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Our world is a vast place, meaning that there’s an endless number of destinations waiting for you to visit. Picking just a handful of destinations to travel to each year can be a difficult task. So, it’s likely that you will want to visit places that are rich with culture, steeped in history, with plenty of natural beauty for you to gaze in awe at, and feasts of delicious and unique food for you to taste. This way, you can get the most out of your travels!
Europe is easily the most visited continent in the world and when you take a closer look at all the destinations it has to offer, this fact comes as no surprise. Plenty of European countries like Italy and France are known for their beautiful and vibrant locations - cities filled with intriguing museums, restaurants with exciting menus, gorgeous architecture, and so much more.
The biggest problem about visiting Europe is narrowing down which cities and locations you need to visit first! There are hundreds of amazing travel destinations in Europe but if you can’t visit them all due to time or budget constraints, then you need to carefully pick the European travel destinations that offer you the most.
This guide below features the top 15 European travel destinations for 2023. Check out the options below and find your next ideal travel destination!
1. London, England
One of the most renowned European countries is England and its capital London is easily one of the top travel destinations in Europe! Each year, London attracts around 20 million tourists from around the world as the city has so much to offer to suit the preferences of each visitor.
London itself is a very diverse and dynamic city in lots of different ways.
It’s an old city with hundreds of years of history melted into its architecture, layout, parks, and more. When exploring the city, you are sure to find plenty of statues and plaques all highlighting important moments in London’s (and the whole of Great Britain’s) history. A great way to really appreciate the rich history on offer here is by visiting the British Museum, where you can find around 8 million items that cover over 6,000 years of human history all in one impressive building!
Other great historical attractions in London include the Tower of London, the Houses of Parliament (where you can spot London’s most iconic landmark and the world’s most famous clock, Big Ben), and Westminster Abbey. Take a walk over to the Tower Bridge or the London Bridge and admire the view of the Thames, Great Britain’s longest and largest river, while appreciating the amazing architecture of both landmarks.
So, London is an amazing city where you can visit so many various landmarks and experience centuries (if not millennia) of history all in one place!
2. Rome, Italy
Rome is often called the Eternal City and taking a look at some of its most popular attractions and landmarks, it’s no mystery why!
This city is steeped with history thanks to the numerous Roman ruins found all around the city. There are landmarks with architecture dating back centuries. For example, the Trevi Fountain (Rome’s largest fountain and one of its most iconic attractions) dates back to 19 BC but features architecture from the 16th and 17th centuries! Other important landmarks to visit in the city are the ancient Colosseum, the Spanish Steps, the breathtakingly beautiful Sistine Chapel, and the impressive Pantheon.
Rome is definitely not short on landmarks or monuments to visit but there’s more to this charismatic city than buildings. Rome features the best of Italian cuisine that goes beyond the basic pasta dishes you enjoy at home. Here, you can experience authentic Italian cuisine from a plenitude of restaurants, cafes, shops, and more. For many, the food alone is enough for them to visit this city!
From pasta to gelato, fountains to ruins, Rome is rich with culture and history, making it a must-visit European location!
3. Santorini, Greece
For those looking for a romantic European destination, look no further than Santorini.
Santorini is a Greek island found in the crystal blue waters of the southern Aegean Sea. As a result, the island offers plenty of captivating scenery with gorgeous sunsets, shining volcanic beaches, and alluring calderas. These stunning views give Santorini heaps of charm and charisma, it is a popular honeymoon destination and perfect for photography enthusiasts.
The island also sees plenty of sunshine and high temperatures so it’s a hotspot in more ways than one. You can cool down with a trip to the beach and plunge into the waters of the Aegean Sea - or do the complete opposite by visiting the bubbling natural springs around the island. You can find plenty of secluded spots where you can relax and unwind!
There are also plenty of activities to do here other than visiting the hot springs or the beach. Santorini is covered with hiking trails for you to explore, and there are the ancient ruins in Akrotiri and Ancient Thera.There, you can learn more about Santorini’s long history.
Overall, Santorini is the perfect European travel destination for those looking for a romantic and relaxing getaway.
4. Barcelona, Spain
Barcelona is the 2nd largest city in Spain and the capital of the Catalonian community in the country. This makes it a very significant location in the country and a huge travel destination for travelers.
It’s also a very artistic city with architecture in the Art Nouveau style (characterized by its dynamism, movement, and asymmetry) and Old Gothic. This means that most of the architecture in Barcelona is incredibly unique and unlike anything, you can find elsewhere in the world. The city is also home to plenty of buildings and art by the late Catalan designer Antoni Gaudi, whose amazing work has had a massive influence on the world of art. Seven of Gaudi’s works are actually listed as UNESCO World Heritage Sites and these can all be found in or near Barcelona.
