My Favorite Cities Part 2: Europe

As you might have seen in part 1 of this post, I’ve been getting asked one question in particular a lot since my return: Which city was your favorite?

After last year, I think I have as many favorite cities as foodies do favorite bougie restaurants, so I’ve just given up on ranking them and made pro/con lists instead. Part 1 covered my favorite South American cities. Part 2, this post, details my favorite European spots. And next time, part 3 will cover the Asian cities we visited.

So here goes part 2.


Prague, Czech Republic


  • Seriously, it’s like living in a postcard of medieval Europe but without all the disease and hygiene problems
  • It’s very walkable (or so I hear, I was on crutches the whole time sooo)
  • On a related note, paying out-of-pocket for unexpected healthcare services was surprisingly cheap, easy, and reliable (here’s side-eying you, USA)

    the Vltava river

  • The beer (and I don’t even LIKE beer)
  • Honey (beekeeping is a huge thing and I love it??)
  • Affordability (after Buenos Aires this was a HUGE RELIEF—and also surprising for such a big European city and popular tourist spot)
  • Did I mention how pretty it is? Our workspace was literally a castle. Even the weird dorm-like housing we lived in was clean and shiny and a weird mix of modern and Communist-block-style that somehow felt homey


  • I could not communicate at all. But if you know some Czech or even Russian, this will be less of a problem
  • People in general seem less overtly friendly than in South America. For me, this was actually a relief (I don’t always want to have a 20-minute chat just because we’re sitting next to one another on the subway, sorryyyy), but others were put off by it at first
  • Touristy (yes, I know it’s ironic to complain about this as a tourist, but more so than anywhere else we lived, the tourist zones felt very fabricated)

Belgrade, Serbia


  • Super affordable (on the local Uber knockoff, CarGo, which sounded like it was probably named by the designer’s toddler, it cost about ~$5 USD max to get from one side of town to the other. I had to use this a lot since, still on crutches)
  • Giant hippie fairy bar on top of a fortress
  • Outdoor raves in said fortress, which led to a lot of hungover mornings-after at said hippie fairy bar (their beanbag chairs were great for lying on the floor while dying of a hangover and pitifully sipping ciders)
  • Riverfront pools/beaches/bars
  • Inexplicably great sushi restaurants

    morning-after in said bar

  • “The nightlife in Belgrade is basically Berlin in the 90s” – my friend who is 1000% cooler than me and whose judgement I trust implicitly
  • Cool as hell old architecture
  • Super cool locals who adopted us and took us to all the best bars


  • World’s most depressing zoo
  • Heatwaves
  • Lack of air conditioning in many old houses
  • Lack of elevators and prevalence of hills made crutching around very difficult (but this was a very specific me-problem)
  • Not a ton of stuff to do outside of partying and poolside lounging (which is, I realize, the most non-complaints of complaints)

Valencia, Spain


  • Looks like Antoni Gaudí and Art Nouveau had a lovechild, and its name is Santiago Calatrava (if you’re a NYer, he’s the guy who designed the Oculus at One World Trade)
  • Perfect weather, especially when we were there in September
  • Gorgeous Mediterranean beaches
  • Parks for days

    Calatrava buildings: pretty but leaky

  • Museums for days
  • Like all of Spain, the $2 wine in the grocery store is phenomenal. The $6 bottle will blow your mind
  • I could understand Spanish again (again, me-specific, because I learned European Spanish, but it was SUCH A RELIEF especially after 2 months in countries where I knew exactly none of the local language)
  • The produce oh my god
  • The fresh fish oh my god
  • So many cute coffee shops and cafes
  • So many weird bars with creepy baby doll heads as decoration—wait, no, just one of them, but still


  • Ate at a restaurant where all the dishes were made from canned seafood and it basically tasted like cat food, and this was not not par for the course in the Valencian restaurant scene (shut up I know I am a snob now I’M SORRY REMOTE YEAR DID THIS TO ME)
  • Price-wise we were definitely in Western Europe again (although Valencia wasn’t as costly as somewhere like Barcelona or Florence, I did have to start penny-pinching more than in Eastern Europe)
  • Healthcare was pricier than in Prague (but still RIDICULOUSLY AFFORDABLE, EVEN PAYING OUT OF POCKET I am looking at you again USA, with increasing disbelief. Like… this is a rant for another time but WHY DOES BASIC MEDICAL TREATMENT COST LITERALLY 20 TIMES MORE IN AMERICA THAN ANYWHERE ELSE AUGH*)
    * I know why sorry that was rhetorical fuck our healthcare system the end

look when you have to be on crutches you might as well glam it up

There’s part 2 of our year, our three months in Europe. Stay tuned for part 3, pros and cons of the cities we visited in Asia!

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