The Ultimate Travel Resource: Ranking Destinations, Itineraries For Europe + Travel Inspo For 2023:

The final month of 2022 means one thing, my annual travel catch-up from the year is live. We’re going big, as I’m ranking destinations, adding the countries on my 2023 vision board, dropping underrated gems for travel inspo and inserting random little life updates. Anything with a hyperlink is a direct link to a travel guide or resource, so click away when there’s something you want more information on.

2022 saw many flights, but was also the year I experienced my first travel burnout. By June I craved a month of being home. I had enough content to keep me going for a few months, so decided to have June and August in the UK. I used the time to re-vamp my blog and create digital downloads on Barcelona. Moments like these, where I’m sitting on the sofa in my apartment with a blanket and a cup of hot cocoa, are needed once in a while. Good thing writing is a major stress reliever for me though, eh?

Quick Links + Post Overview:

  1. Introduction: How I Travel Often With A Full-Time Role
  2. Andorra – 7/10
  3. Malta – 7.5/10
  4. Poznań – 8/10
  5. Toronto – 9.5/10
  6. Barcelona Over The Months
  7. Ayia Napa – 9/10
  8. Milan – 9/10
  9. Podgorica – 5/10
  10. Underrated Cities To Visit In 2023

Introduction: How I Travel Often With A Full-Time Role

As many of you know, I travel the globe around a full-time role. I haven’t become a digital nomad, and I don’t have a fully remote job. However, I’m lucky enough to have the option of hybrid working (a split between home and office). There’s also another factor for being able to travel frequently – the fact I live in Europe. This means catching an international flight can be done within an hour, unlike many of my friends who live in the US! Although it’s flattering when people think I’m a full-time travel blogger, as I must be doing something right with stretching out my holiday allowance, I’m happy to be a poster for part-time travelling. To read about ways to maximise annual leave, I’ll link you to my article on how I travel often with a 9-5. Usually, I tend to spread out trips across the year. A long weekend each month, a longer trip at some point, 24-hour travels and a few mid-week stays.

Disclaimer: It goes without saying but I hope my scores don’t discourage, or overhype, you if you’re planning a holiday to any of the below. It’s all a bit of entertainment and reflection. One person’s trash is another person’s treasure, as they say.

Andorra – 7/10

Andorra in January was the start of travels for the year. Whilst I’m familiar with the country, I’ve given it a score of 7 because you’ll get bored if you aren’t visiting for winter sports/hiking. For example, shopping in the capital of Andorra la Vella only takes up a few hours. Nonetheless, you’ll find some real bargains given the tax-free nature. Check out my weekend in Andorra guide for near-local suggestions.

Malta – 7.5/10

I knew virtually nothing about Malta before booking, apart from understanding it’s a popular summer destination near Italy. However, when a cheap flight became available in February I was instantly tempted. Within hours, I recognised that the timing of the trip couldn’t have been better, as I was able to see Malta undisturbed. I have solid memories from my time here, which involved exploring abandoned buildings and spontaneously featuring in a movie lol, but at the end of the day, Malta felt like any other island for me. Don’t get me wrong, the scenes were beautiful, and the locals were fully welcoming, but something was missing. 9 months later and I still can’t put my finger on it. Luckily, I made a note of the must-see places and a few sensational restaurants to form a Malta itinerary.

Poznań – 8/10

I had heard that Poznań was often associated with being boring. ‘Most tourists don’t visit over here’ one local even chuckled. Great start, I thought. But I was pleasantly surprised. Sure there weren’t as many landmarks in comparison to other Polish cities, but I experienced brilliant vibes. The fact I wasn’t rushed to tick off activities meant I could tackle life like the residents did. Evening rooftop bars, early morning pastry collections, afternoon strolls by the lake, the whole lot. 3 days felt like the optimum length of time for a trip to Poznań, but I would seriously return for a quick 24-hour trip if I found another £10 flight to the city. I still think about the best sushi I’ve ever had in the local shopping mall, you know. My Poznań guide features some great options if you find yourself there.

Toronto – 9.5/10

When I say Toronto is my type of place, I mean it. To start with, I have never come across a friendlier bunch of people. Everyone was willing to help, offer advice and make my stay as comfortable as possible. I also fell in love with the effortlessly cool feel Toronto gives off, but in the most humble way. You’ve got multiple things to do and plenty of districts to wander, like London for example, but I never felt stressed while in Toronto like I do in London. The week put Canada higher on my list of destinations to explore. In fact, if I could move there I would consider it. Now, that’s saying something.

You can read all about my first-time guide to the city or delve into a post on how to see Toronto on a budget, if you’re keen to keep the costs down.

Barcelona Over The Months

I didn’t rate each BCN trip, as it’s like home. Having said that, this year was my first time visiting during the middle of July. A major red flag for someone who doesn’t cope well with heat. The humidity and stickiness from 30 + degrees is just not something I enjoy. For this reason, my recommended months to visit Barcelona would be May or September. Interestingly though, all through May-October, prices were much higher than usual. That’s annoying.

