Pencil these into your bucket list:
When we think of Italy, we often think of Rome, Florence, and Venice (and more recently, Cinque Terre). Milan is unique because it isn’t an unknown place. In fact, lots of people have heard of Milan. A lot of people visit it too, but it’s often overlooked when people book their Italian vacations. Others think Milan simply isn’t as beautiful as other locations in Italy. Read my post about why they are wrong here. Milan is a city of hidden beauty. We are used to Italy being passionate, up close, and in our faces with culture and scenery and all things beautiful. Milan isn’t like that. It’s a city where you look up and see the famous, beautiful Milanese villas and balconies, and the characteristic trams passing by. The people are city-dwellers and a bit in a rush, but if you slow yourself down you’ll find the beauty in a light drizzle, full-of-advertising, chic, fashionable, modern, gorgeous, Milan. The New York Times named it #1 on their 52 Places to Go in 2015.
The More (more-ayy), Montenegro
In July 2017, I visited the coast of Montenegro, a small but beautiful country in former Yugoslavia. This area is affectionately called “the More” (see anglicized pronunciation above), which translates to “the sea” in Serbian. The coast is small, and all the spots are easily navigable if you want to see what there is to see. Budva, the country’s pearl of the Adriatic, is the main city for nightlife, great beaches, and beautiful scenery. For a more Casino Royale approach to seeing Montenegro, go to Porto Montenegro in Tivat, which is being called the “new Monte Carlo” where the rich are flocking to play. Wouldn’t it be nice to see how the other half lives? Hurry to see this destination, as it used to be a hidden gem…but more people, especially backpackers and people who want to be “off the beaten path” are discovering it! Discover Montenegro with me.
Okay, Chicago is not off the beaten path, nor underrated. However, something I did notice is it is hardly on any foreigner’s “USA holiday” itinerary. Chicago is a multicultural city that has a lot to offer a foreign visitor. I recommend the architectural boat tour, as it takes you on the Chicago River and Lake Michigan with unparalleled views of the city. It also teaches you a ton about why Chicago is an architectural hub of the world, and how much of the city was destroyed in the Great Chicago Fire. If you have never been, I highly recommend it! (Pro-tip: Come in the summer or fall (between June-October), Chicago in the Winter and Spring is a frigid city!) You will find no shortage of things to do in the Windy City. (Also, Go Cubs!)
A beautiful seaside town in the Italian region of Calabria (where my family originates from) can’t be missed. However, most people in the world do miss it. It’s not a known part of Italy yet (to foreigners anyway), however, I started to see it on “Beautiful Destinations” pages on Instagram recently. I’ll let the photos speak for themselves.
St. Andrews, Scotland
When I visited Las Vegas, I met a super cool Scottish couple on the Linq High Roller Ferris wheel. They said, “go to Edinburgh and take a day trip to St. Andrews. It’s the most beautiful little city and we think you’ll really enjoy it.” Not only did I love Edinburgh, St. Andrews is probably my favorite “little place” of all time. In one day, we saw the harbor, the medieval St. Andrews Cathedral ruins, the famous University of St. Andrews, and the Old Course (it is said that golf was invented/popularized here). Side note, Duke and Duchess Will and Kate met here while at university, how cool is that?
Budapest is like Paris. No, literally. I remember hearing that somewhere, and couldn’t help but think how true it was. The architecture is grand, and the Danube river cuts through the heart of this magnificent city. One side of the river is Buda, and the other Pest. Buda is the old side, where you’ll find rolling hills, the Buda castle, and grandmas with babushkas (I’m not trying to sound stereotypical, I literally saw at least 3!). On the Pest side, the land is flat and you’ll find the modern part of the city and the famous Hungarian Parliament. The coolest part of Budapest? Its thermal springs, giving the city the nickname, “the City of Spas.” (PS: Budapest is still cheap! I spent about $400 maximum on a 3-night stay here).
I have recently (within 5 years) been to each of the 6 places listed. If you are visiting and would like in depth recommendations on where to stay, eat, sightsee, etc, let’s get in touch!
Please note that the photos in this post are my own. If you would like to refer to them, please give credit to Day By Dom. Thanks!