Best European Destinations: 20 Must-See Places
From its languages to its culture to its topography, Europe is a diverse and varied continent. Thankfully, because of those differences, tourists are left with a wealth of visiting options. In this list of the best European destinations, we have assembled the best places to visit in Europe.
Whether you are looking for a tried and true favorite or are looking for something more off the beaten path, there is sure to be a European destination on this list that speaks to you. And thankfully, many of these destinations are just a short hop, skip, and a jump away from each other, so if you have the time, you can visit more than one!
Top 20 European Destinations:
Destination Highlights: Full of History, Stunning Castles, Plenty of Local Beers to Sample.
About Destination: Located in southeast Germany, Bavaria is the largest of Germany’s states. Full of European history, the region is picturesque and scenic. Popular attractions include Nuremberg, Munich, and Neuschwanstein Castle. The Danube is also easily accessible, and traditional, local beers are easily attainable.
Language: French and Dutch
Destination Highlights: Very Walkable and Great for Exploring, The Grand Palace, Amazing Chocolates and Beer.
About Destination: Easily accessible, Brussels has been nicknamed ‘The European Village’ because of its plethora of museums, parks, walks, and restaurants. The Grand Place (along with its amazing flower carpet) is a popular attraction, as are the chocolates and beers. And along with it making our list of the best European destinations, it also ranks as one of the best cities to visit as well.
Destination Highlights: Famous and Historical Cities to Explore, Warm Weather, Picturesque Villages.
About Destination: Making up the southern portion of Spain, the region of Andalusia is home to famous and historic cities like Cordoba and Seville. Gastronomy lovers will find their home here, and the warm weather and picturesque villages add to the charm and appeal of the area.
Destination Highlights: Iconic Sites, Excellent Dining and Shopping, Amazing Culture.
About Destination: Paris is the most visited city in the world for a good reason – it has something for everyone. Well-known sites include the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, and the Seine, but the food and café culture are the real stars of the show. The City of Lights is not to be missed if you are anywhere in western Europe.
Language: Dutch and English
Destination Highlights: Perfect Blend of Old and New, Scenic Canals, Explore by Bike.
About Destination: Home to world-class museums and miles and miles of scenic canals, Amsterdam is a beautiful blend of old and new. From traditional tulips and clogs to cutting edge food and drinks, there is something for everyone in Amsterdam. While there, do as the locals do and rent a bike for some scenic cycling.
Destination Highlights: Iconic Sites All Over the City, Bustling Nightlife and Excellent Dining.
About Destination: With some of the most notable landmarks in the world, London is a great place to visit. You have sightseeing galore with Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, The Eye, and so much more. Along with a bustling nightlife and great restaurants, you will be able to find exactly what you are looking for in London.
Destination Highlights: Consists of Two Different Inhabited Islands, Stunning Ocean and Beach Views.
About Destination: According to legend, Santorini was at one point home to the lost city of Atlantis, which long ago fell into the ocean depths. Santorini consists of two inhabited islands and multiple islets. These islands provide some of the most breathtaking ocean and beach views in the world.
Destination Highlights: Scenic Overlooks from Hohensalzburg Fortress, Where the Sound of Music was Filmed.
About Destination: The birthplace of Mozart, Salzburg, is a small city that packs a big punch. Hohensalzburg Fortress towers above the town and provides scenic overlooks at every turn. Salzburg was also the filming location for the Sound of Music, making this an excellent stop for fans of the movie. If possible, try to visit during the Christmas season – Salzburg has a number of top-notch Christmas markets.
Destination Highlights: Full of Culture and Life, Plenty of Iconic Sites to Visit, Excellent Dining and Shopping.
About Destination: If you are looking for a city that is full of culture and life, look no further than Barcelona. There is something for everyone in the exciting city of Barcelona as it is filled with historical sites as well as modern buildings, shows, and activities. Just make sure that you plan enough time for your trip to be able to see it all!
10. Bruges, Belgium
Destination Highlights: Full of History, Plenty of Sites Around the City to Check Out.
About Destination: Chock-full of great European history, Bruges was a must for this list of the best European destinations. You will be able to spend days exploring sites like Burg Square, Belfort, The Market, and you will just be scratching the surface of this great city. Along with sightseeing, there are restaurants and hotels here that will make you never want to leave.
Destination Highlights: Very Walkable or Bikeable, Palaces and Castles to Explore, Home to One of the Best Restaurants in the World.
