Lexa and I were planning a trip to Budapest to end the semester, so when I got the chance to take a day trip to Bratislava, I decided to take it. After a long overnight bus and a plane later, I arrived in Budapest and hopped on a 2.5 hour train to Bratislava. This is a really great option if you're already planning a trip to Budapest because the two cities are totally different and a round trip train ticket costs less than $40.
Arriving in Bratislava, it didn't take long to catch a fairy tale feel, which made me excited to explore more the next day (another perk: it's so cheap!!). Here's a few things I recommend.
Free Attractions/Things to Do:
While we might be biased since we studied only 30 minutes away from Spain’s capital, Madrid is a must-see city when traveling in Europe. There’s always something to do, great tapas and it’s super clean. Even though we traveled there at least 10 times while abroad, we discovered something new each time we explored this gorgeous city. Here are some of our favorite attractions that won’t break your budget:
After spending an entire semester planing out every detail (or mostly just winging it) of each trip, we decided to let someone else take the reins. We used a company called WSA, which has different excursions throughout Europe. From seeing the sites to visiting the thermal baths, our entire two day itinerary was planned for us. Our guide, Bogi, was incredible and made the weekend so much fun. Instead of just learning the history of Budapest, we spent two days laughing together and were genuinely interested in everything she had to say. Check out Bogi's guides to Budapest here or her instagram about Budapest here to see some amazing photos that'll inspire you to pack your bags.
Prague is a city I've wanted to explore for years. It's a city that seemed so different from everywhere else I'd visited in Europe. When we had to switch our plans before our trip to make sure we didn't overstay our limit in the Schengen Zone, I thought for sure Prague would have to get cut off the list. Luckily, I found a few days to make a quick trip before heading to Spain. Even though I only got to spend a day and a half here, I loved the city! Here are some of my recommendations if you only have.a short window to visit.
One of the best things about Prague was that pretty much everything we did was free.
Heading to Croatia, we were ready for warmer weather, but had no idea what to expect. Our time in Split and Dubrovnik did not disappoint, and we'd already love to go back (maybe on a yacht next time....a girl can dream right?). Here are a few of the highlights of our trip:
When planning our trip through the U.K, our friends raved about Edinburgh; so naturally we added it to our itinerary. We were immediately impressed by the vibe of the city - stone buildings lined every inch of the skyline and instead of building outward, the city had built up on top of itself. We'd never seen a city like it and couldn't wait to go exploring.
Top of Calton Hill
After our trip to London in 2015, we didn't have high hopes for another experience in one of England's bigger cities. However, we were completely surprised by how nice everyone was and were swept away by the city's quirky history and identity rooted in its colleges.
1) Without a doubt, our favorite part of our time in Oxford and our #1 recommendation is to take a Footprints free guided walking tour. Our guide, Spencer, was really knowledgable, funny and told us some really incredible stories about the history of Oxford
--did you know that Alice in Wonderland was written from a story told to an 8-year-old girl while "punting" down the river? That story later came to be published into the story we all know today.
--did you know that Oxford University is actually made of 38 colleges, which all have pet tortoises? Each year they race them, and in years past, they were the cause of some pretty brutal pranks between rival colleges.
2) Pitt Rivers Museum - This museum is a collection of memorabilia from around the world donated by travelers. It has a bit of a gloomy, creepy feel since thousands of artifacts are huddled together in class cases, which look like a maze from above (the shrunken heads don't help the creepy vibe either). There were some really cool exhibits, but it was overwhelming at times because of the sheer number of artifacts being displayed. The layout of the museum and heavy cultural emphasis were different from your typical museum experience.