Working on a post The Seven Best Countries I realised there are so many well-known places I haven’t been to that writing about Best Country for… is a bit difficult to do it on your own. I asked my travel blogger friends for contributions and this is what I got! I expected to hear about places I havne’t seen yet, but what I didn’t expect was such a different view on some countries I thought I knew.
Let’s take France as an example – I think of it as a country of croissants, wine and people who refuse to speak English to you. Belarus? Problems, what else? Poland, my homeland? Well, it’s mostly about lakes,pierogis and history, isn’t it?
Well, no, it’s not that simple. Continue reading for new perspectives!
The best country for FOLK MUSIC: Bolivia
When you’re travelling in Bolivia you fall under the impression that Bolivian music is just about cumbia and folk. Well, there’s much truth in it, as wherever you are, be it on a bus, in a street or a restaurant, you’re surrounded with rhytmical sounds. Catchy melodies sung by cholitos and cholitas are part of popular music culture and everybody listens to them, although some are ashamed to admit it.
Tratidional rhythms are played during huge colourful dancing parades organised all over the country for the carnaval, religious and official festivals and school celebrations. Each Bolivian participates in such festivals at least once in their lifetime. Bolivians are extremely proud of their rich culture and they consider LosKjarkas, one of the best folk groups in the world to be their national heritage.
Danuta from the blog Bolivia in My Eyes (blog in English and Polish)
The best country for PARROT LOVERS: Australia
One of the 18th century explorers called Australia “Terra Psittacorum” (“Parrot Country”), so it’s not surprising that it’s easy to meet some of the 56 species of Australian parrots. In Sydney’s parks and gardens you can often hear the screams of extravagant, huge cockatoos. Whole flocks of beautiful rainbow lorikeets visit flowering trees of Melbourne or Cairns. There are elegant and gentle pink galahs in Alice Springs. And the list goes on. So no, Australia is neither the country of furry cuties, nor it is the “nopeland” inhabited solely by crocodiles, snakes and spiders. Now, more than two hundreds years since its European discovery, it is still very much The Land of Parrots.
Zosia i Darek from the blog Przedeptane
The best country for fans of WIDE STREETS: Belarus
Buenos Aires with its Avenida 9 de Julio is the city famous for the widest street in the world, but when you visit Minsk you’ll see that that as far as wide streets are concerned, the Belarussian capital has nothing to be ashamed of.
Minsk, with the population of just under 2 million, has two 4-lane ring roads and there’re plans for the third one. Most of the streets in the city centre have 4 lanes each way and often even suburban access roads are dual carriageways.
Such urban solutions make Minks a heaven for car lovers. There are no traffic jams, changing lanes is easy, streets are straight and wide. Outside the built-up areas you don’t need to fear overtaking either: road shoulders are so wide, that a car you’re going to overtake will easily move to the side without slowing down a bit to make you more room.
You want to find out what is comfortable driving? Belarus is the place to go!
Kuba from the blog Sądecki Włóczykij
The best country to see PUPPET THEATRES: France
Puppet theatres are often associated with children stories and performances. I assumed the same and then, during my visit to France I discovered I was totally wrong. Puppet performance is mature, complex art that you’ll fully appreciate as an adult. There are many splendid theatres in many cities, and international puppet festivals take place a few times a year. If you’re curious and want to discover puppets for yourself, France is the best place for that!
You might want to see:
– Biennale Internationale des Arts de la Marionnette, May, Île-de-France (Paris and surroundings) – theatredelamarionnette.com
- Festival Mondial de Marionnette, which takes place in September in Charleville-Mézières (close to the Belgian border)
– festival-marionnette.com La maison de Guignol (Place de la Trinité, Lyon) – the museum of the most famous French puppet and Moisson d’Avril, a huge puppet festival which takes place in April (http://www.moissondavril.com)
– International Puppet Festival which takes place at the beginning of July in Pélussin (France, Rhône-Alpes region, 40 km south-west off Vienne) – for more info go to: labatysse.com
Michał from the blog Qmoh w Podróży (photo: LaBatysse)
The best country to see BUNKERS and trace COMMUNISM: Albania
Best country for those who love bunkers and traces of communism? Albania of course! This small Balkan country, smaller than the area of Wielkopolska, was by its dictator, Enver Hoxha, dotted with bunkers of various shades and sizes. According to various statistics, 600 000 bunkers where built there. In addition to bunkers, numerous monuments which reminded of the old political system, were also erected there. You can be sure that after entering Albania, first thing that you’ll see we’ll be bunkers.
Olka from the blog Bałkany według Rudej
THe best country for BICYCLE TOURING: Norway
Norway is the best country for bicycle touring for a few reasons. First of all and without doubt it’s because of its raw nature – is there a cyclist who wouldn’t dream of riding along the Norwegian fjords? You can feel close to the nature thanks to the Norwegian regulations which allow camping in uninhabited areas (and it’s a great option for a budget traveller). Then, the population density is low and because of that road traffic is light. Also, the crime rate is low. All that plus scandinavian architecture or Norwegian cuisine make the country irresistible.
