Are you looking to plan a European vacation but don’t know where to start? Europe is a small continent, but there are nearly 50 countries to choose from. With so many places to visit in Europe, it’s difficult to know where to begin to even think about where to travel in Europe.
We’ve seen a lot of the continent and have rounded up our favorite European destinations to spark your creative juices. So let’s get planning that European vacation to celebrate traveling again soon.
Best Places to Visit in Europe
These are the best places to visit in Europe that took our breath away and places that we can go back to again and again. Enjoy this list of the best European travel destinations that we’ve visited and that we think you should travel to next!
1. Bavaria, Germany
Bavaria, Germany isn’t the first place people think about going to in Europe, but it should be! It is one of the most beautiful and surprising destinations in Europe. Bavaria houses that Fairy tale Castle that has become so famous.
Located just outside of Munich, Neuschwanstein Castle is a must-stop on this trip. But highlights also include the Oktoberfest city of Munich, the surprising city of Nuremberg, an amazing wine region, and a lot of fun in the Bavarian Alps. With all the beautiful scenery and amazing thngs to do, Bavaria is at the top of the best places to visit in Europe for a reason.
2. Meteora, Greece
Athens, Greece is always at top of all best places to visit in Europe and we agree and Greece is known to have some of the best beaches and most beautiful islands in Europe. But going inland was where we loved our travels through this exciting part of the country.
Make sure to visit Meteora, it definitely deserves to be a the top of a European vacation list. But when adding Athens to your European travels, make a side trip to Meteora. Located about 4 hours away to see the amazing Monasteries that sit atop massive cliff spires. This is a destination that is not to be missed.
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3. Santorini, Greece
While we are in Greece, let me take you to the magical island of Santorini. Known for its whitewashed villages and blue domes this is the most famous of the Greek Islands. But there are beautiful red sand and black sand beaches, picturesque villages and ancient archaeological attractions. This European destination has it all.
- Read More about Santorini:
4. Amalfi Coast, Italy
Speaking of beautiful places in Europe, The Amalfi Coast of Italy is one of the most beautiful destinations on earth. This is a place for a honeymoon in Europe as it is pure romance. With cliffside villages lining the Mediterranean Sea with the scenic town of Positano in its center, it is a must-visit in Europe. This is the time to splurge on luxury.
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5. Paris, France
You can never go wrong with Paris there is a reason it is the most popular of destinations in Europe. We’ve gone back again and again and never tire of exploring this beautiful European city. Walking along the Seine, with views of the Eiffel Tower never gets old, exploring its many museums (it took us four visits before finally seeing the Mona Lisa in the Louvre) or admiring its gorgeous architecture is all you need to do to enjoy Paris.
Once you add in its top attractions, it’s the perfect European getaway. If it’s your first time going to Europe, put Paris at the top of your list. There is a reason it always tops people’s lists of the most beautiful cities in Europe.
- Read more about Paris
6. Giants Causeway, Northern Ireland
The Causeway Coast in Northern Ireland is an amazing vacation destination. And the star attraction is the remarkable Giant’s Causeway. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, this is Northern Ireland’s top tourist attraction. Located in a beautiful setting in Country Antrim it is the most unique place we’ve ever visited.
60 million years ago, Basalt Pillars were formed by flowing lava being cooled by water crashing against the coast creating symmetrical hexagonal pillars stacked upon one another.
- Plan your Causeway Coast and Northern Ireland Travels:
We could write an entire post on the best places to visit in Italy. (hey that’s a great idea!) From Venice to Pisa and Positano to Lake Como, Italy is one of the best destinations in Europe. And there is no better place to start and Rome. History buffs can’t get enough of this fabled European city.
With the well-preserved ancient Roman ruins of the Colosseum, the historic Spanish Steps, the Sistine Chapel and the Trevi Found to the incredible food scene Rome has it all and you could spend your entire European vacation in the city. But don’t do that, there is so much to see in Italy! There is a little slice of history around every corner of the city.
- Where to stay in Rome – A Guide To The Best Neighbourhoods
- 23 of the Best Things to do in Rome
- 3 Days in Rome – The Ultimate Rome Itinerary
8. Cliffs of Moher, Ireland
Ireland is filled with so many places to visit. We’ve travelled to Ireland five times and still haven’t seen it all. It is definitely one of our favourite destinations in Europe. So how do you choose where to go first? Well, starting in Dublin is a great start and then from there, it is day trip city.
The most visited place in Ireland is the Cliffs of Moher for it’s great views of the Atlantic coast. But there are so many things to do in Ireland. One of the best places that we visited was the Wild Atlantic Way. You can see all the Ireland highlights along this trip.
