Currently in Ljubljana, Slovenia
Their Advent markets don’t hold a candle to competition, but Ljubljana’s science-themed Christmas lights outshine everyone else by miles (and molecules).
Top-notch Christmas markets drew us to Croatia’s capital, which has a distinctly Central European vibe. Different from the coast, but equally satisfying.
Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Slowly recovering from its painful recent history, there is so much more to this city than the war. Like stunning mountains, and the best cevapi around.
Novi Sad, Serbia
The ubiquitous popcorn stands captivated Danielle instantly. The city is also prettier and friendlier than we expected, and with great food as well.
This beautiful city at Romania’s western edge is more park than parkway. It’s also the perfect home base to see Hunedora, one of the world’s best castles.
Our least favorite Baltic state, which is like ONLY getting bronze at the Olympics. Still head and shoulders above almost anyone else! Perfect parks, too.
The world’s best beer, and nobody knows it. From this stay onward, we consider it our solemn duty to spread the good word. The city is pretty swell, too.
Prague, Czech Republic
Everyone’s favorite beer destination was only okay drink-wise, but charmed us in other ways. The medieval Old Town and beer culture were excellent.
La Floresta, Uruguay
This little town has one of the most unparalleled stretches of beach we’ve ever seen. If only our rental was less of a nightmare, we might never have left.
La Rambla, showpiece of Uruguay’s capital, democratizes the city’s entire waterfront. Could be the most laid-back and family friendly spot on the continent.
Punta Arenas, Chile
Chile’s southern city reminded us more of Alaska than Latin America. A hard life for humans, but the whales and penguins in the strait don’t seem to mind.
With side trip to Torres del Paine, Chile
We raced to the top of the Torres trail and ruined our legs for day 2. But the incomparable vistas made this our favorite hiking trip since we left Seattle.
Chile’s megalopolis was sunny and hot, but not unbearably so. The greenbelt parks and endless markets made this oversized city feel surprisingly neighborly.
It turns out that cruising is incompatible with our travel style. Too expensive, too restrictive, and too many people. But the places we visited were nice.
Buenos Aires, Argentina
This city may be one of the continent’s most popular spots, but we never fully got into its rhythm. An abundance of red wine and red meat helped us cope.
Easily the best food in South America, Peru spoiled us with ceviche, chupe, and even cuy. The smell of the Pacific air made us just a little bit homesick.
The sugar sand beaches have some allure, but we picked Cancun to catch a flight. Tasty street food can be found if you venture far enough from the hotels.
Being in town for the Day of the Dead was amazing. But this city was our favorite in Mexico for so many other reasons: food, art, architecture, and people.
With side trips to Chichen Itza and Uxmal, Mexico
These two Mayan ruins are close to Merida but worlds apart. Chichen Itza’s vastness draws mobs of daytrippers. Uxmal is comparatively calm and compact.
Playa del Carmen, Mexico
Playa is like Cancun’s crowded little brother, but the beaches are worth it. And a few blocks from the main drag we found a more relaxing, local stay.
We fell in love with Estonia instantly. The charming little capital of this charming little country felt made for us. Chalk up a win for the introverts.
Poland’s best-preserved Old Town is stuffed with churches and tourists, but we were more concerned with stuffing ourselves with pierogies and Polish beer.
With side trip to Auschwitz, Poland
A deeply powerful and sobering sight to see in person. Visiting Auschwitz put into perspective the sheer scale and cruelty of the Holocaust.
We were supposed to like Krakow more, but Poland’s capital wowed us with a blend of modern vibrancy and powerful history drawn from stories, not structures.
Budapest (not Bucharest) is a grand capital on the Danube River, with impressive architecture, great parks, and a remarkably affordable cost of living.
Ireland was a pricey vacation. But this enchanting city of literature and history (and yes, whiskey) had a surprisingly international vibe that we loved.
Bucharest (not Budapest) is a grand capital on the Dambovita River, with impressive architecture, great parks, and a remarkably affordable cost of living.
Croatia’s pushy tourist capital doesn’t take more than a day or two to see. We got our pictures, then spent the rest of the stay watching Game of Thrones.
Our stay in Croatia came with a great waterfront view and a month of gorgeous sunsets. Toss in a few islands, castles, and bottles of wine, and we were set.
With side trip to Plitvice Lakes, Croatia
Our first chance to go hiking in months was a treat. Though we ended up with more candid shots than calories burned, Plitvice was very much worth the visit.
This overcrowded Catalan tourist trap offered a few redeeming charms, from art museums and tapas to the very-deserving-of-its-fame Sagrada Familia.
Portugal’s hilly waterfront capital reminded us most of home. But the best-value wines, egg tart pastries, and cool clouds made this winter stay extra cozy.
With side trips to Sintra and Mafra, Portugal
The colorful patchwork castle of Pena Palace gets all the glory, but we loved the Castle of the Moors even more. Mafra’s library is a sight to behold.
Malaysia’s foodie paradise. While our most fond memories are of the incredible hawker stall meals we ate, we also enjoyed Thaipusam and the island’s sights.
Chiang Mai, Thailand
Thailand’s cosmopolitan northern city is delightful, and cheap. Highlights included good food, gorgeous temples, and a spectacular New Year’s celebration.