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25 of the best places to visit in Europe

Europe hosts some of the most diverse and stunning countries in the world. This continent has it all – history, culture and… delicious food! It’s no wonder that so many of us rush to visit and explore each year, you just can’t beat Europe! So, if you’re ready to start your adventure across this magnificent continent, we’re here to help. Here are the BEST places to visit in Europe at least once in your life…

1. Paris, France

The perfect destination for art and architecture lovers, this French capital has so much to offer, whether you’re travelling with your loved one, solo or with a group of friends. If it’s your first time in Paris, we recommend spending at least three days there, as there are so many things to see and experience, from museums to parks, cute cafes and much, much more.

Best time to visit:

Between April – June and October – November, when the weather is mild and there are fewer tourists around. 

Things to do:

Visit The Louvre, take a walk down the Champs-Elysees and enjoy a cup of coffee at Au Vieux Paris. Check out more ideas here.

Fun fact:

Paris was originally a Roman city named ‘Lutetia’

Discover it on:

European Highlights trip

2. Rome, Italy

Once home to many famous emperors, artists, and warriors, Rome is the ideal destination for history buffs and art enthusiasts alike. It is the birthplace of one of the most important ancient civilizations and boasts one of the richest cultural heritages in the world, with countless museums, galleries and historical landmarks. Oh and did we mention the FOOD?!

Best time to visit:

October to April is usually the best time to visit, with bookings significantly cheaper and less crowds than normal.

Things to do:

Visit The Colosseum and the Vatican, try some delicious gelato, throw a coin in Trevi Fountain and discover the Sistine Chapel!

Fun fact:

Nearly 700k worth of Euros are tossed into the Trevi Fountain each year.

Discover it on:

Italian Escape trip.

Image source: Contiki

3. Barcelona, Spain

Stunning architecture, amazing tapas, friendly locals and great beaches. Let’s face it: there’s nothing not to love about Barcelona. Exploring all its different neighbourhoods should basically be a holiday in itself.

Best time to visit:

May – June

Things to do:

Visit La Sagrada Familia, take a tour of Casa Battlo, step inside the Boqueria market for some fresh fruit and veggies, then explore Park Guell.

Fun fact:

Barcelona boasts some of the most stunning beaches in the world, but they’re not actually real. The two-mile beachfront was created in 1992 for the Olympics, with sand imported from Egypt.

Discover it on:

Rome to Barcelona by Train trip.

Image source: Toa Heftiba / Unsplash

4. London, UK

London is one of the most unique and multicultural places on Earth, which you must visit at least once in your life. It’s got some of the best museums in the world (170 in total), historical gems at every corner, international cuisine and delightful views that you won’t find anywhere else. 

The city is very well connected through buses and underground trains, however public transportation can be quite expensive though, so if you do decide to book a trip, make sure you plan your itinerary in advance, to make the most of your journey.

Best time to visit:

March – May

Things to do:

Visit The British Museum, check out the Tower of London, the London Eye, Big Ben an Buckingham Palace. Have a full English breakfast and enjoy a traditional afternoon tea.

Fun fact:

We all know how culturally diverse London is, but did you know that there are actually 300 languages spoken there? With over 8 million residents, I guess it’s no surprise.

Discover it on:

Great Britain & Ireland trip.

Image source: Mariana Alves / Unsplash

5. Prague, The Czech Republic

Whether you’re strolling through its colorful city center, grabbing a beer at one of the many local pubs, checking out its weirdly beautiful Dancing House or the graffiti wall that’s entirely devoted to John Lennon, this charming city will inevitably steal your heart.

Best time to visit:

April – May, and September

Things to do:

Visit the Prague Castle, check out the John Lennon graffiti wall, discover the Old Town Square and take a cruise on the Vltava.

Fun fact:

Prague Castle is the largest castle in the world, spreading over 18 acres.

Discover it on:

European Inspiration trip

Image source: Contiki

6. Florence, Italy

Ah, Florence… one of the most charming and romantic destinations in Europe! The capital of Tuscany and home of the Renaissance movement, this city is one of the most stunning tourist destinations in the world, due to its impressive art collections, beautiful architecture and historical sites. Some of its most famous residents were Machiavelli, Michelangelo, Raphael, Medici, and Dante.

