadn’t planned to visit, I made sure we visited for a day trip from Rome, and instantly I saw the allure in how Florence appears to have been frozen in time.

Read more: 20 attractions you must see in Florence

Flam Norway | World of Wanderlust Guide to Alesund Norway | World of Wanderlust

Burn through your savings by visiting Norway

Although one of the most expensive countries to visit in Europe, there’s no denying that Norway is one of the most beautiful countries to visit for outdoorsy adventure seekers. From hiking to kayaking and everything in between, there’s a lot to discover!

Read more: The cities and towns you must visit in Norway

Island hop in Greece

Last but nowhere near least (saved to last because I still haven’t done it myself!?!?) is to go island hopping in Greece. Early 20-somethings eat your heart out, Greece is a playground with your name on it and nearly a right of passage for your first Euro-trip! From Mykonos to Santorini there are endless islands to explore in Greece, many of which you’ve never heard of until you get talking to a local.

 

Quintessential Europe - The Big Bad Bucketlist