The Best European Travel Destinations: Unveiling the Hidden Gems of Europe's Enchanting Cities and Breathtaking Landscapes
Are you ready to embark on a journey through the best European travel destinations? From the majestic Dolomites in Italy to the historic streets of Prague, and the breathtaking fjords of Norway, this article is your ultimate guide to experiencing the most incredible destinations Europe has to offer. Whether you're a history buff, nature lover, or simply seeking adventure, we have curated a list of enchanting places that will leave you mesmerized. Get ready to immerse yourself in the charm of Europe's hidden gems and iconic landmarks. So, pack your bags and join us as we explore the wonders of this captivating continent.
Europe Itinerary - Where to Travel
- One Week in Europe: For a week in Europe, visit London and Paris. You can travel between the two cities via the Eurostar train. You can fly into one city and fly out of the other.
- 10 Days in Europe: If you have 10 days, you can visit London, Paris, and Amsterdam. You can travel between these cities by train. You can fly into one city and fly out of a different city.
- Two Weeks in Europe: With two weeks, you have two options. First, you can visit London, Paris, Amsterdam, Rome, and Florence. You can travel by train between London, Paris, and Rome, and between Rome and Florence. For the other option, you can visit London, Paris, Athens, and the Greek islands. You can travel by train between London, Paris, and Rome, and take a ferry between Athens and the Greek islands. You may need to fly for some routes.
- Three Weeks in Europe: For three weeks, you can visit London, Paris, Amsterdam, Barcelona, Rome, Florence, Athens, and the Greek islands. You can travel by train between London, Paris, and Rome, and between Rome and Florence. You can take a ferry between Athens and the Greek islands. You may need to fly for some routes.
Best European Destinations by Month
Santorini is the top vacation destination in Europe. This stunning Greek island offers amazing hotels and breathtaking cliffside villages. Visitors can enjoy boat tours, wine tours, and even a jet ski tour to the volcano.
- Best places in Europe to visit in January: London, Paris, Florence (for short museum lines), Sicily, Crete, Southern Spain (for good weather)
- Best places in Europe to visit in February: London, Paris, Florence (for short museum lines), Sicily, Crete, Southern Spain (for good weather)
- Best places in Europe to visit in March: Florence, Santorini, Paris, London, Barcelona
- Best places in Europe to visit in April: Florence, Rome, Santorini, Paris, London, Barcelona, Lisbon, Porto
- Best places in Europe to visit in May: The Greek Islands, Florence, Rome, Paris, London, Barcelona, Lisbon, Porto
- Best places in Europe to visit in June: The Greek Islands, Paris, London, Barcelona, Lisbon, Porto, South France, Reykjavik
- Best places in Europe to visit in July: The Greek Islands, Ibiza, Menorca, Mallorca, Reykjavik (but all are busy)
- Best places in Europe to visit in August: The Greek Islands, Ibiza, Menorca, Mallorca, Reykjavik (but all are busy)
- Best places in Europe to visit in September: Santorini, Mykonos, Barcelona, Lisbon, Porto, South France, London
- Best places in Europe to visit in October: Santorini, Crete, Florence, Barcelona, Sicily, Lisbon, Porto
- Best places in Europe to visit in November: Santorini, Crete, Florence, Barcelona, Sicily, Lisbon, Porto, Paris
- Best places in Europe to visit in December: Barcelona, Rome, Paris
Go for: next-level cycling, need-for-speed motorsports, and a slower take on travel with the advent of a new train line.
No longer playing second fiddle to France, cycling holidays in Italy are becoming increasingly popular. Next year, the Tour de France will have its first three stages in Italy, starting in Florence, heading east towards Rimini, and completing stage three in Turin. Italy's northern regions, known for their gastronomic heritage, also offer fantastic opportunities for cycling. Tour operators have developed new routes to cater to the growing interest in the region. One such route is the picturesque journey between Parma and Modena, which allows ample time for sampling local delicacies. Motorsports enthusiasts can enjoy the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix and the annual Motor Valley Fest. For those seeking a slower pace, new railway routes and overnight options are available. Don't forget to make a pit stop in Pesaro, crowned Italian Capital of Culture for 2024.
The Dolomites of Italy
With their jagged mountain peaks, charming towns, and picturesque lakes, the Dolomites of Italy are truly one of Europe's most beautiful destinations.
During the summer months, the Dolomites are a hiker's paradise. Chair lifts make it easy to reach some of the highest peaks, offering breathtaking views with minimal effort. In winter, the mountains transform into a snow-covered wonderland, perfect for skiing. Top experiences include hiking the renowned Tre Cime di Lavaredo and exploring the Puez-Odle Altopiano. If hiking isn't your preference, there are plenty of other activities and attractions to enjoy. To make the most of your visit to the Dolomites, plan to spend at least two to three days exploring the region.
Cittadella is not only the most beautiful walled city in Europe, but also the most well-preserved. Located in the heart of the Veneto Region in Northern Italy, Cittadella offers a strategic location close to major cities such as Venice, Verona, Milan, and Florence. From Cittadella, you can easily visit the Venetian Lagoon or the Dolomite mountains for a day trip. Founded in 1220, the city's medieval origins are evident in its historic walls, which feature a unique elliptical shape and walkway.
