Heading to Europe? We share the best places to visit in Europe, including cheap European destinations & romantic places to visit in Europe.
Europe is a vast and wonderful continent with a variety of cities, beaches, and sights to offer. Whilst we are based in China, I am desperate to explore more of Europe on our visits home to the UK – so I asked the pros. I asked travel bloggers and experts what their favorite European destinations were and I was overwhelmed by the response. So much so, that I have two parts! Here is part one!
Best places to visit in Europe
My favorite European destination is London. I’ve lived there for a while and visited several hundred times, and I’m still finding new things to discover.
It’s more like a country than a city, as there’s simply so much to see there.
There are all the iconic sights – Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey, the London Eye, St Paul’s Cathedral, Tower Bridge, and the Tower of London. Yet this is only scratching the surface.
The thing about London that I love most is the sheer diversity of it. There are so many different cultures, languages, and cuisines. I’ve always felt that when I’m visiting London, I’m visiting the whole world. Some cities might have the edge in visual beauty, but for sheer cultural wealth and an endless range of things to do, there’s no contest. London it is.
David from Delve into Europe
Bucharest has to be one of the most exciting cities in Europe at the moment. It’s become a bit of a hotspot and there is a very good reason for that. The Old Town has been completely revamped in the last few years and trendy bars, cafes, and restaurants are popping up everywhere, attracting visitors wanting to know what the fuss is all about.
The combination of classical and communist architecture tells the story of what this city has gone through over the years. But what I love the most about Bucharest is that it’s so instagrammable, with the not-so-secret passages that you find scattered all over the city, and my favorite bookshop of all time, and possibly the most photogenic one you will ever come across – Carturesti Carousel.
Teresa from Brogan Abroad
Athens is easily one of my favorite cities in the world – year round! There is over two thousand years’ worth of history, some of the best food in the world, with affordable everything or complete luxury if you’re looking for it – as well as a picturesque coastline. The vibe in Athens is this fantastic meeting point of the ancient and modern worlds – you can shop for designer clothes and sit down for Michelin-starred food while looking up at the Acropolis. Not to mention state-of-the-art museums and the most wonderful arts festival through the summer which you can enjoy in the ancient theatres as well as in some of the world-class modern venues.
Sam from Travel with the Muses
Switzerland is one of the dream destinations for every Indian. Not only because of its beauty (that is why it is also called Heaven on the Earth but also because of the various blockbuster Bollywood movies where scenes from Switzerland drive us crazy. I got a chance to visit this beautiful country in 2015. The beautiful alps, lakes, and lot of snow made me fall in love with Switzerland. The best places to visit in Switzerland are Zurich, Interlaken, Rhine Falls, Geneva, Schynige Platte, and Mount Jungfraujoch.
Apart from its scenic beauty Switzerland is also known for Adventure sports/winter sports like Sky diving, Hand gliding, etc as you can see the breathtaking views from the top after which no other place in the world will excite you that much.
If you are visiting Switzerland, the best way is to visit by car else you can take the Swiss Travel Pass which makes all your journey within Swiss free and also offers you discounts at some of the attractions.
At last, I will just say It’s a perfect destination and must visit place for everyone. I love one quote on Switzerland which is rightly said by Rick Steves:
“Swiss cities remind me of the kid at high school who’s great at sports, has perfect hair, the best girlfriend, and the teachers all love him. He’s just too perfect.”
Sumti from Small Budget Big Trips
Best food cities in Europe
Many travelers and tourists heading to Europe have Denmark on their travel bucket list, however, many of them are unsure if they should go because of how expensive it is. It is a fact that Denmark is a super pricey destination even for the locals and expats here. But it’s possible to explore this Scandinavian country without breaking a bank!
One thing I can recommend as an expat in Denmark is to remember that you can rent a bicycle and explore the city of Copenhagen and Aarhus, which is the best cheapest and best way to explore every corner, you can easily lock it on any bike park to enjoy the famous Danish beer, cookies, and its beautiful architecture.
