While Europe may be the world’s second smallest continent in size, it more than makes up for this in terms of history, culture and amazing destinations to visit. In fact if you just decided to travel around you Europe, you would be spoilt for choice in terms of place to go. As much as we know you would love to spend a year travelling around Europe (us too!), we realise that is probably not realistic for most of our readers. We’ve decided to take the hassle out of choosing where to go for you by showing you 5 fantastic European destinations to visit:
“When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford.” This is a famous quote about London from the writer Samuel Johnson during a conversation he had back in 1777, but it is still more than relevant today.
For many decades London has been vying for the title of greatest city in the world with New York, with the former predominantly coming out on top. Well that was the case, until recently when the UK capital finally overtook its rival to claim its spot at the top of PricewaterhouseCoopers best city in the world report, and this year it extended this lead. London has also ranked second in the 2016 Mastercard Global Destinations Cities Index in terms of total number of international overnight visitors.
Clearly this is a city worth visiting, and for obvious reasons! There are an incredible array of iconic historical buildings and features to take in such as the Houses of Parliament, Buckingham Palace and Trafalgar Square, a wide selection of shops from small independent boutiques to some of the largest shopping malls in Europe such as Westfield in Stratford, and wonderful museums and galleries, many of which are free. Forget what you think you know about British cuisine, in cosmopolitan London you can literally try any type of food you want from Malaysian, to Greek, to Italian and even modern British. Around almost every corner there is something unique to see, do, eat or drink, so you will certainly not get tired of London!
2. Rome, Italy
Walking around Rome, the capital of Italy, has often been described as like walking around a giant open air museum and in many ways this is a very accurate description. This is because it seems at every turn there is an incredible historic building to visit, a beautiful ancient fountain to marvel at or any number of other picture perfect artifacts and icons. One of Rome’s nicknames is The Eternal City and when you see all of the incredible history it has to offer you will start to see why. The other famous nickname for Rome is The City of Fountains which is definitely fitting considering there are 2000 fountains in all! One of the most famous and iconic is the Trevi Fountain:
Rome is one of the oldest and most important cities in Europe, with a population of 2.9 million residents, the most in Italy and the fourth-most populated city in the European Union by population within the city limits. While not as economically rich as some of the northern Italian cities such as Milan, it more than makes up for this in terms of historical importance and beauty. Rome, like Italy is a place rich in culture, delicious food and drink and an exciting atmosphere. It is also a place of contrast being both the home of the Vatican and La Dolce Vita!
3. Barcelona, Spain
Barcelona is the capital city of the autonomous community of Catalonia in the North-East of Spain and is the country’s second most populous city, and sixth most populous urban area in the European Union. It offers a unique blend of Catalan and Spanish culture, making it an absolute gem of a city to explore.
There is distinctive architecture, delicious food and drink and wonderful sunny weather throughout much of the year due to its excellent location. You will find Europe’s best-preserved Gothic Quarter, as well as some superb architectural works by Gaudi. This includes La Sagrada Familia cathedral which is considered by many to be Gaudi’s masterpiece. It remains unfinished but your entrance fee will help to fund the project.
As with much of Spain there is a lively nightlife and you will find that if you decide to go for a night out, the Spanish are only just heading out at 11pm or later. This is a far cry from the UK where many pubs and bars are already closing at this time! It is an excellent place to party because in general people are out to enjoy meeting up with friends, conversations and music, rather than getting drunk.
4. Lisbon, Portugal
Lisbon is smaller than the other cities mentioned, but what it lacks in size it more than makes up for with beauty and culture, making it an absolutely fascinating city for a stroll. It may be smaller in comparison but there is plenty to do in Lisbon and it will take several days to explore the city centre, as there is no true central district. It has a population of around 552,700 people within its administrative limits, but its urban area extends beyond the city’s administrative limits, extending to a population of 2.7 million people, making it the 11th most populous urban area in the European Union. It is in fact continental Europe’s Western most capital city and the only one along the Atlantic coast.
— VisitLisboa (@TurismodeLisboa) 19 October 2016
Despite its place facing the Atlantic Ocean, the city is blessed with a warm Mediterranean climate. It is the perfect place for a family holiday with its mix of contemporary culture and traditional architecture. It is full of bleached white buildings and intimate alleyways that are perfect for walking around and exploring with plenty of beauty to discover. This includes fascinating art galleries, churches with amazing architecture, independent restaurants and cafes serving delicious delicacies and also plenty of great beaches to work on the perfect tan!
5. Budapest, Hungary
Heading eastwards, you will find Budapest, the stunning capital city of Hungary, known as the “Queen of the Danube” which is steeped in incredible architecture and history. It is a city of spas with over 15 million gallons of water bubbling daily into 118 springs and boreholes. Throughout the city you can enjoy an astounding array of wonderful natural spa baths from a dramatic 16th-century Turkish pool, the vast 1913 neo-baroque Szechenyi Spa to Rudas Spa,, to the sparkling Gellert Baths. You are spoilt for choice in terms of this luxurious experience!
This is a much loved destination of choice among travellers due to the sheer diversity of culture, natural beauty and history that you can discover here. This includes a number of iconic Roman ruins such as Heroes’ Square and Statue Park, the Aquincum Museum, and the 300-foot dome of St. Stephen’s Basilica which is ranked 10th overall in terms of most photographed buildings in the world. We suggest you get your camera (or phone) ready when exploring this city as you are definitely going to need it.