There’s no doubt about it – studying abroad is becoming easier and more accessible among college students. As it should! There’s simply no better time to travel the world than your early 20’s (before you’re tied down to a boring 9-5 job).
Choosing a study abroad destination can be hard. But the only thing harder than choosing a study abroad destination is choosing where to travel on the weekends!
I traveled to 13 countries and 25 amazing cities during my time abroad. Of those places, I’ve compiled a list of my top 10 study abroad destinations for you (which wasn’t easy, btw). I want your time abroad to be just as amazing as mine was, so make sure you don’t miss a single one of these incredible places!
1. The Amalfi Coast, Italy
If you’ve read my Amalfi Coast travel guide, you’ll know that I fell head-over-heels in love with the Amalfi Coast. A large part of this was due to the help of our travel guides from Bus2Alps (I’d highly recommend booking your trip with them!)
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The Amalfi Coast is located in Southern Italy. It’s a picturesque destination complete with dazzling blue waters, amazing grottos, and crazy cliffs. Take the chairlift to the top of Mt. Solaro in Capri, rent a boat for the day in Positano, and discover the ruins of Pompeii in this amazing destination. Make sure you visit when it’s warm so that you can fully enjoy the beaches! Check out my travel guide for more information!
Ahhh, Dublin. How I love you so. Dublin is the capital of the Republic of Ireland, located on the east coast of the country. The city is relatively small, but it’s so full of charm that it’s easy to fall in love with. You’ll find ancient treasures like St. Patrick’s Cathedral and the Dublin Castle, and you’ll never be more than 20 feet away from a pub.
If you want to have a fun weekend, Dublin is definitely the right place. Wake up and grab an Irish coffee. Visit the Guinness Storehouse and learn how to pour the perfect pint, check out the world-famous Temple Bar Pub, and grab some souvenir’s from Carroll’s Irish Gifts (there’s one on every corner!). Have Shepherd’s pie for dinner and wash it down with a nice cold pint. And don’t forget to schedule your trip to the Cliffs of Moher!
Don’t forget: it’s never too early to grab a beer in Dublin!
3. Amsterdam, Netherlands
You don’t have to be a The Fault in Our Stars fan to want to visit Amsterdam. Okay? Okay.
Amsterdam is the capital of the Netherlands famous for its canals, widespread bicycle usage, and narrow buildings. It’s also famous for its legal marijuana and prostitution. But don’t let that scare you away! Amsterdam is a completely safe and beautiful city, and I loved it with every fiber of my being.
There’s so much to do in this incredible city. Visit the real Anne Frank House (but make sure you buy your tickets in advanced!), marvel at Van Gogh’s masterpieces, and take a photo with the I Amsterdam letters. Take a boat ride through the canals or rent a bicycle for the day. You can find hidden gems like the Amsterdam Cheese Museum and the Tulip Museum. Stop by the Magna Plaza to do some shopping, and make sure you stop by a bakery to try a chocolate-covered waffle (those things are addicting). And if you’re feeling “scandalous,” check out a local coffeeshop (hint: coffeeshops in Amsterdam don’t sell coffee…) or walk through the Red Light District.
4. Prague, Czech Republic
A common mistake for travelers is to skip over Eastern Europe. DON’T SKIP OVER EASTERN EUROPE! Especially not Prague.
Prague is the capital of the Czech Republic. It’s famous for its Old Town Square, a historic and incredibly beautiful part of the city. Here you can find the Medieval Astronomical Clock and other unbelievable architecture, as well as cute shops and restaurants. Cross the Charles Bridge to see the Prague Castle and everything that it has to offer (including the stunning St. Vitus Cathedral!) Visit the John Lennon Wall, a tribute to the late Beatle as a symbol of hope and piece. There’s so much to explore in this charming city you won’t even believe it.
Prague is also well-known for its nightlife. There are huge clubs that will have you dancing until the early hours of the morning – ask around to get recommendations!
5. London, England
London is a place you’re probably dying to visit anyway, so I don’t have to do much to sell you on this classic city. As you know, it’s the capital of London and the United Kingdom, and there’s soooo much to see and do here.
Take a ride in the London Eye for a breathtaking 365 view of the city. Take a picture inside a red telephone booth. Marvel at Big Ben and the Parliament Building. Visit Buckingham Palace to witness the changing of the guard. Spend some time in Piccadilly Circus and Trafalgar Square, two of London’s most famous tourist spots. Marvel at the displays (and maybe do a little shopping) at Harrod’s. Take a trip to Hogwarts by visiting Platform 9 3/4 at Kings Cross Station (don’t forget to take a picture!).
If you feel like taking a short underground ride outside the heart of London, you can channel your inner Beatle and walk across Abbey Road. Or take a short trip to Greenwich to stand on the Prime Meridian.
