Europe Travel Guide / by lee tilghman

Last month, I went on an epic adventure with my boyfriend through Europe, starting in Stockholm and traveling to Germany, Switzerland, and Italy. It was such a magical 2 weeks, filled with the most delicious foods, people watching, sightseeing, and just oogling at the beautiful surroundings. 

I’d been to Europe before, and even studied abroad in London while I was in college, but returning to that country as an adult (and a different person, lol) was an incredible experience.

We spent 5 days in Stockholm exploring the streets and eating all the foods and taking all the fikas. Then we flew into Munich where we rented a car for the rest of our travels. I must say...driving through Europe was such a nice experience because you get to stop where you wish and you really appreciate the landscape. It's also incredibly easy to get around from country to country once you are actually in the European Union.  I highly recommend it. 

It’s really hard to pick which country was my favorite, as I loved each one individually....and writing this itinerary has me feeling all the feels and missing it terribly! I can't WAIT to go back. Until then, I hope you enjoy this guide filled with my favorite restaurants, shops, hotels, cafes, and sight-seeing spots in each country! I discovered some of these through friends, followers, Yelp, Trip Advisor, and my boyfriend's guidance. 

Stockholm

I spent 4 days in Stockholm, which is super beautiful: clean, right on the water, lots of nature, and tons of delicious restaurants and cafes around. I also love how the Swedes take a FIKA every morning around 10 (coffee and pastry break). This soon became a part of my daily routine throughout Europe. Stockholm also had the widest selection of healthy foods around- I was delightfully surprised by all the matcha spots, vegetarian options, and locally sourced food Stockholm had to offer, 

Amida Kolgrill Restaurant- in the center of Sodermalm, this amazing little Mediterranean restaurant has the best Kebob in town. Literally.. I'm still dreaming about this spot. When I go back to Stockholm i'll be stopping here again without a doubt. We got the meat plate. It was devoured very very very quickly. The seasoning on the meat is absolutely to die for and I felt amazing leaving this spot. 

Johan & Nyström - good spot for matcha...lots of plants inside and good working vibes as well. 

Ett Hem's breakfast spread. #takemebackplease

Ett Hem's breakfast spread. #takemebackplease

Ett Hem - an absolutely gorgeous hotel with the most epic breakfast spread you could ever imagine! We stayed here one night - and it was so cool. There are only 12 rooms so it is a very personalized experience. The chef asked us ahead of time what our dietary restrictions were and what we wanted to eat. I mean, what kind of hotel does that? Ett Hem does!

Fillipa K jumper!

Fillipa K jumper!

Pom and Flora - a wonderfully delicious little cafe/light eats spot. I got the peanut butter with banana bread- they serve it warm alongside a little cup of peanut butter. Highly recommend. This is where I met Siri from @olivehummer. So fun to meet up with an insta friend!

Falafelbaren - this spot lives up to the hype for suuuureeee. Such good falafel! I had the falafel plate with creamy hummus, pickled veg, and the works. I'm bummed I only ate here once. 

Grandfather - really cool clothing shop with many brands. 

Fillipa K - my newest obsession! Fillipa K is a sustainable, conscious, and absolutely gorgeous fashion line based in Stockholm. I got a jumper from them and I loooveeee it. 

Petrus - one of the best cinnamon buns I had in Stockholm (and I had a LOT lol) Petrus is known for their high quality pastries. Definitely a must-see (or, eat 😋)!

On our way to Germany!

On our way to Germany!

Munich, Germany

A beautiful city full of rich history, tons of delicious food, and always so much to explore! It is an incredibly walkable city. We stayed in the center of the city right by the Marienplatz, and though Munich was only a quick stop for us en route to Switzerland, it was such a bright, bustling, and beautiful city that I surprisingly fell super hard for. 

I can't say we eat all that healthy in Germany...we went the more traditional route. And I'm glad we did. This trip was a huge lesson in balance and living for me. I went outside my comfort zone and enjoyed every single minute. It's one of my favorite things about traveling, trying new things and breaking up the routine a bit. 

Groovy interiors of Man Versus Machine in Munich.

Groovy interiors of Man Versus Machine in Munich.

Man Versus Machine - best coffee in Munich. Definitely American hipster coffee vibes, so I kind of felt right at home. But really, their coffee was incredible.  Highly recommend. 

My 1st and only German breakfast. Bratwurst with sauerkraut and pretzels!

My 1st and only German breakfast. Bratwurst with sauerkraut and pretzels!

