As the Spring Semester winds down and summer quickly approaches, it’s about that time to start planning fall study abroad. Chances are that you’ll never be living in Europe for a semester’s length for the rest of your life, so now is the time to start saving up for some amazing weekend getaways! Of course you’re probably already dying to see cities like Paris, London, Rome, Barcelona, and Dublin, but what about the less known European gems of cities?
1. Bruges, Belgium
Bordering northern France and western Germany, Belgium boasts a number of delicacies, such as chocolates, pralines, and waffles. If you’re studying abroad in London, Bruges is merely a three-hour train ride away The Belgian city of Bruges is magical – cobblestone streets, colorful townhouse facades, and a magnificent bell tower. Hangout at Market Square and Belfry Tower then visit the Beer Museum where you can learn all about Belgian brewing. Your 13-euro entry ticket to the museum includes 3 free glasses of beer at the end of your tour.
2. Dubrovnik, Croatia
Located just east of Italy, Croatia is home to some of the most beautiful beaches in Europe. Dubrovnik is an ancient city located on the Mediterranean, which was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1979. Layout by the beach, take a walking tour of the ancient city, or take a tour by boat. This beautiful city is a must-see destination for anyone who needs their beach-fix while studying abroad in Europe for several months. Check out our interview with former Campus Celebrity, Daniela Tomas ’14, for an in-depth look at Croatia!
3. Mont St. Michel, France
Have you already seen everything Paris has to offer? If so check out the island of Mont St. Michel, one of the most magnificent sites in France. Located in Normandy, France, this city is built upon an island with a beautiful monastery situated on the top Spend a day checking out the shops and eating at the cafés on the island. Don’t forget to try a galette, or a savory crepe topped with a variety of ingredients such as ham, cheese, and egg. Tour the basilica and monastery for some amazing views of the French countryside and coast.
4. Istanbul, Turkey
Just a little bit east of Greece in the Mediterranean, Turkey is part of both Europe and Asia. Although its capital is Ankara, Istanbul is home to several tourist sites such as the Hagia Sophia. The Hagia Sophia is a Greek Orthodox basilica which was transformed into a mosque, and it is currently a museum. The massive interior space is truly awe-inspiring. Tour the Blue Mosque, Topkapi Palace, the Sultanahmet District, and take a food tour to taste Turkey’s most exquisite cuisine.
5. St. Petersburg, Russia
Also further to the east, St. Petersburg is situated just south of Finland in Russia. Visit the Church of the Savior on Blood (pictured above) and the Russian version of Notre Dame’s golden dome, St. Isaac’s Cathedral State Museum-Memorial. Don’t forget to taste traditional Russian dishes such as beef stroganov, bliny, and caviar!