And of course there’s no shortage of good food in London! Grab some friends and enjoy an afternoon tea together (we did this at BB Bakery and loved every second of it). If you’re looking for some good casual dining, you MUST check out Nando’s. And of course you can’t go to London without trying their famous fish and chips or battered sausage.
6. Chefchaouen, Morocco
Okay, so technically we aren’t in Europe anymore. But how many people can say that they’ve traveled to Africa!? Believe it or not, Morocco is extremely easy to get to from Southern Spain, and it’s 1000% worth it.
My trip to Morocco was booked through Discover Excursions, which I highly recommend doing as well. We visited a couple of different cities, but my favorite was Chefchaouen, also known as the Blue City or the Blue Pearl. Why? The entire city is painted blue!
While in Chefchaouen, were given a walking tour of the city from a local man. Of course we had to take dozens of photos in front of the powder blue walls. We spent a lot of time shopping and bartering for homemade goods. The cous-cous and other traditional dishes were absolutely amazing. There’s also hundreds of stray cats wandering the streets that we got to play with, and we received beautiful henna tattoos from a local woman. However, my favorite memories of Chefchaouen involve interacting with the locals. They’re incredibly friendly and intelligent, and were so excited to talk to us!
If you’re interested at all in visiting this unique country, check out Discover Excursions right now. They also took us to another city where we were able to ride camels and visit the beach! I promise, you won’t regret this trip at all.
7. Paris, France
Paris is the capital of France. It’s the city of lights, the city of love. I think it’s safe to say that Paris is my favorite city in the entire world. I’m so blessed to have been able to live there for an entire month. It’s classy, elegant, clean, and everything you could ever want from a city. There’s a million things to do in Paris and I can’t possibly name them all, but I’m gonna try!
Obviously, you need to see the Eiffel Tower. I loved going to see it at night with a bottle of champagne in hand to watch it dazzle. You should try to go to the top, too! Not gonna lie, I may or may not have teared up at the sight of it. You also have to see L’Arc de Triomphe and climb the steps to the top for an amazing view of Paris. Take a selfie with the Mona Lisa at the Louvre but don’t forget about the stunning Museé d’Orsay. Stroll along the Champs-Elysées for some window shopping and grab a macaroon from the world famous Laduree. Take a cruise down the Seine, and while you’re at it, attach a padlock to the Love Lock Bridge.
Speaking of food, make sure you try a crepe (both savory and dessert!) and wash it down with some apple cider. Eat breakfast like the French with a croissant and an espresso. And if you’re feeling brave, try the escargot (I did – it’s actually pretty good!)
Paris has amazing churches and cathedrals. Notre-Dame is the most famous. Nearby is the lesser Sainte-Chapelle, which is famous for its stunning stained glass. Finally, climb up the hill at Montmartre to visit the incredible Sacre-Cœur cathedral.
Paris, je t’aime.
8. Florence, Italy
Move over, Rome. Florence is the most amazing city in Italy by far. I would describe it as a rural city, whereas Rome is definitely more of an urban city. Now I’m not saying you shouldn’t go to Rome – I’m just saying you shouldn’t overlook Florence.
Florence is the capital of Italy’s Tuscany region. Make sure you bring your wallet, because you’re gonna do some damage on your credit card. Florence is the leather capital of Italy, so you can buy gorgeous genuine Italian leather products for a relatively low cost. I may or may not have bought myself new boots… and a new jacket… and Christmas presents for everybody I know.
Florence is also a full of art. You can see the Statue of David and other Michelangelo works up close and personal at the Galleria dell’Accademia, admire the Florence Cathedral (Duomo), and get amazing views from the Piazzale Michelangelo.
9. Interlaken, Switzerland
Interlaken is SO much fun and incredibly picturesque. It’s located in central Switzerland and surrounded by the Swiss Alps. Interlaken is a huge outdoor adventure destination. You can do anything from skydiving to paragliding. I went paragliding and it was absolutely incredible! If you visit during the winter months, you can go skiing. We also took a super fun chocolate making class.
If you can, take a high-speed up to the top of Jungfrau for a gorgeous snowy view. Check out the lakes, the surrounding mountains, pet some cows, and (attempt) to take a hike. And whatever you do, don’t forget to take a break for cheese fondue and chocolate!
10. Reykjavik, Iceland
Iceland is probably the most unique place that I visited while abroad. Reykjavik is its capital, and it’s full of natural wonders like waterfalls, geysers, and hot springs. There’s wild ponies everywhere, most of which are friendly enough to pet. Stop by the famous Blue Lagoon to bathe in a luxurious, natural, geothermal spa. And of course, stay up all night and drive to the middle of nowhere to try to see the Northern Lights.
So, what do you think of my top 10 study abroad destinations? Are you experiencing wanderlust right now? Would you want to visit these places? Let me know in the comments below!