Europe! America’s distant relative that it likes to awkwardly visit on occasion! With its myriad misshapen countries, centuries-old feuds, and generally above-average health care, we figured it would be the perfect candidate for a ranking.
To add some quantifiable elements to the task, we tried to rank countries based on a variety of factors: food/drink, natural and man-made aesthetic beauty, contributions to modern society, openness to foreigners, number of eagle owls in their bogs, etc. And though we are both admittedly stupid Americans, and as such, come with our own biases, subjective opinions, and large backpacks, it’s worth pointing out that we have been to roughly 75% of these countries.
And though we assume no one will disagree with any of our rankings, if you do take odds with, say, our positioning of San Marino, feel free to use the comments section to have an extremely respectful and not-at-all-crazy debate. That, we’ve been told, is the sole purpose of Internet comment sections.
So, onto the rankings, as we prepare to hear from our grandmothers about the placement of Vatican City.
If you want to go to a country that has 11,000 lakes and isn’t sure it’s totally over the whole Soviet Empire thing, Belarus is your comrade. Ranked worst in Europe in press freedom, and many other freedoms, it is essentially a totalitarian dictatorship that suppresses any non-authorized sentiments. Oh, and they’re pretty into soups made with goose blood.
Come for the stuffed cabbage rolls, stay for the alleged large-scale theft of fraudulent loans to business entities controlled by oligarch Ilan Shor.
Europe’s version of a gated community of well-to-do grandparents who sue the neighbors for building an unsightly gazebo that blocks their view of the fitness center.
Too soon? Too soon. Might be ready for backhanded compliments in the 2035 edition of this article (written from space?!).
The only people who actually live in Monaco are professional tennis players who definitely weren’t born in Monaco. It’s like the newly built luxury apartment complex of Europe, but with much more stylish HOA meetings. Another metaphor we were toying around with: it’s like a country as imagined by Puff Daddy in the director’s cut of a rosé commercial.
The cooler part of Macedonia, you know where Alexander the Great came from and stuff, is actually in Greece. As a result, having another country label itself “Macedonia” really pisses Greece off, so that’s fun! Less fun? Being a landlocked nation with crippling unemployment that has the distinguished honor of being frequently described as “one of the less-desirable former Yugoslav republics.”
If you’re going to rate Europe by best bogs full of wolves, Latvia would win going away. But that’s probably not the most efficient system?
All the dullness of Switzerland, but with worse chocolate!
Clearly had the more “budget-friendly” divorce lawyer when it split with the Czech Republic. But at least it got to keep its decorative folk hatchets and human figurines made from corn stalks.
DRACULA! Was of course a real person, had a real castle on a cliff that still exists, and was not all that nice to his enemies when fighting wars against the Ottomans. But there’s much more to Romania than legendary impalers. For instance, it could give Latvia a serious run for its money in bog wolves.
Snuggled in between Italy and Greece… prime location on the Adriatic… how are you not better, Albania? It’s that neighborhood that some realtor tells you is really up and coming, so you buy a condo there and then five years later nothing up and came and you’re screwed. Did you know blood feuds between Albanian families are still quite common? Because they are.