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Europe, a continent bursting with vibrant cities, historic charm, and breathtaking landscapes, is undoubtedly a top destination for travelers around the globe. When it comes to listing the best countries to travel in Europe, one is spoilt for choice. From the stunning architecture of historic cities to the natural wonders that appeal to nature lovers, Europe is a tapestry of diverse cultures and picturesque landscapes.
In this comprehensive guide, we will embark on a journey through some of the best European countries, each offering its unique blend of rich history, gorgeous scenery, and culture. Whether you are drawn to the UNESCO World Heritage Sites scattered across the continent or the coastlines that frame beautiful countries, Europe has something for everyone.
How to Choose the Best Countries for Your Trip
Deciding which countries to visit in Europe can be a delightful challenge. With so many beautiful and historically significant places, from the ancient walled cities of Central Europe to the stunning countryside of the north, every traveler will find something to love. In this guide, we will explore the best countries to visit, each a gem with its impressive historical attractions, beautiful beaches, and history.
The Eiffel Tower in Paris, the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, and the Blue Lagoon in Iceland are just a few examples of the cultural heritage waiting to be explored. From the streets of bustling capitals to the quaint villages tucked away in the countryside, these countries offer a range of experiences.
Prepare to wander through cobblestone streets, marvel at medieval castles, and relax in charming country settings. We’ll introduce you to museums, picturesque towns, and stunning scenery that Europe is renowned for. Whether you are looking for a city break in bustling city centers or a peaceful retreat in national parks, our guide to the best European countries will help you plan an unforgettable adventure.
In the following sections, we will dive deep into each country, uncovering hidden gems, historical sights, and wonderful beaches that make these destinations the best countries to visit. From the northern lights of Scandinavia to the sunny shores of the Mediterranean, get ready for an epic journey through Europe’s most visited countries and their incredible sights.
France: The Romantic Getaway
Paris: The City of Lights and Love
No journey through the best countries to travel in Europe would be complete without a stop in France, renowned for its vibrant cities and picturesque landscapes. Paris, often referred to as the City of Lights, is a quintessential destination for anyone seeking the allure of a historic city. Stroll along the Seine, visit the iconic Eiffel Tower, and immerse yourself in the city’s incredible cultural heritage. The streets of Paris exude a romantic ambiance, making it a top choice for couples and art lovers alike.
Exploring the French Riviera
Venture south to the French Riviera, a coastline that has long attracted the world’s elite. This region offers a blend of luxurious resorts, quaint towns, and landscapes. From the glamorous streets of Nice to the sun-kissed beaches of Saint-Tropez, the Riviera is a showcase of France’s range of scenery and culture.
French Cuisine: A Gastronomic Journey
France is also celebrated for its culinary excellence. From the quaint villages of Provence to the bustling streets of Lyon, the country offers a gastronomic journey through some of the world’s most beloved dishes. Whether it’s savoring a fresh croissant in a Parisian café or enjoying a gourmet meal in a Michelin-starred restaurant, France’s food scene is a critical part of its charm. The country’s rich history in wine-making further enhances the experience, with regions like Bordeaux and Champagne offering world-class vineyards and wine-tasting tours.
Italy: A Blend of Culture and History
The Architectural Wonders of Rome
Italy, known for its vibrant cities, rich history, and stunning architecture, is undoubtedly one of the best countries to visit in Europe. Rome, the historic city at its heart, is a treasure trove of ancient history. From the Colosseum to the Roman Forum, the city’s impressive historical sights transport visitors back to the days of the Roman Empire. Strolling through the streets, you’ll encounter ancient ruins, landscapes, and some of the most famous historical sites in the world.
Venice: The Floating City
No exploration of Italy would be complete without a visit to Venice, a unique city built on water. Venice’s canal-lined cobbled streets, picturesque bridges, and culture make it a standout destination in Europe. The city’s stunning scenery, including the grandeur of St. Mark’s Square and the serenity of its winding canals, offers a truly unforgettable experience. For art and history enthusiasts, Venice is a living museum, with impressive historical attractions and ancient walled cities.