Milos Island has been voted one of the best places for a dream holiday in Greece. It is renowned for its natural pools and stunning beaches. The island is home to the famous Venus of Milo sculpture, discovered by a local peasant. Milos is considered one of the most beautiful islands in Greece, offering a range of experiences for travelers. From relaxing on the beautiful beaches of Sarakiniko and Firiplaka to exploring the Ancient Theatre of Milos and the Milos Archaeological Museum, there is something for everyone on this picturesque island.
The island of Santorini is a must-visit destination known for its unique volcanic landscape and picturesque towns. The town of Oia, with its whitewashed buildings and blue dome churches, is particularly famous for its stunning sunsets. Santorini offers a range of experiences, including sunset cruises, exploring the towns of Oia, Imerovigli, and Fira, visiting the colored sand beaches, and enjoying aerial views of the island from Profit Ilias. For an unforgettable experience, make sure to witness the breathtaking sunset in Oia. Plan to spend at least three days on Santorini to fully explore and appreciate all it has to offer.
The Cyclades in Greece
Go for salty-air island-hopping made easier than ever in the Cyclades, a cluster of Greek islands in the Aegean Sea. These islands, including Mykonos, Santorini, Paros, Milos, and Ios, have become incredibly popular destinations, known for their blue and white backdrops, beautiful beaches, and vibrant nightlife. With new flights and inter-island airlines, it's now easier than ever to explore the Cyclades. Luxury hotels are also on the rise, offering travelers more options for a luxurious stay. Whether you're looking for beach clubs, shopping, or simply enjoying the natural beauty of the islands, the Cyclades have something for everyone.
The island of Rhodes is a perfect destination for history enthusiasts and beach lovers alike. This beautiful island boasts a well-preserved medieval city, the Palace of the Grand Master, the Ancient Acropolis of Lindos, and the historic Rhodes Old Town. In addition to its rich history, Rhodes offers stunning beaches such as Agios Pavlos and Tsambika. The island is sunny from May until late September, making it an ideal destination for soaking up the sun and exploring natural wonders like "Kallithea," the Butterfly Valley, and Lindos Village & Seven Springs.
EBDThe capital of Greece is a must-see destination for many reasons. It is not only famous for being the birthplace of democracy and philosophy but also because it offers stunning landscapes, beautiful beaches, and a rejuvenating atmosphere that helps you escape from daily stresses.
Athens is a cosmopolitan city with a vibrant art scene, bustling nightlife, and amazing gastronomic delights. It is a true artistic gem of the ancient world, surrounded by breathtaking Mediterranean landscapes. Athens is also known as one of the Best Street Art Destinations in Europe.
While you're in Athens, make sure to visit the Most Beautiful Beaches in Greece, explore the Best Hidden Gems in Greece, discover the Most Beautiful Islands in Greece, and marvel at the Best Natural Wonders in Greece.
EBDVienna is a romantic city that offers delightful experiences such as horse-drawn carriage rides, visits to royal palaces, and magical waltzes to the tunes of Strauss's Blue Danube, which transport you back in time to the era of Empress Sissi.
Vienna is also a city that caters to everyone, whether you're looking for a spark of originality during a friend's getaway or a memorable family vacation. It is known for being one of the safest cities in Europe and offers a high quality of life with a low crime rate.
“We love Vienna in spring and summer, especially the city's enchanting parks, which are considered among the most beautiful city parks in Europe. Don't miss a visit to the famous Ferris wheel in the "Prater" park, one of the most stunning ferris wheels on the continent.”
Vienna is also a top destination for romantic gestures and is renowned as one of the best places for a marriage proposal.
If you want to meet new people, head to the Palmenhaus. In addition to being the largest greenhouse in Europe, it also houses a trendy bar for refreshing cocktails and a stylish restaurant serving Austrian specialties.
This charming town is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful places to visit in Europe.
Hallstatt | Beautiful Places to Visit in Europe
In recent years, Hallstatt has gained popularity as a tourist destination in Austria. It can get crowded during the summer and early fall, but with proper planning, you can still experience the magic of this place.
Top Experiences: Take a stroll through the old town, admire the panoramic view from the World Heritage Skywalk, explore the salt mines, and visit the Hallstatt Ossuary.
How Long Should You Spend in Hallstatt? A few hours are enough to explore the town itself. However, for the best experience, consider staying overnight to enjoy the serene streets once the day trippers have left.
The Swiss Alps, Switzerland
The Swiss Alps is a dream destination that offers towering mountains, picturesque meadows, breathtaking cable car rides, historic cogwheel trains, scenic hiking trails, charming villages, and hamlets. It is truly one of the most beautiful places to visit in Europe.
View of the Matterhorn in Zermatt | Beautiful Places to Visit in Europe
Top Experiences: Explore the enchanting Lauterbrunnen Valley, take the cable cars to the breathtaking Jungfraujoch and Schilthorn, visit Zermatt and enjoy a train ride to the magnificent Gornergrat for exceptional views of the Matterhorn, and explore the charming alpine towns of Mürren, Wengen, and Gimmelwald. In the summer, you can hike the trails, and in the winter, you can hit the ski slopes.
How Long Should You Spend in the Swiss Alps? Spend as much time as you can. 😊 Even on a quick visit to Switzerland, you can day trip to the Alps from Lucerne, Zurich, or Lausanne. However, the more time you have, the better. We spent ten days in the Swiss Alps on our most recent visit, and we wish we had more time.
