There are too many beautiful places to visit in Europe to ever see in a lifetime, let alone list. Almost everywhere you turn in Europe there is an amazing blend of history, culture, food, adventure, and charm.
From small towns and villages to enchanting cities, here are our favorite places to visit in Europe!
Best Places to Visit in Europe
Jungfrau Region, Switzerland
The Jungfrau Region is a region in the Bernese Oberland of Switzerland. It sits at the foot of the Bernese Alps and consists of popular places in Switzerland like Lauterbrunnen, Grindelwald, and Interlaken.
While I could have noted all these Swiss destinations individually, they are all equally impressive and all worth visiting.
Lauterbrunnen Valley, for example, is one of the most spectacular destinations in all of Switzerland. Its alluring terrain of towering mountains and verdant valleys is full of natural wonders and quaint villages to explore. Its main highlight is the viral Staubbach Falls, a tall Swiss waterfall cascading into the town below.
Interlaken is well known as the capital of adventure sports in Europe, while Grindelwald is a beautiful place in both winter and summer. We particularly love heading up Grindelwald First in the winter for skiing and enjoy taking a mountain cart down the side of a mountain in the summer!
Stroll around the 16th-century architecture, and you’ll see why this town has quickly shot up to a prominent European hot spot and is one of the best places to visit in Europe.
It’s easily one of the most beautiful places to visit in Europe, and if you can book far enough in advance to get a good deal on accommodation and stay in the actual town, then consider yourself lucky!
Fun fact about Austria – it’s a landlocked country – so you’ll have to get out on the lakes for water enjoyment. Thankfully Hallstätter See is a beautiful one, and one of the best things to do in Hallstatt is rent a small boat and enjoy Hallstätter See! Step away from the crowds and take in the area from the water.
Landmannalaugar is Fjallabak Nature Reserve in the Icelandic Highlands. It sits on the edge of a lava field formed in an eruption in the 1400s. Landmannalaugar is off the traditional Icelandic tourist path as you need to have a 4×4 vehicle to visit.
Many beautiful movies have been shot here, which has many people putting in the effort to visit. There are also some fantastic geothermal hot springs and hiking opportunities. It’s not only one of the best places to visit in Europe but one of the most beautiful places in the world.
North Coast 500, Scotland
The North Coast 500 in the Scottish Highlands has been dubbed “Scotland’s Route 66” and named “one of the greatest road trips in the world.” We knew we had to drive it when we first learned of its existence.
Our road trip here was breathtaking and left us wanting more of the Scottish Highlands. It is a place that will always require “more time” because it’s likely you’ll never have enough. The North Coast 500 is epic, and few roads trips around the world even compete for its beauty.
Along the whole route, you’ll pass caves, beautiful beaches, and stunning towns that will take you back in time.
The Algarve, Portugal
Europe is no stranger to gorgeous beaches with the Mediterranean, Adriatic, and Black Sea, but the Algarve may be home to some of the best beaches on the continent.
The Algarve beaches have the tastiest waves, cleanest water, and most dramatic landscapes. To top it off, the Portuguese coasts boasts an average of 300 days of sunshine each year, so if you visit, you’re likely going to get some fantastic weather.
Head here and see a new beach every single day. Our favorites are Praia do Tonel, Praia da Marinha, and Praia do Camilo. You can easily base yourself in the stunning city of Lagos so you can enjoy coffee and a Pastéis de Nata.
Cape Greco, Cyprus
Cape Greco near Ayia Napa in Cyprus is one of the most incredible places to visit in the entire country. Every time we visit Cyprus, we make it a point to head here for cliff jumping, cave exploring, and snorkeling. Even though it’s not a sandy beach in Cyprus, it provides just as much excitement.
The cliffs around Cape Greco are perfect for lounging in the sun, and on calm days you can climb down to go swimming in the sea caves. The waters around Cape Greco are a dreamy blue, and the rock formations are something out of this world.