Szymon from the blog Znajkraj
The best country for hitch-hiking: Iran
Anyone who has been to Iran knows that Iranians are friendly, open and hospitality is in their blood! If you decide to hitch-hike through the country it’ll prove to be one of your best life decisions. Not only will you get to know a closer look at the local culture but also your journey become much easier: you won’t queue for bus tickets helplessly trying to decipher signs in Farsi because soon you’ll find out that putting your thumb up at the side of the road is much better. Sometimes it’s enough to simply wait at the side of the road and soon you’ll be chatted up by a friendly driver who might even invite you for dinner or to his home. The most important expression to remember is “ma bedune pul safar mikonim’ which means ‘we travel without money’
Ania from the blog Hitch-Hikers Hanbook
The best country for GREEN TEA LOVERS: Japan
Green tea is popular in many Asian countries, and there are as many types of it as there are methods of preparation. The best grean tea I drank in Japon and it was 日本茶 nihoncha, which is Japanese green tea. You usually call it お茶 ocha, but you’ll surely hear other names as well, such as 煎茶sencha or 番茶bancha. The flavour depends on the time of its harvesting. The Japanese highly appreciate 新茶 shincha which is from the first flush of the year. They also have wonderful powder 抹茶 matcha, which is a great source of vitamins and mineral and which is brewed during traditional tea ceremony called 茶道 sadō. Sugar is not added, but it is usually eaten with a small Japanese cookie and it’s perfect for quenching your thirst on a summer day.
The Japanese love tea so much that there are many tea-flavoured products on the market: Kit Kat bars, icecreams or jellies. There is also a delicious green tea cake which I love!
Diana from the blog Śpiewająca Podróżniczka Demi
The best country for VOLCANOES: Indonesia
Indonesia stretches on the so-called “ring of fire”, that’s why earth shakes often here and the volcanoes erupt. There are 130 of them in this island country – more than anywhere else in the world.
They regularly cover cities with ash fall, flood surrounding areas by lava flows or release clouds of smoke – airports are shut down then.
Most of them are located in the most densely populated Java: the most active – Merapi and Kelud, the most famous – Krakatau, which killed 40,000 people, the easiest available – Bromo, and the one with sulfuric lake in the crater – Ijen.
Rinjani is rising over the island of Lombok, and on Flores there is natural curiosity – Kelimutu with lakes in three different colors. Sumatra ticking bomb – the largest volcanic lake in the world – Toba, was created thousands of years ago after supervolcano explosion that killed almost the entire contemporaneous population of Earth!
Emilia from the blog Emi w drodze
The best country for MOUNTAIN HIKES: Switzerland
What most of us associate Switzerland with? With banks and mountains. Both huge and worldwide famous. And indeed mountains are beautiful. You are gonna find there everything. Charming, green hills and steep, dangerous, Europe highest summits. You can go for big adventures and high altitude or take it easy on the scenic routes accompanied by capricorns, mountain goats and marmots with swimming in one of numerous turquoise lakes. You can use very well developed infrastructure and take the funicular railway even to the very top of high peaks to admire the landscape or you can cover every kilometer by yourself and keep quite some money in the pocket. If you are not familiar with winter mountaineering consider visiting Switzerland in summer time. Even in spring and autumn many places are snow-covered and conquering even reasonable peaks can bring serious difficulties and danger.
Oliwia from the blog the-Ollie (blog in Polish and English)
The best country for WATERFALLS: Island
Small, big, wide, narrow, high and low – there are everywhere. Some just by the road, other further away. You can hear them from the distance and they’re perfect for taking photos. On sunny days they are accompanied by at least one rainbow! Stunning scenery and no crowds – do you need anything more? Well, you won’t find the biggest or the widest waterfall in the world in Iceland, but there are so many of them that even a fussy person will find something to admire and remember.
Michał from the blog Mała i Duży w podróży
The best country for CELEBRATIONS: Spain
Celebrating is in their blood – there are real masters at it! No other country has so many festive days as Spain. This nation will always find a reason to party till the wee small hours of the morning in a club, with friends or during regional festivals. A very interesting Spanish fiesta is the carnaval in February and March – you can celebrate in Madrit, Barcelona, Cadiz or some other places. You’ll walk the streets among the monsters, vampires, pirates or famous people. You won’t miss it because the whole cities are celebrating.
If this is not enough you might go to Valencia to see Las Fallas (the Fire Festival) and see fires in many places in the city (they’re under control of course!), then the figure parade marches down the streets. You’ll also see the fireworks and enjoy various parties. Yes, Spain is definitely the best place for partying!
