Need some ideas of places to visit in Europe?
With so many cities in Europe and so little time to travel, just what places in Europe should you go see?
I’ve broken down this list of the top European places to go to help you get a feel of each city and why you should visit it. You’ll get an idea of what each city is like and some of the things you can do in each city.
In no particular order…
Prague, Czech Republic
Prague can call itself one of the most beautiful cities in the world, perhaps the most beautiful? The main town square area and surrounding spaces are the main tourist attraction area where you’ll find yourself looking at castles, Czech architecture, and the roads are all cobble stone (careful in heels!) Prague is a great city to simply walk around without spending much money and it’s an affordable city to travel to overall, and an easy city to plan a vacation to!
Perhaps the most beautiful city in the world, Paris simply shines bright no matter the time of year you visit. The main areas of interest are all walking distances and you can cover most of them in just one day of strolling around leisurely. you’ll definitely want more time than that, as you can spend a week or more just in Paris alone. Your travel itinerary will be packed with things like going up the Eiffel Tour, walking the famous Champs Elysees street, and visiting The Louvre museum. France is filled with beauty all over the country and I highly recommend spending time away from the capital to see the France’s beautiful country side, including all the amazing flowers and chateaus all over the country!
Home of Sangria and Lionel Messi, Barcelona is a must hit spot when in Spain. It’s a buzzing city with a tremendous amount of things to do. You have the beach, malls, bike lanes to ride around, and tons of art exhibitions. And of course, Barcelona’s most famous street Las Ramblas is a must stroll.
Home to Kings Landing, Dubrovnik has always been a big destination for tourists. Some people may say it’s over run by them now (which may be true) however it’s still a beautiful city with so much old charm. Dubrovnik is an excellent city to walk around without spending a lot of money traveling. You can eat seafood for reasonable prices (they are right beside the sea so it’s usually fresh!). And take a cruise out into the ocean for a few hours to soak in Croatias coastline.
One of the most underrated cities in Europe, Berlin is the capital of Germany and is surprisingly one of their poorest big cities. Because of that, prices of everything is a lot lower which make it a great city to travel to on a budget. Hostels can be had for around 15 euros in a good location, and food can be very inexpensive as well. Berlin is a city with so much character as many historic places still exist from WWII, as well as public graffiti/artwork and it’s also a fantastic place to party late.
We’ve all seen the postcard photo from Santorini and I will tell you it’s even more beautiful in person. Santorini has some of the best sunsets in the world and is one of the most unique destinations in Europe to travel to. Santorini is a very touristy location that 100% lives up to it’s expectation. You can’t take enough photos of the white buildings and blue tops. You can grab a villa with an ocean view or stay in a hostel. Santorini is a small place and a few days here is all you’ll probably need.
One of Frances most popular cities receiving visitors from all over the world, Nice is really a gem in the Mediterranean. Nice is a port city that receives many visitors daily through land and water too! You’ll find a lot of activity in this area, including the old port area which is a must see with it’s cool markets. You can grab a bottle of wine, cheese, and baguette for 10 euros and have a little picnic in the sun. Nice’s has a rock beach which isn’t so pleasant but you’ll still find hoards of people there, and I definitely recommend spending some time there. This article on how to spend a weekend in Nice is a must read.
A landing point for many European travelers, London is the capital of England and is a must see place for everyone. London is an expensive city but it’s a major city with everything you could want to do. It’s a great city to simply walk around taking photos. Popular things to do include riding a double decker bus and exploring around the Thames river where you’ll see Tower bridge and many of London’s modern architecture. There is so many things to do in London, I feel a week here is needed or more.
Rivals to Prague as the most beautiful city in middle Europe, Budapest is a very affordable city with plenty to do. It’s a little more spread out that a city like Prague however getting around is fairly inexpensive. I recommend renting a bike to stroll around. Budapest is a city divided by the Danube River. On one side, is the “Buda” side where the rich people live (it’s the hilly side), and the other side is the “Pest” side which is mostly flat and where things cost a lot less. It’s where you’ll want to stay if you’re on a budget or backpacking.