Zakopane is a Polish town in the extreme south of the country next to Slovakia. It’s in the Podhale region, nestled at the foot of the Tatra Mountains. It’s about 110 km from the central city of Krakow and will take you about two hours of drive time to get there by bus or car.
If you seek a European mountain destination but don’t want to spend the small fortune that you would have to in Switzerland, consider visiting Zakopane.
Zakopane is an outdoor wonderland that provides visitors access to snow-capped peaks, waterfalls, alpine forests, mountain lakes, wildlife, quaint towns, and meadow-filled valleys.
The Carpathian Mountains are the second-highest mountain range in Europe, behind the Alps. Zakopane offers visitors a wide range of sports such as mountain biking, hiking, paragliding, and some of the cheapest skiing in Europe!
Zermatt is a great car free village in upper Valais, the third-largest canton of Switzerland. It’s well known for being home to the famous Matterhorn and having a beautiful and luxurious mountain town in winter and summer.
Besides the iconic Matterhorn, the rest of Zermatt is surrounded by some colossal peaks, and at every turn, you’ll be astonished by the view. The charming village lies right below the iconic Matterhorn peak and is easily one of Switzerland’s best places to visit.
In the summer, fun activities include mountain biking, hiking, and riding the Gornergrat. While in the winter you can enjoy some of the best skiing in Europe, followed by a lively Apres-ski seen in the many mountain huts!
Bled is a resort town in Slovenia, well known for the glacial Lake Bled at the foot of the stunning Julian Alps. In the middle of Lake Bled is a small island with the picturesque Pilgrimage Church of the Assumption of Maria. Bled Island draws many visitors to Bled, and a popular thing to do is rent a rowboat and row around the island.
There is also a grand castle here and plenty of beautiful hiking opportunities. This is one of the most beautiful places in Europe, and a must-visit if you are in Slovenia.
I’m not much for capital cities, but Vilnius the capital of Lithuania is one of the most charming in Europe. Walk cobblestone streets in Europe’s largest old town. The city center here is the largest preserved example of baroque architecture in Europe. It’s littered with Catholic and Orthodox churches. No matter where you are in the city, you can see the ever-present Gediminas’ Tower.
Wandering here you’ll never be too far away from small cafes, charming shops, restaurants, art, and history. Vilnius is also close to Trakai Castle – one of the best places to visit in Europe!
Mont St Michel, France
Mont-Saint-Michel is a highlight for any trip to France, and Europe for that matter. The historical abbey-topped island sits in a picturesque bay and feels more at home in a fairytale than reality. The abbey was founded in 966 and held a claim that the archangel Michel had a role in its founding.
For centuries, French Royalty supported it, survived the English Armies, and drew in pilgrims in search of religious knowledge. Now, Mont Saint Michel is an icon of France and a breathtaking sight to see.
With the grand towers and spires of the abbey that sits atop the rock and the winding lanes and back alleyways to discover, it remains an enchanting place to explore that will have you feeling as if you are in a Disney movie.
The mountain village of Vals and the surrounding areas are perhaps one of the most interesting areas of Europe you haven’t even heard about. Vals is located 1250 meters above sea level deep in the Vals Valley. The village is small and quaint, with original grass roofed houses in all directions.
Many water forces surround the valley, and just driving into the village you’ll pass endless waterfalls. There are some excellent hiking opportunities around the Vals Valley, but the area is known for one main thing throughout Switzerland: the Vals spa and thermal pools.
The 7132 Therme Vals spa comprises 60,000 slabs of the local Vals quartzite and disappears into the landscape. It is a landmark in the world of architecture, and you don’t need to be an architect to appreciate the building as its fame is apparent.
Stone slabs resemble a cave, and its design highlights the landscape outside from within, and the spa’s exterior disappears into the hillside.
It’s a spa that allows guests to disappear into the landscape in a fog of steam and natural thermal waters. The spa is open to guests of the hotel and non guests, though guests of 7132 get special access at certain times of the day.