About Destination: Featuring picturesque canals and stylish Danish design, the city of Copenhagen is a walkable (and bikeable!) city. Popular sites include the amusement park Tivoli, the free town of Christiania, and the many palaces and castles in the region. Noma, the best restaurant in the world (as determined by the British Restaurant Magazine) for 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2014 is also located in Copenhagen.
12. Lisbon, Portugal
Destination Highlights: Stunning Beaches, A Large Selection of Activities to Choose From, Excellent Dining Options.
About Destination: If you are looking for a city that offers a little of everything, Lisbon has you covered. With beaches, museums, attractions, hiking, and so much more, you will not want for adventure. Having Lisbon on our list of the best European destinations was an easy choice for more reasons than one.
Destination Highlights: Combination of Ancient and Modern, Plenty of Great Sightseeing.
About Destination: The city of a hundred spires, Prague, is a feast for the senses. Ancient and modern at once, some of Prague’s most visited attractions include the Old Town Hall, the Charles Bridge, and the Palace Gardens. Get your camera ready because there are stunning photo ops around every corner in Prague.
Destination Highlights: Unique Views and City Culture, Excellent Dining, Close Proximity to Some of the Best Waterfalls in the World.
About Destination: One of the smaller cities on this list as far as population goes, Reykjavik still has a ton to offer. With some of the best views on the planet to fine dining, this European destination is going to be worth the trip. Add in all of the city festivals and picturesque scenery, and you will be booking your trip to Reykjavik in no time.
Destination Highlights: Plenty of UNESCO World Heritage Sites, Thermal Springs and Wellness Spas.
About Destination: The capital of Hungary, Budapest, is full of UNESCO World Heritage sites. Trinity Square, the Mathias Church, and the Buda Castle district are all popular sites. Interestingly, Budapest is also rich in thermal springs, making the area great for health and wellness.
Destination Highlights: Full of History and Russian Culture, One-of-a-Kind Palaces.
About Destination: Rich in history and culture, the city of Saint Petersburg has one of the best opera and ballet scenes in the world. Extravagant palaces, a bustling nightlife, and renowned museums add to the appeal of the city. For a unique European experience, St. Petersburg is a must-see.
17. Athens, Greece
Destination Highlights: Stunning Ocean Views, Fun and Exciting Nightlife, Excellent Mediterranean Cuisine.
About Destination: If you love history or simply enjoy beautiful, breathtaking views of the ocean, Athens is the place for you. Home to structures that have been around for thousands of years and were the center of the known world at one time in history. You will have days of sightseeing. Now add in some of the best beaches in the world, a thriving nightlife, and Mediterranean cuisine, and it is sure not to disappoint.
18. Tuscany, Italy
Destination Highlights: Multiple Cities to Choose From, Plenty of Iconic Places to Explore, Excellent Italian Dining.
About Destination: Home to cities such as Florence, Pisa, and Lucca, the area of Tuscany in northwestern Italy is often photographed for its rolling hills and vineyards. In addition to hills and vineyards, however, the area also boasts a number of cultural attractions, including Renaissance palaces, da Vinci and Michelangelo masterpieces, and the famous Leaning Tower of Pisa.
19. Valletta, Malta
Language: Maltese and English
Destination Highlights: Excellent Exploring, Stunning Architecture Around Every Corner.
About Destination: A fortress city, Valletta’s grid of narrow streets showcases some of Europe’s best art and architecture, all while being surrounded by the blue waters of the Mediterranean. Quaint shops and fascinating museums add to the appeal of Valletta, and the rural outskirts of the city are the perfect place to see charming villages.
20. Madrid, Spain
Destination Highlights: Full of Art and Culture, Excellent Dining and Nightlife.
About Destination: Also located in Spain, Madrid does not take second fiddle to Barcelona or any other destination on this list. Madrid offers something for everyone. So whether you are looking for fine dining and nights out, or history and sightseeing, you will have plenty of great options for both. If you plan it right, you may be able to visit both Barcelona and Madrid on the same trip.
Best European Destinations Conclusion
If you are planning a trip to Europe, we would suggest trying to squeeze as many of these destinations into your journey as you can. Our goal with this list of the best European destinations was to provide some great options throughout Europe. Hopefully, you will be close enough to visit several of them on the same trip.
Have you been to one of these places? We would love to hear your feedback in the comments below!