Kasia from the blog Połącz Kropki
The best country for ADRENALINE SEEKERS: Brasil
Brazil, though admirable, is considered to be one of the most dangerous countries. Not only in South America, but even in the whole world! Never before have we heard as much bad things about the upcoming trip, as we actually have while getting ready for Brazil: you need to hide money in several places on your body, don’t use the subway and local buses, don’t walk around the city and the beach in the evening, don’t talk to strangers, avoid favelas and never show off your camera! Well, we’ll leave you the decision on how to behave, but at least we came back home happy and alive. Oh, and I forgot to mention: we lived in a favela, used public transport and used to come back at dusk to our hostels. Of course, with adrenaline in our blood.
Karolina and Piotr from the blog OOPS!sidedown
The best country to combine sightseeing and relaxing: Malta
Barely 10 days of holiday and you can’t decide if you want to go sightseeing or relax? You don’t need to choose, there’s one country where you’ll combine both – just go to Malta!
Small is beautiful they say and it sounds like a cliche, but if we think about Malta it just nails it.
This island country is four times smaller than Rome, but you want be bored: sea caves, high cliffs, archeological excavations, churches, fortresses and beautiful beaches are all there waiting for you! Short distances, little towns, good transport system will satisfy even the biggest whiners. Beach in the morning, sightseeing in the afternoon or the other way round. Or simply take your bikini when you go sightseeing – the sea is just nearby, it won’t take much time to get there.
Jarek from the blog Tubywalcy
The best country for HIKING AND SCRAMBLING: England
I love walking, especially when I’m surrounded by beautiful, secluded landscape. That’s why I decided to spend my summer holidays in England, which is the best country for hiking. Lake District has thousands of trails of various levels of difficulty, but each of them is equally stunning. Trails around the lakes (such as Derwentwater, Ullswater, Windermere) are perfect for those who don’t have a head for heights and prefer an easier walk. Those who seek adrenaline, are fit, and not afraid of heights, can try climbing English mountains, such as the famous Helvellyn, Scafell Pike, Wasdale Head, and many more. But mind you! English mountains are tricky. The higher you go, the colder and rockier it gets. Every Englishman has heard of the Striding Edge on the way up to Helvellyn. It’s rocky, it’s narrow (there are parts where it’s only 20 cm wide!), it’s dangerous. It’s also so steep, that you have to scramble if you don’t want to fall into the abyss. And, most importantly, you just can’t look down! England is perfect for hiking!
Kinga from the blog Floating My Boat (written in Polish and English)
THe best country for PIZZA: Italy
Where would you look for the best pizza in the world if not in Italy? That’s the first country that comes to mind. Masters of dough and ideal combinations of ingredients (no extra tomato sauce needed) will bring you a perfect pizza. Just add good olive oil and even a piece of a take-away will be delicious. Wash it down with some wine (not beer!) that you should keep in your fridge ready for hot days. Da Michele from Naples is on our bucket list – you might have seen it in many films, read about it in many articles and post entries. This is the place where even the basic Margherita will make the foodies extatic.
Tatiana from the blog Poszli-Pojechali
The best country for ERASMUS STUDENTS: Spain
A foreign student will get everything they might desire: lively neighbourhood, amazing company (not just Europeans but also Latin Americans), the tastiest cuisine under the sun (and there’re as many as over 310 sunny days in some regions of the country!) and knowledge. Don’t be fooled by Spanish fondness for siesta and fiesta – I had to study a lot as a student and it was not just Spanish language that I learnt. But there’s no reason to be worried! Sangria will flow anyway, parties will start just when the lessons finish and you’ll still find time to skip some lectures and visit Portugal, the Balearic Islands, the Canary Islands or Marocco. Airfare is as cheap as the Spanish wine so just go!
Natalia from the blog Zapiski ze świata
The best country to experience VARIETY: Montenegro
Montenegro, a diamond shaped country (about 160km x 160km), is one of the smallest in Europe but at the same time it is extremely varied. Nature is a real treasure there – a few mountain ranges (Durmitor, Sinjajevina, Prokletije, Biogradska Gora,or Maglić), some of them overlooking the sea. Coastline stretches for over 300 kilometers going from lowlands to mountains. There are some touristy places but you’ll find some unspoilt corners as well, lovely towns, not so lovely towns, narrow roads, wide roads… and the list goes on.
The area is small, but there are really so much to see so if you are looking for variety you are sure to like Montenegro!
Szymon from the blog Za miedzą i dalej
The best country for STREET ART AFICIONADOS: Poland!
In the last few years Poland has become the European (or, should we even say, the world) capital of street art. Murals can be found in each and every bigger city and town, there are regular street art festivals and many Polish places are well-known to street art lovers all around the world. Zaspa district of Gdańsk alone is a home to over 50 amazing murals. Polish artists are very active not just in our country but also abroad. The famous girl with a watering can painted by Natalia Rak was copied and now you can see it not only in Bialystok but also in China!
Kamila from the blog Kami and the Rest of the World (blog in English only)
So, what do you think? Are you surprised by the recommendations?
I guess one of the most fascinating things in travelling is how different our perception is.
You can always find something of interest – just keep your eyes open!