The end of the year is always a time of reflection, and there’s nothing I enjoy reflecting on as much as past trips. I love looking through the photo’s and remembering the good times I had.
I started making a round-up post of my favorite trips of the year in 2019.
Unfortunately, there wasn’t much opportunity to travel in 2020 for obvious reasons. But due to vaccinations and relaxing travel restrictions, I was able to take a few trips in 2021.
Sitting still has never been my strength, and my wanderlust was killing me after a year of practically being cooped up at home. I’m a firm believer in sustainable travel, and I feel that responsible travel in terms of health and safety is an important part of that. That’s why my trips have been in full accordance with local restrictions, vaccinated, tested, and masked.
I haven’t traveled outside of Europe since the start of the pandemic, something I wasn’t really planning to do anyway. In an effort to travel more sustainably, I fly as little as possible and focus more on local travel by train and bus. My only flight in 2021 was to Cyprus, since it’s an island and otherwise extremely hard to get to. All other trips listed here were taken by train and/or bus from Berlin.
Interested in cutting down on flying? Here are some sustainable alternatives
I’m extremely lucky to live in a central city in Europe, with great public transport connections around the continent. Except for Strasbourg, I also visited less touristic places or outside the main tourist season. Not only is this often more affordable, but it is also less crowded, so safer and more pleasant.
So where did I go that I loved? Aside from a few times traveling home to my family, these were my favorite trips of 2021. I would recommend each one for your travel inspiration for 2022!
Because I work in the travel industry, I usually can’t take a lot of time off in the summer. Luckily, summer is the best time in Berlin. And there are plenty of places in Southern Europe that are still warm and sunny in the fall.
By the end of the summer, I was in desperate need of some r&r. After working the whole year and the stress of the pandemic, what I craved more than anything was some beach time and sun. That’s why I booked a last-minute trip to Cyprus.
I stayed in an Airbnb in the mountains, with the loveliest hosts I’ve ever encountered. I prefer to stay in a room of people’s actual house, as it’s a more sustainable way to travel. You don’t contribute to the gentrification and rental issues caused by Airbnb, and you get to spend time with locals. My hosts were the friendliest couple and made it feel like I was staying with family instead of strangers. Their house is centrally located in the mountains of Cyprus, with gorgeous views and a pool. What more could anyone wish for?
From there, I explored the island, from beaches to ruins. A rental car is a must here, and even though I had never driven on the left side of the road before, I got used to it quickly.
Cyprus is a beautiful island with a lot to offer. The mountains are perfect for hiking (and even skiing in the winter!), the beaches are amazing and there is an enormous wealth of history and culture. I visited so many archaeological sites and ruins!
The political situation in Cyprus is a bit tense, and it is good to be aware of this beforehand. It’s perfectly safe, but you don’t want to step on anyone’s toes. Roughly half the island is Greek, the other part is occupied by the Turkish. The border runs through the capital city Nicosia. Coming from Berlin, it was strange to see a city actively divided by a wall.
Nicosia is the perfect place to learn more about the long history of Cyprus and a really cool city to visit.
Ultimately, I loved my stay in Cyprus and a week definitely felt too short. It reminded me of Greece in a lot of ways, but as nice as it was, I still prefer Greece.
Strasbourg & Colmar
My trip to Strasbourg was quite last-minute as our original trip to Vienna fell through because of a lockdown. I had intended to take a friend there to enjoy the amazing Christmas markets. Instead, we booked a train and this cozy Airbnb.
But the change of plans turned out to be a blessing in disguise, as Strasbourg perhaps has even more holiday charm than Vienna! The self-proclaimed European Capital of Christmas goes all out in terms of decorations.
The already charming half-timbered houses get loaded with fir, holly, lights, and toys. Add to that Christmas markets on every square, and you have a true European Christmas experience. The charm of Strasbourg isn’t exactly a well-kept secret, so I was actually glad that there weren’t as many tourists as usual.
The highlight of the trip was a day trip to Colmar, 30 minutes by train from Strasbourg. This small Alsatian town is even more picturesque and charming than Strasbourg. With that same half-timbered medieval architecture and holiday cheer. If you ever make it to Strasbourg, you have to visit Colmar as well!
I’m half German, and I’ve been living in Berlin for two years now, but I somehow had never made it down to Bavaria before.
So when I was looking for a destination for a family trip this summer, it was an easy choice. I spend a lovely week with my mom and sister, enjoying the warm hospitality and gorgeous landscapes of Bavaria.
We were staying at a friend’s place near the Ammersee, a beautiful location, perfect for swimming and hiking. Between long day hikes, swimming in the lake and indulging in beer and pretzels, it was a delightful vacation.
I can’t wait to go back to Bavaria and see more of the mountains and countryside.
I had the pleasure of visiting Prague once before in 2017 as one of my first solo trips. I immediately fell in love with the city. And how could I not? Prague is without a doubt one of the most beautiful cities in Europe.
With architecture ranging from Gothic to Art Nouveau, hidden courtyards, narrow cobblestone streets, and an abundance of famous landmarks, Prague will enchant all visitors. Walking here feels like a trip through time.
Prague also has a very special kind of magic, due to the paranormal and occult history of the city. You can sense that in the atmosphere, but especially in a glass of absinthe 😉
This trip was a year in the making, ever since my sister moved to Leuven in 2020. Unfortunately, due to the pandemic and travel restrictions between Germany and Belgium, I wasn’t able to visit her until the fall of 2021. But it was worth the wait!
It was so nice to see her new hometown, especially since Leuven is absolutely beautiful. This Belgian university town has a lot of gorgeous historic architecture and heaps of charm. If you enjoy strolling through cobblestone streets, visiting old churches and convents, and sitting down for a beer in a cute bar, Leuven is the place for you.
Since it’s so close to other big cities, it’s the perfect destination for a day trip from Brussels.
So these were my favorite trips from 2021. I didn’t get to take as many as I would have liked, and there is still a lot on my bucket list, but overall I can’t complain. I got to see some beautiful places and discover more of Europe.
Right now, I’m already planning out where I want to travel in 2022! What about you? Did you travel anywhere last year that you loved? Tell me all about it in the comments.
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