Bavaria, located in southern Germany, is a region known for fairytale castles, the world-famous Oktoberfest, and its stunning alpine landscapes. It is a truly beautiful and romantic destination.
Neuschwanstein | Beautiful Places to Visit in Europe
Top Experiences: Visit the iconic castle of Neuschwanstein, explore the fascinating salt mines in Berchtesgaden, visit the Eagle’s Nest, enjoy the stunning view from Zugspitze, go on a tour of the Bavarian towns and villages, experience the lively Oktoberfest, and explore the vibrant city of Munich.
How Long Should You Spend in Bavaria? Allocate seven to ten days to fully experience the highlights of Bavaria and have the opportunity for day trips to neighboring places in Austria.
EBDMannheim, situated at the heart of the Rhine-Neckar metropolitan region, is an exciting university city with a multicultural atmosphere and a busy events calendar.
Known as the city of squares, Mannheim offers a wealth of architectural treasures, including a baroque palace, a historic water tower, and an Art Nouveau square.
Mannheim was chosen to host the best event of 2023 and is recognized as the Best Street Art Destination in Europe.
As a city of culture and festivals, it attracts theater enthusiasts, techno music lovers, jazz aficionados, and film buffs. The art scene in Mannheim is vibrant and diverse, with attractions such as the Reiss-Engelhorn museum complex, Kunsthalle art gallery, and murals by graffiti artists in an open-air gallery showcasing international street art.
Mannheim is a green city situated on the banks of two rivers, offering a perfect blend of urbanity and recreational activities in untouched natural surroundings.
A highlight for Mannheim in 2023 is the Federal Garden Show “BUGA” (April 14 to October 8, 2023), which represents a large-scale demonstration of the future of urban development, going beyond a mere exhibition of plants and flowers.
Essen, old historical center, Germany.
EBDEssen is the third-greenest city in Germany and holds the title of European Green Capital. It is a vibrant metropolis in the heart of the Ruhr region.
Essen offers a unique blend of urban trendy districts and historic old towns, where you can experience both high culture and street art. It is also known for its lush green meadows, forests, and the captivating charm of its former coal mines.
In Essen, you can explore the UNESCO World Heritage Zollverein complex, which coexists with the magnificent Villa Hügel, the former residence of the Krupp family. The city even offers a one-of-a-kind high-tech tour that takes you to the oldest sculpture of the Virgin Mary in the world, known as the Golden Madonna in Essen Cathedral.
You can choose to immerse yourself in the green southern part of the city, along Baldeneysee and the Ruhr Valley, or explore the urban north, which showcases industrial culture and old mining settlements.
If you're looking for relaxation, the centrally-located Grugapark, covering an area of 170 acres, offers tranquility, or you can head to the Baldeneysee leisure paradise for various water sports activities.
Biarritz in France
Go for: A blissful surf scene in a lesser-known part of the Basque Country
Interiors at Villa Magnan, a charming indie hotel in the region
Melvin IsraelThe roof terrace at Regina Biarritz, the new opening from the Parisian-born Experimental Group
Mr TripperLocated just across the border from San Sebastián, the French resort town of Biarritz is ready to shine as a sophisticated and refined destination. It offers beautifully restored belle époque hotels, including the brand new Regina Biarritz by Experimental, Hôtel du Palais, and the enchanting indie option of Villa Magnan (don't miss a dining experience at De Puta Madre, where you can mingle with local interior designers and filmmakers). Biarritz had seen better days during the late 20th century, with faded grandeur contrasting with its heyday in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, when Emperor Napoleon III had his summer residence here and his wife, Eugénie, promoted Biarritz as a health resort. Thankfully, Spanish and French connoisseurs have rediscovered this belle époque delight, embracing its vibrant surf scene (Biarritz is one of Europe's oldest surf destinations, attracting American filmmakers in the 1950s) and contributing to a youthful Basque culinary scene. From the bustling Les Halles covered market to the neo-bistro Epoq and Michelin-starred establishments like L'Impertinent, this town has it all. – Anna Hart
Grenoble Alps, France
Grenoble Alps, France.
EBDGrenoble is located in a spectacular setting, surrounded by famous mountain ranges such as Vercors, Chartreuse, and Belledonne. This innovative and inspiring city, known as the Capital of the Alps, is constantly reinventing itself.
Selected as this year's best green destination and awarded the E.U. title of European Green Capital, Grenoble is the perfect place for an urban getaway combined with nature-based activities.
The city is easily accessible without a car and offers a delightful blend of culture, performing arts, open spaces, and outdoor adventures during both winter and summer seasons. You can enjoy ski touring at ‘Col de Porte’, try urban via ferrata on the foothills of Bastille, experience canoeing on the Isère river, go paragliding in Saint Hilaire du Touvet, and even go night skiing while enjoying breathtaking views of Grenoble.
Grenoble is the flattest city in France with a network of 450 kilometers of cycle paths, making it a haven for cyclists. There are also 21 sign-posted bike loops for mountain biking enthusiasts.
The destination is also developing 'low-carbon' holiday packages that focus on promoting soft mobility, particularly cycling.
Paris is undoubtedly one of the most enchanting cities in Europe. With its grand boulevards, stunning architecture, beautiful parks and gardens, charming street cafes, and iconic monuments, it is a city that truly captivates your heart.