- Read More about Ireland Travel
9. The Swiss Alps
For beauty and outdoor scenery, Switzerland is up there as one of the best places to visit in Europe. The Swiss Alps are one of the most scenic places on earth. When planning a trip to Europe, put the Alps on your list. From Bern to Interlaken, Grindelwald to Montreux Switzerland has it all.
Get lost in its beautiful European cities that are filled to the hilt with money and then hop on Swiss rail to explore the Swiss Alps. You’ll never get enough of this fairy tale destination. One of the best things to do for music lovers in Switzerland is to visit Montreux, this legendary city has quite the musical history.
- Plan Switzerland travels:
Iceland has opened to tourism and it is an amazing place for a road trip. It is the waterfalls of Iceland that are truly the first draw to Iceland and Seljalandsfoss waterfall is our favorite but you really need to drive along the Ring Road from Reykjavik to see them all and make your own decision.
While Seljalandsfoss is one of the most popular destinations in Iceland, make sure to go to Vik to see the black sand beach and amazing rock formations. See our Iceland waterfalls for more ideas. For a European vacation idea, this is one of the greatest road trips in the world. You’ll drive through stunning volcanic landscapes, glaciers, waterfalls, and amazing coastal scenes.
- Read More about traveling in Iceland
11. Fjords of Norway
Norway is a dream destination from our favorite city of Bergen we took the train to the Sognefjord, Norway to sail through The Nærøyfjord. These aren’t even the most beautiful fjords of Norway, wait until we get ourselves to Lofoten, Norway. The Capital City of Oslo has the most incredible Viking Ship museum and outdoor lovers will drool over the hiking, cross country skiing and spying the Northern Lights.
- See more places to visit in Norway
12. Istanbul, Turkey
Straddle two continents in the city of Istanbul. Its not only an amazing destination in Europe, it has its food in Asia too! Istanbul is a blend of Old and New make it the most unique of all European cities.
With some of the best nightlife in Europe among the most ancient of archeological structures and long held traditions. Get lost in the Grand Bazaar, marvel at the Blue Mosque and sip Turkish coffee on the Galata Bridge. Head to the city centre of New Istanbul to stroll along the walking street to grab some Turkish delight!
13. Scottish Highlands
If you are looking for a wild and untamed landscape, the Scottish Highlands are the most rugged of places to visit in Europe. It is absolutely beautiful there. The trip starts in Inverness and takes you around the north end of Scotland through the Highlands on the North Coast 500. Watch our video.
It was a thrill to see Loch Ness with my own eyes to try to spot Nessie herself and then to drive through a route filled with castles, sea stacks, and magnificent scenery that takes you on a journey through history. This is a trip you’ll never forget.
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14. Amsterdam, Netherlands
Amsterdam is always at the top of anyone’s list of European places to visit. The home of Van Gogh, the city of canals was made for tourists. Its wonderful city center was made for biking and is pedestrian-friendly, with colorful buildings lining the waterfront filled with cafés, this is a must-add to your Europe travels.
Amsterdam would be higher on our list, but it’s been a while since we’ve been there. Perhaps it will be our first trip back to Europe when we can hop on a plane again?
- Plan your Amsterdam travels
15. Catalunya, Spain
Catalunya is home to Barcelona. Barcelona is definitely one of the top places to visit in Spain and top destinations in Europe! We have visited several times and always find something new.
The works of Gaudi decorate the cityscape from La Safra Familia to Casa Mila creating a beautiful city break. But there are many more things to see in Catalunya from the Spanish Pyrenees to the dramatic coast of Costa Brava and the Medieval City of Girona, it’s a great place to add to your European travels.
- Read more about Catalunya Spain
16. Florence, Italy
Florence is the city of Italy that people dream of visiting. The city of David and the Duomo and the capital of Tuscany. How can you not love Florence? Considered the birthplace of the Italian Renaissance, artists such as Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, and Botticelli decorated its squares. It is truly a city of art.
Stroll across the Arno River on the beautiful Ponte Vecchio bridge and get lost in the museums as you witness the greatest masterpieces from history. Art lovers and romantics will love this Italian city.
- Read more about Florence:
17. San Marino
Have you heard of San Marino? Neither had we until we travelled to it. If you want to add another country to your list quickly, San Marino is the place to go. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, San Marino is one of the smallest countries in the world with a population of only 30,000 people within its small radius of 61 square km. But this nation is also one of the wealthiest nations on earth. Read more about it here.
- We made a base in Italy’s Emilia Romagna (Another amazing place to visit in Europe) to explore San Marino. From Bologna, it is only 90 minutes and from Rimini, it is less than half an hour. So add it to your Italian travels!
18. Copenhagen, Denmark
Copenhagen is the capital city of Denmark and our favorite city in Scandinavia. Famous for the Little Mermaid, Copenhagen is also a very beautiful city.