Best time to visit:

May – September

Things to do:

Visit Palazzo Vecchio, the Uffizi Palace and Gallery and take a stroll through Piazzale Michelangelo.

Fun fact:

The Ponte Vecchio is the only bridge in Florence that survived World War II, apparently because Hitler thought it was too beautiful to destroy.

Discover it on:

Simply Italy trip.

7. Lisbon, Portugal

The city that was built on seven hills is known for its delicious egg tarts, vibrant Fado joints and vibrant building tiles. On any given day, this city will provide some form of entertainment for its myriad of tourists, whether it’s through museums, street art, coffee shops or music festivals. 

Best time to visit:

March – May; September – October

Things to do:

Visit the Torre de Belem, take a day trip to Sintra, go to a fado club and go beach hopping.

Fun fact:

There are only five people in the world who know the recipe for Pastel de Nata, which they have memorized, so there is no written version of it. They never travel at the same time with the same aircraft or car!

Discover it on:

Portugal City & Surf trip.

Image source: Contiki

8. Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Add this to your bucket list of visited European cities and we promise you won’t regret it. This beautiful Dutch capital has 165 canals which serve to amplify its charm, a rich artistic heritage and beautiful narrow houses.

Best time to visit:

June and September

Things to do:

Visit Rijksmuseum, Anne Frank’s House, take a walk through Vondelpark and eat your way through Foodhallen.

Fun fact:

There’s a cat boat in Amsterdam called Poezenboot and it’s basically an animal shelter, housing more than 50 cats.

Discover it on:

Amsterdam for New Year trip.

Image source: Contiki

9. Athens, Greece

Europe’s oldest capital is one of the most storied places to visit. Blessed with a warm Mediterranean climate, Athens welcomes millions of tourists each year, coming to discover its temples and ruins, relax by the beach, but to also enjoy the mouth-watering Greek food and the buzzing night scene.

Best time to visit:

March – May; September – November

Things to do:

Visit The Acropolis, the National Gardens and the Temple of Poseidon.

Fun fact:

Athens had the first known democracy in the world, established around 500 B.C.

Discover it on:

Spotlight on Greece trip.

Image source: Arthur Yeti / Unsplash

10. Santorini, Greece

One of the most revered islands of the Mediterranean sea, Santorini is the ideal vacation spot for tourists looking for a bit of sun and to relax against a phenomenal backdrop. Santorini is also known for some of the most artistic sunsets in the world, as well as the finest food and vineyards ever, adding up to an amazing travel experience.

Best time to visit:

April – May; September – October

Things to do:

Relax on the beach, take a boat trip around Santorini, go hiking from Fira to Oia and go on a wine tour.

Fun fact:

Santorini’s official name is Thira.

Discover it on:

Greek Island Hopping trip.

Image source: Contiki

11. Vienna, Austria

The capital city of Austria has earned top positions in every quality of life survey done within the last few years and it’s easy to see why: beautiful green spaces, friendly locals and amazing food are all on offer.

But this city isn’t just great for its residents. With grand imperial buildings, outdoor summer bars and food stalls, one of the best Christmas markets in the world, this capital definitely knows how to win the hearts of tourists young and old.

Best time to visit:

April – May; September – October

Things to do:

Visit Schönbrunn Palace, go to a classical concert, visit the Sigmund Freud Museum and enjoy a cup of coffee at Café Central.

Fun fact:

The famous croissant was invented in Vienna, based on the Austrian kipferl.

Discover it on:

Berlin to Budapest by train trip

Image source: Contiki

12. Nice, France

The French Riviera’s largest city is best known for its beautiful beaches, fantastic climate, and incredible cuisine. With all these natural qualities, it’s no wonder so many celebrities have chosen to call this place home (Elton John and Bono to name just a few).

Best time to visit:

March – April; September – October

Things to do:

Take a walk down the Promenade des Anglais, try some of the local dishes (salade Nicoise, Socca, ratatouille) and discover Vieille Ville.