So, if you love art and architecture, Barcelona is definitely a city you need to visit! It’s easy to get lost in the winding maze-like streets of Barcelona and view all the amazing street art and architecture the city has to offer. The intriguing graffiti found on various walking tours also adds a more modern artistic flair to the city, truly making it an artistic city that rivals the likes of New York and Paris!
Barcelona is actually considered to be a great location for those looking for a leisurely vacation. The city also offers many rooftop terraces where you can enjoy the seaside views overlooking the blue Mediterranean Sea. So, even if art isn’t your thing, you can still visit Barcelona to immerse yourself in the rich Catalonian culture and drink in the warm Spanish sun.
5. Amsterdam, Netherlands
Europe is home to many amazing locations but one of the most fascinating cities is Amsterdam.
Many compare Amsterdam to something out of a fairytale thanks to its picturesque views. The sprawling canals, unique architecture, and plenty of colorful flowers and green trees all work together to give Amsterdam a peaceful atmosphere that is perfect for those looking for a charming European destination. Amsterdam’s canals are easily the main draw of the city as these rivers and their various bridges are the inspiration behind many paintings and photographs.
Art plays an important role in the city’s culture. Here in Amsterdam, you can find the famous Van Gogh Museum where you can see many of his most iconic pieces of art in person. On top of that, there is also the Rembrandt House Museum where you can learn more about Rembrandt and discover some of the inspiration behind some of his most impressive works.
Of course, there is a more sultry side to this European city that draws in all those who love the weird and wonderful. Other strange and unique things to do in Amsterdam include eating blindfolded at the CTaste restaurant, following the Crazy 88 Tour (that feels more like a treasure hunt as you explore parts of the city yourself), or viewing the mind-blowing art at the Electric Ladyland Museum of Fluorescent Art!
Amsterdam is more than just a pretty city. It offers so many things to do so that you can enjoy a fun-filled vacation packed with activities - no matter what you are into!
6. Dublin, Ireland
For those looking for a lively travel destination in Europe that is filled with character and energy, Dublin is the city for you!
This Irish city is known for its warm, welcoming atmosphere which makes it a charming place to visit. Visitors and guests are soon roped into the ‘craic’ - local witty banter that includes sharing news and gossip - although some people may be surprised to learn just how wicked a typical Dubliner’s sense of humor is!
Dublin is home to plenty of green spaces to wander and explore, sporting venues where you can enjoy watching popular sports like Rugby (Ireland’s men's rugby team is currently ranking first in the world!), and plenty of classic Irish landmarks like Giant’s Causeway or Blarney Castle are just a day trip away!
One overlooked feature of Dublin is its long and important literary history. Classic authors like Oscar Wilde and Bram Stoker are from Dublin and as a result, you can take many different literary tours around the city. You can also find the iconic Long Room Library in Dublin, where many important literary works are kept safe and sound (like the Book of Kells). So, bibliophiles will definitely adore this city!
If it’s an interesting culture and character you are looking for in your ideal European destination, then Dublin is definitely a city for you to consider. The atmosphere here is unlike anything else in Europe and its unique charm makes it a wonderful place to visit.
7. Stockholm, Sweden
Stockholm is a city that celebrates its long, rich history by holding its unique traditions while still incorporating many modern features. This makes it an incredibly dynamic city with so much to offer its visitors.
Here, you can take a tour back in time to learn more about the fearsome Vikings or explore the city yourself with plenty of self-guided walking tours. These allow you to discover some of the most stunning and intriguing areas of Stockholm including Old Town - the city’s original city center that is home to numerous colorful buildings all squished together with unique architectural styles!
Stockholm is also considered to be a very chic travel destination as it is home to numerous boutiques, hotels, and restaurants that offer luxurious experiences. Although Stockholm may not be regarded as a ‘fashion capital’ it certainly has its own regal sense of style with beautiful waterside views and green parks.
What makes this city especially unique is how it stretches across 14 islands, all connected by bridges and public transport. So, when visiting Stockholm, you need to try out a ferry tour or two to truly appreciate the wonder of this city! Plus, just outside the city, you can also find numerous hiking trails that lead to some spectacular views and areas of historical importance so there’s plenty to discover in and around Stockholm!
As a result, Stockholm is a stylish European city that is perfect for explorers with a strong sense of adventure!
8. Berlin, Germany
The capital of Germany is a European destination at the top of most travelers’ lists - and for good reason! Berlin is considered to be a cultural hub for Germany where you can experience the best of the country’s food, traditions, and more!
There are plenty of museums scattered around the city and each offers new and important insights into various aspects of Germany’s culture and history. There are fun interactive museums like the German Spy Museum where you can learn more about espionage, or museums like the Topography of Terror museum and the Palace of Tears which offer educational experiences regarding the more troubled chapters in Berlin’s history.