Lisbon is a can’t miss city in Portugal. It’s one of those cities that has moderate to warm temperatures all year and a long rooted history for the Portuguese people. Europe is generally seen as a more expensive place to visit, and rightfully so. However, Lisbon is one of those Western European cities that is very affordable with a high standard of tourist things to do! To get an idea of what it’s like, you can read this One day Lisbon itinerary.
Athens is one of the best low cost cities to visit on a budget. It’s an outdoor museum with a ton to see simply by walking the main areas of interest. There is of course the Pantheon which is a must visit, and eating Gyros is a must do! Athens is a great spot to spend a few days before you head out to the Greek Islands by ferry.
Perhaps Europes most historic city, Rome is a city you may find yourself going back to several times in your life. Rome’s most famous landmark is the Colosseum where gladiators used to fight, but as you already know, there are so many historic places to visit in Rome. I recommend riding a big bus tour which will take you to most of the main points of interest in a hop on hop off fashion. Rome also has amazing Italian food (well every Italian city will!) that you’ll absolutely love.
The city with no vehicles that is surrounded by water, Venice is an absolute must visit destination in Europe. Venice is filled with tight narrow alleys that will get you lost so be prepared for that! I recommend simply walking around and getting lost for a day or two as your way of exploring the city. A Gondola ride is expensive but worth the experience. Make sure to have some pizza or pasta while in Venice!
Sorrento is a small town that can be explored in a day. It’s got that small town beauty feel that big cities don’t have. Just a day here is fine to get the most of it. As you stroll around, you can shop for local items like their world famous Limoncello alcohol. You can take the local train to Sorrento from many coastal cities in the Amalfi Coast.
Norway is full of beautiful outdoor landscapes and Lofoten is just one of many cities offering breath taking Nordic views. You’ll find many mountains, winding roads, villages, and colorful buildings as you drive your way through the archipelago and Norway in General. Lofoten is beautiful during the summer and in winter months too. If you’re traveling to Norway in winter, check out this packing list.
Did you know Istanbul is a city in Turkey that is located in Asia and Europe? Talk about getting two continents at once! Istanbul is one of the most traditional cities in the world with a ton of historical areas and architecture to explore. Some of the more popular things to do in Istanbul include seeing the world famous Hagia Sophia museum, the Blue Mosque, shop the Grand Baazar, and sip on some incredible Turkish coffee. Check this guide for a 5 day Istanbul itinerary.
Amsterdam is a really fun and hip place to spend time in. Filled with bicycles everywhere and canals, it’s a very unique city with its own feel. I highly recommend walking the center of town and the surrounding areas. Walk along canals and enjoy being in such a creative little city. At night, head over to the red light district for a very unique atmosphere. A lot of people speak enough English here so you should be okay with communication.
Florence rivals Rome in the amount of historic places to see. Florence is one of those cities best explored by walking around. It’s fairly densely together so you should be able to see most of what you want simply by walking. A few popular things to do include walking the Ponte Vecchio (a bridge made from stone) and seeing the Uffizi gallery for some incredible Renaissance artwork. A few days in Florence will give you enough time to see most of what you’d like. It’s a very popular city with a lot of tourists. Expect to be waiting in lines to visit many of the free galleries and other popular tourist activities.
One of the most elegant cities in all of Europe, Vienna is as beautiful of a city as you’ll see in Europe. I would spend most of the time roaming around the main town area, shopping, eating, and drinking beer if that’s your thing! Schonbrunn Palace is a 100% must visit. It’s free to see, however a concert inside this majestic building is a great way to end an evening. You can also do a trip to Salzburg which is a popular side place to visit from Vienna.
Cinque Terre, Italy
Cinque Terre is a small area with five little towns in it. Connecting the towns is a train. It is one of the most beautiful cities I’ve ever visited. If you love ocean side life and colorful buildings, you’ll absolutely adore Cinque Terre. There are an incredible amount of places to Instagram from this small area too. Though it’s a very touristy town, prices are still reasonable and it’s a joy to walk around. A day or two is fine here to get the feel of these towns. If you’re into hiking, you can hike all 5 towns through the designated paths, but it’s long and you’ll want to be in shape! Get started planning your trip here with this 2 day in Cinque Terre guide.