Paris | Beautiful Places to Visit in Europe
Top Experiences: Enjoy breathtaking views from the Eiffel Tower and Arc de Triomphe, immerse yourself in art at the Louvre and Musée d’Orsay, visit the iconic Notre Dame Cathedral, take a leisurely stroll along the Champs-Élysées and the banks of the Seine River, explore the bohemian neighborhood of Montmartre, sip coffee at a street café, and indulge in the exquisite French cuisine.
How Long Should You Spend in Paris? For the best experience, plan on spending 3 days in Paris. This will give you enough time to visit the must-see attractions and truly get to know this magnificent city.
The Alsace Region of France
The Alsace wine route, located in eastern France, offers a delightful combination of fairytale towns and picturesque vineyards.
The Alsace wine route is where French and German cultures meet, and this unique blend is reflected in the architecture and cuisine of the region.
Colorful half-timbered houses line the charming cobblestoned streets. Adorned with flowers and whimsical decorations, these buildings make you feel like you've stepped into a storybook world.
Colmar | Beautiful Places to Visit in Europe
Top Experiences: Explore the charming Alsatian towns (such as Colmar, Ribeauville, Riquewihr, and Eguisheim), visit the impressive Chateau du Haut-Koenigsburg, savor the delicious Alsatian cuisine, and indulge in wine tasting at the region's wineries.
How Long Should You Spend in the Alsace? A 3-day itinerary on the Alsace wine route allows you to visit several charming towns and experience the beauty of the countryside.
Mont Saint-Michel, France
Mont Saint-Michel is a stunning island situated in northern France. This island is enclosed by medieval walls and features a charming ancient village and abbey. While it typically sits on sandy ground, during high tide, Mont Saint-Michel appears to be a floating island.
Top Experiences: Make sure to visit the abbey, take a stroll through the narrow streets, do some shopping, and capture a photograph of Mont Saint-Michel during high tide.
How Long Should You Spend in Mont Saint-Michel? While it is possible to visit Mont Saint-Michel on a day trip from Paris, for the best experience, it is recommended to plan an overnight stay in one of the nearby towns. Learn more here.
Venice is a romantic, historic, and breathtaking destination. The canals, gondolas, architectural wonders, and vibrant towns of Murano and Burano make it one of Europe's most magnificent cities to visit.
Top Experiences: Enjoy wandering through the enchanting streets of Venice, explore St. Mark's Basilica, climb the Campanile di San Marco for a panoramic view of Venice, cross the Rialto Bridge, visit Doge's Palace, take a day trip to Murano and Burano, and experience a gondola ride.
How Long Should You Spend in Venice? Two to three days is the perfect amount of time to explore the highlights of Venice and venture off the beaten path.
The Cinque Terre, Italy
The Cinque Terre is a collection of five vibrant and colorful towns that cascade down the cliffs to meet the Mediterranean Sea. Not only is it an exquisite spot to explore in Italy, but it also ranks among the top destinations in Europe.
Vernazza | Beautiful Places to Visit in Europe
Top Experiences: Spend your time exploring the five towns: Riomaggiore, Vernazza, Monterosso al Mare, Manarola, and Corniglia. If you enjoy hiking, you can even hike between all five towns in one day. The more you hike, the more gelato you get to enjoy. End your journey in Monterosso and cool off with a quick swim in the Mediterranean.
How Long Should You Spend in the Cinque Terre? To truly immerse yourself in the experience, plan to spend at least one night (ideally two or three nights) in one of the five towns. With a full day, you can hike or take the train to visit all five towns. If you have more time, relax on one of the beaches or take a day trip to Portofino.
EBDToledo is a captivating city that blends various eras, styles, and identities. It is considered one of the top medieval destinations in Europe and also one of the best Erasmus destinations in Europe due to its prestigious university.
Toledo is a city that seamlessly blends its rich history with a youthful and sparkling atmosphere.
The name "Toledo" originates from the Latin word "Toletum," which means "fortified population." First built by the Romans in the 2nd century BC, Toledo is centrally located in Spain and is only a 30-minute train ride away from Madrid.
Asturias in Spain
Go for: Eco-focused tourism that offers luxurious experiences.
Interiors at Solo Palacio
JFKAsturias is a lesser-traveled slice of Spain
JFKWhile the pandemic has given rise to a new type of traveler - nature enthusiasts who prioritize environmental consciousness - Asturias has effortlessly attracted them. The phrase "Asturias, natural paradise," coined almost four decades ago, encapsulates everything that we seek in a getaway. It is no wonder that this autonomous community stands out as the most dynamic destination in northern Spain, with over 2.4 million visitors last year, including a growing number of international travelers. The pleasant climate is also a plus, with heatwaves barely noticeable. This year presents a perfect opportunity to explore Asturias' natural spaces, many of which are designated as UNESCO Biosphere Reserves. Rejuvenated routes, such as the Camino Primitivo, a quieter branch of the popular Camino de Santiago, allow you to explore lesser-known regions of the country. Asturias is also home to Spain's first rural hotel, La Rectoral de Taramundi. Other notable accommodations include PuebloAstur Eco-Resort in the Picos de Europa mountain range and Las Caldas Villa Termal. Alternatively, you can choose to stay at the newly opened Palacio de Figueras from the Vestige Collection or CoolRooms' Palacio de Luces. Asturias boasts an outstanding food scene as well, rivaling the renowned "landscape cuisine" of the Basque Country. With 11 Michelin stars scattered throughout the region, the emergence of a new culinary movement in the Caudal and Nalón valleys, and rising star chefs such as Natalia Menéndez (Casa Chuchu), Diego García (El Pintu), Paula Lamas and Jairo Rodríguez (Roble), and Xune Andrade (Mont), Asturias is a true gastronomic delight. The regional capital, Oviedo, aims to become the country's Gastronomic Capital in 2024, hosting over 200 chefs at the Euro-Toques conference in April. - Clara Laguna
Mallorca in Spain
Go for: An abundance of exciting new hotels scattered across the island.
