Travel Guide: List of the Best Places to Visit in Europe

There are 44, 47, 49, 50 or 51 countries belonging to the continent of Europe. If you stick with the opinion of the UN, 44 is the correct answer, but if you ask the European Union, it’s different. It’s quite complicated and there is no general consensus, since some tricky countries like the Caucasus countries or disputed territories are sometimes included, and other times, they are not.

However, a lesson on topography and history is not what you’re here for, so without further ado, let’s get into a list of places you need to visit on your travels through Europe. And we’ll make it more fun. I’m not just simply going to go through each country and tell you some facts about the tourism or historical events. I will make sure to only talk about interesting things and include some fun facts that are actually great to know. And they are great conversation helpers for your next date. I got you, fam.

Paris, France

Streets of Paris by day
Credits: John Towner / Unsplash

We’re already off to a great start to your European travels when you decide to visit Paris. This city oozes with love from every little corner. Life is beautiful, and even more beautiful when in Paris. You can visit all the amazing touristy spots, like the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, Centre Pompidou. Another way to explore the deep heart of the city of love is to simply stroll through the small alleyways. There is no consensus as to why Paris is considered to be the city of love, but I guess you can see for yourself.

Fun Fact: The Eiffel Tower was actually not meant to be here for as long as it has already been. Originally, it was meant to be a temporary building showing France’s superior technological skills. It was totally unpopular in the beginning and residents even protested against it, calling it a ‘useless monstrosity’.

London, UK

Bird-eye view of the London Tower
Credits: Benjamin Davies / Unsplash

London most definitely is one of the most travelworthy places, not only in Europe, but worldwide. It is famous for its charming ancient buildings, like the Tower of London, Big Ben and Trafalgar Square. Moreover, London has a wonderful collection of art throughout the entire city. Galleries, exhibitions, or ‘simple’ street art, it is all around. You can see so many things from its past and yet explore a great amount of modernism. This city will evoke your curiosity and captivate you like only few others can.

Fun Fact: During the years, an extreme number of famous people walked the streets of London and called it their home. Some of them include Charles Darwin, Jimi Hendrix, and Mozart. Blue plaques mark where they lived.

Rome, Italy

Aerial view of the Vatican City in the heart of Rome
Credits: Christopher Czermak / Unsplash

No, Rome isn’t solemnly interesting for religious reasons, although it has shaped the city a lot. Legends have it that the city was founded by two brothers, Romulus and Remus, on top of seven hills. All throughout the city, you can find several reminders of the past of the Roman Empire. Some of those include the Colosseum, the Pantheon, Forum Romanum – the list goes on. Just walking the streets of this city is an adventure in itself. To put it in a nutshell, Rome is pretty much a giant museum you should consider visiting on your trip through Europe.

Fun Fact: If you are a fan of cats, this will warm your heart. In Rome, there is a law which permits cats the right to live wherever they were born without ever being disturbed or shushed away.

Barcelona, Spain

Colorful Park Guell in Barcelona during Spring
Credits: Daniel Corneschi / Unsplash

Barcelona has everything you could want from your travels throughout Europe. There are beaches, imposing buildings, inspiring architecture, culture, art, nightlife. You can learn so much about the everyday life of the Spanish but also explore international art and extremely diverse residents.

And right there in the center is La Sagrada Familia, possibly one of the most interesting churches in the world. It was designed by Antoni Gaudi and construction started in 1882 but is still continuing to this day. However, it is still very impressive and extraordinary to look at and to walk through.

Fun Fact: La Rambla, which is the main street in Barcelona, was originally a stream filled with sewage. It only become an actual street in the 14th century when the stream was diverted, and the street developed.

Amsterdam, Netherlands

Foggy weather in Amsterdam with a bike on a bridge over a canal
Credits: Leif Niemczik / Unsplash

Amsterdam is absolutely stunning. It has canals, bridges, small streets, and the word that comes to my mind is: idyllic. And the best way to explore the city is by bike or on a scooter, or to just walk and take those steps in. A perfect day could look like this.

