I have been lucky enough to travel quite a bit before life got busy. I truly believe that traveling is the best gift you can give yourself, but with so many places in the world, where do you start? As someone who has visited more than 42 countries, I have lots of advice! Here are my top 5 favorite cities to visit.
I’m a bit biased here, as Moscow is my birth city, but everything about it is absolutely stunning! From the history, to the architecture, to the food, Moscow is a must see. With nearly 12 million people living in Moscow proper, there is something to do for everyone. See ballet at the Bolshoi Theatre, take selfies in Red Square, or simply ride the legendary Moscow Metro. Whatever you decide, give Moscow at least a week as there is so much to see!
Oh, and please don’t smile at people you don’t know. Muscovites don’t understand why you’d be friendly toward strangers and will most likely think you’re crazy. Just one of the cultural differences between the east and the west, I guess…
Tel Aviv, Israel
Looking for incredible nightlife, picturesque beaches, and friendly locals? Then head over to Israel!
Visit Jaffa, Old City, feast on Shakshuka and Hummus, and maybe even run into the founders of some of the most popular apps you use today such as Waze and Viber. Another fun fact: Israelis have a very specific etiquette when it comes to waiting in line. Basically, there are no clearly defined “lines” so make sure you stand really close to the person in front of you and forget about personal space.
If you visited NYC and thought- “New York is a bit small for me”, then make your way to Tokyo. You’ll notice though, that despite the masses of people on the streets, Tokyo is immaculately clean!
Along with visiting the highly spiritual temples, I recommend visiting a signature animal café or a maid café, because these are truly unique to the Japanese culture. And you’ll love telling your friends about the experience you had!
I have no restaurant recommendations in Tokyo. And that’s simply because everything, and I mean everything, is delicious. So, don’t be afraid to have raw sushi in a small, questionable looking shack near the Tsukiji Fish Market. It may just be some of the freshest fish you will ever eat!
If you love good food, a relaxed atmosphere, friendly people, and fantastic climate, Madrid is the city for you. Although Madrid is landlocked, the people will make you feel like you’re living life on the beach. Start your day late and take a long afternoon siesta (nap) like the locals. Remember, restaurants close for their nap between 4pm-8pm, so plan a late lunch, and a very late dinner!
Cape Town, South Africa
One word here: Kingklip. I don’t recommend you Google Image this fish; it doesn’t look appetizing, but, oh my god! If lobster was a fish, it would be a Kingklip. Of course, there are other really great things about Cape Town, such is going up Table Mountain, or swimming with penguins (yes, penguins), but eating Kingklip is up there on my list of things to do.
Another important piece of advice; Although Cape Town is safe during the day, the locals don’t advise hanging out alone at night. So, if you’re like me, and want to take a run in the evening, when the weather is cooler, bring a friend, or better yet, go find a treadmill at the gym. Better safe than sorry!