Europe might be the second smallest continent in the world but it is full of wonderful places worthy of discovery. In fact, if you were to visit them all you’d be on the road for quite some time. The best thing about Europe is the diversity of landscapes, cultures, and religions. And to top that off, Europe has enough types of cuisine to keep any foodie happy!
All of this makes planning a European vacation rather hard. There’s so much to see and for many of us so little time! To help you out, we asked twelve of our fellow travel bloggers to share their favourite European destinations. Of course, we’ve added our own as well (although picking just one was almost impossible!).
By Nate from Travel Lemming
While some people might not even think of Georgia as part of Europe, don’t you dare say that to a Georgian. This gem of a country is every bit culturally and politically European, and you’d be remiss to overlook it when planning your next European itinerary.
Georgia packs a diverse array of cultural, natural, and culinary experiences into a tiny package. Its capital city, Tblisi, offers a charming Old Town within easy day-trip distance from gorgeous mountains and high-class vineyards. Meanwhile, on the Black Sea you’ll find the incredible city of Batumi, whose pebble beaches throb with the sounds of beach clubs during the summer evenings, all in the shadows of imposing modern architecture reminiscent of Singapore or Dubai.
And, for the adventurous types, head on up to secluded Svaneti – a land so isolated that for centuries it evaded capture by kings and armies that devastated the rest of the region. Hundreds of medieval watchtowers still guard the narrow mountain passes allowing access to Svaneti’s gorgeous untamed valleys.
If you’re not sold yet, consider that budget airlines are starting to operate direct flights from many other European destinations to Kutaisi and Tblisi, meaning that Georgia is more accessible than ever. And with prices that are a fraction of that in more popular European destinations, Georgia is a steal for the budget traveler.
By Jeremy from ComingHomeStrong
It is not so much the destination you go to that makes a place amazing, it is the experience you have there.
On a recent working holiday in the U.K, I did a fair bit of travel. Spain was easily on the hit list, so I visited Valencia twice. The vibrant coastal city is full of culture but is still dwarfed by the likes of Barcelona and is quite often missed on the typical tourist track.
Valencia is one of my favourite European travel destinations. I went during festival season. Once for La Tomitina, a party which is all about throwing tomatoes at strangers – an amazing day that can only be experienced.
The second time I went to Valencia was when the city was on fire, literally. Each year, in March, the crackles of fireworks can be heard throughout the city while the locals celebrate Las Fallas. The idea behind this one is that locals slave away all year to use all the leftover wood from the winter to make amazing monuments, only to have them burnt to a crisp over the course of a few days.
You really do get a taste for the culture from the second you arrive, with multiple parades through the city to various events and family friendly activities. Of course, as with any Spanish festival, there is plenty of food and drink to be had by all well into the early hours. A must-do for all travellers.
Click here to find your accommodation in Valencia. Any booking you make helps support this site, but won’t cost you any extra.
By Zainab from Discover With Zainab
Before I went to Amsterdam, my dad told me it was full of weed. Some people cracked jokes about space cookies and said to stay away from the Red-Light District. Yes, it’s legal to have weed as is prostitution. But anyone who’s been will agree that Amsterdam is so much more than that.
Riding a bike was exhilarating. It’s very safe, as the roads are wide and I cycled all the way from Oost to Jordaan, having not ridden a bicycle seriously since I was 7. There are museums galore to satisfy your curiosity in Museumplein. I enjoyed the Rijksmuseu, the Tropenmuseum and the Tulip Museum. Next time I go, I’ll hit up the Cobra Museum, the Sex Museum and the Torture Museum out of morbid curiosity. The food is gorgeous – as a burger lover I was in heaven. Needless to say the nightlife is good. It’s also great to walk in alongside the canals and take in the easy charm of the city. The laid-back people and vibe is the best bit of Amsterdam – it’s because of this that weed is legal, not the other way round. Amsterdam is one place that I would love to return to.
Click here to find your accommodation in Amsterdam. Any booking you make helps support this site, but won’t cost you any extra.
By Stephanie from Big World Small Pockets
No matter who you are and how hard you try, it’s impossible not to get swept away by the spectacle of Paris. Strolling along the Seine, passing some of the world’s grandest buildings, like the Arc de Triomphe, Notre-Dame and of, course the Eiffel Tower, I challenge anyone who visits this incredible city not to feel like they’ve just been catapulted into a movie set!
But more than this, I love Paris for the local streets and villages it holds too – from the small bakeries with their delicious array of baguettes, to the tiny florists and their exquisite flower displays, everywhere in this city a spark of independence, creativity and pride is present. Wandering local markets, parks and cobbled streets is really what I love about Paris and the fact, of course, that so much of this is free, is a definite bonus! Sure you have to visit Paris’ icons, but from the districts of SoPi in the north to the Latin Quarter in the south, Paris offers the visitor so many treats to experience for nothing as well.