  • First stop: Breakfast in a small café by the water.
  • Visit The Dam, a central place in the heart of the old town.
  • Walk (or drive) to the Museumplein. Take a look at the Rijksmuseum, Van Gogh Museum and the Stedelijk and get inspired by the most famous artworks of some of the best-known artists.
  • Take a canal cruise and see the city from a different perspective.
  • Time for a break! Get yourself a few snacks and go sit in the Vondelpark.
  • I’m not one to advocate drugs or anything of that sort, but go and look at a coffee shop, it’s even just interesting to look at them, as opposed to buying anything.
  • Take a stroll through the Nine Little Streets, a compilation of tiny streets with boutiques, restaurants, bakeries and bars.

Fun Fact: There are around 2,500 houseboats in Amsterdam, and they actually often do serve as real, permanent homes, and not just as a vacation stay. However, you can rent some of them for a stay in the city. But beware, since they are becoming more and more popular, prices are increasing rapidly.

All of Switzerland

The alps with green fields in front of them
Credits: Marco Meyer / Unsplash

Switzerland is one of the most livable places worldwide. Maybe not from a financial viewpoint, but in terms of the quality of life. It has one of the lowest crime rates, is very eco-friendly, and has two of the most livable cities worldwide (Zurich and Geneva). Switzerland has around 7,000 lakes, the Alps (and 208 mountains in sum), beautiful, charming cities and everything you could wish for on a vacation or even in a place to call home. And with its four official languages, German, French, Italian and Romansh, you can even broaden your language repertoire.

Fun Fact: The effects of LSD were first discovered by Swiss chemist Albert Hoffmann over 75 years ago. It was originally researched for its therapeutic potential but slowly but surely made its way into the world of recreational use. (Another small fun fact: Switzerland would be the biggest country worldwide if all mountains were rolled out straight.)

Venice, Italy

Gondolas on water streets between typically Venetian buildings
Credits: Rebe Adelaida / Unsplash

Venice has 417 bridges and 350 gondolas on which you go around the whole city. It is extremely quiet since there are no cars and it doesn’t feel like you’re in a metropolitan city, just considering the traffic. The most interesting part of the city might just be the old town. There are so many sites to see, you will most definitely want to stop at every corner to admire something new.

However, the old town isn’t quite as big as it is, for example, in Rome, which is why you will have more than enough time to explore everything else. Although it might not seem as interesting as other cities, you will not get bored, since everything is just really, really nice to look at and the fleer of the city is what will captivate you.

Fun Fact: The city of Venice is gradually sinking by 1-2 millimeters per year due to plate tectonics. The Adriatic Plate is slowly subducting under the Apennines Mountains.

Santorini, Greece

Panoramic view of typically Greek buildings right before sunset
Credits: Heidi Kaden / Unsplash

Santorini is breathtakingly beautiful, and a visit will be a bucket list item you can cross off. It has only around 15,000 residents but more than 2 million tourists every year. Although it is not your average ‘sun-bathing and beach-island’, there are many stunning beaches you can visit. It was created from volcanic origins, which is why all beaches consist of dark sand or small stones.

The best and most wonderful way to get from point A to point B is to walk, or hike. There are fascinating hiking trails all around the island and you can be close to the beach in a lot of them. And the best part: sunsets and sunrises are completely out of this world here in Santorini. If you’re into photography (or Instagram), this is your paradise.

Fun Fact: Wine is actually more abundant than water in Santorini due to the small amounts of rain the island gets in the course of a year.

Amalfi Coast, Italy

panoramic view of buildings on a mountain at the Amalfi Coast
Credits: canmandawe / Unsplash

One stop on your travels through Europe simply has to be the Amalfi Coast. And since I already convinced you to visit Rome, the Amalfi Coast is just a short three-hour train ride away. It is mostly famous for its colorful and impressive architecture which stems from Roman times.

