This summer I had the opportunity to visit Europe for the first time with my family. As one of our last trips together with all five of us, I knew I would always remember the 10 days we spent abroad, but the extraordinary sights we saw each day also made the days unforgettable. Each city and country possessed something unique — something that makes me want to go back ever since I stepped foot out of the airplane back on American soil.
Our trip began in the bustling city of Barcelona, Spain, a city rich in culture and color. Barcelona held all of the cobblestone streets expected from Ed Sheeran’s song, and it was not a rare occurrence to see people on the streets mingling, shopping and dancing. The Spanish culture was clearly evident in the brightly decorated town-style buildings and the multitude of little corner cafes.
One of the most incredible sights of the city by far was the Basílica de la Sagrada Família, a historic Roman Catholic basilica that has been under construction since 1882 and to this day, is still not completed. Builders today expect it to be finished in 2026, and when completed, it will be the tallest religious building in all of Europe. Although the height of the building is utterly unbelievable, it was the sculpture and intricate designs of the building’s façades that stood out to me as the most amazing detail.
We also visited Florence, Rome and Naples. Although the atmosphere in Italy was drastically different from Spain, I loved it all the same. Florence is a beautiful city of art. It was a challenge to refrain from spending all my euros in one place on the gold jewelry, leather purses and small watercolors. Simply perusing the various markets was definitely a highlight.
Rome is a monumental city of history. The Colosseum, Roman Forum, Pantheon and Trevi Fountain lived up to all their reviews, and I would absolutely recommend visiting as many historic sites as your feet can possibly carry you to.
Naples is a romantic coastline city of good food and good views. There were so many pictures to take of the mountainside dotted with colorful houses and of the crystal-blue Mediterranean Sea, but looking back, I do not think I took nearly enough time to capture the true essence of its beauty. The birthplace of Neapolitan pizza was of no disappointment, as my family shared five pizzas among the five of us. The tomato sauces and the thin homemade dough in the crust created the best pizza I have ever had in my life.
Spain and Italy were only two of the places we visited, and although there are many other countries and cities to experience, I can easily say that all of Europe has my heart. This trip has infected me with the travel bug, and I am, quite literally, counting down the days until I can visit this stunning continent again.