Cocktails at Ikos Porto Petro
Heinz TrollThe pool and gardens at Ikos Porto Petro
Heinz TrollThe Mediterranean's esteemed grande dame, Mallorca, remains unmatched with its perfect blend of understated luxury, exceptional service, and commitment to sustainability. In recent months, the Balearic island has added even more gems to its collection. One such gem is Son Bunyola, Richard Branson's latest hotel nestled in the Tramuntana Mountains. Not far away, in Puigpunyent, the team behind Andalucia's renowned Finca Cortesin, has opened Grand Hotel Son Net within a 17th-century manor house. Additionally, there is a slew of exciting new options to choose from, including Ikos Porto Petro, the boutique farmstead The Lodge, and Zel Mallorca - the first Zel hotel, a collaboration between Rafael Nadal and Meliá. If that weren't enough, there's also the Four Seasons, taking over the beloved Hotel Formentor, along with Mandarin Oriental Punta Negra, beachfront Aethos, and Marugal. The third edition of the art installation Mitico, in collaboration with Galleria Continua, and art residencies at Belmond La Residencia add to the island's allure. Moreover, the third instalment of the Mitico art installation, created in collaboration with Galleria Continua, will be held. - María Casbas
Tossa de Mar, Spain
Tossa de Mar, Spain
EBDBlue skies, turquoise sea, pristine sandy beaches, lush pine forests, and medieval walls - this is what characterizes Tossa de Mar, one of the hidden jewels of the Costa Brava and one of the most beautiful secret destinations in Spain.
Situated just 1.5 hours away from Barcelona, Tossa de Mar offers several stunning sandy beaches and a magnificent medieval castle, all of which are complemented by the pleasant scent of pine trees that fills the air in this picturesque fishing village.
The Wild Atlantic Way, Ireland
The Wild Atlantic Way is a 1600-mile road that meanders along the scenic western coast of Ireland. Embarking on a journey along the Wild Atlantic Way is a grand adventure. Should you decide to stop at every viewpoint and explore every nook and cranny along the way, it would easily take over a month. However, even with limited time, you can focus on a small portion of the drive or visit the main highlights.
Top Experiences: The Ring of Kerry, Dingle Peninsula, and Cliffs of Moher are just a few of the remarkable sights along the Wild Atlantic Way. However, don't miss out on the numerous lesser-known yet equally dramatic viewpoints. In fact, there are a total of 157 Discovery Points to explore along the route.
How Long Should You Spend on the Wild Atlantic Way? While it only takes a minimum of three days to drive the Wild Atlantic Way, this timeframe barely allows you to absorb the breathtaking views. For the best experience, plan on spending at least five days road tripping along the coastline to truly savor the journey.
EBDSóller, located on the island of Mallorca, is a hidden treasure that offers an incredibly appealing experience. It has been recognized as one of Europe's best honeymoon destinations, hidden gems in Spain, top cycling destinations, and a remarkable place to visit by train.
Sóller holds the title of the most beautiful village on the island. Nestled amidst mountains, it exudes tranquility, and offers wonderful opportunities for walks, hikes, and delightful dining experiences, making it an ideal destination for a family holiday.
Despite its isolated location, Sóller boasts excellent connectivity with Palma de Mallorca through a variety of tram and bus lines.
Costa Brava, Spain
Costa Brava, located in northeast Spain, is a rocky coastline famous for its charming small towns and rugged coastal scenery. Stretching from the French border to the town of Blanes, Costa Brava attracts many European holidaymakers with its pleasant weather and beautiful beaches.
Top Experiences: Enjoy a wine tour, explore the town of Girona, relax on the beach at Lloret de Mar, indulge in delicious Mediterranean cuisine, visit the Dalí Theatre-Museum, and discover Cap de Creus Natural Park and Cadaqués.
How Long Should You Spend in Costa Brava? While it's possible to visit Costa Brava as a day trip from Barcelona, allocating several more days will give you ample time to savor the local cuisine and explore the charming small towns. Learn more here.
Madeira is a small archipelago in the Atlantic Ocean, located west of Morocco and belonging to Portugal. This destination attracts over one million tourists annually with its stunning landscapes, hiking trails, beautiful beaches, delectable food, and renowned Madeira wine.
Top Experiences: Explore the town of Funchal, take a dip in the volcanic lava pools, visit the black sand beaches, and go hiking.
How Long Should You Spend in Madeira? To fully appreciate the sights, hike the trails, and soak in the spectacular views, plan on spending at least 7 days in Madeira. Learn more here.
Algarve is a stunning coastline in southern Portugal, known for its beauty and charm. In addition to its pristine beaches, visitors can explore the picturesque coastal towns, indulge in hiking, enjoy golfing, and discover the mesmerizing limestone grottoes.