Since the earth is rich with volcanic content, people here use it to create beautiful pieces of ceramics. All of Italy is known for ceramic art, but the Amalfi Coast is one major center. It is like they capture the landscape and the feeling of the places in their pieces of art.

Fun Fact: The Capuchin Convent is an ancient monastery-turned-hotel on one of Amalfi’s cliffs. Legends say that the monks of Capuchin were the first to add warm milk to their coffees, which is how today’s Cappuccino was created.

Prague, Czech Republic

The old bridge in Prague with the castle in the background
Credits: William Zhang / Unsplash

The old town of Prague is very charming and sweet, which makes you feel less like being in a big city. Many people come here to party since Prague has the biggest club in central Europe and a flourishing nightlife. Moreover, the largest castle in the world is located here and attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors.

Fun Fact: Prague is known for having the highest consumption of beer per capita in the world. There is even a beer spa. The city is also home to the second ugliest building in the world.

Stockholm, Sweden

Subway station art of a rainbow in Stockholm
Credits: Norman Tsui / Unsplash

Stockholm is a wonderful city in Northern Europe. Some people refer to it as ‘The Worlds’ smallest big city’ since it is a metropolitan city, but it feels small enough for you to walk around instead of taking a car. Others call it the ‘Venice of the North’, which is due to its beautiful architecture, abundant open water, and countless parks.

Moreover, Stockholm is one of the cleanest cities worldwide because of the absence of heavy industry, which is quite common for other big cities.

Fun Fact: Stockholm’s’ subway is known as the world’s longest art gallery because most of the stations are adorned with paintings, sculptures, mosaics and art installations. You don’t even need to visit a museum to see breathtaking art, and the fact that it is located in subway stations gives it a kind of edge that very much flatters the artworks.

Berlin, Germany

Panoramic view of the Berlin skyline
Credits: Adam Vradenburg / Unsplash

Berlin is over nine times the size of Paris, but only has 1/5th of Paris’ density. The European city combines history and modernism, which is why there is something for everyone. It is a cultural oasis which becomes obvious in the diversity of inhabitants, visitors, architecture and art.

Fun Fact: The East Side Gallery, which is the longest complete part of the Berlin Wall remaining, is the longest open-air gallery in the world. And since it is open-air, it is completely for free. Moreover, Berlin also hosts over 80 Christmas markets, and who doesn’t love Christmas markets?

Istanbul, Turkey

Aerial photography of Istanbul by day
Credits: Engin Yapici / Unsplash

Istanbul, Turkey is the only pan-continental city in the world, since it partly belongs to Europe and part of it belongs to Asia. Over 13 million people live in the city some think is the capital, but it actually isn’t. The Grand Bazaar is the biggest old-covered bazaar worldwide with over 3,000 shops, so make sure to give it a try.

Fun Fact: Istanbul was once well-known for having more than 1,400 public toilets in the times of the Ottoman Empire. “What am I going to do with this information?” – Well, I don’t know, but now you know.

Reykjavik, Iceland

The Sun Voyager in Reykjavik
Credits: Yanshu Lee / Unsplash

Reykjavik is the capital city of Iceland and the northernmost capital in the world. It is such an international city that immigrants of 131 different nationalities make up nearly 9% of the population. There are several sites to see, like the Hallgrímskirkja or the Nordic House, but the most wonderful might be the Northern Lights. And Reykjavik is one of the best places in the world to see this natural wonder.

Fun Fact: From 1924 to 1984, dogs were banned from the city. The thinking is quite simple: a dog does not belong in a city, it is a farm animal and cannot adapt to urban life. And with no dogs, cats ruled. There is no official number, but the Icelandic Cat Protection Shelter estimates the number to be around 20,000 cats in the capital of Iceland.

Why you should visit Europe

Europe is absolutely diverse. Regarding landscapes, cultures, people, fashion, architecture, the list goes on. And the most amazing thing? It doesn’t take too long to get from point A to point B, sometimes just a short train ride. This fact makes it so easy for you to travel to a lot of different places in a short amount of time. More importantly, you can experience the diversity of a whole continent in only a little time.

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