Italian Cuisine: More Than Just Pizza and Pasta
Italian cuisine is celebrated worldwide for its delicious flavors and variety. Beyond the famous pizza and pasta, Italy’s regional dishes reflect a diversity of culinary traditions. From the seafood specialties of coastal towns to the hearty fare of central Italy, the country’s food scene is as diverse as its landscapes. Tuscany, for example, offers a blend of countryside and rustic, flavor-packed dishes, while Sicily brings a unique mix of Mediterranean influences to its cuisine. Italian cuisine is an integral part of the country’s culture and impressive cultural heritage.
Spain: Vibrant and Diverse
The Festive Atmosphere of Barcelona
Spain, known for its rich history, stunning landscapes, and vibrant culture, is a must-visit on any European travel itinerary. Barcelona, the capital of Catalonia, embodies Spain’s diverse cultures and landscapes. The city is renowned for its stunning architecture, including the iconic Sagrada Familia and the whimsical creations of Antoni Gaudí. Barcelona’s coastal location adds to its charm, offering a unique blend of urban excitement and relaxing beach vibes. The streets are alive with colorful festivals, museums, and an infectious energy that makes it one of the best places to visit in Europe.
Madrid: A City of Art and Nightlife
Madrid, Spain’s central capital, offers a different yet equally compelling experience. Known for its sites, such as the Royal Palace and the Prado Museum, Madrid combines a rich cultural heritage with a lively contemporary scene. The city is a haven for art lovers, boasting an impressive collection of European masterpieces. Madrid’s nightlife is legendary, with vibrant bars and clubs that showcase the Spanish flair for life. The city’s picturesque parks and bustling plazas make it a perfect destination for those who enjoy a mix of history and modernity.
The Unique Cultural Heritage of Andalusia
Traveling to the southern region of Andalusia, visitors are greeted with scenery, ancient historical sights, and a unique cultural tapestry. Cities like Seville, Granada, and Córdoba are rich in history and beauty, featuring UNESCO World Heritage Sites like the Alhambra and the Mezquita. Andalusia is also the birthplace of flamenco, offering a glimpse into the soulful and passionate side of Spanish culture. The region’s picturesque countryside, dotted with olive groves and quaint villages, provides a tranquil contrast to the vibrant energy of Spain’s larger cities.
Germany: A Mix of Modernity and Tradition visit in europe
Berlin’s Historical Significance
Germany, with its blend of impressive historical attractions and modern innovation, stands as one of the best countries to visit in Europe. Berlin, the capital city, is a testament to Germany’s rich history and its resurgence as a vibrant cultural hub. The city’s historical sites, like the Berlin Wall and Brandenburg Gate, offer poignant reminders of the past, while its contemporary art scene and diverse cultures make it a dynamic place to explore. The city’s stunning architecture and vibrant street life exemplify the blend of history and modernity that characterizes Germany.
The Scenic Beauty of Bavaria
Venturing into the heart of Germany, Bavaria is a region known for its landscapes, quaint towns, and rich cultural traditions. The fairy-tale castles, like Neuschwanstein, and the stunning Alpine scenery are quintessentially German experiences. Munich, Bavaria’s capital, offers a unique blend of historical sights, like the Marienplatz and Hofbräuhaus, alongside modern attractions. Bavaria’s charming country settings, with their traditional festivals and warm hospitality, provide a glimpse into Germany’s cultural heritage and natural beauty.
German Engineering and Innovation
Germany is also celebrated for its engineering excellence and innovative spirit, evident in its museums and impressive historical sights. Cities like Frankfurt and Hamburg showcase Germany’s role as an economic powerhouse, with their impressive skylines and bustling business districts. The country’s commitment to sustainability is reflected in its national parks and initiatives for green living. From the automotive marvels in Stuttgart’s car museums to the technological advances displayed in Berlin’s science centers, Germany offers a fascinating journey through the past, present, and future of human ingenuity.
Greece: A Mythical Paradise
Athens: A Walk Through History
Greece, with its ancient historical sights and stunning coastline, is undoubtedly one of the best European countries to visit for those who cherish rich history and natural beauty. Athens, the nation’s capital, is a city where ancient history and modern life meet. The Acropolis is a symbol of ancient Greek civilization, offering incredible sights like the Parthenon. Walking through the city streets, one encounters a mix of sites and vibrant contemporary culture, making Athens a fascinating blend of the old and new.
