Top 20 Cities
To Visit in Europe

Our Top 20 Favorite Cities to Visit When Planning a Vacation

With all the history, beauty, and tradition Europe has to offer, it can be overwhelming to try and decide where to go first. From the Eternal City to The Blue Lagoon, here's our take on some of the most popular cities to visit in Europe and why you need to visit. 

Colosseum in the evening, Rome, Italy

Rome, Italy

It has been said that if you see just one city in Italy, perhaps even one city in all of Europe, make it Rome. With ancient treasures such as the Pantheon, Colosseum, and famed Trevi Fountain, there’s almost more to see and do here than a single trip will allow. In addition to the Roman Forum and the Vatican, you’ll also want to leave time to explore modern Rome through its outdoor markets and restaurants. The Eternal City is the ultimate European destination throughout the year, offering visitors a different experience in every season.

Visit Rome
Venice canal as seen from a gondola ride, Italy

Venice, Italy

While much of Italy is synonymous with romance, Venice offers the ultimate romantic getaway. The city welcomes visitors with its meandering streets, crooning gondoliers, and ancient historic sites. For a typical Venetian experience, stop by the ever-populous Grand Canal before enjoying a gondola ride through the city’s side canals. You also don’t want to miss a performance at the famed opera house, a trip through Doge’s Palace, and a chance to observe the local art of glassblowing.

Visit Venice
Guard on duty at Buckingham Palace, London, England

London, England

From the royal family to the iconic phone booths of yesteryear, London is a land that perfectly pairs history with modern times. Often draped in a misty fog cloud, this isle offers something for everyone. Fashion and shopping fans will enjoy time spent on Oxford Street while the foodie in your group takes in the legendary tea time at Harrod’s. Abbey Road is an epic spot for music and quaint bookshops, and who can travel to London without a trip by “Big Ben”, the London Bridge, and Buckingham Palace?

Visit London
Edingburgh Castle on hill, Scotland

Edinburgh, Scotland

This medieval capital conjures up images of kings and castles. The second most visited city in the United Kingdom, Edinburgh offers an exciting glimpse of Scottish culture. Immerse yourself in traditional art, music, theater, and culinary specialties. A visit to a Scotch whiskey distillery completes any trip here, and you’ll also want to save room for some of the local fares. If you’re seeking a world capital that has it all, from history and culture to picturesque panoramas, Edinburgh is where it’s at.

Visit Edinburgh
Dublin Castle, Dublin, Ireland

Dublin, Ireland

Did you know that Guinness beer tastes better here? Of course, there’s much more to do in the Emerald Isle’s most popular city. Highlights not to miss include St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Trinity College, the National Museum of Ireland, and Dublin Castle. A vibrant shopping scene offers the chance to shop for souvenirs while taking in Dublin’s traditional folk music, literary influence, and traditional dance.

Visit Dublin
Sagrada Familia, Barcelona, Spain

Barcelona, Spain

From hilltops to beaches, this vibrant city on the Mediterranean Sea offers the perfect blend of historic charm and modern convenience. Street art tours and a visit to Sagrada Familia Church reveal the influence of names like Gaudi and Dali. To experience a taste of Barcelona’s modern culture, be sure to take a stroll along the bustling La Rambla boulevard, visit the enormous outdoor Boqueria market, and sample a variety of tapas at the city’s many bars and cafes.

Visit Spain
Cibeles Fountain, Madrid, Spain

Madrid, Spain

Spain’s elegant capital is best known for its artistic treasures, from the Egyptian Temple of Debod, which was donated to Spain in 1968, to the great bear statue located in the central Puerta Del Sol. Take in the city’s neo-Gothic architecture and don’t miss a visit to the expansive Royal Palace. Madrid is unlike any other city in Spain and is not to be missed.

Visit Madrid
Red roofs of Alfama district in Lisbon, Portugal

Lisbon, Portugal

A celebrated capital city by the sea, Lisbon is famous for its museums and historic sites. Explore the city’s maritime past at attractions such as the Tower of Belem, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and Monument of Discoveries. Other cultural highlights include St. George’s Castle, Santa Justa Elevator, and the Feira da Ladra flea market.

Visit Lisbon
Two women walking at the base of the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France

Paris, France

History, art, and culture blend together seamlessly in this city that sparkles in every season. From strolling the halls of the Louvre to the lawn of the world-famous Eiffel Tower, the city of Paris has something for everyone. Take your time for lunch at a Parisian bistro, spend your evenings in sizzling Montmartre, the haunt of famous artists and writers including Picasso and Dalí, and take in a cabaret at the famous Moulin Rouge. The best way to experience Paris is to plan wisely and explore the city’s main attractions with local experts.  Whatever your fancy, take your time, as Paris is meant to be savored.

Visit Paris
Temple of Apollo, Athens, Greece

Athens, Greece

Often dubbed the cradle of Western civilization, Athens was arguably the most influential city of ancient times. The home of Greek mythology is beloved by travelers for its history and epic cultural offerings. Ancient ruins dot the capital city, including 5th-century Acropolis with the Parthenon temple, Temple of Olympian Zeus, and the Ancient Agora. Nestled in and among the ruins, the modern city offers a treasure trove of culinary and cultural delights sure to please. 

