25 Best Places to Visit in Europe – Travel Europe


Although it is the world’s second smallest
continent, Europe welcomes more than half of all the tourists worldwide. In fact, 7 of the 10 most visited countries
in the world are European nations. It’s easy to see why; a well-preserved cultural
heritage, rich history, safety and efficient infrastructure makes visiting Europe a breeze. Here’s a look at the best places to visit
in Europe: Number 25. Vienna. As the former seat of the Hapsburg Empire,
Vienna is awash with impressive imperial buildings and palaces, which so comprehensively convey
the wealth and power of its former monarchs. Now the capital of Austria, the city is a
delight to get lost in. Nicknamed ‘the City of Music’, the names
of its famous residents roll off the tongue, with Mozart, Beethoven and Schubert among
those who once graced its streets. Number 24. Stonehenge. You have to marvel at the determination of
prehistoric man when you look at Stonehenge. Construction started about 3000 BC on what
was originally burial grounds. Huge monoliths, weighing 25 tons, were dragged
150 miles to the site a few hundred years later. It’s not known exactly how many humungous
rocks were moved to a field near Amesbury but there are 13 standing today. It’s also not known why Stonehenge was built,
but many believe this great English landmark is associated with early astrology. Number 23. Matterhorn. Egypt may have its pyramids, but Italy and
Switzerland have a nature-made pyramid of their own: the Matterhorn. At 14,692 feet high, this famous mountain
is one of the highest in Europe. The mountain has four faces, each equally
rugged. The legendary mountain has been popular with
climbers since the first ascent in 1865; during the summer 150 people a day try to climb it. Couch potatoes may be just as happy to stay
below and gaze in awe at the summit playing hide and seek with the clouds. Number 22. Plitvice Lakes. The Plitvice Lakes are so pretty, officials
turned them into a national park. Located in central Croatia, Plitvice Lakes
consists of 16 lakes that attract more than a million visitors a year. The lakes are surrounded by lush forests and
connected by waterfalls cascading down from one lake to another. The lakes are divided into two sections, lower
and upper, because of the difference in elevation. The best way to see the lakes is walking;
on the route you might even see some wildlife. Number 21. Budapest. Budapest was already an established city when
the Hungarians took over in the ninth century. Today, Budapest is the country’s capital
and largest city. In between these two events, Budapest was
ruled by the Mongols and Ottomans, among others. Considered one of the most beautiful cities
in Europe, Budapest is home to the Museum of Fine Arts with its collection of more than
100,000 works. Be sure to visit the centrally located Old
Town with its many museums, churches, palaces and Parliament building. Number 20. Lisbon. The Portuguese capital of Lisbon lies on the
Tagus River along the Atlantic coast. It is this location that encouraged explorers
to sail far and wide around the world in the 15th, 16th and 17th centuries. One of the things you’ll want to see is
Belem Tower, a 16th century fortress on the Tagus’ north bank. If you’re looking for good views of old
Lisbon, head to Saint George Castle that was built on a hilltop by the Moors. Number 19. Gullfoss You probably don’t know too too many people
who’ve been to Iceland. But it may be worth a trip there to visit
the spectacular Gullfoss waterfalls. Located in southern Iceland, Gullfoss is one
of Iceland’s top tourist attractions. At times it almost appears glacier-like, appropriate,
perhaps, since it is fed by a glacier. The waterfalls begins just after the Ölfusá
River makes a perpendicular turn and then cascades down a three-step staircase into
a canyon that is 115 feet deep. Number 18. Athens Athens, a city that’s been inhabited since
the fifth century BC, gave the world the concept of democracy and is the birthplace of Western
civilization. Many of the city’s major landmarks can be
found in the old town, particularly around the Acropolis. The list includes the temple of Zeus; the
Theatre of Dionysus where Sophocles works were performed and the Parthenon, which sits