The Magical Islands of Santorini and Mykonos
Beyond the mainland, Greece’s islands are a world of their own, with Santorini and Mykonos being among the most celebrated. Santorini, known for its scenery, features landscapes with white-washed houses and blue-domed churches perched atop cliffs overlooking the Aegean Sea. Mykonos, on the other hand, offers a vibrant culture with its lively nightlife, beautiful beaches, and country setting. These islands are not just landscapes; they are emblematic of Greece’s incredible cultural heritage and the diverse range of experiences the country offers.
Greek Cuisine: A Flavorful Odyssey
The culinary journey in Greece is as rich and varied as its landscapes. Greek cuisine, known for its fresh ingredients and flavorful dishes, is a delight for food lovers. From the bustling city streets of Athens to the picturesque villages on the islands, Greek food provides a taste of the country’s historical attractions and stunning natural wonders. Savor traditional dishes like moussaka and souvlaki, and indulge in fresh seafood from the national parks and coastal towns. Greek cuisine is an integral part of the country’s charming cultural tapestry.
Portugal: The Atlantic Treasure visit in europe
Lisbon’s Unique Charm
Portugal, with its stunning coastline, rich history, and vibrant culture, is a must-visit destination in Europe. Lisbon, the capital city, is a perfect example of Portugal’s unique charm. The city’s landscapes, characterized by colorful buildings and the historic Tram 28 winding through its streets, are a feast for the eyes. Lisbon’s history is palpable in its sites, such as the Jerónimos Monastery and the Tower of Belém, both UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The city’s blend of traditional architecture and contemporary culture makes it an ideal spot for travelers seeking a mix of historical and modern experiences.
The Picturesque Porto
Porto, Portugal’s second-largest city, offers a different but equally enchanting experience. Renowned for its stunning architecture and sights, Porto is a picturesque town along the Douro River. The city is famous for its port wine, charming country settings, and the Ribeira District, a colorful and vibrant part of the city. The combination of its ancient ruins, cobblestone streets, and modern cultural offerings makes Porto a highlight in the journey through Europe’s most beautiful countries.
Exploring the Algarve Coast
The Algarve coast in southern Portugal is a paradise for nature lovers and beach enthusiasts. Known for its beautiful beaches, historical attractions, and breathtaking landscapes, the Algarve is a showcase of Portugal’s natural beauty. From the stunning cliffs of Ponta da Piedade to the quaint towns like Lagos and Faro, the region offers a serene escape with its landscapes and tranquil coastal vibe. The Algarve’s parks and hidden gems make it an ideal destination for those seeking both relaxation and adventure.
Switzerland: The Alpine Wonderland
The Majestic Swiss Alps
Switzerland, a land of towering mountain ranges and picturesque towns, is among the most beautiful countries to visit in Europe. The Swiss Alps are a haven for nature lovers and adventure seekers alike, offering breathtaking landscapes and a range of outdoor activities. Whether it’s skiing in Zermatt, hiking in the Jungfrau region, or simply enjoying the scenery, the Alps are a testament to Switzerland’s incredible natural beauty. The country’s commitment to preserving its natural wonders is evident in its well-maintained national parks and conservation efforts.
Geneva: A City of Peace and Beauty
Geneva, nestled along the shores of Lake Geneva, blends stunning natural beauty with a rich cultural scene. Known as a global city and a center for diplomacy, Geneva’s historical attractions and vibrant culture make it a unique European destination. The city’s museums, sites, and international organizations, like the United Nations, offer insights into its significant role on the world stage. The blend of landscapes and cultural landmarks in Geneva epitomizes the diverse experiences that make Switzerland one of the best countries to travel to in Europe.
Swiss Chocolates and Watches: A Symbol of Excellence
Switzerland’s reputation for quality and innovation extends beyond its natural and cultural offerings. The country is renowned for its exquisite chocolates and precision timepieces, which are symbols of Swiss excellence. Visiting a chocolate factory or a watchmaking workshop offers a glimpse into the country’s impressive craftsmanship and attention to detail. While different, these industries both represent the Swiss dedication to creating products of the highest quality, contributing to the nation’s status as a top destination for tourists seeking natural and man-made wonders.
