Over 17.7 million U.S. citizens visited Europe in 2018. That’s more than any other destination outside of North America. You’ve got to wonder what you’re missing.
If you’re ready to travel abroad, Europe is a great place to start. Read on to learn about the best places to visit in Europe.
Museums, historical monuments, churches, and iconic sights abound in Paris. The cuisine and wine are famous around the world. These might be sufficient reasons to visit Paris but there is more.
Paris also offers romance. One in 500 proposals takes place in Disneyland Paris. Partner that with the many proposals in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower or by the banks of the River Seine and you have a truly romantic destination.
If you love history, you can’t go wrong with a visit to London. The Houses of Parliament, The Tower of London and St Paul’s Cathedral are among the top sites to visit.
Don’t miss the more modern delights of the hipster cafés in Shoreditch and the impressive skyscraper known as the Shard. Local markets, parks, and eateries are delightfully un-touristy places to visit too.
Take a walk down La Rambla in Barcelona’s old city and take in the colorful flowers and fruit markets. The Gothic Quarter’s buildings still have Roman remains, medieval landmarks and a Jewish quarter.
Barcelona also boasts a sophisticated nightlife, cuisine and is host to one of the top soccer teams in the world. FC Barcelona is the world’s second richest club and they have some of the most enthusiastic fans.
Spend a few hours in a Dublin pub nursing a pint of Guinness and you’ll soon feel at home. The “craic” is the Irish term for enjoyable conversation and there’s plenty to be had here. Don’t be surprised if music and song also break out as the convivial atmosphere inspires the regular patrons to perform.
Many Americans can trace some ancestry back to Ireland. Many Irish people sought an escape from poverty and starvation by traveling across the Atlantic to the land of opportunity. Now many Americans take the journey back to visit their roots.
Cyprus sits in the Mediterranean Sea, an ancient center of travel and trade. It’s seen the ancient Greeks, Byzantine Empire, Ottomans, and British come and go and is now an independent republic. The previous visitors have left their mark and contributed to the culture.
Now it’s blue sea, lovely beaches and climate make it popular with sun seekers. The visitors also enjoy fancy dress carnival, wine and beer festivals as well as music for all tastes. There is no one best time to visit Cyprus, with something of interest all year.
Art and music lovers know Vienna as a cultural hub. As the center of the Hapsburg Empire, it attracted musicians, thinkers, architects, and artists. Today the museums, galleries, and palaces attract visitors from around the world.
To escape the tourists, join the Viennese on a Sunday afternoon stroll in the vineyards overlooking the city. Take a glass or two of Grüner Veltliner. The local white wine tastes wonderful in the sunshine overlooking the Danube river.
Lake Como, Italy
Lake Como is one of several sea-like lakes in northern Italy. There’s nothing nicer than enjoying real Italian food at a lakeside restaurant and watching the sunset over the water. Yachts, motor boats and other small craft ferry visitors between the small resorts around the lake creating a constantly changing scene on the water.
Visit Venice, Verona and the Dolomite mountains, all of which are in easy reach. Make Lake Como the jumping off point for a broader Italian experience. You’ll be joining the likes of George Clooney and his celebrity guests who are regular visitors.
Berlin is a city with a fascinating history. The impressive architecture of the Brandenburg gate and the Reichstag have to be seen but don’t miss the chaotic urban street art. The most impressive graffiti is on the remains of the Berlin wall.
It’s this sort of contrast that is so impressive about Berlin. One moment you will be moved by the Holocaust memorial. Next, you will be lifted by the beauty of the Charlottenburg Palace gardens.
Viking heritage and dramatic coastline characterize Bergen. There’s drama in the fjords that no picture or movie can communicate. Arrive in Bergen by train from Oslo and you will have traveled one of the most impressive rail journeys in the world.
Amongst the attractions of this UNESCO world heritage city are the lively harbor, the home of composer Edvard Grieg and the Fløibanen funicular railway. Lovers of the outdoors will enjoy hiking on the seven mountains of Bergen.
Art galleries, coffee shops, and the red-light district are all on the tourist map here in Amsterdam. But there’s more to this city. The food, for example of an eclectic mix of north European and Indonesian.
Take a morning bicycle ride around the city, an afternoon cruise up the canals, and an evening stroll from bar to bar. Sit on the street corner watching passers-by while sipping a glass of beer and eating bitterballen. These are deep-fried meatballs you dip in mustard that seem to go perfectly with the strong beer.
Edinburgh is the capital of Scotland. It’s dominated by an impressive castle that sits on top of a hill from which an impressive firework display is occasionally launched. Shopping in Princes Street and souvenir hunting on the Royal Mile are the typical tourist traps.
If you want to see Edinburgh at its quirky best, try the Indian restaurants where the waiters of clearly Indian subcontinent heritage have broad Scottish accents. Sometimes you will find the traditional Scottish delicacy, haggis, served in the form of an Indian snack, the haggis pakora.
The Best Places to Visit in Europe
On your return from Europe, people will ask which were the best places to visit in Europe. It’s likely your memories will be of the diversity you encounter. It’s not one place, but the rich variety that will be stand out.
Here are some more tips for a European vacation.