Starting at the picture-perfect Nyhavn canal filled with 17th-century townhouses and historic sailboats, take a tour of the city that was modeled after Amsterdam. With the Kronenberg Castle and Amstel Brewery, there is a lot to see and do too making it our pick for one of the best European cities to spend several days in.
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Have you thought of going to the land of Dracula for your next visit to Europe? And you thought Bavaria was the only place with a fairy tale castle! Romania has its own with the beautiful Peles Castle. (featured above) Romania surprised and delighted us!
Rental cars are cheap, so we booked a car and drove from Bucharest, the once touted Paris of the East, and now called the New Berlin, Bucharest is cool and makes for an awesome city break with its old town walking streets and vibrant nightlife! Relax in its sidewalk cafes, stroll its walking streets, and a picturesque old town, it’s a great place to start. And then move on to see fairytale castles that rival Bavaria with Pele? Castle en route to Bran Castle, the home of Count Dracula himself.
- See our video journey through Romania.
We have Budapest at the top of our most beautiful cities in Europe list right here, and Budapest is also worth of one of the best places to visit in Europe as well! The twin cities, Buda and Pest together make up the largest city in Hungary.
They span the Danube River with one of the most scenic cityscapes you’ll ever see. But Budapest is cool. There’s a great nightlife scene in Ruin Bars, a fascinating history spanning from the Ottomans to Communism, beautiful architecture, and thermal baths to relax after all that sightseeing.
The best time to visit is in the summer, but the crowds are busy. We’ve also been to Budapest during the holidays to take in some treats at its fabulous Christmas Market.
- Read more to learn of all its tourist attractions:
Wales is often overlooked with people choosing Scotland, Ireland or England, but this adventure capital of Europe is one of our favourite places to visit. It’s the best destination in Europe that you’ve never thought of! Wales is filled with outdoor activities.
You must see the beautiful Snowdonia National Park with your own eyes and then travel to the Coastal Cliffs of Pembroke. Make sure to visit the underground adult playground of Llechwedd Slate caverns Wales is amazing where you can bounce below. The fairy tale town of Portmerion after the Italian Riviera village of Portofino and Cinque Terra and there are more than 100 castles in Wales to explore. What more could you ask for?
- Read more about it here:
22. London, England
No trip to Europe would be complete without a mention of the great city of London, it is the ultimate city break in Europe. History buffs will love London. We think we know its history so well and its famous sites take you on a tour through time. But you will always learn something new.
To see Buckingham Palace, Big Ben and the Parliament Buildings with your own eyes is a bucket list item indeed! But London is awesome for nightlife and theatre, and yes, even dining. (food has come a long way baby) a trip to London is the perfect place to start your European travels. From there, it’s easy to go anywhere in Europe being one of the world’s transportation hubs.
- Start planning your London travels
23. Rijeka, Croatia
Croatia is amazing. It was a breath of fresh air traveling overland from Italy to Croatia as the crowds dissipated and vendors welcomed us with open arms. Rijeka was named the European Capital of Culture with its medieval architecture, beaches, and stone waterfront, it is an amazing city to start your Croatia travels.
Especially if you are coming from Venice Italy. We took the bus between the two cities. A great jumping-off point to visit the picturesque islands of Krk, Cres, and Rab, it may be less famous than Dubrovnik but it’s a must-stop!
- Read more about Croatia
24. Athens, Greece
Like Italy, I could write an entire post about all the places to visit in Greece. Oh, wait, I did right here. There are many things that you can add to your list of places to visit in Europe, but all Greece travels should start in Athens. History buffs go wild in Greece and especially Athens. How can you pass up seeing the Acropolis or the Herodeion Theatre?
How can you not stop in to eat Greek cuisine and feel the energy of this amazing European City? From Athens you can explore anywhere. Fly to the Island of Crete, drive to Costa Navarino or make your way to Pelion to catch a ferry to Skiathos. Oh Greece, how we miss you. You make a great ending to this post as we daydream about traveling there once again soo.
- Check out all the things to do in Athens here:
And these are the most beautiful places in Europe. What do you think is the best European destination? Its a huge continent and there’s a lot to do, so I know there is more to add.
Read Next more about European destinations and awesome travels:
- Beautiful Cities in Europe: 31 Most Beautiful Cities in Europe
- Beautiful Skylines in Europe and Around the World: Best City Skylines in the World – Our Favourite Photos
- Bucket List Travel Ideas: Bucket List Travels – 52 Places to Visit in Your Lifetime
- Beautiful Isolated Places on Earth – In Photos
2 thoughts on “Best Places to Visit in Europe”
I’m surprised to see some of the destinations on this list. I never would have thought to travel to some of these places, but now I’m definitely considering it 🙂 A great read overall!! Thanks for these recommendations! 🙂
I’m eagerly waiting to read your ‘best places to visit in Italy’ post.
Thanks for the great listicle.
My bucket list has become bigger 🙂