Europe is a continent that has been around for thousands of years with rich history, and it’s one that we would recommend visiting at least once in our lifetime. It’s also the birthplace of many things that are important to us today, such as democracy, art, literature, science, philosophy, and much more. The history of this place is fascinating and there are so many places to visit that you could spend your entire life trying to see everything and have beautiful gothic architecture buildings. We have put together some of our favorite tours in Europe, which will help you get an idea of what to expect from the country, and how best to experience it.
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11 Places to Visit in Europe This Year
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1. London, United Kingdom
The first thing you need to know before you visit London is that it is home to over 8 million people. The capital city of England means that no matter when you go, you won’t have enough time to see all the major attractions in the city. Luckily, there are lots of great ways to enjoy yourself without having to see every single attraction. Take the hop-on-hop-off tour bus (also known as a double-decker bus) and you’ll be able to get off the bus anywhere along the way. Another fun activity is to rent a bike and explore the city by bicycle. Don’t worry about finding parking because London has well-marked spaces for bikes.
If you want to see a city with world-class museums like the British Museum where we can see stunning architecture, then you should definitely make sure to visit London while on vacation in Europe. There are plenty of things to do in London, but if you want to save money, try going during the week between September and November or February and March when the crowds aren’t too big. If you prefer to travel during the summer months, you can go anytime after June, but be prepared for higher prices.
Places to visit in London
- Big Ben – Located near Buckingham Palace, Big Ben is one of the most famous landmarks in London. Its nickname comes from its massive bell that weighs 11 tons.
- Westminster Abbey – Just across the River Thames from Parliament Square is Westminster Abbey. The Abbey was built in the 13th century and is considered to be the largest church building in Europe. A few of the highlights include St Margaret’s Chapel, Poets’ Corner, and the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior.
- Tower Bridge – One of the most popular attractions in London is Tower Bridge. Originally constructed in 1894, the bridge is 1,001 feet long with towers that are 34 meters tall. It connects the South Bank area with the City.
- Tower of London – Also located just across the river from Big Ben is the Tower of London. Formerly called the Tower of London, this castle is older than both Westminster Abbey and Big Ben. The White Tower holds the oldest part of the castle and houses the Crown Jewels. The oldest parts of the castle date back to 1066.
- Tate Modern – Opened in 2000, Tate Modern is a modern art museum housed in a converted power plant. The collection includes works by Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, Andy Warhol, and Jackson Pollock.
Best time to visit London, UK: May to October
Where to stay in London, UK: Hotels in Central London
How to get around London, UK: Trains, buses, tubes
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2. Paris, France
If you enjoy the culture and love beautiful cities, then you need to add Paris to your bucket list. Located in the center of the country, Paris is home to some of the best museums such as the Musee d’Orsay, the Musée de Cluny, and the Palais du Louvre. You will also find here the Arc de Triomphe, which is a symbol of the glory of Napoleon. Paris is known as the “City of Light” due to its bright lights and beauty. So if you’re looking for a European destination, look no further than Paris.
Places to visit in Paris, France
- Eiffel Tower: This amazing tower is an iconic structure in Paris that offers visitors a wonderful view of the entire city.
- Notre Dame Cathedral: This cathedral has been around since the 12th century and is one of the most visited sites in the world.
- Disneyland Paris: If you want to take your family on an adventure or simply relax, this theme park is perfect for everyone. With rides like Space Mountain, Splash Mountain, and Toy Story Land, you can’t help but have fun!
- Montmartre and Pigalle: These two neighborhoods are well known for their nightlife and entertainment. Here, you’ll find everything from jazz clubs to strip bars.
- Versailles: This palace and park is another major attraction in Paris. Not only does it offer a stunning view of the gardens and fountains, but it contains Marie Antoinette’s apartment, Hall of Mirrors, and the Royal Apartments.
Best time to visit Paris, France: June to August and September to October
Where to stay in Paris, France: Marais, Saint Germain, Latin Quarter
How to get around Paris, France: Metro, RER, bus, tram
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3. Prague, Czech Republic
The capital city of the Czech Republic, Prague is situated along the Vltava River. Prague Castle is the largest castle in Europe and was built at the beginning of the 13th century. The Old Town Square is the center of the old town where many historic buildings reside. The National Museum of Art is famous for its collections of paintings by Jan Matejko, Maxmilian Ullstein, and Alfons Mucha. There are also several other museums in the city including the Municipal House with a collection of Baroque furniture and St Nicholas Church with a gold-plated altar.
