25 Best Places to Visit in Europe

Martina Rosado
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Vienna

Austria.

Vienna, the capital of Austria, is renowned for its continued influence over European art and music. The rich history of Austria in general is also celebrated in this great European city.

Many of the world’s most famous composers, for example, have lived in Vienna, including Hilma af Klint, Engelbert Humperdinck, Johann Strauss, Jr., Gustav Mahler, Richard Strauss, Johann Hölzel, Oskar Nedbal, Erich Wolfgang Korngold, Franz Schmidt, Guido Adler, Viktor Ullmann, Kurt Tillmanns, and Gustav Mahler.

The MuseumsQuartier features one of Europe’s most spectacular collections of art and architecture, including works by the Brueghels, Rubens, Van Dyck, Holbein, Rembrandt, Cezanne and Picasso.

Indian Summer Story

Born in 1854, Gustav Mahler, the world’s first major twentieth-century symphony composer, is considered two of the most important composers of the century for his work on symphonies such as the Fourth and the Fifth. While they are famous and recognized nations in their own right, there is actually more to Austria and Germany than just these two nations. And they're both of them have quite a lot more to offer than just their native languages, too.

Stonehenge

England.

Stonehenge has a special place in history. It has been a center of astronomical observation in ancient times and continues to be so today. It is the most famous prehistoric monument in Europe, and is located about two miles north of the town of Amesbury.

It is not an actual stone structure but is made up of an arrangement of standing stones known as sarsens that have been arranged in a circle with four smaller circles inside of it. The sarsens are very old and range from 20 to over 60 feet high. They are made of sandstone, which was quarried locally at a site that was just outside of Stonehenge.

The purpose for the massive stones is still not certain but theories suggest that they are the remains of a temple or a monument built by the ancient druids .

It may also have been a place to mark the summer solstice or the moon’s rising at dawn. The discovery of a number of burial mounds about two miles (3km) from the site that contained the skeletons of a number of infants, childhood offenders, and elderly adults has been used to suggest that this place was also a place to offer a place for rituals such as human sacrifice.

Matterhorn

Though the 5,582-meter (nearly 19,000 foot) peak at center point of the Matterhorn is the reason this mountain is on our list. More than that, it's the 6,050 foot-long, 3,300 foot-high glacier at the bottom of the mountain that makes this the most unusual alpine lake and mountain we've ever visited.

The view from the top of the peak over the lake, with the mountain itself reflected in the still water is truly magnificent. Of course the sheer drop at the bottom of the mountain makes this an adventure for sure.

Though you can hike and take the funicular to the top, it's the alpine lake that is really special here. The water temp makes for excellent swimming and you can rent a rowboat to cruise the lake. While we often hiked up the peak, we also found ourselves wanting to take day trips just to experience a whole new part of the Swiss Alps.

Bonus Points: Switzerland is home to 256 different Alpine summits that range from the Grand Combin in the center of the country, the Concordia at the border with Italy, to the Tibish or The James Bond of Switzerland, the Pelvoux

Bonus Points: Hotels at the base of the mountain are an easy 40 minute drive from Zurich

Plitvice Lakes

National Park, Croatia – Located in the Lika region of Croatia, Plitvice Lakes National Park is a series of 16 lakes and countless waterfalls. The 16 lakes, each with its own unique characteristics, are what make Plitvice National Park so special.

Each lake is separated by wooded hillsides and rocky outcroppings, creating vantage points for exploration and viewing the entire series of lakes. A well-made boardwalk traverses the length of the lakes, allowing visitors to get in close to the fish and other wildlife. The boardwalk also provides a great vantage point for viewing the waterfalls, which are in full force during the spring and summer rains of Plitvice.

The Plitvice Lakes National Park is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Croatia and a great place for a peaceful outdoor activity.

Budapest

When it comes to social services, Hungary has been a leader in Europe, so it’s no wonder why this country has such a rich tapestry of culture. This helps to explain why in addition to being one of the most popular tourist destinations in Europe, Budapest has also earned recognition as a city of culture, offering a vibrant nightlife, diverse art scene, and academic offerings that are on par with the best Western Europe has to offer.

