I love London and Paris just as much as the next person but sometimes I find the cities way too touristy and overwhelming! You can’t walk more than 10 feet without running into another American. Throughout my travels in Europe, I’ve come across some great cities and regions that offer similar experiences to those touristy cities…without the tourists! And most of the time, these places are significantly cheaper than the touristy destination. So go visit some of these alternative European city breaks before the secret is out and tourists start to overwhelm them!

I. LOVE. FOOD. I was amazed by the amount of yummy food in Portugal. It is definitely a food lover’s paradise and I happily partook in eating through Portugal! Below are just some of my favorite foods from Lisbon.

Obviously, I started out by eating dessert before dinner because let’s be honest, life’s too short to not eat dessert! This was probably the prettiest gelato I’ve ever seen.

Pena Palace really does look like a fairytale castle with all of its bright colors! Plus, the castle provides gorgeous views not only of the area surrounding Sintra but also of the Atlantic Ocean and the Sintra Mountains. It is interesting to note that there are three castles and palaces located in Sintra. Alyssa and I, unfortunately, only had time to visit one of them. However, I took a picture of the other main palace (Sintra National Palace). The third castle, the Castle of the Moors, sits atop a giant hill and is the oldest of the three. I saw it but was unable to capture any photos!

I went to Lisbon, Portugal a few weeks ago for my 23rd birthday with a dear friend from undergrad at Wash U! We were in the same sorority while at Wash U and are now both getting our Master’s in Europe (she’s in London). A few days before we left, the weather called for rain the entire weekend!!! Isn’t Lisbon supposed to be warm and dry?