Places to visit in Prague, Czech Republic
- Prague Castle: It is the Old Town Square is also worth seeing; it features many interesting buildings and monuments all within walking distance of each other. This is truly an iconic sight in Europe. When visiting Prague, make sure to climb up to the top of the hill for some spectacular views of the Czech capital.
- St. Vitus Cathedral: It is the largest temple in Prague where coronations of Czech kings and queens also took place.
- Charles Bridge: Charles Bridges was started construction in 1357 and ended in 1402 which connects Prague Castle and the city’s Old Town and adjacent.
- Old Town Square: Old Town Square is a historic square, located between Wenceslas Square and Charles Bridge in the capital of the Czech Republic.
- Klementinum: According to Wikipedia, In Prague, the Clementinum is a historic architectural complex. The National, University, and Technical libraries were were housed in the complex; the City Library was also located close to Mariánské Námst. The Technical and Municipal libraries were moved to the Prague National Technical Library at Technická 6 in 2009. It now serves as the Czech Republic’s National Library. The UNESCO Jikji prize was awarded to the Czech National Library in 2005.
Best time to visit Prague, Czech Republic: Spring and early Fall
Where to stay in Prague, Czech Republic: Stare Mesto, Vinohrady, Hradcany
How to get around Prague, Czech Republic: Metro, bus, tram, car, taxi
4. Venice, Italy
Venice is truly something special. Although I did not think it would be this romantic, especially since it seems like a lot of tourists choose to stay in Rome instead. But, even though it may look really touristy at times, it tends to entertain throughout the whole day!
Places to visit in Venice, Italy
- Doge’s Palace – This is where the government resides and is often used for exhibitions and art events. It is located on Piazza San Marco.
- Basilica di Santa Maria Gloriosa Dei Frari – This is a large basilica that dates back to the 14th century and houses over 80 chapels on each side of the church.
- Campanile di San Marco – The bell tower of the basilica stands 98.6 meters tall and was designed as a campanile.
- Torre della Sensa – Located near the Ponte degli Scalzi, the Torre della Sensha is a bridge that crosses the Grand Canal. It was designed by Giorgio Massari and completed in 1771.
- Palazzo Ducale – This palace has been the home to the Venetian rulers since the 15th century. Nowadays, it functions as a museum housing various exhibits ranging from statues to weapons to musical instruments.
Best time to visit Venice, Italy: September to November
Where to stay in Venice, Italy: San Marco
How to get around Venice, Italy: Walk
5. Barcelona, Spain
Barcelona is known for being one of the best European destinations for shopping and dining. Located along the Mediterranean Sea, Barcelona is home to vibrant nightlife, awesome architecture, and fun outdoor activities with beautiful beaches.
Places to visit in Barcelona, Spain
- La Sagrada Familia – Designed by Antoni Gaudi, this is one of his most well-known works. It took him approximately 60 years to complete.
- Museu Picasso – One of the best museums in Spain, it features some of Picasso’s most famous pieces such as Guernica and Les Demoiselles d’Avignon.
- Casa Batllo – A unique apartment building featuring an open staircase connecting the apartments together.
- Park Güell – An urban park created by Gaudí.
- Fundació Joan Miró – Features a number of paintings by the artist.
Best time to visit Barcelona, Spain: May to June
Where to stay in Barcelona, Spain: Plaza de Catalunya, Barri Gotic, El Raval
How to get around Barcelona, Spain: Metro, FGC, and Tram
6. Amsterdam, Netherlands
With its colorful houses and canals, Amsterdam is known for its relaxed atmosphere. In fact, many travelers find Amsterdam to be quite relaxing because of all the coffee shops and cozy bars located throughout the city.
Places to visit in Amsterdam, Netherlands
- Begijnhof – Located in the center of the old part of town, it is a peaceful courtyard where people live their lives.
- Dam Square – A public square surrounded by buildings including the Royal Palace, Stadhuis, and the Nieuwe Kerk (New Church).
- Rembrandt House Museum – Features many of Rembrandt’s paintings and drawings.
- Van Gogh Museum – houses a collection of Vincent van Gogh’s paintings and drawings. The museum also contains a room dedicated to the painter Balthus.
- Jordaan – Home to many art galleries, antique stores, and cafes.