atop the Acropolis. Number 17. Bay of Kotor When you’re hungry for breathtaking scenery,
feast your eyes on Kotor Bay in southwestern Montenegro. This bay off the Adriatic is just downright
picturesque: hemmed in by mountains, with quaint villages sandwiched between the cliffs
and the gorgeous blue water. Several well-preserved medieval towns ring
the bay. People make pilgrimages here, not only to
take in the scenery but also to visit the many Orthodox and Christian churches spread
among the villages. Number 16. Moscow For nearly 900 years, Moscow has been the
capital of Russia. As such, this old city has plenty to offer
visitors. Let’s start with the 15th century Red Square
since many of the city’s key attractions surround it. A top landmark is the Kremlin, a former fortress
that houses museums and the president of the Russian federation. Lenin’s Tomb sits in the middle of the square,
while the iconic onion-domed St. Basil’s Cathedral, now a museum, is on one side. Number 15. Venice Venice is for romantics who love gliding through
the Grand Canal with a gondolier singing Italian love songs. This is, after all, the city that sent Marco
Polo off on his journey to China. Start your exploration of Venice at San Marco
Square, the city’s most famous square. Here you’ll find the Doge’s Palace, the
seat of Venetian government, and St. Mark’s Basilica, the main church in Venice with stunning
views from the tower. Venice also is famous for its bridges across
the canals. Number 14. Monte Carlo If you’re into glitz and glamour, look no
further than Monte Carlo, the major city in the tiny principality of Monaco. Monaco has always been known for these qualities
which reached new heights when its prince made Grace Kelly his princess. Sitting on the shores of the Mediterranean,
Monte Carlo is known for fast car races and its elite casino. Take a walk along the harbor to see yachts
that belong to the rich and famous. Number 13. Alhambra The Alhambra is one of the great wonders of
Spain. It’s a gorgeous palace-fortress complex
that can be found in Granada in southern Spain’s Andalusia province. This imposing complex started out as a small
fortress in the late ninth century, though it was built on the ruins of a former Roman
fortress. Taken over by Christian rulers, it is the
site where Columbus got the go-ahead to discover the New World. The blending of architectural styles over
the centuries is stunning. You’ll find great art and grand gardens
throughout. Number 12. Florence If it weren’t for Florence, the Renaissance
might not have happened. Florence is generally credited with bringing
Europe out of the dark ages with great artists like Michelangelo. You can see their works at the Uffizi gallery,
or the Academia that displays the original David. Eat a gelato while strolling the Ponte Vecchio
that bridges the Arno River. Ogle the over-the-top riches of the Medici
family at the Pitti Palace. Marvel at the early engineering that created
the great Duomo. This is Florence at its best. Number 11. London. English history buffs will have a field day
in London. This city on the Thames is chock full of palaces,
from Buckingham Palace to Hampton Court Palace . More a prison than a palace, the Tower of
London is home to the crowns jewels. And from Knightsbridge – don’t forget
to visit the magnificent food halls at Harrods – to Carnaby Street, the shopping is awesome. You can get around London quickly and efficiently
by riding the famous Tube. Number 10. Neuschwanstein Castle. “Fairy tale castle” is a phrase that aptly
describes Neuschwanstein Castle in the Bavarian Alps. This 19th century Romanesque Revival castles
looks like it just stepped out of a fairy tale; some say Neuschwanstein provided the
inspiration for the castle in Disney’s Sleeping Beauty. The castle was built as a retreat for King
Ludwig II of Bavaria, who viewed it as a romanticization of the Middle Ages The castle was built of
brick, then covered in rock, including the white limestone that is visible from afar. Number 9. Amsterdam. Amsterdam is a pleasant city marked with meandering
canals lined with tall, narrow row houses. It is the city where Anne Frank kept her famous
diary, so visiting the house where she wrote is a must. This “Venice of the North” also is a city
of great art, beginning with the Rijksmuseum, home to great European masterpieces; Rembrandt’s