Schneider Bräuhaus München - we went here for classic German Bratwurst, sauerkraut and pretzels and it did not disappear! We also found out they serve every dish with beer, even at 10AM!

A view from our hike. The Swiss alps are incredible.

A view from our hike. The Swiss alps are incredible.

Vals, Switzerland

Vals was one of those places where you think “I’ll definitely be coming back here again”. Cows roam the streets, goats sprinkle the hillside, and the town is just absolutely adorable. Not to mention, the quality of the ingredients were ABSURDLY HIGH. I ate the best butter in my life here!

In Vals, we stayed at Peter Zumthor's vacation home. It's a private chalet in the hills of Vals and I highly recommend it. It is NOT on Airbnb, you have to book it privately through the Zumthor Vacation Home Rentals website.

Vals Therme - an absolute MUST. This was single handedly one of the most beautiful architecture structures I’ve ever laid eyes on, built by Swiss designer Peter Zumthor. It’s a thermal bath house, with different bodies of water (both indoor and outdoor) at varying temperatures. It’s absolutely worth every penny to spend the day here, float in the baths, hang in the spa and drink tea while taking in the stunning views of Vals. 

Restaurant Ganni- tucked into hillsides, this mom and pop shop restaurant is absolutely adorably and absolutely delicious. I recommend the meat plate, and their fresh salads with whatever grilled seasonal fish they have. You also must try their bread.. They use local ingredients and you can taste the differencs.

Gondola Vals- a must-do for the most stunning views and epic hikes in all of Vals! There are plenty of trails to choose from once you take the Gondola up. (If you are going in the winter, I doubt the hiking will be open as all the trails will be covered in snow so keep this in mind)

Belagio/Lake Como, Italy

My love. 

My love. 

We were only here for a few hours on our drive from Switzlerand to Milan, but boy, was it a dreamy few hours. Between the cobblestone streets, stunning architecture, and the Lake Como views, Belagio was a such an experience. 

Trattoria San Giacomo - the most romantic restaurant I think I’ve ever been to…ever. We got the branzino, truffle tagliatelle in butter, and a salad. We finished each and every drop, then got gelato. Oh..the memories! 

 

 

 

Eatin' gelato in Belagio like it ain't no thanggggg!

Eatin' gelato in Belagio like it ain't no thanggggg!

Milan, Italy

At the Teatro alla Scala in Milano

At the Teatro alla Scala in Milano

I'm speechless when it comes to Milan. It was such a wonderful freaking city. It had a metropolitan vibe similar to NYC but with Italian flair. People were enjoying themselves everywhere we went: in cafes, bars, restaurants. The way Italians enjoy life and slow down is contagious. Deniz and I would walk around all day, plopping ourselves around different Piazza’s and people watching until dark.

Nerino Dieci Trattoria - it came highly recommended from friends and followers alike, and i definitely had the most delicious pasta of my trip here. It was some sort of pesto pasta with grilled king prawn and oh my gosh.  I also saw people at other tables getting pasta served out of big cheese wheels.  We were in heaven!

Teatro alla Scala - one of the most famous well known opera houses in the world. Deniz and I went to a show and could only stay for 2.5 out of the 3 acts (it was getting late and we were getting hungry!) but it was such a cool experience and I’m really glad we went. 

the streets of Milan.

the streets of Milan.

Grenaio Caffe e Cucina - the most delicious Nutella croissants. Like... I almost cried eating one. It was that good. It called for a moment of reflection. You may call this a life changing experience.

the croissants at Granaio. 

the croissants at Granaio. 

Ristorante Pizzeria La Coccinella - good pizza, but the menu is extremely overwhelming so be warned. Deniz and I took about 30 minutes to make a decision on which pizzas to get even while we were famished. We settled on the breakfast pizza and another one with like 5 sausages.

PIZZA4LIFE.

PIZZA4LIFE.

California Bakery - its admittedly very hard to find healthy breakfast in Italy; or any breakfast at all really. Each cafe opens in the morning and sells coffee, cakes and pastries. We were always on the hunt for something a little healthier with more protein and good fats, so we were delighted to discover this place. It’s not AMAZING, but its good enough. They have eggs, salmon, avocado. Definitely worth the trip if you are looking to hit up a healthy-ish breakfast spot. And obviously they sell croissants too if you want those.


So there you have it, my friends! My guide to Stockholm, Munich, Belagio, Vals, and Milan! I hope you enjoyed, and if you have another recommendation from one of your places in the above cities, let me know! 

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