Mary from A Mary Road
Thomas Jefferson remarked ‘A walk about Paris will provide lessons in history, beauty, and in the point of living.’ Even today, the magnetic lure of modern Paris is linked to its past. Dubbed for centuries as La Ville-Lumière (City of Light) and La Ville de L’Amour (City of Love), Paris remains a favorite European destination owing to its reputation for iconic art masterpieces, romantic architecture, haute couture houses, and gastronomic delights.
Historically, the true heart of Paris is the imposing gothic Notre-Dame cathedral built on the Île-de La-Cité. Not many cities can boast of being UNESCO World Heritage Sites, but since 1991 Parisian bridges and buildings along the banks of the River Seine have enjoyed this privilege. Whilst the skyline of this chic city is studded with magnificent landmarks, beneath their foundations is an equally impressive subterranean world of intriguing Metro stations and hidden catacombs waiting to be explored.
Sarah from Off the Tourist Treadmill
I fell in love with Venice the moment I arrived at the airport by boat. Every single view around every single corner is breathtakingly beautiful. Eating gelato while watching the sun sparkle off the Grand Canal; cruising down the narrow canals while chatting to a friendly gondolier; learning how to row a Venetian boat in the choppy lagoon; watching La Traviata in La Fenice, the opera theater it debuted in; sitting in Saint Mark’s Square listening to a live jazz band as it rains and the rising water covers half the square; admiring the Rialto Bridge and the Bridge of Sighs… Every moment in Venice is pure magic.
James at Travel Collecting
It’s always tough to decide where to go when planning a trip to Europe because there are just too many excellent choices. However, after an amazing trip to Barcelona last November, I have decided this is my new favorite European destination. First, there is the amazing food; tapas, Jamon, paella, wine, cava, etc. Then there are the historic sites like La Sagrada Familia, Parc Guell, and the Gothic Quarter. And in between are small, charming cobblestone streets, plenty of beautiful churches, and a large selection of museums.
Often when I travel, I plan day trips outside of the main city we are visiting. But in Barcelona, I didn’t want to leave the city. I just wanted to wander, eat and soak up the Catalonian culture. I know Barcelona struggles with too many tourists during the summer, so we opted to visit in early winter. As a result, we enjoyed minimal crowds, lower prices, and the Christmas markets. Some of the highlights of our recent trip included a tapas and wine tour and a trip to Camp Nou, home of FC Barcelona. I will definitely be returning here soon!
Wendy Lee from Wendy Lynn Lee
Cheapest European countries to visit
It has never been easier or more rewarding to visit Bulgaria than it is right now.
The abundance of tourist attractions, the vibrant culture, and the peculiar traditions, as well as the accessibility of the small Eastern European country, make Bulgaria an all-year-round perfect tourist destination.
You can wander the streets and take in the vibrant fusion of the capital city Sofia. Alternatively, you might want to travel back in time at the countless Thracian and Roman ruins. Even excite your palate with delicious dishes and exquisite wines, then soak your body and rejuvenate in the numerous SPA hotels. At the end of the day, you can simply dance the night away and laugh at the odd traditions of the Bulgarians.
In any case, if an authentic experience at an affordable price is what you are searching for, now is the right time to visit Bulgaria. However, don’t just take my word for it, check these facts about Bulgaria before you make up your mind.
Naddya blogs at NTripping
Kiev, Ukraine is my favorite city in the world. I first went out there in 2011 and realized that it was one of the most underrated cities I had ever been to. Fast forward years and a revolution later, I have come to realize that it is just not underrated, it is one of the greatest cities in Europe. The Ukrainian capital has been through a lot, but its resilience and personality have managed to shine through and make it an up-and-coming tourist hotspot.
The city has a lot to offer- UNESCO World Heritage Site, the world’s deepest metro station, cafes galore (and some of the best coffee I’ve ever had), fun nightlife, world-class food, and a lot to offer a traveler, whether they be into sports or museums or art. I look forward to seeing Kyiv emerge into its own over the years and it is definitely a place to add to your Europe travel list!
