Moving to London is overwhelming enough. Making new friends, finding a new job, figuring out the tube system and how to survive on Super Noodles until your next paycheque. Throw in all of the possible adventures right on your doorstep, and it’s easy to see how people might miss out on some of the best experiences when they’re restricted to just a 2-year stay . With my own visa coming to a close, I thought I’d share my top tips & highlights for what not to miss whilst you are calling Europe home.
Let’s kick off with my most recent adventure: Oktoberfest!
Often referred to as Disneyland for adults, Oktoberfest is one festival you don’t want to miss. The mix of fairground fun, brass bands, scrumptious pork knuckle, lederhosen & dancing on your seats, combined with litre upon litre of the purest Bavarian beer, means you’re guaranteed to see hundreds of thousands of smiling faces here. Traditional costume & beers the size of your head: what’s not to love?
When you think Scotland, you think Haggis, kilts & rolling green hills.
And let me tell you, Scotland does not disappoint. Whether it’s a weekend jaunt to stunning Edinburgh or a longer adventure through the Highlands, Scotland is one place not to miss. If you’re looking to go on the hunt, visit Loch Ness & search for its elusive monster, affectionately referred to by the locals as “Nessie”. Head off on a tour of the highlands, through Glencoe & hear all about the bloody clan battles for land, wives & leadership, whilst admiring the breath-taking surroundings. If you make it as far as the Isle of Skye be sure to visit the pier side chippy in Portree for what is possibly the best fish & chips I have ever had; you may even be able to sample a gooey, sweet fried mars bar if you’re game
The Balkans is an oft-forgotten wedge of Europe that gave me one of the most diverse weeks of my life. Between the dramatic Croatian coastline, the intriguing Albanian history and the fortresses of Montenegro, this region really does have something for everyone. It’s the perfect balance of culture, relaxation and partying, with refreshing beach stops along the way. Travelling through this region is also a great way to get between the Greek Islands and a Croatia sailing tirp, two bucket list items for just about everyone I’ve met on my travels.
The Irish are some of the friendliest people in the world. Throw in a pub on every corner (and live music in all of them!), and it’s guaranteed the craic is going to be good! Whether you’re heading to infamous Temple Bar in Dublin, or to the student street parties of Galway, there will be dancing in the streets, pints of Guinness, and hours of fun. Spending St. Patrick’s Day in was by far one of best experiences I have had.
Straddling Eastern Europe & Western Asia, Turkey is a fantastic representation of East meets West, where you’ll find the best of both worlds. There is so much to see: the bustling, cosmopolitan streets of Istanbul, the eerie stillness of the Gallipoli peninsula, the majestic beauty of Cappadocia, famous for its hot air balloon sunrises. Snack on kebabs and baklava, drink more tea than ever before, and enjoy the famous local hospitality. It’s a bonus that Turkey is relatively cheap, so you can experience it all without having to hit up your parents for a loan.
It is easy to get sucked into London life, but some of the best places I have visited are right here in England! From the historical centres of Bath & Oxford, to the crazy nightlife of Newcastle and the quirky alleyways of Brighton: there is something for everyone in England. Some are easy day commutes from London; others are the ideal weekend getaway: make sure to get out and explore the country you’re calling home!
Whatever you do, wherever you go while you’re living in London, just make the most of all the chances to explore. Trust me: your two years passes before you can even say “where to next?”
Good luck & happy travels!