The only reason to live is to travel and the only reason to travel is to learn how to live. Imagine yourself walking along the cobblestone streets of a remote village in the Netherlands, waking up to French-pressed coffee and danishes that change everything you know about the word.
Imagine swimming in a warm ocean that looks onto sprawling mountains and colorful houses, with coves that enclose caves of crystal blue waterfalls. Envision the smell of fresh seafood as you sit by the river drinking sangria and smoking hand rolled cigarettes with some new handsome Spanish friends.
Imagine licking gelato as you stroll through ancient villages and purchase a one-of-a-kind painting at the local street market. Imagine the sweet, sticky feeling of sweat rolling down your back as you dance at a club overlooking the city lights of the coastal town.
This summer is the time for you to do those very things you imagined you would while staring out the window or into the laminate side of your cubicle. The dreams you get lost in when everything else seems unimportant are the ones you should be making a reality.
Life is for the living, and there is absolutely no reason you shouldn’t be taking an adventurous and soulful retreat to another land, discovering yourself and the better parts about life. If you haven’t made plans because you don’t know where to go, we’ve collected the five best cities that are ideal for all your desires.
Berlin – For the music.
The Drink: Club Mate – Highly caffeinated Bavarian drink with mate tea extract, paired with Vodka-Mate or Sekt-Mate
The People: An eclectic mix of young artists and DJs
The Great Stuff: The beautiful people, the art galleries (over 700), the techno scene, the sex alcoves, the festivals, the coffee
The Sh*tty Stuff: The beautiful people, the rain, the price, sh*tting yourself from all the coffee
The Defining Quality: The clubs
The Ideal Day: Attending a few art exhibits on opiates then heading to an underground club for pure techno until the dawn of light, after which you come down with some strong coffee
The mother of techno, Berlin houses the most iconic and legendary rave scene in the world. A city furnished by warehouses and open spaces, it became the ideal spot to bring techno over from its humble beginnings in Detroit.
Housing some of the oldest and most exclusive underground techno clubs with characteristics like “no cell phone rooms,” alcoves for sex, and no closing hours, it’s the cultural mothership of classy all-night partying. The crowd is beautiful blondes, well-dressed Europeans and great coffee.
Amsterdam – Because it should always be an option.
The Drink: Heineken (Home of the Heineken museum, the tour ends with two pints and a bar)
The People: Everyone at the Grateful Dead but hotter
The Great Stuff: The coffee shops, the Van Gogh museum, the canals, the Heineken museum, the nearby mountains
The Sh*tty Stuff: The beautiful people, the prices, the paranoia
The Defining Quality: The weed
The Ideal Day: Eat a weed brownie at the Jim Morrison café, bike along the canals until you get to the Van Gogh museum for a cultural experience
It’s no surprise that Amsterdam was ranked as the second best city to live in the world by the Economist Intelligence Unit. It might be one of the most picturesque cities in the world with its canals and slanted roofs, but it’s also the greenest.
If you’re a supporter of the weed legalization movement, you should most definitely head out to the motherland to get some insight and see what our great country could be: coffee shops, smoke lounges and pre-rolled joints.
Seville – For the sex.
The Drink: Mahou
The People:Fun loving kids who look like Penelope Cruz and Javier Bardem
The Great Stuff: The paella and Sangria, the bridges, the prices, the rivers, the discotheques, the nearby beaches, the women
The Sh*tty Stuff: The mid-afternoon heat and the sketchy dudes
Defining Quality: The people
The Ideal Day: Smoke some hash on your balcony overlooking the town plaza, take a bike to a nearby beach then hit up the discotheque with some new Spanish friends.
There is nothing in this world as charming as a small Spanish town with a metropolitan vibe. The rivers and bridges crossing you from quaint neighborhoods to the city plaza give you the best of both worlds. Restaurants and bars sit on the side of the river so you can drink your beer next to the beautiful bridges, rather than under.
Paris – So you can have coffee and cigarettes.
The Drink: Red wine
The People: Arrogant until you share a smoke with them at 2 am
The Great Stuff: The sidewalk cafes, the gardens, the charming bistros, the clubs, the cigarettes, the language, the museums, the tree lined streets
The Sh*tty Stuff: The language, the attitude, the prices, the feeling of your own inadequacy
The Defining Quality: The sights
The Ideal Day: Stroll along the Champs-Élysées then stop at a charming café where you order a strong coffee, warm croissant and smoke those Parisian cigarettes while sketching the Arc de Triomphe.
Paris may be a cliché, but it’s one for a reason. You can’t go to Europe and not go to the most beautiful city on earth. Even the most ignorant of travelers will find beauty and respite in what Hemingway named, “a moveable feast.” The Parisians are fashionable and beautiful in a way that’s more appreciative than enviable as you watch them riding their bikes with baguettes and cigarettes in hand.
Rio de Janeiro – To live in a dream.
The Drink: Caipirinha – sugar cane hard liquor and lime
The People: Friendly beach bums with tans you’ll never achieve
The Great Stuff: The beaches, the women who look like Adriana Lima, the sexy men, the mountains, the dancing, the parties, the prices, the street markets, the Latin flare, feeling like you’re in “City Of God”
The Sh*tty Stuff: The women who look like Adriana Lima, feeling like you’re in “City Of God,” the heat, the 4-year-olds who are better at soccer than you
The Defining Quality: The beaches
The Ideal Day: Buying fresh mangos for breakfast at the outdoor market then heading on your pastel blue moped to the beach where you smoke some herb and lie under the warm Brazilian sun. You go hiking when you get tired of the surf and spend hours across land and see one of Rio’s beautiful mountaintops.
You haven’t truly lived if you haven’t been to the beaches of Brazil and danced in the streets of Rio. It’s the city come alive, where inhibitions are left in the waves and sweaty, bronzed bodies sway underneath the watching eyes of Christ the Redeemer.