So far I’ve been to 99 places from the list (out of 962): 84 in Europe, 11 in Asia, 3 in Africa and 1 in North America. Countries with the biggest number of visited sites were Italy (12), Germany (9), China (7), Poland (7) and Austria (6). These are statistics but which places did I like the most?
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This town appears on jigsaw puzzles very often. Even in the first place I lived in back at uni there was a poster with the lake, beautiful mountains and adorable little town. From the very first moment I saw it I knew I will have to visit this place, it looked so beautiful. And finally in 2009 I made it there, it was the first stop of my European rail trip (I visited 8 countries then). The weather was gloomy on that day, the clouds were really low, covering the mountains but Hallstatt actually looked so much better in that scenery. There was something magical in the town, it looked different than I imagined but in a good way!
Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina
10 or so years ago a good friend of mine visited Balkans and she brought me a framed picture of Mostar by night. It still hangs on my wall. I always imagined myself walking on the beautiful stoned bridge above the incredibly clean river, wandering around the Ottoman streets and enjoying the view of surrounding mountains. When I finally got there last year Mostar was all of that and even more. All the pictures don’t really show the real beauty of the city, I can’t find the right words to describe how much I loved it there. Immediately I felt a strong connection with the city, without any particular reason. I spent hours wandering around, exploring the areas destroyed by the recent war or sitting by the river and just looking at the incredible city around me. I’m really looking forward to returning to Mostar (or Bosnia for that matter) one day, sooner than later…
I don’t remember when I accidentaly stumbled across the picture of Kotor. Until then I only pictured Montenegro (then it was still Yugoslavia) as the country with clear sea that everyone is crazy about. I wasn’t aware of such a stunning place like Kotor. Located at the end of the fjord with majestic mountains around this is one of the most beautiful water places I’ve ever seen (it’s my no. 1 together with Amalfi Coast in Italy). It’s worth going there for the amazing nature but the town itself is well worth a visit too. Kotor is one of the best preserved medieval cities in Europe, the old town hidden behind the walls is a real maze of extremely narrow streets that are full of important monuments. And in the evening, when the big cruise ships are gone, the town gets quite, life goes much slower and it’s a place everyone would fall for.
Prague, Czech Republic
I can go on and on about Prague. It’s my all time favourite city that I could easily picture myself living in. I can’t even count how many times I’ve been there but I remember my first visit was in 2002. Since then I happen to be in Prague 1-2 times each year and with every visit I fell for this city more and more. These days I don’t even go to the historical old town all that often, it is pretty but feels like a Disneyland. Instead I prefer walking around random streets, exploring my fave neighbourhoods such as Zizkov, Smichov or Holesovice or discover off the beaten path places. Prague doesn’t feel anymore like another destination to me, it’s more like home. I’m so glad I’ll be there again this August for a concert!
Another city that I loved from the very first moment. It was one of my dreams to live there and I was lucky enough to spend a month there back in 2007 when I had my internship in the Polish Embassy. Now every return to Berlin is like comming back home, so many streets and corners are familiar, so many places feel like mine. Berlin is one of the very few cities where the recent history can be seen so widely. It’s so clear how the city was divided, the east is really different from the west. Berlin has a soul and it’s a really exciting one. Not to mention the awesome street art all over the city!
I must admit I’m not the biggest fan of Nordic cities. They may not have the greatest monuments however the atmosphere is really fun and hip in each of them. Bergen was different. I didn’t expect it to be so beautiful. The Bryggen district with old wooden houses were just the prettiest! But the whole city was really impressing, with water and mountains right in the center. I can easily say that Bergen is my favourite city in Scandinavia and I’ll gladly go back there whenever I have a chance!
This small town located in Transylvania was like from a fairy tale! When I visited it one October morning 2,5 years ago it was full of mist, there were not too many people around and it felt truly magical, like the time stoped there centuries ago. Since it was autumn there were colorful leaves on the ground that just added up to the atmosphere. Some places within the town felt haunted and the house where the infamous Dracula used to live didn’t help much. If there’s only one place in Transylvania that has the atmosphere straight from the horror books then it’s definitely Sighisoara!
This is the most charming and adorable capital city ever! When most of the Swiss business takes place in Zurich or Geneva it’s Bern that’s the political center of the country. It’s calm, quite and doesn’t feel like the capital city at all. The old town is really beautiful, still remembering the medieval times. But the most famous site there is Zytglogge, the clock with moving puppets, just like Orloj in Prague. Plus there are bears walking around at the riverside (that is the greenest ever!), how cool is that??
The most Eastern European city I’ve ever been to! The architecture in the center is the best example of Soviet enormous buildings. All the churches have incredibly golden domes that shine in the sun. The most surreal museum I’ve ever seen is there – with amazing Soviet monuments and post-war Soviet songs playing in the background. I’ve never expected Kiev to be so incredibly amazing but 3 days weren’t half as much as I’d like to spend there. I’m looking carefully on all the deals on flights to see if there’s nothing to Kiev sometime soon!
My newest discovery that fastly became my third favourite city, just after Prague and Tbilisi. It has the multicultural, bohemian atmosphere that I loved so very much! The city is really beautiful and still remembers the good old times. The number of monuments is really impressive there and it’s really a surprise the city still is undiscovered by foreign tourists (except Polish maybe). When I visited it this winter it looked like winter wonderland and now I’m really looking forward to returning there somewhen soon to get to know this city better!
I know people are usually crazy about UK but that’s not the case with me. However Edinburgh was different. The city looks like it stoped back in the medieval times and is so different than any other city I’ve seen before. I loved the stone houses all over the city and the majestic castle overlooking the area. It was also incredible how many green areas were there and how close it was to get to the nature – the famous hill Arthur’s Seat is within a walking distance from the center and offeres excellent views all over the place. Edinburgh was also a perfect for daytrips to the surrounding Scottish Highlands. I only wish I went for the Isle of Skye tour too!
One of the very few places in China I really enjoyed and the only one that felt really real. I arrived there early in the morning when the streets were full of dusts, only few people were riding a bikes around and the city still felt asleep. It was beautiful and magical! Later that day Pingyao got much busier yet still felt like the real China, not another touristic destination. Still the backstreets were empty, with only few Chinese people hanging around. I spent the whole day exploring the city or aimlessly walking around and it was one of the best days I spent in China!
Have you visited any of these places? What are your favourite UNESCO World Heritage Sites?
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