Innsbruck is the capital of Tyrol, Austria’s western state. It is the fifth-largest city in Austria and is a popular stop for many on a European road trip. Though Innsbruck may be a city, it is one of the most beautiful cities I’ve ever visited.
Innsbruck is well known for being an internationally known winter sports mecca. The city hosted the 1964 and 1976 Winter Olympics and the Winter Paralympics in 1984 and 1988.
It’s a great spot to ski and snowboard in the winter while providing plenty of summer hiking opportunities. Innsbruck is a colorful city, and to us, it is one of the most beautiful mountain cities in not only Europe but the world!
Montaon is a long valley in the state of Vorarlberg, Austria. It offers plenty to visitors from skiing and snowboarding in the winter to hiking and sightseeing in the summer.
There are gorgeous lakes throughout the region, and the Silvretta mountain range may take your breath away. On any given day out you are bound to hear what an Austrian traffic jam sounds like – and that is about 100 cow bells crossing the road.
One of the best things to do here is start your day with a mountain breakfast at Alpengasthaus Rellseck followed by renting an e-bike and tour to Langsee mountain lake, or enjoy one of the area’s many via ferratas before settling into the spa at Amrai Suites.
Ionian Islands, Greece
The Ionian Islands are a part of Greece and are located on the country’s west coast in the Ionian Sea. The seven main islands are Zakynthos, Ithaca, Corfu, Kefalonia, Lefkada, Paxi, and Kythira and all are stunningly beautiful.
Slightly less traveled than the famous Cyclades and other Greek Islands the Ionians offer a lush experience compared to many of the other barren islands. Rolling hills and plenty of greenery await you on islands like Lefkada and Corfu. On top of plenty of Green, the beaches here are some of the most beautiful I’ve seen in all of Greece, and the water is a cotton candy blue.
Places like Corfu have a beautiful old town with gorgeous architecture, and islands such as Ithaca will bring you back to a timeless traveled.
Amalfi Coast, Italy
The Amalfi Coast is a 50 km stretch of gorgeous coastline and makes up the park of Italy’s Sorrentine Peninsula.
The Amalfi Coast technically extends from Punta Campanella on the southern to the town of Vietri Sul Mare, but for us, the Amalfi Coast starts near Sorrento. You’ll find picturesque towns, beautiful bays, fishing villages, pebbled beaches, vineyards, and lemon groves along this entire coastline.
If you have seen Positano in a movie and think it looks too fantastic to be real, think again, because everything seen here is even more impressive in person!
We didn’t know what to expect when we pulled into the small port town of Honfleur, France. This beautiful 17th-century harbor has maintained its charm through the decades. Honfleur still remains a fishing port centered around the marina.
There’s so much to see and do here in Honfleur that I suggest carving out at least three days to walk around the old cobbled streets and into the historic churches and monuments. The Vieux Bassin Harbor is one of Honfleur’s most iconic sights.
The preserved historical housing that lines the water is a beautiful testament of France in the 1600s, and St Catherine’s Catholic Church is a structure from the 15th century that still stands to this day!
Traveling to the Faroe Islands is like a dream. If you were to ask us where the most beautiful islands in Europe are you might not get a beautiful island in the Mediterranean, but instead the Faroes. The Faroes are a group of 18 windswept islands between Norway and Iceland and are a great addition to any trip to Northern Europe.
The 18 volcanic islands are connected via ferries, road tunnels, and bridges. Driving there it’s honestly amazing to see how they built such structure in the environment. Hikers and bird watchers are drawn to these islands as the opportunities for getting up close to waterfalls and seeing the Atlantic Puffin are endless.
With a population of 50,000, you likely won’t see many others on your hikes either. So if you are the type that likes to get away from the crowds, a trip here is a must. Fun fact – sheep outnumber humans nearly 2:1 on the Faroe Islands!