Don’t forget, you can download a free copy of my Barcelona E-Book, or make your way through a handy Barcelona PDF checklist with memorable things to do in the city. I’ve also recently navigated Barcelona for less than 150 euros. Hotel included. You won’t want to miss that post.

Ayia Napa – 9/10

Ah. The party place that initially filled me with fear. By the end of the week though, my perception completely changed. I think one of the best things about travel blogging is being open to exploring new experiences. That’s what brought me to Ayia Napa, and fuelled my investigation into the much-loved clubbing hotspot. From this trip, I really understood that travel is what you make it, and that different types of environments are where the best stories are formed. Oh, and don’t get me started on the nightlife. The feelings were unbeatable. You just have to be there to soak up the fun, endless laughter and multiple dance opportunities. Even without a drop of alcohol. I’ll include the link to one of my most popular blog posts to date – What Ayia Napa is really like when you don’t drink.

Milan – 9/10

Milan is a funny one to rate because it has a negative reputation but is a top 3 place for me. The combination of fashion-conscious citizens, modern architecture and minimalistic streets just oozes cool. Whilst the aesthetics might not beat other Italian cities, there’s a reason why I keep coming back to Milan. That reason is how I’m constantly left feeling inspired and motivated. My time in Milan last month was the moment I started drafting up ideas to merge together travel with fashion, so keep your eyes peeled for a big announcement soon!

Social media seemed to love my vlogs and travel guides on Milan, which makes me feel like it’s a city that is misunderstood. Need some help with planning? Check out my post on how to spend 48 hours in Milan. The suggestions have even been approved by locals, so you know it’s well worth a read.

Podgorica – 5/10

Podgorica doesn’t feel like a capital city. Like, at all. I mean, the fact a taxi was the only way out of the airport confirmed my suspicions that few tourists actually stop by. Instead, the city is predominantly used as a pitstop before heading to the coastal area of Kotor. However, Podgorica isn’t as bad as everyone says. You might not spend hours sightseeing, but browsing local shops, picturesque rivers, unusual restaurants and quirky bars becomes just as interesting. Embracing new cultures made this trip so memorable, even if I couldn’t find a shop to purchase a souvenir. I probably wouldn’t return, as the city felt too small for my liking, but I don’t regret the experience. Here, I got to witness things I probably wouldn’t see in larger cities. For example, two traditional public weddings.

From these scores then, the clear favourite was Toronto, with Milan as a close second, but I’m intrigued by your thoughts. Which places hit that sweet spot for you?

Underrated Cities To Visit In 2023

Upon reflection, 2022 has highlighted the beauty of giving a chance to overlooked destinations. For this reason, it made sense to address some cities which I predict will gain popularity over the years. Step forward Aarhus, Brno and Girona.

Aarhus is Denmark’s second-largest city, and a total student zone. Aarhus was actually named a ‘European Capital Of Culture’ not too long ago, which makes the desire to visit even greater. Alongside insane architecture, interactive museums and lively nightlife, you’ve also got access to a roaring food scene. Oh, and flights often reach as low as £25 from London. Nice.

Looking for a non-predictable weekend away? Brno might be a good shout for you. The atmosphere is constantly described as ‘absolutely buzzing’, and visitors mention the city always has something to do. Music, art, culture, history, wine, fashion. You get the idea. If you’re curious about Brno, scroll official tourism boards for an up-to-date list of local events.

When a place is known as Barcelona’s little sister, you know it’s going to be incredible. Girona offers you absolutely everything Barcelona can give, but with less exposure. To start with, Girona is home to some iconic landmarks. It’s no wonder certain episodes of ‘Game Of Thrones’ were filmed here. You’re also pretty close to gorgeous sandy beaches, ones which triumph over Barcelona may I add. Trust me, you need to take a day trip. If you’re a harder sell, you’ll be pleased to know Girona is less than an hour from Barcelona by train. Yup, really.

So where am I heading in 2023? Well believe it or not, I haven’t fully decided. For certain, I know I’ll be seeing Iceland for a few days followed by a trip to New York. Although, I’ve also got South Korea on my radar, and a weekend trip to Portugal. Impulsive energy follows me everywhere I go, so I reckon a few more trips will crop up over the months!

Before I wrap up this post I wanted to say thank you. Genuinely. I appreciate every single read, click or comment, and adore forming connections with you all. Here’s to, hopefully, an epic next 12 months for all of us *raises glass*

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3 Comments Add yours

  1. Rebecca says:

    You’ve had a wonderful year of travel in 2022 (so far)! I’m glad you returned to North America to experience Toronto, and I’m glad you’re returning on my side of the pond with NYC next year! I’m glad you enjoyed Milan, as I also liked the city when I visited three years ago– I don’t know why some people don’t like it, as it’s beautiful in architecture and has some incredible and hearty food (still dreaming about that cotoletta alla milanese!). I hope to visit Andorra someday, even with the average rating, haha. I’m hoping for two international trips next year, as I’m slowly easing back into travel, but we’ll have to see– wishing you a fun time wherever you go!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much Rebecca! I think a lot of people feel like Milan is too industrial, but I think it makes the city feel extra city-like 🥳 I have absolutely loved seeing your travels around Argentina and can’t wait to see your content on future travels!

      Liked by 1 person

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