Marinha Beach | Beautiful Places to Visit in Europe
Top Experiences: Relax on the beach at Praia do Camilo, visit the towns of Faro, Lagos, and Tavira, explore Ponta da Piedade, hike the Seven Hanging Valleys Trail, and marvel at the Benagil Cave.
How Long Should You Spend in Algarve, Portugal? Plan on spending at least three days in Algarve, which will allow you to visit a few beaches and small towns. For the ultimate experience, consider spending one week in Algarve, as there is so much to do, see, and taste that you will never run out of new experiences.
Bay of Kotor, Montenegro
The Bay of Kotor in Montenegro has a striking resemblance to the fjords of Norway or New Zealand, with its green cliffs plunging into the blue waters of the bay. A scenic two-lane road winds along the edge of the Bay of Kotor, passing through charming small towns and villages.
Kotor | Beautiful Places to Visit in Europe
Top Experiences: Explore the town of Perast, take a boat ride to Our Lady of the Rocks, discover the historic city of Kotor, hike the challenging Ladder of Kotor, and climb the city walls of Kotor for breathtaking views.
How Long Should You Spend in the Bay of Kotor? Two days is sufficient to visit the highlights of the Bay of Kotor. If time allows, extend your stay to explore the nearby coastal towns and the interior of Montenegro.
Plitvice Lakes, Croatia
Plitvice Lakes is a must-visit destination in Croatia, renowned for its breathtaking beauty. With easily accessible walking trails, suspended boardwalks over turquoise waters, stunning viewpoints, and picturesque waterfalls, these lakes offer a delightful experience for visitors of all ages.
Plitvice Lakes | Beautiful Places to Visit in Europe
Top Experiences: Wander along the boardwalk trails, admire the viewpoints overlooking the park, and explore the upper and lower lakes.
How Long Should You Spend in Plitvice Lakes? It typically takes a full day to explore the wonders of Plitvice Lakes. To make the most of your experience, consider staying overnight near the lakes, allowing you to visit the park in the early morning or late evening when it is less crowded.
Istria, Croatia & Slovenia
The Istrian Peninsula, located in northwest Croatia and western Slovenia, is a pristine destination worth exploring. With less crowded tourist spots compared to southern Croatia, Istria offers stunning coastal scenery and charming towns. It is an ideal choice for those seeking beauty and tranquility.
Piran | Beautiful Places to Visit in Europe
How Long Should You Spend in Istria? With three days, you can explore the top attractions in Istria. However, allowing more time will enable you to slow down and fully enjoy this unique part of Europe.
Lake Bled, Slovenia
Lake Bled offers a perfect setting for a delightful getaway. With a castle perched high on a hillside, a charming island to visit, scenic hiking trails, secluded swimming spots, and the famous Bled Cream Cake, this Slovenian gem is a must-visit destination.
Top Experiences: Explore Bled Island, hike to Mala Osojnica for the best view of the lake, try stand-up paddleboarding, indulge in a slice of Bled Cream Cake, take a leisurely stroll around the lake, and visit the stunning Vintgar Gorge.
How Long Should You Spend in Lake Bled? A day is sufficient to explore the highlights of Lake Bled, and many visitors opt to do it as a day trip from Ljubljana. However, if you have more time, consider spending several days in Lake Bled or nearby Lake Bohinj to fully immerse yourself in the beauty of this region.
Yorkshire in the UK
Go for: Star chefs leading a foodie revolution
The Abbey Inn is the latest Yorkshire opening from local hero Tommy Banks, who in 2014 became the youngest chef to head up a kitchen receiving a Michelin star for The Black Swan – at just 24 years old.
For a captivating break in 2024, head north to Yorkshire. Yorkshire-born sculptor Henry Moore once said, "The observation of nature is part of an artist's life." And Yorkshire truly embodies this with its sweeping landscapes resembling living oil paintings, undulating dales and peaks, deep-forested moors with vast skies, fragrant lavender fields, majestic woodlands filled with birdsong, and golden sandy beaches along the mint-blue sea. The romanticism of the Brontë sisters lingers in the air. In 2024, experience the magic of stargazing at Yorkshire's national parks during the enchanting Dark Skies Festival. The Yorkshire Balloon Fiesta will also return to its new home at Castle Howard in 2024, offering vibrant hot air balloon flights and nighttime illuminations. Yorkshire garnered significant attention in the Michelin ratings in 2023, with eager anticipation for the 2024 list. Restaurants with accommodations are upping their game. The Abbey Inn, situated near The Black Swan in Oldstead, is the latest venture of acclaimed chef Tommy Banks. Opened in May, this establishment offers three luxurious bedrooms, lovingly curated by Tommy's mother, introduced in July. For the ultimate culinary retreat, consider a two-night stay, dining at both restaurants. Another newcomer, Mýse, led by chef-and-sommelier couple Joshua and Victoria Overington, is a cozy restaurant with rooms nestled among caramel-colored cottages in the peaceful village of Hovingham. Indulge in their creative tasting menu before retiring to one of the charming rooms. In June, Middleton Lodge, a sustainable luxury retreat on the fringes of the Yorkshire Dales National Park, unveiled the Forest Spa, a tranquil haven within a serene woodland estate. Don't overlook the honey-hued charm of Helmsley, with its emerging culinary scene and the recent opening of Pignut, a restaurant focused on sustainability offering impressive casual and tasting menu options. Expect even more magic in 2024. – Rachel Everett
Prague, Czech Republic
Scenic summer aerial view of the Old Town pier architecture and Charles Bridge over Vltava river in Prague, Czech Republic
gettyPrague is a highly popular destination in Europe, boasting markets, cafes, restaurants, monuments, charming boutiques, and stunning sunrises. Due to the high number of visitors, it's recommended to start your day early to witness Prague from a unique perspective.