house and the more modern van Gogh museum. Take a break from sightseeing to tour and
sample Holland’s beer at the Heineken Brewery. Number 8. Prague. Prague, with a long history of war and destruction,
is considered one of the best places to visit in Europe. Despite devastation caused by World War II,
Prague has a very nice Old Town that is worth more than a few hours of your time. Prague has many pedestrian zones, which making
walking a delight, as you wander by Prague Castle, through the Jewish Quarter and over
the Charles Bridge. Wenceslas Square, situated in the New Town,
hums with a vibrant nightlife and entertainment air. Number 7. Istanbul. Istanbul may be on the outer fringes of Europe
but well worth a visit when you’re traveling abroad. Turkey’s biggest city is a fascinating place,
filled with rich history, colorful markets and mosques. Top attractions include the Bosporus that
separates Europe and Asia; the ecumenical Hagia Sophia that’s been a Greek Orthodox
Christian basilica, then an imperial mosque and now a museum, and the 15th century Topkapi
Palace, also a museum today. Get in a little shopping at the Grand Bazaar
that’s been in operation since 1461. Number 6. Geirangerfjord. When the summer heat of Europe gets you down,
head to Norway with its pretty cool scenery. Geirangerfjord is a 9.3-mile long fjord with
crystal blue waters fed by picturesque cascading waterfalls. Take a sightseeing trip on a car ferry through
the fjord, passing villages on the shores. Look out for the Seven Sisters and Suitor
waterfalls so named because legend says he’s trying to court the sisters. Also look for Bridal Veil – when the light
is right, it looks like a thin veil covering the rocks. Number 5. Barcelona. Founded by the Romans, Barcelona today is
a bustling city on the Mediterranean Sea. As the capital of Catalonia, it is a powerhouse
in the region. It is perhaps best known for the unusual buildings
designed by the architect Antoni Gaudi. These landmark structures include La Sagrada
Familia, a church that’s been under construction since 1892. You could build your entire visit around his
buildings, but then you’d miss out on other Barcelona delights, such as La Rambla, a popular
pedestrian street in the central part of the city. Number 4. Dubrovnik. As European cities go, Dubrovnik isn’t very
big, but don’t let its size deter you. This little jewel, with less than 43,000 people,
is one of the most visited cities on the Mediterranean. Dubrovnik transports visitors back to a time
when the fortified city was a major maritime power commanding the third-largest navy in
the Mediterranean. As you wander the streets, you’ll likely
come across sculptures of St. Viaho, the city’s patron saint whose life is celebrated every
February. Number 3. Santorini. When it’s time to sit back and relax, take
yourself to to Santorini, an island in the Aegean. Top travel magazines consider this a prime
destination; once there, you can’t help but agree. The island has picture-postcard villages,
an active volcano and stunning sunsets. Be sure to visit Fira, a village perched atop
a cliff. You’ll also want to sample wines, such as
the dessert wine Vincanto as well as the produce that is made sweeter and tastier because of
the volcanic ash soil it grows in. Number 2. Paris Songs laud Paris in the springtime, but any
time of year is a good time to visit this riveting city on the River Seine. It’s a city loaded to the brim with history,
culture, great food and high fashion. The iconic Eiffel Tower is one landmark you
won’t want to miss. The Louvre houses one of the greatest art
collections in the world. Its great churches include Sacred Heart and
Notre Dame. When it comes to opulence, there’s Versailles
with its famed Hall of Mirrors. Number 1. Rome The ancient Romans established outposts as
far away as Great Britain. They didn’t ignore their home city, however,
when it came to building great monuments. One must-see landmark is the Colosseum, an
arena that could hold up to 80,000 people for gladiator contests. One of the biggest draws is a tiny country
inside the city: The Vatican City, with its impressive St. Peter’s Basilica with art
provided by Michelangelo. Maybe you’ll get a glimpse of the pope at
his Wednesday audiences.

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