One of Budapest’s most famous attractions is its parliament building, the Hungarian Parliament Building, which is currently the third largest building in Europe, and has been regarded as one of the finest examples of Gothic architecture in all of Europe. The magnificent ornate paintings that are part of the building’s decor showcase Budapest’s historic role as a wealthy trading center in the Middle Ages.

Lisbon

Portugal.

Portugal doesn't seem to have much going for it when you first look at it. But after a short trip, you will want to take some time and explore its captivating corners. The beautiful city of Lisbon is a perfect stop to do that, and it offers everything a traveler could ask for, including food, fun nightlife, and historical landmarks to explore.

It may not be the most exciting city in Europe, but it's one of the most underrated ones. The gem of the country is a thriving cultural center that provides amazing weather and a friendly lifestyle.

Gullfoss

The Gullfoss is a small but powerful waterfall. It’s the centerpiece of the Gullfoss Waterfall Complex in Iceland. The area features several smaller waterfalls that flow into the Hvita River. There are a number of ways to explore the Gullfoss Waterfall Complex, either by hire car, on a tour, or by hiring a boat to take you up and down the river.

The most popular route is on foot. From the parking area, it takes about an hour and a half to hike to the top of the waterfall. There are many viewpoints that you can stop at along the way, and more to explore once you reach the top.

The hardest part of the hike is gaining access to the top. In most places you must climb up small steps or make your way over a path that has been cut into the rock.

Once at the top, you will be able to see the entire waterfall … well almost. While it is a great vantage point, the actual waterfall is partially blocked by a large boulder. There are still a lot of places to get great views of the drop, however, as the river flows below the final layer of the falls.

Athens

Greece.

Anytime is a good time to visit Athens. To start, what makes Athens a great place to visit is that it is easy to reach from many major cities around the world. You can even get an Athens flight from London or Paris, but don’t forget that a Europcar car rental is highly recommended for exploring the city.

The other thing that makes Athens such a great destination to visit is its rich history. Athens is a significant historical city that offers a look at what life was like centuries ago.

The city has also been attacked by invaders more than once, allowing visitors to see what the ancient Greek looked like prior to massive cultural changes.

A visit to the Acropolis and the ruins of Ancient Greece are thrilling and captivating. If you enjoy how previous civilizations lived, you will surely enjoy Greece.

What is great is that you do not need to go on a guided tour to experience all the ancient relics of the Acropolis because everything is open to the public. You can take a self-guided tour to explore at your own pace.

Another prehistoric structure that is worth visiting in Athens is the “Peloponesian” Walls. These walls were built to protect Athens in ancient times. You can still see sections of the wall today.

Bay of Kotor

Moscow

Russia.

Moscow is one of the most exciting and dynamic cities in Europe. Russia isn’t the first place that comes to mind for visiting, but with its rich cultural roots and natural beauty, Moscow is a must-see.

There are plenty of interesting museums, theatres, Soviet relics, modern architecture, and outdoor activities for visitors to explore. There are also great restaurants and cafes, as well as Russian food that you can’t find anyplace else.

The city is famous for its festivals; one of the most popular takes place every year in July and attracts people from all over the world.

Moscow is a bustling, busy city, one of the largest in the world, but don’t let that stop you from exploring. Moscow is a doable day trip from St. Petersburg, and offers fun, exciting, and beautiful things to explore.

Venice

Italy.

Monte Carlo

Monaco.

Monaco has an amazing 570-foot ‘Viele Plugh’, made out of black basalt steeped in red clay to keep it from melting in the hot Mediterranean sun. This is a common sight in Monaco and famous enough to be on Wikipedia.

Alhambra

Palace, Granada, Spain.

The Alhambra Palace in Granada is a 15th century palace that was commissioned by the Nasrid Kings of Granada. It was originally built on a strategically located hilltop in Alhambra which gave the king’s extraordinary views. The palace was to be the home of the Nasrid Kings and their tribute of guests. It was included in the UNESCO World Heritage sites as a part of the Granada Historic Centre in 1978.