Another great reason to visit Berlin is the food. You can easily find numerous cafes and restaurants where you can try out some of Germany’s best dishes. You simply can’t visit Berlin without trying its famous currywurst (curried sausage)! If you are lucky enough to visit Berlin during the Christmas holidays, then you can visit the many magical Christmas markets available here. There you can try all kinds of sweet treats and cozy warm drinks while you shop around.
Shopping is a huge part of Berlin culture with the iconic Mall of Berlin, KaDeWe department store, and the Alexa Mall all packed with amazing stores for you to visit!
With so much on offer in terms of cuisine, culture, and history, there’s really something for everyone in Berlin!
9. Prague, Czech Republic
Many of Europe’s cities have a turbulent history that gives them rich, interesting stories. These stories are told not just in the museums but in the buildings and landmarks of each city - and no city has a better story to tell than Prague.
Prague is a city rich with history and architecture as many of the buildings in this city capture the best features of architectural styles and movements from centuries ago. There’s the old Charles Bridge with its impressive collection of Baroque statues but also Old Town Square which boasts the Orloj (an incredible golden astronomical clock). There, lots of buildings from various periods remain, from the Baroque period through the Renaissance, to 19th-century Neoclassical, all working together like a patchwork quilt of architecture! Walking through Old Town is like walking through the entire history of Prague so it’s definitely a part of the city every tourist must visit!
There’s also Prague Castle - the largest ancient castle in the entire world with an area of almost 750,000 square feet! The place is so huge that there are tons of different tours which explore various areas of the castle’s complex!
On top of this, Prague is a great destination for those wanting a leisurely, relaxing vacation. The city has some amazing views and restaurants where you can eat outdoors alongside some of the various rivers that run through Prague. The locals are incredibly hospitable and welcoming, and the food is exquisite. So, there are plenty of amazing reasons to visit Prague this year!
10. Copenhagen, Denmark
One of the friendliest, most welcoming cities in Europe is easily Copenhagen. This city is known for its charming ambiance and warm atmosphere, making it the perfect destination for travelers who love meeting new people and exploring new cultures.
There’s a strong cafe culture in Copenhagen (coffee pretty much runs through the blood of most locals) and these cafes typically line the quays of this city. So, you could be leaning back while enjoying a delicious cup of Danish coffee while admiring the ships, yachts, and boats docked just a few feet away from you.
Because Copenhagen is set on the coast of Denmark, it has a very strong nautical theme that shines through the culture of the city. From the colorful quayside buildings, all lined together to the wide variety of seafood available at numerous restaurants, there’s no denying that this city has embraced its natural surroundings and incorporated them into much of the city’s identity. There are also plenty of boat tours so you can explore the various canals that run through Copenhagen and view the city from a whole new angle!
If you are looking for something more exciting in Copenhagen other than relaxing strolls and boat tours, then why not visit one of the city’s biggest attractions - the Tivoli Gardens amusement park? Here you can try some truly thrilling theme park roller coasters and rides to really get your heart racing! Plus, the park also hosts various festivals for food and flowers, shows for both theater and dance as well as music parties and concerts!
So, there are plenty of things to do in Copenhagen. Whether you prefer a quiet relaxing vacation or one that’s packed with exciting activities, you can tailor your Copenhagen experience to meet your needs.
11. Paris, France
Paris hardly needs an introduction - everyone knows about the city of love, the romantic atmosphere, the city’s strong connection to art and fashion, and all the amazing cuisine on offer at the various restaurants and cafes!
It’s packed with familiar landmarks for you to visit but one of the most popular is easily the Eiffel Tower. This landmark is considered a national symbol for the whole of France, created to commemorate the French Revolution, making it culturally and historically important. You can climb the Eiffel Tower and visit the many exhibits, viewing decks, and even a restaurant and champagne bar where you can admire Paris from above.
You can also visit some of Paris’s other iconic landmarks like the Arc de Triomphe and Notre Dame Cathedral. If you love art, the Louvre museum to admire some of the world’s most impressive pieces of art like the Mona Lisa or Liberty Leading the People. If you are looking for alternative and unique experiences Paris can offer you then why not visit the creepy catacombs under the city’s surface? Or enjoy a saucy cabaret show at the Moulin Rouge?
Paris is easily one of the most iconic European cities so it just makes sense that it’s also one of the top 15 European travel destinations. This city is timeless and truly has something for everyone.
12. Krakow, Poland
When most people visit Europe, they typically stick to locations on the western side of the continent - but Eastern Europe also has plenty of marvelous destinations for you to visit too! One of the very best destinations is Krakow, one of the oldest and largest cities in Poland.
Krakow is one of the most underrated travel destinations in Europe. Although its name may not be as familiar to you as the likes of London or Paris, it rivals the cities in terms of culture, history, and activities.