It’s tough to argue with the appeal of Edinburgh as it’s one of the most stunning cities in all of Europe. The Scottish capital is packed with a long and dark history. The city center is split in two between the jumble of medieval buildings in the old town and the perfectly lined Georgian buildings of New Town.
The city, in many ways, is a mess, but a beautiful one at that! It’s brimming with class, tourist sites, and character, and I assure you there is no shortage of things to do in Edinburgh.
The city contains many contrasts and offers world-class art festivals to fine dining, rowdy pubs, designer shops, comedy clubs, luxury hotels, and hip coffee shops. It’s almost impossible for any visitor to have Edinburgh’s same experience or opinion.
Saas Fee, Switzerland
Saas-Fee is famed for its year-round ski that draws in dozens of professional ski teams to train throughout the summer months. However, the village has so much more such as excellent hiking trails, dining, staggering landscapes, climbing, mountain biking, and access to over a dozen 4,000-meter mountains. Saas-Fee is home to giant mountains and is easily one of the best places to visit in Europe.
Similar to nearby Zermatt, Saas-Fee is a car-free village. It is the largest village in the Saastal Valley and serves as the central hub for tourism.
Saas-Almagell, Saas-Grund, and Saas-Balen comprise the rest of the valley. The absence of cars means you can wake up in the morning with stellar mountain views and enjoy the sound of sweet silence instead of roaring engines.
Galway is a historic port city on Ireland’s West Coast in the province of Connacht. Galway lies 200km west of Dublin’s capital city and is the sixth most populous city in Ireland.
Galway is a popular European tourist destination and a great jumping-off point for those road tripping on Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way. It’s only a two-hour drive from Dublin and is one of Ireland’s most culturally interesting places to visit.
While many visitors flock to Dublin, we much prefer the vibe of Galway. It’s known as “The City of the Tribes” and feels much more Irish to me than Dublin. From checking out the Galway hooker boats to strolling the Latin Quarter at night, there are some fantastic sights to see in Galway.
Lofoton islands, Norway
Lofoten is an archipelago in Northern Norway with beautiful scenery. The dramatic mountains, bays, and sea have people traveling from all over the globe to see it.
Lofoten is the capital for fishing, hiking, climbing, kayaking, skiing, biking, and surfing. It’s also a hot spot for photographers who want to capture the beauty of the landscape, the Arctic birds, and the stunning northern lights in the winter.
Ohrid is often considered Macedonia’s “crown jewel” and where tourists can come to enjoy nature. Ohrid is a small city surrounding the northern edge of Lake Ohrid, one of the most beautiful lakes in Europe.
You can easily spend a few days here exploring the churches and relaxing in complete serenity along with a quiet lake. A few days was not enough for us, and we ended up spending a whole week in Ohrid enjoying the beautiful lake, paragliding, and strolling the old town.
Kotor is one of those places in Montenegro that everyone must visit.
Kotor is a moody well-preserved former Venetian city inhabited by less than 13,000 people. Once visitors pass through the city walls, a labyrinth of marbled streets, old lamps, stones houses, and quiet piazzas await them.
The ancient city is fortified and encompassed by imposing stone walls. At the same time, the town itself sits at the foot of a gorgeous Adriatic bay with the Dalmatian mountains rising high up above turquoise waters.
Some refer to the Bay of Kotor as being the southernmost Fjord in Europe, and with the stunning beauty of the bay, it is easy to see why. It’s a magical destination that feels as if you’ve taken a step back into time.
Most people know about the German Oktoberfest that happens in Munich every early October, but there is much more to rave about in Bavaria than Oktoberfest.
Munich, the capital, is a thriving city in Germany, but I particularly love the countryside. When you drive out of the city and into the hills, Bavaria turns into something only out of a fairytale – literally!
If you want to feel like a princess at a castle surrounded by the colorful forest, consider driving the Romantic Road and stop at Neuschwanstein Castle before having dinner in Rothenburg ob der Tauber in the evening. The following day take the Cogwheel train to Germany’s highest peak – the Zugspitze.