Fun fact:

Nice originally belonged to Italy. In 1860, Italy gave Nice to France, as a reward for helping them defend themselves from the Austrians.

Discover it on:

Mediterranean Quest trip.

Image source: John Jason / Unsplash

13. Istanbul, Turkey

With an urban population of 15.9 million people, Istanbul is officially the largest city in Europe and the only city in the world to be situated on two continents. It’s a beautifully diverse metropolis, with a vibrant nightlife, markets and bazaars like no other, which is why it wholeheartedly deserves to be on your list of top European cities to visit.

Best time to visit:

March – May; September – November

Things to do:

Visit the Topkapi Palace, marvel at the beauty of the Blue Mosque and bargain your way through The Grand Bazaar.

Fun fact:

Istanbul is the only city in the world situated both in Europe and Asia.

Discover it on:

Turkish Delight trip.

Image source: Contiki

14. The Amalfi Coast

Sun, sea and limoncello – la dolca vita is alive and well on the Amalfi Coast, Italy. This 40km strip of beaches, mountains and general good-times has been a major draw for centuries. Everyone from the Ancient Greeks to the Romans, the Byzantines to the British Aristocracy, to Beyoncé and Jay Z have holidayed in this slice of heaven.

Best time to visit:

April – October 

Things to do:

Relax on the beach, visit the town of Amalfi, marvel at the beautifully colored houses of Positano and visit the island of Capri.

Fun fact:

The Amalfi coast is famous for its production of ceramic, an art which has been passed down from generation to generation.

Discover it on:

Simply Italy trip.

Image source: Contiki

15. Venice, Italy

The ‘Queen of the Adriatic’ is hands-down one of the best places to visit in Europe. During the Middle Ages and the Italian Renaissance, the city witnessed great cultural and artistic creations and has since blessed the world with sights such as San Marco Campanile, Gallerie dell’Accademia and Canale Grande.

Currently sinking at the rate of 1-2 millimetres/year, this popular tourist attraction will likely disappear one day, so make sure to check it out while it’s still here.

Best time to visit:

September – November

Things to do:

Go on a boat tour, take a walk through Piazza San Marco, go for an aperitivo, check out the art museums.

Fun fact:

The city is made up of 118 islands, connected by 400 bridges and over 170 canals.

Discover it on:

Italian Espresso trip.

Image source: Contiki

16. The Swiss Alps

South of Bern and Luzern lies one of the most popular winter vacation spots on Earth, known for its world-class winter sports and great summer hiking trails.

Best time to visit:

June – September

Things to do:

Go skiing, take a train ride on the Bernina Express and discover the Glacier Canyon.

Fun fact:

The Swiss Alps are the highest, greatest and most famous mountain range in Europe, spanning 1,200km over eight nations.

Discover it on:

Western Rocker trip.

17. Dubrovnik, Croatia

Starting out as an independent merchant republic, Dubrovnik is now one of the most gorgeous European destinations you can visit. The city’s stunning imperious walls and red roofed tiles of the Old Town has tourists flocking here each year.

Best time to visit:

September – October

Things to do:

Take a walk through The Old Town, go on a cable car ride, go island hopping and visit St. John Fortress.

Fun fact:

Many of the Game of Throne scenes were filmed in Dubrovnik, particularly King’s Landing!

Discover it on:

Croatia Island Sail trip.

Image source: Contiki

18. Reykjavik, Iceland

If Reykjavik isn’t on your bucket list yet, then you’re missing out. It’s one of the prime locations to gaze at the Northern Lights, it boasts plenty of nearby natural wonders and an amazing array of museums. 

Best time to visit:

June – August (the perfect time for outdoor activities)

Things to do:

Visit Snæfellsjökull National Park, relax at The Blue Lagoon geothermal spa and observe the Tectonic Plates.

Fun fact:

It was discovered by Vikings 1,100 years ago and it was the last place on Earth to be settled by humans.

Discover it on:

Fire and Ice trip.

Image source: Frank Denney / Unsplash

19. Seville, Spain

The beautiful blend of Flamenco dancing, tapas and toros earns this Spanish city a rightful place in our list of the best places to visit in Europe. There’s also one other reason to visit the city – the stunning orange season. While you can view the orange trees year round, visit anywhere from late February to early March after the harvest, and you’ll catch a whiff of the orange blossoms in bloom.