The city is consistently ranked among the Best Christmas Markets in Europe, the top destinations to celebrate New Year's Eve, the best honeymoon destinations in Europe, the most romantic places in Europe to propose, and the best fairy tale destinations in Europe.
Budapest in Hungary
Go for: A fresh take after 150 years of the city
Nightingale by Beefbar at the W Budapest, which was formerly a palace in the city.
Renowned for its diverse architectural styles, Budapest, the capital of Hungary, showcases everything from art nouveau and neoclassical to gothic and baroque, with the exquisite Blue Danube gracefully connecting these architectural wonders. The city also offers rejuvenating thermal baths, adorned with intricate designs. Budapest is a hub of creativity, reflected in its vibrant nightlife, particularly the ruin bars district, where opportunities have been borne out of the ashes of adversity following the harsh Communist rule. November 2023 marks the 150th anniversary of the unification of Buda, Pest, and Obuda, formerly divided cities. In addition to various cultural events, the Chain Bridge, the oldest in the city and a symbol of unity, has fully reopened after a two-year restoration. It now provides excellent views of Buda Castle and the Hungarian Parliament Building. Impressive new constructions, such as the House of Music Hungary and the National Athletics Centre (the central stadium for the 2023 World Athletics Championships), demonstrate Budapest's optimism for the next 150 years. In summer 2024, Tui will launch a new route from Manchester to Budapest. The art deco W Budapest, formerly a palace and located on a UNESCO World Heritage-listed street, opened in July 2023. Opposite the Hungarian State Opera, the Dorothea Hotel, part of the Marriott portfolio, features 216 rooms and a glamorous rooftop restaurant. Echoing the musical celebrations of the 150th anniversary, the Hard Rock Hotel opened in 2022 and combines musical memorabilia with a prime location on Nagymező Street, Budapest's renowned entertainment strip. – Sarah Rodrigues
EBDVeszprém, named the European Capital of Culture in 2023, is also recognized as the Best Destination to visit in Hungary in 2023 and is an ideal city for family city breaks.
Nestled between the wooded slopes of the Bakony Hills and the northern shore of Lake Balaton, Veszprém boasts unique natural and environmental assets, alongside its attractive cityscape.
This captivating city, known as the "City of Queens," has been a cultural meeting point for a thousand years. Visit contemporary art galleries, immerse yourself in the vibrant music scene, and experience the variety of festivals that play a significant role in shaping the city's cultural life.
Explore the cozy cafés, atmospheric bistros, and top-tier restaurants that await you. For a special family experience, follow the signs to Veszprém Zoo.
The Lofoten Islands, Norway
Undeniably, the Lofoten Islands are one of the most awe-inspiring places to visit. With their rugged coastlines, picturesque harbors filled with charming red fishing cabins, winding mountain roads, thrilling hiking trails, and beaches that resemble those of the Caribbean, northern Norway is a true paradise for exploration.
Top Experiences: Take your pick from the incredible hiking trails (with Reinebringen being the most famous), explore the white sandy beaches, stay in a traditional rorbu (fisherman's cabin), immerse yourself in the fishing villages' culture, savor fresh fish and seafood, and during the winter months, witness the mesmerizing Northern Lights.
How Long Should You Spend in the Lofoten Islands? To fully appreciate the Lofoten Islands, a minimum of two full days is recommended. Four days would offer an even better experience, as each day added to your itinerary allows for more exploration and contingency time in case of inclement weather (which is common in this region).
The Fjords of Norway
Southern Norway is adorned with stunning fjords, magnificent waterfalls, towering mountains, and some of the most exhilarating hiking trails in Europe. This region is a breathtaking destination to explore and is considered one of the best road trip spots in Europe.
You can choose to discover the fjords by boat, train, car, or on foot. Additionally, there are opportunities to combine multiple modes of transportation for an unforgettable Norwegian adventure.
Top Experiences: Don't miss a visit to Geirangerfjord, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. You can choose to cruise the fjords by ferry or on a cruise ship. Embark on incredible hikes to iconic locations such as Pulpit Rock, Kjeragbolten, and Trolltunga. Another must-do is the Norway in a Nutshell tour, which combines a fjord cruise with a scenic drive and one of the most breathtaking train journeys in the world.
How Long Should You Spend in Norway? We highly recommend dedicating at least 7 days to explore this enchanting region of Norway. However, if you have more time, extending your stay will allow you to also visit fascinating cities like Oslo, Bergen, and Stavanger, in addition to cruising the fjords and enjoying hiking adventures.
Bodǿ in Norway
Highlights: Unforgettable stargazing, awe-inspiring nature, and a vibrant cultural events program you cannot miss.
