Last year was supposed to be a year of travel for us. The world had other plans though. But when it is safe to travel (whether that miraculously happens this year or in a couple more) here are places both domestic and international that I would visit again in a heartbeat:
- Rome, Italy
My husband and I traveled to Rome as part of a 10 day Europe trip about a year and a half before our daughter was born. It was probably one of the most adventurous travel experiences we had. We had to be our own local tour guides, do our own research and ask around for recommendations on places to see and things to do. Our stay in Rome was very short – 2 nights – but the city was so lively and there is so much to do and see. Filled with old alley ways, you’ll find some of the best restaurants where you least expect it. The most memorable part of being in Rome is when we booked the only available time slot to tour the Vatican roughly 6 hours before our flight back home. We broke away from our guided tour 30 minutes in and did a speed walk tour through the rest of the Vatican like a crazy couple. Thankfully, we made it to our flight on time even with extra time for “random additional screening.” We still laugh about it.
- Barcelona, Spain
On the same trip, we had originally started our vacation in Barcelona. The city is extremely different compared to Rome. It’s quieter for one, primarily because of the siesta. The city almost looks deserted at that time. But if you venture to La Rambla in the evenings (one of the main streets in historic district of Barcelona) you’ll find several bars, restaurants, clubs, and street vendors. Many people out on the street sitting on tables lined up in the center of the street, eating, drinking, and having a good time. It was at La Rambla where we were able to see a traditional flamenco dance and also check out their open-air market, La Boqueria Mercat. Barcelona is also a perfect city for anyone with an interest in modern architecture and art. The city is filled with the works of Antoni Gaudi and even have a park with his work called Park Guell, and their Art Museum is massive. I think Paris gets too much credit for art because of the Louvre. I’d go back just for art appreciation and the markets.
- Zurich, Switzerland
Growing up we visited Zurich frequently. My dad would travel there for work and when his stays would be long, he would have us accompany him on his trips. My mom was a master at getting both my brother and I’s teachers to excuse the absence as educational trips and would get our learning lessons and homework for the weeks we were going to be away ahead of time. But my experience of Switzerland as a child versus as an adult weren’t much different. The city is idolized in Europe for the right reasons. Its pristine infrastructure, low crime, and beautiful lakes and valleys make it a great destination for anyone. As a chocolate lover, I have yet another reason to love this city. While more expensive than other parts of Europe, I think it’s well worth it.
- Austin, Texas
I don’t know what took me so long to visit Austin. I’d been there for quick work trips but it wasn’t until October 2019 that our family was able to actually go spend some time in the city. And I get why every Millennial loves it there. It’s a perfect balance of modern city and country with endless options for food. The food truck culture is probably the best part about Austin. I felt like I was back in New York without the smell of sewage following me. And if you’re an outdoorsy person or a dog parent, then this city can’t get better. Between Mount Bonnell, Barton Springs, and several greenbelts and nature trails there’s a bunch of spots you can soak up some vitamin D.
- Monterey, California
If you watched Big Little Lies like me, you were probably more distracted by the pretty beaches and towns on the show than the actual storyline and plot. When we went to visit San Francisco in March 2019 we had pre-planned a day trip going towards Big Sur. But with a 1 year old the furthest we reached was Bixby Bridge in Monterey. Along the way we stopped at Pigeon Point Lighthouse and other scenic areas before hitting Bixby Bridge. The best part of Monterey is the small beach town feel. We enjoyed the most delicious lunch at Dametra Cafe, a Mediterranean restaurant with two different store fronts because they’re that busy. We left Monterey so in awe talking about how maybe if it’s in the future for us, we’ll want to retire here.
- Hana, Hawaii
Hana needs no explanation for why it’s on this list. Although the road to Hana is described dangerous and not for those with a scare of heights, it was well worth the risk when we visited Maui. Anyone that has visited Hawaii knows it feels like it is a world of its own. The locals even differentiate visitors from the “mainland.” But Hana has its own unique feeling because of its low population feels somewhat private even when touring through the road. You literally feel like you’re in the Jurassic Park driving through its lush mountains and greenery. A lot of wealthy visitors frequently take a helicopter or a private jet to Hana to avoid the roads, but I can only imagine how beautiful the views must be.
What cities would you revisit in a heartbeat? Tell me in the comments below!