Best time to visit:

February – March

Things to do:

Visit Alcazar of Seville, take a stroll through Plaza de Espana and go see a flamenco show.

Fun fact:

Seville is the final burial place of Christopher Columbus.

Discover it on:

Spanish Spree trip.

Image source: Shai Pal / Unsplash

20. Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina

Mostar may be lesser known but it’s one of the most beautiful destinations in the Balkans, famous for its Ottoman-style bridge Stari Most and outstanding natural wonders such as the Kravica waterfall.

Best time to visit:

May, June and September

Things to do:

Check out Stari Most (Bosnia’s most famous landmark), visit the old bazaar and watch the bridge divers leaping into the cold waters of the Neretva River.

Fun fact:

Diving from Stari Most is a tradition that goes back to 1664 and is meant to signify the transition from young man to manhood.

Discover it on:

Best of Balkans trip.

Image source: Contiki

21. Plitvice Lakes National Park, Croatia

Ideal for nature lovers, Plitvice Lakes is one of the most beautiful places to visit in Croatia, offering stunning viewpoints, four different hiking trails, and boardwalks suspended over its turquoise water. At 295 square km, this is the largest national park in Croatia, welcoming over 1 million tourists every year.

Best time to visit:

April – May; September – October

Things to do:

Go on one of the four hiking trails, visit Mali Buk and check out The Lower Lakes.

Fun fact:

Its water colours are always fluctuating, ranging from deep blue to emerald green or faded grey. 

Discover it on:

Mini Balkan trip.

Image source: Contiki

22. Lake Como, Italy

Nestled at the foot of the Alps, Lake Como features one of the most picturesque landscapes in the world and has been the backdrop of many Hollywood movies, like Casino Royale or Ocean’s Twelve. This destination is perfect for a one-day trip, whether it’s to enjoy the beach, take a stroll through Como City or discover one of the beautiful historic villas. The easiest way to get there is to catch a train from Milan’s central station and stop at Varenna.

Best time to visit:

March – November

Things to do:

Take a boat trip, stroll through Como city and visit one of the historic residences overlooking the water.

Fun fact:

Casino Royale was partially shot at Villa Balbianello in Lake Como.

Discover it on:

European Trail trip.

23. Faroe Islands

Formed by volcanic activity 30 million years ago, The Faroe Islands is a self-governing archipelago situated northwest of Scotland and halfway between Iceland and Norway. It boasts some of the most stunning scenery in the world, cool festivals and super friendly locals.

Best time to visit:

June – August

Things to do:

Go birdwatching and spot endangered puffins, hike to the lake of Sørvágsvatn and take a walk through Tinganes.

Fun fact:

No point in Faroe Islands is further than 5km from the sea

Image source: Annie Spratt / Unsplash

24. Lapland, Finland

If you’re into REAL Christmas vibes, there’s no better place to go than in Lapland. Forget the Austrian Christmas markets or homemade cookies: Lapland is where you get to visit Santa’s main post office (which looks just about as magical as you would imagine), surrounded by his elves.

Best time to visit:

For the ultimate wintery experience, you want to visit between November – March.

Things to do:

See the Northern Lights, meet Santa Claus, go on a snowmobile safari and relax in the world’s only sauna gondola.

Fun fact:

In Lapland there are roughly the same amount of reindeer as there are people.

Image source: Ethan Hu / Unsplash

25. Budapest, Hungary

You can’t call your Europe trip complete without a weekend stop in Budapest. This Eastern European capital will bring a satisfying end to your European tour – it has affordable and delicious local cuisine, an amazing ‘ruin bar’ nightlife and revival-style architecture.

Best time to visit:

March – May; September – November

Things to do:

Take a tour of the Parliament House, visit Buda Castle, visit the thermal baths, check out The Shoes on the Danube Bank and visit the ruin bars.

Fun fact:

Three cities merged to create Budapest: Obuda, Buda & Pest.

Discover it on:

Best of Balkans trip.

Image source: Contiki

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