Click here to find your accommodation in Paris. Any booking you make helps support this site, but won’t cost you any extra.
The Black Forest (Schwarzwald), Baden-Wurttemberg, Germany
By Roxanna from Gypsy With a Day Job
Ich Liebe den Schwarzwald!
Going where locals lead is excellent travel wisdom, and Schwarzwald, or the Black Forest, in Baden-Wurtemburg, Germany, is where many Germans holiday. I fell in love with the rolling green hills, and half-timbered houses.
Hundreds of kilometers of hiking and biking trails, are woven through the woodlands, interspersed with numerous multi-tiered waterfalls, and crystal clear glacial lakes, such as Titisee, or Bodensee. The air is crisp, and fresh.
Castles, basilica, and ruins dot the forest, as well as open-air museums, such as in Gutach, or Unteruhldingen, and the cuckoo clock trail runs through. History and myths abound. For moving, modern history, Natzweiller-Struthoff concentration camp, France, and Birkenkopf, in Stuttgart, (aka. Rubble Hill,) are a short drive away.
A holiday home or guest house is the perfect lodging in Schwarzwald. Hole up and relax, or make a different adventure each day.
Every town has something special, and France, Switzerland, Luxembourg, and Austria, are day trips.
Locals tip 1: Stay off that main tourist trail so widely touted. Everything there is available elsewhere, with smaller crowds and lower prices! Research, or ask a local.
Locals tip 2: When passing a roadside market, stop for a bottle of locally made Kirschwasser. Thank me later!
Click here to find your accommodation in Schwarzwald. Any booking you make helps support this site, but won’t cost you any extra.
By Alysha from Adventurous Alysha
Barcelona is most well known for it’s outstanding Gaudi architecture, such as La Sagrada Familia, and sunny beaches. But as incredible as those things are to see, Barcelona is much more than that. Wandering through the Gothic quarter on any day is pure magic. The gothic hides quaint cocktail bars, that will make cocktails for just 4 euro, and cheap simple foods that will explode your taste buds; like 80c baguettes, pizza and home-made samosas. Although Barcelona’s main beach doesn’t have very desirable water to swim in, the locals make it worth your while. Old Spanish men playing chess, beach bars playing live music, and the stretch of nude beach (if that takes your fancy). But the most amazing part about Barcelona is the city skyline. And what better way to see it than from Bunker del Carmel. Sitting atop one of the highest points in Barcelona, not only will you get in your fitness walking up there, but you’ll see views of the entire city that make even La Sagrada Familia seem small. A picnic here at sunset, followed by a trip to see Montjuic’s magic fountains, is a perfect way to end the day in busy Barcelona.
Click here to find your accommodation in Barcelona. Any booking you make helps support this site, but won’t cost you any extra.
By Matilda from @mecc_travels
The first time I went to Tallinn I didn’t expect much to be honest, but boy did I get a surprise. It’s a very underrated city in Eastern Europe. I have now been twice and loved it even more the second time.
The old town is perfect for a day tour, just wondering around on the cobblestoned roads. It reminded me of a film set and it was only missing knights. There are a few things you can’t miss while you visit:
- The Alexander Nevsky Cathedral is an amazing building that has to be experienced in person.
- Have a coffee break on the wall that surrounds the whole Old Town.
- The lookout points where you can see the town from above.
I would recommend going in the summer because they have so many nice outdoor bars and restaurants. But I can imagine it being magical in the snow too. Don’t miss out on this hidden gem while travelling in Europe.
Click here to find your accommodation in Tallinn. Any booking you make helps support this site, but won’t cost you any extra.
By Inge from Only Once Today
Located on the Adriatic coast of Croatia, Zadar is a true gem, waiting for you to discover it. Zadar has a comfortable mediterranean climate and is best visited in the months between June and September. The region has been popular since ancient times and evidence of human life long before our year numbering has been found close to Zadar.
This ancient town has a medieval feel to it and the old city center is amazing to stroll through. The waterfront walkway or Paseo Maritimo offers the best sunsets in the world, as you can see on the picture we took. On the same paseo, you can visit the Sea Organ which is a musical instrument, designed to make different sounds while the waves roll into the system. The Greeting to the Sun is right next to the Sea Organ. This fine piece of architecture lights up when the sun is setting.
Zadar is easy to reach by car, bus, train or plane. Once you’re there you can easily explore the city on foot. We recommend spending an entire day just strolling through the Old Town. On the second day you might want to take a boat excursion to the nearby Kornati National Park. This Croatian town is perfect for a short visit of 2 to 4 days.
