5 stunning countries to visit before they disappear: Europe
1). Venice, Italy
Known as the city of bridges; with tourism of 20 million people a year, it may be shocking for you to discover that this city is sadly, leading to a decadence.
Rising sea-levels are threatening this beautiful, historic city. So if Venice is on your bucket list, read on because we gathered some attraction recommendations for you, along with a little background of this city.
Venice was actually the central core of European glass-making! & while it's no longer the epicenter of glass-making it's still practiced today by many defendants. Here's a cool historical fact: Leonardo da Vinci visited Burano, a small island northeast of Venice, in 1481.
Here are our top picks for attractions in Venice:
St. Mark's Square. St. Mark's Square has some of the city's finest architectural gems. It's Venice's main plaza; here you will find the famous St. Mark's Basilica and the St. Mark's Campanile (bell tower).
St. Mark's Basilica is the treasure house of holy relics. *cool fact* the church has strands of Virgin Mary's hair!
St. Mark's Campanile - has been noted to have some of the city's best views! So definitely come here if you want a view of the whole city.
Doge's Palace is a museum full of courtyards, apartments, and chambers. It has a Gothic style and the palace celebrates Venetian achievements.
Grand Canal- with a 2 1/2 mile stretch, this is the main waterway to travel across Venice. *We recommend riding in a Gondola; because it's the traditional method of travel, you'll really get an authentic feel for their culture.
Get a discount on both St. Mark’s Basilica & Grand Canal!
2). Zahara de la Sierra , Spain
Once ruled by Arabs, then later reclaimed by Duke Poncé de Leon, this infusion of culture make's Zahara de la Sierra unique in the sense that Islamic influence still survives in the region today.
Why this city is in danger: Desertification, caused by drought and climate change, threaten the survival of this region.
Top things to do in Zahara de la Sierra:
La Playita- This man-made beach is awesome because it's located on a hill. It's the perfect picnic area for a BBQ since it offers a recreational area in its garden which also has an abundance of fruit trees.
La Garganta Verde- Lush vegetation covering the vertical walls of the canyon gives the area its name. Beautiful turquoise waters can be found within the gorge. (Be prepared to go for a swim when visiting this site!)
Castle of Zahara de la Sierra- This historical site served as a military outpost. Now retired from its duty, it has some of the best views of the area. With its beautiful, panoramic views, don't hesitate to take plenty of selfies!
Find more activities & things to do in Zahara.
Ready to go? Find cheap airfare and discounts on flights to Spain!
3). Paris, France
Not only does Paris have a huge population of over 12 million people, it's also the most visited city in the world! Located in Northern France, Paris is known as the city of light because of its many visionary ideas.
Why it's in danger:
Paris is under threat of the urban heat island effect. Because of climate change and rising temperatures, Paris's heat waves will become more and more intense overtime.
Here's my list of top 5 attractions:
Grande Arche, La Défense - (6 miles long) this rooftop will provide views of all major monuments in Paris. *Tip: If you don't want to pay to go all the way up just climb the base and you'll still get some great insta-worthy pics!*
Arc de Triomphe - located in Place Charles de Guulle, this beautiful arc was built by none other than Napoleon himself.
Champs-Élysées - this is the main avenue to walk around, eat & shop. (*BONUS*) it's connected to a second attraction the Place de la Concorde; a public square full of beautiful walk-through gardens.
Feeling artsy? Visit The Mona Lisa at Musée du Louvre. *Fun fact: Louvre used to be a palace in the 14th century, and today it's one of the most popular art galleries in the world!!
The Eiffel Tower but of course, you already knew that.
Fly to Paris soon with these cheap flights.
4). Olympia, Greece
Olympia was never a city, although it's referred to as "the city which gave birth to the Olympic games", it is actually a sanctuary, where only the most prestigious athletes were allowed to compete.
Why this historic place is in danger of being lost:
Plagued by drought, Olympia is in danger of deadly wild-fires that can potentially destroy the ancient, historical ruins.
My top 4 must-see attractions:
Archeological Museum of Olympia- objects displayed in this museum offer good insight of life during Olympia's ancient days of glory. The Bronze gallery makes it the worlds most important collection of ancient Bronze-era artifacts. And the museum also offers a plethora of ancient Greek artifacts, which gives us good insight of what ancient Greek life was like.
Temple of Hera- A temple dedicated to, Hera, the queen of Greek Gods; this is where the torch is lit at the start of the Olympic Games!
Taverna the Garden- This restaurant lies on the foot of a mountain so you know you will get a spectacular view, it also has a Greek and Mediterranean menu with top-notch reviews!
Olympia Land Winery- After visiting The Temple of Hera you'll definitely want to unwind with this family owned winery just 10 mins away! You'll get a tour of the vineyards and taste delicious Greek wine, along with some traditional Greek snacks.
5). Brussels, Belgium
Home of opera, ballet, theaters and stage music; Brussels is interesting because of the mix of Dutch and French language locals speak. In fact it's said the style of this capital is similar to the style of Parisians.
Why it's in danger: Natural ecosystems are deteriorating due to coastal erosion and because of global warming, Brussels is now prone to flooding during storms.
Here's what to love about Brussels:
Grand Place - This is the center of Brussels; it is known to be one of the finest squares in the whole world actually!
Who can do Belgium without waffles? So in honor of that I felt the need to put a top waffle spot in here. When it comes to waffles, it can be overwhelming to limit yourself to one specific waffle combo from all the other great waffle combos on the menu. (Raise your hand if you can relate). Le Funambule is my idea of perfection since it's self-serve you don't have to sacrifice one topping over another.
Right next to Le Funambule is Manneken Pis. A very popular and well known statue; it pretty much represents Brussels's sense of humor. I mean, it is a statue of a little boy peeing. Lol. See this little peeing boy & much more on this Hop on & Hop off Brussels tour!
La Porte Noire- This bar is located in the center of Brussels. If you're looking for a local, authentic spot to try Belgium beer this is it.