Bodø, situated on the pristine shores of northern Norway, experiences endless days under the mesmerizing glow of the midnight summer sun. In winter, it captivates visitors with stunning displays of fluorescent lights, thanks to the aurora borealis. This small Arctic fishing town has been chosen as the European Capital of Culture for 2024, making it a hub for a variety of arts events, including approximately 1,000 captivating activities that draw creative enthusiasts from all over. Bodø proudly celebrates its unique Sami heritage and showcases modern architectural marvels, such as the world-class Stormen Concert Hall, which boasts a capacity of 900 people and serves as a focal point for the festivities.
Apart from its cultural accolades, Bodø is also the gateway to the ethereal Lofoten Islands. With its dramatic landscapes of fjords and jagged peaks, this destination is a paradise for adventurers and photographers, offering unforgettable and awe-inspiring views. On top of all this, Bodø is home to a thriving culinary scene, including excellent dining options like Lystpå for dinner and Brødrene Berbusmel Bakery for breakfast. Additionally, exciting new accommodations are emerging in the area. The Wood Hotel, set to open in 2024, will offer the town's most luxurious lodgings yet, featuring minimalist Scandi design and floor-to-ceiling windows. For those seeking a closer connection to nature, GlampNord is a fantastic option. – Rosie Conroy
Copenhagen, Denmark bursts with enchanting hidden gems, making it one of the trendiest capitals in Europe. From thrift stores and independent boutiques to the renowned Tivoli Garden, ranked among the top amusement parks in Europe, and the legendary canal offering romantic cruises, this city has something for everyone.
There are countless activities and experiences to savor in Copenhagen. Recognized as a culinary capital, it boasts some of the world's finest restaurants and is the ultimate destination for food enthusiasts. Craft beer lovers will also find their haven here.
The Faroe Islands, Denmark
Located northwest of Scotland, the Faroe Islands are an archipelago characterized by jaw-dropping rugged mountains and mesmerizing waterfalls. This destination is an absolute must-see for photographers and outdoor adventurists.
Top Experiences: Marvel at the captivating Múlafossur waterfall, explore the charming fishing villages, spot puffins at Mykines, embark on a hike to Sørvágsvatn Lake, and try kayaking or rock climbing.
How Long Should You Spend in the Faroe Islands? Three days is the minimum time you should allocate to fully appreciate the wonders of the Faroe Islands. For a more comprehensive exploration of both the highlights and the smaller islands, we recommend spending five to seven days. Learn more here.
The Isle of Skye, Scotland
The Isle of Skye, with its dramatic coastal scenery, charming towns, and lush landscapes, stands as one of the most breathtaking destinations in Europe.
This compact peninsula is perfect for visitors of all ages. Its size allows for easy exploration by car, and the numerous short but sweet hiking trails provide ample opportunities to fully immerse yourself in the sheer beauty of the surroundings.
Old Man of Storr | Beautiful Places to Visit in Europe
Top Experiences: Embark on a memorable hike through the Quiraing, witness the grandeur of the Old Man of Storr, indulge in some whiskey tasting at Talisker Distillery, explore the spellbinding Dunvegan Castle, wander through the Fairy Pools and the Fairy Glen, and catch the mesmerizing sunset at Neist Point.
How Long Should You Spend in the Isle of Skye? For a comprehensive visit, we suggest dedicating three days to drive the Trotternish Loop, explore Dunvegan Castle, and enjoy a few short hiking trails.
During the months of April and May, Keukenhof becomes a magical wonderland adorned with vibrant daffodils, tulips, and hyacinths. If you happen to be in Amsterdam during this time, a visit to Keukenhof is an absolute must.
Top Experiences: Take a leisurely stroll through the magnificent gardens, capture stunning photos amidst the sea of flowers, and browse the charming gift shops.
How Long Should You Spend in Keukenhof? From beginning to end, a visit to Keukenhof typically lasts half a day, including transportation to and from Amsterdam.
Top Travel Sites for Europe - My Recommendations
Best For Flights: Kayak.com • Skyscanner • Momondo
Out of the three, Kayak.com is the simplest to navigate. Skyscanner excels in finding the most budget-friendly rates. For first and business class tickets, Momondo is the top choice.
Best For Renting A Car: Rentalcars.com
Rentalcars.com offers exceptional prices from renowned rental companies. The platform is user-friendly, secure, and dependable.
Best For Hotels: Booking.com
Booking.com provides an array of awesome rates and is an excellent tool for vacation planning. Accommodations of all price ranges are available, including luxury hotels, boutique 5-star establishments, affordable hostels, as well as houses and apartments for rent.
Best For Tours: GetYourGuide.com
GetYourGuide.com is my personal favorite for booking tours and hiring private guides.
Best for Travel Insurance: InsureMyTrip
InsureMyTrip allows you to compare costs from over 30 insurance providers to find the most suitable travel insurance plan.
In conclusion, Europe offers an incredible array of travel destinations that cater to every type of wanderer. From the picturesque landscapes of Northern Italy and the breathtaking Dolomites, to the historic cities of Athens and Vienna, there is something for everyone. The stunning beauty of France's Mont Saint-Michel and the enchanting canals of Venice will leave you in awe, while the rugged coastline of Ireland's Wild Atlantic Way and the magnificent fjords of Norway will take your breath away. Whether you're seeking adventure, culture, or simply a relaxing getaway, Europe has it all. So pack your bags, grab your passport, and get ready to embark on the journey of a lifetime. The best European travel destinations are waiting to be discovered, and the memories you make will last a lifetime.
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