(original article is from Megan’s Travel Column, entitled Weekly Wanders on Life2PointOh)
It’s hard to pick just one city to visit in Europe, which is why few people actually do. Luckily for the savvy and sophisticated 20-something traveler, getting around Europe is pretty simple, especially when you think about how accessible it is to go from one city to the next. From London, you can arrive in Paris in under three hours and Edinburgh in five. If you are planning on visiting Europe, I recommend squeezing these five cities into your trip, if for no other reason than to witness these highly underrated views.
Primrose Hill, London: I like to call London my second home, simply because I identify so much with the culture and spirit of the city. While the London Eye does offer a spectacular view of the city, I much prefer the view from Primrose Hill. Just a short walk from Regent’s Park, Primrose Hill is the perfect escape from tourist central and is ideal for picnics, wine and star gazing. It’s also close by to upscale boutiques, quiet bars. If you want a bit more action on a Saturday night, lively Camden and hipster Islington are not far away.
Sacre Coeur, Paris: Unlike Primrose Hill, which is often overlooked, most travelers know to check out the view from le Sacre Coeur. Location-wise, it’s a little off-the-beaten path, but it’s often these places that make a city unique and memorable. Once you make you way up the winding roads of Montmartre you will see small cafes, art stands and creperies just outside the entrance. Personally, I like to arrive just as the sun is setting because you can watch as the city lights gradually illuminate. With local musicians playing instruments, it’s easy to figure out why Paris is such a romantic city.
Ferris Wheel, Zurich: Perhaps one of the most unexpected yet stunning views in Europe takes place on a ferris wheel in Zurich, Switzerland. I nickname Zurich “Cinderella City” because when I was there, literally everyone was coupled up. Ironically, I was visiting with my mother who also happens to be afraid of heights. As I took my place on the ferris wheel, alone among a sea of lovebirds, I felt a tad pathetic. This quickly faded as I took in the view – Lake Zurich glistening in front of me and behind me in the distant hills were houses lit up like something you’d read about in a fairytale.
Elephant Café, Edinburgh: To be honest, I had no initial expectations about Edinburgh, Scotland and maybe this is one of the reasons why I ended up loving this city. It’s not everyday where you can see a castle, especially one that happens to be built on volcanic rock. Making things even more interesting, the castle serves as the inspiration of Hogwarts from Harry Potter. The Elephant Café directly overlooks the castle and is known as “The Birthplace of Harry Potter”. Make sure to go to the back room for the best view of Hogwarts…I mean the castle!
Hohensalzburg Castle, Salzburg: Speaking of notable castles, Salzburg is home to one of the largest medieval castles in Europe. If you manage to climb all the way up to the fortress (there is an elevator option) you will not be disappointed. For anyone who is a Sound of Music Fan, make sure you stop by the famous abbey gates on your way up or down the castle. Once you make it to the top, mountains meet your eyes in every direction. Learning that Salzburg is also the birthplace of Mozart made me adore this city even more.