Megan from Megan Starr
This understated country provides unspoiled countryside in a quiet, somewhat secluded part of Europe. Visit the wineries and monasteries and mingle with the locals who bring this place to life. Visit Transnistria to step back in the times of the USSR. This is a pro-Russia separatist region that is still technically part of Moldova but acts as its own country. It has its own currency and you still go through immigration to enter.
Whilst visiting the country, make sure to try the wine. Moldova started making wine back in 3000 BC and still produces some of the best wines in Europe. Also, make sure to try the food in Moldova. Try Mamaliga, a porridge served with sour cream, or munch on brined cheese named Branza. Sarma is cabbage leaves stuffed with meat whilst Placinte is a sought stuffed with almost anything.
Macedonia is a spectacular place to visit and a photographer’s dream. Visit the mountains, lakes, national parks, and ancient towns during your stay here.
Picture yourself relaxing in the historic waterside town of Ohrid, surrounded by beautiful lakes, or wander around the capital full of monuments and museums. Ohrid Lake is one of the oldest and deepest lakes in Europe. It is estimated to have formed around 4 million years ago and is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Don’t forget to check out the Matka Canyon!
Underrated places to visit in Europe
The Swedish capital Stockholm also goes by the name “Beauty on water”. When you visit the largest city in Scandinavia, it’s easy to understand why. Stockholm is built on a handful of islands but getting around using the local transport system is not a problem at all. However, the city offers more to the visitor than its beauty. The Swedish capital is the perfect city for a weekend visit, offering the best mix you can find of sightseeing, shopping, culture, and incredible dining. If you haven’t been to Stockholm already, I’d suggest that you plan for a weekend visit in springtime next year.
Per Brogevik from Resrutt
My favorite European destination to date, Sarajevo, came as a surprise to me because before visiting I honestly didn’t know much about it apart from associations with the 1990s Balkan Wars.
Visiting Sarajevo in Bosnia and Herzegovina will not only give you an opportunity to educate yourself about the conflict and what took place there, but to also see the city from a completely different perspective too, one that is incredibly peaceful and beautiful, and that is absolutely worth visiting.
Sarajevo’s Old Town is one of the most gorgeous I have seen in all of Europe. It may not look all that different to some, but there is a special kind of atmosphere here that is hard to explain. A walk up to the Yellow Fort to see the picturesque views over the town at sunset is also a highlight.
Jessica from Notes of Nomads
Our favorite European destination is easily South Iceland.
It’s a truly unbelievable area with an incredibly diverse range of things to see – from geysers to glaciers to waterfalls!
There really is no shortage of incredible places to see in South Iceland. Firstly, there’s the largest volume falls in Europe – Gulfoss. If you want more waterfalls then there’s also the incredible Skogafoss and Seljalandsfoss, the latter of which it’s possible to actually go behind the waterfall itself!
Within Southern Iceland, you’ll also find the hugeMýrdalsjökull glacier, which truly is a sight to behold. Alternatively, there’s also the impressive Geysir geothermal area (from which the term Geyser originates), where you can see water erupt up to 30 meters high from the Stokkur geyser.
On top of this, there’s also the chance to visit a volcanic crater, a formidable canyon, and more! It’s easy to see why we love South Iceland so much!
Natalia from Something of Freedom
There are so many cities that are on my ‘have to go back’ list but my favorite, undoubtedly is the magical city of Edinburgh. Edinburgh is full of magical stories and fascinating history. Even on a cold day, the warmth of the locals will take you by surprise. If I ever had to write a book, I would sit back in one of the quaint cafes at the Royal Mile and pen down my thoughts, that’s the next thing on my bucket list.
No wonder the legend of Harry Potter was penned down in this historic city where J.K. Rowling decided to create magic with words. Another fascinating thing about Edinburgh is the walking tours that happen at the Royal Mile like the Ghost Tour, the Historic Walk, the Pub Crawl, and more. You can also taste the finest whisky, pick some for back home, appreciate some real talent from around the world at the road shows and have a cup and just walk around appreciating the architecture.
Chandni from The World of a Wishful Wanderer
If you’re searching for a more unknown European travel destination, Bosnia and Herzegovina in the Balkans is a great choice!