Visit Athens
Prague Castle and Vltave River, Czech Republic

Prague, Czech Republic

Known for its chic Bohemian attitude, Prague entices travelers with its unique cultural offerings and mixture of historic and modern sites. For a taste of local living, stop by one of the city’s cozy locales; most of the best pubs are hosted in cellars where you’re sure to find a vibrant nightlife year-round. Prague is also a popular destination for its general affordability and ease of accessibility to top sites.

Visit Prague
Lake, grass and mountains in Stockholm, Sweden

Stockholm, Sweden

If you see just one city in Sweden, make it Stockholm. The cultural, political, and economic center of the country, the city is one of the most beautiful capitals in all of Europe. Stroll along the cobblestone streets and beautiful waterfront in the medieval city center, or hop a boat and explore the surrounding 14 islands that comprise the archipelago. Don’t miss the renowned Nobel Museum and fascinating Vasa Museum, which houses an intact 16th-century ship that was recovered from the ocean floor.

Visit Stockholm
Blue Lagoon in Reykjavik, Iceland

Reykjavik, Iceland

Often dubbed the Land of Fire and Ice, Iceland is a geological wonder that has so much natural beauty it is hard to comprehend until you’ve seen it in person. One of the world’s safest cities, Reykjavik is known for an active nightlife and music scene as well as the milky blue-colored geothermal hot springs, “The Blue Lagoon.” Venture outside the city to see some of Europe’s most incredible natural wonders, including hundreds of waterfalls and volcanoes. Despite being the world’s northernmost capital city, Reykjavik remains temperate year-round and is a delightful destination any time of year. Travelers who wish to see the Northern Lights will want to plan a visit in winter.

Visit Reykjavik
Boats in Nyhavn, Copenhagen, Denmark

Copenhagen, Denmark

The city built on canals is known for offering some of the best culinary experiences in Europe’s Nordic countries. The city is famously progressive, noted for its dedication to being superbly pedestrian and cyclist-friendly. Danes are regularly ranked among the “happiest” people in the world, a fact that could be due in part to the significant emphasis on “comfort” as a lifestyle. While many popular tourist activities are free, including a trip to the city’s famed “Little Mermaid” statue, the cost of living here regularly tops the list of most expensive cities in the world.

Visit Copenhagen
Amsterdam bicycles and canal at sunrise, Netherlands

Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Best known for museums, bicyclists, pancakes, and canals Amsterdam offers a delightful glimpse of Dutch culture. Don’t miss the city’s top three attractions, the Rijksmuseum, Van Gogh Museum, and the historical Anne Frank House.

Visit Amsterdam
Statue in front of Hofburg Palace in Vienna, Austria

Vienna, Austria

Prepare for an immersion into food, art, music, and culture when you travel to this Alpine gem. Austria’s largest city features a former royal residence as well as a number of modern coffee shops. According to UNESCO, drinking espresso while in Vienna is an official cultural pastime! That means you’ll absolutely want to carve out time to rub elbows with the locals over a cup of hot coffee. And when it comes to the best views in town, Vienna’s architecture gives the surrounding mountains a run for their money. Be sure to take a walking tour that routes you by the Imperial Palace, the State Opera House, or the Kunsthistorisches Museum.

Visit Vienna
Brandenburg Gate with sunburst, Berlin, Germany

Berlin, Germany

A city that always feels on the edge of something exciting, Berlin is steeped in a rich history that is both romantic, modern, and controversial. While here you can visit the remains of the Berlin Wall, now covered in street art, or the official Weltzeituhr world clock. Or stop by the old stomping grounds of Napoleon and Beethoven for a traditional meal at the 16th century “Zur Letzten Instanz” restaurant, a traveler favorite.

Visit Berlin
Hagia Sophia at dusk, Istanbul, Turkey

Istanbul, Turkey

Lose yourself in Turkey’s most populous city as you soak in the timeless history of the Grand Bazaar and Spice Market in the square, or enjoy a local brew in one of the city’s many taverns. Istanbul is famed for its many open-air markets complete with open haggling for the best price. Of course, there are many other cultural sites you’ll want to see including the Galata Bridge and the famous Blue Mosque.

Visit Istanbul
Corinthia Grand Hotel Royal, Budapest, Hungary

Budapest, Hungary

Perhaps not the first city that comes to mind when you think about the great architectural capitals of Europe, but indeed, Budapest is home to some of the world’s greatest examples of Art Nouveau. Experience the grandeur of the Széchenyi Chain Bridge, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, as you walk across the famed Danube River. The Central Market, Heroes’ Square & Statue Park, and St. Stephen’s Basilica are attractions not to miss on a visit to Budapest.

Visit Budapest
Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood, St. Petersburg, Russia

St. Petersburg, Russia

Russia’s second-largest city, St. Petersburg is the cultural heart of this intriguing destination. The city sprawls over a large area and offers an impressive array of art and museums. In the evening the city comes alive with a vibrant nightlife scene. Highlights include the Winter Palace and Kazan Cathedral.