I’ve never been good at choosing favorites. I can rarely ever narrow something down to just one choice. Whenever people used to ask me what my favorite country was, I would usually answer with “can I list my top five?” Because how could I choose just one? And to be honest, even choosing just five, out of the fifty-one I’ve visited, was a struggle. But there are definitely some countries that rise to the top. So here are those five.
1. New Zealand
Until I visited New Zealand, Australia was at the top of my list of favorite countries. But once I spent 16 days traveling around both the north and south islands of New Zealand, I knew that New Zealand had edged out Australia. There really isn’t anything to not like about New Zealand. I suppose the only negative thing would be how expensive it is. You probably won’t be traveling to New Zealand to do budget traveling. Certainly not the same way you would when traveling southeast Asia, anyway. Budget traveling can be done almost anywhere, but unless your trip is being sponsored, or you are just willing to skip some top sights in New Zealand, you will probably spend a good chunk of cash in New Zealand. Just know that it’s worth it. From glaciers to beaches to geothermal activity and mountains, the diversity and beauty of the country is unrivaled. Plus, Hobbiton.
Australia is one of those countries that you just must see for yourself. I’m sure my friends and family get tired of hearing me talk about it, but it really is amazing. One of my best pieces of travel advice? Go to Australia. And when you get there, don’t just stay on the east coast. There are absolute gems of beaches and national parks to be discovered on Australia’s west coast. Not only is Australia fabulously gorgeous, it also has a lot of really cool birds and animals.
Russia is one of those places that surprises first time visitors. Thanks to the Cold War and stereotypes and the media, the picture painted in the average person’s mind is a far cry from reality in modern day Russia. Yes, you will find scarf-covered babushki, yes you will find many things that are a holdover from the Soviet era, yes there is snow in winter, and yes people themselves can seem cold. But Russia bursts to life in the spring with leafy green birch forests and wild strawberries and flowers on every corner. Even Russians themselves seem to thaw out when the weather warms up, and smiles can be seen all around as families wander through expansive parks and down wide boulevards. The beauty, history, charm and mystique of Russia make it a destination not to be missed.
What can I say? Venice, Florence, Rome, the Italian Riviera, they have been calling to travelers for centuries. One can never tire of Italy, no matter how many times he has been. The history, the architecture, the beauty, and yes, the pizza and gelato, all beckon me again and again. But to properly enjoy Italy, don’t visit in the summertime when both the temperature and number of tourists soar.
Why do I love Greece? Besides the fact that it’s beautiful and old and has stunning sunsets? The food. If the only reason you travel to Greece is to eat Greek food, you won’t be disappointed. Greek food, I love you. And also, Santorini, I love you, too.
Do you have a list of top 5 favorite countries? If so, what are they and why?