Austria: The Land of Music and Mountains
Vienna: A Cultural Hub
Austria, renowned for its stunning landscapes, history, and cultural contributions, especially in music, is one of the best countries to visit in Europe. Vienna, the capital city, is a cultural hub, known for its impressive historical sights and vibrant arts scene. The city boasts grand palaces like the Schönbrunn and the Belvedere, as well as the historic Vienna Opera House. Vienna’s coffee houses and classical music venues offer a glimpse into its incredible cultural heritage. The blend of historic sites, impressive architecture, and a thriving contemporary culture makes Vienna a must-visit for anyone exploring the best of Europe.
The Beauty of Salzburg
Salzburg, set against the backdrop of the Alps, is famous not only for its picturesque landscapes but also as the birthplace of Mozart. The city’s stunning architecture, with its fortress and baroque churches, complements the beauty of its surroundings. Salzburg’s charming old town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and its connection to the Sound of Music make it a unique destination for both history buffs and nature enthusiasts. The city offers a perfect mix of cultural landmarks, sites, and natural wonders, embodying Austria’s diverse range of attractions.
Austrian Cuisine: A Blend of Flavors
Austrian cuisine, with its blend of flavors and influences from various regions of Europe, is a key part of the country’s charm. From the famous Wiener Schnitzel to the sweet delights of Apfelstrudel, Austrian food is a reflection of its rich cultural tapestry. The country’s culinary scene is not just about traditional dishes; it also includes modern, innovative cooking that can be experienced in its many restaurants and cafes. Sampling the local cuisine in villages or bustling streets adds another layer to the experience of visiting Austria, combining the pleasure of the countryside with the delight of culinary exploration.
Netherlands: A Country Beyond Tulips
Amsterdam: The City of Canals
The Netherlands, with its landscapes and culture, is undeniably one of the best countries to visit in Europe. Amsterdam, the capital city, is famous for its historic canals, architecture, and rich artistic heritage. The city’s canal-lined cobbled streets and charming houses offer a quintessentially Dutch experience. Amsterdam is not only home to the Anne Frank House and the Van Gogh Museum but also a bustling contemporary art scene, making it a perfect blend of history and modernity. The city’s unique atmosphere, combined with its historical attractions, makes it a must-visit for anyone exploring Europe.
The Dutch Countryside: Windmills and Tulip Fields
The Netherlands is much more than its urban centers. The Dutch countryside, with its iconic windmills, beautiful national parks, and vibrant tulip fields, provides a serene escape from city life. Regions like the Zaanse Schans and the Keukenhof Gardens showcase the stunning countryside and the nation’s agricultural heritage. Exploring these areas offers a glimpse into the traditional Dutch way of life and the country’s commitment to preserving its natural and cultural landscapes.
Dutch Art and Innovation
The Netherlands has a long-standing reputation for its contributions to art and innovation. The country has been home to some of the world’s most famous artists, such as Rembrandt and Vermeer, and continues to be a center for artistic expression. The numerous museums and galleries across the country, especially in Amsterdam, display not only classic masterpieces but also contemporary works, reflecting the Netherlands’ rich artistic legacy. Additionally, the country’s advancements in areas like water management and sustainable living are impressive, further solidifying its status as a leader in innovation and a fascinating destination for visitors.
Daytrippers often go to Utrecht from Amsterdam, but there are plenty of reasons to visit for longer. It’s less crowded for a start. The city is over 2000 years old – the Romans built a fortress at what is now Dom Square, and buildings from the Middle Ages still stand in the city centre. It has all the charming Dutch canals of the capital (and according to travel search engine GoEuro, it’s the most beautiful canal city in Europe).
Belgium: A Hidden European Gem
Brussels: A City of Diversity
Belgium, often underrated for its charm and beauty, is among the best countries to visit in Europe for those who appreciate history. Brussels, the capital city, is a vibrant metropolis that offers a unique mix of history and modern European flair. Known for its stunning Grand Place, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and iconic landmarks like the Atomium, Brussels exemplifies the blend of ancient history and contemporary culture. The city’s diverse range of attractions, from its museums to its famous comic strip art, makes it a fascinating destination for travelers.