This palace has 13 towers and 55 chambers. It is sprinkled with beautiful frescos from around the Nasrid Kingdom. It houses intricate hand painted tiles and glazed ceramics. There are 73 covered wind towers and the Royal Chapel was a masterpiece of Islamic architecture. The original carved pomegranates adorning the walls can still be found here today.

The Alhambra Palace is also home to a spectacular waterfall. This tiny room was built to store the royal throne during the summer months, as the palace was chilled with ice and water during the summer months. The garden surrounding the palace is cool and refreshing. This is one beautiful place in Europe!

Santa Maria delle Grazie Basilica, Milan, Italy.

Florence

Italy.

Florence is one of the most picturesque cities in the world. It’s also make you feel like you’re in some of the most important paintings by the masters.

Florence is a relatively young city, having been settled in a little less than 2000 years ago, but it has plenty of history. The best thing you can do is to visit Piazza della Signoria, a square that includes the Uffizi Gallery, its crown jewel.

You can also visit a church or two, see Michelangelo’s David and some amazing bridges. Then you can take some time away from the crowd to slip through the narrow streets and alleyways that are finally being cleaned up. If you can’t find a hotel room, try the posh Florence Park Hotel.

If you also want to learn how to fly fish, you should visit the area around Tuscany. It is a relatively small area, and the fishing is excellent.

London

Neuschwanstein Castle

This is the place where Dr. Frankenstein and the creatures of his imagination might have been able to enjoy some swans gliding across a moonlit lake. It was once a very simple home vacationing spot, but now it's largely the castle that serves as castle. There are tours of the grounds for about four Euros each, and they offer transport to the castle as well. If you want to have a royal experience, they offer tours of the inside of the castle for about ten Euros each. You have to call before coming to make sure, and they only take small groups.

Amsterdam

Amsterdam is an amazing place to visit. The density of the architecture, the diversity of the people, the culture of the people from all around the world living in a small place, it’s a wonderful city. If you visit Amsterdam, make sure you try some of the local products, including the famous Dutch coffee and renowned chocolate.

Prague

Czech Republic.

Prague is home to some of the finest gothic architecture in the world. It is also the birthplace of many important European musicians, including waltz composer Johann Strauss II, communists Jan Neruda and Frantisek Janãícek, and literary giants Franz Kafka, Franz Werfel, Karel Capek, Boááek Káápeý and Franz Kafka.

The city’s atmosphere is one of music, excitement, and gaudi-esque architecture. Prague is also the center of the Czech Republic and has a big influence on the country’s culture.

Definitely a resident favorite, Prague is also a great place to visit in Europe.

Some highlights:

Prague is home to some of the finest gothic architecture in the world. It is also the birthplace of many important European musicians, including waltz composer Johann Strauss II, communists Jan Neruda and Frantisek Janãícek, and literary giants Franz Kafka, Franz Werfel, Karel Capek, Boááek Káápeý and Franz Kafka.

Istanbul

Turkey.

Istanbul is a huge city and in many ways, it is hard to pin down. You have the new, modern parts built on former city walls that allow you to truly feel part of a city with the newer, modern architecture, and then you have the traditional parts of Istanbul that are home to 14th century stone architecture.

Along with the variety of architecture and the huge city, you also have a huge cuisine nearby. The best part is that it is a cuisine that will change your perspective of how good food can be.

Turkey has one of the largest and most diverse cuisines in the Middle East, as it is a crossroads for neighboring cultures of the various tribes and nations that have settled there. A food such as musakka, a variety of meatballs served with sumac and yogurt, is almost unidentifiable as food from the Middle East.

This food is typical of the cuisine that is being found in 14th century Istanbul, around Constantinople, the former city of Istanbul. Traditional musakka is made from the tons of different meats that come from a variety of animals and their methods of meat processing that include some really interesting processes.

Geirangerfjord

Norway.

The Geirangerfjord is spectacular in good weather and bad, and for so many healthy reasons. The fjord is absolutely beautiful, and was famously featured in Alfred Hitchcock’s movie The Birds.

It follows a narrow path through a slow descent of the mountains until it reaches a small settlement called “Geiranger.” This is the start of one of the most famous tourist attractions, the road to the picturesque waterfall “Gullfoss.”

