30 cities to see before you're 30

30 before 30

The other day, my housemate and I watched a video called 30 Cities to Visit Before You’re 30. (It’s a great video—lots of pretty pictures and fun facts about the cities.) My housemate and I both love to travel, and she’s been to a bunch of places I haven’t (mainly in Asia), so together we were able to check off a number of the cities on the list.

– Lucy

– Brea

  1. Reykjavik, Iceland
    Iceland is sort of on my radar. It’s probably somewhere I’ll go eventually, but I have no immediate plans to do so. Minneapolis and Reykjavik are airline buddies via Iceland Air, so getting there would be easy enough.
  2. Budapest, Hungary
    To be honest, I’m wary of the Central European and Baltic countries because I kind of despised Scandinavia, and the pictures I’ve seen of Budapest remind me of Copenhagen. But maybe I’m wrong! Is Budapest the city as awesome as the George Ezra song? Is there good food there (or will I go hungary)? Let me know in the comments!
  3. Dublin, Ireland 
    Grey and flat.
  4. New Orleans, USA
    This is already on my list. Thanks for affirming my decisions, Buzzfeed!
  5. Paris, France 
    Not quite as magical as Ratatouille makes it seem, but still pretty great.
  6. New York City, USA
    As iconic as Paris, but if you’re choosing between the two, 100% go to Paris. You could spend weeks in Paris without seeing everything, whereas I feel like you could see most of the worthwhile stuff in New York in a weekend. Plus all the museums in New York cost like $40, and the subway system sucks.
  7. Munich, Germany
    I’m surprised that Munich is on the list instead of Berlin, since I always hear about Berlin. Brea and I agreed to visit Germany and its castles together one day.
  8. Honolulu, Hawaii 
    Brea: Well, actually I’ve been to Kauai. But close enough.
  9. Venice, Italy 
    While Venice is extremely touristy, if there’s one place I recommend going in Italy other than Rome, it’s Venice. It’s like no other city I’ve ever been to; it’s one of the few places I’ve visited that felt truly magical.
  10. Bangkok, Thailand 
    My housemates spent six weeks near Bangkok working with a program called Shear Love International, which helps women who have come out of trafficking. They loved the country and the people they worked with (just not the street vendors that sell bugs), and I know they would like to return one day.
  11. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
  12. Wellington, New Zealand
  13. Tokyo, Japan 
  14. Amsterdam, the Netherlands 
    I loved Amsterdam. Every street was like an Instagram picture, and the food was wonderful.
  15. Sydney, Australia
  16. Cape Town, South Africa
    This Instagram by a marine biologist who went to school in Cape Town completely sold me on it. I’m scheming about going there this winter, but it’s still very much up in the air.
  17. Cairo, Egypt
  18. Barcelona, Spain
  19. Nice, France
    Another weird/random addition, in my opinion, since Paris is already on the list. Vacation spots are hit-or-miss for me, but since Nice is known for being an artsy city, and I loved St. Ives (the much, much smaller Cornish equivalent), it seems like Nice would be worth a visit.
  20. London, England 
    Of course I love London, and now it feels like my home away from home, but my impression of it the first few times visiting was “stressful.” London means running through the station to catch your train. It means struggling to find a place to eat in the middle of town (there’s always the McDonald’s near M&M World!) and receiving the worst service ever. It means hanging out in Victoria Station for the awkward hour between the time that the shops close and the time that your bus leaves. It means no free toilets and expensive coffee and a maze of underground stations.
    But it also means the skyline across the shimmering Thames by night; late-night dinners in Soho; galleries on quiet roads in Southwark; the garden-lined walk from Trafalgar to Buckingham; and Hyde Park in the fog of dawn. For me, it was a slow-growing love.
  21. Vancouver, Canada 
  22. Hong Kong
  23. Lucerne, Switzerland
    I haven’t been to Lucerne, but I have been to Geneva. Switzerland was one of my favorite places to visit.
  24. Tulum, Mexico
  25. Santorini, Greece
    I’m itching to go to Greece, but I’m skeptical of Santorini. Pictures of it remind me of Capri, Italy, which was beautiful but in a fake, almost too-perfect way.
  26. Los Angeles, USA 
    The best part about (sketchy) downtown LA was In-N-Out Burger. I would have liked to get away from Sunset Boulevard to climb to the Hollywood sign and drive the Pacific Coast Highway. I also think San Francisco is a much prettier city than LA.
  27. New Delhi, India
  28. Singapore
    I would love to go to Singapore (and then leave it and its population crisis behind when vacation time is over). Utopia, here I come!
  29. Havana, Cuba
    I’m dreaming of working with sea turtles in Grenada at the moment, but admittedly that’s probably the closest I’ll ever get to Cuba.
  30. Rome, Italy 
    Rome retains a good deal of its ancient landscape, art, and architecture as a reminder of what once made it the center of Western civilization. But it also feels like a sparklingly modern city in places (I did a lot of shopping there…). It’s a must-see, in my opinion.

