Where I Stayed in Europe and Why

When talking about my Eurotour, a question I get a lot is “how did you know where to go?” Once you’ve decided you want to travel internationally, the next big question is which international oases will fill your little wanderlust heart with joy?? THEN you have to figure out which, of the dozens of tiny neighborhoods in each city, should you stay in. Should you stay by the beach or does it make more sense to be in the middle of downtown? Can you rough it in a hostel or do you want a place to relax and spread out? Sometimes, that’s a personal question depending on what you want to get out of your trip, but it’s always a bit of work trying to figure out where you want to focus your attention if you’re traveling to a city you’ve never visited before.

SO I’ve compiled the list of cities I visited on my Eurotour, why I chose those cities, and what kind of accommodation I chose. This is in most ways for me, so when I’m 40 I remember what I did, but also for people who have the same questions as I did :)

Airbnb/HomeAway/VRBO

All provide essentially the same service, but you should do your search on all platforms obviously to get the most options. There are options with shared common spaces, like bathrooms and kitchens, and also the opportunity to get a house to yourself.

Pros - Good if you’re staying in a place for a long time and want your own space, and less expensive than a hotel

Cons - More expensive than hostels and less social, can feel a bit lonely

Hostels

Rooms with multiple bunk beds occupied by strangers. You always get a locker to store your things, but the hostel doesn’t always provide a lock (SMH).

Pros - Super social if you’re in the right place, often have drink and food specials and special events, lots of other people traveling solo, cleaning services, usually inexpensive, option to get a private room

Cons - You don’t have your own space, you have to lock up all your stuff, people snore, you might stumble upon an un-fun hostel that negates all the pros

Hotel

You know what this one is…

Pros - You have your own space, cleaning services, sometimes additional perks like a gym and pool...you’ve all stayed at hotels this one is easy

Cons - Expensive AF for a long or short stay, not super social and can be lonely

Paris (Sept 6 - Oct 6),

HomeAway in Bastille

WHY: If you’ve read any of my other posts, you know that I’ve had a love affair with Paris since I started learning French in Middle School. For me, Paris made sense because I spoke the language and it was smaller than London, so it felt more manageable for my first stop on my solo extravaganza.

WHERE: My tip for Paris would be to stay as close to the Seine as possible, as that’s where all the action is. And nothing happens around the Eiffel Tower, so stay closer to Notre Dame or the Louvre or the Bastille etc etc.

My airbnb was a m a z i n g. It was so so tiny, but I had a twin-sized bed, a little kitchen, a shower, and even a washing machine all to myself...everything I could have ever asked for! Not to mention the view. Ugh I could live there forever.

London (Oct 6 - 25),

AirBnb in Brick Lane

WHY: Another city where I’m comfortable with the language (lol...native speaker), I know a few people here, and objectively a cool city with lots of things happening for a solo traveler. Win-win-win.

WHERE: The location was super cool and quirky right next to Spitalfields Market and easy to get around to the rest of the city. I didn’t spend any time more East of Brick Lane, so it might be more convenient to move closer to the center of the city to be closer to be all the parks on the West side of London.

In this flat, I shared a common space (kitchen and bathroom) with three other rooms, which was kind of awkward. Overall a little less private, but it still had everything I needed.

Amsterdam (Oct 25 - 31),

Hostels

WHY: A city I’d heard a lot of great things about, and it wasn’t too far from London or Lisbon (I planned Lisbon before Brugge). BUT this one is interesting because I stayed in two different hostels with tottttally different vibes.

WHERE: First I stayed at Stayokay Amsterdam Stadsdoelen, which was suuuch a bust. I was staying in an all female room with nine other beds, and when I asked if anyone wanted to go to happy hour at the hostel bar, everyone looked at me like I was INSANE. Like “whhhhy is this rando trying to hang out??” To be fair, I had gotten good at putting myself out there and met some interesting people at that happy hour, but one guy I met who had been traveling for a year said it was the worst hostel he’s ever stayed at. Yikes.

The second one was Flying Pig Downtown  and I could not recommend this enough!! The hostel hosted games and activities every night where I met some super cool interesting people from all around the world just because of the community atmosphere. They also have free snacks!! Huge for someone on a budget. And obviously located right downtown where all the action is.

In terms of location, the closer you are to the center of the rings (look at a map of Amsterdam and this will make sense), the more central you are/the closer you are to the train station. But Amsterdam is quite small, so everywhere is basically central, I would just suggest staying outside the red light district because it’s so so touristy.

Brugge (Oct 31 - Nov 2),

St. Christopher Inn Hostel

WHY: A quaint city I’d heard lovely things about that wasn’t out of the way between Amsterdam and Lisbon.

WHERE: By this point I had been traveling for six weeks and was totally exhausted. For the 36 hours I was in Brugge, I left my hostel once to check out the main square and get food, otherwise I was sleeping or watching Netflix. It’s crazy that you sometimes need a break from vacation, but that’s legit. This place was super duper quiet and chill, perfect for how I was feeling at the time. Definitely not a place to go if you’re trying to be hyper social, but Brugge is really tiny to begin with so not a party-town in any aspect. I can’t say much else because I didn’t get a lot of QT in the city, but two days is all you need to see it all.

Lisbon (Nov 2 - 7),

This AirBnb in Alfama

WHY: Again, heard amazing things about Lisbon from traveling friends and people on social media. I started traveling with my friend Anastasia (aka Land Of Pleasant Eating)  by the time I got to Lisbon, so check out her Portugal Guide for all the dope things we did together (she’s way better at documenting things than I am).
WHERE: Anastasia found the most beautiful Airbnb where we, like in London, shared common space, but it was way less awkward because this place was a lot bigger than the one I stayed in alone in London. Alfama is apparently a super safe area to stay in and I never felt unsafe, so I would totally recommend.

Seville (Nov 7 - 9),

This AirBnb in Andalucia

My travel companion wanted to go to Seville, and I’m flexible so I said let’s hit it okuuuuur. Honestly, she did all the research here, so I’m not super knowledgeable about the surrounding areas...soz.

Barcelona (Nov 9 - 12), Private Hostel

WHY: Wanted to be by the beach, easy as that! And also wanted to go to the clerb.

WHERE: This hostel experience was unique because Anastasia, our other pal Nikki (aka Naturally Nicoletta) and I had a private room in a hostel, like it was basically a shotty hotel. It was slightly less expensive than an airbnb, but more than a shared room in a hostel. There was no kitchen, but we had our own bathroom.