Plitvice Lakes, Croatia
Plitvice Lakes National Park is sure to be high on anyone’s itinerary when traveling through Croatia. The park’s lakes are stunning and something you must see before you die.
Plitvice Lakes National Park is the largest of Croatia’s national parks and has been a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1979. The park is easily accessible from major cities like Zagreb, Zadar, and Split, meaning it’s a fantastic day trip!
Plitvice Lakes is unlike any other place we’ve been to on earth. This is mainly due to the karst hydrograph phenomenon, a unique example of geology in which limestone and dolomite have eroded over time into the water, creating underwater tunnels and channels.
Lech Am Arlberg, Austria
If we were to pick one of our favorite resorts in Europe, it would be Lech Zurs Arlberg. The village ambiance here is tough to beat due to a wide selection of boutique hotels, all intimate in size due to strict ordinance laws. You won’t find any mega hotels or foreign investment in this former farming village.
It’s all distinctly Austrian, with restaurants, hotels, bars, chalets, and B&Bs run by local families. Everything in the village is modern and luxurious but understated, so you won’t be completely gobsmacked here. This charm continues to draw regulars from around the world year after year.
There’s a lot more to Lech than a beautiful village, and it’s often credited as one of the birthplaces of alpine skiing. A wide array of pistes are connected with neighboring resorts to form the largest ski area in Austria. The pistes are well-groomed with snowmaking capabilities – if they even have to use them due to regular snowfall every year.
Crowding isn’t an issue here as there are a limited number of beds in Lech, which decreases the number of visitors on the slopes. We never had to wait in line here and rarely felt crowded on-piste despite less than ideal weather closing many runs. And despite being well known for celebrities and royalty Lech puts on an open atmosphere for all to enjoy.
Chamonix is a resort mountain town in the French Alps at the foot of Mont Blanc. It’s well known in mountaineering and ski communities, and once you arrive, you’ll quickly understand why.
Chamonix is surrounded by colossal peaks and has a reputation for some serious terrain that experts fly worldwide to ski on. Don’t worry if you are not an expert! Chamonix is a massive ski area, and there are plenty of places for beginner and intermediate riders.
Chamonix is also credited as hosting the first Winter Olympic Games in 1924 and the host town to the annual Ultra Trail Mont Blanc. This whole area fills up with the best trail runners in the world during the summer.
Besides skiing and mountains, the town of Chamonix is as charming as it gets, with plenty of restaurants and shops to wander around. It’s close to Switzerland but a fraction of the price of mountain towns like Zermatt.
The Dolomites are located in northeastern Italy, well-known for their exceptional beauty and dramatic mountain peaks. In 2009, the Dolomites were declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and now not only Italians but people from all over the world head to the Dolomites to enjoy the beauty.
During the First World War, the Italian and Austrian army front lines ran through the region. The Dolomites have been previously disputed, so it might feel more like Austria than Italy at times to tourists. Truthfully there are some beautiful aspects of both Austrian and Italian cultures here.
Remnants of the first World War are every apparent in the Dolomites. On some hikes, you’ll find open-air war museums, and the mountains have hundreds of via Ferrata paths created during the war.
An alpine paradise, time in the Dolomites means enjoying an enchanting landscape with dramatic peaks, shimmering bright blue lakes, and pine forest that feels like stepping into an otherworldly serene setting.
Finland’s northernmost region is sparsely populated and well known for being the land of the midnight sun in the summer and one of the best places to see the northern lights in the winter. Lapland is a subarctic wilderness where one can still see reindeer, snowboarding with snow ghost trees, and learn all about the indigenous Sami people.
It’s a white winter paradise and one of the best places to visit in Europe in the winter, and where visitors can live out their Arctic Circle dreams. However, Lapland is not just a winter destination. In the summer, you can chase the midnight sun, go hiking, and enjoy fresh berries from the forest.
Plan For Your Trip
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- Travel Backpack: We like the Nomatic Travel Backpack for our travels. Check the price here.
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