Out of the thirty places this Buzzfeed list suggests you must go before you turn thirty, I’ve only been to nine of them. That leaves twenty-one, or nearly three per year over the next seven years! I don’t know about you, but (sadly) my budget won’t support that kind of jet-setting.

But maybe fifteen over the next ten years? After feeling a minute of stress, I was relieved to remember that life isn’t over when I turn thirty. I hope to keep traveling for many years after that.

So here’s my own “15 before 33” list:

  1. Cape Town, South Africa
  2. Solway Coast, Scotland (just watch episode 2×04 of Homes by the Sea, and you will understand)
  3. Tokyo, Japan
  4. Melbourne, Australia (and Sydney)
  5. Athens, Greece
  6. Bratislava, Slovakia
  7. Honolulu, Hawaii
  8. Lisbon, Portugal
  9. Vienna, Austria
  10. Berlin, Germany
  11. Cusco, Peru
  12. Beijing, China
  13. Seoul, South Korea
  14. Toronto, Canada
  15. Anchorage, Alaska

How many places on Buzzfeed’s list have you been to? Which ones surprised you? Which ones do you think are missing? What’s at the top of your own list?

For more posts on traveling Europe and the world, click the ellipsis at the top right of the page and select Follow. Thanks for reading! 

8 thoughts on “30 before 30

  1. No, life is not over when you hit thirty. In fact, it generally starts getting better.

    I haven’t been to most of these cities, but I think more in terms of places than cities. Like I would like to go to Ha Long Bay in Vietnam more to see natural sites than the anthroposphere of a city. But I can certainly understand the thrill of going to all of the famous cities on the list.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I have heard that the thirties are better than the twenties because you feel more settled, have more money, etc. I certainly hope that is true because I don’t feel settled at all right now haha.
      I usually prefer nature to cities too, unless the cities have something about them that is really unique. Now that you mention it, I’ve heard Vietnam is beautiful. That would be a cool place to visit.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Don’t know if I would say settled, but perhaps less impetuous and a bit more measured. But, most people are probably not like me, so perhaps I am only speaking for myself.

        I have a chance to go to Vietnam or Hong Kong in a few weeks and I am trying to sort out what I am going to do. I have been to Hong Kong a couple of times, but have not had a lot of time to do much and see everything. Vietnam will be more difficult to do but I would love to go there. Also, English is widely spoken in Hong Kong, but not so much in Vietnam. Either way, it will be exciting.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. This is a fantastic post! I’m going to copy it and link back 🙂 But in terms of Budapest, Hungary – I haven’t been either, but I loved Poland and Czech Republic so I can’t wait to check out that part of Eastern Europe (nothing like Scandinavia!) Also, thanks for putting Melbourne as number 4 – we’re pretty proud of it!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Missed this post whilst away but interesting to read. Budapest is an absolute must visit in my mind. It’s an incredible city. I’d put Madrid on a 30 before 30 list too! I like your personal list 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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