It can also be fun to take boats to the town of “Bygdoy,” where you can walk the historic wooden bridge over the old river and experience the shopping district. What is great about Geiranger is how close you are to the great outdoor adventures and nature experiences of Norway’s interior.

Barcelona

Spain.

The story of Barcelona is old. It is one of the most popular cities in Spain, and has been visited by many cultures and people over the years. The Romans called Barcelona Barcino, because they believed the city was founded by the Gods. It is located at the end of the great Mediterranean seaway. The city has a population of 1.6 million.

It has got the most famous football club, FC Barcelona. Barcelona is also the birthplace of several designers and artists, including the Blau I Blau home-grown fashion designer Ramon Pajares, the artist Salvador Dalí and Estrella Damm, a design company that even has Jordi Pujol, the 2nd time Mayor of Barcelona, as a shareholder.

The city is a centre of Catalan culture, and there are plenty of museums, palaces and other historical sites to visit. It is also a great place in which to experience life in another culture. There are many young people who speak English and other languages, making it easy for you to make new friends.

Catalonia is not very far from France and Spain at its closest, but you can get there by train and air. Barcelona was awarded the title of European Green Capital in 2010 because of the many projects that the city has undertaken to reduce its carbon and environmental footprint.

Dubrovnik

Croatia.

Most of the sites in the city are actually monuments to the city’s ancient history, and the walls that surrounded it. In the 11th century, it was captured by the Republic of Venice and then the Ottoman Empire.

Over the years, the city was subject to many attacks and plundering, but wasn’t abandoned until the 1950s.

Seeing the city today seems as if nothing’s changed in the centuries.

This hidden gem has rightfully earned a spot on our list of the best places to visit in Europe. The best place to be if you wish to experience the best the country has to offer. Dubrovnik is one of those places that you need to include on your bucket list.

Santorini

Santorini is located on the East Aegean Sea, known for its Roman and Byzantine architecture, local art, and dramatic cliff formations. The Santorini area is made up of six different islands, most notably, Thira, Oia, Palia, Nea Kameni, Thirassia, and Palea Kameni.

Each island and their surrounding islands have their own specific personalities and unique characteristics that separate them from one another. Santorini is best known for its villages, capital, and beach, but it is a treasure trove of unique attractions.

Travelers will enjoy Santorini for a combination of history, stunning vistas, and dramatic scenery. Santorini is famous for its hot springs, the highest point of Europe, the volcanic peaks, and the photos that will be cherished for a long time.

Santorini is located to the west of Crete and has been appreciated for its natural beauty for thousands of years. The young island was formed from the eruption of the volcano, and nowadays, Santorini is one of Greece’s most visited islands.

Paris

Paris is rich with history and culture. French macarons, such as the famous Laduré macarons, are big hits with gourmet foodies. The Louvre houses remarkable art, including renowned art master Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa, along with the likes of Greek and Roman sculptures. There’s a vast amount of convenient attractions such as the Parc de La Villette and the impregnable walls of the Bastille, home to the heads of condemned criminals.

Rome

Over 2,000 years ago, Rome was the center of the entire civilized world; it was by far the biggest city of the ancient Mediterranean, with a population of a million and a half people.

In the Middle Ages, its population exceeded one million again. It remained an important city until about the middle of the 18th century. Even in the beginning of the 19th century, when it had been suffering from the decline of its importance as the capital of the Holy Roman Empire, the number of its population was still scarcely less than one million. Very complicated political changes in the last ten or fifteen years have reduced its population to about 750,000 people.

One of the most ancient and still the most famous of the cities of Italy, Rome is the capital and largest city of the republic of Italy and is located on the Tiber River at the center of Italy. The urban area of Rome has a population of about 3.8 million people.

Rome’s history began in the Neolithic period, when it was inhabited by people who settled around the banks of the Tiber and the hills. The Etruscans were the next people to inhabit Rome, and they built magnificent temples here.

Rome was conquered by the Romans, who transferred their capital to the island of Tiberis, now the Tiber Island, at the mouth of the Tiber, in the seventh century B.C.