The Medieval Town of Bruges
Bruges, often referred to as the Venice of the North, is a picturesque medieval town that takes visitors back in time with its well-preserved architecture and cobblestone streets. The city’s canal-lined cobbled streets and tranquil atmosphere make it a must-visit for those seeking the charm of a city. Bruges’ history, coupled with its quaint cafes and artisan shops, offer a peaceful yet enriching experience.
Belgian Chocolate: A Sweet Experience
Belgium’s reputation for producing some of the world’s best chocolates is well-deserved. A visit to Belgium is incomplete without indulging in its exquisite chocolates, which are a part of the country’s cultural identity. From visiting chocolate factories to sampling treats in boutique chocolatiers, the experience is a delight for the senses. Belgium’s chocolate-making tradition, combined with its rich culinary heritage, adds another dimension to the country’s appeal as a destination with both stunning landscapes and impressive cultural landmarks.
Scandinavia: The Northern Lights and Beyond
Norway: Land of Fjords and Northern Lights
Scandinavia, comprising Norway, Sweden, and Denmark, offers some of the landscapes and vibrant cultures in Europe. Norway, in particular, is famed for its breathtaking beauty, including deep fjords, towering mountain ranges, and the magical northern lights. The country’s scenery is a paradise for nature lovers and adventure seekers. Cities like Oslo and Bergen combine historical attractions with modern Scandinavian design, offering a unique blend of the ancient and the contemporary. Norway’s commitment to preserving its natural wonders is evident in its numerous parks and sustainable living practices.
Sweden: A Blend of Modernity and Tradition
Sweden is a country that beautifully balances modern innovation with deep-rooted cultural traditions. Stockholm, the capital, is known for its architecture, spread across an archipelago, and its history. The city’s culture is reflected in its world-class museums, like the Vasa Museum, and its contemporary art scene. Beyond the city, Sweden’s countryside offers landscapes, villages, and a serene way of life. The country’s design sensibility, which focuses on simplicity and functionality, is evident in everything from its architecture to its everyday objects.
Denmark: Home of Hygge and Happiness
Denmark, often cited as one of the happiest countries in the world, is known for its concept of ‘hygge,’ a unique approach to living that emphasizes coziness and contentment. Copenhagen, the capital city, embodies this ethos with its charming streets, colorful buildings, and relaxed atmosphere. The city’s mix of history, such as the Amalienborg Palace, and modern attractions like the Tivoli Gardens, makes it a captivating destination. Denmark’s commitment to sustainability and cycling culture adds to its appeal, offering visitors a chance to experience the Danish way of life firsthand.
Tips for Visit in Europe
Choosing the Best Places to Visit in Europe
Europe is home to so many countries, each with its unique charm, making it challenging to decide which places to visit. From the historic cities in Italy and France to the natural wonders of the Scandinavian fjords, each European country offers a distinct experience. Consider what you’re most interested in – be it exploring beautiful countries like Greece and Spain, or delving into the history of places like Germany and the UK, including Northern Ireland. Researching the most visited countries and the best countries to visit in Europe can provide a clearer idea of what each destination offers.
Discovering Hidden Gems and Popular Holiday Destinations
While planning your visit to European countries, don’t overlook the hidden gems alongside the popular holiday destinations. Beyond the well-trodden paths in historic towns like Prague or Amsterdam, there are countless lesser-known locales worth visiting. For nature enthusiasts, Europe’s parks, such as Triglav National Park in Slovenia or the majestic scenery around Lake Geneva, are a must-see. These places offer incredible sights, away from the bustling city breaks, allowing you to immerse yourself in Europe.
Making the Most of Your European Adventure
European countries, landlocked countries with an abundance of cultural and natural attractions, are perfect for both short city breaks and longer explorations. From the bustling streets of London and Paris to the tranquil beauty of the Swiss Alps, each destination is worth visiting. To fully experience all the countries of Europe, consider a mix of well-known cities and off-the-beaten-path locations. This approach allows you to see the most visited country spots and uncover the charm of lesser-known areas. Each destination, whether it’s a national park or a historic city, contributes to Europe’s status as a top travel destination.