As Krakow is a very old city, it has a ton of history seeped into it. There are lots of museums to visit with one of the best being the Rynek Underground. This museum is built directly underneath the city and has a unique creepy vibe as you wander through the old stone halls and view the various skulls and items on show. Krakow is also a short drive away from the Auschwitz concentration camp so if you are eager to learn more about the city’s history, you can book one of the many life-changing tours. It’s a pretty emotional experience that won’t suit everyone but it remains one of Krakow’s most popular locations.
On the complete opposite side of the scale, Krakow also offers many different towers climbs. You can reach some of the highest points in the city by scaling various cathedral towers and enjoying the view! So if going undergrown is not your thing, do the complete opposite and admire Krakow from above!
It’s also the ideal destination if you want to explore and experiment with Eastern European cuisine and try some alternative yet authentic dishes - and all for a criminally low cost! Krakow is the ideal destination for anyone looking for an affordable getaway while still getting the very best of European culture!
13. Florence, Italy
Italy has one of the most amazing cultures on the planet so it’s no wonder that many of its cities are frequently visited by tourists each and every year. One such city is Florence - a city in central Italy that serves as the capital of the region of Tuscany.
A lot of Italy’s best dishes are Tuscan and if you love trying authentic cuisine, there’s no better place than Florence. Here you can visit the many restaurants and sample all of Tuscany’s best meat dishes, desserts, and cheeses.. One of the most widely recommended foods to try is Florentine steak (sorry if you’re vegetarian or vegan). This steak is traditionally made with lemon and chestnut seasoning to give it a unique and distinctive flavor. Just remember, Florentine steak is only served rare!
So, Florence is a great destination for foodies but there are plenty of other attractions to draw your interest. Florence is also home to the Piazzale Michelangelo, where you can view some of the best views of Florence alongside replicas of Michelangelo’s most famous sculptures. The Piazza della Signoria is also one of the most impressive squares in Italy with fountains surrounded by various statues. So, if you love art and sculptures, Florence is a good destination for you!
Like many Italian cities, Florence is a great destination whether you love art, history, or food!
14. Cappadocia, Turkey
Turkey is one of the most eastern countries in Europe and it’s home to some of the most gorgeous beaches and breathtaking historical locations on the continent. One of its most marvelous locations is Cappadocia. This historical region in Turkey is actually a UNESCO world heritage site and is the ideal destination for outdoor enthusiasts and history lovers alike!
Cappadocia is known for its spectacular rock formations with underground cities, churches and frescoes carved into natural rock, and fairy chimneys (tall rock cylindrical pillars). The area is vast with lots of great walking and hiking trails that will lead you through the various valleys and canyons. So, if you love the outdoors, this is definitely one of the most interesting places for you to explore!
If you want to admire Cappadocia’s amazing scenery from a whole new angle, then why not go on one of the region’s iconic hot-air balloon tours? You can fly above the region in a bright colorful hot-air balloon or keep your feet firmly on the ground and just admire the sight of dozens of balloons lifting off from afar!
And, to top it all off, you can even stay in a rock hotel that is built directly into natural stone formations! It’s such a cool and unique experience you are unlikely to have anywhere else!
15. Vienna, Austria
Finally, we have come to the last entry on our list - Vienna.
Vienna is the capital city of Austria and can be found just out of sight of the Alps (which are only a car drive away). Like most European cities, this city has a ton of history and culture behind it and this can be seen in some of Vienna’s most iconic landmarks. This includes Schonbrunn Palace, a sprawling regal castle with beautiful gardens you can spend hours exploring, St. Stephen’s Cathedral, and the Austrian National Library which has a jaw-dropping hall with ceilings and floors covered in intricate murals and paintings!
Vienna also has a unique close relation to music which makes it stand out against other European cities. Here, you can attend various evening classical music concerts and understand why Vienna is known around the world as the city of music! It’s the home of some of history’s greatest composers (Mozart and Beethoven were both Viennese) so visit the Vienna to channel some of that musical influence and inspiration!
During the day, Vienna’s cafes open their doors and there you can stop by for a cup of coffee and a delicious Viennese sweet treat. Vienna is renowned for its own unique coffee blend as well as its cakes, pastries, and desserts so when visiting this amazing European city, make sure you sample as many as possible!
So, Vienna is a culturally rich city with plenty of architectural masterpieces for you to admire. If you love music or just love a really good cup of coffee, Vienna is the city for you!
Europe is a continent rich with culture and history so there’s an ideal travel destination for everyone.
From the friendly and witty city of Dublin all the way to the breathtaking landscapes of Cappadocia, up to the chic boutiques of Stockholm to the sandy shores of Santorini, there are tons of amazing places to visit in Europe!
Check the list above to find your ideal European travel destination for 2023! Good luck and happy travels!