The small city of Mostar became an instant favorite of mine. Just walking around the narrow streets, greeting the friendly locals, and learning about the country’s troubled history was a highlight of all my European travels.
If you’re a little bit adventurous, you can even jump from the famous Stari Most Bridge. At 24 meters high, this beautiful icon of Mostar was built in the 16th century and rebuilt after it was destroyed in 1993 during the Bosnia and Herzegovina war.
This lesser traveled, but beautiful country is well worth taking the time to visit!
Ben from Horizon Unknown
Most romantic European cities
No matter how many times we visit Rome, we still experience that itching bit of excitement you get when you visit a place for the first time. Rome is our favorite European destination because there is so much to see and explore! Rome is full of ancient history and culture, amazing food, friendly locals, and many narrow cobble-stoned streets to get lost among. We love walking around Rome and encountering beautiful ancient ruins and historic buildings around every corner. Even though we have been to Rome three times, we still haven’t seen everything! Rome is an amazing place to go if you’re looking to be amazed by history and culture.
Kathrine and Pam from Everywhere Forward
Our favorite European destination is Rovaniemi, Finland, the place we call nowadays home. The city spreads over the Arctic Circle in Finnish Lapland and is a perfect destination for families and outdoor lovers in every season. The city’s top attraction is the Christmas-themed Santa Claus Village where you can meet with Santa all year round and shop for everything holiday-related souvenirs you can imagine. You can stop by the Arktikum (and other museums too) to warm up a bit and learn about Arctic life and nature.
In winter, you can observe the Northern Lights, and have a snowmobile tour across the snowy forests and frozen lakes, while the short summer offers white nights and numerous hiking opportunities in the nearby national parks. The city has an international airport, but local flights are also available from the capital, Helsinki. If you are a first-time visitor, I’d suggest coming between January and March. It’s still winter, but the days are already long and brights for all outdoor activities, yet the northern lights are still visible in the night sky.
Katalin from Our Life Our Travel
My favourite European destination is Madeira Island. This small Portuguese island is called “Pearl of the Atlantic” or “Hawaii of Europe” and that is what makes it so special. There are many beautiful destinations in Europe, but part of Madeira’s charm is exactly the fact that it does not feel like you are in Europe.
The warm weather, beautiful scenery, and exotic flowers of Madeira give you the impression that you are visiting a far, exotic destination, while at the same time the Portuguese culture makes you feel at home. Since it belongs to Portugal, all Europeans like me can get there in a couple of hours, with just an ID (and no jetlag..). All that makes Madeira a perfect mix of “exotic” and “easy” and is my favorite destination, especially for a short trip to catch some sun during the winter months.
Edyta from Say Yes to Madeira
On the Pest side, a walk on Vaci utca is the best way to get some people watching and window shopping done. At one end of the street, you can find the Great Market Hall. Pop and get some paprika to use at home.
At the other end, it’s the Danube Promenade. Walk to Chain Bridge, cross it, and you are on the Buda side. Walk up in the Castle District. Or even all the way up to the Citadella for some breathtaking views of Hungary’s capital.
Hungry for more? Back on the Pest side, walk on Andrassy ut until you get to Heroes’ Square. And now that you are here feed the ducks on the pond. Or enjoy the grounds of the Vajdahunyad Castle.
Tired? Time to relax at the baths. Or try some wine in a ruined bar. Don’t forget to try the amazing food in Budapest.
Many attractions in Budapest are included with the Budapest Card if you are staying in the city for a few days.
Cris from LooknWalk
With hilly streets and winding roads, this little town is the perfect place to escape to in Italy. This town does make for a lovely day trip from Rome but why not spend a few nights here to relax and unwind?
You can visit gelato bars and pizzerias without the many, many tourists that head to Italy each year. You can enjoy the soft sandy beach or visit the caves such as Grotta Delle Care. Take a stroll in Sperlonga Old Town to appreciate the gorgeous whitewashed houses and small alleys, making for perfect pictures. Visit Emperor Tiberius’s Palace and the archaeological museum before trying the specialties of the area; pizza and seafood.