Best time to visit Amsterdam, Netherlands: between April and May or September and November
Where to stay in Amsterdam, Netherlands: De Pijp, Grachtengordel
How to get around Amsterdam, Netherlands: Metro, FGC, and Tram
7. Budapest, Hungary
You don’t have to spend a lot of time in Budapest since it’s only about three hours by train from Vienna, Austria, where I live. But, Budapest does offer a lot of beauty, including wonderful food, friendly locals, and historical monuments which lie under UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Places to visit in Budapest, Hungary
- Hungarian Parliament Building: It is also known as the Opera House, this building was constructed in 1868. It’s one of Budapest’s most popular attractions.
- Széchenyi Chain Bridge: One of Budapest’s best-loved landmarks. It connects Buda with Pest across the Danube River.
- Fisherman’s Bastion: This bastion is located along the banks of the Danube River. It offers great views over the river, the city, and Gellert Hill.
- Heroes’ Square: Located in the heart of Budapest, this square is filled with statues of important figures such as George Soros, Imre Nagy, and Mihaly Horvath.
- Széchenyi Thermal Bath: This is another major landmark within walking distance of the center of town.
Best time to visit Budapest, Hungary: March to May and September through November
Where to stay in Budapest, Hungary: 5th district
How to get around Budapest, Hungary: Public Transportation, Taxi, Walk
8. Copenhagen, Denmark
One of the top tourist destinations in Northern Europe, Copenhagen is also home to tons of shopping, delicious cuisine, and gorgeous landscapes. The Danish capital is also very bike-friendly.
Places to visit in Copenhagen, Denmark
- Tivoli Gardens: Located near the city center, this amusement park is a bit like Disneyland.
- Little Mermaid Statue: This statue stands for Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tale “The Little Mermaid.”
- Christiansborg Palace: This palace is home to the Danish parliament.
- Amalienborg Palace: This palace was built in 1758. A museum now resides here that features several royal residences.
- National Museum: Home to many famous antiquities and cultural artifacts.
Best time to visit Copenhagen, Denmark: March to May or between June and August
Where to stay in Copenhagen, Denmark: Indre By, Vesterbro, Christianshavn and Christiana
How to get around Copenhagen, Denmark: Walk and by bike
9. Florence, Italy
Many tourists agree that Florence is Europe’s prettiest city. Home to famous landmarks such as the Uffizi Gallery and Ponte Vecchio, Florence is very easy to navigate and even easier to fall in love with.
Places to visit in Florence, Italy
- Palazzo Pitti: This palace sits on the edge of the Arno River and contains an art gallery, museums, and beautiful gardens.
- Duomo di Santa Maria del Fiore: This cathedral has been standing strong since 1296.
- Galleria Degli Uffizi: This gallery houses some of the world’s greatest paintings.
- Museo dell’Opera del Duomo: This museum is housed inside the cathedral and showcases religious objects used throughout history.
- Ponte Vecchio: This bridge dates back to 1345 and lies in the middle of the main shopping area.
Best time to visit Florence, Italy: between May and September
Where to stay in Florence, Italy: Santa Croce & Sant’Ambrogio, City Center
How to get around Florence, Italy: Walk, ATAF bus
10. Edinburgh, Scotland
Just over an hour away from Glasgow, Edinburgh is one of Europe’s best-preserved medieval towns. It’s filled with castles, spires, cobblestone streets, and lots of history.
Places to visit in Edinburgh, Scotland
- Holyrood Park: This park is located right next to the castle.
- Fountain Square: This square is known for its impressive fountain.
- Princes Street Gardens: These gardens are filled with sculptures, fountains, and other beautiful sights.
- Scott Monument: This monument honors Scottish author Sir Walter Scott.
- Calton Hill: This hill offers great views of the city.
Best time to visit Edinburgh, Scotland: June through August
Where to stay in Edinburgh, Scotland: Old Town, Stockbridge, Leith
How to get around Edinburgh, Scotland: Walk, Public buses
11. Santorini, Greece
Santorini is a popular Greek island chain located near Olympos. Traveling here feels a bit like stepping back into time as this group of islands features white-washed villages, cobblestone streets, and old-world architecture.
Places to visit in Santorini, Greece
- Fira: The capital of Santorini, Fira is where you will find most of the shops, restaurants, cafes, and hotels.
- Akrotiri: This village is an ancient settlement that was once occupied by the Minoan people.
- Thirasia: This town is home to the island’s only active volcano.
- Kamari: Located at the southernmost point of the island, Kamari is a small fishing village.
- Perissa: This town is home to the island’s largest church.
Best time to go to Santorini, Greece: April through October
Where to stay in Santorini, Greece: Fira, Kamari, Oia, Imerovigli, Perissa
How to get around Santorini, Greece: Walk, Buses, Ferry