Click here to find your accommodation in Zadar. Any booking you make helps support this site, but won’t cost you any extra.
By Bec from Wyld Family Travel
Poland would have to be one of our favourite places to visit. It is such a beautiful country, the people are amazing and the food is a foodies delight. We have visited some of its main cities and then we have spent time out in the rural areas with our friends. While many people do not consider it as a holiday destination we believe that you are really missing out if you don’t go there at least once.
In the winter you can ski, sled and enjoy a vodka to warm up after site seeing in the amazing towns there and in the summer you can hike, day trip to some beautiful little towns, see their local markets and then enjoy an amazing dinner or lunch for a fraction of what it would cost in a many other cities around Europe. You will never be hungry in Poland! It has something to offer everyone from the 13th century Wieliczka Salt Mine, WWII history in Auschwitz Concentration Camp to Medieval Castles you can spend the night in, the list is endless. Poland’s rich history and amazing landscape has something for everyone and will leave you wanting to go back to see everything you did not discover the last time. It did it to us!
Click here to find your accommodation in Poland. Any booking you make helps support this site, but won’t cost you any extra.
The Tarfala Valley, Sweden
By Aaron from AaronTeoh.com
Nestled deep among the mountains of Swedish Lapland, where glaciers slide into a pristine lake, is Tarfala Valley. I did a hike to the valley late in summer 2016 and was left much in awe of the raw beauty and power of nature. The image of rising glaciers and towering snow capped peaks surrounding a tiny cabin down by the lake left a deep impression.
The trek to the valley was not easy, with the trail rising over the tree line, passing the occasional waterfall, till eventually where nothing grew. There, out in the barren, rocky landscape, was where the magic began. Majestic glaciers flowed into the purest of lakes and I could not resist taking a sip of it.
At the end of the the valley, I found the cabin for overnight stays, run by the warmest gentleman. I was cold and tired, but it was all worth it. Sitting by the fire, sipping hot tea and chatting with fellow hikers while admiring the glaciers from a safe distance against the occasional flutter of snowflakes was a defining moment. That fleeting encounter quickly topped my list of experiences in Europe and I found it hard to leave when I eventually had to.
Click here to find your accommodation in Swedish Lapland. Any booking you make helps support this site, but won’t cost you any extra.
By Talek from Travels With Talek
Spain is loaded with fascinating cities. From the surreal architecture of Barcelona to the imposing fortresses of Toledo to the world-class cuisine of…well, everywhere! But there is one city that thrives under the radar and few travelers are even aware of; Oviedo, capital of Asturias province in northern Spain.
As expected for a city founded in 761CE, Oviedo is rich in history. But as interesting as the culture of Oviedo may be, one of the most surprising aspects of the city is its festive atmosphere. Some would refer to Oviedo as “Party Central.”
The city has three main sections reserved exclusively for good times. “Cider Street” has great regional cuisine and cider is served from bottles held up to four feet away from the glass. “Tapas Street” has a myriad of bars offering killer tapas. Finally, “North Street” offers gastronomic works of art at surprisingly reasonable prices.
Throughout these areas, local musicians wander in and out of the restaurants performing and encouraging the patrons to join in the revelry. Add to that some of the best wine in all of Spain and the end result is the Spanish version of a rip-roaring good time.
Click here to find your accommodation in Oviedo. Any booking you make helps support this site, but won’t cost you any extra.
By Free Two Roam
Many places in the world are labelled beautiful, but most can’t compete with Santorini. Santorini is breathtaking in a way that’s almost impossible to describe. This ancient volcanic island is totally unique and the most photographed of all the Greek islands. It offers hill-top white-washed villages, blue-domed churches, multi-coloured cliffs, spectacular views over the sparkling blue Aegean sea, unusual beaches and some of the most beautiful sunsets in the world.
You could spend all day admiring those jaw-dropping views, but there are lots of other things to do on the island. Visit charming villages, swim at the red or black sand beaches, tour the island on an ATV, hike the nearby active volcano, or take a sunset catamaran cruise. There are so many choices that it’s impossible to get bored.
We loved to sit outside at one of the many restaurants, taking in the spectacular views and indulging in some delicious Greek food, accompanied by a nice glass of local wine.
The highlight was our stay in a cave house in the Northern village of Oia, with its picture postcard setting and amazing view. Oia is also the best place to view the spectacular Santorini sunsets. What a great way to finish each day!
With its unforgettable beauty, Santorini captivated us like no other place has. We can’t wait to return there one day.
Click here to find your accommodation on Santorini. Any booking you make helps support this site, but won’t cost you any extra.
We hope this list provides you with inspiration for your next trip to Europe. And if you have been to Europe before, let us know your favourite destination.